|AVATAR OF THE KAGA|
(Completion of review)
The maps is simple, but effective. Its colors fit the overall theme and I did not find any names that made me go "WTF?"
The ponies within are well-drawn merging My Little Pony imagery, while outfitting them like regular adventurers. Some parts of the book like the deities and NPCs are particularly nice.
Surprisingly, some of the chapter headers aren't as good. It is not bad, but it is not as enjoyable as the rest of the book.
I will go for a 4/5
Highlights & Organization
Some of the color used for highlight clash with the rest of the document. The Cyan and yellow pastels for the feats and special powers really clash, and not in a way that make me want to read them. The colors are very "poniesque", but they do not draw my eye the way they should and I found myself looking at the text right after them. Interesting since that is where most of the crunch is. When you scroll and reach these pages it breaks the flow of reading.
Races then racial bloodlines and feats, then more races with their bloodlines and feats was reminicent of the Advanced Race Guide, an organization I did not like at all.
Another thing I found difficult to follow were the headers. More important titles are difficult to find in the text. For example, on page 57, a page dedicated to "Optional Rules". The main header is the same size as the rules themselves.
The setting information is not together and requires a lot of flipping back and forth. For example the campaign traits are all at the end, many of which are era-related. Racial traits similarly appear at the end. I would really have preferred to see everything together, much like the Core Rule Book.
The organization of the book is perhaps its greatest failing. I am a big fan of trying to keep everything together for ease of reference.
The magic items formatting was bad.
I have to rate this 2/5
Now in spite of the organization, I really found myself reading stuff everywhere in the book. The writing is good. As I stated previously, I came into this expecting to laugh myself silly and throw this out as mental masturbatory fanfic. While the fanfic part is obvious, I became engrossed in the story, the world, pretty much everything. This product is one I actually enjoyed.
The rules, for the most part (the only major flaw is the vampiric bloodline), but that can be GM-errata'd fairly easily. The feats have flavor and present a game balance that works. The spells, the traits, the history, the world, all around, I found myself enjoying the read, almost like a guilty pleasure.
I would say 4.5/5 which I will round up to 5, because most of the issues won't bother many other people.
My daughters (9 and 7) LOVED the idea of playing ponies and they both loved the art. They have been asking me to play ponies in Pathfinder Society... That would be interesting... I don't seriously expect to run a full-blown campaign of it, but one-shots with the girls are a definite possibility.
This is a solid product, with good writing, solid art, and a decent setting. The flaw is its organization, but in spite of that, everything is there. I could see one-shots filling up very quickly at Gencon.
Overall, I must say this is a solid 4 out of 5 (a 5/5 for fans of ponies). Reusability of the product, without having ponies is limited.
I would like to see an adventure published in Everglow, see how they plan on using everything together.
I will look for more from Silver Games in the future.
For full disclosure, I received a free copy in return for providing a fair and honest review.
Ok seriously, is this really worth $40?
I'm not a "bronie" but I have two "pegasisters" that love this show and have played PFRPG before.
It's worth a little less unless people want to use it but its a pretty robust book with a lot of crunch and enough fluff to get a pony game going.
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Part II of my review
Wait, wait, wait - what? Iteration? Era? Well, yeah - and this is pretty intriguing: The campaign setting proceeds to grant us glimpses into the respective eras of the empire and Everglow, with faction advantages and liabilities, traits and alternate ponykind-versions and associated racial feats for the associated era. One result is that the GM has some control over tones and themes, can still blend the topics at hand...and the pdf, ultimately, thus already has a bare-bones set-up for an era-spanning type of campaign ingrained in its DNA.
But settings are more than just timelines and factions - they require locales and the book does not disappoint: This book sports basically a gazillion of well-crafted settlement entries with ample of intriguing hooks and cool ideas included. The one thing I was missing here would be the settlement statblocks - none are provided with only basic breakdown of the bare minimum of demographics provided. Apart from that, prose-wise, this chapter was a surprisingly well-crafted and easy to read section. Beyond these notes, the movers and shakers, famous and infamous among ponykind, from the cool rebel to the legendary scholar, are provided with detailed fluff-only write-ups - so no, the statblocks for these guys will have to wait for a later book. Still, once again, a significantly more nuanced array of characters than I expected, since some of the names and artworks do point a bit towards "this is the cliché-XYZ-guy"; instead, most have some component that sets them somewhat apart. The chapter also includes an array of adventure hooks and groupings to provide more subject matter for the GM to develop.
Beyond this massive chapter, the pdf also sports an assortment of items, mundane and magical for your perusal - crystalline slippers fit for a queen, enchanted spectacles and a small assortment of spells, including a stunning lightning wall, is nice, though e.g. non-italicized saves and the like can prove to be a bit galling for the rules-language sticklers like yours truly. Oh, and a spell to temporarily grant you hands? Covered. So if you really want ponies with hands - here is the tool for just that.
Beyond even more nice, properly codified traits, we arrive at the brief Everglow bestiary in the back of the book, where creatures illustrated in full color, from the CR 1/3 flutters to the CR 12 inevitable vanguard and a ghost variant await. These monsters are okay and generally pretty neat, though there are some minor hiccups here and there in the math and formatting.
Editing and formatting are the weak spots of this pdf - while pretty impressive on a formal level, the rules-language does show that this book is the work of a then inexperienced company and sports some deviations from the default. On the plus-side, the pdf, most intriguingly, in spite of this, manages to work mostly sans ambiguities or issues. While there are some issues that extend into the rules, they are few and far in between - as a whole, this is an impressive freshman offering. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with a solid background and generally nice artworks, though at the end of some racial entries and chapters, there are a couple of pages that are mostly blank and feature only a bit of text - not a big fan of those. I don't have the print-version of this one, but if the other Silver Games print copies are any indicator, print would be the way to go here. Why? Simple. Unfortunately, the pdf has no bookmarks, which is pretty annoying for a book of this density and size. Artworks range from superb to okay and are generally original pieces, which is nice. The cartography of the continent of Everglow is colorful and nice.
Stephen Ritterbush, David Silver and Anthony McKaskle's Ponyfinder...is much better than I expected it to be. In fact, while suffused with a spirit of cheerfulness, you won't find the level of saccharine "Friendship solves everything"-approach in this book: And that's a good thing, even if you are an MLP-fan. Why? Because, let's be honest - that simply does not make for that interesting fantasy gaming. That being said, this still is the antithesis of the grimdark setting - this is cheerful, positive high-fantasy. Surprisingly, the tight racial balancing is consistent throughout in its valuing of racial abilities. The basic premise of assumed flight as relatively widely available means that other narratives can be crafted and are supported. The presentation is surprisingly professional, in particular for a freshman offering...and. Wait.
Okay, imagine jaded, cynical grimdark-loving me sitting in front of the screen with a black metal corpse paint for maximum comedic effect, gnashing his teeth and blurting out...I actually kind of liked the setting. No, seriously. I am so not the target audience of this campaign setting and I still managed to take some cool ideas out of this pdf. At the same time, I should emphasize that this is not a hyper-detailed campaign setting - this should instead be considered to be basically the Ponyfinder core-rules, with a bunch of setting information...but if you're looking for in-depth information, that will have to wait for future books. Still, this setting is significantly better and more evocative than quite a few I have read. It's not for everyone and if you hate the very idea of ponies, you probably won't be convinced anyways. But if you're like me and indifferent to the concept, you'll probably find quite a few cool tricks in this book and be just as surprised by a well-crafted, unique setting with ample potential.
Rules-language purists may shudder sometimes while reading this, get annoyed by e.g. how natural weapons are treated, etc., but as a whole, significantly less often than one would expect from the baseline - the majority of content herein is solid.
How to rate this, then? Well, while there are a couple of rules/balance-hiccups and issues, they are pretty few and far in-between. While the rules-language is wobbly, it generally maintains an unambiguous functionality and, more importantly, establishes a solid balance baseline for the setting regarding the options it provides. This may not be perfect, but it is an impressive first book and well worth a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the freshman offering bonus. See you around next time, when I'll pick apart the Tribes of Everglow hardcover...
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com'S shop.
Just FYI, J: BJ told me she'll send me the module, so yeah, I'll cover it. Tribes of Everglow, Forgotten Past and Griffons are very high on my print pile as well - in fact, I reviewed the CS mainly to have a frame of reference for the other hardcovers since they moved up in my queue.
Hah! That was a blatant "buy the adventure" pitch not a "review the adventure pitch". I swear! Though I'm always happy (and terrified) to have a product in your review queue!