The latest thing in the PDF world is to take one item or spell and to delve as much into the analysis of it as you can, diagnosing every legend, nook and cranny. Adventure Essentials: Holy Water is the first in a series of books taking this concept to the world of the mundane adventuring items.
Holy Water is 7 pages long and focuses only on Mundane (though that is debatable) item of Holy Water. The book is well laid out with colorful art that would make excellent handouts. You find out quickly that seven pages dedicated to one item provides a lot of good generic fluff. The first three pages informs us of the history of holy water and then dissect the ingredients that make up holy water, settling the debate as to whether it is just a normal prayer or a bless spell. The next few pages lay out different variations of holy water, from mundane to magical.
Normally, I thoroughly enjoy material like this. By analyzing one item, you become a better player as it teaches you how to use your wits instead of your 5th level spell slot. However, instead of telling me about tactics for normal holy water, it begins to introduce variations of holy water, thus making me believe that normal holy water must not be essential enough. This detour from my expectation of the product was slightly disappointing. That is not to say that the variations are not good, they can be quite useful. But my hopes was that the product concentrated more on the original Holy Water.
For the Player
As said, there are some pretty nifty variations of Holy Water. The Water of Health is a cheap way to stop those pesky energy drains and water of solitude should be helpful against any creature whom is constantly summoning reinforcements.
For the Dungeon Master
If you are looking to tone down the magic in your campaign a tad, a few of the new magical variations of holy water can be substituted as treasures in your campaign. The Aspergillum is a mundane item that sprinkles holy water like the peppershaker at an Italian restaurant. The Mace of Heaven is a weapon form of the device.
If you do not want to add more items into your campaign, you could always apply the tweak that I did and say that performing the required spell for the special items even after it has already been turned into regular holy item still turns it into its enhanced version. By expanding the use of Holy Water to outsiders and demons, it increases its effectiveness.
The Iron Word
Whereas it does not offer any useful tactics for regular old Holy Water, it does provide some useful variations of the substance that, if kept mundane, can really add some non-magical alternative to your game. With a slight tweak, you could figure out a way to apply the tweaks to normal Holy Water.
<b>LIKED</b>: - the alternative holy waters are creative and not overpowered in the least. They are also inexpensive.
- the art is very nice for a $2 product. For that matter it beats some $8 and $10 products
- The history and creation of holy water is generic and effective. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: - There were no tactics provided for regular old holy water which was what i was expecting. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>
[3 of 5 Stars!]