There is something inherently intriguing about the femme fatale. She is a figure difficult to render as a believable character yet most satisfying when accomplished well. Poignant and free-willed, Belladonna is a character that will provide players much enjoyment and their PCs much frustration in the Tarnished Souk. Belladonna has a secret, more than one, and not all her own. She earned these secrets like the scars across her soul and heart over the many years she dwelled in this place. She began her stay in the Coliseum Morpheuon as a slave. Now, she is a power in the Tarnished Souk. As the hostess of the Souk’s most popular tavern, she knows everything about anyone that is worth knowing. It is a certainty she will immediately seek to find out all she can about anyone new, like the PC’s. Yet her greatest power is not her knowledge of the secrets of the Souk, it is the nightmare itself. For some, Belladonna is their worst nightmare.
As with all of the Face of the Tarnished Souk, Belladonna has three builds at different levels. They include shapechanging and other abilities related to the Taskshaper class. Note: the Taskshaper class is found in a separate supplement by Rite Publishing, but it is not absolutely necessary to run Belladonna. All the needed information to run her is found in her stat blocks. Also included are special feats, such as the essential seduction feat that she uses to affect the reactions of those around her. She comes with her own set of magical items.
In addition, and this is worth the price of admission all on its own, a fascinating array of magical libations fulfill the exotic desires of the denizens of the Tarnished Souk; from Ambrosia, nectar of the gods, to Roggut Whisky, to the official beer of the Coliseum Morpheuon: The Wise and Eternal Khan’s Chimeric Beverage of Ten Thousand Enlightened Victories. In all, there are eleven magical beverages for your use or manipulation to fit within your own campaign.
As has also become typical of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, there are new templates, the Nightmare Creature and the Nymph Child. What is not included is the NPC mentioned as having a close personal relationship to Belladona, Le Loup Solitaire. This NPC is found in his own edition of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk. He isn’t absolutely necessary, but his presence does fill out a bit of her background and story. I heartily recommend if you purchase this supplement, you get the other one as well. As a pair, their story is that much more meaningful and has an important part to play in the landscape of the Tarnished Souk.
I have come to expect the typical high standards for character concepts, builds, interesting new feats, spells, templates and the like, out of Matt Banach, Justin Sluder, and Rite Publishing in their Faces of the Tarnished Souk series. Though there are a couple of minor editing errors, none detract from Belladonna’s usefulness and fascinating story. With highly appropriate art sprinkled throughout, Belladonna does not disappoint. She earns a 4.5 of 5 stars from me, rounding up to the full five for a fascinating character concept full of roleplay potential.
[5 of 5 Stars!]