Reviewing The Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler by Mark Seifter

The latest Pathfinder compatible supplement to come out of Rite Publishing is The Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler by Mark Seifter.  I have looked at a PDF copy of the product and I am afraid I suffered from a bad case of assumption.  With the wild looking cover I thought that this was going to be a module or something similar but instead it is something completely different.  It is really hard to read the back page of a book (even though when I got there it did not tell me what the book was either! when it is a PDF so I did not know this was going to be a character class booklet!

The cover…Awesome picture by Puck a.k.a. Sai Kayden

Regardless of my assumption the book leaps right in at the deep end and offers you up the Masquerade Reveler.  This class is designed to be connected to the Fey worlds of various games and is a modification of the Barbarian which I thought was quite unusual an idea.  After I had my head around the fact that it was a character class I again assumed that it would be a Bardic class.  But no it is a Barbarian and the class itself makes for interesting reading.

The modification to this is that the Barbarian gains powers similar to an Eidolon (of the Summoner class from the Pathfinder Advanced Players Guide) by wearing masks, hence the Masquerade.  In fact the powers are not only similar to the Eidolon powers, they can be selected straight from their lists.  Further to that this book provides bunches of new powers that can actually be used by the Eidolons too (with GM permission as some are not suitable).

The idea is that the Barbarian puts on the mask that triggers the Rage and they gain access to the powers attached to the mask instead of the bonus to the physical stats.  They can also use social and intelligence based skills as normal setting themselves apart from the basic Barbarian.  Each level they get to make a new mask and therefore end up with a bunch of Masquerade masks to wear.  The book provides many examples of pre-built masks just in case you can’t really focus on going through all the optional builds.

A lot of this 40 page book is taken up by the new powers for the masks, pre-built masks and feats for the new class.  While I liked a lot of what I saw there was one major hole in this book for me.  A description of the masquerade and its purpose.  There are some nice personalised story pieces attached to some parts but nowhere is there a description as to what the Masquerade is, how it fits and why Barbarians run around it.

I do get the fact that stories of fey creatures in literature and in various other spaces revolve around the idea that the Fey come to our world at times of a masquerade hiding their true forms but I only have a tenuous grip on some of this material.  What I would have liked to see is a section of this book offering a bit of detail on how the “Masquerade” could appear in a campaign, or even for how the player could justify the inclusion of a character that is so based on a Fey ideal.

Right at the start there is a piece of “in character” text that kind of, sort of tries to put this in place.  It mentions that the ideals of the Fey are truly Alien and you need to be really sure that you want to get involved because it could make you lose your identity and it was this text that really made me question what was the role of the Masquerade.

It has a brilliant cover, and the artwork included in the book is also really well done.  The layout is easy to follow and the material well written.  I loved the look of some of the masks that they offered up as pre-fabricated and thought it was done really well.

Overall this book offers a lot of material for the 40 pages that it offers.  A new class, lists and details of new powers that could also benefit a Summoner’s Eidolon and also new feats and the like to go with it.  But the placement of this character class is a lot to be desired.  I wanted some description of the Masquerade and find out a bit more of the Fey ideals that surround it and this left me disappointed.  Overall I give this 3 out of 5 masquerade masks.  Keep rolling!

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