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Librarian Hybrid Class
by Robert L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2017 19:33:02

Really enjoy this class. Not only is the presentation very well done the writing is solid. The class seems very balanced and I kind of can't wait for one of my current PF characters to die so I can roll one up! Really, really like this class. I didn't give it full marks only because I ahven't had a chance to play it and it might have a hard time fitting into a party, but it has enough versatility to find an excellent support role. Edit having somemore extensive playtime I find the class of average to low power level.heThe issue is  that so much in the  book is  unclearunclear and doesn't make sense . Certainly needs some editing.      



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Librarian Hybrid Class
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Cultures of Celmae: Orcs
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/16/2017 05:38:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Cultures of Celmae-series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The early history of Celmae's orcs is shrouded in history, as they were bred from the desire for conquest of the deity Rullux - their fecundity bestowed upon them as a present by the Black Goat Shub-Niggurath, they went to war against the giants, though other origin stories place them as twisted children from the woods - in this origin story, the orcs created pyramidal structures and suffered the inevitable collapse that grand empires falling to decadence ultimately go through - at least, this would explain the evocative prose depicting the ancient lost orc temples, monuments to times long past.

As the cataclysmic Shattering wrecked Celmae, the orcs engaged in a horrid war with the newcomer elves, one that was waged for over a 100 years before the orcs had to concede defeat and retreat to the sea in 112 after the Shattering - and on the waves, the orcs stole ships, built up their armada and adapted...while those remaining in Brynndell took to the caves, often falling prey to the horrid realities of slavery they had once imposed upon the pink-skinned humans. The two deities with most influence on the orc people, Rellux and Shub-Niggurath, receive their respective full deity write-ups - as a minor complaint, shubby gets two favored weapons, which can provide minor hiccups in the favored weapon ability-based interaction. That being said, the write-ups per se are nice.

The pdf also provides a kind of "nation" - the Red Tens of Nasph - on the edge of the Shadowlands Desert, once enslaved by the Necrophites, a vast organized (as far as you can call orcs organized) force exists - the Bloody Army, and one forward camp of this vast host has been provided for your convenience. The pdf also provides the full stats of Koruv Nasph, the favored of Rullux, has his eye on expansion - but he may be up for a rude surprise when he tries to take the lands of the hobgoblins. The stats for this NPC have been provided - he clocks in at CR 13 and is a spelleater bloodrager 13. The statblock has some minor issues, but is better than most I have seen from Wayward Rogues Publishing.

Now, racial trait-wise, the orcs of Celmae generally are the standard orcs, but have the Dayrunner racial trait built into their standard. The pdf also sports an alternative version of the race, the ashen orc, who gets +4 Str, -2 Int, Wis and Cha, +2 to saves versus diseases and mind-influencing effects, ferocity, orc weapon familiarity, darkvision 60 ft., light sensitivity and negative energy affinity. Furthermore, they take no penalties from energy drain (he may still die) and after 24 hours, these are automatically removed. While just as lopsided as the regular orcs, that's a design decision that was not made by Wayward Rogues Publishing and hence, I won't penalize the pdf for it. The ashen orcs, while strong in undead-heavy campaigns, make sense as tied to the Ashen King and generally can be considered to be a flavorful alternative - if you allow regular orcs, these only represent a minor and situational power-increase, so no complaints on my end.

The pdf also contains 4 new archetypes, the first being the Blood-Wielder bloodrager. Instead of bloodline powers, these guys get Blood Weapon at 1st level: The orc can damage himself for 1 point of bleed damage - if already bleeding, he does not need to activate the ability thus. Unfortunately, the pdf does not specify what kind of action this self-inflicted damage is. Once bleeding, as a swift action, the blood-wielder can form blood into 10 pieces of ammunition, 5 light throwing weapons, 2 light one-handed weapons or one two-handed weapon. Oddly, RAW, regular one-handed weapons can't be created. The blood-wielder can only create weapons he is proficient with and the weapons shatter when disarmed, dropped or sundered, but are considered masterwork quality. As a nitpick, this needs to specify the material the weapons are supposed to be for proper sunder interaction. At 3th level and every 4 levels thereafter, these blood weapons gain a "magical +1 bonus" - I get what this tries to do, but unfortunately, the wording, while understandable, is not precise enough. Instead of 2nd level's uncanny dodge, the bloodrager no longer has to charge in a straight line while charging - only the final two squares must be in a straight line.

However, the additional sentence "and the bloodrager must take the most direct path to the target" is weird - if he has to take the most direct path, he can't charge in fancy movement either, avoiding hazardous terrain etc., which severely limits the use of this ability - considering how lame blood weapon-benefits are, that's disappointing. At 3rd level, the archetype gains an untyped +1 bonus to saves (should be typed) for each point of bleed damage he takes a round and at 7th level, also DR. Problem: That bonus should have a hard cap to avoid seriously broken bonus-cheesing. This replaces blood sanctuary and alters damage reduction. Instead of improved uncanny dodge, the blood wielder may cast spells with somatic components while having a weapon in his hands or being grappled - sans making a concentration check. Which is pretty insane. Why not provide a massive bonus instead?

The Scar-Speaker skald loses armor and shield proficiency and versatile performance, but gains +2 natural armor that increases by 1 every 3 "character levels attained" - that should be class levels. They get +1/2 class level on Knowledge (History) and Intimidate checks instead of bardic knowledge. Raging Song is modified to behave slightly differently - to gain its benefits, you have to be able to see the scar-speaker beginning the scar-story. Starting it is a standard action, maintaining it a free action. RAW, 7th level and 13th level can make problems: They change activation to move and swift, respectively, and don't include the caveat of choice. Also at 7th level, the skald may 1/scar-story let all affected allies reroll a saving throw. The archetype loses lore master and gains Intimidating Prowess (feat not properly capitalized) at first level instead of Scribe Scroll.

The skull-splitter barbarian gains immediately the benefits of rage upon being reduced to 0 HP until brought above 0 hp. Additionally, he may expend a round of rage to remain standing when he'd be killed - which is cool. However, how does that interact with save-or-die abilities while raging thus? Immune? No idea. This needs clarification. It replaces uncanny dodge, btw. Instead of 2nd level's rage power, these guys may use Dexterity instead of Strength to meet the prerequisites of feats based on TWF...which makes no sense! It should be the other way round! How that could get past cursory inspection, I have not the slightest clue! Also: Attributes are capitalized. TWF-based feats may also be chosen as rage powers. At 3rd level, the archetype can deal 1 point of damage to the weapon to deal +2 points of damage to the target. This increases at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Urgh, really? A) Action? To how many attacks does the bonus damage apply? Also "may deal damage to his weapon to deal 2 additional points of damage to his target" is NOT rules-language. How does that work with ranged weapons? Not starting with the issue that this ability shows a basic ignorance of how DAMAGING OBJECTS IN PFRPG WORKS. Hardness, anyone? URGH. 5th level yields head hunter - the option to make a fetish from a fallen foe that occupies a belt, body, chest or shoulder slot. "A single skull fetish may house two one-handed weapons or a single two-handed weapon." So is it a sheathe?? The archetype gains Improved Critical (not properly capitalized) when wielding a weapon sheathed in the fetish. Drawing them from the fetish is a free action, but deals 1 point of damage to the fetish, which has 10 hit points and hardness 0. So the author did know what hardness is, I guess. This replaces improved uncanny dodge. I kinda like the last ability, in spite of its issues.

The final archetype is the war-shaman, who is locked into the battle spirit at 1st level, but the archetype does gain +2 natural armor. He does lose spirit animal, though. Instead of spirit magic, the archetype chooses one weapon: She gains proficiency with it and uses her total HD instead of BAB for CMD while wielding the chosen weapon. At 4th level, wandering spirit is exchanged for the option to, as a standard action, choose a combat feat for which she meets the BAB-prerequisites (but may ignore others), gaining the "special benefits" of that feat for one round per class level. I...get what this tries to do - the wording is sunk by "Special", which is a loaded term for feats that pertains to additional considerations and would, RAW, render the ability useless. 12th level provides 2 combat feats and increases duration to 1 minute per class level; 20th level nets 3 feats for a whole day. Sooo...how often can the ability be used? For, if it does not have daily uses, the final ability may actually mean a significant decrease in flexibility, which would be weird for a capstone. Starting at 6th level, as a standard action, the shaman can grant herself and an ally within 30 ft. the teamwork feat for 1 round per class level. Only the shaman must meet the prerequisites. 14th level lets the character share the feat with all allies within 30 ft. This replaces wandering hex. While not perfect, by far the best archetype herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, weirdly, are mixed, but in a different way than usual: The formal component is not perfect, with quite a few its/it's-typo level glitches. Rules-language shows the different skill-levels and lack of a controlling dev/editor, oscillating between pretty good...and not so much. Layout adheres to Wayward Rogues Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf offers some nice artworks, though some of them I've seen before. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment. Additionally, copy-pasting of text is disabled, which is just plain annoying when trying to parse text for a character in actual play.

Michael Reynolds, Jarrett Sigler and Robert Gresham's take on the orcs of Celmae is frustrating for me. The prose is good, though not the best in the series. The inclusion of a high-level NPC (though it's not perfect) and a settlement are big plusses for the GM. The alternate race of ashen orcs is a solid addition within the racial design paradigm of the base orc race. So why is it frustrating for me? I actually love the concepts of all 4 archetypes in this books - the visuals are damn cool and the ideas for the respective engines all are high-concept and amazing. But the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Apart from the shaman (who is not perfect either), the other archetypes range from "barely functional with GM-calls" to "not even close."

As before, I will rate this as the culture-sourcebook it is, not as a pure crunch-book: If you're looking for crunch, avoid this, unless you have the time and nerves to fix the mess of the archetypes. If you're looking for dressing, information on the orcs in Celmae, however, you may actually get something out of this inexpensive pdf. It is due to the low price and the cultural information I am going to round up from my final verdict of 2.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cultures of Celmae: Orcs
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Venommancer
by Angel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/12/2017 15:11:48

4/5 for a highly creative class!

Want to know how I arrived to that score?

Check out my video review to find out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-8B432IMyQ&t=25s



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Venommancer
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Prodigy Hybrid Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/12/2017 05:44:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial (misspelling author names), 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The prodigy class gets d8 HD, 4 +Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, saps, rapiers and light armors, 3/4 BAB-progression and good Will- and Ref-saves. Spellcasting-wise, the prodigy gains access to the bard's spell-list, but casts these spells as psychic spells.. She also gets access to all spiritualist spells with somatic components - for a grand total of RAW NONE. Let me quote the base rules of psychic magic: "Therefore, psychic spells never have verbal or somatic components..." This is a big, nasty glitch in the base spellcasting engine of the class - undoubtedly, this was supposed to provide a means to balance the class...but however it was intended to work...it unfortunately doesn't. No go. The prodigy spellcasting is governed by Charisma and spontaneous.

The spellcasting also fails to specify that the class gains the spiritualist's knacks - or is it supposed to get the list of e.g. the psychic? I assume no, but yeah. Second glitch in the base spellcasting engine that should have been caught.

Thematically concise, but problematic and odd would also be the wunderkind ability: If the prodigy is a young creature, her abilities are calculated as though she was 2 levels higher. I get what this tries to do, but it should really be an archetype. Why? Because in games where everyone plays young creatures, that's an advantage no other class offers. In games where PCs are adults, it does not provide the template...making it not really work as intended for any group.

The key class feature of the prodigy would be the muse, which shares alignment (why? -Come on, LG prodigy with CE muse could be amazing!) and languages with the prodigy. A muse can either be harbored in the prodigy's consciousness or partially manifested. It may also be manifested fully and is then treated as a summoned creature. Full manifestation takes 1 minute and it retains hit points, unless slain, in which case it regains 1/2 maximum hit points. The little word "can" regarding refusal to manifest in the presence of other pets should probably be eliminated. More on the details of the muse later.

At 1st level, the muse, while within the prodigy's consciousness (and I assume, when it's partially manifested, since that is not explicitly mentioned in a needless oversight) Skill Focus in a Knowledge and Perform skill, as determined by the muse's artistic focus. At 14th level, the muse's artistic focus' benefits are constantly maintained.

The 3rd level ability has not been properly bolded and nets bonded manifestation, though a muse may only manifest in incorporeal form. 4th level nets either Deceitful or Persuasive as bonus feats.

Starting at 6th level, the prodigy gets an ability I generally applaud: Masterpiece Adept. This ability seeks to unchain, if you will, bardic masterpieces, which are an amazing, but problematic piece of crunch - the big issues of the masterpieces would be that they have exceedingly steep costs and are not that flexible. The prodigy may use these during incorporeal bonded manifestation and uses her class level as her bard level and spend prodigy spells known to meet the prerequisites. So, what about other costs? Well, at 12th level, the prodigy may perform a bardic masterpiece without spending the associated cost to learn it and at 20th level, the prodigy may use any Perform skills to meet the prerequisites of the masterpieces. Wait, what? Okay, so, there are a couple of issues: For one, the text contradicts itself - once, the ability is gained at 5th level, while another sentence quotes 6th. Secondly, since we use the muse's bardic performance to fuel bardic masterpieces, who takes the actions to activate it? The prodigy? The muse? The precise way in which the masterpiece is activated is opaque - RAW, neither prodigy, nor muse can meet the activation prerequisites, since the prodigy knows the masterpiece, but does not have the resource used to power it. Also: Does the muse have to maintain the performance? The action economy here needs clarification. That being said, considering that this is a freshman offering, the rules-language is better than I expected!

7th level yields a bonus spell determined by the muse: Magic circle against good/evil or remove curse, depending on alignment. The spells have not been properly italicized. At 11th level, the prodigy can 1/day generate a variant of secure shelter (correctly italicized!) and at 12th level, up to 8 creatures that spend 8 hours there, can add a +1 enhancement bonus to their melee weapons - for a total of prodigy class level rounds. Activation is a swift action. 17th level adds a special weapon quality, determined by the prodigy's alignment. These qualities have not been italicized. As a further nitpick: The ability RAW allows generating an enhancement bonus beyond +5 - this should cap.

At 17th level, the muse's emblem spell is unlocked as a 5/day SP. As a final complaint: 2nd, 5th, 10th and 19th level yield no ability. 10th at least nets a new spell level, but the others are dead levels.

Okay, let's look at those muses! Muses get d10, are incorporeal creatures and thus use Dex for atk and CMD. Muses get 2 + Int mod skills per HD, 3/4 BAB-progression and Red- and Will-saves are good saves, Fort the bad save, capping at +5 and +9, respectively, similar to the phantom. Muses begin play with 1 feat and increase that to a total of 8. Analogue to that, starting at +8, the muse increases her Charisma and Wisdom scores by up to +8 over her 20-level-progression. This should be noted, since the muse, being incorporeal, receives her Cha-mod as a Deflection bonus to AC. They begin play with 2 natural slam attacks (imho should specify primary/secondary) with a base damage of 1d4, increasing that to up to 2d6. Muses have the spiritualist's phantom link and share spells at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, excluding 20th, they increase an ability score by 1. Muses can duplicate countersong, fascinate and inspire courage (scales up to +4, according to the table). At 12th level, inspire greatness is unlocked and such performances only work while fully manifested. Per se a cool idea: A muse's bardic performance, while based on a bard, is influenced by her prodigy's Perform check, which is made upon resting: Failure to meet DC 10 equals the loss of 1 round and meeting DC 20 and 30 nets 2 and 5 bonus rounds, respectively - which is rather potent, considering how easy to cheese skills are. The muse gets the 30 ft. delivering of touch spells of the phantom, with the corresponding upgrade at 12th level to 50 feet. Table and text contradict each other regarding emblem spell, which ostensibly can be cast 1/day as a SP by the muse. 6th level nets the muse always-on fly speed of 50 ft. with good maneuverability, which is rather soon when compared to other pets. At 7th level, the muse's attacks become magic for the purpose of overcoming DR.

Base stat-wise, muses get the make-believe muse-subtype (why invent a subtype?) 30 ft. movement, +2 dodge to AC, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 15. Bluff, Diplomacy, Fly, Knowledge (planes) (lacks the bracketed "int"), Sense Motive and Stealth are class skills, +1 freely chosen at 1st level. Additionally, the muse gains a Knowledge and Perform skill based on artistic focus chosen - unnecessary: The muse gains auto-ranks in these bonus skills, which means she's always capped for them. Sooo, why not give the muse a mechanical reason why she'll WANT the skills at max potency? Just sayin'.

A total of 9 different artistic focuses are presented, ranging from Callie (epic poetry) to Ula (astronomy). I like the choices here, but the impact on the overall class should be expanded - beyond the skills the respective choice grants, the focus only influences the emblem spells and grants a single ability, which is gained at 9th level. These are interesting, in general, and include a 30 ft.-aura of heroism (not properly italicized - like all spells in this section...) - do the allies lose the effect when they leave the aura? I assume so as per similar abilities. What's the CL for dispelling purposes? Taking 20 for a Knowledge (history) check as a standard action in conjunction with lore master, comparatively, seems weaker. Another muse nets a 4d6 channel energy that improves to 5d6 at 17th level, using Wisdom as governing attribute and another one nets improved evasion - sooner than the rogue, but on par with the monk. A concentration-hampering field of hilarity is a cool idea.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting...are not up to par. There are a bunch of instances where formatting is flawed and the rules-lingo could have used some adjustments here and there. Heck, the editorial gets the author's names wrong. Layout adheres to an aesthetically-pleasing two-column full-color standard with nice artworks. The pdf comes with very basic bookmarks - I would have expected a bit more here. Annoying comfort-detriment: Copying text is disabled. If you want play these folks, you'll have to print this out. So, that's a minus.

Beth Breitmaier and Dave Breitmaier have not taken the easy route here. The prodigy hybrid class tries to take some exceedingly complex concepts and blend them into one class. When I saw that this was a freshman offering, I expected a train-wreck...and I did not get one. Now, mechanically, the action economy needs a bit of fine-tuning and so do other aspects of the class - the prodigy can be very potent (seriously - two strong spell-lists, plus a phantom with bardic abilities...ouch!), but it's not a class whose strength is immediately apparent. Perhaps also since it, time and again, references its parent classes and demands that you read up their abilities and puzzle them together with the prodigy's...which is a no go. Nobody should have to flip between 3 classes to get how one class works.

So, as you've seen above, beyond my formal complaints, I have to call this a flawed class - I wouldn't allow this as written and it needs some serious fine-tuning. At the same time, it actually fulfills several expectations I have for hybrid classes: The prodigy plays different than its parents, which is a big plus. Furthermore, it feels completely different. It does feel like it has its own concept and niche. Which brings me to the artistic focus component: It's what sets the muse apart and should have been more pronounced. By talking away power from the base chassis and making this choice matter more, the class could have gained a massive boost of diversity between different prodigies. So, as a note for the future, dare to be distinct and further develop the unique aspects of the identity of the class! The basics are here already! :D

What does that leave us with? Concept-wise, the prodigy is cool, but it would have required a good rules-editor/dev to polish it into shape. I am positive that this has the potential to be a 5-star offering with some retooling and tweaking. The imagination, the ideas, the distinct identity and soul are there - the class feels distinct and not just like a Frankenstein-hybrid of stitched together parts. So yeah, it is a promising start for the author duo, but also highlights the inexperience with some of the finer rules-aspects. I'd bash this more, but I do tend to give freshman offerings some leeway...and if you're willing to invest a bit of time, a bit of nerfing and a bit of tweaking/expanding, you can make this a pretty cool addition to the game without having to rewrite everything. And it actually feels like an original class, not just two smashed together. While the editing and formatting is jarring, I can see this class have value for some rounds, in spite of its flaws. Taking the freshman bonus into account, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars - if you invest time in it. If you want something to whip out and play, steer clear.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Prodigy Hybrid Class
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Prodigy Hybrid Class
by Angel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2017 15:49:53

A highly creative hybrid class. Who doesn't want to have a muse by their side!

3/5

Want to see how I got to this rating? Follow the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm7GjgmHQ5Q



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cultures of Celmae: Udaeus
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2017 09:08:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Cultures of Celmae-series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Long before the Shattering tore the world of Celmae asunder, it is said that the hero Saint Thero battled Leviathan at the Pool of Making, the Creator's wellspring, with the help of the Spear of Fate and Aegis, the god-shield. Wounded, the triumphant hero partook from the pool and the dragon's blood and flesh - advised by the goddess Amaura, he scattered the remains of the great beast, which would inexorably rise again, but from the fangs, it is said, the first humans formed.

On Cythea, the big tribes rose to dominance and a thousand years of bloodshed began, one that only ended when the canny Udaoi ultimately proved to be victorious. Mirroring the Roman empire ina esthetics and style, the following centuries would be kind on their people - until the Grim return, when degenerate humanoids would rise to sack their capital. And yes, the text does mention a unit of 300 fending off a second sacking, allowing the udaoi to drive the monstrosities back below Mt. Elo - ever since then, the udaoi have been fighting these morlocks, unsettled by the similarities of skin and other properties between their own race and the degenerate monsters from below...and then, the world was fated to shatter. While the udaoi managed to divert the worst of the cataclysm with their potent magics - and thus, many udaoi saw the catastrophe as a confirmation of their divine right to rule, as providence.

The re-emergence of dragonkind was met with warfare and in these campaigns, an alliance with griffons was woven - though Saint Thero's clergy, in the aftermath of the cataclysm, began a holy war of annihilation against the non-humans that had allowed to taint of the world prison to roam free. As the years of endless war stretched on, so did the udaoi become more warlike, more blood-thirsty, as decadence is slowly putting its perfumed claws into the mighty empire. Only the inability of the udaoi engineers to master the navigation of Celmae's turbulent seas has held back further expansions in the following centuries - and when the majeed arrived, the nations clashed for almost one hundred years - ending in a stalemate: Unable to best the majeed at sea, the udaoi conceded dominion over the oceans, while the majeed acknowledged udaoi superiority over the Cythea.

1621 after the shattering, Ekos the Wise, priest to Saint Theros, found a horrid artifact - wealthy and corrupted, his crimes went unpunished, though he was excommunicated. When he managed to raise dead kings to life and send them on a rampage, the udaoi were shocked - and even when he was slain, he returned to life as a lich - the defeats he wrought upon the udaoi broke the illusion of udaoi superiority, fostering hope and unrest among the Cytheans - it is here that we rejoin the mythology presented by other installments of the series, as the heroes Bryn and Gran united the tribes and bested, ultimately, the lich. Instead of ascending to udaeoi, the twins elected to remain behind, pronouncing themselves king and queen. The aftermath of this saw yet another long campaign, but once again, not one the udaoi would win.

As you may have noticed, the society herein is one divided by race - non-udaoi Cytheans are slaves to their masters. An Udeaeus character is "usually defined by their racial levels and most advance to 4 racial Hit Dice before taking class levels." WTF is that supposed to mean? Is there a racial class that got cut from the book? What racial HD do they get? No idea. Really puzzling and confusing sentence there. Racial traits-wise, these guys get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, low-light vision, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and all armors and shields - something that doesn't really have a place in a race, as far as I'm concerned. So juveniles already can wear all heavy armors and wield all weapons? They also gain a +1 natural armor bonus and have resistance 5 to one energy type (only the 4 base types), which may be changed via a one-day ritual. An udaeus "counts its racial Hit Dice as fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats." Urgh. I quote the official rules here: "Monster PCs should only advance through classes." Giving everyone in a race basically full fighter tricks is not a smart decision regarding balance. Any weapon an udaeus wields and all armor and shields worn is treated as a masterwork weapon and improvised weapons are treated as normal weapons, making this better than comparable abilities as well.

We get favored class options for the core and APG-classes as well as brawler, investigator, arcanist, slayer, swashbuckler, warpriest, kineticist, but not the witch. Weird: The racial paragon class herein, the Udaeus Paragon, does not get an FCO.

This class gets d8 HD, 2 + Int skills per levels, full BAB-progressiona nd good Fort-saves...and the proficiencies the race already gains as a racial trait. See, that's just one reason you don't grant those to a race as a whole. The class begins with Infuse Arms and Armor - basically, this ability makes the udaeus paragon's weapons and armor more potent; +1 weapons are treated as +2, masterwork weapons as +1 and the same holds true for armor etc.. I'm not really a fan here - 1st level magic weapons and armor is not something that's usually done, but this does not constitute my main gripe with the ability. It reads: "As the udaeus paragon increases its Racial Hit Dice, this inherent ability becomes more potent, gaining its full strength after 4 Hit Dice are gained." - I get what this means, for the ability increases in potency at 4th level, but that is NOT how rules-language works for the like. As an aesthetic aside: The maximum bonus is first +4, at 4th level +6, breaking the hard cap of +5 regarding enhancement bonuses in Pathfinder. I don't consider this to be a holy cow, but 4th level is too soon to theoretically break that cap.

The class also gains basically favored enemy: dragons at first level, increasing its potency at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. The class also gets true strike as a 1/day SP, 2/day at 5th level. The ability is not properly formatted in the class table - like all SPs here. Second level increases the energy resistance to 10, with 3rd level and 4th level increasing that by a further +10. 3rd level yields barksin as an SP 1/day, +1/day at 7th level. 5th level yields haste 1/day, 2/day at 9th level. It should be noted that Cha is the default attribute for SPs, so the mention of Cha as governing attribute for these is kinda redundant - it doesn't hurt either, but the haste SP lacks this sentence, which makes the pdf look inconsistent with itself. Same goes for stoneskin, gained 1/day at 7th level, +1/day at 11th level. 9th level yields aspect of saint thero 1/day, 2/day at 13th level. 11th level provides 1/day battlemind link (not properly italicized), with 15th level providing the second daily use and 20th level upgrading that to the mythic version of the spell. Battlemind link, last time I checked, was btw. not a new spell, like the pdf claims - it was originally released in Ultimate Magic, with the mythic upgrade featured in Mythic Adventures. That just as an aside.

Let's talk about these spells for a second: Weird, considering the history of the race, aspect of saint thero is a [good] spell...and is horribly, horribly OP. 1/minute per level as a duration, it grants you darkvision 60[sic!] - ft. missing, resistance to acid and cold 10 and DR 5/evil. Oh, and wings for unassisted flight at 30 ft. with average maneuverability. Oh, and guess what? Weapons wielded are treated as good! I am not even going to dignify this mess with an enumeration of why it does NOT WORK AS A 2ND LEVEL SPELL. Know what's also a 2nd level spell? Darkvision. WTF. How this could get past any even remote grasp of balance, I have no idea. It also looks familiar to me, I had a rage-déjà-vu while reading it - I'm pretty sure I've raged against this spell before at one point in my life.

5th level, 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase the natural AC of the udaeus. 8th level yields Iron Will, 9th level evasion (weird, considering their heavy armor theme!) and 16th level provides improved evasion. 17th level provides energy immunity to one energy type, which may be changed via a day-long ritual among the 4 basic energy types. I assume that this is in addition to the resistance, but placement in the class makes me think that it's supposed to be the continuation of the energy ability-suite. Anyways, in dubio pro reo, so won't take that against the pdf and consider this to be an intended second energy. 6th level yields the spear and shield combat style, which makes use of a couple of the "new" feats herein. New combat style bonus feats are gained every 4 levels thereafter.

What do I mean by "new"? Well, Drive Weapon, for example, is just Drive Blade, renamed and taken from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming's Strategists & Tacticians. It also inherits the original feat's issue that it RAW applies to ranged weapons as well, when that's clearly not the intent of the feat. Bashing Critical is just a variant of Bashing Finish and otherwise is worse than Bashing Finish, as it only works with one-handed or light weapons and requires a swift action. Shaft and Shield was copied from Kobold Press' Advanced Feats: Cavalier's Creed - and should have been at the very least updated to reflect weapon-group terminology. Shield Check is basically an upgrade of Stand Still, which adds Shield Bash damage to the target stopped - while it looks familiar, I can't place it - credit where credit is due, though: I like that one. Shielded Maneuvers nets you +2 to CMB for bull rush, disarm, overrun and trip, but only when wearing a shield and wielding a 1-handed or light melee weapon. Boring.

3rd level yields fast healing 1 per round, +1 at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter. 4th level yields Endurance. At 4th level, the udaeus paragon gains a mythic rank in the champion mythic path. 14th and 20th level provide further built-in increases of mythic tier. Sooo, that's a problem. How does this interact with characters having other mythic paths? I assume that the sentence "If the character already possesses the mythic tier to be gained, he instead gains a bonus mythic feat." is supposed to take care of that. The paragon gains mythic power and surge, hard to kill, Extra Mythic Power as a bonus feat and the champion's fleet charge. Upon reaching the second tier, the paragon also gains an increase of 2 to an attribute of his choice. At 2nd tier, he also gains Amazing Initiative and may use mythic power to double the anti-dragon bonuses, mythic endurance and precision - which is a 3rd tier champion ability, not one available at 2nd tier. 3rd tier nets recuperation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are better on a formal and rules-language level than in many earlier Wayward Rogues Publishing books; there are some glitches in formatting, but less than in other pdfs. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports some really nice full-color artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is annoying. Worse: text selection and copying is disabled for the pdf, which is ironic, considering the amount of text taken from other sources and designated as "new".

Robert Gresham's Udaeus-culture begins with the best flavor of the whole series: There are less hiccups here and the prose really draws you in, courtesy of drawing ample inspiration from pop culture and history, creating a unique and fantastic vista. I was really celebrating the race and totally stoked for it. What does transformation into an udaeus mean, for example? Is it a meritocracy based on magic ascendance? That sounded so cool! I was STOKED to read the rules supporting that. Insert the waap-waap-waaaaoooo sound here. You won't find the like in this book. The most positive things I can say about the crunch would be that they don't suck as hard as that sections of previous Cultures of Celmae-hybrid classes.

The race is a mess, gaining the whole fighter basics as just another racial traits, significantly exceeding the tricks of other races in the setting and invalidating, ironically, a central draw of the fighter class for a culture that ostensibly is supposed to cherish it. I get that this tried to basically make 300-fantasy-Spartans, but such proficiencies are not something you're born with - they're the result of training. See how non-human races handle that: You get a few proficiencies, sure...but not ALL of them! I like the resistance-switching - in fact, I wrote a similar engine back in the day. And then there would be the paragon class. While I'm not a big fan of all those SPs, they at least have a theme. Where I have a big issue would be that mythic tiers are hard-wired into the class, which violates the GM-control aspect that mythic rules usually sport. Similarly, the interaction becomes weird and the lack of other classes sporting similar mechanics make this wonky and clunky. Now, credit where credit is due, the mythic powers gained are not nearly as broken as you'd expect for a regular class gaining access to them. Why? Because the other class features are the incarnation of boring. Iron Will. Endurance. You get the idea.

I do not object to the notion of having mythic tiers baked into a base class per se, problematic though that is - I do have an issue when this decision does not provide a sufficient pay-off, though. Literally no class feature granted by the class could not have been realized sans mythic options. The class is also, feat-choices aside, completely bereft of choice. One of these guys will be pretty much the same as another - there is no player agenda to be found, one at all. Finally, another issue I have with the class is that it has no unique tricks. Not a single one. Apart from the ham-fistedly jammed in mythic mechanics that generate more issues than contribute, the class has no unique selling points apart from "tough martial character." No unique attacks, class features, choices - nothing - it's a Frankenstein entity of stitched together parts that could conceivably be represented via a bunch of other classes. The energy resistance upgrades also come too soon and should be dispersed better over the levels.

Then, there'd be the supplemental material. You see, I have no issue with books using OGL-material - in fact, I love that about PFRPG etc.! It's a big strength of the game and drawing on well-made material by other authors is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Heck, I tend to actually like well-made compilations of material! However, as soon as you just rebrand a feat, copy a spell and then claim it's "new" and your own, we have to call this plagiarism, even within the OGL. Yes, it has been done time and again, but that doesn't make it right and here, I don't really get why e.g. those asterisks denoting the material as explicitly new have been included, when e.g. a spell was drawn from as obvious a source as a Paizo core hardcover. That's just weird to me. It also is very evident from the quality of crunch of the different materials. I would be more lenient there, if the material had been streamlined, improved, balanced. Regardless of whether or not these are original, both race and class sport serious issues.

As a whole, this ultimately puts a sour taste in my mouth. It also makes me sad, for the race deserves better. The udaeus as a concept is amazing, the prose is cool - but, to paraphrase Arrow, this crunch has failed the concept. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform by virtue of the strength of the prose and the fact that, if you're looking for a one-stop-shop Spartan-class, this may be what you wanted...though the hiccups, hard-coded mythic aspects and rules-deviations are jarring.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Cultures of Celmae: Udaeus
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Revanchist Hybrid Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/25/2017 10:52:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, 0.5 pages SRD, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The revanchist base class must be non-evil and get d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons plus hand crossbow, longbow, repeating crossbow, shortbow and whip as well as light & medium armor and shields, excluding tower shields. Chassis-wise, we're looking at 3/4 BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Will-saves.

The revanchist gains Step-up as a bonus feat at first level, but the defining class feature at this level would be oath of vengeance, usable 1/day as a swift action, with 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter yielding an additional daily use. The oath nets the revanchist a bonus to damage against the target equal to the character's level (should be class level) and you treat the weapon as magic for the purpose of overcoming DR as well as +1 to saves versus "effects and conditions" created by the foe. This increases by +1 at 6th, 10th and 15th level. Starting at 6th level, the revanchist's weapons are treated as lawful and good for the purpose of overcoming DR (which can be weird, since revanchists can be chaotic). Nice catch - 10th level makes the weapon count as adamantine for the purpose of overcoming DR, but not hardness interaction. 15th level yields resistance to one of the base energy types or sonic damage, though the wording is wonky: "Becomes resistant (10) to one type of energy..." is uncommon. This resistances may be chosen anew whenever you swear a new oath of vengeance - I'm not sure if this resistance is supposed to only work for effects etc. by the oath's target, since the ability only has a base duration until the end of the encounter

2nd level yields Improved Initiative and 3rd level yields "Sense Murderer" - which fails to italicize discern lies and faerie fire...and is utterly broken: "Whenever a revanchist is within 30 feet of such a criminal, the target is affected by a form of faerie fire, only visible to the revanchist."[sic!] That's not how faerie fire works and basing the ability on "murderer" a) wrecks pretty much every investigation and b) is incredibly opaque - every adventurer, every watchman, soldier, etc. potentially could qualify as a murderer. Non-operational as written. Also at 3rd level, the class gets immunity to fear and grants a bonus of +4 to saves versus fear to allies within 10 feet. This is basically aura of courage, with a needless name-change.

Roar of revenge is gained at 5th level - once per 1d4 rounds, as a standard action, the revanchist can emit a shriek. All creatures (including allies) within 60 feet must succeed a Will-save versus 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha-mod or cower (!!!) for 1d4 rounds. This is utterly OP for the level, should be a fear effect and needs to be moved to higher levels. Cowering is one of the most powerful conditions, it's per definition a fear effect and should be prevented by immunities and even though allies are affected, this is a horrible cheese-able ability.

The table contradicts the rules-text - ghost mount, per table, is gained at 4th level, while the rules text situates it at 5th level. Which is it? This companion acts as a full-strength spiritualist's phantom companion. The spiritualist's etheric tether is gained and applied to the mount, which can must be an animal capable of bearing the revanchist's weight and the mount is manifested in ectoplasmic form. The mount also gains some modifications of the base phantom engine. 5th level yields DR 1/-, which increases by +1/- every 5 levels thereafter. Starting at 6th level, the mount ignores difficult terrain and 9th level yields water walk (bingo, not italicized) at will.

7th level yields an alternate oath - oath of hatred. Or at least, that's how the ability is phrased. In fact, it has no daily limit that sets it apart from oath of vengeance, should thus be a sub-ability of it, and nets the benefits of haste (CL 20th - WTF??? At least that one is italicized for once...) and an unytped +4 to atk and grapple-checks. So, does that mean net +8 to grappling? No idea. Needlessly confused. This oath consumes 2 uses of the oath, which means that it won't be used often

9th level yields SR 5, +5 for every 5 levels thereafter, which is not how SR usually scales. 11th level yields air walk at will for the mount "(as the spell, no action required)[sic!]" for "1 round at a time" - This ability, which should be utterly simple...is not, at least not how it's presented here. 11th yields stalwart.

Starting at 13th level, the revanchist may expend 3 uses of her oath to get +4 to Strength and Constitution (bonus type not stated), +2 to natural AC (again, not stated) and +10 base speed as well as DR 10 /evil. Dumb: "As a standard action, the revanchist can deal 10 negative energy damage to a target per class level (capping at 150 damage), 1/2 on a save. Which one? No idea. Range? No idea. How often can it be used? No clue. Can it only affect the oath's target? No idea. Broken as hell, even though it can't reduce a target to below 1 hit point. 14th level yields exploit weakness.

At 16th level, revanchists return from the dead as a revenant when killed by a non-outsider, non-dragon. 17th level yields an AoO whenever a foe hits the revanchist or an adjacent ally, an attack that gains a +2 bonus to atk, +5 if the prompting attack was critical. 18th level yields a bonus combat feat and, as a capstone, the revanchist can perform save or die when invoking oath of judgment - once again, this ability fails to specify its target - RAW, you can use it versus creatures other than the oath's target. This is due to the ability being a copy of true judgment, but judgment provides general benefits, whereas the oaths are targeted effects, making this weird, in spite of being a straight copy. As an aside, the save here is strangely governed by Wisdom - which is completely different from the governing attribute of all other class abilities.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not good. There are a lot of missed italicizations and similarly, several non-standard wordings in the rules-language. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the character artwork is pretty cool. The pdf has no bookmarks. Cut-copy-paste is disabled, which constitutes a serious comfort detriment when using the class.

Robert Gresham's revanchist per se is definitely a class with promise - the idea of a ghost mount-riding agent of righteous revenge is cool. Alas, both in balance and precision, the class leaves much to be desired. The base chassis is superior to that of the cavalier and inquisitor, the mount is VERY strong and a bit opaque and there are a lot of hiccups. On a design-perspective, the class offers no choice, no player agenda - one revanchist will be just like all others, with only feats and races making a difference. In short - this class has some broken abilities, issues in the craftsmanship, no player agenda and is too strong. The concept is cool, but that's all the positive I can say about this class, unfortunately. This may be worth revisiting and rebuilding from scratch, but as written, I can't rate this higher than 1.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Revanchist Hybrid Class
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Skyrider Hybrid Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/21/2017 11:16:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The skyrider base class received d10 HD, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves and proficiency with all simple and martial weapons as well as light and medium armor and shields, excluding tower shields. How much skills per level, you're asking? NO IDEA. That info is missing from the pdf. Blergh.

The class gains challenge at first level, +1 daily use for every 3 levels beyond first. The skyrider also chooses an order at first level. Two specific skyrider orders are included here, with the first being the order of the zephyr, who increases the movement rate of skyrider and mount when moving towards the target of a challenge (+10 ft., +20 ft. and 30 ft. at 7th and 15th level). Skill-wise, the order nets Perception and Survival as class skills. 2nd level yields the handy ability to count as 1/2 weight for the purpose of determining mount encumbrance as well as eliminating the penalty to AC when charging. 8th level yields a tripled speed when charging, which is VERY strong. Worse, spear fighter weapon group weapons now behave as though they were lances...i.e. like one of the most problematic aspects of the base game. Not the biggest fan there. 15th level nets a +2 AC bonus versus ranged attacks for rider and mount when charging, an additional 50% miss chance. Additionally, they deal automatic damage (untyped) equal to twice the class level to any obstacles in the way - no save, no attack roll - just broken...and I don't even have to state how this can be highly problematic in its precise rules-interactions, right? They also take only 1/4 damage from damaging obstacles.

The second order contained in this book would be the order of venom, who increases the threat range of the mount's attacks by 1 in challenge...which isn't bad per se. But threat range increases by a further 1 for every 4 levels thereafter. Skill-wise, both Fly and Survival are included...which is weird, considering that the base class already receives Fly as a class skill. For the cavalier, I guess... Weird, btw. - the order of venom's order abilities are formatted differently than those of the order of zephyr. Since the order also yields a bonus on Knowledge-checks made to identify creatures, its 2nd level ability builds on that; identified creatures observed as move actions can thus yields short-term bonuses that increase at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter. 8th level allows the skyrider to use wyvern poison as a standard action and execute one attack with the poisoned weapon. 15th level lets the skyrider dismount, fall up to 200 ft. and attack a foe at the end; if successful, the falling damage is added to the attack and the skyrider takes no damage. Sooo, is the falling damage multiplied on a critical hit? No idea. The pdf also sports companion stats for wyvern and griffon, though the griffon's advancement-lines lack proper formatting.

Starting at 3rd level, the class receives the high talon ability, which nets +1 to atk and damage whenever attacking from higher ground, increasing the bonus by +1 at every 3 levels thereafter. 4th level yields the griffon companion, which uses the skyrider's level -3 as druid level. The griffon does not receive share spells, obviously, but does gain Light Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat. This feature is weird, since it locks the character in the griffon-choice, contradicting the wyvern-option presented by one of the orders - RAW, the order of venom would thus only be available for the cavalier.

5th level yields mounted evasion, which is pretty self-explanatory. 7th level provides the option for the griffon to carry the skyrider...and this is weird, for, provided the griffon is trained and weight etc. checks out, he could do that before. Carrying the rider also "reduces the fly speed" but fails to specify by how much. The skyrider may use Fly instead of Ride while mounted. At 10th level, things get wonky and the griffon companion is treated as though the skyrider always had a full druid companion progression...which is incredibly clunky.

13th level nets full fly speed when carrying the skyrider...implying a fixed penalty for a rider, but failing to specify how that all interacts with encumbrance etc. It looks pretty functional...but unfortunately isn't. 9th level yields Hover for the griffon, Flyby Attack for the skyrider. 17th level allows for full-attacks of both mount and rider after a charge at the cost of -4 to AC. 18th level provides mounted improved evasion. 20th level lets the skyrider dismount after a charge and execute one attack that automatically threatens a critical hit and may insta-kill the target. May? The DC is 10 + damage dealt...which is hilarious, considering all the crit-upgrades and potential boosts to charge attack damage. Also ridiculous: The skyrider may fall off the griffon, hit a target...and be caught by the griffon, regardless of distance. Yeah...makes no sense.

It should also be noted that the pdf has a section called "Skyrider Archetypes"...and nothing in it. The only content there would be the orders, one of which arguably isn't even for the class.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not good. From the missing skills per level to typos and inconsistent formatting, the pdf suffers from a plethora of hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has a really nice full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks and cut-copy-paste of text is disabled, making the use of this pdf not very comfortable.

Angel "ARMR" Miranda's skyrider is not without promise, the aerial cavalier...

...oh, who am I kidding? This lacks crucial information, has some seriously wonky abilities, is a one-trick-charge-pony...and worse, everything this pdf does has been done more precisely and better. Get the ultimate, excellent flying resource "Companions of the Firmament" - it literally does everything this pdf does better and so much more. It's an EZG Essential for a reason. Alternatively, if you only want a nice aerial cavalier class, go for "Letters from the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry" instead; it also is vastly superior. Let me reiterate - this pdf is not a total wreck...but when compared to two vastly superior products, it has absolutely nothing going for it. Hence, my final verdict cannot go higher than 1.5 stars...and frankly, I can't bring myself to round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Skyrider Hybrid Class
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Mysterium Magnus: New Occultist Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2017 11:08:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 0.5 page of SRD, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, we begin with an array of occultist archetypes, the first of which would be the plague bearer, who is locked into the necromancy implement school at 1st level, as well as being obligated to take that at 20th level. This is called tumor implement and seems to imply that you have a special tumor implement, blurring the lines between implement and implement school, which is problematic as far as I'm concerned - can the tumor be lost? I assume not, but I am not sure. 2nd level yields +1/2 class level to Heal checks and critical hit damage rolls with melee weapons. Okay, got ya. Is the bonus damage multiplied or not? This replaces magic item skill. 4th level adds a couple of thematically fitting spells to the necromancy implement school. No, they are not properly formatted.

The noir sleuth is proficient with simple weapons, one martial weapon, light armor and shields, excluding tower shields. The archetype is locked into divination as one implement school and as 20th level's implement mastery. Instead of 2nd level's Magic Skill, the archetype receives 1/2 class level as a bonus to Perception and Sense Motive. Instead of Shift focus, the archetype can spend mental focus to add a 1d6 surge benefit to Perception or Sense Motive checks, with 6s exploding - i.e. when you roll a 6, you roll again and add the results together.

The possessed occultist is basically a medium-crossover: He loses one implement, but depending on the implement school of the chosen implement she has, she gains the séance boon and lesser spirit power, with immediate and grater spirit power unlocking at 10th and 20th level, respectively. The profane puppeteer is the first archetype that is more complex: these guys gain an at-will ventriloquism (not properly italicized) and Craft (puppets) as well as Perform (puppetry) as class skills with +2 profane bonuses. The puppets come with concise formula for crafting and costs of the process. The puppets are fashioned after summon monster creatures and 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter increase the array of available summon monster options. Problematic: The puppets are treated as constructs, got ya - but this does mean that the puppets do not have the stats of the monsters and instead have construct stats...so what stats do they actually have? No idea. This is non-operational. Puppets require mental focus to animate and can channel focus powers, but must remain nearby. Also non-operational: The hard cap of how many puppets can be maintained at any given time - it uses summon monster as a point of reference. The ability replaces resonant powers.

Silver gunners gain proficiency with one-handed firearms and must choose transmutation as an implement school, using the firearm as the implement, and only gets this one school at first level, but later gains the normal implements. When attacking with the firearm implement for the transmutation school, the bullet is treated as silver. They also gain Amateur Gunslinger and Gunsmith and use Intelligence as governing attribute for grit. 2nd level replaces object reading with the ability to smell nearby lycanthropes and gaining skill as well as atk and damage bonuses versus them.

I already covered the sinister savant in my review of the cult of the colour from out of space, but for completion's sake, here's the archetype's breakdown: At 1st level, the occultist replaces occultist implements with the ability to use magical books and scrolls as implement focuses, provided they contain a magic or effect related to the implement school to be emulated. The lack of implement schools means that the archetype has also modified resonant power: Whoever reads the implement in question gains a +2 bonus to Knowledge for every 2 points of mental focus invested, with a maximum of 2 +1 for every 2 occultist levels.

Reading an implement takes 1 round - valid, considering the benefits conveyed. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the character has a 50% chance to receive a random insanity and also learns 1 level-appropriate spell from the implement schools known, replacing shift focus. As a capstone, the character receives full information on a CR 20+ creature of doom and may extol its horrid powers, potentially causing panic. The powerful diversity of the variable access to diverse implement schools is offset a bit. However, at the same time, the archetype has a few formatting hiccups - spells not italicized, wording that could be a bit more precise...but it remains a functional option.

The vile conduit receives an evil aura and may not cast good spells; starting at 2nd level, object reading is replaced with the ability to interpret the words of outsiders or aberrations via Craft instead of Linguistics - the more time is spent, the easier the task becomes. Those witnessing the resulting objet d'art can understand the message of the entity - and guess what: I really like this ability! It's flavorful and interesting! Starting at 5th level, these objects may be used as implement focuses for any known implement school, but associated resonant powers must be chosen at the time of artwork creation and thereafter remain fixed. This replaces aura sight. Of all the archetypes herein, this is the one I consider very flavorful, unique and amazing, so kudos to the author of that one!

The pdf also features a new colour from out of space implement school, which uses leaves, roots, hair or similar material. As a resonant power, the implement provides unnatural growth to a creature, which then, after being activated as a standard action, for class level rounds, exhibits the unnatural growths providing +1 to atk and damage per mental focus invested in the implement. This bonus is not applied against the occultist and after the duration has elapsed, the creature takes class level times d6 damage. There is a Fort-save to negate, but it does not specify the DC - does it scale with focus invested? Another idea and sensible option would be to use the focus power's save DC as reference. Speaking of which: The focus power would be eyes of lassitude, which, as a swift action nets an ennui-causing gaze that prevents travel and penalizes Will-saves. Break enchantment (not properly italicized) can end the effect on a successful CL-check. Additional focus powers include a scaling, disintegrating touch attack (yep, requires mental focus) and a full-round mental focus-expenditure-powered short-range Cha-damage that also yields temporary hit points. Apart from the minor glitch mentioned, I like this one and the implement spell list is also solid.

The pdf features new focus powers for the "color out of space and necromancy implement schools"...which brings me to a nitpick that will not influence the verdict, but to me, the colour from out of space feels more like an implement, less like an implement school. But yeah, that's nitpickery and will not influence the final verdict. Anyways, one lets you spend mental focus to make a nearby creature sweat blood, taking bleed damage, with higher levels forcing the creature to drop items and become sickened. Another one yields a kind of mental focus based pseudo-Leadership (or upgrade for it).

There is also an ability to mark dead bodies...which has no precise benefit other than fluff. There also is a confusing gaze, a mind-affecting short-term paralysis curse, shadowy pseudo-shoggoth tentacles that grapple those nearby and cause Con-damage, mental focus based zombie creature summoning, a short-range drain of the Ashen King, or the option to prevent proper rest. There also would be a touch that may have those afflicted rise from the dead, sharing temporary confusion, a scaling stoneskin-like DR-shield - there are some amazing gems here, but the different authors and their differing skill-levels become readily apparent as well.

Touch of the Old Ones features, for example, a lowercaps attribute, references "willpower" and deals massive Wisdom damage for the cost, exceeding in power the other options presented herein. In direct comparison to more precise options herein, it looks sloppy. Stunning foes is also one of the options, as is exhausting them. On the plus-side, I really liked the high-level power that causes target creatures to lapse into colour-fed berserker rages and after that, suffer negative levels.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting can no longer be considered to be good - there are quite a bunch of missing italicizations, incorrectly formatted pieces of rules-languages and the like. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with nice full-color artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, which, in conjunction with an inability to copy text from this file, makes the use of the pdf pretty inconvenient.

This pdf is the work of a bunch of designers: Robert Gresham, Angel "ARMR" Miranda, Simon Munoz, Thiago Rosa and Rodney Sloan made this pdf...and it kinda shows. The archetypes mostly are cookie-cutter modifications that play it safe and lack truly unique selling points...but the pdf actually does offer some cool options. I generally really like the colour-implement school and the powers featured, for the most part, are pretty cool and flavorful. At the same time, the quality of their rules-language fluctuates somewhat, making me really wish that a competent rules-dev or editor had streamlined them, also regarding their power-levels. In short, this is pretty much the epitome of a mixed bag. There are some gems to be found for experienced GMs, but I wouldn't hand this over as is to my players. The gems do make this worthwhile, but I can't go higher than 3 stars for this one. Without glitches, this would have been a solid 4 or 4.5, perhaps even a 5-star offering.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mysterium Magnus: New Occultist Options
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Honeymoon of Horror
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/31/2017 07:13:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This brief module clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

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All right, still here? Situated in the town of Brighton (which is available as PWYW), the backdrop of this adventure is one of a marriage has gone horribly wrong: The beloved cleric of the town, Lyrana, has caught the eye of the noble Silan Kranz and promptly married the man after a tumultuous courtship. It's been weeks since anyone has seen the cleric, though, and people are getting anxious.

On the road to investigate or as an alternate means of getting into the scenario, the PCs meet an embittered old man and trade rival of Kranz, who has not much positive to say about him or his family for that manner - something that ties in well with the observation of some townsfolk, who noticed that the Kranz estate has too few minio...err...servitors to maintain in this pristine a shape.

The Kranz manor's outside, depicted in copious read-aloud text (but sans map) is not welcoming...and it is a pity that the PCs can't really explore it to piece clues together - instead, they are destined to run afoul of the stable boy Finneous. Odd: The pdf reprints the same text twice on one page - and we're talking about three whole paragraphs! The statblock of Finneous, alas, has serious flaws and isn't correct...oh, and the stableboy is CR 5 (!!!). Now this is okay for level 2 or 3, but for level 1, this guy can and probably will kill off a PC or two.

Among his possessions and with some observation, the PCs will be able to dive into the wine cellar of the estate, where the dungeon section looms...and DCs like 30 clearly show that level 1 is a damn bad idea for this module. The second encounter, just fyi, is a cloaker, which, while accounted for in the background story, comes completely out of left field from a player perspective and represents another TPK-machine for level 1 victim...ehr, players.

Oh. And there is a cloaker cleric at CR 7 next, which adds AoE damage as insult to injury...and he is supplemented by mooks. Yeah, even level 2 characters will have serious issues at this point. Oh, and then there would be Silan, a slayer, and his skum transformed uncle, who also has bloodrager levels. You see, Silan is destined to become such a monstrosity as well and thus has elected to join the cult. Anyhow, the combats here are similarly tough...and I guess that one of the females caught in this disturbing little dungeon would be the missing cleric. Btw.: Yes, the statblocks have pretty evident errors and formatting glitches.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are decent on a formal level, though the doubled text and exact location of the target hostage are pretty bad issues. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with nice full color artwork. Cartography of the almost completely linear complex is serviceable, but we receive no player-friendly iteration. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Robert Gresham, with "Cadditional writing"[sic!] by Liz Smith, has the basic deep one degeneracy set-up here and the prose, let that be known, is nice. The angle is old, yes, but its execution is decent enough for 2 bucks...were it not for the glaring glitches in the formal criteria. Balance of encounters is also utterly baffling. I'm the guy who always screams for hard modules; I love LotFP modules and similar old-school killer beasts. But this one is just dickish - the stableboy's got 6 levels? Cloaker with class levels at level 1 or 2? Come again? The PCs have no chance to prepare for the challenges properly, meaning that there is only luck as a determining factor here; there is no Stealth-option, nothing the like - just a hackfest versus overwhelming, quite literally, odds. This can be won at level 1 or 2, but only by minmaxed monsters or very lucky groups. And that is not what makes a module qualify as horror. It's just frustration. There is no build up, the module just slaps you over the head with "creepy" critters that make no sense from the PC's perspective - they will never know how the cloakers got there.

I...I can't recommend this module. I tried so hard t like this. It's flawed in all important ways and I can literally point you towards several vastly superior FREE modules that are better at everything this tries to do. My final verdict clocks in at 1 star. If you want to support Wayward Rogues Publishing, get one of the Cultures of Celmae or the cult-supplements instead.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Honeymoon of Horror
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The Guide to the Cult of Shub-Niggurath
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/29/2017 04:16:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, first of all, we begin with a history of the deity and origins - which brings me to a crucial point: The Shub-Niggurath presented herein does differ a bit from the depictions in traditional Lovecraftiana; in case you're not that familiar with Shattered Skies campaign setting, the brief description would be that it represents a fantasy setting that employs the mythos as one of its governing leitmotifs. However, unlike the horror-themed settings and games, the focus, while taking the horrific into account, very much appropriates the tropes and puts them in a fantasy setting. As such, we have ostensible connections between the deities of Celmae and the great old one. Beyond the contextualization of the deity within Celmae's fantastic cosmology, we also are introduced to the plurality of cults that can be found, here distinguished from another by the "horn" of the dark mother they represent; the first horn would be the dark forest denizens, emphasizing the collective over the individual; the second horn represents the highly individualistic scholars and sages and madmen beings. No matter the direct representation of the ideology, maddening visions and narcotics, strange rites and odd ritual combats are noted, as are non-human worshipers.

The pdf does not stop there and notes three evocative and strange unholy sites of the dread cult. The duties of the clergy of the dread Shub-Niggurath is also explained, though here, the cult in Celmae receives two favored weapons, which can cause some minor confusion in the context of favored weapon bonuses. That being said, the pdf does note that daggers make for an alternative featured in settings like Golarion. The pdf also features notes of the priestly vestments used by the cult and the role of adventurers among the faithful of the dread entity. The pdf also takes a cue from Inner Sea Gods in that it contains several unique unholy texts and festivals, with several nice proverbs adding further detail and substance for this belief...and yes, relations with other beings are pretty much as strained and problematic as you'd expect them to be, though some of the deities of Celmae actually could be considered to be allies of the dread cult. The pdf also sports two fluff-only write-ups of demonic servants that can act as planar allies and features a brief write-up of the demiplane known as "The Garden", which sprang from a rather dark origin, created by the Dark Prince of Auspice, a semi-mythical bard. (Kudos if you got the reference.)

Let me briefly talk a bit about this first section of the pdf: Contrary to my experience, I ended up enjoying this section. While it is my fervent belief that over-explanation has subverted the horror-aspect of the Great Old Ones, this pdf does offer a nice alternative. You see, Shub-Niggurath's aspect as a primordial being of rampant fertility obviously does not translate that well to PFRPG if you wish to retain a PG-rating. Similarly, the existence of deities, planes etc. undermines the cosmic nihilism that makes up the true horror of what Lovecraft envisioned - thus, these entities don't work in their original intentions UNLESS you have a setting like Fat Goblin Games' excellent "Shadows over Vathak" that is intentionally structured around this notion, a section where the existence of a benevolent deity-level entity is highly dubious. (Srsly, Vathak is great for horror!)

This pdf thus does something different - it embraces Shub-Niggurath as not simply the Great Old One incarnation, but instead firmly places it within the context of fantasy. This does take away the concept of existential horror associated with Shubbi, but at the same time, it works better than in comparative fantasy settings. The prose that presents the cult works well, and while some typo-level glitches like doubled "and"s and the like do exist, as a whole, the prose is pretty nice. So yeah, kudos - not what I expected and better off for it.

The pdf also sports a collection of 8 feats. Abominable Rites is interesting - it lets you change the fatigued condition to shaken or vice versa a limited amount of times per day. Confused Rage is also intriguing - you may voluntarily enter a confused rage upon raging, voluntarily giving you the confused condition, but letting you roll twice...and get a +3 untyped bonus to melee damage, but also versus yourself - this would be one of several feats that requires a Wisdom score of 11 or lower, which is a design-paradigm I very much enjoy. Another such feat nets you +2 to saving throws and melee damage rolls versus the fear's source while shaken; thirdly, there'd be a feat that nets +3 damage on melee attack rolls the first time you attempt to deal damage per round when confused, raging or insane, so if you're going for the raging lunatic, you actually can dish out seriously deadly damage. Another feat nets +4 to saves versus mind-influencing and sleep effects. Another feat lets you, as an immediate action, gain a +4 bonus to saves for 1 round. This is probably a feat based on a class ability - the feat specifies that it'll net more daily uses, though the base ability does not have a 1/day use specified. A high-level feat lets you inflict 2 Cha damage and the sickened condition on those critically hit. Weird: There is a feat that has the Evil-descriptor, which is not a descriptor I have encountered in vanilla design. Also a bit weird: The feat-prerequisites are inconsistent in their formatting - some use abbreviations for attributes, others use the full name.

The pdf also contains 5 different spells: Black Goat's Blessing is nasty, transforming the head of the target into a goat, complete with gore attack...but also nets an Intelligence of 2, making the target potentially lethal. Black Goat's Influence is very strong for its spells level (1st) - +2 to damage with melee weapons and ranged weapons within 30 ft. Also odd: The spell is, not kidding you, on the PALADIN spell list. WTF? Cool: There is a spell that allows you to ward an area, targeting plants, the ensorcelled vegetation will yell loudly when the warded area is entered. Dark Young's Appendages allows you to transform limbs to generate hooves and tentacles. Finally, there would be cylindrical acidic gasses.

All right, next up with be the chapter on character options, starting with a new alchemist archetype, the larval progenitor - which is pretty disgusting in a good way: These guys can press their hands together to grow a cyst that they use as bombs. Yes, the cysts scream upon bursting. EW!! The archetype does have a couple of pretty unique discoveries to choose from - these include throwing a cyst bomb that turns into a lemure and that bursts upon being slain, inflicting bomb damage. While 6th level provides some balance as a prerequisite, I'd restrict this option to NPCs. On a nitpicky side, the reference to a spell is not properly italicized. Other options include gaining suckers for better grappling. Very cool (and disgusting) would be the lard bomb - direct hit targets risk swallowing it and then be sickened. The options also include a chaotic mutation-option for bombs and one that leaves caltrops in the bomb's wake. All in all, a flavorful, delightfully icky archetype defined by its cool flavor.

The pdf also features a new bloodrager bloodline, the Thousand Young bloodline; I do not have issues regarding the selection of bonus feats or bonus spells, though the latter are not properly italicized. The bloodline can grow magical, scaling horns that allow for natural attacks - I do think that clarifying whether this would be primary or secondary would have been nice, though that is mostly a cosmetic nitpick, for the ability remains precise enough and thankfully, unambiguous. 4th level increases base speed in light or no armor when hustling or running; 8th level yields a particularly disgusting flesh, which could help avoiding being swallowed. That being said, much like in the prose chapter, we have some hiccups in the prose here - "Any creature that grapples the you with a bite attack..."[sic!] - that aside, I like the ability. 16th level yields immunity to mind-influencing effects and as a capstone, attempts to use divinations versus you can enrage the caster and the character also no longer is an eligible target for challenges and smites, which is pretty novel. All in all, like it! Weird - the sorceror bloodline has the incorrect (Archetype)-descriptor in the header, but does make up for that with properly italicized bonus spells. The Bloodline Arcana increases the duration of polymorph spells by 50%, minimum 1. While it does not stack with Extend Spell, I do think that adding a "non-instantaneous" here would have been more precise. The bloodline also yields the dark horns, the increased movement...yeah, it basically is just a reproduction of the bloodrager bloodline, which is somewhat disappointing, considering that the classes have very different focuses.

Speaking of cavaliers - we do get the order of the whispers, whose challenge penalizes the saves versus the cavalier's spells - and at 2nd level, 8th and 15th level, the order yields spells that may be cast 3/day SPs chosen from witch, cleric and psychic spells...and as a nice flavor piece, there seems to be a rivalry with the order of the tome. Nice and pretty cool - we actually get evangelist, sentinel and exalted boons for the cleric (oh, and here, the italicizations are precise) and the section does contain the information for the obedience as well.

The mesmerist can elect to become body reaver, adding magic jar as a 6th level spell replaces touch treatment with a bonus to Perception checks and saves versus blindness and deafness; problem, though: The ability does not specify how many allies are affected. Later, the ability yields immunity to deafness and blindness. The capstone allows for major mind swap (not properly italicized). Not a good archetype - it replaces an active ability with an imprecise passive one and the idea of the capstone is cool, but hits too late. Fiendish midwife summoners gain Heal as a class skill and modify the Summon Monster ability: The modified version can be used Charisma bonus times per day, can only provide evil critters...but here is the nasty one: The summoner casts the spells through creatures within close range and the creature takes damage as the creature claws its way from the creature's flesh, with a save to negate. The eidolon is treated as a member of teh summoner's race, btw. Disturbing and potent. Interesting.

The pdf also features a 5-level PrC, the devotee of evil, who must be evil and belong to a class with a 9-level spell-casting progression; 6 ranks in 2 Knowledge spells and 2+ Int skills per level, 1/2 BAB-progression, full spellcasting progression and good Will-saves. This PrC is basically a scholar of evil and may add the evil descriptor to various things and enhance them. Downside: Skill-formatting issues. Oh, and the PrC is lacking its HD-information, rendering it RAW nonoperational. This could have been decent; RAW, it's not.

The pdf also features two monsters: Shubian mountain goats are particularly vicious and come with proper animal companion stats. There is also a CR 4 byakhee; while I noticed a cosmetic plus missing here, the statblocks don't seem to have immediately apparent glitches and. The pdf also features several new mundane pieces of equipment- ram staves, iron-shod boots, a particularly cruel net called "reaver's hood", an unconsciousness-causing poison and armor for those that have given birth to the unnatural can be found - pretty neat.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very inconsistent; they're better than what I've seen in most Wayward Rogues' offerings - there are some components that are precise and well-formatted. Others lack spell-italicizations and violate several formatting conventions, from attributes to skills. They, in short, range from pretty good to "needs work." Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several niece pieces of original full-color artwork. The pdf has basic bookmarks for chapters, but not for e.g. specific archetypes. Annoying: The pdf has cut/copy/paste disabled, which represents an annoying comfort detriment if you want to use the material sans printing it or modify it.

This pdf was penned by Robert Gresham, Aaron Hollingsworth and Ewan Cummins and the different authors, alas, do show in the quality of the crunch. As a whole, I can recommend this pdf if you're looking for an interesting twist on Shub-Niggurath as a deity in a fantasy setting, for example as a Lamashtu-substitute. Dressing and prose are pretty solid and concise in how they integrate the lore and concepts within a fantastic context, resulting in a nice dark fantasy cult. At the same time, the rules-component is just inconsistent; there are components here that, while not mind-blowing, are actually pretty cool and worth integrating, but the non-working PrC and the lame copying of bloodline-abilities are pretty big downsides as far as I'm concerned.

Whether you will derive enjoyment from this pdf directly hinges upon 2 decisions: 1) Do you expect flawless formatting/(rules-) editing? Then this is not for you. 2) Are you looking for a flavorful supplement or for hard crunch? In the flavor-department, this can actually provide some mileage. In the rules-area, this can, at best, be considered to be a mixed bag in those departments - slightly on the positive side, but yeah. As just a crunch-book, I could not go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down, but considering the attention to detail and generally decent prose, I will rate this as a setting supplement, weighing crunch and fluff equally. It is hence I arrive at a justification for rounding up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Guide to the Cult of Shub-Niggurath
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Venommancer
by Jj V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2017 20:10:37

I had a good amount of glee reading through this class. Various things stood out to me, especially the Needle Glove, the Inject feature and the Alchemical Bond class feature. A class that is able to maniplulate on a more physical and near psychic level is amazing and I cannot wait to try this class out in a party in conjuction with other classes. The writing is done amazingly well so that all the write ups were easy to understand and playing the class is going to be a lot of fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Venommancer
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The Cult of the Colour out of Space
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/24/2017 06:05:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 18 pages,1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, this first very positive surprise you'll notice when reading this pdf would be the general set-up that is presented in the history of this cult. At this point, we have all seen iterations of the color in fiction or CoC/ToC-supplements before, but this pdf actually puts the influence of the entity in an interesting sequence of events: You see, the cult's locale is situated within the Bright Mountain Valley, where the local fey population, xenophobic korreds, have been fighting a losing battle versus the approach of civilization.

The ever more desperate fey resorted to conjuring forth lethal plant-creatures - though that backfired big time; turns out calling mindslaver molds with imperfect control over them is a really bad idea and so the fey fell to the mold's influence. Worse, the color that arrived hijacked the mold, creating a horrid dual layer of control the deadly adversaries. While there are a couple of typos like xatabay instead of xtabay, but still, the set-up is intriguing and makes a surprising amount of sense within the context of the game. The contact of foreigners with the color led in a growing legend that brought a dragon to the vale as well - a being who ended in a stasis between destruction via the color and life, becoming another insane herald for the cult. So yes, the presentation and angle provided here blend the fantastic and the Lovecraftian themes very well with the crunchy realities of PFRPG; basically, this is fantasy with mythos-themes, as opposed to horror with sprinklings of fantasy.

Now, the pdf also contains stats for some of the creatures that are now controlling the cult - the mind-enslaved color-blighted korreds and the mindslaver mold, for example. The statblock of the korreds does unfortunately contain some glitches. Beyond these two, the pdf also introduces us to Ichabod Krona, a somewhat cringe-worthily-named occultist of the sinister savant archetype. The man has studied the mysterium magnum, a dread grimoire, and his has brought him towards the cult. The aforementioned book is btw. included in the pdf: The cursed book has some nice benefits for those with Psychic Sensitivity or psychic spellcasting and can help automatic writing...but this also comes with a pretty random and evocative array of strange side-effects when using this ability...side effects that are not only creepy, but can provide some further adventuring angles. Nice job there.

The aforementioned sinister savant archetype is included in the book as well: At 1st level, the occultist replaces occultist implements with the ability to use magical books and scrolls as implement focuses, provided they contain a magic or effect related to the implement school to be emulated. The lack of implement schools means that the archetype has also modified resonant power: Whoever reads the implement in question gains a +2 bonus to Knowledge for every 2 points of mental focus invested, with a maximum of 2 +1 for every 2occultist levels.

Reading an implement takes 1 round - that should probably be "full-round action", considering the benefits conveyed. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the character has a 50% chance to receive a random insanity and also learns 1 level-appropriate spell from the implement schools known, replacing shift focus. As a capstone, the character receives full information on a CR 20+ creature of doom and may extol its horrid powers, potentially causing panic. The powerful diversity of the variable access to diverse implement schools is offset a bit. However, at the same time, the archetype has a few formatting hiccups - spells not italicized, wording that could be a bit more precise...but it remains a functional option.

I already mentioned the horrible dragon, kept in stasis between life and annihilation, the green brute Novastarov, kept alive by her ring of sheltered vitality. Her CR 13 iteration was included, though the powerful ring she has is imho underpriced as far as I'm concerned. Similarly, the sheltered vitality spell that provides immunity to all ability damage and drain as well as fatigue and exhaustion is utterly OP for its level and needs a serious whacking with the nerf-bat.

That as an aside, but the pdf does contain more than those powerful scions of the cult - it also contains the stats and precise motivations of the dread glowing god, a colour from out of space with the mighty template, with history, lore DCs and detailed write-ups - though, once again, the rules-components have some flaws - Knowledge (dungeoneering) is e.g. written as "knowledge dungeoneering (oozes) - which does not exist. That being said, the lore section and components of this write-up otherwise are pretty well-presented and actually evocative.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay on a formal and rules-language levels - while there are quite a bunch of obvious errors in those components, they generally do not tamper with one's ability to employ the material. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several nice full-color artworks. The pdf does not have any bookmarks, which, in conjunction with the disabled text-copying option, constitutes a severe comfort-detriment when using this pdf.

Robert Gresham, with additional writing by Rodney Sloan and Angel "ARMR" Miranda, provides an interesting cult that could have easily reached the lofty levels of excellence. In fact, this pdf does make for a viable purchase if you're looking for flavor, for ideas and the like - the pdf feels like it does offer heart's blood, careful consideration of the game's realities. That's a big plus for me. However, if you are one of the people who expect flawless rules, you will like the prose, sure...but the execution of the rules-relevant components leaves something to be desired and shows that this pdf could have used the hand of an experienced editor and/or developer. From the utterly OP item/spell to the other components, most rules herein sport deviations from standards, hiccups and the like and may really gall some people.

As a person, I actually did derive some joy from reading this book - the very stringent and logical entwinement of the tropes of traditional fantasy and mythos makes for an intriguing offering. At the same time, as a reviewer, I have to rate the formal criteria of this pdf as well, and beyond the comfort issues, the glitches do accumulate. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars - those of you looking for mostly flavor should round up...but my official verdict, alas, can't do that.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Cult of the Colour out of Space
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Players Guide to Whispers of the Dark Mother Adventure Path
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2017 07:47:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Player's Guide for the "Whispers of the Dark Mother"-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content. It should be noted that a nice full-color map of the area featured in the AP is included between SRD and back cover.

The modules takes place in the nation of Bryndell, defined by the worship of ancestral heroes and begins in the town of Brighton, a relatively busy little trade-hub (and available for free if you require further details!). With such a background, it should not come as a surprise that seasonal adventurers, common folks taking up swords instead of plowshares, are not uncommon - but the relatively open nature of the environment also mean that characters from other backgrounds can relatively easily fit in within the story to be told. The pdf also provides from the get-go a relatively concise overview of the common knowledge in the locale - the Laughing Dragon as the "Adventurer's pub" is mentioned and similarly, the mysterious beast that supposedly haunts the area and has remained conspicuously silent for a long time... Beyond that, if you require some motivation for adventurers of a more scholarly or pious bent, there is a bit of guidance for those as well.

The pdf also specifies, from the get-go, the theme of horror the AP will try to maintain as a leitmotif - and as such, it comes as no surprise that flawed heroes are preferred. A selection of a total of 8 flaws are presented and taking one will not only enhance the roleplaying aspect of the series, but also conveys a +1 trait-bonus on Knowledge (local). This bonus is pretty fixed and if you have access to other flaw-featuring books, I'd suggest adding them and the trait-selection they usually feature to the selection. Still, not a bad collection.

A total of 3 different feats are included in the deal: Bravado of Olde lets you add Cleave to the end of your charges - and all follow-up feats of Cleave. Pretty strong option there. Flyer's Remorse is pretty amazing, though: As a move action, it lets you ready an attack versus a flying creature - if it moves within your 1st range increment, you may shoot at it, re-readying the attack thereafter if you expend an AoO. This is mechanically interesting, and the prereq makes sense. Like it! Heroic Legacy, finally, nets you +1 to atk and damage when facing a creature with double your HD or 3 or more creatures with HD equal to your own. Yeah, not that cool.

Next up would be a selection of 10 traits - Combat traits include a damage bonus with holy water and better atk with polearms; there is a trait that represents having grown up in the cult of the dark mother and there's one that represents having drunk enough to be more resilient against poisons. Similarly, pilgrims can be found and 1/day bonus damage, being a survivor of ogre's aley - there are some seriously nice, flavorful traits here, with one of them actually containing two different options, bonus-wise. Nice.

A total of 6 spells can be found within the pdf as well; Grey Maiden's Tears let you weep ashen tears in a basin to contact a passed individual - provided you have someone mourning the respective individual. Emergency Succor is powerful, but interesting - cast as an immediate action on a target that would be reduced below 1 hit point, it transfers the excess damage to the caster and actually sports a caveat that prevents it from being cheesed/negated. Gran's Minor Lance lets you conjure forth a lance of force energy to throw at your adversaries, hitting everything in a line - basically, an AoE-variant of magic missile with a short range and a save to negate....with the added use of acting as a short-duration lance before that. The wording could be more explicit/slightly streamlined. The improved version of the spell has functional, but still non-standard verbiage, in its stating that the attacks with it are calculated using the spellcasting ability modifier of the character in conjunction with BAB. It also no longer allows for a save to negate, which is powerful considering the spell's damage type, but also valid, considering its spell level. Nice catch - the lance's return to the hand of the caster includes a caveat that avoids the issue of iterative attacks.

Sinew Spasm is relatively interesting, enchanting a corpse to attack a target - though RAW, the spell has an issue in that it does not specify that the target square for the corpse to attack needs to be within the corpse's reach; RAW, the corpse can twitch and spasm into pretty much any area of the spell. If this is the intended function, it should have been made more clear. There is also a spell that drops a rock on targets in an area. It should be noted that rules-formatting in these is not always perfect - the latter spell, sky stone, has for example a Saving Throw-line that reads: "Reflex;" - that should be "Reflex negates" and the text e.g. does not capitalize Reflex properly. This is not necessarily a big issue, but if you're picky with the like, it can be slightly annoying.

On a more positive note, the pdf does offer two pieces of equipment - the grapple arrow, which can help bring down flying foes, and the weighted javelin, a similar means to penalize flying foes. (The pdf does a pretty good job of making PCs seriously contemplate having some means to deal with flying foes...). After that, we are introduced to a total of 5 sample faiths and philosophies for the PCs to follow, all of which come with domains, favored weapons, etc. - on a slight nitpick, the goddess of the sea Amaura has one domain more than the other gods, totaling 6 domains.

Finally, the pdf concludes with the dust warden archetype for the paladin class. This archetype replaces detect evil with detect undead. Their smite is modified to only affect undead...but oh boy will they suffer: 3 times class level bonus damage on the first smiting attack and every hit of such a smite against the undead actually also debuffs their defenses. Divine bond either nets a chosen mount at-will detect evil or adds ghost touch to the available bonded weapon options. It should be noted that the archetype misses a couple of italicization instances. Decent, if unspectacular anti-undead-type of archetype.

Conclusion:

Editing is pretty good on a formal and rules-language level; there are a few cases that sport a bit clumsy, but functional rules-language. Formatting f the rules is slightly less refined, missing a couple of italicizations and proper formatting conventions. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several really nice full-color artwork, though fans of Wayward Rogues Publishing may recognize some from earlier publications. The cartography is solid and in full color. Really annoying, though: The pdf has neither bookmarks, nor can you copy text from the pdf - if you want to use the material herein, you'll have to either print it out, open the pdf and scroll there or hand-write the effects down. I don't get this peculiarity with Wayward Rogues Publishing's offerings - I really don't. Not one of the big 3pps does that and it is not particularly customer-friendly.

Anyways, Jarret Sigler, Rodney Sloan, Robert Gresham, Ewan Cummins, Simon Peter Munoz and James Edger's Player's Guide is actually a pretty nice book - it does not spoil the plot of the series, has some actually interesting and cool options (particularly the anti-aerial creature tricks) and is significantly more refined in its crunch than earlier offerings. While editing and formatting remain a bit of a weak-point and while I was not blown away by everything herein, this remains a nice little Player's Guide...and it's available for PWYW. It's pretty hard to argue with that. The pdf may not be perfect, but it actually does have some really interesting options and is certainly worth checking out and leaving a tip. Taking its PWYW-bonus into account, I feel justified in rating this 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. Take a look and check it out, you have nothing to lose!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Players Guide to Whispers of the Dark Mother Adventure Path
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Ogres New Boots
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2017 07:05:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, this being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

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Okay, still here? Only GMs around? Great!

So, this adventure, in a way, is the story of one special ogre called Bruboe, mocked relentlessly by his brutish brethren for his artistic ambition. In exile, he found his calling - becoming a great actor! The audience he found was ultimately that of mutated belching goblins. While the ogre has managed to accumulate a variety of costumes, he is lacking good boots - which is where the eponymous new boots come into place. Bruboe has kidnapped Nogget, the best cobbler of Bright Moon Valley by luring him under false pretense with a letter (note that if your game treats literacy as rare...among common folk or ogres...), imprisoning the man. Guess what the PCs are supposed to do? Bingo.

The PCs are hire in the Laughing Dragon Inn by a gnomish child and the PCs will probably jump at the chance to offset their ennui. The first encounter, thus, takes place at the site of the ambush, where they deal with the belcher variant goblins left there. While the caravan ambush site does have a map, it is only a small one and no proper-sized version to print out or hand out is included - something that extends btw. to all the encounter maps herein. On the plus-side, the pdf does provide upgrade-notes for higher APLs and even alternate stats. The scaling advice is nice.

Tracking the belchers is not too hard, though PCs failing hard at Survival will have a harder time - the more checks they fail at, the worse it'll become. Particularly successful PCs will find a hidden vale with a dryad. Ahem. Well. The artwork is...nice. Okay, so if you're sensitive to that kind of thing: The artwork depicts the dryad stark naked, with her wooden behind towards the reader. Personally, I don't mind, but some readers may be put off by this display of cheesecake.

Arriving at the belcher hide-out, the PCs must pass some decent traps and arrive at the grim theatre of the ogre, stumbling on a performance by the ogre - if they play along, they can actually hold off the attack of the belcher and firebat audience. Bruboe is an ogre skald, btw., and comes in a level 2 and 4 version. This would also be as well a place as any to note that the neither skill- nor attribute-checks are consistently and properly formatted herein. Also weird: The finale mentions tiers instead of APLs for different scaling options. The ogre will make a run for it while the PCs slice and dice through the belchers, the PCs will have to hunt him...and pass the captured cobbler, who tells them to trick the ogre into putting on the boots.

If the PCs manage this, the boots, suffused with alchemist's fire, burst into flames, making the combat easier...though why they only burst into flames after putting both on can be considered to be a minor logic bug.

There is an optional final encounter after Buboe has been defeated - there are lava children and a magma elemental hidden below Buboe's base, whose presence accounts for the belchers flocking to the area - getting rid of it represents basically the optional bonus benefit and encounter for the module.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, though there are a couple of issues in the formatting of rules-text. Layout adheres to Wayward Rogue Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several solid full-color art pieces, mostly stock. The maps in full color per se are nice, but the lack of both proper-sized GM- and player-maps make their inclusion useless for the GM - you'll still have to draw them. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Nicholas Milasich's little module is a basic one - in format and length akin to a Pathfinder Society scenario, a type of module it suspiciously looks like. Like many PFS-modules, it's very combat-centric and extremely linear. The premise is funny and a capable GM can make the unconventional twist on the BBEG memorable, even if the "trick" mentioned for the final stand can be an issue. The bonus encounter feels a bit tacked on and the variant goblins also fall a bit short of their potential. The module per se is not necessarily bad, but neither is it particularly compelling. First level parties can potentially be wiped by the pretty strong opposition - I'd rather recommend this for level 2 - 4 characters. If you have no prep time and need a society-style scenario, then this may deliver for you- as this is PWYW, you may decide for yourself if this is a worthwhile offering for you.

It is due to this fair decision that my final verdict for this module will clock in at 3 stars - it may be worth checking out for you, but don't expect to be blown away.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ogres New Boots
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