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Urban Dressing: Logging Town
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2016 03:44:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


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


We begin, as always, our brief tour through the logging town with a massive table of 100 entries depicting sights and sounds - from clattering wood to horses dragging de-limbed trees behind them to children carrying syrup by the buckets down the streets, we are greeted with a diverse array of things to behold - but conflict does loom here as well, as the astute traveler may perceive druids pronouncing doom for the forest's desecration or guild officials arguing with workers. Shimmering Fae lights, odd aftertastes in the local ale - beyond sights that speak of a pastoral idyll making way for civilization, danger lurks. And what about that massive tree in the middle of the settlement? Its face is so life-like...


Now such a place, obviously, is defined by the business to be found with the settlements confines and a table, 50 entries strong, provides indeed more than the obligatory lumber mill with kilns, stables, mercenaries, artists, arborists, seamstresses and cobblers awaiting the visits of prospective customers, all with their own names and small bit and pieces of information that allows you to breathe life into them. And yes, herbalists and wood mages can be found here as well.


Of course, such places are also defined by the people living there - so 50 sample personalities can be found in the respective table - from weary warriors to elderly halflings sketching trees that will soon be gone to sadists that enjoy getting lumberjacks drunk and insane people thinking they speak for the spiders of the woods, there's a lot of local color to be found here...and what about that dryad that constantly petitions the mayor to steer clear of the sacred grove? Indeed, the respective write-ups sport quite a lot of potential.


Should this not suffice, well, then 20 complications and hooks will keep you and your group busy: A monstrous stag has been sighted and now the game is on to bring it down. Several groves have been reduced to cinders, leaving strange spiral patterns...and what if a flash flood has raised the water level of a nearby lake so much, it may see the logs churning down from the mountain smash into the village? There are a lot of diverse problems, both esoteric and mundane here, creating a great finale for this pdf.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' crisp two-column b/w-standard with nice, thematically-fitting b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions, one intended for screen-use and one intended for the printer.


Josh Vogt's logging town is awesome - detailed and intriguing, the town runs a perfect balancing act between pastoral idyll and eff'd up hovel, between civilization vs. nature tropes and those that go beyond that, between the mundane and the magical - it is, in short an absolutely excellent installment in the series that captures the spirit of the logging town exceedingly well. 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Logging Town
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Gossamer Worlds: Ring of Fire (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2016 03:41:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a step through the door and visit this world!


This time around, we're getting gritty and apocalyptic, big time: Legends tell of this world being an Ourouboros, a Dyson ring (artificially created ring world, in short) that was crafted to act like a kind of petri-dish for civilizations. Unfortunately for this world a Crimson King-like traveler from the Grand Stair, the nefarious Man with Red Hands, a disembodied spirit capable of possession lesser life-forms, has taken over the world and is, laconically speaking, making the multi-verse's biggest barbecue ever - roasting this world alive, slowly but steadily alive.


Similarly, preachermen spread his gospel of doom and defeat, while gunslingers are the last bastion of hope and force for good in a world, spiraling towards annihilation...and you thought the above Crimson king-analogue was resting on flimsy feet... ;) Kidding aside, this world can be summed as "Dark Tower in a Dyson Ring, with less esoterica" - meaning, instead of the abstract beams of the tower, we have a system grounded, for the most part, in science - and from the brutal noonlands to the genius-AI-shielded doom of this world, there is a lot for lords and ladies to accomplish on this world - if no one stops the malevolent entity...there soon will be no world left to visit...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports numerous nice pieces of full-color artwork as well.


Matt Banach's Ring of Fire's appeal very much rests on one question: Do you like the "Dark Tower"-saga. If you do, then you'll love this take on the tale. If you don't...well, then you probably won't consider this Gossamer World interesting. Personally, I ADORE the Dark Tower, particularly for its brilliant end (everyone who's read it knows what I'm talking about) and I sure would love to dance the Commala on the ring of fire...but then again, the leaning towards the original is a bit too close for me in this world: Beyond the Dyson ring and the slightly more scientific and less mystical tone, this could have used additional complications and twists on the theme to make it slightly more unique. That being said, if you ever wanted to play the Dark Tower...here's your chance. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars. (And don't forget to pop in Demons & Wizards: Touched by the Crimson King for the finale...)


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Ring of Fire (Diceless)
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Quests of Doom Complete Pathfinder Edition
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2016 05:50:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive book clocks in at 312 pages, not including the covers. Of these pages, 1 is reserved for notes, 1 for the editorial, 1 for the ToC and two for the SRD, leaving us with o less than 307 pages of content, so let's take a look!


But before we dive into the matter at hand, let us first define what this book actually is - a kind of celebration of a series that was nicked in its bloom due to various reasons - I'm, of course, talking about "Demons & Devils" and "Vampires & Liches", the two module compilations released back in the day by Necromancer Games for 3:X. In case you haven't been around back then to check them out, the premise was simple: Provide old-school modules that are HARD. Not regular FGG-level hard, but...well, nasty. Diabolical. Obviously, I was all for this and coincidentally, "Demons & Devils" was one of the first three books by NG I purchased back in the day at my local FLGS.


The others were "Tomb of Abysthor" and "Crucible of Freya", but I've reminisced long enough about them in my review of their re-release/expansion, Stoneheart Valley. The series never was as popular as the more prominent NG-offerings and thus, only those two installments were made - much to my chagrin. Why? Because they were eye-openers for me. While the other books I purchased were great and have become legends in my group, there are few modules my players talk about more than those contained in these humble pages - which is due to a variety of factors. For one, they are pretty logical, as far as old-school gaming is concerned. Beyond that, they are challenging and dare to ask for brains - whether it's puzzles or simply traps that cannot be easily disarmed by a roll of the bones, their philosophy was different and simply FUN. (Well, I may have made them even more deadly for my main campaign, yes, but that's another story...)


I was at the same time exhilarated and dreaded the arrival of this book - I knew that there were more modules planned that never saw the light of day, but would they live up to the legend of their predecessors? Would the new versions work?


Before I present the modules, let me share some observations with you: For one, fans of FGG's Lost Lands will cherish suggestions of where to place the modules in the context of the campaign world. Beyond that, the modules sport copious new artworks of rather neat quality, so there's that. At the same time, I think one can pretty easily discern the modules that hearken back to the Necromancer Games-era. I may, obviously, be mistaken and only goaded on by some minor relics that refer to NG instead of FGG, but I believe that a certain sense of growth can be seen by quite some authors herein. The conversion-work, generally, is pretty good - when e.g. vehicles are included and ACG-rules are used here and there, one can see that not only the bare minimum was done. At the same time, I do believe that the conversion could have done a slightly better job in some instances, but let's talk about this when it does rear its head.


The modules are grouped by 3s, with each segment having a certain creature-theme. It should also be noted that the modules do sport less hand-holding than many contemporary modules - experienced GMs are definitely going to have an easier time here, with so modules being more challenging (but also more rewarding) than others.


Well, let's not dilly-dally any longer and take a look!


This being a review of a massive adventure compilation, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.


...


..


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All right, still here? Great!


The first module herein would be J. Collura's "Noble Rot", intended for levels 5 -8. In this module, the PCs explore the dilapidated, decayed wine-making operation of the erstwhile prolific Gluant family, hoping to loot some of their exquisite wines. From a significant array of rumors, one can already piece together some intriguing notes about the family - and indeed, the exploration of their dread grounds proves to be a most exciting task - with the undead roaming and a sense of decay pervading the grounds, one can quickly glean that not all is well: Indeed, the family has fallen to the power-struggle of two dread demon lords associated with fungi and slime and thus, the exploration proves to be somewhat icky. Highlights of this module include definitely the author's obviously well-done research that makes the place feel organic and realistic, the new wine slime, wine-making-themed hazards (which benefit quite a bit from the GM doing a quick research for them - I found depicting them easier thereafter) and two particularly challenging encounters - the final battle and the penultimate one both are nasty and reward smart players for drawing the right conclusions in a way more often seen in CoC-pulp-modules than in fantasy - nice! It should also be noted that the titular Noble Rot, based on the real world fungus Boytris Cinerea, can be contracted as a symbiotic fungus that actually acts as a bonus and which allows the GM to help in case of abysmal PC luck. While I believe this is better suited at 5th level than 8th, this module is a strong opener that definitely deserves accolades for the consistent and tight atmosphere evoked.


"Of Ants and Men", for PCs level 4 - 8, is written by Bill Webb. Do I really need to say more? All right, the short version is that the master of Frog God Games delivers by the spades in one of the most simple, yet unique and challenging crawls I've read in quite some time. The premise is simple: Get Giant Ant eggs out of the hive. Easy, right? WRONG. For one, as the dead adventurers attest, there are more issues looming - and the hive is interesting. Instead of devising a convoluted mechanic to depict the hive, we instead get different alarm-statuses for the hive and an easy means of determining initiated aggression upon intruders - essentially, PCs can be sprayed with pheromones by engaging in combat - this results in "aggroing" the hive. Conversely, smart groups that infiltrate the place, steer clear of the warriors etc. may actually make their way to the intelligent queen of the hive - where they may conduct negotiations via pantomime with the mistress of the place. Following the notion of a Gygaxian simulationist world, incursions into the hive by other creatures provide opportunities for the PCs to be sprayed with "friendly" pheromones, facilitating their infiltration. Oh, and AoE-effect can crumble the tunnels. Cave-ins are NOT fun, so your PCs better be smart. As a nice twist a GM may include or leave out, the hive has burrowed into an antediluvian complex, where extremely deadly traps await alongside a mundane blade made from magic-nulling material - obviously, escaping with this nasty, priceless weapon can be rather tough...and may lead to very intriguing further capers. I LOVED this module - it's unconventional, fun, rewards clever players and could be played as a war of attrition, an infiltration of just a hack-n-slay-type of module. Glorious!


Speaking of which - what's better than a module by Bill Webb? What about one where Matt Finch co-authors the thing? "Hidden Oasis - Temple of Thoth", intended for levels 7 - 9 is ridiculously awesome: When a mysterious stranger, a djinn in disguise, offers knowledge in exchange for a task and produces a strange papyrus scroll with symbols, we kick things into high gear - for the PCs leave their bodies for the plane of shadows, where the equivalent of a Star Gate can be activated with the runes handed to them, bringing them to a kind of odd demi-plane-ish Oasis. Here, an exploration of the ruins and surroundings does show that something has befallen the mysterious planar nexus that is the temple of Thoth. Clever research may also help here, for indeed, the sealed temple that can be accessed via another gate here has been infected with the Waxen plague, a dread affliction that either kills those subjected or turns them into gelatinous cubes - but thankfully, the high-priest is still around, holding the fort. Surely, the PCs can help him...oh wait.


The spiteful djinn may have forgotten to mention that the high-priest is a huge, intelligent transparent slug with a humanoid brain in the torso. Yep, that's the good guy. Oh, and he can control the priests-turned-cubes, in case you're wondering. Exploring the temple can net the PCs access to some teleportals, but that's not the problem - the temple is about to be compromised by a dread force of Planeshoppers. What are these guys? Pretty deadly, locust-like conquerors that seek a waypoint into the PC's world! Worse, they are about to come full force and the synergy effects of their castes render them formidable foes. In fact, their builds are significantly more interesting than I've come to expect from FGG - they are deadly and use some very advanced tricks I really like. With lethal psychic shokwaves predating the invasion, the PCs do not have much time - but there is one ace in the hole: The Scorpion of Sekhmet. If the PCs have been smart, they'll have found some mysterious power-sources - which the can use to power a gigantic SCORPION-MECH, Power Rangers-style. I.e. multiple PCs have to pilot this bad boy, with actions eating at the power source, movement and turning adhering to concise and easily understood rules...oh, and tail-laser. This is absolutely awesome in so many ways - can you remember when you last fought alongside a giant transparent slug-priest and his gelatinous cube henchmen in a giant scorpion-mech against massive, deadly and evil insectoid invaders hell-bent on subjugating your world? Thought so! This is one of the best modules herein and absolutely glorious!


Demons and Devils are next, all penned by the legendary duo of Clark Peterson and Bill Webb. The "Sorceror's Citadel"(suggested level: 9) is pretty much a straight-forward dungeon-crawl into the abode of a wizard named Crane, known for his mastery of a sphere of annihilation and subsequently eliminated in battle against foes most vile - and infiltrating the place is challenging - the use of magic in particular, with clever illusions etc., renders this a classic challenge.


"Ra's Evil Grin," so named due to the puzzle required to enter the meat of the module, also provides a quest for an artifact, this time, for the Globe of Arden - but to reach it, the PCs will have to brave a dungeon that has one of the nastiest traps in FGG-history (Yes, on par with the legendary entry to Rappan Athuk) and yes, the maze and foes are intriguing. If you're looking for something different: I ran this as a solo-module back in my old campaign (only suggested if you're really sadistic and your players know that death awaits...) and made the whole dungeon times, making the mummy priest and immortal, regenerating badass that hunted the poor PC through the dungeon. And yes, my PC solo'd the demon at the end in an extremely close encounter, but still. That being said, most GROUPS probably will have a VERY hard time surviving this beauty - one of the classics and so sweet indeed... I just wished the web-enhancement of the journey to the island had been included and updated herein.


The third module herein would be my least favorite among the old modules from "Demons & Devils" - it is essentially a two-parter, with the first one centering on a paladin getting a holy avenger. Thereafter the dread deceit of the demons becomes apparent, as the blade corrupts the champion - the true blade still lies hidden and, in the end, one has to be chosen. I'm not a fan of alignment and even less s a fan of forced alignment changes, so while not bad or necessarily problematic, I always considered plots like this to be something of a cheap shot. Rules for lesser versions of the classic demons have btw. been included in the deal here.


Okay, the next triumvirate would be "Giants & Dragons", which kicks off with Michael Curtis' "The Dead from Above," intended for levels 10 - 13. And oh boy, does it kick off! SPLINTER!!! CRASH! FIRE!!! DEATH!!! Undead giants fall on the town and lurch to life, while a dragon skeleton swoops through the air and a gigantic building fashioned from titanic bones hangs in the sky. Defeating the initial onslaught, PCs can actually RIDE the skeletal dragon (!!!) up to the fortress and bring the fight to the nasty giants - who have fused one of their kind with the flying fortress, dooming the pilot to a body-horror-level nasty existence. Taking down the giant's flying fortress and crashing its soul-consuming engines is absolutely AWESOME. This is unrepentant in its glorious ideas, with truly deadly adversaries and a set-up that will leave any metal-head (or boy...or gamer, really...) squeeing. Come on. You ride a skeletal dragon to a fortress in the sky to do battle with necromancer-giants. This does everything right that "Curse of the Riven Sky" did wrong -it embraces its over-the-top OMG-what-is-happening-premise, has glorious terrain and even means for social manipulation...oh, and, of course a reason why PCs (probably) shouldn't keep the fortress. AWESOME!


Where the above module was pretty much straight action, James M. Ward's Dead Dragon temple, for PCs level 6 - 8, instead opts for portraying the majestic - at the side of one of the most difficult to scale mountains I've ever seen represented in a module, lies a dragon-shaped temple, wherein the spirits of dead dragons roam as haunts, while hostile adventurers and lizardfolk cater to their whims - fulfilling the desires of the reptiles can lead to different rewards and sidetreks, should you so choose, and the temple does contain a unique, good white dragon as well as a means to defeating a truly deadly menace - for the PCs venture inside to become dragons to stop an ancient blue dragon from destroying more settlements. The final draconic dogfight is a joy, but only if your GM-prowess is at expert level: Handling a group of dragons in the air is difficult and I'd strongly suggest getting the legendary "Companions of the Firmament"-supplement for the rules on 3d-combats, turning, etc. - with them, this is a huge blast. Without them, you'll have to be pretty adept.


The third module is penned by industry-legend Ed Greenwood and it does show: "Emeralds of Highfang", suggested for 15th - 17th level, is a difficult module, themed, obviously, around giants and dragons. While the hooks are somewhat lame, exploring the complex, where giants mine at the behest of a deadly dragon, who uncharacteristically is more of an underground merchant, can actually be rather exciting. On the plus-side, Ed Greenwood's attention to detail is superb and the respective areas do feel alive and intriguing. At the same time, I do feel that this module does fall a bit flat of its premise, which supposedly is to provide enough for rogues to do and for smart groups to do via stealth - at the suggested levels, the PCs, at least mine, will curb-stomp the hell out of all opposition herein but the final dragon. On a nitpicky note - a rather cool trap unleashes 240 Stirges - which are utterly impotent against PCs of this level. Why not utilize the troop-subtype (or a variant swarm) and make this a challenging encounter, instead of an annoying one? Generally, a solid module, but short of the previous ones.


Lycanthropes and Elementals would be up next, starting with Steve Winter's "Bad Moon Rising" for PCs level 6 - 8. If the title was not ample clue - set in the Barony of Loup-Montagne, the superstitious locals, wolves in the woods and similar set-ups make one thing clear: We're in gothic horror country here -this module could have been run in Ravenloft with only minor changes. The plotline, which includes sufficient red herrings, a bid for succession and a potentially doomed family, hits all the classic notes - for better and for worse. The module itself is pretty sandboxy and thus requires some GM chops, though admittedly, not too many. The twist itself, the culprit, was something my PCs saw coming in spite of the various red herrings - perhaps due to years of Ravenloft-experience. It's a solid version of a classic story-not more, not less. I got the most mileage out of this by combining it with Raging Swan Press' Wolfsbane Hollow, combining both plotlines into something less obvious, while retaining thematic integrity.


Skip William's "Death in Dyrgalas" is a pretty straightforward dungeon-exploration of a ruined pavilion, which does not specify its intended level - from the CRs, I'd suggest something along the lines of level 5 - 8, depending on your PC's power. The exploration itself pits the PCs versus wererats and weretigers and a highlight definitely is the interaction with a medusa. The module's appeal mostly stems from the interesting surroundings - other than that, this is solid, if somewhat unremarkable.


Michael Curtis' next module would be "The Darkening of Namjan Forest" for PCs level 6 - 8. Said forest is slowly, but surely becoming coterminous with the Plane of Shadows and to stop this, the PCs have to find and disable a dangerous artifact within the depths of this forest. The hexed map of the forest allows for an easy tracking of the progress of the darkening and the continuously draining effects of the darkening provided serves as an intriguing backdrop with rules-relevant repercussions. Via special quartz, the PCs may get themselves an edge versus the predominantly draining creatures herein - there are A LOT of shadows and similar creatures in this module, so depending on your PC's preparation and classes, the difficulty of this module may fluctuate somewhat. I really enjoyed the general premise and set-up of this one, the impending doom and the continuous representation of the ticking of the clock provided by the encroaching darkness. However, alas, there are some issues among the details herein - from sensory-deprivation tanks and similar magical apparatuses, there are quite some unique benefits to be gained here - and their rules-language is horribly opaque, rendering them VERY over-powered. I strongly urge a GM to take care before allowing the PCs to utilize these. In fact, I think they should be nerfed and/or replaced. This, though, constitutes the most negative thing about this module - the new creatures and the adversary are interesting and, in the hands of a GM willing to sand off the rough edges, this definitely is a very fun experience.


The next three modules have the theme of Men & Monstrosities, with James M. Ward's "Deep in the Vale" as a 1st level module being the first. The set-up is interesting in a way - the PCs are plain folks of the Vale, everyday people, and the module begins promising, with the Thor-ordained sporty trek around the vale that inevitably results in trouble. The module, obviously, tries to chronicle the step from everyday-Joe/Jane to hero and the tidbits on culture provided are intriguing. But this, as much as I'm loathe to say it, is one of the worst modules FGG has ever released. If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't expect Mr. Ward's pen at work here. Let me elaborate: The premise, is unique and hasn't been done much recently, but it suffers from this being an adventure - to properly invest the players in the setting a closer gazetteer, nomenclature, suggested roles and origins for casting talent - all of that should have been covered. They're not. Worse, everything here is a) clichéd and b) a non-threat in the great whole of things.


You see, there are essentially two catchers - a DM-PC, the horribly-named elf Smaragdus and if things get too heated, there's a wizard who can fireball everything to smithereens. I.e., the PCs and all their struggles essentially boil down to those two pricks not getting the job done/being lazy - it's the old issue of the Forgotten Realms, where some areas just had too many high-level NPCs for the PCs to matter. "Elminster is not available, please class later." Worse, the wizard herein does not have Elminster's realms-spanning responsibilities, so he has no reason not to ge his grip together and totter with the PCs to the woods. The adversaries are also horribly trite - wolves, goblins, orcs, giant spiders. And yes, the orcs come with an ogre. Only the shadow is missing from the clichés of boring low-level foes. We have a kidnapped damsel that is so obvious, I only expected the Timmy-character to show up next. Beyond that, the module falls prey to hackneyed logic - why does prodding the giant spider nets not endanger the folk outside?


Shouldn't heroes NOT endanger commoners? Why do the responses of the goblins, which look like taken from a choose-your-adventure-novel, make no concise sense from the goblin's perspective? Why does the non-read-aloud text AND the read-aloud text TELL the players what exactly they're doing if they choose A)? This is railroady, inconsistent, mechanically-boring and the only positive thing I can say about it, is that the few cultural tidbits are halfway decent. This looks like a "First module you run, ever, as a DM"-type of module, but for that, it's too opaque and does not do a good enough job challenging all players and making them feel important - only the strongest PC, the Blacksmith, truly has any connection. Fun fact: Strength has, counter-intuitively, NOTHING to do with being a blacksmith in rules - Craft would be the skill, so strong PCs sans the skill make NO SENSE for that. This module is a sore spot in the whole anthology - it does not fit the premise, fails as gazetteer, module AND introduction for novice GMs. It's horrible and drags the whole book down a small notch and I can't fathom how it got included herein.


Thankfully, Casey W. Christofferson and Scott Greene's "Irtep's Dish," for characters level 6 - 8, is a return to full-blown, awesome form - and I mean AWESOME, as in, glorious- situated in a city (Bard's Gate in the Lost Lands), this begins with an investigation of an eccentric wizard gone missing - a wizard who was not only smart, he also had a gambling issue. In an interesting blend of fantasy and noir tropes, investigating his former lover, colleagues and debtors can unearth pretty soon that there are ample people looking for the man - and not all are honest regarding their intentions, with a horrible curse being subtly and cleverly used for the wizard's downfall. Via this investigation, which brings the PCs to the city's largest casino (fully mapped), the PCs can get the pieces together to investigate the out-of-bounds wizard's tower - if they can get past the guards and inside, past the deadly puzzle in the beginning, which is btw. logical and fun. This is only where the fun starts, though - the wizard has retreated via an artifact into a petri-dish like environment and the PCs need to shrink down to microscopic size, battling protozoan orbs, flesh-eating fungi, nematodes and finally release the wizard, convince him to return and get his affairs in order. This section is bizarre, fun and played in an awesome, great way - if I may: If the PCs enjoy their trip into the realms of the microscopic, consider picking up Everyman Gaming's superb "Microsized Adventures" and keep the options for size-alterations. Oh, and yes, this module is pure awesomeness!


As if to apologize for the first module in this set, Matt Finch's "Perils of Ghostwood Pass", for PCs level 5 - 7, also hits this absolutely stellar tone in a completely different way: Potentially fitting into any cold pass-region, the Ghostwood Pass is a storied environment - here, legendary twins only recently defeated a powerful and nasty fey of the Winter Court, thus banishing the hyper-cold ghostwind to only a few instances per year. As the PCs begin this module, a timer is running - after that, the ghostwind strikes. The issue is that something is thoroughly amiss - the hastily erected Abbey of Saint Kathelyn may provide shelter, as may the local druid, though both do not deal well with another. The two factions also provide unique benefits for the PCs as they try to defeat the dreaded mountain queen - and unearth the truth behind the mysteries of the Ghostwind Pass. In case the above did not provide ample clue - wilderness survival, hexploration in the hostile pass, random encounters - all provided, alongside a cleverly entrenched mystery astute PCs can unearth. This module is SUPERB and would coincidentally fit really well in the context of Northlands with some minor reskinning. Oh, and the adversary build rank among the more challenging and well-crafted herein, which coincidentally provides a lead-in to the last triumvirate of modules.


This would be the updates of "Vampires and Liches," with Casey W. Christofferson and Bill Webb's "Sewers of the Underguild" for 11th level characters being the first - the premise of which is pretty simple: In a rather deadly sewer under ruins or a metropolis lies the hiding place of a guild of vampires. Exterminate them. This sounds simple, when it is anything but simple - the underguild were formidable foes, with numerous class levels, deadly traps and the like. Alas, here, the conversion somewhat botched - with vampires as a type being rather nerfed in PFRPG, and the increased options available for characters via classes and combinations has not been realized to them same extent as in the original version - essentially, the adversaries are a tad bit squishier, the module has lost some of its threat. Mind you, this still is a challenging module, sure, but it does not live up to its previous iteration's level of lethality. If you don't know the original, you probably won't wind, but this can also be seen in the next module, penned by the same duo.


"The Pyramid of Amra", for 12th level characters, pits the PCs against a monastery in the hands of lethal adversaries and finally, against a vampire-monk. The exploration of the areas herein is thoroughly compelling and lends itself well to the insertion of powerful adversaries and intriguing puzzles. And indeed, the final adversary is still deadly; however, I still found myself wishing the builds provided had been changed in a slightly more pronounced manner.


The final adventure, "Isle of Eliphaz", intended for characters of at least 14th level, is still LETHAL - while, when I ran the module, I made the whole place a selectively null magics/psionics zone, thus rendering it even worse, the base module already is brutal - exceedingly brutal. And, in fact, here e.g. the intellect devourer with class levels and the ancient, elemental evil's pathfinder iteration maintain the level of deadly challenge I enjoy from this series.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - in some of the older modules, references here and there remain and some of the previously unreleased, older modules feel a tad bit less refined than others, with unique benefits particularly not always perfectly syncing up with rules-language. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard with copious, original & glorious b/w-artworks. The maps generally are well-drawn, though I wished the book had a player-friendly appendix of unkeyed maps for particularly the hexcrawl-sections.


Scott Greene, J. Collura, Matt Finch, Clark Peterson, Bill Webb, Michael Curtis, Skip Williams, James M. Ward, Ed Greenwood,, Casey W. Cristofferson, Steven Winter - these names should ring a bell and indeed, Quests of Doom, as a whole, manages to achieve the goal to create challenging, unique modules. While a couple of the modules did fall a bit short of the stellar quality established by the rest and while some do require a bit of GM fiddling, in the end, this book does contain several modules that simply blow me away - the whole "Bugs & Blobs"-chapter is pure gold, and, with the exception of "Deep in the Vale", "Men & Monstrosities" provides two of the most awesome modules herein. "Lycanthropes & Elementals" falls short of the average quality of the book, ranking in as "only" a solid/good chapter. Still, that leaves a total of 6 modules herein, 9 if you include the conversions, that would receive my seal of approval without a single inch of hesitation.


Indeed, I maintain that the stellar modules herein outweigh the minor rough edges AND the modules that do not reach the apex of quality and imagination. "Of Ants & Men", "Hidden Oasis & Temple of Thoth", "The Dead From Above", "Irtep's Dish" and "Perils of Ghostwind Pass" alone are worth the asking price of this module - and these are the exceptional, NEW modules herein. The rest averages at a very good to good, with only "Deep in the Vale" being what I'd consider a bad module. To put that in perspective - that's 13 pages. You still get so many awesome modules herein, that I cannot, in good faith, rate this lower than 5 stars - especially since the exceptional modules listed above absolutely deserve this rating and nothing below.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quests of Doom Complete Pathfinder Edition
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Mythic Monsters #32: Shadow
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2016 04:40:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the mythic monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!


We begin, as always, this installment of Mythic Monsters with supplemental material - this time around, we get something rather uncommon, namely a complete mythic redesign of a prestige class, namely the shadowdancer. Now if you've been following my reviews, you'll probably have noticed that I don't have a particular high opinion of any of the basic PrCs from PFRPG's basic setup - design-aesthetic-wise, they tend to be antiquated and subpar as options. As much as I like how the mythic shadowdancer provides a nice upgrade for the PrC, one that competently upgrades the class for mythic functionality, ultimately, I prefer the other shadow-themed options the various 3pps have graced us with so far...but still, this is ultimately unfair: The mythic shadowdancer here is solid, even though it misses the chance to make the PrC more unique.


All right, that out of the way, let us take a look at the main meat of this supplement, namely the monsters: We begin with the beautifully-illustrated CR 3/MR 1 Dark Creeper, whose mythic upgrade includes some truly cool tricks: Beyond being simple master poisoners, their very rags now contain a kind of smear poison that may truly cause targets to sicken. Where there are creepers, their stalker masters will not be far behind: At CR 5/MR 2, the Dark Stalker's mythic version is an expert commander of dark creeper, providing bonuses to them and they may actually detach their very shadows as a kind of spying device and better yet, if one's shadow is touched by that of the stalker, the victim will be more susceptible to the tricks of the stalker - smart, awesome visuals, love it! At the same CR/MR, gloomwings receive weakening pheromones, can overwhelm weakened minds and implant their lethal offspring into those unfortunates subject to their tender ministrations.


Obviously, in an installment focused on the masters of the dark, we also need to take a look at the wonderful Kytons: At CR 5/MR 2, the Lampadarius may expend mythic power to add potentially staggering cold damage to touch attacks and thanks to their defensive tricks and semi-corporeality, these guys are neat...oh, and yes, they come with a glorious artwork. The mythic sacristan, at CR 12/MR 5, can unleash AoE bull rushes and enhance their lethal shadow screams by expending mythic power to drag foes kicking and screaming into the plane of shadows...awesome. At CR 15/MR 6, the interlocutor may hijack constructs and undead via their skills and mark targets by virtue of their claws, forming a dread connection that makes them aware of weaknesses to exploit: All about control and savagery - like these guys! The Eremite, at CR 25/MR 10, would obviously be a bit of a different caliber: Beyond instant evisceration and grafting, these kytons can expend mythic power to alter their gaze attack to make victims attempting to inflict damage upon themselves as well as encroaching madness...oh, and speaking of which: As a response to attacks, these guys can teleport/shadow double AND negate the damage inflicted...Neat!


In similarly high strata, the CR 20/MR 8 Nightwalker receives obviously upgraded gazes that can be upgraded via mythic power and surge-die mechanics and even erode magical weapons, draining them away - indeed, the leitmotif here is lethal entropy - nice one! At CR 18/MR 7, the Primal Umbral Dragon's standard build comes with the giant template applied, with the non-templated version being provided as well for your convenience. These dragons may literally swallow the light (and use mythic power to add vampiric shadow shield) and conjure forth swarms of winged, lethal shadows from their breath - glorious! Have I mentioned the more lethal gullet these dragons get? Yeah, damn cool!


While the ardent LG-fan may already know the gorgeous artwork provided for the CR 4/MR 1 mythic shadow, the eponymous undead's light-dimming aura is indeed nice. The CR 10/MR 4 tenebrous worm can fire piercing bristles at adversaries and may use mythic power to make the lethal acid damage of their bites cling...and yes, they may fire strands of shadow stuff adversaries. At CR 6/MR 2, the umbral shepherd can expend mythic power to render a victim and all earthly possessions of the creature into shadow and use mythic power to further enhance its crits.


Finally, the pdf does provided a new creature with the CR 3/MR 2 shadowperson: Invisible when not seen out of the corner of one's eyes, these creatures feed on fear, can use mythic power to enhance their fear-causing tricks and can possess victims...though they are banished by light. While concept-wise, this creature may not be particularly new, the execution of the shadowy stalker/possessor is admittedly excellent and inspired here - in fact, I think this one is closer to what shadows should be capable of doing in the first place.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks provided are nice as well.


Jason Nelson got Jeff Lee on board for this installment - a wise decision, considering that Jeff has written a rather awesome Dark Folk-supplement for Rogue Genius Games. And indeed, the duo's builds herein are interesting, effective and exciting, with not a single build falling truly flat. While personally, I'm not the biggest fan of the shadow's build when compared to similar low CR/MR-builds by Legendary Games and while the Shadowdancer's mythic upgrade could have used a step beyond the simple upgrade of the PrC, ultimately, both of these complaints boil down to me being a spoiled bastard of a reviewer. In the end, this book is a great addition to the arsenal of a given GM and as such, this does receive a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #32: Shadow
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Four Horsemen Present: Mythic Path: Transcendentalist
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2016 04:38:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Four Horsemen Present-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1/2 page editorial, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Transcendentalism is generally known as a philosophical movement deeply rooted in American aesthetics, a kind of early intellectual counter-culture, ironically aimed versus the prominence of intellectualism and spiritualism in the 1820s and 30s, though its influence in literature and culture can still e felt to this day. Sporting a blend of Kant-influenced German Idealism blended with far Eastern, particularly Indian mysticism, the advocates of Transcendentalism can be considered to be closer to romanticism than empiricism, emphasizing subjective intuition over objective facts. Most importantly, to this date, Ralph Waldo Emerson involvement (to an extent) made the movement famous to this date, considering his influence to this date. Interesting in this regard is that he coined the most well known visual metaphor of the movement - the transparent eyeball, in his book Nature: I am a transparent eyeball - I am nothing and see all. To this date, the notion of transcending bodily limitations continues to exert influence and pop-culture has confabulated transcendentalism with the rather dark romanticism that was to follow - even though both Hawthorne and Poe, as two well-known authors, wrote rather scathing satires on the subject matter.


...


You don't care about all of that, at all, right? Oh well - so, mechanics-wise, the transcendentalist as resented herein is a 10-tier full path that blends mechanics from both mythic adventures and occult adventures, focusing on usefulness for the more spellcast-y classes like psychic and mesmerist. They get 3 bonus hit points per tier. At 1st tier, a transcendentalist may select one of 3 evolved consciousness abilities: The first of these would be a kind of strong precognition, which allows you to expend mythic power as an immediate action to attempt a Ref-save to negate an incoming attack, with a DC based on 1/2 HD and attacker's Dex - which is an interesting formula that works better here than a straight atk-based one would have. Nice. The second option, Psychic Boost, allows the transcendentalist to expend a swift action and a use of mythic power to cast a psychic spell or utilize a spell-like ability based on a psychic spell without expending its daily use at +1/2 tier caster level, minimum 1. Additionally, this allows for the limited application of metamagic modifications to the respective spell/SP. Thirdly, Psychic Surge allows you to, as a swift action, expend 1 use of mythic power to cast psychic spells sans expending the spell/spell-slot, even if you've already cast it, though spontaneous casters are restricted to spells known. If the spell features a saving throw, nonmythic foes will be penalized and should you be required to make a caster level check, you will receive a bonus and roll twice - but no free metamagic addition here.


Each tier provides a path ability, which are grouped along the classic 1st, 3rd and 6th-tier-distinction. The 10th tier capstone forces nonmythic creatures subject to psychic spells to roll saves twice and take the lesser result and lets you expend mythic power to automatically succeed caster level checks, providing a solid, if conservative logical evolution of the base themes of the path.


Now as for the respective path abilities, as you may have imagined, we get a wide array of them, both general ones feasible for multiple classes as well as path abilities that directly interact with class abilities of specific occult classes. Better binding, for example, would be one such component; +1 infusion another and multiple trick implants in allies would be a third. Automatically succeeding concentration checks of psychic spells that does not extend to the highest level you can cast would be a generalist, if very powerful option I'd personally nerf, but then again, I'm pretty much a bastard GM. Using mythic power in conjunction with spirit interaction would be another intriguing option presented in this pdf.


Kineticist fans also get their due, with elemental admixture and blasts via your gaze - the latter of which can have some hilarious Darkseid-style effects. Flashes of divination-based omniscience also complement the flavor of occult classes well and gaining stare-feats as bonus feats should make mesmerists happy. Similarly, using mythic power to negate damage dealt to the phantom is nice, but most interesting to me herein would be Occult Coupling: Whenever you use a standard action, move action, or swift action to activate an emotional focus, focus power, mesmerist trick, phrenic amplification or wild talent, you may also activate an ability that uses mythic power as a free action, expending the mythic power for that ability. The ability triggered must have the same action-cost (or less) as the one that triggered it. This is very interesting and allows for some unique, intriguing combos that will keep me occupied for some time. Speaking of interesting mechanics: Using mythic power to negate/diminish burn is interesting as well.


Among the 3rd tier powers, breaking a taboo accompanied by mythic power expenditure can keep you from suffering penalties and switching between ectoplasmic and incorporeal bonded manifestations similarly is a sound option. Similarly, extending a phantom's ectoplasmic tether beyond the usual range is a fun option that makes sense in mythic contexts. An option to forego the requirement of an implement for spells from your implement school also makes sense. What about gaining immediate maximum information from divination spells adhering to certain criteria?


Among the 6th tier abilities, substituting mythic power for burn to gain metakinesis benefits is pretty awesome and unlimited shared consciousness is similarly an interesting game-changer. Very cool from a visual perspective: Enter a trance and use your kinetic blast to turn yourself into a bomb - touching you, hitting you - sets off a nasty explosion. Personally, I'm not a fan of mind-affecting spell-immunity, but since there's precedence here, I'll leave it at that. The pdf concludes with a seventh spirit boon that represents the mythic transcendentalist - and it's pretty darn awesome, sporting both traditional psychic tricks and the representation of the problematic influence of maddening visions from beyond - pretty cool!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting generally are very good - rules-language-wise, there is surprisingly nothing to complain about, in spite of the interaction of complex occult and mythic systems - kudos! Strangely, this pdf once again offers the odd formatting glitch, where some abilities presented inside are bolded for no reason - not just their name. This could have been caught and represents a minor aesthetic gripe. Layout adheres to the full-color 2-column standard established for this series and the pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience.


Okay, this was a LOT of work. Occult Adventures, while one of my favorite hardcovers by Paizo, is complex and so is Mythic. Blending them...is even more complex. Doing so while maintaining thematic integrity of the material, particularly considering the need to cater to wildly diverse classes, is an even harder feat - an author Tim Hitchcock triumphantly succeeds in this endeavor. This is a refined, fun mythic path, in line with both the basic ones and the new ones introduced by Legendary Games, Kobold Press, etc. If this book has one flaw, that would be that I would have loved to see more: With the path necessarily catering towards different classes and abilities, I couldn't shake the feeling that the transcendentalist can use more path abilities - I certainly hope to see more, particularly considering the impressive feat this pdf represents. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Mythic Path: Transcendentalist
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New Paths 8: the Trickster (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2016 06:37:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the New Paths-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This pdf was moved up in my review-queue at the request of my players.


The trickster class presented herein receives d8 HD, a massive 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons plus rapier, longsword, sap, short sword, shortbow, whip light armor and shields (excluding tower shields) and may freely cast spells while only wearing light armor and/or using a shield. The class receives 3/4 BAB-progression as well as good Ref- and Will-saves and gains spellcasting.


Spellcasting of the trickster is slightly more tricky (I'll punch myself later for that one) than you'd expect: The trickster's spellcasting is governed by Intelligence and thus is prepared according to convention. However, spells prepared are not expended upon being cast - instead, the spell slot of the appropriate level is expended. Metamagic is handled as for sorcerors and similar spontaneous casting classes. High Intelligence influences the number of spells a trickster can cast, but not the amount of spell-slots he has - this is pretty important for balance, so bear that in mind. So, in summary, we have an actually working blend of prepared and spontaneous casting here for a surprisingly unique take on the old vancian system. And yes, concise rules for cantrips gained (often overlooked) and spellbooks (ditto!) are part of the deal here. This section is rather elegant - kudos here! Tricksters begin play with 4 cantrips known and 2 1st level spells and increase that up to 6 for each spell level, barring 5th and 6th, which cap at 5. 5 is also the maximum spells per day limit. Akin to the alchemist and similar classes, spellcasting caps at spell level 6.


The trickster also receives access to sneak attack and begins play with +1d6, increasing this by +1d6 at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Similarly, at first level, the trickster gains trapfinding. So far, so rogue-y, right?


Well, second level becomes a bit more unique, as the trickster gains a forte on which to focus, of which 4 are provided. Structure-wise, the fortes provide immediate benefits and unlock new abilities at 5th and 9th level. The first would be Acrobat, which not only provides skill-bonuses to movement-related skills and eliminates the need for running starts to get the associated bonus, it also eliminates the armor check penalty for said skills. At 5th level, the trickster rolls Acrobatics twice and takes the better result 3+Dex-mod times per day, while 9th level increases AC when wearing light armor and eliminates the Acrobatics-DC-increase when moving through threatened squares.


The second forte is arcane accomplice, which nets a familiar, though the familiar receives Disable Device and Sleight of Hand as class skills and can deal sneak attack as long as it's within 30 ft. of the trickster - and yes, this means you can basically double-team on your own, greatly increasing the validity of sneak attack, though, for balance's sake, a familiar's sneak attack uses d4s, which proved mathematically feasible in my tests. 5th level goes one step further and nets the familiar all teamwork feats of the trickster, while 9th level provides basically spring attack for the familiar, but only with regards to delivering harmless touch attacks - and yes, this is more versatile than you'd think.


The third forte is Beguile and provides +1 to DCs and +1 to rolls to overcome SR, scaling by +1 at 5th and 9th level - but only when targeting creatures that would be denied their Dexterity-modifier or that are helpless. At 5th level, when successfully feinting, the target would be denied his Dex-mod to AC for the next melee attack or spell targeting by the trickster, but only when performed on or before his next turn. 9th level decreases the required action to feint to a move action, a swift action if the trickster has Improved Feint.


The fourth forte is Spell Pilfer, which is easily the most unique of the fortes: As an immediate action, the trickster can make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level) to identify the spell and, if successful, the trickster may attempt to pilfer the spell. The caster receives a Will-save versus 10 + 1/2 trickster class level + Int-mod to negate the attempt. If the caster fails, he loses access to the spell known or prepared spell, while the trickster temporarily (1/2 class levels, minimum 1) adds the spell to his list of spells known. While the spell is pilfered, the original caster may not cast it, but the trickster may, provided he has an available spell slot. Only one spell (again, VERY important for balance) can be pilfered at a given time - pilfering a second spell, the previous spell immediately reverts to the owner. This ability can be used 3 + Intelligence mod times per day. It should be noted that tricksters can only pilfer spells they can cast, another VERY important limitation. Now you may have noted that Will-saves are pretty easy for most casters - thus, at 5th level, the trickster's Wisdom modifier is also added to the DC to resist the pilfer attempt. I am usually fiercely opposed to dual attribute-mods to anything, but considering that Wis is NOT a trickster's crucial stat in any way, in practice, this is not problematic. 9th level allows the trickster to pilfer spells above his casting capacity, but thankfully with the caveat that the trickster can't cast such spells - so no abuse possible. This is a very impressive ability in my book, since it makes spell theft work sans holes in the wording, sans abuse. Love it!


Starting at 3rd level the trickster adds +1 competence bonus to Bluff, Disguise, Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand or Stealth, increasing the bonus by +1 every third level, though the new bonuses gained may be freely distributed among aforementioned spells. 3rd level also nets evasion and 6th, 12th and 18th level provides bonus feats from a limited list. 8th level provides uncanny dodge, 11th improved uncanny dodge.


At the level, as a standard action, the trickster can cast a spell with a range of touch and deliver it as part of a melee attack, with the restriction of only working in conjunction with spells that have a casting time of 1 standard action or less. If the trickster hits, he also deals sneak attack damage in conjunction with the touch spell. Important: Misses mean the spell is lost, not held! This, combined with 3/4 BAB, is an important balancing mechanism...At least until high levels, for at 17th level, it is no longer lost - as a minor nitpick, while it is clear from the wording, it would have been nice to see the class explicitly specify that the trickster can hold only one sneakspell charge to avoid stacking them up.


Spells thus delivered may also not be enhanced by metamagic and, have a crit mod of x2. 9th level provides ranged legederdemain, though the ability is thankfully MORE precise than that of the arcane trickster PrC, specifying how far you can propel stolen objects and increasing the required skill ranks to 5. At 14th level, the trickster receives Filch Spell, which allows the trickster to hijack spells requiring direction (flaming spheres etc.) as a move action 3+Inttelligence modifier times per day. 15th level provides Surprise spells - but unlike the imprecise original take on the ability, this one clarifies from the get-go how it works with magic missiles or AoE-spells. As a capstone, the trickster treats all sneak attack damage 1s and 2s as 3s and automatically confirms all crits when using sneak attack. Additionally, the trickster may add metamagic to sneakspells sans increasing the casting time.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch and precise, I noticed but one minor fringe case; other than that - all around precise and well done in both formal and rules-language departments. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports multiple gorgeous pieces of original art. The pdf comes with bookmarks in spite of its brevity - nice.


Marc Radle's trickster is interesting - it is a testament to how much we love the concept of a rogue-y character that the by now pretty broken (as in: too weak) base class continues to see truly excellent takes on the trope. Regarding customization options, both the talented rogue and in particularly, Legendary Games' absolutely brilliant Legendary Rogues-book provided options for the "mundane" rogue that retain their viability in the system. Why "retain"? Well, simple: You see, the rogue has been pretty much a casualty to changing design-paradigms in PFRPG - when the core-rules were releases, the value of a rogue talent was obviously set to about a feat or less, while later classes have increased the value of class-specific options - compare alchemist discoveries and rogue talents if you need proof of that...or look at the ninja's framework and unique tricks and you'll notice the paradigm-shift.


The trickster, however, is not a simple rogue redesign - it could be summed up as a magus/rogue-hybrid, but that does not do the class justice: Instead of cobbling together two classes, the trickster is a completely unique class. Let me sum up the unique benefits here: The trickster streamlines problematic arcane trickster class features, has a unique spellcasting-blend that plays different from standard classes while being easy to understand and it provides a balanced, strong means to represent the sneak attack double team as well as, most importantly, creating the AWESOME spell pilfer mechanic.


Where am I going with this history lesson/comparison? Well, the trickster is stronger than the vanilla rogue - no doubt. It frankly SHOULD be - there are three classes that need versatility/power-upgrades: Rogue, monk and (versatility-wise/unique class feature-wise) fighter. The trickster is stronger than the rogue can deliver solid damage - much like a magus, this class is a glass cannon, though one that also is a rather good face/skill-monkey: Since the class receives A LOT of skills per level AND has Int govern just about everything, it will, by necessity, be able to cover a lot of bases. That being said, good Dex and Str are still important, build-wise, so maxing out Int sure is viable, but probably won't net you maximum efficiency. Now personally, since I gravitate to a more subdued gameplay, I'll settle on 4+Int skills per level in my home game, analogue to the alchemist - but the class's default is not broken per se - it's just geared more towards higher powered gameplay. When you reduce skills to 4+Int, you pretty much get the alchemist's level of potency, at 6+Int it's slightly above the class.


Ultimately, though, skills per level is more a matter of taste than a balance-concern and, more importantly a no-brainer-level easy modification of the chassis literally anyone can perform. All in all, the trickster as presented here is a pretty awesome, viable class that plays in a very unique way and mops the floor with any other take of the arcane trickster I've seen so far. Now, I do have one complaint and it pertains to the pdf's size: If anything, this pdf left me wanting archetypes, more options, feats, favored class options - none of which are in this book. Sure, they are not explicitly required, but they would have been nice and I sure hope this will get expansions in the future.


Yeah, I'm rambling, I know. It's just not every day I get to see a class like this. You know that I'm pretty much a huge advocate of modularity of class features, of options and complex systems. However, once in a while, most often by the pen of Scott Gladstein or Marc Radle, I stumble over a class that has a framework I consider too light on the player-agenda side...and still end up loving it for the impressive, elegant simplicity exhibited in the design. Just about everyone can play this class - it's simple, concisely presented and easy to grasp. More importantly, unlike many less complex classes, it allows for a significant array of diverse playstyles and has a unique identity: This class has plenty of "only the trickster can do that"-moments, particularly when spell pilfering, which is, in one word, glorious.


How to rate this, then? Well, it should be taken as a testament to how well the class is written and presented that this conclusion was no never-ending ramble on how we need favored class options, archetypes, etc. The trickster is an awesome class with several innovations in its abilities I absolutely adore...and yes, this is allowed in my game. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, missing my seal of approval only due to the lack of supplemental material...so when do we get the expansion?


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths 8: the Trickster (Pathfinder RPG)
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Glavost: A Fairy Tale Village
Publisher: Playground Adventures
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2016 06:34:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This supplement clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Before we do, though: Since this is Playground Adventures: This village featured first in the absolutely, I can't emphasize this enough, STELLAR "Pixies on Parade"-module - I VERY MUCH suggest getting this module! As for age-range, I consider this appropriate for ages 4 and up if the kid in question is pretty mature; more sensitive kids can consider some components a bit more creepy, but ages 6 and up should do just fine and in fact, enjoy this - much like several of my most beloved childhood movies, there is darkness herein - it makes the fight worthwhile. And yes, much like e.g. Secrets of Nimh and similar movies, this has resonated with me as an adult as well.


That out of the way, what is Glavost? Glavost is, first of all, a fully detailed fantasy village, complete with settlement statblock and precise information on key locales. It is, as the name suggests, also a village very much in line with traditional fairy-tale narratives of the more whimsical kind: The place is notoriously haunted by gremlins, for example, which, while not honestly believed in, act as convenient excuses to blame for issues. Situated next to a fairy forest, the lavishly mapped village (featuring a full-color isometric map) has a tradition of a pixie parade (see my review of the module) and thus, one fairy-ring sporting isometric map of the way through the forest is also provided. While we do not get primers on local nomenclature or sample events/sights & sounds like in Raging Swan Press' village settlements, Glavost has different additional content, namely creatures. If you've read my review of Pixies on Parade, you may already be familiar with the threat of the Nightmare King


This little book sports quite an array of low CR, whimsical creatures - like the monkey-like Cerecopes (CR 5) that is an excellent thief and has a long, whipping tail, the conflict-inducing Deckit (CR 2) gremlins, the water-contaminating Rotah (CR 2) gremlins or stats for the fairy godmother (CR 8)we know so well from numerous fairy tales -including, obviously magic wand. The sleep-inducing mahr (CR 3) heals when in the presence of the sleeping and can cause night terrors with its bite and the primary antagonist the PCs could save in Pixies on Parade can also be found here - both he and the nightmare avatar had their stats reprinted for completion's sake...though more interestingly, we get full stats for the dread Nightmare King himself (CR 11)...as well as his triumphant, ascended and rather lethal mythic iteration! (CR 14/MR 5)


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Playground Adventure's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and all new creatures herein with the exception of the Nightmare King receive gorgeous artworks in Jacob Blackmon's style - and the mahr in particularly is rather cute in a twisted sort of way. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and the maps, though featured before, have lost nothing of their splendor. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Stephen Rowe's Glavost is a great town - it's unique, captures its theme perfectly well and sports superb artwork. However, it does not fully reach the level of detail of Raging Swan Press' village backdrops - some more detailed information on clothing-habits, names and the like along some sample encounters would have gone a long way, particularly considering that the new gremlins herein practically beg to be asked in conjunction with Pixies on Parade. Similarly, if you expected an expansion to the concept of imagination magic, I'll have to disappoint you. Still, as a stand-alone, this works rather well. Know how it works even better, though? If you consider this the extended cut version-expansion for Pixies on Parade. I would have loved to have this pdf when I ran the module, for the new creatures herein demand being used in the beginning of the module and the nightmare king stats can make for a cool super-boss (perhaps after a further temporary level-upgrade) or even for a sequel. I really like everything in here...but I've liked a lot back in Pixies on Parade. If you get this, be aware that there's a lot of overlap between the two, though this pdf is obviously more detailed. If you don't mind that and plan on running Pixies on Parade, then get this NOW. If you do mind, you may want to consider the decision a bit more carefully, though the price-point is low and fair as far as I'm concerned.


Personally, I enjoyed the new critters herein enough and the means for expanding the narrative and to craft your own sequel for the superb module are certainly appreciated - now excuse me, I need to start writing...oh, final verdict? Hmm, that's a tough one. As mentioned before, if overlaps between books annoy, you, detract a star...if, however, you want a fairy-tale village with gorgeous maps and some thematically-fitting critters to accompany it, or if you want to add more oomph to Pixies on Parade, then this is for you and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Glavost: A Fairy Tale Village
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Four Horsemen Present: Mythic Magic Expanded
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2016 06:32:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Four Horsemen present-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, mythic magic expanded? But didn't Legendary Games already cover mythic versions of all spells? Well, thankfully, this pdf does offer something different, namely magical traditions based on mythic feats.


Unfortunately, the very first of these traditions already opens pretty much a can of whoop-ass issues: Blood Magic's the feat's name, and it allows you to deal damage to yourself to cast mythic bloodline spells sans expenditure of mythic power. Okay, does the damage affect/require concentration? Three: This makes mythic spellcasting of bloodline spells significantly less limited and based on HP as opposed to being based on the most coveted resource available in mythic game play. This may be less of a problem when playing vanilla mythic gameplay, but if you're like most GMs I know that dabble in the mythic, you'll be using Legendary Games' massive collections of mythic spells, which amps the power up by a bit - for the default-options if no mythic spell exists is to add either +2 to the DC and CL to overcome SR or making it hard to counter (-4 dispel check; needs mythic power to counter).


...okay, the feat will be heavily regulated at my table...but the tradition of Blood Sacrifice? Damn yes, it will come up- ALL THE TIME. The concise codifying of sacrifice of beings with bloodlines is awesome - though I really wished it's codification extended to creature-types and wasn't limited to bloodlines/mythic beings. I really love this one, as it provides in-game justification for kidnapping creatures of powerful bloodlines/destinies. Speaking of the topic - there is no single big resource on blood magic out there...designers, think about that!


The second tradition's feat, Mortal Faith delimits divine spells from the divine source path ability - as long a worshiper has line of sight to you, you no longer expend mythic power, though augmenting still does cost it. This one is pretty brutal, but I can see it work, even though it can be cheesed by having anything even remotely resembling Leadership. The wonderful aspect here, though, is that this one's tradition codifies the rituals of believers (the more, the better) in a concise and awesome fashion. For making the trope of the believers gathering and praying versus the approaching devastation work alone, this should be in the arsenal of any mythic GM.


Any good GM knows that there is power in the weaving of narratives and similarly, every great storyteller has held this as true - thus, it is my ardent pleasure to report that the act of Storytelling, represented by feat and tradition, coupled with Perform (Oratory), makes an appearance here and codifies the narrative tradition as a powerful means of weaving magic - though I am weary of the DC 50 ability that lets you augment spells even when not meeting the tier requirements - this is just begging to cause problems in the long run and undermines the foundation of the few checks and balances in mythic - I strongly advise GMs to retain tier-prerequisites, in spite of requiring a crowd of 100+ listeners to pull off...heroes with leadership can theoretically get that done rather easily. More elegant would have been simply a scaling mechanism that provides incremental means of surpassing the augment-cap in small steps, requiring ever more listeners (and logistical trouble) to avoid abuse in Leadership-heavy campaigns and prevent low tier characters cheesing it. Other than that, a cool one.


The next one would be Sigil Carving...EDIT: And here, one can see a great example of author-support: The original iteration of the feat had a problematic exploit, which has since then been taken care of - which is awesome indeed and establishes designer Stephen Rowe as an author who is not only a joy to discuss with, but also as someone who deeply cares about his work. Kudos indeed, particularly since the accompanying magical tradition is GOLD and allows for the addition of unique benefits to teh respective items. Kudos indeed!


The next one would also be based on Crafting, but thankfully does not suffer from such glaring issues - Craft Monument allows you to create powerful...monuments that freely enhance regular spells to mythic levels and represent an iconic, cool take on shaping a given campaign world - the means required and the solid rules conspire to make this one all awesome. Oh, two sample ones are included in the deal. Again, iconic...now can we have kingdom building-synergy? Pretty please?


Finally, there would be Warding Circles, which can be made to trap outsiders and thus represent, significantly more concisely than certain spells, with creation-rules being concise and well-presented. The often-featured plot-device of the trapped powerful outsider makes much more sense in this context - oh, and binding the summoned outsider does come with concise social interaction rules as well - nice, no complaints here!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no issues to speak of in those departments. The pdf adheres to Rogue Genius Games' two-column full-color standard and sports solid stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Stephen Rowe is a capable designer, but mythic rules are brutal and rather unforgiving: The very precarious balance of mythic rules needs some serious respect to avoid devolving into full-blown number-escalations and infinite exploits. There's a reason Legendary Games made a handy little book called Mythic Solutions...and when LG began publishing mythic content, there was a learning curve there as well.


Now this pdf, on one hand, is absolutely INSPIRED. The traditions and their concepts are downright brilliant in every way. At the same time, though, there are some components, namely feats, herein that can potentially cause significant issues with the central balance tenets, the few of them mythic rules have, mind you - and break said tenets. Bypassing augment tier-requirements based on audience-size, for example, is something that can be cheesed if your players are like mine and very excited about Leadership. That being said, the most glaring of exploits has been eliminated and what remains are scenarios, which, while sometimes circumstantially cheeseable, remain very much valid and only potentially problematic in very specific constellations.


So, let me state this loud and clear:


This is wonderful and inspired and I LOVE, I ADORE the traditions themselves - they are cool, evocative, awesome....but the flaws of some components also are there. The supplemental feats sport some components that can, in a fraction of games, lead to issues, though the big problem has been, as mentioned above, been taken care of.


If I didn't love just about everything in this book barring the issues, I'd quite frankly complain more.


As provided, this pdf oscillates between the most brilliant lights in the guise of high-concept tradition as well as some less radiant flecks interspersed. While I cannot recommend this as mechanical perfection due to aforementioned fringe-cases, I absolutely adore the respective traditions and how they are presented: Evocative and crunchy, sans devolving into pure number-fests, always breathing the spirit of high concept tricks. It is my love of the concepts and my sincere hope to see more of them, that makes me settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform - but I also have to expend a mythic surge to slap my seal of approval on this - hard. The concepts of the traditions and their respective execution is inspired.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Mythic Magic Expanded
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Call to Arms: Torch and Flame
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/04/2016 03:54:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a whopping 39 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, I never thought I'd be one time in my career be reviewing a 40-page pdf that focuses on flames and torches. So what do we get? Well, following the at this time slowly arising standard of the series, we begin with a well-researched recapitulation of the history of fire as tool and weapon - as much as that is feasibly possible, mind you. For such a basic process, and one obviously popularized and charged with symbolic significance by the Dark Souls-series, it is pretty much surprising to research lighting fires and what the rules say on it - which is not much. In one of the trademark "why hasn't this been done before"-moments, we are introduced to simple, concise rules for lighting fires, with a simple nomenclature: Sparks, tinder, kindling, fuel, embers. The rules are simple, easy to grasp, accounts for burning objects and provides easily inserted rules that don't unnecessarily complicate matters - instead, we get concise precision, which extends to A LOT of examples for sparks, tinder, etc. - and similarly, the pdf collates the rules for extinguishing fires. And yes, solid math supports this.


But beyond these components, the pdf sports two new materials - one would be fire-forged steel, which would be a subtype of steel that can channel heat away from the wielder, charging itself with fire when exposed to such...and no, it does not allow for flaming-abuse and actually has a kind of set-benefit when combined with armor made from the material. The second material would be the intrinsically magical pure fire, flames that have been solidified to the durability of metal - and yes, sans resistance or better, immunity, wielding such weapons or more stupid, wearing an armor made from the material, is just as hazardous as you'd expect. And yes, it can repair itself, is uniquely subject to antimagical effects and the like...and is simply interesting.


Now, as per the series' later issues, we also receive an excessive coverage of mundane materials that should have any low-fantasy gamer grin from ear to ear: From alcohol to fighting pitch or the flame fountain firework, there are a lot of interesting tools - including tabgleburn bags, keros oil, fuse grenades, flash powder...and even a catch-all entry for superheated substances. Similarly, tools of flames, from the classic bellows to amadou (highly flammable fungal material) to burning glasses, driptorchs and fire-resistant gloves - the tools of trade offered herein are diverse, detailed and offer a distinct, detailed dimension to firestarting you probably didn't know you needed...but reading this...well, you do.


Now this pdf also sports a rather diverse array of magical items associated with flames - these include powerful armors that can absorb a limited amount of magical fire as well as a broad array of items utilizing the unique pure fire material, often interacting with class abilities like rage. Always thought that the limitation of flaming and flaming burst regarding magic enhancements of your burning tools of death were kinda lame? Well, improved and greater versions and an enchantment that ignites foes complement the material herein...and similarly, there is a quenching ability. There is also a hammer that enhances the channel heat ability of azers, a balor lord's flaming whip and the like - even classics like the flametongue can be found reprinted here for your convenience. Braziers of conjuring fire elementals are similarly classics, but instant-campfire beads, everburning slow matches and the like can be considered to be interesting indeed. Need a fuse for underwater use? The fireless fuse with do the trick for appropriate underwater sabotage. Beyond goblin skull bombs and fire drums, variations of the necklace of (delayed blast) fireballs and the shirts of immolation provide an overall solid chapter. Cursed cloaks that immolate you, alternative spell-lists for staves of fire, Asha, the intelligent flame of truth - there are some intriguing components here. Speaking of cloaks and immolation - 3 mythic items, including the potentially explosion-causing cloak are also depicted in these pages.


The proverbial divine fire is also codified in this book as a minor artifact, which is pretty cool and iconic...however, as a whole, the item-section left me with a craving I needed time to identify - after careful consideration, I found what irked me. Torches and weaponized torch-like items - there is a distinct lack of them in a book that features them in the header. Okay, azer-hammers may be nice, but know what would have been cooler? Hollow meteor-hammers filled with burning chemicals. Magical battle-pois. A quarterstaff whose ends can ignite in different flames, with different properties. Now I'm not going to hold it against the pdf that its focus is on the more mundane torches and specifically, on flame - but some odd magical and mundane weapons in that category would have been the icing on the cake.


Oh, and then, there would be the handy rules-appendix, which codifies heat dangers, boiling water and steam, smoke effects, catching on fire and expands heated metal by providing 5 stages of heat, with modifications to hardness, damage while wearing it, damage to item caused and conditions incurred when used. Similarly nice: Molten material. Once again pure genius, though, would be the concise rules that allow for a fire hazard to be treated as pretty much a creature in combat, providing concise and captivating rules for encounters that are based on fire-control/escaping the flames, etc.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches that would truly hamper the content herein, though I did notice some minor formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has solid, nice full-color artwork. EDIT: The pdf now comes with bookmarks!


Lucus Palosaari has written a massive book on perhaps one of the most one-dimensional topics I could imagine - and he has wrested brilliance from its kindling-dry set-up. I expected to see heat-conductive material herein; even flame made into material. I expected the comprehensive, handy collection of material. What I did not expect, in any way, was how much I'd enjoy this supplement. From the firestarting-rules to the heating-stages of metal and finally, the rules for fire as a creature-like hazard to be fought - all supplemented by solid math, well-crafted components...wow.


You see, the subject matter isn't that versatile - what Lucus Palosaari has wrought from it is truly impressive to me: The alchemical items, magical items and the like are solid, sure, but alone they are, at least to me, as smart as they sometimes are, no book-sellers. Not even the smarter ones, though some "solid, but kind of unremarkable" ones can be found herein. But the three aforementioned innovations account for A LOT. Basically, this is the comprehensive fire-manual for Pathfinder and its brilliant components and ideas, sporting no less than 3 "why hasn't this been done before"-moments and to me, they even offset the annoying lack of bookmarks.


Let me state this clearly: This is a glorious resource on the theme of fire. I don't want to miss this book at my table anymore and it is really handy to have as a reference tome for GMs - I'll be consulting this time and again in the future. In particular survival-focused ´borderlands/wilderness-campaigns will have a field day with this book. That being said, I really do think the "torch"-component could have used some additional coverage and would have considered that more interesting than the fireball necklaces - but that's, in the end, my personal opinion and will thus not feature in the final verdict.


After some careful deliberation, my final verdict will clock in at EDIT: full 5 stars, +0.5 stars for the addition of bookmarks...missing my seal only by a tiny margin. This is an excellent resource I can recommend getting and a book that makes handling fires so much more compelling.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Torch and Flame
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Four Horsemen Present: Mythic Magic Items
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/04/2016 03:50:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Four Horsemen present-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1/2 page editorial, leaving us with 6.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this supplement with a collection of new legendary items, 4 to be precise. The first of these would be Hirasthe, a blade of hardened obsidian, driven to create sorrow, anguish and undermine morality - so the blade's a politician...Just kidding. Half. Kidding aside, the blade is a brilliant liar can use glibness and magic jar with surprising efficiency...and quite frankly, I can see an adventure where this blade, not the wielder, is the primary antagonist. That's a good thing, as it should serve well to drive home how well this evil blade is crafted. The mighty parapet is also rather interesting in that you can expend legendary power to make it basically form a square fortress of protection around the wielder - awesome and pretty cool. The Ring of Razors (provided in 5 variants from +1 to +5) and greatly enhances claw/grappling/natural attack capacity as well as offering legendary power based, bleeding damage causing barbed wire grapples. Love it! Oh, and since this is a Four Horsemen-product, we also get a damn cool classic: Wormwood. No, not the comic-series, but the staff/greatclub that has delightfully apocalyptic SPs as well as drain/damage/disease-etc.-suppression, as befitting a herald of the end-times.


We go on to 3 new mythic weapons - the first of which, the brush blade, can annihilate or heal vegetation. The crushing mallet can strike as a larger weapon and the scimitar quicksand discorporates into sand that enables for dirty trick combos, only to immediately recombine. The distracting plate may hypnotize foes, but it makes it hard to go unnoticed, while the sundering shield can reflexively sunder weapons unfortunate enough to strike it.


The pdf also sports a rather diverse array of mythic wondrous items: The Boots of Time and Space not only prevent slowing, they also allow for perfect Zero-G-navigation, while the cascading cloak, seemingly woven from fabric depicting a waterfall, can unleash such a torrent upon foes. A crown that enforces unworthy creatures to stay their distance, an iron locust figurine - nice! There would also be a variant on the hand of glory-theme, the hand of the rogue, which can be animated as a rather grisly master thief - particularly nice for groups lacking a more...let's say, discreet, character.


Scrivener's tools infused with the very authority and power of an empire can be utilized to draft truly compelling documents and there also is a book here that allows you to use CL to determine level-dependant variables, even if they exceed the cap of the spell - which can be a bit ugly. A mask that dishes out death and animates the victims as subservient undead will make for a fitting regalia for necromancer lords. There is also a helm that is narrative potential galore: The Unyielding helmet, which supersedes the need of allies to withdraw and actively compels them to stand their ground. Know that dwarven last stand? How those peasants held the fortress versus the screeching hordes of the undead? Well, this helmet may just be the reason they made it...but can you use such an item, even if it costs the lives of those thus forced to fight? Finally, the Wild Charm is basically a super amulet for nature-characters - skill-bonuses and improved senses are solid and possess companion makes for a solid, if somewhat unremarkable final item.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, though once again, the bolding is off - the first paragraph of the items is bolded for no discernible reason, which is somewhat jarring on an aesthetic level. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard for the series and sports solid stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Steven T. Helt delivers in this pdf - the mythic items herein, for the most part, are truly intriguing - even in the case of items that traditionally act as spells in a can like staves, the book sport unique stories and benefits that elevate the items beyond the bland, gray default to something beautiful and evocative. While not all items herein reach the superb, lofty realms of excellence, the majority of them actually do, with only 3 ranging in the solid/good-but-none-too-remarkable category - that means this pdf consists mostly of evocative excellence, of fun concepts, some of which inspire by means of their very crunch and presentation -and what more can you ask from such a book? While the small flaws cost this my seal of approval, it is still an excellent pdf, well worth a final rating of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Mythic Magic Items
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Tome of Wicked Things 2
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/03/2016 05:33:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.25 pages of SRD, leaving us with ~12 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This pdf was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.


We begin this supplement with the slasher base class, intended to allow for GMs to duplicate the gruesome sprees of Jason, Michael Myers etc. The base class receives d12, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light and medium armor, full BAB-progression and, interestingly, good Will-saves. Slashers obviously need to be evil and are intended primarily as antagonists. A slasher begins play with the accursed ability, which nets a pool of curse points they can use to power their class abilities. Said points are interesting in that they can hold up to 2 times class level + Charisma modifier. They get +1 curse point when they see a creature die, +2 if they kill it themselves. Curse points refresh at the stroke of Midnight. I'd usually start my kitten-test-schtick right now...but in the case of this class, that seems kind of stupid. Yes, slashers WOULD kill kittens to replenish curse points.


Slashers instinctively understand every language, but cannot articulate any, being relegated to grunts, moans and the like. Also at first level, the slasher chooses a tragedy from 6 presented - these can be likened to bloodlines or orders in that they modify the list of class skills and, in some cases, proficiencies. Each such tragedy confers multiple boons upon the slasher, but also an array of weaknesses. Let's take a look at "Cursed One", as an example: These guys receive SR 11 + class level as well as an oracle's curse (with tongues being not allowed - nice catch!) - but weakness-wise, being targeted by a hex temporarily inverts their fast healing, dealing damage instead (this could be a bit more clearly spelled out) and wielding magic weapons whose bonus exceeds 1/3rd their level similarly sabotages their fast healing. Finally, each slasher has a preferred target - here, that would be any creature with a CL or at least 1 SP.


Knights of hell receives a mount and heavy armor (and tower shield) proficiency as well as an upgrade for the infernal template at 4th level. They are weak to holy symbols and good weapons and target non-evil creatures. The remorseless killer triples the amount of bleed damage caused and instantly kills creatures reduced to 0 HP, but they are weak to law-aligned weapons and symbols and target such creatures. The restless avenger never grows tired and needs no sleep and gains Endurance at 1st level. Any damage caused by the slasher renders the target tired for 3 rounds. They are weak to chaotic-aligned weapons and when they are reminded of their first act of vengeance...or subject to the tolling of bells. The seeker of power can duplicate a limited array of spells from the sorceror/wizard-list via curse points. Unfortunately, the ability is not specified as SP and thus, I have no idea which attribute governs the saves - I assume Charisma, but I'm not sure. If the slasher casts spells thus, he does take damage, though. They are weak to silver/cold iron and target outsiders. Finally, there would be the tortured child tragedy, which is immune to fear effects and increases the DC of such effects caused by +2. The tragedy also grants a level-based bonus to atk and damage versus creatures that are smaller. Their healing is inverted when hearing a baby cry, when they're confronted with a memento/effigy of the torturing parent and they target humanoids.


Also at 1st level, slashers receive a calling card - this has a 60 ft.-radius: Torches may double effectiveness and turn into weird colors. Weird melodies (Freddy comes a-knockin...) can penalize concentration, the chill of the grave or water turning into blood - these effects are not subtle...but they are cool...and can be suppressed as a swift action. Also at 1st level, the slasher receives a weapon of grief, in which he is automatically proficient. When wielding this weapon, slashers may expend one curse point to deal + Cha-mod damage versus good-aligned creatures noted in the preferred target-line of his tragedy.


At 2nd level, the class can deliver a single attack as a full-round action - if the attack hits, he deals 1 point of attribute damage or bleed damage, increasing by +1 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. He may also expend curse points equal to the amount of this damage inflicted to accompany the first attack of a full attack to add said effect to the first attack. This ability could be a tad more precise in its wording. At 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the slasher may choose one of the talents of the class: These include more weapons of grief, Bleeding Critical, hideous laughter (not properly italicized) as a curse point-based SP. (Yes, this one gets SP and CL right.) One talent also allows for instant healing as a response to seeing a nearby creature killed. Literally feeding on fear (and even healing via fear) and an option to go unnoticed as well as the option to hamstring foes can be found herein. And yes, with the right talent, slashers can detach their head or double the range of their calling card. Off-screen teleportation into a hiding place/concealment is represented by curse point-based dimension door, oddly not codified as Sp, but as Su, which means that CL-info and the like is slightly problematic here. Higher level slashers may deal both attribute damage and bleed damage at once. Oh, and there would be the option to force killed targets to emit a scream, resulting in AoE-demoralize. Invisibility as an SP is also nice and a second calling card is fun as well. Hunting down specific creatures and reflexive teleport to stand behind doors, curtains etc. complement some cool, if not always perfect abilities.


At 3rd level, the slasher gets a scaling short-range fear aura. At 4th level, the slasher gains fast healing 1 as long as he has at least 1 curse point. Fats healing increases by +1 at 8th level, +1 every four levels thereafter. The inversion of fast healing noted in the tragedies deals twice the fast healing's amount as damage, btw. 5th level nets 30 ft. lifesense (blindsight, only for living creatures) and 10th level provides 1/day a free reflexive raise dead. As a capstone, this rising from the grave instead works via true resurrection within minutes (instead of raise dead's hour-countdown)...oh, and the slasher sends his victims straight to an evil-aligned underworld...and killing creatures nets the slasher HD of creature killed x2 HP.


The pdf also introduces a new races, the Grinn - 7ft. tall boogeymen with elongated limbs and digits and look somewhat like walking corpses - they may be rather eloquent...or brutal killing machines. Grinn obviously are fey, suffer from light sensitivity, get low-light vision, darkvision 60 ft and get +1 to Intimidate and Knowledge (Nobility), which also are always class skills for them. This can be replaced by more nasty grims that champion slaughter with 2 1d4 claw-attacks - I assume the default her, but specifying primary/secondary would have been nice. Their defining, eponymous feature, though, would be their dreadful smile. This is a mind-affecting fear-effect that works like a gaze attack and causes targets to be temporarily shaken, with a hex-24-hour cool down, but also scaling DC. Nice balance between keeping the gaze relevant and preventing spamming here. The race does feature age. height and weight-tables, which is neat to see. The pdf also sports 4 feats for the Grinn, which unlock a smile that panics/paralyzes at balance-wise appropriate levels (kudos!), free Intimidates after hitting with both claws and the scent-quality, but only for creatures suffering from fear-effects.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are okay, though I've seen Little Red Goblin Games do better in that regard - there are some typos, abilities not properly classified as SP when they obviously should be that and similar minor hiccups in the rules-language, though admittedly, they tend not to influence the feasibility of the respective material. Layout adheres to a solid two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Scott Gladstein, Dayton Johnson and Ian Sisson have crafted a book... that I like more than I should. Quite frankly, this book hits a couple of things that usually irk me to no end - small imperfections that just...gall me. But know what? For once, I honestly don't care that much. Why? Because I'm a huge horror-fan (d'uh!) and have seen more slasher-flicks than I can shake a stick at - actually, I've analyzed quite a few of them properly...but that's for another topic. The slasher herein is interesting, because it captures rather well in mechanic terms how those killers operate. The class also does a great job mirroring the impeccable advance of the slasher, meaning the class can work in player hands in an evil game...though its class featured can be cheesed...by design.


The odd thing here is that I'm not 100% positive whether this is aimed at players or at GMs - for the GM-side, the class may actually be a bit too balanced for its own sake. For the player-side, I abhor the kitten-cheese of curse-point-replenishment, particularly when an easy tying of the curse point replenishment to the tragedy's preferred victims would have offset that. Similarly, I love the more creative, narrative weaknesses (tolling of bells, etc.) but while I consider the alignment-based ones balance-wise justified, they fall somewhat behind in visuals and potential. This class leaves me very much torn.


Regarding the grinn - well, here, I have nothing to complain: The race should work in all but the most low-powered of games and is evocative in its fluff. While I wished it had some FCOs for good measure, I enjoy the race and look forward to using it when I one day get to run e.g. Richard Pett's The Blight.


How to rate this, then? See, here, things become VERY difficult for me. Craftsmanship-wise, there is a lot to love...and quite a bit to dislike as well. So I'll leave this up to you, my readers: If you want perfect craftsmanship and minor hiccups in the abilities irk you, then you will probably consider this to be a 3 star-file. If you're looking for a scavenging ground of ideas and crunchy tricks, then this will certainly deliver - for you, this will probably be a 4-star file. Similarly, if you're playing an evil campaign and both you and your GM are fine with gentlemen's agreements/minor modifications, this will do its job well and should be considered as a nice, inexpensive purchase. My final verdict will thus fall in-between, at 3.5 stars...and because I really enjoy the grinn and the subject matter, I will round up.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Wicked Things 2
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100% Crunch: Kobolds
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/03/2016 05:30:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The latest installment of Raging Swan press' handy collections of statblocks clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advice on reading statblocks for novice GMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Well, first of all, the pdf explains a bit about the basics of kobolds and then goes on to provide a handy list of statblocks by CR - beginning with CR 1/6 for young kobolds and scaling (haha) up to CR 6 for senior kobold inquisitors. The pdf does feature the basic racial stats for kobolds and covers quite a breadth of characters, also sporting kobolds utilizing NPC-classes.


Both kobold adepts and noncombatant commoners can be found herein, for example. Similarly, even kobold skeletons or zombies are featured within this little book. Now as for class dispersal, it's actually beyond what you'd expect - while obviously, the rank-and-file kobolds sport the warrior/adept NPC-classes, we also are introduced to kobold monks, inquisitors and oracles in various degrees of prowess.


Furthermore, the pdf actually provides stats for crucial specialists - What about medium-sized giant kobold champions? Bodyguards or mining specialists? Well, there would also be foraging experts and scouts (using the ranger class or multiclassing warrior/expert) and the obvious draconic bloodline sorceror is covered as well. And yes, there are fighters herein. What about a bard using the dragon yapper archetype or a half-dragon (blue) multiclass kobold? Yes, from the common to the weird, this pdf strikes a nice balance between classic kobold tropes.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, though not as perfect as usual for Raging Swan Press - there seems to be an internal inconsistency on whether or not to bold the separating lines that divide the section of the statblocks into attack, defense etc. - some are bold, some aren't, which looks slightly weird. Artwork-wise, we get cool b/w-artworks and layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and sports two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.


Julian Neale's collection of kobold statblocks is precise, diverse and nice, with particularly the specialists (giant kobolds? templates ones? NICE!) rising above the fray. While I was somewhat surprised to not see a lot of rogues herein, I get the decision to instead go via experts etc. and it makes sense to me. All in all, this is an excellent, inexpensive collection of kobold statblocks - and for the low price point, you sure get a lot of work taken off your back. This is enough for me to arrive at a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100% Crunch: Kobolds
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Knowledge Check: 9 Funerary Rites
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/03/2016 05:28:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Knowledge Check-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


There are theories out there that argue that mankind is defined by two conflicting notions and forces dragging us onwards to life - a striving for love and a striving for death, to oversimplify the terms of Eros and Thanatos unduly with all their ramifications - apologies for that, but we're here for a review and I am perfectly willing to engage in discussion with you, should you choose to. Back to the review - it is fascinating in such a context, that ultimately most human culture develop a stigmatization of the representation of one of these forces, a tabooization, if you will. No offense is meant by this, but e.g. traditional, extremely conservative takes on Sexuality in America would be one such example - on the other side, Thanatos, a fascination with violence and lack of censure thereof can be seen in that culture, with Europe and Japan, as two prominent examples, exhibiting the inverse - much to my chagrin, I have to import quite a few games intended for adults, in spite of me being a mature person - why? Because violent scenes get cut and I LOATHE any type of censure. On the plus-side, I do not suffer any problems getting erotic material.


Where am I going with this overblown introduction? Well, it is quite frankly baffling that, in a game so much representative of our values and experiences of our conditio humana (ironically so, considering how many non-humans we play), that central themes of our very existence, namely sex and death continuously fall by the wayside, both, I assume, in the name of making books child-friendly, when knowledge of neither is, per se, detrimental to a child's development, much less so in the case of adults. And yes, I mean DEATH. Not the blinking enemy evaporating, the capital letter exhibition of the grim reaper's prowess. And you will have seen him perform his grisly work: Ina world, where we are sheltered in increasing amounts from "negative" influences, being confronted with tem can hurt: I've seen grown men cry for their fallen character, heroically vanquished to defeat the forces of the dark and some of my most intense roleplaying sessions were funerals for characters that had fallen.


Isn't it peculiar, then, considering all of that, that unlike 2nd edition's sourcebooks, which mentioned elven songs so beautiful and heart-rending they could kill a man or other sources, which noted the elaboration of a valiant dwarf's deeds, with ritualized swearing of vengeance versus his foes by his clan, in current iterations of the game, we know nigh nothing about funerary customs and rites for just about anyone? Isn't this particularly odd, considering that non-adherence may result in the undead rising, as many a monster's fluff write-up makes us believe? Well, you see where this is going - I very much consider this book VERY overdue.


Within the pages of this humble little pdf, sample funerary rites are presented, rites that tell us something about the cultures that spawned them: Dwarves, for example, have a rite herein, where the remains of the honored dead are cleaned of flesh in the flames of a furnace - thereafter, tongs are used to provide bones to friends and family for the creation of tools; the skull is taken to the family's shrines and finally, the remaining bones are ground to dust, used to enhance the crafting of future items. This tells us something about dwarven values, family and also their relationship to their very own bodies.


On a less somber or majestic side, the ogre-funeral depicted herein amounts to culturally enforced cannibalization of the target - old or failed ogres are called forth and then ritualistically attacked by members of their family and blood - when they finally succumb, they are consumed, henceforth lending their strength to those that lived to break them. Quite the opposite to this, the elven funerary rite features applications of nature-related magic, symbolic union with trees - the elf in question's tree will be tended, with poultices and gentle repose being used to keep predators away, with continuous plant growths and a final move earth magically accompanying the grieving process and the final, proverbial, burial.


Gnomes and Hobgoblins are also featured among the more interesting racial ceremonies, though races are not all that are covered here - a burial at sea, a secular burial, that of a druid and a thief's funeral are covered herein as well - some of which feature formulaic read-aloud texts to accompany the key steps in the ceremony.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a nice full-color two-column standard. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Richard D. Bennett provides an interesting, captivating little system-neutral pdf here - no matter the system you use, as long as your game is even remotely indebted to the traditional fantasy genre, you'll find some inspiration herein, for this pdf's rites add to the respective cultures, makes them feasible, allows for the breathers and enhances the overall believability of the cultures you depict - try it: Let your PCs participate in a funeral after an attack by your adversaries. Let them see grief, pain and hope - I guarantee they will be more motivated to defeat whoever has wrought this pain. Similarly, the witnessing of their foes, even the brutes, exhibiting grief and pain may very well serve as a better means of making them feel alive and relatable.


So, all awesome? Well, yes...and no. You see, this supplement does a surprisingly concise job at its task and is surprisingly compelling at what it delivers - but it does suffer from the necessity of having to cater to general cultures, not specific ones: Instead of campaign setting specific races or cultures that exist as a coherent identity, this pdf needed to, by virtue of its design, adhere to the broad strokes pictures we know from the tropes of fantasy. What it did in this context is impressive, but ultimately, the small components, the tidbits are impossible to feature in such a broad stroke picture, but they are ultimately what transforms the great into the awesome, emotional finale. So yes, this is an important pdf; a worthwhile offering and one that I hope will spawn sequels...but it falls a bit short of truly pulling my heart's strings, of blowing me away. Still, I encourage you to take a look - my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Knowledge Check: 9 Funerary Rites
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Gossamer Worlds: Planet Fiction (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/02/2016 05:00:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This deluxe-length-installment of the excellent Gossamer Worlds series of Diceless-RPG-supplements clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, want the short version? If you're even remotely bibliophile, then get this.


The long version of the review will be a tad bit more complex and enlightening: Picture, among the myriad of possible worlds out there on the Grand Stair a door that leads, more literally than others, straight into imagination - or rather, into the direct representation thereof. To be more precise: Think of the world of Kipling, Doyle and similar authors, of a world in the throes of a steamtech-infused industrial revolution, a world wherein our very fiction and tropes, those that arguably continue to influence our very world, have achieved reality - conversely, what we have here is a bibliophile's love letter, a semiotician's passion project: When the primary colonial power is called Great Albion and incorporates the fabled realm and London's ample depictions into a blending that exemplifies rather well the original goal of allotopian fiction as popularized by the recent resurgence of steampunk aesthetics.


Beyond that, peaceful, fairy-tale-esque kingdoms like Graustark (literally: Grey-strength), Ruritania or Gérolstein (one accent away from a real life German place famous for the sparkling water) complement an interesting tapestry - particularly considering the harsh climate of the latter in combination with sporting a fine military and the continent's first air force - if the like seems none too inspiring, fans of Japano-RPGs may want to take a look at the plot of Tales of Graces F -and don't be driven off by the cutesy graphics, the plot is rather mature. But back to the topic at hand: From Mykenos to Siebenbürgen and Transsylvania (yes, there's a distinction made here - and you'll know why once you read this book...), there are a lot of nations depicted herein, often based on the merit of their literary providence and prominence - and yes, there is, obviously, a titanic mælstrom.


Taking the real life genre-implications into account, one should also not be surprised to see the topics expanded even further - after all, the genres would not be half as varied without the examples of exotism and, admittedly, Orientalism, that also find their representations herein in the coverage of the Silken Road, from the Middle East to the far away shores of Koryo-no-Shima. However, all of this beauty and wonder does come at a price of significant inconvenience for the discerning gossamer lord or lady: there is no easy exit door to leave Planet Fiction - and there is a reason for this, though, in the exceedingly well-written prose, it required the logic of none other than Sherlock Holmes to deduce the true nature of Planet Fiction. And NO, I'm not going to spoil that revelation, whether it is true in your game or not, here in this review.


Instead, I should like to draw your attention to the rather diverse NPCs provided herein, which come with a low point version, a middle range version and one truly high-powered one: From Sherlock Holmes to Captain Nemo to Cassandra, Sheherazade to Umslopogaas to Hua Mulan and even eminent Judge Dee and Mowgli can be encountered in this wondrous world, wherein, quite literally, all those Jules Vernes-novels, all those slices of childhood and classic literature, come to life.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports ample unique, beautiful pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


H.M. "Dain" Lybarger has woven a very clever world here - granted, the basic set-up already is pretty much every child's dream - I know I imagined, while lying bed-ridden at home, what would happen if Sherlock Holmes met Judge Dee, whether Mulan and Nemo wouldn't make for an interesting couple - and I discussed this to no end with my friends, often providing cliffnotes for those that had no ambition of matching my reading speed due to actually being able to play outside. Try as I might, I can't really approach this book neutrally - it tugs at too many of my heart's strings and does so with a clever, if not exceedingly clever, manner - it wouldn't have required Sherlock Holmes, at least in my opinion, to deduce the obvious de-facto ruler and go one step beyond...but that may just be me being a pretentious wise-ass.


What I'm trying to say is that this book, this world, has pretty much all the potential you can ask for in a given world - it allows you to freely scavenge among your literary preferences and change, adapt and insert - and it still manages to retain a somewhat unique identity, something woefully absent from many books in both the Steampunk and (Neo)-Victorianism genres - this world, in spite of its fictitious nature even within the level of the game, retains a reality that surpasses many fictional settings that do not exhibit the meta-level of fabulation-awareness depicted herein. We have themes resonating on very primal level and a gorgeous canvas on which one can apply the very colors of one's imagination. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - the only people out there to whom I would not recommend this, are those that don't like reading...and I'm honestly not sure whether such persons exist in this hobby.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Planet Fiction (Diceless)
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Mythic Monsters #31: Daemons
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/02/2016 04:57:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the mythic monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!


All right, so we begin this installment of Mythic Monsters with fiction - and if "Taste. Savor. Appreciate." as a title doesn't get you in the groove for the all too often neglected, purely evil daemons, then I sure don't know what will - disturbing and well-crafted!


The first creature herein takes no prisoners: CR 20/MR 8 Astradaemon - go! These monsters can devour souls as swift actions. Swift. Action. Oh, and that death immunity? Forget about it. They just chew that up and spit it out. OUCH. The CR 3/MR 1 Cacodaemon shows that the small bits and pieces can matter - those infected by these daemons can be telepathically contacted by the daemons...yes, this small fluff-only line is what made me grin from ear to ear here. Oh, and they can actually share their mythic power with other creatures...ouch! And yes, soul lock receives a significant flavor-increase as well.


The CR 9/MR 3 Ceustodaemon (lavishly depicted in full-color) can ignore challenges, judgments, smites and sneaks and charge areas with static electricity in the aftermath of their deadly breaths - cool! The CR 15/MR 6 Derghodaemon's insects can bypass almost everything and the rending claws and feeblemind auras of them represent well their concept of ruin and negation. The CR 10/MR 4 hydrodaemon can issue a decree of drowning to annihilate foes and negate their adaption to the aquatic environments as well as spit sleep-inducing spittle at foes...oh, and what about making water behave as the memory-draining, personality-eroding waters of Styx itself? Pure awesomesauce!


At 1 CR more, the CR 11/MR 4 leukodaemon takes the concept of plague-bringer up to the n-th degree - each creature affected becomes a dread carrier and standing in the mere presence of a leukodaemon's dread skull-face erodes your immune system...and like the legendary creatures from real world mythology, the champion's unstoppable shot complements these creatures perfectly.


The CR 14/MR 6 Meladaemon is a creature of dread hunger and as such, the consumptive aura and the locust conjuration these daemons bring to the field of battle...oh, and those unlucky enough to perish to these creatures will rise again as mythic ghasts...and then there would be the fact that a significant portion of the damage these foes cause can only be healed by eating...yeah, no quick heal ups...ouch! Oh, and have I mentioned the crippling aura that may expel contents from the digestive systems of their victims? OUCH! The CR 12/MR 5 Piscodaemon would be the poisonous adversary to the leukodaemon's disease, healing when foes succumb to poison...nasty one.


Speaking of nasty: At CR 22/MR 9 Purrodaemons, as generals of the daemonic armies, not only receive lethal synergy with other creatures of Abaddon, their very flesh disarms foes, their crits permanently lower Wis and they may transform weapons into devastating tools of destruction by sheathing them in their very own flesh...oh, and for enough mythic power, they can unsheathe all flesh-sheathed weapons and have them dance and cut their foes to shreds.


The CR 16/MR 7 Thanadaemon can annihilate death protection, cause premature aging and gain feats by embedding gems into its eye-sockets...oh, and as inevitable as old age's death itself, thanadaemons are truly hard to finally defeat and crushing extracted soul gems make wresting the dead from their greedy claws a task worthy of heroes of mythic pedigree. In the low-to-mid section, the Venedaemon as CR 6/MR 2 may not have too many abilities, but the way in which soul gems can be used by them to power mythic magic is pretty smart. The Vulnudaemon, at 1 CR less receives an upgraded aura of dread.


The new creature featured herein would be the CR 15/MR 6 Ignodaemon, (coming with a nice full-color artwork), is crafted from the souls of despots unwittingly serving the dread horsemen of the apocalypse - and much like the iron fist in the silken glove (kudos if you got that allusion!), the duality of their rule s what characterizes them: On one hand, they can be subtle; on the other, they can be brutal crushers of resistance. On the nitpicky side, the creature references a non-mythic version of the creature, which I couldn't find - so getting the non-mythic version of this creature would be kind of nice...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks provided are nice as well.


Alistair J. Riggs, Alex Riggs, Steven T. Helt and Todd Stewart provide a great array of daemons herein: The servants of true, pure undiluted evil are horribly effective at their given themes, the daemons herein feel like dread scourges of the lands, like the forces of apocalypse itself being unleashed upon the land: Basically, the daemons herein are all about inevitability: No matter how good your defenses, no matter how hard you think you are, these bastards will hit you hard and in the hands of a capable GM, their subtle, eroding powers make them worse foes to civilization than the more straight-forward demon-kind. To me, these daemons are more exciting, more frightening than the demons - and for the most part, they are expertly crafted, disturbing and unique - though the last two (Vene + Vulnudameon) could have used some additional tricks, particularly since the theme of soul destruction/consumption is a cool leitmotif that is featured among other daemons herein as well. The Vulnudaemon...falls just flat compared to every other creature herein.


Now mind you, this is me complaining at a high level - the mythic monsters series has established an exceedingly high standard and this book certainly should be bought by anyone even remotely interested by daemons - the vast majority of the creatures herein is AWESOME. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, omitting my seal of approval only by a margin.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #31: Daemons
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