Thaemin’s Guide to Gods and Miracles is the fifth of Chamomile’s kickstarter series of 5e zines. This one is focused on a divinity and gods, a consistent miss from most RPGs. I was pretty excited to back this one, based on my assessment of his other works. I’ve got a hard copy like normal, and plan to review that, with screenshots cropped from the pdf (with permission). You can pick one up at Drivethrough in physical or digital versions.
Thaemin’s breaks the normal trend for Chamomile’s Guides to Whatever, in that player and DM stuff are interspersed by themes. There is a mix of playable angels, guidance for pantheons, new classes, and new monsters.
Playable Angels is about what it says. The trick is, playable angels isn’t just a new race write up. This builds off the magic item attunement method used in a few of the past books to add powerful templates on top of existing characters. Its a nice approach that slowly builds power as characters unlock more of their abilities. While it has requirements, there are a variety of ways to qualify. Its a good way to highlight that not only can aasimar become angels. So can divine soul sorcerers, clerics, or similar stuff. A nice bit of foresight, and way to let the newly released Angel Barbarian or whatever gets released next week.
Understanding the Divine is all about religion. There is a nice essay on rituals, and how or why you incorporate them into your character or setting. The big thing this chapter covers is Divine Limitations. This is something that should be covered a ton, is always glossed over, and if answered makes the setting so much better. Can you kill a deity, is a deity all-knowing, are they all powerful? It doesn’t actually matter which answers you choose, but knowing them, and consistently following the outcomes of those choices goes a long way. The chapter also includes a section on Building and Running Pantheons. This is invaluable advice, and a great framework that walks you step by step into building a pantheon in your game. Down to the level of how many gods do you actually want, and what sort of gods do you need.
The Summoner is the first new class. At first, folks assume the summoner is a nature class, calling wolves and stuff, but thinking about it, summoning angels and demons is a classic D&D trope. Its a nice take on the class, and casually avoids one of the big problems with summoning classes. Most of the time, folks summon 1d4+1 wolves, or a horde of imps, or 10 skeletons, or whatever. This one summons a special familiar, and a combat pet. The idea is generally you only get one pet on the field, and its always about on par with your expected power level. This summoner isn’t making a ton of rolls that don’t hit, don’t do damage, and don’t do anything but waste table time. Its solid, and I’d play one.
The Healer is the second new class. Its exactly what it says it is, and as an aside, that’s something I really like about Chamomile’s classes. This one doesn’t hook me as much, but I’m also not usually a healer player. Essentially you gain a pool of devotions, 3X your level. You can spend the devotions to do stuff, like passively buff your party members, or heal people, or do any of a laundry list of expected abilities a healer can do. Raise dead, remove disease, etc.
To wrap, the book includes some new monster stat blocks (something I obviously think is sorely lacking), including a return of the archon, new monster boss fights, really exciting reworks of solar, deva, and planetar, and a sample adventure outline The Infernal Crusade. The crusade seems like it could be an interesting quest, and gives a variety of hooks so that most any character, except a follow of Asmodeus, would partake in it without much effort.
Overall, Thaemin’s is a little different than the other books. There’s less mechanical crunch, and a lot more theory and instruction. For players, that can be a bit of a let down, especially if your DM doesn’t think about this sort of thing, but for DMs, especially new ones, this is great. The previous four entries I see myself breaking out during games, this seems much more like one I’ll break out when planning my game.