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The Cult of the Colour out of Space
Publisher: Wayward Rogues Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/24/2017 06:05:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

So, this first very positive surprise you'll notice when reading this pdf would be the general set-up that is presented in the history of this cult. At this point, we have all seen iterations of the color in fiction or CoC/ToC-supplements before, but this pdf actually puts the influence of the entity in an interesting sequence of events: You see, the cult's locale is situated within the Bright Mountain Valley, where the local fey population, xenophobic korreds, have been fighting a losing battle versus the approach of civilization.

The ever more desperate fey resorted to conjuring forth lethal plant-creatures - though that backfired big time; turns out calling mindslaver molds with imperfect control over them is a really bad idea and so the fey fell to the mold's influence. Worse, the color that arrived hijacked the mold, creating a horrid dual layer of control the deadly adversaries. While there are a couple of typos like xatabay instead of xtabay, but still, the set-up is intriguing and makes a surprising amount of sense within the context of the game. The contact of foreigners with the color led in a growing legend that brought a dragon to the vale as well - a being who ended in a stasis between destruction via the color and life, becoming another insane herald for the cult. So yes, the presentation and angle provided here blend the fantastic and the Lovecraftian themes very well with the crunchy realities of PFRPG; basically, this is fantasy with mythos-themes, as opposed to horror with sprinklings of fantasy.

Now, the pdf also contains stats for some of the creatures that are now controlling the cult - the mind-enslaved color-blighted korreds and the mindslaver mold, for example. The statblock of the korreds does unfortunately contain some glitches. Beyond these two, the pdf also introduces us to Ichabod Krona, a somewhat cringe-worthily-named occultist of the sinister savant archetype. The man has studied the mysterium magnum, a dread grimoire, and his has brought him towards the cult. The aforementioned book is btw. included in the pdf: The cursed book has some nice benefits for those with Psychic Sensitivity or psychic spellcasting and can help automatic writing...but this also comes with a pretty random and evocative array of strange side-effects when using this ability...side effects that are not only creepy, but can provide some further adventuring angles. Nice job there.

The aforementioned sinister savant archetype is included in the book as well: At 1st level, the occultist replaces occultist implements with the ability to use magical books and scrolls as implement focuses, provided they contain a magic or effect related to the implement school to be emulated. The lack of implement schools means that the archetype has also modified resonant power: Whoever reads the implement in question gains a +2 bonus to Knowledge for every 2 points of mental focus invested, with a maximum of 2 +1 for every 2occultist levels.

Reading an implement takes 1 round - that should probably be "full-round action", considering the benefits conveyed. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the character has a 50% chance to receive a random insanity and also learns 1 level-appropriate spell from the implement schools known, replacing shift focus. As a capstone, the character receives full information on a CR 20+ creature of doom and may extol its horrid powers, potentially causing panic. The powerful diversity of the variable access to diverse implement schools is offset a bit. However, at the same time, the archetype has a few formatting hiccups - spells not italicized, wording that could be a bit more precise...but it remains a functional option.

I already mentioned the horrible dragon, kept in stasis between life and annihilation, the green brute Novastarov, kept alive by her ring of sheltered vitality. Her CR 13 iteration was included, though the powerful ring she has is imho underpriced as far as I'm concerned. Similarly, the sheltered vitality spell that provides immunity to all ability damage and drain as well as fatigue and exhaustion is utterly OP for its level and needs a serious whacking with the nerf-bat.

That as an aside, but the pdf does contain more than those powerful scions of the cult - it also contains the stats and precise motivations of the dread glowing god, a colour from out of space with the mighty template, with history, lore DCs and detailed write-ups - though, once again, the rules-components have some flaws - Knowledge (dungeoneering) is e.g. written as "knowledge dungeoneering (oozes) - which does not exist. That being said, the lore section and components of this write-up otherwise are pretty well-presented and actually evocative.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay on a formal and rules-language levels - while there are quite a bunch of obvious errors in those components, they generally do not tamper with one's ability to employ the material. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several nice full-color artworks. The pdf does not have any bookmarks, which, in conjunction with the disabled text-copying option, constitutes a severe comfort-detriment when using this pdf.

Robert Gresham, with additional writing by Rodney Sloan and Angel "ARMR" Miranda, provides an interesting cult that could have easily reached the lofty levels of excellence. In fact, this pdf does make for a viable purchase if you're looking for flavor, for ideas and the like - the pdf feels like it does offer heart's blood, careful consideration of the game's realities. That's a big plus for me. However, if you are one of the people who expect flawless rules, you will like the prose, sure...but the execution of the rules-relevant components leaves something to be desired and shows that this pdf could have used the hand of an experienced editor and/or developer. From the utterly OP item/spell to the other components, most rules herein sport deviations from standards, hiccups and the like and may really gall some people.

As a person, I actually did derive some joy from reading this book - the very stringent and logical entwinement of the tropes of traditional fantasy and mythos makes for an intriguing offering. At the same time, as a reviewer, I have to rate the formal criteria of this pdf as well, and beyond the comfort issues, the glitches do accumulate. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars - those of you looking for mostly flavor should round up...but my official verdict, alas, can't do that.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Cult of the Colour out of Space
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Monster Classes: Sand and Spirit
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/24/2017 06:02:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Dreamscarred Press' Monster Classes-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, slightly more than 1 page of glossary, leaving us with ~12 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

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

We begin with the janni, which are native outsiders with darkvision, a natural armor bonus of +1 and +2 Strength and Intelligence. The racial class spans 6 levels, gets d10 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, good Fort- and Ref-saves and a total attribute gain of +6 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Int, +2 Cha, +4 Wis, for a net gain of 18 points. The class nets proficiency with simple and martial weapons and light and medium armors. Janni may only remain on the elemental planes for 48 hours before taking damage, 1 per hour - while I am aware that this is a reproduction of the janni's special ability, I still wished it had been modified. 2nd level nets fire resistance 5, which upgrades to 10 at 5th level. Spell-like ability-wise, 1st level nets 3/day speak with animals, 2nd provides create food and water 1/day, 3rd nets 1/day invisibility (which upgrades to 3/day at 4th level) and 6th level nets ethereal jaunt 1/day and 3/day plane shift to material, astral and elemental planes only. 2nd level nets telepathy 30 ft., which is upgraded to 50 ft and 100 ft at 4th and 6th level, respectively. 3rd level nets Improved Initiative and 4th level nets 20 ft. perfect maneuverability fly speed, which is early, but not unduly so - no complaint here. I do, however, complain about change size: Its referred spells are not italicized and the text contradicts the table: The text notes 4th level, while the table unlocks it at 3rd. The ability can be used an additional time per day at 6th level.

All in all, one of the better entries in the series, in spite of the hiccups that still haunt it. However, while the pdf predated it, the superior "In the Company of Genies" has since then been released...which kinda takes away the main case I could make for this race, as Rite Publishing's book is vastly superior in details, how easy you can integrate it into your game...etc.

The second class herein would be the mummy, who receives +2 Str, -4 Int, is undead, has darkvision 60 ft., +2 natural AC and vulnerability to fire. The monster class spans 8 levels and nets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Will-saves and begins at 1st level with a 1d4 slam attack that improves its base damage to 1d6 and 1d8 at 4th and 8th level. The natural armor bonus increases by +2 at every odd level. 2nd level nets DR 1/-, which increases to DR 3/- and DR 5/- at 4th and 6th level. 3rd level unlocks despair, which has a 10-ft.-reach and renders the target shaken the target on a failed save. This increases to 20 ft. and allows for an alternate paralysis effect for 1 round. This paralysis is increased to 1d4 rounds at 7th level, which also extends the aura farther, to 30 ft. THANKFULLY, the aura has a once-in-24-hours-caveat akin to hexes, which prevents it from being horribly broken and reduces it to being strong, but manageable. 8th level unlocks the signature mummy rot. Attribute-gain-wise, the mummy receives +12 Str (!!!), +2 Wis, +4 Cha, making it very lopsided. Odd: The reduced movement rate of the mummy is not represented by the race. As a whole: Not a fan.

Next up would be the rakshasa, who receives +2 Dex and Int, is a native outsider shapechanger, has a fast speed of 40 feet, darkvision, +2 to Disguise and Bluff, +1 natural armor.

The racial class spans 10 levels, nets d10 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, good Ref- and Will-saves, full BAB-progression, proficiency with simple and martial weapons. The class gets 1d4 claws at 1st level, a secondary 1d6 bite at 2nd level and begins play with SR equal to 10 + HD, increasing that to 15 + HD at 5th level. At first level, we get 1/day change shape (spell-reference not italicized, with similar cases in the table). At 2nd level, 5th and 8th, the racial bonus to Disguise increases by +2 and 8th level adds +2 to Bluff. 4th level nets 1/day detect thoughts, +1/day for every level thereafter, with 9th level making that at-will. 5th level nets DR 5/good and piercing, which increases by +5 at 7th and 10th level. Spellcasting as a sorceror at minus 3 class levels is unlocked at 4th level.

Attribute-gain-wise, the rakshasa receives +6 Str, +8 Dex, +12 Con, +2 Wis, +6 Cha, for a total of 34 attribute points gained. I could go on picking this apart, but the monster class has the unpleasant task of going up against the SUPERB, stellar "In the Company of Rakshasa", which not only has the better balance, it also has culture galore, more detailed class options and manages to hit the flavor of rakshasa, their decadence and hunger, infinitely better. If you want to play a rakshasa, get that book instead. It's one of the best racial books for a playable monster I have ever read.

The final creature within this pdf would be the sentient flesh golem, who receives +2 Str and Dex, -5 Cha, is a construct with darkvision and 30 feet. Full construct immunities (minus mind-affecting: They can be hit by that at least.) at 1st level. And there goes the utility for pretty much all but the most high-powered of campaigns. 20 bonus hit points for being Medium. Yeah...I can see campaigns making that work...but it's nowhere near something I'd recommend. Beyond that, they get low-light vision as well as +2 natural AC.

The 9-level monster class nets +2 natural AC at 1st level, increasing that by a further +2 at every odd level thereafter for a total of +12 and begins play with a 1d4 slam attack that is increased to 1d6 at 4th, 2d6 at 7th and 2d8 at 9th level. They begin play with SR equal to 10 + HD and at 2nd level, gain DR 1/adamantine, which increases to 5/adamantine and 10/adamantine and 6th and 8th level. 4th level nets a size-increase to Large and 9th level unlocks magic immunity. Attribute-gain-wise, the class only receives +8 Str...but considering the immunities...that's good. Still, Fat Goblin Games' Player's Guide to Vathak has a significantly less problematic flesh golem-player-race.

The pdf also sports a total of 12 feats for the races here, some of which are very much cool: Rage of the Machine, for example, 17day prevents the construct's destruction when reduced to 0 hp, instead making it go berserk at 1 HP and cannot be destroyed by hit point damage. Similarly, being able to smash traps rather than disarm them is a cool idea. 1st level-only aquatic mummies, flight tricks...pretty cool stuff here, though e.g. using Int or Cha for Fort-saves isn't something I enjoy. gaining a hope aura instead of despair is interesting, as is the ability to ritualistically make a curse trap. Annoying: Spell-references are not italicized here either. The pdf concludes with a glossary.

Conclusion:

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

Jeffrey Swank's Monster Classes covering these roughly desert-themed beings are...decent? The janni is okay, if not too exciting - and as per the writing of this, "In the Company of Genies" has hit sites...so they may actually be considered to be redundant as well. The golem is at the same time OP and fragile as all hell, basically requiring the very strong Rage-feat...which can result in weird low-level encounters: Throw the golem in the room, nothing can kill it, it kills everything, repeat the next day. I like the idea here, but I think the execution is flawed. The mummy is front-end heavy...and the rakshasa is just redundant in any world where Rite Publishing's superior "In the Company of Rakshasa" exists. Similarly, the "Player's Guide to Vathak "covers the golem-angle better...and I've seen better balanced undead PC races by the dozen. Which leaves me in an odd place. This is not by any means the worst installment in the series, but I can't really figure out a reason to get it. I tried hard to like anything herein and only partially succeeded. If you have a less pronounced library of amazing races than I do, you may get something out of this, I wager...but considering the context, I can't go higher than 2.5 stars, rounded down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Classes: Sand and Spirit
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Mythic Magic: Intrigue Spells
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:21:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Magic-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look at this book!

So, at this point, you probably are familiar with what these books by now - if not, the pitch is simple: We get mythic versions of all spells contained in Ultimate Intrigue and thus, we begin with an alphabetic list of the spells featured within this book. However, there is an important paradigm shift in this book, courtesy of the changed design paradigm Paizo introduced back in Occult Adventures and continued in Ultimate Intrigue. You see, the adaptations of spells in earlier hardcovers have been somewhat different in tone and focus; numerical bonuses and damage types, as a whole, obviously lend themselves to an adaptation to mythic adventure contexts based on numerical escalation; you get the idea - expend mythic power for x, use mythic surge in conjunction with it for y.

That type of design simply does not gel too well with Ultimate Intrigue's spell selection. What do I mean by this? well, the first spell already makes this clear: Mythic absolution allows you to retain specific charms and compulsions, while still allowing for code of conduct violation rerolls, with the 4th tier augment allowing for the expenditure of 2 uses of mythic power, with better saves for the target. Similarly, aerial tracks augment options allows you to automatically succeed Survival checks of DC 40 or below if you power it via mythic power. Aphasia can bypass tongues and may be upgraded to behave basically like a curse, audiovisual hallucinations actually react appropriately towards damage inflicted and may receive more complex instructions.

Mass Charm Person is harder to detect when used in its mythic iteration, while codespeak significantly increases its duration - amazing: The mythic version actually PERMANENTLY teaches to read and understand the code...which is amazing for complex spy-games. Similarly, making a conditional curse hereditary represents an amazing augment and conjuration foil's mythic iteration may represent a numerical upgrade, but also includes a variety of tactical options. The crime spells allow for multiple rolls and the caster's choice of the result taken. Dark whispers affects up to two creatures per tier beyond line of sight/effect and may even imitate voices. Deadman's contingency's upgrade allows you to actually layer several of them upon each other. False Belief allows for the implantation of fake memories, while e.g. handy grapnel is indeed a full-blown Batman-level super-grapnel. Cool: Hollow Heroism is incorrectly identified by probing magic as mythic heroism, while illusion of treachery allows for a significantly increased control.

Casters of majestic image may employ other spells in conjunction with the spell and phantasmal affliction may impose curse, poison or wasting-like benefits. Rumormonger also gets an amazing upgrade, providing basically a rumor-web, which can really make high-powered investigations provide a whole new assortment of options -same goes for trace teleport....and treacherous teleport.

Now there are also a couple of different spells that do not go this way - true prognostication, for example, has a higher maximum chance of success and does not have a cost. Undetectable Trap continues until the next time the trap is triggered, while also increasing the DC to notice the trap...and no automatic detection chances for anyone. Vicarious view has a longer duration and may be used in conjunction with senses of a spell level lower than your tier. So yes, there are a couple of diverse spells that are a little bit less extensive in their options.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features several nice full-color artworks, though fans of Legendary Games will probably be familiar with several of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with extensive bookmarks for your convenience.

Alex Riggs and David N. Ross went above and beyond in this mythic magic-installment: The spells and their effects have been seriously expanded, allowing for a wide variety of brilliant gambits to stack upon another. In fact, this is probably the best Mythic Magic-installment so far. Why am I saying this? Simple: This book has managed what no other Mythic Magic book made me want to do: Play a very specific game. As some of you may know, I'm a huge fan of Batman, Death Note and similar battle of wits type of scenarios and this pdf's spells allow for the truly epic battling of magical wits: The spells in the base book already had this Batman/Sherlock detective-battle-of-wits type of vibe, but once you add this book's vastly expanded options to the fray, things become amazing, allowing the PCs and villains to pit complex gambits against one another...and boy, do I love that! I really want to make a truly intrigue-heavy game with these!

Expertly crafted, this installment is absolutely inspired and allows the GM and players to engage in a whole new level of deception, subterfuge and style. This is an amazing, diverse and extremely well-made pdf, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Magic: Intrigue Spells
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Animal Races: Clan of the Goat
Publisher: Eric Morton Presents
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:18:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Animal Races-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The clan of the goat encompasses more than goats; sheep etc. are included...and the pdf has some intriguing cultural peculiarities - the clans know, for example, 4 genders, with pregnant females and infertile males being their own genders. Similarly, to wear or not to wear shoes is an important ideological statement! It is these little tidbits that make sense, that make these come to life! Muskox are mostly neutral, sheep mostly good and lawful and goats mostly evil and chaotic, tapping into the iconography of real world religions and blending them in a smart way with the race's flavor.

Members of the clan of the goat, these guys are medium humanoids with the faun subtype, gain low-light vision and a +1 natural AC-bonus that increases to +2 at 10th level. The race receives 5-ft-scent that increases in range to 30 ft. at 6th level and a gore attack for 1d4 as a primary natural attack (1d3 if the character is Small). The character may choose to be either Medium and gain +2 Str, -2 Wis or be Small, with +2 Dex and -2 Str. Members of the goat clan receive +2 Int and speak Infernal as a bonus language,. They may also choose Goat Clan Heritage instead of a witch hex. Mountain Goats begin speaking Terran and gain +2 Cha and may select Goat Clan Mountaineer instead of a oracle's stone or wind revelation. Muskox members begin play speaking Sylvan and gain +2 Cha and may select Goat Clan Heritage instead of an oracle's nature revelation. Finally, sheep clan members gain +2 Cha, speak Celestial, with the option of gaining Goat Clan Heritage instead of a paladin's mercy.

As always, the race taps in its flavor into the respective Racial Heritage-feat-mechanic: To recap, if this is the first review of a pdf of this series you read - basically, they provide a selection of different abilities; the more often you take them, the more you get to choose and once you have enough of them, you unlock more powerful options, though they have a scaling prereq-caveat that prevents abuse via feat-heavy classes. The Goat Clan Heritage feat allows for the selection of climb, fast movement, improved gore, scavenger (the latter netting immunity to ingested diseases and poisons and being nauseated or sickened from eating something like that); once all of these have been taken, you can choose powerful charge. Goat Clan Mountaineer allows for the selection of climb, cold resistance, improved gore or scavenger, with powerful charge as an unlocked final option. The pdf also provides three more racial feats: Gruff Demeanor is a bland, +2 to two skills, later +4 at 10+ ranks skill-bonus feat. Scapegoat allows your familiar to intercept lethal attacks, while Troll Slayer can temporarily negate a creature's regeneration, which is pretty cool.

As always, the pdf has an assortment of different, cool notes on genealogy and the respective fantastic creatures of PFRPG and how they interact with the clan, firmly entrenching the race in the fantastic context of the game. Oh, and age, height and weight tables are included, though there are no favored class options. The pdf also features the write-up for the deity Amon, another divinity who claims the title of Eye of Ra.

Beyond this well-written write-up, there is a nice CR 8 creature, namely the Krampus, including chain armor, swallowing burlap-sack and child-scenting. One of the best iterations of the creature I have seen so far!

The pdf, as always, sports the cool heraldry traits that, in power, slightly exceed regular traits, but include minor penalties to offset the power of the benefits they convey. In a cool thematic aspect, they this time around not only include feats, but also a select array of hexes. The pdf also includes a cool oracle curse - instead of succumbing to fear effects, the character falls asleep, faints, and after awakening, the fear (and later charm etc. effects) suddenly vanish. Nice one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to the series' elegant, printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for you convenience.

Eric Morton's Clan of the Goat is really interesting - while I wished the pdf was longer and had even more material to provide cool angles to the interesting race featured herein, it does contain well-balanced, fun options that should be viable for pretty much every game. The flavor and prose are concise, the vision consistent - there is nothing to seriously complain about herein. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Animal Races: Clan of the Goat
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (SNE)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:16:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's demographics and the classic market-place section is similarly included and properly modified to represent the classic gaming systems. Kudos for not simply cutting that one - the custom result really is appropriate for the settlement!! On a slight nitpick, most OSR-systems I know call the arcane caster class magic-user, not wizard, but that ultimately is just a cosmetic complaint. Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always, 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds to further develop or ignore. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement's demographics-section, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities and this being the system-neutral version, I can't well complain about a lack of stats for them. Similarly, I won't complain on the slightly opaque explosive oil stats that does "double fire damage" contained herein, at least not in this version. On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls and the old-school-marketplace-section are certainly appreciated. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. In the system-neutral version, I can't really complain about a lack of precise stats for some of the unique features sported by the village. Thus, I consider the system-neutral version, for its intents and demographics, to be the best of the 3 versions - and worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (SNE)
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (5e)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:14:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's demographics and the classic market-place section is similarly included and properly modified to represent 5e's stance on magic items. Kudos for not simply cutting that one - the custom result really is appropriate for the settlement!! Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always, 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds to further develop or ignore. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement's demographics-section, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities - that we don't get siege weapon/magic device stats for them is somewhat a lost chance. Similarly, aforementioned volatile troll-exploding liquid would have deserved proper alchemical stats as far as I'm concerned. The marketplace just notes double fire damage...double of what? On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls and the 5e-marketplace-section are certainly appreciated. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. At the same time, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mechanical stats for the eponymous lanterns and the killer-troll-burn liquid, which are obvious key components of the village. Sure, a GM could handwave those...but having precise stats for them would have been the icing on the cake, at least for me. Hence, the 5e-version is equal to the PFRPG-version in what it offers and lacks and misses my seal of approval by a small margin, making the pdf clock in at 5 stars. Good step up for the 5e-village backdrops!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:10:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's stats and the classic market-place section is similarly included. The settlement's stats make use of the under siege property, which has been included for your convenience. Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement statblock, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities - that we don't get siege weapon/magic device stats for them is somewhat a lost chance. Similarly, aforementioned volatile troll-exploding liquid would have deserved proper alchemical stats as far as I'm concerned: The marketplace just notes double fire damage...double of what? On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls makes the tribe work even in the context of PFRPG's re-envisioned and modified goblins. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. At the same time, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mechanical stats for the eponymous lanterns and the killer-troll-burn liquid, which are obvious key components of the village. Sure, a GM could handwave those...but having precise stats for them would have been the icing on the cake, at least for me. Hence, the Pathfinder-version misses my seal of approval by a small margin, making the pdf clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn
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Psionics Augmented: Psicrystals Expanded
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/22/2017 04:41:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Psionics Augmented-series clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages f content, so let's take a look!

Psicrystals have always been a crucial, distinct feature of the psionics system as far as I'm concerned; the idea of taking a part of one's personality, extracting it and having it float along as an externalized component of a facet of your personality has pretty much been roleplaying gold, as far as I'm concerned. Thus, the introduction of this pdf's content, which talks about the different types of psicrystals, how they're created and the interaction with them, at least to me, represented a tantalizing reading experience. This section also deals explicitly with the details of repairing psicrystals and provides an expansion for Psicrystal Affinity: For the purpose of this feat, all feats that depend on it and all abilities that stem from it, all psionic class levels are treated as manifester levels - this, among other things, makes psicrystals relevant for a whole new cadre of psionic classes. Building on Psicrystal Affinity, there is a new feat herein that represents a gateway to an array of new tricks, namely Superior Psicrystal - the type of option I am talking about would be the attuned psicrystal.

Provided a character has the feat and 5th level, the psicrystal gains significant additional benefits that depend on the class chosen: Psychic Warriors receive better natural AC and more hit points for their crystals, Wilder psicrystals can absorb the negative effects of psychic enervation, with scaling daily uses. Kineticist psions (not the base class, the psychokinesis specialists!) gain free augmentation power points when channeled through the crystal, rewarding the teamwork-use; telepaths can, for example, borrow the sighted ability. Marksmen may use their psicrystals to negate Dex-bonuses to AC or even evasion, while soulknives may attack through the psicrystal and e.g. dread or cryptic may have their psicrystal employ their own tricks. Finally, the collective-generating classes receive appropriate bonuses for the inclusion of the psicrystal - all of these powerful benefits, mind you, are balanced via scaling daily uses and some are pretty complex rules-operations, in spite of the deceptive brevity of the material - so yeah, impressive.

The pdf goes on, however - there is another type of psicrystal included here, the cognizance psicrystal, which is also unlocked via Superior Psicrystal. And yes, before you're asking - these manifestations of the psicrystal feat are mutually exclusive. Cognizance psicrystals can store power points; the master can store these as a move action, reclaim them as a free action; these stored power points can be used to fuel manifestations.

There is a third option unlocked via the feat would be the merging ritual which allows the psionic character to merge the psicrystal with animals etc., creating a familiar-like crystallized creature: This creature behaves like a psicrystal sans the sighted and self-propulsion abilities; the amalgam has the higher Intelligence score between psicrystal and the creature's Intelligence, with unintelligent base forms treat their Intelligence as 1 instead. While the base creature thus uses the base form of the animal companion, the psicrystal-infused creature does not require Handle Animal. The base level of the psionic determines btw. the base forms available and the respective implanted psicrystal has its own little table of gained abilities.

Another option would be the empowered psicrystal - this option nets a +2 bonus to Intelligence and a doubled range for sighted, telepathic speech and sight link ranges. Beyond these, they get to choose psi-like abilities.

There is also the weapon psicrystal - and yes, the rules are concise and once again feature their own table. As an aside: I LOVE this option. My player's favorite legendary weapon I designed for my games was "The Blade of Shards", a blade of fragmented minds of psicrystals whose owners had become insane; in order to wield the weapon, one had to accept that one sooner or later would join the cacophonous choir or bloodthirsty mind-fragments contained in the blade. It could generate storms of razor-sharp crystals, extend...etc. I had to build that weapon from scratch back in the day, whereas here, we have a balanced, more subdued engine that makes for a great base-line for such designs, though obviously, the focus here is more on making an intelligent blade that shares part of your personality.

Beyond all of these options, we also receive a plethora of new feats herein, which interact smoothly with the new options and build upon them Cortex Strike allows, for example, to add sneak attack damage to psionic weapon when used in conjunction with the psionic weapon version of Superior Psicrystal. Yes, there is an Improved follow-up feat - which converts the damage to psychic damage, being usually one of those damn make-believe damage types I harp on about...but considering the steep feat-investment and the fact that it converts sneak attack, an often subpar damage-option, makes me actually okay with it, just this once. ;)

Flexible Personality is a true gem, not only for benefit-purposes, but also for RPG-purposes - 1/day, as a standard action, you can change your psicrystal's personality, which makes all kinds of sense to me and can be absolute roleplaying gold. Of course, enhancers for aforementioned Psi-like abilities of the empowered version. The option to allows a psicrystal to refocus as long as you still have power points increases their utility and flexibility as well. Focusing weapons for reducing critters to 0 Hp can potentially be cheesed in a ridiculous scenario based on iterative attacks slaying kittens, but the scenario is so out there and limited in its effectiveness, not even I want to really complain there. Combining Cleave with Psionic Weapon's focus expenditure is interesting - as is the option to forego regular damage and sneak attack damage when attacking with a psicrystal weapon to instead inflict Strength damage...sounds cheap? Well, it kinda is, but the required expenditure of psionic focus imposes a sufficient tax on the option...as does the array of prerequisites required to take the feat. Also really cool - psicrystals that may shed their body analogue to the uncarnate class feature.

The pdf also provides two new psionic powers: Autorecall lets you immediately recall your psicrystal , with an augment for immediate action recalls as well, allowing for some amazing tactics, even before the option to get a kind of contingency-like recall for the crystal. Hide Psicrystal is actually more flavorful than you'd think - it's not simply a cloaking power, it fuses the crystal with your body.Aegis gain a new 1 point customization and soulknives a new blade skill for use with the psicrystal options herein and, very, very cool and seriously overdue: We close with a nice, complex and greatly expanded list of psicrystal personalities. Kudos indeed!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from stuff like its/it's or an inconsistent formatting of psicrystal abilities (sometimes italicized, sometimes not). Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fulyl bookmarked for your convenience as well as with a nice, more printer-friendly second version. The pdf sports a nice full-color artwork as well.

Andreas Rönnqvist seems to effortlessly put his boot down in this pdf and squashes any doubt regarding his capabilities; one of the original masterminds behind DSP's psionics, he creates a pdf that looks pretty humble at first glance. But only at first glance - oh boy, does this deliver!

The options for the new psicrystal variants in this pdf are incredibly diverse and allow for a ton of customization, sure - but they don't scream loud in your face what you should do with them. Instead, this pdf takes a bit of time to simmer, a bit of contemplation, until you realize that vast amount of amazing stuff you can do with this. Taking one crucial, yet neglected component of psionics and expanding its identity to this extent is amazing. Doing so while retaining balance of the options presented is glorious. From the gem-possessed animal to the intelligent blade, this book represents a cornucopia of not only viable rollplaying options, but also pure ROLEplaying gold, extending psionic concepts in an impressive manner.

Instead of throwing archetypes at s, we receive a smooth and yet complex extension of the base psicrystal rules that add a whole new, amazing dimension to them. I not only love this pdf, I consider it also to be the very first psionics augmented book that is, without a doubt, a must-own addition for everyone using Ultimate Psionics. Class does not matter, neither does race; no matter whether your game is high-powered or low-powered, this pdf feels like an organic extension of Ultimate Psionics. It will not break low-powered, gritty games and it will have sufficient oomph and impact for the high-powered ones. In short: This is a little masterpiece and an absolute must-buy for all fans of psionics. 5 stars + seal of approval...and for campaigns with psionics, this is essential...hence, this receives my EZG Essential-tag and also is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016. Best expansion you can currently buy for psionics, with only the glorious Living Legend and Mind and Soul coming close, and these two are more specific in their appeal, focusing on archetypes. In short: Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Augmented: Psicrystals Expanded
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Cyphermage
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/22/2017 04:38:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

That out of the way, let us take a look at the class herein, with is built on the chassis of wizard and the cypher mage, with d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, with d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, full spellcasting progression, good Will-saves and 1/2 BAB-progression. Proficiency-wise, they only get simple weapons. Cypher mages may also select additional bonus languages. Cyphermages must choose between an arcane school and arcane bond; in the former case, they're locked into divination. They may also choose a wizard bonus feat in lieu of a cypher lore.

Cypher lore would be the talent-array of the prestige archetype, with the first gained at 1st level and subsequent lores being unlocked at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, meaning that the class, as presented, sports some serious player agenda. These include bypassing symbols, automatically analyzing scrolls, extended summon-lists, metamagic-enhancers of scrolls, better giant-mind subversion, using Int instead of Cha for UMD

Cypher mages cast spells from scrolls at +1 caster level higher than that of the scroll and +1 to checks to activate scrolls with CLs exceeding his own. Cypher mages also receive a cypher pool equal to his "Intelligence bonus + 1/2 class level" (that's usually presented the other way round, to engage in a cosmetic nitpick) - these points may be expended to increase the CL of a scroll by 1 or the DC to recognize a spell by 5, but at the cost of increasing the activation to a full-round action - and yes, this can be used in conjunction with spontaneous metamagic. And yes, dear readers - the aforementioned summoning enhancer is actually new and not something the base PrC had - so kudos! A known cypher lore that requires a swift action to activate may be chosen at 10th level and thereafter be activated as a free action, with 14th and 18th level adding another one to the array.

2nd level yields Scribe Scroll and the capstone yields the bonus to saves versus glyphs etc. - a less bland capstone would have been nice to see in this redesign.

As per the tradition of this new series, we receive information on using arcanist, psychic, sacerdote, and witch as alternate chassis-bases, so if you wanted to play a cyphermage adept based on one of those classes, you're in luck. It should also be noted that these modifications this time around are more complex than in other installments

The prestige archetype does include a significant array of class-specific favored class options for core races and some of the stars of the Porphyran races.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's take on the cypher mage is a definite step up from the PrC - the prestige archetype is well-crafted, fun and solid - the cypher points add player agenda from the get-go and make the experience of playing the class more interesting than it would be without them. While I would have loved that class feature to be more interwoven and while the capstone still isn't that impressive, we have a good installment on our hands here. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Cyphermage
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Fetishistic Arcana
Publisher: Violent Media
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/22/2017 04:36:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little pdf clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, though it should be noted that they're formatted for A5 (6'' by 9'')-sized booklets; you can fit 4 of them on one sheet of paper, if you choose to print them out, so let's take a look, shall we?

So, on the first page, we actually get a public domain extract from a German ethnographic collection, including a bit of text, which was somewhat hilarious and fitting to me, contextualizing the concept presented within these pages. So, what are fetishes in the context of this pdf? They are items that must be worn or held and their construction requires the arts and a ritual, but not necessarily any staggering costs and any of these fetishes may be used by any spellcaster. A total of 12 such fetishes are included in the pdf, with 4 qualifying as ancient fetishes - more on those later.

Well, for once, they represent items that low-level magic-users can have. That make them somewhat less of a liability. GASP I know, I know, heresy and all such, but let me state something here for a second: I'm all for weak casters at low levels. It explains why the land's not flooded with arch wizards and makes getting to the levels where you can pulverize whole legions an accomplishment to be proud of. It's the reason I prefer even my rules-heavy systems to have an imbalance in the progression of characters as opposed to e.g. 4th edition's fighters and casters feeling so similar. It's a matter of taste.

Now in OSR games, I do like that playing a low-level magic-user is a PAIN; depending n the system you use, a housecat can arguably kill you RAW. However, as much as like old-school gaming, I can't deny that I do have serious experience with more rules-intense versions of the game...and with these, obviously also came a certain feeling of entitlement. Not regarding power, mind you - I always prefer my games on the gritty side. But regarding OPTIONS. You know. Player agenda. Not being restricted to the 5-minute adventuring day. Being able to modify magic to make it feel...well. Magical. Strange. Alien. It's a reason for me liking LotFP's occult feeling, unstable and dangerous take on magic that may royally screw over the careless - it's risky...but it has a bit more options, a bit more agenda.

The items herein follow a similar design paradigm. They come with hefty, yet affordable silver prices. They also feature construction rituals. Let me give you a taste: When a human warrior is slain on the battlefield via treachery and when the human has taken at least one goblin life, that's when teh sacred sightless, goblins that have blinded themselves, goblins that have never seen the hated sun, can smell the corpse. The body will be desecrated and defiled, its components strewn through the wilds, its jawbone kept intact and chewed free of most flesh. The bone will then be hanged from a widow's walking stick and dried there; finally, 6 raven feathers are attached to the jawbone, the loosened teeth rattling as it is shaken. All damaging spells thereafter cast through the item inflict +1 damage versus human and also inflict the spell's damage inevitably again on the following round - though the wording here could be more precise: One could read this echo to pertain only to the bonus damage, when the whole spell is meant. Oh, and non-goblin users risk a chance of becoming goblins when using the fetish.

This example should illustrate pretty well the strengths, but also the weaknesses of the pdf. The construction requirements for the fetishes generally are well-presented and evocative, as is their activation. At the same time, the rules-language honestly leaves something o be desired. And no, OSR does not equal tolerance for sloppy rules; one look at S&W, LL or LotFP shows pretty clearly that these rule-books actually are VERY precise beasts.

There are more precise items, like mirrors of obfuscation that can be rather interesting, which allow you to stealthily cast spells, but at a small risk of forgetting that you have cast the spell AND the spell from the spellbook, which can actually result in an interesting plot. There is also a defensive fetish that increases the duration of defensive spells greatly - which is cool...but brings me to a nitpick. While some spells are noted, the fetish fails to present a precise list. This may be a mostly cosmetic thing in actual use, but can still yield some issues, which is why many OSR titles assume a default system - here, that would be LotFP - but when one assumes a default system, why not present a concise list?

That being said, the items themselves do feature some seriously cool options - like an artificial jaw into which you insert a dead man's teeth and thus can talk to the perished, even without requiring a functional body...but there is a chance that the spirit will be stuck in the fetish. Another fetish enhances arachnid-related spells, but makes you foe and preferred target of arachnid creatures encountered. What about a rose that greatly increased the potency of your charming spells, but has a serious risk of falling in love with the spell's target? Lenses that make you perceive the whole truth, fused to your body. There also would be ram's horns that generate bursts of deadly energy, providing a taste of later level's potency, though the direct damage, if you presume LotFP's standard design paradigm, are pretty valuable - the particular item imho fits LL or S&W more.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good on both a formal and rules-language level - while both can be improved, the pdf generally is solid. Layout adheres to a 1-column full-color standard in A5 (6'' by 9'') with fitting stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Edward Lockhart's collection of fetishistic arcana is a somewhat mixed bag. The pdf's items are interesting and often can jumpstart an adventure or two by means of the complications they offer. The detailed construction notes similarly are nice and flavorful. So, on the plus-side, we get some seriously cool options for magic-users, in particularly to make low-level existence less of a hassle and more rewarding; not less deadly, mind you - but more versatile, which is good as far as I'm concerned. At the same time, the rules-language components could be more precise than they are. How to rate this, then? Well, to me, this file is a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side - which is why I'll settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the PWYW-nature of the pdf. Well worth contemplating for your OSR games and idea-scavenging...and leaving a tip for.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fetishistic  Arcana
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Mythic Monsters #40: North America
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2017 05:49:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' critically-acclaimed Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of jam-packed content, so let's take a look!

We, surprisingly, begin this pdf with supplemental material that is not only useful for mythic contexts per se - the pdf introduces Scrimshaw items as an item-class, with a respective feat to fashion these (though it oddly does not have the Item Creation descriptor, but that just as a nitpicky aside) - scrimshaw magic items, though, are rather fragile - and this fragility is a central focus of the respective items introduced: E.g. a knife that returns those slain with it as undead servitors, which is balanced via the chance of splintering. The pendant of life sense can help communicating, but excess damage to the target depicted in the pendant can result in a collapse. Whalebone Helms can emit thundering cones and emit high-pitched cries that allow for long-range communications...I like this general item-class and the guidance provided for the GM is nice. The class certainly has some serious potential for e.g. an ice age-themed game.

Beyond these items, the pdf obviously also contains a selection of creatures - the CR 16/MR 6 version of the Akhlut can instantly generate devastating storms and add devastating takedowns of the assaults...and it also learns to perform truly devastating smashing assaults and fly during storms...oh, and they become gargantuan. A true classic would also be the CR 10/MR 4 Jersey Devil - this being receives an AoO as a result to mythic power expenditures and may even expend mythic power to assault foes...and it actually gains temporary mythic power when targeted by an appropriate hit. Adding a curse-debuff to the breath...and the version may combine the breath via trampling for ghost rider-style running over...oh, and it finally is as hard to kill as befitting of the legend.

The CR 7/MR 3 mythic hodag not only gains better ambush predator tricks and may execute devastating attacks from below...and these guys are incredibly hard to hunt down, making for deadly hunters. The mythic ijiraq at CR 11/MR 4 may banish foes affected by the disorienting gaze into the plane of shadows and the constantly blurred form adds a significant defense upgrade to the critter. Nice one!

At the highest echelons, the mythic manitou receives a CR 18/MR 7 incarnation that has a powerful domain of guarded lands and also sports a powerful aura of karmic retribution aura, which can negate the defenses of foes foolish enough to attack him...oh, and he may possess foes! Beyond this, powerful clouds of steam and an improved spirit stampede and a mythic power expanded token of fortune is pretty intriguing. (Oh, and the Mythic Awesome Blow feat is reprinted here for your convenience!) So yeah, a great one!

The pdf's next critter would be the CR 9/MR 4 qallupilluk, who gains grasping claws, seriously powerful additional options when the creature hits multiple times with its claws, and may tunelessly hum to lead its victims astray as well as employ with deadly hexes. There is yet another critter - the sasquatch, at CR 3/MR 1 receives the blurred form trick and also receives a particularly nasty stench. At CR 4/MR 1, the snallygaster receives a horrific shriek...and once again, the mythic Flyby Attack feat, used in the build, is included here.

The most American of critters in iconography would perhaps be the thunderbird at CR 13/MR 5 - these beings may not only absorb lightning, they can actually assume lightning form, a reflexive electrified body and is particularly effective in combat versus serpentfolk and similar reptilian threats. And yes, the mythic version can use mythic power to greatly enhance the signature storm aura...and I should also note the ability to fire whole salvos of thunderbolts! Amazing! The tupilaq's mythic version, at CR 8/MR 3, can have spells inscribed upon it and with blood of a victim, can become a deadly, unrelenting bloodhound - and yes, these base creature abilities become even more potent in the mythic version, supplemented by better physical power and feats. Nice representation of a construct being created to fulfill certain functions.

The wakandagi, at CR 17/MR 7, is surrounded by an aura of toxin-cancelling purity and may counter the first attack each round, form the weather and utterly obliterate ships...so a massive upgrade for the base creature, which always felt a bit limited to me - big, big kudos! (Mythic Multiattack is reprinted here as well, as it is used in the build!) One of the most epic builds in the whole series is next - and it better should be: The wendigo has been done often in various iterations, but the CR 21/MR 8-version herein is a true beauty of utter, deadly destruction - exceedingly fact, with the option to instill wendigo psychosis via nightmares, and absolutely phenomenal evasion tricks, these guys can actually stand before high-level mythic PCs - wreck them; hit and run; drain mythic power - the signature abilities span two pages on their own, making this build a glorious story-foe and villain.

The CR 5/MR 2 wikkawak gains mythic power from making creatures frightened and, on crits, these guys can take mementos from crited foes, which thereafter make the creature more deadly against the being in question. Oh, and thuggery is enhanced as well!

The new creature herein, lavishly rendered in full color, would be the CR 6/MR 2 Giiwedin, an incorporeal undead with the air and cold subtypes - these beings can possess others, wracking them with spellblights and hampering the healing options of the character in question...and those slain return as frost wights. Spirits of those slain in the frozen tundra, these hunters are delightfully deadly, if not absolutely mind-boggling in their options, but their strong and evocative theme makes sure I'll certainly use them in my adaptation of LotFP's excellent "Weird New World".

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports pretty amazing original pieces of artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

The mythic monsters featured herein, penned by the veteran hands of Jason Nelson and Alex Riggs, count among their number some of the coolest critters in the series...and indeed, not one of the conversions has disappointed me with its tricks; they build expertly upon the mythological foundation of the respective creatures. The mechanics are similarly excellent and manitou and wendigo alone may well be worth getting this file on their own. In short - this is an excellent addition to the Mythic Monsters-series and thus receives my highest accolades at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitegist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #40: North America
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Slaves of Tsathoggua
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2017 05:47:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure for Crimson Dragon Slayer (the new, d6-based version) clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page editorial, leaving us with 14 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we begin this pdf with a d20-chart that lets you determine how much of a peasant your character is: While some of these have minor in-game effects (like being a bad gambler), they also include living in a cardboard box, having dirt on even the dirt on you, etc. In short - this can make for a fun negative-bragging at the table: "Dude, my characters is so peasant, he only has rolls 3 teeth remaining!"

The PCs thus approach the little village of Needham, witnessing a strange funeral procession - the priest seems to have died and is now carted towards a cave...after all, anyone who has entered it will thereafter be brought back there for an eternal vigil. The 8 rumors similarly seem to speak of nasty things hidden there...but the road's been long, the weather foreboding, so the adventurers will probably head towards the tavern...and here, a man is goaded into entering the cave...a fool named Atsop. Witnessing the sod enter and exit will net a nasty scene, as he exits, slime eating his body, slowly and painfully....and indeed a suicide hidden in the village's vicinity similarly enhances the foreboding atmosphere.

...and this is about as far as I can go without going into serious SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great! So, the main meat of the module represents a small dungeon crawl - the cavern complex is basically a ring of caverns around a strange machine, the scoop, which scoops up beings and deposits them inside the cave - as such, the numerous caverns to the sides of this central hub contain a variety of truly diverse encounters. The GM can resort btw. to a small d4-table to determine the desires of the respective creatures encountered. The planar instability also extends to the caverns - 12 entries of a table can allow the GM to make a cave Lovecraftian, icy, watery...etc. Similarly, a d30-table allows you to determine the weird insides of things the PCs may kill, slice open or dig into...ranging from endless bacon to small dolls with mysterious masks...so yeah, this is where the slightly gonzo weird comes in....but it retains a sinister streak. In short: It is a nice compromise between the gonzo Heavy Metal fantasy of the original Crimson Dragon Slayer and the darker aspects championed by the recent quick-play d6-based version in tone.

So that pertains the general dressing and environments - but what about the specific? Well, there would be Simon, a friendly tentacled diplomat from another dimension; there are silurians and zygothians, robots and plant monsters, faceless purple-skinned humanoids...there is a man with delusions of invulnerability, a horrible oracle who can employ emotional illusions and implant them within beings...but ultimately, in one of those side-caverns, the PCs will find a way deeper into the complex, past deadly insects and worse...oh, and if your PCs are idling, they'll meet radical anthropomorphized fruit sooner or later. And yep, these guys have a mean streak. Anyways, the PCs will probably sooner or later meet The Thing. - a horrid and very powerful entity...and past it, there looms a nugget of cosmic truth, of genocides in the past and the looming return of dread Tsathoggua...

But even if the PCs manage to survive this meat-grinder of a module (the progressive bosses have A LOT of HP), there is a handy 20-entry-table to roll regarding PTSD for surviving this insane experience. These range from drawbacks to benefits to primarily roleplaying relevant tricks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice full-color two-column standard and the pdf actually comes with a second, printer-friendly version - kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with extensive bookmarks and the b/w-artworks featured herein are amazing original pieces. The cartography by Glynn Seal is excellent as well, though I certainly wished we got a key-less version to cut up and hand to the PCs as they go.

After the revision of Crimson Dragon Slayer hit digital shelves, I wasn't too blown away; the sample module is pretty much standard dark fantasy minus all the gonzo weirdness that made me like the original Crimson Dragon Slayer. This module would then be a synthesis of both approaches: This is very much dark and brooding fantasy and a grinder of a module, yes - but at the same time, it features quite a lot of thoroughly surreal and interesting components. The surreal aspects are more grim than before, sure - but at the same time, the module manages to sell them as both scary-weird and atmospheric, which is a feat as far as I'm concerned. In short: This is significantly better than the intro-module of for CDS's revision and feels once again like it has its very own identity. Now the module may not be a world-shaking scenario, but for the fair price point, it certainly delivers an enjoyable session of gaming. So yeah, I don't have significant complaints against this module by Venger As'Nas Satanis...and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars - If you want to play the new Crimson Dragon Slayer version, get this module to accompany it.

Endeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slaves of Tsathoggua
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Race Options: Svirfneblin
Publisher: Rusted Iron Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2017 05:44:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Race Options-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

And now for something completely different - this time around, we take a look at expansion material for one of the arguably most powerful races for PFRPG, the svirfneblin. The racial properties of the race, all its traits etc. have been reproduced herein for your convenience and with SR, constant nondetection and similar tricks, it's not hard to see why the race is often banned. That being said, this review will simply accept the significant power-level of the base-race and look at the new material herein, starting with alternate racial traits. We get a total of 8 of those and they range from an alternate hatred versus aberrations (represented as both atk-bonus granting and AC-improving traits) to applying SR to darkness and darkness-creating effects (interesting!). Losing skills bonuses for Weapon Focus (heavy pick), stability and a vanilla rage also constitute interesting modifications. I also liked a decreased SR accompanied by minor DR to account for a more fey theme. There also is an alternate, less lopsided attribute array, namely +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha, which also eliminates svirfneblin magic and fortunate...and actually makes the race more balanced, while retaining its core theme. Kudos!

The pdf also contains two archetypes, the first of which would be the Pick Master fighter, who replaces armor training with an AC bonus versus melee attacks when attacking with a pick at 3rd level; 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter net a scaling bonus to atk and damage with picks and 7th level provides the option to immediate action retaliate when an attack fails to hit the archetype due to the shield bonus granted by the special pick fighting training. 9th level sports something picks imho did not need - instead of weapon training, the critical multiplier for picks is increased even further. 11th level provides +5 ft. reach when wielding picks, but only for AoO-purposes when a target moves through the area and then adjacent to the pick master. 13th level allows for tripping and disarming sans AoO with picks and at 15th level, the bonus after attacking with a pick now extends to ranged attacks as well and nets Deflect Arrows. 17th level yields knockback blows with pick attacks and the archetype is locked into picks for weapon mastery. All in all, a decent weapon specialist with some mechanically-complex abilities that replaces all those armor/weapon training tricks with specialized pick tricks.

The second archetype would be the subterranean druid, whose name provides already a pretty decent vision of what to expect. The archetype receives Knowledge (dungeoneering) as a class skill and receives a variant list of spontaneous casting options that has a pretty nice stone/earth-theme. Nature sense is replaced with a modified underground version and 2nd level yields a stone-based variant of woodland stride and modifies trackless step to instead apply to the underworld environment. Instead of resist nature's lure, +4 to saves versus the SPs and SUs of aberrations is gained and thousand faces is replaced with a variant of tree stride that instead employs stone as a medium.

The pdf also contains different pieces of mundane equipment - the first of these would be amorphofixate, a chemical that can rid adversaries temporarily of the amorphous quality of stabilize those whose forms have been destabilized. Cool. Depilatory would be the bane of all dwarves - the acid eliminates the hair of those hit directly by it. Want to piss off dwarves? There ya go! Very strong would be a special paste that reduced movement by 5 ft., but grants hardness 8 to the subject...but only until hardness is exceeded, at which point the shell crumbles. At 100 gp, this is not inexpensive, but it's perhaps an item I'd keep out of the hands of PCs for the lower two levels...unless you have foes with serious damage outputs. The pdf also contains three variant picks - long pick, saw-tooth pick and throwing pick.

The pdf also contains a total of 8 racial feats, which include bonuses + /day rerolls versus emotion-spells, a serious bonus to a social skill when dealing with fey, slightly increased movement rate when traversing stone, a 1/day option to force a foe to roll twice to try to overcome your SR, a feat to count as +1 size when using Power Attack with picks, a feat that allows you to ignore squeezing penalties in stone (cool!) and a higher-level option to burrow through stone. One feat is problematic, namely a teamwork feat that lets you occupy the same space as an allied svirfneblin, flanking adjacent opponents - not only is this pretty strong for some classes, it unfortunately also has the issue of targeting, splash damage direct hits, etc. It should be noted, though, that this is partially due to the squeezing/multiple guys in one-square rules being pretty opaque.

The pdf also sports two weapon special abilities, the first of which would be impaling, which honesty represents scavenging gold - basically, you sunder as part of the attack and on a crit, the weapon becomes lodged in the target, inflicting damage until it is yanked out. At +2, reasonably priced and a great basis if you're looking for a baseline to craft gritty "stuck in enemy"-rules for a campaign. The second ability would be stonebreaking at +1, which bypasses some stone hardness and deals additional damage versus stone creatures. Cool! Beyond these, we can find 3 specific magic items, the first of which would be the Caryatid Amulet is pretty cool - it yields DR that can temporarily be increased...and while in this state, weapons that target the wearer take serious damage. Damn cool and reasonably priced. Friendship Stones can be used to retain message-communication, but warn of betrayal as well and growstone solution can either create spike floors or soft stone. Cool!

The pdf closes with an array of 7 spells - these include imbuing crystals with electricity (making it easier to target metal-armored foes), an emergency brace versus cave-ins (awesome!), a spell to fortify stone, the secret message-passing enhancer group mind, the option to make potentially templated gargoyles from stone to do your bidding...and more. Particularly cool would be the spell to deal with burrowing creatures (stone ripple), that can also send non-burrowing creatures to the ground and there is also the work song - which obviously increases productivity or marching, as anyone who read Dickens knows.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has a nice piece of b/w-art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience - kudos!!

So, let me come clean here - svirfneblin are banned as PC-races in even my high-powered games. They're very strong and pretty lopsided, hitting two of my pet-peeves for races, so I wasn't too keen on picking this one apart. That being said, the alternate, imho better balanced racial traits contained herein come as close to fixing the race as I'm probably likely to get to see anytime soon. While I am not blown away by all components herein, with the archetypes being pretty conservative, particularly in the items and spells, this has some seriously cool gems. Oh, and it should be mentioned that some alternate racial traits actually manage to be somewhat innovative in the narrow paradigm they offer - which is a definite plus. In fact, I consider this pdf to be surprisingly good and captivating - Mike Welham shows his expertise by pricing feats, magic items etc. with deceptive ease. While I have a couple of minor nitpicks with some details, these ultimately pale before an otherwise fun and interesting setting -and the verbiage for impaling could, as mentioned before, potentially carry the piercing category of a whole no/low-magic campaign that emphasizes weapon type differences.

In short: Mr. Welham delivers a fun racial pdf, which, while not universally amazing, belongs to the better ones out there. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to the low and more than fair price-point.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Race Options: Svirfneblin
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Mythic Monsters #39: Slavic
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:32:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' critically-acclaimed Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of jam-packed content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf in the most flavorful of ways - with a nice short story, a fairy tale if you will - the "Bear with Steel Fur", a great little story that established the mood for the pdf...and could frankly yield quite a lot of inspiration in particularly for fans of Kobold Press' Midgard or similarly more Slavic/Germanic environments. Thus, in the proper mindset, we are introduced to the diverse mythic creatures found within, beginning our journey with the mythic Bagiennik (CR 7/MR 3), whose nasal spray is upgraded to also allow for the dousing of those slain to return them back to life via the expenditure of mythic power...oh, and they can emit a cloud of total concealment-granting murk. Nice one!

At the lowest CR/MR-spectrum (CR 1/MR 1), the Etiainen is greatly expanded - while the nice artwork used previously for a unique creature in the series is a rehash, the critter more than makes up for this: You see, they may not only expend mythic power to assume Tiny or Large sizes, they also do not perish when fading, thwart detection and can stack its memory drain - making completely new angles possible. Great example of low-level mythic critter-design! On the other end of the CR-range, at a mighty CR 18/MR 7, the gorynych may emit a fascinating haze, its breath weapons are also modified in their cooldown mechanics and may be enhanced with mythic power, adding some serious tactics to breath weapon use. Oh, and know what's worse? If you manage to slay this monstrosity, it discorporates in flame and death...and reassembles, hurt, but very much in fighting shape, with different defensive properties. Round 2 of the boss fight. NICE!

The famous domovoi at CR 4/MR 1 actually represents the spirit so much better with clean sweep - a telekinetic-style option to AoE clean/repair...and move foes. Add to that the option to assume the shape of a revered ancestor and we have a definite winner on our hands that feels truly magical. At one CR and MR more, the Dvorovoi similarly have been brought closer to the real world's tales - they enhance the growth of nearby plants, but once their ire is roused, they can utterly ruin a farmer's life with their magics and curse. At CR 3 and MR 1, the ovinnik would be another house spirit whose mythic upgrade receives unique tricks - namely a menacing bark to scare away intruders and fires started by them may warp the perception of creatures and allow for clairvoyance/audience tricks. I love all of these house spirits.

The CR 6/MR 2 kikimora receives a greatly empowered hidey hole that allows for some additional tactics; beyond that, they can enter the dreams of the sleeping, causing nightmares and also gaining bonuses versus those afflicted...and they can employ flaxen traps and spin it so quick, it can help them get away, making them a far deadlier adversary. Another classic that is often used would be the Rusalka, whose mythic version clocks in at CR 15/MR 6 and may maintain the beckoning call; beyond that, they can emit a shriek that can force others to attack a designated foe...and if you do not heed the ruslka's call, you suffer. Their powers to enslave nonmythic creatures are horrid, they can attack with their tresses of hair and in water, they receive a serious defense upgrade, making them an appropriately formidable, dare I say "mythic" foe. Kudos indeed!

Compared to these guys, the CR 3/MR 1 upgrade of the tatzlwyrm is a bit less impressive - mythic power expenditure for conical poison or free action breath...okay, I guess, but not too exciting. At CR 8/MR 3, the air veela's mythic version can draw the air forth from nearby creatures and gets a mythic power-based immediate action defensive power that ensures she does not go down quickly. The vodyanoi, at CR 6/MR 2, may summon water into the lungs of its victims and imprison the souls of its victims, drawing strength from them - this critter is basically an adventure plot in one statblock and a glorious representation of the creature's mythological tropes. Two thumbs up! At CR 4/MR 1m the vukodlak has a steal breath ability...which is unfortunately missing a part of its text and thus does not really work in a pretty glaring glitch.

The pdf also includes a new creature with a glorious full-color artwork would be the stalimedved - the eponymous, CR 21/MR 8 steely bears - gargantuan engines of destruction, whose flaming breath lingers; the creature can not only perform devastating physical attacks, its massive stomps can really wreck formations and structures. The quills are lethal as well and the sweeping claw attacks can hit multiple foes. All in all, a glorious, massive monstrosity.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, with the glaring exception of the cut-off steal breath ability. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a blend of classic full-color artwork and the amazing new artwork for the stalimedved. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Victoria Jaczko knocks this one right out of the stadium, if you want to engage in a Baseball-metaphor: The creatures herein and their respective upgrades represent amazing variations of the classic critters and bespeak a love for the mythology that inspired them - apart from the unfortunately cut off ability and the slightly less interesting tatzlwyrm, the pdf's critters are absolutely amazing, rendering this a very worthwhile addition to the series. While not perfect, it represents an inspired collection of critters and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #39: Slavic
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Bloodmage
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:29:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

That out of the way, let us take a look at the first of these, the Bloodmage, who was built upon the Bloatmage PrC and the wizard-chassis. The class receives d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, proficiency with blowgun, crossbows (hand, light & heavy), dagger, spiked gauntlet, butterfly and switchblade knives and quadrens. The class gets a good Will-save and a 1/2 BAB-progression. The class receives full spellcasting progression. 1/day at first level and an additional time at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the bloodmage may ingest blood from a sorceror or a creature (sample creature and associated bloodline table provided), gaining temporary access. At 1st level, the bloodmage can access the bloodline powers of a bloodline thus absorbed, using Intelligence instead of Charisma as governing attribute, and familiar/companion-granting abilities temporarily morph the "special" familiar of the bloodmage. See below for that one. At 6th level, the bloodmage gains access o the bloodline spells and at 14th, to the bloodline arcane.

In order to cast spells from the bloodline, the bloodmage must expend blood points equal to the spell's level. These points belong to the blood pool class feature, which is also gained at first level and equals half the bloodmage's class level. These blood points replenish upon resting, but only up to this cap, not when it is exceeded. More on that later. The perceptive reader may have noted that I have not yet commented on action economy of blood draining, consumption, etc. - well, primarily, because I have not complaints - the pdf properly codifies all of that in a concise and precise manner. Kudos. And no, summoned creatures may not be tapped for blood.

One option to thus increase the blood point reservoir is to engage in a bloodsurge - this is a free action and at 1st level, the bloodmage can bloodsurge 1/day and gains 1 blood point from the surge. 4th level, 8th and 12th level as well as 20th level increase the daily uses of the blood surge. Starting at 4th level, you gain 1d4 blood points instead, with 8th upgrading that to 1d8 and 12th to 1d12. Minor formal and purely aesthetic complaint - it should be "1d12", not "d12" in the example, analogue to the previous formatting. The bloodmage may drain himself in special rituals each day, which decreases the surge result by 1 at the cost of a -2 penalty to Con; Note that this is neither damage, nor drain! Why would you do that? Simple: If the blood point maximum exceeds 1/2 class level, the blood mage may suffer from the now somewhat unfortunately-named "Blood Rage" - note the blank space. I know the PRC predates the bloodrager...but yeah. If the maximum is exceeded, the bloodmage is sickened and if the bloodmage exceeds his class level in blood points, he enters a homicidal rage for 1d6 rounds or until blood points or HP are reduced to 0...and at the end of sucha rage, the character loses all blood points, takes damage equal to his remaining hp and is staggered. OUCH.

Now I mentioned the mutating familiar...and indeed, this would be represented via the alchemist's tumor familiar. Yes, this means that, with the right infusion, your sentient tumor detaches and morphs into the creature. Talk about messed up... 2nd level nets Spell Focus as a bonus feat and 3rd level nets the hemophilia drawback, which increases the DC to stop the bloodmage's bleeding and decreases his blood points...which means that the drawback can be uses as a means to control blood points. 5th level yields the corpulence class feature, which nets the bloated bloodmage +1 caster level when casting Spell Focus spells, but also makes him be treated as udner constant medium load, with max Dex-bonus to AC locked at +3 and ACP -3 and the respective speed decrease. 10th level nets +1 natural armor, 17th level increases that to +2, but reduces speed further by 10 ft.

Now here things turn even more interesting - unlike in previous prestige archetype series, we now receive alternate base class builds: The pdf covers multiple classes as alternate base chassis options and notes which class features are retained - these include arcanist, druid, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror and witch. This significantly increases the breadth of the class uses. Beyond that, the pdf also features a selection of diverse favored class options specifically for the bloodmage, covering, beyond the core races, also some of my favorite Porphyran races and appropriate candidates like the dhampir, who learns to heal himself via blood points.

Cool: The pdf comes with a bonus creature that has a gorgeous full-color artwork: The Cr 7 Abaasy, a kind of cyclops with a freezing gaze and a deadly iron lash. Nice critter, though I can't comment on whether Perry Fehr or Mark Gedak wrote it, so I'll tag both in my review.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches and rules language is precise. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's Bloodmage is very cool first installment for the series - from the general favored class options to the blood mage's unique resource-management mechanic, the prestige archetype is rewarding, its ability dispersal makes sense and the rules-language is precise and well-crafted. In short: Apart from some example sentences sounding a bit wonky, there is nothing to complain about here. Well done and a great start for the series and leaves me without any serious complaints. This receives 5 stars, just short of my seal: The bloodsurge is cool and could carry more cool options. Still, a very promising start for the series!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Bloodmage
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