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NeoExodus Adventures: Silvered Skull (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2013 06:25:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This "Pay what you want"-module is 16 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page advertisement, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

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

All right, still here? It is the summer of 92 AU in the Caneus Empire when two shepherds named Adler (German for eagle, btw.!) and Karl finds a weird silver skull and a ring in an old laboratory. Gifting the ring to his beloved and showing off the skull's weird glow, the shepherd inadvertently has found remnants of the Cavian Empire. Cavians, in case you didn't know, are the mouse-like hive-mind possessing humanoids with innate psionic powers of the NeoExodus-setting. And yes, this is a full-blown psionics-module, compatible with Dreamscarred Press' Psionics Unleashed. But back to the topic at hand - strange things started happening: The town's women started acting strangely, some of them even falling into a kind of coma. The town's priest committed suicide and poor Adler and his skull have been quarantined. Enter the PCs, in the employ of Sir Otto von Korrien.

On the road to Oldenhaffen from Macawi the PCs have to defeat 2 ogres. There, the local remaining priestess Sister Fritzi has already identified the skull as not the origin of the curse - essentially, it converts spells, but not psionic powers, cast on it into light-spell like effects and is completely harmless. After a short, very rudimentary investigation, the players are led to and the proceed to explore the cavern containing the Cavian complex. Alas, the place is now home to a selection of deadly threats - from the quill-furred, dog-like razorfiends, faulty deranged trepanners to finally finding aforementioned beloved woman - with the ring that actually is the source of the problems, for its is an intelligent weapon created to destroy the Sorceror-Kings of Abaddon in ages gone by. Either by combat (with summoned thought-eaters) or by diplomacy, the PCs can get the ring and lift the mental static "curse" on the town. This is not where the module ends, though - whether the PCs hand over the ring to Cavians or keep/destroy it - the choice is up to them and may very well have unforeseen consequences in the future.

We get passable maps for the complex as well as the overall place on the continent where the adventure is set.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to NeoExodus 2-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks are neat. the pdf comes in a second more printer-friendly version. Cartography is nice and actually better than in older NeoExodus-adventures and the pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length, they are not strictly required.

J. P. Chapleau has created a nice module steeped in NeoExodus-lore here - while at this length, we of course get no epic narrative, but what we do get is a nice little crawl that has some social interaction, interesting terrain features and a climax that does not necessarily boil down to "kill em all" - what more can you ask for in a short "Pay what you want"-module? The answer is: Nothing. An enjoyable read for an unbeatable price, my final verdict for this module will clock in at 5 stars +seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Adventures: Silvered Skull (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio 1.10 Superhero
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2013 09:59:56

The actual quality of the artwork is high. If you like the style (artwork appreciation being subjective), this is a reasonable purchase.

There's a disappointing ratio of men to women (that is, only one of the images is definitely of a woman), and the characters depicted have a certain Iron Age buckles-and-buckels and zippers sameness to them (in fact, half the images are of two characters, so if you don't like them, I would downgrade this to two stars).

I can't speak for anyone else, but if I were looking to use purchased artwork in something I was going to publish, I'd want a variety of characters (no replication), probably a consistency of look (having them all be Iron Age, for example, is a good thing), and a more even gender split. I recognize that the majority of characters are going to be male, but I'm a little disappointed in the 9:1 ratio. From the perspective of a publisher doing this on the cheap, it seems like it might be worthwhile to save the money and save up to have some artwork commissioned, possibly even by the artist here. Then you'd have the characters you want, though you'd have to have less artwork.

Three of the characters are wearing masks of a sort; the rest are barefaced.

Because there does not seem to be a preview, images represented are:

  1. Bald guy happily surviving having been shot at
  2. Masked guy with hoof-like footgear
  3. Menacing glare from zipper techno coverguy
  4. Cover shot
  5. Running speedster (mask)
  6. Mammoth guy in a spiked collar sitting
  7. Taloned guy leaping down
  8. Woman approaching the viewer (mask)
  9. Coverguy breaking the pavement with his fist
  10. Talonguy crouching on a gargoyle


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio 1.10 Superhero
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Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
by jeff S. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2013 09:46:52

I discovered Obsidian Apocalypse a couple of weeks ago while on the hunt for a new campaign to run. Truthfully, I had thought of running a "Zombie Apocalypse" setting and when I came across this it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, support for the campaign setting is still in it's infancy, as evidenced by this product. It's simply headshots of all the art in all the supplements up to date. There are no names, stats, or basic character reviews/context for any of the character art, and while some of these are recognizeable if you have already purchased other supplements, (Asi Magnor, Calix Sabinus, Zebediah) some of them are unneccesary. I would have loved a $9.99 product that has, say, 15-20 lesser undead lords/bad guys/minor heroes of light that could be dropped into an existing campaign, perhaps with a bit of backstory for flavor for each and some possible motivations they might have for inspiration for a GM.

This product is fine for a creative GM that has the time to invest, but not great for one that needs a minor villain or lesser boss on the spot. For that, it's an "ok"



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Pirates (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/08/2013 04:14:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The latest installment of LPJr Design's Adventure Path Iconics-series is 27 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content depicting ready-to-go pregens for teh Skull & Shackle adventure path, so let's take a look, shall we?

As has become the tradition with this series of pdfs, we kick off the supplement with an introduction that explains abbreviations and the like as well as introducing us to the basics - this pdf contains 4 human pregens and 4 ones using the unconventional races of LPJr Design's NeoExodus-setting. Said races have by now been added to d20pfsrd.com, in case you're wondering what they're all about. While all characters are build with 20-point buy, the supplement contains individual scaling information to upgrade the characters to 25 or downgrade them to 15 as well as information for progressing the characters over the next couple of levels.

That out of the way, the very first character, Bale Tehya, would be a Prymidian (red-skinned polyglot humanoids with the potential to have tentacles) bard (sea singer) - son of a famed pirate queen, his revenge and vendetta against the chelish armada almost complete, he found himself in quite a predicament (alongside the other PCs)... however, this would not be the first time Bale has slipped his shackles. Rules-wise, he is a charismatic, agile bard with a solid utility selection of spells.

Second among the new Pregens would be Bilgeghost, a Sasori (Scorpion-man) prize-fighter monk with a bakcground as a brawler in fighting pits - from boogeyman/aspiring information-broker to captive, Bilgeghost makes for an alien, cool character.

The Dalrean Sorceror Flowing kelp makes for one intriguing addition as well - not understanding the concept of private ownership, the Dalrean bumbled through human society until also being pressganged. The writing here is rather concise and intriguing, but at least to me, there are some minor hick-ups that could have been explained - how do Dalreans drink? Being plants, they can, but lacking a mouth, can they get drunk? Do they draw sustenance from alcohol? Also: The Dalrean is mentioned as feeling like heaving upon waking - can Dalreans heave? It's nitpicking, yes, but since the rest of the prose uses appropriate words, using "withered" as an equivalent for "hangover", it's something I noticed. Also, it would have been nice to have the blooline mentioned in the statblock instead of having to extract it from the text/crunch.

The Peg-legged Enuka-barbarian Shark Stalker would be the fourth member of an uncommon race and gets fitting mutations - with gills and webbed feet, he is superbly adapted to water-based adventuring...though personally, while I can see a peg-leg working perfectly on land (even with 40 ft. movement), at least for me, a peg-leg and webbed feet delivering a swim speed don't mix - I'd probably cut the swim speed from webbed feet in half due to the peg-leg. His background also is neat.

The first human character would be the red-haired gunslinger-lady Trista Rask. Born as the daughter of wealthy adventurers, her spoiled upbringing surrounded by sycophants and harsh demeanor has left has friendless and when her brother failed to return from an excursion, she set out on her own - only to be captured.

Sabine Finn, a shark shaman druid, abandoned by her primitive superstitious folk due to an auspicious shark-like birthmark makes for a surprisingly positive, nice character with a glorious artwork - kudos!

Ral Fayden, a freebooter ranger seeks to step out the shadow of his wayward father, making a name for himself - a solid build and probably the most common build you'd expect - very piratey, though not particularly imaginative. A bit strange: He's very much ranged weapon-focused, competing with Trista in that spot.

The final pregen would be Salty Jake, a native of the realm of pirates: Abused and forced into a poison-based mass murder to escape captivity, he is a haunted man - and perhaps one of the most interesting characters here, one that offers ideas galore for teh DM and the player to explore moral shades of grey.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - editor Joshua Yearsley has done a great job here. Layout adheres to a full-color 2-column standard with a map-style border and nice parchment-style backgrounds. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, with the second one being more printer-friendly. The mugshots provided for each of the characters are not only original, they are glorious and top-notch in quality.

Author Larry Wilhelm has crafted a selection of rather cool pregens in this supplement - whether for Savage Tide, Skulls & Shackles or Razor Coast, this supplement provides some cool ideas and nice characters. While the Enuka suffers from some minor incongruities and the sorceror statblock should have mentioned the bloodline, overall there simply is not much to complain is this neat collections of pregens - unlike the Path of Winter-pregens, I noticed no proficiency-glitches or missing traits - a solid offering, clocking in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Pirates (PFRPG)
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Winter (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2013 05:27:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of LPJr Design's series of pregens for APs is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 26 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

The pdf kicks off with an introduction that explains synonymous use of terms (to respect Paizo IP) as well as the basic concept of the line - 8 Pregens, 4 of which are human, whereas 4 belong to the rather uncommon races from LPJr Design's own NeoExodus campaign setting. These, btw., should you require their details, can by now be found on d20pfsrd.com's shop. Point-buy-wise, the characters are 20-point-characters, but each of them offers information on how to scale them up or down to 15 and 25 points respectively.

Now that out of the way, let's take a look at our first character, the giant-blooded Ulfen Barbarian (Breaker) maiden Asta Krigersdottir - giant-blooded, raised in exile and in an orphanage and finally adopted by a northerner, this woman is a force to fear indeed - and one that features an uncommon entry: Her prefered ranged weapon would be her...heavy mace. Seriously. Thrown anything, baby. As we've come to expect from this series, Asta, like all characters herein, comes with advice on further char-progression and roleplaying advice. Neat!

Viniana Aurcroft would be the second human - Taldan rogue (sniper) blessed with heterochromia (which I consider exceedingly hot, but that's another matter), she came from a moderately blessed family and actually has no tragedy and a rather intact family, looking for fame and her own way - refreshing among all the angsty heroes out there. That being said, her statblock seems to have two glitches - one, her statblock lists an incorrect trait and two, she wields a longsword she has no proficiency in - that should probably be a short sword.

Dron Farwalker, the Kellid ranger (guide) once was saved by either Desna or one of her agents from darkest sorcery hidden in a cairn and thus loyal to her, is a rather well-travelled and surprisingly nice (for a Kellid) man and makes for yet another cool character - though his statblock lacks the list of traits - the results of the traits are provided, though.

Jarani Zidane, the Garundi daredevil bard may seem like an odd duck in the frigid north, but that may actually be the appeal of choosing this particular pregen - a thrill-seeker and fan of the larger-than-life Ulfen champions from the North, he is journeying wild-eyed to the north, all while talking of himself in the third person and trying to charm with his bravardo.

Now the first character from NeoExodus' exotic races would be Evergreen, a Dalrean (plant-like humanoid) witch (hedge witch) who comes with a weasel familiar as well as one of the signature feats of the race, which allows the dalrean to grow a bud and store a spell in said bud. Appalling bedside manners coupled with a pargamatism make her an uncommon witch to say the least - but honestly, she's probably the odd choice for players who wish for a challenge - dalrean susceptibility to extreme temperatures and her lack of spells/items to counteract that mean that she will have a tough time - still, a cool character. She lacks the trait-list in the statblock.

The prymidian gunslinger Gryn Kynon is a refugee from another world - and his mugshot enforces that - rather badass, if I may say so, an I'm not particularly fond of the tentacle-using Prymidians! Stranded in the Mana Wastes, he left because he actually hates no languages (unlike his polyglot race) and loves magic - hence making for a cool lone stranger-style character - also due to coming with flare cartridges. He also lacks teh trait-list.

Chalu Adsila would be a cavian cleric - also from another world, a failed apprentice of the winter witches, and thoroughly un-Cavian: Seperated from her racial hive-mind, she actually embraced the antithesis of the deceptionless truthfulness of her kind, obsessing over minor lies and obfuscating things with her harmless, but potentially rather hilarious madness - oh, and she fights with a bladed scarf. Nice, though again, the trait-list is missing

The final new creature would be Maqia, a Cynean Inquisitor (with hunter) - the crystalline being has left her ecclesiastic upbringing to do the work of Iomedae instead of living a life as a living piece of jewelry. Her Cynean race and their particular benefits mean that she is perhaps the most "easy" of the characters herein - at AC 20, with solid melee and range capabilities, she is probably the strongest of the characters herein and could be considered the most optimized. Again, no trait-list in the statblocks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed minor stumbles in wording and punctuation here and there. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous 2-column standard with a blue-tinted background and scroll-like highlight boxes and once again, LPJr Design has to be complemented for oen beautiful pdf. The same can be said about the glorious mug-shots provided for each character - glorious indeed and often enough to make you introduce these characters right away. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions, with the second being more printer-friendly.

Jeff Lee knows how to write compelling characters - that's a given by now. The pregens herein are compelling, offer cool roleplaying opportunities and have some nice ideas for further advancement. Surprisingly, the stories for the uncommon races are the stars this time around - with cool background stories galore, these could well stand as intriguing NPCs on their own as well. Especially the Cavian and Prymidian deserve special kudos from yours truly - cool characters indeed! Now on the downside, I do consider both Asta and especially Maqia slightly more optimized than the others, but that's okay, I guess. More annoying are the minor glitches like the absence of trait-lists from no less than more than half of the statblocks herein. Since the sniper has a wrong weapon, getting trait-lists to properly be able to deduce how those builds were made without too much page-flipping - especially if you're not yet familiar with the NeoExodus-races a clear separation of traits and racial traits would have made modification of these pregens for prospective players easier. Now don't get me wrong - this is by no means a bad offering - but it is also not realizing its full potential and has some minor issues that weigh heavy on a pregen-collection, which is supposed to be ready from the get-go. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Winter (PFRPG)
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Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2013 09:42:47

A great collection of dynamic art that's obviously perfect for an Obsidian Apocalypse campaign, but also for any sci-fi or fantasy experience.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
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Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2013 00:00:51

I've been curious about this class for a while, and finally decided to drop the $3.00 to see it for myself.

Gotta say, I'm pretty impressed. This is at the very least nearly on par with Paizo's own base classes, and is a very well thought-out tinkerer/artificer type class -- kind of a rarity.

CLASS BREAKDOWN Machinesmiths do Crafting, Prototyping (IE spellcasting), and Combat, and they have a series of tricks that support each of these subgroups, as well as a Greatwork item -- basically a super-special-awesome signature gadget that continually upgrades and becomes more powerful. In this text they cover Mobius Weapons (an enhanced/bonded weapon option), Analyzers (multipurpose sensing/divining instrument), and Mechanuses (eidolon-like pets). Between each of these plus the usual feat allotment, the Mechanicus offers a lot of versatility within a well-focused concept. If you favor control, you could take a Mechanus and some crossbow turrets and camp out behind the front lines; if you favor up-close and personal, take the Bull's Strength prototype and a melee Mobius Weapon -- you're on the d8 hit die/+15 attack progression, so with all the enhancements it's very reasonable. It's an easy class to build around, as well, as the only real requisite for anything is a solid Intelligence score.

In the end, though, the Machinesmith always comes back to being a SUPPORT character above all else -- whether as a support fighter, a support caster, a support archer, a pet summoner, et cetera. You can rest assured that you'll be reliable in whatever it is you do, but you won't necessarily overpower other classes. It's more akin to a Bard in many ways than to other spellcasters. Unlike the Bard, who accomplishes support through performance, though, your party maintenance comes in the form of outfitting the group with superior gear, sending out drones, using Prototypes and leveraging whatever flexibility your Greatwork grants in order to adapt to your situation.

And adaptability is absolutely the name of the game. As a few examples: -Prototypes work most closely to wizard spells, with Machinesmiths preparing them out of a book of Blueprints as needed, and they can be prepared a good deal quicker than wizard spells of equivalent level. -Mobius Weapons offer the ability to switch a set of feats on and off, turning you into exactly the kind of support fighter you need to be to suit the situation at hand. -Machinesmith Tricks can either augment your Greatwork, provide passive bonuses, or give you new gadgets; alternatively, Combat Trick is always an option. -Machinesmiths get all the major knowledge skills; coupled with an Analyzer, they can be masters of information.

All in all, I dig the heck out of this class. I think it's very well-designed, and as balanced as anything Paizo themselves has made. It fills the same role as a Bard, and offers a more "hands-on" approach to support with a few more options than passively switching performance off and on -- however, it doesn't displace a Bard's role or importance in a party, in that it doesn't have as many skills and isn't quite as reliable for buffs; the key being that nothing Machinesmith does adds morale bonuses. Meanwhile it won't displace a Wizard either; if anything, it benefits greatly from having other casters around to collaborate with, particularly with Collaborative Crafting.

That said, the PDF could use some work on the formatting and flow of information, and the Machinesmith Tricks list is a bit scant. Manageable, which is the upside, but scant. It would be nice if the text for how Prototypes work were moved to the section with the spell list and new spells instead of at the top of the PDF, for instance. Meanwhile, while the artwork is generally very good, sometimes the images aren't in exactly the most relevant places -- a picture of a Mechanus is on the page for Mobius Weapons, for example, and every so often there's just a random image with no relation to the current text, seemingly just to make the composition of the page more attractive. Certainly can't fault that, you work with what art you've got, and to their credit LPJ got good art. Other than that, it's very consistent with Paizo's own standard of printing.

This one gets a hearty recommendation, and I'll be picking up the expansion PDF, "Cutting Edge Machinesmith," as I'm dying to have more content. I sort of wish LPJ would take the two and collect it in one more clearly sectioned volume, though, so as to not have to jump between two PDFs.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
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Buff Sheet (PFRPG)
by Nicole D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2013 07:31:30

This was just not what I thought it would be, and it has not been very useful in game.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Buff Sheet (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus Adventures: Silvered Skull (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/10/2013 07:55:43

Here's a good mystery to solve, troubling events in a remote mountain township complete with weird artefacts and locals acting strangely.

The work opens with some backstory, sufficient for you to weave a few ancient legends about a long-lost super-culture into your world if you are not running this in NeoExodus, and then explains what has happened so far in the remote mountain township that has led them to send to their absentee overlord for assistance. That assistance takes the form of him hiring a party of adventurers to check the place out...

Actual play starts with the hiring, some atmospheric scenes that work best in NeoExodus but which could be transplanted to any city where the local kingdom is gearing up to fight a war and minor matters like the wellbeing of your own home have to be set aside by many lords. An air of realism and plausibility pervades, rather than the standard job offer in the local tavern that starts so many adventures.

This is followed by the journey to the township, made interesting by a few encounters on the road before the adventurers arrive in town and begin to investigate what is going on. There are several well-described local inhabitants who between them have quite a bit of information, provided the characters settle down and talk to them.

Eventually, the characters will be directed to where the weird artefacts were found. Here follows an interesting and exciting investigation of a site belonging to the lost super-culture with various unusual (and, of course, dangerous) artefacts and creations...

The conclusion of the adventure is intriguing. The characters are faced with a choice, and that choice will have consequences... potentially world changing ones. Not bad for a 3rd-level adventurer... and with plenty of scope for more to come.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Adventures: Silvered Skull (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Rampager’s Irons (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2013 04:44:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the „Treasures of NeoExodus“-line is 4 pages long, with one page devoted to SRD/editorial and 1 page weapon cards, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

The tale of these pistols is a tale of woe, of one brother betrayed by traitorous officers, framed for the selling of military secrets. Upon the execution, his brother took up these pistols and went of a dread rage, avenging the death of his kin. To this day, these +1 pistols that look so terribly common actually allow the wielder to spend all remaining git (at least 1) to enter essentially a gunslinger’s rage: This works just like a barbarian’s rage, but instead of str and con-bonuses, the wielder gets a massive +6 bonus to dex. The rampage lasts 1 round per grit point spent and can only be ended upon a successful will-save. Furthermore, upon completing the rampage, the wielder runs the risk of being subject to a geas to find and kill the nearest member of the Forger’s guild, whom he perceives in a red aura.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to LPJr Design’s drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full color standard for the NeoExodus campaign setting and the pdf comes in two versions, with the latter being slightly more printer-friendly, but no less awesome to look at. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Author Adam Wells weaves a tale of woe and sorrow here and delivers a set of pistols that is iconic indeed – and, beyond its neat mechanics, offers quite a bit of storytelling potential: Think about PCs trying to find a forger and using the weapons to identify the target – only to need to restrain the wielder…

The best of weapons not only offer intriguing mechanics, but also storytelling potential – this is one of them and a neat example of what can be done with the format of the series – great story, great crunch, nice adventuring possibilities – 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Rampager’s Irons (PFRPG)
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Winter (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/30/2013 10:52:58

An interesting and potentially useful resource, particularly for groups who have got hold of a Paizo Adventure Path and are itching to get playing. Whilst out of respect for Paizo's copyrights the actual name of the AP in question is not given it is easy enough to figure out which one it is, and of course these characters are suitable for any winter-themed adventures you may intend to run.

The iconics include four human characters honed for the AP in question as well as four further ones along the same theme but drawing on races and other concepts introduced in LPJ Design's NeoExodus: A House Divided campaign setting... so ideal for winter-themed campaigns set there, or for the potentially epic prospect of a mashup between NeoExodus and the AP... (Hmmm. Maybe I'd better stop running my APs straight Golarion and try this twist, has potential!)

All characters are presented as first level, using a 20-point buy build. Notes are provided for those who prefer 15 or 25 points instead. As well as a detailed stat block and a portrait, each character comes with a full background and notes for role-playing. There is also a useful note on likely choices as the character levels up for the next few levels. Naturally, these are but suggestions - base your character about one of these but swap things in and out until it is the character YOU want to play.

Everything is nicely-presented, with each character arranged over 3-4 separate pages so it is easy to print out just what you need, or share them out between a group of players without having to resort to ripping pages in half to give each player the information that they need.

PS. Just in case you are wondering, the AP in question is Reign of Winter from Paizo Publishing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Winter (PFRPG)
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Enemies of NeoExodus: Cyrix (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2013 04:49:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with14 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

The being known as Cyrix now is not one that is discussed openly - indeed, the very existence of Cyrix is denounced by those in power - and yet, the accounts are there, accumulating for those willing to look. The tale of the creature is one of woe - Alka Kryszkaslawa and her lover Ivan Tobor rank among the finest minds in all the world - the duo of scientists/machinesmiths were geniuses beyond par - until Ivan passed away. Unbeknown to the general populace, both very also lovers with a taste for sado-masochistic games and when Ivan passed away, Alka was crestfallen.

What happens when a god-complex, a penchant for sadism and sadness drive a person to the edge of insanity? As a coping mechanism, she created a mechanical duplicate of her erstwhile lover, seeking solace and fulfillment in the arms of her creation, only to realize that her greatwork lacked the inherent drive, the personality, to fulfill her needs. Frustration grew, and her tendencies got more violent by the day, driving her to ultimately destroy her creation - every single night - and then rebuilding it in a perpetual spiral of disappointment and rage. And then, something unforeseen happened - whether by divine inspiration, by a curious glitch or an influx of energy, Cyrix started remembering - all its deaths, all the pain and suffering it endured. And from then on, its one goal was the construction of a body of its own and while it suffered destruction upon destruction, it finally managed to get into its body - with a grinning skull and mien shaped by abuse and suffering, it almost slew its creator and vanished.

And evolved. While at first, his basic statblock is CR 6, it already is self-aware, comes with a glorious full-color artwork, can fire flaming needles from its mouth and shock foes into stunned submission. And it only gets better (or worse) from there - at CR 11, Cyrix has upgraded its body with a chasis, produces an anticoagulant and has a deadly plasma cannon attached to its body. At CR 16, Cyrix further upgrades this version into a truly deadly adversary - btw. the form you can see on the glorious cover (and in the book as well - impressive indeed!). And then, there's the CR 22-version - where Cyrix has managed to surpass the bounds of a singular consciousness and disperse its being amid a nanite-like swarm with a hive-mind that can emit deadly, disabling pulses and also highjack golems and similar constructed opponents.

That is NOT where the pdf ends, though: Cyrix, at CR 11, learns to create so-called necrotic golems (CR 8), a new monster that is essentially a mix of the dreaded Necrostructs and Flesh Golems - and all awesomeness. Alka (who also gets her own, glorious mugshot), in the meanwhile, has realized that her frail physical form might never be able to deal with Cyrix and thus ventured off on the path of the transmechanical ascendant. Her statblock, which clocks in at an impressive CR 15, thus combines this PrC with the Machinesmith for a deadly ally that might just be worse than the creature she has created.

And that is ONE of the possible stories for Cyrix. And half of the supplement. "What?", you say? Yes.

Another version might be the following: Section Omega, the (anti-)psionic secret agency of NeoExodus sought a way to combine the vast knowledge of the intelligent extranet Kaga with the omnipresence of the Cavian hivemind via psionic matrixes - and, in their research. melded two contrary minds together, creating something new, something alien filled with self-loathing and fear and hell-bent on surpassing its physical bonds. Hence was born Cryix, as a rogue psionic matrix that was to be the only success and only inheritor of the boundless ambition of Project Apotheosis, of essentially creating a literal Deus Ex Machina - a God from the Machine. At CR 6, the rogue psionic matrix is weak still, able to pass on fragments of its own conflicted psyche, whereas at CR 11, things get interesting - Studded with a deadly energy projector that modifies the energy current power in rather ingenious ways as well as with a psychic shockwave that staggers its opponents. As with its first incarnation, CR 11 sees the advent of the creature's chassis. Via the consumption of other minds, its CR 16 incarnation once again grows further in power, making its shockwave extremely lethal (possible unconsciousness - OUCH) and adding further powers to its repertoire. And finally, at CR 22, Cryix actually IS the most powerful psionic entity in all of NeoExodus, has transcended the bounds of corporeality and seeks to devour all psionic minds with the ultimate goal of divine apotheosis, fulfilling the promise of the name of the project that created it.

Now if you think that's it, you'd be wrong again - for Cyrix can replace the brain of living creatures with crystalline structures and annihilating personality (Cha dropped to one), but also creating observing drones -with a self-destruct killswitch. Yes. Detonation. Ouch. We get a sample character (CR 7) as well as the former head of Project Apotheosis - one of Cyrix most powerful slaves at CR 15, who, again, gets a unique mugshot.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's two-column, full color standard and is drop-dead gorgeous - I've said it time and again, LPJr Design products are some of the most beautiful out there. And there are artworks - oh, are there artworks. Drool-worthy artworks in gorgeous, iconic full color and so many of them - especially for such a low price, it boggles the mind. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, with the latter being slightly more printer-friendly, but no less beautiful.

Where to start? Part Marvel's Ultron, part Warhammer's Necron, part ghost in the Shell, put in the blender, add some spice and author Jeff Lee creates something UNIQUE. Not content with providing an expertly written origin stories, we get actually TWO to choose from. We could have been served a regular, normal progression - but that would be the easy way and this pdf instead opt for the high road - in creating UNIQUE versions for every iteration that go beyond regular straight progressions and instead truly CHANGE the villain. The fact that Cyrix' consciousness is not necessarily limited to a body (but to e.g. a mobius core) means that, much like, Ultron, it can challenge your players again and again, be vanquished and return stronger and changed - this indeed is a foe that can, if you choose so, harass your players throughout their careers. And then, we get supplemental NPCs, no less awesome than the main star of the pdf itself.

At this point, we'd already be looking at a massive winner of a pdf, at a full-blown recommendation. And then, we get the content times two: The psionic variant and its progression (fully Psionics Unleashed compatible, btw.!) as well as its supplemental NPCs take this pdf to a whole new level. Not content with simply saying "This is the psionic variant, have fun", we instead get A NEW STORY, new NPCs, new builds with completely different progressions. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a whole new level and I can't emphasize this enough, also a prime candidate for harassing the players throughout their careers. Now, with a minimum of work, enterprising DMs can even BLEND both stories, thus getting 8 (!!) statblocks for the same villain - each of them so unique that honestly, they might be referring to the same mind, but definitely not the same villain, with each iteration bringing new abilities and most of the time, new signature abilities to the fray. And then there's the paranoia-inducing template.

I honestly didn't think I'd ever write these words - but this is on par with the absolute apex. Surpassing all but my all-time favorite Pathfinder NPC Nameless Nil, Cyrix ups the ante regarding content, imagination and production values, providing one of the very best NPCs/villains currently available for PFRPG. This shares the throne with my all-time favorite. Yes. That good.

Even the oftentimes rather stigmatized sadomasochism, while not handled as something positive, at least is here no indicator of evil alignment, but rather only spiraling out of control due to grief and the lack of SSC with constructs as well as the god-complex of the creator - kudos for this tactful and mature, non-explicit handling (if not 100% to my personal tastes - I'm very much in favor of creating more awareness of SSC) of the matter. And yes, if the matter does not interest you, it's sufficiently non-explicit to ignore it - so don't let this tangent keep you from checking this out.

Beyond getting these cool, unique statblocks and NPCs with stories that actually matter and are a good read as well as awesome artworks and production values, we get a significant amount of content. I've been waiting a long time for this pdf and expected to be disappointed by it - oh boy was I wrong. LPJr Design has managed to get EVERYTHING right. Nothing to complain - in fact, there's no component of this pdf I would not gush about. Don't let perhaps the coolest villain (with or without) psionics currently available for PFRPG pass you by. This is an easy 5 star + seal of approval pdf and one that is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2013. And yes, if I could, I'd rate this 6 stars - pdfs like THIS are what I'm reviewing for.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of NeoExodus: Cyrix (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 25: Storn Cook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/08/2013 11:07:12

This product - provided only in PDF unlike many art collections which provide material in more user-friendly (at least, if you are putting your own product together) formats - contains five single-figure full colour illustrations with a medieaval and almost Celtic feel to them.

The first is a lady on a throne. If you look closely, you may decide she has pointy ears, and could pass for an elf or maybe half-elf - her features are somewhat harder than I imagine for the almost ethereal beauty of an elf maiden. She has a sceptre and orb of quite interesting design, a long white plain dress and a bejewelled diadem.

Next is another lady, in practical dark clothing and holding a metal goblet... I do hope she didn't steal it! It is nice, though, to see properly-dressed fantasy females!

Then there's a rather fed-up looking chap in a mail shirt, sitting on a block of stone and resting his chin on his sword hilt. He's also dressed practically for adventuring.

Next a scantily - but decently - clad young lady in a light shift, blowing a horn on the edge of some water. Maybe she's summoning mermen or other sea dwellers. Even she looks quite practical with a knife at her belt.

Finally, a pointy-eared female bard, dressed for the road, takes her ease under a tree strumming on a lap harp. I think this is my favourite of all the images, sitting dreaming of things she has seen or might see and setting them all to music.

This is followed by a page of dense legalese which passes for the 'licence' for this artwork package. I think. Most of the time it talks about 'software' and I wonder if it got lifted verbatim from the back of some software package in the author's possession. Whilst it is quite reasonable to offer different terms to self-publishers and small independent game companies from larger organisations, such terms and fees should be available BEFORE you purchase the art - under UK law (which I appreciate neither the author nor this site operates under) license terms are invalidated if you cannot read them before making a purchase. It might be worth revisiting this to ensure that it is clear and making it available on the product page.

Nice pictures, though!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 25: Storn Cook
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Enemies of NeoExodus: Cyrix (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/22/2013 10:32:58

When folks go to great pains to tell you that something doesn't exist, it's time to smell a rat!

Or in this case, a large self-aware construct - because that is what Cyrix is. There is an extremely detailed background which gives plenty of scope for weaving this construct into your plots, as well as full statistics for not just a single construct but Cyrix at various stages of its development from newly-formed to an entire swarm of malign constructs through which Cyrix has contrived to spread its consciousness forming a hive mind.

A new monster - a golem created out of dead things bolted together into a metal shell - and the creators - instigators - of Cyrix also appear. As you'd expect, these worthies possess many interesting gadgets of their own and have the potential to become interesting and potent NPCs in your game.

This is followed by an intriguing concept: what if the Cyrix construct was psionic? Again descriptive text explains how it came about, and this is followed by several variations of Cyrix itself from newly-spawned through completely-autonomous to the 'Devourer of Minds' and ultimately an incorporeal psionic entity. Given the construct's habits, there is also a 'Thrall of Cyrix' template for its victims! This in particular is fascinating and opens up all kinds of possibilities for the GM prepared to wrestle with the niceties of constructs and psionics.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of NeoExodus: Cyrix (PFRPG)
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of the Wicked (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2013 05:39:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of Pregens is 27 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

This collection of pregens for Fire Mountain Games acclaimed "Way of the Wicked"-AP kick off with some general information on how the characters were built. Following the suggestions of the AP, the pregens are built with 25-point builds and lack starting equipment -since they are prisoners. They also make use of the crime-traits that serve as a fitting introduction to the AP. Much like in the installment for Jade Regent, this installment of Adventure Path Iconics features extensive backgrounds for each of the characters as well as beautiful, original artworks for every character. Also, much like the first installment, half the characters are human, whereas the rest make use of the races from the NeoExodus campaign setting.

So what characters do we get? The pdf's first character is one of my favorites - Anxelia Luris, a daughter of a noble blessed with beauty and good standing always considered her looks problematic. Disgusted with the superficiality and hypocrisy of her circles and family, her disfiguring scars and fascination for body modifications as well as her devotion make her an uncommon inquisitor - and at least in my opinion, the scars featured in her portrait rather serve to enance her allure - but then again, I'm drawn to bad girls. ;) She comes with extensive descriptions of her looks and everything else as well as advice on how to advance her during the next levels. The final page of her entry, the character has her image grayed in the background.

Arok Headtaker is the first NeoExodus-race - a Kalisan, a white-skinned cannibal raised in an orphanage that turned out to be a slave-ring, Arok is equal parts beast and civilized creature. If you're not familiar with Kalisans - have I mentioned that they can consume the brains of the fallen to gain their memories, at least temporarily? The magus rocks and is a well-fitting addition to Talingarde.

Cormas Blackwood, the antipaladin, is essentially anti-Jon Snow: A disgruntled bastard son who in the end tried to murder his inferior half-brother. Impeccable manners and arrogance hide a truly vile man, disappointed by society and hell-bent, quite literally, on taking what he perceives as his rightful place.

Ghostwhisper, a mindbender alchemist of the Cavian race is one of the weirdest characters: A Cavian (ratman) severed from the race's psionic hivemind. Without any sense of tact and a desperate bid for rejoining the hivemind, this sociopathic creature is perhaps the most uncommon of the characters - but his traumatic separation almost makes him a sympathetic character - I would have loved a more evil vibe à la mad scientist there. By the way: The non-psionic version of the Cavian-race is used - I would have enjoyed a Psionics Unleashed-compatible version, but oh well.

Glimemrshade, a sasori (scorpion-people) rogue aspiring to become an assassin makes for a weird, chatty killer that actually really enjoys her profession and brings the joy of killing, painfully, to the table. While also weird, her foreignness is imho better explained than Ghostwhisper's.

Now if you instead would prefer a thoroughly devoted devotee to Asmodeus' glory, take Kalina Rhys - sexual, seductive and already ingrained into Asmodeus' worship, the beautiful cleric is calculating and might actually be interested in those that don't fall for her constant innuendos.

Rajas the Defiler, a P'tan (shadow-infused cat people) equipped with a deep-seated hatred for Mitrans, is another character, much like Ghostwhisperer, one might consider sympathetic - but only for a short time. The barbarian takes his nickname seriously as all hell, an acquired name being every significant to his people and thus seeks to defile and destroy anything related to Mitra.

Perhaps the most tragic of the villains herein would be the sorceror Zachris Swayne - he lost his family to cheating bastards and had to spend a life on the streets - until his latent sorcerous powers awakened and allowed him a chance to exact revenge. His revenge was cruel and his lack of manners contrasts sharply with his high charisma score. In his mind, Zachris is a victim, bent on making foes pay and escape his perceived role as a victim of circumstances and the world in general.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches - here a shout-out to Joshua Yearsley - ever since he has started editing for LPJr Design, the glitches have been SIGNIFICANTLY reduced, eliminating the one weakness I usually had to complain about. Layout adheres to a rusty-chain-bordered, slightly tarnished-looking, glorious two-column standard that once again shows why I consider LPJr Design's varying layouts to rank among the best out there. Also among the best are the GLORIOUS full color mug-shots that each character gets - and characters they are: Even if you don't use them as pregens, they'd make for great cohorts or even a rival adventuring party. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being more printer-friendly. The pdfs come fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Impressive. Author Jeff Lee delivers a cadre of despicable villains to introduce to Way of the Wicked or simply use as low level foes of PCs of other campaigns - with the glorious artworks and neat background information, the characters truly deserve their names. Now, not all is perfect: I would have enjoyed an alternate version of the Cavian and personally, I don't think that the P'tan and Cavian blend culturally too well with Talingarde: The Sasori and Kalisan work much better, proving that it's possible to make these work well within the nation of Talingarde. As these are minor complaints, I'll still settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of the Wicked (PFRPG)
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