DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Call to Arms: Shields
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2016 09:32:07

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

This is a 48-page, full-color PDF that adheres to the standard two-column layout. After taking out the front and back covers, the OGL, the copyright page, the table of contents, and a bit of fluff, we're left with about 42 pages of content.

This product opens with three pages on the history of shields, including how they were used by a number of different cultures across the world. That's more for fun than anything else, though.

Once we're through the flavor, the book gets straight into new rules for mundane shields, substituting the term "body shield" for "tower shield". I actually disagree with this decision - many things in Pathfinder are not historically accurate, nor are they meant to be, and it's best to try and avoid having multiple names for the same thing. That can get confusing. This is also a bit less real content than I was expecting, since it discusses shapes without mechanical benefits. That takes us through another two pages, until we finally get to new mechanical rules.

Here, we start with the different ways of wielding a shield. Strapped shields are hard to disarm, but require a standard action to use your shield hand for another purpose. Argive shields reduce this to a move action, and readying or dropping it can be done as a swift action during a regular move. Boss Grips essentially turn shields into quickdraw shields.

Following the section on grips, we get into a section on shields as weapons, detailing their damage, crit ranges, and so on. I noticed a couple of mistakes on the table that an editing pass really should have caught. That said, they're not providing separate weapons, per se - rather, the damage is based on what kind of shield it is. For example, a shield might do different amounts of damage based on whether it has spikes or a bladed edge. The options are generally cheap add-ons that can be added to most shields. The majority of these are straightforward, but they did include an option for integrating a firearm into a shield. Characters in low magic games may be interested in the Splash Pocket, which can do things like store vials of holy water for added effects against undead.

From here, we get to using shields defensively - unsurprisingly, they mostly just make your AC go up.

After all of that, we get to a series of new mundane shields, with a few choices in each category. For example, the Archer Buckler allows for the use of bows and crossbows without penalty, while the Ringed Round light shield specializes in disarming, sundering, and shield bashes. Additional defensive options are included a moment later, though I would've put those immediately following the offensive options. Options here include things like a lantern window (so you can keep your shield up and still have light) and a weapon sheath to provide easy access to certain kinds of equipment.

The next section is essentially a duplication of special materials that can be used to make shields, with a few notes on using multiple materials. (This isn't an even split, and mainly just affects the hardness and hit points for rims, and what happens when attacking for bosses - i.e. the middle of the shield.)

Magical shields are up next. The first part section is essentially a copy of the shield special abilities rules from Ultimate Equipment, which I suppose is good for having all the rules in one spot. Following this, we have a section on specific shields... many of which were also copied from Ultimate Equipment. Those that weren't tend to be in the text but not on the list at the start, and I'm not sure why this happened.

The book wraps up with a few cursed, intelligent, mythic, and artifact-grade shields for those who really want to make their defenses interesting, and it is nice to see those kinds of rules getting support in this series.

Despite its length, this book doesn't have as much substance as I thought it would when I first opened it. The early half of the book is pretty good, but most of the latter half is essentially just copied straight from other sources. Worse, I noticed a number of fairly basic formatting errors that should have been caught. One or two I can expect, but there were more than that, especially on the tables and with item headers. I would have liked to see more unique content and another editing pass before this was released. As it is, I can't really justify rating it higher than 3/5 - it's still a decent buy if you really want to use shields in your game - especially if you can get it at a discount - but it's not something I would recommend everyone pick up. Not until some tweaks are made to improve it, anyway.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Shields
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Call to Arms - Societal Masks
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2016 08:50:23

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

This is a 34-page, full color PDF with a few pieces of art sprinkled throughout - unsurprisingly, the art focuses on masks.

Rather than immediately jumping to rules content, though, this product takes the time to explain ceremonial masks and why people might want to wear them, including some real-world history about the societies that made use of them. Once we get to the actual rules content, it opens with a selection of mundane items, all of which grant a bonus to disguise checks. Some of these items are more advanced than others - including some explicitly technological items - and have effects ranging from immunity to inhaled toxins to being more disliked by other people. (Hey, some masks are punishments.)

Afterwards, we get into magical masks, and there's quite a variety of these. There are many minor and medium magical items here, as well as one major item. Several of these masks come in multiple varieties - such as the Burn Mask, which is intended for Kineticists and can reduce some of the nonlethal damage they take from using their class abilities. Other magical masks include effects like reducing the odds someone can land a critical hit on you with certain weapons, removing the risk of AoO's for certain combat maneuvers, providing additional uses of a Mesmerist's Trick, or offering the power to literally sniff out gold and gems. There are even cursed, intelligent, mythic, and artifact-level masks.

In other words, there's probably something in here that will be useful in any given game.

You'd think that would be the end of it, but no, we're only 2/3rds of the way through the PDF now. Following all of these items are a few class options, including the Outlaw archetype for the Gunslinger, rules for using the Vigilante as a Variant Multiclass, and suggestions on masked social encounters. The book even has a sample of how this can work, with a one-shot encounter for 5th-level characters at a masquerade ball.

All-in-all, I think this is a pretty good product for anyone who's interested in putting something on their character's face. Unfortunately, I do have to knock a few points off for some editing errors. For example, the Filter Mask says it uses rules based on "the official guide" released by Paizo. Now, being familiar with Paizo's releases, I understand that they're referring to the Technology Guide - but they should have used the actual name there instead of being vague this way, and I'm not sure why that happened. Somebody less familiar with Paizo's releases might not understand that reference.

My final score for the product is 4/5 - it's solid, and good for what it's intended to do, but I think it could still be improved by another editing pass.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms - Societal Masks
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Call to Arms - Ceremonial Masks
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/04/2016 12:51:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This installment of the series begins with a nice, brief rundown of ceremonial masks within the context of our real world history, from Africa to Egypt, Asia, Oceania and all the other parts of this little ball of dirt we call home. The first array of masks presented here begin with regular masks and their masterwork equivalent before introducing a selection of masks that range from facilitating the binding of outsiders to supplementing arcane spell duel tricks or reduced ritual costs. Similarly, monster masks for theater performances are increased in their value by adding mechanical relevance to those wearing them.

Beyond the assortment of mundane masks, though, the pdf also features an array of magical ceremonial masks, 20 to be more precise - and they range in price from 4K to 90K gold. The first, the magical beast mask that conveys a hunter's animal focus to the wearer, though the wording could be more precise in stating that the animal focus is equal to the mask's features - the connection is RAW not explicit. The exorcist's mask may expel creatures...if they fail a DC 11 save...which is pretty easy, considering how most possessing creatures are pretty strong and tend to have good Will-saves. Not the most impressive of items and probably would have been served better via a scaling DC. Ghost Masks let you see the invisible and ethereal. The two healing masks increase base dice-sizes of cure spells and net a bonus to Heal checks and CLs when casting neutralize poison or remove disease (plus remove curse for greater ones...). The greater one sports a minor deviation from the default rules-language conventions, when channel energy can be expended to add "The result" to her CL check against the DC of the affliction. Result of what? The amount healed? WTF? That could even heal divine curses! Oo

The two variants of the masks of giants grant numerical bonuses and some limited special monster abilities associated with the giants chosen. Okay, but not brilliant. The mask of cosmic horror is underpirced slightly, offering 3/day 100-ft. save or suck confusion to all looking. I assume this activation follows default rules, but an action would have been appreciated still. Same goes for the mask of the krenshar, which is the weaker fear-based variant o the concept. The mask of the skull is evocative - it represents a skull flying to a target...and the target touched (50 ft. range) is finger of death'd. The range is pretty strong, but 1/day use is a balancing component alongside the minimum duration worn to activate, which prevents mask circling. It may be a spell in a can...but it is one with an interesting variation. Once again, no activation action, though. Which becomes weird, considering that the medusa mask does sport an activation action. Necromancer's masks let you shift death knell to allied undead. Unfortunately, I am not sure how the secondary boon is supposed to work:"If the wearer immediately casts animate dead, create undead or create greater undead on the subject creature after killing it, he loses all benefits of the death knell spell but the target permanently gains the advanced creature template." I get what this is supposed to do - but what does "immediately" mean? Within the round? Is the death knell still active, but needs to run its course sans benefits? No clue.

The ritual mask similarly feels a bit confused - the idea is that the mask lets you prolong casting time for more power: "By doubling casting time, the wearer may add +1 to the caster level, the spell, or to the level of the spell for purposes of applying a metamagic feat he knows." Ähem...two out of these are actually penalties, considering that numerical scaling is not modified by increased spell levels, only the save DC. I honestly don't get how this one's supposed to work, probably also because the numbers of the example are faulty....either that, or the sentence structure is wrong. The transference of non-instantaneous spell effects or magic item benefits to nearby allies via spellmasks is btw. a can of worms I'd strongly suggest not opening; targets of spells are crucial components of the balancing of the like and many a magic item actually has its bonus/slot/minimum wearing time for a reason. This breaks the system. That being said, there are some gems herein - what about masks you can affix to walls that then proceed to swallow AoE effects, converting them to luck for the person who hung it on the wall? Pretty cool! Similarly, masks radiating auras that cause vulnerability for designated foes make sense and work neatly! The tranquility masks can be used to quench haunts. Witch masks, even at 60 K, are way OP - as a move action, you can extend durations or round-duration-spells by 1 round. No limit. Not getting near my game, even before the modified mirror image effect add further value here.

The pdf also features 3 cool cursed masks and the intelligent mask that was created out of the attempt of dread Sabelest Anahm's attempt at lich-ascendence, providing the undead anatomy tricks as well as undead creation. The mythic Anubis mask grows the wearer as enlarge person and nets undeath to death 1/day. Mythic beings that also expend mythic power as part of channel energy to add up to tier number of d6s to the ability and prevent them from becoming undead. The artifact provided would be the mask of the outsiders, which allows for control over outsiders, trap the soul outsiders in the mask and hijack subtype traits of outsiders thus trapped, but at the cost of a negative level for the outsider - and ultimately, potentially, destruction. But what is the DC for the outsdider to get rid of the negative level? The trap the soul DC 26 or the control summoned creature DC 22 ability? I assume the former, but am not sure.

The pdf concludes with the masked shaman archetype for the shaman class, who replaces spirit animal with mask that provides a linear progression of spells granted by the mask 1/day each. Also, while wearing the mask, the spirit animal's granted power can be applied to the shaman, activated as a swift action for class level minutes, to be spent in 1-minute increments. A cool engine tweak that plays sufficiently differently.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, though on a rules level, the pdf could be slightly more precise. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artworks are neat and full color.

Jacob W. Michaels' masks aren't a bad installment of the series and in fact contain some gems - I like the archetype and the wall masks in particular. I am not sold on the pricing of quite a few of them, though and for my taste, there are slightly too much spells in a can...though, to be frank, they at least do interesting things to modify them. Still, this does have some rough edges. I can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms - Ceremonial Masks
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Campaign Kits:The Mysteries of Hollowfield
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2016 10:46:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Campaign Kit clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This installment of the Campaign Kits-series is a charity product for the Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund and it is, to make that clear from the get-go, a "Pay what you want"-product. The original iteration has sported some glitches that have been identified and rectified, which is why this review is based on V.2.0 of the book.

So, what is this? Well, in short, this book contains 8 expanded adventure seeds: With statblocks and structure and all, just needing some fleshing out and get the GM grove on; if you're time-starved and don't want to start from scratch, this may well be what you've been looking for. Formally situated in the eponymous Hollowfield (isometric, CGI-created map provided, just fyi), the tales herein can conceivably be transplanted relatively easily to other locales - a wood and a body of water in the vicinity are pretty much all you need.

Now, in order to cover these, I will need to good into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still around? Only GMs here? Great!

Adventure #1 begins with a commotion in the village square, where lichlytes, macabre fey that look like hummingbird-sized cadavers, have agitated the crowd and create a volatile situation they hopefully defuse. A quick investigation turns up that not all is well here: Villagers and foreign laborers in the Kaizermein saw mill have been feuding; at night, the clanging of metal can be heard; a prospector thinks he can reinvigorate the mines; bodies of livestock and the local cemetery show up across town; the pagan harvest festival has not been properly observed and then there's that old crone...enough potential leads yet? Anyways, the trail regarding the bodies will lead towards tunnels below the graveyard and there, pit the PCs in conflict with a redcap.

Once the PCs venture into the woods (or as an alternate lead-in, J Gray's adventure #2 will work: There, the PCs can find Lydia, a scared little girl of 6 years, who just wants to go home to Hollowfield...and indeed, provided the PCs can defeat the goblins en route, they will escort her home...only to realize that they have been escorting a ghost, for Lydia's dead and now, finally, home.

Jennifer R. Povey's adventure sketch has the PCs attend the pagan harvest festival only to be interrupted by the crone dubbed "Nasty Nellie" by the local population - whose apprentice Sera (cue in Final Fantasy XIII-reference and hundreds of "SERA!!!"-screams...) has vanished. The PCs will have to venture into the woods to retrieve SERA!!! and brave a nice take on the grasping wood as a haunt and deal with her standing amidst an ancient battlefield, possessed by the ghost of a general of days long gone.

Kiel Howell's up next and his adventure sketch starts with a mob threatening violence against a sweets seller. Why? because people have been losing their teeth...but oddly, only the adults. After some preliminary investigation involving barber and apothecary, the trail will lead the PCs to an abandoned mansion, where an advanced broken soul tooth fairy and her cadre of minions are behind the creepy happening. Now this hook is cool and amazing! I want to see that as a full module!

Matt Roth's Fallen leaves is up next and begins with the local lmber baron Johann Kaizermein inviting the PCs for dinner. Alas, not all goes according to plan and the PCs witness a incursion of leaf leshys, stained with autumn's touch, assaulting the groundskeeper. The maddening pestilence provides a neat autumnal decay angle, as the PCs venture into the forest to negotiate with the leshys (preferably sans being killed) and unearth the source of the corruption, a child lost and perished in the woods, now ascended to daemon-kind.

Kalyna Conrad's angle focuses on the disappearance of little Timeney, who was last seen in the vicinity of the half-elven, deeply prejudiced woodsman Edlemil - who not only has a nasty trap, but also a massive garden...in which a dread flower is growing that he uses to...well. Dispose of unpleasant (read: human) beings. Nasty and disturbing...I like!

We return to the Kaizermein mill in Garrett Guillotte's sketch, but oh boy, how we return: It's been some while since Gibs Greck was cut apart in what looked like a mill accident...but when the wood of the local tavern starts groaning, forming a face and uttering prophecies of doom, something obviously must be done...and indeed, there are other, haunt-based challenges to be found and dealt with, all based on the odd wood employed...oh, and then there's the spectral treant, whose power will be depending on the number of haunts dealt with. Another winner, at least in my book!

The final adventure sketch would be John Bennett's "The House Death Built", with one person, slumped over, being dragged away by shadowy servants to an abandoned house, which once belonged to Sir Erasmus Dratho - the house, which has been standing empty for a while, can be explored in a nice exercise of building tension, but the creepy hints the PCs can find, in conjunction with their nightmares, will suddenly make clear that the place is haunted and that there is some nasty darkness that needs to be laid to rest. If you need a reason why I consider John Bennett to be a master of horror/the creepy...this is a nice first glimpse of his talent.

The pdf comes with full statblocks for just about every critter and a map of the sawmill; the final appendix is a GM's cheat-sheet for the NPCs features in the town, be adventure. The town gets no statblock, though.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting of V.2. are good - I noticed some minor hiccups here and there, but not enough to spoil the book in any way. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard with interior artwork being full-color stock. The cartography employed is CGI-based and does its job, but expect no player-friendly versions. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience.

The cadre of authors assembled here sports some delightful little adventure sketches suitable for the darker times of the year; particularly the tales of John Bennett (no surprise there), Kiel Howell, Garrett Guillotte and Kalyna Conrad managed to invoke a sense of "I'd actually like to build on this and run it!" While not perfect, as a charity product and PWYW to boot, this makes for a truly nice little book as Halloween approaches. If you're starved for time or ideas and want to play a suitably creepy adventure, this certainly will do the trick: With a minimum of work, you'll get some nice mileage out of this book. Better yet, you can download it, check it out and then reward the authors in a manner you consider appropriate. Alternatively, this may well be worthwhile to check out for the haunts to scavenge - there are some cool ones to be found here!

How to rate this...well, here, it becomes a bit harder for me, but ultimately, I consider this worthwhile and thus, this receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up due to its more than fair PWYW-status. If this was a full-priced title, it'd be somewhere in the 3 - 4-echelon, just fyi.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign Kits:The Mysteries of Hollowfield
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Ritual Magic Expanded for 5th Edition Fantasy
by Gaetan V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2016 02:55:21

This is a nice set of ideas and a good basis for expanding the otherwise limited set of Rituals that are available to PCs. They have smart, non-adventuring rituals like "Union of Two Souls" for marriage or "Assuming the Mantle" for crowning royalty. They have rituals for things like putting people into stasis or sanctifying ground or exorcising demons. They even provide some ideas of rituals as plot hooks, such as keeping a flying castle afloat.

There's also a section on rituals for non-spellcasters.

Overall I like the ideas and will likely be using a few of these in modified form for my own campaign.

If this book comes up short of 5 stars it's because it lacks professional polish.

  • The layout is really poor. The Merry Respite spell splits across two pages with two lines on the first page.
  • The Assume the Mantle spell splits across three pages even though it's less than a page of text because someone decided to put a picture of thief picking a lock in the middle of the paragraph. Yes, this significant 9th-level spell is split across multiple pages and highlighted by artwork that has nothing to do with the spell.
  • The text includes 4 pieces of art and maybe one of them seems thematically relevant.
  • The text is painfully difficult on the eyes. Some of the header fonts render with zero kerning, the spell titles are white on black with insufficient border, the header is really wide and completely empty.
  • There are definitely pieces of the text that need another round of editing. For example, Magic Seal says that the imprisoned creature can attempt to break free, but then fails to describe how this happens. Instead it details that the caster has to re-cast the spell or the imprisoned creature automatically breaks free, which kind of negates the "attempt" because there is no such thing.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ritual Magic Expanded for 5th Edition Fantasy
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

(5e) Expanded Options #01 - Occult Ritual Magic for 5th Edition Fantasy
by Gaetan V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2016 02:30:18

This is a shortened version of a much more worthwhile larger product here. Just get the full thing, far more valuable http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/170570/Ritual-Magic-Expanded-for-5th-Edition-Fantasy.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
(5e) Expanded Options #01 - Occult Ritual Magic for 5th Edition Fantasy
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Campaign Kits:The Mysteries of Hollowfield
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2016 04:34:06

I loved this book! I really encourage everyone to get it. It's even in print at pay what you want!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign Kits:The Mysteries of Hollowfield
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Shadows over Vathak: Player's Guide to Vathak
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2016 20:19:29

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

Okay, let's get the most important thing out of the way - when we think of a "Player's Guide", we usually think of a 10-ish page supplement with a few traits, maybe some extra rules, that sort of thing. This book, though? It is [i]over 400 pages[/i], divided into nine major sections to help detail the world of [i]Shadows over Vathak[/i]. (What immediately got my attention, though? The presence of some Old Ones. XD I do enjoy Lovecraftian entities, although I definitely like them Chaotic Neutral more than Chaotic Evil.) Aside from the length, this book is a full-color product, with lots of original artwork and the standard two-column formatting. At $20 (as of the time of writing), this may be more than player's want to buy individually... but I can already tell it's going to be a good investment for any group playing in this setting. Pool your money - it's worth it.

Now, let's take a look at the actual content. Unsurprisingly, it starts with an Introduction, covering what's going on with the world, the various lands, some politics, some history, and a quick guide for using the book. This stuff is important - games in settings like this one tend to do best when people understand the setting and make appropriate characters, rather than generic collections of stats that could fit into any world.

The main things to know are straightforward and simple - there are two major faiths (the One True God and the cults of the Old Ones), and this is not a happy world. Noble and righteous leaders are rare - far more are simply trying to take whatever they can, with an almost apocalyptic view of what's happening on their planet.

The notes on each land aren't exactly a Gazetteer, but they provide enough information to form a solid mental picture of what each territory is like. There's enough variety here to help support a wide variety of character concepts - always nice to see - and a timeline helps pull everything together. The full-color map at the end of the section isn't too shabby, either, although the digital version is a bit hard to read. I would've suggested making that sharper, myself.

The next section is simply titled "Heroes of Horror" - and here, they are very clear. Shadows over Vathak is fundamentally a horror setting, and they suggest a variety of ways to help create a unique character that's still yours while fitting into the tone of the game. This part of the book can be used for generating characters in other games as well - there are prompts to think about things like the circumstances of their birth, their family, and their social rank and education. All of these are things that help with creating a well-thought-out character, and I'm glad they were included. They even have a table for major childhood events.

Of course, one's background isn't solely flavorful - there are mechanical considerations for picking traits. This book has a number of new traits that characters can select, with a variety of very decent effects. Fat Goblin Games has done something interesting here with the addition of Occupations, which bundle two trait effects together to represent a character's training in life. For example, if you select the Artist occupation in lieu of your traits, you'd get a +2 trait bonus to a craft skill and a bonus on the money you earn when using Craft to make money. Occupations are definitely worth allowing as an alternate to traits. Just to cap things off, the guide has a couple of flavorful new Drawbacks as well.

From there, we go to Chapter 3, the Races of Vathak. This part of the book features an overview of the races - both the core races and those new to the setting. Some of the new races are technically human - to the point of having the human subtype - but have unique racial traits to help flesh them out. The options range from the nomadic (and violent) Bhriota to the tainted Cambion to the Witchwolves, descendants of lycanthropes who have inherited some of their features. As a GM, I would strongly encourage players to select from the book's races, rather than falling back on the default "Core" races of Pathfinder. Flavorful races are fun! And each race gets a very respectable writeup, including things like normal alignments, reasons for adventuring, religion, alternate racial traits, and favored class bonuses.

The fourth chapter focuses on Classes, and includes four entirely new ones as well as thematically appropriate options for many of Pathfinder's normal classes. The new options are:

The Disciple, a 3/4ths BAB, 6th-level divine caster who earns favor in the eyes of a Patron Saint and uses that to power their abilities The Fortune-Teller, a 1/2-BAB, 9th-level psychic caster who specializes in divination and gathering information The Reanimator, a 1/2-BAB, 6th-level "Injector" (i.e. Very Close To Alchemist) who's all about filling people with weird concoctions. Hello, Doctor West. Also, do ham it up as a mad scientist if you play one, all right? The Soldier, a Full-BAB alternate class for the Fighter that joins a Regiment to determine which abilities they get. This is the only class in the book I hesitate to recommend, but that's because I lean against anything that's basically pure combat in a game where non-combat challenges are a thing. They're stuck with 2+Int skill points per level, too. If people really want to be a combat-focused character for a game in this setting, though, you might as well point them to this.

Following all of these new classes are a bunch of new archetypes and other options - everything from cannibalistic arcanists to warrior channeling necrotic powers. Note that a fair few of these archetypes have racial restrictions, since they have particular focuses within this setting. Players interested in using these should check for that right off the bat.

After all of that, we finally reach Chapter Five: Skills and Feats. This part opens up with two important notes (on linguistics and firearms) before diving into a number of thematic new feats that characters can take. As a general rule, all of these were made with the Shadows over Vathak setting in mind, and some specifically support the new classes the book offers.

Chapter Six focuses on Equipment in the game, from the coins used to a variety of new weapons. Here, we have things like the Romni Dagger (which isn't disarmed very easily) or the Voltugrag, a punch sword with very decent damage and the ability to pierce or slice. These weapons certainly aren't required for use in the setting, but hey, they're thematic. Each weapon group has three or four options in it (enough to help support most concepts), and the weapons are followed by new armor and a full list of basic gear (from traveling kits to alchemical goods to vehicles).

Chapter 7 focuses on Firearms in the setting, and notably, they're quite common. What's included here is essentially an enhancement of the basic rules, and goes as far as new ways to customize guns when they're being made. A full list of common firearms is included in the book, complete with stat and a variety of ammunition.

Chapter 8 brings us to Religion in the setting, and notes that while outsiders exist, they're fairly rare. The main conflict of the setting takes place between the One True God (who is served by Patron Saints that lay people can follow, and who generally demands strict obedience - note the Lawful Neutral alignment) and the Old Ones - evil elemental spirits of the land.

The book wraps up with a chapter on Magic in Vathak, with a number of thematic new options (including some tarot-based stuff, since the Harrow deck is less appropriate here).

All in all, this is a SOLID book. I mean that in the most literal sense - again, despite the brevity of this review, the book is more than four hundred pages long. This has everything players need to play a game in the Shadows over Vathak setting, and if they enjoy horror-themed games, just reading through this is probably going to get them excited.

Now, obviously, this book is only relevant to anyone playing in this setting - but for those who are, it is clearly a must-have, and easily deserves a full score. I do have a few nitpicks, as mentioned above, but those aren't enough to affect the overall rating of the book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak: Player's Guide to Vathak
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

5th Edition Racial Options - Aasimar!
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2016 12:44:04

One thing I wasn't all that keen on when it comes to D&D is that Tieflings have been front and center for two editions and Aasimar just feel like an afterthought or, in the case of 4th edition, replaced entirely. I don't exactly hate tieflings but I get enough players that choose them to be 'edgy' but also Mary Sues to have a bias against them without Aasimar representation, especially when they're tucked away in the DMG as an example. At this point they're my table's Drizzt. So I am happy that my first foray into third party 5th edition material is Fat Goblin Game's Aasimar book.

We get a page of flavor and tips on how to fluff up your Aasimar so we have a good idea as to what they are, before moving into the hard crunch. We start off with the list of what to put in for your size and speed and ect. You get darkvision, resistance to radiant damage, you get extra healing when you heal and/or get healed more when you can't heal (?). There are three subtypes for Aasimar. Each gives a different +1 to an ability score and a once per long rest spell. they also get an different physical damage (bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing) resistance but it's partial resistance. I wasn't too sure about what it was since 5e is a lot newer to me but there's a sidebar that explains it. Apparently this means they get old school resistance at a rate of 1 per character level, so at level 5 a Solar subrace would take 5 damage off of all slashing damage. You also get Lineage options which lets you trade off some of the base Aasimar racial traits for something new.

Lastly you have some new equipment. One is a super holy water that deals more damage to undead, and also gives an extra use of radiant racial abilities for aasimar. There's a weapon that has a few abilities that seem kind of redundant. It grants +1 to attack and damage but also grants advantage and an extra d6 damage. It only works for divine classes and aasimar though. There's a ring that gives celestial derived creatures a once per long rest daylight and some extra darkvision. There's also a new spell that gives you necrotic resistance and can deal damage to attackers.

I hate to say it but despite a few of these options being really cool and flavorful there are multiple points where I think it goes too far. Looking at the weapon inside it grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage, a huge deal in 5e, but also improves accuracy and deals extra damage. Its redundant and does too much. I know I haven't been playing 5e for as long and deep as I have Pathfinder but I know that getting a weapon that gains advantage AND bonuses to attack and damage is an uber weapon even if it's restricted to aasimar, clerics and paladins. Not to mention that the abilities aren't in of themselves aren't very interesting. Its just boosting accuracy and damage. The partial resistance seems more troublesome than regular resistance since damage happens at a smaller scale. I know Dragonborn get an elemental resistance that's just normal resistance and it works out fine, but this kind of resistance starts off small and eventually becomes something hugely powerful, especially since any of the three physical damages are pretty common and usually come in attack by attack chunks. The spell does something defensive and offensive with a decent duration and doesn't require concentration means that it can stack with other defensive spells which in the context of 5e can easily lead to really overpowered defenses. Some of the abilities reek of 'Pathfinderisms' like introducing trade out racial options, old school resistance, and no-brainer benefits from magic items. Things that work out in Pathfinder but seem unnecessary or overpowered in Dungeons and Dragons. The rest is fine but with a short pdf this is a significant downside.

I'm just not terribly thrilled with this entry into 5th edition Aasimar. Added to the gripes above there are some minor typos, particularly in the sidebar to explain partial resistance, and the ability to heal and get healed more is kind of wonky in that if you have healing abilities you can add your prof bonus but if you don't have healing abilities then you add it when you get healed. Nice to have a non-biased option but this raises questions, like where the line is for this since this is an either/or thing. Does Second Wind count? If I heal myself with my healing ability does this work?. I'm left with a document that I'm reluctant to use and I'm certainly reluctant to just hand it to players for them to sort out. For this I'm giving it a 2 out of 5 stars.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Aasimar!
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
by Nick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/13/2016 12:17:21

I like this variation, it helps to make magick seem less mundane in the game.

As magick no longer uses an ordinary pack of cards, it is separated from making common actions in the game and so adds to the mystique of those who have ‘the Talent’. The way the 22 Major Arcana are dealt with to provide extra benefits or problems to the spell cast (or spell caster) fits well into the way I think of how Falkensteinian magick works, as a sort of struggle of willpower trying to exert control and form over a random natural flow of Thaumatic Energy. Plus, it adds about 10% more Thaumatic Energy to draw on in a region - What could possibly go wrong?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
by Nick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/13/2016 12:13:16

This book is beautifully illustrated and the text, pictures and mix of fiction, ‘fact’ and rules in its content are nicely done in a style that is consistent with the original series of books.

The first part clarifies several issues with animals in the original rules and describes how abilities work for slightly differently for creatures. It adds new abilities for creatures and Dramatic Characters, along with rules for creating your own creatures.

The next part covers Intelligent animals (some suitable for playing as Dramatic Characters) and magickal familiars. We are introduced to Sphinxes and True Unicorns as allies & adversaries.

The story continues by detailing the kingdom of Kongo, Moreau’s beastmen and Dinosaurs, though you will have to design your own T-Rex. Following this is a bestiary of magickal creatures, each with an an adventure seed, and a section on common animals.

The book is finished with a list of Host Characters drawn from our history and fiction who exist in the Falkenstein world and a range of new roles for Dramatic Characters.

This book is a Great Addition to the Castle Falkenstein range. For the Host, the whole book is scattered with useful adventure seeds and improved, well explained rules additions. I really like the background for Sphinxes and will definitely be adding them to my campaign.

For players, it widens the range of species and careers available, as well as expanding the number of dire enemies and helpful allies they may find in creature form.

I certainly hope that Fat Goblin Games will continue to produce new material for the Great Game, especially when it is of this high standard.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
by Jerry L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2016 20:50:42

This is a beautifully done and most welcome supplement for the Castle Falkenstein RPG line. I have often wondered why no bestiary ever existed for such a GREAT GAME (see what I did there?).

This volume doesn't just contain common animals and mythical critters as opponents, familiars, and pets. No, that would be too simple. You also get an adventure hook for all of the fantastical ones, rules to play as beast folk and unicorns (move over dragons?), new abilities (such as animal handling, animal speech, and outdoorsmanship), new character types (like big game hunters, falconers, and lion tamers), several notables from the time period (ex: Dr. Doolittle, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Grizzly Adams, Mowgli, etc.), and even a few dinosaurs. And, as if that wasn't enough, this work also provides you with guidelines to create your own creatures as well!

I've been waiting for an add-on like this ever since first stumbling upon Castle Falkenstein long ago. The writing is evocative of the era, the layout is beyond gorgeous, and it delivers in spades (or swords, if you prefer). I have but only two minor complaints... Firstly, the Basilisk/Cockatrice entry states "Amphisbaena" in the main stat block header. Secondly, the dinosaurs are a bit disappointing. If only so few were to be included, it would've helped to present ones like Deinonychus, Pteranodon, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus Rex for the Hosts (Gamemasters for the unenlightened) that don't have time for the creature creation process, or can't comprehend how to stat them even with the notes. I know, T-Rex had not yet been discovered and similar arguments for the others as well, but there are ways around this. I just can't imagine prehistoric beasts the likes of Dicynodon, Chthyosaurus, Dicynodon, Hylaeosaurus, and Iguanodon doing much for most folks. I mentioned Pteranodon, and I do find Pterodactylus a somewhat reasonable replacement in its stead with some tweaking. My compliments on this otherwise outstanding product & thank you for filling a huge CF void!!!

LIKED: Text, Fonts, Art, Layout, Lots of Extras (not being just another "Monster Book") DISLIKED: Uninspiring Dinosaurs



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
by Aaron T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 20:45:48

This product comes with four separate files: a 57-page World-building Journal, an 840 page world-building journal, a zip file containing extra copies of all the pages in the journals and a form fillable version of the individual pages. The purpose of this product is to provide a framework for the homebrew GM to create all the various little pieces of their game world. If you are a GM playing in an established setting such as Paizo’s Golarion, Frog God Games’ Lost Lands or Adventure-a-Week’s Aventyr, this product will be of little use to you. However, if you have a hankering to build a world whether for running a game or writing a story, this product gives you a framework to work in.

Since this is not an adventure, there’s no need for a spoiler warning, however, I will offer the disclaimer that I was given a copy of the product for the purpose of writing an honest review, however I receive no compensation for my review.

I’ll start with the 57 page world-building guide. This product is 57 pages long with four pages dedicated to front cover, credits page, an advertisement and a back cover, leaving 53 pages for world building goodness. These pages are printer-friendly and include things like a place to draw your world map and name your continents, a page for seasons and festivals, climate overview, languages, major events of history, major regions/ countries, deities, religions, kingdom maps and information, life and society, history, major geographical features, plants, animals, family life, agriculture/industry, in short all the bits and bobs that you might want to include in a comprehensive world. There are places to draw maps of countries, cities, towns and dungeons. You have places to write up major NPC’s, minor NPC’s, guilds or organizations, and places to outline major events you want to cover in your campaign. There is even a page to jot down what books you used in your world building. The book ends with a couple pages of printable graph paper and hex paper.

The 850 page document contains all the same pages as the shorter 57 page one. However, it is not printer friendly, it has a pretty parchment background. I am fairly certain that THIS is the book you get if you order a print copy of the book. Each chapter of the book is essentially the 57 page document duplicated (but prettier). It’s not EXACTLY that, though. The first chapter is the major world overview stuff (world map, continents, etc), chapters two through nine have everything you need to make a country or nation (cities, towns, society, fauna, flora, NPC’s, adventures and plots, etc) and chapter 10 has pages for books used, a campaign outline, site based encounters, Taverns and Inns, Shops and Markets, build your own random encounter tables, Caves/Dungeon Maps, Geographic Features, Strongholds/Castles and Tribes/Clans. The nice thing about this full color version is if you have the printed book, each chapter has a different color marked near the top-right edge of the page. This means that if you are flipping through the book to quickly find the country of Red, you can flip until you see the red edges and quickly narrow down your search. It seems like it would be pretty handy!

The form-fillable document is the 57 page document, but all the spaces are form-fillable in the pdf for those of us who are handwriting-challenged.

The Zip file contains each of the form-fillable pages, but individually, so you could have a digitally created world-building guide using folders to hold your chapters or renaming pages to suit your needs.

Overall, I think this is a GREAT product for GM’s or authors who want to try their hand at building a world. For GM’s who are running a published setting, this is not a product they would get a lot of use out of. I would love to see a copy of the printed book, even though it is not something that I would personally get a lot of use out of. Overall, I’m giving this product 5 of 5 stars because it is a comprehensive document to do what it sets out to do: give a framework for designing a fictional world. For $5.00, you are getting an exceptionally useful set of files.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 17:57:15

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

This is a six-page, full color supplement for Castle Falkenstein - although only three of the pages have actual content. On the other hand, it's a $1.95 product to begin with, so the price seems fair enough.

Functionally, this product is an alternate set of rules for Sorcerers, replacing the traditional four-suit playing card deck with a set of tarot cards (specifically, the Rider-Waite deck). The four suits of the tarot replace the normal playing cards, but the 22 major arcana are added to the deck and provide additional effects if drawn. Two rule options are provided here (keep drawing, or stop drawing), based on what you feel would be best for your game.

Each major arcana card has a specific effect. For example, the High Priestess can convert a random card into Swords (the equivalent of the Spades playing card suit, and associated with the Spiritual Magicks harmonic), while the Justice judges the intent of the spell and turns it on the caster if it's selfish or cruel. It's unpredictable, but it looks pretty fun, too - a little chaos is good for games. I'm not as familiar with the base system as I'd need to be in order to rate the power of this... but not every major arcana is a powerup, and the overall product seems solid. If you're playing a sorcerer and want some whimsy, consider picking this up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 17:49:37

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

Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures is a 146-page, full-color supplement focused on various natural (and supernatural) animals. Now, as the name suggests, this is not a standalone product - it absolutely requires the base game in order to make much use of this, although a GM could hammer out something equivalent for their own games if they really wanted to.

Functionally, this book is a bestiary, offering suggestions for using (or playing as) the creatures contained within. As this is an animal-focused book, many of the creatures within tend to work well as either minions for a foe or significant encounters in their own right - unsurprisingly, the Jabberwocky is one of the latter. All together, there's about 70 creatures within, as well 24 characters and 10 Dramatic Characters. There are also some rules for creating new creatures, should you be interested in that.

Honestly, I'm not sure what else there is to say about this product. XD It looks solid to me. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the base rules of the system, so I can't give this a serious read-through to see if things are too strong or too weak as a whole. My advice is to consider what you know of the publisher. For what it's worth, they've made a lot of solid products in the past - so if you're looking to add some creatures to a Castle Falkenstein game, this is probably the product you're looking for.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 16 to 30 (of 498 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates