Legendary VI: Legendary Armor
By Thilo Graf
The sixth installment of Purple Duck Games‘ excellent series for PFRPG focuses on magic armor and clocks in at 33 pages – 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 1/2 pages of SRD, leaving 28 1/2 pages of content for the new magic armours, so let’s check them out!
In case you’re new to the series, the pdf explains how these items work – essentially, in order to use these items, you have to fulfil certain criteria. If you do, however, you’ll see them improving in strength and powers over the levels just as you do. That being said, after the last “Legendary…”-installment has provided my personal favourite equipment-book of 2011, this treatise on armours has a doubly hard standing – after all, unfortunately armours tend to be less “sexy” for players than weapons, even though they are just as essential. A crucial difference of this installment and previous “Legendary…”-titles is that the items no longer cap at a +5 bonus, becoming epic artefact-like treasures befitting of high-level heroes. While your first reaction might be a scoff, let me assure you that balance is still kept and that I welcome this decision, as it both eliminates unnecessary design-restrictions and also underlines the legendary nature of the items herein.
Contained herein are 15 sets of original, legendary pieces of armour, each of which comes with its own b/w-artwork by Tamas Baranya and I have to comment on this – the artworks rock! Take e.g. an aquatic plate with a toothy fish-mouth-style helm. Neat! What’s also neat is that each of the armours comes with an extensive background story that runs the gamut from classical themes of unrequited loves to snobbish princes turned just rulers and dragon hunters becoming prey of their draconic nemesis.
Even better, each and every one of the armor’s stories has a built-in hook that just might hint at the supposed location of it and how it got separated from its erstwhile user and remain generic and easily inserted without becoming boring reads. Formatting-wise, the individual sets feature lists that depict their growth in power up to the 20th level, fully detailed information on their individual abilities and write-ups of their special qualities, as several new ones are introduced herein.
To give you an example, let’s take the first piece of armour, the Assassin’s Chain: Once the armour of a ruthless killer, said man got a taste of his own medicine when a brotherhood of assassins targeted and killed his family. Vowing vengeance, not even death could stop the killer and, once all his foes had been taken care of, he finally died, leaving behind an armour that may hide you from even blindsense, tremorsense and similar abilities at the highest levels, making you an apex predator among men – but is fate willing to grant you the armour? The thirst for vengeance that guided its first possessor, is it inherent in the armour or just a coincidence?
Beyond the rules , the fluff serves as excellent supplemental material to further invoke a sense of mystery, purpose and determination underlying the individual armours that serves as a guiding principle of making what is contained in these pages a remarkable assortment of items, not only from a crunch-perspective.
Editing and formatting in the revised version are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s 2-column b/w/purple-standard and is printer-friendly. I already commented on the neat artwork, especially for this low price. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and, as all PDG-releases, takes up surprisingly little space, making it viable for mobile devices – something I felt I should finally comment on. I have truly nothing significant to complain about – classic armours of dragonhide go along-side exotic ones of bulette hide and even silks and the individual stories and crunch complement each other to a degree seldom seen, providing hooks and iconic tales that can easily be woven into just about any campaign. Seeing my lack of complaints, the excellent quality and the low price, I’m going to settle for a final verdict of 5 stars and with the revised version, I’m happy to add the seal of approval as well. Congratulations to author Marc Radle!
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