This pdf clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages introduction/how-to-use, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of pure content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
First of all, in case you’re new to legendary games’ plug-ins – this pdf provides a selection of new magical items, which, while per se crafted for easy insertion into the Skull & Shackles AP, can easily be integrated into just about any nautical/slightly piratey game. Got that? All right, so let’s take a look at the items, shall we?
First of all, a nice convenient table, we receive the respective items in a nice, concise list, by price – the items ranging from a paltry 400 GP to 100K and yes, even including an artifact – the whole gamut of price-ranges can be found herein – so that’s a nice start.
But what do the items do? Well, first of all, there would be the bullet buckler, a powerful magical shield that may deflect firearms and even siege weapons, retaining the AC bonus against them…and if the couple of threads on Skull & Shackles are any indicator, there’ll be a lot of happy players (and DMs!) gunning for this shield! Yeah, I know…that pun was bad even for yours truly…I’ll put the bucks into the bad pun jar after the review, all right? Now yes, this buckler may be nice…but of BOY does it pale before the cannonball breastplate. What does that one do? Well, for once, it can conjure forth a strange cannon of smoke to shoot it as a cannonball towards a target – which is awesome. Even better, though, the smoe obscures sight AND renders you gaseous, allowing you to escape…and the plate reforms thereafter with your body. This is one glorious getaway-item and utterly awesome – the designer who came up with it should be proud – same goes for the artist that rendered the item in gorgeous full color.
Sharkskin suits, comparably, feel less impressive, though their bleed-causing grapple-defense and swimming enhancement will fit thematically perfect into Razor Coast as well. The captain’s cutlass not only helps fighting defensively, it also makes navigation and just about all tasks of a captain a tad bit easier and fans of James Bond may rejoice – there is a Golden Gun now – just as deadly, but also incredibly expensive – if you thought regular ammunition was costly, wait till you start firing pure gold…yeah, suddenly the greed of certain individuals makes sense, doesn’t it?
Hateful hooks are not only hard to disarm, they also carry a grudge that may not only cost the unfortunate sap at their end, but also their wielder his/her respective life. What about wind-controlling harpoons that can generate electricity/sonic-based equivalents of fire shield…and do so reflexively? Perhaps you’d prefer a dagger that either sings uplifting tunes or gloomy shanties that speak of the doom below the waves? A sniper’s pepperbox can also be found herein, but pales before a new type of magical cannon that puts a spin on its ammunition, causing it to continue drilling into target creatures and hostile ships – and perhaps even right through them. (And yes, this can cause a decrease in natural armor…) A silenced pistol with what amounts to inverse sonic damage and a repeating crossbow that can be used to blast through water-based magic further complement the beginning array of items.
Thereafter, a total of 5 special weapon abilities allow the characters wielding them to make weapons act as chain-based nets, skim weapons across the surface of water or add a tracer on a target, to help fighting those pesky, sneaking scurvy seadogs. 2 rods can be found inside these pages – the rather self-explanatory pirate brand (guess what that one does) and the rod of the ebb tide that not only acts as a defensive weapon, it also allows you to send creatures with the water subtype back where they belong and, if used as a focus for un/hallow, it can all but cripple adversaries of a specific bent, coming essentially with a build-in adventure (defend/capture) all of its own – nice!
What is that? You want some fine dress and actually are not that nasty a pirate? Well, the admiralty’s parade kit should be just what you wanted if you are aiming to make an impression (or make a governor forget about your misdeeds…)… Earrings to enhance your sight, flares that can be seen for miles, an ensign that allows you to convey demands for parley or similar messages to other ships, anti-gaze/dazzle/etc.-eyepatches, gloves that ensure a certain grip, capes that prevent your lookout from dying horribly whenever your main mast is toppled, multi-tool pirate-hooks…there is a lot of cool material to be found herein. And yes, there are fire-extinguishing sails, tricornes that allow you to brave the most dire of weathers, sextants that allow you to enter the plane of shadows at night…yeah, the wondrous items indeed are awesome!
Now, I mentioned an artifact – the Pirate Queen’s Pearl – and yes, it is glorious – a 1-foot statuette of pearl, it can absorb perfect ioun stones, granting bonuses depending on the stone temporarily absorbed, for a more complex ioun stone management.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary games 2-column full-color standard and sports the good kind of hyperlinks. The pdf sports no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment. Artist James Krause deserves special mentioning for the surprising number of top-quality, evocative artworks provided for many of the items – kudos indeed!
Jason Nelson, Matt Goodall, Jim Groves and Jonathan H. Keith deliver an armory of magic items that is surprisingly bereft of suckage – after SO MANY pirate-themed books, I’ve become pretty jaded regarding their tools and did quite frankly not expect to like this book to the extent I do – the items herein, more often than not either fall in the “OMG, how awesome is THAT?!” category or the no less impressive “This makes total sense and a magical society MUST have developed this!”-category, providing an awesome mix of a setting’s conciseness-enhancing items and rule-of-cool-level items that are simply too neat to pass by. This is a great pdf, with only the lack of bookmarks remaining as a minor strike against it – my final verdict will clock in at a well-deserved 5 stars + seal of approval.