Originally posted at http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/3-
INTRODUCTION: Cultists of Havra Zhoul is a very interesting twenty-seven page fantasy supplement that is fully compatible for Paizo’s Pathfinder roleplaying game and with minimal modifications and can be compatible with other fantasy rules settings. The evil cult that is introduced in this supplement can be easily inserted into any fantasy gaming setting.
CONTENTS: This PDF contains a lot of great information for a DM to use when it involves the use of a cult or any other extremist religious conclave. The contents are very impressive by providing new monsters, new spells, new magic items, new templates, and a new witch archetype. There is also a whole section dedicated to this cult and its formation to include its Dictum, goals, values, beliefs, enemies, and its allies. There are a bunch of fleshed out NPC’s specifically designed for this particular supplement but can also be used in other adventures as the DM dictates. On top of the all of this are some neat adventure hooks that will assist the DM in integrating the information in this supplement into an existing campaign I must add that all stat blocks are included for all NPC’s and monsters that are described in this PDF. All in all, a lot of new information that is easy to read and well designed.
PRACTICAL USE: In the past two weeks, I utilized this entire supplement to the fullest extent and found it to be extremely enjoyable and it provided a good 47 hours of fun for a my group of play testers. There is no doubt that this supplement will provide more hours of entertainment for those DM’s who will utilize it in a different manner than myself. So, with that said, this supplement will provide to a DM a huge source of information on a religious organization (cult) that provides great benevolent services to the masses but when people are asleep, their true dark nature is then revealed. This cult has hidden agendas and in order for them to come to fruition have to continue to function under the false guise of a good religious order. Now, as one continues to read the goals of this cult, it could be understood that the cult is not evil. However, “culling the weak” so that only the strong survive, can be interpreted in only so many ways. The new monsters are brilliant. The NPC’s were well described and full of life. The use of this PDF is just endless.
POSITIVE NOTES: Cultists of Havra Zhoul is an excellent supplement and it provided more fun then I anticipated for the play testers hence the long awaited review of this product. I was very amazed at how the play testers were so quick to assume that the “cult” was actually a good organization until very much later into the game where one of the players actually tried to be a member. The adventure hooks were a total plus. This PDF is well organized, has some very good art contained within, and is certainly a DM’s treasure trove of what an evil cult is all about. This product has limitless potential and can be supplemented in any campaign as a driving force for players.
NEGATIVE NOTES: My only issue was with the format of the PDF. As I have stated on a previous review of a product from this company, I found it needlessly difficult at times to utilize it in a way especially on a laptop. Due to the large amount of information contained in this great product, I was forced to print it out to utilize it more effectively then the way it is presented in its PDF format. When the document is opened, you will see both page 1 and page 2. In order to read page 2, I had to move the slider over to read it. Now, if one is not too careful, it was easy to slip down to page 3 and 4 and then one has to reorient the PDF to read it again correctly from the beginning. Get rid of this format. When I open a PDF, I want to see Page one, then slide down to page 2, then again to page 3 and so on. When you have a format that shows both pages like an open book, it is difficult to work with it on a laptop or an IPAD.
OVERALL REVIEW: Due to the fun at the expense of the players and my extensive playtesting, I found Cultists of Havra Zhoul to be an EXCELLENT product. Besides the issue with the PDF format, this is a must for any DM who needs a fully fleshed out evil cult for their fantasy games. Rest assured, this product will be on my shelf for future use.
[4 of 5 Stars!]