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Pathways #53 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2015 02:40:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The 53rd installment of Pathways, Rite Publishing's free e-zine, clocks in at 53 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Note: I usually don't review free material any more, but was explicitly asked to take a look at the current Pathways-issues by one of my patreons.


As has become the tradition with Pathways, we begin with Dave Paul's editorial before moving on to the template of this month. This time around, Steven D. Russell Provides basically a creature that is a living execution-machine - including lethal hangman's noose! These constructs are nasty. Nice template!


Creighton Broadhurst, master of Raging Swan Press, does have some material for us as well - two small, yet inspired dressing tables of things you can find in a dusty crypt or a vampire's lair for two damn cool little articles.


Jonathan McAnulty provides something glorious 11 traits particularly suited for dark fantasy/horror gameplay - and all of them transcend the power you'd expect from a trait or feat for that matter...but pays for this power with a well-crafted drawback, marrying mechanical coolness with high-concept ideas: from surviving a massacre to being born into a cursed family, this article made my black heart thump in anticipation.


The next thing you'll see is a thing of beauty: Stat-block wizard Justin Sluder returns with the lavishly-crafted CR 23 divine resilient centaur mageknight Aliltus, who, following the tradition of Faces of the Tarnished Souk, does sport a CR 8 and 16 built as well - and yes, I want to inflict this guy on my players!


We also return to Elton Robb's Leviathan Archipelago to visit to Karnak, Island of the Archosaurus, home to two cultures, that of Sebek-Ka and that of a pharaonic culture...what are Sebek-ka? Humanoid crocodiles that gain +2 Str and Wis, -2 Int, a swim speed, a bite attack for 1d6 (which should specify it's primary, for nitpickers...) and they gain +1 to atk versus tiny or smaller creatures. They also may reroll Will-saves. Over all, a solid race that also comes, fully Cerulean Seas-compatible, with racial buoyancy and depth tolerance-info...neat! It should also be noted that Elton Robb's writing has improved further from the last article in the series...so kudos!


Beyond this cool article, we have a spell showcase drawn from Dave Paul's excellent 101 Subterranean Spells and an informative interview with David Silver, master Ponyfinder himself.


The pdf concludes, as always, with a showcase of reviews by yours truly as well as the Path Less Traveled.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good - while I noticed some minor hiccups, none were too serious. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf's cover art is awesome.


I'm a big fan of Pathways - monthly, FREE - what more can one ask for? Indeed, even one little component of this installment alone can warrant downloading this neat, free magazine, which I suggest you do immediately. My own favorites this time around would be, surprise, Justin's centaur and Jonathan's awesome drawback-laden horror-options. Since this is FREE and has some glorious pieces, I'll rate this 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #53 (PFRPG)
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Psionics Augmented: Seventh Path
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/17/2015 04:16:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the psionics augmented-series clocks in at 59 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 56 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, what does this pdf cover? Well, on a basic level, we are introduced to a seventh psionic discipline, Athanatsim - which is something I've been wanting for a long time. Let me reiterate: Back in 2nd edition, Ravenloft's psionics liches ranked arguably among the nastiest foes you could face; the by now classic 3.0 module by Malhavoc Press, "If Thoughts Could Kill" featured an epic storyline that may see the end of one psionic discipline in favor of a psionic necromancy in case a foe triumphed...and ever since these two, I've been wanting a psionic version of animating the dead. At the same time, this provided a kind of thematic disjoint - here represented as a tapping into spiritual energies for a fluff-wise representation of how psionics can affect the dead.


Athanatism's specialists are known as conduits and receive Bluff, Sense Motive and Perception as class skills and at 2nd level, the class gets Negative Energy Affinity as a bonus feat as well as the option to 1/day replace a known athanatism power for another athanatism power of an equal level - yes, this means that the discipline nets a free wild-card, which is pretty powerful. Starting at 8th level, the conduit receives a 30 ft.-aura that can be activated for class level rounds per day. Foes in this area treat it as difficult terrain, can't make AoOs and their attacks are penalized by 1/2 conduit's Int-mod, min 1. And we have a big issue - no save, free action-based AoE AoO-negation? That kills all kinds of builds. Overpowered and dire need of a nerf. You may also expend your psionic focus as a swift action to make a for staggered at Fort DC 13+ Int-mod to negate. Finally, at 14th level, 1/day, you can make a melee touch attack, being treated as incorporeal...instantly killing the foe.


Wait...what? Well, wait a second - you see, you rip the soul out of the target, gaining a shadow-minion for the duration; thereafter, the soul returns to the target's body, which rests at a stable -1 hp. The capstone, on the other side, is pretty weak, an always on ghost touch and allows for the psion to become incorporeal and, on a nitpicky side, fails to specify that it's gained at 20th level. In case you do not have the base discipline's benefits: Yes, Athanatism's discipline abilities are damn cool in their imagery...but they're also power creep when compared to the other disciplines: The aura is strong and can neuter whole builds sans save; A similar issue pertains the death touch: While killed, a downed foe is considered RAW to be an unattended object and as such, is an easy target for instant destruction. Worse, the lack of a save or HD cap makes this a guaranteed one-punch-dragon-killer. Not gonna get anywhere near my group. The save DC for the aura also deviates from the formula-standard as established in e.g. the Last Respite ability, which established 10 + 1/2 level + key-ability modifier as a standard, introducing a kind of internal rules inconsistency to the fray. Over all, I am pretty disappointed by the discipline's basic rules array - cool and visually stunning, sure...but also one that represents an unnecessary power-creep and some rules-aesthetic discrepancies to the fray.


Now a new path obviously does also require new class features for the respective psionic classes. Ancestral psychic warriors add a conduit power to their powers known at 1st level and every 6 levels thereafter, but the Ancestral does not receive heavy armor proficiency. 9th level allows for 1/day the tapping into ancestral powers versus a category of foes; +1/day at 11th level. Additionally, we get the ancestral path, which allows for better AC versus the incorporeal as well as Will-save re-rolls - the psychic warrior options here are concise and cool - two thumbs up! The Animist Aegis can only shape his suit into an astral mantle that is treated as hide armor for mechanical purposes, with 2nd level providing free energy resistance customization and 10th level nets the improved armor customization. Additionally, the class receives a gris-gris-based bonus to AC versus incorporeal attacks with variable benefits to add to the fray via a short ritual. The Blood Talisman ability of the archetype is somewhat opaque, though: "If the animist has hit that enemy with a charge attack and dealt damage this turn, he may instead gather blood as a free action." Does this mean "instead of damage? Instead of what? On the plus-side, the customization options provided are intriguing and thematically fitting - from reduced miss chances to rage-like effects, the options are neat.


The Bokron marksman gets a so-called conjure at 1st level, 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter.v Conjures can be activated as a swift action for as long as psionic focus is maintained, with saves equal to 10 +1/2 class level + Wis-mod to negate - and they are interesting: From fear to attracting the ranged attacks, there are some nice options here, with expenditure of the focus for increased benefits as higher level options. Nice one. Bottler Dreads are truly unique - they receive scared bottles, which contain haunts they can unleash upon foes, utilizing a unique mechanic that scales with the levels - I love this one, though its truly interesting component would be the concise and actually working rules to properly bottle haunts encountered or hijacking them - this archetype is absolutely unique and awesome.


Channeler Wilders with a unique surge that offers three different surge-effects based on tapping into the motions of the deceased - including less enervation-chances and minor buffs and a debuff surge effect to target foes - again, a solid and neatly-crafted one. The Ghostblade Soulknife is very interesting in that it allows the soulknife to heal foes with the blade - thankfully, in a limited way that actually prevents abuse - kudos! The archetype also features a series of exclusive blade skills utilizing the duality of life and death, light and darkness, including inflicting crit-based temporary vulnerability to positive or negative energy effects.


The Harnesser Vitalist is powered by his guardian spirit and additionally, keeps members of the collective alive for longer and also helps fortify the members against death effects. The truly interesting component of this one, though, is the ability to possess the members of the collective - which allows for truly unique tactical options in combat - intriguing indeed! The Hounforge psions replaces the discipline and all associated benefits with the option to create a spirit doll that then serves as an anchor for a scaling, deadly eidolon - interesting indeed! Kalfore cryptics have a thoroughly interesting ability that allows them to forgo disrupt pattern damage in favor of spirit's marks, which can be used to force rerolls upon targets, disrupting the patterns of fate, also sporting an interesting synergy with hexes etc.


Soul Conductor Tacticians conjure forth spirits of the deceased to provide easier, ranged aid another. The free flanking assistance these spirits can provide also renders a number of builds extremely deadly - so, while not broken per se, this aspect might need GM oversight, depending on the potency of foes at your table, with higher levels allowing for the limited negation of negative effects as well as the expenditure of these aiding spirits at higher levels. Finally, the shackler psychic warrior, who also gets additional conduit powers as well as the option to bind the spirits of the slain to his body, with the shackler path, which sports spectral shackles and immunity ignoring demoralizes for a kyton-ish one.


The pdf obviously also features new feats, as hinted before - these are interesting indeed, allowing psioncs to shelter their souls in their psicrystals to negate otherwise immediately deadly effects - or there would be one feat that allows you to bind a spirit and pay it via dreams etc. for the limited Psi-like abilities this provided; though there is a lack of italicization for the feat's invisibility-effect. There would also be a strange one that allows for a three-personality psiycrystal. Controlling or deceiving spirits and healing via ability burn is also interesting -and it covers a caveat that prevents abuse!


Also rather intriguing would be two prestige class archetypes that modify the Body Snatcher and Psion Uncarnate to become the Gravebound and Phatom, both of which are rather interesting - the Gravebound bending the spirits of the dead instead of the living, while the phantom instead transforms into a spirit, with appropriately lethal touch attacks. I did like these options for them.


The pdf then goes on, obviously, to prevent a diverse and massive array of powers; on a nice side, these do feature quite an array of augmentation options (often allowing you to add whole new effects or change just about every parameter of a power), some of which are even tied to negative levels gained. The array of powers provided here is pretty much an intriguing one that further emphasizes the themes of spirits, possessions etc. alongside options that temporarily make you count as undead for energy and spell/power-interactions. Utilizing powers to create haunts in a given place. Powers to generate ghosts and similar undead as well as killed foes/echoes of the dead-style investigation-centric abilities can be found here...and yes, there is a Gnadentöter-style mercy-killing power here. And yes, some powers are essentially brilliant story-devices: Orphic Descent sans you to the underworld at night, allowing you to return with a deceased person, returning them to life. There would btw. also a psionic harm-effect and an option to exchange ability drain/damage or hijack haunts. Oh, and a bigger amnesia-effect can also be found here - hearkening to Lethe's legendary waters...


This is not where the book stops, though - the supplement features several monsters: From the dread husk-creating Egophiles that generate soul-deprived husks and clothe themselves in strange cloaks of FACES. Yes, this is disturbing and pretty cool. Cocoon-based mindborn are intriguing and there would be the mirror-inhabiting mirror shade as well as the mirror-bound prisoners. The in-nightmare-deceased Nattmara and the evil whisper outsiders complement this one for an overall great little collection of monsters.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed not much to complain about. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports numerous full-color artworks and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Andreas Rönnqvist, Jeremy Smith and Doug Haworth deliver a pdf with which I honestly got off on the wrong foot. When I started reading this one, I was thoroughly disenchanted by the discipline's OP options that also require slightly more precise wordings...and feared this book would be an exercise in such problematic pieces.


Well, turns out, it's not. Instead, this installment of Psionics Augmented is by far the most refined in the whole series and manages to provide a thoroughly compelling array of options that resonate well with me: We have a full array of thoroughly unique blend of smart options that juggle highly complex concepts in mathematically viable and cool ways, with neat rules-language to boot.


While not as streamlined as e.g. Ultimate Psionics, there are a lot of interesting options that resonate with iconic concepts and indeed, after the initial issue of the discipline in dire need of nerfing, the vast majority of concepts here had me grin from ear to ear. This massive supplement, while not perfect, is certainly an excellent little book; granted, you may need to slightly tinker with some minor components herein...but overall, this supplement is downright inspired and does not shirk away from highly complex topics. Now, obviously, I should bash on the discipline's power a bit more; it is water on the mills of anyone who ever complained about psionics...but that would be unfair to an otherwise rather refined book. In the end, the minor imperfections of this book are outclassed by the glorious components herein, most of which, with the glaring exception of the discipline of all things, are expertly balanced. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Augmented: Seventh Path
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Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Village
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/17/2015 04:13:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Alternate Dungeons-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


As has become the tradition with these supplements, we begin the pdf with the limiting factors and peculiarities that face a GM designing such a dungeon - a GM-cheat-sheet of terrain hazards and the like, if you will. The interesting suggestion here is for experienced GMs - namely, letting the players draw their own conclusion and thus guide their reception of the village: You describe the ruins, not what truly was here, thus allowing for interpretation, which you can then further utilize to weave your narrative. Beyond structures with multiple levels and undergrowth, rotting barriers and doors, structural damage and size constraints, 4 events to spice things up provide ample uniqueness factors here (though the omission of the possibility of flight is a bit annoying). As always, we get suggestions for unique treasures that may be found herein, a component that can, when played correctly, greatly increase the sense of immersion and which may actually spawn new adventures.


There are also different factors to consider like wild animals, haunts and squatters...or perhaps even turf wars led to the area being vacated? A table of 38 dressings (unless I've miscounted; two are reroll and add) deserve special mention, for they often contain mechanically-relevant components -if you've played Resident Evil 4 or The Evil Within, you'll have an idea of how to weave these together for maximum effect...and even if you don't, well, that's what the sample denizens are for: from the lowliest squatter to vermin and the undead, going all up to dread night hags and even golems, the sample denizens suggested not only provide a fitting diversity of challenges, they also sport sufficient diversity in tone - from the far-out to the mundane. The traps and hazards presented, including partial collapses and chicken wires also follow this theme, as does the poison oak plant (including two variants of its toxin). Going above and beyond, the pdf also sports two creepy sample haunts.


The pdf also sports a sample abandoned village: Ashford. And you'd be correct in assuming that the fully mapped village is the same as in the Village Backdrop of the same name. While VB: Ashford is one of my favorites in the whole line, I still would have preferred a new village instead of a partial reprint of the original village backdrop.


Where the pdf once again shines is with the 3 abandoned village-hooks that close the pdf - here, the inspiration is clearly and readily apparent and all of them are very intriguing.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard with nice artworks and the cartography of Ashford is still awesome. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions: One intended for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos!


Daron Woodson, mastermind of Abandoned Arts (get the meta-joke here?), is a capable author and designer and it does show here - we have perhaps my favorite Alternate Dungeon in the whole line here...concept-wise. The abandoned village is a trope rarely used in commercial modules (yes, authors - this was a call to action!) and thus, this is a fresh and well-rounded offering in most regards. At the same time, I do feel that this falls short of what it easily could have been. The omission of flight and burrowing as potential components in such circumstances is a pity. furthermore, I do believe that this could have benefited from more space allocated to potential things you can find in an abandoned village. Don't get me wrong - what's here is actually pretty awesome, but I do feel the book would have been better served with slightly more pages to shine than with Ashford's partial reprint - I could nitpick on what one could sport in such a fruitful environment, but that would just be wasting time. What's here is great, but it does leave me wanting (and really, expecting) a bit more to make the environment truly shine. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Village
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Monster Advancement: Enhanced Aberrations
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/16/2015 03:49:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The third installment of Julian Neale's highly modular toolkit-templates to enhance your critters clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 14.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The base template's CR modification ranges from CR +1 to CR+2 depending on the amount of abilities gained and a handy sidebar that explains the DR-enhancing options is provided within these pages. Beyond that, you'll immediately note something truly awesome - a scaling aura of otherworldly corruption scaling with size and CR of the creature in question, representing more than well the utter wrongness the more powerful aberrations sport.


However, even more so than previous iterations in the series, this time around, we receive utterly unique and yes, downright inspired unique abilities galore: What about crystalline growths that allow the aberration to emit deadly rays of light? What about aberrations having full compatibility with Radiance House's superb Pact Magic rules? Yes, this is awesome.


Even better, the pdf manages to maintain the mathematical diversity I loved in the previous installments - for example, you don't get one type of breath weapon that scales with levels; no, you actually get a pretty consistent entry in a table, a steady, fixed average damage-dealing breath weapon (handy for 13th Age-aesthetics fans) and even an exceedingly swingy one - it is this level of flexibility, this "above and beyond", that sets this humble pdf apart.


Want aberrations that emit destructive harmonics or ones that lock down dimensional travel? The material is in here and feeding upon the dead as well as mastery of oozes and vermins can be found amid these pages alongside elemental-based SPs, devastating killer-mindblasts, stunning blasts, illithid-style save-or-be-reduced to -1 hp options for high end-CR creatures - this pdf covers the bases from the highly customizable, scaling SPs granted to boss abilities that grant additional actions and even provides poisonous spores that detonate those succumbing to their deadly effects.


Beyond even that, a handy guideline provides advice for applying the template and, for the time-starved GM, we get sample creatures spanning the CRs from 3 to 18, running the gamut from paladin flumphs to naga sorcerors.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf has no art apart from the cover, but honestly, I'm all for substance over style in such a case.


Julian Neale is a subtle designer whose books so far, if they had any flaw, then that would be that the books required some thought before the "This is great!"-reaction sets in; they are not flashy. His monsters, builds and options tend to sport some thoroughly unique and inspiring ideas, with this installment of the awesome Monster Advancement-series even surpassing the already excellent first two. Why?


Because this time around, we actually have those flashy tidbits that provoke an immediate "This is awesome!"-reaction, combined with the obvious skill regarding number-fu and creature design in general. This is, all in all, a thoroughly inspired, glorious aberration toolbox that will see ample use in my games - well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and a definite recommendation that you get this right now!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Advancement: Enhanced Aberrations
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Mythic Minis 79: Uncommon Racial Feats
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/16/2015 03:47:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review


All right, you know the deal - 4 pages - 1 page front cover, 1.75 pages of SRD, 1.25 pages content, let's go!


-Agile Tongue: Pick up objects weighing up to 10 lbs and execute trips with your tongue; also numerical escalation for steal and disarm. Cool!


-Draconic Aspect: Gain resistance 10 according to your scale's color; use mythic power for temporary immunity; cool synergy with dragon-scaled racial trait with alternate benefits. Two thumbs up!


-Draconic Breath: +4 saves vs. sleep/paralysis; 1/day breath weapon, +1/day per mythic tier; breath weapon depends on color of scales, with only chromatics covered as per the base feat. Has special synergy for draconic/kobold-blooded kobold sorcerors.


-Draconic Glide: +4 saves vs. sleep/paralysis; extended glide speed, synergy with gliding wings trait, which also allows for mythic power-based true flight (sans maneuverability rating).


-Draconic Paragon: +4 saves vs. sleep/paralysis; Additional breath use, damage output upgrade and synergy with more draconic feats; cool!


-Kobold Ambusher: Decreased penalty when moving fast while Stealth-using; also, better ambush-damage.


-Kobold Sniper: Better chance to stay hidden while sniping; also increases damage and allows you to sow strife between allies, who erroneously believe their allies attacked them. Cool!


-Mother's Gift: Manifestation chosen intensifies in varied, cool ways. Awesome little feat!


There are three more feats on the SRD-page:


-Sea Hunter: Use feat versus creatures with a swim speed or freedom of movement; use mythic power to entangle targets sans requiring a second combat maneuver check.


-Stretched Wings: Increased flight speed plus Wingover via mythic power. Cool!


-Tail Terror: Tail is a primary natural weapon, apply Weapon Focus/Specialization for one kobold tail attachment to all of them; spend mythic power to upgrade the benefits to the Mythic versions of the feats temporarily.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Jeff Lee and Jason Nelson's final feat-based mythic mini does provide a diverse array of interesting feats, some of which can even be considered brilliant; that being said, in direct comparison, the pdf does not manage to reach the level of pure excellence, "only" remaining a pdf you can't complain about, a very good buy - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 79: Uncommon Racial Feats
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7 Icon Campaign
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/16/2015 03:45:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of 13th Age Monthly clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, 7 icons, hmm? Concept-wise, the following have been combined: Dwarf king and crusader (=Dwarf King), emperor and gold wyrm )=Golden One), archmage and priestess (=Hierophant), diabolist and lich king (=Queen of Hell), the three and prince of shadows (= The Three), elf queen and high druid (=The Wild Queen). The Orc lord is still just the orc lord - no combination there.


The new icons do come with new sample options - the servants of the Dwarf King may take the a feat that completely changes the "That's Really your Best Shot?" racial power: 1/battle as a free action, you can react to being hit with a healing recovery. If the escalation die is less than 2, only at half strength, though. You have to roll this one...because you get half the rolled result as bonus damage to the next attack that hits the enemy. OUCH. That being said, the ability does not work if you'd drop unconscious. The damage this nets is pretty nasty and not something suitable for all 13th Age campaigns, though it should work in the majority.


Paladins of the Golden One may select a new talent which allows of vs. PD golden flame attacks while also providing resist fire - scaling via feats and levels. Solid one. The Hierophant's followers get feats that allow for the exchange of cleric and wizard talents and the swapping of spells. The Queen of Hell gets a new 7th level necro-spell - that puts a helpful demon/undead spirit into your ally, healing them and keeping them alive...but yeah, it's friggin' possession...and yes, this spell can have some nasty consequences and narrative effects. Bards of the Three can take a new talent that adds an effect when you end a song or fail to sustain it: Either a better critical range, lightning damage or a quartered recovery as a free action. A couple of design-aesthetic points: Quartered recovery is not a particularly elegant mechanic. Expanded crit range is nasty and further adds to 13th Age's massive damage output. Oh, and via feats, you get the improved versions - the three effects don't feel particularly well-balanced among themselves and The Red = healing feels odd to me.


The Wild Queen's sorceror followers can Gather Wild Magic via a new sorceror talent, replacing the basic gather power feature - you roll 1d6 and have one of 3 effects, with each tier getting better and respective feats unlocking more. The defensive gathering here is pretty cool and makes sorcerors be a bit tougher; at the same time, it does not really alleviate the fact that gathering magic still is the default MO of the sorceror, meaning you're only doing cool stuff when not gathering power. My players don't particularly like this mechanic of the sorceror and neither do I. Your mileage may vary, of course.


The pdf closes with some notes on ancient history in a campaign featuring the 7 icons as well as some questions for the respective races and classes. These range from "useful" to "wasted space":


"We haven’t tinkered with the chaos mage mechanics as they’d need to be tinkered with for the 7 Icons campaign, partly because Jonathan wasn’t going to welcome one into the campaign. So the real question here is probably: can you and your GM figure out how to translate the icon-mechanics embedded into the chaos mage into a 7 Icon framework?" - Okay...thanks for nothing, I guess? Some contemplations are valid and useful, but why couldn't the authors be bothered to include suggestions for all? That's kind of what we buy such books for, right?


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to 13th Age's 2-column full-color standard and the pdf provides neat re-shaped icon-symbols for the 7-icon-campaign championed here. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a slight comfort-detriment.


The 7-icon scenario is something I very much enjoy and one can see Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet's mastery of their own system here -I like this. After all, from a narrative perspective, this means that each icon (minus orc-lord) becomes more interesting: Has e.g. the Dwarf King gone off the deep end? The icons presented here feel less one-note to me, and this is a good thing. The new crunch ranges from awesome to fluff/crunch-discrepancy - I mean, come on: The Red allows for healing, really? I don't understand the rationale here.


I also really would have loved the new icons to get the full-blown, detailed write-up like in the core book, including "everything's all right..."-sections and the whole shebang - as written, they feel a bit more rudimentary than what they could have been. Which is jarring, since, especially to me, their more diverse focus would have provided ample space to explore shades of gray and uncommon thematic overlaps. All in all, this is a solid addition to the 13th Age Monthly-series, but one that suffers from the brevity of the format. I can't help but feel that better questions at the end, slightly more details for each icon, would have made this pdf truly awesome. As presented, it is a solid choice, but by no means required or for every campaign or even a 7 icons campaign- my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
7 Icon Campaign
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Echo & Gauntlet
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/15/2015 03:09:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of 13th Age Monthly clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, what do we get this time around? Well, it is no secret that demonic corruption spreads like a plague across the Dragon Empire, held in check by the dubious methods of the Crusader - herein, we are introduced to two of his more refined weapons, the first of which is the eponymous Echo: A bleak hellscape of post-apocalyptic ruins, this desolate place allows for the sifting through time, adding a tangible 4th dimensional element to narrative structure, one further developed by inspiring notions - what if the Crusader actually came back in time from the future? Where did the echo originate? Can the PCs perhaps use its power to undo a glaring error in judgment, as PCs are prone to make?


The dimension and its iconic imagery is chock-full of narrative potential that is simply inspiring - after all, we know how the Crusader loves fashioning tools and weapons from foes...so what he can do with the echo...your own fantasy is literally the only limiting factor here, for within the Echo's eternity, the Ebon Gauntlet's members are reforged into something different, something deadly - and thus 5 sample soldiers and adversaries are provided, including nastier specials that deserve the name - including advice on how to use the Ebon gauntlet's dire forces.


Oh, and if that is not enough, additional suggestions regarding the involvement of other icons do add further dimensions to the glorious array of potential shown here - and yes, two brief, fluff-centric adventure-locales are provided as well with the Ebon Citadel and the Bleak Pit - yup, they're as cosy as you'd expect them to be!.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to 13th Age's 2-column full-color standard and the pdf provides neat artworks in full color. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a slight comfort-detriment.


Michael E. Shea and Rob Heinsoo deliver a surprisingly inspired pdf here - yes, this installment may be a bit on the short side of things, but oh boy did I enjoy reading every line of it: The prose is captivating in just the right way, the concepts are fitting and the pdf actually adds a thoroughly unique dimension to the Crusader that makes the very icon infinitely more interesting and compelling - which is quite a feat in my book! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Echo & Gauntlet
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Mythic Minis 78: Catfolk, Ratfolk, and Dhampir Feats
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/15/2015 03:06:18

An Endzietgeist.com review


All right, you know the deal - 4 pages - 1 page front cover, 1.75 pages SRD, 1.25 pages content, let's go!


-Black Cat: Use as a free action instead of an immediate action; Non-mythic attackers receive severe penalties and spend mythic surges to enhance the penalty; use more often via mythic power. Cool upgrade!


-Blood Drinker: +tier temporary hit points; optionally forego benefits for a lesser restoration. Fits. Like it.


-Blood Feaster: Gain listed benefits when draining 2+ points of Con, duration + tier.


-Blood Salvage: Use Blood Drinker on recently deceased corpse.


-Burrowing teeth: Gain burrow speed equal to base speed; leave a tunnel behind when burrowing at half speed; use mythic power to burrow through stone.


-Catfolk Exemplar: Change exemplar ability via mythic power; the more mythic power, the faster. Awesome!


-Claw Pounce: Add secondary rake attack to charge; mythic power for two rakes as secondary or one as primary natural weapon.


-Diverse Palate: Choose additional subtypes that scale with tiers.


-Feline Grace: Numerical escalation to +4; use mythic power as an immediate action to force rerolls of CMB-checks in the relevant maneuvers against you.


-Natural Charmer: Use mythic power to use feat as a standard action; CL versus humanoids by +1 and expend mythic surge to increase save DCs by half surge die, min 1.


-Nimble Striker: +10 ft when charging, running or withdrawing and you're not denied Dex when running or using Acrobatics to balance on narrow/slippery etc. surfaces. You also get +2 to AC versus AoO provoked by your movement when charging/Cleave/Lunge.


Two more feats are on the SRD-page:


-Sharpclaw: Adds rend; For mythic power, you get bleed added to claws, stacking with itself. Neat!


-Tunnel Rat: Count as two sizes smaller for squeezing etc. and can use swarming to share the square of small creatures or allies, even if that ally is not a ratfolk. Allies don't take penalties when you're in their square. Awesome!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Jeff Lee and Jason Nelson deliver a broad selection of mythic feats here that universally belong in the upper echelon; from conservative and none too awesome ones to truly unique benefits, the feats run the gamut from solid to awesome, with a few in either direction. Barring any serious complaints, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 78: Catfolk, Ratfolk, and Dhampir Feats
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Pixies on Parade
Publisher: Playground Adventures
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2015 04:06:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This module clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This was moved up on my review-queue as a prioritized review at the behest of my patreons.


I playtested this module with my group of kids, which spans the ages 4 - 11 since this is a kid-friendly module and as such needs to be tested regarding its best age-range - the tabs on my homepage contain the suggested range I'd most recommend this for.


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion - you see, no one likes cheaters and you'll just make the module boring for you if you continue reading.


...


..


.


All right, only GMs here? Great! Every year, the town of Glavnost celebrates a festival most peculiar, dressing up with wings and the like to honor the fully statted town's pixie protectors that keep even the most unruly children from being lost in the forest...failing only very rarely. Alas, one particularly stubborn child named Edwin, seeking freedom from his parent's commands and wanting a life of eternal blissful parade with the pixies, slipped through the cracks - and the Nightmare King, a boogeyman got him, halting his aging process and grooming him to become the successor, a son...a new boogeyman.


After a brief introduction of the key-NPCs of Glavnost, the festivities of the town (which comes with a thoroughly gorgeous map that could come straight out of a children's book) are in full-blown preparation - here, the kids have some time to roam, to mingle with the townsfolk and do some research that may hint at the importance of the pixie parade, the nightmare king and the disbelief regarding the existence of gremlins, in spite of the little buggers being made responsible for many a mischief. The prevalence of fey magic allows for a unique gift here: Imagination magic.


With the power of imagination, the kids can subtly alter reality, which also represents e.g. carts coming around in just the right place to catch falling characters and the like - and yes, if the kids are smart, they'll pick up on this and use it to their advantage! Speaking of kid-friendly: A handy little sidebar covers cartoon violence and how to depict it - for while the adults can't see the gremlins sabotaging the town, the kids can - and thus, the first task is basically gremlin extermination, with 3 sample sabotages being provided.


Eventually, the success of the PCs will earn them the attention of fairy godmother Lista, who fills them in on Edwin's fate - which mirrors a playful way to convey stranger danger's importance as well as acknowledging something: That parents don't tell all stories to the children, worrying it might give them bad dreams. This is something that ultimately, instinctively, all children know - and to save Edwin, the fairy bestows 6th level (previously gained XP) on the players, tasking them to redeem Edwin and freeing him from the Nightmare King's influence.


In order to do that, though, they have to brave Edwin's dark dreams - first, defeating his shade in a game of hide and seek and then, braving toy soldier variant wood golems (the battle featuring a GLORIOUS isometric map!) that are moved around via a giant, shadowy hand. Edwin's hound would be the next task - and here, things become interesting: The poor dog, turned hellhound by Edwin's descent into darkness, just wants to play fetch, but the damn sticks keep burning, resulting in angry fire blasts into the woods...which may cause a forest fire! Here, one can teach about being careful with fire...and the encounter rewards kids thinking and providing a stick that doesn't burn...and reduce the dog back to a regular, non-hellhound pup.


On the, again, lavishly mapped isometric map of the path ahead, fairy circle traps and a tooth fairy await and upon vanquishing the fey, the PCs may get a glitterdust-duplicating Baby Tooth of Edwin. There is another encounter next that offers yet another means to educate and slightly shock: Edwin, thinking he can impress the fey with a present, stole his parent's wedding ring - this item became the symbol his remorse, transforming into a now chained golden dragon that needs to be freed, filling in the PCs on Edwin's crime before turning back into the ring, asking them to present it to Edwin.


...and then, the ground shakes...trees start toppling...and a ravaging, massive stuffed bear of colossal proportions breaks through the trees...and yes, this encounter once again is beautifully rendered in isometric maps of stellar quality...and yes, the massive, powerful Terror Bear is a powerful adversary indeed...but vanquishing him provides a return of the creature to Edwin's teddy-bear of old, which may suppress fear effects.


An then, it's time for the final boss fight: Edwin, accompanied by corrupted, color-less pixies, wants to collect all the pixies for his twisted mockery of a parade...but thankfully, the encounters so far have provided all the components the PCs need to save him: Each of his erstwhile fragments of innocence recovered frees a pixie and, together, they may free Edwin, exorcising the influence of the Nightmare King, freeing raw nightmare power - which is a thoroughly awesome climax: The Nightmare Avatar has powerful, unique powers that the kids may know from nightmares: Like being slowed. At the same time, though, they can use their imagination magic to counter his dread powers in an excellent showdown that may end with the PCs reuniting Edwin with his overjoyed parents - happy ends don't happen on their own; one needs to fight for them...and one needs to do the right thing. This morale, unobtrusively conveyed throughout these pages, it what really makes this shine above and beyond.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard by Daniel Marshall and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The copious full-color artworks by Jacob Blackmon are neat indeed. A special shout-out to cartographer Jocelyn Sarvida - the maps of this books are downright BEAUTIFUL, featuring gorgeous renditions of the adversaries, which makes them btw. also suitable handouts. Speaking of which - as the astute reader may have noticed, I did not explicitly state that there'd be 1-page hand-outs of said maps. Well, never fret - as the final piece of awesome, this module does feature a PWYW-map-folio for handouts purposes. Take a look at it if you need any example on how good the maps are...


Stephen Rowe's Pixies on Parade is, in one word, inspired: Mirroring classic tropes of the power of imagination and fairy tales, it never crams morality down the throats of the players, while still teaching what's right and what's wrong. The idea of imagination magic is brilliant as a tool for GMs. Now, as for the themes of the module and its suitability for kids: It's pretty much perfect, mirroring themes of beloved children's tales and not shirking away from important topics, all presented in a child-friendly manner. I can see some very young kids that are particularly sensitive considering the themes a bit frightening, but in my case, the 4-year old enjoyed the module, surprisingly, more than "A Friend in Need," despite being frightened a bit - that depends on the kid in question, though and requires the discretion of the parents. Personally, I would have loved this module as a 4-year old, having always had a penchant for slightly more mature stories, even as a kid...and yes, I learned to read at a very young age to read some fairy-tales my parents considered inappropriate...which became my favorites. It is my firm belief that kids can benefit from topics that are not all sunshine and flowers, particularly if they feature a didactic and moral component.


As a reviewer, I think the target age-range for most kids will span the ages of 6+ - and yes, I did not include a limit for a reason. Why? Because this module not only is great for kids. It's just as awesome for adults: Seriously, just tweak the fluff a bit and make it darker and you have a GLORIOUS fairy-tale themed introductory module that makes for a great starting point of PC careers as a prologue: Just let the level 6-blessing revert after the module and skip to adulthood - where you can also add elements appropriate for the process of growing up and paint a bleaker picture.


Pixies on Parade is a downright awesome: From the gorgeous maps to the blending of sandboxing in the beginning and a more linear heroes' journey, this book's themes are concise...and there is not a single boring encounter in this book, not a single uninspired critter or problematic scene, nothing I could complain about. In one sentence: This is a must-have, perfect module for kids, a great module for adults and a book that should be considered simply inspired in all the right ways. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval..and considering the perfection, the fact that it transcends the intended target demographic and the map-folio, I will also award this the status as a nominee for my top ten of 2015.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pixies on Parade
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Gossamer Options: Characters (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2015 04:05:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This MASSIVE book for Lords of Gossamer and Shadows clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with a colossal 69 pages of content, so let's take a look!


What began as a reverse design based on the art that was available via the deck funded via LoGaS' KS soon became this massive book - and oh boy. But let me begin differently: What's the one thing you need to crunch in LoGaS, the one thing that takes time out of your GM's day that does not pertain weaving the most awesome stories you can conceive? Yes, that would be statblocks for NPCs. While significantly simpler than in PFRPG (or 13th Age if you want to run NPCs with PC-rules against them as opposed to monster statblocks...), LoGaS still requires some work - well, this book takes that work from your shoulders and provided a 100-point, 200-point and 300-point iteration for each and every character featured within - of whom there are, just fyi,30.


Yes, 30. And know what? They deserve being called characters regarding their general concepts. The very first one is a self-aware harvest robot (KKND 2, anyone?) and, from strange nomads of the stairs to characters born to inhuman trysts or characters made into the ultimate weapon of destruction, with an all-consuming rage within. What about nigh perfect hunters, strange dragon riders or strange creatures sprung from worlds of pure magic, where constant forms constantly disintegrate and re-assemble? Perhaps an intelligence agent, fiercely loyal to her world-spanning empire, would be more to your liking?


Perhaps your PCs need help - then introduce them to Seleca Crane, righteous slayer of gods or the mysterious Swan Queen or perhaps a former black ops operative from earth? Or another one, a circus artist stranded on the Grand Stairs? What I'm trying to get at with this enumeration is that the concepts covered are pretty broad. At the same time, though, they do sport imho two relatively unpleasant tendencies: For one, their fluff-angles, usually something I absolutely adore in LoGaS-supplements, are simply not that awesome - the prose is nice, sure, but it falls way flat of e.g. Matt Banach's penmanship. Secondly, the builds themselves feel less imaginative and even a bit restricted - to me, the beauty of LoGaS lies within the fluidity of the concepts, particularly Umbra and Eidolon - there is a lot they can be, not much that they have to be. The characters herein feature, implicitly and explicitly, a more monolithic vision of both concepts, which, while certainly not reduced to a basic good/evil-dichotomy, falls short of the true draw of the very fundamentals existing in LoGaS.


Thirdly, the builds themselves and the way their points are used may be relatively diverse...but more often than not, they boil down to "I have awesome weapons, armor, etc." - which would not be as big an issue, had the Gossamer Worlds series not demonstrated with superb panache what kind of awesome things you can actually do here.


There are a lot of NPCs in here, spanning a wide diversity of occupations and ideologies. Better yet, the pdf provides ample advice on how to make compelling NPCs for LoGaS yourself - step by step, point by point, from concept to execution - which is a section new GMs in particular will certainly appreciate.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good - though I noticed some grammatical/punctuation issues here- more than what I've come to expect from Rite Publishing. Layout adheres to LoGaS two-column full-color standard with one neat full color artwork per character provided. These are awesome, though some of them are slightly pixelated. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Author Mark Knights, with development from Christopher Kindred and Steven D. Russell, provides an interesting collection of NPCs in this massive book, one which, while falling short of LoGaS massive potential, still can be considered to be a worthwhile look. After all, this is "Pay what you want" - you can literally get this, digest it and then pay what you think it's worth.


And personally, the statblocks of the ample characters alone and the time they spare me do warrant downloading this alone, even though I probably won't use them as written - the respective concepts do not resonate with me as strongly as those depicted time and again in e.g. the Gossamer Worlds or Threats-series.


This is still me complaining at a high level, though: The concepts of the respective NPCs herein are imaginative enough to jumpstart the imagination. The very hard to beat price point is what ultimately makes me look past the rough edges and minor flaws this exhibits. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to its PWYW-status.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Options: Characters (Diceless)
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Gossamer Options: Characters (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2015 04:05:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This MASSIVE book for Lords of Gossamer and Shadows clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with a colossal 69 pages of content, so let's take a look!


What began as a reverse design based on the art that was available via the deck funded via LoGaS' KS soon became this massive book - and oh boy. But let me begin differently: What's the one thing you need to crunch in LoGaS, the one thing that takes time out of your GM's day that does not pertain weaving the most awesome stories you can conceive? Yes, that would be statblocks for NPCs. While significantly simpler than in PFRPG (or 13th Age if you want to run NPCs with PC-rules against them as opposed to monster statblocks...), LoGaS still requires some work - well, this book takes that work from your shoulders and provided a 100-point, 200-point and 300-point iteration for each and every character featured within - of whom there are, just fyi,30.


Yes, 30. And know what? They deserve being called characters regarding their general concepts. The very first one is a self-aware harvest robot (KKND 2, anyone?) and, from strange nomads of the stairs to characters born to inhuman trysts or characters made into the ultimate weapon of destruction, with an all-consuming rage within. What about nigh perfect hunters, strange dragon riders or strange creatures sprung from worlds of pure magic, where constant forms constantly disintegrate and re-assemble? Perhaps an intelligence agent, fiercely loyal to her world-spanning empire, would be more to your liking?


Perhaps your PCs need help - then introduce them to Seleca Crane, righteous slayer of gods or the mysterious Swan Queen or perhaps a former black ops operative from earth? Or another one, a circus artist stranded on the Grand Stairs? What I'm trying to get at with this enumeration is that the concepts covered are pretty broad. At the same time, though, they do sport imho two relatively unpleasant tendencies: For one, their fluff-angles, usually something I absolutely adore in LoGaS-supplements, are simply not that awesome - the prose is nice, sure, but it falls way flat of e.g. Matt Banach's penmanship. Secondly, the builds themselves feel less imaginative and even a bit restricted - to me, the beauty of LoGaS lies within the fluidity of the concepts, particularly Umbra and Eidolon - there is a lot they can be, not much that they have to be. The characters herein feature, implicitly and explicitly, a more monolithic vision of both concepts, which, while certainly not reduced to a basic good/evil-dichotomy, falls short of the true draw of the very fundamentals existing in LoGaS.


Thirdly, the builds themselves and the way their points are used may be relatively diverse...but more often than not, they boil down to "I have awesome weapons, armor, etc." - which would not be as big an issue, had the Gossamer Worlds series not demonstrated with superb panache what kind of awesome things you can actually do here.


There are a lot of NPCs in here, spanning a wide diversity of occupations and ideologies. Better yet, the pdf provides ample advice on how to make compelling NPCs for LoGaS yourself - step by step, point by point, from concept to execution - which is a section new GMs in particular will certainly appreciate.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good - though I noticed some grammatical/punctuation issues here- more than what I've come to expect from Rite Publishing. Layout adheres to LoGaS two-column full-color standard with one neat full color artwork per character provided. These are awesome, though some of them are slightly pixelated. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Author Mark Knights, with development from Christopher Kindred and Steven D. Russell, provides an interesting collection of NPCs in this massive book, one which, while falling short of LoGaS massive potential, still can be considered to be a worthwhile look. After all, this is "Pay what you want" - you can literally get this, digest it and then pay what you think it's worth.


And personally, the statblocks of the ample characters alone and the time they spare me do warrant downloading this alone, even though I probably won't use them as written - the respective concepts do not resonate with me as strongly as those depicted time and again in e.g. the Gossamer Worlds or Threats-series.


This is still me complaining at a high level, though: The concepts of the respective NPCs herein are imaginative enough to jumpstart the imagination. The very hard to beat price point is what ultimately makes me look past the rough edges and minor flaws this exhibits. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to its PWYW-status.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Options: Characters (Diceless)
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Alternate Dungeons: Alchemist's Laboratory
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/11/2015 04:15:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Alternate Dungeons-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?


What is this series? Well, in a nutshell, Alternate Dungeons is a series of brief, flexible pdfs that allow you to reskin dungeons to sport unique themes, supplemented by both fluff and crunch: Crawling through a fey-ish forest (with open skies) or exploring other exotic locales allows for a more diverse and rewarding experience and these handy helpers supplement the GM in the endeavor to spice up his/her campaign with such options.


As always, we begin the pdf with peculiarities of the respective dungeon to consider - this time providing the potentially lethal, healing-impeding alchemical waste (awesome and SO going to use the hell out of this scaling hazard for my games!) and both heat sources and ventilation as well as maintenance are covered - absolutely awesome section here!


Conversely, from airflow to contaminants up to corrosive compounds and yes, explosives and mutagens, the hazards provided are extensive and mechanically diverse and awesome and the same level of detail is provided in the great sacking the dungeon section, which covers plundering the place for documents and precious metals. Of course, such a place is defined in no small part via the dressing provided and the table that covers it does sport unique things galore: Furnaces with slots and trays, coils of hair hanging from the ceiling and electricity arcs cover both the wondrous basics and here and there even add small pieces of crunch to the fray.


At the same time, the pdf does, in one instance, fall a bit short of this level of awesomeness, namely with the sample denizen/suggested creature section that is pretty uninteresting and universally the default you'd expect to see. Where the pdf once again comes into its own is, obviously, with the trap-section: From classic traps and hazards to asbestos dust, invasive tumors or Midas touch-style Golden Touch-afflictions or dweomersinks and arcane reactions, this once again elevates this one to the highest echelons. Better yet, the 3 sample adventure hooks provided are truly creative and ooze style and flair, ending the book on a high note.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions: One intended for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos!


Nicholas Wasko delivers perhaps the very best Alternate Dungeon so far: With ample of creative hazards and challenges, unique afflictions and downright inspired dressing, this is, to me, the best installment of the series so far: It oozes style, sports a ton of awesome scavenging potential (particularly for the brevity and low price!) and made me immediately come up with multiple modules - which is the sign of a great resource of this type. In fact, were it not for the less inspired array of sample creatures suggested, I'd have awarded this status as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015; instead, I'll "only" award this well-deserved 5 stars + seal of approval as well as my personal recommendation to get this gem ASAP - whether you're going for scifantasy, steampunk or old-school alchemy, this one WILL deliver and enhance your game!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alternate Dungeons: Alchemist's Laboratory
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10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/11/2015 04:13:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This small pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So what are these kingdom seeds? Basically, you can consider them to be mini village-backdrops - each of the villages comes with a full village statblock as well as information on unique places associated with the village as well as three rumors that can be considered to be micro adventure seeds. The villages are intended to be inserted into a given kingdom (or any other campaign) - thus the name of the pdf.


What makes the villages unique? Well, they exhibit Rite Publishing's interesting, trademark high-concept ideas: The village of Butteroak, for example, is protected by a double palisade between which assassin vines are planted to keep out the dread predators outside - oh, and if you're caught breaking the law, you get a dagger, are stripped down and have to run around the village...if you're not eaten by the vines, you get to leave...chilling combination of might makes right and pragmatism here.


More common, Calddell is defined by its bowyers, while Eristan is known for their syrupy birch beer and Fayebridge, set in a caldera, utilizes its ample bees to defend the town and keep the massive copses of fruit trees fertilized. Garrant is a nasty place, but one defined by unique copper jewelry made with the help of odd leaves, while Maplelea is defined by the less sinister eponymous maple produce. Mournesse may be snowed in half the year, but is a village of survivors that live via lumber and skins. Nulukkhir, a primarily dwarven and gnomish hamlet, is defined by its half-over-grown houses and pig-farms. Soulmerrow, an elven hamlet defined by the massive cinnamon trees, is similarly an interesting place and finally, Whitespell, is a place where charcoral is made by a kind and welcoming populace.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity - nice! The pdf also sports nice full-color art.


Liz Smith delivers a per se cool array of brief village-write-ups, with the respective industries and raisons d'être providing enough variation to make this a compelling buy for the low price-point. At the same time, I found myself wishing that there was a little bit more detail and more material that reaches the level of uniqueness of Butteroak's assassin vine palisade - compared to that one, the other hamlets featured fall a bit short. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests (PFRPG)
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Mythic Minis 77: Underdark Racial Feats
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/11/2015 04:12:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


All right, you know the deal - 3 pages - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, let's go!


-Drow Nobility: Numerical escalation and additional uses via mythic power- standard.


-Giant Steps: Add tier times 5 ft to the increase in base speed...which may be a bit much.


-Improved Drow Nobility: Choose 1/2 tier racial SPs and use mythic versions of them via mythic power; also learn those as mythic spells, if you can cast them.


-Greater Drow Nobility: 3/day use mythic SP sans paying mythic power and sans augments.


-Lingering Invisibility: Longer concealment after invisibility; while it's maintained, use mythic power allowing for reactivation of previously unused invisibility.


-Nobel Spell Resistance: Numerical escalation of social bonuses and SR.


-Shadow Caster: Numerical escalation for shadow-subschool spells and DCs to dispel them; + full tier level for mythic power; higher CL for purposes of checking for darkness-suppression. "Darkness" should probably be italicized - it looks like it specifically refers to the spell.


-Spider Step: Freedom of movement through webs and climb on them at climb speed; power spider climb uses via mythic power.


-Spider Summoner: Spiders summoned are mythic and gain DR/epic equal to tier and icnrease poison saves. Spend mythic power to add the savage mythic template. Nice one!


-Stoic Pose: Use it sans spending 5 rounds finding a suitable location while in rocky/underground terrain; at higher tiers, you also gain mythic power based spell-duplications as supernatural effects. Nice one!


-Umbral Scion: Select SPs from a brief list; additional uses via mythic power.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Jeff Lee, Jonathan H. Keith and Jason Nelson's underdark racial feats are pretty nice, though they do not reach the creativity and diversity of e.g. the installment on orcs, probably also due to the base feats in question - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars for a good, in not exceptional, mythic mini.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 77: Underdark Racial Feats
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Kroma Draconics
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/09/2015 03:55:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of 13th Age Monthly clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!


All right, so, personal antipathy aside, there seem to be a lot of players who enjoy playing dragon-people and the variant race introduced back in the day, so here, we actually get chromatic draconics fully depicted - though their moniker, "kroma", obvious is shorter...and hence the one most widely used. The cool thing in this installment of 13th Age Monthly, at least as far as I'm concerned, is that the race now is no afterthought-option anymore: With evocative 13 things that might be true about them as well as information on inner-racial nomenclature, 5 origin myths (and some advice on weaving them together) as well as some ideas regarding icon influence, kroma draconics end of feel much more rounded, much more organic that before - and that is great in my book.


In fact, against my own personal bias against the very notion of draconics, I found myself rather impressed by the campaign seed that essentially suggests a Koru-behemoth-based draconic state - kudos!


The additional feat options herein allow for either better breath weapon-progression and limited flight based on the battle and, at champion-tier, the escalation die - pretty interesting means of not allowing for low-level reliable flying, particularly considering that flight eliminates your breath weapon racial power. Tying breath weapon and rage together for barbarians is an interesting combo, while fighter may go for the 1st level tail whip or the 7th level gathering breath maneuver - both of which are solid. A new sorceror talent ties re-use of breath weapon spells to the breath weapon power's recharge - so yes, some nice, thematically-fitting options here.


The book, beyond this, also features one draconic monster-stat per color, running the gamut from 3rd level archer to 7th level wrecker, including two universal draconic nastier specials - providing a well-rounded array of adversaries, all with unique tricks.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to 13th Age's 2-column full-color standard and the pdf provides neat artworks in full color. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a slight comfort-detriment.


Cal Moore and Rob Heinsoo deliver herein. I just can't deny it. I've never made a secret about me not liking most representations of dragon-like humanoids and their impact on the world, with the notable exception of the Mharoti empire in Kobold Press' Midgard. Apart from that, they always felt wrong and kind of lackluster to me. I really dislike the notion and am not a fan of the very concept. Know what? This pdf is still great. I tried hard to swallow my dislike for the subject matter and ended up not having to do so: What we have here is an inspired little ecology that also doubles as a nice expansion for players. I did not expect to find anything I'd like as a person herein and found aplenty - and if that is not testament to being a worthy addition, what is? My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kroma Draconics
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