NPC CODEX REVIEW!
Happy Thanksgiving, Gamers!
Today, let us be thankful for the friends we have through gaming, and also thankful for Paizo for knowing what we need before we realize we need it. The NPC CODEX came out yesterday and I’ve been pouring over it in those brief hours, realizing just how much easier my life just got as a GM.
The Codex features a build at every level for every core character class (Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorceror, and Wizard), NPC class (adept, aristocrat, commoner, expert, and warrior) and for the core Prestige classes (Arcane Archer, Arcane Trickster, Assassin, Dragon Disciple, Duelist, Eldritch Knight, Loremaster, Mystic Theurge, Pathfinder Chronicler, and Shadowdancer). I also has builds of the iconics up to level 15, which is good for the Pathfinder Society Player looking to jump into a game with a pregen.
The builds are each unique, with awesome artwork that brings each stat block to life in a way that makes me want to play half of these characters more than a few of my own.
Each character totes level appropriate equipment, comes with a memorized spell list, buffs factored in from equipment and spells likely to be precast. This is a nice touch for me, as I always have a lot of hesitation regarding magical equipment for improvised enemies.
The names attached to each character in the codex is more of a descriptor or role: Wandering Mercenary or Death Master. Complimenting that role is a familiar Before Combat / During Combat section offering some strategies in how the NPC might be used. Occasionally they throw in a sample backstory or personality detail to add life to a concept, which is a nice touch. Seeing how Paizo has built these NPC’s has expanded my mind in how I might incorporate different class features to accomplish a theme for a character. It’s impressive and is well worth a look.
This book has some value for the PF Society player, but is more useful for the home game GM. Throwing in a few thugs or thematically appropriate bad guys (Halfling Cannibals? Elven Barbarians?) is made much easier. As my home game prepares to invade a school of Necromancers, the availability of several grim and ghoulish clerics, mages, fighters and rogues is perfectly timed.
What it lacks? I had hoped to see some of the Advanced Players Guide classes in here, but that awaits for a sequel. Generally there is only build per class per level, so there aren’t multiple 1st level cleric builds, for instance. The book, quite rightly, guides you to deconstruct or add to each class to bring it in line with what you need, however. In line with that, they have stat blocks with the various animal companions at different break points in the back of the book, which remains a useful tool for rangers and druids who want the animal companion ready to go.
I’m sure sales will determine whether or not a sequel does come out for this, but my feeling is this is a good book to have on the shelf for the player who likes to seek inspiration and enjoys seeing some different ways to get there, or for the GM that finds his party goes straight off the published adventure and into an unexpected brawl not even contemplated by the GM ( i.e. every GM ever).
Just pull this off the shelf and your ready to go!