- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (December 12, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786939400
- ISBN-13: 978-0786939404
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) Hardcover – December 12, 2006
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The book follows the familiar formmat. An introductory chapter, followed by in-depth material (in this case, the geography and politics of the Hells). Then new character options, including Devil-touched feats and a new race, the Hellbred, new spells, and prestige classes. Then a chapter with monsters, and finally some details (and aspects for) the Lords of the Nine.
The content is solid, and definitely makes this reviewer ready to run hellish adventures. Sections on devilish cults as well as feats customized to focus on a particular Lord of the Nine (whom do you serve?...) give a gamemaster a lot of useful campaign hooks.
The revisionism is kept to a minimum, mostly focused on Malbolge. The sixth layer of hell, originally something of a poor stepchild among the layers, gets literally remade from the ground up. Its former ruler, the Hag Countess, is replaced by Glasya, daughter of Asmodeus, who has been a fan-favorite ever since she appeared in the original Monster Manual II. The Hag Countess' fate is a fascinating one, so I won't spoil it.
The rest of the Hells are kept mostly unchanged. Even some of the original dukes of Hell mentioned back in the Dragon issues are given a mention. Players of the classic Hells won't feel like the infernal pit has changed underneath them. There are also a few classic side references - another variant illustration of the Paladin in Hell, for instance. Kudos to WotC for remembering their long-standing fans.
Sadly, the book misses on a few things. The difference between Baatezu and the rest of the hellish residents is never explained, missing a great opportunity for political power games. The monsters have quite a few repeats - abishai and some of the devils from earlier books get an update. Others are simply not particularly original (e.g., Steel Devils).
Some of the artwork is severely lacking too. While shadowy illustrations are good for atmosphere, they should not be used for illustrating what a monster looks like - Assassin Devil, Malebranche and Orthon for instance. Others are simply wrong - the Kalabon illustration bears no resemblance to its description, while the Pleasure Devil looks like left-over artwork from the Shadow Magic section of the Tome of Magic.
Overall, the book is a good one. I look forward to any future books in the series, whether another Fiendish Codex for the yugoloths, or a Celestial Codex about the Heavens.