Book of Heroic Races: Seedlings
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Jon Brazer Enterprises is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/introduction, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Kicking off with in-character journal entries that depict the life of one of the race of seedlings, this book introduces us to the new race called Seedling: These beings get +2 to Con, +2 to Wis, -2 to Dex, low-light vision, +1 natural AC, +2 to con to avoid suffocation, drowning and starvation as they can draw sustenance from photosynthesis, can as a standard-action tree shape (and gain tremorsense 30 ft.), +2 to saves versus mind-affecting effects and paralysis, and 1/ day speak with plants. As you may notice, seedlings get the distinct fluff of being plant-like creatures and appropriate benefits without succumbing to gaining the subtype and its associated benefits, going thus a similar route as RiP’s Ironborn did for constructs. If you want more alien plant-beings, I’d point you to Purple Duck Games’ Fehr’s Ethnology: Xhesa.
The race is extremely detailed and up to current rules-developments: From favoured class options, alternate racial traits (which include resistance to fire and electricity, having thorns, hailing from the underdark with darkvision and burrow speed and resistance to disease and poison) to favoured class options, all niches are covered. Better yet, I don’t have anything to complain about!
In stark contrast to many race-supplements, we get quite extensive pieces of information on seedling-culture-lore and land and of course, also on their takes regarding other races and classes – two thumbs up for these avidly and well-written pieces that make the race stand out and feel integrated into a campaign world, not just some addition. The race also gets two racial archetypes, with the first being the Switcher, a fighter that uses the new weapon of the seedlings, the signature switch whip (which is essentially their hair) and allows it to be used to inflict bleeding damage, ooze a poison that makes its victims flat-footed, grow razor-sharp leaves on the head etc. VERY COOL! The second archetype, the tree spirit druid, is extremely adapt at scrying via trees by focusing senses into trees – again, very cool!
The race also gets an exclusive PrC, the negotiator. The PrC gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB and medium will-saves as well as a gamut of abilities that allow them to form binding agreements and make them superb “face”-style negotiators. Nice! The 9 new feats allow seedlings to further expand their switch whip powers and also do some interesting things via their rooting-ability, allowing them to better weather assaults and also increase their healing/photosynthesis.
Beyond aforementioned switch whips, we also get a new armour, glow moss and a serum the seedlings use for ritual scarring and healing. Beyond these crunchy bits, we also get a massive genesis-story told in captivating prose, a write-up of their 4 deities (with appropriate domains, subdomains and mysteries – nice indeed!) and 4 cool new spells, themed for plants and seedling flavour and anatomy. Among the new magic items we get explosive seeds, the dread aurora pendant, heartwood, two iconic artefacts (one of which can grow a forest – over night!) and even more:
5 fluff-only community-write-ups (I.e. no settlement-blocks, but ideas galore) provide further ideas for GMS and players alike to capitalize on and the write-up also features extensive advice for DMs to fit this race into a campaign.
Finally, the pdf includes 4 sample seedling characters, using the content herein, all ready to be dropped into your game and spanning CR 1/2 to Cr 14.
Editing and formatting are impressive, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly b/w-no-frills 2-column standard and the pdf comes with extensive nested bookmarks. The pdf also features gorgeous b/w-artworks, all of which are original and up to the cover’s excellent quality – two thumbs up! Finally, we also get Herolab-files for the seedlings.
If you’re following my reviews on a regular basis, the you know that races are a hard sell on me: I require interesting cultures, solid, well-balanced rules and a place and reason to exist in a given world for a race to be even considered for making an appearance in my game. Seedlings did it. This race is interesting and feels alive, with their unique cultural items, the great prose and the balanced, well-crafted rules, we have an excellent supplement for a great new race that is perhaps one of the best takes of a floral playable race I’ve seen so far. Iconic, full of details and cultural tidbits, this supplement misses nothing and is a joy to read as well. Congratulations to author Marie Small for a thoroughly enjoyable, well-made race. My final verdict is rarely seen upon race-pdfs, but here it is justified – with every little component feeling balanced and like it brings something to the table, I feel justified in giving this 5 stars + my seal of approval.
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