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Annals of the Archfiends: Phosonith the Cruel Charmer $1.99
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2012 07:42:45

This pdf is 9 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving 7 2/3 pages of content for Phosonith, so let's check out SGG's latest series!

Phosonith the cruel Charmer is an arch-devil, and one that epitomizes the duplicity in men - essentially, Phosonith encourages duplicitous behavior and hypocrisy: Lying about empathy and putting on a charming façade to hide a cruel and selfish heart - subtle and cunning evil is embodied by this particular lord of hell. Phosonith's background history and his rise to power among the cruel and unforgiving hierarchies of hell are detailed extensively and a new domain, the duplicity domain, is included for his cultists. Advice is also provided for the DM to portray beautiful and deadly Phosonith and extensive information on how to rp the archfiend is included in the deal as well as his beautiful CR 22 statblock, which includes thankfully signature attacks and abilities and 2 pages of information on his hellish and surprisingly tolerant trade hub, the city of Ess. Twelve sample locations are given for the city and most of them might make for at least an interesting sight, if not an adventure hook in and of themselves.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG's full color 3-column standard and the cover-artwork is BEAUTIFUL. It's a pity we don't get a one-page version to print out and show to your players! The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length needs none. Phosonith is a great archfiend in the tradition of KQ's archdevils or the by-now classic Demonomicon-articles, but nevertheless, this pdf unfortunately feels like it lacks focus: The background story of Phosonith is great, but no information is given on how to treat him in combat. While information on his cults and worshippers are given and the new domain rocks, the section nevertheless feels underdeveloped and lacks e.g. ways to identify worshippers, methods or a sample cultist. The same lack of focus can be seen in his city: Ess features some nice statues, I get that, but we don't get a map of the city and have no idea on the general layout of the city or how the non-evil populace and the devils interact or why e.g. good-aligned people would willingly go to this hellish trade-hub. All in all, Phosonith brims with great ideas, provides a cool archfiend, but fails to deliver the utter sense of awe I encountered while reading the comparable write-up of Morithal by Clockwork Gnome Publishing. Were it not for the latter, I would probably be more lenient with Phosonith, but seeing how high the standard has been set for comparable books and the way in which dark cults and their leaders can be portrayed, I'll settle for a rating of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3. Mind you, this is still a good buy - it could have easily be excellent, though.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Annals of the Archfiends: Phosonith the Cruel Charmer
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