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Kemonomimi - Moe Races (5e)
by Customer Name Withheld [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/04/2016 16:33:59

Kemononmimi: Moe Races for Dungeons & Dragons 5e opens some interesting options for character race by opening seven races of animal spirit touched beings for use as characters. While they certainly will not be to the taste of every player, or fit in every campaign, there are some good and useful ideas here that are worth taking a look at if animal-themed races have a place in your game world.

Kemononmimi: Moe Races for Dungeons & Dragons 5e by Wojciech Gruchala and Greg LaRose and published by Amora Game presents the seven new subraces of the Kemononmimi, animal spirits given human form to aid humanity. The layout is clear with color artwork illustration for each of the different type of Kemononmimi.

Simply put the Kemononmimi are animal spirits that were given human form to aid, guide and protect humanity. For example, the Inumimi (dog spirits) were tasked as guardians and the Akaimimi (red panda spirits) are to help humankind in its spiritual and meditative journey. They all share darkvision, an affinity for the animals their spirits reflect but otherwise have statistic and skill bonuses to reflect their personalities and assigned role. It seems to me that the universal traits could have been placed at the beginning of the descriptions rather than fully repeated for each but that is a minor layout issue.

For the right campaign niche, they could be quite interesting to encounter in game and the animal-person vibe will appeal to some players. Though some DM guideline on divination might not have been a bad call as the Akaimimi gain supernatural insight in the form of the Augury spell once a day, and if you give a player character a free use of Augury each day, they are going to use it. The other spirits all have their own themes as well with the effect that there is a subrace of the Kemononmimi here for most player styles.

If this product has a weakness is that it is only the Kemononmimi, no backgrounds or other support material is provided to allow for quick, thematic character generation.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kemonomimi - Moe Races (5e)
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Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2016 09:29:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages, so let's take a look!

"When the kami placed their thumbprint unto the forehead of man, bretahing life into the husks of flesh, they wept tears of sorrow. Looking upon their children playing upon the ground, rolling in the fields of grass and running alone through lush tracks of wilderness, the Kami felt the hollowness of the human heartbeat, thumping alone." This is the beginning of the legend that talks of the creation of the kemonomimi, and it is but the beginning of a rather flavorful origin-myth, which is subsequently enhanced via age, height and weight tables before diving into the respective races.

Each of the racial write-ups comes with information on physical descriptions of the races, their society, relations, alignment and religion and adventurers as well as with, obviously, racial traits. However, beyond these, neither favored class options nor racial feats or traits are provided, making the depiction in each case rather minimalistic. On an aesthetically positive note, each of the races does come with one or two original piece of full-color artwork (exceptions: Fox and Tanuki-based races...but then again, for the former, Everyman Gaming's numerous Kitsune-artworks should do the trick). All of the races share the kemonomimi subtype and are humanoids, in case you were wondering.

The red panda-based Akaimimi get +2 Con and Wis, low-light vision, +2 racial bonus to Knowledge checks, +4 to Handle Animal and Wild Empathy-checks made to influence red pandas and similar creatures and 1/day augury as a SP (on a nitpicky aside: Not properly italicized). Interesting: The SP can be cast by akaimimi with ki pool (also not italicized, but then, italicizing ki never made sense to me) additional times by expending ki. At 10th level, they also unlock 1/week divination.

The raccoon-based Araiguma get +2 Con and Int, low-light vision, +2 to Disable Device and Sleight of Hand, the same Handle Animal/wild empathy-bonus to influence raccoon-ish creatures and they can use dowsing to lead them to fresh water; By washing food (but not water), they can purify it...which is pretty clever and cool as an idea!

Inumimi, based on dogs, gain +2 Str and Wis, low-light vision, Handle Animal/wild empathy affinity with canine creatures, +2 to Handle Animals and Survival and they are resilient against curses, gaining a +2 bonus to saves against them. This bonus extends to adjacent allies, though multiple such bonuses do not stack. Nice one!

Kitsunemimi, obviously based on foxes, get +2 Dex and Int, low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Sense Motive, fox affinity and a +1 bonus whenever they take 10, +2 when they take 20. Again, a unique racial ability. Basically, think of these guys as more down-to-earth fox folk that work well in campaigns where kitsune are a bit too much.

Nekomimi, based on cats, gain +2 Dex and Cha, low-light vision, +2 to Climb and Perception, cat affinity and may reroll a single die roll 1/day, thanks to their luck. Nice variant of the catfolk trope!

The tanukimimi, based on the tanuki, gain +2 Con and Cha, low-light vision, +2 to Survival and Stealth, tanuki affinity and can gain, 1/day as a swift action, temporary hit points equal to their character level + Constitution bonus (EDIT: The author has contacted me and told me that the pdf's "bonus" is indeed intended here instead of the more common "modifier" - which is pretty rare, but not unknown. So, negative Con-mod is not applied here. Just fyi!) - these last for 1 hour. Neat one!

Finally, the Usagimimi, the harefolk, gain +2 Dex and Wis, low-light vision, +2 to Craft and Profession checks, hare affinity and they gain +1 to atk and skill checks (not rolls) with weapons, tools and vehicles they crafted as well as +1 CL when using scrolls and potions they made. They also reduce the armor check penalty of armors they crafted by 1 and increase the earnings of Perform and Profession by 10%.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. On a formal level, there is nothing grievous to complain, and while on the rules-level there are very minor deviations from the standard rules-language, these do, in no way compromise the integrity of the rules. Layout adheres to a full-color two-column standard with colored petal-like elements at the corners and, as mentioned before, a surprising amount of nice, full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but does not need them at this length.

Wojciech Gruchala and Greg LaRose's kemonomimi races were a surprise for me. You know, I'm not the biggest fan of anthro races and I've seen quite a lot of them. Most of the time, or at least often enough, they either are lopsided, studded with "OMG, look how KEWL my athro is11!!"-arrays of abilities or the like.

This book is not like that. There is the old design adage of KISS - and this pdf very much is the application of it. The fluff is neat; the races, however, manage an interesting feat: They aren't boring. They are not jam-packed with skill-bonuses to x or z, instead, much like the fluff around them, exhibiting a Zen-like design-aesthetic. It simply does not take much to many abilities to make a unique race, just one good and unique one - and (almost) each of these has just that. Where many races I see are cobbled together from the pieces of the ARG, these guys all have their own, distinct trick that sets them apart and makes sense within the context of their respective fluff.

Suffice to say, I'd allow each of these races in any of my games; even in CORE-only games, these guys will not unhinge the game's balance...and they still feel distinct as races. I really like this racial design philosophy. To make this abundantly clear - in spite of not being too into the subject matter, I found myself intrigued and wanted to know more about these folks. Which brings me to the one detriment of this book - its brevity. The lack of favored class options, race traits, alternate racial traits and the like is the one downside of this very economically-priced supplement. It should also be considered to be the only reason this does not score higher than it does. The races per se are neat indeed and warrant a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)
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Bevy of Blades (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/22/2016 06:40:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a page of introduction to the subject matter, we are introduced to the first of the base classes in this book, the aether blade, who gets d10 HD, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, aether blade, light armor and bucklers. The class has good Fort- and Will-saves and full BAB-progression. At 1st level, the class gets its defining aether weapon and chooses the shape, which is retained forever after - either light (1d6 base damage), one-handed (1d8 base damage) or two-handed (2d6 base damage) - the blade can be formed as a move action. Aether blades may choose damage type (piercing, slashing, bludgeoning) when they call forth the blade. There is something odd in the rules-language for changing damage-types: "The aether blade can change the damage type of an existing blade, or may summon a new blade with a different damage type, as a full-round action."

The problem here is twofold: One, the ability fails to its own nomenclature: aether blade = class; aether weapon = class feature. The text should refer to the weapon. Secondly, after relinquishing the grip or throwing the blade, it dissipates. Letting go of an item is...bingo, free action. So, drop weapon, call new one = move action. Why would I EVER spend a full-round action? It would make sense if the choice of damage type upon calling wasn't free every time around, but this way, action economy makes no sense. The aether weapon can be sustained within antimagic fields by succeeding Will-saves, which is a nice catch. 1st level also nets Arcane Strike, which treats aether blade levels as caster levels. The aether blade also receives Cha-mod to AC and applies said bonus to neither touch, not flat-footed AC. The aether blade loses the bonus when wearing armor heavier than light, medium or heavier load and when cowering/helpless, etc. At 6th level, the bonus does apply to touch AC, with 14th level applying it to CMD and flat-footed AC as well..

Starting at 2nd level, the aether blade gets the aetheric aura class feature, which allows the aether blade to use a standard action to disperse parts of her blade in a 20 ft- radius, granting a +1 morale bonus to all allies within the area, depending on the aura used. The bonus increases by +1 at 7th level, 13th level and 18th level. Auras can be maintained for 4 + Cha-mod rounds per day, +2 round per additional class level. One aura can be maintained at 2nd level, with 11th and 19th level allowing for +1 aura in effect at any given time. 6th level modifies the action economy to activate down to a move action, 11th down to a swift action. New auras are gained every 4 levels after the 2nd. The auras allow for the application of the bonus to initiative, concentration, melee damage rolls, CMD, Cl-checks, 5 times bonus energy resistance to an element chosen upon activation, saves vs fear effects, atk or CMB. As you can glean, the bonuses range from very universal to very specific - bonus versus fear don't seem to be on par with the others, for example.

The aether blade also uses Cha instead of Int-mod for Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft - oddly, this one is gained at 2nd level, which is rather odd, considering that it can mean, theoretically, that the class has higher capability in the skills at 1st level than 2nd - usually, such abilities make more sense at 1st level. Additionally, the ability does not specify the level it's gained at - you have to consult the table. Cosmetic, yes, but still a tad bit annoying. 3rd level unlocks aura vision - class level rounds of detect magic that immediately provide full 3-round infos. I'm not a fan of this one, but, beyond personal preference, it is SU (when it should probably be SP) and lacks the activation action. 3rd level also nets eldritch symbiosis, which can be likened to a kind of linear order or bloodline-ish ability, three of which are provided: Wand, staff and rod. New abilities are unlocked at 3rd (apprentice), 9th (journeyman) and 17th level (master). In order to activate the abilities granted by this class feature, the aether blade has to be formed around the respective item. The respective item can then be used by the aether blade as though she was a wizard equal to her class level. However, while this symbiosis is in effect, the aether weapon cannot be used as such - it has basically been transformed in the respective item. Each of the paths provide a bonus feat at apprentice level and more complex abilities at higher levels, with journeyman generally providing passive abilities. The master abilities diverge wildly - from expending charges to temporarily enhance aether weapon damage output, adding defending to Cha-mod short-range teleports, the abilities are diverse, though the latter fails to specify CL or whether it's SP or not...which it probably should be.

4th level provides the option to absorb and freely distribute bonuses of magic items, which is pretty OP - even similar godblade classes like the soulknife or ethermagus directly specify the enhancements available. 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter provide exactly one spell of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th level respectively that can be cast 1/day, with each step of the ability increasing the daily uses of the previously chosen SPs by +1/day, with Cha acting as governing attribute, just fyi. 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter net +1 to saves versus SPs and arcane spells and, as a capstone, the aether blade gets SR equal to 20 + Cha-mod, with the option to spell turn spells that fail to penetrate the SR as an immediate action. Additionally, the class can now cast an SP as a free action after confirming a crit.

The archetype provided for the class, the aether knight, is proficient with medium and heavy armor and shields, replacing aetheric armor and its follow-ups....and the regular list of proficiencies. Which is problematic, as RAW, it eliminates light armor and all weapon proficiencies of the class. Instead of an aether weapon, they can call forth an aetheric shield, with eldritch symbiosis being replaced with an appropriate, defensive version that applies to magical armor. Once again, a SP is not properly declared as such, but that's mostly a nitpick. Instead of spells, these guys can grant themselves scaling bonuses to physical attributes or natural AC.

The second class would be the Shadow Blade, who gets d10, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and all armors as well as full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Ref-saves. They begin play with Improved Feint and unexpected strike, which is basically sneak attack that only applies when a foe is denied his Dex-mod, not when flanking, with die-increases only at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Starting at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the class may decrease armor check penalties by increasing amounts. 2nd level also provides Steel Shadows, a shield bonus to AC that increases over the levels - but the ability does not mention the scaling here; you have to take a look at the table, which is slightly inconvenient. This may also be due to the irregular scaling of the bonus: The bonus increases to +2 at 7th level, +3 at 11th level and then to +4 at 17th level.

3rd levels beshadowed blade nets +1/2 class level to feint, but only for one weapon...and the ability lacks an activation action. The same level also nets darkvision, which increases in range and may later penetrate magical darkness...and the ability has no interaction-clause for races that already have it. 4th level can be unintentionally OP: The intent for the ability is to eliminate movement rate reductions caused by armor, which is okay. The ability says, though: "While wearing shrouded armor, the shadow blade does not suffer from a reduction in speed." This can be read as eliminating reductions of the movement rate due to encumbrance, caltrops, difficult terrain, etc. due to not directly referring to the armor. While its twin ability makes the intent clear, this still needs polishing. Twin ability? Yup, twilight tread allows for a limited number of rounds of difficult terrain traversal per day, thankfully sans abuse options re damaging terrain. 5th level provides an SU dimension door-like low-range standard action-based (move at 10th, swift at 15th level) shadow jump that does not specify that it's a conjuration [teleportation]-effect or a caster level for purpose of block-interactions.

At 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the shadow blade may choose a dark revelation, which basically constitute the unique maneuvers/tricks of the class. And generally, I like them...using shadow jumping distance as resources to flank with oneself (though the nerfed pseudo-sneak takes away some appeal here) is nice - though the very conservative distances available do mean that you won't pull off this trick often anyways. On the plus-side, SPs are properly designated here. At 8th level and every 4 thereafter, the shadow blade also gets a shrouded secret, which basically would be the defensive/stealth-themed tricks. The capstone allows the class to choose one of three effects - form large-area darkness through which allies can see, DR 10, low-light vision (srsly, at 20th level?) and immunity to cold or heavy fortification in the shrouded armor.

The umbral prowler archetype would be basically a rogue/shadow blade blend, with trapfinding, increasing movement rate, scaling dodge-bonus to AC as well as access to thievery-enhancing dark revelations and 6+Int skills.

The third class, the verdant blade gets d10 HD, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor and shields, full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves as well as Wisdom-based spellcasting up to 4th spell level, drawn from the druid spell-list, with the usual -3 level caveat, since spellcasting is learned at 4th level. Oddly, the class must be non-evil. The class gains a woad weapon of his choice, with composite bows adjusting to the Strength score of the character...which is problematic at low levels, considering how expensive these can get. The weapon usually is a kinda-symbiotic seed and can be drawn as though it was a normal weapon. At 5th level, Str-scores of composite bow forms can be upgraded and the verdant blade is considered to have Craft Magic Arms and Armor for purposes of woad weapon enhancement. Unfortunately, this provides no means to offset spell-requirements for crafting. The weapon naturally regenerates hit points. The verdant blade can implant seeds in foes; the effects last for 3 + Wis-mod rounds, can be used 1/2 class level + Wis-mod times per day and has a scaling save, with the precise save-type being determined by the seed discovery chosen. Continuous damage, entangling foes and debuffs can be found here, with the first such seed being available from level 1 onward and subsequently, gaining +1 such seed discovery every 4 levels thereafter. They vary greatly in power with low-level summon swarm being pretty OP in comparison to -2 to Will saves. +1/2 class level to Knowledge (nature) and Survival is also part of the starting ability array. AT 10th level, two seeds can be implanted at a given time and the maximum limit of seeds per target increases to 2.

At 2nd level, the class can scavenge together tools (nice!) a, with 4th level making wooden items like this tougher and treated as magic. He also gains woodland stride. 3rd level nets +1 natural armor; +1 every 4 levels thereafter as well as trackless step. 4th level provides the option to 3+ Wis-mod times create patches of caltrop-y terrain as a move action. 6th level provides a mantle that first grants concealment vs. ranged attacks, 12th extends this to melee and 18th grants fly speed 30 ft. + good maneuverability, all activated as a swift action and usable for class level + Wis-mod rounds. 8th level makes the blade count as cold iron and 14th level provides breath of life as a 1/day SP with damn cool visuals, as the verdant blade jump-starts fallen comrades by plunging his sword in their breast. 16th level allows for making treant allies and 50% provides basically a 50% fortification apotheosis complete with only 1 hour of sleep required and the option to gain sustenance from air and sun, etc.

The class can pursue the verdant florist archetype, who may grow and apply aromatic flowers on the woad weapon as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity to adjacent, willing allies. These provide morale bonuses to skill or ability checks or saves, with the bonus increasing by +1 at 9th and 17th level and the effect remaining for class level rounds. A total of 16 blossoms are provided. Starting at 5th level, two flowers can be combined into one bouquet and at 13th level, 3 effects can be chosen at once, though each blossom still consumes a use of the ability, with a total of 1/2 class level + Wis-mod daily uses. A flower is chosen instead of seeds and generally, this is the buff equivalent of the debuff-heavy class. On a nitpicky side, the mention of the flower sticking to the character as a kind of corsage implies it occupying a slot, which I assume it does not.

The final class herein would be the Vital Blade, who gains d10 HD, 2+ Int skills per level, is proficient with simple and martial weapons as well as all armors and shields except tower shields as well as full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves. Vital blades have a sangineous sword and begin play with Weapon Focus for it. This sword can, as a move action (swift at 8th, 16th level as a free action), be formed from a wound-like rune. Oddly, the ability can form any melee weapon the character is proficient with, making the name of the ability somewhat unfortunate. The vital blade begins play with a blood pool of 1 + Con mod points and is considered to have the Diehard feat while the pool sports at least 1 point. The pool refreshes via critical hits and killing blows - and BOTH have an anti-kitten-abuse caveat! NICE! 2nd level nets Endurance as a bonus feat as well as weeping weapon - as a swift action before making an attack, the vital blade can add scaling acid damage 3+ Con-mod times per day to his blade, with damage beginning at +1d4 and increasing by +1d4 every 4 levels thereafter.

3rd level decreases any bleed damage incurred by 1/2 class level. as well as granting the first blood talent, which is btw. the ability that will generally be used to consume those blood points. Additional blood talents are gained every 2 levels thereafter. Tracking by scent after tasting a foe's blood, gaining Con-mod to initiative, firing shrapnel of blood (consuming weeping wounds instead of blood points) - the ideas are solid. Problematic, considering the clusterf*** that weapon-size-rules are: Increasing the size of the vital blade...can the vital blade still wield the weapon as its original size or as the modified size? Passive abilities like natural armor and DR can also be chosen and AoO-less SP grease via blood as well as weeping wound enhancers are included in the deal. Creatures slain temporarily increase the enhancement bonus of the vital blade, with the daily maximum being determined by the class levels of the vital blade.

At higher levels, the sanguineous sword is treated as magic and can be used to attack as a touch attack a limited amount of times per day. The class has two capstones, one of which allows for self-healing and Con-damage inflicting, with the other providing immunities and a slowly replenishing blood pool. The archetype for the class is the crimson inheritor, who loses heavy armor proficiency and gains a sorceror (not bloodrager?) bloodline to replace his blood talents with - though only the arcanas are gained. Bonus feats from the bloodline can be taken instead of blood talents. At 6th level, 1/2 crimson inheritor level is treated as sorceror level for purpose of bloodline spell availability, with the spells costing their spell level in blood points to cast. As a capstone, the archetype provides the final bloodline power.

The pdf provides favored class options for the classes, but only for the core races. Finally, the pdf provides 5 new feats: One for +1 morale bonus for verdant florist flowers, +1 blood talents. The others are problematic: Applying lesser metamagic rods to SPs...ouch. That's just begging to be combo'd some way. Arcane Celerity and Bulwark are very strong: Both can be activated as a swift action. The first nets you 1/2 caster level + casting ability modifier temporary hit points, providing a constant shield. The second nets you 1/2 class level as bonus to you base land speed, and a bonus to AC vs AoOs equal to your highest mental attribute modifier. Both effects only last one round, sure, but the lack of cap makes them pretty strong. That being said, my main gripe with them is that both only require you to be able to cast arcane spells - that's it. As 1st level-available feats, they are underpriced.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - it noticed no formal glitches and the rules-languages was also, with some minor hiccups, very consistent and adhered to the standards. Well done! Layout adheres to a two-column full-color used-parchment-style look that is solid, though personally, I think the respective class names would have made good headers - as provided, these are jammed in the upper left corner. Speaking of which: This is a very dense pdf with a LOT of crunch within its pages. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. Artist-wise, the pdf sports nice full-color artworks, though ardent readers of 3pp material will be familiar with the pieces used.

Brian Moran's Bevy of Blades is an interesting pdf in that it shows a capacity to handle pretty complex concepts. While there are a couple of freshman hiccups in the book, the classes themselves should not unhinge any game they're introduced into, so balance-wise, at least as a whole, I have no complaints apart from the two feats. Internally, the options of the classes diverge in power rather significantly, with clearly superior options and less optimal choices. Some internal streamlining may have helped here. The book, when it does have issues, mostly has them in the tiniest of rules-minutiae or on a meta-design level. Take the vital blade, which, with the verdant blade, would be my favorite herein: It gets this cool, somewhat grit-like blood pool...and must wait until 3rd level to actually do ANYTHING with it. That's not a particularly fulfilling two levels there. Player agenda, in short, could be slightly more pronounced in all of the classes. Internal nomenclature of the classes could also have been a bit tighter.

As for my personal assessment: The aether blade didn't particularly excite me with its pseudo-casting - you can have that concept in several, more compelling ways. The shadow blade...just isn't on par with superior takes on the concepts - of which there are many. The verdant blade and vital blade generally have cool engines set up in their class progression and as such, I enjoyed both - however, I really wished the classes did a bit more with their unique set-ups, focused a bit more on these aspects. In the end, whether you will like this book very much depends on how much 3pp-material you have and how much money you're willing to invest. Compared to e.g. the soulknife or the ethermagus, the aether blade just feels bland in options and playstyle. Similarly, there are more compelling shadow-themed classes. At the same time, you will be very hard-pressed to get said classes for the low asking price of this pdf and both verdant and vital blade, while not perfect, do have some pretty cool options. I look forward to seeing the designer tackle more complex and variable concepts. In the end, I consider this a solid buy for its low and fair asking price. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bevy of Blades (PFRPG)
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Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/16/2016 16:26:34

Kemononmimi: Moe Races for Pathfinder opens some interesting thematic options for character race. While they certainly will not be to the taste of every player, or fit in every campaign, there are some fun and interesting ideas here that are worth taking a look at if animal-themed races have a place in your game world.

Kemononmimi: Moe Races for Pathfinder by Wojciech Gruchala and Greg LaRose and published by Amora Game presents the seven new subraces of the Kemononmimi, animal spirits given human form to aid humanity. The layout is clear with color artwork illustration for each of the different type of Kemononmimi.

Simply put the Kemononmimi are animal spirits that were given human form to aid, guide and protect humanity. For example, the Inumimi (dog spirits) were tasked as guardians and the Akaimimi (red panda spirits) are to help humankind in its spiritual and meditative journey. They all share low-light vision and an affinity for the animals their spirits reflect but otherwise have statistic and skill bonuses to reflect their personalities and assigned role.

For the right campaign niche, they could be quite interesting to encounter in game and the animal-person vibe will appeal to some players. Some of the particular abilities are quite interesting the Akaimimi gain supernatural insight, the Araiguma (raccoon spirits) can dowse for water and purify food by washing it in clean water while the Usagimimi (hare spirits) have a creative craftsman ability reflecting their roles as builders that encourage in game crafting. So, there is a subrace of the Kemononmimi here for most player styles.

The products only weakness is that it is just the subraces, no traits, feats, or other support material is provided to really flesh them out and give them focused, thematic options.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)
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Meditations of Jade (PFRPG)
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2016 16:59:39

Anyone Remember the Pathfinder Player Companion? Inside was a new feat type for Monks. I don't know about anyone else but for me those were terrible. Meditation feats, the feats in question, could be taken in place of monk bonus feats and represented getting bonuses for meditating. The entry feat gave you a one time +1 bonus to a roll if you meditate for one hour after 8 hours of rest. From there you can take more feats that give you different effects for the day that can be quite good or just offer another minor bonus. Then there's Combat Meditation which lets you meditate for a full round to gain instant benefits from other feats often with their own limits. I thought this was a neat mechanic but not much about it appealed to me because there weren't that many of them and there wasn't a real way to build around them. Plus I saw Combat Meditation and Meditation Master as pretty steep feat taxes for the kind of bonuses along the line.

Luckily Amora Games has release more meditation feats to let this new little subsystem play out, which is a great thing. The list of feats for monk bonus feats has always been awkward to me and meditation feats feel like a flavorful substitute that should have been a mainstay in the class rather than a small blip in a Player Companion. Potentially as big as style feats.

In Meditations of the Jade the feats are honestly not that exciting, at least in terms of combat effectiveness. There are a few that get cool and interesting, like the ability to spit poison, making a shadow double once a day, using dimension door, or detecting magic and invisibility, but others feel like they're more in there for flavor, like being able to switch styles in mid combat by using a swift action. I would say that half of them are nice to have or do something mildly exciting while the other half I wouldn't ever take considering that Meditation Master is already kind of a feat tax. This being a small book its hard to really judge because a few good ones can make the product good enough for most purposes and the low price tag doesn't hurt. I would warn customers not to get TOO excited but if you like the idea of monks getting a bit of divination and a bit of teleportation then this is a solid 4 out of 5 stars once you ignore the stinkers.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Meditations of Jade (PFRPG)
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Conduits of the Age (13th Age Compatible)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/21/2016 03:58:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This conversion of the conduit-class clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

First thing you'll notice is that the class pretty much follows the formula established in the 13th Age core books, with info on play style, popular races, etc. showing up. Attribute bonuses gained by the class (the usual +2) need to be applied to either Dex or Wis, though they can't be stacked on the same attribute favored by the race chosen. Starting equipment contains melee weapon, ranged weapon, light armor and receive 25 gp starting gold (or 1d6 x 10). Regarding basic attacks and armor-preference, the class is leaning toward the rogue, with Dex being added to hit and damage. Damage bonus from ability modifier increases at 5th and 8th level, base Hit points are (7+Con mod)x3 at first level, scaling up to x24 at 10th level. Level up ability bonuses are granted at 4th, 7th and 10th level and a handy chart provides the conduit stats and over all - I was positively surprised. The rather complex class depiction of 13th Ag has been properly replicated here.

The defining class feature of the conduit, though, would be the conduct die: This begins at 1d6 as adventurer and increases to 1d8 at champion, 1d10 at epic tier. After a given heal-up, the conduit assigns a conduction power for which she meets the prerequisites to a side of the conduct die. When a side of the die is rolled, this means a conduct power is being rolled. The die is rolled twice The powers that were thus rolled are considered to be "charged", whereas all other sides are considered to be "drained." Repeat sides are rerolled in this process.

Whenever a magical ability targets the conduit, they can choose to use an interrupt action to roll the conduct die. If the conduct die lands on a side depicting a drained power, said power becomes charged and the triggering ability automatically misses, as the conduit absorbs it. If the die lands on a charged power, the conduit may elect to have the magical ability automatically miss all targets, but then takes damage equal to the level of the creature that created the effect - or the conduit may have the ability proceed. The conduit rolls the conduct die each round as a free action - upon landing on a charged power, they can use it; on a drained power, they can't.

The careful reader may have noted some problems with this ability: One: Monster-level as damage is negligible, considering the amount of damage that flies around a 13th Age table. More importantly, though - 13th Age, alas, does not properly codify what is a magical attack and what isn't. Granted, one can argue that the GM can easily make judgments as to this regard, but ultimately, this isn't as easy as one would think - is a gaze attack magical? A dragon's breath? Some guidelines would be nice here.

The class talents available allow for the modification of the conduct die and similarly, feats available for the class allow for more reliable playstyle for more score modifications and e.g. the charging of drained powers when rolling a charged power. Special mention deserves the Gigas Conduct talent, which increases die-size further by +1 - more variety and a larger arsenal, but also less control. Mystical Weapon allows for the potential expansion of either atk or damage, though the bonus die granted at low level may be a tad bit much.

But what conduct powers do we get? Well, a total of 16 such powers are provided and they include pretty much what you'd expect regarding single-use attacks and defensive tricks: Better initiative, melee force damage blasts, interrupt action MD-based means of making foes miss (NICE!) or healing - there are some nice options here. However, once again, the "magical effect" hydra rears its ugly head -Dissipation deals psychic damage and may also lock down "magical" abilities for the affected targets - which, as established before, are simply not defined in 13th Age. It should be noted, though, that balance-wise, this remains the only problem of the conduit powers presented herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and features nice full-color artworks, though personally, I dislike both the decorative diamonds and the blue/yellow-color-scheme. Still, this is a matter of taste and will not influence the final verdict. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall's Conduit is a surprisingly awesome take on the concept: I expected some issues for the difficult concept and 13th Age's rather intricate class design and encountered no brutal problems. More importantly than that, the conduct die is a truly unique playing experience that rendered the class an experience you can't really compare to others - and that's AWESOME. Seriously, once you've read so many classes like I have, jamais-vu-experiences become rare indeed, particularly when they actually work out as intended. The conduit, balance-wise, can be considered to range in the middle fields of 13th Age-classes - it is not weak per se, but the chaotic nature of the Conduct Die means that it plays in a unique style: Either you have excellent, variable damage...or tricks. Fans of quick-witted thinking at the table will certainly adore this class and I know the class has a place at my table. That being said, as much as I'd like to bestow my highest accolades on this class, I can't do that - the "magical" effect issue puts an undue burden on the GM and represents a significant chink in the design of the otherwise compelling class. Finally, one note for potential expansions: The conduct die SCREAMS interaction with the escalation die to me - in fact, I can see myself writing powers and talents tying them together - the result can provide both planning AND escalate the chaos factor even further - which would be win-win in my book. Why this obvious, glorious possibility wasn't yet used, I don't know, but I hope for such interaction in a future.

How to rate this, then? The conduct die is sheer brilliance and I love the unique playstyle, but with the "magical effect"-hiccup, I unfortunately cannot go higher than 4 stars for this supplement. I still wholeheartedly encourage you to check this out, though - we've got some talent here that deserves being recognized, particularly for the exceedingly low price-point.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Conduits of the Age (13th Age Compatible)
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Ultimate Battle Lord (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2016 23:52:30

Ultimate Battle Lord

Disclaimer: I am a friend of Michael Sayre, the author of this product. I originally read and fell in love with the Battle Lord before I knew his name, so any gushing I do about the class stems from legitimate enjoyment and not friendship.

The Battle Lord Class I love this class for a lot of reasons. First and foremost is that it actually allows me to build a powerful fighting leader for any situation. I don’t have to spread my point buy thin touching all my bases, nor do I have to sacrifice the theme by going for a class that “sorta fits.” The Battle Lord is very adaptable and is very likely to come through for you if you’ve ever thought “I wish I could make a truly great leader of man who gets by with his wit and guts instead of with a spellbook and divine intervention.”

The Class has d10 hit die, a good Reflex and Will Save, 4+int skill points per level, and a pretty good list of class skills. I don’t believe the Battle Lord has a dump stat since each stat can lend you power in some way, but of your mental stats Intelligence will be key.

The class table has a lot of specific names on it, but essentially the Battle Lord has three class features.

Bravery: As Fighter, but it’s worth noting that Michael has written a pretty cool book that uses the Bravery class feature as a kick off point for some extremely cool feats.

Aura: This is your primary class feature. Essentially you have an aura radiating from your character that gets larger as the Battle Lord levels. The aura can be centered on yourself or thrown to an area you’re sending orders to, vocally or with hand signals. Auras are subdivided into Combat Drills and Noble Auras. Essential combat Drills give combat bonuses to those within and Noble Auras give out of combat bonuses. As you level you get access to a variety of Combat Drills and Noble Auras, eventually being able to have multiple active at once. You gain Combat Drills and Noble Auras on separate tracks. Some of the later level auras can do amazing things that many would find appropriate for a 15th+ level leader, like giving a speech so powerful and moving that people can’t help but respond in kind.

Specialty: Represent your special training. The base class includes Scout, Medic, Artilerist, and Soldier. You pick one at level one and as you level our Battle Lord gets pretty awesome features related to your specialty. You get stuff like adding your Int modifier to the stealth checks of allies within your aura or using heal checks to remove Diseases, Blindness, and other terrible afflictions or the ability to add your int modifier to CMB and CMD.

The Battle Lord is one of those classes that is simple to set up and play, but has a lot of depth for a proactive player.

Archetypes

This PDF contains 6 archetypes. Going over each one would be a bit much on my fingers, so I’ll summarize each. I believe they’re all pretty well balanced against a base Battle Lord though.

Cavalryman : Expecting a mounted Charger? No instead you get a horseman specializing in Sword and Pistol or 2xPistols. Honestly this is pretty refreshing and cool especially considering the historical context of this archetype.

Dual Specialist : This archetype essentially trades stacking Auras for having two specialties. This can make some pretty cool combinations that can really benefit the team and the Battle Lord themselves.

Eldritch Chevalier Replaces your Specialty and a few Auras with a slow progression of Wizard spells! You only get up to 5th level spells, so this isn’t a game breaker and actually ends up being about a match for a specialty.

Marine : A modified Scout specialty that makes you a very cool team player in the water. In a campaign where I expect a lot of water combat the Marine is indispensable. In a land based campaign it’s not worth it though.

War chief : Uses charisma instead of Int for specialty stuff. Combat Drills? Less tactical and more AM BARBARIAN (Rage Power sharing)! This archetype is perfect for someone who felt the Battle Lord was to civil and wants something more brutal.

Zealot: Uses Wisdom instead of Int. Gains channel energy and channel smite in exchange for some auras and aura range. Is more useful on a neutral deity since you can grab a negative energy channel for your channel smites. Will also probably be my archetype of choice since it’s very similar to the base class, but gives me a mechanical benefit for playing a deity worshipper (something I do in every campaign).

Feats

This section features a feat line similar to Eldritch Heritage to give players access to specialties. The requirements are appropriate for what it gives you.

A lot of teamwork feats of varying power. The standout to me being Frontline Shield Fighter, which utilizes a very good feat chain that a lot of players don’t know about and culminates in a super cool teamwork feat. I like a few more, but personally I find most of them to be a bit weak for my taste though.

Overall

If you want the perfect non-magical leader class then this is the book for you. In terms of content I think one well written class, 6 archetype, and a couple of pages of feats is more than worth the cost presented.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Battle Lord (PFRPG)
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Conduits of the Age (13th Age Compatible)
by KEN P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2016 02:40:19

Two disclaimers: First, I received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest review. Second, this review is based on my reading of the material; I haven’t had a chance to playtest it, thus my verdict may change once I have.

That out of the way, the 6 pages of Conduits of the Age contain a new class for the 13th Age RPG, the conduit, which is thematically based on Mike Myler’s magic absorbing class of the same name from Liber Influxus Communis by publisher Amora Game.

The pdf begins with an overview of the class from play style to Icons. This section, and in fact the entire product, are formatted exactly as the classes in the 13th Age core book and 13 True Ways are, which is nice. The overview is solid and actually has me interested about a few things; it is noted that half-orcs and gnomes are particularly common among the ranks of conduits which makes me wonder why that is and could lead to some interesting world building. Mechanically, this section notes that conduits can add +2 to either their Dexterity or Wisdom (which cannot be the same as the ability score increased by their choice of race) which is also an interesting choice as I would have assumed the choice would be between Dexterity and Constitution.

Next we have gear and basic attacks which are fitting for a character of a more roguish type, skewing more to light weapons and armor. The roguish feeling continues as basic melee attacks use Dexterity rather than Strength to determine their to-hit and damage. The charts summing up the conduit’s level progression, stats, and weapons look really nice, once again evoking the feeling that I’m looking at the 13th Age core book.

The meat of this class, it’s unique schtick, is the Conduct Die. The Conduct Die starts as a d6 at level one, progressing to a d8 at Champion tier and d10 at Epic tier. After each full heal-up, the conduit can assign one Conduct Power to each side of her die and then rolls the die twice to determine which powers are “charged,” the remaining powers are “drained.” Whenever a magical ability, which I suppose doesn’t need to be a magical attack, targets the conduit, they can choose to roll the conduct die as an interrupt action. If the die lands on a drained side, that side becomes charged and the magical ability misses all of its targets. If the Conduct Die lands on a charged side, the conduit can choose to have the ability miss all its targets and instead do damage to her equal to the attacker’s level. On the conduit’s turn, they always roll the Conduct Die and may use the corresponding power if it lands on a charged side. The feats associated with the Conduct Die are solid, allowing the conduit to reroll drained results on their turn, allowing them to assign Conduct Powers to 3 sides of the die, and giving them an additional interrupt action per round only for use to roll the Conduct Die. I have no complaints about any of them.

The very nature of the Conduct Die leads to a great deal of randomness in the conduit accessing her class powers at all, let alone which ones she may use. I personally like this design decision, but I can see it being problematic for some players. The bigger problems, in my opinion, are twofold. First, the Conduct Die interacts with “magical abilities;” 13th Age doesn’t really define what magical abilities are, and while a few monsters cast spells, I’m not certain if the Conduct Die is intended to allow the conduit to absorb a dragon’s breath weapon, for example. Or a drider’s web… or a goblin shaman’s shaking curse… While I am fine ruling on cases like this as a GM as they come up, there may be GMs out there who feel this creates an unnecessary burden on them; some clarity would be appreciated. Secondly, I really dislike the ability of the conduit to completely prevent area effect spells from affecting her companions. In my experience, there are very few situations where a party doesn’t benefit from a worst case scenario that has one person take (in this case, likely a fraction of) the damage from an area effect rather than letting it hit everybody. This second problem could be alleviated somewhat with a firmer definition of “magical ability.”

Next up are the Class Talents, of which a conduit selects three of the six options presented. The Controlled Conduct talent allows the conduit a modicum more control over which powers she may access; she may alter the roll of the Conduct Die up or down by 1. The feats associated are solid as well. Favorite Power allows a conduit to add the same power to two sides of the Conduct Die, allowing slightly more reliable access to her go-to powers. The associated feats are awesome, allowing the charging of a drained favorite power when the charged one is rolled, allowing the charging of both drained favorite powers when one would become charged, and allowing two different favorite powers as the Epic tier feat.

The Gigas Conduct talent precludes the taking of Controlled Conduct and increases the size of your Conduct Die to d8, d10, and d12 respectively but adds more randomness which may result in the inability to use the result you’ve rolled. The feats for this talent are pretty nice, allowing the conduit to ignore the d4 roll to a limited extent.

The Mystical Armor talent is alright, removing the penalties to attack for wearing heavier armor and increasing AC and Physical Defense. The Adventurer and Epic tier feats are nice, but the Champion tier feat’s bonus to Mental Defense seems a bit incongruous given the physical nature of the talent. The Mystical Weapons talent is interesting; I like the negation of penalties for using heavier weapons, but the extra damage die when your Conduct Die roll for the round is even seems like too much at low levels and like it will be pointless at higher levels… which I suppose makes it just about right if you look at it a certain way. The associated feats interact with the talent nicely. Finally, I don’t have strong feelings for the Wild Preservation talent. On the one hand, I’m not certain I like anything that adds modifiers to saving throws in 13th Age. On the other hand, it may not come up that often depending on your rolls, so it really doesn’t bother me overmuch. Two of the associated feats are interesting in that they affect recoveries, not saving throws, but again, this doesn’t bother me too much.

Overall, I like the talents. The Mystical Armor, Mystical Weapons, and Wild Preservation talents don’t interact much with the class’ primary feature, but they do offer a bit more breadth than just being a rechargeable magic battery. Honestly, my biggest gripe about them is that there aren’t more talent options, but I feel that way about all 13th Age classes, first or third party, so I won’t hold it against this one.

Finally, we come to the Conduct Powers, of which there are sixteen. I won’t go into depth on each, but they are what you would expect, being primarily a number of different single use attacks and defenses. There are some nice ones like Deflective, which may cause an attacker to miss as an interrupt action. Mending allows a target to heal using one of their recoveries. Mystical Movement allows the conduit to take an additional move action as a quick action. I will note that the various powers that allow the conduit to add an ability bonus (Dexterity for example) to a different ability’s check (Intelligence, say) will probably see less use than more strictly attack or defence ones. The assortment of feats for each power are fine for the most part, if somewhat conservative; there are quite a few increased damage dice among them, which are to be expected if kind of boring. I would love to see some feats that interact with the escalation die, which is a 13th Age innovation that has sadly been ignored entirely in this product.

The pdf itself is well edited and has a nice layout as I’ve noted previously. The design however, is not to my tastes. Each page has a trio of diamonds with large drop-shadows in the inner and outer margins. I find these distracting and dislike that the drop-shadows overlap with the text to a small degree; I’d prefer the diamonds, sans shadows, only on the outer margin. Similarly, the section headers use a mirrored font that I find distracting. Honestly these kind of things are probably me being persnickety, but they do warrant mention. On the other hand, the two pieces of art used are really nice; the fact I haven’t seen them before is just icing.

Sasha Hall shows a real aptitude for 13th Age design; she has done a really good job maintaining the theme of this class (magic absorbing blaster) from its Pathfinder roots and translating it into mechanics that honestly feel like something that was omitted from the 13th Age core due to space constraints. I hope she takes this as the compliment I intend it to be. The conduit’s biggest problems, its lack of facility without magic to absorb, and the lack of definition of magical abilities, can be alleviated to a large degree by a GM who knows how to design encounters to his players’ interests and who is comfortable making rulings in the absence of definition. I will end with a final verdict of four stars and a hope that I will see more 13th Age work from this author soon. Maybe even another LIC class!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Conduits of the Age (13th Age Compatible)
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Conduits of the Age (13th Age Compatible)
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2016 02:20:29

I like the concept behind this class. There's a heavily random component that reminds me of 13 True Way's chaos mage, but isn't as complex to play. Talents allow you to focus more or less on building a martial character, a self-healer, or focusing on conduit powers. Those powers range from spells to buffs to melee attacks to improvements on skill checks. I tied these abilities to my character being a cursed cleric, who was seeking a way to remove the curse and his inconsistent access to his osirons and miracles.

I had some issues with class balance. There's a talent which grants access to heavy armor without penalty and either increases your AC or your PD every round, for example. Another grants access to heavy and martial weapons and increases your attack bonus or adds a damage die each round. 13th Age is hesitant to give out bonuses to defences or attcks, so these struck me as unusual. Feats further increase the defense bonuses to +2 and increases damage die to d12's, respectively. In actual play, this resulted in a character that regularly did more damage than the rest of the group, while being hard to hit. Add to this the versatility of the conduit powers and an at-will chance to counter an enemy's spell, and this character ended up unintentionally hogging the spotlight.

Additionally, there are some unusual uses of action economy in the class abilities. For example, a feat allows a conduit to use their move action to re-roll their conduct die. Several conduit powers require move actions, even though the powers themselves aren't related to movement. These generally felt like they should have been free or quick actions, allowing the PC to move and do something cool this turn. This felt to me like the kind of tradeoff I might expect from Pathfinder, but it felt out of place in 13th Age.

I also found some of the conduit powers unusual in the way they were written. For example, I couldn't wrap my head around applying my dex modifier to intelligence checks for a round. There are a handful of other powers with similar pairings. I also couldn't figure out how to make use of these powers out of combat -- the time when you most often benefit from bonuses to attribute checks. The conduct die is only used in combat, and while I can easily house rule a system where the die is rolled before an ability check out of combat, this would have been a helpful rule to explicitly include in the class ability. Several conduit powers seemed very similar to existing spells or powers from existing classes, but were just different enough that I had to keep referring back to them. The 13th Age class mechanics are OGL content, and I would've rather seen them lifted wholecloth and added to this class (perhaps with a different name). Perhaps my biggest complaint about the conduit powers are their non-scaling damage. A power does the same damage at level 1 as it does at level 4. It even does the same damage at level 10, unless you've paid the feat tax at each tier. This made my conduit powers far weaker at level 3 than a spell-casting class' spells. 13th Age doesn't "do" feat taxes, and I wish each conduit power had featured cool feats that made it even more versatile or potent. Once again, borrowing directly from existing 13th Age classes would have provided ready-made options.

After experiencing these balance and action economy issues, I ended up nerfing my character's talents and spell-negating class feature and porting similar powers and spells and their associated feats over from the 13th Age core book. I kept the basic conduct die mechanic, and had a much better experience.

If you're willing to do some house ruling on this class, it has a fun play style and is different from any other 13th Age class.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Meditations of Jade (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2015 03:52:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second pdf containing meditation feats clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf as the last installment, with a recap/reprint of the base meditation feats the feats herein are based on - the pdf thus is pretty considerate and user-friendly. The feats herein are grouped in two general fluff-classes: Yin and Yang. Unless otherwise noted, the benefits only apply when under the effects of a meditation. Let's begin with the Yang-feats.

-Enter the Zone: Roll crit damage twice and take the better result, does not extend to sneak attack et al. Nice one.

-Flow Like Water: Switch between starting stances and style feats as a swift action at any point. Interesting one that dives into the grit of the rules.

-Identify Imperfection: +1 per meditation feat to identify monsters. Weak and pretty lame.

-Mind's Eyesight: Meditate as a full-round action to gain character level rounds the ability to see auras and, with time and practice (odd wording choice) can use thus aura sight and detect magic as SPs. The wording of the last sentence here is a bit redundant and wonky.

-Reckless Clarity: Combines moment of clarity-fueled rage powers and meditations. Interesting one!

-Regurgitate Poison: Ingest poison, delay its onset and spit it at a target within 15ft via a ranged touch attack. I assume that this renders ingested/injury-based poisons contact poisons for the purpose of the spit attack; though the wording is pretty precise, specifying that would have made it better still.

-Self-Reflection: 50% to determine weal or woe, with longer meditation increasing chance of successful outcome by 5% per minute. Solid, but I wouldn't spend a feat on this.

-Tummo: Ignore temperatures of up to -50° F sans having to make Fort-saves; also, meditating generates heat and may melt snow around you, drying you and your belongings. Really like this one!

The Yin-group sports 2 feats: -Dim Step: Dimension Door between dim lights of up to your base speed. Per se cool, but odd: The spell requires a standard action to cast, while the feat does not have an activation action. The line stating the possibility of multiple jumps implies that you can jump multiple times. I assume that the jumps can be made as part of a movement, but I am not sure - a slight clarification for this per se great feat would be appreciated.

-Shadow Reflection: This one is awesome: You create an illusory double and determine a course for it - the double runs from you, following your preset course. For one ki, you can reactivate this distraction-granting feat after the initial activation. Damn cool, but it should imho specify the illusion subtype (pattern, figment?) and the initial meditation is pretty long - 1 minute, meaning that you'll mainly use this feat via ki.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good - while the rules-language does sport some minor rough edges, over all, you get the intent of the feats herein. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Greg LaRose's second array of meditation feats is better than the first one: While there still are minor deviations from rules-language here and there and while some feats could use a bit of clarifications, this mops the floor with its predecessor mainly due to the fact that the benefits granted herein feel more versatile, more visually interesting and ultimately, more unique. The pdf also sports less potential problem-sources than the previous pdf.

Generally, I liked this little, inexpensive pdf and considering the difficulty of the base material and concepts attempted, this does get a bit of leeway. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I'll round up this time around. For the low asking price, this is worth checking out if you like the concepts.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Meditations of Jade (PFRPG)
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Meditations of the Lotus (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/04/2015 03:43:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first small pdf of Meditation feats by Amora Game clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial 2/3 of a page SRD, leaving us with 3 1/3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Meditation feats were introduced in Faiths and Philosophies and the feats herein utilize these rules - which are reprinted for your convenience and grouped among the basic lotus position feats - Meditation Master, Body Control and Combat Meditation, to be precise. Beyond that, though, the pdf allows monks to take these feats as bonus feats and similarly Liber Influxus Communis' cool mnemonic class may take them instead of a bonus feat, while mystics may take them instead of a talent - nice to see the pdf be this considerate.

If the above feats do not ring a bell for you, well, then let me fill you in: Basically, you meditate for 1 hour to get a minor floating bonus you can later apply to a single roll over the course of the next 24 hours. Body Control grants a bonus versus poison, disease, starvation and fatigue/exhaustion effects. Both have in common that they are very weak, but flavorful feat-choices. Combat Meditation is more interesting allowing you full-round action meditation, granting the benefits of all meditation feats, but only for 1 round per level you have. This one is the interesting one that demands to be upgraded and this pdf does just that. So yes, while basically not perfect, we'll see what Amora Game did with these.

First, the feats herein are grouped by Yoga practices, the first group being the Sun Salutation.

-Body Mending: Gain Fast Healing 1 while subject to Combat Meditation's duration. Fitting for some groups, though it may result in problems in others: While slow, this still represents unlimited healing at levels 5+ - which I consider highly problematic in spite of the feat-tax.

-Chakra Disruption: After using Combat Meditation, you may deal 1 point of Str or Dex damage or with an unarmed strike or cause the target to be unable to spend grit, ki or panache for 1 round - and if using Ultimate Psionics or Liber Influxus Communis, the feat does have synergy here - nice.

-Center Focus: Gain 1 ki point through meditation, even when not having a ki pool, +1 if you also have Extra Ki, though you may not surpass the maximum of your pool, if available. This one is problematic, since it takes a restricted resource and makes it an unlimited resource at least if my reading is correct and Combat meditation allows for the use of this feat to grant temporary ki. I do like that e.g. Dragon Tiger Ox's ki-based shenanigans can be combined well with this one, but still - I advise caution regarding this feat.

-Circulatory Control: For 24 hours after meditating, you may utilize concentration to delay the onset of poison/bleed. Cool one!

-Contemplative Endurance: Meditate as a full-round action, losing 1 point of ki, but gaining 3 points of stamina that need to be spent within character level rounds.

-Contemplative Maneuver: Select one combat maneuver after meditation; thereafter, you may perform it 3 times immediately after a failed attack against you sans provoking an AoO. In Combat Meditation, you don't get additional uses, but may switch maneuver. Absolutely awesome little feat!

-Controlled Emotions: Reroll a Will-save versus a fear-effect once after meditation. Pretty weak.

-External Power: Select a Ki Power or Technique you meet the prereqs for; you can use it at character level monk levels; You can power the power or technique via grit.

-Gritty Thoughts: Meditate to use ki to fuel grit/panache. Cool one, though the ki-regain mentioned in a previous feat can make this nasty.

-Heroic Thoughts: Use ki to gain a temporary hero point.

-Innate Yang: +1 atk, +4 crit confirmation, with bonuses scaling the more meditation feats you have.

-Innate Yin: +Wis-mod AC, sclaes via meditation feats you have and stacks with other Wis-based insight bonuses to AC like that of the monk.

-Last Efforts: When dropping below 0 HP, automatically stabilize and perform one combat meditation - for the duration you are treated as though you have 1 hp and may act as normal - basically, you are immortal until the meditation ends, with damage etc. being postponed to the end of the meditation...as well as healing. The feat's last sentence has a glitch in the sentence structure, but its intents remain clear. Nice high-level feat!

-Living Sword Technique: Choose Craft or Profession and use your RANKS in such a skill in place of BAB - cool one and proof versus magic-boost abuse.

-Sound of Waves: Gain Sonic and Force resistance (!!!) 5.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are still good: On a formal level, there is not much to complain, though there are some minor hiccups in the rules-language. Layout adheres to a nice, printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Greg LaRose has grown tremendously as a designer and this pdf shows that; while the rules-language is not always perfect, my gripes almost universally pertain purely aesthetic minor hiccups that do not negatively influence the rules - kudos! Also: The high-level immortality-feat is awesome.

I am a bit torn here - on the one hand, vanilla monks can use the feats herein and in such games, the feats herein should cause no problems. If you're like me, though, and have books with ki-powered weapons, rays powered by it etc., then making ki an unlimited resource can break your game's balance, depending on the power level you're gunning for. Still, this is by far not a bad pdf you can get for a more than fair, low price - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform -a quintessential mixed bag, slightly on the positive side.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Meditations of the Lotus (PFRPG)
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Liber Influxus Communis (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/05/2015 03:25:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 184 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page KS-thanks-list, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 177 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Disclaimer: I was a backer of the kickstarter for this project, but was in no other way involved with the creation of this book.

After a brief introduction and one pages summing up the starting gold, we dive into the massive array of classes herein - the reason why this review took forever to get done. So expect one epic-length monster of a review here!

The first class would be Michael Sayre's Battle Lord, who gets d10, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, shields and light and medium armor as well as full BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. The battle lord receives a 10-ft aura that scales up by +5 ft at 3rd level, +5 every other level thereafter. Drills can be envisioned as such auras, only not centered on the Battle Lord himself; instead, they can originate anywhere within line of sight and require audible or visual components to execute; however, since the drills themselves are pretty easy to understand, even language-barriers can be overcome with some time and training (properly codified), thus rendering this kind-of, but not really a language-dependant extraordinary ability. A battle lord begins play with 2 drills and adds +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, which conversely is also when the skill-bonuses conferred by drills, if any, scale up by +1. Initiating a drill is a move action, switching them is a swift action - neither of which provoke AoOs, so yes, front-line commander-style here.

Drills can be, in their benefits, be summed up as teamwork feats that do not suck - essentially, some of the most useful teamwork feats (like Stealth Synergy) are granted to the targets for as long as the drill persists, while also granting additional bonuses to skills, damage rolls or minor enhancements to movement speed. The array of drills is expanded at 12th level, when the Battle Lord may choose to learn greater combat drills for mass bonus-fire damage to attacks, for example. Healing allies via fast healing up to 50% of their health, but with a daily cap, also works rather well. It should be noted that Int governs, if applicable, the Battle Lord's drills. At 8th and 16th level, a battle lord may maintain up to two (or three) auras and drills at the same time, changing all in one fell swoop, should he elect to do so.

At 3rd level, the Battle Lord receives a Noble Aura - this can be considered a non-combat exclusive buff that helps with investigations, social interaction, etc., depending on which auras are chosen - interestingly, this achieves what no other class of this type had managed to this point - render the Battle Lord relevant in contexts that are NOT fighting. At 15th level, these auras are expanded by an array of Imperial Auras, which can also be used in combat and have some SPs mixed in - the wording is solid here. At 20th level, one of some exclusive auras also doubles as a capstone. A battle lord also has a specialty, which can be considered a bloodline-like progression of abilities that modifies the class skill list. At 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the specialty unlocks a new part of a linear ability-progression. A total of 4 such specialties are provided - from artillerist to mundane healing via the medic and to the more stealthy scout, the options here are nice. The class also sports 3 archetypes - the aquatic marine, the sword and pistol mounted specialist cavalryman and the eldritch chevalier, who gets a very limited selection of spells. All are okay. It should be noted that the Battle Lord also receives Bravery, which would be unremarkable, were it not for Michael Sayre's glorious Bravery Feats, released by Rogue Genius Games, for which the Battle Lord coincidentally qualifies...

The second class herein would be the Conduit, written by Mike Myler. The class gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, 3/4 BAB-progression and good will-saves. The conduit can be envisioned as a magical battery - they have a conduct pool that begins at 3 and scales up to 35 - each point of said pool representing a spell-level the conduit can absorb. Conduits may also absorb spell-like abilities, but they need to be the targets of said spells and execute an immediate action, with the pool's max size and 1/2 class level as restrictions, the latter denoting the maximum amount of points he can expend per ability. On the nitpicky side, the latter should specify a minimum of 1, otherwise the conduit can't absorb anything but cantrips and orisons at first level - said spells do btw. NOT grant conduct pool points; instead, the conduit has SR against them equal to 11+ class level. Nice catch here! A conduit can only absorb a spell if its level does not surpass the level-dependant cap and when she has enough conduct pool points available - no excess point.

The conduit may unleash said energy as a standard action as a ranged touch attack with a range of 25 ft. that deals 2d6 points of FORCE damage, +1 per additional point spent. The range increases by +5 feet per conduit level at 2nd level. Now, you may have guessed it -I am NOT a fan of force damage here; I have bashed classes in the past for warlocky blasting via force and Interjection Games' ethermagic wisely handled that differently. However, the conduit's blasts must be envisioned as a limited resource and thus, be compared to spells - and indeed, in practice, this provided no issues. Kudos. Now nothing sucks more than being stranded sans resources and thus, the conduit receives options over the levels to inflict damage (and attribute damage etc.) on herself to generate a limited amount of points - thankfully, both with a daily limit and sans means to cheese the regain abilities.

At 3rd level, the conduit may select one of several conduit powers, +1 every 3 levels thereafter. Conduit powers provoke AoOs and are SUs with DCs, if applicable, scaling via the 10 + 1/2 class level + cha-mod formula. The activation of these powers tends to also be powered by conduit points and as such, vary in the precise effects - from bonuses to skill-checks to passive abilities that allow the conduit to deliver mystic bolts as melee touch attacks to invisibility that scales up to its improved version, we have a significant array of choices, including duplicating low level spells, 1 1st level spell per power taken. The pool may also be used to generate weapons and shields with enhancement bonuses and movement can also be powered by the resource. Higher levels net SR and potential for AoE-spell absorption via will-save versus spellcaster level-check. At 11th level, the conduit receives a +2 enhancement bonus to an attribute whenever she expends points, lasting 1 hour per point expended and scaling up to +6 at 19th level. It should be noted that this is not bonus times points expended, as I first read the ability, but that the per-point-caveat only extends to duration. Here, the wording could have been slightly clearer. High level abilities also include leeching spell levels from foes, redirecting spells and forcing rerolls and the capstone is a magic-immune apotheosis.

The class also sports two archetypes. The Arrhythmic conduit bleeds points over time and, once empty, has a harder time regaining them and deals sonic damage instead of force damage. However, the archetype receives superior action economy, allowing for some nasty combos that allow for multiple abilities to be activated as once, or to have them interact in fluid ways - dismiss mystical protection for a free mystical bolt, for example. I really liked this archetype since it actually plays pretty much different! The cyclic channeler is brilliant - it adds a cooldown period for abilities, but increases their potency and as a bonus, we also get a nice alchemical item - however, the price of said item is high - it costs 50 Gp and can be created by a conduit with a spellcaster ad infinitum; selling it could break an economy, so DM-discretion is advised here.

The third class featured herein would be Will McCardell and Linda Zayas-Palmer's Demiurge had me, conceptually, grin from here to ear - it's essentially Plato's Theory of Forms, the class. And yes, I'm aware that being excited about this pretty much makes me a total nerd. The class receives d8, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, light armor and shields, 3/4 BAB-progression and good will-saves. This class is complex, so bear with me as I try to explain it to you - and no, once you get it, it's not that bad. First of all, the demiurge chooses an enlightenment. Enlightenments can be likened to bloodlines or mysteries in that they provide a conceptual focus as well as a linear progression of abilities - these change the basic means of facsimile creation and provide beyond their base abilities, new ones at 2nd, 8th and 15th level - think of them akin to how a cavalier's order modifies challenge and the options of the class. I will return to this concept later with examples.

Among the "small" abilities, social and perception-focused abilities can be found in the progression of the class. The true signature ability of the class, though, would be the facsimile. A facsimile is a creature born from the ideals of the world of perfect, ideal forms - despite their autonomy, much like tinker automata, facsimiles are dependent on a demiurge's commands - he may issue a number of commands equal to his Charisma modifier as a move action, though not all need to be issued to the same facsimile. The creation of one facsimile (which manifests within 30 ft.)is a full-round action that can be hastened by additional quintessence expenditure (+0.5 total cost) to a standard action. Cost is not equal to cost, though - establishing a basic facsimile entails a maintenance cost, which becomes relevant upon facsimile destruction or dismissal (which can be executed as a standard action) - an array of said points, usually half, can be regained. The aforementioned additional cost thus is not refunded. Facsimiles have no duration and a demiurge can have up to half his class level (min 1) in facsimiles at a given time.

In order to create facsimiles, a demiurge has to expend quintessence points, a minimum of 6 are required for each facsimile. A demiurge has quintessence equal to Int-mod times two plus a fixed array of bonus points determined by the class level - this begins at +15 at 1st level and scales up to +155 at 20th level. Quintessence regaining requires 1 hour of contemplation and at least 4 hours of sleep - it should be noted that increases of Int-mod do not increase the quintessence pool. If a demiurge wishes to keep facsimiles around, he must pay the maintenance cost and deduct it from the total of his quintessence pool.

Facsimiles are based on one of two base forms - jack or brute. They have fixed ability scores that are either good or poor and the same holds true for saves. Attributes and saves scale up each level, with handy tables listing them. The different base-forms have different base size categories and skills available that you can assign. Their sizes can be enhanced by the expenditure of additional quintessence. They receive default magic slam attacks and a deflection bonus equal to the demiurge's Int-mod, but do not gain feats or magic items and they count as having HD equal to the demiurge's class level. A facsimile is treated as a construct for the purposes of spells and effects, but not for the purposes of base qualities. Now as ideas, facsimiles are somewhat more ephemeral than your average summoned creature - every time the facsimile receives damage, it has to make a dissipation check, with d20 +1/3 demiurge class level + facsimile's Cha-mod versus DC 10 + 1 per 2 points of damage taken, with natural 20s and 1s constituting automatic successes and failures, respectively. Some ideals and class abilities allow a facsimile to ignore some chances of dissipation and at 9th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the demiurge's facsimiles receive +1 chance to ignore dissipation. Upon destruction that is not an intended dismissal, a demiurge only receives 1/4 of a facsimile's maintenance cost back, as opposed to 1/2 of it. And yes, facsimiles, as ideal, do not have hit points.

Now each facsimile has 5 ideals that are drawn from 4 categories: Locomotion, Manipulative, Sensorial and Special. Each facsimile has one slot per category, 2 in the special category. However, each ideal's quintessence cost (or augmentation) can be doubled so it instead can be applied to occupy another category's slot. Facsimiles can thus be enhanced to have a massive array of different abilities and shapes, from humanoid ones that disrupt the terrain to those that can grant senses - want to make a tripedal moving facsimile that can share senses and dissipate itself to heal adjacent creatures? Possible.

The vast array of customizations here are impressive indeed, though not all augmentations feel like they are perfectly balanced, something that especially comes to mind when thinking about the ray ideal: This is an SP untyped ray that deals 1d4 + Cha-mod damage, with a base cost of 2. For +4 quintessence, the facsimile receives +1 ray attack and per 1 point of quintessence spent on this augmentation, the damage dice increases by +1d4, to a maximum of half the demiurge's class level. Now, if you're taking notes, you'll realize how this can be used to make one devastating laser battery at higher levels - if you ever wanted to make a final fantasy-summon style kill-all laser battery, well, there you go. Do the math. Even with only Int 18, one would get163 quintessence. Then take minimum cost for all ideals apart from rays, for 4 points beyond the base costs, one would be left with 151 points, which would translate to more than 30 ray attacks (37.75) à 10d4+Cha-mod damage. With Dex = 29 and full BAB, this laser battery can evaporate just about anything. This one component of the facsimile-building system is what doesn't work and honestly, I would have been somewhat confused, but I'm not the only one reading it this way. I believe the ability has undergone a layout glitch or oversight, since the rays also lack a range. My advice, at least for now, is to simply apply the cap on the augmentation that also applies to damage dice increase - 3 rays à 10d4+Cha-mod for a total of 10 quintessence seems like the more reasonable and probably, intended, cap - a minor rephrasing of the ideal would work here. Now do NOT let this one hiccup in this impressive class get in the way of appreciation of this glorious class, for that's not where things end!

The demiurge also sports a linear sequence of abilities, from 4th level on, which is called rhetoric. When using these abilities, one determines one facsimile designated as an argument facsimile and one as an arguer facsimile. The argument facsimile is considered the origin, the arguer the beneficiary. The argument facsimile's maintenance cost must be equal to or exceed that of the arguer. Performing the like is a full-round action and unless otherwise noted, the facsimiles need to be adjacent to one another. Rhetorics have a duration of 1 round per 2 demiurge levels and some may cause the argument facsimile to become disoriented, allowing them to only perform either a move action or a standard action and may still perform swift, immediate or free actions. A demiurge begins with 3 rhetorics and learns more as the levels progress. These rhetorics are what renders the facsimiles EVEN MORE interesting - they allow, for example, for the addition of the argument's locomotion ideals to the arguer while the rhetoric persists. Other options include making the facsimiles a wall and combining reaches of the facsimiles involved. It should be noted that the abilities themselves also sport some nice easter-eggs in the nomenclature.

The 7th level also nets the demiurge the option to create a thesis facsimile, a facsimile with a limited free will and a buffing aura and yes, they may heal allies via reclaimed quintessence.

Now to get back to the enlightenments I mentioned in the beginning? Take Agathon - this enlightenment has the final quintessence cost of facsimiles reduced by 1/4 class level and get a 6th slot, which costs half as much. At 2nd level, one can have one free facsimile with only 4 slots and a significantly-reduced effective level of class level -3, while also allowing for some on the fly modification. Artifice demiurges can create objects, while befuddlement allows for the creation of shadow facsimiles - in case you haven't noticed - each of the 6 enlightenments provided radically changes the way in which the class plays. The capstone is an interesting apotheosis, at least as far as that type of capstone goes. The bonus content covers 11 sample facsimiles. I adore the demiurge class - it is a thing of mechanical beauty, vast options and is utterly, completely unique. With all those pet-classes out there, it still is more unique and interesting and while it only belongs into the hands of experienced players, it is GLORIOUS. Any fan of classes with customization options and complex tricks needs to take a good luck at this class - a piece of advice: Just make a sample character. It makes getting the class rather easy and seriously, I don't get what the hassle is regarding the complexity of this class. It's not simple, sure, but it is damn rewarding and I can't bring myself to bash it for one ability with a wonky exploit due to a wording ambiguity. I adore this class and playtest showed it works in awesome ways - though, as a piece of advice, much like summoners et al., one should make sure the player can run it quickly and doesn't hog the spotlight. Still, probably my favorite class in ages and one that will be very hard to top!

After this complexity beast, the medium is rather simple: At d8, 2+Int skills, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, good will-saves and 3/4 BAB-progression, the class looks a bit bare-bones. As a full-round action, the medium may channel spirits and let herself be possessed by her spirit companion as a full-round action, the duration clocking in at 4 hours, starting at 5th level instead for 1 hours per medium level. Interaction with being killed etc. is covered aptly by the wording, including memories etc. A medium can channel spirits equal to Cha-mod timer per day and the effect cannot be blocked by regular possession-preventing magic. The medium can use a standard action to provide minor bonuses and she may use séances to duplicate augury. At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the class receives a revelation chosen from a limited list, interacting with their ability to channel spirits and utilize séances - here, an alternate nomenclature to make them deviate from the oracle's revelations would probably have been in order. So, the spirit companion...this is the defining class feature of the medium and shares your ability modifiers and hit points; however, the spirit does have class levels - yes, this class can be essentially summed up as gestalt, the character - you can essentially shift between forms and from leadership to spellcasting and psionic powers and feats, the spirit companion is handled pretty neatly - and the capstone allows for a true fusion of the two. Btw.: Yes, the revelations interact with the class choices you make for the spirit companion.

Archetype-wise, there would be one with less powerful spirits, but who receives more spirit companions, one that can be considered an oracle-crossover as well as one that specializes in revelations that interact with the physical world. And yes, there would also be one psionic medium archetype. Eric Morton's Medium is a solid, fun class that especially will be a boon to tables with less players that need to cover more roles. Two thumbs up!

The Metamorph-class with d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and natural attacks, but no armor, good 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort- and ref-saves and begin play with a maximum number of 3 attacks and an evolution pool of 3 that scales up to 26 at 20th level. Metamorphs also have a built-in natural armor bonus that increases over the levels and ability-increases dispersed over the levels. 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter see bonus feats. 1st level metamorphs may choose their genesis, determining the key-ability modifier for the class and modifying the class skill list. Now unlike some other takes on the evolution-based class framework, a list of phenotypes, which determine ultimately the evolutions that become available for the class - a total of 8 phenotypes are provided and a massive table helps the player determine which evolutions are eligible for the phenotype chosen. Only fey and undying may for example choose the basic magic evolution, whereas only bestial, monstrous or reconstructed metamorphs may learn the trample evolution. A metamorph has 2+class level evolution points, +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Evolutions can be reassigned upon gaining a level. The class also sports 3 archetypes - one that wilders amid sorceror bloodlines/eldritch heritages, while metamorphic abominations may wilder in racial heritages. Finally, the Transmogrifist may wilder in the alchemist's toolbox. We also get a sample level 13 character here.

I honestly was NOT looking forward to yet another evolution-based class - after masquerade reveler, underterror and iron titan, I was simply burned out on them. However, Wojciech Gruchala's metamorph ultimately may be one of the most user-friendly and easy to balance takes on the concept - while I prefer the fluff of the masquerade reveler still, the metamorph may be the most user-friendly take on the concept - with the handy table and restrictions that prevent abuse as well as thanks to the cap of maximum attack and the lack of flexible changes of the basic evolutions chosen. All in all, a solid take on the concept I can't really complain about.

The Mnemonic gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and one weapon of choice, full unarmed strike progression as a monk, 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. Menomincs may execute a standard action to identify one or more feats a target creature possesses by making an Int-check versus 10 + CR, with creatures of a CR greater than the mnemonic's HD further increasing the DC by +3, revealing a scaling amount of feats a target has - the better the check, the more feats are revealed. Why would he waste an action like this beyond the tactical information? Thought Strikes. A mnemonic may execute class level + Int-mod of those per day and they can be executed as part of an attack action - somewhat akin to stunning fist, the targets receive a save, which may see them impeded by escalating negative conditions. Instead, a mnemonic may forego said detrimental conditions and execute a memory theft, to steal a skill bonus or feat for class level rounds.

A mnemonic still has to fulfill the prerequisites of a stolen feat to make use of it and stolen feats only lock down feats that build on the original feat, not those that only have it as a prerequisite. The amount of skill bonuses, feats, etc. a mnemonic can steal at a given time is handled via a nifty table and starting at 5th level, the mnemonic may eliminate spells as well, though without being able to cast them himself. Finally, it should be noted that mnemonics may expend thought strike uses to retain a given stolen feat for 24 hours, though future maintenance of this stolen knowledge progressively erodes the mnemonic's thought theft capacity further, preventing the infinite storing of a stolen feat. now granted, this can be cheesed simply by passing the feat from mnemonic to mnemonic, but in that case, I'd consider it a somewhat interesting plot-point/narrative device and, more importantly, not something that would in itself break the game - so yeah.

Beyond this theft component, a mnemonic of 3rd level may also copy extraordinary abilities and combat feats he has seen in the last 24 hours, with an effective class level decreased by -4, though, thankfully, only for 4+Int-mod rounds per day. High levels allow for the recalling of abilities and even sharing of them, thanks to the nice addition of telepathy-style abilities to the fray. It should also be noted that they may imprint part of their mind into objects, making them essentially intelligent with all the consequences - which is a kind of awesome additional twist for the class. Essentially, this is the brainy monk we know from Anime and WuXia who copies your moves and uses your own tricks against you - and it is more efficient than the woefully underpowered base class thanks to its tricks. Speaking of which - the amnesiac archetype, with its battle trance, hearkens also back to these media and provides a pretty cool alternative to the base concept. Hungry Minds would be evil mnemonics that may heal themselves via thought strikes (limited resource, so kitten-proof), while thought rippers replace the detrimental conditions of regular thought strikes with scaling non-lethal damage. Solid and nice- overall, a fun class - designer Mike Myler did a neat job here!

Next up would be the momenta, pitched by Erik Ottosen and written by the Amor Game-staff, and I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that I haven't seen a class like this before. We all have seen the trope in literature - the faithful, loyal companion that makes the heroes excel, the squire that does the grunt-work - that is the momenta. The class gets 6+Int skills per level (with 2 to be freely chosen as class skills), d, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and light armor plus shields, 1/2 BAB-progression and good will-saves as well as prepared arcane casting via Int of up to 4th level, from their own spell-list, with the caveat that they can ignore "somatic components of up to 50 gold in value" while holding the book in their hands- I assume that should be material components. Additionally, as written, the momenta incurs spell failure chance for casting in light armor, which she probably shouldn't, seeing how she can only cast spells outside of combat in the first place (but only has a 6 hour required rest for spell memorization). It should be noted that limited spellcasting in combat can be achieved via the class's talents. Momenta of 4th level may cast cure light wounds as an arcane spell by either spending a motivation point or by spontaneously converting one of her spells. And these would be the momenta's central resource: A momenta receives Cha-mod motivation points in the beginning of a battle, +1 per ally that acts before an opponent.

Alas, this mechanic is utterly broken. First of all, it utilizes the nonsense per-encounter mechanic, which makes in-game no sense whatsoever. I've been VERY vocal about that not working, so I'll spare you my usual rant regarding this topic and just point you towards them. Tl; DR: Makes no sense since it is based on a fluid measurement of time rather than a concrete one. Secondly, the system can be gamed due to a lack of definition as to what constitutes an ally - master summoner conjures a lot of creatures with good initiative, momenta doesn't know what to do with this huge amount of points. A clearer definition is definitely in order here. A similar complaint can be fielded about how motivation is used - as a free action, the momenta can add 1d6 to the result of any one of her checks or that of an ally. One, there is some ongoing disparity which type of free action we're talking about - while some free actions can be used out of turn, this does not apply to all free actions - so yes, we have an issue with the base system here the class fails to address. Secondly, shouldn't the ability have some kind of range, audible or visual component? As written, it does not require the like, which feels odd to me. 2 Motivation points can also be used to reroll saving throws or attack rolls as an immediate action - no action-economy complaints here on my part.

A momenta also can utilize motivation via so-called stimuli, essentially the talents of the class, which are either extraordinary or spell-like abilities. These include being able to pay for metamagic with motivation, spell recall and the like - most importantly, though, the stimuli allow for the switching of initiative orders and allows the momenta to let allies act out of turn - an ability that can also be used offensively, by the way. So yes, the momenta per se is very powerful - even before non-stimulus abilities that include tactician and the like. However, the infinite resource of motivations also radiates into the stimuli - with an infinite capacity for encounters (versus infernal kittens, for example), the momenta can use infinite healing by utilizing motivation. So yes, this frame needs a daily cap for healing and a proper, codified time-frame instead of per-encounter.

Now all of this sounds pretty negative and it ultimately, alas, is. However, the basic premise of the class is awesome and while the framework looks weak, a momenta can provide a significant power-boost to a group -even as a cohort, the class excels pretty much. So let me emphasize this: I absolutely adore the concept and the unique tricks the momenta has, but I wished the Amora staff had slightly polished it more; as written, it can easily be fixed, but without fixes, I wouldn't use it. Still - the concept is so unique, so awesome that it is actually one of my favorite classes herein! Yeah, who would have thought? The pdf also provides 2 archetypes, one with less spellcasting and an option to knock out foes a limited amount of times per day and a second one that has limited bardic performances. Solid.

Next up would be the Mystic, who receives d8, 4+Int skills per level and either improved unarmed strikes or weapon focus at 1st level; proficiencies are determined by the elemental path chosen and the class gets 3/4 BAB-progression as well as all good saves. They also receive a ki-powered elemental strike (class level + wis-mod) and while they have at least one point of ki, they add wis-mod to AC. Elemental Strikes use the class level as BAB and damage scales up over the levels from 1d6 to 2d8. Ki can also be used for skill-boosts, adding additional attacks to full attacks. The class also receives a mystic talent at 2nd level, +1 every even level thereafter. There would be a higher-level option to make elemental strikes not cost ki anymore, evasions, finesse and the like - a solid kind-of-monkish array, with 10th level expanding the list by advanced talents. The capstone also sports choices, which is nice to see.

Now I mentioned elemental paths - these do not only influence class skills and proficiencies, they also net a basic ability associated with the element. Furthermore, each path provides a significant array of unique talents and 3rd level and every odd level thereafter nets an elemental technique from a list determined by the path, granting either a feat or a ki-powered spell, with DCs, if applicable, being governed by Wis. A total of 4 elemental paths plus the force path are provided, with each of them feeling utterly distinct.

While the force path has a force-blast and ranged combat maneuver-option, the limited range makes that one steer clear of my rant regarding that. The book also sports 3 archetypes - the ancient gets a reflexive reincarnate and sooner access to elemental techniques, but pays more for elemental strikes. Crossroads Mystics receive decreased damage dice for elemental strikes, but gets more ki and can select elemental techniques from all paths, but at higher costs. The final archetype, the kenjin, has more expensive elemental strikes, but gains access to ninja tricks. Alexander Augunas' Mystic has a bit of a flavor-issue with me - I'm utterly burned out on anything elemental-themed and this class is essentially the elemental bender-style character...or the Jedi. I don't like Star Wars. That being said, mechanically, the class is honestly beautiful - I prefer it over qinggong monk and the like and it executes its concept admirably well, with Alex's zen-like ease. At the same time, it has a cool idea - a sidebox talks about retooling the flavor to correspond to the alchemical humors - and the fluff I pretty much adore, which leaves me without any valid gripes to field - making me like a class whose concepts left me with disdain is a huge feat - congratulations!

Sasha Hall pitched the Pauper class, which was then developed by the Amora staff. The pauper gets d8, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, 3/4 BAB-progression and good will-saves. Paupers are defined by their two pools - hope and despair. Hope begins play with a maximum of 1 and scales up to 11, with despair beginning play with3 points, scaling up to 13. A pauper can execute a full-round action to turn despair points into hope points. Despair is gained whenever the pauper witnesses an act of strife or desperation, seeing an ally suffer a lethal wound and when witnessing cruel acts. Hope is conversely gained when seeing an enemy fall, acts of kindness etc. When one pool contains more points than the other, the pauper benefits from a unique effect. Paupers may execute nonlethal attacks versus allies to grant the ally a morale bonus. Pretty odd - the pauper can get all "morale, sacred and profane" penalties of allies and draw them upon herself. Only thing is - penalties are untyped, so the ability does not work as intended. Fr each penalty chosen to take upon himself, the pauper gains wis-mod temporary despair points.

The pauper's abilities, alas, at least to me, feel somewhat unfocused - they establish an empathic bond with a limited array of people (somewhat akin to how Dreamscarred Press' psionic networks work). The class also allows for minor healing as well as an aura that can either act as a buffer or a debuffer, depending on which pool is dominant. High-level paupers may transfer abilities from one ally to another, but thankfully with numerical and limited resources being subject to relatively stringent limitations. Strangely, supernatural abilities are not covered by the ability transference. All in all, the pauper has many makings of an interesting class, but it ultimately feels odd in many of its choices - aid another as a move/swift action for points may sound okay...but at 11th level, that's pretty late. The class also is completely linear - there is NO choice to be made here - not even the cavalier has such a small array of player agenda - the abilities, all unique ones, no groups, fall in line as a linear progression, making all paupers essentially the same. Beyond that, the class is dependent on two resources, which, in spite of a side-box, ultimately are highly circumstantial ad thus can only hardly be quantified - and thus, as feared by yours truly, the result will be a lot of arguments about hope and despair. Some tighter definitions would have imho helped here. The pauper gets an archetype with only one pool. Overall, the first class I really didn't like - conceptually, it feels not focused enough and mechanically, I've seen the interaction of fluid pool done better in some Interjection Games-releases. The class is not necessarily bad, mind you, but it's not up to the others.

The commander in chief of Little Red Goblin Games, Scott Gladstein, provides us with the Survivor, who gets d12, 6+Int skills per level, simple and martial weapon as well as light and medium armor proficiency, full BAB-progression and good fort-saves. Survivors not only can live off the land and can provide some of his class features with allies via the safe passage class feature, which provides a bonus to allies, usable Con-mod + 1/2 class level times per day. Bonus feats at 2nd level and 6th and every 4 levels thereafter are also there Beyond uncanny dodge, evasion et al., 3rd level, 7th and every 4 thereafter allow for DR, natural armor or elemental resistance, with each quality being selectable more than once. 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter provides a survival tactic, a unique, mostly defensive trick that can be considered the talent-array of the class - many of which can also be granted to allies. Level 13 nets essentially mettle (evasion for will- and fort-saves), called stalwart here, and at that level, this is okay.

The survivor has been my absolute surprise here - while not particularly complex on paper, this class works superbly in play -straightforward, fun and ultimately, it does just what you want: A ranger-y class sans all the mystic mumbo-jumbo, but who can make his allies so much better and harder to kill. This class is a great example why playtests of the complex classes herein was required - it fared much better in actual gameplay than I expected - the survivor is exceedingly fun to play, so kudos! 4 Archetypes are provided for the class - the feralist with simple weapon-exclusive vital strikes and modified feat/tactics-list, the seething survivor (with full barbarian synergy), the parkour specialist thrill seeker and the kind-of-rogueish urban survivor. A Synergist/survivor level 20 multiclass makes for a cool NPC.

Morgan Boehringer, the mastermind of Forest Guardian Press, presents the Synergist, who gets d8, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple weapons, light and medium armor and shields and gets 3/4 BAB-progression as well as good fort- and will-saves. Synergists establish a kind of network akin to psionic networks equal to Cha-mod allies, with her being required to be part of the so-called "cast." The more creatures in the cast, the higher the shield bonus granted to the synergist. Via swift actions, members of the cast can coordinate, making firing into melee easier and teamwork feat granting is obviously part of the deal as well. Better aid another among the cast is also part of the scaling progression. At 1st level, synergists may create a synergy 1+Cha-mod times per day, +1 per 3 class levels. A synergist gets "+1 bonus synergy counters" for each successful attack, save or skill check, +2 for confirmed crits or nat 20s on non-attack-rolls. A synergist may store class level + Cha-mod counters. Synergy counters may be bestowed upon members of the cast, with a duration of Cha-mod+ 1/4 class level rounds. The counters can be used to enhance skill checks, temporary hit points, concentration, CMD, AC, etc. - this ability is glorious and fun.

At 1st level, the synergist may select a technique from a selection of 3, with 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter providing an additional array of new techniques, continuously expending the pool of options to choose from - NICE! Now where things become even more interesting is with the gaining of passive abilities and the collective bestowing of Lunge - a synergist can also negate critical hits and even enhance at higher levels the action tax required by a given action - the synergist pretty much, when played right, can radically change the way in which a unit of adventurers works - and it is awesome. Ultimately, the synergist can literally be the glue that holds a group together in combat and plays surprisingly efficient and different from classes with a similar concept - when to see something ridiculously flexible? Synergist plus Battle Lord. Add in a Tactician and cackle with glee. The archetype for the class falls somewhat behind the main class in coolness, with minor debuffs being just not that interesting - especially seeing the direlock by Morgan, I would have expected something a tad bit more special, but don't let that detract from the coolness of the class.

The Umbra (unfortunately named in my book - it has nothing to do with shadows...) would be a class by Interjection Games' mastermind Bradley Crouch and as such, it is complex: As a basic frame, it gets d8, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency in light armor and shields and weapon proficiency according to the primary embrace chosen. In heavier armor, planar powers suffers from arcane spell failure chance. The umbra gets 3/4 BAB-progression and good will-saves.

So what are those embraces? Well, they signify the heritage of the Umbra, with the primary being the dominant one and chosen at 1st level, the secondary embrace being unlocked at 5th level. Each embrace is assigned a pool of points - the primary embrace has primary points (PP), the secondary embrace secondary points (SP) - collectively, both are called embrace points (EP). Ep scale up from 2 PP to 12 and 1 SP (at 5th level) to 8. Umbra gain resistance to the energy of the primary plane equal to their class level, 1/2 class level for the secondary embrace and each plane has an assigned skill, which receives minor bonuses. At 6th level, the umbra may, as a swift action, generate a temporary EP to assign to a planar power or trait, which lasts for Cha-mod rounds, +1 point granted at 10th level and every 4 levels thereafter. This can be used Cha-mod times per day. There is an unfortunate error in one of the abilities, which specified that an ubiquitous power is gained at 3rd level, +1 at 5th and then +1 at every 4 levels thereafter, when the tables puts that at second level instead. Either that, or quickswap needs to be moved to second level. What does quickswap do? it allows for the reassignment of planar powers 1/day, scaling up by +1/day every 4 levels thereafter, making me belief that the first ubiquitous power ought to be gained at 2nd level.

Ubiquitous powers can be considered the "general" talents of the class, whereas the embraces cover the specialist tricks - the basic elemental planes and both positive and negative energy planes are available for the umbra to choose from, with each having assigned proficiencies. But the choice is more relevant than that - each plane has powers and traits associated. traits require an investiture of 1 point to use and then are static and passive. Powers, on the other hand, allow for more customization - the more points you invest in a given power, the longer you can activate it/the bigger its potency. Now, as you might expect, the benefits are pretty unique - what about a weak reflexive shield that can be dismissed to execute a smite? Yes, the benefits tend towards the unique side of things and some abilities utilize a cooldown mechanic I pretty much enjoy.

Now I'm an old-school Planescape fanboy, and thus, the further tricks of the class brought a smile to my face - yup, at 10th level, the umbra becomes a kind of embodied demiplane-intersection of his primary and secondary embrace. When assigning EP, an umbra can elect to convert either PP or SP into demiplance emergence points (abbreviated DE), but her SP pool must remain larger than the DE pool. Now the interesting part here would be that each demiplane's powers tend to work differently - some reward stockpiling DE-points. Some require their expenditure. Some ignore them mostly in favor of other counters, which are gained in means pertaining to the elemental condition in question and instead make for the resource of the demiplane: Cinders nets, for example, 1 "sputtering charge" whenever the umbra utilizes a power, but does not bypass the cooldown - this charge can be used as an additional invested point in an ability for a short while or expelled as a blast of negative energy and flame, with DE governing the damage output of the sputtering charge-powered blast. Have I mentioned the capstone that lets you make your own plane? Yeah.

...

..

Damn, LIC, what are you doing here? Here I am rambling about how bored I am by elemental classes and themes and now I have a second class with such a theme I actually like. Damn. Kidding aside, the umbra is an interesting class with essentially a highly customizable array of tricks that makes it surpass the one-trick pony component inherent in most elemental-themed classes. I generally like it, though I still don't get where the name comes from.

The penultimate class herein would be Wayne Canepa's Warloghe, who gets d8, 4+Int skills, custom weapon proficiency and no armor or shield proficiencies. The class is built on a 3/4 BAB-progression good fort- and will-save chassis and their bond with a twisted spirit provides prepared arcane spellcasting from a custom list of up to 6th level, based on Wis -uncommon. However, alternatively, instead of spellcasting, a warloghe may select a binding pact with a spirit, gaining a linear, bloodline-like array of abilities, but more on those later. 2nd level warloghes get an essence pool equal to 4 + 1/2 class level + wis-mod, with a passive benefit and the option to expend points to inflict negative-energy based touch attacks, with higher levels allowing for AoE emanations and debuff conditions. At second level and every two levels thereafter, the warloghe selects a taboo - essentially the talents of the class, governed by Wis, with some being exclusive to certain twisted spirits chosen. These include SPs, upgrades to the vortex, dabbling in necromancy, familiars at -5 class levels - quite an array. The 5th level class feature, though, would be one of my favorites - warloghes may leave their soul behind as haunts, moving forward as a soulless shell! Damn cool! However I really wished the pdf sported a kind of instant-haunt-generator for warloghes that does not require handing GM-books to players. Taboos are expanded at 10th level to include more powerful choices. The taboos, when active, more often than not require the expenditure of essence points, which also powers a linear array of spell-like abilities granted over the class's level-progression.

A total of 5 twisted spirits, each with a custom spell-list and custom binding abilities, are provided - it should be noted, though, that each of them also results in a tainted soul, which translates to a continuous, negative effect on the warloghe that denotes his sinister dealings - however, they also provide a unique base benefit. The individual benefits are pretty unique and include stacking bleed damage, placing marks of vengeance, etc. The warloghe class gets an okay capstone, but 3 archetypes: One gets binding pact and spellcasting, but no taboos, while another can craft totem-constructs instead of getting the haunted ability. the final one may channel spirit strikes through his weapon and not waste points on misses, but loses the vortex AoE-control. Unremarkable, as far as archetypes go. The warloghe is pretty much a sinister glass cannon that feels a bit like a more damage-focused take on the witch-fluffed gish - now the class isn't bad and its damage output is balanced by being VERY squishy (more so than the magus) and I like the fluff, but I really think it would have benefited from significantly more spirits - those that are here are solid, though ultimately, the class suffers from me having years upon years of Pact Magic as a frame of reference and the latter just feels more versatile to me.

The final class is a new iteration of an old acquaintance of mine, the Warsmith, written by the Amora crew - at d8, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple weapons, hammer, picks and pilums, light armors and shields as well as 3/4 BAB-progression and good fort-saves, the warsmith is a retool of Amora Game's tinker - can it hold up? Well, first of all, beyond the craftsman bonuses and the significant bonuses to sundering via edifice recognition, the warsmith now may grant bonuses to armors and weapons, even duplicating special abilities at higher levels. At 2nd level and every even level thereafter, the warsmith receives a talent, here called design, which allows him to modify class features, expand crafting capabilities and even poach in alchemist/rogue territory with bombs or rogue talents. While not particularly complex, that ultimately is the strength of the class- it is a straightforward craft/sunder-specialist who is really good at what he does. Now personally, I'm not a big fan of e.g. a prone-knocking fissure having a fixed save-DC instead of a scaling one, but still, this remains the best iteration of the concept so far.

Since I have already covered the class options and archetypes above, I will only glance over the feats provided, all right? All in all, many of the feats here have a teamwork aspect and +x uses/+ longer uses of abilities for classes are provided alongside some interesting teamwork feats (since they don't suck for many classes herein) - unarmed fighting for non-monks, a style that makes combat maneuvers work sans improved-feats (and that while remaining balanced!) and some unique tricks, like playing switcheroo with magic item abilities, overall, this section can be considered well-crafted. In the cases where one may be familiar with some feats from previous publications of Amora Game, they tend to have undergone a streamlining of their wording - so yeah, while not 100% perfect, the vast majority of this chapter proved to be a fun read! Kudos!

Okay, so only one chapter to go - Adapt, Overcome, Survive - and it is GLORIOUS. Evocative haunts with nice flavor text ranging from CR 1 to 9 are complemented by environmental hazards... like exploding rats. Yes. You read it. Awesome! Two quick templates for magically-contaminated/infused creatures can also be found herein before we get rules for magical pollution of varying severity - think of them as the magical equivalent of radioactivity (and yes, just as deadly) - but with the nice added benefit of also coming with a ton of spellblights, of which we also get a quite significant array.

The pdf closes with a handy facsimile-sheet.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not perfect, but still pretty good - in a book of this size, with so much crunch, it is testament to the quality of the authors and editors/developers that almost no significant errors have crept into the complex matrixes of the class-crunch. Layout adheres to a crisp two-column full-color standard with a blending of stock and original artworks. the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The print-copy, which I urge you to get, is well worth the price - I got mine from being a supporter of the KS and it sports a solid frame and high quality., glossy paper. This book has seen quite some use and it does not show. As a note for 3pps: Amora Game sent me the best-packaged book I have to date received from any 3pp - with significant amounts of bubble-wrap and a big package, the book has made it past the transition across the ocean and the careless hands of the postal service without even a dent. Kudos for gong the extra mile - a creaseless book is a definitely nice change of pace to receive!

The Liber Influxus Communis grew from the PFRPG-community, the community of which I consider myself a part of and for which I ultimately write my reviews. While Amora Game took a beating from me in the past, they never gave up and when their KS ran, I think I may have been the first backer - I wanted to believe in them. This was the reason I decided to make this my 2000th review - and I was hoping that my hopes would not be unjustified.

Now what Greg LaRose did was smart - he got essentially all 3pp top crunch-designers not too involved with their own projects: Alexander Augunas, Bradley Crouch, Daron Woodson, Eric Morton, Mike Myler, Scott Gladstein, Wayne Canepa, Will McCardell, Wojciech Gruchala, Kevin Bond, Linda Zayas-Palmer, Michael Sayre, Morgan Boehringer. Realize something? This is pretty much an all-stars-list and the content of this book shows it - each designer herein has brought his/her strengths to the table - from relatively simple to exceedingly complex, the classes provided herein all breathe a spirit of cooperation, of being unique and run the gamut of providing simple plug and play as well as highly complex tinkering classes that require significant planning to get right. The classes herein have one thing in common that transcends the differences in design: They are not boring. I consider no single class herein bland, no single concept to be redundant. In fact, I loved most of the classes, and I mean loved - when a book makes me enjoy two classes that sport a theme I loathe, you'll know you have something awesome at your fingertips.

Now this book is not perfect - I wasn't blown away by all archetypes; the momenta, which I love to death as one of my favorite classes herein, imho requires a second editing pass/a capable DM to streamline and take the rough edges off. The Demiurge's laser battery needs a nerf-whack. And the pauper left me singularly unimpressed, having seen the interacting pools done more in a precise and organic way. Heck, I even made a class with two fluid pools interacting with one another. That aside, the pauper also feels oddly linear and as if it were part of another book. Similarly, not all feats blew me away, but if I broke that down for you, the review would go on for even longer. And I honestly am not sure whether anyone will read this monstrosity as it stands.

Ultimately, though, none of the gripes I could muster, whether they be typos or the above, can stand before a superb appendix and no less than 13 classes I will definitely use in my games - this is pretty much the highest density of classes I have ever allowed a single book to contribute to any game of mine and that is a significant achievement. Now as you all know, I'm a stickler for the more complex classes, but even the simple ones herein have something unique going for them, a playing experience that deviates from what other classes can offer - and what more can you expect from a new base class? In the end, the Liber Influxus Communis may not be a perfect book, but it is still an excellent and inexpensive way to add a vast array of pure innovation to your game - a smörgåsbord of unique mechanics and things no other class can do. And I love it for exactly that. This book exemplifies the work of some of the finest designers in the field and I have, ultimately, always valued innovation and slight rough edges higher than bland mechanical perfection - and, as such, the few mechanical bumps that are herein could in no way stand in relation to the awesomeness that this book brings to the table, they simply pale and fade when seen in relation with the vast array of cool tricks the content herein makes possible. My final verdict thus will be 5 stars + seal of approval and I nominate this book as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015.

And if you're still reading that, let me extend my heartfelt thank-you to you for sticking with my ramblings and reading my 2000th review. I write them for you and remain yours,

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Liber Influxus Communis (PFRPG)
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Liber Influxus Communis (PFRPG)
by Adam B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2015 04:07:02

Now that I have a physical copy in my hand I can give this book the review it deserves.

First I must say that the chosen page stock feels great and sturdy. The binding also feels decently sturdy. Definitely happy with the choices in material.

Like my last big review of a book I’m going to organize it using their own table of contents as a guide For reference here is my old review from before I had time to write the full one: [spoiler=Old review] Strong Points: Balanced Unique ideas Well executed archetypes Fun feats Well organized+good bookmarks Weak Points: That everything is so cool it may induce option paralysis [/spoiler] [b]Classes[/b]

Ok don’t get freaked out here, but there are 14 full classes in this section. What’s interesting is the sheer variety, not just in role and unique features, but in the skill level involved in playing these classes. Some classes have elegance in their simplicity and succeed at their role in a manner that is straight forward for the player. We all know that one player who likes his stuff simple, well that guy will find some stuff he likes in this book. We also all know that guy who loves looking at minutia within these sort of books and there are a few classes in there as well for him that will reward his keen eye with a unique play experience.

I’ve read and looked at all the classes and really haven’t found any of them to have outstanding balance concerns. I legitimately believe all these classes can have a room in a party and won’t feel like dead weight.

If I were to describe a ‘problem’ I found in the class section it would be that many of the classes are a supporting role, like half of them. Also there are no full casters. In the grand scheme of things that is not a problem since this book doesn’t exist in a vacuum and plenty of Paizo support goes to the creation of full-casters and non-supporting character roles.

To attempt to review each individual class would bloat this review, so instead I will list each class and give a short blurb on them. I found that each class succeeded with the definition of: Works as advertised and is good enough at their role to be competitive.

[spoiler=My class descriptions] [i]Battlelord:[/i] An officer of a chosen discipline who is a true leader of men. Full BAB combatant who is capable of buffing his comrades without using magic. If you want to make Leonidas, this is your class.

[i]Conduit:[/i]This class literally eats/absorbs magic and uses it to power his butt whuppin. Can channel absorbed energy into a variety of roles, but without magic will not do much. [i]Demiurge[/i]: First page has a literal warning of how complicated it is. The Demiurge basically creates and destroys automatons that he commands to do various specific tasks.

[i]Medium[/i]: An opportunity to play two classes in one. Primary mechanic is that the Medium has a spirit companion with separate class levels, but shares the same base stats, that you can ask for assistance from or trade bodily control.

[i]Metamorph[/i]: Have you ever wanted to use the evolution point system on a character without running an OP Synthesist? Yeah this class is for you. There are a lot of choices in theme and even in stat selection! You get to pick your mental stat for the class abilities for example.

[i]Mnemonic[/i]: The mental martial artist? Kind of hard to describe in a short summary, but this guy is a martial artist that can punch away spells/feats/skill ranks, copy EX abilities that he witnesses, and eventual even gains telepathic powers.

[i]Momenta[/i]: The helper. This support class basically helps with everything. Some support spells here, some conditional bonuses for the allies there, tossing them a temporary bonus feat, throwing someone a sneak attack die, and various other fun abilities. If you want to play a slightly magical Samwise THIS IS YOUR CLASS.

[i]Mystic[/i]: Admittedly my favorite class. You get a large Ki pool, pick an element, pick talents related to your element, and pick Ki Techniques (most are SLAs). May sound similar to the Kineticist, but this class plays significantly more like a martial artist. You get to pick from the standard Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water plus the Force element which is secretly Jedi, complete with Mind Tricks.

[i]Pauper[/i]: Has two resource pools based on hope and despair that are used to augment the combat around them. Each has specific and general means of being obtained, so even with a jerk DM you are effective. Various other supportive abilities too.

[i]Survivor[/i]: Tough and self-sufficient. Almost every class feature is focused on self-preservation or the mantra of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” The survivor has full BAB and d12 HD and will be a brick.

[i]Synergist[/i]: Builds off the positive vibes of success to create a tidal wave of pwnage through ally buffs. Another support class that is very effective at its job. D8 hit die and capable of assisting competently in combat.

[i]Umbra[/i]: Born with a planar connection these guys draw upon the energy of that plane to do crazy stuff like overload an enemy’s muscles with positive energy, giving them a buff, but then having them take a serious debilitating stat condition. The powers provide some pretty different ways to combat your foes.

[i]Warloghe[/i]: 1/6th caster with a lot of little abilities and fun flavor. Forms a symbiotic link with a minor evil spirit. Capable of inflicting various status effects and negative energy damage to all that oppose! Though notably squishy and requiring protection.

[i]Warsmith[/i]: Completely not what I expected. This ain’t no tinker. This is a manly man blacksmith that creates and destroys all he sees on the battlefield! Fricken awesome! [/spoiler]

[b]Feats[/b]

Ok, now this section has a majority cool stuff. I saw very few useless feats, which is a very good thing! A lot of feats are those class specific ones that we’ve come to expect, the extra this and that or the improved thing. This is perfectly fine and actually pretty healthy for the book since it means all these classes have good support.

What else did I see? Feats giving generally unused combat styles more support. Stuff like imposing fear conditions just because you’re such a terror on your mount, three good combat styles, some more style feats for existing Paizo styles, and some teamwork feats.

Instead of giving us a bunch of general purpose feats to compete with build staples Amora Games went with feats that support previously underused styles in a way that can make them viable. This was a smart move because at this point doing anything else will either be a bad rehash of another feat or a straight upgrade.

[b]Archetypes and Options [/b]

Ok, there are several archetypes for each class and to go through each would be madness. The archetypes do differentiate a lot. To name a few of my favorites we have Battlelord archetypes for military roles like Marine and Cavalryman, Mystic archetype that gets all the elements Avatar Style, Mnemonic archetype that eats thoughts and memories, and since the Demiurge is so mutable they instead opted to give you some premade Facsimiles.

I’d say the archetype section is a success because it gives you a multitude of new ways to enjoy each class without sacrificing balance.

[b]Adapt, Overcome, Survive [/b]

Magical Contamination, Haunts, and Environmental Hazard.

The GMs guide and PRD explain what haunts are, so the Liber Influxus wastes no time giving us several pages of brand new haunts to spook out your players!

Environmental hazards give your players a different kind of challenge that’s less obvious and can make for fun stories.

Magical Contamination is to Pathfinder what radiation is to Gamma world. We all know radiation is fun, so magical radiation is [i]magical [/i] fun! When spells start getting wonky the spellcasters in the group will get a chance to gamble. Cast and get a random benefit or cast and have your spell fail in a weird way, are you a gambling man?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prepare for War - Basic Training (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/28/2014 02:55:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 42 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So this module is unconventional - based on Amora Game's Player's Guide, the PCs are regular average Joes and Janes of the Thaddean Empire who have just enlisted in the military to serve their grand empire. Hence, the structure of this module diverges vastly from what one would expect and slaughters quite an array of sacred cows:

first of all, it uses RGG's apprentice-level character rules (and provides all necessary bits and pieces) - this means you start this module as a level 0 nobody. Secondly, and more importantly - this module is by its very nature necessarily a railroad. Think of basic military boot-camp-style intense training and you're pretty close to what the PCs will go through in here - this is a railroad by design and the restricted choices indeed are part of the module's very design.

So I'm not really spoiling the basics when I'm giving you a brief synopsis of the plot and tell you that the PCs will have to do push-ups, properly reply to military naming structure and conditioning. The training by Sgt. Lithgow in the notorious Compound 13 (fully mapped, btw.) includes not only checking the knowledge of the empire's religion, but also obstacle courses and climbing walls - most of which btw. are depicted in complex skill challenges. Now the interesting thing here would be, that special achievements can result in specific traits - doing well at these challenges will reflect in your PC's capabilities. Conversely, sucking or just refusing outright may result in your character earning drawbacks. Beyond diverse skill challenges for just about every skill and various story feats can be gained this way as well - take e.g. one that allows you to not provoke AoOs with unarmed strikes - not as strong as proper improved unarmed strike, but damn cool as a bonus.

Add to that formation training (with rather cool tactical benefits), weapon training etc. and we have a cool training - even before infiltrating a village of a drunken goblin clan and extracting their leader as a kind of covert ops test and the surprising finale that hints at the things to come, this module proved surprisingly interesting.

The pdf provides full stats for all characters, a DM-check-list for achievements/drawbacks and formations and 4 pages of full-color player-friendly versions of the maps.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good - I didn't notice any significant glitches that would have spoiled the module. The layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column, full-color standard and the pdf's maps are solid, and working, but not particularly beautiful. Artworks are okay. The pdf comes sans bookmarks, which is a comfort detriment the pdf didn't need imho.

Designer Greg LaRose lies to us on the first page "This adventure is going to suck. Just quit reading." You can read these words on the first page and they're wrong - while military training is surely no cakewalk and not exciting in the traditional sense due to the rigid structure the module imposes, it turned out to be anything but sucky. In fact, especially DMs who have a hard time with rp-dialogue improvisation will marvel at the exceedingly detailed read-aloud text, which comes with blue text for regular read-aloud text, red text for speech directly addressing the PCs - which is nice to have a visual cue for the instructor-voice. Indeed, the dialogues and instructions are exceedingly detailed and provide ample help for the DM.

In fact, I thought the respective skill challenges would be much more boring, the meta-plot and characters seeping through and suffusing the experience rather in rather cool ways. Now it's been quite some time since the release of this module and while it, at the time of me writing this review, is not certain whether we'll ever get the follow up modules, this one can easily be taken as a nice beginner's module to depict a party in service to some elite organization or military - reskinning is all it takes, so yes, this remains relevant.

This module is gutsy indeed - in structure, in daring to be different. And while it will not be for everyone, if you ever wanted a great "becoming heroes"-module that takes the form of a quasi-military intense training, then this will be exceedingly awesome for you. This is many things - unconventional, brave, different - but it does not, I repeat, it does not suck. While not perfect due to a couple of glitches, the non-too-impressive maps and the lack of bookmarks, it is an innovative, cool module that dares to be different and with its cool ideas (I want more formations and see them in battle!), I sincerely hope that we'll one day see the follow-up modules. Until then, I remain with a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prepare for War - Basic Training (PFRPG)
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Prestigious Roles: Toxicologist (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2014 04:19:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content for the new PrC, so let's take a look, shall we?

The Toxicologist needs to be non-good and have 5 ranks in Craft (alchemy), sleight of hand and stealth, 3 in heal and need to have poisoned an unsuspecting victim and made friendly contact with a poison-selling apothecary. Got that? Okay, then you qualify for a PrC that nets you d8, 6+Int-mod skills, proficiency with light armor and blow guns, 3/4 BAB-progression and 1/2 fort- and ref-save progression. Toxicologists never risk poisoning themselves, create poisons at half the time and may apply them as a move action (later even as a swift action). They may even change the delivery method of poisons and make e.g. ingested poisons contact poisons - which may be problematic, since method of delivery more often than not makes for a balancing factor in a given poison's potency. The pdf mentions the Craft (poison)-skill, here, though - which does not exist. This ought to be Craft (alchemy).

The toxicologist is also great at blending in in crowds (making for great assassins from the stands!) with bonuses to disguise in crowds - just a pity that the ability does not extend to stealth - sniping unnoticed from the crowds would have been cool - as written, the Toxicologist gets one shot and then is exposed. They also learn to increase the DC of their poisons, can purchase them at less cost and delay their onset as well as negate them via int/level-checks. The PrC also gets sneak attack progression (+4d6 over 10 levels). At first level and every 3 after that, the class learns a specialty, which include poisons that last longer than one hit etc. Special mention deserves the theory of opposites - allowing them to make poisons into buffing items instead - but still risky to imbibe. While potentially rather powerful, abusable and a bit wonky in wording, I do enjoy this idea - especially due to negative conditions balancing the effects in the aftermath. Toxicologists may also learn to extract organs, preserve them and distill poison from them or lace alchemical items with poisons - the latter imho requiring a caveat to not work with some class features of the alchemist-base-class...

At high levels, toxicologists may blend poisons and true masters may, as a capstone, generate lethal poisons from their own body.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting formally are good, though some of the rules-languages could have used a tighter wording. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

The toxicologist-PrC is on the one hand a great little PrC to make poison-use more viable, but it does suffer from some hick-ups in the rules-language - while none of them are particularly nasty, they do accumulate. Author Christie Hollie has delivered a nice PrC and indeed shows some talent here - with minor modifications, this PrC can make for a neat addition to one's campaign. Oh, and it's just 1 buck. For the very fair price and the nice concepts herein, I believe that, in spite of its flaws, I can still round this up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prestigious Roles: Toxicologist (PFRPG)
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