Heroes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG-version)

Heroes of the Jade Oath

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This massive book is 175 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 168 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

First of all, let me tell you about the genesis of the project – HotJO has been in the making for what seemed like forever and was originally the first BIG project of Rite Publishing, intended to be released as a supplement to Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved. When the Beta-version of the book was released, the content was fresh and interesting in style and flavor. Now, with the advent and influx in popularity of PFRPG, people on the RiP-boards, yours truly included, started to ask about a conversion and the pdfs released so far in the line were used to get more artwork and even better production values for the Omega-version and the book this review is all about, the very first iteration of Heroes of the Jade Oath for PFRPG. Why is this important? well, because it explains some of the design-decisions made as well as all the races introduced – AE doesn’t feature the standard races as prominently and thus, this book has a LOT of ground to cover in a scarce few pages, even at its length.

 

Now that doesn’t mean that this book is all crunch and indeed, it begins by introducing us to the very concepts that define social structure in the setting of the Jade Oath: Favors, Family and Face. The importance of (extended) family structures, clans and the value of face are all concisely and easily understandable to western audiences as relayed herein. Thankfully, the done-to-death cliché of Seppuku is also addressed and put into a valid cultural perspective that shows that author Frank Carr has a firm grasp on social strata and cultural concepts. If you’re looking for an almost historical level of detail regarding customs like in the release of the German old-school setting Midgard’s (NOT the one by KP) KanThaiPan, though, you won’t find that level of detail here, with e.g. the making of appropriate presents, food and medicine not covered, but chances are you probably are not reading this review to know about the likes anyway. That being said, the map of the lands of the Jade Oath should be commented on – made by cartography-legend Jonathan Roberts (now of “A Song of Fire and Ice”-fame), the 2-page spread is eye-watering in its gorgeousness – and it is my pleasure to report that the locales featured in the gazetteer-style gloss-over of the lands provides places that stand in no way behind the quality of the map:

 

The respective regions not only include massive amounts of write-ups for covenants, societies and clans (all with their respective symbols and tokens), but also contains areas like the undead-hampering “Fallen Pillar of Heaven”, the gorgeously-illustrated city of Xinmar in the Heaven’s Reach Mountains, the floating garden or the crawling dragon mountain, which is in fact the world’s oldest dragon, slowly winding its ways through mountainous ranges. Now if the extensive gazetteer-section with all its pieces of information on culture, produce, locations etc. has not sparked some sort of great idea for an adventure, I’m not sure your imagination can be helped. The Lands of the Jade Oath feel very distinct and there is no way they could be mistaken for any other Asian-themed setting. That out of the way, let’s take a look at the chapter on races and their mechanics, shall we?

 

Now first we get pronunciation-guidelines for races and an entry on the breeds of human (the discovery of the eight will usher in a great doom, by the way!) before delving into the Bakemono. A metal-eating, goblinoid race, their males are small, horned almost goblinoid looking beings that get +2 to Con and Int as well as -2 to Cha, slow landspeed, darkvision 60 ft., light blindness, a bite that is devastating vs. objects and undead, +2 to saves vs. poison and +2 to craft-check relating to metal. They also have slow speed and count as evil goblinoids and get full spell-progression. Their females instead get +2 to Wis and Cha and -2 to Str. They also can take levels in the Bakemono-Paragon-class, which spans 6 levels and gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref-saves. The class also improves bites by granting improved sunder to the bite and allowing bakemono to eat magical items as well as continuously detecting magic. The class also allows them to gain the shapeshifter-subtype as well as turning into large size, the form corresponding to their chosen totem or even into a swarm. And also minor attribute enhancements depending on the gender of the bakemono as well as attribute bonuses over the levels, something that almost each of the paragon-classes grants.

 

The towering, ponderous Dahren can either gain +2 to Str or +2 to Con and Wis, low-light vision, +2 to intimidate and sense motive and craft as well as the giant subtype, in spite of their medium size. The race also gets its paragon-class, spanning 20 levels and having them grow to up to colossal size (the additional sizes also being covered in the height & weight-table, btw.!) – the class is essentially a revised variant of the Jotun Paragon-class featured in RiP’s “In the Company of Monsters“, but allows the character now to multiclass as soon as they have passed 6th level. The class offers d8, 4+Int skills, 3/4-BAB-progression, good fort-saves, up to +13 natural AC and improving slam-attacks (up to 4d6) as well as rock catching skills and a selection from a wide variety of elemental-themed talents. Now, it would have been easy to just cut-copy-paste the class, but there actually are new talents in here and since the original class is elemental in its theme and HotJO uses the eastern system of elements, the respective abilities have been modified, which is nice to see.

 

Next up are the agile Faen, who get +2 to Dex and one mental attribute of your choice, are small, gain their own fey-related subtype, slow speed, low-light vision, +2 to perception, stealth and proficiency with bows and faen-weapons as well as a reroll 1/day. They may replace latter luck with minor spell-like abilities or the run-feat and +1 to initiative. Their paragon-class gets d8 HP per level, spans 6 levels, 4+Int skills per level, 34 BAB-progression, good ref-saves, 3 levels of spell-progression and an interesting idea: Depending on the racial trait chosen, the paragon-class expands the options, gaining either more spell-like abilities, more luck-based options or more quickness-based options. Cool! The most important thing, though, is already known to people familiar with Arcana Evolved: Faen may undergo a metamorphoses at 3rd level of the paragon-class, going into chrysalis and emerging as a full-blown fey, a so-called sprite. These sprites threaten regular 5-foot squares, gain +2 to Dex and -2 to Str and also wings, which allow them to fly at 30 ft. It’s also nice to see that the conversion adds fly to the list of class skills upon the transformation.

 

The Garuda should make for an interesting class you almost assuredly haven’t seen before: Partially scaled and feathered, this race resembles a badass-version of a humanoid archeopteryx with a stronger lean towards colored feathers. Story-wise, they are the hunters of the tainted, created by the dragons to stem the tide of the infernal dragon’s taint. They gain +2 to Dex and Wis, -2 to Cha, +1 natural armor, low-light vision, may glide up to 100 ft. with their wings, gain +2 to perception and may cast detect evil 1/day as a spell-like ability. Their racial class grants d8, 2+Int skills, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort-saves, up to +3 dodge-bonus to AC and also increasing flight capabilities as well as bites, claws, spell-like abilities and finally even pounce.

 

Now if you’re more a fan of canines, the goushen-race has you covered. The race is descended from the foo dogs of legend and get +2 Con and Wis, -2 to Int, low-light vision, +2 to survival, scent and their 6-level paragon-class gets d8, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort and ref-saves and up to +2 natural armor. Their paragon-class provides them with bite attacks, grab with their bites and also massively improving grapple-capabilities.

 

For more feline-affine people, the Hushen-race would be what you’re looking for – essentially a tiger-faced class of proud feline humanoids, they gain +2 to Str and Cha, -2 Int, low-light vision, +2 to intimidate, stealth and perception and suffer from blood frenzy, requiring a save to break from combat once blood has been spilled. Their 6-level paragon-class comes with 3/4-BAB-progression, d8 HP, 2+Int skills per level, good ref and fort-saves, +2 natural AC, scent, bite, claw and even rake and pounce as well as the option to run while using stealth, making them rather lethal with their natural attacks.

 

Now, the Kirin Shen-race is interesting in that it essentially is an acquired template that can be taken by taking a single-level as a Kirin Shen racial paragon. Kirin Shen are the chosen of the Kirin, gain +1 to BAB, ref and will, 6+Int skills and d10. The template they gain requires them to be of at least 6th level and is provided for the DM’s convenience with all the tools necessary to add it to respective creatures (it’s Cr +1 if you don’t take levels in the racial class, btw.) and allows it to use a healing touch that improves with HD as well as overland flight, ethereal jaunt and finally immortality at the highest HD.

 

Perhaps the most far-out and interesting race of the setting, at least for me, would be the Mandragorans: Mandragorans are essentially humanoid plants with alluring bodies that feature long vines instead of hair. They may manipulate objects and taste via these vines and they gain +2 to Wis and Cha, -2 to Str, low-light vision, +4 to stealth in forested and marshland areas, 1/day roll a will-save twice and take the better result, full spell-progression, + HD on saves vs. poison and their spores grant them +1 to diplomacy, handle animal and bluff, but also make hiding harder. Mandragorans may also heal a limited amount of damage via spending time in the sunlight and resting at night as well as communicate basic emotions via spores. They also get 5 alternate racial traits that feature magic abilities, desert and water-dwelling mandragorans, mandragorans with a mild poison and those with thorns. Their racial paragon-class gets 3/4 BAB-progression, d8 HP, 2+Int modifier skills per level, more spell-like abilities, woodland stride, the option to regrow from being torn to shreds and plant-like immunities. The racial paragons may also change gender in a week-long ceremony, which emphasizes their alluring strangeness as well as providing for interesting roleplaying options.

 

The reptilian Nagaraja, genderless asexually-reproducing humanoids are the stewards vs. the infernal taint introduced by the dragons, but many think they are shirking their racial duties. They gain +2 to Int and Dex, -2 to Con, 60 ft. darkvision, +1 natural armor, gain a limited array of spellcasting abilities, +2 to acrobatics and swim as well as linguistics and may opt to chose from two alternate racial traits, one granting a hood and a charming gaze attack, while the other replaces legs with a tail they may use as a natural weapon vs. foes. Their 6-level racial paragon-class offers them 3/ BAB-progression, good will-saves, 5 levels of spell-progression, d8 HP, 2+Int skills per level, blind fight an improved detect magic per will and up to +2 natural armor as well as increased casting prowess.

 

The Qahngol, a variant half-orc-race, once conquered the empire, only to ally with their subjugated race to vanquish an undead dragon. They gain +2 to one ability score of their choosing, count as orcs, gain low-light vision, +2 to ride and handle animal and an interesting racial curse: The Qahngol get a name mask upon their coming of age and upon removing/losing it, they run the risk of being targeted by their ancestral curse, which turns them into infernal cannibals – the simple template is provided as well as rules for the creation of name-masks and the simple-template. Their 6-level racial paragon-class gets d8, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort and will-saves, 2 levels of spellcasting progression, rather massive attribute bonuses, a limited synergy with the fighter and barbarian classes when determining bonuses for feats, rounds of rage etc. as well as keen scent and wild empathy.

 

Ruishishen are essentially the HotJO setting’s Litorians, i.e. Lion-like humanoids, this time descendant from the celestial lions and massively decimated by traitorous groups. They gain +2 to Dex and Int, -2 to Wis, low-light vision,+2 to perception, intimidate and survival, count as one size larger for effects based on size and their 6-level racial paragon-class gets d8, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort- and ref-saves, up to +2 natural AC-bonus, bite and claw attacks (the latter counting later on as ghost touch weapons!), scent, faster movement, a fear-inducing roar and may as a capstone temporarily turn incorporeal.

The variant dwarven race, the Sanesaram, get +2 to Con and Wis, -2 to Cha, slow speed (and no encumbrance speed modifiers), +4 dodge bonus to AC vs. gainst, +2 to appraise, +2 to saves vs. spells and spell-like abilities, + 1 to atk vs. goblinoids, +4 to CMD vs. bull rush and trip as well as clan-dependant bonuses, 8 of which are provided. Their racial paragon-class spans 6 levels, grants d8, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort and will-saves, 3 levels of spellcasting progression , stonecunning, may add their class-level to craft-checks, further increase their resiliency to detrimental effects and improve their distinctiveness by gaining more abilities depending on the clan they belong to. At highest levels, they also get minor bonuses to atk and damage whenever someone hurts them – a Sanesaram’s grudge is a force indeed.

 

The Shenxue are the descendants of spirits and mortals, being thus native outsiders that can be influenced more with their truenames. Since the term shenxue thus applies to a vast variety of combinations of races and spirits, they come with information on racial traits for all the core and HotJO-races as well as a rather large array of different aspects that offer access to snow, panda or mountain spirits, to name just a few. Each aspect has its own penalties as well as different penalties to balance their benefits. Since they are born from such a cosmic union, the shenxue are required to adhere to a certain obeisance chosen at character creation, prohibiting them from for example sealing them from private dwellings, crossing rivers and cool, unique ones: Wandering Eyes for example, makes it only possible for the shenxue to see through the eyes of a chosen host. The shenxue paragon-class develops these further by modifying the class-skill-list according to aspects and providing highly versatile spell-like abilities and unique options depending on the aspect you’ve chosen. Like most paragon-classes, they span 6 levels and also gain d8 HP, 2+Int skills per level, 5 levels of spellcasting progression, 3/4 BAB-progression and also an ability that lets them see the presence or absence of all the spirits inhabiting everything, making for an interesting story-telling device. The racial paragon class suffers from non-standard save-progression for all 3 saves: They cap at +3 at 6th level instead of +2.

 

The penultimate new race we get would be the Verrik, another familiar face from Arcana Evolved, who gets +2 to Str and Wis, -2 to Cha, blindsense, the option to shut down senses (making them temporarily immune to gaze attacks, language-dependant effects etc.), minor spell-like abilities and may opt to be born with a magic-discerning third eye. Their 6 level paragon-class nets them 3/4 BAB-progression, good ref-and will-saves, d8 HP, 2+Int skills per level, 5 levels of spellcasting progression, improved sell-like abilities and as a capstone even get blindsight. All in all…I honestly consider the Verrik overpowered. Blindsense alone is powerful Combined with all the sense-turning of-options, the race becomes a bit too strong for my tastes.

 

The final new race would be the Yueyangren and Yueyinren, the moonfolk, which are essentially variant elves. Regular elves, moonlight elves are the Yueyangren and get +2 to Dex and Int, -2 to Con, low-light vision, +2 to perception, elven immunities and bursts of speed for 3 rounds. The dark-skinned moonshadow elves, are closer to high elves in mentality than to drow, in spite of their appearance. They get +2 to Dex, Int and Cha, but -2 to Str and Con, count as elves, gain darkvision 60 ft., elven immunities, +2 to perception, +4 to CMD vs. trip and bull rush, light blindness and both types of moonfolk may take the Yueren paragon-class, which gets d8, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good ref-saves, 5 levels of spell-progression, improved spell-like abilities, may walk on walls and ceilings 1/2 character level rounds cha-modifier times per day (cool!), gain superior vision with different effects depending on sub-breed, and gain movement-bonus-feats as well as the option to charge through difficult terrain.

 

Now that we’ve covered all those new races and their respective classes, let’s take a look at the new base-classes in the pdf, starting with the Demon Hunter. But before I get on to that, let’s quick classify that “Demon” does not mean only chaotic evil outsiders in the context of the lands of the Jade Oath – it means undead, goblinoids, fey and aberrations just as much as demons and similar outsiders – they essentially hunt the supernatural. The class gets d10, 2+Int skills per level, full BAB, good fort-saves, spellcasting of up to 4th level. They gain the ability to detect infernals via their powers, gain ranger-like specialization versus foes and may at higher levels even delay taking damage (including attribute damage) for 1 round cha-mod times per day. They may later also craft iron flasks and gain a cool capstone that allows them to change creatures into their servants, elevating them from their tainted being to celestial heights. There are also 6 different suites of abilities available to the Demon Hunter-class, including one that grants infernal companions that improve over the levels, improved ofudas and boons for wooden swords, the signature weapons of the immaculate exorcism-tradition.

 

The enlightened scholar gains 3/4 BAB-progression, good will-saves, up to +4 AC bonus, up to 2d6 unarmed damage (better damage when ch’i-focused), d6 HP, 6+Int skills per level and may also chose from a variety of talents from varying paths, that set them upon track for becoming immortal, allow them to create strange contraptions etc. The Folk Magic-table (which allows minor spellcasting) is now also included, as is the immortal knowledge-table (though that mentions “monk” when “scholar” is meant). The class per se is truly unique with its wide array of options and the complexity of rules for contraption-creation etc.

 

Similarly, the Kusa-class predates the Ninja-class from UC, getting unarmed strikes and sneak attacks as well as 3/4 BAB-progression, d8 HP, 6+Int skills per level, up to +7 insight bonus to AC, good ref-saves. The Kusa also gets a Ki-pool as well as multiple talents, grouped in three general level-classes, providing access to new talents at higher levels. Again, the class feels like it should have been converted to options for the Ninja-class, especially since the Kusa is not half as complex as the abilities of the enlightened scholar.

 

Speaking of archetypes: The other classes also get a variety of options – Barbarians may now for example take totem rage powers that correspond to specific animals like centipedes and mantises. There are multiple powers assigned to each totem and for barbarians wholly committed, there’s an archetype to gain a totem-related animal companion. cavaliers may now chose from 2 new Xia-orders, which are also available to samurai, btw., one devoted to the ancestors and one to protecting the chosen organization’s land and people. We also get an array of different monk-archetypes, which range from the kensai with their living weapons to the grapple-focused Thaskalos, the armored sohei to the spellcasting, lawful good yamabushi. Witches get perhaps one of the coolest option in the book – 4 new patron-spell-lists and a bunch of hexes. What’s cool about these hexes is the factor that the hexes come with descriptors that mark them as particularly appropriate for the respective patron. At least in my opinion, as long as the choice of other hexes is not penalized, this is a great idea to enhance flavor.

The next chapter introduces us to the new Feng Shui-skill, which allows you to improve the regenerative boons of resting by properly aligning the area and even the time required to rest. It should be noted that a bunch of the mechanics to come make use of the arcane focus and ki-focus (interchangeable as term with Ch’i, btw.). Gaining focus in either, much like gaining psionic focus, is a full-round action that provokes AoOs. Arcane Focus requires an arcane pool to be used (problematic, since the magus’ arcane pool and this one’s is different -I’ll get to that in a second), while ki-focus needs at least 1 point of ki in your reservoir. You may expend either focus to take 15 on a concentration check.

 

Among the different feats included in the chapter, we are introduced to a variety of feats with the new (Arcane)-descriptor. In order to make use of them, you have to take a feat that grants two points of arcane points, which do NOT stack with the magus’ arcana pool. Substituting “Arcane” with “Eldritch” or a similar word would have GREATLY helped to avoid confusion here. A botch, in my opinion, since while the non-stacking is mentioned, I consider two pools with the same name problematic. (Arcane)-feats usually grant you additional points of arcane pool and allow you to do uncommon things by expending your focus: Arcane Dodge, for example, grants you a stacking dodge-bonus of +1 to AC and allows you to expend focus as an immediate action for an increase to +4 to AC versus one attack as an immediate action.

Ki-focus works much the same way and feats from other sources now retroactively get the ki-descriptor. It gets more complex, though: There is a subset of Ch’i-feats (or Ki-feats, whichever spelling you prefer) called chakra-feats. These feats require the character to be ki-focused to work. Characters may invest ki-points into chakras when ki-focused and there’s a limit depending on level on how many points can be invested into a given chakra. Much like other points, these allocated points on the chakra allow the character to do uncommon things while focused and grant additional options via expending them. Moreover, each chakra has 3 different sets of potential ways to invest ki: Ki can be invested in Balanced Ki, Yang Ki or Yin Ki, granting different benefits for being focused or expending the aligned ki. A total of 7 chakra are provided – and that’s before the additional options via chakra-feats come in!

Speaking of complex options: Want a lesser version of the gestalt idea that is not as unbalancing and allows you to play essentially two characters in one body? The Ancestral Possession-feat allows you to do just that, giving you a second set of mental ability scores and actually a second class – problem is: The change of personality in command is disorienting and happens EVERY time you roll a 1 on a d20. Yes, that can lead to some VERY awkward roleplaying situations and while it may save you, it may also doom you. Especially for a group low on players unable to cover all fields a great feat.

Regarding enhanced options – several of the feats deal with yet another concept integral and iconic in lore: Sutras. While some brackets still point towards the single-pdf-release, rest assured that Sutra Magic is also within the pages of this book, allowing e.g. divine casters, demon hunters etc. to gain access to the iconic ofudas and providing guidelines on creating new sutras as well as a bunch of them for your immediate perusal.

 

Beyond the vast array of feats that use these new and complex mechanics, we also get short suggestions for cinematic houserules à la damage-based knockback, improvised weapons for everyone, the option to throw foes in grapple, a new use for hero points and (Chinese) Zodiac Signs: These work essentially as traits, but come as a double-edged sword: While being stronger than your average trait, they also come with drawbacks, which might make for truly intriguing roleplaying opportunities. I really like the approach to traits, though you should be aware that they make HEAVY use of hero points, thus, if you don’t play with them, you will get less of this chapter. (But when playing a WuXia-style setting, why not use hero points? Oo)

 

It should also be noted that we get an array of new exotic weapons (that are not that exotic in the HotJO-setting), most of which actually come with neat artworks, as well as new alchemical gear. Thankfully, the rather complex ch’i-mechanics come with a cheat-sheet in the section on magic that also details aforementioned sutra magic and closes the book.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting. Well. If you take a look at the credits, you’ll see that beyond being a patron, I also helped proof this book. But just a couple of pages. Without wanting to harp on my fellow proofers (after all, it was a non-paying gig) – some glitches slipped past us. Some that shouldn’t have. The Enlightened Scholar is still violating PFRPGF-design with its +9 ref-save progression and lacks its capstone ability. The Kusa should have been upgraded with regards to the Ninja-class. There are still multiple references to Arcana Evolved classes like the Magister (full-blown arcane caster) and the Mage Blade (Gish-class) and similar classes in here: Not in any rules-context, mind you, but they still are there.

While MOST (about 90%) of the conversions are successful and awesome, the rest could have been caught with more proofing and more care. I noticed multiple instances of non-italicized spells, a lack of uniform italicization regarding the terms “ki” and “ch’i” etc. And we also get some pages that clearly show that different people have been at work here – while many pages are free of glaring glitches, there also are some pages in this pdf that feature several.

Layout…is GORGEOUS. Paizo-level and beyond beautiful. Two-column standard, green highlights, golden kanji-borders, Wayne Reynolds-cover and interior artwork that more often than not is on the level of the cover. That is: Up to the very most beautiful you’ll ever see in any publication. The pdf also comes with extensive, nested bookmarks. As per the writing of this review, no printer-friendly version is included.

 

This is a crunch-monster and perhaps the one pdf that took me longest to review so far. So much math to do. More, in fact, than in just about any product I’ve reviewed so far. The races with their racial paragon-classes should definitely prove to be a boon for fans of the Diamond Throne-setting that have since the Arcana Evolved-days switched to PFRPG and concept-wise, the Mandragoran is perhaps one of the coolest plant race I’ve seen in ages.

I really like the Arcane Pool-idea – but why not rename it? Why make it ambiguous and easy to confuse with the pool of the Magus?

Mechanically, Sutra Magic, Chakras etc. are bold, exciting and cool and speak of a solid grasp on rules by author Frank Carr (for AE) and Timothy Wallace (for the PFRPG-conversion) as well as something only seldom seen: Boldness in design. these options marry cultural fluff with solid rules and uncommon design-choices, making them a joy to behold, at least for me.

The cultural fluff of the book of the book speaks not only of a knowledge, but of an understanding of cultures and myth and offers fresh and exciting vistas on eastern roleplaying that could work together with established setting like Rokugan or Kaidan, but still brings its extremely distinct flavor to the table and can easily stand on its own. Distinctiveness and modularity are well-mixed in the options provided herein. The writing per se ranges from extremely evocative…to. Well. Not so evocative. When proofing my chapters, I continuously stumbled upon instances when multiple sentences started the same way in a quick succession. There were paragraphs containing what I call “no conjunction-disease” – something that ruins the reading experience of any given text by providing essentially a quick succession of basic subject-verb-object-sentences sans prepositions, conjunctions and subordinate clauses. I tried to correct that, but overall, when the book is concerned, I have to say that generally, HotJO cannot be considered a universally great reading experience. When the writing works, it works well, but these sometimes cropping up accumulations of bland, boring sentences, while conveying information, still tug at what would otherwise be a universal sense of wonder and awe at these intriguing lands.

 

As much as I’m loathe to say it, since I really, really like the book. It feels like it has been pushed out slightly too fast.

Yeah. I know. Get the pitchforks and torches ready.

The book’s been in the making for very long, postponed etc. – but after such a long wait, I think that a flawless quality should have been of tantamount importance. Perhaps giving each of the chapters to two proofers minimum would have been the prudent thing to do. I don’t know. What I do know is that with just one or two more months of proofing and editing, this pdf could have been a new benchmark for crunchy-setting books, a hallmark, a legend.

 

Now, with all the glitches still here and there in the pdf, some of which actually impede the rules, this pdf feels like it falls flat of its own potential. Not all of it, mind you, and the glitches are nothing that can’t be potentially fixed/errata’d.

 

This book could have been my number 1 of 2012 or 2013- it had all the potential, all the right ideas. And, again, generally, they do work. But those that don’t combined with an amount of editing glitches/conversion relics make it impossible for me to unanimously recommend. I can’t rate this 5 stars, though I so want to – for the sutras, the demon hunter, the ideas herein, for the imaginative pieces of crunch and fluff. For the well-done conversions of spellcasting, which is hard to do indeed. But the quality of the writing fluctuates hard and there are quite a few relics here. This conversion had the chance to set right all the small (and large) glitches from the HotJO-pdfs and let the chance slip. The thing is: I really, really liked this project. I put $60 down for the patronage, tried to help with the conversions as much as my schedule allowed. I proofed as much as I got, chapter-wise, and as much as my time allowed. I’m dedicated to this project and it could have been one of the best Pathfinder-releases ever.

 

It could have.

But as a reviewer, I have never let the likes of such problems slip and won’t start now, no matter how I’d want to. As much as it pains me, in spite of the glorious ideas, in spite of all crunch that teems and bristles with ideas, I can’t rate this higher than 4 stars – with seal of approval, though.

If you want to supplement Jade Regent, check out the setting or simply scavenge ideas – here’s the link to OBS to check it out!

Endzeitgeist out.

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About Endzeitgeist

Reviewer without a cause