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Ponyfinder - Kind Blades and Cruel Divinity
by Customer Name Withheld [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2018 20:59:34

Kind Blade and Cruel Divinities is a stand-alone novel set in the Ponyfinder campaign world. A self-contained story, albeit with a potential continuation teased at the end, it tells the tale of a young human male training to become an adventurer in a nation of ponies. Unsurprisingly, adventure ends up finding him.

Before going any further, I need to make a disclaimer: I’m a supporter of the author’s Patreon, as well as having ghost-written a small portion of one of the Ponyfinder sourcebooks. I’ve also used some Ponyfinder material in the course of my own creative writing. All that, plus I consider the author to be a friend of mine. So take this review with whatever grain of salt you feel is appropriate.

With regards to the technical aspects of this book, it’s available in three formats; my review is focused around the PDF format only. In that regard, the book is one hundred seventy pages long (which makes the listing for one hundred thirty rather odd), and doesn’t seem to have the cover art attached for some reason. There are exactly three illustrations to be found, all of supporting cast members, rendered in grayscale. There weren’t any bookmarks here, which feels like an oversight, as it would be helpful to jump from chapter to chapter. But enough technical details, let’s get to the story!

Kind Blade and Cruel Divinities is the story of Christopher King, a young man who’s just journeyed to Viljatown, the capital of the Pony Empire, to enroll in their adventuring school: the Academy of Kind Blades. Told in the first person, we spend quite a bit of time following along as he trains at the Academy, getting to know both the ponies around him and what it means to be an adventurer. Both lessons are thrown into sharp relief as he goes on his first adventure where, appropriately enough, things take an unexpected turn that leads to more than he bargained for. I won’t say anything about the specifics of the plot, save that it gets into the “Cruel Divinities” part of the title.

The character of Christopher King is presented as something of an alternative to what you’d expect from someone actively looking to become an adventurer. Rather than being the brash, ambitious type, he comes across as someone much more reserved, almost to the point of being hesitant. He wants to be an adventurer, but doesn’t seem to have any particular goals beyond that (indeed, when it’s hinted that he’s destined for greater things, he’s less than thrilled). Analytical without being intellectual, his narration is presented in a tone that can border on being stilted, highlighting how he tends to be reactive rather than proactive. Although he’s no fool, Christopher comes across as someone doing his best to manage his circumstances, rather than trying to take control of them; after enrolling at the Academy, he seems content roll with the punches (sometimes literally)…until, perhaps, the very last page, hinting that we’re going to see some character growth if there’s ever a sequel book.

On the flipside, the protagonist’s major flaw isn’t one of character, but one of meta-character. That is, Christopher doesn’t quite function as a “stranger in a strange land” that new readers might require him to, if they’re not already familiar with Ponyfinder. Because Christopher himself is from a town with a mixed population of humans and ponies – along with his fairly passive nature – there are numerous background elements that aren’t expounded upon, and might not make sense unless you’re already familiar with the setting. For example, Christopher takes notice that the mayor of Viljatown is a cow rather than a pony, but when he points this out to other ponies they react with confusion, claiming that he’s mistaken and that the mayor is a pony after all. Why that happens (it’s actually a reference to the specifics of how the krava (cow race) integrated into pony culture, as per their game sourcebook) is never satisfactorily explained in the story.

That’s a flaw because the book quite clearly wants to serve as something of an introductory tale. We spend quite a bit of time following Christopher’s lessons at the Academy, which serve to walk us through the mechanics of how magic and certain other features of adventuring work. The characterization of the ponies around Christopher keep this entertaining even if you’re already familiar with the underlying game mechanics, thankfully. It’s just a shame that this same level of presumed ignorance wasn’t presented with regards to his four-legged classmates, since that’s likely to be the bigger point of uncertainty for those unfamiliar with Ponyfinder.

Overall, the story here is a fun one. Although it could have been stronger, the story manages to do a decent job of introducing readers to the Ponyfinder world while also taking them along on an adventure. The main character isn’t the sort of person you’d expect, but the story manages to lay down just enough breadcrumbs to make it clear that he’s going to become someone different as he continues to go adventuring. Given that, it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Kind Blades and Cruel Divinity
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
by Jacob K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2018 23:52:06

I came to this book after a long time of seeing friends sing its praises, so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. For those of you who don't want to read the full review, the gist is that this is both a great setting and a great book of player options, whether or not you are already a fan of the series that inspired it. If you are, this facilitates all the pony adventures you could want.

The many racial choices presented are well balanced, with a couple of notable exceptions. Pegasi have the ability to fly from level 1, which can be an issue to some lower-powered groups. Similarly, the large-sized Anteans could unbalance things. The cursed Clockworks are notably underpowered, giving away much for little return, so new players should beware (and should probably pick the Steelhearts, presented later). The feats and traits sprinkled throughout range from unexciting to quite solid, and none that I spotted were immediate must-haves or system warping options. I will say that the organization of the book was sometimes hard to follow, as different options are often grouped by time periods in the setting history or set aside for other reasons. Everything you need is, in fact, there, it just isn't always where you expect it to be.

Other than these few notes, everything else is quite well thought-out. The Fingerless rule and battle harnesses let ponykind characters participate in standard adventures easily, the class archetypes each have unique niches that could see useful play, and a great many of the feats are quite serviceable to multiple potential character builds.

I will say, however, that the real gem of the book is the extensive Everglow setting, which has a multitude of awesome locations, characters, times, events, factions, and stories for your players to be a part of. The gods will look familiar to fans of the series, but are well-presented and have fleshed-out personalities and appearances. A couple, such as the CE goddess of revenge and Pyrrhic victories, are handled quite differently from other settings and will probably end up imported into my other games.

There are quite a few towns and notable locations listed, and many of these have abundant adventure hooks included. The timeline also details the rise and fall of the great empire, showing where pony heroes could be getting involved in service to (or despite) the Queen.

I will note one other thing. The author, David Silver, is notably responsive to legitimate questions and criticisms, and has told me that he is actively working on another revision to fix numerous small issues (sigh as layout, bolding, or fine-tuning class balance upwards to match what he now knows as a developer) that have been discovered since the book was first published. I greatly look forward to seeing this revision, but do still heartily recommend this for anyone who likes the game or the show.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
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Ponyfinder - Everglow Bestiary
by Benjamin K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2017 03:41:03

The Everglow Bestiary adds a lot of fun options for creatures to use. A lot of them follow certain themes or settings and would be great in the right situations. My only complaint is that I would have liked an even larger variety of creatures to go with even more settings in Everglow.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Ponyfinder - The Unicorn's Crown
by Grey K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2017 18:49:35

The Unicorn's Crown is a great adventure for Pathfinder characters and a fantastic introduction to the Ponyfinder universe. 58 pages long, the story is divided into four acts.

At each stage, player choices are open and allowed to affect the shape of the story. Players are rewarded for portraying ponies who solve problems without being your usual Pathfinder murder-hobos, but if that's the game your players want to play the module has advice for NPC reactions to choices.

It begins with an investigation and RP heavy interview sequence. Players are rewarded for finding the information, but if they fail the story doesn't grind to a halt. Each stage has options for moving the story along even if the players fail at their missions. This is not to say that their actions do not matter - the world is designed to react and respond to them and how they shape it.

At the end of this first book, players are faced with a decision that will shape the Empire - it is entirely in their hands.

The situations and challenges presented in this story are acceptable to play with young players while not being dumbed down in any way and still remaining fun for veteran/adult players.

The art by Sita Duncan & Tama’at Studio is vibrant and beautiful, and my only complaint is wanting more of it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Ponyfinder - Everglow Bestiary
by David J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2017 16:53:39

For those with familiarity with the cartoon it is amusing to see the oblique references contained in "werebats", "gem gnolls", and "chaos ooze". The description doesn't lie. This book does contain more than a dozen creatures for Pathfinder and D&D 5th edition, depending how you count them, including one new race suitable for player characters. It gives stats for both so it's not a compact boo,k but it is a well organized one with good art so you can clearly visualize these critters. The evil griffon cult is particularly interesting as are the snake-people.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Ponyfinder - Blood of the Elements
by Ben D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 11:00:32

A nice book for a quick foray into elemental classing. 5 'elements', one of which works very well for merciful characters or in games where outright murder isn't the goal. Additionally, the class offers a pet option: the Elemental Guide, which functions as a short term summon and semi-familiar rolled into one. As a source for character flavor, or alternately a hook for the storyteller to bring in new elements, it's a nicely made book with enough material to add to, but not break, the session. From a mechanical point of view, there are a few great options, as well as a handful of rare/useless ones. Then again, variety is the spice of life and a clever or driven character can make use of even the most 'harmless' of things. The two most interesting options offered, in my mind, are the Elemental Pact of Love (which actively discourages killing or lethal intent) and the Swarm Elementalist (which summons a horde of tiny elements rather than a single being). Both offer interesting play options as well as character ploys with enough flair and benefit to make their respective weaknesses a tempting offer. Overall, a nice book with a decent enough variety to warrant the $6.99 price tag.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Blood of the Elements
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Ponyfinder - Day and Night
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 10:09:50

Bought this a while back, when it first came out. The great thing about it is that it adds a lot of flavor to the world without being simply window dressing. Includes both 'in-character' views as well as some external information to make the pantheon more accessible. That being said, it's not just filler, either. From a crunchy point of view, you get 13 feats and info on 4 dieties. There's the traditional cover, disclaimer/OGL, title page, and plug for other books (total of 4 pages, all considered) which leaves 11 pages for setting the mood and info dumping. And for $1.99, that's not a bad deal at all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Day and Night
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! I had fun with this book and the larger one it became part of (It's part of a bundle so you get your full 1.99 credit back for buying this, we don't want to cheat anyone for buying early).
Ponyfinder - Character Sheet
by Leanne C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2017 07:46:01

I'm sorry i cant recommend it, the layout is good, it covers everything you need with plenty of room to write all stats and abilities. I have no complaint having a detailed 6 page character sheet, but the color is too dark for printing in black and white and hard to adjust in photo editing programs such as Photoshop. When you are needing to print multiple copies all the time, printing in color, while it would solve the darkness issue, is simply not practical. For my campaign I think I'll just make my own sheets. Will edit my review if this is changed at any point.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
by Samuel C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2017 13:20:06

Fun. Simple as that. I got what i came for a detailed book for both serious and silly play with heaps of flexibilty and lore.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Laura H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2017 19:34:18

I backed the original Ponyfinder for the Pathfinder game and have since moved on to 5th edition therefore I was excited to get this version for the latter game. What a surprise! Not just a rules conversion for 5th edition, this volume contains information on the setting and Pony Empire , most of which was not found in the original rulebook. There is also a slew of completly new NPC writeups. Even some of the artwork is completly new and the art s much better formated in my 5th age PDF than in my Pathfinder printed copy.

My favorite bit is the character creation rules which give a whole new 'subrace' system for 5th edition. The method given is inspired and I am definatly going to use it in my own campaign world for a few of my own races.

The only downside was that the NPCs still lack stats but this is less of an issue in 5th edition than in Pathfinder as background and class give a much more detailed image of the character than Pathfnder's more 'number crunch' system.

All together a very nice product and one I will definatly get a print version of eventually.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2017 16:43:56

First off, it's well made, the art is beautiful, the formatting is better than some of the previous offerings, and there was an update BEFORE the book went to print... apparently correcting for some issues from the original pdf. All good points.

The idea is the same as before: add ponies to the world of the single most popular tabletop rpg of all time, in a interesting and functional manner. Do so without infringing upon copyright while simultaneously filling a gap that a huge number of people still desperately want. Oh... and update it to the newest version of that system: 5th edition.

Did it succeed? I'll wager that it did.

The setting fits into the darker and more adult nature of tabletop rpgs that most folks are used to, curbing the 'cute' factor in favor of adding play flexibility and system functionality. Abilities, spells and the like are all fairly well applied, leading to usable characters and entertaining stories. The figures and world lore allow for interaction with non-pony characters (the rules even outlining hybrids) from other races and, indeed, other books. Specialized equipment means you can expect a character from this setting to be viable in other games as well... despite a decided lack of opposable thumbs. It has a full pantheon of gods, a battery of spells and abilities, and appropriately added origins and backgrounds to fit with the setting. You could just as easily run a full pony-only campaign as a 'normal' group or mixed group... something that many other supplements and third party addons cannot claim. It does all this while still presenting an unmistakable "non-human" set of races that fits well into many a traditional fantasy/fairy tale.

That is not to say everything is all rainbows and butterflies.

There are a few issues that exist, at least in the print copy, that were absent in the original pdf. Oddly, this means that the update that fixed whatever problem existed prior to print, actually ended up breaking some other parts. These included ADDING typos into the final copy that were absent in earlier versions, truncating sentences, and presumably losing words or even more in some places. That's not to say that the update was unneeded -fixing a number of problems did presumably occur... but adding typos or cutting off paragraphs should not happen as a side effect. That's similar to a surgeon removing someone's tonsils and giving them a free tatoo that says "I heart Morm"... unrelated and not really all too helpful.

Let me be clear... The book IS beautiful. I am greatly happy it was made and pleased that I have a hard copy. I will praise Silver Games LLC and David himself just about any day of the week for the work he and his crew have done. Heck, if the pdf gets a shiny new fixing, I ~might~ even be willing to shell out cash for another hardcover. I just wish that the final product, the thing that went to print, the thing I put money down for, had been checked over a few more times before being sent to the printers... and ending up in my hands.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2016 10:32:23

So few things to mention, is that I actually backed the kickstarter for Ponyfinder: Dawn of the 5th Age and the cover art is actually of my characters. So kodos to the artist job well done there, though really all the art is really good.

Moving on, I really like how the races were done, particularly the physical and spiritual sub races of Ponykind though there are a couple I won’t make use of in my campaign. I won’t really say much on the Griffins this time around, I’ll wait until the Griffons of Everglow for that, but they and the other races turned out well.

I do like how the archetypes for the Pathfinder system were able to be converted into specializations for D&D 5e, it appears to have translated over well. Generally, whoever they may have turned to given this being a different system, it shows there was a fair understanding of the differences. Sighs, admittedly there may still be those that offer some complaints about the fact that the campaign has 1st level flying races but what can you do?

Really, great job in converting this first book over for those who have never played Pathfinder so newcomers can still enjoy this setting, whether they do or do not know the inspiration for its creation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2016 12:37:19

I purchased this book when it was first written for the Pathfinder RPG. Back then, there weren't any other things written for it, but my kids and I enjoyed it immensely and I wrote many adventures for it and adapted some of the other PFRPG adventures written for the Golarion setting.

Going through this book and making characters for it gave me a sense of the depth and quality of the work itself. I made 3 characters: a cleric, a wizard, a bard and an archer. Three races were used: earth-bound ponies, unicorn ponies and a flutterpony. Overall, using the familiar races, sub-races and spiritual paths were intuitive and easy to work into a character sheet using the 5e rules. The backgrounds were fantastic as always and there's a little more information in the setting than the original book.

The art is gorgeous, with some of the same being used from the original book, along with new art and what looked like new lore. The book is laid out well and is easy to read, following the 2 column standard that many RPG books use. Overall, this book is worth more than what I paid for it in the kickstarter (which includes the hardcover book that I ordered). I especially want to commend David Silver on organizing everything in a timely and well thought-out manner.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you very much! Believe it or not, the pdf is going to get better! A new version should be out within the week.
Ponyfinder - Children of Bones Hero Lab Extension
by michael t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2016 23:50:23

long time overdue re review, got it working love it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Children of Bones Hero Lab Extension
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Ponyfinder - Mining to the Sky
by Kris S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2016 00:02:19

I was expecting something like Paizo's standard Pathfinder Society adventure writeups, which present specific context for the setting, a mildly interesting quest-giver, some other hook, and a statement of the expected party level (not just on the product's Web page). Instead, we get some phrasing that seems both vague and awkward. For instance, before the quest begins there's this description of what you did after it:

"Damage to the site is to be avoided at all costs, though any trinkets you spotted in the course of clearing it out was yours to have. If you claim something and don’t want it, they will pay top rate (55% instead of 50% of market value) for, provided it came from this place in particular." (sic)

The premise of the adventure is that the PCs have been hired to clear out a probably-dangerous dig site for archeologists. How was this site found? Passive voice just says it "was thought to be a gentle hill", so there's no interesting backstory. Who's hiring the PCs? It's "the hirers", so there's no Paizo-style cue to help set the scene. Late in the adventure there is a named NPC who was one of these employers the PCs might've met, so if I were running this I'd revise it to present her in scene one to give the players a named contact with a personality of sorts.

It's also odd that these archeologists don't care if the PCs loot the place for valuables, which seems like it defeats the purpose. The oddity could've been fixed with some talk about "you can keep stuff after you let us examine everything you found!" All the more reason to give us an NPC for the players to talk to.

The PCs get attacked by bandits, who have claw attacks despite being ponies and not having any claw-like weapons. Are they connected to the endgame? I have no idea from reading the adventure. If they are, I don't see how, and if not, what are they doing there? When did they show up? It's a missed roleplaying opportunity that could involve bluffing and backstabbing, if given an explanation.

I feel this adventure needed another round of proofreading and some rethinking of its logic. Some of these problems would be simple to fix.

The positive aspects? It's nice to see Ponyfinder content. I do like that there's a special rule in play here (trying to limit collateral damage) and an encounter with something probably non-hostile. There's an event at the end that presumably leads to other adventures, though we're not given adventure seeds for what those might be and it says something about Everglow's history that may make players say "wait, this is canon?" You may find that good or bad.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Mining to the Sky
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Creator Reply:
Hello there, Thanks for the review! The entirely invalid rend has been fixed to require 2 hoof strikes instead of 2 claw strikes, that they don't even have. As for the 'is this canon?' part, grab Forgotten Past for more details on those things that I will not go into detail for sake of spoilers. Thanks again for the feedback, and happy adventuring.
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