Beadle & Grimm’s latest batch of products for Magic and Pathfinder is a bit of a mixed bag

Beadle & Grimm’s, purveyor of the best and most esoteric licensed products for Dungeons & Dragons and Critical Role, is expanding. The company co-founded by actor Matthew Lillard offers a new line of items to support Pathfinder. Absalom: City of Lost Omens. It also puts a big spin on it with a luxurious array of kits for Magic: The Gathering. But while I’ve sung the company’s praises in the past, this new batch of products is definitely a mixed bag.

Image: Paizo

Let’s start with the best of the lot: Pathfinder Character Chronicles. These $40 hardcover books are customized for each of the game’s base classes and contain everything you need to manage your player character from level one. There’s a character sheet at the front (up to 25 pages for some classes) which gives you more than enough room for all your abilities, feats, spells, etc. These books also include everything rules of the Pathfinder Core Rules and the Pathfinder Advanced Player’s Guide that apply to a given class: spells, feats, and even extra stuff that Beadle & Grimm themselves invented. Throw in some original artwork and a dry-erase board so you don’t have nasty erasers all over the place during the game, and that’s it. cook’s kiss perfect in my opinion. There are even some ribbon bookmarks to keep your place, and they’re perfectly made and reasonably priced. I want them for Starfinder, D&D, red cyberpunk, Twilight: 2000 … everything. Do them now, please.

Then we have Absalom: City of Lost Omens Gold Edition, a heavy campaign that includes all the content from the campaign book published by Paizo. It’s the same kind of treatment Beadle & Grimm have given Wizards of the Coast campaigns in the past, including Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Hell, Curse of Strahd, Nature beyond the witch’s light, Tal’Doeri Reborn Campaign Settingand more.

A close-up of a pin and some coins, along with the player's materials.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

This Gold Edition format sits right between Beadle & Grimm’s over-the-top Platinum editions and Paizo’s flagship book. For Game Masters (GMs), the entire campaign is broken down into smaller booklets that make it easy to set up and play at the tabletop. There’s a custom GM screen, as well as NPCs and location maps that make it easy to share art with players at the table, in-world documents to pass, and a variety of pins, subs, and more. glasses, coins and other ephemeral objects to bring the stage to life. This is another great package but at a premium price: $349.99. But as I’ve said before, having run many campaigns, some of which take a few years to develop, I can say that it’s a real pleasure to have that kind of support around the table. This set will make your life as a GM easier and your players will love it. The Gold Edition also comes with some of the most dynamic and engaging large-scale battle maps I’ve seen in any Beadle & Grimm product to date. They even add a code to unlock the entire campaign digitally, which is a welcome addition just for quick reference.

Five maps with aerial views of medieval urban landscapes.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

My only complaint here is the cards, which are extremely redundant. There’s a large map of the entire city of Absalom, an even larger two-part map about four feet wide, and a portfolio of more than a dozen 8.5-by-11-inch maps of each of the city’s neighborhoods. This means that you have three copies of the same city map printed at different scales. To make matters worse, the city map itself is not very interesting. It is such a large urban center that it could well be a texture from above. Here, however, I think it’s more of an issue with the source material, which may simply have left Beadle & Grimm’s without any more interesting mapping to comment on.

A luminous carpet, coins, cards and a life point counter.

The light up play mat has multiple color settings and animations.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Finally, my least favorite line from this latest batch of products are the items that support Magic: The Gatheringthe ultimate card game, Kamigawa Neon Dynasty. I just can’t recommend the $499 Kamigawa Platinum set. Some of the more expensive items (the deck boxes, backpack, and art card folio) look cheap, like the loot you’d pick up at a fan convention. Some of the additions, like the art-inspired life meter and demon mask necklace, are just plain off-putting. The biggest disappointment is the sword-adorned safe, which is difficult to open and doesn’t lie completely flat on the table. It also has those big lids that are easy to grab if you leave them open.

On the other hand, the $199 Kamigawa Silver includes the best parts of this line. The LED play mat is a delight, and while it’s a little thin for my taste, it’s quite the conversation starter. Runs on USB power, including cell phone batteries. The metal counters are also quite smooth and have a nice weight to them in the hand. However, collectors will probably want to avoid hitting them with their most expensive cards. Add 100 card sleeves, a handy game journal, and a world map, and you’ve got great value for money.

A pink and black deck box with sewn sides.

The middle compartment does not rotate easily or lay flat on the table.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

The problem is that Beadle & Grimm originally wanted this Kamigawa line to start shipping in February, around the same time as Kamigawa: The Neon Dynasty it was released in print to the public. Magicis the following set, Streets of New Capenna, comes out Friday, and the Kamigawa line is still posted for pre-order on the Beadle & Grimm website. The global logistics pipeline is down right now, I know. But this isn’t the first time the company has fallen behind on its shipping estimates, either. If you plan to keep up with the hectic pace of new releases coming Magic is known, Beadle & Grimm’s will have to improve a lot in logistics to satisfy hungry fans.

Everything on the Beadle & Grimm website for the Pathfinder franchise is 10% off through April.

Beadle & Grimm products have been provided by the manufacturer for review. Vox Media has affiliated companies, but not with Beadle & Grimm’s. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commission on products purchased through other affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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