Paizo’s Advanced Player’s Guide put a lot of new options on the table for Pathfinder players. Among these were the new racial traits that the core races could select in lieu of their default traits, as well as new favored class options for certain race/class combinations. It was a nice new set of choices for the basic races, but it almost felt as though something were overlooked in all the fuss…
…oh that’s right; all of the non-standard PC races – they got ignored utterly.
You might remember them from the Bestiary; races like the tiefling, the kobold, or the drow. These are the races that, for the most part, don’t work quite as well as the standard races, but can still be made to fit the mold. These races didn’t get any of the cool new racial options that the core races did. Luckily, Purple Duck Games is here to correct that oversight with their book, Monstrous Races.
Twenty-five pages long, the book covers eight races in total: the aasimar, drow, duergar, goblin, hobgoblin, kobold, tengu, and tiefling. A table of contents lists what’s found where, but I was slightly surprised that there were no bookmarks also included for ease of navigation. There are several pieces of art sparsely scattered throughout the book, though only the cover has color.
I was pleasantly surprised with how forthcoming the book was regarding flavor text with class information for each race. That is, each section gives us a sentence of two of what each race is like as a member of each class (both core and APG). While these paint in broad strokes, it was almost amusing to see some class concepts rules right out (“Drow do not become paladins.”) which is sure to ruffle the feathers of the lone person out there who is undoubtedly playing such a character. It’s only then that it talks about alternate racial traits, and subsequently alternate favored class options.
The book closes out with a page of additional information of a few items referenced among the racial traits and favored class options. Specifically, a new spell (instant armor) is given, along with a new (and delightfully Open Content) drow goddess; she even has subdomains!
Overall, Monstrous Races is one of those products that occupies such a niche that you’ll likely either fall upon it gratefully, or have no use for it whatsoever. While you could conceivably use it for some NPC members of one of these races, the benefits will likely be too small to make any measurable impact. No, this book is targeted towards players who are running one of the aforementioned races and wish they had the same Advanced options that the core races did. If you play such a character, this book has what you need to stand on equal footing with the humans and demi-humans in your game; you won’t be disappointed with the options you’re given here.