Supplement Review: The Complete Devout Handbook (Benjamin Huffman and Ross Leiser): 5 Stars
Disclaimer: The authors of this book cannot be held liable for the consequences of readers praying to dark powers, channeling animistic spirits, commissioning tattoos with the expectation they’ll spring to life and produce magical effects, or inciting violent rebellion against oppressive regimes. Always stand at least 61 feet away from the chosen point when you cast weapon of god and never, under any circumstances, put on the crown of the forest king.
The Complete Devout Handbook is the second installment of a series of archetype expansions by Benjamin Huffman and Ross Leiser. While the first one focused on martial characters, this one focuses on those who draw their power from outside themselves: Cleric, Druid, Monk, and Paladins. Each class comes with four archetypes and the book comes with expanded spell and item options. While a few of the archetypes seem a bit contrived or bland, overall The Complete Devout Handbook offers expert design, interesting archetype themes, and amazing opportunities to insert rich nuances and niche roles into the game.
Most Classes. When I read through most of the classes I found myself nodding, smiling, and marking down which classes I wanted to include in my next campaign. Not only are the classes solidly balanced with mechanics that are a mix of new and classic, but the themes they use present engaging and immersive roleplay opportunities.
The “Commerce Domain” cleric provides the perfect niche for a spell casting merchant, and coin plays an integral part of the mechanic–it’s not just fluff. I also really love the “Prophecy Domain“.
The “Circle of Cataclysm” brings sheer power to the Druid, making them a viable, damaging spell caster and brings to center stage a respect and harnessing of the cataclysmic events that often suffuse campaigns.
The “Way of the Tattooed Temple” uses a concept I wish was more prevalent in other archetypes–powers deriving from tattoos. Relatively module and exceptionally flexible, this may be my new Monk archetype.
The “Oath of the Planes” fills a much needed void for the Paladin–a commitment to cosmological balance. But a Paladin is more than their oath, and these mechanics that revolve heavily around planar travel and manipulation are sure to add flair to any party.
Spells. While predominantly the spells are just spins on existing content, they still fill important roles and holes in the current canonical spell lists. Overall the spells (like epidemic) enhance and manifest the archetypes in the book, forming a cohesive whole with the rest of the book.
Items. So. Many. Items… but I love them all. The book would be worth it just for these. Fun, flexible, and thematic, they offer abundant play options for characters. From the Enchanted Ink to the Crown of the Forest King, the magic items bring the theme of the book to life, and are the cherry on top of the already very rich cake that is The Complete Devout Handbook.
A Few Classes. My biggest problem is that a few of the classes seem “contrived” in a “we need to have four archetypes for each class so we better come up with something” sort of way. Most of the paladin Oaths come off this way, as their names and even some of their functions and oaths don’t seem particularly unique or to fill a void. Other classes don’t seem to capitalize on their theme as much as we like. The “Way of Internal Alchemy“, for example could use more actual Alchemy outside of the little flavor it brings. By and large, these archetype shortcomings are in the minority
The Complete Devout Handbook is masterfully crafted and provides abundant, interesting, thematic player options I would love include in any of my campaigns. I’m giving it 5 Stars and Highly Recommending it to just about anyone. Pick it up today by clicking on the picture below!