Bardic Lore: Riastradh is a 10 page pdf product and the fourth in Highmoon Media Productions' Bardic Lore series which chronicles the travels of the bard Amergin O Mil as he records in his journal all things magical, mundane or exotic. This particular journal entry relates to the Riastradh or warp spasm, and brings the Celtic myth to life in a d20 fantasy environment.
Bardic Lore: Riastradh comes as a single, bookmarked pdf file. Highmoon Media Production provide professional and quality layout and editing, and the pdf looks good despite its length. The text is densely packed, so it means you get a little more for the page count than one would normally expect. There are two excellent art pieces in the pdf that depict warriors in various stages of a warp spasm. Overall a high quality presentation from Highmoon Media Productions.
The Riastradh or warp spasm is an ability akin to a barbarian's rage ability, although different in its implementation. During a warp spasm a warrior's form and shape change into a powerful force of destruction and reckoning. The riastradh is mentioned several times in Celtic tales, and this pdf brings the ability or feat to life in several different ways throughout the pdf. Scattered in the pdf are descriptive examples of what happens to a warrior during the riastradh, providing enticing examples of what to expect and visually imagine.
Two ways of introducing the riastradh into a d20 game are presented - the warped ones 'race' and the warp legacy feat. Warped ones are those humans that have the special touch or destiny, and they gain the ability to use a warp spasm. The riastradh of a warped one is stronger than that of a character with the warped legacy feat. Details of the warped one 'race' are provided including personality traits, descriptive details, and game mechanics. The warp legacy feat is a special Riastradh feat that allows one to discover your destiny and grasp hold of the might of the riastradh.
The riastradh is quite a strong ability, and based on the above implementations would probably require some careful balancing by prospective DMs. The warped ones in particular should probably be given a level adjustment of +1. Complete details of entering a riastradh, ending one, how to deal with armor while growing in size and other details are fully described in the pdf. A character capable of warped spasm is driven by a geas-like honor and reputation, and although this is touched upon in the pdf, it is not detailed sufficiently. In fact, it refers the reader to another Bardic Lore product, something that is always painful to see.
Having detailed the riastradh, the pdf provides a good number of other options related to the warp spasm. The first is the warped one paragon, a three-level class that can turn a warped one into a paragon of his kind and powerful wielder of the riastradh. The second is a collection of Riastradh feats, each allowing characters touched by warp spasms to expand on their abilities. There's an excellent collection of options here, making for a versatile and flavorful description of Celtic myth in a d20 fantasy universe. The pdf concludes by providing lore DCs to learn about the riastradh and a sample NPC which has a rather faulty and incomplete stat block.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Bardic Lore: Riastradh is a good pdf which truly brings Celtic myth and tales to life. It provides a number of options related to the warp spasm or riastradh, making for a very useful pdf. Artwork and layout is good, and general presentation excellent. The mechanical implementations of the riastradh provide a number of different ways to introduce this into a campaign.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The riastradh is a strong ability that some DMs may feel is overpowered and may require some additional tweaking to balance it. The NPC stat block provided was poorly done and incomplete in places.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]