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Gossamer Worlds: INK (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/21/2016 04:00:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This trip to one of the countless Gossamer Worlds clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a step through this door!

Okay, have you read Flatland? If not, I'd strongly suggest you do so - for its implications are very much relevant for this Gossamer World: You see, INK is unlike most such worlds in that it exists as a 2D-world, where visitors are subject to the so-called rendering, as they are translated into 2-dimensional versions of themselves - for this world is one of sentient comics, classic ink drawings and the like - INK is layered on sheets and traveling from one sheet to another changes you - and yes, there is danger in this brute-force conversion of styles...in this translation, in which beauty and reality may be lost or gained.

In a world defined by the artistic, one should not be surprised to see a class-system, as portraits lord over sketches and the underclass of downtrodden scribbles, while specialized drafter annunaki (stats provided) and the erasing eraser erebi can be considered to be the truly powerful forces of nature of INK, dangerous in either the scroll kingdoms, panelopolis, the funnypaper farms or the scrawl - oh, and have I mentioned Major Maim? This guy makes Judge Doom look like a downright cute, reasonable guy - think of superman as evil and as an existential nihilist hell-bent of destroying (and/or escaping) the limitations of his world...

Considering the strange nature of INK as opposed to many more conventional gossamer worlds, it does come with rather detailed pieces of advice to properly implement it in your game, which is greatly appreciated.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard for the series and a diverse array of high-quality full-color artworks illustrates the world in the different styles you can expect - nice touch. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Matt Banach's INK is brilliant - much like Planet Fiction, it allows for a huge array of real life creatures to be inserted in the game - from your favorite superheroes to manga/anime-characters and classic paintings, this one sports so many narrative options, it's not even funny anymore. Ever wanted to know what would happen if Garfield and Odie could duke it out in a Gundam? Well...there you go. Unlike Planet Fiction, though, this may have less space to develop the world - but it has the upper hand in one crucial regard: A unique selling point. Depicting the 2-dimensional, comic book reality herein can lead to truly memorable, unique adventures and constitutes one of the crucial strengths of this extremely evocative world. Granted, you can mostly ignore this component, if the repercussions give you a headache, but personally, I love this pdf for it and consider it one of the best in the whole series, on par with the genius Poetica Mundi-installment. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: INK (Diceless)
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In The Company of Rakshasa (PFRPG)
by Peter C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2016 03:41:44

I have been fascinated by Rakshasa ever since I read the entry in the First Edition AD & D Monster Manual. In the Company of Rakshasa describes the Rakshasa race. There are Rakshasa class archetypes, too. The capper is a description of the Rakshasa Paragon class, a race-based class. The descriptions of the Rakshasa's background, abilities and the Paragon class are all cool, which is what I ask from a Pathfinder supplement.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Rakshasa (PFRPG)
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101 Urban Spells (PFRPG)
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2016 13:58:17

Helped me add variety to my game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Urban Spells (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Ring of Fire (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2016 03:41:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a step through the door and visit this world!

This time around, we're getting gritty and apocalyptic, big time: Legends tell of this world being an Ourouboros, a Dyson ring (artificially created ring world, in short) that was crafted to act like a kind of petri-dish for civilizations. Unfortunately for this world a Crimson King-like traveler from the Grand Stair, the nefarious Man with Red Hands, a disembodied spirit capable of possession lesser life-forms, has taken over the world and is, laconically speaking, making the multi-verse's biggest barbecue ever - roasting this world alive, slowly but steadily alive.

Similarly, preachermen spread his gospel of doom and defeat, while gunslingers are the last bastion of hope and force for good in a world, spiraling towards annihilation...and you thought the above Crimson king-analogue was resting on flimsy feet... ;) Kidding aside, this world can be summed as "Dark Tower in a Dyson Ring, with less esoterica" - meaning, instead of the abstract beams of the tower, we have a system grounded, for the most part, in science - and from the brutal noonlands to the genius-AI-shielded doom of this world, there is a lot for lords and ladies to accomplish on this world - if no one stops the malevolent entity...there soon will be no world left to visit...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports numerous nice pieces of full-color artwork as well.

Matt Banach's Ring of Fire's appeal very much rests on one question: Do you like the "Dark Tower"-saga. If you do, then you'll love this take on the tale. If you don't...well, then you probably won't consider this Gossamer World interesting. Personally, I ADORE the Dark Tower, particularly for its brilliant end (everyone who's read it knows what I'm talking about) and I sure would love to dance the Commala on the ring of fire...but then again, the leaning towards the original is a bit too close for me in this world: Beyond the Dyson ring and the slightly more scientific and less mystical tone, this could have used additional complications and twists on the theme to make it slightly more unique. That being said, if you ever wanted to play the Dark Tower...here's your chance. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars. (And don't forget to pop in Demons & Wizards: Touched by the Crimson King for the finale...)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Ring of Fire (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Planet Fiction (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2016 05:00:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This deluxe-length-installment of the excellent Gossamer Worlds series of Diceless-RPG-supplements clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Okay, want the short version? If you're even remotely bibliophile, then get this.

The long version of the review will be a tad bit more complex and enlightening: Picture, among the myriad of possible worlds out there on the Grand Stair a door that leads, more literally than others, straight into imagination - or rather, into the direct representation thereof. To be more precise: Think of the world of Kipling, Doyle and similar authors, of a world in the throes of a steamtech-infused industrial revolution, a world wherein our very fiction and tropes, those that arguably continue to influence our very world, have achieved reality - conversely, what we have here is a bibliophile's love letter, a semiotician's passion project: When the primary colonial power is called Great Albion and incorporates the fabled realm and London's ample depictions into a blending that exemplifies rather well the original goal of allotopian fiction as popularized by the recent resurgence of steampunk aesthetics.

Beyond that, peaceful, fairy-tale-esque kingdoms like Graustark (literally: Grey-strength), Ruritania or Gérolstein (one accent away from a real life German place famous for the sparkling water) complement an interesting tapestry - particularly considering the harsh climate of the latter in combination with sporting a fine military and the continent's first air force - if the like seems none too inspiring, fans of Japano-RPGs may want to take a look at the plot of Tales of Graces F -and don't be driven off by the cutesy graphics, the plot is rather mature. But back to the topic at hand: From Mykenos to Siebenbürgen and Transsylvania (yes, there's a distinction made here - and you'll know why once you read this book...), there are a lot of nations depicted herein, often based on the merit of their literary providence and prominence - and yes, there is, obviously, a titanic mælstrom.

Taking the real life genre-implications into account, one should also not be surprised to see the topics expanded even further - after all, the genres would not be half as varied without the examples of exotism and, admittedly, Orientalism, that also find their representations herein in the coverage of the Silken Road, from the Middle East to the far away shores of Koryo-no-Shima. However, all of this beauty and wonder does come at a price of significant inconvenience for the discerning gossamer lord or lady: there is no easy exit door to leave Planet Fiction - and there is a reason for this, though, in the exceedingly well-written prose, it required the logic of none other than Sherlock Holmes to deduce the true nature of Planet Fiction. And NO, I'm not going to spoil that revelation, whether it is true in your game or not, here in this review.

Instead, I should like to draw your attention to the rather diverse NPCs provided herein, which come with a low point version, a middle range version and one truly high-powered one: From Sherlock Holmes to Captain Nemo to Cassandra, Sheherazade to Umslopogaas to Hua Mulan and even eminent Judge Dee and Mowgli can be encountered in this wondrous world, wherein, quite literally, all those Jules Vernes-novels, all those slices of childhood and classic literature, come to life.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports ample unique, beautiful pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

H.M. "Dain" Lybarger has woven a very clever world here - granted, the basic set-up already is pretty much every child's dream - I know I imagined, while lying bed-ridden at home, what would happen if Sherlock Holmes met Judge Dee, whether Mulan and Nemo wouldn't make for an interesting couple - and I discussed this to no end with my friends, often providing cliffnotes for those that had no ambition of matching my reading speed due to actually being able to play outside. Try as I might, I can't really approach this book neutrally - it tugs at too many of my heart's strings and does so with a clever, if not exceedingly clever, manner - it wouldn't have required Sherlock Holmes, at least in my opinion, to deduce the obvious de-facto ruler and go one step beyond...but that may just be me being a pretentious wise-ass.

What I'm trying to say is that this book, this world, has pretty much all the potential you can ask for in a given world - it allows you to freely scavenge among your literary preferences and change, adapt and insert - and it still manages to retain a somewhat unique identity, something woefully absent from many books in both the Steampunk and (Neo)-Victorianism genres - this world, in spite of its fictitious nature even within the level of the game, retains a reality that surpasses many fictional settings that do not exhibit the meta-level of fabulation-awareness depicted herein. We have themes resonating on very primal level and a gorgeous canvas on which one can apply the very colors of one's imagination. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - the only people out there to whom I would not recommend this, are those that don't like reading...and I'm honestly not sure whether such persons exist in this hobby.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Planet Fiction (Diceless)
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101 Urban Spells (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/26/2016 03:24:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The latest, massive book of Dave Paul's terrain-centric spell-collections clocks in at a whopping 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 47 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved forward in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patrons.

Okay, so at this point, I have to quite frankly admit to being giddy like a school-girl whenever one of these terrain-centric spell-books by Rite Publishing hits my review-pile. At a point where I honestly considered the topic of spells to be done and covered, these spells have, time and again, blow me away by their precision and unique concepts - and similarly, this one begins with a rather exciting mechanical innovation: We take a look at settlement-sizes and their size-modifiers, which range from -4 to +4 - it is said size modifiers and settlement sizes that directly influence how the spells contained herein work. Additionally, some of the spells contained herein are designed to appeal explicitly to uncommon caster classes and combinations - like arcane tricksters et al.

The pdf codifies spells by class and level before diving into the main meat of the product - the spells. And from the get-go, I'm smiling: Acrophobia instills fear of heights; Alight the Holy Terrace duplicates Word of Recall, but saves only you and dumps you at the stairs of a church, later even inside - we've all read comics where the hero, battered and bruised, escapes and crashes in front of a church, to be found in the middle of the night. So yeah, sold! The third spell herein increases your chances of finding extraordinary treasure - and this is more exciting in practice than in theory...how did the item get here? Why is it for sale in the first place? This is a means for the GM to give the players what they want sans breaking the rules AND facilitates introducing new plot-lines. Gold.

The second level spell Ameliorate Disease is a bit of an odd duck - on one hand, it is a clear power-creep that allows for easier, sooner disease-control. At the same time, it applies the settlement modifier and does not prevent re-infection and costs gold. This may actually, for more grim settings, be a better default spell than the regular magical means of dealing with disease. (and yes, tehre is a poison-variant of this one in here as well...)

Blasphemous Aura is a game-changer of a spell - at 3rd level, this one allows for the hampering of divine magic and channel energy, both of which now have a chance of failure while inside the emanation. The spell sports a warning sidebox - though personally, I don't consider it problematic: You see, for one, fiction sports ample instances where proximity to a particularly viable creature, be it a servant of the elder gods or a powerful undead, hampers spellcasting for divine characters. Secondly, the conservative AoE ultimately results in the spell being of an appropriate power-level for 3rd level spells. Thirdly, as any GM who has faced a channel-centric character (like a divine channeler) in the hands of a power-gamer can attest, the lack of a decent countering mechanic for the Su is a rather obvious hole in the rules-context. So yeah, as far as I'm concerned, I'll be adding this spell to the arsenal of quite a few of my adversaries. If you're still somewhat hesitant - my Scion of Discordia-class in Interjection Games' Strange Magic was playtested for months and features similar lock-down abilities, so no - this does not break your game, though admittedly, it may make bastions of churches and casters less secure...but at least in my book, from a narrative point of view, that's a good thing.

Speaking of specific spells that really make a GM's job easier - Can't Leave Town is the spell-representation of the delightful horror-trope, where you try to leave a settlement, only to re-enter it. Similarly, versatile Columns of Smoke can make it rather easy to escape...and notify allies/send signals. Of course, there would also be spells herein to conjure forth constructs of filth and loathsome debris to squash your adversaries (and even merge them in the case of more powerful variants). There would also be a spell that allows you to place a ring on the finger of a target to compel the target to only deal nonlethal damage - this makes so much sense for the punishment options of a society wherein magic exists. Similarly, nonlethal force-based means of dispersing crowds make sense as magical riot-control.

Calling forth dogs or summoning cockroach swarms can be found here - as can be a cantrip to dry clothes. There also is a rather nasty one that allows you to fear on the fear of crowds, consuming it and converting it into personal power - a neat magical representation of instigators feeding on fear. There is also a particularly interesting spell called Fortune Teller's Curse - this one nets you insight into past, present and limited prescience and is VERY powerful - but it also represents a way of burdening a PC and adding unique means of enhancing investigations...at a price that will make the PC want to get rid of it. I'd consider this one problematic, were it not for the warning. Rather interesting from a story-telling perspective: Gleaning information from graffiti! Making mirrors Narcissus-traps or traveling by them. Illusion-based misdirecting vapors or becoming Nondescript is interesting - and what about a spell called Persistently Unconvinced that installs a conviction in the mind of the adversary that he's not really in danger - this does look wrong, right? A kind of illusion, surely? In the hands of a halfway decent illusionist, this makes for a lethal smoke and mirrors game!

Better roof running, scrying via mirrors in various iterations or conjuring clothes from the stuff of shadow. Gold for any storyteller and a seed for unique culture - there is a spell that allows you to transfer diseases and poison from the living to the undead. This little spell makes for a viable reason why undead are kept around; it allows for a "benevolent" undead overlord to heal his subjects for just a small price; it provides a justification for people to actually serve undead or tolerate necromancers. I love this. Teleporting through crowds and conjuring weasels forth to steal keys for you...oh, and there actually are multiple spells that deal with structures - from collapsing roofs to crews of vexgit wreckers. Oh, and I really like the curse that makes the target verbose when trying to deceive...

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with multiple awesome, gorgeous full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Dave Paul has singlehandedly reignited my excitement for new spells. After more than 2000 spells read, I was, quite frankly, bored by most such books. When Dave Paul came along and began crafting not only exceedingly precise and complex spells, but actually started innovating within the frame work of what spells usually do - and he expanded his game. So far, not a single one of these books is anything short of pure excellence - and this is no different. Using settlement size modifiers here and there is pretty interesting and, for the most part, the magic herein is MAGICAL. It feels like magic.

You won't find bland "deal x damage" spells herein. If you're looking for those, open just about any pdf out there and look for the spell-section.

What you'll find is themes, flair, complex options and spells that inspire whole modules, perhaps even campaigns - this book practically demands being inserted into any urban campaign - from Road to Revolution to Curse of the Crimson Throne to Council of Thieves and beyond, this pdf enhances the game, innovates mechanically and provides precise, complex spells that get their wording right. Where something can be problematic in contexts, the pdf warns you, even in cases like the anti-channeling where I'd issue no such warning myself. All in all, this continues Dave Paul's streak of absolutely stellar spell-books, cementing the series further as the unquestionable benchmark for what good spellbooks can and should do. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, given without any hesitation. Stellar!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Urban Spells (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Ossuary Empire (Diceless)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2016 21:20:18

I like this realm. It has real flavour, and it is a place where the hashashin (the assassins) didn't perish.

The dead certainly testify to its potential dangerousness, and it is set up as a sort of tomb world in character.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Ossuary Empire (Diceless)
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#30 Haunts for Battlefields (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2016 21:12:57

These are great. The effects are particularly strong in their description.

I’ve started a new game, and some of these haunts will be great for the low-level players to investigate. As I later plan plenty of death, tragedy and upheaval, the rest of the haunts (and the more lethal ones) will find a place in my game as a means to add more to standard areas. My favourites were the burning barracks haunt, as it perfectly fits with the game I am going to run, and the Circle of the Sacrificed, because that was really messed up. :D The grave gasp haunt would be good to set up something else while the players are captured by skeletal hands, and Corrupted Earth is a good haunt for a TPK. It is brutal, and could dish out over 90 damage in 3 rounds. The contagion haunt (due to grave robbing) is pretty much a read-made adventure on its own for why a village or town is plagued by filth fever. That was also great to read, and ready to use for a game.

The haunts of this compact product are excellent.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Haunts for Battlefields (PFRPG)
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The Secrets of the Divine: Death, Justice, Healing, & Madness (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/01/2016 03:43:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The latest installment of Rite Publishing's books detailing the unique pantheon of Questhaven along the unique servants of the respective deities clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Now if you're not familiar with the series, here's the basic summary: The deities in Questhaven are peculiar in that their true names are not spoken - instead, they have aliases like "Our Shifting Oracle of Genius" or "Their Mistress of Madness," with the precise epithet depending on your personal relationship with the deity. The deities sport favored weapons, domains and the like and concise write-ups and the pdf also offers unique options for the respective servants of the deity - often to the point, where the archetypes and feats provided radically change how a character serving the deity plays.

The first deity covered herein is, concept-wise, already very interesting: Our Mother of Many Ways is a chaotic neutral deity associated with jackals, badgers and the like - however, unlike most jackal-associated deities out there, she is not an evil creature - instead, the basic idea is to take the old adage of the thin line separating genius and insanity is represented and embodied by this deity. The vine of inspiration and its associated benefits, the manifestation of her favor and information on the holidays of the deity -all written in the compelling prose we've come to expect from the series. The deity also grants two subdomains for Knowledge, namely Prophecy and Inspiration, with domain powers allowing for insight bonuses to be granted to skill-checks or for or for relative flexible premonitions that allow you to act in surprise rounds or gain insight bonuses to AC/attacks, etc.

The deity also sports 3 new feats, one of which retaliates 1/day (not expended if the target saves) an attack on your person with a madness affliction (narrative gold!). Another allows for exactly one revelation with activation time of 1 full round or less to be used as a swift action - which can be pretty potent. Finally, feat number 3, is a high-concept one, allowing you to transform wine of significant quantities into ingested poison. While very circumstantial, I can see this being a cool plot-device indeed! (How did this one group take the fortress back from the ogres?) The write-up also contains, surprisingly, the Joyous Fellowship - a paladin archetype/orga that represents chaotic good followers that receive perceptive gaze (with a cut-copy-paste error referring to inquisitor levels), an aura of hope and, more interestingly, at 4th level an euphoria-powered barbarian rage in lieu of spells. The higher level auras are also rather distinct, allowing for the smite-powered extension of rage to allies, with chaos-based DR/lawful and apotheosis as well as banishment-powered smite. On a cool fluff-level, the archetype also features a fully depicted code of conduct - overall, a solid chaotic pala.

The second deity covered herein would be "Our Queen of Wisdom and Mercy", the shepherdess of contrition and mercy - enormously popular due to healing offered free of charge, but unsurprisingly none too popular among the clergy-in-spe due to the exceedingly high moral standards required by the church. The write-up of the feats this time around contains two feats, one of which is exceedingly interesting: Sister's Lace allows you, to, as a swift action, consume three uses of both healing and protection domain 1st level abilities to lace conjuration (healing) or harmless spells, either granting a significant long-term AC-buff that scales with your levels or charge a creature's weapon with healing, which is discharged upon being touched by the weapon - which offers some surprising, tactical tricks I haven't seen before.

The second feat, Healer's Grace, allows for the expenditure of domain powers to grant rerolls versus negative conditions based on the cleric's own Will-save - pretty powerful, but fitting one. We also get a new paladin, the Queen' Man - at 4th level, they can significantly enhance the casting of spells and provide a defensive shield that wards against conditions you can negate via mercies and high-level paladins can convert damage in a huge radius into non-lethal damage can be considered truly cool - that battle waging on the grounds of a misunderstanding? Well, these guys can make sure no-one dies! (On a nitpicky side, the archetype is once erroneously called "compassionate son" - but that's pretty much a cosmetic gripe.) The capstone similarly emphasizes taking conditions, damage, etc. of others, making the archetype's final levels predisposed to notions of heroic sacrifice, something I really like in the frame of paladins and, since this replaces spells, the power of the class feature seems justified. Furthermore, the archetype sports a number of unique and complex modifications of divine bond with a specific ward-creature that makes the Queen's Man a superb bodyguard for the target creature. We also receive a second archetype, the Harmonious Spirit warpriest, who receives a modified list of skills and proficiencies as well as several monk-related abilities. Automatic merciful spells, merciful extraplanar prisons to deal with vanquished foes and the like render this archetype rather cool for groups like mine, where murder-hobo-ing intelligent life is NOT considered behavior that's acceptable for good characters. The harmonious spirit also receives a code of conduct, while aforementioned paladin does not.

The third deity herein was one I've been pretty much excited about for a long time - the Reaper of Death and Rebirth, served by the Crematorium of the Grim Gatherer - and yes, this is an interesting component of the church: Beyond the usual death-related iconography and different takes on the religion, the addition of phoenix and rebirth as central concepts render this one a surprisingly fresh take on the death-god-trope. The archetype provided here would be the Ruiner fighter, who gets a specific ruin pool equal to 1/2 class level + Cha-mod, which can be used defensively, to make wounds that are hard to heal or cast curse spells - though I'm honestly hard-pressed to note a sufficient amount of spells with the cures-descriptor - a spell-list,. even a small one, would have been very much appreciated here. Additionally, higher level ruiners receive hexes, bonus damage versus cursed foes and the stalwart ability (not a fan - basically, evasion for Fort- and Will-saves) and high-level ruiners can prevent the very first attack in a full attack executed against them by cursed targets. Overall, a cool, if somewhat user-unfriendly archetype.

Now on the interesting side, there is also a universal archetype contained herein, the Phoenix Child...which is less of an archetype and more of a GM-based template that is applied to characters. Think of it as a kind of mythic path sans tiers that is instead tied with linear progression to the respective class levels. You see, these beings may be reborn in fire, but they also return from the grave with a list tattooed into their arms - this is the list of specific tasks the character has to rectify in order to be absolved of the sins committed in a previous life, with final death being the reward...though redemption thus gained is scarcely attained. Beyond various flame-themed abilities, this one is basically a power-increase, a narrative option...and made me immediately contemplate a campaign, where all PCs are Phoenix Children. Not suitable for every campaign and GMs should be aware of the additional power, but still, I consider this AWESOME.

The final deity herein would be Our Steely-Eyed Judge, the deity of justice and law - stern, fierce and vigilant, supported by a rather well-written Truth inquisition that includes a honesty-enforcing curse, with the two feats once again sporting a domain-powered lacing effect, which, this time around, offers for a kind of flanking curse and a limited retributive bestow curse (lacking italicization), which is nice. The write-up also sports the Thief-taker Slayer archetype, a specialist of urban tracking (with handy DCs/modifier-tables provided), including the rather cool generation of tracer-objects and high-level quarries and a talent that allows for the garroting of enemies and a non-lethal incapacitation talent that erroneously mentions the bounty hunter in another minor hiccup.

Beyond these option, we conclude this book with some truly intriguing pieces of fluff that elaborate the themes and concepts of Questhaven, including the crossroads of dream and some important pieces of advice some authors out there should take a look at - making fluff not read like a DVR instruction manual is something that would make my reviewer's obligations significantly more compelling...but I digress.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are the one component of this supplement that could have used some streamlining - there are quite a few punctuation glitches in here and references to the wrong class in some abilities, remnants of either cut-copy-paste glitches or revisions in the class-name's respective nomenclature. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf has nice artworks for the deity's symbols and more, most of it in full color. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Okay, so this one is pretty hard on me - I like just about all of the respective options portrayed herein, though the ruiner could really have used a list of curse spells by level. I also would have loved a code of conduct for the Queen's Man. Then again, the significant majority of archetypes and options here not only sport some awesome concepts, they also manage to use rather innovative mechanics and inspire to an extent that makes me come up with plot-lines by virtue of simply reading them - a feat not many pieces of crunch achieve. So yes, Steven D. Russell's latest collection of deities and related material must be considered to be inspired, though it also feels a bit rougher on the edges than what I would have liked it to be. Still, most glitches herein are ultimately cosmetic in nature - which makes me settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up due to the inspired ideas herein to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Divine: Death, Justice, Healing, & Madness (PFRPG)
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101 Not So Random Encounters: Urban (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2016 23:40:24

This supplement clocks in at 51 pages, including 47 pages of content. After a brief introduction, we dive into 101 detailed encounters. A few general notes about these encounters: all of them assume you are using the Questhaven Campaign Setting. If you aren’t familiar with it, that’s okay, because this book gives you enough to understand it. In fact, this book could work as an introduction to Questhaven. Also, these encounters are not just brief collections of generic monsters. Rather, each encounter gets about a half a page of fluff describing the creature(s) motivations and place in the world. All the creatures in this book belong to a faction called the Fold of Mother’s Pride, which is a criminal cartel in Questhaven. Strung together, these descriptions can give you ideas for campaign plots even if you don’t use the stat-blocks.
The creatures in this book show the full range of the CR gamut. At the low end, we have a pair of CR 1/2 creatures: “Nightblood”, a CR 1/2 stirge, and “Kuruk Starshade”, a fetchling. At the high end, there are three CR 20 creatures, including the nominal leader of the Fold, the “Reverend Mother Panthia”. All are provided with fully detailed stat-blocks and a sizeable backstory. There is also one CR 23 creature, a dragon who secretly controls the organization. This one does NOT come with a stat-block, but instead refers you to a stat-block in Pathways (which is Rite Publishings series of free supplements). Short Term Use: The editing is very good, though there are a few more glitches than usual for a Rite Publishing product. The stat-blocks are all clearly laid out and easy to use, which is particularly impressive for the high CR creatures. It may take some planning to work the fluff of the organization into your campaign’s plot, but if you are just looking for a quick encounter, you can use the stat-blocks without the full treatment of the Fold of Mother’s Pride. Even if you do want to use the fluff, it shouldn’t be too hard to at least work some of it in to your urban adventure. Hence, this book gets a Short Term Rating of 4.5/5. Long Term Use: Aside from functioning as an introduction to one chunk of Questhaven, this supplement contains enough information on the Fold of Mother’s Pride organization to base an entire urban campaign around the contents of this supplement. You could even adapt it to work in a big city in your campaign world, not just Questhaven. On the other hand, the specificity of some of the descriptions, combined with the dependency on some information being secret from the players, has the potential to limit the reusability of a lot of this content. All in all, it gets a Long Term Rating of 3/5.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
101 Not So Random Encounters: Urban (PFRPG)
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101 Urban Spells (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2016 23:39:02

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my review. I received no other form of compensation, nor am I affiliated with Rite Publishing, Steven Russell, or Dave Paul.
OTHER DISCLAIMER: At the time of this writing, this product was released less than one year ago. Hence, all opinions expressed in this review, and in particular the Long Term Rating, should be considered TENTATIVE. This supplement clocks in at 50 pages, including 47 pages of content. First comes a one page introduction, which reminds the reader of the Settlement Size Modifier mechanic from Paizo’s Gamemastery Guide (which was itself copied from WotC’s 3.5 DMG). Some of the spells in this book have their effects modified by the size modifier of the settlement they are cast in. There are also a handful of spells which depend on the other settlement modifiers described in the GMG.
Next comes the conventional tables of spells by class and level, with their abbreviated descriptions, following the same format as the PHB and most d20 supplements. There are spell lists provided for all of Paizo’s spellcasting base classes (no guidance for use with non-Paizo classes is provided). One thing of note is that this book is sparse on very high level spells: the sorcerer/wizard, witch, and cleric lists all top out at 8th level spells, while the druid is not given any spells above 5th level. If you mainly play at low levels, that shouldn’t be a problem for you. Even at higher levels, of course, there are plenty of lower level utility spells here you may want to use. Let’s start with the weakest: this supplement contains a handful of 0th level spells. Boot Pebble creates a pebble in an enemy’s shoe, giving them a speed and dexterity penalty until it is removed. Other cantrips allow you to give someone else a penalty on knowledge checks, conjure an illusory sound of footsteps (with advantages making it non-redundant with Ghost Sound), keep clothes dry for a duration which depends on the settlement’s climate, or telekinetically lift and throw a stone for a single point of damage without the possibility of missing.
On the other extreme, there are a couple of eighth level spells. Can’t Leave Town, as the name suggests, prevents everyone in a small settlement who fails their save from leaving, or prevents everyone in a larger settlement from leaving through a specific exit. Wake the Dead, another eight level spell, can (among other effects) grant a Raise Dead to all dead humanoids in an area, but they die again after the spell’s brief duration ends.
Short Term Use: The editing and formatting are top notch. The effects of the spells are varied and interesting enough to use. Moreover, as no new subsystems are presented, you know exactly what you are getting and how it works. On the other hand, some of the rules language is needlessly ambiguous, bringing the Short Term Rating down to 4/5. Long Term Use: One question you might have is “can these spells be used in a non-urban environment?” The answer differs for different spells in this supplement. Almost all of these spells are most useful in or near a settlement, but most can still technically be used in the wilderness (though with varying degrees of usefulness). Overall, however, David Paul has managed to deliver an incredible array of varied and unique spells-- an impressive feat given how many have already been published in the last sixteen years. The occasional interactions with the Settlement Rules, which are often under-utilized in Pathfinder supplements, is an excellent touch. Thus, this supplement earns a Long Term Rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 for the purposes of this platform.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Urban Spells (PFRPG)
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10 Kingdom Seeds: Hills (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2016 03:24:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second inexpensive pdf detailing basic villages for the explicit use of being a base for kingdom building clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this little pdf with the village of Appleton, famous for its flavored gins - and we are introduced to two signature buildings as well as three rumors pertaining the village. The salt-selling and rather nasty place Borley would be situated at the opposite end of the alignment spectrum at CE and a place of hardships and dangerous tasks. Deepmarble, defined by the marble quarries, similarly has a theme of hard work, though less grim.

Eastdeer, suffused with snakes of all types and sizes - for the village is famous for taming, training and selling snakes, though I'm surprised the medical/alchemical applications of snake venom have not been mentioned here - still, by far the most interesting village covered so far. Lorhayven, blessed by hot springs and obsidian mining as well as an academy seems like an interesting place as well. Redhurst is a terraced village cresting a hilltop, a river circling its base - which is solid.

Lawful evil Seahollow has an obvious layout glitch, where the fluff-text has entered right in the middle of the settlement statblock in one painfully obvious formatting glitch in the sheep fleecer's village. Straywyn may sound elven, but is a predominantly dwarven town defined by its gem mine.

Summercrest once again would be a rather unique village, with wheeled huts constantly on the move, drawn by alpacas, we have an excellent example of truly evocative concepts here, one that really showcases how great these minimalistic write-ups can be - kudos here!

The final village, Swynford, is defined by moderately successful iron, coal and sulphur mining as well as the training of ponies and makes for a solid, though less remarkable settlement.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty decent, though the aforementioned formatting glitch is pretty nasty. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artworks are surprisingly beautiful and full color - kudos there!

Liz Smith's second array of Kingdom Seeds sports several nice, minimalistic village-write-ups to base a kingdom building game on or to simply throw into your game when you need a village. At the same time, the pdf does showcase some cases where the villages truly inspire with unique concepts and ideas...though at the same time, some of the villages felt pretty common to me. All in all, for the low asking price, this is a solid little book, though probably not one that will make you gasp in amazement. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
10 Kingdom Seeds: Hills (PFRPG)
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Book of Icons (13th Age Compatible)
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2016 19:18:50

If you've been struggling to use icon relationships and your players' icon rolls in your 13th Age game, this is the supplement for you. The first section is dedicated to providing more options on how GMs and players can use icon rolls. There's more structure offered than the rather free-form suggestions in the 13th Age core book. It also provides recommendations on how to introduce proxies (NPCs), investments (equipment), events, and thematic elements related to the icons. Icon rolls become more of a currency to be spent during the session, rather than a mechanic that's purely in the hands of the GM. If you haven't approached icon rolls this way, I highly recommend it -- my games changed dramatically when I introduced similar changes a while back.

Next, the supplement details 6 new icons, which are open for other publishers to use in their products. That's a nice touch, since the default icons in the 13th Age core book are Fire Opal Media's Product Identity, and can't be used by other publishers. I would love to see other products use these icons and perhaps add to the list. Each of the 6 icons have 3-4 variants, which can also represent different icons that are used simultaneously in your game. For example, you may choose to use The Order - That Which Provides as one icon and The Order - The Glorious Conqueror within the same game. The supplement offers alternative approaches to this, such as a single icon with different groups of followers, multiple icons operating under the same name, or simply making them different icons. It's sure to give you something to think about if you use these icons during the creation of your campaign setting.

Each icon section features random tables for proxies, investments, and events that can be used to "spend" icon rolls, with optional complications for those juicy 5's. This is a nice feature, and I would have benefited from a similar approach to the core book's icons to make my life as a GM easier.

Wrapping the supplement up is a section covering some NPCs, organizations, and secret agendas that can be paired up with icons to become fully fleshed out in your game. I particularly liked the format for the NPCs -- each is presented in a succinct stat block that offers everything needed to run them in and out of combat (when combined with the general creature table from the core book).

Numerous formatting issues, a few typos, and listing a contradicting number of icon variations in different parts of the book was enough that I dropped my rating to 4-stars. I can overlook an issue or two, but there were enough of them that I wanted to pull out a red pen and make corrections. It didn't prevent me from understanding the content, and I'll still be able to make full use of the book.

With the number of posts I see on the 13th Age forums, Google+, and Facebook communities that express a need for more direction around icon relationships and rolls, I intend to recommend this supplement frequently.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Icons (13th Age Compatible)
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A Fly in the Ointment (Fate)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/14/2016 04:35:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module for Rite Publishing's Demolished Ones (Dark City/steampunk-crossover) clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 18 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

But before we do - please be aware that this is as much a thematic expansion and a kind of guidebook for such twists and encounters; thus following contains SPOILERS. Potential players will want to jump ahead to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great!

We begin this book with a relatively daunting task, if you're a new GM - adding a turncoat to a group. Since this is not as simple as it may sound, the supplement discusses the pros and cons of pregen reveals and lack thereof, guiding the GM through the process of selecting what seems most appropriate for the respective group. I mentioned the turncoat - appropriately named "Murmuring Guller," the discussion to follow helps the GM (and the player!) take into account the specific challenges required for the task at hand, namely guiding the game by being a subtle foil.

Similarly, the central problems of such a set-up fall by the wayside due to "The Demolished Ones" very set-up: Fixed identities and memories already have fallen by the wayside and similarly, gaslighting and the like is part of the assumptions - as is the handing out of concealed notes and similar means of contacting players sans explicit group-knowledge. Much like the downsides of the FATE-system, "The Demolished Ones"'s framework mitigates the most central issues that would spring from such an endeavor in other contexts.

That out of the way, we begin with brief scenario seeds - the first one being quite delectably detestable: The PCs awake in the city's reservoir and from the notes strewn around, it becomes pretty apparent that they, for reasons unknown, have poisoned the water supply. Now seven such poisoning mechanisms have to be found. However, this actually is an elaborate experiment by the master Dr. Black...whose experiment was subverted by Ma Puess by introducing a murmuring guller into the PC-group - whose task will be to have EXACTLY two such doses be unleashed into the water supply - not more, not less, which means that, while he must sabotage PCs that are too successful, at the same time, he must also help them to prevent the full release of toxins. The hunt trhough the tunnels, a race against the clock through Amnesia-like tunnels certainly makes for a compelling set-up and further twists are part of the deal...what if e.g. the players (or some of them) have poisoned themselves as well? It should be noted that both masters actually get full stats, thus providing a finished final boss, a conflict of morality...and potentially a means for the PCs to choose the "lesser" of two evils...

The second scenario begins similarly with a ticking timer: Two bank guards are dead, the employees are locked in an airtight vault within the bank and 1 hour of oxygen - and in 15 minutes, the place is supposed to open for business. Here, the guller inserted into the group is there to make sure the PCs perish in their current predicament, but the character does believe the rest of the PCs to be responsible for the deaths of kith and kin at the behest of master Mr. Ahnt, a rather...let's say unpleasant fellow, even as far as masters go. And yes, players killing players is part of the possible set-up. There also, obviously, are several NPCs potentially hunting the PCs - with chances to run and a return to criminal life being a crucial choice here - as brainwashed convicts, this experiment is about finding out whether the PCs can refrain from criminality. Similarly to the first scenario, we get stats for the master responsible.

The third scenario begins as the PCs awaken to the scolding of Sigmund, a psychologist in the local Sanitarium. The only issue is: The PCs don't seem to be insane (at least right now!) and neither do they seem to be drugged out to their grills, though everyone seems to assume they are. Oh, and a potentially lethal electro-shock therapy is waiting in the wings for the PCs - joy...a proposition they probably will not be too excited about. However, unbeknown to the PCs, the pyschiatrist scolding them is another patient, while one of their own is the true psychologist...and the murmuring guller. You see, the PCs are criminally, dangerously insane and the guller actually tries to keep them alive and locked away, while another master seeks to unleash them on the unsuspecting populace of the dome. The master in charge here also gets stats.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to a neat 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features several nice original b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Robert N. Emerson's expansion/riff on the themes of The Demolished Ones is truly interesting - much like the Amnesia-games, they lend themselves to fast-paced, intense and thoroughly disquieting games that work best as one-shots. The concepts introduced are interesting and so are the visuals of the adversaries. Quality-wise, each of the 3 scenarios provides some thoroughly compelling, iconic moments and is worth playing. At the same time, the scenarios themselves, by virtue of the relative brevity of this supplement, must be considered to be basically skeleton-3-act-set-ups that require quite a lot of GM-work to get going, making me truly wish this book were a bit bigger, had the respective scenarios laid out in more detail.

At the same time, this book has to be commended - In case you don't know, I really dislike FATE. The only means I managed to derive joy from the system was via The Demolished Ones, as the setting's base assumptions justify and circumvent some components of the system I consider system-inherent problems. While it took me quite a while, I buckled up and returned to the world of The Demolished Ones with this book, and it turned out to be a fun trip - so yeah, kudos for managing that level of quality with what is provided herein!

My final verdict, ultimately, will thus clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Fly in the Ointment (Fate)
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Gossamer Worlds: The Black (Diceless)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2016 22:13:58

This is one of my favorite settings presented for Lords of Gossamer and Shadow. This is the answer to the question, "Is there anything in the Gossamer Worlds that can really threaten a potent Gossamer Lord?" This vast, ultra-high tech setting is full of such threats, as well as setting vast and varied enough to peak the interest of any PC intent on seeing new sights.

The setting is so vast, however, that the ten pages of content barely scratch the surface. To use this supplement effectively, a GM will have to rise to the occasion and do a fair amount of prep work. However, there are handfuls of little details scattered throughout the pages you can wrap an entire adventure (or more) around. A nice touch is how the struggle between the Eidolon and Umbra has recently surged in an area, causing ripples through this entire epic setting.

I used this in an adventure and the look on my player's faces once they realized the sheer size of it all was priceless.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: The Black (Diceless)
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