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Kineticists of Porphyra
by John S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2016 14:11:07

A great expansion upon the Kineticist occult class, this title provides three new archetypes, each rather well balanced, as well as three new elements and a plethora or new wild talents for the new and pre-existing elements. That said it is, in some ways, odd. Those familiar with the Kineticist class will know that each element gains a movement-type utility wild talent at spell level third (level 6), but the three presented here do not gain their movement utilities until later. In addition, the Sound element does not seem to have one at all. That said, Light and Time, the other two elements, do have an exceptionally powerful movement ability, so perhaps this choice was implemented to balance the new options.


But that's just nitpicking. There are some balance issues present to be sure (the three new elements, while interesting, are also very weak in a lot of respects, especially Time) and they lack the "Saturation" features most of the original Kineticist elements have, which can make them an odd choice.


Still, despite that, Kineticists of Porphyra does open a lot of new potential for those interested in the class, and is very well written and organized for easy reading and navigation. I highly recommend anyone interested in the class to pick up this title; you'll be missing out on some great fun without it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra
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CE 6 - The Crimson Void
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2015 09:31:27

The Crimson Void is one of the most interesting RPG materials I've seen. The Crimson Void is not exactly an adventure; the Campaign Elements (CE...hehe) series is designed as drop-in content to any campaign world. TCV is something that can be weaved into a long-running campaign. It contains a few surprises that only insightful, or persistent, players will be able to dig up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CE 6 - The Crimson Void
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Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2015 23:43:23

Disclaimer of compensation: I received a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for my review. I received no other compensation, nor do I have any ties to Purple Duck Games.
Disclaimer of Tentativity: At the time I posted this review, this product is less than one year old. Thus, all opinions expressed in this review, and especially the long term rating, must be considered tentative.
This supplement clocks in a whopping 214 pages, including 209 page of content. After a brief introduction, we get 110 pages presenting overview of each of the 52 major region in the world of Porphyra. Yes, [i]52[/i] major regions. While each is given only a few pages, they are incredibly diverse and well written. Some of the regions are given more detail in separate, dedicated supplements.
Purple Duck Games has taken a unique route with Porphyra. Most RPG companies, even those who regularly use the Open Gaming Licesnse, have been very protective in keeping their fluff closed-content. Purple Duck Games has gone the opposite route and made the entirety of Porphyra open gaming content, including the gods, nations, and the extensive fictional history. The declaration of Open Gaming Content in this book says simply “All Text”. Much of the information in this book can be viewed for free on PDG’s Porphyra wiki.
Following the extensive descriptions of regions, we get a 15 page chapter briefly describing the places of different fantasy races in the world of Porphyra. Each of 87 races gets about a paragraph of description, and a list of regions in which they can be found. No stat-blocks are provided: most of the given races have been statted in one of Paizo’s bestiaries, whilst the others have been statted in other PDG products. All in all, this section is nice and convenient but rather skimpy on details.
Next we get details on the gods of Porphyra, separated into four major pantheons: the New Gods, the Risen Gods, the Elemental Lords and the Protean Lords. These pantheons are all described in more detail in their own, separate supplements. Great care has been taken to make the gods of Porphyra distinct from the generic clones many other campaign settings use. Better yet, all information in this chapter can be viewed for free on the Porphyra wiki.

After a few short miscellaneous sections, we get a long chunk of crunch. The section starts with various magic options, including tie-ins to other PDG supplements, and altered versions of several domains. Next comes a trio of prestige classes. The first, the Impervious, is a full BAB partial divine spellcasting class. The second is a 3/4 BAB partial spellcasting class which requires gunslinger’s grit. The third prestige is an anti-divine-magic 3/4 BAB class associated with the Sandmen organization described earlier in the book. Overall, the quality of the prestige classes is decent, but a step down from the earlier portions of the book, with a lot of bog-standard abilities. Following the prestige classes we get a bunch of regional traits tied to different regions of Porphyra, and campaign traits tied to other aspects of the world. The traits are the biggest disappointment of the book, with lots of bland number boosts and very little ingenuity.

Finally, we get the Ruins of Greencastle, a short adventure for first level PCs which is meant to introduce the setting. The adventure itself is a simple dungeon crawl. It is well constructed and comes with fully detailed maps and statblocks, but is on the whole unmemorable and mainly functions as a way to introduce pieces of the setting.
Short Term Use: The editing and presentation is top notch. The rules that are present are easy enough to understand that they can be dropped into a campaign quickly, but the crunch is overall subpar for Purple Duck Games. The campaign world’s elaborate fictional history and enormous scope makes getting in to it somewhat daunting, even with the introductory adventure. Hence, this supplement earns a short term rating of 2/5.
Long Term Rating: As you have probably deduced from my review thus far, the world of Porphyra is really big. The strong writing and diverse lands make it an excellent place to run a long-running campaign. The fact that many of the regions are sparse on details allows you plenty of room to fill things in during your campaign over many years of playing. Thus, this book gets a well-deserved long term rating of 5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
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Kineticists of Porphyra
by Josh H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2015 19:09:42

As a huge fan of the Kineticist, I'm excited to see additional content being released for the class like this. Kineticists function so much differently than other classes that many of the traditional feats and options you would turn to first don't quite work, which on the one hand gave kineticists a lot of room to do what they wanted, but at the expense of anything that really amped up their abilities in the vein of Rapid Shot, Power Attack, or metamagic feats. Likewise, as a new class, they still lack a lot of support with regards to different options for utility talents and infusions, leading to a slight degree of sameness across builds. This book fixes all of that and then some, with some interesting new archetypes, some fantastic new elements, a ton of new infusions and wild talents, and some useful new feats.


I'm going to address the cons first, because there aren't many and I like ending on a positive note. There are some minor grammatical errors sprinkled throughout the book--nothing that fundamentally changes the meaning of anything, but if you're a stickler for subject-verb agreement, they'll stand out. Also, there are a few talents and features that could use some clarification, but again, nothing major. Most tables should be able to come to reasonable rulings on the few examples I can think of, and N. Jolly is active on the boards if you absolutely have to get the word of god.


Now on to the goodies:
1) There are four new archetypes, of varying quality: The Cerebral Kineticist, an Int-based kineticist who suffers mental debilitation in place of nonlethal damage for burn; the Elemental Avatar, because everyone wants to be Aang and/or Korra; the Elemental Scion, which really rewards you for sticking with a single element; and the Kinetic Duelist, which is a melee-based kineticist which doesn't lose all the interesting stuff the way the Elemental Annihilator does. My quick review is that the Avatar and Scion actually seem to be good archetypes if you're interested in either greater versatility or only a single element, respectively, while the Kinetic Duelist changes the play style too much for me to really speak to it yet, and the Cerebral Kineticist, like the Overwhelming Soul, feels like it gives up too much for too little by trying to dance around burn.


2) There are three new elements, and they're all great: Light, Sound, and Time. Light kineticists have a lot of illusions (that they can make explode!) in addition to the light and blinding effects you'd expect, and seem like they'd make great tricksters. They also pair well with the Sound element, which involves a lot of audible illusions, but also has a wide grab-bag of really useful blast infusions and utility talents, letting them deafen foes, charm people, push around or confuse their foes, buff their friends like pseudo-bards, and gain echolocation. I personally feel like their elemental defense is on the weak side mechanically, but since it basically involves having your own personal soundtrack playing at all times it's also possibly my favorite defense for roleplaying purposes. And finally, the Time element is for people who like to mess with people, since so many of their abilities are based on debuffing their foes, messing with their actions, slowing or stopping time, and even stealing time from other people (oh hey, I'll just take all of your move actions for the rest of the combat, thanks!).


3) There are more new infusions and utility talents in this book than you can shake a halfling at, and they do a good job of providing interesting abilities for the new elements as well as bolstering the existing elements. Just a quick sample: phytokineticists can now turn their foes into trees, hydrokineticists and geokineticists can encase their foes in ice or rock, and chaokineticists can raise their fallen foes as zombies, steal their life as temporary hit points, or just summon some black tentacles from the weird things that live past the stars to grapple their foes to death. I don't see anything that seems unbalanced at first glance, and in fact like the core kineticist, many of the new talents seem to be rather conservative in their power for my taste. On the other hand, everything also seems useful, unlike some of the core kineticist's talents, so I feel like they've hit a sweet spot here.


4) And finally, there are a handful of genuinely useful feats. There are a few feats that alter your ability to gather power or handle burn, reducing the nonlethal damage you take, improving your internal buffer, or letting you gather power faster or more quietly. Adaptive Utility might be the best feat in the book for certain elements, as it improves the DCs for all of your utility talents, but Kinetic Prodigy lets you qualify for infusions at an improved rate, which makes it a fantastic pick early on. And finally, there's a feat that lets you sculpt your AoE blasts so you don't accidentally clobber your friends, which is a great addition.


In conclusion, this is a great book for fans of the kineticist, and the price is a steal. Get it, love it, and if you happen to roll up a chronokineticist, I'd maybe recommend bringing your DM some pizza to apologize in advance for how much fun you're about to have messing up his action economy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra
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Monster Advancement: Enhanced Aberrations
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/16/2015 03:49:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The third installment of Julian Neale's highly modular toolkit-templates to enhance your critters clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 14.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The base template's CR modification ranges from CR +1 to CR+2 depending on the amount of abilities gained and a handy sidebar that explains the DR-enhancing options is provided within these pages. Beyond that, you'll immediately note something truly awesome - a scaling aura of otherworldly corruption scaling with size and CR of the creature in question, representing more than well the utter wrongness the more powerful aberrations sport.


However, even more so than previous iterations in the series, this time around, we receive utterly unique and yes, downright inspired unique abilities galore: What about crystalline growths that allow the aberration to emit deadly rays of light? What about aberrations having full compatibility with Radiance House's superb Pact Magic rules? Yes, this is awesome.


Even better, the pdf manages to maintain the mathematical diversity I loved in the previous installments - for example, you don't get one type of breath weapon that scales with levels; no, you actually get a pretty consistent entry in a table, a steady, fixed average damage-dealing breath weapon (handy for 13th Age-aesthetics fans) and even an exceedingly swingy one - it is this level of flexibility, this "above and beyond", that sets this humble pdf apart.


Want aberrations that emit destructive harmonics or ones that lock down dimensional travel? The material is in here and feeding upon the dead as well as mastery of oozes and vermins can be found amid these pages alongside elemental-based SPs, devastating killer-mindblasts, stunning blasts, illithid-style save-or-be-reduced to -1 hp options for high end-CR creatures - this pdf covers the bases from the highly customizable, scaling SPs granted to boss abilities that grant additional actions and even provides poisonous spores that detonate those succumbing to their deadly effects.


Beyond even that, a handy guideline provides advice for applying the template and, for the time-starved GM, we get sample creatures spanning the CRs from 3 to 18, running the gamut from paladin flumphs to naga sorcerors.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf has no art apart from the cover, but honestly, I'm all for substance over style in such a case.


Julian Neale is a subtle designer whose books so far, if they had any flaw, then that would be that the books required some thought before the "This is great!"-reaction sets in; they are not flashy. His monsters, builds and options tend to sport some thoroughly unique and inspiring ideas, with this installment of the awesome Monster Advancement-series even surpassing the already excellent first two. Why?


Because this time around, we actually have those flashy tidbits that provoke an immediate "This is awesome!"-reaction, combined with the obvious skill regarding number-fu and creature design in general. This is, all in all, a thoroughly inspired, glorious aberration toolbox that will see ample use in my games - well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and a definite recommendation that you get this right now!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Advancement: Enhanced Aberrations
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Fehr's Ethnology Complete
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/26/2015 02:55:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive compilation of Purple Duck Games' "Fehr's Ethnology"-series clocks in at an impressive 130 pages, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with a massive 126 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin with a brief introduction of the subject matter and how to use this book before delving into the races themselves. Each of the write ups not only comes with the basic information on the race's stats, but also extends to new race traits, alternate racial traits and favored class options. Beyond that, we get mundane and magical equipment for the respective races as well as unique racial archetypes, spells and feats - all of these help particularly in making the unique races fit within Purple Duck Games' unique patchwork planet Porphyra. The inclusion of age, height and weight-tables for the races featured is also rather appreciated.


The first race covered would be the Avoodim. Essentially, they are a melancholic race cast down from heaven - having failed at becoming archons, they in their shame didn't try again and hence have been sent down to earth, looking for a way, a purpose, a chance for redemption. Avoodim get +4 Con, +2 Str,-2 Dex and Cha, are native outsiders, get darkvision, celestial resistances, +2 to craft or profession-checks related to stone/metal, and +1 to atk against all outsiders, the option to use doom on foes as well as a racial susceptibility to bouts of melancholia and despair. The increased potency over the previous iteration of the race is justified via a 1/day forced reroll on a natural 20, as creation itself seeks to keep them low. (And yes, there is a feat, which, while lacking the "Benefits"-header, lets you mitigate this - and yes, the feat is more solid than in the previous pdf.


While an uncommon mechanic and while I'm not a fan of the martial bent of the race (preferring races to have both bonuses for physical and mental attributes), this balancing mechanism can be nasty...and pretty unique. It also should show you something rather significant: Unlike many compilations out there, this is not simply the sum of its parts - it has been tinkered with, retooled and changed. While not all components like traits are 100% precise in their wording à la "You may cast virtue as a spell-like ability 1/day, only on yourself.", one can glean the intent of the range being modified to personal from this still -not perfect, but it's functional. Similar hiccups à la "sightline" for "line of sight" and the like continue to crop up throughout the book and while they are neither glaring, nor crippling, if you're a stickler for rules-language, you may feel a certain twitch when reading such components. At the same time, e.g. getting temporary assistance of avoodim NPCs at level-2 once per month can be pretty cool. It should be noted at the same time, that the aforementioned hiccups in rules-language are not a constant throughout this book, mind you: Some of the new archetypes/class options provided, like the anti-mook fighter "One-Man-Army" get highly uncommon, yet interesting abilities, the signature of which lends you +1 attack at your lowest BAB when attacked by more than one creature. While this looks like it can be kitten'd, that's not the case - the requirement for even attack dispersals between valid targets prevents any cheesing of the ability - NICE.


The quadribrachial dhosari are an interesting race - flavor-wise, bred as slaves for the Erkunae, these uncommon beings not only have 4 arms they can bring to bear - their additional archetypes and material are also interesting; alas, at the same time, the race has still inherited some of the issues from the individual installment first detailing them. The pdf still does not specify, for example, whether they can wear two sets of bracers, 4 rings, etc. and I still consider their abuse-potential quite frankly too high.


The same can thankfully not be said about two of my favorite races from the original series, namely the dragonblooded and the erkunae - both races are pretty well-balanced and yes, inspired even. To the point where I allow both in my own games, though, again, the rules-language is not always perfect in either cases. The yeti-like Ith'n Ya'roo have btw. also been cleaned up: The broken feat-granting trait is gone and instead, bleed damage via bone weapons becomes feasible and the prior first level immunity to cold has been properly nerfed to a significant, but feasible immunity. Granted, the racial trait "Resistance to Cold Adaptation" should probably just read "Cold Adaptation," but at least the ability works. This level of fixing and expansion btw. also extends to the formerly pretty ridiculously-named Hhundi (which sounded like the German equivalent of "doggie") being renamed Kripar: Gone is the broken "roll twice" trait that constituted the race's most grievous glitch: Instead, we get a nice race of solitary lurkers and ambush predators - and yes, now we get a proper age, height and weight table.


The psionic, mute cat-people Qit'ar still can be considered nice and e.g. a solid psychic warrior path among the new features makes sure that I am not going to revise my rather positive stance on the race - I like them. My favorite plant-race out there by now, the wonderfully weird Xesa (and perhaps the one race where I swallowed my disdain for +4 attribute-races) also are further expanded...including a psion-archetype that allows for the limited and controlled burning of Con to gain power points, which is pretty nice. The fact that they also gain +1 power per level as long as psion is their favored class, though, is too much. I'd cut that down to at least +1/2. Still, a compelling write-up. The most problematic race among the original series was the Urisk-race and while, balance-wise, I am still weary of it and consider the thematically-awesome fey-hillbillies too strong for my tastes, I should note that e.g. the highly problematic Dance of the Fey-feat has since been cleaned up and now has a precise, functional wording - so yes, such changes overall make the race better than it was before.


The book also sports new material regarding whole races, btw.: Take the Eventual:+2 to Con and Int, -2 Cha native outsiders with darkvision, electricity resistance 5, 1/day shocking grasp, at-will tongues and law affinity for sorc-spells and abilities render this law-centric variant of the outsider-blooded theme pretty solid regarding the foundation, something that thankfully generally extends to the traits and alternate racial traits. The racial feats allow you to further build on the inevitable-flavored heritage of the race. Indeed, e.g. a counterspell specialist-feat can be taken as example for what I love and hate about this book: The feat per se is solid in its intent, but we have a wording like this right in the middle: "Your Spellcraft check you must succeed at to identify an opponent’s spell is equal to 20 plus your opponent’s spell level, but you are able to cast as your counterspell any spell from the same school as the foes." That's the middle of the three sentences and yes, I pasted it straight from the book...and yes, it hurts me to have to complain about hiccups like this, particularly among concepts I enjoy. One spell that allows for a limited time-reversal is somewhat problematic and should be controlled rigidly by GMs, but it may also be truly outstanding for some groups. The saberhagen lawful barbarians with their rigid rage codes may be locked into a progression according to the code chosen among the 3 available, but they are interesting enough. All in all, a solid racial addition.


The second newcomer herein would be the Polkan, who is a somewhat centaur-like race that gets +2 Str and Wis, counts as monstrous humanoids, is large (but wields medium-sized armor + weapons), can see twice as far in starlight/dim light (low-light vision by any other name - why not use the proper name?), a base speed of 40 ft, +4 quadruped bonus vs. trip and limited retries on failed Diplomacy-checks. Generally, I like the race and its racial options - the feats, hoof-spikes and similar supplemental contents provided are nice; alas, much like all centaur-like race takes I've seen so far, the race fails to provide the proper information regarding the magic item slots it should have and neither does the race fix the old ladder-conundrum.


Now, I like to end reviews on a high note and the xenophobic, elemental-worshiping Zendiqi definitely are just that. Being one of the few races that have managed to secure a permanent place among those in my campaign - something precious few races managed to achieve, mind you, the Zendiqi are simply inspired and work well in just about any campaign - from Sword and Sorcery to high fantasy. The introduction of e.g. an archetype of the hero-point-based infinyte-class is more than welcome here: The archetype takes the narratively intriguing fluff of the base-class and expands it by a flavorful concept, introducing a kind of antibalance, a champion of change by virtue of order or chaos. Speaking of high notes: The extensive rules-index in the back of the book helps keeping tabs on all the options contained herein.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are pretty good. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' slightly streamlined, printer-friendly two-column standard, with quite a few nice full-color artworks and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for our convenience.


First things first: This is the type of compilation pdf for which I do not mind re-reading the whole material - this is due to two facts: 1) Perry Fehr's fluff is excellent. While the main author of this book imho is much better with fluff than with crunch, one can see both his and Mark Gedak's talent in the expertly-written, high-concept fluff provided herein. 2) The compilation here actually took the vast majority of the more grievous issues and balance-concerns and cleaned them up, something also by far not all compilations do. And then, there would be the SIGNIFICANT array of new material provided in this book, which I btw. only cursorily touched upon in this review.


Indeed, if this compilation did one thing right, it would be that it further expanded upon the strengths of the material herein and were I to rate concepts alone, this would be my favorite racial pdf in a long time. At the same time, however, and there is no denying that, the rules-language, while functional for the most part, is simply imprecise. I'd indeed harp on it much more, were it not for the fact that, time and again, the book gets it right..and then restarts the glitchy parts. It's odd and somewhat frustrating, at least from a reviewer's perspective. There is a lot of non-standard wording in these pages and if you're like me, that may make you cringe a bit. The book, alas, also suffers from a few questions not answered regarding e.g. minor balance-concerns with some of the races herein.


The question thus is valid - to get this or not to get this? I am quite frankly hesitant to pronounce an all-out recommendation for this book, considering the hiccups contained herein - they are somewhat glaring and, at least to me, tarnish the otherwise inspired content herein. Undoubtedly, though, few books on the topic of races have managed to inspire me to the extent that this book has and fewer still had their featured races enter my game to the extent this book has. GMs confident in their abilities to iron out the rough spots and capable in determining whether a given race is for their game should definitely take a look - for the low price, this indeed is a good haul of not always perfect, but always inspiring, content that is bound to inspire with its prose, content and cool races. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 since this book does not deserve being relegated to the middle grounds.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fehr's Ethnology Complete
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: Sword Lord
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2015 05:58:26

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, for all who are dissatisfied with how Prestige Classes work in PFRPG - this series is for you.


So, this time around, we're looking at the Aldori Swordlord - in case you're not familiar with the issue: "Aldori" is closed IP, which means that dueling sword etc. obviously refers to the respective sword. The swordlord as presented here gets full BAB-progression, good Fort-saves, 2+Int skills, proficiency with all weapons (+ the exotic dueling sword) and light armor and weapon finesse at first level. Second level nets Dazzling Display, 3rd Dueling Mastery. 2nd level provides bravery (which means synergy with Bravery-feats - yeah!) with 5-level scaling. Deft Strike is also part of the deal from 1st level onwards and third level nets Steel Net, which is reimagined as a scaling dodge bonus.


4th level provides some bonuses for performance combat and better Dazzling Display-synergy, while 5th level nets better dueling sword specialization that increases every 4 levels thereafter, extending this to maneuvers and the defense against them. Disarming Strike is relegated to 6th level. The original PrC's Steel Net's ability to decrease the penalty for defensive fighting gets fixed - it now also applies to Combat Expertise - kudos here!


9th level provides a cool ability that adds demoralize injuries to crits and maneuvers and even suppress the target's morale bonuses - awesome new ability! Even cooler that, at really high levels, they may negate even more bonuses! Using immediate actions to grant himself 25% chance to negate crits would be unlocked at 10th level (upgrade at 16th level)


Level 11 lets them maintain Dex while using Acrobatics/Climbing alongside from decreased AoO-provoking when standing up from any creatures hit while prone. The class also gets an ability that represents adjusting tactics to an individual foe and counterattack is gained at 15th level.


The highest levels provide DRs and auto-confirms of crits, the latter, obviously, as the capstone.


As always, we get favored class options for the core races and a sample NPC at level 1, 5, 10 and 15 - but we also get advice on making alternate sword lords! Nice!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and has seen some streamlining - from font use to markers, the layout has been improved, so kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.


Carl Cramér has done it here - as you all may know, I'm a huge fan of Dreadfox Games' Swordmaster class as a dex-based martial. However, the class is complex and not suited for everyone. Here, Carl Cramér has taken a mediocre PrC with some neat ideas, balanced it tighter and woven a thread of crunchy gold through it - from level one, this one is unique and its inspired tricks continue to evolve throughout the whole class. Balanced and fun, this is the beginner-friendly-duelist class that effortlessly mops the floor with its component PrC -this is inspired and awesome and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval, a perfect example of the potential of this series.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: Sword Lord
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: Sun Seeker
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/04/2015 04:18:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1 page SRD leaving us with 6 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, for all who are dissatisfied with how Prestige Classes work in PFRPG - this series is for you.


This one takes the Skyseeker-PrC and utilizes the ranger chassis - which means full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves, full proficiency with weapons and light + medium armor and shields, Wis-based spellcasting from the ranger's list starting at 4th level and 6+Int skills. 7th level nets heavy armor proficiency.


The class, as presented here, adheres pretty closely to the ranger-frame - favored enemy, progression 3rd level endurance, 1st level track + wild empathy - the dispersal of ranger abilities throughout the levels is pretty solid. 2nd level nets the know direction-based Find Citadel ability - so no, combat style is not part of the deal for this class.


3rd level provides a new ability that immediately makes this version superior to its PrC-iteration - ancestral allies: You choose either companions, allowing her to grant favored enemy bonus to allies, an animal companion or the favored terrain class feature - this level of customization is nice to see and thematically fits the class well. At 4th level, the rune-carved armor is gained and 5th level grants ancestral weapons, with the ability's damage-scaling being dispersed organically throughout the levels of the class. 6th level nets 1/week Commune, +1 use every 6 levels thereafter. 9th level either grants darkvision or expands it, with the second expansion happening at 14th level.


The SR-granting runes of Resistance is gained at 13th level and 16th level offers path of the ancients. The powerful, mettle-like effect Stalwart is gained appropriately late at 17th level and the PrC's capstone Call to Arms can now be found at 18th level. The new capstone allows for full speed tracking, standard action attacks versus favored enemies that operate on save-or-die, including the option to instead drop foes via nonlethal damage.


The pdf, as always, provides solid FCOs for the core-races and this time around, sports a sample dwarf at level 1, 5, 10 and 15. The pdf also has a feat that allows for easier stabilization alongside 1/day crit/sneak negation down to a normal hit.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and has seen some streamlining - from font use to markers, the layout has been improved, so kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.


The Sun seeker as presented by Carl Cramér here suffers from a downright sucky PrC -I liked its concept, but the execution of the PrC is all over the place and feels confused. This Prestige Archetype does a better job at making the class feel concise and thematically consistent. That being said, I really wished ancestral weapon, the first active signature ability that could be conceivably moved to lower levels, was there - perhaps instead of some ranger abilities. As written, the class takes a LONG time to become truly distinct. While ancestral allies somewhat mitigates this, one might argue that moving it slightly would have been nice, since it essentially mimics ranger abilities. As written rune-carved armor at 4th level is the first truly distinct ability, 5th level offering the first offensive one. In my playtest, this rendered the class, at low levels, pretty much less distinct than it ought to have been. Higher levels somewhat mitigate this, but still - all in all a solid take on the concept, but it falls rather short of Carl's better prestige archetypes. My final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: Sun Seeker
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: Student of War
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2015 04:30:01

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), 1/2 a page advertisement, 1 page SRD leaving us with a 4.5 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, for all who are dissatisfied with how Prestige Classes work in PFRPG - this series is for you.


The student of war utilizes the fighter as the base chassis, which means full BAB-progression and proficiencies, good Fort-saves and d10 HD, but teh Student fo War gets 4+Int skills.


The class gets a bonus feat at first, 2nd and every 4 levels thereafter, which must be chosen from the combat-feat-type. They may select fighter-only feats, treating their class level as fighter level for the purpose of prerequisites. 3rd level nets armor training, 7th allows for full movement in heavy armor and 19th level nets DR 5/- whenever wearing armor or a shield.


2nd level provides mind over metal, i.e. the Int-for Dex-substitution of the PrC - good to see this moved down, since it's a basic ability. The signature ability Know Your Enemy is gained at 4th level, and if you're like me and obsessively memorize text, a quick check-up of the base PrC's text will show that the wording here actually cleans up a glaring oversight regarding humanoids from the PRC - kudos! The bonus granted and its scaling is solid and action-economy-wise, we also get a nice progression that fits with the respective levels. The same cannot be said about Anticipate - also gained at 4th level, it's where the class somewhat goes off the rails: Where the original ability had a daily limit, this one hasn't. Yes, this means essentially evasion for all 3 saves. Urgh.


8th level nets Telling Blow, 12th nemesis, 16th deadly blow and the class has a new capstone - against all studied targets, you auto-confirm crits at +1 multiplier - NICE!


The pdf provides FCOs for the core races as well as a sample goblin NPC at 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and has seen some streamlining - from font use to markers, the layout has been improved, so kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.


Carl Cramér has a difficult task here - the student of war is certainly not the most compelling of PrCs. The class presented here is a solid take on the concept - and one, let me state this loud and clear, that is better than the base PrC it is based one. That being said, it also falls a bit short of its own potential. The decision to make the first 3 levels defined exclusively by bonus feats & passive abilities make the class less compelling than it could be - by moving the distinct Know thy Enemy-ability down to 1st level and adding a scaling mechanism to prevent dip-exploits, this class could have been more distinct.
As written, it begins to come into its own at 4th level, where the active signature abilities are granted. And yes, I do believe that Anticipate should remain here - but not as an unrestricted ability. A lenient daily cap that scales with class levels could have made this one fit perfectly...as written, this ability is good enough to make a 4-level dip into the class an option I'd definitely consider, especially when combined with a class that provides many or more good saves...for in the context of the student of war itself, the ability is not broken...in the overall frame of rules, though...urgh.


At the same time, this Prestige Archetype does have some awesome components, providing a fix and some nice new content...so how to rate this? In the end, I will settle on a final verdict of 3 stars for this one.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: Student of War
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: Stalwart Defender
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2015 03:18:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1 page SRD, leaving us with a 6 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, for all who are dissatisfied with how Prestige Classes work in PFRPG - this series is for you.


So, here we go - the stalwart defender: Full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves, 2+Int skills, d12, full proficiencies, DR 1/- scaling up to 7/-, with +1 every 3 levels. Third level nets a dodge bonus that scales up every 3 levels....yeah, these guys are all about the defense, with 2nd and 5th level netting uncanny dodge and its improved variant.


Thankfully, we get the class's signature ability, defensive stance, at first level, with 4+Con-mod rounds per day, +2 per class level. This nets a +2 AC bonus, +4 Str and Con and +2 Will-saves...and before you see the abuse potential - yes, this has an anti-rage-stack caveat - kudos! "But this is better than Rage!!" - -Yup, the numbers are...and they'd better be, for this lacks the component of free mobility.


Starting at 2nd level, the stalwart defender as presented here may choose from a broad array of defensive powers - from rerolling failed Will-saves to better defense versus feints and being bypassed via Acrobatics to halting foes, the power here are valid and diverse, with the more powerful ones sporting a sensible level-cap. And yes, there are some cool, new complementary powers to be found here that are not part of the base PrC - and they make sense - like retaliating when an ally is hit.


Mobile Defense is gained at 8th level, whereas the PrC's Last Word-capstone is moved to 17th level, to make way for the Mighty version of the defensive stance.


This pdf also provides FCOs for the core-races and sample NPCs at 1st,5th,10th and 15th level, this time using a dragonblooded as a the base race. The pdf also provides an interesting elixir that enhances defensive qualities, but at the cost of the ability to move...Nice one!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and has seen some streamlining - from font use to markers, the layout has been improved, so kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.


Carl Cramér's Stalwart defender makes sense - at the first glance, the slight power-discrepancy compared to the barbarian may seem upsetting, but the class works out surprisingly well. It also makes the stalwart defender more beautiful from a design-aesthetic point of view - it's just tighter, more streamlined and feels less like something tacked on, instead providing essentially a cool variant class. The new abilities and item just add icing to the cake. A great installment, vastly superior to the base PrC in aesthetics and execution, this is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: Stalwart Defender
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: Steel Falcon
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/28/2015 05:02:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1/2 page blank, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6.5 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, for all who are dissatisfied with how Prestige Classes work in PFRPG - this series is for you.


The Steel Falcon, as presented here, uses the ranger as a base chassis - that means full BAB-progression, d10, 6+Int skills and two good saves, but the class gets full proficiencies. First level nets wild empathy and favored enemy progression starting at first level, progressing at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. As a note: The table lacks the favored enemy entry at 1st level, though one may argued that the prescribed choice "slavers" as a group counts locked by another ability counts as that - so no, not going to bash the pdf for this.


The class gets combat style progression, 3rd level endurance and must take the companion bond variant at 4th level. Steel Falcons add their class level to Profession (sailor) and Survival. 4th level provides +4 versus charm and compulsion and 2nd level nets heroic speech, treated as inspire courage at class level -1. 4th level nets the Steel Falcon a ranger trap, +1 every 4 levels, with 8th level doubling damage, 12th level tripling it and 16th level quadrupling it, maintaining relevance for this ability at higher levels.


5th level nets armor training, 6th a d20-reroll and 7th an upgrade for aid another. Subtle Manipulator is relegated to 11th level and Avoral's Blessing to 13th, while the PrC's capstone, Avoral's Fury, comes into play at 19th level. Chainbreaker is very late to the party - 18th level, at which point that aspect is essentially all but lost to the overall playing experience. That being said, the dispersal of ranger abilities throughout the levels of the class is sound.


The class comes, as always, with nice FCOs for the core-races and a sample character at level 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 has seen some streamlining - from font use to markers, the layout has been improved, so kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.


Carl Cramér's Steel Falcon has a hard legacy - while I love the organization's concept in Golarion, the Steel Falcon PrC is less than awesome - it simply lacks interesting theme and feels like a pretty disparate array of abilities that thematically fit, but lack a concise crunch base-line. This issue is somewhat mitigated by the class as presented herein...but at the same time, one might argue that this Steel Falcon is a variant ranger whose truly unique abilities only come into play at the higher levels. While it does play different from a base ranger, the difference lies mostly in the details and, when compared to the best in the series, it does feel like its defining traits enter play simply too late - at low levels, there is not that much unique going on here. This is in no way a bad installment, but neither did it blow me away. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: Steel Falcon
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Warrior Prestige Archetype: Smuggler Guide
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2015 05:11:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf of the Warrior Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction (explaining the base concept of the series), 1.5 pages SRD, leaving us with 6.5 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 and spawned the legendary "Assassins of Porphyra," perhaps the best take on the assassin base class currently out there.


The Smuggler Guide as presented here gets full BAB-progression, d10, 6+Int skills, good Ref-and Will-saves and Wis-based prepared spellcasting at 4th level from the ranger's spell-list. In case you haven't figured this out on your own - this one would be based on the Bellflower Tiller, taking the pretty specific fluff of said class and making it more general - 3rd level nets the character the 1st favored community, with every 5 levels thereafter netting an additional one - these would be the adaptations of the favored barn ability of the base PrC.


At first level, the smuggler guide may designate a number of allies equal to 3+Wis-mod as part of his cell as a standard action. Members need to stay within 30 ft. of the guide to benefit from the class benefits. The smuggler guide may grant members of his cell a teamwork feat he knows - the targets do not need to be able to meet the prerequisites. 11th level extends this range to 60 ft., 13th level decreases the action it takes to a move action, 17th level increases the range to 90 ft. and 19th level allows for cell designation as a swift action. Usually, I'd complain here since, depending on the build, swift actions can be more valuable than move actions. However, the action economy-increase that goes swift is situated at a point where multiclassing is all but out of the question, so yeah -no issue. I really like how Bellflower Crop was expanded upon here and made more relevant. Additionally, smuggler guide receive a scaling cell defender bonus to atk and damage versus creatures that threaten his/her cell, beginning at +1 and scaling up by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. The scaling dispersal of this bonus is wider than the base PrC's, but works well with the class established here - since we get full BAB with the smuggler guide.


Interesting would be an increased base speed and better overland speed for all members of a cell at 2nd level, where the class also gets the first bonus teamwork feat (+1 every 4 levels thereafter). The base ranger tricks like evasion, endurance, woodland stride, camouflage are situated, one and all, at levels where they are appropriate - kudos for that!


4th level allows for the defensive use of the scaling cell defender bonus via move actions or an animal companion. As a capstone, the class shares evasion, improved evasion and camouflage with the whole cell. Evasion and Improved Evasion may seem slightly redundant, though there are some obscure options to negate either, so I won't complain here.


The pdf also provides solid FCOs for the core races - and sports sample builds of the class for level 1, 5, 10 and 15 - Saan Holo, a chaotic good human smuggler guide. Yeah, I had to smile as well. Even cooler, as a neat bonus, we get 3 sample settlements to use - with full statblocks - awesome!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and has seen some streamlining - from font use to markers, the layout has been improved, so kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sans art apart from the cover.


This installment pretty much encapsulates the virtues of this series - it takes a overly specialized PrC and makes its concept work from first level on: Active ability with broad usefulness at 1st level? Check. Mathematically sound scaling and ability-dispersal? Check. Expanded focus? Check. Going one step further with a well written background for the sample NPC and sample settlements? Check. This is Carl Cramér at his best and you can't expect more from such a pdf: It excels at what it sets out to do. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warrior Prestige Archetype: Smuggler Guide
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[PFRPG] GM's Aid IX: Monster Knowledge Cards II
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2015 12:42:11

It was good having the basic tiers of information to be provided for successful Knowledge checks; however, every monster, regardless of CR, had the same DCs listed on the cards. The rules are that these Knowledge checks are DC 10 + the CR of the creature, DC 5 + CR for common creatures (animals and goblins, for instance), DC 15 + CR for more rare creatures. This update would make these Knowledge cards more useful, as GMs would not have to look up the CR of the creature and add to the base DC 10 on the card.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] GM's Aid IX: Monster Knowledge Cards II
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Stock Art: Forest Fiend
by Joe W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2015 10:24:36

We used this piece, although it was sort of borderline if we would go with it or not. The preview gives you a really good idea of what you'll get. It is above average IMO. No issues with the full size version.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Forest Fiend
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Stock Art: Foxfolk Ranger
by Joe W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2015 10:22:44

You can judge this for yourself based on the large preview, but we opted against using it. For the relatively low price, if you want a foxfolk character and you like the preview, why not?



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Foxfolk Ranger
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