DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
Publisher: Silver Games LLC
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/02/2016 04:37:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The campaign setting and freshman offering for Ponyfinder clocks in at 122 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 115 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Wait. before we do, I have to go on a brief tangent: I'm not the best guy to review Ponyfinder-material. I'm only doing this due to requests continuously piling up. The first couple of those, I pretty much asked my groups and both refused. (Yep, my kiddies want to play Red Sonja, not ponies...go figure...) I told David Silver of Silver Games the whole story and now I'm telling you. I'm not a brony or particularly enamored with ponies. I tried watching MLP and it neither elicited joy, nor a negative response. I get what people like it in, but it's not made for me. I learned some important facts from the author in that regard: While this does feature ponies, it is decisively NOT MLP.


Okay, I got that. Secondly, he was okay with me not going the usual in-depth playtesting route due to my parties' refusal. So here I am. The dark fantasy/horror-aficionado reviewing ponyfinder. It's what you, my patreons, wanted - and I'm not one to refuse you, at least not for long. Hence, I'll put on my reviewer's hat, put my own predilections aside and take you on a journey to the lands of Everglow and analyze the mechanics of Ponyfinder. Cue insert Robot Unicorn Attack, Blind Guardian's Battlefield Metal-edition in the background. Don't say I didn't warn you! ;P


Okay, the first thing we notice after a brief piece of introductory prose, would be the general ponykind racial traits. Ponykind are fey, medium-sized and gain +2 Con and Wis. They have a quadruped speed of 40 ft., 20 ft. when walking on two legs. They get low-light vision, +2 to saves vs. poison, spells and SPs and Endurance as a bonus feat. Being quadrupeds, they get +4 to CMD versus trips and +50% carrying capacity and they get a Unique Destiny bonus feat at first level. All in all, the total race is strong. So, how does the setting handle being fingerless - pretty smoothly. Components of spells, unarmed attacks, touch attacks, wielding items - all covered. Basically, as envisioned here, ponies don't really suffer from any penalties of require complex modifications - no barding restrictions, they still have hand and ring slots, etc. So if you're a fan of simulationalist approaches, that may potentially dissatisfy you, though it makes integration of ponies in a given context very easy. Pegasi and Unicorns are covered as pretty common alternate racial trait-packages, with pegasi gaining fly speed 30 ft at clumsy maneuverability - which can potentially cause issues in grim, low-magic settings that...wait. Sorry. Force of habit. We're talking about a magical setting where talking ponies that wield wands and weapons in their mouths garner a shrug at best. Ignore that. Kidding aside - you should be aware of many a module not taking flight into account until 5th-6th level. Still, generally no issue there and the formatting of the race is according to the specifications established in Pathfinder books - kudos!


Beyond these more common of alternate pony-breeds, we are introduced to chaos hunters, clockwork ponies (a template you can basically apply to other pony-subtypes), doppelgänger ponies, gem ponies that can deflect rays 1/day as via Deflect Arrow, leather wings, sea horses and zebras - If I'm skimming over these, then mainly since they represent relative smooth modifications of teh base chassis - and fluff-wise, the Tribes of Everglow-book (review coming very soon) covers them in more detail. After covering thus the base ponykind racial framework, we address the question of class options and ponykind's relation with classes next - beginning with two sorceror bloodlines: The unification bloodline is all about gaining some traits from ponykind subtypes -from canines to wings and horns, this one basically codifies an über-pony as a progression of the bloodline and features some player-agenda, which is always nice to see in the otherwise linear bloodlines - and yes, including multiple capstones.


The second one would be the vampiric bloodline that gain vampire-themed abilities - generally solid with the usual suspect like children of the night, gaseous form and similar options providing what you'd expect, theme-wise. Solid. The take of ponies on the respective classes and favored class options for the classic paizo-classes (Core + APG) are covered before we get racial archetypes: Aerial Warriors (barbarian) are about aerial mobility, artifact tender rogues can UMD items with charges to use two charges in activation instead, increasing the CL of the effect by +2. Slightly problematic at 10th level with this one - an option to use UMD to prevent the loss of charges when activating items. While the action required is a massive full-round, this can still be abused pretty badly and should be carefully contemplated - a more complex formula for the DC would have helped here...perhaps increasing the DC on consecutive uses per day? Elemental Savant druids get an elemental-themed domain and can call forth elementals. Okay, so far, so common. Know what has a rather awesome visual? The mobile cannon gunslinger. These quadrupeds can utilize guns on their back and may, at later levels, use Large two-handed firearms; at higher levels even two! Pretty damn cool...I can see ponies with friggin' huge guns strapped to their backs and sides wrecking havoc...Wait. Damn. Did I just write this?


Mystic Prancer bards basically are faces that can modify their fascinate effect to also include a pied piper of Hamelin-style effect. Natural Magi gain no armor proficiency, but may expend SPs with 3/day uses to refill their arcane pool and they get the options to perform melee attacks at range, though these cost arcane pool points. However, they pay for this flexibility by gaining a stunted armor proficiency progression. And this archetype would be well a place as any to remark upon one particular facet of this book: While, for the most part, the editing is more than solid on a rules-language level, there are quite a few instances where e.g. attributes are not capitalized and a couple of instances where the rules-language deviates from the established standard. Now, in favor of this book: The rules-language generally does work, even if it is not always particularly elegant - which is more than one could say about quite a few freshman offerings.


The Pony Scholar is an interesting wizard archetype at higher levels, when he can elect to become fatigued/exhausted/etc. instead of losing a prepared spell - the daily cap prevents bad abuse, though a caveat to prevent the ability use for characters immune to fatigue would have been appreciated. The scholar of the tribes wizard, finally, is all about the tribes and emulating them. Tribal thieves are alchemists that have mutagens that can feature tribal peculiarities (the mage hand spell isn't properly italicized here). Wardens of the Night paladins can make for an interesting exercise in illustrating what I mean by wonky wording: "When they channel to harm, it manifests in a bright glow of silvery moonlight as per daylight with a duration of 1 round per paladin level. It is effective against shapeshifters and aberrations, but only half damage to undead. Wardens may not channel to heal." It is pretty apparent how this ability works, but it does offer a couple of deviations from standardized wording. It can't be abused and isn't problematic, but the rules language aesthetes among you may cringe a bit. That being said, other than that, the archetype, as well as the witch doctor witch, are solid, though the latter does sport an instance of missing italicization.


The pdf also provides an array of eidolon evolutions, some of which are tribe-exclusive - they generally are solid, though having eidolons healed by heat can be pretty easily abused. Then again, 7th level prereq and tribe-exclusivity render that one still feasible. The pdf also sports a ton of racial feats that range from better Disguise for Doppelgänger-ponies to the Gunnery Squad teamwork feat that allows adjacent allies to reload your gun. Similarly, action-economy powered blindsense that can be upgraded via follow-up feats and the like is interesting. Gaining a gore attack is evocative, but specification on how it behaves regarding primary/secondary attacks and damage type would have been appreciated here. Half-constructs can net themselves light fortification (non-stackable caveat included!) and a couple of SPs that thematically fit are also included.


Takes a deep breath This, however, is NOT where the book stops - the goat-like cloven, quadruped fey, gain +2 to one ability score of their choice, 40 feet movement rate (20 feet on two legs), low-light vision, immunity to altitude sickness and retain Dex-mod while Climbing/Acrobatics-using on narrow/slippery surfaces. They get a 1d4 gore attack (see above - no primary/secondary/damage type included, though that can be looked up) and "Cloven get a bonus against poison equal to their hit dice." We know what's meant, but this still makes me cringe. Bonus-type? I assume racial. It's also "bonus to saves against..." sigh Anyways, they also get +2 to Perception and Appraise for certain checks and are, obviously, fingerless. Their racial feats allow them to eat basically anything, jump better, get better horns and FCOs are provided.


Flutterponies gain +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Str, are medium, have a base speed of 30 ft. (bipedal: 20 ft.), a fly speed of 30 ft (average maneuverability) and may reduce person themselves 1/day. They are treated as ponykind and can, at will, emit light from their antennae. They are, obviously, fingerless and quadruped. These strange ponies began as basically pony-shaped swarms of aggressive, vermin-like nuisances, but evolved to increase in size and intelligence and become more agreeable - but they still are considered to be somewhat alien. Conversely, their racial feats reflect the somewhat fey-ish theme. Their agility allows them, with the right feat, to 1/round use Fly via an immediate action as their AC, which, while it may be cheesed, is limited enough to not become problematic. Pretty impressive - there is a "share the same space"-teamwork-feat that actually works. I've seen a lot designers fail at these.


Griffons get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, have a fly speed of 400 ft. (poor maneuverability), base speed 30 ft. (20 ft. bipedal), a 1d6 bite attack (again, yaddayadda primary/secondary...), low-light vision and...they may treat clouds, mist or fog as solid. This last ability, flavor-wise, is gold - though I wished it specified how exactly that interacts with e.g. stinking cloud, cloudkill, etc. - can these guys walk on these clouds? If so, are the affected by the negative effects of the spells or unharmed? Now before you start asking these questions yourself - there is a racial feat, Cloud Surfing, that addresses these questions and makes you capable of being pushed away by them, which is awesome...but the info should not be hidden in a feat, but part of the damn cool, evocative base ability. And yes, FCOs, once again, are provided for a couple of classes.


Phoenix Wolves get +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Int, have a base speed of 40 ft, 20 ft bipedal, geta 1d6 bite attack, fire resistance 5, increase CL of fire-descriptor spells, fire domain, fire bloodline, flame mystery...you get the idea. Phoenix wolves with Cha of 11+ also get some nice SPs and they get +2 to feints and against being feinted as well as low-light vision. Bred from hellhounds purged of evil, these creatures feast on ash, cinders and coal and make for interesting creatures. They can use racial feats to gain wings, increase their fire resistance, etc. and even get a 1/day breath weapon. Once again, favored class options included.


Purrsians would be the winged cats of Everglow and gain +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis, base speed 40 ft. (half bipedal), fly speed at 3o ft with clumsy maneuverability, a weak 1d3 bite, can retry not too horribly botched attempts to change a creature's attitude and +10 ft. when charging, running or withdrawing. They gain low-light vision as well. Nomadic and driven to amass wealth, they represent an interesting blending of tropes and can gain claw attacks, which can be upgraded to allow them to steal objects when hitting with both. The FCOs provided are solid. Nice for simulationalists - the option to replace costly components for spells sans level-increase, but via money -


Steelhearts would be half-construct fey that have a base speed of 30 ft, bipedal speed 20 ft, get +2 to saves vs. disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, fatigue and exhaustion, can't be resurrected and do not need to eat, breathe, sleep. They get electricity resistance 5 and low-light vision. These pony-shaped horses are pretty much an enigma - they guard their origins with zeal and hence, once a war with ponykind resulted...now, relations are a bit strained and part of the deal was that ponykind would refrain from trying to unearth their origins. Unique: A racial feat that lets you ground electricity, lessening the effect for all affected.


After the steelheart's favored class options, the sun cats are next: They gain +2 Str and Wis, -2 Int, base speed 40 ft., bipedal speed 20 ft, always treat Perception and Stealth as class skills, +10 ft when charging, withdrawing or running, a 1d3 bite, 2 1d4 claws (both lacking primary/secondary classification and damage types), scent and low-light vision. Proud, nomadic predators, sun cats can use racial feats to AoE-demoralizes that can also deal channel damage. Pretty OP: When you make a save, you can grant all allies within 30 ft a reroll....that one overshoots the target a bit for a relatively easy to get feat. Still, overall, an interesting race. To nitpick, one of the feats is based on a 75% of maximum hp threshold to work, which can be a bit clunky.


Beyond all of these races, which generally are well-balanced internally, a full-blown pantheon of gods is provided and the pdf sports extensive age, height and weight tables. As for balancing with other races, the relative easy means of acquiring flight does change the dynamics of low-level gameplay in particular, so that's something to look out for. Still, as a whole and within its own context, the races are generally well-balanced among themselves - slightly above PFRPG-core races, with an increased emphasis on mobility. The number of problematic options here is very small and overall, the chapter can be considered to be pretty impressive.


But perhaps you are not that interested in going full-blown Everglow? Fret not -the pdf provides stats for earth-bound ponykind animal companions and familiars. The pdf also suggests optional rules for more realistic deficiencies or more relaxed takes on fingerless characters - in case you're not like me and don't get an aneurysm trying to picture ponies using hooves for fine manipulation - mind you, I don't judge - it's certainly cool that the options are here! But this is a campaign setting and thus, after a brief history of Everglow, we get an in-depth background story of these lands...including notes of diverse factions with associated faction traits. And yes, they get trait type and bonuses right AND matter for the most part! While this iteration of the base setting of Ponyfinder assumes an age wherein the grand empire has fallen, there are some notes on alternate era ponies, including a Large alternative race, the anteans and ghost ponies. And yes, these do receive their own array of racial feats, though they do not gain any unique FCOs.


Wait, wait, wait - what? Iteration? Era? Well, yeah - and this is pretty intriguing: The campaign setting proceeds to grant us glimpses into the respective eras of the empire and Everglow, with faction advantages and liabilities, traits and alternate ponykind-versions and associated racial feats for the associated era. One result is that the GM has some control over tones and themes, can still blend the topics at hand...and the pdf, ultimately, thus already has a bare-bones set-up for an era-spanning type of campaign ingrained in its DNA.


But settings are more than just timelines and factions - they require locales and the book does not disappoint: This book sports basically a gazillion of well-crafted settlement entries with ample of intriguing hooks and cool ideas included. The one thing I was missing here would be the settlement statblocks - none are provided with only basic breakdown of the bare minimum of demographics provided. Apart from that, prose-wise, this chapter was a surprisingly well-crafted and easy to read section. Beyond these notes, the movers and shakers, famous and infamous among ponykind, from the cool rebel to the legendary scholar, are provided with detailed fluff-only write-ups - so no, the statblocks for these guys will have to wait for a later book. Still, once again, a significantly more nuanced array of characters than I expected, since some of the names and artworks do point a bit towards "this is the cliché-XYZ-guy"; instead, most have some component that sets them somewhat apart. The chapter also includes an array of adventure hooks and groupings to provide more subject matter for the GM to develop.


Beyond this massive chapter, the pdf also sports an assortment of items, mundane and magical for your perusal - crystalline slippers fit for a queen, enchanted spectacles and a small assortment of spells, including a stunning lightning wall, is nice, though e.g. non-italicized saves and the like can prove to be a bit galling for the rules-language sticklers like yours truly. Oh, and a spell to temporarily grant you hands? Covered. So if you really want ponies with hands - here is the tool for just that.


Beyond even more nice, properly codified traits, we arrive at the brief Everglow bestiary in the back of the book, where creatures illustrated in full color, from the CR 1/3 flutters to the CR 12 inevitable vanguard and a ghost variant await. These monsters are okay and generally pretty neat, though there are some minor hiccups here and there in the math and formatting.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are the weak spots of this pdf - while pretty impressive on a formal level, the rules-language does show that this book is the work of a then inexperienced company and sports some deviations from the default. On the plus-side, the pdf, most intriguingly, in spite of this, manages to work mostly sans ambiguities or issues. While there are some issues that extend into the rules, they are few and far in between - as a whole, this is an impressive freshman offering. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with a solid background and generally nice artworks, though at the end of some racial entries and chapters, there are a couple of pages that are mostly blank and feature only a bit of text - not a big fan of those. I don't have the print-version of this one, but if the other Silver Games print copies are any indicator, print would be the way to go here. Why? Simple. Unfortunately, the pdf has no bookmarks, which is pretty annoying for a book of this density and size. Artworks range from superb to okay and are generally original pieces, which is nice. The cartography of the continent of Everglow is colorful and nice.


Stephen Ritterbush, David Silver and Anthony McKaskle's Ponyfinder...is much better than I expected it to be. In fact, while suffused with a spirit of cheerfulness, you won't find the level of saccharine "Friendship solves everything"-approach in this book: And that's a good thing, even if you are an MLP-fan. Why? Because, let's be honest - that simply does not make for that interesting fantasy gaming. That being said, this still is the antithesis of the grimdark setting - this is cheerful, positive high-fantasy. Surprisingly, the tight racial balancing is consistent throughout in its valuing of racial abilities. The basic premise of assumed flight as relatively widely available means that other narratives can be crafted and are supported. The presentation is surprisingly professional, in particular for a freshman offering...and. Wait.


Okay, imagine jaded, cynical grimdark-loving me sitting in front of the screen with a black metal corpse paint for maximum comedic effect, gnashing his teeth and blurting out...I actually kind of liked the setting. No, seriously. I am so not the target audience of this campaign setting and I still managed to take some cool ideas out of this pdf. At the same time, I should emphasize that this is not a hyper-detailed campaign setting - this should instead be considered to be basically the Ponyfinder core-rules, with a bunch of setting information...but if you're looking for in-depth information, that will have to wait for future books. Still, this setting is significantly better and more evocative than quite a few I have read. It's not for everyone and if you hate the very idea of ponies, you probably won't be convinced anyways. But if you're like me and indifferent to the concept, you'll probably find quite a few cool tricks in this book and be just as surprised by a well-crafted, unique setting with ample potential.


Rules-language purists may shudder sometimes while reading this, get annoyed by e.g. how natural weapons are treated, etc., but as a whole, significantly less often than one would expect from the baseline - the majority of content herein is solid.


How to rate this, then? Well, while there are a couple of rules/balance-hiccups and issues, they are pretty few and far in-between. While the rules-language is wobbly, it generally maintains an unambiguous functionality and, more importantly, establishes a solid balance baseline for the setting regarding the options it provides. This may not be perfect, but it is an impressive first book and well worth a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the freshman offering bonus. See you around next time, when I'll pick apart the Tribes of Everglow hardcover...


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Zane's Guide to Pistols
Publisher: One Dwarf Army
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/02/2016 04:35:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition


This pdf depicting pistols for 5e clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page foreword/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page almost blank (only a small part of a sentence is on it, so I'm counting it as blank), leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


After a brief introduction, we are introduced to the general gun rules herein: Basically, on a 1 on an attack roll, a weapon jams and can't be used until you spend an action to clear it. Guns as portrayed here have a rate of fire - a single shot is just that. A burst of fire consumes 3 rounds of ammo, but adds +1 damage die to the damage output of the weapon - 2d6 become 3d6, for example. This increased power, however, also means that the weapon can jam on a 1-2. Finally, there would be full auto fire, which allows you to target a single 10-ft. cube within long range: Every creature in the area must succeed a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8+ your Dexterity modifier, + proficiency bonus, if any) or suffer the weapon's damage on a failed save, none on a successful save. Creatures beyond the normal range have advantage on the save, which mathematically and logic-wise makes sense. Saves in 5e are pretty swingy and advantage somewhat alleviates this. Auto fire consumes 10 rounds of ammo and most weapons cannot perform more than one such shot, even if you otherwise would be capable of attacking multiple times. Auto also can jam the weapon on a 1-3.


Additionally, every weapon has an ammo score, which denotes the number of pieces of ammo it can hold before requiring reloading, which consumes an action. Guns can prematurely be reloaded. The pricing for the ammo is pretty pricey, btw. - the least expensive bullets, for .38-guns, costs 30 gp per 50 bullets, which renders this ammunition significantly more expensive than e.g. crossbow bolts or arrows (1 gp net you 20 of those, in case you need a direct comparison). The revised edition now clearly states that gun ammo cannot be retrieved - good!


The pdf then goes on to depict the classic guns - a total of 7 such guns are depicted, all with a nice bit of in-character prose by Zane Ironheart, dwarven mercenary. Since the gun-rules obviously are a tad bit more complicated than the base weapon rules, each of the weapons gets a short mini table listing its respective quality, making presentation of autoloader, combat magnum, etc. pretty concise. And better yet - there also is a classic at a glance table in the PHB's style. No complaints! Most guns depicted here are simple ranged weapons that range in damage from 2d4 to 2d6, but vary in the details: Autoloaders are light weapons, whereas hand cannons do not suffer from malfunctions and allow you to move only up to half your speed while reloading...but these get the option to reroll the lowest damage die and keep the new result. Mini-shottys get +1 to attack rolls versus foes up to 10 feet away, but deal only half damage at close range. To make up for that, their scattershot also allows you to make bonus attacks against a creature within 5 ft. of the original target when scoring a 15-20; on the downside, this goes both ways and, when botching, you can similarly be forced to make attacks versus allies - friendly fire. One important balancing factor here would also be Heavy Recoil - the more efficient of these weapons have a minimum Strength score - not meeting this score means you'll suffer disadvantage on attack rolls. OUCH. Cool, btw.: It makes a difference for the purposes of this drawback whether you one-hand or two-hand-wield the gun.


So what do the martial guns provide? Well, for one, the machine gun gets burst fire and full auto, even if the other traits aren't that impressive and the one-shot express...shoots basically one round and then is toast...so make it count. So that would be the basic framework.


After this, the pdf goes on to depict "the exotic stuff" - i.e. a collection of diverse magic guns - interestingly, not just sporting a general scarcity, but also providing a more fine-grained value, which is a nice touch for control-freak bastard GMs like me. Now the respective items run quite a broad gamut: There would be an autoloader that allows you to mark a foe as a bonus action, gaining +2 to attack and damage rolls versus said foe, whereas a mini-shotty deals +1d4 damage on a damage die roll of 4 - and now, the previously ambiguous wording has been cleaned up. Better sniping can be achieved via the aptly-named Bullseye. The one-shot express cannibal-gun can be enhanced by sacrificing life to it, while another gun fires corrosive bullets that have a chance of ruining a target's armor...which is pretty interesting, particularly considering that the pdf manages to take natural armor healing into account and now also includes a note on interaction with magic - once again, great work cleaning that one up and yes, this does include notes on interaction with resistance/immunity!


Increased ammo-expenditure for increased damage can be found as well. A very powerful weapon, Deadly Scanner, is pretty nasty - it's threat range for critical hits increases by +1 for each subsequent shot fired at a target, whether it hits or misses...and the gun deals bonus damage on crits. Lightning-laced six-shooters that can stun the target - resistance and immunity do feature herein and the effect now is properly balanced!


One of the most visually stunning guns now also works perfectly - a magnum that deals bonus lightning damage and has a chance to spawn single-target arcs of electricity - the Electrifying Cueball. And no, I can't misread that one any more- it's proper and precise. Kudos!


The fire gun now allows for a save to avoid being ignited by the shot and the cold gun can paralyze you, all while taking defenses into account. Pretty cool: There is a MIB-style thunder-damage causing legendary autoloader that has enormous recoil, while the Lucky Punk is an obvious nod to Dirty Harry - any roll of 5+ does not consume any ammo...which is pretty powerful, considering the high costs of ammo. A nod to Judge Dredd can also gbe found within these pages alongside charge-based, life-leeching gun...there are quite some solid ideas here. The bolter than can inject microexplosives into targets now also features a properly cleaned up entry and can now stand as an epitome of the most awesome guns in this book.


The pdf also sports two new feats, Guns Akimbo and Pistol Expert. While nice, the former does not account for potential heavy firearms a GM may devise, which is a bit of a pity. Pistol Expert allows, among other things to reduce recoil and reroll 1s of damage dice AND increases the reload action economy penalty, which may be a bit much for one feat. The pdf also allows for a double tap fighting style and provides the gunslinger martial archetype for the fighter, which generally can be considered a cool take on the tropes - at 15th level, you can e.g. do the Lucky Luke and take reactions to ranged attacks before the triggering ranged attack is resolved. The interesting thing of this one, mainly, is that it allows for extra control regarding attacks via luck and a bit of ability control, providing some serious bonus attack combo potential - whether you like or dislike that ultimately is up to taste.


Conclusion:


The editing and formatting of the revised edition are cleaned up and significantly smoother on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks apart from the cover, but comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. As a minor nitpick, one page is almost empty - that does not feature in the final verdict, but in case you're particular about that kind of stuff


Georgios Chatzipetros of One Dwarf Army's freshman offering is much tighter than I honestly expected it to be: The basic firearm rules follow the time-honored tradition of power at a price, with ample subsets of rules to make them feel different from crossbows etc. I like the frame and the pricing is also pretty tight, with none of the clutter/issues that other systems have. The focus lies very much on MOAR damage - to the point where you can outclass all other weapon types easily. This may be an issue in mixed settings, so beware of that - a focus on more utility, less damage escalation via exploding dice-like mechanics may be prudent. And mind you, I like exploding dice. I'll never forget a PC of mine blowing a BBEG's head clean off with 5 consecutive maximum d10s on a musket in a previous edition, thus saving the whole group from a TPK...but in view of the small die-sizes employed, you'll statistically get quite a bunch of rerolls/bonus damage. How and whether that still works in the context of later installments, where auto- and burst fire are more common...we'll see.


More important than that, though, would be the simple fact that the author took the time to clean up and vastly improve the weaknesses in the previous iteration of this pdf, replacing minor glitches with pure awesomeness and, in many cases, juggling relatively complex concepts. The revised version has thus earned a rating-upgrade - this is now a 5 star-purchase, well worth the more than fair asking price!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zane's Guide to Pistols
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

In The Company of Unicorns (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2016 03:11:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Rite Publishing's series of racial sourcebooks clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let's take a look!


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


So, this time around, it's unicorns - but what type? Well, obviously not the classic arcane mysticism of the middle ages that equated the unicorn with Jesus Christ - but neither is this just a rehash of the classic, noble trope, though this does feature in the equation. The unicorns, or re'em as they call themselves, as depicted herein, are a noble breed with a tendency towards good and an ancient history. The re'em, as depicted herein in vivid prose, do feature a long and storied history and they have, indeed, retreated from many interactions with fickle men. If anything, the theme and general feeling the prose evoked was one of subdued melancholy and yet, hope - the closest emotional analogue would probably be the blending of the aesthetics and mindset of the wonderful classic "The Last Unicorn" with a fantasy world - with e.g. traditions like the Great Gallop of the herds both making sense from an in-game point of view and aptly taking visual associations from the classic piece of animation, blending them in an evocative manner. And yes, should you be new to the series - this reads well, for the prose and racial information is written from the perspective of one of these unicorns and yes, there are regional differences in fluff, with unobtrusive nods to the implicit Questhaven setting of Rite Publishing shining through here and there sans compromising adaptability.


Racial stats-wise, the re'em receive +2 Con and Wis, -2 Dex, are small magical beasts (but do not gain any traits save those listed), have low-light vision and darkvision 60 ft and are quadrupeds, which modifies carrying capacity and limits slots and armors. They gain +2 to Knowledge (Nature) and Survival and increase all conjuration (healing) spell CLs cast within 10 ft. of them by +1. Re'em get +2 natural AC and a 1d4 natural horn attack that receives 1.5 times Str-mod to damage. It should be noted that the latter may not specify that it's obviously a primary natural attack, but since they don't gain hoof-attacks per default, I'll let that stand as an obvious and negligible minor gripe.


The Re'em get a full-blown age, height and weight-table and may choose two alternate arrays of ability modifiers: +2 Int and Wis, -2 Con (not a fan, a bit lopsided) and +2 Str and Cha, -2 Int. Interesting: These choices do also modify the "minor" racial traits for a better rounded variant than usual in each. A powerful aura of corruption (+1 CL for negative energy-based spells and SPs), walking across water, fire resistance 5, endure elements vs. the cold and +1 to atk. vs. lions and leonine foes (like chimeras, dragonnes, etc.) can be found. Battling unnatural foes, SR equal to 6 + level, free movement over desert terrain, swim speed-transformation as a swift action...the alternate racial traits are diverse and varied...and they come with an important secondary balancing mechanism beyond the limited slots. Unicorns, obviously...have no hands, which makes certain operations not as simple as one would expect them to be.


The race also sports FCOs for the druid, fighter, hunter, magister, oracle, paladin, ranger, sorceror, taskshaper and witch hunter classes as well as for the racial paragon class introduced in this book, the Silvermane Exemplar.


However, unlike many a racial booklet, this sports an intriguing component - the Re'em Hero universal archetype, which nets the racial paragon's natural attack progression and a very limited array of alicorn abilities and options for growth (Medium at 5th, Large at 10th level) - however, at the same time, this archetype does cost the classes: Re'em alchemists lose throw anything and bombs, for example. Similarly, the class-array, which cover the traditional classes and the ACG-array alongside some classics from Rite Publishing and Rogue Genius Games is extensive and varied in the modifications employed - sorcerors are, for example, locked into the new unicorn bloodline, though the progression of bloodline powers and feats. These, just fyi, allow you to alleviate certain conditions a limited amount of times per day, cleanse targets and later gain some immunities traditionally associated with unicorns.


Beyond this universal archetype, the pdf also sports two class-specific ones, with the Forest Guardian Druid gaining the option to attune herself to a limited selection of domains and spontaneously cast the attuned domain spells, while the Arboreal Equine ranger gains woodland stride and basically is a hunter-themed short and simple archetype.


Now I already mentioned the racial paragon class - so what does it offer? The Silvermane Exemplar gets 2+Int-mod skills per level, d10 and only proficiency with natural attacks. The class gains full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Ref-saves. At 1st level and every odd level thereafter, the class gains a so-called alicorn ability. These abilities are powered by a pool equal to 1/2 class level (min 1) + Charisma modifier. For as long as the character has at least one of these pool points, they can manifest mage hand at will as an SP, eliminating the crippling factor of not having hands - which is btw. pretty important for the universal archetype also has this option. Additionally, a point from this pool can be expended to enhance temporarily the silvermane's horn in a way similar to the magus' enhancements, with net bonuses increasing by +1 every 4 levels thereafter. At 5th level, a similar weapon property-exchange can be used.


So that would be the base functionality. Beyond this, the alicorn abilities are pretty diverse: The Alicorn charm allows the silvermane to expend a point from her pool to create a talisman that cannot be regained while it exists. Said charm can then be enchanted and reabsorbed, granting potentially, at least for some time, a significantly powerful god-horn at higher levels...though only for a couple of days and the higher the power, the lesser its duration will be. Not for every campaign great...but unique and costly enough. The abilities thus run a gamut between unique utility and modifications and active/passive benefits - increased reach while the silvermane has at least one point in her pool. Short-range, scaling and upgradeable teleportation makes for a pretty powerful tool for a full BAB-class, particularly since it is available at 1st level. However, the fact that it is limited by the pool and that it has a mishap chance when teleporting beyond line of sight act as balancing mechanisms here. Shape-changing into an alternate form, increased damage output foe ONE natural attack, better armor...pretty cool. At the same time, first level unassisted flight powered by the pool can be problematic, though, once again, the pool does limit this sufficiently for most rounds. At 7th level, pounce can be chosen and evil exemplars can ooze powerful toxins. And yes, at high levels, telekinesis and trampling is possible. Limited SPs can also be found. I mentioned natural attacks, right? Well, 6th level provides hooves 11th bite and 16th a tail attack, all of which are properly codified regarding their type. (Though, as a nitpick you should ignore, damage-type, if relevant, needs to be looked up.) Now, like the universal archetype, these exemplars grow - to Medium size at 4th, to Large size at 8th level, with both allowing for investments to be used to further enhance the bonuses gained.


Investments? Yep, for the silvermane exemplar chooses at herd at first level, of which 6 are provided. Herds may be changed at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, also allowing for the reassignment of the investments chosen and reflect changing playstyles and party-dynamics. Each herd grants a herd ability that ranges from active at-will stabilize per touch to adding Cha instead of Con to Fort-saves and maximum negative hit points. A minor complaint: Some of these grant class skills - I assume the bonus is lost upon changing herds? Or isn't it? I'm not sure whether this is considered to be retraining or more akin to a multiclass operation in terms of its rules. Still, a none-too-grievous glitch. Each herd also sports several investments to choose from - these are gained at 2nd level and every even level thereafter and determine the capstone final investment gained. Unless otherwise noted, these investments have a save of DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha-mod when required and generally, the abilities tend to be less directed at resource management, though tie-ins do exist - certain alicorn abilities like Trample, etc. that only work while the silvermane has points can e.g. be made available at all times with one such investment of the ferocity herd, which btw. can also gain DR, combat feats - you get the idea.


Basically, each herd is somewhat akin to a mystery with a huge bunch of revelations you can freely choose. On a formal level, I noticed e.g. a non-italicized ability header here and one instance of the investment-header missing between herd ability and investment list. Indeed, the editing here is not as tight as in the rest of the pdf - take e.g. the Magic herd's alicorn bolt that can cause class level x d6 untyped magical damage a very limited amount of times per day in a 60 ft.-line....only to then talk about "damage of the selected type." I think this ought to instead provide a proper damage type...untyped damage, in spite of daily limitations, is always clunky in its interactions with creatures, defensive capabilities etc. Overall, somewhat baffling since e.g. the rune-traps they can make get the usual energy type codification done right. Pretty cool - one ability takes the "hit chance"-idea and provides it as a quasi-hex. In case you missed that Rite Publishing-idea: It's pretty much the opposite of a miss chance: When you'd miss, you still have a chance to hit the target! And yep, hex-24-hour-caveat keeps it in line. I also like an exclusive resistance to antimagic effects and spells, representing the uniquely magical nature of these beings.


If you'd prefer your silvermanes less magical, I'd like to point you towards the nature herd, where dominating enemies, alicorn pool-powered fascinate effects via tail whirling, favored terrain and an animal companion at -3 levels beckon. On the downside, the moonlight globe gained here once again deals untyped damage...and by now we all know how I think about that...even though I do love the visuals evoked here. One ability that may be in line with lore and restricted in daily uses, but also remains very frustrating, would be a curse available at 12th level: Save or suck, spellcasters - if you fail, that's it - no more arcane spellcasting. Not even SPs. Curse. Have fun. I've seen those mechanics before and I didn't like them back then - I still don't like them here, though at least the limited uses mean that this won't be used all the time...and it requires an attack. Still: GMs beware, silvermanes are very mobile and one attack can wreck your BBEG. Cool on the other hand: Size-increases to a maximum of HUGE and a cornucopia of alternate movement rates...which are somewhat underpriced at 10th level: Burrow 30, Climb 90, Fly (good ) 90 ft, Swim 90 ft, blindsense 30 ft., scent, constrict (which attacks?), ferocity, grab, jet, poison, pounce, rake, trample, trip, web, +6 Str, -4 Dex, +6 natural armor. Granted, this lasts only one minute per level and has a daily cap...but still. Look at these qualities! Seriously??? All of them? At once? WTF?? I am pretty positive that this was supposed to be a list to select some of these abilities and not the totality, for trying to get all of these via buffs etc. is exceedingly costly...plus, the silvermane already is a pretty powerful class. As written, this ability's pretty broken, in spite of its limitations.


That being said, while there are some problematic components herein, there similarly are some awesome bits and pieces to be found here - the purity herd, for example, gains a pala-like lay on horn, use alicorn points to enhance saves of allies, send the undead to their resting places and tear down illusions with their horns and even reduce the severity of the most problematic of conditions. Silvermanes belonging to the proud herd gain a kind of resistance against being forced to roll multiple times and take the worse result and, at 10th level, they may perform combat maneuvers sans incurring AoOs - which is cool, particularly since the investment has the prerequisite of requiring 2 combat maneuver feats - but what constitutes a "combat maneuver feat" - I assume the usual Improved Trip/Disarm/etc., but cases could be made for diverging interpretations. This is particularly baffling to me since the unseen herd actually properly specifies feat-types when it comes to Blind Sense and Blindsight as abilities gained. Still - the proud and unseen herd, with focuses on not being impeded and stealth respectively probably constitute my favorites herein.


Beyond the final investment granted by the herd, the class gains aa winged apotheosis with wing attacks, Leadership and similar powerful tricks as a capstone, making the character truly formidable...and very hard to kill. The class also has archetypes - the honored companion is an interesting one: Basically, you get a Bonded Rider (as per the new feat) and play the mount...which is interesting. And yes, regular re'em will NOT be ridden! Blackmanes would be the corrupt anti-silvermanes - with auras of corruption, alternate alicorn abilities and the corruption herd, these would be the evil unicorns so dreaded. Oh, and the specialize in Betrayal feats - basically the evil brother of teamwork feats, which alongside a selection of racial feats, close this pdf - these btw. can grant you an alicorn ability, more investments, mighty kicks...the like. And yes, I really get some evil ideas while looking at these betrayal feats.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are rather good - though admittedly not as tight throughout the whole pdf as in quite a few Rite Publishing releases. There are some hiccups on a formal level, though none too much. More significant would be that the rules-language sports some instances where damage-type classification or slightly more precise rules-language would have helped. Layout adheres to Rite's two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports gorgeous artworks and comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


BJ Hensley and Steven D. Russell have glimpsed into my twisted mind. Why? Because, believe it or not...I absolutely adore "The Last Unicorn." I always have the track on my MP3 player and have, unlike 98% of movies, watched it more than once without being bored out of my wits. (Yes, I mean America's version of the song, just fyi.)


Yeah, I'm a guy and I love the iconography, the subtext - everything about unicorns is simply evocative to me. And know what? I really like this pdf. I really enjoy how the hand-less/shapechange-issues have been addressed. I love how many aspects work. At the same time, though, there are some grains of sand in the machinery of this pdf - while the majority of options works exceedingly well, even while juggling complex concepts, there are a couple of hiccups. Take e.g. the aforementioned short-range teleportation that is a component of how the silvermane retains its movement superiority (powerful for full BAB-classes) - it does not note that it is a conjuration [teleportation]-effect, nor a CL, which means that its upgrade at 8th level, which duplicates dimension door, may now suddenly no longer work under certain conditions, while the teleport worked before. YES. I know, I know. I'm a stupid bastard. Any GM worth her or his salt can handle that and knows how it works. I know. Still, RAW, this is in here.


Still, the like would not and does not sink the pdf. While the silvermane is a very powerful melee combatant, the slot-restrictions and later, size-increases alongside the pool-based mechanics sans means of regaining the points actually evens out what looks much worse on paper than one would expect - while not too great for low-magic campaigns and grittier adventuring, in most campaigns the silvermane and options herein will even out as a balanced option. In grittier campaigns, less combat-focused silvermanes will probably still work if predicated by a proper agreement between players and GM...so yeah, overall, this is a nice job. At the same time, a couple of the abilities do sport some uncharacteristic oversights pertaining damage-type, some minor paste-errors...and some less minor hiccups. Similarly, not a fan of the save-or-suck tricks or the use of untyped damage in some cool abilities.


But then again, this is pretty much "The Last Unicorn - the class"...with literally everything you expect to see. And it's a great read that actually gets me excited, that inspires me. So...how do I rate this? Well, I have to say, I do consider this somewhat less refined that the take on rakshasa and the hiccups do extend to the mechanics in some instances. However, at the same time, this does make up for a lot in evocative prose, unique abilities and the sheer fact that it does not go the easy route - the vast majority of options in this book are unique and not something other classes could do - so it's not a "I poach class feature xyz" experience and when it does stumble, it at least does so valiantly in the pursuit of uniqueness instead of redundancy. In the end, I will hence settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform, with the caveat that GMs should take a good look at how some of the abilities interact before allowing them.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Unicorns (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class - Fury
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2016 07:16:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This base class clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The fury as presented herein is a barbarian/monk-hybrid and gets d8 HD, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-save progression, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, but not with any armor or shield. At 3rd level, the fury gets fast movement + 10 ft., which increases by +10 ft. again at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Similarly, the fury gains an AC-bonus while unarmored and unencumbered based on Cha-mod, with 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter increasing the bonus thus granted by +1.


A fury receives focused rage at 1st level governed by Cha - 4 + Cha-mod rounds per level, +2 rounds per class level. Temporary increases to Charisma do not increase focused rage. While in such a rage, furies gain +2 to Strength and Constitution as well as a +2 bonus to Will-save. Additionally, while in such a rage, they can perform basically flurry-based additional attacks, at the cost of a -2 penalty to all attacks - the impressive component here would be the fact that both TWFing and attack-dispersion between attacks in the focused rage is accounted for. More impressive, even, considering that the focused rage has full BAB for these attacks and yes, the fury takes a -2 penalty to AC. Similarly, the ability manages to get the Str-score limitations of off-hand attacks right and, while in focused rage, the fury may not use Cha-, Dex- or Int-based skills - excluding Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate and Ride. Furies are fatigued post rage for 2 rounds per round spent in focused rage and thankfully, the class feature comes with a handy list of focused rage attacks in a separate table, making the class here pretty user-friendly.


Speaking of user-friendly - base unarmed damage for Small, Medium and Large characters similarly gets its own little table, with particularly the nod towards Large characters being nice. And yes, damage increases parallel to the monk. 2nd level provides uncanny dodge and takes into account when a multiclass character already has the class feature. Which is as good a point as any to mention that rage powers and interaction with barbarian class levels and rage are covered - so no, these are not mutually exclusive per se. Rage powers are gained at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter. 3rd level provides maneuver training and 4th nets the class the ki pool - which is based on 1/2 class level + Cha-mod, with ki strikes scaling from magic at 4th to adamantine at 16th level. Interesting and perhaps one of the core cool abilities here: The fury may elect to take 2 points of Cha-damage which can only be healed naturally to end the fatigued condition, allowing for potentially quicker rage-cycling. (13th level can similarly get rid of exhaustion.)


7th level provides DR, +1 every 6 levels thereafter. Here's an interesting mechanic - the fury may also take hit point damage equal to class level instead of using a daily round of rage of point of ki...but said damage can only be healed naturally, effectively reducing the maximum hit points of the character. This allows for significant control over the resources...but also imposes the toll of a swift action as activation...and makes the fury potentially ever more fragile and thus should be well-contemplated. Mid-dungeon, burning through resources like this can result in some nasty rest required... 9th level provides improved uncanny dodge, again, with multiclass info.


11th level upgrades the benefits of focused rage to +4 and Will-save to +3 while also increasing the attacks, with 20th level providing +6/+4 and another upgrade, respectively. 15th level provides a brutal throat strike attack that makes the target potentially suffocate. 17th level provides a Diehard-granted option with ki pool-synergy. At 19th level, the fury can take negative levels as a swift action to double bonuses - and indeed, the class allows the fury to maintain the power of this ability by incurring cumulative negative levels - and yes, the ability cannot be cheesed via immunity to negative energy/level drain, etc. and cannot be magically removed.


The fury gets archetypes as well - The maimed gets a disfigurement instead of the 6th, 12th and 18th-level rage power - these basically would be 5 different micro-curses: Psychically broken characters are immune to morale bonuses or penalties, with immunities to confused conditions at 6th level, 12th level at charm spells and effects and 18th level, providing immunity to fear. Maimed furies have a clouded vision, but gain ever increasing senses. Enslaved characters have some penalized ability scores, but get ever increasing options to escape grapples and shackles etc. You get the idea.


The second archetype would be the revenant, who does not gain additional attacks from focused rage, but may suppress bleed and sleep and also gains immunity to death from massive damage. The archetype also gains morale bonuses to saves versus death, disease, poison, ability damage/drain, energy drain, paralysis and stunning. Here's the interesting component, though - at 5th level, the revenant may cause Cha-damage with a touch attack while in focused rage - if successful and the target fails to beat the scaling save, the fury will not have to deal with fatigue after the focused rage - basically, instead of burning your own body, a revenant focuses on dealing this type of drain. When a creature is killed with such a strike by the revenant, he may regain 1 ki, which would be very problematic...but basically, due to action-economy, it amounts to exchanging rage for ki, which also means that the kitten-ing of the ability can't really be used in any efficient manner. The interesting component here - the high-level abilities of the archetype can deal significantly more Cha-damage and even drain...but at the cost of significant amounts of ki. I really like this archetype's fluid resource management.


The final archetype would be the vengeful, who gets bonuses to atk and damage versus creatures that hit her, with the threshold ever increasing and the bonus scaling as well. Instead of fast movement, these characters gain a sworn enemy chosen from ranger favored enemies. The interesting component of this archetype is that they may expend 2 points of ki - to gain +Cha-mod to atk and damage and ignore all DR of the target...which is not something I am fond of. A fluid scaling of DR ignored, with more powerful DRs being unlocked at later levels would have probably been appropriate. 9th level provides a final retributive strike before going down.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues apart from ki not always being italicized, but ultimately, I never really got the reason why it was treated differently in some publications from talents et al in that regard, so yeah. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' 2-column full-color standard for the series and the pdf features a mix of b/w and full-color artwork - generally solid. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Stephen Rowe's Fury was a class I did not look forward to tackling - after all, I already had a damn cool monk/barbarian-hybrid, namely Forest Guardian Press' Savage. The most astounding component here would certainly be the fact that the two classes are radically different from one another. The fury can be basically summed up as "sudden death mode, the class" - you can deliver some brutal damage, yes, but at the cost of increasing vulnerability. And more importantly, the class actually uses a complex resource-management as an ingrained component of its design that renders the playing experience rather interesting. The fury, as a stand-alone, is pretty awesome, with only the vengeful feeling like an afterthought that falls short of the other two damn cool archetypes. That being said, this class does require some GM-oversight: Since it makes hit points a balancing factor and at the same time delimits ki as a limited resource, it can be cheesed via multiclassing and option-combinations, in harder ways the more ki-based options your game has.


Thus, I can't unanimously recommend the class for all tables; what I can do, however, is say that the class as such makes sense and, on its own, as a closed system, works rather well. Hence, I'm going to rate this one 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform, though with the express recommendation to GMs to limit the multiclassing capabilities of furies and their access to all those nifty ki-based options out there. Don't say I didn't warn you if you forego this precaution!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class - Fury
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Mists of Akuma - Imperial Dragons
Publisher: Storm Bunny Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2016 07:14:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The fourth free preview-pdf for Mists of Akuma clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page list of things to expect, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, one of which, as always, is devoted to the continent of Soburin, so let's take a look!


After a gorgeous art and proverb, we dive into the wonderfully crafted prose that details the history and nature of Imperial dragons - and no, they're not conveniently color-coded. The pdf's crunchy meat supplementing this prose would be three sample dragons - the wyrmling underworld dragon (challenge 6) that gets a nasty multiattack, necrotic breath and frightful presence. The adult variant of this dragon already has challenge 12,c an disguise itself and has legendary actions...and, at challenge 18, the ancient Hakanokishi is a pretty impressive example for the most powerful of these dragons - including legendary wing attacks. The underworld breath of the dragons gets easier to recharge at higher levels and the more powerful of these guys add exhaustion levels to the deadly breaths. Nice.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Mists of Akuma's full-color two-column standard and the pdf features neat full color artworks of stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Mike Myler's Imperial dragons are a fun glimpse of the things to come in this regard, with particularly the fluff of these dragons being very interesting. While personally, I considered the tsukumogami more intriguing and unique than these dragons, the pdf still is FREE and a no-brainer, easy download that makes you excited about the setting - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mists of Akuma - Imperial Dragons
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/30/2016 09:29:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This adventure clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (including tables for statblocks by CR), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page of advice on how to read statblocks, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look!


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


All right, so what do we get here? Well, first of all, we get a incredibly gorgeous b/w-map of the Duchy of Ashlar: The cartography by Simon Butler, Dan Dyson and Tommi Salama employed herein is...well glorious. Oh, and guess what? If you're like me and get a LOT of Raging Swan Press books to supplement your gaming experience...you'll notice something. The map tells you, which direction the lonely coast is, where deksport can be found - and indeed, in this duchy, you can see Wellswood, longbridge, ashford -some of the unique villages and places my groups have visited and come to love (or abhor) - oh, and the map also sports a wide array of as of yet unexplored places. And, in case you're asking - this whole region, contextualized, can easily be dropped into just about any campaign setting, though theme-wise, settings like Greyhawk, The Lost Lands or the like probably work best - and yep, the Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands is also mentioned.


There is a second important thing to note about this module: It is explicitly made for (relatively) new players - Core is assumed to be known, but that's basically about it. Hence, the challenges in this adventure are somewhat less pronounced than veterans would expect. At the same time, it should be noted that this pdf does not necessarily feature themes explicitly designated as "kid-theme" - it is not gory or grimdark or anything...it is just fantasy. I tested this module with my kid-group and ran into no issues. This is very much an adventure that allows the GM to utilize tropes of adventuring and fantasy, but sans being inappropriate. So yes, I'd consider this appropriate for all but the youngest and most sensitive of kids. The pdf also provides extensive scaling advice for each encounter - by +1/-1, which means that you can also run this for more seasoned adventurers sans the players becoming bored. One more thing - while this module introduces PCs and players to some of the classics, its structure allows the GM to include ample options for rest...or not, allowing for pretty concise control over the pacing of the module itself. And no, thankfully my most loathed adventuring clichés, the shadow and ogre bosses are absent from these pages. Thank Gygax!


All right, this is as far as I can get sans diving into SPOILERS. Potential players of this module should jump to the conclusion NOW.


...


..


.


All right, only GMs around? Good. We begin this module in the town of Dulwich, with 3 basic adventuring hooks and 4 entries of village lore being provided - this, as a whole, sets the stage for the motivation to explore the valley. A table of 6 rumors, some of which are false, some of which are correct, provide further information and, as a whole, this section of setting-up the module already indirectly teaches the value of doing one's legwork. The overland journey by movement speed has convenient travel durations noted and sports the option of getting lost. a brief 12-entry table of minor events during the journey features mechanically-relevant, fun little encounters that range from woodland critters to deep gulleys and streams.


The valley itself can be pictured as one that sports, obviously, multiple tombs - said tombs are the mini-dungeons in this book, but they are not the only graves there: Cairns can be looted and a table of items can be found there. Similarly, an 8-entry dressing table for the valley allows you to customized the dressing and generate more atmosphere. From the small waterfall to tracks, the valley has several interesting locations as such - but the interesting component, at least to me, would be that the mini-dungeons (usually only a couple of rooms) sport unique challenges: In the tomb of the stone woman, one can, for example, face an animated statue, with some traps that are painful, but not necessarily lethal, teaching this component of adventuring. And yes, from chests to sarcophagi, the level of detail provided in this pdf is excessive and makes running this very easy.


The tomb of the champions features unique adversaries and has a completely different flavor - inside lie the now undead remains of two erstwhile champions of the hobgoblins, emphasizing the component of combat in the exploration here. Finally, there would be a third mini-complex, wherein an owlbear and its young lair - these caves can be seen as introductions to animals and terrain - with bat guano, a bat swarm, uneven footing and the like, the focus here is admirably different.


This, however, is not nearly the extent of adventuring the pdf contains - beyond fully depicted random encounters, the module also sports a rival adventuring group that can act as a major complication for the PCs, feigning friendship and loyalty, while waiting to backstab them. Beyond these low-lives, there is another optional encounter that will introduce the necessity of ROLEplaying to PCs and players alike: The ghost of a perished adventurer haunts this valley's lake and putting her to rest is one of the more unique challenges in this pdf. It's not hard, mind you - but it makes it clear that sometimes, words are more powerful than thrown spells and drawn swords. These add-in-encounters, including an owlbear, obviously can also be used to save the PCs - if the aforementioned adventuring group's too much to handle...well, then the arrival of a pack of wolves or said owlbear may act as a save...and teach the valuable lesson of considering that the world is dynamic. (Fyi, in case anyone wondered: My kids are worse munchkins and power-gamers than my adults and walked all over the combat challenges...but still had a lot of fun, particularly relishing the chance of putting the ghost to sleep!)


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf features copious b/w-artworks (some of which I've seen before). The cartography is excellent, though no map-key-less versions are included. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one for the printer. Kudos!


Creighton Broadhurst's Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs is a great example of a first level module I would have loved to have back in the day. Why? Because it actually teaches the basics of adventuring. Watching for traps, not assuming that violence is always the solution, taking care of terrain, knowing that the world's dynamic...all those important little lessons are taught in a pretty concise manner by showing, not telling. The challenges are sufficiently moderate to make sure that the players don't get wiped out while learning these, though this does not mean that they can act foolhardily: This is an adventure and as such, it sports danger. Now granted, veterans may not necessarily be too blown away by the mechanic components, but the dressing and atmosphere may make this a feasible option for these as well, particularly if they prefer a campaign's start to be less lethal than the things to come.


Beautiful in its simplicity and level of detail, this is a great introductory module for the game we all know and love - and for this purpose, it should be considered to be a 5 star+ seal of approval module. Veterans and grognards who have seen it all may be slightly less intrigued, though the old-school vibe and aesthetic employed here may tug at one's heart's string. Still, for experienced and jaded audiences, this may be slightly less compelling and should be considered the equivalent of a 4 star module. One final note: Fans of Raging Swan press need this module -the contextualizing map of the duchy is awesome and truly evocative!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Letters from the Flaming Crab: Culinary Magic
Publisher: Flaming Crab Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/30/2016 09:25:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Letters from the Flaming Crab series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 3/4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8 1/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!


As in the first installment, we begin with a missive from captain Kelly Shell, captain of the planes- and worlds-jumping eponymous Flaming Crab, conveniently translated and compiled for us by J Gray. This page also consolidates Craft (cooking) and Craft (baking) into Craft (culinary), which is a sensible step.


So, how does culinary magic work? Well, each dish has a name, a difficulty for Craft (culinary) to make the dish, a description, list of ingredients, how many servings the dish yields, how long it takes to make the dish, actual directions for making the dish...and, obviously, magical benefits for consuming the dish. It should be noted that the cost for the dishes has been left open - since e.g. availability of owlbear eggs etc. fluctuates widely. While this does leave quite a bit of control in the hands of the GM, it ultimately does feel like a bit of a cop-out: At least a guideline for pricing (perhaps akin to how 5e classifies its items by scarcity?) would imho have been appreciated.


Now here is a cool benefit for all of us who are inclined to actually try recipes from books like this - one can actually create these dishes - sure, IRL I don't have manticore meat for the respective chilli - but I can substitute other meat for it! The relatively detailed step-by-step cooking directions make this component rather interesting, particularly if you're like me and enjoy making food. Benefits-wise, we can find coin-like cookies that enhance one's Appraise-checks, tacos that provide temporary hit points or fire resistance providing curry - though that requires a Fort-save to consume. Also irl. Why? It includes a naga jolokia - a ghost pepper, one of the hottest ingredients known to man. As a dedicated chilli head, I urge caution in this one regard - ghost peppers are ONLY for the dedicated chilli head, so if habaneros already pose an insurmountable obstacle for you, I'd suggest confining this recipe to the realm f fantasy alone...however, if you are like me and LOVE the really brutal heat...well, then this one can be pretty awesome!


Polymorph-duration enhancing sandwiches, black-eyed peas that grant you low-light vision and darkvision, Diplomacy-enhancing herb twists - I really, really enjoyed these recipes - not only for their benefits, but also due to their quality of breaking down the line between in- and out-game.


This is not where the pdf ends, though -a total of 9 traits provide connoisseur-options for the core races, longer duration from magical food or better Craft (culinary) - and yes, they get bonus type/trait-class right. 4 feats provide means to get more magical recipes, more servings and even ingredient substitution.


The pdf also sports mundane items - from the armored apron that nets you DR 2/slashing and fire resistance 2 (and may be a bit too inexpensive) to batter mixes, frying pans or hand juicers, these are generally cool. 4 magic items further complement this book, including declouding whisks, vessels that grant resistances to the consumer based on the food's temperature, breadboards that can generate food...pretty cool. The pdf also sports the culinary weapon property that enhances cooking and reduces prep time.


Finally, the pdf offers two archetypes - the kitchen witch gets a special athame that provides spells (but unlike a familiar can't learn new ones apart from leveling). To make up for his shortcoming, the athame increases autonomously in power and the kitchen witch receives 4 more hexes chosen from a list. Finally, at 4th level, the kitchen witch gets a unique and cool ability - they can bake hexes into their food, which allows them to either affect targets or share the hex's effects with allies. This can be used 3+ athame's enhancement bonus+ Int-mod times per day and allows you to grant some otherwise less useful hexes to allies...or royally screw over any adversaries you tricked into eating your food. And guess what? I really like this archetype. It does something unique. Kudos!


The second one would be the Performing Chef bard, who gets Culinary Magic as a bonus feat, diminished spellcasting and an appropriately modified proficiency list. Instead of some of the classic performances, the archetype gains a nauseating performance, TWF-ing and an attack that adds Intimidate to his assault...and they use Perform (culinary) instead of Craft (culinary) while also being capable of quickly storing and drawing items. Once again, a fun archetype.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch this time around - I noticed no hiccups or issues. Layout adheres to Flaming Crab Games' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has some nice interior artworks in B/w. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


J Gray, David S McCrae, Angel "ARMR" Miranda -congratulations! Why? Because this humble little pdf is imho all killer, no filler. Get it? Filler? Culinary...All right, I'll hit myself for that one later. But for now: This is a surprisingly well-crafted, humble and inspiring pdf - the recipes are neat and work IRL and are appropriate for just about every table - from the gritty to the fantastic, one could make a point that these could even make sense in a no-magic setting. Yeah, that is pretty awesome. The supplemental material provides similarly is rather tight - from the neat traits to the items and archetypes, there is not much to complain about. Scratch that - I actually have no viable gripes, only criticism on the level of "okay, I would have done this slightly different, but it works this way and conforms to the requirements of concise rules-language."


In short - after the already very promising first letter, this one knocks the ball right out of the park - culinary magic herein is balanced fun, and can actually provide some different snacks for you and your group, irl. What more to ask? Well...I, for one...want seconds! The concise presentation and balanced archetypes provide a great addition and make sure that this pdf will leave you wanting more. Fun, unique and flavorful, this is a great example for a 5 star + seal of approval pdf.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Flaming Crab: Culinary Magic
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Sir Reginald Lichlyter's Magical Beers, Tankards, & Other Inebrious Items
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/30/2016 09:23:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This tome detailing the latest in inebriation-themed objects and concoctions clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this tome with basically a rehash of the basic "how to get drunk"-rules from the last tome, though the approach has been streamlined with more precise rules - and yes, the hangover now comes with a proper duration, which renders these rules, overall, more concise. Additionally, the section now sports game-mechanics for a general alcohol addiction as well as three sample addictions for other spirits - though these suffer from a formatting glitch (or unfortunate decision), wherein their headers are white letters on a grey background, rendering the headers a bit hard to read. Beyond that, a sidebox notes Profession (Brewer)'s interaction with the creation of magical ales before diving right into the collection of magical ales the book provides.


And they are, generally, interesting: Acidblood ale, for example, not only grants acid resistance 5 - any bite attack dealing damage to the target also results in the unfortunate attacker being subject to the acidic blood. Altbeer of vareless travel increases overland travel speed, while drinking a brett of softened bones fortifies the imbiber against massive damage and provides a bonus to Escape Artist checks. Beer of Sobriety would be THE drink IRL - drinking it removes one drink from your system. SO AWESOME. Very cool for complex investigations - Blackout Brew: Upon consuming this beer and reaching a certain level of drunkenness, you'll lose all memory of the events transpired. Yep, this can make for a superb narrative tool. Bloodbeer can instill vampiric hunger in you, while a proper Doppelbock can grant you natural AC and DR, but also make you susceptible to fire. and reduce your movement. (Btw.: The reduced movement rate is accurate - give me a couple of Doppelbocks and I'm much slower... ;P) Potentially problematic can be the happoshu of ki recovery, which allows you to regain ki, usually a limited resource - so depending on the amount of ki-based options, that one may make some trouble in your campaign.


Absolutely evocative - imperial stouts of teleporting toasts - you drink these with multiple people, each toasting to a location. The one that got the most toasts is the destination. Similarly cool - a delicious Schwarzbier that allows you to scry on the target of the toast. Once again, we get a gender-reversing beer and there is also a disgusting one with zombie bits in it that nets you undead anatomy I... and a taste for corpses...


This pdf also contains a whole smörgåsbord of magical drinking containers - from cups that help you with social interactions to a drinking horn that grants you increasing benefits, the more you drink from it in one go. I'm not a big fan of the flagon of healing brew - any alcohol consumed from it heals 1d4 points of damage (slightly annoying, btw. - instead of "1d4", the pdf often uses "d4" in a minor formatting glitch) - while this should not break any game (you still get drunk, thus limiting the use of the item...), it's still exceedingly inexpensive healing that can wreck havoc in some low fantasy settings - so take heed here. A jug of everflowing beer...is pretty much many a person's dream come true. Obviously. And in connection with the aforementioned item...well...does provide infinite healing...Q.E.D. That being said, it has a no-selling-caveat, which is very much awesome. A tankard that can untie ropes and improves saves is nice, though the formatting did overlook the italicization of a spell referenced in the item's text...still: Cool.


Beyond tankards and mugs, the book also contains an assortment of diverse miscellaneous items - a bag of cheap ale (that the text calls bag of infinite alcohol) allows you to draw forth okay ales...which is cool. But why is there no non-selling caveat this time around? The brooch of slowed metabolism is interesting - it doubles the duration of any magical item or drink with at least one drink of alcohol in it when drunk by the wearer...okay, got that. Sooo...how does this interact with extracts and mutagens? Do these contain alcohol? On the cool side - what about an enchanted coin that makes any drink bought with it a potential agent for charming the drinker? VERY interesting. Gloves that grant you 3 brawling-related feats also should be considered to be intriguing. Oh...and there is a staff that can turn water to ale....which can drown aquatic creatures. Not the worst way to go, I'd wager... Really intriguing: armor enchanted to make creatures swallowing the wearer intoxicated! Can you see the drunk and hungover purple worms barfing in the desert? I can! Oh, and a weapon that inflicts drunkenness on targets can also be pretty funny...


The pdf also sports cursed items - ales that result in instant addiction or that teleport you into very odd locales, flagons that provide a false sense of confidence, curses that deprive you of sleep...quite an assortment here. The pdf also sports an array of alchemical items, including basically an alchemist's version of AlkaSeltzer, bricks that can be dissolved in water to turn to ale or powdered alcohol. Cool array! The final section of this pdf is devoted to an assortment of alcohol-themed spells, with various inebriation-causing spells, a versatile panacea, a nasty spell that turns beer to poison (what many large breweries IRL cast on their whole supply...)...some nice ones here. I also consider the low-level spell that transforms poison for the duration into inebriation actually not only potentially fun, but also very useful. Magically modifying the drink limit of the creatures targeted is also covered. All in all, a fun selection of spells.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are pretty good on a formal and rules level - while there are a few hiccups here, they are scarce and show Fat Goblin Games' increased prowess in these fields. The pdf sports a two-column full-color layout and has several gorgeous full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Jeff Gomez' take on a Sir Reginald Lichlyter-book is interesting - this book is less than its predecessor like a Call to Arms-book: It does not feature the same epic scope and amount of fluff/supplemental rules. That being said, the base rules for being drunk are significantly streamlined, which is a good thing in my book. This book, in essence, is pretty much, for the most part, a nice equipment book that should prove to be fun for many a table. While not all items herein are bereft of problems and while there are some hiccups in the details to be found, for the most part, this is a well-crafted, concise equipment book with some pretty nice ideas that deserve being recognized. While not as streamlined as e.g. the current CtA-books by Fat Goblin Games, this should be considered as a valid and fun addition to many a table. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sir Reginald Lichlyter's Magical Beers, Tankards, & Other Inebrious Items
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Mists of Akuma - Martial Arts Feats
Publisher: Storm Bunny Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/30/2016 09:21:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This FREE preview-file for the Mists of Akuma-setting clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page summary of the setting, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages, though one of these is devoted to the map of the Soburin continent, so let's take a look!


The pdf begins with 5 new feats: Metallic Elementalist Warlocks are aligned with the seasonal patron and have an interesting mechanic - they can pay gold to empower their spells, with precise effects depending on the spell's school (nice!) that being said, the secondary benefit may be overshooting the target a bit - upon hitting a foe with eldritch blast, the target has disadvantage on ALL ability checks for 1 round per damage die. No save, mind you. I consider that a bit too strong. Wooden Elementalists may cast spells without expending them, provided they have enough wood at their hands - this is governed by the proficiency bonus of the character and, as a secondary benefit, we add +1d4 piercing damage per eldritch blast die to the critical hits scored. I prefer this one to the metal one.


Mist Warriors with high Haitokus scores get a very cool retreat action and may use the misty step spell sans components (not italicized in the pdf, btw.). The tertiary benefit of this feat is interesting - you gain proficiency bonus to AC when using the Dodge action, but at the cost of attack disadvantage in the subsequent round. Interesting one! Nature Touched nets you a druid cantrip, resistance to poison damage as well as your choice of resistance to either cold or fire damage until your next rest.


The Swordmaster feat lets you add an attach after criting a foe and killing him with a katana. Similarly, you may follow foes that provoke opportunity attacks from you (here erroneously called "attack of opportunity" in an unnecessary Pathfinderism) or hit missiles asunder as a reaction, provided your damage manages to exceed that of the ranged weapon. Finally, the feat nets you +1AC when only wielding a katana.


Martial Arts Stance feats are subjected to a limitation - you may only utilize a number of these at a given time equal to your proficiency bonus and they may not be used in conjunction with weapons that have the two-handed or heavy property. Fire's Eternal Vigilance nets you +1d4 fire damage (non-multiplying on crits) and fire resistance. This feat, unlike default feats, can be taken a second and third time, increasing damage. Somewhat off - you may also send forth a powerful heat-aura - that can be used as an action and bonus action. I'm not sure if that means the ability can be used by using BOTH or whether this consumes an action or a bonus action - the rules-language can use a bit of polish here.


A total of 13 such martial arts stance feats can be found within the pages of this FREE pdf - and yes, each of the feats is devoted to a different damage type and follows a similar set-up. As a minor nitpick, the prerequisite line tends to divert slightly from D&D 5e's standard formatting conventions - not badly, mind you, but it's here. There are also a bit more typos in here than usual - I noticed "WIsdom", "increases to 3 1d6" (the 3's a relic) and balance-wise, e.g. the Stout Boar allowing you to ignore basically all difficult terrain or terrain movement costs, provided you make an attack at the end of your movement, is pretty powerful - RAW, this lets you mow through damaging terrain sans being harmed, which probably is not the intent of this one. It should be noted, though, that quite a few of these feats have a cool set of visuals - icy petals and telepathy, two name two.


Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, though not as good as in previous Mists of Akuma-teasers - this one has a couple of glitches that could have been caught. Layout adheres to Mists of Akuma's two-column full color standard and the pdf sports the classic public domain artworks we've come to expect here - they actually do a rather great job here. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Mike Myler's feats contained in this FREE book are interesting - while the stances basically do similar things and could imho use a bit more internal variance, the overall impression I have of this pdf's content is a positive one - there is a lot to like within these pages....and it's FREE. Free is hard to beat indeed. In the end, I will settle on a final verdict of 4 stars for this one, worth downloading, but not as intriguing as the first two such preview-pdfs I covered.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Mists of Akuma - Martial Arts Feats
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Mists of Akuma - Tsukumogami
Publisher: Storm Bunny Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2016 04:49:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This second of the FREE preview-pdfs for Mike Myler & Storm Bunny Studios' cooperation clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page KS-summary, leaving us with 4 pages of content, though one of these is devoted to the nice maps of Soburin, the continent of Mists of Akuma.


So, what do we get in these pages? The reply is simple: 4 of the eponymous tsukumogani monstrosities! What are tsukumogami? Well, in case you didn't know - on the 100th birthday of an item, there is a chance it may awaken to sentience - with sometimes, though not often, dire consequences. Hence rules for appeasing these creatures and some nice adventure hooks and the impact of these beings on the game-world are covered first. The monsters herein would be:


-The akunomōfu (challenge 5) are soiled sheets of former soldiers, possessed by a malign intellect and capable of performing multiattacks and smothering victims, making good use of 5e's exhaustion mechanic...take heed, though - in groups, these monsters are TPK-material par excellence!


-The chōchin-obake (challenge 1) are less dangerous - but these floating and surprisingly nimble paper lanterns occupied by spirits, with their fiery spit, can certainly still be exceedingly dangerous if played right. Again, nice!


-The Kaiyo-Horror (challenge 10) can make vast hops and gets a fright-inducing gaze attack as a bonus action...oh, and in case you didn't know: They are basically cannons; dread warmachines awoken to malign purpose. No, you do NOT want to be in the sights of these dread beings! (The artwork is, fyi, also rather disturbing...)


-Kasa-Obake are animate umbrellas with a paralyzing gaze that bespeaks of their knowledge of dread secrets. They have keen ears, a charming tongue with which they can lick you as well as shred you with their talons. Once again, a cool critter.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly grievous glitches. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of these pdfs and the respective creatures herein all get full-color artworks in a mix of custom art and thematically-fitting, gorgeous stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Mike Myler's creatures herein are unique, fun and offer quite a lot of narrative potential and make me excited to see what's up with the KS. Blending his trademark levity with the horrific has some rather interesting consequences I consider thoroughly enjoyable. So yeah - 4 neat creatures and some ideas for FREE - go check this and the KS out. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mists of Akuma - Tsukumogami
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

I Loot the Wizard's Body System Neutral Edition
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/25/2016 02:38:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the Body"-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this supplement with a massive table of 100 different wizard pouches and the thing to find are curious indeed - crossword puzzles in foreign languages, partially knit socks, sealed bins of beard balm, holy symbols, colored chalk, ropes made from impossible smooth substances - from the odd and quirky to the foreboding and weird, this table is great.


The second table sports a wide variety of different wizard's robes, 100 to be precise - which range from living cloaks from which grass and vines grow to noble robes made of damask to classic outfits, including robes depicting the stellar constellations. There also are robes with hundreds of tingling silver bells, rough blankets with a hole for head and arms or simply ones with white furred hoods. Overall a diverse array, but one that imho is a bit robe-centric.


The third 100-entry table sports...bonded objects! From amulets made of dried raptor claws to classic amulets or rings, wands of iridescent scales, vials of odd liquid or tiny crystal balls - the selection here is once again a rather inspired collection - no complaints.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use - kudos for the extra-mile there!


Kat Evans' take on wizard apparel to be found on the deceased practitioners of the arcane arts is certainly a fun dressing file - particularly the table on bonded objects is pretty inspiring, not only for GMs, but also for players looking for a different flavor for their bonded objects. The outfit table is somewhat less awesome, but this doesn't really hurt the pdf - overall, a cool, fun dressing file, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Wizard's Body System Neutral Edition
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

I Loot the Wizard's Body
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/25/2016 02:37:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the Body"-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this supplement with a massive table of 100 different wizard pouches and the thing to find are curious indeed - crossword puzzles in foreign languages, partially knit socks, sealed bins of beard balm, holy symbols, colored chalk, ropes made from impossible smooth substances - from the odd and quirky to the foreboding and weird, this table is great.


The second table sports a wide variety of different wizard's robes, 100 to be precise - which range from living cloaks from which grass and vines grow to noble robes made of damask to classic outfits, including robes depicting the stellar constellations. There also are robes with hundreds of tingling silver bells, rough blankets with a hole for head and arms or simply ones with white furred hoods. Overall a diverse array, but one that imho is a bit robe-centric.


The third 100-entry table sports...bonded objects! From amulets made of dried raptor claws to classic amulets or rings, wands of iridescent scales, vials of odd liquid or tiny crystal balls - the selection here is once again a rather inspired collection - no complaints.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use - kudos for the extra-mile there!


Kat Evans' take on wizard apparel to be found on the deceased practitioners of the arcane arts is certainly a fun dressing file - particularly the table on bonded objects is pretty inspiring, not only for GMs, but also for players looking for a different flavor for their bonded objects. The outfit table is somewhat less awesome, but this doesn't really hurt the pdf - overall, a cool, fun dressing file, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Wizard's Body
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class: Renegade
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/25/2016 02:35:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This hybrid class from the Four Horsemen clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The renegade, chassis-wise, is a blending of the gunslinger and rogue and receives d8 HD, 6+Int skills per level, good Ref-saves and a 3/4 BAB-progression. At 1st level, the class gains gunsmith and the class does gain Panache (based on Charisma, maximum equal to Charisma-modifier) and may regain panache via killing blows with firearms, critical hits with pistols and, if applicable, the class pools both grit and panache and may use the resources interchangeably. Proficiency-wise, the class gains proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as firearms and light armors, but no shields.


The renegade begins play with sneak attack +1d6 and increases this by +1d6 every odd level thereafter and second level grants the nimble-ability, which increases in potency by +1 every 4 levels thereafter. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the renegade may also choose a rogue talent from a limited list.


The class also gets so-called charms - basically, think of them as the deeds of the class - these are thankfully no re-threads of classic deeds, but generally sport some nice tricks - temporarily fixing broken items, a variant of gunslinger's dodge, 30-ft.-ranged feint, acting in a surprise round, drawing aggro from nearby enemies via Bluff...the charms cover a rather broad sense of options and generally can be considered well-aligned with the levels they're unlocked at - at 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th level, new charms are unlocked. Hiding pistols on your body can e.g. be found at 11th level and at 15th level, a minimum-panache-powered (improved) uncanny dodge + evasion can be found. The capstone decreases panache-costs for the charms, etc.


The class also features archetypes, with the first being the brigand, who only gets 4 + Int skills per level and a slightly modified gunsmith. The archetype also has 5 exclusive charms, which basically allow for some solid poaching among gunslinger deeds like targeting, gunslinger's initiative, etc. as well as a different array of rogue talents. The contract killer similarly has a modified list of charms with panache-powered skill-checks fitting for killers (Stealth and Disguise, hitman-style) as well as deadeye and dead shot...and there are special assassin shots that allow for skirmishing sniping shots and silencing gunshots. Once again, the archetype has a modified rogue talent list. The final archetype is called the smuggler, who also gains medium armor proficiency, trapfinding at 2nd level and gets a panache-minimum-based option to carry around pretty significant objects as well as gaining options to gain several options that represent your access to the black market and unsavory places and enhanced Will instead of Reflex saves - once again, sporting a hand-crafted talent-section.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a nice full-color and a b/w-artwork, both of which I have not seen before. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Stephen Rowe's Renegade is a solid, fun hybrid-class - it imho is superior to the gunslinger in that its 3/4 BAB-progression and selection of tricks help mitigating some of the issues associated with gunslinging as well as providing some cool tricks and potential for tactical depth via sneak attack - a well positioned renegade is FUN to play and pretty cool. At the same time, while I did enjoy the class as such, I think the renegade would have benefited from a bit more unique tricks. At the plus-side, the rogue talent selection provides more player agenda than the gunslinger...so how to rate this? I prefer this class to the vanilla gunslinger and the increased player-agenda is nice. In the end, I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class: Renegade
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Big Book of Bloodlines
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2016 10:12:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive, huge book clocks in at 153 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC/editorial, 1 page KS-thanks, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with a colossal 146 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this pdf with an introduction regarding the goals of this book - in one sentence: Making bloodlines more versatile and interesting. This is achieved in a rather ingenious way - the pdf designates a number of bloodlines as parent bloodlines, others as children of said bloodlines. When multiclassing soceror and bloodrager, all you need to ensure is that the two bloodlines share a parent, are parent and child or match - i.e. one is the sorceror, one is the bloodrager version. Obviously, this approach generates a whole array of previously impossible builds. Oh, and if you're like me and ultimately are looking for a bit more for some builds...then there would be complex bloodlines. These do one or more of the following: Instead of bonus feats, they can grant bloodline-specific abilities, swap out bonus spells for something else or introduce basically a subsystem unique for the bloodline, which results in these complex bloodlines feeling more like archetypes or PrCs - and yes, they do not interfere with archetypes, further allowing for a significant expansion of options in that regard.


Thus, a list of parent bloodlines and child bloodlines for first party material is provided in the beginning...before we dive into a huge assortment of diverse bloodlines. It should also be noted that some bonus feats among the bloodlines of this pdf actually are stripped of their prerequisites - a bloodrager character with the alchemical bloodline can e.g. take Fire God's Blessing sans prerequisite. Oh, there is one more unique feature I should probably mention - quite an assortment of bloodlines in this book features supplemental feats. All right, so what can bloodragers look forward to? Well, for once, they get acidic saliva they can spit at foes, gain caustic blood and, via a nice feat, they can even heal themselves by dealing acid damage - and yes, as could be expected from Bradley Crouch, this feat cannot be kitten'd. Oh...and high-level bloodragers with this one can light foes on fire. What about a banshee bloodline that can enhance her sonic damage-dealing capacity with ever increasing feats - oh, and guess what - these enhancer-feats can only be taken as bloodline bonus feats, which is an interesting notion I have not seen done before in bloodline design.


Even bloodlines that do not necessarily evoke immediate reactions from me have interesting components - brineborn gaining a combination of nautical abilities and acid-themed tricks based on salt - and yes, including a whipping tongue with which you can lick your weapons. As far as I'm concerned, this certainly is fun and sports a unique array of visuals properly supplemented by nice crunch. Cacodaemon bloodragers get a capstone that deserves mention as well - a jaw filled with gems that can hold the souls of those you consume. All right, so what about these complex bloodlines I mentioned? Well, for example the cannibal bloodline allows you to devour the flesh of defeated foes - you gain a feat of your choice, with a limited, but expanding list of eligible feats. These feats, however, also occupy a cannibalism slot - said slots increase in number over the levels. Replenishing spells empties these slots. Oh, know what I forgot to mention? Guess what - it's not just feats. Abilities otherwise not available can also be gained via cannibalism slots. The Cloudborn automatically increase their ranks in the Fly skill and later may fly while also gaining miss chances when they move. The constellation bloodline can be pictured as a take on the psionic collective for teamwork purposes...and even cast spells on allies designated as part of your constellation...even if they would not usually qualify as targets...which is exceedingly versatile and powerful, making more than up for the comparatively moderate teamwork tricks. Also cool - granting temporary hit points and the like.


Okay, so what about e.g. the Cosmic Dreamer? This complex bloodline basically records an ever-increasing amount of rolled dice-results in the morning due to their fragmentary prescience - then, during the day, they may substitute these rolls for those they rolled in a cool take on prescience. The interesting thing is, though, that multiple such rolls can be combined in pretty concise rules that are rendered unambiguous by the rules-language provided. It should come as no surprise, then, that the bloodline actually takes this take on its unique subsystem and utilizes it properly, expanding the options thus gained in unique ways over the levels. It's not just the complex bloodlines that get evocative tricks - crystalborn may, for example, ready actions, to catch ray-spells in their mouths and spit them back at foes. I certainly know I really want to do this at least once in game. Cooler yet - you may, when making full attacks, forego the bite attack this one nets you to ready such a catch. OM NOM NOM.


The dryad complex bloodline is all about aspect-enhancement, allowing the character to modify the plants grown via fey and verdant bloodlines to include flame-thrower flowers, acidic lichen or berries that you can pick to gain limited prescience. What about screaming lilac? And yes, your bloodrage lets you grow squares upon squares of these plants...and the ability works even underwater. Want to dip your feet into the awesomeness that is ethermagic, but sans learning the system? Ethertouched bloodline. Want composition sans having to learn that system (and with an evil tint)? Soulstrummer. And yes, it works completely sans knowing anything about ethermagic.


Somewhat similar and just as awesome as the dryad - the fungus complex bloodline: Instead of growing plants, though, your body can produce spores based on a point-system - said spores sport a variety of unique and fun tricks. Speaking of fun - you know how Interjection Games-books tend to be pretty fun to read? Well, there is a bloodline called leper and it's basically every leper-joke ever told as a bloodline. You can e.g. detach and re-attach limbs, pluck out your eye and send it forth to spy for you...you get the idea. And yeah, it's cool. Want to play a bookworm bloodrager? The complex Librarian bloodline offers a lot of unique tricks for you, based on some crucial pieces of literature. The lycanthrope bloodline, just fyi, allows you to choose the werebeaver option. And yep, these guys can basically become a looney-toon-ball of kicking, gnawing and working 1/day and, sufficient material provided, generate instant cabins. Yeah, damn cool.


From the medusa to the mi-go and even the mime (!!!) - and yes, there is a onmyōdo-bloodline and even a pufferfish bloodline - Magic: it doesn't have to make sense, as the flavor-text aptly observes. Zombie bloodlines? Yup. Elemental-themed weirds? Aye. And no, at this point I honestly haven't even begun to list every one of the bloodlines, only provided a smattering of samples.


Now the second chapter would be the one dealing with the sorceror bloodlines - and they are nothing if not just as unique as the bloodrager options - hurling blobs of algae? Check. Know, though, which bloodline actually made me laugh...loudly? The Angst bloodline. It's simply hilarious. Think of it basically as every anime main character, the bloodline. From gaining an ancestral weapon, failing incredibly endearingly to later gaining memories of a lost mentor -absolutely glorious. You are the chosen one and hate every minute of it. More serious - sorcerors that can make complex baubles of spellglass, bloodlines defined by their blasphemy or the butler bloodline. And yes, aforementioned brineborn, cannibal etc. bloodlines also sport sorceror-customized versions herein - though e.g. the cannibal bloodline has a complex child -the cuisine bloodline.


And yes, ethertouched's scavenging/reduction of ethermagic can also be found for sorcerors...and extremophiles, basically the sorceror-equivalent of the magical survivalist - who only take two hours of sleep (but still may not regain spells more often than 1/day) with a feat. The Florist would be akin to the dryad in quite a few ways, but obviously attuned for the requirements of the sorceror class. Gravity-themed sorcerors that gain a reflexive field of gravity can also carry a huge amount of load - and gremlin blooded sorcerors are masters of slapstick that can turn potions into toads, while the haberdashery bloodline grants you the best hat EVER. The magmaborn can conjure forth painful spikes of magma and the complex mimicry bloodline basically can be likened to the old final fantasy secret characters/jobs, allowing you to mimic spells and later your own ones - pretty cool! What about the brewer-specialists, the percolution-savants that can make powerful stimulant cocktails? Yep, it's basically a barrista/coffee-addict bloodline...and it's pretty neat. The complex radiation bloodline lets you choose unique mutations instead of bonus spells and the complex rust bloodline just begs to be used in any setting that features a leitmotif of decay and or renewal. Becoming the heir to the snow queen also is rather cool (haha...yeah, I'll hit myself later for that one...). As a nitpick, the Solar bloodline's supplemental feat lacks the Metamagic-descriptor in the header, though that ultimately does not impede its functionality...btw. one of the rare formal glitches that can be found in this book.


Always liked worms-that-walk/ want to run Age of Worms? Swarm bloodline, baby. Similarly, the complex wanderlust bloodline is cool, providing an assortment of abilities generally associated with romantic notions of wandering, from danger sense to pulling all-nighters and making items from natural ingedients.


This is, however, not where the pdf ends - beyond supplemental material for two classes, this whole book can be seen as a colossal playing field for the new bloodlord base class. Bloodlords get d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort-and Ref-saves, proficiency with simple weapons and one 1-handed martial, a 2-handed martial weapona nd a thrown weapon as well as with shields, light armor and medium armor, all sans arcane spell failure, though this failure does apply when using tower shields. Bloodlords pick two bloodrager and two sorceror bloodlines at first level, which are then divided into pairs, with a bloodrager and sorcero bloodline each. These bloodlines must share a single parent and this choice is not limited by alignment. At 1st level, bloodlords do not receive the sorceror bloodline arcanas and they gain +2 to skill-checks performed with the class skills associated with the sorceror bloodlines.


The bloodlord has bloodrager bloodline power slots at 1st level, gaining an additional one at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter - these slots are distinguished between bloodrager and sorceror - basically allowing for the flexible assignment of powers gained from the bloodlines of the character. They get bonus feats at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter and bonus spells at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Bonus spells are gained from both bloodline bearing classes according to strict guidelines, with the granting of multiple spells being accounted for -said spells, however, are cast as SPs. It should also be noted that multiclassing into bloodline-featuring bloodlines is possible, with guidelines, once again, being included in the rules.


At 1st level, these guys can enter bloodboils for a number of rounds equal to 4+ Constitution modifier, +2 rounds per additional level - this state enables the use of bloodrage powers. At 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the bloodlord gains a sanguokinesis talent, which is powered by the transfusion pool - said pool is equal to 1+Charisma modifier at 2nd level and increases every even level thereafter by +1. These talents remain active for as long as the bloodlord remains in the bloodboil-state and one such talent can be added to the state. It should be noted, that unlike a bloodrage or the like, this state does not provide bonuses to attributes, but neither does it have a fatigue cool down, which means you can cycle the effects of sanguinokentic talents. At 11th level, bloodlords may activate up to two such talents per bloodboil, though they have to pay for both. Getting a reflexive disarm, better saves, SR, using bloodboil rounds as a resource to cast bloodline spell-like abilities quicker - there are some pretty tricky combos you can pull off with this class.


However, the transfusion pool also has a use on its own - it can be used to quickswap slotted bloodline powers, temporarily gain bloodline arcanas and at 6th level grant willing touched creatures filled bloodline slots - which allows for some very interesting tricks. Higehr levels make btw. this infusion of power into allies faster. The class comes btw. with nice favored class options for the core-races, aasimar, tiefling, hobgoblin, orc, kobold, kitsune, vanar, vishkanya and puddling races. Expanding the SPs ad various numerical tricks of the class can be done via the new feats, which btw. also provides an option for energy resistance while bloodboiling. The base-class also sports jno less than 4 archetypes - the bloodbottler loses the quickswapping of slots and flexibility, but may bottle his unused powers and hand them to eligible drinkers - basically, a less spontaneous variant. The Claimant picks only a single sorceror and bloodrager bloodline - but here's the catch - they gain an "empty" Eldritch Heritage that he may fill by touching a particular blood, claiming the power. This is retained until the claimant decides to forget it after resting and opt for a new one. And yes, the feature improves over the levels. You essentially trade in bloodlines for more flexibility in choosing and also gain transfusion pool points at odd levels instead, starting at third.


The Enigmatist is a pretty complex one - basically, think of these guys as bloodlords sans bloodlines, who instead focus on mysteries and revelations. The final archetype, the mongrel lord, may choose all bloodline abilities (up to from a maximum of 6 bloodlines), but gains neither bloodline arcanas and class skills. Basically, the archetype grants you the option to cherry-pick abilities, yes; but at the cost of gaining the proper powers of the respective, diluted options. Additionally, these guys gain limited access to evolutions and a pretty impressive transfusion pool - but the archetype loses all sangiokinesis talents for this flexibility as well as the arcane awakening, quickswap and transfusion class features.


As a nice service to the reader, we close this book with a glossary of 3pp-bloodlines by product.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch for a book of this size - while there are some minor formatting hiccups in this book, it still can be considered to be well-edited. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard beyond the full color cover artwork. The pdf's interior artwork is b/w and sports an array of novel, nice pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. As per the writing of this review, I can't yet comment on the print-version.


Bradley Crouch's Big Book of Bloodlines takes one concept I've seen done to death, namely bloodlines, and OWNS it. There are more mechanical, unique tweaks to bloodlines herein that I have ever seen before in my career. We have a stunning assortment of cool subsystems, evocative ideas and concepts in this book, an array that manages in several cases to bring player-agenda to the table: Big time. Choose the right bloodline and you'll have quite a bunch of cool customization options. It should also be noted that you won't find bland "been there, done that"-bloodlines in this book - each bloodline in this tome has at least one ability and/or visual I certainly haven't seen before. No matter which type of game you're playing, be it high fantasy, dark fantasy, horror or just plain gonzo weirdness - this book has you covered. The bloodlord per se is a great addition as well, though, by nature of its openness, a class that does require a bit of GM-oversight: Considering the amount of bloodlines out there, though, this is no wonder and not something that could have been avoided. While personally, I consider the mongrel lord a bit too much for some groups, I can just as well picture plenty of campaigns in which it will flawlessly work.


So...how to rate this. Well, that question is pretty easily answered - this book, at least for me, ups the ante of what to expect from bloodlines. It may be the book that ended bloodlines, the go-to-tome. And bloodragers in particular need this book - think about quite a few of the bloodlines in this tome as archetype-level complexity without locking you out of your favorite one. You get CHOICES! Player-agenda! Same goes for sorcerors, obviously...and bloodlords are also cool...hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Don't be content with boring filler bloodlines - get yourself some truly unique tricks!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Big Book of Bloodlines
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Veranthea Codex: Radical Pantheon
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2016 10:09:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The massive first expansion for Veranthea clocks in at a whopping 100 pages (for this price-point!), 1 page front cover,1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 96 pages of content - quite a lot, so let's get to it!


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


In the first chapter, we get information on the respective deities - from ever sleeping Verahnus to Death and the Nightmare Gods - and, much like Inner Sea Gods, we receive information on the priest's role in the respective society, aphorisms, holy texts, holidays, etc. - basically, we get the full fluff-write-ups, though, considering the comparably somewhat lesser page-count, obviously the entries are not as extensive as in Inner Sea Gods - still, what is here can be considered fun and sports information on (anti-)paladins for the respective deities - and yes, this includes paladins with an anti-chaos focus instead of the anti-evil focus, for example. Obediences, just fyi, are not part of the deal. If you're looking for full-blown redesigns of aforementioned classes though, you won't find them here. As a nice nod towards the game's traditions, we have a couple of Easter eggs here that should certainly put smiles on the faces of quite a few GMs: Death's holy text, for example, would obviously be the Libris Mortis.


The flavor of these deities is excellent - I will e.g. never stop smiling when reading about the deity of capitalism that puts a smiling face to the world, purporting to be LG when he's actually LE. (And no, for your info - I am NOT anti-capitalist. Quite the contrary, actually.) The chapter is also suffused by pieces of crunch, though keen-eyed readers may stumble over some avoidable formatting glitches - some of the sidebars vary in font-size, which looks a bit odd. I noticed a reference to "page @@" and, in a feat that grants you a limited use gaze attack that causes hypnotism (insanities to those immune) - and fails to italicize the spell's name. These hiccups may be cosmetic, but they are here.


On the plus-side: Studying some of the dread holy texts of Nightmare Gods can cause (conveniently hyperlinked) insanities - but also convey significant bonuses. And a feat that allows cultists to infiltrate other churches and society at large...nice. The pdf also sports a vast array of player options for the devout, beginning with Religion-traits. These traits generally are pretty powerful, but not in a way that would render then overpowered. For example, gaining +10 to Perception while asleep is interesting. Similarly, extending your darkvision (or getting it) a limited amount of times per day is cool - though the latter trait's wording could have been a bit more streamlined. The pdf also sports a selection of spells, and they are interesting in some of their concepts: Arcodivinity takes a whole round to cast and emulates an arcane spell of 4th level or lower from the magus or sorc/wiz-spell lists or a divine spell from the cleric/druid-list of 4th level or lower when cast by an arcane caster. This is generally a cool idea, but it should be noted that this has system-immanent hiccups the more spells you allow in your game, allowing for a very strong wild-card spell that may be balanced by the increased spell-level for all but ranger and paladin and the 1 round casting duration, but still - GMs should probably impose some limitations on spell-selection here.


Not all spells fall into this high-concept category - blazing insight, for example, allows for an immediate action reroll of Int- or Wis-based skill or attribute checks made in the last round. Other spells are pretty intriguing - divinely intoxicated is interesting: Double your spellcasting attribute modifier's time, the target has to roll twice any d20 - and then use the results in the following sequence: Better result, better result, worse result. Capital Capitalist lets you haggle exceedingly well - but the reduced price may result in the merchant decreasing his starting attitude towards you. Forcing targets to reroll damage just caused may be okay, but more interesting would be Gift of Undeath - which provides continuous healing for a couple of rounds...and then slays the imbiber and resurrects him as an undead. Ouch, but I( can't be force-fed to unwitting dupes, thankfully...a damn flavorful for fanatic death-cultists! Touch of the Alien, available as a ranger 1 spell (the other classes get it at a more appropriate level) deals 2d4 Int-damage...and makes the Str-score equal to Int until said damage is healed. Which is basically a huge save-or-suck nerf for martials, with Will to negate. Not a fan here.


The pdf also contains an array of magic items, including a theurgist's mace - basically a mace that grants you the option to smite 2/day spellcasters opposed to your tradition (i.e. arcane casters get smite versus divine casters and vice versa). This smite penalizes saves versus the wielder's spells and SPs and if the wielder can cast both types of spell, he gets basically twice the smites and may target any creature - not just divine or arcane spellcasters. It should btw. be noted that the inconsistent italicization mentioned above also extends to this chapter. Still, there are damn cool ideas here - an artifact-level blowgun flute? Yes! A coin that acts as a shuriken and lets you convert metal coins while also enhancing your Sleight of Hand? Yep, pretty awesome.


The pdf also sports some archetypes - the divine drunkard brawler, who is interesting - when these guys consume alcohol, they accumulate drunk points, which they then can expend to duplicate one of 3 randomly determined effects. The effects are interesting and generally make for a chaotic experience well in tune with Dreksler's nature. That being said, gaining a "mythic bonus" is probably a typo here and probably should not be here. The Holy Innovator gunslinger basically is a gunslinger who can utilize contraptions from the Veranthea Codex base book - nice. The paladin-archetype merchanteer is reprinted in this book, complete with tithed healing, magnetic channel and transformation to antipaladin. The Tian Ti-Ang Agent bard can be considered to be the heralds of the mythic vampire lords and as such receive an assortment of interesting vampire-abilities.


Then, however, one of the coolest chapters in the book begins - after the chosen template (CR +1), we get heralds for the gods - all of them! From an impossible slug swarm to more traditional executors of the will of the respective deities, these unique and powerful beings (clocking usually in at around CR 15) make for a truly inspired, interesting chapter and feature appropriate and cool unique tricks as well as information on planar allies available. The 3 immortal demigods of Urethiel, Boris and his entourage are covered/reprinted and we also get the CR 25/MR 10 Sciemaat the shattered, who seeks to repair the shield that once kept the nightmare gods at bay. Similarly, the last irrational Carambal can be found here. H'gal, the grand lich of Proxima Alterra (CR 17/MR 7), on the other hand, was a rather interesting final creature herein.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting aren't bad, but neither are they up to the otherwise generally pretty streamlined standards of Rogue Genius Games - I noticed quite a few glitches and relics here and there. Layout adheres to Veranthea's two-column full-color standard and the book sports a vast amount of full-color artworks, though they do not necessarily adhere to a uniform style. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Mike Myler, with contributions from Luis Loza, Michael McCarthy and Nicholas J. Giebel, has written a massive expansion here - and while there is some overlap with the content already featured in the Veranthea Codex, there still is ample material herein to justify the very low asking price for this amount of content. While I admittedly wished this book had expanded the information on heralds and previously unreleased demigods instead of incorporating material from the main book and while I would have loved to see a tad bit more on each deity, this still remains one of the most comprehensive highlights of a pantheon I've read. As such, one can postulate that this book does its job well...and even for scavenging purposes, there is quite a bit to find. Still, the glitches do accumulate and I wished that this component had been a bit tighter in its implementation. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Veranthea Codex: Radical Pantheon
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 106 to 120 (of 2414 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