||Arcane Outbreak is a 13 page d20 pdf product. This product is a standalone product presenting a number of new magical diseases, disease-related feats, and a new prestige class focused on diseases. The product is written by Neal Bailey.
Arcane Outbreak comes a single pdf file. Layout and general presentation are fairly straightforward for such a short pdf. There is no art within the product, and given its length one or possibly two pieces of art would've been welcome. Editing and writing is good, and the various disease concepts are well supported by new mechanics. The product contains no bookmarks, but is printer-friendly.
This product is all about magical diseases. At first look I was expecting another handful of diseases that were similar to those found in the core rules. I couldn't have been more wrong. These diseases are different, both in mechanics and the elaborate consequences of contracting any particular disease. While some of the standard mechanics are still present in terms of contracting diseases, the effect of being contagious and the scope of the diseases are all novel and very interesting. In these pages you have diseases that you've not likely seen before, such as diseases that infect people during healing, or diseases that act as gateways to other planes. The ten diseases are very well conceived and very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed each one of them.
Having said that, these diseases are probably more suitable to be used as plot hooks and adventure ideas than diseases that infect PCs. They certainly can be used as such, but PCs have so many means of ridding themselves of diseases that it makes more sense to use these great ideas to sculpt adventures. Having the PCs deal with an outbreak or the consequences of these diseases seems like a better idea than actually infecting one of them with it. Either way, there's a lot of good material here that can make for some fun and exciting gaming. These are probably some of the best diseases I've seen in a while for the d20 system. Full of flavor and very applicable to any game.
The second half of the pdf deals with ten new disease-related feats and a new prestige class. The feats build on the disease idea in clever ways, allowing you to willingly contract a particular disease to gain some benefit, or to enhance your own immunity to diseases. The prestige class, the Phage Touched, is a lovely prestige class that is full of flavor and a well executed prestige class based on the disease concept. This prestige class is applicable to both PCs and NPCs, which makes it doubly useful despite the disease background. Player characters will have fun playing this class, and the new mechanics are both interesting and well conceived. The Phage Touched gains a number of abilities, including infecting creatures, auras of disease and others, all culminating in the ability to turn yourself into a living plague. A neat idea and neatly executed.
Arcane Outbreak is a very good pdf. There's a lot of new, clever and useful material in here, and a lot of flavor to support the various magical diseases. DMs should have a lot of fun in using these in their campaign world, both as plot hooks and for infecting their players with. The feats and prestige class are all very good, although some of the feats are probably quite niche for campaigns where diseases are not that common. Overall, a very good pdf, and very good value for money.
LIKED: Arcane Outbreak is a interesting and novel pdf presenting some truly exciting new ideas in terms of diseases. Presentation is solid, material is full of flavor and the utility of this product is high for any campaign world. If you've wanted to make diseases more than a passing nuisance, then this product does just that.
DISLIKED: A couple of pieces of art would've been a nice addition and perhaps some of the disease are more suitable as plot hooks for infected NPCs rather than for infecting PCs.
QUALITY: Very Good
VALUE: Very Satisfied
[5 of 5 Stars!]