The 18th installment of the FoTS-series is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 13 pages of content, so who exactly is Gobseck?
As per the formula of the series, we first get a page of introduction to the character depicted in here, including a box with suggestions on how to use Gobseck and information on his dreams for use with the dreamburning rules. Essentially, Gobseck is the super-capitalist of the Coliseum - an extremely reliable, deadly banker with brutal interest-rates and a fortune that dwarfs most draconic hoards.
4 templates are included in the pdf, the smoke-creature (CR +1), the exemplar (CR +3), the element-infused (CR +1) and the divine creature (Cr +1) templates. Each of the statblocks apart from the high-level version of Gobseck gets two variants to further customize your personal vision of Gobseck.
The most humble version of the curmudgeonly duergar starts off at CR 6 as a fighter (unbreakable) 1/magister 6 and his medium-CR (CR 13, btw.) incarnation adds another fighter level, 5 levels of magister as well as the air-infused template. His beautiful high-CR statblock is a whopping CR 20 and a air-infused smoke duergar fighter (unbreakable) 3/magister 16. And not the highest CR-being in this pdf.
On the supplementary crunch-side, Gobseck comes with 5 feats (including one to accurately depict the stone-faced poker-face dwarf) two spells to ensure the safety of the vault and parley with intruders, two armor enhancements and 5 weapon enhancements as well as his signature item, the Banker's Helm of Servitude (in three incarnations), which makes him the true bane of cheaters and oathbreakers. The write up is a bit strange in that the section provides the fluff for the three iterations of the helm in consecutive order, making it first look like a misprint. Just putting the effects for the improved versions in brackets or give them their own entry would have probably been a good idea. His other signature item is a warhammer that hates cheaters and he also sports a ring to negate light sensitivity.
The true star of this installment, though, would be Gobseck's Vault itself - the colossal structure is actually alive and DEADLY. CR 33. You don't want to F*** with Gobseck's vault. Ridiculously powerful, mobile and being able to mass imprison intruders, the vault should be considered the ultimate challenge for a n epic heist and could easily be developed to become THE challenge for any master-thief. "Lesser", i.e. CR 21 and 23-versions of the vault are included as well, but braving ANY incarnation of Gobseck's vault should be something that puts sweat on the brows of even the highest-level PCs. Oh, and there's a neat piece of fluff. Somewhere in the vault, a tear-drenched kerchief rests - once testament to Gobseck's love, the heart-warming vow of love stitched into it remains as the evidence of the betrayal that has shattered his heart and made him the tragic, bitter man he has become, thus offering a chance for redemption and even sympathy. Or a good way to blackmail the dread banker.
Editing and formatting are very good - apart from the strange choice in the helmet's section (which may be intentional), I didn't notice anything to complain about. Layout adheres to RiP's old, rune-covered border and is b/w with stock-art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. Gobseck is a great character - tragic, despicable, usable in many different roles. Add the variants of his stats, the bonus stats for his vault and the plethora of cool supplemental items and content and I have nothing to complain about apart from my constant yearning for slightly more fluff in the FoTS-installments. Thus, I'm left with no choice but to give this 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval. Perhaps we'll even one day get a high-level heist into Gobseck's vault? Personally, I'd love to see maps for it...
[5 of 5 Stars!]