By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Raging Swan Pressis 31 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside the front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advice on reading stat-blocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 22 pages of content for those touched by the celestial realms – let’s check them out, shall we?
The second in Raging Swan’s race-centred supplements details the noble Aasimar. The discussion of the assimar begins with the obligatory fluff (aptly-written, btw.) as well as age, height & weight tables to provide us with the basic attributes and racial traits of the assimar. In the tradition of the Dhampir-supplement, we also get 8 alternative sets of attribute-modifiers to represent aasimar from e.g. Jyoti, Triton, Archon, etc. bloodlines. In order to balance the additional flexibility of these attribute-modifiers, it is suggested to make a trait obligatory – neat option for Dms like your truly who are very conscious of balance. We also get 11 different alternative skill-sets depending on ancestry and 11 alternate spell-like abilities to choose from. While I like this customizability, DMs and players should be aware that the respective abilities are supposed to be explained by the aasimar-bloodline, so wild combinations might lead to strange ancestries. I’d personally be rather strict about it.
After these basic pieces of information, we delve into aasimar and class-relations, alternate favored class options for bard, cavalier, cleric, druid, inquisitor, monk, ninja, oracle, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorceror and summoner. We also get a new cavalier-order, the order of the beacon (a kind of hunter of the evil forces, ok rules). The clerics get 4 new subdomains (Couatl, Elysian, Jyoti and Triton), monks get the Fist of Heaven archetype (rather boring, gain good-aligned unarmed strike etc.) and two alternate paladin bonds.
We also get 7 new feats to be taken at first level that help further customize your aasimar, 7 new traits and a whole page of distinguishing features that range from exotic eye-colors (glowing and normal) to glowing hands, halos, scales and feathers etc. The table rocks and if you’re hard-pressed for a certain aasimar background, 12 sample backgrounds are provided that actually make you want to play an aasimar from the background.
The second part of the pdf contains sample npcs, who all get the full NPC-treatment, i.e. not only contain full stat-blocks, but also information on mannerisms, distinguishing features etc. More interestingly, though, is that most of the aasimar go beyond the holy crusader-trope and come with quite different background stories, ranging from Cr 14 to Cr 1/2.
In addition to the content of the pdf, we also get a one-page web-enhancement covering foo-blooded aasimar, garuda-blooded aasimar, kami-blooded aasimar and finally peri-blooded aasimar, including 4 variant skilled abilities and 4 variant spell-like abilities.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w-standard by RSP and the b/w-artworks are nice. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks and a version optimized for use with e-readers as well as a pdf with collated stats for your Raging Swan statblock library. All in all, I did enjoy this particular pdf – the abilities, backgrounds etc. are neat, modular and interesting and while they in and of themselves are not unbalancing, they demand a certain care from the DM to prevent abuse. I was a bit surprised to see not favored class option for the samurai in the book and enjoyed most of the options. The background stories and distinguishing features rock, as do the sample aasimar. All in all, I enjoy this supplement – it’s a great pdf for all people who want to play aasimar and I really don’t have any major gripes. Apart from one – at no time while reading this did I really think “eureka!” – the options are cool, they are aptly-presented, but none made me jump off my seat with excitement. Seeing that there’s nothing truly wrong with this supplement, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 stars.
Aasimars: Heirs of Glory is available from: