Arcadia Issue 11 Breakdown
All art belongs to MCDM
Wow! I can’t finish reviewing the Beastheart class and I am already thrown a new Arcadia issue! It definitely feels like Christmas all of a sudden! Fear not, however, for I shall break my sleep schedule and stress myself out (not really, don’t worry), so you can get to read everything new coming from MCDM! Its cover image this time isn’t as cool looking as the previous ones and feels more chilled and similar to the usual D&D art style. Not that it is bad, as it gives a great air of adventure, but I wouldn’t put it in my top 5 Arcadia covers.
Unlike the rest of the past issues, this one doesn’t feel like it carries a theme. It’s scheduled for the Holidays, but it doesn’t offer anything that could be considered festive. James makes use of his letter from the editor to thank the readers and patrons, as they are the ones that allowed Arcadia to exist for a whole year. That missing month is the one they took to consider if it was worth the effort to keep making Arcadia issues, and the answer was a resounding YES. That month was also the one the Illrigger class came out, which you can read more about OVER HERE.
Sadie Lowry seems to really like celestial beings, as this is the second Arcadia issue from her that involve angelic stuff. The first one was amazing all the way back in Arcadia Issue 1 and this one is great as well. Here we are given 4 new ancestries to import to your game. These being angelic beings it might feel weird to bring them to some of your games, but we all have that one friend who comes up with weird ideas or would really enjoy playing a celestial being and the aasimar isn’t quite what they were looking for. This article is for them, as these are the coolest of angels!
All “scions”, as they are called, have resistance to both radiant and necrotic damage, which may be a bit too powerful, but aasimars have those same resistances, making them not that much of a big deal. The rest of their shared traits are nothing special: darkvision (of course), medium or small size, and no flight speed just like aasimars. I think we can all agree these ancestries are basically aasimars, but cool.
Chthonic Scions (damn is that word difficult to spell right!) are those angels in charge of leading people and creatures to the afterlife. This is not done in a terrifying or grim way, but in a peaceful one, by adopting the form of something that person who is passing away loves most or something they find dear. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t look grim the rest of the time though! If this act of ferrymenship isn’t done accordingly, having chthonic scions enjoy making someone die, or having them suffer, Mount Celestia will know and will send their best agents after you! Nevertheless, these scions can gather the soul of the dead into a small bottle and carry it with them, allowing the angelic being to ask three questions to the passed one. Lastly, by acting as a shephard, chthonic scions can help allies survive longer by allowing them to pass a single death save once per long rest.
Agents of law and wells of magic, primordial scions are connected to fate, gravity, and life. They are agents that are tasked to maintain balance no matter the cost. Whenever a cosmic event takes effect, primordial scions are the ones tasked with putting an end to it. This can be done by either destroying everything or doing some swift assassinations to balance the scales. They are hardy, but powerful, able to change gravity to yeet enemies or allies in the direction they wish. With some growth in power, they can even change fate, making an attack that could have impaled an ally fail misserably.
When the heavens find a target to be eliminated and have to do it fast and efficiently, that’s when the vindicator scions come in. They are the ones in charge of eliminating evil, going from bounty hunters and assassins to spies! These agents for divine justice seek corruption and eliminate it, but don’t act recklessly. If a creature has a small chance of being innocent, then no damage may fall to them, as there shall never be doubt in their actions. Vindicators get their calls to hunt from the celestials and can leave marks in the souls of their targets to track them tirelessly, as well as transoform into true vindicators, able to summon chains they can throw at their targets to restrain them.
Wow are these cool angels! I love all the story seeds that Sadie threw into each of them to create better narratives. Nevertheless, I find a hard time imagining these celestial beings as weak PCs. They all have great lore, but might feel extremely weird walking through the streets, and having them be just your usual folk in your setting kind of removes the fun from them. All in all, I love them, but find it weird to import into my games as a character for a whole campaign.
Sadie threw in both a chthonic and a vindicator scion as NPCs. Neither of them is evil, but they have their own conflicts that have them seek the PCs for help. Many story seeds can spring from these quests, all of them with very different endings that may end with the PCs having the scions as allies or enemies. I really like how versatile these quests are that they can end up in so many different ways. Great job from the writer!
D&D is a weird game that comes from stealing things from crypts and using them for the player character’s personal benefits. Sometimes, one of them has sticky fingers and decides to steal from the local noble while on a visit. What do you do with all this stolen stuff? That’s when fences come into play!
Fences are one of the most popular characters for adventuring groups. They have some of the best stuff at the best prices, and may be the only ones willing to buy your “Sword of Goblin Neck Rupturing”. However, this all comes with a price. Being all these things stolen goods you will surely draw some attention. This may come from the ones you stole the item from, some thieves or rivals willing to have it, a whole faction, or even extraplanar beings! The article has several tables you can roll on to decide how important those items are, why they are so important and how much of a catastrophe is for the player characters to have it.
The article comes with its own set of rules about “heat”. The more stolen items you have, and the more things you do that might draw some attention, the more heat points the party gains. After some time, you roll and there’s a chance for someone to come after those items! Doing this every once in a while, or at tense moments can create amazing scenes, even changing the whole story course, but doing so repeatedly can be frustrating. It’s important to find a great middle ground!
Three different fences are detailed, all of them very different and special in their own way. I love that each of them come with their own unique art, and I am definitely going to steal one or two for my games. The three come with their own backstory and roleplaying prompts to make them extremely unique and loveable. From the three, it’s definitely the granny I love the most, which can look adorable at first but if you are looking to buy stuff, the badass veteran from the cavalry within her shows her true being. All three NPCs come with some sample items they can sell as well as the prices for the items. This is good stuff!
Do you want to add an extra mini-game to your home game? Personally, I’ve always had in my game groups someone who is the one in charge of cooking the monsters the adventuring party kills. It has created some very memorable scenes and it’s something I look forward to when they go hunting. Rudy seems to think like me, and even went a step further, creating a whole set of rules on cooking and harvesting in D&D. They are very well detailed and comes with a whole set of ideas on benefits cooking could give the PCs. This way, looking to get ready for a big battle by gathering the proper ingredients can become its own mini quest.
The article comes with its own set of charts that indicate how much time you can have a specific piece of food before it becomes spoiled, rules on how to improve rotten food, charts that indicate the difficulty of gathering certain ingredients, and much more! The different food examples, both simple ones and exotic, are listed in the same way you would see a list of recipes from a book: There’s the list of ingredients you need to gather, and depending on how well you cooked it the list of benefits it gives the PCs. I really like how it is structured, and will definitely be stealing these recipes for my games.
The article additionally comes with some tips on how to design your own meals or improvise what the PCs are trying to harvest and/or cook. What’s more, there are story hooks and ideas to create your own food-themed campaigns, feats to gain more out of what you eat, and some extra ideas.
The thing I enjoyed the most was the different magical effects you can get from eating monsters. One of my favorites is the Mimic Tongue Chowder, which can have you polymorph into other creatures, even those that are bigger than you. That sort of wackyness is the kind of things that jumpstart quests for ingredients and memorable stories!
In conclusion, this was not my favorite issue from Arcadia, but it isn’t one of the worst either. I’m pretty sure I’ll be using at least one thing from all three articles in some way or another, and am definitely looking forward to using the rules for cooking in my games. The fences might not be suitable in the campaign I am running right now, but definitely have a place in campaigns I have planned for the future. As for the scions, I really like the concept, but find them difficult to import to my games. Adding one of them as an emmisary from the celestials could be something fun though.
What about you? Are you looking forward to adding something from this issue to your game? Are you skipping this issue? Is one of this articles your new favorite one? Let me know all about it in the comments below!