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Warrior Prestige Archetype: The Frenzied Liberator
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2015 09:26:12
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What are Prestige Archetypes? Well, I reviewed the whole first series, so here's the tl;dr-version: They are prestige classes blended with one (or more) base-class(es) to result in a new, 20-level-class - much like you had modified the base class with an archetype. Get it? Yeah, not a hard concept to grasp, is it? Now personally, I use Prestige Classes with an emphasis on the PRESTIGE-component, archetypes more like a career path, but this differs wildly from how PrCs are handled in most cases. Hence, e.g. the PA: Assassin from the first subscription was pretty much a godsend for my party. But can this one stand up to or surpass its first series?



So, if the title wasn't ample clue, the frenzied liberator would be a combo of the barbarian and the liberator PrC. As such, the class receives full BAB-progression, d12, good fort-saves, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor and shields.



At first level, the class receives fast movement and rage (the latter scaling up to greater, tireless mighty rage at 11th, 17th and 20th level, respectively) and 2nd level delivers uncanny dodge, 5th improved uncanny dodge.3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the class receives Trap Sense (getting progressively better, of course.) Starting at 4th level, these bonuses are also applied to saves vs. poisons, tying both abilities together in a neat way - like it more than the base PrC's solution of fixed numbers. At 6th level, this PA's version of lockbreaker instead applies the trap sense bonus on Str-checks to break down thing, on attacks versus objects and on Escape Artist-checks to escape bonds etc. - once again, a much smoother solution than the PrC (and thankfully, more efficient).

Speaking of "like it more" - at 2nd level, the class receives "To the Rescue" - when raging, all allies within 30 ft. receive a +4 morale bonus on Escape Artist-checks and to saves versus fear effects - much cooler and more organic than the PrC's clunky version of said ability. At 7th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the frenzied liberator receives DR, at 8th level a bonus feat...and at 10th level, the silent sunder ability - make no more noise while breaking chains, whether by sundering or strength-checks. Two thumbs up!



At 12th level, these guys may ignore *A LOT* of hardness and 14th level frenzied liberators receive +4 to will-saves to resist enchantment spells. Steely Resolve's wording is actually more precise than in the PrC. At 16th level, darkvision-extension may be a bit late to the party, but the 18th level ability to break objects as swift actions ROCKS. Picture me going full blown Arnie: "AI VIL BREIK EFRYZING YOU OUWN!" Like it! As a capstone, casting freedom of movement 1/day at full CL may not be too impressive - but being subject to it without it being dispellable/there being any option to counter it - permanently...well, that's nice!



The pdf sports FCOs for the core races as well as for the avoodim, though here, a couple of glitches have crept in - the FCO for half-elves speak of low-light conditions when the usual terminology refers to "dim light" etc. and the ones for elves lacks the "ft." behind the one - yeah, nitpicks and in both cases, you know what was meant, but still. Also: While humans can reduce fatigue after rage, that becomes useless with tireless rage. Here, a high-level alternative/trade-in would have been nice.



The pdf closes with the traditional NPC-builds for 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level, but this time around, we also receive a nice, aptly-written background-story for the NPC - nice, as it renders teh character more than numbers!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches beyond the level of the FCO-nitpicks. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.



I expected to not like this pdf. I absolutely LOATHE the Liberator-PrC. I think it's a classic example of boring, bad design that tarnishes a cool idea. The concept is great, the PrC...not so much. Enter Carl Cramér's take on the trope and know what - seeing how much I dislike the framework, I have to admit to liking what he has done with the less than stellar pieces he worked with. The tying of abilities together renders the class smoother in execution and the unique, new abilities can be considered pretty much fun enablers that render the base concept underlying the assumptions of the PrC more valid. The Frenzied Liberator resounds with the trope of the freedom-loving barbarian and should be considered superior in style and execution when compared to the sum of the parts used to build it. That being said, I would have loved stealth-enhancing, perhaps scaling methods of silent liberation sooner. Still, as written a solid installment in the series and well worth a recommendation as a good 4 star-file.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: The Frenzied Liberator
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: The Celestial Knight
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/13/2015 06:29:56
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What are Prestige Archetypes? Well, I reviewed the whole first series, so here's the tl;dr-version: They are prestige classes blended with one (or more) base-class(es) to result in a new, 20-level-class - much like you had modified the base class with an archetype. Get it? Yeah, not a hard concept to grasp, is it? Now personally, I use Prestige Classes with an emphasis on the PRESTIGE-component, archetypes more like a career path, but this differs wildly from how PrCs are handled in most cases. Hence, e.g. the PA: Assassin from the first subscription was pretty much a godsend for my party. But can this one stand up to or surpass its first series?



The Celestial Knight is based on the PrC of the same name with parent classes cavalier and ranger. The class receives full BAB-progression, good fort-saves , d10, 4+Int skills per level and the class must be within one step of the patron deity. The Celestial Knight receives full armor and weapon proficiency (light, medium, heavy armor + shields and simple and martial weapons). 1st level celestial knights receive favored enemy as well as tactician. 2nd level celestial knights may choose from a list of defensively-themed bonus feats and learn an additional feat every 4 levels thereafter. 2nd level celestial knights may also add half their favored enemy bonus to saves versus spells and effects of the favored enemy. 3rd level celestial knights receive +1/3 class level as bonus to AC and CMD versus undead and at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, we're in for a bonus teamwork-feat. At 7th level, these guys treat AoOs versus undead and against spellcasters when casting necromancy/evil-spells not as counting against the limit per round. Powerful, but specific enough.



9th level celestial knights becomes even more adept at thwarting necromancy/death-spells andundead spellcasters expecially will be afraid of these guys - against them, the knights receive Disruptive and Spellbreaker. Yeah. Ouch. AT 13th level, these guys may dispel aforementioned spell effects as part of their melee attacks, with a caster level equal to total character level - interesting choice not to go for class level here, but in this case, I'm okay with it. 17th level celestial knights may force concentration rerolls and as a capstone, they may 1/day as a swift action for 1 minute go into super-form, receiving a blinding shield, a cloak of resistance+5 (in addition to other properties!) and turning the sword wielded as if subject to the holy sword spell. Interesting super-form capstone.



Alternate celestial knights may instead focus on aberrations, fey, outsiders etc., coming with their own associated spell schools. The pdf comes with solid FCOs for the core-races and the dhosari and we end the pdf with a sample NPC build for levels 1, 5, 10 and 15



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.



Carl Cramér's Celestial Knight doesn't have an easy heritage - I don't particularly like anti-x-classes when they're too geared towards stamping out a specific type of foe. That being said, mechanically, the celestial knight prestige archetype does a pretty good job at representing the hunter of necromancers/undead casters and tackling a lich or the like with one of these guys will be at least slightly less frightening. The defensive focus and teamwork/spell-sabotage combination of options renders the celestial knight a pretty solid anti-caster class, though definitely one that would have benefited from either a way to improve saves or for quicker movement - after all, what use is an anti-caster brute that can't catch up to the caster? Now I am aware that this would have went beyond the design-intent of this installment, but I still feel it would have benefited the class. As written, this is a solid entry in the series and well worth a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the solid craftsmanship and the relatively good conversion of an utterly bland base PrC. Kudos!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: The Celestial Knight
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Cavaliers of Porphyra [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/11/2015 04:45:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' class-expansions tied into the Porphyra-setting clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Unlike quite a few cavalier orders presented in different supplements, the ones herein tend to sport quite compelling bits of fluff, but does the crunch stand up to this? Well, the first order would be the order of Murasakishi (aka Order of the Purple Stone) reduces the DR of targets they challenge by 1, +1 for every 4 levels. At 8th level, the class learns to expend either a challenge or use of resolve to roll all damage dice THRICE once during the minute following the expenditure of the resource. The choice can be made after the initial roll, while the level 15 ability nets you weapons that always count as porphyrite and count as in the most favorable condition when subject to e.g. the effects of water mastery and similar elemental mastery tricks. Okay, ONE glance should show you two things - a) this is intended for samurai as well as cavaliers. b) The order obviously has NO IDEA how the samurai works. The triple-damage trick is VERY powerful and paying for it with your challenge, arguably the most powerful resource of the cavalier, feels okay...but then the resolve-caveat hits. This nets the samurai +1/day use + 1 for every two levels, vastly expanding the amount of times per day the ability can be used. And yes, in my book, that is a significant issue. Beyond these, the wording of the abilities could have used tighter editorial control - while still working, they feel significantly less streamlined than they ought to.



The order of regret (tied in with the avoodim-race), can extend the shared agony racial ability on targets without expending the daily uses - and know what? I like that idea! Sharing despair, additional AoOs of vengeance and the high-level ability to use AoOs to execute 1 attack per one that missed in the former round. Know what? Both the wording is more concise and I do like the mechanics here. Powerful, but interesting. The order of the mind for the naturally psionic qi'tar receive temporary power points upon issuing challenges and receive a limited array of psychic warrior powers. Oddly, the information on manifester level and power pool-size is in the skill-section, where is does NOT belong. Annoying/sloppy - the class invents its own ability-class: (Psi). This does not exist and should be Su, Ex, etc. - or better yet, adhere to Ultimate Psionic's (Ps)-default.



The order of the blood for the Dragonblooded - whenever these guys issue a challenge, they receive a "resist score" against the damage of a type of breath weapon the characters possesses. Alternatively, the cavalier receives a save-bonus. These guys receive racial bonus feats and are adept dragon hunters. The order of the crimson lance receives better defense while mounted in challenges. Interesting, but wonky in wording - the cavalier receives endure elements, but only until the cavalier takes damage equal to or above 1/2 cavalier class level. If it collapses, the ability resets after 12 hours. The ability is interesting, but the wording is pretty wobbly. High-level abilities include troop-inspiration and DR.



There is also a fully-depicted quadruped radish-like polar, intelligent PLANT as a new type of mount - and they are odd and glorious. Kudos! Plant companions and full advancement stats are provided - before we're introduced to Cavalier "Disorders." Disorders are a variant of orders, with an emphasis of more choice - said choice, though is paid for by lost access to the tactician abilities. At 1st level, these guys universally receive 1/day reroll, +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. The ability can also stand in for the tactician tree for the purpose of archetypal replacement...interesting! Three sample disorders are provided: Infinite, Perfect and Hoof. The infinite disorder contains even more rerolls or access to hero points etc. - and even a rod of wonder-like burst. The Erkunae Disorder of the Perfect, generally receives thematically fitting abilities for the fluff of the...but the wording. Urgh. At 15th level, the class is forced to expend all skills into an odd Profession skill to receive a cloud dragon mount - sans stats/mount-progression stats or proper ability interaction. The order of the hoof receives stampede, which, alas, is mostly useless for single medium creatures - especially since the cavalier, NOT his mount receives the ability. Later, summon abilities that can conjure forth the necessary creatures might help.



We also receive 4 feats - one to wear horseshoes (all but required for aforementioned order, since it gets rid of the rider/mount-distinction), aid as an SP, getting rid of mount-death-downtime - okay, I guess. level 1 construct mounts, on the other hand - ouch and too strong in comparison. 4 new magic items, including horseshoes, increased leadership scores via helmets and a cursed banner - all pretty interesting. A type of surcoat that nets you the challenge of an order mmight be considered problematic for some.



We also receive a sample level 1 character with a construct mount.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are not bad. On a rules-level...well. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 2-column standard with a nice full-color piece I did expect to find herein. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Perry Fehr, why do you do this to me? I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that I adore Perry's ideas - he is a talented designer with an obviously brimming imagination. He also has a gift for iconic imagery and often, great ideas. I love the choice the disorders provide...but there's no way past it - the crunch herein is almost universally non-standard in wording, rendering a lot of the abilities slightly more opaque than they ought to be. Now yes, the matter of fact remains that most still remain operable. They do deviate in various ways from how such abilities are expressed in other supplements, generating more ambiguities than necessary. While some abilities specify the caster level of SPs, others don't - I could go on. I'd love to call it by any other name, but the pdf, at times, feels sloppy regarding the rules.

Which is all the more galling in the very presence of the cool concepts herein. With a good development, a concise streamlining of the rules-language and a fix of the couple of balance-concerns herein, this pdf could have scored 5 stars + seal of approval. Some abilities *do* show that the author CAN deliver concise crunch sans hiccups. Alas and alack, as much as I enjoy the ideas herein, the flaws still remain pronounced and at times, annoying. Hence, I will settle on a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounding up to 3 because I can't bring myself to rate this down - its ideas are too good and if you're willing to fix the wording yourself and do some balance-streamlining, GET THIS - for moderately competent DMs willing to spend some time on ironing out the rough spots, this can be a glorious supplement. I do hope, though, that Perry Fehr manages to keep the concise crunch up in future releases, without the lapses that haunt this pdf. I know he can do it. He has done so in the past. His imaginative concepts and imagination definitely deserve the care...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cavaliers of Porphyra [PFRPG]
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Purple Duck Storeroom: The Legend of the Melusine Wife
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2015 04:38:03
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of PDG's low-cost oddball series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 3/4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 6 1/4 pages of content...so, what is this about?



Well, first of all, this is a legend - and a race. the melusine take the traditional take on the aquatic lady and her jealous suitors and translates it to a race, divided along the gender line by an extreme sexual and ethical dimorphism. Whereas female melusines are good fey (CR 5) - they can change from mermaid-like mode of propulsion to legs and back and they are nigh impossible to scry. At the same time, they are susceptible to being watched while they change - being caught in the act can stun them for MINUTES. Yeah, ouch. at the same time, though, they can grant various modes of propulsion and monster abilities to others via a touch, a transformation that can theoretically also be used offensively.



On the flip-side, the males of the species, the CR 6 nicors, have a foul temper indeed and may plant suggestions with a mere glance, but only when meeting the gaze through water. Unlike their brides, these guys also have a unique weakness to mirrors - and no ability to change into a less conspicuous form. Now here's the cincher - female melusines mating with males of their species always produce males, while liaisons with humans, elves etc. result in female offspring. This renders inter-species relationships a necessity for the continuation of the species, but seeing the nasty temperament of the males, one that is risky indeed for the father-to-be.



The pdf also provides two (3, really) magical items. The first would be rings of the melusine, which help when stretching the truth/lying, while also providing a reroll versus enchantment for female rings, 1/week nondetection for the male ring. The second item nets a bonus to Perception and AC while underwater or flying and 1/day alarm.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the one-column digest-style standard of the series and the pdf does sport a beautiful full-page full-color artwork - nice! Speaking of which - the pdf also features full bookmarks, in spite of its brevity. Kudos for going the extra mile!



Perry Fehr's Melusine take the iconic dimorphism and cultural trope of the mermaids and translated it more than well into PFRPG-rules - the unique weaknesses and signature abilities breathe the spirit of fairy-tales of odd fey-rules, of unearthly accords. In one sentence - this is a truly inspired little mini-bestiary. The basic racial constellation is narrative gold and is suffused with potential galore. All in all, a great little file for a more than fair price - well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: The Legend of the Melusine Wife
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Purple Mountain VII: Domain of the Hidden God
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/06/2015 06:14:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The 7th installment of Purple Duck Games series of glorious Purple Mountain modules clocks in at 37 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page RSD, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look and check out whether the series can retain its track-record!



What is Purple Mountain, you ask? It's one of the most underrated adventure-series currently available for pathfinder. A series of classic dungeon-modules, they are innovative, with each level sporting a unique concept and tight atmosphere. They also can be run as stand-alone modules and easily be inserted as dungeons of their own or as side-levels in other mega-dungeons. They also have consistently, for the last 5 issues, scored superb ratings from yours truly, so let's take a look! This installment of the series is intended for 6th level characters.



But before we do...the following is an adventure module and as such, it contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.



All right, still here? There once was a CALL and a BEING followed it - it became something, a very incarnation of titanic artifice...and it plunged towards the patchwork world of Porphyra, heeding the calling. It allied with the elemental beings and was struck down by gods surpassing the power of the god being, smashed down and bereft of its servants and portfolio, it slumbers.



Enter the PCs. No, literally. This dungeon-level feels weird - gravity-reversals, strange pipes, daemons and clockwork adversaries - something odd is going on and as the PCs research the strange place, the realization might dawn on them - they are threading through the very body of the forgotten deity! Piecing the clues together is not necessarily a simple thing, with a sudden influx of madness accompanying the first utterance of the name of the fallen giant - alongside a limited wish.



The challenges awaiting include a trap of eternal glyphs that force the targets to develop a deadly obsession with them and suspiradaemons (rendered in GORGEOUS full-color art that cover one page) are deadly new adversaries. Have I mentioned the crystal dragon that serves as a dormant heart of the colossus, odd, drifting globes, different read-aloud texts for different vision-types for certain areas... yes, this is a massively cool dungeon.



Oh, and it comes with the very real possibility that the PCs awaken the nascent godling. While still inside him. Let's just say that the PCs probably don't want that, but honestly, this makes for a glorious campaign-changer, should you choose to pursue this storyline. Alternatively, simply ignoring the possibility of awakening eliminates all issues for the DM and further quarantine and preventing the awakening of the godling can spawn countless adventures.



The pdf comes with extensive statblocks for all creatures, including quite a few pretty awesome new ones, new magic items and spells, a full portfolio of the god, information on conducting soul trades, two religion-traits and massive tables that list XP and treasure by rooms, rendering that component of the module very easy to run.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed quite a few typo-level glitches and similar small nuisances. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly two-column standard and the artworks deserve special mention - from gorgeous full page artworks to smaller ones, the full color art is truly beautiful. Cartography is functional and nice and comes with a player-friendly version of the map (yep - no secret doors - two thumbs up!) to cut out and hand out to the players.



Perry Fehr knows his adventures. This module had me grin from ear to ear. There is not a single boring encounter to be found in this dungeon and actually running the module turned out to be even cooler than anticipated - the challenges of the rooms in combination with the odd nature of the dungeon, the research etc. PLUS the challenging adversaries culminate in a module that perfectly breathes the spirit of old-school awesomeness and hearkens back to a time, where the truly wondrous could be found in the caverns and complexes below the world. Add to that the optional, massive ramifications of this module, which could be used to introduce technology, clockwork/dark tapestry-related material or e.g. ethermagic and similar uncommon magic organically into a given world, and we have a module that offers vast possibilities, but does not enforce them, thus allowing for maximum DM-control.



Now I won't lie - editing is simply not up to perfection. There are quite a few glitches. There are instances of e.g. the text mentioning "missile attacks" when it ought to reference "ranged attacks" in general. There are problems like that in here that would have benefited from a further clean-up and were this a crunch-book, I'd complain much, much louder about these issues. It's not. It's a module. What I expect from a module are great stories, intriguing dungeons, cool monsters, deadly challenges, a concise atmosphere, etc. And in that regard, this pdf more than delivers.



What we have here is fun, uncommon, glorious and more daring in scope than MANY modules out there. While I can't rate this a full five stars, I can rate it 4.5 stars, round it up and still slap my seal of approval on it. Why? Because I *loved* this module and its flair, because I will always value courage and innovation over blandness and mechanical perfection.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Mountain VII: Domain of the Hidden God
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Prestige Archetype: Blood Mystic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/30/2015 19:07:29
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



The Blood Mystic base class receives d6 HD, 2+Int skills per level, good will-saves, proficiency with club, dagger, heavy + light crossbow and quarterstaff as well as light armor - the latter does make the Blood Mystic incur arcane spell failure when donned, though - ALL with somatic components, not jsut the arcane ones.



Yeah, you probably guessed it - the blood mystic is the sorceror/oracle theurge class to the mystic theurge's wizard/cleric. Blood Mystic spellcasting is governed by cha exclusively and is spontaneous; cure/inflict spells are added to the list. Akin to the mystic theurge, the class utilizes one array of spells instead of two different lists, choosing freely from the cle/oracle and sorc/wiz list and whether to learn spells that exist as either version as divine or arcane. At 1st level, an oracle mystery is picked, with one revelation and mystery spell progression at 2nd level and every even level thereafter, and yes, also a curse.



However, the bloodline abilities are less pronounced than those of sorcerors - they only receive the 1st level power, class skill, bloodline spells and bloodline arcana. It should also be noted that spell synthesis is this class' capstone - no apotheosis, no final revelation - that's the price to pay for the full spellcasting progression.



The pdf comes with solid FCOs for the core-races and sample characters at 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Carl Cramér's Blood Mystic is the better balanced Mystic Theurge - without minor balancing hiccups, the class provides spellcasting flexibility at the cost of a whole array of unique abilities that define sorcerors and oracles; Now you might argue that the flexibility is worth it and you may be right, but then again, revelations and bloodline powers tend to be the "how cool is that"-moments of the classes. With spell synthesis down to capstone status, I can't find it in me to complain about this - while I'm not a huge fan of the theurge-concept, I can't find a fault with this one. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars -respect and reverence!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: Blood Mystic
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Prestige Archetype: The Arcane Trickster
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/21/2015 03:17:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 8 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



The arcane trickster in its base class guise receives d8, 4+Int skills per level (OUCH), proficiency with simple weapons + hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow and short sword, but not with any armor (which interferes with casting) as well as prepared spellcasting from the wiz/sorc-list of up to 6th level.The class has 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. Spellcasting begins at first level with only 3 cantrips + 1 1st level spell and both scribe scroll and trapfinding are relegated to 2nd level. The signature ranged legerdemain is granted at 1st level, though - thankfully!



At 3rd level, evasion and sneak attack are gained, with the latter scaling up by +1d6 every 2 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +9d6. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the arcane trickster receives a rogue talent, with a list of thematically appropriate talents being provided - this list also constituting a potential way for DMs to balance the class versus the base rogue - just limit the class to the talents provided. Now what's pretty odd - arcane bond is gained at 6th level - which isn't weird balance-wise, but the additional imposed requirement to make concentration-checks to cast sans the object makes no sense in this case as opposed to regular casters gaining it at 1st level - so far the arcane trickster could cast without it, so where's the dependency coming from? See, that's one issue with re-appropriating such components and one that imho should be addressed.



Tricky Spells (free silent and still spell) is learned at 6th level 1/day, +1 every 3 levels thereafter. Impromptu Sneak Attack is gained at 10th level, 2/day at 14th level. On a nitpicky side, the ability works with ranged attacks and thus circumvents the usual range-restriction for sneak attack.



At 14th level, surprise spells are gained, with sneak attack of the spell's damage type being added - the original's potential ambiguity regarding the use of magic missile etc. unfortunately remaining. To spare you the research - it's only added to one target of AoE-spells, one magic missile, etc. - no spamming of sneak attack. And then there's the potential confusing with spells that can have a crit modifier greater than x2 - while there aren't many, they exist - so sneak attack bonus damage x2 or x3?



At 16th level, advanced talents enter the fray - now so far, I've kept quiet about talents and they do represent an interesting selection from both Paizo-core and 3pps, including the advanced talent option to temporarily render a sneaked target incapable of executing AoOs. Per se, a cool array, including less costs for trapsmithing hide in plain sight and dispelling attacks. At 18th level, the arcane trickster can become greater invisible as a free action as a spell-like ability for class level rounds/day.



The pdf comes with FCOs for the core races and a sample NPC-build at 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Carl Cramér's arcane trickster can be considered one of those prestige archetypes that immensely benefit from being changed to 20-level-classes - let's face it, making the arcane trickster a PrC was always a sucky move, forcing the player to play two totally disparate classes before finally getting to do what s/he wanted in the first place. So yeah, I *really* want to love this prestige archetype - it's generally pretty well-crafted, but it does have some rough edges - like the lack of a capstone. The weird arcane object-design choice or the impromptu sneak attack-range glitch, the lack of streamlined wording for surprise spells...all of these conspire to drag down what generally is a great class - and usually, I'd go 3 stars. BUT, this is the arcane trickster I always wanted - pretty strong and capable, perhaps too much so in certain campaigns. I'd certainly advise DMs allowing this one to restrict its talent-selection vs. rogues in order to maintain some reason for the latter to exist. That being said, I do consider this a pretty good, if not perfect take on the arcane trickster, well worth a final rating of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Arcane Trickster
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Prestige Archetype: The Chronicler
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2015 15:35:28
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 11 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



This prestige archetype receives 3/4 BAB-progression, d8 HD, good ref- and will-saves, 8+Int skills per level, proficiency with traditional rogue weapons and light armors as well as shields (the latter two sans arcane3 spell failure), spontaneous spellcasting via cha from the bard-spell-list of up to 4th level (though the pdf has a very confusing typo, referring up to level 5!). The class also receives a variant of bardic performance of 4+ cha-mod rounds per day, +2 rounds per class level. At second level, a doom--like debuff is added with Grim Tales - yeah, the class abilities of the chonicler have been properly streamlined into one ability-group - kudos!



Alas, the crazy prepared ability Deep Pockets has not been fixed - RAW, the chronicler can still draw forth fitting keys for locks - a caveat to further prohibit the acquisition of items the chronicler cannot reasonably have foreseen when packing/shopping for unspecified items should be added here. Greater Epic Tales has been moved to the now appropriate 13th level and the overall dispersal of bardic/chronicler abilities is solid indeed.



As always, we also receive FCOs for the core races as well as sample characters for 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are still good, though less tight than in most of the series, with slightly misleading glitches here and there. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Carl Cramér's take on the pathfinder chronicler is a more than solid revision of the original PrC - rewiring the abilities into the bardic-style performance is something overdue and the streamlining of the class works pretty well. That being said, this pdf is also not perfect - with the streamlining, interaction with feats and abilities that modify bardic performance, availability of bardic masterpieces etc. - there are quite a few rules-synergies that need to be addressed. Now I consider this installment one of the better in the series, mainly due to the pdf providing more proper advancement/revisions of the basic PrC, but at the same time, there are quite a bunch of different options that should be addressed for this rough diamond to truly shine -as written, this is a slightly more worldly/skill-focused bard than the regular bard, a solid take indeed, though not a perfect one. My final verdict hence will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up by a margin to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Chronicler
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Prestige Archetype: The Mystic Theurge
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/15/2015 06:39:40
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



The 20-level base-class Mystic Theurge receives d6, 2+Int skills, 1/2 BAB-progression, good will-saves and proficiency with simple weapon and the deity's favored weapon, if eligible. Now here's the cincher - unlike Kobold Press' take on the Mystic Theurge, this one has ONE spell-list of prepared spells to choose from - however, arcane spells are governed by int, divine spells by wis. Bonus spells are governed by the respective attributes, which means that e.g. a theurge with a high wis-score, but not so high int could only prepare divine spells as bonus spells - these are NOT cumulative. A specific explanation that they're not would have helped here - sans close reading and watching spell-list/bonus spell interaction, that would have been impossible to determine - so this one component is somewhat opaque. If spells show up on both lists, the theurge may select in which manner to cast them. As a prepared caster, the mystic theurge requires a spellbook.



At first level, the class chooses whether to get an arcane bonded object (which can be a holy symbol!) or a familiar (auto-update to improved familiar at 7th level), spontaneous conversion of divine spells into cure/inflict spells, the cleric's domains-ability or a wizard's arcane school. The spells and powers granted by the domains feel a bit too much when compared to the other options, though.

1/day at 5th level, +1/day every 5 levels thereafter, a mystic theurge can cast two spells with the same casting time at once, as long as one is divine and one arcane, increasing CL to overcome SR and imposing a penalty on the target of the dual spells.



As always, we receive FCOs for the core-races and sample NPC-builds for 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I am not a fan of theurge-spellcasting in general, but for what it's worth, this class is pretty solid - The decreased amount of daily spells (max 4 per level sans bonus spells, spell-casting progression totaling out 3 levels behind full blown cleric and wizard, the mystic theurge pay for versatility with depth and oomph - there is simply less total spellcasting, but what's here is extremely flexible. Unlike Kobold Press' Theurge, this class does not fall into the trap of attempting to balance too many spell-lists and maintains a tad bit more "blasts" before it's empty. Now the mystic theurge may not be my cup of coffee, but if you've been looking for a truly high-flexibility caster, then this is the go-to guy. Apart from the balance concern regarding domains (that should AT LEAST be just one domain...), no issues - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded grudgingly up to 5 for the purpose of this platform - congratulations to author Carl Cramér.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Mystic Theurge
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Prestige Archetype: The Loremaster
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/14/2015 07:01:53
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



The Loremaster's Prestige Archetype version receives d6, 1/2 BAB-progression, good will-saves, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with club, daggers, crossbows and the quarterstaff. They also receive full int-based prepared spellcasting from the sorc/wiz-list. At first level, loremasters have to choose between arcane school (divination) or an arcane bond and receive skill focus as a bonus feat, applicable only to a knowledge skill of their choice.Loremasters also add half their level to all knowledge skill checks and may make them untrained - I guess, this should be class level since they stack with benefits gained from bardic knowledge et al.?



At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the loremaster receives a secret, with level + int-mod determining the secrets the loremaster may choose. Here, the prestige archetype fails to address an issue in the original mechanic, namely the interaction with permanently int-enhancing items - since the qualification for the secrets is based partially on int-losing access to said int-enhancement - will it block out the secret or not? I assume no due to the rules regarding permanent bonuses and feat qualification, but I'm honestly not sure. Now granted, this is a nitpick, but I still would have loved to see this addressed.



Bonus languages at 6th and 10th level, better item identification via spellcraft and at 18th level, a duplication of legend lore or analyze dweomer 1/day makes for a nice high-level ability.



The pdf comes with FCOs for all core races and sample characters of 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no truly significant glitches apart from minor glitches and lack of italicization of two spells. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf sports no bookmarks, which is a slight comfort-detriment.



This pdf has a hard task - let's be honest, the loremaster always was a pretty lame PrC without much identity - a book/knowledge-focused caster? Yeah, the wizard already hits that note pretty well. With the new tricks at the disposal of the wizard like arcane discoveries, the loremaster looks even more obsolete - both in design philosophy and concept. Author Carl Cramér has provided a solid take on a class that has been swallowed by time - try as I might, even when going for a divination-focused full caster, I'd probably prefer the flexibility of arcane discoveries or the versatility of bards over the rather dry and linear loremaster. This is a perfect example of a prestige archetype in need of something new, something more - here, a codification/design-change akin to the magus-streamlining the arcane archer received, would have definitely been in order. There is nothing particularly wrong with this installment, but it lacks the accomplishment the PA-installments on Eldritch Knight/Hunter represented, of rewiring spell-progression etc. Instead, this comes off as a wizard bereft of the cool, unique tools PFRPG introduced since the inception of the original PrC. This is an okay take on the loremaster, but in no way required and it does not succeed in truly making the class more compelling, unlike many other PA-installments. My final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Loremaster
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Warrior Prestige Archetype Subscription (PFRPG)
by Curtis G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2015 15:22:42
This review is for the Golden Legionnaire specifically - DTRPGdoesn't seem to let you review a product withing a subscription you purchased.

isclaimer this review is based on reading the material, not in specifically playtesting it.

Golden Legionnaire is the next offering in the Purple Duck Games Prestige Warrior Archetype line. They previously had a similar group of general prestige, while this one focuses on fighter types.

These classes are a 20 level base class that incorporates elements of the classes going into the prestige class as well as the prestige class itself. This allows a player to play something that feels like the prestige class from level one; something I think as a great idea.

Golden Legionnaire is based on Fighter and Ranger going into the title prestige class.

At first level the Golden Legionnaire gains Defy Danger, one of the main abilities of the prestige class. 2nd level gets intercept. This really sets the tone for what the class is right away. As the class progresses more of the prestige class abilities come into play, as well as armor training from the fighter. Other abilities include being able to target an enemy that attacks an ally and gain bonus to hit and damage, giving AoO to those that use a 5 foot step, and improved aid another.

As a comparison to the Edition-which-shall-not-be-named – if you were looking for something that feels like one of the Defender classes, this is a great Pathfinder approach to similar feel.

Overall the class is well balanced to provide a very defensive fighter class, with quite a number of interesting abilities so it doesn't get samey to play.

It includes a sample golden legionnaire at 1st, 5th and 10th. A 7 page PDF and has bookmarks. Layout is easy to read and follow.

Overall a very solid class, but nothing reaches out to say "PLAY ME NOW!" 4/5.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype Subscription (PFRPG)
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Prestige Archetype: The Shadow Monk
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2015 04:30:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



So, what is the shadow monk? Well remember the shadow dancer PrC? Two classes were predestined for it - rogue and monk; Well, since the Prestige Archetype Shadow Dancer is the roguish one, this one is the shadow dancer/monk-combo-built. As such, the class receives proficiency with monk weapons, have a wis-based scaling AC-bonus, 3/4 BAB-progression, all good saves and scale unarmed attack damage up to 2d10, with the tables for small/large monk damage outputs thankfully provided as well. From level 1, flurry of blows is part of the picture, 2nd level evasion - no complaints there. However, the third level once again provides hide in plain sight in its strongest variant a couple of levels too early for my tastes. Unlike the roguish shadowdancer, the shadow monk powers his spell-like abilities with ki and gains them earlier at 6th, 8th, 15th and 18th level, receiving 2 options per level. Alas, the spell-like ability/spells-confusion of the shadow dancer also haunts the shadow monk.



Shadow jump and high-level tricks like timeless body, empty body etc. remain and the capstone, once again, is an apotheosis, while the signature quivering palm is gained at 15th level.



The pdf comes with FCOs for the core races and sample NPC-builds for 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Carl Cramér's Shadow Monk is haunted by the very same issues as the shadow dancer, with perhaps one notable difference - where the shadow dancer may have seemed like an upgrade for rogues (though not as cool an upgrade as the stellar Prestige Archetype Assassin), the shadow monk fails to deliver that - partially due to the weakness of the monk base-class and its, at least per default, utterly bland ability-progression. More so than any other combination before, these guys could have used some unique tricks to set them aside. The ki-powered shadow abilities actually decrease the appeal of the class - some of the coolest and most efficient feats and options for the monk require the expenditure of ki and further diminishing that resource makes in this case for a poor design decision that further limits the options instead of providing much needed breadth. Add to that the minor glitch and very early hide in plain sight and we have perhaps one of the weakest installment so far in the series. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 due to this being too good to deserve a two-star flurry of rating-slapping.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Shadow Monk
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Prestige Archetype: The Duelist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/07/2015 03:05:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



The Duelist receives d10, 2+int skills per level, full BAB-progression, good ref- and fort-saves and proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light armors and shields. While only lightly armored and wielding a manufactured weapon, the duelist adds up to class level Int-mod to AC and CMD and adds class level to damage when attacking with light or one-handed piercing weapons, but only against targets with discernible anatomies. Additionally, the prestige archetype receives weapon finesse at first level and dodge and bravery at 2nd.



At 3rd and 13th level, initiative increases by +2 respectively. At 3rd level, parry is gained - and well, it's different from what you imagined. The prestige archetype does not need to forego attacks to executes parry anymore, with the maximum number of parries per round now being governed by the total class levels of the prestige archetype, scaling up to 4 parries per round at 18th level. While the size-discrepancy penalties are still here, the mechanic still relies on competing attack rolls. Now as an interesting balance mechanic for AoOs, the duelist becomes staggered on the round following after executing one or more parries - which would be per se cool, were there no ring of ferocious actions, which allows you to negate that condition 5/day as a free action - for only 3000 GP. I'd advise DMs to disallow this item when using duelists. Another issue is that the class does not specify whether its parries can be used to prevent combat maneuvers - while logic dictates they can, the ability does not specify so. Personally, I am not a fan of d20 vs. d20 in Pathfinder, mainly due to the discrepancy and role of luck in the comparison of dice, but math-wise, as far as comparing rolls go, this still works, so no penalty rating-wise.



At 5th level, duelists may execute AoOs after successful parries and increased ref-saves, mobility, +int-mod AoOs per round (stacking with combat reflexes) -generally okay abilities. At high levels, AoOs versus any target who misses a defensively fighting/total defense-using duelist and AoOs versus withdrawing foes make for nice effects. At the highest levels, DR and additional, nasty effects for crits are added to the mix.



As always, we receive FCOs for core-races and a level 1, 5, 10 and 15 sample NPC-build.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



The Duelist-PrC is one of those anachronisms from the beginning of PFRPG, indebted to what amounts to obsolete rules-philosophy and 3.X remnants and thus, I was looking forward to this prestige archetype. The Duelist as re-envisioned by Carl Cramér herein makes for an interesting take and should generally be considered solid - I am not a fan of the parry mechanics, but at least they are not the horribly broken mess that was the PrC's original parrying - no longer being useless due to the separation from losing attacks, the parry-feature as provided herein is pretty strong. I am not a big fan of roll vs. roll, but generally, the prestige archetype can be considered pretty solid in its mechanics and at least, the scaling of roll vs. roll in this case is well-implemented. I'd probably be much more enthusiastic, had Dreadfox Games not covered the dexterous, smart combatant infinitely more challenging and cool with the superb Swordmaster. In direct comparison, the new duelist, mostly due to the abysmal heritage it had to face, is just a pretty defensive class without truly stunning tricks to pull off - not bad, but also far away from blowing me away.

This is definitely an improvement over the rather sad original PrC, but it still falls quite short of what it could have easily been - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Duelist
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Prestige Archetype: The Shadowdancer
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2015 04:40:28
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



First question - what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class - so no, these classes don't necessarily mean that you'll have a universal archetype (wouldn't have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don't have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don't want to play. So that's definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the "prestige"-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I'm not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.



Shadowdancers as a 20-level class receive d8, 6+Int skills, 3/4 BAB-progression, good ref-saves , proficiency with simple weapons, hand crossbow, rapier, shortbow, short sword, sap and light armor. They also begin play with sneak attack and increase sneak output by +1d6 every odd level to a maximum of +10d6 at 19th level. Shadowdancers receive trapfinding, evasion - the deal, and hide in plain sight at 2nd level. Yeah. Second. Level. While it requires 5 ft proximity to shadows, 10 ft. starting 5th level, that is VERY soon. If you play stealth by the book, that may be too soon - around 5th level makes for a better place for an ability this powerful, especially since it's not the terrain-based rogue variant, but rather the one that only requires shadows..

The base-class receives dodge at 4th level (yay?) as well as evasion, darkvision at 6th and mobility and improved uncanny dodge at 8th level (again, yay for mobility...).



At 10th level, the class becomes interesting, receiving a shadow pool equal to cha-mod (min 1) + 1 per level beyond 10. These points can be used to use silent image as a spell-like ability and every even level, a SPELL is added, with diverging point costs - while I *assume* that ought to be spell-like abilities, the pdf calls all but the first SPELLS - a massive glitch. Slippery Mind is as expected and the option to combine shadow step with stealth is a nice trick, especially since it's upgraded further later on. The capstone is essentially an apotheosis and yes, the iconic defensive roll is gained appropriately late, at 18th level.



The pdf provides FCOs for the core races and sample NPC-builds at 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



The shadowdancer is a weird class in that I always liked its flavor, but never the execution - it always felt subpar, bland - and the more sneak-themed shadow dancer herein is probably the better class, in spite of its minor rules hick-ups - the problem is, though, that by now both Rogue Genius Games' Shadow Assassin and Interjection Games' Edgewalker simply make for the more versatile, more unique executions of the concept.

Now don't get me wrong, Carl Cramér has done a neat job with what he had and I'll review this pdf under these circumstances, but the late auto-gains of weak feats, the ridiculously fast hide in plain sight, the flawed shadow pool - all of these conspire to somewhat drag this down. This is by far not bad, but neither is it awesome. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Shadowdancer
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Prestige Archetype: The Arcane Trickster
by Sarah C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2015 20:01:11
Breakdown: 1 page each for cover, credits & intro, and OGL statement + 5½ pages detailing the arcane trickster base class + ¼ page favored class bonuses + 2¼ pages for sample character at 1st, 5th, 10th, and 15th levels = 11 pages total.

Purple Duck's prestige archetypes are simply the familiar prestige classes converted into full 20-level base classes. The arcane trickster prestige archetype that originated in D&D 3.x and was updated in the Pathfinder core book has always appealed to many players wanting a sneakier, rogue-ish mage... but as implemented, has always lagged behind the other class options in magic power, physical combat prowess, and survivability. PDG's arcane trickster base class inherits a ¾ BAB, good Reflex and Will saves, a large number of class skills + 4 ranks/level, access to a number of rogue talents, sneak attack progression up to +9d6, and the prepared wizard spell list/spell from both its parents (rogue and wizard). It also has all the nifty trickster abilities from its prestige class sibling. Sounds good so far, right?

Well, sneak attack sounds good, but any rogue knows that you need a flat-footed or flanked opponent to get it. It's easier for an AT who can pop off invisibility and vanish spells, especially from a wand or scroll without needing a UMD check. But ATs, like rogues, normally need to be adjacent to an opponent to sneak attack, and that means the tough critter or melee-er will likely be counterattacking a still quite squishy arcane trickster. Worse, if you're attacking with weapons, you aren't casting spells, which should be your main attack option. The AT's best sneak attack option, surprise spells, doesn't kick in until 14th level, and it still requires the target to be flat-footed. Still, there are ways to make it work, but the AT player will need a cooperative party to help set up the SA opportunities (no Leeroy Jenkins need apply).

The main limitation the AT base class will feel are the spells. Spell level progression is the same as a bard or magus: you don't get 2nd level spells until your 4th character level, 3rd level spells unlock at 7th character level, etc. And unlike a magus or summoner, spells remain at same level as a wizard, so you and your party have to wait for haste and similar frequently-used/party favorite spells. But the biggie is your spell access caps at 6th level spells; that means no casting the 7th-9th heavy hitter spells. And since those spells aren't on your AT spell list, the AT PC will need to be UMDing to cast them from a scroll or staff, with all the hazards that involves.

While the arcane trickster prestige archetype has some limitations, a strategic player that avoids front-line combat can make this class shine. Purple Duck's Carl Cramér has done an admirable job stitching the best of two core classes and prestige class together into a well-balanced and fun whole. And heck, it's only $2, what more do you want?

4.5 out of 5 stars

(Full Disclosure: I developed a arcane tricker-inspired magus archetype, the spiderhawk, for Paizo Fans United's Wayfinder #10, a free download available from Paizo's webstore.)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prestige Archetype: The Arcane Trickster
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