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5e Sidebar #3 - Items of Quality - Armor
by Steven M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2016 21:54:13

I always like providing magic that doesn't feel like magic. Often, fighters acquire armor and weapons and little else to make them seem more that buff machines. Other non-spellcasters end up in the same boat - limited options to make their characters unique. I am always on the hunt to provide new ways to put interesting magic into mundane hands to compete and diverge from the normal path of +1 swords and shields. I like characters that have interesting things that magic users just can't use...
Ismael does that with this product.
He offers a three page document on making items of quality that are more unique than a +1 shield or sword - along with some examples. Some have a permanent feature - such as a shield that can bash for damage, and others take on a temporary quality like durability. One of my favorites is a sliding shield that you can ride on to avoid danger.
If you are looking for ideas on how to break the cycle of potions and weapons being the primary way to beef up non-spellcasters, pick up this sidebar. I'm sure you will like the presentation and start making your loot options far more interesting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5e Sidebar #3 - Items of Quality - Armor
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(5E) Sidebar #2 - Monster Lore Skill for 5th Edition Fantasy
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2016 23:00:37

This supplement presents an interesting idea for determining whether or not a character knows something about a given monster type without introducing a slew of new mechanics to accomplish such. However, the mechanics are a bit inflexible and a little illogical at times; essentially, every class can add their proficiency bonus to Intelligence checks to know something relevant about a particular monster, but as the other reviewer below noted, each class is locked into knowing something about a particular type of monster. Rangers, for example, can add their bonus to checks about monstrosities, and Barbarians can for beasts. It seems a little odd, though, that a Ranger seems to have no particular knowledge about beasts or giants. In attempting to make each class have its own particular field of knowledge, monster lore ends up getting divided up in ways which seem forced and unlikely. I think it would be fine for some classes to be better than others at such and also for some overlap to occur.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
(5E) Sidebar #2 - Monster Lore Skill for 5th Edition Fantasy
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CLASSifieds: The Pyromancer
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2016 10:20:36

The Pyromancer is a rework of the 2011 class of the same name and publisher. In this version several unique class features remain but are improved this time around. The Pyromancer receives a d6 hit die, ½ Base Attack bonus and good progression of Will saving throws. The Pyromancer is a full spellcaster that eventually receives access to 9th level spells. The Pyromancer has the sorcerer’s spell progression and is a spontaneous caster. The Pyromancer can now cast spells off the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list, which is much needed considering the original edition has a custom spell list of evocation fire spells. Though when casting spells with the cold descriptor those spells take up 2 spell slots. The Pyromancer in its original concept was about dishing out as much dps as possible using fire magic and this rework builds upon those core features. The 1st class feature we receive is Fire Within (Ex): Any time the Pyromancer does fire damage they add their CHA mod to the damage dealt. Considering the few ways one has to add static damage to spells I really enjoyed this class feature in both the original and reworked editions. Though now at 9th level the Pyromancer can as a standard action, emit an Aura similar to a fire elementals burn ability that does 2d6 + 1 fire damage/ two levels for nonconsecuative rounds equal to their Pyromancer level. Since this is fire damage this should also proc the Fire Within CHA to damage. At 11th level this ability works on manufactured weapons and acts as the heat metal spell, dealing 2d6+2/ two levels. At 1st level we also get 5 fire resist that stacks with other fire resist from items or spells. The amount of fire resistance goes up by 5 for every 5 levels afterwards.


At 2nd level, a Pyromancer gains the ability to devastate a foe with a beam of pure, scorching fire. A Pyromancer may target anything within a30-foot radius as a ranged touch attack. The ray deals1d8 points of fire damage for every 2 Pyromancer levels and an additional 1 point of fire damage for every 2 Pyromancer levels. This ability may be used a number of times equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier . At 4th level the Pyromancer can control whether flames magical or non-magical can be extinguished and at 5th level the Pyromancer receives a 20 foot burst centered on them for 1d6/ level fire damage reflex for half. There is a typo that says “once per day as a standard action.” And “She may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier.” Editing and clarification are needed. Also it is un stated whether the Pyromancer at the center of the burst takes any fire damage or has to make a save. I personally would say no but the ability needs to be clarified. At 7th level the Pyromancer can manipulate light from fire sources as a move action, improving to 11th level as if casting the pyrotechnics spell. Also at 7th level the Pyromancer gains the burning spell meta magic feat. At 9th level the meta magic feat only improves the spell by 1 spell level, which improves further at 13th level to not increasing spell level times per day equal to CHA mod. At 11th level, any use by a Pyromancer of an extraordinary ability, spell, or spell-like ability that deals fire damage penetrates all fire resistance and hardness, treating affected creatures or objects as having half their normal resistance or hardness. At 13th level the Pyromancer’s Fire within improves further dealing 2x Cha mod as damage when dealing fire damage. This used to be a feat chain in the original. At 15th level the Pyromancer pierces all fire resistance and immunity and ignores any hardness under 20. At 17th level the DC’s of all their spells spell like abilities and extraordinary abilities are increased by half their level when it comes to putting out targets set on fire. At 19th level when casting fire spells the Pyromancer gains a + to Caster level. Yep Spells with the fire descriptor are cast at level 21 and the Pyromancer gains + 2 to counter spell, dispel or pierce spell resistance with these spells. At 20th level, the Pyromancer becomes an outsider gaining both the outsider and fire subtypes, but not becoming vulnerable to cold. The Pyromancer no longer ages, can be flanked and can speak any language originating from the plane of fire. Included are favored class options for both standard races and races from the Shadows Over Vathak campaign setting.


Included are 3 archetypes for the Pyromancer. A healing cauterize Archetype, a hell fire Devilish Archetype and a Flame Artisan crafting Archetype. All three are an interesting take on the Pyromancer but I won’t be explaining them here.


Included are three feats. The first Extra burn gives you an extra use of any class ability that deals fire damage per day. Intense fire lets you add +1 bonus damage to any fire damage. Master of fire doubles any bonus fire damage for class abilities that use the Pyromancer’s Cha mod for bonus damage. Potentially Master of Fire could apply to Fire Within and Improved fire within. I would enjoy some clarification, so by RAW the issue could be clear.


Overall I love the update to this class. I love the original copy due to its potential for lots of damage. The specific class spell list was the only thing holding me back from using this class in a four man adventuring party (as it was only evocation and dps type spells). Now that the Pyromancer receives more spells per day, and can now use the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list, this is a solid alternative if someone wants to play a blaster sorcerer but didn’t like the blood line abilities. In fact, due to the fire penetration class features this is most likely stronger. There are several levels where no new class abilities are gained (4,6,8,12,14,18) that could have had some class features shifted around. A few typos and dead levels hold this product back from being a 5 star review.


I’m giving this product a solid 4 stars, it encompasses and encapsulates the original product bringing the strengths and unique class features of the original into the modern world, while improving on archaic design ideas from the 3.5 era. The rework of the Pyromancer captained by Kiel Howell, is a solid buff to the original fire wielding class released in 2011. Pick it up and Flame on!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: The Pyromancer
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Astonishing Races: Grippli
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/27/2016 02:32:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Fat Goblin games' Astonishing Races-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This review was moved up in my review-queue due to me receiving a print copy.


Ah, Grippli...I have a soft spot for the race. If you never got how awesome they can be - take a look at user NobodysHome's Serpent Skull-campaign journal on the Paizo boards. But beyond the hilarity and genius of said campaign, grippli as a race are interesting: Kinda cute, a bit naive and good frog-people? I don't have to look into the cute froggy eyes to get a kind of warm-hearted Kermit flash-back...but Gripplis are no joke and under-developed. The race has a LOT going for it, but so far, there is not extensive or particularly interesting supplement detailing them out there.


Well, this book seeks to remedy just that. Why is this important? Well, you know that I can be pretty harsh on races - for a reason. Just tacking together a couple of stats is not enough in my book; I want to see information about a given culture, the psychology of the people, the customs - otherwise you're just playing an oddly disfigured human, not a unique race. Suffice to say, the book delivers in that regard. Grippli culture(s) and village types, including desert grippli (yep, these exist - the book notes several subtypes with recommended racial traits) and their lifestyles are depicted. Tribal and somewhat matriarchal grippli definitely make sense to me, as do superstitions pertaining certain creatures and enmities. Rules-wise, age, height and weight tables and the racial stats for the grippli are provided - the latter with an RP-breakdown as per the ARG.


Usually, the presence of the like does not bode well, but here, it is justified: Grippli as a race are not particularly strong and function in every type of campaign, even the lowest, grittiest ones. However, and the book is aware of that, they actually are arguably slightly below standard races in potency. Hence, a suggestion is presented: Among the various alternate racial traits provided for the grippli, one can optionally choose to bring them up to core-race level. Granted, their climb speed is powerful, but overall, I'd suggest you heed this recommendation unless you plan to run a rather low-powered campaign. The process, obviously, is only possible due to each alternate racial trait sporting an RP-value alongside the traditional "replaces x"-line - and as much as the RP-values usually suck at determining a balanced race, the alternate racial traits here, from poison skin to gliding membranes to reduce falling damage and obvious one like deep breath, overall manage to provide a great customization frame-work for the race. And yes, Diplomacy bonuses via the "Princely" trait got a chuckle out of me.


The book manages to score on par with the most detailed of racial supplements in one regard as well: Favored Class Options. Beyond the races we all expect, Advanced Class Guide and Occult Adventures are covered - sometimes interacting with e.g. certain deeds or blessings. They are overall well-crafted...and do something I very much welcome: They comment on how the average grippli psychology and social norms interact with them - a lingering sense of guilt for intrusions in one's mind for mesmerists, psychics in tune with the very swamps they inhabit - this brief pieces of fluff made the usually rather tedious process of reading FCOs rather enjoyable and can provide roleplaying pointers I very much welcome.


Archetype-wise, we get three new options: Bogborn alchemists replace throw anything with mutagens that grant 15 ft. swim speed and may take toxic skin as a discovery. Three new grippli discoveries complement it: Chameleon grippli can enhance their skin to grant +4 to Stealth ( +8 at 10th level), while those with deadly excretions change their toxic skin's poison's effects from Dex to Con. Okay, if not too exciting. The third discovery has a different formatting, with name in italics as opposed to the two bolded discoveries before that - consistency would have been nice here...however, the discovery itself is pretty awesome, allowing you to throw bombs underwater and providing brief, concise rules for throwing bombs at targets below the surface.


Atop buzzing wings, the dragonfly champion does not gain proficiency with heavy armor and gainsan improved tactician that grants teamwork feats for 4 + 1/2 character level rounds. They also get a dragonfly mount and replaces the cavalier's charge ability-tree for scaling, devastating charges when jumping from the saddle of his dragonfly mount, emphasizing a more fluid and agile attack style. And yes, the vermin becomes intelligent - rudimentarily so, but nice catch. The order of the dragonfly receives bonuses when defending at least one member of his tribe when in challenge and adds Acrobatics and Fly to his class skills and adds Cha to the DC to intimidate him. The order abilities per se look interesting: At 2nd level, he can "rally a single member of the tribe with great confidence and ability. The tribe member gains +4 to attack, damage and save rolls and temporary hit points equal to half the cavaliers total as the cavalier rushes to their aid. this lasts for one round." sigh I kid you not, that's the text. Okay, it's supposed to say "The tribe member gains a +4 BONUS (also add bonus type)..:" and the rushed to their aid is confusing. Is there a limit? Considering the power-level of the ability, I'd assume so, but I have ultimately no idea. Oh, and yes, the activation action is missing. I assume aid another, but that would require serious fixing as well - as provided, the ability is simply non-functional. The higher level abilities work, though flawed punctuation makes them a bit harder to grasp than they should be.


The final archetype would be the exterminator ranger, who gets a sewer-modified skill list and may prepare poisons in specific ways to affect aberrations, vermin and oozes if they're part of his favored enemy array. Overall, while not perfect, this guy is okay.


The new equipment options provided herein are more solid - beyond a variant tanglefoot bomb, we can find ceremonial drums, grippli war paint and a grease-duplicating powder and glowmold lanterns - the items generally are well-crafted, though e.g. lower-case references to attributes made me cringe in the formal department. Bone as material is discussed here as well, considering how many of the grippli's items use it.


Monster-wise, stats for giant dragonflies (CR 4) and their nymphs (Cr 3) are provided...but annoyingly, the dragonfly mounts lack proper mount stats - yep, no starting statistics, no advancement. That's pretty much as glaring of an oversight as any, unfortunately...and it means that the mount assumed by the cavalier archetype...doesn't work as intended.


The feats contained herein are okay, though ultimately nothing to write home about.


The 4 traits depicted do work, though they do sport minor, aesthetic hiccups - penalties, for example, have usually no type. Thankfully, the pdf returns to form with the magic items provided: E.g. bubbles that can hold equipment and be commanded to sink to the bottom of the marsh and dig themselves in? AWESOME idea. The new spells are interesting as well and provide an example where I consider energy-substitution-type spells actually cool: Swamp Fire basically works like call lightning with fire may not win any prizes regarding innovation, but the flavor and visuals make this variant work.


The pdf does end on a high-note, though: A massive table of 50 entries provides random grippli features - from humming tunes to being okay with burping and farting (sounds a bit like your native tongue), these quirks are endearing and fun, providing some nice roleplaying ideas for players and GMs alike.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting...are still okay, but in some parts seriously flawed; the weird thing about this pdf being ultimately that it oscillates between very clear passages...and some that sport formal editing glitches and significant problems in the rules-language. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports numerous gorgeous full-color artworks. The dragonfly-riding grippli in particular is neat indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the print edition has a nice cover and quality paper. The colors are vibrant and the book itself does look really nice.


Rick Hershey, Lucus Palosaari, Troy E. Daniels have crafted a book that leaves me ambiguous - I actually REALLY want to like the grippli presented herein - and I do. The fluff is impressive, particularly considering the need to be campaign-setting-agnostic and the pdf does excel here. However, the different authors do show - from solid rules-language and well-written prose, we go to sections that suddenly read a bit less compelling and sport glaring oversights. The cavalier options are non-functional as presented and represent the most glaring rules-issue herein - generally, the rules-language, while deviating from the standard, at least remains clear enough to work sans ambiguity. There are whole sections that lack issues like this. Basically, the components pertaining the race and its options can be considered nice, while those beyond...are often problematic.


This is frustrating for me - I want to like and recommend this book and it does have a lot to offer; the sheer fact that it provides depth for the grippli-race and the nice logical tidbits regarding culture and racial peculiarities made this more fun to read than many similar race books I've reviewed. At the same time, though, the supplemental crunch and rules-language would have required a more thorough editing/development to be interesting - from the lackluster feats to aforementioned cavalier-option (which is cool, but doesn't work), I wished this material has seen a bit more polish to bring it up on par with the quality of racial tricks and FCOs. Whether you'll enjoy this book very much depends on what you're looking for - if you look for ROLEplaying-options and don't mind the rather less than stellar editing, this may score as high as 4 stars for you; if you look for crunch and precise language, though, then this will not exceed 2.5 stars for you. My final verdict will clock in between these, at 3 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Races: Grippli
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Publisher's Choice - Creatures A to Z: Chaos Beast
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:55:47

I truly believe that one of the main factors in producing an impressive adventure that DMs love, is to have really good ART! YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Creatures A to Z: Chaos Beast
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Publisher's Choice - Creatures A to Z: Ghost
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:54:46

Ghost fit perfect for a poor, dead tavern owner. I opened my tiff in photoshop and adjusted the opacity, making it even more “ghost-like!”



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Creatures A to Z: Ghost
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Publisher's Choice - 23 Bladed Weapons
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:53:38

Blank pages are okay for some, but you must realize most people are Visually-oriented. You need smaller pieces of art to fill your adventures. Much better than 80% blank pages!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - 23 Bladed Weapons
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Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Figures (Minotaurs)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:52:20

Two awesome minotaurs. they literally fit perfectly into a gladiator-themed area (two areas, actually) of my first adventure!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Figures (Minotaurs)
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Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Fantasy Males)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:51:09

I used 3 of 5 of these in my first commercial adventure and they fit PERFECTLY. The other two will appear in adventure #2!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Fantasy Males)
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Cast & Crew: Male Dwarves
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:50:14

Exceptional near photo-real illustrations of three dwarves. ALL 3 are excellent!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Cast & Crew: Male Dwarves
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:49:23

As a pro designer with 24+ years of pro experience, these backgrounds? You canNOT do any better. trust me, buddy..



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)
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Publisher's Choice - Classic Adventure Covers (Multi-Colored Modules)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:48:29

Awesome assortment of “old school” module covers. Great for private use and a good, solid basis for your own commercial uses!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Classic Adventure Covers (Multi-Colored Modules)
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Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:47:13

Imaginitive collection of rare and odd items! Very cool. Idea-inspiring!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1
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Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:46:20

This pack is SUPER HUMAN! You could not get a better art pack anywwhere!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack
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Publisher's Choice - Basic Creature Figures (Humanoid Rats)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:45:36

Ideal three-pack to/for a future adventure I am creating.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Creature Figures (Humanoid Rats)
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