Friday, February 25, 2011

Augury - The Book of Purifying Flames

A Necromancer’s Grimoire: The Book of Purifying Flames is a small bookmarked PDF of 23 pages released by Necromancers of the Northwest. It deals with one theme – holy magical flames – and introduces a new type of damage for Pathfinder: purifying damage.

Unlike the traditional five types of elemental damage, purifying damage always come associated with fire damage. The difference is that purifying damage only affects evil-aligned creatures (although they can use their fire resistance against it). From this basic premise, the authors introduce a lot of new options and variants with 25 feats, 20 spells and a 1 prestige class.

Some of the new feats allow, for example, your purifying attacks to affect neutral targets, to inflict additional effects on evil targets or even to grant benefits to good creatures (like removing poison, diseases or curses). These new abilities – called Purification Feats – can only be used by good creatures and there is a limit to the number of effects that can be applied to one attack or spell.

All of the new spells are combat oriented and deal purifying damage in one form or another. However, most of the spells also have secondary effects, like lesser healing on good creatures or more severe afflictions against evil ones. This design philosophy adds spice to what would otherwise be the dullest part of The Book of Purifying Flames. It also encourages some extra thinking from spellcaster players. For me the most fascinating spells were those that enabled arcane casters to heal as a secondary effect.

The new prestige class – the Knight of the Pure Flame – is your traditional flame-wielding holy warrior. I admit that I found it a little unnecessary, as it doesn’t add anything new to the game.

The Book of Purifying Flames, as other NotN products, has a short fiction, some unique nomenclature (like “dungeon maestro”) and a layout style resembling a scroll or grimoire. The only art in the PDF is of good quality (albeit with a strange and unconnected title… “The Fall of Rome”?). The supplement’s theme can be very limited, but the new mechanic, feats and spells (together with the excellent price) make of it a good purchase for your Pathfinder or 3.5 games.