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Heritage Composer (TinyD6)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2020 11:38:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 112 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 107 pages of content, laid out for booklet-size (6’’ by 9’’/A5), so let’s take a look!

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

So, what does this do? Essentially, this is a DIY-heritage composer, which has assembled a total of 125 Heritage Traits (partially compiled, partially new) and categorized them in 5 different tiers of power, differentiated by the number of base Hit Points the Heritage starts with. This range usually spans 8 to 4 HP. Nice: The book is pretty newbie-friendly and walks you through the basic considerations, like considering setting and genre, help with finding the proper inspiration, and then assembling the total. This is not just basic: The book provides advice like making your nonhuman characters closer to the ends of the HP spectrum, talks about talent choice, and skills.

The organization of the massive array of traits is helpful – it ranges from weakest or most restricted to strongest, from 8+HP to 4+, respectively. The book also clearly states the base line of 6 HP for humans in most settings, explicitly providing a context that’s easy to work within even for people less experienced/new to roleplaying games. Okay, so what can we find among the 8+ HP Heritages? Well, we for example have ameboids[sic!] (shouldn’t that be amoeboid?), who are immune to blunt object-damage, have only a 15 ft. speed and suffer Disadvantage on reaction rolls. We also get the Artificial Lifeform, ability to see in the dark, a Heritage representing coming from the depths beneath the waves (super helpful, but makes spending prolonged time on land dangerous). Being Gigantic makes you twice as tall, but prevents you from sneaking/hiding, and all Tests featuring equipment and Attacks using regular-sized weapons are at Disadvantage, plus you can’t use Light Weapons. Equipment and weapons have to be custom-made and are more expensive. Okay…so where is the hardcoded benefit beyond the system-immanent size benefits here? This one is pretty punitive.

On the plus-side, having a shell, being High-G Born, or being a hardlight projection (Red Dwarf, anyone?) are covered alongside living rock. The latter is super interesting, as it renders you immune to conventional Light and Heavy Melee Attacks and imposes Disadvantage on Ranged attack, but also makes you heal very slowly. You can be made of living metal (!!), elect to not need to sleep…or you can be really hard to destroy, at the cost of being somewhat of a parasite, requiring blood, youth, etc. to sustain yourself. Undead come with a wear and tear table.

The 7 HP Heritage Traits include being aquatic (the regular version), having corrosive fluids, foresight, multiple arms, the ability to protect yourself with a kinetic shield, or what about Claws as a Mastered Weapon, at the expense of not being able to make ranged weapons? There are also means to be able to process pretty much anything as food, an uncanny ability to go unseen, being venomous, etc.

The 6 HP Heritage Traits include being an Acrobat, Alchemist, Bar Fighter, etc. This region also includes being able to speak with animals, going Berserker, and a trait that marks you as being able to process information with Cold-Blooded detachment, making you hard to manipulate or intimidate. Classic notions such as becoming a Defender or Diehard are provided, and Eidetic Memory is also included in this context.

In the 5 HP-range, we have chameleon skin, healing via cold , having echolocation, being able to generate taser-like stunning shocks, and the pdf does include having an excellent metabolism, sense of smell, etc. are provided here – as is the classic hypnotic gaze, having a pheromone-based communication, web spinners, etc. are provided here. I really like the one that has you “zeroed out” – you don’t officially exist, whether due to glitch or magic.

Finally, the 4-HP range, we have insectoid bodies, the ability to conjure forth canine or feline spirits. Being naturally buoyant, being a descendant of fey, jumping through shadows or plants, etc. – you get the idea.

So, how does the system work? Method A): You choose two traits and take the lowest HP. Method B) You choose two traits and a drawback. Method C): Choose two traits AND limitations for each of them…and beyond these and their considerations spelled properly out, the pdf also provides some rough advice for handling Heritages with more than two Traits.

After this section, the book provides an array of drawbacks, which grant additional Hit Points upon taking them; these can be greed, being an enemy of the authorities, etc., we get quite a few interesting ones. The book also provides drawbacks specifically crafted to net you a bonus Trait, including classics such as being arrogant, having allergies, etc. – neat!

Beyond the drawbacks, we also get so-called Paragon Traits, which essentially mean that you embody something – you can have only one of those, and ideally, they are earned in game. The book does spend quite some time explaining how impact- and meaningful they should be regarding the roleplaying implications. To give you an example: Deadly Focus lets you concentrate an Attack against a single opponent, which deals 6 damage sans Test. The foe must make a Save Test at Disadvantage or suffer full damage, half as much on a success. The Trait works with any weapon group, but requires the character to focus EXCLUSIVELY on the one specific group chosen. If an enemy is killed with this Trait, all enemies witnessing it suffer Disadvantage on their next Attack. A character with this Paragon Trait may also not have Berserker. In some ways, paragon Traits almost fill the class niche – expert survivalist, great magics, really skilled at some tasks – with these, you can pretty much play the iconic adventuring party.

This is not where the book ends, though – instead, we get full rules for playing animal companions, with different guidelines for Small, Medium and Large companions – these rules provide concise and imho pretty well-balanced options. Furthermore, the section comes with, you guessed it, yet more Traits, such as Animal Telepathy, being psionic, being able to talk, etc. Moreover, we get a handy list of player traits suitable for Animal Companions, and two different options for handling advancement.

And guess what? More to come! The pdf then proceeds to provide rules for playing as a monster, including some salient advice on balancing them versus a non-monstrous party, with e.g. increased XP-cost providing a suitable way of keeping them from overshadowing “regular” characters. Once more, we get a list of recommended traits, before we dive into a selection of  sample heritages, which range from alien species to shadow fey to robot cats and undead spirits bound into inanimate objects. A 3-page worksheet (great handout) and a massive index complement this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good as a whole, on both a rules-language and formal level. While I noticed a few minor hiccups, none of them really impeded my enjoyment of the book. Layout adheres to a one-column full-color standard, and features quite a lot of rather neat full-color artworks I haven’t seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with bookmarks for chapter-headers, but not for individual traits – some additional bookmarks here would have been nice.

Geoff Gander’s Heritage Composer is a well-crafted tome, no doubt about that. It is interesting to observe how much depth and versatility the author manages to squeeze out of the relatively simple TinyD6-engine. It is also pretty impressive to observe that, for the most part, the balancing is really impressive and well-done; this does a much better job at delivering well-rounded toolkit-like races/species/heritages than many comparable games. Looking at Savage Species and Advanced Races Guide there…

But I digress: If you enjoy TinyD6, consider this to be a must-own book. It is versatile, interesting, and covers a lot of breadth without becoming obtuse or hard to handle. While there are a few minor snafus, the system as a whole is easy to customize, seamless in use, and inspired. My final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up, and this gets my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heritage Composer (TinyD6)
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Stranger Stuff (TinyD6)
by Gabriel F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2020 17:12:36

I’ve been acquiring various TinyD6 books that are available on DriveThruRPG lately, trying to decide which TinyD6 book I want to run with my friends online during these days of self quarantine and lockdowns. I’m leaning towards something to use with a modern setting. So I decided to check out Stranger Stuff (by Lucus Palosaari and Rick Hershey).

I’ve read through it in just a couple of days and I really liked it. I wasn’t planning to run a Stranger Things or Goonies type game but this book is really tempting me to do so (or maybe a Supernatural (TV show) type game). And even if I don’t end up running one, I found there’s still lots of cool stuff and ideas in this book that are just useful for any TinyD6 game.

Here are some of the stuff I liked from the book:

  • It uses the TinyD6 system (that’s a given)
  • Toughness+Stress (interesting variation to hit points)
  • Drawbacks (negative traits, could be useful to flesh out flawed characters)
  • the GM adventure creation section with examples
  • the Location rules (interesting simple ideas for creating your own town)
  • the list of Stranger Stuff (made me think about how to create my own custom items of interest or artefacts for my own game)
  • the Build-your-own-monster section (useful for building custom monsters even in other TinyD6 games)
  • the included adventure made me think of how I could be writing adventures for my TinyD6 games
  • I even liked the hand-drawn town map at the end of the book that you can colour-in and label as you like

At only 122 pages, it’s a complete game including the helpful GM stuff. I felt I got my money’s worth.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stranger Stuff (TinyD6)
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Publisher's Choice - Equipment Subscription 2
by Richard W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2020 11:17:04

I loved the first Equipment Subscription, and have made extensive use of it. This subscription only has a few equipment sets so far, but I've already used some of the new art in a published product, and I can't wait to see what comes next!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Equipment Subscription 2
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The Pocket Campaign Planner
by Joseph K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2020 07:35:27

I'm preparing my first ever turn behind the DM's screen in a few weeks to run a one-shot and this book has been an invaluable resource organizing my thoughts. Highly recommended for first timers like me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pocket Campaign Planner
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds)
by Dale M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2020 13:36:38

The two backgrounds with the knot design, I have used many times over the years in products and they are great. The wood-edged one, I just don't care for and have never used. I don't see anything wrong with it, so if you like it you shouldn't have any issues with it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds)
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)
by Dale M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2020 13:33:51

I've already used one of these designs in a product and I'm going to be publishing one soon using another. These interiors are a simply, cost-effective way of giving your pages a real professional look. I highly recommend them.

Feb 2020 addition to 2014 review: Since my initial review, I have used these backgrounds in many, many products with no significant issues. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)
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Publisher's Choice - Darkness (Page Backgrounds)
by Dale M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2020 13:29:57

Of the single design page backgrounds, this one is probably my favorite. The colors are nice and have a solid contrast. My only complaint is the flowery design in the corner. If you put text over it it can be difficult to read. In the image for this product, the publisher gets around this problem by giving the text a VERY large space before putting text. But that is my only complaint and some light photoshop work can get around that. 4.5 out of 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Darkness (Page Backgrounds)
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Publisher's Choice - Blood Throne (Page Backgrounds)
by Dale M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2020 13:23:13

At first glance this is really impressive. When you dive in and work with it, ... well the best description I can give this is sloppy. The top and bottom banners on the left and right and left pages are at different heights. Easy enough fix: delete one and copy and flip the one remaining (yes, I am actually recommending deletion of 1 of 3 files in this product). The banner at the top is great for placing logos or title of the book text. Unfortunately the center of that area does not match up with the center of light area meant for text nor does it match up with the center of the document. Some creative enlarging, cropping, copying the layer, and moving the new layer up to the bottom of your page height later and you can have it match up with the center of the document (but you'll be cropping out parts of the design on one side).

Then there's the triangle at the bottom center of the page. It would be perfect for placing a page number in it, only it is not big enough for a page nubmer unless you are making it really tiny. The center of it matches up with the top banner, so not with the center of the text area. So you have an arrow pointing to where a column is not.

Short of the long, I can't recommend this. Like I said above, this is sloppy. While it is not usable, there are others in this publisher's series of page backgrounds that are far better. I recommend them before this one. It is a pity, however. I like the color of the top and bottom banners with the page background. If these issues are addressed, it would definitely earn a higher rating.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Blood Throne (Page Backgrounds)
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Stranger Stuff: Stranger Settings (TinyD6)
by David F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/12/2020 16:41:45

Another solid addition to the Stranger Stuff (TinyD6) Edition of the game.

Found within we have the default setting of Crestview Hills (as found in the original vs. M Engine edition of the game and its series of adventures that further fleshed out the town), as well as four additional micro-settings to get you started in your own tales of 80's kids vs. The Unknown. Or you could use Crestview Hills as your town and just add in the micro-settings as you see fit.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stranger Stuff: Stranger Settings (TinyD6)
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Stranger Stuff: Stranger Settings (TinyD6)
by Paul C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2020 18:12:18

Another spectacular book for Tiny D6 from Fat Goblin. A must have. Can hardly wait for the POD.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Worlds: Dead Planets
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/05/2020 12:11:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Strange Worlds-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, dead planets are not unified in biome, and are defined by an inability to contain sentient life; as such, the usual terrain concerns are potentially varied; much like the first installment, the pdf does feature the wind force table and collects relevant information and expands upon it. The temperature table is not included. Wind force is given in mph, as per the core rulebook; I think that, particularly for a reference pdf like this one, getting the values for the metric system as well would have been awesome, but that may just be me.

The pdf then proceeds to explain the airless world – cool here: The pdf does not forget about the absence of sound. The pdf then recaps the radiation rules for your convenience. The artificial haven would be next, including a CR 10 hazard – Law O: Overriden[sic!] (should have two “d”s) is a phenomenon where robotic life has taken to extermination – with concealed nanite infections concealed in certain areas. The pdf then proceeds to codify equipment fritzes, which employ the proper item level rules to determine DCs to get them up and running again. The pdf provides terrain features for crumbling ruins. Ancient tech malfunctioning is nice: We get a table ranging from CR 1/3 to 20, with save DCs and suggested damage noted. Rules for debris falling from ruins/buildings may also be found.

On former war worlds, we can find defensive lines terrain, horrible corpse stench (CR 4)…and what about minefields? And yes, there are rules to set mines and defuse them. Worlds haunted by necromantic catastrophes might feature e.g. the CR 7 blood boil hazard, which is a kind of proximity-trigger swamp gas carrying a disease that can make you an embalmed. What’s that? A new undead that clocks in at CR 2, using the combatant array. These get additional cold damage, noxious vomit and are pretty neat – minor nitpick: The defensive ability line is missing the unliving quality.

The Bloodshade (CR 20) is also missing the unliving quality; this deadly fellow with its cold aura and ability to freeze targets and execute deadly blood breath blasts is otherwise well-crafted, though the “life drain” ability is noted as “lifedrain” instead. Nitpickery, I know. Living holograms clock in at CR 5, and use the spellcaster array. The construct graft has been properly applied for the most part; unliving is missing, and the subtype is (technological), not (mechanical), but that is once more cosmetics. These holograms have 2 Resole Points and can use them to hijack armor, tech devices, etc. – an ability that deviates from standard verbiage slightly. This would per se not be bad, but the lack of a range for it is jarring. Cool, on the other hand: Short-range teleportation in the hologram’s habitat – where the hardware supports it. Finally, we have a CR 10 overseer robot using the expert array (again, wrong name for the subtype, unliving missing). They have a staggering gaze, regenerate near metal, and are a potent foe – however, the construct graft has not been properly implemented.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, the statblocks have a few cosmetic hiccups, as well as a couple of hiccups that unfortunately influence mechanic integrity of the material. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and we get nice full-color artworks here. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Kim Frandsen’s little pdf on dead planets starts off very strong – the whole hazard array is rather cool, and I genuinely would have loved to see more; the monsters, in comparison, fall behind that coolness: Only the living hologram really got me fired up, with the other monsters being less interesting. As a whole, I wished this had focused more on the planets, and less on the creatures. However, it should be noted that this pdf only costs 2 bucks, and I genuinely believe that the hazards and materials there make this worth getting. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the low price point.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Worlds: Dead Planets
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The Pocket Campaign Planner
by Jackson M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2020 17:44:31

I really enjoy this layout easy to get my thoughts down on paper!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pocket Campaign Planner
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The Pocket Campaign Planner
by Bradford S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/28/2020 01:17:44

very unoriginal. was hoping for more forms asking questions which would help put into words the ideas in my head



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hey Bradford. I completely understand what you mean, but as a small book, we couldn't fill it with as much content as we would like. What you need is our Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal- it is a giant and covers all those questions and details you might be looking for - https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/189084/The-Gamemasters-Worldbuilding-Journal
Class Codex: The Spellwright
by A customer [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2020 15:59:48

One of the most important ideas for any RPG product is that the style (i.e. the idea) and the substance (i.e. the mechanics) need to complement each other. If you have good substance but poor style, you end up with something useful but boring. Good style and bad substance make for a great idea that’s executed poorly. It takes both to make an excellent product.

Class Codex: the Spellwright is a book that has good style and substance to it.

Before we begin, let’s overview the PDF itself: twelve pages long, it has one page each for the front and back covers, one for the credits/ToC/legal, and one for the OGL, leaving us with eight pages of material. There are no bookmarks, but I can’t hold that against a PDF this small. The pages have borders, and we do get bits of the cover illustration used as the occasional interior piece of artwork, but again I can’t fault the PDF for not having a printer-friendly version; there’s simply no need when you’re looking at less than ten pages of stuff that you’d actually print.

In terms of style, what we have here is a spellcaster who uses cards to work their magic. Now, I’ll be honest here: I’m not someone who plays a lot of card-based games, particularly where trading/collectible card games are concerned. So it’s entirely possible that I’m missing out on some of the nuance here. I have a vague understanding of the “trap card” reference in the product description, for instance, but it’s entirely possible that there are some Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic: the Gathering references that I’m missing. Even so, the concept of “card magic” is ubiquitous enough in gaming circles (largely thanks to those two series, as well as several others in the same vein) that I’m familiar with the basic concept. In terms of the idea at play, this one is solid: the cards are the medium with which you utilize your magic.

It’s the substance where we see exactly what this means in the context of Pathfinder First Edition. The spellwright base class is a full-progression arcane spellcaster, utilizing the sorcerer/wizard list for their spells. An Intelligence-based class, they prepare their spells, and have the same BAB and save progressions as a wizard (though I’m quite pleased with them receiving 4 + Int bonus skill points rather than the traditional 2 + Int bonus; I’m of the opinion that 2 is far too few for any class), as well as no armor proficiencies and very few weapon proficiencies. All of that sounds a lot like a wizard, except that they have to prepare their spells on written cards instead of in their minds, wielding them as somatic components when they cast their spells (and, incidentally, using expensive material components when they prepare their spells, rather than cast them), and prepare their spells from a card catalogue instead of a spellbook.

Now, by itself, all of that sounds so much like a standard wizard that you’re probably wondering if this shouldn’t just be an archetype, or maybe even just a flavorful description with no real mechanical changes. But it’s the class features where the spellwright distinguished itself; although it never actually says so, this class comes across almost like a hybrid of the wizard and the magus.

The major way this is true is that spellwrights have an arcane pool, which they can spend to retain not just to retain a spell card after it’s used, but also to retain a scroll when they use the magic in it. It also serves as a power source for several of their “spellwright technique” class features, which they gain at every even-numbered level. More impressively, a spellwright not only gains the ability to cast spells in light armor (at 7th level) and medium armor (at 13th level), but can also add two spells from the cleric or psychic spell lists to his own spell list at every odd-numbered level. If that sounds too powerful, remember that they don’t automatically gain these spells in their card catalogue; they just gain the ability to add them. An enhanced ability to utilize arcane scrolls (choosing one of three possible benefits as a swift action when using them) rounds things out before getting to the capstone, which further increases what they can do with scrolls.

By itself that’s impressive, but it’s the spellwright techniques that present the real meat of the class. Split into twenty-one basic techniques and thirteen greater techniques, these are like rogue talents in that you pick and choose which ones you want as you level up, though you’re unable to select the greater techniques until 10th level and there are some that have others as prerequisites. Here you’ll find abilities such as being able to use your spell cards as daggers, with further techniques to increase their weapon-like abilities. And if that sounds bad for a half-BAB class, there’s a greater technique that allows you to treat your class level as your BAB when wielding your spell cards; this is a genius ability that can potentially change the way you play a spellwright character! And yes, there are spellwright techniques here for making “trap” cards, which basically store a spell in them until their activation conditions go off.

I have to admit that I’m very impressed with the array of spellwright techniques; they cover little things from making your card catalogue very hard to damage to allowing potions to be utilized with nearly the same efficiency as scrolls normally are to utilizing arcane pool points to power arcanist reservoir abilities and vice versa in case you’re playing a multiclass character (and yes, you can use the spellwright’s arcane pool in conjunction with a magus’s arcane pool; this is an inherent part of the arcane pool ability and doesn’t require taking a spellwright technique). There are a lot of variable options here, enough that you can easily play different spellwrights in very different ways (and yes, there are techniques to not only allow you to throw your cards, but charge them with energy, or even a touch-range spell, as well, allowing you to play a Gambit-like character).

It’s after this that we get a few pages of supplementary material, starting with spellwright favored class bonuses for various races. This section made me quirk a brow, because it’s where we start to see the one place where I found fault with this product. There are favored class bonuses for each of the seven Core races, and the three new races from other Golden Glyph Publishing books: the lagos, mineralite, and scyleen (a sidebar openly points out that these are from other GGG books). Now, there’s nothing wrong with a publisher promoting cross-product compatibility; my issue is that more could have been done here. While I don’t expect to see every race from the Advanced Race Guide to be here, the lack of anything outside of the Core races and the publisher’s own was a bit surprising. There’s no spellwright favored class bonuses for, say, aasimars and tieflings? None for catfolk or kitsunes? Dhampirs or changelings? More could have been done.

After this comes ten new mundane items and two magic ones. I’ll compliment the mundane items for being smartly-written: a lot of products would have glossed over the use of the spell cards and card catalogue, but they each get their own entry here, specifying things like their hardness and hit points, how much they cost, etc. Throw in little things like ink, pens, a scrivener’s kit, etc. and this nicely rounds out the class’s tools. The two magic items also nicely cover a niche, as one allows for expanded use of cards, and the other makes new (blank) cards ex nihilo.

A single new spell comes next, a 0-level spell that allows for copying pages. It also nicely rounds out the class, though the pedant in me notes that it’s only on the bard, sorcerer/wizard, and cleric/oracle spell lists. Surely the magus could have used this too? Or the occultist? Or the psychic? This spell is useful and its status as an endlessly-castable 0-level spell doesn’t seem likely to unbalance anything, so why not let other classes have it?

Two new archetypes round the product out. The first is the planescaller, which trades out much of the ability to manipulate scrolls (as well as gaining new spells from the cleric or psychic spell lists) in exchange for being able to use a summon monster spell. This is considerably buffed from the basic version of the spell, however, as it requires only a standard action to cast, remains for 10 minutes per caster level, and the level of the summon monster spell and number of summon monster cards that can be used goes up by one for every two class levels. If that sounds like it’s unbalancing, the power has a limit: it costs one arcane pool point per level of the spell to use this special monster summoning card. The spellwright can also use self-buffing spells (i.e. they target “you”) on monsters summoned this way. Later abilities trade out the use of armor to switch places with your monster when you’re targeted by a spell, and at 20th level can apply the Advanced simple template to these monsters.

I’m of two minds about this particular archetype, if for no other reason than it’s so different from the summoner base class. There’s no use of an eidolon (which is probably a good thing) nor any option to, say, utilize eidolon evolutions on summoned monsters (which seems like a missed opportunity). Ultimately, what you get out of this archetype will depend a lot on if you think the summoner class is something to be avoided or to be emulated.

The second archetype here, the talismanist, is much briefer. It essentially swaps out the spellwrights arcane spells for divine spells, and allows for arcane or psychic spells to be periodically added to their spell list, the same way the base class does for divine or psychic spells. A bit basic, but the variety is nice. Unfortunately, this technically can’t be combined with the planescaller archetype, since both trade out the enhanced understanding ability (i.e. adding a cleric or psychic spell to the base class’s spell list). I’d be tempted to simply handwave this contradiction away, since it’s clear that the talismanist version of this ability (“arcane guidance”) fulfills the same purpose, and so is obviously what’s traded out if you want a combined planescaller talismanist.

That’s where the product ends…and it brings me back to my major complaint from before, because more could have been done here. While saying “it left me wanting more” is usually a compliment, it’s this product’s single biggest weakness, because while the design space it left blank isn’t overwhelming, it is notable. Right off the bat, I can think of several things that should have been included in this product but weren’t.

The biggest offender are feats. There’s simply no excuse for not having a feat called Extra Spellwright Technique here that does what it says on the tin. Go to aonprd.com, click the “Search” feature, set it to search only feats, and have it search for the word “extra.” While there’ll be a lot of mishits, you’ll see that literally every class with a selectable pool of abilities has a feat to let them take more. Extra Discovery. Extra Hex. Extra Rage Power. Extra Rogue Talent. (As written, the Extra Arcane Pool feat, from Ultimate Magic, works for the spellwright just as much as it does for the magus, but it should still have been reprinted here.) How about a feat to let a character (not necessarily just a spellwright) use their spellcasting ability modifier when casting a spell from a scroll (probably a number of times per day equal to their casting stat modifier)? Technically scrolls use the default minimum modifier to set their DC (i.e. they’re treated as if the casting stat modifier was 10 + the spell level), which is going to be hideously low. For a class that focuses on scrolls so much, not having something like this feels like an oversight. Perhaps one to let the bonus from Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus be used with scrolls also? These are just some off-the-cuff ideas, and I’m sure there are other feats that could expand directly on what this class can do, but as of right now there aren’t any.

While not having feats is the big offender among what’s not here, it’s not the only one. Others include presenting this class under the variant multiclassing rules from Pathfinder Unchained, and giving us a simple class template version of it, from the Monster Codex. These are important because they’re two of the easiest ways for GMs to make quick-and-easy NPCs using what’s here, instead of having to build them from the ground up. The former would make it incredibly easy to swap out a few feats from an existing NPC in exchange for some spellwright abilities, whereas the latter is useful if you want to make a higher-level monster into a spellwright without throwing their CR out of whack.

And there’s still design space left unused! Remember the Background Generator tables from Ultimate Campaign? They had class-specific tables that you could use to help figure out who your character was, including determining if they had a story feat or a particular trait; how about one of those for the spellwright? No new traits or story feats would need to be written, just a table of background ideas that coordinate with the ones that we already have (and don’t tread on any of the existing class tables). Likewise, while mythic abilities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, adding even one new spellwright-specific mythic ability (presumably for the archmage path, though making them universal in order not to pigeonhole a character is viable also) at 1st, 3rd, and 6th tier each would have been a nice way to expand on a spellwright’s options if they’re part of a campaign that’s going in that direction (and now I want to make a “Wrath of the Spellwrighteous” joke).

Ultimately, the spellwright is a great class. It takes a popular idea and brings it to Pathfinder in a way that keeps the style intact while simultaneously grounding it with rock-solid mechanics that not only make it viable, but do so in a way that allows it to be played in several different styles depending on which techniques your character takes. It’s also nicely rounded by the supporting mechanics…but not as much as it should be.

Now, adding in everything I lamented was missing (expanded favored class bonuses, feats, variant multiclassing, a simple class template, a background table, and mythic options) would no doubt increase the size of this book, and probably drive the price up commensurately, but I have a hard time imagining that it wouldn’t be worth it. This class is already a good one, and expanding its options would make it truly great. Hopefully we’ll see a revision at some point in the future.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Codex: The Spellwright
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Strange Worlds: Ice Planets
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/23/2020 05:04:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Strange Worlds-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As before in the series, this little pdf is designed to be a one-stop shop resource to avoid flipping through the not always perfect organization of the core book, collecting relevant information for running ice planets in one convenient place, while also adding new material.

As before, we begin with the recaps of temperature and wind, and like before, I would have appreciated inclusion of °C values and kmh for wind speeds – and I’m sure the international audience not accustomed to the imperial systems would mirror this sentiment. Particularly °F are very hard for me to wrap my head around. Anyhow, on a plus-side, the pdf does cover the temperatures that prevent e.g. corpses from decaying, and the visibility section does differentiate between light and heavy snow, and terrain-wise, shallow and deep snow, as well as slush and ice receive proper rules.

The pdf comes with an equipment section that includes cold-weather gear, snow goggles, snow shoes, as well as portable heating units and ground-penetrating radar, which, while cumbersome, is a great little device to carry around. I can see this item be used in cool (haha) explorations.

The pdf also comes with a level 4 vehicle, the snow speeder; while easier to destroy than a police cruiser, it is easier to fight when piloting these. The stats, like the rules pertaining collision etc., check out.

The pdf then proceeds to present 4 different creatures – two of them have blindsight, with the type of blindsight properly noted; alas, both lack the customary range for these senses. One of the creatures also lacks the range for its darkvision. The first creature would be a CR 12 deep cetacean, which is built via the combatant array. The formatting for the multiattack line in the attack range is incorrectly-formatted, but the abilities make it functional. Ice biters are CR 1 mammals, which are mostly noncombatants, using the lower attack value for their only attack Their hard bite can still damage crucial equipment, though…At CR 3, snow goats might be smelly and built for the cold, with a stench aura and all, but their attack value is off, big time – only +5 for a CR 3 combatant? That should be at least +8. Finally, there would be the CR 17 tarrhidan. This guy has the wrong good skill values – they should be +29, not +22. With only a cold aura, these also are not too exciting.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, less impressive on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf features nice artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Kim Frandsen’s take on ice planets is the roughest of the Strange Worlds so far – the hazard section is once more interesting, but the critters feel rushed, featuring multiple rules-influencing glitches in the respective builds. While this pdf is very inexpensive and thus still potentially worth getting, I can’t go higher than 3 stars for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Worlds: Ice Planets
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