Product Review – Book of the Damned Vol.2: Lords of Chaos







… Ahem, sorry about that. I still DO need to make that post on Gargoyles, don’t I? I know I do, I just can’t understand why I like them so damn much. But for now, things that actually matter.

Some time ago, Paizo Publishing released Book of the Damned: Princes of Darkness, a book detailing the Nine Hells in the Pathfinder setting of Golarion. I admit, this was a pure impulse buy, based almost solely upon finding a post on Paizo’s store blog that previewed Princes of Darkness, with an entry on Moloch. Who was described as an entity of pure hellfire, barely contained within a suit of rusting black armor.

Anyone who has EVER said that the Devils are boring? Can officially suck it.

So I picked it up, and yeah, it’s good. It’s great, in fact, as the other eight Princes are awesome too, the details on how Hell works are neat, and the new monsters? People, I’m not even running Pathfinder and I want to use some of these things. Simply put, if you run D&D, Pathfinder, whatever, if you’ve EVER loved Devils, get Princes of Darkness. It’s worth it.

Naturally, when a second Book of the Damned was announced, detailing the Abyss and its demons, I wanted it too. The Abyss is an environment as old as Dungeons & Dragons itself, with everyone having a favorite Demon Lord (Juiblex, in my case), and after seeing Paizo’s take on the Hells? Well, who wouldn’t want this book? Sadly, as Christmas was kind of bad, money-wise (well, everything-wise, but this is a WordPress blog, not a Livejournal…), I wasn’t able to get it until this week.

So, is it as good as the first volume? Not exactly, but only because the first was hard to top.

Written by James Jacobs, softcover, full color, 60-odd pages, $19.99 USD MSRP.

Everything that was in Volume 1 is present here: The fiction with its strange, difficult to read text (true low point of the book; no marks deducted, however), the beautiful, high-quality color art for the monsters, and more information in a lean 60 pages than Wizards of the Coast can pack into nearly 200.

That said, this thing is a little more scattered than the first. As the Nine Hells only have, well, nine layers, nine unique realms, that means only nine Princes. The Abyss, however, has more. A lot more. Infinitely more, or 657 more, depending on who you ask. So of course there are not 600 demon lords in this book. That would just be silly. And pretty useless, really.

But this does have well over 40. Obviously, since one of Golarion’s gods, Lamshutu, makes her home in the Abyss, she is detailed here, with two pages of info, which is more than any other single lord gets, most of them getting about half a page. There’s a lot in those half-pages, however.

I mean, you have your usual ones, you know, madness, pain, torture, apes, stuff like that. But then it gets weird. Things like Aldinach, the lord of scorpions, sand, and thirst, who is worshiped in the vast deserts of Golarion. She herself IS a massive scorpion, with claws of horribly sharp crystal. Then we have Flauros, lord of salamanders, fire and volcanoes, who appears as a massive reptilian monstrosity made from molten lava. Jezelda is the being worshiped by the werewolves as a god, though, sadly, her interest is only in werewolves. Still, that’s pretty cool. And yes, there is Xoveron, the lord of ruins, gluttony, and gargoyles, whose form is a gargoyle bearing four arms, four heads, and twenty horns. Bad ass. I am using this thing. Somehow. Some way.

But the one who stands out most in my mind is Nugral, the demon lord of the sun. Yes, you read that right: He’s an evil sun god. His worshipers do not fear the light of day, and bring a whole new meaning to the whole “Light is Not Good” trope…

Like I said: It’s weird. But that’s a good thing… Especially in dealing with demons.

Then we have a few demon lords fans of D&D will no doubt recognise. Pazuzu, Orcus, Kostiche and Dagon return, among others, all in styles similar to ones they used in 3.5e, and that’s not very strange. I mean, they are mythological figures and thus public domain.

But then we have ones I assumed were owned by Wizards: Juiblex. Socothbenoth. Possibly others. Now I know Paizo isn’t stupid (They’re not Fast Forward Entertainment, after all, dear GOD no), so there must be a reason they can use these things. Either way, I’m not unhappy to see them, I just thought it was strange.

One thing I would like to point out is that the Demon Lords section begins with a note on doing battle with them: Simply put, Pathfinder says “You can’t,” as they are effectively Demigods in power, well beyond the scope of the usual game. In light of Dungeon & Dragons 4th Edition’s heavy focus on battling Demon Lords or gods once you hit level 30, to say nothing of Paizo’s love of battling both, Demon Lords and Gods (as you fight one of each in the Paizo Adventure Paths published in Dungeon Magazine) this seems somewhat strange. I couldn’t tell you why they did this, but I suppose it does not matter. Just something I thought I’d mention.

From there, details on demonic cults, notes on various forms of demons and their roles, and several new types of demons… And in comparison to the section on demon lords, these chapters are pretty lean. I suppose after giving enough information for years of campaigns, one does not need to do much more, but again, it seems somewhat sparse.

Still, that’s A LOT of info to cram into 60 pages, and at $20, it’s a solid purchase, especially for Pathfinder players, and Abyss fans of any edition of D&D.


… ahem, sorry…

Tags: ,

One Response to “Product Review – Book of the Damned Vol.2: Lords of Chaos”

  1. laraquasandgate Says:

    I’m pretty sure Socoth-Benoth, as a name at least, is also mythological though spelled slightly differently. I don’t know if that helped with this at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: