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Legendary Cavaliers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/22/2019 06:27:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games‘ class rewrites clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We start this supplement with the break-down of the cavalier rewrite, and oh boy, does the class need one, so what does the Legendary Cavalier bring to the table? Well, chassis-wise, the class gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per modifier, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and all types or armor as well as shields, minus tower shields, and full BAB plus good Fort- and Will-saves. The class begins play with mount, which gets Light Armor Proficiency – but in an important caveat, it does treat Light Armor Proficiency as share spells, which will allow for plenty of companion modifications. It’s a small line, but an excellent one. Another small, but important caveat: The legendary cavalier’s mount, should the old one die, does gain the full ability array and is not basically nigh-useless until the next level attained, so yeah, the base mount ability has been improved. Additionally, the cavalier gets noble steed at first level, which translates to a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls with natural attacks at 1st level, which improves by another +1 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. I like the higher level improvements, but I don’t think the 1st level bonus was required, considering how deadly the mount can already be at first level, but I digress. At 4th level, the mount may ignore difficult terrain while charging and being ridden and 10th level makes this always on while being ridden, not just when charging.

At 6th level, we get the means to treat the mount as smaller, making it more dungeon exploration-friendly (though ladders etc. still remain a problem). Still, kudos! 7th level nets DR 2/- to the mount while riding, which increases by 1 at 11th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Also at this level, we get a crucial ability: “Risky Lunge” – this allows for a move action to only be 5 ft. and count as a charge, but at -2 AC for cavalier and mount. This allows for some seriously wicked reach trickery and unlocks a whole new array of tactical builds that don’t require straight charging into the fray. 13th level makes the mount count as one size category larger for the purpose of natural weapon attacks, and this increase thankfully doesn’t scale with others. At 9th level, as long as the legendary cavalier is within 60 ft. of it and the mount is above 0 hit points, the cavalier gets Diehard and Deathless Initiate, regardless of prerequisites, which upgrades at 17th level to apply even if the cavalier would be dead! And yes, this allows for healing back up. Pretty awesome. Cavalier’s charge, mighty charge and supreme charge are retained, though the latter is moved down one level to 19th level.

12th level nets steed’s parry, which allows the cavalier to expend 2 rounds of commander’s aura as an immediate action to make a Ride check against the incoming attack roll, halving damage and applying it to the mount instead on a success. I usually cringe whenever I read “parry” in class abilities, as most mechanics are plain broken – this one works really well. What is the commander’s aura? I’m glad you asked!

The most obvious change of pace would be the commander’s aura, which may be maintained for 4 + Charisma modifier rounds per day, activated as a move action and maintained as a free action. Every level beyond 1st adds +2 rounds to the aura’s daily allotment. It has 9 different benefits, extends 60 feet (+20 feet at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter) and is correctly codified regarding the types of effect it is treated as. The effects include scaling DR, fast healing, temporary hit points, AC and weapon damage boosts, energy resistance (sonic is an option!), CMB, movement and save bonuses. I LOVE this. Meaningful tactics and round-by-round agenda every single time. Plus, the cavalier is rewarded for not dumpstatting Charisma. (Oh and yeah, benefits may be switched as a swift action, starting at 7th as an immediate action.) This improvement alone makes the Legendary Cavalier already infinitely better than its regular iteration. This is further enhanced at 4th level, where the cavalier gets commander’s shout – this ability allows the cavalier to spend 4 rounds of the ability to grant an ally an additional move action on their turn, but an ally may only benefit from the like once per day, even from different legendary cavaliers (VERY important catch! Kudos!). 10th level nets the option to grant an additional standard action instead, though this can’t be used for spellcasting or SPs – until 16th level. 20th level nets a move and standard action that may be combined into a full-round action. Love it!

That’s not all! At 8th level, the cavalier gets chivalry’s call – a swift action shout that costs 3 rounds of the aura and affects a target in its range, allowing said target to reroll their Will-save, using the cavalier’s Will-save bonus if it’s higher. 10th level unlocks two of the aura benefits at once (no additional cost in rounds). 15th level allows the cavalier to select an ally to move up to their speed or make an attack when they reduce a target to 0 hp or below. And yes, this is bag of kittens proofed. At 18th level, the cavalier may spend 4 rounds of the aura while making an attack to prompt the target to require to save or be stunned for 1 round; additionally, thereafter, for Charisma modifier rounds, the target needs to save to continue attacking the cavalier.

Ähem, where was I? 1st level also nets order, but the engine has been revamped there as well – I’ll get to orders below. Banner is gained at 2nd level, and its improvements have been tweaked to apply on 10th and 18th level instead. Greater banner, at 14th level, has been tweaked – its primary save boost is retained, but instead of a reroll, we have Diehard for allies in range, which fits imho better. At 2nd level, the cavalier gets +1/2 class level to Diplomacy, and 5th level nets the skill unlock for Diplomacy. I know, right? It suddenly feels like you’re looking at a knight, not an armored and mounted murder-hobo! 3rd level nets renown, 8th level great renown and 14th level incredible renown. Minor nitpick – these are social talents, not vigilante talents. 5th level nets a social talent (erroneously called vigilante talent twice) from a list, and 11th and 17th level net another. The capstone, btw. – renown in massive, huge metropolis! (In addition to aforementioned abilities with a more combat-centric application.)

Pertaining orders: The pdf presents 11 orders, and they all have a signature skill. Every cavalier level, the cavalier gets a bonus skill rank and treat said skill as a class skill, with 8th level providing the skill unlock for the signature skill. Oh, and guess what? There is an option for being orderless! And another, important thing: Each order not only comes with a brief flavor text, it also provides a unique application of commander’s aura! The order of the beyond allows, for example, to treat all allied weapons as aligned! Ouch! Temporary skill grants, scaling DR-bypassing, quick and better Survival and Stealth, cavaliers taking ½ damage of allies, and what about allies preventing 5-foot steps and withdraw on a failed save? Better Stealth and demoralizing, etc. also can be found here. In short: The orders have been properly rewired to account for the vastly improved base class engine. Additionally, we get no less than 6 different favored class options for all races, allowing for +1 round, more mount hp, increased movement rate, darkvision, etc.. Liked these!

The class customization is not done! We can also choose two variant proficiency loadouts – one nets you, for example, tower shield proficiency in exchange for ranged martial proficiency, and another allows for exotic weapon use at 1st level. The dual aura ability may be exchanged with challenge if you really want that one back. Instead of the auras and dual aura, you can have weapon training – loss of these doesn’t render the ability useless, due to the follow up abilities. Reduced commander’s aura is also presented here (oddly, thrice – it’s literally the same text, three times. Weird cut copy paste glitch, but doesn’t hurt anyone.) Favored enemy is an option as well. Banner and greater banner may be exchanged for wild empathy, fast movement or fast rider. The renown/court angle may be exchanged for rogue talents, favored terrain or maneuver training; rider’s bond may be replaced with stalwart (not a fan) or uncanny dodge. The charge abilities (beyond the basics) may be exchanged for combat style or martial flexibility. So yeah, you can play brawling hedgeknight, criminal deserters, etc.

The pdf also comes with 11 archetypes: Draconic avenger nets you a drake companion mount (not to be used with Legendary Games’ Wyrmtouched without the feat-chain – kudos for accounting for that!), and the archetype loses the charge/risky lunge array. Dreadnaughts are pretty cool – the class loses the mount, but gets oversized weapons – two-handed weaponry one-handed at first level, intercepting movement, body checks and crashing into targets. This archetype makes you feel like a big, bad colossus dude – basically, the defensive tricks and the like of the mount are integrated into this guy. Really, really cool one, and a resounding success as far as I’m concerned. Firearm soldiers are a straight engine tweak – charges are replaced with a bit of firearm tricks. More interesting would be the houndsmaster, who gets a pair of dogs or wolfdogs that can share a space or “split”, basically tweaking the base companion engine to behave like a conglomerate “lite” version, a splittable entity. I love this. The hounds act as a mount stand-in and allow for some soft crowd control and tactics beyond the regular means that companions offer, and e.g. Combat Reflexes and similar tricks further emphasize this massive engine tweak in a compelling manner, which is particularly suited for darker fantasy games, as the hounds at higher levels can sever limbs when attacking in conjunction – and yep, we get a half-page table that notes the consequences. Minor nitpick: These rules should state loss of ring-benefits, for example, for arms lost, but that is evident from context.

The iron general would be a monk/brawler-like hybrid archetype for unarmed cavaliers. The jungle rider gets a modified proficiency list, can make crooked charges and delays the mount to 4th level, where he gets a more exotic array of creatures to choose from. Masked travelers are a tweak that emphasizes the vigilante-ish angle, losing banner etc. and locking the target into being order-less. Marrow lancers are basically the death knight angle – undead companion (more resilient, less agile), and a fully modified commander’s aura feature that focuses on debuffs, and a more nasty Intimidate focus make this one a great choice for anti-heroes and villains.

Mounted champions presented an interesting thing I seriously did not expect to see: Spheres of Might-synergy! Yep, Legendary Games and Drop Dead Studios synergy? Awesome! This fellow employs the Beastmastery and Warleader spheres, allowing for full Spheres of Might synergy. Nice! (Minor nitpick: The header for Mount (Ex) is not bolded.) The pegasus knight is straightforward, and nets you a neutral winged animal version of Pegasus. The steppe rider gets the chance to fire through wind walls, more mobile mounts (while in full movement), shots that hamper targets, Perception skill unlocks, severing arrows at higher levels – basically, think of these guys as the equivalent of the mighty Mongolian cavalry.

The pdf also includes a 6-level PrC, the lancer, who requires +5 BAB, Mounted Combat and Weapon Focus (lance), 2 skills at 5 ranks to take; the PrC gains ½ Fort-save progression, full BAB-progression, d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level. Ultimately, this PrC represents a different take on the cavalier concept – namely that of the lance-wielding knight who gets elevated to his position. Renown and several cavalier-ish tricks are gained, emphasizing the journey to knighthood, if you will.

We also are introduced to 7 new feats: Aura Study nets you one additional aura you’d usually lose to reduced commander’s aura. Wait. What? Yep, this ties in, obviously, with the tripled reduced commander’s aura – it is evident that a variant that should provide less auras was intended to be one of the reduction options and got somewhat shafted by the glitch. If you really want a base order’s challenge, you can gain the like via a feat, and e.g. houndmaster can choose wolves. There also is a feat to gain an order’s aura, etc. The magic items section includes a banner enhancer, and weapon property that enhances the aura. Really cool: There is a gem that can be attuned to a companion allows you to bring an attuned companion back from the dead. A bridle that makes targets behave as combat trained can be found, and a saddle allows a critter to use the rider’s Will-save vs. mind-affecting effects. The shared pain saddle, finally, allows for 1/round transferral of pain to the mount, with HD as a cool scaling mechanism.

The book concludes with Arsa Verain, a CR 3 sample Legendary Cavalier, who comes with a detailed background story as well as his mount’s stats. His questing has a personal take – Arsa had feelings for a man called Jerome, who, alas, before Arsa could confess, was seemingly taken away by a mysterious woman – and so he looks for a lost love that may be not even reciprocal. He does come with full boon-notes. (I noticed a missing “l” at one point in the prose there.)

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are still very good as a whole; the book generally tackles complex concepts with pinpoint precision, avoiding the usual oversights we’ve come to dread. Anti-abuse caveats, smart notes on statting, ability classification – this gets almost all right…excluding the odd tripling glitch, which does negatively impact in a minor way one of the feats and some intended customization options. It’s not hard to salvage this, mind you, but it’s a bit of a downside. There are also slightly more typos/aesthetic formatting glitches here than usual for Legendary Games, though these still number less than in the vast majority of comparable publications. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf features a variety of new and classic full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Sooo…the legendary cavalier’s base engine is a resounding frickin’ success of epic proportions. There. I said it. Sure, a couple of the archetypes are the obligatory engine tweaks, but we also get several intriguing and well-wrought complex options. The lancer realizes an alternate take on the concept, suitable for more historic/medieval-themed settings…but seriously, for me, the base class is the unmitigated star.

The vanilla cavalier had an identity crisis, was boring to play, did not have much customization options or agenda in combat. The Legendary cavalier is not the most customizable class ever – you can still hand this to a novice without much issue. However, the awesome aura-engine means that you have viable, interesting combat options. The departure from the challenge focus means that you don’t have to rest all the damn time for that one class feature…and I could go on. Is this formally perfect? Nope, and I do have to account for that.

More important, though: Does this finally do the cavalier justice? Make him a non-magic knight that is badass and cool to play? That does something else than charge every damn turn? Heck yeah. N. Jolly, Dave Nelson, Jason Nelson, Hal Kenette and Blake Morton rocked this class hardcore. I don’t even have to think for a second – this guy replaces all cavaliers in my games, and should be considered to be an EZG Essential for all games that feature the cavalier class. It’s a straight, vast improvement that finally makes the cavalier feel like it should be. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 (because the few glitches are excusable), and this gets my seal of approval. Make your cavaliers actually matter and be fun. Get this one!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Cavaliers
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Malevolent Medium Monsters
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2019 05:24:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This bestiary clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of introduction/how to use, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, let’s be real – ginormous monsters are awesome! Duking it out with Godzilla as a demigod-like high-level character? Heck yeah! Here’s the thing: Running these titanic foes on the battlemat? That can be a pain. Worse: What if you need a good showdown in the middle of a dungeon? Suddenly, the vast threat is a lot less mobile, cool, and you need to structure the dungeon to account for it. Retreating battles are out of the question…and I could go on.

This is where this book comes in – within its pages, we get an array of new Medium monsters for mid to high levels. Better yet – the creatures are new, and they all come with their own full-color artworks. Beyond that, they not only feature unique signature abilities, they also come with full write-ups for their ecology as well as habitat & society! These are not just bland statblocks, they have a context. I thoroughly applaud this!

But what kind of monsters do we get within? Well, first, there would be the alabaster beetle, and I love it: This CR 12 vermin has a carapace that renders them invisible to darkvision (Now that’ll be a nasty surprise!) and they also are capable of emitting a spray of acidic, paralytic spray with a cooldown. Add grab and constrict, and we have a critter that feels plausible in its streamlined nature, and creative. Strong first critter!

The homunculus dragon (CR 16) has easily my favorite artwork within this book: They have blood points that they can use to metamagically enhance their spells, and the draconic patchwork creature has a chaotic breath weapon – it may manifest as cones or lines, and damage types similarly are random…oh, and the length? It also oscillates! Cool! The homunculus dragon can also generate a random elemental aura, and with its clever feat array, it makes for a kickass adversary!

Taking a truly horrifying concept, we also are introduced to a new construct, the CR 14 Ersatz (which btw. means “replacement” in German); an ersatz comes with programmed skills, depending on the role it’s supposed to take, and they are superb at imitating the creature they’re designed to mimic. Its disguise only becomes flawed once it has taken a sufficient amount of damage…oh, and guess what…they have a self-repairing trance. Being actually composed of a bloodlike matter, they can bypass armor and shield bonuses by worn equipment, but not their enhancement bonuses. Oh, and yes, construction notes included. Basically, we have liquid replicant blood-terminators. How cool is that???

At CR 15, the faithslain are undead wearing porcelain mask, a darkened void behind the eye-slots, a slithering, black tongue that deals negative energy damage (or heals undead) projecting from the mouth. Creeped out yet? They are vulnerable to good magic…but its tongue? It may instill heretical thoughts in those hit, tainting the target. Really nasty and creepy – as undead should be. The write-up also btw. includes a good version

Then, we get general rules for fiendfused creatures, which are a kind of extremely possessed humanoid: They all can change shape, and gain fiendish knowledge. Sufficient damage from [good] spells or holy weapons (not italicized; like a couple of other spell-references here) can actually rip free the fiend, annihilating the fiendfused, but confronting the PCs with a well-rested and angry fiend… and while fiendfused have the monstrous humanoid type, they detect as outsiders, but do NOT count as such for the purpose of effects that inflict additional damage versus fiendfused.

There are a total of 4 fully-statted fiendfused included: The first, at CR 18, would be the Abyssal tyrant, who is a fusion of humanoid and balors that is wreathed in a nimbus of “unholy damage”-causing energy. There is no such thing in PFRPG. Cool, on the other hand: On crits, these fellows can snare targets in bonds of force, and they get a backlash versus targets that crit them – oddly, here they get the damage type right…but on a flavor nitpick, the ability shouldn’t be called “Hellfire Rebuke” – balors are demons, not devils. While I’m nitpicking: The magic weapons the creature uses are not properly italicized, a minor oversight that also extends to the CR 15 coil kissed fiendfused. These fellows add 1.5 Strength bonus to damage with slams (Strength not properly capitalized), their weapons become magical, and they have an increased slam reach. Their grapples are weird, though; or at least: Inconvenient. One ability kicks in when the fiendfused hits two or more times with a slam, but the standard attack array only sports one slam; an alternate, weapon-less attack array would have made this more convenient to use.

On the lawful evil side of things, we also get CR 18 infernal despots, pit fiends fused with mortals. These fellows can grapple foes with their tails, get poisonous pins, and immediate action quickened fireball retribution for crits is neat, as is the ability to tear the DR-ignoring properties of defensive tricks of armor etc. away. Nasty, brutal – love ‘em! The final fiendfused is the fellow we can see on the cover – at CR 11, we have the shearing menace, a fusion of mortal and glabrezu, who gets an alternate attack that can neuter the movement rates of targets, confuse targets subject to rend, and 1/day retaliate for a crit with power word: stun.

Finally, there would be an aberration – the CR 18 misbirthed, a thing straight out of your Silent Hill-ish nightmares, with not only a nasty SP-array, but beyond that, even looking at it may render you insane, as per insanity! And yes, the ability does still affect those immune to fear, though to a lesser extent. Sure, it only is this bad when seen in proper light…but here’s the issue: Proper lighting is the only thing that can suspend the creature’s regeneration…and no, daylight does not suffice. In darkness or other lighting conditions, on the other hand, the misbirthed warps reality and may attack multiple targets…Creatures successfully subjected to the misbirthed’s rend attack have a chance to be randomly greater teleport/plane shift-ed away. Truly a horrifying monster! To quote the flavor text: “Bruised and red skin stretch over a malformed alien skeleton. It’s impossible to tell what parts are bone or what parts are flesh, amid the body of the writhing creature. This thing should not exist.”

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are, for the most part, very good on both a rules-language and formal level; it’s just in the fiendfused that sport a couple of minor hiccups, two of which, unfortunately, slightly influence rules-integrity on a rules-language level; on a formal level, there are a few missed italicizations, more than I’m accustomed to see from Legendary Games. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the Wrath of the Righteous plugins, and the plethora of full-color artworks provided for the monsters is cool. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Thurston Hillman and Jesse Bonner provide a great array of flavorful, high-concept critters – quality over quantity. Much to my pleasant surprise, even the fiendfused aren’t just straight ability-grafts, but do creative things. On a metalevel, I really love how they have abilities that discourage builds that focus solely on critical hits, and how it doesn’t go the easy route – these are high-complexity, well-written adversaries, which makes up for some of the minor, formal snafus. There is not a single creature herein that I disliked or considered boring – and it’s only the minor hiccups that make me omit my seal of approval from this pdf, which makes this clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Malevolent Medium Monsters
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The Horseshoe Calamity
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/21/2019 05:06:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As always: It should be noted that I am working for Legendary Games as developer; I have received this module and the request to review it prior to taking this position, and hereby vow I’ll rate it to the best of my abilities in a neutral manner.

This adventure can be used as a stand-alone adventure, or it can be used to complement the third part of the Reign of Winter AP, “Maiden, mother, Crone.” It is intended for 7th level characters, and begins in the small town of Dolanni, inhabited by the semi-nomadic Ovoskich tribe.

The village comes with proper settlement statblock, as well as an impressive full-color map of it and its surroundings. Even better, the pdf does come with a proper, player-friendly, key-less version. Kudos! The dungeon map btw. also comes with a player-friendly version – cartographer Marco Morte did a great job here as well. The pdf contains a magic item that is a special reed – when it’s consumed, the character gets to instantly reassign a language known. There is also a magic axe contained herein that may change its damage type for cold, and a new monster at CR 8 is also included inside.

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion. … .. . All right, only GMs around? Great! So, as the PCs approach the settlement, they’ll meet a welcome committee of the most unusual kind – you see, half the populace there actually consists of centaurs. Why? Well, you see, there was a tomb unearthed, and in the tried and true tradition of foolhardy folks, a magic horseshoe was taken – and now, racial tensions are rising: As blackened ghosts (Specters) are rising from the disturbed tomb, humans blame the centaurs for not returning the horseshoe, while the centaurs consider the humans reticence to fight cowardly. Both sides have suffered losses at this point, and it’s only a matter of time before things escalate.

The first component of the module is about deescalating the racial tensions – which, while optional and good in the long run, will pit the PCs against a hothead centaur hunter, potentially has the PCs partake in aforementioned reed, and face down the inevitable specter attack. The second part of the adventure has the PCs explore the tomb that the scout Alasha plundered by kinda-accident, facing the new monster, the hoofghast (basically an undead centaur that heals in cold temperatures and has a concentration/Int-based skill/ability-impeding aura) and also a dread frost wight cleric of Kostchtchie, which can provide hints/an optional tie-in with the big AP-module. Rewards for the winged horseshoes and rewards are appropriate.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, though there are a few instances where magic item references aren’t italicized. Layout adheres to the neat two-column full-color standard of the Reign of Winter-plugins, and the pdf sports several really nice, original full-color artworks I haven’t seen before. The cartography, as noted, is amazing, with full player-friendly map support. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Ron Lundeen’s “Horseshoe Calamity” can help provide a more organic introduction into the statues-dungeon of the AP, and it makes for a nice chance to roleplay. It is, in short, a nice sidetrek with excellent production values. While its brevity means that it’s not exactly the most complex of narratives, it doesn’t have to be. All in all, this is a nice little addition to the AP. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Horseshoe Calamity
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Forest Kingdom Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2019 06:06:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of player-facing material clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction,3 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As befitting of the book, we begin with a rather wide array of new archetypes, the first of which would be the explorer ranger, who gets favored terrain at 1st level, and an additional favored terrain at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Instead of mapmaker, they learn to make excellent maps, which function akin to artisan’s tools, bestowing a +2 circumstance bonus on Survival checks to avoid being lost and Knowledge (geography). Completed maps may be sold, and mapmakers can instead make shoddy ones that penalize those using them instead. These bonuses/penalties btw. increase by 2 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, and yes, such counterfeit maps may be identified. Additionally, track is replaced with a scaling bonus to aforementioned skills. Instead of the combat style feat gained at 2nd level, the explorer gains terrain bond: While in favored terrain, all allies within line of sight that can hear the explorer gain ½ the favored terrain bonus to initiative, Perception, Stealth, and Survival. More importantly, they leave no tracks, unless they wish to. This humble sentence makes the ability much more interesting and pretty potent for e.g. resistance/guerilla type of scenarios. 3rd level provides favored enemy, with additional favored enemies gained every 5 levels thereafter. At 6th level, we have unfettered stride, which allows for the ignoring of non-damaging terrain and manages to precisely state how it behaves in conjunction with the like. It also clarifies how it does not eliminate the need for skill checks and the like – big kudos there. 7th level nets a bonus language, as well as an array of language-themed bonus spells that are added to his spell list.

At 8th level, the archetype gets the ability to create multiple maps and even a super handy master map, replacing swift tracker. Trailblazer is gained at 10th level, and is interesting, allowing these guys to basically clear the path for allies – if they follow in his footsteps, they get the benefits of unfettered step! Additionally, the archetype gets the ability to sacrifice a prepared 3rd level spell to dispel terrain modifying spells! Really cool! 11th level replaces quarry with blindsense 30 ft., which is upgraded to blindsight 30 ft. at 19th level. 14th level upgrades unfettered stride to allow for free movement through water and magically-altered terrain, replacing the style feat gained there. At 18th level, the explorer no longer fails a save on a natural 1, and the alternate capstone nets continuous freedom of movement and he no longer provokes AoOs from creatures that have movement impeded by conditions or terrain. Cool!!

The second ranger archetype within the pdf is the Hidden Guardian, who must be good and gets Diplomacy instead of Knowledge (dungeoneering). Instead of favored enemy, the archetype gains studied strike, as a slayer, and 4th level replaces spells with lay on hands, with hidden guardian level as paladin level. Hunter’s bond is replaced with mercies at paladin level -1, and 9th level nets immunity to divination spells and effects that allow for a save to negate. The hidden guardian can choose to still be affected. 11th level extends this to encompass even divination spells that usually don’t allow for a save to negate, which require a CL check to affect the hidden guardian. This replaces evasion, quarry and improved quarry. Evasion is relegated to 16th level, where it replaces the improved standard. 20th level nets constant mind blank.

The fey mesmerist must have the fey type and chooses a specialism from illusion, enchantment, light, nature or shadow. When the archetype would gain a trick, one can instead elect to learn 2 spells of a level currently available to the list of spells known – a massive and cleverly-curated list of spells by specialism is provided, spanning 2.5 pages…and better yet, more obscure spells have been reprinted in the appendix for your convenience. 3rd level nets DR 1/cold iron, which improves by +1 at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Very cool: The DR actually interacts properly with other sources of DR, changing the bypass requirements to “cold iron and…”, if applicable. This replaces consummate liar, touch treatment, glib lie and 5th level’s bold stare. Instead of mental potency, 5th level yields a spell DC increase for specialism spells that further increases at 13th level. The archetype gets an apotheosis that changes the DR to DR/-, and the character now may be treated as either fey or humanoid, whichever would be more advantageous. Kudos for going the proper route here instead of the invalid double type error so commonly encountered.

The greenweaver kineticist adds Knowledge (nature) and Handle Animal to the class skills. Green weavers are locked into wood as primary element, and are treated as phytokineticists, gaining wood blast and flesh of wood as simple blast and defense wild talent, respectively. Additionally, infusions à la deadly earth, plant disguise etc. may be used with wood blast and its composites. However, since the archetype draws from the First World instead of the Ethereal, the kineticist may not take Reverse Shift. This also, obviously, ahs some flavor ramifications that you can develop. The greenweaver treats Con as 4 higher for the purpose of kineticist abilities, including save DCs and damage dealt as well as Burn accepted. Greenweavers are treated as a plant creature and fey creature in addition to being humanoid, but does not gain the traits and immunities of these types. It is clear that this represents a kind of Achilles’ heel, but there is one corner case that is not taken into account: When an effect, for example, buffs plants and penalizes humans, which effect is gained? It’s clear that the detrimental one is applied, but explicitly stating that would have been nice. This replaces the 1st level infusion.

2nd level’s utility wild talent is replaced with DR 1/cold iron, which improves by +1 for every 2 class levels beyond 2nd. Here, there is a cut-copy paste snafu, as the ability refers to a feat and talks about the option to accept burn to increase DR until burn is next removed, This enhanced DR caps at kineticist level, fyi. 3rd level yields sprouting surge, which applies whenever you accept burn while using a wild talent or negate burn with gather power while using a wood talent. This generates a burst of plants that damages unattended objects, and the terrain is made heavily wooded for a brief duration, and yes, this has proper synergy with e.g. Brachiation of Roots. The radius of the burst scales, and at 9th level, you also get to make a Con-based combat maneuver check to bull rush targets and cause minor damage. This replaces elemental overflow normally gained at 3rd, 9th and 15th level. Elemental overflow is instead gained at 6th level, and for the purpose of the ability, the archetype treats their class level as ½. 5th level nets alter self, entangle, charm person and memory lapse as at-will SPs that require 1 burn to accept, but only in wooded terrain. At 10th level, there are more SPs added, though these cost 2 burn. The modify memory SP gained there can btw. be used as a standard action. 15th level further expands this list with more potent options that cost 3 points of burn. Save DCs are btw. based on Constitution. This replaces 5th level’s infusion. 7th level locks the archetype into Void as second element and allows for the use of Knowledge (nature) to analyze fey and creatures from the shadow realms. Infusion specialization is gained at 8th level, and kineticist level is treated as 3 lower for the purpose of the ability. This is an impressive one – its checks and balances are carefully crafted and make the phytokineticist style work with a distinctly fey touch. Nice!

Kineticist fans get more, though: Persistent Infusion is a 1st level Burn 1 substance infusion for earth, water or wood, and it leaves behind matter. Cool: For 1 burn, your matter (which allows for some really creative tricks!) may be treated as caltrops. We also get 10 new wild talents: Verdant Aura (2nd level) lets you create an aura that allows for the use of woodland step etc.; Desolate, the 3rd level Burn 1 lets you go Dark Sun – you can render up to 100 ft. of land permanently infertile. This is really frightening once you think about it! Hostile Flore, also 3rd level, 0 Burn, lets you use plants in a 30 ft.-range as sources of blasts. Usually, plants take minor damage, though, with the right combo, you can blast through them sans hurting them. Cool: Range infusions extend the reach. The two level 4 utility wild talents build on previous ones. Hostile Woodwork lets you fire through wooden structures – and in a very cool limit, abuse of casting through magic items has a unique anti-abuse caveat. Verdant Overgrowth builds on the plant aura mentioned, allowing for entangling and concealment.

We also get two level 5 wild talents: Continuous Regrowth nets fast healing 1 while flesh of wood is active, which does btw. increase for burn accepted. Thankfully, the ability has a healing cap and certain damage types temporarily negate the ability. While it is gained late, this, theoretically, can allow you to grant infinite healing to allies via HP-transference. Slowly and inefficiently, granted, but yeah. Grasping Overgrowth upgrades verdant overgrowths’s benefits to black tentacle-like grappling. There also are two 7th level options: Horticultural Animation nets animate plants minus entangle options, with Burn for extended duration. The utility wild talent thankfully has an anti-abuse caveat. Finally, Rapid Regrowth enhances the fast healing to regeneration that is harder to offset. Same criticism applies, but at this high a level, it’s even less efficient to cheese this. So yeah, those should not break the game.

The huntsman medium gains proficiency with ranged martial weapons and simple weapons, and draws spells from the hunter’s spell list, with only ranger spells and druid spells of level 4th or lower are considered to be part of the spell list. These spells are cast as psychic spells. The archetype can’t cast alignment-specific spells. Instead of archmage, the archetype gets the Animal Spirit legendary spirit, and Druid instead of hierophant. What do these do? Animal Spirit’s spirit bonus applies to atk and damage with natural attacks and skill checks pertaining animals and plants. Séance boon nets a natural AC increase by 1, and favorite terrain is equal to that of the native terrain of the animal type invoked. Influence penalty to CL-checks, Cha-based and Int-based checks. Taboos include not speaking, not wielding manufactured weapons and not eating anything you don’t kill yourself. The abilities include getting some animalistic qualities like claws and darkvision, swim speed, etc., bonuses applied to animals summoned that match the animal embodied, bestowing standard actions to animals and plants, and as a capstone, we get save boosts and a 1/day summon nature’s ally IX. The Druid spirit is a modification of the hierophant that gets different spirit powers that include druid spells (as per archmage arcana, save that it applies to druid spells); influence for casting sans slot-expenditure, semi-spontaneous casting via influence and a 1/day no-influence cast are provided.

But back to the archetype, shall we? 2nd level replaces shared séance with track, and propitiation is replaced with swift tracker. The second medium archetype within is the natural channeler, who gets Knowledge (geography, nature) instead of Knowledge (planes, religion), and uses the Druid spirit instead of hierophant. Shared séance is replaced with woodland stride. Haunt channeler gets replaced by trackless step. 4th level’s spirit bonus increase is replaced with resist nature’s lure. 4th level nets wild shape as though a druid of the level of the medium, and summon monster spells are replaced with summon nature’s ally. The archetype comes with brief advice on how to adjust the archetype to instead be a swamp strider, etc.

Bards may elect to become jesters, who replace bardic knowledge with Antagonize. The bardic performances include a debuff instead of inspire courage, a sanctuary-like effect instead of inspire competence. Dirge of doom is replaced with a remove fear combo’d with a buff, and inspire greatness is replaced with a performance that causes random effects. Frightening tune is replaced with a song of discord-like performance, and at 15th level, we get “The Joke’s On You”, inverting competence and insight bonuses of foes - cool! This ability also allows for the expenditure of bard performance rounds for a chance to negate critical hits. I am pretty sure that this is supposed to replace inspire heroics. 2nd level nets ridiculous weaponry, which translates to Catch-Off Guard or Throw Anything, and using an improvised weapon nets a bonus to Bluff to feint and atks rolls as part of aid another. Slightly odd: The ability continues to state that the jester can juggle objects and use e.g. different weapons as part of attacks. This section is a bit weird and looks like a line is lost or something like that. I’m pretty sure that a cut-copy-paste glitch is here: “…he is juggler is considered…” This feels like half on the ability has gone missing. The archetype is locked into versatile performance choice of Comedy at 2nd level and does not gain more versatile performance. 5th level nets Improved Dirty Trick and may use Charisma instead of Intelligence for Combat Expertise prerequisites. 1/day, the jester can add Cha-mod to some combat maneuvers, and it does not provoke AoOs. 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter net a bonus feat chosen from a list. This replaces loremaster and jack-of-all-trades. 6th level’s versatile performance is replaced with the ability to affect targets sans shared language with targeted comedy, with each iteration of the ability’s gain providing one type and subtype where these benefits apply.

Cavaliers can become knight-surgeons, who get Heal as a class skill. The archetype may not belong to an order ability that grants or improves a mount….because he doesn’t get one. Instead, the archetype adds ½ class level, minimum 1 to Heal and Craft (alchemy) to make medicinal items. Cavalier’s charge is replaced with touch treatment, and expert trainer and the charge-ability progression is replaced with weapon training. There actually is an archetype of sorts provided – the footman knight, who instead gains stern gaze and armor training. Cavaliers also can choose a new the order of the woodland may never initiate hostilities versus fey, animals or plants unless these start, and vow to protect nature from exploitation. Challenge lets you move at full speed (extends to mount, fyi) through undergrowth when charging towards the enemy, but it does not work to mitigate magical undergrowth or terrain. Cover bonus, if anything, is halved, and concealment-based miss chances are also reduced. Skill-wise, we have Knowledge (nature) and Survival and +1/2 class level to them (min +1) related to forest-based checks. As far as order abilities are concerned, we get scaling bonuses to initiative and Perception checks in forest terrain, and the cavalier gets a scaling AC bonus when adjacent to a tree. In such a case, the cavalier also can’t be flanked. 8th level nets woodland rider, which lets you pass through even magically manipulated undergrowth etc. 15th level nets greensight.

The pdf also contains a massive feat-section. The first of these would be Fairy Blessing, which nets you +2 to Diplomacy and Knowledge checks made with regard to fey. You also get +1 to saves vs. mind-affecting effects, +2 versus those sourced from fey. Sounds sucky? Well, there is a reason for that. This is basically a feat-tax feat that acts as a prerequisite for the (Faerie) feats that follow. Unless I have miscounted, there are 12 such feats herein. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, these are “Clinton Boomer”-feats. If you’re not familiar with Clinton’s long and storied work, these feats are MASSIVE, with most of them spanning about ½ a page. They also often are designed to allow for very specific character concepts and go, in power, often a step beyond what you expect from feats. Blazing Eyes & Mad Howls of the Jabberwock may be taken as a Dampened Versatility by the Elemental Annihilator, and may only be taken by Pyrokineticists with lawful alignments. The feat makes you draw energy from the First World and prohibits you from taking Reverse Shift; while in the woods, you’re considered to possess the Air element for purposes of infusions and wild talents, and all blasts get the [air] descriptor. You can choose to accept a point of Burn as a full-round action to execute a “burble” –a confusion-inducing 30 ft.-spread or create a sonic cone-blast. You can also shroud yourself in winds that can potentially blow targets away if they fail a Strength check. That’s not how repositioning usually works in PFRPG. You do start looking a bit jabberwocky-like and do count as other types for detrimental purposes. My aforementioned criticism regarding multiple types applies, obviously, here as well. The feat also makes you VERY paranoid of vorpal weaponry. Understandably. The feat nets you massive benefits, but also imposes massive Achilles’ heels that you otherwise wouldn’t have. While not suitable for every game, as a person, I really like it. (Though the Strength-based movement is replaced in my version of the feat.)

Frumious Quills of the Bandersnatch builds on this feat, which lets you accept Burn to increase damage output with[fire] or[air] kinetic blasts, and piercing blasts have quills stuck in targets on a failed save, which also accounts for degrees of failure. These quills sicken the targets and removing them is hazardous. Ridiculous: tripled damage on critical hits. A) This is not how Pathfinder handles critical hits. B) You can already do brutal amounts of damage with crits. The feat also allows for kineticist/rage/Bloodrage comboing. No, this one I’d definitely not allow. Not that it matters. Why? You can’t ever take it. The prerequisites list chaotic alignment, while the prerequisite Jabberwock feat is lawful only…so unless you rule that you can retain the former through an alignment change, this will never be available. Horrid Shrieks of the JubJub Bird has a similar issue and nets you reflexive energy resistance. This interacts with Frumious Quills, but…well. Yeah.

Cloak of Coiling Thorns requires being a Phytokineticist of 10th level or higher lets you leave walls of thorns behind you when withdrawing or running, and dimension door via Burn. (Not properly italicized.) Dark Chains Between the Trees builds on Shade of the Woodlands and nets you Unforged Arrow of the Wild as a Faith trait, rather than as a feat. This makes all kinetic blasts and wild talents and SPs gain the shadow descriptor, and blasts can be readied to counter [light] spells and effects. All abilities granted by this, and all wild talents, become divine as well, which makes them more susceptible to effects that resist it. Gaze of the Wilderness is a druid-exclusive that nets you an expanded spell list, and it lets you sacrifice living creatures to make spellcasting less costly. Cool and flavorful one. Shapeless and Primal Terror builds on Shade of the Woodlands and nets you thought/memory-related spells added to your druid spell list. Additionally, you get to expend wild shape uses to get benefits for 1 hour per druid level. There is an aura that causes 1d4 Wisdom damage and paralyze targets for 1 round. (Hex caveat, thankfully). Still, this is VERY nasty and should probably be limited use…or at least have a briefer duration. As always on, it’s super strong. Predator’s Cry (header, oddly, formatted differently than the previous use) nets you a scream that nets you a 60 ft-radius save or be panicked for 2d4 rounds effect. Finally, you get 100 ft telepathy at well while in dim light or darkness. None of these correctly specify activation actions.

The Cursed Cycle, Unending, has an epic idea: When you die, you leave with a nasty curse, and at higher levels, the curse becomes more potent. (Nitpick: Spell-reference not italicized once.) I love this persistent, nasty final sendoff – and yes, the curse can leap! True Child of the Forest makes you count as though you had the nature mystery and the revelation for the purpose or Extra Revelation (OUCH), get a couple of spells added to the spell list, but also need to consume a lot of drink to avoid thirst…even if you become undead. True Love’s Kiss is cool: You get to choose a true love: By kissing this character, and may kiss the true love to duplicate mythic break enchantment or mythic dispel magic, using character level = CL. Unforged Arrow of the Wild requires being a phytokineticist and a nets you a revelation from the nature mystery, and provides options to select certain feats via Dampened Versatility. You can also avoid Burn, instead gaining penalties to skills (Legendary Kineticist-style) and lose languages when doing so. Additionally, this sickens and staggers you while in urban environments – you become a creature of the wild. The feat does prohibit you from using metal armor. Walker Behind the Thorns nets you a withdraw/dimension door retreat that blends with leaving walls of thorns.

Finally, there would be the unicorn charger PrC, which requires BAB +6 or higher, Mounted Combat and 3 skills at 5 ranks. Only good characters that speak Sylvan may take it, and the character needs a bond that grants a horse or pony or similar companion. Of course, the character also needs contact with a unicorn. The PrC nets 172 Fort-progression and good BAB-progression, d10 HD and 2 + Int skills per level, and proficiency with lances and shields (excluding tower shields). 2nd level nets spells drawn from the paladin spell list. These can be cast spontaneously and range up to 4th level, capping at 2 at 1st and 2nd level, 1 at 3rd and 4th spell level. Charisma is governing attribute for spellcasting. The PrC gets its own spells known list, and an aura of good as well as the pala’s detect evil ability. The character gets a unicorn mount that gets +2 to one mental ability score of your choice at 3rd level and every 3 thereafter. Wild empathy is twice as effective with good magical beasts, and 2nd level nets poison resistance that improves at 5th and 8th level, with 10th level providing poison immunity. This level also nets woodland stride. 3rd level nets smite evil, save that it applies instead to plants, evil fey and similarly-themed adversaries, and the second ability gained at that level, lets the unicorn heal targets or rider via its horn a limited number of times per day, which is treated akin to lay on hands. 4th level provides an AC-penalty-less charge at +4 instead of the default bonus. 4th level nets Aura of courage, 8th aura of resolve.

5th level nets sanctuary (not italicized) versus non-evil animals, fey, etc., as well as a bonus to Diplomacy with such beings, based on class level. 6th level nets the option of healing diseases and poisons with the horn. 7th level provides dimension door 1/day, +1/day at 7th level. At this level, the pure heart is also gained, which makes the mount’s weaponry considered to be good, and certain spells may be cast spontaneously or by expending healing horn uses. 9th level provides a further upgrade for the horn, and 10th level nets a super charge attack with doubled threat range. Interaction with palas and ex-unicorn charges are covered.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on both a formal and rules-language level. While I noticed a few formatting and editing glitches, some of which impact rules-integrity, the pdf still is, as a whole and considering the complexity, rather precise. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard of the Kingmaker plug-ins. The pdf sports some rather nice full-color artworks and comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, Julian Neale, Clinton J. Boomer and N. Jolly provide a collection of cool archetypes with a definite frontier and fey vibe. I enjoyed the archetypes herein in that even the shorter ones offer a sense of a distinct identity. That being said, there are a couple of options that sport some hiccups in the details and there are a few instances where I definitely would draw the ban hammer or nerf bat – particularly the feats require that a GM really knows what they’re doing before allowing them in the game. The jabberwocky-sequence in particular, or the ones that just grant you revelation-access, are imho overkill. As a whole, this doesn’t sink the product, but it does cancel out a couple of the more inspired components, leveling out at being a good, if not perfect supplement. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forest Kingdom Archetypes
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Eldritch Elementalism
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2019 12:26:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, though, as always for Legendary Games, these are cock-full with content – many other publishers wouldn’t have crammed this much text on a given page.

Okay, so, in a way, this pdf represents partially a player’s option booklet, partially a GM’s toolkit that also is somewhat relevant for players…but in order to explain that, we should take one step at a time.

Upon opening the pdf, we are greeted with something I did not expect, but very much enjoyed: The book presents us with a variety of ecologies for the respective elementals for the 4 core elements. This may sound like a small thing, but to me, text like this helps getting the creative juices going, and indeed, few beings require this little help as much as elementals do…but I’ll get back to what I mean by that later.

For now, let us take a look at the two new archetypes, which both aim to fill a hole in the rules regarding elemental-themed support. The first of these would be the elemental channeler druid archetype, who receives Knowledge (planes) as a class skill and chooses an elemental focus among the 4 core elements. For the focus, the channeler gets a +1 bonus to CL when casting spells with the corresponding descriptor. This also determines the opposing element. The archetype has diminished spellcasting, but gains access to a kineticist’s simple blast associated with the chosen element, with 6th level increasing the range of the blast to 120 ft. – and another ability nets basic aerokinesis for air, geokinesis for earth – you get the idea. The elemental channeler treats the latter as at-will SPs. Nature bond, nature sense and wild empathy are lost for these abilities, though. At 3rd level, the elemental channeler can learn a 1st level utility wild talent associated with the chosen elemental focus, which becomes an at-will SP or SU, depending on the utility wild talent in question. Every 3 levels beyond that yield an additional such utility wild talent, which must be of a level equal to half the elemental channeler’s class level or lower. Instead of being governed by Constitution, they use Wisdom as governing key ability modifier, and instead of accepting burn, they are powered by expending a spell slot of a spell level equal to the wild talent’s level.

The archetype can also choose to learn the element’s defense wild talent, though here, the spell slot expenditure required is equal to the amount of burn accepted. Instead of woodland stride and trackless step, we get different abilities depending on the chosen element. Instead of resist nature’s lure, we have a bonus to spells and effects originating from elemental creatures with the druid’s subtype. A purely cosmetic hiccup: A bit of a sentence here is bolded that shouldn’t be. This does not impede functionality, though. Wild shape is altered to allow the druid to assume elemental form, counting as +2 level for the purpose of assuming the form of the chosen element, but prohibiting her from assuming the form of the opposed elemental. Instead of a thousand faces, the archetype, finally, has an apotheosis to native outsider with the chosen element’s subtype, but sans the immunity/vulnerability, and with the explicit caveat of that not hampering raising from the dead. All in all, an interesting kineticist-y engine tweak for the druid.

The second archetype within would be the elemental witch, who is locked into Elements, light, Mountains, Storms, Water or Winter as patron. The elemental witch chooses a single element to focus on, and the choice is in part determined by the patron chosen, and the elemental witch does not have an opposed element. At 6th level, the witch may choose to gain another elemental supremacy in place of a hex, and she may select several, provided they are allowed by the patron chosen. Subsequent choices after the one at 1st level are treated as witch level minus 5, though. We get custom elemental supremacy effects for each of the elements, and I was surprised to see some interesting angles here – air, for example, allows you to ignore wind effects up to a certain strength, while also providing +2 to Fly, a bonus that increases over the levels. Air descriptor spells get a +1 CL, and the supremacy includes an at-will SP, with 5th, 10th and 20th level providing upgrades in the face of additional SPs and better defensive tricks. This paradigm applies to all of these supremacies, though in different ways. Beyond supremacies aligned with the 4 core elements, we also have a supremacy for cold and storms.

At 4th level or whenever she gains a new hex, the witch may choose Improved Familiar instead, gaining an elemental patron associated with the respective patron. 6th level nets elemental shape, basically a wild shape variant for elemental shapes only. Minor complaint: One reference to elemental body I is not italicized properly. The ability upgrades at 8th, 10th and 12th level, with durations and uses per day increasing per level. The ability replaces the 6th and 12th level abilities. The archetype also may choose from among 8 unique major hexes, which include Augment Summoning elemental summoning, and the option to grant some supremacy benefits to other summoned creatures. We also have a cyclone, a crashing wave that can push targets away, etc. – these are interesting, and, you guessed it, contingent on the patrons chosen. All in all, a nice archetype!

The pdf also contains 5 feats…for elementals! Smothering Grapple is a feat for air and water elementals, and allows an elemental to suffocate grappled targets. Manifest Armaments is an overdue trick for elementals, allowing them to manifest armor and weaponry, with unique benefits depending on the elemental subtype – air elementals have weaker armor, but get scaling miss chances, for example, while earthen armor is better, but bulky, and thus subject to an increased armor check penalty. Improved Manifest Armaments increases the range of the base feat, now allowing for the creation of medium armors and two-handed weaponry, or light and one-handed weapon at once. Cool! Manifest Earthen Bulwark increases DR granted by the armors, and unlocks heavy armor equivalents. (As an aside: The feat is called “Earthen” because it’s earth-exclusive.)

Shape Summons is a key-feat here – it’s not for elementals, but for their summoners, allowing the summoner to apply elemental templates to called elementals. This brings me to the lion’s share of the book’s content, namely what I always wanted – rules-relevant tweaks to diversify elementals, here, in the guise of a plethora of templates that may be applied to elementals. Before you ask, yes, interactions with planar ally et al. are covered, and each of the templates comes with a sample creature, many of which come with actual full-color artworks! One of these fellows you can see on the cover – it’s an air elemental with the CR +1 avian template applied, the “Roc of the Gales.” We also get templates for cephalopod elementals, exemplified in application…by the sky squid! The pdf does contain rules for the CR +2 draconic elemental template (yep, they’re indeed harder than regular elementals…) and, as you could probably deduce from aforementioned Armament feats, there is the humanoid elemental template, which, also at +1, would be a great place to note that the respective sample creatures are NOT just lazy applications of the base template. Instead, e.g. the sample humanoid elemental does make use of the new feats…and has class levels. (As a cosmetic note: The armor class-header is not bolded in the template.) Predatory elementals take the form of hunting animals and beasts, while piscine elementals – bingo, resemble fish…and yes, you can make a piscine fire elemental! Finally, there would also be serpentine elementals – the last three all clock in at CR +1, btw.

However, beyond these roughly creature-shape-themed elemental templates, there is more to be found within: Consuming elementals, at CR +1, can consume the elemental energy, and a kinetic blast-based breath weapon. Speaking of which: The kinetic elemental gets kineticist tricks that improve based on HD. A pleasant surprise for me was the presence of the CR +1 radioactive elemental template, which draws upon the Technology Guide’s radiation rules, with HD governing radiation strength. The sample critter here is particularly neat: We get a consuming radioactive kinetic humanoid earth elemental with invulnerable rager levels! CR 17. You know you want to send this fellow to kick your PC’s behinds! On the more down to earth side, the unbound elemental template at CR +0 represents a more mutable elemental.

Beyond all of these, the pdf also contains two eldritch elementals as a bonus of sorts: The Flamboyant Flame, a CR 13 humanoid fire elemental swashbuckler that masquerades as a graceful efreeti – and yes, we have notes to call this fellow via planar ally. And then there would be the endboss. If your players ever laughed about the notion of a campaign ending in a battle versus an elemental that is not a prince or, well Tharizdunian in theme, here you go: Infernatrox, the Draconic Conflagration, is an advanced draconic mythic fire elemental that clocks in at a cute CR 25/MR 10. AC 47, an ability called “Immortal Flame” that not only has him detonate upon death, but makes it possible for allies to quickly and fully revive the fellow, an ability called “Everything Burns” that bypasses all resistance and immunities of nonmythic targets and also compromises that of mythic beings…and I’m just getting started. An interesting thing about this brutal beast, though, is that it is designed to reward planning and clever PCs. Several abilities have specific means to offset them – yep, mythic characters can, with a clever trick, benefit from resistances and immunities versus his flames. In a way, this is a great build that is both mechanically interesting and a small puzzle of sorts. Really enjoyed this fellow!

Conclusion: Editing is very good on a formal and rules-language level. Formatting sports a few more glitches than what I’m accustomed to see from Legendary Games, but none of them are impediments to grasping the concepts within. Layout adheres to the blue-tinted two-column full-color standard of the reign of Winter-plugins, and the pdf sports quite a few nice full-color artworks. While I had known a few before, I also found several new ones within. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Deborah Kammerzell, Chris van Horn and Jason Nelson have crafted a pdf I frankly did not expect to like. At all. When I read “elemental” on most books, I get this immediate yawn-reflex. I have seen elemental options done so often, and often so well, that I am hard to excite. However, the simple form-templates for elementals in this book really serve a niche: they provide a quick and painless, fun toolkit for the GM to finally make elementals top being so damn boring. If you have ever bemoaned that e.g. no birds of lightning, no fish of fire graced your table, here you have an array of templates that elevates elementals from boring hunks of elemental matter to actually interesting adversaries that get players talking: That eel of lightning sure was creepy, right? Anyhow, if there is a minor weakness here, then that would be that I would have loved to see a few more outré templates for the elementals. Predatory, for example, is a pretty simple one, and not all of them are equally exciting. However, that is me complaining at a high level. The pdf does have its genius moments, and some of the sample elementals indeed go above and beyond.

All in all, this represents a pleasant surprise, and as such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – a super-handy toolkit for GMs, and particularly if you’re too lazy to make all these small templates yourself, a real time-saver. (Plus: Sample critters rock!)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eldritch Elementalism
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Kingdoms
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2019 21:20:10

Direct conversion of the Pathfinder Ultimate Campaign rules, by some of the original authors. I was planning on converting this myself, and I am glad that I picked this up instead.

As with the original pathfinder rules, this works best if you fully and carefully run the player's kingdom, but abstract all NPC kingdoms. Handling multiple kingdom turns, calculating advisor modifiers and hexes and structures, etc, for NPC kingdoms, is untenable. I am building a database simply to track all the kingdoms in my game, and it's not a good use of my time (I do it anyone because it's a weird hobby that I enjoy, not because it's actually good for the game).

I expected to go into this and have the same bounded accuracy that one gets in 5e vs Pathfinder, but because Kingdom Checks are very much dependent on non-player modifiers (structures, events, etc etc), the system operates outside the standard 5e math. This makes it very complicated, but it still works (balance wise) because it's a self-contained, separate system.

This system is not in the spirit of 5e, with an emphasis on narrative and simplification, but I enjoy using it.

One thing that is missing in the warfare rules are the rules for conquering territory/taking hexes from other kingdoms. As a DM you will need to adjudicate this on your own.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdoms
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Faerie Bargains
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/04/2019 12:10:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, ½ a page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, that out of the way, what are faerie bargains? They are a means to bind a fey unavoidably to the bargain’s terms, and serve as a means to reward the mortal associated with the bargain. As such, they basically represent a reward mechanism that is not tied to gear. Something I generally tend to enjoy, as it helps combat the dreaded Christmas-Tree-syndrome of high-level characters decked out in ridiculous amounts of magic items. A bargain’s terms must be spoken or sung to the mortal in a language that the mortal understands, and magical manipulation of the target is expressively forbidden. The shortest type of faerie bargain lasts for a moon cycle, but most last so long as to make their duration irrelevant for the purpose of a campaign. Each such bargain has, in tradition with real world lore, an escape clause. If a fey is slain, the bargain is undone, but once it returns to life, the bargain is reinstated – considering how fey tend to reincarnate, this means that slaying targets may not be the wisest choice.

Activation of a faerie bargain’s benefits is, unless otherwise noted, a spell-like ability that provokes AoOs. Emulated spells use the character’s level as CL, while those not based on spells use ½ character level for the purpose of determining their potency. Such abilities also default to a standard action to activate. The mechanic base for access to these, should you want one, would be the Faerie Bargainer monster feat, which also represents the mechanics for spontaneous creation of bargains. The Faerie Friend feat lets you make +2 faerie bargains, as well as providing a +2 bonus on Diplomacy and Sense Motive vs. fey. Said bonuses also apply to faerie bargain-related skill checks. The normal cap of faerie bargains per character is btw. 1 + Charisma modifier.

A faerie bargain is codified in a statblock of sorts: They have a CR value and XP rating – this is awarded for fully researching and undoing the faerie bargain. Nice: Novice GMs get a note here that gives carte blanche to prevent XP-cheesing by PCs. Bargains have a magical aura, a payment, and note the faerie creature likely to be able to grant this boon. Some bargains are tied to an object, which is called “token” – these only apply their benefits when the token is worn. And yes, the pdf does codify interaction with AoE effects, sundering et al.

Faerie bargains obviously provide benefits, and have associated skill checks that need to be met to research the existence of such bargains. The DC is stated as a complexity rating, with knowledge points (kp) and milestones provided – in short, we have nice library usage synergy. If you’re familiar with the standard research rules, you’ll know how to use these. The pdf does go beyond that and provides intricate guidelines for GMs to create their own faerie bargains, including a table that correlates temporary and permanent negative levels, conditions that are hard to remove (by e.g. a greater restoration or even only by a wish and analogue power!) with gp values, making sure that WBL guidelines can be properly maintained. Similarly, CR-modifiers are explained and collected, and using faerie bargains as rewards is properly accounted for as well. A handy table that lists them by CR and with their treasure equivalent makes usage of the bargains provided swift and painless, should you be not inclined to make your own, at least from the get-go.

To sum it up: We get a means of rewarding players that is somewhat akin to Mór Games’ emergences, save that its mechanical guidelines are more tightly codified, putting more emphasis on reward structures beyond the roleplaying-relevant context. The faerie bargains, no surprise here, also are themed around fey and mythology.

The lion’s share of the pdf is devoted to a TON of faerie bargains, so even if the DIY-bargain-crafting guidelines do not appeal to you, you’ll get more than enough such bargains to run whole campaigns (yes, plural intended!) featuring them. The intriguing component about them, though, is that they genuinely matter. Faerie bargains are not simply numerical boosts. Getting vermin scent from a mite, grig, gruen etc. will allow you to influence vermin with Handle Animal, for example. It’s also a good example to note the benefits of doing your research prior to jumping into a bargain: In the case of this example, we have a -4 penalty to Perception and Sense Motive versus faerie creatures (deviation from type fey is definitely intended here) and saves versus vermin abilities…and suddenly, we do have a good reason to think twice. The bargain also exemplifies why a PC may want to take this – being able to Handle Animal vermin can be a huge boon for roleplaying, perhaps even a plot point…but it is not a boost that every PC will necessary want to undergo.

And this is EXACTLY how faerie bargains should work. Sure, you can get illusion tutelage from e.g. a nixie – a strand of the fey’s hair, and bam, you can use veil or invisibility thrice before the bargain ends, but become more susceptible to the fey…oh, and talking about how you got the ability ends the bargain! That is a classic trope and considering the curiosity of players, using this one as the aftermath of a 1-on-1 session can make for super interesting interactions. Want to learn some basic magics? Well, you can – you just have to pay with an emotional memory. Since memory and identity are inextricably entwined, this can make for very intriguing roleplaying scenarios as well. With the right bargain, you can deal yourself damage and anoint a rare wood with your blood, creating a lesser simulacrum…but this double may be controlled by the fey. Wanna get out of this bargain? For the low price of handing the fey a child of your species to adopt, you can…

See what I meant regarding the fact that these resonate with real life mythology? For a bit of madness, you can have the blood rage universal monster ability; you can have a frozen heart…and there are some that are downright genius. Rhymer’s truth would be one of these: This bargain strips you of the ability to lie. If you utter a factual statement that may be true, you have a pretty high chance that you can’t finish the sentence. This is frickin’ intrigue gold. If you pay with your shadow, you can make your kingdom (yep, kingdom-building synergy included!) help recover hit points from resting and magical healing! It also improves the benefits of holiday edicts and settlement stats are improved…but the faerie does get a pretty potent ability…namely to assume your form! Once more, the potential is amazing. And yes, there are multiple such bargains included.

With the curse of spilled blood, being reduced below 13 hit points (of course – love this!) targeting attackers with ill omen. Now, I wouldn’t be me sans things to complain about – in hallows of rulership, there is a “See page XXX” reference left. …Yeah, I don’t have much to complain about these bargains. Amazing: Fey Queen’s Ransom will take 20 hexes, with at least 200 BP from your kingdom, replacing it with featureless wasteland…but you do gain your mythic tier and may even pay more to grant this power to allies. This is the stuff tales of villains…or of desperate gambits, are made of.

The pdf does contain more than these bargains – we also get 6 magic items associated with these bargains: A magical cauldron, a green girdle of invincibility that allows you to become the green knight of myth…and yes, the items often are associated with themes of seasonal courts. Did I mention the stone throw of destiny? Yeah, the items feel potent and distinctly fey. The rules provided are precise and tight.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard of the Kingmaker-plugins, and the pdf features a blend of previously used and new full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

David N. Ross is an author who manages something few designers achieve: He exhibits an impressive mastery and precision regarding the quality of his crunch, and supplements this with thoroughly novel and cool themes. In a more modern parlance: He’s got both A-game math and crunch design skills, and knows how to clad them in roleplaying-relevant components. This is not just a dry collection of numerical boons, it is a true ROLEplaying supplement, one suffused with the themes and tropes of real world mythology, contextualized through the lens of Pathfinder. Moreover, the bargains are pretty much tailor-made to represent things in Kingmaker and allow for unique responses and narrative tricks. Both PCs and GMs are certain to adore these. In case you haven’t noticed: I absolutely ADORE this supplement. It is precise, potent and genuinely intriguing. It is one of those underappreciated gems that folks overlook since it doesn’t explicitly state “here there be magic items” – and honestly, if you have so far skipped this one, get it. It is an inspired little gem of a book.

My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faerie Bargains
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Legendary Samurai
by What N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2018 17:24:16

I play a lot of 3PP pathfinder material, and have a lot of faith in the author based on previous products. While I haven't had a chance to test this in a game yet, the product is extremely solid, and represents a legitimately better take on a samurai than the alternate version of the cavalier we got from 1PP.

I'll cover the main points as they crop up in the book, as I'm a novice at constructive feedback.

The Class:

It's solid. It has an easy to approach package of abilities, without feeling strict or limited.

Spirit: It has a feature called spirit, a pool which is increased or decreased by your actions in combat. This pool of spirit fuels most of your specialty tricks in combat. Normally, I would be against this, particularly because you always begin a day with no spirit. I'm a point hoarder, and that scares me. However, simply from taking part in a battle, you get spirit by rolling initiative, as well as damaging or taking damage. More ways to get or hold this resource would be nice, but it's a very solid approach.

Browsing over most of the other features, they might seem small at first, but come together to present a very appealing package. Spirit fuels most of their abilities, from challenging foes and the samurai arts, which I'll cover later. They also gain a limited selection of vigilante talents, most of which aren't relevant in most games, but are nice by virtue of being free, and representing their status as a minor celebrity or noble. Most of the abilities you know from the original samurai are here, but function slightly differently by running on spirit and/or being a little more solidly usable. There are a few more features of the class I want to spend some time talking about specifically, though.

Sheath Control: deserves to be called out here as a 1st level ability that will make samurai a worthwhile dip in any 'drawing' character. (I would have liked a feat chain for non samurai to get this.) It is what quick draw should have always been, granting the feat but also allowing you to sheathe a weapon as a free action that can be taken even outside of your turn, thus removing the limitations on quick draw and sheathe builds. This is fantastic, and should have been the way that Quick Draw always worked.

Iajusu techniques are a series of special addons to your iajutsu strikes, and you gain them slowly. They help provide a samurai a number of flavorful and useful sword techniques. Despite being few and far between, I like what most of them have to offer.

Kiai Arts: These are supernatural effects that are represented essentially by shouting louder than the opposition. You receive them all at certain levels, and they almost all require you spending your precious spirit to use. That said, some of the benefits can be very useful, particularly for team-based players by granting your allies bonuses on what they do. Most of the time, this won't cost you actions.

That covers the class, but golly you added a lot more to this, so let's briefly cover

Alternate Class Features & Archetypes:

That's right, they're back. Several smaller-than-archetype packages that can change up your game significantly. Including unarmored packages, switching challenge for favored enemies, and more. It's so refreshing to see these in place of just archetypes. Thank you, and a lot of these are good.

But we're not done swapping things out. The archetypes presented here cover a wide variety of samurai fiction tropes, from the warrior that fights with the help of ancestral spirits, gun use (Why the sword cane pistol exclusively, I ponder? Particularly given how much rifles were beloved by historic samurai,) compatibility with Spheres of Power/Might content, intelligent-sword wielders, and a lot more. Despite some minor qualms, these are fantastic additions and I'm wanting to play one more than ever.

Extra Content

The feats published here are, unsurprisingly focused on the legendary samurai class. Allowing them to function with different ability scores, providing more access to their arts, and so on. Worth mentioning however, is a feat that allows your ancestral and heirloom weapon traits to matter significantly more, and allow you to upgrade and gain a measurable advantage by using your historic weapon. Finally, they've offered an optional feat to help reduce the pain in playing the blind warrior trope of fantasy, and arguably one of the best ones for the cost that I've ever seen.

In addition, you'll find several sidebars addressing concepts like playing a samurai outside of eastern flavored games, handling disabilities and severe injuries, and various clarifications that aren't necessary by any means but I'm grateful to have them as they're well put together and enrich the book as a whole.

Final Thoughts

The Good: The Legendary Samurai takes the idea of the features of the 1PP samurai and delivers them in a flavorful, and fun method. The class looks solid, and almost every option has something significant to offer.

The Bad: I'm mostly looking for small details here. While flavorful and effective, Kiai and Iaijutsu arts feel like more often than not, they'll simply be traded away for other features like Spheres content. I can't help but feel that we'll see the variant samurai more often than the standard. Also, sheath control is fantastic, worth dipping in for anyone using quick draw abilities. I feel like something like a feat chain could have been nice to grab this for other classes, but that falls outside the purview of publishing the samurai, doesn't it? Lastly, spirit, while easy to gain is used for almost every function of the samurai. As someone who hoardes points, I wonder if I'll be more hesitant to spend them on doing things than I should be? This is something I'll have to see in game.

All in all this is another product from Jolly (And some others!) that stands up to the level of balance and excellence I've come to expect from Legendary games. I highly recommend this product, for nearly any kind of game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Samurai
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Planetary Heroes (Starfinder)
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2018 19:03:19

I bought this to have some fun pregens for new players. Unfortunately, maybe because this is more of a re-write of a previous product, it seems to suffer from some editing issues. While the character build stats themselves seem solid, the textual background descriptions don't match up. In a quick view, for the first one presented, Anders 6, the stat sheet shows a tactical dueling sword and a tactical semi-auto pistol. In the physical description paragraph, he's described as wielding his ever-present katana (maybe a sword?) and a carbon fiber crossbow (far cry from a pistol). Now let's move on to Girrun Snik. In the physical description, reference is made to flasks of liquid fire and a single thunderstone. Neither of these items are in the character stat sheet. That's as far as I've gotten in the first 30 minutes of ownership, but it's not hard to say that I'm rather disappointed. This seems like it should have been caught by a basic editing pass which obviously wasn't done.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Planetary Heroes (Starfinder)
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for letting us know. I've forwarded your review over to the developer on the book and he's going to take a second look to find any issues like the ones you note above that slipped through. We'll upload a new version once that's available, and any existing customers can download the new copy once it goes up.
Pirate Campaign Compendium (Pathfinder)
by JEROME M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2018 14:42:11

I was a backer for the kickstarter for this book and boy am I glad I joined it! Put simply, this book contains everything you need to run pirate or naval based campaigns. You get rules, a pirate codex, bestiaries, both normal and mythic, rules for ship to ship combat, rules for mass naval combat, adventures, spells, magic items and so much more.

There's too much content to cover concisely here. Just read the description above. All of that stuff is indeed trapped between these pages. This book is a compilation of previously published and playtested material combined with all new content. If you're one of those whackadoos that only reads reviews filled with negatives, then dig up the reviews for all of the individual parts and you'll find there are very few complaints.

The hardback is gorgeous and will look great on your shelf or in your hands for years to come. If you are running the classic pirate adventure path from Paizo or just running a pirate campaign at home, then this book is a must-buy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pirate Campaign Compendium (Pathfinder)
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The Smuggler's Seal
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/29/2018 13:42:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of the 1-on-1 adventure modules that can act as an optional introduction to Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my queue at the request of one of my patreons.

Well, first things first: This can be run as a direct sequel to the excellent “Orphans of the Hanged Man”, but it does not necessarily require that you have finished its prequel. The module does come with a full and proper array of player-friendly full-color maps. It is intended for a character of 2nd level, and the adventure comes with a new CR 1 monster, the scroll sentinel,, which is an excellent example for how damn good Legendary Games’ monster design continues to be: The creature has a cool Achilles’ hell and several unique abilities – and it does come with its own illustration. Rather cool!! A pregen is also included in the deal.

Scaling information for 3rd level are included for your convenience, and the module sports copious amounts of read-aloud text to help you evoke a concise atmosphere, including different introductory angles if the PC hasn’t played “Orphans of the Hanged Man.”

This being an adventure-review, the following contains copious amounts of SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the old master thief, alas, finally passes away from old age; however, the Pc being his heir of sorts, does receive a letter that passes the valuable city properties one alias of the Hanged Man had, to the PC. A trip to a helpful forger later, and the PC only has a simple task ahead – slipping these forgeries into the city archives! The set-up for the region where the archives are located is pretty nice, providing benefits and notes for PCs doing their proper legwork casing the joint. No less than 6 (!!!) means of ingress are provided with notes on the checks and things required to get in, and the staff is similarly associated in detail with the default NPC arrays. The vault itself is also impressive, for example regarding monster choice: Pyraustas can be found (though the color of the letters of their header is black when it should be white in one of the rare formatting glitches), a bronze asp (fully statted, templated iron cobra) - and traps.

All of these have something in common that I hope to see in PF 2, when it comes, more often: They can be resolved via ROLEplaying, not just by rolling the dice; indeed, that’s the preferred method! The bronze asp has a particular program that allows for full bypassing, the traps can be turned off or avoided by clever PCs – brute-forcing is always possible, yes, but it’s so much more rewarding to do this the clever way. This heist, by the way, is only the first part of this adventure!

Having secured the inheritance, the PC gets an offer from aforementioned forger to building a smuggler’s network – once more, clever observation, with degrees of success and various different means, allows the PCs to recruit, in one way or another, a variety of colorful characters – by free will or coercion. A ragpicker savant ghoststory teller, grindylows (good if you treated them well in Oprhans…), a philandering customs agent and more all can be found – this is basically a “getting the gang together” type of scenario.

However, things don’t end with the smuggling operation – a rival, a very powerful foe, Jaylin Rinegold, has the warehouse seized…and the last man to cross Ms. Rinegold did not fare well. Some inquiries will point the PC to an alchemist, and then, well, it’ll take the application of both the short-lived alchemical brews, marker dye to counter invisible threats, and the skills acquired so far to make it through Rinegold’s mansion: A schedule and reconnaissance details are included, and a guards and wards spells that confuses targets, shrouds doors and cloaks the hallways in mist makes for a super-exciting high-stakes infiltration. Arcane locked doors and those covered by illusions are appropriately noted with glyphs on the GM map for easy and convenient reference. The hands of the former thief that informed the PC btw. still tip toe as crawling claws through the house, making for an interesting souvenir for the poor man. The infiltration here is not piece of cake – the final boss may just be an imp (convenient silver provided nearby…), but a final and pretty challenging effect of the global enchantment can have important information slip through the PC’s grasp…and here, the ministerial seal can be found, allowing for the end of the blockade of all those delightful goods, ending the module with the PC having established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the Curse of the Crimson Throne plugins, and the pdf comes with nice full-color artworks. The cartography is in full-color as well and features player-friendly versions – big plus! The adventure comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Michael Allen and Matt Goodall provide a glorious one-on-one adventure in this offering: “The Smuggler’s Seal” continues to teach the PC to be smart, observant and provides for plenty of different solutions for the problems faced. The learning process is palpable, and the adventure covers a surprising amount of ground, offering more bang for your buck than you’d imagine. I estimate that this could cover up to 8 or 10 full sessions if you take your time with roleplaying conversations, and few players will finish it in under 4 sessions. This has a ton of material to offer and does the heist genre and its various tropes exceedingly well. So well, in fact, that I really wish for the style to continue. It’s not just the challenges or details – it’s the freedom to tackle problems in different ways, the rewarding of roleplaying over simple good die-rolls, that makes this so fun and exciting. This is a worthy sequel to the excellent predecessor and probably manages to exceed its appeal even. If you’re looking for an excellent heist-y module, look not further! As an aside, while it may require lower level PCs and some tinkering with the challenges, I can see this warrant being used for a group as well. It’s that interesting. This receives 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Smuggler's Seal
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Royal Tournaments
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2018 07:44:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, which, as always with Legendary Games, manages to cram quite a lot of text on each page, so let’s take a look!

It is an interesting observation for serious students of history, whether professional or amateur, when one discovers the extent to which religious and regular festivals have shaped the course of life for literally thousands of years; while we tend to glamorize the iconic knight tournaments and jousting, the fact is that both combat challenges and religious festivals have had a huge impact on daily life in ages past, perhaps to an extent that surpasses what we nowadays can experience in festivals and the like. Religious festivals in particular have shaped the experience of the middle ages to a much more significant degree than most folks realize.

It is interesting to note, then, that tournaments and the like, as important as they are, only rarely feature prominently within the context of roleplaying games. While I do know of a few modules featuring festivals as backdrops, there isn’t that much material out there to create them yourself. This pdf, which should come as no surprise, seeks to remedy that. We begin by establishing festival size and mechanical impacts of these on the game – whether it’s the GP-limit or, if you’re using Ultimate Rulership (which you should!), the basics are provided in detail. If you don’t have the festival edict rules from that book, fret not, btw. – they are included in the back.

The pdf provides the rules for navigating the throng of the crowds and finding particular locales next – and these take cost of living status into account: rich folks have an easier time finding exclusive places.

Tournaments are more than entertainment, though, and indeed were a place of politicking, where fortunes could be made or lost – as such, the pdf provides synergy with various subsystems from honor to relationships, without necessarily requiring them. The right seating and lodging can make a difference on the localized fame or infamy the PCs have; this value is known as renown and based on honor or reputation, with the starting value being the sum, divided by 10. Big plus: In the absence of these subsystems, there is another way to calculate this value – you can use them all in conjunction, but you don’t have to! Using magic to create illusory splendor, winning the “king of the hill” spot in the lottery and the like are all discussed.

In advertisement, there is the saying that promotion’s everything – and this held true back in the day as well, with 5 sample promotions and associated skills and special effects accounted for. The pdf also discusses differences in magic saturation – how a gritty, low-fantasy foot-race may well become a teleportation-contest in a high-fantasy game, for example – it’s nice to see such concerns spelled out. Speaking of which: For as long as there have been games of chance and contests, there have been attempts to cheat. The supplement proceeds to discuss on how to quickly and easily assert attitudes towards cheating, and using background checks in conjunction with the fair is similarly discussed.

These basics out of the way, we move on to the section aptly titled “Rural Delights” – here, we are introduced to 5 minigames, ranging from caterpillar eating, rope swing and jump to squirrel racing and whittling. These have in common that their rules are tightly presented, easy to grasp…and the contests are quickly resolved, preventing boredom at the table. Furthermore, we get two potential complications per such contest. Obviously, eating and drinking contests as well as jumping events have been included as well, though these do get their own dedicated sections, differentiating between different contests within. The racing event section also deserves special mention, with sprints, endurance races, relays, steeple chases and riding or swimming races covered in detail. A minor note of complaint: It would have been awesome to see a flying race rule-array as well, though it’s easy enough to extrapolate from the concisely-presented rules here.

Tests of strength, from Scottish caber tossing, distance throwing, tug-o-war, weightlifting – quite impressive array, with simple and quick to play rules. The pdf also features rules for mock battles (performance combat synergy provided): We get easy to grasp jousting rules that take actual mounted combat prowess into account (yep, those fellows will be better than characters who don’t have feats pertaining mounted combat), and resolution is explained in a tight manner. The special considerations of fantastic settings are taken into account, mentioning the potential for vertical jousts or aquatic or aerial variants. 7 sample competitors are provided for the GM here. Target shooting and unarmed combat events are presented in a similarly tight manner: The latter actually provides rules for boxing, wrestling and even sumo! Scoring is noted and the respective unarmed combats actually have a strategic element: In a boxing match, it makes a difference whether you try for a combination or a head butt. As an interesting note: I can see these rules fitting regular unarmed combat just as well, making that aspect of the game more interesting.

Speaking of which: if that sounded to mundane for your tastes: What about a variety of distinctly fantastic minigames/festival events? The pillars of life and death is about using positive and negative energy to capture pillars conductive to these energy forms! I can see this work great as a means in a neutral (or sufficiently cosmopolitan) society to deal with disputes between churches, for example – sample contestants and cheating methods are provided, fyi. Magical shooting galleries with magic-powered wind, hacking through logs as fast as possible or fighting magical creatures in a kind of illusion-powered endurance combat are provided as well. What about retrieving gems from a 60 ft. pole…or the half-fiendish nightmare assassin who relishes in humiliating would-be jousters, ruining their reputation before killing them? (Yep, the latter comes with full stats, and sample competitors are provided for the contests, where applicable.) The pdf then ends this discussion with renown gathered designating their overall performance – and yes, the PCs could theoretically get a company with Ultimate Battle synergy.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches or issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and sports some amazing full-color artworks I haven’t seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Jason Nelson and Mike Welham provide a truly amazing supplement here: Royal tournaments fills a criminally neglected niche in the game, and does so with panache aplomb. The various rules within take the extensive array of subsystems into account without requiring them; the presentation is easy to grasp, and implementing the rules within is next to no work on the GM. The various minigames and events are characterized by being quickly resolved, preventing boredom, though expansion always remains a distinct possibility. If anything, this book, like a good festival or tournament, ended with a somber note for me – I didn’t want this book to end and wished it was even longer! There are few books that manage to elicit this kind of response to this degree. The effortless simplicity of the rules for the contests and games is deceptive, as anyone who has attempted to design such minigames themselves can attest to. Personally, I will combine this one with Everyman Gaming’s superb Skill Challenge Handbook, the latter helping with team-challenges.

So yeah, Royal Tournaments succeeds with a grace befitting of the “royal” moniker at its chosen task; it represents an amazing toolkit for the GM and should be considered to be a must-own supplement. Heck, even if you’re not interested in running a tournament, this is worth getting. Why? Because all of these mini-games are one reskinning away from working as puzzle-challenges or weird obstacles in the dungeon of your choice! This book thus manages to surpass its designated design goal by leaps and bounds and represents, even in Legendary Games’ extensive canon of excellent books, one of my all-time favorite supplements. As such, this is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + my seal of approval, and this also qualifies as a candidate for my Top ten of 2018. This is pure gold and belongs in any GM’s toolbox.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Royal Tournaments
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Legendary Shifters
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/01/2018 04:59:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This player-facing class book/class redesign clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, though it should be noted that, as always, legendary Games has stuffed a TON of content within these pages, so let’s take a look!

Wait. Before we do, I need to fully disclose one fact. To say that I don’t like the shifter class would be a frickin’ understatement. After all the shapeshifting classes I’ve reviewed, the class was the blandest, more bring implementation of the concept I could possibly fathom. It’s one of my least favorite PFRPG classes released by Paizo, and coming from the amazing Occult classes and the similarly awesome vigilante, it was a huge disappointment for me. It’s a dedicated shifter class that’s less flexible than one that gets shifting as a bonus. And don’t get me started on the lack of actually unique things it can do. I wasn’t alone in that, so let’s see if the class redesign by Legendary Games actually manages to make the shifter interesting.

The legendary shifter base class gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as natural attacks gained from class features, and light and medium armors and shields, excluding tower shields. The class may take Sylvan as a bonus language, as well as Aklo, and they speak Druidic as a free language. Nice touch there! Chassis-wise, the legendary shifter gets full BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Ref-saves.

Now, the basic shifting engine has been changed rather drastically: At 1st level, you choose a shifter’s aspect, and entering it is a swift action; ending the effect is a free action. Forms may be switched as a swift action and the aspect may be maintained indefinitely. Until 9th level, when chimeric aspect is gained, only one form at a time may be maintained. 14th level nets greater chimeric aspect – three aspects and related forms. The shift is NOT a polymorph effect. A new aspect is gained at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Unless I have miscounted, 19 different aspects are provided and provide minor benefits that often actually manage to be interesting. I have no balance-concerns with them, as the form’s usefulness and the benefits gained correlate in smart ways: While a mouse aspect may generally suck a bit, gaining evasion does make it quite tantalizing now, doesn’t it? Also at first level, we’d have shifter’s shape, which allows for the assumptions of badger, bird, camel, cat (small), dire rat, dog. Dolphin, horse, manta ray, pony, viper, constrictor snake or wolf forms, analogue to beast shape I. However, it lasts for class level + Wisdom modifier hours, min 1, and the duration may be split, but only in 1-hour increments. Changing form in this shape may be used ½ class level + Wisdom modifier times sans penalty; beyond that, it reduces the total allotment of duration remaining by 1 hour. This is treated as wild shape, but the shifter lsoes the ability to communicate while in the. 3rd level unlocks all beast shape I forms, 6th level allows for the assuming of Large and Tiny and beast shape II forms. 8th level allows for the assumption of Huge or Diminutive animal form, or that of a Small or Medium (not capitalized properly) magical beast; the ability is upgraded to beast shape III. 12th level upgrades that further to beast shape IV, and unlocks Tiny and Large magical beasts; 16th level unlocks Diminutive and Huge magical beasts and makes the ability behave as magical beast shape. 6th level hastens shifter shape to a move action that does not provoke AoOs. 10th level upgrades this to optionally use as a swift action, and 18th level allows for the use of shifting as an immediate action.

The class also begins play with wild empathy and shifter evolution: This lets the shifter, as a swit action. Grow claws and a set of fangs – these are (HUGE kudos!) properly codified both regarding damage type and precise nature of the natural attacks. These start with the ability to bypass DR/magic and begin bypassing DR/cold iron and DR /Silver at 3rd level, with 7th level making them behave as ghost touch. 15th level lets the shifter ignore DR/adamantine and 19th level even DR/- - ouch! These benefits also extend to natural attacks conferred by polymorph effects and the synergy of natural attacks and those she can grow is properly codified. Damage dice of the shifter evolution natural attacks increases from 1d6 to 2d10 over the course of the 20 levels of the class. As you can glean, this makes shifters at low levels pretty dangerous, considering that we’re looking at 3 primary natural attacks. For very conservative games, this may prove slightly problematic, though in such a case, I’d simply advise in making the damage default to the standard for the natural attacks and rendering claws or bite, depending on low power level sought, secondary instead. Most games will not encounter a problem here.

At 2nd level, the shifter gets track and adds Wisdom modifier to AC and CMD, or half as much when also wearing armor or using a shield; 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase this by +1. 3rd level nets woodland stride; 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter yield a wild shape based bonus feat; 5th level nets trackless step. The capstone nets shifter shape at will and nets shapechanger apotheosis, becoming immunity to transmutation effects unless willing to accept them.

The pdf also provides a wide array of different archetypes, 12, to be precise. Bound beastmasters get an animal companion and instead apply shifter evolution benefits to the companion’s attacks instead. The Wis-bonus to defense is lost in favor of the companion sharing in aspects, and instead of chimeric aspect and its greater version, we have the option to have the companion also assume shifts, but the form taken must be that of the legendary shifter. The dragon touched is an archetype I would not allow in more conservative games, as the claws gained from shifter evolution are replaced with a 15 ft.-cone or 30 ft.-line breath weapons that deals 1d8 + class level damage of the chosen energy type corresponding to the dragon blood; the damage increases by +1d8 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, and there is no limit imposed on it. It won’t break the game for most groups, but unlimited AoO energy damage can be pretty potent. Personally, I’d have imposed a hard cap for the low levels here and then delimited that at higher levels. Instead of shifter aspect, the archetype begins with low-light vision and gains progressively better draconic traits. Unsurprisingly, the shifter shape is completely changed to instead provide the ability to assume draconic forms. Similarly, the chimeric aspect and capstone are modified.

The elemental nexus chooses a chosen element’s basic utility wild talent as well as a kinetic blast wild talent, with full damage progression as though shifter levels equaled kineticist levels. Additionally, we get the kinetic fist form infusion at 0 burn cost and Improved Unarmed Strike. The blast may only be used in conjunction with kinetic fist and replaces shifter evolution. 1st level and every 4 levels thereafter net a utility wild talent, and Wisdom modifier times per day, the archetype may lower the burn cost of a wild talent by 1. This replaces shifter aspect. As a nitpick here: The reduction should imho only work for utility wild talents granted by this archetype; otherwise the option is a bit too dippable for my tastes. Instead of the Wisdom boost, we get elemental defense at 2nd level, being treated as having accepted 1 burn. 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the archetype is treated as having accepted 1 more burn. Bonus feats allow for kineticist tricks and 5th level unlocks elemental forms via the modified version of shifter shape. 9th and 14th level provide expanded element instead of the chimeric aspect abilities.

The fairy shifter has HD reduced to d8 and only ¾ BAB-progression, but gains the hunter’s spellcasting progression, but draws spells from druid and ranger lists, using Charisma as governing spellcasting attribute. Kudos: Spell overlap between spell lists is noted. Unsurprisingly, this one then proceeds to codify shifter shape in the fey form direction. Instead of the Wis-boost, these folks use Charisma to bolster their defenses and extend that to flat-footed. The capstone is similarly modified. The Giant shifter replaces claws with slams, and bingo, does what it says on the tin. Lycanthropic warriors are limited regarding their aspects, but get scaling DRs instead of the Wisdom boost and they begin play with hybrid form availability – nice tweak and easily multiclassed one. Metamorphic genius has d8 HD and 3/4 BAB-progression. The archetype also gets the infusion discovery and alchemy instead of shifter aspect and the chimeric abilities; extract levels of shapeshifting tricks are reduced by 1 and it also comes with some flexibility. These also get a longer duration and Int is a governing attribute here. In the absence of shifting, quicker extract imbibing (only of those noted by the archetype) maintains the action economy of the base class.

As a huge fan of the Dark Souls games and the classic monster, I smiled broadly when reading the Mimickin - you get Disguise as a class skill and the archetype nets scaling mimic shapes…and yes, this means grab and swallow whole at higher levels. Oh, and multiple mimickin can form larger objects! Oh, and they get to move stealthily. As a fan of the Prey game and Dark Souls, this one really rocked my world. And before you’re asking: The 3 new object form spells within are what makes this work.

These is a mini-engine tweak/micro-archetype that exchanges trackless step and bonus feats for a ranger’s spellcasting. Necromorphs are a cool thematic undead/undead-controlling type of shifter that can maintain multiple gentle repose effects and Hide in Plain Sight in dim light at 5th level. One of the cooler theme-archetypes; no Dead Space-y stuff, though. Speaking of which: Oozeling. It’s the single best ooze-style class option I’ve seen in a long while. Compression from level 1 and some potent defenses, as well as a more complex natural weapon table made me smile. Protean masters would be the inevitable unchained eidolon archetype. Surprisingly, all eidolon subtypes are unlocked – I kinda expected these to unlock over the levels, but limited evolution points keep this in check. Higher levels provide more flexibility here.

The pdf also includes a new 10-level PrC, the Polymorph Savant, who needs the Basic Alteration feat (one of the feats within – unlocks speaking and behaves like alter self) as well as shifter shape and a BAB of +5. The PrC has ¾ BAB-progression and ½ Fort- and Ref-save progression, 4 + Int skills per level and d8 HD. The PrC adds class levels to legendary shifter regarding the effects of class features and gets the ability to assume Tiny, Small, Medium or Large insect shapes, as per vermin shape II. 2nd level adds ghost touch to shifter evolutions, with 6th level making the attacks count as aligned, 10th providing the adamantine bypassing. At 2nd level, being under shifter shape nets uncanny dodge and evasion. 3rd level unlocks Diminutive, Tiny, Small, Medium, large or Huge monstrous humanoids; 4th level and 8th net a bonus feat, 5th nets fey shapes – get it? Yep, the progression is pretty close to the base class, and instead of specializing provides basically the jack-of-all-trades shifter.

Now, the feats within allow shifter to retain combat power while Tiny or smaller sans being crippled; Animal Spirit makes you use Charisma as governing attribute; Bestial Roots allows archetypes that trade this in to gain animal shapes (but not the magical beast shapes of the base class); Morphic Berserker is a legendary shifter/barbarian crossover feat, and Morphic Lyricist and Morphic Stalker represent the multiclass facilitators for bards and slayer, respectively. The pdf concludes after aforementioned spells with Ines, a beautifully illustrated and well-written, fun NPC – Ines is overflowing with love, raised by fey and comes with a cool boon. Two thumbs up for the cool NPC!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a blend of previously used and new full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Siobhan Bjorknas and N. Jolly deliver a huge improvement over the standard shifter here. Honestly, just forget about the base class and use this one instead. The legendary shifter is, at least in my book, preferable in pretty much every way – this class does the dedicated shapeshifter, the one based on the magic-chassis, as well as you can probably do the concept. Heck, while a lot of this pdf delivered pretty much exactly what I expected to find, it actually managed to surprise me in a positive way, in a book that I honestly expected to bore me to tears. The oozeling and mimickin, in particular, made me smile a really devilish grin. So yeah, this is a very good book. There are a few components where I’d have preferred a tad bit more nuance, but that’s me complaining at a very high level. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up, since given the design goal, this is probably as close to excellent as the shifter without divorcing it from core-engines, is ever likely to get.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Shifters
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Legendary Gunslingers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2018 05:18:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the player-centric/class redesign books clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content – as always for Legendary Games, these pages are packed with materials, so rest assured that there’s a LOT of content within!

Now, I’ve been pretty vocal about the copious issues that the gunslinger class has, so let’s start with the big selling point of this pdf – the Legendary Gunslinger base class. Now, in an interesting aside, the pdf already shows a level of care absent from many comparable files: The class table does come with a short note that allows groups that do not operate under the assumption of firearms targeting touch AC to make full use of it. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of “going the extra mile”-mentality I really appreciate.

Now, let’s take a look at the chassis: Legendary Gunslingers are proficient with simple and martial weapons as well as with all firearms and light armor, get d8 HD, and thank the 7 heavens, they actually get SKILLS. 6 + Int mod per level. And yes, these include Swashbuckling staples like Acrobatics, Bluff, Swim, Stealth, etc. The chassis of the class is also interesting in that it implements a change I have always been pretty vocal about: The gunslinger does NOT need full BAB; targeting touch AC for the most part makes math wonky at high levels for full BAB characters. Thus, the legendary gunslinger gets ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Ref-saves.

The legendary gunslinger gets a blunderbuss, musket or pistol at first level and this weapon may only be sold for scrap; other creatures treat it as broken. We also get Gunsmithing, however, ammo etc. may be crafted for 1% of the base price. This means that legendary gunslingers no longer break the bank of really gritty low level groups. Also at first level, the legendary gunslinger gets to add Dex-mod to firearm damage, though this bonus damage caps at class level until 5th level. (this ability is called “gun training”, fyi.) Additionally, misfire values are reduced by 1 to a minimum of 0, and broken firearms only increase misfire values by 2, not by 4. Grit is still governed by Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). A really big plus here would be that the legendary gunslinger’s grit-recharge mechanics allow for the regaining of grit via successful saving throws. And before you ask: YES, this is utterly and remarkable cheesing-proof. No chance to abuse it whatsoever. Big kudos!

At 2nd level, we get +1/2 class level to Perception, and choose two Int or Cha-based skills and use Wisdom instead as governing attribute. With the skill-array, this makes gunslinger faces very much possible. Nice! Also at second level, we get a significant alteration as far as design paradigms are concerned: We get the first so-called gun mastery, with every 3 levels thereafter granting another one. Yes, this means what you think it means: The class, finally, actually has meaningful player-agenda and build-diversification built straight into its chassis. Some deeds have been transformed into gun mastery and now require a conscious decision to get – like Charging Shot, or Counter Shot. As an aside: The latter now actually is balanced by the alterations of the gunslinging chassis in a more meaningful and exciting manner. The placement of these masteries as far as minimum levels are concerned btw. makes sense. A particular joy, at least for me, would have been to see that improved and expanded targeting add to the targeting deed. And yes, you can get renown! The gun masteries presented are extensive, interesting and yielded no issues in my tests.

3rd level yields uncanny dodge, and 13th level improved uncanny dodge…while also providing the deed mechanic! So yes, legendary gunslingers still retain basic deed functionality; it’s still very hard to make a truly sucky character with the engine proposed, and the choices that are still automatically granted thus make sense. 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th level unlock new deeds in this linear progression. 4th level nets nimble (improving it by +1 every 4 levels thereafter) and combat grit: This nets you a temporary grit point whenever you roll initiative. This does have a cooldown and can’t be cheesed, while making sure that you always have at least something to do. 5th level lets you spend 1 grit as a swift action for +1 to atk and damage for 1 minute, with the bonus increasing by +1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter. 6th level nets the skill unlock of a Dex or Wisdom based skill (including ones where the gunslinger may have substituted Wisdom for Cha or Int), and 6th level allows for a grit-based reroll of Dex-or Wis-based skill checks. This improves at 17th level. 7th level nets evasion, 16th improved evasion. True grit is the capstone. We also get two alternate favored class options for all races: +1/6 gun mastery or +1/5 combat grit.

The pdf includes no less than 15 different archetypes for this class, so let’s take a look at what we get, shall we? The alchemical hotshot loses deeds, but does get alchemy at minus 1 extract per level and is Int-based; the massive key feature here would be that the archetype learns metallurgy, which has two benefits per entry: One is the special type of bullet, and one allows for a firearm made from the material. Lead, for example, can temporarily lower SR, while copper bullets can prevent targets from attacking the alchemical hotshot. And yes, you get to go Golden Gun at higher levels; heck, you even get a platinum gun!! The archetype pays for this flexibility by losing some of the spontaneous tricks – it is Int-based, so requiring a bit more deliberate planning is perfectly in line with the concept here. Damn cool. The anthem gunner is basically a bard lite/legendary gunslinger hybrid that is Charisma-based and as such, has a lot of its class features tweaked accordingly. The black flag bandit is locked into pistols and represents a pistol + blade/siege weapon specialist. They can make siege weapons require smaller crews, which, in some campaigns, can be super cool.

The bullet wizard once more would be an Intelligence-based archetype, using the starting weapon as a bonded object and gaining a magus’ spellbook. The archetype makes delivering spells via bullets work (this is pretty hard) and may, at higher levels, expend spellslots to fire energy blasts from the weapon. This made me smile, for it does resemble to a degree the concept I implemented in my own etherslinger class, though obviously with a different base spellcasting engine. Nice job!! Don’t like firearms in your game? Take a look at the crossbow killer archetype. Big kudos: This fellow does come with a bit of advice regarding multi-archetyping it. The Demolition soldier is locked into a pistol and gets scaling bombs. Nice. The faded stranger is the faceless guy that folks may forget about after meeting them, the subtle infiltrator – I liked this one, though I did wish it had a silencer-style ability baked into its rules. The firearm striker is an unarmed/gun-fu-ish specialist that blends unarmed strikes and firearms. This is traditionally either really bad or really broken – this is neither, though it probably would have made for a viable class hack. The option to follow firearm shots with unarmed strikes, including movement, is interesting.

The living turret gets a culverin and may enter a special stance as a move action, improving defenses and counting as supported. Interesting: This does offer some tanking capabilities. Cool engine tweak! The muzzle roarer is one of the big archetypes: Born under a really bad sign, these guys may neither be good, nor lawful, and they must serve an evil patron deity or entity akin to demon lords, horsemen of the apocalypse or Great Old Ones. They have slightly less skill points per level, but do get an oracle curse, with additional spells codified as limited use SPs instead. With a Rovagug-y theme, they can shatter inanimate objects. They also may choose ninja tricks and rogue talents instead of gun masteries – and yes, grit is employed instead of ki, where applicable. Their firearms become particularly loud, making noticing them easier, and they may use grit to duplicate magical sonic based effects. Finally, the archetype gets a couple of nice, or rather, unpleasant evil deeds.

The pale slinger replaces nimble with an aura of misfortune, from which she may exempt allies, and hexes and hex/shot synergy are neat. I also enjoyed the unique benefit that prevents rerolls in the auras of higher level pale slingers. Rather cool one! Rumslingers only recover grit by drinking alcohol, replaces nimble with a synergy trick for Fort-bonuses to resist poison by imbibing alchemical fire. 2 unique deeds and a really evocative capstone complement this interesting engine tweak. Sky riders replace the resolve ability sequence and slinger’s quirk with a bird animal companion. The archetype also gets wild empathy and upgrades for monstrous mounts later. Solemn travelers may not be true neutral and instead get an alignment-themed cavalier mount, with later detect-SPs added. Judgments and an aura that penalizes fear-saves and negates fear immunity complement this one. Finally, there would be the technological shootist as the final archetype – you guessed it: This fellow would be the Tech Guide engine tweak for the Legendary Gunslinger. Nice one!

The feats within the book number 6 – Deed Specialization nets +2 DC for a deed’s save DC. Extra Gun Mastery nets, bingo, a gun mastery. For Demon-Haunted Drifter, you need an eidolon and may instantly call forth the eidolon or lesser evolution surge it via grit, which is cool. Kudos: Notes for use are provided for gamers with less system mastery. Guns Out of the Grave takes up almost a whole page and is a feat that is only available for the undead. The feat nets you rejuvenation while you have at least 1 grit, and the feat nets special abilities depending on the HD of the user of the feat. Obviously intended for NPCs, this makes for a truly fearsome feat for the undead, allowing the undead to call their weapons back. I’d obviously strongly advise against making this one available for PCs in all but the most potent (or apocalyptic) of campaigns. Whiskey-Soaked Drifter is once more a HUGE feat, one that makes the character basically an alcoholic, but allows for temporary grit gains via drinking alcohol. Minor nitpick: There is a reference to “grit” that should refer to “drunken grit” instead, making the second paragraph here slightly confusing. This feat is one I really like in theme, though the execution will not be for all groups. Since this reliably delimits grit, it requires some mature handling by player and GM alike. The Winter-Hearted Drifter feat is one that makes you an arctic specialist/one associated with entities of cold/etc., providing synergy with the Winter Shade of the Umbral Wood feat. While high-concept, these long-form feats do need a bit more careful consideration than the rest of the pdf.

There also is a page of nice firearm modifications – 8 to be precise. And yes, thank all 7 heavens, a silencer’s included. Gunslingers can now, you know, not insta-break any infiltration scenario. Huge kudos. The pdf also includes two magic items, the farsight duster that enhances range-increments and the lore bullet, which, while kept on the person of someone with deeds for 24 hours, nets the gun mastery inscribed within. There is a hard limit on how many of these you may carry. The pdf ends with a cool NPC, Theresa Diaz. She and her lover were enslaved by Nigredo, a neurokineticist and brother of Theresa’s lover, who had a …weird way of showing affection. Theresa now is looking for Hannah, lost somewhere out there. Nice way of tying stories together. And yes, we get a proper boon for this CR 7 lady.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on a rules-language level; on a formal level, the pdf is similarly precise, though I did notice a couple of installments of bolding missing. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, with artworks being a blend of old and new full-color pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

N. Jolly, Jason Nelson, Clinton J. Boomer, Robert Brookes and Alex Augunas know what they’re doing. Siobhan Bjorknas, Blake Morton, Hal Kennette and Jason Nelson in development did definitely polish this to a shine.

So…ähem…you know, the longform feats…I’d have preferred them in a Legendary Villains installment. Öhm. Yeah. Those firearm mods? More would have been cool. Öhm. Yeah.

Who am I kidding?? This is the masterclass gunslinger that I always wanted. Meaningful differentiation, sensible design decisions that are grounded on a deep understanding of rules and obvious playtesting, high-concept options and an all around better playing experience? HECK YES. This is what the gunslinger always was supposed to be. It’s a rewarding, evocative, fun class that does pretty much everything resoundingly right, with the minor manabar-y combat grit making for a bold and cool engine-change. Add to that the skills, the expert ways to prevent abuse, and we have a masterpiece of a class redesign. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Oh, and since I only got around to reviewing this right now, this is definitely a candidate for this year’s top ten. A must-own offering for any group including gunslinging – get it and never look back.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Gunslingers
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Mythic Monsters #49: South Pacific
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2018 13:43:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!

This installment of the Mythic Monsters series begins with supplemental content, here in the shape of a total of 7 different magic items, three of which are magical boomerangs: The ricochet boomerang is obviously returning (like the other two) and allows the wielder to make an attack as a standard action at -2 to atk; if the attack hits, the wielder can select a second target within 10 ft. and may even bounce this way past cover, managing to get the complex verbiage done right. Mythic wielders suffer from less penalties for this type of attack and mythic power can be used to make full attacks with bouncing, allowing you to potentially bypass hard terrain etc. – impressive. The clever boomerang can execute at-range trips and within 30 ft., can be used to feint. In the hands of mythic wielders, the weapon can execute more potent combat maneuvers and use mythic power to snatch disarmed or stolen objects. So cool! The third boomerang would be the bloody boomerang, gaining an extended threat range that causes Constitution damage and bleeding damage that stacks with itself and other sources of bleed damage. The mythic wielder can use mythic power to bestow the keen property for tier rounds, or the wounding property for 2 mythic power uses. Both can be activated at once. The boomerang may also be fired via mythic power as a line-based AoE-attack. LOVE IT!

The pdf also includes the outback woomera, a spear thrower that may be wielded as a magical club in melee, and it makes short spears fired treated as distance or keen, and maximum range is increased as well. Mythic wielders get both properties, and mythic power may be used as a swift action to gain a bonus to atk and ignore cover and concealment and bypass DR, or vastly increase range. Path ability synergy is properly taken into account, and the same holds true for feats. The woomera of a mythic wielder can also produce goodberries and water. The possum-skin cloak fortifies versus the weather and elements, gaining also a bonus to Knowledge (local) and (history) checks due to the ancestor’s influence. The cloak can make for a warm shelter on trees that is hard to notice. Mythic wearers can consult with the ancestors via mythic power and the cloak enhances the surge mechanic. Similarly, the shelter-ability improves. Cool! The final two items would be amulets: The Hei Tiki Amulet fortifies versus fear and emotion effects and helps avoiding being surprised. Mythic wielders can benefit from mage’s faithful hounds or interposing hands, the latter in the shape of tiki masks or idols. Cool! The Hei Matau Amulet nets a luck bonus on saves and helps navigating the waves, greatly enhancing Profession (sailor) and allowing for know direction on the waves as well as limited water walking. If dropped into sea water, it becomes a celestial giant seahorse, a manaia, which is tightly codified and sports unique abilities. Mythic wielders can exert limited control over the waves and gets better interaction with the spirits – really cool. These items are really amazing.

Now, let’s take a look at the monsters, shall we? At CR 1/MR 1, we have a platypus familiar, who gains electrolocation in water, with mythic power upgrading its range temporarily, as wella s the ability to generate a mud cloud. Cool. There also are two marsupials at these CR/MRs – mangaroos and thylacines. Mythic kangaroos get massive leaps as long as they have mythic power and pretty brutal kicks. Thylacines can render a target flat-footed via movement, courtesy of distracting stripes, and they get a serious threat range, with the option to enhance the critical modifier to x3 via mythic power. The final creature at this CR/MR-range would be the lavishly-illustrated orang-pendak, whose backwards feet get proper rules-representation and better object-bursting. Unique and nice one.

There are also two mythic megafaunas – at CR 3/MR 1, the moa, and the CR 8/MR 3 megalania – the former may use mythic power for speed bursts and trample/stampede targets, making them more potent in groups. The megalania is brutal: 1/round, as an immediate action, the critter can expend a mythic power to take a full round’s worth of actions! Resting in sunlight can allow it to regain mythic power and their acidic stomach is particularly nasty.

At CR 4/MR 2, the adaro can create swirling cyclones of water and ride these, and their rain frenzy ability is upgraded. Solid upgrade! The manananggal’s mythic version, at CR 8/MR 3, deserves special mention: It gets the ability to emit deceptive noises, drain mythic power and the incredible flexible, prehensile tongue is a much-desired upgrade the changes how this one runs for the better. Add a mythic power-fueled shroud of shadows, and we have a winner here. Speaking of undead: There is a CR 6/MR 2 mythic penanggalen based on a oracle 5, sure…but the write-up is inspired due to another reason: The book contains a massive mythic template: 10 tiers net progressively cooler abilities. I adore this. Two thumbs up! Speaking of amazing undead: The CR 10/MR 4 mythic polong leaves thin blood coatings that grease the area, get proper bloody possession 8including tell-tale signs), and the mythic polong may attempt to slip the bonds of its limitations..its terrible wounds have also been improved. Glorious upgrade of the base critter!!

The Cr 16/MR 6 papinijuwari comes with a reprint of the mythic Awesome Blow feat, and receives an aura of fecundity. It can also crawl inside of deceased creature’s mouths, leaving a horrid disease behind that renders the corpse into a disgusting biological mine, while also replenishing mythic power. The write-up also provides a nasty pestilence form…inspired. At CR 12/MR 5, the kapre’s smoke can be made to last longer via mythic use expenditure. The mythic version also gets a massive debuffing aura that enhances flanking, interacting with confounding aura. 1/day spewing embers and better invisibility, a boost when almost defeated and the ability to grant a limited wish make this version of the creature infinitely cooler than the original. Huge plus! At the same CR/MR, the tiberolith’s corrosive strikes kickin MUCH sooner (thankfully!) and gets Power Attack, in spite of being mindless. The rudimentary clockworks of the construct net bonus feats and +2 to AC, as well as allowing mythic characters to imbue power within. It can also trap spells and discharge them. Damn cool and potentially, super lethal!

At CR 11/MR 4, we also get a coral golem’s mythic iteration, which reconstructs itself in water. Its attacks can infest targets with coral, and the entity can expend mythic power to break off parts of its body to generate healing powder. Very cool!

Speaking of “very cool” – At CR 5/MR 2, the new creature within these pages would be the Tiddalik – a Medium, bipedal magical beast that somewhat resembles a frog: The creature can absorb the liquids of those grappled, and absorb vast amounts of water – enough, and it actually assumes a giant form of sorts! Yes, stat mods provided! Super cool and oozing flair: bringing these guys to laugh can result in devastating expulsions of tidal water! I love this critter!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard, with a mixture of new and old full-color artworks – the one-page version of the cover artwork in particular is amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alex Riggs, Mike Welham and Jason Nelson have done it – this installment of Mythic Monsters is genius. From the cool and unique items to the critters: Animals make sense and feel plausible; undead are icky and tap into taboos and anxieties; constructs feel effective and magical beings feel magical, improving vastly upon the base creatures in a wide variety of ways. This is a superior supplement in every way, even within the context of the high quality Mythic Monsters-series. This is a 5 star + seal of approval gem. You should definitely get this – it does vastly enhance the rich lore and concepts of the base creatures. One of the best installments in the series!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #49: South Pacific
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