By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Rite Publishing is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving 13 pages of content for the new badges of faith, so what exactly are these badges?
The badges take up the amulet slot and have a passive power that is active when worn. To fully realize the badges’ power, though, the user has to sacrifice a certain amount of gold and do a minor task (called Actualization) and finally, a quest to fully access its powers, called Investiture. Divine spell-casters with access to the domains corresponding to a worn badge get additional domain slots and the spells are heightened without increasing the spell slot. If, however, a transgression against the respective badges’ concept occurs, the wielder loses access to the badges power and is cursed.
The badges per se are an interesting concept, offering a scaling class of items, combating magic item inflation, that additionally has the potential for being a nice adventure motivator, as curses (transgressions CAN happen, after all we all know players are sometimes a bit absent-minded and the twists of fate may be cruel indeed) and the 2 steps to fully unlock their powers lend themselves to inspiring quests of their own. The benefits granted by the badges feel appropriate for the respective domains and the presentation is concise and the manifestations are actually quite cool – the Tempest’s Badge for example manifests a little rain cloud over the caster that rains down and later deals electricity or ice damage.
The pdf closes by adding information on how to enchant badges with an additional natural armour bonus.
Editing and formatting are very good – while I noticed minor glitches, none impede my ability to understand the content. Layout adheres to the 2-column, full-colour RiP-standard and each badge has the respective actualization, investiture and transgression-information prefaces by the respective word in italics, making for easy to read entries. All the badges come with construction requirements, information on slot, price, etc. and the pdf is fully bookmarked. These badges lend themselves to adding to the variability and different feel of divine casters with different domains, features improving abilities and said abilities are interesting and thankfully _not_ bland. That makes a lot of the things I look for in magic items in one category. Also, e.g. the alignment badge is ONE entry instead of four, making sure that no bland cut/copy/paste-job for the 4 wastes precious space – commendable! However, I felt that something was missing, namely a specific badge or combined badges, something I’d definitely love to see in a sequel. As written, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 – congratulations to Michael Welham!
30 Badges of Faith is available from: