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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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The Secrets of the Divine: Adventure, Earth, Magic, & Water (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2015 03:19:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second book detailing the diverse faiths and churches of Questhaven, the much-anticipated city of adventurers that doubles as Rite Publishing's default setting, clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The first of the deities (and associated churches) presented herein would be Our Grandfather of Water and Wave -within this write-up, we are introduced not only to this deity and the reason Questhaven does not field a standing navy, but also receive new feats - for example, significant bonus damage against foes significantly larger than you. Now I've been pretty much a proponent of unique tricks for faiths depending on domains, stand-alone bonuses and tricks that help distinguish faiths. A particular feat herein comes to mind here - expend 3 uses of destruction and water domain level 1-abilities (or subdomain) and watch as water forces its way down the throat of a target of your spells, attempting to drown the target. Now I've been pretty vocal in my disdain for the drowning mechanics, but a) the significant resource investiture and the second save as well as the significant, high-level prereqs make me consider this mechanically okay, in spite of its lethal power. The deity's church's rogues obviously also have some pirate-themed options, one of which deserves special mention: Gain an exotic animal which doubles as a familiar that shares rogue talents with you. Why is this cool? In my home campaign, most pirates ended up as ranger multiclass characters or straight rangers to have an animal companion they never really used. Love it! Trick fighting rogues should also enjoy the means to 3/day use improvised items as weapons. Wait, what? You can have that on a permanent basis, right? Well, yeah, but you can't usually use it to perform an AoO-less maneuver as a swift action. While there is some overlap with the feat here, I still consider this mechanically interesting, though the daily limit, while sound on a design perspective, feels in-game a bit clunky.

Beyond a depth-curse, we also get new archetypes - the Acetic of the Sea paladin, who loses all spell casting and also access to spell-trigger etc. items; instead, the archetype becomes immune to the conditions his mercies may alleviate and later become better swimmers. Higher level ascetics can supplement their bull rushes and drags with conjured waves, while the capstone is a beauty - it allows you to unleash a true maelstrom, causing massive damage and potentially even destroying vessels. The crunch here is complex and covers just about all of the bases - how it works within the logic of a planar cosmology, how swimming or vessels with sailors on it interact with it - I really enjoyed this ability, in spite of there being a superfluous "is" in one of the sentences. The 8th level ability to suppress morale benefits as well as detrimental fear effects makes for an interesting alternate buff/debuff aura as well.

The second deity would be Our Grandmother Earth - a deity much in the tradition of Gaia and similar fertility deities, yes, but with a surprising mercantile bent that provides, again, a subtle twist of a deity which could have ended up as generic, but surprisingly didn't. Among the supplemental material, we once again receive a massive domain-ability-investing feat akin to the drowning-trick mentioned above, this time lacing magic with serious acid damage - ouch! I am a HUGE fan of Rite Publishing's Legendary Curses, so to see the inclusion of a new one to punish those who violate the rules of hospitality brought a smile to my face. Archetype-wise, we get the Gleaners of the Hare monks - humble mendicants that receive scaling damage reduction, may select immunities to certain conditions and generally make for solid, defensive monks. One should mention that they receive a mettle-like ability. What's "mettle", you ask? Evasion for fort-and will-saves. No effects on successful saves. Combined with evasion, this makes them superb mage-slayers and yes, I have ranted time and again against how badly broken mettle is in the first place. But we're talking monk-class here. And honestly, whether regular or unchained, the poor class can damn well use this ability to suck less. On a nitpicky side, I noticed a cut-copy-paste error, referring to "inquisitor" as base class instead of monk.

Wardens of the Earth are lawful neutral paladins that focus on dealing with out...LANDERS. No, not a typo - it includes aberrations, non-native outsiders, undead and non-elemental creatures with the extraplanar subtype). Detect and smite works for those - which is okay. Where things get interesting is the option to choose each level whether to have lay on hands or touch of cruelty - this duality also extends to channel energy and mercies/cruelties, allowing you to portray changes in focus of your character pretty fluently without constant atonements. It should be noted that the resulting, more flexible class features lock out the archetype of a couple of optimization options by virtue of not being able to replace class feature x with z (since it has e.g. technically no mercy - class feature, only "Mercy or Cruelty") and on a nitpicky side, the pdf ought to specify that mercies/cruelties once chosen can't be simply switched around every time the change is made. On the awesome side, however, we do receive not only a fully detailed code of conduct, we also get 10 precepts, including days of fasting etc. - these are roleplaying gold in my book and really help the archetype feel unique beyond its duality; oh, and yes, "suffer not a outlander to live" is among them...ouch! In direct comparison, I really wished the ascetic of the sea had received this awesome level of detail.

Our Heavenly Archmage of Secrets represents a take on the magic-deity that should also be considered slightly unconventional - taking Vecna's propensity for secrets and separating it from the evil component, we add in a slice of Odin (The Rook Storm reports all the birds see to the Archmage...) and get a compelling mythological melting pot. Among the feats, we have the "Slap yourself"-feat, as it has been nicknamed in my group - a lore warden's reflexive option to make a target attack itself - and while the idea of "force takes weapon, attacks enemy" seems simple in theory, in practice there are a lot of things to take into account - like whether you're considered armed still, etc. - and the feat manages to cover those. Pretty impressive! Pretty cool - suppressing magic items of targets subject to your save-requiring spells - which is cool and ultimately, functional. On a nitpicky side, the pdf could have more organically specified that the suppression is not automatic, but rather requires you making a CL-check - as written, it looks like the effect is automatic, only to add the CL-caveat after that.

Archetype-wise, Magi may join the League of the Ruby Mongoose - these guys, much like prestige classes, require a certain array of prerequisites to classify as members - interesting choice! Instead of receiving a knowledge pool, the archetype may spend 1 arcane point to make a single attack as a standard action that "ignores all a foe's magic-based protections." The definition here would be "Armor Class bonuses, stoneskin, and so on." You don't have to be a rocket scientist to notice that this is exceedingly problematic - so, do enhancement bonuses of items qualify? Rings of protection? Magic-grown scales received by bloodlines etc.? While the ability gets interaction with reflexive spells like fire shield right, this ability and its ill-defined parameters stick out like a sore thumb among the otherwise well-defined class abilities provided in this book. Depending on how you read it (all magic vs. spells/spell-like abilities only), this could be one of the most broken abilities I've seen in a while. I sincerely hope this one will be properly re-defined. At high levels, one can essentially crit even uncritable foes 1/day with even higher power - over all, apart from the one issue, this is a nice idea. Next up would be the wizard archetype of the gemcaster trope. these wizards may scribe spells into gems and then subsequently use them as gem foci, learning to use them in lieu of material components and later, even instead of foci, with concise cost-breakdowns. Each school is assigned to one type of gem and the gems can be worn in a given magic item slot. The interesting piece herein would imho be the means of charging gem foci via the expenditure of spells to turn them into power gems, which provide power component-like benefits to the spells cast. To offset the power-gain this offers, beyond the increased flexibility, there also is a chance to burn out gems when using them thus. Mechanically, this turned out to be a surprisingly concise take on the trope of kind-of-metamagic-y-specialists, though honestly, while I appreciated the relative simplicity and elegance of the system, I just am not that blown away by this one; perhaps I've seen too many takes on this concept.

The final deity herein would be Our Laughing Traveler of Passages and Messages, who could be envisioned as a benevolent trickster deity somewhat akin to Cayden, but with a more distinct focus on traveling and exploration, suffused with a healthy dose of far eastern mythology - including a Son-Goku-like champion...oh, and a focus on moneylending, for a sprinkling of civilization and one of the most interesting concepts of e.g. the Abadarian chutch thrown in the mix. Rules-wise, rogues may join the Jaunters of Our Sovereign of Paths, which nets haunter's hop at first level as well as a pool to enhance her stealth. At higher levels, disposing of evidence and using said pool to supplement more skills also become possible. More relevant, though, would be the options to utilize said points at higher levels to supplement the potency of combat maneuvers or not provoke an AOO when performing such. On a nitpicky side, the ability does not specifically specify that bonuses to CMB are gained on a point-by-point basis. The interesting component here, which sets this apart from e.g. the Glory Rogue and similar variants, would be that taking feats that nets bonuses to checks eligible for the Stealth pool bonuses also increases the pool size by an amount equal to the bonus granted, allowing you to stack such through the roof. This makes rogues actually VERY competent at their chosen field and while it would probably be OP for other classes, with the rather weak rogue chassis, it imho works. The archetype also sports a significant array of complex rogue talents that are themed around utilizing a second pool, one that grants essentially motes of teleportation movement - from reflexive blinks versus crits and lethal attacks to imprisonment of willing targets for easy extraplanar prisoner transportations up to reflexive dimensional anchors, the array of unique abilities powered by this archetype is glorious. Have I mentioned the powerful options at high levels to force teleport foes into e.g. the hearts of active volcanoes and similar, deadly places or the gravitational, nasty vortex that may draw foes in? Yeah, this archetype's array of unique tricks would have been enough for a whole alternate class and while powerful, plays like a damn cool take on the actually competent, unique magical rogue. I adore this archetype!

The CG Rebel Champion paladin is pretty straight-forward in comparison, being focused on fighting particular organizations and thus also changes the targets of their smite evil. Solid, but after the jaunter, not as mind-boggling.

The pdf closes with a DM's introduction to the themes and design rationales behind Questhaven - useful to read and note and also a nice peek behin the designer's curtain here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are, on a formal level, not perfect, but on a rules-level, paradoxically, far better than most supplements that tackle concepts of this complexity. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and sports evocative, original b/w-artwork as well as full color symbols of the deities covered. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I have a certain mindset when I dig a Rite Publishing-book from my pile - usually, after just finishing a massive crunch-book that was as dry a read as summer in the Sahara. Rite Publishing's books are good reads - the in-character prose, character quotes etc. make analyzing crunch books much more compelling - and, more often than not, it is in the small tidbits that the books shine - a mythological hint here, a quote there - and boom, you have your adventure hook, your inspiration. For all intents, I should have been terribly bored by this book - yet another supplement with deities that, by necessity of domains et al., fill certain niches? Well, I wasn't - mainly to the mythcrafting being familiar, yes, but also distinct. The devil is in the details and one can see that here. In the hands of a less gifted writer than rite Publishing's overlord Steven D. Russell, these deities could have been boring. Here, they shine.

What drew me as a customer to Rite Publishing, even in the pioneer days of pathfinder, though, was the unwillingness to provide material that is "okay" -Rite Publishing's supplements tend to be as high-concept as they come, with the vast majority being all about capturing some iconic, unique imagery with crunch, not just recombining existing pieces. Heck, the magic items with scaling DCs based on character level that are pretty much a standard today? Saw that first in a Rite Publishing supplement. This pdf, ultimately, follows in this tradition. The jaunter archetype is damn cool, the design-decisions taken here and there are unique and still, after all this time, I feel the sense of jamais-vu here and there, a fresh wind blowing from these pages. So if you enjoy high-concept material that can easily be integrated into a campaign, material that can make deities more useful - or if you need some design-inspiration, then be sure to check this out.

Not all is glitter and bunnies, though - while, for most of the time, this pdf's rules-language is concise to a point where one can readily see vast design-experience at work, wordings which cover all the bases I'd usually nitpick apart, there are some minor botches spread throughout the supplement; for the most part, these represent cases where the wording would have benefited from a slightly more concise flow or from being slightly more specific, but there are a few instances herein, where this, alas, impedes the functionality of some components slightly. While these blemishes are few and far in-between considering the page-count, they do conspire alongside the slightly higher amount of typo-level glitches than usual for a Rite Publishing book to drag this slightly down - not by much, mind you - this is still a damn cool supplement, but by enough to make me settle on a final verdict of 4 stars - with the caveat that, for me personally, the jaunter alone is worth the fair asking price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Divine: Adventure, Earth, Magic, & Water (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: GlimmerGloam (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/28/2015 09:17:22

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!

So what is GlimmerGloam? The easiest way to describe it, would be to call it a realm of dark, dualistic whimsy – somewhere between the narratives of the realm of the fey and classic tales of Alice, albeit more akin to American McGee’s interpretation. It is a world, where different species of fey abound and the Umbra rules – where counting steps or latent attempts at cartography only result in the very land thwarting your attempts. It is also a place, where the only influence of eidolon manifests in groundhog-dayish repetitions of feuds, where adversaries conveniently killed the night before suddenly exhibit an improbable twin or downright ignore death or decapitation (and it’s rude to point that out, mind you!) – GlimmerGloam, in a nutshell, is insane and you better know what you’re in for.

Thank the stair, there is this nice BungleCat – not akin our classic Cheshire friend, but oh so much worse – much akin to Rite’s classic Smiles-under-the-Bed NPC, this beast may be nice, but seeing things in a different light, more often than not can be taken literally in GlimmerGloam – the realm is defined by a plethora of meanings being assigned in alternating and even simultaneous patterns to EVERYTHING, with lighting conditions often triggering a flux. Hence, the friendly cat may pretty quickly turn into a xenophobic stalker or even a dragon-sized demon-being trying to murder you and everyone that crosses its path – all in good fun, of course. For reliable information, you may instead wish to consult the jabberwock’s severed head, now employed as the realm’s most deadly jack-in-the-box. Much can be gleaned, if you can survive the deadly eye-rays, madness-inducing aura…you know, all in good fun.

Oh, and if you thought the red queen was bad – GlimmerGloam’s fully statted ruler, the white Rabbit Queen, is nothing to sneeze at – with various forms, an intelligent mirror aptly named delirium and a vorpal needle-cum-sword, she makes for a fearsome ruler – in spite of the half-crashed supposed-to-be-floating castle and similar oddities. Oh yeah, have I mentioned that the oddity of the realm also results in actually unique special properties for the realm?

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 has a gift for providing environments, in which the imagination is incited, runs rampant and his experience with the realm of dreams (as in his Lost in Dream-novel and in the work for Coliseum Morpheuon-related products) and the odd, irrational logic which applies there. This can easily and perfectly be seen in this installment of Gossamer Worlds – when each character and locale not only resounds with literary quotations, but also with symbolic gravitas, we receive a rather interesting supplement full of entwined meanings, evocative connotations conjured forth by clever use of nomenclature and symbols. It’s also a nod towards one of the most influential, creative and complex myths in literature and I love it for that. So do yourself a favor, get this, use it, and if you have it, get your Norton Critical Edition Annotated Alice – with the latter, you can further amp up the already impressive content herein by at least a factor of threleven hundsand! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: GlimmerGloam (Diceless)
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101 Feats and Talents (13th Age Compatible)
by Jon M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2015 22:16:34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Endzeitgeist out.



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

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Endzeitgeist out.



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

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



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

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

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



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

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Endzeitgeist out.



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

This is the worst Rite Publishing Product I have.

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

I Expected 30 (thirty) Full Color Battle standards.

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

Endzeitgeist out.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
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