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The Hero's Bastard (PFRPG) $2.96
Average Rating:3.7 / 5
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The Hero\'s Bastard (PFRPG)
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The Hero's Bastard (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2009 18:59:44
The best products are those that achieve a balance between the flavor text (the fluff) and the mechanics of the game system (the crunch). The crunch acts as the framework for how the thing presented will function in your game, with the fluff making it evocative and interesting. It’s an area that Rite Publishing specializes in; but sometimes errors slip in – the crunch may have errors, or the fluff may not sync up with the mechanics perfectly. Unfortunately, both of those happen in The Hero’s Bastard, marring an otherwise great product for your Pathfinder game.

The book is a short one, being eight pages long and focusing on a single monster. Despite its brevity, however, it uses bookmarks, which is a pleasant surprise. The art is (with the exception of the borders on the cover) all black and white, with borders around the pages.

The book opens with the stats for the morekareth (which means “the hero’s bastard” in a game language), a CR 12 monster. Unfortunately, I started seeing errors right away in its stat block. Now, I know this monster was released before the Pathfinder Bestiary, but some of these were avoidable. For example, the monster has 10 Hit Dice, and so should have five feats, rather than the four it has. It’s Perception skill listing should be repeated in its Skills line, but isn’t, there shouldn’t be an Advancement or Level Adjustment lines, etc. For the most part, the stats themselves are solid, but it’s disheartening to see this many problems.

The flavor text is written in true Rite Publishing style, in the first person by the monster itself. Oddly, while the flavor text seems to imply that these creatures are born as a result of a hero having non-virtuous sex (the example used by the monster is that his father was an adventuring hero who slept with the slave girl he freed, despite already being married), this is never said outright. It becomes more confusing when noting that these creatures are the spawn of Eched’Na, the “mother of monsters.” This makes it rather confusing about how exactly morekareth are born.

But really that’s a minor issue, because then we come to the special powers, and all of my complaints are forgotten. Here, the monster shines, because it occupies a great niche. A hero’s bastard will always honorably challenge a creature to fight it barehanded. Those who resort to weapons will find that their foe is a very skilled sunderer. But eclipsing that are this creature’s abilities that not only let it impede supernatural forms of healing, but also force a fleeing foe to return. Hence, when you fight one of these creatures, there’s no healing, no retreating, and very little opportunity to use a weapon (before it breaks it). In other words, this guy will hit your PCs where it hurts. It’s the stuff a DM’s dreams are made of. Afterwards, there’s a quick set of notes from the designer, and a stat block for an advanced creature, as well as a sidebar with supplementary rules for other d20 variants for both types of monsters as well, which is a nice touch.

Ultimately, I felt somewhat saddened that this book, much like how the monster it described is born, was something so incredible if not for its flaws. The concept for the hero’s bastard is top-notch, and the powers are very impressive, but both the flavor text and mechanics need to be tweaked where they’re rough around the edges. Still, the ideas this presents, and the powers of the monster, just ooze inspiration, and lend themselves very well to being added to your Pathfinder game. Next time you sit down behind the screen, be a rat bastard with The Hero’s Bastard.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
I just wanted to thank Shane O'Connor for taking the time to do a review. Steve Russell Rite Publishing
The Hero's Bastard (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/30/2009 06:38:28
Everybody loves a good monster, and everybody loves a challenging and exciting battle where fortunes sway back and forth until through sheer brilliance the PCs finally prevail. And one of the beauties of RPGs in general is that there is infinite choice in battle - you can use a variety of tactics, you have a variety of combat and magical options, you have terrain to exploit and you can even run away. Essentially, a good battle and a good monster will allow you to dabble in all these aspects of combat, where each round is different from the last. I mention this because The Hero's Bastard deals with a new monster that effectively takes one of those listed options away - the option to run. When dealing with the The Hero's Bastard, or Morekareth, it's not fight or flight, but just fight. And that changes the ball game quite a bit.

The Hero's Bastard is a short 8 page pdf product presenting a new monster for the Pathfinder RPG. The product comes as a single pdf file, and is professionally presented with good art, front and back covers, extensive credits and a useful set of short bookmarks. The only thing this product lacks presentation-wise is a little bit more of an introduction than that offered by the back page and the advertising blurb. The product dives in immediately with the statistic block for the creature, leaving the organisation a little back to front. Writing and editing is good, and the mechanics look sound, even those sets of new mechanics that are offered for this beast. There's even an extensive list of statistics to use for various variant d20 rules, though the Summon Monster options looks considerably off target. Overall, I was pleased with the presentation - Rite Publishing have done an excellent job.

The Morekareth, or Hero's Bastard, is a powerful creature born of the blood of a fallen hero. The details of this are left unclear in the product, but the pdf does provide extensive background information, including descriptive text, background details, combat tactics, and general information on the creature and its ecology. The morekareth has a number of unique abilities, the more pertinent ones the ability to suppress healing and the ability to summon a creature to be adjacent to it. The combination of the two makes the morekareth quite a unique challenge, as there's no healing and no escaping. Now, admittedly, that's not everybody's cup of tea, as the creature is designed in a way to ensure that the battle is not a fair fight, but it should certainly make for an unique and deadly experience. It was disappointing to find, though, that despite this creature being unique and having unique abilities, it has a paltry Will save that any 1st level Wizard can have a go at. For a CR 12 creature, that's not really acceptable.

The morekareth is an interesting creature, but one that should probably be used with care. I think that for all the good design that's gone into it, there are a few flaws that are just to easy to exploit for the CR. Overall, I liked the monster, its description and details and even the story of its origin. Perhaps a few more details on how the origin actually came about would've been useful. Like most Pathfinder RPG product, this product can most likely be used in standard 3.5e OGL games as well. Good pdf, interesting monster, unique abilities, and good presentation.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much to Peter Ingham for taking the time to review The Hero's Bastard, Must go now and work on a web enhancement that covers some of his suggested improvements. Steve Russell; Rite Publishing
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