PATHFINDER: ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN (available from Leisure Games £26.99)
Pathfinder's Ultimate campaign is the latest volume in the Ultimate series (see below); it is also the first of this series that I have seen so I cannot compare the manner of the book's set out.
Therefore this is a look only at this product and how it can be brought to feature in your Pathfinder games.
ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN: Jason Bulmahn
This is a 250+ page hard cover volume that has information on full glossy colour pages is useful and valuable for both Players and GMs.
Paizo's Pathfinder rpg is the best fantasy role-play game since, in my opinion, Talislanta. This is not because of any system for Combat, Magic or Thievery skill useage, but because Pathfinder
is a game which requires the players to create an actual living character with a full background that has been designed to fit, as if the character has actually lived through it. Talislanta was/is an
rpg that also depends on the characters having solid backgrounds and lives that they live when they are not off adventuring. Other fantasy rpg's have tried to do this, D&D, Harn, are examples,
but until Pathfinder came along, none, in my mind, managed it as well or as thoroughly as Talislanta.
The Pathfinder: Ultimate Campaign book is set out in four distinct chapters, each with several headings. The first two Chapters are predominantly for the Players, though also useful to GMs,
and the last two Chapters are mainly for the GM, though Players should be allowed to read them.
Chapter One: Character Background
How to Create a Background. Early Life. Adolescence. Adulthood. Background Generator. Traits (and Drawbacks) and Story Feats
Chapter Two: Downtime
Downtime Activities. Managers. Rooms and Teams. Buildings and Organisations. Downtime Events. Downtime Tracking Sheet.
Chapter Three: Campaign Settings
Alignment. Bargaining. Companions. Contacts. Exploration. Honor. Investment. Lineage. Magic Item Creation. Relationships. Reputation and Fame. Retirement. Retraining. Taxation.
Chapter Four: Kingdoms and War
Kingdom Building: Kingdom Terminology. Founding a Kingdom. Leadership Roles. Build Points. Kingdom Turn Sequence. Edicts. Losing Hexes. Terrain Improvements. Settlements and
Districts. Founding a Settlement.
Buildings. Events. Building Icons. District Grid. Kingdom Sheet. Optional Kingdom Rules.
Mass Combat: Army Statistics. Battle Phases. Attacking and Taking Damage. Battlefield Conditions. Army Tactics. Strategy Track. Rout. Victory, Rout, or Defeat. Recovery. Commanders.
Army Resources. Special Abilities. Player Characters in Battles. Optional Mass Combat Rules. Sample Armies. Army Sheet.
I realise that this isn't a review as to how the book has affected games that I have played, but then how do I do that ? I don't want to just write out the different backgrounds, skills, feats and abilities
of my characters, that would be pointless, but what I can say is that by taking my time and going through this volume my enjoyment of Pathfinder has been enhanced immensely. You can see by the
above headings and sub-headings just how influential Ultimate Campaign can be if you are willing to (and want to) let your characters live. I enjoyed creating backgrounds - it's like developing the
characters in a book - but the best part for me as a Player was the Downtime chapter which meant I could continue to play my characters after the gaming session had ended and I was still buzzing
with ideas and adrenaline. I have had characters build their own houses, move to different towns and take on real jobs (when they are not off searching for gold and treasures or saving fallen maidens)
that help the communities in which they live. This really is a special volume for the Ultimate fantasy role-player, more so, in my view, than the various Living Campaigns assosiated with many other
role-playing games, fantasy, sci-fi etc.
If the other Ultimate books are of this quality and as full of useful gaming material for both GMs and Players - and there is no reason that they shouldn't be - then they are more than worth the cost of
£26.99 each (£29.99 for Ultimate Equipment).