The infamous Book of Erotic Fantasy, by Valar Project Inc., was unleashed upon the d20 community back in October of 2003. Arriving on the heels of the 3.5 revision, it made waves for how controversial it was regarding the depiction of its subject matter. It was called everything from innovative to a terrorist attack on gaming itself. After almost four years, however, the waves have subsided, and the BoEF has quietly faded away. Thanks to White Wolf, however, it is available for download, letting it rest in your hard drive if you couldn't bring yourself to put it on your shelf.
The Book is a fairly large download, weighing in at almost seventy-five megabytes. It's one hundred ninety-three pages long, counting from the front cover to the back. Luckily, in addition to its table of contents, there's a very nice set of bookmarks to let you zip around it. A scan of the print book, it has no Optical Character Recognition, so you can't search for specific words or cut and paste.
As mentioned, this is a scan of the print book, meaning that all of its considerable imagery has been preserved. One of the BoEF's major points of pride was that all of its illustrations are of real people (and things), which had oftentimes been photoshopped to add fantasy effects. It's worth noting that a significant number of these pictures contain at least partial nudity (there are a lot of topless women, for example) and several have full nudity. That aside, there's nothing truly hardcore here; people embracing while naked is as wild as it gets, so don't go looking for explicit porn here. Between the pictures, the page borders, and how quite a few pages have colorized backgrounds (to make them look like parchment), this book will be very difficult to handle if you want to print it out. Unless you've got a top-notch printer and plenty of ink, you may be more in luck trying to find the print book instead.
Unlike the few other d20 books on sex out there, the BoEF takes itself seriously. There's no crude humor here, as it covers not just sex, but related themes such as love and marriage, with a no-nonsense tone. This is a refreshing change of pace if you've read the other d20 books on the topic, and lends itself surprisingly well to the Book's aims.
Divided into seven chapters, the first one covers the idea of love and sex in your RPG. A purely fluff chapter, this one goes over the basics of how much you want to include these topics in your RPG sessions. Things such as the topics of homosexuality, sexual taboos, marriage rites, as well as how various alignments and creatures think of sex, are all covered. There's quite a bit of good advice here, ranging from using the movie rating system to cover how you handle sex in your games, to examples of how even lawful good characters can have wild sex lives (all of the alignment discussions have a short piece of fiction; the one for lawful good is a female paladin hooking up with a female bard).
The second chapter is the opposite of the first in that it's all about the new rules. The core of this covers the new seventh attribute: Appearance. Possibly the most important change it makes, this stat divorces one's physical beauty from their Charisma entirely, letting Appearance be the key stat for several skills, among other things. Following closely behind this are the rules for sex. Yes, you read that correctly: rules for sex. All prurience aside, this is measured in two ways: by how long you last before you become too tired to continue, and by how much you pleasure your partner. The former is basically a Constitution check, while the latter depends on your skill check in Perform (sexual techniques). This segues nicely into the section on new skills (and new uses for existing skills), followed by sections on STDs, pregnancy, crossbreeding, new feats, and more.
Chapter three covers new classes. Three new base classes are introduced, the imagist (a divine spellcaster who draws on beauty for their magic), the kundala (a monk-like character who seeks to perfect her mind and body, and can also cast a few divine spells), and the tantrist (basically a sex mage). A dozen new prestige classes round out the chapter, covering everything from the Harem Protector (who're always eunuchs) to the Dominator (which is exactly what it sounds like) to the Sacred Prostitute, and others.
Chapter four covers magic. After presenting spell lists for both the new classes and existing classes, it moves right on with over seventy-five new spells. A new descriptor is given for a number of them: Sexual. While some are exactly what you'd expect from this book (such as Seduction, which makes the target immediately want to have sex with you) others are less overt, such as Kiss of Life, where you bring the target back from the dead with a kiss. The book also covers sexual uses for existing spells from the SRD. There's also a very interesting sidebar on magic, legality, and morality in your game. Is it rape if you use a Charm Person on a married woman to convince her to have an affair with you? Depending on your game, these can be important questions.
Chapter five deals with new items and equipment. Of course, it opens with various sexual items, ranging from a kit to help a mid-wife with a pregnancy, to things like dildos and ball gags. It also covers aphrodisiacs (which are like drugs, but not addictive), birth control devices, and even sexual services (e.g. how much do the really good prostitutes charge?) before moving on to magic items and artifacts.
The subject of chapter six, titled Gods and Monsters, is largely self-explanatory. It introduces six new deities which cover everything from faithful marriages to sex in all is forms to an evil demigod of rape and dominance. The thirteen new monsters have a surprisingly number that seem meant for PCs, such as a few templates with only a few powers but make your PC sexier (e.g. if you want to be a catgirl, play a female character with the Felid template). Oddly, several of these seem to be weaker, more specific versions of the half-fiend template (there's one for half-demons and another for half-devils). The remaining few cover cherubs, pleasure golems, greater succubi, etc.
The last chapter deals with more direct sexual hooks for your game. One hundred brief ideas for sexual adventures are covered, ranging from things like the king declaring all marriages absolved, to a blue dragon breeding with an orc tribe because he wants powerful half-dragon servants. Three organizations are then given: The Order of Unseen Lovers (spellcasters who periodically get together to have an orgy while invisible), Damio's Companionship Service (a high class call-girl operation), and the Seekers of the Eternal Sensation (a group always in search of new stimuli). Sadly, none of these new groups have the basic organization stat block given for them. The book then closes out with an appendix giving the Appearance scores for all of the creatures in the SRD (save for psionic and epic creatures), and a list of the new monsters here by CR. Finally, there?s a short What's New comic from Phil Foglio.
Overall, the Book of Erotic Fantasy not only accomplishes what it set out to do, but it does it well. There are some rough spots mechanically (the greater succubus could use some errata, for example) and in terms of writing (the new organizations seems fairly lackluster). But all in all, it brings sex to the game without feeling like it's ashamed of doing so. Covering everything from questions of how sexually prevalent do you want your game to be, to new items and options for your character, this is the single best d20 resource to turn to regarding this topic. The Book of Erotic Fantasy is the answer to the question of sex in d20 Fantasy.
<b>LIKED</b>: This product handled itself in a very mature fashion, and presented a number of new rules and points of thought regarding the nature of sex in your d20 game. It is, hands down, the best book on the topic out there.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The monsters chapter could have used more variety in it. Templates for characters are nice, but there weren't that many sexual monsters (and some, like the greater succubus, weren't that good - she seems like just an advanced succubus with an extra power or two). Also, the last chapter could have stood to include even a brief sexual adventure, rather than just adventure hooks. The organizations introduced there could have been more diverse, with an organization stat block. Finally, there really should have been a printer-friendly version.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[5 of 5 Stars!]