Designed to introduce players to the setting for the Second Darkness campaign path, there's a lot in here and beautifully-presented as always. It's doing double duty as not just a player's guide but also the launch product for the 'Pathfinder Companion' line, intended to be completely player (as opposed to DM) friendly. Laudable, but the passing of the freely-downloadable PDF Player's Guides is to be lamented - I run most of my games online these days, and it was good to be able to point potential players at the download!
The first part of this work is in effect the Player's Guide for Second Darkness, and contains what you'd expect. The campaign starts in Riddleport (of which more later) and so we discover which races are most prevalent therein, as residents or visitors, and what people of the various classes might be doing - all to help you create a character suitable for the campaign. It also brings to the fore traits, which enable characters to have advantages and edges specific to the campaign without needing to know what they face - if it's here as a campaign trait, it will be useful somewhere along the line. They also help in building background and fleshing out the character, and so as well as campaign-specific traits there are more general ones to choose from as well.
The next part of the book serves as an introduction to the city of Riddleport. Third largest in Varisia, it's a den of thieves and tricksters and organised crime is rife. Starting as a pirate haven, it is now a true frontier town with all the opportunities and lawlessness that usually entails. There's an overview of the way the city is governed, and of its appearance and layout, the sort of thing that an observant person could pick up in a few days and which would, of course, be well-known to a native. This rounds off with some common slang and a couple of unusual poisons.
The remainder of the book has a few useful things like the Liberator prestige class, whose role is to free the wrongfully imprisoned. As they consider slavery to be wrong, there's the potential of conflict with practitioners of that trade, as well as kidnappers and other such lowlifes. Those of a religious bent might be interested in Cayden Cailean, a deity who is patron of both bravery and beer! Mages will be interested in the 'cyphermages' which flourish in Riddleport, and can learn a few new spells, while there are some usful items magical and mundane for those who like delving underground in caves. Finally there's an NPC called Lavender Lil.
Overall an intriguing and useful collection, especially if you'll be visiting Riddleport!
Return to Second Darkness page.
Reviewed: 25 July 2009