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#30 More Manuals of Improvement (PFRPG) $2.95
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#30 More Manuals of Improvement (PFRPG)
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#30 More Manuals of Improvement (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/24/2013 02:51:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This sequel to the first collection of 30 manuals is 21 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

As has become the tradition with Rite Publishing's supplements, we get the crunch herein framed by an aptly-written frame-narrative before diving into new manuals for permanent character improvement. Before I go into some examples, here are some worthwhile facts about them: Each of the books comes in at least two iterations, most of the time actually three - elementary, advanced and expert levels, all with the necessary GP-values, upping the ante of how much bang you get for your buck - there are much more than 30 manuals in here! Furthermore, each type of manual comes with its own fluff-text to introduce you to the matter at hand, making for a better reading experience than most crunch-heavy books without bloating it.

Whether it's metamgic feats, blind-folded combat, superb contortion - there are quite a few of interesting options hidden in the pages of these tomes - if you can meet the e.g. spellcasting or skill-rank prerequisites to properly digest the contents offered. Now I'm aware that the bonuses are supposed to be significant for 20K Gold books, but honestly, some of the skill-enhancing books herein are simply too strong for my tastes - By studying a manual on body language for 72 hours over a minimum of 9 days, a character may gain a +10 (!!!) competence bonus to sense motive that stacks with previous iterations of the book.

And yes, 10 ranks in sense motive are required for that particular example, but still - that's a doubling of the capability in that field and even before the additional benefits (vastly improved understanding of secret messages), that's a tough one to swallow - at least for me. Especially since both craft and perform are among the skills also covered via these manuals. And yes, an advanced rogue talent, a style feat or improved dragging capabilities strike me as better balanced than these massive skill bonuses, which unfortunately are mirrored in various manuals.

In fact, the respective manuals to net combat maneuver-themed benefits (either via feats or further enhancements of the respective maneuvers) strike me as less significant, even though Pathfinder is a bit stingy with these resources.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's full color two-column standard and the pdf comes with nice stock-art that fits thematically well the content of the pdf. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I usually tend to really, really like offerings by Mike Welham, though this one leaves me with doubts - the manuals herein have interesting effects, yes, and I like that they promote PC growth via research instead of contributing to the Christmas Tree-syndrome. That being said, I'm not wholly comfortable with the massive bonuses some of these books tend to net: Yes, magic items may also net such massive bonuses, but they also occupy a slot - and for the respective price of these items, they confer permanent enhancements. And yes, while bonus types tend to limit the amount of stacking possible, still, I'm left feeling slightly uncomfortable with the bonuses these manuals deliver - not because they're broken per se, but because they are so...significant. An item doubling what otherwise is a rather scarce resource just has this knee-jerk reaction of me going "OMG" -even when it is not wholly justified. Taking some careful deliberation (and time - there's a reason my reviews tend to take some time), there are several magic items that actually do more and could be considered just as powerful. Still, the fact that the benefits are no longer tied to physical objects that can be broken or taken away means that the manuals, per se, can be considered more powerful than their item-counterparts - which again, leaves me feeling slightly uncomfortable with these manuals, in spite of the control a DM has on item-flow. Especially for rather low-powered play, these can present some potential issues when inserted into the complex equation that is a character.

Still, on the other hand, the manuals herein will quite probably, thanks to prerequisites, rarity and at times, rather ingenious additional benefits, find some thankful groups where their impact is most cherished, bringing down the total amount of necessary magic items - for these groups and especially rare magic settings/play-styles, these manuals are a godsend and absolutely gorgeous - and should definitely be considered 5 stars...for said rounds. Hence, I will stick my verdict in a middle-ground and arrive at a solid 4 stars - a good supplement, if not one that will fit the play-style of every group. DMs implementing it should definitely take heed regarding bonus types, since they are a limiting factor on what can be stacked.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#30 More Manuals of Improvement (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 04:03:56

This is the good stuff. A type of add-on book that can lead to completely reconsidering magic items in your setting. Getting away from blandness, the tomes and manuals offer bonuses, but require study, sometimes lengthy study over an adventurer’s career for multiple tiers of granted bonuses and abilities. They allow bonuses and the shaping of a character that has collected any of these magical books (and meets the pre-reqs to unlock the higher abilities). They are confined to specific areas, and there is no “get better overall” book. By default, they are for one use, so no passing them around the party so that everyone has the same bonuses. A DM could of course change this as need be.

A dm can pass these along to a heroic player that has earned a special type of bonus by defeating a specific foe or dungeon. These manuals could be used to improve a character in an area a player is focusing upon and to be perfectly tailored loot, or, they could be used to ensure some players are a little more skilled for something coming up ahead (then spread a few of these into the loot for a party).

I would just go 4/5 stars for a well executed product, but I especially liked some of the books, and the fluff and bonuses that go with them. Examples of the books that I liked are: Ride Out! Which even summons a docile mount and of course improves riding abilities.

Tapping into your Life Energy, which sounds very much like a self help book, but boosts ki points and grants really powerful bonuses to ki users.

Lastly, There Goes Your Sword, which is naturally about disarming and grants some massive bonuses with expert study.

For gunslinger players, there is The Way of the Gun (which reminds me of a chapter in Lone Wolf and Cub), there are also books for spellcasters and druids. Mostly though, it is highly useful for melee classes and skill users looking for a specific edge.

With added humour, nice illustrations and well-thought out items to grant bonuses, I give this product 5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 More Manuals of Improvement (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/07/2013 11:21:53

Do you tend to cast an eye over the bookshelves whenever you enter a room? Start sprinkling a few of these tomes around any place your characters visit and you will soon find them always checking out the books anywhere they go.

'Manuals of Improvement' are no mere self-help books. Any character who puts in some study time gains a small magical bonus related to the topic of the manual he's been reading. Some are of use to anybody, others will suit characters of a particular class.

Melnor, the Second Class Sage of Questhaven, has compiled his own notes to go with each Manual presented here. Each also has a description of its appearance, assessment of its worth and full details of the benefits gained by careful study. These benefits are divided into elementary, advanced and expert categories with more profound benefits available to the more experienced and knowledgeable (i.e. higher level) characters. The requirements for manufacture are also included.

The areas you can study - should you come across the right manual! - include climbing, blind fighting, and the delightfully entitled "Field Splenectomies and Other Surgeries Your Opponent Does Not Want" as well as magic, swimming, thief skills and combat tricks.

Definitely worth a look, there's something for just about everyone here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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