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Bite Me! Wererats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/18/2016 04:49:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Bite Me!-series clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This time around, we take a look at wererats, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series. They get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Wis, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Survival. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The wererat gains wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. Wererats also gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. That may just be me, but I am not too keen on wolfsbane as a universal vulnerability for lycanthrope-races; to me, it makes less sense for wererats to be affected by it, but that just as an aside. Regarding beast form and advancement, wererats may actually be suitable for the less powerful groups than some of the other Bite Me-iterations, since their diseased bite may be strong, but has less direct combat application.


Wererats get their own age, height and weight table, which is nice. The race does receive an assortment of no less than 11 alternate racial traits that include darkvision, Dodge as a bonus feat, emphasis on the social nature of rats, permanent rat teeth (cool!) or the option to call forth rodents to talk to and command. No complaints here and the section does combine these in handy, preconfigured set-ups for your perusal. The pdf provides favored class options for the APG, classes, UC-classes and the magus. They generally are cool, though the barbarian-entry lacks the note that the movement speed increase does not have mechanical repercussions unless taken in increments of 5 to account for the 5-ft-focus of tactical movement.


The pdf features a total of 3 different archetypes, the first of which would be the Bully Slayer ranger, who specializes in bringing down Large or larger humanoids and replaces wild empathy for +1/2 class level to Intimidate checks, while also losing the size penalty. 1/day bane versus bullies and longer duration of the ability complement this one. The second archetype is the lightning rager barbarian, who modifies rage to instead grant +2 Str and Con, +4 Dex; 3rd level provides a scaling dodge bonus to AC and an insight bonus to Ref-saves. 7th level nets evasion, 13th improved evasion. Huge problem: The better rages do not follow the theme set by the base rage ability, making the archetype feel half-finished. Not something a GM can't fix, but still. The third archetype would be the Sewer druid, who replaces woodland stride with skill bonuses, movement through difficult terrain in sewers instead of trackless step and iron stomach as well as disease immunity. Wild shape is gained later, at 6th level and at -2 druid levels...oh, and they may assume otyugh and ooze-forms.


The pdf offers a total of 12 racial feats for wererats. These feats include 1/day rerolls due to danger sense, skilled disappearing in crowds, improving the summon tricks to include swarms, bleed to bites, a swim speed and some unique tricks via a 3-feat Style-chain: For example, when targeted by a full attack and missed by all attacks, you can retaliate with a combat maneuver to render the foe fatigued. The problem is that this feat does not specify an activation action - I assume it just happens when the foe misses you, but I'm not sure. Gaining the benefits of being Small is possible and the pdf also has a means to use next a 5-foot-step to avoid attacks, which is cool. Somewhat odd - the feat makes clear that the character can't use a 5-foot step in the round following its use, making sure that you basically borrow next round's 5-foot-step, but what about regular movement? I assume that's still possible or does the evasive action count as next round's 5-foot step and thus eliminates other movement? This pdf does not contain Bite Me!'s Hybrid and Primal Shape feats, so if you're looking for these, you'll need supplemental material.


The pdf also covers items - a total of 4 mundane items is included, featuring rat scent, rat-calling pipes, slick that helps staying out of the grasp of foes and air sweetener to avoid diseases. The pdf also features a new special weapon quality, which, at +1, increases hide and miss chances AND maintains invisibility for the attacker...which is insane and totally underpriced, particularly since it can be applied to ranged weapons. A helm that facilitates rodent communication and nets a diseased bite attack (properly codified as primary) and a rat saddle are okay, as are lenses that can store light they then may emit as fiery rays. The one item that really is cool among the magical ones would be oil that slims targets passing through squares treated with it, allowing thieves and scoundrels to escape through impossibly thin cracks - very cool.


The pdf features a rodent subdomain that allows the user to gain increased speed and a bonus to Stealth 3+Wis-mod times per day. The pdf also features a total of 5 new spells: Close Quarters is intriguing: It allows you and another Medium or smaller ally to occupy the same square and count as flanking foes if you attack the same target, which is incredibly useful for sneak attack. That being said, the spell assumes that you move into an adjacent square when it ends - but what if there is no room? Also, at level 1 bard, inqui and ranger, this spell is pretty strong, though the restriction to the "tricky" classes keeps is still in the "potentially VERY problematic" rather than the "broken" field. Using crowd stride to teleport through crowds is pretty cool and gnaw anything lets you ignore significant amounts of hardness with a selected natural weapon. Growing creatures in a swarm to twice their size is cool and there is a spell-option to increase the deadliness of diseases and poisons.


The pdf concludes with two sample characters with extensive backgrounds, motivations and schemes to incorporate them in your game - Suilin Hinatoi, a CR 11 monk/ninja and Merrick, a CR 9 sewer druid - both of the characters come with stats for humanoid and beast shape. As for the flavor of wererats as presented here, I don't have significant complaints this time around - the social nature and predilection to guild structures, warrens and use of rodents as pets make sense and utilize the established material well.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though on a rules-level, there are some minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version: Kudos!! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with an array of gorgeous full-color original pieces in Jacob Blackmon's signature style. Particularly the rat-toothed humanoid shape getting ready to gnaw through a rope is awesome.


Robert H. Hudson Jr. and Mike Welham's wererats rank among the better offerings in the wererat series. While there is some material to nitpicking the details, as a whole, there are some gems to be found in the squeezing and crowd-maneuvering component. Power-level-wise, the wererat is one of my favorites among the individual lycanthrope-race pdfs in the series. That being said, the hiccup in the barbarian is not too cool and the other archetypes didn't really wow me either - I've frankly seen the concepts done in more complex and detailed ways. Usually, the items are a highlight in these and the same holds true here - there is some magic to be found...though the book oversteps balance-wise its boundaries here and there.


Staying invisible while attacking sans requiring a the improved version is very strong and in the hands of the right build, can be devastating. Similarly, two capable sneakers occupying the same space can make for a true shredder with the right build. This does not make the options broken, mind you - it just is a symptom of an impression of this pdf, namely that it could have used a slightly more delicate touch requiring some of the repercussions of its effects. These do not have to come up, mind you...but they may. In spite of the gems herein and me liking quite a bit of what I can see here, I hence have to rate this 3.5 stars, rounded down - a mixed bag slightly on the positive side.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wererats
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Bite Me! Werebats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/16/2016 18:33:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Bite Me-series clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of SRD (with one page sporting one paragraph of text pertaining char-hooks), leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This time around, we take a look at werebats, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series. They get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Fly. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The werebat gains wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. That may just be me, but I am not too keen on wolfsbane as a universal vulnerability for lycanthrope-races; to me, it makes less sense for werebats to be affected by it, but that just as an aside. Regarding beast form and advancement, I do not have significant complaints here...apart from the elephant in the room. We're talking BATS here, after all, and as such, beast form provides unassisted flight at 1st level, which may present a significant issue for some campaigns and modules, where unassisted flight is generally assumed to be available at around 5th or 6th level. Now I've ranted, raved and analyzed the unassisted flight component in detail in various reviews of mine, so let me leave you with this as a caveat emptor warning for GMs and move on. Werebats get their own age, height and weight table, which is nice.


Flavor-wise, werebats make sense to me: Considering the relatively social nature their real life brethren exhibit, expecting a tendency towards the lawful in spite of what outsiders would consider a pretty chaotic commune-structure as the most common social norm, werebats as depicted here are actually pretty comfortable in their hides and environments, which is certainly a relatively intriguing spin on the concept, deviating from the old tropes regarding them. Customization-wise, we receive a total of 7 alternate racial traits for quicker flying, Small werebats and improved social skills. I have an issue with one of these: Cavern Colonist nets a climb speed of 10 feet as well as +8 racial bonus on Climb checks associated with having a climb speed. Stacking with the bonus inherent in climb speed? There wording makes it look like it is. The trait also retains a 30 feet fly speed, regardless of form and fails to note what it replaces. On the plus-side, 3 different subtypes have been created for your convenience using the traits - just one look and there you go.


The pdf also features an array of favored class options covering Core and APG-classes as well as Magus and the UC-classes. In an only aesthetic nitpick, the names of the classes here are usually red and properly bolded - the cleric, oddly, is not red, but black. That's it and pretty much the definition of a harmless cosmetic hiccup. Rules-wise, however, the section of favored class options provides solid and feasible rules-operations and leaves nothing to be desired.


A massive total of 13 racial feats have been included, though veterans of the series will recognize some of them from previous installments: Primal Form makes a return, as does Hybrid Form, which was curiously absent in some of the installments. Personally, I welcome the inclusion of the two pretty central feats. The feats range from useful to creative: Using Fly instead of Acrobatics or as the skill governing bardic performances, for example, makes sense. blindsense 10 ft. that can be upgraded similarly makes sense and better dogfighting capabilities are appreciated. Improving CMD while flying and increasing maneuverability similarly fall into the utility category. Dazing Shriek and its follow-up feat Fearsome Shriek allow werebats to modulate their blindsense to emit an AoE-daze burst as a move action, allowing them to potentially daze lock enemies. While only available at 6th level and beyond, the lack of a hard cap (or at least cool-down) make me uncomfortable with this feat...which is rather odd, considering that Fearsome Shriek's debuffing cone does have a hard cap of uses and arguably, is weaker regarding its direct effects, though the lack of a save makes this also pretty hard-core and something I'd personally nerf in my games. Gaining a reflexive 5-foot step after being hit while airborne is really cool and, speaking of which - there is a feat called Feet like Hands which lets you use your feet for fine manipulations, wielding weapons, etc. However, the feat fails to specify how its benefits interact with multiweapon fighting etc. and, as written needs some serious GM work to work. Oh, becoming a disease carrier is also an option.


The pdf features one racial archetype, the thunder child monk, who gains a sonic-damage causing elemental fist that increases in damage output every 5 levels instead of stunning fist. At 4th level, slow fall is replaced with the option expend 2 points of ki to emit blasts of sonic energy that duplicate a sonic based variant of scorching ray. This theme is expanded at 8th level, where a variant of breath of the dragon can be found, 10th level, where discordant blast is unlocked and 14th level, where, for 3 ki, ki shout is unlocked. All of these are supernatural, but come with CL-info as well as concentration info, which is generally nice. I like the visuals of the archetype, in spite of many abilities being spells-in-a-can-style tricks; certainly one of the more evocative and flavorful archetypes in the series.


The pdf also features information pertaining mundane equipment, which includes bomber's harness, foot shields and delightfully disgusting guano grenades. On the magical item front, a total of 5 items can be found, with carrying nets helping the werebats carry loads while staying aloft, featherlight armor helping with protection while flying. Absolutely glorious: The gastrolith of the hidden hand: Eat a small stone shaped like a finger with a ring on it; you thereafter may vomit forth the ring intentionally (or when really botching saves vs. the nauseated condition), allowing for some pretty cool ring-smuggling. Infusion Collars act as a store option for infusions or extracts of up to 6 3rd level or lower extracts or infusions, which then can be activated via command word. I'm not the biggest fan of such storage items, but for the steep price, I can see it work. Screamer's Masks, finally, would be sonic-blasts-in-a-can.


The pdf also features a total of 6 new spells: These allow you to conjure forth bat swarms or riding bats, emit a sonic scream that can be hear up to 2 miles away, helping orientation and two mirrored spells that grant a bonus/penalize cavern exploration. An anti-air net of entangling force similarly makes sense.


The two sample characters in this installment would be a werebat paladin at CR 6 and a werebat alchemist at CR 9; the paladin comes with statblocks for all three forms (he has Hybrid Shape), while the alchemist comes with two; both of the NPCs feature, as always, neat artworks and notes on schemes and plots to integrate them easier into an ongoing campaign.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-level, there are some minor things that can use a bit of streamlining, but as a whole, the book does a good job. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features several nice, original full-color artworks. As a nice service, we get a printer-friendly iteration of the pdf and the pdfs are fully bookmarked with nested, detailed bookmarks for your convenience.


Robert H. Hudson Jr.'s werebats are honestly better than I expected; while there is some overlap in the base engine of the race (i.e. it has the same traits as the other Bite Me!-lycanthrope-races with one skill switched), the beast form benefits are pretty solid and while 1st level unassisted flight is something I am very weary of in Pathfinder contexts, as a whole, the presentation here is nice. There are some fun ideas to be found herein and, while flaws exist, as a whole the pdf provides a pretty nice look at werebats. In the end, this is a good pdf of mechanically, but not power-wise conservative designs with a few hiccups. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo. If you disallow low-level unassisted flight, these obviously are not for you, though.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Werebats
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Bite Me! Werewolves
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2016 02:23:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This Bite Me!-installment clocks in at a 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Ah, the most classic, most iconic of lycanthropes known - the good ole' werewolf, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series gets +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Survival. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The werewolf gains the old wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. Regarding beast form and advancement, I do not have significant complaints here.


The werewolves get their own age, height and weight table, which is nice. Now personally, I really hate the fluff provided here with a fiery passion. Werewolf fluff sets them distinctly apart from what we usually call werewolves, making them functional, outspoken, community-minded and relatively loyal beings set distinctly apart from the traditional cursed trope. While that may be closer to the awesomeness that real life wolves are, as a person, I really, really loathe making them good (or even neutral) guys...to me it takes away the whole point of playing a werewolf as opposed to playing an anthropomorphic animal - sans the fury, it doesn't feel like a lycanthrope to me. Oh well, furries out there: This may be the werewolf you wanted.


Oh, and yes, I am not going to penalize the pdf for its fluff, my own taste none withstanding. The werewolves as depicted here may choose from a total of 11 alternate racial traits that generally are well-balanced and e.g. delay DR-increase to offset for their benefits in some creative rules-operations. 3 sample "subtypes" that use these have been prepared for the reader. The pdf provides a smattering of different favored class options (Core, APG, Magus and UC covered) and they generally are pretty creative and nice, though e.g. the magus receiving pretty powerful weapon special abilities for use with the arcane pool imho needs a nerf: One ability per FCO is too strong. The movement related FCOs also lack the caveat that makes them inoperable unless taken in increments of 5, which can lead to some awkwardness at the table.


The pdf provides a total of 2 different racial archetypes, the first of which would be the Pack-bonded Hunter (ranger), who replaces animal empathy with a tactician-like option to grant teamwork feats temporarily to nearby allies. At higher levels, he replaces woodland stride with AoE-granting of such feats a limited amount of times per day. 4th level locks into the companion bond and also lets him grant favored terrain bonuses and 12th level unlocks a lesser version of quarry's bonus granted to allies a limited amount of times per day. The Moon Speaker oracle gets Knowledge (nature) and Survival, bonus spells taken from this book and must take two revelations at the listed levels...but fails to note the listed levels. The revelations allow the oracle to force a lycanthrope into humanoid form - automatically, on a touch; at higher levels, you can cause rage...but thankfully with limited uses. The second revelation lets you emit a half cold/half divine burst of moonfire that is treated as silver. I like this one generally, though the 10th level benefit probably lacks the "save-negates-clause" - otherwise, those affected are auto-confused for a round. The upgrade, at 15th level, which adds stun, does have that clause.


The pdf also contains a total of no less than 14 feats, which generally can be considered to be sound in concept: Using howl to use bardic performance, adding bleed to bite attacks, getting a summon nature's ally II 1d3 pack of wolves...flavor-wise pretty cool, though the latter imho should have a level prerequisite; at 1st level, potentially having +3 wolves is BRUTAL. Harrying, as a teamwork feat, has one damn cool idea: Reducing the movement rate, with allies stacking up on it. I like that...but the feat fails to specify how you harry. Do you need to be adjacent? Is there a range? Line of sight/effect required? No idea. Cool concept, but unfortunately, it does not work as written. Distracting Howl is similarly cool and problematic: You can emit a howl that dazzles foes. Cool! Allies can join in and increase the severity of the condition? Even cooler, now we're talking!! Problem: The feat fails to specify the action to activate it and how allies may join in. Does joining in require an action? Since it is predicated on allies also having the feat, does this count against the hard cap per encounter (insert customary rant on why per encounter abilities suck and make in-game no sense)/day? No idea. You can wing the feat, but RAW, it does not work and needs clarification. Gaining an Int-based tactician ability is pretty powerful for a feat. Other feats allow you to assume a more powerful, primal form, move unimpeded through wintry difficult terrain and the pdf also introduces the new Wolf Style with its follow-up feats that emphasizes mobility...and, well, wolf-like tactics. I really like this feat chain! Really odd: RAW, the Hybrid Shape feat is absent from this installment.


The item section has basically wolf-shoes (we all know the type from horrible people who IRL force their dogs to wear them), a moonrod (variant of sunrods, easier to perceive via low-light vision and a cool idea!), a scent marker kit and a wolf whistle. The magic item section features grit to enhance your bite, a perception-enhancing helm, an armor special ability and rings that provide a minor buff and allow for the switching of positions as well as a wolf-calling totem. Particularly the rings are a thing of beauty. The magic section provides the wolf subdomain, which enhances tracking skills and a total of 7 spells: Call of the Wild creates a mind-affecting howl that may cause targets with low HD to tremble in fear; there is a tracking-enhancer, a powerful buff (also available in mass version) to reroll 1s and 2s rolled with natural melee damage, a wolf guardian spirit and two cool spells, one of which lets you monitor allies, while the other is a more powerful variant of shield other that can affect more creatures.


The pdf concludes with two sample NPCs provided in both beast and human form; a ranger at CR 7 and a bard at CR 5. Both come with schemes and plots to make their inclusion in the game easier.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good; on a formal level, there is nothing to complain and on a rules-level, while there are some minor issues, the pdf retains generally a level of professional precision. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard for the series and features some nice original pieces of color artwork. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version - kudos for that! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with detailed, nested bookmarks.


Robert H. Hudson Jr.'s werewolves, to me, live mostly by virtue of the thematically fitting items, options and supplemental material. As mentioned before, as a person, I really dislike the notion of good werewolves as something that is not an exceedingly rare occasion. This is a personal preference, though, and players who always wanted a good werewolf sans the hunger (which imho defines lycanthropy as opposed to anthro-characters, but I digress), this delivers. The archetypes herein are less creative that I like mine and there are some minor hiccups in the feats, though. As a final complaint: On a formal level, i.e. beyond the precise effects of the beast form, werewolves are identical in framework to the weremantises. I believe the race could have used more unique tricks to set them apart, but that may be a conscious decision to represent the unfortunate streamlining lycanthropes were subjected to in PFRPG, so I'm not going to penalize the pdf for that either. If you expected a tad bit more in that regard, though, you may end up disappointed. The pdf still does have quite a few nice pieces of content, though - hence, I arrive at a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Werewolves
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Bite Me! Weremantises
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2016 03:05:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Bite Me!-series clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!


I won't lie, I really am excited about weremantises - there is something utterly cool and alien-esque inherent in the concept...so what is the mechanical frame-work like? Racial-stat-wise, weremantises receive +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int, making them lopsided and geared towards the more physical pursuits. They are treated as both shapechanger and a chosen humanoid race for all effects and purposes of vulnerabilities to type-specific effects. They are medium and gain lycanthropic empathy when interacting with mantis-like beings, +2 to Perception and Survival and gain a beast form transformation into a giant mantis; this alternate form can be maintained for Constitution modifier + character level hours a day, minimum 1. On a nitpicky side, the rules-text does uncharacteristically refer to abbreviations instead of the full attributes and isn't consistent in that regard, using allcaps once and just "Con" in another. This is purely aesthetical, as far as glitches are concerned, though. They gain DR 2/silver that scales with level progression up to DR 10/silver when in hybrid or beats form and are vulnerable to wolfsbane and take extra damage from silver, also losing any DR to it.


While I'm not a fan of the lopsided component, I actually really like the weremantis here; beast form's basics and 7th level-progression are accounted for, just fyi...and it is here that I consider it to be pretty brutal, with base lunge from the get-go. Also: Grab added to claws. Somewhat odd: The beast form/companion-stats provided here have no header, which looks a bit abrupt. Depending on the game's relative power-level, that may cause problems, but as a whole, the weremantis as presented here would be allowed in most of my games. As a minor nitpick, I do think that it would have behooved the weremantis to have some unique tricks to set them apart beyond those gained by the beast shapes...wolfsbane vulnerability feels weird to me. No specific age, height or weight-table is provided.


A rather cool component of this pdf would most certainly be the fact that, in flavor it also takes a step beyond the well-tread concepts of lycanthropy, with society being matriarchal (obviously) and an empress ruling over the weremantises. Thus, typically race traits are a more complex component than usual, with males and females getting different race traits (and yes - traits for both genders are included and you may disregard that divide) - from being lethal seducers and growing up as privileged to being revolutionaries, the traits use the correct bonuses, are balanced and fun. No complaints.


The gender-divide resulting from their societal structure also extends to the archetypes - females can become alchemical lycanthropes (or were-alchemists, as the actual, non-header text calls the archetype...odd discrepancy...), which replaces bombs with gaining class level evolution points while in hybrid or beast shape. A discovery grants an extra evolution point and 11th level adds transmogrify as a bonus extract. The Mantis Exile rogue male adds Fly to his class skills and 6 + Int skills per level. This slight decrease in versatility is explained quickly by the power of the ability granted instead of trapfinding: You get +1/2 to initiative and may always act in a surprise round, though you remain flat-footed until you act. Instead of trap sense, the archetype gets +5 feet movement, +5 every 3 levels thereafter. Never combine that archetype with rocket launcher tag high-tier mythic games; apart from that, you should be fine! Both genders may become mantis monks, who also gain Fly as a class skill and gains Feral Combat Training (claws) instead of 1st level's bonus feat, explicitly allowing for the use of claws in conjunction with flurry of blows. 2nd level provides a monk's unarmed attack progression for the claws instead of that level's bonus feat and 4th level and 8th each increases maneuverability while flying.


The pdf also features a subdomain of destruction, consumption nets 8th level and higher characters the benefits of death knell after consuming sentient creatures. The pdf provides favored class bonuses for the Core, APG and UC classes as well as magus - no complaints here, apart from the cosmetic deviation of italicizing class names instead of bolding them. The pdf also features a total of 8 feats - on a nitpicky side regarding formatting, a couple of them have the (hands) or (wings)-subtype I have never seen a feat have. Stealth-enhancing coloration that can be upgraded to apply to more terrains apart from forests, skill bonuses, an upgrade to Mantis Style...the feats are solid, I guess, but don't expect to be blown away here...mostly, they're pretty cookie-cutter.


The same can thankfully not be said about the equipment: Drugs made from powdered beetles, mantis robes, functional roped darts with barbed hooks to keep slaves in check...the items are winners and pretty cool. 5 magic items accompany their more mundane brethren and range from temporary paralysis-inducing gloves (actually balanced via low DC and duration), vermin shaping amulets, thrall collars and an emotions-calming ring that may well keep the over-enthused mantis-bride from eating you. Emphasis on the "may". Artifact-wise, the mask of perhaps the first weremantis, powerful, yet inducing cannibal urges, can be found and interacted with - and I like its potential. A total of 4 spells complement the rules-section here: Adding scaling bleed damage to natural attacks, generating a body-dissolving mist, causing creatures to prostrate themselves or calling forth mantis swarms - all are pretty evocative in the visuals used.


The pdf concludes with 2 sample weremantises, both of which feature statblocks for all their forms - Yelok is a fighter/rogue (mantis exile) at CR 9, while Ziang is a nitojutsu sensei samurai at CR 12. Both come with extensive background information as well as neat schemes and plots to use them in your game.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are okay, but not as tight as usual for Misfit Studios - there are some internal inconsistencies here and there in formatting, which, while mostly cosmetic, are a tad bit annoying. Layout adheres to the full-color two-column standard used for the Bite Me!-series and the pdf features several really nice original pieces of weremantises, with only one of them being one that I have seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. One note - as per the writing of this, the usual, more printer-friendly version of the pdf is not included in this one's deal.


Adam Meyers and Robert H. Hudson Jr. deliver a pdf that has left me torn; on the one hand, I absolutely love what was done here regarding culture and visuals - there is some seriously cool adventuring potential to be gained from consulting this pdf. At the same time, I was pretty underwhelmed by several of the mechanical components, which felt like filler to me - particularly back to back with the cool items and intriguing culture. In the end, this pdf felt weird to me: You have this inspired, cool concept, a great culture/race and then, those oversights. As a whole, this installment feels rushed and less precise than usual for the series. Beyond that, the pdf oscillates between "awesome and cool" and cookie cutter designs. There are some true gems in here and concept-wise, this most certainly is my favorite in the series (at least among those I've covered), but quite a bunch of minor hiccups do accumulate. My final verdict, hence, will clock in at 3 stars, though I really wished I could give this the 5 stars that the concept deserves.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Weremantises
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Elizabeth Porter Presents: d20 Dice 1
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/22/2016 18:12:36

Just what I was looking for. If only Elizabeth Porter had some d12s, d10s, d8s, d6s, and d4s, I would snap them up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elizabeth Porter Presents: d20 Dice 1
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Demagogue Demon a.k.a. Tr'ump
by Iona R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/25/2016 20:55:00

I love it when a company has the balls to take a stand and choose a side.

None of that, "You must do the same thing to both sides" nonsense. Nobody does this! Nobody roots for one team for half the game and then roots for the other team in the second half "to be fair".


Fox News sure doesn't dish out the insults equally, why should Misfit Studios? This is fun and timely satire and is aimed at a target who richly deserves every bit of it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Demagogue Demon a.k.a. Tr'ump
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Werespider
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/02/2016 11:51:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 5 pages, with the front cover sporting the beautiful full-color artwork of the werespider as well as the social media icons and misfit studios-logo and the editorial on the second page; the SRD covers almost 2 pages, with the second page offering about 1/5 of rules-texts from the builds - overall, I am not a big fan of this presentation, since printing out the pdf does mean you have to waste ink on the SRD-page and the front cover material. On the plus-side, there is actually some flavor text on the first page.


The eponymous monster hunter Crawthorne does get to have a say on werespiders as presented here. A big plus: Werespiders gain swap sense, a new ability, in lieu of the woefulyl generalist default lycanthrope template, which is neat indeed. The pdf also sports 3 feats - Potent Poison allows you to improve poison created as Ex or Sus (good job for catching both!), increasing the DC to 10 + HD + Con-mod. The other two feats increase the DC to escape webs and make them stronger and harder to destroy (Hp= 2 your HD, DR 5/-), which makes the webs an actual threat - nice job here!


Beyond three solid adventure hooks, we also get the CR 2 werespider, with a monk 2 as a base creature, statblock provided in both human and hybrid form - kudos! Also nice: The pdf does provide a mini-variety - hunting werespiders replace their web-ability with +8 to Acrobatics checks...though, to nitpick, that should be "racial bonus", not "racial modifier".


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the original artwork provided is nice at this low price-point. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length - however, it does come with a printer-friendly version, which is neat indeed for guys like yours truly that print out books - that version has no backgrounds and is b/w apart from those jarring social media icons on the first page- kudos!


Steven Trustrum's Werespiders are a nice, solid addition to the canon of lycanthropic threats. While personally, I wished this had a bit more space to shine and some further things that set werespiders apart from other lycanthropes, the book still provides a solid creature for a buck. With not much to complain about, I consider this a solid addition to the series and thus rate this 4 stars - a good offering for the price-point, though not one that revolutionizes the critter.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Werespider
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Better Mousetrap 3e
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2016 13:29:25

I've not went through the entire book yet but so far I'm extremely happy with it, the skill section alone was worth the cost as my players and I constantly debated what the Expertise skill would and would not cover and Better Mousetrap gives us a great reference and guidelines to go by.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Better Mousetrap 3e
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Metahuman Martial Arts 3e
by Ethan P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2016 16:22:15

An excellent supplement. It makes combat a bit more crunchy at times, but it gives a lot of specialization options and makes martial arts and melee-centric characters much more fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metahuman Martial Arts 3e
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Demagogue Demon a.k.a. Tr'ump
by N. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/11/2016 01:32:07

This is the most hamfisted 'satire' I have ever read, with absolutely no hint of subtly towards its intended target. But I laughed, so 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Demagogue Demon a.k.a. Tr'ump
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Demagogue Demon a.k.a. Tr'ump
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2016 21:47:15

Current presidental politics should be avoided. If you poke fun at one party, then poke fun at the other.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Misfit Studios June 2016 Newsletter
by Joseph G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2016 16:47:20

meh......................................................-
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Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Misfit Studios June 2016 Newsletter
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Patricia Smith Presents: Barbarian Anna
by Jeremy Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2016 05:08:57

With all the flood of bad computer art on this site, it's nice to see something this high quality, almost comparable to Franzetta, at a relatively reasonable price



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Patricia Smith Presents: Barbarian Anna
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Bite Me! Wererats
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2016 13:26:13

This 19 page supplement for players and GMs who are interested in running-&-playing Wererat PCs and NPCs ... is pretty much the cream of the crop reference source for said gameplay ambitions. That includes Paizo as well as PF 3PP sources.


As with the other Bite Me! supplements in the Misfit Studios line, the balance between new crunch and evocative fluff is about ideal for a supplement of its size and price range. The Table of Contents in conjunction with the book's formatting, coloration, design layout and art made for an nice,easy read on the eyes and quickly-navigable referencing.


The initial few pages of the book give a helpful recap of the Pathfinder game mechanics of the Wererat race for PC referencing ... as well as a handy ARG point breakdown for the race. The new ART's & FCO's were numerous and ran the quality spectrum from 'Above Average' to 'Excellent'. Lots of Wererat theme characters can be accentuated with these 2 character options alone. Plus, they all made conceptual sense and none of them looked unbalanced.


Amongst the 3 Racial Archetypes, I found all 3 to be fairly well balanced. The Sewer Druid to be a bit super-specialized ... the Lightning Rager to moderately interesting in its DEX-emphasizing rage mechanic ... and the Bully Slayer to be just outright awesome with its clever thematic bonuses that lend itselfs well to Wererat social behavior.


The new Wererat equipment emphasizes sewer-environment combat - and are all quite cool. The new feats were all themed towards stealth, dexterity, senses and size diminution. I would've liked to have seen a slight uptick in power level for most of the feats, but I liked the overall thematic cohesiveness of the bunch. The Magic Items were probably my favorite component of the book! All 5 of them will find happy homes in my urban campaign that I GM. I agree with N. Jolly in his review though, that the 'Hiding' WSA needs a +X boost ... perhaps to around +3 IMHO.


The Wererat Magic section is terrific! I love the Gnaw Anything, Close Quarters, Swarm Growth and Crowd Stride spell. Which are strong thematically with Wererat casters ... and have rock solid spell balancing mechanics. I might tweak them a little to allow those of the Wererat race to gain a slight-to-small additional benefit from them over those of other-racial spellcasters.


The 2 fleshed-out, multiple-level-perspective NPCs were creatively-written ... and their stat-blocks look clean and accurate. I'm definitely going to nab that Druid for use in my campaign world.


All in all, this book will get serious table-play with my one Pathfinder group that is currently involved in a long-term urban campaign. Besides their proclivity to prosper in urban settings, Wererats are probably the most adaptable of all the lycanthropes in regards to living in all types of environmentally harsh areas. So don't think of this book as being purely urban-centric.


My final rating for this book is a rock-solid 4 stars. It presents a sizeable amount of game mechanic options for Wererats that aren't in Paizo products but are definitely needed ... and options that make a lot of sociocultural-thematic sense too. I would've considered a higher rating if there were a few more knock-my-sock-off creative options.



To note, I now own 8 PDFs in the Misfit Studios 'Bite Me!' line for Pathfinder. This book and one other were comped to me in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. The other 6 I purchased on my own. I was originally drawn to the Bite Me! line because I knew the illustrious Christina Stiles was heading the project. So far, all 8 of these books have impressed me and are now in heavy rotation in both my PF groups as either the primary ruleset for lycanthrope PC's/NPC's ... or in a hybridized system with core-Paizo rules. I also just now looked at the authors of this specific book (Hudson & Welham). And now it all makes sense. Lol. I'm a huge fan of Mike Welham Pathfinder good ... and once again, he doesn't disappoint.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wererats
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Bite Me! Wererats
by N. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/28/2016 16:25:49

Disclamer: While I have worked with this publisher before, I received no compensation for this review, and was not involved with this project.


Okay, checking out the lycanthrope wererat, a group I didn't normally consider looking at myself.


What I liked: Amusingly, the art of this book slowly grew on me to the point where I really started to like the style being used, making it feel like a 90's animated film. The lore of the wererats was quite engaging too, and it gave me a strong idea of where I could fit them into a game, although it didn't paint them as overly 'evil' which I appreciated.


The racial archetype that I really took a shine to was the bully slayer, which was both mechanically sound and very fun, although the picture that accompanied it was a large help in visualising it.


The mundane items were fun and flavorful, although the rat pipes could have used a bit more clarification on how long it took for the rat swarm to summon. Aside from that though, they were all things I think would help with running wererats.


I can't say I'd use all the feats as a player, but for an NPC I think there's a place for all of the feats included in this book.


The hiding weapon quality feels just too good to me, to the point where I might consider it unbalanced. It's very interesting, but it could be too good for a +1 bonus, so be aware of that. The rat saddle did make me smile though, and it just feels like a fun item. Red Eyes was okay, it was an interesting take and I liked it in that respect.


The gnaw anything and swarm growth spells both felt thematic and fun, definitely things I could see using in a game.


The sample characters were pretty nice too, and statted out well enough to the point where it wouldn't be too hard to put them into a game, although I do wish they'd have been further apart in level to make them usable at different points in a game.


What I was indifferent towards : The sewer druid was nicely designed, but just a tad boring for me, making it somewhat forgettable. Some of the magic items were pretty forgettable too, as the helm of ratkind felt too specialized to me. Aside from the above mentioned spells, the rest of the magic was passable, but nothing ground breaking.


What I didn't like : The layout of the book, while serviable and printer friendly, still felt quite barren. Some borders or such could have helped this, but it's not a major issue. The lighting rager archetype also did little for me; while thematic, it wasn't the kind of thing I could see using for a game of my own.


Personal preference here, but I'd have preferred the rat style feats be sectioned off to be more easily referenced, and rat trap is a rather weak feat in the chain.


Final Thoughts: Overall, it's a solid book if you're looking to vary the lycanthropes in your game. While you might not use all of the material in it, there's easily enough in here to give you a very solid base for any wererat adventures you're looking to include.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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