Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Brynhild Eirensdottir, the Shining Valkyrie
By Thilo Graf
This latest instalment of the FotTS-series from Rite Publishing is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page credits, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 9 pages for the three incarnations of Brynhild.
As is the usual procedure in the series, this pdf begins with one page of aptly-written prose on the background of the character, a sidebox on how to best use her and information on dreamburning.
In the by now time-honored tradition of Rite Publishing and this series in particular, we get a very complex, multi-templated NPC, whom, in order to understand, we should dissect:
Minor spoilers ahead, players might want to jump ahead.
One of the templates is the mithril-clad template (CR+1 ), the template that (ironically) tarnishes Brynhild, for she obtained it from a devil who still can cash in his payment for the favour.
Brynhild is an aellar elf, a rare type of winged elf and the race gets its racial traits presented as well: Aellar get +2 to Dex and Int, but -2 to Con, low-light vision, elven immunities and the aellar ancestry from another excellent book by RiP. Irt should also be noted that Brynhild utilizes the mixed mystery oracle archetype, which is also included herein. Oracle? Yep, our stalwart, honorbound valkyrie is actually an oracle with the curses of haunted and tongues, but represented in a way that is both unconventional and imaginative.
Her low-level CR 6 incarnation, Brynhild the Merciful, is thus clad in the template, but lo! And behold, her mid-level incarnation once again starts to show the imaginative interweaving of templates I’ve come to enjoy so much in these pdfs: The “Enchanted” (CR +1) template is added to her, as are levels – here, she clocks in at CR 13 as Brynhild Eirensdottir, the Iron Swan.
Her high-level incarnation also gets the immortal-template (CR +1) and boy, Brynhild Eirensdottir the Shining Valkyrie, is a terrible beauty to behold, both her b/w-artwork (though I’ve seen this one before), but mostly due to her CR 20-statblock, including cool abilities like turning into a fiery, positive energy elemental. She also gets access to the Mystical Healer feat, two new spells and 3 items, though you might know the spells “Cleanse of Alcohol” and “Discern Health” from RiP’s excellent 101 0-level-spells. The items are Robes of Renewal, greater and lesser and a helm that features a deathwatch and status-effect.
Editing is top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. The same holds true for formatting. Layout adheres to RiP’s classic b/w-two-column-standard. The b/w-piece of artwork is nice. The pdf is extensively bookmarked.
Brynhild is a VERY interesting take on the Valkyrie-trope – she is a healer, but one that may irk the players due to the tendency of enabling fallen warriors to fight again. Her carefree enthusiasm is contrasted starkly with the implied taint of her infernal-babbling fits of rage. I really like that particular duality, as well as the idea to use the mithril-clad template in conjunction with the metal mystery. Brynhild is a great character that might be utilized in a plethora of ways, as ally, adversary, annoyance or sponsor any combination of the mentioned. I really liked this instalment of the series, though, as a healer and a rather interesting take on it, certainly was not too easy to design. Nevertheless, I slightly preferred the last three instalments, some of which also provided a bit more content. Given that there’s nothing wrong per se with Brynhild, she still remains an awesome addition to your campaign and sans any true gripes and with only personal preferences to go, my final verdict will be 5 stars – Well done, once again!
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Brynhild Eirensdottir, the Shining Valkyrie is available from: