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

4.30/5 (based on 16 ratings)
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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Average product rating:

4.30/5 (based on 16 ratings)

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Great book, but fills a specific niche

3/5

I must admit, that as I am a fan of using devils and the Hells as the focus of my campaigns I’m a bit bias towards liking this book.

The book is a 64 page, softcover book focused on a specific topic which comes in at only $20; just how I like my supplement material. The layout and artwork are both impressive and the Book of the Damned Vol. 1 provides a wealth of exciting material as well as a handful of new options for players and GMs alike, including spells, magic items, and even a prestige class. The book also contains a few new and cool devils. Much of the book is fluff, however, but while it seems both well written and well thought out, many people might not appreciate having less usable material in favor of flavor.

In my personal campaigns I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this book, but it will likely not appeal to anyone who isn’t running or playing a game centered around devious and devilish foes. For anyone who is I strongly recommend this book.


Why it's so hard to like this book?

3/5

First volume in Books of the Damned - a series on Evil outsiders - concerns with Devils, the good old manipulative LE schemers of the D&D world. Wes Schneider tackles the job of improving over 3.5ed Fiendish Codex II, which wasn't all that great. Let's see how it goes.

Chapter 1 describes the archdevils (Asmodeus included) and their realms, the layers of hell. No statblocks are given, due to Pathfinder not having epic rules to handle that yet.

Chapter 2 provides information on the ecology of the regular devils, as well as some information on other denizens of hell. I really liked the Whore Queens idea, I must admit.

Chapter 3 presents rules for mortal involvement with devils. Infernal contracts, devil binding, fiendish spells and magic items and a Prestige Class - the Diabolist - are all here. I think it's the best chapter in this book, one that I've actually used.

Chapter 4 is the compulsory bestiary section. Four new devils to pit against your players.

Now, what's my conclusion? Honestly, the style of writing puts me off. The author sinks into Dante/Milton inspiration somewhat too deeply and the result borders on purple prose, with superfluous passages that feel like taken out of some Romantism novel.

The maledictions of the archdevils and their personal histories and drama are are all very well thought out, but this book has very little substance for a GM that runs something less...dramatic. I didn't get that much use out of this book as I hoped for.

For a primer on how to write such book as to make it a worakble source for the GM, refer to the next volume in series, Lords of Chaos, which is far better.


Very very disappointing....

1/5

I was highly disappointed with this book - the 3.5e WotC Fiendish Codices 1-2 are MUCH MUCH BETTER.

The authors of both Volume 1 and 2 made a good effort, with an obvious desire to show off their vast vocabulary or thesaurus skills (some of their word choices were bizarre, I mean seriously, I don't want to pick up a dictionary on every page). I get it - you guys like big words. Exciting details of the realms governed by the Lords were poor to say the least, no maps are provided, and the excerpts from the Book of the Damned uses a font extremely difficult to read.

Volume 1 made no mention of this but Volume 2 states that statistics for the Lords are not needed as they would completely destroy any heroes (other than Epic) that dared to challenge them. This was disappointing and one of the few running complaints I have had with the Pathfinder books as a whole, including stats for the Gods.

The artwork is for the most part very good. Graz'zt and other of my favorites were not carried over for IP/proprietary reasons I assume.

Having played D&D for ~ 31 years now...I'm hypercritical of course, but Paizo/Pathfinder has saved D&D for me. WOTC's 4e was the last straw. With that being said, these two books were my first two disappointments in the Pathfinder texts.
The 1e Manual of the Planes about the Infernal Realms was riveting, I read those sections over and over. I have always wanted to run an Infernal campaign "Paladin in Hell" etc. but these books don't provide enough detail to significantly help this project - if anything is emphasized, it's the politics of the Infernal Realms. The Blood War is hardly touched upon either.
The books are short, also disappointing.

This is basically the same review I posted for Volume 2.

I hope in the future these are redesigned, reworked, expanded with numerous maps and statistics, and re-released using new authors.


Really nice book on the underpinnings of evil in the campaign . . .

5/5

This book has some very nice background material on Hell in the Pathfinder setting, as well as information on the ruling beings of Hell, its layers, and how it works.

Reading through the book makes you really want to find a way to work this information into your campaign. There are disturbing planar cities as well as interesting sites and terrain.

Not only is all of that in place, but the PFRPG rules in the book are a good support to the information, such as the Diabolist PrC, and the rather nasty spells and monsters in the book.

One of the things I really like is that the secret events of the beginnings of the universe MAY be explained, but may not, depending on how reliably you adhere to the source of the information. Wonderful way to expand large scale setting information of this sort.


Incredibly Useful.

5/5

This book is very useful and detailed without being over the top. They give you a great new prestige class, fantastic artwork, a gazetteer of everything you could ever want to know about Hell, and flavorful and useful new magic. I was also relieved to see that they didn't try to stat up the archdevils--in my opinion, that's where 3.5 went wrong.
They do, however, give you a nice gallery of new devils to use in your game. As a GM, this is a very helpful tool for any game that involves Infernal powers.


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Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

Grumpy linguistic moment:

** spoiler omitted **

Wait...didn't you pull this demon/daemon thing in another thread? Stop it!

If it wasn't you...Stop it anyway!

Contributor

Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

Grumpy linguistic moment:

** spoiler omitted **

Wait...didn't you pull this demon/daemon thing in another thread? Stop it!

If it wasn't you...Stop it anyway!

Just to explain, here's the gist. By the by, I'm mentioning just so everyone knows what we were thinking and what goes on around here, NOT to imply that this is a matter where any sort of debate is at all relevant - we're not about to start retconing a half dozen books featuring our main NE fiends.

Daemon is the name we use because that's the name of the monsters in the Tome of Horrors. When we're working on Pathfinder and want to use one of these creatures, it behooves us to use the creatures' names when referencing them. Coming up with a new name for a creature - even if its something as simple or similar as "daimon" would be in this case - and referencing it like: "See the Tome of Horrors, page 55. The dergodaemon and the dergodaimon are the same creature," adds needless words and confusion. We can't assume that everyone would just assume the dergodaemon and dergodaimon are the same creature - because I guarantee if we did there'd be a thread asking all about what "daimons" are right fast. (By the by, it's not daimons, becuase daimons are forever.)

All of that aside. According to dictionary.com "daemon" and "demon" are pronounced the same way. All of us around here know that. That doesn't change the fact that we all refer to them as "day-mons" regardless. It's our word now, and that's the way we're rolling.

Dark Archive

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

All of that aside. According to dictionary.com "daemon" and "demon" are pronounced the same way. All of us around here know that. That doesn't change the fact that we all refer to them as "day-mons" regardless. It's our word now, and that's the way we're rolling.

Today the dictionary, tommorow... your basement!

Dark Archive

Will this book provide more explicit instructions, such as detailing the number and composition of candles necessary for a corrupting summoning ritual? I must have precise instructions this time, as my experience with Jacobs' Fiendish Codex did not go..ahem..as planned. There were, shall we say, slight complications.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
That doesn't change the fact that we all refer to them as "day-mons" regardless. It's our word now, and that's the way we're rolling.

Can I make a prior art claim on that? ;-) I've been using that pronunciation to distinguish them since 1st Ed was new.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
I thought Yugoloth was a prepackaged yogurt-based snack.

Yes, it is. If you have an Albertson's Preferred Card you get a buy one get one for this week only.

Contributor

Paul Ryan wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
That doesn't change the fact that we all refer to them as "day-mons" regardless. It's our word now, and that's the way we're rolling.
Can I make a prior art claim on that? ;-) I've been using that pronunciation to distinguish them since 1st Ed was new.

Addendum: "Following the always trendsetting lead of Paul Ryan, we all refer to them as "day-mons" regardless. It's our word - that we borrowed from Paul - now, and that's the way we're rolling."

Better? :P


Gurubabaramalamaswami wrote:
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

Grumpy linguistic moment:

** spoiler omitted **

Wait...didn't you pull this demon/daemon thing in another thread? Stop it!

If it wasn't you...Stop it anyway!

Just for that, you have to go read the other thread through in its entirety, twice. (NB: I grumbled before that thread was started.)

Of course, retconing is what home adaptations are for.


Is volume 2 going to be about demons?

Contributor

concerro wrote:
Is volume 2 going to be about demons?

That is one of the two very likely possibilities.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
concerro wrote:
Is volume 2 going to be about demons?
That is one of the two very likely possibilities.

~snorts and then laughs~

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would love to have the Yugo..damn..Daemon book coming out as the second one. Demons have way too much love and attention so far - and FC1 is still one of the best WotC books ever (wonder if it has anything to do with those Mona and Jacobs people being responsible for it).

On the other hand, the 'Lot...damn !...Daemons have just the BoF, and Green Ronin's vision of "that third E outsider race" seems quite different from Paizo version, so here's to hope that the Daemons get their writeup soon.


Agreed, though hopefully the great beyond book will help.

We need more statblocks! One for each deacon and the astradaemon will cover the campaign setting. We're 2/5ths there.


Sharoth wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Sharoth wrote:
Heathansson wrote:

I am the first! I am the first!

~WHAPS you with a baseball bat~ NOW I am the first!
BASHES you with a Hammer! :P NOW I am the first!
~crumples to the ground with a low groan~

SIZZLES all with a well placed Fire Ball...now I'm the frist

Contributor

vagrant-poet wrote:

Agreed, though hopefully the great beyond book will help.

We need more statblocks! One for each deacon and the astradaemon will cover the campaign setting. We're 2/5ths there.

Soon to be 4/5 ;)

Go ahead and begin the speculation. There's one full writeup and stat block I know of for certain, because I wrote the fluff bits. The other I'm inferring, because the monster in question makes an appearance, but I don't recall from the original draft I read if there were stats as well, and not sure on a full bestiary writeup, because I didn't work on it like I did on the other one I mentioned. I suspect it may be 3/5, but we'll see.


Todd Stewart wrote:
vagrant-poet wrote:

Agreed, though hopefully the great beyond book will help.

We need more statblocks! One for each deacon and the astradaemon will cover the campaign setting. We're 2/5ths there.

Soon to be 4/5 ;)

Go ahead and begin the speculation. There's one full writeup and stat block I know of for certain, because I wrote the fluff bits. The other I'm inferring, because the monster in question makes an appearance, but I don't recall from the original draft I read if there were stats as well, and not sure on a full bestiary writeup, because I didn't work on it like I did on the other one I mentioned. I suspect it may be 3/5, but we'll see.

Where?? Who?? How? Is it the vault of souls module? Do they have a Bestiary?

Otherwise it must be council of thieves... Or maybe the Final Wish... Ahhh!!! You tease! Daemons are my favourite!!

As recompense can you think of any good ogl, or especially book of fiends daemons that are a good fit? I find the sin thing throws me for using them in PF, and no-one has auras. I can add those as per cleric ideas though.. Hmm.

*sits in corner mumbling to self* Can't sleep, to excited, can't sleep, to excited, can't sleep, clowns will eat me, can- Whuh?
@_@


Anyone? Even so I know what book they'll be in so I can just go ahead and preorder?

*sigh*

Aww...


>Giggles and wrings his hands together devilishly.<

I can hardly wait.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
concerro wrote:
Is volume 2 going to be about demons?
That is one of the two very likely possibilities.

This is not going to become a "sorry, Daemon, but we ran out of space" running gag, is it? Because we all know how that turns out...


I hope it doesn't end up like that... I'm not sure I want to hear a daemon sing.


Does it include a pre-written "Sign your soul away to Asmodeus" contract? If not, I may just get the PDF. ;)

Grand Lodge

Speaking of Hell and the nine levels, how does this compare with Wizards' "Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells"? Also, does anyone know of any epic adventure/module that takes PCs through all nine levels of Hell (presumably, it would be a high-level adventure)?

Dark Archive

damn I really cant wait for that one! Nice....glad I have a subscription.


Hsuperman wrote:
Speaking of Hell and the nine levels, how does this compare with Wizards' "Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells"? Also, does anyone know of any epic adventure/module that takes PCs through all nine levels of Hell (presumably, it would be a high-level adventure)?

The best crack at the Nine Hells I recall was a 2e module called "A Paladin in Hell". There was some stuff for Planescape that was pretty good as well. Dungeon likely had some stuff for the ol' 'Devils' Playground' as well, 'though more knowledgeable authorities than I would have to chime in on that.

Dark Archive

Tweet from Paizo that Book of the Damned is off the printers. Talk about hot!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product.

Wow nice Cover... who is the Artist?

Dark Archive

Dragnmoon wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product.
Wow nice Cover... who is the Artist?

I agree. Sweet cover!

Dark Archive

Very cool cover, I always wondered what Wesley looked like.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Dragnmoon wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product.
Wow nice Cover... who is the Artist?

Kieran Yanner.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Kieran Yanner.

Keep him.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.

It seems that a lot of the product lines are undergoing some major changes to their cover templates. Will the removal of the solid colored bars here and on the modules continue? I love the new looks and hope you stick with 'em!

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product.
Wow nice Cover... who is the Artist?
Kieran Yanner.

Hey all check him out here.

Nice stuff on his page.

Dark Archive

I googled and went to his art home site. I liked his art work. For those curious the URL is here


Wow.. those close up Planet Story images are eye-catching! Makes me want to subscribe.. but I can't until more money come in the house :(

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Anyone know if he is going to be at GenCon?

Dark Archive

Has he shown at Comic Con recently? His stuff looks familiar.

Dark Archive

yoda8myhead wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.
It seems that a lot of the product lines are undergoing some major changes to their cover templates. Will the removal of the solid colored bars here and on the modules continue? I love the new looks and hope you stick with 'em!

Have to agree I like the new style better myself.

Dark Archive

Dark_Mistress wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.
It seems that a lot of the product lines are undergoing some major changes to their cover templates. Will the removal of the solid colored bars here and on the modules continue? I love the new looks and hope you stick with 'em!
Have to agree I like the new style better myself.

Me too! That's a great cover! :)


Another vote to say that that is one sharp cover. Like the new design.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I googled and went to his art home site. I liked his art work. For those curious the URL is here

Thank you for that! I've bookmarked it. Now we just need him to start publishing books of his artwork. He's got some fantastic stuff on there. The funny thing is, I've liked him for a while now but in my head see mostly his b/w stuff for Malhavoc Press. The color stuff is damn good too!

As for the book itself, I'm sure Wes did a bang up job; a real labor of love. Can't...wait...

Dark Archive

BenS wrote:
As for the book itself, I'm sure Wes did a bang up job; a real labor of love. Can't...wait...

I'm sure of it, too -- after all, the 'F' in his name is for 'Fiendish', isn't it? ;)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.

Um ... I'm not sure if I want to clear my browser's cache now ... ;-)

Very nice graphics!


Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.

Infernal WOW!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Awesome new look!


You know how we can really make the popularity of PAthfinder bust loose?

Lets take a page out of 1980's TSR and send this to various news agencies and the religious keepers of our souls.

Once they see a book giving us new spells, and how to have Imp companions, and how to advance within the ranks of Hell PAthfinder will become the #1 RPG on the market in no time!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

yoda8myhead wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the cover and description to match the finished product. If you don't see the fires of hell, clear your browser's image cache.
It seems that a lot of the product lines are undergoing some major changes to their cover templates. Will the removal of the solid colored bars here and on the modules continue? I love the new looks and hope you stick with 'em!

That's more or less the plan for now, yes!

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