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DNH1 - The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil (5e & OSR)
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2021 11:04:19

A 5e D&D adventure for 4-6 level PC's. No encounter maps and fairly open ended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DNH1 - The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil (5e & OSR)
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DNH1a - The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil - Sidequests - River Crossing (5th Edition Fantasy- OSR)
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2021 11:03:18

5 stars because it is free. A single massive encounter involving 49 npc's plus the adventurers.

There is a small quarter page coloured map of the encounter area.

Given the lack of price I can't see any problems with it, other than the DM keeping track of what over 50 people are doing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DNH1a - The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil - Sidequests - River Crossing (5th Edition Fantasy- OSR)
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5th Edition Racial Options - Kobolds!
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2021 09:00:21

Eight pages of detail for Kobolds, although intended as pc options I intend to use them for npc's.

Excellent value for money.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Kobolds!
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Vathak 5e Adventures - Brides of the Black Earth
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/30/2021 04:31:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Vathak Adventures-series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page basic explanations of rules-terms, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review is part of a request from my supporters.

Okay, this adventure is intended for a group of 3rd-level characters, and situated in the Shadows over Vathak horror setting, in Kingarten, near the Moldoveana Forest, to be precise. The module features read-aloud text, and dialogue, though the latter is not designated as read-aloud text; however, the module does start off with a handy Q-A-sequence, and it does include something cool: GMs who have a hard time improvising dialogue will find rather detailed question/answer sections with in-game responses you can paraphrase. Kudos!

The module features a b/w-map, and while the map itself does not note scale, the text does. No player-friendly version of the map is provided. On the big plus-side: The module has a full-color, rather neat handout that covers half a page. Kudos for prioritizing art budget in a way that benefits the players.

SPOILERS AHEAD! Jump to the conclusion if you want to play this.

..

.

Okay, so the module begins with the proclamation of Jarwick, a herald, pronouncing the impending marriage of Lady Malyssa Florin’s daughter Taelerys to Lord Heltyn. Attendance, of course, is mandatory, and the day’s a holiday. The Question and Answer-powered legwork soon clears up that the marriage is politically motivated; it seems like Taelerys wasn’t happy, but that she came around when the lord turned out to be rather strapping. For a bit of beer, the adventurers can also find out that the young lady missed her morning ride for the last couple of days and hasn’t been seen since. Jarwick also thinks he heard crying at night.

Soon thereafter, a messenger arrives and hands the local innkeeper a fully fleshed out a summons for the party by Her Grace, and one that emphasizes DISCRETION.  At the castle, the rather discreet process of getting to Her Grace is depicted pretty clearly. Turns out that Taelerys has vanished; once more, the QA-approach for the dialogue with Her Grace is provided, and the party can investigate the room of the vanished maiden.  In her diary (aforementioned handout), she notes being visited by a dark rider and falling for the entity, as well as confiding in the minstrel Perciwell; the cowardly minstrel could identify the dark rider as the exiled outlaw Reeve Adenot, who colludes with a witch. The minstrel has been browbeaten by the outlaw, and the nocturnal crying? Actually, that’s the minstrel’s guilt.

The trail leads the party to a grove, where interaction with a dryad can lead them farther to a vineyard, where she attempts to charm a character with her wine (great angle for further quests and NOT a gameover!); her associate Terrick knows more about the Reeve’s associate, a witch named Svige, who has since her time as Terrick’s apprentice, sworn allegiance to the Old One Ka’sogrotha, gaining powers from the Worm of Black Earth, self-styling herself as the eponymous Bride of Black Earth. He warns that she’ll be more powerful underground. Terrick also mentions that he lost his eye to her, which the witch still sues to scry on him, and consequently sends minions to take out the party.

From there, the party ventures forth to the bandit camp, where they need to deal with some regular dudes; the Reeve is a knight with a custom ability that allows him to get away. Taelerys is bewitched and harmless, but the magics make her hostile, so dealing with her will be interesting.

Ultimately, the party will need to go underground and deal with Svige, which would be a small dungeon. The dungeon features some sold challenges and includes a magical poison, a properly crafted magic item. The dungeon features several interesting tidbits and is internally consistent and makes sense. As a minor nitpick, there are quite a few minor formatting hiccups regarding rules-formatting, no big ones, but they do exist. The Bride of Black Earth, alas, is a downer of sorts. She is a mage and has a custom spell list, but no unique abilities, which makes the “face her in light” angle not work.

Conclusion:

Editing is very good on a formal level, and good on a rules-language level; formatting is okay; there is e.g. an instance where a textblock that should be italicized isn’t, and on a formal formatting side, there are a couple of issues. The interior artworks are historic b/w-pieces used in a neat manner, and the color cover is neat. The handout in full-color is great. The b/w-cartography is functional, but not spectacular. The lack of a player-friendly version of the map is slightly problematic. The pdf has no bookmarks; while it doesn’t necessarily need them at this length, that’s still a comfort detriment.

Jason Owen Black provides (based on Kim Frandsen’s work), a rather interesting and fun sidetrek. There is some roleplaying, some combat, and the module manages to evoke an atmosphere that feels like a somewhat twisted fairy tale; the module isn’t horrific per se, but hits dark fantasy notes as Vathak’s secondary theme very well, with the setup feeling more feudal (in a good way!) than many comparable modules. For not even $3, you get a rather nifty little sidetrek; certainly, not an earth-shaking one, but the module, as a whole, works and is a fun experience. It’s not an easy one, mind you, but it certainly isn’t generic. So yeah, I consider this one to be definitely worthwhile. My final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the low asking price and due to it being simply closer to 4 than 3 stars for this low price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vathak 5e Adventures - Brides of the Black Earth
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Vathak 5e Character Options - Chilling Spells
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/30/2021 04:30:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 2 pages, 1 page content and 1 page editorial/SRD, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested as part of a series by my supporters, who asked me to cover the entire product line.

This pdf includes 3 different spells, the first being chilling breath, has a non-standard range: The cantrip lists it as a “30 feet cone”, but 5e formats this usually Self (30-foot cone). The spell is broken in some ways: It is a cone, but only targets a single creature or object? How? Its verbiage is also broken. “Make a Dexterity save. If successful then avoid damage altogether. If not, then take 1d8 cold damage and be slowed by 5ft per round for 1 round.“

…RAW, this spell damages the caster. Also: Slowed is not a condition in D&D 5e. This spell does not work as written.

The second spell is wall of cold, a 4th-level spell, which can be cast as a wall maintained by concentration, or as a wave. Unfortunately, the offensive wave is broken in various ways: 1) it doesn’t properly codify its area of effect. I read and read it, and it doesn’t make sense. Secondly, the spell fails to codify its damage type properly. Thirdly, the spell causes 3 (!!) levels of exhaustion on a failed save, which is ridiculous overkill in 5e, even if this exhaustion is removed by a short rest. Certainly not suitable for a 4th-level spell.

The final spell is another 4th-level spell (hyphens missing in the spell headers, btw.), and entraps the target in ice. This spell is broken and not operational. The rules syntax in the first paragraph is borked, but at least kinda functional. The spell makes no internal sense: It has 150 hp, and the imprisoned target takes 25% damage, which is annoying to calculate. The prison is only affected by bludgeoning damage, which makes no sense. (Thunder? Lightning? Fire?) After the spell’s duration, it takes 4 hours for the ice to thaw, which may be hastened by applying fire? Ridiculous: “Magical fire applied to the icy prison will reduce the thawing time by 75%.” Per application? Why isn’t this done via hp? This is extremely clunky, to the point where it’s VERY hard to run at the table. In the aftermath, the victim also…bingo, takes 3 levels of exhaustion.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are bad on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Troy Daniels obviously had problems with the rules-language of 5e and its balancing, and no developer has fixed this either; not one of the three spells is functional or balanced properly, alas. The ideas are neat, but the execution is broken. I can’t recommend this. 1 star.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vathak 5e Character Options - Chilling Spells
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Rick Hershey Art Rates 2021
by William C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2021 20:12:50

I can not believe how quick and exceelent an artist Rick is, and his rates are fantastic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rick Hershey Art Rates 2021
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The Pocket Campaign Planner
by Alan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/21/2021 11:11:29

I love these planners. The POD looks really nice. These are so inexpensive that I buy one whenever i -lace an order for other POD items. They make a nice gift for my players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pocket Campaign Planner
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Vathak Times Zine #1 (5th Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/20/2021 12:07:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of the rebooted Vathak-‘zine, now for D&D 5e, clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 36 pages (laid out for 6’’ by 9’’/A5), so let’s take a look!

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

Okay, we begin this installment with a cool NPC, a cambion militia captain Zacharia Lammant, who is an interesting ally whose twisted exterior does not mirror his personality; my only regret with this entry would be the lack of stats. Regarding further flavor-centric write-ups, the ‘zine includes a nice two-page write-up a tavern, the “Hangman’s Daughter”, including notes on menu prices, etc.; I love the artwork provided for it, but would have preferred a map instead, but that may be me. There also would be a 2d20 table of strange settlements in the Ina’oth region, which I per se appreciated, but I did not get why it was a 2d20-table. It’s exactly 20 entries long. Weird. There is also a crimereport page that any decent GM can use as adventure-inspiration.

Item-wise, the ‘zine includes the apothecary kit, and 3 magical cloaks: The first is a winner: Once per rest interval, change into a flock of birds as a reaction to being hit; winner. There is essentially a one-use “extra-life”-cloak made of burial masks that gets full points for its creepy imagery evoked, and the third one is actually a cursed cloak that can make you an unwitting slasher. These cloaks are cool.

The ’zine also includes an article on forbidden lore and corruption, which differentiates between 4 types of reading that take different amounts of time, with failed saves resulting in corruption that translates as a bonus to ability checks pertaining to Great Old Ones, and eventual power gains, but also the threat of losing it; the engine per se is solid, and while I’d have streamlined a few minor passages in the verbiages, it’s a system that’s easy to expand and customize further.

On the player-facing side of things, we have a race with the living dolls, who get a Constitution increase of 2 and don’t need to eat or drink (but RAW do need to breathe!) and are Small with a speed of 25 ft.; they come with 3 subraces (porcelain, rag doll and marionette), each of which features also an ability score increase by 2 (Charisma, Dexterity, and Intelligence respectively), and each subrace comes with its own unique feature. I really enjoy this write-up for what it is on 2 pages, but personally would have leaned deeper into the doll-nature, working with more positive features and some drawbacks, but that’s just my preference, particularly for horror games.

On the class option-side, we have a warlock pact with the Undead Lord; the expanded spell list lacks proper spell formatting here; first level either nets darkvision or increases it to superior darkvision, and also removes the requirement to eat, drink or breathe, and also nets advantage on saving throws versus exhaustion, paralyzed or poisoned, which seems a bit front loaded to me. 6th level lets you shapechange (incorrectly formatted in text) into a Tiny bat or Medium wolf once per short rest interval, 10th level nets advantage on saves vs. being charmed and frightened, and 14th level nets resistance to cold, necrotic, poison and psychic damage, but also vulnerability to radiant damage. Decent, I guess, but, at least to me, not interesting.

There are two brief modules in the ‘zine. One would be “The Rimeguard Trials”, for a party of level 8 adventurers (no number is provided), which is supposed to last for 1-3 hours, which is a solid assessment in my experience. It has no read-aloud text, and no map. The mini module deals with a test of strength and a kind of test that would allow a party member to “gain” lycanthropy as a reward of sorts. This module would be forgettable in many regular fantasy settings but is a total failure for Vathak. It is not even remotely creepy, is bereft of any cohesive atmosphere, has serious amounts of treasure for paltry challenges, and potentially introduces the issue of player character lycanthropy. Not recommended.

The second module fares better: A one-session dungeon with “The Firefly Cult” that centers on the exploration of a former cult’s sealed basement, and the threats therein; no suggestion regarding party size or character level is provided, but the customary 4–6 characters should work; level-wise, I’d recommend level 2–4, though only parties that don’t mind character death or TPKs should attempt this at level 2. Indeed, there is a new critter herein that can wipe out a level 2 or 3 party if things go badly, but really skilled and clever parties can beat this at level 1…or avoid it. Only the best parties will succeed at this feat, though. The module has neat read-aloud text, and a solid b/w-map, though no player-friendly version is included. The module does include a challenge 5 critter, its statblock being a neat representation of the classic mythos critter. The atmosphere of the dungeon is rather neat, but it’d have been neat to have a more focused information on the cult and how they operated; a table for legwork-based information on the cult could have helped here. You know, set up how something happened, then deliver the payoff in the dungeon. A higher degree of interactivity with the per se solid dungeon. Finally, the entry door needs a pretty high DC to even enter the dungeon; while it makes sense here, it can be slightly frustrating. That being said, for a ‘zine-based ultra-short module, this does its job.

We get a couple of solid adventure hooks themed around the war-effort against the forces of the Old Ones, and a fully-statted NPC also features a neat hook; said NPC would clock in at challenge 2, and represent an interesting gangleader with a tragic backstory of poverty, crime…and eventually, notorious; there is a reason the fellow is called “Lobster” as a nickname. Solid writeup, though, for me personally, the fellow is slightly too goofy for my interpretation of Vathak, but YMMV. While we’re on the subject of statted beings, the module also features a delightfully icky undead, but curiously, ability name formatting, something the other statblocks herein got right, is incorrect; other than that, though, the massive amalgamation of evildoers (well-illustrated in b/w, like a lot of creatures/NPCs/environments herein…) is a brutal challenge…and some of the classic ways to survive such monsters won’t cut it here, and it does have some tricks that make it more manageable, so yeah…interesting!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are both inconsistent on a formal and rules-language level; sometimes, we have excellent precision, and sometimes…not so much. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read two-column standard for the most part, though 1-column sequences can be found. Artwork deserves special mention: The original b/w-pieces throughout are numerous and stunning. They rock. Aesthetically, this one gets two thumbs up. Cartography, in stark contrast, is basic, and the lack of a player-friendly version of the map hurts it in the convenience department. I own both the pdf and the perfect-bound print on demand softcover, and I recommend getting the softcover. Why? The pdf lacks bookmarks, making navigation a colossal pain.

Some of these articles are inspired, ooze atmosphere and rock; others…not so much. One adventure is not good, while the other feels like it could have been awesome and more effective with a bit more lore, and only remains a solid sidetrek. The other articles range from hitting Vathak’s flavor in a pitch-perfect way to less impressive fantasy pieces, though the majority does hit the right notes in the themes. Mechanically, the ‘zine is extremely conservative and could have used a bit more experimentation in my book, but as a whole? As a whole, this is a successful and promising Vathak Times; if you enjoy dark fantasy or horror gaming, there is quite a good chance you’ll get some inspiration out of this supplement, and the bang-for-buck ratio is fair as well.

This sports several authors: Ismael Alvarez, Rick Hershey, Lucus Palosaari, Troy Daniels and Geoff Gander wrote this, and it shows in how uneven the ‘zine is. It does have its moments where it shins and executes, and as a whole, I do think that it deserves rounding up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars…for print. The verdict for the pdf should be rounded down for the comfort detriment.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vathak Times Zine #1 (5th Edition)
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Shadows over Vathak: The Shrine (5th Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/19/2021 05:13:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

This module is intended for 4 characters of 1st–3rd level, and takes place in an obscure shrine in a forested area, preferably near some water. A variety of hooks are provided, and while intended for use in the Vathak-setting, the module is easily transplanted into other settings, if desired. The module does explain commonly-used abbreviations, and also sports a couple of full-color maps. These are serviceable for the low price-point, but aesthetically stick out a bit from the otherwise impressive full-color layout. To my chagrin, no player-friendly versions of the maps are provided. Not cool. The module comes with read-aloud text, but its formatting is sloppy: The first read-aloud text for the shrine’s interior, 3 paragraphs long, has its regular area text included in the read-aloud section. The term “PC” is also not used for characters in 5e. On the plus-side, we have a list of treasure and a named spellbook; things I certainly appreciate. What I did not appreciate was that there are instances where the rules syntax for 5e skill checks wasn’t properly implemented. The pdf also e.g. has phrases like “See Animated Armor at the back of this book”…and no duplicated stats for these armors there. I don’t need them, mind you; MM has the stats…but why does the pdf say they’re there, when they clearly are not?

Beyond the referenced standard creatures, the module also features a total of 4 new critters/NPCs with full stats. The stats are, quality-wise, okay; they can be used, but do contain hiccups: a weapon attack that is either off by +1 or -1, but either way, definitely off. Same goes for e.g. a Stealth value. Two of the creatures lack the italics for e.g. “Melee Weapon Attack” and “Hit” in their attack sections. The BBEG’s AC, HP and speed are not bolded in the statblock, one save is incorrect; a once per day ability does not have its frequency listed in the feature name (and no average value for its effect), and the ability DCs of the BBEG are incorrect…you get the idea. If you’re, like me, particular about that sort of thing, this’ll be a bit grating. This also applies to trap formatting, by the way, which does not adhere to either the default 5e-formatting, nor does it adhere to the Unearthed Arcana formatting.

Okay, this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? The module kicks off when the party reaches the eponymous shrine in a woodland area – and it’s guarded by deep ones. No context, fanfare…they’re just hanging around. The deep ones, if they notice the party, attack or “use a full-round action” to sound an alarm. There is no such thing in 5e. Drinking from the nearby well can cause a sickness (phrasing includes an apostrophe-s-glitch); the verbiage of the disease notes that Wisdom (Medicine) can be used to help characters recover, but guess what? No DC. We also have issues like “poison condition” (should be “poisoned”) and stuff like “Thieve’s Tools”. I usually don’t harp on stuff like that to the extent I’m doing right now, but DAMN. These are rules terms and syntax.

And yes, I’m talking about rules…because, frankly, the module? Where do I start. Essentially, it’s a brief dungeon-crawl in the shrine, with spooooky stuff, and not that much to contextualize everything. It’s certainly a lot of things, but a horror module? Not one of them. The setup is…at best decent. The adversaries…are not. There is no real atmosphere here, and the plethora of glitches eliminate all immersion I may have felt. For example, in the boss-section, the text talks about a ghast that’s not there. The editing and formatting are so BAD they crush all of my desire to even attempt to further analyze this mess of a module.

Conclusion. Editing and formatting are BAD on a formal and rules language level; glitches in math, atrocious formatting, typos that render even simple things ambiguous…this is not an acceptable amount of glitches. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard with neat artworks. The full-color maps are serviceable, but the lack of player-friendly maps stings. The pdf has no bookmarks, making navigation a pain.

Rick Hershey and Lucus Palosaari dropped the ball big time here; this module is barely functional, rushed, and shows that it’s, at best, a minimum-effort conversion to 5e. Worse, it’s also a total failure as a horror-module; exchange deep ones with orcs and you lose nothing; this module isn’t creepier than any generic, short dungeon-crawl. At this length and low price-point, I certainly don’t expect the Ulysses of adventure modules, but this one? It is painfully generic, uninspired, and also badly-executed in the mechanics. The authors can do so much better. This module is a disservice to the amazing Vathak setting. I can’t find anything positive to say about this module. 1 star.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak: The Shrine (5th Edition)
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Publisher's Choice - Black & White: Commoner Portraits
by D. M. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2021 23:50:40

Love these images. They are versatile and beautifully done.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Black & White: Commoner Portraits
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Stranger Stuff: Teenage Witchcraft (TinyD6)
by Geoff G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2021 12:07:09

Teenage Witchcraft is a natural add-on to Stranger Stuff that, to my mind, creates a straightforward ruleset for magic that is not only completely in the spirit of TinyD6; it perfectly complements the Spell Reader/Spell-Touched Traits, and also gives you the option of replacing those Traits with the new Teenage Witch Trait.

Either way, the rules provided give the GM a lot of leeway in how spells are created, how to determine variable success, unintended consequences (good and bad) of casting spells, and ways to improve your chance of spell success through the use of Spell Foci/Talismans, establishing covens, etc. All in all, the risks of failure can be high, but the book provides straightforward ways to balance it out to provide a reasonable chance of success while providing fodder for good stories.

To be honest, I would use this book for any TinyD6 game where magic is present. This is a "must-own" book in my view.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stranger Stuff: Teenage Witchcraft (TinyD6)
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Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Figures (Grippli)
by Dale M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2021 22:59:18

The artwork is quality. The license is good. The only thing keeping me from giving it that 5th star is that the description says this pack includes a grippli alchemist. That is a stretch. The witch, dragonfly rider and iconic are all good as they're the ones in the front. The one in the back of the preview, well that can be interpreted as an alchemist, but it is an easier call to say that it is a spellcaster. This wouldn't bother me so much except I was buying this for the alchemist. So I am not sure if I am going to be able to use this for my desired purpose. However, the price is good at $6 for 4 characters and I am sure I'll be able to use these in some other future projects. If I could give this 4.5 stars, I would. Had the preview displayed the back character more clearly, this wouldn't have been an issue.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Figures (Grippli)
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Stranger Stuff (TinyD6)
by Geoff G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2021 10:59:48

I love 80s nostalgia and gaming, and Stranger Stuff brings both of those together for a complete retro feel. The fact that it clearly pays homage to a popular TV series (which is on my to-watch list) is an added bonus!

TinyD6 is truly a great system to introduce people to the hobby because it's rules-light and so easy to learn, and the easy, conversational tone of the book draws you in. You can literally build a character in minutes, and all of the information you need to play can easily fit onto an index card. Crestview Hills, the default setting, is very much like the small city I grew up in during the 80s, so for me this is like being able to re-play my youth - only a more interesting version full of magic, aliens, and monsters. ;)

A solid game packed into an attractive, trade paperback-sized book of 122 pages, complete with one adventure to get you started. Well worth checking out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stranger Stuff (TinyD6)
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Vathak 5e Character Options - Survivor Background
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2021 11:09:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement consists of 2 pages, 1 page content and 1 page of editorial/SRD, so let’s take a look!

So, the survivor background gets proficiencies in Perception and Survival, as well as with one type of artisan’s tools. The background also nets a language and a suitable equipment loadout.

The background’s feature is “Not on my watch!”, which is really nice: Attempts to sneak up on you have disadvantage. Even if the enemy succeeds, you can act during the surprise round, but with disadvantage to attack rolls. You also are considered to be awake for half the 8 hours of rest, and you can rest while standing. This sounds too potent? Well, here is the kicker: It doesn’t work if you’re inebriated, and it also doesn’t work while another person is sleeping next to you. This ties in with the grizzled survivor themes, where they finally find someone to trust in, only to have their talents fail them. There is serious narrative potential here. Awesome.

The background also provides the usual tables for personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws, which as a whole, are intriguing. Minor nitpick in the formatting department: The names for the individual entries in the Ideals table should have been bolded.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard; the pdf has no bookmarks but needs none at this length.

Ismael Alvarez delivers a great background here. Flavorful, interesting, built-in narrative potential, where rules supplement roleplay; no serious complaints. 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vathak 5e Character Options - Survivor Background
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Vathak 5e Character Options - Amoral Prodigy Background
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/29/2021 07:53:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 3 pages, with 1 page devoted to editorial/SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content.

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

Okay, so the amoral prodigy is someone who absolutely excels at one field, and as such has a bit of leeway when it comes to some behavior that may not be possible (due to time constraints or morals) for others. Nice touch: The pdf does explain how e.g. a LG amoral prodigy might operate, as the background obviously works best for neutral or evil individuals and/or Vathak’s shades of gray morality.

Proficiency-wise, we get skill proficiency in Deception and Stealth, as well as one tool proficiency of your choice. The verbiage for the tool proficiency is somewhat opaque: “Your proficiency with

this tool is always doubled.” This could apply to the entire value, or just to the proficiency bonus. For an example of how that would be phrased usually, the rogue’s Expertise feature can be consulted. The text should read: “Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with the chosen tool.” On the plus-side, this ability does note that it doesn’t stack with other options that might let you double your proficiency bonus, so good catch there. The equipment includes the tool or kit, two sets of forged documents for new identities, an award relating to the tool, some gp and a cloak. On a formatting nitpick: In backgrounds, Skill/Tool proficiencies, languages etc. have a colon after them, not the full stop that 5e otherwise tends to favor.

The background’s narrative feature is cool: It essentially nets you a degree of trust from authorities and a somewhat solid reputation that lets you get away with things you otherwise wouldn’t.

The pdf provides the customary d8 personality traits, d6 ideals, d6 bond, and d6 flaw tables to add character to…well, your character. In the Ideal-table, the sub-headers like “Self.”, “Duty.”, etc. have not been bolded properly.

Conclusion:

Editing is good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, we have a minor guffaw. Formatting also sports some deviations from 5e’s defaults, though these tend to be internally consistent and cosmetic. The one piece of full-color art is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Ismael Alvarez’ amoral prodigy background is cool and interesting background rife with roleplaying potential, particularly for darker settings like Vathak, or when you always wanted to play a somewhat sociopathic Sherlock or character like the good ole’ Dr. Frankenstein…or a certain bard… Either way, I very much enjoyed this background. While the minor guffaws do partially influence rules-integrity, the background does retain its functionality for most GMs, and the low price also made me decide to round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars. For a single buck, this is definitely worth checking out.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vathak 5e Character Options - Amoral Prodigy Background
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