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CLASSifieds: The Time Assassin (New Base Class)
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2017 11:08:40

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 16-page, full-color (if mostly rather gray) PDF, with ten pages of rules material.

The Time Assassin is a mid-BAB class with good Reflex saves, and 6+ skill points for level across a decent spread of class skills. The class itself is among the most straightforward you'll find, as there are few choices outside of picking weapon groups for proficiency at various levels. The class is also almost entirely Intelligence-based, eventually gaining the ability to apply their Int modifier to their attack rolls, damage rolls, AC, and even skill choices not normally triggering off of that stat.

The main resource for the class is their Paradox Pool, which determines capacity by their class level plus their intelligence modifier (so, likely to be 5-6 points at the start of the game, depending on how high they were able to pump their Int score). The Paradox Pool can be used to apply a variety of small, non-scaling buffs, or to fuel things like their Time Split ability (which allows them to be in more than one place and take additional actions, albeit with limits on what can be done).

Starting at fourth level, they also get access to Temporal Rifts, which are quite expensive for class abilities (especially when they trigger off the same resource pool as everything else). The ability to move objects in an area backwards in time (to open doors, clear collapsed hallways, et cetera) is free to use, but the other options cost 3-6 points per-use, rather sharply curbing what they can do for the day.

This product also has Favored Class Bonuses for the core races, and two archetypes that provide the only real customization the class gets. (Seriously, everything else is pretty locked into place.) The Time Madness archetype is basically more for fun than anything else since the duplicates take on a random alignment (and may thus be quite unpredictable - or able to get through alignment-based things!), while the Focuser emphasizes watching opponents for awhile and then striking for all the damage at once. This is probably a good choice for people who don't want to do too much in combat, and notably, it also distinctly shrinks their Paradox Pool and makes it harder to use other abilities.

As you've probably picked up by now, the Time Assassin is geared towards a fairly specific style of play - more so than most classes, because the only real decisions you're making are "which weapon should I use?" and "do I play normal or Focuser?". This isn't inherently a bad thing, though most classes in the game try to be more flexible - in fact, this might be a pretty good option if you have a player who wants to fight but suffers from a bit of choice paralysis when they look at all the options in the game. It is, however, something you should know going into this product - there are basically just two ways of playing this class, and everything else is fiddly bits.

Overall, I feel this class is about a 4/5. It's relatively good at what it does - making up for its reduced accuracy by creating clones that can simply make more attacks instead - and it has a little bit of out-of-combat utility if a player is sufficiently creative with their first Temporal Rift and their time clones. That said, it's definitely a combat-focused class, and players shouldn't expect to do much else with it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: The Time Assassin (New Base Class)
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CLASSifieds: Astra (New Occult Class)
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2017 10:25:55

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a fourteen-page, full-color product, although only nine pages have actual rules content on them. (The rest is the usual OGL, cover, other legal stuff, et cetera).

The Astra is a full-BAB class with a good Will save, unsurprisingly focused on dealing damage to their enemies. They're proficient with all simple and martial weapons, but that's mostly just a support for the fact that they can create an astral blade as any slashing or piercing weapon they're proficient with. Most players are likely to stick with one form they prefer, but the variable nature of the blade means they can adapt to some defenses. The blade automatically gains enhancement bonuses every four levels, and is always treated as possessing the Ghost Touch quality (<- important in games with lots of incorporeal enemies).

That said, most Astras are likely to be Dexterity-focused characters, rather than Strength-based. The reason for this is that they actually have to be wearing light armor to get the most out of their defenses, as their Astral Protection ability gives them a scaling insight bonus to Reflex, AC, and CMD. They also get Uncanny Dodge and Evasion at higher levels. They also get the Astral Step class feature (referred to as Astral Slide in the table), which gives them 1/2 level + Wisdom Modifier in short-range, swift-action teleportations per-day.

Their most variable class feature is their Mantra - ways that Astras can personalize their astral blades. Mantras are learned at second-level and every three levels thereafter, and basically function as non-enhancement special abilities that can be activated in response to particular situations. If you're fighting a troll, activate the Flame mantra. If you're fighting demons, activate the Good mantra. And so on. Characters can have up to one Mantra active at second level (when they first get the ability), to a maximum of three at 16th level.

This product also includes favored class bonuses for the core races and a couple of archetypes (the Hundred Arms and the Phoenix Soldier, both focused on a rather mythological theme).

My overall feeling for the class, mm... I feel like the Astra largely does what it sets out to do, which is being a mobile close-range damage-dealer. Unfortunately, that's about all it does. As a general rule of thumb, I'm hesitant to approve of classes who only appear to have one role in the game, and dealing damage is a rather limited niche. Both the Kineticist and the Magus - which are the official classes I feel this most resembles - offer more out-of-combat utility, while Psionics' Soulknife offers a similarly-growing psychic blade and many diverse blade skills to go with it. At its core, the Astra is essentially a "you get to enchant your own weapon" class, and the additional effects of the mantras - mostly small defense buffs - don't really provide any more than that.

Thinking it over, I honestly can't rate this any higher than 3/5. It accomplishes its goal, but that doesn't help much if that goal isn't ambitious enough to really let players join in on the rest of the game. If you're looking for a class that essentially just does damage with a magic weapon, this is a good choice. Otherwise, there are similarly-powerful classes who also offer far more utility, and most people would probably enjoy playing those more. For future releases, I would recommend the publisher carefully consider how to give new classes some more out-of-combat options. You don't need another twenty pages for that, but there should be something to help keep players more involved when they're not killing things. Similarly, you don't necessarily need to one-up the other options a player has, but you should at least try to be in the same general region.

For example, the publisher may want to look at the Fey Adept from Spheres of Power, particularly their Shadowstuff ability and use of illusions. That kind of flexible utility power - redone with more of an astral touch here, and keeping in mind the expected magical limits of a full-BAB class - might work well if they ever decide to remake this class.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: Astra (New Occult Class)
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Castle Falkenstein: The Second Tarot Variation
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2017 09:46:36

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

The Second Tarot Variation is an alternative set of rules for Castle Falkenstein - namely, replacing the normal Fortune Deck with an expanded one that uses the 22-card tarot deck. This is generally something of a powerup, although the limit on how many cards a player can have in their hand at any time means they are giving up the normal benefits of the minor arcana. It's very much a player-focused system, as Hosts won't make much use of the tarot effects. The product itself is a six-page, full-color PDF.

I'm actually rather fond of this addition, since it adds an additional level of spontaneity and excitement to drawing cards... and in the end, aren't people present to have fun? That said, being unpredictable also means the Host needs to be good at improvising. For example, the Emperor allows a player to discard a card from the Host's hand for awhile - which could throw a wrench into your plans - while the Fool has the possibility of making a Feat succeed in, and I quote, "the most spectacular way possible".

To put it another way, this product is probably best for experienced Hosts, either with a number of Castle Falkenstein games under their belt or significant experience running other systems. I don't feel this is a drawback, exactly - not every product is meant for first-time players - but it is something to be aware of before you buy. Aside from that note, though, I enjoyed this product and it gets a full score from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Second Tarot Variation
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Castle Falkenstein: Babbage’s Engine
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2017 09:26:30

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

Babbage's Engine is a 28-page, full-color adventure for the Castle Falkenstein system with a generous helping of art sprinkled throughout. After a brief introduction to the main NPCs - there aren't many, so they'll be easy enough to keep track of - this product jumps right into the meat of the adventure. To avoid spoilers, I won't be describing the plot in too much detail - the description above should suffice for that.

The adventure itself is broken up into four chapters and an epilogue, most no more than a few pages at most. It's entirely playable as a standalone adventure, but the story is such that it's also a pretty good chance to set up future plot threads and introduce NPCs the players might meet in other games. Some advice on doing this is provided, along with several notable figures (Jules Verne, Mark Twain, etc.) who might be aboard.

Following the adventure, Babbage's Engine offers six sample Dramatic Characters appropriate for the adventure, complete with print-ready character sheets that can be passed around. These aren't enough to play all by themselves - players will need to be familiar with the Castle Falkenstein system to make sense of the sheets - but they're pretty handy for groups that would like to jump right in.

Overall, this is a very solid release, and I feel like it accomplishes exactly what it set out to do - provide a train-based dramatic adventure. It's probably best for linking other adventures together - I mean, literally, you're riding from one destination to the other, but it'd definitely be more fun than simply saying "now you're on the other side". The price is very attractive for the amount of content you're getting, too, especially because this is probably a full session's worth of material (unless you have very long gaming sessions). I'd definitely suggest trying to finish it in one sitting, though.

Overall, I feel like this product is about a 4.5/5 - maybe not quite perfect, but quite solidly put together, and certainly not something I'd hesitate to suggest Hosts take a look at. For the purposes of this platform, I'm rounding up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Babbage’s Engine
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Collection
by Joel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2017 20:03:23

I caught this on one of the really good Fat Goblin Games sales they are always running. After downloading the images all I can say is WOW! This collection is huge. If you are looking for artwork to fill in commercially produced works this is an awesome collection of fantasy artwork. Just to collect and assemble this collection of artwork must have been a huge task and labor of love.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Collection
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5th Edition Racial Options - Bugbears!
by Benjamin L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 00:58:14

Ten pages long, two cover pages, two pages advertising, one of OGL & licensing, one inner cover page. Four pages of content, one of which is a half-page of story fluff in need of editorial rework.

Sparse to no description, two "subraces" (one is more or less copied from the 5e Monster Manual), two magic items, one feat. Recycles art from cover on interior page.

Skips any mention of diet, culture, language, outlook on magic, clothing, anatomical points, favoured classes, legends, gods, etc. Even a page of that would have improved the quality of this product (not to mention brought the balance up against advertisement).

Impression: Hastily slapped together.

Not their best work at all, which makes the proud advertising weight odd.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Bugbears!
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Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
by Paul D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2017 06:21:44

Loved it so much ordered it on premium paper on wednesday and it arrived this morning when only paid for 2nd class mail. Can i give it an extra couple of stars for that?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
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D20 Generator: Character Goals
by Justin T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2017 22:50:08

Two pages, and information that I found for free on the web already. Not worth .50cents!



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
D20 Generator: Character Goals
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Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
by Rhiannon D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2017 00:07:46

A compact and straightforward variant for the Sorcery Deck. It adds potential benefits and hindrances for a spell and also reinforces the sense that magic in Castle Falkenstein is a complicated and sometimes dangerous endeavour. This won't be for all play groups. If you already feel that magic involves too many special rules or takes too much time, or if, like me, you run more one-shots and don't have players invested in the magic system, then this might be too much extra. But it is a nice addition to the atmosphere of sorcery in the game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
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Call to Arms: Horses and Mules
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/08/2017 08:08:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at a massive 86 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with a massive 81 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin with a brief flavor introduction, before we dive into the subject matter at hand, which, this time around, would be the hooved companions - we do get a discussion of the members of the equidae, discussing biology, psychology and the like. Pretty col: The pdf actually explains the way these beings communicate - what noises etc. mean. This is rather cool and also covers different colors and we do also cover mules...and when you'd want a mule or donkey. And yes, this does include zebroids and zebras. Different types of movement, from gallop to trot etc. is covered and a handy table lists movement by rounds

The pdf also covers diverse horse breeds, but misses a chance here to present minor variations of the stats like those featured in Raging Swan Press' "So what's the horse like, anyways?" - instead, we get full statblocks for destriers, dorian chargers, dorian mammoths, small donkey, eohippus, garrons, mules, ponies, different types of race horses, vanners and zebras. As a minor complaint no companion-stats are given for the respective horses, which, to me, constitutes a somewhat puzzling oversight, considering that the smallest horses feature notes on the benefits they'd convey as familiars.

The pdf also covers notes on the general intelligence of horses alongside a 10-entry strong table to randomly generate the personality of the horse in question. Of course, horses are living creatures and as such, caring and feeding and various afflictions a horse may suffer from are covered - though I do not get why the latter don't actually sport rules for the afflictions. If a horse gets rain rot, what are the rules-relevant consequences?

On the plus-side, the collection of skill uses, concisely presented, makes that aspect of the pdf pretty helpful and well-crafted and, following the tradition of the series, we collect relevant feats in one concise place: From Cavalry Formation to Involuntary Dismount. Wait, what? Yep, there also are new feats herein...but the quality of the rules material is inconsistent: "You can make a Ride check at difficulty 20 to avoid becoming Prone after a fall:"[sic!] - you can find the deviations from standard rules-language without me pointing them out, right?

Beyond these collected feats for riders, we also introduce and collect a variety of feats for the mounts in question. These make include allowing the ride to get a bonus on Handle Animal checks. Formatting here is not perfect, however - we have skills that are not capitalized, for example and there are cosmetic formal hiccups, like a "Special"-line not being bolded as well. Missing "spells" from "spells and effects" could be intentional as a deviation, but yeah.

Those options out of the way, we move towards the paladin's mount, which come with a sample celestial and similarly, the druid's animal companion can be found - it basically elaborates the basics and collects the relevant information. More interesting would be the animal companion archetypes herein: Charger and racer make for cool and very much required additions to the game; if anything, this pdf should have had more of these, which were pioneered in the animal archive! Sooo...why aren't there new ones? Speaking of cool: It's nice to see leadership and the subject of mount cohorts tackled in this book as well.

The pdf also features the hussar class, which receives d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with light blades, lances and simple weapons as well as with light armor and shields, excluding tower shields. Chassis-wise, the class gets good BAB-progression and Ref-save progression and begins play with Mounted Combat, a mount (which may have racer or charger archetypes) and a so-called "line". These would be order-like abilities that expand the proficiencies of the class, net a bonus feat and grant one ability at 2nd, 8th and 15th level. These include better shooting while in the saddle in two of the 4 lines...and the lines are decent, if not perfect - there is, for example, a reference to a saving throw for a target, but no note on the DC...Nomenclature is also weird: "Mounted Flurry", for example, does nothing that you'd associate with flurries, instead granting a static +2 to atk and damage and an AC-bonus. Not impressed there.

Where I really get flustered is with the skirmish ability: Bonus damage whenever you charge +1d6, plus an additional 1d6 every three levels thereafter. Because we ALL know that the one thing mounted combat needed was MORE DAMAGE. WTF?? Worse, starting at 3rd level, mounted charges no longer provoke AoOs...which makes this class fail my basic balance criteria. While the bonus damage is not multiplied on a critical hit, neither is it precision damage. It's a charger-class that deals EVEN MORE damage than Pala, Cavalier, etc. - not getting near my game. There also are two archetypes for the class, the beast rider and the winged hussar - the latter being btw. not a rider of a flying mount, but a more heavily armored version....that does not get Mounted Combat as a bonus feat at first level. Yeah...well. That happened. The Musketeer gets a bit of gunslinging...but loses the mount, which is the whole point of the class. You get a subpar gunslinger, basically, one without deeds, but the archetype can "As a standard action she can focus herself to gain a number of benefits for 1 minute per hussar level." What benefits? The archetype never explains. The class has no raison d'être. Literally everything it does, gunslinger, cavalier, etc. do better.

After this serious crash in quality, we're thankfully back to a more pleasant chapter, one that deals with magical mounts: The consequences of awakened mounts, stats for equine carrion golems, cauchemars etc can be found, making this chapter pretty helpful, if you're looking for a collection of these creatures, this delivers and also has some new ones - farasi bahari or uisge, for example. Unfortunately, the statblocks do sport glitches here - e.g. deflection bonuses to AC missing from incorporeal ghost horses. Weird: Nuckelavee and Mari Llwyd are included as cursed horses, even though both do not actually curse their rider. Why is e.g. the regular nightmare not included here? No idea. A CR 4/MR 1 mythic pegasus and a CR 11/MR 5 variant sleipnir can be found, though the latter has discrepancies in the presentation of the stats as well and the pegasus...lacks any cool mythic ability. The pdf also introduces "The First Horses" - a regular one, the first pegasus, the first sleipnir - alas, the statblocks are a mess., The first horse nets 30K Xp for a CR 5/MR 2 critter with 4 HD and a whopping 54 hit points. "The first horse has been around since the dawn of time and likely always will be." Yeah, right. In a world where a 10th level character has to sneeze at it to kill it. This concept is so cool, but the execution is really flawed.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-level, they are NOT. At least not in the cases where the pdf does not quote other material. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' nice and aesthetically pleasing 2-column full-color standard and the pdf features a lot, nice and thematically fitting stock art. The pdf has bookmarks, though some of them have titles like "_9p51zdtdf180" - while all proper bookmarks are below the array of these broken ones, it's still irritating to see.

Jennifer R. Povey did a lot of research here and when the book talks about real world facts, about myths and the details, this is actually a fun supplement, The collection of material from other sources is also commendable. However, I am utterly baffled by the inclusion of the hussar class, which has no reason to exist. Particularly when the topic of animal companion archetypes could seriously use more options! Now, usually, a book in the Call to Arms series does two things: For one, they collect the previously released material. But more importantly, they also add new material, new engines, cool stuff. They usually expand the subject matter, making the pdfs grow above their compilation angle.

This is not such a book. In fact, it frustratingly felt like it was aware of its shortcomings...and shrugged. We get all those notes on afflictions for horses...and no rules to supplement them? In what world does that make sense?? We acknowledge all those magical creatures...and don't really expand on what they mean within the context of the world. We mention breeds, but get no specific rules repercussions for them. In short: This book touches on all those tantalizing, cool concepts and then shrugs and gives you a seriously bad class and more statblocks...which have grievous glitches and/or have been compiled from other sources. I feel a bit like a bully, but there's no way around this: This is one of the weakest Call to Arms-books I have read. It shows effort, passion even, yes - but the craftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired. I also really wished that it featured its sources as superscript notes like previous installments of the series. Try as I might, I can't go higher than 2.5 stars, rounded down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Horses and Mules
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Sidebar #36 - Fun with Arcane Mark!
by Tyler S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2017 17:33:00

Even on sale, $1.00 for a 4 page document, less than 2 pages of useable material, and the content being extremely underwhelming is very disappointing. Know that if you're getting this product (and possibly the other sidebars?) that the content is of limited useability in reasonable games and limited in length.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Sidebar #36 - Fun with Arcane Mark!
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Publisher Reply:
Hey Tyler, sorry you were disappointed with your purchase. The product is called "sidebars" (like the sidebars in books with optional rules and notes) and we never felt we mislead our customers on what they are getting. In fact, over the last year or so of releasing them (it might be longer), they have been well received. I hope you take a chance and pick up one of the other many Sidebar products before you pass final judgment on the entire line. Thank you for your purchase and taking the time to leave your opinion on the product.
vs. Stranger Stuff: Send in the Clowns Special Edition
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/28/2017 17:21:05

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This product contains two separate downloads - in addition to the main product itself, there's a printable set of character sheets you can duplicate as-needed for your table.

Now, then. If you're anything like me, then you have... let's call them "feelings" about clowns. Well, vs. Stranger Stuff is pretty much all about the weird, creepy 80's movie vibe, so you probably already know whether or not this is something you want for your group. No, really. Some products are ambiguous without more information, but this isn't one of them. There's even a part of this product dealing with the fear of clowns (and the this-should-be-obvious note that this probably isn't a good choice for anyone with that fear. With that not-so-cheerful thought, let's get into the technical details, then the content.

The main product here is a 54-page, full-color file. As with most releases, the full rules for playing - including character creation - are included so that you only need to purchase this product in order to enjoy the game. Well, that and the basic supplies - pencils, paper, and a deck of normal playing cards. If you're not familiar with the VsM System, it's extremely simple and straightforward - people can easily dive in even if they've never played it before, making this appropriate for both long-term gaming groups and a party with friends or family.

Once we're past that, however, they really are sending in the clowns... starting with a page describing various plots that could be used for a clown-oriented adventure, from cannibal clowns to animatronic clowns desperate to get back at anyone who laughed at them. If you'd like something a little easier - or at least a good guide for creating your own adventures - this product also comes with three complete games worth of adventures. Note that as with most VsM system adventures, it's honestly not going to take too long to get through any one adventure. You could realistically play through all three of them in one session.

Now, that's where most products would stop... but by the time we're through the appendixes of the adventures, we're only at Page 45. The rest of the product contains useful extras, especially if you're printing them. Page 45 is essentially a draw-your-own-clown page (which can be as funny or as serious as you want), and there's also a paper puppet, some printable clown miniatures, and a couple of maps suitable for the adventures published earlier in the book. The final three pages include two of advertisements and the back cover.

At this point, though, there's honestly only one question that need answering: Is this a good "evil clowns" product? Personally, I think it is. I mean, the subject alone is really the selling point here, but I do think it holds up to what it set out to do. Fat Goblin Games has published quite a few products for this system now, and I definitely think they've got a good handle on this.

That said, part of the success of the game will come from the atmosphere you create and the players you have. This isn't a game for everyone, so make sure your intended group is onboard with the idea of playing it.

And other than that? Just don't sleep. The clowns might eat you...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Stranger Stuff: Send in the Clowns Special Edition
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CLASSifieds: The Technopath
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/26/2017 10:58:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive installment of the CLASSifieds-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, the first thing you should know is that this class builds on the Technology Guide's rules for science-fantasy tech. The book thus should be fully compatible with Call to Arms: Fantastic Technology...and the hinted at, but per the writing of this still unreleased sequel book.

The technopath receives d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per levels and begins play with proficiency with simple weapons and laser torches as well as light armor. Technopath spells may be cast in light armor sans spell failure. Technopaths have their own spell-list and cast spells of up to 6th level drawn from it. The class does not need to prepare it in advance, but uses Intelligence as governing spellcasting attribute - if you're particular about the Int/Cha prepared/spontaneous-divide, that's something to bear in mind. Rules-wise, I have no complaints in that regard, though. Chassis-wise, we have 3/4 BAB-progression and good Will-saves, though it should be noted that 20th level's 6th level spells per day-column is missing its numerical value.

The technopath begins play with a special cybernetic brain implant called spirit core (yes, spirit core and laser torch both are presented as items herein, in case you were wondering), which powers all but the spells regarding class abilities. This is also the place where the technogeist lives (Geist = German for "ghost", in case you did not know...yeah, we're pretty much in Ghost in the Shell territory here...). The technogeist may be hosted in either the technopath's consciousness or wirelessly connect it to computers, cybertech or similar features via root access or control a robot drone. All of these are distinct class features, so let's take a look at them in order:

Skill memory, the ability that hosts the geist in the technopath's consciousness, is gained at 4th level. For any two skills for which the technogeist has more skill ranks than the technopath, the AI grants Skill Focus' effects. problems here: Does that apply to ALL skills or one of them? One skill per two the technogeist exceeds the ranks of the technopath? I assume that only one skill is affected since 8th and 16th level yield an additional skill. I'm not 100% clear on how this works. Secondly, the benefits stack with Skill Focus, which they frankly shouldn't - skills are easy to cheese as is; potentially doubling Skull Focus benefits is ridiculous. At 12th level, the ability yields the weapon proficiencies of the technogeist as well. These benefits are suspended when using root access or planar networking.

What's planar networking? It's a 1st level ability, which lets the technopath, via one minute of uninterrupted transmission of a signal through an adjancent plane like the astral, target a robot within 50 ft, whose CR is less than the technopath's level - should probably be class level here. The target must be unconscious or currently non-operational and may then be controlled by the technopath, but must remain in the vicinity. While thus affected, the robot receives the aggregate template, representing that it's inhabited by the technogeist.

This would be a CR +1 template, using Int instead of Dex for initiative, adjusting Will-save to account for the AI's Wisdom score and the robot retains the AI's Int, Wis, and Cha-scores. The robot retains its feats, adding the AI's feats as well, which can be pretty potent. If such an aggregate (or another piece of equipment possessed by the technogeist) is destroyed, the AI spends 1 minute rebooting in the spirit core. The AI is not affected by mind-affecting effects, but since it is a technological entity that employs magic, its abilities are hampered in zones of dead magic and the like. A technogeist's three base scores may be assigend at character creation (14, 12 and 10) in any order and the AI increases one attribute by +1 every 5 levels. The technogeist receives 6 + Int-mod skills per every 2 levels and begins play with 1 feat, gaining another feat at 3rd, 6th, etc. level. The technogeist begins play with share spells and all Craft skills as class skills, with a +4 insight bonus to Knowledge (engineering) as well as Technologist as a bonus feat. OP: It can repair 2d6 points of damage to any robot as a standard action. No daily cap, nothing - if you have a PC-robot-race, this means infinite healing. Even in other contexts, this needs a hard daily cap.

2nd level yields evasion, 14th improved evasion, and 7th and 17th level provide additional weapon proficiencies. 12th level yields Multiattack and 6th level decreases the reboot duration from 1 minute to 3 rounds. 8th level yields the choice of +1 to atk, initiative or all saves and at 9th level, the technogeist may affect nearby robots as a standard aaction, commanding them as per suggestion. The rules-text contradicts itself here - in one sentence, it says that the ability can be used 3/day and 1/day.

Starting at 2nd level, a techonpath may btw. share senses with the technogeist. Okay, that out of the way, let's return to the different abilities the technopath can use with her geist, the second of which would be root access, which is unlocked at 3rd level: As a swift action, the character can touch a technological object, granting the technogeist root access, which can be maintained for a daily total of class level rounds per day. The precise benefit here depends on the type of object thus accessed: Armor and shields can convey a significant AC boost (+5 shield bonus, increases to +8 at 13th level; 18th level provides a powerful force field with fast healing and the consumption of rounds of this ability instead of charges). Weapons net bonuses to atk and damage with somewhat weird sclaing (standard +4, +7 at 13th level) and additional attacks - the latter should die or at the very least offer a caveat to prevent additional attack stacking via haste, flurry, etc. 18th level allows the technopath to levitate adjacent to the character, allowing it act and move independently.Computers etc. allow for the sharing of skills etc. and Mark models, prismatic augmentations etc. may be improved as well.

The third functionality of the geist would be to duplicate a kind of pet - the technopath begins play with a security drone, a CR 1/3 robot with a chargeable laser turret and a gripping clamp that can be used for clumsy manipulations. 2nd level yields Craft Robots as a bonus feat and allows the character to craft from scrap and may apply temporary hit points to a robot, though thankfully sans easy cheese option. 5th level yields at-will technomancy with a CL equal to class level -3, ith 14th level making that constant. At 6th level,, the character may use discharge or recharge 1/day as an SP at -3 class levels as CL. 9th level and every 3 levels thereafter yield an additional daily use, with 18th level increasing the CL by +1, up to class level maximum. 10th level makes the bonded senses always on when using planar networking to hijack robots as well as skill memory's benefits while the technogeist is within a robot. 11th level provides 1/day memory of function as an SP at full CL, +1 daily use at 17th level. This also allows a geist to immediately establish control as part of the action, if so desired. 17th level provides a persistent virtual demiplane - this plane has stringent limits, but represents nearby interaction points and can only be accessed by the virtual consciousness, basically duplicating in flavor and effect something akin to Shadowrun's matrix. As a capstone, the class can also represent and interact with creatures, including those on overlapping planes, within this mode.

Now, I mentioned recharge/discharge - fret not, the spells, part or the new spells contained herein, have a burn-out chance for batteries, so not cheap infinite resource cheeses there. Glamering robots as fleshy beings, detecting technology via technomancy or the like - there are, spell-wise, some cool ideas here. Immediate full restoration of construct hit points, even as a 7th level spell, can be considered to be rather potent and should be handled with care. The spell-representation of magnetic field is pretty nice, as far as hard terrain control goes.

The class comes with a total of 3 archetypes: The compatibilist android, who replaces fused consciousness and memory of function via a variant, robot-based Leadership. The class abilities, like the recharging mentioned before, also tie in with that. The archetype also receives a capstone that nets the divine source mythic ability and herald apotheosis. Circuit breaker technopaths receive a modified skill list and their technogeist gains more weapon proficiencies . If the name was not ample indication, let me spell it out: These guys are more about using a sledgehammer, so to speak: Damaging and destroying technology, via discharges, EMPs and the like. In contrast to this more offensive archetype, the artificial empath is all about Teamwork with the technogeist, a form of co-existence, if you will - represented by 1st level gaining the Empathy feat, teamwork feats and the option to grant the technogeist a persistent form at 10th level. At the highest levels, they can even create artificial life and make the AI a real boy, to use the classic analogy.

While some feats mentioned may be familiar to those of you who own CtA: Fantastic Technology, the pdf also features a selection of new feats: AIs and robots can learn to make Backups in case of destruction; binary communication can also be achieved and another feat allows robots, androids etc. to disable emotions - which may or may not be something that you'd already assume as a given in your game. Why is it here? Empathy. The feat nets an empathic robot/AI. Emotion-and-fear-ignoring metamagic via Forced Empathy Spell is also included and faking emotions can also be found here. As an aside/nitpick, the latter has its benefits/prerequisites not properly bolded. More interesting would be Transform, which lets your robot/android/etc. selectively doe the transformer and change arms, grow wheels, etc. Temporarily wearing a robot is a cool concept, but the execution, even with its hard cap per day here, can be a bit powerful and should only be attempted by advanced players.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' nice two-column full-color standard. The pdf uses a mix of new and stock full-color art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Garrett Guillotte's technopath is NOT for the faint of heart. This is a complex class that requires quite some system mastery to understand...and play. A 1st level technopath that doesn't take care will be left sans drone, for example. Similarly, you have to know how AIs work to run this and most players probably don't. Including a step by step explanation would have made this significantly easier to grasp. You see, you have basically two entities here - technopath and technogeist. However, the technogeist is basically the fuel of class abilities: A distinct entity, yes, but also the source of the technopath's powers. And this is where a lot of the issues of the class, in fact, the grievous ones, lie. RAW, the AI is a distinct entity, with its own actions. At the same time, the technopath governs these actions. This does create an overall feeling where the lines between the two entities are blurred: Compared to e.g. spiritualist or tinker, I found myself wishing that the two would be separated more clearly. This also goes for the technogeist-powered abilities. These generally are pretty cool, yes, but their presentation is, at least when reading the class for the first time, rather challenging.

These didactic shortcomings can be a bit tough, particularly on newer players, but more problematic would be the issues here and there like doubled Skill Focus, wonky bonus iterative attacks and the like, that drag his class down. There is one more thing to bear in mind: Several of the class abilities allow the technopath to potentially make use of powerful foes. While these are thankfully limited, the class only really reaches its full potential in a campaign that sports sufficient amounts of tech. If you run a low-technology game, it loses some of its appeal and power. How to rate this, then? In the end, I consider this to be a flawed class, yes - but also one that manages to get a lot of complex concepts done right. It has some aspects that could have used further clarification, but at the same time, it manages to do something interesting, which is a plus for me. In the end, I consider this a mixed bag on the positive side, which translates to 3.5 stars: Advanced players and GMs willing to invest a bit of time in a tech-heavy campaign may well want to check this out! I'd usually round down for this, but as per the writing of this review, the class is available for 1 buck, which is really cheap for the amount of content - hence, I'll round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: The Technopath
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5th Edition Racial Options - Kitsune!
by John W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2017 13:23:36

DESIGN Attactive, but relatively basic and not terrible printer friendly. The only significant piece of original art, save for a small picture of oragami, is the cover image and variations thereof.

CONTENT An interesting array of information, beginning with fluff and crunch on the race its self (+4 subrace variants), then migrating to 3 new feats, a new spell, and 2 new magic items. It will take repeated usage of the material to judge its usefulness and game balance, but it all looks reasonable on first blush.

VALUE I'd like to see a little more content and / or a slightly more inspired design for the price point, but that's often the case in sub-$5 offerings from indie publishers.

SUMMARY A decent little piece, well conceived and relatively well executed, that could use some refinement to bring the value more in line with the price point. If the subject matter intrigues you, I doubt you'll be disappointed by the purchase.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Kitsune!
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Castle Falkenstein: Firearms & Margarine: An Adventure Entertainment
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2017 07:46:20

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

All right, going into this product, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I mean, seriously, just look at that name. It turns out that this is a 44-page, full-color murder mystery adventure for the Castle Falkenstein system. The adventure is divided into a prologue, three chapters, and an aftermath. For spoiler reasons, I obviously can't get into too many details on the plot, but simply knowing it's a murder mystery is probably enough to tell you whether or not your group is interested in playing it. The credited author, J Gray, has contributed to quite a few quality titles in the past, and that's always reassuring since mystery adventures tend to be very hit-or-miss.

That said, I probably wouldn't run this as the first Castle Falkenstein adventure for a given group of players. That's not a knock against its quality, by the way - it's just that this is the sort of adventure that works much better when players have a good understanding of their abilities and what they can accomplish. After all, if they don't know that (for example) a feat in Education or Tinkering can help them get certain kinds of plot-relevant information, they're not likely to try that and may instead be reduced to blindly trying to figure out the way forward. (Groups of veteran gamers who have thoroughly studied their characters and the system, or those who have played a lot of mystery adventures in the past, are exempt from this suggestion.)

Similarly, this game will require a certain amount of preparation to run properly. There are a few places where content from the book can be read as-is, but the game master will probably want to write up scene information and dialogue that they can read to the players while also being sure they don't accidentally rattle off information they're not supposed to. Given the nature of this adventure, I think having clear text for the GM to read (as seen in many other roleplaying adventures) would have been a better way to create this. Running a mystery game is complicated enough as it is.

On the more helpful side, the product does tend to include a variety of responses for things that Dramatic Characters (i.e. players) might choose to do in any given situation. It's always possible that players will go further outside of the bounds than the adventure has planned for, of course, but it's nice to see they aren't expected (or required) to do things in exactly one way.

Overall, I feel like this is a solid mystery adventure that fans of the genre will enjoy. It's definitely something to talk over with your gaming group before you get it - not everyone enjoys a big helping of mystery during their gaming sessions, after all - but anyone who does enjoy it is probably going to come away from the table satisfied. I do have to knock off a few points because of the extra preparation a GM will need to do, giving us a final score of 4.5 (rounded down to 4) stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Firearms & Margarine: An Adventure Entertainment
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