Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reviews - Advanced Race Guide (PFRPG)

In work

Advanced Race Guide
Produced by Paizo Publishing, LLC

Get the most out of your heritage with the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide! Embrace your inner monster by playing one of 30 iconic races from mythology and gaming history, or build an entirely new race of your own. If classic races are more your style, go beyond the stereotypes for elves, dwarves, and the other core races with new options and equipment to help you stand out from the crowd.

The Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide is a bold new companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds on more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.

The 256-page Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide includes: 
- New rules and options to help you customize all seven of the classic core races, including new racial traits, racial subtypes, and racial archetypes. 
- 30 exotic races, from mischievous goblins and reptilian kobolds to crow-headed tengus and deadly drow, each with complete rules for use as player characters, plus archetypes, alternate racial traits, and other options for maximum customization. 
- A complete and balanced system for creating an unlimited number of new races, mixing and matching powers and abilities to form characters and cultures specific to your campaign. 
- Tons of new race-specific equipment, feats, spells, and magic items for each of the races detailed! 

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-390-3

What can I say, this is a great book.

There are going to be more in depth reviews out there, but I'm a bit busy with real life at the moment, so I'll make this one quick.

At a Glance:
This is a 256 page full color, full-size, hard cover book. Lots of full color illustrations as is typical for Paizo's Pathfinder books. If there's one this Paizo is great at, it's creating pretty books, second only to the Legend of the Five Rings, 4th edition.

Review: The book is divided into 4 sections. Core Races, Featured Races, Uncommon Races, and the Race Builder section, which I will be using to determine the RP value of the Earthdawn PFRPG races. The 7 core races get long write-ups, 10 pages each. Compiling all the information from various sources and expanding it as far as Base Race, Alternate Racial Rules, and Favored Class options. In addition are rules for Racial Archetypes, equipment, feats, spells, magic items, etc. Alternate Races, typically covered in other games by different stat bonuses are covered by alternate abilities instead in the ARG. While I'm not a huge fan of single race equipment, I have no issue with race based archetypes, and each race gets 3 or 4 archetypes. 

The Next section  covers featured races, these are the races which are close to the power level of the core races. The 16 covered races are; Aasimar, Catfolk (probably Ian's favorite), Dhampir, Drow, Fetchlings, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Ifrits, Kobolds, Orcs, Oreads, Ratfolk, Sylphs, Tengu, Tieflings, and Undines. Each Featured race gets core race traits, alternate race traits, favored class options, and 2 racial archetypes, which is pretty good for non-core races. Of course the only way you can play these races in Pathfinder Society is to earn the Race Boon at a major convention. Each featured races also gets Equipment, Feats, Magic Items and Spells, but in less quantity than the core races. Now the let-down here is that the wonderful tables that the tieflings got in the Council of Thieves write-up is left out and that the Aasimar did not receive one of those tables as well.

The uncommon races section covers less friendly or obscure races, from the Haggish Changelings (not doppelganger ancestry, but hag ancestry) to the ancestors of ancient Azlant the Gillmen to the Shadow born Wayang of the Far East. The uncommon races are Changelings, Duergar, Gillmen, Grippli, Kitsune (a favorite), Merfolk, Nagaji, Strix, Sulis, Svivneblin, Vanara, Vishkanya, and Wayang. Each Featured race gets core race traits, alternate race traits, favored class options, and 1 racial archetypes. Each featured races also gets Equipment, Feats, Magic Items and Spells, but in less quantity than the core races.

The final section is the Race Builder. Using RP, racial points, this is a step-by-step guide to race creation. Using humans as the baseline race, at 9RP, you can find out how powerful or weak an alternate race might be. With these new rules, some companies should look at their races and possibly give them an RP value. It is an invaluable tool for Gamemasters to use to create races for their own worlds, or to accommodate a player that wants something different. The section is full of examples of common and unique races from Centaurs, Driders and Gargoyles; to Ogres, Kasatha and Wyrwoods. Use this as a guide to covert races from favorite settings into Golarion or your own setting. Create a half-contruct Pinnochio race. At the end of the section, there's a break-down of the RP for each  Core and Featured race and a few Uncommon races.

Finally the book finishes with an appendix for age (appendix 1) and height/weight (appendix 2) of each of the  core, featured and uncommon races. Appendix 3 is the class and level lists for all the spells presented in the book.

Artwork: Each race has at least one illustration and each chapter has a 2 page splash illustration. All quality artwork, as to be expected from Paizo.

Parental Rating: It's a main rulebook, so it's really tame, no cursing, some dynamic action poses but nothing horrible. Rated RPG-10.  

Value: At $39.99 it's invaluable, if you can't afford it you can always get it in PDF format for $9.99.
No I won't post it for you, support the game if you want it to stick around. Don't ask.

Overall Rating: 
19 of 20.