Advance Race Codex: Human by Green Ronin is a product providing more options for that highly adaptable race, humans. This is part of a series that will eventually cover all of the core D&D races.
The book is divided into six parts: Part I is advice for playing human characters. It includes such ideas as social backgrounds, which narrow the choice of human bonus skills and feats in exchange for a minor bonus. Another option is cultural backgrounds, which trade the 1st level skill bonus for a bonus to a number of cultural skills.
Part II provides options, allowing for variant ancestry of human to be expressed through three-level classes that require the use of a feat to gain access to. These include celestial, draconic, elemental, and fiendish. While very interesting, they are slightly overpowered, especially the draconic one. In addition, the great ones, ascendant humans, are included as a variant race.
Part III comprises optional rules, including twenty-four new feats, including five ancestry feats (six if you include Planetouched). The ancestry feats provide a set of minor bonuses and allow the character to count as the race in questions. The feats mostly seem on the higher edge of the power curve, so a DM should look at them carefully before allowing them.
Part IV is a set of five new, human-focused, Prestige Classes. The Battle Crier, a barbarian-bard combination. The Buccaneer, a daring pirate class. The Deacon, a social-skills oriented church operative. The Houri, a magic using courtesan and seductress. And the Storm Shepard, a druidic-psionic hybrid class that manipulates storms and electricity. These classes seem balanced, though perhaps slightly on the weaker side.
Part V, is new spells and magic. Well, new spells only, sixteen new spells, mostly 1st level (seven spells), or 7th or above (five spells), are included and is an interesting mix with something for every class. The 1st level Inflict Pain, a touch spell that inflicts non-lethal damage seems to fit a need (though its special effect could be changed for a good caster), and several spells that are quick or immediate actions.
Part VI is equipment containing new alchemical and wondrous items. These are all minor items, and include the humorously named Portable Cleric, a one use item in the form of a statue that heals all near to it.
The ARC Human is a useful collection of ideas but a DM will have to act with care to see which of them fits their campaign.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: A wide variety of interesting options.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Concerns about balance issues, but these are minor as long as the DM pays attention.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>
[3 of 5 Stars!]