DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Tangible Taverns: Tuffy's Good Time Palace (5e)
Publisher: Dire Rugrat Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/21/2016 09:12:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The 5e-version of Tuffy's Good Time Palace is, fluff-wise, pretty identical to the Pathfinder-version: I.e. Tuffy's is still a seedy dump of a bar with an eccentric, female, dwarven barkeep and a somewhat less-than-bright brute at the piano. Scantily-clad women dance here and shady groups, two to be precise, scuttle through the shadows, as a surprising amount of patrons seems to vanish behind a door behind the bar...the set-up of a seedy bar, complete with the chance to contract mild food poisoning has been translated very well into the 5e-rules-frame, with the notable exception of one Wisdom (perception) check that retained the, for 5e rather high DC 15 from its Pathfinder sister file.


The supplement does come with extensive rumors and events to facilitate roleplaying within the context of Tuffy's - each of the respective entries is rather detailed and can be considered a good and rather detailed hook. One of the main draws of the file, though, would be the depiction of the owner, her employees and the two shady groups of people frequenting the establishment.


Here, the change in systems is more pronounced and honestly, it is here that the pdf had its most significant challenge: The PFRPG-builds utilized several rather specific mechanics-combos and translating these in spirit to 5e would not be an easy task. Instead of restricting itself to the class features of the default classes featured in the PHB, the pdf instead opts to go the more interesting way, granting unique features to the respective NPCs.


Tuffy, for example, has several tricks that render her particularly lethal in the environments of her bar, with the big mastermind gaining a unique, charming presence as well as a damn cool BBEG-escape trick. As a whole, the builds provided in this pdf turned out to be pretty intriguing. The fact that the Dire Rugrat-team went one step beyond in these builds is something I really appreciate. Challenges of the NPCs range from 1/2 to 10.


The tavern does come with a serviceable map in b/w, but sand a print-out-sized version or one that is key-less/player-friendly.


Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, no-frills two-column b/w-standard. It's minimalist and functional - no significant complaints here. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and cartography is nice, particularly in such a low-cost little book. The b/w-artworks are flavorful and nice.


Kelly and Ken Pawlik's 5e-version of Tuffy's, surprisingly, actually turned out to be more interesting to me than its PFRPG-iteration. The characters are pretty cool, though we don't get scaled statblocks for characters in this version. Beyond its colorful characters and nice flavor-text, the pdf des share the lack of a menu or prices with the PFRPG-version and, like it, there is no clear distinction between the introductory prose and the rules-relevant section - generally, the tavern could have used a bit more fleshing out, with the majority of the appeal here stemming from the cool potential of the NPCs and their local color.


Still, this is, ultimately, me complaining at a high level. My final verdict, ultimately, will clock in at 4 stars for this one as well - while it is slightly briefer than the PFRPG-version, it is slightly more creative in my book.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tangible Taverns: Tuffy's Good Time Palace (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tangible Taverns: Tuffy's Good Time Palace (PFRPG)
Publisher: Dire Rugrat Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/21/2016 09:09:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!


There are taverns you enter and know immediately that you just have gone to the wrong side of town: Tuffy's is such a place. Paint peels from various surfaces, glass and food and other debris litter the floor, as scantily-clad women dance on some tables, while a female dwarf with cold blue eyes gazes directly at the PCs. Strangely, some people seem to come and go through a door behind the bar, while the various pickled foods you can purchase are anything but easily digestible. In fact, PCs eating here run a very real risk of contracting food poison, with all required rules provided by the pdf.


Following, to an extent, the formula of Raging Swan Press, the book also provides a whole page of rumors, but takes a more detailed approach befitting the tighter focus- a total of 12 such rumors are provided for your convenience and as ready to go read-aloud texts. Should the banter thus generated not suffice to draw your PCs into direct interaction with the locals, you won't be out of luck - a total of 10 events further can be utilized to jumpstart social interactions and the like, with the table once again spanning a whole page and going into very detailed territory.


The tavern itself is full mapped with a functional, solid map, though the pdf does not provide a key-less version or one blown up to page-size to act as a handout. Additionally, the map does not sport a scale for reference.


Beyond the tavern itself, the patrons obviously are important - and generally, two different groups, both with their own agendas, are provided in addition to Tuffy herself and her none-too-smart piano-player. The first such group would fall in the criminal territory, while the second consists of mercenaries - these combat relevant NPCs come with full-blown statblocks, which makes use of the ACG-material while also using archetypes.


The non-combatants like the dancers may have no statblocks, but they do come with ample of information regarding their goals and the like. The pdf also features several mugshots for the NPCs featured herein. Additionally, the pdf's appendix features several statblocks for rank and file members of the criminal organization as well as two statblock variants of characters introduced herein at +4 levels each - with the intention of potentially changing the power-structure of the organization in question. CR-wise, the NPCs range from CR 3 - 14, making the offering suitable for low- and mid level adventurers with strong stomachs.


Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, no-frills two-column b/w-standard. It's minimalist and functional - no significant complaints here. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and cartography is nice, particularly in such a low-cost little book. The b/w-artworks are flavorful and nice.


Kelly and Ken Pawlik's excursion to Tuffy's is a successful one - while the components used herein may not be mind-bogglingly innovative, they don't have to be: The set-up and number of statblocks herein and the great local color and prose are certainly nice to read and the pdf can certainly offer more than one session of roleplaying - it may even become the favorite dive of particularly hardy PCs, with Tuffy and her folks being truly intriguing characters. That being said, I wouldn't be ole' endy if I had no complaints, right? Well, amid all the intrigue and the two groups in the book, the tavern itself could have used a bit refinement regarding the formatting of its look: The pdf begins with this well-written 4-paragraph-long introduction that sets the stage really well...and then goes straight into the rules to notice strange comings and goings. A more pronounced separation of flavor/quasi-read-aloud text and rules would have improved the reading flow here.


Secondly, and this may sound nitpicky: The tavern lacks a menu. While food is mentioned, no prices are provided. Nor any named breweries, special drinks available or the like. For a book on a tavern, that's somewhat jarring, at least to me. Don't be fooled, though - I am complaining at a surprisingly high level here, with the characters and amount of stats contained herein definitely making this a fair offering, though one focused perhaps a bit too much on the clientèle and less on the place itself.


In the end, Tuffy's is a more than solid, nice buy - and in case you're wondering: I've consciously refrained from going into the details regarding the groups and their members to avoid spoilers - so if you have any questions in that regard, don't hesitate to contact me.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tangible Taverns: Tuffy's Good Time Palace (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Legendary Planet Player's Guide (Pathfinder)
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2016 11:00:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The Player's Guide for the Legendary Planet AP clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page inside of back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, after the usual introduction to the matter at hand, we have to discuss one thing: The AP is set to officially begin at 2nd level, with the optional "The Assimilation Strain" prequel basically blindsiding the more mundane PCs. Hence, campaign trait selection is held off to the begin of the first "proper" adventure. Beyond that, there is a bit of a potential disjoint here: Namely, that this Player's Guide provides an array of new alien races, which make perfect sense in the context of the AP, yes, but also contradict the optional Assimilation Strain lead-in. Basically, if you elect to employ the "fish out of water"-approach and run the prequel with terrestrial PCs, you'll lock yourself out of basically all options in this book...until a PC dies/retires, that is. Which is a bit of a pity, since I prefer the approach via regular PCs stumbling, wide-eyed and bumbling, into the possibilities of Legendary Planet...but your mileage will obviously vary.


Anyhow, the first of the new races introduced herein would be the Auttaine, half-constructs that gain +2 to an ability score of their own choice, normal speed...and they have build points - 3 + initial Constitution modifier, to be precise. They can use these points to customize their own bodies - from internalized weapons to component pouches, the customized options are pretty cool.


Chlorvians are basically the half-plants here and gain +2 Con and Cha, -2 Str, low-light vision, +4 to Stealth in wooded environments, +1 natural armor, retries of Diplomacy-attempts only botched by 5 or less and treat Charisma for the purpose of the verdant bloodline as two higher, +1 level for purposes of the Plant domain. Characterized by the symbiotic bond with a seed, they also get +2 to saves versus mind-affecting effects, paralysis, sleep, poison, but thankfully not the huge array of plant immunities.


The Tretharri are 4-armed philosophers that gain +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, +2 to Swim and Climb checks and 4 arms - one is primary, all others are secondary. Still, this makes them brutal shredders.


The Zvarr, winged saurian humanoids, would be the final new race. Zvarr get +2 Dex and Int, -2 Wis, gain a climb speed of 30 ft, darkvision, +1 to Acrobatics and natural AC, a 1d3 primary bite attack that can be used as secondary in conjunction with weapons, +2 to Appraise as well as vestigial wings they can use via Fly to glide and prevents deadly falls. The races come with age, height and weight tables.


I was btw. positively surprised by the following section - from languages to focuses and skills, the pdf does offer some general, but very welcome guidelines to make the characters work well within the context of the Legendary Planet AP, discussing skills and the like - but the book actually goes one step beyond that, also featuring information on various intriguing classes from the 3pp-circuit - from godlings to luckbringers and machinesmiths, to, obviously, psionics, the Player's Guide provides quite a few nice shootouts pertaining how the classes work within the context of the saga.


The pdf also offers 12 unique campaign traits that count as their own category. Unlike traditional traits, these do come with extensive and evocative background flavor - whether you are a surviving experiment of the dread Jagladine, an interplanar gladiator or a xenobiologist, the traits generally are intriguing and mechanically relevant - bursts of movement, for example, are intriguing and powerful. I found myself pretty excited about them and hope the saga will actually reference them in the plot to come. Cool and well-crafted section!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' beautiful 2-column full-color standard for the series and the pdf offers several beautiful full-color artworks for the new races, etc. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, though they are a bit glitchy - they point towards e.g. sections of the intro and quite a few are called "_goback" instead of being properly named.


Will McCardell, Alexander Augunas and Neil Spicer have crafted a per se great player's guide. The races occupy the upper echelons of power and feel sufficiently brutal for the purposes of this AP. Power-wise, these aliens basically are in the upper echelon beyond the capability of e.g. the aasimar. For the high-powered gameplay we can expect from this AP, that works, though, and generally, the races seem to be pretty much on par. That being said, there are no favored class options for the races, in case you expected those.


This Player's Guide, as a whole, makes for a great offering for the demographic that wants to start Legendary Planet at 2nd level. Those of us, however, who wished to begin with the "fish out of water"-scenario via "The Assimilation Strain" are basically left hanging in the air. The enhanced power and campaign traits associated with the setting are useful and cool...but they ultimately don't help bridging the power gap between the races and terrestrial standard races. Whether it's "a simulation", a time-lapse or the like, the pdf doesn't really offer help reconciling the assumptions of this PG with the alternate, optional prequel. I expected to see some notes on upgrading regular characters to those herein or an alternate "unlocking"-system for the content herein...or something like that. As a whole, those of us who opted for this entry vector will get no help from this pdf, which is the one massive gripe I have against it. This does not make the Player's Guide bad, mind you - but it does limit its appeal and immediate usefulness for those of us who elected to run with the prequel.


This may not wreck the otherwise concise and well-written player's guide, but it does render the book less universally appealing than it otherwise would be. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Planet Player's Guide (Pathfinder)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

AA: The Still Grotto
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2016 10:59:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This brief module clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page patreon recognition, leaving us with 23 pages of content, though these do adhere to the A5 (9'' by 6'') standard and thus are more of a booklet-size.


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


...


..


.


All right, still around? In the endless reedlands and marshes of Porphyra's Fenian Triarchy (though adaptation to other settings is easy), dire omens reign: The feud between the peaceful grippli and the lethal boggards has been brewing for quite a while and it may become worse soon - the grippli have just lost one of their best warrior-diplomats, while the boggards heed the murmurs of a new force in the swamp, an erstwhile exile from their tribes, who has attained a powerful remnant of the NewGod Wars. Into this volatile mixture, the PCs stumble in face first via one of 3 detailed adventure hooks.


The location of the adventure itself is situated in the "Shunned Mountain" - 15 ft. high, it hides the entrance to the eponymous still grotto, where the foes loom. Now, in a nice twist, the module actually suggests multiple means of actually handling the value of treasure contained in the grotto. Now, structure-wise, the still grotto is very much a dungeon-crawl with pretty detailed read-aloud texts. The dungeon similarly is pretty internally consistent, with explanations on how certain creatures were attracted etc., so in case you consider this type of information important, it's here. Another peculiarity of this module lies in the adversaries employed: From the sarennel to the defidi (think undead frog-folk; and yes, there are great full-color artworks herein!), the monsters featured make amply use of Monsters of Porphyra I and II, though, obviously, stats are included in this book for your convenience. In a nice note, magically infused terrain is featured in for your convenience in the relevant combat statistics of the respective adversaries - so no, you don't have to do math pertaining the effects of that contaminating nightwave scale and its desecrate effect.


The PCs will have a chance to save a grippli survivor if they manage to defeat the dread, exiled boggard necromancer. The pdf also contains notes on divining ioun stones, the reptile-affine coldblood torc and the ring of engineered creature attraction that explains some of the tricks employed by the adversaries in this book. The pdf also includes a Diplomacy-enhancing cantrip as well as a breakdown of XP, EL and creatures by area in a nice table as well as a list of treasures to be found, with associated value.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good this time around - I noticed no glaring issues that would have impeded my ability to run this module. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly 1-column standard for books of A5-ish layout. The artworks in full color are excellent and the pdf comes with a great full-color map of the Fenian Triarchy as well as a nice b/w-map of the complex, though no player-friendly key-less version is included. A JPG of the cover is also included in the download. To my chagrin, the module has no bookmarks, which represents a slight comfort-detriment.


Perry Fehr knows how to write adventures. While I consider his crunch to be somewhat hit and miss, I have yet to be disappointed by any of his modules, with unique cultures and a gift for creating evocative set-ups and thematically-consistent environments going hand in hand. This module, in contrast to e.g. the Purple Mountain-saga (seriously, check it out here - it may be the most under-appreciated series of dungeon modules for PFRPG!) has a smaller scope, but particularly when run within Porphyra, its unique backdrop provides a lot of its flair. The dungeon-exploration itself is a nice, brief stint in a thematically concise and relatively challenging environment and certainly is fun. Particularly for the low price point, there is not much to complain about, with the consistency and unique adversaries elevating this to a level where I consider it a nice little trip. While the module does not reach levels of pure excellence, it is a nice, inexpensive way to spice up your swamp/marsh-adventuring, initiate contacts with frog-folk or simply let your PCs gather some loot and XP on their way to the next big task. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars for a nice, inexpensive module; rounded up due to the more than fair price point.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
AA: The Still Grotto
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Mini-Dungeon #031: Dwarven Dread
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2016 10:55:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!


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


...


..


.


Still here?


All right! It can always get worse. This simple premise is represented in many an experience, many a module - and here, it is represented by the duergar. Evil and loathsome though they may be, they generally at least are sane. Well, Argyle the Betrayer has gone off the deep end after encounter the derro magister Angree, who turned the cave wizard into a kind of mad savior of a duergar cult - it is up to the PCs to stamp out the cult and stop the madness from spreading. The dungeon presented here provides a sufficient diversity regarding its challenges, with a small, nice random encounter table adding dynamics, read-aloud rune-inscriptions adding fluff and environmental challenges adding an additional dimension to the encounters. While two of the hyperlinks are dead, they pertain to environmental heat dangers and pulverizers, both components you can relatively easily look up. Stone/Magma-themed foes as well as the evil dwarves provide a concise theme regarding identity of the mini-dungeon.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!


Michael Smith's "Dwarven Dread" is a solid addition to the Mini-dungeon line. While it is not as creative as the best of them, it provides an easy to insert dwarven-themed side-trek that features sufficient diversity in the challenges provided to make this a solid, fun romp. As a whole, this clocks in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo - a solid, easily inserted sidetrek if you require some padding for dwarven-centric scenarios.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #031: Dwarven Dread
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Vathak Terrors: Horrors of Halsburg
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/19/2016 08:03:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This supplement for Shadows over Vathak clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (which looks a bit sad with only 4 lines - probably would have fitted on the editorial-page), 1 page of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's dive in!


After a brief introduction to the matter at hand, namely monsters: We begin with the CR 1 Poxivum, which has a rather cool description: The tiny plant looks like a grotesque cross between a big onion and a human heart, scurrying around on artery-like appendages. The powerful plant seeks to attack itself to a victim, being surprisingly powerful for its size, an starts feeding off the target's Constitution, gaining regeneration while sated. Hard to kill, these creatures nauseate their victims...but on the plus-side, they are susceptible to positive energy and their stench actually repels vampires, so there's that. On a nitpicky note, one of the abilities refers to "Dex bonus" instead of Dexterity modifier, but that's basically a cosmetic complaint. On the plus-side, a disturbing artwork-montage is provided for the critter - think "heart with spider legs sticking out". The critter is cool in that it can go both ways - apocalyptic means of survival, threat or calculated risk...pretty cool. And I can see nobles and tyrants forcing their slaves and subordinates to stagger around with these parasites attached...grim and creepy!


The Vaquire is a particularly nasty water-undead that can form vortices under water, energy drain foes...and drown them. If it succeeds at the latter, it also possesses the target. OUCH! The vampire skull/water artwork provided here is also rather nice. Compared to the other two creatures, this one feels significantly less inspired; it's not bad, mind you...but it's also not too awe-inspiring. A somewhat amorphous possessing undead; with a water theme. Not as common as athe air-theme...but yeah.


The final creature would be the CR 13 nightsun, a Huge orb of grey plasma that emits a desecrating light and infuses the area with the minor negative-dominant planar trait (cool idea!) - instead of being healed by its own aura, it gains fast healing depending upon the number of undead it shines upon. Oh, and it does get channel negative energy, just fyi. At the same time, the nightsun can actually help undead weakened by the sun...though at a price: Undead leaving its light suffer Charisma damage - an idea for a kind of undead sun cult? A deadlight drug? Pretty damn cool. The sun-themed SPs of the critter are modified and the creature even modifies the Strength damage of unholy aura, instead inflicting blindness. However, at the same time, these lethal aberrations are susceptible to water. Okay, this one is a pure winner. It works well as a boss, as a story-monster...or simple as something to dread.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and a rules-level - I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin games' beautiful two-column full-color standard for Vathak-supplements and the pdf comes actually with bookmarks, in spite of its brevity - kudos! The artworks in full color deserve special mention - with an almost photography-like style, they feel...pretty real. rather impressive for a pdf of this low price point!


Christopher Wasko's Horrors of Halsburg were a pretty positive surprise to me - Fat Goblin Games, I and monster books don't have the best of track records, but this one pretty much delivers. While I have not completely picked apart all three statblocks, the functional basics were correct where I picked the critters apart - kudos! Apart from the one hiccup in an aesthetic gripe, I found no significant problems here. More importantly, though, would be that 2 out of 3 of the creatures herein are killer. 2 out of 3 ain't bad indeed and for the low and more than fair asking price, that quote is pretty good. In the end, I will hence rate this one 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo - a cool supplement with some unique, horrific beasts.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vathak Terrors: Horrors of Halsburg
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Mini-Dungeon #030: The Burning Tree of Coilltean Grove
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/19/2016 08:01:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!


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


...


..


.


Still here?


All right! While travelling inside a large forest, the PCs happen upon a sight most peculiar - Coilltean Grove. While this grove of the dryad Flùràlainn would be a most intriguing find in the dullest of times, right now, it is the place of a rarely seen phenomena: The tree is ablaze, the dryad in panic - and beyond that, two tribes of sprites are engaging in all-out warfare, fighting with uncharacteristic ferocity. In order to quell the bloodshed among the fey, the PCs will have to help the dryad, deduce the culprit and source beyond the apparent insanity of the fey and put an end to said threat, for an all out great encounter/module.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos! The map of this one deserves special mention - it is surprisingly high-quality and evocative for the format - though GMs should not show it to the players, since the map contains a SPOILER pertaining what's going on.


Justin Andrew Mason's mini-dungeon here is simply awesome - beyond the obvious roleplaying potential for roleplaying and the unique, cool backdrop of what happens here, the mini-dungeon can have intriguing repercussions indeed. The set-up is intriguing, the map great - there is simply not much beyond nitpickery to complain about. This is a great use of the format and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #030: The Burning Tree of Coilltean Grove
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Kineticists of Porphyra II
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/18/2016 09:25:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The second of the massive expansions for the kineticist-class clocks in at 59 pages (as before, in the one-column, digest-like format), 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 55 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This review is based on V.4 of the file.


After a brief introduction on kineticism in Porphyra, we dive right into the first archetype, the Divine Conduit, who must be good-aligned, gets an aura of good and replaces the 1st level infusion with the exclusive universal wild talent kinetic smite: For accepting 1 burn, as a swift action, you may declare a target within 60 ft. as the target of smite evil as per the paladin class feature, but only gain 1/2 your Constitution modifier as bonus to atk and AC to account for the option to use it more often. 2nd level provides the burn-less adamant faith elemental defense, which nets you Dr 1/evil, +1 per 2 kineticist levels, with the option t enhance this defense by +1 per burn accepted, with a DR-cap up to your total kineticist level. The effect can be dismissed and restored as an immediate action and increased DR is maintained until your burn is removed. Furthermore, and this is pretty strong at mid levels, when using a wild talent and accepting burn, adjacent allies partake in your DR.


2nd level also provides potentially the make or break option - holy healing, which nets the kinetic healing utility wild talent, regardless of element and yes, it locks burn into the kineticist, making it impossible to delegate the burn. The conduit can use this one as a swift action, which is pretty good - I probably would have gone with a more conservative action economy here. The ability replaces the 2nd level utility wild talent. At 4th level, the divine conduit gets a 10-ft anti-fear aura and at 8th level, a burnless wild-talent that duplicates phantom steed, with burn allowing for a HP upgrade - nice! Also nice that this balances the power of this talent by providing a cool-down if the steed is destroyed. At 10th level, the divine conduit may extend spell-like utility wild talents with durations greater than one round to up to Constitution modifier allies within 30 feet for 1 round per class level, replacing thus the 10th level utility wild talent. Cool, though in a minor typo-level glitch, Constitution is not capitalized.


The second archetype herein would be the Dragon Pact Kineticist -kineticists who have a pact with an ancient, powerful dragon -and yes, the pdf provides guidelines for entering such a pact. Kineticists in such a relation gain an element associated with their patron dragon. At 1st level, these guys gain either breath of the dragon (draconic breath (cone), 15 ft. and draconic breath (line), 30 ft. form infusions, at burn cost -1, that is 0 -balanced in flexibility due to both only dealing half blast damage for non-energy blasts) or the draconic form utility wild talent, which grants a 1d6 bite and 2 1d6 claws and also reduces burn of the kinetic fist form infusion by 1 while active. I have three nitpicks here: One: Damage type? Per bite/claw default, I assume, or is there some kineticist-element tie in I overlooked? 2) Claw damage is non-standard for Medium-size. 3) The wild talent does not specify whether these attacks are treated as primary or secondary natural weapons. At 4th level, kineticists choosing breath add this one to their lists of available utility wild talents. If that sounds powerful...well, there is a catch - these guys can only use kinetic blasts when applying either the draconic breaths or kinetic fist form infusions and this eats the 1st level infusion.


Starting at 2nd level, the kineticist gains the skin of the dragon defensive universal wild talent, granting you natural armor which can be increased by accepting burn, with the amount of possible burn being determined by class level and capping at 7th. This replaces elemental defense.


At 7th level, the choice made at 1st level regarding the draconic aspect is further enhanced, with means to increase range of breaths for accepting burn and a composite blast that can be used in conjunction with physical blasts at 2 burn, with 15th level reducing that to 1. Dragon pact kineticists who have elected to follow the body-route gain a tail that deals 1d6 and is properly coded as secondary, though it can be used as primary for 1 burn accepted. Additionally, this allows the tail to be used as a prehensile tail. I assume that rules-wise, this acts like the prehensile tail racial feature, but a specific nod towards this would have been appreciated here. The Draconic Fusion composite blast allows for the blending of simple blast and draconic patron energy type chosen. 8th level nets 60 ft. fly speed with good maneuverability via the draconic wings universal utility wild talent and 10th level provides the expanded element class feature.


At 15th level, the dragon pact kineticist either further increases range of the breaths (for, you guessed it, more burn) or an always primary tail with all natural attacks gained having their threat ranges doubled - thankfully sans means of further stacking onto this expansion. They also get a fear aura and the element eater utility wild talent, regardless of focus, assigned to the pact's element. 20th level nets the benefits of the draconic aspects not chosen and energy immunity to the dragon's energy...all in all, good reasons for dragons to make sure the kineticist has an accident before he reaches this power-level...I'm pretty burned out on dragon-apotheosis/emulation type of builds, but this one actually is interesting and has some appropriate fluff thrown in as well - I really enjoy it and think I'll use it...which was pretty surprising to me!


The Fusion kineticist would be next: They select two elements for their elemental focus, gaining both simple blasts. One is the main element, one is the sub element (snigger...I'll call the dom element in my game...Yes. Sometimes I'm horribly infantile.) Fusion kineticists may only select the 1st level talents for their sub element and do not gain composite blasts for it. This replaces the first level infusion and basic utility talent. 2nd level nets the elemental defense of their sub element and 7th level unlocks wild talents from the sub element at -2 levels.


They also gain a composite blast, provided they qualify for it, dealing "both types of damage instead of half of each type." And...here I'm stumped. I have NO IDEA how that's supposed to work in practice. Physical attack is resisted by DR, energy by resistance: Bypass? Yay or nay? From the wording (and generally sensibility) I assume this does not mean double damage - that would be insane and contradictory to the elaboration. Thing is: Pathfinder has no solid precedence rules for attacks that count as BOTH. An example: A creature has DR 20/- and immunity to fire. It's hit by a magma blast that deals 58 points of damage. Does the DR apply? The immunity? Neither?? The smaller, i.e. the DR? No idea.


Cross infusion is damn cool - at 9th level, it lets you apply infusions to simple blasts at +1 burn cost. At 15th level, the sub element is now eligible for full level wild talent selection and the archetype also gets 1 infusion or utility wild talent. More interesting: For 1 burn, they can use two utility wild talents in the same standard action as long as they are from different elements and 2 levels lower than the highest utility wild talent accessible. At 20th level, cross infusion can be used with composite blasts and the archetype gets 2 utility wild talents or infusions of different elements.


The Hex kineticist is the final archetype - it gains a familiar at full witch progression (and its death can really hamper blast damage) and 2nd level nets a hex, with 6th and every 4 levels thereafter allowing for the selection of an additional hex instead of a utility wild talent. 3rd level nets an element as per elemental focus, but no simple blast or utility wild talent. Instead, the hex kineticist can accept 1 burn to store a kinetic blast of this element (at half damage) in the familiar, reducing the damage output of the kineticist for as long as the blast is imbued. This may not sound like much on paper, but damn can you pull off some cool tactical stunts there! At 7th level, the familiar gains a 1st level infusion and infusion specialization 1, but can't accept burn for an infusion. Additionally, the kineticist and the familiar gain the Interweave Composite Blast teamwork feat (which is not, as a nitpick, properly capitalized) and also the burn 2 Hex Synthesis infusion, which lets you infuse standard non-major hexes into the blast., forcing all creatures taking damage from your blast to save against the hex. In one rare case of, admittedly, mostly aesthetic, rules-language hiccup in these books, the wording could be a bit more polished: By replacing "affects one target" with "single-target hex," that section would imho be a bit cleaner...but what's here is functional.


10th level nets the expanded element that's delayed down from 7th level and 15th level provides +1 infusion of up to 2nd level as well as infusion specialization 2 for the familiar. The master unlocks major hexes as well as gaining one and getting to option to apply them via hex synthesis at burn cost. 20th level makes hexes basically a wild-card that can be switched via burn and further upgrades the familiar for a third infusion as well as infusion specialization 3. Overall, a great, cool archetype - powerful and unique.


The pdf also introduces two new elements: Poison nets you Knowledge (Nature) and Sleight of Hand, with basic toxikinesis as basic manipulation and acid blast as a simple blast wild talent. Toxikenticists may use the burning infusion, though it deals acid damage instead and nets +2 to any poison kinetic blasts. As for defense, well, there we get Corrosive Miasma. This one nets you SR 11, which increases by 1 for every 2 kineticist levels beyond 1st. By accepting one burn, you can increase this by 1 until burn is removed next, with additional levels allowing for the increased scaling of SR via more burn. As an immediate action, you can lower your SR for that spell. Finally, when accepting burn when using a poison wild talent, you may, for one round, corrode spells affecting you, reducing the caster level by 1/2 your kineticist level. This is VERY unique and I really love its defenses!


The second element may have just as well been made for me (and all other fans of horror movies and icky villains) - viscera. Corpokineticists get Disguise and Knowledge (dungeoneering) and gain the physical bone blast (bludgeoning, slashing or piercing) as a simple blast, basic corpokinesis. A coprokineticist's viscera substance infusions do not affect the undead or constructs unless specified otherwise and throw form infusions are restricted to bone blasts and affects corporeal undead and the pushing infusion can affect undead and constructs. Infusions that affect corporeal undead can be extended to affect incorporeal undead by adding the incorporeal infusion. As for Defense, that would be Reactive Skin. While it's "resistance", not "resist" to an element of choice gained (including negative energy and sonic!), you can, as often, charge this scaling resistance by accepting burn, with level determining the maximum of burn you can accept to power this one. Now here's the cool deal - you can switch these resistances by accepting 1 burn. While, mechanically, I prefer the poison here, I love the viscera's flair...


Anyway, we obviously also get an array of new composite blasts - from acid rain (poison + water) to bioelectricity (viscera + air) etc. - and generally, I consider them well-balanced, more so, in fact than in KOP I; more important for me would be that they have unique tactical options: When you, for example, properl a bloody murder blast at your foes (by throwing a blood-soaked skull) , you increase the damage by +2 per 1d6 of the blast and may add the wrack form infusion. The imagery is awesome as well: Take Venus Blast: You create an extremely fast-growing carnivorous plant that chomps down on a foe and then withers to nothingness. It's just one sentence. It's odd, yes - but it is imho a huge liberation strike from the blandness of colored elemental las000rs firing at foes.


Obviously, this would not be complete without infusions, right? Well, there would be Str or Dex damage and a blend of old and new ones, for the pdf does sport some reprints from KOP I (though they now, obviously, take the new elements into account!) for completion's sake - kudos for going the extra mile there. And yes, you know...this pdf, much more so than KOP I, starts to show that the team is getting creative with the material. Take attunement burst for sound: Con-mod creatures hit by your attuning blast can be caused to become basically small centers of detonations...if played right, this can provide a ridiculously awesome scene. Crippling limbs of foes is cool - but not as cool as firing your blast through hyper-dimensions, appearing right in front of the target. What about using poison doses that can be added to blasts? Negating poison resistance/immunity? Even the save-or-suck paralyzing infusion have subsequent saving throws to not make it an I Win-button. Oh, and there are psychotropic infusions that not only deal Wis damage, they can cause the target to attack his allies and save versus harmless spells cast by them...pretty damn cool! What about instilling an urge to self-harm in creatures? Oh yes. Now at 2 burn, telekinetic weapon may be one of the very few infusions I'm not sold on - for this flat fee, it lets you add weapon properties and enhancement bonuses to blasts...which is awesome, sure. But why not tie the burn cost to the net enchantment of the weapon? Would have imho made more sense and an actually difference between channeling Excalibur and a +1 flaming weapon... Still, overall a great chapter, with my aforementioned gripe being not that pronounced and overall creativity exceeding that of the predecessor.


The same approach as for infusions is also applied to utility wild talents, with reprints sporting new elements etc. and ample of new ones introduced to the fray: Acid fog, using poison to partially ignore hardness, mitigating the damage objects take when telekinetically blasted by you. But SO MUCH COOLER: Zone of Atrophy. Basically somewhat akin to the zones of discordia of my own scion, this one allows you to nerf that annoyingly overpowered healer and his conjuration (healing) spells and SPs. Oh, and the follow-ups: Instant skeletalized defeated foes that can be disintegrated via burn...or animated as zombies via burn! Oh yes. And yes, there is an anti-divine follow-up available at level 5. Damn, clerics will hate these guys...


Telepathy via benign cysts on allies? Gross, yes...but so damn cool! Creating poison, with class level determining the market price? Yeah, damn neat...particularly since it has an anti-abuse/selling-caveat. Bone Armor? Yes, please. On a minor nitpick: Bone blades allow for 1d4 claws (correct damage for size!) and 1d6 bite (though that one costs burn) and don't specify secondary/primary...but yeah...assuming you know the defaults and you're good to go. Want vestigial arms? You can have them...up to 2, in fact! (The third time, you can get a parasitic twin...come on...you know you want it...) What about shaping the flesh of a target, causing e.g. eyes to grow shut? Yep...so creepy and so damn awesome. I'm not the biggest fan of kinetic healing, but that's personal taste. For those of you who enjoy it - two follow-ups are included and help with that line. More interesting and creative: What about inflicting the chaos beast's corporeal instability curse on those pesky adversaries? Or did you want a 1-point eidolon evolution? (or more via follow-ups?) Well, you can have that now. Treating telekinetic blasts as dispel magic similarly is useful.


The pdf also includes an array of new feats, which let you use Con-mod to calculate form infusion saving throw DCs, set up combos (penalties to saves versus utility wild talents after taking a blast), a multiclass-enhancer (select wild talents up to 4 over kineticist level, up to total character level - similar feat available for blasts), getting limited poison access for wood blasts, gain ranged blasts regardless of restrictions...quite a bunch of material here. The feat Stout Deterrent has been mixed in layout/formatting, its name hanging halfway in the previous feat in a rather weird glitch.


The pdf also provides new magic items: Body wraps that reduce kinetic fist form infusion burn costs, bracers that allow for the conversion of simple blast energy via burn and then there would be burn shards, which can accept 1 or 2 points of burn for the attuned owner...and yes, they are limited to one per character, thankfully. Conduit gloves allow you to gather power while holding objects and may be a bit inexpensive at 1,000 gp. The big thing here, would be crystals of elemental knowledge, which contain spell-like utility wild talents that can be attuned and then used - but they don't allow prohibited characters from using them and the item, once again, has a limit of attuned crystals, preventing abuse. Focusing gloves allow for the addition of magic weapon properties from select lists to blasts, but require the user to accept burn, while a variant is particularly potent for kinetic blades. The bland power enhancement of rings of elemental strength, in comparison, feels relatively lame and, since it's blast die-dependent, also pretty powerful for the price. The pdf also provides kineticist ioun stones. Vambraces and vests interacting with elemental overflow are neat and certain wraps allow kineticists to gain the benefits of being Large sans actually being Large, with a 76K-variant doing the same for Huge...though in either cases, only when subject to the kinetic form wild talent. And yes, it comes with proper info on stacking etc.


The pdf concludes with Zeltryx Lastbloom, a drow (karza) dragon pact kineticist 12.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, though not as precise as in the first KOP-book, at least on a formal level. On a rules-level, the concepts juggled are imho better, particularly considering the additional step up in difficulty regarding the designs herein - there isn't much to complain here. Layout adheres, as mentioned an A5-single-column standard (6'' by 9''), which you make prefer or not - just something to bear in mind regarding the page-count. The pdf sports a couple of gorgeous full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.


N.Jolly, with support from team KOP (Jacob McCoy, Mort, Onyx Tanuki) has crafted a book that is, at least in my opinion, superior to the first KOP-book. Why? Because it is more daring. It is the book that conceptually liberates the kineticist from the "elemental-laser"-niche and makes the class have some seriously cool options: Whether it's poison, hexes or the like - the creativity that can be found herein exceeds its predecessor by leaps and bounds. It was this book, not the first, that made me first think that I might actually want to create a kineticist. I considered the system intriguing from the get-go, mind you - I simply considered the niche to be too narrow and not too much to my liking. The variety of options introduced is cool and creative, the class material is solid and, considering the difficulty of the kineticist system and nomenclature, one can consider this a rather impressive book.


The main achievement of this book, to me, would be that it brings flair and panache into the class; it's bolder in its expansion of the kineticist class's scope as well as in its use of flavor and in its design-choices. Yes, there are a few instances where the rules-language could be a tad bit more precise, but they are few and far in-between and balance-wise, I actually consider this one to be more refined - I have seen less I'll have to nerf for less high-powered games than in the first book. Yes, I'm concerned about the damage-upgrade items and the overall stacking game one can see coming here...but at the same time, I absolutely applaud the items like burn shards and their limitations, the crystals and the overall creativity and mechanical precision that went into this book. I could ramble on all day.


In short: While Kineticists of Porphyra was the book you had to buy to make the kineticist more versatile, this is frankly the book you want to buy, as the strength of concepts herein vastly exceeds that of its predecessor book and the base class. It may be a tad bit less refined in a few formal hiccups than the previous book...but it makes up for that in leaps and bounds.


Now excuse me, I need to build some poison and viscera kineticists...I forgot the verdict? Oh, yeah, right. Well, it's my old maxim: Boldness and creativity trump blandness married to perfectionism any day of the week. My final verdict, since this book actually made me like the class and liberated it from its narrow scope, integrating it so much better within PFRPG, is 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra II
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Into the Wintery Gale: Raider's Haul
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/18/2016 09:24:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This collection of magic items clocks in at a massive 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD (though the SRD-page sports two short paragraphs of content), leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, these magic items are intended for the unique Vikmordere-culture in Aventyr, which can be likened to a unique blend of native Americans and Vikings. It should be noted that adaption of the items to other contexts and cultures is pretty simple, though, personally, I'd consider that to be a bit of a waste - you see, the Vikmordere culture slowly introduced over the course of multiple modules set in Aventyr, may easily be the most intriguing ethnicity/culture I have seen introduced for a given setting in a long, long while, so finally getting magic items to further accentuate its peculiarities is a big plus for me. And yes, I actually wrote them into my current main campaign; you know, the non-playtesting one where we play for fun and fun alone? The one I really guard against influences I don't absolutely love? Well...yeah. That should give you an inkling of how much I like this culture.


I'm rambling, right? Sorry. But this goes somewhere. Beyond simply depicting magic items as in other sourcebooks, the pdf has several peculiarities. Number one would be the correspondence of the items to magic item cards - while not necessary for the enjoyment of this book, the item cards do provide a welcome option for time-starved GMs to simply hand out and the fact that the items denote their cards makes this very easy to use. Beyond that, and here is where my rambling above comes into play, each item actually comes with cultural information pertaining the magic item and its function, use and status within the Vikmordere culture, featuring unique tidbits while hearkening to a school of design that is not about math, but about myth-weaving. Suffice to say, I adore this decision.


Anyways, the items also get their own descriptive flavor text (great for GMs who are bad at that kind of thing)...and, well...they have artworks. Not a couple of them. I mean gorgeous, high-quality full-color artworks for each and every item in this book, featuring Mates Laurentiu's unique and very fairy-tales-esque style...that actually manages to get the flair of the Vikmordere.


Okay, so this may be impressive, right? Well, it kind of is...but personally, it's the items that make this interesting. We begin, for example, with Amphorae of Wargmead which allow the imbibers to assume Powerful Shape-modified wild shape into Large dire wolf form. Yes, this basically is akin to a spell in a can - but it does modify the precise effects and the visuals it evokes and the cultural tidbits conspire to make this infinitely more compelling than it would be otherwise. The expensive and powerful armet of glory provides cumulative deflection bonuses to AC for each crit confirmed -and guess what? The item actually navigates, rather well, I might add, the issue of per-combat mechanics by also providing a fixed time frame. Kudos!


Basher's Shields are also interesting -two enchanted bashing shields that work in conjunction and allow the user to fuse them together into a tower shield-equivalent of their own, with bonus feats granted to the wielder while wearing the shields. Pretty unique. The berserker's boss actually contains three shields with unique properties, with in particular the trickster-shield being brutal: No save 1/day exchange of places with a creature attacking the wielder. On a nitpicky side, the shield should probably specify that the exchange is a conjuration [teleportation]-effect for purposes of ability/spells interaction...but the daily limit makes me still consider this cool...and functional...and unique.


Bows that facilitate firing multiple arrows at once (with Manyshot-interaction covered) may be cool...but what about boots that automatically create ice when the wearer treads upon water? And yes, the rules for this are more complex than one would think from the concept, but ultimately, it manages to handle them; it works. Brynja Mail, originally worn by a demi-goddess, changes hues depending on temperatures and is particularly potent for superhumanly dexterous characters, with potent defensive capabilities. This may be a bit inexpensive, but considering the origin and scarcity of this armor, I have no issue with it. An iron censer that doubles as a flaming flail for Large-sized creatures, capable of warming the cold, should also be mentioned, What about a fan made of hawk feathers, assisting in the conjurations of rituals? Hero's blood as a powerful potion (with an optional rule that makes it less palatable...) and hero's hope is similarly unique: A horribly amateurishly cobbled together buckler that is enchanted to 1/day, make the user basically immune to ranged attacks, negating hostile assaults...though the shield does collapse upon absorbing a critical hit as a unique balancing mechanicsm for its power. Beyond a cursed horn of thirst, an electricity-laced reindeer seax that doubles as a lesser elemental metamagic rod.


Now here's a glorious one: The hunter's haversack can create items beyond its obvious storing capacity. However, it manages to get EVERYTHING right! It can't be cheesed for money; It can't be cheesed to create custom, specific items...and retains full functionality! Oh YES! Thank you! You know, this may be the first crazy-prepared item I know of that does not have any issues!


A halberd fashioned from mammoth tooth can conjure forth a mammooth to ride and an instrument can conjure forth ratatosks (see Vikmordere Bestiary) and bodhran drums can carry messages for miles. Runestones of warding deserve special mention - a total of 16 such stones are provided. They each have a pool of charges and basically work like more versatile ioun stone array that provides bonuses versus specific schools/subschools of magic, with each bonus granted consuming one charge. On a nitpick, they use the nomenclature "rune bonus" sans defining rune bonus for stacking/interaction purposes.


Ähem: "This ornamented human skull has had a circular hole cut into its crown, trimmed with a rune-covered gold band. Its jaws have been positioned so that the mouth remains gaping wide open, and two large pristine rubies have been lodged into its gazing eye sockets." - That's the skriksong. In the presence of haunts or undead, it emits a conical, fiery glow that can render the incorporeal corporeal and acts as a glorious warning system for haunts. And, come on - the imagery evoked...it's...stunning.


What about a spiked, dancing buckler that can be thrown? Or what about a massive, magical snekkja (a type of longship) that is crewed by spirits and that can turn all abroad incorporeal...yes, this is, quite literally, the stuff of legends. The potentially petrification-causing gorgon ability is underpriced for a +2 bonus in my book. Vængr throwing axes can generate gusts of wind or wind walls - nice, but personally, I love the magical wenchline of hoisting, a variant of an immovable rod that, bingo, help hoisting! Makes so much sense to me! Neat! Oh, and have I mentioned the ice-genie in a bottle?


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good in both the formal and rules-language departments - I noticed no significant glitches. The full-color 2-column, unique layout standard created for this book by BJ Hensley and Daniel Marhsall is GORGEOUS and, as mentioned above, the artworks are copious and stunning. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Justin Andrew Mason's Raider's Haul may well be one of the best magic item books I've seen in a long while. It certainly is the most beautiful one - the artwork-density and quality of the artworks is stunning. While I'm not sold on the pricing of all items herein, that remains very much a personal thing, though some enchantments and bonuses herein very much feel like they shouldn't be crafted in series. Why? Because this, in its design and culture, in the glorious fluff suffusing this book, very much adheres to the mythical take on magic, where it is supposed to instill wonder, provide unique benefits and not like something that can be bought at adventurers-are-us. If taken under this, its intended purpose and premise, this may well rank among the finest item collections for PFRPG.


If you take the story-components out of the items and make them widely available, you also deprive them of some of their magic - of their uniqueness and flair. The two components I thus consider problematic are the relatively powerful magic weapon qualities contained herein, since they imply a wider availability. However, this book, as a collection of culturally distinct loot with its own stories and flair, is frankly intended for the GM, as a great selection of tools to reward heroic PC. Used as such, as intended, this works perfectly - powerful and unique, breathing the flair of its unique culture.


As you all may know, I am a rather big proponent of "magic should be magical and not something you buy in the market" - so for me, this absolutely and completely does its job in a truly superb manner; in the context of Aventyr, this steps up the game for magic items and the coolness of the unique Vikmordere-culture. Beyond its setting-confines, it remains a stellar collection of items for Norse-inspired cultures that breathe a sense of the uniquely magical into fantasy rendition of Viking-inspired cultures, going one step beyond the tropes evoked in classic Norse mythology, adding a unique and creative spin to everything. In short: I absolutely adore this book. It's an achievement of storytelling that provides items that feel more magical than most PFRPG-items, that feel like items that are more than the sum of their math and properties. For that, I love this book and while it may not be 100% perfect, it is very close to that...at least for me. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Wintery Gale: Raider's Haul
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

I Loot the Bag of Holding SNE
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/15/2016 11:15:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The latest installment in Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this pdf with a massive table of no less than 100 pieces of adventuring gear - and, in case you're wondering, they very much may be system-neutral and less crunchy that you could expect - but they are cool and diverse: A folding ladder, sticks that obscure the immediate area in purple smoke, camouflage nets for other biomes, differently colored sticks of chalk, dented breastplates - from the curious to the mundane, the table sports a solid diversity.


The second table herein sports 5o entries for artworks found in the bags of holding - and here, one can see the creativity of Mike Welham fully at work: A rendition of a treasure hoard that spits out one coin per day is, for example, just glorious: Think about it for a second - how does that influence local economy? Where do the coins come from, if they're not generated from scratch? Are they permanent or a type of fool's gold? A lot of potential here! What about bronze fish statuettes that swim in the water? Replica windmills that can be used to crush walnuts? This table is glorious.


The 3rd table herein, once again 50 entries long, features some rather unique books - whether it's "On the Safe Rearing of Basilisks", "Brain Surgery for Dragons" or "Planets in Alignment", a book pertaining to constellations that are soon about to come to pass, the pdf's books can be considered to be intriguing, fun and, more importantly, either elicit grins, provide hints or even adventure hooks.


Among the 50 esoteric objects in this pdf, one can find badger skeletons (including a scroll to reanimate the skeleton!), a ballista on wheels labeled "Cats only!", crystal ewers that can only be filled with rain water, doll heads missing eyes - this table similarly provides some evocative and foreboding visuals to enhance atmosphere in various ways.


The final table, once again 50 entries strong, provides odds and ends - blood-dripping over-sized meat-cleavers, coat racks holding jaunty clothes; noble outfits with "Disguises for heist" attached, scraps of letters pointing towards illicit love affairs, helmets improvised from steel buckets and delicate porcelain sets, to name a few, can be found in this table.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf also comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Nice!


Mike Welham has taken a rather hard task here - unlike as usual, there is precious few common ground to tread regarding the contents of bags of holding; there is no thematic red line to trod upon and thus, on a downside, the tables do feel a bit all over the place. That's also a strength of this pdf, though: With no significant restrictions imposed on creativity by themes, there are some truly delightfully creative hooks disguised as simple table entries here, with quite a few of them being simply inspiring.


As a whole, I felt that this was an inspired read, yes; but some of the items found herein do seem to me like they could have used some prices or at least minor magical rules/functions - at least for the PFRPG-version, which is btw. pretty identical to the system-neutral version. Granted, that's a staple for the series, but especially when considering items found in an iconic magic item, a bit of magic, a bit of treasure aspect, wouldn't have hurt this. Now, please bear in mind that I'm complaining at a VERY high level here - this is still an excellent buy and a great addition to the series. But from items found in a bag of holding, I would have expected a bit more meat. That whip fashioned from a squid's tentacle? Why not at least make it masterwork? Oh well, this still is, as mentioned, a great book, though one I prefer to see as a system-neutral book. As for my final verdict - the system-neutral version gets the full 5 stars + seal of approval. The PFRPG-version loses the seal due to the aforementioned complaints. In both iterations, this is a neat addition to the series, though.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Bag of Holding SNE
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

I Loot the Bag of Holding
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/15/2016 11:14:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The latest installment in Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this pdf with a massive table of no less than 100 pieces of adventuring gear - and, in case you're wondering, they very much may be system-neutral and less crunchy that you could expect - but they are cool and diverse: A folding ladder, sticks that obscure the immediate area in purple smoke, camouflage nets for other biomes, differently colored sticks of chalk, dented breastplates - from the curious to the mundane, the table sports a solid diversity.


The second table herein sports 5o entries for artworks found in the bags of holding - and here, one can see the creativity of Mike Welham fully at work: A rendition of a treasure hoard that spits out one coin per day is, for example, just glorious: Think about it for a second - how does that influence local economy? Where do the coins come from, if they're not generated from scratch? Are they permanent or a type of fool's gold? A lot of potential here! What about bronze fish statuettes that swim in the water? Replica windmills that can be used to crush walnuts? This table is glorious.


The 3rd table herein, once again 50 entries long, features some rather unique books - whether it's "On the Safe Rearing of Basilisks", "Brain Surgery for Dragons" or "Planets in Alignment", a book pertaining to constellations that are soon about to come to pass, the pdf's books can be considered to be intriguing, fun and, more importantly, either elicit grins, provide hints or even adventure hooks.


Among the 50 esoteric objects in this pdf, one can find badger skeletons (including a scroll to reanimate the skeleton!), a ballista on wheels labeled "Cats only!", crystal ewers that can only be filled with rain water, doll heads missing eyes - this table similarly provides some evocative and foreboding visuals to enhance atmosphere in various ways.


The final table, once again 50 entries strong, provides odds and ends - blood-dripping over-sized meat-cleavers, coat racks holding jaunty clothes; noble outfits with "Disguises for heist" attached, scraps of letters pointing towards illicit love affairs, helmets improvised from steel buckets and delicate porcelain sets, to name a few, can be found in this table.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf also comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Nice!


Mike Welham has taken a rather hard task here - unlike as usual, there is precious few common ground to tread regarding the contents of bags of holding; there is no thematic red line to trod upon and thus, on a downside, the tables do feel a bit all over the place. That's also a strength of this pdf, though: With no significant restrictions imposed on creativity by themes, there are some truly delightfully creative hooks disguised as simple table entries here, with quite a few of them being simply inspiring.


As a whole, I felt that this was an inspired read, yes; but some of the items found herein do seem to me like they could have used some prices or at least minor magical rules/functions - at least for the PFRPG-version, which is btw. pretty identical to the system-neutral version. Granted, that's a staple for the series, but especially when considering items found in an iconic magic item, a bit of magic, a bit of treasure aspect, wouldn't have hurt this. Now, please bear in mind that I'm complaining at a VERY high level here - this is still an excellent buy and a great addition to the series. But from items found in a bag of holding, I would have expected a bit more meat. That whip fashioned from a squid's tentacle? Why not at least make it masterwork? Oh well, this still is, as mentioned, a great book, though one I prefer to see as a system-neutral book. As for my final verdict - the system-neutral version gets the full 5 stars + seal of approval. The PFRPG-version loses the seal due to the aforementioned complaints. In both iterations, this is a neat addition to the series, though.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Bag of Holding
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Deadly Gardens Volume 4: Ophidian Vine
Publisher: Rusted Iron Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/15/2016 11:12:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page SRD, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this installment of the Deadly Gardens-series with 3 new feats, the first of which mitigates the penalty of Handle Animal to deal with plant creatures and allows you to use it in conjunction with plant creatures bereft of Intelligence. The second feat, Toxin Wrangler, lets you harvest poison from living creatures with an indifferent attitude towards you. Third, Venom Doctor, is intriguing - it lets you use poisons to treat diseases - the patient suffers the effect of the poison once, but is not further poisoned, with the next save DC versus the disease the patient has to make being decreased by an amount equal to the poison's DC, up to a minimum of 5. Additionally, you have no risk of poisoning yourself when making poison, harvesting poisons or treating diseases or afflictions. I like the idea, though, depending on the importance of diseases in your game, I'd suggest, depending on campaign, 1/2 DC for grittier games - just an observation, mind you!


Now the next section of this book may, on its own, be worth getting this pdf. Why? Because it collects a metric ton of poisons from creatures in the bestiaries in a MASSIVE table that exceeds one page in scope, providing an easily referenced collection, with yield of harvested doses, market prices, etc. all included. And yes, there are some new ones (variants of magical, poisonous animals) here as well. Kudos for this section!


Now the eponymous ophidian vine comes in two iterations here - one at CR 1/2 and one at CR 4 - and yes, the b/w-artwork used for the critter is, as we've come to expect, gorgeous! Obviously, to maintain thematic consistency, the creature has a poisonous sap and the greater variant can be pictured as basically a stronger, tougher iteration of the snake-shaped vine. All in all, surprisingly, the creature this time around feels a bit...bland? Snake + plant...very basic, particularly in relation to the rather unique creatures featured in the series so far.


The pdf also sports two natural items, one would be aforementioned poison sap, with the second being basically the upgrade for the greater version's sap.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity - kudos! As mentioned before, the b/w-artwork by Becca Bean is simply stunning.


Russ Brown's ophidian vine is an odd one - while usually, the creatures are the stars in these small supplements, this time around I found myself most enamored with the poison-table and the harvest-poison-from-living feat. While I adore the idea of a serpentine plant creature, the build itself is not that extraordinary, though it should be considered to be solid. Generally, I have no significant complaints regarding this book. While the animal-handling feat would have imho warranted animal/plant companion stats for the ophidian vine, I am not going to penalize this book for the lack here. However, I do consider the creature itself, at least this time around, to simply not be that interesting. Note, though, that the poison-table in itself already may justify getting this book.


All in all, this is a good little book, worth the low asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars, with particular usefulness for people who want the great poison-table.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens Volume 4: Ophidian Vine
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Everyman Iconics: Kyr'shin
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/14/2016 09:22:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The first installment of the Everyman Iconics-series clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, so this book, basically, is an NPC-book...or a pregen-book...or a build-scavenge-book...all depending on what you're looking for. let me elaborate: This book takes the very first of Alexander Augunas' by now notorious kitsune characters, pretty much the face of Everyman Gaming, Kyr'shin Yilenzo and provides the build options for the character in an easy to grasp manner.


The pdf begins with an extensive fluffy background that renders the stats a proper character - with extensive description and background, the section also provides a personalized code of conduct by which Kyr'shin acts alongside detailed information on the kitsune's personality.


This is Everyman Gaming, however, so we do not simply get a smattering of statblocks thrown out way - instead, we get reprints of the respective archetypes utilized, which, this time around, would be the Gendarme, Honor Guard, Lore Warden and Martial Master-archetypes - correct, ladies and gentlemen - a total of 4 archetypes. Beyond that, Kyr'shin uses the order of dazzling lotus and his racial stats, feats and even traits have been reproduced within these pages.


The build is not restricted to core, however - instead, the book utilizes the absolutely glorious Antagonize-mechanic used in the superb Ultimate Charisma book (which is pretty much a must-buy for PFRPG!) as well as his list of combat tricks powered via Combat Stamina, making concise use of Pathfinder Unchained's stamina rules. And before you ask - yes, these rules have been reprinted for your convenience in this book.


Kyr'shin Yilenzo begins play as a kitsune cavalier with both the gendarme and honor guard archetypes and thus, he gets a mount. An allosaurus. Yep. The kitsune riding the dino. Neat! The character receives multiple follow-up builds, with the first being a CR 2 iteration that adds a cavalier level and the dual-archetyped fighter level into the fray. And yes, the statblocks are accompanied by the respective mount statblocks as well. The subsequent builds cover CR 6, 9, 13, 16 and 19...oh, and just fyi: Base mount stats for other characters riding an allosaurus are included...and the mount's feats are covered as well.


Then, the pdf suddenly switches layout from 2-column portrait to 3-column landscape - for a reason: The level 1, level 3 and level 7 iterations of the kitsune are provided in this format - easily printable on one page - and yep, these guys are basically the pregen-versions of Kyr'shin.


Pretty awesome, just fyi: A handy, massive table shows kyr'shin's default progression regarding levels/multiclassing, with save-progression, advancements and special abilities gained all codified in one handy table.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a relatively printer-friendly two-column full-color standard with great full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Alexander Augunas' Kyr'shin is a great character -an evocative, cool champion that is pretty fearsome as far as his combat capabilities are concerned. Unlike many a martial pregen/NPC, Kyr'shin has quite an array of unique tricks he can pull off, rendering the playing experience of the character very smooth. The attention to detail and handy explanations of material utilized herein also restricts the necessity to look anything up to a bare minimum, which is a HUGE plus in book. All in all, this guy represents a great, evocative NPC to introduce to your campaign, a great first taste of the cool material in Ultimate Charisma and an all-out well-made NPC. I enjoyed Kyr'shin and consider him to be a neat addition to the game - and what more could you ask from regarding an NPC-book?


Precisely. My final verdict will clock in at an unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Iconics: Kyr'shin
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Legendary Villains: Evil Clerics
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/14/2016 09:19:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The third installment of Legendary Games' supplements containing powerful options for GMs crafting dastardly villains clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let's take a look!


From Randall Flagg to Thulsa Doom, once you start thinking about it, popular fiction is rife with great cleric-y villain antagonists and the introduction of this book does quote several of these beloved antagonists as inspirations to draw upon before moving towards a rather crucial aspect of evil clerics: As servants of the divine, they INSPIRE. No matter whether they are fanatics, the traumatized or simply bigots, the term of demagogue often conjures up the clergy, spittle-faced, whipping their believers into a frenzy...just as much as thinking of evil clerics immediately conjures up scenes of black-robed cultists of the demonic or the elder gods congregating in abandoned places, with pure, evil power and a divine plan most maleficent at their finger tips. Much to my positive surprise, we thus begin this supplement with disruptive actions evil clerics can engage in - from notes on evil cleric buildings utilizing the kingdom-building mechanics to special, evil cleric related downtime events, the pdf is off to a great start: Subverting recruits or greasing the rumor mill - the power and insidious strategies employed are well-crafted and add a so far neglected componnet of the threat that evil clerics represent.


Now we begin with a 10-level Prestige Class, the Sinweaver, who gets 2+Int skills, d8 HD, full channel energy progression, 9/10th spellcasting progression, 3/4 BAB-progression and 1/2 Will-save progression. As the name implies, these clerics are themed around sin - as such, they can, as a SP, detect sin - as a nitpick, though, this one does not specify how often it can be used - I assume at-will, but clarification would have helped here anyways. t 1st level, the PrC gets a sin pool that can hold up to 3 + class level points and it refreshes to 3+1/2 class level upon resting. These points power the sin powers of the class and can also be expended as a free action when casting a spell to increase CL or DC by 1. Also at first level, the PrC gains the ability to "eat" confessions - basically, after interacting with a creature verbally for 10 minutes, the sineater may use a standard action, adding sin points to her pool depending on the sin consumed, though this can be resisted with a Will-save. Sin points gained can range from 1 - 5 and the pdf provides guidance regarding on what constitutes sinful thoughts etc. Also at 1st level and every 2 levels thereafter, the PrC gains access to one of the aforementioned sin powers. These provide a pretty extensive array of options - from supernatural disguise self to a melee touch that deals damage and grants said damage as temporary hit points, temporary switching of energy type channeled or enhanced senses that scale with PrC-level attained, the selection of powers is interesting.


As a nitpick, sineaters could kitten the whole system - since sentient creatures have sinful surface thoughts, eating the sins of animals via speak with animals is possible - a minimum Int/type-caveat could have helped here. Similarly, the temporary hit points granted by aforementioned touch could easily be drawn from slaying kittens, since the hit points gained are dependent on the damage caused, not the actual hit points lost by the target. While this is obviously no problem for GM NPCs and similarly should not be an issue in most games, it does provide an imho unnecessary loophole. Weapon enhancement can also be found, though, oddly, the weapon properties available have not been italicized here. At 3rd level, the PrC gains an aura that can be maintained for 1 round per sinweaver level, granting the sinweaver a +4 bonus to Charisma while in effect and forces those nearby to save or "become distracted by sinful thoughts." Okay, two things: One, what is the action to activate the aura? Swift? Immediate, free? No idea. Secondly: What does that "distracted" mean? It's not a default condition in PFRPG. Does it work akin to the distracting weapon quality? Does it render flat-footed as per Distracted Shot? No idea. At 10th level, the PrC allows for the class to "force a final confession from a dying creature" and raise it as a variant shade made of sin, beholden to the sinweaver...which is okay...but once again, kittenable, lacks the information for the action required to use the ability...and feels disjointed. Pet as a capstone? Okay, I guess...but...why? Overall, I wanted to like this PrC, but it feels disjointed to me, with the actual sins not really featuring prominently. Similarly, the issues with ability activation and abuse potential disqualify this one at my table, even though I really wanted to like it and do like the idea behind it.


The pdf goes on to provide archetypes for evil clerics, with the first being the Deceiver, who loses medium armor and shield proficiency and gets a modified skill-list. They may choose one domain available to another god - at 4th level, the archetype can expend uses of channel energy to change the energy of the channel, domain powers or even prepare spells with the [good]-descriptor. Cool! The archetype can also conceal the nature of the unholy symbol, masking it as the holy symbol of another deity and may add class dependant bonuses to social skills made to deceive believers. They can also imitate auras. At 8th level, the archetype can shift the blame to others and spontaneous casting is modified in a unique manner, gaining spontaneous conversion into trickery-related spells. Cool archetype!


The second archetype herein is basically the Calistria warrior-cleric you may wanted in theme- the Sacred Stinger gets a modified proficiency and skill-list (exchanging shields with several martial weapons). The archetype receives diminished spellcasting, but also bonus feats at 1st level, 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter...or rogue talents; and yep, 10th and 20th level expand the available list. 8th level nets poison use. All in all, a balanced, neat archetype somewhat lacking in the fact that it could have used some unique tricks.


After these archetypes, we are introduced to a new domain, the disease domain, which lets you burst pustules and fire bolts of viscera at nearby foes (30 ft.), nauseating and sickening foes, usable 3 + Wis-mod times per day. Clerics with this domain can't ever drop to below 1 in ability scores via diseases, with 4th level eliminating detrimental effects and 8th allowing you to contagion via a touch 1/2 cleric level times per day. Solid, if not a domain that blew me away.


The pdf also features 4 regular feats: One lets you Craft Cursed Items (or add curses to existing ones), while the other 3 feature modifications of channel energy, allowing for the addition of the sickening condition, contagion or darkness, with the latter scaling at +4d6 to instead use deeper darkness. These would be basically the "normal" feats herein; feats I'd generally consider feasible for evil PCs. But, at least for me, the series has excelled in the super-powerful story-driven feats as pioneered by Clinton J. Boomer. This book similarly has an array of very complex feats, that nevertheless are a tad bit less extreme than in previous books - here, they're called "Avatar of Evil"-feats. This time around, they are based on the Unholy Scar feat, which means the symbol of your deity is etched into your skin as a birthmark, scarification of the like, acting as an unholy symbol. When using this to channel negative energy to damage the living, its DC is increased by 2 and also acts as a phylactery of faithfulness. Any action versus your deity, though, strikes you progressively more crippling afflictions: Bestow Curse, blindness and then, all loss of power.


Now, in all but name (since those are closed IP), the feats themselves align with the core Pathfinder deities, with e.g. Bestial Avatar, obviously, being the feat for followers of Rovagug. As a swift action, such clerics can enter a barbarian rage for rounds equal to 1/2 cleric levels, but sans rage powers. Multiclass cleric/barbarians instead count as 2 levels higher for rage power granted ability purposes. The respective feats also add an array of spells to the spell-list known of the respective cleric - one at 3rd level and one for each subsequent spell level. However, beyond the restrictions of the Unholy Scar feat, each feat does come with a drawback and a specific obedience to follow: The aforementioned feat penalizes all Int-based checks by -2 and requires that you 1/week destroy an object of significant importance to another person, with your end-goal being the unleashing of the dread god from its confinement. Those that follow Norgorber can memory lapse via a touch Cha-mod times per day, but also become susceptible to influence, as dread secrets corrode their resolve and may afflict them with amnesia if their mental attributes ever fall to 0. Servants of the Old Ones are afflicted by madness and must conjure forth beings from beyond, while diabolical avatars must broker lopsided contracts. The Lamashtan avatar feat has a couple of formatting relic (strike-through boxes) instead of hyphens in its formatting, but otherwise is disturbing enough, with divinely-prescribed pregnancy every 3 years. All in all, these feats are rather well-balanced, considering their serious powers and story-implications and I can generally see them work for player characters.


The pdf also provides new cleric spells - 8 to be precise. They allow the target to conjure forth uncontrolled cockroach swarms from the fallen, assume three variants of diabolical aspect, induce amnesia and a spell-version of the good ole' infernal contract trope. A sound-based, somewhat blasphemy-ish unearthly chorus, dependent in efficiency on HD of the affected, makes for a solid 4th-lvel spell-option, while the award for the most disturbing evil spell, perhaps ever, goes to monstrous birth, creating a horrific duplicate in the target, an abomination that proceeds to hamper the target and then burst forth to slay its parent. Shudder-worthy indeed, even as a male.


The pdf also sports an assortment of magic items, half of which, though, are cursed! Cloaks of weakness, phylacteries of heresy...the ideas here are cool. There also would be an unholy symbol that allows the target to replace a domain power with another domain power that's part of the patron deity's portfolio, an altar that facilitates the binding of planar allies, a Cha-enhancing perfume (and one that attracts the undead!), a cannibalistic hunger inducing blade (lacking "blade" once in a cosmetic glitch), enchanted funeral shrouds...pretty cool. A glove containing deadly syringes would be among the more unique items here.


However, it is here that the pdf once again amps up the awesome factor: I've you've followed my reviews for a while, you may noticed that I am a ridiculous fan of the grimoire concept Legendary Games used in the plug-ins for both Carrion Crown and Jade Regent - you know, legendary tomes containing forbidden knowledge and unique benefits. This book does feature two new grimoires, with the first being the Book of Assignations, which contains the scriptures of an evil cult of the Lady of Wasps herself, potentially providing access to a Wasp faux familiar. The book also teaches to channel Con-damaging poison with your channel and contains a variant of faithful hound, a wasp that can deliver wicked stings. Oh, and have I mentioned the spell that generates a whip of wasps, which can transform into a swarm? Yeah, pretty cool!


The second grimoire in this book would be Nythria's Memory Shards, penned by an erstwhile faithful devotee of Norgorber, ultimately as an act of defiance in the face of her betrayal by the deity. The feats contained in this book allows for the addition of bleed to channel and a very powerful option for 10th level characters to stagger those hit by Weapon Specialization weapons. The grimoire also contains 4 new spells, one of which is a memory flooding based slightly superior confusion. At 7th level, save-or-die-touch is not really a favorite, but stealing faces of living or deceased foes and obscure identity both will find their fans - as the pdf notes, Nythria's main achievement was the theft of hundreds of faces - basically, this grimoire is just what fans of A Song of Ice and Fire's faceless men wanted.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, though not as precise as usual for Legendary Games - I noticed a couple of minor hiccups here and there. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard usually employed in the Wrath of the Righteous plug-ins. The pdf sports a blending of new and old artwork - while all is high-quality, I still wished the grimoires had their own unique pieces instead of reused ones from previous grimoire-installments. With art being expensive, though, I understand this decision. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks that aren't in sequence and provide no nested bookmarks.


Jenny Jarzabski's evil clerics took me on a roller-coaster ride. I like the Ultimate Campaign-support and I cherished the grimoires. I was similarly positively surprised by the deceiver archetype and the fact that the complex avatar-feats actually work well with PCs as well. At the same time, the pdf, as a whole, felt somewhat less creative than the previous installments - I found myself a tad bit less enthused in the concepts evoked. And then there would be the PrC, which should be a great take on the Thassilonian cleric...but falls pretty short in multiple ways of what it sets out to do. As a totality, this pdf has some gems and some less refined pieces, with the gems elevating it above the fray. Hence, the book can be considered to be a solid, if not perfect purchase, with a rating of 3.5 stars, rounded up 4 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Evil Clerics
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Kineticists of Porphyra
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/13/2016 08:41:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The first of the much lauded Kineticist of Porphyra-books clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 46 pages of content - however, you should be aware that the layout for this book is that of a single-column one, with the obvious intent of being printed out in A5 (or paperback) content, which means that there is a bit less content herein than you'd expect from the page-count. However, there is still A LOT of ground to cover, so let's take a look, shall we? Oh, one, more thing - this review is based on the fifth iteration of the book, just in case you were wondering.


We begin, after a brief discussion on the discovery of kineticism on Porphyra, with a selection of archetypes, the first of which would be the cerebral kineticist, whose key ability for wild talents, DCs, concentration etc. is not Constitution, but Intelligence. This, obviously, render the kineticist much more fragile and though the archetype gains the Knowledge skills, the archetype does replace its 1st level infusion with the ability to accept 2 points of burn without suffering any negative effects, +1 at 4th level and every 5 levels thereafter.


Now if you're like me, you'd consider this burn buffer to be pretty excellent for characters that do have a decent Con-stat (after all, the kineticist is not particularly MAD), but thankfully, the archetype does have something to reign the otherwise apparent abuse capability in - psychological burn, which means that the kineticist takes an increasing amount of debilitating conditions that last until burn is recovered (OUCH!) from a list that begins at dazzled and ends at comatose. Instead of elemental overflow, they can grant themselves a morale bonus to any mental ability score. Okay, we begin with a whopper - you read mental shield and think WTF. Then you start doing the math and, provided you do not utilize further burn-mitigating combos, it actually comes out rather nicely. Daring design...I like it.


The elemental avatar gets all primary elements as...well...primary elements, but pay for this flexibility with the inability to execute composite blasts apart from via elemental fusion and the fact that the first infusion gained is delayed to 3rd level, while the first utility wild talent is delayed to 2nd level, with additional ones showing up every 3 levels thereafter. On a plus, the added flexibility also applies to elemental defense. Now I mentioned elemental fusion - they gain this type of composite blast at 7th level, with either a combo of three physical damage types (avatar blast) or untyped damage (spirit blast) being the options available.


Both suffer from reduced damage dice (down to d4s) and are considered associated blasts for three elements (air, earth, water for avatar; electric, fire, cold for spirit blasts) for infusion purposes. Instead of metakinesis, these guys may, at 9th level add a second elemental defense per 2 burn accepted, as though they had accepted 1 point of burn for the purposes of its effects, replacing thus metakinesis (maximize). 10th level provides a simple blast wild talent as though it were a 1st level utility wild talent and, as a capstone, he can enter basically avatar-form, with elemental defenses and overflow are treated as though he had accepted 10 points of burn and reduces burn costs of kinetic blasts by 2, but with each round causing one burn and Con-mod being the cap for consecutive rounds spent in this state, being exhausted thereafter. So yeah, in case you were wondering - this is pretty much the avatar-archetypes fans of the franchise have been asking for.


The elemental scions can choose to gain both associated blasts for their elements or increase the damage of simple blasts by one step, altering elemental focus and replacing the infusion granted at level 1. 7th level nets the archetype a composite blast that requires the expanded element of the primary element and is treated as +2 levels for purpose of infusion and wild talent selection, +1 DC. Additionally, they gain +1 utility talent or infusion. Finally, if they elected not to increase damage dice, they may now do so for a simple blast in place of the infusion or wild talent gained and they may choose a simple blast wild talent as a 1st level wild talent; this ability, though, consumes the expanded element class feature. 15th level provides +1 DC for infusions and wild talents as well as damage die size-increase for simple and composite blasts, while also gaining +1 utility wild talent or infusion, eliminating the expanded element gained at 15th level. The capstone replaces omnikinesis with +1 infusion or wild talent and treats all infusions or wild talents as though they had been enhanced by +1 point of burn. Basically, this is the one-element-specialist. Should have been part of the base-class. Not too blown away, but what many people wanted.


The final archetype would be the kinetic duelist, who gets an expanded list of proficiencies and may channel his power in the form of a kinetic blade, allowing the duelist to make AoOs with it, with the lack of range (apart from via the ranged blast infusion) and a restriction of infusions available for their melee kinetic blast in blade form paying for this. The aforementioned ranged infusion is btw. potentially available from 1st level onwards, with 10th level unlocking kinetic whip mastery as a utility wild talent, allowing you to treat your blade-shaped blast instead like a whip-shaped blast - i.e. the signature kinetic blade mastery is instead applied as though it was used in conjunction with the kinetic whip infusion. 11th level allows the duelist to gather power as part of a full attack. 13th level provides a brutal trick: Kinetic Assault lets the duelist charge for 4 burn via the universal form infusion, not provoke AoOs...and increase DCs AND DOUBLE damage. OUCH. Considering the kineticist's damage output, that's pretty savage. Oh, and at 17th level, you can have two such blades...which is cool and all and has the proper rules-language to work...but still. These powers, btw., come at the cost of metakinesist and supercharge. I like this more melee-centric kineticist since it offers the most radical departure from the playing-style of a vanilla kineticist, but personally, I would have elected for a fixed value damage increase for the charge - flat-out doubling tends to be brutal in actual gameplay, when buffs, other archetypes, etc. come into play.


So far, so basic, right? These archetypes would not be, at least to me, the main meat of this book, though - that honor would be reserved for the new elements that can be seen as a liberation strike that frees the kineticist from all too restrictive elemental theme. Yeah, I know...avatar-fan--the-class, but personally, I wanted to play other guys...so what do we get? Well, the first element would be light, practiced by photokineticists, who gain Disguise and Knowledge (nature) as class skills and basic photokinesis as basic manipulation. light deals half damage when used in conjunction with the eruption form infusion. Defense-wise, the wild talent sports illusory duplicates that act like regenerating mirror images. The blasts inflict your choice of the three physical damage-types, with composite blasts allowing for the inclusion of cold or lightning damage, combination of physical damage-types etc. Things get a tad bit more interesting in the infusions, where you can basically make attacks that help hit a foe outlined by your light, dispelling magical darkness (hooray for non mathfinder-y abilities!) or faerie fire them -you get the idea.


The second new element provided herein would be sound, which nets Diplomacy and Knowledge (local), basic vibrokinesis and either sonic blast (sonic damage, one damage die step lower to account for scarcity of damage-type - NICE!) or vibration (bludgeoning) blast as simple blasts, with elemental defense, victorious aria, providing bonuses to all saves that increase for accepted burn. I am not 100% sold on auto-deafen when you accept burn for a sound wild talent, but the range of only 5 feet mitigates the no-save power of that effect. Now obviously, sound also gets new composite blasts. Infusion-wise, this is where things get...unique. Attuning infusion lets you treat the target of a successfully damaged target as origin of your own subsequent kinetic blasts and composite blasts, provided they include sound among their elements. This lasts for 1 minute and would be cool...however, you can ALSO reduce the damage dealt to 0 to double the duration to 2 minutes, allowing you to attune your whole group, if need be - why? Well, because there is no maximum number of attuned creatures; the only limit is the time-frame. Granted, the 30 ft. maximum range is an inhibitor, but one that a clever group can use. Still, it's this short range that keeps me from yelling OP here, just sayin'. ;)


Breaking down DR or hardness with sound, penalizing and disorienting foes - the massive infusion-chapter has quite a few tricks we've been waiting for...but you want to know what the third element does, right? Well, that would be time and chronokineticists get Appraise and Knowledge (history) as class skills, basic chronokinesis and an unytped blast that has damage reduced by one step...which imho could have been another step, considering the inability to defend against it...with anything. The elemental defense nets you increasing miss chances that can be strengthened by accepting more burn and wild talents render you temporarily incorporeal when accepting burn for them. Time lets you increase the damage dice of the composite blast alteration amplification by one step or deal nonlethal damage to the target. Level 5 daze infusions, Con-damage, forcing to roll twice and take the worse result...pretty cool. Now, where the pdf overshoots the target a bit is with hindering infusion, which, as a, level 1 burn 1 infusion, allows you to keep foes from executing AoOs for one round....which can be very nasty, if done properly. On the other hand, I can see people enjoying the tactical option this provides...so yeah. Personally, I would have made this one a tad bit more expensive.


However, it's not just the new elements that get material herein - the infusions also extend to the established elements, with e.g. the option to imprison targets à la ice tomb, full damage to incorporeal creatures (again, imho underpriced) or, and that would be pretty awesome, gravity-manipulation for void. You could also afflict foes with overload infusions, which penalize those hit for taking standard or full-round actions...ouch. (And yes, save to negate, thankfully!) I also particularly enjoyed the option to delay the onset of damage you caused by a couple of rounds.


Now where the pdf comes even more into its own, at least for me, would be in the significant array of utility wild talents that range from silence to mending or tree stride, generate auditory illusions, charm foes, delay the onset of negative conditions for yourself and allies (within limits), gain echolocation, create exploding illusions (now this is fun!), catapult allies around, create a doppelganger from light that may act as your point of origin for light-including blasts (and swap places with it via light speed travel)...pretty cool. The level 6 burn 1 immediate action micro-time stop called temporal interruption may be a bit too much, though - even with the caveat of not being capable of affecting other creatures or their objects, an additional standard action at only 1 burn is underpriced. Hard. Similarly, stealing swift actions, thanks to Will-save and SR, is fine with me at high levels (though 1 round per level is too long a duration and burn 0...not seeing it- that ability can literally break whole builds!), but also gaining a second swift action for only 1 burn as an additional trick... is too strong. It's also, paradoxically, less powerful than its greater version, which steals move actions. Move actions will generally break no whole build asunder. They'll cripple movement and damage-output, yep...but that's it. As a nitpick: I assume the stolen move action does not prevent full attacks, but clarification would be nice since there are instances when it does and when it doesn't.


The pdf also contains a huge array of feats, which allow for e.g. action expenditure to set up lower burn costs in the next round, which is nice. There seem to be some minor glitches here and there - Adaptive Utility, for example, reads "You treat the level of all utility wild talents have their effective spell level treated as 1/2 your kineticist level for determining their DC" - I think something went wrong here....as written, I can guesstimate what that one does, but I'm not 100% sure. better range, specialization, less burn for an infusion - the pdf's feat array covers the specialization options I actually expected from the core book...so kudos indeed, particularly for the much required feat to gather energy silently (only perceivable within 10 ft.)!


The pdf concludes with a sample character.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are very good; on a rules-level, they are similarly precise, juggling the intricate framework of kineticist terminology with ease and panache. Layout adheres, as mentioned before, to a 1-column standard and the pdf sports some nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes with exceedingly detailed bookmarks for EVERYTHING. Each blast, each infusion. Kudos!


Jolly's Kineticists of Porphyra I is basically the required expansion for the base-class, the 3pp book that covers all the things the base class ought to have. And it does so in a refined, precise manner! I certainly understand the amount of praise this has received from its fanbase and the accolades, particularly for a construct of this complexity, are justified. This is high-difficulty design and NOTHING close to the design of the last book by N. Jolly I've read - the growth of the author is truly impressive. He and team KOP (Jacob McCoy, Mort, Onyx Tanuki) did a rather impressive job here.


After reading, testing and digesting this, I certainly get where all the love is coming from - there are no filler-options in this book. Each piece of crunch has serious use in game. At same time, I do wholeheartedly believe that some of the components are underpriced for what they allow the kineticist to do - no problem for high-powered groups, sure, but for grittier rounds...well. That can be a bit problematic. Not unmanageable, mind you...but yeah. There are some options I'll nerf for my game...but I'll get to that component more in detail in the review of KOP III, where I'll provide a preliminary conclusion to my tests of the KOP-material.


There's another component here I'd ask you to bear in mind: I have a hard time separating this from its follow-up books (reviews, as mentioned, forthcoming!) since I playtested them all at once. And in direct comparison, this one feels more like the "make the kineticist a properly working class beyond a very narrow take on a niche"-book, like the "basics that need to be finished before the mind-boggling stuff begins." This is basically the book that lets you do the whole Avatar-shticks, with some cool additional material thrown in, whereas book II and III go more than one step further. It is hence, I arrive at a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for me as a person.


However, as a reviewer, I have to take my audience into account and know that a lot of you have significantly more love for the elemental-themes than I do...and you get what you asked for. While I'd consider caution regarding some options, my official verdict as a reviewer will hence round up from 4.5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 16 to 30 (of 2387 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates