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Straight Classes
Publisher: Straight Path Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/12/2018 05:39:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC/intro, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content. The pdf comes with a second version, optimized for screen-use with e-readers. It employs a landscape layout and clocks in at 34 pages and is content-wise identical to the letter version to be printed out.

So, what is this? In short, this represents a quick and dirty rulebook for quicker character generation, condensing PFRPG’s classes down to 16. The book classifies characters in 3 rough categories: Martial characters, skilled characters and spellcasters. The focus of the book is to provide quick NPC-creation rules as well as an option for new players to learn the system. The books does that by first classifying abilities: “Always” abilities are, bingo, always on. “Anytime” abilities can be used as often as you’d like. Occasional abilities can be used once per minute (10 rounds) – this is perhaps one of my least favorite decisions made here, as it makes abilities work cooldown-based, which is pretty rare in PFRPG. Abilities classified as “With Preparation” can only be performed after a good night’s rest and once – spells are classified as “with preparation” abilities. These ability types are italicized when they show up in rules-text. While we’re on the subject of formatting: Abilities end with a full-stop, not with a colon here, which made me think of 5e more than PFRPG. That’s just cosmetic, though.

The system modifies how iterative attacks work: You can either make one attack with a bonus damage that is contingent on how many iterative attacks you forego, or you make the iterative attacks, which, however, ALL take a penalty. Executing two attacks clocks in at -4, executing 3 attacks makes them hit at -6, etc. The bonus damage is 5 for 1 foregone iterative attack, +10 for 2 and +20 for 3 foregone iterative attacks. This is a nitpick, but the pdf should explicitly point out that the attack penalty for multiple attacks applies to all of them.

Gaining a feat or increasing an ability score by 1 is covered and we have synergy with Straight Skills as well, in case you’re using that pdf. Spellcasters prepare their spellslots ahead of time.

Okay, so martial characters have 4 skills, d10 HD, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and gain a feat at 1st level and every odd levels thereafter, ability score increases at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Additional attacks are gained at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter. These characters have full BAB and good Fort-saves.

Skilled characters have 8 skills, d8 HD, get a feat at every odd level, ability score increases at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Second and third attacks are gained at 7th and 15th level, respectively and we get ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Ref-saves. Skilled spellcasters prepare their spells and get spells of up to 6th level.

Spellcasters have 4 skills, d6 HD and get a feat at every odd level. (They are erroneously referred to as “martial characters” here. Slightly unwise: These characters are referred to as “Casters” in the rules-text, when their proper moniker is “spellcaster”, which should not provide issues per se, but is somewhat counterintuitive. Spellcasters obviously get spells of up to 9th level and get ½ BAB-progression, good Will-saves.

Now, based on these core chassis types, we take a look at the respective classes – Barbarian, Cavalier, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Bard, Hunter, Inquisitor, Magus, Ranger, Rogue, Wizards, Sorcerers, Oracles, Druids and Clerics are covered. One highlight here would be the humorous tag-lines all of the classes get: The Ranger is, for example, noted as the “original murder-hobo”; barbarians note “anger-management not required.” It’s a small touch, but it makes reading the crunch-heavy pdf more fun.

Now, if you take a look at the classes, you’ll notice that they indeed are simpler: A barbarian’s berserker fury, for example, adds class level to atk and damage and gain DR of the same amount, but rage penalizes AC and Reflex saves by -4. Now, the abilities themselves are sometimes rather interesting – like getting twice the AC bonus from light armor. Mounts have ½ the rider’s hit points and share saves and AC, for example. Notice something? Yeah, this basically makes the classes, in a way, behave more like their 5e counterparts.

Now, the best way to think about this would be to picture it as an OSR-style hack for PFRPG; it still requires that you understand PFRPG. The pdf does not explain spellcasting and DCs, saves or rules-terminology like that – instead, it focuses on being a handy tool for quick and dirty gameplay. This does change quite a lot regarding the base assumptions: Bonus types, for example. Damage types are not really codified – the bonus damage for foregone iterative attacks is not specified, while a magus channeling energy into arcane strikes does distinguish between energy types. Sorcerer bloodline nets spells that can be cast anytime. (Chosen from what? The bloodline’s list? That of the sorcerer?) As you can glean from that, we have a different experience here – which grafted onto PFRPG’s rules, there is an instance of infinite casting here, consequently, also infinite healing, which e.g. the oracle can yield occasionally. Provided, the spell was chosen for the mystery. Odd: Proficiencies are a bit weird: magi, for example explicitly get medium and heavy armor proficiency, while the other simple classes don’t specify the like.

The pdf also provides very brief notes on NPC-classes, with warrior, expert and adept fitting on one page with their tables, and commoners acting as fixed low-HP mooks. The animal companion of the druid, for example, is based, stat-wise, on the adept.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, I guess – there are a few minor hiccups on a formal leve, but the issue I have is with the rules-language. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with yellowish tables and high-lights. The pdf has no interior artwork. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience, though oddly martial and skilled characters get nested bookmarks and spellcasters don’t, which can be slightly confusing at first.

Michael McCarthy’s “Straight Classes” are a great idea per se. Simplifying class options is a smart move per se and can potentially be really handy for the GM and for newer players. Potentially. You see, they are contingent on knowing how a lot of PFRPG works, as the pdf’s classifying of abilities doesn’t really manage to denote the myriad of concepts that the draw upon. That means that you need at least an experienced GM to make proper use of them.

The pdf has another issue, namely that it attempts to divorce classes and their mechanics from the remainder of the game, which only works partially. Considering the intricately entwined rules of PFRPG, that should come as no surprise, but the interaction of the simplified options herein with the non-simplified ones is weird. Spellcasting, for example, requires that you know about action economy. At the same time, the iterative attack modification seems to be mostly divorced from it. The interactions between this pdf and PFRPG’s core rules generate a lot of issues and change in some instances the basic premises implied by the game – infinite spellcasting, to name but one.

Beyond this pretty big problem, we have issues in internal consistency – when DRs can diverge and energy types can, we’d need to distinguish between physical damage types as well, to name but one.

In short: This pdf doesn’t work because it labors under the misconception that the classes can be simplified as something divorced from the system as a whole, when, in truth, the modifications herein would require a discussion of action economy and a rewriting of spells, feats, etc. as well. Now, granted, this is billed as “quick and dirty,” but my contention is that it does not succeed at its goal. The interactions are so problematic that they make the gameplay rather opaque; to the point where I thought that I’d be better served with 5e or one of the OSR-games, who offer simplicity with precision.

Now, I consider a simplified Pathfinder and class-options like this a good idea; at the same time, this does not manage to blend its simplified rules well with PFRPG’s options. It can be used, yes, but it does generate a ton of rough patches regarding the more intricate components of the rules. As such, my final verdict cannot exceed 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Straight Classes
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Shadows over Vathak: Hauntlings - Enhanced Racial Guide
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:19:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second enhanced racial guide for the Shadows Over Vathak setting clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, hauntlings are easily one of my favorite races of Shadows Over Vathak, and after a brief introductory text, we get information on the race in general, then regarding races and their take on religion, nomenclature, etc. – in case you did not know, these fellows are basically those touched by spirits. And yes, we get an age, height and weight table. Hauntlings get +2 to an ability score of their choice and are Medium creatures with normal speed. Hauntlings are half-undead and thus gain darkvision 60 ft. as well as a +2 racial bonus to saves versus diseases and mind-affecting effects. They take no penalties from energy drain, but can be killed by it. They shrug such negative levels off automatically after 24 hours, though. They are harmed by positive and healed by negative energy as a strong drawback for this, though. They have memories of past lives and thus may choose two Knowledge skills, treating them as class skills and gaining a +2 bonus in them. They also add +1 to the DC of spells of the phantasm subschool they cast and hauntlings with Charisma 11+ gain ghost sound, pass without trace and ventriloquism as SPs.

There is a metric ton of alternate racial traits that sport an actually narrative-wise relevant tie in regarding the unique flavor of the race: A hauntling with faint memories of dying in a fire, for example, may mean you replace the phantasm DC-increase and SPs with burning hands and spark 1/day. Similarly, accidental deaths may result in hauntlings with different SPs. Instead of the Knowledge buffs, hauntlings can perhaps really impersonate a previous identity exceedingly well, and there is an option to 1/day, as an immediate action, treat positive energy and negative energy as usual for 1 minute. Having been drowned may result in a swim speed and the ghostly magic may be replaced for a frightening 1/day rictus grin that is properly codified, with DC scaling. What about generating a mist that can obscure even darkvision or auto-stabilizing after dropping to 0 hp? Remembering weapon training? Or a potent trick to become incorporeal for brief stints? Yeah, these alternate racial traits are not only precise and tight, they are AMAZING and flavorful.

We also get full-blown, distinct racial variants that are more than just a combination of alternate racial traits: Caoineadhs, for example, get +2 Dec and Cha, -2 Con and can emit a frightening howl once per day, with a full-round action and a scaling. They also get their own SPs. Cha-governed save DC. Gan Ceans get +2 to one ability score of their choice and are…HEADLESS. I kid you not. You can attach e.g. a skull of the like. The original head does exist, btw., and makes for a unique adventuring option, for retrieving it can result into a transformation. They also get their own SPs. Shadowlings get +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Strength and treat Stealth as a class kill, gaining a +2 racial bonus in it. They also get two neat SPs and enhance shadow-spells. Wraithlings get +2 Con and Cha, -2 Wisdom and have a 1/day Con-draining touch, with a Con-based scaling save to negate. Once more, unique SPs provided. I have no balance-concerns with any of these.

The favored class option array is MASSIVE and provides flavor as well as benefits for them, contextualizing what they represent in-game. Really cool. These include all Paizo-classes minus the ninja and samurai, but including ACG & OA classes and even the vigilante. No issues here and even fortune teller and reanimator are included.

The pdf also includes 4 racial archetype: The dirge caller bard replaces fascinate with an ennui-inducing debuff and expanded necromancy spells instead of inspire competence. Soothing tune is replaces with a bardic performance-powered phantasmal killer. Loremaster is replaces with an improved speak with dead. Nice archetype! The ghostly gunner gunslinger swaps out the quick clear, startling shot and expert loading deeds in favor of having ghostly firearms float around her. How cool is that?? The archetype lets you move these and fire unattended guns, even if they’re not loaded! The archetype can increase the number of floating firearms by +1 instead of taking a bonus feat. This archetype is mechanically deceptively simple, but in fact precise and awesome. The section also sports two different slayer-archetypes, the first of which would be ghost hunter slayer, who is a specialist in slaying incorporeal targets. They can only apply studied target against incorporeal creatures and their weapons are considered to be ghost touch (not italicized properly). They also get automatic Perception checks to notice targets and become experts at quickly and efficiently using holy water. At higher levels, they can bestow final death to spirits and trap them in containers. The archetype comes with a list of suggested slayer talents. The second slayer archetype are the grim harvesters, harvesters and grim judges that can see death, attune a bonded weapon and, at higher levels, generate a circle of death. The capstone lets them pronounce a dire fate for a target which will then come to pass. The archetype btw. rewards choices of weapons like scythes, without penalizing other choices. Flavorful and cool!

The pdf also includes 8 different feats: Floating Presence nets you a balanced floating option; Phantasms and Major Phantasm nets silent images and worse, which exist only for one target – perfect gaslighting/horror device. They can also be made to render yourself invisible to the target via Selective Apparition. Steal Memory lets you claim the skills of those you’ve slain (amazing), and yes, it is limited and restricted properly. Better social skills vs. ghosts and the option to affect more targets with Phantasms and make them spread – I adore these feats here. Full of roleplaying potential for smart players, the feats are precise and unique. Now, I absolutely ADORE the notion of Vathak’s Lineage feats: Unlike corruptions, they allow the PC to properly play the descent into becoming a monster while retaining balance and without being overly punitive. As such, I was ecstatic to see the concept explained here once more (should you have missed SoV’s Lineage-concept so far) and get a proper Spirit Lineage, with no less than 9 options to choose from and 3 general levels of taint. These are potent and amazing. Love them.

The pdf also includes a TON of race traits. These are superb examples of what traits should be: Mechanical effects are correctly codified and types AND we get actually narratively-relevant ones! For example, there is one that nets you the following: “Once per day, you can clear your mind and know where the most recently deceased humanoid creature is and where the largest graveyard is. Both have a range of one mile.“ Come on, that trait offers a variety of cool character concepts on its own! How often can you say that about a frickin’ TRAIT? What about having a ghostly phantom limb? It does not really exist, having no slots, but it can affect spirits! This is amazing! It lets you play bad-ass disabled person, something we only very, very rarely get to do!

Beynd these damn cool traits, we also get mundane equipment: Holy ash. Cremation ash that can open your eyes to spirits. Salt to make your armor apply versus incorporeal targets…Really cool, and yes, comes with Craft DCs. There also are 5 new weapons, including a flail that can generate an eerie sound, a disguised rhompia and war scythes. The pdf also provides the new corpse hair material, tapping into classic myth and providing a wide variety of applications for the material. Ghost glass and spirit coal are also presented, making this chapter a winner!

There are 4 magic items, which include dead man’s tongues, which can animate the dead and fortify the half-undead. Funerary shrouds conceal the target from mindless undead and can absorb one energy drain. Funerary urns let you entrap the slain, preventing their return. Tombstone hammers are just what they sound like. Come on, you want to smash the undead while wielding a tombstone hammer! You know you do! Particularly since the names of your foes may show up on the stone…which is not good for morale… There are 7 new spells included as well: Cold spot is a thematically fitting low-level soft terrain control that also makes the unseen visible; ghostly light is an upgrade of light that also detects spirits. Murder of crows generates a damaging area that also can blind targets and that may be moved. Release from pain rots slowly away the flesh of the living, turning them into skeletons under your control. Tear the void creates a negative energy vortex that can be moved. Through the eyes of the dead lets you imbue a skull to watch through it. Tolling bell destroys weak, mindless undead. Minor complaint: There is no such thing as holy damage in PFRPG Dear lord, I love these spells! Their levels and classes make sense. They are evocative and relevant for their levels. The pdf also includes a new occult ritual, namely Last Chance. This nets you a safety net as an undead on a success and makes for a cool and potent ritual.

The pdf closes with an amazing dressing table of random hauntling features.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are superb on a formal level and almost perfect on a rules-language level. I noticed only a very minor hiccup: Lucus Palosaari and Landon Winkler did a phenomenal job here. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports fantastic full-color artwork, original pieces, mind you. The pdf is fully bookmarked, but the first chapter’s bookmarks are a bit wonky.

John Bennett’s development of Rick Hershey’s original hauntling concept is one of the single most inspiring racial guides available for PFRPG. The options are meticulously balanced to work in both more high-powered and grittier games. More importantly, we get no feature bloat and instead opt to focus on story-telling. Heck, even usually bland, min-maxy rules-components like traits and favored class options are inspiring and matter! Favored class options have flavor. You can play HEADLESS FOLKS. You can gaslight folks with selective illusions. This is phenomenal.

This is a truly fantastic, glorious racial guide that makes the hauntlings one of my favorite races in all of PFRPG! I mean, you can play balanced, headless folks! You can have a good reason to play a one-armed character! From items to options to feats, this breathes care, passion and love - this supplement is inspiring in all the right ways. This is a perfect example of what a racial guide should be. 5 stars + seal of approval. Oh, and since I really love this one, it is hereby nominated as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak: Hauntlings - Enhanced Racial Guide
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5E Mini-Dungeon #075: The Garden of Death
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:17:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

This actually is a mini-investigation! The mini-dungeon takes the PCs into a subterranean club for rich folks, where they are to discreetly find the culprit for the recent attacks on Lord Fen Drustan’s caravans. Unfortunately, as the PCs try to report after initial exploration, they’ll find that their sponsor has been killed! From here on, it’s a who-dunnit that can easily be complicated by the GM, should that be desired.

Conclusion:

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

Michael O. Holland’s little investigation is fun and represents a neat little adventure, set against a unique backdrop. The conversion holds up – Kyle Crider and Chris Harris did a good job translating the mini-dungeon to 5e. 5 stars + seal of approval. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #075: The Garden of Death
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Mini-Dungeon #075: The Garden of Death
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:16:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

This actually is a mini-investigation! The mini-dungeon takes the PCs into a subterranean club for rich folks, where they are to discreetly find the culprit for the recent attacks on Lord Fen Drustan’s caravans. Unfortunately, as the PCs try to report after initial exploration, they’ll find that their sponsor has been killed! From here on, it’s a who-dunnit that can easily be complicated by the GM, should that be desired.

Conclusion:

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

Michael O. Holland’s little investigation is fun and represents a neat little adventure, set against a unique backdrop. 5 stars +seal of approval. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #075: The Garden of Death
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5E Mini-Dungeon #073: True Lovers Run Into Strange Capers
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:13:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Immortality can wear down even the most strange of beings – and when the renegade rakshasa met an ice devil, they finally found what had eluded them. Love. Becoming a truly deadly power-couple, they now inhabit their own demiplane, which includes some foes from the Tome of Beasts (properly hyperlinked – you don’t need the book)…and woe to any intruders that dare disturb their bliss. Oh, and yes, that includes the PCs!

Conclusion:

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

The conversion team of Chris Harris and Kyle Crider did a good job at converting Stephen Yeardley’s mini-dungeon, though the 5e-version does not reach the amazing level of creativity regarding the adversaries – a few more tweaks to the monsters would have been the icing on the cake. As provided, this is a very good module, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #073: True Lovers Run Into Strange Capers
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Mini-Dungeon #073: True Lovers Run Into Strange Capers
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:12:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Immortality can wear down even the most strange of beings – and when the renegade tataka rakshasa met an ankou fey, they finally found what had eluded them. Love. Becoming a truly deadly power-couple, they now inhabit their own demiplane, which includes some truly strange critters (clockwork sleep-gas breathing infiltrator dragon – just sayin’!) and woe to any intruders that dare disturb their bliss. Oh, and yes, that includes the PCs!

Conclusion:

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

Stephen Yeardley’s yarn of an immortal love of the darkest type is BRUTAL. The enemy-choices are as smart as we expect them to be and the backdrop is unique and truly creative. Engine-tweaks employed are interesting. No complaints. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #073: True Lovers Run Into Strange Capers
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5E Mini-Dungeon #074: Temple of the Secret Power
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:09:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

There are forces out there that few truly understand – one such item would be the omnihedron, an artifact with a snide intelligence that is capable of temporarily imbuing items with magic, which is used to some effect to upgrade the ravenfolk cultists that worship at this place. (And yes, I like how the conversion-team chooses the proper monsters from Tome of Beasts here, with hyperlinks provided.) Still, the temporary items can be somewhat of a killjoy for the PCs when the magic items their opposition wields lose the magic. The artifact doesn’t get stats per se once liberated, and may or may not enhance the weapons of the PCs. There is a puzzle, but it amounts to being very rudimentary.

Conclusion:

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

Michael McCarthy’s “Temple of Secret Power” is a bit weaker than usual for the author. The mini-dungeon’s artifact-conceit is a bit frustrating for players and the lack of definition for the artifact’s precise powers render this more opaque than it imho should be. The conversion by Chris Harris and Kyle Crider is solid and neither stronger, nor weaker than the PFRPG-iteration – personally, I like the change from ratfolk to ravenfolk. Still, I can’t go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #074: Temple of the Secret Power
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Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Mini-Dungeon #074: Temple of the Secret Power
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 05:08:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

There are forces out there that few truly understand – one such item would be the omnihedron, an artifact with a snide intelligence that is capable of temporarily imbuing items with magic, which is used to some effect to upgrade the ratfolk cultists that worship at this place. This can be somewhat of a killjoy for the PCs when the magic items their opposition wields loses the bonuses. The artifact doesn’t get stats per se once liberated, and may or may not enhance the weapons of the PCs. There is a puzzle, but it amounts to being very rudimentary.

Conclusion:

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

Michael McCarthy’s “Temple of the Secret Power” is a bit weaker than usual for the author. The mini-dungeon’s artifact-conceit is a bit frustrating for players and the lack of definition for the artifact’s precise powers render this more opaque than it imho should be. As such, I can’t go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #074: Temple of the Secret Power
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The Monolith from beyond Space and Time
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:41:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover,2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of back-list, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, laid out for 6’’ by 9’’.

My review is primarily based on the print softcover version I received from one of my patreons, who requested a review of it at my convenience. I have also consulted the pdf-version to ascertain electronic features etc.

That being said, I would have reviewed this module either way. Why? Because it is one of the worst-reviewed Lamentations of the Flame Princess books, one that I only got for completion’s sake. I had the pdf-version for a while before this was requested by my patreons and only then started reading it. Now, usually, I steer clear of other reviews in order to avoid coloring my point of view. Here, I never expected to write a review when I got the book, and as such, was very cognizant of the backlash this generated.

Now, I am not saying that most reviews get it wrong – while there are some negative ratings and reviews that stem from being offended by a horror product, there are more eloquent ones out there that frankly made this sound like an unmitigated mess. To make that abundantly clear: I do not share this point of view, but I think I know where these notions come from. Hence, I will try to explain why this book did elicit these responses.

Let’s begin with a clarification of terminology; I promise to be brief: This is a lovecraftian adventure. The “n” here is important – this does NOT deal with Lovecraftiana or the Cthulhu mythos in the traditional sense. In fact, nowadays, we can make a claim that the mythos has actually ceased to have any notion of being “lovecraftian.” In stark contrast to most depictions of the Cthulhu mythos in media, the term “lovecraftian” usually denotes a sense of cosmic nihilism and futility oozing into our world; a sense of cosmic insignificance and unknowable forces. The sheer amount of material collected on Cthulhu et al. undermines this notion rather vividly and once the brave PCs/investigators have fired tank shells at ole’ Shubby, any sense of dread beyond that which a sword-wielding murder-hobo might feel in front of a dragon, has been thoroughly lost. In short: The mythos has been codified and elaborated upon to the point where, paradoxically, while obviously a crucial part of Lovecraftiana, it is no longer lovecraftian in the strictest sense of the word. Similarly, it does not attempt to depict the lovecraftian as seen through the lens of psychology, but more as the unfiltered, played glimpse at a harsh, Lacanian real.

The second unfair claim I have seen voiced against this module, is that it has “unfair” components. I’d frankly beg to differ. Yes, this is a very difficult module, but it is NOT difficult because of badly designed save-or-die mechanics. It does not just randomly punish PCs – all they experience is ultimately their own doing.

It is difficult because it actually works as a module for ANY levels. In fact, it may work better from mid- to high-level characters. How does it achieve that? Well, more than ANY OSR-module (and most RPG-modules, regardless of system), success in it is utterly and thoroughly contingent on PLAYER-skill. NO matter how optimized your character is, no matter how OP your items are, this module can and will destroy you if you are not up to your A-game. If you and your group usually just want to murder-hobo through a dungeon, then this will ANNIHILATE you. It should be noted that players with copious horror-gaming experience will be MUCH more likely to succeed here. This requires very methodical and smart PLAYERS.

There is no pattern on a global scale to the monolith’s effects – and there’s a reason for that – it is not sentient, and there is no global, guiding intelligence. It just IS. It is indifferent and weird. While the phenomena can be analyzed and exploited/bested, they cannot be made sense of. They cannot be explained away. This is actually very deliberate and smart here – because, y’ know, when does the horror-movie start to suck? When does the book start to fall apart? Bingo, when the authors explain too much and provide human motivations to beings/things that are more akin to forces of nature, inscrutable and unknowable. You can’t reason with the weather, but you can witness the tempest blaring or a tsunami, and you can observe patterns in these individual manifestations of it. There is serious fun in that, in finding the tricks for survival.

Even in this context, this remains a horror-module. Bad things will happen to PCs and a palpable doom hangs over everything. There is no true victory, but also no true defeat here. This is a difference in mentality that anyone with horror-experience, from CoC, to GUMSHOE or Ravenloft, will be familiar with – the fun in these horrific things is to roll with the curveballs they represent, not to complain about them.

It is actually pretty likely that the PCs will survive, but it is also very likely that the module will have serious repercussions that can change the course of whole campaigns.

The module is not only demanding on the players, though: This is a lovecraftian adventure and as such, it can include some seriously mind-bending components that require that a referee is capable of conveying somewhat mind-bending dissolutions of space and time in eloquent speech. It is my firm belief that quite a few folks who experienced this as less than fulfilling did so because the referee did not manage to convey the concepts, because the group did not approach this with the required, deliberate care. Granted, one weakness here is that the module does have a bit of James Edward Raggi IV’s sarcasm shining through, when one description comments “Good luck describing that to your players!” – that can feel like an insult to a referee who already did struggle with understanding the notion in question. It may be another reason why some considered this to be problematic. (In the Spoiler-section, I quote the passage in question, so you can see for yourself why this indeed requires some serious referee-mojo…but it’s definitely not impossible!)

To cut a long ramble short: If you like horror-gaming (and I’m not talking about some dark fantasy, slightly gritty hack and slash, but about HORROR; if your players are veterans and like challenges; if your group loves having their brains challenged; if you are an experienced referee, capable of conveying complex concepts in vivid descriptions, then this may well be a true masterpiece for you.

As an aside: This adventure can also double as a great scavenging toolbox – the encounters and weird effects basically demand being used, and a great degree of variance allows for a rather high replay value.

Now, to go into more details, I need to venture into SPOILER-territory. Folks who wish to actually play this module should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

Somewhere in the world, a wooden valley has appeared. Mist-shrouded and uncivilized, in its midst, there is a strange monolith, a weird thing somewhere between rock and rotted flesh. It is into this valley that the PCs set foot. This, alone, may well be enough to doom them. No, I am not kidding you. You see, the distance to the monolith can be feet, yards, hundreds of yards, miles…or astronomical units. You roll once for dice-size/number, and one for the unit of measurement. You can, theoretically, end up with 1000 astronomical units of distance. See, that’s why I mentioned that smart and methodical PLAYERS are required – distance is recalculated every time the valley is entered. Failing to grasp the spatial distortion can essentially strand the PCs in a nigh-infinite valley. There is another complication that is utterly glorious: The monolith effects. Beyond the distance, there are 10 complex, global effects, one of which kicks in whenever the PCs enter the valley.

These include the “Doom of Hierarchy” – all members of the party roll a d20, rerolling ties. Everyone must obey the letter (if not the spirit) of an order issues by a member of the party with a higher roll. Slowed lifeforms. Oh, and if you really think your Referee-mojo is top-notch, try for “Light defeats Distance.” To give you a quote: “This condition prevents characters from traveling across space during the day, no matter how far they travel. Whatever destination the player characters have in mind, when they travel, they will appear to cross distances (and intervening terrain), but they will never get any closer to their destination and in fact will have not moved at all. They have effectively been walking in place the entire time. Thrown or discarded objects (or spells!) will be observed as traveling to their destination, but will never arrive. If something is tossed (or shot) from one person to another, the one throwing/shooting will perceive the object as reaching its target, while the character on the receiving end will perceive the object as having been wildly misdirected. The object will not be found again. Items can be physically passed from person to person normally.[…]”

Told you that this one would be a challenge, right? Can you see how some groups will be utterly flabbergasted and frustrated by this? I can. I can, however, also see how incredibly AMAZING this effect can be in the hands of a capable referee! Can you see the PLAYERS figure that one out and how to get past its effects? Oh yes. The mutation effect sports btw. no less than 20 different entries in a subtable. Impossible weather, distorted time flow…and what if the monolith makes things the PCs and players wish for come true? These effects alone had me grin my most malicious of GM-grins – and indeed, they are relevant beyond the confines of the rules-system for which they were written.

This emphasis on PLAYER-skill over PC-skill btw. continues throughout the whole module. There are exactly two possible encounters en route to the monolith that are more classic: The first is an encounter with a nudist colony of pacifists, supernaturally ageless and fertile, the colony subsisting on its own children. Yes, this is disturbing. Yes, that would be the shock-value encounter to piss off folks. It didn’t do much for me, but neither was I offended. The second deals with basically a mutated, ginormous angler-fish monstrosity, which would be a perfect place to note that Aeron Alfrey’s illustrations throughout the module are PHENOMENAL. Weird, disturbing, glorious art. Love them.

Anyways, the more interesting encounter would be the contribution by none other than Kenneth Hite, who wrote “The Owl’s Service.” The PCs happen upon strange statues ringing a clearing, a corpse, which may have a possession that is starkly like one held by the PCs – and in the aftermath, the PCs may well find their SPELLSLOTS infested by owls after disturbing dreams. The infestation may well spread…and the head of that corpse was bashed in…perhaps to let out the owls? There is no explanation here; no easy remedy. Just a plainly weird and encroaching doom that any campaign can handle as befitting of its own paradigms and dynamics. It could be just a curse to remove, but it similarly could be a world-threatening magical disease that spreads from caster to caster…

Arriving at the monolith has its own hazards and, indeed, represents another potential fallout during/after the adventure – seeing the monolith has the PCs invaded by microscopic invaders, whose civilizations in them rise and fall, becoming even more hyper-advanced. Unfortunately, this also hijacks the PCs when they are asleep, making them invincible killing machines with a pretty extensive kill-boundary. Once more, this is provided as a problem that can have dire consequences for the PCs, but when handled properly, it can make for a truly horrific revelation at the table…and solving the problem can be amazing. Unlike the owls-issue, closing the monolith can deal with this one, rendering them dormant…but yeah. I can see how these invaders can really irk folks only used to “I’m good, therefore I kill evil stuff.”

The monolith also has a guardian, who is a rather dangerous entity…and once more, represents something the PCs can’t bash apart. See a theme there? As noted above, this is not a module you can rollplay to win.

The inside of the monolith continues this almost psychedelic nightmare – there is only the way in which the character is facing. Closing eyes also ends the way, entrapping the character, unable to move until the eyes are once more opened to The Way. The tunnel is always in front of the character, a single line. Distance does not truly exist, and an example of how this works is given – within the monolith, the PCs have basically already reached the treasure-chamber…if the players understand how to get to it! The monolith allows access to other worlds and times, contains strange healing pods – and attempts to find the “control room” or the like will actually have the PCs within the brain of the respective PC who voiced that wish. And yes, destroying stuff there may not be wise. Weaponry-wise, the PCs can find a slime/ooze-drinking worm-symbiote…and the head of Carter Holmes. This is actually the main “treasure” of the adventure, and it is twisted. The man is a thoroughly vile magic-user. Pardon. Was. He’s just a head now. Literally confined to this place for all eternity. He wants to die. And tells the PCs about the kewl loot they can get – they just need to eat his brain. Yes. The disembodied head offers for his brain to be eaten.

If your players think that eating the brain of a thoroughly wicked magic-user in a weird dimension-warping monolith is a good idea, then they totally deserve what they get – for better and worse, for Carter’s brain can convey 6 unique spells, all of which are comparably very potent; similarly, PCs may gain agelessness (at a potentially dire cost…), faster reflexes or the option to move between the lines…but he was a loathsome, despicable psycho. As such, the PCs may also have their minds tainted by his horrible insights, which double as serious insanities. It’s all about the luck here – and if they complain, you seriously just have to point out that they ATE A BRAIN to get power.

How can the monolith be banished? How can the PCs win in this nightmare? You can hold the door shut. From the inside. For an eternity. Yes, there is no easy solution. There is no cop out.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are topnotch on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the artworks, as mentioned above, are b/w and Gigeresque in their amazing weirdness. The softcover has the letters on the spine and is solid. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and s layered, so if you want to save ink/toner, you can turn off background etc. – huge kudos there! The module sports no cartography, but needs none.

Now, I have only touched on some highlights featured herein – James Edward Raggi IV’s module actually contains more than I mentioned. I also tried to remain as opaque as possible, mainly because the emphasis on player-skill/encountering the horror as the central tenet and focus of the adventure.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-run, low-impact, generic hex-crawl with a bit of weirdness and tentacles, then look elsewhere. This is not what you’re looking for.

Similarly, if you’re relatively new to GMing, or if your players have no experience with horror-gaming, with problems that can’t be solved by rolling high enough, then you may want to ease them into horror-gaming with other modules.

If, however, you’re an experienced referee and if your players are experienced and smart as well, if they enjoy weirdness and strange problems that can’t be solved by waving a metal stick at them, then this is a psychedelic masterpiece of a nightmarescape. A good litmus-test may be whether you and yours enjoy purist-Cthulhu-modules: Do you like the weirdness, the fact that only your wits stand between you and death/gibbering insanity? Can you live with strange and dire effects? Do you like roleplaying the solving of complex and bafflingly weird phenomena that highlight the uncaring and hostile nature of the cosmos? Then, oh boy, will you love this one!

To make that abundantly clear – I am not trying to disparage other reviewers and folks who did not like this; I can see this crash and burn horribly for newbies, for folks that need a focused leitmotif/mystery to solve, for groups that have only ever played fantasy, etc.. Unlike Death Frost Doom, for example, this is not even dark fantasy. This is cosmic horror, pure and simple. Its premises are different, its focus is different and its challenges are different – there is no overwhelming force, no super-strong foe, no easy solution – just the uncaring, insentient, almost divine obelisk.

So yeah, many, though not all, points of criticism voiced against this module can be considered to be valid to a degree.

At the same time, I’d argue that these bemoaned points are actually features, not bugs. They are very deliberate design-decisions rooted in an aesthetic that differs radically from traditional D&D-esque adventure-design. They are not made to screw over PCs, but to present truly horrifying challenges to the players. How you navigate and solve them is another thing, but to me, this module is more successful in its attempted and clearly-stated design-goals than 90% of CoC-modules I’ve read. Considering the very clear mission statement, I cannot help but think of this as a resounding success. I am probably going to get some blowback for this, but personally, I prefer this over pretty much all of the early LotFP-modules.

Why? Because it dares to be radically, defiantly DIFFERENT. Because it, in spite of being downright brutal, this adventure is actually inspiring. As an aside: Most of the global effects and challenges herein translate rather well to more complex systems or more rules-lite systems, courtesy of their focus on player-capabilities over those of PCs.

This adventure is weird. It is challenging. And I am 100% positive that no player that went through it will ever forget it. It absolutely DEMANDS a truly experienced referee and similarly skilled players, but it delivers for them, in spades.

My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. If you’re a fan of horror-adventures and feel like the above has resounded like something you’d enjoy, then consider this to be a must-own purchase, regardless of system you’re playing in.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Monolith from beyond Space and Time
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5E Mini-Dungeon #072: The Stuff of Dreams
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:37:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

So, we have a theme-dungeon this time around: This whole dungeon is a fungus/plant-based dungeon, situated in a massive biomass that, unknown to its explorers, is hanging hundreds of feet above the cavern floors! The complex has been raided by a NPC adventuring party as an element of chaos that may resurface any time (or after the complex has been cleared) and the use of the plant monsters herein is absolutely inspired and makes the complex feel delightfully icky, with neat, minor tweaks of the base engines in some cases!

Conclusion:

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

Stephen Yeardley’s “Stuff of Dreams” (here, I believe, erroneously attributed to Justin Andrew Mason) is a truly enjoyable little dungeon with a weird atmosphere, creative choices and some neat challenges. I really liked this one. The 5e-conversion by Chris Harris and Kyle Crider makes ample use of Kobold Press’ amazing Tome of Beast plant monsters, providing proper hyperlinks for them. This retains the strong leitmotif of the dungeon.

My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, omitting my seal of approval only because it would have been amazing to have the biomass deteriorate, making mechanical hazard-style use of the unique, hanging dungeon-idea.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #072: The Stuff of Dreams
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Mini-Dungeon #072: The Stuff of Dreams
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:36:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

So, we have a theme-dungeon this time around: This whole dungeon is a fungus/plant-based dungeon, situated in a massive biomass that, unknown to its explorers, is hanging hundreds of feet above the cavern floors! The complex has been raided by a boggard hunting party as an element of chaos that may resurface any time (or after the complex has been cleared) and the use of the plant monsters herein is absolutely inspired and makes the complex feel delightfully icky, with neat, minor tweaks of the base engines in some cases!

Conclusion:

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

Stephen Yeardley’s “Stuff of Dreams” is a truly enjoyable little dungeon with a weird atmosphere, creative choices and some neat challenges. I really liked this one. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, omitting my seal of approval only because it would have been amazing to have the biomass deteriorate, making mechanical hazard-style use of the unique, hanging dungeon-idea.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #072: The Stuff of Dreams
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5E Mini-Dungeon #071: The Unwise Young, They Say Do Ne'er Live Long
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:34:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Paladins can make mistakes. Uskonto the unshakeable manned up to causing the death of a child, venturing down into the Underworld, seeking atonement. The PCs follow the hero, and the trail leads to a complex that is a haven of sorts, but considering that we’re talking about the underworld, the waystation complex houses both neutral and evil designated areas and, provided the PCs don’t die to biting off more than what they can chew when dealing with the residents, they may well find the erstwhile paladin, who has become rather…different…

Conclusion:

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

If PCs attempt to kill their way through this one, they may probably die horribly. There are unique traps and strange allies and finding the target will not necessarily be the end. Surprising, how much Stephen Yeardley managed to cram into this brief module! And yes, the creature choices in the PFRPG-version are as creative as you expect them to be from Mr. Yeardley’s mini-dungeons, which presented some issues for the conversion team of Chris Harris and Kyle Crider. The solution is smart: The mini-dungeon does use a ton of creatures from Kobold Press’ fantastic Tome of Beasts, but unlike in previous mini-dungeons, this one does not include the relevant stats. They simply wouldn’t have fit on the card. In short: You absolutely need Tome of Beasts to make the most out of this, as e.g. the devilbound gnoll prince or the grim jester has not been hyperlinked; sans the book, you should detract 1 or 2 stars from the final verdict.

My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #071: The Unwise Young, They Say Do Ne'er Live Long
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Mini-Dungeon #071: The Unwise Young, They Say Do Ne'er Live Long
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:32:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Paladins can make mistakes. Uskonto the unshakeable manned up to causing the death of a child, venturing down into the Underworld, seeking atonement. The PCs follow the hero, and the trail leads to a complex that is a haven of sorts, but considering that we’re talking about the underworld, the waystation complex houses both neutral and evil designated areas and, provided the PCs don’t die to biting off more than what they can chew when dealing with the residents, they may well find the erstwhile paladin, who has become rather…different..

Conclusion:

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

If PCs attempt to kill their way through this one, they may probably die horribly. There are unique traps and strange allies and finding the target will not necessarily be the end. Surprising, how much Stephen Yeardley managed to cram into this brief module! And yes, the creature choices are as creative as you expect them to be from Mr. Yeardley’s mini-dungeons! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #071: The Unwise Young, They Say Do Ne'er Live Long
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5E Mini-Dungeon #070: I Am Not Of Your Element
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:30:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

When a faultline had a wave of unearthly energy flow into the underworld, it decimated a fire giant monastery down to just a few devotees. Now, a traveling and injured fellow remains, almost having fallen prey to one of the horrid beings from beyond. You see, while in PFRPG, the module excelled via its strange nanite-creatures, the 5e-version takes a different theme and instead provides the stats for both shoggoth and the urochar (strangling watcher), substituting a strong dark tapestry-theme instead…and the module works just as strongly in this case!

Conclusion:

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

Chris Harris’ conversion of Stephen Yeardley’s module retains the draw of the original – while, system-immanently, the system sports less monsters, the use of Tome of Beast critters (stats included) and the change of theme are smart decisions. My final verdict will thus also clock in at 4 stars for the 5e-version.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #070: I Am Not Of Your Element
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Mini-Dungeon #070: I Am Not Of Your Element
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:28:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

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Still here?

All right!

When a faultline had a wave of unearthly energy flow into the underworld, it decimated a fire giant monastery down to just a doombringer. Now, a travelling and injured shadowdancer awaits, as a massive swarm of gray goo seeks to change folks; it has animated a brass golem and a fire giant banshee-variant (stat-modifications provided) can be found. The place is one of wrecked glory, as a ghorazagh plans the final take-over of the place…and indeed, smart players may well contemplate at least a temporary alliance with the fire giant doombringer…

Conclusion:

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

Stephen Yeardley’s take on a subterranean monastery haunted by a recent catastrophe is interesting, mainly due to the clever enemies employed. While I would have loved to see the terrain matter a bit more, this is a fun sidetrek. (Come on, nanite-infused lava!) My final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #070: I Am Not Of Your Element
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