Book of Vicious Damnation is a 11 page pdf sourcebook for the 4e GSL system. This product is the first in Inspired Device's new line Fantasy 4th, and details a number of powers that can be used to create an evil paladin or evil warrior champion. This kind of archetype is fairly common, so it's good to see a product that provides some support for a classic fantasy gaming element.
Book of Vicious Damnation is written by Davide Quatrini and is very well presented with an eye-catching cover, introductory page, credits page, and complete bookmarks. The art is impressive, and quite fitting to the theme of the product. Layout and design is well done, and writing is clear without any hints of ambiguity. The powers are colour coded, as are the useful power cards included in the back of the product, allowing you to recognise the type of power by the colour. The power cards are an extremely useful feature where you can access the power details handily in card format for quick referencing. Overall, the presentation is very professional.
There are three parts to this short pdf - the details of a new goddess of pain, powers for evil paladins or unholy champions, and lastly a typical unholy champion monster or NPC. The new goddess is one of pain and evil, and fits in nicely as an appropriate deity for those characters that use the material in this book. The write-up is fairly short, however, with little more than beliefs and dogma, and it would've been more useful to get a better view of the deity's followers, structure of any organisations that support the deity, typical followers, aims and motivations and the like. Nevertheless, it's an adequate starting point that can be built on.
There are twenty dark powers to choose from within the pdf. The majority of the powers are daily or encounter attack powers, ranging all the way up to level 29, but there is also one at-will power and a handful of utility powers. The powers themselves all have suitable dark and evil flavor, and will go well with the character type they're utilized with. I though for the most part there was a sense of déjà vu here - the outcome of many of the powers is just a shade of other powers in other 4e sourcebooks. There are some clever and unique ones, but largely these go along familiar lines, although the themes of necrotic, cold and psychic damage are flavorfully well represented amongst the powers. The pdf concludes with a well constructed NPC (or monster) utilizing the myriad of powers to create an evil paladin, and of course, the power cards of each of the twenty powers, including some very useful blank cards.
So what's good and not so good about this product? Firstly, I think this is a good concept, and one worth exploring. The Fantasy 4th series is off to a good start in creating playable and very usable material. The overall content is good, with good variety in powers, a new goddess and a useful monster/NPC. The theme was very well adhered to throughout the product, and it felt like everything inside the product belonged rather than feeling out of place. Powers were suitably designed to 'feel' more like dark powers, including the names and various power descriptions. Power cards - always a bonus. On the other side, the goddess could've used a little more detail, and the powers could've broken away more from the 'different damage type/affect different condition/different stat' paradigm that's just not that exciting. Overall, a good pdf, and a useful and worthwhile product.
[4 of 5 Stars!]