Publisher: Jon Brazer Enterprises
Well this is just flattering. Designer Dale C. McCoy, Jr. based Book of the Faithful 1 – Power of Prayer off a comment I made in Private Sanctuary episode 87 . As a thank you, he provided me with a free copy. Although I did make my own version of Prayer Feats, it will be interesting to see his take on the same idea.
Just to add, this is the first of a subseries called mini-reviews. Mini-reviews differ from standard reviews in that they cover small releases, usually PDF, from 3rd party publishers. They differ from product reviews in that they are sourcebooks. A mini-review will not have as many highlights or low points simply because there is less content or narrower focus to review.
Is it egotistical of me to expect to like the product based only on my part in inspiring it?
At a Glance
Power of Prayer uses stock art. It is nice art and raises the quality of the pages without raising the cost.
The layout is a little tight. The text isn’t hard to read but it takes a bit longer to determine the break between feats at a glance. There was no need to meet a page count and there is an unused white space at the end of the PDF, leaving me confused about why everything was so cramped.
Functional, Balanced, and All (Core) Encompassing
These feats work. There is a feat for each of the core domains granting a relevant ability without being over or under powerful. The bonuses they grant are larger than the average feat provides, but they are limited to once per day. Especially appreciated is how the skill-based feats scale based on ranks and how the more commonly used skills get their own prayer feats while the less commonly used skills are bundled together.
Technically had Power of Prayer found a more generic prerequisite than domains it could have been more applicable. A character worshipping a non-core god might not qualify for any of these prayer feats. Most likely they will, but with fewer options. At least Power of Prayer did not make up a new pantheon just for this book, which a player would have to ignore or work around to use these options.
In my (admittedly limited) experience designing, nothing stumps me more consistently than naming. A good name has to accurately describe the option, add some flavour to the crunch, and bring it to life. Prayer feats like Held at Death’s Door and Memory of Friends are perfectly named.
Power of Prayer could have used an editing pass. Mostly the writing is acceptable, but there are incidents of unnecessary words, homonyms, and awkward phrasings. This is especially true of the crunch. The most confusing example is that the definition of prayer feats states “The faithful follower can be of any class or alignment” and yet there are alignment prerequisites to certain prayer feats.
Most of the rules are written clearly enough to understand. They do not leave a lot up to interpretation. However, they do not have the smooth phrasing of a Paizo release.
Once Per Day
This is personal preference, but I dislike once per day mechanics. I played a lot of multi-classed barbarians with 1 rage/day in 3.5. Invariably the rage would go to waste every day in game for fear I might need it later. This means I am unlikely to actually use any of these options, but I would not hesitate to allow a player I was GMing to take them.
I think Held at Death’s Door’s ability to stabilize a character that was about to die is the best ability granted by any feat in this book. It also perfectly represents the kind of boon people pray for.
Protect Thy Neighbor uses the Aid Another rules, which I think are under appreciated in the game. Perfect for a feat tied to the protection domain.
Look, it’s $2.00 at DriveThru RPG. Each copy sold supports a fan of the show trying to fulfill a dream shared by many of us, being a professional game designer.
If that isn’t enough for you, the options are high quality and completely live up to expectations. Any character of any class can gain some benefit from their devotion. Shame on Complete Divine for overlooking non-divine casting classes.
Date Released: 2009
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2010