This installment of Purple Duck games’ inexpensive series of experimental mini-pdfs clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, what are heraldric devices? Well, basically, they are add-ons to your shield. They are activated via command word and as a standard action unless otherwise noted. At a GM’s discretion, they can be added to heavy armor as well. Item Creation-wise, they are wondrous items and have no effect on their own when not attached to a shield. Cursed heraldric devices exist and cannot be simply removed from the shield.
So what do they do? Well, let me give you an example: The Bat-device nets you blindsight 40 ft for 10 rounds, usable 3/day. A cursed device may bite you and centaur-devices allow you to expand your movement rate a limited amount of times per day. Petrification added to shield bashes, spell-in-a-can effects, energy protection and 1/day fear or 1/day insanity…or what about unerring hydra-heads of force? Grappling tentacles? Hungry pits beyond the maws of purple worm-devices? Yeah, the effects are awesome.
It should be noted though, that the rules-language often deviates from the proper phrasing – when I read “as if the wielder had the Improved Uncanny Dodge ability (at the 8th level of skill.)” [Sic!] something in me cringes…hard.
Editing and formatting are good on a formal level; on the rules-language side, it is functional – you get what the text means and the respective wordings don’t sport problematic ambiguities…but if it can deviate from how rules syntax and semantics work, it does. So yeah, I did cringe a couple of times…but at the same time, I can’t really complain about any significant issues springing from said deviations. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games’ printer-friendly no-frills 1-column standard for the series and the pdf sports a nice piece of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Okay…this is an odd one. Sam Hing’s published work usually has a more precise rules-language. Still, know what? I actually really like the item-class introduced herein. The heraldric devices are unique enough and make sense…and they make shields more interesting to have around. In spite of the deviations from rules-language conventions, I couldn’t really help myself – I *like* this little pdf and I sure hope we’ll see more devices! Is this perfect? Nope, and I can’t rate it as highly as I’d want to – but for the fair price, I can still recommend to check this out. My final verdict hence will clock in at 4 stars.