EZG reviews Righteous Heroes: Pregenerated Characters
This collection of pregens intended for the “Wrath of the Righteous”-AP clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction to the matter at hand, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The characters herein are made via 20-point-buy and feature advice for scaling them down for 15-point buy, if you prefer a more challenging game. Additionally, each character comes with advancement suggestions and roleplaying advice to get into the respective character from the get-go. Now presentation-wise, something becomes immediately available – even beyond previous pregen-supplements by Legendary Games, the characters herein are presented in a gorgeous way – on one page, the full-character artwork of the respective pregen, including a cool in-character quote, are provided. On the page following that, we get massive background information, physical description and the respective personality, meaning you’ll usually have 3 pages per character – the artworks being btw. mostly in the league of Paizo themselves – yes, that beautiful.
All right, got that? Now, the previews I saw did make the book looked slightly like everyone would be a full-armored knight, the diversity of this book actually goes farther – tale Briathos Tassiel, first character and a purifier oracle of celestial blood may be groomed to be a hero by the Inheritor’s servants, but the incorruptible aasimar also makes for an interesting character in both his young age (at only 74 years) and his desire to reconnect with his celestial heritage. Caric Solnebren, the oathbound human paladin is a dual-talented man from a rich background – and his brother, the Aroden worshiping Loric Solnebren, a disillusioned sanctified rogue, makes for a great sibling rivalry fanned further by the opposition between his doctrines of Aroden and the Inheritor’s code.
And indeed, synergies like this are not a rarity – in the roleplaying tips and background information, a vast array of ideas is provided to make the dynamics of the group work from the get-go and provide further story hooks down the road – take Tessara Arthinest, the elven synthesist summoner with her fused celestial spirit of valor. Beyond being shielded from traumatic experiences by her eidolon (one can never be sure to whom one is talking to when addressing her!) without her knowledge (which makes for good roleplaying regarding the nature of free will), her eidolon also originates from the same celestial source that fathered Briathos Tassiel. It’s small secrets like that and their suggestions that make these characters be more than pregens – they can be considered a party from the very get-go!
Emerina Vestelle, the tiefling infiltrator inquisitor of Desna makes for an unconventional hero – born among evil cults, she was rescued and properly raised and now is a sensual and flirtatious lady, an uncommon contender to bringing an end to the worldwound’s evil. Illemandir Ziruul, the menhir savant druid is a half-elf whose very birth was the result of the horrors bringing together two people that otherwise wouldn’t have met, making him a living proof that even the bleakest of happenstances can result in positive outcomes. His connection with the land, explained as owing his life to the mastery of ley lines also makes for a superb motivation to stem the tide of corruptions.
Jilani Safiro, the wild-blooded empyreal sorceror is a long way from her desert-land home – and due to her ethnicity, some racial tensions, whether justified or imagined, may be seen as a further means of providing ample roleplaiyng opportunity and ground her and the party in the lore of Golarion. Now if you’re more in the mood for a battle-cleric, what about Norgrym Hammerfell, the dwarven cleric of Torag? Once abducted by evil cultists, the ordeal has made him very conscious of security and safety as well as proper strategy – that and the strange ritual they subjected him to make once again for roleplaying opportunities aplenty!
The final page contains paper stand cut-outs of the glorious character artworks.
Editing and formatting are excellent, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout is drop-dead-gorgeous and in 2-column full-color – the book ranks among the most beautiful I’ve seen, even among Legendary Games oeuvre. Weirdly, the pdf comes sans bookmarks, which makes navigation less comfortable than it ought to be. The artworks by Lance Red, Tanyaporn Sangsnit and Colby Stevenson deserve accolades – these characters jump to life straight from the page.
Neil Spicer knows how to write compelling CHARACTERS. Not just some pregens, CHARACTERS – people that are compelling enough to use as NPCs even if you’re not looking for pregens, characters that do not follow each stereotype. Indeed, the pregens herein, in whatever constellation used, brim with roleplaying potential, feature so many cool angles, so many story-seeds, that even if used in a context that is not the Wrath of the Righteous AP, that any DM worth his/her salt can craft a whole campaign around them alone. Yes. That awesome. Their connections make them a party from the get-go, with all dynamics that entails and in the end, the characters also are superb reading. It should also be noted that the advice on character advancement also provides mythic path-selection advice. Apart from the missing bookmarks, I have exactly zilch to complain about here – these are, even by Legendary Games high standards, probably the best Pregens released so far and deserve no less than 5 stars + seal of approval.