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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams (PFRPG) $2.95
Average Rating:5.0 / 5
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/16/2012 14:18:21
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=19102.

Faces of The Tarnished Souk (FotTS): Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams is a supplement for the Coliseum Morpheuon adventure for the Pathfinder Fantasy system in which the reader meets an old white necromancer goblin who appears to be the only person in the Coliseum Morpheuon who has respect for those that lose, should it matter that they are all dead?

OVERALL

Bonetongue, Steward of Dreams is the prototypical hard to kill, but why would you want to kill this kind of NPC? His templates, abilities and back story make him resilient; his aversion to direct conflict combined with his love and respect for life make Bonetongue the kind of powerfully balanced NPC that most GMs try to make, but end up putting in god mode causing resentment and feelings murderous in nature from most players. Bonetongue is interesting because if played as written, he breaks many stereotypes while still retaining a certain amount of gobliness.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Rick Hershey brings Bonetongue to life in well-done black and white hues that bring the steward of the dead to life (pun intended). The attention to detail is outstanding; Bonetongue’s shovel matches the magic item description perfectly. I’m not sure if Mr. Hershey’s art inspired the creation of Bonetongue or if this is a case of original art done really well. Whatever the case this is killer art/information fusion, they were dead on! The interior art was well-placed and nicely labeled. Page 12 was dominated by the description of the Eternal Creature template and in the top right corner there is a picture of Ladon, the eternal hundred-headed dragon. While some might feel insulted by the picture caption, I felt like it tied an otherwise unassociated (albeit well-rendered) picture of a multi-headed dragon with the Eternal Creature template. The simple act of giving the dragon a name brought it alive and planted some naughty little seeds in my sick monkey mind for future encounters.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Balance achieved! Well-balance achieved, but not in the way I normally view balance in a game. Bonetongue is a powerful creature, but he is designed to use his power sparingly, if at all. He is a treasure trove of knowledge and the gateway to hundreds of adventures if used correctly. As I previously mentioned, he is a durable NPC who is really, really difficult to kill. Normally this really, really hard to kill aspect would worry me, but with Bonetongue, it just feels right. He isn’t power hungry, but mechanically has the tools to wreak some serious havoc. The magic items he has are interesting and balanced. Some of his templates would be downright scary if placed on an angry beholder.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Rite publishing is notorious for giving players their monies worth and Faces of The Tarnished Souk: Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams is no exception to their dedication to customer service and satisfaction. Every Coliseum needs “that guy” who collects and disposes of the bodies. Bonetongue could be the undertaker in any cemetery and still seem like a great fit. I am actually looking for excuses to interject Bonetongue into my game.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams is a well-executed product from cover to cover! Some of the templates associated with Bonetongue are found in another Rite Publishing supplement, properly referenced and fully described. This practice might seem redundant, but it has the added benefit of making me want to see what other goodies Rite Publishing might offer. Well-done magic items, art and mechanics aside, what really makes this supplement is the loving care that was put into making Bonetongue a resilient, deep character that bucks the normal trend of the callous, uncaring undertaker. Necromancers as a group are creepy folks and while some of that creepiness seeps into Bonetongue, his role as a white necromancer is well-played. Bonetongue is an excellent example of how non-evil necromancy can be used in a game. To not buy this product would be a grave mistake!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Bonetongue, Steward of Dead Dreams (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/23/2011 09:37:22
This installment of the FoTS-series of NPCs is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 13 pages for the 3 incarnations of bonetongue.

Who is bonetongue? Bonetongue is a somber, serene guarding of the dead, full of compassion to the point where he lost his dreams in duty to his watch. He is the sad custodian of the defeated, the wise and benevolent shepherd of those fallen in the Coliseum Morpheuon. Also, he's an immensely powerful white necromancer who happens to be a goblin that can't die.

Rite Publishing have a nice track record of excellent templates and complex characters and this installment of the FoTS-series is no exception providing 5 templates: Ogrekin, mystic creature, foul creature, death scavenger and eternal creature. The base-class is also interesting, finally providing a way to play white necromancers - if you don't happen to know it, be sure to check out KQW #19. For this particulr pdf, you don't necessarily need the class-write-up as all pieces of information necessary to run bonetongue are included. We also get new spells, summon dead I to IX and a spell called bone swarm, three new feats (one of which deals damage to people whose spells you counter) and 5 new magic items. I particularly enjoyed the fast-digging gravedigger's shovel, the coins placed on the eyes of a dead creature and a very cool ring that transforms foes into ashes and an urn to store the souls of the fallen until their resurrection.

The three different incarnations of bonetongue are an interesting evolution of the same character and range from CR 6 to CR 18, as we've come to expect: What is new, though, is that each incarnation of bonetonue comes with 3 variants, a Death-Scavenger, a Foul and a Mystic variant, i.e. minor statblock modifications that help you further customize your personal incarnation of bonetongue, which is awesome.

The background-story and advice on how to use the goblin caretaker is awesome and he makes for an interesting ally for the PCs, perhaps even more due to his relative pacifism and the hinted evolution of the character throughout a Coliseum Morpheuon story-arc.Being an eternal creature, bonetongue can only die via very specific circumstances and he fully knows that, standing up to foes to protect the innocent even if it means his death. A couple of times.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are quite good, although I noticed some minor formatting glitches like tabs not lining up etc. Layout adheres to the classic b/2-s-column standard by RiP and the pdf comes with bookmarks. The b/w-artwork of bonetongue is nice indeed. Bonetongue is an interesting character, as he is one of the few relatively unambiguous allies for the PCs in the FoTS-series. While he is solemn and may yet break his vows, his pacifism, wisdom and the fact that he's a white necromancer are enough to constitute an interesting character indeed. With the notable exception of a certain Ghost-light, this FoTS-installment is my favorite primary caster in the series as of yet - almost constituting a nice Yoda-like mentor. One that might yet crush all the depravity of the Coliseum below an army of vengeful dead. If it can't be helped, that is. My final verdict will, once again, be 4.5 stars due to the minor glitches and the fact that I would have loved a reason why he is eternal and a more specific means of granting him final death. I'll round up to 5 for the purpose of this platform, though...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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