A well done explanation of the Pathfinder Beginner Box. Thanks to Xanthstar for bringing this valuable tool to our attention!
The newest hardcover source book for the Pathfinder RPG is on the shelves. The Advanced Race Guide by Paizo Publishing, LLC is 250 + pages detailing every race you could possibly want to play, and some you never would have thought of.
In my reading I found the book is very well organized. The introduction sets the tone well, explaining why the RPG races are different and important. It then goes on to set up what to expect throughout the book. While some of this may seem intuitive, it provides a nice reference for those who need a little more guidance.
This book contains a lot of useful content on each race. The base races are represented first, expanding on the content you find in the Core Rulebook, fleshing out them out quite nicely. It includes new traits, favored classes, racial archetypes, racial equipment, feats, spells and magical items. Some of this could be seen as mere fluff, slight variations to a known theme just to add page count. For example: Tweaking an existing class to fit a race’s specific history, giving it a new name and calling it an archetype. Then again, who said fluff is all bad, as it fills the imagination as much as it does pages. Sure you could do much of the same yourself, tweaking your character to fit a specific mold, but now you don’t have to. The guide provides a good base for you to jump off of, allowing more time to tailor your character to your likes. Not to mention that the race specific equipment, spells and such allows for more personality to each character. On a personal note, My favorite Archetype is the Half-Orc Redeemer. It is a paladin variant where the torn half breed fights his brutal nature and realizes that one can be good in spite of their inner demons. This shows that being a paladin doesn’t always have to involve acting like a goody two-shoes.
The featured and uncommon race sections are organized the same way as the base races, with a solid introduction leading into a deluge of racial information. This provides continuity and aids in the navigation of the new material. While there is much information to absorb, the material can add a lot of flavor and depth to any campaign.
The final section is a race builder. It provides a template for turning many monsters in the Bestiary into a balanced, playable race. It also provides a template for converting some common beasts such as lizardfolk and gnolls into character races (though why it did not just add some of these to chapter three is a mystery). This is immediately followed by an appendix of sorts detailing how each race in the first three chapters would be built using the race builder.
I found this book to be informative, packed with information, and well written. And as with all Paizo material, the artwork is supreme. The only question you should ask when considering purchasing it is how much information do you want? If you are happy playing your base races, then this book is not for you, all you need is in the Core Rulebook.. But if you ever wanted to play a Centaur, a Drow, a Tiefling, or any other non core race, then this book is a necessity.
Organization: Consistent and intuitively organized…………………5 of 5
Content/Usability: maybe a little too much information?…………4 of 5
Readability: easy to digest…………………………………………..5 of 5
Aesthetics: as always, great art and background…………………5 of 5
Overall…………………………………………………………………..5 of 5