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    [PFRPG] GM's Options: NPCs 1: Barbarians, Bards, and Clerics $2.00
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    [PFRPG] GM\'s Options: NPCs 1: Barbarians, Bards, and Clerics
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    [PFRPG] GM's Options: NPCs 1: Barbarians, Bards, and Clerics
    Publisher: Purple Duck Games
    by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 02/27/2013 08:15:19

    This pdf is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!

    The first supplement to come out of Purple Duck Games' acquisition of 4 Winds Fantasy Games, this pdf features several NPCs, all ready to be dropped into your campaign and also comes with short paragraphs on how to insert the characters into the world of Porphyra, Purple Duck games' default setting. Drustan, Son of Cymbel would be the first in the cadre of NPCs and comes with both a background story as well as information on traits selected and 3 incarnations - one at barbarian level 1, one at level 5 and one at level 10. Each of the NPCs herein comes in versions for these three levels, providing a certain variety regarding statblocks. What's also rather nice is that the boon-mechanic sees some use and each of the entries is headed with a boon PCs may get from friendly contact with Drustan. More interesting than Drustan, at least for me, would be the second barbarian, Fala Ravenshair, who hails from a desert-dwelling tribe: Her talent for divination via her prized deck adds an uncommon component to what you'd expect from a barbarian. The dwarven bard Aonghas Silverstrings, hailing from a rich family, is also and interesting character and a nice contradiction to the cliché of the quickly angered dwarf, though personally, I would have loved to see him utilize at least one masterpiece in his highest-level iteration. As written, he is very much vanilla apart from magical talent as a trait, rules-wise.

    Amira Dashunt, is a half-elven, charming woman that grew up in a desert-town and the head-turning freespirit of a woman should make for an interesting acquaintance for the PCs, perhaps even a romantic interest. The elven priest Solon Redbranch with his solemn belief in law and his calligraphy-skills is another interesting diversion from tried and true stereotypes. Willow Briarberry is a halfling cleric of a church that doubled as a thieves' guild and as such may, beyond her cleric prowess, grant access to the local underworld.

    The pdf alos features a line on languages and how they work in context, assigning (fully optional, mind you) e.g. a dialect of Alko to Drustan's people.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any all too jarring mistakes. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column b/w standard and with the lack of borders and its purple highlights is closer to PDG's tradition than to 4WFG's, in case you wonder. The pdf is fully and extensively bookmarked and the stock-b/w-artworks you'll probably already know from a variety of Raging Swan Press-products, though at this price-point, I don't hold that against the pdf. This is a humble collection of NPCs, two for every class the product advertizes, one male and one female. There are no gnomes or half-orcs or weird races in here. None of the characters multiclasses or uses some gimmicky options - no subdomains, no masterpieces, no exalted domains, no new rage powers. These characters are the very definition of vanilla. And yeah, presentation and usability is up to the standards, the characters fitting the roles assigned to them - the thing is: I've seen each of these character-types done before. Often. My point just is that we'd need uncommon options for pregenerated characters more than options that are almost exclusively core. There is nothing wrong with any of these characters and if a DM needs some characters to fill generic-slot xyz, that's where these shine. But did these statblocks make me want to include them as characters? Honestly...No. None of these really stuck with me or elicited any form of excitement from me. Granted, that's not necessarily their job. But it would have been nice nevertheless to see some options used, an archetype here and there etc. to set them further apart. As written, this pdf left me with an overwhelming sense of adequateness - the characters are good, the formal criteria professional. But for me, there was no spark. Hence, I'll settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

    Endzeitgeist out.

    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    [PFRPG] GM's Options: NPCs 1: Barbarians, Bards, and Clerics
    Publisher: Purple Duck Games
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 02/05/2013 01:36:11

    NPCs provide the lifeblood of any game, but good ones can be time-consuming to produce... so this is a very useful product for the GM who likes properly-developed NPCs but has only the time to create the most important personalities for his game. This work, the first in a series, looks at (you guessed it!) barbarians, bards and clerics; with two members of each class presented at several levels - another useful feature, as you can select the most appropriate level for your game or even have them 'grow' alongside the player-characters should you decide that they'll be recurring people in the alternate reality you are creating.

    Each one is fully detailed not just as regards the stat block but also with a background. This is a neat mix of fairly generic with plenty of detail, so that they appear 'fully-fleshed' yet are quite easy to slot in to your own campaign world. Additional notes are supplied for those using or intending to use Porphyra, the 'house world' in development by 4 Winds' partner company Purple Duck Games, but leaving those out does not detract from the character as a whole.

    The characters have their own quirks and personalities, and stand ready with very little work to be dropped straight into your game. It's up to you to decide if they are enemies, allies or 'just around' - or of course you can use them as quick replacements for deceased PCs, hand them to new players or use them in a one-off game rather than spend time in character generation. Mechanically sound and interesting folk in their own right, this series will be worth collecting and will come in useful for any GM.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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