Unbirthday Week 2014: Chronicles of the Righteous

Welcome to Product Reviews!

Day Four of my Unbirthday Week presses onward, and I have another one of my absolute favorite Pathfinder Campaign Setting product for you today. Remember, if you have any questions regarding my reviewing style, check no further than my Reviewing Products for Fun … and Fun article.

With that, ONWARD!

Chronicles of the Righteous

Chronicles of the Righteous is a 64-page Campaign Setting guide that specifically focuses on the teachings and ethos of the empyreal lords; powerful demigod outsiders that belong to one of the three goodly races: agathions, angels, or archons. Good creatures almost never get the attention they deserve, but will this product hold its weight as an ultimate compendium of multiplanar righteousness? Let’s find out.

Crunch (Game Mechanics)

Chronicles of the Righteous continues a trend that we first saw in Book of the Damned, Vol 2 by adding a special type of feat called Celestial Obedience. I like the Obedience feats for their ability to add mechanics that focus around a character’s personal rituals regarding the entity they worship. Essentially, you have an opportunity to perform a specific ritual each day, and if you do you receive a small bonus on a specific type of d20 check. It might be a bonus on Perform skill checks, it might be a bonus on Fortitude saves against polymorph effects, the actual benefits themselves are quite varied. Furthermore, each deity has a set of boons that the character unlocks as her levels improve: the first boon is unlocked at 12th level, the second at 16th level, and the final at 20th level. Often, these boons aren’t too amazing at the levels at which they’re earned, which is why a handy new Prestige Class in the book, the Mystery Cultist, includes the ability to grant these boons at a drastically earlier level than the character would normally receive them.

In addition to the new prestige class and the Celestial Obedience feat, Chronicles of the Righteous includes five all-new goodly outsiders, a smattering of celestial spells, and a new subsystem for ritualistic mortification that grants the character benefits for doing creepy stuff to their body. Everything from fasting to consensual possession is in this section, and it’s pretty darn cool. Although this product isn’t heavy on game mechanics, it picks outstanding topics and presents them in cool, unique ways. I award this section 5 of 5 stars.

Flavor (Lore and Setting Information)

Wowzers. This product is packed to bursting with setting information. It’s positively flush with lore and history. I’m not even sure where to begin on this. Perhaps my favorite bit is the tale of a certain angel who was asked to pen a certain tome, and the horrors he faced upon returning to the celestial realms. All of the information regarding the new empyreal lords is VERY interesting. Wes Schneider, Paizo’s Editor-In-Chief, was very adamant that the empyreal lords feel as strange and alien yet also as familiar as their evil counterparts, and boy does it show in this volume! There are empyreal lords for everything; some empyreal lords are specifically designed to represent counterculture ideals of goodliness. For example, there is an empyreal lord of beauty who manifests with aspects of beautiful from both genders. There’s another empyreal lord, an angel no less, who is wrapped in bandages and is constantly bleeding. The empyreal lords come in very size, shape, and color imaginable: some are animals and others are anthropomorphic animals, some are imposing men while others are lithe farm boys. The sheer diversity in the empyreal lords and what they stand for is really what makes Chronicles of the Righteous a fantastic read. I award this section 5 of 5 stars.

Texture (Layout and Artwork)

Compared to other products Paizo has created (especially yesterday’s Champions of Balance and Monday’s People of the Sands), Chronicles of the Righteous has something of a bland layout and artwork style. The book doesn’t really give off the feel of an ancient tome of ultimate goodliness; it feels like someone at Paizo caught a glimpse of the true Chronicles of the Righteous and put something together quick. The book has a yellow motif that doesn’t fit too well with the artowkr or the page border. The book’s cover is this majestic collage of fire and sunrise and sunset; why isn’t that palette used elsewhere in the book? Despite being about goodly outsiders, this product doesn’t really capture that feel in its otherwise serviceable layout. I award this section 4 of 5 stars; it’s a great layout, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like it’s missing that extraplanar feel that the book claims to have.

Final Score & Thoughts

Crunch: 5/5 Stars
Flavor: 5/5 Stars
Layout: 4/5 Stars
Final Score: 14/15 Stars, or 4.5 Stars, rounded up for it’s flavor.

Chronicles of the Righteous is a must-own book if you do absolutely anything with good outsiders in your campaign. This book provides a much needed insight into the nature of the celestial races and provides plenty of fodder for potential gods and entities in your campaign setting. This product is a rich tapestry of righteousness that your Pathfinder collection is incomplete without.

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long over 90% of his colleagues. Affectionately called a “budding game designer” by his partner at Radiance House, Alexander is the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series (Radiance House) and a handful of other Third-Party Products. Before founding the Everyman Gaming blog, Alexander gained notoriety for writing the GM’s Guide to Challenging Encounters, which remains accessible to this day. His favorite color is blue, his favorite Pathfinder Race/Class combination is kitsune mystery cultist, and he enjoys long, relaxing siestas on his gods-given planar realm.

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