Throughout the Legendary series Purple Duck Games have brought to the table a variety of magical arms and armament which develop and grow alongside a player character; while three of the prior entries covered a veritable arsenal of weaponry and one for shields (and one a collection of wondrous items made more so), at long last we’re presented with an armory of legendary leathers and mails to bear into the field and protect aspiring heroes. Let’s take a look at how Marc Radle has done in the smithy, yes?
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the premise is similar to the Legacy Items of before–magical gear which grow in power and special abilities provided you meet certain prerequisites with a given character. These prerequisites can range from satisfying a particular class, ranks in certain skills, access to given feats and so on. Unlike Legacy Items, the Legendary series has taken an approach which generally eschews leveling penalties on a character in exchange for their new-found benefits.
Legendary Armor opens up with a brief introduction and an explanation of the advancement and bonus feat mechanics presented within. After that, it’s right off to the running with the armory, kicking off with the Assassin’s Chain–which certainly lives up to its namesake. With each entry there’s first a back-story which explains an origin of these pieces of powerful equipment (though as one can imagine, such could and ought be tweaked and tailored to fit into a given game smoothly.)
From incredible stealth and shadowy powers to several potent and deadly spell-like abilities, the Assassin’s Chain would work well with an appropriately themed character. There’s a bit of a boost to sneak attack near the beginning of the progression, some of the expected augments–but what is probably the most interesting part is the capstone ability, Clandestine Perfection, which serves as a veritably epic version of invisibility such to circumvent many of the traditional means of seeing a character obscured by such. Mind you, it’s at 20th level–but still, pretty flavorful and cool for this sort of concept.
Battlecaster Armor is next, and both it and the Assassin’s Chain I think could’ve used more evocative names–but as with the first entry, you get a pretty immediate idea as to what you’re in store for. This suit has augments for a magus or similar such class of character and beyond boosts to casting while armored and bonus feats, augments meta-magic usage and empowers arcane pool abilities. No signature capstone ability, but very solid and well-rounded utility overall; if you are into this sort of character, you’d probably love to secure a suit like this.
Beggar’s Feast follows–now there’s a keener name; it also sports a fairly meaty back-story to sink your teeth into! Here we have curious padded armor which provides stealthiness and evasion alongside luck bonuses. However, the wearer can also create food and water, can gain benefit a la a ring of sustenance and can even eventually fashion heroes’ feasts. Pretty unexpected, but I like it–there’s some really good flavor to this one.
Blood Drinker is our first evil offering if you turn a blind eye to the Assassin’s Chain, a menacing suit of spiked plate that’s all about various ways of introducing more bleeding into your combat repertoire. Somewhat curiously, you can actually end up firing the spikes off of the armor shooting them all over the place. Fitting for its mien, the armor also bears Dread for its wearer and provides several fearful effects for foes.
Champion’s Plate serves to shift the scales to the other end of the spectrum, a masterful and gleaming suit of full plate perfect for any character fond of mounted combat and heavy armor. Some of the bonus feats and abilities may end up overlapping in certain class situations, but the theme of the armor’s spread stick strongly to fearlessly charging with a couched lance astride a mighty steed. I liked this one a lot, but I am a big fan of knights as characters.
Healer’s Hand is the final solution for a character who is absolutely devoted to healing in all combat all the time. From tossing out cure spells as swift actions (limited uses per day), having breath of life on backup, augmenting additional healing on top of any spells named for such and ultimately busting out its own built-in mass heal–this breastplate starts and stops at keeping battlefield companions up and fighting the good fight.
Kama-Xia shifts us to a more exotic tempo with a very cool set of mountain pattern armor themed around being able to stand one’s ground and potentially upset an entire battlefield. This suit is quite cool (though mountain stride on mountain pattern armor was a little on the nose!) Determination is quite potent–once per day when the wearer would hit 0 or fewer hit points, a breath of life is triggered automatically; yet this is just one of a very wide variety of neat abilities, from granting allies tactical bonuses to halting enemy movement. This one it one of my favorites overall.
Kelgror’s Ghost is splint mail imbued with a great spirit of smithing while its bevy of abilities primarily orient around ghosts and spirits in general. From providing its wearer ghost weapon (and functioning against ghostly attacks as armor!) to spiritual weapons and facilitating speaking with the dead, there’s fairly cool style here. Eventually, one gains ghost sight and ghost walk–seeing the incorporeal and invisible and moving incorporeally respectively; I had a little bit of an issue with these aspects, but otherwise Kelgror’s groovy armor might finally give someone incentive to wear splint mail over plate.
Landshark’s Hide–now we’re talking! This crazy suit of hide armor is fashioned from a bulette, everyone’s favorite landshark terror! Easily one of the most bizarre magic raiments of the lot and a whole lot of fun. You get Bulette’s Leap which is a special ‘pounce’ attack (though not like a cat’s) to hurtle yourself around enemies and from there, have augments to both bull-rush and overrun maneuvers and even tremorsense and a savage bite attack. Frankly, this is just a really fun suit of armor and encourages you to jump and shove and dive all over the place, turning any battle into a brawl.
Mage Hunter’s Armor is half-plate with all the tools you’d expect to supplement smashing magic enemies. Spell resistance coupled with activated spell immunity and dispel magic and then backed with bonus feats by way of disruptive, spell breaker and so on. This is another entry that pretty much declares what you’re out for and then delivers a backpack full of tools to make it happen, much like the Healer’s Hand.
Minstrel’s Boon is leather armor unsurprisingly tailored for bards, with augments for performances and checks of knowledge and lore. More or less everything packed in serves to help better a bard at the things they do best with the added boon of helping to shield them against efforts to silence them–and what performer would not pay dearly for such a cuirass against critics?
Oak Heart’s Armor is wooden armor and empowers its wearer to turn into a tree! Its utility spread covers much for tending to potential forest calamities, with quench and fire resistance coupled with animating other trees and striding among them. The signature ability here is the Spirit of Oak Heart, allowing the wearer to bring in a ghostly treant to help them explain to their enemies why their clear-cutting of trees is not the healthiest of decisions they might have made. I certainly liked the visual of calling in celestial treant backup.
Seducer’s Silk is silken ceremonial armor with a significant power of suggestion–both literally by way of the same spell and by an aura of personality to woo those nearby. Mass suggestion and domination come further along, while ‘Desire to Please’ might have others compelled to hand over valuables to the wearer. Having a built-in mind blank at higher levels is curious–but seduction aside, the armor also boasts Commanding Poise which could conceivably assist in leading troops or rousing crowds to action. This suit could see quite a bit of mileage in a Kingmaker-style campaign I suspect.
Triton Scale arrives just in time for high seas adventures, a fishy suit of scale mail and has everything you need to go diving without a bathysphere. Cold resistance, some sparing freedom of movement–both useful tools for any character–but for the aquatic bend we go further with slipstream and aquatic adaption, making its use in water considerably easier. From there, be a child of the sea and gain a swim speed–or later even a watery form until one day one can even bring about a tsunami. Maybe it’s just me, but there ought to have been a little nod to make this kit immune to rust effects!
Vrithmytrix’s Bane is the final offering and it is an imposing suit of black banded mail fashioned from a black dragoness! With dragon’s claws and breath alike and even wings later, coupled with acid resistance and then immunity–one can start to grow into black dragon fashion themselves. Add to this Dragon’s Mind which provides improved saves against charm, sleep and fear effects and the ability to cast darkness and it really rounds things up tidily. It’s certainly a very cool looking suit of armor!
Overall: 33 pages, of which cover, credits and OGL occupy 4–leaving 29 pages to fill with our offered armor. Legendary VI: Legendary Armor continues to follow Purple Duck Games’ clean two-column formatting and keeps things fairly clean to read and the mechanical crunch accessible. Where this product absolutely blows the doors out is art–every piece of armor presented in the material here has a consistent, sharp and really evocative individual piece of art to really bring them front and center in the imagination. Tamas Baranya did a fantastic job with the suits of armor and making them stand out!
I’ve been very fond of the entire Legendary series on the whole simply by being a fan of the premise. At the most basic level it’s really just gear that gets better–and it’s the sort of thing that a given group might love or hate; but if yours is one which enjoys storied treasure to grow alongside your characters or if you liked the Legacy Items experience, it’s hard to go wrong with Purple Duck Games Legendary offerings in general.
Personally, I had been hoping for this particular product to hit the line-up since for me, it seems there’s never a shortage of cool magic weapons but armor is so often left lacking. There is a curious conundrum with armor mechanically in that generally speaking, folks almost always end up using certain staples in each ‘class’ of light, medium or heavy armor–so having something like this provide really compelling offerings of those which don’t so often see the field among adventuring parties is nice.
There’s a lot of value here between very solid artwork and cool stories and powers; if you’re in the market for interesting treasure, you’ve found armor lacking in the past or even had peaked interest in employing just a few of these entries into a story or campaign, I’d definitely recommend this one. Marc Radle has done a stellar job and I look forward to seeing what comes up next from Purple Duck in future Legendary entries (hopefully more treatments for wondrous items!) A solid five stars here.