Pathfinder has been getting a lot of well-deserved buzz lately; with the release of a card game adaptation on PC, not to mention the recently released Bestiary, Paizo is really on a roll here. Today’s review brings you the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Adventurer’s Guide, which is chalk-full of rich factions in incredible detail so Game Masters can bring the most exciting content to bear in their games. The Adventurer’s Guide is less about factions and more about characters in the fact that all factions, with their own unique functions, are treated like fully developed characters complete with detailed back story and their own special beliefs. With its incredible attention to detail, the Adventurer’s Guide is a must-have for any Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GM.
To start the Adventure Guide is full of organizations/factions; 18 to be exact, and each faction can be used by a Game Master (GM) to further envelop the player characters in whatever campaign setting the GM has thought up. What I found most profound was how Paizo managed to create a faction and provide so many amazing details, for literally every scenario that a GM could think up. There is a little bit of everything in here. Running a scorching desert campaign and needs some nomadic desert folk as friendly NPCs? The Adventurer’s Guide (AG) has you covered with the neutral good faction, Al-Zabriti, who area a nomadic desert people. Running a campaign full of political and mercantile intrigue and need a deep-seated neutral evil faction of profiteers? Aspis Consortium is the organization to fill that role while the Council of Thieves plays the chaotic neutral “good guys that are bad.” Looking to go demonic? Hellknights have you covered. Running a campaign inspired by the Orient? House of Perfection would be a good faction to bring in.
What really got my campaign creation juices flowing was how Paizo introduces the various groups/factions. Rather than giving a quick, short summary, they provide PAGES of backstory, they include numerous prominent named NPCs within the organization (each with their own backstory!), plus they give details for the organization’s unique prestige class that you can choose to develop. They really thought of everything (including loot tables!) and because of the attention to detail, any GM (veteran of novice) can quickly pick up the parts and roll with it.
Common to the level of quality one has come to expect out of the Pathfinder Roleplay Game, the art is top notch. I did find, though that there were some organizations’ art, such as the Storm Kindlers, is fairly sub-par when compared to the other factions. When looking at the faction art for Storm Kindlers and comparing it to the art of the Lantern Bearers and, well … The Storm Kindler’s art is just flat in comparison. While each of the Pathfinder books contained a general range of art from “excellent” to merely “good” I did notice that there seemed to be more variation in the quality of the art. It is a fairly small complaint, and really the only complaint that I have given how rich and detailed the entirety of the book is.