Items Evolved: Oaths
What is it?
Items Evolved: Oaths, is a 10 page pdf, with content covered from pages 3 through 9. Layout is a standard two column with each item section nicely organized in a standard format.
Graphics is minimal, limited to the gorgeous cover art, a rune-covered strip down one side of each page, and a couple of magic items on page 4 (7 of 10). Text, fonts, and whitespace go easy on the eyes; no squinting reading this supplement!
The requisite OGL license fills out page 10. There is no backcover.
What's in it?
Items Evolved: Oaths covers magic items. Each item has a short, but specific, background, and powers that deal with oaths, a prominent theme in the Land of the Diamond Throne.
There are ten magic items. Each are broken down by name; price (with item level); what body slot it occupies; caster level to create it; aura, or what it'll radiate under a detect magic spell; how to activate the item's powers; and weight.
Then there's a brief description of the item. Lore tells what skills/abilities are appropriate to find out the item's powers, followed by the discovered information. Tied to this information is Object Loresight. As the author explains at the beginning of the pdf, this list provides details on important NPCs and/or locations, AE races, and Rite Publishing's upcoming Rituals of Choice adventure path.
The Abilities section discuss the item's powers. Finally, Prequisites and Cost to create outline what it takes to create the item.
In my opinion....
The items are interesting and unique. The Olive Branch of the Dove-pledged, for example, adds a bonus to its wielder's non-damaging attacks. The branch was created in the Citadel of the Dead Gods, an actual location in the Land of the Diamond Thrones. This immediately provides both an adventure hook and tie to AE rarely seen in most fantasy rpgs today.
Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well, since it makes it more difficult to drop an Evolved Item in a non-AE campaign. GMs who wish to do so will either have to ignore the Object Loresight information or replace them with their own history. I think the Design Notes could have covered a bit more on how to use the items in either kind of campaign.
I would have loved to seen more illustrations of the magic items.
The layout is beautiful and, more importantly, easy to read both on-screen and printed. The pdf is color printer-friendly as long as one excludes the cover page.
So what's the verdict?
I have mixed feelings about this product. Arcana Evolved campaigns will love the items, so linked they are to the unique setting. Non-AE campaigns, though, may not benefit as much unless either the GM is willing to adapt them to their campaign or use Items Evolved: Oaths as a source of ideas. For the price, a buyer can't go wrong.