and now for something completely different!
We all know the deal – sometimes players have to leave and sometimes, new ones join the fray. In my case, this means they have reading to do – A LOT of it. I’m not just using Paizo’s material, as you all know, but copious amounts of 3pp-stuff as well. So this irregular series will be devoted to spotlighting products that are required reading in my book.
This first entry will deal with the “basics”, i.e. what *I* require my players to know beyond Core, APG, UM and UC. These books are central components of my campaigns and I’ll just drop a bullet-point style line for each and the links to get them. Usually, you ought to be able to find reviews for them by yours truly as well.
Got that? Awesome!
Legendary Rogue by Legendary Games
Why it’s essential: It makes the much maligned rogue class completely modular and awesome in all the ways we never had since the inception of d20 as a system; the class becomes actually as awesome as it deserves. Hands down the best rogue for any d20-based iteration and it supports cherry-picking of rules as well!
Rogue Glory by Drop Dead Studios
Why it’s essential: Better Stealth rules, much needed power-up for rogue, in-game explanation how they detect magic traps.
Ultimate Psionics by Dreamscarred Press
Why it’s essential: One of the best crunch books ever made, psioncis feature just as heavily as magic in my campaigns. You ought to know what about half the foes you meet can be up to.
Pact Magic Unbound Vol.1 by Radiance House
Why it’s essential: My campaigns tend to have a darker tone than most and the occult feeling of Pact Magic perfectly complements this. Much like psionics, players should have read this to not be utterly stupefied by the opposition. And yes, it’s that integral a component of my game.
Pact Magic Unbound Vol.2 by Radiance House
Why it’s essential: Because it makes Pact Magic so much cooler, versatile and offers superb new content. Better in almost every way than Vol.1.
101 New Skill Uses by Rite Publishing
Why it’s essential: Because my campaigns feature a lot of investigations/infiltrations/intrigue. More skill uses like autopsies etc. enable the DM to craft more complex plots – everyone wins. Players need to know this one so they can properly react to the challenges I throw at them. You’ll scarcely find a better resource for crafting more versatile plots and expanding the options of your players.
Strange Magic by Interjection Games
Why it’s essential: Because this massive book and its three unique, awesome non-vancian magic systems are what the Tome of Magic wished it had been; Fun, balanced and awesome, the systems herein have become permanent fixtures in my home-game, beloved by players and my humble self alike. Complex, awesome traditions that reward system-mastery, tinkering and add awesome fluff to boot – yeah, pretty much brilliant.
Creature Components Volume I by Playground Adventures
Why it’s essential: Because I hate that killing magical creatures yields no rules-benefits; because, in my worlds, magic items require exotic ingredients. Because questing to kill a foe for a component that is required for magic or an item is awesome. Oh, and it’s ridiculously beautiful. Get it.
Ultimate Charisma by Everyman Gaming
Why it’s essential: Because it makes leadership an option for everyone and blends the disparate systems of downtime, mass combat and kingdom building perfectly with the leadership mechanic for an experience pretty close to DM-nirvana. No more handwaves, no more complaints. Oh, and because it streamlines feinting and demoralize into one neat and concise system, adds the crucial antagonize maneuver and implications of morale to the system. The additional archetypes, feats, etc., are cool as well, but for me more like a bonus. This book closes one of the most gaping holes in PFRPG
Spheres of Power by Drop Dead Studios
Why it’s essential: Because this massive tome eliminates vancian casting in favor of a more balanced, less exponential system. Beyond superb balancing, the mastery of crunch is pronounced and this huge book simply allows you to tell different stories – so, as far as I’m concerned, each campaign should consider whether this does not suit its needs better. Oh, and it plays well with psionics, pact magic, akashic mysteries… Yes, this is awesome!
So that would be the absolute basics – next time I’ll tell you about the slightly less, but still very much required, more specialized books I tend to require for my players, i.e. the advanced basics.
What are your books? Are there any you ABSOLUTELY require for your ALL of your campaigns that you ALSO require your players to know? If so, what are they? Drop me a comment, if you have the time!