Review: Raging Swan Press – Villains (Pathfinder)

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Villains (GM’s Resource)
Villians is an epic fantasy supplement from the GM’s Resource series for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game published by Raging Swan Press and written by Creighton Broadhurst and Martin Tideswell.
By Aaron T. Huss

Villains is the next supplement in the GM’s Resource series for Pathfinder. Each supplement is designed to put game material into the GMs hands for quick and easy reference. Villains features a grouping of villains and some possible minions that could accompany them. Each villain is presented as a full NPC with plenty of color, depth and pretty much everything a GM would need to drop it into their adventure or campaign.

CONTENT

Villains is broken into two content sections: Minions and Villains. The minions are presented as small NPCs and adversaries to use in conjunction with the villains presented later. These minions stat blocks are presented quite simply with a little bit of flavor text sprinkled throughout. There are also a smattering of sample encounter groupings given using the minions in different combinations. While these are meant to be married with the villain NPCs, they do a good job standing on their own as well.

The villains are presented in a very detailed manner. There are 7 NPCs ranging from CR 7 to 11. What makes this section so valuable is that each NPC is fully detailed with a background description, selection of adventure seeds, basic lore, personal traits and sample encounters. Raging Swan Press really presents a 360-degree look at these NPCs with more than ample information for the GM to easily place them into adventures or ongoing campaigns.

OVERALL

The GM’s Resource series of supplements from Raging Swan Press is a great set of publications for GMs who are pressed for time or short on ideas. Villains supplies the GM with a great amount of NPCs and associated minions along with plenty of background and adventure seeds to go with it. GMs should be able to create numerous encounters, adventures or even campaigns with some of the simplest material found throughout. A definite must have for the GM who needs a little guidance.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
While Villains follows a similar layout and presentation as previous Raging Swan Press products, the minions section changes the typical presentation slightly and is different than most stat block presentations. The villains have illustrations for each while the minions do not (as they are fairly standard and designed to be flexible). The content is a great concept and I really like how the NPCs fully match the illustrations.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Villains really takes advantage of the flexible character creation (and NPC creation) system within Pathfinder. It truly allows you to create virtually any type of character imaginable with a variety of abilities (considering the multitude of combinations available). While there are no new mechanics introduced, Villains definitely allows the GM to quickly take advantage of the core mechanics without having to spend a lot of time doing it.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Most of the value add within Villains does not include the stat blocks. The greatest value is the flavor text, plot hooks and background information surrounding the different NPCs (especially when including the minions). With this information, a GM could easily create an adventure or encounter or even slide it into an ongoing campaign as an integral part of the storyline. GMs that are really creative can take some of the backgrounds and turn them into launching points for new campaigns. The fully fleshed-out stat blocks and minions are really just a bonus.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Villains is another great supplement from Raging Swan Press. While its use is seemingly straight-forward, there are so many other possibilities besides just creating encounters or adventures using the given NPCs and their minions. Raging Swan Press does a fantastic job at presenting stat blocks and this publication is so easy to read and follow. Regardless of what you use it for, it’s definitely a high-quality product with a myriad of uses.

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