The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29407.
101 Featured Alternate Racial Traits is small sourcebook that focuses on a small set of racial traits from Paizo’s Advanced Races Guide. It gives players more options to expand and customize a character’s racial traits which can thus expands a character’s uniqueness.
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: What kills me about the presentation is that it could have been done so much better. The bookmarks in the PDF are rendered useless due to the fact there are two races per page. They had enough text and art to easily give each race a page without too much white space waste. Instead they slapped on the artwork at the top of the page and did a continuous flow of the text instead of taking the extra time to give each race a page of it’s own. To me this looks like either a deadline crunch or laziness. If you are going to charge $6, then take the extra time and do the layout right. However, at its sale price, you can overlook that. This layout makes looking for a specific race a little more cumbersome and defeats the purpose of having PDF bookmarks. The artwork is nice and not too heavy, I especially like the artwork that comes with the Undine race.
Ease of Mobility: The file is easy to view and transferring to mobile devices is easy and without major issues. The file is a nice small size, and with the simple layout presentation, zooming in an out is a breeze. There are bookmarks, but they are somewhat rendered useless due to how the layout of the information is done. Rite Publishing is good with making layouts that are easy to load and somewhat navigate, and if you needed to print any pages out, it wouldn’t burn too much ink. If you plan on printing this as a source guide, either as a player or as options being the GM, it will look pretty darn nice.
Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Mechanically, there are no major errors in 101 Featured Alternate Racial Traits. I dislike that it has alternative racial ability score options, but they aren’t overpowering. One of the things that also kills me about this product, is that they took only a few races from the Advanced Races Guide. I was expecting to see something for Orcs and Tengus and possibly even some of the more uncommon races. But they skip those two, and do away with all the uncommon races period. I feel like this is product is incomplete, because I was expecting all of them, but they were not there.
Value Add: 9 out of 10
Although I feel all of the races were not featured in this product, this is not to say the racial traits provided are not good and viable options. There are quite a lot of options available for all players and GMs for building memorable NPC’s. The product also takes advantage of skills that many races or classes may not carry and allows players to customize as necessary.
If you are going to highlight a chapter or a section of a Paizo product, especially one with notoriety such as Advanced Races Guide, then you should make sure you take a section and do all of them, not just pick and choose. Mechanically to me, this is not “Racial traits except Orcs and Tengus”, so to leave them out is a little bit of a minus point to me.
Overall: 8 out of 10
This isn’t a bad product, it is a very good product. But as a GM and a player, layout and presentation of information is everything. I have to be able to access what I need as simply as possible, in the most efficient format possible. Add to the fact that there are two major races missing from and it makes it hard for me to give it a higher score. I want to really love this product, but it really is the small things that keep me from loving it more. However, for the sale price, this is a product worth taking a look at and adding to your repertoire if it works for you. I would buy it, but make sure that my orc and tengu players know there is nothing here for them.
[4 of 5 Stars!]