Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/07/20/review-faces-of-the-tarnished-souk-brynhild-eirensdottir-the-shining-valkyrie/-
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Brynhild Eirensdottir, the Shining Valkyrie is a 14 page PDF, including cover. Like the rest of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk line, this book is a character study for a Pathfinder NPC. Though they are written with Rite Publishing’s Coliseum Morpheuon setting in mind, I found Brynhild Eirensdottir to be a character that could be dropped into a straight Pathfinder game with ease. I must admit that reading this book definitely piqued my interest in the Coliseum Morpheuon setting, which seems to take place in the Plane of Dreams.
The cover is a very striking black and white drawing of Brynhild. This same piece is repeated within, alongside a pretty amazing shot of Brynhild battling a dragon. The general design work is nicely executed as well. I suspect it might be a bit too ink intensive to print, but I am an ink miser.
At its heart, this book has one thing to offer: Brynhild Eirensdotter herself. She is a winged elf with a variation of the oracle class. For the players, she can function as a mercenary spellcaster. For the game master, Brynhild really shines as a potential story catalyst. It is easy to imagine her offering her services in exchange for legwork and questing on the part of the party. She is not tightly attached to the Coliseum Morpheuon setting. In fact, she would be at home in any city in your campaign setting.
As far as rules go, there are three variations of the Shining Valkyrie. At CR 6, Brynhild is a powerful ally. At CR 13, she is a force to be reckoned with. At CR 20, she is, for all intents and purposes, a goddess. The included rules for her race, the Aellar Elves, are balanced enough that I could see allowing a player character to use it, though your mileage may vary. If your campaign can handle the occasional winged elf, then the this book is worth the cover price for the Aellar Elf race alone. The Mixed-Mystery Oracle archetype is an interesting take on the under-appreciated Oracle class and is quite useful. By taking on an additional curse, a Mixed-Mystery Oracle gains access to a second mystery. While not an archetype that will pop up in every campaign, it is interesting enough to find a use for. There are five magic items, none of which is game-breakingly overpowered and could be slipped into a game with or without Brynhild. The Enchanted, Mithral-Clad, and Immortal traits are the least useful rules material included, unless the GM is really shooting for hard to kill NPCs or enemies. That said, a crafty GM can find uses for them that make sense for their campaign.
Ultimately, the value of Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Brynhild Eirensdottir, the Shining Valkyrie is dependent on how eager the GM is to use the winged oracle
[4 of 5 Stars!]