By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 19 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving 17 1/3 pages of content – quite a bunch, so let’s check this out!
So, what exactly are those relics? To put it simply, the relics contained herein are magic items that increase their prowess over the course of the levels of your character, thus, they essentially grow with you. If you’re familiar to the concept: They have essentially grown from 3.5’s legacy items and got rid of the penalties that made the latter unusable. The pdf opens with an extensive discussion on how to use relics in your game and also provides a 4-feat-chain to gain access to the powers of the relic, though the chain is optional and serves as an optional balancing factor for wary and conservative DMs – neat. After these considerations and alternate approaches, we are introduced to 8 sample relics influenced by real-world mythology – from the Aegis to the Gjallerhorn and the perhaps lesser-known berserker-blade Nageling, which is probably inspired by Dietrich von Bern’s blade Naglering, we get iconic, cool items that offer some kind of new ability at each level – i.e. the items have a20-level-progression just like your PCs.
The true masterpiece of this pdf, though, would be the rudimentary tool-kit presented in the last 3 pages that enables you to design your own relic-weapons. To provide further guidance, a sample weapon template is included in the deal to give you a better example of how to design such a weapon. I think more of these templates would have been useful to say the least.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’S 3-column, full-colour standard and the cover art is beautiful, while the interior art is ok b/w – nothing to write home about, though. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a pity. All right, I’ll come right out and say it: I’m a SUCKER for scaling magic items. I LOVE them. And the items in this pdf are iconic, cool and make me want to have them. They also provide a new ability each level, which is awesome. Even better, each of the items comes with at least one ability that is not only cool, but rather unique and tied to the item. Sounds awesome all around, doesn’t it? Well…yes and no. You see, Purple Duck Games has a whole series devoted to legacy-style items, the “Legendary…”-series. Some of the installments of said series feature original pieces of b/w-artwork for each item. While legendary items don’t offer an ability each level (here, the SGG-book is superior), they come with requirements (so not every dverp can use the items) and also feature background stories and lore-sections, something the SGG-book falls flat on. While these items feel like legendary treasures, they do lack this distinct quality, the story, the tragedy, the triumph that makes the wielder feel like being a continuation of one item’s legendary destiny. Furthermore, the items herein, while iconic, are, as far as I could tell, derived from real-world mythology and while I love the unique mechanic representations of their powers, I somewhat felt that they lacked more original pieces of equipment.
To sum it up: The relics per se are great, I love the diy-toolkit and would have loved to see that one expanded further. An ability each level is better than in the PDG-supplements. BUT: Each PDG-installment offers vastly more weapons/items/shields/armour, and provides lore and background story sections. Here, the purple ducks clearly win, especially with their latest offerings (Legendary IV to VI). How, then, do I rate this? It’s a good file, to be sure. It’s crunch is excellent, it’s by SGG, after all. But it lacks the spark that made me love “Legendary Armours” or “Legendary 5: Exotic Weapons”. The innovation of providing an ability each level and the different approaches are neat, but in the end, in spite of the excellent relics herein, I was left feeling somewhat dissatisfied. Thus, due to the stellar PDG-files, I’m “only” settling for a final verdict of 4 stars – a great resource for legacy-style weapons, but as written, it can’t hold a torch to the cream of the “Legendary”-series.
The Genius Guide to Relics of the Godlings from the Fallen Star is available from:
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