EZG reviews Amazing Races: Vishkanya
This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look at what new tools the Vishkanya get!
We kick this pdf off via 4 new racial feats:
-Blowgun Spittle: Add your natural poison to blowgun darts as part of shooting it. Great way of making the otherwise rather weak weapon shine more.
-Caustic Poison: When a foe takes ability damage from your poison, s/he also takes 1 point of acid damage. Too weak for the investment of a feat, imho and more in line with a trait/alternate racial trait.
-Serpernt’s Slink: Count as one size smaller for purpose of determining stealth-bonuses. Somewhat of a lost opportunity there: The feat would be even cooler if the Vishkanya could actually hide in spaces only accommodating smaller species, but that might be just my idea and won’t fracture into the final verdict.
-Venom Sense: Detect Poison 1/hour as a spell-like ability at HD caster level.
The 4 new traits make you more resilient versus fascination, 1/day net you Spell Focus (enchantment) or (illusion) (but only for spells with material and somatic components, respectively – which is a great design-choice to limit traits and keep them still relevant) and make it easier for you to antagonize others.
The two alternate racial traits allow you to be scintillating and thus more beautiful (bonus to social skills), but also makes disguising yourself harder, whereas the second allows for a very cool faster escape from bonds – this one really drives the race’s flair home. Neat!
This installment’s archetype is the Venomous Disciple for the Monk, who combines monkish discipline with sleeping venom and Adder Strike as potential bonus feats and may opt to create poison that can affect creatures immune to poison – but balances this with the DC requiring to surpass the target creature’s SR – an uncommon and cool mechanic. At higher levels, these monks may purge poisons and absorb poisons from others and at high levels make their toxins lethal on a secondary save. Two thumbs up for this neat archetype – the so far best take on the serpentine monk I’ve seen so far!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Arts’ no-frills two-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
This installment of the Amazing Races-series is one of the better ones – from a compelling archetype, cool feats, an interesting trait-mechanic, this is definitely a pdf I’d also recommend to DMs who want to add some additional oomph to reptile/serpentine foes beyond the obvious target audience of Vishkanya-players. While not all individual pieces are awesome, I’ll still gladly settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.