Whilst designed as a free promotional piece for Pale Designs, a sourcebook about poisons, this is well worth reading in its own right (assuming you want to have poisons in your game, that is!). Part of this is due to Bastion Games having solicited contributions from gamers around the world - far too many arrived to fit in the main book, but were too good to discard.
It's a bit of a grab-bag, starting with a couple of deities - one on the face of it doesn't seem to have much to do with the subject matter until we read that his followers deal harshly with lawbreakers, amongst whom most poisoners are to be found, after all! The other is a goddess of dark oaths and veiled secrets, who is neutral evil and numbers murder and poison amongst her domains. Both come with all the details you need to use them in your campaign world, and some rather nice illustrations.
Next we have an organisation - the Dusk Society, which is a multiverse-spanning association of assassins. They could make interesting opponents, especially if you want to encourage your party to explore new and interesting places as they pursue these rascals. There's a couple of new poisons that are their trademark, but of course you can use them even if you don't want the society. There's also a place to visit, ostensibly Henrik's Junk Shop with lots of, well, junk piled high and deep. Yet if he knows you, or you know the password, he'll take you into Henrik's Poison Emporium, a regular boutique of nasty stuff, not just poisons but innovative ways of delivering them to the intended victim as well. There are full details of Henrik himself, and a fair bit about what he can provide.
The next section is called Death's Row. This presents a collection of characters linked by being users of poison. Most are professional assassins. Each comes with full stats and backstory, and plenty of hooks to help you set them up as villians. They are presented with low, medium and high level options, so you can use them as recurring villians who have grown just as the party have, or just bring them in at an appropriate level whenever it suits your plotline to do so.
Next comes a prestige class, the Pale Rider... sounds a bit like a Lord of the Rings Ringwraith. Best as an adversary unless you have some exceptionally evil players, these can strike fear into the stoutest heart. Again there are ideas for incorporating them into your campaign.
That's the new material. We round off with the full table of contents for Pale Designs, and some samples of new poisons, equipment, weapons, spells and domains drawn from that work. Even if you have Pale Designs already, this is still worth getting hold of!
Return to E-Designs page.
Reviewed: 7 October 2019