This pdf is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Arborlings as a species are humanoid plants. They get +2 Con and Wis, -2 Dex, have the arborling subtype, low-light vision, +2 to Knowledge (Nature) and Survival, +2 to saves vs. mind-affecting spells and effects, paralysis, polymorph, stunning and fatigue/exhaustion-effects, +4 versus bull rush and trip when on at least two inch of soil, a non-proficient slam attack at 1d4 and take 1 point constitution damage per day sans 2 hours of sunlight – polar nights and the underdark are not places for arborlings. At 9th level, they grow to large size, including +2 to Str and natural armor and -2 to Dex.
They come with 6 alternate racial traits that include a +8 stealth in forested areas, dealing piercing damage with slam attacks, +2 to heal and sense motive instead of their regular skill bonuses, alternate attribute-modifiers (+2 Dex and Wis, -2 Str, at 9th level +2 Int, Wis or Cha), subterranean, non-sunlight dependant arborlings that are dazzled by light and +1 natural armor bonus.
They also come with favored class options for barbarian, bard, druid, fighter, oracle, Ranger and Witch-classes as well as the Root-bonded witch archetype that gets a topiary familiar, plat form, 2 new hexes, 1 new major hex and 1 grand hex – all plant-themed. E.g. expand your reach by 5 foot, animate plants to make terrain difficult or make roots grow from the soles of your victims – disturbing!
3 new alchemical items allow arborlings to enhance their bark, provide oxygen or seek water. 4 new feats are included as well:
-Branched Fighter: Proficiency with slam and make it count as off-hand when dual-fighting. Nettled arborlings increase damage-dice.
-Improved Branched Fighter: +1 slam attack.
-Lightning Rod: Attract electricity effects.
-Treespeaker: 1/day speak with plants.
On the magical item front, they may engrave glyphs upon their own bark or other plant creatures as per scribe scroll and there is also the new anywood, which can be shaped into just about anything imaginable from wood – a kind of malleable material.
The final page deals with 3 new spells especially suitable for arborlings – bladed leaves for plants, provide 4 hours of rest or attack foes with sprays of needles.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read two-column full color standard and the full color artworks are nice indeed. The pdf comes in two versions, one art-free and more printer-friendly and are both fully bookmarked. The pdf is extensively hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com for your convenience.
So. Mike Welham delivers a solidly-crafted plant-race. Yet another one. After Alluria Publishing’s Oaklings, Rite Publishing’s Mandragorans, LPJr Design’s Dalreans, Headless Hydra Games’ Gaiants and Purple Duck Games’ Xhesa or Jon Brazer Enterprises’ excellent Seedlings. And while the race per se is well-crafted, it can’t hold a torch fluff-wise to the great Seedlings, the weird Xhesa or the fully campaign-setting integrated Mandragorans or Dalreans. Add to that the race lacks the crucial age, height and weight-tables and quite frankly, I’m left with a race that lacks the reason to be integrated into my campaign – society, structure, everything is simply not compelling, not unique enough to stand out among all the other plant races and especially the Seedlings, Xhesa, Mandragorans and Dalreans mop the floor with the arborlings since they all are more distinct, feel more interesting than the arborlings.
Hence, while solidly crafted, I can’t really recommend this race, in spite of its virtues – my final verdict will reflect this at a final verdict of 3 stars.