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PC Pearls $6.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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PC Pearls
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PC Pearls
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/30/2008 20:21:43
I’ve always felt somewhat leery of products that were entirely fluff-based. When I bought an RPG book, I wanted it to do the heavy-lifting for me in terms of game mechanics; to calculate numbers and invent new crunch for me to tinker with. Fluff, I felt, was something I could do on my own. Why pay for a book filled with things that I could just as easily invent on an imaginative whim? With PC Pearls, however, Goodman Games comes back with some answers – namely that it’s fun, it’s convenient, and sometimes there’ll be things that I honestly wouldn’t have thought of.

PC Pearls is aptly named, in that the book covers the broad ranges of an RPG player-character (from creation to retirement) and drops little pearls of information regarding each stage. Often told by the Lord Bedlam Havok, many of these parables are humorous, often poking fun at the conventions that RPG players have adopted for years (for example, don’t ever tell the GM that your PC is eating a meal; that’s presenting an opportunity for the GM to screw with you). Others are surprisingly useful tips and additions that are great advice for when in-game…my next character, for example, will absolutely be taking advantage of the professional services of the Grennar family.

Of course, there are also some articles that I found less than eminently useful. In many cases, these turned out to be the humor articles, where use had been traded for laughs, something I don’t particularly care for – after all, something useful now tends to be useful again later, but few jokes are as funny the Nth time around. Similarly, the book has several lists that are meant to be used when fleshing out a character (e.g. backgrounds). I’ve honestly never liked those very much; I’ve yet to meet a player who was so bereft of narrative drama that he couldn’t dream up three sentences about how his character became an adventurer, which is what most of these lists tend to consist of.

That said, it’s a given that not all pearls will be perfectly formed. However, this book definitely has more good pearls than bad. I loved the article on how to set up a successful ambush. The list of yes/no questions to ask the gods when you’re able to speak to them was quite brilliant, and the section on basic items no adventurer should be without made me nostalgic for the days of ye olde-schoole. Ultimately, I found myself grinning as I flipped through the pages of the book, making mental notes for the things my next character could use, and biting back a chuckle or two at the more amusing parts of it. It may require some buffing, but PC Pearls is something you’ll find quite valuable.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
PC Pearls
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Lynda B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2008 23:46:45
PC Pearls is amazing!

It's full of unusual and serious advice, with sprinklings of levity that caught me off guard and had me laughing out loud. The cover art is gorgeous and the inner art adds spice to the text. The Lord Bedlam Havok section and insets are hysterical - worth the price of the book by themselves.

You gotta' get your hands on a copy.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
PC Pearls
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/26/2008 10:01:13
Often ignored in the bevy of products on RPGNow are the players. Yes, sure there are player supplements that provide you more races, feats and cool toys for your characters, but rarely does a product come across that give you tools to be a more complete player.

PC Pearls Volume 2: a Collection of Character Inspiration, by Goodman Games, provides players an informational 60-page book compiled with helpful design tidbits for characters. Boasting a compact yet spacious and readable layout, PC Pearls contains information for every stage of a players character.

The pages begin with various tools to turn your name and a bunch of numbers into a living character. Helpful naming guides, background tables and inspirational advice are kept concise and to the point. The tables, specifically the personality quirks and Fifty Family units are very creative. There is even a PC questionnaire that players can use to hone their character.

The next chapters deals with the characters once they enter the world. Providing players with useful advice that help the DMs flesh out the world more. There is a great little peace on gathering information and being specific with where you go to gather the information.

The book ends with information on developing high level characters taking a different approach and discussing broader aspects. The one I really enjoyed was separating into sects of a church which one of my players actually did the previous game. It is the mark of a really thoughtful player who has really taken in the world and wants to make their own niche.

For the Player
I chuckled writing this as the entire book is for the player. As I read it cover to cover in a few hours, I realized that there was not a single bad section or poorly written piece. Not even a single redundant thing. The Metagaming chapter was humorous and so true. It was one of those things that I giggled out loud at and said if every player metagamed like that I would not have a problem with metagaming. Other favorites include a section on unique (and not broken) mounts and creating a distinctive voice in game.

For the DM
Print this out, set this out at your next character creation chapter. Print extra character questionnaires. Watch the creativity work.

The Iron Word
This system-less PDF should be at every gaming table, every game. Whether you are a player or a dungeon master, it is an amazing reference tool for players to use. The collection of writers who came together on this product is a whose who of the Role Playing Game world and it is without a surprise that this is one of the best player guides in a number of years. Not since the Players Handbook II have I wanted to force every one of my players to read a book.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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