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Players Guide to Whispers of the Dark Mother Adventure Path
Publisher: Wayward Rogues Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/14/2017 07:47:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Player's Guide for the "Whispers of the Dark Mother"-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content. It should be noted that a nice full-color map of the area featured in the AP is included between SRD and back cover.

The modules takes place in the nation of Bryndell, defined by the worship of ancestral heroes and begins in the town of Brighton, a relatively busy little trade-hub (and available for free if you require further details!). With such a background, it should not come as a surprise that seasonal adventurers, common folks taking up swords instead of plowshares, are not uncommon - but the relatively open nature of the environment also mean that characters from other backgrounds can relatively easily fit in within the story to be told. The pdf also provides from the get-go a relatively concise overview of the common knowledge in the locale - the Laughing Dragon as the "Adventurer's pub" is mentioned and similarly, the mysterious beast that supposedly haunts the area and has remained conspicuously silent for a long time... Beyond that, if you require some motivation for adventurers of a more scholarly or pious bent, there is a bit of guidance for those as well.

The pdf also specifies, from the get-go, the theme of horror the AP will try to maintain as a leitmotif - and as such, it comes as no surprise that flawed heroes are preferred. A selection of a total of 8 flaws are presented and taking one will not only enhance the roleplaying aspect of the series, but also conveys a +1 trait-bonus on Knowledge (local). This bonus is pretty fixed and if you have access to other flaw-featuring books, I'd suggest adding them and the trait-selection they usually feature to the selection. Still, not a bad collection.

A total of 3 different feats are included in the deal: Bravado of Olde lets you add Cleave to the end of your charges - and all follow-up feats of Cleave. Pretty strong option there. Flyer's Remorse is pretty amazing, though: As a move action, it lets you ready an attack versus a flying creature - if it moves within your 1st range increment, you may shoot at it, re-readying the attack thereafter if you expend an AoO. This is mechanically interesting, and the prereq makes sense. Like it! Heroic Legacy, finally, nets you +1 to atk and damage when facing a creature with double your HD or 3 or more creatures with HD equal to your own. Yeah, not that cool.

Next up would be a selection of 10 traits - Combat traits include a damage bonus with holy water and better atk with polearms; there is a trait that represents having grown up in the cult of the dark mother and there's one that represents having drunk enough to be more resilient against poisons. Similarly, pilgrims can be found and 1/day bonus damage, being a survivor of ogre's aley - there are some seriously nice, flavorful traits here, with one of them actually containing two different options, bonus-wise. Nice.

A total of 6 spells can be found within the pdf as well; Grey Maiden's Tears let you weep ashen tears in a basin to contact a passed individual - provided you have someone mourning the respective individual. Emergency Succor is powerful, but interesting - cast as an immediate action on a target that would be reduced below 1 hit point, it transfers the excess damage to the caster and actually sports a caveat that prevents it from being cheesed/negated. Gran's Minor Lance lets you conjure forth a lance of force energy to throw at your adversaries, hitting everything in a line - basically, an AoE-variant of magic missile with a short range and a save to negate....with the added use of acting as a short-duration lance before that. The wording could be more explicit/slightly streamlined. The improved version of the spell has functional, but still non-standard verbiage, in its stating that the attacks with it are calculated using the spellcasting ability modifier of the character in conjunction with BAB. It also no longer allows for a save to negate, which is powerful considering the spell's damage type, but also valid, considering its spell level. Nice catch - the lance's return to the hand of the caster includes a caveat that avoids the issue of iterative attacks.

Sinew Spasm is relatively interesting, enchanting a corpse to attack a target - though RAW, the spell has an issue in that it does not specify that the target square for the corpse to attack needs to be within the corpse's reach; RAW, the corpse can twitch and spasm into pretty much any area of the spell. If this is the intended function, it should have been made more clear. There is also a spell that drops a rock on targets in an area. It should be noted that rules-formatting in these is not always perfect - the latter spell, sky stone, has for example a Saving Throw-line that reads: "Reflex;" - that should be "Reflex negates" and the text e.g. does not capitalize Reflex properly. This is not necessarily a big issue, but if you're picky with the like, it can be slightly annoying.

On a more positive note, the pdf does offer two pieces of equipment - the grapple arrow, which can help bring down flying foes, and the weighted javelin, a similar means to penalize flying foes. (The pdf does a pretty good job of making PCs seriously contemplate having some means to deal with flying foes...). After that, we are introduced to a total of 5 sample faiths and philosophies for the PCs to follow, all of which come with domains, favored weapons, etc. - on a slight nitpick, the goddess of the sea Amaura has one domain more than the other gods, totaling 6 domains.

Finally, the pdf concludes with the dust warden archetype for the paladin class. This archetype replaces detect evil with detect undead. Their smite is modified to only affect undead...but oh boy will they suffer: 3 times class level bonus damage on the first smiting attack and every hit of such a smite against the undead actually also debuffs their defenses. Divine bond either nets a chosen mount at-will detect evil or adds ghost touch to the available bonded weapon options. It should be noted that the archetype misses a couple of italicization instances. Decent, if unspectacular anti-undead-type of archetype.

Conclusion:

Editing is pretty good on a formal and rules-language level; there are a few cases that sport a bit clumsy, but functional rules-language. Formatting f the rules is slightly less refined, missing a couple of italicizations and proper formatting conventions. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several really nice full-color artwork, though fans of Wayward Rogues Publishing may recognize some from earlier publications. The cartography is solid and in full color. Really annoying, though: The pdf has neither bookmarks, nor can you copy text from the pdf - if you want to use the material herein, you'll have to either print it out, open the pdf and scroll there or hand-write the effects down. I don't get this peculiarity with Wayward Rogues Publishing's offerings - I really don't. Not one of the big 3pps does that and it is not particularly customer-friendly.

Anyways, Jarret Sigler, Rodney Sloan, Robert Gresham, Ewan Cummins, Simon Peter Munoz and James Edger's Player's Guide is actually a pretty nice book - it does not spoil the plot of the series, has some actually interesting and cool options (particularly the anti-aerial creature tricks) and is significantly more refined in its crunch than earlier offerings. While editing and formatting remain a bit of a weak-point and while I was not blown away by everything herein, this remains a nice little Player's Guide...and it's available for PWYW. It's pretty hard to argue with that. The pdf may not be perfect, but it actually does have some really interesting options and is certainly worth checking out and leaving a tip. Taking its PWYW-bonus into account, I feel justified in rating this 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. Take a look and check it out, you have nothing to lose!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Players Guide to Whispers of the Dark Mother Adventure Path
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Everyman Unchained: Fighters
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2017 05:45:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This re-design of the fighter-class clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 38 pages of contents, so let's take a look!

The fighter. Know what? the last vanilla fighter anyone played for non-testing purposes in my group...was in 3.0. The class has no unique selling points, only receives a ton of feats, lacks skills to excel beyond combat and is just BOOORING. Heck, one of my players tried to play a talented fighter and switched characters because, even with the talented flexibility, he considered the class too boring.

So let's see if this redesign finally makes it work? The fighter remains a full BAB-class, gains all proficiencies (including tower shields and weapon group training), d10 HD, good Fort-saves...and 4 + Int skills per level. Thank the deities for the skills! 1st level and every even level thereafter nets a bonus feat, with 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter allowing the replacement of such a feat.

Armor training is situated at 3rd and 7th level, armor mastery at 19th and weapon training is gained at 1st level, choosing a group and gaining the weapon group's weapons - including the exotic weapons! Weapon mastery is gained at 20th level. Weapon training's bonuses are still increased at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter - oh, and the fighter can just spend stamina to increase the weapon training bonus.

Wait...yep, the class thankfully has the stamina-mechanic of PFU completely integrated into its framework, with BAB + Con-mod denoting the pool-size and the regain conditions etc. all coming in Alexander Augunas' trademark precision. 2nd level retains bravery, which increases every 4 levels thereafter - so if you're like me and really like the Bravery feats by Rogue Genius Games, the respective base-line still exists. 3rd level provides second wind, which represents a swift action and stamina-expenditure based ability to gain temporary hit points - interesting here is that the cap of the temp hit points is oriented at the damage taken by the class, with higher levels (11th and 19th) also providing the options to do so at 11th and 19th level as a free/immediate action.

Starting at 4th level, the unchained fighter can use a move action to gain the benefits of a combat feat for 1 minute, at the cost of 3 stamina, providing some wild-card flexibility here. 5th level nets advanced weapon training, with 9th level and every 4 levels thereafter, one such option is gained. Originally featured in the Weapon Master's Handbook, this basically represents the on-steroids-version of this: From new weapon groups to Ultimate Charisma-support, sharing teamwork feats, additional daily uses for limited use tricks, battle trance, a Dazzling Display that makes action-economy-wise sense, dual-wielding chosen weapon group weapons, finessing non-finesse weapons, stamina-based parry, damage upgrades when finessing - and I haven't even come close to mentioning even half of the options available - so yes, fighters now have a serious array of different distinguishing abilities beyond feats.

This much required differentiation also extends to advanced armor training, with 7th level, 11th and 19th level providing one such choice from a seriously impressive, if briefer, list that includes a wide variety of defensive options, including DR, better CMD, being capable of protecting nearby allies, full sprinting in armor, quicker armor donning and even piecemeal armor training...oh, and scaling SR. Yes, the badass fighter is now no longer the sucker that jealously looks at the barbarian for things he ought to do to those spell-slingers. So yes, massive, massive customization options.

Now here is the thing: Even if the weapon training and armor training offer a metric TON of options, there is more to be found - namely fighter training options that you can choose to substitute either. Yes, I am not even kidding, the unchained fighter has a metric ton of even more options - with negative condition suppression powered by stamina, ranger traps, item mastery feats, improving the options for the aforementioned wild card option (which is btw. called martial spontaneity), mounts, etc. - and yes, some build upon one another. This is a gigantic array of unique tricks and, as we've come to expect from Alexander Augunas, he has skillfully woven the stamina-mechanic into the powerful options. The pdf also lists the respective weapon groups, advanced weapon groups - and better yet, uncommon weaponry from ultimate equipment has similarly been added, including a massive amount of tables listing all those aspects as and rules-relevant stats...so amazing. Have I btw. mentioned the finesse weapon group and the options it allows for in conjunction with the new options?

But this is not even close to reaching the density of crunch this offers: The book has a massive, colossal amount of archetypes modifies for the use with the unchained fighter: Airborne Ambusher, Archer, Armor Master, Brawler, Cad, Cavern Sniper, Crossbowman, Dirty Fighter, Dragoon, Foehammer, Free Hand Fighter, Gladiator, Mobile Fighter, Phalanx Soldier, Polearm Master, Roughrider, Savage Warrior, Sensate, Shielded Fighter, Tactician, Thunderstriker, Tower Shield Specialist, Two-Handed Fighter, Two-Weapon Warrior, Unarmed Fighter, Unbreakable, Weapon Master. I can't cover all of these in the detail I'd usually provide without bloating the reviews beyond belief- just let me say that the further tweaks of this massive array of additional options provide is amazing. They take all the customization options we expect and smoothly streamline them to fit the new chassis.

Oh, and obviously, for the fighter as the formerly-feat-centric class, this pdf also features a significant collection of different feats: We can find a feat for stamina-based save rerolls; we can find an option that allows for the ignoring of temporary physical ability score damages; quicker natural healing...and then there is the exceedingly cool fact that, yes, the feats come with combat tricks beyond the already neat benefits!!! So yes, the leitmotif here is MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with numerous Jacob Blackmon-artworks throughout - and yes, copious kitsune and nagaji included. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Alexander Augunas delivers the class the fighter always was supposed to be: We retain the massive depth of combat tricks, but instead of making one-trick pony specialists that play alike in every single round, the unchained fighter not only has a colossal amount of customization options - the talented fighter had that as well. The accomplishment of the class lies definitely in the flexibility that is not restrained to the building path chosen, but to the options it allows the player to take within said paths: Even if you compare two fighters employing the same weaponry and roughly similar fighting styles, you will have differentiations between them, completely different experiences. The in-depth integration of the stamina-system further provides fun to the act of playing a fighter and adds a component of resource-management to the experience. In short: The unchained fighter provides a ton of player and character agenda - the increased skills per level and other abilities available mean that the fighter no longer has to impotently twiddle his thumbs while the barbs and rangers get to do all the non-combat fun stuff.

This rebuild of the fighter is the best I have seen so far and most certainly should be a required addition to any game that has players who want to play one; mechanically precise, fun and well-designed, chock-full of unique and fun options, this pdf is worth every cent of its asking price twice and deserves a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and also receives a nomination as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016. Very much required and from this point onward the point of reference that other fighter fixes will have to beat in order to have any raison d'être.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Unchained: Fighters
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Everyman Options: Unchained Fighters
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2017 05:43:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the superb unchained fighter class clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/introduction, 3 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It was pretty evident that the chassis of the unchained fighter as presented in that amazing book, would have enough slots to further diversify it beyond its already impressive scope - after all, it has basically 3 categories of talent-like ability-arrays you can expand. Thus, we begin with no less than 7 new advanced armor training options in this book. We have less penalties for fighting defensively, better Sleight of Hand to conceal items and higher weight capacity, we get cover training that increases the bonuses cover grants. There is also a way to use Bluff as a substitute to AC or CMD - if the attacker beats the result, the fighter can choose to be hit anyways to gain a bonus on his next attack roll or skill check - considering how highly you can stack Bluff, I am not comfortable with this. The rules-language could also more explicitly state that failure to penetrate the skill's result negates the attack - while obvious from context, the precise wording could be more explicit here. There is also an option to use Acrobatics and an immediate action to negate critical hits, but only when unarmored, which is pretty neat. Oh, have I mentioned decreased physical attribute damage? With the Bluffing-one as an exception, a damn cool assortment of new tricks.

More than 10 new options for advanced weapon training have similarly been included in this pdf - these include interaction with Ultimate Charisma, allowing for baleful glares that allow for at-range psychological maneuvers, which is really, really nice. Adding minor bludgeoning damage to some maneuvers is nice, but pales in the options that e.g. the simultaneous maintenance of multiple styles at once can provide; this chain of abilities alone can generate some seriously cool fighting game style tricks. (Remember when Mortal Kombat had style-switch options?). There would also be a catch-all combo of Power Attack and Deadly Aim, not stacking with those as well as the one-hand wield two-handed weapon trick - so yeah, if you wanted to go all guts and one-hand-wield a really big, nasty weapon...possible. Gaining the nothing can stop me vigilante talent also is a neat idea.

Beyond these, the pdf also provides new types of fighter training options...and they are really, really interesting. Take e.g. one that emulates attributes, scaling with class levels, but only for the purpose of the wild-card martial spontaneity ability. Further vigilante crossover for some nice social talent (yes, Face-fighters. Mind-boggling, right?), kip-ups, gaining a climb or swim speed (requiring sufficient Climb/Swim ranks as prerequisites to avoid cheesing)...oh, and if you're like me and enjoy pushing your PCs through grueling wilderness treks, you'll certainly appreciate the marching drill, that allows the fighter to extend bonuses granted to allies. Modifying a select array of proficient weapons to be treated as belonging to a weapon group and the substitution of Knowledge (engineering) for Disable Device make for some sensible, intriguing tricks.

Oh, and if you've been one of the folks who complained that "their" archetype was not included in the original unchained fighter pdf, rest assured that this sports a vast selection of them: Blackjack Mercenary, Border Guardian, Vengeful Hunter, Corsair, Dragonheir Scion, Combat Infiltrator, Drill Sergeant, Eldritch Guardian, Eldritch Warrior, Falcata Duelist, Lore Warden, Mutation Warrior, Martial Master, Mystic Warrior, Opportunist, Relic Master, Seasoned Commander (which oddly states "Fighter" instead of "Archetype" in the brackets, Siegebreaker, Steelbound Fighter, Studied Duelist, Swordlord (remember - no closed IP), Titan Fighter, Trench Fighter, Viking and Whirlwind Dervish are included in this array.

You'll notice the obvious change in focus: Whereas the core pdf dealt with the traditional, very fighter-y archetypes, this time around, we get the applications of the multiclass-scavenging options - want mutagens with your unchained fighter? A more rogue-y one? A draconic bloodline (including primal dragons and similar less common options)? Those options and more can be found here. Now it should be noted that these do not represent radical departures from the original fighter options - if you take a look at, for example, the viking, you won't find a full-blown redesign or application of Ultimate Charisma's rules here - but since this is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, I won't hold that against the pdf. The focus/stance taken still is nice to know from a consumer perspective, though - hence this little discussion. The new archetypes are the combat infiltrator, who can best be pictured as a Rambo-like commando with some armored sneaking capacities and the Mystic Warrior, who learns to fire elemental bolts at adversaries. And no, it does not use kineticist tricks. It's okay, but personally, I'm not a fan of ammunition-less, unlimited shots, so this hits a pet-peeve of mine.

The pdf also contains 6 new feats, which may not look like much until you take a close look at them. First of all, the pdf features Weapon Mastery feats, which require the weapon training class feature and only bestow their benefits in conjunction with a chosen, appropriate weapon - but these would not be the only feats here. Lightning Draw allows you to fluidly stowing and drawing weapons, allowing for whole new combo-style assaults and building further on Quick Draw and Quick Stow.

And yes, the feats here do come with combat tricks that require stamina expenditure. There would be an option for increased damage output for ranged weapons that is balanced by an important caveat to prevent the further escalation of ranged weaponry; there is an option to Parkour charge. Better yet: Depending on the material of your shield, you can grant yourself scaling energy resistance, which is AMAZING, as it makes sense internally AND provides some much needed love for shields. Know that scene from x movies, where a throwing specialist puts his all in a single throw, increasing the damage it inflicts? That can now be executed. I was also duly impressed by Volley Attack, which looks insanely powerful at first, covering 10 ft. per BAB-point...but then you realize that the feat eliminates the bonuses bestowed by other feats, abilities and spells and arrive at a painful hail, that still is very much feasible, balanced. That and the prerequisites mean that not every Jim and Joe will be able to pull off such a devastating hail.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues in rules-language or formal criteria. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience, but not to individual feats/abilities. The artwork by Jacob Blackmon is full color and neat.

Alexander Augunas' expansion for the glorious unchained fighter is an interesting pdf for me - I absolutely adore several of the class options and the feat-chapter similarly is inspired. At the same time, as a person, I was slightly less enthused (much like in the original unchained fighter) by the archetype adaptations - they do their job well, don't get me wrong...but they are adaptations. Personally, I prefer the more pronounced changes, the massive redesigns.

But, let's make that abundantly clear, that is simply my own personal preference. The new training options for the most part and all of the feats are absolutely inspired and may warrant getting this, even if you're like me and not too blown away by the archetype array. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars -a very good expansion for the phenomenal fighter rebuild.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Options: Unchained Fighters
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Swashbucklers of Porphyra
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/10/2017 04:01:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the "...of Porphyra"-series clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, though, as always, they are formatted for an A5-booklet (6'' by 9'') size - you can fit about 4 pages on a sheet of paper.

All right, so let's take a look at what the swashbucklers get here! The first archetype would be the Acrobatic Swordsman, who receives a modified deed list that provides a scaling bonus to Acrobatics to move around -making the swashbuckler...you know...actually halfway competent at swashbuckling! Sure, this may eliminate menacing swordplay, but things get cooler at 3rd level, where acrobatic twist allows the swashbuckler to count as occupying the sqaure he began his turn in, allowing him to flank with himself, rewarding acrobatic tricks. Instead of superior feint, 10th level provides the option to follow a, thanks to Acrobatics avoided attack of opportunity, with an attack executed as a swift action attack. Also at 7th level, the swashbuckler may temporarily reduce an enemy's speed when hitting them, with 15th level providing an Improved Whirlwing Attack-style, panache-powered storm of death. Charmed Life is replaced with faster movement, Nimble is more efficient (and actually relevant!) when moving and both weapon and armor mastery are properly modified to suit the archetype's needs. This archetype represents an unmitigated win for the class. It lets the swashbuckler actually skirmish. Two thumbs up!

The second archetype would be the anatomist, who is basically a debuff machine - instead of opportune parry and riposte (which is moved to 7th level), the archetype learns the complex targeted strike mechanic, which allows for the targeting of body parts like wings, legs, etc., with scaling benefits for each of the areas targeted: Very cool btw.: You can daze etc. targets, but a truly elegant caveat prevents the ability from being cheesed. Also interesting: Panache's regain mechanic is modified to instead pertain to enemies hampered by targeted strike. 3rd level nets sneak attack at -2 levels and 5th level replaces the critical range increase with the option to pass critical hits to allies via Butterfly Sting. And yep, another archetype that cannot be cheesed, that plays differently and has a sufficiently unique engine. In short - another winner.

The Braggart does not have panache in the traditional sense - instead, he needs to basically bluster and Bluff - if his boasting is good enough, he'll get the panache required for that respective deed he tries to perform. While this reliably (skills are so easy to boost) delimits panache as a resource, it also eliminates the passive always-on benefits of deeds and panache-based feats, which makes the engine actually come out as pretty elegant in not only representing the concept in question, but also in balancing it. Instead of opportune parry and riposte, the character can boast of his skill, increasing temporarily his stats...though the more he wants to increase them, the higher the DC'll be. Here, you can see, pretty well, actually, math in action: The boosts can be significant, yes - but the author has obviously done his math. Even with all item-cheesing etc., I couldn't break this. Kudos. Big, big kudos. Yes, this archetype is all bluster; all Bluff; but even with the usual +20-cheeses via spells etc., it remains a valid option that doesn't overstep its boundaries. The archetype may not be for every group, but I very much like the execution here.

The dandy is fighting armor and shield-less and thus gains an AC bonus governed by Charisma. The emphasis of the interplay between sharp tongue and sharp weapon is nice here: The dandy is a superb face and may use panache to increase his social skills with surge-like boosts that can even explode (i.e., if you roll a 6 on the surge's d6, you roll again and add it!) and the archetype builds on demoralizing foes, increasing the damage output against them. At higher levels, the dandy may even expend all panache to try to avoid death by negotiating with the ole' reaper. Nice face-type swashbuckler.

The dastard can be summed in one sentence in that the archetype represents the dirty trick specialist swashbuckler, with panache regain tied to dirty tricks. A solid engine tweak, though one that can be reliably cheesed regarding panache-regaining. Not a big fan of this guy. The honorable swordsman replaces derring-do with the option to not be moved while he at least has 1 panache and the archetype, as a whole, is basically a swashbuckler/samurai crossover - these guys can use katanas, replace charmed life with resolve, well, you get the idea. I liked this hybrid-y one more than I figured I would, courtesy of the flavor and the overall nice cultural niche this has.

Nightingales are masters of voice projection that may employ their hypnotic song instead of Stealth and Bluff - once it is gained, the two skills are immediately retrained. Basically, this is the slightly supernatural-seeming killer whose weird song clouds the mind of those nearby, the singing ninja/rogue/scoundrel. While I am not the biggest fan of the effective skill-collation the archetype performs, I found myself contemplating it still - it is a relatively simple concept from a mechanics point of view, but one that oozes flavor.

The Quixotic Swordsman is hilarious: Instead of panache, they get a nonsense pool that greatly fortifies his will...but at the same time, 2nd level's regain mechanic is the fun part - these guys fight windmills, foes that are not there, but, on a failed save to resist this madness, they regain nonsense - RAW the only way to do so apart from resting. Not for every group or campaign, but hilarious in the right context. Finally, the scrapper may expend panache to move and use Acrobatics to potentially negate attacks, use panache to gain temporary DR...but the most interesting aspect of these guys beyond the defensive deeds would be their unarmed martial arts - yup, these guys are unarmed swashbuckler and the longer the fight is, the more he fights, the more potent his assaults become. Whether it's the agile Eastern martial artist of a Terrence Hill-like pugilist...what could have been a basic hybrid-y archetype actually has an interesting mechanical engine and thus, playstyle.

The new feats herein contain some seriously nice options as well: Better Acrobatics for better skirmishing, for one...and then there would be an alternate representation of the concept of a weapon bin via a feat, if the integration of bind-maneuvers was something you tried to avoid. Better footwork and the classic throw at the end of movement and twisting blades? Jep, can see that. The pdf also introduces 2 new style feat-chains, with the Acrobatic Style allowing for better skirmishing and maneuverability and even the substitution of Fort- with Ref-saves while active: Since this does not wreck non-combat saves, is circumstantial and the third of the Style's feats...I'm actually good with it. The second style introduced would be Flynn Style, which nets you bonus AoOs for parry-purposes and enhanced ripostes. This could have easily been a broken array...but the feats actually have some nice balancing tweaks - the feats provide additional options and thus, more flexibility, but deliver these powerful options at the cost of no panache-regains when employing them. Want to play a scrapper with a weapon? Well, there's also a feat for that. Alternate better throwing into melee? Possible. There is also a 3-feat-tree that lets you use items with progressively larger shield-hands and an alternate Cha-based Mobility can similarly be found - and yes, it still requires Dodge, so it just makes what would be a feat-tax for some characters on their way to Spring Attack convey an actual benefit. Kudos!

The pdf also contains 2 new armor qualities and 4 weapon qualities. One of the armor qualities which nets basically dodging panache, erroneously refers to panache as prestige, while the other enhances Acrobatics. The weapon enhancements include increased precision damage on crits, increased mobility and there would be a quality that acts as basically a once per day deed-and panache reservoir. The pricing of these all looks solid to me. The pdf also features 3 wondrous items - the jaunty cap that helps when a swashbuckler's stranded sans panache; the puffed shirt of the fancy man can be enchanted - and then acts as armor. Nice for the fashion-conscious noble...or infiltrations! The Swordmaster's Flair category of items are basically defensive accessories powered by panache. One slight complaint - the slot should say "varies", not "none" - at least when I interpret the construction requirements and pricing choice correctly.

The pdf concludes with Theon Augustus, a CR 10 dandy - all ready for your perusal.

Know what's also cool? The pdf comes with the CR 13 Lepidoral agathion in a cool bonus-pdf...and yes, it depicts the cool rabbit-y outsider in full-color glory! Have I mentioned aura of mischief and confusing strikes? Pretty cool critter!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, almost top-notch: I noticed some very minor hiccups, but yeah - this is a precise book. Kudos to the editors! Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 1-column standard and the book sports some nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

I don't like the swashbuckler class. I love the idea, I'm a huge fan of the classic movies...but the execution...not so much. There is a reason I've been looking for 3pp-options for it for quite a while. Nathan Reinecke delivers a truly impressive toolkit for the class. Not only are pretty much all options presented here valid - they eliminate some serious issues swashbucklers faced (cough Mobility /cough). The archetypes do not shy away from complex operations and, yes, innovation even! Several archetypes herein represent actual innovation. This pdf makes the swashbuckler a good skirmisher, with several options presented to emphasize different tasks. In short, apart from the dastard, I consider all archetypes herein to be shining examples of their craft. The feats allow for cool options and are well-priced regarding prerequisites; the items are similarly well-priced. In short: This shows SERIOUS care and research. Heck, it has a skill-based bonus system that cannot be cheesed to smithereens, even with the massive bonus options for skills. In short - this not only has flavor galore that does not get in the way (if the Quixotic swordsman looks too gonzo for you, reskin the guy as a traumatized/insane...and there you go), it also shows that the author engaged in serious research and did not shy away from good ole' math. Oh, and the pdf is seriously inexpensive.

For the more than fair price-point, there is frankly nothing more I could have asked of a class-pdf like this. Considering that the few glitches I found were cosmetic, I feel more than justified in rating this 5 stars + seal of approval. This is pretty much a must-own pdf of options for anyone who wants to play a swashbuckler. My one gripe with the pdf is that I would have loved to see more reasons to stick with the swashbuckler class at the highest levels....but that, dear readers, is just me offering the most well-meant of constructive criticisms - the swashbuckler is better off for having access to this pdf.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swashbucklers of Porphyra
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Descent into the Candy Crypts
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/10/2017 04:00:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module for Crimson Dragon Slayer clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial,1 page back cover/Kort'thalis glyph, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The Candy Realms lie west of Valeece and are inhabited by candy people (which are also known as candles). Sounds nice, right? Well, candy people are colossal a-holes. They are totally into slavery, considering themselves to be a delightfully sweet master-race. Fruit people, also known as Fruities, have been enslaved for a while by this vile nation and only recently threw off the yoke of the candy people oppression. Turns out they consider the candy folk to be too sweet...and aren't really that much better. The big question is why the players of a Crimson Dragon Slayer game should care about that. Well, this question is answered by a d8-table.

This table includes having lost a leg to candy land-mines, having been cheated at cards by Cando Carysian, being the offspring of a dentist...you get the idea. Basically, you hate candy. Oh, and guess what. You can play the long-suppressed fruities!

There would be Strawberry Folk, who get -2 Strength and Willpower and 4 racial hit points, but have a mean streak: When you make a strawberry see red, you're doomed: 1/day, they may gain advantage on attacks for level rounds. On a 2, they attack the nearest target; on a 1 they hit themselves while thus afflicted. To nitpick: Specifying that this pertains to the attack roll would have been helpful - it's evident, but first generated some minor confusion.

Banana-men look like bananas with arms and legs and eyes...the eyes of a serial killer. They have no mouths. They get -2 to Dexterity and Charisma and have 6 racial hit points. 1/day, they can start a death stare that forces the GM to select another target when trying to attack them.

Thirdly, grapes. Grapes get -2 Strength and Constitution and 8 racial hit points. They look like anthropomorphized grapes...with a tentacle that they can 1/day you to seduce a target, making it inclined to non-violent conflict resolutions. Yeah...don't try to picture it. Grapes are purple. Tentacles, purple...leitmotif for Kort'thalis. The rules here could be slightly more precise, but as a whole, you can grasp their intent.

The module comes with conversion notes to other old-school RPGs and has a d12 "Let's make this interesting"-table for the GM: From granting laser guns to every foe, finding the necromonicon, to boys that can use wishes - basically, this is the big chaos-infusion if, at one point the GM gets bored and things are running too smoothly.

And that is as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still around? Well, the module takes place in the Too Sweet Asylum's ruins - the place seems to have rotted from within, like a bad tooth...and below it lie the eponymous candy crypts. Within the ruins of the asylum, one can encounter ring pop wraiths, a convenient dentist (for those that abuse cotton candy healing) and fruities planning the infiltration of the compound - for below, in the candy crypts, there are fruitie prisoners to be freed. And yes, a kiwi-fruitie speaks with a New Zealand accent. Obviously. Treacherous peaches and a genius-level insane pina-colada marshmallow can also be found among the prisoners and the PCs will stumble over the dread result of candy genetic engineering...and potentially blow up if they fail to stabilize a sabotaged generator about to bust. Guards are btw., obviously, donuts and can jam you into their hole, squeezing hard for serious damage. This sentence sounds somehow so damn wrong...

Anyways, a small chocolate river contains a deadly fudge golem must be passed and there would, obviously, be the evil lolipop king with his butterscotch wizard, who has a CANDYFICATION MACHINE! Beyond this horrible threat, the gumdrop ichor, the dread peanut brittle vampire - there a copious amounts of bonkers foes. And yes, the module for a system that quotes Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. actually quotes South Park's Cat-Piss-episode quoting Heavy Metal F.A.K.K....which, I'm pretty sure is one step short of generating a referential black hole... Oh, and I should also mention the cherry light district in the crypts. 5 rooms are devoted to...yeah, there's a sugarplum faerie stripping on a pole. There is a rap battle in process. And a jello massage parlor. I'll just add my voice to the comment of the module: "You don't want to know what goes on there."

The pdf also has 4 magic items - a sword of vengeance, a lightning wand, kryptonite candy...and the amethyst ring of WTF, which ties in with the Purple Islands of Putrescence.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and is pretty elegant. The pdf's b/w-artwork is nice, original and bonkers. The map of the complex by Glynn Seal is absolutely excellent - no player-friendly, key-less version is included, though. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort-detriment.

Venger As'Nas Satanis excursion into the candy crypts left me somewhat baffled. In all my years, I have never thought I'd be typing, seriously, a review of a module wherein you play anthropomorphized fruit, duking it out with genocidal candy folk. This feels, very much, like a LSD-hallucination of a module in the sheer outré nature of the proceedings. "What happened at the gaming session today?" "Well, I got stuck in a donut and squeezed to death."

How do you rate this? Well, it's pretty much a straight dungeon-crawl regarding its structure. I can also say that this is by far the best module wherein you defeat evil anthropomorphized candy people I have read to this date. This is EXTREMELY WEIRD AND GONZO. And know what? I like it. If you strip away the weird, the module is nothing groundbreaking, but oh boy did I laugh my behind off! The rules-language aspects could be slightly more precise here and there, but that does not change that this module is more entertaining than it has, structure-wise, any right to be. Considering the pretty fair price-point, I feel justified in rating this 4.5 stars. And while I, as a person, had more fun with this than with comparable, brief dungeons and believe that wonky, bat-shit crazy stuff should be supported, the module's structure etc. is nothing mind-boggling beyond the premise. Hence, the reviewer in me demands that I round down for my official verdict.

Need something mega-gonzo? Look no further.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Descent into the Candy Crypts
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Vindicator base class
Publisher: ARMR Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/10/2017 03:57:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base class clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The vindicator presented here is a full-BAB-progression class with good Fort-saves that receives 4 + Int skills per level, has d12 HD and proficiency with all armor as well as simple and martial weapons, but not shields. The class receives Diehard at first level.

The eponymous vindication ability of the class can be activated 1/level, + an additional time per 3 levels after that and may be maintained up to class level + Constitution-modifier rounds, with activation and ending action being swift actions. (As a nitpick, the Con should be the full word, not the abbreviation.) Vindication reduces the maximum hit points of the vindicator by an amount equal to twice his level, but also nets the class a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with all natural and manufactured weapons.

Vindication also acts as a gateway of sorts for sacrifice: While the ability is in action, the vindicator can deal 1d4 non-reducible (nice catch!) damage to himself as a standard action to inflict twice the dealt amount to all creatures within a 15.-ft.-cone, with a Ref-save to halve it. Now usually, I'd complain about the lack of a damage-type, but I'm relatively okay with it here. The ability requires a free hand and increases by +1d4 for every 2 levels beyond first. It can be used 1/2 class level (minimum 1 caveat missing) + Constitution modifier times per day.

At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the vindicator receives a so-called ardor, which basically can be summed up as the talent-array of the class. The vinidcator may thus reduce his maximum hit points to create a weapon from his blood with scaling enhancement bonuses, which is cool visual-wise, but sports some typo-level glitches. Said weapon can then be used to inflict Con-governed bleed damage, fuse it with the sacrifice ability for a combo strike, increase the affected area of the sacrifice ability, become immune to fear or employ sacrifice faster a limited amount of times per day. At higher levels, stopping the aforementioned bleed can become pretty difficult and fortification is part of the higher level options as well, though it is not properly formatted.

Now a pretty problematic aspect of the class, in fact my main gripe with it, lies in the monstrous hand. You see, flavor-wise, this guy feels a bit like Guts, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 3, DMC 4, etc. in that he can wield larger weapons at higher levels in one hand - and per se, that is cool. However, at the same time, the monstrous hand is not really codified as a rules-entity...but several abilities do reference it in rules-language, referring precise to that hand, with negative levels. Now granted, there is an ardor that is called "monstrous ARM", but how such a confusing and problematic hiccup could slip in this baffles me. So yes, the aspect of the class is functional, but more confusing than it should be....which is a pity, for, from reach to more creative options, it is not bad in the way it's presented.

Beyond the ardors and their customization choices, the vindicator also receives better damage output and retained functionality at negative hit points (not being staggered when using Diehard, for example...), increased AC when wielding one-handed weapons, being resilient to bleeding damage...the class has some cool tricks.

At the highest levels, we have sacrifice-like nova (that should have been the capstone) and an increase of vindication's base bonuses to +4 as the capstone...which should have been part of a scaling of the ability.

The pdf also has a feat for extra vindication-uses and extra ardor and two favored class options, for dhampir and tiefling, to be precise.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are the weak spots of this pdf - while not bad, there are formal hiccups (sentence suddenly switches to past tense) and some deviations from rules-language formatting and presentation. Layout adheres to a relatively printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but I can live with that at only 5 pages.

Angel "ARMR" Miranda's Vindicator is actually one of my favorites of his designs I covered so far - it juggles some relatively complex concepts and its general HP-reduction engine is interesting and per se pretty well executed - not perfectly, mind you: If you roll really poorly on HP, this will not be fun. That being said, the class has some surprising and unique tricks that can make this a rewarding choice if you can get past the hiccups that exist herein. Now usually, I'd frankly rate this further down, but as a PWYW-offering, I consider it worth checking out - even if only for the purpose of mechanics/idea-scavenging, this could well make for at least an interesting adversary for the PCs to face. So yeah, this may be a flawed little class, but it does have heart and shows that the author cared. At PWYW, it is worth looking at and leaving a tip. My final verdict for the pdf will clock in at 3.5 stars - and this being PWYW, I'll round up. As a non-PWYW-offering, I'd have detracted a star and rounded down instead, but yeah. Take a look - it's worth that at least!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vindicator base class
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Mini-Dungeon #047: Stowaway on the Singing Sea
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2017 07:10:34

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 .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing

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!

And now for something completely, radically different! This adventure takes place mostly with the PCs cooped up in a crate, with rations, portable hole for...ahem...necessities. Two weeks. Even if you fast forward that, it'll be interesting if you just briefly mention each day and wait for your PCs to interact a bit. I'm serious. If you have good roleplayers in your group, this'll be pure gold. That being said, there is a reason for this unorthodox way of travelling. You see, the PCs have been hired by law enforcement to catch captain Elloise Drake in the act, with the means of granting her crew amnesty. Thus, they stowed away on her vessel...and once the crate's opened, the PCs explore the pirate vessel, catch it in the act of piracy and may use their social skills to make more of the crew turn against their captain. And yes, furious fight included. Sure, you can play this as a fast-forward one-big-encounter type of scenario...but if ran as provided, it can actually provide easily a full gaming day's worth of fond memories.

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 .tif 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!

Justin Andrew Mason's "Stowaway on the Singing Sea" is a classic module that depends on whether it is perceived as a blast or as bland on both the GM's prowess and the player's temperament. Roleplayers willing to depict the journey will absolutely adore this gem and indeed, as a kind of break, as a means of taking tempo out of a campaign that seemingly runs from time-limit to time-limit, this works phenomenally well. You know your players better than I do - can they cope with such a set-up? if so, they'll love it; if not, you can fast-forward through the two weeks of set-up, but you'll lose out on the impact of the finale when it hits. This is, more so than most modules, a matter of taste.

In fact, if it has one neutral weakness, that would be that exploration of the pirate vessel does not really yield advantage when turning the crew - some one-sentence angles for key-crew-members to turn them would have been the icing on the cake. Still, this represents a great example of how cool a module you can craft even with a minimum of space. 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #047: Stowaway on the Singing Sea
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Mini-Dungeon #048: Pit Your Wits
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2017 07:07:56

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 .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing

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!

The PCs arrive at a well-known mining operation's base...the issue, though, would be that it's gone. In its stead, there lies a chasm filled with inky blackness, the result of an elder thing's "planer[sic!]" ship crash-landing there - the fall of the ship has resulted in truly strange creatures - like giant crickets covered in glowing toadstools. Highly volatile fuel left on planks may ignite at a touch, moss has transformed in mindslaver moss; a goblin was turned into a monstrosity of warped legs with tentacle-like bits; intestines have congealed into a slug-like thing and what was once a half-dragon troll living nearby is now something completely different - investigating the strange crash-site will certainly yield some seriously interesting, horrific foes...and can be seen as a masterclass example in practice on how to properly reskin monsters to make them feel fresh and new. And yes, random encounters included.

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 .tif 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 proves that he can do the horrific just as well as the creatively weird here - the mini-dungeon shows with perfect ease how you can reskin monsters and make them truly unique encounters, how you can logically and cohesively establish a thematic leitmotif in a mini-dungeon and run with it. This is a fun excursion, particularly so for fans of science-fantasy, dark fantasy or horror - with only minimal emphasis changes, you can easily ramp up the respective components. While this mini-dungeon is thus not necessarily brilliant, it most certainly represents a more than fun low-level excursion for such games. My final verdict will hence clock in at a well-deserved 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #048: Pit Your Wits
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Ogres New Boots
Publisher: Wayward Rogues Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2017 07:05:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

...

..

.

Okay, still here? Only GMs around? Great!

So, this adventure, in a way, is the story of one special ogre called Bruboe, mocked relentlessly by his brutish brethren for his artistic ambition. In exile, he found his calling - becoming a great actor! The audience he found was ultimately that of mutated belching goblins. While the ogre has managed to accumulate a variety of costumes, he is lacking good boots - which is where the eponymous new boots come into place. Bruboe has kidnapped Nogget, the best cobbler of Bright Moon Valley by luring him under false pretense with a letter (note that if your game treats literacy as rare...among common folk or ogres...), imprisoning the man. Guess what the PCs are supposed to do? Bingo.

The PCs are hire in the Laughing Dragon Inn by a gnomish child and the PCs will probably jump at the chance to offset their ennui. The first encounter, thus, takes place at the site of the ambush, where they deal with the belcher variant goblins left there. While the caravan ambush site does have a map, it is only a small one and no proper-sized version to print out or hand out is included - something that extends btw. to all the encounter maps herein. On the plus-side, the pdf does provide upgrade-notes for higher APLs and even alternate stats. The scaling advice is nice.

Tracking the belchers is not too hard, though PCs failing hard at Survival will have a harder time - the more checks they fail at, the worse it'll become. Particularly successful PCs will find a hidden vale with a dryad. Ahem. Well. The artwork is...nice. Okay, so if you're sensitive to that kind of thing: The artwork depicts the dryad stark naked, with her wooden behind towards the reader. Personally, I don't mind, but some readers may be put off by this display of cheesecake.

Arriving at the belcher hide-out, the PCs must pass some decent traps and arrive at the grim theatre of the ogre, stumbling on a performance by the ogre - if they play along, they can actually hold off the attack of the belcher and firebat audience. Bruboe is an ogre skald, btw., and comes in a level 2 and 4 version. This would also be as well a place as any to note that the neither skill- nor attribute-checks are consistently and properly formatted herein. Also weird: The finale mentions tiers instead of APLs for different scaling options. The ogre will make a run for it while the PCs slice and dice through the belchers, the PCs will have to hunt him...and pass the captured cobbler, who tells them to trick the ogre into putting on the boots.

If the PCs manage this, the boots, suffused with alchemist's fire, burst into flames, making the combat easier...though why they only burst into flames after putting both on can be considered to be a minor logic bug.

There is an optional final encounter after Buboe has been defeated - there are lava children and a magma elemental hidden below Buboe's base, whose presence accounts for the belchers flocking to the area - getting rid of it represents basically the optional bonus benefit and encounter for the module.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, though there are a couple of issues in the formatting of rules-text. Layout adheres to Wayward Rogue Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several solid full-color art pieces, mostly stock. The maps in full color per se are nice, but the lack of both proper-sized GM- and player-maps make their inclusion useless for the GM - you'll still have to draw them. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Nicholas Milasich's little module is a basic one - in format and length akin to a Pathfinder Society scenario, a type of module it suspiciously looks like. Like many PFS-modules, it's very combat-centric and extremely linear. The premise is funny and a capable GM can make the unconventional twist on the BBEG memorable, even if the "trick" mentioned for the final stand can be an issue. The bonus encounter feels a bit tacked on and the variant goblins also fall a bit short of their potential. The module per se is not necessarily bad, but neither is it particularly compelling. First level parties can potentially be wiped by the pretty strong opposition - I'd rather recommend this for level 2 - 4 characters. If you have no prep time and need a society-style scenario, then this may deliver for you- as this is PWYW, you may decide for yourself if this is a worthwhile offering for you.

It is due to this fair decision that my final verdict for this module will clock in at 3 stars - it may be worth checking out for you, but don't expect to be blown away.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ogres New Boots
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Umbra Base Class
Publisher: ARMR Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2017 07:03:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base class clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The umbra class presented herein receives d8 HD, 6 + Int-mod skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves and proficiency with simple weapons as well as hand crossbow, rapier, sword cane (nice!), shortsword, kukri, starknife and (composite) shortbows as well as light armor and bucklers. The class also nets 30 ft. darkvision and low-light vision at first level, which makes it too dippable from the get-go, even before the other options, but that just as an aside. Darkvision increases to 60 ft and 120 ft. at 6th and 11th level, respectively, with 17th level providing see in darkness.

The umbra begins play with a shadowcraft pool equal to class level + Wisdom modifier (the pdf annoyingly uses the three letter attribute shorthand in an unnecessary formatting deviation),a pool that replenishes at midnight, just fyi. The pool is used to power the so-called shadowmancies, SPs, of which the umbra has one at the start and learns an additional one at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, with save DCs clocking in at the traditional 10 + 1/2 class level + Wis-mod for them, if applicable. Basically, we have point-based casting of an extremely limited list with a shadow-theme here. A plus, formatting-wise: Spells are properly italicized. Nice.

The class also gets shadowstrike- the option to attack an adversary's shadow to inflict damage: in order to do so, the umbra must focus on a shadow as a move action (dismissal also takes a move action), with duration of the focus being 1 minute or until the creature is slain. While thus focused, the umbra receives -2 to AC, Perception and attacks versus creatures that are not the target of his focus, but the class does deal an additional +1d4 damage, +1d4 at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter against a target of the focus. Nitpick: The ability makes this damage behave as precision damage, but could be slightly more precise here. Still, this is nitpicking - the ability per se is interesting.

Starting at 2nd level, the umbra may generate shadow bolts to target creatures affected by the focus - this is a ranged touch attack that provokes AoOs and inflicts 1d4 untyped damage, +1d4 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter and the ability is treated as a spell of 1/2 class level -1 - and such a bolt costs one shadowcraft pool. Starting at 7th level, umbras deal + 1/2 class level damage versus flat-footed foes (+ class level at 14th level) and regains 1 shadowcraft point when doing so. Hand me the bag of kittens to slaughter, please.

15th level nets hide in plain sight and 17th level allows for the combination of shadowbolt and shadowstrike, with 20th level providing a sufficiently powerful insta-kill attack. The three feats allow for a larger shadowcraft pool, more shadowmancies or a decreased point cost for one. The class comes with favored class options for drow, fetchling and dhampir.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level. On a rules-formatting and presentation level, there are a couple of deviations from the standard to be found. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Angel "ARMR" Miranda's Umbra is per se an interesting construct - the focus-based infinite challenge-y alternative to sneak attack deserves further scrutiny for its potential. At the same time, the class feels a bit confused in what it wants to do: On one hand, he have the alibi-level restricted flexibility of shadowmancies and the very few options that provides; on the other, we have the pseudo-warlock-y blasting. And then, thirdly, the aforementioned sneak alternative. And none of the 3 come together particularly well. Unlike in comparable classes, the engine-components do not feel like part of a whole and exist, for the most part, separate from one another.

There are a precious few interactions, but as a whole, this feels like three parts of potentially cool classes, forced to inhabit a single chassis. I believe that all three, to a degree, could have carried a class with varying success, but their combination here feels like less than the sum of its parts....somewhat disparate, if you will. This does not make the class a trainwreck or anything, but it also means that, even with the PWYW-bonus, that this is far, far off from the amazing ethermagic, Path of Shadows of similar offerings out there.

In the end, even with the PWYW-bonus, I can't go higher than 2.5 stars, rounded up for this one.If you're looking for design-inspiration or for the shadowstrike-chassis to build on, then this is still worth downloading and leaving a tip for, though.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Umbra Base Class
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Mini-Dungeon #046: The Gallery of Gears
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2017 07:02:14

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. This one does not come with a .tif extra map, just fyi.

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!

The dreaded summoner Vlexigorn, known for the delight he takes in enslaving demons, was about to meet his match, when the kolyarut hunter Lanthanus was on his trail. Unfortunately, the summoner has managed, with the help of his vrock-aide Chor-da ta'al, to get the better of the kolyrut and use his portal to escape to Mechanus - the resulting instability has the creature on the clock (Get it? Mechanus...clock? Sorry, will hit myself for that one later...) and stranded in the material plane -he can't return for now and in 3 hours, he'll be banished here! The wounded outsider thus beseeches the PCs to enter the clockwork world of Mechanus and stop the vrock.

Upon entering the place, the PCs will at least find the bloody remains of the summoner - which alas, means that the vrock is now free-willed. Really weird: Bypassing the gears that claimed the summoner's life requries a Dexterity check - not a Ref-save, not an Escape Artist check...I don't get it. The exploration of the small complex depicted here...is somewhat weird. The depictions of bellows, scrying devices and the like are flavorful...but you can't do much with them. There is a control device for portals...and it needs a DC 28 (!!!) Intelligence check to understand. Again, weird - not Knowledge (engineering), not even Knowledge (planes) - straight Int versus DC 28. That being said, it is pretty evident why the complex, as such, isn't that detailed or engaging - the mini-dungeon basically is a prolonged boss-fight, with relatively detailed tactics given for the vrock - which I'd generally applaud. At the same time, however, a "permanently active electrical field" is supposed to keep the vrock in line. Guess what? Vrocks are immune to electricity. he could just LEAVE. Heck, his tactics even mention him using the electricity as a shield...but not how much damage that would inflict to PCs braving the field.

Another logic-bug: Vrocks can at-will greater teleport, teleport into the PC's back, finish the kolyarut. In short - if you swallow the premise, this can be a fun module; but if you don't and look closer...then it just makes no sense.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches on a formal side. 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 pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Jonathan Ely can and has done so much better. The premise is cool; I like the gear-studded map and the adversary and his strategy is neat. The strange ability checks when you'd expect saves or skill checks are weird...but don't weigh as highly as the stretches expects you to swallow. I can get the "immensely lucky"-angle for the portal; it's the premise of the adventure. Strange stuff happens. However, I don't get why the module wastes precious word-count on the back-story of an irrelevant, ostensibly high-level summoner who has no loot (WTF?) and no bearing to the plot whatsoever.

The dungeon, ironically, is sterile - it has almost no interaction points and those that are here bear no relevance to the, admittedly cool boss fight....that remains cool unless you start thinking, when suddenly, it stops making any semblance of sense. The adversary's tactics are aimless make zilch sense to me; the vrock's not stranded, the kolyarut's wounded, he's free two greater teleports and we have a PC-failure on our hands. Even if you'd argue that the vrock wants to infiltrate Mechanus, it makes no sense, he'd just have to use spores, then teleport away until the timer's elapsed. His whole motivation makes no frickin' sense. As soon as you start questioning anything in this mini-dungeon, even tangentially, you'll see it coming apart. I love the idea here - but the execution is extremely flawed. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, rounded up for the idea that a GM can scavenge and the nice map. Plot-wise, this is a wreck.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #046: The Gallery of Gears
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Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2017 09:40:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Legendary Games' hybrid classes clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The kinetic shinobi, if the name was no clear indication, is a hybrid class of ninja and kineticist, which receives, chassis-wise d8 HD, 6 + Int-mod skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons plus kama, katana, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, nunchaku, sai, shortbow, short sword, shuriken, siangham and wakizashi as well as light armor. The class receives 3/4 BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves and 2nd level nets sneak attack, which continues to progress by +1d6 every 3 levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +7d6.

The class begins play with elemental focus and kinetic blast with kineticist levels equal to kinetic shinobi levels, but must either add the physical jutsu or elemental jutsu form infusion to any kinetic blast she manifests. A kinetic shinobi's kineticist tricks are governed by Charisma instead of Constitution- Both of these form infusions, just fyi, do not have a burn cost.

Unfortunately, the physical jutsu infusion does have a pretty nasty glitch: It is used as part of any attack action, creating a weapon that deals "1d4 + Cha" damage, regardless of level. It can be used with Vital Strike, Spring Attack etc....but for one, I am pretty sure this should be Charisma modifier: RAW, this adds the Charisma score to damage, which is...too much. The elemental version behaves analogue to this, but does not sport the problematic "+Cha" addition and targets touch attack instead.

2nd level provides a ki-pool equal to 1/2 class level + Cha-mod. This ki may be spent to enhance physical jutsu attacks by +1 or the damage of elemental jutsu by +2. These bonuses increase by +1 and +2, respectively, at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Additionally, an expenditure of one ki can net them a whopping +20 to Acrobatics for one round, or a +4 to the skills associated with the elemental focus. Beyond these basic uses of ki, the kinetic shinobi also learns so-called Hadou techniques at 2nd level, which remain available for as long as the shinobi has at least 1 point of ki left in her pool. These hadou techniques basically are what lets you generate unique effects with the jutsus. It is here, in the technique that makes the jutsu behave as a katana, that the aforementioned confusion regarding "+Cha" is resolved btw. - here, the wording is correct and notes that it's the Charisma modifier that is added to the damage-output, which is for 2-handed weapons btw. increased to 1d8. Dual wielding weapons made from jutsu and thrown weaponry are included here as well, just fyi.

Starting at 3rd level, kinetic shinobi become harder to track and better at Disguising and Stealth, emphasizing the ninja-component with scaling bonuses that increase every 3 levels thereafter. 4th level provides gather power, which, considering that the kinetic shinobi pays ki instead of burn, obviously pertains ki expenditure, though gathering power does require concentration -on a failed check, you have a cooldown there. 4th level and every 8 levels thereafter net a substance infusion, with 6th level and every 4 thereafter allowing for the switching of such an infusion. 4th level decreases the ki cost of their combined substance infusions by 1, with further reductions unlocking at 10th and 16th level. Since the burn-to-ki-conversion is stated in another ability, I am okay with the class calling this burn-cost reduction. 6th level provides the option to expend +1 ki to double the duration of effects, with 10th level allowing them to spend 2 points to maximize their blasts. 14th level allows for the expenditure of 3 points for a required second save and 18th level lets the shinobi expend 4 points to have the blast ignore 10 DR or resistance and SR and mitigate energy immunity to resistance 20: Big kudos here: The immunity-to-resistance-transition could have resulted in confusion in the hands of less careful authors: Kudos for the clarifying example!! 7th level nets evasion and, as a capstone, the metajutsu abilities that allow for the expenditure of ki to add metamagic-y benefits is decreased by 1. They may also regain 2 ki when sneak attacking a creature with at least half their HD: Kitten-proof capstone. Nice!

Now, I have consciously not commented so far on the massive array of shinobi talents included here: They represent the biggest unique player agenda component here. The first of these is gained at 1st level, with every 2 levels thereafter providing an additional such talent. These talents provide a blend of active benefits and talents that behave like hadou techniques and include the classic options you'd expect: From a variant smoke bomb to the option to provide one poison's benefits to his jutsu-formed two weapons to standard action only increased damage blasts, which can be further modified to act as lines or cones. Increased sneak range for sniping, synergy of Spring Attack or charges with the aforementioned standard action damage-increase...there's a lot here. Higher levels also allow for composite blast jutsu weapons, aligned strikes, applying infusions to full attacks, synergy between ki strike (which can be gained via another talent) and kinetic blast, advanced hadou techniques for dual thrown weapons or splash weaponry. Very cool: Kinetic shadow can add a miss chance to the shinobi in the aftermath of attacks and there even is one that allows for the decrease of sneak attack in favor of a reduced burn cost. Thankfully, the notorious flurry of stars-option has been locked behind an appropriate level, showing that the designers have done their math here. Highest level shinobis may even learn supercharge thus. Have I mentioned the option to gain detect thoughts? In case you haven't noticed by now: Combined with Legendary Kineticist, this pdf is pretty much "Psylocke the Class" - or all those elemental ninja dudes and dudettes. As a whole, the massive selection of shinobi talents covers a pretty amazing array of options.

This is not, however, where the pdf stops: Instead we get a TON of archetypes: 11 to be more precise. Arsenal snipers modify their proficiency-list to gain access to crossbows and firearms and indeed, that's what they can create: The rules-language provided for the ability is beautiful in its complexity, addressing several potential stumbling stones and eliminating multiple game-breaker-level issues from the get-go. Beyond increased accuracy, the class also receives an array of unique shinobi talents that include interaction with automatic fire, several investigator talents and replaces sneak attack with studied combat and Ranged combat at 3rd level, with further levels providing range increases. Lethal...but for once not a sniper class that overshoots (get it?? I'll punch myself later for that...) the line.

The second one would be the Brutal Assassin, who loses a bit of versatility in favor of Strength as governing attribute and increased sneak damage output whenever he expends ki, with fighter-level bonus combat feats and more damage-focused tricks - which remain within the proper levels...so kudos! The archetype does lose much of the shinobi's stealth and versatility for these, though. Thirdly, the burglar is a quick one: 3rd level safe house instead of a shinobi talent, HiPS instead of evasion. Solid.

The elemental shinobi replaces 12th level's ninjutsu training and evasion with access to elemental defense , powered by ki, at 2nd level. Their ki expenditure per round is capped, though, and their pool is reduced to 3 + Cha-mod to retain balance and they may also not perform the +20 Acrobatics tricks via ki, though 6th level allows them to take Charisma damage to increase the ki pool for a limited number of times per day. Weird layout glitch, btw.: Starting at 3rd level's elemental overflow, the whole text that follows, until the second sentence of the next archetype, seems to be bolder than it should be. The ability is btw. pretty impressive, providing bonuses to atk with blasts equal to the ki points expended since the last rest, and the ability even knows thresholds for further bonuses, which makes for a very cool experience of resource-management I enjoy immensely: On the one hand, you want to expend those points, on the other, you don't this retains a fluidity of options and generates this cool and pretty cinematic feeling. Very, very cool. I am so going to see what I can do with this engine!!

Fading Shadows gets a delayed sneak attack progression and are masters of camouflage, the silent killers and ghost-like infiltrators, with Conceal Spell and vanishing trick. A relatively simple one, but I like it. The hand of the kami would be, surprise, the archetype that makes the class behave like a kinetic unchained monk instead of a kinetic ninja - with quinggong monk ki powers, faster movement, flurry, the like. The Hi-Den Noble would be a similar hybrid-y archetype, but one that would basically represent a vigilante-ish shinobi that makes for a great face of the party, with knowledge and social skills and hidden strikes et al. - Really like this one, as it also has some seriously nice flavor written into the abilities. The metaformer replaces the metamagic-like tricks gained at 6th level and thereafter with extended access to form infusions - basically, this is an engine tweak, designed specifically to allow for kineticist-style meta-magic as opposed to the feat-based metamagic of the base class, making it a useful and cool addition.

Following this sequence, the next one would be the needler, whose ki pool behaves pretty much like a variant panache. Yep, this would be the swashbuckler-multiclass. And before you ask: The reason why I'm not screaming fire and brimstone right now regarding replenishing ki is the restriction that eliminates the elemental jutsu from the equation. The piercing focus can slightly be expanded upon with shinobi talents, one of which allows for the addition of usually bludgeoning-only kinetic blasts that may now inflict piercing or slashing damage. This archetype, while solid on its own, delimits a limited resource, so utmost care should be taken by GMs allowing the archetype to multiclass. The shadow stepper is locked into void and gains arcane spellcasting with slots equal to the bloodrager, but draw them from wizard/sorc and psychic spell-lists, though they are limited in what spells they can learn. The archetype pays for the flexibility that offers with a lot shinobi talents and regular stealth. Additionally, they may cast spells by expending ki and spell slots, drawing from a thematically nice list. The final archetype would be the shikon, whose spell-list and equivalent levels are treated as either bard, hunter, inquisitor, magus, mesmerist, spiritualist or warpriest, chosen at 1st level, rendering them pretty much a catch-all blend of the kinetic shinobi with the black blade of the bladebound magus (they gain a variant of the black blade), making this a pretty significant and interesting departure from the base class. Kudos!

Big, big plus: We get a TON of favored class options: Core races, featured races, uncommon races, and they actually tie in thematically with the respective races: Orcs gain damage upgrades for empowered weapons, dhampirs better negative blasts...nice. The pdf also features 4 feats: Beyond the Extra Shinobi Talent and Favored Shinobi Talent (decrease ki-cost of that talent) to using Cha for one Dex-based class skill to Overflowing Ki, which treats you as always having at least 1 ki and allows for 1 hour of meditation to regain ki...which can be an issue in REALLY grim, low-powered games. In most standard rounds, its meditation duration is long enough to make me consider it to be okay.

The pdf closes with the lady depicted on the cover, Valerie Jette, a level 9 half-elven kinetic shinobi whose colorful history includes a healthy infusion of drow blood as part of being resurrected. Sounds intriguing? Yes, it does! She does come with a boon, just fyi!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is very good, though not perfect. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf's artwork has been employed in other LG-books for the most part, though a couple of nice ones are included that I have not seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

N. Jolly, with additional design by Blake Morton and OnyxTanuki, delivers once again in this hybrid class. Now, what do I look for in a hybrid class? For one, if a simple archetype of a scavenging of class ability could do what the hybrid class does, then it has missed its mark. Secondly, and that's just as important, if not more so, it has to feel unique: It should not play like just a Frankenstein-conglomerate of class abilities that have been stitched together. Thirdly, the class needs its unique identity. A hybrid of hunter and slayer will probably be just another woodsy pet-fighter dude, for example. The kinetic shinobi fulfills all of these criteria with panache. The significant array of archetype support adds some seriously nice customization options to the class as well, making it excel at being the anime-ninja, the Psyclocke-ish character par excellence. That being said, there are a couple of minor issues here and some options that can potentially can cause hiccups in some games. Granted, these are few and far between and can easily be identified by a competent GM, but they're here. In the end, I consider this a very good hybrid class - one of my favorite 3pp hybrid classes alongside Forest Guardian Press' savage and Purple Duck Games' luminary , in fact, but these small imperfections are what costs this my seal of approval. Still, this remains one excellent addition to the game and well worth 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Hybrids: Kinetic Shinobi
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Vivisectionist Hybrid Class
Publisher: Wayward Rogues Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2017 09:36:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Vivisectionists are locked into an evil alignment and receive d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, bombs and light armor and the class receives a 3/4 BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Will-saves. The class begins play with alchemy and Brew Potion and receives extract-spellcasting akin to the alchemist. The class draws its extracts from its own list of available formulae and the governing attribute here would be Intelligence. While the vivisectionist receives the bomb class feature, it is used in a different way and more in line with a very soft crowd-control, as the only level in which the ability is increased would be 13th. It should be no surprise that vivisectionists thus begin play with Throw Anything as well. Sounds much like an alchemist? Well, 1st level also yields channel necromantic energy, usable 3 + Cha-mod times per day. This special channeled energy does not cause damage, but can be used to command and heal undead - those affected by it may fall under the sway of the vivisectionist on a failed Will-save.

Starting at 2nd level, the vivisectionist receives DR 2/bludgeoning and magic, increasing this by +2 at 6th level, 11th level and 15th level. As a minor nitpick, the formatting of the DR in the class table lacks the slashes. 2nd level and every even level thereafter yield a discovery, but more on those later. Starting at 3rd level, a vivisectionist may 1/day emit a 5-ft-burst of negative energy that inflicts 1d4 damage per class level, half on a successful Will-save. As a minor formatting nitpick, it should be "+ Charisma modifier", not "+Cha modifier". This ability can be used an additional time per day at 8th, 12th and 18th level and it heals undead. Additionally, their channel can be used to further activate the ability more often. I assume the default standard action for activation of this Su, but would have still appreciated an activation action - and, pretty important, a note on whether this provokes an AoO. I assume no as a default, analogue to channel energy.

3rd level yields swift alchemy, which contradicts the table that puts the ability at 4th level. 5th level yields the eponymous vivisection, which allows the character to, as a free action, inject specially-charged brain matter, granting a +1d6 surge-like bonus on one skill check within 1 minute, even those requiring the taking of 10 or 20, with the choice being required after the check is rolled, but before results are made known. The interaction with taking 10 and 20 are a bit weird here, but retain their functionality, so this gets a pass. This can be used "1 + Cha modifier" (again, should be "Charisma" -I'll stop commenting on this type of formatting hiccup now) times per day, +1/day at 7th level and every other level thereafter. Alternatively, as a move action, the vivisectionist may gain the benefits of a combat feat for the duration, but has to meet all prerequisites, with 7th level decreasing action economy for this type of activation to a swift action.

The vivisectionist may only have one such wild-card feat at any given time...at least until 9th level, where the ability can also unlock general feats and may benefit from multiple such feats at any given time. The interaction here can be a bit wonky: The vivisectionist still has to meet the prerequisites of such feats, but can subsequent uses of the ability grant feat trees? Iron Will and Improved Iron Will, for example, if the vivisectionist uses three vivisection uses? Does he lose access to e.g. Improved Iron Will, once the vivisection duration for the granted Iron Will feat elapses? Does the multiple-use-caveat for the stacking of granted feats via vivisection also apply to combat feats, or are these still locked at a maximum of 1 wild-card feat? The ability has some hiccups in these finer details. Starting at 15th level, the vivisectionist may use the ability to gain a non-spellcasting 1st-level ability of a core class, but is locked into it until the duration elapses. Also at 5th level, the vivisectionist receives a 5-ft.-radius fear aura with a hex "Immune after successful save for 24 hours caveat."

Starting at 7th level, the vivisectionist may 1/round deliver a melee touch attack that inflicts 1d8 untyped damage, +1 per 4 class levels. This also heals undead creatures, which can be a problem if you're playing with an undead PC-race, as it means infinite healing. The attack may also be delivered via spectral hand - the spell is, just fyi, not properly formatted here. Starting at 12th level, the vivisectionist learns two alternate uses of this ability: On any given day, she may bestow a total of up to 1/2 her class level negative levels, with a maximum of 2 per touch. Alternatively, she may paralyze foes for 1/2 class level rounds, with both cases allowing a cha-governed save to resist. I assume the save to be Fort, but the ability does not clarify that. In order to use either paralyze effect or negative level, the vivisectionist must spend a swift action charging her hand. If the at-will paralyze seems OP, then because it is (RAW, it can be used infinite times per day), but the upgrade at 17th level makes clear that the intent was for paralyzing to have some sort of cap: Suddenly, negative levels and paralyze cap at class level levels/rounds per day. sigh

8th level adds +4 to Str and Dex and +2 hp per HD to all undead created by the vivisectionist and allows her to control 4 + Cha-mod undead HD per vivisectionist level, with 2x class level doubling as the cap for those controlled by channel necromantic energy. The wording here could be a bit more precise and elaborate. 9th level yields +4 to saves to resist negative energy, some ability drain, level drain and inflict spells. As a capstone, we have an undead-apotheosis as well as a grand discovery.

Speaking of which: The pdf contains, unless I have miscounted, a total of 13 class-exclusive discoveries and 4 exclusive grand discoveries. Grand scale corruption of wells and even larger bodies of water, a discovery that lets you rig an alchemist lab to make it generate undead-animating vapors, making a nasty weapon from a unicorn-horn...Know what? In all Wayward Rogues Publishing-pdfs I've covered so far, these are not only the most precise pieces of crunch, they also are inspiring and evocative. A lot of the discoveries basically ask to be made into the central plot-device of a given module. Preparing alcoholic beverages to hamper saves? That just sounds like step one of a delightfully dastardly plan, and disguise self and alter self as formulae, with the option to use a deceased person's blood to take their appearance, makes for a delightful package that just screams "Make me a cool villain in your next game! - even when the spell-references are not properly italicized. Cooler than that: Flashes of memory can be added to the impersonation! There is also a discovery-tree called graveflesh, which provides camouflage and protection from mindless undead, a black thumb that kills off vegetation (unfortunately without stating the effect on plant creatures) or some bonus spells - the abilities which grant those, just fyi, are perfectly formatted - italicized spells and all.

The grand discoveries allow for the assumption of permanent control over mindless undead, extended command and control limits, act as a living shrine to an evil deity (which also includes desecrate -bingo, not italicized) and provides auto-undeadification for those that die within your desecration range and finally, you can spontaneously call forth large amounts of weak undead. Per se nice options, though their power ranges a bit.

The pdf closes with 4 spells, one that allows you to damage foes based on your wounds, a low-level undead-only sanctuary-variant, a variant geas that animates the target upon death to continue his quest and a variant spying spectral eye. The spells sport some minor formatting hiccups, but generally remain viable. Weird: Though they are on the vivisectionist formulae list, their spell statblocks don't mention the class.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, particularly the latter, are the bane of this pdf. While significantly improved from earlier offerings by Wayward Rogues Publishing, this still has a lot of hiccups, some of which influence the functionality of the class. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a GORGEOUS artwork of the class. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes an unnecessary comfort detriment, particularly when combined with the fact that you can't highlight or copy any text in the pdf.

Robert Gresham, Wojciech Gruchala and Angel "ARMR" Miranda's vivisectionist is, let me state that clearly, a nice hybrid class. It has unique tricks, a distinct playing style, sufficient player-agenda, a concise identity and even some seriously inspiring discoveries. This class, in short, would receives 4 or 5 stars, easily. Unlike earlier hybrid classes by Wayward Rogues Publishing, it is one worth getting...if you're willing to spend a little time to work on it. As written, there are a lot of formatting hiccups and some ambiguities within the framework of the class that drag it down a notch from the praise I'd otherwise bestow upon it. The fact that some core abilities require further clarification is a nasty strike against the pdf and while I still can endorse this to GMs willing to work with the crunch, the editing and formatting deficiencies leave me unfortunately no choice but to rate this down to 3.5 stars, missing the rounding up by a tiny margin. I do hope this'll get a revision at some point - the cool ideas herein deserve the chance to properly shine.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vivisectionist Hybrid Class
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ZEITGEIST #13: Avatar of Revolution (Pathfinder)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2017 09:33:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This is it. The finale of the Zeitgeist AP clocks in at 89 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 84 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being the FINALE of the Zeitgeist AP, the following, unsurprisingly, will contain copious amounts of SERIOUS SPOILERS. Potential players should definitely jump to the conclusion.

...

..

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Only GMs around? Okay, when the PCs were in Av, the world of dreams and fey, a massive blast left reflections back in the gyre and sent the PCs back into reality - but due to mutable time in Av, months have gone by in the real world and Obscurati control has been more than solidified. Few beings still resist the all powerful New World order, one of them being none other than Benedict Pemberton. If his daughter did not survive #6, he'll be a shaky ally at best, but in the rich tradition of reaping what you have sown. When the PCs awake from the shock of Av's destruction, Pemberton will bring them up to speed - just in time before a powerful killer-commando of the obscurati, with Nicodemus hijacking one member, offer a final chance to come to his side (He has cookies! ... Sorry, old goth joke...)...and the PCs will find out the hard way that the Ob now have the metaphysical power of their strengthened godmind behind them....it is also here that the eye of rot and a chance for the PCs to find out means to subvert hivemind control happen...they'll need every bit of strategy and power they can muster.

Pemberton also has a subject, Pardo the gnoll - which is good, for in order to subvert the sacrament, the PCs will have to actually wrestle people from the hivemind control of the Obscurati...which is very much required. Why? Because Nicodemus sees the big picture. He sees the PCs for the demigod-power threats they are...and he is willing to torch every single city on the planet, kill millions, if the PCs continue to thwart his plans. After all, who will care once utopia's reached? Who will mind in a thousand years? This is where Pemberton comes into play: He is convinced that, if the PCs can deal with Harkover Lee, who lords over Risur, that he can jury-rig his duplicant-magics to allow the PCs to enact a ritual in several cities at once, simultaneously breaking the hold of the Ob and foiling Nicodemus' scorched earth protocol.

However, at this point, we return to adventure #12.

Speaking of which and the dragon formerly known as Harkover Lee: Scorched earth here is to be taken literally. The gas lines are ready to erupt with elemental fire directly sapped from the plane, as the heroes with their attempts of freeing folk from obscurati mind-control, witness firsthand the fruits of Nicodemus' age of reason. Foiling literally scorched earth is one thing...but the dragon still needs to be dealt with - and the dragon tyrant is not a foe to be trifled with - CR 23, all death. Oh, and you know all those other metropolises, all those other characters the PCs interacted with, from snipers to shamans? this is where pretty much everyone becomes important, for, within a scant few minutes, the scorched earth protocol must be stopped EVERYWHERE. While the pdf acknowledges that players tend to care less when their PC's not "on stage", it should still be noted that the duplicants and their control can make for an amazing "simultaneous" run, if your GM-mojo is really strong. Then again, you have run one of the most challenging APs ever written to the final chapters, so I think you should be able to handle that!

One final task. The Axis Seal ritual. Nicodemus and his colossus Borne. All forces of the Obscurati. The PCs now truly reap what they have sown. They need to gather their forces and allies, deal with the Obscurati armies and the aforementioned entities. The goals can diverge: Stop Nicodemus. Complete the ritual themselves. Redeem William Miller and thus allow them to redeem, to an extent, Nicodemus and put him to rest...or reject the divinity and new world by utterly destroying the half-completed ritual set-up. Nicodemus is basically the god of this world by now - empowered by all minds who want him to complete the ritual, hampering his ability to do so may make him vulnerable.

Know how #12 had these cool tracking sheets? Well, the axis ritual (full color map included) and the massive energy tendrils involved here make for a final combat that cannot conceivably be solved by brute force - it is, at once, a massive puzzle to reconfigure the pillars with icons to determine the new world's form...and better yet, we actually get sample taunts and even a proper grandstanding monologue for Nicodemus...and a GM checklist for the encounter. You know, usually, I'd follow that up with "but a good Gm can handle that"-blabla...but frankly, this encounter is so complex and cool at the same time that the inclusion is very much appreciated!

In fact, PCs can actually get a cool series of handouts that helps them grapple with the axis seal's ritual, for each manipulation actually changed the rules of the world! Nice: You can duplex print two pages and print them out as cards, if you want. And yes, if the players wish to engage in the sacrament of apotheosis, that is similarly covered in a handout.

Indeed, the ends are complex and reward attention: Destruction of Nicodemus...amounts to genocide. Completion of the ritual...just delays him and makes the world, changed, basically a partial success for him. Making Miller take control can subvert Nicodemus and allow for his destruction...and finally, rejection of any form of change, of a realignment of the world, can similarly sever his quasi-deific link...and allow the PCs to end him. Oh, and guess what? The campaign ends in style, with a proper denouement for each character theme.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed a couple of minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Zeitgeist's two-column full-color standard and the pdf has full-color artworks. The pdf is layered, allowing you to customize it for printing out. The pdf is also fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography is in full-color and nice.

Ryan Nock's finale to the Zeitgeist AP is one I see with a laughing and a crying eye: I am honestly glad that this book was made, that this glorious AP managed to reach its end. I am also exceedingly happy to report that the saga managed to maintain its exceedingly high standard, its high concepts, its courage to expect smart players. It is a fitting end for one of the best villains I have ever encountered in any roleplaying game, a conclusion of epic proportions that may not reach the far-out OMG-level of #12, but instead brings things full circle - where #12 was about averting destruction, this book is about creation and what we're willing to risk for it; it is a question of how we'd act when confronted with absolute power. It takes the various decisions and consequences of the AP into account and represents the most challenging, rewarding final encounter I have ever read in a published AP. Zeitgeist ends with a bang quality-wise, though failure on the PC's side may indeed make it an in-game whimper for them. In short: This is a masterful conclusion to the AP, though one that absolutely REQUIRES being run in conjunction with #12. The final verdict will, unsurprisingly, clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

I should talk a bit about the AP as a whole. PFRPG, D&D (whether 4th or 5th edition is irrelevant), 13th Age and similar rules-heavy systems have a bit of a bad reputation in some gaming circles. One complaint is that the rules get in the way of invested storytelling, often pointing towards rules-lite games and their investigation scenarios and then towards the fun, but mindless dungeon-crawling that is often the default modus operandi for these systems. The Zeitgeist AP is, in one sentence, the furious and definite rebuttal that the systems can't carry complex, amazing and intellectually engaging plots. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy mindless dungeon-crawling as much as the next guy. I don't need highly complex plots in every module. In fact, please spare me - more often than not, complex plotlines end up being a colossal mess. Particularly if you insert metaphysics, philosophy and the like - most modules fail hard at being smart and just end up being referential - which is NOT the same. (Brief tangent: That's why current comedy is often not funny to me. References to 80s, 90s etc. are not funny or clever in and of themselves.)

Well, guess what? Zeitgeist handles one of the most complex and rewarding plot-lines I have ever witnessed in any medium. It also accomplishes two additional milestones as far as I'm concerned: 1) The AP features one of the most compelling and relatable villains ever put to print. 2) For perhaps the very first time in a published sequence of modules or mega-adventures, I did not find myself rationalizing some dumb flaw in the plan of the opposition. You see, nothing irks me more than, as a GM, having to play a supposedly almost all-powerful conspiracy of hyper-smart folks and failing due to transparent fiat. The opposition in Zeitgeist is exceedingly clever, potent, acts in a concise and well-reasoned manner and feels internally consistent. There is no "a wizard did it/he's mad/he's arrogant/etc." lame justification here - the plans are clever, the responses are similarly smart and the AP expects not only GMs, but also players to be smart, involved and clever.

In short, if your group consists of intelligent people (as most of us are, knowing roleplayers!), if you ever had to insert x plot-fixes to account for players punching holes in plots, if you ever had to insert a ton of complications (or blend multiple modules into one) to challenge your players and provide a sufficiently engaging storyline, then it's time to take the plunge and give this a try. If you're burned out on the xth dungeon crawl against a villain with a lame, flimsy motivation or a dumb guild...then it's time to look at this. This AP is indeed an action-packed AP that very much stays true to its tenets of being smart and being an investigative/espionage-saga. This AP is a monument as far as I'm concerned, one that should be on pretty much every self-respecting GM's shelf.

The AP is not perfect, though. The main issue I see lies in the horrid naval combat rules, which I'd strongly suggest to ditch and replace with those of Fire as She Bears/Ships of Skybourne. While the latter book is hard to get at first, it is the perfect toolkit to making this AP's naval combat less reliant on the basics. The AP also has, here and there, some minor hiccups that stick out like sore thumbs in the rules-department of minor components like hazards etc. - these are never many, but they do show up, which means that you'll here and there need to make some minor modifications. That being said, the absolutely fantastic storyline, the sheer level of involvement, the visuals - pretty much everything about this saga makes this work more than justified. In the hands of a capable GM and an experienced group of smart players, this may well be one of the best complete campaigns ever penned, regardless of system.

Now the campaign can also be found in massive books. While I have reviewed and own Act I, as per the writing of this review, I have not yet had a chance to read the Act III-compilation. It'll grace my shelves, though - and frankly, you should give this series a shot. Act II and III's compilations, in time, will get their own briefer reviews in which I will comment on the compilation and less on the plot and respective single modules, mind you.

Smart, glorious and very cinematic, this saga is phenomenal and frankly leaves me puzzled how EN Publishing ever wants to top it. Again: Monument. Get it. If you've been disillusioned by published modules and their bugs or just the relative simplicity of many a plotline, this is the ultimate panacea for your roleplayer-weltschmerz.

Endzeitgeist out.

P.s.: Since someone asked: I'm not affiliated in any way with the AP or EN Publishing; I had my nick long before the first zeitgeist-installment hit shelves.

P.P.S.: If someone playing this module makes an endzeitgeist, drop me a line. ;)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #13: Avatar of Revolution (Pathfinder)
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ZEITGEIST #12: The Grinding Gears of Heaven (Pathfinder)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2017 09:31:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The 12th installment of the massive Zeitgeist-AP clocks in at 92 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 87 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following will contain SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. It should also be noted that I may reference other installments of the AP, so you HAVE been warned. From here on out, the SPOILERS reign.

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..

.

Okay, only GMs left around? Great! So, in my best impression of one of my players' catch-phrase: "My friends, the stakes have never been higher!" The massive conspiracy, the Obscurati, have tinkered with the world. Their powerful ritual, intended to reshape reality, was foiled by the PCs. In the epic aftermath of the sundering of the world from other planes, the brave constables of the RHS have fought collective intelligences, saved nations and defeated Kaiju-sized monstrosities. They have established free will as a paradigm and foiled the masterplan of immortal Nicodemus. And now, the world is spinning towards the gyre in an evocation of the classic "Second Coming" - the center cannot hold; massive gears in space, where creation annihilates dying worlds, grind them into the raw stardust of creation. Nothing short of world-wide annihilation and the dread end-game of the Voice of Rot need to be foiled. The PCs are leaders of their world (hopefully - there is a pretty high chance that they botched at some time, with every failure putting more control into the Obscurati's hands), known across the globe...but what does that matter when planar flight's impossible and the world is spinning into the multiverse's gyre?

The PCs will begin their deliberations to be contacted by Rock Rackus, celebrity adventurer, who is possessing a medium to tell them that a weird golden airship is attacking Av, the plane of dreams - it is thus that considerations of dealing with the Obscurati-controlled Danor need to rest for a bit, as the PCs try to use the planar rift of cauldron hill to arrive at the Bleak gate. Here legions reminiscent of those of Egal the Shimmering have been attacking - oh, and the plane is also spinning towards the gyre; depending on the fey in charge (which was influenced by the PCs), they will have different ruler to save- though saving said ruler from the world mote Egalitrix will be tough.

And yes, worlds will be shattering, falling into the gyre, which brings me to a weird peculiarity - a cinematic explosion that may smash a PC into an endless vortex of flame has terrain mechanics like: "+33 vs. Fortitude"....which makes no sense. Fortitude denotes a bonus, not a value. Doubly weird: The text before that mentions a correct solution, a Ref-save and a DC. This may be a small hiccup in the presentation, yes, but things like this feel jarring in light of the quality the module otherwise presents. We have troops of ghosts, taking control of airships...and the overarcing metaplot of making planar icons from the planes that are plunging into the gyre, for without these icons, the Axis Seal ritual is impossible to complete.

When the world of dreams is collapsing, torn asunder by the gyre, a shockwave sends the PCs unconscious....and doubles as the reason why you see this and #13's review back to back.

Again, this is a MAJOR SPOILER.

You have been warned.

So, the world's collapse sends the PCs into unconsciousness - which is an interesting narrative device. You see, the true PCs are back at home and a dream echo is what'll be the protagonist for the remainder of the module...which makes sense, considering that nothing can leave the gyre. The knowledge gained by these echoes can, in the end, be projected back to the proper PCs, as they try to stop Nicodemus in #13. So basically, this and #13 happen at pretty much the same time, which makes for a more interesting climax than back in WotBS (War of the Burning Skies), which had 3 potential climaxes that could be run in any sequence...or just pick one. In the end, that was one structural weakness of the otherwise neat WotBS-AP and it's nice to see EN Publishing not repeating it.

I digress. So, the PCs are in the gyre, where worlds are churned asunder and they need to generate planar icons to tether their world in the ritual - but which to choose? Well, that would be the next chapter and it is here we dive into a time-tested favorite of mine, genre-wise: Hex-crawling. Yeah, you heard me. We're hex-crawling through world motes plunging into total annihilation. We're fighting mandala beasts and in the best of hexcrawling and planeshopping/spelljamming traditions, we find pirate strongholds, tombs of dwarven all-kings...and finally, on Ascetia, the hidden jungle (yeah, the symbolism sometimes hits you over the head), the PCs meet...Nicodemus? Yep, William Miller would be proper, though, for he is Nicodemus' reflection, much like the PCs are reflections...and it is here that #13 should be started. Sure, you can finish #12, but from a narrative point of view and a structure/pacing perspective, this switching is amazing.

So yeah. Please switch towards #13. I'll be waiting here for you to read up on #13's inflection point switch back here.

...

..

.

All right, so, William Miller's as different from Nicodemus as possible - he shares the same soul, but centuries of detachment, a lack of massive magical power and a thoroughly different perspective mean that the PCs may actually pull William Miller to their side, providing a very powerful means to finally defeat Nicodemus in adventure #13 - provided they play their cards right and realize the guilt-impulse that is so crucial to character motivation. It should be taken as the highest accolades that the BBEG of this campaign is indeed interesting enough to warrant such closer examination. It is also here that the PCs can meditate upon the grave of Kavarina's daughter and learn about Srasama, the eldarin goddess who remains in the gyre, courtesy of teh aftermath of the great malice. The deity, if destroyed by the gyre, has one final act she can perform - whether it'll be vengeance or the resurrection of those fallen to the Malice will determine to an extent the ultimate outcome of the saga.

In the southern part of the gyre (hexcrawlin'!), the PCs will have a chance to visit a graveyard world in the throes of a deadly magical, seemingly incurable plague; as the Pcs collect planar traits and visit strange and metaphysically relevant places, the PCs will still have to deal with Egalitrix, a powerful flying fortress manned by infernal troops. Yeah, they act smart, are deadly...and as pretty much any time when the AP insists to employ its horrible ship-combat options, I'd strongly suggest a proper redesign with the Fire as She Bears/Ships of Skybourne-rules. (The latter book, while harder to grasp at first, EXACTLY has rules that can deliver flying fortresses like this!)

And then, the PCs arrive at Reida, the broken arc of history, which is within the very coils of the Voice of Rot - and indeed, the famous "rough beast" of the famous poem. And it is one for the ages. The Voice is LITERALLY destroying the metaphysical embodiment of the PC's home's history, as its gargantuan bulk (Suggestion: Serpent skull + 30 coins...this thing is BIG) slithers over the arc, constantly moving, constantly tearing away...oh and it has 2 thresholds, where is becomes ever more dangerous, calling forth all the dead of history and even wrecking the PC's maximum HP. This titan is also where you can let loose like crazy - it's incredibly lethal and the PCs being reflections, it can kill off them sans impunity...after all, in the end, the only thing left to do will be to fall into the gyre, rejoin with the proper body...provided they have someone left with an emotional connection to. Fun fact: I actually pulled exactly that emotional anchor transition in my very first campaign's climax. That just as an aside.

The reflections of the PCs are ground to stardust. They may or may not take a goddess and more with them. They have the tools to undo the damage Nicodemus has done and prevent him from permanently solidifying the new world order. One final task. The fight for the very soul of the new world, the chance to create one's utopia, to form design the zeitgeist. It's now.

...to be concluded in #13.

The pdf concludes with a full-color map of the hexcrawl (several full-color tactical maps are included as well), a massive bestiary of the high-CR beings encountered, a handy GM cheat sheet of planes with associated energies and traits, a similarly handy list of gyre planes and dying worlds, a handy list of color-coded planes by type, sample combinations that could result in e.g. technocracies, pastorals, etc., a sheet to track bonding with energies, as well as player's sheet for tracking gyre-exploration and, finally, a player's version of the gyre-map.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. I noticed a couple of minor typos and small hiccups as that mentioned before. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and sports a blend of full-color original and stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography of both hex-map and tactical maps is in full-color and nice, though the tactical maps don't come in the usual, blown-up-to-one-page standard, which is slightly annoying. The pdf is layered, which can render the file pretty printer-friendly to print out.

Ryan Nock's grinding gears of heaven is perhaps the most far-out module I have read since Coliseum Morpheuon. It's also the highest-level hex crawl I have ever seen...and makes full use of being high-level. The module throws pretty much a huge sandbox that will make fans of Planescape and Spelljammer cackle with glee at the PCs and represents one of the most poachable scenarios in the AP - you could conceivably ignore the whole saga and just run this as a climax for your weird planes-hopping campaign. It would lose some of its emotional impact, obviously, but yeah.

That being said, this is very much a part of the saga: A thoroughly unconventional one that has one of the most epic boss fights I have ever seen. Oh, and if that wasn't enough - if you're a well-read person or consider yourself to be a scholar, then this book's continuous barrage of subtle allusions to literature and tropes will make you smile from ear to ear. Indeed, while the intrigue aspect is less pronounced here than in the rest of the AP, the very real scope, the massive array of what's at stake render this one of the most epic-feeling modules I have ever read. How often do you get to adventure to puzzle together your world's ideology? That's basically a more player-agenda driven Shin Megami Tensei's Lucifer's Call...but you don't have one planet...you have a ton of them. Much like all installments of Zeitgeist, the ship-combat imho needs replacing...badly. And much like every installment of the AP, it needs a capable GM and involved, proactive players that can juggle the concepts...but for any group that wants to play something SMART, this is absolutely amazing. My final verdict will obviously be 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the minor hiccups...so let's see whether the finale can hold up this level of quality...see you in #13's review.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #12: The Grinding Gears of Heaven (Pathfinder)
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