Pathfinder Chronicles: Book of the Damned—Volume 1: Princes of Darkness (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Chronicles: Book of the Damned—Volume 1: Princes of Darkness (PFRPG)
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Abandon All Hope...

From the origin of the gods to the inhabitants of the darkest infernal pit, Princes of Darkness: Book of the Damned Volume 1 is an unflinching look at the methods, motivations, and goals of Asmodeus, the archdevils, and the entire hierarchy of Hell. Whether you’re planning to storm the gates of Avernus or trade in the exotic and immoral markets of Dis, or simply want to add a splash of diabolical flavor to a standard campaign, this 64-page book is full of delicious temptations worthy of Faust himself.

    Princes of Darkness includes:
  • A layer-by-layer description of Hell and its rulers
  • The hierarchy of Hell, and how devils are promoted
  • The role and duties of each kind of devil, including the infernal dukes and the herald of Asmodeus
  • Guidelines for infernal contracts
  • Devil talismans, true names, and their uses
  • New Hell-themed spells, magic items, and artifacts
  • The diabolist prestige class, complete with imp companion
  • Five new kinds of devils, from the blaspheming apostate devil to the relentless levaloch

This stand-alone book can also complement the material found in the Council of Thieves Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Chronicles: The Great Beyond, and Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils.

By F. Wesley Schneider

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-189-3

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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Devilishly Good

5/5

In the cosmology of the official Pathfinder campaign setting of Golarion, the infernal planes are divided by alignment and the type of fiends that reside there: Hell (occupied by Lawful Evil devils); Abaddon (occupied by Neutral Evil daemons); and the Abyss (occupied by Chaotic evil demons). The first entry in the three-volume "Book of the Damned" series, Princes of Darkness, is devoted to the devils of Hell. Devils in Pathfinder value order, hierarchy, and gaining new mortal souls through trickery and temptation in the form of infernal contracts. This 64-page book contains a wealth of information on Hell, including sections on each of its 9 layers, its capital, the various types of devils, and a new prestige class for devil-worshipping diabolists. I've never dabbled much with this aspect of D&D-based RPGs, but I thought this book was really well done and definitely value for the money. I suppose the weird thing with this review is that I'm writing it *after* the Book of the Damned hardcover has been released, and that book collects and updates the material in Princes of Darkness. But I have this book and not that one, and I'm a completist. So, here we go.

In terms of artwork, you can judge the front cover for yourself--I think it's very cool and has the right feel. The interior art is also great, with one or two exceptions. Page layout and design is top-notch, with well-placed sidebars and little illustrations here and there that fit the theme. Particularly well-done are the pages from the in-universe "Book of the Damned" (which I'll explained in a minute), as they're in script on a parchment-style background. Very cool.

The interior front cover lists the symbols of the various archdevils of Hell, and I'm sorry to say they look a bit amateurish to me. The interior back cover lists the things a devil-worshipping cleric would need to know, including the domains, areas of concern, and favored weapons of the various denizens of Hell. It's quite detailed, with Asmodeus, the eight archdevils, the four "Whore Queens", twenty-eight "infernal dukes", and twelve "malbranche". The book itself is divided into four main sections: Hell and the Archdevils (descriptions of the various layers and their lords), Devilkind (explaining the different types of devils), Diabolatry (devil worship), and Diablerie (a bestiary of new devils).

Between these sections are two-page long inserts presented as if they were real extracts from the in-universe Book of the Damned, a catalog of the infernal planes written by an angel named Tabris (who, himself, has a fantastic story developed in later books!). Three of these extracts ("Before", "Order", and "Exodus") talk about the origins of Hell, a story which at first is too vague and a bit boring until you realize how directly the ruler of Hell (Asmodeus) is tied into the creation of the universe itself. Other extracts briefly discuss Dis (the greatest of Hell's cities) and the internal organization of Hell (briefly describing the various lesser, but still important, players in Hell).

The first main section, "Hell and the Archdevils" (20 pages) takes up about a third of the book. There's a very brief introduction that covers some of the features of Hell, like Hellfire, Hellmouths, and the River Styx. Each of the nine layers of Hell is then covered, with one page devoted to the layer itself and one page devoted to its ruler. I'm tempted to go layer-by-layer, but that would make for a very long review so I'll just mention a few things. Each of the nine layers revolves around a different concept--for example, the third level (Mammon) is the treasure vaults of Hell and home to those mortal souls who were dominated by greed, while Stygia, the fifth level, is the source of blasphemy, heresy, and corrupted faiths. There's definitely some echoes of Dante's Inferno here. I especially like how the rulers of each layer are far more than just embodiments of particular sins--they have unique personalities and backstories. The writing is top-notch and quite impressive for a sole-authored book. I suppose that if I had to be picky, I would single out the artwork of Geryon (lord of Stygia) as being kinda silly and state that Nessus (the 9th layer of Hell) is kind of bland. I might even note that Asmodeus' throne is, visually, much cooler than he is! But really, this is the heart of the book and it's great.

"Devilkind", the second main section (8 pages) clearly explains how the various denizens of Hell are sorted by power level with themes of authority and submission respected throughout. Advancement is possible, but sometimes only through self-administered torture! The main creatures discussed are imps, barbazus, erinyes, osyluths, hamatulas, gelugons, cornugons, and pit fiends. Most of these were new to me, and the book did a really good job explaining their various roles in Hell. Devil-summoners will be pleased to note that there are suggestions on how to make fiends more amenable to negotiations (such as telling osyluths secret vices of mortal rulers to gain a +2 bonus on Charisma checks). The "infernal nobility" of Hell receive a few paragraphs of description each: Infernal Dukes (who rule particular sections of each layer under the supervision of the archdevils), the Whore Queens (fallen angels who operate schemes throughout Hell), and the Malebranche (the generals of Hell's armies).

"Diabolatry" (14 pages) is the third section. It has information on infernal contracts (in which a mortal agrees to trade their soul for a boon) and includes tips on how a GM should handle them in-game. The little sample contract is a good template. New magic items called "devil talismans" are introduced, and they're quite powerful, providing the ability to draw on the powers of devils bound within them. Next, there's information on the importance of and how to discover the true names of devils. Perhaps of most interest to players in this book is the Diabolist prestige class; it looks quite flavourful (gaining an imp companion and bonuses to negotiting with summoned devils), and I like the "Damned" class feature: when the diabolist is killed, her soul is instantly sent to Hell and raising that character from the dead requires a high caster level check. Five new spells appear in this section as well, and they're really fun to read even though I've never seen any of them in a game. Perhaps a curious omission is how little reference there is to Golarion and whether/where there are specific concentrations of devil-worshippers in particular areas. I know about Cheliax, for example, but to a new reader this could appear as a setting-neutral book.

The final chapter is "Diablierie" (10 pages). Four creatures get two-page spreads with stat blocks, descriptions, and artwork: Apostate Devils (specialists in turning mortals away from their faiths), Heresy Devils (specialists in undermining established religions through corruption and heresy); Host Devils (hunters of souls that have evaded capture in Hell), and Warmonger Devils (construct-like war machines). The artwork is especially good in this section and each of the new creatures is interesting and well-described.

There's a *lot* to like about Princes of Darkness, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone planning to introduce devils or Hell into their campaign. It's very much a GM book, with only occasional bits of potential interest to players. One disappointment I do have in the book is that it's still really hard for me to picture what adventures or even encounters in Hell would look like. Something like a "Running Games in Hell" sidebar (with suggested Average Party Level for different types of stories) would be really useful in trying to conceptualize adventures there. Overall though, this is a great book and well-worth a purchase whether in PDF from Paizo or in hard copy from a used book seller.


5/5


Everyman Product Reviews: Book of the Damned

5/5

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 5/5 Stars
Flavor: 5/5 Stars
Texture: 4.5/5 Stars
Final Score: 14.5/5 Stars, or 4.75 Stars/5, rounded up for its flavor.

Individually, the three volumes of the Book of the Damned are amazing, excellent reads. The fact that the series managed to hold the same level of quality throughout several years of printing and a slew of authors is a testament to Paizo’s mastery over the evil realms. These planes are ripe for use in adventures of all sorts, and I am pleased to have such a thorough, encompassing guide on the topic. I would highly recommend all three volumes to any GM’s toolbox: they will meet your needs and exceed them a hundred times over.

For the full review, head to the Everyman Gaming blog.

(Note: This review is for all three volumes of the Book of the Damned combined. Not that it matters much; this score applies to all three books equally.)


Will we burn in heaven, like we do down here?

5/5

Disclaimer: I write for Paizo and I know Wes Schneider, and he’s the Editor-In-Chief. That may completely disqualify this review. If you can get past that, what I have to say may help you decide whether you want to buy this book or post your own review.

“Is misery made beautiful right before our eyes
Will mercy be revealed or blind us where we stand?”

-Sarah McLachlan, Witness

I have owned this book for approximately four years. During that time, I have referred to it, referenced it, but never just sat down and read it from cover to cover. You know? Like prose instead of an encyclopedia. Recently I was given an assignment that required some insight into the matter of Hell and devils and I grabbed this book. Something in me said, “Why don’t you just read the entire thing, with an eye towards enjoyment rather than just select paragraphs. Take it all in.”

I was glad I did. At this risk of being a suck-up, this is a magnificent piece of work. Allow me to articulate why. Mr. Schneider is not only a skilled editor, the man can write. This is not a book of interesting facts, it borders on poetry. Each sentence is lovingly crafted and considered. Every word is rich and evocative and he spares no imagery to communicate his vision of Hell, it’s denizens, his concepts, and plot hooks and adventure seeds. I imagine he paced the floor after writing each paragraph in order to scrutinize how it might be made better, or he wrote this while high and drunk during a raging thunderstorm. It is poetic without being poetry. What exactly do I mean? The imagery is savage, hideous, and monstrous and yet somehow beautiful.

Let me give you an example of the language:

The pristine halls and lavish sanctuaries of Baalzebul’s court are dedicated to his profane glory, perverted visions of a grand cathedral that hide shrines filled with fly-ridden sacrifices and cesspit-like chevets. Within the heights of Betzebbul’s central spire lies the throne room of the archfiend. Here, more than half dead, hangs the suspended and shackled corpse of the forgotten god Azhia, endlessly fed upon by the innumerable flies that make up Baalzebul’s verminous form.

Or…

Within the deepest pits of Hell, profane smiths rip ingenious blasphemies from the minds of the damned and sculpt soulflesh into creations of unparalleled malignancy. Several diabolical masterworks, creations of exceptional depravity, appear through accounts of history’s darkest annals, leaving wakes of ruin and damnation in their heinous paths.

The entire book is that lavish and evocative, save perhaps certain sections of game mechanics which would not be well served by it anyway.

I give this book an easy five stars. I also offer a bucket of tears that Wes’s duties only permit him to write the occasional sourcebook. Would should be so lucky and fortunate if he would, one day, captain a Bastardhall project.

In addition to fantastic prose, there is a generous helping of actual game mechanics (spells, items, artifacts), all of which appear balanced—including a prestige class and 5 new demons. There is something for everyone. Let me stress, it’s cool just to read it.

I would love to see a hellmouth creature someday. It would be weird without a standard movement, but I love the idea of a “living” portal with eyes and other features.

That concludes my review, but I have a few remarks I am going to put behind spoiler tags.

Wes avoids something I have seen in other books and I double down on my praise of him for not following suit. What follows is editorial.

Spoiler:
I am not a fan of a certain sentence structure that goes like this:

“Scholars and sages whisper about this interesting thing but nobody can tell you anything else about it.”

Or..

“Only the Gods know how Groetus was transformed into cheese and on this topic they will neither speak or nor answer.”

I’m somewhat sick of “X” alluding to something cool and but then the author shuts the topic back down. I enjoyed the Great Beyond, but at times I wanted to hurl that book across the room for this reason.

Let me be clear. Wes never does this in this book. I award him a 6th Special Devil Star for that reason. I understand what is happening when authors do that. Bless their hearts they’re trying to add a little bitty plot hook to the setting and let the GM run with it, or see if anybody gets excited by it. That is a laudable goal. My issue is that it gets repetitive, fast, to the degree it has become a pet peeve of mine. Rather I would have authors introduce a little tidbit to the setting and just let the reader draw their own conclusion. Wes does this well in this book with the Ihyssige, in the Hell Realm of Stygia. That is a mystery which Wes does not explain and it works beautifully. When other authors have all these scholars, sages, mad hermits, and gods who introduce topics and then refuse to elaborate, what the author is communicating to me (the reader) is “Hey, I am being intentionally vague here.” Trust me buddy, I figured that out on my own.

In, Princes of Darkness, Wes takes responsibility for writing about Hell, Asmodeus, and the whole infernal gang and does so with authority. When he wants to leave a plot hook open for the GM to explore, he does so without an awkward declaration of that intent. If the Gods want to point something out and refuse to discuss it further—they may do so one single time per 64 page sourcebook. In Princes of Darkness, it never happens. Kudos.

Here is some constructive feedback. It in no way warrants the loss of a star. It is minor stuff (and no not grammar and punctuation).

Spoiler:

There are a couple contradictions within certain sections.

One example is “Escaping an Infernal Contract”. The second paragraph goes to some length to explain that devils are loathe to renegotiate an infernal contract and explains why. The next paragraph goes on to suggest that devils have no issue with renegotiating infernal contracts and explains why. I was left asking, “Well, which is it? They hate it or they’re fine with it?”

I get what Wes is trying to say here. In principal, obtaining a better soul is always good business. Yet, devils are cautious because mortals inevitably try to change the terms in their favor. This happens to the point of being predictable—and it is seldom worth their consideration.

Another example exists in “True Names and Infernal Sigils”. I was left confused by the first section which suggested it was easier to discover a devil’s sigil because it is used in Hell and must appear on infernal contracts. To discover a true name is harder, because you have to actually hear it and the sigil doesn’t automatically translate to the name. That makes sense, though I noted it would be rough to learn a true name in that case. The next section on “Discovering True Names and Infernal Sigils” contradicts that by providing a means of how true name can be discovered through academic research.

This not a big deal. I actually prefer there is a means to learn the true names through research. I’m just pointing out the small contradiction.

I went looking for summon hellmouth. When I googled it I saw that it has been brought to Wes’s attention already. I won’t belabor it. This review was written WITHOUT reading the forums or consolation of previous reviews. I read the whole book so I reviewed it all by myself.

Bottom line, I think this is one of the best sourcebooks I ever read, and these are the only issues that I felt worthy to mention in a 64 page book written by a single author. That’s outstanding. I only mention them because I feel one honors the author/creator by taking the time to offer whatever stuff you can to improve their craft; to offer a meaningful and constructive critique rather than just empty praise. That was the best I had because this book already sets the bar high from the start.

I strongly recommend this book for purchase.


With Both Parts Hell Has Never Been so Fun

5/5

If you're going to buy this product, do yourself a favor and pick up the second half. Together these supplements are one of the best supplement products created for the campaign setting. They give you a clear view of hell and the agenda and politics within. They go over each of the lords of hell in detail and will actually make you want a campaign there.


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Sovereign Court

This has, hands-down, the BEST art in any paizo product ever. I don't know who the artists are, but every single piece of art (trust me, I checked every one) is simply beautiful. Use these artists more. and more. and more.

Liberty's Edge

Mr. Slaad wrote:
This has, hands-down, the BEST art in any paizo product ever. I don't know who the artists are, but every single piece of art (trust me, I checked every one) is simply beautiful. Use these artists more. and more. and more.

Word to your momma, your daddy, AND your hoochy coochy grandma.


I just downloaded this, and am listening to In Flames: Clayman while reading it! Suitably g#*!~$ned metal! \m/

Thanks Wes, and Paizo!

Contributor

vagrant-poet wrote:

I just downloaded this, and am listening to In Flames: Clayman while reading it! Suitably g$*%&~ned metal! \m/

Thanks Wes, and Paizo!

"Metal" huh. That's a new one for my stuff. Thanks!


Yeah but doesn't it fill you with a deep but satisfying killing dragons with your bare viking clad fists kind of anger?

Dark Archive

vagrant-poet wrote:
Yeah but doesn't it fill you with a deep but satisfying killing dragons with your bare viking clad fists kind of anger?

Umm nooo...I never thought that strapping naked vikings to my fists would be an option, actually. Way to think outside the box!

DM: "You see a dragon up ahead, what do you do?"

ME: "I take out my vikings, strap them to my fists, and..."

DM: ?

ME: "It's cause I'm angry."


I know right, how metal is that!


Looks like the Amazon info for this book is really old (wrong cover, wrong author, etc). It needs updating.

Contributor

master0fdungeons wrote:
Looks like the Amazon info for this book is really old (wrong cover, wrong author, etc). It needs updating.

Dude, Amazon still shows the placeholder cover for The Great Beyond. ;)


I take it I did not start my Chronicles subscription in time (October 10th) to get this as part of the subscription? I thought I was given the option to start with this product, but since I don't have it, or a DL available, I guess I screwed it up.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

master0fdungeons wrote:
Looks like the Amazon info for this book is really old (wrong cover, wrong author, etc). It needs updating.

Amazon generally takes the initial information and mock-up covers we send to the book distributors several months before the books come out and runs with those. We often don't have authors or covers assigned yet when we do these things, and we don't really have any direct contact with Amazon at all, so it's somewhat difficult to micromanage our products when they show up on their site.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

I have two comments to make about this book and the second book, which appears to be focused on demons:

1. Awesome to see that 3.5-compatible material is still being created, and that it's so great. Tyrants of the Nine Hells could be my favorite 3.5 splat book of all time, so this book is great, and I'm looking forward to part 2.

2. However: I have to second the reviewer Patoumonde's comments. I'm glad I have the PDF, because in several cases I've had to copy/paste the text to figure out what the hell it said (yuk yuk). But seriously - these are reference books - please make them legible. That was my beef about The Dragon a ways back when the layout got too funky, hopefully the Pathfinder stuff isn't heading down the same road.

Paizo Employee Sales Associate

Robert Miller 55 wrote:
I take it I did not start my Chronicles subscription in time (October 10th) to get this as part of the subscription? I thought I was given the option to start with this product, but since I don't have it, or a DL available, I guess I screwed it up.

We normally do not back-date the start of a subscription. However, in this case, the book of the Damned and the next volume, Seekers of Secrets, came out at virtually the same time, so there was not much of an opportunity for you to actually start with this book.

I will, therefore, put a subscription copy of this book into your sidecart to go out with your next subscription shipment.

Thanks,
cos


Where are the stats for the BIG DEVILS!!!!! C'mon guys - why are you so afraid to do it up for Asmodeus? Do I have to go back to 3.5????

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, if there would be stats for Gods and Archdevils there would be no space for anything else apart from front and back cover maybe ;)

Dark Archive

Saradoc wrote:
Where are the stats for the BIG DEVILS!!!!! C'mon guys - why are you so afraid to do it up for Asmodeus? Do I have to go back to 3.5????

Well assuming you are serious. With that in mind I personally don't want to see stats for gods, I never liked the whole. The PC's can eventually kill gods. Now Archdevils, for their mortal world shell? Sure I can see stats for that, not even sure i would want to see them stated up for their home plan. Though i wouldn't be against it for those that like that play style.


I am being serious. 3.5 published some good examples in their Tyrants of Hell book. I have an Epic adventure that includes 27th level (all legit and certainly challenging) characters, and I want to see how they stack up against, as well as include the Demon Lords etc. into the game - in the vein of the masterful Demogorgon CR 33 stat block that Dragon magazine put out. I am really tired of the lack of attention put on Epic material.

Dark Archive

Saradoc wrote:
I am being serious. 3.5 published some good examples in their Tyrants of Hell book. I have an Epic adventure that includes 27th level (all legit and certainly challenging) characters, and I want to see how they stack up against, as well as include the Demon Lords etc. into the game - in the vein of the masterful Demogorgon CR 33 stat block that Dragon magazine put out. I am really tired of the lack of attention put on Epic material.

Well right now with out epic rules they are not really needed. When they do a epic level players book, then I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a epic level bestiary. But I kinda doubt they do it until then. But I have been wrong before.


Yes, and you will be wrong again....

LOL...I am just kidding! I just love EPIC, it's a fetish.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Saradoc wrote:
Where are the stats for the BIG DEVILS!!!!! C'mon guys - why are you so afraid to do it up for Asmodeus? Do I have to go back to 3.5????

Until we actually do something to actually support the epic level rules in Pathifnder, it's kinda foolish to provide lots of super-high CR stat blocks for monsters that are too powerful for core classes to fight against. And who'll use rules and abilities that would only be obsoleted or made more awkward with the release of the epic rules.

Remember how back in the early days of 3rd edition, the Deities & Demigods book came out before the Epic Level handbook? And how weird it was that things like gods and goddesses didn't use the rules for epic levels, even though pretty much ALL of their stat blocks were the very definition of epic level?

We don't want to repeat that.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Saradoc wrote:
Where are the stats for the BIG DEVILS!!!!! C'mon guys - why are you so afraid to do it up for Asmodeus? Do I have to go back to 3.5????

Until we actually do something to actually support the epic level rules in Pathifnder, it's kinda foolish to provide lots of super-high CR stat blocks for monsters that are too powerful for core classes to fight against. And who'll use rules and abilities that would only be obsoleted or made more awkward with the release of the epic rules.

Remember how back in the early days of 3rd edition, the Deities & Demigods book came out before the Epic Level handbook? And how weird it was that things like gods and goddesses didn't use the rules for epic levels, even though pretty much ALL of their stat blocks were the very definition of epic level?

We don't want to repeat that.

Woohoo I got to be right this time.

Dark Archive

Oh James...of course you are right. Note the word "fetish" above. Wishful thinking, daydreaming, the need for high-powered creations to throw at my epic players who are using strangely concocted 3.5/Pathfinder builds...I could go on...but at the very least, on the verge of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you James and Jason, Monte, Sean Wesley and the rest of the team for putting out such great material. Thank you, and I mean it.


...

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:

Until we actually do something to actually support the epic level rules in Pathifnder, it's kinda foolish to provide lots of super-high CR stat blocks for monsters that are too powerful for core classes to fight against. And who'll use rules and abilities that would only be obsoleted or made more awkward with the release of the epic rules.

Remember how back in the early days of 3rd edition, the Deities & Demigods book came out before the Epic Level handbook? And how weird it was that things like gods and goddesses didn't use the rules for epic levels, even though pretty much ALL of their stat blocks were the very definition of epic level?

We don't want to repeat that.

See, now that's what I love about Paizo, they're actually using fore thought in their designing of the game. That's one thing I hated about epic in 3.x in that WotC did it as an after thought and suddenly things were all out of whack. Monsters that were meant to be end game suddenly weren't and so either new versions had to be made, making the old one redundant, or something totally new had to be introduced that left the begging question. Where were those monsters to begin with? Doing it this way those monsters are there, but mysterious until the rules for epic are released at which point heroes of that level will learn what it takes to put an arch devil or god in their place. Or at least make them blink.


Cosmo wrote:
Robert Miller 55 wrote:
I take it I did not start my Chronicles subscription in time (October 10th) to get this as part of the subscription? I thought I was given the option to start with this product, but since I don't have it, or a DL available, I guess I screwed it up.

We normally do not back-date the start of a subscription. However, in this case, the book of the Damned and the next volume, Seekers of Secrets, came out at virtually the same time, so there was not much of an opportunity for you to actually start with this book.

I will, therefore, put a subscription copy of this book into your sidecart to go out with your next subscription shipment.

Thanks,
cos

No, THANK YOU!!

Just another reason for me to cite why I love Paizo despite not playing or running PF!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*sigh* For some reason the review monster keeps eating the text I've written for my review of this fine book.

Oh well, awesome fluff, great crunch, excellent that you didn't stat the archfiends, and please keep flavor text such as Before and Exodus in future installments of Book of the Damned. That's the gist of it.


I'm already getting this so it will not affect that decision either way but will any material that Erik Mona himself did for Legions of Hell for Green Ronin and later got shoved into Book of Fiends find its merry way into this volume updated to the Pathfinder rules system? I only ask because I rather enjoy Book of Fiends and would like to squeeze more use out of it. As is I have a massive conversion project I'm doing based on several books.


OK, I just finished reading this and apparently the answer to my question is no. But can anyone who also has this spot me on the last monster given? I think it looks a lot like certain things in the Dark Crystal or am I going insane?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

FenrysStar wrote:
I'm already getting this so it will not affect that decision either way but will any material that Erik Mona himself did for Legions of Hell for Green Ronin and later got shoved into Book of Fiends find its merry way into this volume updated to the Pathfinder rules system? I only ask because I rather enjoy Book of Fiends and would like to squeeze more use out of it. As is I have a massive conversion project I'm doing based on several books.

Actaully... Erik didn't work on Legions of Hell. His major contribution to that series was Armies of the Abyss... so it'll be Book of the Damned II coming out this Gen Con that I'm writing that'll be the book that's similar. And as it works out, I'm a huge fan of Book of Fiends and Armies of the Abyss. We've used a LOT of material from Book of Fiends in the Adventure Paths, actually, and have incorporated several of the demon lords form it into Golarion's cosmology. The only thing that doesn't mesh super well between Golarion and the Book of Fiends as far as the demons go is Nocticula, who we turned into more of a queen of the succubi and assassin than what she was in Book of Fiends. There are countless demon lords in the Abyss, after all; the implication is that ALL of those mentioned in the Book of Fiends have a place in Golarion's cosmology, but only a few of them have a major role to play in the campaign world itself to this point.

As for Hell... since hell's a much smaller place than the Abyss, with a much more limited cast of characters, the way the two work IS different there. We do use some of the devils in Book of Fiends, but the way Hell's set up and who rules it is pretty different.


Glad to know some of what I and others consider the cream of the crop as far as D20 is gong to be dutifully recycled.

Contributor

Saradoc wrote:
Where are the stats for the BIG DEVILS!!!!! C'mon guys - why are you so afraid to do it up for Asmodeus? Do I have to go back to 3.5????

James already tackled half the problem with this (sorry to weigh in so late one this, I'm slow). The other element is that the stats for any one of the archdevils would have required about a page each (in some cases more), meaning that each archdevil would risk actually losing description and take up double the amount of room (as this book is built for content taking up whole pages). So that would give us sections with 1 page of description about the layer and 2 on the ruler - which seems silly. So to keep the format balanced we'd have to do two spreads on each layer, alternating back and forth between layer and archdevil - meaning that Chapter #1 would take up four times the page count it currently does, not wrapping up until around page 40, leaving 24 pages to cover all of devil-kind, magic, new rules, and monsters. What that would have actually probably meant - as you can't have a book about Hell with no discussion of devils - chopping out all the Book of the Damned intermissions, and probably the entire new rules or monster section - all of which seems poor.

At the end of the day, it made better sense to describe the archdevils and put in a bunch of new rules and devils and ideas to inspire infernal adventures than walls of questionably useful statblocks. After all, you're going to encounter Mammon in a campaign how many times? Once? Maybe. And if you do, he's pretty much a deity and probably works better as a plot device than a CR-ed encounter that pseudo-extrapolates our non-existent epic-level rules. New tools that any GM running any level game can use thus seemed like a better choice than trying to make this a book useful only to those running epic-level romps.

Dark Archive

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
At the end of the day, it made better sense to describe the archdevils and put in a bunch of new rules and devils and ideas to inspire infernal adventures than walls of questionably useful statblocks.

In the meantime, I'd like to alert readers to the fully statted-up archdevils in (the freely available) Dragon Magazine 360.

Like the demon lords, it shouldn't be too hard to see who's who in the D&D->Golarion overhaul (way less, actually, since few names of the archdevils are copyrighted - are any?).


No more trickle-down demonomics?

Dark Archive

The Artifact, "book of the Damned:Diabloic" mentions the Spell "Summon HellMouth" but I cannot find it anywhere, did it get cut from the book? or will it be in the advanced players guide?

thanks is advance!


I see that Paizo is putting out the 2nd installment of Book of the Damned out, but was wondering if Angels and Archons would get the same treatment as the Devils and Demons are. I ask b/c i was quite excited with the 3.5 material in Fiendish Codex 1 & 2, but was a little let down when it happened that no Celestial Codex would be printed. =/

Im currently writing a "Hellgate" esc. style campaign in which Demons are the invaders and have effectively decimated all life on the Material Plane. The surviving native (including my future PCs) have allied themselves with either Devils or Angels and are doing what they can to close the portals to the Abyss...so you can see my frustration with so little material on the Celestials.

All in all, these look to be yet another AMAZING addition to the Pathfinder collection. =D

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The problem is, Good outsiders are rarely enemies, and most GMs would rather see more books with things to throw against the party.


Personally I think that Good outsiders make for excellent enemies and I do hope we get a celestials book or two at some point. There was an article in a Dragon magazine once about using celestials as "bad guys" and I've used the advise in that article to great effect in my games.

I do see your point, though. Demons, devils, etc. are more obvious choices and it's good that they get the first few years in the spotlight.


I just recently bought this. Are the infernal dukes discussed in detail in another product? It just gives their names on the inside back cover.

Also, are the rulers of each of the levels statted anywhere?


Pardon my asking, but am I just missing the info for the 'Imp Companion' listed for the Diabolist PrC? Or is the info on page 47 all there is?

Contributor

Did you see the text relating to it on page 45? I'm not sure what you think is missing.

Contributor

Swamp Druid wrote:

I just recently bought this. Are the infernal dukes discussed in detail in another product? It just gives their names on the inside back cover.

Also, are the rulers of each of the levels statted anywhere?

We don't yet have rules for monsters or characters above CR 20 (other than a few creatures in the Bestiaries that edge into that category), and don't have stat blocks for such creatures because of that. Yet.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


We don't yet have rules for monsters or characters above CR 20 (other than a few creatures in the Bestiaries that edge into that category), and don't have stat blocks for such creatures because of that. Yet.

Okay, thanks.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Did you see the text relating to it on page 45? I'm not sure what you think is missing.

I was referring to a small table listing the increases to Hit Dice, AC, characteristics, and whatever else a Diabolist's imp gets as the character increases in level. I suppose I was just missing it.

I'll have to go back and check.


Ah, okay, now I see what you meant. I must have blinked and missed it. Sorry about that.

Contributor

Np, glad *I* didn't miss something. :)


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Np, glad *I* didn't miss something. :)

Yeah, though it looks like the Diabolist will end up with one tough Imp. Hmm, give him Use Magic Device as a skill, and a wand or the like, set him up as a sniper...

I'm getting soem nasty ideas here. ;)


I enjoyed reading this. However, I don't like the method of presenting the Devils and Demons in sixty-four page book. I think there should be hard cover books for Devils and Demons. (with the leaders of hell and demon lords statted)

I have some minor complaints about the art work.

The description for Barbatos indicates he has seven fingers but the picture shows five fingered hands. Also, the picture doesn't give much of a view of his fungal beard.

Why are we only given a picture of one of the whore queens?

I don't like the picture for Asmodeus because it's mostly his throne. He deserved a much large picture.


You won't see any stat blocks for the Big Boys until Paizo have settled on a fitting way to handle epic-level play in Pathfinder RPG. That hasn't happened yet (officially at least) and they've made no announcements that it'll happen any time soon.

As for the size of the books, 64-page books are standard for the Campaign Setting line. Other than the campaign setting book itself, all books in this product line have a page count of 64. I doubt that's something Paizo will change any time soon for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is manpower.

To be honest, I don't mind that the fiend books have a page count of 64. I think of them as sources of inspiration rather than definitive books on the subject. They're chock full of material for the GM to play with and expand on as he sees fit.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I would LOVE to do a giant book about devils and demons and all the other fiend races.

Also, I would LOVE to stat up the arch devils and demon lords and horsemen and all that, but at the current point, as mentioned above, we can't.

Until we work out exactly how post-20th level stuff works (it WON'T work the same as the 3.5 Epic Level Handbook, that's for sure), it's not responsible to stat up things much beyond where the game currently supports, which is about CR 25. All of the demon lords and archdevils and the like, were we to put them on a CR scale, would probably be at about CR 35 or so. Maybe higher, maybe lower. We can't say yet because we don't know how the PCs will end up working at that point.

If and when we do an epic level expansion to the game, I suspect that stats for lots of unique bad guys like demon lords and archdevils will be coming out VERY SOON thereafter. And at that point, a big book that is basically the rules version of the Book of the Damned might be fun...


James Jacobs wrote:

I would LOVE to do a giant book about devils and demons and all the other fiend races.

Also, I would LOVE to stat up the arch devils and demon lords and horsemen and all that, but at the current point, as mentioned above, we can't.

Until we work out exactly how post-20th level stuff works (it WON'T work the same as the 3.5 Epic Level Handbook, that's for sure), it's not responsible to stat up things much beyond where the game currently supports, which is about CR 25. All of the demon lords and archdevils and the like, were we to put them on a CR scale, would probably be at about CR 35 or so. Maybe higher, maybe lower. We can't say yet because we don't know how the PCs will end up working at that point.

If and when we do an epic level expansion to the game, I suspect that stats for lots of unique bad guys like demon lords and archdevils will be coming out VERY SOON thereafter. And at that point, a big book that is basically the rules version of the Book of the Damned might be fun...

I can't wait!

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