Book Review: Figurines of Wondrous Power by Creighton Broadhurst and Raging Swan Press

Way back in what must seem like the Dark Ages of D&D, I was introduced to the “figurines of wondrous power.” These expensive trinkets were, like the Eye and Hand of Vecna, unreachable goals that all players aspired to at some point or another in their gaming careers. And yet, these artifacts have magically found their way into every edition of D&D I’ve ever played.

What are they you may ask? Like the genie from Aladdin (“PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS! [shrinks] Itty-bitty living space!”), each figurine is a small sculpted item mirroring an animal or monster. For example, the tiny bronze statuette of a griffin becomes a normal-sized griffin when put on the ground and the command words are spoken. These statuettes come in a variety of shapes – everything from lions and elephants to ravens, owls, and goats. It’s something that can be carried easily and offer instant help when needed.

Figurines of Wondrous Power - Raging Swan PressSo it was only a matter of time before some enterprising person converted these wondrous items for Pathfinder and Creighton Broadhurst and Raging Swan Press have done just that. With Figurines of Wondrous Power your Pathfinder characters can scrimp and save to have a figurine of wondrous power for their very own! All they need is somewhere between 3,800 and 28,500 gp and one of these powerful artifacts can be theirs!

Don’t get me wrong. I love these things. It’s like lusting for a Ferrari when you have a Ford Focus. I’d just hate to break one after I bought it. After all, it’s not like I’ve ever had a character that had nearly 30,000 gp on him at any one time.

Broadhurst has, in a 20 page PDF (roughly 13 pages of actual content), clearly and cleanly presented all the information you might need for any of these nine iconic items. And I love the artwork – each figurine is presented with an image of what it might look like in a crisp and clean black and white ink drawing. My favorite of these is the Obsidian Steed, simply because it looks like a “small shapeless lump of black stone, but on command, becomes a fantastic mount possessing a suite of magical powers.” It’s something a character could easily pass off as an item of some personal or religious nature and have just in case they needed to get the heck out of dodge on a fast horse. But I don’t think I would have thought of it in that way without the artwork.

The figurines described are:

  • Silver Raven
  • Ebony Fly
  • Bronze Griffin
  • Onyx Dog
  • Golden Lions
  • Marble Elephant
  • Ivory Goats
  • Obsidian Steed
  • Serpentine Owl

Beyond the fact that each is quickly discussed with their abilities and statistics, Broadhurst has added a few things to make these items more unique.

I love the “Quirks” section that talks about how each figurine might have a fun attribute to roleplay. For instance, perhaps your Marble Elephant is flatulent or your Ivory Goat happens to be constantly moulting. There are some great little qualities to make each statue more interesting. It’s a nice touch.

Also included is a list of “Alternative Figurines” that offers some great options if you don’t want the same old figurines that show up everywhere. Perhaps you have Golden Hyenas or Golden Scorpions, or a Marble Stegosaurus? Wouldn’t a Bronze Yeti or a Marble Elemental get someone’s attention on the battlefield? These optional rules can make the tried and true figurines seem new again in your campaign world.

And lastly, there are rules for offering some enhanced or flawed figurines in play. What if your figurine was more intelligent than the average critter, with sentient characteristics or perhaps a more interesting backstory? Or what if the figurine you just bought happens to be cursed? Wouldn’t it be great if you activated your statuette and it chooses to attack you? That would be a sure way to get the attention of just about any player in your game!

Though short, Figurines of Wondrous Power from Raging Swan Press offers a bit more than the same old figurines we’ve all been lusting after since 2nd edition D&D. I think it would be a great addition to any party playing 3.5e or Pathfinder! Check it out at DriveThruRPG or RPGNow!

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