Book of the Righteous by Green Ronin Publishing is a supplement originally designed for Third Edition. In May 2016, Green Ronin completed a Kickstarter to republish Book of the Righteous and its content for Fifth Edition, replacing its “Alternative Paladin” Holy Warrior class with a diverse range of archetypes for Fifth Edition classes to reflect devout adventurers from different backgrounds. Green Ronin is an interesting publisher in that it works both on its products and regularly with Wizards of the Coast, such as the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and Out of the Abyss. At the beginning of July, I received the PDF of Book of the Righteous as a Kickstarter backer, having eagerly awaited it for quite some time.
When opening a third-party sourcebook, the overall quality of the book concerning formatting and art can be hit-or-miss, but Green Ronin’s experience in delivering polished products shines through with Book of the Righteous. Pages are cleanly designed and formatted in a consistent, professional manner. The art is top-notch, stylistically not too far from what you’d find in any of the Wizards books.
Meet The Gods
Book of the Righteous introduces you to what its authors describe as a “Plug-and-Play” pantheon and cosmology, ready to be introduced into any campaign as a storyteller. It presents a storyteller to the gods first through the story of the creation of the planes, chronicling the birth of each god and illustrating with an easily-read timeline. Each group of gods in the pantheon gets a chapter which covers a variety of in-depth topics such as myths about the god, that god’s attitudes and goals, and descriptions of various churches and their congregations.
The Righteous and Your Campaign
An important chapter of Book of the Righteous is Chapter 9: Do It Yourself, a guide to incorporating its pantheon into your existing campaigns. It begins with a core list of features for your campaign setting, crucial to using the pantheon, and a discussion of what divergence from expected cosmologies you can expect as a result of using this pantheon. From there the book discusses incorporating its gods into settings of varying degrees of divine detail, from well-established religions to stories in which the Book of the Righteous’s pantheon belongs to that of a foreign land or plane, to adjusting the pantheon to suit your needs. This chapter lightly brushes on several important topics for mythology in a fictional setting. It addresses the presence of real-world mythology elements like Asmodeus and Greco-Roman creatures like Sphinxes and Minotaurs, the surreal aspects of having gods and devils who are conclusively proven to exist, and the unorthodox detail of the Book of the Righteous’s Great Church, a conglomerated church of its entire pantheon.
The Devout Heroes
If you bought the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide for the new character options rather than information on the Sword Coast, Book of the Righteous has you thoroughly covered. In addition to the preceding 181 pages of interesting worldbuilding and “fluff,” the book offers new character archetypes for each of the PHB classes. Notable and interesting examples of new options include the Path of the Harrier, a Barbarian who specializes in ranged weaponry, the Hunter, a Ranger who specializes in fighting the Undead, Divine Inspiration, a Sorceror who develops their powers through the Gods’ guidance. Of course, that doesn’t even mention the incredible range of options for Domains for Clerics and Oaths for Paladins.
If you’re like me and are finding content from a range of sources, your collection may already represent some of these options, such as the Paladin’s Oath of Mercy being close to the Unearthed Arcana Paladin’s Oath of Redemption and the Cleric’s Repose Domain being close to the DMG’s Death domain. This similarity is a symptom of different pantheons’ gods presiding over the same domains, and designers having unique approaches to represent their own pantheons best.
A few mechanics presented in Book of the Righteous may be unintuitive, such as the Path of the Harrier having different abilities tied to different class features’ save DC’s(Inflict Horrible Wounds keys off of Dexterity while Bloody Murder keys off of Charisma) which you may not notice when building a character. When using these class features, make sure you know which of your ability scores are contributing to your save DC’s!
Price-wise, the Book of the Righteous will run you $50 for print and $25 for PDF copies. While this is a tad higher in price than might expect from a third-party book, I would consider it money well-spent. Green Ronin Publishing is practically family with Wizards of the Coast after the companies’ shared experiences developing and publishing the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and Out of the Abyss, and you can see that Robert Schwalb and Rodney Thompson were involved not just in name but also in the spirit of the character options presented. When it becomes available for purchase, I would strongly recommend making room for it on your bookshelf.