By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Purple Duck Games is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages SRD, 2 pages advertisement, leaving us with 30 pages of content for new legendary items, so let’s check these out!
If by now you don’t know what legendary items and pieces of equipment are, you should definitely check out Purple Duck Games’ whole product range – they essentially are weapons, armours, shields and miscellaneous items that are not your run-of-the-mill magic Walmart-crap, but unique items that improve with your character-levels, gaining new and often unique powers. If you are familiar with the 3.5-book Weapons of Legacy by WotC, think Weapons of Legacy minus penalties and suckage.
All right, this general introduction out of the way, the items usually improve every second character level, though the first slew of non-combat items provided by PDG only had 5 improvement-steps instead of 10. Now how do these new ones hold up in direct comparison? Well, we’re off to a good start with an item so iconic I was actually asking myself why no-one bothered to do it before -we get an enchanted broom for witches! The Broom enhances flying acrobatics, improves hex-DCs and finally even allows witches to form coven sans hags. Very cool! It should also be noted that each item in this book is lavishly illustrated in full color, with the broom being no exception and looking rather awesome. The crusader’s banner, its fluff rooted in Prophyra’s NewGod-war, is also interesting in that its properties are a collection of knight’s pennon and lord’s banner-abilities – unique abilities instead of collecting several others would have been preferable, though – as written, the item lacks a unique signature ability that sets it distinctly apart.
Next is the Eye of Plaetius, a crystal ball that provides us with all the divinatory needs we’d expect to see (get it? *EZG puts 2 bucks in the bad pun jar*) and while its fluff is again interesting, the ball allows the user to combine e.g. telepathy and true seeing with scrying, which allows for nice gaslighting options for sadistic DMs. The item also grants access to the new “Sun’s Brilliance”-spell, essentially a lesser type of daylight. Now the Favor of Kalashi is interesting in all ways: This quiver not only comes with nice fluff, produces ammunition etc., it also grants the user the option to deal elemental damage and grants a pool of hunter’s points the bearer can use to temporarily enhance ranged weapons (even stacking on pre-existing plusses!) and add the equivalent of progressively better enhancements to the respective ranged weapons. Nice ideas, mechanically solid and cool. Neat!
We also get a flagon that starts off as a decanter of endless water and later allows its wielder to produce sweet wine or oil, and later even tidal waves and the summoning of water elementals. Two spells granted by the item are part of the deal – including the option to summon a fully statted water dragon that even gets a neat full color artwork. For campaigns in the far north, the boots of Giald should not be left under the polar bear-rug – after all, they allow the user to raise igloos and even castles of ice! Beware of Dwarven Ice Wights, though! And what about a hat of tricks that may later gate things and beings in?
There is also a sinister necromancer’s cauldron that may raise the dead (though its use should drive sweat to e.g. paladin brows), but where the items kick into full gear is with the Mechanism of Torl that kicks off as a new vehicle (again, with all required stats) and develops into two other vehicles, one of which is an apparatus of the crab and there also are special abilities. EPIC WIN!
The boots called Orphan’s Rise are all about acrobatics, agility, tightrope mastery etc. – and perhaps it’s me, but I immediately had a Dickens-style-story in the back of my head after reading the entry – beyond that, the boots are a godsend for catburglars.
There also are halfling gloves that deflect arrows and make all weapons return to the owner as if they possessed the quality. And then, there’s the Rod of Bound Chaos, which deserves special elaboration: Working as both a weapon and an improving rod of wonders, this weapon spans more than 3 pages with random enhancements beyond the versatility of the of basic item-classes it’s based on, all but ensuring that the weapon is not the same on any given day. Have I mentioned the vampire’s cloak that allows all the iconic vampiric hovering and flying and multiple bat-related abilities? Or the horn that can summon the legendary boar of the Great Hunt, Goldenmane?
Finally, we get a severed hand that improves hand-related spells.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s 2-column standard and the full color artworks deserve special mention – at this price-point, the items are rivalled only by LPJr Design’s Treasures of NeoExodus-line. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and it should be mentioned that it is relatively printer-friendly, sans background.
WOW! The Legendary Series never fails to satisfy my constant hunger for more of these neat items and this one in particular has some items that teem with creativity, iconicity and coolness without resorting to tried, true and boring territory. The mutable vehicle in particular is pure gold – every adventurer group should have one! Now while I’m still not a fan of the 5-level progression of many of these items, there also can be found several in here that adhere to the 10-level standard and thus, I won’t hold it against the pdf: Better 5 good abilities than 10 with a 50%-bland-quote.
I’m happy to report that this pdf fails utterly in being bland, though – instead providing us with one of the best instalments of the legendary-series released so far. Author Josh McCrowell did a great job and only due to the banner e.g. falling slightly short of what it could have been (it’s still good) will omit my seal of approval. My final verdict thus clocks in at a very easily given 5 stars and an all-out purchase-recommendation.
Legendary VII: More Legendary Items is available from: