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Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 3
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2017 06:00:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the series of little pdfs providing mythic versions for the monsters originally featured in the bestiary sections of Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages, so let's take a look!

This one has a bit of overlap with Mythic Monsters: India: The Upasunda Asura at CR 11/MR 4 and the amazing due of undead elephant (Rajput Ambari, CR 8/MR 3) and Rakshasa Maharaja (CR 25/MR 10) can all be found herein as well. The builds are all three amazing, but I have commented on all of them in my review of the big book.

The so far not covered creatures would be the house drake at CR 3/MR 1 gains Flyby Attack and treats his natural attacks as silver and also has the second save ability versus mind-affecting effects.

The second new creature herein would be the scarlet macaque swarm at CR 6/MR 2, who may filch items as a swift action, fling scarlet rage-inducing filth and flies into rages when faced with a bleeding target..oh, and being damaged can incite a combo of confusion and rage. Nasty! That being said, in a minor formatting glitch, a spell reference here has not been italicized.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to a really elegant and nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson's creatures herein are pretty damn amazing...but whether you should get them depends frankly on whether you have Mythic Monsters: India. If you do, this does not have that much new content, though what you do get, is amazing. If you're willing to get this for the new critters, then you'll probably enjoy this...otherwise, I'd suggest getting Mythic Monsters: India instead. Ultimately, my final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 3
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Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 2
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2017 05:59:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment of the series of little pdfs providing mythic versions for the monsters originally featured in the bestiary sections of Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages, so let's take a look!

The first creature herein would be the Leukodaemon at CR 11/MR 4, whose diseases become airborne (YES!) and his contagion is upgraded. Beyond mythic path abilities and their detachable skills and mere presence can make the area more infectious - amazing! If you already have the Mythic Monsters: Daemons-file, you'll already be familiar with this guy, though.

At one CR less, the daughter of the dead gains Allied Spellcaster and may share teamwork feats with nearby divine spellcasters. Her ectoplasmic innards fortify her versus crits and precision damage and her shroud may conceal her from the living, granting a miss chance and the option to use mythic power-based haunting mists. Oh, and her claw may use a Cleave-variant! Cool upgrade!

At CR 1/MR 1, the giant fly's upgrade immediately can infect foes that touch it and gains Dodge. At the same CR/MR, the giant maggot gains regeneration and may, upon being slain by anything other than fire, produce non-mythic maggots...and they may share spaces with other maggots. EW! Amazing!

This pdf also contains the herald Lawgiver, whose stats clock in at a mighty CR 18/MR 7. This guy gets the ability to form binding contracts and can share in bonuses...or suppress them via mythic power expenditure! Its golden body gains an upgrade as well, potentially blinding foes and reflecting attacks - defensive tricks that may be further upgraded via mythic power. Oh, and permanent truth-themes effects and 18th level inquisitor judgments. OUCH! Nice!

Finally, the pdf contains the mythic iteration of the nosferatu template, who gains grabbing claws that also inflict bleeding damage. They may overcome their weaknesses and squeeze through tight spots and, beyond higher rank channel resistance, they gain mistsight and obscuring mist and may later speak through those dominated. Flight and mistshapes as well as AoE-blood drain and the ability to use deeper darkness with a 1-mile radius, the higher level options are amazing. Glorious upgrade here!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to a really elegant and nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson and Steven T. Helt of the four horsemen make for an amazing team - their design-paradigms are similar and they both really know their craft. This is an all-killer, no-filler pdf of amazing critters, well worth the fair asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 2
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Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 1
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2017 05:58:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of the series of little pdfs providing mythic versions for the monsters originally featured in the bestiary sections of Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages, so let's take a look!

We begin with the Mythic Devilfish at CR 5/MR 2, who infuses tainted blood that can render nonevil creatures sickened and it also gains reactive camouflage and can increase the miss-chances it gets from it via mythic power expenditure. Really cool, though this guy will be familiar if you already have Mythic Monsters: Sea Monsters.

At the same CR/MR, the carrion golem (including the Self-Repairing Construct feat, reprinted for your convenience) receives a more virulent plague and the limb ripper ability, which lets the monster...surprise, rip off limbs of targets it has hit, provided it has mythic power left. Nice, though a bit of a pity that we don't cover the variants or construction notes here. If you btw. have Mythic Monsters: Halloween, it can be found inside that tome as well.

At CR 3/MR 1, the raktavarna rakshasa is constantly under nondetection as well as the option to enchant itself as a vicious weapon, but fool the wielder into not realizing that...which is damn cool. However, if you already have the Mythic Monsters: India-file, you will already be familiar with this guy.

At the same CR/MR, the soulbound doll's mythic version can use ventriloquism and ghost sound to mimic voices and may use some bardic performances and may use Stealth while observed, potentially porting right next to its unwitting victims. Cool! That being said, no construction notes here either.

The CR 1/MR 1 reefclaw is upgraded to be capable of potentially wrecking armor and also features the spines it should have had in the first place. Yes, they're poisonous. Love this guy - one of my favorites herein! At the same CR/MR, the dream spider's web penalizes Perception and weakens the Will of those caught in it and extends the webs to bursts - another winner!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to a really elegant and nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson shows that he really knows his mythic material here - the builds are all interesting, the upgrades creative and cool. While the lack of construction notes for the constructs is a bit of a pity, at the more than fair price-point, that does not sink the pdf. However, if you do have a lot of the big books, this has less to offer for you. The builds are great, but whether or not this is worth getting for you depends. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform - unless you already have most of the big files, in that case, you may want to round down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 1
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Killing the Golden Twins (5E)
by Ben S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2017 14:55:50

This is a short adventure for evil characters to promote the Kickstarter for the Book of Exalted Darkness. There aren't to many adventures for evil parties out there so if you're looking for something along those lines this is definitely worth getting especially since it's free. That being said, this is DEFINITELY an evil adventure involving killing and maiming children. For the squemish or those with certain triggers, definitely be wary with this adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Killing the Golden Twins (5E)
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Mythic Monsters #43: Africa
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2017 17:28:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how to use, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!

All right, as always in the series, we begin with supplemental material - this time around, we get a total of 7 traps, ranging from CR 3 to 15 and using classics from the Indiana Jones movies: Broken lights, valuable idol, snake pit...you get the theme there. Notable: They all come with means to bypass them beyond rolling Disable Device, which is a huge plus, design-aesthetics-wise, as far as I'm concerned. Beyond these traps, we also are introduced to a total of 5 new magic items and a new artifact.

These items include a compass to keep one's bearing, an enchanted machete that allows for the relatively easy traversing of natural difficult terrain (via actions, even really nasty terrain can be taken care of), a jawbone shield that helps versus being grabbed via bites and may even bite in retaliation. Primeval brooches are pretty straight numerical enhancers and verminous beacons can keep the biting critters at bay. The artifact, the atlas esoterica contains delightfully obscure information - atlas obscura, anyone?

All right, as always, we should move on from these solid supplemental materials to the critters, and this time around, we begin with the CR 5/MR 2 amphiptere, who receives blood lust and may employ mythic power to temporarily gain flight via uses of mythic power...and impaling creatures will be more lethal as well for the victims of these predators. At CR 1/MR 1, the much loathed pugwampi can create traps sans gold etc. and the build actually features some cool sample traps...oh, and rolling 1s in their aura actually becomes pretty painful...and your players thought they'd hate the regular pugwampi...

On the diametrical opposite end of the power-spectrum, at a mighty CR 20/MR 8, the grootslang (literally: Greatsnake, just fyi!), the strange amalgam of elephant and snake, can sense the presence of gems and heal itself via the devouring of gems. They gain a grounding stomp (that can also AoE smash foes to the ground), Awesome Blow tail attacks via mythic power expenditure and control over both elephants and snakes and immunity versus polymorphs...all in all, a deadly foe.

The mythic jackalwere (CR 3/MR 1) can employ its mythic power to duplicate hallucinatory terrain with added debuffs - decent one. At the same CR/MR, juvenile seps can spit acidic blood and use mythic power to extend its reach, which is pretty cool. The adult version of this creature, btw., clocks in at CR 13/MR 5 and sports an upgrade of these abilities as well as a crushing bite. The Lukwata, at the same CR/MR, receives blood rage, a loathing of crocodiles and they gain better DR. Their magic digestion is also improved, getting interaction with extradimensional spaces etc. right and the antimagic-theme is also further underscored...kudos there!

The classic Kamadan clocks in at CR 5/MR 2 is all about predator-stlye efficiency and as such, they are brutal...mythic power for six snake attacks...ouch...and cool: We actually get the dusk and polar variants as well! Two thumbs up for making this one makes sense! The CR 18/MR 7 kongamato can execute devastating dive-bombing assaults and these fearsome beings may lace their breath with shattering harmonics...awesome!

The living mirage clocks in at CR 11/MR 4 and has a cool regeneration ability that interacts with the wind vulnerability and it can actually use mythic power to cancel wind,,, and as a whole emphasis its weird and unique nature even more than the already rather cool base creature. At the same MR/CR, the mobogo can feign its death and receives poisonous skin as well as a hypnotic gaze: Using mythic power to shed skin and regenerate also makes for a great boss ability.

Mythic popobalas, at CR 18/MR 7 add Charisma damage to rends, may use mythic power to enhance their signature fever and these beings can AoE-Intimidate foes, copy sounds and heals when in the vicinity of those suffering from several negative conditions...oh, and they are particularly adept at turning friends against foes....cool!

The new critter herein would be the emela-ntouka, at CR 8/MR 3, and this new critter is amazing, vaguely serpentine or rhino-like, their horns can provide deadly impaling attacks and they can actually lift prey, making for a compelling critter of the "efficient, believable quasi-natural predator" type, ending the pdf on a high note.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a couple of amazing full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Loren Sieg, Mike Welham and Jason Nelson deliver one of the installments in the series that perfectly shows why I love this series. The upgrades for the creatures take the respective roles of the creatures perfectly into account; we have an increased emphasis on mythological abilities and an emphasis of unique and powerful abilities that help the respective beings, making them universally cooler. In short: This is a great supplement and with its amazing critters, makes for a must-ow installment of the series. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #43: Africa
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Mythic Monsters #42: Halloween
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2017 05:36:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how to use, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!

The supplemental material of this installment has a really cool array of two mythic feats, one of which can be used to basically become a faux-headless horseman (AMAZING), while the other, aptly-named Ghost Rider, lets you replace your missing head with a grisly image...like, say a burning skull...oh, and you can become transparent and the like. Amazing, really cool high-concept feats there...and they may also be used by certain mythic paths as path abilities. Beyond these, we also get 4 complex mythic items, the first of which would be ghostly gossamer that makes the wearer look translucent...oh, and its duration can be shortened in favor of generating miss chances and a chill touch...and, suffice to say, mythic power upgrades included. The goblin mask reduces person the wearer and makes him seem less threatening, enhancing Bluffing and Steal CMB, while also making it less likely to be targeted...and its activation-duration may be decreased in favor of a more horrific form with alternate benefits. Really cool! The sack of gluttony employs beguiling gift and illusory sweets that make the target succumb to the desire to consume these "sweets", while mythic users can duplicate allfoods and make the effect harder to resist via surge die interaction. Cool! Coolest, though - the witch's broom - a legendary item version of the broom of flying, enhancing the witch's spells and hexes, her bond with her familiar and, at higher tiers, we get some seriously cool aerial agility there: Don't let the witches atop their brooms! Really cool items this time around!

All right, I know - you're here for the monsters, right? Well, let's dive in! We begin with the Cr 5/MR 2 attic whisperer - and we're in for something cool right off the start: These critters gain an aura that resonates with the abandonment theme, negating morale bonuses and they can also negate flanking and the like...oh, and when encountered within dusty environments full of debris, they start healing, as they incorporate the debris in their forms. Amazing! If you're a self-respecting vampire you probably never want to leave home without a trusty mythic bat swarm: These critters, at CR 3/MR 1 can extinguish light sources and block the nasty sun! Yeah, damn cool. While we're at the topic of low-level threats: The mythic beheaded (CR 1/MR 1) can use mythic power to split into two, draw sustenance from fear and may render targets fatigued. At the same CR/MR, the crawling claw's mythic upgrade can instill panic, is better at grappling and may be sent for a specific quarry, adding some seriously nice, flavorful abilities to the evocative classic.

At CR 6/MR 2, the giant version of a crawling hand receives the option to constrict targets and a similar quarry-style ability...oh, and you don't want to be hit by the pus seeping from its wounds. Did I mention tomb rot? Ever since #3 of the PFRPG installments (unless I am sorely mistaken), I have enjoyed the deathweb - it's just a great concept. The mythic iteration, at CR 7/MR 3 is a beauty to behold: It gets basically "modes", wherein the infestation aura may be suppressed in favor of defense...oh, and they may shed parts of their exoskleton, are much harder to destroy, courtesy of rapid repair, and their nets can spawn swarms! Their towering stature also makes them faster and thus harder to evade. A true gem of a build!

Supplemented by the feat Self-Repairing Construct, reproduced here for your convenience, the CR 5/MR 2 carrion golem inflicts attribute damage with its horrid attacks and may employ mythic power to tear off limbs...and the onset of their plagues is immediate...ouch.

At CR 8/MR 3, the hangman tree may use creatures grappled to enhance its defenses and worse, the cratures trapped may be used to fascinate foes and draw them in...and these dread predators also are better at camouflage than their mundane brethren. Once again, a feat, this time Inescapable Grasp, supplements the critter. Speaking of feats from the big mythic books by LG - Feel Footfall is one of the talents the mythic jack-o'-lantern, at CR 2/MR 1, can pull off some nasty tricks: Beyond generating fear, they actually heal within the presence of the frightened and, when killed, can plant a psychic seed that plagues foes after its demise...and from which it may respawn. Two thumbs up!!

At CR 1/MR 1, the gourd leshy can spawn a phantom pumpkin that duplicates zone of truth and that may fascinate foes...oh, and they may take their seeds and make them curative treats, which is pretty damn cool! All in all, an excellent example of what you can do with low-CR mythic creature design. On the high end of the scale, the CR 17/MR 7 nightwing can use mythic power to add three saves to crits, escalating the threat and gaining various benefits of its magic-draining. Worse: They are not that impressed by bight light either, may attack with their wings, benefit from Mythic Snatch and is particularly adept at wrecking items...

The CR 10/MR 4 shadow collector uses Mythic Quick Steal in its build and may use its shadow points and mythic power to create vortices of darkness, put stolen shadows in an extradimensional sheathe and employ them as a variant of spiritual ally for an overall rather compelling and nice upgrade of the base creature. The soulbound doll, at CR 3/MR 1, gains creepy abilities to mimic and project sound, which may even be used for a quasi-performance and it gains an improved version of Hide in Plain Sight that also uses teleportation over short ranges...yeah, creepy!

We close the pdf not with one, but two versions of a central trope of the game - the torch-wielding mob, once as CR 4/MR 1 and once at CR 13/MR 5 - and both get completely different ability-arrays, from incendiaries to seizing foes and burning them to smithereens, the base version is already cool; the fanatic iteration, however, is cooler still: Its hatred can take the forms of SPs, they can gain dual initiative when subject to mind-affecting effects and oh boy, you don't want to end on the business-end of those pitchforks...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant problems. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the artworks included are amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Kudos!

Jason Nelson and Steven T. Helt of the four horsemen joined forces for this supplement and the two designers complement each other really well regarding design aesthetics and narrative voice. We have some glorious supplemental material and A LOT of those really hard to design low VR/MR mythic foes. Why "hard to design"? Well, you want to go mythic, obviously, but at the same time, you need to capture the essence of the respective critters in a pretty simple manner...and this pdf does just that. Particularly Ravenloft games, low-level horror-scenarios and the like will greatly benefit from this file, as its builds make the critters work better as story-monsters, emphasize their unique natures and reward clever players. In short: This is an excellent installment of the impressive series, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #42: Halloween
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Legendary Monks
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2017 18:07:36

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Legendary Games has a line of products called Legendary Classes, where they cover a single base class, sometimes offering a completely new version. Monks have been controversial since their inclusion in almost all editions of D&D, and their execution doubly so. While I was hoping LG would present their version, it is also true that monks have some of the biggest supporting content of all classes, so it would be a pain to make a new one, especially since Pathfinder Unchained just did that with the Unchained Monk. So what’s in this book, then? Let’s see!

What’s inside? 30 pages of crunchy and fluffy content, which include:

-11 Archetypes for the Monk and Unchained Monk (I will add a U for Unchained Monk archetypes). Just see the list of archetypes for the monk already out there, and chances are most concepts are already covered, but 11 archetypes for both types of monks is amazing. We start with a short introduction about monks, and it has a couple of typos, like “area” instead of “are a”, “well” instead of “will”. There were a few more in the text and I will mention them when they become relevant.

Chakra Champions are masters of the Chakra system from Occult Adventures… Wait, what? There’s already an archetype that does that, the Serpent-Fire Adept from Occult Origins. Anyway, Chakra Champions get Chakra Initiate as their first level bonus feat, but not Psychic Sensitivity, and can get the other Chakra feats as bonus feats. It mentions that these feats ignore prerequisites... So, can I get Chakra Master before Chakra Adept? As written, yes. Instead of Stunning Fist, they get a similar debuff ability called Disharmonious Flux, which is usable at will! Most archetypes that replace this feat change it for another ability usable a similar number of times, so I don’t think it is a good change, especially since Disharmonious Flux is so powerful. I would make it a base feat like Stunning Fist, and increase its usage similarly for non-Chakra Champions. So what does it do? Penalize a save from -2 to -4 (the numbers don’t have the usual minus sign, which is weird), and you can also choose from 14 extra effects, but you learn only 3 through your career; one being Psychic Inception, poached from the mesmerist and even wrongly mentioning it (copy/paste error). Beyond this, Champions get many abilities that interact with Chakras, more so than a Serpent-Fire Adept. Finally, they get two abilities that are different. Kundalini Purge staggers opponents and closes their use of Ki (why only ki? I would add arcane pools and maybe others), and Chakra Overload, which again is a poached ability but this time is from an old 3.X ability from another Chakra user, and it inflicts negative levels. After all is said and done, this archetype changes a LOT from the base class and has cool flavor, but I’m not sure about the balance of Disharmonious Flux.

Crystallion are high fantasy monks, getting power from their connections to crystals. It trades most mobility options to be tougher, like getting damage reduction, natural armor, resistance to fire and electricity and the like, plus some light-related abilities, like being able to glow or distracting allies like the bardic performance, but against sight-based effects. At the highest levels they can also reflect rays or even create prismatic sprays, walls or spheres! They cap transforms them into constructs for spells and effects… which is not good, since you won’t be able to come back from the death or even be healed normally. I would have used elemental instead but oh well. A really high concept and high fantasy archetype with cool imagery!

Flagellants (U) are masochistic monks, who treat pain as a way to purify themselves. They lose most “swift” abilities like evasion and its improved version, and even the increase to AC from higher levels. Instead, they are better at intimidation, get many abilities to ignore debilitating conditions, can reduce bleeding damage, and get access to many exclusive ki powers, like ignoring damage reduction and suppressing regeneration on a critical hit or ignoring hp damage from pain effects and GAINIG temporary hp as part of the deal! While not a new concept, Flagellants get many cool powers and are one of my favorite archetypes for the monk not only from this book, but ever!

Imperial Guards are self-explanatory. They dedicate themselves to protecting their designated charges. They get a slight change in class skills, and a slightly weaker Stunning Fist. They get a modified Evasion that protects both themselves and their charges. They also lose Manoeuver Training and Still Mind, replaced by virtual and improved Bodyguard and In Harm’s Way feats. Finally, instead of Slow Fall they get better at certain manoeuvers, and instead of Quivering Palm they get the ability to counterattack opponents that were intercepted by their virtual feats. An iconic archetype that works well for NPCs and for PCs that develop a backstory together, being a perfect way to introduce an adventuring aristocrat and its entourage.

Leikung (U) are storm monks. They lose Ki Strike to gain the ability to make sonic attacks! Sonic is one of the least-resisted energy types, so I think it is a fair trade, and you can always ask your friendly spellcaster to cast magic weapon on your fist, or just get an amulet. Later they become resistant and later immune to sonic damage and effects. They lose a couple of bonus feats to get the ability to manifest a Sonic Hammer, a powerful weapon that gets Wis to attack and damage and deals half sonic, half bludgeoning damage, and later they can treat them as an adamantine and/or thundering weapon. Finally they can use Echolocation, and unleash Stormvoice, a damaging sound based attacks that can push opponents and break objects. One of my favorite fantastical martial art attacks is the Lion’s Roar (watch Kung Fu Hustle), and being able to focus on sound is my dream come true, but the abilities are a bit on the conservative side, a case of cool doesn’t have to equal powerful.

Psychic Cenobites remind me of a 3.X psionic prestige class, so seeing a version here is intriguing since Legendary Games doesn’t work directly with psionics. They are trained to resist and later harmlessly absorb mind attacks, and get a powerful critical-like attack, Id Strike, that has a save, doesn’t work with mindless creatures and can’t trigger other abilities. Higher level abilities include True Seeing and Invisibility Purge, plus an intriguing variant of Quivering Palm that Dominates instead of killing opponents, and it can get a triggering condition that can make for cool roleplaying situations. An outstanding take on the psychic-y monk without just resorting to give it access to psychic spells, amazing for occult-heavy (and psionic!) campaign, and also for unconventional villains. The archetype’s only blemish is a repeated part under the Greater Concurrence ability that comes from the lesser version, but maybe it is supposed to work like Improved Evasion and you get only a partial effect on an unsuccessful save? Who knows.

Shinsei (U) again remind me of Rokugan. They are a combination of pally and oracle, with a dash of the occult united under the unchained monk’s chassis. It may sound like a bad thing, but it’s quite the contrary. They get abilities to avoid being deceived, and are also excellent caster neutralizers, since they can mute opponents and also treat themselves and one target as if they were in a magic field. They also have to take a vow at first level without any bonus, but can take more vows and benefit from them normally. The perfect option for pally players in a martial arts campaign, but on a personal note I didn’t particularly like this one, it just didn’t excite me.

Singhala are raging tiger monks. They get some of their bonus feats locked in the Tiger Style and its follow-ups, are immune to fear and get a better version of the Diehard feat. They get also some modest magical abilities to communicate with felines, and can enter a special, controlled rage that can enhance one physical ability of their choice; why this doesn’t work like the more modern unchained barbarian’s rage is beyond me, but easy to houserule. They can also scare their opponents, making them shaken and even panicked. Pounce and Haste are among their highest level abilities, as is Ki Shout and Tireless rage. If you have ever wanted to rage with a monk, this is your best chance. To my chagrin, I can’t combine this with Leikung but well, we can’t have everything.

Tempests (U) are monks who focus on speed. They get a modified, more thematically appropriate bonus feat list, get a Skirmish ability (a kind of moving sneak attack) instead of flurry of blows, and can be faster instead of getting extra attacks. Like one version of the Flash, Tempests must eat double since their speed also affects their metabolism, and they also heal more quickly. They also get their own version of Ki powers called Speed Stunts, and there are a lot, 27 to be exact! Among them are a couple of ki powers, but most of them are new abilities that make use of the fastest character archetype I have seen. They also change Flawless Mind for Flawless Agility, working similarly but for Reflex saves. If you have ever wanted to play the Flash, or you have a coming medieval super hero campaign, look no further!

Voidminds (U) represent one of the most esoteric archetypes I have read, reminding me of the Akashic from Monty Cook’s Arcana Unearthed. They can emulate some divination spells, and get several abilities to get and give access to feats and skills they may or may not have. They can also manipulate fate gaining humongous bonuses to some rolls, but of course limited by your Ki. Following the Void theme, their highest level ability lets them inflict negative levels! A really weird, almost alien archetype, excellent for players who want to play a melee-er that can also buff himself or his allies. Another winner IMHO.

Yogi close the archetype section. They gain many abilities to control their bodies, able to choose one (later two and then three) ability from among 8. They also get Psychic Sensitivity as their first bonus feat, and can chose other feats that have this as requirement for their other bonus feats. Instead of evasion and its improved version, Yogi get access to the more fitting Resolve ability of samurai. They can also get Wis to attack rolls and manoeuver checks! They can fascinate foes, as the bardic performance, with a droning chant. And of course, iconic as Yogi are, they can levitate. An iconic, non-Shaolin-esque monk that represent another type of self-mastery!

-Honor and Vows, which include 10 new Vows, which avoided the trap of the Still Mind requirement, an ability traded by many archetypes and that only Monks have, even when the text in Ultimate Magic mentions “any character with a Ki pool” IIRC. These vows only require a Ki pool so they can be accessed by many characters. Vow of Hard Gold is the opposite of what most associate with monks, becoming materialistic in a dogmatic way. Vow of the Ki weapon is an options for anyone obsessed with one specific weapon. Vow of Knowledge demands protection of academic texts. Vow of Obedience gives you a master you have to obey. Vow of Secrecy impedes you to tell facts, or betray hidden allies. Vow of Self-Sacrifice gives you a ward you have to protect (perfect for Imperial Guards). Vow of Sightlessness is the iconic situation where a character becomes blind by choice. Vow of Simplicity is wonderful for character who want to play the blunt, non-socialite character. Vow of Superiority is awesome for nobles and people from theocracies, and remind me of the Scarlet Brotherhood from Grayhawk. Vow of Total Freedom is for character that don’t want ties, and many chaotics fill the bill. I found a couple of typos here and there, and most Vows mention monks, where the introduction mentions otherwise.

My favorite Vows are Simplicity, Superiority and Total Freedom, for different characters. These Vows, like the originals, are excellent role-playing tools, especially for power-gamers to force them earn their benefits, and for newer gamers too, so they have a compass to lead their role-playing.

-Ki and Psychic Power is an obvious but still amazing section that codifies many options from Occult Adventures as Ki powers for the Qiggong-archetype for monks, and expands the reach of unchained monks who selects the Qiggong ki power. From the lowly Psychic Sensitivity to the powerful Akashic Form, there are many, many new options for monks who want to focus on their mystical side.

-Ki Tatoos are like an archetype. In exchange for the Bonus Feat class feature, a Tatooed Monk gets a Ki Tatoo at 1st, 3rd, and every 3 levels thereafter. Some tattoos have passive abilities and most have an activated ability that costs a point of Ki. Bamboo enhances your constitution, Cobra lets you Poison (as the spell) by touch, Dragon gives you a breath weapon, Tengu gives you proficiency and weapon focus on one sword, and so on. These ones remind me again of Rokugan. I would have loved some interconnection between these tattoos and ki users in general, since the archetypical tattooed mofos are Yakuza, another Ki-using class by LG. As always, I will yell “PAY A FEAT” to any player asking for one.

-Ki Tomes are a follow-up section of one of my favorite books ever, Meditations of the Imperial Mystics. Ki Tomes are a special type of magic item that can serve as a learning source for feats and spells, and you can rule that some of the options contained herein are not general knowledge and BAM! Instant adventure seed: the hunt for the Text. Anyway, on the Ki Tomes.

Text of Burning Wind and Iron Rain is a powerful tome that contains many unorthodox techniques that focus on weapon and firearm combat. Just by meditating on the tome nets you a Ki power: Ki Arrow as a spell-like ability usable at-will, with a Ki cost of one point. You can also learn a lot of feats described here (18!), and you can also pay Ki to learn them temporarily. There are a couple of feat branches: one focuses on wielding one weapon better, to the point where you can give it special weapon qualities it doesn’t normally have (you could brace with a staff, for example); the other allows you to fight with monk weapons and guns at the same time, culminating in a kind of Flurry of Shots (TM). Apart from these, there are a couple of assorted feats (one is a follow-up for the Crane style!). There are two worth mentioning because they could unbalance the game if left unchecked: Soul of the Gun lets you trade Grit and Ki freely (so you could arguably get infinite Ki), and Rain of Needles extends shuriken range and increase its damage, up to 2d10 if taken enough times! Of course, this will eat 8 feats, but the range and damage may be too over the top for your campaign.

To Serve Stone’s Stern Will is a zealot’s tome devoted to the might of the Shaitan, or earth genies. Studying it teaches you a Gunsmithing (like the feat), gaining a hefty bonus to craft firearms and gunpowder. You can also learn Shaitan and Tiger’s styles, a couple of Vows, and the Earth Affinity extraordinary ability. The latter opens up a couple of Qiggong powers and two exclusive feats that have Earth Affinity and a Ki pool as prerequisites. The text has a typo, mentioning a Lesser Earth Mastery not included in the text, which I think was a beta name for Earth Affinity.

Of Note: Chakra Champions and Shinsei are the weakest parts of this book. I decided to talk about the “not-that-cool” because I was having a hard time deciding on what archetypes to mention here. The Vows go from nice to character-defining, the Tatoos are like another cool archetype and the Ki Tomes are just plain written awesome.

Anything wrong?: The editing was painful to read. LG has spoiled its readers by having a very tight quality control, so the few errors and typos felt like a kick to the… shin. Beyond that, I disliked the Chakra Champion’s name LOL.

What I want: More interconnection between LG products, like the option for Yakuza and Kinetic Shinobi to get Ki Tatoos. I also would have liked to know what spells from the Asian Spell Compendium could be taken as Qiggong. Finally, while maybe not in a monk book, I want to see how the newer classes deal with Ki, like LG did with the core and base classes for their The Way of Ki book.

What cool things did this inspire?: Using oread monks with the Crystallion archetype, I will represent an alien race of creatures from the plane of Earth that will play the good/bad guys in different situations. As a player, I want to play with almost all archetypes! A monk/gunslinger, or maybe just one with the variant multiclass of the other, is a must!

Do I recommend it?: After having read almost all monk books released for 3.x D&D, as well as most major monk books out there for Pathfinder, like the Talented Monk or The Monk Unfettered, so there is little that can really wow me. But good material is good material, and if anything of what I wrote intrigued you, the by all means buy it! I really want to rate this with 4.5 stars, because of the editing, but since I can’t, my verdict this time will be four flying guillotine-y stars for this book!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Monks
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Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2017 07:07:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Legendary Villains-series clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction/how to use, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 29 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!

This was moved slightly up in my review queue as a non-prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All right, let's begin with the new archetypes contained herein, the first of which would be the alchemical scoundrel, who gets a modified class skill list and reduced the skills gained per level to 4 + Intelligence modifier. They replace the vigilante talents gained at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter (until 16th level) with the alchemist's alchemy ability as well as the infusion discovery and they may select alchemist discoveries in lieu of vigilante talents. The main meat here would be over 20 special discoveries here, several of which may be taken as alchemist discoveries. These include alchemical splash weapon damage upgrades when damaging a target for the first time. Note that I assume this to not apply to bombs, since they RAW are not defined as alchemical splash weapons. I arrive at this conclusion partially due to other discoveries, which allow the archetype to replace the fixed DC of regular alchemical items for a limited number of them and designate these items as breakthrough items with a scaling DC.

Gaining access to bombs and throw anything can be achieved via another talents. Bomb Tinkerer is not perfect - it allows the alchemical scoundrel to change the damage inflicted to "fire, ice, cold, electric or bludgeoning damage" - neither "electric", nor "ice" damage exist in PFRPG. Worse, when combined with a discovery that changes a bomb damage type, you can choose half one such predetermined one, and "one damage type of the alchemical scoundrel's choice" as the second. Problem here: This should refer to the available choices. RAW, it allows for free damage type selection. 8th and 12th level unlock sonic and force damage, both of which reduce bomb damage dice size, though. A feral mutagen variant that also enlarges, penalty-less cognatogen options or evolving mutagens, which grant limited access to unchained evolutions (OUCH) can be found. Personally, I'm partial to e.g. a false tooth for immediate action infusion access with scaling uses.

Gaining the master chymist's mutagenic form and mutate class feature has interesting interactions with identity-change, though personally, I'm not too big on granting PrC-signature abilities via regular class features. Interesting: Those that choose the mutagen can learn brute archetype's special talents, which makes sense - particularly since they only work will mutated. Nyehilists (puntastic!) can choose the true mutagen at 20th level. I am not a fan of quicker creation of mutagens, cognatogens, etc. - delimiting limited resources can get wonky in the long run.

I am also not the biggest fan of persistent mutagen as a discovery being a way to gain the class ability as soon as 12th level, as opposed to the alchemist's default 14th level. All in all, a crossover-archetype I would have expected in the hero-book...and one that I'm not that keen on.

Second would be the consumed vigilante, who replace their old identity and gain Nameless One as well as bonus hit points. Instead of social talents, they gain Skill Focus (okay, I guess) To make up for that, these guys do require less food, water and sleep to regain health, with higher levels further decreasing this. 3rd level nets renown, with 9th level unlocking greater renown and 15th level incredible renown, with the duration to acquire renown also reduced. 5th level provides a +2 bonus to Will-saves, which increases at higher levels and applies the bonus also to several negative conditions. As a complaint here: The bonus is once referred to as insight and once as morale, so which of the two is correct? 19th level greatly increases the difficulty to find out anything about the vigilante. Suffice to say, this archetype gets rid of the whole social talent-stuff.

Now the next one would be the first one I'd consider a villain archetype in theme, the dread champion, to be more precise. These guys must be evil in their vigilante identity, get an aura of evil, smite good, etc. - dread talents can unlock further abilities in that field...you guessed it, this guy is basically an antipaladin/vigilante crossover. It's generally a solid archetype.

The Fortune Thief gains access to a witch hex and when affecting a target with the hex, they gain a luck point, with Cha-mod acting as a cap for how many they can have. Cool: The ability actually is kitten-proof and cursing one's allies is also no reliable means of refreshing the pool. These points may be spent as a free action for skill-check bonuses or temporary boosts to atk and damage...yeah, this is somewhat luckbringer-like in style. The pool does per se not empty or replenish without this refreshing, but since this ability replaces vigilante specialization, the new talents the archetype receives can allow for minor regeneration of luck points while sleeping, Hex Strike to be added to non-unarmed melee weapons, passive benefits for holding on to luck points, longer bonuses and reflexive luck boosts that can negate crits or allow for attack and damage rerolls. All in all, the engine is REALLY cool...but e.g. savage hex causing untyped damage (should be typed) equal to class level on a successful save is something I'd strongly suggest typing. Nice: This one does get its own capstone.

We'll get delightfully disgusting next - the plague scion is locked into the stalker specialization and begins play with the antipaladin's plague bringer class ability. At 3rd level, the archetype gains a signature disease, which gains a scaling DC...and from here on out, the scion can add diseases contracted to this list, which is rather cool. 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter adds further diseases, with one being dominant. This replaces unshakable. 4th level yields plague strike, which connects Sleight of Hand and hidden strike with the infectious warfare they engage in to lace objects with their virulent strains...and this is actually pretty cool and limited uses prevent abuse! I like it! Higher levels yield frequency-increases for diseases, detecting the diseased, variant transmissions for signature diseases and, at higher levels, adding the ravaging template to those infested...oh, and at the top, we get magic-resistant diseases. Two thumbs up for this nasty villain!

The protean prowler is locked into a chaotic vigilante identity and replaces vigilante specialization with access to scaling unchained eidolon evolutions, which they may reassign Constitution modifier times per day - this process takes 1 minute and covers half the points - so two uses for complete reassigning. This pool can also alternatively be used to use evolution points to duplicate a scaling array of transformations, duplicating the effects of ever more potent spells. The process of investing the evolution points to affect these changes could have been worded slightly more concisely - as presented, I am not sure whether the evolution points required for the respective transformation are regained upon its end - I assume no, but "invest" does imply that in contrast to "spend"...

Anyways, onwards to the shadow savant, who replaces vigilante specialization with shadow clone, a duplicate they can generate as a standard action within 30 ft., a total of 1/2 class level + Cha-mod times per day. The Disguise check rolled as part of creating this clone is also the Perception DC required to notice that the clone is not actually real.. The clone lasts for Cha-mod rounds and has an AC of 10 + Dex-mod + Cha-mod +1/2 class level and vanishes on a successful hit. It is properly codified as an illusion [shadow] effect, so kudos there. The maximum distance it can travel from the savant is equal to 45 ft., +15 ft. per level. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the ability conjures forth an additional shadow, and when sharing the space with the savant, they duplicate mirror image's benefits. Only one use of the ability may be in effect at any given time and all shadows may be controlled with the same swift action - all in all a mechanically sound take on a very difficult concept to pull off. The archetype adds shadow control techniques to their arsenal of social talents, allowing for shadow control beyond line of sight, light-dimming, longer-lasting duplicates, control over the shape of the shadows, the ability to see through their eyes...and at higher levels, things become awesome and include swapping places - kudos, btw.: Codified as teleportation effect.

Beyond these, there also are tricks added to the vigilante talents, and, as you may have guessed, it is here that we find the more combat-centric options, which include partial reality, retributive negative energy damage (and at higher levels short-term staggers), Now, this becomes even more intriguing at 5th level, when 2 non-tangible shadows can be replaced with a semi-real doppelgänger that shares your non-limited-use abilities and also duplicates non-consumable magic items - it is really impressive to see this ability this waterproof and airtight - an excellent representation of what N. Jolly is capable of. The appearance-tree of abilities is then further replaced by upgrades of this doppelgänger ability-array, making for one of my favorite archetypes in the book: Mechanically-challenging, diverse, sporting a unique playstyle, this is a really inspired one. Kudos!

The symbiotic slayer would be one that I can't, in any shape, way or form, judge neutrally. When I was a little child, I already loved good villains more than heroes...and I will never forget the Spider-man comic with the glorious Todd McFarlane-cover of Venom holding Spidey's skull. It was #207 in Germany, not sure which one it was in the US. So...yeah, for a couple of years, I was a huge venom fanboy after that. This archetype gets a tiny ooze-like familiar (sans bite and with 0 speed, it's an aberration) - the vigilante identity is assumed quickly as a standard action and this cannot be hastened via the usual talents - the end-result, obviously, would be the vigilante identity. And yes, when under duress, the symbiote may force being used; it dies when the host dies, but can be rendered dormant, though the host can feed hp to it to wake it from slumber. Symbiotes have an ego and increase that ego, the longer they are manifested, representing rather well the Spidey-trope. Instead of the familiar's regular benefits, it acts as an armor for the host, has a telepathic bond...but also sports an elemental weakness.

The symbiote has a cool, linear progression and while I am not a fan of stalwart, at least the ability is gained at 11th level and only works while the symbiote is manifested. The archetype also gains several unique vigilante talents denoted by the [symbiote] tag: These include gaining natural attacks (properly codified!), duplicating armor...really cool. Cool alternative to fast healing: The buffering symbiote talent: It nets class level + Constitution modifier (twice Con-mod at 10th level) temporary hit points that recharge at a rate of 1 per minute while not manifested, + 1 regained per two symbiote talents possessed. Represents the concept, abuse-proof. Elegant solution. Interesting: Stealth-upgrade that may bypass automatic blindsight/sense-detection. Dual minds, reflexive acid is cool - gaining first Improved Grapple and then, at 6th level, also Strangle and at 10th level smother looks like a bit overkill for one talent, though: Strangle alone is very, very potent.

Increased reach, throwing a limited amount of times per day an entangling cluster at foes, temporary swift action fast healing with limited uses (thankfully), creating a duplicate living garments, reduced weakness, allowing the symbiote to gain control, resistance, burrowing, alchemical self-enhancements of physical ability scores (Str or Dex), flight (locked behind 6th level, gets better) and whip-like tendrils...as well as a proper capstone ability complement a thoroughly amazing archetype...and if you're like me and love venom/carnage etc., then this may well justify getting the pdf on its own.

The new social talents included herein allow for complete disjunction of social and vigilante identity (absolutely overdue!), being able to use skills that would need tools without them, gauging marks, being able to use a vigilante talent in social identity sans compromising either, Performance Weapon Mastery and a chameleon-style serial-killer talent that lets the vigilante assume the identities of the slain - some really, really cool stuff here.

We also gain a significant selection of new vigilante talents that range in power from cool and balanced to KILL IT WITH FIRE. Advanced Grip would be one such candidate I don't consider too necessary. +1/2 Str-bonus to damage with one-handed weapons and offhand attacks are treated as not-offhand for Power Attack purposes. This...just is a further number escalation and I can make fearsome sh** with it. Boon Companions, bonuses while bleeding, making nearby terrain count as difficult - all cool. There also is a talent many folks will hate: Know the famous spiked chain exploit from back in the 3.X-days? Well, the chain lasher talent unlocks that one again - attack both adjacent and at reach. Personally, I consider this cheesy and won't use it. Death Dealer is also problematic - it nets the assassin's death strike...and at 12th and 16th level, it reduces the number of rounds of study required. Oh, and with sniper, that becomes available at any range - explicitly. There also would be talent that stacks critical range with other critical range-increases, which can be really, really nasty - there is a reason that stuff does not stack usually. The multiplier may be reduced to x2 as a catch, but the threat-range is the issue. Cool on the other hand: Breaking the 6th level cap of spellcasting vigilante options. There also are a few nomenclature hiccups here - one punch assault once was probably once punch hero, as its follow-up talents calls it by that name. Gaining a panache pool and then, via another talent, access to deeds, is interesting. Gaining hair hexes, smashing foes in walls...there is some cools tuff here. If you've been using Legendary Swashbuckler or Assassin, you'll notice both of these being supported, which is nice.

Notice something? Yeah, they really oscillate in power and utility. WILDLY. I'll return to that aspect later in the conclusion.

The pdf also sports feats, some of which add e.g. more shadows for the shadow savant, modified spellcasting, reduced symbiote ego, more social talents, using Int or Wis as governing attributes, hidden strike and sneak attack synergy...cool. However, I do have an issue with Injected Infusions: Why? Because it lets you inject mutagens and infusions in allies...which is once again a number-escalation. Modifying symbiote weakness is cool...buuut: Adding hidden strike/sneak attack to splash weapons targeted at foes at -1 damage die size is either solid or brutal. I assume that the bonus is supposed to not apply to splash damage? Once again, this felt a bit weird.

The pdf also sports a 5-level PrC, the Crimson Dreadnought with full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Will-save progression, d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level and BAB +3, 5 ranks in two skills, etc. as moderate prerequisites. The PrC gains martial weapon proficiency and gains Nameless One and acts under royal edict: Horribly scarred by the brutal initiation, they gains scaling bonuses to AC and saves and makes removal of their armor nigh-impossible. There is also another issue: You see, these guys, RAW, are constantly fatigued. Sleeping in heavy armor automatically fatigues the character. Pretty glaring oversight there for a PrC that fuses you in the armor...2nd and 4th level yield vigilante talents, 3rd level bonuses to saves versus mind-affecting effects and a 2/day reroll. 5th level yields 2/day swift action fast healing and the option to fight on...I love the idea of the PrC, but I wish the abilities gained were slightly more interesting and fitting for the concept.

The pdf provides nice and balanced variant multiclassing rules for the vigilante and the pdf sports new magic items: Mystic bolt enhancers, memory-wiping smoke pellets (no, you're not immune - hilarious Code Geass-style intrigue can ensue...) and charming gloves...nice.

We do end with one of my favorite parts in the whole pdf; Red Love. The beauty on the cover. Her story ties in with Legendary Vigilante's NPC and she clocks in as a fearsome level 14 symbiotic slayer. She is...basically Carnage. The female version of Carnage. Her boon, unsurprisingly, focuses on killing and her tactics are brutal. Nice build!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are inconsistent in rules-language and formal criteria: There are components of the pdf where it's almost perfect...and some that sport glitches neither characteristic for the author, nor for LG. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and sports a variety of nice full-color artworks - most I have seen before in LG-books, though Red Love's amazing artwork does make up for that. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

So, I have this theory that explains some issues that haunt this book: You see, usually the "Legendary" class supplements for PCs and Villains are strictly separated; The PC options tend to be tighter in balance and, by design, the NPC villain options sport cheesy, nasty and powerful tricks beyond what I'd allow for PCs. Thing is, this, at least in part, feels more like "Legendary Vigilantes II"; The theme for "Legendary Vigilantes" was hybrids and we have two of the more interesting hybrids in this book - ones that don't really strike me as evil, mind you.

At the same time, we have powerful and obviously evil ones herein, distinctly designed for villains. In the archetypes, this aspect, this blending of the product lines, doesn't hit as hard, but once we get to the talents and feats, the small optimizing tweaks, things get nasty....and this is my main gripe with the book. I can live with a couple of nomenclature hiccups, but we get too much straight number-escalation here. Do we really need even more damage? Did we need the resurgence of one of the most-quoted abuse-builds ever? Sure, it's not as potent as it once was due to PFRPG's diverse options...but still. These aspects make me cringe, and not in a good way. In fact, a part of this pdf feels like it's the B-side of Legendary Vigilantes, where the concepts aren't as tightly controlled etc. That side is what I don't like about this book.

At the same time, OMG; I CAN HAZ VENOM!!! It's the single best representation of the symbiote-user I have ever seen. It's glorious. It's worth the asking price alone. In fact, don't get me wrong, there is more to LOVE, ADORE, OMG-level celebrate herein than in all of Legendary Vigilantes. The brilliant highlights are brighter here and this pdf, or so I'd like to believe, and it shows where N. Jolly was really inspired. At the same time, the proverbial shadows of this book are also darker, it feels less carefully designed than usual in some aspects, uncharacteristically so.

This strange duality also seems to extend to the power-level of archetypes and talents provided herein - there are some that yield PrC-signature abilities and actually improve them. As a talent. Yeah, can see it for NPCs, but players will never see them...but here's the problem: "Legendary Vigilantes", the PC-book, does point towards this book, implying player-use.

I am, ultimately very torn on this book - on the one hand, I consider enough material herein to be less interesting and/or problematic...but on the other hand, there is plenty of material I adore and want to praise to the high heavens - one side of me want to slap 5 stars + seal on this, while another tells me to rate it down to 3.5. I honestly wished we got a distinctly PC-centric book and one that is obviously and clearly designated as villain material...and I wish the glitches weren't there.

THAT BEING SAID. If you're a capable, rules-savvy GM, gives this book careful oversight and then give the aspects you consider non-problematic at your players. This book contains pure awesome. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars...and while there are components that deserved so much better, I can't round up or slap my seal on this. Still: Thank you, master Jolly - from the bottom of my heart. The Symbiotic Slayer is glorious.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
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Asian Spell Compendium
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2017 07:16:05

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Asian Spells Compendium is a collection of 101 spells by Legendary Games for their Far East product line. Like other LG’s products, it includes amazing art, handy electronic features, and top-notch content for your gaming table.

What’s inside? 28 pages of crunchy content, which include:

-A short Introduction with a nice optional rule (that you can easily poach by the way) and 3 pages of spells listed alphabetically, by class level, and by school and sub-school. The classes include every single spellcasting class in Pathfinder, but one… Yeah, sorry adept lovers, no new spells for you LOL. I find particularly handy the school and sub-school section, since there are many abilities out there that refer to only one school or even sub-school of magic. I missed the elemental school, however, and while you can basically just use descriptors, it would have been nice if they were acknowledged.

-101 Spells: Some of these are fan-favorite reprints that are pulled from the 1st D&D Oriental Adventures! One of my favorite spells ever, Ancestral Wrath, is the very first one! It calls the spirit of one of your ancestors to attack the target, dealing more damage to undead and having full power on spirits! How cool is that?!?! Another favorite of mine is Inscribed Enemy, which blesses one weapon for one attack against one specific enemy, which in-game is amazing but I would have restricted in to melee weapons or have a maximum number of weapons blessed at the same time (I hereby houserule it to 1 per point of spellcasting ability modifier). Fault Line is a modernized version of Earth Bolt, my all-time favorite blast-y spell which basically is a bludgeoning lightning bolt, which also creates difficult terrain! Many old spells were re-flavored under the Koan line of spells, which is thematically fitting, and they incluad Koan of Castigation for chastising opponents of opposite alignments, and Koan of Vulnerability which is like a 1st level version of mass magic weapon, but affecting the opponent; don’t worry if it sounds OP, it has many balancing factors!

There are some new, however, and most of them rock! Glory Of The Chrysanthemum Throne (all words starting with caps, it is 9th level so to hell with grammar conventions ROFL) is an amazing spell that creates a throne surrounded by ghostly flowers, harmless for all but the evil-hearted; being a throne, you can sit there and gain +6 charisma and opponents targeting you getting a miss chance. Oh boy, I love when good is the one with the cool toys, without an evil, chaotic, lawful version… Each alignment should have its own unique toys! Irresistible Onslaught is a powerful spell, accessible only by the most martials of casters (pallys and their mirror brethren, magi and bloodragers), and it converts you basically into the Juggernaut, fomenting mobility in combat instead of the bland 1 square step then full attack. Marvelous Chopsticks is another new one, think of it as the meanest of the force hand spells, but with chopsticks (and a mouth? The spell mentions a mouth but the description doesn’t… I will go the Vampire Hunter D route for the mouth’s placement).

Of Note: Oh boy, no matter what caster class is in your group, there is something for everyone (except adepts). The modernization of classics from Oriental Adventures an Dragon Fist, even if they appeared in later editions of D&D, is something I applaud, since they are cool spells and I wish the new generations of gamers to cast them.

Anything wrong?: If you are like me and has a long story with D&D, there is a chance you won’t like the reappearance of these classics, so there is that.

What I want: While I would have liked new spells, if it is not broken don’t fix it. What better way to pay homage to Oriental Adventures than to cast the best spells from it? And with the cool new Paizo classes to boot!

What cool things did this inspire?: More than inspiration, this book brought back memories. I remember casting the hell out of Earth Bolt (renamed to Fault Line here) and ripping hearts out with my kung fu wizard in Dragon Fist, making my opponents feel my Ancestral Wrath and Castigate-ing them with my evil shukenja, and getting fiery Phoenix Wings with my travelling Zakharan Fire Genasi Flame Mage (Ifrit in Pathfinder). If anything, I want to try these big guns again but with occult classes. Finally, I converted a couple of these spells into psionic powers back in the day, so enterprising Game Masters could do the same for psionic classes and other 3pp ones.

Do I recommend it?: If by any chance you love Oriental Adventures so much as to have updated all spells to Pathfinder, then it MIGHT be useful for the few new spells. If you haven’t seen back your old books, or haven’t ever played older RPGs, then yeah! I was wondering what was in store in this volume of the Far East product line, and after unearthing memories, I can fully recommend it, with 5 Eastern Celestial Stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Asian Spell Compendium
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Mythic Monsters #41: India
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/30/2017 04:39:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how to use, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 17 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!

The pdf's supplemental material this time around contains magic items - greater and lesser offerings of placation, which can be used to attract and place outsiders and undead that subsist on flesh, making them lethargic for a while. We know the concept from mythology and the representation via the rules works well - two thumbs up! We don't stop there, though - we get brief and concise rules for creating warding manadalas of varying effects, which can be used as optional foci for spells - kudos, though I frankly wished we got more: The concept deserves further exploration. Speaking of which - while similarly brief, I found myself smiling from ear to ear while reading the section called "Cooking Encounters" - you probably know it from our own legends, but quite often, a carefully prepared meal can be the way to defeat a monster. A quick and easy break-down of these rules is included herein. Solid, but once again, an aspect that may deserve further space allotted to it.

All right, as always, we get a variety of mythic creatures, the first of which would be the Aghasura at CR 13/MR 5 learns a whole set of abilities that centers on creating an illusion and camouflaging itself, making the unfortunates it digests potentially not even aware of their grisly fate - nice one! The CR 3/MR 1 triparasura (should be tripurasura, right?) gains a suggestion SP that can be enhanced via mythic power. One of its abilities is missing an italicization. Decent one, but LG has done low CR/MR-critters better. At the same CR/MR, the ratavarna rakshasa is permanently hidden and may generate vicious delusions. Really cool

The CR 11/MR 4 Upasunda gets a whole slew of cool new tricks - not counting as grappled when grappling, ki-based counters and several monk-like abilities - rather nice one! At the same CR/MR, the mythic kabandha gains several bardic abilities - and a unique way to dispatch it, straight out of the lore of legends. Very nice! Once again at this power-level, the CR 11/MR 4 garuda now have abilities that represent their hostility towards naga, the power to emit powerful gales as well as the option to assume a primordial form. Oh, and they can generate healing amrita. Nice one!

The next one is the Bhuta at CR 13/MR 5 and I have not seen that one's amazing artwork before. It is an amazing example of how to make a mythic creature closer to myths: These guys can generate bhuta milk, which may heal...but also generate rather horrific effects and they can use lesser geas and geas to force others to kill.

Let's move on to naga-kind, with guardian nagas at CR 12/MR 5 being the first: These fellows gain a stalwart defense-boost and can bellow forth fear-based challenges and defend their domain versus intruders. At 1 CR and MR less, the spirit naga may lace its spells with poison and becoems basically a magical ambush predator via the new abilities gained. The water naga (CR 8/MR 3) gains a level of control over water and all mythic naga-builds gain a level of shapeshifting capabilities.

The Rajput Ambari is amazing: CR 8/MR 3, cool flexibility upgrade to the war stomp and gets a spectral howdah-like entourage of spirits as well as an appropriately frightening trumpet. And the artwork is amazing!

The perhaps most well-known (at least in gaming circles) of creatures is next, the rakshasa, and we begin with the mighty CR 25/MR 10 maharja rakshasa. Vorpal crits. Illusrory doubles. Full enslavements. An ability called "orgiastic revel" (no, it's not explicit, but oh boy, cool!) and the ability to psychically enslave others as well as an array of SPs - a deadly and amazing beauty of a boss!

The new creature herein would be the CR 5/MR 2 pisacha an outsider that can feed on the anguish of dominated victims being forced to commit horrific acts. Oh, and nasty: Creatures thus forced to act against their convictions actually generate an effect that makes others want to attack them, beginning a vicious cycle of hatred and violence. However, at least they are pretty susceptible to positive energy... The artwork depicting these things is pretty glorious!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from a few minor hiccups, I noticed no problems. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the artworks included are amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Kudos!

Jason Nelson, Loren Sieg and Jeff Lee have created a cool array of critters herein - in particular the maharaja and the rajput ambari are pure awesomeness and may validate getting this on its own. At the same time, I was slightly underwhelmed by a few from the creatures herein, spoiled as I am by the constant excellence of the series. Note that this would still have the creatures stand out in pretty much any other monster-series, so consider this to just be me complaining at a very high level. Still, I couldn't really shake that feeling, when compared to e.g. the North America or Mesoamerica-installment, that some of these have untapped potential left.

Anyways, I'm rambling - this is a very good offering of monsters, well worth 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #41: India
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Asian Archetypes: Magical
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2017 17:58:27

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Asian Archetypes: Magical is the second archetype book in LG’s Far East product line. Like its companion book, it covers a wide range of arcane and divine magical classes (11 to be exact), including even a paladin and a bloodrager one. As always with LG, their books include awesome full color art and handy electronic features. By the way, the title for my review comes from random words spoken by a kung fu movie spellcaster LOL!

What’s inside? Not counting covers, ads, index etc., 21 pages of juicy, crunchy content, which include:

-14 Archetypes for 11 classes:

Bodhisattva Paladins can be of any good alignment. They are better at magic and their abilities are more heavenly in origin, an example being their lay on hands hurting fiends and their spawn instead of undead, and their channeled energy getting more righteous options. They can literally smell evil, even able to track evil creatures by their scent! Finally, instead of summoning a weapon or a steed, Bodhisattvas summon “sattvas”, disembodied celestial spirit that buff the party instead of attacking, and there 4 types, each summonable once per day. An amazing class hack that completely re-flavors one of the most Western-inspired classes.

Censor Inquisitors are like imperial detectives. They distance themselves from hunting monsters and fighting in tandem with others. Instead, they focus more on hunting criminals, especially spellcasters since they get many abilities to counter illusions, magical disguises and shapechanges. Censors feel like they belong more to city adventures, but their abilities work well in any campaign that includes tricky opponents.

Jade Fist Bloodragers remind me of a Jade version of The Thing from Marvel Comics. They get better unarmed attacks, can transform their flesh into jade while raging, and become hardier and tougher in general. They also represent jade’s purity by fighting undead better, first with their fist and later when wielding jade weapons. For bloodlines, celestial, elemental earth, kami, and maybe even kappa would really fit thematically (these last two are from Asian Bloodlines by the same author). A nice archetype that echoes both The Thing and Rokugan!

Jinshi Wizards are servants of the government, with duties to match, and get an enhanced class skill list to better represent their roles, but no extra skillpoints. The familiar arcane bond is closed to them, but instead get a badge of office that lets them fill a few empty slots with any wizard spell, but then they have to “pay” extra spell slots for their acquired magical debt. Apart from that, they get the Allied Spellcaster as bonus and can use it with other casters even if they don’t have it, and can even use some of their resources to share it for a while. Later in their careers they get promoted and have different duties, and can share Allied Spellcaster to more than one ally at a time, and even have a bonus for non-casters! Very flavorful archetype that works not only for Asian spellcasters but also for any court or guild wizard. Game masters could even potentially restrict the list of spells to better represent the government or guild!

Kaiju Caller Summoners are awesome. They can summon bigger creatures and won’t even summon an eidolon until they can make it large (5th level), and then have to make it huge at the first opportunity! Their eidolons by the way are unintelligent and brutish and get some exclusive evolutions. They get some abilities that forebode the power of kaiju, first demoralizing enemies and later inspiring allies. As a capstone they can invoke natural disasters by spending some uses of their summon ability and yes, they can even summon a true Kaiju! They can’t control it but hey, they CAN summon it and run!

Kannushi Druids are devoted to kami. As such, they get some extra class skills to deal with the nature spirits, add a couple of kami-themed spells, and get improved summon lists to include a few kami. Later they also get entrusted with a shrine that is perfect to keep important things or corpses (yes, corpses). This come at the cost of spontaneous casting, venom immunity and having a weaker nature bond. A small, nice “kami priest” but even if they don’t have an alignment restriction, don’t make a chaotic and/or evil Kannushi to get the most of it. And be aware that the “shrine” cannot be changed, so also be prepared to play in a site-based campaign or lose access to this ability (or bribe your GM with sushi rolls to let you move it).

Kenja Clerics are pacifist priest that eschew armor and most weapons, but gaining instead unarmored defenses and unarmed damage like a monk. They also lose a couple of domain abilities and channel energy for more thematically appropriate abilities, like the paladin’s mercies. A pacifist, monkish archetype for those players who want to play a different “sacred fist” but also to have more magic. Again, be prepared to be Lawful or Chaotic Good to get the most of this archetype!

Mantis Madonna Magi have weird, alien, almost illuminati fluff, but really are what I have wanted since seeing the magus for the first time: a monkish magus. They are wisdom-based, spontaneous psychic spellcasters (they even all psychic spells from the levels they can cast to their spell list!). Their arcane pool is also wisdom based (and why it is still called arcane is beyond me, except maybe to still qualify for feats and stuff), and can only enhance their fists, but can also make their flesh way harder (up to +8 natural armor). They also lose proficiency with all armor and with martial weapons, getting unarmed damage like a monk, get A LOT of exclusive arcana, better access to style feats, and get many esoteric abilities. One thing they don’t get is Wis to AC but beyond that, THIS is the archetype to get to represent the most mystical of martial artists. It would be my fave in this book since it has many builds possible with its unique magus arcana and style feat mastery, but there are a couple of things I would have changed: No Wis to AC begs for one level in monk, access to Evasion and Improved Evasion begs for a good Reflex save instead of Fortitude or Will (or maybe Stalwart instead of Evasion?), no Ki pool instead of Arcane (although there is a Arcana IIRC that does that), and the fuse style ability should have been optional making even more builds possible.

Miko Shamans get a different style of casting, akin to the Kami Medium from Occult Adventures, that makes it impossible to dispel their spells magically. Anyone can “destroy” their spells, since non-instantaneous spells create an ofuda (think mini-scroll) on the opponent that, when retired, ends the spell. Beyond this, they lose a couple of hexes to be able to better deal with kami, summon them as monsters or familiars, and get a really cool magical ability to bless a community with either safety or bounty, the latter using the downtime rules! Perfect for site-based campaigns but not dependent on them!

Numerologist Wizards feel like they were pulled straightly from the Sha’ir’s Handbook for 2nd Edition D&D, which is awesome. They have to be lawful and their spell/mathbooks and scrolls are more space-efficient, but it’s more difficult for normal wizards to understand or copy spells from a Numerologist’s spellbook or scroll. Also, since they focus on quality over quantity, they can cast one less spell per level. Instead of Arcane Bond they can use math to get insight bonuses to attack, skill, ability, caster level and even miss chance checks, to get an edge when casting spells. They get other divinatory, metamagic-like, defenses, and probability manipulation abilities. A powerful archetype that pays dearly for its powers, and demands to be used by expert players or GMs.

Origamist Arcanists lose a bit of their exploits to gain powerful, origami-based powers. They start with an origami construct familiar, can fold scrolls into origami to expand their prepared spells for the day, can cast shadow conjurations made of paper a couple of times per day, and can themselves transform into paper. A high-concept archetype that again trades flexibility for power.

Raiden Shamans are locked into the wind spirit. They are better archers and get an increased spell list with many electricity-based arcane spells. They also lose their “wandering” abilities to get more electricity and sonic powers. Take this archetype if you want a more specialized, blaster-y shaman (yelling incomprehensible things like the namesake from Mortal Kombat is optional).

Skyflower Alchemists really devote themselves into making their extracts and bombs more flashy. They lose mutagen and greater mutagen, brew potion, swift alchemy and all poison related abilities. To make up for the hefty loss, they get to add arcane evocations, or discoveries from a specific list. Their bombs always explode like fireworks, and they get progressively more resistant to fire. This one is a blockbuster version of the alchemist.

Wushen Wizards are the new Wujen from D&D. They get a small edge if they prepare spells of the same element, have a ki pool, get taboos, and can create spell-specific fetishes to better cast said spells, all in exchange for bonus feats and arcane bond. An intriguing archetype if you are using The Way of Ki from the same product line, but it’s a bit sad you lose the bonus feats.

-4 Spells: These are reprinted from the Asian Spell Compendium. Handy to have if you don’t own that book. The spells are Blessed Jade Strike (which transforms your weapon into a bane for undead and incorporeal creatures), Jade Prison (a powerful holy spell that paralyses and gradually petrifies creatures with the evil subtype and evil undead), Paper Vessel (which creates a self-moving boat made of paper), and Unfortunate Origami (which transforms an object into a weak, fragile paper origami version of itself). All in all, an awesome little collection of spells!

Of Note: It is difficult for me to choose something that is above the rest since, in all honestly, all archetypes are cool. Now, I commend the paladin, bloodrager, magus and inquisitor archetypes since they are more often than not melee-ers than casters. Also, the paladin and cleric archetypes represent a type of gaming different from the norm, which is always a challenging gaming experience for everyone involved.

Anything wrong?: There are a couple of formatting issues, under the 15th level ability of Jinshi and under the proficiencies of Kaiju Summoner, but beyond that there are some design decisions that I don’t agree with, but that doesn’t mean they are bad. Japan in particular is well represented at the cost of, again, not representing other obscure regions of Asia.

What I want: Beyond having more new games starting for trying out some of these, I would have liked the inclusion of some of the occult classes, but to be fair there are some already in the Occult Adventures book. I have wanted a fakir even since occult adventures was released, maybe either as a monk or mesmerist archetypes. Maybe for a sequel?

What cool things did this inspire?: With the Jinshi wizard, Censor Inquisitor, and Mandarin investigator (from the companion volume for martials), plus maybe a samurai or yakuza, I really want to run or play a city-based campaign. As a player, I want to take the Mantis Madonna to the lab and see what builds I can do with it!

Do I recommend it?: If you are reading this you are probably on the fence on whether to buy it. I can wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone with an interest on the Far East. There is enough material for all kind of groups and tastes out there, and I really enjoyed the interconnection within the product line. My verdict is 5 direction sacred stars without question!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Asian Archetypes: Magical
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Asian Bloodlines
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2017 10:47:00

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Asian Bloodlines is a book in Legendary Game’s Far East product line. It is a very focused book, containing only bloodlines for the Sorcerer and Bloodrager classes (and maybe some feats, archetypes and other 3PP classes). As always with LG products, it has amazing art and handy electronic features that really show the production values.

What’s inside? 18 pages of pure crunchy content (plus 3 amazing full-art pages) for x bucks, which include:

-9 Bloodrager Bloodlines, presented with a nice, fluffy introductory paragraph, followed by bonus feats, bonus spells, and bloodline powers.

Imperial Dragon is special, since it borrows heavily from the normal draconic bloodline. It includes specific changes, especially with the Forest Dragon Bloodline. Like “vanilla” draconic, these are very flavorful and will be popular among many tables (who doesn’t want to have a dragon ancestor?).

Imperious is one of those sorcerer bloodlines that didn’t have a bloodrager version… until now. It focuses on being a better face and leader for his allies (even when raging!), and fearsome for his foes. The capstone is really amazing since, among some immunities, the imperious bloodrager no longer ages, sleeps, eats or drinks! Talk about campaign building potential! Using the real world as reference, this bloodline works better thematically for a bloodrager, reminiscing me of great legends like Gilgamesh or Iskander.

Kami is a good bloodline for nature lovers, focused on mobility and interacting with the spirit world. Their first ability is my favorite, awakening the kami within a progressively bigger object and animating it to fight at your side!

Kappa are weird, since like most Japanese monsters they are depicted in many ways. The bloodline, however, focuses on watery powers and having better defenses. They can also transform into dragon turtles at high levels, and as a capstone can always water walk and in normal circumstances won’t be attacked by aquatic animals.

Kitsune are mostly depicted as trickster but the bloodrager’s version of this bloodline, rather than specializing on illusions and enchantments, focuses on being nimble, hitting fast and hard, and transforming into a fearsome wolf-like fox with a progressively nasty bite attack and getting some precision damage, culminating on literally ripping a heart with its fangs! It gains a few magical trickster-y abilities but really is more of a swift and dirty natural attacker.

Nagas are a varied group of monsters, and the bloodline focuses on the few things common to all of them. They are good swimers, get a poisonus bite, are resistant and later immune to poison, can transform into nagas, and as a capstone they become difficult to deceive with magic, their minds becoming really hard to manipulate mentally and they can see invisibility and read thoughts. Perfect bloodline for nagaji bodyguards of the bloodline’s namesake, or maritime adventures ;)

Oni are normally fiendish gigantic creatures, so this bloodline fits better thematically for bloodragers. As powers they get horns to make gore attacks, extra eyes to see better, and can become giants, large and later huge ones! Like many actual oni they can fly, become invisible, regenerate (fast heal really) and alter shape. An excellent bloodline, flavorful and true to its source.

Rakshasa are another race of tricksters, infamous for their secrecy, charm and deceit. This bloodline is what I expected from the kitsune one, since they can charm and fight dirty, bluff and mind-read. What makes this more Rakshasa-flavored is the enhanced defenses from divine magic (something asuras have, not rakshasa, but still fits thematically speaking) and their backward hands actually do something: improving feinting in this case. They become a beast-headed outsider as a capstone, able to change shape back to your old form. Overall an intriguing bloodline!

Tengu are a legendary race that is more earth-bound and mundane in its Pathfinder incarnation. This bloodline lets you portrait a more mythological tengu, focusing on being a better swordsman (swordsbird?), even getting a changeable style feat chain! A very thematic and flavorful bloodline that will be a fave among players who like styles but don’t like to commit themselves (and their feats) to only one.

-8 Sorcerer Bloodlines (and 4 mutated), following the same presentation as the bloodrager’s, adding skills. It is worth noting that 3 of these: naga, oni and rakshasa, are reprinted here from official Paizo material for ease of reference. The mutated bloodlines are for the Wildblooded sorcerer archetype, and include two for the Naga, one for the Oni, and one for the new Kitsune bloodline.

Imperial Dragon, like its bloodrager counterpart, is a variant of the core draconic bloodline. It features a couple of changes to include the 5 imperial dragons, but this time only the forest dragon gets abilities different from the norm.

Kami is, again, a nature-themed bloodline. Apart from borrowing some druid spells and getting some mobility options, Kami-blooded get many protective spells and powers, and can also create temporary origami-animal familiars for Shikigami to inhabit temporarily, and becoming a full Shikigami later.

Kappa increases the sorcerer’s defenses and mastery over water like the bloodrager’s, but also mastery over earth and shapechanging powers.

Kitsune for sorcerers is a more traditional take on the legendary foxes, with all the foxfire, illusions, enchantments, possessions and shapechanging one has come to expect from these trickster spirits. The Kyubi mutated bloodline nets you a ki pool to enhance your magic instead of some trickster illusory abilities, and works wonders with another product by LG, The Way of Ki.

Naga bloodline is not new, but it is presented here since we have two mutations for it. Guardian Naga derive their power from the Kyubi! (copy-paste error most probably) Kidding aside, it gets some increased protections and can spit poison, but more intriguing is their ability to add a couple of cleric spells to their repertory. On the other hand, Spirit Naga become more sinuous and charming, being able to slither and also getting a mesmerizing gaze, which also works better with humanoids and reptiles.

Oni bloodline is also not new, but we have the Nogitsune mutated bloodline for it. Strangely enough, they gain one charm-related ability instead of flying, but lose their charm-related bloodline arcana in exchange of being able to see through any sight-hampering spell they cast (darkness, fog and the like), and moving as part of the casting time of the spell. The weakest entry IMHO, and I would have liked the movement to happen AFTER the spell was cast, that way they could move without their opponents knowing where too.

Rakshasa is the last of the repeated bloodlines and the only one that doesn’t include a mutated variant, but there is a bloodrager version for it so IMO its inclusion is justified.

Tengu is the last of the bloodlines. It lets sorcerers represent the magical abilities tengu are famed for, and have some sword-related abilities for those who want to dabble into melee, or multiclass. Powers’ themes include birds, flight, swords and linguistics. As a capstone they can turn into tengu and crows. I wouldn’t recommend this bloodline for tengus since there are some overlapping abilities. Here I would have liked a better deal for tengu sorcerers, but to my knowledge there are noprecedents for this, so it’s fair.

-3 new spells, reprinted from the Asian Spells book from the same product line. I commend their inclusion since this way the publisher doesn’t force you to buy another product to fully use this one. The spells are Dancing Weapon, Snake Mother’s Kiss and Tengu Fan. They are almost self-explanatory, and really cool by the way.

Of Note: The Imperious and Kitsune bloodrager bloodlines really impressed me, Imperious for the imagery and Kitsune for it is not a mirror of the sorcerer version. Both Kami bloodlines also have cool and fitting powers, and the Kyubi mutated bloodline with its Ki pool is a welcome addition for those who, like me, own other products from the Far East line. Finally, the Guardian Naga mutated sorcerer bloodline, with its access to some clerical spells, is really intriguing.

Anything wrong?: The one mistake I found, and the fact that three (or five if you want to include Draconic) bloodlines are reprints, are the only things worth noting as “not good”, since they are not really bad.

What I want: I will play the spoiled brat and wish some cross-over 3pp action with a Yaksha bloodline, which is a new type of outsider from Monsters of Porphyra 2 by Purple Duck Games. Also, who do I have to end to get a Kamaitachi monster (and thus bloodlines)? And why, oh why, isn’t there a Shinigami bloodline!?!? A Ki bloodline!?!? Tanuki!?!? To be fair, there are already some bloodlines that with the mutated treatment would work for these. Maybe for the sequel? ;-) EDIT: THERE IS A KAMAITACHI IN BESTIARY 6, SO BLOODLINE PLEASE!!!

What cool things did this inspire?: An adventure where a legendary Imperious bloodrager adventuring king, retired and presumed dead, returns to reclaim his kingdom from his great grandchildren, since they have divided and spoiled it. A Nogitsune Oni (or even a plain old kitsune) bloodrager with the Kitsune bloodline would be a nasty surprise for characters expecting to fight the illusions and charms normally associated with these foxes. You could also convert kitsune, nagaji and/or tengu into full monster races, using the sorcerer and bloodrager classes to represent different types.

Do I recommend it?: There is a reason Eldritch Heritage was a very popular feat, since it opens the wonders of sorcery to many classes. There is also the Eldritch Scion magus archetype, although not as popular, and with the advent of the variant multiclass rules (from Pathfinder Unchained), ANY character can benefit from this product, and even the Game Master can join the fun by slapping the sorcerer creature simple class template (from Monster Codex) to any monster. While a niche product, Asian Bloodlines does as advertised and deliver cool options not only for the two classes it is intended for. I give 4.5 eldritch bloody stars to this book because of the few repetitions and the even fewer mistakes, but I will round up because of the amazing production values and electronic features.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Asian Bloodlines
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Horrific Curses
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/19/2017 04:21:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of the AP plug-ins for the Strange Aeons AP (which works perfectly for pretty much any darker campaign) clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this supplement with new archetypes, the first of which would be the accursed witch. These witches are locked into death, insanity, moon, plague, spirits or vengeance as patrons. Starting at 1st level, they gain an oracle's curse, based on level and, nice, the archetype comes with multiclassing options regarding the curse, Starting off at 4th level, the accursed witch may basically, hex-like, inflict her curse on targets - the recipient does not gain the benefits unlocked later and, since this slightly exceeds a regular hex in potency, we have an Int-governed daily limit as well as the hex-save-caveat. Instead of 8th level's hex, the witch may choose increased durations of curse spells, higher CLs, higher ranges (listing the progression of ranges and specific, non-scaling ranges - big kudos!). All in all flavorful.

Next up would be the hex hunter, who replaces Heal with Knowledge (arcana) as a class skill and loses proficiency with wither medium armors or shields. These guys cast Int-based arcane spells taken from witch and ranger spell lists and replaces animal companion with a witch's familiar. Animal Focus is delayed until 8th level, with the second unlocked at 16th level. Nature training is replaced with the ability to apply, as a swift action, the effects of evil eye in melee, usable 3 + Int-mod times per day. Instead of hunter tactics, we gain the beast of ill omen hex, with the teamwork feat being replaced by attacks of the cursed strike mentioned before being extended as per cackle on a critical hit. This becomes more relevant at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter, as new hexes to be added to the strikes are unlocked, replacing the respective teamwork feats. At 7th level and every 6 levels thereafter, we add new curse-spells to the spell list, replacing bonus tricks and. 10th level provides the option to gain a hex from a list of 4, which may be determined anew each day, replacing animal companions.

After this nice archetype, we are introduced to the jinx sorceror bloodline, with Perception as a class skills and a fitting array of spells as bonus spells. Similarly, the bonus feat selection is nice. The bloodline arcana increases the DC of compulsions, curses and pain spells, with the DC to dispel or remove such effects increased by 2. Bloodline powers-wise, we begin with an orcale curse, with 3rd level yielding an aura of despair. 9th level yields the misfortune hex and 15th level allows you to place glyphs of warding with select triggering conditions to targets. 20th level yields immortality - you no longer age, are immune to death effects, etc.

From here, we move on to the new spells, which make use of the dying spell concept, allowing casters to take a final potshot - while they can be cast in less dire consequences, such cases are rare, considering the extremely high concentration required. As such, these spells will usually be cast upon being incapacitated or slain and a special, but costly ceremony, can render them viable even in scenarios, where action economy is an issue, guaranteeing that you'll get your deadly vengeance. Spell-wise, we can find, e.g. Avenge Me!, compelling creatures to seek vengeance for you. Call the Avenger similarly combines sending and demand to destroy your killer and sending off dying words to allies similarly makes sense, representing properly a fixture in fantasy literature. Providing a dying scrying for a final witness or entombing yourself in ice also make for intriguing, flavorful options....and yes, there is a funeral pyre...

Now, this book is called has "curses" in its title for a reason and we receive a diverse assortment of different curses - the base-rules here follow the first curse-based supplement released by Legendary Games and the representations of the respective curses contain cannibalism compulsions, shrouding a target in palpable, demoralizing gloom or shrinking the target continuously, until it has become basically nonexistent (see Atom or Ant-Man for more on that concept...and there is a variant, which ties shrinking to magic use...). Rendering the flesh of a target unstable or instilling an unquenchable gnawing hunger are interesting tricks...but there are some curses you may want to seek out: Fatal Strength, for example, can yield benefits to the PC, but also burns away the years they have. Instilling a horrid hatred in foes, suppressing any form of empathy or cursing a target with insomnia.

Have I mentioned the option to create a kinslayer curse, a curse whose effects are determined by the phase of the moon or the curse that makes your eyes turn black and makes you susceptible to bright eyes? More complex and potent yet would be the 6 different mythic curses included, including knitting the victim's mouth's flesh together, making targets feel the pain inflicted on others, transforming digits into thumbs, regressive aging or having prepared or known spells inscribed visibly o the skin make for fascinating curses...and the latter one also comes with a version that makes you bleed for casting the spells inscribed in your flesh. Come to think of it, these two curses alone could work as a basic spellcasting tradition capable of carrying a whole campaign...I think I'll have to design the like at one point...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf uses nice full-color and b/w-artworks, though fans of LG will recognize most from previous publications. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, Alex Riggs and Jen Page deliver a cool, fun collection of curse-themed options in this pdf. Particularly the spell-inscription curses are gold and I'd be seriously surprised if there was no campaign by a fan of dark fantasy or horror out there that employs these for a custom magic system/tweak - as mentioned, these may very well be worth the asking price for you on their own. The dying spells and archetypes are fun, with the hunter in particular being interesting. The curses are also rather nice, though, as a whole, they felt a bit less horrific than I expected from the pdf, with many focusing on concepts that strike me as more fantastic than horrific, but that may just be me.

As a whole, this is a good supplement with excellent craftsmanship, but at the same time, it feels like it doesn't completely realize its full potential. In short, this is a good supplement, bordering on the very good, but I can't really bring myself to round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Horrific Curses
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Legendary Vigilantes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/11/2017 07:23:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' series of class-centric pdfs clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of introduction, 4 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up in my queue as an informal request via my patreon.

All right, we'll begin with new archetypes, the first of which would be the arsenal summoner, who gains proficiency with heavy armors and replaces vigilante specialization with anima union: The archetype begins play with a sentient weapon called "anima" (not the biggest fan of the nomenclature there), which must be a weapon properly sized for the character, acting as a magus' black blade, though it is not required to be a one-handed slashing weapon, rapier or swordcane. As such, the anima basics diverge from those of the black blade, with every odd level after 1st providing improvements. Anima weapons begin play at Int 10, Wis/Cha 6 and an ego-score of 3 and increase that up to Int 19, 15 Wis/Cha and 24 ego at 19th level. Anima weapons begin play knowing common and learn additional bonus languages later. Sense-wise, they act as though they had sight and hearing and may thus be affected by blindness and deafness. The anima uses the character's saving throws. In order to balance ranged weapons, two-handed weapons and the like, an anima's damage is overwritten: The weapon begins with 1d6 base damage and increases that up to 2d8 for Medium characters. Tables for Small and Large arsenal summoners have been included as well. Wielders gain the benefits of Alertness while wielding the anima weapon and wielders can telepathically communicate with the weapon. The weapon is immune t the broken condition and, starting at 1st level, the anima can 1/day as a full-round action teleport the anima weapon to them, usable +1/day at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, but only while in vigilante identity.

At 3rd level, an anima not currently in use can take on the look of a mundane object, though transformation into its normal form can still risk exposure for the vigilante. As a capstone, the anima may 1/week cast a maximized breath of life, potentially saving its wielder, but not when it's not within 5 ft. of the wielder. 2nd level yields the bonded armor ability - an armor that the character can instant summon to himself, though it is marked by an arcane mark, potentially allowing identification. The armor may be called Cha-mod times per day. Additionally, the armor receives a +1 enhancement bonus, which increases by +1 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter up to a maximum of +5 at 14th level. Such armor does not work for other creatures, btw., though destruction, mark-removal and similar stratagems exist to hamper the class feature. The arsenal summoner may also choose some exclusive vigilante talents, for an additional bonded armor, the weapon master handbook's advanced armor or weapon training, regular armor training and you can go iron man and fuse anima and bonded armor with one vigilante talent. Control over the exact form of a blade called forth via the anima's teleportation, bonded shields, calling a copy of the called weapon, exchange of enhancement bonus for special weapon qualities (with higher levels increasing the selection available) - nice. Using glamered versions in social identity and the like also are included here.

Instead of unshakeable and frightening appearance, the arsenal summoner gains an anima pool with Cha-mod, minimum 1, points These points can be expended as a swift action to provide a +1 bonus to weapon damage and atk, which increases by +1 for every 4 levels after 1st. The bonus lasts 1 minute and at 5th level, it can be used to grant the weapon temporarily a rather extensive selection of weapon special abilities. At 5th level, finally, the archetype replaces startling and stunning appearance with a pocket dimension to stash anima and bonded armor. The capstone allows the character to choose between armor or weapon mastery. Basically, this is a magus/fighter/vigilante-crossover-archetype with "god-weapon"-style gameplay. This hybrid-like theme is btw. something you'll notice in the other archetypes as well.

The next one would be the Beast Born, who loses vigilante specialization as well as dual identity. However, in place of that, the archetype gains a full strength animal companion - identity changing cannot be hastened by the archetype as a balancing measure, though, since yes, this companion may, at a touch, be changed into a harmless Tiny version of its self as a standard action- tiger to housecat, you get the idea. Reversal of this change can be done as a swift action, which means that the companion may be used to net the vigilante the required time to change to prevent exposure. Slightly confusing: The beast born, in the middle of the second paragraph of the ability, suddenly talks about "When transformed into an animal..." in the context of the vigilante identity. This ties in with the second ability - at 1st level, the beast born can change into a harmless form as a standard action at will, with 4th level yielding wild shape, with additional daily uses at 8th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Strong? Yes, however, the archetype also loses the 4th level vigilante talent...and those gained every 4 levels thereafter. As a capstone, the beast born gets free animal growth when going into animal form. I had two associations here: Manimal and He-Man. Make of that what you will. ;)

Next up would be the dynamic striker, who replaces martial weapon proficiency with Improved Unarmed Strike. Instead of the regular vigilante specialization, they choose to either be a brawler or a technician dynamic striker. Brawlers are treated as avenger vigilantes for BAB and talent purposes, while technicians gain studied combat, governed by Wis, but only in conjunction with gauntlets, unarmed strikes, etc. Dynamic strikers may choose from a selection of specialized martial arts talents and use their Wisdom modifier as key ability modifier for the purpose of determining saves, atks, etc. These include cross guard counter attacks, while others build upon the vicious impact ability - basically, the archetype contains two generally schools of fighting and the aforementioned two abilities, granted at 3rd level, respectively, represent the foundation of these fighting styles. Vicious impact nets a monk's unarmed damage progression, while cross guard nets a limited use, AoO-resource-based opposing roll counter mechanic, which, akin grit or panache, is recharged upon scoring critical hits. In short: One of the specializations focuses on a somewhat monk-y style, whereas the other represents a martial artist/investigator - the brainy fighter trope we know from anime et al. 5th level progresses this, featuring flurry and knockout blows, respectively. This sequence of abilities eliminates the whole appearance ability tree as well as unshakeable and also is represented in the archetype's capstone selection, which includes ignoring all DR and hardness or maximized damage for knockout blows, but of which are extremely potent.

The exposed vigilante does not receive dual identity, instead gaining +1 skill point per level and an additional social talent at 1st level, which also locks the vigilante out of a selection of social talents. Cool: The archetype does come with an engine-tweak that allows the vigilante to take it after being exposed, akin to what had befallen e.g. the Green Arrow in the comics. This may be a small engine tweaking archetype, but it's actually one of my favorites in the book. The Focused Hunter replaces 5th level's startling appearance with familiar terrain, basically a variant of favored terrain, of which an additional one is gained every 5 levels thereafter. 11th level yields HiPS (Hide in Plain Sight) in requiring no dim light in these terrains (which is very cheesable and borderline OP) and 17th level yields terrain master; these replace frightening, startling and stunning appearance.

The masked grappler would be the grappling specialist vigilante, losing proficiency with medium armor and martial weapons and beginning play with Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple, using class level as BAB -substitute when grappling, but losing the vigilante specialization. The archetype provides a pretty extensive selection of exclusive talents and using such a technique inflicts damage as per a grapple. What are submissions? Well, they are special such talents that impose a cumulative penalty on the foe in question, making them...well. Submit. They are locked into one such talent at first level and use Con as a governing key attribute instead of Charisma. It is a bit evident that editing here is a bit less precise than in the rest of the pdf: We have the archetype referred to as "masked wrestler" in a missed substitution, a lower caps "reflex" save etc. That being said, the options provided cover what you probably wanted from such an archetype: Anklelock? Check. Chokehold? Check. Death from Above via the VERY potent Frog Splash (double damage, grapple as swift action that pins AND bonus damage per 10 ft. fallen). That being said, I was a huge Undertaker fanboy as a child (and here in Germany, wrestling is VERY niche - none of my friends had even heard of those folks!) and I'm happy to see a sufficiently deadly piledriver, thankfully locked behind a high minimum level prerequisite. Also: Running dropkick is viable. 5th level yields a signature move specialization for a submission or technique, 11th level an iterative grapple for increased damage mechanic and 17th level the option to generate a finishing move, making one such technique/submission more potent. The capstone upgrades all moves to signature moves and also yields a second submission.

I like this archetype...but I think it doesn't have much to do with the vigilante. This is complaining at a high level, for sure, but the archetype feels like pretty much its own entity, which has been smashed on the vigilante chassis. With a bit of tweaking, it could have worked for pretty much every class out there...and the "masked" aspect falls a bit flat. Don't get me wrong, I really like the implementation of most aspects here (though I'll nerf some slightly), but the dual identity, which is particularly important in the luchador tradition, is pretty lost here. And Drop Dead Studios has a pretty impressive luchador base class that does offer a slightly more dynamic playstyle. So yeah, not bad, but I feel it could have used more significant ties to the base class.

Continuing the theme of hybrid-themed archetypes, the noble soul must be good and have both identities within one alignment step of one another. Much like the dynamic striker, this is an archetype that encapsulates two different iterations/traditions, though this time around, both are drawn from the paladin's bag of tricks: Those choosing the crusader specialization gain smite evil (1/day, +1/day at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter), while those that walk the path of the healer instead receive the lay on hands class feature (usable 1/2 class level + Cha-mod times per day). Here, we do have better tie ins to the vigilante, btw. - aura of good is only active while in vigilante identity. The archetype does get an extensive selection of exclusive talents, though the interaction of the talents here can be a bit wonky: Unbound Smite makes all neutral foes count as evil for the purposes of smite. So far, so good. Focused smite, however, treats all evil foes as evil outsiders for the purpose of smite - does that mean that, with both talents, all neutral creatures can be targets of smite as though they were evil outsiders? I assume that's the basic combo here, but something in the back of my head, when comparing this combo to the other talents afforded to the archetype, tells me that it's slightly OP in comparison, even when locked behind level 10. Not to the point of being broken, but yeah. The talents also provide a divine bond mount and mercies and, starting at 4th level, paladin's spellcasting at the expense of that level (and all multiples of 4's) vigilante talents. The capstone provides an upgrade for lay on hands to act as a combo breath of life + heal or auto-confirming criticals when smiting. Ouch.

The outrageous lyricist loses medium armor proficiency and gains a bard's spellcasting in exchange for the vigilante talents gained at 4th level and every 4 levels after that. Instead of vigilante specialization, they gain bardic performance (countersong, fascinate, distraction and inspire courage), while 3rd level yields quick change with a 1-minute fascination effect for those watching that fail their Will-save. So that's how Sailor Moon etc. did it. ;) The talents include masterpieces and e.g. dirge of doom is codified as such a talent "black metal medley." (I'd have expected that to be doom metal medley, but yeah... ;P) An emo scream that ignores fear immunity (but immune creatures get a bonus to saves) is nice, but my engine-favorite would be the battle rap "lyrical duel"-style ability for demoralized foes to try to rebuttal the lyricist. Increased damage when flanking with allies is called mosh pit and the archetype can convert weapon damage into sonic damage. The capstone nets immunity for fear, fatigue, exhaustion and negative levels for all allies benefiting from the performance. Once again, a cool archetype, but one that could have used a tighter connection with the base class, as far as I'm concerned.

The sentai soldier archetype replaces vigilante specialization with burn, elemental focus and kinetic blast, but they can only accept up to Con-mod burn and don't take non-lethal damage from accepting burn. The archetype gets a transformation device that mirrors a magical child transformation in 5 rounds, potentially reduced to a standard action with quick change, immediate action via immediate change. Beyond this modification, we get the option to take an utility or infusion wild talent instead of a vigilante talent and the archetype also contains a variety of different talents: Battle Charge allows the character to spend a swift action to reduce the burn cost of the kinetic blade or fist infusion by 1, but not below 0. This can be further improved and the archetype can use these talents to gain composite blasts, elemental defense or metakinesis. 3rd level nets a fascination-inducing quick transformation and 4th level sentai soldiers that have accepted 1 burn or more gains an equal bonus to atk and damage with kinetic blasts, with the very necessary cap based on the class level. The archetype does lose 3 vigilante talents for that and at 5th level, the vigilante gains gather power - and yes, the archetype loses the appearance tree. 20th level yields access to metakinesis (twice).

All right so far, so good, but we get more than archetypes herein. A total of 8 social talents can be found, which includes the overdue Master Craftsman granting and modifying option to make the vigilante capable of creating gadgets, fixing a crucial hole in the rules. Improving attributes towards groups of creatures, discrediting those that seek to unmask the vigilantes via Bluff (not properly capitalized -like many skills in this section) and even some synergy with the superb Legendary Rogue's skill specializations can be found here. Unless I have miscounted, we get a total of 27 vigilante talents here as well - though not all of them are without issues. Adamantine Fist, for example, nets you the ability to ignore up to class level hardness with unarmed strikes, but at 11th level, they count as adamantine for the purposes of bypassing DR, which is frankly too soon when compared to other classes. Defy Pain lacks an important anti-abuse caveat: It converts damage to nonlethal damage for Cha-rounds (+1 daily use at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter). In the hands of a build that's immune to nonlethal damage, that RAW translates to invulnerability. Broken and needs to die/be nerfed big time. On the plus-side, talent-based TWFing is a cool idea...but it's ONE talent for 3 feats - three potent feats, mind you. Regular, Improved and Greater TWF, unlocked at viable levels, with the higher ups automatically gained at higher levels. That is comparatively too much in my book.

Other talents net one Equipment Trick, +1 at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, which, while also granting more than one benefit, make sense; as does gaining Toughness and Great Fortitude in one package. Gaining a grit-pool, oddly governed by Charisma in a design-aesthetic deviation from the standard and deeds can also be done. Martially inclined vigilantes are the biggest winners here, though, as a whole tree of abilities focuses on both Whirlwind Attack and Vital Strike and making them both relevant for the purpose of the class. I like those, even though, depending on the type of game you're playing/your GM style, they may end up being rather strong. Iterative attacks with Spring Attack would be something I'd personally ban, mainly because the talent fails to specify whether the attack has to hit the same target or can be freely spread around - in combo with some other options, that can be nasty, particularly due to the explicitly stated synergy with the TWF-tree. All in all, a surprisingly mixed bag I am not as fond of as I expected.

The pdf also provides an array of feats that partially net upgrades to archetype specific abilities like bonded armor, the option to cross-specialize at lower potency (-4 levels) and thus gain internal talents you're usually locked out of - which is pretty cool. Identity specialization and, really amazing, Shared Identity as a teamwork effort, make sense and are big winners in my book. Similarly, gaining dual identity via a feat can be rather helpful for certain characters and the feat manages to prevent abuse. All in all, a nice feat-section.

The magic item section contains gloves that pair weapon enhancement bonuses, wraps to add special properties to unarmed attacks, Superman glasses that make you look mundane and a powerful combat scabbard.

The pdf also contains a 10-level PrC, the scion of the city (cue countless Arrow/Spirit-references) that needs 4 ranks in 2 skills, the renown social talent and a BAB of 3+. The PrC gets d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression and 1/2 Ref- and Will-save progression. The PrC chooses a Scion City at first level, wherein all Knowledge checks are enhanced and they gain great renown in the city. Levels stack with those of the vigilante, though spellcasters must choose to retain either spellcasting progression or gaining vigilante talents at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter. 2nd level yields favored terrain as well as increased damage output with improvised weapons. 4th level yields incredible renown and 5th level HiPS in the city, which can be a bit early. 6th level yields loyal aid and followers as though via Leadership. 7th level yields gossip collector, while at 8th level the scion may gain renown in a community up to 50K folks instead of gaining a social talent. Additionally, celebrity discount is increased. 9th level nets Shared Identity for the scion's crew and, at 10th level, which is REALLY cool, they may modify a settlements properties - you know, corruption, crime, etc. and he may even generate advantages and disadvantages. I kinda wished the archetype got that one sooner, perhaps a scaling variant - fights between two scions for the properties of the city could have been pretty amazing. Still, overall a flavorful, really cool PrC.

The pdf concludes with Rashid Zill/Dark Star, a sentai soldier vigilante 10 of the tiefling race - once a selfish man, he had his love taken from him by a notorious serial killer he is now hunting down. All in all, a pretty cool character, complete with a detailed background story and even a boon for allied PCs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not as tight as usual for Legendary Games - I noticed a couple of formatting hiccups and the like. Layout adheres to the series' two-column full-color standard and the artworks are a mix of previously used ones and a couple of new pieces, all in full color. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

N. Jolly delivers basically the "unlock" vigilante book here that provides all the hybrid-y unlocks you wanted. Druid-vigilante? Check. Pala-vigilante? Check. Monk-vigilante? Check. The execution of these archetypes is generally as precise as we've come to expect from the author and quite a few of them have some seriously evocative tricks. Now, at the same time, compared to Legendary Kineticists, they feel a bit less awe-inspiring. The arsenal summoner being the one archetype that really clicked with me. That being said, the exposed vigilante is gold. Still, in some of these hybrids, I felt like they could have used more unique features. Then again, both feat and social talents are pretty damn cool. The vigilante talent section, though, has been one I am not comfortable with and in my game, I'll probably disallow a lot here. Why? Well, from what I've heard, a lot of games tend to feature relatively static front-lines, where monsters and PCs trade full attacks. My home game is nothing like that and we have a lot of shifting front lines, movement, dynamic terrain and the like, which makes Spring Attack and Vital Strike significantly more powerful than in a game where trade full attacks is the default. I am cognizant that that is a peculiarity not shared among all tables, though I felt the need to mention that in such a context, the options here should get some careful GM oversight. Beyond these situationally slightly problematic ones, we also have a couple of options I consider too strong/power creep when compared to the options other classes receive.

I don't want to come off as overly negative and misrepresent this pdf, mind you. The matter of the fact remains that this has a great PrC and fills A LOT of rules-holes and allows for some seriously cool options. Vigilante players will certainly have a cool field day with this book and if you're looking for a way to play an all-vigilante group, this may very much deliver just that. (!!!) That alone will make this probably a must-own for many groups. Still, it feels a bit less mind-blowing and refined in some sections than what I've come to expect from N. Jolly's amazing offerings, which, ultimately, makes me settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Vigilantes
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Magitech Archetypes
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2017 18:45:58

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Magitech Archetypes is a sci-fi/fantasy fusion-themed book by Legendary Games. As all books by the publisher, this one includes amazing layout and art, but they are not only beautiful; they are handy for players because of the many electronic links it includes, so you get a lot of information interconnected.

What’s inside? 21 pages of content, which include:

-7 archetypes: Astrologers are mesmerist who study the stars, and exchange many of their tricks for star-flavored abilities, even creating miniature satellites to attack their foes or travel to and survive in another planet! Delvers are wizards who are very at home in the underground and, in exchange for their arcane bond, get many abilities useful in dungeons and ruins, and can also summon some underground creatures (ending with neothelids!). Engram channelers are spiritualists that summon not a restless phantom, but the encoded memory of a dead being that presents as a hologram; a flavorful and very strong class hack that gets away from the undead and becomes closer to technology; Nanotech infusers are sorcerers who replace several bloodline powers for some abilities that derive from your nanites, without overspecializing on robots or technology; while this archetype doesn’t replace your bloodline, it does replace many bloodline powers and I wonder if it couldn’t have worked better as an aberrant bloodline, but to be fair, some of the abilities are so strong that they replace bloodline powers AND feats! Necrotech masters are vile, unliving (construct or undead only) kineticist that focus on the vilest portion of the new machine element mixed with void; these guys aren’t that player oriented, but work wonders for enemy NPCs; Penumbral arcanists focus on darkness and shadow, gaining access to many appropriate spells and to some exclusive exploits and at the end of their careers they can create darkness so powerful that not even true seeing can penetrate, and only those that can see inside magical darkness will be able to see you; finally, Robot fighters are rangers who specialize at hunting constructs, especially robots, losing many nature-themed ability for more appropriate abilities.

-1 kineticist element: Machine, with a heavy focus on interacting with the technology rules, also work with metals and other constructs, with many abilities to enhance the user’s own body, and even others’! While many abilities work and interact with machines, I can see a technokineticist character built for campaigns without technology, robots and the like, but they shine and have wider options in games that include such. Later in the book we find an elemental saturation, a place of power, with a greater benefits on technokineticists.

-7 Feats: 4 of them are available only to necrotech masters, 2 of them interact with technology and grant a weird telepathy/hacking ability to interact with computers. The final feat gives you the ability to spontaneously summon junk golems of increasing potency. It is worth noting that this last feat is open to technokineticist (they can even ignore prerequisites), but they can’t use it as is since they can’t cast spells. I suppose the summons could have a burn cost but I can only wonder (unless they multiclass).

Of Note: Engram channelers are a roleplaying goldmine and a nice tool to have as a game master to give hints to the PCs. Robot fighters sound lame but are anything but, they are urban warrior that could work in steampunk campaigns. I was expecting lame bonuses to attack and damage, but believe me, these guys rock!

Anything wrong?: The astrologer mesmerist archetype is cool, but the abilities don’t mesh well with the base class flavor; I would have preferred the archetype for wizards or psychics. Delver wizards and penumbral arcanists are cool and flavorful, but also don’t really scream “magitech” to me. These three feel sci-fi but not magitech, which is a shame in a book called “Magitech Archetypes”. Also, no magus? No occultists? No summoner? These three classes would have rocked in a magitech campaign with an appropriate archetype. Maybe for the sequel? (wink wink)

What cool things did this inspire?: Necrotech master androids or, better yet, ghouls with class levels, could fuel an entire campaign of technofantasy horror. What about undead giants with class levels? Something like Attack on Titan meets Tetsuo? I would play/run that! I would also LOVE to play a samsaran engram channeler whose engram is his past life or past life’s love! (you seem strangely familiar). An android kinetic shinobi who uses the new element sounds too obvious but awesome at the same time. Also obvious but cool: a ghoran, elf or any sylvan race robot fighter in the same party as an android technokineticist would bring several roleplaying opportunities for intra-party interaction, or would be perfect as a good-aligned enemy for a techno-heavy party.

Do I recommend it? Yes! I have yet to be disappointed by a LG’s book, but I must say the title of the book is a little misleading. I rate this book with 4 ½ stars, rounded down for plain blend-y, magitech campaigns but rounded up for sci-fi meets fantasy campaigns.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Magitech Archetypes
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