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Incarnate Hybrid Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/11/2017 04:43:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

The incarnate is a hybrid of oracle and barbarian and receives d12 HD as well as 4 + Int skills per level and proficiency with simple and martial weapons, as well as light and medium armor and shields, excluding tower shields. Incarnates draw spells from the cleric spell list, which are first gained at 4th level. The spellcasting is spontaneous and governed by Charisma. They don't require a divine focus and may not swap mystery or cure/inflict spells when leveling up - as a minor complaint, these spell-references have not been italicized. Spellcasting caps at 4th level, just fyi. The class gets full BAB-progression and good Fort-saves.

2nd level provides uncanny dodge, 5th improved uncanny dodge and 7th level yields DR 1/-, which increases by +1 at 10th level and every 3 levels thereafter. The incarnate begins play with fast movement and the oracle's curse - this sports an ambiguity: As oracle curse progression is usually tied to to levels, with non-oracle levels and HD counting as 1/2 levels, so it's not 100% clear whether incarnate levels are treated as oracle levels or as other levels for the purpose of this ability. 14th level nets a +4 bonus to Will-saves versus enchantment spells (but RAW, not abilities) while soulraging.

What is soulraging? Well, it is one of the defining features of this hybrid class: 4 + Constitution modifier rounds per day, +2 rounds for every level first level. While in soulrage, the character receives a +4 profane bonus to Str and Con (interesting bonus type choice) and a +2 morale bonus to Will-saves, but -2 to AC. The ability gets temporary hit point increase etc. right. Unlike a barb's rage, soulrage does not hamper skills that require concentration and incarnate spells (and only them - kudos!) can be cast while in soulrage. Soulrage btw. qualifies as rage for the purpose of feats and prerequisites. Analogue to the barbarian, 11th level provides an upgrade of the bonuses to +6/+3, respectively, with 17th level providing the tireless and 20th level the big +8/+4 upgrades.

However, soulrage, starting at 11th level, does allow for a unique trick: Upon entering soulrage, you can apply the effects of a cleric or mystery spell of 2nd level or lower to herself, with the limitation of requiring a range of touch or personal - and the use still consumes the spell slot. If the duration exceeds 1 round, it lasts for the whole soulrage, which is the aspect I consider most problematic here, as there are spells with durations that are significantly lower for a reason. The capstone eliminates the 2nd-level restriction, just fyi.

The second defining feature of this hybrid class would be its mysteries - chosen at first level, these act pretty much as you'd expect them to, but they are distinct from those of the standard oracle. The mysteries add 3 skills to the list of class skills and grant mystery bonus spells at 7th level and every 3 level thereafter, up to the 16th. As a minor complaint: The mystery base ability's wording mentions a spell gained at 4th level and the spell-progression mentioned in the base ability directly contradicts that of the mysteries themselves and the table - I assume that the latter are correct. Still, this is a pretty nasty hiccup that should have been caught. A total of 10 different mysteries are detailed herein, focusing mostly on a nature theme. The respective mysteries govern the precise abilities gained at 1st level, 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, providing a linear ability progression in the revelations gained - in short, they behave a bit more like bloodlines than mysteries. Where appropriate, they are governed by Charisma, just fyi.

To give you a brief run-down of the mysteries: Battle provides expanded proficiencies - all martial AND exotic weapons (!!) - but the latter only while raging. 4th levels yields a high-range chant that provides minor bonuses to allies - and lacks an activation action, duration or what it takes to maintain it. We can also find better AoOs into threatened areas and, at high-levels DR based on stoneskin, replacing your regular DR...which may, in some situations, be a minor drawback, as stoneskin has a fixed cap of preventable damage AND revelation powers only work while soulraging. on a cosmetic side, the two highest level ability names have not been properly italicized.

The Bones mystery nets you an armor bonus-granting (and later also DR-granting) bones-armor while soulraging (COOL!) - but does the "last after soulrage ends"-timer rest upon reentering soulrage? the ability-interaction here is a bit wonky. Adding bleeding wounds to negative damage is nice, but if you don't take an inflict spell, you're locked out of the benefit until you gain the follow-up revelation power, since RAW, the incarnate does not have the spontaneous spell-conversion. High-level abilities here net you undead to fight beside you and a negative energy touch. Once again, action-economy is not always as clear as it should be - something that extends to quite a few abilities throughout the mysteries, mind you.

The respective mysteries also influence the capstone, mind you, with each granting a form of Apotheosis that is sufficiently strong - and the small rules interaction glitches herein do accumulate, unfortunately: I like e.g. a power word: kill 1/day, with hit point limit increased to 150, but I think it probably was intended to be a SP and thus codified. There is a cool heat aura in the flame mystery that causes damage and grants concealment with limited daily uses, fire breath, etc. - as a minor complaint, a couple of these should probably refer to class levels, not levels "Heavans"([sic!] - that typo is the header...) provides some cool star-based defensive and offensive options - including a nice idea to represent the dweller in dark via spells.

The life mystery nets channel energy while in soulrage. RAW, however, only damage healed and caused is used for the calculation, which means that daily uses are locked. That being said, transformation into a being of life is a pretty cool visual! (And yes, I can poke some minor holes in this one as well, but by now you get the idea.) The Lore mystery suddenly mentions a patron that the class does not have and focuses on violently probing the mind of others, representing the war-scholar type of trope. Nature has abilities that stabilize you via temporary fast healing and the option at higher levels to leech hit points (should be negative energy damage, imho) and gain temporary hit points. This would btw. be a place to mention an issue in rules-interaction: Several revelation powers duplicate spells as accompanying effects upon entering soulrage. However, these include summons, which I assume will vanish - still a ruling on duration-interactions would be fitting here. Stone provides reflexive weapon damage, stability and the like. Waves include cold damage and slow on critical hits, while wind e.g. adds stagger effects to crits. That may be a personal thing, but I'm not the biggest fan of such save-less crit-fishing boons, but that will not enter into the considerations of the final verdict. Still: Limited use long-range thunderclaps and the like are pretty cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are much better than usual for Wayward Rogues Publishing's offerings: While there are glitches in formatting, there are less than in previous classes. From a rules-language point of view, the class is mostly solid in its base-chassis, with only the interaction of revelation powers not always being perfect. If you're willing to make a few calls, though, the class remains pretty functional. Layout adheres to Wayward Rogue's 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a blend of really nice, original artworks and a few stock pieces. The pdf doesn't have bookmarks, which is an annoying comfort detriment. Furthermore, the pdf does not allow you to select, search of copy text, which is extremely annoying and a pretty big comfort detriment. If you want to extract information for your char-sheet, you have to do so by hand.

Rodney Sloan's incarnate ranks among the better of hybrid classes I covered from the Wayward Rogues. For one, while it does not have a potent leitmotif in the traditional sense, it does play in a pretty unique way, somewhat akin to a paladin/barb with oracle sprinkled in. Now, balance-wise, I am not 100% sold on all decisions, partially due to the minor ambiguities found herein. That being said, the linear mysteries provide distinct playstyles, which is a plus. On the downside, there is, apart from mystery choice, no player agenda here - you get this one choice and that's it. Still, while not perfect, I can see this class being fun for some groups, making this a quintessential mixed bag, slightly dragged down by the editing and comfort-issues. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Incarnate Hybrid Class
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Empath Hybrid Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2017 10:48:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The empath is a hybrid class of cleric and psychic, who receives d6 HD, 4 + Int-mod skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons as well as light and medium armor. At 1st level, they may, as a standard action, cast analyze aura (not properly italicized) at-will to see emotional auras - this is supernatural, which is weird to me, but okay. The empath gains knacks and casts psychic spells of up to 9th level, governed by Wisdom (attribute not properly capitalized -a problem throughout the file) and draws spells from its own custom spell-list. at 2nd level and every even level after that, the class may replace an empath spell known with a cleric or psychic spell.

At 2nd level, the class gets deep bond - as a standard action, the empath may touch a living being to form a bond that lasts one minute. While this is in effect, the target may use the higher of the empath's saves or his own. Slightly rules-wise redundant: "At the start of the empath's turn, as a full-round action, the empath may heal the bonded target 1d6 hit points. This increases by a "d6" (should be +1d6) at 4th level and every even level after that, capping at 18th level. This can be used 3 + Cha-mod times per day and only one bond may be in effect.

Every empath chooses an emotional sensitivity, which nets abilities at 1st, 5th 10th and 15th level and also determines the capstone - basically the discipline analogue. a total of 7 such sensitivities are provided, the first of which would be anger, which yields a short-term buff, an improperly codified, wonky bite attack that instills rage, +2 Str and Con for the bonded target at at-will full-round calm emotions. The capstone is cool: Anyone affected by rage or with a rage power or spell with it in the name can be dominated as a standard action. Makes sense to me! However, it should be noted that the capstone name is different in table and actual abilities - that should have been caught in editing.

Awe has a pretty cool basic ability: Dazzle foes briefly (sucky, I know!), but the enemies lose readied or delayed actions. Interesting! 5th level presents the option to negate a selection of negative conditions suffered by the bonded creature. Gaze-based condition sharing, rerolls for saves of allies and a capstone that may render foes flat-footed collectively make this one really nice. Courage provides a scaling Will-save bonus, AoE, versus fear, reflexive second saves versus fear and at 15th level, 60 ft. perfect flight for allies while charging (only for the charge). This IS pretty cool - but RAW doesn't work. It is activated as a swift action and targets a charging ally - it should be activated as an immediate action. Swift actions can't be used outside of a character's turn. 15th level yields the temporary doubling of morale bonuses, once per deep bond and the capstone provides a series of passive upgrades that conspire for an all-around more potent nexus.

The desire sensitivity has a gaze that penalizes Sense Motive (not properly capitalized) and lacks a durationThe 5th level allows for the expenditure of unused spell slots to buff social skills greatly, but fails to specify the spell slot required - 9th level spell slots are RAW worth as much as 1st level spell slots. 10th level yields at-will suggestion (which, being Su, should note activation action) and 15th level yields a short-term dominate. 20th level allows for the learning of a creature's desires via prolonged concentration. Despair allows for the decreasing of fear-based conditions, 5th level allows per the absorption of morale penalties, and 10th level provides a nice debuff with a hex-anti-abuse-caveat, a means that also balances the slow 15th level ability. The latter lacks an activation action The capstone provides serious benefits when nearby creatures are affected by fear-conditions.

The euphoria sensitivity nets an at-will AoE polypurpose panacea, which is overkill for 1st level; 10th level yields limited daily uses of haste (erroneously capitalized) and 15th level provides a buff that last 1 round as a full-round action - which is comparatively weak at that level. As a capstone, the empath gets euphoria-inducing skin with a no-save daze that kicks in when hit by natural attacks or unarmed strikes and it can also be used as a touch attack. Interesting! Finally, the horror sensitivity provides an Intimidate-enhancer, immunity to fear to the deep bonded target at 5th level,, a 30-ft. fear aura at 10th level that can be projected on allies and, at 20th level, an empath may, as an immediate action, consume a creature's fear, gaining a powerful buff. Okay, what's the range?

The pdf also sports archetypes: The central mind replaces emotional sensitivity and emotive master with a kind of mental communication, which, at 10th level, may transfer touch spells...okay, does the character still have to hit with touch attacks? Instead of deep bond, they may place nodes as a full-round action of a creature. Creatures with nodes can't be surprised unless all creatures with nodes are surprised. Hit points may be transferred via such nodes by the character as a standard action. The character can place nodes equal to 1 + Wisdom modifier for every two levels - which allows for ridiculously huge networks that are basically undefeatable. Not a fan, as this basically demands being cheesed.

Instead of emotional sensitivity, the instinctual driver can treat creatures as humanoid for the purpose of spells and effects, with higher levels yielding charms versus such creatures at decreasing actions required. Spells are not italicized here and the 15th level ability refers to dominate and charm interchangeably, which THEY ARE NOT. This one's a mess.

The sensorial replaces deep bond may enhance senses of creatures, increasing the potency of the granted abilities at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Pretty interesting, though one of the sub-abilities lacks the italicization of its sub-ability header. The final archetype would be the sycophant of pain - these guys can grant temporary hit points to allies, but nauseate them. This generates pain points, of which a maximum of class level + Cha mod may be held. These may be expended to deal no-save damage to nearby enemies - the damage is untyped and imho shouldn't be. The affected number of allies and temporary hit points scale, obviously. Weird: This replaces the capstone without giving anything back. Instead of deep bonds, these fellows gain the wounding well ability, a debuff bond that imposes massive penalties...but the creature affected may end this effect by taking damage. Interesting alternative to deep bond.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, the latter in particular, are the bane of this pdf. There are a ton of formatting glitches. The rules-language is better than usual for these hybrid classes, but still could have seriously used a rules-dev - there are quite a bunch of finer points in the rules-language not working properly and missing activation actions and a couple (but not many) balance-concerns here and there. The layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has nice full-color artworks. The lack of bookmarks is annoying; just as annoying would be the fact that the book has copying and highlighting of text disabled, which is supremely asinine when trying to e.g. copy abilities to a char-sheet.

Jarrett Sigler's Empath ranks as one of my favorite Wayward Rogues Publishing classes so far: While it has issues in editing and formatting, the issues are significantly less pronounced than with other classes. Unfortunately, the rules-hiccups that should have been caught in editing extend to components that affect functionality. At the same time, the class does feature actually unique options and has some really nice ideas. If you're willing to work a bit with this, then it can be considered a worthwhile offering. If this gets fixed, it certainly has the potential for 4 or even 5 stars...but with the accumulated flaws and comfort-detriments, I can't rate this higher than 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Empath Hybrid Class
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Orphic Hybrid Class
by Angel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2017 12:05:18

This Barbarian/Psychic hybrid class is really well made and thought out!

Click the link for my full video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak5c578ckGY&lc=z13owb34hlz0yftgb04cg1lh0lusfjsqckg0k



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Orphic Hybrid Class
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Cultures of Celmae: Oyapok
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/05/2017 05:37:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Cultures of Celmae-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are the oyapok? They, as a race, are relative newcomers to the world of Celmae, a marsupial humanoid species that hails from the swamps and only rather recently has made their way to interacting with the other folk of the world. While their first sojourn towards integration was thwarted by a rather nasty dragon named Dessuterrix, they are industrious and pretty optimistic folk with a generally positive outlook on life. The race comes with proper age, height and weight information, though it is not presented in the standardized table format - still, as far as I'm concerned, that's just cosmetic.

The race, as should be no surprise, values family and employs a nomenclature derived from French, with "mamere" and "papere" being titles, thus, in general, evoking a resonance with the tropes of e.g. Cajun culture that extends to cooking habits. Animism ad the importance of respecting one's environment and a generally good outlook on life conspire to make their fully depicted deity, The traveler, a nice fit for the race, even though the deity's symbol is dangerously close to that of a particular Faerûnian deity...

Nomenclature etc. is provided and racial stat-wise, they are Small humanoids that gain +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Str, have a slow speed (not properly bolded) and gain +4 to AC versus reptilian threats. They gain halfling luck (which should have been renamed "Oyapok luck", +2 to Survival, +1 to attacks versus giants and reptilian foes, low-light vision and both Hold Breath and a massive swim speed of 50 feet as well as a prehensile tail. The race, generally, ranks as one of the stronger races and, depending on the campaign, can be rather potent or on par with the core races - this hinges foremost on how much aquatic environments will feature in the campaign.

The race comes with favored class options for alchemist, bard, brawler, cleric, druid, fighter, hunter, oracle, ranger, rogue, shaman, sorceror, summoner, swashbuckler and witch. The favored class options generally are well-made and provide no balance-concerns.

The pdf also sports two racial archetypes, the first of which would be the traiteur cleric, who replaces domains with river's blessings - which is unique: It makes touch spells behave as though they have a range of 5 ft. per class level, but this range is predicated on traiteur and target being within the same body of water. While the wording for ranged touch spells is a bit wonky, it still functions. Touch spells thus cast gain +2 CL for the purpose of overcoming SR. This is VERY powerful, but situationally so - and it kills off one of THE most defining cleric abilities. Traiteurs also learn to scoop up water, imbuing it with positive energy, and pouring it over wounds. This has a range of 10 ft. and heals 1d8, +1d8 for every 2 levels thereafter. Starting at 7th level, you may replace one of these healing die to remove a negative level and at 15th level, as a full-round action, you can submerge a creature completely under water, maximizing the healing effect. This can be used 3 + Charisma modifier times per day and channel energy modifications may affect this. Speaking of which: It is pretty evident that this is supposed to replace channel energy, which it does not explicitly state. Otherwise, it should probably be a variant channeling effect and draw on the same resource.

The second archetype herein would be the foudre warpriest, who replaces aura with a whopping +3 CL for determining spell duration when summoning elementals. The blessings class feature is replaced with lacerations of the elements: At first level, choose one of the standard 4 energy types. As a standard action, a single creature in a 30 ft. radius takes sacred weapon damage + Charisma bonus damage of the chosen energy. To nitpick: energy=/= element and attributes are capitalized, as are saves: With a scaling Will-save, this may be negated. Fervor can be used in conjunction here. Starting at 7th level, replacing sacred armor, the foudre gains elemental wisps, granting SR equal to 10 + 1/2 class level, rounded down. As an immediate action, expend a fervor when attacking to hit as though using a sacred weapon.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are decent, certainly better than in most Wayward Rogues Publishing books - while some rules-language should be clearer and while some cosmetic formatting glitches can be found, the material is generally functional. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and is pretty nice, with nice, comic-style artwork for the oyapok. The pdf, annoyingly, is not properly bookmarked. Worse, the pdf does NOT allow for the copying and highlighting of text, which means you'll have a sucky time when extracting text from this pdf.

Simon Peter Munoz and Jarett Sigler (quoted as Jerret Sigler in the editorial) provide a nice, inexpensive culture-file. The oyapok are an interesting race that should fit well within most settings and contexts. While the archetypes have a couple of rough edges regarding the rules-language and would have needed some capable dev to make them work properly, the prose and flavor make this potentially worthwhile if the cultural tidbits are what you're looking for.

If you're looking for mechanics, I suggest going elsewhere; however, if flavor and concept are what you're looking for, then this may provide some enjoyment for you. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, and I'd usually round up due to in dubio pro reo, also because I really wanted this to be a win for Wayward Rogues Publishing, but compared to other files and the harsh standards I apply to comparable files, that would frankly be unfair. Hence, I have to round down, though, if you're looking primarily for flavor, this is well worth checking out.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cultures of Celmae: Oyapok
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Myrmidon Hybrid Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2017 06:57:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, ~1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 5.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The myrmidon class depicted here gets d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level and proficiency with all simple and martial weapons as well as all armor and shields, including tower shields. Chassis-wise, we get full BAB-progression and good Fort-saves.

The myrmidon's defining class feature would be exclamations -basically the talents of the class, with one gained at 1st level and another one at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter. If required, a save is based on DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier. The target needs to see, hear or smell (weird!) the myrmidon to be affected by an exclamation, but does not need to share a language with the character. Unless otherwise noted, an exclamation is a standard action to use.

So, what do these exclamations do? Well, they basically are martial, hex-like abilities that have limited daily uses. These include 1/day temporarily gaining a combat feat for which she meets the prerequisites. We can also find cure light wounds (scaling up to cure moderate wounds as an extraordinary self-only ability, with CL = character level and, thankfully, a hard, daily cap of uses. There is also an exclamation, which represents a curse that lasts for 3 + Int-mod days - when the target is healed, the caster needs to succeed at a CL-check, otherwise the last 10 points simply are not healed. At 5th level, this also imposes a penalty on saves versus diseases and poisons contracted from injury. Cool concept, if a bit wonky in its presentation - you usually describe the effect first, then the parameters. Unfortunately, I have no idea how this exclamation works. It has no range, no note on how you use it. Standard action, sure...but what's the range? Touch? Sight? 30 ft.? The flavor-text makes it sound like the myrmidon has to defeat the foe, so is it activated upon reducing foes to 0 hp?

Improving the attitude of an animal of humanoid within 30 ft. is nice...but it's not mind-influencing, has no negative repercussions for miss-use and oddly only lasts Int-mod rounds, which would make all but fast Diplomacy to avoid escalation not an option. The myrmidon may choose combat feats instead of an exclamation. As a whole, I get the idea here: There is, for example, a cackle hex variant that instead affects the exclamations of the myr-midon[sic!]. However, in the details, there are some rough edges. Let's take dazzling groan, a pretty simple operation: You get Dazzling Display sans meeting the prerequisites - which is Weapon Focus. A feat you require to use Dazzling Display - instead, the exclamation ties this to weapon groups chosen via weapon training...which is a valid decision per se. However, a weapon group is only gained at 5th level, which means that, at lower levels, this does nothing - it should have a minimum level. There is also a duplication of a 60 ft.-range doom (not italicized, like many a spell-reference) - and it's Ex, which can be considered to be slightly problematic, considering the infinite uses.

Similarly penalties that apply on even a successful save are problematic for an infinite use ability. There is also an exclamation to keep a creature from drawing weapons - which should probably be a mind-affecting compulsion. A variant of misfortune can similarly be found. Starting at 10th level, booming exclamations may be chosen - the formatting is inconsistent here, as in the weapon group summary, both of which sport sub-abilities that have not been italicized. The wording is not always perfect - "Once per day equal to her weapon training bonus" could have been phrased more elegantly, for example.

Beyond these exclamations, the myrmidon begins play with the ability to keep functioning as staggered while below 0 hp, gaining an untyped bonus to Intimidate while thus wounded. 2nd level provides a variant bravery that also is applied to mind-affecting effects, increasing the +1 bonus every 4 levels after that. 3rd level yields armor training and Endurance as a bonus feat. As mentioned before, 5th level yields weapon training,

7th level provides the first Heart of the Hero ability - which looks like it would allow for a choice of sub-abilities, when in fact, there are distinct, linear abilities - the meta-header is wholly unnecessary. This sequence of abilities include Heroic Recovery at 7th level, Heroic Defiance at 9th level, both with scaling uses. 11th level provides the option to get quickly recuperate from the fatigued condition. Problematic: Losing fatigue by being subjected to healing. 13th level provides stalwart. The fatigued condition elimination fails to properly interact with the 15th level ability: Exhaustion is reduced to fatigued...which then requires a slightly longer rest. The pdf does not specify how this interacts with the cure-options, though. 17th level yields the ability to roll twice whenever the myrmidon tries to recuperate from an ongoing effect. As a capstone, we get immunity to mind-affecting effects.

The pdf closes with a new feat, Verbal Combatant. This nets a character an exclamation with a save DC of 10 + Int-mod.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay on both a rules-language and formal level - I noticed glitches and hiccups in both, but not to the extent of earlier Wayward Rogues Publishing books. Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf uses solid stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks and also does not allow cut-copy-pasting text from it, which constitutes a serious comfort detriment when using the pdf.

Robert Gresham's myrmidon, let me state that clearly, is better than his earlier hybrid classes. It has a moderately unique angle and while it sports several hiccups in the details, it does generally have some decent ideas and can work. Not all abilities are as precise as they should be and ultimately, the exclamations could have used more unique abilities - the witch-based ones are decent when they work, but action-economy-wise, the standard action use means that the myrmidon has to choose between exclamations and full attacks. The class also feels a bit weird in actual play, feeling a bit unfocused. Compared to the hellion hybrid class, for example, the witch-aspect, apart from the engine stand-point, is thematically not really there. Is the myrmidon bad? No, but it features some glitches and does not really offer something truly amazing to set it apart. In the end, my final verdict will thus clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Myrmidon Hybrid Class
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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.

...

..

.

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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