" Good enough that my next character is going to be a paladin so I can use some of this stuff. "
Title: Book of Exalted Deeds by Wizards of the Coast
Format: Dungeons and Dragons supplement
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
The Hype: The antithesis companion to the Book of Vile Darkness, the Book of Exalted Deeds (BoED) provides players and DMs rules, guides, prestige classes, and other goodies for those who want to play the extremely noble character. But will it fall to pointless melodramatic stereotypes like it's sister or actually be a useful sourcebook?
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: Mirroring the Book of Vile Darkness in almost every way, BoED is also almost exclusively a rules sourcebook and, thus, goes very light on anything story. The notable exception to this, however, is the inclusion of gaming and rules info on popular but previously poorly defined good entities like the "arch-celestials". Also unlike its sister title, Exalted Deeds deals with the polarism of good and evil in a much more realistic light; rather than demonizing everything that is even questionable like Vile Darkness does, Exalted Deeds focuses only on that which is clearly heroically noble and, thus, appropriate to the extreme white clad do-gooder so often associated with fantasy gaming. This gives the book not only a tangible theme but also a black and white perspective that is appropriate to the subject matter. 3 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: As with all WotC D&D products, BoED includes the fantastic standard player's handbook table of contents but, inexplicably, lacks an index in the back. Contents are presented logically, leading with a primary on "the nature of good", then rules, equipment, feats, prestige classes, magic, and beasties. The art is all full color painted, which is nice, and ranges in quality from fair to good-with no real stand out pieces to mention. 3.5 out of 5
Playability: Mostly composed of extras and late game choices, the BoED offers a pleasant number of feats, spells, and prestige classes to choose from (though is a bit light on the magic items). Of these most are actually useful and playable and several are actually noteworthy and worth picking up the book for individually; such as Ranged Smite Evil-which allows you to smite with a ranged attack, and Celestial Mount which gives Paladin's a dark seeing, evil smiting, and spell resisting ride of the heavens. All in all, they are solid additions to the game and Exalted Deeds ends up being a nice addition to your library. 4 out of 5
Desired Content: Good feats, reasonable spells, and solid prestige classes means that you're already knocking out two thirds of what we need in a D&D supplement. Added to that are a number of monsters (though none are stand-out-ish enough to drag you out of your Monster Manual), some interesting background on the celestials, and you've got yourself a pretty solid book. What's more, and I never actually thought about it before this book landed on my desk, but it gives you a real resource for playing the top 10% of heroically good characters. Prior to this really all you had to offer was some nifty enchantments and a magic item or two, but nothing to flesh a character out. Now, with the Book of Exalted Deeds, you can get a good handle on your painfully goody-two-shoes character and smite evil properly. 4 out of 5
|All in all, for those who like to play the extremely valiant character, the Book of Exalted Deeds is a solid addition to your primary sourcebook. While it's usefulness will be dubious for those who play the more mid-aligned or dark characters (as has become so popular over the last 10 years), for those who actually want some extras for their white paladin or holy cleric this is a great place to draw from.|
The Good: A handbook that actually serves a purpose we haven't seen before.
The Bad: That is unfortunately only useful if you're playing the gaming equivalent of Mother Theresa
The Overall Ugly: Good enough that my next character is going to be a paladin so I can use some of this stuff.
What it's Worth: Ouch…steep for it's 190 page $33 sticker…but see if you can find it on sale.