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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Laura H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2017 19:34:18

I backed the original Ponyfinder for the Pathfinder game and have since moved on to 5th edition therefore I was excited to get this version for the latter game. What a surprise! Not just a rules conversion for 5th edition, this volume contains information on the setting and Pony Empire , most of which was not found in the original rulebook. There is also a slew of completly new NPC writeups. Even some of the artwork is completly new and the art s much better formated in my 5th age PDF than in my Pathfinder printed copy.

My favorite bit is the character creation rules which give a whole new 'subrace' system for 5th edition. The method given is inspired and I am definatly going to use it in my own campaign world for a few of my own races.

The only downside was that the NPCs still lack stats but this is less of an issue in 5th edition than in Pathfinder as background and class give a much more detailed image of the character than Pathfnder's more 'number crunch' system.

All together a very nice product and one I will definatly get a print version of eventually.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2017 16:43:56

First off, it's well made, the art is beautiful, the formatting is better than some of the previous offerings, and there was an update BEFORE the book went to print... apparently correcting for some issues from the original pdf. All good points.

The idea is the same as before: add ponies to the world of the single most popular tabletop rpg of all time, in a interesting and functional manner. Do so without infringing upon copyright while simultaneously filling a gap that a huge number of people still desperately want. Oh... and update it to the newest version of that system: 5th edition.

Did it succeed? I'll wager that it did.

The setting fits into the darker and more adult nature of tabletop rpgs that most folks are used to, curbing the 'cute' factor in favor of adding play flexibility and system functionality. Abilities, spells and the like are all fairly well applied, leading to usable characters and entertaining stories. The figures and world lore allow for interaction with non-pony characters (the rules even outlining hybrids) from other races and, indeed, other books. Specialized equipment means you can expect a character from this setting to be viable in other games as well... despite a decided lack of opposable thumbs. It has a full pantheon of gods, a battery of spells and abilities, and appropriately added origins and backgrounds to fit with the setting. You could just as easily run a full pony-only campaign as a 'normal' group or mixed group... something that many other supplements and third party addons cannot claim. It does all this while still presenting an unmistakable "non-human" set of races that fits well into many a traditional fantasy/fairy tale.

That is not to say everything is all rainbows and butterflies.

There are a few issues that exist, at least in the print copy, that were absent in the original pdf. Oddly, this means that the update that fixed whatever problem existed prior to print, actually ended up breaking some other parts. These included ADDING typos into the final copy that were absent in earlier versions, truncating sentences, and presumably losing words or even more in some places. That's not to say that the update was unneeded -fixing a number of problems did presumably occur... but adding typos or cutting off paragraphs should not happen as a side effect. That's similar to a surgeon removing someone's tonsils and giving them a free tatoo that says "I heart Morm"... unrelated and not really all too helpful.

Let me be clear... The book IS beautiful. I am greatly happy it was made and pleased that I have a hard copy. I will praise Silver Games LLC and David himself just about any day of the week for the work he and his crew have done. Heck, if the pdf gets a shiny new fixing, I ~might~ even be willing to shell out cash for another hardcover. I just wish that the final product, the thing that went to print, the thing I put money down for, had been checked over a few more times before being sent to the printers... and ending up in my hands.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2016 10:32:23

So few things to mention, is that I actually backed the kickstarter for Ponyfinder: Dawn of the 5th Age and the cover art is actually of my characters. So kodos to the artist job well done there, though really all the art is really good.

Moving on, I really like how the races were done, particularly the physical and spiritual sub races of Ponykind though there are a couple I won’t make use of in my campaign. I won’t really say much on the Griffins this time around, I’ll wait until the Griffons of Everglow for that, but they and the other races turned out well.

I do like how the archetypes for the Pathfinder system were able to be converted into specializations for D&D 5e, it appears to have translated over well. Generally, whoever they may have turned to given this being a different system, it shows there was a fair understanding of the differences. Sighs, admittedly there may still be those that offer some complaints about the fact that the campaign has 1st level flying races but what can you do?

Really, great job in converting this first book over for those who have never played Pathfinder so newcomers can still enjoy this setting, whether they do or do not know the inspiration for its creation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting - Dawn of the Fifth Age
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2016 12:37:19

I purchased this book when it was first written for the Pathfinder RPG. Back then, there weren't any other things written for it, but my kids and I enjoyed it immensely and I wrote many adventures for it and adapted some of the other PFRPG adventures written for the Golarion setting.

Going through this book and making characters for it gave me a sense of the depth and quality of the work itself. I made 3 characters: a cleric, a wizard, a bard and an archer. Three races were used: earth-bound ponies, unicorn ponies and a flutterpony. Overall, using the familiar races, sub-races and spiritual paths were intuitive and easy to work into a character sheet using the 5e rules. The backgrounds were fantastic as always and there's a little more information in the setting than the original book.

The art is gorgeous, with some of the same being used from the original book, along with new art and what looked like new lore. The book is laid out well and is easy to read, following the 2 column standard that many RPG books use. Overall, this book is worth more than what I paid for it in the kickstarter (which includes the hardcover book that I ordered). I especially want to commend David Silver on organizing everything in a timely and well thought-out manner.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thank you very much! Believe it or not, the pdf is going to get better! A new version should be out within the week.
Ponyfinder - Children of Bones Hero Lab Extension
by michael t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2016 23:50:23

long time overdue re review, got it working love it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Children of Bones Hero Lab Extension
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Ponyfinder - Mining to the Sky
by Kris S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2016 00:02:19

I was expecting something like Paizo's standard Pathfinder Society adventure writeups, which present specific context for the setting, a mildly interesting quest-giver, some other hook, and a statement of the expected party level (not just on the product's Web page). Instead, we get some phrasing that seems both vague and awkward. For instance, before the quest begins there's this description of what you did after it:

"Damage to the site is to be avoided at all costs, though any trinkets you spotted in the course of clearing it out was yours to have. If you claim something and don’t want it, they will pay top rate (55% instead of 50% of market value) for, provided it came from this place in particular." (sic)

The premise of the adventure is that the PCs have been hired to clear out a probably-dangerous dig site for archeologists. How was this site found? Passive voice just says it "was thought to be a gentle hill", so there's no interesting backstory. Who's hiring the PCs? It's "the hirers", so there's no Paizo-style cue to help set the scene. Late in the adventure there is a named NPC who was one of these employers the PCs might've met, so if I were running this I'd revise it to present her in scene one to give the players a named contact with a personality of sorts.

It's also odd that these archeologists don't care if the PCs loot the place for valuables, which seems like it defeats the purpose. The oddity could've been fixed with some talk about "you can keep stuff after you let us examine everything you found!" All the more reason to give us an NPC for the players to talk to.

The PCs get attacked by bandits, who have claw attacks despite being ponies and not having any claw-like weapons. Are they connected to the endgame? I have no idea from reading the adventure. If they are, I don't see how, and if not, what are they doing there? When did they show up? It's a missed roleplaying opportunity that could involve bluffing and backstabbing, if given an explanation.

I feel this adventure needed another round of proofreading and some rethinking of its logic. Some of these problems would be simple to fix.

The positive aspects? It's nice to see Ponyfinder content. I do like that there's a special rule in play here (trying to limit collateral damage) and an encounter with something probably non-hostile. There's an event at the end that presumably leads to other adventures, though we're not given adventure seeds for what those might be and it says something about Everglow's history that may make players say "wait, this is canon?" You may find that good or bad.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Mining to the Sky
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Publisher Reply:
Hello there, Thanks for the review! The entirely invalid rend has been fixed to require 2 hoof strikes instead of 2 claw strikes, that they don't even have. As for the 'is this canon?' part, grab Forgotten Past for more details on those things that I will not go into detail for sake of spoilers. Thanks again for the feedback, and happy adventuring.
Ponyfinder - Griffons of Everglow
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2016 09:38:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This beautiful hardcover clocks in at 64 pages of net content (excluding ToC, covers and SRD) and depicts the griffons of storied everglow, so let's take a look!

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

Ah, the griffons of everglow - old and proud, with memories both accurate and long, predating the advent of ponykind's empire. We begin this book, as befitting of the proud race, with their history - from stopping the rampage of Apep to the altercations with the purrsians to witnessing the rise and fall of the pony empire and the arrival of bipedal races, the griffons have a long history and a unique perspective on everglow, somewhere between stoic conservatism and surprisingly progressive notions -so flavor-wise, we begin with one of the most evocative sections I've read so far in a ponyfinder book.

A discussion of the traits of griffons accompanies the presentation of racial stats - and people like yours truly will enjoy them: The first thing you'll notice is, that the section on griffons actually follows the standards of PFRPG regarding the depiction of racial stats - you know, proper attributes, not abbreviations and the like. Nice! Griffons gte +2 Str and Wis, have a base speed of 30 ft. and a bipdeal speed of 20 ft, a fly speed of 40 ft. with poor maneuverability, low-light vision, a 1d6 bite and they may treat clouds and mists as solid. The hippogriff gets +2 to one ability score, low-light vision, base speed 40 ft., bipedal speed 30 ft, 30 ft. fly speed, unique destiny and are treated as both griffons and ponykind via subtypes and effects. Both are quadruped - in an unfortunate typo, the trait is called "quadraped", though. Griffons can be modified via an aspect that takes into account different heritages - and here as well, the presentation is closer in line with PFRPG's standards, which is a big plus.

Default griffons have the predator aspect, while cheetahs increase their land speed, their charge, run and withdraw options and they decrease their flight speed by 10 feet and one maneuverability. Cursed griffons get -2 Strength, +2 Constitution and Wild Talent as a bonus feat (being naturally psionic), while prey aspect griffons lose their bite and get -2 Strength, +2 Charisma and increase their CL by 1 as well as their domain/mystery/blessing effects as though they had one level more, up to the cap of their HD - and yes, has the "no early access" caveat. Pride griffons imho are lopsided: +4 Charisma, -4 Wisdom makes them very minmaxy...and flavor-wise, it's a bit odd to have griffon diplomats suck at Sense Motive, but yeah. Scavenger griffons get +2 Intelligence and Dexterity, -2 to Wisdom and Strength. Sea aspect griffons decrease fly speed by 10 ft and one maneuverability, but gain a swim speed of 30 ft. and may speak and cast spells under water - this is considered to be strenuous activity for purposes of suffocation, since they still have to breathe. Finally, snow aspect griffons decrease their fly speed by 10 ft. and reduce their maneuverability by one step. They also gain +4 to Stealth in snow and treat it as a class skill, are Large-sized (not capitalized) and get Endurance, +1 to saves vs. cold (not typed, unlike other bonuses here), -2 to saves versus fire and heat and lose cloud walker, but gain the Endurance feat. VERY odd, though I do understand it balance-wise: Reach does not increase, making the Large size actually a liability...and the bonus to Stealth is completely negated by the size penalty...not sure whether that's intended...but I think it's not.

The pdf also sports 5 alternate racial traits - a claw attack (properly codified natural weapon type, unlike the bite in the standard trait - kudos!), +2 Perception and Sense Motive instead of low-light vision, small-sized griffons, +2/+4 Stealth in dim light/darkness or replacing bite with 1/day SPs light, prestidigitation, unseen servant can be found herein. The pdf does provide favored class options for barbarian, brawler, cavalier, cleric, druid (not bolded), fighter, ranger, rogue, skald, summoner (not bolded) and sorceror. The pdf has a nice heritage table to randomly determine avian and feline aspects as well as dominant coloration and unusual heritages. - the table is nice, though for age, height and weight, you have to consult the base CS.

The next chapter is extremely detailed and goes into the respective takes griffons have on the classes and then, we get 16 racial feats that range from bonuses to two skills that increase at 10 ranks (boring) to using Acrobatics while running sans speed decrease (cool!), 1/day free choice of mental attribute used in a skill check, gaining cloud walker, properly codified, minor DR-ignoring charges, longer breath, sun cat teamwork feat access, more stable flying...well, guessw what? This time around, they actually are functional! Seriously! While I still seethe when looking at lower-case skills, the material here...is nice! The griffons also get traits - which are similarly well-crafted. The book also contains 6 archetypes: Divine psions use Wis as governing manifester attribute and gain Empower Power at 5th level. Midmountii master monks can flurry with natural attacks and replaces stunning with blinding foes; at 7th level, instead of slow fall, they may earth glide via ki. Sky rider cavaliers may select big avians (unlocking them only later) and 5th level provides growth for the mount - with an odd caveat "Its stats are not otherwise affected." This is patently wrong, since size increases do affect stats - should we ignore these??

Talon Warrior fighters replace bravery with scaling bonuses to Perception and Fly and 2nd level eliminates penalties incurred by AoOs when performing combat maneuvers. 11th level unlocks pounce and 15th level potentially adds an extra claw attack when pouncing, but fails to specify at what BAB - though one can assume full BAB. Weapon mastery and training apply to both bite and claw. Storm Dancer fighters emit fog when attacked in melee, gaining 20% concealment miss chance, 50% for attacks after the first, but only while wearing light or no armor. Oddly, "this has no effect on ranged weapons." Do ranged weapons not trigger it or do they shoot through? Concealment may also block line of sight, which is relevant for spells and I'm not sure this was intended, since imho, the ability botches nomenclature pertaining concealment and miss chance granted by concealment. 2nd level adds secondary targets to bull rushes (at 15th level: also trip, disarm and dirty trick), 8th level no longer treats fog and smoke as vision detriments and as a capstone, the character becomes "immune to wind" and can only be moved by it if they wish.

Finally, the skycrown pledged samurai penalizes attacks of the challenged against other targets, gets a modified skill list, may, after failing an action, retry in the subsequent round 1/day at a +4 insight bonus (+1/day every 4 levels beyond 2nd) and at 8th level, they gain Great Cleave and a +1 dodge bonus to AC for one round for each enemy struck. Can someone hand me the bag of kittens? As a level 15 ability, these guys may spend resolve as an immediate action to intercept attackers.

The pdf also provides claw and beak tips, rules for (somewhat wonky) griffon-feathered arrows and three special weapon/armor properties - which aren't bad, in fact, though the lack of formatting for the creation requirements is annoying...and yes, spells are not italicized.

Okay, after this, we begin with an extensive introduction to the faiths of the griffons - from the Sun King to the huntress to white talon, the three deities come with extensive information, though it remains, apart from favored weapons and domains, fluff-centric. The book contains 5 spells that have all issues and represent the worst portion, mechanics-wise, of the book. Internal reference to spells is not italicized in some cases. There is a spell that allows for bonus damage to natural attacks which allows the caster to change elements - okay. However, with a Knowledge (arcana) check as part of attacking, rarer energies like sonic, negative energy or force can be chosen - which makes no sense, considering that force is superior to all other damage types at the cost of damage die reduction to d4. Changing elements is a move action, though - so no idea whether that supersedes the rare energy caveat or not or whether the rare energies only apply to one attack or all. The spell can be discharged, dealing 3d6 or 3d4 damage, thus implying that the energy change is maintained for more than one attack. Lionheart nets haste's extra attack when using a full attack and +4 Str AND Con - textbook power-creep. Eagle Soul seemingly contradicts itself - "until your next action" vs. duration of 1 round/level; however, at closer observation, one can assume the speed burst the spell offers to be the initial effect, the attribute boost to last longer - slightly cleaner wording would have helped here. Griffon's Majesty employs the non-existent "divine" bonus type. That being said, the mask of obedience cursed item is interesting.

Now, much like Forgotten past, the somewhat misnamed "Griffon Society" chapter (1/3 of the book!) contains information of famous griffons and ponykind, with numerous interesting NPC write-ups. These generally are well-written, feature advice for the GM and copious amounts of neat artworks....but, like the previous books, if you're looking for stats, I'll have to disappoint you. Similarly, the 6th chapter, which details settlements of the griffons and runs a wide gamut in themes and diversity, does not feature a single settlement statblock for the villages. The villages, cities, etc., however, are truly diverse -from deep waters sheltered in the forest of dreams to razorback ridge, the places are unique. One truly impressive facet here would be that the cartography of the griffon heartland and the metropolis of cuachan, which comes in even more details, similarly gets a truly GORGEOUS full-page map. These sections brim and bristle with the imagination and unique flavor of everglow - and it covers about 2/3rds of the whole book, making this section significantly stronger than in the other Ponyfinder books I've read.

The final section of the book provides a new "living trap" at CR 6 with cliffside eels as well as three new creatures - the CR 9 gem golem and with unique spell reflections and dazzling brightness is pretty great. The CR 13 mountain worm, in comparison, is a more conservative critter with no truly unique ability. Finally, the CR 6 sky mask can call down lightning - think of them as Super Mario's grumpy clouds. All in all, the critters aren't bad...but formatting and editing is less precise than in Forgotten past's bestiary, with bolding missing from the majority of the statblocks and some typos creeping in.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are SIGNIFICANTLY better than in the last two Ponyfinder books I read - while it still is flawed, the flaws mainly pertain rules-language formatting for the most part. While there are crunch components that are problematic, the respective issues are significantly less pronounced, though lower case skills, missing italicizations and the like still are here. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the book has a killer array of full-color artworks. The cartography featured in the book is similarly stunning. The hardcover I have is a beautiful book and certainly one worthy of owning. I can't comment on the features of the electronic version since I do not have it.

David Silver's griffons of everglow represent a return to form to approximately the level of the campaign setting; while there are some unfortunate glitches in the crunch and its presentation, it is functional! The content may not perfect, but it actually works and the book does not flaunt the established rules-language as much as the previous books, adhering to formatting standards and providing, as a whole, a significant improvement over the previous books in sheer, objective quality of the crunch. Now the fluff was never an issue for Ponyfinder and indeed, this book with its massive amount of flavor is evocative and not only fans of everglow will most certainly adore the well-written fluff herein. All in all, this book represents a great development for the ponyfinder-line - while still short of perfection, this is a nice purchase indeed and while the flaws of the crunch prevent a higher rating, I feel justified in settling on a final verdict of 3.5 stars; round down if you're in it for the crunch, round up if you want all the evocative flavor and prose. As for my official verdict, I will round up for this book, since its focus lies obviously on the flavor and campaign setting information.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Griffons of Everglow
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Ponyfinder - Princess Luminace's Guide to the Pony Pantheon
by Erin J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/17/2016 12:48:43

What I really enjoyed about this work is that it really expands upon the goddesses and gods of Everglow. It was nice to see the additions of Apep, the Sea Mother, and some updates to Kara/the Swarm Queen. The bonus of having a new race to play with is also top notch! Good work, Silver Games!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Princess Luminace's Guide to the Pony Pantheon
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Ponyfinder - Through The Smoke
by Robert D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2016 13:11:00

I've been a fan of Ponymaker supplements for a long time and have backed several of their kickstarters. I was really excited to get more information about the Phoenix Wolves, that was something the core rules lacked. Overall, the book is good. It's fun, a bit silly, pokes some fun at the players who want their characters to be as edgy as possible in a game system that's otherwise lighter and fluffier. Personally I don't see myself opening this book for use by players in regular games though. Several character options are incredibly powerful, like a feat to gain 1d6+1 per HD of fire damage on all natural attacks, when this race is already predisposed to be great monks. Or the ability to forgo the normal 7000 gold cost of raise dead+2 restoration spells to bring a PC back to life and full fighting strength by using a feat to give up a day's worth of spell slots. Or a feat to purposefully phoenix yourself and drop a maximized fireball centered on you and gain true regeneration (like what Trolls have) for as many rounds as the fire damage you took, coming back to life after all the enemies think you're dead.

The flavor is fantastic, the book looks great, and I'd be happy to use it in a much higher powered game than normal, but as it stands it's nowhere near balanced to the other Ponyfinder books or what Pathfinder is in general.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Through The Smoke
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Ponyfinder - 5th Edition Translation
by Andrew E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2016 15:44:23

Works with the Ponyfinder Campaign Setting, for the Pathfinder rules. If all you're looking to do is a quick and dirty update from Pathfinder to 5th Edition, this will probably serve. IT IS NOT A STANDALONE PRODUCT, if that wasn't clear from the description.

This pdf is only a race conversion. It gives very very little roleplay info about the races-- hardly any fluff. That, apparently, is in the larger campaign setting book. There are no new rules for integrating these into the 5E game (consider, for instance, that ponies are "Fey" and as such, many spells do not function on them in the same way they would on the Core player races).

The balance of the races is dubious. Without going into too much detail, one race gets the ability to breathe underwater, while another race make an entire Ability Score obsolete.

Some design choices were strange to me as well. Silver Games tries to take the same approach that they did in Pathfinder: trading in and out features from a base race. While that was the norm in Pathfinder, I can't help but think each of the eight subraces of pony might have been better represented as their own race. Further, why are there eight subraces of pony? Some work needs to be done to streamline the selection, or make some of the less-appealing races more appealing to play. Having a distinct profile derived from the lore (again, all kept bound away in the campaign setting) would benefit, say, the Sea Horse, greatly.

Lastly, the rules contained in this book (and more) can be found for free on the 5E System Reference Document online. Why are those other races not included in this PDF? Further, some of the information in the PDF is out of date, if cross referenced with the SRD. I might normally say the published PDF trumps the SRD, but I was given a handout by the author of this book for one of his games (which amounted to being nothing but this PDF, but with updated stats), which had the same stats as listed in the SRD, not the PDF.

It is what it is. Wait for the 5E Campaign Guide to come out. If for some reason you need to switch your game over to 5th Edition TONIGHT, then this PDF will do the trick-- but in that case, just use the free SRD online.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - 5th Edition Translation
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Ponyfinder - Through The Smoke
by Martin C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2016 00:06:50

A small book with great ideas. Built on the same template as the other Tribes books, it heats up a race that hasn't had much spark before now. I've got some interesting characters ideas.

Thanks Mr. Silver!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Through The Smoke
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Publisher Reply:
Aw! We had fun writing it, and your pun-filled review makes it mean that much more to us. So heart-warming!
Ponyfinder - 5th Edition Translation
by Ismael A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2016 16:54:18

The concept behind this product is a brilliant one, and I wish that more publishers would take this approach. Truly, outside of a bestiary, most settings that do not already have a 5th edition hardcover format book need only give player options, typically.

Enter the Ponyfinder 5th Edition Translation. By simply telling us how to play ponies (and other related player races), we can instantlyl integrate a majority of the Ponyfinder setting without much difficulty. 5th edition is such a wonderfully simply game that it then becomes a simple matter of converting monsters on the fly, and you can quickly make memorable characters with which to galvant around in this very well supported setting.

In terms of mechanics, the races themselves seemed to be very well done, though I have not personally seen them in play (yet). I am curious to see how this would pan out, but a careful reading did not reveal any red flags in terms of balance.

This, and the Ponyfinder campaign setting book should be all you need to enjoy a 5th edition Ponyfinder game, and the price point was a brilliant touch. That there is even MORE content through the Ponyfinder 5th Edition Gods, Feats and Expanded Races (a seperate but still inexpensive product) makes this setting an attractive choice for anyone wanting to play a pony-based 5th edtition game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - 5th Edition Translation
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/02/2016 04:37:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The campaign setting and freshman offering for Ponyfinder clocks in at 122 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 115 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Wait. before we do, I have to go on a brief tangent: I'm not the best guy to review Ponyfinder-material. I'm only doing this due to requests continuously piling up. The first couple of those, I pretty much asked my groups and both refused. (Yep, my kiddies want to play Red Sonja, not ponies...go figure...) I told David Silver of Silver Games the whole story and now I'm telling you. I'm not a brony or particularly enamored with ponies. I tried watching MLP and it neither elicited joy, nor a negative response. I get what people like it in, but it's not made for me. I learned some important facts from the author in that regard: While this does feature ponies, it is decisively NOT MLP.

Okay, I got that. Secondly, he was okay with me not going the usual in-depth playtesting route due to my parties' refusal. So here I am. The dark fantasy/horror-aficionado reviewing ponyfinder. It's what you, my patreons, wanted - and I'm not one to refuse you, at least not for long. Hence, I'll put on my reviewer's hat, put my own predilections aside and take you on a journey to the lands of Everglow and analyze the mechanics of Ponyfinder. Cue insert Robot Unicorn Attack, Blind Guardian's Battlefield Metal-edition in the background. Don't say I didn't warn you! ;P

Okay, the first thing we notice after a brief piece of introductory prose, would be the general ponykind racial traits. Ponykind are fey, medium-sized and gain +2 Con and Wis. They have a quadruped speed of 40 ft., 20 ft. when walking on two legs. They get low-light vision, +2 to saves vs. poison, spells and SPs and Endurance as a bonus feat. Being quadrupeds, they get +4 to CMD versus trips and +50% carrying capacity and they get a Unique Destiny bonus feat at first level. All in all, the total race is strong. So, how does the setting handle being fingerless - pretty smoothly. Components of spells, unarmed attacks, touch attacks, wielding items - all covered. Basically, as envisioned here, ponies don't really suffer from any penalties of require complex modifications - no barding restrictions, they still have hand and ring slots, etc. So if you're a fan of simulationalist approaches, that may potentially dissatisfy you, though it makes integration of ponies in a given context very easy. Pegasi and Unicorns are covered as pretty common alternate racial trait-packages, with pegasi gaining fly speed 30 ft at clumsy maneuverability - which can potentially cause issues in grim, low-magic settings that...wait. Sorry. Force of habit. We're talking about a magical setting where talking ponies that wield wands and weapons in their mouths garner a shrug at best. Ignore that. Kidding aside - you should be aware of many a module not taking flight into account until 5th-6th level. Still, generally no issue there and the formatting of the race is according to the specifications established in Pathfinder books - kudos!

Beyond these more common of alternate pony-breeds, we are introduced to chaos hunters, clockwork ponies (a template you can basically apply to other pony-subtypes), doppelgänger ponies, gem ponies that can deflect rays 1/day as via Deflect Arrow, leather wings, sea horses and zebras - If I'm skimming over these, then mainly since they represent relative smooth modifications of teh base chassis - and fluff-wise, the Tribes of Everglow-book (review coming very soon) covers them in more detail. After covering thus the base ponykind racial framework, we address the question of class options and ponykind's relation with classes next - beginning with two sorceror bloodlines: The unification bloodline is all about gaining some traits from ponykind subtypes -from canines to wings and horns, this one basically codifies an über-pony as a progression of the bloodline and features some player-agenda, which is always nice to see in the otherwise linear bloodlines - and yes, including multiple capstones.

The second one would be the vampiric bloodline that gain vampire-themed abilities - generally solid with the usual suspect like children of the night, gaseous form and similar options providing what you'd expect, theme-wise. Solid. The take of ponies on the respective classes and favored class options for the classic paizo-classes (Core + APG) are covered before we get racial archetypes: Aerial Warriors (barbarian) are about aerial mobility, artifact tender rogues can UMD items with charges to use two charges in activation instead, increasing the CL of the effect by +2. Slightly problematic at 10th level with this one - an option to use UMD to prevent the loss of charges when activating items. While the action required is a massive full-round, this can still be abused pretty badly and should be carefully contemplated - a more complex formula for the DC would have helped here...perhaps increasing the DC on consecutive uses per day? Elemental Savant druids get an elemental-themed domain and can call forth elementals. Okay, so far, so common. Know what has a rather awesome visual? The mobile cannon gunslinger. These quadrupeds can utilize guns on their back and may, at later levels, use Large two-handed firearms; at higher levels even two! Pretty damn cool...I can see ponies with friggin' huge guns strapped to their backs and sides wrecking havoc...Wait. Damn. Did I just write this?

Mystic Prancer bards basically are faces that can modify their fascinate effect to also include a pied piper of Hamelin-style effect. Natural Magi gain no armor proficiency, but may expend SPs with 3/day uses to refill their arcane pool and they get the options to perform melee attacks at range, though these cost arcane pool points. However, they pay for this flexibility by gaining a stunted armor proficiency progression. And this archetype would be well a place as any to remark upon one particular facet of this book: While, for the most part, the editing is more than solid on a rules-language level, there are quite a few instances where e.g. attributes are not capitalized and a couple of instances where the rules-language deviates from the established standard. Now, in favor of this book: The rules-language generally does work, even if it is not always particularly elegant - which is more than one could say about quite a few freshman offerings.

The Pony Scholar is an interesting wizard archetype at higher levels, when he can elect to become fatigued/exhausted/etc. instead of losing a prepared spell - the daily cap prevents bad abuse, though a caveat to prevent the ability use for characters immune to fatigue would have been appreciated. The scholar of the tribes wizard, finally, is all about the tribes and emulating them. Tribal thieves are alchemists that have mutagens that can feature tribal peculiarities (the mage hand spell isn't properly italicized here). Wardens of the Night paladins can make for an interesting exercise in illustrating what I mean by wonky wording: "When they channel to harm, it manifests in a bright glow of silvery moonlight as per daylight with a duration of 1 round per paladin level. It is effective against shapeshifters and aberrations, but only half damage to undead. Wardens may not channel to heal." It is pretty apparent how this ability works, but it does offer a couple of deviations from standardized wording. It can't be abused and isn't problematic, but the rules language aesthetes among you may cringe a bit. That being said, other than that, the archetype, as well as the witch doctor witch, are solid, though the latter does sport an instance of missing italicization.

The pdf also provides an array of eidolon evolutions, some of which are tribe-exclusive - they generally are solid, though having eidolons healed by heat can be pretty easily abused. Then again, 7th level prereq and tribe-exclusivity render that one still feasible. The pdf also sports a ton of racial feats that range from better Disguise for Doppelgänger-ponies to the Gunnery Squad teamwork feat that allows adjacent allies to reload your gun. Similarly, action-economy powered blindsense that can be upgraded via follow-up feats and the like is interesting. Gaining a gore attack is evocative, but specification on how it behaves regarding primary/secondary attacks and damage type would have been appreciated here. Half-constructs can net themselves light fortification (non-stackable caveat included!) and a couple of SPs that thematically fit are also included.

Takes a deep breath This, however, is NOT where the book stops - the goat-like cloven, quadruped fey, gain +2 to one ability score of their choice, 40 feet movement rate (20 feet on two legs), low-light vision, immunity to altitude sickness and retain Dex-mod while Climbing/Acrobatics-using on narrow/slippery surfaces. They get a 1d4 gore attack (see above - no primary/secondary/damage type included, though that can be looked up) and "Cloven get a bonus against poison equal to their hit dice." We know what's meant, but this still makes me cringe. Bonus-type? I assume racial. It's also "bonus to saves against..." sigh Anyways, they also get +2 to Perception and Appraise for certain checks and are, obviously, fingerless. Their racial feats allow them to eat basically anything, jump better, get better horns and FCOs are provided.

Flutterponies gain +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Str, are medium, have a base speed of 30 ft. (bipedal: 20 ft.), a fly speed of 30 ft (average maneuverability) and may reduce person themselves 1/day. They are treated as ponykind and can, at will, emit light from their antennae. They are, obviously, fingerless and quadruped. These strange ponies began as basically pony-shaped swarms of aggressive, vermin-like nuisances, but evolved to increase in size and intelligence and become more agreeable - but they still are considered to be somewhat alien. Conversely, their racial feats reflect the somewhat fey-ish theme. Their agility allows them, with the right feat, to 1/round use Fly via an immediate action as their AC, which, while it may be cheesed, is limited enough to not become problematic. Pretty impressive - there is a "share the same space"-teamwork-feat that actually works. I've seen a lot designers fail at these.

Griffons get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, have a fly speed of 400 ft. (poor maneuverability), base speed 30 ft. (20 ft. bipedal), a 1d6 bite attack (again, yaddayadda primary/secondary...), low-light vision and...they may treat clouds, mist or fog as solid. This last ability, flavor-wise, is gold - though I wished it specified how exactly that interacts with e.g. stinking cloud, cloudkill, etc. - can these guys walk on these clouds? If so, are the affected by the negative effects of the spells or unharmed? Now before you start asking these questions yourself - there is a racial feat, Cloud Surfing, that addresses these questions and makes you capable of being pushed away by them, which is awesome...but the info should not be hidden in a feat, but part of the damn cool, evocative base ability. And yes, FCOs, once again, are provided for a couple of classes.

Phoenix Wolves get +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Int, have a base speed of 40 ft, 20 ft bipedal, geta 1d6 bite attack, fire resistance 5, increase CL of fire-descriptor spells, fire domain, fire bloodline, flame mystery...you get the idea. Phoenix wolves with Cha of 11+ also get some nice SPs and they get +2 to feints and against being feinted as well as low-light vision. Bred from hellhounds purged of evil, these creatures feast on ash, cinders and coal and make for interesting creatures. They can use racial feats to gain wings, increase their fire resistance, etc. and even get a 1/day breath weapon. Once again, favored class options included.

Purrsians would be the winged cats of Everglow and gain +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis, base speed 40 ft. (half bipedal), fly speed at 3o ft with clumsy maneuverability, a weak 1d3 bite, can retry not too horribly botched attempts to change a creature's attitude and +10 ft. when charging, running or withdrawing. They gain low-light vision as well. Nomadic and driven to amass wealth, they represent an interesting blending of tropes and can gain claw attacks, which can be upgraded to allow them to steal objects when hitting with both. The FCOs provided are solid. Nice for simulationalists - the option to replace costly components for spells sans level-increase, but via money -

Steelhearts would be half-construct fey that have a base speed of 30 ft, bipedal speed 20 ft, get +2 to saves vs. disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, fatigue and exhaustion, can't be resurrected and do not need to eat, breathe, sleep. They get electricity resistance 5 and low-light vision. These pony-shaped horses are pretty much an enigma - they guard their origins with zeal and hence, once a war with ponykind resulted...now, relations are a bit strained and part of the deal was that ponykind would refrain from trying to unearth their origins. Unique: A racial feat that lets you ground electricity, lessening the effect for all affected.

After the steelheart's favored class options, the sun cats are next: They gain +2 Str and Wis, -2 Int, base speed 40 ft., bipedal speed 20 ft, always treat Perception and Stealth as class skills, +10 ft when charging, withdrawing or running, a 1d3 bite, 2 1d4 claws (both lacking primary/secondary classification and damage types), scent and low-light vision. Proud, nomadic predators, sun cats can use racial feats to AoE-demoralizes that can also deal channel damage. Pretty OP: When you make a save, you can grant all allies within 30 ft a reroll....that one overshoots the target a bit for a relatively easy to get feat. Still, overall, an interesting race. To nitpick, one of the feats is based on a 75% of maximum hp threshold to work, which can be a bit clunky.

Beyond all of these races, which generally are well-balanced internally, a full-blown pantheon of gods is provided and the pdf sports extensive age, height and weight tables. As for balancing with other races, the relative easy means of acquiring flight does change the dynamics of low-level gameplay in particular, so that's something to look out for. Still, as a whole and within its own context, the races are generally well-balanced among themselves - slightly above PFRPG-core races, with an increased emphasis on mobility. The number of problematic options here is very small and overall, the chapter can be considered to be pretty impressive.

But perhaps you are not that interested in going full-blown Everglow? Fret not -the pdf provides stats for earth-bound ponykind animal companions and familiars. The pdf also suggests optional rules for more realistic deficiencies or more relaxed takes on fingerless characters - in case you're not like me and don't get an aneurysm trying to picture ponies using hooves for fine manipulation - mind you, I don't judge - it's certainly cool that the options are here! But this is a campaign setting and thus, after a brief history of Everglow, we get an in-depth background story of these lands...including notes of diverse factions with associated faction traits. And yes, they get trait type and bonuses right AND matter for the most part! While this iteration of the base setting of Ponyfinder assumes an age wherein the grand empire has fallen, there are some notes on alternate era ponies, including a Large alternative race, the anteans and ghost ponies. And yes, these do receive their own array of racial feats, though they do not gain any unique FCOs.

Wait, wait, wait - what? Iteration? Era? Well, yeah - and this is pretty intriguing: The campaign setting proceeds to grant us glimpses into the respective eras of the empire and Everglow, with faction advantages and liabilities, traits and alternate ponykind-versions and associated racial feats for the associated era. One result is that the GM has some control over tones and themes, can still blend the topics at hand...and the pdf, ultimately, thus already has a bare-bones set-up for an era-spanning type of campaign ingrained in its DNA.

But settings are more than just timelines and factions - they require locales and the book does not disappoint: This book sports basically a gazillion of well-crafted settlement entries with ample of intriguing hooks and cool ideas included. The one thing I was missing here would be the settlement statblocks - none are provided with only basic breakdown of the bare minimum of demographics provided. Apart from that, prose-wise, this chapter was a surprisingly well-crafted and easy to read section. Beyond these notes, the movers and shakers, famous and infamous among ponykind, from the cool rebel to the legendary scholar, are provided with detailed fluff-only write-ups - so no, the statblocks for these guys will have to wait for a later book. Still, once again, a significantly more nuanced array of characters than I expected, since some of the names and artworks do point a bit towards "this is the cliché-XYZ-guy"; instead, most have some component that sets them somewhat apart. The chapter also includes an array of adventure hooks and groupings to provide more subject matter for the GM to develop.

Beyond this massive chapter, the pdf also sports an assortment of items, mundane and magical for your perusal - crystalline slippers fit for a queen, enchanted spectacles and a small assortment of spells, including a stunning lightning wall, is nice, though e.g. non-italicized saves and the like can prove to be a bit galling for the rules-language sticklers like yours truly. Oh, and a spell to temporarily grant you hands? Covered. So if you really want ponies with hands - here is the tool for just that.

Beyond even more nice, properly codified traits, we arrive at the brief Everglow bestiary in the back of the book, where creatures illustrated in full color, from the CR 1/3 flutters to the CR 12 inevitable vanguard and a ghost variant await. These monsters are okay and generally pretty neat, though there are some minor hiccups here and there in the math and formatting.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are the weak spots of this pdf - while pretty impressive on a formal level, the rules-language does show that this book is the work of a then inexperienced company and sports some deviations from the default. On the plus-side, the pdf, most intriguingly, in spite of this, manages to work mostly sans ambiguities or issues. While there are some issues that extend into the rules, they are few and far in between - as a whole, this is an impressive freshman offering. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with a solid background and generally nice artworks, though at the end of some racial entries and chapters, there are a couple of pages that are mostly blank and feature only a bit of text - not a big fan of those. I don't have the print-version of this one, but if the other Silver Games print copies are any indicator, print would be the way to go here. Why? Simple. Unfortunately, the pdf has no bookmarks, which is pretty annoying for a book of this density and size. Artworks range from superb to okay and are generally original pieces, which is nice. The cartography of the continent of Everglow is colorful and nice.

Stephen Ritterbush, David Silver and Anthony McKaskle's Ponyfinder...is much better than I expected it to be. In fact, while suffused with a spirit of cheerfulness, you won't find the level of saccharine "Friendship solves everything"-approach in this book: And that's a good thing, even if you are an MLP-fan. Why? Because, let's be honest - that simply does not make for that interesting fantasy gaming. That being said, this still is the antithesis of the grimdark setting - this is cheerful, positive high-fantasy. Surprisingly, the tight racial balancing is consistent throughout in its valuing of racial abilities. The basic premise of assumed flight as relatively widely available means that other narratives can be crafted and are supported. The presentation is surprisingly professional, in particular for a freshman offering...and. Wait.

Okay, imagine jaded, cynical grimdark-loving me sitting in front of the screen with a black metal corpse paint for maximum comedic effect, gnashing his teeth and blurting out...I actually kind of liked the setting. No, seriously. I am so not the target audience of this campaign setting and I still managed to take some cool ideas out of this pdf. At the same time, I should emphasize that this is not a hyper-detailed campaign setting - this should instead be considered to be basically the Ponyfinder core-rules, with a bunch of setting information...but if you're looking for in-depth information, that will have to wait for future books. Still, this setting is significantly better and more evocative than quite a few I have read. It's not for everyone and if you hate the very idea of ponies, you probably won't be convinced anyways. But if you're like me and indifferent to the concept, you'll probably find quite a few cool tricks in this book and be just as surprised by a well-crafted, unique setting with ample potential.

Rules-language purists may shudder sometimes while reading this, get annoyed by e.g. how natural weapons are treated, etc., but as a whole, significantly less often than one would expect from the baseline - the majority of content herein is solid.

How to rate this, then? Well, while there are a couple of rules/balance-hiccups and issues, they are pretty few and far in-between. While the rules-language is wobbly, it generally maintains an unambiguous functionality and, more importantly, establishes a solid balance baseline for the setting regarding the options it provides. This may not be perfect, but it is an impressive first book and well worth a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the freshman offering bonus. See you around next time, when I'll pick apart the Tribes of Everglow hardcover...

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
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Ponyfinder - Tribes of Everglow
by Aaron B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/13/2016 12:33:39

Ponyfinder Tribes of Everglow by David Silver

Reviewed by Scott Holmes

Layout Well put together no obvious errors

Art Full color art, very well done, helped set the feel of the entire book.

Playability Much like the Advanced Race Guide from Paizo this goes into great detail for Ponykind, alternate racial traits, traits feats and archetypes for Earth Ponies, Pegasi, Unicorns, Zebras, Dopplegangers, Leatherwings, Bone Tribe, Chaos Hunters, Anteans, Gem Ponies, Clockworks, Seahorses, Sun Ponies, and Short-Legs.

Final Thoughts A must have if you are playing in the Everglow Setting, each of these tribes have a great level of detail added to them. Overall a great deal, well worth it's price.

5 out of 5 stars an excellent source book for the Ponyfinder Campaign setting.

Scott Holmes



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Tribes of Everglow
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Ponyfinder - Forgotten Past
by Jarred M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2016 18:58:50

There's deers in it, there's traps in it, there's winged Catfolk in it (I mean... Purrsain Satyrs), Purrsian Pony Satyrs are a thing that exist, there's a freaking human gunslinger GM character who's like Dirty Harry and Indiana Jones had a baby and named him Mad Max, and most importantly: the book contains the new expanded map! This full, two page, map makes it great for GM's who's campaigns take place & lead all over the continent of Everglow.

Overall, it's a good expansion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Forgotten Past
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