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[PFRPG] The Genius Guide to the Harrowed $3.00 $2.98
Average Rating:3.7 / 5
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[PFRPG] The Genius Guide to the Harrowed
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[PFRPG] The Genius Guide to the Harrowed
Publisher: Super Genius Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/01/2009 15:44:02
Trying to fit a mythical idea into a role-playing game can be a difficult balancing act. The structured, balanced nature of an RPG is sometimes a bad fit for the vague and often poorly-defined nature of many old myths and legends, meaning that unless the author does some very creative designing, the end result can feel incomplete. That’s the impression I got from The Harrowed, by OtherWorld Creations.

The product is a very short one, being only three pages long (with the third page being the OGL). The majority of the first page is the cover image, which is reproduced in a smaller, black and white format on the second page, along with thin borders along the top and bottom.

The Harrowed consists of exactly two things (after the one-paragraph introduction): a spell, and the resulting template. Specifically, the spell, called Harrow, removes the target’s soul without killing them, and the Harrowed template is then applied to them. There’s nothing else here, which is perhaps why the problems with these new mechanics are thrown into such stark relief.

To be fair, very few of these problems are overt, though a few are. This spell, for instance, is eternal, but that means it’d be better served by the duration being instantaneous, rather than permanent (since the latter can be dispelled). Likewise, why does removing someone’s soul make them Chaotic Evil? Why are the Harrowed described as being emotionless, but become enraged when injured badly enough? There’s no explanation for these things, and it weakens the product.

The major problem, though, isn’t what’s here but what’s not here. There’s just not enough exposition on the effects of losing your soul, in any regard. Can Harrowed be resurrected if they die? Are they subject to a Trap the Soul spell? Can they be energy drained or made undead? Game mechanics are tied to flavor text, and if you alter one of those you need to look for all the places where it’s associated with the other, and deal with it. This product doesn’t do that, and that really makes it feel like a lot of things just weren’t considered.

Ultimately, this isn’t a bad book; it’s just one that feels unfinished. More needs to be done to really capture the essence of what it means, in the d20 rules, to lose your soul. Without that, this product itself feels like it’s been harrowed.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] The Genius Guide to the Harrowed
Publisher: Super Genius Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/20/2009 20:30:01
The Genius Guide to: the Harrowed is a 3-page PDF (2 pages if you remove the credits/OGL page) for the Pathfinder RPG written by R. Hyrum Savage and published by Super Genius Game. This is the first of Super Genius Games’ Genius Guide line.

The layout is a screen-friendly landscape design, with cover art and 1-column on the first page and three columns on the second. A few minor glitches on the formatting of the template but everything is readable. The only art is the cover piece which is nice and creepy as befits the subject.

The Harrowed are mortals sundered from the web of life by a foul magical spell (called, unsurprisingly, Harrow, a 6th level wizard spell) which is used by a powerful group of wizards to instill fear and obedience. The spell is, of course, included.

The Harrowed are represented by a template which reflects their forced removal from the pattern of life. They become feral, destructive, animalistic. They might even be mistaken for undead, which could cause great confusion. It is a solid template though it would seem that they should gain some natural weapons.

It is a good start to the new Genius Guide line but it would have benefitted from: at least one example of the Harrowed template applied to a creature and a few adventure seed or ideas using the Harrowed. Still, overall a solid product if you need a dangerous and unusual foe.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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