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Transcendent 10 - Psionics of Conflict - Zones of Power
Publisher: Lost Spheres Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/09/2018 01:07:21

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. This pdf was released after Dreamscarred Press had expanded the roster of psionic classes, but before the most current, occult psionic options and classes – as such, it is 100% Ultimate Psionics compatible.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin with a definition of the eponymous zones of power: They have a visual display and are indiscriminate. They very palpably emanate from the character in question and they move with the manifester. Now, and this is important, zones do NOT allow for saving throws and, RAW, they ignore power resistance, which sends all my alarm bells into alert-mode. No save and no resistance can be rather brutal. But let’s see how they hold up! The first would be the battlefield manifestation zone, which is available as a 3rd level power for psion/wilder, cryptic, marksman, psychic warrior and tactician. All creatures in this zone except the manifester have cover, and movement is restricted as if by “hindering terrain” – that should be “difficult terrain.” For 2 power points, the zone can be extended by 30 ft., while 1 power point allows for the exclusion of one square, which is cool – but can this square be reassigned? Since the zone can move, this would make sense, but RAW, the hole thus created cannot be reassigned. This is particularly problematic since all the zones sport these two basic augments. There is another augment here, one for 4 power points. This augment makes a move action only amount to 5 ft. (WTF) and makes the zone grant total concealment. Yeah, that is utterly OP and should be handled with a movement penalty and minimum movement instead.

Dimensional interface zone is available for nomad and cryptic as a 6th level power and basically makes the zone behave as a plane, copying its planar traits. The augments have a 5-ft.-square exclusion for 1 power point, +30 ft. radius for 2 power points and for 4, you can extend the duration to 10 min/level. Empathic transfer zone is a 3rd level power for psychic warrior and vitalist (5 power points), 4th level for psion/wilder (7 power points) and 2nd level for dread (3 power points). When you take damage for the first time in a round, roll 1d6 – all targets in the zone take this much damage. The total of this rolled damage is then subtracted from any damage you would take. Broken as all 9 hells. Does someone have a bag of kittens to cheese the hell out of this one? Next.

Energy amplification zone costs 5 power points for psion/wilder and psychic warrior and clocks in as a 3rd level power for them, while kineticists (the psionic ones) can get it as a 2nd level power for 3 power points. Once more, we have the augment for +30 ft., for 5 ft.-square exclusion. The power adds +1d6 to all energy damage of a chosen type. This should specify the energy types available. (What about force, sonic, negative energy? Can it be used to enhance those?); For +2 power points, you can add a second energy or increase the damage by a further +1d6. Not a big fan of the number-escalation here. Lifeforce flare is available as a third level power for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and vitalist. The zone nets a 10 temporary hit points buffer that any creature within can use to decrease damage incurred. The usual shaping augments are included and for +1 power point, you get +10 temporary hit points. Okay, do these replenish each round or not? I like the idea, but the execution is rough.

Necrotic corruption zone is a third level power for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and vitalist, at 5 power point cost, 2nd level for dread at 3 power points cost. It can be shaped with the standard two shape augments for increased emanation radius and 5 ft.-holes. The zone adds +1d6 negative energy damage o each attack, +1 bleed and nets undead fast healing 1. OUCH. For +2 power points, the damage increases by +1d6, for one additional power point, you can increase the bleed incurred by 1.

Probability distortion zone, defensive clocks in at 3rd level for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and tactician, 2nd level for marksman and seer. It nets +1 insight bonus to AC and saves. For 3 power points, this increases by 1. Compared to the other zones, this is pretty weak. Probability distortion zone, hostile clocks in at 3rd level for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and tactician, 2nd level for dread and seer, with power point costs at 5 and 3, respectively. This one is the inverse of the previous zone and instead provides the penalty. Minor nitpick: Penalties in PFRPG are untyped. Probability manipulation zone clocks in at 4th level for cryptic, psion/wilder, psychic warrior, tactician, costing 7 power points. Seers get it as a 3rd level power for 5 power points. This…doesn’t really behave like a zone. Only the manifester has control over it. It nets an immediate action d20 reroll. +2 power points for an additional reroll before it discharges. Odd one.

Finally, warp strike zone clocks in at 3rd level for dread, nomad and psychic warrior, 4th level for the tactician, with 5 and 7 power points as base costs. Okay, this is another zone that needs to die in a fiery blaze. All targets in the zone are treated as eligible for touch attacks by the manifester. I kid you not. The augment for 4 points can even extend that to a 5 ft.-square to get this benefit. Yeah. No. Just no.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting shows, alas, that this is an early work – the later offerings by Lost Spheres Publishing are MUCH better. Bolding isn’t consistent and rules-language in the base chassis has problems. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with red highlights and the pdf has no artwork apart from the cover.

Yeah, to be honest, this was what I kind of expected from early works in the series. The Transcendent 10-series has positively surprised me with its unique and complex concepts and honest gems that shine through the lack of experience the author had back then. (And rest assured, the new stuff is much more refined!) This extends, to a degree, to this offering. However, unfortunately, the very base engine of the zones is flawed. Moving zones are tricky in PFRPG – I should know, I’ve written a whole class based on the concept and have juggled the concept in more than one of my designs. The zones as defined herein are interesting per se and less problematic than I expected them to be; alas, they sport some seriously problematic exploits and a rather big flaw in the base engine. At the same time, the active zones for manifesters only at the end feel odd, almost like the author had run out of ideas for the base engine. They are, comparably, boring. While I maintain that the concept attempted here is cool and definitely worth pursuing, the execution here, alas, leaves quite a lot to be desired, requiring imho further design-work by the GM to streamline them and make them work properly. As such, my final verdict cannot exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Psionics of Conflict - Zones of Power
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Letters from the Flaming Crab: Gnomes vs. Gremlins
Publisher: Flaming Crab Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/05/2018 04:23:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the delightfully oddball „Letters from the Flaming Crab“-series clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, as always, we begin with the charming frame narrative, wherein mister J Gray finds a letter from the planes- and world-hopping UCS Flaming Crab, providing a nice and flavorful introduction to the two races contained within this pdf, the first of which would be the gyrenomes. They are not affected by wanderlust and instead focused on insatiable curiosity, with a propensity for knowledge and tech. Sounds familiar? Yeah, they are somewhat like a slightly less insane version of Krynn’s tinker gnomes.

Stat-wise, they get +2 Dex and Int, -2 Wis (grin), are Small and packrats: If they spend 10 minutes organizing their backpacks etc., they are treated as Medium for the purposes of carrying capacity. They can also jury-rig items, offsetting the penalties of the broken condition as a move action, for up to 1 round per character level. Cool! They get a +2 racial bonus to Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering) and gain Technologist as a bonus feat. When crafting any of the tech-based items (as via Craft Cybernetics, etc.), they can do so in half the time and at half cost HOWEVER, if they choose to do so and roll a 1 on a crafting check or failing it by 5 or more, they need to roll on the malfunctions table. These become only apparent upon using the item. To not go the quick and risky route requires a Will-save, btw. The malfunctions table, in case you were wondering, is massive: From blowing up to generating cheap dye or doubled charge use, the effects are mechanically relevant, have extremely tight mechanical effects (damage types, bonuses, etc.) and the table is 3 full pages long! LOVE it! Gyrenomes also have acid and fire resistance 5 and proficiency with hand and repeating crossbows. They treat one-handed firearms and tech-based ones as martial weapons.

The race comes with a total o 4 different alternate racial traits – fey roots replaces the tech savviness with classic gnome SPs and a+ bonus to saves versus charms and compulsions; the packrat tricks can be replaced with +2 to saves vs. diseases and poisons. Smog breather replaces the resistances and allows them to temporarily ignore the effects of smoke/cloud-based effects (COOL!) and Zero Gravity Savant replaces the skill bonuses with +2 to Fly and better maneuverability. The substitutions are balanced, meaningful, elegant and fun. Kudos. We also get favored class options for alchemist, bard, gunslinger, occultist, rogue, summoner, swashbuckler and wizard. I have no complaints there.

The race sports the nanotechnician alchemist replaces mutagen with boost, an edible oil that takes 1 hour to produce and a full-round action to consume/activate. A nanotechnician can only benefit from one boost and only one may be maintained – no stockpiling. These can net scaling fast healing, mental or physical attribute boosts, SR, an electricity-based touch attack or a speed-enhancer. Boosts last for class level minutes and render the nanotechnician sickened after the duration has elapsed. Cool tweak. Swift and instant alchemy are replaced with full-round and standard action extract mixing and the capstone nets a potent, untyped damage bomb of nanites. Cool archetype! The second racial archetype is the racketeer swashbuckler, who gains a modified proficiency-list that includes one-handed firearms and one-handed technological weapons, which is also reflected in the panache-modification to regain points. The archetype also gets 7 unique deeds that replace standard deeds, allowing for gliding flight, sped up flight, barrel roll attacks, 45° or 90° turns, hovering, etc. – full blown aerial mobility here. The deeds are glorious and allow you to start with Batman type glides and then upgrade that. Instead of swashbuckler finesse and weapon training, these folks begin with a battered boost glider that later works as a jetpack. 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter improve maneuverability, replacing nimble. Seriously cool archetype!

The race comes with a Ki Field feat that lets you expend ki for shield bonuses to AC. We get two mundane items – action vests can be studded with small items, which may then be quickly procured. Insta-rations are what you’d expect. Nice ones! Now, beyond the aforementioned boost glider, we also get omnitool gauntlets that work as a universal, charge-powered toolset for Craft and Disable Device checks. Neat! The tractor beam baton can move matter, with charges required depending on weight. We also get a new psychic/sorc/wiz/summoner spell at 1st level, overclocked weapon, which increases the damage output of big weapons, but also makes them prone to misfires. The write-up of this cool races concludes with a brief gazetteer of gnomehome, a sample village. And yes, the write-up does mention the appropriate age, height and weight tables to use.

Okay, so far, we have pure awesomeness – let’s see if the mogwai gremlin race can compete with that level of quality! Mentality-wise, they are conservative protectors of the natural order and as such, at odds with the gyrenomes. Rules-wise, they get +2 Dex and Int, -2 Str and are treated as fey. They are Tiny and fast for their size, gaining 30 ft. speed. Mogwai have low-light vision and treat Disable Device and Survival as class skills. Mogwai get a +1 racial bonus to atk versus androids and constructs, aptly named Rage Against the Machine. They can 1/day cast prestidigitation as a SP and Mogwai with a Wisdom of 13 or higher gain sabotage touch, usable 1/day versus non-intelligent technological items. On a success, the item suffers a malfunction, making great use of the inspired table, from the inverse end. They also get a +1 racial bonus to saves versus technological items and creatures. Instead of the prestidigitation SP, they can choose a 1 point, properly codified bite attack. This and low-light vision may be exchanged for darkvision and may replace RatM with +4 to trip. Bonus types are super-tight and the race gets its own age, height and weight table. Favored class option-wise, alchemist, barbarian, rogue and shaman are covered.

As far as class options are concerned, we get the primal nature oracle mystery, which nets access to Disable Device, Intimidate, Knowledge (nature) and Survival. Bonus spell-wise, we begin with break and move on to nature’s exile, magic circle against technology, primal regression and at higher levels, atavism, mass and return to nature. Nice spell-selection. The revelations include an untyped damage touch versus objects and constructs with limited daily uses. We also can grow natural weapons temporarily, which later upgrade to include enhancement bonuses. Two of these also may be maintained congruously at 11th level. Calling nature’s allies, commune with nature, replacing Dex-mod with Cha-mod for AC and Reflex-saves, Favored Enemy Spellcasting (constructs) as a bonus feat, which later adds Robot’s Bane and Technophobe, a variant, vampiric discharge… nice tricks here. The capstone nets the primordial template and immunity to all spells that don’t affect animals or plants as well as 1/day shapechange. All in all, a really nice mystery with a strong theme.

The second class option provided would be the blowslinger gunslinger archetype, who is, bingo, a blowgun specialist. Pellets may be imbued with poison, alchemy, etc. as a standard action and act as a conductor for the substances. Action economy of this improves at 7th and 15th level. This replaces gunsmith and menacing/startling shot. Grit applies to blowguns and we get 6 specialized blowgun-based deeds, with utility dart sporting two distinct uses that lets the blowslinger jam mechanisms and constructs or scoot objects. Keeping poison in the mouth sans ill effects, blowgun melee, sniping, negating AoOs when firing in melee and increasing save DCs of pellets – nice array. Gun training is replaced with blowgun training. The race gets a new item that is called “Ball of wasps” – guess what it does? Yes, I like it. Feat-wise, we get two racial feats: Spit Darts lets you hide darts in your mouth and speak two-word sentences while holding them there. Combine that with poison in the mouth. Neato. Toxic Bomb lets you add inhaled or contact poison to bombs. The racial spell provided is a clearly codified detect technological creatures and we conclude this racial write-up with a 1-page depiction of a gremlin warren as a fluffy backdrop.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level – even the small intricacies have been accounted for. Kudos indeed! Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard of the series, with artworks being a blend of original b/w and fitting public domain art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Kelly and Ken Pawlik and Margherita Tramontano deliver in spades in this humble racial supplement. This pdf provides two balanced, cool and flavorful races that employ the amazing malfunction table in the middle for a truly intriguing offering. I had no gripes regarding any of the options herein and indeed found myself excited about some of the class options and racial abilities, something which is not a given at this point. In short, this is an amazing little pdf, well worth getting. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Flaming Crab: Gnomes vs. Gremlins
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Multiclass & Melee
Publisher: Lost Spheres Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/05/2018 04:19:35

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 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1/2 page blank, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this pdf with a brief recap of what constitutes a bonded companion for the purpose of this pdf. It should also be noted that, unlike a few of the other entries in the series, the witch-class actually gets some new spell material herein. As before, formatting of spells is missing bolding, but otherwise is pretty tight.

Anyways, let’s move to the spells, the first of which, adduced mastery, clocks in at 2nd level for all classes.This spell lets you touch a ring or item; the caster then can gain a feat of the former owner of that item for the spell’s duration, though he still needs to qualify for it, which is an important measure to prevent abuse. The duration is pretty long and the pdf is smart enough to cover magic item slot-interaction in the context of the pdf. Armament of energy clocks in at 2nd level for all arcane casters apart from alchemist and witch and generates a weapon for which the caster must have proficiency. Attacks executed with the energy weapon substitute the casting ability modifier for Strength and are applied 1.5 if shaped as a two-handed weapon. Here’s the interesting thing: The weapon generates a pool of dice of energy damage chosen from the 4 basic elements (nitpick: It’s electricity damage, not electrical damage) that may be discharged with successful attacks. Now, personally, I think that there ought to be a cap on maximum discharge per hit to prevent nova-crits, for the energy damage multiplies fully, which can result in pretty ridiculous crits. That being said, apart from that, the spell does a lot right and even covers decreased damage die size for sonic damage.

Bond transpossession I is really interesting, in that it allows you to replace a bonded creature with one available from summon monster/nature’s ally, with the type of spell this is based on contingent on the spell list available to the class. This is really cool, at it allows you to have the “right” bonded companion available. It should also be noted that the pdf provides bonus spells for this one – bonded transpossession II – IX. This is important, since the spells, subject to GM approval, can also yield other forms beyond the list, balanced by CR. The follow-up spells properly and appropriately scale this.

Cry of blood can be cast as a swift action and is available for bard, sorc/wiz and cle/oracle. Its components…include 1 round of rage. An ally within earshot under the benefits of a morale bonus you created gains the benefits of rage and potentially rage powers you have and may end a rage-burst thus granted as a free action sans suffering fatigue. Interesting for multiclass characters currently not in rage/the option to cast in rage. Divine echoes is a level 1 spell for bards and the non-nature-themed divine classes and nets the recipients of your morale bonus granting “bard song” (not the proper term) the benefits of sacred bonuses you currently enjoy. It also lets you grant an ally affected smite, though you still have to activate it. Interesting one, though the bonus-sharing can become rather brutal. Eidolonic weapon is available for assassin, blackguard, cle/oracle, sorc/wiz, magus, pala…and wizard? That should be witch. It allows you to draw a weapon you’re proficient with from your eidolon, using its natural attacks as a template to determine its damage.

Sacred savagery is available for antipala, pala and cle/oracle at 2nd spell level and requires one use of channel energy as a component. It allows the character to used the channeled energy to either sustain a limited, morale bonus-granting ability for the duration (which is OP – this should be based on channel dice) or enhance the bonuses. Weird: Here, it is based on channel dice. Sanguine bond clocks in at 2nd level for alchemist, summoner, witch and sorc/wiz, 1st spell level for the ranger. The spell affects the caster and companion and allows the caster to imbibe potions, mutagen and spells and choose to split the duration evenly between caster and companion or have the companion instead be affected. Interesting! Shared instincts clocks in at level for most classes, level 3 for druids, and allows for the sharing of insight bonuses, “precision-based hit and damage bonuses” (what’s the hit bonus here? I know precision damage, but no such bonus exists…) and sneak attack dice (covered under precision, so redundant). This can be really brutal with the right build.

The final spell herein would be trance of divine precision, available for antipala and pala as well as cle/oracle. The spell consumes 1 use of channel energy as a material component. “For the duration

of this spell you add your dice of channeling damage to all critical hits, ranger favored enemy bonuses, and other precision based attacks (such as sneak attack).” Okay, does this mean the NUMBER of channeling dice? Or the actual dice? In the latter case, we have a ridiculous damage escalation in the right hands. The only reason I am not screaming bloody murder here is the multiclass requirement and the fact that casting another spell ends it prematurely. Still, I’d be weary of letting it fall into the hands of a good min-maxer.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are, on a formal level, good if you can look past the formatting convention deviations. On a rules-language level, the pdf attempts highly complex modifications and often succeeds rather admirably in conveying the intent. The verbiage is a bit rough, but considering that this is an early work, it is impressive. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, is pretty printer-friendly, and we don’t get interior artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ early design-offerings frankly prove to be much more enjoyable than I thought they would; this Transcendent 10-installment is no different in that regard. There are some genuinely cool ideas and rules-operations here, and while Lost Spheres Publishing’s current releases are much more refined, this already has several components that I’d consider more interesting than whole spell-pdfs of thrice the size. In short, if you can live with the minor rough edges, then this has some creative and interesting design-work that can inspire and provide some cool tricks to develop, tweak, etc. For the low asking price, this is worth taking a look at. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, courtesy of the rough patches and age of the pdf. I will still round up due to in dubio pro reo, though, as this holds up better than it honestly has a right to after all this time. If anything, the Transcendent 10 spell installments are a great way to show what could have been done with spellcasting on a large scale, instead of just substituting a shape and energy type for the oomphteenth fireball clone. I really wish that the ambition and design-paradigms of the series find more traction. If anything, I hope that a few designers out there take a look and think about what spells could be.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Multiclass & Melee
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Straight Skills
Publisher: Straight Path Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/05/2018 04:17:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This alternative take on skills clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC/introduction, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 3 pages of content. There is an alternate version included, which has been laid-out in landscape standard, optimized for e-readers. As such, it clocks in at 14 pages, but is otherwise content-wise identical to the letter-version.

Okay, so the skill system assumes a 3-pronged skill category system: A skill can be either broad, general or specific. A broad skill can include noticing things, recognizing creatures etc. General skills can include e.g. recognizing undead or spotting. A character skilled in a general skill “grants a +2 bonus” on related skill checks – that should be “gains,” otherwise it implies an aid another scenario. Specific skills include e.g. searching for traps and yield a +4 bonus instead.

If you’re skilled in a skill, you roll 1d20 + character level +3. When you roll something your character is capable at, you roll 1d20 + character level. Otherwise, roll 1d20 +1. The respective skill bonuses are added for being capable or skilled. Speaking of which: I think it would have made sense to properly define “skilled” and “capable” before going into rules-intricacies.

A character is skilled in skill ranks gained by class (NOT + Int-mod!) plus Spotting, Searching and Listening. They also are capable in 4 things. Gaining a level in a new class that has more skill points than the original class nets +1 thing to be skilled in, +1 to be capable in. This is weird: Stepping from martial classes up to skilled ones is thus more efficient, skill-wise, than vice versa. When stepping “down” to a class with less skills and gaining a level in it, you demote a skilled skill to capable or lose one skill they had been capable in. Clerics and Wizards get additional skills, but oddly none of the other classes do. Only the core classes are codified thus.

Retraining a skill takes 3 days of downtime and 50 gp per character level. Half as much costs for being capable. There is an alternate suggested for skill points, but which retains the skill categories introduced here. In this scenario, general skills net +2, specific ones +5. Complaint here: There’s a “See page XX” reference here that should just point to the next page.

The final page is devoted to a massive list of sample skills, with broad, general and specific skills listed.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The pdf has no interior artworks.

Michael McCarthy’s alternate skill system is per se interesting; it does not, however, represent a simplification. It divorces skills from attributes, which may be something you enjoy or dislike. That being said, it actually allows for a more defined gradience between different uses of a general notion of a skill. The system makes intimidating creatures in combat, getting folks to tell you things and getting folks to give you things three different specific skills. Whether that makes sense to you or not depends on your personal tastes. Personally, I like the more detail-oriented notion here, if not the classification employed. I similarly don’t get how asking questions and court etiquette necessarily are different things – when I try to ask discreet questions in court, which skill do I use?

I can also make a case for the pdf being not complete. How does the system interact with class abilities that net a bonus to the skill? What about magic items? We get the very barebones basic system here, which was to be expected, considering the low asking price. It is my contention, though, that the straight skill system presented here would have benefited from a) more details and b) clarified interactions with rules-components that are not replaced; considering that ability score modifiers are taken out of skills, the emphasis of skill-boosting items may well further increase (not a fan). How do skill-contests work? Feinting? Intimidation? Feats? In short, this is a promising, alternate skill system, but it is simply not finished. Using it on its own will require copious amounts of GM-calls. And I don’t really see the value here. The system doesn’t make things easier per se. It makes the skills behave in a more unified manner, yes, but to properly capitalize on the idea, we’d need more information regarding the more intricate details.

Still, the notion underlying this pdf has some value and I can see this appealing to some groups. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up due to the low price point.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Straight Skills
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Asian Spell Compendium
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/04/2018 05:49:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive collection of spells clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how to use, 1 + 2/3 of a page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 28 1/3 pages of content – as always in LG-books, we get a ton of content per page, so the pdf actually contains more material than you’d assume from the page-count.

Now, we begin with functionality – to be more precise, we begin with a means of making the book much more user-friendly: We not only get a list of alphabetical spell names, we also get a list of spells by class, organized by ascending levels in the respective class entry. Even cooler: We get a third spell list that depicts spells by school and descriptor. Need a language-dependent spell? Just look it up. That is a HUGE plus as far as I’m concerned. It significantly increases the chances of spells herein actually seeing use.

Ahem, now, theme-wise, this book is part of the series of pdfs intended for use with Jade Regent or similarly-themed settings and as such follows an aesthetic that is in line with WuXia movies and mediums, though a couple of the options herein should work as well in more low-key environments like Rite Publishing’s Kaidan setting. There are a total of 110 spells herein.

All right, so let’s take a look at these spells, shall? Ancestral wrath would be a 2nd level necromancy that calls an ancestral spirit that streaks towards a target in close range, hitting automatically and dealing untyped damage (boo!) that scales up to 5d6 for living beings, up to 10d6 for undead. It deals full damage versus incorporeal targets and an undead target damaged that fails its save is shaken for 1 round. Okay, so Fortitude partial – does that mean that only undead need to save and that the save negates only the condition? I assume so, but the spell could be slightly clearer there. Does this spell sound familiar to you by any means? Well, there is a reason for that! If you’re like me and really adored the Rokugan setting and Oriental Adventures in its various iterations, you’ll meet some old favorites here, updated and for the most part, streamlined. Considering e.g. Rokugan’s mechanics regarding jade, etc., the spells are more than just cut-copy paste with new classes thrown in – to use this example spell, we have it available for classes where it makes sense – spiritualist, medium, shaman, witch, cleric and occultist. It may be a small thing, but I’m a big fan of keeping the themes of classes consistent, so that aspect is a definite plus for me. (As an aside: The 3.X books never properly covered all the different, cool katas in d20-games…would love to see those. But I digress.)

Since this book contains a staggering amount of spells, I will not go into the details of each and every spell within, instead focusing on the greater picture and attempting to give you an overview, all right? Right! While we’re on the subject of death, often less permanent in the mythology than we’d assume, awakened from death represents narrative gold: The target awakens from death temporarily, feebleminded and with hazy memories. An undead was walking down the road, not knowing why…and yes, this would fit it pitch-perfectly with Kaidan.

A low-level means of generating an enemy-only targeting shaken effect via an illusory mask, an army of unseen servants to cater to your every need – I can see the spells herein work formidably in settings like Jade Oath and beyond. Interesting: There is a spell that makes partially wooden weapons turn around to attack their wielders. Fully metal weapons are not affected. Why? Well, think about the modified elements assumed in such settings and it makes sense. It’s a small component, but it adds to my immersion here. A blackblade katana bestows temporary negative levels and yields the wielder temporary hit points; the dark nature of blood magic as a form of spellcasting can also be found in e.g. the bleeding fire spell, which nets a magic missile like fire-based effect with higher damage output, chance to set targets ablaze, etc. – and yes, it makes sense at the level of the spell.

The classic blessed jade strike makes a return. There also are mechanically really interesting spells here – take focusing/centering form: These two spells can be cast as a swift action and interact with another spell being cast, enhancing concentration as it is cast or wholly allowing the caster to make the unconscious mind take care of the concentration required to maintain the spell in question. There is a high-level spell to conjure forth a cloud barge or a resplendent cloud of fog of light that dazzles targets and really hampers any creature not used to its light.

Now, some may remember cobra spit – it’s a 10-ft. cone that causes 1d3 Con-damage on a failed Fort-save, additionally dazzling targets and blinding them on a natural 1. I took this relatively simple spell to highlight how it makes sense: The ability score damage is sensible for the 2nd-level spell; the classes that get it are druid, alchemist and witch and it has the proper descriptors, classifying it as poison. In short, it gets all those small details right that you’re liable to miss when doing conversions yourself. Did I mention the 9th-level Colossus that grows you to a MINIMUM of Colossal size? Yes, you can attempt to fist-fight that kaiju….but oddly, the end of the spell mentions you “shrink”ing – that should be “grow.” I assume that’ s due to the wording being partially copied from the reverse version, greater diminution. (As an aside: Everyman Gaming’s Microsized Adventures really helps with dealing with massive size-changes.)

Speaking of high-levels: Clerics with access to 8th level spells can force permanent alignment changes on targets that fail their save versus compulsory conversion. There is also an interesting fire-based high-level spell that uses a save and a HD-cap, but can yield what otherwise only death effects can provide: Save or die. It’s 9th level and takes a full round to cast, though, making sure that its use remains limited to a degree.

The pdf also includes variations of spiritual weapon with a stacking, capped misfortune-curse added, dancing weaponry and a rather helpful spell that allows you to analyze the nature of a curse currently affecting a target. I am not the biggest fan of doubled range increments for ranged weaponry, but how could I not like a cloud of fireflies that renders targets drowsy? An old favorite of mine has also been recovered and converted – fault line causes bludgeoning damage (properly codified) and also acts as a light terrain control spell with its difficult terrain creation. Cool: Ghostly glow represents an eerie variant of dancing lights that interacts with Horror Adventures’ spooked condition. (And yes, once more, perfect fit for Kaidan…)

Glory of the Chrysanthemum Throne may be one of the coolest high-level spells within: It creates innumerable, daylight-shedding ghostly flowers that detonate upon contact with evil creatures, while also providing a miss chance. Oh, and you can designate a rightful person to sit on the thronw who gains a really brutal buff. Amazing 9th-level spell.

Inscribed enemy is interesting: You designate a target and enchant a weapon (NOT ammo!) – the weapon’s first hit versus the target is treated as though executed by a +1 bane weapon. I also loved the visuals of jade prison, which slowly encases evil in a jade statue. I also enjoyed how a couple of the spells herein have been designated as koans, which adds a bit of flavor to their effects. The codification of magnetic ray was also something I rather enjoyed seeing here. Ridiculously funny: Marvelous chopsticks. Think of them as a Bigby/Hand-spell variant that deposits targets in extradimensional spaces, where they are chewed. On the low-level end of the spectrum, I loved meltwater or the nonlethal enforcing merciful mandate. What about making a ladder from smoke?

Fans of rokugan’s shugenja will certainly appreciate the return of phoenix wings. Punji pits make for nice terrain control and a mist that can clean up harmful vapors is a long overdue spell-based counter method for the vile miasmas. Remove fatigue is a spell I see with a degree of skepticism, since it explicitly suppresses further instances of fatigue incurred, which allows for rage cycling etc., banning the spell at my table. Seize the Heart, on the other hand, looks OP at first, but isn’t: The spell can instantly kill a target on a failed save, which, at spell level 3 or 4, is nasty – however, a HD-cap helps keep it in line and instead makes it a great mook-sweeper. What about making scarves lethal…and potentially decapitating targets with them? Yeah, thought you’d enjoy that! And yes, there is a tengu fighting fan that not only nets you an item – you can decrease the remaining duration for special combat tricks. I love this type of versatile design.

Snake arrows do pretty much what they say on the tin, and I probably will not need to explain either Terra Cotta Legion or Lions, right? Quite a few of the spells within interact with spirits and the spirit world, which is nice to see, as it better reflects the realities of most Asian settings. Sublime detachment is a great form of almost-enlightenment high-level means of fortifying against emotions, but also prevents morale bonuses. What about transforming items into origami? Yeah, players will really like that happening to their blades…MUAHAHA. Sorry. Had a bit of a moment there.

It should be noted that the pdf provides an optional rule to make identification of these spells harder when encountered outside of their usual cultural context.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level herein, though not as perfect as in many LG-books. Layout adheres to the nice 2-column full-color standard that the Jade Regent plug-ins employ. The pdf comes with bookmarks for the chapters, but not for the individual spells or at least beginning letters – it could be slightly more comfortable here.

Jason Nelson delivers a love-letter to oriental Adventures here, with a massive selection of unique and colorful spells that breathe the spirit of WuXia. Their mechanical representations are rather nice, and I’d allow the vast majority of them in my game. While I don’t get how a glaring oversight like remove fatigue could happen, the vast majority of the book is precise, concise and interesting. The book provides a rather impressive array of complex spells, many of which sport neat visuals, mechanic, or both. In short, this is a good collection of spells, one well worth owning. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, and though I do feel that this one is closer to the 4 and 5 stars due to the heavy quoting of Oriental Adventures, as a reviewer, I do have an in dubio pro reo policy and hence will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Asian Spell Compendium
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Elemental Exchanges
Publisher: Lost Spheres Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/04/2018 05:47:13

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, 1 /2 page blank, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, as before regarding the spell-centric installments of this series, we get an explanation of a core design tenet here, namely elemental balance. This should be no news for experienced players, but we do get a list of the 4 classic elements, with associated energy types and opposed elements and their energy types – so in the unlikely case that you are new to this, you’ll have the concept explained here. Once more witches don’t get these new spells.

All right, the first spell herein would be elemental duality, which clocks in at level 2 for alchemist, magus and sorc/wiz, level 3 for the druid. The spell allocates two opposing elements to two limbs: A limb may not share two such focal points. The caster may then launch energy (2d6, +1d6 for every 4 caster levels after 3rd, up to 5d6) as ranged touch attacks with Medium range , or add this damage to a melee attack executed with the limb chosen as the focus. Casting the spell includes executing an attack, btw. Okay, does this only work for unarmed/natural strikes? Or can it be combined with spellstrike? In the latter case, it represents a bit of an overkill, as far as I’m concerned. Elemental oscillation clocks in at 4th level for druid and summoner, 3rd for sorcerer and wizard and is interesting: You make a ranged touch attack: If you hit, the target suffers 1d6 per levels of the first element chosen, on the subsequent round the same amount from the opposing element. Breaking concentration or line of effect breaking ends this and the spell alternates between the damage types for its duration. This one is interesting: Damage is enough to make it viable, but not too high to make its added flexibility an issue. I like it.

The pdf proceeds to introduce us to Elemental reaction, which exists in two versions: The lesser one clocks in at level 5 for inqui/cle/oracle, 4 for druid/magus/sorc/wizard. It can be cast as an immediate action and allows you to basically copy a hostile (not healing cheesing) spell with an energy descriptor an enemy casts and target the enemy with it. While it specifies that the caster must be in the new area of effect of the spell (and thus covers touch etc.), the spell’s range could be misinterpreted as substituting that of the copied spell. In short, this could be a bit tighter in its rules. The spell can only affect spell levels of 3rd or lower…does that mean that you have to identify the spell being mimicked first or not? I assume no, but that makes casting it a bit of a guessing game. The greater version clocks in at level 9 for cleric/oracle and sorc/wizard, 8 for druids and 6 for magi/inquisitors; it can mimic spells of up to 7th level.

Oppositional echo is 3rd level for sorc/wizard and magus, 4th for the divine casters and is pretty cool: You copy an elemental spell of an allied caster and inverse the elements, targeting the same area/target. Like it! Opposition sheen is available at 4th spell level for cle/oracle, magus and sorc/wizard and represents an immediate action shield that can negate incoming elemental attacks – if you make your CL-check. This is dynamic, not 100% reliable AND also covers supernatural attacks…so yes, it can shield you, theoretically, versus that dragon breath…if you make the CL-check based on HD… I LOVE this. Even cooler, you get a short-lived defensive aura. Two thumbs up for this onne!

Reactive echo cascade clocks in at 9th spell level for the full casters. You copy a hostile elemental spell and rebuttal it with 3 versions of the same spell (!!) that use the other elements and energies. 5th level is, balance-wise, the maximum spell level you can affect thus. Really cool. Shared opposition clocks in at 3rd level for cle/oracle and magus, 2nd for druid and sorc/wiz. It requires a phyiscla bond with another spellcaster and assigns one element to each. Each spellcaster gets a reservoir of 2d6 energy damage dice, +1d6 per round. These may be used to enhance energy damage of the assigned element. Cool cooperative casting boost! Tormiand’s triad clocks in at 4th level for magi and sorc/wizards. This generates basically a triangle that can fire either fire, cold or electricity bolts as ranged touch attacks over 3 rounds, one bolt per round, or blast all of them at first round. Damage caps at 10d6 per bolt. While the spell is in effect, the caster suffers a penalty to Dex as well as minor energy resistance, depending on energy left. Interesting one. Tormiand’s tetrastrike would be the 6th level upgrade for the spell, instead covering all 4 base energy types and capping at 15d6 maximum damage per bolt.

The pdf also includes two new feats: Oppositional Might nets +1 DC when alternating between opposing elements with powers etc. Elemental Breach makes a target you hit with a melee attack that deals energy damage suffer a short-lived, minor penalty to saves versus that energy. Both feats are functional, but their rules-language could be tighter. It’s energy damage, not elemental damage, for example.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay – bolding, italicization and the like hasn't been implemented in a truly concise manner and there are a couple of instances where minor aspects or the rules-language are a bit wonky. However, at the same time, the pdf manages to get complex and difficult concepts represented in a tight manner, so yeah – flaws in the details, but the ambitious big picture stands., The pdf adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, has no interior artwork and no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ humble little book of elementalism spells is actually rather interesting and holds up pretty well. While not all spells are perfect, I found myself genuinely excited about some of them, and considering the amount of spells I’ve read, that means something. The formatting shortcomings are a tad bit grating, though. Still, while a bit rough around the edges, and while the bonus feats are somewhat sucky, this is still worth checking out. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Elemental Exchanges
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Hybrid Class: The Hermit
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/04/2018 05:45:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 11.5 pages of content, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’, digest-size, which means you can fit up to 4 pages on a sheet of paper.

The hermit is a hybrid of witch and druid. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression, good Will-saves and proficiency with simple weapons. They are divine spellcasters that draw their spells from the druid and witch spell lists and uses Wisdom as governing attribute for spellcasting. They may not cast spells opposed to their alignment and they learn a few spells when leveling up; the hermit may also learn spells from other hermits and their spellcasting is intricately entwined with their lantern. This must be a source of illumination, though the precise form varies from hermit to hermit. The lantern can shine light like a bull’s eye lantern or hooded lantern and may be lit or extinguished as a swift action. It is not affected by environmental effects and requires no fuel. The lantern may be enhanced via item creation feats. Damaged lanterns regain full hit points next time the hermit rests and destroyed lanterns may be replaced. It has hardness 8 and ½ the hermit’s hit points. Lanterns act as divine focus and the hand holding it counts as unoccupied for the purpose of somatic components.

Okay, so far, so cool. Once a lantern is created, you choose one of 4 rune powers. The first expands the area of circular spell effects (cones, cylinders, etc.) as a swift/immediate action 3 + Wis-mod times per day, upgrading to +10 ft. at 10th level. I per se like this, but since RAW, the area of effect increase is total, not based on radius, it is a bit awkward - +2.5 feet radius makes for some off shapes. Making the increase based on radius would have been much more elegant. The second rune makes the lantern behave as a masterwork “light flail”, which can be temporarily enchanted with scaling bonuses, but no unique special weapon qualities. RAW, this bonus can also exceed the +5 cap, which is not how this type of thing usually works. This has a couple of issues. One: There is no “light flail” – it’s either “flail” or “heavy flail”. Or dire flail. Or flailpole. But not “light flail.” Two: RAW, the “light” flail (i.e. the non-heavy one) is a martial weapon, for which the hermit has no proficiency. The next rune grants an untyped, scaling bonus to all saves for allies in the light. It lacks an activation action. The final rune is the inverse, debuff version – but it’s missing its activation action as well.

2nd level nets endurance, 3rd level nets “withdraw” (not the smartest choice for the ability, considering the withdraw action), which acts as 3 + Wis-mod sanctuary per day, with ½ CL added to the DC (WUT??) It also nets + Wisdom mod AC when using the ability. 9th level nets commune as a supernatural variant, with 13th and 17th level increasing the number of questions he can answer per day. At 1st and 2nd level and every even level thereafter, the hermit gets to choose an illumination, which are governed by Int, and which include a +4 Disguise and Bluff bonus to pass off as older, a thousand faces starting at 14th level. There is an illumination that adds the Wisdom modifier a second time to AC when using withdraw. Cool: Getting a bonus to saves versus breathable hazards via filtering, unkempt hair. Weird: The internal balance of these can come off as strange. There is one illumination that nets +1/2 class level to Sense Motive, Diplomacy and Knowledge check DC to learn about the hermit; there also is one that nets +2 to two skills. Another illumination nets new spells or a metamagic bonus feat or a limited array of witch hexes. Immunities are properly situated behind sufficient levels. Weird: Adding 1d4 piercing damage to touch attacks. That’s not how fingernails or the like usually work in PFRPG. All in all, some cool visuals, but also some guffaws. The selection could be longer as well, considering the amount of illuminations the class gets.

The capstone allows the class to expend a spellslot as a swift or immediate action to grant herself a bonus equal to the spell’s level to a Wisdom-based check. The capstone also nets permanent true seeing and sight in perfect darkness. The pdf includes 4 class feats: Additional illumination does what it says on the tin. Become the Dim World nets 50% concealment when using the withdraw class feature, further adding to the vast power of that trick. Born on a Monday nets +2 to social interactions with fey and increases starting attitude to indifferent or better. Legacy of Diogenes sounds cool, but, alas, does not really represent one of the famous exploits of the man, but jus represents a numeric escalation.

Nice: We get a list of magical illumination sources as well as a magic lantern that nets detect illusion once per day and once per night. It also is utterly broken: The limited spellcasting of the class regarding availability is removed here – this one makes the WHOLE spell-lists of druid and witch available. For less than 10K price. Either stick to the limit, or don’t. An item should not be practically required/so good it MUST be taken by every hermit. The pdf closes with a massive list of favored class options, which cover the core races, less common ones and Porphyran races. There is some overlap between the individual FCOs and they vary in usefulness – more spells or withdraw-duration, for example, are more potent than other tricks here.

The pdf comes with a bonus file that includes the CR 5 Chingatrüll, which was also featured in Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers V.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the class has some issues in the design. Not to the extent where it becomes unusable, but to an extent where it becomes problematic. Layout adheres to a 1-column b/w-standard with purple highlights. The pdf has no interior artworks apart from the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Aaron Hollingworth’s Hermit has the makings of a cool class. The idea here is strong – the old hermit, with ragged hair and lantern illuminating, quite literally, the dark in the world….or luring it. I like the theme here. While the withdraw-DC-increase is overkill, it’s limited in its uses, so that’s a plus of sorts. That being said, the hermit could have really used more unique illuminations. Similarly, the lantern BEGS to be used to modify the area of effect of spells and hexes and abilities – instead, it amounts to an object-familiar-substitute. Speaking of objects – the magic lantern that delimits the balancing factor for the spell-list flexibility of the class should die in a blaze. This one is frustrating, fr it has the potential to become outstanding – the spell-engine is interesting and the lantern-idea, half-implemented though it may be, could carry so much more. I can’t rate that potential, though. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hybrid Class: The Hermit
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Player's Guide to Kaidan
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2018 06:16:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The Player’s Guide to Kaidan clocks in at 61 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page patron list, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 55 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

Before we begin, it should also be noted that I am somewhat of a Japanophile and love the Japanese horror tradition that this setting’s down to earth, gritty themes evoke. I was a backer of the Kickstarter that created this book, and, back in the day, I bugged Steven D. Russell (Rest In Peace) relentlessly about a good horror Player’s Guide sans spoilers for the setting. I was not, however, involved in the creation of this book in any way, shape or form.

All right, got that? Great! We begin with introductions by none other than F. Wesley Schenider and the man that first envisioned Kaidan, Michael K. Tumey. This section is a bit more interesting than usual, so I’m going to elaborate on it for a bit: You see, asian fantasy settings tend to gravitate to lumping all literary traditions and aesthetic conventions into one bucket; there is nothing wrong about that, in that we do the same for Western-themed RPGs: There is a style that hearkens to old-world aesthetics, some distinctly American settings – it happens and more often than not, the pot-pourri that is the result works. At the same time, this tendency has a consequence that few ever talk about, namely that the “loud” and flashy concepts override the nuanced ones, that mythology becomes this weird conglomerate. I’ve heard more than once someone remarking that e.g. “hero” would be a good “Samurai-movie” – which made me facepalm. In our globalized world, cross-pollination of aesthetics and concepts is a good thing as a whole, but at the same time, aesthetics cultivated in e.g. anime (and I’m a huge otaku!) can actually overlay and replace narrative traditions that are more subdued, but no less, perhaps even more, engaging. While I am, for example, a huge fan of Uzumaki (the manga!) or some of the grim horror-mangas out there, they do represent a different take onnarrative structure and employ different tropes than what you’ll see herein.

You see, Kaidan is based on the tradition of the Japanese ghost story, which has greatly influenced western sensibilities (most famously via the Ring and Ju-On franchises), but from Lafcadio Hearn’s traditions to Masaki Kobayashi’s classic movie adaption of these stories (Kwaidan, 1964), there is a lesser known, and, as one may argue, more humane type of horror that can be found – it is on said genre that Kaidan is based. The setting is horrific because of its deeply psychological nuances that remain relevant to this day, and because of the delightfully twisted cosmology that represents the backbone of the setting. The more subdued nuances of the setting allow you to tell different stories, and for that, I love it.

Now, if all of this sounds like a glowing recommendation before we get to the book, then you’d be right – I adore the setting. That being said, as always, this adoration also makes me rather stern regarding what I expect to see from this book, so can it withstand proper scrutiny? Let’s take a look!

Okay, so the first chapter here begins in a smart way – it explains to the player’s the social structure, caste system and environments found in Kaidan, including a nice b/w-map of the whole setting. Here is a crucial difference, though: The section does not pull back the veil regarding the central leitmotifs of the setting – it describes what PCs can learn and experience without spoilers, allowing the revelations, once they begin, to hit harder. It also helps players to feel embedded in the setting without explaining away the horrors at the root of the setting. That is a big plus and represents a central task I expect to fulfill from a player’s guide, so the section, in that way, achieves its lore goal.

Now, I know players, so I’m expecting that lore alone won’t cut it – the pdf knows as much as well and presents the races up next, starting with the Anu, one of the human ethnicities. Instead of the human bonus feat, these folks get +2 to Craft (poison) and Craft (trapmaking). They also get +2 to notice traps in forest settings – and yes, the bonus types are correctly codified. They replace the skilled racial trait with +1 hit point per HD. They also get 3 alternate racial traits that make sense and work. The henge come with 7 arrays of different ability-score modifiers for the respective clans (which include tanuki, hare, etc.), all of which are evenly dispersed between physical and mental scores and they get keen senses, +1 skill point or hp per level and are shapechangers, obviously. They also get Stealth and Survival as class skills and treat club and great club, long bow and spear as familiar weapons, gaining proficiency in them regardless of class. However, they also take a bit more damage from cold iron. The alternate racial traits include more bestial hengeyokai, who pay for natural weapons with decreased Intelligence. Aesthetic nitpick: Natural weapons are not codified, requiring the player to default to the standards regarding primary/natural and damage-types, but that is a minor complaint. Small and mixed marriage henge or those with priest or tengu training can also be found.

The dominant human ethnicity of the setting, the Kaidanese, come with a neat array of alternate racial options, with e.g. unclean and unwanted or being tengu raised as examples – they are mechanically sound and feature a strong narrative impetus, which is a big plus. Kappa are Small with +2 Strength, get a swim speed of 40 ft. and suffer no size penalties for grappling, gaining +1 to CMB and CMD instead. They treat Stealth and Survival as class skills and get a non-codified (this extends to all natural attacks and I won’t mention it from here on out) claw attack at 1d3 as well as kappa weapon familiarity. Sounds a bit stronger? Well, if you’re familiar with the legend of the water on top of the kappa’s head, you’ll grin when reading the racial weakness pertaining it. Kitsune can also be found – and in kaidan, they are significantly different from the standard race, gaining 40 ft. speed. They also are Small, have -4 Str, +2 Dex and Cha, are quadrupeds in their fox form and get a 1d4 bite. They have yokai traits, i.e. Stealth and Survival as class skills and may assume a specific, alternate shape. They get a single cantrip that can be sued 3/day for each use of Fox Magic – they are treated as 1/3 of a fox magic use. Fox magic? Well, that would be supernatural effects that can be used 1/day per tail of the kitsune. Save DCs scale based on Cha and fox tails. Oh, and guess what? If they fail a Will-save, their alternate forms may slip, revealing fox tells. They also can speak with foxes at will. I love this more subdued take on the kitsune. If you’d rather play a more martial kitsune, the alternate racial traits do allow for the use of fox magic as an attack-buff and nocturnal foxes and thieving specialists can be found here as well. The korobokuru are next at +2 Str and Wis, -2 Str. They are Small and have a slow speed, but get +2 to Stealth and Perception as well as +1 to saves to resist mind-affecting effects. They get +1 to Climb, Perception, Survival and Stealth in forests and their own array of weapon familiarities. They loathe conflict, though, and thus get -2 to atk versus non-animals, which is reduced to -1 in forests. Finally, the take on the tengu envisions them as +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Con, with yokai traits and a 1d3 bite attack (properly codified regarding types!). They are sword-experts and as such get quite a few racial proficiencies as well as +4 to Linguistics and receive 2 languages per skill point invested in them. They also have low-light vision…and an alternate racial trait that is called “Boar Rider.” Yes, there are dire boar-riding tengus. Come on. That’s damn cool. The races come with proper age, height and weight tables.

Now, next up, we take a look at forming an adventure party – whether you’re playing gaijin, yokai or samurai, there will be somewhat different things to consider, and the pdf helpfully states that “samurai” in the setting does not necessarily indicate having levels in the class. The roles of classes in Kaidan are explained, though, alas, the Occult classes or the ACG classes are not covered. The former is a bit of a pity, since e.g. spiritualist, medium and occultist imho would have made perfect fits for Kaidan. The pdf then proceeds to provide a selection of some of the cooler class options from the various Kaidan supplements: The blind Moso bard from Way of the Yakuza, the tengukensei from In the Company of Tengus, the yamabushi and yabusame from Way of the Samurai all have found their way here. The formatting of these has been improved. We also receive the kannushi priest cleric archetype, who gets 4 + Int skills and proficiency with light and medium armor and simple weapons. They only have access to one domain, chosen from a limited list and do not require a divine focus. Their channel-based healing is slightly less efficient, while their channeling versus undead is slightly more potent: +/- 1 per die, with 12th level allowing for full-round channeling for +2 damage per die. The rules-language here is slightly awkward, but remains functional and sans ambiguities. They gain spirit empathy as well as a bond to a shrine and may bless large structures and areas, very much emphasizing the priest aspect, which is something I enjoyed. Theme-wise concise, rules-wise less mind-blowing.

The miko shrine maiden is an oracle with a modified class skill list and proficiency in simple weapons and light armors and shields, expect tower shields, replacing Medium Armor Proficiency with Skill Focus (Perform [dance]). The pdf suggests curses and mysteries and proceeds to introduce the kami mystery, which yields Knowledge (nature) and (planes), Stealth and Survival as class skills. The bonus spells range from pass without trace to object/plant animation and summon nature’s ally spells. The spell array is okay, but nothing mind-blowing. The revelations include scaling energy resistance, a bonded animal, walking on water (later also on air) and the option to summon a kami into you for warrior-prowess. Minor complaint there: The ability is active and doesn’t sport an activation action. While it being SU lets you default to standard action, I think this one would actually warrant swift/immediate as activation. Making nature strike down targets is cool and we get nature sight, knowledge, talking with animals and elements – so nice, flavorful tricks here. The capstone lets you meld with any natural objects as well as 1/day elemental body IV.

The second new mystery would be the shrine mystery, which nets you Bluff, Knowledge (local) and Perception and pretty classic cleric spells. Here, we can find the nature mystery’s friend to animals, a shrine bond, fortune telling and a bunch of nice ones that thematically expand upon the concept of the bonded shrine. That being said, the mystery also loses a big chance: One revelation sports the option to make limited elemental bursts. …Come on! That practically DEMANDS some kineticist engine-action! The bonded shrine plus kineticist tricks would be perfect, natural fits for the setting! It’d explain why the flashy kineticist blasting isn’t found everywhere in the setting!

Now, the next thing the pdf presents is a new class – the necrotic warriors, elite agents of the Shogun, infused with the powers of dark arts. Oh, and guess what? No alignment restrictions! Thankfully! The class gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and light weapons as well as kama, nunchaku, sai, shuriken, siangham and light armors + bucklers. The class gets full BAB-progression and good Ref-saves. They also get limited Charisma-based spontaneous spellcasting at 4th level, with the spells limited by necrology chosen, which is btw. the most important class feature of the class, but we’ll get back to that in a bit.

The class begins with necromantic strike, which is basically a negative energy-based smite that adds Cha-mod to atk and twice class level to damage, usable 1/day, +1/day for every 3 class levels thereafter. Unfortunately, the ability fails to specify its activation action. 2nd level yields divine focus less channel negative energy as a cleric of ½ his class level. 3rd level lets the warrior add Cha-mod to Will-saves, but not if it’s negative. At 11th level, the same applies to initiative, which can be pretty strong. These wording constructs could have been phrased more elegantly by just noting that only the Charisma bonus is added. 5th level makes the necrotic warrior take damage from positive energy, be healed by negative energy, and also provides immunity to mundane diseases, +4 to saves versus magical ones. 9th level yields evasion, 15th level improved evasion and 17th hide in plain sight. 20th level is the undead apotheosis.

Now, as far as necrologies are concerned, we get 5 of them. As mentioned before, these define the spell selection and 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the list of bonus feats from which the warrior gets to choose. 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter yield a special necrology power defined by the necrology in question. There is no choice here after choosing the necrology, which means that all such beings with the same necrology will be VERY similar. The class really could have used some player agenda there. The necrologies are blood, bone, brawn, poison and shadow. They…sport some weird design decisions. Blood, for example, lets you fling blood at nearby enemies – as a secondary attack, making the whole thing work as a natural attack, when that is NOT how such things are usually handled. Indeed, the material here is uncharacteristically rough for Rite Publishing. We, for example, fail to specify the save DCs of necrology powers. Some of the abilities specify the save DCs, but usually, that sort of thing is determined globally. There are also instances where damage type hasn’t been properly noted – bone darts should, for example, inflict piercing damage and later be treated as magical etc. for purposes of overcoming DR. Doubling Strength-bonuses (brawn necrology, level 18) gained from items is also a really bad idea and further skews PFRPG’s offense focus and high-level rocket-launcher tag syndrome. Yeah, not a big fan. The class, as an NPC-exclusive, could perhaps fly, but as a player-class, it’s too limited, has too few choices and while I love the visuals evoked by the abilities, the issues in the details make this one problematic.

The next chapter deals with Kaidanese weapons and armor as well as other equipment, which is neat to see. We conclude with a handy glossary of kaidanese terms.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are very good; on a rules-language level, the book isn’t bad, but it is also not as good as usual for Rite Publishing, with the new class sporting serious flaws in some of its components. Layout adheres to a two-column standard that is mostly b/w, apart from headers. The book is GORGEOUS: Ian Greenlee, Mark Bulahao, Mark Hyzer, Patricia Smith and Kamil Jadczak provide a ton of amazing, original b/w-artworks that manage to gel together into a consistent style. The pdf comes with bookmarks, but oddly, only for the appendices and the first chapter – the race and class chapters lack bookmarks!

Now, my long-winded introduction should make clear that I love the Kaidan Michal K. Tumey and Jonathan McAnulty created, with additional design by Steven D. Russell. And indeed, I like that the race and class options focus on flavorful choices that are suitable for more low-key playing experiences, for grittier games. I really applaud the consistency of the vision here. That being said, I also found myself slightly disappointed that we don’t get any occult materials herein, that no favored class options are provided for the races. That would be something I can live with, though. However, the serious issues in the new class, which takes up a ton of real estate, are somewhat jarring after the cool, spoiler-less gazetteer and neat race-section. If I were to rate this as a crunch-book, I’d probably settle in at something around the 3-star region. However, this is a Player’s Guide, and the gazetteer-section and flavor is amazing. Still, as a whole, I can’t go higher than 3.5 stars for this one. If you like grittier gameplay and the idea of Kaidan, round up; if you’re looking for primarily crunchy components, round down. My official final verdict will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Guide to Kaidan
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Mythic Monsters #46: Japan
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2018 06:14:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games‘ Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, as always, we begin this supplement with new supplemental content – and this time around, that content comes in the guide of 5 new magic items, the first of which would be the mighty crane kimono, which nets the wearer Crane Style while unencumbered and in light armor and also bestows good fortune, which particularly shows when rolling an advantage-like roll, i.e. twice and taking the better result. Really cool: The kimono also protects from the ravages of time, rendering mythic wearers even immortal! Cool: We can use mythic power to render spells merciful or apply Touch of Serenity to attacks. I can see the kimono’s cranes being released. Evocative one. The second item would be a representation of the classic oni mask, here envisioned as allowing wearers to grow in size and gain oni-like defensive traits, which may be further enhanced via mythic power expenditure. Additionally, the mask can be thrown into the air to grow, pummeling a designated foe as forceful hand, representing a classic visual. Wearers can also fire rays and mythic wearers get passive bonuses. Cool take on the trope!

Less costly would be the princess peony, which can create a spectral bodyguard of sorts. The rokurokubi whip can have its tail transform into the head of the dreaded creature, which can also transmit caster croak! Mythic wearers can also wield it as a scarf, granting sustenance, the option to become a pseudo-rokurokubi etc. – amazing weapon! The tombo fan, finally, enhances bardic performance while acting as a magical fighting fan, while mythic wielders can begin to fly while maintaining performances with the fan. Nice one!

Now, what about the monsters? Well, at Cr 3/MR 1, we have the Pipefox, whose mythic incarnation is a true font of knowledge and who may, 1/day stun targets with a revelation. Fun one.! At the same CR/MR, kappa can thankfully now turtle up in their significantly stronger shells. I was also happy to see the water gourd represented in a proper ability here. Well done. At 1 CR higher, the Kawa Akago can break of their fangs in targets now, and they also get a luring, mournful cry – which is delightfully twisted.

From here, we move to the classic tanuki, here as CR 5/MR 2. The Tanuki gets its choice of a limited array of feats each round, to represent drunken master-style unpredictability, and yes, the classic flame breath as well as pilfering hand 3/day while in raccoon form. The Kirin’s mythic version clocks in at CR 8/MR 3 and is unfettered by boundaries – freedom of movement. They can use mythic power for quickened cure spells and get smite evil. They can also add a mythic power-based detonation to their new signature ability, which is a corona of purifying flames that harm neutral and evil creatures. (Kudos: Half fire/half untyped properly codified.)

At CR 10/MR 4, we have two creatures, the first of which would be the ogre mage, who gains a disease to afflict targets with as well as more natural weaponry to represent the maneater aspect. Oh, and they may use mythic power to increase spell DCs and enter a specialized rage. The second creature herein at this power-level would be the ice-maiden, the Yuki-onna can now bull rush in spite of being incorporeal and gets the trick to send magic flying back to casters. Nice! While we’re on the subject of deathly pale beauties: The Harionago clocks in at CR 13/MR 5 and does finally justice to the myth: DR-penetrating barbs in the hair, a nasty shriek (did I hear banshee?)…really cool. My favorite ability, though, would be a representation of her not handling rejection well: When someone resists her tricks, she takes Wisdom damage, but also gains a buff. This rewards smart players and has the plot-angle practically baked in. Kudos! Japanese legends sport some of my favorite woman-monsters, and the spider-hybrid Jorogumo, at CR 15/MR 6 is also included, and of boy is she cool: Webs laced with intoxicants and aphrodisiacs; enhancing spiders with breath weapons, implanting eggs, quick wrapping of targets – pure amazing!

At 1 CR more, the mythic Gashadokuro can fire skulls that latch onto victims and gnaw them to bits; they are nigh-unstoppable when faced by those suffering from starvation and they get a demoralizing roar and enhance the starvation aura to apply feast of ashes via successful attacks. At CR 21/MR 8, we have the Bakekujira, who can unleash mythic contagion, can Awesome Blow via tail slaps and gets fast healing 10 – but only in water…or, well. It can get half fast healing for a limited time for mythic power. Mythic power may also be used to attempt to affect creatures that saved via levathan’s call. They have bane versus ANY creature that killed an aquatic animal and those killed by their smashing breach rise as savage draugr! Have I mentioned the undead parasites? Oh yes. At the same lofty CR/MR, we get the mythic shinigami. These can crush soul gems quicker and gain cumulative bonuses when focusing on a target – death, alas, is inevitable, as they say. Similarly, escaping from one may see the mortal cursed with an escalating, devastating curse and their presence makes death effects bypass SR automatically. OUCH. And yes, their scythe can’t be disarmed…oh, and you DON’T want to be critted by them. If the damage doesn’t kill them, DC 37 save or die should make even mythic characters gulp for a second when facing these legends.

What’s the new creature, you asked? Well, none other than perhaps the most famous, legendary beast from Japanese myth. We’ve fought it in Nioh, in okami, we’ve read about it in Catherynne M. Valente’s Grass-Cutting Sword – represented in a ton of different media, we get the epic, eight-headed Yamata-No-Orochi, at CR 30/MR 10. Full attacks with charges. Beheading bites. 8 different breath weapons. Oh, it can INFLICT BURN. It has independent minds and control of which one is affected. It can intercept attacks by foregoing attacks or breath weapons. Oh, and it can, obviously, regenerate heads. Its jumps generate tsunamis/earthquakes…and it is a relentless sake-addict. Which may well be the only reliable way to survive seeing this glorious legend. Seriously, do the DPR-calculations for a smartly-played Yamato-No-Orochi. No matter how amazing the mythic high-level PCs are, they will fear this beast!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no serious issues. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artists Tim Kings-Lynne, Mike Lowe and Tanyaporn Sangsnit did a glorious job with the artworks – the cover artwork in particular is PHENOMENAL. As in, one of my all-time favorite cover-artworks.

Jason Nelson, Loren Sieg and Mike Welham provide a homerun here – every single iteration of these mythic upgrades is suffused in mythology, sports amazing abilities, and blows its regular version out of the water – not only in power, but in how they try to represent the associated concepts. This is one of the best installments in the whole series, at least for me. It oozes flair and panache in every critter and the depiction of the legendary 8-headed snake as a new campaign-endboss-level super-beast adds icing on a cake made of awesome. 5 stars +seal of approval, given sans hesitation.

(As an aside, if you’re playing in Kaidan and are looking for some really tough bosses…there you go!)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #46: Japan
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Everyman Minis: Ghost Hunting Options
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2018 06:11:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page of advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, we begin with two concisely-codified skill-uses to identify rules components of haunts via Knowledge (religion) and also, more relevant, unearth hints on how to end them. For settings like Kaidan or similar horror-themed games, this can be really neat! The latter is btw. reliant on a wide variety of skills, allowing all PCs to contribute to such attempts to identify.

The pdf then provides a new bard archetype, the spirit singer, who replaces soothing performance, adding call spirit (not properly italicized) to spells known and may cast it by performing 10 minutes. The bard must spend 5 rounds of bardic performance, +1 round per round he concentrates on it. Ähhh…I think something went wrong here. 10 minutes with that cost…I think this ability was supposed to offer bardic performance-based call spirit as an additional option, but RAW, this is just confusing. 18th level’s versatile performance lets you call a spectre, at high-performance-per-round cost, but here, the rules are tighter. You also take temporary negative levels while maintaining this. Instead of distraction (which may be learned instead of versatile performance, starting at 10th level), the ghost singer may bypass mind-affecting effect immunity of incorporeal undead with performances and bard spells. The archetype also begins play with speak with dead/haunts, which upgrades at 6th level, replacing versatile performance gained there.

We also get a new thematically-fitting bardic masterpiece, the Lullaby of Calming Spirits, which allows the bard to lull haunts into an inactive state – cool! We also get 3 new investigator talents. Phantom inkling enhances initiative versus haunts and allows the investigator to notice haunts. Using inspiration dice to make attacks as though ghost touch is nice. Spirit Sleuth’s header is not properly bolded and makes use of the new skill uses noted. The pdf also offers a level 2 burn 1 substance infusion for earth, the ghost-blight infusion, which makes the kinetic blast target incorporeal undead for full damage, courtesy of salts. Spectral barrier is a level 6 aether utility wild talent that duplicates anti-incorporeal shell, with 2 burn as an option to make it last for class level rounds.

The pdf also includes 4 magic items: Corpse glass can be directed at a place where an incorporeal undead was defeated, showing the remains and distance etc. – neat. Ghost-snarl bags are incorporeal-only tanglefoot bags. PEACHWOOD SWORD (oddly, allcaps) are problematic: These wooden swords cause Cha-damage on crits versus undead, and when destroyed from such a sword, rejuvenation etc. are ignored – the undead is destroyed. This wrecks many a great narrative and rewards critical-fishing builds. It can also target possessed creatures with cast out. Not a fan. Phantom snare, finally, is basically a ghost trap.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are still good, but not as precise as usual for Everyman gaming, with the archetype sporting a rules-hiccup, for example. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none. The full-color artwork is nice.

I really like the new skill uses in Matt Morris’ ghost hunting mini, and some of the items are pretty neat. At the same time, the archetype takes up a lot of real estate and its concept has been done before in better, more interesting ways. The items, with the exception of the sword, are pretty nice. Still, as a whole, I was less blown away by this one than usual for both the author and the Everyman Mini-series. This is a solid, nice pdf and the skill-uses warrant getting this for horror-themed campaigns. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Ghost Hunting Options
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Rogue's Field Guide Rare Races
Publisher: Rogue Robot Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2018 06:05:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 283 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover/designation of product identity, leaving us with 277 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review.

We begin with a brief framing device that is mirrored in the end of the pdf, with notes by “The Rogue”, the eponymous explorer that comments the text and provides the respective surveys, as well as the lead designer.

As you could glean from the title, this book is concerned with unique and strange races. Each of the racial write-ups notes the RP-values (which are, as an aside, woefully inadequate at judging a race’s potency) and the basic notes we’ve come to expect – relations, background, preferred alignment, sample names – you get the drift. Age, Height and Weight tables are thankfully provided as well. Each race comes with alternate racial traits, racial feats and archetypes as well as favored class options. It should be noted that favored class options tend to clock in on the more detailed side of things, and that the lists take both classes from the ACG and from OA into account, and yes, even the vigilante. Additionally, each section comes with a sample NPC, who is depicted at levels 3, 6 and 12 – kudos for that. The NPCs have, PFS-style, their abilities spelled out, which can make them more convenient to use, but the abilities don’t state the type (Ex, Su, etc.) – personally, I think that having the type helps, but that as an aside. Length-wise, most of the racial entries cover slightly more than 20 pages, most of which is devoted to crunch – just to give you an idea of the extent of the pdf.

All right, we have a TON of ground to cover, so let’s start with the first race, the Branchards. Branchards are actually no unified race, instead representing a catch-all term for beings that carry the blood of neutrally-aligned planes in their blood. They are native outsiders with a base speed of 30 ft., Medium and gain resistance 5 to cold, electricity and fire, as well as a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive. They can use blur 1/day as a SP, have darkvision and if they’re chaotic, they add +1 to the DC of spells cast with the chaotic descriptor, but take a -1 penalty to saves versus spells with the lawful descriptor. This holds true vice versa for lawful branchards. Branchards that have an alignment on the neutral point of the law-chaos-axis gain a +1 racial bonus to saves versus both lawful and chaotic spells. Ability-score-wise, they get +2 to Wis and Int, making them lopsided on the caster-side of things – personally, I prefer one boost to physical, one boost to a mental attribute.

Now, the base stats of each of the races are provided on a sheet of parchment, in a bullet-point-style list, which, true to premise, mimics the notes of the titular Rogue, including a kind of handwritten-looking, pretty legible font. Now, while I like the commitment to the premise here, this makes, from a usability point of view, for not the best decision. The font sports no formatting differentiation between what is usually bolded and what isn’t; more annoyingly, it’s an italicized font, which makes spotting e.g. spell-names harder than it should. I’d strongly suggest for future books to just stick to presentation-standards here. The idea is cute in theory, but slightly impractical in practice.

This problem, thankfully, only extends to the base stats of a given race- the rest of the rules are provided in a cleaner font and adheres to presentation and formatting standards. While we’re on the subject of formatting – here, I may actually compliment the book: E.g. bonus types and italicizations of spells etc. are enforced in a rather meticulous manner. Kudos there!

While we’re on the subject of minor layout snafus, it should be noted that I stumbled quite often over the look of the “1” in the font chosen for the regular text; it almost looks like an “I” to me; once more, not a big issue, but something to bear in mind.

Now, let us return to the branchards – we get a total of 12 different alternate racial traits for the race, which include +4 to Perception and 1/day see invisibility in exchange for the skill-boost and the SP; +2 to Knowledge (history) and to saves vs. death effects as well as 1/day lesser age resistance in exchange for the axis-based magic boost, SP and skill-boost; we can find Deathless warden; at-will detect undead, easier passing for humans…you get the idea. There is also a halo of glowing runes (which serves as light, italicization missing) and which can convey secret messages as writing – cool visuals there. Natural weapons are properly codified, if taken.

Not enough for you? Want specific alternate versions? There are 8 branchard heritages to choose from to represent more specific ancestries: Aeon-blooded branchards are typically neutral, get +2 to Str and Wis, instead apply the skill-boost to Knowledge (planes) and Perception and get calm emotions instead of blur. With the exceptions of the jyoti-blooded, these btw. all have their attribute bonuses evenly distributed among physical and mental scores – nice. 1/day vs. constant SPs also make sense – psychopomp-blooded branchards, known as wayfarers, get, for example, a constant deathwatch, while the protean-blooded warped ones get twisted space 1/day. The favored class options are extensive and do not shirk away from more complex rules-operations, like granting additional bloodline power uses for bloodline powers that can be used 3 + Cha-mod times per day. Now, a positive surprise for me was the massive 100-entry dressing table for branchard-NPC-abilities; these can also be used to replace the SP of the base race and include a wide variety of SPs. Formatting is slightly less tight here – we have instances of natural weapons not categorized and spells not italicized; there are a few typos here and there is a 20-ft.-aura that stuns targets 1/day – RAW sans save…so yeah, while I liked this table, it’s not as tight as it should be and should definitely remain the providence of GMs.

Really cool: We get a purely fluff-table to determine random features that can yield a mouth-slit, splayed feet, extra digits, etc. – neat one! We get 5 new feats: One yields mount, companion or familiar the entropic or resolute template; protean-blooded branchards of 9th level may choose to gain basically light fortification, which automatically upgrades to 50% chance to ignore crits and sneak attack-based bonus damage at 17th level. There’s a feat that nets you a traded in resistance of 5 back and one that nets you 1/day blink, +1/day for every 5 levels a day. Complaint here – the total at 20th level will be 5 uses, not 4: 1 feat, +1 at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th level – that makes 5. Extra Limbs can only be taken at 1st level and is pretty OP: You get +2 off hands. If you have ever built a multiweapon shredder, you’ll know how lethal that is bound to end...and why 4-armed races usually have some sort of drawback built in. We also get a few nice mundane items like sleeping powder, flash powder and prismatic paints as well as an oil that may be applied to ropes, chains, etc. to bind incorporeal creatures.

The race also sports 3 sample spells: Decode space generates a cube that encapsulates a TON of spells: blood biography, detect animals and plants, charm, magic, poison, secret doors, thoughts, undead, identify and see alignment and it lets you see through illusions in the terrain. It also nets you the ability to ignore difficult terrain in the cube as well as +4 insight bonus on ALL checks (should be defined) made against a target decoded by the cube – I assume, this bonus only lasts while the spell does. I like the idea here, but this spell can become a nightmare to run – the sheer amount of information you need to dump on each target makes the actual use of this one cumbersome. I’d suggest providing a baseline buff/bonus for decoding, with the OPTION to concentrate for one or more of these benefits instead. Emphasizes player-agenda, retains flexibility and is less of a headache. Hallowed lantern enthralls the undead, and warpwave is a 5th level attempt to replicate the protean ability as a spell – complaint here: CL = character level makes no sense for a spell, but 3 of the 20 entries sport that note.

The racial archetype would be the axial exemplar chooses one of the alignment extremes and gains the associated domain, including the 8th level ability and the bonus spells of level 1 – 6, in exchange for the inqui domain and second judgment abilities. The inqui detects the opposed alignment exclusively and 16th level nets a 1/day SP depending on the chosen alignment. This one…is really basic, boring, and has no tie-in with the race. More exciting would be the NPC, a sorcerer/brawler (steelbreaker). Nice one.

The second race would be the Isoonna, who get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Con, are aquatic and immune to disease and poison (Boo!). They get +1 AC as well as +4 to CDM to resist disarm and grapple. They also get +1 to Knowledge (nature) and Survival, have a swim speed of 30 ft. and a properly codified 1d4 bite attack. They are amphibious and have darkvision and can, Con-mod times per day, minimum 1/day, secrete a Strength-damaging poison, with the DC scaling based on HD and Con-mod. They have an eel-angle going on: When they pin a creature, they cause 1 point of Con damage (should be contingent on bite, imho) and gain fast healing 2 for the round. Hand me that bag of kittens and a damage-dispersal option and we have infinite healing for the whole party. Blergh. Disqualified right there from any of my games. The lack of an abuse caveat here is sloppy. Which is a pity, for I liked the option to generate glue seals with touch attacks…though the save DC is wrong – it should be 10 + ½ character level + Con-mod, not “11 +…” Granted, they must consume one point of Con-damage in blood per day and are vulnerable to fire, but these folks still won’t get near my game…again, a pity, for I consider the idea of an aquatic vampire to be interesting and the slime, for example, makes for a unique and interesting angle. Also cool: Their spit can fortify others against disease and poison, granting a bonus to saves – now, sans the immunity for the base race, which wrecks a ton of low-level plots, this would be really cool…it still is. They may replace the slippery body with camouflage.

Also lulzy: At BAB+1 and Str 13 you can get BOTH grab and swallow whole with the bite. WUT? Seriously? Those two are VERY strong and should be locked behind a higher prerequisite barrier. The second feat is cool, though, allowing you to infuse the slime with toxins – really cool and what I like to see from racial feats. Unfortunate power-creep – there is an item that LITERALLY does the same as a tanglefoot back, but with added cold damage – flash-freeze foam. Cool, right? Well, it costs the same as a tanglefoot bag. Come on. Awesome, on the other hand – an expanding, higher level variant of glue seal and a vertigo-inducing variant of mirage arcana – both make for cool spells. The archetype would be the sanguisuge rogue, who can share potions imbibed by letting others drink her blood. At higher levels, we get alter self via blood drinking as well as addition the effects of progressively better beast shape or monstrous physique spells. Advanced talents allow for blood biography and the limited leeching or sorc/bloodrager bloodlines. Problem here: Limitations. The ability should spell out that gaining an ability thus multiple times does not reset any limited-use abilities of the bloodline in question to avoid cheesing. Nice: We get a write-up of the racial deity (5 domains and subdomains, shuriken favored weapon…) and the sample NPC is a chirurgeon alchemist/nature fang druid multiclass. All in all, a thematically amazing race with some needless cheese-exploits and a bit of feature bloat.

Iwaningen are aberrations that get +2 Con and Wis, and have a speed of 20 ft. The speed-entry is ccp’d, stating that if the creature is Medium, the speed is never reduced due to encumbrance. Guess what? They’re always Medium. They begin play with only their racial language due to their xenophobic culture…and, oddly, instead of listing it in the ability score adjustments, they list +2 Str as its own trait, making them somewhat lopsided there. They have DR 5/magic, +2 to saves versus poisons, spells and SPs, gain +4 natural armor, have fire immunity (wut?) and cold resistance 10, get +1 Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival while underground, +2 Perception, get +2 to concentration, +2 to CL-checks to overcome SR and +2 to dispel checks, have darkvision and may consume up to 10 lbs. of minerals or metal to heal 1 ability score damage per pound consumed. The healing takes 10 minutes to happen (good catch). But the ability does not specify an action required for eating 1 pound of minerals or metal. They take a whopping -6 to saves versus sleep or other spells that cause suspended animation. Alternate racial traits include burrow speed, +2 to CL with earth-spells or 3 Skill Focuses, gained at 1st, 8th and 16th level.

..

Yeah, well. 38 RP. What should I say here? Rock and crystal given life is a cool concept and the theme of the race is strong. The drawback versus suspended animation is really cool. But the race is choked in needless feature-bloat. Those numerical escalations for magic, the immunity to fire, the (almost always) lame skill boosts – they contribute nothing to making the race have a unique identity. As written, they are basically earth genasi/oreads on steroids. They get two cool racial weapons (where’s the proficiency for them?) and a feat lets them vomit slag! See, that type of thing makes the character unique! I’d strip all that numbers-escalating stuff, retain the metal-eating, slumber and DR and make that a racial trait. That being said, the slag vomited should have its damage cap based on level, not on metal eaten – a level 1 character can use this feat to vomit 10d6 fire damage in a 10-ft.cone if he’s eaten 10 lbs. of metal/minerals. That kills everything at that level. Oh, and guess what? The feat is missing its saving throw. RAW, there is NO SAVE. Cooldown 10 minutes, but still, way OP for low levels. The spells include a combo of fire resistance and DR via ceramic skin, and a level 3 touch attack that causes up to 10d6 sonic damage + nauseated on a failed save, sickened on a successful one. Save should negate the condition at this spell-level. Seismic skewers is cool, creating a tripping line of stalagmites that pierce foes.

The racial archetype provided is the construction chemist, who gets the option to infuse an extract in a bomb. Only direct hits are affected. Oh boy. This is so broken, I don’t even know where to start. The extract’s range is limited to the field it hits, but not the area of effect. This unintentionally allows for the bypassing of Personal range extracts, as the abuse caveat erroneously notes “Self” prohibited here, which does not exist in PFRPG – that’s 5e-rules language. The more significant problem is that the ability fails to specify how spell delivery, saves etc. interact with the magic-laced bomb, nor the actions it takes to lace the bomb with the extract – the alchemist can thus easily bypass casting-action-economy restrictions. The rest of the archetype sports formulae extensions and a cool idea, namely creation capsules that can duplicate the creation spells. Once more, we get a nice deity write-up and a sample NPC, this time around a staff magus/ancient sensei.

All in all, a race I’d only consider for NPCs, courtesy of the really strong racial baseline and issues in the cooler racial components.

The Kaalogii are next and clock in at a somewhat more moderate RP 26 – though, as we could see time and again in various supplements, that doesn’t mean much, so let’s see how they fare! In contrast to what the fluff text claims, the race is not a monstrous humanoid, but a native outsider at Medium size, with a base speed of 30 ft., darkvision, Dex and Wis +2 and Cha-2 – interesting, considering that they are butterfly people. The race gets +1 natural AC and always treats Perception and Sense Motive as class skills. They have adhesive spittle, which duplicates a non-magical glue seal with a range of 20 ft., usable at-will…which is interesting, but what is the DC of the ability? Does it scale with HD? No idea. The race gets unassisted personal flight at level 1, with good maneuverability, which can wreck the basic assumptions of many low-level modules. PFRPG has an implicit cap that assumes 5th level as a threshold for unassisted natural flight, building in the more commonly usable options on gliding wings and linear progressions or providing different ways to limit the availability of unassisted flight at low levels.

Hazard Hype is one of the two racial feats, and it adds +1 to your next initiative roll after succeeding a save or being missed by an attack. Somewhat weak, as far as I’m concerned. Perilous Panache is one of the infinitely abusable feats: Whenever you drop to below 1/10th of your maximum hit points (arbitrary threshold – not a fan), you regain 1 grit or panache. So, half-dead. Gain grit. Get 1-hp heal, cut yourself, rinse and repeat and you have infinite grit/panache. This needs an abuse-caveat. The racial spell would be nice: Greater share senses lets you share senses with other creatures. The intoxicating artist replaces bardic spells with an alchemist’s extracts, though the ability uses Charisma as governing attribute. Problematic: Instead of Performance, the archetype may use Fly – does that mean that the archetype can move AND perform via one skill check? No idea. The archetype’s bardic performance-effects are based on intoxicating powder, which represents nice imagery – the archetype gets an improvement for this dust at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, adding scaling debuff effects to the powder. The rules-interaction here is pretty hard to grasp – the improved powders suddenly make it seem like the base powders (i.e. performances) require a swift action to activate. The interaction between the abilities here are somewhat wonky and confusing – the archetype would have been served better by replacing performance with a properly phrased powder-engine instead. As before, we get a nice sample racial deity as well as a neat NPC – this time, a flying blade swashbuckler/daredevil bard multiclass.

The Khartajan are unique – somewhat bovine, with a sword-horn and rather beautiful, these desert-dwellers are interesting and culturally rather interesting. Rules-wise, they get +2 Con and Cha, -2 Int, are Medium humanoids with keen senses and their movement rate is, oddly, split between noting their base movement of 30 ft. and the increase of +10 ft. they always have. They get a properly codified 1d4 gore attack, low-light vision. They get cornered fury and gain a +4 racial bonus on Con-checks and saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion caused from starvation, thirst, forced marches, etc. They get +1 natural armor and they can take 10 or Survival checks to locate water within 1d4 miles, using their horn to dowse. This also allows them to pinpoint water bodies of sufficient size as though via locate object. They also get a desert-variant of woodland stride and low-light vision. While suffering a bit from feature bloat in minor bonuses, these folks struck a real chord with me – unique, interesting and flavorful. I can see myself using these. The 3 alternate racial traits provided are solid.

The race comes with 3 racial weapons and a solid horn sheathe and 3 racial feats: Lithe Charger negates AC-penalty when using Cleave or Lunge or while charging; Sword Horn provides the means to deal slashing damage with the horn and potentially cause bleeding wounds. Ungulate Stamina is a lame boost to saves versus fatigue/exhaustion etc. The spell stallion’s stamina also falls into this category – fatigue and exhaustion immunity at 2nd level, even granted by a spell, temporarily, is pretty problematic. Absorb toxins is a full-blown power-creep; better than neutralize poison AND at a lower level. The racial archetype would be the stargazing strider ranger, who casts spells as psychic spells, replaces the 1st favored terrain with the ability to determine his precision location and adds Cha-to all Wisdom-based checks while under the night sky. Not a fan of dual attributes to a skill, it further exacerbates the skill-abuse. 1/day, they can freely cast a spell with one of a few metamagic improvements. 9th level nets commune under the night sky. The race comes with a nice deity write-up as well as with a sample NPC, a bard (magician)/oracle (stargazer).

Up next would be the delightfully weird Leimaxi, the strange, purple creatures on the cover, who gain +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha, are aberrations with the leimaxi subtype, and a slow and steady speed of 20 ft. They begin play with only the racial language and get +1 to Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival . When remaining motionless for at least 1 round, they get +4 to Stealth. They also get +4 to CMD to resist grapples and Escape Artist. They get stability and DR 5/slashing or piercing and have adhesive pseudopods that grant them a climb speed of 20 ft. They also have a properly codified 1d3 bite attack and may, as a swift action, increase their reach by 5 ft., which may also be done as part of an attack action. While the arms are extended thus, they take a -4 penalty when attacking with non-close weapon group, natural attack or unarmed strikes, suffer from 5% arcane spell failure (unless casting via Still Spell) and retracting arms is a move action that provokes an AoO – this is interesting! They also secrete Con-mod (min 1) times day toxic slime that inflicts 1d2 Con damage as a swift action. As if all of that weren’t enough, they also get darkvision AND blindsense 30 ft. To somewhat make up for all of this, they get light sensitivity, are susceptible to salt and vulnerable to fire. This is a perfect example of feature-bloat. The race, when boiled down to its essence, is defined by the arms and the toxic slime and the climb speed; the CMD-boosts etc. and the blindsense are superfluous and needlessly limit the appeal of the race. Also, if you needed further proof of why I think that the ARG sucks: These fellows clock in at 16 RP. That’s one more than aasimar.

The alternate racial traits allow the race to replace toxic slime with acid one – oh, and the acid slime can RAW be used an infinite number of times. sigh The second replacement would be adhesive slime, which nets a countergrapple WHENEVER the leimaxi is hit with a natural or unarmed melee attack and the leimaxi does NOT gain the grappled condition. Weird: The ability suddenly starts to talk about manufactured weapons being stuck to the leimaxi – here, we’d need a whole different set of mechanics! So no, not functional as presented. An upgraded darkvision at the cost of worse light sensitivity can be found and the coiled arms may be replaced with two 1d4 tentacle attacks that get grab. At level 1. And they are under constant long arm. We get two new exotic weapons and 3 feats. Coiled Punch lets you “wind up” the arm, inflicting more damage for each round in which you “wind up” your punch. This is, engine-wise, interesting. Destined Occupation makes you gain both a racial and generic FCO when leveling up in one, but your level in all other classes is treated as one level lower, minimum 1. OUCH. Preordained Confidence nets you +4 to saves versus charm, compulsion, emotion and fear effects, Wisdom modifier times. Okay, must this choice be made beforehand? Does it require activation? Can you choose not to use the bonus? Life well is a high-level combo-heal spell that damages undead; nauseating vision is duplicated here; I covered that spell and its shortcomings in the Isoonna section. Weird: Why print the spell twice in the same book?

The leimaxi archetype here would be the mutation motivator oracle, whose 1st level revelation is replaced with an aura that nets you a deformity and mutation on a failed save. Yes. Permanently. Making the save renders you immune for 24 hours, but seeing how the aura can RAW not be turned off, this is problematic. The archetype can add a ability score boost to mutants and, at level 7, make a target in range of the aura a mutant. Permanently. With only wish and miracle as counters. Yeah…players will hate that one. The capstone is a pretty boring apotheosis-style potpourri of passive abilities. The section closes with a cool racial deity and the sample NPC, which this time around, is a maneuver master/sacred fist.

The next race would be the morphlings, born from a union of mongrelmen and doppelgangers. They get both low-light vision and darkvision, are Medium, get +2 Dex and Wis, and they treat Bluff, Disguise, Linguistics and Sense Motive as class skills. That is a bit unnecessary overkill once more – why not have them choose one? The idea would be retained without the significant power-increase. The race counts as Con-mod subtypes as well as monstrous humanoids. I don’t object to multi-typing, although it’s not commonly used. However, the race should specify how that interacts with effects that have different effects depending on races targeted. Say, I choose orcs and elves, right? There is a battlefield, where orcs are buffed and elves are debuffed – how would that interact with the multiple types of the race? The morphlings also get voice mimicry and ability score-adjustment-less alter self that may not be used to assume the shape of specific individuals.Morphlings may once per day use evolution surge as a non-magic ability, with CL equal to character level. They also get spontaneous change, which is AMAZING. When critically hit, they roll 1d12 and consult a table, spontaneously mutating, gaining e.g. scent or natural attacks. Complaint here: I think that some of the natural attacks granted should probably specify whether they entail dropping an item held in the limb. Also slightly weird: The bonuses some of these grant are untyped, when racial would be the more sensible choice. I really liked the morphlings as a whole. The random and short-lived crit-mutation is unique and flavorful and can’t be cheesed. While the race suffers a bit from feature bloat, it’s not even close to what the 25 RP value would suggest. If you take away some of the needless power-escalation, you’ll have a cool race here.

Voice mimicry may be replaced with curiosity, and the class skills gained may be exchanged for +2 to saves versus poison and mind-affecting effects. Slightly weird: Bonuses are once more untyped here. The evolution surge-ability may be replaced with DR 5/silver. The entry comes with magical earrings that heat when near the partnered earring – which makes sense for a race of shapeshifters. We get 4 weapons and 4 racial feats: Tailored Change nets disguise self when changing; Selective Change nets you voluntary access to the random change effects and Mosaic Change builds on that, allowing the morphling to manifest up to Con-mod such changes at once. Monstrous Change nets ability score adjustment-less monstrous physique I and the ability to assume monstrous humanoid shapes. Lock form does what it says on the tin and the second skin spell nets you natural armor and temporary hit points, and, interestingly, delays the effects of polymorphs etc. The racial archetype provided would be the henshin hexer ninja, who replaces 4th level’s ninja trick with a hex, with poppets allowing for at-range hex delivery of touch-range hexes and the possession of undead. While brief, I found myself liking this one. The racial deity would be the first Chimera, which is a cool idea for such a race. The sample NPC is a bounty hunter slayer/daring infiltrator, btw.

Nariphons are plant-beings that arise in a form of reincarnation of sorts from the slain. They get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Dex, have +1 natural armor, treat Int-mod Knowledge skills as class skills. In addition to these, the race chooses two non-Knowledge skills, treating them as class skills with a +2 bonus. Now, the race has restorative sap that can restore skeletons to corpses, gentle repose corpses and heal the living – which is per se nice. A Nariphon can’t benefit from the sap, so that’s nice. At the same time, the sap can be used to create basically potions of cure serious wounds. This has serious repercussions for any world: The lack of limits regarding the longevity of the sap collected means that a level 1 group could, time provided, flood the market with infinite sap-potions. This should have a limit. The race has low-light vision and is light dependent. The race, in an interesting drawback, is also compelled to fulfill the desires of the “parent” creature that spawned them, which is a nice RP-motivator. Now, while the sap needs a limiter and while the skills gained are overkill, I still generally liked this one. Bark skin may be replaced with slightly better enchantment and social skills and the sap may be replaced with the ability to speak with dead/plants.

Seedling and sap of the race are provided as mundane items and we get 3 feats: Photosynthetic Growth nets non-magical enlarge person and long arm effects in intense light; Grasping Vines help deliver touch attacks and when requiring fine, delicate operations. Weird: The feat requires a standard action for the growth, but doesn’t specify a duration. Pretty sure that went missing. Draw Nutrients. They may also root themselves for immunity to bull rush and trip (Seriously? Even when a dragon punches them?) as well as fast healing for Con—mod rounds. Unfortunate: The intended limit of fast healing doesn’t work – you can just root yourself once more. “Ended the rooted effect is a move action.” Should probably spell “Ending.” Perfume of the alraune combines calm emotions with Wis-damage and a debuff. Create celestial/fiendish fruit are interesting spells that can generate special fruit that can provide buffs/debuffs to those with the correct/wrong alignments. The racial archetype would be the past life pugilist brawler, who gains a Wis-governed, monk-style AC-bonus and panache instead of martial flexibility, with a couple of deeds sprinkled in. The racial deity is REALLY interesting and one of my favorites herein – Vessantara is actually called the Fruit of Nirvana and makes for a really cool concept. The sample NPC is a spiritualist investigator/speaker of the past shaman.

Paleplasmi are humanoid oozes born from the mythical waters of life and their mysterious origins are hotly-debated – we get some more information here than usual. The race gets +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Int and they are oozes, granting them a whole slew of immunities. They have a base speed of 20 ft. and they can, as an immediate action, make themselves acidic via digestive enzymes, dealing 1d6 acid damage to a creature that attacks them with natural/unarmed strikes or some combat maneuvers. The damage may also be applied to unarmed strikes. Split Self is really cool, flavorwise, but not really something I’d consider a racial trait: You see, the race can split and “die”, becoming two paleplasmi with half levels, feats, etc. each, obliterating the original personality. Obviously, this means that a PC will be grossly underleveled in such a case, which makes it not really helpful. The two paleplasmi can recombine, but only for brief periods. Okay, HOW? The fusion text that covers this super paleplasmi of fused beings doesn’t state a range or activation action. It also fails to state how many can be fused together – RAW, the race could combine a whole group into a super-being. If this was flavor, I’d applaud it, but as crunch, it’s woefully opaque regarding splitting and temporary recombination. It’s a great narrative device, but of limited use for players – and its 6 RP are not justified. As plasm, they can be returned from the dead more easily, which is kinda nice. They can mimic Large, Medium or Small creatures that have a solid body. They can use nonmagical variants of long arm and reduce person and they may form their bodily appendage into a weapon that can inflict one of the base physical damage types. They take -4 to Sense Motive and are vulnerable to cold. Splitting the self may be replaced with a swarm form, which is much stronger. The magic items include an enhancer for the morphic weaponry and a cloak for energy resistance upgrades that can render acid harmless. The racial feats allow for the wearing of armor, the assuming of inanimate forms and an upgrade for the morphic weaponry. We have acid-based ice prison variants and goo sentinels among the spells and the racial archetype would be the ooze tamer hunter, who gains an ooze-based animal empathy variant and an ooze companion as well as alternate focuses for oozes instead. Problem here: RAW, oozes with an Int of 0 can’t be taught. Which means that the base engine doesn’t work for most choices.

The artwork of the racial deity is the cutest thing in the whole book – loved it! The sample NPC is an unarmed fighter/exploiter wizard. Next up would be the Pallasyte race – picture beings made of starry night sky, with glowing meteorites in the joints. They get +2 Con and Wis, -2 Cha and get the psychic subtype. They only talk their racial language and have Dr 10/magic. From the get-go. Seriously, why not have that scale instead? RAW, this will make the race all but impervious to most threats at level 1. They get curiosity and aberration hatred, constant detect magic and at-will light if their Int is 10 or higher. They may once per day blink, but sans equipment! They are constructed and the racial magic item represents an energy shield that can store energy and apply it to weaponry or as rays. The racial feats include two bland skill boost-feats. The racial spells are crystal-based variants of ice spells. The racial archetype would be the radiant idol shaman, who is a spontaneous caster, using the oracle’s spells per day and spells known as well as Cha as governing attribute. Instead of the hex, we get a pretty potent buff boost that nets + class level to the touched creature’s next check. This should specify the type of check and ½ class level would still be really good, particularly since the bonus is untyped. The archetype gets pala-style channel energy and sanctuary/overwhelming presence at high levels. The racial deity is solid and the sample NPC is a storm druid/sensate fighter.

Tiervesen are basically an homage to the Grimm TV-series and the Wesen there. They get +4 Cha (urgh) and -2 Int, and in bestial form +2 to all three attributes. They are shapechanger fey and have DR 5/cold iron and get +2 to Disguise to pose as half-elves or elves and choose a totem animal, gaining +4 to Handle Animal and Wild Empathy checks, gaining that as a druid of their level. Vermin totem tiervesen get Vermin Heart as a bonus feat. They get +2 to Survival checks and may assume their bestial form as a standard action, resume default form as a swift action. They gain +1 to Cl in a chosen terrain, +10 ft. when running/charging/etc. and have low-light vision. Remaining too long in the bestial form runs the risk of primal regression, which is an interesting way to make them remain in regular form more often. That being said, this only comes into play when remaining in bestial form for one hour or more, which is easily enough to avoid. This could be a bit more punitive. The race comes with 12 tribes, all of which grant a slew of additional tricks for the bestial shape, two of which are chosen per transformation; these include at-will nonmagical Spell-duplicates, cooldown sonic weapons and the like – utter overkill, power-wise, that power heaps on top an already really strong and somewhat bloated chassis. The alternate racial traits include constant speak with animals, camouflage, urban survivalist and an intoxicating aura. Like in the luchador-episode of Grimm, we get a mask for bestial features and there is an amulet that can mitigate overuse of bestial shape, but which carries its own risk. The race comes with 3 mundane weapons and two racial feats, once of which, predictably, allows for move action change, while the other nets an additional feature. The spells include beastmind, which makes the target PERMANENTLY lose the ability to think above animal level. Level 3. WTF. Adopt totem lets the character temporarily adopt another tribe’s totem. The totemic stalker is a slayer that loses 4 slayer talents in favor of bestial form synergy. The racial deity is okay, if not too spectacular and the NPC is a totemic skald/blood arcanist.

This race is a perfect example of what should be a class-feature or a racial paragon class, instead jammed into a race. The engine underlying bestial shape is interesting, but the execution is problematic. The next race is not a race per se, but a phenomenon – the Veatman is a CR +2 template and as such not really intended for player-use, at least not mechanically regarding PFRPG’s underlying premises. That does not prevent the pdf from treating it as a valid PC choice, mind you. The template represents twinned souls, with an internal war raging between them. The template is per se really interesting, with trauma potentially engendering personality changes, insomnia and the ability to siphon off damage to the other soul. The massive ability score boosts (+4, +2,+2,-2,-2,-4) are needlessly minmaxy for an already really potent option. I’d strongly advise against using this as a PC-race, unless you’re playing in a really high-powered game where gestalting is common – in such a case, it makes for a cool choice, though! The high level spells provided include soul dividing and siphoning and there is a grand discovery for alchemists to duplicate the former and make it permanent. The alter ego shifter vigilante provided for the race basically represents a tweak of the identities in favor of personalities, also representing a gestalting of sorts, with both personalities having two separate ability score sets, HD, skills, etc.

The racial deity is okay and the NPC provided this time around is a sanctified slayer inquisitor/fearmonger paladin, depending on the personality in control. The final race would be the Verechelen reptile-humanoids, who get +4 Con, -2 to all mental ability scores, are xenophobic re languages, get +2 to Perception, Stealth and Survival and treated Perception and Survival as class skills. They get +4 to saves against diseases and poisons, +2 to saves versus charms and compulsions as well as a 1d4 bite attack. They also get ferocity and sprinter as well as low-light vision and scent and may replace sprinter with camouflage. Bonus types here are not as tight as previously. This would also be a good place to note that the favored class options often fail to specify available energy resistances to choose from – RAW, this would allow for force or sonic resistance, which is worth more than resistance to the classic 4 energy types.

The racial feats nets an immediate action 1/day scaling bonus to a save – which is very specific and limited. Responsive Healing Factor nets you once per day minor healing as a move action. We get two mundane weapons and a monk archetype who replaces flurry with challenge (not smart) and minor boosts versus such enemies and favored terrain. Not impressed. The deity is decent, a god of highwaymen and travelers. The sample NPC is a scout rogue/slayer multiclass. We end the massive tome with a few closing notes.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting get a lot right on a formal and rules-language level, but they also get a lot wrong. The bonus types, for example, oscillate somewhat in the precision of their application, and there are quite a few instances herein where the rules are a bit weird/rough. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and is decent – I commented on a few of its peculiarities before. The full-color artworks for each race are colorful and actually really nice. I liked them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, but not with nested bookmarks, which can make navigation slightly less comfortable. Still, nice to get them.

Producer Dennis “Wayne” Deshler, creative director Rahul “Rick” Kanojia and content developers Timothy Wallace, Lance Clodfelter and James Norse have delivered the single most ambitious freshman offering that I’ve seen in a long while. I mean, almost 300 pages of races? That is a rather impressive beast of a book. It is, alas, a book that shows that it is a freshman outing. The class options presented herein oscillate in their power and utility and generally are not particularly interesting. The same, thankfully, cannot be said about the races themselves. Concept-wise, I really enjoyed most of them, and they can almost all claim that they’re interesting in some way. The Verchelen are boring min-maxy reptiles, but apart from them, the book manages to present really interesting races, some of which have rather cool and unique concepts attached to them.

Thing is, this book represents what I feared would happen with the release of the ARG; the book's "engine" makes it easy to throw any balance with core races so far out of the window, you won’t even hear the “thud” it makes when hitting the ground. That's what happened here. Partially, that is probably by design, but I maintain that it is utterly unnecessary. Not a single one of the concepts herein needed the bloat of numeric escalation that these races suffer from – less abilities and a focus on core principles of the races would have been more fulfilling AND would have greatly increased the chances of these seeing play at the table. RP are a horribly inaccurate concept to judge race power, but here, with massive DRs at 1st level, economy-breaker-sap and what amounts to a shifter engine jammed into race traits, we have a power-escalation that is hard to justify. The absence of level adjustment-rules in PFRPG was never experienced more sharply by me than in this book, for that is how these races, or at least, some of them, feel: Like they had one or more class levels baked into the power that their racial traits bestow. Now, I do not object per se to a high-powered race-game, but the book has issues there as well – you see, the races are not balanced among themselves and there is quite a significant power-gap between them, so just whipping out this book and calling it a day is also not a viable strategy.

Add to that the issues that plague some of the finer aspects of rules, and we have an issue. When items are straight upgrades for the same price, one obviously should consult pricing ranges once more. So yeah, as a whole, I really wanted to like this book – there is a lot of care and passion that is evident from the material herein, but design-wise, there are many components that leave something to be desired, that limit their own appeal in needless ways in favor of power-creep. I love the ideas of e.g. Khartajan and Leimaxi, but as presented, I’ll use them for NPCs at best, as each race in the tome exceeds the power-level of aasimars, courtesy of their whole unnecessary feature and power bloat. I honestly found myself wishing that we’d get a racial paragon class for each race, one that unlocks the more higher-powered options as the game progresses; or a nerf or something like that.

Now, that being said, I still encourage particularly experienced GMs that like the weird to take a look at this book: The racial concepts are interesting and the NPCs available throughout the book make this work as a NPC-options/codex-book of sorts.

Now, how to rate this? Here, I have agonized and pondered for a few days. You see, the book is not boring – even after all the races I’ve read, this still had some neat ideas. The execution of them may be flawed, deeply so regarding any internal or external balance, but as a whole, it is interesting. Still, comparing this to other racial supplements, I usually wouldn’t be able to recommend it as a mixed bag. HOWEVER, there is one crucial thing to consider: This book is PWYW. Yep, you heard me. The Rogue Robot crew is actually offering it for any price you’re willing to pay. That is a pretty huge deal for a tome of this size, and it allows you to take a look at these races yourself and decide whether or how to introduce them to your game. This, to me, is not only really fair, it also allows me to recommend that you check this out yourself; it is a flawed book, but it has some gems worth mining. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue's Field Guide Rare Races
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Village Backdrop: Byrnfort
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2018 05:58:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Huh. When I posted the latest Village Backdrop-review in my attempt to catch up with the series, I noticed that, while I had access to this village’s files, I never actually downloaded them or wrote a review. Weird. Anyways, since I am a completionist and pretty OCD regarding the like, here we go!

Byrnfort’s pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Byrnfort is situated in the ancient Barainwood, and its frontier-status in a hostile wilderness becomes immediately apparent to anyone who sees it: With thick walls of timber and sharp stakes encircling the village (lavishly mapped by Maciej Zagorski), it is obvious that this place, hunched and somewhat claustrophobic, is a refuge from the horrors out there – but not necessarily one that can withstand all that is out there. More a fortification that a village in the traditional sense, the local dressing habits and “industry” mirror this reality, and so do the community leaders, who hearken to the nature-themed side of things.

We get a sample marketplace section here, and, as always, village lore for smart PCs to unearth as well as 6 sample whispers and rumors. The local inn, the Stout Draught gets its own little notes on the price of food and accommodation. Cool: There is a charhouse, which fabricates specialized alchemical coals, three of which are provided. These include one that potentially helps with poison at the cost of being sickened. I really like how flavor and mechanics are married here. The events do hint at something more going on here, and indeed, there is a secret society of sorts, the Green men – who have a pact with a rather deadly fey ghost. As such, they are obligated to conduct strange rites, of which 6 are provided, adding further flavor.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the cartography, as always, is excellent. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen use and one for the printer. They are both fully bookmarked for your convenience.

My apologies to author Amber Underwood for missing this nice village previously; Byrnfort has a cool, almost Twin Peaks-y vibe going on, and the emphasis on coal and the like is a seldom seen or developed aspect in villages, which adds a sense of authenticity to the village. The rites are really cool and further add local color to the place. So yeah, all in all, I found myself really loving this one! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars +seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Byrnfort
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Creator Reply:
Epic! I'm delighted you enjoyed this village so much. Thank you for the review!
Village Backdrop: Byrnfort (SNE)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2018 05:56:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Huh. When I posted the latest Village Backdrop-review in my attempt to catch up with the series, I noticed that, while I had access to this village’s files, I never actually downloaded them or wrote a review. Weird. Anyways, since I am a completionist and pretty OCD regarding the like, here we go!

Byrnfort’s pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Byrnfort is situated in the ancient Barainwood, and its frontier-status in a hostile wilderness becomes immediately apparent to anyone who sees it: With thick walls of timber and sharp stakes encircling the village (lavishly mapped by Maciej Zagorski), it is obvious that this place, hunched and somewhat claustrophobic, is a refuge from the horrors out there – but not necessarily one that can withstand all that is out there. More a fortification that a village in the traditional sense, the local dressing habits and “industry” mirror this reality, and so do the community leaders, who hearken to the nature-themed side of things. Important for purists – the classes referenced by the NPCs include thief and wizard, so if you’re one of the folks firmly in the magic-user section, this may be a very minor aesthetic gripe.

The system neutral version, alas, does not gain a marketplace section, which is a minor bummer. and, As always, village lore for smart PCs to unearth as well as 6 sample whispers and rumors can be found. The local inn, the Stout Draught gets its own little notes on the price of food and accommodation. Cool: There is a charhouse, which fabricates specialized alchemical coals, three of which are provided. These include one that potentially helps with poison at the cost of being sickened, which can mean different things, depending on your system – just stating “can’t act” or “halves movement” or something like that would have been more elegant here.

Still, I really like how flavor and mechanics are married here. The events do hint at something more going on here, and indeed, there is a secret society of sorts, the Green men – who have a pact with a rather deadly fey ghost. As such, they are obligated to conduct strange rites, of which 6 are provided, adding further flavor.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the cartography, as always, is excellent. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen use and one for the printer. They are both fully bookmarked for your convenience.

My apologies to author Amber Underwood for missing this nice village previously; Byrnfort has a cool, almost Twin Peaks-y vibe going on, and the emphasis on coal and the like is a seldom seen or developed aspect in villages, which adds a sense of authenticity to the village. The rites are really cool and further add local color to the place. The absence of the marketplace section and not 100% perfect conversion of the alchemical coal represent very minor detriments for this version of the pdf, but not enough to cost it the well-deserved 5 stars for a rather cool little settlement.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Byrnfort (SNE)
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Creator Reply:
Epic! I'm delighted you enjoyed this village so much. Thank you for the review!
Village Backdrop: Byrnfort (5e)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2018 05:54:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Huh. When I posted the latest Village Backdrop-review in my attempt to catch up with the series, I noticed that, while I had access to this village’s files, I never actually downloaded them or wrote a review. Weird. Anyways, since I am a completionist and pretty OCD regarding the like, here we go!

Byrnfort’s pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Byrnfort is situated in the ancient Barainwood, and its frontier-status in a hostile wilderness becomes immediately apparent to anyone who sees it: With thick walls of timber and sharp stakes encircling the village (lavishly mapped by Maciej Zagorski), it is obvious that this place, hunched and somewhat claustrophobic, is a refuge from the horrors out there – but not necessarily one that can withstand all that is out there. More a fortification that a village in the traditional sense, the local dressing habits and “industry” mirror this reality, and so do the community leaders, who hearken to the nature-themed side of things. The 5e-version refers the default NPC-stats where appropriate.

There is no marketplace section in the 5e-version, which is a bit of a bummer. As always, village lore for smart PCs to unearth as well as 6 sample whispers and rumors can be found. The local inn, the Stout Draught gets its own little notes on the price of food and accommodation. Cool: There is a charhouse, which fabricates specialized alchemical coals, three of which are provided. These include one that potentially helps with poison at the cost of a temporary exhaustion level. I really like how flavor and mechanics are married here, and while there is a typo here (one instance where “poison” should read “poisoned”), I applaud that the items have been converted to 5e. The events do hint at something more going on here, and indeed, there is a secret society of sorts, the Green men – who have a pact with a rather deadly fey ghost. As such, they are obligated to conduct strange rites, of which 6 are provided, adding further flavor.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the cartography, as always, is excellent. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen use and one for the printer. They are both fully bookmarked for your convenience.

My apologies to author Amber Underwood for missing this nice village previously; Byrnfort has a cool, almost Twin Peaks-y vibe going on, and the emphasis on coal and the like is a seldom seen or developed aspect in villages, which adds a sense of authenticity to the village. The 5e-conversion is nice, though the absence of the marketplace was a bit of a bummer. The rites are really cool and further add local color to the place. So yeah, all in all, I found myself really loving this one! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars for this version.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Byrnfort (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Epic! I'm delighted you enjoyed this village so much. Thank you for the review!
Alterkine: Planetary Survey
Publisher: HermaDolph
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2018 05:52:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive supplement clocks in at 138 pages, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages blank, 3 pages index/KS-thanks, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 129 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, this massive book is basically exactly what it says on the tin – a ginormous collection of different planets and their inhabitants.

There are basically three sections for each of the entries of planets here: Astronomical, Environmental and Xenological.

In the first section of each planet, we classify the star or stars – for example,.Dwerradar has a binary star, Myrwyn and Aru. Now, if you’re a bit of a scifi-nerd, you’ll love these, for each star gets a star-statblock of sorts: The type is noted (e.g. Companion MV 7 V Red Dwarf), and we get distances in kilometers and AUs, radius in kilometers and Sol, mass in kg and Sol, temperature in K and luminosity in W and Sol. I really love this attention to detail, and it extends to the other system bodies, who are classified by type, with orbital radius (again, in Km and AU), period (hours and earth years) and gravity in m/s² (once more, with relation to earth noted as alternate values). Terrestrial worlds note the respective composition and special features like indigenous races and moons.

Indeed, habitable worlds get massively expanded data, noting their rotation, escape velocity, mass, land areas, hydrosphere, atmosphere, climate (in °F), populations, a brief overview of economy and installations as well as affiliations and foreign relations.

The environmental sections for each planet provide notes on aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric peculiarities as well as places of interest, if any. It should also be noted that we actually get really nice full-color artworks for inhabited planets, which is a huge plus; indeed, the book manages to be really, really impressive regarding all its details and how the respective star systems deviate from one another. The data provided really helps to create a cohesive sense of immersion if you, like me, enjoy the added sense of plausibility this adds. So yeah. Kudos indeed.

This would also be a nice place to note that the book has an appendix that lists monster traits, creature types and vital statistics of age. The index mentioned before is really detailed and useful, providing orientation by place of interest, by planet, race and system. Organization of the book is neat.

Thirdly, there would be the xenological section, and it is here that we are introduced to the respective races living on the inhabited planets. Here, we can find 4-armed, red goblins, bone-ridged, badass equine creatures, the Tiny, subterranean Adaevia, basically Wookies, savage lizard people, utterly strange species that descended from tubeworms (!!), living constructs and more. We can find a race of excellent healers, which, when it dies, spreads a horrid plague; we can find sentient plants (bushes, fungi, etc. – and yes, there is an artwork with a badass fungus-person wielding an MP), a race of basically space wolpertingers, spiritual newt people, massive, Large, smelly space orcs, a race of Jekyll/Hide-y aberrations, bird- and otter-folk, 6-armed humanoid arachnids, actually nice lumps of tentacles, dog-like trees, vulture people…and I haven’t even begun listing them all. We get brief notes on the respective society and culture of the races. Really cool: We get a .ppt-file included in the deal to make basic paper-stand-minis for the races! Big kudos there!

…and it is here, that we have the crux of the book. The races. Now, up onto this point, Alterkine supplement were made for d20 Modern.

This one is different. It is billed as PFRPG-compatible.

That is patently WRONG.

There is no nice way to say this, but this is about as PFRPG-compatible as 5e. If there is something to be done wrong regarding racial presentation and rules-design, the pdf will do it wrong. Each language section, for example, notes a “Free Culture Skill” – whatever that is supposed to mean. Ability score enhancements are min-maxy and don’t follow PFRPG’s paradigms. We get uneven score-bonuses (like +1 and +3); we get +4 bonuses and penalties to ability scores in a variety of cases. A Large race gets +8 (!!) to Strength, not accounting for its size. The same race’s females get btw. “+ Intelligence” – the actual modifier is missing. Natural weapons are not properly classified in some cases, whereas in others, they are. Racial abilities sometimes sport fixed save DCs instead of scaling ones.

For f***’s sake, the book gets NATURAL ARMOR wrong, talking about “+3 bonus to Defense.” PFRPG has over 20 bonus types, accounting for BAB, etc. – and the book manages to get that wrong as well, conjuring up some make-belief bonus types that are utterly redundant. There is no “species bonus” in PFRPG – it’s called racial bonus, for crying out loud. Never mind that the concepts of CMB/CMD obviously are not something taken into account for any rules operation that is more than a size reference. The pdf talks about skills that don’t exist in PFRPG, like Athletics. Bonuses that should be racial or insight are untyped. The pdf grossly undervalues e.g. additional appendages. When a DC is scaling, its sequence is wrong, noting first the ability score, then HD. The pdf doesn’t get how pulling targets works in PFRPG. “Infiltration checks” may be used to break free of webbing. Darkvision ranges are incorrect. A “Staggering gaze” causes the stun condition. Abilities do not sport the correct ability types – you won’t find EX or SU/SP-classifications here. The pdf does not understand how Linguistics works in PFRPG. There are glaring errors and huge issues in every single damn race herein.

Oh, wanna know what made me head crash on the table? Level adjustments. I kid you not. Level adjustments. In PFRPG. W-T-F. Oh, and, this should be obvious by now: We do not get race traits. We do not get racial archetypes. We do not get favored class options. We do not get racial feats. We get no supplemental material for these races whatsoever.

Then again, frankly, I’m glad we don’t. I have never seen basic race design go this horribly awry. It is evident that the author has no clue about PFRPG and doesn’t play it. The level of ignorance that the glitches point out, is staggering. Frankly, I wished that this book had stayed with its d20 Modern roots.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are mostly rather impressive. On a rules-language level, this is an unmitigated train wreck. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a significant array of really nice full-color artworks for planets and races. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the addition of paper stand-minis is neat.

This breaks my heart, it really does – on one hand, we have a book oozing creativity and passion, and a knowledge on how to make unique and compelling racial concepts. I loved all the data provided for systems, and the ideas herein are glorious! They really are! If you want a dressing book with brief dossiers on a variety of races and systems, this may well be worth checking out for that purpose! Whether you play Traveller or Starfinder or Stars Without Number, there are a lot of cool ideas in this book.

Unfortunately, this is no system neutral dressing book.

Unfortunately, this book suffers from the delusion of being a PFRPG-race book. In this category, this book, alas, is a resounding, colossal failure. Rules-integrity and both basic overt and detailed covert design paradigms are flaunted left and right and the book fails to grasp even basics like the skill system, much less anything more detailed. I could literally spend multiple pages listing what is wrong with each single race. The crunch is horrible and a sloppy conversion from a system into PFRPG, without the knowledge or care that such work requires.

As a crunch-book, this is a failure of epic proportions.

Now, if you explicitly do NOT want any rules to go along with the planets and racial CONCEPTS, then this may be worth checking out. Some of the ideas herein are pretty damn cool, though none of the races, courtesy of the brevity of the entries, gets a really detailed write-up. This is the only viable use for the book I could discern.

Whether you play Starjammer, Aethera or another scifi/space opera game in PFRPG, this one fails you, big time. It obviously doesn’t fare better, rules-wise, regarding Starfinder. In that discipline, the book is an unmitigated mess I cannot recommend. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, and frankly, I can’t round up for it. The fluff is too sparse for that.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Alterkine: Planetary Survey
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