A Necromancer's Grimoire: Sorcerous Lineages (PFRPG) PDF

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You Just Have to Be Born With It

Everyone knows that the source of a sorcerer’s magic is in his blood. Most sorcerers have arcane lineages that tend to fall into fairly straightforward and easy to define categories. This sorcerer is descended from a dragon, and has a draconic bloodline. That sorcerer is descended from a devil, and has an infernal bloodline. But there are some sorcerous lineages that are unique unto themselves, and which, for various reasons, have developed unique powers, specific to a single family tree. This book is about those arcane ancestries.

While a standard sorcerer bloodline gives you mechanical abilities that match a tightly focused theme, it doesn’t give you very much in the way of background and flavor, and their narrow focus approaches a scientific or clinical categorization. By contrast, each of the ten bloodlines in this book has a rich and unique identity, which is not only reflected in their unique bloodline abilities, but also in extensive background sections which detail the origins of the bloodline, as well as providing some insight into what life is like for members of the bloodline, and information on how other sorcerers with that bloodline live and act, not only giving prospective players great starting points for building their character’s background and personality, but also offering fully-formed arcane families or organizations that a GM can use to make the game world a more dynamic and interesting place, even if none of his players are interested in sorcerers.

If you’ve ever wondered just where your sorcerer got his magic powers, or thought that an arcane aristocracy was a cool idea, or even if you’re just looking for a new set of bloodline powers to try or even just something fun to spark your imagination, this is the book for you.

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Flavor text that matches the mechanics of sorcerer bloodlines at last!


One of my favorite changes that Pathfinder made over 3.5 was the inclusion of sorcerer bloodlines. While this was an interesting mechanical way of distinguishing sorcerers from each other depending on what bloodline they chose, it also had the effect of building in a back-story for the character. Now there were character backgrounds about how your sorcerer was the descendent of a demon, was chosen by destiny, or some other compelling in-game reason for his magic.

The problem is that the flavor text never quite lived up to the crunch. While it certainly preserved the freedom to embellish on the scant information provided, sometimes you want the fluff to be provided also, which the small amount of flavor text never did. That’s the position of A Necromancer’s Grimoire: Sorcerous Lineages from Necromancers of the Northwest.

Just over three dozen pages long, Sorcerous Lineages presents ten new sorcerer bloodlines. While each of these has all of the requisite mechanical information, it matches it with a high degree of flavor text. Each bloodline is treated as more than just its point of origin; rather, each one has blossomed into some sort of organization that is (at least partially) focused on the circumstances that also granted their sorcerous powers.

Take, for instance, the Zartol Consortium bloodline. This is based around the eponymous Consortium, which was originally a mundane mercantile empire, until hard times made one of its less scrupulous heads cut a deal with a devil. Now, the mercantile empire is one built on human (and humanoid) trafficking, and the members of the family that run it are all “baptized” into a contract with that devil shortly after birth, granting them their unique sorcerer bloodline.

Isn’t that far and away more interesting than simply having the boilerplate Infernal bloodline from the Core Rulebook?

Each of the ten organizations here are given roughly one-and-a-half pages of background material on their origins, current sketch, notable traits, and how a character might be found outside their structure, in addition to their bloodline. While many are political or dynastic entities, not all are. The Sivix Conspiracy, for example, is a group of individuals dedicated to justice in a very Batman-esque way (e.g. give up everything except working to punish the guilty). They gain their bloodline by having it imbued by a powerful (and undetailed) artifact.

The bloodlines themselves are notably well done, and offer some interesting options. Those with the Descendents of Ho’Lah bloodline, for instance, have a horse as a bonded mount, and gain a number of enhancements that make them formidable mounted spellcasters. Those with the bloodline of House Faulkhor, on the other hand, are skilled torturers, being able to inflict terrible pain, with the ability to skin creatures alive at higher levels (and the capstone power of remaking those that they’ve skinned into servants, all the while keeping them alive).

Overall, A Necromancer’s Grimoire: Sorcerous Lineages is one of the less common kinds of sourcebooks that pays equal attention to the flavor and the mechanics. Indeed, it melds them together in a way that’s much more tightly integrated than many other parts of the game. Sorcerer bloodlines have long held the promise of being a hook to a greater back-story, but it’s only here that that potential is fully realized.

My one complaint about the book is that its tight focus kept it from branching out even a little – these days, some “extras,” such as a sidebar with a new spell or a new cavalier order about a group mentioned (such as the Knights of Lumina, for the Church of Lumina bloodline), but I can’t fault the book for not going that far abroad – easter eggs are extras, after all. This book presents sorcerer bloodlines as more than a set of rules with a label slapped on them, and that’s something quite sorcerous indeed.

For those of you who are curious and would like a bit of a sample, be sure to check out this article on www.necromancers-online.com, which shows off one of the ten unique bloodlines in this book, and gives a good idea of how these bloodlines are different from what you're used to.

Also, be sure to check our website for more additional, supplementary content relating to these bloodlines.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Reviewed here and at RPGNow.

...the Eigens are descended from Heterodynes who accidentally sent themselves to a fantasy universe, aren't they.

This pdf is absolutely amazing. There's no bad bloodline power or ability and makes certain builds that don't seem very good amazing. Good work. Will use a lot from this.

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