The following pre-release review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30768.
The Secrets of Adventuring offers a host of new insights and options for your characters to make your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game feel new again! The sourcebook brings you new tools to help you create the type of character you want to play without breaking the game.
Now for this review, I am breaking formatting protocol intentionally. (To the inevitable serious displeasure of my Editor)
But! I do this because, this sourcebook may or may not be published when this review debuts. Currently, this product is being pre-ordered in a bundle setup via Cubicle 7 Entertainment (at the Paizo Webstore) which means for one price you get both the PDF and printed copy. The copy I received is only the PDF copy, so I did not get the opportunity to review the printed copy. I state this, to let my readers know that I am reviewing simply on the content and the digital format and that the printed item may vary, but probably not by much.
Also, this review will be incredibly long, so before you dig in, I wanted to give a short version of my review for those who are still on the fence about buying this product or not. That being said, here we go!
Overall, I think this book has wonderful things to add to the Pathfinder RPG System. But those of us who are used to the traditional formatting of RPG books, may have a little trouble navigating it, which could frustrate some. Also, the price of the book for the content that you receive may make you wonder what you paid for, but don’t be deterred (please note that prices of printed books from Cubicle 7 Entertainment are set by Cubicle 7 Entertainment and not the publishing studio). If you are looking for material to add to your classes and campaigns in 2013, this is definitely a product to consider investing in if you like what you read in my review below.
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The layout is clean and simple. Someone has been reading my reviews, and the bookmarks are spot on! Which makes navigating this rather big book a lot easier! The entire format is done in black and white which will be nice if you plan on printing it out. The artwork, while nice, is rather huge and sometimes takes whole pages and adds to the page count. But it’s done with the mission that it separates sections and chapters, which I can also appreciate.
Ease of Mobility: The downside to this product is that digitally it’s HUGE! So transferring and navigating through mobile means is incredibly cumbersome. Now granted, this digital product is formatted for print, so I won’t hold it against them too hard, but it would be nice to have a formal version and a mobile-light version for those who buy the bundle pack. Another thing I should mention, that if you are a Paizo diehard, and are used to seeing your books in an organized format such as classes/archtypes, feats, traits, spells, etc, this book doesn’t quite have that format. They are all lumped together with the main class, which makes navigating through for one specific item a little harder. With the bookmarks in their proper place this time, it significantly makes this a lot easier.
Mechanics: 8 out of 10
My big thing about this product is that it is being advertised as something that “Enhances the game, without breaking the game.” But frankly, after looking at all the feats, mechanics, spells and archetypes, this product is built to break the game. A plain cleric or gunslinger from Paizo’s designs in comparison to the options provided here are seriously different and in some cases ruin the mechanics of the RPG. Now this isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something to consider if you plan on mixing the options between a Paizo core class and these core classes. Overall it’s not a terrible product, but it’s hard to make the two of them sync.
Value Add: 9 out of 10
Now this subject takes a little bit of a hit. So this product is currently at press time valued at $34.99 and being sold as a Print/PDF bundle. But $35 bucks is a little bit of a high price for a product that is mostly a compilation of a lot of works they have already published. Perhaps if there were pregens or other options that were added on to give a little more new OOMPH! to the product, I could see the price tag being that high. Granted, you have printing costs, but I’m still seeing a price gap. (Again, the pricing is set by Cubicle 7 Entertainment and not Rite Publishing.)
Now if you have some extra cash to spare and you are a fan of Rite Publishing and their class options, then this is something you should consider getting. It’s not a terrible product, and if you haven’t already committed to some other big 3rd party buy-in (Yes, I’m looking at you Pathfinder Online Kickstarter Supporters..) then this is something to take a look at.
Overall: 8 out of 10
Overall, this isn’t a bad product, it’s a good product. But this isn’t a cheap product, so make sure that when you get ready to purchase this product, you have the cash to drop. If not, I would recommend waiting until the PDF-only option becomes available.
[4 of 5 Stars!]