Those out there who still have a soft spot for Chaostech will feel very comfortable with #30 Fleshgrafts. This PDF, 17 pages in total weight (2 ads, 1 cover, 1 OGL, 1 credit, 1 intro letter and 11 pages of new material) introduces us to a whole new way to enhance and augment our characters under the Pathfinder system. Opening with a letter of correspondence between Pers Veilborn and Owain Northway regarding an encounter Owain had with a fleshgrafted individual, the letter presents the book to us as Pers' notes and research findings on the subject matter. Interestingly enough we see the Tamar people again mentioned, as well as the plague of black rain that befell their kingdom, driving them out. Fans of the #30 series will recognize this from the #30 Traps for Tombs PDF.
The PDF follows the standard dual column format with a framed page. Formatting was good save for one instance upon page 8 two extra blank lines seem to have been left in the middle of a fleshgrafts description, breaking the text. Grammar left me with nothing to complain about. The PDF is bookmarked to the level of types of fleshgrafts (claws and fangs, wings, skin, etc) as opposed to the individual fleshgraft, but as there are anywhere from three to five per page, this works just fine.
The art, a mix of B&W and color, and ranging from ok to really disturbingly good (that cover piece for instance had me at a loss). I like art in an RPG book, I feel it is a necessary component, but several of these pieces did not seem to have any connection to anything in this book, and therefore felt as if they had been added simply for the sake of having art.
What is a fleshgraft? Fundamentally, it is a magical item that (for the most part) will not take up any of the magic item slots, as they become an extension of your body, and are therefore not something you wear or carry. We are given a back story on where and how the first fleshgrafted came into being, and the art of grafting that sprang from those first unfortunates. We're also presented with the necessary feat (Graft Flesh) as well as a new Spell Flesh Culture; cause bits of dismembered flesh to grow or expand. (used by fleshgrafters in preparation for grafting). And, if all of that wasn't enough before we even get to the grafts, how about a freaky new familiar option? The gibberer. Think gibbering mouther, but smaller, and less dangerous. Fleshgrafters use them to grow organs and parts, much like we grow ears on mice.
Abyssal Barb: Bebelith claw, grafted to grow from the back of the host's hand
Leech Maw: Forms a Leechlike Maw from the jaw and mouth of the host, granting a bite attack, as well as the grab ability.
Retractable Claws: sprouting from either fingers or toes, treated as natural weapons.
Choker: A tentacle bonded either to a host's back or shoulder that can make a secondary attack. A single creature can host up to six chokers.
Mantid's Claws: Host gains two claw attacks from two mantis limbs attached to the midriff.
Ocean's Grasp: Two tentacles, per arm, joined just below the elbow.
Tattered Wings, Wings, and Wondrous Wings: Each level grants better flight, better speed, and a much better overall look for your character.
Spinneret Glands: Silk spinning organ of the size and type possessed by giant spiders.
Spitter: Acidic breath weapon and limited resistance to acid attacks.
Troll's Gland: OK, gross in concept, but very cool in practice. Causes an area of boils to appear, that when lanced will give the host troll regeneration like abilities.
Eyes of Arcane Sight: Replaces hosts eyes, allows a limited usage of the arcane sight spell.
Eyes of Insight: Replaces host's eyes, allows for visual detection of good aligned auras.
Eyes of Truesight: Replaces one eye, allows for limited usage of true seeing spell
True Seeing Eye Dog: Swap an eye with a pet, and gain sight limited access to sight from the vantage point of the animal.
Abomination: Third eye, grafted into center of forehead, gives bonus to intimidate and can generate an effect similar to the fear spell.
Cock's Eye: For x amount of times per day, can cast flesh to stone
Creeper Peeper: Milky white in coloration, this eye gets grafted to the inside of your wrist, and will allow one to see perfectly in darkness.
Eye of the Abyss: Has a fear effect, as well as the ability to affect a target as per the spell insanity.
Greypatch: A patch of skin from an undead, useful in bolstering hide from undead attempts.
Hides: Ac bonus ranges from +1-5, resembling the animal from which the hide was adapted.
Skin Colony: A grafted section of skin from another race or creed. Upon activation, the skin forms over your entire body, making minor cosmetic changes if need be (pointy ears, hair). Allows for disguise bonus checks, and can be scrubbed off, or allowed to simply fall off after a certain time.
Ugothol's Mask: By inserting flesh from a faceless stalker into a host's face, they gain some ability to stretch and change their facial appearance.
Angel's Blood: Am calling foul on this one. Cool idea, but not a fleshgraft. Essentially an infusion, or potion, comprised of a good aligned outsiders blood that will give anyone the capacity to “test” as good for a set amount of time in regards to all effects within game that target or benefit a good aligned creature. Really cool idea, but so not a Fleshgraft.
Bullheaded: Cause everyone, at some point in time, has wanted minotaur horns...admit it.
Chatterer: Turn your torso into a gibbering mouther (ok, not really, but pretty close).
Gills: Breathe like a fish.
Slider: No, not White Castle burgers, become amorphous and malleable for a set number of rounds, great for getting under locked doors.
Wandsleight: Literally store and activate your wands from inside your forearms.
Waterborn: Take on some physical characteristics of an aquatic race and gain bonuses to swim.
From there we are given a full stat write up for the before mentioned Gibberer, and are introduced to the organization the Wardens of the Darkened Heart. Also in this section are two full NPC's, showing off some of what can be done with the fleshgrafts. Unfortunately, these NPC's suffered the same editing issue that has left me baffled in regards to both of them. I'll let the PDF speak for itself on this one:
Hajen Po, Lesser Warden of the Darkened Heart
“ He serves the Wardens as a spy and resident fleshgrafter in Questhaven. Her responsibilities include ensuring ….......”
“Hajen has a third eye grafted in the center of her forehead that allows him to intimidate and terrify.”
Kril'ana, Prisoner of the Darkened Heart
“When her father was captured, the boy, now 14, was sentenced to hang...”
“...to prepare him for some more difficult missions, they enhanced him with fleshgrafts. She now has .....”
Now, both statblocks say these NPC's are male, but the gender changes constantly throughout all of the text, there are quite a few more instances beyond what I have quoted here, and that's just sloppy.
Final thoughts, I like the idea of the fleshgrafts, and there were several here that are really cool, and would enhance a game session immensely. However, the issue of the art, as good as most of it is, very little of it feels like it's connected to the material within this book, even the cover piece (which is excellent) feels like more of a tribute to the artist Brom then anything else. And the formatting and editing errors, I am inclined to give this work a 3.5, rounded up (but only because of the excellent material that the fleshgrafts themselves are) to a four star rating.
[4 of 5 Stars!]