By Thilo Graf
This installment of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk-line from Rite Publishingis 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 9 pages of content for the 3 incarnations of Xoti, so let’s check them out!
In order to understand the character featured herein, we have to first acknowledge his race – Xoti is a mahrog, a subrace of humans that is the chosen people of a goddess who consciously rejects progress for a more primal lifestyle – hence, the mahrog have other racial traits, which are included in this pdf. The other aspect about Xoti you have to understand is that he is a mighty godling, as per SGG’s by now legendary class-supplement. That means he is a direct descendant of the goddess who, in his opinion, stifles and stunts the potential of his people. In order to truly bring progress and enlightenment, he seeks all the pleasures and sensations the Tarnished Souk has to offer in a never-ending Dionysian revelry. A consummate playboy, Xoti may be an ally to the pcs, but bear in mind the words of Goethe – “You can’t carry the torch of enlightenment through a crowd without singing some beards.” – Xoti is an exile to his own race, but one who very well may one day transcend into divinity.
His low-level version starts out relatively tame as a CR 5 mahrog mighty godling. His mid-level (CR 12) incarnation adds another 6 levels as well as the cunning template and finally, his CR 19-incarnation adds another 6 levels as well as the fascinating creature template. Xoti utilizes a variety of different items, one of which, the Angel Plate, features two new magical item properties. He is also seldom seen without an extremely potent elixir of healing, his gauntlet of smiting and his morningstar of retribution, while his robe of actions ensures that he is not caught completely off-guard. The godling also uses a feat and 4 dream-related traits are included in the package.
Which brings me to the fluff – as has been the tradition with the FoTS-series, the first page offers information on dreamburning rules for the character as well as advice for the DM on how to use Xoti. And he should be used – reading through his selection of abilities again, I can only gawk at the vast amount of options available to this godling and a mean grin forms on my face. While not as hard to touch as Khufursis, access to bloodline arcana abilities and revelations as well as other godling abilities ensure that Xoti is a tough nut players probably don’t want to try to crack. And if they do, you have a variety of options available – each of the 3 incarnations also has 3 variants in addition to the main version of his stats: The (also included) simple templates Resilient (CR +2), War (CR +2) and, more complex, fortune-blessed (CR +1) templates are included along the fascinating (CR +1) and Cunning (CR +1) templates to provide for variants of Xoti and the new preservation domain is just the icing of the cake.
Editing and formatting are very good – apart from a very minor tab-glitch, I didn’t notice any problems. Layout adheres o the classic rune-border b/w-two-column standard and the artworks are stock. The pdf comes with bookmarks. Xoti is an excellent character and an instance of cooperation/usage of content by other publishers that is a joy to behold. While you don’t need SGG’s Guide to the Godling to use this pdf, I strongly encourage you to buy it – the pdf is worth every cent. That being out of the way, Xoti is perhaps one of the most versatile characters in the whole series in terms on how he can be used – the line between ally and foe are blurred and he might make a good example of either. Moreover, the character is complex in a question his very existence poses – is it wise for him to bring civilization to his people or is he perpetuating what could become their undoing in the grand scheme of things. Can a form of racial ignorance, enforced by a divine edict, be bliss? And if his people associate this ignorance with divinity, how can he hope to succeed his divine mother and convey how divinity is not necessarily a lack of progress? In the hands of a capable DM, a prolonged interaction with Xoti might yield some hefty philosophical questions. Or, well, you could play him as a kind of playboy who is all about Dionysian revelry and nouveaux frissants, perhaps to counter a kind of existential boredom. In the end, it’s up to you and that makes this NPC great. I do have some minor gripes, though: The last page of the pdf is mostly empty – space that could have been used for more content. Which also brings me to a recommendation for the whole series: Rues-wise, there’s nothing to complain about (and while I would have loved for this one to feature a legacy-item like Khufursis, I get why there’s not one in every FoTS), but one page for the fluff and background sometimes feels a bit short. Especially due to the expertly-written in-character prose we sometimes see in other RiP-publications. Adding short PoV-narratives, perhaps by him or one of his fellow revellers, would have been the icing on the cake. Note that this is complaining on the highest level, though. I hope to see more FoTS-entries with “Renegade”-classes. My final verdict will be 5 stars.
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Xoti, the Usurper is available from:
So what do you think?