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Mythic Minis 91: Feats of Cunning
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2017 09:57:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let\'s go!

-Brilliant Planner: Your plan can fund up to 500 gp per character level and only takes a single full-round action to initiate. When you expend one use of mythic power and 10 gp from your fund, you may include up to 8 hours of unskilled, nondangerous labor in the plan. VERY cool!

-Brilliant Spell Preparation: You can fill slots left open as a move action and may set aside spell slots of any level you can cast. By expending one mythic power when preparing spells, you may leave open one slot per level you can cast. When using recuperation, spell slots left open become standard spell slots - nice ability interaction catch!

-Insightful Advice: You can attempt a skill check to aid an ally with any skill, provided you have line of sight and the ally can hear you. This takes 1 minute and provides +2, +4 f the ally is nearby. Alternatively, you can use it to aid within 30 ft. as a standard action, provided you could help. The ally may benefit more than 1/day from the advice, but not more often than 1/round.

-Inspiring Mentor: Inspire competence in two skills at once or in one skill and inspire all allies within 60 ft. Mythic allies using this versus non-mythic creatures may reroll the check and take the better result as a free action, but are in for a 1 minute cooldown. You may also expend mythic power to increase the duration by + tier after stopping the performance.

-Omnipresent Mentor: Affect as many allies as you\'d like, at the cost of 4 rounds of bardic performance per ally. You may choose the skill to enhance individually. Mythic allies using this versus non-mythic creatures may reroll the check and take the better result as a free action, but can\'t benefit from a boost to that skill from your inspire competence until you regain bardic performance. Alternatively, by spending 8 rounds of bardic performance per ally, you may grant inspire courage. If the ally is mythic and the foe nonmythic, they may choose to reroll an attack or save versus a charm or fear effect, taking the better result. After resolving this, they can\'t benefit from this use of the feat until you regain bardic performance. If you instead focus on one ally, you may inspire competence (erroneously called inspire courage here) to boost more than one skill; for each skill beyond the first, you pay +2 rounds of bardic performance. If the ally rerolls a check, only that skill\'s boost ends. Finally, you may add in inspire courage as well, but that doubles the cost. I really like this mythic feat...but in its complexity, the glitch is pretty nasty, even if what it\'s supposed to mean is pretty evident.

-Quick Study: It takes only 2 hours of training to learn a feat someone knows. You may also have up to two such feats at any given time. By expending a use of mythic power while fighting someone, you become aware of all the combat feats they have and may learn one of them. But as what action? Free? Immediate?

-Sense Relationship: Reduce penalties for not sharing creature type or language fro determining relationships between creatures. The bonuses granted are enhanced and when expending mythic power when making a Sense Motive check, you can automatically succeed in getting a hunch on the relationship.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups that would wreck anything. Layout adheres to Legendary Games\' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that\'s it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs and Jason Nelson\'s feats of cunning are concept-wise and complexity-wise definitely winners for the most part; Sense Relationship is a bit lame compared to the others and the ability confusion in the otherwise glorious Omnipresent Mentor hurts the pdf a bit, though. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 91: Feats of Cunning
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Mythic Minis 90: Intrigue Magic Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2017 09:55:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let\'s go!

-Cartogramancer: Find a location within 50 miles; if you exceed the DC by 10, 20 miles instead; if you exceed the DC by 20, you can narrow that down to 5 miles. Additionally, you may expend mythic power as part of making the Knowledge (geography) check, you receive 3 locations at roughly the appropriate distance instead of one. If you fail the check, you retain the mythic power.

-Conceal Spell: You add mythic tier to the DC to notice your spellcasting, regardless of skill used to set the DC. If you have (Mythic) Skill Focus in the respective skill, you increase the DC by 2 or 4 respectively. Said DC-increase also extends to Sense Motive. When expending one use of mythic power as part of casting the spell, you do not increase the casting time. Neat!

-Improved Conceal Spell: Add mythic tier to Spellcraft DC made to identify your spell as it\'s being cast. You may also add a surge die to the DC, which you may roll btw. twice when casting a mythic spell. Additionally, expend mythic power to make it undetectable to divination unless the snooping character manages a massive DC-check. Nice one!

-Fleeting Spell: Dismiss these spells as a free action and it retains the normal duration. You may also cast 1 round duration spells as fleeting spells and add mythic tier to the DC to detect a lingering aura or identify its school. Mythic spells thus cast can be dispelled by mythic effects sans checks. Non-mythic dispelling can end them at -4 dispel DC, balancing the power of the feat. Cool!

-Planar Wanderer: + twice mythic tier to Knowledge (planes) checks made in conjunction with Planar Wanderer. Expend mythic power when plane shifting to determine destination, as though you used teleport to get there.

-Studied Spell: When you cast a studied spell, you designate + 1 target for every 2 tiers (minimum 1). Single targets instead net you + tier to the Knowledge check to study it. If the target grants itself resistances, immunities or DR, you can free action identify the highest level spell or effect, plus 1 per 5 by which you beat the DC. Then, you may choose to ignore one such effect, but only with the studied spell in question. This is an amazing little piece of engine design that can really help reign in the powerful defenses...also those of players...

-Stylized Spell: + tier to the DC of Knowledge (arcana) or Spellcraft made to identify your spell, its effects, materials or created things, as well as to the DC to recognize your magical signature. You can also disguise the stylized spell as another spell of the same school and subschool with the same descriptors of any level, or as another spell of the same level and school with a different subschool or descriptor. VERY cool!

-Tenacious Spell: The DC to counter or dispel the spell in question is increased by 4 rather than 2; When used with a mythic spell, non-mythic attempts to dispel or counter it suffer a -2 penalty. If a tenacious spell is dispelled, it lingers for 1d4 + 1/2 tier rounds. The latter, frankly, can be pretty OP, considering the average length of combats.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games\' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that\'s it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson and Alex Riggs deliver some pretty cool magic feats here; there are several options herein I\'d consider must-owns or at the very least neat scavenging material even beyond the mythic context. Fleeting Spell\'s balancing mechanics are glorious...but at the same time, Tenacious Spell\'s mythic iteration is problematic in my book. Hence, this does miss my seal of approval by a slight margin, making it clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 90: Intrigue Magic Feats
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Mythic Minis 95: Clever Combat Feats II
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/18/2017 07:19:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial (also contains 2 feats) , 1 page content, so let\'s go!

-Lightning Draw: +2 to atk and damage with the first attack of a Lightning Draw weapon before the end of the turn. Only one weapon gets the benefit, if more are drawn. If you expend one mythic power, it costs no panache and the target is flat-footed versus the attack that receives the bonus. Nice.

-Measure Foe: Increase bonuses granted by base feat by +1, learn about twice as many combat feats. If you expend mythic power and use Sense Motive after only one attack/full-round of watching the target, you suffer no penalty. While I loathe the base feat, this is a valid upgrade to mythic stature.

-My Blade is Yours: Treat your blade as having all applicable special features. Cool: For mythic power, you may add your partnered ally\'s magic weapon property as well, with 1/2 mythic tier acting as cap and limitations to cover the fringe-cases. This one is AMAZING!

-Piercing Grapple: No penalty and Intimidate bonus increases to +4 and also applies to combat maneuver checks to maintain the grapple (but not its initiation). By expending 1 mythic power, you can deal the weapon damage upon initiating the grapple, rather than when the target escapes. Cool!

-Quiet Death: Even after an opponent\'s first action, the DC to hear combat is 0 and if the target doesn\'t yell (or you manage to grapple him before that), it does not automatically prompt Perception checks. Thank you. Thank you so much. I am so going to use that as non-mythic class features/talents, etc. Worth getting the pdf for.

-Starry Grace: Unlocks use with starknife TWFing or flurry of blows or when the other hands occupied. if you have at least 1 panache, you gain +10 ft. movement on a move action after attacking with a starknife or when using charge or Spring Attack. As a move action, you can make the starknife returning for mythic tier rounds. When attacking with it and then moving, you may expend mythic power, you are treated as still in the square where you made the attack for purposes of flanking...or threatening AoOs! You may hurl the starknife as part of that AoO, mind you. This is a BEAUTY. Seriously, I love this feat. It is amazing. Again, one I\'d consider viable for other contexts beyond mythic gameplay.

-Street Style: When you use your swift action to grant yourself bonus damage, it applies to all attacks you make that round. You may also move with opponents when bull rushing them and the movement does not count against your movement for the round. You may also expend mythic power to enter the style in a non-urban environment for up to 1 minute.

-Street Carnage: Critical range of unarmed strikes increases by 1, before applying other feats.

-Street Sweep: Add +1/2 tier to the Fort-save of foes to avoid being knocked prone. They also take +1d6 bludgeoning damage from being smashed to the ground and you gain +2 to atk versus prone foes.

-Swipe and Stash: Plant objects as a move action; as a swift action if you expend mythic power. You may also use Sleight of Hand or the steal combat maneuver to steal and replace an object with a single hand and gain +4 to both. NICE.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games\' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that\'s it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs and Jason Nelson deliver big time in this mythic mini - there are some truly amazing gems here that should provide some amazing tricks even in non-mythic campaigns. Seriously, there are quite a few options here that beg being introduced to pretty much every game. Inspired. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 95: Clever Combat Feats II
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Mythic Minis 89: Clever Combat Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/18/2017 07:17:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let\'s go!

-But a Scratch: You can use the feat with ranged crits and the DC is reduced the farther the attacker is away. Shaken duration increases by +1 round per 2 mythic tier. I assume a minimum of 1, but am not sure here. However, being critically hit thereafter or subject to an ability that deals more than 1/5th of your maximum HP end the effect. 1/5th max HP is a petty inelegant benchmark cap here.

-Cat and Mouse: When not attempting a riposte with the regular feat, the dodge bonuses are doubled. When expending mythic power in conjunction with parry and riposte and successfully parry, you gain these benefits without having to forego the riposte. The feat could be slightly clearer when the mythic power expenditure takes place. I assume upon activation of parry and riposte.

-Circuitous Shot: When using the feat to bounce ranged attacks off objects, you can bounce it off up to mythic tier objects, at -2 per object. If you expend mythic power prior to firing, you can render the target flat-footed, even if the target would be immune to it. Yes, it\'s the Lucky Luke trick-shot feat! Neat!

-Clambering Escape: If you use the feat to reposition a creature, that target suffers a -2 penalty to saves to avoid the respective effect. Via expenditure of mythic power before making a saving throw to which evasion applies, you may use Clambering Escape for a reposition attempt before making the save, potentially allowing you to escape it. Even if you don\'t, you receive +2 to the save if the repositioned creature is in the area of effect. Interesting one!

-Cunning Intuition: Ready an action as a full-round action, but be capable of making the full-round action when the readied action is triggered. Additionally, you can choose whether to have your initiative changed after the action was performed, or whether to retain your old place in the initiative order. This feat\'s mythic upgrade...is frickin\' OP, even for mythic gameplay.

-Fencing Grace: Gain the benefits with any light or one-handed weapon. When wielding a rapier, you retain the benefits even while TWFing or using flurry of blows or have your other hand occupied. You also add 1/2 mythic tier to the bonus provided. When wielding a rapier one-handed and expending a surge while attempting a disarm, reposition, steal or sunder, you may roll twice and take the better result. Odd one - on one hand, it unlocks other weapons; on the other, it retains unique benefits for rapiers. Not sure what to think of that...feels a bit all over the place to me.

-Martial Dominance: +1 creature in range intimidated per 5 BAB. When used in conjunction with a critical hit, the number of rounds is multiplied by the critical multiplier of the weapon. Is a bit overkill in my book.

-Ranged Feint: When ranged feinting, you may choose to have the creature feinted flat-footed versus any creature\'s next attack, not just yours. If you do, the first attack ends the effect, whether or not it hits. Penalties for feinting non-humanoids, animal intelligence, etc. critters are halved. By expending mythic power, you can cause the target to be denied his Dex-bonus to AC versus all attacks made until the beginning of the next turn and may declare the use of mythic power even after feint-results are made known.

-Ready for Anything: Take a full round\'s worth of actions during the surprise round. If a combat would have no surprise round, you may expend mythic power to get a surprise round in which only you may act, unless other creatures have the same feat or a similar ability. Considering mythic gameplay\'s exceedingly high value of high initiative/hitting first, I\'d not allow this in my mythic games.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though on the rules-language level some minor ambiguities have crept in. Layout adheres to Legendary Games\' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that\'s it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson and Alex Riggs deliver Clever Combat feats that have some gems...but also feats that frankly are too strong, particularly in mythic gameplay. Ironically, the initiative modifying feats in question would be less problematic in non-mythic games. That being said, the pdf still has a fair price-point and some sweet ideas, making it a quintessential mixed bag, slightly on the positive side, and my review thus clock in at 3.5 stars - though I can\'t round up on this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 89: Clever Combat Feats
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Mythic Minis 88: Feats of Misdirection
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2017 04:09:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let\'s go!

-Blustering Bluff: You can use the feat to reduce the penalty of impossible lies by 5. Creatures fooled also do not automatically realize they were fooled, only becoming cognizant of the deception when presented with evidence or contradictory claims. Nice!

-Confabulist: After botching Bluff, you can follow up with Diplomacy to admit to the lie; on a success, you gain +5 to the second Bluff check. Additionally, 1/day, you may expend mythic power to retry an otherwise impossible to retry Bluff check.

-Cutting Humiliation: The penalties of the feat\'s effects are doubled. Additionally, you never become humiliated when failing to use the feat. You may also expend mythic power prior to making the check to deliver a memorable humiliation instead; this one remains in effect for 1 month per tier, as it becomes the gossip. Humiliated individuals may temporarily offset the penalty by concealing their identity, but cannot remove it by composing themselves, but beating you in social combat or intimidating you ends its effects. Now that type of coolness I what I expect from mythic intrigue!

-Intoxicating Flattery: The penalty extends to Bluff and Diplomacy DCs as well as influence and discovery checks made and you no longer suffer penalties from failed flattery.

-Manipulative Agility: +1 Sleight of Hand per 5 ranks of Bluff. Additionally, when delivering secret messages, check both skills and take the better result.

-Misdirection Attack: AoOs made in conjunction with this do not count against AoO-total per round. You also get +1/2 tier to attacks and + tier damage.

-Misdirection Redirection: Target of the redirect is flat-footed for the purpose of the attack. If you expend one use of mythic power, you deal +1d6 per 2 tiers, which is treated as though it were the rogue\'s sneak attack. One question here, since that wording is slightly odd: Does this mean that the damage this feat can inflict is treated as sneak attack for the purpose of prerequisites?

-Misdirection Tactics: You can use this while fighting defensively. You may also use it more often versus a foe, though subsequent uses require the expenditure of mythic power.

-True Deception: Add tier to Bluff to impersonate an individual; use mythic power to correctly guess specific information the target may know with successful Sense Motive checks, with tier as a bonus to the check. Also allows you to expend one use of mythic power to speak in a language the individual you impersonate knows as if you had cast share language. Both can be combined. Damn cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games\' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that\'s it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs and Jason Nelson have a nice selection of mythic feats here; while not all are amazing, there are some really creative ones here that warrant the low asking price. My final verdict clocks in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 88: Feats of Misdirection
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Mythic Minis 87: Feats of Diplomacy
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2017 04:07:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let\'s go!

-Call Truce: Add mythic tier to Diplomacy checks made; on a failure, you may not use Diplomacy again with a creature entreated with for 1d4 minutes rather than hours; during the round you are calling a truce, you gain the defense bonuses of total defense as well as +1/2 tier to saves versus mind-affecting effects. For mythic power expenditure, you can use it with creatures with whom you do not share a language as well as gaining + tier to Bluff, Linguistics and Sense Motive to communicate across the language barrier for 1 round. Has a minor, purely aesthetic hiccup, a reference to Diplomacy that is not capitalized.

-Entreating Critical: When you confirm a crit versus a creature, you may choose to deal lethal or nonlethal damage; if you choose nonlethal, you gain crit multiplier to Diplomacy with the creature for 24 hours. Alternatively, instead of rolling the confirmation roll, you may expend mythic power to affect the target with share language as an AoO-less SP. Creative one!

-Ironclad Logic: Bonus is increased to 1/2 Int-score and you may always take 10 on Diplomacy checks. Cool: Doubles as Skill Focus (Mythic) Diplomacy for prereq-purposes; also uses Int as well as Cha in social combat when employing tactics with assigned Int-based skills. Not a big fan of dual attribute-mods to any check.

-Nerve-Wracking Negotiator: Instead of attitude returning to normal, a creature that failed the save increases the attitude by one step for the purpose of making requests. This does only make following requests more likely and does not generally improve the creature\'s attitude towards you.

-Persuasive Bribery: Doubles bonus in Diplomacy and Charisma checks, as the bonuses on the bribes. Via Sense Motive, you can discern whether a creature is susceptible to bribery in general, with various classes concisely defined. If you expend mythic power, you also have a general idea of what type of bribery would work best.

-Play to the Crowd: Add mythic tier to Sense Motive made in conjunction with the feat; surges used with the feat are applied to both Diplomacy and Sense Motive for 1 hour; If engaged in a verbal due, you learn all the target\'s biases, which may be slightly overkill. When using a charm or compulsion effect (excluding fear) after succeeding a Sense Motive DC 25 check used with the feat, you increase the save DC.

-Threatening Negotiator: Renders victims of intimidation helpful when exceeding the Dc by 5 or more; has synergy with Nerve-Wracking Negotiator.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games\' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that\'s it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson and Alex Rigg\'s mythic feats of Diplomacy are generally well crafted, but also ultimately represent mostly increased numerical bonuses, which are simply not that amazing for skill-based environments. Personally, I wished this had increased breadth of options more for more breadth, rather than piling on in the already abuse-prone skill-bonus depth-department. It does that, mind you, but not to the maximum extent. In comparison to what the cool subject matter Diplomacy offers, this mythic mini left me not that excited. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 87: Feats of Diplomacy
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Past Lives: Secrets of Reincarnation
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/16/2017 07:55:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let\'s take a look!

Reincarnation in d20 and its derivatives, ultimately (and undeservedly so) often boils down in relevance to being a subpar version of returning the dead to live and a plot contrivance. This pdf\'s mission-statement is to change this. Formatting-wise, this is achieved via the introduction of a so-called past-life profile - and no, that is NO chosen by the player. A past life profile conveys a series of bonuses to a respective PC at certain levels - this is represented in certain abilities gained, etc. While the design-goal is that of a net-gain, each past life also has an accompanying disadvantage stemming from the experiences of said existence. The unifying downside of the past life profile is that spells that return the dead from beyond the pale do not work as reliably and require a caster level check to work - one modified by the PC\'s Charisma bonus; the stronger the personality, the easier it\'ll be to return the soul.

Past Life Profiles are pretty extensive: Each begins with a brief summary of the past life in question, proceeding then to denote how that person died. Then, we get a quirk the PC manifests due to the echo of the past life and then the abilities, based on character levels. The respective profile also has a reincarnation feat - the player gets to know the name of the feat...but not its benefits. It can be taken freely for a feat-slot, if the player qualifies. This is a cool way of dealing with the hazy aspect of past life memories. Finally, each past life also has notes on plot-development.

So, what do we get? Well, the first past-life profile would by Kyssalis, the elf-eater, lizardfolk queen of the Dead Water tribe, was captured and summarily executed by her adversaries. A PC with her past-life feels his voice fall an octave while angry and sports an irrational hatred of elves the PC is cognizant of. On the plus-side, the PC begins play speaking draconic and later levels net Swim as a class skill (or a bonus), favored enemy (humanoid[elf]), favored terrain (swamps) and even learns to execute a primary natural attack, qualifying potentially for Multiattack etc. This very much should give you an inkling of what these offer - flavorful bonuses, somewhat akin to roleplaying rewards/abilities sometimes provided by good GMs...and it doubles as an individual plot-line, as a kind of built-in roleplaying catalyst.

The next one would be Vantum H\'Haran, phylactery hunter. Let that sink in. Now that\'s a high-risk job-description if there ever was once! And indeed, the mysterious abilities this one conveys represents well the potency the previous life must have had - flashes of insight, arcane counters - the abilities gained are significant, but the flashes of past potency similarly can be disquieting; one ability, for example, renders you staggered for a whole day the first time you use it. This ties in perfectly with the established narrative tropes associated with the experience - and indeed, allows for a type of storytelling experience that is enhanced by this humble set of rules. A PC who was a legendary smith in a past life may literally learn to speak with swords! Death by fire, on the downside, may actually see certain, defensive magics...just fail to work for the PC.

The past lives presented here are not, at least in my opinion, double-edged swords in the traditional sense; instead, it may well hope to consider them to be character-arcs and roleplaying assists that require exactly 0 work to integrate into a given campaign. Whether it is a paranoid conjurer queen, star-crossed lovers or even a deity, replaced by a doppelganger demon (whose header is oddly formatted differently than that of the other profiles)...or perhaps, you\'ll find out that you once were a renegade aboleth, obsessed with imbuing slaves with a modicum of free will (hey, for aboleths, that\'s ultra-liberal!) - in any of these cases, the potential for roleplaying and the unique quirks that past lives result in can and must be seen as nothing short of amazing.

Now, as mentioned before, the respective profiles allow access to their own unique feats - a total of 7 would be provided. While I could nitpick one for noting caster level in two of the 4 benefits and not in the rest of the two, the intent remains clear - and the benefits are damn cool...cool enough to warrant taking the feat: Said example would allow for immediate action utility spells/healing to get you out of all manner of nasty situations, for example. Another feat lets you designate an intended wielder of powerful magic items you create, enhancing the respective weapon for this individual by perk and quirk. What about being a walking fire extinguisher?

Even cooler: We also get at least one unique magical item per past life, several of which receive their own full-color artworks. These items, once again, allow for unconventional tricks: There would be a grimoire, which provides a chance for you to bypass magical wards with passwords. There would be a powerful weapon that can be enhanced with a metal band (can we please have more thus upgradeable magic items?) and there similarly is a brooch that reacts to negative conditions via helpful spell-based benefits. You\'re blinded? Great, you turn invisible for a brief period of time. Promise rings of aforementioned star-crossed lovers? Check. What about a ring that lets you generate instant, water-filled trenches? Yeah, cool. The pdf concludes with a brief table to randomly determine past lives.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not as tight as usual for legendary Games - I noticed a couple, mostly cosmetic hiccups. Layout adheres to the gorgeous two-column full-color standard for Mummy\'s Mask plug-ins and the pdf features several nice full-color pieces, though fans of LG may know some from other publications. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

First things first: This book is useful beyond the confines of the Mummy\'s Mask AP. The respective past lives can literally fit within every context due to their nature, though they obviously do echo the themes of the AP. Michael Kortes\' system for past lives herein is a stroke of genius in my book. The abilities gained and the progression of their tricks really help making the PCs more involved in a given story and any player and GM worth their salt can draw bucket loads of inspiring, actual ROLEplaying from this book, while simultaneously reaping the rewards of engaging with the story on a deeper level. The totality of mechanical benefits, viable unique ability-choices (via feats) and well-crafted magical items make this come together as something that exceeds the sum of its parts. At a place in time where we have a vast array of mechanical options, one may easily forget that they ultimately should help carrying the story. As such, this supplement does an amazing job of making exploring the stories of the past lives featured herein rewarding and engaging for players and GMs alike.

I absolutely adore this pdf and while its minor hiccups are there, I can\'t rate this the full 5 stars....but I can rate it 4.5 stars, round up and add my seal of approval.

As far as I\'m concerned, this is absolutely amazing and I certainly hope we\'ll get to see more past lives in the future. For my part, I am certain to expand upon the system presented - the concept is too compelling and neat not to. (As one final note: That unique feat you just stumbled over that no one knows? That unique ability that would change the dynamics of your game\'s world and thus is banned? Tying that to a past life is a great way to say \"yes\" to a player asking for it, while curtailing its implications and maintaining in-game logic: \"Of course none but the PC can do this - it is only due to being the reincarnated XYZ he can break the laws of magic this way!\" Just sayin\'!) Can I have more, please?

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Past Lives: Secrets of Reincarnation
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Hypercorps 2099: Thrillville or Killville?
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/13/2017 04:34:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module intended for use with the superhero/cyberpunk-toolkit Hypercorps 2099 clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page front cover sans logos etc., 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let\'s take a look!

This is a module for PCs level 3 - 4, with a hyperscore of 3. The pdf contains a one-page cheat sheet explaining the use of hero points within the context of Hypercorps 2099, though I\'d still strongly suggest getting the main book to run this if you\'re interested in the module. Similarly, the module takes entirely place in the hypernet - the quasi-planar evolution of the internet, whose planar traits have been reproduced here for your convenience as well.

Speaking of convenience: One of the potential issues that adventuring in the hypernet can cause would be its cerebral nature: In the tradition of dreamscapes etc., mental attributes are substituted for physical ones, which means that the players should be pretty mechanically fit for quick modifications. Additionally, certain characters will have a tough time in the hypernet, which is why I\'d strongly suggest using the illustrious cadre of 4 pregens provided. They not only feature color-artworks and stats, they also sport some interesting personalities, with one, for example, claiming to be the original Dorian Gray. As a whole, the pregens are generally on par in power-level, particularly in the hypernet - and yes, their stats concern their hypernet iterations.

The cartography of the two maps is presented in full-color and we receive a key-less iteration of the maps, though, much like specimens, they do not sport a grid, only a note on how far 5 feet on the map are...in the case of the smaller map. The overview map has no scale, but considering its nature, I can live with that.

All right, this being an adventure-review, we\'ll now move into SPOILER-territory. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still here? We begin in a tavern on the server of Veranthea, conveniently modeled after the fantasy campaign setting, where a bard (this module\'s Mr. Gray) briefs the PCs: It looks like the premier theme park-server of the hypernet, Thrillville, has been compromised, with a virus haunting it and sending users into catatonia, depression and worse,. It is up to the PCs to infiltrate the themepark and purge the virus, a task for which they receive proper code-packages and a specific bottle-of-moonshine-shaped code package that can temporarily render the plane of the hypernet static, making hidden creatures show themselves for a scant few rounds.

En route to Thrillville, the PCs may run afoul of overloaded bandwith and have a scuffle with a hacker and unbound proxies. Getting inside is not too hard, though getting inside undetected is another matter - the gigantic virtual theme park is ghostly and bereft of visitors and the PCs will soon notice the virus suddenly start manipulating the code to generate creepy effects and attack the PCs, making for a weird ghostly atmosphere - particularly since the PCs will find remnants of security teams that have been killed...looks like their contact failed to mention how dangerous the assignment would be. Wooops.

Two special and unique rides can be found first - the reaper\'s stroke, an indoor rollercoaster and the vistradi\'s paradox, a combination of spinning teacups and plastic hamsterballs that makes unique use of directional gravity. More intriguing here would be the responses of the malignant AI, who, if it has judged the PCs to be hostile, will manipulate these rides to become...let\'s say, significantly more lethal. Ultimately, whether due to time elapsing or the virus getting to the PCs, they will be drawn towards the fully mapped arcade of Thrillville, where the bossfight versus the thrillvirus looms - and it is one challenging and cool encounter.

The aftermath will be pretty interesting as well - for the security will try to screen the PCs, a procedure to which they may well be opposed after having been lied to...oh, and the individual who scored the killing blow against the virus may actually inadvertently set the virus free on the hypernet. As a minor complaint here, even in the unlikely event that the PCs notice this in time, the pdf does not really provide guidelines to purge it and unanimously \"win\" the scenario.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and a rules-language level. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard employed for Hypercorps -pdfs and the pregens etc. come with a 1-column standard instead. The pdf sports some decent full-color artworks and serviceable cartography. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Myler\'s \"Thrillville or Killville?\", much like Specimens in Centralia, does feel like a convention circuit module; it has an evocative, high-concept boss battle, wastes no time and has a built-in mechanic of speeding up the proceedings. Unlike Specimens, however, it feels less like a railroad due to a couple of facts: For one, the PCs actually can find more information and use it as leverage in the aftermath. Secondly, while the PCs do have only an absolute minimum of choices herein, at least they do have choices. The respective environments are all interesting and colorful and the changing background ambiance makes for a nice visual representation of the ticking timer. In short: This is well worth checking out, in spite of its obvious convention-game background, even for regular groups. However, when not employed with the pregens, make double sure that all PCs can retain their relevance throughout.

That being said, the module does have a couple of instances that could make players stumble: The hypernet\'s substitution of mental stats for physical ones means that, if you\'re planning on using the pregens in a non-hypernet environment, you\'ll have to reverse-engineer the stats. While the non-hypernet physical stats are provided in brackets, that\'s still some work I wish the pdf did for the groups. Similarly, if you plan on integrating this in an ongoing campaign, then you\'ll observe non-Hypernet-specialized characters struggle - this can be a pretty hard module for such groups.

It should also be noted that this module is one of the short but sweet category - you\'ll be hard-pressed to get more than 4 hours out of this one, unless your players struggle mightily in combat and take long to get accustomed to the hypernet\'s rules when using non-pregen characters. Anyways, this is a nice, fun module, which, while not perfect, is worth getting if you\'re looking for a creative excursion to a wild corner of the hypernet. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars if used as intended; for campaigns seeking to use the module as part of the ongoing campaign, detract half a star.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hypercorps 2099: Thrillville or Killville?
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Hypercorps 2099: Specimens in Centralia
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/13/2017 04:30:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page front cover artwork sans all the graphic elements, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let\'s take a look!

All right, this is a module intended for use with the cyberpunk/superhero-rules in Hypercorps 2099 and as such, it is designed for characters level 3 -4, with a corresponding hyperscore of 3. The basics of hyperscore and hero point-interaction are provided on a 1-page GM-cheat-sheet, though I\'d still strongly suggest playing this only with the main book in your hands.

The pdf does come with a total of 4 pregens (all of which gain small full-color artworks) that sport their respective paths and are appropriately powerful. The pregens feature brief story-angles and are generally on par with one another regarding their power-levels, which is nice to see. The pdf sports two maps - a road and a cave complex, both of which come with a second, key-less version that I generally applaud. If you\'re using battlemaps, though, it should be noted that the pdf\'s maps sport no grid, just a note which distance equals 5 feet. Personally, I\'m good with that, but I figured I should mention it.

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

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great!

We begin in medias res, with the PCs already having accepted a job by Forsyte Technologies to track down an escaped specimen that has taken up refuge in the abandoned coal mines of Centralia, deep in Giganot territory - and we thus waste no time, as the friendly driver Bill has to slow down the vehicle to navigate an array of debris...and obviously, it is in such an instance that the biker gang makes its move, attacking the van. The PCs better should make sure that none of the gangers escape - and from their bodies, the PCs can find a nice piece of chrome, namely hydraulic springheels. Even if the van\'s been damaged, thankfully the module\'s not over, for Bill knows a veterinarian turned bodytech-surgeon in the vicinity, which may see the PCs actually already receive the benefits of the cybertech in the module.

The erstwhile coal mine of Centralia, the next stop, would make for a labyrinthine place to navigate, sporting several fire-themed critters to deal with via random encounter. The thing is, the escaped hyper-firedrake has actually young now, which complicates securing and capturing the deadly creature. In order to pin down the deadly predator, the PCs can use the trusses throughout the mine to collapse sections and trap the being. The more of the drakes the PCs can secure alive, the better...but they take up a lot of room and they still have to be returned.

Yes, this once again means passing through giganot territory and yes, driving with unconcealed drakes around will draw attention...so in order to get properly paid, the PCs will have to be stealthy, otherwise Ms. Grey won\'t be too pleased. In case the PCs are dumb enough to take up arms against her, stats are provided. The pdf also features stats for Bill as well as the vehicles featured.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language-level. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports some nice artworks. The pregens etc. are presented in a 1-column standard instead. Cartography is decent and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Myler\'s Specimens in Centralia entertained me and my group when we ran it, even if it, in essence, is a very simplistic set-up. There is not much to be found regarding going off the beaten track and the module, as a whole, is linear and basically consists, if your players are good, of two major encounters. The second of these, the coal mine, is prolonged and can be tension-filled and really interesting. At the same time, this very much feels like a convention-demo-scenario. That does not mean it\'s bad, mind you - it just means that it is a pretty straight railroad and one we finished in 3 hours. Granted, we\'re fast and most groups will take longer, but yeah - this is a pretty brief exploration to Centralia that doesn\'t really take time to develop the cool area of Centralia. The module feels a bit too railroady for my tastes - with a little hexploration or means of tracking down the target, actually catching the adversary would have been significantly more gratifying. If the PCs didn\'t botch encounter #1, the module also can feel a bit like it peters out - again, fitting the time-constraints often found in convention games.

How to rate this, then? Well, as a non-convention-module, I\'d consider this too railroady and brief to really excel, though the second prolonged \"encounter\" is pretty cool. As a stand-alone, I\'d consider this about 2.5 stars. For convention gaming, though, it does work pretty well and should be considered to be a 3.5-star-book instead. In the end, I will settle on a final verdict in the middle, at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hypercorps 2099: Specimens in Centralia
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Kingdoms
by Nicola R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2016 17:27:35

The Content is useful, but I wished it was more than a mere conversion of the over complicated system created for Pathfinder. I would a more streamlined version and one that actually uses this edition philosophy. The price of the pdf is too high for the page count.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdoms
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Ancient Idols
by Bjoern A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2016 15:25:49

Ancient Idols from Legendary Games, written by Julian Neele and Jason Nelson, comes in as a 32-page PDF with 25 pages of actual content. The layout is well-done, I also didn't stumble about glaring errors when I read the book first. Artwork is good to great and has not to fear the comparison with the Big Brother.

Ancient Idols, as defined by the designers, are “essentially a combination of artifacts and intelligent items, so a combination of actually those two categories of items I normally absolutely don't care about, because artifacts normally don't come into play at the level range I use to play in and intelligent items, especially those speaking swords, are kind of stupid as far as I'm concerned. So that I'm actually thinking about giving those idols a central place in the home-brew setting I'm working on might already give you an idea about how much I liked this product. But let's not get too far ahead…

What the designers actually do here is taking the age-old idea of deities whose power are depending on the number of their followers and meshing it with the idea of Idolatry, the worship of an image, statue or icon. So their idols are magic items with ability scores, the ability to perceive their environment and communicate with the people in it, an alignment and specific abilities. Most central to them is the Ego score, a “measure of the total power” of an idol, that depends on the idol's mental attribute modifiers as well as on the number of followers it possesses. This Ego score is not a static thing but rises and falls with the increase or decrease of those values. One way to increase it's attributes and thereby it's Ego score is through sacrifices which also get discussed in this product. There is a monthly limit to those sacrifices but like a deity, an Idol also has specific holy days and on these days you can basically sacrifice a month's worth of offerings which do not count against this limit.

Depending on the Ego score is also the number of abilities an Idol gets. 14 of those abilities are listed in the PDF, including for example Channel Energy, giving the Idol the power of the cleric class ability, or Divine Source, granting the Idol's followers access to certain domain spells.

Next follows a template, the Idol Champion, to be used for especially loyal followers of an Idol. The relation between Idols and Ley lines is shortly discussed as well as the relation between Idols and the spirit world.

The next chapter is about “Designing animated Idols”, presenting rules to create such idols, expanding on the rules for animated object and so making it possible to even have CR20 Idols with mystic abilities and the ability to partake in the fight, should the PCs try to destroy the Idol's cult (or joining them in the fight against a common enemy). The chapter also presents 42 short stat blocks for Idols from CR ½ to 20 to be expanded on and to be used for the creation of individual idols.

The book concludes with two class options for Idol-worshipping characters. First is the Qahin, a shaman archetype which also puts a good bit of Occultist into the mix and in fact changes so much, that it might deserve it's own alternate class entry instead of an archetype description. I'm not sure if I like the Occultist inclusion too much, because it will force a player to read through several class descriptions just to find out what his PC can and cannot do. On the other hand, due to the connection between Idols and Ley Lines, it makes a lot of sense to give the Qahin this occult aspect that gets only strengthened with the Idol nexus ability and the Nexus hexs that come with it. So apart from this minor gripe, I really like what the authors did here.

Last, but not least, there's the Idolator Prestige class for divine or psychic spell casters. There is a slight redundancy in the class description as the class abilities Idol Worship and Idol Focus do the exact same thing, in that they both gift the Idolator with the Idol focus ability of the Qahin. Apart from that the Idolator gains some nice abilities that helps them fight beings from the spirit world and at level 10 becomes a part of the spirit world themselves.

Conclusion: As I hinted at in the beginning, this product has grown on me very fast. I really like how the designers take different concepts already known in the Pathfinder Universe and create something truly original from it. There is a lot of story potential about Idols and I probably would have liked to have some fleshed-out example for it instead of only generic stat blocks. On the other hand and no matter what level your PCs are, if you want to challenge them with an Idol you'll probably find the fitting stat block in this product and might have a better idea how to weave it in your campaign than the designers anyways. And even if the product officially belongs to the Egyptian AP product line, it's generic enough to fit into any other setting background you might imagine. Additionally the Qahin and the Idolator are great additions to the PC class option library, especially if you use them in an Idol focused campaign. The Qahin is probably not suited for newer players as it is more complex than the average class and would (in my mind) have probably done better as an alternate class, but in the end, that's splitting hairs and I give 4.6/5 points (rounded up to 5 stars) for a product that I think is worth the praise.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Idols
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Kingdoms
by Brennan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2016 10:10:09

I was disappointed in the product and should have read the other reviews to understand content better before purchasing. Rehashing a bad system (the Pathfinder approach to kingdom building) for 5e is like D&D the Excel Spreadsheet game. What's the point? More so, the approach from Pathfinder relies on some tropes that do not carry over well into the 5e world. For example -- Kingdoms like Pathfinder relies on manufacturing and selling magic items as a key component of the "industry" to generate revenue. 5e in particular says, "Magic Items: Selling Magic Items is problematic. Finding someone to buy a potion or a scroll isn’t too hard, but other items are out of the realm of most but the wealthiest nobles. Likewise, aside from a few common Magic Items, you won’t normally come across Magic Items or Spells to purchase. The value of magic is far beyond simple gold and should always be treated as such."



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdoms
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Hypercorps 2099
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/22/2016 04:42:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 206 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page backer list, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 197 pages of content, so let's take a look!

In 1876, the first time traveler managed to slip back 200 years back in time; this introduced ripples and other types of rifts to our world, bringing elves, halflings, etc. to our world as emissaries of magic. Ever since, the world has not been the same - Hypercorps 2099 is an allotopia, where time travel super soldiers and the like have influenced our history; where a dark elf assassin started WW I, where hippies discovered vancian casting and AI has developed - it is 2099 and the world is a radically different blend of cyberpunk aesthetics, fantasy and superhero aesthetics. The currency is bytecoins and, as a whole, it is interesting to note the highly unconventional theme of the setting: Unlike pretty much every cyberpunk game I know, Hypercorps 2099 feels less gritty, more light-hearted. To get a good idea of how it feels: Picture yourself as a child; you and your friends have just read Neuromancer for the first time, eaten a metric ton of sugar and discussed the ups and downs of various superhero comics and the LotR-movies; put these things in a blender and there you go. Alternatively, think of a less grim Shadowrun, with a massive sprinkling of M&M thrown into the mix.

As has become the traditions with Mike Myler's campaign settings, the book presented here falls on the high-concept end of things; Hypercorps 2099 does not concern itself with the minutiae of the particulars, instead focusing on the big picture of high concept adventuring. This focus also means that the advised gameplay does not begin at 1st level - instead, the book recommends starting with the 2nd or 3rd level and a hyper score of 1 (more on that aspect later); while gameplay before is possible, the engine of materials used herein makes it less the focus.

This focus, for example, also is represented in the way in which the book focuses on the urban environment: The land between the sprawls is generally a corporate-owned place and due to easy transportation and virtual reality, there is considerable less need for traditional forms of contact. From this general perspective, we move fluidly into an example environment, namely what has become of Cleveland: From gangs to the never-ending tram to the hypermax penitentiary and the tainted waters of lake Erie and its water gangs (containing aquatic weirdness alongside wererats), we receive an interesting sketch for a campaign region to develop.

This depiction, then, proceeds to introduce us to Murderball: Think of that as basketball with a non-bouncy ball and a goal...as well as the explicit goal of kicking your foe's behinds and potentially, killing them. Players require a hand and no vehicles or explosives are allowed and there are quite a few different score fields, from deflector fields to those that have a tendency to phase out. It is quite nice to see the different score fields using different formulae to calculate their AC, though the actual gameplay rules for catching and intercepting are a bit simplistic, boiling down to relatively simple checks. What makes the game as a mini-game interesting would be the weird effects that the murderball stadium may feature - from neuralshocks to magic-impeding tricks, the effects per se are pretty nice, though purists may scoff at one of the precise wordings here; similarly, e.g. a hazard-level lightning effect sports no average damage value. These are not crucial hiccups, though this would be as well a place as any to comment on the depth of the setting material presented: If you're like me and read the murderball-passage, you may very well smile at the idea; at the same time, though, the execution could have carries so much more: Unique fields, more and different balls, etc. - this is not intended as a disparaging comment, just as a n observation that the highlight-reel-style nature of the book does not have the space to develop all components to their full potential: Murderball as such could carry its own supplement and certainly can be developed by an enterprising GM into the primary focus of a whole campaign - but what's here, ultimately, remains a basic framework. Whether you like that or not, ultimately remains up to your personal sensibilities. That being said, unlike in the 5e-version, the sanctioned items for different positions and high emphasis of PFRPG on item-choice, the game presented here actually works better than in the 5e-iteration and can, as a whole, be considered to be a more reliable experience due to the throwing rules employed here.

Pretty much every cyberpunk game has its take on virtual reality and the same holds true for the hypernet that the year 2099 features: Creatures entering the place generally can do so via a variety of means; the place, as a whole, is presented pretty much as a plane, with highly morphic properties and several unique aspects. An important component that accompanies this would be the fact that you use your mental attributes instead of physical ones when in the hypernet - which obviously means that the big, bad bullies will probably be pretty weak around here. While time-honored mechanics-wise (the same mechanics have been used since the days of old for the realm of dreams or similar excursions), this also means that fighters and similarly physical characters won't have that much fun in the hypernet. In the PFRPG version of this massive book, novel planar traits and a somewhat more forgiving take on the use robots etc. in the hypernet render the place a novel, fun and extremely creative environment, full of vast narrative potential and mind-boggling wonders...

That being said, with "Jarrikol", an unbound AI and a quasi-devil/deity of the hypernet, various environments like e.g. Veranthea, Mike's first campaign setting as a kind of game server, the hypernet remains a very dangerous, but also evocative and unique place that features some excellent ideas to scavenge and develop. The section also provides some nice traps/haunts that represent dangers of the hypernet their mechanical representation is significantly smoother than in the 5e-iteration. As before with murderball, we focus on the grand picture here, though the servers, somewhat like sub-planes, do have their own rules. Have I mentioned that the darknet is controlled by demons and devils? Yeah...tread carefully.

After our trip to the technology side of things, the next section of the book deals with magical Kathmandu, where sacred creatures (CR +2) and dimension-hopping are part of the expected fare; street elementals roam the streets and the tunnels of sand can have truly unpleasant consequences. Similarly, the zodiac defenders, champions established and named after the signs, are mentioned. The alternate timeline provided for Latin America similarly is a detailed, varied section - where e.g. the saber of Bolivar is a powerful CL 20 artifact and both PMCs and continental threats loom. Yes, including the fourth reich.

Beyond the confines of Latin America, the flying city of Lucrum, under the command of the hypercorporates, makes for a mobile flying fortress and quasi-autonomous zone; from the direct context of the brief history, one could picture this place as somewhat akin to MGS' Outer Heaven under a corporate leadership, with a heavy dash of hypercapitalist Orwellianism. The deadly and powerful RAUs, the rapid assembly units, may make for feasible targets to deal with the threat...at least theoretically.

If you are looking for more of a classic cyberpunk experience, you may want to look towards Neo York, where we receive rules for rogue automated vehicles as well as brief dossiers on how the old crime syndicates have reacted to the changed realities and options of 2099; corporate politics also congeal here, with a vast array of hypercorporations and their agents playing the grand game here. Wallachia has, in Hypercorps, become a force of its own, as Vlad himself has returned to claim his throne., creating a haven for the undead, with respective statutes governing daily life. The Blood Magic tradition, represented as 3 feats: Unlike the 1 5e-feat, these 3 provide a complex and precise take on the concept of blood-powered metamagic that also prevents abuse. Kudos!

But let's move on to organizations, from anonymous to the church of cthulhu, derklitz, a synthpop-celebrity worshipped as divine, to the hypercorporations (including necromanagement, known for undead slave labor), the respective brief entries are nice, though one, Xypher Media Institute, is oddly missing the alignment note.

After this, we dive into the critters/NPCs...which are BUTAL regarding both damage output and defenses; DM-1, for example, has a nasty mechwarrior suit; the dog-faced Sergeant K-9 (groan-worthy pun worthy of yours truly there -well-played), powerful Rabbit, Deadpool lookalike Big Cheez, super-ganger Deathslide...there are a lot of unique champions herein on both sides of the spectrum; Aurora, infused with positive energy and sworn to hunt down Vlad Dracul (CR 33), for example...or what about BioSpecs CEO, who may be under the influence of the suit she created. Archangel stand-ins like Deathwing, former Cthulhu-cultists turned hero, Edgar Allen Poe (a very powerful psychic, obviously), an elven temple champion that looks like an angel, a good undead gunslinger...oh, and the author has played the first season of the gloriously insane Sam & Max Telltale games - Roy G. Biv can be found reincarnated as King Lunar here. A bear-anthro called Kodyax may be a nice nod towards the member of the roleplaying community, the less-known superhero...or something else. Devil-blooded legendary netjackers, the legendary invisible assassin Nevidimy, the Native American spin on Captain America and the construct S.H.E.R.L.O.C.K. with the superb agent of the highest rank...well, you get the idea. The dramatis personae herein could be taken from the pages of golden and silver age comic books, a theme further underscored by them having their own fonts/logos for their names. And nope, I have not covered all of them.

The hyper bestiary begins with 5 templates (CR +1 to +2) to enhance creatures encountered before providing the stats for genetically engineered 4th Reich soldiers, the gigantic dakai, various drones, hyper lycanthropes/vampires, the nigh unstoppable Kawsay Sach'aqa plant monster (CR 27), robo T-Rex and dragons...there are quite a few of interesting critters here.

All right, so by now you'll have an idea how the setting feels and works regarding its aesthetics and motifs, so let's get into the nit and grit: Athletics collates Swim and Climb, while Perception is replaced by Awareness. Search is used instead of Perception to find secret doors etc. and there also is Knowledge (technology) and Use Technology. Vehicular Control is based on Dex. All skills come with notes for which classes they are available and, if required, sample DC-tables. Whether you like the split of Perception remains a matter of taste.

The higher power of both PCs and adversaries means that the game as presented here, ultimately is more lethal and the book does provides notes on how to handle this. Both XP-progression and the use of hero points are strongly encouraged and GMs can look forward to skyscrapers used as dungeons (see the recent, horribly underappreciated Judge Dredd movie for inspiration there!) and there also are several security systems depicted. Unlike the 5e-version, which oddly put the attributes in the back, this one's organization is a bit better, following the basic skill-collation up with info of aforementioned new attributes: The book also introduces two new attributes, namely luck and reputation. Luck is 10 + 2 x hyper score; Reputation is 10 + 2 x hyper score + Charisma modifier. PCs get contacts equal to the reputation modifier. These scores, however, have hard limits: PCs can only use luck equal to the attribute modifier times per day and reputation only once per modifier per week and they need to request those checks. While seemingly odd, this little operation can actually be pretty helpful for creative games that feature an experienced GM. While testing this, a player invoking luck had e.g. an elevator containing a hostile team stuck for precious few rounds to make an escape. A group shares one wealth score, which is equal to all luck and reputation scores added together, divided by the number of characters. The pdf does provide an easy formula for covering one's tracks. GMs also receive various security systems.

The GM-section similarly sports one-page templates for steam-punky pseudo-Victorian gameplay, WW-era and the contemporary age - while these are appreciated, I think that full-blown books for them would have probably been the wiser choice here; at basically one template each and a couple basic pieces of information, they don't cover the basics.

That being said, the book does feature several archetypes to fit within the context of the game: The Ballistics Brawler monk archetype, who gains flurry with guns and may use ki instead of grit at -3 levels, the Cyber Ninja, who gets less sneak progression, but drones (Heja MGS!), the Cyber Samurai samurai archetype, who gets cybertech instead of mounts and features the order of the street. Netjackers may elect to become mechwarriors - which basically completely rewire a large part of said new class. The netjacker The netjacker base class receives d6, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Ref and Will-saves and proficiency with simple weapons and one exotic weapon of their choice. They also are proficient with light and medium armors and 1st level netjacker begin play with an installed hyperjack and digiboard.

Netjackers are all about controlling robots - when in combat while controlling robots, they take a -3 penalty to AC, which is reduced by 1 at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter. At the beginning of a day, a netjacker chooses either a proxy or drones, both of which are collectively known as robots.

Robots progress with a 3/4 BAB-progression, d10, 6+Int skills per HD, only bad saves, AC-bonuses that scale from +0 to +16, Str/Dex-bonuses that scale up to +6 and scaling upgrade pools and bonus HP for proxies and drones. Proxy upgrade pools scale up from 3 to 26, bonus hp from 2 to 46. Upgrade pools for drones scale up from 1 to 9 and bonus hp from 1 to 24. Proxies act upon your initiative -3, drones at initiative -6. Sharing senses can be accomplished as a standard action -proxies can furthermore act as if properly possessed. Drones, obviously, as less powerful robots, can instead offer more than one active at any given time- 1st level netjacker can have 2 active, +1 at 8th and 16th level and possess these drones as well Netjacker receives scaling bonuses to Technology-related skills and at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the netjacker receives a hacking talent. Some sample proxie base forms (3) and two sample drone base forms (2) are provided.

These talents allow for the sabotage of armor, equipment, etc. - personally, I'm not a big fan opposed level checks used - especially since the wording could be read as a fixed value or as an opposing roll - not sure which it is: "The netjacker makes a Use Technology check opposed by a level check (her target's hit dice +1 per 2000bt of the item's value)." - Granted, this is a minor glitch and more a matter of taste, so no biggie. Better hoverboarding, becoming invisible to tech - some nice options.

At higher levels, coordinated attacks allow the netjacker to expend actions of robots to grant himself a hyper bonus and further scaling hyper bonuses are interesting. 10th level expands the list of available talents to provide advanced talents, 17th level nets +1 standard action in the hypernet and at the capstone, the class gets dual initiative a limited amount of times per day- once in the hypernet, once in the real world.

The Veloces, chassis-wise, does look a bit like a bland monk-reskin at first sight; however, unlike in the pretty disappointing 5e-iteration, the class can stand on its own: Basically, it is a take on the Flash, Quicksilver and similar speedster characters. Yes, if you're fast enough, you'll run on walls, punch foes with incredible potency, etc. Self-haste and similar tricks help make this variant a fun addition to the roster, with a ton of talent-customizations and proper player agenda.

A crucial component of any cyberpunk game lies in the customization of pretty much everything cybertech related, gun-or similar equipment-related. Opposed to the 5e-version, the engine allows for several unique tweaks: Including DR-granting armor, a significant array of firearms that feature takes on automatic and semi-automatic fire. They, unsurprisingly, also deal serious damage. Autofire generates lines of fire, semi auto guns allow for Rapid Reload like shots. The pdf also features proper stats for various vehicles, including hoverboards. While smoother executed than the 5e-iteration, this may be the one aspect where I sincerely feel that this book falls short of its own ambition - perhaps I'm spoiled by years of Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, but equipment-wise, Hypercorps 2099 simply doesn't have that much to offer - the modifications are nice, but nowhere near fulfill the needs of my group.

Now, so far, the most crucial rules-difference has not yet been covered - that would be going hyper, becoming basically a superhero. This is represented by gaining a hyper score. Hyper score allow you to gain access to hyper bonuses, which stack with every bonus, even other hyper bonuses. They do not, however, allow you to stack two identical effects. The hyper score is a 10-level progression, somewhat akin to mythic tiers and hyper bonus scales up to +5 over this progression. Hyper score also determines the maximum amount of hero points you can hold and provides up to 5 hyper feats, but also 2 hyper flaws over its progression. Hyper bonuses thus gained pretty much apply to almost anything and thus, the table features a handy CR-increase for your convenience. Oh, the table also nets you more hit points and ability score increases. Hero points work in different, more potent ways for hyper characters, allowing for brief scene-control, for example. Hyper characters also gain more attacks, heal quicker, grant themselves a kind of advantage or benefit, a limited number of times from FF's Life III, becoming very hard to kill.

A lot of customization options happen via the respective hyper feats, which allow you to scavenge progressively better monster qualities, implant more cybertech, (de-)activate technological devices at range, etc. Better planar adaption to magic within the unreliable hypernet, a proper secret identity (into which you can change at Superman-in-phone-booth-speed) or hyper vehicles - the selections provided here are versatile and fun. Hyper flaws would be the unique Achilles heels you'd associate with superheroes and villains - from requiring an object to tiring exertions, these flaws represent a fun, identity-constituting element.

Beyond the basic hyper score and its consequences, the pdf assumes a type of 5 different hyper routes: The Abbernaut is basically the guy that receives monstrous abilities; the meganaut is the regular super who enhances hyper attributes; the hypernaut is the guy who gains the hyper powers; the parallel is the gestalt-spellcaster and the savant is the non-magical gestalt who gains more non-magical tricks; depending on the route chosen, you gain different arrays of hyper flaws.

Hyper powers are grouped by 3 tiers and their general rules are presented in a concise and easy to grasp manner; some may be taken multiple times and they do NOT screw around. What about time stop for two rounds or any villain's favorite gambit, cloned simulacra? Talking to the city (breaks into "The Spirit"-impression) or fabulous wealth...some seriously cool stuff here. Now I mentioned hyper attribute traits - these would basically be abilities grouped by attribute which allow you to perform those heroic acts: Ignoring conditions, throwing huge things, being ridiculously likable, auto-skill check successes...basically, these would be the tricks that make you more of an incarnation of the things you'd do with the respective attributes.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good; while I noticed a couple of minor hiccups here and there, as a whole, the book is very readable and the majority of the rules language is similarly precise. The most prominent glitches are minor typesetting hiccups. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and manages to cram a TON of text into the pages of this book, making it look somewhat busy, but also getting you maximum bang for your buck per page. The pdf sports a ton of artwork, which ranges from often used stock to original pieces; most of them adhere to the comic-style flair that fits well with the theme, even though personally, I'm not the biggest fan of the style, I appreciate the very high art-density of the book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Myler, Savannah Broadway, Luis Loza and Michael McCarthy deliver a book that deserves being called unique; I have literally never before seen a take on cyberpunk that emphasizes the at times cheesy superhero-esque components that e.g. high-powered Shadowrun etc. tend to feature. The flavor of the setting is unique and it has this gleeful over-the-topness that makes you smile - we don't get sharks with lasers, we get dragons with lasers. This would perhaps be the best way to look at this toolkit/campaign setting. If you expect copious information on the minutiae of daily life, an exploration of social dynamics and the more subdued aspects of cyberpunk, including what "humanity" means...then this is probably not for you. If you, however, want to blow up skyscrapers, crash-land flying cities into legions of genetically-engineered nazi-drones or test your superhuman strength against a ginormous plant-monstrosity with your pal Edgar Allen Poe riding a hoverboard...then this will be just what the doctor ordered. This setting polarizes. Chances are that you already know whether this is for you or not at this point.

To state this loud and clearly: The PFRPG-iteration of the book is better than its 5e-version; we get more artistry; variant classes instead of short archetypes, a more pronounced compatibility with established material, etc. Even the structure of how rules are presented is more concise in the PFRPG-version. Anyways, like the 5e-version, players who expect a ton of customization and tweaking options will be disappointed to see the scope of both equipment and cybertech; the chapters do their basic job, but not much beyond that. On the plus-side, the PFRPG hyper-score rules are more elegant and versatile and allow for more options and their rules are presented in a pretty simple and easy to grasp manner; the escalation of deadliness of both PCs and adversaries generates an interesting playing experience. The hyper routes cover the vast majority of common superhero tropes in a basic system that you can learn within 5 minutes...and while you get the basics, I really hoped to see more powers here...though access to SPs of PFRPGs vast array of spells means that you'll have more options with this iteration.

In short: The hyper score engine could have used expansions. On the other side, it does already allow for an impressive array of modifications and options. Pretty much every aspect of this book can be seen as either a feature of as a bug; I frankly could wax poetically about the sheer density of amazing over the top action for pages on end...or, I could complain for the same length about aspects that could have used further fleshing out, in both mechanical engines and environments. Ultimately, to me at least, this book feels a bit like it tries to do a bit too much at once; a focus on either campaign setting or cyberpunk/superhero-rules would have allowed the campaign setting, which is pretty intriguing, more space to shine and provide enough room for the equipment and super-aspects to grow. To my own sensibilities, the compromise of packing both into one book ended up making them both good, no doubt about that...but also made them fall short of their own, significant potential. Less so than in the 5e-version...but still. The short non-2099-era sketches of e.g. the WW-age in the GM-section would be the culmination of this aspect of the book: Well-intentioned though they are, they are too short to be of significant use to pretty much anyone.

The aspects where I definitely cannot complain in any way would be the powerful NPCs and the creatures: Exceedingly powerful, these beings unanimously have this glorious sense of irreverent humor, this sense of anything goes. Extra brownie points if you get why Poe needs to eat a pomegranate every day to retain his powers, for example. These are also the aspect of the book where, no matter how you look at it, it delivers: Bosses with SERIOUS staying power abound, in spite of the increased power-level - so if you're looking for epic boss fights and a somewhat video-gamey-sensibility to accompany the flavor, well, here are foes that can take the punishment. The adversaries in the book are very, very nasty; Vlad-y boy will wreck you. Even among the unnamed NPCs like security officers etc., you will not find entries with low hit points.

These NPCs and creatures also represent perhaps the best litmus-test on whether you'd like this: If you can smile at Sergeant K-9 or at some of the other beings here, then chances are you'll find a place in your heart for this book. If the gritty day to day survival aspect of cyberpunk and the transhumanist questions are what brought you to the genre, you will probably be less excited about what you find herein. In short: This may not deliver in grit or detail, but it represents a delightfully gonzo, over the top experience. It is more superhero with a cyberpunk aesthetic, not vice versa.

It is very hard for me to rate this; as a reviewer, I can complain about the few formal hiccups I noticed - but as a whole, the PFRPG-version is better. Apart from that as a formal complaint, the vast majority of gripes I could potentially field can be mitigated by simply stating that the intent of the book, the focus, is different. The more action-oriented among my players really liked testing this; the detail-oriented planners were significantly less taken and impressed...which also eliminates this means of determining a rating for this book.

Personally, I am torn to an extent beyond what most books manage to elicit - I adore several aspects and the vast imagination, but also bemoan the scope of the equipment aspects and power-options, both of which combined could probably fill a book of this size on their own regarding the amount of material you could make for them. On the one hand, I could argue for a 4 star rating; sober me complaining about the hiccups, the fact that the book's all over the place and that almost all aspects could have used more coverage. On the other hand, though, I could also start gushing and rambling about the awesome concepts, the glorious critters and the sheer glee that oozes from these concepts and proclaim this a 5-star masterpiece with a uniquely fun and gonzo aesthetic. Additionally, the PFRPG version provides a bit more care, feels a bit more streamlined and routed in the aesthetics of the system than the 5e-iteration.

The truth for you, my readers, will quite probably fall on either one of these two ratings; either you'll really like it and disregard what could be construed as shortcomings or the shortcomings weigh more heavily for you than the boons this offers. As a reviewer, I can understand both positions and thus urge you to select yours. I, however, cannot rate this as both and thus will settle on a final verdict in the middle, at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo. If you have the luxury of choosing your system, I'd suggest the PFRPG iteration.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hypercorps 2099
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Hypercorps 2099 (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/22/2016 04:39:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive campaign setting/toolkit clocks in at 190 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page backer thanks, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 4 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 181 pages of content, so let's take a look!

In 1876, the first time traveler managed to slip back 200 years back in time; this introduced ripples and other types of rifts to our world, bringing elves, halflings, etc. to our world as emissaries of magic. Ever since, the world has not been the same - Hypercorps 2099 is an allotopia, where time travel super soldiers and the like have influenced our history; where a dark elf assassin started WW I, where hippies discovered vancian casting and AI has developed - it is 2099 and the world is a radically different blend of cyberpunk aesthetics, fantasy and superhero aesthetics. The currency is bytecoins and, as a whole, it is interesting to note the highly unconventional theme of the setting: Unlike pretty much every cyberpunk game I know, Hypercorps 2099 feels less gritty, more light-hearted. To get a good idea of how it feels: Picture yourself as a child; you and your friends have just read Neuromancer for the first time, eaten a metric ton of sugar and discussed the ups and downs of various superhero comics and the LotR-movies; put these things in a blender and there you go. Alternatively, think of a less grim Shadowrun, with a massive sprinkling of M&M thrown into the mix.

As has become the traditions with Mike Myler's campaign settings, the book presented here falls on the high-concept end of things; Hypercorps 2099 does not concern itself with the minutiae of the particulars, instead focusing on the big picture of high concept adventuring. This focus also means that the advised gameplay does not begin at 1st level - instead, the book recommends starting with the 2nd or 3rd level and a hyper score of 1 (more on that aspect later); while gameplay before is possible, the engine of materials used herein makes it less the focus.

This focus, for example, also is represented in the way in which the book focuses on the urban environment: The land between the sprawls is generally a corporate-owned place and due to easy transportation and virtual reality, there is considerable less need for traditional forms of contact. From this general perspective, we move fluidly into an example environment, namely what has become of Cleveland: From gangs to the never-ending tram to the hypermax penitentiary and the tainted waters of lake Erie and its water gangs (containing kuo-toa alongside wererats), we receive an interesting sketch for a campaign region to develop.

This depiction, then, proceeds to introduce us to Murderball: Think of that as basketball with a non-bouncy ball and a goal...as well as the explicit goal of kicking your foe's behinds and potentially, killing them. Players require a hand and no vehicles or explosives are allowed and there are quite a few different score fields, from deflector fields to those that have a tendency to phase out. It is quite nice to see the different score fields using different formulae to calculate their AC, though the actual gameplay rules for catching and intercepting are a bit simplistic, boiling down to Strength (athletics)-checks. What makes the game as a mini-game interesting would be the weird effects that the murderball stadium may feature - from neuralshocks to magic-impeding tricks, the effects per se are pretty nice, though purists may scoff at one of the precise wordings here; similarly, e.g. a hazard-level lightning effect sports no average damage value. These are not crucial hiccups, though this would be as well a place as any to comment on the depth of the setting material presented: If you're like me and read the murderball-passage, you may very well smile at the idea; at the same time, though, the execution could have carries so much more: Unique fields, more and different skill uses, etc. - this is not intended as a disparaging comment, just as a n observation that the highlight-reel-style nature of the book does not have the space to develop all components to their full potential: Murderball as such could carry its own supplement and certainly can be developed by an enterprising GM into the primary focus of a whole campaign - but what's here, ultimately, remains a basic framework. Whether you like that or not, ultimately remains up to your personal sensibilities.

Pretty much every cyberpunk game has its take on virtual reality and the same holds true for the hypernet that the year 2099 features: Creatures entering the place generally can do so via a variety of means; the place, as a whole, is presented pretty much as a plane, with highly morphic properties and several unique aspects. An important component that accompanies this would be the fact that you use your mental attributes instead of physical ones when in the hypernet - which obviously means that the big, bad bullies will probably be pretty weak around here. While time-honored mechanics-wise (the same mechanics have been used since the days of old for the realm of dreams or similar excursions), this also means that fighters and similarly physical characters won't have that much fun in the hypernet. It also makes spellcasting unreliable, unless you have the Scientific Wizardry feat, which, among other things, makes your spells bypass resistances and immunities of the spells of anyone who does not have this feat...which is a pretty OP thing that imposes a further feat-tax on defensive/buff casters, which, considering 5e's prevalence of concentration-durations and less intricate stacking mechanics, isn't necessarily something I think that the engine needed. Purists of 5e may also notice that the traps for the hypernet do feature attribute damage, something pretty rare in 5e, and wording-wise a component phrased slightly differently - personally, I don't object to these components, being used to them, but it is still something to bear in mind if you are particularly purist in your sensibilities.

That being said, with "Jarrikol", an unbound AI and a quasi-devil/deity of the hypernet, various environments and e.g. Veranthea, Mike's first campaign setting as a kind of game server, the hypernet still remains a very evocative and unique place that features some excellent ideas to scavenge and develop; as before with murderball, we focus on the grand picture here, though the servers, somewhat like sub-planes, do have their own rules.

After our trip to the technology side of things, the next section of the book deals with magical Kathmandu, where sacred creatures and dimension-hopping are part of the expected fare; street elementals roam the streets and the tunnels of sand can have truly unpleasant consequences. Similarly, the zodiac defenders, champions established and named after the signs, are mentioned. The alternate timeline provided for Latin America similarly is a detailed, varied section - where e.g. the saber of Bolivar is a legendary item, ready to be wielded by those pure of heart, and both PMCs and continental threats loom. Yes, including the fourth reich.

Beyond the confines of Latin America, the flying city of Lucrum, under the command of the hypercorporates, makes for a mobile flying fortress and quasi-autonomous zone; from the direct context of the brief history, one could picture this place as somewhat akin to MGS' Outer Heaven under a corporate leadership, with a heavy dash of hypercapitalist Orwellianism. The deadly and powerful RAUs, the rapid assembly units, may make for feasible targets to deal with the threat...at least theoretically.

If you are looking for more of a classic cyberpunk experience, you may want to look towards Neo York, where we receive rules for rogue automated vehicles as well as brief dossiers on how the old crime syndicates have reacted to the changed realities and options of 2099; corporate politics also congeal here, with a vast array of hypercorporations and their agents playing the grand game here. Wallachia has, in Hypercorps, become a force of its own, as Vlad himself has returned to claim his throne., creating a haven for the undead, with respective statutes governing daily life. The Blood Magic tradition, represented as a feat found herein can be taken as one of the crunchy tidbits suffusing the book that is evocative, but could use some increased precision: It allows you to increase spell levels by inflicting damage to yourself. Does this require a Constitution save? While the maximum increase is capped by both proficiency bonus and exhaustion gained, RAW the feat may be read as to allow for the casting of spells increased beyond one's theoretical knowledge.

But let's move on to organizations, from anonymous to the church of cthulhu, derklitz, a synthpop-celebrity worshipped as divine, to the hypercorporations (including necromanagement, known for undead slave labor), the respective brief entries are nice, though one, Xypher Media Institute, is oddly missing the alignment note.

After this, we dive into the critters/NPCs...which are BUTAL regarding both damage output and defenses, though there also are some odd aspects: DM-1, for example, is vulnerable to critical hits; dog-faced Sergeant K-9 (groan-worthy pun worthy of yours truly there -well-played), powerful Rabbit, Deadpool lookalike Big Cheez, super-ganger Deathslide...there are a lot of unique champions herein on both sides of the spectrum; Aurora, infused with positive energy and sworn to hunt down Vlad Dracul, for example...or what about BioSpecs CEO, who may be under the influence of the suit she created. Archangel stand-ins like Deathwing, former Cthulhu-cultists turned hero, Edgar Allen Poe, an artificial angel, a good undead gunslinger...oh, and the author has played the first season of the gloriously insane Sam & Max Telltale games - Roy G. Biv can be found reincarnated as King Lunar here. A bear-anthro called Kodyax may be a nice nod towards the member of the roleplaying community, the less-known superhero...or something else. Devil-blooded legendary netjackers, the legendary invisible assassin Nevidimy, the Native American spin on Captain America and the construct S.H.E.R.L.O.C.K. with the superb agent of the highest rank...well, you get the idea. The dramatis personae herein could be taken from the pages of golden and silver age comic books, a theme further underscored by them having their own fonts/logos for their names. And nope, I have not covered all of them.

The hyper bestiary begins with 6 templates to enhance creatures encountered before providing the stats for genetically engineered 4th Reich soldiers, the gigantic dakai, drones, hyper lycanthropes/vampires, the nigh unstoppable Kawsay Sach'aqa plant monster, robo T-Rex and dragons...there are quite a few of interesting critters here.

All right, so by now you'll have an idea how the setting feels and works regarding its aesthetics and motifs, so let's get into the nit and grit: The book introduces two new skills, both of which are based on Intelligence, these being Law and Technology. 6 new kits represent the respective tools for hyper gameplay. The high-strung super-hero-esque stories at the center of hypercorps assume for the chance of success in even relatively strange circumstances and allow for collective checks that allow for the addition of their bonuses; as such, team maneuvers can be significantly higher, DC-wise. The higher power of both PCs and adversaries means that the game as presented here, ultimately is more lethal and the book does provides notes on how to handle this. Both XP-progression and the use of hero points (see DMG) are strongly encouraged and GMs can look forward to skyscrapers used as dungeons (see the recent, horribly underappreciated Judge Dredd movie for inspiration there!) and there also are several security systems depicted. The GM-section similarly sports one-page templates for steam-punky pseudo-Victorian gameplay, WW-era, contemporary age - while these are appreciated, I think that full-blown books for them would have probably been the wiser choice here; at basically one template each and a couple basic pieces of information, they don't cover the basics.

That being said, the book does feature several archetypes to fit within the context of the game: The Ballistics Brawler monk tradition, the Cyber Ninja Rogue (Heja MGS!), the Cyber Samurai martial archetype, the mechwarrior sorcerous origin - these pretty much are self-explanatory representations of their respective tropes. The netjacker rogue archetype would be basically the combo rigger/decker and the veloces is basically a speed-themed monk. These, while generally good renditions of the core aspects of the respective roles, ultimately felt a bit less inspired to me - the Netjacker, in PFRPG its own class, is only a vanilla rogue until 3rd level, which can be pretty disheartening, for example. I think that more than one of these options could have carried its own alternate class. We also receive 5 backgrounds, though these lack goals, etc. - they only cover the proficiencies and features as well as a random aspect.

A crucial component of any cyberpunk game lies in the customization of pretty much everything cybertech related, gun-or similar equipment-related. Weapons and armor come with 4 upgrades each and we get 11 cybertech enhancements as well as some serious equipment - with hoverboards, C4 and all in between, including drugs, covered. Firearms require a bonus action to aim to add the proficiency bonus to atk and otherwise act as crossbows for feat-etc. purposes. They also deal serious damage. Autofire guns can instead use the bonus action to fire a second shot at disadvantage, while bullet sprayers may target cubes; damage-type switchers and stun-guns...the rules are pretty concise and yes, vessels are also featured. Still, this may be the one aspect where I sincerely feel that this book falls short of its own ambition - perhaps I'm spoiled by years of Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, but equipment-wise, Hypercorps 2099 simply doesn't have that much to offer. As a minor nitpick, RAW, the ammo can be scavenged after firing guns, which makes no sense.

Now, so far, the most crucial rules-difference has not yet been covered - that would be going hyper, becoming basically a superhero. This is represented by gaining a hyper score and an associated template; if you're a veteran, think of that as a gestalt; if you're new to the subject matter, think of it as getting more bonuses - a total of 3 feats, up to +5 proficiency and hero points - the hyper score determines the total of hero points you can have at any given time. From an aesthetic point of view, the table has a type-setting glitch that should have been caught. Hero points are more potent in the game, allowing for example for a roll to be treated as a natural 20. The hyperscore also allows for ability score increases beyond 20, add attacks, gain more hit dice as well as better initiative. To work in conjunction with the super hero theme, going hyper may also entail gaining one serious hyper flaw - from weaknesses to addictions and the like. Hyper feats allow you to gain monster qualities, hyper items, better cybertech...you get the idea. These hyper feats (and attribute traits) are generally grouped in 4 routes of being hyper: The Abbernaut is basically the guy that receives monstrous abilities; the meganaut is the regular super; the parallel is the gestalt-spellcaster and the savant is the non-magical gestalt who gains more non-magical tricks; depending on the route chosen, you gain different arrays of hyper flaws.

Now I mentioned hyper abilities; you can choose up to ability modifier such traits for a given attribute - a character with Dexterity 18 could have, for example, up to 4 of these with the right hyper route. These allow you to add bonus damage to attack, provide advantage on associated saves, provide sage advice as a reaction - but generally, they allow for the more efficient use of the respective engine; think of these as enhancers; you get more reliably good at using the attribute in question. In short: The book advances this aspect in depth, not in breadth.

The book also introduces two new attributes, namely luck and reputation. Luck is 10 + 2 x hyper score; Reputation is 10 + 2 x hyper score + Charisma modifier. PCs get contacts equal to the reputation modifier. These scores, however, have hard limits: PCs can only use luck equal to the attribute modifier times per day and reputation only once per modifier per week and they need to request those checks. While seemingly odd, this little operation can actually be pretty helpful for creative games that feature an experienced GM. While testing this, a player invoking luck had e.g. an elevator containing a hostile team stuck for precious few rounds to make an escape. A group shares one wealth score, which is equal to all luck and reputation scores added together, divided by the number of characters. When trying to get temporary goods and the like (most of which are illicit, obviously), the GM can roll 1d20 + wealth ability modifier; the result times 100 bytecoins is the cap; said sudden influx of non-permanent equipment, obviously vanishes again. This is a simple abstraction, but one that streamlines getting gear and arguing over who pays for what.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good; while I noticed a couple of minor hiccups here and there, as a whole, the book is very readable and the majority of the rules language is similarly precise. The most prominent glitches are minor typesetting hiccups. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and manages to cram a TON of text into the pages of this book, making it look somewhat busy, but also getting you maximum bang for your buck per page. The pdf sports a ton of artwork, which ranges from often used stock to original pieces; most of them adhere to the comic-style flair that fits well with the theme, even though personally, I'm not the biggest fan of the style, I appreciate the very high art-density of the book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Myler and Rich Howard deliver a book that deserves being called unique; I have literally never before seen a take on cyberpunk that emphasizes the at times cheesy superhero-esque components that e.g. high-powered Shadowrun etc. tend to feature. The flavor of the setting is unique and it has this gleeful over-the-topness that makes you smile - we don't get sharks with lasers, we get dragons with lasers. This would perhaps be the best way to look at this toolkit/campaign setting. If you expect copious information on the minutiae of daily life, an exploration of social dynamics and the more subdued aspects of cyberpunk, including what "humanity" means...then this is probably not for you. If you, however, want to blow up skyscrapers, crash-land flying cities into legions of genetically-engineered nazi-drones or test your superhuman strength against a ginormous plant-monstrosity with your pal Edgar Allen Poe riding a hoverboard...then this will be just what the doctor ordered. This setting polarizes. Chances are that you already know whether this is for you or not at this point.

Still, to reiterate the strengths and weaknesses of this book: On the downside, we have a few minor instances of imprecision here and there and the organization; hyper scores and pretty much all relevant game-play mechanics in the end and the sequence of their presentation make the rules-chapters in the end feel a bit less easy to grasp than they could be; Usually, you begin at the bottom, with abilities and here, hyperscores, and then move into the particulars. Anyways, apart from this didactic gripe, players who expect a ton of customization and tweaking options will be disappointed to see the scope of both equipment and cybertech; the chapters do their basic job, but not much beyond that. On the plus-side, the rules presented are pretty simple and easy to grasp; the escalation of deadliness of both PCs and adversaries generates an interesting playing experience, with e.g. damage threshold rules being applied to some critters etc. The hyper routes cover the vast majority of common superhero tropes in a basic system that you can learn within 5 minutes...but they also, once again, are just that - the basics. If you wanted to play Magneto, for example, you'll strike out.

In short: The hyper score engine, while solid, could have used expansions. On the other side, it does already allow for an impressive array of modifications and options. In short, pretty much every aspect of this book can be seen as either a feature of as a bug; I frankly could wax poetically about the sheer density of amazing over the top actions for pages on end...or, I could complain for the same length about aspects that could have used further fleshing out, in both mechanical engines and environments. Ultimately, to me at least, this book feels a bit like it tries to do a bit too much at once; a focus on either campaign setting or cyberpunk/superhero-rules would have allowed the campaign setting, which is pretty intriguing, more space to shine and provided enough room for the equipment and super-aspects to grow. To my own sensibilities, the compromise of packing both into one book ended up making them both good, no doubt about that...but also made them fall short of their own potential. The short non-2099-era sketches of e.g. the WW-age in the GM-section would be the culmination of this aspect of the book: Well-intentioned though they are, they are too short to be of significant use to pretty much anyone.

The aspects where I definitely cannot complain in any way would be the powerful NPCs and the creatures: Exceedingly powerful, these beings unanimously have this glorious sense of irreverent humor, this sense of anything goes. Extra brownie points if you get why Poe needs to eat a pomegranate every day to retain his powers, for example. These are also the aspect of the book where, no matter how you look at it, it delivers: Bosses with SERIOUS staying power abound, in spite of the increased power-level - so if you're looking for epic boss fights and a somewhat video-gamey-sensibility to accompany the flavor, well, here are foes that can take the punishment. You will find precious few of the legendary NPCs featured with less than 100 hp; Vlad-y boy actually has more than 400. Even among the unnamed NPCs like security officers etc., you will not find an entry below 30 hit points.

These NPCs and creatures also represent perhaps the best litmus-test on whether you'd like this: If you can smile at Sergeant K-9 or at some of the other beings here, then chances are you'll find a place in your heart for this book. If the gritty day to day survival aspect of cyberpunk and the transhumanist questions are what brought you to the genre, you will probably be less excited about what you find herein. In short: This may not deliver in grit or detail, but it represents a delightfully gonzo, over the top experience.

It is very hard for me to rate this; as a reviewer, I can complain about the few formal hiccups I noticed ("proficiency modifier" instead of "proficiency bonus", nonstandard sequence of that in save-DC lists) - but they tend to, for the most part, not reach the levels where they'd negatively influence rules. Apart from that as a formal complaint, the vast majority of gripes I could potentially field can be mitigated by simply stating that the intent of the book, the focus, is different. The more action-oriented among my players really liked testing this; the detail-oriented planners were significantly less taken and impressed...which also eliminates this means of determining a rating for this book.

Personally, I am torn to an extent beyond what most books manage to elicit - I adore several aspects and the vast imagination, but also bemoan the scope of the equipment aspects and power-options, both of which combined could probably fill a book of this size on their own regarding the amount of material you could make for them. On the one hand, I could argue for a 3 star rating; sober me complaining about the hiccups, the fact that the book's all over the place and that almost all aspects could have used more coverage. On the other hand, though, I could also start gushing and rambling about the awesome concepts, the glorious critters and the sheer glee that oozes from these concepts and proclaim this a 5-star masterpiece with a uniquely fun and gonzo aesthetic.

The truth for you, my readers, will quite probably fall on either one of these two ratings; either you'll really like it and disregard what could be construed as shortcomings or the shortcomings weigh more heavily for you than the boons this offers. As a reviewer, I can understand both positions and thus urge you to select yours. I, however, cannot rate this as both and thus will settle on a final verdict in the middle, at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo. If you have the luxury of choosing your system, I'd suggest the PFRPG iteration.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hypercorps 2099 (5E)
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Treasury of Winter
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2016 11:18:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review of teh revised version

This collection of magic items, intended (though not exclusively!) for use with the Reign of Winter AP clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 3 pages of advertisements, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look at what we can find here!

We begin this collection with a handy list of items by price, covering the span between 1400 gp and massive 110,308 gp before going into the items by category; within each category, the items are organized alphabetically, just fyi.

We begin this pdf thus with armors, the first of which would be the glitterfrost buckler: When confronted with foes that feature gaze attacks, you can peer through it and thus gain a bonus to saves: Pretty cool: You can expend uses of its blinding property to reflect gazes back at attackers as an immediate action, though a target has to be within 20 feet to be affected thus. Still, pretty neat concept and execution. The next armor, the gorynych scale has its properties not italicized in the text. Really cool in its visuals, it allows you to not only gain all-around vision via its 3-headed dragon-designs, you can also command the pauldrons and helm that resemble dragons to emit cones of flame...and yes, even combine the blasts, now with properly codified activation actions. Winterbark Warding allows creatures wearing it to gain woodland stride and protects them from cold climates as well as granting DR 5/- versus attacks executed by plants or via wooden weapons and the DR also applies against plant-themed spells like spike growth et al. The pdf goes for weaponry next - a total of 5 are provided. The first of these, the Bogatyr Blade...is uncharacteristically opaque for Legendary Games: "When attacked by a creature using a rage effect, including magical effects as well as exceptional abilities..." What are exceptional abilities? Does bloodrage count? Isn't that supposed to be extraordinary? Anyway, the blade provides minor morale bonuses versus such targets as well as against swarms and troops. Pretty cool: You may change its shape as a standard action - into other weapons...or even a pebble. I really like that idea. The Diamondice Dagger can suppress cold resistance/immunity on critical hits and dispel such defenses granted by magic. Multiple critical hits in a given round actually render this ability more potent, which is a pretty cool (haha) catch. Really amazing: weapons with the frost or icy burst abilities can be sharpened by using this dagger as a whetstone as a full-round action, granting them keen edge for 1 minute. Even cooler: You may jam the dagger into snowy or frosty terrain, duplicating spike growth or spike stones respectively...and if you leave the dagger planted, the AoE increases...I love that concept-wise.

The Scythian Saber is intended for cavalry and lets you, on critical hits, perform a swift overrun, with the chance of adding an attack by the mount. Pretty nice. The Snowball Sling is less efficient in warmer climates, but the snowballs it creates may burst on critical hits in potentially dazzling and fatiguing splashes...which is an idea I can totally get behind. The Tiger's Fang may switch sizes between being a +1 keen returning shortspear and a dagger and is particularly unpleasant versus feline or partially feline creatures, gaining bane's effects versus these as well as minor defensive bonuses versus foes damaged before during the day.

Next up would be a single ring, the Unseelie Solitaire, which can duplicate frigid/calcific touch, but only versus living creatures with blood, but with the potential of rendering the victims into solid blocks of ice! Fey wearing it also gain a massive bonus to Disguise to look like winter-touched fey, which can be incredibly useful, particularly since it gets the spell-interaction right. Two rods are up next: The Phosgene Flail, which can duplicate nasty cloud-based spells (you know, like acid fog, cloudkill...) 1/day and congeal these into a special weapon (+1 brilliant energy corrosive) that may sicken foes, then nauseate and finally suffocate them! I love this rod. The second rod would be the Snowstone Scepter which lets you see through cold-based weather, increases cold spell potency and even lets you see through solid sheets of ice and snow, x-ray style. Really cool: The wielder may cloud items in obscuring rime and 2/day transmute stone to snow and vice versa or even harden them. Oh, and it has spells. I love this one.

Unless I have miscounted, the pdf also sports 26 wondrous items: A bearskin cape enhances your combat maneuvers and nets scent as well as limited wild shaping; there is a blizzard in a bottle that may absorb cold spells and then be thrown or opened to unleash the winter's force it has collected. Damn cool (and with a really nice artwork)! Rapping on a calf bone properly enchanted can bring forth a Calfbone Man, who is basically a modified, more potent servant with extremely cool taboos...absolutely glorious and suffuses with folklore. The Candle Crown generates warmth, decreases nearby wind severity and actually produces goodberries that also help to ward off hypothermia and frostbite.

The Dancing Reed Flute can force others to dance, while the Diamond of Everwinter protects and sustains its wielder from the elements and even absorb damage incurred. Mythic wearers may also increase the potency and options available via this one and new tiers gained actually provide new abilities - cool! The entrenching spade is amazing, allowing the wielder to excavate holes fast...and even leave trenches behind as they move. Love it! I also like the visuals of the Feyfrost Brush, which lets you paint with frost, generating pictures, marks and exert a bit of terrain control, though the mechanics here are a bit opaque - the mention of skill checks implies that its effects are skill-based, when they actually aren't....if they're supposed to be skill-based, then the DCs would be missing. Not sure either way. Feed that grants animals flight (yup, including dragged vehicles) and the Foxfire Stole, dimly sentient and capable of animating as a fire elemental, are two winners, though the latter lacks its weight. Glass Skates similarly are very cool and may leave behind ice floes. I absolutely adore Hill Seeds, which may cause the land to rise. Halters that bestow the cold subtype on animals, while the Icon of Timeless Faith can duplicate various spell-effects for divine casters, with unique modifications for e.g. the spiritual ally. Very cool: mediums and spiritualists get alternate benefits! The invader's bugle is a nasty military horn that can generate freezing sludge and animate the dead...you were asking for a proper trench nightmare? There you go!

Bracers that duplicate iron body and make weapons count as metal and a minor buff/debuff-producing censer are solid. The Pelisse of the Light Brigade lacks its weight and is particularly effective versus ranged attacks and is more efficient for users with mounted Combat. A Servant Samovar can conjure forth friendly house spirits, while another helps versus possession. The Shawl of the Snowbird is pretty great, helping you pass off as birds when polymorphed and also featuring the option of a hypnotic dance and limited, reflexive discorporation into a swirling mass of feathers 1/day. I LOVE the visuals! The sledge of the bear needs to be commanded in the language of bears (i.e. via speak with animals), but may enhance its harnessed creature and change its shape. So cool! Using a matryoshka to safeguard a soul from negative energy, possession etc. similarly is very, very neat. The Toy Soldier's Ushanka is diminutive, but lets the wearer transform into such a tiny form...oh, and while in this form, you may project your being into other nearby toy soldiers. This is basically an instant-puzzle-boss waiting to happen. Love it. The Threefold Crown nets threefold aspect at will, with hexes granted depending on aspect chosen...and lacks weight. The wire tangler, finally, would basically be instant-barbed wire.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are, on a rules-language level very good and now, in the revised version, the formal glitches have been eliminated with extreme prejudice. Layout adheres to the nice, aesthetically-pleasing two-column full-color standard for Reign of Winter plug-ins. The pdf sports a couple of nice full-color artworks and comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson and Victoria Jaczko deliver my favorite treasury in LG's whole catalog here. I absolutely LOVE the vast majority of the items and adore how they use tropes of folklore, unique twists and generate an incredibly flavorful collection of items. While the original iteration sported several unpleasant hiccups due to something, somewhere, going wrong, the revised iteration is absolutely glorious. Bereft of any serious hiccups, my final verdict for the revised edition will be upgraded to the 5 stars + seal of approval. Get these items!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasury of Winter
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