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)