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Book of Races

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Average Rating:3.1 / 5
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Book of Races
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Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by James B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/18/2011 14:19:53
The races are somewhat uninspired, as the artwork. This seems like a quick attempt to flush out races for players, and seemed to me very much like a hurried product. I don't see any of these races as being unique enough, or the stats given to them, for inclusion in any of my games. I have various write ups for almost all these in other products that did a much tighter job of presenting them.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/22/2011 15:02:48
This book is filled full of new and interesting races, many of which are not your typical fantasy fare. While not all are great there are some gems and I appreciate the overall effort. There are races, new feats and paragon paths for 4e (not Essentials, but easily updated).

The art does tend to be all over the place and some of it is not great. But for half price and the chance to do something very different than the typical elf-dwarf-halfling trifeca, this is a good choice.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 02:00:48
This is an amateurish effort, marred by poor attention to grammar, marginally-relevant computer art (including images by Sade, whose clipart clutters up a good bit of RPGnow's stock art category), clumsy writing (Bjorn are "gentle but ferocious") and slavish imitation of the 4e format. The author seems stuck on stereotypical furry characters. The sample names for characters of the various races are almost hilariously random, pitting Sunstride against nonsense syllables, with little indication why a given name would be appropriate for the race, or more for a male than a female. The book does benefit from a spritely imagination and an evident desire to give people something new and interesting they can use. Sadly, the character concepts suggested by these player races do not overcome the basic quality control issues and inexperienced writing that make this book hard to use for anything other than broad highlights. While I am not well-versed in 4e designs, I did not see any huge problems with the specific game mechanics. Many seemed to lack interest and originality, while others trod heavily on 4e's already thin sense of immersion, like a roar that causes enemies to be all immediately pushed away at their movement speed. Overall, there is just about twice as much book as there is design, and the whole thing does not hold up as well as one might hope.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2010 03:38:11
I received a copy of this product from the "Gamers Helping Haiti" bundle.
The book contains racial abilities, paragon paths, racial feats and a Q & A section for some abilities that seem to have raised concerns.
Others will no doubt have their own impressions of the usefulness of these PC race concepts, so all I'll say is that these are very much what you might expect from the blurb.
Technically they're mostly sound, perhaps with some tendency to stack multiple enhancements on already strong racial abilities. Occasional editing lapses, notably consistent overuse of "shall", which I'm sure I've seen elsewhere.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by Naomi B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2009 01:35:30
I really loved looking through this book. The artwork is amazing! However I found the content a bit spotty. The Tarsion seem to be monkey version of Yoda but I had problems visualising these beings as tall as a human. They seem to be based on the miniature monkeys and I can't imagine them growing so big. Maybe Halfling size. Another race was the Kitsune. I love these mischievous characters in fiction but they only meritted 2 pages here. These can be powerful beings! They deserve at least another page for spells or something, surely!

Overall, a good start but I would want way more information on these races before I would use some of them. And they could be lots of fun to play!

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by Dale R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2009 01:25:57
I have to say that, for $8 on sale, this was an excellent buy overall.

Whether or not you agree with me will depend mostly on your gaming tastes. People looking for iconic Dungeons & Dragons fare need not apply here. In fact, there is a decidedly anime-like feel to many of the races... a very strong plus in my book, though I would imagine it would be a turn-off for others.

It is a beautiful book, aesthetically. The artwork isn't exactly Arthaus caliber, but is definately very good especially for an independent small print. Unfortunately, this comes at a price. The book is only 70 pages long, but clocks in at 160 mb in file size. I speculate this is due to the use of very high-resolution graphics for the artwork. While this makes the book very pretty, it also makes the file very unwieldy on slower computers like mine. If I had my drothers, a B&W-low-res alternative download would make this book even more attractive to me than it already is.

Something that I had to nod in appreciation to was a sidebar explaining their design balance philosophy. They wanted to make these races mesh well mechanically with core material. So they set the upper limits on game power equal to dragonborn and genasi. I'm not one to judge game mechanics well, myself, but I believe they did their job fairly well on this consideration.

Avian: spiritual humanoid eagles. They handled the "race with wings" problem by simply making their ability to fly an epic-tier feat.

Bjorn: humanoid bears, with all of the intimidation and gentleness stereotypically seen in bears. Their epic-tier feat makes me want to play one, just so I can say that I have the Turn Anything ability.

Excelsion: a blue-skinned humanoid with an affinity with psionics (one of the sample adventurers is in fact a psionicist, which makes me wonder what else GameVein has in store for us). With the right feats, Excelsions would be hard to drop as long as they can critically hit their foes on a regular basis.

Ferralyn: can you say "neko-chan"? These humanoid felines are arguably my favorite of the races, if only for the artwork. They're more like house cats than great cats, since they favor agility over brute strength. One feat allows them to regain healing surges with a short rest, giving them something of a "nine lives" flavor. And, despite my anime reference, there are male ferralyn as well as female ones.

Insectoid: the name pretty much says it. While the feats for the race pretty much emphasize the fact that they're big bugs, I can see them being something of a surrogate race until WotC publishes the dromites again.

Leonine: the picture for this race reminded me how much of a red-blooded American male I really am. And I'm assuming GameVein did that deliberately. While remotely descended from celestial lions, Leonine are now more like hyper-attractive gold-skinned (furred) humanoids. In fact, their attractiveness is their primary game mechanic premise.

Ling: small humanoids with a rainbow selection of skin colors, they espouse and embrace the chaotic nature of the Feywild. They are especially good at not being noticed, despite their decidedly fey appearance.

Nymph: another race whose mechanics focus on their attractiveness, for obvious reasons. However, this all-female race also has an affinity for water that plays into their mechanics as well.

Obsidian: a race that fled the Shadowfell for the natural world, they appear to be humanoids made of obsidian rock. While their physiology plays strongly in their game mechanics, their Shadowfell heritage does, as well.

Radiant: something of an anti-thesis to the obsidians, radiants are metal-skinned humanoids from the Astral Sea whose "blood" seems to be pure radiant energy. Their Astral heritage plays strongly into their game mechanics.

Storm Elf: these are simply elves with an affinity for nature, sky, and lightning. However, their racial power puts them on-par with dragonborn as emergency controllers, so they're definately worth a look-see.

Tarsion: This is an agile mammalian humanoid race known for intellectual pursuits. While its racial power plays on its natural agility, many of the feats play up their intelligence.

Vixen: These are spiritual fox-like humanoids with an affinity for illusions. Its racial power makes a vixen seem like she's in two places at once (even though she's really not).

Volem: Probably the most ambitious of the races in the book, as far as game design is concerned, these are literally living golems. There are six different types, each one with their own racial power.

At the end of the book is a series of tables summarizing the racial feats presented throughout the book... something of a handy guide if you're too lazy to flip to the section for your race.

The latest version of the book also includes the current FAQ as it is presented on GameVein's website, which is also handy.

All in all, I loved the book. I would have given it a 5 rating, in fact, had the file size been one or two dozen megabytes rather than fourteen dozen!

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
We are glad you liked the book and have listened to the feedback. The newest revision is just 1/3 the size of the previous edition and still maintains excellent visual quality. You are correct. We are currently playtesting the Book of Classes. It shall contain many new classes for 4th Edition, including the Psionicist, Acrobat, Valkyrie, Elementalist, Skald, and more. We hope you enjoy it as well.
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