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Search for Lost Legacy 4: By Eternal Wrath
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/06/2015 03:18:39
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The final installment of the Search for Lost Legacy adventure arc clocks in at 47 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, so let's take a look!



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

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All right, still here? This installment takes place in Vargon's former private sanctum, which is now under the command of his erstwhile second in command Damon Light-cleaver, though e.g. a Dark naga and certain servants provide ample opportunity for the PCs to sow discord within the ranks of their opposition - as this level is still very much inhabited, it should come as no surprise that the focus is a different one that takes a step away from the theme of abandonment and decrepitude.



In game, this proved to be at once an interesting change of pace and a flaw - while the series so far has excelled primarily in its indirect storytelling, so far almost all of the hints, from diary-entries to the theme of the sins of the ancestor inherited, this module changes its focus into a dungeon that is still operational, with the ancient wizard's lich-transformation being the central theme - sabotaged though it is, it is up to the PCs to complete it and annihilate the proto-lich while it phases back into reality in order to truly stop the wizard. While this is by no means an uncommon trope, it does not sport advice to trouble-shoot the very reasonable refusal of PCs to engage in exactly this practice, which can grind the module to a pretty nasty halt -essentially, the series fails to provide a good reason to actually try to destroy Vargon instead of leaving him in limbo. The exploration of the complex and braving of halls used in the process of lichdom-apotheosis works well as a concept per se, but still - from a dramaturgical perspective, I do think this pdf flounders.



On the plus-side, the social interactions and Bluff/sense Motive-boxes provided go above and beyond for the DM, with plenty of intriguing quotes that should not leave even the most inexperienced DMs baffled - two thumbs up for these!



That being said, to me, the internal consistency and realism the series evoked so far falls completely apart here - with so many powerful, unbound villains and his second-in-command here, with the transformation not completed, this whole level made no true sense to me. How could it go unnoticed? How can it be that Vargon hasn't been properly finished off? With so much of the complex remaining essentially barren and lost, why not extend the domain and claim those resources, rife for the picking? The reasons provided within the context of this module remain flimsy at best and, to me, invalidated the carefully established sense of cohesion and realism established over the curse of the series.



The pdf does collate Damon's story and the proto-lich template in the appendices (oddly featuring the 3.X-template as well as the PFRPG-version, though the 3.X-content has otherwise been purged from this pdf...) and sports the map of the complex in a player-friendly version as well - kudos for that.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though, as in the previous installment, some fluctuations in writing quality of both fluff and rules-text can be found herein. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard with gorgeous full-color artwork and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



John R. Davis' series' final installment is challenging for the level-range, though not in an undue manner - my players considered it not that hard, but then again, the mechanical challenge was never the forte of the series. This module, ultimately, constitutes the logical conclusion of the series as foreshadowed in part III, though it does so in a disappointing manner. Ultimately, the threat foreshadowed is invalidated pretty much, the sense of logical cohesion established carefully via indirect storytelling crumbles somewhat apart. The extremely compelling leitmotif of the dungeon, carefully established in part I and II, already somewhat diminished by installment III, now completely crumbles apart and, unfortunately, takes what makes the series special with it.



Where the first two installments, and to a lesser extent the third, stood out due to the atmosphere evoked, the unique sense of a strange archeology, this one almost negates that very premise by undermining the very foundation that made this stand out - the presence of a BBEG beyond the story's focus/boss and the traitorous creatures herein almost constitute the antithesis of the cohesion the series has worked so hard to establish.



Don't get me wrong, I don't expect a sense of Gygaxian realism in my dungeons; I can have great fun with dungeons that make no sense whatsoever, living creatures just waiting behind a sealed door etc. But this series began as something logically and thematically incredibly cohesive and consistent. When slowly, but surely, this premise is eroded; when what constituted the main draw and unique flair is abandoned half-way, it becomes problematic. The third module still made sense and was as much a change of pace as an invasion in one of the Dark Souls-games; but instead of a return to form, a module that could have stood by virtue of the vistas and exploration provided, the set-up herein sports several narrative and logical choices that hurt this arc and render it the one thing I hoped the arc would avoid - a bit generic.

Detailed, yes, but still. Add to that the inherited minor issues (minor rules-hiccups, remnant references to 3.X) of the series and we have a module that fell short of the promise inherent in the arc's plot.

I still very much can recommend the first 3 installments of the series, yes, even the less than perfect 3rd one, but to me and my players, this one provided a frustrating anti-climax that cast a pall over our otherwise very much remarkable journey through this arc. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up mainly since I believe that this works alone well, or at least better - but within the context of the series and its themes, it sticks out like a sore thumb. As a personal recommendation; I'd advise GMs running this to heavily modify the final complex and maintain the theme of decay via failing wards and haunt-like effects throughout an exploration of ruined halls.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Search for Lost Legacy 4: By Eternal Wrath
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Mythic Minis 54: Mythic Clothing
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/06/2015 03:16:22
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal - 3 pages - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, let's go!



The first piece of mythic clothing would be Foamfollower's Jack - a naval jacket that allows the wearer to alter winds and water walk, with mythic wearers having the option extend to other vessels in an interesting modification of the base abilities of the item.



The robe of teeth would make Gholad or Dahlver-Nar proud, as it animates and starts chewing up anyone foolish enough to grapple. Better yet, it can exude a disgusting, sticky tongue which can force move foes - and yes, mythic wearers can exude more of them - this item is AWESOME: Mechanically complex and glorious in imagery, this is beautiful...erhhh...disturbing! All awesome!



The 3rd item herein would be the scorpion cloak, which does not only grant bonuses when in desert environments and improves survival chances in combat with scorpions. More impressively, the item allows the wearer to receive tremorsense while not moving, also receiving a deadly, poison-delivering attack that can be executed from prone positions, with mythic wearers slightly escalating these options. I expected this to bore me and it didn't - kudos!



The 4th item, which can be found on the SRD-page, would be black silken slippers of star-striding, which not only provide an array of spell-duplications - but the interesting point here would be that light-sources can be targeted as a kind of teleport-beacon - oh, and interstellar transportation. Yes, awesome!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Alistair Rigg and Jason Nelson deliver an all killer, no filler mythic mini with cool items that blend mechanical complexity with high-concept style - a great example of what this series can do. Well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 54: Mythic Clothing
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Mythic Skills
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2015 05:40:02
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This mythic plug-in clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1.5 pages of SRD, 1 page inside back cover, 1 page back cover, 4 pages advertisement, leaving us with 13.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Okay, I'll make this short: If you're playing with mythic rules, GET THIS NOW! Even if you DO NOT use mythic rules - this comes with full-blown rules for using the content herein in non-mythic games! Yes, you heard right - this works for vanilla PFRPG games. Go ahead, I'll wait here.

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Okay, want a more detailed analysis? I shall oblige! This pdf generally introduces an array of new options for mythic characters to keep the skills itself relevant in a game of quickly escalating numbers. In order to utilize these, skill-based feats, skill focus or a certain amount of minimum ranks can be used as gateway values to unlock the powers of these skills, including rules to use otherwise mythic-power based skill exploits (specific accomplishments of skill-based derring-do) and codify them via daily uses - and yes, this extends to hero point-support, should you prefer these. So yes, this pdf sports essentially maximum usability for any game.



Granted, mythic characters benefit most from this pdf, with concise rules for skill uses modified with the mythic rules, both by adding tiers and opening up unique, new options - and, of course, by the new exploits - using mythic power to feather fall via acrobatics may be cool - but what about the best of the best being able to balance across water (insert tasteless "It ain't Jeesus!"-joke here) or even air - yes, you can balance across air at a DC of 70. This is awesome.



What about using Appraise with bonuses and full synergy with the bargaining system or as a literal nose for sniffing out treasure? Planting suggestions via Bluff? Maximizing a limited daily array of surge dice for crafting purposes? Exceedingly accelerated Disguise-changes? Knock powered by mythic power as standard actions via Disable Device... Negate hits via Fly? Yeah. (And yes, I am aware that for some of you, as for me, this skill-use will be restricted to dogfights in the air and personally, I'm NOT a fan of it, but as a reviewer, I can't really complain here...)



I could go on and list trick upon trick, but ultimately, with all the scavenging, I could come up with one "issue" - the spell-duplicating skill uses are supernatural abilities - which have their CL concisely defined. These do feel like they should SPs, but then they'd provoke AoOs....so that's why I put it in quotation marks - it's a non-issue and there imho is no more elegant way to cover this. And yes, this is the only, exceedingly weak nitpick I could find. I'd almost be sad, were I not so happy.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and the artworks are nice full-color pieces, though ones you'll know from other LG-pdfs. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.



Skills have been pretty much the overlooked rules-component of the mythic rules and this rectifies this GLARING oversight; This pdf should have been part of the core mythic rules.

Jason Nelson's mythic skills are a MUST HAVE for anyone playing with mythic rules. It's an inspired pdf and best of all, it provides nigh no overlap with my beloved 101 New Skill Uses by Rite Publishing, mainly due to a completely different focus. This pdf is as close to perfection as you can expect from such a pdf and ultimately, its usefulness even extends beyond mythic rules, being still a very good pdf for regular high-powered/-level campaigns. My final verdict for this glorious pdf clocks in at 5 stars + seal of approval + status as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015. This is brilliant.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Skills
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Kingdom of Toads Mythic Edition
Publisher: Run Amok Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2015 05:38:24
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive high-level module is 64 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 60 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Upgraded to mythic rules, this high-fantasy/level over-the-top epic action module provides mythic trials galore, should you require them.



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



Still here?

Okay! Being written for level 17-18 characters with 7 - 8 mythic tiers, we can expect some epic reasons for adventuring - and here they are: 2 days ago, the schemes of the vile witch Vakelna came to fruition when she conducted a ritual to turn THE WHOLE POPULATION OF THE KINGDOM of Kelwyk into toads. The kingdom would be lost, were it not for one sloppy flaw in the ritual and the fortuitous fact that Iselin, the king's advisor, was travelling the astral plane when the ritual was unleashed. Now, while he can't locate the witch to reverse the epic hex, he does contact the PCs, for he knows where to start searching:



Some years ago, Vakelna was slain by the mythic dragon Arovarax and it is there they may reclaim her former body. Travelling there will prove to be no problem thanks to the PC's massive resources, but the lair itself will not be a cake-walk - the dragon is worshipped by a ridiculously powerful guard of elite troglodytes. Fighting said menaces, the PCs can rescue a band of hapless adventurers - The Justiciars of Justice. Yes. The Paladin of the group ends every sentence with "and to vanquish evil!" and similar statements, providing comic relief (all too rarely seen in modules!) - powerful, but outclassed by both opposition and PCs, they should bring a few smiles to the faces of your players in a nice change of pace from testing their mettle versus mithril golems, tataka rakshasas and the CR 21/MR 7 advanced wyrm blue dragon Arovarax, who will use a combination of his mirage and breath weapon to deadly effect. The mythic expansions that have been applied to base module render the dragon a significantly increased threat, though I wished the foolish justicars had also been made mythic - it would explain how these numbnuts could survive...



Further complicating things, the kingdom of Stonevale, long-time rivals of Kelwyk, have no intention of letting the PCs save their rivals and thus have taken steps: The Thorn Company, the best adventuring party/agents the kingdom can muster, has been sent to take care of the PCs and end them: And end them they may - a high-level adventuring party striking from an ambush as a dynamic factor should challenge all but the best of groups to their limits - especially since the group has been upgraded to mythic status as well.



Returning to Kelwyk with the corpse of Vakelna, Iselin locates Vakelna's current incarnation -she is within the kingdom's Legacy oak - and she isn't. Sheltered away in a demiplane, the PCs will have to research a ritual to allow for gate to properly bring them there: Unfortunately, a fire has claimed the tome that contained said ritual and now, the clockwork librarian is the only hope. His memory has been jumbled, though, and in order to jog his cogs, the PCs will have to solve essentially a word-jigsaw-puzzle (not too hard, btw.) that comes with neat handouts to cut out and give to your players - and yes, all the various ways to cheat puzzles via spells at higher levels are addressed.



Solving the puzzle, the PCs can now travel into the Legacy Oak's demiplane to challenge Vakelna - if they survive their way through the huge tree-dungeon, in which not only gigantic lice, sap demons (upgraded to mythic) and similar threats lurk. Worse, the tree's "immune-system" is active and sards, terrifyingly powerful plant-creatures that have been rendered mythic, will seek to exterminate intruders as well. The PCs may also inadvertently unleash perhaps the most powerful pugwampi ever statted (who comes with a new feat a new magic item) - who not only seeks to trick the PCs, but also wants to claim Vakelna's cauldron for himself - oh, and CR 20 + 8 mythic ranks = PAIN. Speaking of which:



3 young, agile, mythic linnorms guarding the entrance to the final fight should provide enough time for Vakelna to cast her impressive buff-list and generally prepare herself and her 6 CR 14 giant twigjack rogues for a memorable showdown. Reversing the transformation, the PCs are hailed as heroes and quite possibly, planar threats await just around the corner.



The pdf can be scaled down to level 15-16 or up to 19-20 via information provided herein and the second appendix collates the new feat, magic items and two new creatures (Gargantuan Bark Beetles, baby!) and the two maps are also provided in player-friendly b/w-version in an extra pdf. We also get 5 mythic pregens.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches though there are minor hiccups here and there, with MR being consistently applied in the CR-lines. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, elegant b/w-standard and the artworks provided are original and nice. The pdf comes with an extra file of untagged maps to print out and use as hand-outs - NICE! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and aforementioned b/w-cartography provided is neat.



Author Ron Lundeen tries his hand at one epic high-level adventure breathing the spirit of broad repercussions appropriate for the level and manages to provide a module that challenges beyond its statblock-builds and also offers some food for the mind. Kingdom of Toads is a great adventure without the mythic rules and it works well with them as well. The builds are powerful and relatively cool and sport some unique tricks. So all's well? Alas, no.

Running this module as a playtest, I couldn't help but feel the serious sting of the limitations vanilla mythic rules provide - the one official hardcover just does not have that much fun material. Once you get used to Legendary Games' massive additional tricks released, you have a different perspective - I've literally used so much of their material that vanilla mythic feels even more incomplete to me without the additional pdfs than it did when the original hardcover was released - so yes, my sincere recommendation to mythic GMs is to crank out those books and add more mythic spells etc. to the fray. But that, I won't hold against this pdf. What I *do* hold against it is that the book's adversaries fall into the trap of vanilla mythic rules simply not being that well-rounded - hence, especially at higher tiers, combats can fall on the rocket-launcher-tag side of things and the adversaries herein imho required means to offset and counter this syndrome.



Much like Wrath of the Righteous, this module also suffers from what I'd consider the lost-chance syndrome - mythic rules as such engender a particular playstyle of high action and over the top stunts. While this module properly upgrades the primary antagonists and elite adversaries, I couldn't help but feel that the areas themselves, the hazards and distinctively unique environments in which this takes place, could have used some interaction with mythic rules: Use mythic power to enhance terrain, play with surges - the like. If one module was predisposed towards said type of shenanigans, it was this one. The absence of the like results in this not necessarily feeling like a "mythic high level module," but rather like a high level module with mythic adversaries. Fun fact - I tested this module with non-mythic PCs and my players, with much dying, some luck and strategy managed to prevail, so if your group is as insane and challenge-craving as mine, this module does test non-mythic characters to their limits and probably, beyond. Conversely, mythic characters had not an easy time, but neither was the party eliminated - in direct comparison, the non-mythic module felt more lethal for non-mythic characters than the mythic module for mythic characters. But I'm rambling.



On its own, sans modification and for mythic groups, this is a good module; surprisingly, it is an excellent module for groups wherein the players crave a challenge and are willing to pit themselves against mythic foes without being mythic themselves. My final verdict, thus, would oscillate between 4 and 5 stars - since the target audience consists of the former, though, I'll settle on 4 stars as an official verdict.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdom of Toads Mythic Edition
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Mythic Minis 53: Gunslinger Feats
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2015 05:36:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal - 3 pages - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, let's go!



-Amateur Gunslinger: Gain Wis-mod grit, min 1 as well as a single 3rd level deed. Also use mythic power in lieu of grit to perform a deed. Can be traded for Mythic Extra Grit if getting the class feature.



-Deft Shootist Deed: No AoOs for reloading/firing a firearm while you have at least 1 grit and +2 AC when wielding a firearm versus melee attacks. When attacked in melee, spend 1 grit or mythic power as an immediate action to execute a firearm attack against the foe. At 5th tier, you can execute this +1 time per round by expending an additional grit/mythic power. Now this is a corner case, but since immediate actions preclude you from taking swift actions, does using this ability to execute two counter attacks eat one immediate action or the immediate actions for the next two rounds? Clarification is required here.



-Extra Grit: +2 grit. Use mythic power whenever you regain grit to regain 2 grit instead. Cool mechanic!



-Snap Shot (found on the SRD-page, btw.): +2 AC when hitting a target with a ranged AoO; expend mythic power to make the bonus last for tier rounds. Alternatively, expend mythic power to temporarily gain Combat Reflexes for Ranged AoO-purposes or, if you have it already, increase number of AoOs per round by +1 per 3 tiers you have.



-Improved Snap Shot: Adds free 5-foot step to the ranged AoO and allows for mythic power-fuelled immediate action reload.



-Greater Snap Shot: Add +1/2 tier to damage and crit-confirmation rolls with your ranged AoOs and lets you use mythic power to auto-confirm a critical threat. I am NOT a fan of this latter option - why? Because firearms already deal terrible amounts of damage on crits and this further exacerbates the rocket launcher tag issue of mythic gameplay.



-Leaping Shot Deed: Further increase Acrobatics bonus. If you have the Quick Draw feat, you can drop a firearm as part of the full-round action and draw another, firing at a -2 penalized full attack bonus. For mythic power, you can end the shot on your feet instead of prone.



-No Name: Increases Bluff-checks with and without grit-expenditure. Also allows you to expend 1 grit to treat a disguise check as a natural 20.



-Ricochet Shot Deed: Ignore cover and concealment with ricochet shots; Spend 1 grit to render the target of such a shot flat-footed. That's VERY strong; not sold on this one.



-Secret Stash Deed: Pay only half cost for non-normal bullets, cartridges etc. recovered. For 1 mythic power, instead find 30 bullets, a powder horn or one magical bullet and powder. Magical bullets never exceed +2 enhancement. Sleight of Hand bonus increases when gambling. Solid one!



-Signature Deed: Reduce grit cost for the deed by 2. if the deed's cost is 0, you can perform it for free as long as you have 1 grit as the deeds regular action. The feat also allows you to decrease the action it takes to perform the deed via mythic power - so far, so nice. Then, things get broken HARD - whenever you perform the deed, you regain 1 grit. I don't have to tell you that this eliminates all limitations imposed on grit as a limited resource, right? Broken and needs nerfing.



-Sword and Pistol: Add +1 attack with pistol or crossbow when criting with a melee weapon. For one mythic power, you can double the threat range of the ranged weapon attack. Per se cool - two weapon fighting penalties apply. Got that. BUT: If you have executed 1 attack with your primary weapon and one with the off hand and score a crit on the second attack with the primary weapon, is the granted attack with the ranged off-hand weapon then executed at the usual penalty assigned to iterative attacks or at the full BAB? Since this is not an AoO, clarification is required here.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Jeff Lee's gunslinger feats generally provide a fun array of options with some of them being capital letters-level fun. At the same time, several of the feats herein provide an unnecessary power-escalation in depth - something the mythic rules don't need. Breadth provides a more compelling playing experience and as provided, several of the feats herein distinctly serve as exacerbating factors for some of the nastier components of mythic gameplay. Additionally, there are some minor problems in wording herein that need clarification and thus, I will settle on a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded up by a margin to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 53: Gunslinger Feats
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Monster Menagerie: The Construct Companion
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/04/2015 06:05:45
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive tome clocks in at 123 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1.5 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page blank back cover, leaving us with 114.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We begin this massive, huge book with an aptly-written piece of prose before diving straight into this massive book, which can be pictured as w2hat would happen if a book of the series formerly known as Mythic Menagerie (renamed due to the release of the mythic rules) took more steroids than an 80s locker-room full of pro-wrestlers. What do i mean by this? Well, this huge book is almost completely crunch - which means that, were I to go into my usual level of detail, this would be a review of epic proportions indeed. Instead of this, I opted for a more dynamic approach and filtered the analysis I undertook for your convenience. I will hence try to give you a fair sampling of what to expect within this book, so let's not lose any more time and get this beast going!



Well, the first thing you obviously have to know is that this book can be considered a toolkit among other things and contains a new expanded array of options for the creation of animated objects - whether it is the option of animated objects to animate more objects themselves, anchoring or a means to avoid detection, special materials and even swarm-form - the options herein enhance animated objects in meaningful, evocative ways - to the point where the few pages devoted to that made me come up with no less than 3 adventures. Better yet, following the design-philosophy of the horsemen's great gruesome monster templates, the inclusion of drawbacks for animated objects allow a GM to create adversaries that reward clever players, rendering this very much in line with my own tastes. This is NOT where the usefulness of this chapter end, though - we receive a second massive list for re-animated objects - whether from the remains of an alchemist's laboratory or from carrion, the added options here in no way remain behind in means of evocative ideas presented.



Speaking of evocative: Animated traps. I have NO IDEA how no one so far, me included, failed to codify a trope I have used in so many adventures, I can't even count it - the concept of a self-aware trap that can reset itself not only can enhance greatly the believability of a given world (who resets those death-traps?), it also sports easy and concise guidelines along samples for GMs to embrace this great concept - one less "A wizard did it." lame excuse. Animate Objects variants for diverse spell levels alongside mythic spell support further complement the awesomeness delivered so far. How can you increase my squee-factor further? Simple - add cool vessels. And indeed, animated dirigibles and galleys can be found here, though I admittedly found myself wishing the authors had opted for at least one options that was more far out.



Golemcrafters and DMs should grins from ear to ear at the selection of options that follows now - construct modifications. Whether as enchantments or templates, the options are glorious. What do I mean by that? Well, Jacob Blackmon's rendition of a plague-doctor-mask-wearing golem with a bloody saw and a hand of injector-needles captures, in spite of Jacob's lighthearted style very much the level of disturbing options here. Oh, and MOBILE SUIT GOLEM. Do I really have to say anything more? Best of all - no overlap with Rite's multi-pilot suit: Here, we have an option for a one-character golem-suit, whereas Rite provided the Saber Rider/Power Rangers "All control one"-style. The constructed creature and golem creature template also add a significant array of unique options to the fray. So that would be the toolkit section herein.



Of course, if you've followed the series, you expect a bestiary - and I never said it was not one. Since I've already gushed about animated objects - need some? Well, this pdf delivers in spades -from ill-tempered gates to wells with delusions of being a gallows, the diversity and imagery evoked here leaves simply nothing to be desired. What about canopic jars with multiple different subtypes? "But endy", I hear you say, "this is not necessarily a 'sexy' type of construct!"Got ya, but what would you say about full-blown mythic support in the guise of a return of our friends, the massive colossi? Gigantic, nay, colossal constructs of ice, vegetation...giant bodies? Yes, they're as awesome as they sound. Now what would happen if the Iron Throne of "A Song of Fire and Ice" were a golem? The CR 15 Broken Blade Golem, lavishly rendered, answers exactly this question. Golems made from the flesh of fey and the 4 unique constructs first premiered in the small pdf by Christina Stiles Presents can also be found within this chapter, though admittedly, one can perceive the growth of the horsemen since then. That being said, receiving mythic alternatives for example for the spiritflesh golem is cool and golden golems, grave golems or lodestone golems are awesome.



Now as you may know, I'm a HUGE Ravenloft fanboy and hence, I obviously also have run Vecna Reborn and Die, Vecna, Die!- though heavily modified since both modules sucked hard. I made them essentially a end-times scenario of the worst kind. Why am I bothering you with this? Because, when my players infiltrated the fortress-city of Vecna, the group's paladin led his final charge with the last survivors against the armies of Vecna's undead, duking it out against "The Eye", one of the 2 unique golems of Vecna. Well, there is a golem in that style in here as well, the disturbing, eye-themed Oculus Golem, who coincidentally comes with AWESOME upgrade templates for blinking and cursing glares. I ADORE this golem. Crystalline record-keepers, things entirely made of poisonous stinger - in here. What about a mechanical kraken or sand or salt golems?



Fans of Catherynne M. Valente's "Cities of Gold and Spice" will enjoy the tooth golem, a way to potentially represent the dread being entirely made of teeth, Gholad - once again, especially due to the glorious CR-modifying additional options available for the golem. Totem and Tusk golems can also indeed prove to be fertile grounds for the imagination, though the soldier-storing war golem should also be explicitly mentioned as a creature I enjoy. Beyond golems, guardian lions, mechanical butlers, disturbing construct butchers, telepathic link and poison combining mechanical scarabs - this chapter is thoroughly exciting, with all creatures sporting some sort of unique and compelling combination of options and signature abilities.



This is more than just a bestiary, though - we also have a new player race with the Impendigs - obviously artificial creatures that get +2 Con and Int, -4 Wis, darkvision and low-light vision. They may choose a skill each day and receive the benefits of Skill Focus for the chosen skill and are half-constructs. An okay race, I guess, though I can name a couple more compelling ones. The Adaptable Arcanist Wizard archetype receives a wildcard-slot at his highest spell level known (later on all ) that can be used to cast any spell in the arcanist's spellbook (or learned via Spell Mastery) instead of Scribe Scroll. At 5th level, the archetype can also choose a specialization every day with freely chosen opposing schools, but without gaining bonus slots or focused arcane school powers. All in all, okay, if a bit on the strong side - not a fan of further increasing the flexibility of the already very strong wizard class. The awakened would be a construct-themed druid, using Cha instead of Wis as governing spellcasting attribute.



The Inexorable construct race receives +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha, get darkvision 60 ft. and low-light vision, ferocity, 6 + level SR, a slam attack at 1d4 + 1.5 times the Str-mod and the half-construct type. Again, okay though I can name some imho more compelling construct races. Racial-archetype wise, we get the drone fighter, who get modified proficiencies (minus heavy armor, plus firearm), base skills per level (4 instead of 2) - drones are created for one of 3 divisions: Command, strike or infantry, all of which modify the class skill list and various abilities of the archetype, rendering it more versatile than one could expect -at least thematically. While I LOVE this concept-wise, the actual impact on gameplay imho should have been more distinct - as written, we get a cool design-idea that is only carried through halfway to its logical conclusion. Still - kudos on a design-aesthetic level, also for the skill-deviation. :)



The second archetype would be the Munitionist gunslinger, a gunslinger with an integrated firearm who can spend grit to temporarily enhance the firearm with enhancement bonuses and weapon-qualities, magus-style. Solid.



There also are a selection of non-race specific archetypes to be found herein, though construct/half-construct as types remain prerequisite for the bloodless sorceror, for example, who essentially replace bloodline powers with natural armor, slam attacks et al. as well as one wild-card spell. Golem Slayer rangers are pretty self-explanatory concept-wise, though the immunity-negating and nasty debuff sigils render them more than a default bland nemesis archetype. Idolater clerics summon construct creatures and channel elemental construct healing energy. Lawbringer cavaliers get a construct companion (its own template/companion archetype) and the accompanying law-themed order fits, though it is not revolutionary. The Progenitor summoner replaces summon monster with animating objects and gets appropriately-themed substitution for the eidolon, in which he can also store spells. The capstone exoskeleton deserves special mention here - I honestly wished the archetype had focused on that one instead of its current focus. The Shielded magus is the first of these archetypes I truly consider cool - a shield specialist, these guys can grant properties of animated objects to their shields - and with new arcana and scaling effects, the tactical options this one allows are intriguing indeed. Finally, the warmachine fighter is also interesting, gaining half-construct benefits at the cost of permanent penalties of mental attributes and appropriately themed benefits. Over all, a nice archetype that allows for several concepts and narrative twists I like, though I have solved the same concept in a more scaling-heavy way in my own game.



Among the PrCs presented, the maker (d6, 2+Int skills, 1/2 BAB-progression, 1/2 will-save progression, full spellcasting progression) determines a creature she has made as her guardian and thus provides scaling benefits, including skills, feats and abilities for said construct - pretty much a pet PrC with spell storing, no berserk etc. On the nitpicky side, the special column is usually in the class table between saves and spell progression, not at the end, but that is a cosmetic gripe at best. The second PrC, the Martinet (d8, 2+Int mod skills, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 fort- and will-save progression, 7/10th spellcasting progression) has the same presentation peculiarity and can be considered a bard-based commander-PrC - solid, though I've seen so many options to execute this theme that I can't really get excited about it. It's solid. The aforementioned template for construct companions and construct familiars respectively do not share this fate - I really like both options.



The pdf, obviously, also sports feats - a LOT o them: From natural armor to DR, you can expect quite a few customization options, with the themes, obviously, being construct upgrades and item creation feats. Not much to complain here. Where the pdf returns to full-blown form, though, would not be with feats that render golem creation a valid option during an adventurer's career - it's with the magic items, which btw. include their share of mythic items - for example golem armor, which, powered by mythic power, can confer temporarily the tricks of these iconic sentries upon their wearers.



Speaking of mythic - I have intentionally so far kept my mouth shut regarding abstraction golems - these would be mythic golems that represent special concepts from love to time, with corresponding templates and unique abilities as well as sample builds. The academic in me ADORES this chapter - why? Because it enhances the narrative cohesion by allowing a GM to provide mechanically relevant options for constructs that serve to emphasize chosen leitmotifs - from the temporal immortality of death golems to the obsession-inducing love golems (in case you need inspiration for a horror-story with this theme, play the indie-adventure Anna and unlock the final ending...), these golems are absolutely glorious. and combinations can provide more - take the sample dust golem, crafted from sand and time: Fear in a handful of dust indeed!



Oh, and if you're on the time-starved and/or lazy side, you will definitely appreciate the sample encounters provided in chapter five, where a recap's gambit (lavishly illustrated) can end up extremely nasty for the PCs or where golden and lodestoen golems combine for lethal threats in defense of the treasures of the kind of thieves. Have I mentioned the deadly tooth fairy swarm?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, especially considering the size of this massive book - on both a rules-language and a formal level. Layout is the one component of this book I positively loathe - each page has wide margins left and right, above and below, which also sport colored graphics in the background. Not only does this mean that this pdf takes more pages when printing it out, it also drains more printer. I don't understand why the fragmented artwork, mostly obscured by the main area of text anyway, still remains - it has NO FUNCTION and does not look good: What help is half an elven lady's head o the left side? The only thing this does is distract me from the text and wonder why the artwork has been cropped into the borders. Urgh. On the plus side, you will be hard-pressed to find a 3pp-pdf with such a vast density of qualitatively high full-color artworks: Jacob Blackmon's distinct style is evident in every artwork and renders a sense of visual cohesion to this pdf that somewhat serves to offset the layout faux-pas. So kudos to master Blackmon! The pdf comes fully bookmarked with extensive nested bookmarks for your convenience.



The author-collective/roleplaying think-tank called the The Four Horseman, consisting of Steven T. Helt, Stephen Rowe and Dan Dillon have a reputation with me - why? Because their templates rank among the very few monster books that still elicit excitement from me. Let's face it - with over 2000 reviews and most 3.X monster books by 3pps at my place, I've read more monsters than I probably should have. I still have all those second edition appendices and still remember the time when monsters were defined by story, not just mechanics. PFRPG's current development, at least in the 3pp-market, has thankfully moved away from the bland reconfiguration of mechanics towards unique and compelling creatures - but still, at one point or another, you have just seen SO MUCH. You get déjà-vus ALL THE TIME.



Where am I going with this rant? Well, usually it falls to Rite Publishing's complex builds or Legendary Games' unique mythic abilities to provide this sense of the exciting and new to me. This pdf manages exactly this feeling as well. Once you've read a certain amount of books, you get a kind of radar for when an author phones in a creature. You won't find that in here. Indeed, it can be considered stupefying how many unique tricks can be found in this massive bestiary/toolbox- for this is exactly that: A huge kit to render constructs relevant and exciting, a smart book full of inspired concepts that reward brains. Now the toolkit aspect, imho, is also a minor flaw of this book - for as inspired as I consider the monster/item sections, I would lie when claiming that I was blown away by races or archetypes.



The player-centric material, while solid, just does not have the space and detail to shine - from missing FCOs to traits, age, height and weight-tables etc., it is evident that these components are bonuses that have been included to make this a definite resource - and in the end, at least to me, they detracted more from the book than they added to it. Why? Because the other components, from the expanded animated object options to the mythic abstraction golems universally reach a level of quality only seldom seen in a bestiary, much less so in one with such an excellent bang-for-buck-ratio. It is against this backdrop of stellar concepts that anything "only" good seems infinitely less compelling. So, at least for players, this is perhaps not the revelation that it most definitely is for GMs.



The golems and options here are varied, unique and inspired - and were all components of this book as awesome (and the borders not as &%$§$), this would be a candidate for my top ten. As written, it remains one STELLAR, huge book that showcases well the reason why the Four Horsemen have developed a following in such a short time. This belongs in the library of any GM looking to make golems interesting and fun...and, most of all: Versatile. This is one of the best monster books I've read in ages and demands 5 stars + seal of approval - and rest assured in a book of a lesser quality, my rant on layout et al. would have been much more pronounced. Here, though, both that and the aforementioned pieces just are swallowed by awesomeness. Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Menagerie: The Construct Companion
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Urban Dressing: Elven Town
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/03/2015 08:39:53
An Endzeitgeist.com review

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



So this time around, our trip through diverse towns brings us into a town of elves - where the sights and sounds, of which no less than 100 are provided - from mist that stubbornly refuses to yield to the encroaching rays of the sun to out-of-place snowless lakes to newborns ritualistically drinking the sap of trees, this provides an aptly mystical glance at the insides of elven culture.



A total of 50 different businesses, from animal-shelter-style menageries to courier-services that utilize the branches above for fast travel through the forests and crystalline wind-chimes, all provide a distinct and somewhat unearthly flair. Of course, these places would, on their own, remain pretty opaque - hence, we get a massive array of no less than 50 entries detailing short fluff-only entries of sample inhabitants, which, while in focus obviously elven, also sport a diverse array of characters not belonging to this ethnicity -from obviously xenophobic "newborns" to halflings with a nasty temper, the array of characters covers quite a broad spectrum from benevolent to malicious - have I mentioned the incognito vampire?



In case all of these entries do not spark your interest right from the bat, you can still count on the final table covering 12 hooks and complications, with elven funerals and warriors providing quite a bit of nice hooks to draw this in.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' 2-column b/w-standard and the artwork is thematically fitting b/w-stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.



Josh Vogt's Urban Dressing on elves could have been pretty much bland, but thankfully, that is not the case - much like the installment on dwarven towns, this provides inspired fluff galore to make your elven towns, no matter the precise look and feel for them you prefer in your games. This installment of Urban Dressing once again is a wonderful installment and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Elven Town
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Classes of NeoExodus: Mythic Machinesmith (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/30/2015 07:20:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The machinesmith class is a deservedly beloved addition NeoExodus has contributed to many a group beyond the scope of its own campaign setting - and here we get the material needed to run these guys in a mythic context, so how do they hold up?



We begin this pdf with the 10-tier Futurist mythic path - which already provides imho a basic issue: Is it a path for just the machinesmith class? The answer, thankfully, is NO. The path nets 4 hit points per tier and a path ability at every tier, with first tier granting one of 3 futurist revelations: Surprise grenade allows you to expend a swift action and mythic power to draw and throw an alchemical item, thrown weapon or grenade, suffering a penalty to saves equal to your tier. per se cool, but why lock alchemist bombs out of the equation? As written, bombs are not covered, which remains my one gripe in an otherwise nice ability. The second revelation would be the energy shot, which allows you to attack with a ranged weapon as a swift action for the expenditure of mythic power, increasing the attack's damage by + tier and changing the damage-type for this attack to force. An issue here would be the omission of specification at what BAB the attack is executed - while the default, obviously, is full BAB, this still constitutes a minor blemish in rules-precision. The third option would be to use mythic power as a substitute for uses of extracts, prototypes or wands without expending a slot or charge, forcing non-mythic creatures to roll twice. This ability has two issues: Can one mythic power act as fuel for an ability or effect that would require the expenditure of multiple slots or charges? Would it instead decrease the number of charges by 1 or can't it be used? Secondly, what action does this require? Swift? immediate? Free? Part of the activation? While not rendering the ability unusable, it does constitute an issue.



As always, you can select more of these revelations as path abilities, but you may want to think carefully here - why? because the path abilities are pretty much unique: What about making all damage your vehicle does (including all attached weapons) ignore ALL DR? Yes, this is damn cool, but I very much wished it was not automatic and had a scaling mechanism that progressively unlocked DR-ignoring at higher tiers - as written, it means low level futurists can pretty much mow down legions of golems beyond their levels. Disarming traps and opening locks as move action sans provoking AoOs kind of works, though, once again, I wished it had a scaling-mechanism tied to the tier.



On the nice-side, this does provide full-blown support for the Technology Guide, sporting a means to offset glitches and firearm mishaps, an integration I also hope to see in the compiled machinesmith. Less charge-consumption for such items due to mythic power is also an intriguing option that adds a nice level of versatility. A humble and yet cool path ability allows you to wield firearms one size larger than you without penalty - though I'd definitely prevent large PC-races from taking this ability. On a design-aesthetic perspective, I am not a fan of an ability that allows you to return any single-target arcane spell or spell-like ability back to its originator when you save or SR against it for one mythic power - while limited by mythic power - there ought to be a discrepancy here between non-mythic and mythic magic. This is baffling since the similar ability for divine spells has just that caveat - though here, it pertains to the duration of short-term STUNNING - without save to resist, mind you.



A nice ability that takes the DiY into account would be Force Armor, which allows you to add AC bonuses of any armors you craft to touch AC, but only when wearing them yourself. I am also pretty much a fan of an ability that allows you to reverse-engineer spells from magic items to add them to your spellbook. Now while the spellbook does imply a sense of limited usefulness, I would have preferred a more open wording to allow non-spellbook-using prepared casters to benefit from this path ability. What about doubling any AoE spell or effect via the expenditure of mythic power, while also increasing the damage output AND knocking non-mythic targets prone? That one is incredibly broken -stack that with metamagic and/or class abilities get HUGE blasts - not gonna happen in my group.



On the plus-side, upgrading weapons in a flexible manner to higher technology tiers on the other hand is pretty much awesome! Class-specific options can be found inside as well - greatworks that are not the mechanus can provide a mythic power-based buff to allies upon activation. Nice! Cybertech implantation can also be found alongside the option to add metamagic to spell trigger or spell completion items. I also enjoy particularly the option to UMD past magical traps without triggering them, potentially allowing you and your allies to turn a deathtrap dungeon against its inhabitants.



Among the 3rd tier abilities, scaling DR 1/epic that improves by 1 for each implant and using mythic power to make one drone-spell or prototype permanent (and only one at a given time) is a neat idea, as is firing through foes. Among the 6th tier abilities, construct-apotheosis and turning non-magic items into universal crafting material grey goo also is nice, though perhaps a bit high up the tier-scale. Merging magic items for slot-convenience also constitutes an interesting design-choice. Awakening constructs and mythic power-based rerolls can also be found within these pages. As a capstone, the path allows for the creation of technological items in one day and for the purposes of cybertech, your capacity is vastly enhanced.



A feat nets you +1 machinesmith trick and we also get 8 new mythic versions of feats - which include, obviously, rules from the technology guide - from Craft Technological Arms and Armor to quicker crafting of Pharmaceuticals, these feats generally make sense and do a good job at integrating technology and mythic. We also get a total of 6 mythic versions of drone-spells that include unlimited ranges for exterminator drones - which is awesome. I am VERY weary of mythic moebius converters - why? Because it can be used to restore mythic power IN ADDITION to spells, extracts or prototypes - seeing how mythic power can be used to power these, this regeneration of mythic power as the most powerful resource available is something usually avoided - and for a good reason.



The pdf also provides a CR 10/MR 5 Mythic Ironforged.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting generally are very good, I noticed no significant issues regarding the formal language, though rules-language could be more precise. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's gorgeous two-column full-color standard and includes some beautiful artworks you may know from other NeoExodus-supplements. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a slight comfort detriment. The pdf comes with a second, no less beautiful, but more printer-friendly version.



Mythic Rules are VERY hard to get right, not only because balancing them is exceedingly peculiar and hard, but also because the intricacies of rules-language are amplified by the inclusion of new terms and components. Worse, the balancing of mythic, as peculiar and fragile as it is, very much requires a lot of knowledge of abstract, implicit rules-decisions and it is this component that this pdf, alas, flaunts in quite a few instances - essentially, mythic is, at least in lower tiers, not about absolutes, but about enabling a distinction to operate on the power-level of heroes like wonder woman or superman instead of on those of batman or green arrow - you get some tools on the superman-level that are extremely efficient versus mere mortals, but you don't yet get to walk right over them - that comes at higher tiers. While not per se bad, this pdf gets exactly this component wrong in quite a few instances. Author Jonathan Palmer has grasped the basic concepts on how to write and use the syntax and semantics of the mythic rules - you can see that he gets the grand picture and delivers something functional. At the same time, it is apparent to me that the interaction and way things work diverge from the base mythic standards - and this constitutes an issue in a system this fragile.



At the same time, this pdf juggles another component, namely the Technology Guide-sub-system and it does this rather well - as problematic as some decisions in the path are, as awesome is the blending of both systems. I also pretty much like how you could mash this and Legendary Games' genius-path together without that much overlap.



On the one hand, and there is no denying this, we have here an example of a flawed pdf. At the same time, though, universally, the issues can be caught by a capable DM and yes, ironed out with a minimum of effort - fixing the balance-issues that are herein pretty much would probably amount to about 2 hours and that's it - if you do that, you'll have a functional and fun pdf for a more than fair price at your hands. This has the potential for full 5 stars +seal of approval, but as long as the issues persist, I cannot rate this higher than 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of NeoExodus: Mythic Machinesmith (PFRPG)
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Mythic Minis 52: Mythic Weapons
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/30/2015 07:18:34
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal - 3 pages - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, let's go!



-Blade-eating Battleaxe: This battleaxe can essentially dual-sunder as a standard action and apply mythic surge benefits to the two sunders. Furthermore, with the expenditure of mythic power, it allows for whirlwind-sundering and allows for reflexive sunderings to counter certain combat maneuvers and abilities. The complex mechanics required here actually work out very well - nice one!



-Kinslayer's Knife: Nasty blade with blood biography and the target's relatives becoming apparent to the wielder, making this one very lethal for those carrying out a bloody vendetta.



-Redflame Trollblade: A +1 flaming burst humanoid (giant) bane bastard sword that has its bane further enhanced versus trolls, while also sporting color-coded glowing warnings regarding the presence of certain types of adversaries. In the hands of mythic characters, it also gets the mighty cleaving property and can use mythic power to grant Mythic Cleave, adding in a 5-foot step. Alas, the blade also calls all trolls within 1 mile, compelling them to seek out and slay the wielder or perish in battle. Nasty!



-Silverspark Longbow: Arrows fired from these intelligent bows made to slay evil wizards and witches are silver and grant SR in addition to their significant enchantments. 1/day, they can fire a lightning bolt modified by the Disruptive Spell feat - and one that is half divine energy. In the hands of mythic characters, limning and shocking burst are added versus targets and the lightning bolt can be shot multiple times per day, powered by mythic power.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Jason Nelson delivers 4 mechanically complex mythic weapons here, all of which have in common that they tackle complex rules and manage to execute them in interesting ways. Additionally, they all sport this nice extra oomph - the unique ability that goes beyond an accumulation of properties and renders them unique. Nice and well worth 5 stars +seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 52: Mythic Weapons
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Adventure Quarterly #6 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/27/2015 06:44:13
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The sixth installment of Rite Publishing's spiritual heir of the Dungeon magazine clocks in at 72 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than a massive 67 pages of content - quite a huge array, so let's take a look!



As always, we begin the issue with a nice editorial by Robert N. Emerson before jumping into the meat of the respective modules. This being a review of an adventure-based magazine, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great! The first module herein takes us back into the iconic training ground/artificial dungeon of Questhaven's Questor's Society, the Ruins Perilous, wherein 4th level PCs are challenged by Mike Welham to enter the Fungarium! What once was a gigantic banquet hall has since the various cataclysms befell the ruins turned into a kind of interesting fungal habitation, one that is by now separated in two factions of fungoid life-forms that exist in a brokered, uneasy truce - and yes, this means that the best option indeed boils down to actually negotiating with the strange fungoid creatures. If Diplomacy is not up to your PC's alley, fighting does remain an option, though they will miss out on a boon for the PCs. However, this is not where this dungeon-level shines alone - indeed, the creepy atmosphere is well-supplemented by a diverse array of cool hazards and yes, these strange mushrooms add a nice dimension to the encounters. Fungal forlarren queens that share a mind may be there for negotiation, but unaligned fungoid creatures and a dangerous spiny otyugh do make for quite a few nice, challenging foes for combat-centric PCs to defeat, rounding out one of the arguably coolest levels in the ruins yet - fun, diverse and consistent - I love it! This gets even more awesome by supplementing tidbits like stats for the trap-resetting ratfolk workers, an anti-fungus weapon and stats for groundkeepers et al.



The second module, Bret Boyd's Fire and Ice, not related to the neofolk band of the same name, begins with the death of adventurers, though thankfully not the PCs - instead, a company of competing adventurers has been all but wiped out while trying to thwart an evil organization's plan to harvest divine essences. Their sole survivor, as it happens, is on the same ship as the PCs - and draws the ire of the primary antagonist, the immortal assassin Malkin and an iceberg-vessel - upon temporarily defeating the threat, the poor survivor comes clean and asks the PCs for aid and so they're off to the island of pleasure, Mibre, a small paradise, where an order of enigmatic monks poses an interesting puzzle (including trouble-shooting advice and means t brute-force it) - for without the help of the monks, the PCs will have a hard time bringing the magical crystal to the plane of fire to sunder it and thwart the plans of the evil cabal. My one gripe here would constitute in the lack of vessel stats for the iceberg ship and the PC's ship, but on the plus-side, the settlement at least does sport a full settlement statblock.



The final module within these pages, penned by Alex Putnam (and Danielle Doss), would be "In Iron Clad," wherein 14th level PCs have their business trip to a mercane merchant (and a remote metropolis)rudely interrupted while aboard a massive, dwarven sand-steamer used to traverse the massive, lethal badlands - only to have it be attacked by a massive behemoth - and this is only the first of things to come - deadly divs herald the shape of things to come, as the PCs happen upon the massive artifact, the metal heart. Bringing this to the metropolis, the PCs are tasked to pilot the Iron Knight -and yes, we're talking about the Saber Rider/power Rangers-style mecha also featured in the glorious Kaiju Codex. Much like its rendition there, the rules provided could be a teeny tiny bit more precise, though they should not overexert the capabilities of most groups - and yes, the task thereafter is to pilot the gigantic mecha to vanquish the corrupted, elemental-themed kaiju-sized creatures. But that is not where the module ends - indeed, the PCs have to brave a legendary, vast tomb to find a magic weapon for the iron knight, the Sword of Ages' End, and use it to vanquish the legendary corruptor in one massive boss battle of gargantuan proportions - quite literally!



After these modules, Creighton Broadhurst provides an array of complex, multi-round hazards/encounters to drop into your game, some of his best work, btw., while Steven D. Russell continues his advice for wide open sandboxing campaigns, including some handy lists t use at one's convenience.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-level. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's 2-column full-color standard with a significant array of gorgeous, original full-color artworks AND there are A LOT of awesome maps in here - if you need any more proof that Tommi Salama is perhaps THE heir to Jonathan Roberts, this one delivers - in diverse styles and color, the maps are ridiculously beautiful. Better yet, the maps also come as high-res jpgs for use with virtual tabletops or the printer AND there are player-friendly high-res versions of the maps as well. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



This is a first in the run of Adventure Quarterly - for the first time, more than module blew me away - and honestly, I really like all 3. Each sports unique locations, nice, compact storylines and deliver, in spades, some absolutely imaginative vistas. Better yet, Alex Putnam's final module is perhaps the best high-level module in any Adventure Quarterly - high-stakes, unique and supplemented by lavish, copious maps, this module is a stroke of genius and will have your players talking about it for years to come - heck, it may be the perfect transition from regular gaming to making full use of the superb Kaiju Codex and truly high-fantasy gaming! This installment is creative in all the right ways and sports glorious ideas as well as Rite Publishing's trademark focus on high concepts - even the supplemental material went above and beyond - well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Quarterly #6 (PFRPG)
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Secret Societies of Vathak: The Final Phase
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2015 10:28:15
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Vathak-supplement clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The Final Phase is a cult that sprung form an appropriately nihilistic vision of life as sorrow unending and thus, it should come as no surprise that the already questionable ideology (as much of it as the well-written intro-fluff showcases) has been perverted even further in a world like Vathak - now, the cult is pretty much a decadent accumulation of cultists with a surprising range of influence. More disturbingly, the cult believes that the Great Old Ones hold the key to prevent resorption into the unending cycle of sorrow the multiverse propagates - and while this may sound angsty, in a fantasy setting with demons, angels etc., the clue is - they are kind of right. Okay, bringing the Great Old Ones to the world is not a good idea, but the aforementioned point has been a central and very effective theme in my last campaign: In the words of one of my favorite metal bands: "If my soul could revive from my carnal remains, what does it matter to me? If it all fades to black and I'm born once again, then no one really is free."



A pyramid structure that mirrors their inverted ziggurat ritualistic place is detailed alongside the current headquarters and initiation into the cult - particular mention deserves that WE ACTUALLY GET THE OATH the initiates recite. See, *this* is exactly what makes a cult come to life, what makes it more than just a collection of cultists.



The pdf also sports unique magical items, namely the Belt of the Great Old Ones that not only bestows ooze-like immunities and a miss chance on the wearer, but also allows you to squeeze through tight spaces - and make foes rue the day they tried to see through your miss-chance... On a nitpicky side, the item has a minor italicization glitch. The second item would be the Lamprey Sleeves. In the lower sections of aforementioned ziggurat is a vat, wherein lamprey await - upon plunging your arm inside, the lampreys devour the arm and magically turn into a disturbing facsimile of the arm, returning to their original disgusting form only upon activation, acting as a buckler and allowing for the wearer's choice of either vampiric touch or touch of madness 3/day, though again, with minor italicization glitches.



The pdf closes with adventure hooks.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, apart from some minor italicization glitches, I noticed nothing severe. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork is thematically fitting.



Jeffrey Swank's Final Phase has been an odd pdf for me to review. This began, to be honest, with me not being particularly excited - yet another nihilistic cult? Yawn. Only slowly did the themes and leitmotifs of self-determination emerge and lend an actual identity to the cult herein. The sample oath provided in particular made me wish this pdf sported more fluff like that, for it is here that the pdf shines -at this point, I expected this to be pretty much in the mediocre/good range. Then the items hit and hit hard - they are unique, strange and downright creepy, adding an element of body horror to the philosophical underpinning of the cult, blending a strange mix of psychological and body horror with the utterly creepy premise of elitism and "good intentions for the enlightened" to form an amalgam that is something I did not expect this pdf to deliver - something genuinely creepy.



Now granted, not all components of the organization hit home perfectly, but the blending of themes makes this work better than I honestly expected, rendering the cult a fun, inexpensive addition to one's game, mainly hampered by the brevity of the format - with a couple of additional pages to showcase ideology and rituals in more detail, this could have been top-tier awesome. As provided, it is a compelling secret society just short of true excellence and thus well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Secret Societies of Vathak: The Final Phase
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Mythic Minis 51: Metamagic Feats
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2015 10:24:14
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal - 4 pages - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages content, let's go!



-Burning Spell: Twice spell level damage on follow-up rounds; then + spell level damage for 1 round per 2 mythic tiers, min 1. +1/2 mythic tier feat-uses per day and the option to spontaneously make a spell burning via mythic power without preparing it beforehand, increasing casting time or spell level. Solid.



-Coaxing Spell: Affect mindless oozes and vermin as well as sentient creatures. You still can choose to affect only one type of adversary, providing a penalty to the target's will save. As minor nitpick, the minus herein is not properly displayed, though that does not impede the ability to understand it - btw., this glitch that displays a strike-through box instead of a minus extends to all instances where a minus should be in the pdf. Can be spontaneously added via mythic power akin to Burning Spell. This extends to almost all of the feats herein, so no, I will not mention is for every one of them.



-Concussive Spell: Adds Ac-penalty to the insult of the feat and makes target risk falling prone, with standing up being not as simple as usual -standing up may see you falling back prone. Nice one.



-Consecrate Spell: Spell level consecrate added; creatures targeted count as consecrated. Very interesting, not necessarily on a hard number basis, but on a narrative basis. I like it!

-Echoing Spell: Now we're talking - get the full spell as a1/day at-will SP. Can be spontaneously added via mythic power akin to Burning Spell. This is simple, yet awesome and manages to get even the focus-requirement right. Love it!



-Flaring Spell: Add blind and dazzle to the spell. Solid.



-Jinxed Spell: Jinx up to 1/2 mythic tier creatures with jinxed spells. Additionally, a creature that makes its save can be targeted by your halfling jinx, with a normal save. Nice one!



-Piercing Spell: Treat SR as 5 plus mythic tier for non-mythic opponents or 5 + 1/2 mythic tier for mythic foes lower when targeting with a Piercing Spell.



-Rime Spell: Add temporary fatigue to the entangle effect. Can be spontaneously added via mythic power akin to Burning Spell. Neat.



-Seeking Spell: Use this in conjunction with ranged attacks or ranged touch attacks or with Ref-save allowing spells, ignoring cover-bonuses. This one allows for some fun tricks - nice!



-Shadow Grasp: Add dazzle to the entangle condition. Shrouded creatures gain concealment against foes more than 5 ft away (10 ft. for creatures with low-light vision, no effect versus darkvision). Okay, I guess - the feat's secondary effects have some potential when used in conjunction with Stealth/shadow-characters.

-Tenebrous Spell: + mythic tier to concentration checks made to cast the Tenebrous Spell in bright light. Attempts to dispel such a spell only get a bonus of +2, while you conversely increase CL and save DC by +2 for you when casting it in darkness or shadows and penalize dispel checks by 4 in such areas. The feat does reference Umbral Spell instead of Tenebrous Spell once in a harmless cut-copy-paste-glitch.

-Thanatopic Spell: Attempt caster level checks to temporarily suppress death effects, negative levels, negative energy or energy drain, potentially suppressing the effect. With mythic power, you can,a s a swift action, affect more than one creature.



-Threatening Illusion: Select any number of 5-foot squares within a figment you create, making the squares count as threatening regarding flanking etc. The feat gets combat maneuvers et al. and interaction right and the balancing via spell instead of feat is downright genius. One of my favorites herein.



-Threnodic Spell: Affect living and undead at the same time or penalize one type's will-saves for a number of rounds - essentially a copy of Coaxing Spell in that regard, though you may not choose the living.



-Toppling Spell: +1/2 mythic tier, min. 1 to CMB to trip creatures. Unique and awesome - add +2 to checks to topple targets adjacent to a target you've toppled, including stacking and getting the complex rules-language here right. One of my favorites - awesome!



-Umbral Spell: The target radiates deeper darkness (with a special caveat for cantrips). Unique and elegant.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches, only the aforementioned cut copy paste error and the strange minus-layout-glitch. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Jason Nelson's Metamagic feats were a surprise to me - while I expected the mythic power to cast spontaneously angle employed by most of them and while I get certain analogues among the respective feats, I did not expect to actually enjoy some of these feats - there are quite a few examples that go beyond what one would expect, providing some unique tactical options. While not perfect, this is still a very good pdf, well worth of a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 by a tiny margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 51: Metamagic Feats
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Akashic Mysteries: Guru
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/23/2015 03:17:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment of Michael Sayre's Incarnum-style series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Depicted herein would be the Guru-base-class, who gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with light armor and simple weapons, but not shields and enhance these based on class choices made - more on that later. Chassis-wise, the guru gets 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. They begin play with 1 veil and scale that up to 8 and 1 essence, which increases to up to 20. The veilshaping of the guru has the DC equal to 10 + points invested + wis-mod. Essence investment into prepared veils can be reallocated as a swift action.



I really enjoy the first level ability gentle touch - if a guru invests one point of essence into this ability, all damage he does with a weapon becomes nonlethal, but also receives + wis-mod bonus, rewarding not killing everything that crosses the PC's path. What's also pretty odd - per essence invested, the ability deals +1d4 nonlethal damage. Now the issue is - does this stack with the wis-mod bonus damage? If so, then this is pretty much a very powerful damage boost, perhaps beyond what one would expect. Also: Does the first, unlocking point of essence invested add the +1d4 as well or just the wis-mod? The double increase to damage makes me think that the wis-mod perhaps was supposed to replace Str or Dex for the purpose of BAB-calculation? Be that as it may, while not broken, this ability could use some clarification. Beyond this, I also believe that the ability perhaps could use an exclusion-clause for shuriken and the like - since the damage applies to everything, combining that with shuriken and/or multiclass'd flurries of stars...OUCH.



1st level Gurus also choose a philosophy,. which grants a linear progression of abilities at 1st level and every 3 levels thereafter. Philosophy abilities tend to burn essence points, which means that the essence cannot be used or reassigned until the guru has had a chance to meditate, providing a complex game of resources between flexibility and power - you can't write player agenda in larger letters. Additionally, gurus of first level get stunning fist, but with some tweaks - the benefits can be applied to weapon attacks made with gentle touch and the guru can burn three essence to regain 1 use of stunning fist 1/day, +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. 2nd level nets chakra bind in the progression of Hands, Feet, Head, Headband, Neck, Belt, Body. 4th, 10th and 19th level increase the essence capacity of chakras by +1.



The 3rd level guru may interrupt the chakras of foes when executing an attack - this works as a standard action pretty much akin to vital strike and has a DC of 10 + wis mod, +2 per essence invested in gentle touch, which allows for a pretty nasty escalation of DCs - imho, this one should be nerfed to at least +1 per essence. You don't need me to make the math for unbeatable DCs. The negative condition lasts for wis-mod rounds (odd, seeing how the DC is essence-based - why not also increase durations here?) and scales up over the levels.



7th level nets an autohealing ability determined by the amount of essence invested, though essence invested in the limited-use ability cannot be reinvested until rest. 8th level allows gentle touch to act as sunder-attacks that ignore 1/2 hardness AND allows for the damaging of foes that are immune to nonlethal damage. 16th level provides, apart from a lack of bolding of the ability name, the option to expend stunning fist uses when attacking foes to double as what amounts to a single-target disjunction that leaves items intact. The capstone provides healing and even temporary essence to the guru when e.g. disjoining foes - cool and surprisingly powerful!



Now I mentioned philosophies - a total of 3 are provided, with each granting its own set of uncommon proficiencies the first of which would be the Akasin. When meditating in an area of bright light, they can gain a pool of temporary essence that is burned first by the respective philosophy abilities. Alternatively, these points can be used to execute as a veil of positive energy. At 4th level, healing blindness is possible, as is shooting rays - which deal an untyped damage AND lack information on their range. Both should be rectified. Higher level akasins further marginalize the poor shield bonus to AC, bypassing it alongside 2 points of AC with blades of light - it should be noted that expenditure of stunning fist uses can further upgrade this ability.



The akasin may also use an essence-burn-powered raise dead, thankfully with a daily limit. At 16th level, I am not complaining about taking essence burn of up to class level to add as bonus damage that ignores all resistances and DRs, though factor 5 is NASTY. I think adding a daily cap would be in order here for reasons of preventing (relatively inefficient) one-strike-builds- "After all, the guru can always conjure forth light and meditate for temporary essence points...blablaba" - you get the rationale: Burning temporary essence at 16th level would grant up to +40 to damage for one attack. Now this *looks* much worse than it is in game - meditating this one back would require 8 minutes, so no spamming AND it is a significant expenditure. See, that's why I playtest these classes - this one looks much more powerful than it is. So yes, I like the ability, though I believe it could be one that will sooner or later end in undeserved pointed fingers.



The sineater philosophy is somewhat problematic - it allows for the regain of essence burn via attacks of gentle touch when used against targets with an Int of 3+ . The ability also allows for the reflexive burn of essence to negate damage that would bring the guru down to below 0 hp - interesting, since the amount of damage negated is significant and would be overpowered, were it not for the restriction, thus making the guru a good candidate for last man standing. While the Int-caveat avoids failure of the kitten-test, I'm still not 100% sold here - though the rest of the philosophy is balanced against this - limited DR and limited fast healing/regeneration for essence burn make sense regarding the established, steep costs while allowing the guru to work as a functional tank. Burning essence to increase the damage dealt to evil outsiders, aberrations and undead on a 1:5-basis is brutal and allows for damage outputs that dwarf paladin smites, but only on singular attacks. So yeah, the guru is brutal here. 10th level provides atonement (lacking italicization) and some minor non-standard wording - inescapable unarmed attacks (powered by essence + grab quality...) and AoE unarmed attacks are cool, though the most powerful ability here lacks a duration for the paralyze effect -and if it's supposed to be permanent...ouch. Even at level 19 nasty.



The third philosophy would be the Vayist, who would be the agile trickster to the sineater's tanky playstyle - using essence burn to increase the range-increments of ranged weapons or duplicate spells (lacking italicization) as well as getting back up quickly. 10th level nets breath of life and is solid. The base ability allows for debuffs of foes that target creatures that are not the vayist, essentially making him a solid kiter - why? Because not including the vayist in attacks allows for them to regain essence burn - which works perfectly considering the emphasis on movement and flexibility - for players that enjoy flexibility and movement superiority, this one is fun indeed. It's also the most refined philosophy in that it imho has the least minor hiccups.



The pdf, obviously, also sports a significant array of feats, some of which you will probably know from the vizier's pdf - that is, obvious gestalting functionality is still maintained in the tradition of incarnum, surpassing the options of this system by quite a bit. Now some feats imho could be a tad bit more refined - when untyped energy damage (against which no DR or resistance helps) can be added to attacks, that's nasty. Increased maneuver-bonuses AND better damage outputs in conjunction with Piranha Strikes and Power Attack are pretty strong, though that is balanced by requiring, obviously, essence-investment. Enhanced Veil Capacity, still proved to be pretty much a no-brainer in my playtests. Life Bond proved to be somewhat problematic for akasin gurus - why? Because it lets you take damage and heal allies - since the akasin can heal himself indefinitely as long as he has time and access to light, we're seeing an infinite healing option for the group here and one that can break in-game logic pretty hard - can you see the nightmarish visions of guru-healing-batteries beyond the front-lines of the evil empire? I can. Damn. That imagery is actually cool. Still, I think there needs to be some limitations implemented here. This problem also extend to the Martyr's Toga veil, btw., though that one's wording makes me believe it was supposed to have a daily limit of uses akin to other healing veils.



Dual binding of veils is also possible and offers yet another tactical option. Essence of the Immortal provides 2 x essence pool bonus hp and counts as toughness - a pretty blatant power-escalation even without the additional essence granted by feats et al. - this can easily upgrade your hit points by ~50 for non-optimized builds. While fitting the theme of specific builds, I still consider this in need of a gentle whack with the nerfbat - or a different scaling mechanism that is not based on total essence. Perhaps grant a base hp-bonus and allow for essence burn to temporarily increase that?



The veils presented obviously have some overlap with those of the vizier, but are not limited to those already known from the first pdf - there are quite a few cool exclusives here! One theme you'll note is movement - from air walking to increased movement rates make sense - though the latter's lack of bonus type means it'll allow for a nasty combination of speed-types you usually don't see - with items and spells, you can get problematic speeds here. The Stalker's Tabi is a pretty nasty beast - unlimited short range teleportation and hide while being observed/in plain sight is slightly earlier than usual - 6th level, when usually HiPS is relegated to 7th or 9th level - perhaps include a level-based scaling mechanism here? The Eyes of the Hawkguard can be bound first as see invisibility, later even as true seeing - constant! And yes, this one gets the balancing right! Fluid partial conversion of energy damage taken to one favored by the guru is also an option provided by veils - one that can be considered an unique take. It should also be noted that some of these veils actually do interact in rather cool and unique ways with class abilities, including psionic abilities - providing further combo options and screws to tinker with.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting can still be considered good, though I noticed quite a few instances of missing bolding, italicization glitches and the like on a formal level. Michael Sayre's rules-language is pretty concise and more refined than in the vizier, with a more concise terminology - on a nitpicky side, establishing one type of wording for essence burn vs. burn essence would make the pdf more concise still. The pdf comes in two versions, one in gorgeous 2-column full-color layout and one more printer-friendly version. The artworks are a combination of original pieces and stock art. Strangely, my full-color version had no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.



All the positive things I've said about akashic classes in my review of the vizier still hold true, so if you want to read about me rambling over the superiority of the system over incarnum, take a look at that review - it still holds true here.



I adore the akashic classes I've read so far - the classes are ALL about player agenda - there are so many options to choose, screws to tinker with, math to run - the flexibility of the classes and fully functional gestalting options are exceedingly versatile and utterly fun. They are also a nightmare to review, but that's beside the point - most classes I LOVE tend to fit that criteria. The guru's rewarding of nonlethal damage, of actually not being a murder hobo, is something that resonates deeply with my convictions of what it means to be good, so thematically, I ultimately ended up loving this class.



That being said, as much as I'd like to praise this in the highest tones, there are some instances where the wording still needs some refinement, some rough edges that need to be sanded off. If my review above seemed nitpicky, then mainly because I so want the final book to be perfect. One surprise of this pdf, at least to me, was that the guru, on paper, looked essentially broken, with many knee-jerk-reaction inducing choices that mellowed out when doing the math/actually playing the class. The grand potential of problems can be seen in Life Bond - the feat itself isn't that strong, but as soon as it allows for infinite healing (which it didn't for the vizier), one can see one tiny oversight in the rules-language that radiates outwards - this needs a daily activation cap akin to similar options to maintain functionality with the akasin - and to future-proof the system to prevent ample future abuse.



So how to rate this? I love Michael Sayre's akashic classes and can't wait for the final book, but with the rough edges still in here, I can't go higher than a final verdict of 4 stars for now - with the explicit note that this very much resonates with me - I am stoked to see the final book - it may be one for the EZG-Essentials-list if Dreamscarred Press can get rid of the rough patches!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Akashic Mysteries: Guru
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#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/23/2015 03:15:46
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, know what pretty much I don't get? In all those high magic magocracies and settings, why are there no actual tools, you know, everyday-useful magic items to make life more convenient? I mean, literature is full of wizards using convenient items to render life more comfortable for themselves and in a setting where the crafting of deadly, costly magical weapons, it is only sensible that some of the funds circulated would be used to actually improve the tools used to generate the respective tools, right?



Right - so here we are, new magic tools. All of them are masterwork per default, as the pdf notices and framed by an aptly-written, short piece of IC-prose, we dive right in: The Arcane Anthology, for example, opens itself on the correct page and politely positions itself in front of the reader, levitating and leaving his or her hands free. If that is not inspiring to you in and of itself, then the short piece of history provided for each item should exactly help in that regard. Now this is pretty much awesome, though, alas, not all items herein reach this level of coolness - take the Brass of Binding: It prevents the rider from being dismounted "no matter what happens." No matter how good the CMB, no matter the circumstance - unless the points of the maple-leaf brass are tapped. Alas, this does not specify what type of action tapping the maple leaf's points is. Oh, and cost: 1000 GP. For never being dismounted, ever. WUT? This sounds like it needs a hard whack with the nerf-bat or rather, a tighter wording: It is clear this should only prevent dismounting due to the rider's own failed checks - and yes, I am very much aware that this is supposed to be a tool for the Ride-skill only, but as written, it does look like it can be used otherwise AND it still fails to mention the action required for (de-)activation, alas a glitch I noticed a couple of times when the item's text (à la mental command) etc. provides no clear means of determining the activation action, though I do assume the standard action default for wondrous items. But I'm rambling about a nitpick, so onwards!



A spoon that can purify any poison from food 3/day and detect it 3/day as well is a cool item, though personally, I think I'd prefer the detecting and purification to be based on poison DCs, but I am aware that this is just a personal preference and won't hold it against the pdf. There also would be an enchanted chisel that can carve into wood on its own. A compass that can lead you to food, animals or locations pictured in your mind is nice, as are gloves that turn held items invisible. The Flawpicker item needs a scaling mechanism - picking out flaws from gems is fine with me - eliminating curses from cursed items, on the other hand, imho should have a scaling rate of success chances. I do like the sight-enhancing magical kohl. Mantles that help you avoid detection are nice, but what about shoons that 1/day create a platform mid-flight to push off, adding +10 ft. height and length to a jump? Yeah, awesome. Pins to improvise opening locks and helping with escaping manacles et al. also are a-ok with me. What about a patch that allows for quicker application of liquids?



There also would be slippers that allow caught thieves to generate an illusion of an animal darting away, providing an excuse for any noises created? Using a needle to animate cloths and the like to entangle foes? Cool! What about a babelfish-like translating butterfly? Nice!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect -I noticed a couple of typos, italicization glitches and the like. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artworks consist of thematically-fitting stock art.



Liz Smith's items are glorious on the one hand - they make sense and in many, many cases, they can be considered awesome in their flair - breathing the spirit of fairy-tales and feeling like actual MAGIC instead of an accumulation of numerical bonuses, the tools herein may not be 100% perfect, but they have more soul than many magic item books I've read. Yes, there are some minor ambiguities and yes, I pretty much prefer Scaling options over those that work as a default - but in the end, most of the gripes I could field apply mainly to my personal preference, which has never been a sufficient reason for me to rate a pdf down, leaving as valid gripes only the glitches and non-preference hiccups, which ultimately are offset by the sheer imaginative potential herein. It should be noted that the items herein fit perfectly as rare items in a low magic game, so yeah, versatility is accounted for.

Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4. 5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
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Subterranean Enclave: Dilath's Hold
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/23/2015 03:13:51
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' Subterranean Enclave-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As mentioned before, you can essentially consider this a pdf that depicts a settlement of the storied underdark, wherein the less than pleasant races roam. In this case, most people who come to the place do not want to be here. Why? Well, founded by an exiled drow noble, Dilath's Hold is not a nice place - it is a slave hub. That being said, the danger rate of 10 the village's statblock provides should net you a good idea that this is NOT a place to take shelter in. The marketplace's offerings do mirror the theme of the locale and, as always, we not only receive a beautiful pencil-drawn cartography, but also DCs of the village's lore and short notes on the nomenclature of the dominant cultures in the enclave, here that being drow and duergar.



It should be noted, though, that this is NOT simply a slaver's village with a hack filing off of the serial numbers - from houses of gigantic snail shells to labyrinths of caverns and webs, this place breathes the wonder that should, nay, must suffuse subterranean settlements. Have I mentioned the nasty druid (fully statted!) with an unhealthy obsession of experimentation with fungi etc.? Finally, as always, some rumors which may or may not be true and sample events add a certain amount of local color to the place.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' two-column b/w--standard, with superb cartography in b/w. As always, you can download player-friendly high-res maps via Raging Swan Press' patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer, with both being fully bookmarked.



Brian Wiborg Mønster's subterranean enclave could have very well been bland - when I read the premise of this one, I was less than excited about it - how many times have I seen the like? Well, I'm happy to report that, while I'm not 100% blown away by the concept, it is in the small details and power-dealings, in the unique sense of wonder conveyed, that this settlement manages to surpass what otherwise would have been a common premise and become something unique and worthwhile. Capturing the wonder of the underdark exceedingly well, the pdf does this component rather well. Then again, as a slaver's town, particularly as one so unique, I was missing the added spice - the unique drug used to ensure slave-compliance, the secret uprising in the making - some additional material would have definitely helped here. Now I am aware I am complaining at a very high level here, but still. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Subterranean Enclave: Dilath's Hold
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