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Divine Forces: Benten, the Golden Goddess of Good Fortune $2.25
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Divine Forces: Benten, the Golden Goddess of Good Fortune
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Divine Forces: Benten, the Golden Goddess of Good Fortune
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2016 16:35:32

WHY REVIEW A PRODUCT? It will still cost you some time to read and some ink to print if you choose. I'd like to know if it's worth it and I thought someone else might as well. Since there are no others reviews, I thought there should be one.

PHYSICAL PRODUCT It is a 16 page PDF that is stamped "OGL 3.5 System Compatible". It is largely black and white with an excellent illustration on the cover and three more adequate illustrations (that appear to be public domain) inside the book. Four if you count a full page advertisement for "Modern Basics Jungle Action". The font is readable and layout is two column.

INTRODUCTION I purchased this product in the GM's Day sale, so I got it for a $1.58 and printed it (two pages to a page). So it's certainly inexpensive enough.

DESCRIPTION The description on the page of Drive Thru RPG for the product is accurate and complete (and has more misspellings than I found in the product).

There is a basic description of the goddess and how she is portrayed in art and some very rudimentary description of who worships her and how she responds to prayer. It also states what spell domains can be chosen from.

While it mentions her relationship to other gods in this small pantheon, they are vague enough to ignore or modify for your own campaign.

It then goes on to give her complete "avatar" stats and gives a lot of detail on two artifact level magic items. It seems strangely geared toward the idea that player characters will at some point have these magic items or be "lent" them by the goddess. Make of that what you will.

Then of course, there is the obligatory Prestige Class, "Priest of Benten". Their particular class features are "Uncanny Luck", "Know Heart", and "Dragon Friend". Pretty self-explanatory and pretty bland.

After that are new Spell Domains, including "Charm", "Community" and "Seduction". There's nothing particularly interesting about them - they really only seen to be bonus plusses, but at least they are theoretically usable outside of the this product. They are essentially the only "new" thing in the whole book.

The Appendix then talks about "The Seven Gods of Good Fortune". Whether or not you want to add another seven gods to your campaign is up to you, though it seems they are very likely to duplicate whatever gods you may already have - one is a god of war for example.

On the other hand, the asian-influenced nature of these gods can easy be inserted into any "exotic" culture that you may have in your campaign.

There are three pages dealing with the other seven gods and the detail is pretty vague, but usable enough. There is even a paragraph explaining the real-world influences for these gods. That I appreciate very much and hope it's a habit other authors follow.

Then there is a page entirely devoted to what happens when you kill an avatar and take its stuff, rather reinforcing the idea that this is really a book about a "monster" more than anything else.

OVERALL Well, I was looking for a Goddess of Luck and this is one. But, it's an incredibly bland one. It definitely appears to be a goddess of only Good luck as well, which is also much less interesting than a goddess of all types of luck.

It's quite possible that I've been spoiled by other more detailed products but I just found so much more missing than what was there.

About the goddess, there are no myths, no legends, no particular history, not very much personality, certainly nothing to indicate a reater purpose in the 'cosmology'. Just "yet another god".

About the religion, there are no ceremonies or rituals, no idea how you would train to be a priest, very little in the way of duties, no prayers, no relation to any other religions, no enemies of the church, no relation to local politics or other secular organizations, no holidays or celebrations particular to the religion. I mean, since it was inspired by real world, it would be nice to have some more research done on the how to clerics interact with the fantasy world - much less the other player characters. No favorite color, no particular clothing, not even a holy symbol! There's not "none", but there is very little.

So I while I can say I was disappointed, it's also true that I was more disappointed with what it isn't than what it is.

If you're looking a for high-level good-aligned "monster" I guess this would work.

If you're looking for a "drop-in" Goddess of Luck...well, it's better than nothing, but not much better. There's no real effect on the culture of the world and no particular "flavor" or interesting aspect to recommend it over any other Goddess of Luck you might run across.

I'll keep the illustration and may make use of the new domains, but the background of the goddess isn't particularly interesting or original enough to stop me from looking for some other Goddess of Luck to use in a campaign.

SHOULD I CHECK OUT THEIR OTHER PRODUCTS? Personally I can't recommend this product. It's no worse than most of the other "deities" books you'll find, but it's not really any better either. You won't be overcharged for it, but it's not likely to give you any ideas on how or why having a goddess of luck in your campaign is a good idea at all.

I hope this doesn't come across as too harsh, but I also hope that it will serve to "raise the bar" on what is truly useful for a specialized product like this.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the feedback; like I\'ve said repeated on the NUELOW Facebook page and blog, we can\'t improve if we don\'t hear from customers. The product was made generic on purpose, with the hopes of making it as broadly useful as possible. Maybe I went too far in that direction. There are two other releases what-was-hoped-to-be a series, but they were never released, due to a lack of suitable art/art budget). Two of the illos in \"Benten\" are PD, but the other two were commissioned for the product. My goal for the series was to at the very least have an original drawing of each of the gods/avatars. Bishamon and Jurojin are waiting in the wings. If I ever get around to finishing their booklets, I\'ll do some revisions taking your feedback into account. Thanks again for the feedback and for being a customer. I\'m sorry \"Benten\" fell short for you, but maybe we\'ll do better the next time you give us a chance.
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