Friday, 28 October 2011

review: divine favor - the druid

Metric: Acorns.  Mistletoe berries has a rather more innuendo-laden connotation.  In addition, if you squash them, the resulting pulp makes a real mess.  Stick with the humble acorn.
DISCLAIMER: Review is based on a PDF copy provided by Open Design.
Overall: 5 acorns (quality content expands the druid's horizons).
This Divine Favor is a pleasure.  Fans of druids will rub their hands at the expanded options here and GMs will consider dusting off that druidic campaign they've been thinking of.  The layout is the usual Open Design quality and the price is very reasonable.

Content: 5 acorns (balanced, elegant and versatile options galore).
The introduction mentions the signature abilities of Pathfinder druids.  Wildshape is given it's due and advice on spells and feats are offered.  Then it's straight into the new stuff.  Wildshape options draw from a common idea but execute it differently.  Nature's multitude lets you become your very own rat pack or murder of crows.  At higher levels you become your own herd of dire boar.  Swarm shape lets you become an army ant column or mass of scorpions.  Included is a variant for animal companion flocks; druids with this option get scary quickly but fans of George R.R. Martin will approve. Druidic archetypes allow players to tailor a druid to fit a campaign instead of belonging to a generic cookie-cutter lineage.   Each group of archetypes (moon druids, greenmen, elemental shamans) have their own distinct sub-specialisms.  While the over-critical may wonder why not play a cleric, changes are smooth enough that the druid isn't lost in translation.  Next some new domains and subdomains, allowing a stronger flavour and some unexpected options for druids.  A GM will need to give some of these a bit of thought to see if they fit.  The domains are balanced and jaded players may be surprised by the options available.  New animal companions goes esoteric with oozes, plants and worms as well as lizards and slugs; these are distinctive companions brimming with options and memorable encounter hooks.  Finally new feats offer options balancing combat utility (totem aspect), lore (primeval counsel) and metamagic.  Even animal companions can get in on the action (healing tongue).

Art & Layout: 4.5 acorns (a layered layout and well-formed with it).
Divine Favor - The Druid combines the usual mix of Christophe Swal cover (an excellent piece with a druid waiting to pounce) and woodcut interior artwork.  The layout is textured yet clean.  The lack of interior colour is a minor niggle though the quality of the interior art is consistently good.  I was a bit surprised to see a lack of Ogham script but the hidden message in roleplaying game supplements trope has been somewhat done to death.

In conclusion, druids are a class popular with certain players.  The wealth of options and diversity here makes this one of the stronger entries in the Divine Favor range.  Players of druids will love some of the options and GMs will appreciate how these can be combined to create memorable, distinctive encounters.  The idea of a dwarven druid with nature's multitude and a wildshape of brain ooze would make s scary encounter.  That's just one example of how versatile this book is.

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