Libris Personae Volume 1 is a book of NPCs from Octavirate Games. The zipped file is somewhat large, being slightly over twenty megabytes in size, and contains a single PDF file, which a few megs larger. The PDF is one-hundred-six pages long, with two pages for the covers, one for the OGL, two for the credits/legal, one for the table of contents, and one for a quirky little comic at the end of the book. The table of contents isn?t hyperlinked, but the product does have full bookmarks.
As far as artwork goes, this book is fairly rich with it. The covers are full-color, and while there are no page borders, virtually every character has a piece of art in here. Some of the artwork is black-and-white, while other pieces are a stunning full-color rendition. Unfortunately, there?s no printer-friendly version of this book, meaning that you may have to think twice about printing this out.
The myriad NPCs in Libris Personae all fall under one of five broad categories. The first is a demonic cult of gnolls. Supposedly lead by the champion of their demon-god, this cult is actually masterminded by their shaman, who conducts breeding experiments to create a champion for his tribe. However, at least one previous champion has gone awry, and is now trying to live a better life with the cult?s foes.
The second group, The Sellswords, was my favorite. An all-female acting troupe, these women come to town and put on a very burlesque show about how men who go adventuring find piles of riches, incredible fame, and an endless stream of beautiful women. And while it?s certainly disruptive to a local town when the men-folk all go get killed on half-cocked adventuring ideas after seeing this show, The Sellswords actually have a much darker purpose in mind?
The Scaleblades are a group of reptilian adventurers. Brought together by disparate circumstances, they now adventure together, though they?re not all after the same thing.
The Vortaelen Cartography League is a multi-planar institute of explorers, and is also the largest single group of NPCs in this book. A colorful cast of characters are presented with all range of alignments and motivations, though by necessity these are less intricately tied together than most of the other groups presented here. While all are technically part of the Cartography League, many (if not most) of them use that as a front for their true desires.
The last grouping is a relative hodge-podge of characters. While a few are interconnected, most of these NPCs serve as singular encounters, such as the half-fiendish treant, or the identical goblin twins.
It?s worth noting that the sidebars that describe new magic items are highly plentiful. More than half of the characters here have a new associated magic item, though oddly they?re nearly all called out as minor artifacts, despite having clear magic item creation guidelines.
The book?s first appendix gives an additional amount of new crunch, with three new spells, two new deities, and four new monsters. Of course, all of these relate back to characters mentioned previously, giving more generic options for your campaign. The second appendix gives a large able cross-indexing the various characters with Open Content variant rules, something Octavirate is famous for.
In conclusion, Libris Personae Volume 1 presents a highly diverse cast of characters, ranging from humorous to sinister, heroic to monstrous, in nature. Whether as allies, adversaries, or sources of adventure, there?s definitely some here for you in your game, and the expanded optional rules information makes sure that remains true no matter what breed of d20 you play. While there are some minor issues here (such as how the ?minor artifacts? are magic items, and the lack of a printer-friendly version), Libris Personae is a clear winner in the characters it introduces.
<b>LIKED</b>: There are many tings to like about this product. The excellent artwork, the innovative character designs, the overflowing new crunch material. This is a product that does a very good job in how it's presented.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: It was rather odd how the magic items, which had the basic magic item creation rules given, were called "minor artifacts" so much. Also, a printer-friendly version would have been helpful, considering how much art is in here.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>