What unusual 3rd party books do you enjoy


Advice and Rules Questions


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So recently I've been looking at a bunch of third-party goodness to spice up my games. So I was wondering if folks had found some weird stuff in their time, while posting a few of their own. Odd rules you would never have thought of yourself, interesting stuff to spice up games or just general weirdness, I'm quite interested. I'll start it off:

- Dynasties & Demaguoges : bought recently, quite digging it for the moment. I had been a bit lost about more "political" campaigns, and there are a bunch of good tips here.


-Book of erotic fantasy
: I know, this is a classical "joke" third party book, but I find it interesting for longer-term games where reproduction might come into play, with table on fertility rates & such. The only really awful thing in the book is the art (OH GOD the art).

- Leadership Handbook : A nice book to spice up leadership and get more use out of it, some weird abilities & such. I havent had the chance to use it yet, but I plan to!

Well I am quite excited to see what other people have liked!


While I'm biased since these rules are for my published Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG), but I've been using the Create a Samurai Clan and Create a Yakuza Gang rules to create custom and flavorful military units, trade guilds, and crime syndicates of non-Japanese flavor as modular pieces to build some urban based adventures for a homebrew game. Since the rules are based off the City Stat Block, including these with created city stat blocks bring a lot of background to a custom urban environment.


I like the BoEF, too.

I don't use a lot of third-party Pathfinder-compatible products these days because most are only available in PDF form. I only buy print editions of things. I make up all my content, anyway (don't use modules, even), so it's not that big a deal, but I will buy print editions of things that look interesting, even if I don't plan on incorporating them in my campaigns.


Mind you, none of this is for PFRPG but, Iron Kingdoms will always have a special place in my heart I believe. I truly loved the Witchfire trilogy adventure, it was a very entertaining read as the GM and a good run for the players. I actually bought twice, originally as pdf and then a print set. I never minded fire arms or the steam punk genre either so take that into consideration. It was a nice take on the mix of fantasy and steam punk, so the campaign is worth reading over to mine for ideas.

Chaositech is another 3pp from 3.5 that would be worth looking at if you were just looking for something strange and or new to toss at your players. Probably could be ported over with little fuss as it wasn't particularly over the top power wise from what I remember. If anything it might need to be tweaked up at this point.


I will admit to buying the Kaidan pdfs, simply because I love that genre so much, but I am really looking forward to buying something in print.


pickin_grinnin wrote:

I like the BoEF, too.

I don't use a lot of third-party Pathfinder-compatible products these days because most are only available in PDF form. I only buy print editions of things. I make up all my content, anyway (don't use modules, even), so it's not that big a deal, but I will buy print editions of things that look interesting, even if I don't plan on incorporating them in my campaigns.

I will admit I mostly stick to PDFs myself; my local gaming stores only hold first-party stuff, and since I'm not in the US shipping is generally costly.

In any case, keep them interesting things coming!


Almost all of the following can be gotten on rpgnow or paizo.

Monster Books:
Tomes of Horror I-IV
Creature Collection I-III
Denizens of Avadnu
Complete Minions
Monster Geographica Series
Penumbra Fantasy Bestiary
Book of Fiends
Slayer's Guide to Demons

Campaign Settings:
Oathbound
Rokugan (technically 2nd party to WotC)
Nyambe
Iron Kingdoms
Scarred Lands
Freeport
Midgard
Swashbuckling Adventures
Conan
Ptolus
Hamunaptra
Arcanis (particularly Ssethregore)
Known World Gazetteer
Deadlands d20
Blackmoor
Bluffside
Thieves' World

God Books:
The Divine and the Defeated
Conan Faiths and Fervor

Evocative terrain descriptions:
Bits of the X series from Tabletop Aventures

Psionics:
Psionics Unleashed

Terrain Books:
Into the X series by Bastion Press.
Frost and Fur
Dunes of Desolation

Technology:
The Fantastic Science (both a full caster technologist and a warlock style one that I really like).

Races:
Mythic Races
the Alluria Publishing Compendium one.


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I have pieces from all over the place.

I like the Crystal "Spellbooks" from the 3.x version of Blackmore.
RiP's 101 skill uses
Making Craft Work - Spes Magna
I use a somewhat altered Vow of Poverty and Gestalt from 3.x as well.
Devil Workshop's Born on the 8th Day.

Spells, feats and monsters from everywhere.

Different bits from the Necromancer's almanacs.

Alternate Magic systems - Dreamscarred Psionics, Akashic (and Path of War), Binding, Eathermagic and wordcasting from Interjection.

Lots of race and class books (I have over 100 races and classes I use/allow).

Spelljammer.


My 3rd party collection:

Ultimate Psionics
Path of War
Tome of Horrors Complete
Rappan Athuk
Way of the Wicked

Been thinking about Deep Magic, the Midgard campaign setting, and possibly the new updated Freeport book.


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Ultimate Psionics is indispensable.

Liberty's Edge

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Gambit wrote:

Been thinking about Deep Magic, the Midgard campaign setting, and possibly the new updated Freeport book.

Go for it! :)


Brother Fen wrote:
Ultimate Psionics is indispensable.

Agreed. I think a few of their upcoming books may be too. I know the psionic bestiary for instance brings a lot of cool things to the fold.

Also I don't think classes are bloated in the slightest. Feats however? Totally bloated. Do even 10% of them see play?


I liked Bloodforge from Dreamscarred. So many weird races that actually work on a conceptual level in a High Magic setting like that described in PF.


I think some of my more interesting ones would be the Gypsy and the Ritualist from Dreadfox Press. Pair of interesting character classes with unique mechanics.

Paizo Employee Senior Designer

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I have so many favorites...
Dreamscarred Press' psionics is so good that I treat it like the CRB as far as how welcome it is at my table. It's high quality led me first to become very involved in playtesting their Path of War book, another excellent entry, and ultimately to writing Akashic Mysteries for them.

King of the Ring from Little Red Goblin Games is just good fun, with rules and classes for luchadors, WWE style wrestlers, and sumo wrestlers.

Thunderscape: The World of Aden from Kyoudai Games is spectacular, featuring a kind of post-apocalyptic Thundarr the Barbarian type setting with awesome classes, archetypes, and subsystems.

Cerulean Seas from Alluria Publishing is actually the setting that led me to pick up Pathfinder, and everything they do is just high quality, beautifully executed and illustrated.

Northwinter Press has a book called Mystical: Kingdom of Monsters that is basically pokemon for Pathfinder done with a lot of skill and flair.

I have a ton of classes from Rogue Genius Games that like to sneak into our various campaigns; I think the Mosaic Mage and Death Mage are my personal favorites.

Rite Publishing has some really good stuff too; my favorites include their Ironborn racial supplement and the Masquerade Reveler barbarian archetype.

Companions of the Firmament from Geek Industrial Complex is a must have for campaigns that want to play around with aerial combat and common access to flight for all PCs; not only do they have a wealth of wonderful original material, but they also compile all of the core rules for flight, falling, and related subjects into one easy to reference guide at the start of the book.

I'm sure I'm leaving out at least a couple other good 3pp companies...

Ah, can't forget Amora Games and their new Liber Influxus book, full of classes written by some of the best 3pp designers out there.

Also, Louis Porter Jr. and his NeoExodus setting, which is just awesome fantasy sci-fi.


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I like a lot of third party books and some of them I feel are indispensable however almost every group I've had lately either don't have the system mastery to not get paralyzed by the options, are phobic about third party balance or just aren't up to using it. When I play it's worse due to fear of using something horribly unbalanced.


Hamunaptra does have a really good fluff section, especially on the gods and creation. I love the City of Stormreach for Eberron and have been looking through Elder Evils by WotC. Villain Design Handbook is a must-read.

Shadow Lodge

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I'm a huge mega-fan of Frog God Games. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend anything they've put out.

Dreamscarred Press is probably the best source of game mechanics for the Pathfinder RPG. Yes, they beat Paizo.

Kobold Press's Midgard is a great setting.


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Malwing wrote:
I like a lot of third party books and some of them I feel are indispensable however almost every group I've had lately either don't have the system mastery to not get paralyzed by the options, are phobic about third party balance or just aren't up to using it. When I play it's worse due to fear of using something horribly unbalanced.

I've gotta say, this isnt for me as a player, but for me as a GM. I really like books that might not give much player options, but have cool advice for systems a GM can use.


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williamoak wrote:
Malwing wrote:
I like a lot of third party books and some of them I feel are indispensable however almost every group I've had lately either don't have the system mastery to not get paralyzed by the options, are phobic about third party balance or just aren't up to using it. When I play it's worse due to fear of using something horribly unbalanced.
I've gotta say, this isnt for me as a player, but for me as a GM. I really like books that might not give much player options, but have cool advice for systems a GM can use.

Many Kaidan setting supplements do both, like Way of the Samurai (PFRPG), the majority is fluff and player options like archetypes, feats, spells and equipment. However the Create a Samurai Clan rules section with sample built clans and even a sample town and map are exclusively a GM tool.

I get the fear of unbalanced 3PP content for some GMs, but in my experience most of the unbalance occurred in d20 days. For the most part PF 3PP content is a lot more balanced than those days, and often a lot more balanced than what Paizo releases itself. Consider that many of the freelance designers for Paizo, are actually 3PP designers with their own PF products. How can you treat 3PP so differently than Paizo content, when the content is often created by the same people?


Malwing wrote:
I like a lot of third party books and some of them I feel are indispensable however almost every group I've had lately either don't have the system mastery to not get paralyzed by the options, are phobic about third party balance or just aren't up to using it. When I play it's worse due to fear of using something horribly unbalanced.

I mean cohesion by exclusion IS a thing. As a Gm, you are the final arbitrator of what is appropriate for you game. Sometimes it's a lot of fun to exclude something that people normally take for granted!


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Little Red Goblin Games wrote:
Malwing wrote:
I like a lot of third party books and some of them I feel are indispensable however almost every group I've had lately either don't have the system mastery to not get paralyzed by the options, are phobic about third party balance or just aren't up to using it. When I play it's worse due to fear of using something horribly unbalanced.
I mean cohesion by exclusion IS a thing. As a Gm, you are the final arbitrator of what is appropriate for you game. Sometimes it's a lot of fun to exclude something that people normally take for granted!

I tend to agree with that. My own games tend to be very "theme-based"; I've run an all-dwarf campaign, and my current campaign has only a few racial choices. I like running games with specific intent let's say.

And speaking of your article, I DO have a basic write-up for a savage barbaric game. Dont know if I'll ever play but heh! It's got the basic prep done in case I get interested players...


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After seeing the first Thor movie we decided that the trip they took to Jotunheim was a D&D party. We then played a high level gestalt barbarian game. It was SO much fun.


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I'm a huge fan of all the Raging Swan products, especially their adventures.

Same goes for the Legendary Games adventure path add ons.

I am using the Little Red Goblin Games Heroes of the East line and Dragon Tiger Ox book for my Jade Regent campaign.

Also Rite Publishing's Kaidan material and adventures are adding to Jade Regent.

Purple Duck Games' Legendary items series is a godsend for treasure hordes.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the variety and quality of 3PP products for Pathfinder.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Advanced Bestiary from Green Ronin was my favourite 3.5 supplement, and it has just been updated for PFRPG. It's a book of extremely useful templates, which means that all your existing monster books just got exponentially more useful.

Contributor

Ping me if you'd like to try out a Bite Me! Pdf from Misfit Studios--works on lycanthropes--with your rpgnow email. I will also send you something from Christina Stiles Presents.

Shadow Lodge

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Well, I've decided to make a post to bring the UNUSUAL back, since this thread seems to have strayed into more general recommendations. These are all 3PP books that I like, and they all differ in some manner from the default expected fantasy world (or at the very least are criminally underrated/underappreciated/not discussed much):

Campaign Settings
==================
Zombie Sky Press's It Came from the Stars
LPJ Design's Obsidian Apocalypse
ICOSA Entertainment's Pure Steam
Fat Goblin Games' Shadows Over Vathak

Adventures
===========
EN Publishing's Zeitgeist
Savage Mojo's Dungeonlands
Frog God Games' Spire of Iron & Crystal
BRW Games' Castle of the Mad Archmage

Contributor

Kthulhu wrote:

Well, I've decided to make a post to bring the UNUSUAL back, since this thread seems to have strayed into more general recommendations. These are all 3PP books that I like, and they all differ in some manner from the default expected fantasy world (or at the very least are criminally underrated/underappreciated/not discussed much):

Campaign Settings
==================
Zombie Sky Press's It Came from the Stars
LPJ Design's Obsidian Apocalypse
ICOSA Entertainment's Pure Steam
Fat Goblin Games' Shadows Over Vathak

I echo Obsidian Apocalypse and Shadows Over Vathak! I need to get the other two. NeoExodus is good, too.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Material I enjoyed???

Nothing beats the off center wackiness of the Arduin set and the Synnibar books. None of the material is suitable for Pathfinder use, but what a ride they were.


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Anything by Dreamscarred Press is welcome at my table. I prefer the Psionics classes over many of the official Paizo things. On the whole they're better balanced, and more diverse and interesting.

Dragon Tiger Ox has a fun campaign setting I want to use one day, and has a ton of great character options.

Shadow Lodge

If we're gonna talk non-Pathfinder, then I could make a HUGE list. Maybe I'll do so tomorrow.


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I am not talking about stuff I wrote or published. And I am going with unusual choices. Rather than ones everyone talks about.

Cerulean Seas Campaign Setting and Undersea Sourcebook
Conflict PvP: Tactics & Teams Rulebook
The Road to Revolution: The Campaign
Otyughnomicon
Snow White (its been kickstarted since)
Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns
All Stars Take On the Mega Dungeon
Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane
Your Whispering Homunculus
Horns of the Hunted
NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting
A Necromancer's Almanac: 2012
Children of Wyrms
All That Glitters
Darkness Without Form: Secrets of the Mimic
Genius Guide to the Templar
Super Genius Presents: The Vile Magic of Argonax the Mad
Forgotten Foes
It Came From the Stars Campaign Guide
Tome of Horrors 4


Ultimate PSionics (http://dreamscarredpress.com/dragonfly/Store/product/pid=126.html) is very good and I'm incorporating it in my next adventure.

The Mythic Monsters series (http://www.makeyourgamelegendary.com/products-page/mythic-plug-ins/) are also very good and I intend to use them later on next year in a mythic-themed adventure.

Richard


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Four Dollar Dungeons wrote:

Ultimate PSionics (http://dreamscarredpress.com/dragonfly/Store/product/pid=126.html) is very good and I'm incorporating it in my next adventure.

The Mythic Monsters series (http://www.makeyourgamelegendary.com/products-page/mythic-plug-ins/) are also very good and I intend to use them later on next year in a mythic-themed adventure.

Richard

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with these materials, as your adventures to date have been works of art.


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Fire as she Bears

As an age of sail enthusiast who has just about every RPG book on sailing and ship-based adventures for me, this book comes closest to capturing the swashbuckling feel of combat on the high seas for RPGs. Perfect for the Razor Coast campaign for which it was written or Paizo's Skull & Shackles adventure path.


I picked up several new pdfs during the weekend sale that I'd add to my list including:
Mindblast! Classic Monsters Augmented from Fat Goblin Games(for classic monsters with psionic additions)
Psionics Embodied from Dreamscarred Press (for psionic NPCs)
It Came From The Stars Campagin Guide (for the strange and unusual)
Barroom Brawl from Raging Swan Press (for tavern brawl events, npcs, etc)


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Anything from Dreamscarred
Cerulean Seas and expansions
Various Genius guides and Talented guides
Rogue Glory
Pact Magic Unbound
Fistful of Denarii
Several Legendary Games bestiaries
101 (X) spells books
Tome of Horrors
Book of Templates
101 Not-So-Simple Monster Templates
The Mother of All Treasure Tables

I'm sure there's more but those are the ones that come to mind first.


LazarX wrote:

Material I enjoyed???

Nothing beats the off center wackiness of the Arduin set and the Synnibar books. None of the material is suitable for Pathfinder use, but what a ride they were.

Woah! That takes me back. I think I still have the three original Arduin pocket books with the manilla colored covers.

I'm going to have to dig those out of my attic. There was good stuff in them. I still prefer the Phraint to the Thri-Kreen, though at this point I couldn't tell you exactly why. Maybe it's just because Phraints came first.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

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Kthulhu wrote:


Savage Mojo's Dungeonlands

The Lich Queen Trilogy is a great series of adventures! Palace Of The Lich Queen should be hitting the market VERY soon (like this week soon). Working on that book was a HUGE pile of fun!


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Aside from Dynasties and Demagogues, Atlas Games also published Love and War, a book about knightly campaigns, and Crime and Punishment by Keith Baker.

Similar books with interesting subsystems:

Ultimate Relationships by Legendary Games expanding the Relationship rules from one of the APs. Also Ultimate War, and Ultimate Rulership.

Psychological Combat by Everyman Gaming which adds a social/psychological aspect to actual combat..

How about a social combat mechanic ? Check out Skill Focus Talking for $2.95, or Debatable Actions for PFRPG by LPJ Design which apparently adapts social combat from Atlas Games excellent d20 Dynasties & Demagogues. Also check out this thread.

Also read the Alexandrian's Diplomacy fix, which reduces the impact of one diplomacy roll to a better defined and smaller scale result: getting someone to a accept a specific deal/bargain.

The Alexandrian Blog as a whole contains many very interesting posts about Random Encounters (Don't fetishize Balance), Jaquaying the Dungeon, Node Based adventure design, Open Game Table, Hex Crawl mechanics etc.

TPK Games Critical Hits book: Laying Waste.

101 Skill Uses by Rite Publishing.

Making Craft Work by Spes Magna, also by them: Rewarding Roleplaying

Mythic GM Emulator

Tome of Adventure Design by FGG.

Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding.

Lorefinder.

Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox

Random Encounters Remastered


Doomed Hero wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Material I enjoyed???

Nothing beats the off center wackiness of the Arduin set and the Synnibar books. None of the material is suitable for Pathfinder use, but what a ride they were.

Woah! That takes me back. I think I still have the three original Arduin pocket books with the manilla colored covers.

I'm going to have to dig those out of my attic. There was good stuff in them. I still prefer the Phraint to the Thri-Kreen, though at this point I couldn't tell you exactly why. Maybe it's just because Phraints came first.

Omigod. Early Erol Otus art too? Anyone know if any of these treasures are available as PDFs?

And yes, Phraints look awesome on that Wiki page...

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