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Legendary Kineticists II
by Andrew D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2017 11:09:49

The elements move in mysterious ways.

I'll begin by saying I was provided a review Copy for this.

Here we are, Legendary Kineticists 2. Is the ride coming to an end? well... If it truly is, this is leaving with a decent bang, ill tell you that. Although, I think the sentiment from me on this is "not what I was expecting." Lets see what we have here.

Bestial Kineticist- Right off the bat, something I didn't expect.This is new animal companion archetype! Your animal companion is infused with a level of kineticist energy and can trade tricks for limited access to wild talents and infusions. It can also enact blasts on it's own, and even pass you it's blast for use- plus if you and it own the same element of blast, it can tag-team blasts with you. I find this archetype pretty interesting. That cats a Dynamo!

Metakinetic Savant- Hrm... you can modify and manipulate metakinesis by way of using metamagics at an improved degree, including improving your internal buffer specifically to use it - it has a helpful list of what the blasts you can manipulate count as and what you can't take using this archetype. it can be taken so long as not EVERY metakinesis is replaced by another archetype, and metakinetic master or internal buffer aren't modified. not my style at all, but credit where due.

Nihilicist- Now this is an intriguing one. This one denies the use of ANY established element (if you willingly do, you lose access to this), and must be within two steps of neutral to stay in "class". In exchange you get a notable blast pair- empty and Zero, which do Nihil damage. You can fire both blasts as physical or mental, and they come with their own selection of infusions to choose, but you only get universal wild talents to pick from. Nihil Damage is nonlethal damage that can't be ignored- if you take to much of it you become outright disintegrated. Intriguingly you can convert nihil damage from nonlethal to lethal in a few ways, which allows you to turn it into a condition you can inflict based on damage dealt (wow, reminded of healing hands...), and some of these are killer effects. Defensively they can convert lethal damage taken to nonlethal, eventually become untraceable, even disappearing from peoples minds. The finale is two fold. You can do far more pain with Nihil conversion for statuses, but if you want, you can go out with a... shall we say Annihilation- tier bang. Just make sure your affairs are in order- nobody else will remember them.

Onslaught Blaster- OOH HOO HOO, I was waiting for this one. This is one of my favorite Kineticist variants, and one of the two reasons I wanted this product. It changes up the gameplay by adjusting how the blast works- instead of one big shot based on your level, you can splinter it into many smaller ones with some caveats- or essentially pool them all back up into one. damage takes some adjustments, and ill admit my brain wishes some of the additional damage written into some of these abilities stack across the board, but I know better. if you play kineticist for its ranged damage component over its melee variants, and no other archetype intrigues you, this one has some great applications for spreading debuff centric infusions around at the least. plus its the missile spam Kineticist- what's not to love about this, assuming you can take the cost?

Order of the Scion- This is a Cavalier order that turns them somewhat into Kineticists- or more apt, Knights of the elemental balance. You get a kinetic whip simple blast as a level 1 kineticist that can function as a lance on charge, you get elemental defense and an odd variant of elemental overflow. But you have to strive for elemental balance, do an 1 hour ritual each day to maintain your powers, and your challenge is limited in effectiveness by what element you chose... ill just say this isn't for me. but I DID see an opening in my Knights of Flame.

Planar Custodian- First off, love the art around this class. second of all, PARTIALLY KINETIC DRUIDS. Storm Earth and Fire, heed my call? No, not sorry- couldnt resist. This pulls power from the druid shell to add Kineticist elements into it- Bestial kineticist animal companion, a kinetic blast, some infusions, Element defenses... but to get the full effects your druid elements tinge to a specific set of element focuses and there are some as I see it major tradeoffs. I like the feel, but I don't know how many would use it, and there's things I just wouldn't give up to have this.

Planetouched Oracle- Hrm. A simple modification to the Oracle in my eyes, but a partially kinetic Oracle is the result. however, much like the Planar Custodian I do not know if this would be worth the trade off, which I see as even bigger. You trade mysteries and revelations for an element focus, a simple blast and a progression of infusions and wild talents- plus a method of reducing infusion cost and some blast modifications as you progress. I'm lost on this one- with so many kinetic elements combined with the number of mysteries and revelations, this adds a LOT of potential options overall but the stipulations involved just have me going no from what I know about oracles. But it is a functional Kineticist/Oracle hybrid, and if your looking for more "all-day" capability, it can provide a thing or two.

Telekinetic Bladeshifter- So we have an Aether Full BAB Kineticist archetype that can turn items they effect with telekinetic blast into a chosen one light melee, one handed melee, or thrown weapons, dealing damage with it as a Warpriest Sacred Weapon. In exchange, other Kinetic blasts are WAY weaker than normal, and you get no form infusions. From there they progress down a fighters route, using burn and elemental overflow to modify weaponry and shields, trading talents for bonus feats if you wish to, and progressing into two handed, dual wielding, blade and board, or throwing style. it's.. pretty cool, but it's specialized element comes into it's own a bit to late for my taste, and it's not the only class sharing this kind of space nowadays- but it is the Kineticist Fighter, and it appears to do that job pretty well.

Kineticist Talents- Some new stuff to play with here. In infusions my favorites are Water dehydration blasts, and the ability to ricochet blasts- though counterspellers will love some of these. My picks from wild talents include modifications to chain and ricochet infusions, the ability to specialize in electricity or ice blasts, Wood gets a variant of Shillelagh with some new tricks, and mind gets some new tricks (YES!, more for mind!) including wiping memories and access (along with Aether) to the oddity of Life after Undeath, which lets you become a positive energy undead if you were undead and human shaped! Oh, and also Void Kineticists can become Liches. figured id bring that up. However, i spy a reprint- improved Celerity is here from LK 1. an awesome one to reprint, but it wasn't helpfully marked at such or anything.

Kineticist feats- YUM. Some of these could be great for multiclassing, like using burn in place of Ki pools, for example. Theres some stuff in here for Dark Elementalists, but also Bestial Companion users- those with metakinesis can teach their bestial kineticists metakinesis as well, for example. But my love is the classic efficiency stuff. Enhanced Composite Boost is sweet for those who use the Boost series- it allows you to add the substance infusions of that type to the usable list with a blast you apply the boost to. Though the example is apparently illegal, oopsie! Still works with a different type of simple blast though! I'm a bit to into single elements mentally to spot them all, but there's potential here. Kinetic Disruption means you can kinetic counter ANY evocation (if mental) or Conjuration (creation) if physical- spell on top what you already could counterspell. This lets you mess with some parades. plus there's a bit more for certain other elements. but anyone who likes the Onslaught Blaster will NEED this one- Kinetic Railgun. It seems to function as the Onslaught Blasters rendition of Kinetic Acceleration from KOP 3, with a bit of difference involved. Color me a haste junky if you like but- GIMMMMMEE!

Kinetic Spells- ...Eww. Here we have spells that inflict burn on enemies, can turn burn into lethal damage, and one spell that lets you suppress the negative effects of burn in a buff form for a time. my favorite one is Burning Prohibition. once applied it forces will saves based on what you try to do and if it was prohibited by the caster. Succeed? Eat a burn. Fail? Eat a burn and waste the action. it's also a permanent duration. it's nice, but personally? I'm just not a fan of this section otherwise. this feels to me like an anti-kineticist section- and as someone who doesn't care for casting usually, and likes Kineticists not exactly what I signed up for!

Kinetic Mystic- Speaking of unexpected things. But to be fair, the books got more than a few, a arcane/psychic and kineticist prestige class. I remember this kind of thing and it's nice to see something like it again. while you miss out on some levels of spellcasting progression here, you do count as the class you got the kinetic blast you need this prestige from for all features EXCEPT spells. in play.. okay, I JUST professed I don't care for casting very much, but this is COOL. you start breaking down the lines between magic and kineticism, turning the blasts into functional touch spells (OH MAGUS!) and being able to stick blasts as the vector for hitting with casted touch spells, which progresses as you do. the capstone is intriguing as well- you can accept a certain amount of burn to cast spells, but you can reduce burn costs a few ways, AND you can sack spell slots in order to make a kinetic blast precanned in that slot that uses that much burn (with some limitations, not including specialization reductions, sadly). This is one neat capstone to me. Id like to give this one a shot someday, and perhaps I will... one thing though, there's an issue in my copy. The fraction is missing at the end in Kinetic Conduit. Based on the list, it takes some time before you can use your kinetic blast fully in this set up- it begins in fractions of 1/5th, but the text seems to have an error here.

Legendary Kineticist- The OTHER thing I wanted this book for. This is a redone kineticist that in my opinion was sorely needed. So, what's new? Well so far as I can tell, Wild Talents now autoscale in DC (YES!). Burn is changed from nonlethal damage to a penalty on all STR and DEX ability and skill checks except for Initative (well, im not half-killin' myself normally, but...). Gather power needs only one hand now. Metakinesis Maximize is gone and Metakinesis Persistent is in it's place (yay, personally!). Internal Buffer is a level earlier and naturally fills up (no more "well, ill light myself up before i go to bed for internal buffer anymore!, GOOD!). Expanded element kicks in a level earlier each, you still normally get a utility talent choice then as normal and you still get an infusion choice at its old level, PLUS YOU NO LONGER SUFFER THE PENALTY FOR THE EXPANDE- okay look. about the only negatives to this are loss of maximize, the skill burn (if that bothers you more then nonlethal damage), and expanded element chosen for the same element does NOT let you take an extra wild talent. It only allows infusions (SHAKES FIST). There's other class changes I didn't mention, one of which is a SWEEET buff, and the old Extra wild talent feat is also listed here, and changed to fit in with this kineticist. If your worried about archetypes not matching, there's even a piece here about helping them fit. anything replacing Metakinesis Maximize eats the Persist. adjust down the levels of expanded element and internal buffer. and War Kineticist from LK 1? STACKS. this solves a lot of those concerns, and this is my Kineticist +1 as a consequence. If you are allowed to use it, JUST DO IT. you will be glad you did.

Lastly there's a Kineticist VMC (I do not use this system, so i cannot begin to comment- but i don't care for it at a glance) and there's a sample Onslaught Blaster, who ill say I enjoy the theme of- they use a combination of air and Aether that puts both to good use.

I spied a few issues with the writing in this book- the missed fraction in the Kinetic Mystic for example, another being the lack of bolding on the Metakinesis ability in the Legendary Kineticist. not enough to take away much for me, but... still worth pointing out.

My thoughts overall on this book? well, some of it either really intrigues me (Nihilicist, Kinetic Mystic), or blows me away (Onslaught Blaster, Legendary Kineticist). Everything in here appears to work just fine as written, but a good bit of it does nothing for me at all. The last LK book had me dancing in glee by comparison. but then again, I got Bob Ross and Adagio Dazzle-esc Kineticists out of it- the arts in combat are things I ALWAYS want more of. a lot of this book feels more like an expression of the kinetic elements on the world at large, rather than the kineticists themselves- after all, 4 of the archetypes in this book aren't for the base kineticist, Kinetic Mystic is a hybrid prestige, and there's the spells. in that context it is a good book, but as a dedicated Kineticist player book, is it still worth it?

Yes. because this book still provides more kineticists abilities and feats, 4 good Kineticist archetypes that is bound to at least intrigue someone, and an amazing quality of life increase to a class that I feel could use it in the Legendary Kineticist. if this is the end, it came around pretty good, back to where it all started. It didn't light the fire under me like the last book, but it's STILL one worth picking up.

See you on the other side, folks. I have some kineticist sizing up t'do. got a Lucha Libre wrestler Gestalt to make, and some of the stuff in this book reminds me of ideas...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Kineticists II
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Mythic Magic: Intrigue Spells
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:21:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Magic-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look at this book!

So, at this point, you probably are familiar with what these books by now - if not, the pitch is simple: We get mythic versions of all spells contained in Ultimate Intrigue and thus, we begin with an alphabetic list of the spells featured within this book. However, there is an important paradigm shift in this book, courtesy of the changed design paradigm Paizo introduced back in Occult Adventures and continued in Ultimate Intrigue. You see, the adaptations of spells in earlier hardcovers have been somewhat different in tone and focus; numerical bonuses and damage types, as a whole, obviously lend themselves to an adaptation to mythic adventure contexts based on numerical escalation; you get the idea - expend mythic power for x, use mythic surge in conjunction with it for y.

That type of design simply does not gel too well with Ultimate Intrigue's spell selection. What do I mean by this? well, the first spell already makes this clear: Mythic absolution allows you to retain specific charms and compulsions, while still allowing for code of conduct violation rerolls, with the 4th tier augment allowing for the expenditure of 2 uses of mythic power, with better saves for the target. Similarly, aerial tracks augment options allows you to automatically succeed Survival checks of DC 40 or below if you power it via mythic power. Aphasia can bypass tongues and may be upgraded to behave basically like a curse, audiovisual hallucinations actually react appropriately towards damage inflicted and may receive more complex instructions.

Mass Charm Person is harder to detect when used in its mythic iteration, while codespeak significantly increases its duration - amazing: The mythic version actually PERMANENTLY teaches to read and understand the code...which is amazing for complex spy-games. Similarly, making a conditional curse hereditary represents an amazing augment and conjuration foil's mythic iteration may represent a numerical upgrade, but also includes a variety of tactical options. The crime spells allow for multiple rolls and the caster's choice of the result taken. Dark whispers affects up to two creatures per tier beyond line of sight/effect and may even imitate voices. Deadman's contingency's upgrade allows you to actually layer several of them upon each other. False Belief allows for the implantation of fake memories, while e.g. handy grapnel is indeed a full-blown Batman-level super-grapnel. Cool: Hollow Heroism is incorrectly identified by probing magic as mythic heroism, while illusion of treachery allows for a significantly increased control.

Casters of majestic image may employ other spells in conjunction with the spell and phantasmal affliction may impose curse, poison or wasting-like benefits. Rumormonger also gets an amazing upgrade, providing basically a rumor-web, which can really make high-powered investigations provide a whole new assortment of options -same goes for trace teleport....and treacherous teleport.

Now there are also a couple of different spells that do not go this way - true prognostication, for example, has a higher maximum chance of success and does not have a cost. Undetectable Trap continues until the next time the trap is triggered, while also increasing the DC to notice the trap...and no automatic detection chances for anyone. Vicarious view has a longer duration and may be used in conjunction with senses of a spell level lower than your tier. So yes, there are a couple of diverse spells that are a little bit less extensive in their options.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features several nice full-color artworks, though fans of Legendary Games will probably be familiar with several of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with extensive bookmarks for your convenience.

Alex Riggs and David N. Ross went above and beyond in this mythic magic-installment: The spells and their effects have been seriously expanded, allowing for a wide variety of brilliant gambits to stack upon another. In fact, this is probably the best Mythic Magic-installment so far. Why am I saying this? Simple: This book has managed what no other Mythic Magic book made me want to do: Play a very specific game. As some of you may know, I'm a huge fan of Batman, Death Note and similar battle of wits type of scenarios and this pdf's spells allow for the truly epic battling of magical wits: The spells in the base book already had this Batman/Sherlock detective-battle-of-wits type of vibe, but once you add this book's vastly expanded options to the fray, things become amazing, allowing the PCs and villains to pit complex gambits against one another...and boy, do I love that! I really want to make a truly intrigue-heavy game with these!

Expertly crafted, this installment is absolutely inspired and allows the GM and players to engage in a whole new level of deception, subterfuge and style. This is an amazing, diverse and extremely well-made pdf, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Magic: Intrigue Spells
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Mythic Monsters #40: North America
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/21/2017 05:49:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' critically-acclaimed Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of jam-packed content, so let's take a look!

We, surprisingly, begin this pdf with supplemental material that is not only useful for mythic contexts per se - the pdf introduces Scrimshaw items as an item-class, with a respective feat to fashion these (though it oddly does not have the Item Creation descriptor, but that just as a nitpicky aside) - scrimshaw magic items, though, are rather fragile - and this fragility is a central focus of the respective items introduced: E.g. a knife that returns those slain with it as undead servitors, which is balanced via the chance of splintering. The pendant of life sense can help communicating, but excess damage to the target depicted in the pendant can result in a collapse. Whalebone Helms can emit thundering cones and emit high-pitched cries that allow for long-range communications...I like this general item-class and the guidance provided for the GM is nice. The class certainly has some serious potential for e.g. an ice age-themed game.

Beyond these items, the pdf obviously also contains a selection of creatures - the CR 16/MR 6 version of the Akhlut can instantly generate devastating storms and add devastating takedowns of the assaults...and it also learns to perform truly devastating smashing assaults and fly during storms...oh, and they become gargantuan. A true classic would also be the CR 10/MR 4 Jersey Devil - this being receives an AoO as a result to mythic power expenditures and may even expend mythic power to assault foes...and it actually gains temporary mythic power when targeted by an appropriate hit. Adding a curse-debuff to the breath...and the version may combine the breath via trampling for ghost rider-style running over...oh, and it finally is as hard to kill as befitting of the legend.

The CR 7/MR 3 mythic hodag not only gains better ambush predator tricks and may execute devastating attacks from below...and these guys are incredibly hard to hunt down, making for deadly hunters. The mythic ijiraq at CR 11/MR 4 may banish foes affected by the disorienting gaze into the plane of shadows and the constantly blurred form adds a significant defense upgrade to the critter. Nice one!

At the highest echelons, the mythic manitou receives a CR 18/MR 7 incarnation that has a powerful domain of guarded lands and also sports a powerful aura of karmic retribution aura, which can negate the defenses of foes foolish enough to attack him...oh, and he may possess foes! Beyond this, powerful clouds of steam and an improved spirit stampede and a mythic power expanded token of fortune is pretty intriguing. (Oh, and the Mythic Awesome Blow feat is reprinted here for your convenience!) So yeah, a great one!

The pdf's next critter would be the CR 9/MR 4 qallupilluk, who gains grasping claws, seriously powerful additional options when the creature hits multiple times with its claws, and may tunelessly hum to lead its victims astray as well as employ with deadly hexes. There is yet another critter - the sasquatch, at CR 3/MR 1 receives the blurred form trick and also receives a particularly nasty stench. At CR 4/MR 1, the snallygaster receives a horrific shriek...and once again, the mythic Flyby Attack feat, used in the build, is included here.

The most American of critters in iconography would perhaps be the thunderbird at CR 13/MR 5 - these beings may not only absorb lightning, they can actually assume lightning form, a reflexive electrified body and is particularly effective in combat versus serpentfolk and similar reptilian threats. And yes, the mythic version can use mythic power to greatly enhance the signature storm aura...and I should also note the ability to fire whole salvos of thunderbolts! Amazing! The tupilaq's mythic version, at CR 8/MR 3, can have spells inscribed upon it and with blood of a victim, can become a deadly, unrelenting bloodhound - and yes, these base creature abilities become even more potent in the mythic version, supplemented by better physical power and feats. Nice representation of a construct being created to fulfill certain functions.

The wakandagi, at CR 17/MR 7, is surrounded by an aura of toxin-cancelling purity and may counter the first attack each round, form the weather and utterly obliterate ships...so a massive upgrade for the base creature, which always felt a bit limited to me - big, big kudos! (Mythic Multiattack is reprinted here as well, as it is used in the build!) One of the most epic builds in the whole series is next - and it better should be: The wendigo has been done often in various iterations, but the CR 21/MR 8-version herein is a true beauty of utter, deadly destruction - exceedingly fact, with the option to instill wendigo psychosis via nightmares, and absolutely phenomenal evasion tricks, these guys can actually stand before high-level mythic PCs - wreck them; hit and run; drain mythic power - the signature abilities span two pages on their own, making this build a glorious story-foe and villain.

The CR 5/MR 2 wikkawak gains mythic power from making creatures frightened and, on crits, these guys can take mementos from crited foes, which thereafter make the creature more deadly against the being in question. Oh, and thuggery is enhanced as well!

The new creature herein, lavishly rendered in full color, would be the CR 6/MR 2 Giiwedin, an incorporeal undead with the air and cold subtypes - these beings can possess others, wracking them with spellblights and hampering the healing options of the character in question...and those slain return as frost wights. Spirits of those slain in the frozen tundra, these hunters are delightfully deadly, if not absolutely mind-boggling in their options, but their strong and evocative theme makes sure I'll certainly use them in my adaptation of LotFP's excellent "Weird New World".

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports pretty amazing original pieces of artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

The mythic monsters featured herein, penned by the veteran hands of Jason Nelson and Alex Riggs, count among their number some of the coolest critters in the series...and indeed, not one of the conversions has disappointed me with its tricks; they build expertly upon the mythological foundation of the respective creatures. The mechanics are similarly excellent and manitou and wendigo alone may well be worth getting this file on their own. In short - this is an excellent addition to the Mythic Monsters-series and thus receives my highest accolades at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitegist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #40: North America
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Mythic Monsters #39: Slavic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:32:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' critically-acclaimed Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of jam-packed content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf in the most flavorful of ways - with a nice short story, a fairy tale if you will - the "Bear with Steel Fur", a great little story that established the mood for the pdf...and could frankly yield quite a lot of inspiration in particularly for fans of Kobold Press' Midgard or similarly more Slavic/Germanic environments. Thus, in the proper mindset, we are introduced to the diverse mythic creatures found within, beginning our journey with the mythic Bagiennik (CR 7/MR 3), whose nasal spray is upgraded to also allow for the dousing of those slain to return them back to life via the expenditure of mythic power...oh, and they can emit a cloud of total concealment-granting murk. Nice one!

At the lowest CR/MR-spectrum (CR 1/MR 1), the Etiainen is greatly expanded - while the nice artwork used previously for a unique creature in the series is a rehash, the critter more than makes up for this: You see, they may not only expend mythic power to assume Tiny or Large sizes, they also do not perish when fading, thwart detection and can stack its memory drain - making completely new angles possible. Great example of low-level mythic critter-design! On the other end of the CR-range, at a mighty CR 18/MR 7, the gorynych may emit a fascinating haze, its breath weapons are also modified in their cooldown mechanics and may be enhanced with mythic power, adding some serious tactics to breath weapon use. Oh, and know what's worse? If you manage to slay this monstrosity, it discorporates in flame and death...and reassembles, hurt, but very much in fighting shape, with different defensive properties. Round 2 of the boss fight. NICE!

The famous domovoi at CR 4/MR 1 actually represents the spirit so much better with clean sweep - a telekinetic-style option to AoE clean/repair...and move foes. Add to that the option to assume the shape of a revered ancestor and we have a definite winner on our hands that feels truly magical. At one CR and MR more, the Dvorovoi similarly have been brought closer to the real world's tales - they enhance the growth of nearby plants, but once their ire is roused, they can utterly ruin a farmer's life with their magics and curse. At CR 3 and MR 1, the ovinnik would be another house spirit whose mythic upgrade receives unique tricks - namely a menacing bark to scare away intruders and fires started by them may warp the perception of creatures and allow for clairvoyance/audience tricks. I love all of these house spirits.

The CR 6/MR 2 kikimora receives a greatly empowered hidey hole that allows for some additional tactics; beyond that, they can enter the dreams of the sleeping, causing nightmares and also gaining bonuses versus those afflicted...and they can employ flaxen traps and spin it so quick, it can help them get away, making them a far deadlier adversary. Another classic that is often used would be the Rusalka, whose mythic version clocks in at CR 15/MR 6 and may maintain the beckoning call; beyond that, they can emit a shriek that can force others to attack a designated foe...and if you do not heed the ruslka's call, you suffer. Their powers to enslave nonmythic creatures are horrid, they can attack with their tresses of hair and in water, they receive a serious defense upgrade, making them an appropriately formidable, dare I say "mythic" foe. Kudos indeed!

Compared to these guys, the CR 3/MR 1 upgrade of the tatzlwyrm is a bit less impressive - mythic power expenditure for conical poison or free action breath...okay, I guess, but not too exciting. At CR 8/MR 3, the air veela's mythic version can draw the air forth from nearby creatures and gets a mythic power-based immediate action defensive power that ensures she does not go down quickly. The vodyanoi, at CR 6/MR 2, may summon water into the lungs of its victims and imprison the souls of its victims, drawing strength from them - this critter is basically an adventure plot in one statblock and a glorious representation of the creature's mythological tropes. Two thumbs up! At CR 4/MR 1m the vukodlak has a steal breath ability...which is unfortunately missing a part of its text and thus does not really work in a pretty glaring glitch.

The pdf also includes a new creature with a glorious full-color artwork would be the stalimedved - the eponymous, CR 21/MR 8 steely bears - gargantuan engines of destruction, whose flaming breath lingers; the creature can not only perform devastating physical attacks, its massive stomps can really wreck formations and structures. The quills are lethal as well and the sweeping claw attacks can hit multiple foes. All in all, a glorious, massive monstrosity.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, with the glaring exception of the cut-off steal breath ability. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a blend of classic full-color artwork and the amazing new artwork for the stalimedved. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Victoria Jaczko knocks this one right out of the stadium, if you want to engage in a Baseball-metaphor: The creatures herein and their respective upgrades represent amazing variations of the classic critters and bespeak a love for the mythology that inspired them - apart from the unfortunately cut off ability and the slightly less interesting tatzlwyrm, the pdf's critters are absolutely amazing, rendering this a very worthwhile addition to the series. While not perfect, it represents an inspired collection of critters and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #39: Slavic
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Asian Archetypes: Magical
by Thomas P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2017 21:44:35

Solid Set up. Full of lore and some good stuff to be had.

They could have added a few strong mechanic archetypes for classes that could use an eastern mechanic boost.

Pros: Flavor, themetical correct, covers a lot of classes.

Cons: light on mechanic boosts. Sometimes the rule of cool isn't enough for a GM.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Asian Archetypes: Magical
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Legendary Kineticists II
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2017 09:58:33

Wow, didn't think that Jolly had another book left in him, especially one of this quality, but I got proven wrong hard. From the nihilicist actually exploring no element (not void, literally no element) to the onslaught blaster basically being the beam spam hero that every shonen anime portrays, there's still a lot of untouched ground in this class. Big props for the legendary kineticist, the rebuild that this class desperately needed; with this, you can easily play the class with far less issues than the original version, and it's pretty compatible with all the old content as well, something which I was worried about. Overall, you're looking at an amazing book with a really cool sample character who helps show off the mechanics of the new rebuild very well, making this a solid addition to the legendary kineticists/kineticists of porphyra family.

P.S. The color of the cover looks off here, maybe it was uploaded wrong?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Kineticists II
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Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
by TJ C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2017 22:53:24

Float like a Butterfly, Sting like Kyuubi - Or, What Ninja Should Have Been

Have you ever looked at the Ninja alternate class in your trusty old copy of Ultimate Combat and thought, "Boy, you sure are an awkward blob of mechanics hung together by dental floss and strung over a weaker version of the already underwhelming Core Rulebook Rogue's chassis?" Ever wondered how you could create a character that evokes the stealth, combat power, and psycho-spiritual pseudo-magic of Ninja Gaiden's Hayabusa Ryu, Darker than Black's Hei, X-Men's Psylocke, or Naruto's... well, everyone? Look no further! You've found your class.

The first thing you need to know about the Kinetic Shinobi is that it's built on a very clever premise. The authors marry the bare bones of the Kineticist – elemental focus and a version of kinetic blast that comes coupled with a weapon creator form infusion somewhat reminiscent of the Occult Adventures Elemental Annihilator's Devastating Infusion at first level, with a small array of other rethemed Kineticist features that come with deeper levels – to the good ideas behind the flawed execution of the UC Ninja – a version of the ki pool that feels impactful, sneak attack, and access to ninja tricks – while leaving behind the flaws of both parents: the much-maligned burn resource and the Ninja's narrow and overall weak focus. This gives the Kinetic Shinobi a ton of flavor right out of the gate, unburdened by overly-restrictive baked-in mechanics. The one “downside” (and I use that term loosely, here) to the approach taken with this core design is that the Kinetic Shinobi does, more or less, render the Ninja obsolete. Under normal circumstances, I would count that as a harsh penalty against a hybrid class. In this case, however, the Ninja was arguably a worse version of the CRB Rogue it's based off already, and Paizo put the final nail in its coffin long ago with the Pathfinder Unchained Rogue. I can't fault this book for burying a dead horse.

The second, and arguably most important aspect of the Kinetic Shinobi to be aware of, is that the skeleton I've described above is fleshed out with an enormous variety of customization, offering a unique experience for every character. The straight use of the Kineticist's elemental focus makes the Kinetic Shinobi fully compatible with all (7, as of this writing) Paizo Kineticist elements, any further options added in the future, and the plethora available in other third party books, such as the excellent Kineticists of Porphyra series also by this team of authors. The real value of both the class and the book, though, is the Shinobi Talents feature, gained at every odd level starting at 1. There are some 50-odd of these, ranging the gamut from alternate weapon forms (known as Hadou techniques), poison use, skill tricks, special defenses, and a few very anime-inspired one-offs (Bunshin Rush and Dragonbreath will remind you of a certain pair of ninja from a village hidden in leaves). Included are even a handful of options that facilitate both manufactured weapon and unarmed strike builds (although they are in large part outshone by the archetypes that focus on those styles). Also accessible through Shinobi Talents are the Kineticist's basic and composite blasts, substance infusions, and utility wild talents, and the aforementioned Ninja Tricks, including Master Tricks (and, by proxy, Rogue Talents and Advanced Rogue Talents). All accounted for, I would be surprised if there were less than 200 options available.

If that doesn't sound like enough material to you, there are also a whopping 11 archetypes included with the Kinetic Shinobi, which include a couple of slgihtly-more-Ninja variants, a couple slightly-more-Kineticist variants, and a series of gish archetypes that hybridize in a third class, including: gunslinger, fighter, monk, vigilante, swashbuckler, bloodrager, and magus. Each is, of course, provided with a twist that makes them more than a simple combo deal. Alternate Favored Class Bonuses for every race in the Advanced Race Guide and a handful class-specific Feats round out the player material, and a sample NPC (featured in the cover art) is provided as the finishing touch on the book.

I have only two gripes with this book; both are small. The first is that, as written, there is an issue of clarity in the function of the advanced Hadou techniques, which are central to the class's combat mechanics from very early on. I was able to suss out the correct Rules As Intended in every case after a single reading of the class, but there's enough ambiguity to the wording that an inexperienced player might find themselves lost (or a malicious player might find themselves tempted to exploit the Rules As Written). I can't hold this fault too strongly against the book, but it is a bit jarring, if only due to the fact that the rules text of the rest of the material (which far, far outnumbers the Hadou techniques) is very meticulous. The second is that the core class offers no way to attain an enhancement bonus or weapon properties on its attacks, which is a problematic oversight for an iterative attack focused class – solved by allowing an amulet of mighty fists to affect the class's form infusions. That said, the authors were very quick to answer all the questions I had about clarity (too verbose to repeat here), and offered easy solutions to the few problems I noted, so I would strongly recommend any would-be player or GM of a Kinetic Shinobi give a brief read over N. Jolly's and Onyx Tanuki's clarifications on the Paizo Product Discussion page unless or until the text is updated following the date of this review (3/10/17).

Overall, I give the Kinetic Shinobi 4.5/5 Stars (rounded up for this platform), for excellent flavor that fills a badly needed niche, creative and fun mechanical design, and a body of work that is high in both quantity and quality, having extraordinarily few issues for a fully featured class.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
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Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/08/2017 09:40:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Legendary Games' hybrid classes clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The kinetic shinobi, if the name was no clear indication, is a hybrid class of ninja and kineticist, which receives, chassis-wise d8 HD, 6 + Int-mod skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons plus kama, katana, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, nunchaku, sai, shortbow, short sword, shuriken, siangham and wakizashi as well as light armor. The class receives 3/4 BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves and 2nd level nets sneak attack, which continues to progress by +1d6 every 3 levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +7d6.

The class begins play with elemental focus and kinetic blast with kineticist levels equal to kinetic shinobi levels, but must either add the physical jutsu or elemental jutsu form infusion to any kinetic blast she manifests. A kinetic shinobi's kineticist tricks are governed by Charisma instead of Constitution- Both of these form infusions, just fyi, do not have a burn cost.

Unfortunately, the physical jutsu infusion does have a pretty nasty glitch: It is used as part of any attack action, creating a weapon that deals "1d4 + Cha" damage, regardless of level. It can be used with Vital Strike, Spring Attack etc....but for one, I am pretty sure this should be Charisma modifier: RAW, this adds the Charisma score to damage, which is...too much. The elemental version behaves analogue to this, but does not sport the problematic "+Cha" addition and targets touch attack instead.

2nd level provides a ki-pool equal to 1/2 class level + Cha-mod. This ki may be spent to enhance physical jutsu attacks by +1 or the damage of elemental jutsu by +2. These bonuses increase by +1 and +2, respectively, at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Additionally, an expenditure of one ki can net them a whopping +20 to Acrobatics for one round, or a +4 to the skills associated with the elemental focus. Beyond these basic uses of ki, the kinetic shinobi also learns so-called Hadou techniques at 2nd level, which remain available for as long as the shinobi has at least 1 point of ki left in her pool. These hadou techniques basically are what lets you generate unique effects with the jutsus. It is here, in the technique that makes the jutsu behave as a katana, that the aforementioned confusion regarding "+Cha" is resolved btw. - here, the wording is correct and notes that it's the Charisma modifier that is added to the damage-output, which is for 2-handed weapons btw. increased to 1d8. Dual wielding weapons made from jutsu and thrown weaponry are included here as well, just fyi.

Starting at 3rd level, kinetic shinobi become harder to track and better at Disguising and Stealth, emphasizing the ninja-component with scaling bonuses that increase every 3 levels thereafter. 4th level provides gather power, which, considering that the kinetic shinobi pays ki instead of burn, obviously pertains ki expenditure, though gathering power does require concentration -on a failed check, you have a cooldown there. 4th level and every 8 levels thereafter net a substance infusion, with 6th level and every 4 thereafter allowing for the switching of such an infusion. 4th level decreases the ki cost of their combined substance infusions by 1, with further reductions unlocking at 10th and 16th level. Since the burn-to-ki-conversion is stated in another ability, I am okay with the class calling this burn-cost reduction. 6th level provides the option to expend +1 ki to double the duration of effects, with 10th level allowing them to spend 2 points to maximize their blasts. 14th level allows for the expenditure of 3 points for a required second save and 18th level lets the shinobi expend 4 points to have the blast ignore 10 DR or resistance and SR and mitigate energy immunity to resistance 20: Big kudos here: The immunity-to-resistance-transition could have resulted in confusion in the hands of less careful authors: Kudos for the clarifying example!! 7th level nets evasion and, as a capstone, the metajutsu abilities that allow for the expenditure of ki to add metamagic-y benefits is decreased by 1. They may also regain 2 ki when sneak attacking a creature with at least half their HD: Kitten-proof capstone. Nice!

Now, I have consciously not commented so far on the massive array of shinobi talents included here: They represent the biggest unique player agenda component here. The first of these is gained at 1st level, with every 2 levels thereafter providing an additional such talent. These talents provide a blend of active benefits and talents that behave like hadou techniques and include the classic options you'd expect: From a variant smoke bomb to the option to provide one poison's benefits to his jutsu-formed two weapons to standard action only increased damage blasts, which can be further modified to act as lines or cones. Increased sneak range for sniping, synergy of Spring Attack or charges with the aforementioned standard action damage-increase...there's a lot here. Higher levels also allow for composite blast jutsu weapons, aligned strikes, applying infusions to full attacks, synergy between ki strike (which can be gained via another talent) and kinetic blast, advanced hadou techniques for dual thrown weapons or splash weaponry. Very cool: Kinetic shadow can add a miss chance to the shinobi in the aftermath of attacks and there even is one that allows for the decrease of sneak attack in favor of a reduced burn cost. Thankfully, the notorious flurry of stars-option has been locked behind an appropriate level, showing that the designers have done their math here. Highest level shinobis may even learn supercharge thus. Have I mentioned the option to gain detect thoughts? In case you haven't noticed by now: Combined with Legendary Kineticist, this pdf is pretty much "Psylocke the Class" - or all those elemental ninja dudes and dudettes. As a whole, the massive selection of shinobi talents covers a pretty amazing array of options.

This is not, however, where the pdf stops: Instead we get a TON of archetypes: 11 to be more precise. Arsenal snipers modify their proficiency-list to gain access to crossbows and firearms and indeed, that's what they can create: The rules-language provided for the ability is beautiful in its complexity, addressing several potential stumbling stones and eliminating multiple game-breaker-level issues from the get-go. Beyond increased accuracy, the class also receives an array of unique shinobi talents that include interaction with automatic fire, several investigator talents and replaces sneak attack with studied combat and Ranged combat at 3rd level, with further levels providing range increases. Lethal...but for once not a sniper class that overshoots (get it?? I'll punch myself later for that...) the line.

The second one would be the Brutal Assassin, who loses a bit of versatility in favor of Strength as governing attribute and increased sneak damage output whenever he expends ki, with fighter-level bonus combat feats and more damage-focused tricks - which remain within the proper levels...so kudos! The archetype does lose much of the shinobi's stealth and versatility for these, though. Thirdly, the burglar is a quick one: 3rd level safe house instead of a shinobi talent, HiPS instead of evasion. Solid.

The elemental shinobi replaces 12th level's ninjutsu training and evasion with access to elemental defense , powered by ki, at 2nd level. Their ki expenditure per round is capped, though, and their pool is reduced to 3 + Cha-mod to retain balance and they may also not perform the +20 Acrobatics tricks via ki, though 6th level allows them to take Charisma damage to increase the ki pool for a limited number of times per day. Weird layout glitch, btw.: Starting at 3rd level's elemental overflow, the whole text that follows, until the second sentence of the next archetype, seems to be bolder than it should be. The ability is btw. pretty impressive, providing bonuses to atk with blasts equal to the ki points expended since the last rest, and the ability even knows thresholds for further bonuses, which makes for a very cool experience of resource-management I enjoy immensely: On the one hand, you want to expend those points, on the other, you don't this retains a fluidity of options and generates this cool and pretty cinematic feeling. Very, very cool. I am so going to see what I can do with this engine!!

Fading Shadows gets a delayed sneak attack progression and are masters of camouflage, the silent killers and ghost-like infiltrators, with Conceal Spell and vanishing trick. A relatively simple one, but I like it. The hand of the kami would be, surprise, the archetype that makes the class behave like a kinetic unchained monk instead of a kinetic ninja - with quinggong monk ki powers, faster movement, flurry, the like. The Hi-Den Noble would be a similar hybrid-y archetype, but one that would basically represent a vigilante-ish shinobi that makes for a great face of the party, with knowledge and social skills and hidden strikes et al. - Really like this one, as it also has some seriously nice flavor written into the abilities. The metaformer replaces the metamagic-like tricks gained at 6th level and thereafter with extended access to form infusions - basically, this is an engine tweak, designed specifically to allow for kineticist-style meta-magic as opposed to the feat-based metamagic of the base class, making it a useful and cool addition.

Following this sequence, the next one would be the needler, whose ki pool behaves pretty much like a variant panache. Yep, this would be the swashbuckler-multiclass. And before you ask: The reason why I'm not screaming fire and brimstone right now regarding replenishing ki is the restriction that eliminates the elemental jutsu from the equation. The piercing focus can slightly be expanded upon with shinobi talents, one of which allows for the addition of usually bludgeoning-only kinetic blasts that may now inflict piercing or slashing damage. This archetype, while solid on its own, delimits a limited resource, so utmost care should be taken by GMs allowing the archetype to multiclass. The shadow stepper is locked into void and gains arcane spellcasting with slots equal to the bloodrager, but draw them from wizard/sorc and psychic spell-lists, though they are limited in what spells they can learn. The archetype pays for the flexibility that offers with a lot shinobi talents and regular stealth. Additionally, they may cast spells by expending ki and spell slots, drawing from a thematically nice list. The final archetype would be the shikon, whose spell-list and equivalent levels are treated as either bard, hunter, inquisitor, magus, mesmerist, spiritualist or warpriest, chosen at 1st level, rendering them pretty much a catch-all blend of the kinetic shinobi with the black blade of the bladebound magus (they gain a variant of the black blade), making this a pretty significant and interesting departure from the base class. Kudos!

Big, big plus: We get a TON of favored class options: Core races, featured races, uncommon races, and they actually tie in thematically with the respective races: Orcs gain damage upgrades for empowered weapons, dhampirs better negative blasts...nice. The pdf also features 4 feats: Beyond the Extra Shinobi Talent and Favored Shinobi Talent (decrease ki-cost of that talent) to using Cha for one Dex-based class skill to Overflowing Ki, which treats you as always having at least 1 ki and allows for 1 hour of meditation to regain ki...which can be an issue in REALLY grim, low-powered games. In most standard rounds, its meditation duration is long enough to make me consider it to be okay.

The pdf closes with the lady depicted on the cover, Valerie Jette, a level 9 half-elven kinetic shinobi whose colorful history includes a healthy infusion of drow blood as part of being resurrected. Sounds intriguing? Yes, it does! She does come with a boon, just fyi!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is very good, though not perfect. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf's artwork has been employed in other LG-books for the most part, though a couple of nice ones are included that I have not seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

N. Jolly, with additional design by Blake Morton and OnyxTanuki, delivers once again in this hybrid class. Now, what do I look for in a hybrid class? For one, if a simple archetype of a scavenging of class ability could do what the hybrid class does, then it has missed its mark. Secondly, and that's just as important, if not more so, it has to feel unique: It should not play like just a Frankenstein-conglomerate of class abilities that have been stitched together. Thirdly, the class needs its unique identity. A hybrid of hunter and slayer will probably be just another woodsy pet-fighter dude, for example. The kinetic shinobi fulfills all of these criteria with panache. The significant array of archetype support adds some seriously nice customization options to the class as well, making it excel at being the anime-ninja, the Psyclocke-ish character par excellence. That being said, there are a couple of minor issues here and some options that can potentially can cause hiccups in some games. Granted, these are few and far between and can easily be identified by a competent GM, but they're here. In the end, I consider this a very good hybrid class - one of my favorite 3pp hybrid classes alongside Forest Guardian Press' savage and Purple Duck Games' luminary , in fact, but these small imperfections are what costs this my seal of approval. Still, this remains one excellent addition to the game and well worth 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Egyptian Heroes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/06/2017 10:35:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of pregens intended for use with the Mummy's Mask AP clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, the pdf begins by explaining the methodology of how these characters were created - as has become the tradition with these supplements, the characters have been created with a 20 pt.-buy method and includes, thankfully, downscaling to 15-pt. buy for each character, for those of us who like their fantasy a bit grittier, who like more challenge in their games.

Structure-wise, the pdf thankfully does not change the winning formula of the pregen-supplements by Legendary Games - this means you get a fantastic full-color one-page depiction of the respective character, which includes a sample quote for the character in question. After each such gorgeous artwork, we get not only stats, but also the storyline of the respective character, including copious information on story and motivation as well as suggestions for character advancement.

The first character featured within the book would be Asep Arukhet, a charismatic sorceror with the imperious bloodline and the conviction of being a rightful pharaoh, born into wealth, the charismatic Asep makes for a great leader...and ladies (and some gents) will certainly appreciate his tasteful, yet beefcake-y image.

The next pregen would be Dorian Massud, a grave warden slayer, aloof and stoic, instilled with a serious hatred and skill battling the undead with his deadly falcata. This would also be a great place to note that quite a few of these pregens have their nice stories tied together - Dorian is pretty weary of some of his travelling companions...

Kephennes Enterra, an ecclesitheurge cleric of Nethys is a dangerously curious man who has returned from the dead after succumbing to an arcane curse - a wonder that has greatly changed his outlook, his mission...and romantically inclined PC-entanglements can make for a really cool RP-angle here, particularly for those with death in their blood.

Like Merradine Feist, the gorgeous redhead who looks like my type of lady - she is a gorgeous, charismatic dhampir archeologist bard and similarly makes for a great leader...though having been raised among vampires has changed her outlook and provides a unique angle for roleplaying her. And no, she is thankfully no angsty dhampir girly. Nice!

The half-elven school savant arcanist Namala Ikenwe, has always been fascinated by the sphinxes and their riddles and with her air supremacy and ancestral arms, she makes good use of gravity bow and her lightning flashes, making for an intriguing character whose guarded optimism makes for a nice counteract to the gravity of some of her companions.

Want some more exotic character? Parvanah Lisay, the lynx-eared catfolk features one of the best artworks of a catfolk I have ever seen and, as a cat burglar with climbing speed and her devotion to the old gods, the lucky lady makes for an interesting foil to Dorian's stoicism and a great explorer/scout.

Valdeseer Harringer, also known as Val, would be another excellent potential leader: The blond-haired holy gun paladin is on a mission here...but from afar, the intrigues of his sibling may yet find him, even in faraway Osirion.

Finally, we are introduced to Ziyadi Sahrebe, the dual-cursed oracle with the haunted and wasting curses, the curse of a mummy haunting his bloodline, the masked oracle's positive and upbeat demeanor conceal a melancholy that is only understandable - he has outlived his children and may be the last of his lineage, the only chance for the curse to end.

The pdf, as always, provides nice paper minis for all characters.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to the beautiful two-column full-color standard of the Mummy Mask-plug-ins. The artworks deserve special mention here: They are absolutely phenomenal and rank as some of my favorites in the whole of LG's pregen-cadre. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Neil Spicer delivers once again in this excellent collection of pregens - the characters are versatile and have built-in story-lines, RP-angles and are tied in interesting ways to both each other and the storyline of Mummy's Mask. In short: They do just what they should. Power-level-wise, the characters are also on one level, sporting builds that make them believable as characters, not just minmaxy-numbers, and their respective power-levels are pretty much in line. Bereft of anything to properly complain about, I will settle on a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. Excellent work!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Egyptian Heroes
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Ancient Curses
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2017 07:51:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with a nice, historic recap of Egypt and the ostensible curse of pharaohs, which may obviously take on a completely different dimension in the context of fantasy gaming. After that, we are introduced to the somewhat unfortunately-named Cursologist Occultist, who loses medium armor and shield proficiency (except bucklers) and gains Cursed Item Detection as a bonus feat. Instead of magic item skill, these fellows get +1/2 class level to Knowledge (history) and to both Appraise and Knowledge (engineering) when examining structures at least a 10 years old. 5th level yields Craft Wondrous Item, but any skill checks pertaining their creation receive a -5 penalty unless creating cursed items. 8th level and every 3 levels thereafter let the archetype replace the feat with another item creation feat. This replaces aura sight. Instead of 5th level's focus power, the archetype may use a cursed item worn as an implement, expending focus power to temporarily suppress the curse. When using curse descriptor spells with the implement, the cursologist increases their potency and curses may be selected as implement spells at certain levels.

8th level provides the option to expend 1 point of mental focus as part of a 1 minute ceremony to duplicate remove curse, with higher levels instead providing break enchantment's benefits. Cool: By using a proper skill-check, he may determine special items that help the chances of success of this ceremony. Nice built-in adventuring trick, which is quickened to a full-round action at 16th level. This replaces magic circles, 8th level replaces outside contact with the option to activate an oracle curse for up to class level minutes, with oracle levels equal to occultist levels -3. Oracle's burden is added to the spell list and 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter net an additional curse to choose from, with 16th level allowing for the activation of two curses at once. 12th level lets the cursologist spend 1 point of mental focus for a reroll of a save, with affected allies instead gaining a bonus to saves.

The second archetype herein would be the Priest of the Old Ways, a cleric archetype that is actually interesting: You see, these guys don't channel energy in the traditional sense, but instead apply it via physical contact (with examples including spitting etc.) via melee touch attacks. To make up for this decreased AoE, the channeled energy's potency is increased to 1d10 base dice and the loss of the holy symbol requirement for applying energy thus. Spellcasting is similarly modified in an interesting manner: As the archetype draws upon oral tradition, the spells cast have no somatic components, but universally require verbal components. These spells may not be used in conjunction with Silent Spell and spell failure incurred due to e.g. the deafened condition are doubled as a trade-off, though. Also interesting would be that these guys treat spells that have an alignment-descriptor as though it didn't have an alignment descriptor. 6th level has a glorious little ability: By expending apply energy uses, you can erect barriers that block magic as though it was a solid barrier...very cool and allows for some seriously amazing strategies. 12th level allow for the option to spend 8 hours sculpting a clay vessel customized with a name and a bit of the target, acting as a vessel for delivering curses beyond their regular range. This is balanced by apply energy's daily uses being reduced while this remains in existence.

The pdf then goes on to collate and recap cursed item rules, covering the cost of crafting cursed items, with several options included to reduce the costs of making such items. Interesting would be the concept of a rider curse, providing proper rules-terminology for curses that do not influence the functionality of an item, but accompany it nonetheless. The pdf also provides, obviously, curses - like an ostensible increase of an item's worth, a curse that makes a creature really want to use it, an item that displaces items worn in its stead, charms that eliminate specific memories...pretty cool, though two of these have their whole text italicized in a formatting glitch that should have been caught. Indeed, there are a couple of instances here where the italicization of a spell was obviously not properly ended, continuing with italicized text. Annoying, in particular when cropping up in the cool vicinity of a curse that even prevents you from THINKING the item's creator. Very cool idea.

Now, the pdf does not end right there, but instead dives into the particulars of how cursed locations work: Basically, the engine presented is a variation of how haunts work, with detection, destruction, effect and release clauses all concisely presented. Big, big plus: The pdf does allow for location-based curse-creation with handy CR-modifiers. The engine is cool. The pdf contains a total of 9 such location-based curses (CRs range from 1 to 17), which result from basic ill ease to horrid healing-impeding curses, with unique and flavorful means of negating them: Some curses may actually be susceptible to fire, for example. Formatting, alas, isn't perfect here either, as spells that should be italicized lack the proper formatting.

The final section of the pdf contains a total of 7 pretty complex and interesting curses: There would, for example, be a curse that actually fortifies your CMB and CMD as well as providing fast healing, but which also curses damage to you when you cease being in contact with earth. What about an aging curse that affects you when you try to cast spells? Raistlin's by now legendary hourglass eyes are also part of the deal, as is the option to make people outcasts, forcing a creature to leave sandy footprints wherever they tread. What about strange wrappings manifesting whenever the target sleeps, haunting his dreams, pinning him? Yeah, anyone who ever suffered from sleep paralysis will know how creepy that can be. Finally, sunbane renders you extremely susceptible to...bingo, the sun - in 5 ever increasing steps of severity. Ouch!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not as good as I've come to expect from Legendary Games - there are quite a few avoidable, obvious hiccups herein. Layout adheres to the neat two-column full-color standard for Mummy's Mask-plug-ins and the pdf sports several nice full color artworks, though fans of Legendary Games will recall them from other publications. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, Alex Riggs and Jen Page deliver a per se pretty cool supplement here: While the occultist didn't blow me away, the cleric archetype is pure gold and ranks among the best I've seen in a while - I can see this being the functional standard cleric in e.g. a Mesopotamia-style game or a more grim Sword & Sorcery-themed game. Damn cool.

The various curse subtypes and their codified rules are great - I like the way in which location-based curses are presented and the curses for items are similarly solid. The final array of curses also offers some pretty nice options. That being said, I wish the curses covered some slightly more unique options. While I appreciate the nostalgia-goggles that several of the curses employ, I found myself wishing for more curses that felt less familiar - so no, this does not push Rite Publishing's Legendary Curses-supplement off the throne. This is me complaining at a high level, though. The one flaw the pdf no doubt has beyond being pretty conservative in the depicted curses would lie in the not always perfect formatting. Thus, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Curses
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Trail of the Apprentice Adventure Path
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/23/2017 01:57:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 295 pages; 292 if you take away editorial, foreword, etc.

Now, if you're new to Trail of the Apprentice: This is basically a campaign that strives to teach new gamers, both players and GMs, the ropes - for Pathfinder's beginner's rules or those provided for 5e D&D, it is intended as an experience of the basics of adventuring. Theme-wise, it is a campaign intended for family gaming night and as such is significantly less "dark" or "scary" than some other published modules - as a whole, I believe that kids ages 8+ should not experience any issues in this campaign, unless they are particularly sensitive. Conversely, if your kids are younger and already enjoy reading LotR, Conan or the like, they'll have no issues here. (Hey, you never know! I've been reading since I was very, very young and once I found fantasy books, I devoured them religiously! It all depends and you'll know best!)

That is not to say that adults can't enjoy this, mind you - in fact, the campaign works just as well for introducing older players and GMs to the ropes and skills. One more thing: The one big lost chance regarding running this for kids would be that "good" behavior is not really rewarded: Enemies defeated are generally assumed to be killed by the PCs and adding an easy way to subdue intelligent foes and rewards for such a behavior would have added some moral-forming, unobtrusive dimension which I'd strongly suggest a GM implement.

Now, my review is based on the massive hardcover of the book...but there's one more thing to be aware of: You see, at this point, I have covered all 5 modules in the series in detailed reviews and I'm not a big fan of repeating myself, so if you want a really in-depth break-down of each module, go to my site (if you're not already there) and click on the "Trail of the Apprentice"-tag of this review (or search for it) and there you go. I assume you'll be familiar with these in this review.

Now, particularly astute readers may notice that the page count of the modules and this book does not align - there is a reason for that: The module section covers 220 pages, with appendices taking up the rest of the page-count. These include a sheet of paper for notes, a 2-page character-sheet as well as player-friendly versions of most maps, which come btw. with grids. Most maps? Jep, the ruin-maps of module #4 are not included in the appendix (the versions in the module are relatively player-friendly, but copying them from the book wastes 1/2 a page each), there is no player-friendly map of the hexcrawl in module #3 (BOOO!), and, much like in the stand-alone version of module #4, the test-dungeon lacks the numbers for the rooms, but features their names (a nitpick, granted).

Back to the appendices: The first of these would be a gazetteer of the kingdom of Threll on the world of Terralien, complete with an overview map, which, alongside all its information, helps a lot in contextualizing the respective modules - a big plus. There also are a couple of magic items interspersed here, including an amulet that heals you when reduced to 0 hit points, being particularly useful with easily frustrated folks. As a formal complaint, it sports a spell reference that has not been italicized. The second appendix contains a bestiary-section that features 7 new creatures: The CR 2 undead-looking fangbat, the CR 1/2 "imp-lite" foul needler, the whip-using CR 7 maestro fiend, the CR 5 scissor toad, the animated much-being sludgemaker at CR 4, the frightening-looking CR 3 yahldrid-maggot and my favorite, the CR 6 lodmaw: Think of that as a more rocky, oversized tribble with multiple maws and skittering, tiny legs that make it vulnerable to being knocked back: Mechanically the most interesting of them, though what the monsters bring to the table in spite of the limited options of beginner rules-sets is impressive. A bit of a missed chance: The new creatures, with the exception of the lodmaw, which features in adventure #5, do not show up in the adventure-series.

The pdf also has a handy monster-index by page, has notes for continuing adventuring, 7 pregens...and a couple of new rules: The book contains beginner's box-rules for the alchemist, gunslinger and witch-classes, all of which are presented in a pretty concise manner, taking potential splash-damage frustration into account (and providing an easy solution) and the book provides proper firearm rules. Considering that these are not included in the individual pdfs (alongside all creatures but the lodmaw), that is an argument in favor of this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not perfect - I noticed a couple of missing italicizations, minor hiccups, etc. Layout adheres to the nice 2-column full-color standard of the series. The book has several nice full-color artworks. Cartography ranges from beautiful (module #1) to serviceable (module #4). The hardcover I have uses matte paper of the usual PoD-level of quality for lightning source.

Paris Crenshaw, with additional design by Mike Welham, Matt Goodall, BJ Hensley and Linda Zayas-Palmer, has crafted pretty much a nice introductory-campaign: From the atomic experience of module #1 to the finale, Trail of the Apprentice represents a solid campaign. Module #3 and #5 in particular can be fun experiences for veterans as well, with #2 being similarly well-made: While easy, veterans tackling it at level 1 instead of 2 will have their hands full with a neat challenge.

As for the intended target demographic, the series does a neat job with the notable exception of the rushed-feeling fourth module and I'd strongly suggest contemplating my suggestion for the finale of the series, if you feel you're up to the task. I have a tradition of trying to rate books by their intended goal and this series succeeds pretty well at presenting a gradual, easy introduction to the games we all know and love while telling a solid story. This is not perfect, has its minor hiccups, stumbles and unrealized potential. The additional material in this hardcover is nice and well-crafted, but the book does not fix the minor hiccups in the series, so while nice, I feel it's not enough to warrant a full star bonus. When I add up my ratings for the individual installments and average my rating, I arrive at a final verdict for 4 stars, which mirrors well my thoughts on this - it's a good series that has a bit of room to improve. Veterans of countless games should probably detract a star, unless they really want a nostalgia trip to their earlier modules. (Not to be confused with hardcore old-school modules...)

That being said, I believe that this fulfills an important task and hope to see more Legendary Beginnings-books in the future. We need more people that play and if this series even made one group play that otherwise wouldn't have...well, then it is worth it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of the Apprentice Adventure Path
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Trail of the Apprentice: The Wizard's Dungeon (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/23/2017 01:54:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The final installment of the Trail of the Apprentice-series clocks in at 62 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 55 pages of content. To this, we can add a nice 12-page (already minus front cover/editorial) art-and-map-folio, which contains GM and player maps as well as a version sans grid and the original pieces of art for hand-out purposes. Neato!

As always, Trail of the Apprentice is made for family game night and with the express purpose of teaching new groups of players and GMs how to play the game. Kids ages 8+ should be good with this series, unless they are extraordinarily sensitive. Younger kids, depending on temperament, may enjoy this as well. As always, I strongly suggest rewarding kid-groups in particular for nonviolent and nonlethal conflict-resolution, something the whole series, alas, does not account for.

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

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..

.

All right, still around? Only GMs here? All right, so last time we saw the heroes, they had slogged through the oracle's test and were rewarded with knowledge of Belazeel's plan with the stolen serpent statues: Seems like the wizard is trying to use them as keys to open the so-called Basilisk's Shroud and unleash a dread entity known only as the "Sorceress", hoping to learn her arcane secrets. The PCs, in the aftermath of the last modules, may have additional information that will prove helpful as the PCs embark upon their journey into the shadescar rift, where an access to the underworld of Terrallien awaits - a place where mysterious things lurk and the planar boundaries have grown thin. Somewhere down there awaits the thieving wizard Belazeel and it's up to the PCs to stop him.

Thus, the PCs venture forth into the time-tested environment that has ignited countless imaginations, the underworld: Nice on this account, as the PCs begin exploring the respective environments: Terrallien's emphasis on planar overlaps allow for a very diverse array of micro-biomes; it's providing a logical rationale for strange compositions of cavern-features and foreshadows an integral component of the final dungeon. Also nice: The PCs will, pretty much in the beginning, already find earth elementals and may actually employ Diplomacy to avoid trading blows...but the elementals speak of bitter earth...and indeed, as the PCs progress, they will stumble into a rather major altercation, wherein savage troglodytes assault svirfnbelin.

Helping the deep gnomes (hopefully, considering the information supplied by the oracle in #4...) is a relatively easy task...at least in the beginning. They have been cut off from their people and can guide the PCs to the Heart of the Stone, the final dungeon and Belazeel's destination...but in order to do so, the PCs will have to deal with the new "god" of the troglodytes - a nasty, vile-tempered black dragon named Kezzerex. Now, this arguably hits a pet-peeve of mine.

I consider using dragons in early game a waste of the oomph and gravitas that should accompany these apex-predators. It waters down the experience and awe that should accompany finally dealing with such an engine of destruction. That being said, this is a personal issue and will not influence the final verdict. The pdf does use a tried and true means of driving home the power of dragon, though: Basically, the monster is CR 8 and as such POWERFUL to the point where the PCs better heed the suggestions of the oracle and the svirfneblin and deal with a mimic, gather magic weapons, etc. - the dragon is rendered beatable due to several custom-made anti-dragon magic items strewn through the section: From an acid-absorbing shield to a dragon-killing sword. These tools provide the mathematic edge to triumph versus the dragon.

This gambit is not new, but in play, the experience worked well this time around: Thanks to hazards/terrain and the limitations of the dragon's maneuverability, the PCs have a reasonable chance to succeed without making the combat feel too easy. There are 2 things that really irked me, though: One, the dragon is not the BBEG and being reduced to basically the half-way-boss is not too impressive...and it sets high expectations for the final boss. Secondly, and more importantly, there is pretty much no option to use guile or Stealth to bypass the dragon. If the players refuse to deal with the svirfneblin and instead try to somehow get past the dragon...the module does not really cover that. Transition from these caverns to the final dungeon is a story-device alone - the PCs can't track Belazeel, can't sneak past the dragon...and the lack of such options takes away from player-agenda. And yes, this happened in my game.

Now, once the draconic menace has been dealt with, it is time for the PCs to tackle the eponymous wizard's dungeon, the heart of stone. Nice, btw.: A fully credited new creature with a nice Achilles heel sets the tone from the get-go: You see, the dungeon is basically the pdf introducing the concept of planes-lite to the players. Each of the rooms of the dungeon has a required activation, which rewards problem-solving skills and does not boil down to just roll-playing; the rooms, upon activation, take on planar traits, which smart PCs can use to their advantage as they make their way through the dungeon. Speaking of the dungeon: It is really nice to see its Sephirot-shape (not, not the FF VII character, but the 16th century-version of the Kabbalah's concept!) - and indeed, upon the final activation of the respective room, the path to Da'at is free - to knowledge. It is here I'd like to truly commend the author - aligning e.g. the room corresponding to Keter with positive energy, for example, bespeaks a careful thought-process and deliberate decision to structure the dungeon this way. Kids probably won't notice, but adults interested in occultism will most certainly appreciate this added level of care. Kudos!

Within the central chamber corresponding to Da'at, the PCs will see the scene depicted on the cover: The two serpent statues have grown to an entwined, massive size, with glowing power emanating from it. Here, Belazeel, his bodyguard Jubal, his familiar and a fiendish giant spider ask for the final dance with the PCs, but after handling the adventuring group in #4, that should not be an issue. And it shouldn't be. See, the PCs better hurry, for the Basilisk Shroud is torn, and sooner or later, the legendary Sorceress will emerge from the shroud. Turns out that the magical mirror the PCs found earlier may provide them just the angle to win here...considering that the dread entity is weakened: Her arcane power amounts to making force weapons and force bolts. No spells, no other unique tricks...which is rationalized with the prolonged imprisonment, sure. Yes, she is deadly. But the PCs have killed a dragon in this very adventure...which renders the final encounter sslightly anticlimactic. It's a good two-phase boss battle, but in context, it does lose a bit of its impact due to what has gone before. A missed chance: Her HD do not represent her power and if the PCs think about sending her back (after all this build-up, they may well believe her to be far beyond their means to defeat!) into the shroud, the module does not account for such a smart decision.

Which brings me to my main gripe here: It boils down to kill this legendary entity. The PCs can't really stack the deck in their favor before this encounter, which means that it's quite likely that they'll fight her on relatively fair terms (fairer terms than the dragon-encounter) and in the end, comment about how she was not all that powerful. If I may: A significantly more rewarding way of depicting her would be for the GM to allow the PCs access to the whole dungeon. They have explored and "learned" all those planar traits, so using them against the sorceress, going through the dungeon in reverse with snatched serpent statues to reseal her as she gives chase and promises power unimaginable, can make for a significantly more memorable scenario. Just give her a 3-round cool-down instead of bringing her out directly and let the statues revert. Sow hints for the like before and you'll have taught the PCs not only that rollplaying does not always triumph, but you will have also engaged their faculties, rewarded their observation and diligence. And the reward will be an out-of-breath "We did it!" instead of a "And she was supposed to be that strong??" - the players in such a scenario will feel like they have played in the big league without diminishing the achievement of defeating the legendary BBEG. So yeah, the finale is solid, but it could have been easily a legendary one, considering the structure of the dungeon.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full-color artwork and cartography. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Paris Crenshaw's finale of Trail of the Apprentice is very much a two-part affair: The first part in the underworld is solid, if not the most amazing excursion into the wondrous realms below. The planar overlaps steal a bit of the show that would usually be reserved to the unique environment. The section does not make much use of verticality, the presence of ceiling, etc. - it's not bad, but it did not blow me away. The eponymous wizard's dungeon, part II of the module, on the other hand, is pretty much one of the two most brilliant highlights in the whole series: The structure and themes of the dungeon are strong, the challenges diverse and the only other section that could stand up to it in the series would be #3's excellent dungeon. The final boss fight is similarly a mostly rewarding experience, though one that, considering the amazing dungeon, feels a bit tacked on. Particularly experienced GMs may want to consider my suggestions above to add some oomph and gravitas to the proceedings. Heck, even new GMs may want to consider that - after all, modifying modules are a crucial GM-skill and if you've managed to get through #4, you'll have at least a bit experience in that part.

From a structural point of view, the linear progression from Part I to Part II represent one weak point of the module...and as far as I'm concerned, I would have loved the evocative dungeon to get a bit more space (and less underworld-stuff), since it actually is really, really cool and since the underworld acts mostly as an XP and treasure-source. That being said, this represents a worthy conclusion for the series. It does not reach the level of amazingness it could have easily reached, but as a whole represents a fun, if not perfect end for the series. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of the Apprentice: The Wizard's Dungeon (Pathfinder)
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Legendary Assassins
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/21/2017 09:10:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The assassin-PrC has captured the minds of gamers and GMs alike ever since its 2nd edition kit...but, alas, if there is one thing that holds true for the concept, it's that its rules-representation standard in 3.X and, subsequently, the Pathfinder-iteration, just don't do the job that well. The pathfinder PrC is hampered by having been released at a very early stage in the system, which rendered it...well, not too captivating, as it inherited the weaknesses of 3.X's takes on the concept. From Kobold Quarterly's second issue back in the day to Green Ronin's highly evocative Assassin's Handbook back in the day, there have been many attempts of making an assassin base class, but in 2016, we saw not one, but two that stand out: Number one would be Purple Duck Games' "Assassins of Porphyra", which created an intriguing prestige archetype concept. Number 2 would be the PHENOMENAL Assassin-class by Interjection Games, which employs an extremely rewarding maneuver-engine that just blew me away. Both, however, do have in common that they represent base-classes.

It is interesting, in this context that this pdf represents the first attempt I know of to salvage the assassin as a PrC. The first step towards this endeavor the pdf undertakes would be that it, after elaborating on the origin of the term and its original usage, to eliminate the nonsense evil-only restriction. In a world where murder-hobo-ism is a driving factor of economy, limiting assassins to be evil only always felt weird. (Heck, that's probably why the Book of Exalted Deeds back in 3.X had a "good killer"-PrC...). Prerequisite-wise, a BAB of +3 and 3 relevant skills at 5 ranks are what it takes to become an assassin as per this book, with the PrC providing d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, 1/2 Ref-save progression and 3/4 BAB-progression. Additionally, the PrC nets proficiency with all standard crossbows (light, hand, heavy), daggers, darts, rapier, sap, shortbow (normal + composite), short sword and light armor. It's a bit weird to see the garrote missing from the list, but oh well. The class can cast arcane spells while in light armor sans spell failure. At 1st level and every odd level thereafter, the assassin gains sneak attack +1d6, but may forego this progression in favor of spell progression or a bonus combat feat - big plus here, since this means the PrC retains relevance and diversity for more base classes!

Starting at 2nd level, the assassin chooses one type of effect from a list, like disease, divination, etc. - she gains +1 to saves versus such effects, +1 every two levels thereafter - I think that should be class levels, but I may be wrong and in dubio pro reo means that I won't hold that against the pdf. 2nd level also nets uncanny dodge, with 4th level providing hidden weapons and true death. As a minor nitpick, the spell reference to remove curse in the latter ability has not been properly italicized and the verbiage is fully functional, but slightly nonstandard. 5th level nets improved uncanny dodge, 6th level Quiet death, 8th level Hide in Plain Sight, 9th level swift death and 10th level, angel of death. Death attack and poison use are gained, just fyi, as we've come to expect at 1st level of the PrC. The former is modified, though: 3rd and 5th level reduce the amount of study required to execute death attacks by 1 round.

Here is where player-agenda falls into place: At 1st level and every odd level thereafter, the assassin-PrC presented here may select an assassin talent from a list of 27 available selections. These allow for scavenging or further progressing of previous class tricks like the gaining of a rogue talent, a ninja trick, counting as fighter-levels for feat prereqs, continued wild shape progression, etc. Forcing foes to roll Sense Motive twice and take the worse result versus the assassin's Bluff, increased DCs for poison-based magic, dealing sneak attack versus grappled foes (With the right build, that's a serious ouch!) - there are some serious tricks here. Characters with channel energy may expend one attempt of the ability as part of a death attack to auto-confirm threats and bypass the target's DR if he is on the opposite end of one of the alignment axes. I'm right now hearing "God punishes, I kill" by Iron Mask blaring inside my head...powerful, yet circumstantial and thematic. Nice. As a whole, these talents focus on diversifying the PrC and making the multiclassing into it from different backgrounds more rewarding...so yeah, kudos!

Speaking of options: A total of 9 feats have been provided, which should also prove to be useful from Red Mantis killers - while the feats have been stripped of references to that closed Golarion IP, adding temporarily the fiendish template to your mantis form is a nice bit. Summoners can take a feat to lend the benefits of their assassin class features via bond senses to their eidolon, which is very strong and, with minimum level 3rd in the PrC, justifiably reserved for higher level characters. Adding sneak attack to a familiar's delivered touch spell is pretty potent. Beyond these the usual extra talent, increased DC, etc. numerical upgrades can be found. Making poison stick longer to a blade, assuming mantis swarm shape or increasing death attack DCs via ki-expenditure make for nice tricks.

Now, with the prominence of Game of Thrones (say what you want - I still prefer the books...) in TV, it should come as a pleasant surprise that this pdf contains an archetype for the PrC, namely the Many-faced killer. "This is does not have a name." These guys have an alternate array of requirements regarding feats and skills - I assume that these are replacements for the regular assassin-prereqs, not additional ones, but I am not sure. Instead of death attack at 1st level, these guys gain class level to Bluff, Disguise and Sense Motive, making them experts at intrigue and social subterfuge. Fret not: Death attack is still unlocked, only at 3rd level, where it replaces the assassin-talent. They can apply disguises in half the time and reduce penalties for other races, with 2nd level providing quick change. 4th level replaces true death with at-will alter self, and 5th level provides untrained skill use of skills pertaining to cover. 8th level replaces HiPS with the option to masking his alignment or emulating others, with 10th level allowing for the at-touch subsuming of a helpless creature's aura and identity, fooling divinations etc.

The pdf concludes with 3 sample NPCs, which highlight different means of using the PrC - a CR 10 iron-arm enforcer (monk/assassin), a Cr 8 cultic purgaton (necro/assassin) and a CR 12 rogue/many-faced killer build. Each sports a bit of fluff and advice on using them.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no glaring issues. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has some nice artworks, though fans of LG will be familiar with some. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience, but has no nested bookmarks, only basic ones that point, for example to the feat-section.

Jeff Lee's take on the assassin-PrC makes it a viable, strong option one certainly can consider from a PC-perspective. From getting rid of the dumb alignment-restriction to the increased multiclassing-support, the pdf significantly improves the PrC. While the slight prereq-confusion with the archetype is a bit of a hassle, that's not something I'd consider an issue. This pdf certainly achieves its goal and I'd be singing more praises if the aforementioned base-class iterations had not already taken the assassin-concept to a level that surpasses what this pdf can deliver with its improved chassis.

Personally, I enjoy the complex and extremely rewarding maneuver-management of IG's class to a point where I don't ever want to play a vanilla assassin again. That being said, this prestige class will still see use in my games, namely whenever I have to pit an NPC with assassin-levels against my group and don't want to fully redesign the statblock. Due to being pretty much compatible with the original, this is extremely useful even if you're like me and prefer another, full base-class-take on the assassin. As such, this may not reach the highest echelons of amazement for me, but it will remain a nice and handy tool in my GM-arsenal. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Assassins
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Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2017 11:03:30

First of all, what is a hybrid? For those of you that may not know, a “hybrid class” mixes things from two different classes to make something new. The magus class is the first hybrid class, before the controversial Advanced Class Guide came out and made ten new classes, a complete mixed bag. Anyway, kinetic shinobi? At first I thought this was the Naruto class, and in some ways it is, but really, there was nothing quite like this in PF. N. Jolly, famed master of all things kineticist, is the author.

So, the kinetic shinobi (KSh from now on) is a class that mixes the ninja and kineticist, with a bit of flavor/visuals from the soulknife psionic class. The KSh gets a d8 for HP, good REF and WILL saves medium BAB, proficiency in light armors and simple weapons, plus some ninjaish ones, 6 skill points and a decent list of class skills, this last one gets a bonus depending on the element chosen.

From the ninja, the KSh inherits a ki pool (which power the “burn” cost of their infusions), sneak attack of up to 7d6, the No Trace and Evasion class features, and some others part of the Shinobi Talents selectable class features. From the kineticist, the KSh inherits the Elemental Focus and Kinetic Blast, plus some “Meta” abilities (as if using extend, maximize or persistent spell metamagic feats) and the Gather Power class feature, which reduces the ki cost of infusions. The KSh, however, cannot “blast” normally without using one of two special form infusions (called jutsus) which basically give you a melee weapon that does very little damage, the physical jutsu gives you a physical weapon that targets normal AC, and the elemental jutsu gives you a magical attack targeting touch AC that lowers your sneak attack dice to d4. Since you create a weapon, you can full attack, vital strike and spring attack with both jutsus.

New toys for the class come via the ki pool, which gives you a bonus to attack (for physical jutsu) or damage (for elemental jutsu) that increases with level, as well as ye olde huge bonus to acrobatics. Just having one ki point in your pool gives you, at second level, the ability to modify your weapon via Hadou Techniques, which can give you a two hander, dual blades, or a 30 ft with no range increment ranged attack. From there, the KSh gives you at first and every odd levels a Shinobi Talent, a substance infusion via the Ninjutsu Training class feature they receive at fourth, twelfth and twentieth levels, plus a special Ninjutsu Specialist class feature that reduces the ki cost of their infusions incrementally by one point at fourth, tenth and sixteenth levels.

Shinobi Talents not only give you options to modify your blast, but also access to some other ninja, kineticist, unchained monk, and unchained rogue abilities! There are many of these and let you specialize or diversify in many ways.

Then we go to the archetypes section, first introducing the Arsenal Sniper. This one gives you the special ability of channeling your element through a ranged weapon! Basically you create elemental ammo for it, and you get to use feats and enhancement for the weapon! They also get the studied strike of the investigator instead of the sneak attack, as well as some exclusive new talents. Perfect archetype for sniping!

Brutal Assassin is next, gaining more martial and visceral powers. They can only use physical jutsus! You get increased sneak attack damage under certain circumstances. Basically a melee focused BAMF for those who want a melee ninja.

The Burglar is a relatively short archetype that gives you a Safe House (as the Vigilante’s social talent) and the Hide in Plain Sight class feature, at the cost of your third level Shinobi Talent and Evasion (ouch!).

Elemental Shinobi is next, gaining the elemental defense of their element, Elemental Overflow which works differently for them, and a ki pool that also works differently. Basically this archetype gives you a more mystical character but reduces your combat prowess since you lose Sneak Attack. You do get attack and damage bonuses from Elemental Overflow though.

The Fading Shadow is the next archetype, which get incredible powers of stealth and invisibility, at higher levels negating your scent and even your magical aura! This comes at the cost of only +5d6 Sneak Attack (a die every fourth level), and reduced damage when not invisible.

The Hand of the Kami would be the unarmed specialist archetype. They have different weapon proficiencies (more monkish). They also lose Sneak Attack and instead get full BAB and a weakened version of the unarmed attack damage of monks. They also get access to more monk toys, basically turning you into a monk/ninja/kineticist hybrid.

The Hi-Den Noble mixes the KSh with a bit of vigilante, getting a dual identity and some social abilities and talents, but this archetype comes with a kind of order. You must be member of a Hi-Den clan, which dictates some of your abilities and gives you an in-game relation to the shadow war of the clans. Of course as always you can just forget about the fluff and make your own, but the de facto clans sound intriguing. You also forego the Sneak Attack to get the vigilante’s hidden strike.

Metaformer are the masters of metajutsu, or well not really. They can change any instance of metajutsu they get with a form infusion appropriate for their element. They can also apply a form infusion to a blast already modified by the kunai hadou technique, giving them a ghetto version of a kineticist ranged blast modified by an infusion. They can’t get access to any form infusion that works as a weapon, like kinetic blade, kinetic fist etc.

Needler is an archetype that again mixes the base with another class, this time with the swashbuckler. As such, their ki pool works like panache, they can expend and regain it during the day. They get less skill points per level but gain an expanded weapon proficiency list plus a special elemental main-gauche hadou technique. They also exchange No Trace and Sneak Attack for the Nimble and Deeds class features of the Swashbuckler. They also get some special talents more fit for a swashbuckler than a ninja. This one really changes the mechanics and playstyle of the class, since being able to regain ki is a blast (pun fully intended).

Shadow Stepper is an archetype open only to void shinobi. These individuals reduce their skill points and get more caster-y class skills, since they cast spells as a bloodrager of their level. They cast illusion, light, darkness and shadow spells only, drwing them from the wizard and psychic spell lists. They pay for this with 5 talents and the no trace ability. Their ki pool also work differently, gaining the ability to spend a point and a spell slot to cast specific spells. Another crazy mixed archetype that pushes the boundaries of an already versatile class.

Shikon is the final archetype, and it is really crazy! It mixes the base class with black blade magus, but doesn’t cast spells. They get access to a spell list (from a sixth level casting class) and have a caster level, so they can use spell completion and trigger items. They get acces to some magus arcana and can fuel them with their ki, and they also get spell strike! But since they don’t cast spells, you can use spell completion or trigger items! Again, this archetype is made for those who wanted to play a kineticist, ninja and magus at the same time, but getting access to spell lists like the hunter, inquisitior or mesmerist is really crazy! I’m amazed and awed!

After the archetypes, we get favored class bonuses for ALL races in the Advanced Race Guide! Then we get some feats, three exclusive for the KSh and one that could benefit any Charisma-based class.

We finish the book with an NPC, Valerie Jette, a ninth level half drow void shinobi with a tragic past but a very positive outlook of life. As is the tradition of the author, she can give the PCs a boon!

This… book is not what I expected, in a good way. I expected a lesser hack of the parent classes, with a non-defined niche, like some of the classes form the Advanced Class Guide. N. Jolly delivers in spades with an intriguing class that plays exactly like a hybrid class should, but with its own unique tricks. The author’s most impressive feat is that it can work with most if not any ninja and kineticist book out there! There are some nice ninja talents from a nice new shiny ninja book you want for your KSh? You can have them! You want to play a KSh with a crazy element like viscera, time, or dream? You can! You want to play with a techno shinbi from the author’s newest element? Yep, you can! Kudos to the author, again showing how much you can stretch the kineticist engine. If you love the kineticist, ninjas, Naruto or fighting games, this book is for you!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
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Trail of the Apprentice: The Oracle's Test (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2017 04:12:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth installment of the Trail of the Apprentice-series, designed to teach RPGs to both players and GMs alike, clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content. The pdf also comes with an art and map folio that clocks in at 27 pages (if you take front cover and editorial away), presenting the art as hand-outs as well as versions of the maps with and without grids, player-friendly and key-less - kudos for that! Seriously, as far as custom map-options goes, this should be industry standard.

Now, as always, the Trail of the Apprentice is designed to be relatively family-friendly and should result in no issues for kids ages 8+, unless you have particularly sensitive kids. This is very much kid-friendly, though, as always, I'd strongly suggest parents using this saga to reward non-lethal conflict-resolution, something the whole AP, alas, does not do, which represents, as a whole, the one glaring oversight it has.

All right, this is about as far as I can go without going into SPOILER-territory. This being an adventure-review, potential players should skip ahead to the conclusion.

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..

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All right, only GMs around? Great! If you're reading the PFRPG-version - don't be confused by the copy-pasta mention of 5e in the intro: You're reading the right version of the module! We find our heroes again in the little community of Riverside, where they are scheduled to meet with a local sage called Hector Amaku, who knows more about the massive Ithmar forest, and specifically, the ruins of Sol'Ithmanna inside this vast expanse. Why? Well, the PCs may have ended adventure #3 with the name of their mysterious adversary, but between modules, no amount of scrying or information gathering has yielded any results...which represents a bit of a missed chance. Slowly unearthing this and the trail towards Riverside would have made for a great experience at this point and helped the GM learn the ropes of a slightly more modular investigation, while also introducing the means of information gathering beyond the basic "walk the quarters" highlighted in adventure #2.

In the tavern where the PCs meet the sage, they may run afoul of a werewolf thief, whose relations may or may not seek retribution later. Anyways, the sage points the PCs towards the ruins and tells them about the legendary oracle there - to gain access to Sol'Ithmanna's ancient oracle, the PCs will have to collect an array of seals within the ruins of this once-great civilization and prove themselves worthy of the values they represent. That information under their belt, the PCs are off into the forest...which represents a step back when compared to module #3: Instead of providing a hex-crawl or similar player-agenda-driven adventuring experience, the trek turns out to be pretty linear, with several combat-encounters along the way, none of which are particularly hard.

Once the PCs arrive at the ruins, they can visit the different, fully mapped sections of the ruins - but it should be noted that the totality of the ruins does not feature a map, so connections between the hot-spot areas feel a bit opaque. Unfortunately, not the only section of the module that remains a bit opaque. While the ruins do feature random encounters, the main task for the GM-learning experience here would be handling pretty much the most challenging thing a GM can attempt regarding combats: There is the Dark Hand, an evil adventuring group who also seeks to get the seals and thwart the PCs. Considering that so far, the GM did not have to manage more than 2 moderately complex statblocks at the most, this feels a bit like jumping in the deep end, more so considering that the combat(s) with these guys will test PCs harder than any others in the series. Spoiler-alert: This is the most difficult-to-run section in the whole series, not something in module #5.

It's also tooth-less in the extreme: The Dark hand does not kill the PCs if they down them. Groups are different, sure, but considering that the PCs should be the "good" guys and have happily been killing everything (ostensibly, including potentially these rival adventurers!), this show of mercy is transparent as GM-fiat to even novices of RPGs...and undermines, if you so far have stuck to just handwaving the PCs killing other critters and NPCs, the PC's identity as heroes. Not cool.

More aggravating, at least for me, is the fact that the respective areas for the seals universally fail to mention the precise location of the seals...you basically have to improvise their exact placing after the mandatory combat encounter, which gives the whole section a bit of a haphazard look...something underlined by e.g. a fire elemental sporting the treasure entry of boggards which had to be defeated before that.

The leitmotifs of the virtues are also...well...not that concise here: The seal of compassion can be found in a place scouted by aforementioned boggards as a potential breeding pool...for which they'll die if they try to keep the PCs away. That...kinda made me cringe from a meta-perspective and the values of the ancient civilization do become relevant. Besting the rival adventurers, the PCs gain access to the oracle's domain, where they will pass a nice iteration of the trope of the hero's test and after the extremely disappointing trek through forest and ruins, this is thankfully a return to form.

We have a 5-room dungeon here, with every room representing a test of one classic virtue held dear by the vanquished civilization: These range from the classic "one lies, one tells the truth"-puzzles to a mix of real and imagined undead or letting loot lie - and after that, the PCs can finally meet Revien, the faerie seer, bound to forever guard this place. From this wise being, they can gain information - the more tests they have completed, the more clues the PCs will receive: At the very least, they'll now know that Belazeel tries to use the serpents to open a magical prison called "Basilisk's Shroud" to free an ancient sorceress in hopes of learning her powerful magic. Further warnings and details of the dangers ahead may give the PCs an edge in module #5...but that will have to wait for next time.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not as precise as I've come to expect from Legendary Games. There area couple of unpleasant hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography is decent and in full-color, with the art-map-book as a nice touch.

Paris Crenshaw's fourth installment in the series feels rushed in more than one way. After the excellent and evocative #3, this is linear, dry and bland in the beginning, missing out on some nice ways of teaching magical and mundane means of investigation in favor of captain exposition. The ruins, alas, similarly feel rushed - like each section was intended to be more detailed (at least to the point where quest-item-locations were marked...) and feels like it misses its GM-teaching aspect...unless that aspect was supposed to be "fix stuff a module didn't properly spell out." The saving grace of this installment is the hero's test dungeon. It may not be new or exciting for any veteran, but for novices, it is AMAZING. In fact, it is my suspicion that each test should just have been aligned with a location in the ruins....perhaps that was the case once (comparing the relatively weak map of the seer's domain with the intricate maps of the ruins, that sounds plausible to me...).

After the issues in internal logic with the rival adventurers and the weak hack-fest of the journey and ruins, the oracle's test-dungeon is a breath of fresh air that salvages this module at least partially. This does not change that this represents, by far, the weakest part of the whole series so far. Veterans will get nothing out of this and novice GMs may end up frustrated and flustered by the whole ruin section...to the point where , were it not for the test-dungeon, I'd tell you to skip this. The dungeon is worth getting for the classic hero's test experience for new gamers. Experienced groups should replace this module with another and experienced GMs running this for kids should consider seriously tweaking it to make it more compelling and diverse. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up, if only barely and due to the presence of the iconic hero's test.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of the Apprentice: The Oracle's Test (Pathfinder)
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