How do our products stack up? They are top-quality, but don't just take our word for it. Consider the following reviews
posted by your fellow gamers at Paizo, Candlekeep, and other popular messageboards.
"I pre-ordered this based on the samples alone. I was not disappointed. This is an innovative and detailed book with a healthy dose of mechanics for virtually any level of play. And the flavour is top notch stuff as well."
"And Dario, if may say so: I -loved- your book, sir. I'm actively working it into my next campaign, as a matter of fact. I'm sorry you didn't get the nomination this year, but that's somehow how things play out. I hope to see more of your work this next year, if I'm entrusted by the voters with another run at judging."
Zachary Houghton, 2008 Ennie Awards Judge
"I just looked through my copy. First impression: wow. There's a metric ton of cool stuff in here. I'd been planning to run a Binder in the next party I roll up, later this year, and this book just opens up worlds of possibilities.
I'd say if you're halfway interested in playing a Binder or using Pact Magic in your world, this is a must have. It's a massive book, with tons of information and ideas. If you make decisions like this based largely on economics, think of it this way: there's a serious lot of bang for the buck."
1. There are TWO indices. TWO! One for general subjects and one for creatures. In a 335 page book which cost $40. Wizards won't even shell out a fraction of a cent to put even one index in a book half that thick for which they charge two-thirds the price.
2. There are some amusing interpretations of just how magic works. For example,, it is possible to smell out -- literally! -- books and other items connected with pact magic -- "Smell Spirit Lore (Su)" is a feature of one prestige class, and something similar is available as a feat). Sound stupid? Not if you have read your Lovecraft (or any genuine grimoires): "By their smell shall ye know them!"
3. There are dozens upon dozens of well-described spirits (sorry, no "vestiges" here, just us spirits!).
4. The Feats are not knock-offs of standard D&D magic feats, as 3E Tome of Magic had -- in all three parts.
5. I only had about an hour to spend on this book today, but in that hour, I found ... hold on to your curlers, girls! -- one typo! And it may not have even been a typo: "Duel Blades" occurs on page 135, and since "dual" and "duel" are homophones and the ability refers to using light (i.e. dueling) weapons, in both hands, it may have been more of a clever quip on the part of the author. (He is a university professor, after all.)
6. There are no margin pictures endlessly repeated, wasting trees and driving up the cost of the book.
7. Although there is no mention of what type of paper the book contains, and whether or not it's archival, it looks very nice.
8. Dario Nardi writes well.
9. Alas, what may be the coolest-sounding ability in the whole book -- "Apocalyptic Immunity -- isn't quite as powerful as one might hope. *sigh*
— Candlekeep community member
I went ahead and ordered my copy, which arrived two days ago, I've spent my free time (what little lawschool allows) reading. Below is a quick review of the book, a more thorough one to come in the future.
There is a lot of good stuff in this book. A LOT of VERY GOOD stuff.
Classes: Interesting variations on standard classes to allow them to paticipate in pact magic. They seem pretty balanced to me and definately give a unique twist for PC's/NPC's. He also provides a simple option to allow all spellcasters to try pact magic for 24 hours.
Feats: Provides options for both pact magic dabblers and pros, allowing you to augment your own pacts or reduce restrictions/requirements.
Prestige classes: Still looking at this area, but they seem to offer actual in game roleplaying oppurtunities as they help you to define who your character really is.
Spirits: Drawing on a mix from real world myths and modern fiction, this area definately shines. Each spirit has an intriguing background and a reasonable theme of powers. Humor also makes its appearance here, especially in the background of the spirits "Mana" and "Forty Two."
Epic: Rules for epic level pact magic are presented as well as epic advancement, but I haven't read those as thoroughly yet. I wanted to make sure I (basically) understood everything else about this book's system before tackling the epic stuff. From what I've been able to see, it should be comparable to epic spell casting and may even have a few rules I'll implement into my own epic spell system. As a fan of epic material, the fact Prof Nardi even included this is a huge plus for me!
Compatability with other sources: Prof Nardi's system is fully compatable with, yet distinct from, WOTC's Tome of Magic. You can mix back and forth between them without losing flavor or impair game play. Like the original class better? Use this book for spirits/feats/PrC's. Like the classes in this book better? Use the other book's feats/spirits/PrC's.
Cons: Few editing errors here and there, but much fewer instances than other certain published works in the last couple of years. Considering this is 3rd party publisher providing a "metric ton" of material I'm not concerned or bothered by this. One other thing involves a 9th level spell listed as Druid only, but the text above the spell list says all spells in the book are Sor/Wizard spells and this is the only spell without a Sor/Wiz level
Conclusion: This is a good buy. If you have the Tome of Magic and want more pact magic materail, then this can serve as an expansion/improvement on that system. If you don't have that book but want an alternate magic system to spice up your game, then between this book and Tome of magic you'll get everything you need. I'd recommend it without hesitation. For the folks planning on converting to 4th edition, Prof Nardi has already stated he intends to create a 4th edition version. If he puts as much effort into that as this book shows then I'd recommend at least looking at it.
Just got mine too.
Man, this thing is frakking HUGE. Almost as big as a Tome of Horrors 3.5 would have been (no, I'm not bitter, no)
The Atlan race is as far as I got, but kudos for giving the Hobgoblins some love.