DriveThruRPG.com
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info











Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Metafeats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2018 08:54:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so first things first: Metafeats are NOT gained by the characters. They are gained by the players. The pdf suggests to award one per 5 sessions of game, which is a bit problematic; more detailed guidelines for different character XP-progressions and playstyles would have been neat to see. These feats, as they’re held by players and not PCs, transcend characters. The metafeats are as follows:

-But I LIKED my Character…: Basically gives you an extra life. Can be used once; but you may take it again.

-Dutiful Scribe: Rewards the records keeper by reducing Intimidate and Diplomacy check DCs in settlements where the character’s exploits are known by character level.

-Feed the Beast: Rewards player that brings food for everyone; 1/session swift action bite for 1d3 damage (not typed or clarified as per (natural) attack type), with a +20 luck bonus.

-Knowledge is Power: Player brings 1+ reference books to share. 1/session use out of game knowledge to identify a creature, obstacle, plot element, etc.

-Miniature Monstrosity: Bring an unopened box of minis. During the session, open it and have the mini join the fray as a NPC on the PC’s side. May only be used once, but you may take it again.

-Needed Intermission: Player volunteers to run game instead of regular GM. As a thanks, once per campaign, the player can designate a safe rest sans random monsters, etc.

-Oath to Play Well: The GM selects rules (like no electronic devices, ruling for now, etc.), and adherence to these rules provides a massive, usually on HDs, based bonus. I think these bonuses are overkill as presented, though I do like the sentiment behind that feat. It’s part of the concept of the social contracts of roleplaying that I champion.

-Well-Equipped: Players with props or objects. Nets bonuses or additional uses of consumables.

-What IF…?: Player describes action differently, things happen that way. May be used once, and only once.

Battlecry metafeats require that you shout a catchphrase, battlecry, etc. – “Blood, Death and Vengeance!”, for example. ;) Only one battlecry may be in effect at a given time.

-Cooperative Harassment: When a PC fails a combat maneuver, one ally that also threatens the target may attempt the same maneuver as an immediate action. Cool!

-Group Gangpile: All allies gain the character’s teamwork feat. No range, no maximum limit of allies. Broken.

-It Has to Hit: Once per character per combat, each ally may add a +1d6 surge to atk if it misses, potentially rendering a miss into a hit. This is a massive upgrade.

-Magic is Might: Once every other round, the PC may cast a spell as a swift action, provided it has a casting time of 1 round or less, and that the character has not used their standard action to cast another spell. Other actions are game. Do I need to say anything?

-The Power of Friendship: All allies within 60 ft. gain character level temporary hit points, which last for 1 minute. No limit. -.-

-NOOOOOOOOO!: Wounded ally immediately stabilizes and gains character level temporary hit points; also make a single attack at highest BAB against the target that struck you down. You may dra a weapon and throw it to do so.

-Wabba Wabba: Character generates a rod of wonders effect.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level. Layout adheres to a two-column full color standard, and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Joshua Hennington’s metafeats are a really tough nut to review. Perhaps I’m spoiled by my players and their commitment, but I do tend to think that many of the positive behaviors that these try to help you enforce should be a self-evident component of the social contract that is roleplaying. The goal of these metafeats then, would be to basically educate players to be good players…but personally, I think that the at times massive bonuses granted here are a) overkill and b) generate a sense of entitlement that can be rather grating. In short: Before you resort to the methods of using metafeats, just talking to your players may be the wiser move – after all, you’re all trying to have fun together.

This is a personal opinion, though.

As far as my reviewer’s perspective is concerned, I have an issue with the precision of a few of these feats; I don’t like that we don’t get more nuanced guidelines for the awarding of metafeats, and the internal balancing of these feats is all over the place. A 1d3 true strike’d bite 1/session? Versus infinite temporary hit points? There is no guiding principle regarding the power levels of these metafeats, making them all feel like the thing they truly are: House rules.

These are feats in name only; they are not really adjusted and unified regarding power levels of benefits bestowed. And honestly, none of them are really that unique. Their concepts are an idea worth exploring, but some of the benefits are frankly broken and would have required more precision. I expected more. And it’s not that I don’t like 4th-wall breaking stuff once in a while – Rite Publishing’s Metadventurer, for example, is a great example of how you can make that work. This supplement, though, will, in spite of the great idea, languish within the depths of my HD – it’s just not refined and well-balanced enough to warrant inclusion. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Metafeats
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Jaws of the Jhambizaur
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2018 05:19:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

All right, first things first: This adventure makes use of a lot of material from the Player’s Guide to Skybourne, so if some of these races and terms seem odd to you, that’s why.

Before I dive into the adventure’s plot, I should note that the pdf includes 4 magic items and a mundane item – the latter being the fang pistol, which is a more expensive flintlock pistol with really costly ammo – however, it does cause 1 bleed damage. The lesser ancestral fang increases slapping tail damage die size; odd: the write-up mentions a greater version, but the item fails to specify requirements or costs for that version. A spell-reference is also not italicized. The item can only be used by cherufe.

The feathered cape can be gripped with both hands for ½ speed fly speed and poor maneuverability, using Acrobatics instead of Fly. The magma heart nets simultaneously the benefits of elemental body I (earth) and (fire). The sanguine gorget allows wearers to, as a swift action, bite (1d4) a pinned target, which is automatically hit. That…is not something that usually happens in PFRPG. The wearer thus also gains temporary hit points, but risk frenzying for 1 minute, with fatigue thereafter. Not a fan of this item; its design could have been handled more elegantly. There is another magic item within, but more on that one later.

All right, this being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, just GMs around? Great!

This module begins with the PCs happening upon a halfling obviously in peril; this would be a man named Hadrid, who requests aid from the PCs to get to the cherufe village Avarudies; he makes a generous offer, courtesy of owning a magic item shop, but conspicuously mentions that the PCs should not use the airship docks, instead making their way on a different route into the settlement atop the mesa. Three paths are provided, and if they don’t hurry, they may well attract the attention of their first jhāmbi-raptor. After this simple escort mission, the PCs enter Hadrid’s shop in the settlement – only to have it surrounded by guards, dragging them off towards the chief, who, oddly, has the rough guards leave and then proceeds to free the PCs to explain the situation. There is a growing sense of unrest and paranoia, and some have accused Hadrid of being the culprit of the mysterious curse plaguing the nearby jungle. The settlement is briefly discussed, and no map is provided of it, which is a bit of a pity. The settlement does get a mostly functional statblock, though it is incomplete, lacking the alignment and size line.

The write-up does contain some notes on local villagers, and the module assumes that striking up a conversation will have the GM roll a secret Charisma check – on a success, a tidbit of information, the only relevant one to be gleaned, is learned. A more complex or interesting flow-chart, or an investigation that actually takes player-actions into account would have been nice here. Making the check irrelevant regarding PC behavior and ideas is not something I particularly like or consider to be rewarding adventure design. The diviner Mokwori, to whom the trail leads, is a pawn, but one that has a huge Bluff-check, thanks to a ring of glibness. This item is also a minor bottleneck to bear in mind – the module assumes that the PCs have no means to notice it. At the end of the first day of investigation, jhāmbi-raptors and jhāmbi-pteranodons attack the village! Oddly, the encounter doesn’t at least briefly, note the number of assailants bolded with a pointer towards the statblocks, requiring close-reading of the actual text; similarly, only the total number of attacking critters is provided, not the number the PCs get to actually face. A quick sidebattle resolution note is provided, though.

During the battle, the most esoteric/psychic/etc. PC is drawn into a mindscape by the ghost that has haunted the chieftain – this is scripted, and does not take the mindscape mechanics into account. The ghost flatly states that the aforementioned diviner has fallen under the influence of a great evil – and said diviner is, coincidentally “kidnapped” by one of the jhāmbi-pteranodons. The exactly locations and logistics here are somewhat opaque, courtesy of the lack of maps, and this sequence cannot be prevented RAW. If the PCs noticed the ring and attempted to bring the diviner to the chief, a reasonable course of action, the module derails rather hard.

From suspicion to wholehearted embrace takes but this one battle, and in the aftermath, the PCs will need to venture into the jungle, and the jungle indeed comes with 3 rather cool hazards that help generate the sense of hostility that Skybourne’s forests are supposed to evoke. The PCs seem to be hounded by the undead dinosaurs that otherwise would be enemies to one another – towards a waterfall, where the jhāmbizaur, the massive brute and source of the curse, has killed the diviner and awaits the PCs to kill them and assert “total dominance” – the premise for why the entity doesn’t have the undead dinos swarm and annihilate the PCs seemed somewhat flimsy to me. If the creature is defeated, the other monsters turn on themselves – unless you’re going with the alternate end-game, where the airship turns up after the jhāmbizaur’s destroyed, enabling the PCs to engage in a harrowing escape. That one would have made much more sense to develop, but remains a footnote.

Personally, I think most groups would get the ship as soon as possible, making the sequence here awkward. The reward for the quest would be golden hearts – items sans slots that merge with the PCs, granting 13 temporary hit points for a minute after the PCs are reduced to 0 hit points. The hearts have no daily limit on how often they can be used, have no cooldown, and are thus, mechanically, problematic. The pdf concludes with further adventuring ideas and stats for the local guards, the undead dinos and the CR +2 jhāmbi-template.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, the pdf is somewhat less impressive in the crunchy bits. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the undead dino-artworks by Jacob Blackmon rock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, but really suffers from its lack of any maps whatsoever – ever very basic b/w plans would have helped render the village more interesting.

Mike Myler does evocative, buttkicking concepts really well – and the elevator-pitch for this adventure is great: ”Undead dinosaurs!” – What’s not to love? Unfortunately, the execution of the adventure is less impressive than the amazing concept deserved. The module feels like a rough draft, a sketch waiting to be filled up, feels like a case of “This’ll do.” The adventure is brief and thus required concise writing – but that’s no excuse for its weaknesses. I can note several shorter OSR-modules or Society scenarios that provide more player agenda. The issue here, from a structural perspective is, that after the slightly modular introduction, the rest of the module is a very, very narrow railroad. The actions of the PCs, ultimately, do not matter at all during the investigation sequence. Thereafter, the jungle-trek, while spiced up with cool hazards, ultimately is yet another extended cut-scene. This is basically Telltale Games design – present an interesting concept/story, generate the illusion of choice and let the cut-scenes roll; combat is spliced in, sure, but it almost feels like a JRPG interrupting the linear story with combat encounters in their own engine; two aspects of the game that are more or less divorced from one another, if you will.

That alone would not suffice to sink the concept, but this is a module for Skybourne…and promptly takes the frickin’ airships, the central selling point of the setting, what sets it apart, and cuts them from the whole deal, relegates them to window dressing. I absolutely don’t get the rationale behind this. Worse, the railroad presented fails to grasp how owning an airship will undoubtedly change the ways the PCs tackle conflicts and challenges…like, you know, an undead dino-army in a cursed forest. Who in their right mind wouldn’t take the damn ship and its artillery with them? This module feels like sketch onto which Skybourne was painted as window-dressing; even if you eliminate all the Skybourne-specifics, you’re still left with a railroad sans player-agenda. The great concept deserved better. My final verdict can’t exceed 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Jaws of the Jhambizaur
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Champions of the Spheres
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2018 04:19:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive supplement clocks in at 54 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page TOC (which also features a list of Spheres from Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 49 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

In case you didn’t know already: This book basically represents a crossover-supplement between Drop Dead Studios’ critically-acclaimed Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might books, and as such, I assume familiarity with both of them in this review.

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

The pdf starts after a brief introduction to the matter at hand, with three new base classes, which make use of the Blended Training feature – this denotes that the character is treated as possessing Combat Training as a base class feature. The first of these would be the prodigy, who has d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, ¾ BAB-progression, good Ref-and Will-saves and proficiency with simple weapons as well as light armor and bucklers. If this is the very first level in any class taken, the prodigy also receives a martial tradition of their choice. Prodigies are Mid-Casters and may choose which of the three mental ability score modifiers they take as casting ability modifier, and as such, they do get 2 bonus talents and a casting tradition. Prodigies have blended training, which means that they get a combat or magic talent whenever they gain a class level, and the class uses the casting ability modifier chosen as practitioner modifier as well. They begin with a caster level of 0 and increase that to 15 over the course of the 20 class levels; essentially, their CL-progression mirrors the BAB-progression.

The first-level signature ability of the class would be sequence. If you’re familiar with Dreadfox Games’ classic Swordmaster or Interjection Games’ momentum-based engines, you may start smiling now: A sequence has three components: An opener, links, and a finisher. The maximum length of a sequence would be 4 + 1 link per 3 class levels. Only one sequence may be in effect at a given time, and whenever the prodigy begins their turn without having added a link since the beginning of their last turn, the sequence loses one link – so it doesn’t immediately crumble when your attack pattern briefly interrupted, when you whip out a healing potion, etc. Becoming dazed, dead, etc. does terminate an ongoing sequence – at least until 14th level, when the ability is upgraded. Sequences may not be started prior to rolling initiative and end automatically 1 round after combat has ceased. Openers begin new sequences, and attacks, critical hits, defeating a creature with a CR equal to or greater than ½ character level or restoring hit points to an ally or removing ability damage/drain or a list of negative conditions also qualifies. As does successfully executing a combat maneuver, having a creature fail a save versus your sphere-effects or using the reflect class feature. Also, features with the (open) tag can act as openers.

Successfully performing a link action increases the prodigy’s active sequence by 1 link, but no action may ever add more than 1 link at once. Openers act as link components after a sequence has already been established. Link actions include expending martial focus as a free action, moving into a hostile creature’s threatened space and sheathing/drawing a weapon as part of that movement…or what about making a touch attack that deals no damage, but generates a link? Disengaging from the adversary, foregoing an AoO, saving against a non-harmless effect, making a concentration check – and no, these are not all options! Finally, almost a whole column is devoted to finishers, which include bonuses to skill checks, a surge of temporary hit points or a bonus to MSB. Those would be the basics. Things get really exciting when you realize that a sufficient amount of links unlocks more impressive options – like a single swift action attack, or an attack action (remember, attack =/= attack action, and attack actions are much better in Spheres of Might!) as a move action…or, well, what about quicker sphere-casts. Once more, some options with the (finish) tag can also act as finishers.

Does this sound complex? Yeah, at first – but it’s actually pretty simple and super-elegant. And it establishes a fun and exciting combo-engine AT FIRST LEVEL. This, ladies and gentlemen, would btw. be one of the rare instances of me using allcaps being a good thing. Oh, and I haven’t even told you about the coolest thing: Depending on your sphere-choice for martial tricks, you get additional sequence options!! This means that you have a super-wide differentiation not only between sphere-choices, but also that the prodigy will play differently depending on spheres chosen and different from other classes that get access to these spheres.

While a prodigy has an active sequence, they get an insight bonus to atk and damage as well as CL equal to ½ the length of the current sequence, minimum 1. At 2nd level, the class may, as a standard action, gain a martial or magic talent for 1 minute. The prodigy must know the base sphere and meet any prerequisites and may use it 3 + ½ class level times. Only one such wildcard talent may be in effect at a given time. At 5th level, this upgrades to two talents and one may act as a prerequisite for the other. 8th level improves the action economy of the ability. At 10th level, an ally may be granted such a talent. 13th level expands that further to 3 talents and a better action economy, with 17th level finally providing the apex of that ability sequence.

Also at 2nd level, the prodigy adds the second massive customization boost, with Imbue Spellcasting. As part of starting a sequence, this effect may be started, and only one such effect may be applied at a given time. The effect is contingent on one of the spheres known, and it unlocks special finishers associated with the respective sphere. Chose Alteration? What about +1 trait applied to blank form or shapeshift as the imbue benefit…and TENTACLE SWARM as a finisher!! That one would be a multi-target trip based on number of links in the sequence. Come on, that is so epic, do I even need to continue writing this review? All right, all right. What about Conjuration’s Conjure Army finisher, which generates a whole array of companions that last for exactly one attack before vanishing. Yes, it has limitations, yes, it gets flanking interaction and the prevention of abuse right. If this ability was hug-able, it’d hug it. Debris fields, arsenal creation, classic anvil-dropping, spheres of darkness, reanimation… This frickin’ engine…know how reading this felt to me? It felt like someone had taken all those cool ideas mired in some classes, all those “OMG, how cool is that”-combo-moments and baked them into an inspired, cohesive whole. This is ridiculously amazing.

3rd level nets the ability to choose a so-called steady skill when regaining spell points, which then always qualifies for taking 10. At 11th level, this skill may be changed in a more flexible manner, and at 19th level, skills can basically be juggled. At 7th level, the prodigy may expend martial focus as an immediate action to attempt to reflect sphere effects, spells or SPs back to the originator – though the prodigy is then staggered…at least until 16th level, where the ability improves. 20th level nets a start of casting ability modifier links when starting a sequence and delimits the wild-card talent gain – you can have as many at a given time as you can pay for in daily uses.

To give you insight into my frame of mind when first reading this pdf, at this point in time, my response was:

“…buy this book. Srsly, buy it now. Even if the rest of the book was utter garbage, this class alone would warrant the asking price on its own.”

Now, after having had more time to take apart this fellow…I’d probably allcaps the statement above. The prodigy is one of the most amazing, fun classes I know. This is masterclass design.

The second class, the sage, gets d6 HD, ½ BAB-progression, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and a martial tradition if this is the first level. The class gets ¼ class level AC bonus + Wisdom modifier, monk-style, and has all good saves. The class also gets 1/2 combat talent progression. Sages are proficient practitioners and use Wisdom as practitioner modifier. The sage begins play with Chi Gong, which is measured in d6s. the sage begins with 1d6 and adds another 1d6 at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. This allows the sage to execute touch attacks, treating this attack form as a light weapon. The chi gong dice determine the amount of piercing damage these attacks inflict. This may also be used to heal creatures up to half their maximum hit points. Which can’t be cheesed without even trying. Hand me a half-dead kitten, a siphoning ability – bingo. Infinite healing.

Come on. This is really sloppy – it would have been so easy to implement a limitation here that prevents such an abuse. This ruins and disqualifies the class for me and a significant amount of tables out there.

And seriously, the class deserved better. 1st level, 8th and 16th net esoteric training, which allows for debuffing via chi gong, ally enhancement or comboing their touches with combat maneuvers – or fire blasts of ki. Basically, a more magical monk debuffer/buffer, which is such a cool angle! The class also gets a ki pool (class level + Wisdom modifier) and may meditate to gain a pool of surge-style dice that may be applied to ability and skill checks as well as to saves or to bolster his CMD.

The class also treats the Spheres engine in a unique manner: At 1st level and every 2 levels thereafter, the sage gets a bonus combat or magic talent of his choice, being treated as a High Caster and using Wisdom as key ability score, ki as a spell point substitute. 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter provide esotery, the class talents of this fellow, which once more tap into sphere-aesthetics and provide some really cool combos There are a ton of these, and 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter net a Skill Focus. The capstone is governed by the esoteric techniques known. This would be a truly amazing addition to the game, and you can fix it easily enough, but its infinite healing exploit left a super-sour taste in my mouth.

The third class would be the troubadour, who gains d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, ¾ BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves as well as 1/2 martial talent progression. Troubadours get proficiency with simple weapons, light armor and bucklers as well as a Martial Tradition if this is the first level in any class. These fellows are Low Casters using Charisma as governing ability modifier, and they are proficiency combatants. They get class level + Charisma modifier spell pool and in addition to the 2 bonus talents, they gain a magic talent at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

While in the base persona, a troubadour gets +1 o all saves, (bonus type properly codified) and increases that at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter by +1. What’s a persona? Okay, think of this as basically the vigilante’s dual identity, though alignment has to be close to that of the character, and while these imitate other races, they don’t bestow racial powers. Personas may be blended with Disguise, and the maximum number of personas begins at 2 and improves to 6. And yes, this does come with vigilante interaction notes. Each persona has its own array of unique abilities and trope; a trope benefit is gained at 1st level, as well as access to a list of persona-quirks; the first of these is gained at 3rd level, with every 2 levels thereafter providing another one. These include an inspiration pool, benefits for failing checks (when embodying the Fool), bardic tricks, cleric-y options…you get the idea.

In addition to these, the class also gains actor training at 2nd level and ever y 2 levels thereafter, offering a massive blending of vigilante-ish tricks, options to fool devices or spells and similar abilities associated with the bardic and roguish side of things. Disguise and Bluff bonuses, quick change, successful lying – these guys can make for the perfect social chameleon and actually manage to be a really cool and compelling class. I really liked these fellows! (As an aside: If you’re running a 1-on-1 game – this class allows a single character, provided he has enough time to change personas, to fill the roles of all key party-members, making it an excellent choice for 1-on-1 gaming.)

Beyond these three class, we get a pretty massive archetypes-chapter: Armigers can choose to become antiquarians, using d8 HD and hedgewitch BAB with a small spell point pool – basically an armiger with a bit of spellcasting and magic-synergy with lightning assault, as well as two unique prowesses. The Bladewalker archetype for the armiger is a Warp specialist who can port to targets damaged. Armorists can choose for a Spheres of Might engine tweak; Commanders can become dreadlords, focusing on Death sphere synergy and getting a unique, rather…öhem, peculiar network of contacts. You know, the usual…grave robbers, cultists, necromancers, vampires…the friendly folks you’ll find hanging around the crypts or in Rappan Athuk’s cantina…

Eliciters get the new empathic duelist archetype, who may choose combat talents instead of magic talents. These guys establish empathic links with targets in charm-range, and can use this link to gain insight into their foes, translating to better mano-à-mano prowess. Hedgewitches and mageknights get pretty straightforward Spheres of Might-synergy archetypes, and magi may elect to become mystics – this complex archetype basically removes the entire core of the magus, making the class instead act as a sphere-casting practitioner. Impressive! (And more fun!) The Scholar is reliant on advanced Conjuration talents and is basically a summoning specialist. Sentinel dimensional defenders would be another archetype that makes good use of its Warp sphere access. The martial shifter is another practitioner engine tweak, and the mirrored soul summoner does for the summoner pretty much the same as the mystic did for the magus: It removes and tweaks the core class features of the class to instead employ the spheres-engine. The final archetype herein would be the surprisingly complex vector symbiat, which would be a telekinetic combatant that will scratch the itch for many different comic book hero build – these fellows have Telekinesis and may enter kinetic overload, which taps into synergy effects with the Brute, Wrestling and Scoundrel spheres. This one is pretty damn cool!

The next chapter provides a metric ton of synergy class talents and abilities to allow for further blending of Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might, and we do get 2 companion options. The feat-section provides further options, including extra X ones, brief boosts to CL when defeating significant foes, penalizing foes whose blood you have, synergy of summoning companions and tactics…We also get a page of favored class options for the core races as well as aasimar, tiefling, orc, goblin and hobgoblin.

The penultimate chapter, though, would probably be the one that most folks wanted to see: Unified traditions. These basically are a tradition that acts as both casting and martial tradition, and we not only get a significant amount of them, we also get concise guidelines to make them. Arcane archers, crusaders and death knights, street mages and reapers…this chapter may not be the longest, but it’s undoubtedly the one that will inspire the creative folks out there.

The final chapter presents sample NPCs, including brief background stories for all 3 new classes – one NPC at CR 5, and one at CR 8 is presented for each of the 2 new classes.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level – the pdf manages to juggle highest-complexity designs in a meaningful and precise manner. On a formal level, I noticed more formatting glitches than I would have liked to see, but thankfully, these do not wreck the rules-integrity of the supplement. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports quite an array of aesthetically-pleasing full-color artworks that I haven’t seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Adam Meyers, Andrew Stoeckle, Michael Sayre and N. Jolly, with contributions from Siobhan Bjorknas, have penned a book I…honestly kinda dreaded reviewing. After loving Spheres of Might as much as I did, I was genuinely afraid that this might not live up to my expectations. Particularly since crossover books like this are notoriously hard to get right…and they are a crapton of work to check. They also tend to not be exactly fun: It is in the nature of the subject matter that there need to be quite a lot of “Now you can use subsystem xyz” abilities, archetypes, feats, etc, - and yes, the like is in this book. And a lesser publisher/cadre of authors would have probably called it quits right then and there.

Not so here. Imagine my surprise, when even archetypes that basically don’t do anything but “look, here’s class xyz, now it works with Spheres of Might and Spheres of Power” suddenly became kinda interesting? In fact, quite a few of the archetypes herein are really interesting!

The troubadour is the post-vigilante bard that we wanted to see and perfectly fits one of my character concepts (and makes for a great 1-on-1-gaming character); the sage, if you ignore the aggravating (and admittedly, easy to fix) infinite healing exploit at level one, is a unique and novel take on the martial scholar that does quite a few unique things. It’s really worth tweaking that one line, even if you’re like me and have the impulse to rage-quit the class right then and there.

And then, there would be the prodigy. Oh, dear dice-gods, the prodigy. Words fail me. This fellow is flexible, versatile, super-customizable and brings this excessive customization and integrates it into a combo-engine! I cannot properly express how much I frickin’ adore this class, and whoever has written this fellow – let it be known that this guy is one of my all-time favorite classes for any d20-based game. And yes, this guy can get fast healing without nominal caps, but it also limits it and prevents abuse by the very parameters on which the engine is based. This class is a thing of beauty, a culmination of desires I had that I never realized I had. The blending of martial and magic powers via this marvelously modifiable engine is seriously humbling and will rest as a benchmark of excellence by which other classes and options will be judged. How much do I love it? Well, the rest of the book is a really impressive supplement, but this guy single-handedly nets this supplement a nomination as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2018. Oh, and final verdict 5 stars + seal of approval, obviously. If you use the Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might books, then get this asap!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Champions of the Spheres
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Conjurer's Handbook
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2018 12:25:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for Spheres of Power clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The supplement begins with the by now traditional flavor-centric introduction before diving into the crunch. This time around, we begin with something rather interesting: Upon gaining a Conjuration sphere companion, you may now choose an archetype for the companion, which follow the usual restrictions. I.e. you can have as many as you’d like, provided they don’t change or modify the same features. 8 different such archetypes are provided and allow you to get an aquatic companion, for example. A companion with a bestial intellect (who does get a free (form) talent) and requires Handle Animal, a familiar-style one, and we get one that makes your companion a kind of mage-lite. Mindless or puppet-style companions are also included, and bipedal companions may become basically warriors. Much to my joy, there also is the Martial Companion option, which allows for synergy with the fantastic Spheres of Might book. All in all, this section is an all but required modification and broadening of options.

Now, this does not mean that the pdf doesn’t offer archetypes – for example, there would be the alter ego vigilante: Instead of a vigilante identity, the alter ego trades places with an extraplanar allay until it’s time to resume social activity. Instead of assuming the identity via the vigilante’s usual rules, the archetype instead makes use of the Conjuration sphere, using class level as caster level, stacking with other CL-sources. The companion can’t have an Int of below 3, and the combined archetypes applied may not have an increased spell point cost. Basic awareness is shared between them, and Link/Greater Link apply, despite planar boundaries. Alter egos begin play with a single bonus (form) talent, and conditions/effects are not shared – when switched out, they run their course, so no poison-cheesing etc. However, once switched out, the other part of the team is otherwise safe. Vigilante talents only apply to the alter ego companion, and social talents may only be used by the character, not the companion. This replaces seamless guise and vigilante specialization and modifies dual identity and vigilante talents, but archetypes that alter the latter may explicitly be combined with this archetype. The companion may cast by taking Con-damage to use Call of the Departed, if any – this is not ideal. Speaking of which: The vigilante appearance-ability sequence leaves me puzzled in conjunction with this archetype – does the alter ego gain the benefits, the companion, or both? I have no idea. Since we now have two entities, these would require clarification to make the archetype work RAW.

The second archetype is the awakener armiger, who requires the use of Spheres of Might. This one receives only 2 customized weapons at 1st level. When customizing weapons, these guys also forge a connection to a spirit. As a full-round action, the awakener can make the spirit manifest, which acts a s a Conjuration sphere companion with the martial companion archetype applied and a CL equal to the class level of the awakener. Thankfully, only one such weapon spirit per awakener may be kept in play, and once summoned, they can’t be called again for 1 hour, preventing abuse by spirit-cycling. The ability also tightly codifies dismissal. Weapon spirits get an additional (form) talent at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. Additional customized weapons are gained at 11th and 19th level. Instead of rapid assault, the awakener may expend martial focus as an immediate action upon successfully damaging a creature or executing a successful combat maneuver. Unfortunately, this does allow the awakener to ignore the 1-hour cooldown, which ultimately means that I need my bag of kittens to beat up…As at least a minor drawback, this does render the awakener staggered for a round, but still. On the plus side, action economy of a spirit thus called is properly codified. At 10th level, 1/round when dealing damage to a creature with a customized weapon, the hit creature draws an AoO from the weapon spirit. At 15th level, the weapon spirit may instead execute an attack action against the target, which allows for fearsome martial combos! Cool! 20th level renders the duration permanent until dismissed or another spirit is called, and lightning assault no longer requires martial focus expenditure. There also are 3 unique prowesses provided for better weapon spirit flexibility and mental links or sharing a spirit’s knowledge. Apart from the slightly wonky cycling issue that should imho have a longer cooldown, a cool archetype.

The knight-summoner mageknight replaces resist magic and the 1st level talent with the ability to summon a pala/cavalier-ish mount, as codified by the Conjuration sphere. Mystic combat is replaced with a (form) talent for the mount, which may be exchanged as a kind of wild-card trick. At 11th level, this may be used quicker, with spell points as a means to even use it as a free action. Mystic combat’s benefits aren’t wholly lost, though – instead, marked is replaced at 7th level, allowing for the sharing of mystic combat benefits between mount and rider. 2 archetype-specific mystic combat options are also included. The pact master thaumaturge does not gain the casting class feature, nor magic talents from class levels, though his class levels do count as casting class levels for Counterspell etc. Instead, the pact master forms a pact in an 8-hour ritual, granting a pact companion, which may then be called forth with a 1-hour ritual This functions as a companion with CL equal to class level, with CL not stacking with other sources. The pact companion remains for 24 hours and gets a bonus (form) or (type) talent at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, though a companion still can only have one type. (It should be noted that Undead Creature has been retroactively declared a (type) talent. While within Medium range of the companion, the pact master gains a CL equal to class level, and a magic talent, plus another one at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter. A pact master may retain up to three pacts, and it is suggested that talents granted should correlate to the nature of the companion. This replaces occult knowledge and basically makes the class behave more like a witch/warlock from folklore, one that draws strength from the proximity of otherworldly allies. Extensive adveice for building pact companions is provided, and instead of forbidden lore, the companions can channel energy into the thaumaturge, boosting CL. Cool: Instead of the percentile mechanic, this causes the companion to take Constitution burn – a more elegant mechanic than that employed by e.g. the awakener. The archetype does come with pact invocations to redirect damage to them, share forms, etc. – rather extensive and interesting archetype!

The twinsoul elementalist modifies the elementalist class (D’uhh) and replaces weave energy with Conjuration and Destruction access. The interaction with pre-existing spheres is properly noted, and the companion is known as elemental conduit, who gets the mage archetype and the destruction sphere locked into the chassis. Instead of 2nd level’s combat feat, we get the destructive capacitor ability, which is pretty cool: The twinsoul elementalist can charge the conduit, who then receives temporary spell points and more powerful blasts. Neat one! Favored element is replaced with bonus damage from such charged shots. Cool, meaningful engine tweak. The void wielder armorist replaces summon equipment with a special weapon, the void blade, which may retain the essence of up to two creatures – whenever a creature is slain with it, a fragment of their essence remains in the hungering blade. The void blade may meditate an hour on such an essence, calling forth a duplicate of such a slain being, which behaves as a companion, with CL stacking with other sources. This companion only remains for 1 round per HD of the original creature sans concentration; for 1 spell point, it’s one minute per HD instead. Minor nitpick: Should have a “minimum 1 round/minute”-clause. Other than that, I do consider this to be a flavorful one, as such duplicates can impersonate the original creature rather well…3 signature arsenal tricks allow for further customization, for example for an additional essence stored, harder raising of those you’ve slain, etc. Nice ones!

Beyond these archetypes, we get an arsenal trick to have summoned or bound equipment appear in the hands of a Conjuration companion, and we have a mystic combat for banishing strikes.

The most important aspect of the book, though will probably be, at least for a significant amount of folks, the new base forms. Huge plus: The avian form does not break the low-level flight assumptions! Ooze and orb form are also interesting – particularly since the latter has a distinct and different means of preventing low-level flight exploits. Huge kudos for going the extra mile there and making these feel distinct and different. Finally, there also would be a vermin base form added. We do get a total of almost 30 new talents for the Conjuration sphere, which provide a diverse array of customization options many a player had wanted: There is one that lets you spend an additional spell point to choose another base form for the companion when calling it. There is a means to re-summon vanquished companions with negative levels. Camouflaged companions, granting feats…pretty nice. In a pretty obvious glitch, the Climbing Companion (form) talent does not have its name properly formatted. You can have your companion explode upon being defeated; you can have constructed companions, ones that have adapted to extreme environments. You can have companions with diseases, Mounts (as could be gleaned from the archetype), companions with ki points and monk-y tricks, ooze companions, planar and plant creatures, companions with minor rage, you can bestow swallow whole, increase companion Int, have blood-related companions, companions that act as spell conduits…what about ones with SR or those that come with magical quarterstaffs? Superior senses? You get the idea – this greatly enhances companion versatility. Furthermore, the pdf expands the companion progression table to the lofty heights of 40th caster level!! I know quite a few folks who enjoy super-hero-esque/gestalt-y gameplay that will love this extension.

A total of 8 advanced magic talents can be found as well, with size changes to Fine or Colossal potentially possible, for earth creatures with earth glide, better companion fast healing, summing more companions, having ones that regenerate, and, much to my joy – swarm and troop companions! That being said, these talents are well-placed in the advanced section, in a good example that shows awareness of the different playtsyles and power-levels that the spheres of power system attempts to cater to.

To my further joy, we do get a cool summoning diagram incantation, as well as the summon extraplanar being incantation, both of which certainly retain their usefulness beyond the scope of this book. The pdf also includes, of course, a rather extensive array of feats – Advanced Circles builds on the Diagram advanced talent to quicker diagram creation. (As an aside: Here we can find one of the, alas, couple of instances where formatting isn’t perfect – in this case, a skill-reference is lower case’d.) Very potent and reminiscent of some of the more interesting psionics tricks would be the feat that allows you to pass concentration on to a companion. Destruction specialists may modify their exploding companions with blasts (now this does make for some messed up villain ideas…) and e.g. quicker manifesting for shadow creatures, substituting casting ability score for Cha when determining outsider DCs and haggling with them, companions with poisonous blood or better poison DCs…some cool stuff here! The sphere-specific drawbacks are also rather cool: Not gaining the summon ability, being locked into companion archetypes, requiring concentration for companion presence to be maintained – these allow for some specific and really cool flavors and sharing HD, for example, is another one I really enjoyed. These are fun and evocative – cool enough to make players choosing them for how they fit the themes. The pdf also includes two solid traits and a page of alternate racial traits for the planetouched races, kobolds and snake-blooded races (nagaji vishkanya, etc.). – nice. The equipment section provides a new item class, foldable circles, which do pretty much what you’d expect them to.

Kudos: Since conjuration is one of the notoriously trickier aspects to GM, the pdf does provide some GM advice…and for your convenience, an appendix reprints the more complex and often lesser known swarm and troop subtypes.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed a couple of hiccups regarding formatting and the like, and a few of the components could have used minor tweaks to make them a bit more precise. Not to the point where things stop working, mind you, but yeah. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the artworks within are mainly color-artworks by Rick Hershey – if you have the Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends supplement, you’ll be familiar with the majority of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Andrew Stoeckle’s take on the Conjuration sphere is one that leaves me torn at a very high level; one the one hand, I consider this pretty much to be an essential expansion for the Conjuration sphere. On the other hand, there are a few hiccups in the admittedly high complexity of the design here, and companions/pets can become rather potent, rather fast. That being said, the engine tweaks presented often do rather interesting things; the drawbacks are intriguing, and there is plenty to love here. If anything, this book had to provide a rather significant amount of material that one would have expected from the base sphere, but couldn’t get due to page-count concerns. As such, the book, as a whole, provided for the most part what I expected to see, and provided the means and flexibility I expected to find. As a whole, I ended up enjoying this pdf, and it may not be mind-blowing, but it is very much a book that Spheres of Power-games using more than basic Conjuration will all but require in the long run. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Conjurer's Handbook
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Trickster's Handbook
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2018 19:37:57

Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon campaign for this product and paid the full price for it.

We're almost done with the basic handbook series - but The Trickster's Handbook takes the consistently-high quality of this series to a particularly high level. Put frankly, this is a FUN book. Illusion has always been one of the most powerful spheres when used by a creative mind, and this major expansion to its options means illusionists can do more than ever before.

This handbook adds some talent types and errata's most of the original Illusion talents to sort them into specific categories. It also adds many new basic talents, ranging from blurs and skill bonuses to helping allies and creating your illusions faster. Seriously, if you want to be an illusionist, this is probably going to be your favorite expansion ever. The sphere just went from good to great.

We also get quite a few Advanced Talents (with effects ranging from a bonus for UMD to drastically improving the range of your illusions), as well as many new feats. Aside from a slate of Dual Sphere feats, this book introduces Surreal feats, which use or rely on the half-real Shadowstuff. Fey Adepts will get the most mileage out of these feats, but they can be used by any Spherecaster.

This tome more than earns its 5/5 stars, and I highly recommend it for any game featuring the Illusion sphere.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Trickster's Handbook
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Creator's Handbook
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/17/2018 08:15:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Drop Dead Studios‘ expansion of the Spheres of Power-series clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1page blank, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We should start analyzing this book from the back, as the last chapter provides quite a few rather important clarifications of the Creation sphere’s parameters – particularly, the woefully brief definition of what can and can’t be created receives a much-needed, more precise clarification that should prove to be a boon for many GMs out there. Interaction with magic items, anchoring items and destruction/dismissal of objects also are very much relevant. Additionally, the base sphere now allows for the expenditure of a single spell point to extend the duration to 1 minute per level SANS concentration. That part is important and helps render the sphere significantly more appealing. The pdf also clarifies the interaction of the creation of multiple falling options and size categories and the creation of slippery and dangerous terrain. Similarly, the creation of very small objects and dropping objects is tightly codified, making these rules-clarifications pages worth the price on their own.

All right, that out of the way, if we do tackle this supplement in a linear manner, we begin with a well-written introductory prose before presenting an assortment of new archetypes, which begins with the lingichi warrior for the armorist base class, who receives proficiency in light and martial + 1 exotic weapon as well as light armor and shields, excluding tower shields. Instead of summon equipment and quick summons, the archetype provides armory arena, which allows for the summoning of an infinite array of weapons surrounding the warrior, causing damage in an area surrounding the character that grows over the level, with damage caused allowing for the choosing of physical damage type. The character may exclude targets up to spellcasting ability modifier from the aura, and the aura leaves a difficult terrain of weaponry in its wake, allowing characters to pick them up and fight. Higher levels allow for the use of create in conjunction with the ability, making it possible to establish the aura in a faster manner.

Higher levels also provide the means to maintain multiple contiguous auras. Instead of bound equipment, higher levels provide scaling enhancement bonuses for these ephemeral weapons; armor training is replaced with nimble and the archetype receives no less than 10 exclusive tricks that provide the means to use spell points to increase the damage output, control between enhancement bonus and special abilities, establishing a kind of control within the arena, exclude targets from the difficult terrain effect, have weapons dance…this archetype is INSPIRED. I mean it. Perhaps it’s the otaku within me, but I found myself reminded of Fate’s Gilgamesh and similar characters. This is a very magical archetype, and obviously not one for super-gritty settings due to its theme and supreme magic item flexibility, but for high fantasy? HECK frickin’ yes!

Archetype number two would be the word witch for the fey adept class, who uses Intelligence as spellcasting ability modifier and gains, surprise, the Creation sphere as a bonus magic talent, replacing fey magic. Instead of master illusionist, creations made by the archetype that require maintenance or concentration, ultimately remain for +1/2 class level (min 1) rounds. Shadowstuff is replaced with a massive engine-tweak dubbed “words of creation”, which is powered by a word pool equal to Int mod + ½ class level, with the DC being the classic 10 + ½ class level + Int-mod, if any. These word points may be used to create a wide variety of effects that include the creation of runes of flame that may then be launched in bulk or against multiple targets; similarly pillars of ice trapping targets, severe blasts of wind (correctly codified!) and analogue effects can be created – overall, I enjoyed these and was once more reminded of a rather compelling ability array, with higher levels providing the means to render objects animated or silver them. The adamantine coating is also secured behind an appropriate minimum level, and the archetype provides an alternate capstone.

Next up would be the dustbringer mageknight, who gains proficiency with simple and monk weapons as well as light armor, and begins play with the wrecker oracle curse as well as Creation and the limited creation drawback – as always, this can be offset if the character already has the sphere. The archetype nets alter (destroy), which should, alongside the curse and name, cue you in on what it specializes in: The dustbringer is an unarmed monk-y item-destruction specialist that blends unarmed strike with alter (destroy) and sports 7 unique mystic combat options that include auras that can destroy incoming attacks, extend the ability of alter (destroy) to animated objects and constructs, or, with another talent, living beings etc. Minor complaint here: Formatting isn’t perfect in this one and somewhat inconsistent. Some moderate Destruction sphere synergy is also possible, allowing for (blast shape) talents to be added.

The thaumaturge may elect for the path of the knight of willpower, who modifies forbidden lore to add +50% CL increase to Creation, Light and Telekinesis, though this does not influence invocation bonus. This may be boosted even further, but at the cost of unavoidable backlash. I consider the increase here to be somewhat overkill – sure, the drawback is significant, but the escalation of CL is something that worries me greatly. The meditation and lingering pain invocations are replaced with Will-save rerolling and adding a shaken effect to glow effects from the Light sphere. They also get a buff/debuff aura versus fear plus immunity instead of occult knowledge, and an alternate bonus feat list. Incanters can gain two new specializations, one of which, at 2 points, Master of Creation, prevents taking Sphere Focus (Creation) and represents a specialization here, while Sword Birth nets armory arena and limited arsenal tricks. Hedgewitches may choose the new transmuter tradition, which nets Knowledge (engineering) and (nature) as well as Intimidate and limited use item changing via touch that improves regarding the maximum size of item affected at higher levels. Later, these folks may transmute objects into creatures and animals into different types, while also bestowing knowledge on how to use this new body via one of the 4 new tradition secret. 3 grand ones are also included here. A general one allows for dabbling in these tricks, and the section closes with a talent for the unchained rogue to create tools.

The undoubtedly most important chapter within this book, though, would be the basic magic section, wherein the creation of alchemical items and poisons is tightly codified and makes for a very important, and flexibility-wise super cool modification. Similarly, being capable of altering unattended non-magical objects in burst is great…and creating objects with momentum makes dropping objects on foes a significantly more feasible option. Fans of the Loony Tunes should take heed! The update of the Expanded Materials talent, which encompasses acidic creation, gaseous creation, plasma production, etc. is similarly a godsend. Magnifying and minimizing objects, creating matter from force, generating significant amounts of liquid…and what about the talent that lets you generate a constant stream of replicas with your effects. Manipulating how rigid objects are, creating restraining cases for targets, making material transparent…this chapter is a complex expansion to the sphere that it desperately needed, and it presents a whole slew of versatile options for clever players.

The advanced talent array this time around, and it contains 10 advanced talents; as an aside, I am not the biggest fan of the talent Plasma Production having the same name as the ability of the subsection of aforementioned Expanded Materials: Plasma Production; a single “advanced” or somesuch word would have made working with the nomenclature here easier, but that is me nitpicking. And yes, this allows for the creation of energy weapons. Want a light sword? There you go! Really high-level characters can learn to create adamantine and similar materials, and yes, with these, you can use advanced talents to modify the body of targets into other materials. Skin of gold? Yes, siree! There also are crossover tricks here – spherecasters that also have the Nature sphere and fire package can create/alter lava and magma. Picture me cackling maniacally here. All in all, I very much enjoyed this section as well.

The pdf then proceeds to present no less than 12 different feats. Once more, formatting is not always perfect within these pages, but there are feats that provide multiclassing support…and there are some really neat ones: One lets you ready an action (alternatively, works with spell point + immediate actions) to alter destructive blasts and codifies the types via damage and interaction there correctly. Countering ranged attacks and spell effects is another pretty potent and cool option here. The classic Dual Sphere talent array that we expect here is included as well, providing synergy with e.g. Enhancement and Telekinesis. Creating longer walls and disguise specializing via wardrobe creation may be found as well. 4 traits can be found – these are potent and meaningful, going beyond boring numerical bonuses.

The drawbacks presented are interesting: Being limited to water/ice/steam creation, to gaseous forms or needing to be in contact with objects certainly made me think of comic book heroes and interesting character concepts. Using your own body in a painful way to “create” could be seen as an interesting engine base-line to duplicate an array of iconic scenes as well. The pdf also sports a new general drawback that requires the drawing of a diagram to work – this reminded me, obviously, of Full Metal Alchemist – and that is a good thing. The section also presents 7 alternate racial traits that focus, unsurprisingly, on the Creation sphere.

Finally, it should be noted that the pdf contains 6 magic items. Beyond aforementioned energy swords, there is the +3-equivalent plasma blade property; Wall slats allow for a the creation of expanding walls as a nice low-cost item. The wizard’s cube of gaming is basically a fold-out gaming table and acts as a challenge of skill and luck that rewards those that play well; two variants of this item are also part of the deal here.

Conclusion:

Editing per se is very good on a formal and rules-language level; formatting, on the other hand, isn’t. I encountered quite a bunch of faulty italicizations and formatting instances of rules-relevant material, and due to the complexity of the system at hand the nomenclature employed, these deviations made a couple of rules harder to grasp than they otherwise would have been. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a couple of solid full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Michael Uhland has vastly improved his design-game since his humble beginnings. The handbook for the creation sphere certainly was one of the harder ones to craft, much less provide inspiring and interesting content for. This pdf manages to achieve that and makes creation fun and exciting, clarifies rules and vastly expands the material at hand. This would, were it not for the annoying formatting hiccups, my favorite handbook in the whole series so far; it offers a bunch of very interesting character options; unique feats, great talents – all in all, this is a really, really cool supplement and a worthy addition to the series. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, though I will round up for the purpose of this platform. The book is too good to round down. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Creator's Handbook
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Package: Air
by Jeremy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2018 16:59:23

This is a sorely needed update to Nature in terms of the Classic Four Elements. It could be argued that Weather was supposed to take up that slack, but that takes time to get going. This allows for the sort of instant "air bending" that feels truer to having an Air element.

Basic package gets you "cooling breeze that blows away gasses", "instantaneous strong gusts", and "purify air". There's some rules text about needing to make Magic Skill Checks to affect various weather severities.

Talents gets you: Absorbing Inhalation: Do the Superman trick of just breathing in harmful gasses. Air Ball: Create a platform of wind to ride on (no flying). Air Geyser: Fling someone upwards. Air Leap: Jump better because winds assist you. Air Support: Boost movement. Airlord: Raises how severe weather can be before you have to make a check to use your abilities. Buffeting Winds: Use wind to mess up melee and ranged attacks against you. Create Air: Self-explanatory. Feather Fall: Basically the same as the spell. Steal Breath: Not asphixiation, but makes breath-related stuff impossible or harder. Wind Blades: Create an area with winds so hard they do damage.

Advanced Talents: Whispering Wind: Send verbal messages up to 1 mile. For 2(!) spell points and being "advanced" this doesn't seem all that game/setting-breaking.

Updated Content: this mostly deals with updating previous options to include Air versions.

Nature Sight: Apparently they decided to stick a new (spirit) Talent at the end of this product. Each Nature package has it's own version, granting a special sense (though often limited from standard versions) plus the ability to ignore certain kinds of cover, particularly against being with a corresponding elemental subtype.

I mostly wrote this review to mention one oversight: there is nothing in this document updating the Wind Warrior (Expanded Options) to fall in line with the other X Warrior Elementalists. Even as unnecessary as it might seem one would think it's so minor they could have easily thrown it in with the other Updates.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Package: Air
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Spheres Apocrypha: Dark Talents
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/05/2018 07:00:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Spheres Apocrypha-series 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!

We begin with 7 new basic talents:

-Dampen Light: 1 minute per caster level variant of darkness that doesn’t require concentration to maintain; dims light by one step and can allow for (meld) talents to work, but not (darkness) talents. Effects that interact with darkness can apply to a Dampen Light area. May be taken twice for the option to move light levels by two steps. Interesting one.

-Dappled Shadows: Reduce darkness radius in 5 ft. increments to create a second sphere with a radius equal to the subtracted amount. You may do this multiple times to create multiple areas. Okay, so is each area the size of the subtracted total, or do the areas have to be paid for individually? I assume the latter due to a lack of other limitations, but it would have behooved the talent to specify that. The Wall of Darkness’ cubes may also be affected thus, eliminating the need to place them contiguously. Okay, how does that interact with Clinging Darkness? Does that allow for multiple targets? How does it interact with Rolling Blackout? Do all darkness effects move in the same direction? Can they be individually steered? I assume that these additional spheres are still treated as the original darkness, but rules-language could be clearer there.

-Dual Darkness: Spend a spell point to add two (darkness) talents to a single darkness. Get interaction with midnight right.

-Ranged Darkness: Increases range to Long.

-Shadowing Darkness: Make darkness cling to a target for one round after leaving your darkness, including effects; any light level but bright light is treated as total darkness, bright light as dim light while the effect clings to the target. If you spend a spell point when creating the area, the effects linger for +1 round per 2 caster levels, though a creature can attempt a Ref-save at the end of the turn to end it. Slightly odd mechanically: RAW, if the target is forcibly moved from the darkness, it gets no save from the talent, while with spell points, it does. This could be slightly more precise, but I’m nitpicking here.

-Shifting Shadows: As a free action at the start of your turn or when beginning your turn, you can remove 5-ft. squares (1 + another one per 2 caster levels) from the area to add them to another contiguous area of darkness. Has a limit of how many you can modify per turn.

-Umbral Burst: Spend a spell point to create darkness as a swift action. It only lasts for a round, but may not be maintained or extended. Nice one!

The pdf also sports 3 advanced talents:

-Eternal Darkness: 2 spell points, makes darkness permanent. It’s unmoving though. Problem: Works with Shifting Shadows, which RAW allows you to slowly move your permanent darkness effects around, a couple of squares at a time. The problem here is Shifting Shadows not specifying that the darkness reverts to its original shape.

-Pitch Black: Pure Darkness no longer counts against the number of (darkness) talents that may be applied to darkness. Additionally, lets you spend an additional spell point to make even bright light become darkness and limit other forms of sight.

-Vanish in Shadow: Lets the target benefit from Hide in Darkness meld, even when the target is in an area of darkness or dim light that you did not create. For +1 spell point, those affected by the meld also require Perception to be noticed by targets with blindsight and similar sensory effects.

The pdf also includes two sphere-specific drawbacks:

-Black Spot: Shrinks area of your darkness to 5 ft.; it can’t be changed in any way.

-Penumbra: You can’t use darkness or Darkness talents; instead, you are locked into Dampen Light as bonus talent.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level is very good. On a rules-language level, there are some minor hiccups in the details, but nothing game-breaking. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf has a solid stock artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need any at this length.

Amber Underwood’s dark talents are solid; while I was slightly saddened to see no new shadow or blot talents within, we do get a couple of nice ones. At the low price point, I will settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres Apocrypha: Dark Talents
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Spheres Apocrypha: Destruction Talents
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/03/2018 08:21:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of small expansion-pdfs for the Spheres of Power system clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin with 6 blast shape talents:

-Branding Taboo: By spending a spell point, the blast automatically affects a target in range; the target gets a brand and the caster specifies a general forbidden action, with the GM as arbiter as what does and doesn’t go. A list of suggested prohibited options or more detailed examples would have been nice here. The target is aware of this prohibition, which lasts for level rounds; I assume caster level to be intended here, analogue to the talents in the base book. At the end of any turn after executing the prohibited action, the target is affected by the blast, unless the target makes a Will save. A given target may only have one brand at a given time. Tying the brand to Will save is weird in my book and makes for a pretty potent effect. I assume that (blast type) remains consistent throughout the rounds of the duration, if any.

-Destructive Maw: Shape destructive blast as a swift action into a bite attack. “this bite attack functions normally in all respects, except instead of dealing damage and effects as normal for your destructive blast.” This lasts 1 round per caster level, and (blast type) talents need to be applied upon shaping, and may not be reassigned. Öhm. Yeah. While no longer at range, this allows you to combo REALLY nasty stuff, and the interaction between bite and blast is anything but clear. Str-mod? Multi Attack? Blast shape interaction? Nope, “functions normally” is not nearly precise enough.

-Energetic Affliction: Spell point use for auto hit sans attack roll. Lasts 1 round per caster level. Target takes damage at the start of the round on a failed Fort-save. Two consecutive saves end it; alternatively, the target may use a full-round action to make a Ref-save with +4 to end the effect. Does the Ref-save happen at the start of the round? Or after taking the full-round action? Also: This does not have the limitations of Branding Taboo regarding consecutive effects, which can make this rather brutal.

-Energy Nova: 10 ft. +5 ft. per 5 caster levels burst blast, Ref for ½ damage. Excludes caster at his/her discretion.

-Energy Rift: Choose a corner from a square in range and draw a 10 ft. + 5 ft. per 5 caster levels line; all squares must be in range. Everything in that line must take a Ref-save, ½ damage on success.

-Mutable: Create an area of contiguous 5 ft. cubes, max 5 + 1 per 2 caster levels. One must be adjacent to you. Targets in the area must succeed a Ref-save, ½ damage on a success. This is really weird. It’s arguably better and easier to control than most blast shapes. Shouldn’t this one cost spell points to make up for the increased flexibility?

The pdf also features 4 other talents:

-Damage Control: Change damage to nonlethal (or increases nonlethal damage output with (blast type); gets the interaction with damage types right. Also lets you forego damage. Damn cool!

-Demolition: Better attacks versus inanimate objects.

-Energetic Response: Make AoOs with destructive blasts, with a reach of 5 ft., + 5ft. per 10 caster levels. You may execute these as melee touch or ray attacks. (Blast shape) may not be applied and this type of blast doesn’t provoke an AoO.

-Spirit Blast: Blasts affect ethereal targets and incorporeal targets normally, negating the defense-boosts.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the pdf is good, but not as precise as usual for the author. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf has a single stock artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Amber Underwood’s talents are interesting, though I also found them to be internally inconsistent in the power levels they offer, falling on the more potent side of things. I’m not sure I’d allow them in all my games. The pdf also has a few instances where it could have been more precise. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres Apocrypha: Destruction Talents
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Wraith
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2018 18:29:16

Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon that helped to create this class, and paid the full price for it.

It's been awhile since we've had a new base class for Spheres of Power - the more recent Spheres of Might and Champions of the Spheres have had their own classes, but the Wraith is a true spherecaster. The Wraith is a mid-BAB, mid-spherecasting class with good Reflex and Will saves.

This class focuses on three powers: An incorporeal wraith form (usable in rounds/day), a Haunt Path (the manifestation of their haunting powers, with many thematic choices), and Wraith Haunts (special abilities gained at 3rd and every odd level thereafter to improve the Wraith's powers). Between the flexibility of spherecasting, the many path choices, and the multitude of haunts, the Wraith is a flexible class and builds can end up playing very differently.

All in all, this is a solid addition to the spherecasting roster - and a great choice if you want to play a character that's on the spooky side.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Wraith
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Champions of the Spheres
by Brendan E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2018 02:07:28

Champions of the Spheres is the follow-up to Spheres of Might and Spheres of Power, and it goes off the assumption that you have both books. I don't know why you'd buy this book if you didn't, but the point is that it requires those two books to function properly.

Originally supposed to be a part of Spheres of Might, Champions of the Spheres is the combination of the two systems and has unique ways to mix and match mystical and martial might. It should be noted that this books has no new spheres, but it has three new classes, a ton of new archetypes and class options to use both systems to their maximum potential. It also has a bunch of new feats and with it a new feat type: Champion feats. Basically, these feats require you to have both systems to take. Also, most of the classes and archetypes in this book have a new class feature called Blended Training. Basically, whenever you would get a talent due to level-up (as opposed to your martial tradition or the 2 free talents all casting classes get), you can pick either a combat talent or magic talent and you use your key ability modifier for both systems. Let's start from the top:

The Prodigy is a 3/4th BAB midcaster based on your choice of Int, Wis or Cha; good Reflex and Will saves and 4+Int skill points. The prodigy has a unique feature called Sequence. Basically, you have to start a sequence you need an openeer, which include many basic things like defeat a monster, hit with an attack, etc. You then need to follow it up with links, which are a bit trickier (disengage, make a save, etc), all building up to a finisher which do things like get temp HP, automatically threaten a crit with ther next attack, etc. The interesting thing is that each of your spheres give you more options for your sequence, so it pays to have a breadth of spheres rather than picking one or two and going deep into them.

The Sage is a 1/2 BAB Proficient practitioner based on Wisdom, all good saves and 4+Int skill points. The Sage is a very monk-ish class; it gets the Monk's Wis-to-AC and a ki pool, but that's where the direct correlation ends, as a sage has a variety of ways to channel their ki called Esoteric Training, either to debuff foes, buff himself, or just fired it at foes as la DBZ. They also bonus talents in the form of the Style talents every odd level, which can be combat or magical a la Blended Training. They also get Esoteries on even levels like a rogue talents, though most are limited based on which Esoteric training you chose, but include things like 1hr/level flight, raising people from the dead, and even Krillin's Destructo Disc by essentially giving a blast the vorpal weapon special ability.

Finally, the troubador is a 3/4th BAB lowcaster and proficient practitoner based on Charisma, with good Reflex and Will saves and 6+Int skill points. What sets the troubador apart is that they have secondary identities known as Personas (insert "I am the Shadow, the true self" joke here). Baiscally, they are dramatic archetypes (in the original sense) where you play the role of a servant or a theif or a mage and get abilites from the part. It's worth noting that if you choose one part and you find it not to your liking, you can swap it out for another, but it takes 5 days to 'craft' a new persona, so don't do it willy-nilly. You also get a bunch of things that help you be a sneaky face, like halving the time it takes to Gather Info, or bluff truth detecting magic.

As mentioned, there are a bunch of archetypes, some quite simple (like the ones for Mageknight and Amorist that just give them blended training), and others are more involved, like the Antequarian, an Armiger who loses full BAB to learn how to put magic talents in their customized weapons or the Vector, basically an updated Telekinetic Warrior that makes the most of the new system. There is a practioner archetype for the Shifter, but alas it isn't compatible with the Warshifter, so no double dipping with Path of War. There's also a few class options for classes that can dip without needing a full archetype, like a new Hedgewitch Tradition and some bestial traits for the shifter.

Other than about a dozen feats, the rest of the book is about Unified Traditions. You see, any class that is both a caster and a practitioner at level 1 gets 6 talents to set them up, the two for being a caster and your martial tradition. Unified Traditions seek to find a way to set both up your initial talents and your casting tradition. A unified tradition has a bit more leeway, as some of them have 3 combat talents and 3 magic talents, or 3 combat talents, a bonus feat and 2 magic talents or the like. Even if you allow custom traditions, I'd be wary about custom Unified Traditions as there's a lot of ways to mess that up. There's also a half dozen NPCs that you can include in your game world or just use as a template on how to build a character, but they are mostly there as a way for backers to get something into the book, but it's still functional and flavorful, so nothing to complain about.

In conclusion, the champion classes are a bit trickier that the Spheres of Power or Spheres of Might classes, so you might not want to jump right into this material, but once you've got the system mastery to handle it, there's a lot of good material to use in here. Happy gaming!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Champions of the Spheres
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Spheres of Might
by Brendan E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2018 22:50:56

If you've ever gone on RPG forums and read about Pathfinder (and to a greater extent, 3rd and 3.5th Edition D&D), it becomes obvious that, all other things being equal, not all classes have the same capabilites and some can do way more than others. There's a term that shows up to describe this: Caster/Martial Disparity.

Now, one of the major problems that Spheres of Power, the predecesor for this book, did is to lower the ceiling as to what magic can do. There's no more planar binding to get efreets to chain gate spells and summon an aribtrarily huge number of them to fight for you, or fabricate enough wood to destabilize the economy, or any of a dozen of other things that Pathfinder only partially fixed, so your caster types aren't doing everything by themselves and making everything of note.

But we're not here to talk about Spheres of Power, because the casters being too powerful was only half the problem. The weapon guys (or 'martials' to borrow a word) only had damage. If the problem could be fixed by stabbing it, they were fine, but literally anything else needs be done they might as well just wait for the caster to do it. Add to the fact that they all had the extremely same-y turn of "I move/I move and attack/I full attack/I charge/(if they were lucky) I charge and full-attack. That's where this book comes in.

Not only does Spheres of Might allow for a diverse array of fighting styles (They described it as "Every Soul Caliber character can be made with 2 spheres"), between the classes (8 in total) and the spheres, there are a ton of stuff that was previously caster only. Healing and removing debuffs? Alchemy sphere. Want an animal companion or familiar? The Beastmaster sphere. Minionmancy? The Commander class can do it wonderfully. Bringing someone back to life? The Scholar class (especially the Doctor archetype) is the one you're looking for.

Between Spheres of Might and Spheres of Power, there is a consolidation of power so pretty much everyone can keep up with the action without either hogging the spotlight or feeling useless. While they can be used seperately, I find they complement each other really well, especially with the addition of Champions of the Spheres, the "gish" book that marries the two systems. With these options, you can have a lot of fun and balanced gameplay that the core materials just don't always live up to.

As an aside, no 3rd Party system for martials is complete without talking about Dreamscarred Press' Path of War. While POW is a fun system that lets you do a bunch of stuff, in the end, it's about giving you extra mobility having damage be done with Standard Action attacks that give bonus damage to "make up" for lost full attacks. And while there's a lot you can do with the system, what it boils down to is that, for the most part, they're combat only. Very little a, for example, Stalker does matters if combat's not an option. Maybe they've got a stance that gives them a neat buff, or maybe they'll use their skills, but since everyone has skills and only a handful of stances help out of combat, for a good chunk of the adventure, they're stuck in the backseat, waiting for a fight to break out.

In conclusion, Spheres of Might and its sister book Spheres of Power deserve to have a place in your campaign for reasons ohers more skillful than I have proven, and I just wanted to say something to that effect. Happy gaming!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres of Might
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Spheres of Might
by Jonathan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/20/2018 02:55:17

With nine new classes and hundreds of combat talents this book gives a wide range of options and is excellent resource for macking martial charcters fun. Allows warriors to shine on and off the battlefield without needing to be spellcasters, and gives options for evertything ranging from frontline killing machines to alchemists, trapsmiths and devious tricksters. The sheer level of custmisization possible may seem intimidating at first but the book is well laid out and very easy to understand. An emphasis on mobile fighting and standard actions eliminates the full action slog pathfinder warriors often seem to get locked into and creates a more dynamic battlefield in which every action is useful.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wizard's Academy
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2018 07:09:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

All right, this massive module & bestiary clock in at 214 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a whopping219 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Wait, before we dive into the module: If you are only interested in the bestiary section, which takes up 124 pages of the pdf, you should know that it is available as a stand-alone file, as "Fantastical Creatures and How to Survive Them - A Student's Guide for Adventure & Study." If you want to know about these creatures and what I think about them, please consult my review of that tome - the combined reviews should provide the information you need for an informed decision.

The next thing you need to know before we get into the nit and grit of this module would be that this is very much a highly modular book: This is reflected in the villain choice, who is randomly determined for massive replay value. Adding further to that would be the tiers: The book features color-coded boxes for 5 tiers and different objectives for players, depending on the raw power-level:

Tier encompasses levels 1-4; tier 2covers levels 5 - 8; tier 3 levels 9 - 12, tier 4 levels 12 - 16 and tier 5 levels 17 - 20. So yeah, you may run this module in a wildly different way, multiple times, if you're so inclined. It should also be noted, in case you're not aware of that, that this module makes ample use of the Spheres of Power system.

All right, and this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILER-territory. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! Windfell Academy is situated on the world of Skybourne and can relatively easily be used in any world that has a sufficiently prominent and organized magic tradition - as such, it fits best with high fantasy worlds. But the academy is different from regular schools: One look at the stats for the professors should make clear that this is quite probably THE wizard's academy of the world. They pretty much almost all clock in at epic CR 20s, with the headmaster transcending even their mighty powers. The academy circles the planet atop a massive, floating island...and it specializes in secondary education, which, yes, means that this place is for the pros. As such student disappearances are not really uncommon - but lately, they have been happening more often...and a month ago, none other than the headmaster has vanished!!

The deputy headmaster, the tiny gnome archmage Tocs has vowed to keep the school open...but the headmaster needs to be found...and it is quite likely that the PCs, enrolled as students, will have all of their hands full with the rigorous studying required - here, the module is somewhat reminiscent of Persona, in that tiredness, end of the week tests, classes and adventuring have to be managed by the party. A teacher will be designated ally, one villain, and this constellation influences directly the read-aloud text and respective interaction that the various events that are interspersed throughout the module's day-to-day-routine. These events also include tests of various types of prowess and may yield information, magical items, etc.

The module also allows for the gathering of rumors, provided your time-management skills are up to par, and a small cadre of supporting cast characters, no less colorful than the amazing Profs, makes for a nice help. Speaking of them: Beyond the stat-information provided in the bestiary section, the respective professor entries sport the villain clues...and in e.g. the tier 5 scenarios, they have the Great Ally - a vastly powerful wildcard that makes their threat even more potent. Better yet, the colorful and intriguing Professors, amazing characters one and all, feature valid justifications for being both allies, villains or neutral parties - the module manages to retain its internal logic in all of the characters. Impressive indeed!

The academy, just fyi, covers no less than 4 floors and 2 dungeon levels (all featured on player-friendly maps denoting the respective areas - for they ARE the regular spaces of the academy) - and now that the basic set-up of the plotline has been customized, the adventuring can begin...though it should be noted that the surrounding landscape is also properly mapped...and that is not even the primary adventuring locale, for there are levels of secret dungeons under the academy - abandoned, at least seemingly, and teeming with dangerous threats, powerful foes and highly modular challenges. the dungeon-levels are massive, their effects are creative and diverse...and with rooms like vampire kitchens, abomination fighting arenas and the like, are certain to remain with the players long after the module is done.

Now here is the truly amazing aspect of the respective modularity: Each of the professors has his/her own lair - a final mini-dungeon, if you will - and these are fully mapped in gorgeous full-color as well - and yes, they are befitting of the respective personality! From caverns with underground rivers to floating castles, mighty workshops and the like, the respective boss lair-mini-dungeons are highly hackable and easy to use as stand-alone, smaller dungeons.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious accumulation of hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports solid, sketchbook-like artworks, which in particular make the bestiary section really feel like a field guide - it is an acquired taste, though, and will not sit 100% well with everyone. The cartography in full-color is excellent and now comes with full player-friendly map support!

Adam Meyers, with Andrew Stoeckle, Derfael Oliveira, Michael Uhland, Douglas Schaub, John Little and Casey Hayes, has created a massive, extremely modular adventure/ supplement that really surprised me.

Why? Because I really, really hate Harry Potter. I am not the biggest fan of the magic school trope. But this one is amazing - it is bonkers, creative and the unique professors and personalities are thoroughly captivating. The schedule and time management issues, the modularity - all of these potentially enhance the value of this book...oh, and as a bonus, it manages to feel a bit like playing a Persona game. Heck, I bet I could easily craft a whole campaign against the backdrop of this module and its evocative academy - add characters, students, etc. and there you go! Additional dungeons and materials are similarly easily sprinkled in, blending to a degree the boundaries between module and campaign setting. Particularly as a high-level module, when you get to use the cool NPCs and high-level threats, this really shines.

In short: This is well worth getting! The colorful NPCs and creative monsters and the modular set-up make this a really interesting offering that has plenty to offer beyond the plotline it features. In short: I really love this. If you're using Spheres of Power, then this is pretty much a no-brainer-purchase...and even if you don't, this may be worth it for scavenging-purposes. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, and since by now, player-friendly maps have been added, this now also gets my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wizard's Academy
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Abjurer's Handbook
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2018 12:50:25

Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon campaign to create this product and paid full price for it.

This is a 37-page, full-color product. The Protection sphere is an interesting one, covering many different ways of shielding characters from the challenges of their world. This book opens with a selection of new archetypes, including:

The Faithful Shepherd (a Cleric who specializes in healing and protecting

The Impossible Warrior (a Fighter who's especially good at countering magic)

The Living Weapon (an Armorist who summons pure magic for defense)

The Marshal Controller (a Mageknight who gains Practitioner talents and can set down rules)

The Shield of the Gods (an Inqusitor who can quickly create protections)

There are also a number of new class abilities, including Armorists' Arsenal Tricks, an Eliciter Emotion, a Hedgewitch Secret and Tradition, an Incanter Mastery, some Mageknight Mystic Combats, some Magus Arcana, and a few Rogue Talents. It's a nice spread of abilities, and helpful even for people who aren't playing Spherecaster classes.

After this, we get into the new Basic Talents. The Abjurer's Handbook introduces Succor talents, which can be used by sacrificing an existing aegis. Healing Aegis and Luck are errata'd to be Succor talents, and Healing Aegis has had its spell point cost removed. This part of the book also gives some clarifications on stacking aegises and setting up barriers.

New basic talents include things like giving allies a miss chance, creating a series of barriers that fill specific squares (and must be destroyed individually or with AoE attacks!), and designating a warded creature as a friend who can be immune to sphere and supernatural effects that target the area they're in (even if those effects aren't from the caster).

New Advanced Talents include things like creating permanent wards and tying defenses so they're extremely effective against a specific foe (but not anything else). We also get two new Incantations (Demonseal and Impenetrable Dome) and a Ritual (Arcane Rune, which is cousin to a certain famous explosive spell).

The Feats section offers a variety of new abilities, though no new feat types this time around. We do, however, get a lot of Dual Sphere powers, as well as a multitude of Protection-focused options that let you do things like use your Base Attack Bonus for your Caster Level (handy for full and 3/4ths BAB characters!) or ignore difficult terrain (more helpful if someone in the group is good at making that).

After three Traits, we get a series of new Drawbacks and a collection of items, including new weapon and armor properties, things for a Protection staff, a scaling item, and more.

The book closes out with a one-page Player's Guide, which looks at several ways of playing a Protection-focused character and how to get the most from them.

Overall, this is a solid addition to the Handbook lineup and well worth a 5/5 rating.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Abjurer's Handbook
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 74 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates