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101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2015 20:49:29
In 101 Swamp Spells we start off with great art and get into truly ingenious great spells. The font is an excellent choice and the design is solid. After readings this I know my players are not going to trust swamps or swamp spellcasters in the future.

This is about adding spells and that is what it does. I want to mention six of my favourites so you get a sense of what is inside. First, Awaken Algae, to kill foes with an algoid that is immune to electricity and fire and has mind blast. Wonderful. I’ll take seven.

Secondly, blinding mist. An offensive spell that hides that the targets have even been blinded while they are in the bog. Nice low level group-blinding spell.

Thirdly, boiling fog. Now that’s just cruel. If you can keep them... bogged down inside the mist the damage becomes amazing.

Fourth, daemonic spit. Warps your head, grants you abilities like poison immunity and you gain a sleep-inducing spit. How horrifying.

Fifth, decay weapons. No saving throw, medium range -2 to hit and damage for weapons. A very useful spell to hinder a foe before they engage, or a spellcaster could launch this at the party before they fight a challenging boss or group of foes.

Sixth, grippli guise. Turn temporarily into a grippli to gain many benefits. The picture is rather cute.

There are many more, and I would like to talk about them all day, but I suggest you buy the book to check out these excellent new spells. Really complements the 101 forest spells if you want the wilds to be truly wild and dangerous for pcs.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
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101 Barbarian Feats (PFRPG)
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2015 20:47:39
This supplement clocks in at 27 pages, including 23 pages of content. With no introduction at all, we start with a standard table of feats, with prerequisites and short descriptions. After the table comes the full description of 101 feats, all intended for barbarians.
Most feats have as a prerequisite either Rage class feature, a specific rage power, or class features specific to certain barbarian archetypes.
A few feats, such as Improved Body Bludgeon, fall into the unfortunate trap of overly long feat chain prerequisites. Feats are a rare commodity in Pathfinder, so a feat which isn’t all that powerful to begin with shouldn’t require five other non-synergized feats as prerequisites. Fortunately, only a few feats in this supplement fall into this trap.
Many archetype class features have ‘improved [alternate class feature]’ feats. Those which already had such feats get ‘greater [alternate class feature]. The benefits of feats are quite varied, from inflicting curses using rage power, to an immediate-action charge which costs three uses of rage, to feats like Demonic Rage, which grants both the benefits and drawbacks of having a demon live inside the barbarian. There are feats which can allow a barbarian to transfer afflictions from themselves to enemies. Some feats are essentially ‘bane’ feats, giving extra bonuses when attacking creatures of a specific type or subtype. Mindless Rage allows you to become immune to mind-affecting effects while raging, at the cost of having to follow pre-set tactics. Some feats are tied to races. For example, halflings and blinklingsget Maul Joint, which allows the user to damage enemies’ joints. There doesn’t seem to be much reason the racial feats are tied to a specific race, though, except possibly to make the reader aware of races from other Rite Publishing products. Then again, the same can be said of most feats with racial requirements in Pathfinder.
There are small, full-color illustrations spread throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: The editing and formatting are top notch, and the effects of each feat are clear. Hence, it is easy to add these feats onto your NPCs with little preparation. Of course, for PCs, more planning is typically required, given the nature of feat chains. Still, the variety of interesting effects earns a strong short term rating of 4/5.
Long Term Use: The nice part about these feats is that due to the variety of effects, they can be reused endlessly. You can combine them in a lot of different ways, or you could put them on monsters. These are all well-written and mostly interesting feats. If you are reading this review, you probably know what to do with a bunch of feats. The long term rating is 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 due to the low price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Barbarian Feats (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
Ben, thank you for taking the time to do a review of so many of our products recently. Steve. I would like to send you a copy of something more recent, if you have the time please reach out to me via Steve at RitePublishing dot Com, thank you again Steven D. Russell Rite Publishing
101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2015 20:46:37
This supplement clocks in at 18 pages, including 13 pages of content. I should start by saying that I dislike traits as they are presented in Paizo products. But this supplement isn’t full of Paizo traits, so I will try to assess it on its own merits, rather than on my dislike for the subsystem it is based on.
After a brief introduction, we dive right into 101 traits. There is no table of contents or bookmarks, though they are not strictly necessary for a PDF of this size. One thing that makes these traits different from those in Ultimate Campaign is that these traits do not have categories (they are not combat traits, magic traits, etc.), meaning they can be taken alongside each other or any other traits.
The effects of the traits are diverse. For example, False Flag allows you to disguise the flag (and hence allegiance and purpose) of a ship using the disguise skill. Hung From the Yardarn makes it easier for allies to raise you from the dead. Keep to the Code gives you a daily-use bonus against others who have broken codes of conduct.
Many of these traits are much more powerful than standard traits, but come with extra restriction. For example, Hornswaggled Davy Jones allows you to negate a character death, but it only works once. One of my favorites is Parrot-Voice, which grants you a free Parrot familiar (with the same stats as a raven), [b]but[/b] makes you permanently mute. Several traits have abilities that work once per week rather than once per day, which may contribute to ‘nova’ play, but they do allow those traits to do more.
Small color illustrations are sprinkled throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: If you are running a pirate-heavy game, you will most likely want to add some of these traits to NPCs, and your players will likely want to take some of them as well. The use-per-week effects, however, make many of them harder to use on short-term NPCs. A lot of the traits have somewhat ambiguous effects, and the editing is worse than Rite Publishing’s usual standard, so you may need to consider what a trait does or should do before adding it to your campaign. Even with those problems, though, there are enough interesting effects to warrant a short term rating of 3/5 stars.
Long Term Use: If you plan on running a campaign with a lot of pirates or privateers, you can get a lot of milage out of these traits. While they do require more work to utilize fully than other traits, they are a lot more interesting, and there is little to complain about for such a low price. Hence, it gets a long term rating of 4/5.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
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101 Npc Grudges (PFRPG)
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2015 20:45:28
This supplement clocks in at 17 pages, including 12 pages of content. An NPC Grudge is the opposite of a boon: it is something an NPC can do to make things more difficult for the PCs other than just attacking them. After a brief introduction, we dive straight into a list of Grudges, sorted by the kind of NPC that gives them. They are organized first into regions (Urban grudges from NPCs in a generic city, followed by Rural, Frontier, Nautical, and Wilderness). Within each region, the grudges are sorted by the social standing or occupation of the NPC who grants them. For example, the urban grudges are sorted into lower, middle, and upper class NPCs, along with guard NPCs and other generic occupations.
The effects of the grudges are quite varied. The simplest grudges involve the NPC using their influence to give the PCs circumstance penalties on some kinds of skill checks while they are in the area. Others involve providing information to enemies of the PCs, or providing false information to others to create new enemies for the NPCs. Many grudges work via deception, such as giving the PCs an item which supposedly indicates favor with one faction (that the PCs will deal with shortly), but which actually indicates favor with an opposing faction. Wilderness NPCs can destroy or conceal bridges or shortcuts, or guide predators to the PC.
Many NPCs can influence others to apply their grudges as well. For example, one NPC can blackmail others into causing trouble for the PCs, but if the PCs end up helping the one being blackmailed, that NPC can switch from a grudge to a boon.
A few NPCs have stat-blocks, though most don’t. It might actually have been better without the statblocks, as they aren’t particularly remarkable and won’t be as helpful to the user as more grudges with the same word count would have been.
Small color illustrations of generic NPCs are sprinkled throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: Since the NPCs are all fairly generic, it is relatively easy to work several grudge into your campaign, either by introducing an insignificant/generic character, or, more likely, by attaching grudges to appropriate existing NPCs in your campaign. Also, if the PCs earn the ire of an NPC, you can look for a generic NPC in this supplement which matches and use that grudge. However, they do take more planning to utilize fully than a typical combat encounter. Hence, this supplement earns a short term rating of 4/5.
Long Term Use: If you have time to plan grudges, you can cause far more trouble for the PCs than with a simple combat. Due to the way grudges can trigger each other, and the fact that the PCs may earn new grudges in their attempts to bypass or undo existing grudges, you can spin entire adventures out of a relatively simple objective blocked by a barrage of grudges. They work best at low and lower-mid levels, though, as higher level PCs are more likely to be able to negate the effects of most of the grudges. There is a fair amount of repetition in the later sections of the supplement. Even ignoring the repetitive grudges removed, though, you can get a lot of use out of this supplement without too much difficulty. Hence, it earns a long term rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 due to the low price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Npc Grudges (PFRPG)
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101 Malevolent Magic Items
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2015 20:43:36
This supplement clocks in at 35 pages, including 31 pages of content. There is no table of contents, although the bookmarks fulfill much the same function. We start with an introduction, and advice on how best to use cursed items.
There are two kinds of items in this supplement: cursed items and malevolent items. Cursed items are much as described in the core rules: poorly constructed magic items which do something harmful to the user. Malevolent items, on the other hand, are built like normal magic items, but are intentionally crafted to be harmful to the user. In essence, cursed magic items are like a fantasy analogue of software containing a critical bug, whilst malevolent magic items are analogous to purposely-constructed malware.
After the introduction, we get eleven cursed/malevolent armors. Also introduced is a +2-equivalent armor property, Fearlessness, which makes the wearer immune to fear. It is introduced alongside a cursed variant, which still makes the wearer immune to fear, but forces them to make will saves to avoid taunting others in situations where it could cause trouble for the wearer.
Next we get eleven malevolent weapons. These include things like the Deafening Weapon, which is a thundering weapon that has the side-effect of deafening the user, and the Narcoleptic Weapon, which has the benefits of a Shock Weapon, but also buts the user to sleep on a ‘successful’ hit.
After that comes seven potions and oils, such as the Potion of Blindness, which carries the normal (beneficial) effects of a potion but also blinds the user.
Subsequently we get 11 rings, five rods, five scrolls, six staves, six wands, and 29 wondrous items.
Finally, we get 10 malevolent Legendary Items. Legendary items, unlike normal d20 magic items, are items with long, detailed, and unique histories. They don’t have the same game-shaking power levels of major artifacts, but they are comparable in power to high-end non-legendary items. They cannot be destroyed by simply attacking them—each legendary item has a unique method of destruction, such as being struck by the weapon of an efreeti noble on the plane of fire, submersing the item in holy water for a full year, or appeasing the spirit of a deceased dragon. All the legendary items in this supplement have backstories written for the Questhaven campaign setting, though a few name changes would allow them to fit into other fantasy settings.
There are black-and-white illustrations woven throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: Usually the short term test for a book of magic items is how easily you can plop them into a treasure hoard and have the PCs (or an NPC villain) start using them. Cursed items, though, need to be used sparingly and carefully. The GM should carefully consider why a cursed/malevolent item is where it is. The nature of the supplement does not lend itself to short term use. The items in this supplement are well-edited and easy to understand, though, so I’ll settle on a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: My primary complaint about cursed magic items in the d20 core rules is that they are essentially simple traps. You roll a check to identify their cursed nature. If you fail, you are cursed, and if you succeed, the item is discarded. This supplement gets around that issue entirely. While a few items here are like those in the core rules, most of the items in this supplement [i]do[/i] provide benefits to the user, along with a drawback. Hence, even if the PCs correctly identify that the item is malevolent, the players still have to make a difficult decision as to whether or not to keep it. The final section gives a glimpse into what has become a stunning campaign setting, Questhaven. This installment of the 101 series easily earns a Long Term Rating of 5/5.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Malevolent Magic Items
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101 Magical Weapon Properties (PFRPG)
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2015 20:41:38
This supplement clocks in at 25 pages, including 20 pages of content. Right at the beginning, we get a big chart of weapon properties for those who like to generate magic items randomly. This chart also functions as a table of contents. Afterwards, we get the full descriptions of all 101 weapon properties.
24 of the weapon properties have fixed cost increases: they increase the weapon cost by a set amount regardless of how many other enchancements it has. On the cheap end, adding only 400 gold pieces to the cost, is the Gripping Weapon, which gives a +2 to CMD against disarming. On the expensive end, at a whopping +42000 gold pieces, is the Revitalizing Weapon. It is…underwhelming. It is a limited use ability which allows you to heal for each successful hit. And not very much, either.
There is also the Friend weapon, a class of weapon restrictions which limit who can use the abilities of a weapon, and reduce its price by either 10% or 30%.
The remaining weapons all have plus-equivalent cost modifiers. At the low end, we have +1 abilities like Hexing, which applies various penalties to those struck by it, and Hindering, which can disable its target’s natural weapons. There’s the Interfering weapon, which forces casters to make concentration checks as if its damage had been continuous.
Most weapon properties are cheaper: there are only six +4 weapon properties and one +5. The +4 properties include the Spellstealing Weapon, which can dispel active buffs on its target and transfer their effects to the wielder.
The single +5 weapon ability is the Perilous weapon. On a critical, it allows the wielder to repeatedly roll to ‘confirm’ the critical until you fail (-5 penalty on each successive roll), with each additional confirmation adding more damage. It isn’t as deadly as the same-price Vorpal, but it can be used on more weapon types, is compatible with weapons with wider critical threat ranges, and can still damage creatures immune to Vorpal’s effect. It’s still underwhelming for a +5, but it’s not bad if damage output is what you want in a magic weapon.
The supplement has full-color illustrations of weapons spread throughout.
Short Term Use: The clean organization and random chart/ToC makes it easy to drop some of these items into your campaign with very little preparation. The editing is unfortunately not up to Rite Publishing’s usual standard. You can mostly still use it without trouble, though, making for a short term rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Use: The emphasis on low-cost weapon properties makes it easy to combine them in unique combinations. Some of the weapon properties have very interesting effects, but others don’t. It’s a mixed bag, but for such a low price, you’ll probably still find enough to get your money’s worth. 4/5.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Magical Weapon Properties (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Dragonhearth (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2015 03:22:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!



So what is dragonhearth? Well, if the name wasn't ample clue for you, let me fill you in: It is a world of DRAGONS...yeah, I'm proud of my astute observation as well. kidding aside, everything on this world is draconic to some extent - from serpentine waves of light to myriad forms of draconic life, there are a lot of supreme serpents inhabiting this place. So attuned to the very notion of dragons is this world, that even plants and most predatory animals share some component of lethal grace with the serpentine masters...oh, and paltry little squishy creatures from other realities, i.e. neither dragons nor the two draconic humanoid races, tend to suffer from a disease as the reality of the very world wastes them away - unless they enter a dragonbond. This can be pictured as an abstract relationship of friendship, love or simple subjugation - various strengths exist, some of which can transcend even the boundaries of gossamer realities. And yes, they have rules-relevant repercussions.



Now so far, so common - at this point, dragonhearth may not seem too impressive -I mean, apart from the continent-sized dracoliches and the system of reincarnation that governs life. Wait, what? Yes, concise rules for dracoliches are provided and hoards etc. are rationalized by a metaphysical reality that acts as a ruthless karmic meritocracy - which is cool on its own - but the whole thing becomes interesting with the existence of the golden wyrm Khemezatron (fully statted, btw.), a dragon awakened to the existence of the Grand Stairs and recently returned. beyond a gorgeous illustration, Khemezatron also introduced a nanite-based psychoactive virus to dragonhearth, courtesy of some highly-developed world she visited. Styling herself as a benevolent messiah, she infects draconic life, severing dragonbonds and rendering those subject to her dread disease thralls to her will, bonded to her technological assault on the very metaphysical powerstructures that govern life on Dragonhearth...for now, unopposed, but sooner or later, the world itself will take out the big, big guns and we have adventure potential galore.



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 glorious full-color pieces that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.



Matt Banach provides a setting that could theoretically be reduced to dragonsploitation - with draconic themes everywhere, I can well imagine a certain fatigue setting in sooner or later, so for my part, I'm not that blown away by the basic premise, no matter how good it is executed. However, the introduction of the alternate bond and the obvious theme of changing times that echoes the central conflict of umbra vs. eidolon makes this a rather unique and awesome set-up: If not for a whole campaign, then at least for a sojourn of one or more adventures - Khemezatron is a damn cool villain that provides a truly unique imagery. My final verdict, hence, will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Dragonhearth (Diceless)
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Coliseum Morpheuon (PFRPG)
by R. W. T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2015 22:23:43
Planar Adventure and Mini-Setting for High Level Adventuring

This astounding document is 130 pages long, including beautiful front and back covers, a credits page, two pages for Table of Contents, and introduction, 10 chapters plus 3 appendices, and a single-page OGL. It is clearly intended primarily for GMs to use as a new planar mini-setting that can be used for plug-and-play within your own setting/campaign, and includes a full adventure for high-level adventures (intended for 16th to 20th level PCs), centered around a major event in the Coliseum Morpheuon: The Damnation Epoch.

I have a few beefs with the layout of certain bits that are spread across pages, but given the nature of the adventure's non-linear layout, the overall structure of the document is nice. It should clearly be easily accessible (physical printed document is best), since it's clear a GM running this setting or adventure module would want to easily reference material from many sections of the book. There are sections that would be more appropriate for players appropriate to functioning well in the Plane of Dreams (feats and spells, specifically), and should be printed out separately for player reference. Along with a few bits of text for major NPCs and creature entries running across pages that feels awkward, I feel these minor setbacks to the document only take off 2/10 deduction, and will end with a 5-star review (4.8). This is a great product that, if employed properly, is everything needed to run a really amazing and memorable adventure at high-level.

Furthermore, this product is not just an adventure, because it is also the entire description of elements of the coliseum (and all surrounding sites) within the Plane of Dreams, in a moderately stable, finite planar region. This planar site serves as the central focus for the adventure and all related plotlines. Being strange and ephemeral, the Plane of Dreams has new rules and planar traits that allow both GMs and PCs a chance to have a lot of fun in a free-form manner, allowing the PCs to follow a central storyline, while still giving them a chance to interact with a very lively and imaginative setting that never has to be the same thing twice. The product outlines major NPCs, including patrons who may employ/mentor PCs during the coliseum events, as well as a host of other individuals who are involved in the mini-politics and plot hooks of the adventure. It is not intended to be linear, and PCs have a lot of choice in how things play out, and how big and tough the opponents are which they wish to take on. It has all the elements of an epic story, no matter how you look at it.

Chapter 1-2 covers the Plane of Dreams and dream-related abilities and effects. Ch. 3 includes other inhabitants of the dream realm, and specifically the site of the Coliseum Morpheuon. Ch. 4 is an overview of the island region within the dreamscape, and ch. 5 is all the major NPCs within the adventure and surrounding plotlines. Ch. 6 gives the overview of the Damnation Epoch and the adventure to come, while ch. 7-9 is the actual adventure. Ch. 10 ends with the secrets of the region, the major NPCs, and ways to continue the adventure beyond its scope of the tournament's trials. The appendices include the two major rival groups of adventurers, as well as four other pre-generated characters that could be PCs or potential other gladiators or NPCs.

This includes several new map images (very nice looking and useful, both in the adventure and possibly for other application), and the adventure clearly has ties to other related products in the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series, which can expand the diversity of faces at the site if things start to get boring or repetitive (and you would have a difficult time accomplishing that, IMHO). It's hard to add anything to what other reviewers have said about this great product, but it's worth checking out and putting to use at the game table!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coliseum Morpheuon (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
RWT thanks for taking the time to do a review of the prodcut would you be interested in doing a review of the follow up book Faces of the Tarnished Souk an Npc Collection, or the Novel set there. Lost in Dream?
101 Forest Spells (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/15/2015 23:04:08
What you want in a spell book, is a lot of spells. This definitely provides and they range across the levels and classes. Even paladins, bards, witches and summoners get new spells.

Now are they any good, are they interesting, are they unusual and worth the purchase. Yes, yes and indeed yes. These spells are not all violent or offensive, some are about sensing or passive powers, the alchemist transformation spells into forest troll and mandragora really fit (and makes you think they should be in the base game). There are spells for many classes here, and a lot of thought has gone into them. I like the bard spells like Korred’s beard (entangling), the fey obsession spell forcing a target to count grains of salt is deliciously cruel, and labyrinthine forest proves that the focus isn’t solely on damage, but bafflement and confusion.

The cleric and oracle spells gain such intriguing possibilities as creating undead out of branches (very Blair witch, but they can fight for you), which I will be using next game for a evil forest cleric. As I said before, some really feel like they should have always been in Pathfinder, like Deadwood drop for dropping trees on people and mass barkskin.

I like the Magus spells (satyr form here I come), but what is central to take away from this excellent book is that any spellcaster from a forest origin or fighting the players within a forest is going to be much stronger and memorable in the unusual, atypical spells they can unleash.

Otherwise, the art is very good and fitting. The design is very light and green and quite calming actually.

Get it, and make forest encounters more interesting. The players won’t know what hit them (then probably offer them the new spells over time).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Forest Spells (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Poetica Mundi (Diceless)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/15/2015 21:55:22
Gossamer Worlds: Poetica Mundi presents a most unusual realm. Within “Poetry is both the spiritual substance of the world and the motive force behind all forms of creation, destruction, and change”, that is right, poetry is the force of life, movement and alteration, and all powers of destruction are under the control of poetry. This creates a setting whereby, as is stipulated “All communication, whether it be spoken, written, or conveyed telepathically, shall be in poetry.” From such expressions of poetry comes power and this means potentially anything can be changed and influenced via poetry.

Now this got my attention, as I was looking over Macbeth for an upcoming lesson when I decided to procrastinate. This pdf is what I opened appropriately enough, and I think it presents a wonderful roleplaying challenge. The setting, the world, is medieval, but it is also extremely high in magic, as the sole mode of effective communication: poetry, opens up immense possibilities. There are still stats and abilities and the system still stands, but think of the challenge of Poetica Mundi as an overlay to the system. This is an immensely original idea, and there is advice offered for helping a game master realise the full potential of the setting. Of course it would fit if one wanted to bring any of the stories from poems and plays to life in a game.

Suitably, almost everything written in this text is a poem, except stats (always resistant to the charm and beating life of poetry) and the help section. I wish this were a bit longer, as it is colourful in language and images but somewhat short. This is not quite enough to lose a full point for me. Fortunately, the price is excellent and you are buying something original in the world of rpgs.

The final thoughts deserve to be included so as to consider if this product is right for you:

Poetry made real,
recited with such zeal,
great beauty and appeal,
coax even jaded hearts to feel.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Poetica Mundi (Diceless)
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101 Feats and Talents (13th Age)
by Joshua V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/05/2015 12:17:17
Oodles and oodles of cool feats and talents. Some err on the weaker side, but nothing too overpowered and some have given me a lot of cool storyline ideas for my campaign. Thanks!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Feats and Talents (13th Age)
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Gossamer Worlds: Hollow Thune (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2015 02:10:03
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!



What happens if Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s thesis in Vril, The Power of the Master Race, of a subterranean master-race and their quasi-mystical super-technology was set against a backdrop of genocidal struggle between two competing races and then combined with a classic “you dug too deep” twist, unleashing dread Erebi on the genocidal victors of the struggle? We get one messed up setting. Add to that a sprinkling of hollow earth and H.G Wellsian Time Machine and we have even more of a mess – in the ruined, desolate planet (swallowed by a titanic shadow-like…thing, slowly breaking the world asunder) and its tunnels, survivors, ranging from degenerate morlock to the last surviving racist Übermenschen (the pdf gets the plural wrong - you add –en in the end), fight their desolate and doomed battles against reality-annuling aliens led by a Slenderman-esque figure, while an undead umbragunt may be the last champion of a planet doomed to die.



Hollow Thune is not a nice place, and if the above wasn’t enough, the writing and narrative voice further drives that home – essentially, the pdf not only borrows Bulwer-Lytton’s terminology from another age, but in the emphasis on Germanic Nomenclature and the quoting of concepts like the Black Sun, draws less than subtle parallels with the popularized notion of the Thule society’s mysticism, thus adding a nasty sense of gravitas to the whole setting.



That being said, as a German, I sometimes tire of the whole imagery, mainly since we’re bombarded with the atrocities of the Third Reich in both school curriculum and media and I have a hard time separating games and fun and the popularized stereotype of the Nazivillains from the gruesome realities of history. This pdf made this particular component relatively easy on me – with the clear condemnation of the socal-darwinism exhibited by the destroyed races of Thune, with the clear pointer not at the Third Reich, but at the intellectual streams that existed in literature, culture and intelligentsia of all fields, the pdf manages to evoke the themes, but do so in a thoroughly unique manner that is at once creative and still, very clear in the themes it quotes.



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 glorious full-color pieces that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.



Matt Banach’s Hollow Thune could have devolved into an utter mess in the hands of a lesser writer – I have literally seen all components that make up the defining elements of this book in multiple cases, have read Bulwer-Lytton and thanks to my keen interest in history, I am pretty well-versed in the atrocities committed by different nations. Hollow Thune still manages to keep these together, to toe the line between the horrific and fantastic, never falling into the realm of tastelessness. And for that, I applaud it. The whole setting even would make for a great Dark Soul-ish background of a desolate world you slowly explore, a world of lethal adversaries…and once again, I find myself wishing, that this Gossamer World had more room to shine. Oh well, as provided, we get a great installment in the series and yet again, a verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Hollow Thune (Diceless)
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Rite Map Pack: River Isle
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/29/2015 03:52:39
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This map-pack clocks in at 35 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving no less than 33 pages of content - so what's on the map?



Well, first of all, a couple of semi-transparent trees that allow for the easy placement of miniatures and determining line-f-sight. Secondly, we get Tommi Salama depicting drop-dead-gorgeous water that looks like you just want to take a dip. The map depicts a road leading past an isle in a body of water, with some irregular stones making for an eroded, makeshift bridge towards a small isle, on which five trees grow in a conspicuously pentagram-shaped pattern. While I enjoy small rocks near the solid land jutting forth from the waves, it is this subtle detail that provides a further level of a subtle, evocative visual element I truly enjoy.



Beyond the overview-style map featured on page 3, a total of 16 pages provide a blown-up version of the map for convenient use with miniatures for your perusal - and if you're price-conscious, the b/w-version provided thereafter should also suffice. Bookmarks render navigation to each easy. All versions of the map come with a grid.



Conclusion:

I've never made a fuss about my conviction that Tommi Salama is perhaps the heir of Jonathan Roberts - his maps are gorgeous - whether in this stunning full-color or in b/w (as can be seen in many a village backdrop by Raging Swan Press), his maps are a joy to look at. Now that alone may be nice - where things get great is when a map makes me ask questions and provides subtle hooks and unobtrusive nudges for storytelling like this one does. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval -a gorgeous, actually inspiring map for a fair price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: River Isle
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Kaiju Codex (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/18/2015 07:20:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The Kaiju Codex clocks in at 53 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD,2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 48 pages of content - quite a massive book, so let's take a look!



If you're following my reviews, you'll note that this is "early" - it jumped ahead in the queue. This is due to one of my patrons requesting it to be tackled sooner via my patreon. The verdict of the product was not influenced in any way, only the place in my review-queue.



All right, let's dive...wait. If my nickname "Endzeitgeist" wasn't ample clue for you, I do have a certain weak spot for anything cataclysmic, in particular, for vast, deadly creatures. You know it - the feeling of giddy anticipation when you as a DM take a look at a given Elder Evil of Dragon or Spawn of Rovagug, take a look at the DAMAGE-OUTPUT and cackle with glee. I call it the Tarrasque-syndrome - vast, unstoppable killing machines are just awesome and, at least for my part, they inspire me. I slave away for months, with subtle foreshadowing, hints, etc. before I finally unleash them upon my unsuspecting PCs. Well, guess what? This book is full of just such creatures.



All creatures herein share the Kaiju subtype - and it's formidable: Attacks count as epic and magic. Darvision 600 ft. (no hiding...ever!), DR 20/epic, fats healing 30, ferocity, immunity to all ability drain and damage, death effects, disease, energy drain and fear and resistance 30 to acid, fire, cold, electricity, sonic and negative energy. Oh, and they can hurl foes as byproducts of attacks and they can only be flanked by huge creatures. Moving through squares inhabited by puny mortals and vice versa, running througha Kaiju's square - all covered. Better yet, climbing the creatures is also mentioned. And even if you bring down such a beast temporarily via paralysis, mind-control, etc., the may simply reroll every round. Oh, and once per year, if an attack would kill a kaiju, it instead heals it for twice the amount - this, however, leaves the kaiju nauseated and makes it return to its lair - unless one is foolish enough to attack it - then, its rage resumes. I love this subtype and will definitely use it for different creatures in the future!



The Kaiju in this book range from a whopping CR 30 (!!!) to CR 8, and each and every one of them sports a surprisingly well-written piece of fluff to accompany the statblock of these massive threats -Elaine Betts certainly delivers in these - take a look at for example, the first creature, the Worldshaker - vast beyond belief, it rose from a wound in the very planet, bringing to mind both in its prose and image the legendary Weapons from Final Fantasy VII -here, we literally fight a walking mountain - or better, scram the hell away out of its path!



Speaking of glorious artworks - if you prefer what amounts to Scylla or Charybdis crossed with lovecraftian tentacle-horror, than the Beast of the Deepest Depths, at 1 CR less than the CR 30 worldshaker, will probably fit your bill - with nasty amounts of lethal tentacles and the option to create Tsunamis, the introduction of this primal brute ought to bring back the fear of the bottomless depths of the oceans. Oh, and yes, Charybdis, the fleet-eater actually can be found within these pages as well! Speaking of great prose - That Which The Stars Rejected, a massive, plasma-ray (electricity/fire) blasting ooze-thing can spawn plasma oozes to do its bidding comes with a very disquieting little tale - and a nasty inferno of rays, even before its foresight and magnetic aura come into play. Would you prefer a living storm to scour your campaign - well the incorporeal untouched, with earth-shattering lightning and electrical fire may just fit the bill!



What happens if a clumsy fool age is short-sighted enough to make a wish at a crossroads? Well, in the case of one particular individual, said man became the greatest warrior of his age - but even with nigh-demigod-level powers, he could, in the end, not best the crossroads devil that made the pact with him - for Xel'unchesk is not just any crossroads devil - he is a kaiju and kingdoms shatter, legends die at his feet. Adam, the Defender has a more human story, though one wrought in the ink of tragedy - a man who dared love his enemy, he remains a valiant and benevolent guardian, a mute sentinel that has paid the ultimate price for peace and love.



Deep within the most primeval of forests, there is a mythical valley of peace, an elysium on earth where predators and prey coexist in a state of bliss and peace and all is well - until you realize that the calming fragracne that suffuses the valley is the sedating lure of a vast, all-consuming plant-creature...Kudzu awaits here. Speaking of odd lulls - in one land, the crops fails, the houses lie in abject squallor and the people still seem content - as if tranquilized, while everything rots around them. This may be the doing of the Voice of Beyond - a deadly creature indeed and quite frankly closer to what the lovecraftian color ought to be able to do than its regular, imho rather lame PFRPG-incarnation. The next Kaiju answers the question "What are liches afraid of?" - the answer here would be an undead, abyssal, soul-devouring engine of destruction that will track you to the ends of the worlds and lanes, if it has to. Yssian is coming, and there's no place to run. On the nitpicky side, I do think the creature ought to have some ranks in survival to track its prey, but oh well.



Formians are a pretty iconic race- but most of the time, I did not consider their overall execution too exciting. now, what if they had created an artificial kaiju that can be powered by a formian, thus joining the hive mind? Suddenly more exciting, right? And yes, Forius is just that. Now not all kaiju are nasty - in fact, the psionically-active Neuros, The Brain Between Worlds, actually just wants to play - no, really, the thing may be alien and potentially, exceedingly deadly...but if you're nice to it, it won't hurt you...probably. The same can't be said about primal Cclth - a creature born from the mutation of a charda, a creature that never stopped growing... The approximately-minotaur-shaped anti-Kaiju humanoid weapon Tauruso is just that - slayer and foe to these impressive beings, though one that ought to specify that the con-damage it deals bypasses the immunity to such damage that Kaiju usually enjoy -after all, he does have such an exception-rule for his Dazzling Display-feat.



Are you as unsatisfied with regular yeti as I am? You know, these guys ought t be legends...feared...deadly. Well, White Death is just that - with ice-entombing and deadly ice-powers, he is the REALLY big yeti. Inu would be a black wolf the size of a mountain - and intelligent as well as surprisingly cooperative for such a vast creature. Iruk would be more of an apex-predatr, one that provides for a good rationale to keep the Christmas tree of magic items etc. at home - he can see them. If a giant-sized flee can exsanguinate a cow, then you can easily imagine the size of a blood-sucking beast that can drain giants - yes, Grezk is pretty disgusting... Ykcor the Windstorm, then, could have come from the vivid imagination of the heads of studio Ghibli - think of a massive flying squirrel. Yes, I SO want such a pet! The thought alone makes me gooey-eyed! The final creature among the Kaiju will bring a smile to all fans of classic Magic: The Gathering's Moggs - Hubrun is a huge goblin - deadly, powerful...and an utter coward that has no immuniyt to fear. So both as a boss and as a plot-device, awesome!



The supplemental material lists psionic powers and skills used, horrifically overpowered feats used in the builds...and provides the Iron knight. What's that, you ask? It's a gargantuan land vehicle/mech that requires a crew of 4 to move - a commander, a gunner, a driver and an engineer. Interaction with ramming damage etc. and getting up are covered. But combat works somewhat different: The driver rolls initiative and sets it at -5, 0, +5 and +10; the party may freely decide in which order to act in the round, each getting a full-turn. Beasts get full turns at +0 and +10. Now here's the cincher - capabilities of the PCs, depending on which console they're sitting at, influence the performance of the Iron knight and provide feats/class feature benefits - however, at the same time, there are actions exclsuive to a console. While the initiative-explanation could have been a tad bit more clear, in direct playtest, this worked perfectly. Yes, this is essentially every Gundam or Power Rangers-fantasy you ever wanted to play out and adds a whole new dimension to this book. Yes, one can make a case that the crew-ability transference could be more complex, but this is bonus-content, so I'll give it a slip. Now can we please have a full-blown mech-book? With more variants of this guy? Please?



The pdf also provides an artifact to control Kaiju and provides advice for how to make Kaiju fit more seamlessly into a medieval fantasy setting - the advice provided is sound.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I noticed some minor typo-level glitches here and there and in the case of two Kaiju, fluff and crunch did not perfectly line up. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports numerous gorgeous full-color artworks of the Kaiju, most of which are downright stunning and awesome.



Okay, imagine me taking the font-size, for one word, and increasing it by 600%: SQUEEEE!

I fully admit to being a sucker for big monsters, the nastier, the better. My dragons are big, my monsters are big - I adored the opponents the Power-rangers faced when I was a child and I unapologetically start grinning from ear to ear whenever the words "Gundam," "Neon Genesis Evangelion" or "Code Geass" are mentioned. I adore mythology, lovecraftiana and the classic movies. Speaking of which - I expected lame copies of Godzilla, Mothra et al - and, let's face it, one can find such online. instead, we receive unique, inspired creatures herein, ones that tap into classic mythology and are more inspired than the simple rethreading of material could have hoped to be.



What I'm trying to say is - this pdf is almost impossible for me to review sans passion - because each and every single component is geared to making me squee like a little girl - from Justin Sluder's complex statblocks to Elaine Bett's imaginative prose, this book just made me HAPPY. No, really. I read this, stared at the massive beasts and was HAPPY. I couldn't turn off my emotional response to these creatures, I couldn't turn it off - for whenever I managed to do it, some component turned it on again. After the final statblock, the Iron Knight brought it back and when the slightly opaque way in which its initiative count works stumped me for a second, the additional content brought me back. From the first page to the final playtest combat, this book has been a source of joy for me - it revels in its genre, it is unapologetically inspired in various ways and still manages to frame the concepts quoted in a way that makes them seamlessly fit into a given setting. The only questions that remain for me are: When do we get the sequel? When do we get a massive mech-book? When do we get the sequel to the sequel? When do we get an Obsidian Apocalypse-style "Rise of the Kaiju"-event-book or AP?... and so on.



Yes, I could probably nitpick the Iron knight more (its secondary attacks and the like are a bit opaque and suffer from there not being a whole chapter that covers all the bases and explains how mechs work before the stats), but as written it is functional - not perfectly so, but for what it is, it works - and that's what counts. I love this book. I love it so much. Beyond being a great read, this book is inspired and utterly fun - oh, and adding the kaiju-subtype to big dragons makes btw. for an instant, easy way to make them much, much nastier... This book is a great example of some of Rite Publishing's strengths as a company - this is a good read, provides massive statblocks and revels in HIGH concept themes. As such, it should come as no surprise that my final verdict clocks in at 5 stars + seal of approval - and since it's my list, I'll also nominate this as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kaiju Codex (PFRPG)
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The Secrets of the Iron Titan (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/15/2015 10:12:51
An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of Rite Publishing's "Secrets of..:"-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As with almost all Rite Publishing books, we are introduced to the matter at hand in immersive in-character prose, here provided by Captain Timothy Woodman - who recounts a tale of high-adventure, of infiltrating the courts of the fey and facing off against a dread golem of legendary proportion. Losing all limbs to the creature, the captain volunteered for the transformation into an Iron Titan. The complex procedure and its repercussions for the body and psyche of the transformed are provided for in interesting prose that should provide a sufficient insight and inspiration to properly portray one who has left humanity behind in favor of a new, mechanical body. Relationships with religion, races etc. - there is a bunch of ideas herein.

The base-class itself may choose any 10 class skills, but receives a -4 penalty to Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand, Stealth and Swim-checks. They receive d10 as HD, 2+Int skills per level, a full BAB-progression and have only bad saves. The iron titan begins play with a +2 natural armor bonus that increases by +2 at second level and again by +2 at 5th level and then alternates between increasing the bonus every 3 and 2 levels, for a total of +18 at 20th level. The iron titan also has a maximum number of attacks at his disposal - he begins play with a cap of 2 and increases the cap by +2 at 6th level and then by +1 every 5 levels thereafter for a hard cap of a maximum of 6 attacks. The Iron Titan also sports a construction pool that begins with 3 points and scales up to 26 over the levels, but more on this resource later. Iron Titans only receive proficiency with their natural weapons and do not gain any armor proficiency. Furthermore, they may not benefit from any armor bonus. On the nitpicky side, one could make a case for natural armor bonus being a kind of armor bonus, though that is obviously not intended to be excluded as well - still, the wording here could be more precise.

Type-wise, the iron titan is NOT a construct, but rather a humanoid of the ironborn-subtype (see In the Company of Monsters for more information on them, though the rules for the subtype are provided), which means they can be healed, repaired via Craft Construct, etc. I mentioned the construction pool, which represents the customizations available for the body of the iron titan. Said modifications can be changed upon gaining a level. Attacks granted by customization need to be subject to the maximum number of attacks available and may not exceed those. Attacks can either be primary or secondary natural attacks, with secondary attacks being executed at 1/2 Str-mod and -5, whereas iron titans with only one natural attack instead add 1.5 their Str-mod - concise and conforming to the rules. Iron Titans begin the game with the constructions of arms, legs and a slam attack. At every odd level thereafter, new constructions are unlocked.

The construction customizations available range from costing 1 point to a whopping 12-points and some of them sport minimum levels required to take. The latter of these, the one 12-point construction build, can only be taken at 17th level and above, providing an adamantine body - and yes, this means DR-ignoring, DR and potentially, via synergy, even hardness. Thus, it should be obvious that the general composition of a titan can be upgraded - and yes, there are some interesting choices to be found - beyond the obviously powerful adamantine upgrade, cold iron or lead (which e.g. helps against divination spells) can be had a bargain rate of 1 construction point and still provide significant bonuses; however, one should be aware that obviously, only one such basic composition can be chosen at a given time, though one can, as per the usual rules, change composition at level ups.

Obviously claw and bite attacks as well as darkvision, climb speeds and similar modifications can be found within the pages of this pdf. You may also further increase the natural armor bonus granted by the class or combat the horrendous saves by getting yourself resistances (and at 7th level, immunities) versus energy types and the iron titan can also receive a reflexive damage to weapons that strike him. Poison reservoirs are also pretty nice and the previous wording ambiguities with starting customizations have been eliminated
The interaction/choice of which natural weapon to get is pretty interesting - rending requires claws, for example, whereas slam attacks offer other, additional abilities, and bites allow for trips, for example. Now if you're not aware of this - yes, the abilities granted by the customizations may be depending on the natural weapons available, but they also offer a plethora of varied monster abilities that do not usually end up in player hands - and for a reason: if they do, said abilities tend to end up in some nasty, nasty builds.
So yeah, the customizations can indeed be used to make some fearsomely effective melee brutes, but at the same time, the iron titan is rather fragile and does not have significant enhancement capacity for the natural weapons it has, so in the long run, this did seem to offset the power-gain provided by Trip (Ex) + Rend and similar combinations. Be aware, though, that multiclass iron titans, when putting their minds to it, can render these combinations very powerful, so be careful when allowing multiclassing or certain combos.
So far, so akin to eidolon-customizations or the aegis, underterror or masquerade reveler, just less flexible, right? Well, kind of, yes, but where the pdf shines is with the unique construction builds - becoming large or even huge are pretty distinct options that radically change how a character plays - note, though, that you should be bring options for size reduction along...or take the squeezing customization, otherwise you may be left standing in front of the complex you're eager to explore. Scaling breath weapons (with daily uses depending on the construction points spent) and the option to throw imprisoning iron at foes are unique - but what about e.g. stuffing foes into a furnace interior, complete with upgrades for the burn quality and even a blurring shimmer effect? Yeah, wicker man's got nothing on an iron titan with this one. So that is pure awesome.

The thing that made the inner 7-year-old in me squee with glee, though, would be the transformer ability - from digger forms to alternate forms - vermin, vehicle or animal. These allow for further wildering in the evolutions of eidolons as customizations of the same cost, with base forms gained by the alternate form aligning themselves with those of eidolons et al. I'm am very weary of this, since the crossover can be used to potentially provide rather nasty combos and renders the class's balance framework vulnerable to outside intrusion, when the ability's second form and thus, increased flexibility, alone makes for enough benefit for the customization. This customization also obviously changes the free base construction points, meaning you get to re-assign your customization points. The previously problematic wording has been cleaned up.
On the rather interesting side, getting scaling shoulder cannons is just awesome, as are rocket launchers and fist attacks that can be enhanced with significant electricity or sonic damage, with corresponding debuff effects - these unique options are what sets this class imho apart and render it very much fun. Self-destruction is also another star in my book.

Now all of these do obviously not change the vulnerability to magic resulting from the horrendous saves - well, here is the change I hoped for - instea dof providing instant immunity to magic like before, the customization has been rewired to provide scaling SR that upgrades to immunity at a level high enough to make me consider it okay - kudos!

Now on the rather interesting side, iron titans can increase the construction points available by taking construction flaws. Beyond aforementioned customization options, iron titans can have their focus plate, a piece of metal, enchanted as if it were an armor and go into overdrive for a short burst, gaining temporary customizations for a limited duration and multiattack, no longer requiring eating, breathing, sleeping, etc. and similar, slowly gained immunities drive home the concept of the construct-apotheosis. The capstone sees admantine and fast healing compositions added for free and renders the iron titan nigh impossible to kill.

There also are a bunch of feats, from extra customization points to ones that build on specific abilities - there for example is a feat that lest you projectile vomit swallowed foes with deadly velocity - however, once again, the feat does not specifically specify it only works on swallowed creatures - while the text makes it clear that this is the intent of the feat, one can misread it as working for all foes. Feats like awesome blow which usually are not available for PCs due to their prereqs can also be found herein and a sidebar covers the idea of taking a fallen character and rebuilding the hero as an iron titan.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting have been improved in this revised version. While there still are quite a few typos and the like here, the really bad ones have been purged. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I absolutely adore parts of this pdf - the fluff and the unique abilities, the transformer capacity etc. - these are so high-concept, so cool, I *LOVE* them. They may the boy in me squee with joy and represent the strongest points of this pdf - cannons, fists of lightning...heck yeah. I wished this pdf had more of these unique customizations, for they are what makes the class stand apart from similar eidolon-ish classes. Well, that and becoming a huge engine of destruction. I love that this class unabashedly is the transformers-class and Steven D. Russell delivers his usual, high-concept style!

Rite Publishing revises products if there's work to be done - and it is this service that makes customers come back to them. So yes, this one has been revised and improved. The iron titan still does leave me with some trepidation. I do not expect this to work with obscure multiclass combos; however, the evolution-scavenging is akin to opening Pandora's box in the long run and should hence be carefully monitored by the DM. That, however, once again is something that can be excused and chalked up to the sensibilities of the individual DM.

The balancing of the class is interesting - at low levels, we have bad saves, potentially vulnerabilities even, versus a death machine in melee; The revised edition has put player-agenda regarding magic immunity/SR higher on the list, which imho makes the overall design more organic.

The revised Iron Titan is a huge step forward for the book - the class is more interesting, better streamlined and now is much, much easier to grasp. The rules-relevant issues have been purged and I gladly deleted lines upon lines of me ranting while writing this review. So is the new version perfect? No, but it is now a fully functional, fun base class that has been purged of the hiccups that plagued its previous incarnation. This increases the rating by +1 star, to 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform because only typos remain as issues and they are not enough to drag down this high-concept pdf.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Iron Titan (PFRPG)
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