This pdf clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 2 pages editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of raw content, so what is this?
The short answer to this question is ultimately a very simple one – this would be the application of the relationship-rules (which unfortunately only work for 6-part-APs) to the Jade Regent adventure path.
Now obviously, as with the other AP-plug-ins, Legendary Games can obviously not use Paizo’s IP and proper names, though it should be noted that you can’t probably make the identity of NPCs more obvious to the discerning GM – each of the NPCs receives a precise moniker (“The Caravan Master”) as well as an appropriate theme for the respective romances/relationships based on cards drawn by “The Mystic Seer.”
The 4 NPCs covered herein all belong to the characters that denote the very core of the caravan and as such, have no real “abandon/joining the caravan”-clause – while each relationship does provide such lines, there isn’t much that can happen in these regards. general affinity notes for the characters are provided and romance options depending on ranks are also part of the deal.
It should be noted that rank 7 usually is the one where PCs can initiate a romance, (with an exception, where that may be lowered to 5) and both 7 and 10 provide unique benefits for the PCs. On a nice side-note, the seeress does come with a cool prophecy to add to the game. The respective ranks doe provide sufficiently diverse challenges for the PCs seeking to get closer to a given NPC – whether it’s showing your Knowledge of nature, proving your smarts or holding your liquor, the challenges can be pictured much like mini-skill-challenges. Now the respective challenges are not necessarily easy and require some forethought – people who don’t have experience in nature will have a quite hard time wooing a certain elven lady, for example.
Now I mentioned unique benefits – these are interesting in that they can amount to almost class ability-level bonuses, rendering the wooing of a given character also mechanically something that rewards the PCs for the investiture in skills that would otherwise not necessarily be an optimized choice – I do like that.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games beautiful two-column standard for Jade Regent-plug-ins. The pdf comes with beautiful full-color artworks for the NPCs. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Mark Seifter’s first applied take on relationships is one I considered believable and fun – ultimately, this provides a nice emphasis for roleplayers – the respective rank-infos provide all the necessary information to properly portray the scenes and the relationships themselves feel believable and nice. So all perfect? No.
For one, I would have enjoyed more complex challenges – while no one keeps you from stacking the DCs together, a small guideline for more complex challenges would have been nice to see.
I also would have loved perhaps a reaction-guideline for two-timing or cheating/jealousy – as written, there is not much consequence here and all those less pleasant components are left to the GM. While this in no way impedes an otherwise nice applied take on the relationship-rules (one that I hope will be expanded further by more relationship-pdfs!), it results in me feeling a certain lack when reading this pdf. hence, my final verdict will “only” clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.