Book Review : Artifacts & Legends
Title : Pathfinder Campaign Settings - Artifacts and Legends
Publisher : Paizo Publishing
Artifacts and Legends cost me $20, roughly the cost of a pizza and some crazy bread on a Saturday night when my wife does not feel like cooking and I can't make a decision on what we are going to do for dinner so I just say "... lets order a pizza." That being said, unlike the pizza that kind of leaves me feeling sick and regretful this price to pay for such a damn fine book is well worth it in every way.
Artifacts & Legends is about just that, items and objects for use in your tabletop Pathfinder game that are things of lore and legend. These are not objects you just find sitting around under a dead giant or in the pocket of a rogue you slew on the streets of some far flung city. These objects have the ability to reshape the very fabric of reality in ways that could change the landscape of your game and the story you have going for good. Why a Storyteller would let some of these things fall into the hands of players is for that Storyteller to decide, but for whatever reason if you are looking for some truly powerful things to play with, this book has you covered.
I think what I enjoyed most about this book from the start was how it was presented. When you open it the first chapter is a short letter from a being calling himself Djavin Vhrest. He is a curator of Apocrypha, Forae Logos, in Absalom. Basically this guy is a really fancy museum worker with knowledge of a heck of a lot of high level and insanely powerful items. In truth I would pay good money to learn more about him and what he does. He is the kind of character who intrigues me.
And that dear reader, is the hook of this amazing book. After you get through this fun little two page letter chapter two starts to explain how to use and apply artifacts in your game. It's not your normal "pick it up, say some magic words, shoot the ray of dazzling death light at the orc" type stuff. The book takes the time to break down Spellcraft checks and Research, Magical Identification and Knowledge Checks. It's done in a way that I really enjoy. I am a long time Storyteller, and one of the things I really like is letting players learn and grow with their items as they progress. This application of learning and research even to these items of insane power is such a great tool for any Storyteller who wants their players to have ( in my opinion ) a rewarding experience.
This book gets even better folks. It goes on to start outlining artifacts and legends.
It starts out of the gate with four artifacts that are specifically made for metagaming. These artifacts are well constructed devices that allow for a Storyteller or party to remove and reinsert other players without having to miss a game while someone has to miss a game in the real world.
Matty can't show up, all good, use this. It works, and it works in a way that does not play into silly wackiness but is well thought out and can be applied to a game of any tone from lighthearted to serious.
The book delves deeper at this point into Legendary and lesser artifacts. All of them are delightful. Cover to cover I mean this, all of them are terrifying and powerful and wonderful and if you give them to your party you will be unleashing some truly powerful things into your game. I would add any of them, even some of the lesser ones, with caution. However with a cunning Storyteller or an experienced party, something from these pages could really add a great asset and element to your storytelling.
Do I like this book? Yes! Do I think you will like this book? I hope so. I really do think Paizo puts out some amazing products. This is one of my favorites. The cover price is only $19.99 and it really does bring such a wealth of information to the table that it would be a shame for you not to pick it up. I recommend this book highly.
Ask your local bookstore if they have a copy or you can pick up the softcover or snag the PDF from Paizo.com