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Pathways #9 (PFRPG)
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2015 12:05:15

This issue of Pathways has some content that will fit very nicely in my campaign, namely The Blackness of Darkness: Priests of Loss and Night and Mad Hermit.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Pathways #8 (PFRPG)
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2015 12:02:30

This issue of Pathways has some really great content that I'll be using in my game, especially The Holy Hearth: Priests of Home and Family, The Shattered Bridge, and Death from Above. The Dreaming Gods story as a bit strange.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #8 (PFRPG)
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Pathways #7 (PFRPG)
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2015 11:45:37

Nice product. I especially liked the 10 Magical Armor and Shield Properties article. Players can expect to see some of this in my campaign.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #7 (PFRPG)
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Pathways #6 (PFRPG)
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2015 11:40:43

This issue really didn't have much that I can use in my campaign. Other issues are much better.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #6 (PFRPG)
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Pathways #5 (PFRPG)
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2015 11:05:13

Not a bad product. I especially like the Divine Devotion: Clerics of Charm, Love and Lust article and will be using parts of it in my Pathfinder campaign.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #5 (PFRPG)
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10 Paladin Magic Items (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2015 15:37:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We kick off this pdf with 2 new enchantments - harm's way allowing you to intercept attacks on adjacent allies a limited amount of times per day, whereas the Patience enchantment is very interesting - it confers +2 to atk and +2d6 nonlethal damage if you or your allies do not execute the first attack in a combat encounter, thus rewarding not setting up a first strike ambush scenario. Cool way to reward paladins for behaving virtuously. That being said, on a slightly nitpicky side, the wording does refer to "the paladin" instead of "the wielder", insinuating that the enchantments are paladin-exclusive when they aren't. This does not impede their functionality, but it does constitute a minor glitch. This partially extends to the items.


In the tradition of the 10-series, we actually receive much, much more than the promised 10 items - with the exception of the new artifact and 2 items, all of the items herein come in three versions - a lesser, a standard and a greater version. Though, on an admittedly nitpicky side, some items instead differentiate between lesser, greater and superior versions for a slightly confused terminology. As far as I could tell, GP-costs are not a factor between deciding which terminology to use, rendering thus the chosen words just non-unified. Once again, this is a cosmetic glitch, but one that potentially could cause unnecessary confusion.


Enough nitpicking, onwards to the items: Boots of the Brave allow you to excel when kicking down the door and protecting your allies when covering their retreat (temporarily enhancing their flight-speed!), including an option that allows you to make combat maneuvers to shut down enemy movement. Pretty cool item, though the latter option to negate movement of target creatures may be a bit strong for the 18,500 GP price-tag of the superior boots. Bracers of Heroic Deeds allow you to catch allies about to fall - which is iconic. Switching positions with an injured or helpless ally should probably specify that the effect is a conjuration (teleportation)-effect and magically taking an effect or attack - all of these have a limited number of uses per day to balance them. Once again, extremely useful and damn cool.


Gauntlets of Remand hearken back to the exceedingly cool "Manalces of Idonis" from Rituals of Choice I, granting the character an extradimensional prison, with efficiency increasing over the levels - exceedingly cool and awesome to take foes alive, this also allows for pretty cool infiltration strategies. The heavenly helm (here, there's only one) allows you to use lay on hands as a gaze attack a limited amount of times per day. While it's called "layout on hands" once, that once again is a typo I can live with - it does not impede functionality.


The Ring of Honor's Justice is also interesting -it penalizes foes that use poison or similarly cowardly tactics with scaling curses. Nice! The Tabard of Righteous Metamagic increases effective spell levels for spells with the [lawful] or[good] descriptor. On another nitpicky tangent, formatting of the presentation of the 3 variants deviates from the one established in the other item entries.


Vestments of Honor's Virtue defines honorable attacks and allows a paladin to receive a powerful defense buff a limited number of times per day.


The final item herein would be the artifact Harngaul, "The Righteous Storm" is created from alchemical ceramic, a new material, and is a double-edged greatsword and also a legacy item - this would be Rite Publishing's take on magic items that increase in power over the levels. a hint of the significant power is granted via an omen the chosen wielder experiences. The blade increases in power at 3rd, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th and 15th level, with unconscious-rendering effects to grant foes mercy to increased smiting capacity, channeling spell-like or supernatural abilities via the blade to dimensionally anchoring foes and even making force-weapons to accompany your strikes and finally adding holy avenger-style abilities.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting of this pdf are its weak point - the pdf has a number of cosmetic glitches that render some rules slightly opaque and some typos are in here. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's 2-column full-color standard. The pdf comes with nice full-color artworks I haven't seen before and is fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its short size.


I sometimes wish RiP-mastermind and author Steven D. Russell had more time on his hands for writing - Steven ahs a massive flair for creating iconic, cool things that just rock and this pdf is no different. Where other pdfs would have bored me with celestial pseudo-apotheosis number 3849 or bland numerical escalation 489, the items herein dare to be unique. There is not a single, lame item herein - this pdf is literally all killer, no filler in the content-department, offering powerful, cool tools for good PCs as well as great fluff in between the crunch. Were it only for the content, I'd immediately rate this 5 stars + seal of approval. However, the pdf does sport more glitches than usual for Rite Publishing and some of them could conceivably cause confusion on whether the item in question is paladin-exclusive or not. As much as I want to, I hence can't rate this the full 5 stars, instead settling on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. HOWEVER, personally, I love the items herein - they are often just godsend on the utility level and hence we have one of the rare pdfs here that receives my seal of approval in spite of not getting the full 5 stars - to denote how cool these items are, in spite of the formal glitches.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
10 Paladin Magic Items (PFRPG)
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101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2015 10:03:19

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://rolep-
layerschronicle.com/?p=45673
.


This installment of Rite Publishing’s 101 series takes gamers to a place that is both loved and feared; the swamps. In the real world, swamps are very deadly places. In the real world there is no guarantee that the next step you take will be on firm ground, no matter how firm it might look. In real world swamps, any of the animals that don’t want to outright consume you, tend to carry some type of disease that will kill you, only much, much slower. In the real world swamp, dry is a foreign concept; no matter how far away from the water you are, there is an overwhelming sense of moist, clammy and damp. The environment keeps changing and can flood with little or no warning. Now when you add swamps to your fantasy world, things get even worse! Now you have magic, and magical creatures and intelligent races that are as at home in this dynamic environment as humans are on regular land.


Swamps are a place with a special draw for many gamers. T.V. shows like Swamp People, the dreaded fire swamp in the movie The Princess Bride and the comic and movie The Swamp Thing are great examples of people’s fascination with this environmental nightmare. Who could blame anyone for wanting their fighter or witch to spend a few gaming sessions in an asymmetric environment like this? Rite Publishing has done what they normally do, they saw a need, assembled a crack team and have given us 101 Swamp Spells.


Many of the spells in these 38 pages of crunch are variations on existing spells that most Game Masters and players know. Rite Publishing didn’t just take existing spells, change the names and call it a day, they built on the foundation of those spells , seasoned them up and added some toppings that scream swamp. I had no idea you could do that much with fog. I’ve seen it used in horror movies, but in Rite Publishing’s naughty little hands things escalated quickly. On my initial read through nothing jumped out as unbalanced, there were lots of devious spells in this collection, but everything seemed above board. No company is 100%, but Rite Publishing has shown themselves to be very responsible when it comes to ensuring their products are balanced when they need to be, and clever in their overall design.


The biggest problem with this product is its limited use. Many of the spells described in this book could be used many places, but when you specialize something like this, limits occur. I actually looked at many of the spells, thought about using them in a sprawling urban sewer and many of them still worked. This product is a wonderful companion for a campaign based in a swamp, but for a caster who has to select spells they might be stuck with for several levels, or for the rest of their adventuring career, this book could hurt, badly. Many of the spells are usable outside of the swamps, but some of them lose usefulness quickly when say in a desert.


The artwork and formatting are great; the page borders are standard fare for Rite Publishing, but I’m glad they went with swamp green instead of their normal light tan. There is no doubt this book is part of Rite Publishing’s 101 series. Rite Publishing has done a great job establishing their brand and making sure the people who see their products know who made them. If you as a Game Master are looking to get your players soggy, this book is a must. For any spell slinger, 101 more spells to choose from is never a bad thing, well unless you have a player who can never really finish their character because they are looking for just the right spell. Because I’m not a nice person, the next game I run in a swamp, I will ensure my spell casting NPCs use these to great effect on my players before I grant them access to them. This is a well-made product that fills a rather specialized role. With minor tweaking and some creativity, many of these spells can be used on dry land, but most of them are more fun when surrounded by Kermit and his cousins.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Secrets of the Bravo (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/07/2015 03:03:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?


First of all, if you're not familiar with one particular quality I love about Rite Publishing books - they are a good read, mainly due to even crunch books like this being written in character, with a member of that class, race, etc. explaining the role while adventuring, characteristics etc. Now if you're a fan of "A Song of Ice and Fire", you'll immediately realize what to expect - whether braavosi water dancer or similar dashing swordsman, this is the class going for it. The bravo receives d10, full BAB-progression, good fort and ref-saves, 4+Int skills per level and proficiency with light armor + shields as well as simple and martial weapons. Some class features refer to bravo weapons, which are defined concisely as light or one-handed weapons not wielded in two hands. Only one weapon can be the designated bravo weapon at a given time. A Bravo begins play with Improved Feint and adds class level to Bluff checks when feinting, 1/2 class-level when using more than one weapon or shield. Alas, the ability fails to specify whether to round that up or down, though I assume down as a standard.


A bravo may also choose from one of 5 fighting techniques, receiving +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Fighting techniques have a passive and an active form. The passive form can be maintained for Intelligence modifier hours per day, used in hourly increments. While in passive form, the bravo receives an untyped +2 bonus to two skills associated with the fighting technique. The focused form, in contrast, may be maintained for 4+Intelligence modifier rounds, +2 per level attained. that should be class level Entering focused form is a swift action, dismissing it a free action. While in focused form, the bravo receives +2 to AC and to attacks with the bravo weapon. The focused form also nets the skill bonus and the +2 to, depending on the form, damage rolls, saving throws, combat maneuver bonus, critical confirmation rolls or "five times the bonus as in increase to base speed" - that's supposed to be "an", I guess. The bonus increases by +1 at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, hence the slightly uncommon wording choice. At 15th level, bravos may enter fighting techniques as an immediate action - which is less awesome than it sounds, seeing the interaction between immediate and swift actions. At 19th level, a bravo blends the fighting techniques and counts as if under the effects of them all.


A bravo also adds his level to damage rolls with bravo weapons when his target is denied his dex-bonus to AC or when executing AoOs. Additionally, Bravos may add cha-mod as a dodge bonus to AC, +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. At 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the bravo receives a bonus feat. Now the level 3 ability is pretty strong and kind of counter-intuitive -an enemy successfully fainted cannot make AoOs against the bravo and provokes an AoO from the bravo whenever performing an attack that does not include him. generally, a solid method of locking down a target on the bravo, drawing aggro, if you will.


At 4th level, a bravo receives élan equal to 1/2 level + cha-mod. These points may be spent to execute a feint as a swift action, move 1/4 movement as a free action before using a standard action to execute an attack "in the manner of a charge" - per se a cool idea, but does it count as a charge? Or as a regular attack? As an immediate action, the bravo can retroactively add half his bravo level as a luck bonus to ANY check (but not atk or dmg rolls) or add 1/2 his level as a dodge bonus to AC versus a single attack. Alternatively, he may execute, as a free action once per round, an AOO against a foe that has just missed him, not counting towards the daily limit. The pool should probably specify that it replenishes itself after 8 hours of rest, but that's a nitpick.


As a standard action, bravos of 6th level may roll twice when attacking, taking the better result or even execute two feints at once, while 7th level bravos may execute debilitating strikes - these prompt a save and for 1 point of élan, depending on the fighting technique, the enemy receives a penalty that spans the gamut from "cannot perform attacks of opportunity" to "shaken". When not in a form, the bravo may instead choose two points attribute damage.


At 8th level, bravos can use élan to NOT PROVOKE ANY AOOS for one round. Yeah, not gonna happen in my game. I can come up with so many ways of breaking this to smithereens, it's not even funny. Compared to that, performing a move action as an immediate action and executing a combat maneuver as an AoO may seem less impressive: Especially since you can already perform combat maneuvers as AoOs. Yeah. This does NOTHING. Pretty weird - the 6th level double feint gets upgraded to triple (including triple attack roll option) as part of that ability, but at 11th level - not sure whether this is a formatting glitch, but I think it should have its own entry and just specify that it costs 1 élan...or does it? The 4-roll/feint 16th level ability does not cost élan, making me doubt this...


At 12th level, bravos treat their crit modifier of x2 weapons as x3 and threat ranges of 20 as 19-20...so what happens with bravos who actually have better threat ranges/modifiers? A class like this screams crit-fisher to me, why not properly codify that via the proper wording? Chances are, this one does nothing.


As a capstone, the bravo may freely spend 1 élan per round without decreasing his pool. The class receives feats for + 2 élan or +6 rounds focused fighting.


Then, we get to a kind of bonus content, with 5 additional fighting techniques - these adhere to a superior, more easy to read format that does not spread the benefits into tables and abilities, making me wonder why the whole pdf did not adhere to this standard. Alas, we have minor glitches here as well - the horse techniques' fighting style's passive form, for example, reduces ability damage by poison by 2 points, +1 at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter - is that total attribute damage or per failed save? Also: What about poisons that inflict drain instead? Rare, I know, but still.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are not on par with Rite Publishing's usually high level of quality control - there are a lot of instances of e.g. no capital letters after colons, missing bolding in feats and even, probably, a formatting glitch for the triple-feint that may impede gameplay. Yeah, not cool. Layout adheres to RiP's nice two-column full color standard and the pdf comes with nice, thematically fitting stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


This is the first supplement by author Ciaran Barnes I've read and it does show promise - generally, the bravo as a take on duelist-type characters works pretty well; better, at least, than the by now terrible anachronism that is the Duelist PrC. That being said, the class also feels a bit simplistic in its basic tricks, with the advanced techniques (and their better formatting) showing an improved grasp on how rules can be presented. The issues of the bravo can be summed up in the way in which the fighting techniques are presented - by forcing them into brief tables, proper wording has no space and potential ambiguities arise. The option to eliminate ALL AoOs temporarily is insanely strong and should be codified in numerical bonuses. Bonus types are often untyped, but I figure that's mostly by design. Now unlike many classes with wording issues, the bravo is a functional class and a solid take on a duelist, especially for relatively new players - the class is easy to grasp and should not over-exert any player's capabilities to understand it. On the other hand, the designer's relative inexperience does show - from the classic "class level"-glitch that makes dipping very powerful to some errors in the finer rules-interactions, the bravo feels a bit like the designer has slightly botched in the details.


Don't get me wrong, this class can be fun, especially for players who consider Dreadfox Games' superb Swordmaster (still the best duelist/dex-based combatant out there...) too complex, but between wording issues, editing glitches and minor balance-concerns, I can't praise this pdf as highly as some of the rules components would warrant - I will most definitely convert some of the parrying/defense mechanisms. Still, this pdf ultimately is flawed to the point where I'd usually rate it down pretty harshly. Seeing that this is a freshman offering, its low price, nice prose and neat ideas, my final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rated up by a tight margin to 3 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Bravo (PFRPG)
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Fantastic Maps: Square Rigger
by Herley F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2015 15:02:03

was an awesome medium scale ship . good detail ....good interior ...... would of been nice to have two versions of it. a run down pirate ship and maybe a ghost version



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps: Square Rigger
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Fantastic Maps: Pirate Ship
by Herley F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2015 14:54:52

Its was a good map of the exteriors level of the ship.. but was lacking interior levels



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps: Pirate Ship
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10 Dragon Magic Items (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/17/2014 05:16:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Rite Publishing's 10-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content - quite a bunch for the low price point


So magic items for dragons? Yep, beyond the obvious option to use them in conjunction with Rite Publishing's excellent "In the Company of Dragons" or Rogue Genius Games "Dracomancer", the items should be considered a treasure trove for DMs - take the barbules of missile nullification, which net a 75% miss chance versus non-ray ranged attacks...which is powerful, but the beauty here would be in the fluff - the barbules are adamantine spikes that are drilled into the scales of a dragon, emitting missile-hampering force pulses - awesome imagery!


An item that allows dragons to receive the compression ability (extremely useful for dungeoneering dragons - all but required, in fact!) would also be damn cool. The aforementioned Tanimin from ItC:D can enhance their abilities with a crown, receiving more draconic weaponry and modification of a breath weapon into fire-ball like blasts also makes for a long overdue, cool trick. A ring that helps protect against the dread apostates of the White Worm and their aberrations also can be considered a damn cool flavor tie-in.


Or what about smoke-emitting barbules? A howdah to carry humanoid allies into battle? The option to suppress energy effects that include the dragon among their targets, provided the dragon has the baleful glare draconic weaponry? What about greaves made explicitly to defend against pesky humanoids?


The pdf also includes a legacy item (a magic item that scales with levels if you perform certain rituals, the Elder's Pixane that denote the dragon as heir to one of the elder's seats among the lost isles - these bracers increase not only the prowess of the tanimin and nets additional uses of draconic weaponry and improve social skills, at higher levels, the pixane allow the dragon to pronounce a naming curse and even return the recently deceased to life!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's beautiful two-column standard and the 2 pieces of color artwork are awesome. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Wendall Roy delivers a cool expansion for the tanimin, but not exclusively for them here - whether you are a DM looking for some awesome draconic magic items or a player looking for some improvements for the dragon PC or companion, this is the go-to place. If you're not using ItC:D, some items may be less useful to you, but at this price-point, this is still a steal - short concise, and blending neat crunch with glorious fluff, this is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
10 Dragon Magic Items (PFRPG)
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In The Company of Dragons (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/12/2014 06:35:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So...this pdf introduces playable dragons - how does it go on to maintain balance and a world's fluff? Well, by a number of rather unique, narrative stunts - first, the pdf maintains compatibility with your campaign setting's dragons by assigning a unique, separate, but distinct fluff to these dragons - called Tanimin, they live in the secluded place called "Lost Isle", isolated by planar boundaries from the realms of mortals. In this sheltered place, these beings called Tanimin, have prospered - but, as their origin myth specifies, there is a taint, a cancer growing at the heart of this place, its genesis crucial part of the extensive origin myth provided. There, in this taint, all draconic is twisted, turned into undragons (here, I had a UnLunDun-flashback while reading) - in here, wyrm truly are rendered into a worm, all perverted and lost. The whole myth and following discussion of the alignment, adventuring roles, etc., including age, height and weight-tables for various sizes, all is written in gorgeous, captivating in-character prose, rendering the pdf more enjoyable to read than comparable pdfs.


Now, it should be noted that chromatic/metallic distinctions are not necessarily color-coding Tanimin, though alignment-changes result in a molt that sees the creature hampered, only to emerge with a new coat of scales closer to their new alignment - can you see the gold dragon molt red? I can! Mechanically, Tanimin receive +2 Con and Cha, -2 Dex, are small, receive regular movement (1/2 when wielding items in their claws), can use manufactured weapons et al (at a -2 penalty), receive darkvision and low-light vision, are immune to sleep and paralysis, can glide, receive +1 atk and +2 AC versus dragons, +2 to identify dragons, a natural primary bite of 1d4, +1.5 str-mod, +2 natural AC, +2 perception and sense motive. When wearing armor, Tanimin increase ACP by 2 and suffer the same amount as a penalty to atk and are quadrupeds, receiving modified slots and increased carrying capacity. Alternatively, they can elect for +2 Str and Con, -2 Int, +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis and +2 Wis and Cha, -2 Dex. Among the alternate racial traits, better concentration, 1d3 secondary natural weapons (claws), giant killer-bonuses, manipulate objects sans penalty, get different bonuses, spiny hides or toxic blood.


The race also receives a couple of favored class options -barbarian, druid, fighter, magus, monk, paladin, ranger, soceror, taskshaper and war master are covered. Before I delve into the respective archetypes provided, let's not mince words so far - the tanimin are strong. The race does suffer a bit from feature-bloat, with minor racial abilities increasing the power of the race. I generally tend to consider such bonuses somewhat unnecessary. That being said, I'm not going to start my usual "this is too powerful for campaign xyz"-rant here. Why? Because we're talking DRAGONS. This book actually, by means of its very definition, is geared towards high-fantasy/power gaming and as such, it feels unnecessary and probably unfair to judge this race as being too strong low point-build campaigns on the gritty side. Got that? Awesome! On a cosmetic level, the slight feature-bloat and two alternate attribute-sets that gear the race towards caster/martials are not something I'm overly fond of. Still, generally, the race itself can be considered strong, but manageable.


Now the archetypes - first would be the draconic hero - an archetype that allows a tanimin of any class to grow at the cost of some class abilities usually gained - as a massive multiclass-covering archetype, the abilities replaced vary from class to class, once again including taskshaper and war master among the supported classes. Scaled Juggernauts are essentially tanimin fighters specializing in combat with their natural weapons, gaining rake and pounce at higher levels. Trueblood Sorcerors are locked into the draconic bloodline, but receive a scale-spell-component that replaces material components/divine foci and replace regular bloodline powers with a breath weapon. White Worm Apostates, oracles tainted as undragons, receive degrees of fortification and may disgorge a swarm of consuming, maggot-like worms and later, rise as a twisted phoenix from their corpse 1/day - a very powerful archetype that absolutely requires the immense social stigma associated with the white worm to be added to the campaign.


Now the racial paragon-class, which covers 20 levels, nets the tanimin full BAB-progression, 3 good saves,d12, 4+HD skills per level, no proficiencies apart from natural weapons. The tanimin also receives a draconic essence - each of which provides one type of scaling energy resistance, a color, a breath weapon type and a unique compulsion, which always remains hard for the dragon to refrain from doing - Which fits in thematically nice with the overall theme of draconic types - a total of 20 such essences can be found herein. Additionally, at 1st level, 7th, 13th and 19th level, the draconic exemplar can choose draconic weaponry - these can be used 1/2 class level + con-mod times per day. Rather interesting - if applicable, their save-DC is governed by either con or cha, depending on the ability. They include fascination-inducing gazes, bolstering oneself against assaults, receiving the breath weapon associated with the chosen essence, minor spellcasting, elemental aura, charging through allies, enemies etc. Additionally, at 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the exemplar receives a draconic defense, which is chosen from its own list - rerolls versus sonic/language-dependent spells, evasion while airborne, spell resistance (even reflective one!) - quite an array of iconic tricks here.


As if that wasn't enough, we receive a third list of special abilities - draconic gifts - chosen at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, they are also governed by con or cha, depending on the ability. These gifts usually require a specific draconic essence to pull off - without access to energy (acid) and a corresponding breath weapon, you can't make pools of acid, to give you an example. Adding an auto-trip on a failed save to the breath weapon would be possible, as if lacing the bite with the breath weapon's energy. Somewhat metamagic-y tricks based on using draconic weaponry's daily uses as a resource for bonus damage, growing an alignment detecting pearl that works with Tanimin exclusively, adding poison to the breath, mastery of the elements, shapechanging into a humanoid, better frightful presence while airborne or increased speed/expanded class skill lists - the choices are many and while some are limited and available only to specific alternate racial trait choices of the tanimin, the sheer amount is rather impressive, though you'll be expect to do some very careful reading here - quite a few combos are available only to specific builds and locking yourself out of a specific option might be something you wish to avoid.


Now you may have noticed that I've been mentioning flight and that the base race does not offer this. Well, here's where dracomorphosis comes into play - gained at 4th level, this one nets you increased reach with the bite, secondary wing attacks (or gore for Lung-dragons), AC and attribute bonuses and size increases - and flight. Dracomorphosis is gained every 4 levels thereafter, allowing the tanimin to grow to gargantuan size at 16th level - the race also reduces dex during the size-increases and receives tail sweeps, crushes etc. Which is damn cool, granted...but what happens if dex drops to 0? No, I'm not kidding - with a total reduction of -8 to dex, this is a real possibility. And yes, I am aware of how this sort of thing is usually handled with monster-advancement, but the point remains that this pdf ought to have tackled this particular issue. The capstone is, of course, the final great wyrm apotheosis.


Of course, we also receive quite an array of new feats - additional uses of draconic weaponry, additional draconic defenses and gifts, better crushing, breath weapon modification, turning claws into primary natural weapons and high-level appendage severing (and even vorpal!) natural attacks become part of the deal.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and with an array of different, neat full-color artworks of various styles.


Wendall Roy's Tanimin have a difficult standing with me - as perhaps the ultimate of high-powered races, at least concept-wise, playing dragons is honestly not something I'm the target demographic for. The issue is simple - make them balanced versus standard races and you have pseudo-dragons (pardon the pun) or make them as they should be and you have over-powered beasts. Personally, for me dragons are the apex-predators and anything that diminishes them is not something I tend to enjoy. The narrative frame provided herein would be a neat way to offset this particular issue - and one that I wholeheartedly applaud.


So are the tanimin deadly? YES. They are. While their most powerful draconic weaponry thankfully has a daily limitation imposed on them, the sheer array of natural weapons and powerful options available make them formidable foes. The almost universally applicable archetype for draconic growth is a great way of handling adventuring tanimin of all couleur. And I do really like the highly modular draconic racial paragon class - much more so than I deemed possible.


Are the tanimin perfect? No - they have a bit of "rules-fat" that could be trimmed so they work better for less high-powered campaigns, the same problem many races balanced with rough regards to the ARG have...but then again, they probably don't belong there in the first place. And yes, they are better balanced than A LOT of the ARG races. Two sets of alternate racial stats are geared towards martials/casters, respectively - and I'm not a big fan of that, preferring a more universal take (as per the default attribute-array) - but since that is easily disallowed/adjusted to your personal preference, again, at best a minor nitpick. Now as a DM's toolbox, this is one glorious book, an alternate, highly modular toolbox to make dragons work more as a force/nation, rather than individuals - also thanks to quick and dirty, by no means extensive, but at least existing, renown/reputation-rules.


Now as for the player-part - the tanimin are not a weak race and you should be aware of that as a DM. Not all campaigns will find them fitting in well; If magic items are e.g. pretty rare for you, these guys immediately lose one of their drawbacks, the decreased slot-array. That being said, if you don't play your cards right as a tanimin-PC, you can still pretty easily die - the tanimin's defenses, in spite of armor, SR, DR etc. are pretty weak and while they can wreak deadly havoc, they will also find themselves at the highest priority to kill of just about any foe - after all, who do you kill first? Easy, the friggin' dragon! Add to that the big form and thus, high chance of being a target of enemies/in the AoE of spells...you get the drift. Increased cost of armor and the resource-expenditure (either in items or abilities chosen) to maintain adventuring shape (shapechange to fit into tunnels, etc.) required for them also are rather ingenious, subtle balancing mechanisms. Now the oracle archetype definitely only belongs into DM-hands, but the rest of the options provided may be strong, but aren't broken per se.


In fact, in spite of my admitted trepidations against the very notion of playing dragons, I can't find it in me to bash these guys. While a couple of the abilities (crush, tail sweep, breath-tricks, etc.) are powerful and lend themselves to the full-blown knee-jerk reaction of screaming "This is OP", actually playing the beasts tells a different story - the larger dragons require room to properly act and that is simply not always there. The decreased slot-array for magic items also hampers them at high level play, offsetting some of the admittedly meat-grinding oomph their array of natural weapons may cause. When they can act a perfect round, the player will be grinning, though, as damage keeps piling up. So, how to rate this, then? That's a tough one. For DMs, I'll settle on a full-blown get-this-recommendation to up their draconic arsenal or simply to use the tanimin as a much cooler draconic race that mops the floor with draconians, half-dragons etc. - they have the better flair, fluff, etc. For players - IF you are playing a high-fantasy campaign and lean towards the higher end of the power-spectrum, go for this. For low-powered games...why are you reading a review on playing DRAGONS? Kidding aside, there are some minor rough patches here and there and with the significant array of unconventional tricks usually reserved for apex predators and monsters, especially inexperienced DMs should very carefully read this one, lest it prove too much for them. On the other hand, one may argue that the "KILL THE DRAGON!!!"-factor, social stigma etc. can help quite a bit streamlining this one further.


For me personally, the pdf clocks in at 4 stars due to aforementioned minor hick-ups and my own mentality towards when to play dragons as PCs (In short: Not in my campaign.); As a reviewer, I have to applaud the significant task and achievement that this pdf represents - streamlining the collective of dragonkind into an actually rather well-crafted race that should work perfectly in most campaigns that take up the theme of draconic PCs. As such, this would be a 4.5 stars file, due to the minor issues here and there, but one I grudgingly have to round up - the tanimin's flavor is too interesting, the options too varied and the racial paragon class ultimately, too cool to ignore or even call "only" good. DMs - to properly judge the impact of this class, don't just stare pale-faced at the potential calculated damage output of a full attack; Instead, make a PC, run the character to ye average module (NOT a simulated fight in a vacuum)- you'll see what I'd call intangible (i.e. non-math) balance factors - which for once, work in favor of this book.


Congratulations to Wendall Roy for pulling off this stunt - consider me definitely looking forward to the planned expansion!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Dragons (PFRPG)
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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2014 10:57:17

Jewelers' rouge works like gunpowder? Well. that preconceived notion cost me a few of years of reading Amber. Fortunately, Christmas and a girlfriend who accepted role playing games as presents changed my life forever. I remember going through "dice withdrawal" and trying to roll things that were not in my hand.
Amber Diceless changed gaming for me forever. The first campaign was two years and my character diary became impossible to carry. My girlfriends Trump Deck had become similarly problematic. I had often thought that it would be fantastic to try and use a "non-Amber" setting. I gave Lords of Gossamer and Shadow a rating of 4, mostly because Amber was a 5. They did a fantastic job with the rules and setting; but it lacked some of the motivations that being of the Royal Family of Amber had. The right GM and players could possibly tie a good story together; but The Grand Staircase, itself does not bind players the way being related does. It also seemed that all the characters presented had a "Cold War Style" escalation of toys. Not only do these create a "point sink"; but it focuses to much attention on "out gearing" each other. It can not be done. Amber nicely kept the focus away from this trend. Pattern Sword, Trump Deck and a "gifted" riding crop were all that was required, the rest was out in Shadow somewhere waiting for you. Access to the Stairs also seemed fairly limited in Lords of Gossamer and Shadow and did not have that feel of "Shifting Shadow". The war for the stair also did not have the "feel" of Amber, Order verses Chaos; but with no clear right or wrong, except both were required. Lords of Gossamer and Shadow had an "ancient enemy" that seems to be clearly bad guys but very two dimensional with conquest for conquest's sake alone. So, criticism done. Should you buy this product? If you are a fan of Amber, it has some very useable ideas. This could make a very interesting "new power". If you are have not played Amber, this is a chance to discover some of the real depths of role-playing. It is not in anyway like any other gaming book, except Amber itself. Even if you never play it, because it does require the right group, it still forms part of a cornerstone that every RPer should have. It is not about how many "inches" a fireball will travel. It is about beating Benedict's record for holding the Alamo.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
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101 Not So Simple Monster Templates (13th Age Compatible)
by Nicholas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2014 17:54:08

Original review: http://realmsofchirak.blog-
spot.com/2014/10/rite-designs-reaches-13th-age-with-101.html-


This crept up rather innocuously on rpgnow.com (and its other drivethrurpg site). Rite Publishing has done a lot of stuff for Pathfinder over the last few years, most of it good or notable as 3PP resources go. This foray into the 13th Age is no exception, and actually the first really cool 3PP resources I've stumbled across that's worth a review and mention.


101 Not So Simple Monster Templates provides exactly what it indicates: one hundred and one templates you can overlay on existing 13th Age creatures. The templates follow the standard set in the 13th Age core rules, which is basically additional features or modifications that enhance or change the existing creature (so, standard D20 system stuff). Unlike some of the existing monster templates in the game, these offer a really wide range of the strange and familiar all at once.


Want a kyton-bound minotaur? Here you go. Are you determined to stat out that homeless, legless beggar? Add the legless template. Eager to take out your party with an exploding manticore? Add the Pyrrhic template. There's some good stuff here.


All of these templates are concise and too the point, except for the ones that are really complicated or offer a lot of specific detail such as the winterwight, walking fortress, grim reaper or bloodshackle templates.


Some of the templates add in some "D&Disms" to 13th Age currently absent or under-represented. If you've been missing crypt things in your game, you can make all sorts of them with the appropriate template. The aforementioned kyton-bound, constructed, divine, phase, and others will fill in needed gaps.


All of the templates offer definitely flavor and make for interesting and distinct creatures....for the right mix of encounter stew, naturally. A few could be the basis of entire plot lines (I'm thinking a kyton-bound template would open up all sorts of interesting denizen concepts for a visit to the City of Chains, for example).


Anyway, if you're a 13th Age junkie like me this is a PDF well worth checking out. I've printed out my copy for easy access at the table in my next planned 13th Age campaign (coming soon!)


Rite Designs has a sample on their blog if you'd like to see a bit for free.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Not So Simple Monster Templates (13th Age Compatible)
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Lucien's Guide: The Black Files (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/28/2014 04:07:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review


If you read this review, one of the following is true:




  1. You're me. Hello, handsome devil!



  2. I have shared this information with you - don't screw this up!


3.You have stolen this homepage - I have been notified of your identity and location.




  1. You have killed me. Good for you, but you have eliminated the ward that left a whole bunch of nastiness in check.



  2. I have died and you took up my mantle - good for you, but I hope I've had the chance to provide the keys, because I wasn't joking in 4.


...


This intro mirrors (in less vivid prose) how this guide begins - to give you an inkling of the level of quality of the writing. The pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 12 pages of raw content, so what is contained in these pages?


This pdf blasts off with a rant that actually had me laugh - on the nature of scholarship and misidentifying artifact and relics as Typhonian - only to provide what can only be called a cornucopia of diverse theories regarding the nature of Typhonians - as in the best of LoGaS-supplements, the content herein is all about potential - the theories are provided with cues to what is or may be true, but no universal monolithic truth is prescribed - we receive ideas: How the Typhonians and the grand stair interact, for example. What actually constitutes a Typhonian as to opposed what makes one an Echidnan - the added diversity makes for a truly compelling addition to the lore.


The second file contains information on a civilization kind of lost - the Ildari. A vast star-spanning empire that has been subject to a cataclysm, much like Warhammer 40 K's empire, it still looms strong, if not as powerful as before - having mastered space travel, the Ildari may make for a cool addition to one's world, especially since the Grand Stair as an alternative (including the opposition that uses it) may very well see a massive conflict brewing...awesome! Especially since proper mechanics for Ildari supplement the information provided -secret realms, arrays and cosmos make for great additions for the DM to weave stories around!


The third file kicks off with an amusing rant on the cliché of an evil overlord who called himself "Harbinger" - alas, the irreverent tone of the narrator is only half justified - unlike many similar pseudo-villains that think they're big shots until a Gossamer Lord/Lady puts them in their place, this guy actually had a very powerful patron - an entity called Matekai. This entity gobbles up world. Yes. And the irreverent tone might be justified, but on the other hand, this creature may be a Typhonian...or something completely different.


Speaking of different (and to me, profoundly frightening) - Basta. A plant that controls the biome of its whole world, the size of a town, which must have consumed an entity of significant power, receiving impossible knowledge. Worse, its strange psychology makes for a difficult decision on whether it is benign or simply amoral...and it's rooting on other planets.... shudders


The modification Basta-controlled for worlds and attributes for lesser and greater basta are provided.


A total of 4 diverse mini-hooks of outstanding Black Files are also provided before we're introduced to the Black Office -and the caretaker of the files, one lady Kitabu, fully portrayed in all her glory as an NPC servant of Lucien.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the pdf comes studded with GLORIOUS full-color artwork of the highest quality. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


It is, in one word, ASTOUNDING how many awesome ideas Rob Donoghue has managed to cram into these pages - the content herein is universally inspiring, top-notch, and each and every Black File quoted herein can fuel an adventure, perhaps even a campaign. This book is one brilliant, superb supplement full of awesome ideas and should be considered not only a great buy for LoGaS-fans, but also for any DMs looking for inspiration (or simply a good read!) beyond what one usually receives in pdfs.


Final verdict? A must-buy LoGaS-pdf, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lucien's Guide: The Black Files (Diceless)
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