This 142-page PDF from the fine folks at Mongoose bends my brain a little bit. It’s a book on how to be an adventurer is a fantasy roleplaying worls, specifically geared toward the Pathfinder rules. It’s got some flavor text that’s essentially in-character advice for player character, and it’s geared toward players to help them make better choices for their characters, but it also feel more like a round-about book of gamemastering advice. As a gamemaster, I’m looking at the advice being given and thinking “hmm, I should remember to include that when I run the game”.
This section offers advice on what sort of equipment to get, under what circumstances, and why. As in real life, you should pack differently for a sea voyage then you do for a stay in the city. It also offer advice on equipment by class, because a barbarian and a paladin are going to have not only different lifestyles but different needs. This even discussed containers, carrying things on your body, and cutting items loose if needed.
Rules of Engagement
This is about party construction. It goes into non-class-specific roles (like sentries and party spokespersons), and looks at both combat and non-combat roles of each class. It also explores how each class might view people of other classes and their roles. Then it goes into picking a leader, scouting ahead, marching order, and all of that sort of stuff most of us only learned through playing the game. It’s nicely shaded between tactics and roleplaying advice.
This section is about picking spells, and breaks down spell lists by role: direct harm, indirect harm, tactical, enhancement, and so on. By knowing your caster’s role within the party, you can best pick spells to fulfill that role. It makes sense. Again, it’s not only tactical advice, it’s going to overlap into how you play the character. A “artillerist” caster is going to be different than a “defender”. It goes through roles for every class, with spell lists and advice for each role. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything that so clearly laid out what specific spells to take based on what you want your character to be. This, to me, is the section that makes the whole book worthwhile.
The Home Base
I’ve always though that parties need a base of operations to return to between adventures, to heal, train, and study. This section goes into setting up a home base, stocking it, and defending it. It also covers temporary bases, camps the characters set up while on adventures. It covers all sorts of bases, from castles to caves, homes to institutions (guilds, colleges, and such). Did I say the last section made this book worthwhile? Well, this one does too, to a lesser degree.
As a “Roleplaying 101″-type book, not bad at all. I think each player and each group develops their own style, and each character is unique, but for a new roleplayer looking for some starting guidance or even experienced roleplayer looking for some new ideas, it’s well worth a look.