A rather disappointing sourcebook to be honest. It's meant to be a counterpart to the Book of Vile Darkness, but I think it was done wrongly. From a m...moreA rather disappointing sourcebook to be honest. It's meant to be a counterpart to the Book of Vile Darkness, but I think it was done wrongly. From a mechanics point of view, they took "opposite" too literally. From a flavour point of view, they didn't do it enough.
The new feats were decent and some were even interesting. Some of the spells are okay, but I think there's too many "affects evil creatures only" spells. The prestige classes were pretty horrible, with two 5-level classes as excuses to gain extra exalted feats. The celestial-specific prestige classes were even worse than the mediocre ones in the Book of Vile Darkness - not only is there little coherence with their abilities, they are all very similar (smite is a heavily reused ability). Even the magic items pale in comparison with the evil counterparts.
The saddest excuse of an "option" was ravages and afflictions - poison and disesase for evil creatures that are normally immune to poison and disease...
The remaining bits of the book dealt with the celestials and their champions, just like the introduction for the demon princes and devil lords. But where the Book of Vile Darkness also provided information on cults, motivations, and schemes, these celestials are terribly lacking in what they want to do. Without them, the celestials ended up as nothing more than stat blocks.
With "exalted good" being much more difficult to roleplay, an adventure module or sample scenarios would have served to illustrate things better, especially how it ties in to the Book of Vile Darkness - not just mechanically.
It just felt like this sourcebook was a rather waste of a good opportunity to provide moral dilemmas and hooks for bringing in celestials, as opposed to just being primarily a mechanics supplement.(less)
Great sourcebook for when you need extra mature options for the villains your players are going to face. While the appendix does give you options for...moreGreat sourcebook for when you need extra mature options for the villains your players are going to face. While the appendix does give you options for playing such villains, I think the options were designed with NPCs in mind.
It packs in lots of options, some of the interesting ones include two new subraces, lots of evil spells, your typical assortment of feats, and new magical items; all themed with evil and horror. There's also background, stat blocks, and plot hooks for the demon lords of Abyss and the diabolic rulers of the Nine Hells.
Some of the poorer bits include the small section on new monsters. I think it's minor and uninteresting enough that they shouldn't have bothered, and used that space for fleshing out the other sections.
The prestige classes were pretty poor I think. The majority of them were meant to be themed to their respective demon lord or devil prince, but I didn't find them coherent or thematically interesting.
What I would have liked to see more was more evil ideas and hooks. For example, the options on drug use and torture was useful, but would have been better if ideas on how to use them were also present.
Overall though it's a great resource for options you could throw in sparingly into your campaigns, even if you don't want to deal with the subjective morality questions raised in the book.(less)
The final book of the Magnakai Lone Wolf series, stretching 12 gamebooks up to this point. And you'd better hope you did start from book 1, since not...moreThe final book of the Magnakai Lone Wolf series, stretching 12 gamebooks up to this point. And you'd better hope you did start from book 1, since not having that one key item from book 1 will make book 12 very difficult to complete due to the overpowered enemies. Unfortunately, having the one item will make most of the fights bearable will make the finale such an anti-climax that it's almost a joke. A poor choice of a series finale, considering the 12-book journey to get there.
Still, the writing is one of the best as Lone Wolf delves into the heart of the enemy. The prose and descriptions were top-notch. Despite the rant about finale scene, the story does comes to a nice closure and puts to rest a long and memorable adventure. I still look back at the first time I've read a Lone Wolf book with nostalgia. And every decade (gosh, I'm feeling old) or so, I seem to pull them out and start the 12 books over again (don't know why, but I seem to have less fondness for books 13 and onwards).(less)
In book 9, Lone Wolf and Banedon will need to reach the city of Tahou before the invading darklord army arrives to attack the city. The first part of...moreIn book 9, Lone Wolf and Banedon will need to reach the city of Tahou before the invading darklord army arrives to attack the city. The first part of the story deals with reaching Tahou; the second part is a dungeon crawl through an ancient buried city to find the lorestone. As usual, with milestones in the middle, it tends to reduce the amount of paths available, since it divides the paragraph count in two portions.
There's also the existence of a really bad path in this book where you can lose every single special item and weapon you've accumulated so far (eight books worth). Not a good thing to put in.
As I recall, this book was deviously difficult. Too many instant death situations due to a mismatch of Kai disciplines.(less)
One of the better ones of the entire series. This is the turning point of the series from the Kai to the Magnakai - or in other words, you're levellin...moreOne of the better ones of the entire series. This is the turning point of the series from the Kai to the Magnakai - or in other words, you're levelling up! The basic abilities from the first 5 books are now getting upgraded powers.
It's not just the mechanics are getting an upgrade, but also the lore. Lone Wolf is finally taking the battle to them as the hunt for the lorestones truly begins. You're thrust into civil unrest among the darklords, hence lots of flavour material, making for a really great read.(less)
I enjoyed each and every Lone Wolf book. Book 5 sends you off to Vassagonia as an emissary of peace, but of course, things can't be that simple and yo...moreI enjoyed each and every Lone Wolf book. Book 5 sends you off to Vassagonia as an emissary of peace, but of course, things can't be that simple and you end up having to escape.
The "two adventures in one" tagline sounds great, but doesn't really work out well. The number of the paragraphs was increased by 50, but it's hard to offset the fact that there is a bottleneck in the middle, resulting in what feels like less paths that you could take to end the book.
Still, the plot is great, taking you to several new places and situations not done in previous books.(less)
Can't say I enjoyed reading it. Playing it, yes, but reading it? This gamebook is more game than book, as it doesn't have an ending. I guess some peop...moreCan't say I enjoyed reading it. Playing it, yes, but reading it? This gamebook is more game than book, as it doesn't have an ending. I guess some people might like its open-ended nature, but I didn't. I found it repetitive and I found myself "cheating" some rolls, just so my character is not reset to an empty inventory and having to start over. Or just repeating something until I got the results that sent me off to a particular paragraph. I found myself playing this book as if I was playing an old school computer game - saving, loading, and trying again. And then I realise I'd rather play an actual game instead of "turning the paragraph" to book 2.(less)