Races of Destiny: Dungeons & Dragons Supplement Hardcover – Dec 1 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
A little disappointed the seller didnt go into detail about how much damage was inflicted upon the cover, but I suppose everything that matters is still in good condition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first 30+ pages are on the humans. I was expecting more than a primer on humans, such things like that they play games and have a larger variety of troops than some of the other races. I was looking for more cultural things like some of the items from the old al qadim setting like not sitting in front of someone with your soles of your feet facing your host, or not eating with your left hand. There was none of that. The next 15 or so pages deals with the half orcs and half elves and their outlooks and physicology.
The Illumians are the next 70 or so pages and actually they look somewhat interesting. They are humans with more advantages. They have sigils which gives them more abilities or protections or something. If you are looking for something new for your campaign they might do the trick for you.
The feats that are listed are primarly focused to the races and some looked interesting like roof stride which allowed you to move along roofs at a higher rate of speed.
The spells looked interesting at first but didnt seem as well thought out after thinking about it. There are insignia spells which could be used for city guards or milita. The insignia spells are simple spells with the ability to be cast on multiple people at the same time. There is a spell that gives +1ac bonus plus a +1 fort save. The problem is that the spells only last minutes per level, not some that I would see would be particulary useful in a search pattern. Another spell creates a mazelike enviroment for some body invading the city to confuse and split them.
The prestige classes arent very exciting, of them the urban soul looked somewhat interesting and I might use it with several changes.
The most disappointing part was the city section at the end, again I was expecting more than was delivered. It was mostly a series of tables that could either be random or picked. I was again looking for more color that could be used in making each city more unique.
There is also a section on some of the other races such as assimars, teiflings, half-ogres.
This book in my opinion is very weak, the illumians are the most interesting part of the book. There are a couple of feats and some spells that I would use but for you folks take a long look before you buy this
As to the rest of the book, there are some noticable errors (Tieflings are missing their energy resistances) and there is a lot of repitition in the NPC listings (the same class features defined again and again and every Half Elf & Half Orc NPC has all their racial traits listed again and again).
Aside from the Illumians, it does cover Aasimar & Tieflings and add severl new PC races including Dopplegangers, Half Ogre, Mongrelfolk, Sea Kin, Sharakim, Skulk and Underfolk. The Prestige classes are done differently and with much better detail and the feats, spells and powers are quite good.
But for my self, half of this book is near useless. I might use these Illumians as a DM, but not as a Player. My advice, wait for this book to go on sale or at least go look at it first. I was very dissapointed in it.
For most players and DMs the chapter on humans, half-elves and half-orcs will not have too much to offer (this is the weak point of the book). However, those who are new to the D&D game, and especially young gamers will find it interesting and useful.
The next chapters offer more for players and DMs alike. The new race, the illumians are really interesting, and I just know that most players will create at least one illumian character to find out the unique versatility of the race.
The chapter on other races is a matter of taste, if you like exotic races, you will like it, if you do not like them, you will find it unuseful.
Prestige classes, new feats and spells are pretty good, and useful. Together with the chapter on illumians, these chapters will be the only ones that older gamers will use.
The chapter on medieval fantasy urbane settings is mostly for new DMs, but it can give new ideas even for veteran DMs. One should never be too old to learn.
Overall, this book is more useful for new gamers, but old gamers will also find interesting things among the pages. It is very difficult to write a fantasy handbook that addresses new and old gamers alike, and this book is a good example of a half-success.
One new race which is complex, came out of nowhere, and is nigh incomrehensible. Why?
I do love the human destiny feats. These were a long time due, IMHO. Some PrC's of interest, a couple spells, and another feat or two. Hmm, that's maybe a chapter.
But, oh WotC, WotC- ye fooled me once now. No longer will I buy without a careful lookie-loo. You need to remember you have a core of loyal customers that will often pre-order and buy any core material you come out with. You can't abuse that trust. I think you did so with this book.
Should you buy it? Well, the gems are there. If you have one guy in your group with deep pockets, and he takes advantage of the deep discount here- then sure, your group should have one to share. But it is hardly a "must buy".
The second section does the same for Half-elves and Half-orcs but without the excitement or engaging writing of the human section. I think (in my opinion) the trouble here is the brevity of this section and focusing on both races. As primary core rules races, this was disappointing.
Consider the next section, which covers a new human variant race, the illumians. This is the largest section of the book focused on one topic and the work here is excellent, but since this is a variant, and a new addition that is not nearly as important as the core information, why spend the pages they did on all this information when they skimped on so many other things? This for me is the most disappointing aspect of this book. The new race is certainly interesting but it takes away from the books focus, which should be on the expanding of options to established parts of the game.
The following section skims some other races and gives almost no more detail than the monster manual already has and really seemed uninspired.
The feats are interesting and useful for players. The racial themes are expanded and aided by these choices.
The prestige classes are all interesting but suffer from the problem of being too narrow for entry. Each one is so devoted to a specific class or race or place that they must undergo a lot of changes to be useful to most campaigns. I will be using several, but only with considerable adaptation.
The spells generate some interesting ideas for city themed play, but barbaric humans are almost entirely overlooked here (as in the rest of the book).
Finally, the section on cities. This added almost nothing to the worth of the book. I appreciate DM'ing advice but this information rehashed what tons of other books have already done (as well as a free web enhancement right on the Wizard's site).
Overall, I feel the book is worth buying, and as usual, you can tell the authors really enjoy their work and care about what they are doing. I don't really agree with all the choices as being the best for their consumers, but the quality of what they do produce is excellent.