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Mini-Dungeon #067: What Canst Work i’ th’ Earth So Fast?
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/28/2018 06:34:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! Better yet: GM-friendly version of the jpg's included as well!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Deep beneath a mine, the PCs have ventured into a cavernous grotto steeped in ancient magics, a place throbbing with pulses of indigo energy. Magical energy moves rocks of its own accord in a potentially lethal flurry and the local fauna is deadly, including bulettes and myrmecoleons. A soulbound shell awaits and, to complicate matters, a duergar mining caravan is currently harvesting raw materials here, providing further challenges for the PCs. We also get a nice 5-entry random encounter table. Cool, btw.: Some creatures have been modified by the magical energies, gaining unique tricks!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The .jpg version included here, which you can easily cut up and hand out to the players as they progress is a huge bonus -and even better: A KEY-LESS VERSION sans the annoying letters/numbers is included as well for full VTT-compatibility!!!. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

We have a return to form here for Stephen Yeardley. In just a few words, he manages to evoke a tight atmosphere, chooses smart adversaries and sports a couple of unique tidbits. All in all, a great little mini-dungeon that makes for a fun, flavorful sidetrek. No complaints. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars +seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #067: What Canst Work i’ th’ Earth So Fast?
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5E Mini-Dungeon #066: Words Fly Up, Thoughts Remain Below
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/28/2018 06:32:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a 5E-mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map, in both GM and player-friendly versions!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Okay, so what happens when a xhkarsh happens upon a bunch of kobolds currently fighting a drow antipaladin? Well, in this case, the creature managed to kill the drow and has since then whipped the kobolds into shape and recruited a cadre of diverse creatures under its banner. In the 5e-version, the emphasis on taking PCs alive has been removed, and it’s not the only thing: The table to randomly determine the placement of the adversaries herein has been eliminated as well. On the plus-side, we get the previously-mentioned Xhkarsh from tome of Beasts reprinted here and stats for a kobold chieftain as well. This is per se rather cool and indeed, the respective rooms sport tactics for the creatures that are most likely to be here. The presence of these tactics renders the complex rather dynamic, but brings me to the crucial issue here: You see, the dungeon has two levels, and one of them is 1 square left, two down of where it’s depicted on the map. There also are pipes and everything and the strategy of the adversaries is per se nice…but over the neat enemy set-up, the module forgot depicting the dungeon. The map doesn’t help there either, making the whole complex feel opaque and sterile and the 5e-version doesn’t really manage to remedy that.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and this time falls a bit short of what we usually get, being more bare-bones than usual. Huge plus: We get a GM AND a Player-version of the area in which this takes place, providing full VTT-friendly compatibility.

Stephen Yeardley usually does much, much better. The two-level set-up is interesting, but suffers from the limitations of both wordcount and map-detail and the dungeon itself falls somewhat short of what it could easily have been. Try as I might, I can’t really recommend this one, in spite of its really cool premise – it feels like half a module and while the 5e-bonus critters are nice, the loss of the enemy placement table and less interesting monster-choices mean that Chris Harris’ conversion somewhat evens out when compared to the PFRPG-version. I strongly suggest you check out the other mini-dungeons penned by Stephen Yeardley, though – they tend to be amazing. For this one, though, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #066: Words Fly Up, Thoughts Remain Below
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Mini-Dungeon #066: Words Fly Up, Thoughts Remain Below
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/28/2018 06:31:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty cool. Better yet: GM-friendly version of the jpg's included as well!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Okay, so what happens when an intellect devourer happens upon a bunch of kobolds currently fighting a drow antipaladin? Well, in this case, the intellect devourer managed to kill the drow and has since then whipped the kobolds into shape and recruited a cadre of diverse creatures under its banner. And indeed, as a disparate cadre of entities is concerned, they are pretty nice, aiming to subdue any but drow. Drow must die. Now, in a pretty cool twist, we get a table to randomly determine who is where, with percentile values. This is per se rather cool and indeed, the respective rooms sport tactics for the creatures that are most likely to be here. This renders the complex rather dynamic, but brings me to the crucial issue here: You see, the dungeon has two levels, and one of them is 1 square left, two down of where it’s depicted on the map. There also are pipes and everything and the strategy of the adversaries is per se nice…but over the neat enemy set-up, the module forgot depicting the dungeon. The map doesn’t help there either, making the whole complex feel opaque and sterile.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed a missing hyperlink and a few minor wording/formatting issues, like the use of a rules-term where none is intended. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is this time around less impressive than usual for the series and pretty bare-bones. The .jpg version included here, which you can easily cut up and hand out to the players as they progress is a huge bonus -and even better: A KEY-LESS VERSION sans the annoying letters/numbers is included as well for full VTT-compatibility!!!. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Stephen Yeardley usually does much, much better. The two-level set-up is interesting, but suffers from the limitations of both wordcount and map-detail and the dungeon itself falls somewhat short of what it could easily have been. Try as I might, I can’t really recommend this one, in spite of its really cool premise – it feels like half a module. I strongly suggest you check out the other mini--dungeons penned by Stephen Yeardley, though – they tend to be amazing. For this one, though, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #066: Words Fly Up, Thoughts Remain Below
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Advanced Adventures #1: The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
Publisher: Expeditious Retreat Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2018 03:56:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of the Advanced Adventures-modules clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front- and back cover, 1 page editorial ½ a page SRD, leaving us with 14.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look.

This review was requested and provided as a prioritized review by one of my patreons.

All right, quick history lessons – this is, to my knowledge at least, may well be the first ever commercially available OSRIC-module ever, which is a pretty huge deal that renders this a sort of almost historical relic of sorts for fans of OSR-style gaming. Now, the trade-dress evoked by the module obviously hearkens back to feelings of nostalgia, and indeed, structurally, this very much is in line with what you’d expect from a classic module – from the font to the lack of read-aloud text, to the aesthetics, the adventure manages to evoke the same sort of feeling, which is a good thing per se for the target demographic.

Now, I like playing advocatus diaboli, and indeed, there are things to complain about regarding the otherwise very concise aesthetics: If you truly want the classic experience, you may be galled by the absence of blueprint style maps in the interior of the covers – personally, I don’t mind. However, in the adherence to the classic formula and trade-dress aesthetics, the module also kinda ignores some industry standards – personally, I would have loved to see e.g. player-friendly maps or VTT-capable ones. There are plusses, though – the interior artwork, also penned by the author, has a distinct style I very much enjoyed. More importantly for me at least was a pet-peeve of mine – formatting is inconsistent. Magic items and spells are sometimes italicized as per the OSRIC standard, and sometimes bolded, with no discernible rhyme or reason. Now, to be fair, they are always highlighted in some way, which helps navigate and run the adventure, but the inconsistencies still galled me.

Now, on a more positive side, the pdf sports a total of 5 new monsters – vampiric moss would be pretty self-explanatory; the deadly funghemoth can be seen, or so I assume, on the back cover; the pod-men and the eponymous shroom (think evil wizard shroom-people) can also be found…but my favorite critter herein would be the snagwort. These are ugly, ropy plants hanging from the ceiling that attach their tendrils to adventurers and seek to smash them into the walls until they’re a bloody pulp. They are more hazards than really combat-material, but here’s the fun part: Their glue persists for a while after death. And they’re heavy. Yes, chances are that one of two of your PCs will carry one of their carcasses around for a while.

Now, the module is designed for 6 -8 characters of levels 2 – 4, and I’d strongly suggest a good mix of character classes. While this is no meatgrinder as far as OSR-modules are concerned, it similarly is not easy.

All right, this is as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the first thing you need to know is that this actually has some replay value, at least for the GM. The module is designed so it can be tackled from two directions: Either from the ground/underworld, moving up (for example after the PC’s first dungeon collapsed/stranded them in the lightless depths), or, in a more classic manner, with the PCs exploring the depths, seeking to destroy the evil lurking down there. This two-directional approach is also mirrored in the dungeon-structure, for, whether you believe it or not, these few pages manage to contain 3 dungeon-levels. No, I am not kidding you.

Each of the levels sports a brief note on random encounter frequency is provided for each level, with the shroom’s lair, level 2, featuring a patrol as well. Now, what I liked about level 1 is that each encounter gets a little bit of agency – it’s just a word like “hunting”, “patrolling” etc., but it helps immensely in my part – alas, in a bit of inconsistency, this cool feature is not retained for level 2 and 3. Indeed, as a whole, the 1st and 2nd lvel are stronger than the third: In level three, we have basically abandoned laboratories and components of the shroom’s complex that have been left behind in the move towards the surface. Here, a map of the upper levels can be found (cue once more my complaint regarding player-friendly maps) and rogue pod men may be found; there is also quite a bit of delightful old-school weirdness and, as some may claim, sadism: There is a goblin shamaness who welcomes the PCs with open arms, thinking that a trapped ghast is her god. The aftermath of this encounter may well see the PCs meet the god of goblins. Similarly, there is a pool containing a sarcophagus: If the PCs dive down, they may trigger a squid-ink trap and find themselves in a black pool with a newly liberated undead. Fun times – and hey, no one said that graverobbing and adventuring would be wise professions to pick up.

That being said, the adventure as a whole does a really good job or balancing risk and reward for players: The module does not throw unfair situations at them and the risk incurred is always the result of their own actions or lack thereof – in short, this is not dickish, it’s fair in its difficulty. Still, compared to level 1 and 2, the third level lacks a distinct leitmotif and simply is less interesting.

You see, level 1, from the get-go, manages to grasp my interest: The means of egress into the cmplex has a sensible mechanism that allows smart PCs to use it, providing a bit of realism there – and subsequent incursions after retreats actually have consequences. The presence of a stream that runs through the complex as a sort of irrigation process further highlights this. The first two levels feel very much like organic, sensible set-pieces with strong leitmotifs: The first level sports, for example, maddened tree offspring of a captive treant that can be found at level 2; a giant leech-infested pool provides an alternate means to go further down. There is abit of weirdness here, which is also encapsulated by weird and unique mosses growing in some caverns and the PCs can e.g. find fish mincers (and, in level 2, those for…bigger lifeforms…), which is used by the shroom to create the disgusting nutritional paste made to cultivate his growing army of pod-people. The first level manages to foreshadow concepts in the second level, providing weirdness, yes, but also hinting at the explanations – this indirect storytelling is really rewarding for the PCs and players alike.

Ultimately, the PCs will make their way to the prison (where they should be careful regarding what they do) and the main complex of the shroom – they’ll witness the pods and have a chance to put an end to the growing army and machinations of the hyper-intelligent fungoid threat – whose labs btw. contain detailed documents as well as a potion rack with no less than 20 potions, which contains, for xample such gems as “liquid wood” or weird potions that make you runin circles and scream for a few turns.

The eponymous sinister shroom is no pushover, btw. – with potent pod-man bodyguards and quite a few spells and HD, he will definitely test the mettle of the PCs, particularly if they are at the lower end of the suggested level-spectrum. Have I mentioned the big bad funghemoth, which may actually be used to help clear the complex if the PCs are smart? Or the mushroom level-based portcullis traps? Yeah, I really, really loved level 1 and 2.

Conclusion:

Editing is top-notch on a formal and rules-language level; as far as formatting is concerned, the pdf does sport some inconsistencies. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column b/w-standard and I really liked the interior artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography is serviceable, but not spectacular. The absence of player-friendly maps is a comfort detriment.

So yeah, blame Matthew Finch, the author of this adventure. You see, unlike many folks that are active in the OSR-scene, I loved my old-school gaming back in the day…but frankly, there was, and this is something plenty of folks forget, a lot of crap back then as well.

There was a reason so many folks stopped buying the old books.

Not all was shiny and better. (Go ahead and call for pitchforks…)

Hence, I wholeheartedly embraced Necromancer Games, and later, Frog God Games, in their mission of providing new old-school gaming materials. I confess to having never heard about Matthew Finch when I backed the Rappan Athuk kickstarter back in the day – and I got that elusive Cyclopean Deeps bonus level. I read it and was HOOKED. When the Cyclopean Deeps hardcovers finally hit sites, I drooled all over them – I still consider them to be absolute masterpieces, regardless of system.

So yeah, that did lead me to investigate the author, to this adventure – and I sat on it for quite a while. It was the first time I really started digging regarding OSR-books. So yeah, blame Matt Finch’s excellent writing.

When one of my patreons asked me to review this series, I figured I’d begin at the start, and there we are. So, how do the pod-caverns fare nowadays, when the blend of classic and weirdness has become accepted, cherished and its own style? Surprisingly well, actually. While the module does suffer from some comfort-detriments and formatting inconsistencies, we can see a style of writing here that cites the classics without being just a knockoff – this is creative and manages to evoke a sense of consistency that draws you in – more efficiently than many modules with thrice the page-count, mind you.

Now, content-wise, I consider the first two levels to be excellent examples of stellar adventure-writing; the third level, in comparison, feels a bit like an aftertaste and a gimmick, added on to the complex without tying into it as well – it’s still good, mind you – just not outstanding. Personally, I’d run levels 1 and 2, using level 3 perhaps as its own dungeon-hook for the proper complex. That being said, level 1 and 2 warrant getting the book on their own. At the same time, the hiccups and lack of player-friendly maps do drag this down a bit – which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #1: The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
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Starjammer: Races of the Void Book One
Publisher: d20pfsrd.com
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2018 03:53:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement for the Starjammer setting/rules clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This being a racial book, we don’t waste much space before we’re introduced to the first new race herein, the Aurellians, who gain +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha. They are Small aberration (darkvision 60 ft., must eat, breathe and sleep) and they have a limited, natural fly speed (not affected by antimagic fields) of 20 ft., but must remain over a solid surface that can hold their weight. Slightly weird – there is no maximum height from such a surface mentioned (which to me would make sense, but oh well…) and they don’t have a maneuverability rating. Aurellians have eye-stalks and can theoretically look into all directions, but require focus, so in essence, they don’t actually get all-around vision. The stalks negate flanking-based bonuses to atk rolls, but not flanking itself. Their language is partially based on gestures and their limited telepathy. As somewhat weird jelly-fish-y beings, the race is mute (which means feat tax for most casters) and lacks chest or feet magic item slots. However, they do gain an extra wrist slot and two extra ring slots (ouch!). They also get grabbing appendages: They have two arm-like tendrils and one longer one with a 10-ft.-reach. This grabbing tendril can grapple as though the Aurellian had Improved Grapple and, unlike most monsters, it may maintain grapples with it and attack with regular arms sans penalty, which can make for some brutal, brutal builds..

The race sports a total of 3 racial subtypes: Man O’Wars lose grabbing appendages and eyestalks and are Medium. They gain two natural sting attacks (primary, I assume) for 1d3 base damage and 10 ft. reach. As a swift action, a number of times per day equal to Con-mod, min 1, the Man O’War may deliver poison via these stingers. This poison may be applied to weaponry as a move action, lasting for Con-mod rounds or until successfully hitting the target. At character creation, one of three poisons is chosen, all of which are governed, DC-wise, by Con. They inflict either 1 Con damage, 1d2 Dex damage or 1d2 Str-damage, all with a frequency of 1/round for 6 rounds. Man O’ wars gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat, +2 to Appraise and Perception to find hidden objects and determine whether food was spoiled or identify poison by taste. They also treat Stealth and Perception as class skills.

The second variant is the inspired one, who loses the grabbing appendages for 1/day aid and cure moderate wounds as SPs. Foes suffer -1 to Will-saves versus spells and effects cast and the inspired one gets +2 to Diplomacy and Intimidate versus other races and never suffers from penalties due to being a different race or not sharing a language. Thirdly, there would be the chaos child, wo also lose the grabbing appendages. They are treated as 1 level higher for the purpose of spells with the [chaos] descriptor or using powers (note: Not gaining them!) of the chaos domain, blessing, protean bloodline powers and outer rifts mystery revelations. They are immune to diseases and poisons and may use alter self 1/day for up to character level hours, assuming the shape of a Small humanoid. Note that this has none of the usual low-level shape-variety limitations, but it does at least not modify ability scores. Minor complaint here: While all abilities note the RP, not all specify the type – in the case of the shape changing, that would have been interesting.

The race gets 3 different racial archetypes, the first of which would be the aberrant warden druid, who replaces the spontaneous conversion into summon nature’s ally spells with the new summon strange creature spells presented as part of the supplemental material:These come with a massive table and range from beheaded and chon chon to gibbering mothers, chuuls and in the IX-variant to charybdis, flying polyps and froghemoths. As you can glean from this brief excerpt, the new creatures gained are more potent, something to bear in mind, for the druid is locked as a balncing mechanism out of the animal companion option and must choose the Madness domain. Nature sense is modified to apply to Knowledge (dungeoneering). Instead of wild empathy, we get the option to improve aberration attitudes, even those of mindless beings. Instead of resist nature’s lure, the bonus applies to saves versus SUs and SPs of aberrations. Instead of wild shape, the archetype gains aberrant shape at 6th level, which grants 4 evolution points, using druid level as summoner level to determine for what it qualifies. This may be maintained indefinitely, but used only 1/day, +1/day at every other level after 6th. 10th level increases the points to 6, 14th to 8. Additionally, evolution surge (not italicized properly) is added to the spell list and the warden may target itself with it.

The second archetype is the floating monastic monk. Flurry of blows is modified to add a free grapple attempt as a swift action when hitting at least twice, using monk level as BAB to determine CMB, though still at -2 penalty. Instead of 2nd level’s bonus feat, we get Crushing Blow. At 4th level, a floating monastic may spend 1 ki as a swift action before attempting a grapple to roll the check twice and take the better result. This replaces slow fall. The third archetype would be the void scholar wizard, who may apply the benefits of Silent Spell to wizard spells without increasing the spell level. If the spell requires that the scholar is heard, then the race’s telepathy suffices, provided the target is in range. This replaces arcane bond and Scribe Scroll. 5th level’s bonus feat is replaced with the option Int bonus times per day convert half damage of ANY spell cast with “damage caused by the cold vacuum of the void”, ignoring any elemental resistance (should be energy resistance) of any type. Ouch. I mean, okay, loss of the familiar sucks…but still. Ouch. 15th level’s bonus feat is exchanged for an upgrade: 3/4th untyped damage; alternatively, the character can expend a use to increase the DC of a Will save caused by 2.

The race gets a total of 4 feats: Highswimmer actually clarifies the confusing part about the limited flight of the race, but actually looks like a downgrade if read back to back with the racial feature. Did something go wrong there? Pattern Weaver is cool: As a move action, flash in colors. Creatures that see you within 30 feet take a -2 penalty to concentration. Additional Toxin unlocks a second racial toxin as well as +1 daily use of it. Twin Toxin Blow builds on that allowing you to deliver two racial toxins at once. We get notes on their segmented armor and 4 variant telepathy dishes (Tech-rules!) that increase their telepathy range, which is per se cool. Do they take up a slot? There is a magical gem that transforms armor into aurellian segmented armor and a low cost brooch that allows them to speak. Summon amoeboid lets you cool giant amoebas or amoeba swarms. Minor complaint: The reference to the aurellian racial quality is incorrect – should be limited telepathy, not “mindspeech”. Swarming tentacles is a level 1 psionic power based on inevitable strike that nets a temporary +5 insight bonus to the next grapple maneuver before the end of next round, as a swift action. The race gets a proper age, height and weight table, but no favored class options.

Okay, the second race would be the Bisoni. Bingo. The fellows on the cover. These guys get +4 Str, -2 Dex and Int, which makes them more minmaxy in that regard than what I enjoy. This is further exacerbated by them being Large (yes, this totals Strength +6!). They are humanoids with a normal speed and get a primary gore attack for 1d8. They also get +3 natural AC and powerful charge as well as proficiency with katanas as a bonus feat at 1st level. They are culturally inclined to have a stringent code of honor, which means they suffer -2 to skills, saves and atk after violating this code, requiring some form of redemption. As another double-edged sword, they have 6 + character level SR, which may not be lowered; this anti-magic component extends to spell trigger and spell completion as well as command word or mental activation items, which have a 10% chance of failure. There is an alternate racial trait that eliminates this one, losing SR, but also the failure-chance. Pretty cool: We actually get 6 pretty detailed codes of conduct as orientation.

The bisoni get two different racial subtypes, the first of which would be the runt, who gets +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int. These guys are Medium, get +4 dodge bonus to AC versus bisonic, +2 to saves vs. poisons, spells and SPs and an additional bonus feat at first level. They also lose powerful charge. As an aside: Being Medium, their gore attack’s damage should probably be adjusted as well. Void Blooded bisoni get Perception and Stealth as class skills and +2 to Appriase and Perception checks to find hidden objects as well as +4 to Craft (mechanical) checks to use improvised parts. These guys lose the katana, but also the honor code and the thick hide. The bisoni get favored class options for barbarian, bloodrager, cleric, fighter, hunter, magus, oracle, shaman, spiritualist and warpriest. No complaints there.

Once more, we get 3 racial archetypes, the first of which would be the savage mage magus, who may use the arcane pool to enhance natural weapons instead of manufactured weapons. Spell combat does not require the use of weaponry and spells that target the magus herself only bypass the racial SR. Spellstrike works with natural weapons instead and spell recall is replaced with enhanced savagery: As a standard action, gain a 1d8/1d6 bite, 2 claws (1d4, 1d6) or a slam (1d4, 1d6) for one minute. Yes, RAW, she may have multiple ones. Yes, this makes the already glass cannon-y magus a shredder in the hands of a halfway capable player. No, I would not allow this. The archetype may not choose item creation or metamagic feats (awww…) and instead gets combat feats (!) or rage powers (class level as barbarian level); rage powers requiring rage instead apply when the magus enhances natural attacks. So…how does this interact with rage powers that have a per-rage use? At 7th level, when enhancing a natural attack, the magus may spend an additional point to enhance a second attack. 11th level yields arcane pool-based pounce (instead of improved spell recall) and 16th level lets the magus enhance all natural weapons at once for +2 points when granting her natural attack an enhancement bonus, replacing counterstrike.

The second archetype would be the spellrender fighter, who may not have traded away the racial SR. Instead of 1st level’s bonus feat and all instances of armor and weapon training and armor mastery, the character can charge of sorts when a spell fails to penetrate the SR. This lasts for fighter level rounds and adds +1d6 acid or fire damage, +1d6 at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, but the number of dice may never exceed the spell level of the absorbed spell, thankfully preventing abuse via cantrips etc. Only one such charge may be held. 2nd level yields spellshield, a +1 bonus on Ref-saves versus AoE spells that increases by +1 every 4 levels thereafter, replacing bravery. 20th level replaces weapon mastery by providing optional spell turning when affected by a spell that failed to penetrate SR. The final archetype is the tauric shinobi, a samurai who replaces mount with charging slice, i.e. +2 to atk during charges, and +class level to damage on crits executed with charges. Instead of challenge and demanding challenges, the archetype gets “Seeing Red”, i.e. an unchained barbarian’s rage, which is upgraded to greater rage at 12th level. This obviously adjusts honorable stand as well. Instead of last stand, we get a 1/day option to ignore hardness or DR, +twice class level damage…or attack a spell effect, duplicating greater dispel magic at CL equal to character level.

We get 4 racial feats: Distracted Stampede lets you join a charge of a nearby ally, providing potent synergy with Coordinated Charge. Merciless Gore adds bleed damage to gore attacks, scaling with BAB. Spellproof increases the racial SR to 11 + character level and the fail chance of activation items to 25%. Unstoppable Charge lets you follow a successful charge attack with overrun, also providing nearby allies an insight bonus on atk vs. a target you overrun. Magic item-wise, the amulet of reckless casting lets the bisoni 3/day as a swift action deliver a touch spell as a charge within movement range. Okay, does this refer to the base movement rate or the extended one of the charge? Snoutrings of foraging net +5 to Survival to get food and scent 30 ft. Once more, age, height and weight table is included.

The final race within would be the turtle-like Tortanians, who get -2 Dex, +4 Con, +2 Int, +2 Wis, +2 Cha, making them ability-array wise too strong and lopsided for my tastes. They are Medium humanoids with slow and steady, low-light vision and stability. They also get +2 natural armor bonus and get the option to enshell as a move action that does not provoke AoOs. Small or light objects may be pulled inside, others are dropped. This yields soft cover (+4 AC) and while enshelled, the character has no line of sight, but does not drop prone. The bonus to AC increases at 6th level and ever 6 levels thereafter by +1. While enshelled, the tortonian dos not threaten spaces and may take no other action than to exit the shell, which feels internally a bit weird, considering mental activation items etc. They also get +2 to Will-saves versus charm and compulsion effects and spells and if a tortonian fails such a save, he may retry one round later. Alternate racial trait-wise, we get Small size. And the antural AC bonus and stability may be traded for +2 Dex. The natural AC may also be exchanged for being umbra touched, i.e. cold and electricity resistance as well as a whopping 50% miss chance in dim light! Yeah…not seeing a fair trade-off here. Instead of the Will-save boost and stability, there also is an option to gain DR 5/- while enshelled.

The race gets favored class options for alchemist, druid, inquisitor, magus, ninja, oracle, shaman and vigilante. No problems there. We also get a racial variant, the exposed, who represents a tortonian that has lost his shell: The character loses enshell, stability, the Will-save boost and +2 natural Ac and gets +4 Dex, for an even more elite ability array. Additionally, slow and steady is replaced with 30 ft. movement, but the loss of the shell scarred the tortonian for life, imposing a -2 penalty to Will-saves.

The race comes with two racial archetypes, the first of which would be the shellshocker barbarian, who does not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing a bull rush in a charge and gets +2 to bull rush attempts as well as +2 to CMD against them; the ability qualifies as Improved Bull Rush for prerequisite purposes, but if used thus, the benefits may only be used during charges. This replaces fast movement. Instead of uncanny dodge, the archetype gains shell fortification, which allows the shell to be enchanted as if it were a masterwork shield, and may use shield bash with it as though it were a heavy steel shield. Critical hits and sneak attack damage have a 25% chance of being reduced to a regular hit. Instead of improved uncanny dodge, 5th level provides a +2 enhancement bonus to shield bashes with the shell, which is a bit odd. The fortification effect of the shell is enhanced to 50% at 8th level, replacing the rage power usually gained there. 12th level yields Shield Mastery in conjunction with the shell, replacing that level’s rage power. Instead of indomitable will, we get a final fortification upgrade for the shell at 14th level, of up to 75%. Probably one of the coolest archetypes in the book.

The second one would be the adamantine fist initiate for the brawler class. Instead of brawler’s cunning, the initiate may, after being hit in melee with a critical threat, attempt to sunder armor, shield or weapon of the attacker as an immediate action, gaining +4 to the sunder attempt if the crit was confirmed, which btw. does not provoke AoOs. Instead of the bonus combat feats gained at 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the archetype gets the adamantine fists ability, which lets the brawler ignore 1 point of natural armor the target possesses at 2nd level, increasing by +1 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter. If the ignored bonus exceeds the natural armor, the brawler instead applies + brawler level to damage. So, lot of flexibility and player agenda lost for bland damage boost. Not a fan. Instead of maneuver training, we get +2 to bull rush and to resist it, which increases by +1 at 7th level, where +2 to CMB and CMD versus trip are gained. 15th and 19th level further increase these bonuses by +1. At 4th level, we get crashing assault: When making a melee or ranged attack versus a target with hardness, the brawler ignore ½ class level hardness 1/day, +1/day every 6 levels thereafter, replacing knockout. Instead of close weapon mastery, 5th level yields titan’s disruption, which allows the character to use martial flexibility sunder unattended objects for shards that cause all three types of physical damage in 10 ft., with the save to halve based on Strength. Yep, basically Shrapnel Strike. Having the feat doubles range. At 10th level, two uses of martial flexibility may be used to attack a vessel component: If damage exceeds twice the object’s hardness, it is disabled for 1d4 rounds, +1 round for every 5 by which damage exceeded that threshold. Multiple such attacks only increase a disruption’s duration by +1 round. The ability comes with an engineering remedy for it, btw. Easily my favorite archetype ability in the book.

The race gets 4 racial feats: Abjurant Shell nets SR 11 + character level while enshelled; Enshelled Concentration allows for the casting of psychic spells or those sans somatic components etc. while enshelled. Quick Enshell lets you assume or end enshelled status as a swift action. Shell Shield lets you treat your shell as a tower shield, granting total cover, but at the cost of -4 to atk. We also get a new technological weapon, the shock bat (guess what it does…) and 5 new cybertechs: Ley Matrix, at implantation 1, allows the shell to be enchanted as a shield and allows the tortonian to use its special abilities while enshelled. Shell cannons clock in at Implantation 4 and integrates a technological firearm in the shell, which may not be disarmed and the wielder is proficient with it. Shell spikes add a 1d6 slam for Implantation 1; the spikes may be enchanted. At Implantation 3, spell absorber can store a spell, releasing it as a full-round action into a single space adjacent to the wielder, with space affected being chosen anew each round as a free action. To offset the flexibility, the wielder is staggered while using this one. The effects may be ended as a standard action. Finally, the underwater exploration kit (implantation 4) nets +30 ft. swim speed, +20 to Swim checks and the ability to breathe under water, as well as providing full buoyancy control. This one does eliminate the enshell ability while installed, though. The magic item, the shellbrooch nets 3/day the option to store the shell in the brooch, gaining +4 to Dex and freedom of movement, but can mean potentially losing the shell. The race comes with an age, height and weight table as well as a new spell, namely shellsight, which allows the caster to see through the shell while enshelled, providing line of sight, but not effect.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are good. On a rules language level, I noticed a few hiccups, but no truly grievous accumulation of them; however, some of them do influence rules-integrity. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports original pieces of full-color artwork for each race, which I applaud, even though, personally, I didn’t like them that much. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Tyler Beck’s races herein have in common that they all have cool concepts and that I have not see them executed before; that alone is worth something. He has also attempted to do something unique with each of them, which is something I really like.

That being said, this originality unfortunately does not extend to the majority of class options and feats within, which could have gone more creative routes as far as I’m concerned.

This pdf also stands as an excellent example to illustrate that the RP guidelines presented in the ARG, as I have observed time and again, SUCK as a guideline of the power of a race. While the races herein are not overpowered per se, they significantly exceed all core races in power, potentially limiting their appeal to games that favor higher-powered races, needlessly limiting their appeal. They also are bit too strongly geared towards specific roles for my tastes. Bisoni spellcasters, for example, are a bad idea, while their martial representations are ridiculously potent and mop the floor with comparative races of their RP. This overkill will certainly find its fans among the more min-maxy-minded players, but I maintain that the power-level of the races is not in any way required by the respective concepts, representing an artificial limitation of the cool ideas.

As a person, I liked the idea of all 3 races, but not the execution of any of them, which means I, alas, will never use them. That being said, I attempted to provide you with a good overview of what can be found within this pdf, so you shouldn’t have a hard to judge whether this appeals to you or not. Additionally, I do try hard to leave my own biases at the door when rating a product, and ultimately, this can be a worthwhile, if perhaps not an overwhelmingly awesome, book. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars. If the strength of the racial concepts sells this on you, then round up. Considering the fact that a significant part of the supplemental material didn’t blow me away, I still feel justified in rounding down for my official verdict. All in all, this represents a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side for groups that enjoy really potent races.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Races of the Void Book One
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Ultimate Factions
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:33:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of introduction/how to use, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content. It should be noted, though, that much like in every LG-book, these pages are chock-full with text and information – we get a ton of content in these pages.

So, what did I complain about regarding kingdom building? What did people really want to see there? What’s a big weakness of the base kingdom building system, even after LG’s massive and glorious expansions like Ultimate Rulership? Well, it represents kingdoms as cohesive entities, when both in fiction and reality, they never behaved as such. The vizier wants to be caliph instead of the caliph, religious cults and mage guild vie for control, and the noble families are plotting.

Now, I am perfectly capable of plotting complex machinations of a ton of factions in the background of the campaign, seeing the information in tiny nuggets. My players like piecing together complex happenings – but what happens when a large group of NPCs in a kingdom-building game exerts its influence, either under the control of PCs or in opposition to them? In the more abstract kingdom-building, seeding hooks and the like becomes tougher. Enter this supplement.

As an aside, this also acts as a bridge of sorts between regular and kingdom-building gameplay: The PCs could e.g. begin using the rules for large organizations in kingdom building as well as Ultimate Intrigue’s organization influence rules to influence organizations, via them kingdoms…and perhaps actually become caliphs instead of the caliph. (Kudos if you got that reference, btw.) This allows for a more organic playstyle – from rags to leaders, to kings, this book allows for a linear progression and acts as a synthesis between Ultimate Intrigue and Campaign.

Okay, so how do factions behave? First thing you’ll notice is that factions actually get tangible benefits from their alignment: Lawful factions get +2 resources, chaotic ones +2 power, good ones get +2 reputation and evil factions +2 to power. Neutral factions get +1 to reputation and power, while true neutral factions get this bonus, obviously, twice. If the combined size of a kingdom’s factions exceeds 10 times the kingdom’s size, it’ll get +1 unrest during upkeep’s Step 4. Goals designate the faction’s endgame; operation denotes the means by which the organization seeks to achieve its goal.

Power, Reputation and Resources are pretty self-explanatory and constitute the attributes of the organization. A point of size roughly represents 25 members, and in a cool twist, we get Ultimate Rulership-synergy here. If the members are dissatisfied with the faction’s leadership, then this leads to tension, which translates to a scaling penalty to faction checks. Factions may have types and measure their wealth in Wealth Points (WP), each of which is worth approximately 400 gp, or 1 BP in kingdom building. WP may be purchased during the income phase.

In order to create a faction, you first calculate its size. They begin with a size of 0, and buildings in the kingdom increase the maximum initial size. A MASSIVE table of a detailed building-list provides an easy 1-page-stop-reference for the sizes, and, once more also covers Ultimate Rulership’s buildings. Factions may start as a smaller size than maximum, should they choose to do so. This table also the 9 types of factions – for example, an academic faction obviously benefits from an academy, while a military or religious one does not. These 9 types, just fyi, each convey a total of +2 to the faction’s attributes, though obviously, some of them split the +2 bonus between two attributes.

As an aside: The engine allows, as presented here, for pretty easy changes of faction type: Wanted to subvert those religious fanatics via wit? Change the type of the faction. Looking for a representation of growing fanaticism and radical thinkers, or an increasing enlightenment? Type-changes can provide an easy means to write a new chapter of your faction’s history. After the type, you determine the secrecy of the faction –a faction may be open, covert or disguised. After codifying different basic types of possible goals, we take a look at the scale of the goal, which obviously may range from local to encompassing the whole kingdom. Note that public and covert goals may be different from another! Goals have a basic DC 15 to achieve, with aims, scale and privacy determining the DC-modifier to achieve a goal.

So that’s the base engine for the faction. From here, we proceed to take a look at the faction turn. A faction turn takes place during the kingdom turn sequence, after the Edict phase. Results of the faction turn should take place before the start of the Income phase. All factions perform each faction phase before moving on to the next phase. Power acts as an initiative of sorts for factions, and on a tie, the smaller faction goes first.

First, we have the upkeep phase – here, we check tension. If tensions become particularly bad, we may well see a splintering of factions here! After that, we pay upkeep costs.

After that, we move on to the operations phase: Here, factions may act, with their sizes governing how many operations can be initiated. Operations happen in a contiguous sequence, not parallel: First OP #1, then OP #2, etc. The sequence may be freely chosen. Here, gp can be converted to WP and income is determined. Operations are classified in two categories – active and maintenance. These include advancing a goal, abandoning one, aiding factions, earning wealth, pursuing alliances, engaging in faction conflict, recruitment…you get the idea. These interact in meaningful ways with the kingdom building rules.

Now, I mentioned splintering factions before, and this indeed is a part where the intrigue component comes into play – you see, the pdf provides the tool to treat factions as organizations and vice versa, allowing you to switch between them with relative ease. This makes it very much possible for individual characters to matter and provides an uninterrupted line of player agenda from the personal to the kingdom level, which, to me, represents a HUGE selling point. This is also relevant, obviously, for the easy to grasp splintering rules. If you already have a kingdom in play, fret not – the book contains rules for creating actions for existing kingdoms.

Now, if we assume factions and PCs as a constant line of sorts, it should become obvious that PCs will sooner or later want to use skills in the context of factions, right? Well, the pdf provides concise rules there as well.

Does that all sound too complex for you? Fret not! Simple faction rules included. Now, the pdf is not content in just providing an unbroken line from intrigue to Campaign – it actually ALSO provides the means to use the downtime rules in context with factions! Yes, this is purely optional, but oh boy did I smile here. Of course, kingdoms may attempt to support or suppress a faction and, as noted, the faction/intrigue rules, are presented in a concise manner: The process covers approximately a page and is tight and was understandable on my first read-through. Considering the systems in question, that is quite an achievement.

Now, the book is content with just providing you with tools – it proceeds to elaborate on why factions matter and how you can use them in play – and, if you’re a lazy fellow like yours truly, you’ll certainly appreciate the 6 generic sample factions that allow you to throw factions into play without much hassle. The pdf concludes with a handy table-index.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a forma or rules-language level. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ nice two-column full-color standard. The artworks are in full-color and nice, though fans of Legendary Games will be familiar with all but one of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

WTF has just happened here? This is, to my knowledge, Ben Walklate’s FIRST RPG-supplement. As in: Freshman offering. At least I couldn’t find any previous rulebook. This pdf has no business being so darn impressive! I expected that this book would be good; after all, Legendary Games would not jeopardize the reputation of their phenomenal kingdom-building supplements.

Still, I did not expect this little book to actually succeed in such an impressive manner in a task that can well be deemed a squaring of the circle of sorts: We have a seamless progression from character to faction/organization to kingdom-building level, providing not only perfect synergy between Ultimate Intrigue and Campaign, but also with the must-own Ultimate Rulership. This is baffling. I mean it. The systems presented are organic, precise and, best of all, remain easy and painless to sue and integrate. Indeed, the rules presented herein sport an almost effortless elegance that, from a design-perspective, is a true achievement.

This book is a missing link of sorts; whether you take the analogue of Conan (Solitary PC -> faction -> king) or just kingdom-spanning intrigues that oscillate between the different levels, this book delivers; with transparency and much-needed interactions between the different levels, this represents an absolute masterpiece that allows you to tell a whole cosmos of new stories. There are very few book that attain this level of game-enhancing characteristics, much less in such a tight manner. Ultimate factions is a masterstroke and the single most impressive freshman offering I have read in a long, long while. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, and this qualifies as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017. This is a must-have offering and should be considered to be an EZG-Essential for any games that want to blend intrigue and kingdom-building. This is a true masterpiece. Get it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Factions
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Cool Words for Gamers
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:31:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

And now for something completely different!

This book clocks in at 72 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page dedication, 1 page introductory quote, 7 pages blank, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page author bio, 1 page acknowledgements, leaving us with 57 pages of content, laid out for a 6’’ by 9’’ standard, meaning you can fit up to 4 pages on a given sheet of paper when printing this one. It should be noted that the book comes with jpgs for the cover and an .epub and .mobi version as well, making it easy to use in the context of e-readers.

After a brief preface, we begin with exactly what this says on the tin – rarely used words that can enrich your vocabulary. Why should you bother? Simple: Our language obviously does not only influence our own social interactions. Within the context of roleplaying games, it illustrates very much how linguistic conventions and the use of words shape our perceptions of reality.

You see, as human beings, we all have certain associations with certain words and the words we use, while conventionalized by social standards and languages we speak, ultimately, our languages differ in crucial ways from person to person – even within the context of the same language. A rather famous example for this would be the linguistic concept of degrees of category membership – is an ostrich a bird? If so (yes, it is), is it a better bird in its “birdiness” than e.g. a nightingale or a sparrow? Our concept of “bird” is arbitrary and yet we use it every day – because that is how language works. It categorizes infinite, disparate phenomena in information-clusters whose meaning we can convey with at least moderate accuracy. It is a necessary tool for any kind of society to work.

Many of our disputes in daily life, both domestic and in a professional context, can be traced back to misunderstandings, to people not being sufficiently precise with the language they employ and the associations they may elicit. In roleplaying games, this issue is exacerbated and may be most famously illustrated by the old tale of the gazebo, misunderstood by an increasingly desperate player as a monster. This by now famous and classic meme/anecdote obviously puts its fingers on a crucial part of roleplaying – it is almost entirely contingent on the mastery of language. In more rules-heavy systems, we need to know syntax and semantics of the system; in any system, regardless how rules-lite it may be, we require language and an understanding of language in order to create the shared imaginary worlds in which our games take place.

It is evident, then, that each individual will have a different idea of what exactly is happening, how everything looks like, etc. – and yet, there is a consensus regarding some aspects of what is happening. The task of the author and GM/Judge/referee/etc., then, would be to create vivid descriptions and prose that manage to set the neurons of the players ablaze with excitement, each in their own way.

Nothing is as frustrating as reading a per se interesting adventure that sports horrid prose; similarly, there is nothing as frustrating as not getting the elaborate, flowery prose that the GM employs – as such, this book can be considered to be a true help for PCs and GMs alike – GMs learn about strange and archaic words, while players can read the book to lower the chances of suffering from a gazebo-moment.

Chances are, for example, that many a roleplayer may know what an “adyton” is, but even with my extensive reading and expertise under my belt, I was not aware of the meaning of “agruw.” I knew what a “chamfrain” was, and “chthonic” is a word we read rather often, but I had never even seen the word “dandiprat” before. Why should you care about such words? Well, for one, immersion; secondly, to improve your writing. Thirdly, perhaps because you want to expand your active vocabulary. There is power in words, and if you’re like me and enjoy reading e.g. the old Icelandic Sögur in the original, or if you e.g. enjoy Catherynne M. Valente’s flowery prose, Voltaire’s or Wilde’s wit, you’ll know that there is beauty in the written word, in the properly phrased happenstance.

Now, if you believe that I’m just pulling the importance of language out of my academic behind, rest assured that I am not: Gary Gygax himself was known to use language to convey hidden characteristics in names – if you knew where to look. Hence, the final chapter of the book is devoted to “Gary’s Clever Names.” We take a look at pregen names and what they actually mean, which makes this book a rather interesting piece of linguistic gaming archaeology: Take, for example “Cloyer Bulse the Magsman.” As most gamers versed in old-school games will know, magsman is an 8th-level title for the thief. Here’s the thing: Did you know that “Cloyer” denotes either a pickpocket’s accomplice or the guy who blunders into a bunch of thieves and demands a share? Did you know that a “bulse” is a package of diamonds or gold dust? Or take the grey elf fighter/magic-user Ycore Rixie: This fellow may well be suffering from delusions of grandeur – “Ycore” means chosen/elect, while “Rixle” means “to rule” or “to have dominion.”

The book comes with a suggested further reading list, which is nice to see.

A drawback of the pdf-version here is that the book has no bookmarks, which represents a comfort-detriment. I’d suggest getting the PoD-version, particularly since it makes for nice reading when you put in on the table and a player has to wait its turn or has already finished the obligatory pizza during the lunch-break. For the pdf-version, you should probably detract a star from my final verdict.

Now, unlike pretty much every other book I’ve reviewed, this handy little booklet by Creighton Broadhurst is highly contingent in its appeal on whether you value cool words/language etc. If the idea sounds boring to you (which it frankly shouldn’t, but I’m not one to judge), I can understand that. If, however, the idea sounds exciting or interesting to you, then this is very much worth getting! Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cool Words for Gamers
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Creator Reply:
Hooray! Glad you liked this, End. I loved putting this book together--I'm a bit of a word nerd!
5E Mini-Dungeon #065: The Blight
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:28:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a 5E-mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map, in both GM and player-friendly versions!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

For almost a millennium, a vast oak, buildings in the branches, stood as the proud regent of the forest, guarded by a proud dryad and druidic allies. The druids have gone, though, and now, rot is spreading through the vast forest, courtesy of the dryad being infected by the eponymous blight, represented rules-wise by the duskthorn dryad here. What’s that, you ask? Well, this conversion to 5E actually sports two uncommon monsters – the aforementioned dark dryad and the sap demon, both taken and properly credited to Kobold Press’ excellent Tome of Beasts. And yes, the stats are reprinted here for your convenience!

Now, a flayed druid, plant monsters and worse remain, and the dryad enjoys hit and run tactics – tree stride is really effective when everything around you is a tree…so the PCs will need to be smart, withstand the dryad and her cold iron hedgeclippers…and hopefully find a way to stop the fungal blight.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and nice. Huge plus: We get a GM AND a Player-version of the area in which this takes place, providing full VTT-friendly compatibility.

The 5E conversion of Colin Stricklin’s “The Blight” was handled expertly by Chris Harris – the use of the ToB-monsters adds a distinct identity to the pdf and the hazards etc. have been properly adjusted to represent 5e-rules as well, making this, in its own way, just as strong as the PFRPG-version – 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #065: The Blight
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Mini-Dungeon #065: The Blight
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:27:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! Better yet: GM-friendly version of the jpg's included as well!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

For almost a millennium, a vast oak, buildings in the branches, stood as the proud regent of the forest, guarded by a proud dryad and druidic allies. The druids have gone, though, and now, rot is spreading through the vast forest, courtesy of the dryad being infected by the eponymous blight, represented rules-wise by the blighted fey template here. Now, a flayed druid, plant monsters and worse remain, and the dryad enjoys hit and run tactics – tree stride is really effective when everything around you is a tree…so the PCs will need to be smart, withstand the dryad and her cold iron hedgeclippers…and hopefully find a way to stop the fungal blight.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The .jpg version included here, which you can easily cut up and hand out to the players as they progress is a huge bonus -and even better: A KEY-LESS VERSION sans the annoying letters/numbers is included as well for full VTT-compatibility!!!. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Colin Stricklin provides a great sidetrek for travels through extensive stretches of forest – the mini-dungeon is easy to insert and very flavorful. The nasty spore-clouds and smart primary antagonist add further value to this mini-dungeon, continuing the streak of exceedingly strong mini-modules. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #065: The Blight
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5E Mini-Dungeon #064: I'll Plague Both Your Houses
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:24:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a 5E-mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! Better yet: GM-friendly version of the jpg's included as well!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

It is well-known that the underdark houses some of the most malignant, vile beings and cults – and in a particular cavern, two rival cults engaged in a constant one-upmanship of “more evil than thou” – one cult was lawful, the other chaotic – and both were thoroughly vile. Alas, in a surprising twist, they did not attempt to eradicate each other, at least not until a particularly nasty elf killer happened upon the cults. While he managed to eradicate both cults, step by step, he did not, stupidly, I might add, account for evil cultist leaders rising as the living dead. Well, guess what they did? While he got away with his life and is sustained for now by the spoon he owns, the complex still represents a three-way standoff. As the module notes, this extended encounter/sidetrek area is a brutal challenge – and indeed, the pdf makes excellent use of PFRPG’s vast bestiary and the tactics of the creatures herein are surprisingly detailed for the pdf’s brevity. In order to triumph here, PCs are most likely required to make use of the still very much palpable hostility between all those evildoers…

(As an aside, this may just be me, but this mini-dungeon really struck me as a perfect fit for e.g. conflict between Tsathoggua and Orcus/as a side-area for Rappan Athuk or similar complexes.)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The .jpg version included here, which you can easily cut up and hand out to the players as they progress is a huge bonus -and even better: A KEY-LESS VERSION sans the annoying letters/numbers is included as well for full VTT-compatibility!!! The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Stephen Yeardley knows how to write mini-dungeons; I am a huge fan of his big adventures as well as the small ones and this one is amazing due to its focus on pure functionality – we get a volatile, extended encounter-situation and ignite the powder-keg once more by adding PCs. The module can be slotted easily into just about any context. Chris Harris’ 5e-conversion is solid and manages to convey the general set-up well. However, the 5e-version suffers from some system-immanent shortcomings: The main-appeal of the PFRPG-version lies in the creative and amazing adversaries chosen, highlighting some really cool monsters. 5e has, as of now, a more limited creature array available, and this, alas, shows in the pdf – the enemies encountered, in contrast, are pretty vanilla, depriving the module of what made it outstanding in PFRPG. It’s still a good adventure, but it is less remarkable in this version. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #064: I'll Plague Both Your Houses
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Mini-Dungeon #064: I'll Plague Both Your Houses
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:23:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map, in both GM and player-friendly versions!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

It is well-known that the underdark houses some of the most malignant, vile beings and cults – and in a particular cavern, two rival cults engaged in a constant one-upmanship of “more evil than thou” – one cult was lawful, the other chaotic – and both were thoroughly vile. Alas, in a surprising twist, they did not attempt to eradicate each other, at least not until a particularly nasty elf killer happened upon the cults. While he managed to eradicate both cults, step by step, he did not, stupidly, I might add, account for evil cultist leaders rising as the living dead. Well, guess what they did? While he got away with his life and is sustained for now by the magical spoon he owns, the complex still represents a three-way standoff. As the module notes, this extended encounter/sidetrek area is a brutal challenge – and indeed, the pdf makes excellent use of PFRPG’s vast bestiary and the tactics of the creatures herein are surprisingly detailed for the pdf’s brevity. In order to triumph here, PCs are most likely required to make use of the still very much palpable hostility between all those evildoers…

(As an aside, this may just be me, but this mini-dungeon really struck me as a perfect fit for e.g. conflict between Tsathoggua and Orcus/as a side-area for Rappan Athuk or similar complexes.)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and nice. Huge plus: We get a GM AND a Player-version of the area in which this takes place, providing full VTT-friendly compatibility.

Stephen Yeardley knows how to write mini-dungeons; I am a huge fan of his big adventures as well as the small ones and this one is amazing due to its focus on pure functionality – we get a volatile, extended encounter-situation and ignite the powder-keg once more by adding PCs. The module can be slotted easily into just about any context and the author chooses the adversaries in a creative manner – from totenmasken to polong and guecubu, this excels in its smart creature choice and precise, challenging set-up. I really like it. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #064: I'll Plague Both Your Houses
Click to show product description

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5E Mini-Dungeon #063: The World Forge
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:19:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a 5E-mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map, in both GM and player-friendly versions!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Okay, this is something UTTERLY different from anything I’ve seen so far – this mini-dungeon could be used as a complex room of sorts, as a kind of exposition by doing, or as simply its stand-alone version – in effect, the dungeon represents an experiment, wherein the PCs create a miniature world according to the experiments of an extraplanar entity: The dungeon sports 5 elemental globes – Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Void, all associated with the respective, correct energy types. These are placed on an axis of good and evil, law and chaos. Ultimately, they thus create a miniature world – but also the instrument of the cataclysm of the world, which they then need to vanquish the fated destroyer of this world – and yes, the PCs are rewarded for smart observation of previously-created, failed worlds.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and nice. Huge plus: We get a GM AND a Player-version of the area in which this takes place, providing full VTT-friendly compatibility.

Colin Stricklin’s world forge is a really evocative, cool little supplement – it can easily be plugged into pretty much any complex and provides a rewarding change of pace. What more can you ask of such a humble supplement? Chris Harris’ 5e-conversion is nice and translates the mini-dungeon in a concise manner to 5e. My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #063: The World Forge
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Mini-Dungeon #063: The World Forge
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2018 04:17:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! Better yet: GM-friendly version of the jpg's included as well!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Okay, this is something UTTERLY different from anything I’ve seen so far – this mini-dungeon could be used as a complex room of sorts, as a kind of exposition by doing, or as simply its stand-alone version – in effect, the dungeon represents an experiment, wherein the PCs create a miniature world according to the experiments of an extraplanar entity: The dungeon sports 5 elemental globes – Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Void, all associated with the respective, correct energy types. These are placed on an axis of good and evil, law and chaos. Ultimately, they thus create a miniature world – but also the instrument of the cataclysm of the world, which they then need to vanquish the fated destroyer of this world – and yes, the PCs are rewarded for smart observation of previously-created, failed worlds.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The .jpg version included here, which you can easily cut up and hand out to the players as they progress is a huge bonus -and even better: A KEY-LESS VERSION sans the annoying letters/numbers is included as well for full VTT-compatibility!!!. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Colin Stricklin’s world forge is a really evocative, cool little supplement – it can easily be plugged into pretty much any complex and provides a rewarding change of pace. What more can you ask of such a humble supplement? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #063: The World Forge
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Theurgic Interactions
Publisher: Lost Spheres Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2018 09:24:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, ½ a page blank, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content. A minor complaint will be evident from a formatting perspective from the get-go: The lines like “Range” etc. have not been bolded.

Design-wise, the spells herein focus on a reallocation of functions, with the stated and explicit design-goal of making multiclass options and theurgic interactions more viable. Also helpful for newer players, the pdf explains the term “ally” to also refer to the caster and what a bonded companion constitutes.

Now, let’s take a look at these spells, shall we?

-Anoint Mystic Bond (Cle/oracle 3, druid 3, inqui 2): This one is interesting, in that it targets an arcane caster and the bonded companion. Both master and companion get luck bonuses to atk, weapon damage and Str-based checks. Interesting: Smaller sized companions increase the bonus and both caster and companion get access to a combat or teamwork feat while the spell lasts, but the caster needs to have such a feat. Additionally, the companion must have an open headband or head magic item slot and item restrictions of eidolon/summoner are retained. The slot prevents the spell from being utterly OP for summoners and the size-caveat makes the option to send fragile familiars into the fray seem more rewarding. All in all, an interesting buff.

-Blood of the Gods (Cle/oracle 2, inqui 2, druid 3): This one can only target a spontaneous arcane spellcaster – here, we can see an effect of aging – the target-line should probably specify that the caster needs to have the bloodline class feature. You choose a domain and for the duration, the arcane caster can cast domain spells of the selected domain as though they were spells known, but loses access to the bloodline spells…but here’s the catch: Only while you maintain contact with the target! The story-implications of enslaved sorcerers are great and I found myself enjoying this one.

-Bridge of Life (bard/magus/sorc/wiz/witch 5): Can be cast as a swift action and targets a divine spellcaster and a wounded ally in close range, allowing the divine caster to cast healing spells at range to the target, though each cast decreases the duration of the spell. I LOVE this – the duration decrease is elegant; the action required is important and the spell-level appropriate.

-Deconstructive Infusion (bard/magus/Sorc/wiz 5): This is another really interesting spell, as it targets a spell effect and an allied positive energy channeler. The spell duplicates dispel magic (not italicized properly in the text) and grants bonus dice to channel energy uses of the channeler. If the granted bonus dice exceed the channel dice, the channeler may instead gain an additional channel energy use, which are retained, up to the maximum. Otherwise, these bonus dice must be used within 1 round/level. This is SO ELEGANT. The spell-level-based mechanic prevents cheesing via cantrips etc.

-Energy Channeling Lens (bard/magus/sorc/wiz 2): This one conjures a lens that can only be damaged by physical attacks. The lens may be moved by 30 feet per round, but does not specify an action for doing so. The lens may either be positive or negative energy and must be placed on one side of the cleric channeling energy. Positive energy lenses may be attuned to acid or fire, negative energy lenses to “lightning or cold” – that should be electricity. Every 1d6 channeled into the lens is converted into 2d6 of the chosen energy type, but before you complain here, the area of effect is modified: The lens generates a 5-foot wide line that is 10 ft. per channel die long. In spite of the minor hiccups, an inspired little spell.

-Resplendent Mercy (bard/wiz/sorc/witch 2): This targets a character with access to mercies and makes the next use not count to the daily maximum, with a further upgrade once the character reaches 10th CL.

-Sacred Censure (cle/oracle/inqui 2, druid 3): Mutual lockdown – target an arcane spellcaster; if he fails the save, neither he nor the divine caster may cast spells. And yes, the cleric may not use SPs or trigger spell-completion items either. I love this one. It’s really strong, but it is a godsend (haha) for grittier campaigns where “the church” is hunting those practitioners of black magic.

-Spell Sheathe (inqui/pala/ranger 2): Swift action cast targeting your weapon, you may ready the weapon to contain the power of the next spell an allied arcane caster casts while touching the weapon. This makes the weapon behave as spell storing sans level cap. Personally, I think that implementing a scaling mechanism regarding maximum spell levels here would have made sense.

-Unleashed Power (cler/oracle/inqui 2, druid 3): This one targets an allied prepared spellcaster, who gains the ability to 1/round, as a standard action, convert spells into rays that deal untyped damage – 2d6 per spell level. I am never a fan of untyped damage, but I do like that the converted spell level determines the range, which prevents mundane ranged weaponry from being outclassed.

-Vision of Glory (bard 3, sorc/wiz/witch 4): Targets caster and a divine spellcaster with at least one domain. Grasping the head of your ally, you open their eyes to the truths of deities/nature – the character gains access to a domain of his belief and prepared domain spells may be used to spontaneously cast spells from the revealed domain. Minor complaint here: This should specify that the spells need to have the same level. Domain powers exchange, including limited use tricks, is properly depicted, though. Passive abilities are not provided.

The final page contains two bonus feats:

-Eldritch Smite: When activating smite evil, you can, as a free action, sacrifice an arcane spell, which increases the damage of the first attack vs. the smite target by 2d6 per level of the spell sacrificed. This only affects evil targets. The arcane caster/pala-combo isn’t too strong, so I can live with the damage increase here.

-Focal Mage: While you have a channel energy use left and hold the divine focus/holy symbol, you gain +1 sacred bonus to CL for arcane spells. As a swift action, you may expend a channel energy use to gain a sacred bonus to CL equal to the channel dice, but only for the next arcane spell cast. This is pretty cool, but should NOT be used in conjunction with a regular theurgic class option – if you have full progression for both divine and arcane spells, this becomes very broken very fast.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level – a few components are capitalized that shouldn’t be and I noticed similar minor hiccups like a doubled “range” word, but that’s about it. Rules-language deserves being applauded – the rules are, for the most part, extremely tight and precise, in spite of the high level of difficulty of the operations executed. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need them.

Christen N. Sowards continues to impress here – I expected something much simpler and blander when opening this pdf. This humble pdf provides a quality of design you seldom get to see – the spells intricately weave teamwork options for the group to use, often tapping into truly innovative and intriguing ways in which they are balanced. While not all spells are perfect, those that are really excited me like few spells these days manage to do, making me want to integrate them into my campaign right away. Heck, some even actually managed to inspire some ideas for cults, traditions, etc. While the formal rough patches prevent me from rating this the full 5 stars, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down – and this is one of the rare cases where a pdf still gets my seal of approval, in spite of some formal hiccups. After having read literally thousands of spells, this still stands out. So yeah, very much recommended!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Theurgic Interactions
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Everyman Minis: School Day Options
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2018 09:21:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, 1 page of advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction that also explains the concept of (Child)-feats (so you don’t have to get the impressive Childhood Adventures-book if you absolutely don’t want to), we begin with 3 new feats:

-Favorite Subject: Choose a Knowledge skill in which you have 1 rank or more; that skill becomes a class skill and you gain a scaling competence bonus to it. Additionally, tasks that take longer than one round can be completed in half the time.

-Innocent Insight (Child): When an ally within 30 ft. attempts a Knowledge check in a skill wherein you have no ranks, you may use an immediate action to grant the ally a +2 insight bonus. Comes, obviously, with maturation options.

-Disruptive Clowning: Requires 5 ranks of Perform (comedy) and allows you to hamper enemies attempting Int-based or concentration checks. As an immediate action, you attempt a skill check versus a DC that scales based on the target’s HD and Int; on a success, you cause the target to take a penalty to the check.

The pdf then moves on to 3 new items: I really enjoyed the everflowing inkpot, which not only provides ink for 80 pages, it can grant a bonus to dirty trick attempts to blind foes and may be used to coat them in ink instead, duplicating the effects of faerie fire. The student’s backpack notes where items it contains are and replenishes lost/used ones on a 3-day basis. These are btw. not expensive enough to wreck a fantasy economy, just fyi. It also has patches that can be detached, transforming into items – nice variant of the classic robe. The viridian quill is pretty cool: It can write, permanently, on any surface. Yes, that includes the living, though scribbles etc. only last a month when applied to living targets. Additionally, you can 1/day use it to draw a door, duplicating passwall.

The final section of the pdf contains 4 new spells: Copy page is available to the bard, cleric, mesmerist, psychic, occultist, sorc/wiz and witch and does what it says on the tin, but only for nonmagical writing – still interesting, courtesy of its range. The bard, mesmerist (level 1), psychic and sorc/wiz classes (level 2) can cast humiliating phantasm, which is a mind-affecting sickening effect. Intellectual osmosis lets you put a book beneath you and sleep on it – upon waking, provided you make an Int-check against the different difficulty classes of the book, you’ll have it perfectly memorized. You can’t absorb knowledge from books penned in languages you can’t read or subjects beyond your grasp. Any magical traps present in the book trigger upon awakening, so no cheesing there. This also does not allow for spell preparation. Finally, prankster’s jinx clocks in at level 2 for bard, medium and mesmerist, level 3 for cleric, occultist, sorc/wiz, spiritualist and witch. It generates a 20 ft.-radius emanation that forces targets in the area to become, caster’s choice blinded, deafened, dazzled, entangled, shaken or sickened for 1 round – this flexibility is offset by the spell allowing the creature to spend a move action to remove the condition. Really cool spell!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. The pdf sports 1 piece of nice full-color artwork and layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s traditional 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf doesn’t have bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris delivers some nice, thematically-concise options related in some way to school and concepts we associate with it. The pdf, as a whole, sports precise and neat craftsmanship and I found myself liking the content as a whole. At the same time, none of the concepts truly blew me away – this is a precisely-crafted, good little supplement, and as such, my final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: School Day Options
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