DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Call to Arms - Ceremonial Masks
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/04/2016 12:51:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This installment of the series begins with a nice, brief rundown of ceremonial masks within the context of our real world history, from Africa to Egypt, Asia, Oceania and all the other parts of this little ball of dirt we call home. The first array of masks presented here begin with regular masks and their masterwork equivalent before introducing a selection of masks that range from facilitating the binding of outsiders to supplementing arcane spell duel tricks or reduced ritual costs. Similarly, monster masks for theater performances are increased in their value by adding mechanical relevance to those wearing them.

Beyond the assortment of mundane masks, though, the pdf also features an array of magical ceremonial masks, 20 to be more precise - and they range in price from 4K to 90K gold. The first, the magical beast mask that conveys a hunter's animal focus to the wearer, though the wording could be more precise in stating that the animal focus is equal to the mask's features - the connection is RAW not explicit. The exorcist's mask may expel creatures...if they fail a DC 11 save...which is pretty easy, considering how most possessing creatures are pretty strong and tend to have good Will-saves. Not the most impressive of items and probably would have been served better via a scaling DC. Ghost Masks let you see the invisible and ethereal. The two healing masks increase base dice-sizes of cure spells and net a bonus to Heal checks and CLs when casting neutralize poison or remove disease (plus remove curse for greater ones...). The greater one sports a minor deviation from the default rules-language conventions, when channel energy can be expended to add "The result" to her CL check against the DC of the affliction. Result of what? The amount healed? WTF? That could even heal divine curses! Oo

The two variants of the masks of giants grant numerical bonuses and some limited special monster abilities associated with the giants chosen. Okay, but not brilliant. The mask of cosmic horror is underpirced slightly, offering 3/day 100-ft. save or suck confusion to all looking. I assume this activation follows default rules, but an action would have been appreciated still. Same goes for the mask of the krenshar, which is the weaker fear-based variant o the concept. The mask of the skull is evocative - it represents a skull flying to a target...and the target touched (50 ft. range) is finger of death'd. The range is pretty strong, but 1/day use is a balancing component alongside the minimum duration worn to activate, which prevents mask circling. It may be a spell in a can...but it is one with an interesting variation. Once again, no activation action, though. Which becomes weird, considering that the medusa mask does sport an activation action. Necromancer's masks let you shift death knell to allied undead. Unfortunately, I am not sure how the secondary boon is supposed to work:"If the wearer immediately casts animate dead, create undead or create greater undead on the subject creature after killing it, he loses all benefits of the death knell spell but the target permanently gains the advanced creature template." I get what this is supposed to do - but what does "immediately" mean? Within the round? Is the death knell still active, but needs to run its course sans benefits? No clue.

The ritual mask similarly feels a bit confused - the idea is that the mask lets you prolong casting time for more power: "By doubling casting time, the wearer may add +1 to the caster level, the spell, or to the level of the spell for purposes of applying a metamagic feat he knows." Ähem...two out of these are actually penalties, considering that numerical scaling is not modified by increased spell levels, only the save DC. I honestly don't get how this one's supposed to work, probably also because the numbers of the example are faulty....either that, or the sentence structure is wrong. The transference of non-instantaneous spell effects or magic item benefits to nearby allies via spellmasks is btw. a can of worms I'd strongly suggest not opening; targets of spells are crucial components of the balancing of the like and many a magic item actually has its bonus/slot/minimum wearing time for a reason. This breaks the system. That being said, there are some gems herein - what about masks you can affix to walls that then proceed to swallow AoE effects, converting them to luck for the person who hung it on the wall? Pretty cool! Similarly, masks radiating auras that cause vulnerability for designated foes make sense and work neatly! The tranquility masks can be used to quench haunts. Witch masks, even at 60 K, are way OP - as a move action, you can extend durations or round-duration-spells by 1 round. No limit. Not getting near my game, even before the modified mirror image effect add further value here.

The pdf also features 3 cool cursed masks and the intelligent mask that was created out of the attempt of dread Sabelest Anahm's attempt at lich-ascendence, providing the undead anatomy tricks as well as undead creation. The mythic Anubis mask grows the wearer as enlarge person and nets undeath to death 1/day. Mythic beings that also expend mythic power as part of channel energy to add up to tier number of d6s to the ability and prevent them from becoming undead. The artifact provided would be the mask of the outsiders, which allows for control over outsiders, trap the soul outsiders in the mask and hijack subtype traits of outsiders thus trapped, but at the cost of a negative level for the outsider - and ultimately, potentially, destruction. But what is the DC for the outsdider to get rid of the negative level? The trap the soul DC 26 or the control summoned creature DC 22 ability? I assume the former, but am not sure.

The pdf concludes with the masked shaman archetype for the shaman class, who replaces spirit animal with mask that provides a linear progression of spells granted by the mask 1/day each. Also, while wearing the mask, the spirit animal's granted power can be applied to the shaman, activated as a swift action for class level minutes, to be spent in 1-minute increments. A cool engine tweak that plays sufficiently differently.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, though on a rules level, the pdf could be slightly more precise. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artworks are neat and full color.

Jacob W. Michaels' masks aren't a bad installment of the series and in fact contain some gems - I like the archetype and the wall masks in particular. I am not sold on the pricing of quite a few of them, though and for my taste, there are slightly too much spells in a can...though, to be frank, they at least do interesting things to modify them. Still, this does have some rough edges. I can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms - Ceremonial Masks
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Monster Classes: Fey
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/04/2016 12:49:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Dreamscarred Press' Monster Classes-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? In one sentence: It's Dreamscarred press providing the Savage Species type of "Play monsters"-rules for the context of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. The pdf does acknowledge that this series (or even, individual installments) may not be for everyone - the fact is that most modules are humanocentric and thus, playing monsters can wreck havoc with the assumptions of a given game...more so than players are liable to anyways.

Let's not kid ourselves here - the guidelines presented in the bestiaries aren't really doing a good job; CR = levels doesn't work out too well - the concept needs a finer balancing. The series acknowledges exactly this requirement. The solution here would be to employ basically racial paragon/monster classes; instead of progressing in a class, the respective critters advance to grow into the full power array. While SP-gaining is presented as an option, the pdf does champion the approach of exchanging those for spontaneous spellcasting, which is drawn from the druid list, based on Charisma for the emancipated dryad. Testing this material, I'd add my voice to this suggestion - the experience is more versatile and rewarding. The emancipated dryad featured herein adds charm person as a 1st level spell to her list, suggestion as a 2nd level spell as well as deep slumber at 3rd level.

The second monster race/class herein, the satyr, draws arcane spells from the bard spell list, casting them spontaneously via Charisma, but add summon monster I - VI to their spell list at spell levels corresponding the number of the respective summoning spell. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The emancipated dryad, race trait-wise, are fey with normal speed, +2 Dex and Cha, low-light vision, the option to speak with plants at-will (not italicized properly)...oh, and they are independent of their trees, making them suitable for adventuring.

Racial class wise (which spans 6 levels, just fyi), they get d6 HD, 6+Int skills per level, 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves. 2nd level and every even level thereafter provides +1 natural armor. The class nets simple weapon proficiency as well as use of spears and longbows. At 1st level, they gain a massive +6 to woodcrafting and is always treated as using masterwork tools. 2nd level nets DR 1/cold iron, which increases to 3/cold iron at 4th level and 5/cold iron at 6th level. 3rd level nets wild empathy, 5 tree meld (which does not italicize the reference to meld into stone) and 5th level also makes speak with plants constant, though it's not italicized.

Attribute-bonus-wise, the dryad receives +6 Dex, +2 Con, +4 Int, +4 Wis, +6 Cha, for a total of 22 attribute points gained, though their impact for power-gaming purposes is decreased due to their dispersal. Testing the monster class left my hesitation regarding it by the wayside. I'm good with the dryad as presented and would ue her in all but the lowest-powered of games.

The satyr-race presented here gains +2 Con and Cha, is a medium fey with low-light vision and gains +2 to Perform (wind instruments), Perception and Stealth as well as +1 natural armor.

The 8-level monster class receives d6 HD, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, 3/4 BAB-progression and good Ref- and Will-saves. Satyrs begin play with DR 1/cold iron and increase that to 3/cold iron and 5/cold iron at 4th and 8th level, respectively. The class also nets a horn attack at 1d4 base damage, which increases to 1d6. Starting at 2nd level, the satyr can focus his magic in pipes, with a Will-save versus 10 + 1/2 HD + Charisma modifier to negate and an "only once in 24 hours"-caveat. Playing or continuing to play requires a standard action. 2nd level, these can be used 1/day and duplicate charm person, 4th sleep , 6th suggestion, 8th fear ...but none of the spells are properly italicized and the text refers to harpy instead of satyr.

At 3rd and 7th level, the satyr's natural AC increases by +2 respectively and 3rd level increases the Stealth bonus to +4, 5th increases the bonus similarly to Perform and at 7th level Perception is thus enhanced. 5th level nets +10 ft. base land movement rate.

Attribute-bonus-wise, the satyr receives +4 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int, +4 Wis +6 Cha for a total of 22 points gained. The attribute-distribution over the levels, akin to what the dryad receives, is diversified enough to maintain functionality for the purpose of power-level of the satyr - no balance-concerns on my part.

A total of 6 feats are provided: Using Wis or Cha to determine bonus hit points, gaining a hoof attack, +4 to perception in woods and Survival to avoid being lost, drinking as a move or swift action...okay, I guess. Murmur of Roots nets a limited tremorsense in wooded terrain and Pied Piper is a cool one for the satyr, allowing them to call forth rat swarms - statblock provided, just fyi. This feat's amazing!

As always, we do not get age, height or weight tables or FCOs, but we do get a nice glossary.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay -the pdf sports both unnecessary cut-copy-paste glitches and a couple of annoying formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' two-column full color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. The pdf has some bookmarks. The artwork is okay.

Jeffrey Swank's Monster Classes: Fey ranks as one of the most refined from a mechanical point of view: In spite of the powerful tricks, the monster classes maintain a sense of balance I very much welcome. While the pdf has a couple of formal hiccups, this still remains one of the best installments so far. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Classes: Fey
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #6: Ancient Necropolis (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2016 09:11:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

This installment of the system-neutral iteration of small 20 Things-pdfs starts with a nice 10-entry strong little table of things you can loot from the body of a tomb raider who met his match within the confines of the necropolis. But how did the unfortunates perish? Well, perhaps they ran afoul of one of the 20 curses featured within the pdf - and these deserve special mention, for they, though system-neutral, work rather well and are tied to nice objects, many of which have a gold value. 8 strange effects that may or may not be tied to these are also cool and supplement this well.

Speaking of which - the 20 minor hauntings featured herein are amazing: Ghostly priests dragging screaming servants away, spectral people blinking in and out of existence...yep, this does sport some seriously cool visuals and 12 strange sounds help supplement a general, rising sense of creepy tension.

The table for the things to be found in a Dusty Crypt and in a Sarcophagus (including the lid-subtable) will be familiar to veterans of Raging Swan Press-supplements, both having previously featured in GM's Miscellany: 20 Things before.

The pdf does conclude with a really good array of dressing, though - 20 things to be found in an ancient necropolis are evocative indeed: Thousands of tiny spider zombies, odd runes promising death, inexplicable breezes...and 10 pieces of burial niche dressing complement the pdf rather well.

Conclusion:

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

John Bennett and Creighton Broadhurst know how to do creepy and decrepit VERY well - this dressing pdf is an inspired little companion and, in spite of the partial reprint of two pages, the remaining dressing options are inspired enough to make this pdf a rather fun read and appropriately creepy option for GMs looking for a cool file to add to their arsenal. While owners of the big book gain a bit less out of this installment, what remains is still worth the low asking price. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #6: Ancient Necropolis (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #5: Subterranean Mine (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2016 09:09:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

Mining is dangerous - much more so in a fantasy world and thus, we begin this entry of the 20-things series with 12, cool perils to be encountered while exploring mines -from boarded up holes in the floor to sticky webbing, impregnable darkness and wide, underground streams, the pdf sports an intriguing array of nice potential set-pieces and challenges...or just dressing, depending on your generosity as the GM.

While 20 things to find in an abandoned mine have originally premiered in GM's Miscellany: 20 Things, the pdf does feature two tables that perfectly complement the array - 20 Hauntings and 20 Strange Discoveries: From skeletons with temperature drops to sounds of heavy footsteps to rat swarms that vanish, this pdf does feature several appropriately creepy happenings that combine well with 10 strange sounds. Now, as for the discoveries mentioned - these combine similarly well with the aforementioned, allowing for some nice storytelling: Thousands of rat skulls and aforementioned ghost swarm? Yep. Strange, deep sonic pulses or magnetic walls? This is the level of awesome I've come to expect from Raging Swan Press.

Now obviously, not all mines are abandoned and thus, non-abandoned mines come with their unique, less decrepit entries that also feature 12 things you can find on the bodies of miners....and finally, 20 things to be found within mining carts, hastily left behind, work for either type of mine.

Conclusion:

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

Creighton Broadhurst, Ron Calbick, Kalyna Conrad and Jeff Gomez finally deliver a 20 Things-entry I can get behind fully; in spite of one table being released before, the sheer level of coolness of the tables/dressing featured herein make this installment well worth the fair asking price - universally, whether you own the big book or not. The ties between some table-entries are the icing on the cake and can inspire the GM beyond the dressing-component. Love it. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #5: Subterranean Mine (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Into the Breach: The Rogue
Publisher: Flying Pincushion Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/02/2016 12:09:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Flying Pincushion Games' class-centric series of pdfs clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with a massive 38 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

We begin, as always, with new archetypes for the rogue class, the first of which would be the booksmart scout, who receives a modified list of class skills and replaces trapfinding with bardic knowledge. 2nd level needs passive benefits for the scout who successfully identifies hostile creatures instead of the usual evasion gained. 3rd level replaces trap sense with a swift action reroll of a filed Knowledge check at -5.

4th level nets a slightly inelegant ability - I like the notion, though: Increase sneak attack versus successfully identified foes. Alas, the increase is tied to the number by which the DC is beaten, which, considering the ridiculous minmaxing of skills is concerned, can deliver somewhat wobbly results. Adding in a level-based maximum would streamline this one. 6th level nets bonuses to social skills when first gathering info via Knowledge (local)...which is a bit wobbly, considering that you use Diplomacy, RAW, for info-gathering - NOT Knowledge (local). Uncanny dodge is delayed to 8th level and 10th level nets 1/day cognatogen. An okay archetype, though not one that blows me all away.

The second archetype would be the descrier, once again with a modified class skill list and sneak attack's progression is slightly stunted - it's gained at 1st level and progresses by +1d6 every 3 levels thereafter. 1st level also allows for exceptional focus, which, as a move action, lets the descrier gain some bonuses versus the chosen target and deal sneak attack damage versus such a foe, even if the creature would be immune to sneak attack...however, the damage dice is decreased to d4. This signature ability increases at higher levels. Instead of trap sense, you get a bonus feat at 3rd level, 4th level nets keen eyes (sneak versus dazed, entangled, exhausted, frightened or grappled foes), more conditions unlocked at 12th level, and 8th level lets the archetype cause sneak damage versus foes with concealment and bonuses to some skills versus the focused target. The highest level ability, at 16th level, auto-focuses foes properly identified. I like this modification of the chassis - it's solid, though the focus could certainly be used in additional, creative ways.

The third archetype would be the fugitive, who are hard to track, gain Int-mod to initiative and delay sneak attack progression. Generally, I like the idea of making overcome obstacles more dangerous for pursuers, but I certainly wished this one had a bit more precision - RAW, the damage-increase thus gained can make caltrops hyper-lethal and is permanent. A timeframe or maximum number affected is certainly required here. 14th level shields versus discern location etc. Haunted Skulks begin play with an oracle curse, but replace their rogue talents with a phantom - I like the idea of a cursed spiritualist-rogue, but losing rogue talents deprives the archetype of cool teamwork set-ups, talent-shares and similar tricks. Basically, this is the minimum-option iteration of the cool concept and falls a bit short of the excellence the idea could carry. The honeypot would be an interesting face-type archetype - the baseline of this one would be that the archetype is about generating an appealing look that increases Cha, but also makes everyone notice the character more easily. Yeah, it's basically the dandy/goth-archetype. ;) Kidding aside, gender neutrality at higher level makes this a nice homme/femme fatal(e)-iteration. Solid.

The kinetic sneak would e up next and 2nd level nets elemental focus and kinetic blast, though simple blast does not scale and surprise blast allows for sneak to damage via a feint...which is generally an issue: The class needs to use two actions, win the skill check and then hit for the bonus of a signature ability...all in all, a rogue with a bit of kineticist cobbled on. Not a fan.

Okay, so far, I have not been too impressed - that changes pretty much with the master hawserier archetype; with a grappling hook and lasso instead of hand crossbow/rapier in proficiency, the also gain +1 skill point at 1st level, to be invested in Craft (rope). Yes. You read correctly. Rope. We begin with better rope-use and Equipment Tricks at low-levels, but where the archetype becomes interesting is 6th level - here, 5 ropes are chosen from a massive list (+5 at 10th and 14th) - the character may now make these. For example, Blodeuwedd Hair. Or Cavefisher Filament. Yes, these ropes can utilize unique benefits AND come with equipment stats. So yes, even if you don't want to use this cool archetype, the item-scavenging potential here is pretty amazing. So yep, this guy - winner. My one complaint is that it takes pretty long until you get to the cool special ropes. I would have added level prereqs and dispersed the rope-gains more through the levels - as written, you have 3 bumps of versatility-trick gains, which is engine-wise less satisfying than continuous growth. Still: Nice work!

The Poacher is basically a ranger/rogue hybrid with trap emphasis. Okay, I guess, but I'm not blown away by the guy. The Quarrel knave would be more interesting - the idea behind this archetype is a valid dual-hand crossbow rogue, which does have means to use Acrobatics to deal with reload-based AoOs. I like the archetype's concept. Alas, the precision exhibited is not 100% there - 6th level unlocks Hail of Needles, which is basically flurry with hand crossbows...got ya...just, well, flurry is usually melee and thus, this needs a slight rewrite. While Rapid Reload takes care of the iterative attack issue with crossbows, the archetype does not note how interaction with the TWF-tree works here, since the base flurry builds on aforementioned feat-array. The archetype does get cool, Green Arrow-style modification of crossbows, class level points to customize them...and I really like these modifications, though, once again, at 8th level, they are pretty late in the game and I wished these signature tricks would be gained sooner. Conceptually cool, but has some rough edges.

Okay, so the next one sounds wonky, but stay with me - the trickster chef is a cooking specialist, who gains a nonlethal, save-based version of sneak attack - snack attack. Sounds lame? It's anything but that! You see, the archetype may select various recipes and snack attacks...well, make the target HUNGRY. Thus, presenting the targets with various special recipes (available via rogue talents), these guys can provide buffs, debuffs or soft terrain control - making the playing experience pretty cool and unique. Beyond this, the archetype actually gets a trick to further modify the properties of the meals cooked by using slain magical beasts...allowing for a bit of numerical tweaking. The most rounded of the archetypes so far and a rewarding, nice experience that could have carried +10 pages, engine-wise. The walking arsenal is a rogue who can hide weapons well, stitch them in clothes etc. -solid, but not an archetype that blew me away. The wild handler gets an animal companion and stunted sneak progression, but may have the companion employ rogue tricks. Pretty powerful, but considering the base rogue's issues, I'm good with that. Solid, but not amazingly creative.

Unchained rogues also get some options, the first of which would be the brickbat striker, who gets a modified skill- and proficiency-list and d4 sneak attack dice. However, he does get ruinous assault at first level, which is basically an ability that lets you forego sneak attack damage dice in favor of inflicting various detrimental conditions, including entangling foes, sicken them or setting up higher DCs (the DC, if applicable, is btw. based on Dex and includes 1/2 class level scaling) and much like deeds, new options are unlocked at higher levels - 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th, to be more precise. Basically, a deed-like engine. The Bunk mentalist is based mostly on skill unlocks, unlocking a mentalism power alongside every skill unlock - think of these as unique, additional unlocks: Handle Animal, for example, nets you Animal Empathy at full class level. Learning one piece of info about Appraised items is a cool narrative device and a 3-round period of grace versus scrutiny when disguised similarly is nice. It should be noted that not all skills offer such powers, though. Pretty intriguing one. The Guild Capo can "add an additional +2 morale bonus to aid another actions." As what action? Sure, it becomes apparent in the follow-ups of the ability (since AoO decreases from standard to swift) but the base ability should specify the action to activate. Similarly, what's the range? Is line of sight required? Sure, the recipient must hear the capo...but you get the idea - the ability is functional, but could be clearer. 2nd level nets tactician and latter levels allow for teamwork feats instead of rogue talents. The sharpshooter is basically an archer-based rogue archetype and may inflict damage to foes unaware of the sniper...and OUTSIDE the first range increment. At short range, some penalties can be applied to foes nearby. My favorite non-complex archetype herein, though at-range sneak can be brutal - I'd most certainly add in a caveat that being hit by the first arrow constitutes being made aware of the sniper.

After all of these archetypes, the pdf also presents the Libertine variant class at d8 HD, 8+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Will-saves, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and all types of armor and shield. The key ability would be intrigue, gained at first level - the ability's precise effects depend on the interpersonal relationship with another creature: The attitude of the creature to the libertine determines the type of benefits the libertine receives. When the attitude changes...well, the bonus is lost, for the ability is predicated on 48 hours of one attitude. One can be maintained at 1st level , +1 at 5th and every 5 levels thereafter. As a standard action, libertines may reveal secrets of targets gained to cause negative conditions to the subjects of her intrigue, with increasingly devastating options. The class also gets a scaling bonus versus divine spells and SPs and 2nd level unlocks so-called quirks - basically, the talents of the class. These can employ both buffs and debuffs - see, the thing is, that several of these require basically an ally to be affected by intrigue. So far, the main issue of this roleplaying-centric class would be the restrictions imposed upon the intrigue as core mechanic...and a lack of notes on what kind of action is required to determine/switch intrigues. Alas, the rules-language of this class does feature some unpleasant hiccups beyond this -take the shameless ability: "As a standard action, the libertine interrupts another creature who is casting a spell..." Read that sentence very closely. Let that stand as an example. The libertine, as a concept, is something I really like; heck, I consider myself to be at least a bit of a decadent libertine. I want to like this class and enjoy its roleplaying focus...but it needs some upgrade to its combat utility and some serious streamlining of its rules-language, which is pretty much among the weakest in this pdf. Note that I want to note that this class concept has potential galore - add in some combat-utility and streamlining and I'll really like it. As written, its primary focus lies in very low-powered games.

The pdf concludes with a ton of traits - and these run from solid bonus traits and sport teh proper categories, but also feature some issues: Iconoclasm lets you vandalize holy symbols, altars, etc. as a full-round action. You may worsen the damage with more rounds expended - the more you expend, the longer it'll take to make the item work again. Problem here: How does that interact with enchanted altars? Do the spells collapse? Apart from such minor hiccups, these are solid.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are nice on a formal level, while on a rules-level, the offering could be more concise...though honestly, it ranges as one of the best Flying Pincushion has delivered so far...good development here! Layout adheres for the most part to a 2-column full-color standard with nice artworks in full color. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Richard Litzkow, Andrew Hoskins, Benjamin Wilkins, David S. McCrae, Frank Gori, Jacob W. Michaels, Jeff Harris, Kris Newton, Matt Medeiros and Taylor Hubler's ItB-installment for the rogue is perhaps the most consistent the series has produced so far - this is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. There are almost no glaring issues of the "ruins everything"-variety herein and the pdf actually does feature quite a few nice tweaks for the rogue's engine. While a couple of them are none-too-inspired "mix two classes"-type of archetypes, there are also some that are truly worth getting this for, if only for scavenging - the master hawserier, trickster chef and brickbat striker, to name a few, certainly are interesting tweaks of the system.

This does not change the fact that the supplement, ultimately, is a mixed bag that contains some coolness and some more problematic options. In the end, though, I do believe that this does have some gems that can elevate it above mediocrity...which are balanced out by some of the less amazing components. Hence, ultimately, I can't get higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Breach: The Rogue
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Monster Classes: Savage Races I
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/02/2016 12:07:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Monster Classes-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? In one sentence: It's Dreamscarred press providing the Savage Species type of "Play monsters"-rules for the context of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. The pdf does acknowledge that this series (or even, individual installments) may not be for everyone - the fact is that most modules are humanocentric and thus, playing monsters can wreck havoc with the assumptions of a given game...more so than players are liable to anyways.

Let's not kid ourselves here - the guidelines presented in the bestiaries aren't really doing a good job; CR = levels doesn't work out too well - the concept needs a finer balancing. The series acknowledges exactly this requirement. The solution here would be to employ basically racial paragon/monster classes; instead of progressing in a class, the respective critters advance to grow into the full power array.

We begin with the bugbear, who, racial trait-wise, gets +2 Str and Con, -2 Cha, darkvision 60 ft., +2 to Intimidate and Stealth and are Medium goblinoids with normal speed.

Racial class-wise, they get d8 HD with 3/4 BAB-progression, good Ref-saves, 2 + Int skills per level and +1 natural armor for each of the 3 levels of the class. At 1st and 3rd level, they get +2 Str, at 2nd level they get +2 Dex. Proficiency-wise, bugbears get simple weapons + morningstar ad javelin as well as light armor/shields. Perception and Stealth are always class skilsl for the bugbear and 2nd level nets scent. 3rd level increases the racial skill bonuses to +4.

Second up would be the gnoll, racial trait-wise, gets +2 Str and Con, -2 Int and Cha, darkvision 60 ft., +2 to Intimidate and Stealth and are Medium (gnoll subtype) humanoid with normal speed.

Racial class-wise (2 levels long, just fyi), they get d8 HD with 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort-saves, 2 + Int skills per level and +1 natural armor at 1st level as well as scent. 2nd level nets +2 Str...making this a lopsided, but still excellent and balanced take on the gnoll. Proficiency-wise, the class nets simple weapons, light & medium armor and shields - since the tower shield caveat is absence, those are included, which is a nice touch.

Thirdly, we're introduced to the playable ogre - who gets +2 Str and Con, -4 Int and Cha, begin play as Medium with 30 ft. movement, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, +1 natural armor and the giant-subtype.

The racial class covers 4 levels and sports 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort-saves, 2+ Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as medium and light armor and shields, except tower shields. Ogres get +1 natural armor upon taking the first ogre class level, +1 at 3rd level. 2nd level provides size increase to Large size and 3rd level nets +10 ft. base movement rate.

Attribute-array-wise, the ogre receives +8 Strength, +4 Con and -2 Str over its 4 levels - which makes them as lopsided as intended, but shouldn't mechanically break the game.

The pdf also provides an array of 12 feats reprinted and slightly altered - including Snapping Jaws, Vestigial Head and similar gems. Beyond these, the pdf provides two feats by DSP, one of which has previously been published: Lurker in Darkness, the amazing option to not auto-fail versus numerous Perception-modes is still a total gem. The second, Stupendous Strength lets you wield two-handed weapons one-handed or one-handed weapons as light weapons - nice take on the oversized weapon trope.

The pdf concludes with the handy glossary for the supplemental racial rules. As always, neither age., height or weight tables, nor FCOs or the like are provided.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The pdf comes with a second, printer-friendly version.

Jeffrey Swank's savage races are as lopsided as you'd expect them to be - they're focused on the physical aspects and aren't as well-rounded as I like my PC-races...but for what they try to be, namely proper representations of the monstrous races in a balanced context, they are awesome. Low-point-buy groups may consider the ogre to be nasty, but ultimately, none of the races/classes herein will unhinge any game they're used in...unless the other players REALLY suck at making characters that are efficient. Balanced, solid and nice, this is an inexpensive, nice little book and showcases how talented the designer is. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Classes: Savage Races I
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #4: Smuggler's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/02/2016 12:05:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

All right, so we begin this installment of the 20-Things-series with things that can be found in a smuggler's storeroom - and they are sufficiently diverse: From quality brandy to scrolls of animate dead (may annoy purists who want total system neutrality) to barrels filled with sand and strange eggs, the good are pretty cool. However, there is something slightly inconsistent here: Some of the entries feature gold values, while others don't - which makes sense: The aforementioned eggs, for example, could be anything the GM desires. However, I am irked somewhat by some entries featuring a sample weight while others, though ostensibly "heavy" don't. I would have loved weights for all. Granted, that was an issue with the entry in its original iteration in the excellent GM's Miscellany: 20 Things, but that book was LONG; here, in such a small pdf, it stands out more.

The pdf does pretty much immediately remedy that by quoting one of the gems from aforementioned book next - 20 Things that can happen in a rowboat have been properly cleansed of PFRPG-relics and 12 things you can find in such a boat provide nice, complementary bits of information for the experience.

The third array of dressing, things that you can find on the beach, similarly was featured before in the 20-Things-compilation, though its now system-neutral iteration certainly has its raison d'être - no Pathfinder remnants to be found here and 10 pieces of flotsam and jetsam make certainly for intriguing finds while wandering the wind-tossed beaches of the fantasy world you're playing in though they, much like the 20 things to be found in a sea cave-entry, also have originally appeared in the compilation.

That does not mean there is no new content herein, mind you - the pdf does feature 20 things to find in a smuggler's lair, from discarded sacks of now rotten grain to barrels containing salt water and crabs for stew, piles of driftwood or strange acoustic flukes, the entries are nice and are supplemented via 12 portable goods - all of which have proper value and weight. Kudos!

Alas, all lives must end and smuggling is a dangerous profession and thus, on their bodies, erstwhile fine clothes, torn maps, thigh-high leather boots with concealed daggers and more can be found. Finally, 6 things to be found in a cargo hold are similarly neat.

Conclusion:

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

Creighton Broadhurst knows how to write great dressing and formally, apart from aforementioned weight inconsistency, the pdf does not leave much to be desired. In fact, if you do not already have the big dressing-book, this delivers a thematically concise and dense, fun selection. The system-neutral entries work well...but if you already have the big book, this only sports 2 new pages, which, if you already have the big book, makes it only desirable for completionists...or those that really want no remains of PFRPG on the pages. Personally, I would have preferred more new content...but that's just me as a long-time fan of Raging Swan Press. For those that already have the big book and don't mind a bit PFRPG here and there, this is an okay, if skippable release; for people who do not yet have said book, this becomes more compelling immediately. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #4: Smuggler's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #3: Wizard's Tower (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/02/2016 12:04:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

We begin this pdf with 20 weird magical effects you can encounter in a wizard's tower - from beautifully-crafted illusions instead of tapestries to light-weighted objects starting to float, this selection is evocative and fun and, as supplemental material, sundials, impossible slender flagpoles and similar things are evocative, though system-neutrality purists may be annoyed by the reference to detect magic.

A total of 20 odd spell components and pouches are next - wool impregnated with dried wax, statuettes of bloodhounds, clay models of ziggurats and similar objects once again cover a nice array of themes, that are further emphasized by 20 odd objects to decorate a wizard's tower: Thick red curtains, battered suits of chainmail, soot-marred ceilings, pictures of "God-Thrones" and 8 odd sounds and a selection of 6 strange pickled and preserved things allow you to set up a nice level of creepy mood.

It should be noted, though, that aforementioned pickled things alongside the 20 entries for a Necromancer's Sanctum and the 20 notes on a wizard's laboratory can all be found in GM's Miscellany: 20 things Volume I.

There is more new content herein, though: The 20 entries that depict things you can find on a wizard's bookshelf (from cryptography to infernal genealogy) are amazing! Creative, diverse and inspiring and the 8 things you can find INSIDE these books add another level of coolness here. The final array of 20 things would be those that are found within a wizard's laboratory and the pdf sports some creative ideas here: A box with hundreds of little compartments that contain components, stone beakers or skull stands with lights flickering in the eyes - certainly an inspired array. 6 odd smells, some of which stick closer to the floor (and thus are noticed by halflings and gnomes) close the pdf on a high note.

Conclusion:

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

Creighton Broadhurst and Amber Underwood's dressing-file here is a neat installment; the new content provided is inspired in the best of senses - but at the same time, one third of the pdf can be familiar for gamers who already own the glorious GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I book. If you do not already have this gem, this pdf is excellent and 5 star + seal-worthy. If you already have this book, though, you do lose a portion of the file, which downgrades this to a good offering. In the end, my final verdict will clock in between both, at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #3: Wizard's Tower (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Don't Walk in Winter Wood
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2016 10:48:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This game clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of credits/thanks/reference, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 40 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? The simple answer would be that this is a cooperative, narrative, rules-light HORROR game set in a vaguely colonial setting in the United States. Society is one of rough and closely-knit, often isolated communities. Superstitions run wild and even well-meant belief may seem barbarous to us. Transportation is still mainly defined by equestrian means and print books are rare and expensive. AT night, it is still candles that are used to pierce the dark. Against said backdrop of, quite literally, dark times, there is the village. On its east side, there is the Winter Wood...and pretty much everyone agrees that its strange, unseasonal cold is not natural. The perpetual fog, its nature as unexplored and the people going missing - all of these mean that it is a place usually not visited.

Children grow up with folklore pertaining said dread wood - the first would be supplemented by Indian legends, underlined by e.g. The Algonquin Legends of New England, and war chiefs may still haunt this place. Similarly, the cowardice of erstwhile settlers may have brought the ire of a woman scorned, deprived of her husband upon the place - strange, legless apparitions and vanished women do not bode well...

The sad tale of Nelly Anderson supposedly has her taken by a strange crone of clouds and changing eye-colors; the purported Roe Witches, caught, according to statements, in some pagan rites and thus executed, replaced with effigies...deer with wolf-like, sharp teeth...and then there would be the soothsayer Caleb, who averted calamity from the village, only to give his life...consorting with a strange trophy...

Within the forest, there is a hole, which may lead to hell...and there was a strange tendency and occurrence of a grave robber paying dearly for his crime. A strange, horribly mutilated, perhaps undead bear, Scarfang...and, of course, wars and skirmishes among the colonial powers have also cast a dark shadow on this land. The chittering tress and a tale of cannibalism and, purportedly, eternal youth...and Mr. Buglesuede...the grey wolves and the dread meadow in the midst of the foreboding woods...oh, and those ghosts on the Indian hill... it is not wise to thread where so much darkness gathered...

The village does have a series of entries pertaining folk wisdom: Red thread around the throat of women does supposedly cloak them from evil. White grass supposedly kills you, inciting horrible hunger; doors are warded with iron nails or crucifixes and there is a secret sign to ward versus evil...of pagan origin, some belief. Similarly, the burial customs sport silver coins under the tongue and separate paths are taken home after burials. Of course, children's games are about dares here...but is it smart to recite the rhyme about the women of Roe?

So this would be the basic set-up - complex, evocative and suitable dark. How do you play it: Well, you have two types of players: The Walkers, each of which controls a single character. The second type would be the Watcher, who is basically the GM of the group. You need one six-sided die per player and some sort of object you can use as tokens. That's it. Regarding atmosphere, a dark place, slightly cold, is obviously ideal.

Character creation is dead simple: Make up a name, concept, motive - there you go. As a default, actions are described in the past tense and 3rd person, thus making it akin to the cooperative telling of a story. Whenever a character comes across something frightening or harmful, he hands the walker a cold token. Entering the wood nets you cold token #1. To determine whether you encounter something and for conflict resolution, the basic system is easy: You roll the d6 and compare it to the cold tokens you have: If you roll more than the cold tokens held, your result may become less pleasant - in short, this does mean that things escalate further, increasing the pace in the latter stages of a game. Upon gaining 6 or more cold tokens, you are taken out. And that's it. As simple as can be, right? Yep, but also deceptively efficient.

The game continues to provide a section on building proper scenarios for the game - these steps are simple and contain the notion to build a premise, then the woods, mood and climax of resolution. Sound advice regarding the generation of folkloric fear (subtlety is king, my friends, and so is the rule of omission) bespeaks an obvious knowledge regarding how to run evocative horror. (Fyi: A solid b/w-conceptual map of the area's provided.)

The pdf also features ready-to-play scenarios, which focus on saving a girl from a witch's curse, strange lights in the woods (love that one's antagonist(s), but won't spoil it here; there's also a gory take on a classic creature's haunting from American mythology; there are foolish kids, seeking to steal totems..The sample scenarios with their details mean that, basically, you can just take this pdf and play sans any preparation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 1-column standard in b/w and the book is intended for A5 (9'' by 6'') in size, so you'll rather have a booklet-style offering. The pdf's artwork is thematically-fitting photo-montage-ish artwork I enjoyed. The pdf has 3 rudimentary bookmarks, but I'd strongly suggest printing this out - navigating this in its electronic iteration can be distracting and none too comfortable.

Clint Krause, with additional material by Daniel Bayn, Jason L Blair, Rafael Chandler, Jeremy Keller, Daniel Moler and Jason Morningstar, has created a ridiculously simple, amazing little game that shows that horror needs no vast rules. This game is simple, works amazing as a means to show non-roleplayers how amazing RPGs can be, understands its genre and generates a truly evocative, disturbing atmosphere. The fact that you can play it literally with one die, if you want to, makes it a perfect companion for urban exploration or trips in the wilderness...or spontaneous games on days like Halloween, amidst the darkness... You can explain the rules in less than a minute and a watcher who has read this book (and has a good memory) can literally run the game without a book! Handing off, deliberately, slowly, a cold token can be nerve-wracking and the various ideas presented should carry a ton of games.

This is as simple as it gets and as efficient as it gets. This understands proper horror. An awesome, inexpensive little game - 5 stars + seal of approval. Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Don't Walk in Winter Wood
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Killer Clowns from Hell
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2016 10:44:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of how to use/introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages chockfull with content, so let's take a look!

Even before I read Stephen King's "It" or ever heard about a psycho called Gacey, clowns creeped me out - it was not full-blown coulrophobia, but rather an uncanny sense of unease - my infantile mind kept wondering what would make grown men paint their faces and generate antics. It is with some sense of self-conscious irony that I now look back on this and realize that, to a certain degree, the goth subculture and shock rock have taken the aesthetics of in particular the harlequin and reappropriated them...that my favorite supervillain ever is the Joker...that to this day, I consider the Jack of Tears introduced in 3.X's Blood Bayou one of the best villains to ever grace a d20-supplement. Evil clowns. They are creepy and awesome.

This pdf, then, would contain an assortment of outsiders that employ this most disturbing of tropes - but can the builds hold up to the legacy of the evocative theme? Well, let's look at the CR 9 Coulrodaemon: Think of these guys are daemonic harlequins, whose head floats above their body. They juggle burning skulls that corrupt the luck of those hit and also have an aura that generates pratfalls, which duplicate combat maneuvers...oh, and if you're like me and one of the folks who misses the time when monsters had a well-written habitat, ecology...you know, a story beyond stats, well, then this book does deliver just that!

The second clown herein would be the Mazzak demon at CR 10: Ogre-sized and covered with shaggy fur, these guys wield oversized hammers that can inflict negative conditions upon adversaries and generate a rain of shadowy objects that plummet from the sky, dealing damage to the unfortunates caught below, reflecting well their theme of gleeful sadism.

The CR 7 Paglichino (mockery devil) gets bardic performance akin to a court bard and may generate a shocking array of duplicates while turning invisible...and if he tires of laughing at foes being shocked, he can rematerialize and blow foes asunder...once again, a winner and one that reflects well the efficiency theme of devils.

The laetitius kyton can be found on the cover of this book and has a CR of 8...and if the war razor is no indicator...yep, these guys can take off their OWN faces and put them on foes, potentially suffocating them...and you thought slicing off faces was bad...delightfully disturbing!

At CR 14, the anglerfish-like Lophigogdue qlippoth look like gigantic misshapen anglerfish. Wait, what? That's not clowny, right? Well, wait a second...you see, these nasty beings veil themselves as travelling circuses! Oh yes, I can see that being truly sick...no wonder all the folks are weird, right? I never even thought of this one! Two thumbs up!

The CR 10 Bhozol Sahkil would be a hunched and lanky giant with terrible flexibility and a touch that can disfigure those afflicted; embodiments of the uncanny and fear of it, they may look humanoid...pretty harmless, even...but are anything but that. Emotional sadists, one and all, these critters complement the excellent array of critters presented herein perfectly.

The pdf also has a total of 6 new magic items for us, the first of which would be the capricious carriage, which comes with its own demiplane and certainly makes some twisted adventures possible. Clown shoes that enhance trip, but make you more clumsy and slow your movement are similarly neat. An enchanted hand-puppet theater (and a cursed, twisted version!) allow for cool storytelling and then there would be the slapstick armor, which allows you to Bluff foes easier (and generates your choice of funny sounds while you're being dismembered...). And yes, cursed version included.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a unique, gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf provides original, awesome full-color artworks for ALL monsters herein. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

This is the first book by Deborah Kammerzell and Chris Van Horn I have read...and OH BOY does it make me want to read more! I am not kidding when I'm saying that this is absolutely amazing - the level of detail and information, the monster builds with their unique tricks, the cool and creative ideas I haven't seen before...instead of just making yet another It-ripoff with balloons and the like, we get full-blown amazing killer clowns that made me immediately dust off the ole' Blood Bayou. This little bestiary is literally all killer, no filler and well worth every cent - 5 stars + seal of approval, given without any hesitation. Get this...or the clowns might get you!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Killer Clowns from Hell
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Outer Presence
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2016 10:41:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module/system for very rules-light investigative horror clocks in at 45 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial/introduction, 2 pages of space for notes, 2 empty pages, 2 pages depicting the Kort'thalis glyph, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this book with character generation, which is pretty simple - we begin with choosing a profession from a list of 20, though adding new ones is heartily encouraged. For purposes of determining cohesion and identity within the world, 10 organizations and 6 possible relationships with said organizations can be found. A total of 8 different basic motivations and drives that push the character forward are similarly included and the system also assumes that you must pick one of 20 character flaws.

This background, mostly dressing, as you may have noticed, is in service to the very simple and important design paradigm that everyone is average until proven otherwise, which ties in with conflict resolution and basically anything. The system presented is based on the VSd6-engine also employed by other books by Kort'thalis Publishing, though with a modified focus towards the subject matter at hand. To reiterate: You usually roll a dice pool of 2d6 and consult the best value. Advantages on your end let you roll 3d6, disadvantages/slim chances are represented by rolling 1d6 and the worst cases require the rolling of 2d6 and taking the worse result.

The latter is particularly important if you wish to play a "Special" character - whether you're psychic, a sorceror, an alien or other weird entity or just hard to kill, the decision to become special has a serious drawback, namely that you either must take 3 flaws...or just 1 flaw. If you elect to pursue the latter option, you, alas, suck at your background and thus reduce your dice pool for related tasks by minus 1d6...which can accrue a lot of flack fast. You see, while the backgrounds mentioned before don't look like much on paper, they are your guideline to determine what you get to do and how many dice you can roll...

Dice pool interpretation is simple: 1 is a Critical failure, 2 is a failure, 3 a partial failure, 4 a partial success, 5 a success and 6 a critical success. I'd strongly suggest going with the optional rule, which lets you change your fate when rolling doubles, allowing for quirky twists of fate. Combat is also based on the dice pool system and the respective system: Even a roll of 4 wounds your victim and 2 wounds equal being rendered unconscious; 5 already knocks the foe out in one hit and 6...well. Instakill. It doesn't take a genius to determine that combat with this system is very lethal. Here's a very important aspect, though: You do get a bonus die per session, which you may use to increase your chances of success...and each session survived nets you another one. You'll need them. Trust me.

Encountering the truly weird, i.e. the insanity-inducing, pretty much is an instant efF-U for the poor sap of a character, who rolls a d6 and may immediately be converted to basically cultist status, assume fetal catatonia, begin ranting and raving, faint, develop a phobia...or, on a roll of 6, just shake it off. Yeps, a 1 in 6 chance to remain basically in control. You won't do a lot of fighting versus the weird (without dying horribly) in this system - a general notion I like as a fan of purist Cthulhu-esque games. Similarly, killing the basically unkillable is subject to GM-fiat more than just rolls and as such, can lend itself to appropriately bleak scenarios. Initiative, just fyi, is assumed to be handled via "common sense" - which may just boil down to rolling and going by results, but whatever works for your groups is fine. After the first combat, players won't be so keen to begin one anyways...at least they won't be after some of their own have died horribly.

Anyways, this is about the extent of the rules array; told you it was simple, right?

Anyways, the bulk of the book is actually devoted to a rather significantly-sized scenario, which lends the title its name. It is set in the 1970s (obviously) and begins when Dr. Karl Steiner and his expedition-force with rival Dr. Zachary Stevenson, assistant Vanessa Hargreaves and crony/lackey Elliot Richelieu and the student Jasper Johnson is lost in New Guinea, supposedly on an anthropology trip to study the Meepie tribe (which generates associations of "meek" and "sheeple"...at least for me) a random 12-entry table lets the GM easily determine what characters were doing when they got the class, for they are off to New Guinea on behalf of Miskatonic University!

...and this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILER-territory. Players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, basically, while the system looks like it is geared up for bleak, purist Cthulhu-style horror, the scenario herein is actually somewhat of a Frankenstein-entity, which is a good and a bad thing, as far as I'm concerned. Even in the introductory scenes at university, a missive from Steiner can be found, which bespeaks already his madness and if that alone did not send your alarm-bells a-ringin' - well, then you probably haven't see the movies and read the books I have. Anyways, the first section of this module boils down to a bow before the exploitation classics like Cannibal Holocaust...or, if you'd be more literally inclined, "Heart of Darkness", one of the most misunderstood books ever written. The travel to the Meepie tribe, is, surprisingly, glossed over for the most part, which really surprised me, considering that Heart of Darkness is all about the progressive changes and the effects on the human psyche. Anyways, you may well insert and emphasize the journey - though the association with the aforementioned exploitation flicks becomes immediately obvious upon making contact with the Meepie - who are now lorded over by Dr. Steiner as a kind of god-king, leading them ever further into depravity.

The PCs will probably want to kill the Kurtz-ian villain that Steiner has become, but this is where the weird begins - for he does not perspire, victim to his self-inflicted, own horror and psychological devolution, but rather find out that the 7-eyes beast/deity Zor'raev Tsog is protecting the bestial man. Worse, his crony Eliot is very willing to kill. Let's hope the PCs keep their composure for now, for there are things to be found in the Meepie village - Jasper's journal, for example...as well as a scroll and a weird skull...but yeah. Between the feud with another tribe, the Kahli, and Steiner's atrocities, it should be possible to slip away and move towards the temple that seems to be Steiner's obsession - if the PCs manage to not be eaten by a giant snake, they may encounter an intriguing vignette here - the mountain does contain a weird, jellyfish-like thing, worshipped as deity by local tribesmen; examined by another expedition...and hunted by a large game hunter and his team, making for an intriguing dynamic...I just wished it had a bit more room to shine for its dynamics; at just one page, it feels like a captivating insertion and one you can easily cut in e.g. the convention-circuit. I think it could carry its own module...but onwards.

The second part of the module would be the exploration of Nafu Aata, the temple of dark secrets. The complex comes with a lavish map in b/w, though no player-friendly iteration can be found. Yes. Dungeon-exploration. With these rules. PCs will die. Horribly. The complex begins by throwing giant spiders at the PCs...thereafter, the hapless fools can find a statue of Zor'raev Tsog - who is lavishly-rendered in b/w...thogh, alas, in its obvious, awakened form. Pity that we don't get the non-fool-grabbing art to show the PCs...the artwork is amazing, but now will only be used when PCs are stupid enough to tinker with it. The rest of the complex's challenges, from water to strange, star-shaped entities, are surely sufficiently diverse...and include a battle of cultists of Zor'raev Tsog and teh Outer Presence sealed within the complex - both of which arrive from strange portals, ending in a combat of laser guns versus curved, magic daggers. The finale, ultimately, deals with the horrific-insight-granting, living black tentacle-studded relic. You see, the eponymous Outer Presence and Zor'raev Tsog don't really see eye to eye regarding the extinction/enslavement of humankind. Tsoggie sounds bad...but see that cover? That's what happens if the presence isn't stopped...which is nigh impossible. Thankfully, both Meepie, mad journal, the horribly-impregnated Vanessa that can be found here or other NPCs can fill in at least a bit of the blanks here.

The pdf concludes with further adventure suggestions as well as a nice primer of Meepie words for your roleplaying edification.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read, cleanly-presented two-column b/w-standard. The pdf sports several absolutely gorgeous b/w-artworks, including full-page ones that make for cool handouts. Cartography is excellent, though a key-less, player-friendly version would have been nice. The pdf iteration of the book has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort-detriment -I'd suggest getting the print-version, which has thus the upside regarding the navigation aspects.

Venger As'Nas Satanis' Outer Presence is two things - for one, it is a simple, easy to explain and grasp roleplaying system that works rather well for purist horror modules. Oddly, then, would be the fact that the system eschews this basic strength (perhaps supplemented via a bit more investigation) and instead bashes you over the head with its barrage of the weird. This book is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face and, to make that clear, in my book, this is about as scary as a dungeon of bones and blood.

If you expect fully developed psychological horror, the system can deliver that, though the module employing it does not - this is very much indebted to the aesthetics of exploitation movies and pulpy explorations into the weird. Reading the module, it frankly feels like a jumbled mess of themes - Apocalypse Now/Heart of Darkness/Cannibal holocaust, interlude of weird set-piece, then dungeon, which includes sudden influx of potential scifi aesthetics. If your players stop to wonder and think this through, the module may crumble under its own weight and the fact that its themes feel a bit too crowded. You don't have one theme, but a rapid oscillation of horrible things. But guess what? In play, if you maintain a proper pace, you can actually employ this strategy to maintain a sense of wonder and surprise, always keeping the players on their toes. The Outer Presence, frankly, plays much, much better than it reads.

For all intents and purposes, this shouldn't work this well, but it does...which is surprising. At the same time, you should probably generate an atmosphere that emphasizes this pulpy aesthetic: If you go the whole way with sounds, lighting and locale, the module is too inconsistent in its themes to make full use of these components. There is no linear rise of tension, but rather a rapid succession of spikes and as such, a beer-and-pretzel-environment may actually work better here and make it still feel like pulpy horror; something also emphasized by the simplicity of rules.

So, while we had a blast, I'd hesitate calling the module-portion "horror" - it features horrific themes, yes, but the engine could do the horrific better than what is presented here. That being said, this can be an incredibly fun, pulpy experience of dying in horrible ways and marveling at what's around the next corner - think of this, in theme, closer to Cthulhu meets JohnnyQuest/Indiana Jones than bleak, nihilistic cthulhiana. In my own sense of the word, this is not horror - it does not generate fear, a sense of being disturbed or the like. This startles the players, it does not frighten them.

For people looking for a psychological scenario, I'd rate this as a low 4; however, for getting a fast-paced, easy to run and prepare pulpy one-shot, this is a fun book to have and works well in the context. Thus, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars...and while personally, I'd round down (since I'm very much a believer of the power of subtlety in horror, of establishing leitmotifs and themes and of some restraint being better than overkill), if you're looking for popcorn-cinema horror, this delivers in bucketloads and spades. Hence, my official verdict will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Outer Presence
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Monster Classes: Undead
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/01/2016 10:30:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the Monster Classes-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? In one sentence: It's Dreamscarred press providing the Savage Species type of "Play monsters"-rules for the context of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. The pdf does acknowledge that this series (or even, individual installments) may not be for everyone - the fact is that most modules are humanocentric and thus, playing monsters can wreck havoc with the assumptions of a given game...more so than players are liable to anyways.

Let's not kid ourselves here - the guidelines presented in the bestiaries aren't really doing a good job; CR = levels doesn't work out too well - the concept needs a finer balancing. The series acknowledges exactly this requirement. The solution here would be to employ basically racial paragon/monster classes; instead of progressing in a class, the respective critters advance to grow into the full power array.

This pdf contains two such classes - the first of which would be the Deathless Ghost, who, race trait-wise, gains +2 Int and Dex and is undead with 50 ft. darkvision, normal speed and here things become interesting: Deathless Ghosts aren't incorporeal per se- they have no Strength-score and use Dex instead and may only benefit from ghost touch armor and no natural armor bonus. They get +4 to Stealth and Perception.

The 3-level racial class gets d8 HD, 4+Int skills,3/4 BAB-progression and good Will-saves, proficiency with simple weapons and begins play with channel resistance +2, which increases to +4 at 3rd level. 1st level also may use a corrupting touch as a standard action, causing 1d6 x HD damage (10 + 1/2 HD + Cha-mod DC), save halves. Not a fan of the untyped damage here, but it's true to the original creature. The ectoplasmic form nets a 10% miss chance at 1st level, which increases by +10% per class/character level; said chance is halved for spells, magic attacks etc. They gain Cha-mod to AC and 3rd level nets immunity to flight and a 30 ft. perfect maneuverability flight. 2nd level increase the Stealth-check to +8.

Attribute bonus-wise, the racial class gets a total of +4 Cha. Undeath makes fragile and the lack of options to improve via items offsets the powerful tricks this one gains beautifully. Powerful, but not overly so. I like this one!

The second playable undead herein would be the ghoul, whose basic racial traits are +2 Str and Int, being undead and gaining darkvision 60 ft. These guys get 2 racial class levels, 3/4 BAB-progression and good Will-saves. The racial class gets d10 HD, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, a 1d6 bite, 2 1d4 (1d6 at 2nd level) claws (properly codified) and +2 Dex at 1st level. 1st level also has +2 natural AC 2nd level also nets +2 Dex, +4 Wisdom and Charisma and provides ghoul fever and the signature paralysis.

The pdf also contains a total of 11 feats: These allow deathless ghosts to drain attributes from others, healing themselves. Someone hand me that bag of kittens, please. Urgh. A Frightful Moan, gaining the full incorporeal subtype, possessing foes telekinesis, Poltergeist-style, with a cooldown and high-level Rejuvenation complement the ghost...oh, and have I mentioned manipulating weapons?

There is a feat to use Int or Cha instead of Con for Fort-saves, a cool feat that nets you skill bonuses when you eat brains, gaining a burrow speed...or becoming Old as Dust - which means you're VERY hard to destroy - and is cool!

As always, we get a nice glossary, but no age-, height or weight table or FCOs/traits.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level - no significant complaints. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. The artworks are solid and partially stock, but nothing to write home about. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this point.

Jeffrey Swank's undead are impressive - particularly the deathless ghost, which screams OP by being incorporeal AND undead actually worked better than expected when picked apart. The ghost is impressive and cool...and I do like the Old as Dust feat - it's just cool. That being said, there's the unnecessary, failed kitten-test and the ghoul falls flat on its face in comparison: Kobold Press' Darakhul are the superior take on playing a ghoul, simple as that. More flavor, more options, better balance. Where does this leave this one? As a nice installment that certainly has more universal appeal than the previous installments. While not perfect, it's certainly a step in the right direction. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Classes: Undead
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Campaign Kits:The Mysteries of Hollowfield
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2016 10:46:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Campaign Kit clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This installment of the Campaign Kits-series is a charity product for the Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund and it is, to make that clear from the get-go, a "Pay what you want"-product. The original iteration has sported some glitches that have been identified and rectified, which is why this review is based on V.2.0 of the book.

So, what is this? Well, in short, this book contains 8 expanded adventure seeds: With statblocks and structure and all, just needing some fleshing out and get the GM grove on; if you're time-starved and don't want to start from scratch, this may well be what you've been looking for. Formally situated in the eponymous Hollowfield (isometric, CGI-created map provided, just fyi), the tales herein can conceivably be transplanted relatively easily to other locales - a wood and a body of water in the vicinity are pretty much all you need.

Now, in order to cover these, I will need to good into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still around? Only GMs here? Great!

Adventure #1 begins with a commotion in the village square, where lichlytes, macabre fey that look like hummingbird-sized cadavers, have agitated the crowd and create a volatile situation they hopefully defuse. A quick investigation turns up that not all is well here: Villagers and foreign laborers in the Kaizermein saw mill have been feuding; at night, the clanging of metal can be heard; a prospector thinks he can reinvigorate the mines; bodies of livestock and the local cemetery show up across town; the pagan harvest festival has not been properly observed and then there's that old crone...enough potential leads yet? Anyways, the trail regarding the bodies will lead towards tunnels below the graveyard and there, pit the PCs in conflict with a redcap.

Once the PCs venture into the woods (or as an alternate lead-in, J Gray's adventure #2 will work: There, the PCs can find Lydia, a scared little girl of 6 years, who just wants to go home to Hollowfield...and indeed, provided the PCs can defeat the goblins en route, they will escort her home...only to realize that they have been escorting a ghost, for Lydia's dead and now, finally, home.

Jennifer R. Povey's adventure sketch has the PCs attend the pagan harvest festival only to be interrupted by the crone dubbed "Nasty Nellie" by the local population - whose apprentice Sera (cue in Final Fantasy XIII-reference and hundreds of "SERA!!!"-screams...) has vanished. The PCs will have to venture into the woods to retrieve SERA!!! and brave a nice take on the grasping wood as a haunt and deal with her standing amidst an ancient battlefield, possessed by the ghost of a general of days long gone.

Kiel Howell's up next and his adventure sketch starts with a mob threatening violence against a sweets seller. Why? because people have been losing their teeth...but oddly, only the adults. After some preliminary investigation involving barber and apothecary, the trail will lead the PCs to an abandoned mansion, where an advanced broken soul tooth fairy and her cadre of minions are behind the creepy happening. Now this hook is cool and amazing! I want to see that as a full module!

Matt Roth's Fallen leaves is up next and begins with the local lmber baron Johann Kaizermein inviting the PCs for dinner. Alas, not all goes according to plan and the PCs witness a incursion of leaf leshys, stained with autumn's touch, assaulting the groundskeeper. The maddening pestilence provides a neat autumnal decay angle, as the PCs venture into the forest to negotiate with the leshys (preferably sans being killed) and unearth the source of the corruption, a child lost and perished in the woods, now ascended to daemon-kind.

Kalyna Conrad's angle focuses on the disappearance of little Timeney, who was last seen in the vicinity of the half-elven, deeply prejudiced woodsman Edlemil - who not only has a nasty trap, but also a massive garden...in which a dread flower is growing that he uses to...well. Dispose of unpleasant (read: human) beings. Nasty and disturbing...I like!

We return to the Kaizermein mill in Garrett Guillotte's sketch, but oh boy, how we return: It's been some while since Gibs Greck was cut apart in what looked like a mill accident...but when the wood of the local tavern starts groaning, forming a face and uttering prophecies of doom, something obviously must be done...and indeed, there are other, haunt-based challenges to be found and dealt with, all based on the odd wood employed...oh, and then there's the spectral treant, whose power will be depending on the number of haunts dealt with. Another winner, at least in my book!

The final adventure sketch would be John Bennett's "The House Death Built", with one person, slumped over, being dragged away by shadowy servants to an abandoned house, which once belonged to Sir Erasmus Dratho - the house, which has been standing empty for a while, can be explored in a nice exercise of building tension, but the creepy hints the PCs can find, in conjunction with their nightmares, will suddenly make clear that the place is haunted and that there is some nasty darkness that needs to be laid to rest. If you need a reason why I consider John Bennett to be a master of horror/the creepy...this is a nice first glimpse of his talent.

The pdf comes with full statblocks for just about every critter and a map of the sawmill; the final appendix is a GM's cheat-sheet for the NPCs features in the town, be adventure. The town gets no statblock, though.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting of V.2. are good - I noticed some minor hiccups here and there, but not enough to spoil the book in any way. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard with interior artwork being full-color stock. The cartography employed is CGI-based and does its job, but expect no player-friendly versions. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience.

The cadre of authors assembled here sports some delightful little adventure sketches suitable for the darker times of the year; particularly the tales of John Bennett (no surprise there), Kiel Howell, Garrett Guillotte and Kalyna Conrad managed to invoke a sense of "I'd actually like to build on this and run it!" While not perfect, as a charity product and PWYW to boot, this makes for a truly nice little book as Halloween approaches. If you're starved for time or ideas and want to play a suitably creepy adventure, this certainly will do the trick: With a minimum of work, you'll get some nice mileage out of this book. Better yet, you can download it, check it out and then reward the authors in a manner you consider appropriate. Alternatively, this may well be worthwhile to check out for the haunts to scavenge - there are some cool ones to be found here!

How to rate this...well, here, it becomes a bit harder for me, but ultimately, I consider this worthwhile and thus, this receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up due to its more than fair PWYW-status. If this was a full-priced title, it'd be somewhere in the 3 - 4-echelon, just fyi.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign Kits:The Mysteries of Hollowfield
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Monster Classes: Earth Elemental
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2016 10:45:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth installment of Dreamscarred Press' Monster Classes-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? In one sentence: It's Dreamscarred press providing the Savage Species type of "Play monsters"-rules for the context of the Pathfinder roleplaying game. The pdf does acknowledge that this series (or even, individual installments) may not be for everyone - the fact is that most modules are humanocentric and thus, playing monsters can wreck havoc with the assumptions of a given game...more so than players are liable to anyways.

Let's not kid ourselves here - the guidelines presented in the bestiaries aren't really doing a good job; CR = levels doesn't work out too well - the concept needs a finer balancing. The series acknowledges exactly this requirement. The solution here would be to employ basically racial paragon/monster classes; instead of progressing in a class, the respective critters advance to grow into the full power array.

The earth elemental's base racial traits are +2 Str and Con, -2 Dex and Int. Earth elementals begin play as Small and are outsiders with the earth and elemental subtypes with 20 ft. speed, 60 ft. darkvision, +3 natural armor.

The 16-level racial class gets d10 HD, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons as well as good Fort-and Will-save progressions and full BAB-progression. 1st level provides a slam attack at 1d6, which increases to 2d6 at 12th and 2d8 at 10th level as well as 2d10 at 13th level. At first level, the elemental may step through 5 feet of earth or stonebased difficult terrain each round, including the option to use this ability to 5-foot-step. They also start with tremorsense 30 ft., which imho is too early. The ability doubles its reach at 9th level. 2nd level provides Improved Bull Rush as a bonus feat as well as earth mastery.

Starting at 4th level and every level thereafter, the natural armor of the earth elemental increases by +1. 6th level nets DR 1/-, which increases to 5/- at 8th and 10/- at 13th level and the attacks are treated as magical. 4th level makes the earth elemental Medium, 8th Large, 10th Huge. 7th level provides 1/2 speed as burrow speed and 11th level nets earth glide.

Attribute-dispersal-wise, the class gets +22 Str, + 8 Con for a total of +30. This is ridiculously paradox - +11 to atk and damage basically take the assumptions of AC of even max'd characters and throw them out the window...then again, the math, system-inherently, starts coming apart at higher levels anyway...and the singular focus on the physical side of things actually make the earth elemental less problematic from a balance point of view than similar entries in the series.

The pdf sports 4 feats, which include Elemental Jaunt for 1/day plane shift, adding 1 point of acid damage to weapons (stacks with corrosive, which is not italicized) and better saves versus acid attacks and spells. Finally, there would be Groundbreaker, which is a cool ability that lets you rise and emit a shockwave that can render foes prone.

The pdf concludes with the usual glossary and, as always, no age, height or weight table is included and neither do we get FCOs or the like.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I only noticed minor, formal hiccups. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' two-column full color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The artwork is okay.

Jeffrey Swank's earth elemental is a "Hulk, Smash!"-melee-focused beast, but we expected as much from the base creature. Interesting here would be that the balancing, in spite of the melee focus, is actually much tighter than in other monster classes releases so far. I can see myself allowing these guys, depending on the context/campaign style. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Classes: Earth Elemental
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #2: Looting the Body (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2016 10:44:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

Looting the bodies of creatures is its own series in Raging Swan press' product roster, but this does not mean that we can't use more of these, right? Right! So, we begin with the remnants of 20 adventurers to loot, which sport healing potions, wooden scroll cases full of dungeon maps, trapmaker's kits - quite a few different entries that provide a sufficient diversity.

Beyond these, the pdf also sports an entry of 20 things you can find on the corpses of bards -as well as 8 outlandish costumes. Copies of The Tragedy of T'kar, weird, hexagonal gold coins, ornamental rapiers - the diversity and potential are right back to the level we have come to expect!

20 things found on dead clerics, 10 unholy symbols and 6 decisive unholy water flasks complement the page: Incense burners, secret compartments in symbols and jet black flasks with slightly mobile patches once again rock, though some of these entries will be familiar to Raging Swan Press veterans - in particularly those that own "I loot the Cleric's Body."

The rogue's respective loot-entries, with hidden-compartments in heels of boots, hollow-hilted daggers and pouches with secret items sown in, the items are cool - but, alas, the table is completely taken from the GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I -book, so if you have this book already, this will only be a retread for you.

The next page contains 20 things to be found on the body of a warrior, containing notes that can be part of a crude treasure map, weird, cinnamon-smelling powder or dried meat. This table is great and, unless my memory deceives me, I am pretty positive that I have not seen these before.

The same cannot be said about the wizard-table that's next - it once again has been taken from the excellent GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I compilation.

Conclusion:

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

Creighton Broadhurst, Ronald Calbick, Seamus Conneely, Taylor Hubler and Anthony Jennings deliver a nice installment of dressing here: I very much enjoyed pretty much all of the tables featured within...however, at the same time, I was slightly disappointed to notice the partial overlap with the big GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I-book: The completionist will want this pdf still and if you don't need the big book, you're good - but in the end, I couldn't help but feel that all-new material would have been a better way to reward the customers. The new material definitely is nice, but in the end, I can't go higher than 4 stars on this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #2: Looting the Body (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 106 to 120 (of 2624 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates