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101 Feats and Talents (13th Age Compatible)
by Jon M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2015 22:16:34

I won't bother going into a great deal of detail re-explaining the nature of this product, since Rite Publishing's own blurb handles that well enough. In a nutshell, it contains a large collection of 13th Age material - talents with linked feats, plus a fair number of general feats, not tied to any particular talent or class (something 13th Age could definitely use more of). It is basically a translation of a similar Pathfinder article, although many of the individual traits have been changed quite a bit (and some have been added). Anyway, for now, I'd prefer to focus on my own general impressions of the product.

I'm normally a fan of Rite Publishing - I've purchased scads of their pdfs (especially, of the Pathfinder variety) - and I'm into 13th Age, in a major way, as well. Thus, it's no surprise that buying this product would be a no-brainer, for me. Sadly, it did not live up to expectations, for several reasons.

  • In some sections, the grammar is, frankly, terrible - bad enough to force me to read some sentences several times, to make sense of them. We won't even get into the typos and punctuation problems.

  • There are some areas that are quite unclear, whether grammatically correct or not. For example, it took me a minute to figure out exactly what the Monstrous Physique Heritage Talent is supposed to do. The hit point increase is given as a formula - (CLASS_BASE + 5 + CON mod) x LEVEL_COEFFICIENT (and, no, I didn't make that up - it's really written like that, in the article) - but the LEVEL_COEFFICIENT part of the equation isn't explained. I assume that it refers to the multiplier that applies at each level, for all classes, i.e. x3 at 1st, x4 at 2nd, etc. But this is all irrelevant, anyway, since there is a list of flat bonuses, based on level, immediately after that (which seems to confirm my guess about the LEVEL_COEFFICIENT). If you're going to have that chart, why list the confusing formula, at all? Especially using non-13th Age terms? Which brings me to...

  • On several occasions, I get the feeling that a feat wasn't entirely translated over from Pathfinder or that its real purpose was lost in translation. Every once in a while, a sentence will use a term that isn't standard, in 13th Age, but is in Pathfinder (even the Foreword talks about Pathfinder, not 13th Age). Or maybe this is just a clarity issue, again.

  • Balance issues... Where to start? True, 13th Age doesn't generally get too bent out of shape, worrying about balance, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored, altogether. For example, the Monstrous Physique talent, mentioned above: +15 hit points, at 1st level? That's going to nearly double some characters' hp. Even a fighter with a really good Constitution is going to be looking at about a 40-50% increase. Great Hunter (which is just a feat, not even a talent) adds +8 to initiative and lets you take the best of two rolls on attacks, whenever you stage an ambush - which, if you have taken that feat, you are presumably going to do very often, no doubt setting up the rest of your abilities to ensure success. Compare that to, say, the Fate-Born Heritage talent (not a feat), which just lets you force an enemy to re-roll a 20, on an attack made against you, once per day. Sure, that's useful, but once a day (i.e. once per full heal-up, in 13th Age terms)? For a talent - one of your precious three talents? And just a re-roll, which could just hit you, anyway (or even result in another 20)? In general, there are too many cases where the author did not compare traits to similar ones that already exist in 13th Age - or, if he had, he would have toned down some or toughened up others. Don't get me wrong: quite a few of these - maybe even most - are just fine. There are definitely a few, though, that I would not allow in my campaign (at least, not without a re-write) or that I would allow but no player would ever take.

  • The big one, if only because it comes up so often - too often, really. On many occasions, a sentence refers to making a skill check one "category" easier or harder, with no explanation as to what this actually means (it is not a term usually used in 13th Age). I assume that this refers to the chart on page 185 of 13th Age, but, if so, does it mean difficulty (Normal, Hard, Ridiculously Hard) or tier (Adventurer, Champion, Epic)? And, either way, what is the result of making a Normal task easier or a Ridiculously Difficult task harder (or change that to Adventurer tier and Epic tier, respectively, depending on how you want to define "category")? I'm guessing -5 DC, in the first case, and +5, in the second, but that really is just a guess. If so, that seems pretty extreme, compared to other feats, such as the Adventurer Feat of the Abyssal-Born Heritage, which reduces the DC by only one, total (unless that is a typo and was supposed to be one category, again - honestly, there are enough mistakes, in here, that I just don't know what to assume...).

  • Another mechanic that the article uses frequently, which is not normal for 13th Age, is "spending" 5s and/or 6s from icon rolls. In general, players don't usually having 5s or 6s just sitting around, waiting to be spent. Most of the time, the GM uses them to determine or customize adventure events, either before a session starts or, occasionally, during it. Certainly, that's what Fire Opal's own modules tend to do. Players can certainly suggest uses for them and may even (occasionally) keep them "floating" for a brief time, until someone thinks of a good way to represent them, in the story. But players do not generally "spend" them, in the manner this article implies, for some feats/talents. Maybe the author does that in his own campaign, but it's definitely non-standard, which may make the affected feats/talents somewhat useless, in most other campaigns. I don't know - maybe I'm reading too much into the word "spend" - the article never really clarifies this. It just seemed like an odd way to "fuel" traits, though.

I'd like to give this about 2-1/2 stars, but the review system won't let me do that, so I'll give it a 3, since there is a lot of content, at least some of which I'm sure I will use. Still, quantity doesn't equal quality. All in all, there is a lot of potential, here, but it is mired in bad grammar, poor explanations, questionable balance, and uneven Pathfinder translations. With a good edit - preferably, by someone who knows 13th Age well - this one would definitely be worth getting, and I would be able to recommend it. It does have some cool ideas, after all. At the moment, though, I would have to say that it feels more like a diamond in the rough, i.e. more of an early draft than a finished product.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
101 Feats and Talents (13th Age Compatible)
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Gossamer Worlds: Megacities of Neo Neo (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2015 03:18:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so what happens if the gritty cyberpunk future of Shadowrun, minus magic, gets utterly and thoroughly one-upped? We receive cities sprawling continents and oceans, suffused with a constant overpopulation and stimulation, facilitated by the omnipresent MegaWeb that requires your ping every half a second to continue to cater to your needs. The look into this world is at once fascinating and disturbing – when the vast corporations like Uni-Goggle or the Kocha-Cola corporation have suddenly influence over just about everything, including the reality show to you by those thrifty, cool Enhanced Reality goggles, when all food and consumables come with mood enhancers and medical support similarly is tied to implants, chips, etc., you’ll be clamoring for the quaintness of the Rhine-Ruhr or Seattle megasprawls of Shadowrun.

This vista portrayed here is frightening for its winking proximity to our very own world, its relative believability – genetic tailoring, body-modification and similar complex cultural codes prosper, while the MegaWeb and its advertisements and influence on the minds of the populace reminded me of Andri Snær Magnason’s dystopian novel LoveStar. Beyond the omnipresent might of corporations, Mars as a truly red (read: communist) planet makes for a no less disturbing alternative, while a mega-powerful set of insurrectionists under the command of mysterious Zeus try to bring down a foe that outnumbers them more than a billion to 1. And then there would be the sentient AI Yuki, CEO of the Sen-Zaibatsu and avatar of eidolon (fully statted, btw.), well aware of the asset/threat that Lords and Ladies of Gossamer and Shadow represent… (Can I hear Renraku arcology, anyone?) Short rules for acting in the web can also be found – alongside one last refuge – Australia, protected by the strange Uluru-effect, blocks electromagnetic waves and could either turn out to be cataclysm or salvation for the world…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s beautiful 2-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork consists of a blend of glorious full-color pieces that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.

Matt Banach’s Neo_Neo unabashedly pays homage to Shadowrun and the cyberpunk genre in a vast array of its ideas and concepts – and then cranks them up a notch. If you’re like me and considered the change of the matrix and magic-systems a spellplague-level disaster, then this pdf will bring a smile to your face – what we have here, would be a less magic-infused take on what Shadowrun could have become. And I mean that as an honest compliment. If you’re like me and enjoy a bit of cyberpunk once in a while and were looking for an easy way to use all of those Shadowrun books in your LoGaS-game – well, here you go. And even if you just get this for a short visit, the concepts alone are inspiring, yet detailed enough to provide you for more campaign-fodder than you could ask for. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval…now let’s hope our children never get to see 64-lane-highways…

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Megacities of Neo Neo (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: The Black (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/13/2015 04:13:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So what is The Black? The Black is a vast universe of thousands of high-scifi empires, galaxies-spanning confederations and empires, a realm where terra-forming and faster-than-light-travel are a dime a dozen among the civilized races; A realm where a powerful, immortal space-pharaoh has fleets of black pyramid-shaped ships at his beck and call, each of which can blast whole planets asunder. It is a realm where lobster-like xenobiologists and Nietzeschean centaur-like species abound, where a viral/fungoid psychic infection may depopulate whole planets.

It is a realm of infinite possibilities, only recently subject to the intrusion of the rare magic and teetering on the edge due to this influx – planets slowly plunging out of orbit, wobbling suns – something is distinctively wrong and when literally more than billions of minds far advanced beyond you and me set their minds to it, sooner or later, there will be an answer.

Whether it is the cult of those hapless people claiming that there was an original earth, the infections (including helpful guidelines for the DM) or the table is concerned – the Black is inspiring to the point where it can carry a lifetime of games regarding its concepts….I caught myself thinking rather often: “If only this were a full 300+ page setting…” – yeah, this is good.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s beautiful 2-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork consists of a blend of glorious full-color pieces that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.

Matt Banach’s The Black is definitely an inspired high-scifi setting – somewhere between Mass Effect and George R.R. Martin’s Thousand Worlds, the gossamer reality offer nigh limitless possibilities and writing-wise, is exceedingly inspired. That being said, it also suffers from the limitations imposed by the presentation – the sheer scope of The Black may be inspiring, but more often than not, I caught myself thinking that this deserves more detail – ships, tech, hazards, you name it: The frame is so inspiring you can create them yourself, yes, but still – this is a perfect candidate, where more quite simply would have been more: A 32 page gazetteer, a full-blown setting book –either would have been better to detail the vast scope of this colossal and evocative setting. The pdf left me wanting more – and that is a good thing. On the other side, though, there is so much touched upon that could use some closer inspection, it also left me with simply not enough – my final thought on the last page was “Oh, come on – I want more!” What I’m trying to say is that the scope of this gossamer world is too vast for such a small pdf and it suffers from it. My final verdict, hence, will “only” clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: The Black (Diceless)
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The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (13th Age Compatible)
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2015 15:24:29

I appreciate the appendices that are at the end of the adventure. Understanding the encounter math that was used, the new monster types, and the requirements for powerful rituals that shaped the area is very helpful. Having a list of icon boons, magic items, and new monsters is a big time-saver for a busy GM.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (13th Age Compatible)
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Gossamer Worlds: GlimmerGloam (Diceless)
by Lloyd W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2015 21:55:34

I found this supplement delightfully whimsical. I particularly enjoyed how the author portrayed a world strong in Umbra as something other than a blasted desolate wasteland. It shows how Umbra can be capricious and creative, rather than simply destructive.

Anyone who enjoys Alice in Wonderland will find this supplement delightful.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: GlimmerGloam (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Aethersaur Island (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2015 05:57:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what happens if three worlds converge? Awesomeness, that’s what! What a prehistoric earth, a steampunky Edwardian age world and one of eldritch horrors and alien vistas blended, the result was pretty much catastrophic, resulting in a rather small gossamer world, wherein aether-powered technology and magic co-exist and the ingenuity of mankind obviously found a way to blend aether and dinosaurs to create rather badass beasts of burden and war machines. So far, so cool – but, of course, that’s not where it stops - for one, there are troglodytes, lowly amalgamations of lizard servitor races. And then there is Cyrano (nice nomenclature here…), an erstwhile Umbra master now blended with a friggin triceratops. Oh, and said megamaniacal mad...saurus lives in Mount Doom, doubles as the rather nasty lord of the place (full stats provided) and would like nothing more than to reign unopposed.

Have I btw. mentioned his steampunk-cyborg T-Rex Queen Victoria? Yeah, if that leaves you cold, I don’t know anymore. Better yet – thee is one more twist: The aethermind, a massive alien consciousness trapped in a frequency beyond visibility, which could potentially highjack whole armies. Of course, we also get the domain-summary table and yes, the basics of aether-based technology are explained.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s beautiful 2-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork consists of a blend of glorious full-color pieces of original art and thematically-fitting stock.

Matt Banach’s Aethersaur Island is awesome in all the right ways – in that it caters to the 4-year old in me that knew the Latin names of all dinosaurs in his encyclopedia by hard. This gossamer world is unashamed, hilarious pulp that could easily be turned upside down into a pretty apocalyptic mess – with the wink in the eye that the best of steampunk books offer, we receive a downright joyfully far-out setting. Like when we were kids and said “And then there are Dinoasaurs…and Cyborgs…and Dinosaurcyborgs!!” – the writing is excellent and overall, this humble pdf provided a lot of joy and fun for me – and what else can you ask from such a nice little pdf? Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Aethersaur Island (Diceless)
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Kaiju Codex (PFRPG)
by JEROME M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2015 08:38:50

We're Canceling the Apocalyspe and Now You Can Too!

The new Kaiju Codex from Rite Publishing is exactly what it says it is: a codex filled to the brim with Kaiju. The Kaiju monsters run the gamut from CR30 Worldshaker, all the way down to the CR8 Hubrun the Big Goblin - with all the CRs in between filled by their own Kaiju.

As if that wasn't enough, stats are also included for the Iron Giant which will allow PCs to pilot a mech-like construct into battle against the Kaiju ala Pacific Rim. It's as though this product were made for me.

In addition to the epic Kaiju scattered throughout, this book also references psionic abilities (as developed by Dreamscarred Press) so there is literally no stone left unturned. My only complaint is that I want a hard copy to sit on my shelf.

I'm already thinking of ways to incorporate this Kaiju collection into my campaign. If you want to bring the feel of massive monster movies ala Godzilla and Pacific Rim to your campaign, then this is the book for you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kaiju Codex (PFRPG)
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#30 Battle Standards (PFRPG)
by Konrad F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2015 07:30:38

This is the worst Rite Publishing Product I have.

In de Description it says: "Within you will find 30 magical battle standards"

I Expected 30 (thirty) Full Color Battle standards.

What I did get was 30 Magic Items, but only a handfull of Battle standards ( 7 at best) That was very Disapointing for me.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Battle Standards (PFRPG)
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101 New Skill Uses (PFRPG)
by Jarred C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2015 21:57:37

I'm really enjoying this book. I read through it in about a night and immediately put it into play. The very next session I read over some of the examples to my players and it has led to them thinking outside the box for how to use their skills - something I've been trying to get them to do for over a year now. Some of the new options in this book I've come up with on my own, but the book puts some solid rules into place so I don't have to wing it (or remember my ruling from the last time it came into play).

Simply put, it's a good buy and I'm happy I have it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 New Skill Uses (PFRPG)
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101 Npc Grudges (PFRPG)
by Robin C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2015 13:51:49

RPG System: Pathfinder Converting to d20: Easy to moderate Series: The counterpart of this book is the previously published 101 NPC Boons.

This book offers DM's creative new ways to have NPC's react to a grudge against the PC's in ways that are in keeping with their position and abilities. Inside is a selection of various types of NPC's, sorted by the locations the PC's may meet the in - for example, city guards, upper/middle/lower class, wilderness, nautical, etc. When a PC mistreats or otherwise offends any of the various NPC's, the NPC may decide to hinder the PC with a grudge. A guide or explorer who provides incorrect directions or omits the dangers of known monster lairs, a priest who offers the PC's shelter or sanctuary when they are being pursued - then drugs their food and informs on their whereabouts to the pursuers, and a toll collector who informs on the PC's movements and known equipment are all examples of situations where a PC could find themselves hampered from offending an NPC.

Most of the book is nearly system-less, as a NPC scribe in Pathfinder vs D20 vs GURPS usually doesn't need stats to interact with PC's or to hinder them with their connections. There are 3 NPC's for Pathfinder within, and all were created using other 3rd party products by this publisher. If you are playing another RPG system you may be able to use their backgrounds as-is, but you will need to convert their statblocks, and probably their races and classes as well.

I like the idea behind having NPC's more empowered to hinder the PC's when they are mistreated or slighted. I think it encourages players to role play interactions with the NPC's that may sometimes be taken for granted, and to take more care and be conscious of how the NPC's perceive their characters. Sadly, this book is nowhere near as good as it's counterpart - 101 NPC Boons. I suppose that's to be expected, as the books were written by different authors. I was left with the impression that this book was an afterthought, made to "cash in" on the success of the previous book. There's a few good ideas in here, but I wasn't terribly inspired to use anything in my game. Overall, I was disappointed it wasn't as good as 101 NPC Boons was.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
101 Npc Grudges (PFRPG)
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101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/19/2015 05:47:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Rite Publishing's classic 101-series clocks in at a massive 44 ages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 39 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

Unlike most spells, these are tied to the very environment - a rules-decision I like. After all, fiction brims with monsters and casters drawing strength from their domain (and yes, that happens to be one of the rules-concepts I pretty much love in D&D 5th edition), so seeing spells like this added makes for a good thing in my book. The pdf sports the swamp patron-spell list and spell-lists for ALL casting classes. So, essentially - these spells are potent, but when executed in a swamp (a term defined e.g. by virtue of ranger's favored terrain et al., rendering the concept not alien to PFRPG's rules and thus safe from my nitpickery), their potency increases beyond the otherwise existing combo-potential.

Okay, I can babble on for all eternity, but you're interested in what I actually mean by that, aren't you? well, let's take a look at Acid and Poison, an 8th level spell that lets you target an object or point in space - said object thereafter becomes the origin of an emanation that transforms environmental liquids into acid that also poisons targets. Now if you're familiar with making spells, this will render ALL alarm-bells a-ringin': First, we have a complex area of effect, since it does provide the option for movement of the emanation origin. Well, the wording covers that. Secondly, the save-sequence versus acid/poison is less linear than one would expect. Once again, the pdf manages to handle that. Thirdly, the spell relies on environmental liquids - a term that is open to wide interpretation...until the concise, well-written definition gets rid of all ambiguity. Additional swamp effect? Ruin and affect magical and attended liquids on a successful caster-level check. And there I was looking forward to tearing the spell apart...

Kidding aside, this is pretty impressive, since it takes just about all variables of a spell and does something unique and interesting with them, elevating this spell far above the default "yet another damage-spells" crops. This spell also renders one sample of the aforementioned terrain-based enhancements these spells receive. Other spells utilize a slight escalation of the potency of their effects, while others are indeed, completely dependent on the terrain - flying through foggy air saturated with high degrees of ambient moisture only works for as far as there's enough of that around - upon leaving such a swampy area, it's literally all downhill for the airswim spell - love btw. the imagery the name alone evokes. This, however, is NOT where this pdf is content to stop - Kin of the Moor deserves, nay, needs to acknowledged for its interesting mechanics. A ritual in anything but name, it requires the recipients to provide hair as a fetish for a specific bonding to a vast area. Now the most intriguing part of this base spell would be that the text actually renders a highly complex mechanic for area of effect extension possible, allowing for the slow, but gradual extension of one's domain. All creatures thus bound not only see a significant increase in potency (and yes, this increases proper wording that manages to capture numerical escalation beyond the bonds of usual level-caps) while in their chosen terrain, they also can be returned from the dead much easier.This is NOT where the spell's appeal ends, though.

Let me confess something. I'm pretty much bored with many types of vanilla spellcasting. I've simply read too many default deal xyz/conjure forth bla-spells to be impressed by them anymore. I shrug, move on and hope for some glimmer of the new. Now, aforementioned spell serves as the basis for other spells, allowing you to teleport established kin to your side via another spell. This may sound pretty bland, but one look at the level and the entwined mechanic unveils this as a) actually pretty innovative and b) interesting also regarding the inherent logic of conflict-resolution in a magical world. I am dead serious when I'm saying that a couple of brief reflections made me come up with pretty interesting stalemate situations and adventure-seeds. And these days, not too many spells or themes evoke that from me.

Speaking of interesting synergy and terrain control - if you read a spell-title like chill fog, you pretty much expect a bland numerical damage, perhaps some obscuring mist/fog cloud-duplicate, but, at least I, did NOT expect the supercooled fog to quickly escalate its damage potential, potentially even duplicating full-blown the effects of encase in ice. More straight-forward, yes, but even if you refrain from utilizing this spell in its regular way, the base mechanics can make one glorious hazard - just think about it: The PCs open portal X, crash cooling tube of super-golem Y and suddenly, they have to flee the dungeon from the spreading, deadly cold - and taking too long to clear the doors and debris will see them slowly freeze, the escalation providing ample hints at the unpleasant fate to come. Yes, I may like this a bit - why? Because it COULD be bland. It could be boring. It could be reductive and simple. It's nothing of these, instead electing to be evocative, uncommon and inspiring.

Now the terrain-control spells via control fog and e.g. control bog remain in no way behind these interesting options in the rather versatile and interesting benefits they put at the behest of their casters. Yes, not all spells reach this level of coolness (pardon the pun) - summoning nightmares 8and later, cauchemars) would be thematically fitting, but also pretty bland. However, what about the protection from swamps-spell? It sounds like everything I HATE about environmental spells - I mean, what good is a cool locale if the PCs can easily negate all effects? Well, this one instead makes hiding in swamps easier as well as providing bonuses versus poisons and diseases. Bonuses, not immunities, mind you. While a humble spell, it once again could have run afoul of quite a few bad design-choices and instead opted for a story-enabler: It doesn't negate the threats of swamps, it tips the scales in the PC's favor. And it's better hiding component can be used by a good Dm to send an experienced group into swamps beyond their capacity. "Yeah, you only have to save the townsfolk from the swamp's inbred cannibal - be sure to not run into the black dragon while crossing his terrain..."

Hey, remember those nifty shock lizards? Those cute buggers with the arcing electricity that got TPK-level nasty in groups? Well, what about spells that make you and your allies shockingly good team-members, providing essentially a teamwork-spell? Yeah, neat! There would also be a spell that is very powerful called Spirit Naga Soul. This allows the caster to cast cleric spells of 3rd level or lower at the cost of a reduction of 6th level spells...and very exotic material components. Now this spell could be considered very powerful and indeed, thankfully, the pdf acknowledges this. So what it does to balance this is the requirement for nasty and costly material components. Is this spell for every group? No. But instead of leaving the DM in the dark about its potency, it instead finds a way to balance this and thus puts control firmly in DM hands. What about a spell that lodges a stirge-proboscis in the target, draining blood and potentially attracting living stirges in swamps...Yeah, these spells take quite a lot work off the hands of a DM seeking to portray a concise environments - where usually, one would have to remember the like or create synergy-effects on the fly, these spells increase the immersion by helping the DM with generating the illusion of a concise terrain and spell/world-interaction. Yes, the spells may at times be variants of already existing options - but they are NOT boring. They are not bland. They are superior, more concise and creative iterations. They are, essentially, closer to my own ideal of how magic ought to be.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a greenish variant of Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard. Artwork ranges from mind-boggling original to thematically-fitting stock-art and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

I did not expect to like this book one bit. It has ALL the strikes going against it. Yet another spell-book? Yawn. First time author? Urgh. Terrain-centric spell-book? Noes. I mean, think about 3.X terrain-books - cool hazards, cool effects, challenging ideas - and a bunch of classes and spells to negate all of that coolness. Not fun. Plus, I've read more than 4K spells for Pathfinder alone. On the plus-side, the book had Rite Publishing (with a nigh unparalleled track-record of decidedly non-boring, original and most of the time, superb pdfs) as a publisher. And I happen to be aware that author David Paul has academic teaching experience. Why is that good? Because academic writing (or software coding) isn't that different from writing good crunch - you have a very specific set of rules-language, a syntax and semantics you have to work with, while at the same time being required to create new and innovative results without violating said parameters. And if the parameters hit their borders, expand them in a way that fits as seamlessly as possible within the frame of the presentation of the established rules-set.

I haven't seen such a good spellbook from a novice-designer in ages. I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that I consider the spells herein innovative and inspiring. I am also not exaggerating when I'm saying that I was rather impressed by the willingness to tackle difficult concepts and putting them into a tight, fitting rules-language without compromising the vision behind these spells. This pdf was inspiring to read to an extent I very, very rarely encounter with spell-themed books. Better yet, this pdf's crunch is not only inspiring, it displays the required mastery of craftsmanship to back up the artfully depicted effects of these astonishing spells.

To my complete surprise, this pdf's pages blew too fast by while I was reading the pages and actually left me craving more such supplements for other terrain types. David, if you're reading this, please keep writing. I really want to see where you can take your designs -we need more pdf like this that make spells interesting again. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
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In The Company of Medusa: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
by Joshua B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2015 17:25:34

There's a lot of great things to pull in from this pdf.

I love the introductions of characters from someone "representative" of that somehow, something that Rite Publishing has done quite a bit. It explains how to introduce medusas into your world. There's all in all a huge amount of fluff here that is incredibly useful (especially as someone who struggles a bit to introduce things like this into a game world)

The pdf introduces 2 styles of medusas that could be used as player characters: regular medusas that have feet, and larger medusas known as greater medusas which are more snake-like and have a tail instead.

There's an ample amount of alternate racial traits which is something i enjoy as well. It gives you a lot of options and flavors you could have with your character.

The main feature all in all though isn't just making the medusas playable character races: it's the racial paragon class. Which is something I would love to see more of in Pathfinder overall, and it's one of the biggest reasons I was excited to buy this when I saw it available here.

The class itself plays out more like a grappler, but with a lot of options for mobility (being able to jump from statue to statue, flight), and a good poison as well. The base gaze of a medusa starts out rather weak overall, but as they level up in the class, it becomes far more powerful and iconic: turning your enemies into statues, and eventually being able to animate them as well. The class itself is far more synergistic and powerful when used with the greater medusa (a lot of abilities affect the tail strike overall), but I still believe it's quite powerful for regular medusa overall.

All in all, I love this book quite a bit. I can't wait to be able to use it in my games. The class itself seems strong, but not blatantly OP. The fluff is rather well written and gives out a lot of great information here as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Medusa:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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The Secrets of the Iron Titan (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2015 20:01:21

This is a very neat supplement if you want golem-like characters in your setting, and want to easily be able to implement it without too much fuss or hard work for the dm. It can be used for pcs or npcs; and the iron titan is a class you add to a character. The character, having at some point, having been turned into an iron titan from an original form.

There are plenty of special abilities and choices to be made. Good art so as to guide the reader in what type of iron titans can be created. Iron titans get a lot of resistances and invulnerabilities making them, after they level a bit, very suited to facing specific foes and existing in hostile environments. Woe to the party that is vulnerable to iron titans.

What I most liked though, was the "we can rebuild him" section. This covers converting a dead character over to an iron titan, and it also throw in the possibility of how a party could continue from a tpk (everyone comes back as an iron titan). In doing so, the character or party are rebuilt, taking the class levels of the iron titan. What also interests me would be the possibilities of multi-classing. Just a bit, to secure some very cool abilities to complement the MANY options for iron titans in this book.

There are also feats, including feats for huge titans. Yes, you can be huge, and that means you have huge guts.

5/5



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Iron Titan (PFRPG)
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Way of the Samurai (PFRPG)
by Garrett C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2015 21:10:25

A fun, if not a little short, supplement that adds quite a bit of stuff for Pathfinder Samurai. The town of Kawashi (the samurai town given for the setting) has some really fun and easy adventure hooks to bring players in. The new feats are nothing that appears to be game breaking (which is always good), but also nothing new (which is okay, given the balance some 3rd party supplements lack).

I have three issues with the game, that make me rate it lower.

My first issue is a mechanical problem with the game, and the main reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. Simply, too many of the introduced archetypes are based on the samurai class. I'd have liked to see them take and retool more classes to make more of the base classes open to players. Not everyone wants to play a modified samurai archetype, and while you could create rules for them, to me that argument is outside the scope of a supplement review. Gunslinger, ranger, paladin and wizard are all given nods, but in unexpected and varied ways. IE Gunslingers being used for a musket man, rangers used for a bodyguard, etc.

The second problem I have, is that the game never mentions anything about females being excluded from being samurai (which is fine, some gender roles don't need to be enforced) but the entire town of Kawashi doesn't have a single major female NPC. They are mentioned offhandedly as wives and daughters, but all of the major ones are males. (No archetypes for Onna-bugeisha either, sadly) The same can be said about races. Everyone is a human, despite the book never calling out Kawashi as being a human-only town, but no one outside of humans are mentioned. I'd just have liked to see the supplement address these at some point, to give a little justification. Again, it's easily within a DM's ability to modify this, but I still feel it's outside of the scope of a supplement review.

Lastly, if you wanted a full world for a samurai game, this supplement falls a little short. The world of Kaidan is fairly unexplained here, in that everything the book gives you information on can be largely found via Wikipedia or books on Japanese culture. Short of one or two archetype explanations, you won't find anything on the world that makes it jump out as being truly unique. If you are not very good at world building (like myself), it doesn't really give you any more information to go with.

(Edit, I LOOKED BEFORE I LEAPED FOR ONCE! Make sure to download their free setting overview from http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/85269/Kaidan-The-Preview-PFRPG to get a little more about the world)

Past that, the setting really has some fun stuff in it and works very well with PF's Eastern supplements. If you need a good jumping off point to start a samurai campaign, this book is worth picking up. It's got some solid adventure hooks in the town of Kawashi that can be fairly easily expanded into a larger meta plot for the world. Just be prepared to modify a few things!

Thanks to the folks at Rite Publishing for giving me yet another Asian themed setting to dig my teeth into! Happy gaming everyone!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Samurai (PFRPG)
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10 Wizard Magic Items (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2015 06:21:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition.

This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As always with Rite Publishing's 10-items-series, the first thing you may wish to know is that you actually receive much more bang for buck than the 10 items promised on the cover - quite a few of the items herein come in a bunch of variations - e.g. a lesser, standard and greater version with increasing power. Now another peculiarity established by the series would be that this improved versions do not simply provide numerical escalations of bonuses, but instead provide additional abilities, making the better versions of the items a whole slew more unique than one would expect.

That out of the way, let's take a look at the items, shall we? The first item, the boots of jaunting, will probably immediately end on the wish-list of any wizard interested in a longer lifespan - they grant motes of movement, a mini-pool of 3 points per day. The lesser ones allow the wizard to use a swift action to escape grapples or teleport into a standing position. The standard version lets the wizard blink automatically away from critical hits or any attacks that would reduce the wizard to below 0 hp - if the wizard manages a second save equal to DC 10 + 1/2 attack bonus or DC of the ability, the damage is negated. The greater set also has the option for short-range teleportation. Damn cool items that would be utterly op, were it not for their limited uses. Still pretty strong for the price point (greater boots cost a mere 6300 GP - that is very liberal...), but that may just be me.

The next item, the Emerald Familiar, is pretty cool - it can be tossed to the floor (and reforms the following day) and increase the size of the wizard's familiar into...let's say, nasty dimensions - the greater variant increases sizes by 3 categories, including natural weapons, attribute bonuses, etc.! Yes, that is awesome. Conversely, the lesser version, which is now included, just becomes a regular sized creature. Damn cool!

The emerald of expectation comes in no less than 10 variants - one for each spell level and one that can contain up to two spell levels. What does this item-class do? It allows the wizard to swap a prepared spell with a spell of an equal level or lower (provided the spell is upgraded to the target spell level via metamagic) from her spellbook 1/day. Generally, I enjoy this type of item since it allows for an increased flexibility, without treading too hard on the toes of spontaneous casters - that being said, I consider the frame of time required for activation to be too liberal - 1 standard action is nasty. Depending on the power level of your campaign and the amount of spells your wizard finds, this may be a nasty kick in the shins for spontaneous casters, whereas in other groups, this may be just what the doctor ordered - still, DMs should very carefully contemplate the massive added flexibility for wizards - remember, this allows for infinite spell-changing due to a lack of daily uses, bringing wizards almost up to spontaneous casters in terms of flexibility! They cost less than pearls of power and while they do not increase the spells per day, they have no daily limit...for most groups, this will probably be too strong. (If you like the idea, set the activation to 10 minutes or 1 hour to make them less useful in combat/stressful situations...)

Eyes of the Studious Failure are interesting - the more a creature saves against your single-target spells, the more insight-bonuses to your spell's DCs against said target you accumulate. The lesser version can activate this once per day, the standard thrice per day and the greater one always triggers it.

Gloves of the Ray allow you to increase the range of spells with a range of touch to close as per the Reach Spell feat a limited amount of times per day, but they now require ranged touch attacks. The different item qualities denote the spell level at which these items cap - lesser can cast up to 3rd, standard up to 6th and greater up to 9th level spells this way. Additionally, the gloves can 3/day as an immediate action completely negate an incoming ray, with the max level of the incoming ray following the same formula. Designer Steven D. Russell has eliminated all prior ambiguities - now these gloves work properly and rock!

The Mantle of the Schoolmaster doubles the duration of the 8th level wizard school class feature, while diviners and scryers may 1/day spontaneously convert a spell into a divination (scrying) spell of equal level or lower. Cool item that enhances one of the few truly iconic wizard tricks - kudos!

The Robe of the Schooled instead allows activation of the 1st level school ability as a swift action or temporarily extend a continuous 1st level school ability to an ally within 30 ft. as an immediate action.

The Wizard's Battered Hat is high in concept and imagery-wise - it acts as a handy haversack for spellbooks only. Additionally, once per day, the wizard identifies a spell from his spell-list being cast (here at DC 15 + double spell-level), the spell is automatically inscribed in the book without cost or space required in the spellbook. Before, this lacked a daily limit -with it, it is a pretty nice, cool item!

Wizard's Journeymen Rings allow for the 1/day reroll of d20-rolls, with lesser applying only to concentration, higher ones also applying to caster level checks, failed melee/ranged touch attacks and dispel-checks.

The pdf also provides a minor artifact/legacy item with Alymmanthar, "the Dire Wand" - to give you a brief run-down: legacy items are specific items that grow in power with your character level, increase their potency thus and require specific tasks to become better. Their chosen wielder senses an omen. This item has been crafted by some of the legends of Questhaven from a new special material and sports generally some nice abilities that involve dampening magic items, high jacking them and yes, even golems, as well as dire magic item related curses. Better yet - the wording of this cool, complex item has been streamlined to be easier to grasp.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting of the revised edition of this pdf are neat - I noticed no rules-relevant glitches survive the purge. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's 2-column full-color standard. The pdf comes with nice full-color artworks I haven't seen before and is fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its short size.

Steven D. Russell can craft superb crunch - I never doubted that. But thatis something quite a few (though by far not "many") authors can do. Where he excels, though, is in capturing high-concept, iconic imagery and representing said material in tight rules-representations: There aren't many books I review that tend to make me grin feral smiles as often as Rite Publishing books.

Now there is another reason I thoroughly respect Rite Publishing - Steven cares about quality. If a pdf (like this one's first iteration) has glitches, he fixes it. The first iteration of this pdf was nice, but had some issues. It is a small, inexpensive pdf and I wouldn't have been surprised, had it not been fixed. Well, it was. The issues are gone, the new writing is concise and improves even my nitpicks. This is customer service...AND it renders this pdf the cool book it deserves to be. Now on the nitpicky side, I consider the emeralds as an item class too strong for all but the most high fantasy of games (or those where players never want to play spontaneous casters in the first place), but that is just about all of the negativity I can muster towards this cool pdf. The items herein are glorious, interesting and often downright inspired. My final verdict for this revised edition will hence clock in at 5 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
10 Wizard Magic Items (PFRPG)
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