Book Review: Martial Flavor – Chaotic Shiny Productions

When you look up the word “martial” in the dictionary, most definitions tend towards the use of a few key adjectives – warrior, warlike, or military. So I’d be lying if I said that the Martial Flavors book from Chaotic Shiny Productions focuses on mostly peaceful people. Most of these cultures could be described as mercenaries, raiders, or warriors whether they believe in the chain of command or the power of the strongest sword.

At a mere 55 pages, Martial Flavor has to be one of the most colorful supplements I’ve seen in a while. Color, art, fonts, and text boxes are used to provide a layout that’s easy on the eyes and convey details on multiple levels.

The use of color works well to denote different sections, such as green for the titles, introduction, and table of contents, and a red/green pattern for The Daikort Pack, a green/brown pattern for The Elessim, etc. And each section is laid out consistently from group to group – starting with a vignette, an overview, appearance, hierarchy, rituals, races, sample characters, powers, and feats.

The full color and black and white artwork used on the front and back covers and inside provides not only a great way to break up the text, but provide a feel for each culture’s dress and appearance as well as what’s important. For example, for The Daikort Pack, we see a full color picture of an fair-haired elven maid wearing leather and a plate breastplate, which tends to indicate she’s more ready for a fight than to go frolicking in the woods in which she’s standing. But for The Elessim, there are three horses in the picture on a broad grassy plain and one rider. Something tells me the horses are important!

The black and white art was also quite striking…

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