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Children of Wyrms $6.50
Publisher: Fantastic Gallery
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2012 03:27:06
This pdf is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, 1 page blank inside the back cover, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 25 pages of content, so let's check out this offering, shall we?

We all know that dragons can produce offspring and that half-dragons exist as well as that many a sorceror draws his power from his lineage. But what in-between? How does the transition from clearly draconic being to dormant power happen? This pdf kicks in with a discussion of exactly that by introducing the term "legacy" and discussing the transition from 1st generation legacy half-dragon to draconic legacy sorcerors of up to the 30th generation.

Starting at the beginning, the first complex template we get is for the legacy half-dragon (CR +3), which includes natural attacks for 3 sizes and 10 different draconic inheritances. Draconic inheritances include breath weapons (which are always part of the package) and 3 different sample legacies (bronze, silver and gold) à 3 recommended abilities that include luck, faster flight and similar gifts. A CR 7 sample character is included to illustrate the application of the template.

After that, we get the Quarter-Dragon (CR+2) complex template, again with natural attacks by size and 5 draconic inheritance options, again including breath weapons and 3 inheritances we already know from the half-dragon. However, the quarter-dragon must use an inheritance to gain access to a breath-weapon. Wings aren't included in the package either and thus one inheritance can gain access to them. There's a formatting glitch that reads "half-dragon" instead of "quarter-dragon" in the breath-weapon entry. We get another sample character, this time a rather complex one - a CR 13 quarter-dragon ninja! COOL!

One step further down the lineage, the greater draconic legacy creature-template adds +1 to the CR (minimum 2) and gains either a breath weapon, or one of 3 possible draconic inheritances, which we at this point already know from the other templates. There's a formatting glitch that reads "half-dragon" instead of "greater draconic legacy creature" in the breath-weapon entry. Greater draconic legacy creatures don't get a bite, but only claw attacks. We get a sample NPC at Cr 10 this time a sorceress.

Finally, there's the lesser draconic creature (CR +1, minimum 1), which can't get access to breath weapons, but to one of 3 draconic inheritances and natural claws as weapons. Again, we get a sample character, this time a rogue at CR 8.

Finally, there a kind of minor template, the draconic legacy sorceror - essentially, the template/page describes how sorcerors of draconic bloodlines and the templates in this book interact and how being a half-dragon AND a draconic bloodline sorceror enhances the power granted by one's lineage.

We also get 6 feats, ranging from being more agile flyers to gaining an elemental aura, additional draconic inheritances, additional breath-weapon uses and a 1st-level feat that bumps you up one step on your lineage as well as the ability to add energy damage to your weapon. We also get 6 sample traits that include improved natural healing and graceful aging.

On the magic item-side, we get a lesser hat of disguise, the hat of racial purity, that disguises one part of your lineage. The Staff of the Dragon is an ok staff with thematically-linked powers and the ring of draconic presence can frighten foes.

Finally, we get an optional one-page table on which characters generated with this pdf can roll d%s to determine cosmetic features that set the character apart like a snout, vestigial wings etc.

Part 2 of the pdf is rather interesting - it includes information on pregnancy with draconic children of all varieties as well as rules for the rather difficult birth and labor. While only a short section, it comes with a variety of tables for the different kinds of draconic beings introduced in this book and is the most innovative and, in my opinion, cool and unique chapter of the pdf.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good - I only noticed one minor formatting glitch, as mentioned in the review. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and comes with an artless, printer-friendly additional version. Art and layout are a good cue - The layout of this book adheres to a 2-column standard and is STUNNING. Beautiful. Glorious. And the same holds true for the GORGEOUS artworks. The cover is indeed just as beautiful as the interior artwork - only 2 pieces, on page 23 and 24 fall short of a quality that could be found in a paizo-publication. The artists Jon Hodgson, Talon Dunning, Jonathan Kaufman, Matt Manard and Lorraine Schleter did a great job. The content per se is neat, but before I get into details, I'll have to come clear. I don't like half-dragons. I consider them overdone, predictable and a dilution of draconic awesomeness, especially since the 3.5-days.
This pdf thus has a hard standing with me and addresses at least some of my gripes with half-dragons, namely that they seemed to exist in a vacuum - no-one knew how they gestated, how their blood dilutes etc. and this pdf acts as a comprehensive guide that adds variety to them. The option to scale them and their generational special features are rather nice, as they add to their variability. The second chapter is especially worth a read. However, not all is perfect in this supplement: My first gripe is that only the gold, silver and bronze-bloodlines are covered. While I do realize that more would have expanded the book, that's exactly what this one would need: Expansion. Evil bloodlines for example. More options for draconic inheritances and coverage of at least the basic kinds of dragons (or at least all the good ones in this and all the evil ones in a companion pdf) would have been neat.

My second gripe with this pdf is that there is no racial option that truly caters to draconic player characters, as all of the templates add at least 1 to the CR. While depending on the player's options you use this might not necessarily upset your game, the options presented herein are more powerful than standard-races. That means players looking for a PFRPG-variant of the Dragonborn won't find one in these pages, which is a huge pity, as I think that the potential to create such a being is definitely here and within the capabilities of authors Talon Dunning and Shane O'Connor. If you don't like Half-Dragons, this pdf will probably not change that. What it does, though, is put them into a context within the overall setting and thus make them less vacuous. Even better, the quality of the overall production and the price make this a rather interesting book to make the by-now predictable half-dragon more versatile. I fully expected to despise the book personally and approached it on my reviewer-perspective. Surprisingly, I did enjoy what I finally read and consider this pdf a worthwhile investment for DMs seeking to spice up draconic characters in their game. If the pdf was longer and featured all draconic bloodlines and more inheritances (perhaps even unique ones for different age-categories) to choose from, I'd immediately score this 5 stars. As written, I still consider this book a good resource with afore-mentioned minor shortcomings, thus my final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much for your honest review! I'm very glad to have been able to "win you over," so to speak, despite your inherent dislike of the half-dragons in d20. While I myself have always loved the idea of half-dragon, I too have found the templates lacking in sophistication and detail, which was, ultimately, the genesis of this project. I would have liked to have expanded on the concept myself, and included all of the draconic types, both chromatic and metallic, but the entire concept was based on the fact that only dragons who can naturally shape-change can produce legacy bloodlines, and that whittled the list down to only three types, gold, silver and bronze. None of the other standard dragons in the Bestiary have that ability and must use external magic (polymorph spells and the like) to shape-chage. While they can certainly produce half-dragons this way, I decided that such half-dragons should be created with the standard template in the Bestiary, as opposed to the ones found here. My intention was to allow the standard half-dragon template to exist alongside the legacy half-dragon instead of overwriting it entirely. The Legacy Half-Dragon is intended to be more pure, because they were created "naturally," which is why they pass on their physical traits for many generations and "standard" half-dragons don't (which explains why we haven't seen their offspring before).

But of course, that's all MY particular take on it. An enterprising GM with a taste for creating a other draconic legacy bloodlines could easily modify the templates in this book to fit, say, a red legacy by substituting gold, silver or bronze draconic inheritances with the abilities of red dragons as listed in the Bestiary. Simply choose the three abilities you least mind you PCs having access to and them let them choose their inheritance. For the subsequent templates, simply drop one of the three options with each, starting with the most powerful. Otherwise, the templates can apply across the draconic spectrum as written. In this case, the Legacy Half-Dragon template should likely supersede the standard half-dragon template in order to keep the feel of the loss of power through the successive generations (Cr+3 to Cr+2 to CR+1).

I also sympathize with your wish to have had a "dragonborn" race without any CR adjustment, but, unfortunately, that sort of thing would have been outside the scope of the book's theme (the family bloodline of a dragon/humanoid mating). Dragonborn in 4e are, of course, a full race that breeds true among themselves and while having such a thing in Pathfinder would, indeed, be awesome, they wouldn't tie into a whole "draconic legacy" thing, so we weren't able to include such in this book. Doing so would have broadened the focus of the book and made it more akin to WOtC's "Draconomicon" or "Races of the Dragon," both fine supplements, but much larger projects than we were looking to take on here. Perhaps a future supplement can tackle the idea of a true "dragonborn" race! ;-)

Anyway, I hope that gives you a bit of insight as to why we made certain decisions. Thanks again for your review and I hope you will enjoy CHILDREN OF WYRMS!

-Talon Dunning/Team Fantastic Gallery
UPDATE: We have corrected the mistakes mentioned in this review. Thanks to Endzeitgeist for pointing them out!
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