|30 Badges of Faith, an 18 page PDF breaking down as follows; Cover, OGL, Credits – 1 page each, Ads – 2 pages, leaving 13 pages for the actual material. Formatting follows the standard dual column format, and grammatical errors, if there were any, didn't catch my eye. This entry into the #30 series continues the feel of old school art with the cover piece, and no, that is not a bad thing. Interior artwork is both B&W and color, and ranges in quality and styles. There are no truly bad pieces, but a few of the public domain pieces are getting to the point of over exposure, not that I would hold that against this book.
To be honest, I wasn't exactly sure what this book was offering when I first noticed it, and that more than anything intrigued me, so allow me to clarify for others wondering just what a Badge of Faith is. Usually taking the neck slot for magical items, the badges are a means by the various churches to garner interest in the worship of the deity. By seeding the world with these badges, and waiting for individuals to find and learn to use them, the various churches continue to spread the influence of their gods. Each badge grants abilities upon initial contact with a wearer, usually in the form off a bonus to either a skill or an ability, occasionally to atk or dmg. Now, for most characters residing within a fantasy setting, this would be enough to turn that item into their lucky charm, would it not? Well, the longer you hang on to said item, and take the time to get to know it, the better its going to be to you, as more abilities open up once the item has attuned to a wearer. There are two levels of this period of getting to know each other, if you will, the Actualization and the Investiture. Each stage requires a certain set of requirements be met before achieving that level of boons from the badge. These requirements range from things as easy as inflicting the broken condition on an object with at least 15 hp to rescuing 26 HD worth of creatures in a community in a single encounter.
Now of course, no church is going to hand over something of this much potential power without some form of control, right? Right. In the case of the badges of faith, a wearer participating in a transgression loses all benefits of the badge, and depending on the badge walks away with some pretty sever punishments as well. Each badge has a defined set of transgression that will not be tolerated, as determined by the deities the badge would be associated with. And, just to top of the oops I screwed up sundae, if you transgress while wearing a badge after you have actualized or invested the badge, the associated god is aware of your transgression, and you run the risk of incurring their wrath as well. So, play nice.
Essentially in the end, the book offers up 30 scalable magic items that will only get more powerful if your players cooperate. And excellent item to introduce to a gaming group to help encourage role-playing in my opinion, as it will be buy the player's own actions whether they are able to keep the boons of these badges or not. Brilliant. My only true complaint, and I am fully aware that art costs, and that's why we don't see more of it, but even a small drawing for each, as opposed to a medium drawing for some would of gone a long way towards enhancing this product.
Final tally, all thoughts weighed, giving this a 5 star, as an interesting manner of putting a scalable magic item in the hands of players this book delivers very well.
[5 of 5 Stars!]