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Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/18/2016 07:17:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of races clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Ah, Midgard and the Southlands - Midgard has been one of my favorite fantasy settings ever and the absolutely legendary Southlands setting book made my Top Ten of last year for a reason - and if you haven't check it out, dear D&D 5e fans, you will want to: While designed originally for Pathfinder, the book has a MASSIVE array of evocative, amazing content that is system-agnostic and makes it an excellent purchase for 5e as well.

Anyways, this book would be the one that takes the unique races that can be found in the Southlands and converts them to 5e...but how do they hold up? Well, after a brief introduction to the subject matter, the first of the races introduced would be Kobold Press' take on the aasimar - these guys, in Midgard, are significantly closer to the mighty passions f the nephilim than to the default celestial-blooded connotations they usually evoke. As with the Midgard Heroes-pdf, this one's write-up does feature some evocative prose for the respective races, though we do not get an assortment of sample names for the respective races. Since the race already exists in 5e, we instead receive 3 variant aasimar: Airy Spirit nets you 1/day gaseous form at 5th level instead of daylight. Alas, the ability does fail to note which attribute is used for the casting of this spell- The second ability replaces resistance to necrotic and radiant damage with fire resistance and the third one nets you blindsight 10 ft in exchange for daylight and darkvision. Heaven's Wrath nets you guiding bolt instead of lesser restoration and daylight - both of which have not been properly italicized and the ability does not note spellcasting attribute used. Divine Splendor nets enhance ability (Eagle's Splendor) at 3rd level with a range of Personal and at 5th level, you also receive Owl's Wisdom's benefits when using this ability, though the ability once again fails to denote the spellcasting attribute employed. This once again replaces lesser restoration and daylight.

The second race introduced would be the gnoll, who increases Strength by 2, is Medium with a speed of 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft. advantage on Wisdom (Perception) employing smell, +10 ft. speed when using Disengage and proficiency with spear, shortbow, longbow, light crossbow and heavy crossbow. Gnolls are craven cowards at heart and thus, as bullies, they are considered proficient in Charisma (intimidation) when dealing with weaker foes and add twice their proficiency bonus to the check. However, at the same time, their cowardice means they suffer from disadvantage on all saving throws to avoid the frightened condition. Gnolls have two "subraces" - civilized gnolls increase Constitution by 1 and add the same "double proficiency bonus"-mechanic to Charisma (Persuasion) skill checks dealing with foes that are bigger and more powerful. Savage gnolls instead increase their Wisdom score by 1 and are considered to be proficient in Wisdom (Survival) when scavenging for food, once again doubling their proficiency bonus to such checks.

The lizardfolk presented herein increase their Strength by 2 and their Wisdom score by 1, with a speed of 30 ft. and a swimming speed of an equal amount. Their unarmored AC is equal to AC 12 + Dexterity modifier; this may be used in conjunction with shields. They also have proficiency with a 1d6 bite, the Stealth skill and may hold their breath for Constitution score minutes. Instead of subraces, there are a variety of alternate racial traits to be chosen from: You may replace your swimming speed and hold breath with proficiency in Strength (athletics) and double proficiency bonus to climbing; alternatively, you may replace these traits with advantage on Stealth-checks when not moving (or carrying items). Not cool - for the same exchange, you may gain 40 feet flying speed (no hovering) and no falling damage. The option to dig through dirt or sand at 10 ft. per round would eat swimming speed (but not hold breath). Some lizards may, instead of a bite attack, spurt short-range jets of blood from their eyes, potentially frightening foes. Instead of the predatory tricks and the natural armor, some lizardfolk get increased healing, adding twice their Constitution modifier to hit point regeneration when spending an HD.

Regenerating limbs slowly is also possible, but incurs exhaustion. I exchange for natural armor, swim speed and hold breath as well as bite, you may gain a poisoned bite. This replaces the regular bite, but fails to denote the damage the poisoned bite inflicts. Instead of natural armor, they can have advantage on saves versus poison and disease and an alternate ability array (+2 Dex, +1 Wis) with Small size can be chosen. I am NOT a fan of this array. The base race is already pretty strong and some of the abilities here exacerbate this. Finally, here would be as well a place as any to denote that it's "proficiency bonus", not "proficiency modifier."

The pdf also contains a lizardfolk class archetype, the ambush predator (assassin) - instead of the regular bonus proficiencies, this one maintains proficiency with poisoner's kits and the option to use Cunning Action to apply poison to a weapon. At 9th level, you receive advantage on saves to avoid falling asleep/exhaustion, provided you do not move and engage in light activity while stationary and still receive the benefits o a rest, replacing infiltration expertise thus. At 13th level, you do not automatically reveal your location when attacking while hidden, provided you are at least 10 feet away - instead, you compare Dexterity (Stealth) with Wisdom (Perception) of those looking, replacing imposter thus. Not the biggest fan.

I already talked about the minotaur race in my review of Midgard Heroes - they have been reproduced here (or the other way round) - either way, I'm not the biggest fan of the overlap here, particularly considering that the southlands race Jinnborn is missing from this pdf. The next race would be thematically one of my favorites, the odd and alien tosculi. Hiveless tosculi, the only playable ones, have been translated thus to 5e: They may choose one physical and one mental attribute and increase each by +2. However, they also must choose one attribute to decrease by 2. Yes, this allows for the cancellation of one of the increased attributes increase. Tosculi are Small with a walking seed of 30 ft, an AC of at the very least 11 + Dexterity modifier, claws that inflict 1d4 slashing damage with which they are proficient and gliding wings that net a flying speed of 40 ft and cancels out falling damage. Additionally, they are proficient at Perception and Stealth. They may also select up to 4 alternate racial traits: A spittle that immediately hardens and restrains the target, with scaling properties, is cool and may replace the proficiencies. Also instead of the proficiencies, they may gain a 1d6 bite that allows for the grappling of targets as a bonus action (and +1d6 damage at 11th level). As a complaint here: Bites in 5e usually do piercing damage, not slashing damage. The third option nets message as a cantrip that is declared to be psionic and thus not subject to interference by e.g. a silence spell and at 3rd level, detect thoughts becomes available, but only once per rest interval. Both fail to denote their spellcasting attribute and this replace Gliding Wings. Instead of the gliding wings and regular AC, some tosculi may have a carapace of 11 + Dexterity modifier + Constitution modifier, allowing in theory a level 1 unarmored AC of 19. Which is pretty insane.

The tosculi also receive two supplemental options for the druid class - the first of these would be the circle of the hive as a variant of circle of the land, who receive appropriately insect-y themed spells as well as immunity to disease and poison at 10th level as well as the ability to ignore movement restriction caused by webbing and advantage on saves versus being restrained instead of Nature's War. The circle of the swarm would be an alternative of the circle of the moon, who may only wild shape into insectoid shapes, receiving a modified list of eligible creatures. 10th level allows for the use of two Wild Shape uses for the transformation into a bullette (heh?), chuul, phase spider or umber hulk instead of going elemental. Weird choices there. Tosculi rangers that adhere to the beast master archetype may elect to become hivemasters instead, gaining either a blood hornet/wasp (flying snake stats) giant crab, giant centipede, giant wolf spider or swarm of insects. You may note that some of these options are decidedly weaker than others...but I get what this tries to do. Telepathic communication with the targets...well, yeah, that's kind of nice.

The final race would be the werelion, who increases Wisdom by 2 and Strength by 1, is Medium, has a speed of 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft.. They are natural shapechangers and may assume lion or hybrid form as an action and remain thus for 1 hour or cancel the transformation as a bonus action. Hybrid form increases speed to 40 feet and nets both claws and bite, each of which deal 1d4 damage (slashing and piercing, respectively). You have proficiency with these and also receive advantage on Charisma (Intimidate) and Wisdom (Perception) checks reliant on smell while thus transformed, but also suffer from disadvantage on all Intelligence and all other Charisma checks. In lion-shape, you employ the panther's statblock as if you were a druid using wild shape. At 8th level, you instead use the form of a proper lion. For very high-powered games, the optional lycanthropic resistances and vulnerabilities have been included, though thankfully with sufficient warning caveat - the race already has enough oomph and silvering's expensive in 5e.

The werelion comes with a new sorcerous origin, the lycanthropic one. The pdf has a bit of a layout hiccup that blends this header with 1st level's hybrid form benefit together. Hybrid form follows the basics of that of the werelion, but allows for the selection of bear, rat, wolf or great cat. Each choice nets a thematically relevant ability and some sort of additional benefit - rats may squeeze through confined spaces, for example. At 6th level, you may expend sorcery points to increase the damage die of natural weapons by one step when in hybrid form and add either magic or silver to the attack, with the benefit lasting until the next shapechange. Additionally, you speak with animals of the chosen beast's form. As a nitpick, the ability does not state the action it requires to activate. I assume it can't be stacked. 14th level nets the option to expend 3 such points and assume a more powerful form (like brown bears, dire wolves, etc.) - one issue: The beat forms have significant differences in potency that are not really offset by the additional benefits gained: Giant rats are weaker than dire wolves, etc. At 18th level, beasts attacking you need to succeed a Wisdom save or choose a different target and you may expend 4 sorcery points to dominate beast, with additional point expenditure allowing you to increase the spell level.

Beyond these racial options, the book also contains a wide array of evocative, well-written backgrounds - the child of the divine, the temple slave, the siwali traveler and two variant soldiers: The quartermaster and the groom/squire. All of these have in common that their features are relevant and well-balanced, their fluff being nice as well - no significant complaints here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, though not perfect. On a rules-level, the pdf is generally nice as well, though not as refined as Midgard Heroes. Layout adheres to Kobold press' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several absolutely amazing full-color pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Rich Howard and Rodrigo García Carmona's Southlands Heroes have an unfair disadvantage...namely that I'm reading the book back to back with Midgard Heroes and Unlikely Heroes. While Dan Dillon has taken on the development task here, the book ultimately shows that it preceded Midgard Heroes. This is not a bad selection of 5e-options...but it is one that is less refined than aforementioned offering. Indeed, one of my central gripes would arise mainly in direct comparison: Where Midgard Heroes managed to perfectly translate even powerful races in a balanced manner to 5e, where it had impeccable design, this one is not bad by any stretch of the word...but it somewhat overshoots the target in my book, at least in some cases. The presence of this many alternate racial traits as opposed to subraces also means that there's more minmaxing to be had here - and indeed, internal balance in both racial options and class options is not as impeccable as in Midgard Heroes - there are generally options that exceed the power of others, which is, ultimately, not the best sign here. Reading them back to back, the difference in a esthetics, rules language precision and system-mastery can be felt. In short: This feels a bit like D&D 5e has been infiltrated by some PFRPG design aesthetics. Not by much, mind you - this is still very much 5e, though and through...but the nagging feeling is here.

On a formal level, I am also pretty bummed to not see a proper take on the jinnborn in the book.

That being said, this is by no means a bad book; it is, however, one whose class options won't necessarily blow you away and GMs will want to take a close look at the races before allowing them. The payoff of strengths and weaknesses simply does not reach the perfect equilibrium of Midgard Heroes. How to rate this, then? Well, as mentioned before, this is by no means a bad offering, though, as a person, I am significantly less impressed by this book. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars. And while, as a person, I will round down (I'm pretty big on maintaining a system's design-aesthetics), my official review will round up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
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Tavern Tales - Mini Adventure #2: What a Trip! (PFRPG)
Publisher: Dire Rugrat Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/18/2016 07:14:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This tavern tales-mini-adventure clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 2 pages for the adventure.

The module is intended for 1st level characters and is basically an expansion/tie-in of "Simon's Dinner Theatre", featured in the Tangible Taverns-series. It should be noted that you most definitely get the most out of this one when using it in conjunction with the aforementioned supplement. You do not, however, need it, since it does not take place in the establishment and instead begins when the tavern's musician Cerulean contacts the PCs...

...and this is as far as I can go sans SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, a show's approaching and Marlowe's nervous...but more so is Cerulean, who has forgotten his bag of shrooms at home...and, dude, they totally help him mellow out and see the music, ya know? Unable to leave, he hands the PCs the keys to his house and asks them to get his bag o' shrooms. Alas, Cerulean, while meticulous in some regards, is very forgetful and doesn't exactly know where he last had them...and his fully-mapped place, well, is not the safest, to put it bluntly.

Curious PCs may run afoul an archer bush in the front yard, disturb a none-too-friendly family of raccoons...and may have to contend with a mold slime Cerulean totally forgot to check up on...the thing seems to have grown faster than anticipated... His scatterbrained nature similarly may bring the PCs in contact with intoxicating substances...As a very minor nitpick: I would have loved to see proper drug-stats for Cerulean's shrooms instead of just using an effect of polypurpose panacea...but that is just me complaining at a very high level.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the no-frills, printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard of the series. The pdf sports a solid piece of b/w-art for the shrooms and its cartography in b/w is functional. No player-friendly version is included, but considering the simplicity of the house's layout and the PWYW-nature, that's okay in my book.

Kelly Pawlik's "What a Trip", structure-wise, is a low-level fetch-quest...and while that elicited some grumbling from my group, said grumbles quickly subsided during the exploration of Cerulean's house - the place has a delightfully quirky, playful atmosphere and as a bonus, crafty players can actually complete this little side-trek sans shedding any blood...ehr...sap. It is pay what you want, creative and I'd encourage checking this nice mini-adventure out, even if you're not interested in Simon's - this one can easily be used in conjunction with a plethora of places. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tavern Tales - Mini Adventure #2: What a Trip! (PFRPG)
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Tangible Taverns: Simon's Dinner Theatre (PFRPG)
Publisher: Dire Rugrat Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/18/2016 07:12:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of SRD (which also contains a new spell...not the best decision to cram that in the SRD...), 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Situated in the dullest part of town, a corner lot with a perfectly manicured lot, there is a place with potted flowers and a little sign that reads "Simon's" - once you enter the place, you will be in a foyer and need to pay an entrance fee that includes a meal, a drink and entertainment - for beyond the foyer, there is a main room that features a stage. Started by a young playwright named Simon Marlowe (nice nod here!), the playwright has since then met his fate in an unfortunate carriage accident, but thankfully, his nephew Augustus took over...while his existence was nebulous at best prior to his arrival, he seems to be a capable playwright of his own...the show must go on, right?

Servers don't take orders, but ask for dislikes and everyone gets the same food at a given table and while the quality is superb, as a person (and by proxy, as a player), that would still elicit grumbling from yours truly. ;) A total of 6 brief rumors and 12 sample plays with small synopses can be found as well, adding a nice detail to the proceedings: "Dungeon Crawl - a Satire" and its sequel "Total Party Kill" certainly look like adventurers may enjoy them... 6 sample events, from ill actors that need a stand in (bard - step forward!) to an actor needing his trusty bag o' shrooms to act, the events are creative and nice.

Augustus Marlowe, just fyi, would be an NPC who gets a full statblock - he's a bard (celebrity) of 15th level, so better don't mess with the playwright! Speaking of playwrights: Finnley "Finn" McEwan, an inspired blade swashbuckler 7 would be another individual whose plays regularly grace the stage - and yes, he actually knows what he's doing! Ina fantastic context, you can obviously expect more from a play than what we mortals on our good ole' earth are accustomed to - and it would be Flibbidus Starriwynckles task to provide just that: The gnome acts as the trusty illusionist that keeps the plays engaging and action-packed.

Of course, the play does have actors as well - Corah Bousaid, Eldrin Semarantha, the platin-blonde tiefling Talia - these would be some of the fluff-only entries that paint a surprisingly diverse picture: Eldrin, for example, copes with her shyness by staying in character and actually is hinted to be bisexual. Kel Kellsen, a somewhat arrogant dwarf, but capable actor, makes for a nice twist of the self-proclaimed "lady's man" - trope...and he actually has a secret that is decidedly non-sinister for a change. Of course, plays do require music and Curulaeron Meadowpane ("Please call me Cerulean."), the elven musician does provide just that. Pretty cool - he actually is no bard...no siree, he is a druid with a penchant for plants, including a fully statted carnivorous plant he dotes on to accompany his stats. Oh, and his predilection towards plants extends to growing his own sort of "entertainment" - you know, he likes his home-grown... cough means of extending his consciousness.

Now, in the beginning, I mentioned the spell - you whisper a question to an arrow or bolt, which then spins to point in that direction. I like the visuals, but at 2nd level, it may be a bit high - I'd have made that a 1st level spell or cantrip.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Dire Rugrat Publishing's two-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf's cartography of the tavern is solid, though I wished a bigger version for kind-of-handout use was included. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and art-wise, this deserves special mention: Each character herein gets a nice b/w-mugshot - particularly cool considering the low asking price.

Ken & Kelly Pawlik deliver in this tavern: Simon's is an unconventional, interesting place full of quirky characters and a nice change of pace from more traditional taverns/restaurants. There is quite a lot of adventuring potential to be had here and the characters feel dynamic, alive and interesting. In the end, I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform - an establishment well worth visiting.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tangible Taverns: Simon's Dinner Theatre (PFRPG)
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Imperial Land Griffon
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/18/2016 07:10:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover containing the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios. The SRD takes up about 1.5 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons as well.

So, what is the land griffon? Well, according to the nice cover artwork they are basically non-airborne griffon with bird-like forelegs - as such, their carrying capacity is reduced - which is something I like. However, containing attribute modifications via class features, it would have been nice to get a formula here instead of absolute values - as written, you have to deduce new carrying capacity values yourself. The pdf does mention prices for young and fully trained ones as well as the eponymous Crawthorne's commentary on the critter as well as two variants:

The Imperial Land Griffon (Scout) and the (cavalry)-breed - both are magical beasts that clock in at CR 1, with scouts excelling at Perception - +10 for 2 HD is nothing to snuff at. They are docile, though - but scout training leaves them with the attack, come, down, seek and track tricks. The creature also receives +2 to Survival to track prey with other griffons...which leaves me a bit puzzled how many of them you need to get that bonus. Does one suffice?

The cavalry griffon does not have the docile ability and thus gets primary natural claws to supplement the bite; default training-wise, they begin play with the attack, come, defend, down, guard and heel tricks. They are also trained to intimidate foes on command. Pretty nice: We get 3 relatively neat adventure ideas to use the critters herein.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the land griffon artwork. Personally, I'm not a big fan of them being a stark blue, but the artwork does provide some cute eyes for the critters, which has the intended effect of "I want one!" on those susceptible to these notions. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Spike Y Jones' imperial land griffons are a solid entry in the series and while I encountered some very minor ambiguities, I can't really complain in that regard - the builds are focused and efficient and feel "right" - you know, none-too-smart magical beasts being focused on being efficient predators and the like. The absence of mount/animal companion stats, however, severely limits their use - they're mounts and lack the convenient animal companion progression-info you'd need to use them as mounts...which is kind of a big deal and eliminates the main use you'd usually have for them. This leaves us with only the critter-use. In the end, this is not a bad installment, but it does shoot itself into its own foot. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Imperial Land Griffon
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Zane's Guide to Explosives
Publisher: One Dwarf Army
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/18/2016 07:08:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf depicting rifles for 5e clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page foreword/editorial, 1 page SRD, a total of 1 page blank (at the end of the chapter, there's some serious space left), leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This time around, we do not begin with the usual array of gun-explanations - no surprise, considering the different subject matter! Instead, we are introduced to a total of 4 grenades: Smoke grenades cost only 30 gp; stun grenades cost 50 and require a Con save (DC 13) to avoid being stunned (!!!) for 1d6 rounds, making them pretty powerful spam-items. Damage-wise, both concussion and frag grenades deal 4d6 damage, with type being bludgeoning and piercing, respectively and a DC 13 Dex-save to halve. Weird: Concussion grenades only have a 10-ft-radius, while frag grenades have a 20 ft. radius...though both cost an equal amount, namely 70 gp. All grenades weigh 1 lbs. They can "be thrown up to 60 feet away by using an action." Okay, I'll play. Do they have the Thrown property? Short/long range? Do they inflict more damage on crits? No idea. The weapon formatting/presentation for these is all off, which is baffling considering that guns etc. were pretty precise in that regard. The pdf offers two grenade launchers, one regular and one underbarrel version. Underbarrel launchers must be attached to other two-handed weapons, but can lop a grenade 200 ft.; regular grenade launchers can fire up to 300 ft. Why would you ever use a non-underbarrel? Seriously, the 100 ft. don't make much difference and since underbarrels don't increase types or anything...well. Both rocket- and grenade launchers completely deviate from how weapons are presented - no properties, no classification, no proper range; DCs of grenades do not change with wielder proficiency etc. All in all: Sucky options, presented in a barely functional manner. You will deal more damage with every weapon class in this series.

A total of 3 rockets are included as well; they weigh 2 lbs each and high-explosive rockets detonate in 30 ft.-radius for 4d8 bludgeoning, with Dex 13 to halve and Incendiary rockets cause 2d8 fire damage in the same radius, but burn on for 1d6 fire damage unless put out by a successful save. Both of these cost 150 gp a pop. The third rocket costs 200 gps and is "Armor piercing" - in name only. It only deals its damage in a 5-foot radius, but inflicts 4d12. Same DC to halve. Rockets must be fired from a rocket launcher at a target up to 600 ft. away. Loading one is an action and a team of two can load and fire a rocket launcher in one round...got ya. So basically, you need a hireling monkey and it's better than a grenade launcher; without one...it's just as fast. Okay... Rocket launchers lack any classification as weapons. The save DC, much like grenades, does not increase or take wielder capabilities into account. I have no idea what properties the weapon has. A total, unmitigated mess.

Unlike any of the Zane's Guide, the rules provided for explosives feel lackluster, quickly cobbled together...and in the context of the series, they are actually worse in damage output than pretty much all guns. WTF. There is nothing of the care and passion here in the base system that you could see in the gun-tweaks.

The exotic stuff is mostly devoted to rockets and grenades; a total of 3 weapons are included - the Dwarven Grenadier underbarrel grenadelauncher can be used 1/turn as a bonus action. The Lancaster grenade launcher can contain up to 6 grenades and 3 grenades may be reloaded in one action. Doubling Dolly, the magical rocket launcher, may fire a copy of the last rocket fired while it is not loaded, but only once per day (dawn as reset, not short/long rest) and only if the rocket was of rare or lesser scarcity.

The magical rockets and grenades that make up the remainder of this section run a gamut of power: The uncommon grenade Oubliette generates disadvantage to ranged attack rolls and imposes a DC Strength check (why not a save?) to move outside the area. "On a failed check, the creature cannot move outside the area during its turn. Okay, does this end movement? May the character abort movement before reaching the perimeter? No idea. Matryoshka detonates at 60 ft and has a Dex save of 14. Basically +30 ft. radius, +1 DC...which is honestly pretty cookie-cutter. Purcupine is more intriguing as a rocket- 8d8, 30 ft.-radius and covers the area in caltrops is more interesting. Pacifier is save-or-suck grenade: On a failed save, you drop unconscious for 1d6 MINUTES. Wabbit is an interesting grenade (rocket would make more sense to me, but oh well) that leaves a 10-ft-line between you and the detonation point.

The Tidal Wave grenade begins with a 20 ft.-detonation...and doubles the radius and damage output on the two subsequent rounds. Why is there no means to end the effects in progress via e.g. dispel magic? Bad Medicine is a grenade that causes necrotic damage and may heal nearby allies...though the number of allies affected is equal to the number of foes hit...which becomes a bit weird when throwing bags of kittens in the area of effect, but considering the price of the grenade, it is not a strategy I'd recommend. The BOOMerang is a grenade with 5 charges that returns to the thrower - but can it be caught? No idea. Weird: "any creature can be damaged by the BOOMerang only once." - Once per round or once; RAW it's once, which becomes odd considering the explosion following the expenditure of the final charge...would that count as an increase of damage or as a second explosion? That's also relevant for damage thresholds etc. The Duke causes a 200 ft.-radius 15d8 radiant explosion. Why does this and the aforementioned BOOMerang cause radiant damage? No idea.

Frosty Welcome may slow targets. The Predator-rocket rises 50 ft. after being launched and goes into hunter mode, becoming a construct that has a rudimentary Intelligence and may fire at foes; it explodes upon being destroyed. The creature has its own initiative score and may keep flying for 20 rounds. Odd: The series has a more streamlined version of the concept: You see, the predator requires no action to direct, when another similar concept required just that. A bit of internal inconsistency, I suppose. Stormbringer is a rocket that deals a combo of bludgeoning and lightning damage and may fire up to 4 lightning bolts at targets within 40 ft. of the flight path. Okay, what is a flight path? A line? Can you fire it in an arc? Are the lightning bolt targets randomly determined? The item states "Each bolt must hit a different creature", but says nothing about any form of control of who is targeted.

Sentinel is also problematic: It basically fire the grenade at a point, where it hovers. It then proceeds to fire a bolt of acid at any enemy creature within 30 ft. of its location AND at any creature moving between your turns, but may not fire at a creature more than once from the start of your turn to the end of your next turn. The grenade may float for 30 rounds...and basically behaves like a creature...which would make an appropriate write-up MUCH simpler than the complex wording here. Weird. Thoughtful Gifts generate 4 sets of cluster bombs with a 20 ft.-radius each within 80 ft. of the detonation, which is interesting, if powerful for a bit more than 2K gold. Thunder Storm is oddly named, considering that it generates a 3-round ball of lightning that discharges thrice at the end of your turns. No thunder damage, mind you. Volatile Infection basically is a grenade that causes fire damage that may spread from those ignited by it - pretty cool! Finally, Weatherman has 7 charges and regenerates these charges - after being thrown, it hovers at a height of 30 feet over the target point and thereafter, you may spend a charge and a bonus action to make it fire fireballs ...it is basically another turret-y grenade and much like the Sentinel, I think it's secondary form would have been better suited as a construct, also for internal consistency's sake.

The pdf's supplemental material contains 2 new feats: Grenadier increases your grenade range (based on the wonky base system) to 90 ft., add 1/2 proficiency bonus to a grenade's save DC or add +1d6 to the grenade's damage dice - cool: Takes choice in the case of multiple damage types into account...but does the benefit extend to secondary effects like magical discharges after detonation etc.? RAW, some of the options don't inflict primary damage (Thunder Storm disappears and just creates the ball lightning, for example...), so that is a bit opaque. The second feat increases maximum rocket distance by +50%, lets you add 1/2 proficiency bonus to rocket saves and add +1 damage-die to rockets...with the same boons and minor issues as those the grenade-feat suffered from.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, but on a rules-level, there are a lot of small issues that accumulate. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks apart from the cover, but comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. As a minor nitpick, one page is almost empty - that does not feature in the final verdict, but in case you're particular about that kind of stuff, you may want to know.

Georgios Chatzipetros' guide to explosives is baffling to me. The other installments in the series establish the relatively concise framework of guns; exhibit sufficient knowledge on how the weapon-rules work and while they are not perfect, they show passion for the subject matter and a general care for 5e's design requirements. Additionally, while their damage output is relatively high, they remain, for the most part internally concise (shotguns having their own issues, but I digress). Explosives are none of these things. The presentation of the base rules is a mess. Internal consistency of the tricks of grenades and rockets is not really there and the whole pdf feels like a half-hearted addendum to the gun-rules of the first 4 installments. Sure, it's less than a buck and has some nice ideas to scavenge, but as written, I wouldn't/couldn't use these explosive-rules in a D&D 5th edition modern game...they require a rewrite and re-evaluation of their mechanics and internal presentation and balancing. This is not a complete waste of money, but it is a highly problematic installment. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, rounded up to 2 due to the VERY low price point.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Zane's Guide to Explosives
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Gunslingers of Porphyra
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:15:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the class-centric Porphyra-series clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, though it should be mentioned that the file adheres to an A5/booklet-style size at approximately 6'' by 9''. So, let's take a look!

But before we do, I'll have to ramble a bit about the Gunslinger. You see, when the class was released back in the day, I loved some of the design-decision. Grit-regains rewarded players for doing cool things and the class looked pretty neat. In play, though, several issues soon became apparent. The first of these would pertain lack of player choice: There simply is not much to choose and while 3pp-deeds helped here, the matter of fact remained that one gunslinger would pretty much feel like the next. That would be issue number 1. Number two pertains the price of ammunition - these guys' weapons are expensive and when tested in low-level gameplay with strict gold-restrictions, the class proved to be a drain on the scant resources allotted to the group. Another issue pertained action economy - with reloading taking actions AND the potential to misfire/explode, we had one session where an unlucky gunslinger failed to shoot a single bullet...he was always occupied with fixing his gun or reloading. Finally, the class, to be honest, does not need full BAB. The touch AC means that even moderately competent gunslingers will pretty much hit anything in that range - 3/4 would have easily sufficed there and more utility would have made the class more rewarding.

So that would be where I'm coming from regarding the gunslinger and it is these observations that informed my design of the etherslinger class for Strange Magic. It's been a while since I saw a dedicated gunslinger supplement and I heard that this would address some of the issues of the class...so let's see if it does. One note regarding the verdict - I am NOT expecting the pdf to address my own observations and will judge this in relation to the class, not what I think it should be. I just wanted to contextualize my own position.

Got that? Great! We begin with alternative deeds (addressing player agenda concerns) - these may not be used to replace deeds granted from archetypes, but other than that, they very much are freely available for your perusal. Number one of these deeds already eliminates the feat tax and crappy action economy of the class - as long as you have 1 grit, you may reload as a free action - while this obviously represents a power-upgrade for the class, at the same time, it makes the class play so much better...so yeah, good with it! Similarly, there is one that duplicates Rapid Reload, so no, that's not just rationalized away either. Dedicated specialist unlocks the vigilante's signature weapon talent for firearms and gaining Endurance and Diehard for prereq-purposes (with limited usefulness tied to grit), unlocking quite a few options from the get-go that would otherwise be locked beyond the feat-tax. Getting ranged feint shots from the get-go also helps establish some basic gunslinging tropes from the get-go.

There would also the option to TWF, with one weapon being a firearm, allowing for decreased accuracy for better damage. What about Point-Blank Shot or Precise Shot from the get-go. At 3rd level, deeds provide means to go ranged disarm, Deft Shootist...well, or expend grit to reduce a target's armor's efficiency...which, while powerful, is an intriguing option. The deed specifies the need for repair for the armor damage, but I'd frankly love to know whether mending suffices. 3rd level Deathless Initiate or Shot on the Run are early...but once again, I am pretty okay with the availability, since the selection of feats thus unlocked allow the gunslinger to do what he's supposed to do...and that imho never was standing around, reloading, but running and gunning and being a badass.

Speaking of the mobility angle: At 7th level, with a bit of grit, you can use Gunrunner with a full attack. Ranged dirty tricks within range increment number one, finesse shot and a reduced misfire rate can also be found here. Starting at 11th level, you may enhance your pistol-whip or combine gunslinger's initiative with an immediate action attack for some serious Lucky Luke slinging! Adding some minor damage to combat maneuvers, following up on targeting...the deeds here make amply use of vigilante tricks and expanded that fit the gunslinger, while also making use of the feat-chain tricks that I expected from the book...nice.

At 15th level, Dirty Trick master, Parting Shot, +1 shot (for 2 grit that may not be reduced)...pretty neat. And yes, before you ask - there are some deeds that obviously build upon one another. 19th level provides 3 deeds, one of which deserves special mention: On a failure, the target loses any SU, SP or spells for 10 minutes. As a minor nitpick, I think this severance should probably be SU...but I get why it's Ex...being so mundane you disrupt magic...get it. Kinda like it as well!

After that, we're up to the next section, which would provide firearm modifications. Only non-broken firearms may benefit from a modification; the first one costs 250 gp, and every one past that clocks in at +1000 gp. Now I have seen some excellent rules for various firing mechanisms and the like in Fat Goblin Games' Call to Arms-series/Vathak...however, the material herein allows you to basically add them relatively easily into the context of any other sub-gun-rule-system you may be employing: Basically, the modifications doe a lot of imho necessary things and some that are tweaks to the base weapon: You can, for example, increase the threat range by 1...but for balance's sake, that decreases the crit multiplier by 1. Anyone who's played a gun-using character in an infiltration-heavy campaign (or who has a GM like yours truly who keeps throwing scenarios at the PCs where charging in, guns blazing will get everyone killed) has gnashed his teeth at their sheer loudness - it's why I build a Stealth-option into the etherslinger. Well, guess what? Silencer-rules. Sure, they're still not as silent as shooting bullets of ether, but I'll take them! Rifled barrels that decrease damage, scopes...you can make some seriously specialized guns with these tweaks. Nice! Similarly, further decreasing of misfire very much is possible with these mods.

I do also enjoy the alternate materials for guns of mithril, adamantine, etc. - though I frankly don't get why cold iron guns have a longer range. That one left me a bit puzzled.

Now obviously, this pdf also features archetypes and the first of these would be the black powder duelist - these guys would be specialists of sword cane pistols and focus on lightning fast draws...think of them as basically iaijutsu specialists that may treat their weapon as a double weapon...or, if you want to refluff a bit, think of them as gunblade-dudes. Basically, these guys are about range-increase, Lunge and bonus damage to the attack. Pretty cool!

Another déjà-vu in concepts from my own design-catalogue - the bombslinger. Where I went etherbomber, this guy basically latches bombs to the base gunslinger-chassis and receives a gun that can fire the bombs. Just goes to show that great minds think alike...right? ;P Kidding aside, though. For as long as they have 1 grit, they can continue making bombs after their daily uses are expended...only at 1d6, sure, but effects and discoveries can still be applied...and the ability has a hiccup: It mentions an inability to reduce grit costs...but has none, only a minimum amount of grit, which makes me believe that either a cost is missing (which would go a long way to balance this). Similarly, bomb shot is missing something - "The ability replaces the and lightning reload deed."

The bonded slinger receives an intelligent gun, a so-called soul gun, which can store 1 + Wis-mod grit, gains progressively better enhancements, but also Wis, Int/Cha and Ego. At 3rd level, it begins with the ability to grant Alertness to the wielder, has telepathy and is considered to be unbreakable while it has grit. The gun's grit pool can grant +1 damage for 1 minute, +1 for every 4 levels. 5th level and every 5 thereafter reduce misfire values and 8th level soulguns may spend grit to teleport their gun to them. 13th level lets them pit their will against their gun, draining grit and gaining it...but only if they pass the ego...oh, and failure fatigues. And yes, teh trasferrence cannot be exploited/cheesed. 17th level lets them fortify themselves with the gun's ego via grit and 19th level lets the slinger regain grit whenever the guns regains grit.

The dread sniper gains Stealth as a class skill and must choose a musket. They halve range increment penalties with it...which is pretty powerful from the get-go. Better sniping via Stealth and damage is unlocked at 5th level and scales. The archetype, however, also has unique deeds centered on remaining unseen and delivering devastating shots when sniping from hiding. The archetype also nets favored terrain and while not every deed's wording is perfect, the rules language encapsultes well the concept in question. Oh...and guess what: Unlike pretty much every sniper build I have seen, this is neither horribly OP, nor unplayable weaksauce...instead providing a great representation of the concept. Kudos!

That being an N. Jolly book, I am not surprised to see the elemental gun, (aka bunduqar) herein: First level nets these guys an elemental focus and simple blast as well as an energy simple blast. (Only elements with energy simple blasts qualify!) They channel elemental energy into their guns, which dissipates after one round and increases misfire by 1. Instead of accepting burn, these guys could potentially pay for burn in grit, which theoretically can be cheesed. I am not a fan here, since grit is a replenishing resource, whereas burn represents an absolute value; grit is unreliable, yes, but still. Starting at 3rd level and every 4 thereafter, the elemental gun may select substance infusions that may be applied to their simple blasts in lieu of deeds, but the DC is 10 + 1/2 class level + Wis-mod and only one infusion may be applied to an attack per round. Surprisingly, the follow-up ability contradicts this hard-cap, suddenly talking about one or more infusions in the context of reducing the total burn cost. This makes me believe that the infusion-cap was supposed to pertain not the total number of infusions per round, but the number of attacks to which infusions can be applied...if so, the wording could be clearer. So...this is basically a laser gun archetype. I like its concept. It's what my own class is all about...which also makes this hard for me. I kinda expected combo gunplay, you know, fire bullet, have blast shoot forth from impact - mainly because that's what mine does best. It's a solid laser gun using the kineticist engine, though it is wording-wise slightly less precise than what I'm accustomed to be the author and it could certainly use some creative tricks.

The gunsmoke phantom is about flexibility: They may teleport as a move action via grit and the ability smoke step. As a nitpick, this should specify being a conjuration [teleportation] effect for purposes of suppression. 7th level nets gaseous form (not italicized) and the archetype also gains the option to not provoke AoOs after smoke stepping. Adding a sickening haze emphasizes further the skirmishing focus and is upgraded at higher levels to also feature bludgeoning damage and increased condition severity. Dimensional Dervish similarly is unlocked, though, again, the reference to the dimensional door spell is not italicized. Apart from these formal hiccups, this looks like a powerful skirmishing option, but in play, it may turn out to be quite a bit more powerful than all tables can handle. You see, the main weakness, from an engine point of view of the class is that it needs to get close to targets to unleash its full devastating capabilities, but not too close since it's not that amazing in melee. This archetype lets you do just that, which, in game exacerbates the issue of the gunslinger's base engine vs. touch AC simply not scaling that well. There's a reason pretty much all other vs. AC-classes only have 3/4 BAB...and it's already bad with them. In short: You'll get a lot of quasi-guaranteed hits with this guy.

High rollers are another concept I enjoy and have tackled myself: It's a gambler's archetype, allowing you to increase the damage output to ever higher levels, but at the cost of higher misfire chances. The math underlying the system employed here is solid, which is pretty important for classes that tackle this type of design. Things get a bit more complex at 3rd level, when the archetype may increase the misfire rate by 1 for the first attack in a full-attack or the standard action: Instead of rolling damage, you roll a d6: 1= misfire, 2,3,4 = minimum damage, 5, 6 = maximum damage. This is bad, chance-wise...so you can rig the game by paying 1 grit, only dealing minimum damage on 1 and 2, maximum on 3, 4, 5 and 6. No, you can't reduce the grit-costs. Interesting one! 7th level unlocks a variant of said gambling shot based on a d8 and, more importantly, at this level, when you deal maximum damage, you may designate your next attack to ALSO be a gambling shot, with grit expended in the triggering first shot also applying to the follow-up attacks...and this is where the math underlying the class falls apart, since the d6 has a 2/3 chance of maxing and the AoO d8 5/8 with spent grit - oh, and an 8 on the d8 regains one point of grit, your average damage output will exceed that of the non archetype'd slinger.

Consider the fact that you may, at 11th, spend 2 grit to choose the result...well. You can bleed yourself dry of grit pretty easily, granted, but in the hands of a moderately lucky player (we all have one, right?), this is nasty. 15th level lets the guy roll 1d2: 1 detonates the firearm, 2 means max damage, +1 grit regain and 1/2 class level temporary hit points. The final ability references a "true gambling shot" - why not reference the deed and instead point towards the shot inside? Anyways, I will not allow this one since it does not fit my playstyle, but if you like very swingy experiences, this may well be the archetype for you. In spite of my complaints, I do appreciate what this one does and the lack of options to cheese the grit regains of the abilities via kittens is a big plus. In short: It is a polarizing archetype. You either love it or hate it.

A total of 5 feats can also be found herein: +2 DC for a deed, gain an alternative deed, two improvements for named bullet and a means to use wrist launcher's in conjunction with the bolt ace tricks. The pdf also contains an enchanted lucky duster and showcases its modifications among the magic items, with elemental scattershot pistols formed after dragons, self-loading sword cane pistols, a large musket usable for smaller folks...pretty nice. The adaptable holster would be a star here, allowing for the flexible application of firearm modifications. Problem: It grants the modification for 24 hours and while a firearm may only benefit from one of these, any number of firearms can be modified with them. I.e. if you put one of them in a garrison, all guards can take turns modifying their guns, thus never requiring the modifications to be applied in a mundane manner. I think the holster should have a cap of how many guns it can affect at any given time. A repairkit that permanently becomes the modification, in comparison, has no such issue and costs a 3rd of the more abuse-worthy holster. Slinger's Bibles, finally would be basically manuals that grant deeds upon reading them. And yes, there is a hard cap in place here regarding the number of such items you can benefit from.

The pdf also features several favored class options for Porphyran races, none of which represent an issue in my book. The pdf concludes with Gun Jaw, a hobgoblin dread sniper at CR 12, who also happens to come with a nice background story and even an NPC-boon, ending this on a high note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay to good - while the rules-language, for the most part, is precise and properly juggles the complex concepts it attempts, there are a couple of instances where the wording could be clearer. On a formal level, there also are a couple of hiccups spread through the pdf. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column standard in 6'' by 9'' and the pdf sports quite a few nice full-color pieces of art - some I have seen before, but definitely not all. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jolly and Team KOP (Jacob McCoy, Mort & Onyx Tanuki) deliver a book on gunslingers that is more than just an expansion - it is basically a huge attempt to fix several of the grating issues the class faces. For the most part, the pdf succeeds admirably in its endeavors - the pdf addresses the silence/player agenda issues, adds some serious customization to guns and provides several archetypes that allow you to properly play tropes of gunslinging without waiting for x levels to have the cool stuff kick in. At the same time, the pdf takes the gunslinger's engine and adds onto it - which means it inherits several of the weaknesses and, in some cases, exacerbates them.

That being said, for each gunsmoke phantom herein, there is an amazing black powder duelist and the customization options are well-crafted indeed. I had a lot of déjà-vus regarding my own designs while reading this book and this does show that the authors have taken the class an analyzed its components very well. At the same time, I think some of the engine-modifications could have gone a step further...or use some consideration regarding the gunslinger's already pretty phenomenal accuracy, instead of adding to it. At the same time, this book does go into breadth and significantly expands the array of options available for the gunslinger, which is an excellent thing in my book, even if I disagree with some of them or would have wished for more precision in a couple of instances.

It is, frankly, very hard for me to separate this book from the issues inherited by the base class, since, to me, they warranted a creation of a whole new class. That being said, this is probably as far as you can get as a rules band-aid to make the gunslinger work as it should. Ultimately, and this is more important than the for the most part cosmetic hiccups, the gunslinger immensely benefits from the addition of this book and becomes more rewarding to play. It still is a flawed class, but it is less flawed with this book. I'd still strongly advise GMs to take a careful look at some of the archetypes before allowing them in the game and this, combined with the hiccups, ultimately makes me settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform. It may not make me return to the gunslinger, but it sure as hell makes for a better experience than playing without this book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gunslingers of Porphyra
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The Blessed of Velash: A Guide to the Gun Priests of Rhune: Dawn of Twilight
Publisher: Storm Bunny Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:13:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The gunpriest is basically a hybrid of cleric and gunslinger and receives d8 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression (more than sufficient for guns) and good Reflex and Will-saves. They must be, alignment-wise, within one step of their patron deity and has an appropriate aura. proficiency-wise, they know how to use simple and martial weapons, firearms and light armors. They cast prepared spells drawn from the cleric's list and need their gun to prepare spells. Their governing attribute is Wisdom and they unlock spells of up to 6th level. As a complaint regarding the formatting: The spells per day are depicted in one column, which makes the class's table fit one column of the layout, but makes the reading experience here a bit less pleasant than it ought to be.

Gun priests only receive one domain and begin play with a vested gun (called vested weapon in the ability, a minor inconsistency). This gun may either be a pistol or rifle and may not be sold or bartered away. The gun is treated as though it was broken by others. Pistols deal 1d6 and have a range of 39 ft; rifles deal 1d8 and have a range 0f 60 ft and a critical multiplier of x3. However, pistols also have a capacity of 4! The character obviously begins play with gunsmith. While second level only nets the lame nimble +1, 3rd unlocks channel energy (governed by Cha) and 4th level nets grit - however, the gun priest only regains grit when using the vested gun - at this level, he also unlocks deeds, which is slightly problematic: You see, he "may only perform deeds that are his level or lower" - does this mean that the gun priest may employ 3rd level deeds upon gaining grit? Or is he treated as a gunslinger -3 levels, as indicated by the delayed acquisition of grit? A slightly clarification would be in order here.

Also at 4th level, the gun priest may, as a swift action, imbue his weapon witha +1 enhancement bonus, +1 for every 4 levels beyond that. Akin to magus, soulknife and similar classes, these bonuses may be exchanged for a list of special weapon properties, to be selected from an ever increasing array, which expands at 8th level and every 4 levels thereafter. The gun priest may maintain such enhancements for a total of class level rounds per day, to be spent in 1-round-increments. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter net a bonus combat feat.

As a capstone, the class may 1/day become an embodiment of divine wrath, being "hasted, blurred" and gains DR 10/- as well as auto-confirming all critical threats for 1 minute. While italicized and everyone knows what's meant, de facto that's not correct rules-lingo there...but oh well. No harm done.

A total of 8 supplemental feats can be found here: Dirty Deeds is for the evil guys...and rewards you for killing helpless and unaware creatures, but penalizes your honor...if you're not using Rhûne...well, then this is the big bag o' kittens feat. Wait. It is in Rhûne as well. Begs to be cheesed by comically evil gun priests... Divine Aid lets you expend a point of grit as part of channeling energy, treating 1s rolled as 2s and adding +1d6. Holy Gun makes your gun your holy symbol. Give em' Hell lets you expend, as an immediate action, grit to change your channel energy type for a single channel. Gun Priest's Resolve lets you reroll saves at a bonus via grit expenditure to keep you from acting dishonorably. Shoot em' in the Face! builds on targeting and adds +2 grit to the cost, but blinds and confuses the target hit. Wrath of the Gun priest is pretty nasty: When you threaten a critical hit with your firearm, you may expend a channel energy use to automatically confirm it. Considering the damage output and the fact that the prerequisites are very low-level friendly, I'd consider this one overpowered and in need of a nerf. Wyrd Gunner lets you spend wyrd to regain grit, but fails to note the activation action of this exchange.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on a formal level. On a rules-level, the language is precise, even though a few hiccups can be found. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I don't get the sequence of class features - they are neither alphabetical, nor presented by level or any other system I could find. This does not impede the functionality of the content, though. The pdf is a beauty to behold. As in: Drool-worthy. The level of quality of art on the cover is maintained throughout and each page, even the intro, has its own full-color original piece. Impressive indeed. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jaye Sonia's gun priest is a nice hybrid class. It is flavorful, solid in its design and I like, generally, what I could find. Now, while it is well-executed from a formal point of view, we don't get favored class options here and the class is pretty much a basic combination of priest and gunslinger - it does not go deep into the synergy options. The pdf could offer more entwinement between the gunslinging and cleric components to make the class feel more distinct. That being said, apart from a couple of feats as mentioned above, I have no significant complaints. Considering the excellent production values and low price-point, I will hence round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Blessed of Velash: A Guide to the Gun Priests of Rhune: Dawn of Twilight
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Undefeatable 23: Ninja (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:11:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little pdf clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, full of feats...so let's take a look!

-All-Around Melee: Share Improved Uncanny Dodge with adjacent allies. Ouch!

-Bloody Advantage: Flat foots opponents suffering from bleed for all subsequent attacks you execute this round. A bit opaque; could be read as needing to cause this bleed and since it seems to indicate that you have to hit foes before they're FF versus follow-up attacks; the trigger could be clearer.

-Clear-Headed Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for dazed, staggered and confused foes. Same wording complaint.

-Critical Shuriken: Increase shuriken threat range to 18-20/x2. Because we needed more damage output for shuriken builds. /sarcasm off

-Critical Sneak Attack: Add +2 damage per sneak die when criting with a sneak attack. Solid.

-Ethereal Weakness: Incorporeal creatures are no longer immune to sneak attack. Gets magic/non-magic right. Nice one!

-Explosive Smoke: Add +1d6 fire damage on initial impact of smoke bomb, +1d6 for every 4 (not 4th!) levels after that. Ref-save for half damage in splash radius.

-Forceful Shuriken: +2 damage with shurikens. Because we needed more damage output for shuriken builds. /sarcasm off

-Free-Moving Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for entangled or grappled foes. Same wording complaint.

-From the Darkness: +1atk and damage when striking from areas of darkness. Filler.

-Gooey Weakness: Elementals, oozes and proteans may be affected by sneak attack. Nice.

-Height Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for prone foes. Same wording complaint.

-Inject Poison: Increased poison DC when used in conjunction with sneak attack.

-Invigorating Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for fatigued and exhausted foes. Same wording complaint.

-Magical Trickery: Gain ghost sound, mage hand, prestidigitation and spark as an SP "ability total of nine times per day." Wording is nonstandard, but you get what it means.

-Magical Trickery, Improved: Gain charm person, disguise self, illusion of calm, sleep and vanish as an SP "ability total of six times per day." Wording is slightly nonstandard, but you get what it means. Also: Very powerful and has an excess "and" in the spell enumeration.

-Magical Trickery, Greater: Gain ghost accelerate poison, darkness, darkvision, detect thoughts, invisibility, knock and minor image as an SP "ability total of three times per day." Wording is nonstandard, but you get what it means. Again, very powerful.

-Magical Trickery, Superior: Gain ghost blacklight, deep slumber, gaseous form, penumbral disguise, major image and seek thoughts as an SP "ability total of three times per day." Wording is nonstandard, but you get what it means. Again, very powerful.

-Mirror Strike: +10 to ninja or rogue level to determine whether you can flank foes with improved uncanny dodge. Neat one!

-Poisoned Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for foes suffering from a poison. Same wording complaint.

-Sickening Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for sickened and nauseated foes. Same wording complaint.

-Slowed Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for foes suffering from any penalty to Dex, Dex damage or drain. Same wording complaint.

-Smoke Pouch: Throw 2 smoke bombs sans needing ki, +1 free at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter.

-Sneaky Combat Maneuver: get +2 to executing a combat maneuver, +1 for each sneak attack die you possess in excess of 2d6.

-Starhand: Use shuriken as a melee weapon.

-Stylish Ki: URGH. Makes ki behave as grit. Not even remotely balanced.

-Telekinetic Trickery: Disable Device + Sleight of Hand at 30 ft.-range. Yep. That's the arcane trickster's signature ability as a feat. -.-

-Trick Variety: First time you use a ninja trick each day, it costs 1 ki less. See, this is VERY powerful...but it emphasizes variety and thus can be considered to be neat.

-Unexpected Advantage: Target is flat-footed against each AoO you make after the first.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, good on a rules-level. Layout adheres to a no-fills two-column standard and is relatively printer-friendly. The pdf has no artwork or bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily need them at this length.

Jeff Gomez' ninja feats are...well, less amazing than I would have wished for. The Advantage feats universally suffer from a wording that could easily be a tad more precise, but at least you get what they're supposed to mean. I do not think shuriken builds need even more damage, so those feats will get nowhere near my game. Similarly, the balance of quite a few feats here is off: Making ki like grit is broken; a feat granting an exclusive ability of a PrC is not cool and the SP-array is similarly a blatant escalation of the spellcasting the class already can get. From a diversity point of view, the pdf sports a ton of the advantage feats and I don't like even one of them; the precision-damage unlocks are nice and so are the smoke bomb tricks, but as a whole, I don't really see myself returning to this pdf. Combined with the balance-concerns I have, this makes it impossible for me to recommend this pdf, in spite of its low asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Undefeatable 23: Ninja (PFRPG)
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ASA:AIW: The Dodo's Race 5E
Publisher: Playground Adventures
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:10:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The 5e-version of the third installment of the kid-friendly adventure-sequence intended to be played in a single session after school clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After #2, the players should have reached 2nd level.

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

...

..

.

All right! Having passed the door, the PCs meet the dodo, whose speech patterns in the read-aloud text contain numerous malapropisms, i.e. wrong uses of "big" words - which can make for a fun mini-game, if the kids are so inclined...but anyways, the dodo enlists the PCs in partaking in his "Combat and Obstacle Race of Amusement and Doom." There are a couple of rules: once the race is begun, you can't leave the track; if you do, you're disqualified. Only one member of each team has to overcome an obstacle for the team to proceed and the team has three tries to complete the race - on each failure, they are teleported back to the start and lose one mark. As a minor inconsistency, the pdf mentions 5 such tries once, 3 at another time - I think 5 is correct, but ultimately, it doesn't matter since the challenges are pretty easy to overcome.

The first potential combat obstacle would be a red gelatin cube - if defeated and eaten, the PCs can thereafter swim through the lava pit via Strength (Athletics) that represents the first challenge. Otherwise, it's Dexterity (Acrobatics) to get past it. This is pretty much the leitmotif here - the next obstacles, a loop de loop, requires climbing (in 5e, unfortunately, once again Strength (Athletics), where PFRPG had two different skills here), and defeating an optional black cube may net the PCs a similar angle here. The final obstacle also features an optional blue cube, which may be eaten to gain electricity resistance, for the final obstacle is a jelly fish tank, where some are electrifying, while others aren't. The truth can be analyzed via detect magic and Intelligence (Arcana) or Wisdom (Perception).

Whether or not the PCs succeed, the dodo'll be happy and reward them, though victors obviously gain more.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. Layout adheres to Playground Adventure's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks provided are kid-friendly and nice. the pdf comes with basic bookmarks, in spite of its brevity.

J Gray's Dodo Race is a bit of a misnomer - it is less a race, more of an obstacle course, considering that there are no contestants but the PCs. If you actually make jello-cubes and hand them out when the PCs defeat them, it'll certainly generate some fond memories. From a design perspective, this one feels a bit trivial, even considering the target demographic - during my test-run, the PCs pretty much aced the module without needing to partake in the combats at all. Sure, this is intended as an alternate solution...but still. I don't know, it's perhaps due to the title that I expected some competitive aspect. And indeed, the set-up would carry a full-sized adventure: More obstacles, competing teams, the like - the idea's great! While I hence entered this module with the wrong mindset and ended up being slightly disappointed, the players enjoyed it, though less so than #2.

If you have the luxury of choosing whether to play the PFRPG or D&D 5e-version, I consider the PFRPG version to be slightly better this time around, mainly due to the skills employed being a bit more diverse.

Since it would not be fair to penalize the little book for my expectations, my final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ASA:AIW: The Dodo's Race 5E
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ASA:AIW The Dodo's Race PF
Publisher: Playground Adventures
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:06:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the kid-friendly adventure-sequence intended to be played in a single session after school clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After #2, the players should have reached 2nd level. This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right! Having passed the door, the PCs meet the dodo, whose speech patterns in the read-aloud text contain numerous malapropisms, i.e. wrong uses of "big" words - which can make for a fun mini-game, if the kids are so inclined...but anyways, the dodo enlists the PCs in partaking in his "Combat and Obstacle Race of Amusement and Doom." There are a couple of rules: once the race is begun, you can't leave the track; if you do, you're disqualified. Only one member of each team has to overcome an obstacle for the team to proceed and the team has three tries to complete the race - on each failure, they are teleported back to the start and lose one mark. As a minor inconsistency, the pdf mentions 5 such tries once, 3 at another time - I think 5 is correct, but ultimately, it doesn't matter since the challenges are pretty easy to overcome.

The first potential combat obstacle would be a red gelatin cube - if defeated and eaten, the PCs can thereafter swim through the lava pit that represents the first challenge. This is pretty much the leitmotif here - the next obstacles, a loop de loop, requires climbing and defeating an optional black cube may net the PCs a similar angle here. The final obstacle also features an optional blue cube, which may be eaten to gain electricity resistance, for the final obstacle is a jelly fish tank, where some are electrifying, while others aren't. The truth can be analyzed via detect magic or Perception.

Whether or not the PCs succeed, the dodo'll be happy and reward them, though victors obviously gain more.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. Layout adheres to Playground Adventure's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks provided are kid-friendly and nice. the pdf comes with basic bookmarks, in spite of its brevity.

J Gray's Dodo Race is a bit of a misnomer - it is less a race, more of an obstacle course, considering that there are no contestants but the PCs. If you actually make jello-cubes and hand them out when the PCs defeat them, it'll certainly generate some fond memories. From a design perspective, this one feels a bit trivial, even considering the target demographic - during my test-run, the PCs pretty much aced the module without needing to partake in the combats at all. Sure, this is intended as an alternate solution...but still. I don't know, it's perhaps due to the title that I expected some competitive aspect. And indeed, the set-up would carry a full-sized adventure: More obstacles, competing teams, the like - the idea's great! While I hence entered this module with the wrong mindset and ended up being slightly disappointed, the players enjoyed it, though less so than #2. Since it would not be fair to penalize the little book for my expectations, my final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ASA:AIW The Dodo's Race PF
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Diviner's Handbook
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:13:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the expansion-series for Spheres of Power clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this expansion of the Spheres of Power-rules, as has become the tradition herein, with a nice piece of introductory prose before tackling new archetypes, the first of which would be the psyforensic, who gains a magic talent whenever he would gain a caster level and the divination sphere at first level; at 3rd level, the archetype may spend an hour to conduct the autopsy ritual, an absolutely amazing new ritual that was missing hardcore from the rules. A solid little archetype that is supplemental by the hallucinogen discovery/talent, which nets the chosen divine alternate divination ability -this may sound like something brief, but it is a pretty complex operation.

Nice to see: Occult Adventures get some love with the Psychic Medium with class level + Charisma modifier spell points and the divination sphere with limited divination as well as sharing divine or sense at touch (maximum number of affected targets provided) instead of shared séance as well as 3/day spirit communion, replacing channel haunts. The medium receives a nice spherecasting spirit, and it better should, since it has no access to hierophant or archmage.

The blind swordsman samurai employs the War sphere's totem of war, totem of allegiance (latter not properly italicized) and blind fighting; solid take on the trope, though I've written a more complex take on it - still, no complaints. The eldritch cultist thaumaturge does not risk losing magic via forbidden lore and instead has a chance to be subjected to confusion, with cumulative failure increasing the respective likelihood. EDIT: Mea culpa! The ability actually is exploit-proof! The archetype gains invocations at 3rd level at -2 levels in exchange for getting the divination sphere at 1st level.

The treasure hunter unchained rogue gets class level + Int-mod spell pool and is pretty much defined by the 5 new rogue talents introduced, which allow for better spherecasting, minor hedgewitch poaching, great memory and prescient dodging when unarmored and -armed. Familiars can take the Beast of Omen familiar archetype to replace share spells with sense - nice! The Hedgewitch can take the new Font of Inspiration tradition, which nets an inspiration pool akin to an investigator equal to 3 + 1/2 class level, 5th level studied combat and extra inspiration and investigator talents as well as prescient dodger, Expanded Divination and a +2 bonus to the Casting Ability Modifier being featured among the tradition secrets. The final option would be the Tactician incanter, which allows for once per round, no action required reroll of any attack or save, usable 3+ casting ability modifier times per day, replacing Forewarned. The second ability lets you share the information gleaned via the respective divine talent, replacing diviner's fortune.

Now onwards to the basic magic-section! We begin with some rules clarifications: The divine ability still allows for free action. Since divine is an emanation, it collects information on the area at the time of the casting and overwhelming auras exceeding HD/CL by 10+ stun the target. The list of alternate divinations is expanded herein: Alteration allows for the identification of shapechangers; Creation can let you find components for the things you seek to produce; Dark sphere users may divine the area even in magical darkness or the presence of creatures native to the plane of shadow. Destruction lets you determine damage type and amount taken. Enhancement provides means to detect, bingo, short-term bonuses on creatures. Fate users can divine the top 3 general things that matter to beings nearby from among a general list that thankfully lacks the annoying metagamey aspects of many a divination...as well as the general alignment, color-coded for your convenience.

Light users can enhance Perception and get free Perception checks (VERY useful!) and Nature spherecasters get unique benefits depending on the package chosen...which is neat! The Protection sphere allows you to determine lowest/highest AC. Telekinesis nets you density and weight and the presence/absence of the incorporeal. Time spherecasters can divine what has happened in the recent past (you can make AWESOME modules from such an ability!), while War lets you see through mud, fire, blood and slick as well as the presence/nature of those openly allied with the spherecaster. Finally, Warp users lets you determine portals, rifts, teleportation circles and the like.

A total of 18 basic talents are introduced here - from an adaptation of augury to detecting spellcasting capability, teleportation or thoughts...and better monster lore tricks, alternate divinations, faster divinations and those that linger can be found. Nature-savvy, object reading, scent and prescience are nice. I also really liked the option to cause nonlethal sensory overload, locking down spherecaster and affected target, slowly subduing the target. Sharing Perception, reducing ranged-based penalties, tremorsense and the like are nice and I really liked sifting through the collective impressions of a city for information.

A total of 8 advanced talents are next, with alternate divinations covering sight in darkness, lifesense, spirit sense, storm vision, thoughtsense, touchsight and nondetection spell wards. The divine identity would wreck havoc with the vigilante, but thankfully, the pdf takes that class and its peculiar requirements into account. Noticing planar origins of teleporting beings, increasing sight, penetrating stone or metal with divine and trapfinding are now all included in the arsenal of diviners, as is an option to see through solid matter.

Regarding incantations, the 5th level oracle incantation, which may cause madness on a failure, makes for a cool addition to the fray. Samsaran receive a new alternate racial trait and the pdf sports 7 feats - which include the spherecasting adaptation of Dreamscarred Press' superb Lurker in Darkness-feat, which allows characters to move undetected through special sensory tricks. Augur of Combat is also cool, netting you Int instead of the usual attribute modifier to attacks as long as you act last in the initiative order. Cool! Using MSB or CL for divination talents and precognition-based insight bonuses to AC as well as expending spell points as immediate actions to reduce crits to regular hits make sense - it's the spidey sense! There's also a save-version of the latter and there is a feat that nets you bonuses to atk and damage depending on your divination skills, including incremental miss-chance ignoring and the option to no longer be flat-footed while maintaining divine. The pdf also nets us 4 cool new traits, all properly codified by trait-subtype.

The pdf also features two drawbacks - limited penetration and shaped divination, the latter being conical rather than sphere-shaped. I like both very much! Amazing: The pdf comes with one of the underused and amazing alchemical recipes for Kuoki - kudos...can I please have more? Two potions that transcend their spell-in-a-can-nature by nice fluff and the foci of the diviner, a scaling magic item as per the Unchained rules, are neat. A total of 20 dowsing rods to detect various things are amazing as well.

The bestiary begins with a CR 3 Elusa Hound, a hunter that can track auras. Similarly declared a sibyl, there is a CR 1/2 variant samsaran. The CR 5 typhloter nadir, a non-eudclidean starfish-like critter is pretty neat and just the first of these - for a CR 10, 15 and 20 typhloter can also be found - though their progressions are pretty linear, gaining "only" more spherecasting tricks, with only the CR 20 critter gaining a new signature ability. Still, I like these regarding the concept and would have wished these had an artwork - the prose makes them sound intriguing. Absolutely amazing, though: The virulent sensor template - insane, insubstantial and naturally stealthy, I adore this one.

The appendix features the amnesia, mania/phobia, multiple personality disorder, paranoia, psychosis and schizophrenia insanities.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, though not as precise as in some other books in the series. Layout adheres to a solid two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color stock art apart from the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Derfael Oliveira's take on diviners is one of the better books on the subject matter you can find: You see, writing for divination is HARD. Most of the time, the options contain tricks to gain metagame information and thus interrupt a sense of immersion. This pdf, for the vast majority, remains firmly within the realm of the game, which is a HUGE deal for me. The character options within exhibit a WIDE sense of knowledge of what's out there: The author manages to work well within the paradigms of ACG, Occult Adventures, Incantations, etc. - in short, he's done his homework! Adapting one of the best feats DSP has ever made is a big plus for the system of Spheres of Power as a whole and there are few things to truly complain about. The autopsy ritual was long, long overdue and, as a whole, I enjoyed this book much more than I figured I would. At the same time, the archetypes and monsters lack the flashy WOW-factor that some of the other books in the series have - you know the truly unique tweak of the base mechanics that sets a given option totally apart. This is me complaining at a high level, though - as a whole, this book is well-crafted and provides a lot of important and rewarding options for Spheres of Power. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Diviner's Handbook
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Soulknives of Porphyra
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:10:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, though it should be noted that these pages are in A5/booklet-size (6'' by 9'') regarding their layout.

The pdf begins with a new archetype, the brutal soul, who receives the ability to scar himself, reducing hit maximum hit points permanently to gain natural AC, with the exact limit being governed by the class levels achieved so far, with 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter increasing the maximum bonus he can thus grant himself. The first level bonus feat choice is modified and the archetype replaces form mind blade with form brutal mind blade, which represents a variation of it and thus still counts as it for the purpose of prerequisites and similar interactions. The brutal mind blade shaped can either by two one-handed weapons at 1d8 base damage or a two-handed one that clocks in at 2d6, with 19-20 as threat range. Base damage type is changed upon shaping it, but this particular iteration may now be used in conjunction with feats that decrease offense capabilities like Combat Expertise. At 2nd level, instead of gaining a blade skill, the archetype may add 1/2 Str-mod instead of Dex-mod to Ref-saves and AC, and starting at 6th level, full Str-mod is used instead, though e.g. max Dex-bonus still limits AC - nice catch! At 34rd level, whenever he confirms a crit, he gains a +4 bonus to Str for Con-mod rounds, increasing that to +6 at 9th and +8 at 15th level. 3rd level also allows for the use of a mind blade that is at +1 size category and lets him be treated at a size larger if it is benevolent to the character. These replace psychic strike.

The mind blade skills for the archetype are limited., but he does receive 3 new blade skills: One lets him gain the Str-bonus when attacking a flat-footed foe (which can be kitten'd, though it remains an inefficient tactic), activate the ability via psionic focus expenditure (nice) or increase the Str-bonus granted thus. Basically, the class is all about maxing your Strength. I'm not the biggest fan from a concept point of view, but the execution is pretty solid and the rules-language holds up.

This file also has something to offer for fans of Path of War:

Soulfangs of the Protean Lords must be chaotic and receive a modified class skill list and gain proficiency in the protean lord's favored weapon. This favored weapon also fixes the form of the mind blade the archetype shapes. Instead of shape mind blade, these guys select a domain power chosen from those of the protean lord, using Charisma instead of Wisdom as governing attribute. Instead of psychic strike, the archetype receives access to maneuvers - they begin play with 3 known maneuvers, of which one may be readied, as well as 1 stance. Each level is treated as a full initiator level and they employ Charisma as governing attribute. They may learn up to 15 maneuvers, have up to 5 stances and the maximum level they may have would be 6. Maneuvers readied are slightly random: One maneuver readied is chosen to be immediately granted and one other maneuver become available once the soulfang enters combat in every round. If that sounds familiar, well it is kind of akin to the mystic's randomizes maneuver-gains. At 4th level, 10th and every 5 levels thereafter, another reliably available maneuver may be chosen each time.

Nice: The respective alternate recovery methods are mentioned. A total of12 protean lords are introduced here, with the granted disciplines, weapon, etc. -I nice array indeed...though it does leave me somewhat puzzled: The soulfang's weapon is locked into one shape and said shapes obviously do not cover all respective disciplines, which makes me believe that the associated weapon mechanic of Path of War has been somewhat overlooked...or does the shape of the weapon count as associated, depending on the shape chosen? Each of the protean lords mentioned here features its own ability pertaining the mind blade: From throwing it to whirlwinding maneuvers (which can be BRUTAL), the combos here are pretty powerful, as befitting an option for the increased power-level employed by Path of War. One of them who focuses on shields even receives a unique, custom mind shield bonus enhancement selection. Pretty intriguing: We get quite an array of blade skills, each of which is associated with the use of a discipline. While they vary somewhat in potency, they generally are interesting - though e.g. gaining 5-ft-movement after "all attacks" warrants some clarification: Does this count as 5-foot-steps? AoO or no? Lets this ability enter one such step after an attack/in the middle of a full attack...or is it supposed to result in multiple such steps? There are some issues in precision here, though they crop up at a significantly higher complexity than in previous offerings by the author. The archetype may btw. also gain stalker arts via blade skills.

The pdf also sports another archetype called the soullasher, who replaces proficiency with medium armors with those for whips and scorpion whips. The damage-type of the mindblade in whip form may be modified and 1st level nets Whip Mastery, while second level nets Improved Trip and the toppling strike blade skill, replacing throw mind blade. 6th level allows for the at-range use of the whip (15 ft.) as though it was a hand, with sample DCs (use atk) being given - this allows you to grappling hook, try to break your fall (instead of Ref-saves), swing over chasms...pretty cool! RAW, the object manipulation should probably specify that the Dc pertains unattended objects, but that's a minor hiccup. Extended reach and mindwhip disarming would be the new blade skills here.

The pdf also sports favored class options for the Porphyran races -as an aesthetic complaint, RAW there is neither holy nor chaotic damage in PFRPG, part of these enhancements to these "damage-types" are based on design-concepts employed in Path of War, but last time I checked, Path of War did NOT have chaotic damage...so...make believe damage type. Yay. The pdf concludes with a sample CR 12 erkunae soulfang of Zaelendris, one of the protean lords.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal as well as on a rules level - the pdf represents a HUGE step up when compared directly to the previous two pdfs by the author. Either the author has improved vastly or this was developed by someone with a lot of care. The pdf sports no artworks apart from the cover, but comes with full, nested bookmarks for your convenience (though the protean lords of the soulfang don't get individual bookmarks).

Scott Dillon's soulknives of prophyra are SIGNIFICANTLY better than anything else I've read by the author. the rules-language is more precise and actually takes complex concepts and, for the most part, gets them across pretty well. The options may not be perfect in each iteration, but as a whole, there is something to enjoy here. The Path of War option takes the increased power-level of the system into account and while its engine sports a minor hiccup and while not all discipline-associated blade skills can be considered to be internally consistent in power, it is still a relatively solid option - not perfect, mind you, but yeah.

The other two archetypes, while never reaching the level of genius of e.g. Dreamscarred Press' Living Legend, still provide concise takes on the respective tropes. As a whole, this pdf has surprised me in a really positive way after the less than stellar installment on psychic warriors and cryptics.

This one is well-worth getting if the concepts interest you and you're willing to sand off some very minor rough edges. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Soulknives of Porphyra
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20 Things #8: Cultist's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:09:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The 8th installment of the system-neutral dressing-series by Raging Swan press wastes no time and begins with 10 cultists with a personality - from affable halfling couples to scarred dagger-wielders performing "sacred" duties or sheltered wives finding "purpose" in a cult, the characters provided indeed have personality - they are, obviously, system-neutral and thus stat-free, but should be considered to be worthwhile, nice write-ups of persons and worthy angles to pursue/include in your game.

A table of 20 odds and ends to find in a cultist's lair adds some nice rolelaying/investigative potential: Why are there uniforms of the militia here? What's the story behind those feathered animal masks (the original "Wicker Man", anyone?), sealed scrolls with missives? There is a lot of nice material providing further angles here. A total of 4 unholy books, from the tome of sibilant terror to the libram of ineffable damnation complement the selection here.

The next table would be an old one - 20 Things to find on a cultist's altar would actually be, entry for entry, the reproduction of "20 Things to find on an Evil Altar" for GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I - why the rename of the table? No idea, but it is something to be aware of when you use both books and wanted some different dressings here. Since "cult" implies secrecy more often than not, some emphasis on stealth/subtlety here as opposed to in-your-face evil altar would have been nice to see here. The 12 items to be found on the altar similarly overlap.

That being said, I have not seen the entries of things to loot from a dead cultist's body before, unless I am sorely mistaken: Beyond curved bronze knives, 3-pronged candlesticks and shattered mirror shardsSecret compartments in shirts, bloody rags, pierced nipples and vaguely humanoid-shaped fetishes add an appropriate sense of the creepy to the proceedings.

The next table, pertaining 20 effects affecting an (evil) altar, has also be slightly renamed, but otherwise is taken directly from the GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I book, providing slightly more overlap here. Once again, more subtlety regarding the entries could have provided a more distinct angle, but that may just be me complaining at a high level.

The final page does end on a high note, though: 20 vile things to be found in a cultist's lair provide faint outlines of summoning circles, gold-encased demon skulls, pools filled with red liquid that emits a silver glow, statues sewn together from humanoid parts...grisly and cool. Additionally, the pdf suggests a 10-entry array of unpleasant things happening upon touching these vile objects, which range from horrific visions to becoming evil for 24 hours, speaking in ancient tongues or learning the true name of a powerful entity...who now obviously wants the PC dead, make for unique and cool twists.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there! The pdf sports some nice b/w-artworks.

John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst and Mike Welham all are pretty much authors that guarantee to me that I'll at least kind of like a given book: They have in common that they are talented, creative and have a way with words that may even evoke unique concepts with a scant few pages; in short, their dressing-books are generally amazing. This is no different, to be frank - the new dressing providing within these pages is excellent and up to the highest level of quality. The 2 reprinted dressing pages similarly rank among the better ones are quality-wise, are nice...but I couldn't shake the feeling that they could have emphasized the "cult"-aspect more.

Due to their origin as dressing for a more generally applicable theme, namely evil religion, they feel a bit less subtle, a bit less rickety and "culty" than the other dressings. So yes, while the new material is enough to warrant the fair asking price for those of you who already have the big book, I couldn't help but find that emphasizing the oftentimes illegitimate nature of the cult more and/or modifying these tables would have elevated this dressing file further. By no means bad and still a worthwhile purchase, this is the reason I can't go higher than 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #8: Cultist's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #7: Haunted House (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:07:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin with two types of haunted houses and themes - one of the collections of dressing focus on 10 things you'd find in a burned-out house, and the second 10 things would pertain plague houses - both of these entries are very flavorful and complement the pdf very well: Soot-wrapped bones or bloody, cloth-sacked packages certainly put a chill on my spine.

Don't want to run with one of these general themes? You're in luck, for 40 entries (20 regular, 20 more entries), from oddly shaped black mold to rotten floorboards complement the pdf and 10 perils help the enterprising GM generate some nice obstacles/mechanically-relevant challenges...in spite of the system-neutral nature of this pdf. 10 nasty rumors about the house help provide a significant sense of foreboding doom. It should be noted, though, that some entries here may be familiar for veterans of Raging Swan Press supplements, namely those of us who are familiar with Alternate Dungeons: Haunted House's dressing table.

A sampling of 20 evocative treasures and 10 objects to be found within the confines of a rat's nest do provide a fine array of rewards...but none are easily gained: "20 Unfortunate Discoveries" do not have their name for nothing! Bloody scribblings that note "One of you has been taken.", an inability to remember the name of deities, bloodshot eyes watching from the cracks f the walls...these are amazing. Finally, 10 intriguing things to be found within spider's webs provide a nice finish for the so far best installment in the series.

Conclusion:

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

Alexander Augunas, Creighton Broadhurst and Cole Kronewitter's take on the 7th 20-things supplement contains significantly less retreading of previously published material; beyond that, the quality and redistribution of the material is awesome. There is a lot of evocative, thematically concise dressing to be found for the fair asking price. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #7: Haunted House (System Neutral Edition)
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Shadows over Vathak: Player's Guide to Vathak
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/15/2016 12:10:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Vathak-book clocks in at...436 pages. No, NOT kidding. 436. 1 page of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 4 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 427 pages of content. HOLY MOLY.

This massive book was moved up in my review queue as a prioritized review. Additionally, it was moved further up due to me getting a print copy. Finally, the reason you see this now, so shortly after release, is simple: I've had the WIP-version for more than a month and had sufficient time to tinker and analyze this book.

Vathak. Before we take a look at the content, a brief history lesson: Vathak's original iteration was born out of a design challenge...and while the setting had promise, it didn't grasp horror or its peculiarities. It had great ideas, but their execution was problematic. The Fat Goblin crew did not give up - instead, they brought John Bennett on board - and he knows horror. Under his line development, the series of supplements releases has continuously scored rather good reviews and a couple of the books, frankly, are maazing...but this is the big one, the tome...so does Vathak work now?

Well, let's first begin with the basics: In the beginning of this book, leitmotifs are established: Vathak is a stricken world, a battlefield between the believers of the One True God (cue any fanatics of our religion as ample horror fodder there) and the Great Old Ones...or rather, their servants. Morality is the thin line drawn by a character and the story written by the victor, as petty tyrants rule with iron fists, superstitions and xenophobia hold sway and ruined villages, lost ruins and otherworldly threats abound.

To give you a general idea of the social demographics: We have the Vindari as dominant human ethnicity: Originally, they were conquerors from across the sea and have pretty much colonized the continent; a resonance with themes of the American enterprise can be found here (and thus also a synergy in themes with SagaRPG's excellent Darkwood-modules) - including a blending of Puritan beliefs and the less savory chapters of the history of Christianity. The native humans of the continent belong to one of two ethnicities, the first of which would be the Romni, which could best be pictured as a nod towards the Vistani of Ravenloft and their ties to Strahd von Zarovich, for they once were enslaved by the vampiric dynasties of the continent...and many claim that they still are. The third race, then, would be the Bhriota, who once were the true natives of the continent and provide an intriguing cultural blend of Native American aesthetics and some voodoo influences...oh, and these once noble clans have since suffered mightily from the Great Old Ones, often falling thrall to the madness. Add to that a plethora of secret societies and cults, religious infighting in the church and political issues and we have a powder kegs teetering on the edge of the abyss, with a wick lit and ablaze. The brief history and sketches on the diverse regions provide knowledge that is considered to be common and thus readily available, providing a more than fitting introduction for the intrigued player to deal with political issues and the looming threats that abound, for Vathak is a darkened world...in short: A setting in desperate need of heroes.

Speaking of heroes - this is a player's guide, so how does the character generation aspect work? The short reply would be: Excellent. The longer and more complex reply is as follows: If you have run any sort of horror-themed game or consumed any sort of media that deals with the darker aspects of the fantasy genre, you will have, at least subconsciously, relaized something: Horror does not happen to shining, one-dimensional beacons of light. "Because they're evil." is never a valid justification for slaying a foe (unless you're actually the evil guy) and the general resonance such tales have are directly aligned with the way in which characters are relatable - and that means both detailed and not perfect. If you understand character creation as purely an exercise in number-optimization, you may be missing some of the fun associated with playing such games. It is my experience that it takes a while for players to grasp the mindset, but once they have, even hardcore optimizers actually benefit from the experience of making rounded characters in a sense that pertains their respective (in-) humanity. Horror requires, to a certain degree, more investment than just killing orcs and as such, the extensive guidelines that provide ideas from the archetypical to the circumstance of the birth etc. help create a deep immersion from the get-go. Similarly, notes on creating/establishing your character's familial ties and a massive table of no less than 100 potentially personality-defining childhood events add further depth. Similarly, social status and education are given consideration.

If all of this sounds wishy-washy to you and you're craving crunch, rest assured that the tome offers a selection of traits - including two new types: Basic traits, which can be exchanged for other types and occupation traits, which represent the "proper" job you actually learned. Occupation traits allow you to select one of two different types of benefits, representing different specializations. The traits universally are relevant, come with a bit of flavor and employ the respective bonus types correctly. Now one thing I mentioned before is represented here as well - the fun of horror characters often comes from them being flawed (not only in horror, think of Raistlin...) - so yep, you have to also take a drawback, kind of like an anti-trait, if you will. These range from being a condescending prick to being in chronic pain, dangerously curious, forlorn...a wide array of options here and ultimately a selection that yields itself to actually emphasizing the rolpeplaying game aspects in nice ways. This basic array of considerations helps immensely in generating a biography towards the days when the PCs start adventuring.

Now race-wise, the usual core-races are pretty much a rarity in Vathak, though notes on their impact are given. Instead, the race chapter provides mechanical racial traits for the respective races like the Bhriota, the Old One-touched cambion with their disfigurements, the dhampir, the ghost-touched hauntlings, the xenophobic svirfneblin, the romni (with different clans) and the vindari. Oh, and there are the shapechanging witchwolf romni and the half-construct wretched. All of the races have in common that they receive detailed information on their respective culture, background and the like. I will not kid you: In particular the non human-ethnicity races herein are basically half monsters of their own and lend themselves to higher powered games than what I'd prefer in the setting and the races are not balanced among themselves: These half-breed/tainted races are universally stronger than the default human ethnicities. If they stood alone, outside the context of Vathak as a setting, I'd frankly complain about them...but this is one of the beauties of settings as opposed to standalone books...you need to take the totality into account and the tainted legacies of these individuals will mark them as targets and make their life significantly harder. Trust me, I've done that in Ravenloft for years. So, in the context of this setting, the book very much maintains a solid social tapestry. As a design complaint, I'm not the biggest fan of the Bhriota's ability score bonuses being only on the physical side, but that remains the only lopsided race. As a whole, the races should not unbalance any game. EDIT: Now with age, height and weight tables! The favored class options and alternate racial options generally can be considered to be well-crafted and allow for a diversity of different, interesting tricks.

The book also contains class options and begins with the disciple base class, which gains d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapon, light and medium armors, shields and the favored weapon of their deity. They cast prepared divine spells from their own spell list, with Wisdom as governing attribute and up to 6th level. They get 3/4 BAB-progression and good Ref- and Will-saves. They choose a patron saint at first level and gain domains and domain spells as well as a Wis-based Favor that can be used to power graces or a grace-like-based flurry and may be regained via appropriately devout acts - in short, this is a more refined and better balanced version of the Saint-class originally introduced in the CLASSifieds-series. As a specialist of the dead and consecration, the dustman archetype provides a flavorful option.

The fortune-teller is a full, spontaneous psychic spellcaster (Wisdom as governing attribute) at d6 HD, 2 + Int skillsper level, 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves that focuses on tarot-like readings, premonitions and divination - nice and once again, with a solid archetype.

The d6 HD, 1/2 BAB-progression reanimator would make Herbert West proud, with 4 + Int skills per level and simple weapons as well as light armor. They get a variation of alchemy that is based on injections (based on Int, prepared, up to 6th level). These guys get a grotesque homunculus ally and have a surgical pool they may refresh by harvesting body parts. The grotesque can be customized somewhat akin to a more streamlined eidolon. Beyond that, though, they get emergence solution, powered by aforementioned pool, allowing for the healing of others via SCIENCE - including the undead, mind you. Still, finally a non-divine healing option ina viable class. Pretty nice one! Oh, have I mentioned the grotesque bomber that basically makes living, short-lived bombs?

The book also contains an alternate fighter, the soldier - while still hamstrung by 2 + Int skills, but focuses on the military aspect, assigning a regiment from a significant array: Archers, guerilla fighters, bombers...there are some nice tricks here, though the linear power progression could use a bit more player agenda. The archetype here would be the drill-sergeant, who does what you'd expect. Oh, and there are class options. The LIST of them spans two frickin' pages. Anti-aberration alchemists. War medic alchemists. Cannibal arcanists. Insane Assailant barbarians; church sparrow bards that ferret out cults and heretics. Bloodragers chosen by WAR. Gladiator slave brawlers. Veiled handmaidens of the One True God; plague-employing Host druids. Negative energy channeling fighters. Curse-slinging gunslingers (with modified firearm-rules, for these are more common in Vathak); Rat Slave vindari; Investigators that delve in forbidden lore; kineticists that can wrap themselves in plat-based exoskeletons; gunslinging magi; séance celebrity mediums; alienist and regressionist mesmerists (who can poach a lot of class features by dabbling into past incarnations), scientists of the lost, oracles with the ancients mystery, espionage specialist psychics, agents of the hand of twilight, the divine killers of the church; skaldic chanters of the codex or mad fiddlers, sorcerors with the 6-clan bloodlines of the romni; spiritualists that generate an ectoplasmic double; summoners that believe in a profane evolution and even the vigilante (Fool) archetype, with nods towards Tarot, is included...or perhaps the vigilante would rather be a ritual killer? Yeah...nasty..in a good way. Also: Vampire servant witches? Yup.

The massive tome also covers Linguistics in the setting and presents, as mentioned before, modified firearm rules that allow for a significant level of customization and a vast assortment of feats can similarly be found to further customize characters in the setting. Wait, before we get there: if you expect basics, the book goes beyond that: There is a whole chapter devoted to firearms! We get a metric TON of firearms, bullets and rules - optional misfires, customization, bullets...oh boy, this chapter is amazing...and it better should be, considering Fat Goblin Games' experience with the subject matter! Rifled bullets of pure gold required? Rules are here. This is amazing and extends to supplemental equipment like powder horns or percussion caps.

The book also features a massive equipment chapter - which even goes into the names (and look!) of coins and their exchange rates, tool grade weapons and weaponry by group...and here you get to drool a bit: Weapon artworks. In color. For all of them. Not kidding. Amazing! A vast array of kits and mundane/alchemical items, from dhampir neck guards to filth bombs and plaguemasks, prices for horses, lodging and services...the pdf is amazing in its detail: Deathveil war paint. Necrobane formaldehyde. Garlic tablets. Magical incense. Magical romni smoking weed (jep, ton of mechanically relevant drugs) and a variety of poisons and yes, even vehicles with full stats complement a massive chapter.

Now, extremely important would be religion as one of the driving forces of Vathak's life and hence the dogma of the One True God, including the deadly sins, forms of address for the clergy, holy texts and the saints of the church - the level of detail provided here is excessive in a good way, bringing the belief to life for the reader. Similarly, the take on the Old Ones is presented in a relatively SPOILER-free manner that provides a similar level of detail - and, better yet, manages to explain rather well how/why the players can/should worship these things...and leaves a level of insecurity...so yeah...you ultimately do not know. Disturbing cults are mentioned alongside the 4 best known of the dread elder entities. Utterly unique: The romni court of signs, which could be considered to be the deification of some cards of the Tarot, tying resonant folk tales, astrological signs and the divine together in a neat, thematic knot. The attention to detail and narrative quality here is excellent...and yes, even ancestor worship is properly explained. Alternate divine domains, blessings, inquisitions and patrons add mechanical relevance to the respective divine choices. The massive chapter of spells provides a variety of [reading] spells that employ focus items and establishes, for the players in the very beginning, the fact that magic may not always be reliable and/or dangerous. The dark themes evoked by the spells emphasize well the themes of Vathak. Transplant Visage. Sequestering Thoughts. The themes of the spells focus on the occult, the weird and the investigative and that is a good thing here.

Oh, and guess what - the book is actually easy to navigate. The final chapter is devoted to a truly massive index that helps navigating the confines of this colossal tome.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and a rules-language level and the latest pass improved that further. While there are minor hiccups here and there, as a whole, the book is impressively well edited for a tome of its size. This huge beast of a book is similarly a beautiful tome: 2-page full-color in the style of an ancient grimoire; tons of flavorful letters, mad scribblings and the like inserted...oh, and from an aesthetic point of view, the vast array of original full-color artworks actually adhere to a unified style, lending a concise visual identity to the book. The pdf comes with bookmarks, but for a tome of this size, I kind of would have expected nested bookmarks and more of them - there are a lot, mind you...but there could be slightly more.

All right, so let's get one thing straight from the get-go: The crunch in this book, partially has premiered before - quite often in books I trashed. Instead of just reprinting these components, their rough edges have been filed off, the respective components improved in an interesting manner. Not all required this, mind you - but taking e.g. the Call to Arms-books on explosives/firearms/etc. and modifying them, Vathakizing them, if you will, actually added to their appeal. The racial and class-write ups and massive array of crunchy options herein generally are significantly more solid than I expected...but judging this book only as the totality of the crunchy options herein would be a grand disservice to the book.

You see, this is a player's guide and as such, it manages to portray the panorama of races, classes and lands in a captivating and SPOILER-free manner. Moreover, it manages to convey a mindset and the mechanical tools to back up it up; after reading this book, it is pretty much impossible to not have a HUGE amount of character concepts at one's back and call. The massive selection of options is amazing - though I was kinda surprised to not find any of the glorious lineage feats in this book. It should be noted that crunch-fetishists will not find Interjection Games/Everyman Gaming/Dreamscarred Press level of complex classes here, but the options that are here sport evocative themes and some of them have the spark of amazing I am looking for in design. The most important factor, though, is that the cadre of authors (Ismael Alvarez, Tyler Beck, John Bennett, Troy Daniels, J Gray, Rick Hershey, Taylor Hubler, Lucus Palosaari, Jennifer Povey, Michael Ritter and Matt Roth) have managed to craft Vathak's tones into one concise whole. Where before, the tones seemed to clash, we now get a setting that feels concise and surprisingly medieval in its themes and the flavor conveyed; the excellent prose suffusing the book make it an actual neat read, in spite of the density of material provided...and frankly, it makes it the most ambitious player's guide I have read so far. It is testament to the talent of line developer John Bennett's talent that Vathak has matured from its original iteration to a setting I actually really want to play. Handing this tome to players and telling them to go wild with it certainly is an experience I very much look forward to...and this book makes me exceedingly excited about the GM-book, hopefully to come.

In short: This book manages to elevate Vathak far beyond the confines of what it once was; the book also represents a massive step forward for Fat Goblin Games as a company, providing more internal consistency than I expected a book of this size to have. This Player's Guide is a fantastic tome and has an excellent bang for buck ratio. If you are remotely intrigued in the setting or horror gaming in general, then this is most definitely something you need to get.

There is another reason to get this. The resonance of themes of our world and relatively conceptual proximity (One True God, different ethnicities, plagues...) allow for significantly easier insertion of the evocative horror modules and supplements available in the OSR-scene: I could literally, just with a name-replace, insert Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Kort'thalis Publishing (Liberation of the Demon Slayer or Purple-Haunted Putrescence, for example) material in Vathak, do some NPC/monster crunching and be done with it - no annoying rewriting of plots or the like. Similarly, Cthulhu Dark Ages and similar settings allow for perfect thematic scavenging...oh, and quite a few of the Ravenloft classics or horrific Frog God Games-modules (Cyclopean Deeps I and II) could similarly easily be dropped in. Vathak, in short, offers a fantastic place to drop in the type of module that is hard to run in Midgard, Golarion or similar settings, adding yet another reason to get this tome. You can splice in Obsidian Apocalypse...or just about anything horror-themed else.

We finally have a worthy horror-setting for PFRPG that provides a thematically concise set-up, a vast array of character options and considerations that help making unique and intriguing characters and situate them in a world full of exquisite detail...I can't wait to peer behind the curtain of the already suitably tentacle-studded exterior and see the grand GM-y insanity behind the veil of what constitutes for as normalcy in Vathak. How to rate this? Well, I really enjoyed reading this tome and while it may not be a perfect tome, it is one massive, inspiring toolbox full of intriguing prose and captivating concepts.

If you are a horror fan and want a setting that is tailor-made to cater to your preferred gaming style...get this immediately!

This is well worth the more than fair asking price and thus receives a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak: Player's Guide to Vathak
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