EZG Essentials Part I
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.
Grimorie of Lost Souls 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!
Awesome, I’ve been hoping we’d see this!
Beyond the CRB, APG, and portions of UC & UM there isn’t much I absolutely require my players read beyond commonly known setting and religious information.
Rogue Glory – Drop Dead Studios
I only picked up Rogue Glory recently, but the stealth rules were immediately implemented in both of my regular PFRPG games and added to my required campaign material binder. The Glory Rogue looks great as well and will probably get as much use amongst my players as RGG’s Talented Rogue.
101 New Skill Uses – Rite Publishing
Assassination via malpractice, need I say more? This is required reading for all of my players. This book vastly expands on what I consider to be a weakness in the 3.5/PFRPG rule set.
Incantations in Theory and Practice – Zombie Sky Press
These eight pages should have been included in the CRB. This helps return some of the magic to what has sadly become a relatively mundane commodity in most RPGs.
Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic – Purple Duck Games
My players and I love this feat based magic system. The amount of role playing potential inherent in the forming of covenants with fey, restless dead, the angelic host is fantastic; we’ve had some very memoerable play sessions since adopting this material.
My group and I have been rocking the Expanded Psionics Handbook since it was released, but it has been feeling a bit toothless for some time; it may be time to bite the bullet and pick up Ultimate Psionics.
I am very interested in picking up Pact Magic Unbound, I love the flavor and ideas behind the 3.5 Binder, it just fell apart in actual play. Mostly I’ve been holding off in hopes that all the eventual volumes get collected in a big, beautiful Ultimate Pact Magic HC!
Hej Ken! Incantations and Covenant Magic willf eature in my Essentials-installment on magic as well!!! Thank you so mcuh for commenting and sharing your essentials!
This is a terrific new articles series (as I assume you’ll be doing more of these). Plus, I think it’s a more assertive push on your part to promote, influence and shape the PF 3PP community – of which you are better positioned to do than just about anybody in the game.
Along the lines of what you wrote above, I’d be curious too, if you would write more about what PF 3PP systems/products have suprisingly strong combinatorial synergy (even though they may come from different publishers who were not acting in concert).
Talk to you soon!
This series is actually pretty old since someone asked me what I’d consider the absolute essentials, the must-haves. So yeah, I will do Part III sooner or later, but I’m not sure yet on which topic – probably 3pp classes. I do update these posts, though. 🙂
And yes, I sincerely hope that this series promotes a gem or two – speaking of which, I just finished a review that actually got this tag.
As for your suggestion of great synergies between products: I have already written one such article (and have offered it as a patreon-reward) where I combine two systems that gel well together.
For example, I took a sprinkling DSP’s Warder, removed the broken bits and combined it with Everyman Gaming’s Psychological Combat and Dreadfox Games’ Swordmaster base-class. You can check that out here:
Cheers and talk soon!
Lol. Oh dear. I clicked on this Tweet of yours from 15 hours ago … and I thought it was brand new. Hence my reply. Now I see the original time/date stamp and I’m quite embarrassed. Haha!
I’ll go poke around through your Patreon archives for that prior reward article you mentioned. It sounds intriguing. And thanks for the link to the synergy article. Like you, I’ve got a gargantuan catalog of 3.5 and PF 3PP products (paperback, hardback and PDFs). So it’s helpful to pair disparate game-mechanics together (within these categories) for new insights and combos.