Hello, everyone, and happy Monday! Hopefully, as you read this, I’m on the tail end of recovery from having my wisdom teeth removed(What a blast, right?). Of course, since it was in my review queue and it occurred to me that the thematic irony was too precious to pass up, I jumped straight to the back of the Deep Magic catalog and decided to review Blood and Doom.
Similarly to other Kobold Press works, Blood and Doom is formatted closely to first-party 5e books, with minor stylistic deviations. Disappointingly, some of the art has been reused from other books, such as Demon Cults & Secret Societies(which, of course, is an issue to which I am sympathetic – art is expensive!) and possibly Tome of Beasts.
Dark & Edgy
Like the supplement states, Blood and Doom is explicitly meant for the creation of nonplayer characters. The character archetypes and spells presented in the book are designed to reflect evil characters rather than the typical heroes of a tabletop campaign. These archetypes would be more readily suited for an evil campaign, naturally. Typically, I do not apply class levels to creatures for my games, nor do I run extended campaigns featuring evil characters. If this also matches the types of games you run, I would not recommend Blood and Doom. With this disclaimer out of the way, I will aim primarily to assess Blood and Doom by its quality rather than by whether or not I’ll use it myself.
The supplement provides a single class option for Paladins, the Oath of the Giving Grave. The oath mostly contains spells exclusive to the book, as well as more familiar spells such as Disguise Self, Animate Dead, Blight, and Insect Plague. Feature-wise, the archetype provides a potent Channel Divinity which will Stun a target for an entire minute and another, more situational, Channel Divinity which directs all unintelligent to pursue and attack a target for 1 minute. At Level 7, the Antipaladin also gains a very situational aura which gives a targeted creature immunity to being turned. This feature intends to protect Antipaladins and their allies from a Cleric or regular Paladin’s Turn Undead features. However, this is not specified cleanly. At level 15, the Antipaladin gains regeneration which can be mitigated by certain common damage types, and at 20th level, as a capstone feature, the Oath of the Giving Grave grants potent magic resistance and the ability to rise as a Death Knight if killed.
If you are looking at additional oaths for Antipaladins, I would again recommend turning to Demon Cults & Secret Societies.
The Serophage is a reasonably simple Sorcerous Origin. It reduces the amount of bludgeoning damage you take, allows you to convert hit points into Sorcery Points, to harvest a recently deceased sapient creature’s blood for a defensive shield, and at high levels, to siphon blood from living creatures for additional Sorcery Points or Hit Points. While the number of Hit Points and Sorcery Points which can be regained by the class feels somewhat high, this is offset by the class levels required to access the feature.
School of Blood Magic
The Wizard Tradition of Blood Magic distinguishes itself from the Sorcerous Origin quickly. The archetype gives a wizard reduced damage from disease or poison effects much like the Rogue’s Uncanny Dodge. Additionally, wizards of this Arcane Tradition gain the ability to probe the memories of a creature whose blood you ingest, a means of weaponizing poisons and diseases in a ranged spell attack, and finally a free form of Haste or Slow which does not require concentration.
Unfortunately, the School of Blood Magic suffers from some nonspecific language much like the Oath of the Giving Grave’s passive aura – a Storyteller should consider what memories a use of the Blood Vision feature would specifically produce, and whether a wizard can use the Mire or Quicken Blood feature at a range.
Deep Magic: Blood and Doom is a flavorful supplement for Storytellers looking to introduce unique NPCs and villains with class levels, or for Players looking for a resource for an evil campaign. Honestly, though, I was surprised that there were no patron or pact options offered for Warlocks or content explicitly for vampiric characters. At its low price tag, it’s not a serious risk of your money to purchase, but between this supplement and Rune Magic, I would recommend this supplement. You can purchase Deep Magic: Blood and Doom on the Kobold Press Store.