Blood of the Ancients

Today on d20 Diaries we’re taking a look at one of the wonderful new products that came out just last month: Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients. We recently picked it up for my husband as a Father’s Day gift, and we couldn’t be happier! Curious what’s inside? Take a peek!

Blood of the Ancients is a thin softcover book that is 32 pages long. As with every book from the Pathfinder Player Companion line, it’s aimed at players. You won’t find secrets and hidden lore in this baby. You’ll find player options. Lots of them. This includes archetypes, feats, traits, spells and gear, as well as other class options like bloodlines, discoveries and so on. And flavour! Plenty of flavour!

Wonderful stuff!

So what is Blood of the Ancients, anyway? In short: character options that are tied to the ancient civilization of Golarion. Which ones? A lot! Azlant, Celwynvian, Jistka Imperium, Lirgen, Lung Wa, Ninshabur, Osirion, Sarkoris, Shory, Tar Taargadth, Tekritanin League, Thassilon and Yamasa. See? A lot! Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients

The cover showcases the iconic oracle, Alahazra, and the iconic investigator, Quinn, battling caryatid columns, in some awesome artwork by Setiawan Lie. The inside cover features a map of the Inner Sea with the dates and locations of some of the ancient civilizations mentioned in this book. I say ‘some’ because they’re not all here. Thassilon, Sarkoris, and Tekritanin are not featured on the map but are mentioned in this book. The rest are present, although Lirgen and Yamasa are included as one unit based on their location.

Past the map we come to the introduction. Here you’ll find a rundown of some of the ancient civilizations of Golarion, as well as which books you’ll need to read for further information. This is SUPER handy. I love it. There’s also a handy rules index to help you navigate this book easily.

After this we come to the first character options: the vestige bloodline, which is available for both sorcerers and bloodragers. These are very flavourful, adaptable bloodlines, capable of showing descent from any ancient civilization. Both are pretty cool, but I think I like the bloodrager better. Their final ability allows them to summon a ghostly army from the past. How cool is that? Pretty hard to top.

The next two pages are dedicated to a single feat: ‘ancient tradition.’ This allows people who are so dedicated to embodying their ancient civilization of choice to perform a ritual in order to gain a benefit. At later levels, this also unlocks spell-like abilities that you can use. That’s right, it’s ‘deific obedience‘ for an ancient civilization. Historians rejoice! Now, it should be noted that not every civilization touched on in this book has an entry for this feat. Those that do are Azlant, Jistka Imperium, Lung Wa, Ninshabur, Osirion, Sarkoris, Shory, Tar Targaadth and Thassilon. For those of you trying to figure it out, those not included are Celwynvian, Lirgen, Tekritanin and Yamasa. I particularly enjoyed the Azlant, Lung Wa, and Shory options.

The rest of this book is sorted into individual ancient cultures, with character options for each. Most of the entries are two pages long, with some reaching four pages. Three of the civilizations, (Osirion, Sarkoris, and the Tekritanin League) have less than a page to itself, while Thassilon receives no further character options throughout the book. Those of you hoping to more information on Thassilon will need to turn to some of the many other books in which this culture is featured (particularly the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide, Pathfinder Chronicles: Lost Cities of Golarion, and Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms).

The first ancient civilization focused on is the ‘Abendego Gulf,’ which is more correctly a region home to two different but intertwined cultures: Lirgen and Yamasa. Both cultures heavily relied on divinations drawn from the movements of celestial bodies. That means astronomy, astrology, and portents were all very important to them. This section offers three new feats all based around astrology, two traits (one each for Lirgen and Yamasa), and three archetypes. The feats were interesting, but quite niche. The traits were both really useful but, as they’re regional traits only available to descendants of Lirgen or Yamasa, they’re not going to see a ton of play.  Still, I suggest checking out ‘naturalist’ for survivors, and ‘stargazer’ for intellectuals. ‘Chart caster’ is a mesmerist archetype which lets you enigmatically read your ally’s future with the aid of star charts. It looks quite fun. The ‘lawspeaker’ archetype for clerics lets you sacrifice channel energy uses in order to cast some pretty nifty spells which let you… get to the heart of any matter. And lastly, ‘hinyasi’ is a brawler archetype which revolves around the use of improvised weapons. This one turned out to be my favourite, so I highly recommend you give it a read! For more information on the nations of Lirgen and Yamasa, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms.

Next up? Azlant. This two-page section offers up one archetype: ‘ioun kineticist,’ which is… exactly what it sounds like. Unleash the power of these classic floating gems upon your enemies as an aether kineticist! I loved it! Haha. Seriously. ‘Gem magic’ of all kinds fascinated me as a kid, so I’m thrilled to see something new on that theme. After this there are five faith traits focused on the deities of Ancient Azlant. They were all really cool. I particularly enjoyed ‘fruits of your labor (Jaidi)‘, and ‘planar wayfarer (Onos).‘ For further details on the gods of Azlant you’ll need to pick up Pathfinder Adventure Path 123: The Flooded Cathedral (Ruins of Azlant Book 3 of 6). For further details on Azlant you can check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide and the rest of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path (which begins with Book One: The Lost Outpost).

The next section is two pages dedicated to the ways of ancient elves. More specifically, these character options focus on protecting, helping, and sheltering others. The first option is the ‘arcane warden‘ archetype for wizards, which is both awesome and understated. Arcane wardens must be universalists. They have a very useful selection of skills and bonus feat to choose from which is different than your standard wizard, and some nifty unique abilities that replace the standard universalist options. I really recommend giving this archetype a read, and then coming back to it a few minutes later to read it again. I think I would really enjoy making one. After the archetype there are three new spells: ashen path, brightest night, and shared training. Although ashen path is arguably the most useful of these spells, I enjoyed shared training the most. It can allow spellcasters to make good use of teamwork feats, which is certainly quirky. For more information on the way of life for ancient elves, check out Adventure Path 15: The Armageddon Echo (Second Darkness Book 3 of 6).

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Many of these ancient civilizations are further detailed in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms

Leaving the elves behind, we come to four pages on the Jistka Imperium. This treasure trove features a whopping four archetypes, two magical items, two spells and two traits. My favourite options in this section were definitely the ‘antiquarian’ investigator archetype, which replaces their formula book with a collection of religious trinkets, and the ‘Jistkan artificer’ magus archetype which lets you have an awesome golem arm. Yeah! I’m definitely going to play this! As soon as I can think of a wicked character concept that is not a Fullmetal Alchemist rip off…

It’s going to be a blast.

There’s also the ‘Jistkan magistrate‘ archetype for warpriests, and the ‘Poleiheira adherent‘ archetype for wizards. Items include the ‘golem gauntlet‘ and the ‘tablet of arustun,‘ spells include ‘skim’ and ‘summon ship.’ Both of the traits were very cool, but my favourite turned out to be ‘magical aptitude,’ which is a magic trait. For more information of the Jistka Imperium, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms.

Up next is Imperial Lung Wa, which also has four pages dedicated to it. Contained within are three archetypes, five feats, three magical items, and three traits. My favourite of the archetypes was the ‘ironbound sword‘ for samurai, which focuses on non-lethal combat. There is also the ‘jinyiwei’ for investigators, which is centred around the divinely guided search for corruption; and the ‘imperial agent’ vigilante archetype. I had a really hard time narrowing down the five feats to only one favourite, so instead, I recommend checking out all three of my top picks which are centred around mundane healing: ‘acupuncture specialist,’ ‘incredible healer,’ and ‘pathologist.’ Read them! The magical items were interesting, but two of them were quite pricey. For traits, be sure to check out the social trait ‘excellent penmanship.’ For more information on Lung Wa, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Dragon Empires Gazetteer.

We return to the Inner Sea with a two-page entry on Ninshabur, a nation known for battling the Spawn of Ravagug. Yeah. Wouldn’t have wanted to mess with those guys… This entry offers us a new legendary marshal spirit for mediums to make use of. It also has two new rituals, ‘spiritual investment‘ for combatting the incorporeal, and the incredibly powerful ‘seal.’ But, my favourite part of the entry was the slayer archetype, ‘spawn slayer.’ These daring fellows specialize in combats waged against one, big, powerful enemy. Badass. For more information on Ninshabur check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Mythic Realms.

Up next is the Shory. This is one of my favourite ancient civilizations from Golarion. Considering they’re a nation who lived in flying cities, who can blame me? But, that also means I have pretty high expectations. I want to be blown away! (Pun intended). To start with, it features my favourite art in the book. Go ahead and check out that windblown mage! She looks rocking!

The Shory section features three fun archetypes, only one of which is a spellcaster, which is a nice surprise. ‘Aeromancer’ is an arcanist archetype that focuses not only on air magic, but also on cold, electricity and sonic spells. In addition to being able to increase the effectiveness of such spells, they also learn two snazzy arcanist exploits, one of which allows you to use air walk and wind wall on yourself, and the other which lets you make cones of hurricane force winds. I think I’d enjoy this one! ‘Aerochemist’ is an short alchemist archetype whose mutagen can make them buoyant (and at higher levels can make them fly, or walk on air) and who specialize in attacking from above. Lastly, we have a fighter archetype called the ‘aerial assaulter‘ who focuses on attacking from higher ground. This is particularly effective for characters capable of flight. Coupled with the four new aerial feats in this section, you could have a lot of fun with this archetype. Of those feats, ‘turbulent takeoff‘ and ‘aerial roll‘ turned out to be my favourites. There’s also three spells in this section (check out ‘symbol of storms‘), and four traits. Spellcasters should take a peek at the magic trait ‘aeromantic affinity‘, while those interested in flight should give the combat trait ‘natural flier‘ a read. For more information on the Shory civilization, check out Pathfinder Adventure Path 83: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep (Mummy’s Mask Book 5 of 6).

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For more information on the modern and ancient civilizations of Golarion, check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

From the lofty heights of the skies, we head down to the ground, with two pages on Tar Taargadth. These dwarves come bearing a new fighting style called ‘Skyseeker’ which focuses on defeating opponents bigger than yourself. There’s also three new magical items, two traits and a bard archetype. For items, definitely check out the ‘figurine of the wondrous forge‘ which is a must have for any mobile smiths. Very cool! As for traits, both are awesome, but I’d recommend ‘Tar Taargadth trained.’ ‘Dwarven scholar‘ is an interesting  combat-focused bard archetype that gains some extra proficiencies, bonus combat feats, and can grant your combat feats to your allies. Plus? It runs off of Wisdom instead of Charisma. Very cool! Fort more information on Tar Taargadth check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

The last two pages in the book offer us a few more character options, from three different cultures. Ancient Osirion gives us two new paladin codes, one for followers of Osiris, and one for followers of Wadjet. For more information on Ancient Osirion be sure to read Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Sarkoris provides us with three new bardic performances that focus around the telling of epic tales! I’d recommend ‘The Tragedy of False Hope‘ which renders your opponents flat footed. For more information on Sarkoris, pick up Pathfinder Campaign Settings: Lost Kingdoms. Lastly, The Tekritanin League gives us one final archetype: ‘Tekritanin Arbiter’ is an investigator archetype which makes you an expert in the use of language and diplomacy. For more information on the Tekritanin League, check out the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide.

And that’s it. We’ve reached the end of Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients. Hopefully, this article has helped you decide if this is a book you want to invest in. I know we’re happy with it. In the end, my favourite options turned out to be the ‘ioun kineticist,’ ‘arcane warden,’ and ‘Jistkan artificer’ archetypes, the healing feats from Lung Wa, and the flying feats from Shory.

Already have a copy of this book? Let us know your favourites! We’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Jessica

Free RPG Day 2018

Saturday, June 17th was Free RPG Day 2018.

Did you participate?

We sure did!

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My husband, my children and I headed out for a trip to our local game shop. There’s a few places you can go in Winnipeg for RPG products, but our shop of choice is Game Knight Games and Cool Stuff. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, two buses and at least an hour and a half of travel time for us, but it has a great selection of RPGs, board games, miniatures, and collectible card games. They also have a spacious game space. It’s a wonderful store. The buses were accommodating, and we made good time. In no time at all we headed inside and perused the goodies on offer. There was quite a selection! Over ten books to choose from, but with only one per customer. Luckily, there were four of us.

There were two products we knew we wanted to bring home with us: ‘Skitter Shot,’ a Level 2 adventure for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game written by Jason Keeley; and ‘We Be 5upergoblins,’ a Level 6 adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Crystal Frasier. But the other two? We had no idea. Something new.

Deciding we should pick out our purchases before picking up our free RPG books, we spread out around the store to browse.

For Father’s Day, we wanted to get my husband a book of his choice, so we set him loose on the store. He ended up choosing Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients. Those of you who follow this blog will know that I’ve been dying to get my hands on this awesome new release, so we were very pleased with his decision. Haha.

My kids also got a small budget of five dollars to spend on themselves. Not much, I know, but they accepted the challenge with enthusiasm. My daughter fell in love with a set of pink dice, which was too expensive. As she agonized over the cost and attempted to convince me she would empty out her piggy bank (which contains about two dollars) to make up the difference, my son browsed the boxed minis. All too expensive, of course. So, the three of us moved on to the singles cabinet. They looked over the plastic pre-painted minis, and squealed over all the expensive ones. They each found a mini they liked, but we moved on too keep browsing. In the end, they pooled their budget and picked out three boxes of unpainted miniatures. Pathfinder Goblin Pyros (89002), Dragoth (Dark Heaven Bones, 77201) and Shadow Hound (Dark Heaven Bones, 77366) which is a lovely clear purple colour.

With our purchases in hand we headed over to peruse the Free RPG books up for offer. As already mentioned, there were a lot of cool choices, most of which we didn’t know anything about. Exciting!

My six-year old daughter immediately scampered over to the table and swept up Skitter Shot! While I grabbed We Be 5upergoblins! This left my son and my husband a bevy of books to browse. In the end, my husband settled on a book for Numenéra, which he had heard good things about. My son fell in love with the maps inside a Dungeon Crawl Classics book, so he hugged it close, I paid for our products and left.

We took a walk down the road for lunch to eat at a local Mexican restaurant called Carlos and Murphy’s, which everyone enjoyed, and then headed home for the best part: reading them. In short: they were awesome!

Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Goodman Games, came with basic rules and character details for making characters of up to second level, as well as character creation rules and two different adventures. One for level 0, entitled ‘The Portal Under the Stars,’ and one for level 2 entitled ‘Man-Bait for the Soul Stealer.’ This game has a definite old-school D&D feel to it. Also, it’s SUPER deadly. You roll up a bunch of meek peasants and hopefully one of them will survive long enough to reach level 1 where they can choose a class. The random character creation rules were quite fun, and the adventures were entertaining. My son loved all the black and white artwork in this book — of which there was a lot! He also loved the maps. All in all, it’s not my cup of tea, but as a family we liked the system — especially my son. He’s super excited to get to put it on his bookshelf, instead of mine. For the full rulebook, pick up: Dungeon Crawl Classics .

‘Ashes of the Sea’ is a complete adventure for the Numenera Corebook, which uses the Cypher System and is published by Monte Cook Games. The adventure is written by Sean K. Reynolds. Chances are, both of those names are familiar to you. Haha. In addition to containing the adventure, it also contains details on the setting, some of the rules, a mini-bestiary, a link to a collection of pre-generated characters. It also comes with a nifty coupon that could earn you a second free adventure if you purchase a Numenéra sourcebook from the same store you got the Free book from. A pretty solid pay off! We really enjoyed the Cypher System, although it will certainly take some getting used to. I also like that the focus of the game is discovery. Not battle or influence. Discovery. I feel like it’s going to be very character and role play driven. I can’t wait to give it a try.

PZO9500-12We Be 5upergoblins!‘ is a level 6 Pathfinder Module written by Crystal Frasier. It’s the fifth instalment in the much beloved ‘We Be Goblins’ series. It should go without saying — but I’ll say it anyway — that this adventure was AWESOME. Hilarious. Entertaining. I burst out laughing many times while reading it. It’s just a ton of fun! It’s also sanctioned for Pathfinder Society Play, which is an extra bonus, and comes with four regenerated goblins: Chuffy Lickwound, Mogmurch, Poog of Zarongel, and Reta Bigbad. So what’s up this time around? These crazy goblins explore the wonderful world of Bagland. It’s awesome, I promise. My kids particularly enjoyed the character ‘Golgum the Tall.’ And the ending? So good! If you didn’t get your hands on this amazing product, don’t worry. You’ll be able to download it for free on Paizo’s website in two weeks or so, and can purchase a physical copy for around five dollars American.

PZO9500-13The last book we got out hands on was ‘Skitter Shot,’ which is a level two module for the Starfinder RPG written by Jason Keeley. It’s sanctioned for use in the Starfinder Society, and even gives you a boon which can (with a lot of work) allow you to unlock Skittermanders as playable race! AWESOME! But, enough about the boons, what’s up with the book? This delightful adventure lets your players take on the role of four adorable and enthusiastic skittermanders who work on a salvage ship with their vesk boss. Unfortunately, their boss went out to scavenge what he could from an abandoned luxury liner, and hasn’t returned! Lucky that skittermanders love to help! The pregenerated characters are really fun to play and sufficiently unique. The adventure was a lot of fun. So fun, in fact, that we played it today.

The verdict?

It’s a BLAST. I highly recommend it.

If you weren’t able to get a copy on Free RPG Day, a free download will be available in another few weeks on Paizo’s website. Keep your eyes open!

The products we purchased were great. My kids love their new minis, and Blood of the Ancients was as great as my husband and I hoped. I’ll be dedicating an entire post to it later this week.

I hope a lot of you got out to Free RPG Day! If you did, I’d love to hear what kind of products you got your hands on, and what you thought of them.

Happy gaming!

Jessica

 

June New Releases!

Hey, guys! It’s that time again! A new month brings new releases!

There were plenty of fun releases last month, including two awesome pawn collections I’d love to get my hands on: Ruins of Azlant Pawn Collection and Starfinder Pact Worlds Pawn Collection. We were also treated to War for the Crown: Part 4 of 6: City in the Lion’s Eye, and the Pathfinder Players Companion: Blood of the Ancients. The Pathfinder Society Scenarios were solid, and the Starfinder Society Scenarios really knocked it out of the park. Amazing! And this month? Well, I think it’s looking just as exciting…

PZO1141First up, Pathfinder’s released a new hardcover book: Planar Adventures. I’ve been a huge fan of Pathfinder Chronicles: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Great Beyond since it’s release, so to see that the Planes are getting an entire hardcover complete with new archetypes, feats, spells, gear, monsters and three player races, is AWESOME!

Moving on from hardcovers into softcovers, we come to Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms. Inside this book you’ll find details on six completely different planar cities, complete with maps, history, locations and the cities movers and shakers. Which six cities does it contain? I’m not sure about all of them, but I do know you can expect to find the city of Dis in Hell, the isle of Yulgamot on the Astral Plane, Basrakal (I have no idea where that will be…) and, my personal favourite, Shadow Absalom! Colour me intrigued!

We’ve also got two other awesome adventure path volumes coming out. War for the Crown, which has been spectacularly popular, is getting it’s second last instalment! That’s right! War for the Crown: Part 5 of 6: The Reaper’s Right Hand! And on the Starfinder front? The finale of it’s first adventure path! Dead Suns: Part 6 of 6: Empire of Bones! I cannot wait to get my hands on that bad boy!

PZO90131On the Flip-Mat front we have two to peruse this month. Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village is a super-sized play mat which features a desert oasis village on one side, and a walled village on the other side. Both sides seem quite nice looking, and rather usable. The second flip-mat is a super popular mat reprinted. Which one? Flip Mat: Classics: Pub Crawl! One side features a street lined with taverns, while the other is an expanded Flip-Mat: Warehouse for a more cheap and grungy kind of bar. This one’s bound to see a ton of use in PFS play, so I’d get your hands on it while you can.

Near the end of this month we’ll have two new Pathfinder Society Scenarios, and two new Starfinder Society Scenarios  to dive into. PFS: #9-22: Grotto of the Deluged God is a tier 1-5 scenario that tasks your PCs with investigating a shipwreck and contributes to the ongoing storyline of the Concordance faction. Meanwhile, PFS: #9-23: The Ghol-Gan Heresy is a tier 7-11 scenario that lets you take on the Aspis Consortium alongside your grippli allies! In addition to continuing previous events in the Kaava Lands, this scenario also contributes to the ongoing storyline of the Exchange.

SFS: #1-16: Dreaming of the Future is an exciting scenario! A series of four one-hour long quests that task your players with investigating the prophetic visions of a Liavaran Dreamer. These quests take you far across the Pact Worlds, into the Diaspora, Aballon, Verces and, of course, Liavara. This scenario is for tiers 1-4, features starship combat, and is REPEATABLE. Awesome! SFS: 1-17: Reclaiming the Time-Lost Tear is a tier 5-8 scenario. Yup, you heard that right! Tier 5-8! Even more exciting? It continues the story of the Scoured Stars! Pardon me while I squeal in delight!

June’s releases are looking amazing! Got a favourite? Let us know!

Jessica