A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Scions of Evil

Scions of Evil is a supplement for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game published by Raging Swan Press. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License with some parts being considered to be Open Game Content. This is a compilation supplement of various villainous and enemy non-player characters, including the contents of Antipaladins, Bandits of the Rampant Horror, Brethren of the Crimson Altar, Fellowship of the Blackened Oak, Kai’s Scoundrels, Thanegar’s Horde, Villains, Villains II and Villains III.

Scions of EvilThe supplement is available as a PDF for $13.99, a softcover print on demand book for $19.99, a hardcover print on demand book for $28.99, PDF and softcover for $25.99 or PDF and hardcover for $34.99 and in print from sites such as Amazon. The PDF is the version reviewed, which was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.63 as part of a special bundle. It has 201 pages, with two pages being Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page a catalogue of other products, three pages of front matter, two pages for the Contents and Foreword, three pages of stat blocks by CR and one page of ads for other products and the Open Game License.

The PDF comes in two formats, one optimised for print and high end devices and the other for screen.

The book starts with some details on Antipaladins, originally from the Advanced Player’s Guide, namely some class abilities, demonic patrons and code of conduct, for reference/

Minions is the first section and is comprised of foes who will generally be found working for a more powerful foe. This doesn’t mean that they are all low-ranking cannon fodder though; some are quite dangerous in and of themselves. Details vary, from simple one sentence descriptions and stat blocks for such as kobolds, to more detailed descriptions for more dangerous creatures up to full descriptions on background, behaviour and adventure hooks for the more significant beings.

Villains is the second section and these foes are generally, although not always, more dangerous than those in the prior section, in some cases vastly more dangerous, but the NPCs do cover a range of difficulties giving foes for characters of many different levels. They often have minions with them, either referenced from the previous section, Minions, or described in more detail, further adding to their danger. These villains are also described in far more detail, with such as lairs, tactics, backgrounds and history, lore, adventure hooks and encounters with different levels of difficulty. Teraim Arasten from this section can be found fully detailed in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: June 2017.

The remainder of the book is divided into different sections, all of which were once in their own supplement. Each of these describes an organised group, rather than a single foe.

Bandits of the Rampant Horror is a group of spriggans led by a vile leader who is searching for an ancient magical item. Details are provided on the spriggans ecology and society, combat and tactics and lairs. How to use the spriggans in your campaign is covered in a sidebar, as well as lore. Stats are provided for various spriggan combatants, from the Knights to more minor combatants, and more detailed write ups for important NPCs; the leader, the ettin bard, the harpy mistress of the leader and the leader’s vargouille advisor. There are a host of adventure seeds in this section, for encounters with different members of the Bandits, and finally two d12 tables, one of rumours and one of woodland dressing.

Brethren of the Crimson Altar deals with a group of vampires who are using an artefact, the titular Crimson Altar, in an attempt to break the walls between the living world and that of the dead. There are described as being four vampires in the Brotherhood, but there are actually four major vampires and various spawn and lesser ones. The Brotherhood largely acts behind the scenes, with only one liking open conflict. Thus players can tangle with the Brotherhood without even knowing it. There are various adventure hooks and encounters at different levels that the players can be involved with, as well as the four major vampires. Interestingly, one of these could potentially be separated from the Brotherhood and become a useful, albeit evil, ally. Finally, there is a d20 table of whispers, rumours and events. An extract of this can be found in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: October 2014.

Fellowship of the Blackened Oak is a small group lead by a young green dragon, who is looking for the location of her dead parents’ hoard, marked by a blackened oak, who have banded together out of mutual interest. They primarily operate out of a forest, and only a couple of members are generally found outside it. The group has potential points of fracture and are detailed, as is the dragon’s hoard. There is a journal that can help find the hoard, various adventure hooks and a d20 table of woodland dressing which includes potential encounters with the Fellowship.

Kai’s Scoundrels are a group of smugglers who may be met as foes, or even hired. They may be generally evil in nature, but they are not out and out evil, especially the titular Kai, who is actually neutral. They are a disparate group of individuals who get on fairly well and the five scoundrels are detailed. A number of encounters are provided, and these are not necessarily hostile in nature – the Scoundrels are business-orientated in nature.

Thanegar’s Horde is a group of goblins, bugbears and some humans led by a not very successful warleader. Details are provided on the group’s ecology & society, lair and combat and tactics, as well as on minor and major characters and adventure hooks and encounters. This is a group that has many different lines of fracture to start falling apart at.

Scions of Evil in Review

The PDF is very well bookmarked with most major and minor sections listed, and the Contents is both thorough and hyperlinked. The list of stat blocks by CR, whilst not hyperlinked, is also useful. Navigation is therefore well above average, although there are some problems, mentioned later. The text maintains a two column format there are a number of black and white illustrations for some of the foes. Some of these are clearly stock art, such as various portraits by Larry Elmore, whilst some would appear to be custom. There aren’t images for every detailed villain, but that would have been unlikely, however welcome such might be. In Brethren of the Crimson Altar, Fellowship of the Blackened Oak, Kai’s Scoundrels and Thanegar’s Horde there are many references to material on other pages, with the page numbers give. Unfortunately, these page numbers are for the original supplements, not this one, so they are all wrong. Only Bandits of the Rampant Horror appears to lack this problem.

Naturally, the book is full of stat blocks for all the various villains which takes up a goodly chunk of the book, but this is only expected and means that a GM doesn’t have to look elsewhere for much of the information. Three of the creatures in the Villains section in particular are extremely dangerous; according to the editor, these three were not created for campaigns but basically as one-offs for high level combat encounters. From these, the vampiric Balor Gahlgax Atarrith can be found fully described in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: August 2015.

There are a whole host of villains and enemies at lots of different levels to provide challenges to all types of characters, either from incidental encounters to full blown campaigns. A GameMaster can do what is suggested in the book and also have a lower level enemy turn out to have been a minion of a higher level one as the characters advance in level.

Most villains are clearly villainous in nature, even if some started off with the best of intentions, but there are some that are a bit more interesting, as they could be redeemed, with a bit of effort. Of the groups, Kai’s Scoundrels are the ones that players are least likely to come into open, or even hidden, conflict with; they have some morals about what they smuggle and are in it for the money.

The addition of tactics, adventure hooks and different encounters of different levels for many of the included foes greatly adds to the utility of the book. A GM can find a foe for just about any type of encounter, even the odd bit of cannon fodder, but where it truly excels is in the provision of detailed enemies that can harass the players for some time. This is a truly excellent collection of enemies, that could be integrated into an existing campaign, and can also be used as a source of potential adventures or side quests. Scions of Evil is definitely worth picking up and can be found by clicking here.

 

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