Play a Faerie and a Dragon at the Same Time
Ever wanted to play a fairy or a dragon? Well, Jon Brazer Enterprises has come up with a way you can play both. Sort of. Don't think about it too much, but they're actually a half-breed of each race. The book explains how it's possible, and that it's actually based off of the actual faerie dragon itself, and another humanoid, such as humans or elves.
I'll admit that I was originally incredibly skeptical of this book simply because I wasn't sure that this would be a viable race. And to be honest, while I still don't, it'd be a fun ride if I was given this at a convention, or playing a high fantasy campaign. That is of course if my GM allowed the race in their campaign. This is specified at the beginning in the disclaimer that GMs might not use everything, but I'd certainly hope they would. The pdf is apparently Hero Lab compatible with a free download available for those that get this pdf. This is a great benefit to GMs and players alike.
The one thing that immediately grabbed my attention when I was first skimming through it was that layout. It's got a great set of bookmarks and a very easy to follow Table of Contents. Lately, 3rd party products have been either skipping this altogether, or it's incredibly vague about what details you'll be seeing. It was nice to see that these guys took their time with this product to make everyone happy.
As you read through, you're invited to visit the world of the half-faerie dragon, and gain an insight as to how their personality might work. There's a brief short story that introduces you to a captured half-faerie dragon, and he goes on about how it was a big mistake, only to reveal later that it really was his own fault for what ended up happening, but to please rescue him. I found this rather cute, and actually compelled to want to see how this played out in an actual scenario with my own PC meeting this NPC half-dragon. That's a sign of a good writer.
The art, while infrequent, is wonderful to look at. Kudos to the artist and colorist. I actually found the line art in the pdf itself to be more of a visual grab than the cover itself. It's probably because there's more tendency to show off the different looks and styles a half-faerie dragon might have, and that not all of them look the same, just like standard half-dragons. This is complimented by the very extensive descriptions of how they look, standard ways of parentage, variances of appearance, etc. It also includes the typical hair clothing styles.
Now, let's get into the actual race itself. Is it that great? Well, to be honest, I wasn't a fan of the stat bonus and penalties. It's... interesting, but there's too many. You gain +2 to A, B, and C, but have -2 to X and Y. What, no Z too? I guess I can understand why they are what they are, but still. Having that many stat bonuses and penalties to remember makes it overly complicated. It's also very limiting for what classes you're going to take. Being small size, and having a penalty to both Constitution and Wisdom, you're not going to be the front line fighter, and you're not going to be the divine caster unless you're an oracle. And because of their incredibly random personality (i.e. they basically personify chaos), the chances of you being a paladin are going to be even less. This is essentially confirmed by the description of their society and personality. Now, does this mean you can't be one? Absolutely not, you'd just be the black sheep of the race for doing so. However, the write-up on religion makes one wonder how often one would be a divine class anyways. Which is ironic considering they have both cleric and paladin as favored classes for gaining bonuses.
One thing that stands out about the race though is their breath weapon. It's a gas that while titled "euphoric" actually causes you to be staggered, sickened, and feared. Given the name you'd think it'd be the equivalent to something like Hideous Laughter, but apparently not. While they have butterfly wings, they can't fly with them. At least not without a feat and 7 HD. They also have Prestidigitation as a spell-like to add to help aid them when pulling pranks. It's not hard to see why so many races don't really care for these guys.
This book is fairly extensive in what options it gives you. It's almost standard to have it added in nowadays, and these don't disappoint. They have their own bonus traits to choose from, alternate racial traits that you can swap out if you're not a fan of what's in the original write-up, favored class options, racial feats, clerical subdomains, new spells, base class archetypes, and prestige classes.
When you get this pdf, you're immediately introduced to the fact that these little guys love apples. Like, LOVE apples. If your GM allows flaws in their game, take Addicted: Apples. It's like showing a crackle something shiny and sparkly. It probably helps that the legend of their deity ate a golden apple and became a god. I'd probably be inclined to do the same thing. You never know. It also gives you full details on their society, religion, arts, courting rituals, what technology they might have access to, their hippy style love over war (never a bad thing), aging, their grand history, languages, deities, and economy, just to list a few things. There's even a way to implement them into your particular campaign, various locations that you can meet them, and even pre-written NPCs that you can introduce your party to. The guys at Jon Brazer Enterprises spared no detail in making sure you, the reader, are fully involved in their conception, and this race has been around for a very long time, and will not be going away any time soon. To everyone's delight, I'm sure.
Before I continue, I just want to say that I love, love, LOVE the Dappled Theurge prestige class. While it saddens me that it's so hard to gain access to, it's quite worth it. At least to me personally. It pays tribute to one of my all-time favorite arcane prestige classes from 3.5, the Ultimate Magus, from Complete Mage. This allows you to have both a prepared arcane caster and a spontaneous caster go up the same as the Mystic Theurge does for the arcane/divine casters.
The archetypes aren't half bad either. The sorcerer bloodline that you're given is one of the better ones that have been presented to us in both 3pp and official Paizo books. If you're anything other than the half-faerie dragon or a regular faerie dragon, you need this in order to gain access to the prestige class I mentioned above. Thankfully the bloodline itself is worth taking even if you're not taking it specifically for the Dappled Theurge.
The feats presented in the book compliment the race nicely, regardless of how you're building the character. There seems to be more options if you're playing the original race, and don't take alternate racial traits, but there's still something for every version of the race. It's nice to know that you're not penalized.
It's a little light on the equipment, but again there's still a little something for everyone. There's one particular weapon, the laughing blade, that I'm a little confused on. It's not explained why it's called that. Maybe because it counts as cold iron so you laugh at fey who think they're immune to it? Or maybe because it's a martial weapon to the half-faerie dragon, but an exotic weapon to everyone else? No idea. A little insight into this would have been nice. The magic items aren't half bad. I liked the descriptions of the artifacts that were presented. If the GM wanted, they could make entire campaigns around locating them, or protecting them from the outside world.
While there were a few snags here and there, overall, I was much more impressed by this product that I ever thought I'd be. This just goes to show that you can never truly judge a book by its cover. If you can use this in your campaign, whether current or future ones, I recommend getting this.
[4 of 5 Stars!]