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Ethermagic Expanded - The Etherknight (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/31/2021 05:47:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This class clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 43 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreon supporters.

The etherknight base class gets ¾ BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves, d8 HD, 2 + Intelligence modifier skills per level, and they are proficient with simple weapons and void blades as well as light armor and shields, excluding tower shields. The etherknight does not incur arcane spell failure when wielding these. The etherknight begins play with an etherfusion known, and gains another at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter. The begin with 3 techniques known, and learn an additional technique on every attained class level. More of these later.

Unsurprisingly for most, this class makes use of the ethermagic engine, which is essentially a refreshing infinite magic source particularly geared towards blasting, and it’s imho still the most unique and rewarding to play infinite blaster for PFRPG. (Kineticists are not infinite blasters.) This pdf works as a stand-alone file, though I do suggest checking out Strange Magic 1 first, as this class is geared towards experienced ethermagic players. (It IS complex!)

Balance-wise, the ethermagic framework uses its resource as a refreshing resource per round, and power-level-wise, the class works sufficiently tightly to not unbalance even more conservative games. Ethermagic is measured in EP (ether points), and an etherknight has class level + Charisma modifier EP. The etherknight regains 1/3 their class level (rounded up – important!) every round. Ethermagic consists of two components – the etherheart (which is a kind of core template/theme) and the manifestation, which modifies the respective ethermagic. Alterations have different manifestations than e.g. voidmelds. The etherknight gets two etherhearts: Alterations, which are used for (self-) buffing, and voidmeld. Alterations are old companions for ethermagic users; they cast as a standard action, and have an EP cost of 1 + ¼ class level, rounded down. The etherknight gains them at 5th level, and the etherknight gets an additional alteration every odd level beyond. Voidmelds are cast as a swift action and have a duration of 1 round/level, with an EP cost of 1 + ¼ caster level, rounded down. I am pretty sure that this should be class level. The etherknight begins play with 2 voidmelds known, and gains an additional one at 2nd level and every even level thereafter.

To cast a manifestation, the etherknight needs to have a Charisma score of 10 + the respective manifestation’s level, and the saving throw DC is 10 + the highest manifestation level sued in the etherspell + the etherknight’s Charisma modifier. While a manifestation is in effect, the caster’s maximum EP is reduced by the total EP cost of the etherspell in effect. If multiple casting times conflict, the longer takes precedence. All etherspells have somatic and verbal components. An etherknight may not have more high-level manifestations than low level manifestations; so, let’s say an ether knight knows 2 1st-level manifestations and 2 2nd-level manifestations; the etherknight would need to take a third 1st-level manifestation before being allowed to take a third 2nd-level manifestation – this is also called the “pyramid rule”, though I personally tend to think of it more as a pillar.

Now, etherfusions were rarer in the core system, but they become more important here, as hinted at before; these are powered by ether jelly, classified by the fusion pool; fusion pool contains fusion points (FP), and has a size of class level + Charisma modifier, but it only replenishes after 8 hours of rest. Etherfusions count as etherspells for counterspelling purposes, and have a duration of instantaneous, unless otherwise noted. These also have modifiers that unlock over the levels; if an etherfusion has multiple modifiers, it can be taken multiple times. If two modifiers of such a shared origin are applied to the same effect, any FP cost of 0 is treated as FP 1 instead.

Starting at 2nd level, the etherknight can, as a full-round action that provokes AoOs, reduce her maximum EP by 1 to add 1 to her fusion pool; this reduction to maximum EP lasts until the etherknight finishes the customary 8 hours of rest. 3rd level nets a variant of lay on hands, with each ability costing 2 FP, healing 1d6+1 for every 2 etherknight levels attained. This is a standard action when sued on other targets, swift action when used on self. Etherknights can use ether to heal constructs and undead as well. 5th level builds on that with a class feature that applies a limited amount of mercies, and includes a modification of Extra Mercy for the feat; 5th level starts off the mercy aspect with one mercy, and adds one mercy every 4 levels. Etherknight mercies can remove conditions caused by curse, disease and poison without eliminating the source; in such an instance, the effects return after 1 hour if the underlying ailment has not been taken care of. 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th levels unlock new mercies to choose from; those that can be unlocked at 5th and 9th level cost no FP, while those that can be unlocked at 13th and 17th level cost 1 FP. Some have prerequisites. Minor formatting snafu: the “Staggered:”-relieving mercy is the low one that doesn’t have its name in italics.

While we’re still talking about etherfusions and give you an example: Buffering Infusion targets 1 creature and has a duration of 1 minute, and nets the target 1 hit point, +1 for every 5 etherknight levels; the modifiers for this one increase the hit points granted by +3 for 1 FP, while another nets DR 3/- while they have temporary hit points. Ether Restoration heals 1d4 temporary ability damage, freely divided, and the modifiers let you remove temporary negative levels, heal all temporary ability score damage to a single ability score, or heal ability drain at a minor gp cost; the modifiers have different class level prerequisites. Ethergel Aegis nets +2 deflection bonus to AC and +2 resistance bonus to saving throws for 1 round/level. Sharing damage, rerolls, etc. are also available here. At 7th level, the etherknight gains +1 Focus the first time he casts an etherfusion each round – see techniques below. These also can, btw. interact with lay on hands, set targets aflame, etc. – it is a rather neat engine, but only a component of the etherknight’s entire package.

The etherspell manifestations, obviously, do include old favorites like the initiative booster A Thousand Eyes or the Ultraviolet Shift manifestations that made one of my players’ PCs an incredibly fearsome assassin by trade, if not by class. Beyond these classics, though, the pdf does include a variety of new tricks that tie in with the novel parts of the class. This also holds true for the voidmeld manifestations, obviously: If you are new to this etherheart: Think of it as the godblade etherheart; the weapon-shaped hole in the multiverse. It’s essentially one-handed or light, and enhancement bonuses are hard-coded into the class, with 10th and 20th level upgrading the damage die. The volatile black-hole-blade. The manifestations of this etherheart include bleeding damage, additional damage, having the weapon also cause force damage in low-range cones, adding mighty cleaving. And yes, this means that “I manifest my voidblade with Kiss of the Nuclear Fireball, Icy Grip of the Outer Spheres and Greater Knife Edge of Nowhere.” Is something you can and probably will say. Call me cheesy, but I love that. And that’s just the shape of your blade, not the sword laser martial arts you’ll do with it.

But wait! That’s not all! Remember those techniques I mentioned at the very start? Well, it’s time to start talking about them. Their DCs are 10 + highest manifestation level known + Charisma modifier. New techniques are unlocked at class level 2nd, and every 2 levels thereafter, with the higher-level options tending to be rarer: 10th, 12th and 14th level only unlock a few new ones; the lion’s share of techniques are unlocked before that. Techniques are, in essence, a modification of the engine championed in the rather awesome assassin class presented by Interjection games. Techniques have a so-called “Focus”, and at 1st level, the etherknight is locked into a technique with a Focus Change of +1 as one of their choices; this is a safety precaution so the player can actually use them. Focus is measured by a focus pool, which caps at 4; the focus pool begins empty, and is charged by using techniques with a positive focus change; similarly, some techniques decrease the focus and thus first need building. Focus only works in combat, and is lost after Charisma modifier minutes without combat. Puzzling: This lacks a kitten-caveat, so if you can antagonize those furry kittens, you can pre-build focus RAW. Uncommon oversight as far as I’m concerned.

That being said, the etherknight’s technique engine does come with so-called ether crashes available since level 1. These are essentially finishing moves and can only be performed with a focus of 3 or 4, and have a -3 Focus Change. They are used as a standard action, and one chooses three techniques, with the following limitations: One technique has a Focus Change of +1; one has a Focus Change of +1 or 0, and starting at 6th level, a technique with a Focus Change of 0 or -1. The ethercrash has the longest range of all techniques; if one technique is supernatural, then the crash is supernatural; otherwise, it is a spell-like ability. If at least one technique is delivered via ranged touch attack, then it is delivered as a ranged touch attack; otherwise, it is a standard ranged attack. Using a melee weapon you are wielding, you make an attack roll against a creature in range (of the technique!); if you hit, an arc of energy slams into the enemy, applying the combined effects on a hit.

If you’re familiar with this type of engine, you’ll know what to expect: The ethercrash has an escalation that unlocks at 11th level. 20th level btw. eliminates the distinction between Focus and FP (and via FP, also with EP), using FP to pay for Focus, etc. – up to a maximum of Charisma modifier points per day.

Okay, so what about those techniques? These allow you to temporarily grant shields to allies, execute melee attacks at range, bypass some types of DR. With e.g. Breath from Beyond you can sicken targets, and alternatively, sue the escalation at higher Focus Change and Cost, nauseate targets. Subverting resistances first and then, after the 3-round duration ends, adding class level damage sans save? Neat insult to injury. These btw. also include the ability to temporarily steal a part of a target’s magic, which depends on style of casting for the effect; this includes truenaming, ethermagic, psionics, etc.. I also liked the ability o swap two targets you hit, provided they both botch their save…if only one botches, things become painful. Hitting with a sword-laser and then granting a temporary hit point buff?

Yeah, at this point Strange Magic veterans will have realized the core difference between the etherknight and the ethermagus on a thematic level, right? The ethermagus is essentially the assailant that goes in for the assassin-style kill; the etherknight, on the other hand, is essentially a ranged laser-sword combatant with a combo-engine!

Of course, this wealth of engines and combo-options in the ethercrash-finishers also means that there is bound to be a plethora of feats that allow you to tinker with aspects of the engines: Unless I have miscounted, we have 27 feats, which include classics such as Zero Master, but also new ones like Technique Specialization. These feats do come with a bit of flavor, and sometimes even humorous. I really got a chuckle out of: “Okay, fine. They're all sword lasers, but you have a favorite nonetheless.“ The feats also include the ability to immediately get 1 Focus when your FP to drop to 0 for the first time per day…this might sound like a lame benefit, but when planned properly, it ca make that final expenditure really matter more. (And yes, standards like Extra Etherknight Technique etc. are included.) The interjection of systems can also be seen in the manifestations, btw.: The Artificial Focus Alteration nets you 1 Focus, for example.

Of course, the pdf also includes a variety of favored class options for various races, including a selection of general ones that everyone might take. Some of these favored class options are btw. really brutal: Elves may, for example, once they have taken their FCO three times, reroll technique attack rolls as an immediate action, and may be used 1/day for every 3 uses. Dwarves can gain DRs from their techniques, and vishkanya and drow can unlock a special etherfusion at +0 FP via these. Much more meaningful than usual for FCOs. Of course the usual +1/6 of XYZ etc. style options are also here.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. The book juggles ridiculously complex rules concepts and engines with panache aplomb; a few minor hiccups have found their way into the entirety, but these are primarily cosmetic. Artworks are b/w-pieces, and the pdf adheres to Interjection Games’ two-column b/w-standard. The pdf comes with bookmarks, but generally only for chapter headers, not for individual techniques/manifestations, or e.g. the favored class options. So yeah, minor convenience detriment. I do recommend printing this and working with it that way.

…but then again, I do recommend that anyway. The etherknight, even more so than Bradley Crouch’s usual classes, is not a plug-and-play thing. You need to invest some prepwork to make your sword laser paladin work, but when you do, you’ll have a rather remarkable and rewarding-to-play class on your hands, and personally, I am very, very fond of the notion of making my own finishing moves via the ethercrash-engine. Plus, the relative proximity in concepts to Bradley Crouch’s other Focus-based engines does mean that a talented designer can create MOAR and/or convert techniques from other classes.

So yes, no surprise, I do very much enjoy this class…with one caveat: Please, do yourself a favor and increase the poor sod’s skills per level to 4 + Int. 2 + Int sans Intelligence as key ability modifier just sucks.

That notwithstanding, I had a blast with this class; it is really cutting edge. … Okay, I’ll stop; this gets 4.5 stars, rounded up, and my seal of approval.

As a final sentiment: As per the writing of this review, this was the last thing the author published. I do hope he’ll one day return to game design. I very much enjoyed his unconventional classes and alternate systems.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ethermagic Expanded - The Etherknight (PFRPG)
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The Triggerman Momentum-Based Gunslinging
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2020 07:17:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This class clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The triggerman is, in many ways, an alternative to the gunslinger that uses a different engine than that usually associated with the gunslinger class. The class gets ¾ BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves, d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, and proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armor and firearms. Any firearm wielded by the triggerman gains a spontaneous focus pool, which has a starting size of 0, and increases up to a maximum of 4. A firearm with a focus pool of 0 loses the pool, but otherwise, it retains its focus pool. If the focus pool remains unaltered for 1 minute, then the pool drops to 0. 1st level nets the gunsmith class feature, including the starting weapon and Gunsmith as a bonus feat. At 5th level, we have gun training, which nets Dexterity bonus to damage with a specific chosen firearm, and the increase of the misfire rate with a firearm of this type is halved to 2 instead of 4. Every 4 levels thereafter, the triggerman gets to choose an additional such specialization.

The triggerman is primarily defined by techniques: These should be familiar to fans of Interjection games in the way in which they are structured: Techniques list a focus required to use them; techniques executed can result in a focus change that influences the focus pool, and otherwise, techniques can be used at any time; techniques with a focus change of +1 can only be used in combat, and no, punching bags of kittens explicitly does not qualify as combat, nor does playfighting with allies. (Thank you!)

Techniques can have a kind of subtype, known as “style”, and at 1st level, the triggerman chooses two of those as their specializations; the triggerman begins play with two techniques from both of these specializations, and at least one of them must have a focus change of +1, preventing you from inadvertently locking you out of a functional engine. Kudos. At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the triggerman may choose a technique from any style, not just from their specializations, but for class-level-related purposes, the triggerman counts only as half their level (rounded down) for the purpose of requisites of techniques not from their specializations – these are dubbed “cross-specialization techniques”, and the respective levels are called out in an extra column in the class table as well Where applicable, the DC is 10 + ½ the triggerman’s level + the triggerman’s Intelligence modifier. A triggerman may execute any number of techniques per round, with a few restrictions: After performing a technique with a focus change of +1 with a firearm, that firearm may not be sued to perform further techniques until the start of the next turn. The triggerman may also not perform more than 2 techniques with a focus change of +1 per round, so no exploitation options there either. Nice!

At 3rd level, and every 8 levels thereafter, the triggerman gains a bonus feat.

The styles presented are dragoon, gun fu, marksmanship and munitions – we’ll talk about those in detail later.

At 2nd level, the class gets a moxie pool. It starts at 0 points, and caps at 4. Whenever the triggerman performs a technique with a focus change of -2, -3 or -4, he gains moxie points equal to one fewer than the number of focus points expended. A -3 focus change technique would yield 2 moxie points, for example. The triggerman’s talents make use of this pool. The moxie pool resets to 0 each morning, whether or not the triggerman rested. At 7th level, the triggerman gets moxie stability, which, when a morning would reset moxie to 0 and he has 1 or more moxie left, instead sets it to 1. This cap is increased to 2 at 15th level.

At 2nd level, the class gets one moxie talent, +1 talent every 2 levels thereafter. Talents marked with asterisks are passive talents that scale with the moxie pool’s current point load-out. At the beginning of the triggerman’s turn, they select a single such talent and gain the listed benefit. In addition to the talents selected, the triggerman gains 4 moxie talents automatically: The first is smoking gun, gained at 2nd level, which lets you expend 1 moxie point as a free action to grant a firearm with 0 focus points 1 focus point, or expend 2 moxie points to grant a firearm with 1 or 2 focus points one additional focus point.

At 4th level, the triggerman may, whenever they reload an advanced fire arm, or the final barrel of an early fireman, expend 1 moxie point, increasing its capacity by the moxie points in the pool (I assume after the expenditure – this should be clarified), up to a maximum of twice the firearm’s base capacity. In early firearms, this extra capacity is located in the barrel last loaded. This prevents you from using asterisk’d talents on your next turn after using it. At 7th level, the triggerman may harmlessly fire a firearm at the end of the turn; this expends ammo, takes no action, but if the firearm has a focus point array of 0, this grants the firearm 1 focus point. At 20th level, the first time the triggerman would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points each day, they may execute a technique known with a focus change of -4 as an immediate action, resolved immediately before taking the damage, without needing to meet the focus required for it, or requiring that you expend the focus points for it.

The moxie talents include an Armor bonus to AC, as well as limited DR if you have 4+ moxie points, negating low amounts of physical damage if you have more moxie points, or additional damage for the first firearm attack each round. These are all examples for the passive, asterisk’d talents. There also is a means to benefit from more than one asterisk’d moxie talent. On the active side of things, we have the means to enhance saving throws via moxie expenditure, a talent that lets you expend moxie to change the damage of your bullets to cold, fire or electricity damage, deafening shots, expend moxie to negate ranged attacks, essentially advantage for physical skill checks, and a Dirty Harry talent – if you fire the final shot, you can expend moxie and have the gun reloaded…so even guys who can count are screwed. Awesome. Levels 4, 6, 8 and 10 are caps where new moxie talents are unlocked, and at higher levels, you can learn to reorient bullets, swift action reload siege weapons, or enhance your speed. Over all, these are diverse and interesting! There also are a couple of potent defensive tricks, like rolling d6s to reduce damage that’d kill you or rerolling death saves.

The class comes with an array of surprisingly interesting favored class options – both a regular array for the element-touched races, aasimar, etc., but also for puddlings, orcs, drow, etc. These interact in often exciting ways with yet another class feature – at 3rd level, the class gets “He Called Her Lucille”; this class feature lets you choose a signature firearm, to which the gun training feature applies; additionally, the first broken condition is ignored each day, and the gun gets signature modifications. The gun can hold one modification, and gains an additional one at 6th level, and every 6 levels thereafter. These include means to reduce misfire rates, scatter, extra chambers, reduced range increment penalties, lacing the shot with flammable sludge and the like. The aasimar FCO nets you a modification that grants allies temporary hit points when you hit a target, and puddlings get a customization pool that allows them to apply customizations to standard firearms. (In case you were wondering: The signature firearm’s customizations may be altered while resting.) The book also features general favored class options for all races in addition to the race-specific ones.

15 feats are included for the class, which help enhance certain techniques, build moxie pool, adding minor elemental damage to ammo, DC-enhancers for a specialization, draw bullets out of the dead or destroyed foes, which gains bane , learn additional techniques or ranged feint.

Okay, what about those styles? Well, structurally, a few techniques are locked behind levels – 2, 4, 6, 9 and 10, to be precise, but the majority are available sans prerequisites. Some are denoted as “special” and the pdf lists them all on their individual lists, which is a good thing. The dragoon style has tricks like making a misfire instead produce a 15-ft. cone of grapeshot, juryrigging broken pistols…wait,w hat? Well yeah, the dragoon has a technique that lets them either grant a firearm the broken condition (Focus +1) or remove the broken condition from a firearm (Focus -1); we have powderjumps, energy cones, or use firearm attacks to fly (!!) – as long as you keep firing, you keep flying!

The gun-fu style is, obviously, all about equilibrium-like trickery – using firearms to threaten, counter AoOs…and what about first-range increment AoOs. In a callback to the 3.X Tome of 9 Swords, the highest level technique is called White Raven Redux and lets you move a target’s initiative to directly after you for the big focus-4 technique, but gets the rules precisely right. Marksmanship is about called shots – no, not the standard engine; but we have sniper-like techniques that let you hit knees, equipment, and enhances your ability to vanish after firing. I also loved how mindgames let you change readied techniques via the Mindgame technique. There also are shots that can cancel spells and make the target temporarily forget abilities. Provided you have Improved Steal, you can use shots to steal items at range. The munitions style, finally, is about, well, munitions – we have scattershot, bonus elemental damage, chaosbullets that deal damage to a random ability score, making ammo count as a particular material – interestingly, this, however, halves the damage caused if the chosen material is not required to bypass DR, rewarding player skill and knowledge, and validating adamantine being available from the get-go. Cool choice.

Even the “normal” talents tend to, more often than not, do something interesting: If you hit a target, for example, with a mighty called shot to the brain, you deal 1d4 damage to all mental ability scores. This differentiates between sequences (e.g. 1,2,3 damage) doubles, and if you dealt e.g. more Intelligence than Wisdom damage, etc. – I genuinely like how an ability that would have called it quits at ability score damage suddenly becomes intriguing. Getting an emergency stash of special ammunition, firing balls of glitter (blinding and essentially glitterdusting targets)…and before you ask: Yes, amoo and techniques that work in scattershot-ish ways and how those interact – it’s covered!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the no-frills two-column b/w-standard of Interjection Games, with artwork used being sourced from the public domain. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is jarring makes using the electronic version much less convenient than it should be.

Bradley Crouch’s triggerman is a different class than I expect, but that’s not a bad thing. In many ways, this class feels more magical to me than Interjection games classes, with a less pronounced grounding of why certain shots can do what they do, but personally, I did not mind. An interesting angle here is that the triggerman is a great gunslinger with a wholly different, robust engine and A LOT of customization tricks. As such, it does not compete with the Legendary Gunslinger, N. Jolly’s excellent rebuild. (Which I personally prefer by a margin, but that's a personal preference.) Instead, I can see these two classes existing in the same world, as they cater to different play styles – the triggerman is the class for the customization fanatic in us, while the legendary gunslinger is the class the original gunslinger had been. The triggerman’s biggest drawback imho is the lack of supplemental items and bookmarks; both very minor blemishes, but enough to reduce my final verdict to 4.5 stars, though I will round up for the purpose of this platform. And yes, it gets my seal of approval. If you wanted a gunslinging character sans grit, who play very different? Well, this is what you’ve been searching for!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Triggerman Momentum-Based Gunslinging
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Class Expansions: Witch Grand Hexes [PFRPG]
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/10/2019 15:20:01

Seven new grand hexes for the Pathfinder Witch class. I rather enjoyed them to be honest.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Witch Grand Hexes [PFRPG]
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The Master of Forms Expanded - The Wood Element (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/17/2019 13:32:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the Master of Forms-class clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue by my patreon supporters.

I assume familiarity with the Master of Forms class in this review.

All right, so the wood stance allows the master of forms to grant a single growth point to a floral ally within 30 ft. What’s that? Well, the element comes with the sow the seeds ability, which nets the buried wildthorn, shieldroot and tilling broadleaf forms. Each of them creates a stationary floral ally that has a single action per round. These forms do not count towards the wood forms known for the purpose of prerequisites, but do count as wood forms for the purpose of entering and maintaining elemental stances.

You can only have one floral ally planted, but once you know 4 wood forms, you can have 2. If you know all 8, you can have three floral allies. You may not have more than one floral ally of a given type at a given time, though. At the end of your turn, when within 30 ft. of one or more floral allies, you may grant a single floral ally within 30 ft. 1 growth point. At 5th level, all floral allies start with 1 growth point, which increases by a further +1 at 11th and 17th level. Sow the seeds is not per se a form, but when the master of forms gains any wood form, they receive this as a kind of bonus ability.

Buried Wildthorn has a range of 30 ft., focus requirement of 0-3, and entails no focus change. The wildthorn is planted as a standard action, and 1/round attacks a target within 30 ft. of its position, with an attack bonus of class level + Charisma modifier. Damage is 1d8 piercing damage, with 7th level making the attack count as magical. The ally shares all attack and damage bonuses and penalties you have, and gains an enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to the highest bonus your weapons have. It has hardness equal to Charisma modifier, and thrice class level hit points. Melee attacks hit automatically, but ranged attacks have to hit a paltry AC.

Shieldroots follow a similar design paradigm, but act as buffers, providing temporary hit points to those nearby, while tilling broadleaves can use pollen to dazzle those that fail a save, or temporarily create difficult terrain. Here’s the thing: All of these have a second ability section: Growth. At 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 growth points they increase their effects. The buried wildthorn, in sequence, first adds Charisma modifier to atk, can expend growth points to execute cone-bursts of needles, cause bleed damage, overcome metal-based DRs, or self-destruct in a shrapnel explosion (to which the master of forms is btw. immune)! Cool! The shieldroot adds AC boosts, can make you share temporary hit points granted to allies, enhance saves, grant minor DR, or detonate in a short-lived, but AoE-affecting temporary hit point burst that could well mean the difference between triumph and TPK.

The tilling broadleaf gains wholly new abilities – flammable variants of grease, entangling targets, temporary focus grants and walls of vegetation – rather versatile!

These three can be improved with the “Enhanced insert floral ally name forms” – these reduce execution time for them to move action, focus change to +1, and provide an Escalation for the respective floral ally. Nice! With fecundity, a passive, whenever a creature dies or is destroyed, you may expend 1 focus point to grow one floral ally that doesn’t count towards your maximum. The short lifespan of these do prevent any abuse scenario I managed to come up with. The second passive, Bonsai, requires 6th level, and allows you to plant a floral ally in a small pot that you can carry around – it basically occupies your square. You can only have one such ally, but it does enhance its AC somewhat – and, well, it’s now mobile. Speaking of mobility: With the transplant form (an active one available at 6th level+) (swift action, range 60 ft., focus change +1), you can transplant a floral ally to an unoccupied square in range. Unique: This does allow for the use of an additional form, but any form with a +1 focus change instead has a focus change of 0. The third passive lets you the first time when you’d be reduced to 0 or below hp per day, expend 3 focus points as an immediate action, regaining 1d10 hit points per class level. Nice.

Fertilize, with a focus change of +1, allows you to grant a floral ally within 60 ft. 1 growth point, 2 at 11th level. There are three actives that require the respective “Enhanced” floral ally form: Razor Lash has a range of 30 ft. and a focus change of -1: It nets a nearby wildthorn +1 growth point and lets you make an attack that deals 1d8 + class level + Charisma modifier piercing damage as either a standard action or as an attack in a full attack. The Regrowth form requires the Enhanced shieldroot, and nets temporary hit points and a growth point – as an immediate action, which explicitly allows you to bypass the fixed limit on forms. Nice. The form building on the Enhanced broadleaf lets you create broadleaf forms, as though you had 1/3rd class level growth points (minimum 1, rounded down) and grant, bingo, a broadleaf a growth point.

Starting at 6th level, metabolic overdrive is unlocked: At focus change -2, it requires a move action to activate, and allows floral allies in range (60 ft.) execute two actions, but at the cost of 3 growth points per round. Virulent Decomposition, also at focus change -2, may be activated as a standard action, has a range of 60 ft., and infects a target with a fungus that deals constant acid and Constitution damage. Killing the target nets you growth points to floral allies within 60 ft. of the vanquished foe. At 8th level, masters of forms can choose the Rampant Growth form, which lets you bury instantly undeployed types of floral allies, or immediately max out growth points, at the cost of the floral ally dying after its next action. At -2 focus change, it can be escalated to -4 focus change, which lets you choose both effects AND the order in which they take place! Nice: Players with less experience get a full hint here how you can use this to combo! The -4 focus change form, Mulch, which requires 10th level, combos 1d6 acid damage per class level plus 1d6 fire damage per class level to a target within 60 ft., and if killed thus, you really boost the growth of your floral allies in range.

The pdf also features two new feats: Miracle Grower allows you, up to 5/day, grant a floral ally that would receive one growth point to get two instead. Vengeful Gardener lets you, when a floral ally is destroyed, perform the wood form associated with that ally (the one with “enhanced” before the name – they’re listed in the prerequisites) as an immediate action, without having to pay or gain the focus change of the form or having to meet the focus required. It also doesn’t, obviously, count towards the forms-per-round-limit. However, you may only do so once per day per form associated with your floral allies – once for shieldroot, once for tilling broadleaf, and once for buried wildthorn.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to interjection Games’ elegant two-column B7w-standard, and the pdf uses some nice b/w-artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s wood-expansion for the master of forms is awesome. Full of combo-potential, the floral allies look weak at first, but with the right set-up and a capable master of forms, can make for the difference between life and death. With combo-potential and a very distinct flavor, this is a prime example of an excellent class-expansion pdf that is well worth its exceedingly low price. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Master of Forms Expanded - The Wood Element (PFRPG)
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The Master of Forms Expanded - The Wood Element (PFRPG)
by Vladimir R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2019 22:36:08

Wood?!?

Introduction: I think it has been years since the Interjection Games released the Master of Forms and its expansion. This book adds ANOTHER element, and this one is… weird. But, is it a worthy addition? Read on!

What’s inside? 7 pages of content for less than two bucks, which include:

-The Wood Element. Right of the bat we get the wood stance, which cryptically teases the subsystem of the element, mentioning you can add a “growth point” to one of your floral allies… wait, what? Yes, the wood element gets floral allies, but this is not a pet class. Again, read on.

After the stance. We have 2 Wood Secret Arts, one which empties your focus pool and lets you grow the 3 kind of floral allies (Buried Wildthorn, Shieldroot and Tilling Broadleaf), and gets animation charges. By spending them the master can grant an extra action per round to a floral ally. The other secret art lets you use one of three maneuvers as a free action, which is especial since you normally can’t use maneuvers during a secret art.

Next we have the core of the subsystem. When you learn your first wood form, you also learn how to plant 3 different kinds of floral allies. Normally, you can only have one floral ally planted at a time, but learning 4 wood forms and then 8 increases the limit to a maximum of 3, and you can only have one of each kind of floral allies planted at a time (so no spamming). Each plant is formatted like a form (and all have a focus change of 0), and using one builds up the wood stance, but since they are freebies they don’t count for planting extra floral allies. Each plant can be planted within a range of 30 ft., and the plants themselves can use their abilities at a range of 30 ft.; another common thing between the allies is that they can build a growth pool (with a maximum of half your master level) that unlocks more potent abilities at each even number of points. Floral allies can’t move and can be hit for free in melee (and at range hitting AC 9), have a hardness equal to your Cha modifier, and have triple your master level in hit points.

Buried Wildthorn would be the attacking ally, able to lash out to enemies, and the growth pool unlocks area damage, bleed, metal damage reduction bypassing and the capstone self-destructs in a shower of needles and piercing damage. Shieldroot would be the protecting plant, giving you or an ally temporary HP for one round, the growth pool unlocking AC and saves bonuses, damage reduction and as a capstone the shield root explodes in a hefty shower of temporary HP that persist for 2 rounds. Tilling Broadleaf would be the controlling plant. The plant can dazzle and create difficult terrain; here, the growth pool unlocks grease-like sap, entangling vines, temporary focus for the master, and even a wall of vegetation, with the capstone able to produce 2 effects.

Now, the forms themselves are 15 (like all the standard elements). Unlike others, wood forms really build upon themselves, rewarding specialization in the element. There are three forms that enhance the base forms of the element (changing the focus from 0 to +1 and using them as move actions). Another batch of three require the enhanced version, and give you an ability that also feeds the floral ally. A couple more give your floral allies some mobility (either piggybacking the plant as a bonsai, or teleporting the plant). But not all forms build on the allies. One gives you a kind of safeguard when you are killed, and another one basically composts a living enemy and dealing tons of damage, but it is greatly reduced on a successful save.

-2 Feats: This section include a feat that lets you build the growth pool of allies faster a couple of times per day, while the other lets you use the enhanced enhanced (not a typo) form when an associated floral ally is killed.

Of Note: The concept of another element that shies away from the martial arts and enter into a more druid-y territory is weird, but awesome. I can’t wait to build a delicious ghoran master of wood. The broadening of a master of forms repertoire by taking some or many wood forms is outstanding if we consider all the possible builds with the base system alone. If you want to get some visuals for the element, just watch Poison Ivy in the Injustice fighting games or that new villain in MK11 (forgot her name).

Anything wrong?: The element is not fully integrated within the rules. The Overflowing Elements feat is not mentioned (just add piercing damage when in a wood stance), the Elemental Partisan archetype and the opposing element wheel is not taken into account (I guess wood is unopposed, like shadow, so no Partisan of Wood), neither is the Unbalanced Master archetype, which can choose shadow (HERE I would have liked some love). But that is spoilerbratism of the highest caliber.

What I want: Support! What about a “Fur” element? That way we would have flora and fauna. Magic items, like elemental robes (activated while in a stance), element-specific weapons, elemental-specific ioun stones that store focus, master belts, scrolls that teach forms… But I’m happy with having a brand new element!

What cool things did this inspire?: Wood can be the anarchic, black sheep element, one seen in a bad light since it uses the world itself as a weapon. That could bring roleplaying scenes, like when a master bans a student that learned a wood form, or a PC that wins a tournament when an opponent wins “by cheating” with wood, leaving a sour taste but opening the door to a new way of fighting. While darkness might be seen as the anti-element, wood is still open to any master of forms, so knowing a little “dirty move” would be a nasty surprise.

Do I recommend it?: I can’t NOT recommend it. The floral ally engine is worthy enough to be used by itself, and adding some forms from other elements just increases the fun. Five poisonus star-shaped flowers from me!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Onmyodo (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/02/2019 05:15:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book clocks in at 65 pages of content if you take the usual away, so quite a lot to cover! Let’s take a gander!

First things first, though: I was at one point involved in the Strange Magic II project, and was supposed to contribute to this book, but things did not work out. I ended up having no involvement whatsoever in the creation of this book. I wouldn’t have reviewed this, but it was requested by one of my patreon supporters, so here we go!

We begin this with the Onmyōji base class, which clocks in with 1/2 BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d6 HD, 4+Intelligence modifier skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, kukri, double chicken saber, tonfa, monk's spade and naginata as well as proficiency with shields, excluding tower shields. When wearing armor or using a shield the onmyōji is not proficient with, petitions increase their spirit pool point cost by +1 and talismans are reduced to 1/2 their usual duration.

Onmyōji begin play with a spirit pool equal to their Charisma modifier, which grows to 12 + Charisma modifier at a rate of +2 every 3 levels. The spirit pool can be utilized in a variety of ways: The onmyōji can extend their reach by 5 ft. per onmyōji level for the purposes of placing talismans for 1 round or extend the duration of an active talisman within 60 ft. by 5 rounds – though the latter option is unlocked at 5th level. Additionally, the onmyōji may increase the hardness of all active talismans within 60 ft. by Wisdom modifier for 1 round. The onmyōji may also increase the radius of an o-fuda talisman within 60 feet by 5 ft., though the onmyōji must be at least 7th level to do that. (This increases to affecting two o-fuda talismans at 14th level, fyi.) All of these are swift actions. 11th level onmyōji may pay 2 spirit points as an immediate action to grant an active talisman three times Wisdom modifier temporary hit points. Alternatively, for 2 spirit points, we have an array options unlocked that includes o-fuda radius increase by 10 ft. (2 talismans in range affected at 16th level), and at 13th level, there is no more limit to the number of talismans that may have their duration enhanced. At 17th level, this cost may be paid to not expend talisman uses, and at 20th level, an o-fuda talisman may be treated as an omamori talisman.

So, what are those talismans all about? Talismans are small tokens usually made of paper, cloth or wood, decorated with glyphs. An onmyōji begins play with 2 prayers and learns an additional one at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. When placing a talisman, an onmyōji can choose a prayer that is compatible with the talisman-type, though the onmyōji has to have a Wisdom score of at least 10 +1/2 the minimum level of the prayer's level requirement. The onmyōji has a petitioner level (the term for this caster) equal to class level, and may use up to Wisdom modifier + class level talismans per day. Talismans do not allow for saving throws and have a limited hardness equal to Wisdom modifier, and hit points equal to onmyōji class levels x 3. Destroying a talisman ends its effects; otherwise, it lasts for 3 rounds, +1 round for each onmyōji class level. There are two types of talisman, first of which would be o-fuda. These generate their warding effects in a 10 ft.-radius upon being placed and cannot be moved after being placed, only destroyed. The second type would be the omamori - these are attached to creatures the onmyōji threatens, either voluntarily or via a touch attack. These only affect the creature to which they are attached. Failing to hit does NOT expend talisman-uses, but does provoke an attack of opportunity.

As hinted at before, they also start with 2 prayers known and scale that up to 11. At 2nd level, they have the first petition and scale that up by +1 every even level thereafter. Talismans in the book are plentiful indeed - they also come with minimum level restrictions and most prayers (but not all) can be used on either o-fuda or omamori. The omamori's can be considered single-target effects, while the o-fuda, if used wisely, can make the onmyōji's area-buffing absolutely unique and rewarding, allowing you to finally lure foes into your cleverly laid-out o-fuda traps. Guiding attacks, increasing the potency of the elements, increasing the healing of allies - all pretty cool options, and they’re sporting mechanics that deviate enough from spellcasting to maintain the unique flavor of the class - what about e.g. granting allies the option to spit weaponized energy-based saliva? Temporary negating age-based penalties for the image of the venerable monk standing up and kicking badass butt? Yeah, I love these.

It should also be noted that an onmyōji receives access to two wizard cantrips and cleric orisons as part of replenishing the spirit pool – this minor magic ability is dubbed “Aid of the Minor Kami”, and the onmyōji may use them at-will while close to the shikigami.

What’s that? Well, an onmyōji begins play with a shikigami, a kami bound to the onmyōji's service in an origami paper vessel. If said shikigami dies, it can be replaced after 1 week for a penalty cost of 200 gp per onmyōji level in an 8-hour ceremony. Shikigami are Tiny constructs with d10 HD (and 1/2 HD-progression), a fixed Strength of 6, 10 Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma and a Dexterity-score that begins at 14 and improves to 15 at 7th level and 16 at 15th level, respectively. The shikigami has 1/2 BAB-progression and no good save. It begins play with 2 skills (and has its own skill-list of class skills) and begins play with a feat, receiving another one at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Sounds fragile? Well, while within 20 feet of the onmyōji that is its master, it receives the master's Wisdom modifier as hardness. Additionally, while within this range, it grants the onmyōji bonuses as if a familiar. Its origami-form determines its natural attacks, though a slam is default. It may also place talismans the master knows while within this range, drawing on the onmyōji's resources, but using the shikigami's HD rather than the onmyōji’s class level to determine talisman duration. A shikigami can communicate with the master onmyōji and it has its own spirit pool equal to its HD, but may only use these points to affect talismans it has placed itself. The short-range benefits to shikigami survivability increase by +5 ft. at 2nd level further for every HD the shikigami has, which also affects the range at which the “Aid of the minor kami” class feature works. At 5th level, the shikigami receives improved evasion. At 9th and 15th level, the shikigami receives more bonus hit points, counting as a larger-sized construct - which btw. are provided in a handy table.

Onmyōji of 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter also learn a petition to the spirits. These are governed by Charisma, with a 10 +1/2 minimum level requirement in the ability score analogue to the Wisdom-based talismans. Petitions have a DC of 10 + 1/2 onmyōji class level + onmyōji ‘s Charisma modifier, where applicable.

The class comes with favored class options for the core-races, aasimar, drow, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs, puddlings and tieflings - and they are interesting, actually - e.g. adding bleed damage to omamori is pretty interesting and fitting for half-orcs/orcs...

The pdf also features an assortment of different archetypes: The grinning fox is basically a Charisma-governed guy that has an emphasis on Kitsune synergy, allowing the character to take Magical Tail and a 2/day SP lesser confusion, which doubles as the racial prerequisite for that feat. The archetype does lose the shikigami, though. The Herald of the Lucky God chooses one of the 7 lucky gods to worship over all else, and gains the associated petitions as bonus petitions, and the archetype also gets the respective god’s friendship feat, provided he meets the prerequisites. These special feats are aligned with the 7 lucky gods of Japanese mythology, and while generally available, they significantly increase the potency of the petition aligned with said god. However, an onmyōji may only have ONE friendship-feat at a given time...so choose wisely your allies among the gods! Really like the fluff of these feats. Depending on the lucky god chosen, we also get a special ability at 3rd level. In short, this is basically a specialist, which also explains why the archetype doesn’t have to lose any other abilities – the specialization locks it out of the other gods.

The Mokusei begins play with a quarterstaff – they are jailors of a sort, binding a spirit within the quarterstaff; this is known as mokugami, and the staff gains enhancement bonuses, the ability to grant limited fast healing, and the staff later sprouts green shoots, which double as single charge wands that allow for petition use. The basic aid of the kami cantrips/orisons may be quickened at no cost at 7th level, and the capstone provides a mighty version of the green shoot ability. This replaces shikigami, and the o-fudamori section of the spirit pool enhancement options.

The oathbearer would be a complex archetype, who must choose a willing creature to be the “ward”, who may not be a member of the oathbearer’s immediate family, and the oathbearer’s focus is to see said ward prosper. This increases maximum age, and at higher levels, even prevents dying of old age and allows the oathbearer to treat the ward’s children as though they were the ward, becoming an eternal defender of that bloodline. The solemn duty is not one to be undertaken lightly, though the process by which the oath may be transferred is detailed in a concise manner. The oath replaces the shikigami. Oathbearers have their own class table, and start with a spirit pool of 1 + Charisma modifier, which increases by a further +1 at 2nd and every 3 levels thereafter in addition to the regular onmyōji's increases. This is listed properly in the class table. The “Aid of the Minor Kami”-range is instead applied to tie in with the ward. 2nd level nets a protector’s pool: When replenishing the spirit pool, the oathbearer may expend up to Wisdom modifier spirit points. For point thus spent, he gains a protector point, which allows the ward within 60 ft. to use petitions at ½ petitioner level, analogue to a shikigami, using the lesser of ½ the oathbearer’s class level or the ward’s level to determine variable effects. The ward, however, pays for these in said protector points. knowledge of petitions is shared, but a limited level caveat does apply for the ward. Replenishing the spirit pool resets this secondary pool to 0 – no cheesing. At 5th level and 10th level, the protector pool may be set to 1, with excess points detracted reabsorbed into the spirit pool, gaining more flexibility. The minimum points in the protector pool do increase, though. At 4th level, the oathbearer may enter temporary ward-lite relationships. We also have minor bonuses and temporary hit points for wards. At higher levels, oathbearers may learn to detect detrimental conditions and take them upon themselves via spirit pool point expenditure. AT higher levels, we also have an exclusive omamori talisman that alerts the oathbearer to danger and lets them port to the side of the character. We laos get unwilling temporary bindings and, as a capstone, the option to undertake the ultimate sacrifice for the ward. The final archetype is the shubo-sha, who gets two shikigami, but pays for that with a stunted petition array.

The book also features a rather cool rule that is entirely optional – the shikigami ascendant. The player of an onmyōji of 4th level or higher may, upon gaining a level, forego some of the benefits in order to grant the shikigami a boost; this represents the shikigami usurping the master. The stunted progression has to be explicitly noted – it’ll go away when the next time a level is gained, for then, the shikigami will take control, basically becoming the new player character! And yes, it gets a full class table, a subservient onmyōji…and an origami pool equal to 2 + 1 for every 3 class levels beyond 6th. The shikigami ascendant may spend these to gain the benefits or origami folds it knows. Later levels allow for limited refolding, and there are 4 full pages of origami folds! Awesome!

The second base class (if you don’t count aforementioned quasi-base-class-level options) would be the warrior poet, who gets ¾ BAB-progression, good Reflex and Will-saves, d8 HD, 6 + Intelligence modifier skills per level, proficiency in simple and martial weapons as well as light armor and shields, excluding tower shields. As before, warrior poets may wield shields and wear armors they’re not proficient with, but doing so prevents the use of haiku and ends ongoing haiku. Nice: the author did his homework on haiku and the misconceptions that western school systems tend to apply to the art-form, but that as an aside. For the purposes of this engine, I’ll stick to the basics here:

A haiku is a piece of poetry with two subjects to be compared, and a kireji to direct the comparison. Warrior poets start with 2 haiku, +Wisdom modifier/3 (minimum +0, rounded down) to start with, and increases that to a base value of 5. Each haiku has an allowance of one “on”, or syllable, that determines the number of topics the haiku can accept. A haiku must have 2 subjects, one kireji. AT 3rd level and every 5 levels thereafter, this “on” allowance per subject increases by +1. In order to prepare use employ a haiku, the warrior poet must have a minimum Wisdom score of 12 + the “on” allowance of the subjects. DCs, if any, are governed by the usual 10 + ½ class level + Wisdom modifier formula.

In order to change prepared haiku, the warrior poet must consult the poetry book after sleep, and said books starts with 3 kireji and 2 + Wisdom modifier, minimum 2 topics. At any further level, any combination of two kireji or topics are added. Note that similar to comparable engines, the ability to use haiku actually is not contingent on the poetry book, just the change of the prepared loadout. The poetry book otherwise behaves in many ways like a spell-or composition book. The class uses Wisdom as a replacement ability score for Perform (oratory), provided Wisdom exceeds Charisma. A warrior poet may recite each individual haiku for a number of rounds per day equal to their ranks in Perform (oratory) + Wisdom modifier, and starting to orate is a move action, but maintenance is a free action; the warrior poet may simply end an oration as a free action, or use a kireji to end the oration. Oration cannot be interrupted in the traditional sense, though paralysis etc. do the job. The kireji is btw. handled in an interesting manner: The warrior poet may declare any attack or full-attack action the kireji. This ends the effects on subject a), and starts the effects on subject b) until the oration ceases, or the warrior poet uses the kireji again. Only one kireji per round may be executed.

At 2nd level, the warrior poet gets an inflection – the means to use a kireji that is not native to the current haiku. (minor nitpick: Ability header no bolded.) An inflection may be used 2/day, +1/day at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter. At 4th level, the warrior poet may place omamori talismans on weaponry, and it remains inactive while thus placed. As a swift action, the warrior poet may execute an attack with his talisman’d weapon, applying its effects to the subject of the attack. This may not be cheesed for buffing purposes, fyi. The class has a baked-in, scaling bonus to attack rolls made to deliver talismans. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter grant scaling bonus damage dice to weapon damage inflicted while orating, and the capstone to treat an o-fuda as an omamori. The warrior poet also gets talismans – 2 prayers at first level, and an additional one at 2nd and every 2 class levels thereafter. The class comes with a full array of interesting favored class options, and one archetype, the Kigoist.

Kigoists are proficient with simple weapons, and their orations are dedicated to a season – when they spend a round of their haiku’s daily duration, the haiku gains a season charge. A haiku may have a maximum of 2 + Charisma modifier season charges (Season charge threshold further increases by +1 at 9th level, and again at 17th level.), and season charges may be expended as a standard action to generate spell-like abilities, which range in cost from 1 to 7 charges, with 4th, 8th and 12th level unlocking new abilities for the season. Starting at 5th level, if the kigoist has been orating for at least 3 rounds since the last kireji, his kireji can grant a season charge to another season; also at ths level, spell-like abilities may be used instead of the kireji, provided aforementioned limitation was maintained and the SP costs 3 or less charges. This replaces the effects of the kireji and basically allows for the use of a SP in a full attack, as well as a haiku change. This replaces the ability to place and deliver omamori via the weapon. 9th and 13th level net +1 round of haiku instead of the bonus damage dice while orating, and at higher level, starting season charges begin at 2, instead of 0. The capstone requires serious set-up, but allows for an omni-dedicated SP-flurry of sorts.

It should come as no surprise that the warrior poet gets its own dedicated section of kireji, which allow for damage result recording, making movement provoke AoOs and more – 1.5 pages of these poetic interjections are included, and the list alone of haiku subjects covers 1.5 pages, with level 3 and every 3 levels thereafter unlocking a new array. Sharing effects, ability check rerolls, constant cold damage and similar aspects would have been neat on their own – in combination with the flexible and rewarding haiku engine, they become awesome.

Now, we also receive a significant array of onmyōji-themed feats – these include feats that expand/modify the cantrip/orison granting aid of the kami, including the option to forego doing so for spirit pool power. Increased spirit pool-size, 0 cost for the first time you cast a petition each day, more petitions, reduced costs of a petition, gaining temporary spirit points when executing an ability chosen from the spirit pool's options – a serious array here. You can also get an interjection, a single-subject haiku with an “on” capacity of 1 that may be interjected as a swift action. Kigoists can expand the SPs in a GM-approval based, complex feat that provides concise guidelines A shikigami familiar, better refolding, specializing on a haik topic, green shoot poaching, etc. – oh and there is a dedicated skikigami feat section included as well - interesting.

Speaking of interesting – as noted before, I love the idea of friendship-feats. Petitions essentially constitute the spells of the class, all coming with required levels (instead of petition-levels) and drawing from the same spirit pool resource. Here, we can find the options for conjuring force-damage dealing phantom legions, or the means of petitioning the scarecrow god Kuebiko for a divination - but one that only extends half an hour. Shields of temporary hit points, or a status-like effect based on heavenly bureaucrats - the petitions themselves are not only mechanically interesting, they also evoke a ridiculously awesome imagery and often come with more narrative potential than you’d expect. Daikoku-ten, for example, may create mundane goods for you, but they do vanish upon executing the petition the next time... Raising the dead can also be achieved by petitioning Fukorokuju. Or perhaps you want to conjure forth a kami of the morning dew, which may explode upon the target receiving damage to douse the unfortunate in healing spray?

These petitions stand out due to two facts - for one, they provide Interjection Games' interesting knack for cool mechanics and nifty combo-potential. More so than in almost all IG-releases, these petitions also BREATHE the awesomeness of the extensive Japanese mythology and supplement the great rules with an imagery that is ridiculously evocative and steeped in lore. If you’re like me and Lafcadio Hearn opened a whole new world for you, if you enjoy Kaidan…well, here goes.

Everyone even remotely into Japanese mythology will have a field day here, grinning from ear to ear. Ever wanted to fly on ethereal cherry blossoms? Yeah. You read these and can immediately picture them - even in the cases where the mechanics are interesting, but not too special, it is the imagery that makes the petition awesome. For less romantic imagery, what about emitting a dread shriek of the dishonored and perished souls or unleashing Raijin's thunderclap on foes? On the mechanical side, the most interesting petition herein essentially takes all the 1/day spell-like abilities granted and turns them into a pool, for more flexibility - nice!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, particularly considering the complexity of the rules-operations attempted. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard with a few colored highlights, and artwork is a blend of original b/w-pieces and well-chosen public domain art that works infinitely better than bad stock art would have. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Bradley Crouch’s Ultimate Onmyōdō is a brilliant book, pure and simple. The haiku-engine alone is a stroke of genius, and the shikigami ascendant? Pure awesomeness. The original class may have been neat, but what he managed to add to the subject matter? Heck, it’s amazing, no doubt in my mind. If you even remotely enjoy Japanese mythology and always were dissatisfied by the use of western spellcasting and classes in your oriental games, look no further. This is a genius book, and one I’d consider to be a must-own for any game that e.g. takes place in Kaidan or similar regions. Mechanically and flavor-wise distinct, as well as respectful, this gets 5 stars + seal of approval. An impressive achievement indeed.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Onmyodo (PFRPG)
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The Gadgeteer - Custom Weapon Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2019 10:13:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the gadgeteer class clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

I assume familiarity with the gadgeteer class in this review.

All right, so we get 3 addons at one Structure Point each: One needs you resistance 1 versus acid, electricity and fire, and may be stacked thrice; another nets you a temporary hit point that lasts a round, basically providing a mini shield. (This one requires 4th level.) Another nets you a 1/day shield of 2d4 temporary hit points as an immediate action, which is cool. Gadgeteers of 6th level can benefit from the 1-structure addon called enhancement modification unit. This one is added to a custom weapon and lets you choose acid, cold, electricity or fire. Instead of adding the enhancement bonus to the weapon’s base damage, the weapon now causes this bonus damage as energy damage of the chosen type, though it’s not multiplied on a critical hit. Also available at 6th level, though it does require 6 ranks of Craft (alchemy), lets you choose acid, fire or electricity, yielding you resistance 2 versus the chosen energy, stacking explicitly with aforementioned resistance gain. At 10th level, you can 1/day activate a swift action activated custom weapon’s addon as a free action.

The disposable glory device requires second level and cost 1 Structure Point as well. This one adds a volatile flask to a weapon, allowing you to fire it into an adjacent square. This inflicts your choice of 1d8 acid, fire or electricity damage as though you’d have thrown a flask on a hit – but you also take full damage. This is activated as a swift action and thus doesn’t provoke AoOs. The Mutable Mutilation Mollification module addon requires third level to take, costs a Structure Point and nets the wielder DR 1/ that can be bypassed by two of the three physical damage types, which lasts until next round or until the bypassing damage bypasses it. This costs a swift action to activate, which is generally a bad idea for such a minor boost. Toxin Buffers require 1 Structure Point and 2 ranks in Knowledge (nature), and lets the wielder ignore the first 2 points of ability score damage taken each day. Toxin Converters (2 Structure Points) build on that and require 5 ranks in Knowledge (nature); they reduce the first instance of ability drain to ability damage each day. Track coverers cost 2 Structure Points and require 4th level, leaving caltrops with every 5-foot-step taken. They can’t be taken from the square sans destroying them and are short-lived. I love this one! Pick Me Ups cost 3 Structure Points and require 7 ranks Craft (alchemy). The dispenser this grants holds 3 capsules,e ach of which may be consumed as a swift action. The capsules net a bonus to all speeds, brief fear immunity and the final ones briefly nets a +1 bonus to all three physical ability scores, saves and skill checks, which improves to +2 at 13th level.

The pdf also contains a total of 3 different defensive options: Emergency Motion promoter requires 10th level and costs 3 Structure Points. For each attack missed in an attack or full-attack action, the wielder may move 5 ft. as a swift action. Emergency Potion injector costs 1 Structure Point and does what you’d expect: You can insert a “1st-level or lower” potion (I assume that to refer to the potion’s CL, and that it doesn’t work with extracts into the item, and it triggers and injects the potion when you’re reduced to 0 hit points or below. At 8th level, more potent potions may be injected – up to 2nd level. Whatever that exactly means. Kinetic conversion unit costs 2 Structure Points and requires 8th level to take. This one lets you, as a move action activate it, and grant your next weapon attack made the ability to bestow base weapon damage die + enhancement bonus temporary hit points on the target instead of dealing damage. Interesting!

The pdf also has two offensive options: Glory device costs 2 Structure Points and requires 7th level to take. It adds a flask holder to the weapon, which may contain acid or alchemist’s fire – and yeah, you guessed it, this is basically the base version of the disposable glory device mentioned above, save that it may be reloaded after being used, and that its damage output can actually be less than that of the disposable one. I like the idea here, but damage should scale. (Unless you’re using the rules from Everyman Gaming’s excellent “Superior Alchemical Items”-tweak.) Finally, requiring 2 Structure Points to take, 4th level and shuriken proficiency, the Iron Supplement enhances your full attack. When all attacks are executed against a single target within 30 ft., you can use a swift action to fire a shuriken at the target, using full BAB (verbiage is here slightly nonstandard). The shuriken shares the weapon’s enhancement bonus.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level, and, apart from a few slight deviations form standard verbiage, extend that to the rules language level. Layout adheres to interjection games’ two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf has neither artwork, nor bookmarks, but does not require them at this length.

Huh. I kinda hoped for a somewhat overdue power-increase for the gadgeteer, and instead, some of the addon options within can be considered somewhat basic. Don’t get me wrong: there are some gems here, like the automated “I leave caltrops”-addon, and some of the more complex ones are interesting. But gaining the option to fling a flask of acid/alchemist’s fire that damages yourself at 7th level? That’s…kinda underwhelming. Similarly, I dare you to find a worse use for your swift action than spending it on a paltry DR that is bypassed by 2 or the three most common damage types. On the plus side, there are quite a few interesting options for gadgeteers within, and the pdf is inexpensive. As such, I consider this to be a mixed bag on the positive side of things, though one that definitely warrants rounding up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Gadgeteer - Custom Weapon Options
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The Assassin - The Sanguinity Hot Technique Tree
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/21/2019 03:17:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the Assassin base class clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Assassins with the sanguinity tree gain the blood pool feature upon taking the first sanguinity technique. This pool begins play with 0 points, and has a maximum capacity of thrice the assassin’s class level. Whenever a creature within 60 ft. takes damage from an ongoing bleed effect, the assassin gains 1 blood point for each point of damage taken. This pool resets upon resting.

Unless I have miscounted, the pdf contains 15 different techniques, with 2 of them being passive: Off the Top, available as soon as second level, adds + 1 bleed damage to the first weapon attack executed each round, with 7th level and every 6 levels thereafter increasing that by +1. Bleed damage from this ability stacks with itself, and the ability notes a Heal DC to quench the bleeding. The second passive would be blood sense, which nets you blindsense 60 ft., but only for the purpose of detecting creatures suffering from bleed damage and objects they’re interacting with.

As far as active techniques are concerned, we have e.g. “Bleed the Self” which has a presence required of 0 to 3 and nets a +1 presence change. The ability is a standard action or may be executed as a part of a full-attack action. The technique basically adds bleed that deals 1 ability score damage to an ability score that is randomly chosen each round. Interesting. Blood tithe decreases presence by 1 and requires presence 1 – 4; once more, it’s executed as an attack, providing a +2 bonus to Strength and Constitution that increases by a further +1 at 7th and 13th level. This buff ends when the target has not bled for one round or died. Upon executing this technique, you must spend blood points of up to class level, and the effect otherwise lasts for 3 + blood points spent rounds. This technique has an escalation option that modifies presence required and presence change, but if you opt for this iteration, you also penalize the target of your attack, essentially leeching the ability boosts.

Bolster the Blood allows you to expend blood points to enhance a target within 30 ft., providing temporary hit points that last for a round. Due to being activated as an immediate action, it also clarifies interaction with technique per round cap. Bolster the Self is the self-only version of this one, but interestingly, it’s NOT a prerequisite for bolster the blood. Cauterize causes fire damage to a bleeding target at presence change 1, and while there is no save, this does end any ongoing bleed damage of the target. Yes, ability bleed is properly codified. Crimson Font has a range of 60 ft. and targets any number of creatures – the ability inflicts 1d3 +1 piercing damage per class level, divided however you wish among the targets within 60 ft., with a Fortitude-save to halve damage. At -4 presence change, it requires some setting up, though. For each point of piercing damage you inflict, you also inflict a bleed damage…which makes this a great combo-finisher.

Enfeebling strike is easier to set up: At just a presence change of -1, enfeebling strike temporarily penalizes Strength of the target hit by 1d6, +1 per two assassin class levels, with 1 being minimum. Fortitude save halves, and the duration of the penalty is governed by the amount of blood points expended. Exsanguinate the Self nets a -4 presence change, and thus must be considered a combo finisher of sorts. You expend any number of blood points, up to class level, and inflict one point of random ability bleed damage for each blood point expended, to be distributed among any number of targets within 60 ft. A single creature can’t take more ability bleed than half the number of blood points expended, which helps make this avoid being a dragon-slayer. Fort-save negates.

Make it flow is a swift action with a 60 ft. range, and causes 1 point of bleed damage, which, at 0 presence change still makes for a good kick-off. Puncturing blow changes the weapon’s base damage die to bleeding damage instead, at presence change +1. It lasts for 2 rounds, and increases twice at higher levels. Transfusion has a -1 presence change and lets you touch a creature. Expend up to assassin level blood points, then roll d8 for every blood point. The target regains hit points equal to the amount rolled, and the assassin takes a penalty to maximum hit points equal to 1/4th of the rolled amount, rounded down. This reduction ceases after resting. Transruption, which, like Transfusion, is a presence change -1, lets you bind two creatures together. Whenever one of the bound creatures takes damage of the three physical damage types, then half that damage is siphoned off to the second target. When a bound creature takes bleed damage, the second creature does take the full bleed damage as well, but unlike the physical damage dispersion, this propagation of bleed damage may be resisted with a Fortitude save. Duration is governed by blood points expended. Finally, vermillion blade, at -2 presence change, is a melee touch attack with an empty hand. On a hit, you draw a fully formed blade of blood from the target. The weapon begins at +1, and increases its potency at higher levels, allowing for the use of some weapon special abilities.

There are 3 different feats included in the pdf: Blood Focus increases the maximum amount of blood points you can expend on a technique by +1. Bloodbonder Adept nets you 2/day an additional immediate action for bolster the self or bolster the blood, provided you did not perform them already this round. Odd regarding verbiage here: Does this mean that you lose an additional round worth of swift actions in the aftermath? If not, then why not simply allow for the use of these techniques sans requiring an action or building on free actions, with the appropriate not-your-turn-caveat? Anyhow, Transfuser, the final feat, nets you a transfusion pool with points equal to your assassin level. This pool acts basically as a buffer for transfusion, allowing you to expend its points instead of accepting the maximum hit point reduction that the transfusion technique usually requires. Nice one.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, juggling complex and intriguing concepts. Layout adheres to Interjection games’ no-frills two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s sanguinity tech tree is pretty cool – a blood-themed warrior angle for the assassin class? Heck yeah, why not. The concepts are varied and interesting, and there are some cool tricks here that reminded me of one of my own designs. The finishers are deadly, the minor healing welcome, and many of the attacks have neat visuals as well. All in all, an inexpensive, fun expansion well worth owning, though one that could use a sequel to build on it. The concept and theme are strong, and I couldn’t help but feel like there is more waiting in the wings here. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars. Definitely recommended for assassin-fans!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Assassin - The Sanguinity Hot Technique Tree
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The Assassin - The Fabrication Cold Technique Tree
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/11/2019 05:10:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the frickin‘ amazing assassin class by Interjection Games (srsly – check it out, if you haven’t!) clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Soooo…what of an assassin deprived of the tools of their trade? Well, with “Killer Engineering”, that is no longer an issue. Each morning when refreshing the technique pool, you get to build custom gadgets. You get one of them, plus an additional one at 3, 7 and 15 fabrication techniques – this means you can get up to 5 per day. Each gadget consists of two different components: You first select the base tool, then add up to two addons to it, paying the fabrication cost. Upon first gaining killer engineering, you choose one base tool and ALL associated addons, and upon gaining the next fabrication technique, you get the tool and all associated addons.

When building gadgets with this ability, you have a total of class level fabrication points. These don’t need to be spent, but also do not carry over to subsequent days. You can’t hoard gadgets. Building new ones cannibalizes the previous ones, and they may not be sold.

The first base tool presented within would be the hidden blade, which may be attached to pretty much anything like gloves, boots, etc. A maximum of one such blade may be applied to a given item. Hidden blades that are deployed cause 1d4 piercing damage with a 19-20 threat range. Attacks with a wrist-mounted blade while the hand is full are possible, but penalized by -4. Toe-mounted hidden blades may only be used to execute one attack per round. Multiattack or Improved Unarmed Strike negate these penalties and restrictions. The hidden blade is Weapon Finesse compatible. It is treated as a weapon for spells and effects, and I assume that the assassin is proficient with it. Whether or not that needed to be clearly spelled out depends on your reading – I read this as a class feature, and as such, think that it does not need this. This also, however, disqualifies the hidden blade for feats enhancing a specific weapon. A scaling DC to notice the blade is provided, with class level and Intelligence modifier determining the Perception DC. Retracting or deploying the blade is a swift action, and the pdf properly codifies Sleight of Hand et al. to do so unnoticed. As for addons, 2 are provided: Enhanced blade lets you spend fabrication points to render the weapon magical via enhancement bonuses, with 0 points expended making the hidden blade masterwork. The second addon significantly enhances the capability of concealing the blade from onlookers.

The second tool contained within would be the smoke bomb, which is codified as a thrown splash weapon that may be employed as part of a full-attack action or as an attack action, but for full attacks, using a smoke bomb prevents you from making off-hand attacks. Smoke bombs have a range increment of 20 ft. and don’t generally inflict splash damage. There are three base types of smoke bomb that you can make: You can make 3 classic smoke bombs, 2 incendiary smoke bombs, or 1 smoke bomb laced with inhaled poison. Regular smoke bombs create an obscuring mist analogue with a 10-ft.-spread. Incendiary smokebombs get scaling fire damage, but sport a rules-terminology snafu. The rules language erroneously refers to a Dexterity saving throw, when it should refer to reflex saves instead. The save DC to negate is not explicitly noted, requiring defaulting to the standard, which may be considered to be slightly inconvenient. Poison bombs do require the additional cost of poisons. The tool also gets 3 addons: 1d3 acid splash damage, increased reach by 10 ft. (o point cost), and also at 0 fabrication point cost nets an additional smoke bomb if you create 3 or more smoke bombs of one style, with the same formulation.

The third tool presented within would be the springknife, which may be installed into a willing target. When the creature makes an attack against an enemy it’s flanking or when it’s subject to an attack of a flanking enemy, the springknife activates, making an attack versus the flanked or flanking target. It has a reach of 5 ft. and only activates if the noted target is within that reach. The attack is executed at a BAB equal to class level + Intelligence modifier of the installing assassin + the enhancement bonus of the installed blade, if any. The creating assassin’s Intelligence modifier is also added to damage on a successful hit, and after this attack, the remnants of the springknife fall off. The dagger installed into a springblade may be retrieved as a standard action. I adore this from a design-perspective, though personally, I would have made the blade get a limited number of uses before falling apart….which brings me to the first addon, the double tap, which does, bingo, exactly that. For 2 fabrication points, it nets you a springblade that may be triggered twice before falling apart. This also ties in with a great optional component, but more on that later. At 0 fabrication points, we get sneak attack synergy, and at 1 fabrication point, we get an increased reach, with attacks versus closer targets getting a bonus to atk.

Now, here’s the thing: All of the above? That’s the base killer engineering ability. This ability is NOT a technique per se, which explains the rather subdued power-level of these options. Instead, all of the above represents, ultimately, an extension – something that you get upon taking a technique in the fabrication category! Yep, we’re only done with the prologue, if you will!

All righty, so what do the actual fabrication techniques do? Well, without a prerequisite, we have creator’s confidence, which nets you temporary hit points equal to the number of gadgets installed on your body, lasting for 1 round – basically a kind of replenishing shield. If you have at least 2 fabrication techniques and have a springknife installed and it targets a being with 0 presence, you get one presence versus the target. Full-round gadget installations and getting two springknives as a capacity to hold may also be found. Specialized springknives has three addon options: At 1 fabrication point, you can install an alchemical springknife – i.e. the option to instead install alchemical items and use them in conjunction with springknives, with 9th and 17th level allowing you to install additional flasks/substances into the springknife instead. At these higher levels, the fabrication pool cost is also sensibly reduced. Secondly, also at 1 fabrication point, we have the option to integrate blinding powder – this is incompatible with other alchemical springknife substitutions or the default daggers, but has obvious benefit. In spite of not dealing damage, it explicitly provides synergy with abilities that hinge on targets being damaged. The third one has tanglefoot bag synergy.

Defensive construction (available at 2nd level) provides, like elemental construction (available at 4th level), a total of 3 (!!) new addons. In the former instance, this includes temporary hit points for 1 round after gadget use, scaling AC bonuses (and minor DR), and minor AC boosts that also are applied as a penalty versus targets damaged by the gadget. In the case of the latter, we have minor elemental damage added (scaling) to those that attempt to damage the wearer in melee, while another addon adds energy damage or added energy damage of all available types – in the case of this technique, that’s cold, fire and electricity. Thus, the latter is a pretty nice way to get to know the resistances or lack thereof of a target.

For hidden blades, 6th level unlocks the exotic blade technique for the taking, which allows you to create an autopoisoning hidden blade, natural attack synergy and feinting with it. Field manufacture allows you to spend 3 technique points to produce one unit of an expended gadget you know, with springknife savant reducing this further, though gadgets with 0 fabrication cost do get their cost increased to 1. The 10th level technique mass produce allows you to optionally make more gadgets, but also has your assassin level for numerical purposes reduced by 10 for the purpose of their effects. If you’d rather have a regular, but less pronounced upgrade of gadget uses, under the table, available at 6th level, has you covered.

Liquid smoke unlocks both tar and grease bombs, the former entangling, while the latter duplicate the slickness of the spell of the same name. Minor bummer: There are two techniques that reference a “spare parts technique”, which, from context, seems to allow you to retain technique points. However, I could not find this spare parts technique in the pdf, nor in my other assassin files. This makes these two techniques basically nonfunctional.

On the brighter side, if you ever wanted the classic Batman utility belt…this pdf has it. The technique of the same name unlocks the new utility belt tool, which comes with, obviously, beast repellent, buffered padding versus energy types, extradimensional storage, and indeed, means to quickly activate utility belt tricks 1/round. A peashooter, a rebreather and the like, a Diazepam like sniping enhancer and stimpacks can also be found here. This one had me, once more, smile from ear to ear. And yes, that were all components of the tool’s base functionality. There also are 3 addons provided!

The pdf also contains 5 feats: Bauble Hoarder lets you 1/day pull a reserve smoke bomb out of your behind, which does not count towards your maximum. Killer Engineer increases the fabrication points available by +2. Mundane Munitions Wrangler nets you one additional extra gadget chosen from the classic three – this doesn’t count towards the maximum, but also may not possess addons, which limits the usefulness here rather starkly. Utility in Utility allows you to remote-trigger components of your utility belt, even if someone else is wearing it. Cool! Optimized Process, finally, unlocks a new addon that provides numerical improvements, and it allows you to combine utility belt components with non-utility belt gadgets, though only in a limited capacity.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the absence of spare parts and the Dex-save snafu represent two uncommon guffaws for the otherwise excellent wrangling of complex concepts within. Layout adheres to the classic 2-column b/w-standard of the Interjection games-supplements, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them at this length. They’d be nice to have, though.

I absolutely adore Bradley Crouch’s assassin class, and getting more material for it is amazing. Getting a whole new technique tree in particular is something that has me rather excited. The fabrication angle shows here is intriguing indeed: We have many things here that had me smile – from obvious Batman inspirations to Assassin’s Creed/Dishonored-like tricks, there is quite a lot to enjoy here. The power-level of the choices herein makes the fabrication tree suitable even for no-magic campaigns, which is a pretty neat plus. The focus on supplemental utility this one has ultimately means that it’s a supplemental trick array, and in this aspect, it succeeds triumphantly. However, it also has a few rough edges that make it impossible for me to rate this the full 5 stars. Instead, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down. Don’t let these minor blemishes deter you, though – the options within are pretty damn cool and worth the low and fair asking price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Assassin - The Fabrication Cold Technique Tree
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Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
by Zachary S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2018 01:20:27

Really well written puzzle that i'm for sure using in my next campaign!!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
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Remedial Tinkering: Artificial Intelligence
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2018 08:57:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the Tinker class clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

First things first – the expansion does not necessarily require any other tinker expansion to work, and for a reason: It is, in a way, the expansion that focuses most on providing lower level tools, though the content does remain very much relevant at higher levels. As such, the only expansion that has a bit of overlap here would be Happy Little Automatons, which is fyi a really nice one.

This notwithstanding, the pdf does properly explain the different invention subtypes introduced so far in a concise manner. It also presents a couple of rulings that are very much relevant to the content within: BP values assigned represent the blueprints, and as such, once deployed, BP limits are no longer relevant. This is relevant due to one of the new innovations within, Brain Surgeon, which allows you to add a variety of inventions to the automaton INSTEAD of giving a directive upon deploying it.

While we’re on the subject of new innovations: Limited Autonomy lets 3/day an automaton activate an invention of up to half invention level the tinker can learn without being given the directive to do so. The automaton may only target itself or the target of a directive it is given. This allows for some interesting low-level combo-play. Logic Study lets you choose a 1st level invention that requires a directed action to activate. Said invention no longer requires a directive to activate, but when thus activated sans directive, it may, as before, only target the automaton or the target of the directive. These do help make the very tight action economy allow for easier comboing, particularly at lower levels.

Secondly, the pdf does state explicitly that multiple directives can be executed in a given round. One of the new inventions within, big red button, does tie into this ruling. The invention costs 2 BP and the automaton gets 3 fat, red buttons, which it may be directed to push as an immediate action. Each button may be pressed once per day, and they all have an interesting angle: +4 shield bonus to AC, minor self-healing (plus temporary hit points) and a weak shield that inflicts fire and electricity damage on those attacking it can be found. As you’ve seen, the immediate action activation is pretty novel and an explicit deviation from the standard. I like it.

As far as first level inventions are concerned, we can also find the amplification array, which is pretty cool: It fires a burst of motes that per se do not harm the target, but which enhance the next source of acid, fire or electricity damage taken before the start of the next turn. You can, undoubtedly, see the first combo forming already by now. Amplified amplification builds on that and is the 3rd level upgraded version. Minor complaint: There seems to be an error here, as the invention states that it improves the previous invention’s damage output by +2d4. The base damage increase bestowed was +2d4, though, which would result in +4d4, not +5d4, as stated. The second upgrade for the abase invention (doesn’t require the amplified amplification invention) here is flexible amplification and adds force and sonic. And yes, omission of cold is intentional. Thirdly, there would be another upgrade for the base invention that allows for a swift action activation.

Bandwagon simulator is super useful 2nd level invention, and lets an automaton use a move action to make friendly, idle automatons attack the same target. Buddy system scripting is another helpful one: If commanded to defend/support an idle automaton, doing so will cause the idle automaton to reciprocate. Why I oughta…subroutine is useful AND potentially hilarious, as the automaton taking damage is given an attack directive versus the source. “What is it doing?” “Evaporating those iron thistles…” Vending machine is another gem, as it bestows the arms invention to all automatons within 30 ft. (See, and that is why I explained the rulings above…)

There also is a massive invention tree that is founded on Heat vent, which allows the automatons to act as soft terrain control dealing minor fire damage to creatures adjacent to them, contingent on the movement of the automaton. Heat vent turbines adds minor electricity damage here; lingering heat vent lights targets on fire, and empower heat vent increases the maximum damage dealt by the base invention.

Slow and steady substructure is a 4th level (Design) invention that makes the automaton only take orders from the master of the alpha, and it may not execute directed actions granted by effects other than being issued directly by said targets. However, in exchange, all limited per day activation inventions slotted on such an automaton can be used +1/day. Also at 4th level, there would be the Hello World subroutine, which may be activated as a directed swift action, and it may only b activated as part of deploying the automaton. The invention grants basically advantage on all d20 rolls made by the automaton – until either one fails or until 1 minute passes. (The ability does state explicitly that it’s not smart to use this with long-term automatons, which is helpful for less experienced players.) The highest level and most costly invention within would be the invention logic tree, which clocks in at 3 BP and as a 5th level invention. This one lets you choose a directed action activated invention, which then no longer requires…you get it. It’s basically the built-in version of the innovation.

Now, in the beginning, I noted an invention that ties in with the combo-tastic Happy Little Automatons-pdf. That would be paint prism, a 2 BP level 1 invention that may be activated as a directed swift action. At the beginning of the automatons next turn, it selects an applied paint invention and starts shedding light of that color. All friendly automatons and the tinker, provided, he has the chromatic study innovation, within 3o ft. gain the benefits of the paint invention until the start of their next turn. This effect persists even if the automaton loses the paint invention (as you can combo with paints…and indeed, it does reward paint cycling! You see, the effect persists and changes the color if the automaton has paint changed next round. The effect only ends when the automaton would repeat a color! Really cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language, as expected. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w-standard of the small Interjection Games-pdfs, and the pdf uses stock art and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Of all the tinker expansions Bradley Crouch has written, this may well be one of the most crucial and rewarding ones. The inventions and innovations within allow for cool combos galore and add very much super helpful options here…to the point where I’d honestly contemplate potentially granting a few of these as hard-baked abilities in games where the power-level tends to gravitate to the higher end of the spectrum. Apart from the one die-pool size inconsistency, there are no complaints for me to field against this humble and exceedingly cool expansion. Considering the sheer utility and low price point, my final verdict will still clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Must-own purchase for fans of the tinker!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering: Artificial Intelligence
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Strange Magic 2 (PFRPG)
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2018 15:56:36

Disclaimer: I backed the Kickstarter that created this product and paid for the component parts. I received my copy of this compilation as part of that.

All right, if you looked over the description, you probably know whether or you want this product. If you jumped right down here to see what buyers think, well, I suggest going back up and looking things over. Otherwise, here's what you should know.

Like its predecessor Strange Magic 1 (itself a great product, worth checking out), Strange Magic 2 offers a collection of flavorful and unique classes for Pathfinder. This volume includes Herbalism, Cartomancy, and Onmyodo.

Herbalism is a kind of chaos system where you gather ingredients and mix/use them for a variety of effects. It's an impressively robust system with powers that change based on the kind of area you're in. It's not for people who like to meticulously plan their abilities each day (lookin' at you, Wizard fans), but it's great if you enjoy improvisation and adapting.

Cartomancy uses an actual deck of cards that allow them to cast spell-like abilities, complete with drawing, discarding, and even making a special side deck for bonus powers. If you enjoy collectible or trading card games, you'll see a lot of familiar things here. It's a very different feel from simply poring over your current list of spells to see what you can do, and the fact that you're a lot more active about managing your abilities is an interesting way of getting more involved with what's going on.

Onmyodo is mainly about placing and using Talismans, as well as commanding a Shikigami (paper) familiar. They can also petition their deity(s) for aid in various ways. This class is the most familiar to systems you're probably already familiar with, and it emphasizes a highly thematic way of playing an exorcist/priest sort of character.

Now, author Bradley Crouch is one of my favorite third-party content creators, and with good reason - the math and systems of the things he creates are solid and fair while still trending towards unique and fun to play. Strange Magic isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for an interesting new way to fulfill a character concept, it's worth taking a look at this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic 2 (PFRPG)
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Ultimate Onmyodo (PFRPG)
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2018 06:53:26

Ultimate Onmyodo is Interjection Game´s last part in its Strange Magic 2 project, tackling the Onmyoji base class. The Onmyoji for Pathfinder was Interjection Games take on a real-world concept, an old type of nature priest from Japan’s past. As with many other classes/systems by IG, THIS Onmyoji was made from scratch, combining point-based casting, pet and temporary item creation to present something completely new, all stepped in Japanese flavor and tradition. Ultimate onmyodo amps this with 2 more base classes, and 2 more subsystems.

What’s inside? Since I already reviewed the Onmyoji base class and two of its archetypes, I will review the new material only. If you want to know what’s the base class about or the Grinning Fox and Herald of the Lucky God archetypes, I invite you to read the reviews for the original books (found in this website). So Ultimate Omyodo has 66 pages of content for just 10 bucks, which include:

-3 new Onmyoji Archetypes: The Mokusei, who binds a shikigami not to paper, but to a wooden staff, which has its own spirit pool, progressively becomes more magical (with enhancement bonus and all), can repair/heal itself and the Mokusei through fast healing a couple of times per day, generate wand-like shoots that other Onmyoji or divine casters can use (and can be hacked through Use Magical Device) with one charge each, and quicken the cantrips they get through the Aid of the Minor Kami. The Oathbearer doesn’t bind a shikigami; instead, the Oathbearer binds to a ward, and are very good at protecting them, gaining the ability to bestow petitions with a small part of their spirit pool, get increased age span and later cannot die of old age, and even treat the DESCENDANTS of their ward as their wards; many protector classes fail to function without their wards, but the Oathbearer can temporarily treat another person as their ward for one day; they even get to detect and absorb two form curses, diseases and poisons, and get a special, unique talisman with a powerful ability, and as a cap get the ability to save their ward from certain death by absorbing a killing blow. This section finishes with the Shubo-sha, a very small archetype that gets TWO shikigami, but pays dearly for this by losing the ability to make petitions to spirits; they still learn petitions, but only their shikigami can perform them.

-the NEW Shikigami Ascendant base class: This one is weird but oh-so-awesome! Basically, you start your character as an Onmyoji that has a pet, and from 5th level onward your Onmyoji character’s pet can become your PC, and the poor Onmyoji becomes your new Shikigami Ascendant character’s the pet… So, things get weird. You become a small or medium piece of paper character (you could make origami with your old character sheet for the LULZ), gain some benefits of the construct type, get the Onmyoji’s ability scores (which you can rearrange, so put the lowest on Constitution since you lose it). Your class is and will only be the Shikigami Ascendant. Interesingly, you get all simple weapon proficiency and becomes proficient in any martial weapon proficiency that has the ghost touch weapon propierty (with a wizard BAB, I don’t know why exotic ghost touch weapons are off limits). You can plea spirits like an Onmyoji, gaining a Spirit Pool and Petitions Known. The NEW thing available is the Origami is Origami Fold, where the Shikigami folds itself to gain new abilities. To do this, you learn new folds over your character progression, starting with 4 and ending with 11 (from a list of 24), and an Origami Pool to fuel it (starting at 2 at 6th level and ending with 6). At higher levels the Shikigami can refold itself a couple of times per day. Some folds are passive and are always on, but others are active and can be used a couple of times per day. Some folds build over previous ones, so the Shikigami has to have them on to choose them. Finally, the original Onmyoji becomes the Shikigami’s cohort, but has reduced power: half spirit pool, half talismans per day, no shikigami, and the Shikigami Ascendant can completely annihilate the Onmyoji with but a thought (unlimited range, no save, no escape), and if the Shikigami wants to raise the Onmyoji, the Onmyoji CAN’T REFUSE!

-the NEW Warrior Poet base class, a bard/magus-like variant of the Onmyoji who has a bard-like chassis (medium BAB, d8 HD, good Ref/Will saves, 6 skillpoints per level and a varied class skill list), proficiency in light armor, shields, and simple and martial weapon proficiency. The main ability of the Warrior Poet is the Haiku. Similarly to a bard, the Haiku ability builds upon ranks in a Perform skill (Oratory in the Warrior Poet’s case), so they don’t suffer as much as a full caster when multiclassing. Also, they have a Poetry book, which is exactly the same as a spellbook, and like a wizard can increase their repertoire when given access to other poetry books. Every Haiku has three parts: one subject (with an increasing number of topics, each giving a modest passive ability), one “Kireji” cutting word (an active ability), and another subject (another set of topics). A Warrior Poet begins with the ability to prepare two Haiku (with bonus only for very high starting Wisdom, no mentioning of later increases of it) and each Haiku can be performed for a number of rounds equal to their Perform (Oratory) ranks + Wis modifier, but only one Haiku can be performed at a time. Starting a Haiku is a move action but maintaining it is a free action. When starting, the WP selects one set of topics to be active, and can change to the other set by performing a Kireji as an attack from the full attack or attack actions. Later, the WP gets an inflection, which works like a wildcard Kireji: it has to be prepared like a Haiku, but is only one specific Kireji, and a couple of times per day, can use it instead of a prepared Haiku’s Kireji. The WP can also use talismans (but don’t get abilities to improve them like the Onmyoji does) and even get a variant of the magus spellstrike called Omamori Edge, which is the ability to place a talisman in a weapon and place it on a creature they hit (and this ability CAN be used ranged), and get better at attacking when a talisman is placed in a weapon. Finally, they get the unique ability to get extra damage dice with their base weapon damage, which are multiplied in a crit etc. As a cap, they get the Ofudamori ability of their Onmyoji brethren. We finish the WP section with a list of favored class bonuses for the IG favorite races, which are core, tiefling/aasimar, drow, and some humanoids like orcs, goblins etc.

-1 WP archetype: The Kigoist, who focuses more on the magical side of the Haiku, gaining seasonal-themed magical abilities fueled by dedicating a Haiku to one of the 4 seasons, which fill a kind of season pool. Examples for spring would be light, cure light wounds, summon monster and mass aid. Later, they can use replace a kireji with one of the magical abilities. All of this comes at the cost of the more martial oriented abilities, starting with the martial weapon proficiencies and the Omamori Edge class feature. As a capstone, they get to cast 4 magical abilities at the same time!

-25 Onmyodo Feats: This one includes, beyond the ones in the original, feats for the new classes AND archetypes, which is cool if a bit too exclusive. Of note are the Warrior Poet feats, which increase the power of the Haiku class feature, and one for the Kigoist archetype lets you recite a fireball poem! (sorry, I had to write that), and the ones that let you dabble in the Mokusei’s archetype class features (your paper friend grows a shoot… hilarity and crass jokes incoming).

-8 Shikigami feats: These come from the original, but I don’t know if you can select them with a Shikigami Ascendant character.

-7 Friendship Feats: again, coming from the original.

-51 Onmyoji Petitions: 18 more than in the original! Again, there is no boring deals x dmage or get x bonus or heals x damage. These “spells” FEEL Japanese and are way cooler than the bland (by now) core spells (IMHO).

-42 Talisman Prayers: 13 new, again wonderfully Japanese-flavored.

-14 Kireji: These are from the ACTUAL Kireji used in Japanese Haiku. As mentioned, Kireji include a variety of effects. Darou, for example, makes you record the result of the damage rolled on the Kireji attack, and if you roll that number again, you instead do maximum damage (and with the extra damage dice from class features, this will be a playground for mathmongers). Ramu lets you guess if the result of the damage dice will be odd or even, and if you guess correctly you get bonus damage dice (up to 4d6) on that Kireji attack! But not all are damage-oriented, there are others that let you reduce the bonus or penalty of emotion/fear effects, prevent attacks of opportunity, cause opponents to provoke attacks of opportunity by ANY movement and even inflict movement penalties.

-45 Haiku Topics: These are the LEGO parts of the Haiku system. From a low bonus to reflex saves, to fast healing, to elemental damage, to more esoteric effects like an opponent falling dawn after critically failing a save or ignoring concealment and energy resistances. The fact that each topic can be combined at higher levels in the same subject, it is wonderful for players that like to experiment and have different abilities every day.

Of Note: The original was made of awesome and this one gives it an epic enhancement bonus! Of the new material the two new base classes left me awed. The Warrior Poet is an iconic role in Japanese media (maybe not its magical effects but we are playing fantasy RPG so who cares), while the Shikigami Ascendant could be a character with his own Manga easily! It is a roleplaying gold mine!

Anything wrong?: All the classes and archetypes use at least two different magic systems, so it might be scary for new, unexperienced or lazy players. Apart from that, the power creep in Paizo classes sometimes make 3PP material LOOK weak, but most of Interjection Games classes make up for the relatively low power level with a wider range of abilities and builds, so this is not necessarily a problem.

What I want: If I could kidnap the author and make him design a full book with monsters and archetypes for other classes, I would, but I live too far LOL. Here is where I would love new tech like class monster template (onmyoji dragon? warrior poet daitengu?), variant multiclassing (samurai warrior poet, diviner onmyoji). Finally, some guidelines for designing your own material (talismans, petitions, topics, kireji, folds), which would save a lot of guesswork for enterprising players and game masters.

What cool things did this inspire?: If I could draw I would make a shikigami ascendant Manga, since it has comedic value through the roof. On the other hand, the shikigami ascendant can be such a creepy foe that one could (and will in my campaign) be a darklord in the Ravenloft setting. I want to build at least 3 warrior poets LOL, one a gestalt iaijutsu master samurai if I ever play a gestalt campaign again.

Do I recommend it?: What a book! Few books have such a cool premise and such an outstanding execution that I can’t recommend it enough. If you are reading this review it is because you are interested, so please buy it! You won’t regret it. 5 stars-themed Haiku from this humble reviewer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Onmyodo (PFRPG)
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Tinkering 303 - Matroishka Automatons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2018 03:51:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Tinker-expansions clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This supplement links into the Happy Little Automatons, Rocket’s Red Glare and Pimp My Alpha Tinker-expansions, as the pdf helpfully notes. We also get a nice little list of invention subtypes noted in a cheat-sheet.

The pdf includes 4 different innovations – all of which are based on the Matroishkabot greater innovation and require it: This greater innovation that nets two special, additional blueprints: The child blueprint can have a maximum BP of ½ tinker level and may not be deployed directly. The second is the matroishka blueprint, which is a standard automaton blueprint that requires two uses of deploy automaton to be deployed. These are also always associated with a child blueprint: When the matroishka is destroyed, it cracks open, immediately deploying the child bluebrint’s automaton associated with the matroishka. This child automaton, upon being deployed, may be directed upon being deployed as an immediate action, executing the directive on your next turn. It cannot execute kamikaze, but it can use contingent kamikaze.

The 4 innovations build on this: Efficient Matroishka lets the first two matroishkabots deployed only cost one deploy automaton use. Instant Matroishka lets you, twice per day as a standard action, associate an already deployed automaton with a child blueprint, retroactively making it’s a matroishka. Matroishka Study nets an additional child and matroishkabot blueprint. Matroishkas All The Way Down lets you, whenever a child blueprint automaton is destroyed, extend your reach by +30 ft. to determine deploying automatons to where the child automaton was, but only until the end of your turn on the round of the child automaton’s destruction.

There are 8 new inventions: Morale Module, at 1 BP, nets a +1 morale bonus to the next d20 roll when the master of the automaton with this invention deploys an automaton; this is explicitly in spite of automata being mindless. Inheritance Procedure, at 3 BP, lets a child of a destroyed automaton with this invention inherit a parent’s invention that does not require other inventions at BP-cost 1. Waste Oil Harvest Unit clocks in at 1 BP, and when an automaton is destroyed within 30 ft., it harvests waste oil that inflicts 1d4 acid damage +1 electricity damage + 1 fire damage, working otherwise as a flask of acid. This is contingent on the unit having a spare container, obviously. There also is a Design invention at 1 BP, Prototypical Paint Punnett Process, which lets a child inherit a paint invention of a destroyed matroishkabot automaton.

There are three different alpha inventions: Matroishka Matrix, at 5 BP, can only be installed on alphas, megadroids or gigadroids. This makes the respective alpha/droid behave as a matroishka, including the immediate action directive for the child of Matroishka All the Way Down. If you do have the Matroishkabot greater innovation, the costs are reduced by -2. Now, I assume a child of an alpha n longer counts as an alpha, but I am not 100% sure there. The intent here is to allow for dabbling, I get that, but the alpha interaction could use a bit of clarification. Premature Deployment Apparatus costs 2 BP and lets an automaton with the invention, as a directed standard action, cause another automaton within 30 ft. prematurely deploy a child automaton, without being destroyed. Cool one that also gets squares etc. right. Secondary Command Module, at 3 BP, is another combo facilitator: If the automaton has an Int of 3 or higher, it can deploy child automata as a directed standard action, consuming the master’s resources and maximum number of automata deployed. This is an exception to the caveat that prevents direct deployment of child automata. Alphas get to use this once for free per day, sans consuming the master’s resources. Secondary Command Booster requires secondary command module adds another free child deployment.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks or artwork, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s matroishka automata are another massive combo engine for the tinker that allows you to expand the unique options available for the complex class. The idea is cool, and while it could probably have carried even more tricks, for the low price, this is most assuredly worth getting for fans of the tinker-class. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tinkering 303 - Matroishka Automatons
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Ultimate Herbalism - The Pollution Microcosm
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/12/2018 05:59:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This FREE expansion for the massive Ultimate Herbalism book clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 1 page of content, so let’s take a look!

So, this contains a total of 4 different plants. The first of these would be a fungus, namely Caustic Coals, which clocks in at a point value of 2 and has a duration of 7 rounds. These puffballs can be squeezed as a standard action to fire a jet of acid with a range of 30 ft., duplicating heat metal, with the exception of inflicting acid damage.

There are two herbs with a point value of 1, the first of which would be the Greasy Ragweed, which may be thrown as a standard action and a 10 ft.-range increment, generating a small grease pattern. The Siphonweed would be the second 1-point plant, and it is interesting: It is applied to the skin of a creature. The first ability score damage that is taken by the creature within the next minute inflicts the weed, which forms a toxic bubble that can inflict ability damage as per the type taken, translating it basically to poison. The ability score damage inflicted by the poison btw. increases with herbalist levels.

The final plant would be It Which Clings, which clocks in at a point value of 4 and it has a 1 round duration. The plant is a supreme survivor, but otherwise not as efficient. Conversely, when a character chews it, he becomes immune to dazed, dazzled, fatigued, shakened or sickened, but must suffer from the condition upon imbibing the weed. 7th level adds confused and nauseated, 15th blinded, staggered and stunned.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard with green-vines on the side. The pdf needs no bookmarks at its length.

So, FREE expansion for Ultimate Herbalism? What’s not to like! Bradley Crouch’s new plants are creative, interesting and fun. 5 stars + seal of approval. If you like the excellent Ultimate Herbalism, then this is a no-brainer download!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Herbalism - The Pollution Microcosm
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