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Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/21/2017 04:14:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The expansion for the glorious Assassin-class clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This pdf features a new cold technique category for the momentum-based assassin, namely the integration category, which can be summed up as deep cover, social engineering, etc. The techniques within this category include having civilian contacts: Basically, you have friends that can provide a variety of benefits and for every four integration techniques you know, you’ll get an additional contact. The contacts themselves, beyond offering obvious roleplaying potential, are codified in 11 basic roles: Alchemist nets you a discount with less expensive alchemical items and firearms and allows for low-cost renting of the lab; aristocrats net you access to proper social events, beggars can discreetly keep tabs on your targets, fences can get rid of problematic items, guards keep you in touch with the watch’s notes…you get the idea. The technique is certainly fun and makes for great RPing – and if you’re inclined to run solo-campaigns/adventures, it helps there as well. One further technique allows you to relocate contacts once every 3 months, which is pretty cool as well!

Having a good cover story is represented by skill bonuses and limited SPs to cast (scaling at 9th level included). Swift action -1 presence change intimidation is nice. 8th level assassins may become immune to fear. Investigate mark deserves mention: Upon researching a target, you gain temporary techniques, but only versus the target. You may only have one target at any given time and the effects last 1 week or until the target’s vanquished. At 5th level, you get to choose an additional target, against whom you gain 1 technique. As a -2 presence change technique, killer’s ritual lets you choose an alignment and nets you protection against the chosen alignment for a pretty long time. Memento lets you take a memento of the target slain, hampering magics that seek to return the target to life, with 12th and 18th level yielding further mementos. Paladin proofing rocks – it permanently conceals you with undetectable alignment and 6th level lets you simulate a selected alignment and at 12th level, you may even be treated as the alignment you mimic for spell and ability interaction purposes.

Silver-tongued rogue nets you a scaling social skill bonus when not in combat and Sweep the Room, at -1 presence change, lets you, as a full-round action, be treated as though you had taken 20 on a Perception check – amazing when hunting trap-master style characters that can litter traps behind themselves. Unfazed by Death mitigates being nauseated by gore etc. to being sickened instead and unfazed by foulness provides immunity to inhaled poisons and SR 10 + class level versus spells with the death descriptor. Finally, there would be the 10th level technique The Watson, which nets you an assassin contact, whose technique loadout is exactly opposite to yours. The Wtason has 2 character levels less than you do and is treated as a kind of cool complementary cohort. Watson may be a cross-specialization technique and is not replaced upon dying – the guy must be resurrected. And no, does not stack with pre-existing cohorts. Minor complaint: “Special:” is not bolded.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Interjection games’ two-column b/w-standard and is as elegant and nice as we’ve come to expect. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s assassin expansion is pretty damn cool – it provides some of the social components that we really wanted to see for the class. The base class was phenomenal, but more than that, this very much made me want to play a solo-campaign with an assassin-PC…though I should mention that the contacts work just as well with a group, mind you, particularly in an intrigue-heavy game. And we get all of that for a single buck. This is a great expansion, very well worth the fair asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
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Class Expansions: Fighter Archetypes for Bad Weapons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/04/2017 11:41:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This inexpensive pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The first archetype herein would be the battle hipster (fighter), who is a specialist of the bladed scarf and thus begins play with proficiency in it. Additionally, we get a +1 natural armor bonus when wearing an undrawn bladed scarf in the neck slot. Instead of 1st level’s bonus feat, observers need to succeed a Perception check to notice the nature of a bladed scarf – the DC is based on class levels, fyi, and the DC is lower if the character attempting the skill check is proficient in the weapon. 2nd level allows the battle hipster to use the bladed scarf as a bed roll, a 20-ft.-rope or as a 10-ft. ladder. Also at 2nd level, the archetype learns to inflict the weapon’s base damage die + enhancement bonus in slashing damage when tripping/disarming foes with it, which also increases by +1 at every 4 levels thereafter. This replaces bravery. 10th level adds the option to use this in conjunction with grapples.

5th level provides the ability to meditate for one hour on a bladed scarf, attuning it – each attuned weapon is treated as though it was a +1 weapon (increasing by +1 every 4 levels thereafter): Interesting: These stack with existing bonuses and allow the battle hipster to even add special weapon qualities to the bladed scarf. And yes, the +5 cap remains intact and the verbiage gets the requirement of at least a +1 right. Attunement may be ended as a standard action that provokes AoOs or by being separated. Really cool: Attuned special weapon abilities on such a scarf suppress the special weapon quality of other weapons within 30 ft. – really like that one! 9th level locks the battle hipster into flail training and these two abilities replace weapon training 1 – 3. 6th level provides meteor stance – as a swift action, he may choose the properties of the bladed scarf, making it gain reach, but losing the disarm and tripping capabilities of the weapon while holding it thus. At 20th level, the archetype is locked into bladed scarf as weapon mastery choice.

Next up would be the javelineer fighter, who increases the range-increment of weapons that can be thrown by +10 ft. and may draw javelins as though they were ammunition. Starting at 2nd level, the javelineer generates 5 javelins each morning, +5 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd. These may not be sold or stockpiled – neat catch! Additionally, at this level, javelins no longer net the character a non-proficiency penalty when used in melee. At 5th level, javelins thus fabricated gaina +ü1 enhancement bonus, increasing by +1 every 3 levels thereafter, capping at +5.

At 4th level, the archetype, when hitting a shield with a javelin or other thrown spear, halves shield bonuses to AC, as the spear is stuck in it – the penalty thus incurred is not cumulative and stuck spears may be removed as one standard action per spear. This replaces 4th level’s bonus feat. 5th level locks the archetype into weapon training with the spear-group; no others may be chosen, but every 4 levels thereafter, the bonus increases by +1. Similarly, 20th level locks the archetype into the spear group for weapon mastery.

At 8th level, the javelineer may sunder at range with thrown weapons from the spear group, ignoring the javelin’s enhancement bonus in hardness. At 9th level, when performing a full attack and starting it off with a ranged spear, all subsequent attacks may be performed with ghostly duplicates of this first thrown spear, which is potent and somewhat solves the cost issue. 13th level nets Shot on the Run, usable for spears exclusively.

Purifiers are mace/Morningstar/light hammer specialist fighters – instead of weapon training, the weapons burst into flame, dealing an additional 1 fire damage, which increases to 1d4 at 5th level, +1d4 at 9th level and every 4 levels thereafter. On crits, this added damage is maximized. Fire damage thus caused ignores fire resistances of undead, evil outsiders and evil dragons, with 13th level allowing the purifier to ignore even fire immunity of these creature types. At 2nd level, the purifier may, as a standard action or in place of a main-hand attack of a full attack, while wielding the archetype’s preferred weapons, hurl flames at a creature within 60 ft., inflicting the weapon’s base damage die fire damage on successful hits. Special weapon abilities apply to this and similarly, the aforementioned bonus fire damage is added to the assault, though RAW, the resistance/immunity ignoring component is not gained by the ability, which makes going into melee still potentially the preferred strategy – nice. This replaces the bonus feat at 2nd level.

At 6th level, instead of a bonus feat, the purifier may, instead of a melee attack, touch himself with the flames, gaining ½ class level temporary hit points that last for a round. 10th level nets consuming purity, which replaces the bonus feat and makes creatures that take fire damage from the weapon also catch fire – fire damage thus dealt ignores resistance and immunity of the aforementioned creature types. Starting at 14th level, upon reducing an enemy creature of the undead, evil outsider/dragon types to 0 hp, he may fling flames as a free action, swift action if the target was weak, preventing undead kitten-abuse. The capstone adds 20 fire damage on crits, which, once again, ignores immunities and resistances of the noted creature types. The archetype comes with two feats – one that replaces fire damage with cold damage for all class features and one that lets you add a type chosen from favored enemy’s lists to the creatures that are affected by the flames/cold of the archetype.

Quartersawn sluggers are a more complex operation, gaining their own class table, with full BAB-progression, good Fort-saves and spontaneous spellcasting governed by Cha of up to 3rd spell level, with spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard list. The archetype may only learn single-target spells with a casting time of 1 standard action or less and they may never cast spells directly into creatures, instead being limited to cast them into spell storing weapons – as a minor formatting complaint, the special weapon ability’s not italicized in the text. Quartersawn sluggers do not suffer from arcane spell failure when wearing light or medium armor and using a shield (excluding tower shields). Spells with somatic components still have spell failure when cast in heavy armor or while using a tower shield. This replaces armor training. The archetype begins play with the ability to meditate on a wooden club or greatclub, attuning it in a process that takes 1 hour. The attuned weapon gains the spell storing weapon special ability. Starting at 7th level and 15th level, the quartersawn slugger can maintain an extra attuned club, respectively. Starting at 5th level, the archetype’s locked into hammers for weapon training, and does not gain other weapon trainings, instead increasing the bonus granted by +1 every 4 levels after 5th. Similarly, 20th level locks weapon mastery into club or greatclub.

The final archetype herein would be the trick slinger, who is, surprise, the sling specialist in this pdf. Instead of the bonus feat gained at 1st level, the archetype may choose a variety of sling tricks whenever he gains bonus feats: These sling tricks modify shots fired with slings and sling gloves; 1/round, you may declare an attack to be a sling trick and only one sling trick may be applied to a given attack. Rapid Shot’s additional attack can, just fyi., not be a trick shot. The trick shots presented include increased range increments, causing bleed damage (ouch!), ignoring Dex-mod DR (excluding DR/epic), ricochet…some nice ones here! When dealing 0 damage or missing, you can add a second attack at a different target at -2 to atk…and there is the option to cause somewhat splash-like damage with shattering sling bullets. There is also an option to attack touch AC, but also losing ability modifier to damage with such a shot. 5th level once again provides the specialty weapon training with scaling bonuses. Slightly confusing at first glance: This ability and all subsequent abilities are formatted as though they were sling tricks, not regular archetype class features.

9th level increases the number of trick shots per round to 2. 13th level allows for a full attack with a thrown weapon using sling bullets as a standard action, but at -5 to all attacks. 17th level nets basically a flurry with the sling at -2, stacking with Rapid Shot. 20th level auto-confirms sling crits and increases damage multiplier by 1. The archetype comes with a feat that unlocks trick shots for weapons using sling bullets that are not slings or sling gloves.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are as tight as we’ve come to expect from interjection Games; while the pdf does sport a few formatting hiccups, none impede the rules-language provided for the archetypes. Layout adheres to the classic, nice 2-column b/w-standard and art is fitting public domain stock. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them at this length.

Bradley Crouch is an excellent designer; his take on some of the more maligned weapon choices makes that evident at a glance. The material presented is nice, has some cool visuals and offers interesting playing experiences, all for a very low and more than fair price point. While the cosmetic formatting hiccups are slightly annoying, the more than fair price does make up for them. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Fighter Archetypes for Bad Weapons
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Strange Magic Expanded - Ethermagic for Core Classes (PFRPG, Standalone)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2017 04:02:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little expansion for the amazing Strange Magic-tome clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

First things first: This is a stand-alone expansion for Strange Magic – it does not require the main book: 24 alteration and voidmeld manifestations are reproduced for your convenience within this pdf. (As a purely cosmetic grip – voidmeld manifestations don’t have a header, which could be slightly confusing for novices of ethermagic) – these reproduced pieces take btw. up 3 pages of the pdf.

The first archetype here would be the cosmic minstrel, who replaces bardic knowledge and versatile performance with knowing 2 1st-level alteration manifestations, + another one at 5th level and every 6 class levels thereafter, treating his caster level as equal to his class level. When he begins a bardic performance, he chooses a 1st level alteration manifestation known, gaining its benefits for the duration of the performance. Since he does not have an ether point pool, he cannot learn some of the more potent alteration manifestations. At 10th level, the archetype replaces jack of all trades by extending the benefits of the alteration triggered by the bardic performance to allies within 30 ft. Nice way to dabble into the basics of ethermagic.

The etherblade fighter replaces weapon training with imperfect voidmeld: At 5th level, he gets two 1st-level voidmeld manifestations, with 9th level and every 4 class levels thereafter yielding another. For the purpose of these, the caster level is treated as the class level. After resting, one voidmeld manifestation may be added to a given weapon for 24 hours, treating the weapon as a void blade. Starting at 9th level and again at 17th level, the etherblade can meditate on an additional weapon, respectively, which may have a different voidmeld applied. At 9th and 13th level, the etherblade may place an additional voidmeld in a given weapon, and each weapon may have a different combination. Instead of weapon mastery, the etherblade learns two 2nd level voidmeld manifestations, and when meditating, an additional 2nd level voidmeld manifestation may be added to the 1st level voidmeld manifestations of a given weapon. Oh, and yeah, if required, save DCs for the voidmelds of the archetype are governed by Charisma.

Wizards get no less than three arcane schools: The Ether arcane school is associated with evocation and replaces force missile and elemental wall. Instead, it nets a power point pool equal to 1 + 1/5 class level, rounded down. As a standard action, you can expend power points equal to the spell level of a prepared evocation spell you have already cast; the spell is prepared again, as though it hadn’t been cast. The pool replenishes after rest. 8th level lets you, whenever you roll a natural 1 on an evocation damage die, you gain 1 temporary hit point. These last for 1 minute and stack with themselves, up to a maximum of twice Intelligence modifier and their duration refreshes when the ability is triggered again.

The second arcane school would be Gravity, associated with transmutation, replaces telekinetic fist and shape change. Instead, you gain borrowed time: As a swift action, you can grant yourself a move action, but you are staggered for 1 round at the beginning of your next turn. Big kudos: You can’t cheese the ability by being immune to the condition. The ability may be used 1/day + 1/day for every 6 wizard levels you have. 8th level yields gravity well, usable 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day. As a standard action, you can hurl gravity as a kind of splash weapon that deals untyped damage and staggers the target of a direct hit on a failed Fort-save. Slightly confusing at first glance: While the glob is hurled as though it is a thrown splash weapon, it is not – thus, no splash damage

The Madness arcane school, finally, is associated with Enchantment and replaces dazing touch and aura of despair. As a standard action, the wizard can confuse a creature within 30 ft. as a ranged touch attack for 1 round, usable 3 + Int times per day. At 8th level, we get a really potent, if unreliable ability – targets of your enchantments are confused for 1 round – no save. While both are mind-affecting abilities, these are pretty potent. Still, being unreliable, this does make sense…though personally, I’d cap the number of targets confused by one spell.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Interjection Games’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with fitting swirly b/w-art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s latest expansion for ethermagic allows for an easy way to dabble in the flavor and basics of ethermagic, without requiring knowledge of the system – basically, this can be considered to be a kind of teaser of sorts and it does that job well. The new class options for the core classes herein are interesting and perform interesting rules-operations, highlighting the value of ethermagic concepts beyond their use within the system. For the low and fair asking price, this is definitely worth checking out, particularly if what you’re reading here sounds interesting to you.

From a design-perspective, it’s certainly nice to have some reference archetypes to gage power-levels for further modifications. All in all, this should be considered to be a solid, unpretentious pdf for those curious about the system and hesitant to take the plunge; it is not mind-blowing per se, but well-crafted and fun. This is, in my book, a good pdf I’d round down for, but its very low $1 asking price upgrades my final verdict of 4.5 stars – I will round up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic Expanded - Ethermagic for Core Classes (PFRPG, Standalone)
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The Reaper; OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Play Everything
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2017 05:54:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base class clocks in at a massive 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It should be noted that this class was commissioned via the Interjection Games' patreon by Joshua Ikenberry - which is an amazing thing, if you ask me.

Anyway, this class is a bit different than a normal Interjection Games class - you see, usually, Interjection Games classes tend to be meticulously designed to work in both the grittiest and most high-fantasy of campaigns - this one comes with a disclaimer that the weaker classes tend to fall behind its potency...but let's look how this works in detail!

Chassis-wise, the reaper gets d6 HD, 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves as well as 2 + Int skills per level. They also get light armor and shield proficiency, excluding tower shields. The reaper can suffer from arcane spell failure when wearing metal armor. At 1st level, the reaper gains an essence pool equal to 3 times the reaper's class level. At 9th level, one mental attribute is chosen and adds the chosen ability score modifier to the number, with 13th level adding two. The pool replenishes after 8 hours of rest. At 1st level, the character learns the signature ability called reaping.

The idea here is that all soulsown are created around a core, a so-called seed. These cores are known as seeds and the reaper begins play with two of them. The reaper gains an additional one at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter. There are different seed subtypes, which sport a pool system and a wide reach, granting abilities. The seeds available are arcane, divine, martial and primal - primal and martial have two different pool systems. Arcane, divine and primal soulsown begin play knowing a single spell from the associated spell-list, learning an additional spell on a level up. The maximum spell level available increases at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter, capping at 6th spell level, though the spell-save DC is instead 10 + 1/2 class level +spellcasting ability modifier of the soulsown. Casting is done by expending essence points equal to the spell's level. Spells learned have to adhere to a pyramid rule.

Binding a soulsown is referred to as threshing and requires 1 hour after an 8 hour-rest. At 3rd level, the process called germination allows a reaper to form a temporary secondary bond with a soulsown as a swift action that grants the benefits for 1 minute and while it lasts, it grants the seed's core ability and talents that work while germinating. Only one germination may be in effect at a given time. and it may be used 1/day, plus an additional time per day at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Starting at 5th level, germination also yields 1d4 temporary essence points, which increases to 2d4 and 3d4 at 11th and 17th level, respectively. Threshing and germination are collectively known as "binding". 5th level provides speak with dead to all reapers of the arcane, divine and primal seeds, but it does not count towards the pyramid rule.

Seeds start with a granted talent and gain an additional talent at 2nd level, +another talent at 4th level and every even level thereafter. Martial seeds yield a bonus feat OR summon weapon at 1st level, plus an additional benefit at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. The more often summon weapon is taken, the more powerful is the called weaponry, which may be btw. summoned at a 2 essence cost, lasting for 1 minute. Martial soulsown also yields proficiency with martial weapons, +4 Con for the purpose of calculating hit points. Though this is modified, depending on the soulsown bound - you see, the class can actually have a 1/2, 3/4 or full BAB-progression, depending on the types of soulsown bound.

Soulsown talents govern their save DC as mentioned before; if the reaper has no spellcasting seed, the governing save-DC attribute defaults to Charisma. Basically, the soulsown learns the talents, which the reaper then proceeds to basically channel while bound to the soulsown. This also extends to the wide variety of soulsown pets the reaper can gain access to -they manifest as a conglomerate with the soulsown bound and thus, they only manifest when the respective soulsown is bound - the pet has an effective level of reaper level -3, minimum 1 for the purpose of determining power. Favored class option-wise, we cover the core races, aasimar, drow, hobgoblin, kitsune, kobold, orc, puddling, tiefling, vanara and vishkanya and they are pretty cool

The respective soulsown talents are grouped by seed and level where they may be chosen no prerequisite and after that, every 2 levels unlock new ones and some require other prerequisites. All of these are only unlocked when the reaper has the respective soulsown bound. The talents are extremely diverse and half of the pdf is devoted to listing these. In short, these can be envisioned as a massive array of "choose your own class features" array - and the extent of material available is MASSIVE. I mean it. Cantrips? Check. Bonded objects? Check. Domains. Beyond these gloriana (composition magic), lay on hands or touch of corruption, bloodline powers, rod of wonder effects, potion creation, counterspelling, scent, bag of tricks, phantom alchemy (cannot be sold), a lacing option with its own pool to add effects to the reaper's spellcasting, skills, bonuses - from the active to the passive, there is a true cornucopia of options available here - the more powerful of which, obviously, use the previously mentioned pools granted by the soulsown as resources...and yes, proper combat maneuver use and capstones can be found here - from vastly increased essence pools to a variety of different options, there is A LOT here.

I should also mention totems, which can be pictured as deployable things that can be used to channel effects, allowing for the setting up of AoE-buff stations, an artillery totem, sentries, etc. - and there are means to specialize in this really cool subset of talents with a unique pool. Really cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches and the rules-language is as impressively precise as we've come to expect from Bradley Crouch. Layout adheres to Interjection games' 2-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting stock art. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks to the big sections, but not to the respective sub-abilities.

Sooo...the reaper is an impressively strong class, designed to make altaholic players (you know, players who constantly want to play new characters) stick with one character for once...and guess what? It actually works! More importantly, it clocks imho in at tier 3 (as intended by the design) and actually is better balanced than a TON of options I get to see on a regular basis. Considering the wide open nature and huge foot-print of the class, this is doubly impressive. The class is pretty complex and something for advanced players, obviously - and due to its complexity, the respective pools and the like may take a bit of close reading to properly understand, but the sidebars help there...but the class actually has a use beyond the obvious: Know how an issue with 1-on-1-modules tend to be that you need the right class/character to make the module fun? Well, the reaper is pretty much PERFECT for whole 1-on-1-campaigns. Seriously, the flexibility of choices allow for the creation of extremely diverse challenges, making the class a godsend for such games. Personally, I'll gladly allow this class in my games - while potent, it should not break the game and its massive flexibility is paid for with a relative fragility.

It should also be noted that the class, beyond being a master-scavenger with a ton of modes, also features quite a lot of utterly unique options that manage to codify what would otherwise be options that are too strong in a concise and compelling manner. In short: The reaper is an AMAZING class; it's fun, versatile and something for every player who easily gets bored with a given class. This is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Reaper; OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Play Everything
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Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 15:56:39

I just wrote a review for The Assassin by IG. This cheap, short expansion is just 3 pages long, but it contains a 4th cold technique tree that, while not undispensable from the original, expand the character concepts you can build.

A couple of techniques come form the "contacts" mini-tree, starting with a choice from alchemist, blacksmith, beggar (that sort of things). The more Integration techniques you learn, the more contacts you get. (maximum of 4). With a follow-up you can make your contacts move to another part of the city, and with the highes ability you mke it a kind of cohort that is also an assassin with exactly the opposite technique trees you have (the 2 cold and the 2 hot you didn't choose at 1st level).

Another mini tree is the Mark. The first technique give you extra Technique points against the target of your mark, and the follow-up lets you keep a memento of the victim that prevents them to be raisen as undead or from the dead.

Other abilities get you accostumed to gore, fear and even poison.

All in all an interesting technique tree (weren't this categories? I prefer tree by the way) for just a meager dollar. If you already bought the assassin and read it, you will know how cool is it and you will want this book, so shell out that dollar already!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
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The Onmyoji - A Japanese Occult Diviner [PFRPG]
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 15:55:44

The Onmyoji for Pathfinder is Interjection Games take on a real-world concept, an old type of nature priest from Japan’s past. There have been much more Onmyoji in D&D that I can recall, but all of them were just either a cleric or a wizard with a funny hat. As with many other version by IG, THIS Onmyoji is made from scratch, combining point-based casting, pet and temporary item creation to present something completely new, all stepped in Japanese flavor and tradition.

What’s inside? 20 pages of content for 4 bucks, which include:

-The Onmyoji base class: With a chassis similar to a wizard (bad BAB, good Will save), but more skilled (4 skill points to spend on 14 class skills, of note being linguistics, 4 areas of knowledge, and even use magic device), and only a little over simple weapon proficiencies and only shields, we don’t have a front-liner. The Onmyoji has an interesting armor restriction where abilities are costlier if you don armor that you aren’t proficient in, so 1 level of fighter or something will let you cast in full armor sans penalties. Like clerics, Onmyoji derive class abilities from both wisdom and charisma, so this makes them neither SAD nor MAD.

Onmyoji have three defining class features: Prayers, Petitions and Shikigami. Among their other assorted class features they get access to a couple of cycle-able wizard and cleric cantrips, and a Charisma-based Spirit pool to empower some basic abilities of their talismans, and their Petitions.

Talismans can be thought as temporary magical items. The Onmyoji starts knowing two Prayers to place on the Talismans, and 1 more at 3rd and every two more levels (11 prayers at 19th level). Talismans can be made in two ways. O-fuda are placed and emanate power in a 10-foot radius, while Omamori are placed on 1 creature and only affect that creature. Onmyoji can place a number of Talismans equal to their class level plus their wisdom modifier.

Petitions are the Onmyoji “spells”. They learn their first at 2nd level and learn another every two levels. Since they are granted abilities, the Onmyoji uses charisma as the casting stat. Each Petition has a Spirit point cost, but only a few have a level required and most scale with level.

Shikigami are the “pets” of Onmyoji. They are kami bound to tiny origami paper constructs, so while they are treated as a construct, they are intelligent. As tiny creatures, they are not really combat able, but damn they are though. They work more like wizard familiars and even give the Onmyoji the ability a familiar of their form would grant. They can activate talismans (albeit a bit weaker) that count towards their master’s maximum, and they have their own spirit pool they can use to affect talismans it placed.

-Favored Class Bonus: As always, these cover the core races plus a few others, and they give abilities beyond the old “extra something”. A lot of these enhance the Shikigami beyond a hit point or a skill point. You can get extra feats for it, give it hardness or even heal it a little for free after using a petition. Other bonuses interact in interesting ways with talismans and petitions, from making them tougher, deadlier or just plain meaner.

-Feats: This section include 26 feats, in three categories: Onmyoji, Shikigami and Friendship. Onmyoji feats start with 4 “Aid” feats that improve their minor magical abilities, getting more cantrips and from more lists and a specific 1st level spell once per day from said list, improving to twice per day with another feat, which rewards specialization; this mini-feat chain culminates in one that interacts with a couple of “Gift” petitions tied to said “Aid” feats, reducing the Spirit point cost to 0 the first time you perform the petition. Then there are two feats that interact with one another, one giving you an extra petition and the other extra Spirit pool points, but you can’t get the later feat more than the former, demanding commitment (which is nice). Extra talisman prayers, reduced petition and a feat that basically gives your shikigami a bonus feat cost round up the Onmyoji feats. Now, Shikigami feats ARE NOT for the Onmyoji, but for the Shikigami itself to buy with its own feats: from getting magic item slots, to learning petition from its master, to being tougher physically and spiritually. It is nice to see the new pet getting this much love. Finally, Friendship feats are a collection of 7 feats that lets you be favored in the eyes of one of the 7 Lucky Gods of Japanese mythology. You can only take one, and all have a specific petition as a prerequisite. The powers are flavorful and varied, but some are more powerful than others.

-33 Onmyoji Petitions: All of these are steeped in Japanese mythology and are so flavorful that after running an Onmyoji expect all wizards and clerics in such a campaign start retraining. Kami of the Morning Dew summons a creature composed of dew (seems to have been pulled straightly from a Ghibli movie!), that explodes and heals the recipient of the petition after it receives an attack or a minute passes, whichever comes first. Not only this ability is more tactical than say, Cure Wounds spells, it feels more immersive and magical. On the Spring Breeze could just be a Fly spell, but the Onmyoji surrounds the recipient in ethereal cherry blossoms that lift the target. It could be argued that a Fly spell could be flavored like that, but not all players and game masters are gifted at descriptions, and this could make new players feel the magic of fantasy roleplaying.

-29 Talisman Prayers: Now these can come in two versions, Omamori and O-fuda, but not all of them have both. You can use Censured Warding to protect a place with continuous force damage, or maybe use the Foresight talisman to either give a substantial insight attack bonus to allies in range of the O-fuda, or the recipient of the Omamori a similar bonus, but huge.

Of Note: Everything. That’s right, every single part of the class is just plain awesome, evocative and really captures the feeling of the Onmyoji. My favorite part are the talismans, since these temporary magical items are something no other class does! They can be attacked and destroyed, which create unique encounter possibilities (we have to destroy that thing!).

Anything wrong?: The Onmyoji’s greatest strength might arguably be its only weakness. If you are in a campaign that is far away from fantasy Japan, or that doesn’t even have one, it could be a bit difficult to justify the existence of this class... But only a bit, since you can re-flavor the class as a fetish maker, witch doctor, or other practitioner of older folk magic. It wouldn’t be an easy task, but you HAVE that option in case you need it.

What I want: Since this is a Japanese-flavored class, I would like more interaction with parts of that region that are already in the game… Mainly Kami and other Japanese monsters, but also Monks and divine casters. How can Spirit pool interact with Ki? Granted powers? Finally, I can’t complain with support for the class itself, since it is going to be part of Strange Magic 2 and there is already a short follow-up with two archetypes.

What cool things did this inspire?: If you have ever seen the movie Onmyoji and its sequel, Onmyoji 2, you WILL want to play an Onmyoji, maybe of the Kitsune race, that’s part of the court. I was also going to run a Japanese-themes campaign with dark tones using the Kaidan campaign setting, which is almost out by another awesome company, Rite Publishing, who by the way have their own Onmyoji archetype for wizards, but this one mops the floor with that one.

Do I recommend it?: If you are tired of Vancian magic and it’s squalid presentation with 0 flavor text or descriptions, and if you want a tactically compelling caster that requires more from you than just reading an on-line guide on how to “win” at Pathfinder, I fully recommend this little great book. I offer 5 elemental star-shaped magatamas!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Onmyoji - A Japanese Occult Diviner [PFRPG]
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Ultimate Antipodism - Drawn from Light and Darkness
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 06:29:08

Ultimate Antipodism for Pathfinder is a reimagining of the shadow magic system, from the old 3.5 book Tome of Magic (and maybe a prestige class in the old Tome of Battle, called the Shadow Sun Ninja), by Interjection Games. The original had amazing art and flavor plus enough support to stand on its own, but it was flawed mechanically. It includes all the content from two other class books (The Edgewalker and the Antipodist, plus the Mote Bringer), plus a 3rd class, the Edgeblade, and expanded content for the original two. Interjection games’ products are perfect for people who are bored of the same Vancian magic and spell lists, the same 3.5 sub-systems.

What’s inside? 93 pages of content (for 11 bucks!), which include:

-The Antipodist base class, who are the “wizards” of the antipodism world. They are kinda like commoners (worse BAB, saves and skill points possible and only simple weapons proficiency, but nice skill list though and they can increase all saves later) with strange powers. They get access to two pools of energy, radiant and shadow, to empower their abilities, both equal to their class level but one adding wisdom modifier and the other intelligence. Their “spells” are called loci, but they can be extraordinary, supernatural or spell-like. They come in 3 broad types (light, dark and both), and are further divided into 9 philosophies (4 dark, 4 light and one both). There is an important distinction mentioning antipodists as philosophers, not spellcasters; while basically the same, they can’t take spellcaster-only feats or access prestige classes. Some loci don’t cost anything to activate, are passive, and always active. Powers that do have costs are active, require a specific type of action to activate, and use specific DC formulas that scale better than spells, since there are only four levels of power.

The antipodist has a kind of in-class specialization called a philosophical leaning, where you can devote to radiance and almost double your light pool, loosing access to the 4 shadow philosophies. You can do the same for shadow, or you can devote to twilight, the most versatile of the three specs; this choice also dictates your capstone ability. Later on their careers, they get some other abilities. They get a kind of cantrip (more at higher levels), an active 1st level locus that costs 0 points but works at reduced power, and later can treat higher level loci in this way a few times per day. They can also increase one or both of their pools and get a save bonus, depending of the philosophical leaning. Finally they get an ability dictated by their most-studied philosophy, ranging from miss chance, to bonus hp, to extra pool points. The class finishes with favored class bonus for the core races plus some others.

One thing of note is that, while the philosophies themselves are not tied to alignment, there is a lot of roleplaying potential in the Antipodist progression, like getting away from the light and embracing the darkness, and it is supported by the author! You could further this with the re-train rules but are not needed, and you could always surprise your friends when your pacifist healer suddenly throws a vile darkness attack!

The Antipodist gets access to two archetypes. The Extremist is like a 4th philosophical leaning, one that embraces the difference between light and darkness and rejects twilight, and is barred from choosing twilight loci! They get a third pool, albeit empty, that has its own rules to fill and spend.

The second archetypes is the Specialist Philosopher, whose choice of preferred philosophy dictates many of the normally versatile class features. In exchange for this narrower focus, they get extra loci from their specialty and a different capstone ability.

Now on the loci themselves, they are tied to either light or darkness (some both), in theme and metaphorically, since they cover things like dreams, illusions, illumination of thought etc. The effects are so varied that you won’t miss arcane magic schools. As mentioned before, loci are divided in 9 philosophies with 4 levels of power. There are 6 1st level loci per philosophie, 5 2nd, and 4 3rd and 4th each, for a grand total of 171 loci! (19 per philosophy)

-The Edgeblade base class, people of action and warrior philosophers. They are the “warriors” among the antipodism classes, and as such are the most combat able. Like the other two, Edgeblades get two pools to empower their abilities. Unlike the others, they get two empty residuum pools that are filled by using non-finisher waypoints (the powers of the class), but start emptying if no waypoints are used, to a minimum of a so-called stability score that starts at 1 but doesn’t go up by simple level up. This residuum points are used to power residuum abilities, which come in the by now familiar light/dark/twilight flavors and are either extraordinary or supernatural in nature. The Edgeblade starts with 1 of each, and while they learn more as they level up, they have to prepare exactly 3, one of each type, from among the ones they know (they can prepare 4 as a capstone). Some of this are passive abilities that give an incremental bonus based on the size of the residuum pool, while others are active and spend points from it. Since many of their abilities depend on wisdom and intelligence, Edgeblades receive an incremental insight bonus to both, for the purposes of calculating DCs only. They also get a bonus to their pools like the antipodist, and also bonus feats (they’re warriors after all).

Now, waypoints are the powers of the class. Like loci, there are dark, light and twilight (meaning both light and dark) waypoints, but they are not divided by philosophies or levels, though some have level or other prerequisites. A total of 12 waypoints are learnt by Edgeblades during their careers (2 at 1st level, plus one every even level). At 5th, 10th and 15th levels they unlock greater waypoints, which are more powerful but otherwise are and function as waypoints. From 6th level on, when a single-classed Edgeblade would gain their first iterative attack, they can use a non-finisher waypoint in place of their first attack each round, or a finisher in lieu of all attacks of the round (important if the Edgeblade somehow got the pounce ability). We finish the base class section with favored class bonus for the core and some other races.

Like antipodists, they receive two archetypes. Dawnblades focus on the light, losing access to darkness pool (though they almost double their radiant pool), darkness residuum pool and abilities, and the ability to learn dark waypoints. In exchange they get access to exclusive residuum abilities, their residuum pool doesn’t empty by itself, and they reduce the residuum cost payment of finishers by 1. Duskblades are the dark counterparts of Dawnblades, but focus on darkness instead. They aren’t just mirror copies, though; on top of all the mirroring, instead of cost-reduction they tie their residuum abilities with 4 phases of the moon (each with different abilities), which have a 1 in 5 chance to cycle to the next phase each round, giving the Duskblade a kind of chaos magic feel.

-The Edgewalker base class, the shadow dancing, thieving monks of the antipodists. They have medium combat abilities, two good saves (supposedly) and 4 skill points per level (which would normally irk me, but they are infiltrators, not facemen). Like other roguish types, they get sneak attack (up to 7d6), evasion and uncanny dodge and later the improved versions of both, and hide in plain sight. They get the same radiant and shadow pools and access to waypoints and greater waypoints of the Edgeblade, sans residuum. As a capstone they can expend radiant points to empower dark waypoints and vice versa. We finish the base class section with favored class bonuses for the core races and some others.

Like the Edgeblade, we have two specialist classes for Edgewalkers. Mote Bringers would be the light specialists, almost doubling their radiant pools and losing access to darkness-only waypoints. Their unique feature is the ability to craft a shawl made of light itself. As it is made of light, it gives penalties to Stealth checks but gives a small dodge bonus to AC, but the creator can deactivate it losing all bonus and the sole penalty. The shawl is infused with mote points, which power “Infusions”, magical abilities learned by the Mote Bringer. At the beginning of the day, the creator infuses the shawl with as many abilities as he can pay for. The Shadowfriend would be the darkness specialist. Instead of a versatile magical item, Shadowfriends are friends of their shadows! Lameness aside, this in game terms translates to having the shadowy remnants of yourself from an alternate dimension as your “pet”. They become dynamic allies, making for completely different playing and tactical experiences.

-Feats: This section include 15 “antipode” feats, which is a way to denote them as antipode classes only. Edgeblades and Edgewalkers can get a first-level locus from the Antipodist, treating it as a waypoint with the Compatible Philosophies feat, and this becomes a mini-chain of feats. Other feats increase pools, residuum stability scores, give a bonus when alternating loci, among other things. No toys for other classes though.

-Waypoint List: The original “antipode” magic before loci were introduced. These come in a format similar to spells, starting with the name, their types (Ex, Sp or Su, as well as Dark and/or Light and if it is a Finisher), followed by range, area, duration, cost, requirements and compatible classes noted before the effect. There are many different abilities available, from a simple dodge AC bonus to blasts of light, from a perception bonus to a shadow illusion that fools attackers into wasting their abilities, from a little sneak attack bonus to the ability to coat your weapons in liquid light. Most of the abilities are accompanied by awesome visuals, ripe to give descriptions that give the feeling you are in a fantasy world.

Of Note: Having looked at tons of base class designs, it is easy to play it “safe” and just use what is there with maybe one or two “new” things, which is not a bad thing, as seen in the Occult Adventures book or other 3pp books like Path of Shadows (all classes but the kineticists are spellcasters). Not so with most if not all the material from Interjection Games. There is just this feeling that you are not in Kansas anymore, that you are playing with something really new, a feeling I got when playing 2nd edition psionicists, or 3rd edition warlocks and totemists. The best thing this book has is its novel design with compelling and intriguing design choices. Beyond that, the Edgeblade is my favorite of the base classes, even if you have to juggle with many concepts at once.

Anything wrong?: The author must be a swimmer, because he surely like pools (…). Awful jokes aside, the Edgeblade alone has 4 pools to juggle. Also, leveling up can be a bit painful since there are so many options to choose from. Finally, while it is understandable, there is not a single character art, not even on the cover. I should be grateful I have this book, since after reading the individual parts’ reviews I was left salivating and I FINALLY could get a compilation at a good price, but at least one illustration on the cover would have been nice. There are many repetitions in the book, and I think this is a side effect of the book being a compilation with months between the designing of each individual part. I know Wizards and Paizo do it, but I don’t particularly like it. The worst offenders are in the archetype section, since normally you don’t see repetitions there, especially grating was the Mote Bringer, since it is the only archetype sporting a full class table progression, while all the others don’t. Why is it special? What does it have that the others not? Why do you love my brother more, mom? Er… The PDF lacks an index, which makes navigating it a pain in the donkey (I used two readers for easier navigation) and, as I mentioned, the editing suffers a bit from repetition.

What I want: I would have liked some kind of nomenclature for the waypoints, something that made the creation of characters a bit easier (the players in my group are lazy). Maybe something as simple as passive, active, reactive, like the original Tome of Battle did, or maybe divide them into schools, akin to the antipodists’ philosophies. I would have liked the author to run with the all-bad-saves-but-with-bonuses-later feature of the Antipodist for at least the Edgeblade, it makes for further diversifying of “builds”. Also some way for other classes to dabble in antipodism; I mean, psionics do that, incarnum does that, why not antipodism? Maybe some archetypes for other classes like bards, sorcerers or oracles. Maybe some hybrid prestige classes that mingle antipodism and traditional magic. Also a couple of items, or monsters (light, dark and twilight monster template?). More support in general.

What cool things did this inspire?: From the players’ side, I’m gonna make a twilight specialist Antipodist with a homebrew race called a “Rilmanar” (basically the neutral version of aasimar/tiefling, borrowing the name from the original true neutral outsider race of DnD), which doesn’t necessarily descend from Aeons; in my character’s case, he is the son of a reformed tiefling witch and a disheartened aasimar paladin. Also, a witchwolf (skinwalker variant) duskblade is thematically fitting. A dhampir shadowfriend is also intriguing, giving that vampires normally don’t have shadows and suddenly a vampire-descendant is friend with one LOL. From the game master side, I have been wanting to hack one of Paizo’s adventures, with different encounters, and the “end boss” of the Ruby Phoenix Tournament presents a pair of Wizards, one master of air and the other of earth but with some Monk levels. I’m gonna change them to a pair of Antipodists, one focused on light and the other on darkness but with Edgeblade levels (or hungry ghost Monk? Or GURU sin-eater from Akashic Mysteries). Finally, a type of Efreet sun soldiers with locus-like abilities instead of spell-like will be a perfect addition to my Return to Al-Qadim adventure (with Pathfinder rules).

Do I recommend it?: Hell yeah! I bought the book after reading End’s review, and I don’t regret it. Even with the conservative, Paizo-like editing and the lack of art, this is a book that oozes awesome. As always from the publisher, don’t come expecting Paizo or Legendary Games level of art, and don’t come expecting yet another tasteless class which basically is a variant of another but with Vancian casting. With those two caveats in mind, I would grade the book with 4.5 morning stars, but since this website doesn’t support half, I will round up. The quality of the material and design deserves it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Antipodism - Drawn from Light and Darkness
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Master of Forms Expanded - Shadow and Darkness
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 06:27:16

Silent as a Shadow

This book is the awesome follow-up for The Master of Forms for Pathfinder by Interjection Games. It includes a fully supported 6th element (and kind of a 7th), pluse four archetypes. (even my review's title is the follow-up of the previus book's review's title)

What’s inside? 15 pages of content for 4 1/2 bucks, which include:

-The Shadow Element: This 6th element for the master of forms is special. While the other five elements are described as the building blocks of the cosmos, the shadow would be what binds the others together. It includes a shadow stance that makes it easier to shift to other elemental stances. Like the other elements, shadow has 2 secret arts, one that wild cards 3 other elemental forms, and another that impedes supernatural powers (think pressure points). Finally, shadow has 16 forms to choose from (one more than the other 5 elements, who does he think he is?). Like in my past review, I will choose two at random. Imitation is an advanced form that requires the full four Focus points to use and it uses all 4; in exchange, you can activate any form that you meet the requirements for, even if you don’t know it. This form has a duration of one round, but you can perform an extra form (meaning you use the extra form to use the temporary one). Reckless Retaliation can be performed in response to an attack of opportunity, giving you damage reduction equal to half your level against it. If you are damaged anyway, the attacker provokes an attack of opportunity from you.

-4 Archetypes: While not really missed from the original, more options are always good.

Drifting Ones are masters that avoid focusing on one element. They in fact don’t gain stances, since repeated use of same element forms makes them lose focus. Instead, they get a Drifting Stance that comes into play after activating 3 forms but of different elements. They also can’t learn Secret Arts, since they can only be activated during an elemental stance. Instead of them, they get unique abilities that let them imitate or manipulate other elements, even able to enter a stance momentarily and at high level even perform any Secret Art once per day! They are not thematically compatible with the other archetypes, but you CAN be a drifting one and a Partisan and/or Unbalanced Master.

Elemental Partisans focus on one of the 5 elements (not shadow) and eschew another specific element. Unlike Greek, they are not diametrically opposed to another element, instead following a kind of circle. They can’t learn forms or Secret Arts from their opposed element, which bars them from entering that element’s stance and activating its Secret Arts. To make up for the lost element, Partisans get access to three elemental forms unique to their specialization, upping the available forms to 18 per element (take that shadow!).

Unbalanced Masters similarly specialize in one of the 6 elements (shadow gets some love). However, instead of locking out one element, they can’t access the most powerful forms of all the other elements (those that require -4 Focus change), and the +1 Focus change forms of other elements don’t work after having 2 Focus. In exchange, they get a pool of points equal to their level, which functions differently according to the elemental specialization. Earth, Fire and Cold (should have been Earth, Wind and Fire but oh well) can use these points to pay for the costs of their forms under certain circumstances, allowing them to get out the big guns without too much preparation. The other three elements can use their points for especial, thematically fitting abilities.

The last archetype, Vessel of Darkness, can be considered a variant class since it changes the base class so much. They can be thought as specialist on Darkness, which would be the anti-element and they are kind of possessed by a dark being called an “Observer” from “Elsewhere” (both TM). They can’t learn standard forms, which bars them from entering Stances and thus activating Secret Arts. Instead of Secret Arts, they get a Gift from Elsewhere at 2nd, 7th and every 5 levels thereafter, which are strange darkness based abilities (17 in total). Choosing at random, Baleful Observation gives them a damaging gaze attack, while Fortified Vessel, a high level ability with another gift as prerequisite, gives the Vessel medium fortification. They get a Darkness/Escalation pool (it is called both ways in the text; I would use another name since I THINK they share a name with pools from another class by the same author) that is used by some of the forms that can be escalated. They also loose Purity of Body and Diamond Body in exchange for having their Observer exert some influence and giving more power to the Vessel, similar to an intelligent item.

Walker in Darkness forms (shouldn’t it be vessel? The author sure juggles with his own creations) are similar to other elemental forms, but some have an escalation cost that is paid with the previously mention escalation pool. There are 25 darkness forms, which makes even shadow jealous. Again peering at random, Dust to Dust starts to disintegrate its target (!), dealing ongoing damage for 3 rounds, and 6 more when escalated under certain circumstances. Groin Shot (ROFL) staggers the target if he has external genital, but even if not, it can be staggered via escalation (kick that ooze's… no, not nuts, jellybeans?).

Of Note: The addition of the shadow element may make some players crazy at character creation but is a welcome addition to the Master of Forms repertory. The archetypes make for very interesting player experiences, even when we have 2 specialist archetypes. The Vessel of Darkness is basically the antipaladin of the Master of Forms, a distorted, bizarre mirror image of sorts. Also, there are two character images that look from Al-Qadim books' artist Karl Waller, who is amazing, but I'm not really sure.

Anything wrong?: The few erroneous names irk me because the rest of the book is so amazing, and the again, I don’t like the Vessel of Darkness name, especially since I use the Vessel class from Everyman Games. I ALSO don't like the names of the new elements, since they overlap with the Antipodism magic system (taking inspiration from Eastern elements, I will call them Ether and Void). Also, the feat Overflowing Elements from the last book, what type of damage does it do when in a shadow stand?. Apart from that, all is well.

What I want: This is the kind of support I like. While magical items and monsters would be cool, there is enough material already to play. I would like some crossover action between Interjection Games classes, like an archetype for the Edgeblade that gives access to some forms, or the other way around.

What cool things did this inspire?: Vessels can be the perfect boogieman in a wuxia campaign. You could also rule that Elsewhere Observers are actual outsiders, maybe Aeons, Psychopomps or even Sakhils! What about kami or genies with access to forms? Or better yet, reimagine genies to have 7 races based on the Master of Forms’ elements? Finally, in a full bender/wuxia campaign, using both specialist archetypes could work to make 5 npc’s that are each a master of one element, plus a drifting one secret master that abused the extra form feat to know many, many forms and with a high level ability to mimic any secret art, which could be roleplaying gold (oh noes! The fire master died and I’m his successors, but I went remedial on secret arts! Fret not, search for the legendary master of shadow who can teach you any secret art LOL)

Do I recommend it?: If the base rules of the Master of Forms were reprinted, I would recommend it as a standalone jus for the Vessel of Darkness. However, if you are already shelling those 5.50 for the original, shell the 10 bucks for the whole package of martial arts goodness. I assure you you won’t regret it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Master of Forms Expanded - Shadow and Darkness
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The Master of Forms Base Class
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 06:26:02

Swift as wind, gentle as forest, fierce as fire, unshakable as mountain

The Master of Form for Pathfinder is Interjection Games take on “bending”, popularized by the Avatar cartoon. Beyond multiclassing or taking specific feat chains and archetypes for the monk, this was not really possible before, but we are talking about the monk here, who has a lot of problems. This offering changes that by stealing the best parts of the monk, flavoring it with elemental bending, and seasoning it with amazing design.

What’s inside? 21 pages of content for 5 1/2 bucks, which include:

-The Master of Forms base class, who has a chassis similar to unchained monks: good BAB, Ref and Will saves, d10 HD and 4 skill points. They get a nice enough class skill list, with a couple of stand outs like Fly, Intimidate and Use Magic Device, the last being cool on a Charisma-dependent class. Apart from this, the Master of Forms steals the monk’s fu: they get the same unarmed damage and AC bonus, this last based on charisma; they also get similar weapon and armor proficiencies. They later get some other monk class features: Evasion, Slow Fall, Purity of Body, Diamond Body and Diamond Soul

There’s where similarities end. Masters of Forms don’t have an alignment restriction. For class features, they get Forms, Stances, Deep Focus (the ability to perform a second form in the same round as a free action a couple of time per day), Secret Arts and Stance Savant as the capstone.

Forms are their main feature. They are extraordinary or supernatural abilities with an elemental theme, further distancing the inner contemplation and mastery of the monk with the “be the world” philosophy of the Master. To empower their forms, they get a Focus pool which, unlike others like ki or arcana pools, begin empty at the start of combat and get filled in the heat of battle, with a hard maximum of 4 focus points. Each form require certain focus to function, and each form has a focus change that fills or empties the pool. This in-battle management is what make this class cool and a blessing for melee-ers who don’t want to go Vancian. All forms that require a save use the old formula of 10 + ½ class lvl + Cha modifier. The base class give you bonus, universal forms that give you enough oomph to prevent your character from sucking by choosing forms at random. Beyond these, you start with three elemental forms of your choice and get another at every level. The elements here are not standard: Earth, Fire, Ice, Lightning and Wind, with a sixth (shadow) if you have the expansion. If you perform 3 maneuvers of the same element within one minute, you automatically starts a Stance and stays in it until performing a different element’s form. The capstone, Stance Savant, gives the Master of Forms the stance of his favored element (the one he knows most forms of) as always active. This ability is on top of the normal stance, so the Master effectively is in two stances at once, but can’t be in the same stance twice so no stacking.

Stances are a special kind of form that doesn’t require actions to work. Once active, they give their bonus to the Master of Forms. Don’t expect lame fire or acid resistance here: each element has very different ability, from bonus to speed to damage reduction to temporary focus.

Secret Arts are special, powerful forms that have some special rules. They are the only form that can be started during a turn, and if they are not instantaneous, you can’t perform another form while the duration lasts. One Secret Art is gained at 5th level, with a new one gained every 4 levels thereafter. Each Secret Art can only be performed once per day per time chosen (yes, you can re-learn them to use them more frequently). There are two Secret Arts per element, so you have plenty to choose from.

-Favored Class Bonus: As always, these cover the core races plus a few others, and they give abilities beyond the old “extra something”. Some of them depend on your current focus and give you an armor bonus, damage reduction or energy resistance. They will be useless outside combat, however. I also would have loved what the “genasi” races would have gotten.

-Feats: This section include 4 feats. One that lets you use Deep Focus an extra one time per day, Extra Forms, Elemental Focus to increase the DC of one element and a little extra elemental damage when in a stance.

-Forms Summary: This a list of all element’s forms. You will notice that there are a few that require a certain class level, but beyond that, you don’t really have to mind anything else when choosing. The form are followed by their focus change and a short description of their effects.

-Forms: They are divided by element with 15 each, so if you add the 7 universal you get a grand total of 82 different forms! They are presented in a format similar to spells. After the name, the forms mention if they are extraordinary or supernatural, followed by Focus required, Focus change, duration, and requirement (if any). Since there are tons of forms, I will cover one per element with no requirements at random. Seismic Surge deals damage and trips at range, and leaves difficult terrain; Spark the Inferno changes one single attack’s damage to fire (nice against creatures vulnerable to fire), and you can expend extra focus to maximize it. Cumulative Exposure reduces all speeds of the target and it stacks. Streaking Strike makes a melee or thrown attack ignore damage reduction or hardness. Wow, just wow. And I chose at random!

Of Note: Everything. You will want to play all kinds of Masters with this book and you will make kineticists and elementalist wizards/arcanists/oracles jealous. In particular, I liked lightning and wind the most, since they are the ones who share a “standard” element and feel really different.

Anything wrong?: I don’t like the name LOL! I have always preferred one word class names, even if they are made-up like bloodrager. Just call them benders ;) Apart from this, I have always disliked the association of earth and acid in D&D/Pathfinder and here, where the author distances from tradition, would have been the perfect opportunity to rectify that. I mean, the feat that gives extra elemental damage uses slashing for air, why not bludgeoning for earth? Aaaaand, that’s it, one single part of a single feat I can homerule and the name. As always, I would have liked more support (basically feats, items, archetypes, monsters or templates that let players and gamem asters to dabble in the system), but maybe I was left spoiled by old books that introduced new systems like Psionics, Incarnum or Pact magic.

What I want: More support for the class! Of course there is the expansion that introduce another element and archetypes, but I would like multi-element forms. Magma? Storm? Steam? Dust devils? I think that could make for at least a couple of nice forms!

What cool things did this inspire?: Beyond clichés like dwarves who master earth and fire, I would like a catfolk or another fast race specialized in lightning, since it is the element who uses speed the best. Also, a friend wanted a fire genasi (ifrit in Pathfinder) who was an ice elementalist wizard. Well, I think it would work wonders with an ice master. Also, an elf or even a suli that dabbles in all elements is thematically fitting. As a game master, an Aeon, Asura , Manasaputra or Oni with Master levels or abilities as either a teacher or a foe for a PC with the same class. I would also love to play or game master a game where all characters are masters, maybe gestalting a bit or with variant multiclassing to further differentiate PCs.

Do I recommend it?: If by any chance you like Avatar, Naruto, fighting games or high-fantasy wuxia movies, this book is a godsend. I offer full five deadly poisonous stars! And do yourself a favor, if you buy this, shell some more bucks for the sequel, it’s really worth it!

Trivia: Among my favorite hobbies beyond role-playing is playing fighting games. It is very difficult to convey the excitement of games like Street Fighter in a tabletop game, and I have seen many attempts without success, except for this book! The same can be said for high-fantasy wuxia like The Storm Riders (do yourself a favor and look for some comics, or the first live-action movie), since they are high-octane action pieces that are difficult to portrait on tabletops. Again, look no further!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Master of Forms Base Class
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Class Expansions: Fighter Archetypes for Bad Weapons
by Patrick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2017 17:36:04

Several good ideas in this book, still looking through it. i hope I can make use of it in a game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Fighter Archetypes for Bad Weapons
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Runesmithing Expanded: Equipment Runes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/19/2017 06:34:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for Interjection Games' Ultimate Runesmithing system clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

I obviously expect you're familiar with Ultimate Runesmithing in my review of its expansion. If you haven't checked it out, you can read up on my review of that book.

So, let's begin without further ado with the allaying mark - as passive benefits, the rune, inscribed upon armor, grants increasing amounts of temporary hit points that refresh each round. As far as active benefits are concerned, we add DR/- to the fray, with an amount equal to the temporary hit points granted. Nice one. The bladesong sigil is inscribed exclusively on melee weapons; the lesser passive benefit helps vs. disarm attempts. The greater one makes the first creature to attack with it hit itself instead, potentially autocritting itself. The grandmaster rune, finally,, duplicates the lesser benefits, but also adds +2d10 to the weapon's damage on a critical hit. As for active abilities, the lesser one nets dancing, the greater one allows for more uses of the auto-critting and the grandmaster version allows you to add spell storing and expend scrolls to include their spell in the weapon. Since the greater version is radically different from the others, we have some cool potential mischief here...and the inscription costs reflect these unique tricks - activation of the greater version is actually cheaper than that of the lesser version. Pretty amazing rune that resonates with the yarns of myth.

Maker's mark is inscribed on the hands slot and its least passive bonus allows you to choose a Craft skill, Disable Device...or Open Lock?? Yeah, that skill does not exist in PFRPG. The user is treated as having the required tools, which makes this kinda work...but still. The lesser version provides the tools for all skills. Active benefits let you roll twice for the chosen skill and take the better result in the case of the least rune; in the case of the lesser one, the benefits apply to all skills...but how? Only to one? To each of them? This needs some clarification.

The mark of the jeweler is applied to the head and only exists in a lesser iteration with no active benefit - it creates an indentation on a headgear that can hold a ring, conveying its benefits. Shuffler's sigil exists in a lesser and a grandmaster version: The passive benefits are identical: You designate an ally. If the wearer is rendered helpless, but remains capable of moving, he moves towards the designated ally with a land speed of 30 feet. The grandmaster version also has an active benefit, which costs 5 inscriptions points and may be activated as an immediate action. The wearer of the boots, upon dying, is temporarily raised as a zombie that retains feat- and extraordinary-ability use. Pretty cool!

The starmark would be a pretty complex rune that is inscribed upon cloaks. Upon inscription, the wearer receives a stellar pool with 5 points per category of the rune - greater starmarks would e.g. yield 15 points. These points can be used to hurl flaming globs at foes as a standard action or enhance Flying/jumping. As a nitpick - PFRPG has rolled jumping into Acrobatics, so referring to jumping as capitalized may be considered to be a minor glitch. Beyond the pool-size, the lesser, greater and grandmaster runes can also allow for the expenditure of stellar points to gain temporary hit points as a swift action or launch one's self into the air like a rocket. The greater and grandmaster versions, finally, allows for a kind of rocket-charge as well as resistance to fire and cold and functionality in vacuum sans dying. The grandmaster's version's pool replenishes by 1 point every round and when activated, the pool is similarly refilled. Damn cool one!

Theorist's comfort, inscribed upon the head, exists in 4 versions: Both lesser and least net undetectable alignment. Greater also provides +2 to saves versus compulsions and the grandmaster version adds mind blank to the fray. The rune has no least active ability, but lesser/greater ones allow for retroactively escaping mental domination, while the grandmaster version allows the wearer to help an ally thus, even substituting his own save. The thiefcatcher rune may be applied to feet, hands, head and shoulders and exists only in least and grandmaster versions. The rune has only passive abilities. The least one lets you choose a color. The first creature to wear the item thereafter has skin, scales etc. turn that color for 24 hours. The grandmaster version instantly kills the unfortunate, with a save to negate.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. On a rules-level, some minor hiccups of the mostly aesthetic kind have crept into the pdf. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none. Artworks would be thematically fitting stock art.

I love Bradley Crouch's runesmithing engine and this pdf sports some serious gems. The starmark, thiefcatcher and bladesong sigil alone may warrant getting this - they are not only INTERESTING, they actually do some pretty cool things with the engine and with what runes can do. Now unfortunately, the pdf also sports a few hiccups that influence the rules-language itself, which is why I cannot rate this as highly as I'd like to. This is still a steal for the low and fair price point, well worth 4.5 stars, though I have to round for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Runesmithing Expanded: Equipment Runes
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Runesmithing Expanded - The Animator Archetype
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/13/2017 06:51:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for Interjection Games' impressive Ultimate Runesmithing clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages for the Animator archetype for the Runesmith base class, so let's take a look!

Instead of modify runes, the animator learns to instill long-term animation in inanimate objects. When the animator prepares inscription slots for the day, he inscribes runes on a Tiny object in a 1-minute process. Once this inscription is complete, the object animates for 24 hours or until destroyed. Starting at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the animator learns to animate an object of an increased size, with a handy table noting the construction points (CP) and the CR of the respective object. (As a minor nitpick: The ability refers to "Animated Objects Primer", while the table is called "Animated Objects Essentials." When animating an object with this ability, he may spend inscription points: 1 on a Large or smaller object, 2 on a Huge or larger one - spending these points nets the object +1 construction point. (Minor nitpick:"Animated objects come standard with..." sounds a bit clunky, but that glitch doesn't influence functionality.)

Starting at 8th level, animators may choose to not animate an object of their maximum available size - if they do, they can instead animate one object of each smaller size he has unlocked. Animators at 1st only get equipment runes. At 3rd level, animators receive the runic script modification, the first unique construction-based one: At the cost of 1 CP, an animated item with it can have a least equipment rune inscribed upon themselves, with weapon runes modifying their natural attacks, while others apply their default benefit. Presentation of a rune may be achieved by the object jiggling its body and the objects automatically know how to use runes inscribed upon them. Multiple runes can be applied to one item, but may not overlap - no two boot-runes on the same item, for example.

At 7th level, for 2 CP, lesser equipment runes may be applied, while at 15th level, for 3 CP, greater runes can be inscribed - though, in a rather nasty cut-copy-paste glitch, the pdf here once again refers to "lesser" runes.

Somewhat sad - Colossal items, while included in the table, cannot by animated by Animators RAW. As a capstone or mythic optional ability, that may have been a nice icing on the cake. On the plus-side, we gain a significant array of construction point benefits, from extra attacks, gaining slam attacks, to the burn ability, being made from metal, etc. - and there even is an assortment of flaws you can include in the item's CP-array to increase it and stack more beneficial abilities on the item...but at the risk of an Achilles heel. Quite a bunch of customization options here, though the engine imho has not nearly exhausted its possibilities – the construction point engine could carry significantly more. What’s here is nice, but delivers the very basic options you’d expect for the theme.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not as good as usual for Interjection Games - there are a few formal glitches and some do influence the rules-component. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features thematically fitting stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch's animator is a fun archetype for everyone who fantasized about being the sorceror's apprentice with some actual control over those darn animated items. The rune engine works well in conjunction with the animated pets of the archetype. At the same time, the pdf feels a bit rushed and like the archetype did not tap its full potential; from the construction options to the animation itself, I think the engine could have carried so much more. This is an interesting, worthwhile archetype for the price, but it falls short of its own potential. As written, I can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the very fair price-point.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Runesmithing Expanded - The Animator Archetype
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Ultimate Herbalism (PFRPG Edition)
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2017 23:20:30

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.

Ultimate Herbalism for both Pathfinder and D&D5e is the first part of Interjection Games third Kickstarter project, Strange Magic 2. It is the complete overhaul of another, older project, called simply The Herbalist, and even if you have it (like I do), you get a much more improved version of the herbalism magic system. Unlike many class books or tomes, Interjection Games creates most of their new classes from scratch and, while some systems are inspired in others (antipodism in shadow magic, aether magic in the 3.5 warlock etc.), most are brand new. Interjection games are perfect for people who are bored of the same Vancian magic and spell lists, the same 3.5 sub-systems. This review tackles the Pathfinder version.

What’s inside? 158 pages of content (for 15 bucks!), which include:

-The herbalism magic system, which is used by the three new base classes. Basically, each day the herbalism-user rolls on a terrain-dependent table (called a Biome) to see what herbs he finds, each herb being a kind of “spell”. To reduce the randomness and let players continue use of their favorite herbs, they get an ability called earthenware jars, which let them cultivate herbs or preserve them and other plant products. These herbs are different depending on the Biome, which gives the herbalist unrivaled variety. No matter where you are, each roll gives you access to 10 points worth of herbs (6 in the case of naturalists), with plants having a point value of 1, 2 or 4, which also determine their power. There are no high level abilities here, since all effects increase with the level of the user. The herbs can also be used to prepare recipes and other plant products, depending on certain class or archetype abilities.

-The Gourmend base class, a flavorful (hehe) class who specializes on using the herbs found to prepare recipes. They are the least combat able of the classes, but get many weird abilities related to food. They get a culinary pool to power some of their abilities. While this is the only class that doesn’t get archetypes, a sidebar mentions how you can adapt herbalist archetypes for the gourmend; however, they are not really needed, since at first level you get to choose a kind of specialization, culinary skillsets: Baking, Candymaking, Cheesemaking, MEAT! and Brewing. Apart from recipes and skillsets, gourmends get culinary talents, with some restricted to certain skillsets. Finally, they get Culinary Bond, which nets them a familiar made of food.

-The Herbalist base class, the original that started it all. An herbalist is a bit better at combat than a gourmand and can also learn some recipes, but they also get the compress ability that mixes herbs in a single usage. They get a green thumb pool to power some class abilities. They also get 9 archetypes, designed for taking more than one.

Aromatologists exchange the ability to make compresses to create incense blocks, which basically give personal effects at range.

Compounders are healers, who can use poisons to heal ability damage they would otherwise inflict with a chance for failure, and placebo sugar pills that give the eater an extra save against ongoing poison or disease effects, both as a replacement for the compress ability.

Entomologists are bug collectors. Bugs are similar to herbs in that they can be found and are terrain-dependent, but need to be fed to be preserved; some bugs have special dietary considerations, and some get more powerful when fed certain herbs. Bugs have a special ability usable once per day, but can be preserved indefinitely. Entomologists loose recipes in exchange for bugs.

Flowerchildren give a lot (earthenware jars, recipes and focused foraging) to gain the companionship of a special familiar. This familiar works a bit different from a wizard’s, growing a specific biome’s plants on its back, for example.

Gardener are the meta-herbalists. They lose a couple of preservation vessels during their career and the potent poison ability to get the green thumb ability to give infuse the soil of their earthenware jars with a so-called “rare earth”, specific meta-effects that enhance plants.

Geologists rock hard! (hehe). In exchange either preservation vessels or cultivation pots for the ability to collect special kinds of rocks which, unlike herbs or bugs, don’t spoil until used, with a hard limit on the number of in possession. Rocks come in three varieties, sharing 3 biomes where they can be found. They are basically triggered area-of-effect mines.

Mycologists exchange their first find herbs roll of the day for a special roll in a unique biome, the fungal forest. They can also exchange none or all recipes gained for special combinatory formulae that, like gardener’s rare earth, modify the effect of herbs.

Poisoners can’t make compresses. Instead, they learn to combine poisonous plants into increasingly deadly cocktails that are applied to weapons. A short but powerful evil archetype.

Zen Cultivators are, you guessed right, monkish herbalists. They replace their green thumb pool with a special ki pool they fill while meditating with the help of a miniature zen garden. This ki pool can be spent on a few abilities and any other class or feat that depends on ki. They also gain some bonus feats.

-The Naturalist base class. They have the least powerful herbalism abilities, but make up for it with a giant carnivorous plant! They get bonus feats and their plant gets access to many talents. They can even get the plant time for a short time! They also have access to three archetypes.

Creationists don’t get earthenware jars (!) and their plant companions don’t get talents, all in exchange for some druidic spellcasting (0 to 4th level). Overall the weakest archetype in the whole book.

Mycologists not only share the name of an herbalist’s archetype, they have their own mini-fungus forest table. Their plant companions can in fact be a man-eating mushroom, which loses access to some talents while gaining some exclusive ones. This archetype doesn’t replace anything, so you can com-vine (hehe) it with the others.

Sporekeepers apparently lose their plant companion, I say apparently because apart from the introductory “facts”, it is not mentioned anywhere else in the text. Instead, they get fungal swarms that are planted in terracotta pots. They can be worn in the back or left on the ground, active or inactive. They get many talents that makes this ability very different from plant companions.

-Feats: All of this section include your typical feats that enhance your class abilities, including very niche feat available only to specific archetypes. The only one that doesn’t follow this theme is the Verdant Protector feat, which inherited the unique, almost-extinct plants available to an archetype of the old herbalist.

-Herbs: after almost 30 pages of tables (9 biomes for the herbalist/gourmand, 9 for the naturalist, and 9 plant summary tables), we get to the meat (hehe) of the herbal magic system. Herbs are formatted with name, followed by the type in parenthesis (be them herbs, fungus or fruit), with some fruits having a descriptor in brackets (similar to spells). They are followed by the biome(s) they are found in, their point value (1, 2 or 4), Duration of the effect, and which recipes can they be used for, if any.

-Recipes: these again have an easy to grasp format, with the craft DC being the most important here. Some of this are the most powerful effects an herbalist can create! A poison that damages all ability scores, the ability to shot spines that do more damage than a kineticist blast, a wine that gives you an alchemical bonus to any ability score, things like that. These are balanced not only by its ingredients, but by their craft DC.

-Microcosms: Not content with 9 (10 really) biomes, this is an optional ruleset that include special mini-biomes each with new, exotic plants! These include aberrant, anger, arcane, evil, good, graveyard, irradiated, legend and sylvan. Imagine your character visits a jungle where there is an ancient temple of a demon prince. Simple slap the “evil” microcosm to the jungle biome and you are covered.

Of Note: The herbalism magic system is advertised as druidic chaos magic, and it shows. Instead of rolling every single time you cast a spell to see if butterflies appear instead of fire, or that your strength spell drains the fighter’s instead of making him stronger, the chaos here happens at the beginning of the day, leaving it to the ability of the player to do with what Mother Nature (and his luck) offers.

If the original system wasn’t enough, Ultimate Herbalism includes food magic, bugs, rocks, soil, fungus… so many new things it can make your head spin! It may be hard to believe but, it is very difficult to point at something that is better when everything is top quality. In no particular order, my favorite are the gourmand, the gardener and the entomologist which, when put on top of the herbalism magic system, bring a lot of variety to the game table.

Anything wrong?: While the book by no means looks bad, it features little art and to be frank, I don’t mind the little art in the book, it’s the repetition of it. However, when the author can pump layer upon layer of awesomeness not only in his rulesets, but in the flavorful descriptions, art becomes secondary. The class and archetype art, while B&W only and a bit on the simple side, goes well with the tone of the author’s writing: Serious with a dash of cheesy and a sprinkle of humor. I also didn’t particularly like the organization, I would have preferred all “spellbooks” at the end instead of in the archetype entries. Also, a section on how to include a new magic system would have been nice, as well as a section on how herbalism interacts with traditional magic.

What cool things did this inspire?: Where do I start? I want a fat she-ratfolk gourmand, cheese maker extraordinaire, from the village of Ash (get it? I AM FROM ASH). An oread geologists who is looking for the philosopher’s stone. A dromite entomologist who wants to create a new race of insect folk. A goran naturalist infected by spores, using both fungi-flavored archetypes. I could go on forever!

Do I recommend it?: If you are tired of casting magic missile, flame blade or cure light wounds, and are up to the challenge of learning a whole new magic system, do yourself a favor and get this book. It is also a blast for people like me who used to collect bugs! I kowtow to the author and offer five flaming blossom stars!

Trivia: I teach at an agronomy university where you can major in soil, insects, plants or products. I was planning to open a role playing workshop, so I think my students will surely enjoy it more with this book!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Herbalism (PFRPG Edition)
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Ultimate Herbalism (PFRPG Edition)
by Adam S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2017 17:13:40

First of all, I was given a copy to review.

First class, the Gourmend. Poor attack bonus, proficiency with simple weapons and no armor, so these guys aren't meant to be front line combatants without help. If they were armor they suffer the arcane spell failure chance as a chance of their preservation vessels spoiling overnight.

Stuff they can do includes building a familiar out of foodstuffs. So a lot of options here, from gummy monkey to a cat made out of bacon.

Gourmends choose two cooking methods to specialize in ala sorcerer bloodlines. Bakers can throw dough balls and make gingerbread golems for example. Candy makers can make weapons, etc.

1 minor issue there seems to be a mistake in the chart, in that +4 impact or keen weapon don't have a level requirement listed. I assume level 20 though, from context.

This class has plenty of flavor (pun intended), but they might be too over the top for some games, and the meat specialization seems to encourage combat a bit more than is healthy for someone who has the combat skills of a wizard. But since I haven't playtested it, my fears might be unfounded.

A mistake at the end, it says that the Gourmend lose class features if they gain a prohibited alignment, since Gourmends have no prohibited alignments that's superflous.

Next up is the Herbalist. Like the gourmend they have options for capstone, which I like. One of them makes their plants sapient enough that they'll stuff themselves in someone's mouth to give them their benefit, or druid spells.

Lots of archetypes here. Like the Compounder who heals through poison or Entomologists, who have a capstone that turns them into the amazing bugman.

Naturalists- Weird weapon proficiencies, they are proficient with weapons with no metal in them. If that means that weapons normally made out of metal that aren't in this instance are kosher is unclear. So the base of this class is having your very own plant companion, naming it Audrey 2 is optional.

Breaks the standard of having multiple possible capstones in this product, at 20th level when killed the plant companion turns the character into a plant zombie. Creationist archetype gains druidic spells in return for a less awesome plant companion and the ability to store their herbs. The mycologist archetype is for those who would rather sic a man eating mushroom on their opponents. Another fungus based option is the Sporekeeper whose companion shoots spores instead of biting.

It provides rules for multiple climates to pick your herbs from and optional rules for microcosms such as evil, aberrant, or arcane, and rules to make your own, which is quite useful.

The material is fun and interesting, and I can see people wanting even more, despite how much material is included here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering: Happier Little Automatons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/03/2017 05:52:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the Tinker-class clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Now, you probably have already expected this, but this would be a continuation or sequel of sorts to the amazing combo-potential and fun that paint inventions brought to the tinker class. We begin with the handy invention subtype cheat-sheet and then continue with new innovations: These include the spontaneous replacement of design and paint subtypes with others...or making the paint fumes enrage all automata nearby...dealing additional fire damage. Talk about incendiary rages... Similarly, temporary hit points granted to nearby automata upon deployment represents one cool gambit. My favorite, though, would be the mighty artist afro that qualifies as a separate target for paint! And no, just cutting hair doesn't destroy it - the afro is a metaphysical concept...and eternal. Yeah, I actually laughed out when I read that one and smiled with glee! The pdf also allows you to gain two innovations instead of a greater innovation and a further expansion of aforementioned fume benefits allows for even more delicious combo potential and even some automaton healing via the application of the paint.

We also receive a collection of 16 inventions that build perfectly on existing material: Adding temporary hit points to asbestos or ablatic paint, caustic coats of paint, doubling numerical benefits of passive paint inventions...cool. And the really combo-monster would be the option to splatter nearby automata with heart's paint upon death, allowing for even smoother transitions in combat. Also cool: losing a paint and still retaining its benefits for a number of rounds. Also cool: Upon slaying a creature, the automaton may anoint itself with the blood of the slain creature, using the respective blood as a use of a paint invention's ability requiring the loss of the invention...which generally is cool, but I really wished it wouldn't be potentially kitten-powered. Granted, the anointment does not allow for serious cheesing, but still.

Being treated as one size smaller (and thus look like an easy target), losing paint to make another creature's attack flaming (not properly italicized) ...some nice tricks here. Alphas can trigger the aforementioned fumes...and have I mentioned that the alpha, with instant abstract art can hold several warheads and use these to splatter paint...or acid...or fire...or extend the range? Yeah, this one is glorious.

What about an automaton that can remove fluidly primer coats as it moves? Or what about a pseudo-herby-automaton that can provide minor healing...or damage to an undead creature? Also really cool: Tagging spray that makes hitting a tagged target easier for everyone involved. And nope, this is not all. This pdf has a metric ton of amazing potential for the tinker class!!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues apart from the aforementioned cosmetic glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection games' no-frills two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch's happier little automatons are a chess-master's wet dream: The massive combo-potential of the previous installment is amplified greatly by this one; the fume-tricks are glorious and can most certainly present some truly fun and evocative options. Playful and funny, but thoroughly mechanically relevant, this is a gem and one of the absolute must-have-you-need-this-OMG-so-cool tinker expansions. I'm serious. Impressive work indeed...and in spite of the minor hiccups, the extremely fair price-point and quality of the material herein makes me settle on a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. Amazing! Now get this, smile enigmatically and start scheming...I'll keep the secret of the amazing combos we can inflict with this! (Punches himself for bad attempt at Bob Ross imitation-joke)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering: Happier Little Automatons
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