DriveThruRPG.com
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
The Red King
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:53:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The red king is the dictator of the North in the amazing patchwork planet of Porphyra, an ogre-mage half-dragon with a single, purple eye that seems to be too large for his head - and yes, there is an amazing hand-out-style 1-page version of the glorious artwork depicting him within this pdf.

Ahem. Sorry. I can't do that neutral routine. LOOK AT THOSE STATS! I am drooling here!!

CR 22. AC 48 almost 450 hit points. Yes, please! His class-line reads "Male unique half-dragon ogre mage cavalier (longshanks/warlord) 6/inquisitor 5. And his average damage output is a beauty to behold! While his cohort and followers (an army in its own right) don't get stats, he is a beauty!! He actually killed his father and implanted his eye in his own face, wearing his sire's scales!

His armor employs the grace ability, which increases the maximum Dex-bonus and aforementioned eye can pierce illusions...oh, but that's not all!! You see, unlike many comparable supplements, we do receive a gloriously detailed background for this villain - beyond the detailed and lavish story, which has ventured into the realm of legend, the red king also sports a rather intriguing array of tactics - and yes, he has actually strategies to escape death.

Beyond these lavishly detailed aspects of the pdf, we also get specific adventure hooks and a new legendary weapon, namely the Red King's Judgment. In case you're new to the concept of legendary weapons: These were introduced by Purple Duck Games as an alternative to the concept of Legacy Weapons - but unlike those, they don't impose unnecessary penalties. The respective items have prerequisites and increase in power over the course of the wielder's levels, with the weapon featured herein increasing in potency in 10 steps. I love these items, as they help combat the Christmas-Tree-syndrome and makes magic matter more.

Anyways, beyond gaining multiple straight upgrades, we gain increasing, scaling invulnerability to fire, minions via Vile Leadership, nets Proficiencies/Focus and provides e.g. flame strike with 1/2 unholy damage...which does not exist. I get what it tries to do, but still -an obvious and unnecessary glitch. It also can bypass fire resistances and allow the wielder to discorporate and weather the storm, emerging once again from the flames...

It should also be noted that material uses and special weapon properties featured in the build - kudos!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed no serious hiccups and rules-language is similarly concise, with the minor exclusion of the aforementioned unholy damage glitch. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column standard, which is printer-friendly with purple highlights. The artwork of the king is GLORIOUS. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily require them at this length.

Derek Blakely has made a little dream of mine come true. I don't know about you, my readers, but I know that my players crave challenges and many a published module doesn't really live up to that aspect: If I threw a vanilla AP final boss at my group, then chances are in many (not all!) cases that they'd utterly annihilate the foe. I am a huge fan of really challenging, deadly villain-builds and when both the amazing Faces of the Tarnished Souk-series and Enemies of NeoExodus ran their course, I sighed and got back to making builds.

I expected not that much from this humble pdf and I got so much more: The red king is a glorious foe - lavishly illustrated, detailed and deadly, he makes for an amazing BBEG in the tradition of these two superb series. I adore this NPC and his tricks and the addition of the legendary weapon is a nice plus as well. For the low and fair price-point, this provides a great, deadly villain that should really challenge even powerful groups. What more can you ask for? Exactly! The one aesthetic glitch I found wasn't enough to rate this down - this is a great, amazing little pdf, well worth the asking price and deserving of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Red King
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Deep Magic: Illumination
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:52:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Deep Magic 5e-books clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This school of magic, associated with light and school, if fittingly represented by just that, the school of illumination. At 2nd level, costs and time to copy illumination spells to the spell-book is halved and additionally, you can forecast danger in the next 24 hours by studying the stars for 1 hour. This nest advantage on up to 2 initiative checks, lasting for 24 hours or until the end of the next long rest. Alternatively, you may grant an ally said advantage, but then you may not benefit from it in that combat. The decision must be made before rolling dice. At 6th level, you gain a bonus of +1 to spell attack modifier and spell save DC in dim light or darkness - not the biggest fan of that one. At 10th level, illusions for which you lose concentration exist for another round, provided the spell's duration has not elapsed. here' I'd have referenced duration instead of maximum duration in the rules-lingo, mainly since maximum duration could be taken to mean a spell's theoretical maximum duration, including increased spell-levels...but that is a nitpick and will not be considered for my final verdict. At 14th level, during a long rest, you can watch the stars, gathering ambient energy in a small item like a star chart or astrolabe. While holding said item, you can use a bonus action to expend the stored energy to duplicate one of the following: Alter self until the next long rest, net a creature in sight disadvantage on the next save versus an illusion or enchantment, reroll up to Intelligence modifier damage dice of a necrotic damage causing spell of 5th level or lower or, finally, treat a divination spell as though you had cast it using a spell slot one level higher.

The pdf also contains a new feat, namely Star and Shadow Reader: Upon taking the feat, choose necrotic or radiant damage: Your spells casting that damage ignore resistance, but not immunity, to the chosen type. Additionally, you can cast augury sans expending a spell slot once between long rests (which is very feeble, considering the spell's ritual tag) and gain darkvision 15 ft. - or increase an existing darkvision's range by +15 ft. The prerequisite is btw. the ability to cast at least one spell. I'm not a big fan here - ignoring resistance takes away from D&D 5e's rock-paper-scissors type of gameplay.

Unless I have miscounted, we get a total of 21 spells: Black hand lets you fire a ranged spell attack, imposing disadvantage an attacks, ability checks and saving throws made with physical attributes. The effect can be ended via a Con-save at disadvantage. Not the biggest fan -the spell would be less open to weird uses if it was tied to the target. Black well has a massive range of 300 ft. and drags those within 90 ft. of it towards it on a failed Strength save. A target within the well is stunned on a failed Con-save and suffers necrotic damage, with a successful save reducing that to incapacitation. Creatures take no damage from remaining in the well, just from exiting it - and creatures within the well at its end land prone. This spell is a bit too strong - it's AoO instant suck for all foes: The multiple saves don't really help, considering how far the well drags targets. Even successful saves of those on which the well is cast lock them down. Cloak of shadow nets you advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks relying on sight.

Compelling fate is pretty cool: If the target fails a Cha-save, you get advantage on attack rolls, may mirror its movements on the creature's turn (deducting that from your next movement) or use a reaction to grant yourself and all allies within earshot of the subject's intentions, providing a +2 bonus to AC or saves versus the prompting attack. At 7th level spell level, starry wisdom lets you cast a reaction-based variant of the spell. Flickering fate, at 4th level, is interesting: You or a target touched can see fate: All creatures within range make Wisdom saves - on a failure, they need to declare their intended actions and then follow through on their turns -additionally, the recipient has advantage on attacks ability checks and saves and creatures affected suffer from disadvantage. Once again, I think this would have made more sense of the spell conveyed advantage only with regards to actions prompted by or against creatures actually affected by the spell.

Guiding star prevents you from being lost due to stars and sun - as a nitpick, I think the spell should specifically state that it can only work on open ground: While the spell's flavor states that it works by tracking sun/stars, RAW, it can be cast underground and works - one could argue the tracking to be "magic" and thus feasible in such environments as well. Icy grasp of the ether, at 7th level, inflicts nasty cold damage and restrains the target and accumulates exhaustion of the target is not immune to cold and breathes. Orb of light blinds the target 1 round and deals 3d8 radiant damage, with a Dex-save to halve damage and negate blindness - compared to similar 2nd level spells, a well-balanced option. Shadow bite is a necrotic variant of acid splash that instead of targeting two creatures, halves the speed of a being affected by it until your next turn, with Con to resist. personally, I'd have reduced the damage dice since necrotic damage is slightly more valuable than acid, but oh well. Shadow blindness is one cool cantrip: It temporarily negates natural darkvision! Elegant and cool!

Shadow hands is another tweak: 1st-level spell, 15-ft.-cone, 2d4 necrotic damage + frightened on a failed Wis-save, which also potentially halves damage. Shadow trove lets you temporarily store items inside. Downside: "Items that are still inside the shadow trove when the duration ends are lost forever." WTF? That's 3rd level. Unwelcome artifact? Put it in the magic garbage disposal! Need to make documents disappear? there you go. Since only the caster and certain designated individuals can access it, that further exacerbates the issues. This spell needs a serious overhaul. Shield of star and shadow nets resistance to either necrotic or radiant damage and makes you shed dim light. Silhouette lets you do a magic shadow puppet show - decent cantrip. Slither temporarily makes you a shadow is cool in theory. However: "You are immune to all damage, except force, psychic and radiant damage." WHAT THE EFFFF??? This is ridiculously potent for a 2nd level spell. Dragon breath? No biggie, I'll go shadow. This needs to die in a fiery blaze. Or at least be seriously nerfed.

Starburst is a radiant-based cantrip for 1d6 radiant damage, range 60 feet. Starfall has a range of 60 feet and lets you cause 8d6 radiant damage to 5 targets within range, with hit targets blinded on a failed Dex-save, which also can halve damage. In spite of a slightly decreased damage output, this has: a) a better damage type than cone of cold; b) better control (no cone, choose targets) and c) no duration for blindness effect - as a whole, this makes the spell too strong for the level. The blindness effect should go, at the very least. Last rays of the dying sun first blasts for 6d6 fire damage, then for the same amount of cold damage in a 40-feet burst - at 7th level, a solid option. Summon star calls forth a deva that charms those that look upon it. Star's heart, the 9th level spell, increases gravity within 50 feet - all creatures within drop objects held, become incapacitated and can't move. Solid objects encountered triple fall/collision damage. Creatures within the area or entering it must save or suffer the same fate. Anyone starting the round prone takes bludgeoning damage and those than make their saves while prone take only half damage and may move at 1/2 speed. Big plus: Manages to get spell interaction, ranged weapons, etc. right.

We end the pdf with Talithe Val'Shiar, a sample challenge 6 NPC.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on a formal level. On a rules-level, the language is precise as well, though balance-wise, I disagree with several choices. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The full-color artworks herein are absolutely gorgeous.

Greg Marks delivers a per se solid pdf here. There are quite a few aspects to like and enjoy within this supplement. At the same time, when compared to previous installments in Kobold Press' Deep magic-series, this feels like it falls a bit flat. It does not sport the evocative visuals of Clockworks, the cool rune engine of rune magic or the impeccable balance of the void magic book. Ignoring resistances is a slippery slope and there are a few spells herein, where comparable PHB-spells are obviously worse. I also think that the celestial alignment-theme could have been more pronounced/better integrated in the material presented. As a whole, this is not bad - but it does have a couple of rough edges and a bit more "variant of spell x"-material than I expected. This is not bad, but compared to previous installments, it feels less compelling - my final verdict, as written, can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Illumination
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

5E Mini-Dungeon #005: The Soularium
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:49:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

The Soularium is pretty uncommon in that it does not represent a classic dungeon, but rather a cult's dread operation disguised as a charity - what at first looks like a benevolent organization, quickly turns out to be the soul harvesting operation of a nasty quasit and his faithful cult - including and alignment seeing statue and pretty concise defenses - conceivably well--crafted for such a small module and sporting actual traps and the like herein. Big plus - the hyperlinking this time is pretty consistent and the traps/skill-checks have been translated well into the context of 5e.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

Rory Toma's Soularium is an interesting, fun sidetrek with cool defenses, nice ideas and a solid cartography to boot. The lack of player-friendly maps once again drags this a bit down, but balance- and treasure-wise, I have no complaints this time around - Kyle Crider did a nice conversion job.There is not much to complain about here - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #005: The Soularium
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

5E Mini-Dungeon #004: Summoner's Remorse
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:48:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Okay, so recently, villagers have been kidnapped by a nefarious cult, HEL-bent (haha) on rescuing a dark naga from the limbo of HEL via terrible human sacrifice. The mini-dungeon kicks off by a maddened villager slitting his throat in front of the PCs, thus conjuring forth scarab swarms - 3 scarab stones need to be destroyed in the complex to thwart the scarab swarm-controlling cult in a surprisingly atmospheric, dark module that has an atmosphere I did not expect to see in this series.

Now, conversion-wise, hyperlinks this time around are mostly consistent - apart from a potion of speed, a potion of heroism and the scarab of protection the links are all consistent and lead where they should. That brings me to one aspect, however - the scarab was a legendary item last time I checked and as such may be a bit too much for the level of the module for some groups

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from an acolyte being referred to as an adept in a conversion relic. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

Justin Andrew Mason's module was converted rather neatly to 5E by Kyle Crider - the conversion was done rather well and provides a challenging, but fair and atmospheric module that ranks among the better of the early mini-dungeons. While the lack of player maps is lamentable, this still is very much worth the price of admission and should be considered a worthwhile addition for 5e-groups. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #004: Summoner's Remorse
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

5E Mini-Dungeon #003: Shrine of the Earth Barons
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:47:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! The dungeon's number-less version of the map doesn't sport any deceptive trap icons or traps - kudos!

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

The PCs find a capstone that opens to a dome that once housed a cabal of gnomish earth elementalists, now obliterated by a staff of power's breaking by a fanatical adversary. Now what's rather awesome, the dungeon does sport moving teleportation vortexes as well as deadly golems and earth-themed adversaries, often with interesting reskins to add a further sense of unique identity. Less awesome: It should be noted that the treasure for this mini-dungeon contains two ioun stones, one of which is legendary...which may be a bit much for the level...and it should be noted that they are not named for the benefits conveys, but for their shape, which may require reading the description. If you're as picky as I am, that may annoy you slightly.

If PCs are capable, they'll also score two manuals of golems. Speaking of which: Iron Golem adversary. That's challenge 16. Don't get me wrong - that's beatable by a well-coordinated group...but it's also very, very lethal and chances are that the PCs may not even be able to harm this monster!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Stephen Yeardley delivers a concise, golem/earth-themed mini-dungeon I loved in its original iteration. Unfortunately, Kyle Crider did not translate it that well to 5e this time around. The balance of monsters is off and makes this a brutal meat-grinder that will curbstomp all but the hardiest of groups. Moreover, the pdf wastes precious space by noting "CLs" -which do not exist per se: 5e cares about the caster's level in some cases (cantrips, for example), but is more occupied with actual spellslots used...which renders these relics puzzling at best.

The hyperlinks don't work all - while the material can be found on the Open 5e SRD, only a few of the hyperlinks actually point where they should, detracting from the go-play aspect.

As a whole, this module has suffered quite a bit in translation - and while I still like components of it, I consider it to be problematic. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #003: Shrine of the Earth Barons
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

5E Mini-Dungeon #002: Hobgoblin Lair
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:46:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! The dungeon's number-less version of the map doesn't come with iterations sans the deceptive "S" denoting secret doors, but at least the trap icons have been purged in these VTT-versions. Still, I wouldn't be able to use them as is, with the deceptive "S" around...but then again, this is really inexpensive.

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

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

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Herein, we receive the seasonal home of a bunch of goblinoid raiders led by a bugbear - as such, the place is rigged with an array of basic, conservative traps - and yes, their home does hide an old, Dwarven shrine. The details provided for the rooms per se are captivating, and the boss, a bugbear, is a solid choice for a boss.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

There is a big issue I have with this pdf, and it pertains the argument that I'd try to field for its time-saving aspect - apart from one trap and one monster, none of the hyperlinks actually points to its target. Even though the open 5e SRD contains all those stats for the traps etc. featured, the lack of hyperlink functionality is somewhat annoying and mitigates the "Hey, you have no time, just get this and go play!"-aspect. Formally, the conversion by Kyle Crider isn't bad, though.

On a content-level, I loathed this mini-dungeon in PFRPG and I still dislike it in 5e - it's the boring, vanilla anti-gobbo-crawl. I have literally seen this done a gazillion times as a reviewer and while it's not bad per se, I can improvise more compelling material. Still, for the time-starved GM, this may provide some help, though the hyperlinking hiccups can be a bit jarring there. In short, the author Jonathan Ely has since then improved significantly and I'd urge you to check out one of his more recent offerings in the series. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down - unless you really need a vanilla anti-gobbo-crawl.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #002: Hobgoblin Lair
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

10 Kingdom Seeds: Plains (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/23/2017 06:04:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This inexpensive pdf clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

After a brief piece of introductory fluff, we dive right into the nit and grit of this file, namely villages that you can use to craft, bingo, kingdoms from them - each of these settlements comes with a village statblock, but does not end there: Beyond a small summary of the village, we also get one or more sites of interest and 3 different rumors per village to potentially jumpstart adventures from.

So that's the format employed here - but what kind of villages are we talking about? Well, for starters, LG Belpond, is a surprisingly lawful and cozy village of guild-organized structures, where a visit of the local tavern may see your pockets emptied...only to have the goods be returned to you before leaving! Lightley, in contrast, would be a LE thorp of only 13 folks and is known for its bears.

Taking the example of settlements tied to creatures, the hamlet Morlea, situated between these spectra of the alignment axis at LN, actually does not rest - instead, it follows the migration patterns of the mammoths, making for an interesting and rather evocative backdrop. Ornesse would be an interesting, touristy destination with serious population fluxes, for the chariot race tracks always draw plentiful folks to the hamlet during the racing season.

In contrast to this place, the folks of Prydwin are living by their herbs, which are grown in excessive herb gardens that are meticulously maintained by the populace. Have I mentioned the druidess and her pest-devouring chameleon companion? Revale is either white or red - steeped in snow or showcasing its red sandstone beauty - and the theme of color extends to the primary industry, which hinges upon the extraction of color from rare lichen. Unlike its name, the hamlet shadowhurst is actually known to be a rather lively place, famed for its straw-related craftsmanship and corn.

Soulhill sounds foreboding - and indeed, the village, after an uprising and burning of the previous rulers, has taken to a rather selfish and dangerous demeanor. Westerfox is build around a horseshoe-shaped abbey, with sprawling buildings around, and represents a community that is rather disciplined and tight-knit - formally a meritocracy, but in fact, controlled by a nasty elite. Finally, Woodedge would be a place you don't want to visit: Buried in banks of tall flowers and flanked by beehives, it may seem idyllic enough, but gigantic bees and rather nasty halflings make this place a dangerous prospect for visitors.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience: While the bookmarks haven't been labeled properly, they are functional. The pdf sports nice full-color artworks.

Liz Smith delivers a nice variety of small settlements to visit and develop. The respective places have sufficiently diverse themes to make this worthwhile and while I wished this had more room for the individual villages, it does provide enough to jumpstart one's imagination. Considering the very fair price point and the writing, which provides a nice array of different concepts this time around, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars - and due to the low price, I'll round up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
10 Kingdom Seeds: Plains (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Everyman Minis: Interval Spellcasting
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/23/2017 06:02:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of Everyman Gaming's mini-pdfs clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is interval spellcasting? In short, it represents a variant spellcasting tradition available for arcane, divine and psychic casters and the decision to do so must be taken at first level, since it represents a significant component of the base fundamentals of the spellcasting tradition. Only one such variant spellcasting tradition may be known by a single character per class; multiclass characters may choose to use a given variant spellcasting tradition in one class and be general spellcasters or adherents to another tradition in another class - but each class can only hold one variant spellcasting tradition. Variant spellcasters have one fewer spell per day at each spell level - ouch, particularly for the prepared folks! (And yes, I do like that, since the spontaneous guys can use some love...)

So, the basics out of the way, what does an interval spellcaster get, benefits-wise? Upon becoming such a spellcaster, you choose one school of magic and that school is hindered or enhanced, based on the interval of the day, which is concisely defined as a 6-hour sequence: Dawn is 6 A.M., midday starts 12 P.M., dusk starts at 6 P.M. and midnight at 12 A.M. - obviously, the GM may freely adjust these to his or her needs. Each such period is split into three phases: Waxing, essence and waning - all of which consist of 2 hours each.

During the chosen school's interval period, your spells of the school gain +1 to CL and +1 save DC, if any. During waxing, you increase the CL bonus to +2 to CL-checks for the purpose of overcoming SR. During the waning phase, you get +1 to all saves versus effects from your chosen school. During the essence-phase, you get both benefits and, additionally, once per day, you may cast a spell from your school and apply Enlarge, Extend, Silent or Still Spell sans caster level or casting time increase, adding some crucial, but limited flexibility there. Additionally, you gain an interval ability while your school's interval lasts, which, unless otherwise noted, is a free action and may target yourself or an ally within 30 ft. This ability may be used once per day, +1/day at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter.

These benefits do come at a cost: Each school has an opposed school, and, during your school's interval period, you take a -2 to saves and a -1 penalty to CLs and save DCs of the school. Sooo, what happens if that would reduce CL to 0? I assume that would prohibit casting the spell altogether, but specification would have been nice here. It's a very minor flaw, but one I noticed due to the otherwise immaculate presentation of the material.

The intervals and how they have been assigned to the respective spellcasting schools makes sense - abjuration is assigned to dawn, enchantment to dusk, necromancy o midnight - this resonates with the respective tropes and can generally be considered to be a rather well-made array of choices. Abjuration nets a save-reroll with casting attribute modifier as an insight bonus, which conjuration provides an immediate action very short-range teleport...which brings me to another minor complaint here: The effect should be codified as a conjuration (teleportation) effect for the purposes of spell etc. interactions. Additionally, the school-abilities, while pretty obviously Su, are not declared as such in the pdf. Divination nets the target a bonus to initiative, enchantment nets a morale bonus to atk or skill-checks, illusion a scaling miss chance. Necromancy yields temporary hit points for 1 minute and transmutation an enhancement bonus to an ability score for spellcaster key attribute rounds.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks by Jacob Blackmon are nice. The pdf does no have bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza delivers a damn cool concept: I found myself often wishing that there'd be more such basic tweaks to the spellcasting engine and while this requires a bit of time tracking, it makes for a rewarding engine. The concept is amazing and I sincerely hope we'll get to see more such traditions, perhaps even suffused with a bit of flavor, special rites etc. - this represents the very basics of the concept and, while it does so rather well, I found myself wishing it had at least provided some basic guidelines and suggestions for further modifications. That being said, I'm complaining at a high level here - my final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Interval Spellcasting
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #12: Slavers' Compound (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/23/2017 06:01:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, much like in the installment on creepy graveyards, we begin with minor events to spice up the game - a total of 8 such entries are provided and range from guttural laughter of bored (and drunk) guards to horribly disgusting smell leading to the slave pens...

Next up, in the tradition of the series, we get some fluff-only entries of slaves with a pronounced personality: These folks include a wizened sage, an mad guy who thinks he is the emperor of the world or a heavily-tattooed, blind seeress - white a few folks here that can use the PC's help...and who may well prove to become rewarding assets! Of course, a righteous, yet completely bloodthirsty and savage slave may be a potent ally...but can he be allowed to roam free? Can he be redeemed? Pretty cool!

Of course, there also are beings on the other side of the equation - and thus, 10 sample slavers with a personality would be next: From the clichéd, disgusting and thoroughly vile to the guilt-ridden man faced with an impossible choice, these guys are surprisingly nuanced: We have different justifications (or lack thereof) showcased here in a surprisingly versatile selection. Big kudos!

Next up would 20 entries of dungeon dressing tailor-suited for the compounds of slavers: These include, but are not limited to, whips and torture devices, bloody handprints on the wall, complex tally systems, various brands or treasures hidden from view - once again, an evocative and well-written page.

Finally, we'll take a look at what one can loot from the bodies of slavers: From crude and coiled rope used as a makeshift whip to meager coins, bone dice and other, grisly items associated with the trade, we end this pdf with a potentially inspiring and intriguing table here.

Conclusion:

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

Creighton Broadhurst knows his craft - it's simple as that. The chief of Raging Swan Press is a master of concise writing and manages to evoke a surprising sense of diversity and fun in his brief elaborations; the entries herein all have been lavishly hand-crafted to add dimension and hooks to a given environment. They also fit the theme perfectly and manage to achieve a sense of cohesion. In short: This is a great, fun dressing-pdf, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #12: Slavers' Compound (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Adventure Avenue: Fallen Dawn
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/22/2017 15:36:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

This module clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 3/4 of a page blank, leaving us with 42 1/4th pages of content, though it should be noted that the pdf is formatted for A5 (6'' by 9'') size, which means, that if your sight's good enough, you can fit up to 4 pages of text on one sheet of paper.

Fallen Dawn is a location-based exploration adventure for 5th level characters, taking place in the Lotus Blossom Steppes of Porphyra, to be more precise, on the Lung Plateau. These steppes (fully mapped in full color, just fyi!) are the home of many struggling clan of powerful nomads, awaiting a Khan to unite them into a coherent force, but that won't happen, at least for now, for the dread half-rakshasa Khan Tiikeri is keeping things pretty deliberately as they are. However, sealed away after the NewGod wars, there are tools to be found within the steppes - tools that may change all of that...

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

...

..

.

All right, only GMs left? Great! So, the adventure features several different hooks that can be used to point the PCs towards the adventure locale, as the default origin would be the sleepy village called "The Nest", which has recently seen some business...impeded...by a traveling scholar of Paletius, deity of knowledge, looking for a lost and sacred site on the plateau. Well, turns out that this scholar is actually an agent of the eventual Katek, seeking to dissuade potentially dangerous individuals by tales of boring details...though, PCs being PCs, that will obviously backfire quite spectacularly.

Further observation via clockwork spies and said being may tip off the PCs regarding strange machinations afoot - and on the halfway point between the nest and the tower of the setting sun, a bhorloth, a gigantic, green-furred bison-like thing and its mounted archer master may try to dissuade the PCs further. Personally, I would have liked the journey to be slightly more detailed, but oh well.

What the pdf lacks in details regarding the journey, it makes up for in the approaches to the tower, for no less than three angles (East, West and North) are covered in the pdf, all with their own read-aloud text - kudos! The forlorn tower's broken top, leaning against the plateau's stone for a support lost ages ago, certainly makes for an evocative visual impression.

The exploration of this tower, once a sanctuary and repository of forbidden knowledge, can make for a compelling narrative and provides the brunt of the module's content - you see, the tower has by no means been thoroughly explored and Paletius being a benevolent deity, it can actually yield some interesting pieces of loot for the PCs. It also features two distinct, well-blended themes: On one hand, we have the sense of antiquity of the place, evoked rather well with prose etc. - on the other hand, we have the current, organized inhabitants of the tower, the expedition of the eventual Katek, who seeks to unearth the knowledge herein to challenge Khan Tiikeri. His intentions were once pure and arguably still are - but in his quest for truth, the eventual has begun a slide down the alignment scale - should he prevail with his less than scrupulous allies, he could become a truly fearsome iron-handed tyrant. This knowledge is not necessarily dumped on the PCs per se, but e.g. reactivated constructs and the choice of creatures (which include shiko-me, unique variant clockwork creatures, advanced shadow drakes and komori-ninjas in a cool selection of less common critters) and their notes can actually have the PCs unearth this knowledge - in short, a nice example of how indirect, less obtrusive storytelling can be used.

Now beyond those aspects, the exploration also manages to depict the leitmotifs of Paletius' iconography well - and PCs may well find out that the knowledge locked in the so far undisturbed sanctum was deemed forbidden. In fact, they may actually succeed where Katek failed and open the sanctum - but only if the GM desires, for the puzzle/riddle-based mechanism to open the gates to this vault hinge, even if you know how to use them, on an aspect that is completely under the GM's control - which is pretty nice. The artifact Katek is looking for is btw. depicted (and "just" a 35K ring), but it's still nice to a) have such a well-wrought puzzle in the pdf and b) retain full GM-control over the treasure and how this aspect pans out.

Speaking of panning out: The pdf provides full stats for all foes faced (though e.g. the Students of Order lack their cleric level noted in an aesthetic glitch) and also includes notes on further adventuring possibilities - from redeeming Katek to uncovering the secrets of Paletius. It should also be mentioned that the book contains a nice break-down of XP and treasure by locale, which is really helpful, allows for easy XP and WBL-tweaking and should be industry standard, as far as I'm concerned.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column b/w-standard with purple highlights and the pdf features some nice pieces of full-color artwork of foes faced within. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography is in color for the region, b/w for the adventure locale, and pretty nice indeed. The tower itself has sideviews for Western/Eastern approach, respectively, which is a nice touch. BIG PLUS: Purple Duck Games added a player-friendly map to the deal!!

Matt Roth's "Fallen Dawn" is a well-crafted location-based module; it breathes a sense of the exotic and antiquity, making ample use of its unique backdrop - surprisingly while still maintaining the means to be dropped in most environments with relative ease - you just need a chaotic tyrant somewhere and that's it. The most impressive aspects of the module, to me, did lie in the smart choices regarding adversaries faced and the sense of authenticity this managed to evoke. It's a tenuous, hard task to evoke such a sense of cohesion, especially in a dungeon that features two different leitmotifs (abandoned/inhabited). Furthermore, the challenges and foes faced throughout the module allow a capable GM to tell the story of the antagonist in an unobtrusive manner, which is another plus. Finally, I'm a BIG fan of the puzzle to open the sealed chambers - it makes sense, perfectly mirrors the iconography of the deity, retains GM-control AND it feels MAGICAL in a sense of the word that's usually only found in old-school modules. It also doesn't make the antagonist look like an idiot for not having breached it, which is just the final nice thing to comment upon here.

Now, the module is not perfect - the lead-in feels a bit rudimentary and so does the journey - it is pretty evident that both only act as an extended preamble for the main meat of the module, when they could have used a bit more meat on their bones. The espionage angle in the beginning also could have yielded a bit more consequences regarding payoff, but I'm nitpicking here. That being said, once you reach tower, the adventure locale, the module becomes an excellent example of a nice, unpretentious, but thematically very concise dungeon: With fitting traps and foes, nice NPCs and well-executed indirect storytelling. Now, Purple Duck Games actually added a player-friendly map - which catapults this to the echelon of a true steal: You get a great module for a fair price! Well worth 5 stars!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Avenue: Fallen Dawn
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

101 Plains Spells (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/22/2017 12:07:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at a massive 65 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with an impressive 59 pages of content, so let's take a look!

There are few environments with such a bad rep as plains - compared to trackless deserts, swamps or mountains, there are next to no good modules or supplements for them out there. In fact, it took Frog God Games' phenomenal "Fields of Blood" to make them really stand out and finally get their due.

The pdf provides spell-lists for all pre-Occult Adventures spellcasting classes, organized by class first, then by level and then alphabetically.

Oh, one more thing: This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at teh request of my patreons.

All right, so far these terrain-specific spell-books by David J. Paul have been characterized by pure excellence, but can this pdf retain this impressive streak? Let's see!

Taking a look at the spell-selection provided herein, we begin with a feasible and interesting variant of disease-curing magic: Alleviate Animal Affliction mitigates the disease suffered by animals, which makes sense in an environment of vast plains, where a broken leg of one's horse may well spell doom for the weary traveler. This is particularly relevant, considering the effects of spells like sore horse or the ability to summon giant drone ants as mounts - come on, that is damn cool!

Once again, the pdf provides a selection of spells that is directly entwined with the terrain: For example, while ankheg's awareness is a pretty straight attribute-buff when considered neutrally, those that cast the spell in a plains terrain also gain senses even further extended. In a great and fun interaction with the material component, an ankheg's leg, we also gain additional abilities within the hunting grounds (qualified, area-wise, btw.!) of the ankheg used in the casting of the spell. This is a simple operation and frankly, one that more magic should sort: It rewards players for engaging with the world, nets a GM an easy way to motivate PCs and also explains potentially nasty advantages of spellcasters in their home-turf.

This design-paradigm is btw. one that thankfully graces the spells contained herein rather often. These interactions that modify the spellcasting engine per se are not limited to the interaction with the terrain or creatures, though - if one takes a look at the Assured Diviner spell, for example, one can see that characters with the knowledge domain, lore mystery or the lore spirit double the duration of the spell. While the base spell is not one I'd consider mind-blowing, it is this thematic connection that rewards character choices that makes this remarkable, at least to me. I am a big proponent of diversification among characters and the more player choices matter, the better - spells often are rather static and linear pieces of crunch and this pdf taking some of that linearity and tweaking it makes sense in all the right ways.

This also extends to the summoning spells contained herein, with e.g. the atomie gang that you can call forth being an interesting example - while GMs may need to exert a bit of caution regarding these group summon spells, it is interesting to note that chaotic clerics with the arcane subdomain may select the aforementioned spell as a substitute domain spell. Also intriguing: Fey bloodline sorcerors and witches with specific hexes generate the maximum number of creatures summoned, tying the base spell mechanics to player choice here as well.

What made me go "AWWW!" when reading it would be Bevy of Bumblebees - I love bumblebees. They're fat, clumsy and the cutest insects you could fathom. (As an aside - research bumblebees and aerodynamics -the folklore that they can't fly is inaccurate...) While uncontrolled, the giant insects can be held at bay with smoke, allowing for interesting combinations of spells and effects for the savvy players. If there was one prevalent leitmotif to the magic herein, it would most certainly be "choice" - in particular, choice that hinges upon magic feeling less static - it makes sense that those, whose character choices represent the spell thematics can enjoy additional benefits.

Similarly, the terrain-centric and localized benefits make use of the old adage of magic working by appropriating a part for the whole, a maxim most popularly represented in e.g. voodoo dolls. But these do actually, to a degree, entwine. If you takes a look at black art of the bouda, you'll notice the requirement of a bouda's fetish as a focus, which represents an obvious adventuring angle. The spell does allow for a variety of choices themed around the creature - and the abilities directly interact with the choices of abilities tapped in: The more you utilize the powers, the more the total duration of the spell is reduced. This is rewarding from a game-design perspective, as it emphasizes resource-management once again.

What about growing metallic wings, Archangel-style, including the option to fire them? Oh, and you can actually ruffle them in bright conditions, creating a blinding effect. While we're at the topic of spells that should put a smile on the faces of superhero fans - burn on through hearkens to speedster-like acceleration - including overruns with trails of fire. There would also be an interesting cleave herd spell, which can make for a rather intriguing narrative device, allowing you to cause fear among great numbers of animals and magical beasts - either to hunt stragglers or bypass areas that would otherwise be beyond the PC's abilities to traverse.

Beyond the narrative and design-aesthetic components, we should also mention that tactics are an important component for a lot of spells: Divine doe's grace allows the cast to immediate action move, potentially negating attacks (and yes, the spell-level assigned is appropriate for the power this offers). Better yet, the spell's wording manages to make the complex concept work - and emphasizes a concept I very much enjoy. As you may have noticed in a couple of my statements, my own game tends to feature a lot of terrain hazards, shifting frontlines and dynamic arenas. I absolutely loathe it when an epic duel boils down to two characters just trading full attacks for rounds on end. It's boring and non-cinematic to me. However, PFRPG, as a system, rewards exactly this type of melee and every help we can get to render combat more fluctuating, more versatile. The downside of this ambition is, obviously, that it requires some serious consideration on part of the GM and players to make combat this interesting. This pdf does offer quite a few interesting spells that help in this way.

Speaking of tactical options: Remember the tunnels popularized in StarCraft etc. - what about a pathway that modifies spells and allows you to channel spells through the established conduit...and you may reassign its endpoint! So yes, there are some specific spells within this pdf that can radically change the dynamics of combat or make a specific combat unique. Speaking of such scenes that will be kept in mind: Well, there are spells, much like in previous examples of these pdfs, that represent serious ritual-like benefits and generate epic environments - eclipse the sun. The effects of this very powerful spell should be rather evident, right?

Feed from friends, a life-leeching spell, is an excellent example for a spell that manages to depict the vampiric leeching concept in a way that precludes use of kittens or similar cute critters - by virtue of the rules-language focusing on actual hp transference and allies as viable targets - thus, kittens could only yield pitiful amounts of hit points. Big kudos! I tried poking holes in this one and did not succeed. Generating slashing fields of grass is cool - but it is not as cool as Fire Bleeder - this spell launches missiles that cause piercing and bleeding damage - and temporarily adds the fire bleeder Su to the creature hit, which aerosolizes and ignites the blood seeping from bleeding wounds. Alas, as thoroughly amazing as this spell is, I am pretty confident that this ability should not be permanent - the duration reads "instantaneous, see text", which makes me believe that this ability should probably be lost after a certain duration has elapsed.

It should be noted that, in particular these volatile fire spells herein, have additional effect for the pyromaniac goblin race, emphasizing racial spellcasting traditions. Another interesting one would be giant flea leap - which requires the consumption of a potentially sickening drop of blood, but which also allows for VAST jumps when successfully used...oh, and in a feat of internal consistency, the spell actually is easier for alchemists to use. There would also be a variant of mage's magnificent mansion that generates a run-down, gremlin-haunted abode, a Thinner-curse that renders a target incapable of sustaining nutrients, spells that help hunting down the users of the arcane arts...and a spell, which allows you to join the swarm, allowing you to potentially evade a horrid fate AND making for an evocative getaway-strategy. Speaking of swarms - conjuring forth a butterfly swarm (fully statted) at 1st level, a harmless swarm, should provide some interesting options for the adherents of Desna etc.

Relatively accurate long-range forecasts (the coldest winter is coming...), mesmerizing foes via waves of grain or similar plants make for an interesting array of visuals and narrative possibilities - one exemplified as well by the plains clan spell, which generates a kind of mystic union between the participants - and it actually generates a true reason for PCs to strive to become part of a clan; it is a viable benefit provided for belonging. I love this type of design. It also ties in with a low-level spell/cantrip that allows for the easy identification of clan companions.

If you've been waiting for the flashy, devastating high-level spell in this discussion so far, fret not: Prairie Lightning Storm will indeed result in a highly flexible and devastating environment that will even push high-level PCs to their limits. Transmute Gnome to Goblin is an evil polymorph effect that may have significant repercussions on lore. As a minor complaint - variant volume fireball obviously is a more controlled, powerful iteration of the classic spell and as such, it is pretty obvious that it inflicts fire damage, RAW, the spell does not "damage" - sans the type. This is me nitpicking for nitpicking's sake, but I figured it'd be worth mentioning, since the pdf's flaws are so few I honestly need to strain this much to find anything worthwhile to complain about.

What about a spell that adds poisonous tentacles to a given shield, which may be severed by attackers failing to hit you, spraying them with poison? In an environment where horrid blazes can eliminate whole communities, withstand the fire comes at a horrible cost...but also allows you to weather even death by fire, tying into the purification and rebirth effects...and explaining why NPC xyz survived the encounter with the red dragon, why the mystic could live through the cataclysmic inferno. I adore this spell and its serious drawbacks do mean that constant maintenance is not something PCs will want to do.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on both a formal and a rules-level. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. Artwork-wise, we'd get quite a bunch of cool full color pieces.

David J. Paul's series of spells blows me away. If I were to choose a single series of spellbooks to the exclusion of all others for my PFRPG-games, it would be this one. Why? Because the magic is precisely-structured; it taps into evocative concepts, features thoroughly glorious concepts, feels magical and sports rules-innovations. The emphasis on player-choice is glorious, the support for GMs and the roleplaying component of the whole game is extremely rewarding. A lot of the spells featured within this book practically demand being used - their visuals are amazing and more than one can generate a glorious adventure, or at least, scene/encounter. Spellcasting, magic, as featured herein, does feel magical: As a tradition, its shamanistic components, its arcane components - all FIT. All feel real to an extent; all transcend just providing numbers - they are magic in a sense that is often lost on more rules-intense games. Just take a look at the page-count - these are not spells that just palette-swap components and the vast majority of them do something unique and creative in some manner.

In short: This is a phenomenal, inspiring pdf and should be part of the library of any group that looks for well-crafted magic. Very highly recommended as a superb spell-book. My final verdict, in spite of my nitpicks, will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. And this is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017.

Check out this gem!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Plains Spells (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Artifacts & Artifice: Abhorrent Naginata
Publisher: Infinium Game Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/22/2017 12:06:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content. It should be noted that 5 of these pages are used to highlight the mission statements of Infinium Game Studios and the peculiarities of the massive adventure books and supplements the studio creates.

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

All right, so the first thing you'll note would be that the weapon itself, the abhorrent naginata, is depicted in a quadded version - that is, the weapon comes in basically 4 different iterations - ranging from +1 to +4. The lavishly-illustrated weapon (amazing full-color artwork there) sports rings of color, and each is tied to a specific race - RAW, the GM retains control of whether the PCs automatically get to know which band corresponds to which race - which is relevant due to the dynamic bane special weapon quality the naginata offers. As a formal complaint: This special weapon ability is bolded/not-bolded here, when special weapon qualities usually are italicized in PFRPG.

As a swift action, such weapons may change their bane type. The general special weapon quality is depicted in two iterations - as a +2 and as a +3 equivalent. From the abhorrent naginata, I could extrapolate that the lesser version is supposed to grant a +2 bonus to attack and +1d6 damage versus the target, whereas the greater version provides a bonus of +3 to atk and +2d6 damage - the lesser quality has been applied to the two less costly weapons, whereas the greater version has been applied to the two more pricey, high-level iterations of the weapon.

I'm saying "extrapolate" here, since dynamic bane as a generalized effect, in its explanation reads "dynamic bane weapons inflict an additional 2d6 points of damage if wielded [...] they also receive an additional enhancement bonus of +2." - for the greater version, however, that should be +3, which may generate some confusion there, as there is just one explanation in the box summing up the effect, even though the box lists the two variants. Cool: The pdf does note the weapon's notoriety and potential quirks of ownership, which makes me expect more in that regard from the final book. A nice bit would be the table that allows for the random determination of preset enemies.

Another issue I have with the item would be that, in particularly the naginata's higher iterations are underpriced - while the pdf notes that this is by design, it really, really annoys me. The naginata is priced at 36K in its third (+3 enhancement bonus), 54K in its 4th (+4 enhancement bonus) iteration - to this, we'd add the +3 equivalent of the very powerful greater dynamic bane, which would place the weapon at 72 K for the +6 equivalent 3rd version and 98K, respectively, for the fourth incarnation. I'm generally good with specific weapons being less costly than general ones, but in one case LITERALLY half the price of the crafted item...is brutal. Particularly considering how dynamic bane makes having a regular bane weapon generally a dumb and obsolete proposition. Personally, I'd have placed the lesser version with its flexible, untyped damage boost at +3. UNLESS, and that would be an easy way to limit this item and bring it in line with the pricing suggested, it actually had a cap of how many different modes it has - if e.g. the second iteration had 3, the 3rd 5, etc., I'd consider the pricing well-done depending on the modes it has...but since RAW, we have free and unlimited selection of types, I think it could use a higher price.

Really cool and developed would be the lore-aspect: In a quadded rumor table, a whole page is devoted to unearthing rumors and information about this weapon and its origins. This attention to detail and commitment to placing the weapon in a proper context extends to class-based hooks and general hooks that may be employed to integrate the item within the context of the game - a brief, fully-depicted quest, included a quadded rogue statblock of a wielder of the weapon has been included. Now this wielder is rather squishy at the higher levels, but considering the assassin-y angle and serious damage output the NPC can pull off, I can see the idea behind the NPC.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are generally good on a formal level and, for the most part, on a rules-level as well. They need to extrapolate the lesser/greater distinction is a nasty glitch, though. Layout adheres to Infinium Game Studios' two-column full-color standard with color-coded blocks, etc. The pdf comes with a backgroundless, second version that is more printer-friendly. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks -kudos! The artwork of the weapon is really cool.

J. Evans Payne's abhorrent naginata is a cool and promising magic item: In particularly the commitment to detail, lore and instant usability with a pre-made mini-quest should make this a feasible addition to the game. That being said, we do have a couple of hiccups in the mechanics that detract a bit from this item - both pricing and formatting could be tighter as far as I'm concerned - while I applaud the hyperlinks of e.g. the bane quality, seeing it bolded just rubs me the wrong way, big time - there is a reason we have formatting conventions in PFRPG and this is particularly baffling since the pdf gets it right most of the time.

That being said, I am a total prick here - I am, after all, complaining about a WIP-teaser for a massive compendium of magic weapons - and the teaser is FREE, ladies and gentlemen. FREE is hard to beat and while I disagree vehemently regarding the pricing, there is still time to play with the balance-screws there. The contextualization within the world that the item presentation format showcased here most certainly has serious potential and the lore aspect's emphasis is similarly a significant strength that makes me interested to see the final book. In the end, taking the FREE-bonus into account, my final verdict for this FREE teaser will be 3.5 stars, rounded up - worth checking out and you have literally nothing to lose...and as a nice benefit, after this review, you'll be well-equipped to deal with the one aspect where the rules may have you stumble for a second.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Artifacts & Artifice: Abhorrent Naginata
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

20 Things #11: Dark Caverns (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/22/2017 12:02:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, we begin this pdf with 10 different types of atypical caverns - these include massive stalactites generating the sound of rain atop pools, cracks from which unwholesome odors rise or rubble-covered collapses for an overall very evocative start, but there is more: A total of 10 uncommon encounters can be found as well: With e.g. the daemon Blight's Kiss, whose lair contains a thinning of the veil to the Abyss, where rotting souls spew forth in a vile, brown sludge...and the PCs may notice a purple worm ambushing them with a DC 25...wait a second! Yep, there are some remnants here, as this table represents the fluff-only version of the phenomenal encounters from Raging Swan Press' by now classic "Caves & Caverns"-supplement - which is btw. one of the best books the company released, even considering the impressive quality of RSP's canon! Still, avoidable glitch there.

Next up would be a collection of 10 legendary caves, which include Saldonator, the wandering cave, the legendary Deephold of the ylanic puzzle stone - and yes, these are truly inspiring and easily my favorite part of this pdf. A couple of the entries actually inspired me to use them ASAP! 12 natural hazards/terrain features, from crumbling escarpments to thick mud, can also be found within this pdf, providing several considerations to ponder regarding the precise make-up of your caves.

The 20 Pieces of Cavern Dressing & 10 notable cavern features table has been taken from "GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I" and reproduced here - but is has also been stripped of the rules-relevant material in the original version, which means that those of you who want it system-neutral, get just that! The 20 Things to find in a purple worm's stomach table has similarly been reproduced here and stripped of errant crunch - kudos, in particular regarding the partial rewrites shown here!

The final page provides once again completely new content - 20 things to find in a subterranean river makes for a cool little table: From very low ceilings to precariously-balanced stepping stones and mineral-based discolorations, we get a rather cool collection of entries here.

Conclusion:

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

Creighton Broadhurst, David Posener and Alex Riggs know how to write great dressing, that's for sure. That being said, whether and how much of the material herein you'll consider useful is ultimately dependent on whether you already have the phenomenal "Caves & Caverns" and the similarly great "GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I" - if you do own these two already, you'll have some duplicated content. Which would be less irksome, if all aspects had been purged of rules. While MOST have been properly converted, I nonetheless found the DC-reference in the encounters a bit annoying. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars - round up if you want system-neutral or don't have aforementioned books, round down otherwise. My official verdict will round up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #11: Dark Caverns (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Horrific Curses
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/19/2017 04:21:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of the AP plug-ins for the Strange Aeons AP (which works perfectly for pretty much any darker campaign) clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this supplement with new archetypes, the first of which would be the accursed witch. These witches are locked into death, insanity, moon, plague, spirits or vengeance as patrons. Starting at 1st level, they gain an oracle's curse, based on level and, nice, the archetype comes with multiclassing options regarding the curse, Starting off at 4th level, the accursed witch may basically, hex-like, inflict her curse on targets - the recipient does not gain the benefits unlocked later and, since this slightly exceeds a regular hex in potency, we have an Int-governed daily limit as well as the hex-save-caveat. Instead of 8th level's hex, the witch may choose increased durations of curse spells, higher CLs, higher ranges (listing the progression of ranges and specific, non-scaling ranges - big kudos!). All in all flavorful.

Next up would be the hex hunter, who replaces Heal with Knowledge (arcana) as a class skill and loses proficiency with wither medium armors or shields. These guys cast Int-based arcane spells taken from witch and ranger spell lists and replaces animal companion with a witch's familiar. Animal Focus is delayed until 8th level, with the second unlocked at 16th level. Nature training is replaced with the ability to apply, as a swift action, the effects of evil eye in melee, usable 3 + Int-mod times per day. Instead of hunter tactics, we gain the beast of ill omen hex, with the teamwork feat being replaced by attacks of the cursed strike mentioned before being extended as per cackle on a critical hit. This becomes more relevant at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter, as new hexes to be added to the strikes are unlocked, replacing the respective teamwork feats. At 7th level and every 6 levels thereafter, we add new curse-spells to the spell list, replacing bonus tricks and. 10th level provides the option to gain a hex from a list of 4, which may be determined anew each day, replacing animal companions.

After this nice archetype, we are introduced to the jinx sorceror bloodline, with Perception as a class skills and a fitting array of spells as bonus spells. Similarly, the bonus feat selection is nice. The bloodline arcana increases the DC of compulsions, curses and pain spells, with the DC to dispel or remove such effects increased by 2. Bloodline powers-wise, we begin with an orcale curse, with 3rd level yielding an aura of despair. 9th level yields the misfortune hex and 15th level allows you to place glyphs of warding with select triggering conditions to targets. 20th level yields immortality - you no longer age, are immune to death effects, etc.

From here, we move on to the new spells, which make use of the dying spell concept, allowing casters to take a final potshot - while they can be cast in less dire consequences, such cases are rare, considering the extremely high concentration required. As such, these spells will usually be cast upon being incapacitated or slain and a special, but costly ceremony, can render them viable even in scenarios, where action economy is an issue, guaranteeing that you'll get your deadly vengeance. Spell-wise, we can find, e.g. Avenge Me!, compelling creatures to seek vengeance for you. Call the Avenger similarly combines sending and demand to destroy your killer and sending off dying words to allies similarly makes sense, representing properly a fixture in fantasy literature. Providing a dying scrying for a final witness or entombing yourself in ice also make for intriguing, flavorful options....and yes, there is a funeral pyre...

Now, this book is called has "curses" in its title for a reason and we receive a diverse assortment of different curses - the base-rules here follow the first curse-based supplement released by Legendary Games and the representations of the respective curses contain cannibalism compulsions, shrouding a target in palpable, demoralizing gloom or shrinking the target continuously, until it has become basically nonexistent (see Atom or Ant-Man for more on that concept...and there is a variant, which ties shrinking to magic use...). Rendering the flesh of a target unstable or instilling an unquenchable gnawing hunger are interesting tricks...but there are some curses you may want to seek out: Fatal Strength, for example, can yield benefits to the PC, but also burns away the years they have. Instilling a horrid hatred in foes, suppressing any form of empathy or cursing a target with insomnia.

Have I mentioned the option to create a kinslayer curse, a curse whose effects are determined by the phase of the moon or the curse that makes your eyes turn black and makes you susceptible to bright eyes? More complex and potent yet would be the 6 different mythic curses included, including knitting the victim's mouth's flesh together, making targets feel the pain inflicted on others, transforming digits into thumbs, regressive aging or having prepared or known spells inscribed visibly o the skin make for fascinating curses...and the latter one also comes with a version that makes you bleed for casting the spells inscribed in your flesh. Come to think of it, these two curses alone could work as a basic spellcasting tradition capable of carrying a whole campaign...I think I'll have to design the like at one point...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf uses nice full-color and b/w-artworks, though fans of LG will recognize most from previous publications. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, Alex Riggs and Jen Page deliver a cool, fun collection of curse-themed options in this pdf. Particularly the spell-inscription curses are gold and I'd be seriously surprised if there was no campaign by a fan of dark fantasy or horror out there that employs these for a custom magic system/tweak - as mentioned, these may very well be worth the asking price for you on their own. The dying spells and archetypes are fun, with the hunter in particular being interesting. The curses are also rather nice, though, as a whole, they felt a bit less horrific than I expected from the pdf, with many focusing on concepts that strike me as more fantastic than horrific, but that may just be me.

As a whole, this is a good supplement with excellent craftsmanship, but at the same time, it feels like it doesn't completely realize its full potential. In short, this is a good supplement, bordering on the very good, but I can't really bring myself to round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Horrific Curses
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Divergent Paths: Fools Errand
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/18/2017 04:21:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for Dreamscarred Press' Path of War system clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD (though this page also contains the available services of the new martial tradition contained herein), leaving us with slightly more than 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Since this requires Path of War and Path of War Expanded to use, I assume that you're familiar with the terminology of the system herein. Furthermore, it should be noted that I will rate this as an expansion for the Path of War system and its significantly increased power-level and not as something divorced from it - this review assumes that you're familiar and okay with the boost of PC power it creates.

So, this pdf depicts the new discipline Fool's Errand - so named because of the haughty words uttered by a mage - to shove it down that mage's throat would be the goal that ultimately led to the creation of this discipline. Something that should strike a chord with path of War's fans, as it encapsulates pretty much the raison d'être for the whole series. Anyways, Fool's Errand's associated skill is Climb and it plays well with a lot of combos, for all weapons are treated as associated weapons for the discipline. This easy accessibility is also mirrored in how it can be gained: Any class may trade one of its disciplines in to gain Fool's Errand and its Climb skill instead.

Quite a few of Fool's Errand's maneuvers make unarmed strikes - these are made at the highest BAB, may deal lethal or nonlethal damage (cool!) and do not provoke AoEs. They add the full Strength modifier to damage and initiators may execute them even when their hands are full or if they attacked with their hands already. These are treated as unarmed strikes for all intents and purposes and if a character is prohibited from making such strikes, they may still initiate a maneuver. However, other weapons may not be substituted for the unarmed strikes granted by Fool's Errand maneuvers - with the exception of gauntlets, obviously. It should also be noted that, while this makes Fool's Errand strikes operate as though they were Improved Unarmed Strikes, the discipline does not actually specify granting it, which serves as a multiclassing/prerequisite hurdle. All in all, a solid array of clearly defined limiting conditions.

Next up, we're introduced to a new condition imposed by many of the maneuvers herein, the "locked" condition. Only creatures within melee reach may be locked. Locking a creature does not provoke AoOs and while it is treated as a melee attack for purposes of miss chances, line sight etc., it is not a melee attack per se. It ends any Stealth you may have and a creature affected must succed a Reflex save versus 10 + 1/2 your highest initiator level + your Strength modifier or highest initiation modifier, whichever is highest, or become locked. Locking is considered to be a Fool's Errand maneuver for the purposes of DC-increasing abilities and a discipline weapon's bonus is considered to be already included in the save DC. In the case you are allowed to substitute another ability score modifier for melee attacks or CMB, you may use that one instead of Strength for the purpose of determining the save DC.

A creature that has been locked may not voluntarily move from their current space without escaping the lock and airborne creatures locked do not fall. Freedom of movement and slip the bonds (both not properly italicized) prevent being locked. A lock may be ended as a free action and ends if a creature is no longer in reach. The initiator of the locked condition may move freely while locking a target and may drag creatures by moving at 1/2 speed, in relation to your position. Creatures thus dragged need to have a viable place - you can't drag them into or through solid objects, but you can drag them into dangerous terrain. The locked creature's movement, however, does not provoke AoOs and neither does the initiator's movement provoke AoOs from the locked creature. Creatures dragged into harmful locales may attempt a new save to escape the lock - on a success, they fall prone. Similarly, a locked creature may attempt a save on its turn as a move action/whenever it tries to move - that means 5-foot steps are potentially possible, but also expended on a failure - in either case, on a failure, the attempt is treated as having moved, preventing further 5-foot-steps for the target.

As a peculiarity, the Reflex save of the creature may alternatively employ their Strength modifier. Creatures that do not attempt to move may try to break free of a lock as a free action instead at the end of their turn. It should be noted that, unlike the last-second-save for being dragged into hazardous terrain, a regular saving throw to end the condition does not render the target prone. Finally, if the initiator becomes helpless, all creatures locked are released. In short: "Locked" is like a more swingy version of the drag maneuver that ignores creatures sizes - in fact, considering the sucky Ref-saves, but decent Strength-scores of many gigantic creatures, it does not immediately become a dragon slayer, while still retaining a chance for success.

All righty, those basics of the discipline out of the way, let's move forward and take a look at the maneuvers the Fool's Errand grants, shall we? The most basic strike, iron grip, would allow for an attack and lock attempt in combination; regarding stances, we have the Improved Unarmed Strike (or greater variety if you have it already) as well as substituting Climb for Acrobatics in the stance Lesson I: Balance. Lesson II: Control nets you the option to penalize locked foes and the counter lock step allows you to counter the attack of an incoming attack by a locked foe via a Climb check. One-Two Punch duplicates the two attacks for -2 to atk flurry as a standard action and there is a Climb check based option to throw targets up to 10 feet. The second level options include a boost for movement as a swift action within the threatened squares of a target and another boost, death at ten paces, nets your next melee attack, which must be single target, a range of 30 feet - while I personally think that this should still be treated as a ranged attack (it makes no sense to me that this does not apply the rules for firing into melee), I get the design decision. Lead and Follow is an AoO-lock attempt, initiated as an immediate action counter. Hurricane kick would be the kick that nets you temporary Fly - you know the iconic visual of the kicking, freeze-framed martial artist flying towards the foe? Yeah, that one.

At 2nd level, we also have a strike that combos weapon and unarmed strikes and ignores all hardness and DR - I have never been a fan of these, but there's precedence in Path of War and if you're using this system, DR and hardness don't matter much anyway, so yeah. At 3rd level, we have a combo of lock and entangling and Lesson III: Suppression represents a powerful stance: The first attack you execute each round is resolved as though the target is flat-footed and it also nets you a 1/round free action lock attempt. Countering melee attacks with Climb-based Disarms and the option to catch the enemy weapon can also be found here. Windmill Waltz Flurry nets you a weapon and two unarmed attacks with AoO-less 5-foot steps in between and full movement after resolving the attack, though this does provoke AoOs. 4th level yields the intriguing make them humble counter - which can be initiated to negate freedom of movement and similar effects, with the check based on ranks of Climb. Cool! Speaking of which - Night Falls is a strike that pins and silences those hit with its lock, helping infiltrators and providing versatility beyond numerical escalation.

The sincerest form of flattery is a potentially rather potent option that nets you a readied non-stance maneuver when used, though one that caps at what you could conceivably initiate. An upgrade to the throwing angle can also be found at level 4. The flurry angle is further upgraded at level 5 with a new strike. Cool: The stance Lesson IV: The Ladder lets you jump in sequence to the air, with Climb ranks acting as a non-cheesable limit. There also would be a counter that nets you a competing attack roll versus all incoming attacks for that round, negating them potentially. W whirlwind lock strike is also included for this level. At 6th level, we have a combo attack that locks a foe, drags it along and then follows up with a standard action attack or a strike. Lesson V: Expression is a stance that nets your unarmed attacks a range of 10 ft. with 5 range increments and also allows you to perform cone-based attacks - which are btw. explained in a helpful sidebox regarding their placement. Nice catch there. No Escape counters a foe's successful escape from your lock, either following up on it or flat-out negating it. We also get yet another flurry-style upgrade and one option to air-juggle foes with the boost To the Skies.

Throwing creatures by using Climb to surpass their CMD and combo-ing that with disarm/picking up weapons would be one of the level 7 option, whereas the boost Lightning Strikes Twice can be added after your attack - it then repeats last round's damage, haled, including any adverse conditions or the like, but with saves potentially applying. No, there's no save to resist this boost. Utter commitment nets a 30-foot cone and a bonus damage equal to 7 times initiator level, half that for those affected by the cone. The 8th level maneuvers provide the final upgrade for the flurry tree and the final stance, which nets a free lock attempt each round, another stance of 7th level or lower, AoO locks and better dragging/hostile creature movement negation. The level also provides the culmination of the throwing moves with sky-shattering throw, which allows for meteoric throws. The level 9 capstone can duplicate any 8th level or lower maneuver of a discipline you know one maneuver or stance for or a 7th level or lower maneuver or stance from a discipline you know no maneuver or stance from.

The pdf also contains archetypes, the first of which would be the contender brawler, who begins play with 3 maneuvers readied and known, 1 stance and increases that to 15 known, 7 readied and 5 stances. The archetype gets a maximum of level 6 maneuvers. His initiation modifier is Wisdom. He may choose Fool's Errand and two other disciplines of his choice. Readying maneuvers takes practice in the form of 10 minutes of exercise. Expended maneuvers are regained by using the ambush class feature or expending a standard action. The archetype loses knockout, awesome blow and 4 combat feats. Ambush lets the contender regain a maneuver whenever he successfully attacks or locks a foe denied his Dex-bonus. This may be done 1/round, plus an additional time per round at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. The brawler may use martial flexibility to temporarily learn a new maneuver instead of a combat feat, exchanging it for a readied maneuver, but is limited in choice to disciplines he knows at least one maneuver of. Instead of brawler's flurry, the archetype gains point of concentration, which nets the option to lock adjacent foes hit with melee attacks 1/round, increasing that by +1/round at 8th and 15th level. The brawler may forego his movement to instead move all creatures he has locked for the distance they could have been moved via him dragging them. Maneuver training may be applied, bonus-wise, to lock-save DCs.

The second archetype herein would be the Night Terror vigilante, who, discipline-wise, gets Eternal Guardian, Fool's Errand, Tempest Gale and Veiled Moon, using Charisma as initiation modifier. The night terror features the same maneuver progression as the contender and has the same readying mechanic. However, recovering maneuvers works differently: As a full-round action, he makes A Stealth skill check while being observed to hide and move up to his speed. This recovers initiation modifier, minimum 2, maneuvers. Movement thus taken is not reduced by dragging locked creatures, and neither does the night terror take a Stealth penalty. Alternatively, we have the standard action for one maneuver default. Night terrors are locked into the stalker specialization and they increase hidden strike's potency to 1d8, increasing that by a further +1d8 at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. This bonus damage may be foregone in favor of a lock attempt, with a bonus to the DC equal to hidden strike damage dice. Such an attempt is still treated as a successful use of hidden strike for ability interaction purposes.

First level night terrors become proficient with improvised weapons and treat them as unarmed strikes for the purpose of amulet of mighty fists interaction (item not properly italicized). Starting at 8th level, the night terror may use such pieces of environment to perform attacks sans wielding them and 15th level increases the option to make attacks with unattended objects to 30 feet, treating these as thrown weapons, but sans the shooting into melee penalties. He still needs, thankfully, line of effect to object and target. The night terror may select Combat Skill, Fist of the Avenger, Heavy Training, Unkillable and Nothing Can Stop Me avenger talents and may choose Discipline Focus, Stalker Arts or learn to perform potentially unnoticed attacks, access to Mithral Current, the option to lock targets and pin them to the wall, silent takedowns or pinning foes to walls....Yeah, you probably noticed it, right?? This is basically Batman, the archetype, done via Path of War's rules!

The pdf also contains 5 new feats, three of which would be devoted to the Fool's Errand Style: The base Style feat lets you substitute entangled or sickened for your attack against a locked target, while Fool's Errand Scholar provides wildcard feats, taking limited resource feats into account. Nice. The third one, Fool's Errand Sensei provide the options to temporarily buff your AC or kip up via the expenditure of readied boosts or counters, respectively. Quicksilver Grip represents a discipline crossover feat for Fool's Errand and Mithral Current, providing the option to sheathe the weapon when hitting foes and adding the option to threaten locked foes with sheathed weapons and the option to draw as part of AoOs. SU Mithral Current maneuvers also becomes EX. Vortex Rush would then be the Elemental Flux & Fool's Errand crossover feat, which lets you and targets you force to move leave a trail of elemental energy that that causes initiation modifier energy damage of the associated energy of the element, but only once per creature and action and each trail is considered part of the one trail. Still, pretty cool!

The pdf closes with a brief write-up of the eponymous fellowship of fools, sticking it to magicians and psionics alike with martial potency.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on a rules-level, with the formal level sporting a few minor formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. Artwork is nice and full-color. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Forrest Heck knows her math and rules-language. I have yet to read any pdf she created that was anything short of thoroughly impressive in these regards and this is no different. Fool's Errand's "locked" condition is something I'd expect to be set up for failure: Introducing new conditions is a bad idea in 99.9999% of cases. The interaction with spells etc. makes sense, though avoiding the whole CMD-mechanic (and thus means for other classes to avoid it) can be seen as problematic. The Str-to-Reflex mechanics do somewhat alleviate that, though not completely, as they necessitate a on the fly calculation not there in other contexts. Similarly, class features and the like that fortify against forced movement do nothing against being locked and dragged around. Where you like that or not remains a matter of taste.

On the plus-side, Fool's Errand ties in exceedingly well with the play-style and aesthetics of non-stop action Path of War employs and, in fact, to me is one of the coolest disciplines that came out of the system. It's no secret that I have a plethora of points wherein I completely disagree with the design decisions, power level and ramifications of the system, but that does not mean that I condemn it. Quite the contrary. While I wholeheartedly wished that the system was balanced with more conservative, non-Path of War options, I most certainly appreciate the design of the ideas and playstyle the respective options and disciplines generate. I am mentioning this in spite of the blowback this probably will once again create, mainly due to one thing:

No matter how you stand on the divisive system, from a design point of view, Fool's Errand is one magnificent beast and has a remarkable engine and flow.

The discipline may not look like it on paper, but actually playing it generates a flow of movement and assaults, quick sequences of stabs topped off by brutal blows, maneuverability and an overall aesthetic that makes me grin from ear to ear, as it manages to simulate perfectly the wire-fu WuXia movies I so love. To me, this is what Broken Blade should have been. It is elegant finesse and power, dragging foes through tree-tops while trading blows, and is surprisingly non-reliant on vanilla damage escalation.

Now yes, all of my usual complaints regarding the base system are there - obviously. This expansion requires embracing Path of War's playstyle, still is utterly incompatible with gritty fantasy and will not convert anyone. If you hated Path of War so far, this will not change that - it can't, being an expansion. If you like Path of War, however, you will absolutely adore this discipline. It plays well with others, has a ton of combo potential and diverse tricks, provides much needed versatility (breadth of options rather than depth) and represents one of my favorites in the whole system.

The neat archetypes are just icing on the cake and yes, I'm totally redesigning the Batman archetype for my grittier games. In short: This is an excellent addition to the Path of War-options. The craftsmanship is excellent and manages to make a concept work that could have been clunky and highly problematic in a lesser designer's hands. As always, we also receive an impressive high-concept touch of artistry herein, rendering the overall pdf a must-own for every fan of Path of War. Since I really adore the flow of the discipline, my verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the few formatting hiccups - for Path of War-fans, this is a no-brainer must-have addition to the game.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Divergent Paths: Fools Errand
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 91 to 105 (of 3070 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates