By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Purple Duck Games is 35 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page editorial/ToC, 3 pages SRD, leaving 30 1/2 pages of content, so let’s check out those scaling shields!
Legendary items are a concept I generally like – the scaling items, which combat commoditization of magical equipment and offer a way for players to get attached to and rewarded for using signature weapons et al., are in my humble opinion one of the best approaches to magic items. The first 3 instalments of the “Legendary…”-series have provided us with ample weapons and even with several neat miscellaneous items and while they all had their merits and come at very fair prices, they also had their minor points of criticism. So, how does Marc Radle’s take on shields hold up?
On the narrative side, the shields come with several interesting, yet easy to insert background stories and most of them feature some interesting twist. From the shield of good rulers (Sovereign’s Shield) which I somehow expected, over lycanthrope’s shields to druid’s shields that let you call Roc-like ravens at 20th level, shields that are rather geared towards paladins/cavaliers and even a shield for magi. Which is nothing new per se, but the series enjoys a definite improvement over its predecessors – the abilities tend to go beyond just adding standard qualities/ X times per day spellcasting/bonus feats, instead providing almost always at least one signature ability that is unique – especially the capstone abilities released at 20th level are often both ingenious and innovative.
It should also be noted that some of Rite Publishing’s stellar “101 Magical Shield and Armor Qualities” have found their way into the creation of these magic items, providing some neat qualities that go beyond the rank and file of magic item qualities. While all necessary pieces of rules-information are provided herein, I nevertheless urge you to check out the RiP-file as well – if only for inspiration. Rules-information is a nice cue, as the pdf provides reprints of the respective spells the shields enable you to cast, making the items comfortable to hand out to your PCs and the pdf easy to use. Where applicable, statblocks (e.g. for afore-mentioned giant raven) are provided as well. all in all, we get 14 nifty magical shields, all of which might find their niche in my campaign.
Editing and formatting are ok, but there are some glitches here and there: E.g. that the Sovereign’s Shield’s reprint of a spell features the text of Protection from Chaos, but the header of Protection from good. There also are some minor punctuation glitches and I noticed some wordings that could have been more precise. Layout adheres to the clean and concise 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks for the shields (also provided by author Marc Radle) are awesome and not something I would have expected at this low and fair price point. The pdf comes with bookmarks. The shields per se are nice additions to a given campaign and offer several iconic abilities that will enrich your game, both via their fluff and crunch. However, the minor editing glitches keep this pdf from being a truly stellar offering – as presented, it still remains a fair, cool purchase that is just short of being a 5-star-file. My final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.
The Genius Guide to Divine Archetypes is available from: