Book-Pathfinder NPC Codex
TL;DR-It’s an “OK” source book with some charms, but not enough use. 57%
Basic-The Pathfinder NPC codex is just what its name says: a book of NPCs. Its only four short chapters: base classes, prestige classes, NPC classes, and iconic characters. For the base classes, each class has write ups for levels 1 to 20 with every other level being a strange offshoot of the norm. Prestige classes are several versions of the prestige classes from the base pathfinder book. NPCs are the standard base book classes (expert, commoner, warrior, etc) from level 1 to 10. The last chapter is the iconic Pathfinder characters (Kyra, Seelah, Ezren, etc) with several builds of these characters at different levels.
Use– This book will only help the DMs out there do game prep. And at that, the characters are only ok. The presented characters don’t really feel challenging when I’ve sent them at my players as a GM. However, they builds are not bad. And, the fact that there is a book full of ok NPCs does give me at least some rough stats for what I want to throw at my players, so it will unquestionably save you prep time. 2.5/5
Execution-I have some gripes here. I don’t really need 20 fighter builds. What I really need is one build, ten times from levels 2 to 20 with some quick rules on how to change it from two swords to sword and shield. This goes for the monks, rogues and almost all the classes EXCEPT the wizard and the sorcerer. For these classes, I need builds for each school of magic and ten times levels 2-20. For the NPCs, I don’t really need 10 commoners. Four commoners is good enough. Same goes for all the other NPC classes. What I don’t need at all is the iconics. These stats are presented elsewhere AND are given out for free as part of the Pathfinder Society stuff. As a GM, I have never seen a wizard or a sorcerer not focus on a school of magic. The book presents 20 different wizards who each have different focuses. That makes the presented classes much less useful and really messes up my planning as a GM. Again, nothing presented is “bad,” but it’s really not useful. Even more distressing, there is absolutely no mention of any of the Advanced Character Guild characters like gunslinger, witch and the gang. 2/5
Art, Layout, and Book Quality-This part is the standard Paizo quality. The art is standard pathfinder art. Also, there are a bunch of new art here, so I do feel like I got my money’s worth with the art. If you like the art from any other Pathfinder books, you will like this. Layout is good. The sections make sense and are put together with the standard Paizo quality. The physical book feels like a decent value since it’s over 300 pages for ~$40. I may not be enamored with the contents, but the book itself is at least close to worth the money. 4/5
Final Thoughts– This is an OK book. Not good, not great, but OK. It does give me some good NPCs to work with, just not the ones I really need. Also, the random nature of some of the NPCs really doesn’t help me make the characters I need. I’m glad I have this, but you need to really consider how many NPCs you will have in the future. If you will mostly run monsters out of the bestiary, then this book is not for you. It will save you time, just not all the time you hoped it would. 56%