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Pulpfinder: Fantasy Adventure in the Roaring 20s
Publisher: Charles Smith Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:48:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book clocks in at 65 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 60 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was sponsored by my patreons and moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review.

So, first of all: What is this? In short, it is intended as a toolkit to create Pathfinder campaigns that take place in the roaring 20s, blending fantasy and pulp – a strange combo, but one that very well may work rather well. There are some considerations for such a game – unlike more far-out settings, Pulpfinder per default assumes a human-only version of the game; so no, unlike e.g. Hydra Cooperative’s almost system-neutral (and really impressive) Weird Adventures, you won’t have a full-blown blending of classic fantasy tropes with pulp. The other deviation from the base system would be classes. Unnecessarily complicated metrics for equipment: 1 gp = $2. This will sooner or later really be annoying when converting. It’s not hard, but just another step to consider, which is, from a game-design-perspective, simply not required...and provides no benefit.

A significant change, with everyone playing humans, would be that the book presents origins, serving the same purpose – they determine your attribute-modifications etc. The book does not clearly state whether this means that the standard human traits are not applied or not – while the answer is no, I think the book should have noted that in the start of the chapter. A total of 6 such origins are included...and they frankly don’t really constitute origins all the time – a bon vivant, to take the first example, doesn’t really say anything about that aspect...but that may be me. Anyways, the origins presented aren’t necessarily perfect: Take the bon vivant: +2 Cha and Int, -2 Wis, +4 to Diplomacy to influence NPC attitudes, +2 to Diplomacy and Sense Motive ( yep, that’s a total of +7 (+1 for the Cha-increase, +4 untyped bonus, +2 racial bonus) to influence NPC attitudes and +2 to saves to resist poisons, alcohol or drugs. In case you haven’t noticed, this is heavily lopsided and geared towards certain classes.

This extends to most of the others: Hermetic Study guys and gals get +2 Int and Wis, -2 Str, +2 (unytped) to all knowledge skills, 2 languages per rank of Linguistics and +2 to Will saves. Wildman get +2 Con and Wis, -2 Cha, +2 to AC when in a chosen terrain, +2 to Knowledge (nature) and Survival and +2 to initiative. Working Class folks get +2 Str and Con, -2 Int, +2 to all Profession and Craft skills (obviously, working class folks make the best lawyers, doctors, etc.) and +2 to Fort-saves as well as the option to continue fighting for 1 more round after being reduced below 0 hp, but not killed. Career criminals get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Con, +1 to all saving throws, +2 to Escape Artist and Stealth and +2 to Perception. Finally, cosmopolitans (annoyingly referred to as „world travellers“ by the book, which may mean almost the same, but still irks me...) get the bonus feat, +2 to an attribute of choice and +1 skill per level.

As a whole, it is pretty clear that the origins all are geared towards specific classes and options. They, to me, are not really origins in the sense of the word, but more problematic would be that they, ultimate don’t really provide a nuanced array of options, instead very clearly gearing them to specific pursuits. This is a pity – for, as mentioned in my reviews of Xoth material, I do enjoy the notion of not using races to determine these types of rules. As presented, I am definitely not impressed.

Anyways, the next section depicts the cadre of classes and oddly switches layout style from a two-column-presentation to a 1-column-presentation.The classes generally fill a similar niche as those in the base class roster, though a scaling AC-bonus is baked into every one of the classes. This bonus varies by class, scales…and is only defined for the first class, as working only while unarmored and unencumbered, none of the other classes have a concise definition for this in the respective entry. The fact that the bonus only applies while unarmored and unencumbered is weird, considering the armor-proficiencies gained by characters. It also means that the math isn’t coming together too well at mid and high levels and enhances the importance of Strength – without it, your AC is not going to cut it as soon as you need to carry basically…anything substantial.

The classes, in all brevity, would be: The soldier, who gets full ABB-progression, 2 + Int skills per level, d10 HD, good Fort-saves and basically gains the gunslinger’s deeds plus weapon training a bunch of bonus feats. This would be, btw., as well a place as any to note that firearms act as martial weapons (oddly, armor proficiencies tend to be capitalized in a violation of formatting conventions). Firearms are reloaded as a move action, which botches interaction with the rapid reload feat, which explicitly states how it affects firearms. Oddly, firearms still suffer from misfire. While we’re at the subject – yes, there are rules for scattershots and automatic fire, both of which are very potent, ignoring e.g. concealment in the latter case. Also, strangely, line of effect does not feature in the rules-language, which may be a reason why these are so potent…and which can explain for some of the issues that can crop up here.

But let’s get back to the classes: Aristocrats get d8 HD, 8 + Int skills, ¾ BAB-progression and good Will-saves, being defined by their fortune (which can be gained with a 1 level dip), being defined further by bonus feats and aristocrat talents alternating. The talents btw. pretty exclusively pertain rerolls and social skill tricks as well as abilities that represent the power of status – but sans a status score or interesting mechanic there. Explorers gain d10 HD, 6 + Int skills (!!!), full BAB-progression and good Ref-saves – ability-wise, he basically gains Ranger abilities, that’s it. Scoundrels are rogue reskins, who gain d8 HD, ¾ BAB-progression, good Reflex-saves, 8 + Int skills as well as a ton of talents taken 1:1 from them rogue alongside some of its signature abilities…no sneak attack, though. Priests are basically clerics, with Cha-based channel and Wis-based spellcasting. Mystics are basically wizards. All of the classes have things in common: They are only recombinations of the classic classes; they diverge in power, wildly (aristocrat vs. mystic, explorer vs. soldier); their rules-language and bonus types are pretty concise in their presentation (since they are taken 1:1 from existing material), and they, as a whole, bring pretty much nothing new to the table clogging a ton of pages with information that does not really contribute anything interesting to the game. (At this point, we’re at page 32, fyi.)

A barebones feat for Mad Science (duplicating spell-lists for item creation) and 3 minimalist new skills (forget skill unlocks etc.) can be found. The weapon table of available items only covers one page, and most of the content has been presented before. Fun fact: Flame throwers inflict RAW untyped damage, unless they explode – then they suddenly inflict fire damage. The 4 armor types are pretty inadequate and their presentation ignores several formatting convention. The section contains notes on lifestyle costs, mad science services (i.e. duplicating spell effects) and the like – and it contains detailed vehicle rules, with various different cars – the fact that this presents these cars and vehicles in a concise and easy to grasp manner helps big time here and makes this constitute the first aspect of the pdf that actually has something to offer for me.

In fact, oddly, once the pdf stops duplicating basically copies and recombinations of previously published material, it begins being pretty much…interesting! The spell section has some really creative ideas: Using a spell to make an undead car? Broadcasting your thoughts via radio waves? There are some seriously cool and creative ideas here. I wish this brief chapter and the notes on existing spells were longer.

The pdf also features two alas, uninspired PrCs – the mad scientist at 10 levels and the 5-level private detective, both of which are utterly unremarkable. The pdf also offers a very brief and sketchy “The City” sample setting, which is nowhere near enough the level of detail where it’d make sense and the advice for pulp gaming is decent. I did enjoy the brief list of slang and the further research notes, though.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are weird: Due to the amount of content that was just copied and pasted and recombined, it is better than what you’d expect, but nowhere near as precise as it should be, with hiccups cropping up here and there. Layout adheres to a 1-column or 2-column standard – not sure why the pdf alternates there. The best aspect here would be the really cool b/w-artworks throughout the book, which are really, really nice. The pdf does not have any bookmarks, which represents an inexcusable comfort detriment for a rules-book of this size.

Charles Smith’s passion for pulp is evident. However, at the same time, this book doesn’t really succeed at what it sets out to do. From a crunch perspective, this is too brief and all of its classes are boring variants that are pretty much the epitome of bland filler. They would have been bad back in 2010, but nowadays? No dice.

I don’t get why we needed these, considering that, frankly, they are not internally consistently balanced and don’t bring anything new to the table. They are wasted space. The origins are problematic as well. The scarce setting information doesn’t really help that much to endear this book to the reader either.

Unfortunately, this means that there is no reason to get this book. There is literally nothing positive I can say about the book at hand as a whole; a few creative ideas buried in a ton of redundant filler does not make for a compelling book. While the craftsmanship formally isn’t bad, even the by now not too gracefully aged Xcrawl classes make for better options. More than half the pages of this book are useless, boring, bad variants (or straight reskins) and the lack of pages due to them clogging the pdf is evident everywhere. They btw. Lack FCOs. There are no traits or alternate origin traits.

And yes, playtest did show that the material plays just like I figured they would.

In short: I can’t really picture any scenario when this would be worth getting. Anachronistic Adventurers is infinitely better and the base system has a ton more to offer. While the craftsmanship is not bad per se, it’s also not excellent, showing a lack of experience with the more intricate components of design-work. In the end, I can’t really go higher than 2 stars for this pdf – it does not deserve a 1.5 rating for its craftsmanship, but it is pretty much obsolete and doesn’t have much to offer.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Pulpfinder: Fantasy Adventure in the Roaring 20s
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Mythic Minis 104: Horror Feats S-Z
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:44:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Spawnlink: Passively observe what the spawn sees while maintaining your senses. You also don’t need to expend actions to retain the link while it’s established and aren’t blinded while looking through the spawn’s eyes, but take a penalty instead. Use mythic power to gaze through all spawns simultaneously. HECK YES. Undead overwatch. AMAZING.

-Spirit Speaker: Gain mythic tier to Diplomacy to get spirits absorbed to reveal intel. Spirits can be used to glean more information and mythic power to compel several answers, save to resist. Also, no longer take Wis-damage/sanity damage for using it. Really cool!

-Stubborn Curse: Increases Dc to remove curses; by expending 3 mythic power, you make it persistent and only removable by someone whose tier is equal to or greater than yours. Simple and neat!

-Touch of Evil: Gain a mythic tier based bonus to Sleight of Hand to prevent the touch being noticed. Nonmythic creatures only get a save upon being touched, while mythic creatures get both saves, but at a penalty to the second save. Also, the creature gains a bonus to mythic tier rolls in order to carry out the suggestion. Now this is one cool expansion of the feat!

-Twisted Love: Increase bonuses to +4 and, upon completion, learn automatically the nature of the effect resisted and, also after completion, use mythic power (amount depends on ½ spell level) to return the effect back to sender. Cool!

-Unyielding Ferocity: +4 Str and Con, -2 AC while under the effects of the feat. You also gain a single rage power you meet the prereqs for, + an additional one at 3rd, 6th and 9th tier. When reduced to 0 hp or below you can expend mythic power to gain access to one of these chosen rage powers. Really cool!

-Zealous Mind: When resisting a charm or compulsion from a chaotic source or one opposite your alignment of the good-evil-axis or when you get a secondary save, you gain a bonus to atk & damage versus the foe. When succeeding a save versus such an effect, you may use mythic power to render the target “staggered for dazed for 1 round”[sic!] – the “staggered for” here is redundant, for it should be 1 round dazed, 1d4+1 rounds staggered.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant hiccups apart from the slightly confusing guffaw in the last feat. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs‘ final array of mythic horror feats is the inspired one I’ve been waiting for – pretty much every single feat has one brilliant, cool tactical option and blew me away. The only issue was in the final feat and it is what costs this my seal of approval. That being said, this is still inspired and excellent, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 104: Horror Feats S-Z
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Mythic Minis 103: Horror Feats P-S
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:43:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Protector of the People: Add the mythic simple template to the golem protector and ties it closely to the mission of protecting the people. Upon completion, the cost reduction benefit applies to any construct crafted and you gain a tier-based bonus. Nice boost!

-Purging Emesis: Purge of poisons as a standard actions and affect all types of poisons. Also reduces the negative condition incurred by saving down to sickened. Also nets the feat a cooldown, including the requirement for food, via mythic power. Finally, the full-round action use can let you create a cone of slippery area. While the base feat does not note the effects of standard slippery terrain, it would have been nice to see them, but that is just me being ultra-picky and will not influence the verdict.

-Putrid Summons: Increases stench-DC of the called creatures and the power of the effect. For mythic power, you ay use the spell’s normal list of creatures.

-Sacrificial Adept: Also add +1 DC, +2 Cl or a metamagic feat with a level-increase of 1 or less to the spell. Via mythic power expenditure, you can add all 3 options at once. Also increases daily uses to the highest of mental attribute modifiers. Really cool! Two thumbs up!

-Sacrificial Ritual: Bonus increases by ½ tier and for every 3 tiers, chose a trained skill of the creature, granting yourself and all secondary casters an additional +3 to complete it. When sacrificing a lot of creatures and using mythic power, you and all ritual casters can ignore backlash, explaining why evil cults go overboard. Two thumbs up!

-Shatter Control: Eliminates range caveat for shattering control over undead and increases save DC…and the control loss is permanent. Use mythic power to make the ability work with any attack, not just full-round attacks. Also manages to get the complex behavior repercussions for undead right. Kudos!

-Skin Suit: Only slashing, piercing, fire or acid damage potentially wreck the suit and destruction of the suit makes you only take ½ damage. Also: Skin Suit doesn’t dissolve on sundown. Using mythic power nets a new skin suit and, as a swift action when expending mythic power, you can deliver energy drain or ability damage with undead special attacks without destroying the skin. Neat!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs is back up to his game here – I noticed no hiccups, have no balance-concerns and the execution is precise, often rather creative. My final verdict will be 5 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 103: Horror Feats P-S
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Narcosa
Publisher: Neoplastic Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:31:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 108 pages, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page weird glyphs, leaving us with 104 pages of content. The full-color cover artwork is included as a jpg and the scale-less map is also included thus. I own the softcover print version of this book, which sports the map as a back cover, just fyi. I will base my review mostly on the print version. While there is also a hardcover version, I do not own it.

This review was sponsored by one of my generous patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

"Someone has read Carcosa!" Ouch, ouch, ouch...hey, I promised I'll use that quote! Anyways, this book is an obvious and in a not really subtle way, a homage to aforementioned classic book, but it could be also called a community labor of love or a collective riff and expansion. The premise of this book was to have a lot of different authors pool their creative impulses.

The basic thesis of Narcosa can be summed up as "DUUUDE...You know what would be totally radical? You know, if that...that weird Carcosa-place...you know...had...you know...a total drug-theme!" "What, you mean...like...more...than lotus and stuff?" "DUUUDE, yeah, man! With totally weird stuff...hand me that acid..."

...

Yeah, so, where was I? Much like Carcosa, Narcosa uses mature themes - while horror is more subdued in favor of weirdness, this still is a book for mature audiences, as it features themes of sex (here and there) and drugs (everywhere). If you can't handle that or have a past with substance abuse, then I'd suggest getting another book.

Okay, obligatory disclaimer out of the way, the structure is completely different - being basically a patchwork collective of loosely thematically linked options. Let me state this very clearly: Narcosa has no pretensions of being a cohesive or coherent campaign setting, though one can ostensibly try to run it as such; instead, this book very much embraces the OSR spirit of hacking and tweaking material, of scavenging ideas and runs completely with it. This is NOT a campaign setting, not even in the very top-down, cursory manner that hexcrawls like Carcosa etc. present their information - instead, this can be considered to be an array of very roughly related articles, a massive scavenging ground.

These should not dissuade you from checking out this book, though -for the entries are often examples of the rampant ID running delightfully wild. We begin with a chapter on Locales and cities - and here, we learn about Somaglean, a subterranean crystalline enclave where luminous ichors is mined from a forgotten god; and Rafael Chandler's Mecha-Zel (If you own the Teratic Tome, you'll be familiar with allusions to it) is also mentioned alongside the secret cities, like that one hidden within a song, which may only be accessed while in a state that allows you to perceive the sounds of it as physicality...or so it may seem to some. From the goblin market (classic) to Hashishastan, there are quite a bunch of evocative places to visit here, though they remain, unfortunately, brief sketches.

From there, we move on to factions and entities, with the blind beggars peddling powder that separates body and soul, allowing the soul to commit burglaries. The children of temperance fight a losing battle in the weird lands of Narcosa and esoteric orders devoted to ecstatic pleasures deserve special mention, for they make use of the potent pleasure-plagues in one of my favorite entries in the book. Sobering filtration paraistes can also be found here...and obviously, there are quite a few substances and items.

Which brings me to the main downside of this book: It is not even close to consistent in the rules it employs, when it does provide rules material. From LotFP-y-stuff to material based on Mutants & Mazes-rules to a 5e background and the like, the book is inconsistent in the rules it uses and the quality thereof - while some entries provide definitely remarkable precision, much like some aspects of the prose, this consistency is not maintained throughout. This also makes consistent use of the material more problematic than it should be, which is a pity, for the items, hazards and things range from the surreal to the wicked - beyond magical drugs (less than I honestly hoped to see in the book...), we are introduced to nasty catheter vine-bulbs to strange wasps, magical ritual knives and the like. The wild mish-mash of systems and conventions employed make it impossible for me to comment on the proper formatting the material should have, so be aware of that. A favorite of mine herein would btw. be an intelligent, addictive tree that is jealous and forces its addict-cultists to mutilate them ever further, until no sense is left and they die - an apt visual metaphor for addiction that gets two thumbs up from me.

The above should not mean, btw., that the rules generally are not precise - there are quite a few of the respective pieces of crunch that do provide very relevant and well-crafted options...but at the same time, the system-ambiguity and lack of a unifying base-line do drag this down a bit.

Beyond these, we also receive random encounter, grouped by environment - which are per se cool, but the encounters themselves have no headers and as such spontaneous and more informed use is slightly harder than it should be - all in all, an odd decision to have the author's name act as a kind of header for each of them, when in previous chapters, we had the description here as well. This inconsistency can nowhere seen as clearly as in the monster chapter, where different notation conventions clash and some of the critters sport fluff-only entries. That being said, from shroombies to in particular the saccadic solipsism that spawns creatures from words are cool. I also enjoyed the balls to the wall weirdness that symbiotic pleasure slimes are: Kinda benevolent things that promise orgiastic pleasure and power, but which also are really creepy...and all-caps ALIEN.

Particularly among the character classes and options, the discrepancy between author capabilities, styles and systems becomes very apparent, but you can see that for yourself.

OSR and map-icon Dyson logos btw. presents us with one of the definite highlights of the book, the fully-mapped adventure "The Molds and Slimes of Vilnid", which, while lacking key-less versions of the maps, imho justifies downloading this book on its own - it is a creative, fun module with ageless children, fungal ogres and various weird slime pits that reward experimentation.

The pdf then concludes with a smattering of random tables and a drug-themed, irreverent twist of the classic Carcosa poem, Ryan Northcott's "The King in Mellow".

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are a weak spot of the book: Neither formally, nor on a rules-language level is there any sort of unified voice - the voices of the authors range from glorious, intelligent and inspiring to that was a dud of an entry, riddled with glitches." Layout is glorious - the book has colored-indicators for the chapters, sports evocative, psychedelic artworks and some stock pieces. The pdf-version is fully bookmarked. I also have the softcover version of the book, and it is well worth getting for the price-point, provided you enjoy a scavenging-type of book. The pdf is coverless and sports the cover and map as .pngs, while the print version has the map on the back cover - unfortunately with a jarring bar-code in one corner.

A ton of people wrote this: Aaron Gordon, Alex Schroeder, Anders Nordberg, Andrew Shields, Ara Kooser, Barry Blat, Benjamin Baugh, Bennet Akkerman, Blue Tyson, Brett Slocum, Casey Garske, Cédric Plante, Christopher Mennell, Christopher Paul, Christopher Weeks, Clint Krause, David Black, David Brawley, Dyson Logos, Ed Hackett, Edward Lockhart, Eric Duncan, Erik Jensen, Gary Bowerbank, Gavin Norman, Gennifer Bone, Greg Gorgonmilk, Harald Wagener, James Young, Jarrod Shaw, Jason Vines, Jez Gordon, Joey Lindsey, John Carrm, John Wilson, Justin S. Davis, Kreg Mosier, M. Nicksic, Massimiliano Caracristi, Michael Lee, Mike F., Noah Stevens, Olav Nygård, Oli Palmer, Pearce Shea, Rafael Chandler, Reece Carter, Richard Grenville, Roger Giner-Sorolla, Ryan Northcott, Terje Nordin, Thom Hall, Tim Shorts, Tim Snider, Trey Causey, Victor Garrison,Wayne Rossi, Wayne Snyder, Wil McKinnee, Zack Wolf.

I wish I could say that all of these folks did an amazing job, but the matter of fact remains that most of them did provide something fun and interesting within these pages. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining because I don't like this book; quite the contrary! I love what it does and what it stands for, but I honestly wished it had a clearer creative vision, some sort of rules-development to make it unified in some way. As written, this is fully of amazing, transcendent ideas...but also contains some bad trips, if you will. It does not come together as a setting either, but as a scavenging ground, it is a great way to add some serious weirdness to your game. I'd be significantly less lenient regarding this book, were it not for the fact that it is FREE.

As a FREE offering, this most certainly should be considered to be an inspired little array of options, worthy of at least checking out. Now, personally, I am not sure if I would have bought the softcover, had it not been provided for me. I am, after all, a stickler for rules and consistency. If you're looking for those, you may be better off elsewhere...or at least should have some serious knowledge of what you're doing. At the same time, this book is the collective ID of a ton of amazing, creative people running wild, with several "stars" of the OSR contributing - for these entries alone, this is definitely worth checking out. If this was a commercial book, I'd probably consider it a mixed bag, but as a FREE offering, it definitely should provide some form of joy for you and yours. My final verdict will hence round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Narcosa
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Deadly Gardens: Ghost Spore Swarm
Publisher: Rusted Iron Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:27:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As always, we begin with two magic items - the first of which would be angry hornet, an enchanted blowgun dart: The dart, when fired at a target within 2 range-increments and misses, suddenly animates, trying to hit the target on the subsequent round, ignoring cover relative to the shooter - the dart buzzes around the victim, basically. The victim can try to outrun it or swat it out of the sky, though. The item takes winds and AoE-effects into account as well - flavorful and actually works, in spite of the complexity of the required rules-language - kudos!

The festering angry hornet adds Con-damage and makes saving versus poisons harder, but otherwise works pretty much like the base hornet. As in all of these, we also receive an assortment of natural items: Glacier Toad Hide can keep consumables fresh and may protect from hot environments. (the spell reference here has not been properly italicized, though.) Leng Spider Eyes are a bit too strong for my taste: Adding one to a staff adds a second save to an existing one, Will, which causes temporary confusion...that should probably have a cap on how many times it can be thus used. Salamander tonic nets vulnerability to cold and fire resistance 10. Slurk grease can enhance grease spells as a power component and a brush made from tenebrous work's bristles can really help increase the market price and beauty of paintings.

Oh, and there would be ghost ale. This draught is brewed from the spores of the eponymous creature and may make you incorporeal...but not necessarily lets you retain non ghost touch equipment. (Not italicized, btw.) Interesting if the wording on how not properly affected equipment works is a bit confusing at first reading: Weapons deal half damage to corporeal targets and armor only protects versus incorporeal foes - basically an inverse incorporeal. Interesting and warrants the complexity!

Now, on to the creature, shall we? The Ghost Spore Swarm clocks in at an impressive CR 11 and is an incorporeal swarm: The swarm fades its victims out into incorporeal states (on a failed save, sans equipment if that's not ghost touch)...oh, and guess what: The swarm inflicts serious bonus damage versus incorporeal creatures...which, when slain, have a REALLY high chance to become another swarm. Well, on the plus-side, the swarm's still vulnerable to plant-targeting spells...but seriously, like this beast. It's very lethal and just enough of a sadistic move to challenge experienced players. (Novices should be handled with care, though - ill-equipped PCs may face a TPK here...)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good: While a noticed a couple of formatting hiccups, nothing too grievous. Rules-language-wise, the magic items impressed me this time around, so kudos there! Layout adheres to the series' two-column full-color standard. The artwork is okay, but a bit cartoon-y for my tastes.

The team of Mike Welham, Joe Kondrak and Andrew Umphrey provide another intriguing and well-crafted critter with some nice supplemental material. While I had a couple of minor complaints, none are grievous and for the more than fair price point, this is worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Ghost Spore Swarm
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Mythic Minis 101: Horror Feats E-I
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:26:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Engulf Horror: Non-mythic creatures are nauseated; for mythic power expenditure, the effect applies for 1 minute.

-Engulf Revulsion: Creatures failing their save are sickened in addition to being shaken and the effect lasts for 1 minute. Creatures that witness you engulfing/smothering targets must save or be frightened.

-Exorcising Mutilation: Con damage is reduced to 2 and rerolled save nets +1/2 mythic tier to the roll. Also allows you to expend mythic power to instead suffer regular damage when using the feat.

-Exsanguinate: Gain mythic power instead, up to mythic tier in a 24-hour period. Also lets you use mythic power to blood drain while not pinning the target. This is insanely powerful, borderline broken. Mythic power should not be regained so easily. Also can be kitten'd. Just uncharacteristically bad for the author.

-Fear Eater: Gain temp hp equal to tier when transferring a fear effect to you. For mythic power expenditure, you get a save with a tier-based bonus.

-Fleshcrafter: Expend mythic power after resting to accomplish 8 hours of fleshcrafts. Also automatically lets you succeed Heal checks to apply or remove fleshcrafts and they aren't destroyed from removing it. Minor note: The feat has a type "elicir".

-Ghost Guide: Numerical escalation and when you gain the completion benefit, you gain the mythic versions of call haunt, speak with dead and speak with haunt. Cool!

-Gruesome Shapechanger: Increases the Acrobatics DC. Creatures that view your transformation and fail their save are sickened for 1 minute as well as shaken. If you expend mythic power, you upgrade shaken to frightened if the target fails the save by 5 or more.

-Horrific Gorging: Consume any type of creature type, thankfully with a GM-caveat that prevents the abuse via kittens....at least in that way. You can get infinite temporary hit points, though - or at least,a minor shield of them, as you get temporary hit points equal to twice the tier. It's not bad to eat a ton of kittens that way, but yeah, HD-caveat would have been nice. When swallowing mythic creatures, you can use mythic power to render targets frightened.

-Incorporeal intuition: Eliminates the adjacency caveat and increases the range to 10 ft. per tier and you suffer no penalty when identifying targets thus via Knowledge. When you sense a target, you can use mythic power to determine starting attitude of the critter, as well as the strength (based on aura-like categories). Cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs' third collection of mythic horror feats has some nice ones, but also a couple I am less enthused about; As a whole, I consider this to be a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I feel it's closer to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 101: Horror Feats E-I
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Mythic Minis 102: Horror Feats J-P
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:24:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Kyton Style: Increases DC for Stunning Fist attempts when using spiked chains. Expend 1 mythic power to execute stunning attacks with the spiked chain for 1 minute, sans expending ki. Big kudos – getting the ki/Stunning Fist-use interaction right. Well done!

-Kyton Shield: Increases AC bonus, adds vicious to the spiked chain and provides a retributive damage via mythic power expenditure. This is untyped damage, which imho it shouldn’t be, but that’s a matter of opinion.

-Kyton Cut: Increases bonus damage output, more so when mythic power’s expended. All in all, a solid feat chain.

-Latching Horror: Upgrades condition severity to frightened, expend mythic power to increase the save DC to resist Latching Horror.

-Lifeless Gaze: Increases bonuses by ½ mythic tier and non-humanoids attempting to read your mind may end up shaken. Solid.

-Maddening Style: DC increase of +2, extending to fear effects. Expend mythic power in the style to inflict 1d4 Wis damage (or alternatively, san damage – nice!) with Stunning Fist.

-Maddening Obliteration: Penalty duration increases to 1 minute; For 3 mythic power uses and 2 points of ki, you may perform a save or suck attack. Neat upgrade.

-Maddening Strike: You gain no Wis damage when missing. Expend mythic power for ½ tier rounds (I expect, minimum 1) without needing “two expend”[sic!] any types from the ki pool.

-Mutilating Ritualist: Save DC increases to +2. Less damage when performing the mutilation as an occult ritual, with ritual level determining the extent of the limit.

-Profane Studies: Expend mythic power when identifying evil outsiders for take 20. You also get to choose new summon options, increasing with tiers. A handy table of max CRs is btw. Included on the SRD-page, so don’t miss that one.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good – apart from the typo, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs delivers in this one – he deals with highly complex set-ups here and does so in a rather cool manner. While I’m missing the OMG-brilliant-level of feat, the expansions are well made and as such, this receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 102: Horror Feats J-P
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5E Mini-Dungeon #032: Howling Halls
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:22:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

The Howling Halls can easily be inserted into the context of a grander dungeon and generally represents a hauntingly cold crypt-complex, which makes neat use of the environmental rules. Beyond a couple of nice traps, the theme, obviously, would be undead regarding the enemies contained herein and the exploration yields keys with script that can be used to open the central rooms of the crypts and battle the progressively harder guardians of this place - finally wresting a magical key labeled "peace" from the final crypt - but for what purpose remains up to the GM to decide. The big plusses here would be Kyle Crider managing to translate the material really well to 5E - including a rather potentially deadly cold that haunts these halls and tactically interesting monster-choices.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos! Everything's properly hyperlinked, just fyi!

Jonathan Ely's Howling Halls is a nice insert into a bigger dungeon complex. With two tower-like structures, the howling halls can easily be used by an enterprising GM as a kind of suture to connect two unrelated dungeon-levels and the challenges per se are nice, the content solid. The dungeon, in short, does what it's supposed to do and provides a fun, cool diversion and leaves an interesting hook for the GM in the player's hands. At the same time, it is just that - it does what it sets out to do well. For what it tries to be, this is a solid hub/sidetrek and it actually works better in the 5E-version, as far as I'm concerned - the halls are a bit more interesting, a bit more deadly. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #032: Howling Halls
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Death Frost Doom
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/11/2017 11:09:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 66 pages (obviously!), 1 page front cover, 1 page logo, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page dead sign, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 60 pages, so let's take a look!

This review was sponsored by one of my generous patreons, who supplied the means to acquire this book for a review at my leisure. My review is mostly based on the hardcover-version of the module, though I have also consulted the pdf and checked its functionality. The review is based on the fourth printing of the module, annotated and expanded by Zak S..

First things first: This is a very dark module. If you can't handle dark fantasy or really grim prospects, then this may not be for you. It is not a module I'd play with kids. (As if that needed to be said- the book's called "Death Frost Doom", for crying out loud...) There are two more things you should be aware of before we go into SPOILER-territory.

One, this module will probably create a significant array of fallout in your game and steer the plot well beyond the confines of its pages. PCs can spend a whole campaign dealing with the fallout...if they survive. This is deadly.

Two, if you're a metalhead who enjoys the darker aspects of metal, then this module has its own soundtrack! I am not kidding. E.g. upon entering one of the rooms, the module tells you to put on Samael's "Baphomet's Throne." Now, this is not gimmicky, mind you - you won't find the like for every room...but personally, I enjoyed it. This, coincidentally, also serves as a Litmus test of sorts: The aesthetics of this module are very much indebted to black metal; the cold, screeching type. It's basic premise could be summed up as: "What if an evil organization was actually effective and, aesthetics-wise, really, really EVIL and misanthropic and spiteful?"

That's ultimately what the PCs will be up against. There is a reason "YOU ARE DOOMED" is written in big, fat letters on the back cover. The dungeon herein is a true hell-hole. PCs will quite probably die horribly unless they are really up to their A-game. This one is for the pros. Not for the "Advanced" gamer. Pros. Hardcore RPG enthusiasts looking for a brutal challenge.

Okay, so this is as far as I can conceivably go without diving into SPOILERS. If you're a player, then may the gods have mercy on your PC. From here on out, only referees should read on!

...

..

.

All right, only referees around? Great!

There is a frost-covered mountain, and at its top, there is a cabin and a mausoleum. Death awaits. Even as the PCs approach the foreboding top, things may get nasty: Straying off the path can be a bad idea in these rugged climates...and as the PCs make their way to the top of the mountain, they encounter the axe-wielding hermit Ezekiel "Zeke" Duncaster - a truly eccentric and creepy fellow. The attention to detail here and throughout the book is btw. massive: Multiple options for using Zeke are provided for the referee. We get a table to determine his whereabouts and beyond brief stats, the referee gets guidance on likely venues of conversation. Zeke tells the PCs to go home, trying to restrain them via non-lethal means...but PCs being PCs, the chance is high that they'll kill him or lie to him - after all, there are so many graves up there and Zeke spends all his days carving the names of the dead...so many.

At this point, some sensible groups may decide to go straight back where they came from. These groups, in my experience, are few and far in between. I mean, how bad could it be?

...

Worse. As the PCs approach the foreboding peak, they will realize that speak with dead is a bad, bad idea...possession is possible. Sleep offers only unreliable solace. The old hanging tree, while rooted, is possessed of a horrid, impotent malevolence. The frozen body of a mountain-climber can be found, his equipment being potentially crucial... Even the well is cursed...oh, and there is the cabin. The cabin that hides the entrance to the dungeon...and the place where the PCs can get a very good idea of HOW FRICKIN unhallowed this ground is. Crossing threshold? Notes for GM. Pretty much every object in the cabin has interaction notes for the GM. It is here that the book "That Which Was Given" can be found - and it contains the names of the fallen, oh so many...and notes on the true extent of the influence of the evil organization responsible for this vile fleck of frozen hell, the dreaded Duvan'Ku.

How evil are the Duvan'Ku? In the trophies of the cabin, the eyes of glass are actually souls in frozen time, left there to forever writhe in maddening torment. And it becomes worse in the dungeon under the cabin. Here, we get walls (depicted in hand-out style one-page artworks - much like many places herein!) of screaming faces...and then there is the grand, malevolent scheme: Upon entering the chapel of the complex, 12 skulls of ice, hanging from the ceiling, will slowly, inexorably, fall and shatter, counting down in intervals of 10 before the big, campaign-changing event takes place.

You see, the complex is lavishly detailed (playing different tunes on an organ can have dire consequences for players who think they are clever: Music pieces can provide significant edges when found, but pretty much all chimes and sound-sequences you can find in the module (even that of the cookoo-clock) have been covered...and meta-jokes (because we know players will try...) also have effects. Hint: Playing "In a Gadda da Vida" makes for a pretty...ehem...memorable result. Speaking of memorable: This also holds true for the plethora of deadly traps and cursed items - though it should be noted that the "dickish insta-kill"-quota is pretty low - if PCs are finished off, it generally is the result of doing something less than wise.

But let's get back to the aforementioned cataclysmic event - in order to enter the deepest recesses of the dungeon, the PCs will have to bypass (or kill) the sacred parasite, a combination of undifferentiated ectoplasm, unholy ice and liquid time as well as an unfortunate, whose fate at the hands of the Duvan'Ku was even worse than that of their plentiful other victims. (And yes, reading up on that in the cult's books can make you stark, raving mad...) - slaying this unfortunate THING exposes the pit - and in the original version, this is where things got a bit haphazard and deadly, envisioning, among the choices, the parasite as part of the nose mucus of an impossibly large giant, who'd awake upon intrusion - and waking this titan would instantly kill everyone. The revised option offers more suggestions here, but going down is still a bad idea...particularly considering that the death of the parasite's death will cause the souls suspended in it to break free, animating the dead...for the dungeon, ultimately, is a mass-grave, horrid testament to the Duvan'KU's vile deeds - and thousands (literally!) of undead will spew forth.

And then there would be the matter at hand that is the aforementioned sanctum beyond the parasite, where disturbingly rendered greater repugnances roam - the erstwhile leaders of the Duvan'Ku, vile and horrid undead monstrosities that provide a deadly array of potential bosses, which partially should be considered to be puzzle combats: Limited omniscience, a foe that demands an oath each round (and not keeping them sends you straight to hell...) and an inquisitor, whose questions can cause damage to those replying - these horrid beings make for twisted and disturbing foes - and ultimately, the mighty Praetor-Pontifex awaits to lead his legions into battle once more. Hint: No, chances are that your PCs will not stand a chance against the tide of the living dead and this powerful undead...so yes, they may have to strike a devil's bargain...or flee in horror.

On particular aspect of the module is btw. interesting: It makes great use of the blending of in- and out-game behavior: If PCs and players read aloud certain chants and promises, they will be in for a rude awakening. It should also be noted that the hand-out maps that the PCs can find actually have been reproduced here. the attention to detail goes so far as to provide a massive 100-entry-table of effects for a magical drug...and, enjoyably, the book ends with a nice little retrospective, including artworks and cover artworks of previous iterations.

Conclusions:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from some minor typo-level glitches, I encountered no problems. Layout adheres to a nice and elegant 2-column b/w-standard and, like most OSR-books, the file is intended for 6'' by 9'' books. The artworks and cartography in b/w by Jez Gordon are really neat - while no player-maps have been provided, that's because they can't really find them, apart from the handout, which ticks off that box as far as I'm concerned. The cover art by Yannick Bouchard perfectly encapsulates the flair of the module.

James Edward Raggi IV's "Death Frost Doom", with the options and additions by Zak Sabbath, makes for a rather amazing module. If you like dark fantasy and really challenging, brutal dungeons, then this will be a revelation for you. The amount of details, GM-guidance and the glorious tone of the adventure render it a true joy to run. This is a very deadly campaign-changer of a module, yes, but it is also one that drives home how dangerous and yes, nightmarish the job of being an adventurer can be. The bosses herein are glorious and so are several pieces of dressing, traps, etc. - in short, this is one impressive beast of an adventure.

It should be noted that, when playing e.g. Paizo- or WotC-material, you ever felt like "This is too dark", then this may not be for you. Similarly, if you can't take a character dying, this will not be for you. This is steeped in the aesthetics of Scandinavian, cold and misanthropic black metal and the sheer existence of the Duvan'Ku will make your campaign feel darker than it once was. But then again, light shines brightest when contrasted with pure, pitch-black darkness, right?

In the end, I absolutely adored this module. I understand what some people dislike about it, but personally, I consider it a dark fantasy milestone. My final verdict is 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Frost Doom
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Mythic Minis 100: Horror Feats C-E
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/11/2017 10:37:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Clarity of Pain: Adds a bonus on your second roll equal to the amount of damage inflicted. Via mythic power, the damage can be increased to 3d6.

-Consume Essence: Add temp HP to the threshold the swallowed creature when you inflict a negative level. There is no limit on how many you can accrue this way, which is a bit problematic. Also, as a standard action, you can expend mythic power to impose 1d4 temporary negative levels in addition to the other save for being swallowed.

-Contagious Spell: Spell spreads on any failure to remove it, not just significant failures. You may also expend mythic power, based on 1/2 spell level, including adjustment, to make it spontaneously spread. Alternatively, you can expend mythic power to spontaneously make a spell contagious. Cool!

-Deadhand Style: When using ki to empower unarmed strikes, you may also expend mythic power; if you do, increase condition severity to frightened.

-Deadhand Initiate: Allows you to reflect fear-effects back on targets when you succeed the save.

-Deadhand Master: Lets you expend mythic power to make the negative levels inflicted potentially permanent. Partially affects targets that save and nets temporary hit points when inflicting 1 or more negative levels.

-Disconcerting Knowledge: Affect any base CR. Also add Knowledge to identify a creature as a second roll when using Intimidate to demoralize, use the higher value and if both succeed, you treat that result used for both checks as 5 higher. Decent, I guess.

-Disrupting Fist: You need only 1 channel energy to destroy undead via the feat. As a swift action, you can expend mythic power to wreathe your body in energy for 1 minute, adding +1d6 untyped damage (should be positive energy, right?) versus undead.

-Enemy Cult: Additional uses of the detect spell granted. Upon gaining the completion benefit, you also gain the corresponding protection from as an SP 3/day and may use mythic power to use the appropriate magic circle as a SP as a standard action. That's a cool one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs second array of mythic versions of horror feats is a nice collection; it sports some cool and creative ideas and while it doesn't reach the apex of the series (woohoo - #100, btw.!), it ranks as a good installment, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, though I do feel I have to round down for it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 100: Horror Feats C-E
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Mythic Minis 99: Horror Feats A-B
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/11/2017 10:35:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Absorb Spirit: Bonus on Will-saves and Constitution checks made for the feat. Additionally, harboring spirits/haunts is less stressful, allowing for the longer-term harboring of spirits...and you may absorb undead sans rejuvenation.

-Aura Flare: Lets you use it more often; first additional use costs one mythic power and every additional use increases the mythic power cost. Additionally, depending on the alignment, you affect the appropriate alignments. If your aura is strong, you exhaust targets instead of fatiguing them. Nice.

-Blood Feast: Pure numerical escalation: On a basic level and even more via mythic power expenditure, including threat range and multiplier expansion, which I consider problematic.

-Blood Spurt: Spray in a 15-ft.-cone, 30-ft. for mythic power expenditure. Also, ranged attacks can trigger it. You may also inflict 1d6 points of damage instead of 1 bleed when triggering it yourself. Cool!

-Brutal Coup de Grace: Frighten foes, rather than just make them shaken. Killing mythic targets via the feat nets you mythic power, up to tier extra power per day. So no, you can't abuse it with mythic kittens. ;)

-Brutal Style: +1d6 damage when attacking prone foes while in the style.

-Brutal Stomp: Increase crit range for additional attacks made with the feat.

-Brute Assault: Increase the Str-damage to 1d8+1, 1d3 on a successful save. Also lets you cripple foes temporarily via mythic power expenditure while in Brutal Style, requiring Str or Acrobatics to stand up properly.

-Bully Breed: First time you and your companion damage a creature in a full attack, you can expend your mythic power to have the animal make a demoralize check as a swift action. On all other checks, the companion gains a bonus. The companion can also grant you a better aid another.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs' horror feats are an interesting blend. There is a bit more of escalating numbers here than I personally like, but this is certainly not bad. The craftsmanship is solid and the pdf thus can be considered to be good - my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 99: Horror Feats A-B
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Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Forest Shadows
Publisher: Rusted Iron Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/11/2017 10:32:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the player-centric Deadly Gardens-pdfs clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are forest shadows? In a nutshell, they are humanoid flying squirrels. Racial traits would be as follows: Forest shadows get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Str, are Small fey with the gnome subtype, have a slow speed, low-light vision, +4 to Stealth in forests and +2 to Acrobatics to balance and Fly checks. Beyond that, they have antlers that grant them a primary gore attack for 1d4. They increases their miss chances due to concealment or total concealment by 5% and gain DR 5/cold iron. They also have gliding wings, making the race as a whole pretty strong, though not to the extent that the race would exceed or outshine the power of the more potent of races.

As far as alternate racial traits are concerned, the forest shadow can exchange their antlers for 20 ft. climbing speed. The miss-chance-increase can be replaced with a +2 to Handle Animals that is increased to +6 when dealing with squirrels. The DR can be replaced with electricity resistance 10. Some forest shadows can btw. be Tiny, but lose antlers and fey resistance. This can be pretty nasty with the right build, very detrimental in the hands of someone not as capable of minmaxing. Stealth bonuses for forests may be exchanged for urban areas.

Forest shadows are omnivores and tend to live in small family units and the race generally, culture-wise, should be easy to introduce to any setting. The race does btw. come with age, height and weight tables and the race features FCOs for alchemists, druids, investigators, rangers, rogues, slayers and sorceror. There are two archetypes included in the supplement, the first of these being the aerial daredevil swashbuckler, who gets a modified class skill list. The deed-list of the archetype's modified: Swoop replaces kip up and nets a potent assault option. 7th level replaces swashbuckler's grace with darting flight: As a swift action, the daredevil can expend 1 panache to "make a 5-foot adjustment to avoid an attack by succeeding a Fly check with a DC of 25 or the attack roll, whichever is greater." A) "5-foot adjustment" is no rules-language. Does that count as a 5-foot step? What about AoE attacks? B) This ability does not work RAW. The action should be immediate. 11th level nets the option to use panache to help flying a vehicle instead of bleeding wounds, which is pretty situational and very late in the class progression. 15th level nets the option to take 10 for Acrobatics and Fly, take 20 for panache expenditure, replacing swashbuckler's edge. It should be noted that the deeds are not formatted as such, which can be a bit annoying. Instead of charmed life, the 2nd level 3/day as an immediate action, they can add Cha-mod to Acrobatics and Fly, +1/day at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Instead of nimble, the 3rd level yields scaling dodge bonuses and the bonus feat list is slightly modified. All in all, not impressed by this one.

The second archetype would be the unfettered sneak rogue. The archetype gets a bonus to CMD against grapples and to Escape Artist checks, replacing trapfinding. At 3rd level, they get +1 to saves versus mind-affecting effects, which increases at later levels, replacing trap/danger sense. 5th level locks the class into the Escape Artist skill unlock - not sure whether this holds true for the non-unchained rogue, though. The pdf does contain 6 different rogue talents exclusively available for the forest shadow race. Quicker crawls are nice, as are better squeezing defenses and attacks, but that one should probably reference replacing the regular squeezing rules. RAW it could be read as added penalties. Greater slippery mind, swift action Escape Artist and a CMD bonus to resist grapples + immunity versus being entangled.

The pdf does come with 3 pieces of equipment: Ailerons are basically feather-piercings that help gliding, while antler spikes add bleeding effects. Shadow pouches can conceal items, helping with Sleight of Hand. The pdf has 5 feats for the race: Between the Ribs nets +Dex mod instead of Str when doing precision damage. Situational and not too cool. Diving Attack. When using Flyby Attack, you don't provoke AoOs from the target of the attack, provided you end the attack at least 10 ft. from the target. Duck and Roll lets you 3/day, but only once per creature, attempt a Ref-save, Acrobatics or Escape Artist check to halve damage incurred from a melee attack, with a save equal to the attack roll and crits adding +5. This has synergy with evasion. Multipoint Antlers increase antler-damage to 1d6 and 1/day allows you to break off a bit of antlers to cause bleed damage. The feat may be taken a second time for further increase of power. Sugar Rush nets the option to 1/day, within 1 hour of eating gain the benefits of haste (not properly italicized) for 3 rounds as a nonmagic effect. At the end of the rush, the forest shadow is exhausted and is treated as though he hasn't eaten for 2 days; eating food removes these effects,. The feat may be taken additional times for additional daily uses or longer duration.

The pdf contains two magic items - dreams of the bough lets you teleport 3/day to the top of natural rocks or trees attuned to it, with a maximum height. Re-attunement is similarly simple. Feasting acorns can 3/day produce a duplicate acorn that acts as a full meal. Breaking the item is also possible, duplicating the effects of hero's feast for up to 11 beings. 3 new spells are included: Sweeten can make food more palpable and is particularly nice for forest shadows with Sugar Rush. Swirl of Leaves generates an obscuring cyclone you may move around. Updraft is pretty self-explanatory. The pdf concludes with a sample forest shadow hunter and his dire weasel companion.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, but only good on a rules-language level: As a whole, the bonus-types etc. are nice, but rules-language isn't always perfect. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard. The artworks are originals and in full-color -and really nice, perhaps my favorite aspect of the pdf - kudos to Liz Courts and Jacob Blackmon. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham's forest shadows are a very cool race, concept-wise - come on, antlered flying squirrels? Basically a cool wolpertinger-race? Damn cool! Unfortunately, the supplemental material provided for the race isn't as unique as the concept of the race. The archetypes left me less than impressed, with the swashbuckler being unfocused and the rogue's non-unchained sections feeling like an afterthought. The other supplemental material similarly did not blow me away either. Don't get me wrong - this is not bad, but neither will it redefine races or utterly blow you away. In the end, this is a solid mixed bag, slightly on the positive side, but not to the extent that I'd feel I could round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Forest Shadows
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Veranthea Codex: Radical Pantheon 2.0
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/08/2017 19:25:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The revised edition of the massive first expansion for Veranthea clocks in at a whopping 123 pages (for this price-point!), 1 page front cover,1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 117 pages of content - quite a lot, so let's get to it!

Veranthea Codex is a truly massive book - and still, there are a lot of components that simply, by virtue of their unique ideas, deserved more coverage. Well, this would be the first book doing just that. If you require a brief one-sentence summary - think of this as the setting's Inner Sea Gods...though, admittedly, the focus is somewhat different.

In the first chapter, we get information on the respective deities - from ever sleeping Verahnus to Death and the Nightmare Gods - and, much like Inner Sea Gods, we receive information on the priest's role in the respective society, aphorisms, holy texts, holidays, etc. - basically, we get the full fluff-write-ups, though, considering the comparably somewhat lesser page-count, obviously the entries are not as extensive as in Inner Sea Gods - still, what is here can be considered fun and sports information on (anti-)paladins for the respective deities. And yes, this includes paladins with an anti-chaos focus instead of the anti-evil focus, for example. Here, you'll also encounter one of the major improvements of this revised edition: The book now actually contains obediences for each and every deity herein.

If you're looking for full-blown redesigns of aforementioned classes though, you won't find them here. As a nice nod towards the game's traditions, we have a couple of Easter eggs here that should certainly put smiles on the faces of quite a few GMs: Death's holy text, for example, would obviously be the Libris Mortis.

The flavor of these deities is excellent - I will e.g. never stop chuckling when reading about the deity of capitalism that puts a smiling face to the world, purporting to be LG when he's actually LE. (And no, for your info - I am NOT anti-capitalist. Quite the contrary, actually.) Cool regarding new ideas: Wanna sell your soul for random mythic templates? Yup, possible.

The chapter is also suffused by pieces of crunch - nath, as a material, has a low chance of generating wild magic, for example. Another material, Kenta, temporarily becomes harder when it's hit (cool mechanics!) and also increases AC etc. - that being said, for the copious benefits the material provides, it is underpriced. Streas, as a material, is also nice: It converts energy types, though it does confuse "Fire" with "Flame" in a minor hiccup. Wealb is slightly problematic - the material nets you a bonus to damage after being critically hit; while you can kitten the bonus, it is an ineffective strategy...but yeah, I think that could have used a slightly smoother design. There also is an interesting dust that allows for the substitution of Str for the key ability modifier of spellcasting - while I'm not a big fan here, the costs keep this in check. The pdf, while cleaned up in comparison to the first iteration, still features "page @@"-glitches here and there. Both Aleana and Andrletha now receive dedicated paladin-tenets for their knights.

On the plus-side: Studying some of the dread holy texts of Nightmare Gods can cause (conveniently hyperlinked) insanities - but also convey significant bonuses. The pdf now has a note on the recent emergence of psychic magic in Veranthea and a feat that allows cultists to infiltrate other churches and society at large...nice. Worshiping the dread Nightmare Gods can cause serious insanities and mutations for those foolish (or self-destructive) enough to heed their calling. 3 new occult rituals with slightly modified rules have been added for your gibbering delight, causing unpleasant insanities for your adversaries.

The pdf also sports a vast array of player options for the devout, beginning with Religion-traits. These traits generally are pretty powerful, but not in a way that would render then overpowered; as a cosmetic complaint, they should be denoted as subtype (Faith), but its trait subtype is evident, so yeah. For example, gaining +10 to Perception while asleep is interesting. Similarly, extending your darkvision (or getting it) a limited amount of times per day is cool.

The pdf also sports a selection of spells, and they are interesting in some of their concepts: Arcodivinity takes a whole round to cast and emulates an arcane spell of 4th level or lower from the magus or sorc/wiz-spell lists or a divine spell from the cleric/druid-list of 4th level or lower when cast by an arcane caster. This is generally a cool idea, but it should be noted that this has system-immanent hiccups the more spells you allow in your game, allowing for a very strong wild-card spell that may be balanced by the increased spell-level for all but ranger and paladin and the 1 round casting duration, but still - GMs should probably impose some limitations on spell-selection here. The revised edition now has a GM-caveat to acknowledge that, but still - not the biggest fan. In my game, with a ton of options, this will not show up.

Not all spells fall into this high-concept category - blazing insight, for example, allows for an immediate action reroll of Int- or Wis-based skill or attribute checks made in the last round and allows for rolling twice on the reroll. Other spells are pretty intriguing - divinely intoxicated is interesting: Double your spellcasting attribute modifier's time, the target has to roll twice any d20 - and then use the results in the following sequence: Better result, better result, worse result. Capital Capitalist lets you haggle exceedingly well - but the reduced price may result in the merchant decreasing his starting attitude towards you. Forcing targets to reroll damage just caused may be okay, but more interesting would be Gift of Undeath - which provides continuous healing for a couple of minutes...and then slays the imbiber and resurrects him as an undead. Ouch, but it can't be force-fed to unwitting dupes, thankfully...a damn flavorful for fanatic death-cultists! As a very minor complain, making the target "one WILLING living creature would be a bit more elegant for that caveat. Touch of the Alien has been properly balanced and is no longer a broken mess.

The pdf also contains an array of magic items, including a magical lantern and a theurgist's mace - basically a mace that grants you the option to smite 1/day; if the character is a caster, he may smite 2/day spellcasters opposed to your tradition (i.e. arcane casters get smite versus divine casters and vice versa). If a character can cast both types of spells, the character may use the smite 4/day...but here, the update is a bit inconsistent: How does psychic magic interact here? Not 100% sure. This smite penalizes saves versus the wielder's spells and SPs. Still, there are damn cool ideas here - an artifact-level blowgun flute? Yes! A coin that acts as a shuriken and lets you convert metal coins while also enhancing your Sleight of Hand? Yep, pretty awesome. Dreksler's Unending Tap is pretty fun and allows for the conversion of fluid to magical beer. A whip that may petrify foes if they fail the low-DC-save...pretty neat.

The pdf also sports some archetypes - the divine drunkard brawler, for example. When these guys consume alcohol, they accumulate drunk points, which they then can expend to duplicate one of 3 randomly determined effects. The effects are interesting and generally make for a chaotic experience well in tune with Dreksler's nature. The Holy Innovator gunslinger basically is a gunslinger who can utilize contraptions from the Veranthea Codex base book - nice. The paladin-archetype merchanteer is reprinted in this book, complete with tithed healing, magnetic channel and transformation to antipaladin. The Tian Ti-Ang Agent bard can be considered to be the heralds of the mythic vampire lords and as such receive an assortment of interesting vampire-abilities.

Then, however, one of the coolest chapters in the book begins - after the chosen template (CR +1), we get heralds for the gods - all of them! From an impossible slug swarm to more traditional executors of the will of the respective deities, these unique and powerful beings (clocking usually in at around CR 15) make for a truly inspired, interesting chapter and feature appropriate and cool unique tricks as well as information on planar allies available. The 3 immortal demigods of Urethiel, Boris and his entourage are covered/reprinted and we also get the CR 25/MR 10 Sciemaat the shattered, who seeks to repair the shield that once kept the nightmare gods at bay. Similarly, the last irrational Carambal can be found here. H'gal, the grand lich of Proxima Alterra (CR 17/MR 7), on the other hand, was a rather interesting penultimate critter herein. Oh, and the revised version now has full stats for Yawvil, master wizard of Vernathea: CR 37/MR 10. No, that is not a type. He is built with hypercorps rules and a hyperscore of 10, meganaut 2/hypernaut 2 - though you can run him as printed, this means that he does not use the default mythic rules.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting have improved since the original iteration of Radical Pantheon, but still are not perfect - I noticed a few glitches and relics here and there. Layout adheres to Veranthea's two-column full-color standard and the book sports a vast amount of full-color artworks, with new pieces added in. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Myler, with contributions from Luis Loza, Michael McCarthy and Nicholas J. Giebel, has written a massive expansion here - and while there is some overlap with the content already featured in the Veranthea Codex, there still is ample material herein to justify the very low asking price for this amount of content. The revised edition of radical pantheon sports more information for all the deities, which means, ultimately, that everything feels a bit more concise, that the respective, previously somewhat neglected entities now also shine. So yes, radical pantheon's revised edition is superior to the original iteration. At the same time, however, some of the new pieces of content, while thematically neat, can prove to be a bit problematic. In the end, the book has improved and thus warrants a final verdict of 4.5 stars...but I cannot round up for it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Veranthea Codex: Radical Pantheon 2.0
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Bastille Day
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/08/2017 04:48:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure/sourcebook for the Cybergeneration 2027 game clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 46 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, at least, let's try. You see, the scan this time around is not particularly good, which makes the letters come out a bit pale and gray/blurry, which proved to be a considerate hassle while reading this as a pdf. Perhaps it's me being sensitive to the like, but I considered this to be somewhat exhausting for the eyes. Anyways, this is a module, but it also features two new yogangs, so I'll start with those, all right?

Oh yeah, before I forget: This was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

The yogangs are presented in the same style as those in other Cybergeneration-supplements, with a write-up, slang, etc. The first of these yogangs would be the moshers, the party hard crew - as heirs to punks, metal heads and the like, the yogang is something I can relate with: Using music as a vehicle to navigate the harsh realities of life makes sense to me. The yogang skill they get is pretty powerful - more so than I'*m comfortable with: It's called Mosh (BODY) and does not mean going into a pogo or doing some headbanging - it's whenever you do something reckless. It contains some martial arts uses, halving impact damage, staying awake - in short, it is a very wide open skill, one that may be considered to be OP, depending on how you read it.

The second yogang presented herein would be the trogs, somewhat akin to subterranean ArcoRunners - basically, trogs are the sewer/cavern-dweller, the guys and gals that creep out of maintenance shafts - think of them as Nosferatu, minus vampirism and curse-based disfigurement. Their yogang skill, Spelunking (INT), is pretty potent as well, though more situational: It lets you determine airborne toxins, nets you a spidey sense for nearby threats and the option to stare down some deadly critters. Basically, think of these guys and gals as subterranean rangers or guerillas.

Unlike other yogangs presented throughout the Cybergeneration-supplements, we don't get new tools or pieces of equipment for these guys, though, which makes them slightly less well-rounded in that regard.

Anyways, this is pretty much as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. The following discussion of the adventure-section contains these in spades, so if you're planning on playing this module, please skip ahead to the conclusion NOW.

...

..

.

All righty, only GMs around? Great! So, legends Rache Batmoss, Spider Murphy and Dog have their hands full: California has recently lost its sovereignty , and thus, the BuReloc (Federal Bureau of Relocation and Housing Security Services) activity is spiking. During a run on a CorpSec server, Spider Murphy, strangely, seems to have vanished/jacked out. Unfortunately, Spider has been captured, as she was running from the perceived anonymity of a secured, rundown locale - and has midrun, alongside a ton of others, been captured for reeducation. Thankfully, BuReloc and CorpSec don't like each other very much - and while CorpSec knows that BuReloc has Spider, they don't know who she is...and thus, they have sent a spy in deep cover to the facility - which, thankfully, has not yet been completed, using the captured undesirables as forced labor to build their own camp.

The task, for the kids, will be, obviously, to infiltrate this camp and the set-up provided for this is pretty modular. If you want to, you can include Dog as a chaperone for the PCs to make the module easier- but after the detailed and extended briefing, the book presents the full freedom of choice: Even getting to Spider's apartment to have an initial angle to start their investigation is already rather modular: Depending on the route chosen, different, fully-depicted encounters await and at Spider's place - which is now under the control of BuReloc - so the PCs will have some interesting time on their hands trying to infiltrate the fully mapped complex.

Having slipped, hopefully, through the nets of BuReloc, the PCs will have a trail to pursue - though, alas, Nomad Santiago is also MIA, potentially injured...The legwork is rather detailed as well - and once the PCs have exhausted their options, they can begin with the BuReloc camp infiltration - the camp is once again fully mapped and the supplement does take a lot of details into account - including e.g. the potential for wizards to use their gifts to reprogram the addictive indoctrination booths. Indeed, the module feels very much like an early adventure, sine the book contains a lot of tricks for the creative use of the special abilities of the kids...however, this very much shows that it is an early supplement - it doesn't use Cybergeneration on its own, often referencing Cyberpunk books and the aforementioned, unique tricks don't always come with rules to back them up. Take the mentioned, intriguing reprogramming example as one instance of this - no clue is provided on how difficult that would be.

While the CorpSec spy makes for an interesting complication, the other4 people mentioned only remain pale, with one sentence provided for them - a table of fluff-only characteristics for the NPCs would have been nice, if to make it harder to differentiate important from unimportant NPCs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good - I noticed a couple of minor glitches and hiccups regarding rules-coverage, but as a whole, not too many jarring instances. Layout adheres to Cybergeneration's 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice, original b/w-artworks. The scanning quality isn't too good, though, and the lack of bookmarks represents a serious comfort detriment.

Edward Bolme's Bastille Day is by far the weakest Cybergeneration supplement I have read so far. The new yogangs feel like afterthoughts that are tacked on and don't really have a good reason to be in the book. More importantly, the adventure feels weird to me: The kids act as help for the "big guys" and I never managed to shake the impression that they're not the heroes, but rather the b-team of sidekicks. You know, like in many a cartoon-series, when the hero's captured and the annoying sidekick gets the spotlight to save them, often to "prove their value" - I always hated that in kid's shows. (No, we didn't want to be Robin - we still wanted to be Batman. And most of the time, we still considered the sidekicks to be annoying after that...)

The name is also WEIRD. When I read "Bastille Day", I think of something more important, monumental, of something actually important, when this module presents a pretty run of the mill jailbreak scenario. The BuReloc-camp is depicted in lavish detail and I really enjoy the sandboxy nature of the module, but it is pretty much a standard extraction for Cybergeneration - it doesn't have anything cool or unique to set it apart. It does this standard-trope well, all right - I'll give it that. But any halfway decent GM who's played a couple of Cyberpunk or Shadowrun adventures can basically improvise such a scenario. I know that, particularly in comparison with the "-front"-books and modules therein, this felt rather bland.

Not bad, but similarly, not mind-blowing. Add to that the serious issues of scan-quality and lack of bookmarks and we have a supplement I really can't recommend. I love Cybergeneration and its ideas and books, but unless you're a completionist, I'd recommend to skip this. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, and I can't find it in me to round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Bastille Day
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Deep Magic: Angelic Seals
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/08/2017 04:45:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' 5e-series of magic traditions clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, so, as always, we get feats to interact with the spellcasting tradition - here, the first would be Heavenly Scribe, which nets the Celestial language and an angelic seal of the character's choice, with Int as governing attribute for the saving throw DC. Heaven's Chosen, the second feat, nets you a second saving throw when you fail one - this one is rolled with a single d20, regardless of advantage or disadvantage, with the ability recharging upon completing a long rest.

As in previous installments, it is pretty much recommended that characters don't get universal access to the respective material herein - beyond the feat granting limited dabbling access, we have the Angelic Scribe arcane tradition, which halves time and gold spent on copying these spells in the spellbook and allows for one of the 2 spells to be gained on a level-up to be an angelic spell. 2nd level yields also the Celestial language and the ability to scribe the eponymous angelic seals, which may be scribed on paper, canvas, stone or other tokens that may be carried or displayed -this takes 10 minutes. Alternatively, 8 hours may be spent to create a permanent seal with artisan's tools on a harder surface. Activation of a seal in an action.

However, before you ask - no, you cannot cheese this. You have a hard cap of a maximum of one seal active at any given time, which increases by +1 active seal at 6th, 10th and 14th level. At these levels, you also gain an additional seal and may replace an old one with a new seal. Deactivating a seal can be done as a bonus action. Broken or defaced seals similarly immediately deactivate. A given creature can only benefit from one seal at any given time and concentration on a spell or similar effect suppresses the seal temporarily, thus preventing stacking. And yep, suppressed seals are still treated as activated, so no cheesing there either.

Starting at 6th level, you gain Warding Seals, which must be attached to the floor or a similarly solid surface - as a touch, you can activate it and generate a spherical barrier that requires concentration to maintain - aberrations, fey, fiends and undead cannot physically cross the threshold, unless they succeed a Charisma save versus your spell save DC, and yes, they may retry, though they get disadvantage when being able to see the seal. Say it all with me: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" ...sorry. I know. It's old. Hope that still got a chuckle out of someone out there. Additionally, creatures carrying an angelic seal you can see while maintaining the warding seal can benefit from your powers: You may impose disadvantage as a reaction on an attack against a creature thus protected.

Starting at 10th level, the tradition gains greater seal, which lets you spend an action to activate the greater seal benefit for an angelic seal for 1 minute, replacing the seal's default benefit. If you instead choose a warding seal, it instead inflicts 6d6 radiant damage to creatures failing the save to breach them for 1 hour. The ability may be used twice, and is recharged upon completing a short or long rest. 14th level yields Angelic Wrath, adding conjure celestial to the spellbook. As a bonus action, usable once per short or long rest interval, you can grant all targets with active angelic seals a bonus of +1d8 radiant damage to their weapon attacks. This should make archers really happy.

Okay, but what do the seals do? Well, first of all, 10 seals are provided, which also sport really nice visual representations of the respective seal - kudos there, it adds a sense of occult legitimacy to the material. This is also underlined by an angel's name showing up behind the seal - "In the name of Chamule, I invoke judgment!" It's a small thing, but for me, it adds seriously to the appeal of the pdf. Anyways, we have retries for failed attempts to improve attitudes and the greater use of charming a creature on a failed Wisdom saving throw. Spell save DC is btw. usually the DC employed. Another seal adds 1/2 Intelligence modifier to Wisdom (insight) and Wisdom (Perception), with the greater seal providing blindsight 10 feet.

Using the reaction to boost AC against an attack and gaining resistance to nonmagical physical damage types in the greater seal, the abilities are pretty cool. That being said, e.g. Glory can be kitten'd somewhat - it yields Int-mod temporary hit points upon killing an enemy. Hand me that kitten to slaughter between encounters, please... Yeah, not very angelic or glorious. It can be argued that "enemy" does not include these and it's not a significant boost, but still. On the plus-side, automatically passing the first death saving throw (requires a rest to recharge) does feel angelic, though. While, as a person, I am not a big fan of any ability that adds more than one attribute modifier to a given roll, 5e is less prone to attribute minmaxing than PFRPG, making that concern mostly aesthetic. As a whole, these should not provide problems for games in which they are used, though.

The pdf also contains 10 new spells, one for each level - from cantrip to 9th level, these would be:

Benediction, which lets a creature you concentrate upon deduct 1d4 from its next damage received. Angelic Guardian, which nets +2 AC and may be ended to roll a failed Dexterity save. Blessed Halo sheds light, nets advantage on Cha checks interacting with good creatures within the light, dispels low level darkness and also provides 10 points of healing, which you may use as an action to heal allies within the range of the light, with higher levels increasing the healing and darkness-dispelling capacities. Blades of Wrath creates a sword of pure white fire that deals 2d8 fire and 2d8 radiant damage, with aberrations, fey, fiends, undead having to succeed a Wisdom save to avoid the frightened condition. Higher levels yield increased damage output, allowing you to choose which energy type you'll upgrade.

Deva's Wings grant a flying speed of 60 ft. (hover) - the wings can be used as a melee weapon with 10 ft. reach, potentially knocking targets prone. Blazing Chariot is a classic and star - you conjure a blazing chariot, with magical animals that can fly and you may direct its movement instead of your own and may direct it to Dash, Disengage and Dodge as a bonus action. with actions allowing for overruns - amazing. Heavenly Crown makes you the heavenly commander: As a bonus action, make an ally capable of hearing you use its reaction to make one melee attack and move 1/2 movement rate, or vice versa. Very potent and cool. Seal of Sanctuary is basically a more powerful warding seal with more damage output, 24 hour duration and seriously wicked drawbacks for those capable of crossing into it. At 8th level, Quintessence nets an AC fixed at a minimum of 20 as well as immunity to being frightened and necrotic damage. Worse for hostiles: On a failed save while within 120 ft. of you, they are restrained by fright...though it thankfully may repeat the save and becomes immune upon shaking the effect off. Finally, the Greater Seal of Sanctuary is basically the apex of the warding seal theme - crossing into this will be like stepping into a heavenly blender for most critters.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issue in rules-language or formal criteria. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard, with artworks being a mix of awesome new and previously used art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity -kudos!

You see, I really like Dan Dillon's angelic supplement. The seals feel "lawful", methodical, like tools of the angels. the touch activation if cool and has been popularized by plentiful forms of media (like Supernatural) and the respective options fit - the potent defensive tricks make pretty clear how the angelic host can withstand the assault of the abyssal hordes. The seals and how they work makes sense to me, in spite of the brevity of their presentation.

Which brings me to my primary and only real gripe with the material herein: Honestly, I wished this had a bit of fluff. Not much, just a paragraph or two for the seals. I know, I know - this is a crunch book, retain wide open nature, etc. - but the seals very much feel like they belong to a flavorful tradition and getting some more knowledge about them and the angels would have been the icing on the cake. Similarly, I would have loved to see special seals requiring certain materials or set-ups...the engine can carry a whole lot more than what it does, but that may very well show up in a sequel. Hopefully. Anyways, this should not dissuade you from checking out this pdf - we have a winner on our hands here, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Angelic Seals
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