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#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Godling Feats
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2020 17:30:20

This pdf gives us 6 new godling feats. They all provide excellent material to give characters some unexpected abilities, and can be used immediately as they are written. But they are also very versatile. I often run a zero magic campaign which has a secret group of yogi-like characters in it - and U found that with very minor adjustments I found that four of the six feats -Ageless, Divine Immunity Planar Speech Spontaneous Resurrection - were absolutely perfect for them. The other two feats - Cursed Blow, and Plague of Spells will see service in my regular campaign. These feats are somewhat unique in that it feels like they’re stretching the rules, but they’re actually not. Great value! Thank you for making my game more interesting without making my brain hurt!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Godling Feats
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Starfarer's Codex: Soldier Gear Boosts
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/13/2020 05:21:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages devoted to new gear boosts, so what do we get?

Well, more than 30 new gear boosts, and these tend to offer some interesting options. We have, for example, Corpsman, which allows you to either heal the lower of half your ranks in medicine (not properly capitalized) or the item used’s item level in HP when patching up another creature. And before you ask, this does have a caveat that prevents spamming it. Devil dog helps you deal with fear-based condition when using a holographic sashimono. EPIC: DUCT TAPE! Tape two ranged weapons with Bulk 2 or less together, allowing you to quickly switch between them. And yep others can use it, but lacking your mastery of duct tape, they suffer some serious drawbacks. What about using fire extinguishers to end burn as a move action? And yes, does take larger creatures into account. Enhanced DCs for entangling weapons slightly better Dexterity bonus when lightly armored is also cool, as is the one that lets you use a camouflage membrane in the attuned biome sans cover or concealment – provided you’re far enough away from the creatures you try to hide from.

On the downside, there are two once per combat abilities – combat is an arbitrarily-defined segment of time; while using a shield generator once per combat as a move action, or granting allies a bonus when using an aurora or bright weapon for the first time in combat are both balance-wise totally okay, this still irked me on a rules-aesthetic level. As far as I know, only one of the captain actions in SFRPG’s starship combat has this per combat angle, and it irked me there as well. Tying this to 10-minute rests would have been a bit more elegant, imho.

That being said: A boost enhancer and awesome grappler moves (bionic commando, anyone?) can also be found; better restraining of targets, over- and undersized weapon use is covered (mainly for utility – oversized weapons don’t increase their damage RAW in SFRPG, so it’s about using your enemy’s weaponry), and we get an increase of the power of blocks. Increased penetration, no action extending, stabilizing or collapsing of bipods on solid surfaces…some cool stuff here. Extending blasts to twice the weapon’s range increment is potentially very strong and one I’d advise caution with. Shoot and scoot is also pretty potent, allowing you to shoot with a sniper rifle at the extended range and move as a full action afterwards. These latter two ones are probably the only ones herein where I’d be careful. They are not problematic per se, mind you – they just let you do really nasty things with the right build. Aiming through sights as a swift action is also covered.

Quicker use of motion detectors, treating all small arms as quick reload weapons, disarming weapons and tossing them aside – some neat ones here. Controlled advances while in defense and heavily armored…and what about the option to make opportunity attacks with unwieldy weapons, even though you already attacked? I also really liked the means to fire automatic weapons with less ammo expenditure, but at the cost of only hitting a maximum of 5 targets.

Cool: The 7th-level boost for consuming twice the ammunition when firing a line weapon to enhance its breadth to 10 ft. At this level, we btw. also have a gearboost for a bonus to attack with starship weapons.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level – I noticed a few typos and some minor niggles, but nothing serious. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard with a nice artwork. The pdf has a bookmark for the editorial, in spite of its brevity.

Owen K.C. Stephens really knows what he’s doing, and it shows: The gear boosts presented here are potent, yes, but the impressive thing is that they make sense in some way – they are tied to the gear in question. There is never this disjoint, and all feel like they really represent expertise with the respective items. Now, some of the boosts are pretty situational, and I do have a few niggles here and there. However, the supplement is inexpensive, and offers some seriously cool options that brought a smile to my face – and these offset my niggles regarding this pdf. As such, my final verdict will round up from 4.5 stars – soldier fans should definitely take a look.

Endzeitgeist out.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Codex: Soldier Gear Boosts
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Star Log.Deluxe: Core Species Reforged
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2020 11:41:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

After a brief introduction, we begin with the reforged base engine, for buying ability scores works slightly differently:

Write down all 6 ability scores, and put 10 next to them. You get an ability boost, which you assign and can’t reassign sand a mnemonic editor or the like, and add 2 points to the ability score. You can also choose a flaw, which means you need to subtract 2 ability points from a chosen ability – if you do that, you get another boost, and you may not apply a boost and a flaw to the same ability score. A species’ vital traits entry lists the ability scores you can boost, but flaws remain yours to freely choose, at least usually. Then, you apply the theme’s ability score increase, and after that, you get 10 point to customize your character on a 1-for-1 basis. You can spend these however you want, but at the game’s start, ability scores cap at 18. Points must be spent and can’t be saved for later.

Simple, right? So, how does the engine proceed to work? Well, each species gets its vital statistics, which note the eligible scores for ability score boosts (and flaws, if relevant), the Hit Points, sizes, speed, sense traits (designated with the word “sense”, inherent abilities (designated as “inherent”), heritages (which may be specific or universal), and the character chooses two species traits, chosen from the character’s species or the “universal” list. The character gets an additional species trait at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

Okay, to give you an idea: Androids, for example, have the HP and size/type of the modeled species, with the android subtype, low-light vision, use their modeled species as ability boost guideline – this modeled species is chosen at 1st level. However, you only get to choose from the android and universal heritage, not that of your chosen species. The android-specific  heritage provided renders you immune to vacuum and eliminates the need to breathe, as well as providing a +2 racial bonus to saving throws vs. diseases, mind-affecting effects, poison and sleep due to having a higher amount of artificial components than biological ones. To contextualize this one, we should first take a look at the universal options available, right? Right!

The pdf first specifies two general subtype-y categories here – planar scion (self-explanatory) and kabeni; the latter represents individuals associated with undead, death magic, etc. These often include +2 racial bonuses to two skills for the planar scions, as well as resistance that scales: Aasimars, for example, get ½ their level or CR as a resistance to acid, cold and electricity. Planar scions generally change the type to outsider and gain the native subtype. Aasimars can, as a standard action, shed light, with dismissal noted, and this light can beat magical darkness, provided the origin’s CR or item level exceeds the aasimar’s – oh, and daily uses increase with level or CR. Duskwalkers are infused with the powers of purgatory, and are treated as having the ghost killer weapon fusion versus incorporeal undead, and these people get bonuses to saves vs. death effects and negative energy as well as re undead abilities. Yep, the classic ones like ifrit and undine are covered alongside the ganzi, and half-elf and half-orc can also be found here…and yes, you can be a kitsune with a half-elf or half-orc form! Cool, btw.: The ifrit get azimuth laser pistol integrated weapon blasting, including recovering charges – and yep, the ability upgrades properly at higher levels. Ganzi can get the Resolve-powered ability to force rerolls with their quibble ability. Being a skinwalker is btw. also one of the choices you can make, and being nograv-raised (Hello, The Expanse!) – also covered!

Now, it should be noted that the list of the universal traits actually makes you pay for the like – want to get the +2 skill bonuses or the resistance/save-bonuses for being a planar scion? You have to pay for them with one of the species traits you have. And these could also be used for being adopted: That’d let you choose a species and their culture, and reduce the DC of it by 5; you also can learn traits associated with the ancestry, provided it doesn’t require physiological traits you lack. If you’re a planar scion, you could also be ageless; if you’re a changeling, you could have a swimspeed and expanded lung capacity…or, you could be capable of surviving in space…or, perhaps you inherited dark eyes that can pierce through illusions, or you could control ambient atmosphere. Want to be able to speak with animals? That’s now universal as well, and same goes for a prehensile tail – makes sense in a world when augmentation is common, right? I certainly think it’s cool to have these all be options.

Let’s return to the android traits, shall we? These include augmentable (+ cybernetic augmentation for a system of your choice), infosphere integration lets you once per day when taking a proper rest choose a mental ability score-based class skill, or enhance that. Another trait lets you have a rebooting nanite upgrade in your brain, allowing you to reboot your brain (rerolled save!) via Resolve if suffer from a variety of conditions. Using Resolve to temporarily gain scaling fast healing…or what about your modeled species’ senses? Very much possible.

But there’s MORE to this than just modular universal traits and species traits. Know the realization that prehistoric humans are pursuit predators? That we are super-hardy and scary in comparison with other species? Well, humans in this system actually have that represented via the Pursuer ability! It’s great to see that type of information represented in the game. And there are coolnes here: Adrenaline Junkie, for example, nets you 2 temporary Hit Points per level or CR for 1 Resolve that don’t stack with themselves at the start of your turn, provided you are sufficiently stressed, so the GM has final say. Better harrying/covering fire and aid another, the option to shrug off fatigue and exhaustion, and more….what about, for example, delaying the onset of a saving throw-related effect for one round, at the cost of treating your result when you are affected as a natural 1, and the effect bypassing any immunities gained since activating the ability – so yeah, powerful, you won’t be cheesing this. Love it. This is also a good place to note the attention to detail in some of those: It bespeaks of extra care when two abilities that focus on representing teamwork (like those of humans and lashunta) actually feel and play differently.

Kasatha might be natives or starfarers, and includes drawing strength from your personal traditions, and what about using solarian weapon crystals as fusion seals? Lashunta are dimorphic, which partially affects the ability boost, with heritages being academic or psychic. The traits include being particularly adept at tackling insect races, and yes, you can have a Companion Creature Adept dinosaur!

Shirren get no less than 4 heritage castes to choose from, which include short-term flight (upgrades to unlimited at a proper level), better social skills and feinting, quicker Stealth, etc. – really cool. Oh, and you can be a combo caste with the right trait! What about an acidic, conical breath weapon that can’t be spammed? Obsession, communal spirit, natural weaponry? All covered. The latter are optional here – for the vesk, they are obviously inherent, and these also get a serious overhaul, with versions with flexible tails, better adaptation to water or venom as heritage options. And yes, the vesk venom is properly depicted. Know what I really loved seeing? You know, Starfinder is pretty meticulous regarding damage types – with the weird and nonsensical exclusion of natural weapons. Well, this pdf is actually more precise than the core rulebook and properly codifies damage types of natural weapons. I LOVE IT.

The ysoki’s rebuild is particularly interesting, with heritages to represent more anthropomorphic or therian ysoki; we have increased speed, quick scurrying on the floor, better flanking – in short, ysoki can become pretty darn agile and dangerous. And if you never liked them being frail – what about the trait that nets you an upgrade to 4 HP and Toughness? Yep, nice!

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

Alexander Augunas’ core species reforged are AWESOME. While they system-immanently allow you to create more specialized characters, the changes made to the species don’t hurt the balance of the game overall or jeopardize the implicit balancing assumptions of SFRPG. The species allow for a degree of customization that makes me really happy, and they become, well, more distinct. Indeed, as a whole, I think this supplement will actually prove beneficial regarding the balancing of races, and the planar scion options? Awesome. Come on, you know you always wanted to play a hardy duskwalker ysoki operative, or an aasimar vesk solarian!

The modularity proposed by this system is really cool, and the way in which it differentiates between the purely biological baselines and cultural aspects also helps you emphasize different stories. It is also full of those little flourishes in the details that show that the author really CARED. When a lesser author would have used one ability and copy-pasted it to several species, here, we have fine differentiation and tweaks that FIT the species and enhance their flavor.

The traits provided say a lot about the respective cultures...what’s not to like? I ADORE this booklet, and am really happy to see it, and know that I’ll get more out of this than just utility for my SFRPG-games!

Why? Because the system proposed herein, while finetuned for SFRPG, is also compatible with the one employed in Everybody Games’ upcoming Eversaga RPG, and having this level of flexibility for two systems? NICE. It works smoothly, is rewarding, and, most importantly, fun.

In short: This is a must-own book for fans of SFRPG. 5 stars + seal of approval, and this is now an EZG-Essential. Every SFRPG-campaign I run will use this. Also: Candidate for my Top Ten of 2020. Simple, elegant, rewarding. An inspired gamechanger that makes all species more versatile and rewarding.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.Deluxe: Core Species Reforged
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 10 Mage Armor Feats (Full Clip!)
by Carl H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2020 10:33:19

This product adds in common sense feats that allow spellcasters to gain AC bonus generally limited to bracers of armor, etc. - which >< only ever required mage armor with the associated crafting feat. Unfortunately, some may be a bit too conservative, but are easily buffed if deemed necessary - a better course than forcing the present officiator/GM to find a way to water a 3pp feat down.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 10 Mage Armor Feats (Full Clip!)
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Magic Firearm Properties
by Carl H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2020 10:22:49

Excellent and well-balanced firearm enhancements. Definitely worth the cost, especially when within the bundled option.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Magic Firearm Properties
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Defining A Galaxy
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2020 10:54:06

Bill Slavicsek was one of the driving forces behind the Star Wars Roleplaying Game by West End Games, a key figure in the development of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and the source of much Star Wars lore we still consider canon to this day. "Defining a Galaxy" is a fascinating account of how Bill found his way into the gaming industry, became involved with Star Wars when it was big but nowhere near as big as it is now, and helped to contribute to everything we love about the franchise to this day. I consider this book a 100% essential read for any fan of Star Wars and especially those who are also fans of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game by West End Games.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Defining A Galaxy
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Files for Everybody: Acrobatics Feats
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2020 15:11:49

A bite-sized, accessible expansion of Pathfinder 2E's skill feat selection that runs the gambit of simple and intuitive (e.g. using Tumble Through to make enemies flat-footed similar to a Feint action) to bold and cinematic expansions of the new rules (e.g. maximizing damage from falling on top of foes). A few things may get confusing at the table (e.g. directionality of surfing forces) and some of the prerequisites don't seem to line up (e.g. a level 4 feat with Master in Acrobatics as a prerequisite, even though Master-level proficiency can't be achieved until 7th level in all but the most extraordinary circumstances), but overall this was an excellent investment given the price point and the caliber of the writing.

I bought this on a whim, and I'm glad I did; it has definitely piqued my interest in the Files for Everybody product line.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Files for Everybody: Acrobatics Feats
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The Grimoire Arcane: Book of Eight Schools
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2020 12:19:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

Okay, so what is this? In short, it’s a selection of 8 specialist wizard classes, one for each of the big schools. As such, we assume d6 HD, 2 + Intelligence modifier skills per level, good Will-saves and full 9-level spellcasting progression governed by Intelligence as casting ability modifier, and the progression is based on the wizard’s spells per day, as well as proficiency with select simple weapons as a default here – but there are plenty of deviations from this paradigm, which I’ll call out in the coverage of the individual respective class. The classes gain a special spellslot that may only be used for their specialty school. All of the classes come with favored class bonuses for the core-races minus the half-elf and half-orc, but plus orc.

Got that? All right, so, the abjurer is proficient with all 1-handed and ranged simple weapons, as well as boar spears and light armor, and they may cast arcane spells in light armor sans incurring the risk of arcane spell failure. This paradigm holds true for the other casters herein as well, just fyi – if they get armor proficiency from a class feature, they can cast in it. Same goes for wearing a buckler, just fyi! Spells must be taken from the abjuration, divination, transmutation or universal schools, and other schools’ spells are NOT on the spell-list. At 1st level, the character gains a bonded buckler, which may 1/day be used to cast an abjuration spell in the abjurer’s spellbook that they know and are able to cast sans preparing it beforehand. It may be enchanted and replaced, and provides the usual self-regeneration rules if only damaged. Abjurers use Intelligence, and not Constitution, to determine their bonus hit points when gaining levels in this class (important caveat to prevent dip-abuse!), and at 2nd level, they gain abjurer’s aegis, allowing them to choose one benefit when preparing spells: One nets resistance equal to the highest spell level they can cast to one of the core 4 energy damage types; number 2 nets DR of an equal amount, and number three nets a competence bonus to melee attack rolls equal to the highest level spell they can cast. At 11th level, two aegii may be chosen at once. Starting at 4th level, when wearing the bonded buckler, the abjurer may spend a swift action to grant the shield bonus to AC to all allies within 30 ft, or increase their shield bonus by this amount, with the effect lasting for Intelligence modifier rounds, up to 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day. 6th level nets Mettle, which is essentially evasion for both Fort- and Will-saves…and yes, abjurers have a good Fort-save.  

Starting at 8th level, they may absorb 3 times their class level, they first check for immunity, resistance or vulnerability, then apply the rest to this absorption. And yes, this RAW does apply to force, negative energy, sonic, etc. damage – but it is a limited ability. 10th level nets proficiency with medium armor and light shields (bonded item can now be such a shield as well), including casting in it, and 14th level upgrades that to heavy armor and heavy shields. At 12th level, whenever the abjurer dispels or counterspells an enemy’s spell, they get to scavenge the magic, prolonging the duration of an already cast abjuration spell by the negated spells’ spell level. Rules-wise, this is clever, as instantaneous spells or super-short duration ones obviously prevent use with counterspelling, but personally, I do think that it should specify that the spell to be prolonged must have a duration of rounds per level or more, but this is mostly aesthetics. At 16th level, the abjurer may expend a 3rd-level or 5th-level spellslot whenever they confirm a crit against an opponent as a free action, affecting the target with targeted dispel magic, or greater dispel magic, respectively. At 18th level, we have the ability to ward a creature by touch as a standard action, at will, and enemies have to succeed on an attack roll to attack the warded creature, including with targeted spells. Only one creature may be warded at a given time. The ability doesn’t list the saving throw formula, but, being SP; I think that 10 +1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier is an easy and intended default. The capstone lets the abjurer expend a spellslot of the same level or lower as an immediate action whenever the duration of an abjuration spell would expire, to prolong it as though it had just been cast. I really like the abjurer’s shield themes, and how it makes a defense mage really feel distinct. This is a winner.

Conjurers get proficiency with club, dagger, quarterstaff, simple ranged weapons and shortbow as well as longbow, and their spell-list covers conjuration, enchantment, necromancy and universal, with the exception of those referring to class features such as eidolons, and they also get the summon nature’s ally spell sequence. This is in as far interesting, as the special slot that conjurers get for conjurations only also require that you choose summon monster or summon nature’s ally, and said spell becomes the only one you can cast with this. Such spells also remain in effect for 1 minute per level, rather than the usual 1 round per level, and may be cast as a standard action. The latter is a significant power-gain, as summoned creatures act immediately on your turn, something usually offset by the 1 round casting duration. At 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the class gets one (summoning) spell added to the spell list and spells known, or the conjurer chooses a combat or teamwork feat, which ALL creatures summoned gaining that. This can be rather strong: The monsters do not RAW need to meet the prerequisites, just the conjurer. HOWEVER, you can only choose a feat you’d meet the prerequisites for to be granted by this ability, so in order to grant e.g. a feat tree to summoned monsters, you’d have to “waste” the prerequisite feats by taking them for your conjurer, so the requisite clause is fulfilled. 4th level nets Augment Summoning, and every 4 levels thereafter, we get to choose from a list of feats. The capstone makes all summon monster spells (but oddly, not summon nature’s ally) count as one spell level lower, including making summon monster I essentially a cantrip, and metamagic adjustments to such spells are treated as two lower. I won’t lie, this one sends my alarm bells ringing to a degree; the modified spell list does help keep it in check, but in order to make a final judgment on it, I’d need longterm data, which I don’t yet have. Short term, the option is certainly strong, and I’d be careful with allowing multiclassing here.

The diviner gets d8 HD, proficiency with one-handed simple weapons, lantern staves and light crossbow as well 3/4 BAB-progression and good Reflex- and Will-saves. We once more have a bonus spell slot for divinations, and spells are drawn from abjuration, divination, transmutation and universal schools. The class begins play with Scribe Scroll, and always gets to act in the surprise round, but is flat-footed until they acted. Detect Expertise is gained at 2nd level, and a whole plethora of detect spells is added to the spell list and list of spells known at 2nd level as well. Their CL is also treated as 2 higher when casting such spells. 4th level nets uncanny dodge, 8th level improved uncanny dodge; 14th level provides evasion, 18th level improved evasion. 6th level provides the detect weakness ability to use a move action to choose a creature within 30 feet, which takes a penalty to AC and saves versus the diviner’s spells and attacks equal to ½ the diviner’s class level for one round, usable 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day as a move action. This is pretty brutal and can be overkill: There is no save, and a 14th level diviner could impose a -7 penalty to e.g. saves versus transmutation’s save or suck spells like flesh to stone and the like, which is an almost guaranteed success, unless the target has REALLY high related ability scores and good save, and then it’s still a stretch if the diviner is halfway decent in their optimization. This ability is imho overkill and could have used a whack with the nerfbat. The ability’s range extends to 60 feet and may be activated as a swift action at 11th level. 10th level nets +1/2 class level to Perception. At 16th level, they autodisbelieve phantasms and get a +5 insight bonus and an automatic disbelieve save when coming within 60 ft. of illusions. The capstone lets their scrying sensors pierce lead and makes their sensors 5 harder to detect, as well as always treating them as having firsthand knowledge. In case you were wondering: I’d make detect weakness’s penalty based on ½ the highest spell level they can cast instead – that’d be e.g. -3 if they can cast a 6th level spell, which seems more in line than the escalating  class level based scaling.

The enchanter gets proficiency with brass knuckles, cestus, blade boot, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, quarterstaff, sap, spring blade and war razor, and draws spells from enchantment, illusion, necromancy, universal. Their governing spellcasting ability score is Charisma, and they gain each level a bonus skill rank for Bluff and Diplomacy (normal cap applies), as well as half their class level  as a bonus to those skills. At 2nd level, when attacked and damaged by a non-reach melee weapon, they can use an immediate action to generate a blast that may daze the attacker briefly, usable 3 + Charisma modifier times per day. No daze-locking, btw., and creatures with more HD are immune to it. Nice! 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter net a teamwork feat, which the enchanter may then share with a creature affected by their charms or compulsions as a swift action for 3 + Charisma modifier rounds. The creature DOES NOT have to meet the feat’s prerequisites. This, of course, provides a justification for why you’d want to allow the enchanter to control you…which is a surprisingly interesting angle. 6th level allows enchanters to throw off enchantment effects, with one reroll per round, up to a maximum of their Charisma modifier attempts, minimum 1.10th level affects those charmed or affected by a compulsion as by Disruptive Spell, if the enchanter chooses so. 14th level lets the enchanter sacrifice a spellslot of equal level to remove the mind-affecting descriptor from a compulsion, which is made more potent by the capstone, which btw. also autogrants the teamwork feats mentioned before sans action expenditure required. 18th level extends single-target charm and compulsion spells to another target within 30 ft. of the first. A potent take on the enchanter that fared well in my tests – as a hint: At high-levels, these fellows may very efficient guildmasters etc. and puppeteer-style villains…just sayin’…

The evoker gets a ¾ BAB-progression, d8 HD and proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, as well as alchemical thrown weapons and one martial or exotic weapon of their choice. Spells are drawn from conjuration, evocation, transmutation and universal, and we get the bonus spell slot for, bingo, evocations each spell level. The class adds their Intelligence modifier to evocation spells that deal hit point damage, but may only add it once per target in the case of multi-target spells or thse spells that can split their target. This adds damage potential, but rewards the class for spreading damage. At 2nd level, evokers choose an elemental attunement to one of the 4 core energy types; the evoker may substitute the chosen energy type for the normal one of any energy-damage causing spell of the other 4 core elements not chosen. So, if you choose cold, you could e.g. cause cold damage with spells dealing fire, acid or electricity damage, which also can change the descriptor. The ability also determines the energy used in the second ability gained at 2nd level: The evoker can use a swift action to charge wielded weapons, adding +1d6 of the chosen energy per 2 class levels on the next attack, and said attack also benefits from a competence bonus equal to the highest spell level they can cast. The charge dissipates if not used, and the evoker gets 3 + Intelligence modifier uses. 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter net a combat or teamwork feat as a bonus feat. 8th level nets Vital Strike, and 6 levels thereafter, this upgrades to Improved Vital Strike, finally culminating at Greater Vital Strike at 18th level. The capstone nets fee and spontaneous Maximize Spell for evocations cast for Intelligence modifier times per day. Solid take on a battle mage.

Illusionists get proficiency with dagger, hand crossbow, iron brush, kerambit, sword cane, whip and tube arrow shooter as well as light armor, and also have good Reflex-saves in addition to the Will-standard. Their spell list draws from abjuration, divination, enchantment and illusion, and the added spellslots are freely available for illusions. They begin play with ½ class level as a bonus to Perception to detect traps and see through Disguise. Second level provides a bonus to their spell DCs if the target would be denied their Dexterity modifier to AC, and at 4th level, targets attempting to pierce an illusionist’s illusion must make a CL check to do so, believing that their effect worked as intended on a failure. 8th level nets an increased DC to disbelieve the illusionist’s illusions as well as an increased Spellcraft DC to identify their handiwork. 12th level nets a miss chance whenever the illusionist moved at least 10 feet, and 16th level nets the illusionist’s Intelligence modifier as a bonus to all saving throws as well as Bluff, Disguise and Stealth. The capstone negates true strike and similar effects used against the illusionist based on knowing the future, and also shields versus the usual detections. This effect may be suppressed.

The necromancer gets d8 HD, ¾ BAB-progression, and adds a good Fortitude-save to the Will-save default. Proficiency includes club, dagger, heavy and light crossbow, scimitar, scythe sickle, quarterstaff and light armor, as well as medium armor made from cloth, leather or hide. Their sell lists consist of the illusion, necromancy, transmutation and universal schools, and their specialization slots may be freely used with necromancy spells. The defining feature of this one would be the corpse companion; if said companion is lost or destroyed, it can be replaced relatively painlessly in 24 hours. At 2nd level, 5th level, and every 2 levels thereafter, the necromancer gets 2 corpse points used for augmenting the corpse, which act as eidolon evolutions. The corpse companion gets full Will-save progression, ¾ BAB-progression, as well as 2 skill ranks per level, excluding 3rd level. Over the course of the 20-level progression, the companion accumulates 10 feats, but to make up for that in comparison, the Ac bonus is less than that of the eidolon’s cap. The base forms available are a canid corpse, and Small and Medium humanoid corpses, which does suffice as a baseline to create additional forms if required. It should be noted that, since the corpse isn’t as mutable and absed on fixed forms, it does not need a maximum number of attacks listed. 3rd level, in case you were wondering, nets the necromancer channel energy, but negative energy only – and yes, at full level, not at the -2 You’d expect, so these fellows actually don’t suck in comparison to clerics in that regard. Minor nitpick: I’d have liked to see the pdf state that the companion does not count for the purpose of maximum undead HD controlled, but since I’s a class feature, that is no oversight – just something that requires a bit more in-depth rules knowledge than some GMs have.

Finally, we have the transmuter, whose proficiency lists includes battle poi, bladed scarf, cat-o’-nine-tails, chain spear, dire flail, double chained kama, dwarven dorn-dergar, flail, flying talon, gnome pincher, halfling rope-shot, heavy flail, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, meteor hammer, morning star, nine-section whip, nunchaku, sanetsukon, scorpion whip, spiked chain, urumi, whip, light crossbow and quarterstaff.  If you seriously end up using the quarterstaff with this awesome proficiency list, I really don’t know. The spell list includes conjuration, evocation, transmutation and universal, and the transmutation specialization slot isn’t limited to specific transmutation spells. The class adds good Fort-saves to the standard chassis. 1st level nets phase step, which is a 10 ft. per class level move action teleportation, usable 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day.  At 2nd level, all transmutations with a duration of 1 round per class level get +1 round, plus another round at 4th level and every 2 levels thereafter. 4th level nets the ability to sacrifice a spell of one spell level lower as a swift action when casting a transmutation to apply one metamagic feat known sans increase n level or preparing it ahead of time. Cantrips can’t be used thus – important balancing caveat. 6th level nets a -2 penalty versus the transmuter’s transmutations if the target is already under the effects of a transmutation. 8th level provides the option to sacrifice spell slots to maintain existing transmutation spells running out, but metamagic feats applied are not thus maintained, preventing cheesing with the previous ability. At 10th level, self-targeting with transmutations makes the character’s spells be treated as +3 CL. 12th level lets the transmuter, as a swift action, exchange a prepared spell with another in the spellbook, usable 1/day, +1/day every 2 levels thereafter. The capstone lets the transmuter change between different creature forms when affected by a given spell as a swift action, allowing for fluid shapechanges within a spell’s parameters.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good as a whole – bonus types are applied consistently, and apart from a “one/once” hiccup, both formal and rules-language are precise and well-wrought. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, and the artworks used are stock arts, some of which I hadn’t seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Michael Sayre’s 8 variant wizard classes are a difficult design proposition – we all know that a properly played wizard (or druid) is a fearsome monster at higher levels, and incisions into their flexibility must be justified, at least to a degree. The book does this in a rather smart manner, by making the specialists real, well specialists. The loss in spell flexibility is made up for by them simply being more fun to play, at least as far as I’m concerned, and I wish we had gotten these classes when thassilonian magic was introduced – they all fell surprisingly different from core wizards in how they play. Now, I get it – divination has to do with fate, and is unpopular in many groups anyways, so I totally understand why detect weakness is as strong as it is, but if your players are fond of diviner concepts, that’s the one part of the pdf where I’d advise in favor of using the nerfed solution suggested above instead.  On a very personal note, I absolutely adored both the enchanter and the abjurer. Both can be really potent if played right, and both feel VERY different from their standard specializations – these two imho warrant the asking price on their own, if you want my opinion. The necromancer is a kind of hotfix that makes arcane necromancers more on par with their cleric compatriots without stepping on the spiritualist’s toes. The evoker has a distinct soldier-mage feel to it…you get the idea. The book can’t well make up for the loss in versatility by eliminating parts of the most powerful spell list in PFRPG. Instead, it makes playing the specialists more rewarding, and, well, special as an experience. So if you started to get bored by all wizards feeling the same, this is what you should get. Considering that this was the design goal, I consider it a resounding success. It is not perfect, but its very few flaws are not nearly enough to cost this my seal of approval, or make me round down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Grimoire Arcane: Book of Eight Schools
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Pop Culture Catalog: Infosphere Shows
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2020 12:17:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Pop Culture Catalog-series clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

Okay, so the Pop Culture Catalog series so far is one of my favorite things available for SFRPG, no hyperbole. Since it’s been a while since I’ve covered one of these, let us recap briefly: The core idea of the engine used, is that experiences and interests shape who we are. As such, the series introduces a fandom-engine, which lets you benefit in specific way from frequenting a certain restaurant, enjoying a certain drink, following a certain show, etc. Now, the benefits are nice and all, but beyond mechanical benefits, the system ahs a pronounced further plus side: You start thinking about what shows your character would watch, what food they’d consume – in short, you add depth to the character. Actually roleplaying through the process of becoming a fan of something also is intriguing, as it grounds the game, and provides an interesting change of pace for the party. Beyond that, there is also the fact that the lore in these pdfs tends to be fantastic – some lampoon e.g. companies with various degrees of subtlety, and provide plentiful adventure hook ideas based on unique settings. There is for example that wonderful, high-class beauty spa on the moon where the unfiltered air can cause lycanthropy. In another installment, we have a redesign for drugs and similar vices, which makes them scale throughout the levels! (And yes, I do have plans to use these rules for a stoner comedy in space type of scenario…)

Anyway, you can belong to 1 + Charisma modifier, minimum 1 fandoms at a given time, and leaving one or becoming a fan are rather easy processes as well, which retains a flexibility in play – it’s not a singular character build choice, but one that you can switch and adapt in a flexible manner as the game progresses.

We begin this supplement with the respective infosphere shows – each states its type, its price-modifier, the streaming service where they’re available, and a very quotable tagline. Beyond that, we actually get proper logos for each of them; in case you didn’t get some of the allusions here, the logos will often help. I should mention that, as a German, there are bound to be some references I didn’t catch, no matter how immersed in US-culture I may be. The shows run a VERY wide range of themes and topics: Take #MutantSchool, a procedural set in the MSU (Mayhem Superhero Universe) obviously inspired by the X-men. It doesn’t simply copy the standard heroes of its terrestrial version – it provides its own cadre of familiar, yet distinct heroes. Did I mention an assembly ooze with a puppy’s disposition? Now I want an assembly ooze with a puppy’s disposition of my own! Interesting here on a mechanical level: The fandom perk nets a +1 enhancement bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate against adolescents, since you understand their mindset better. See what I mean regarding the blending of flavor and crunch? Fans of Alluria and the Primordial Princesses’ perk helps dealing with relationships, as codified in the Advanced Skill Guide, to a greater deal than usual for a perk, but balances this against the fact that it only works if the relationship isn’t dysfunctional.

“As the Asteroid Spins” is a soap opera that started off with a high budget, and received a horrendous reception; however, when it was cut down and all but done and over in season 3, said season was so trashy and enjoyable that it attracted a huge fanbase. This one nets you Bluff as a class skill, or a bonus to it f you already have it as a class skill. Prefer reality series? “Cabinet of Curiosities” is a format where curios are presented to a team who then estimates their value – I can see PCs starring there, and, fun fact, the format also exists in Germany, where it’s called “Bares für Rares”, so “Cash for rare stuff.” The fandom perk makes selling items, regardless if they can normally be sold for 10% or 100% of their price, 5% more efficient, which is particularly at higher levels very useful.

The space equivalent of Topgear would be “Catch my Drift”, and it lets you add bonuses to skill checks used for crew actions of skill checks made to pilot vehicles, but has a 10-minute rest (including, obviously, Resolve expenditure) to regain caveat to keep it in line. Ole’ nerdy me also was beaming from ear to ear when learning about “Crimson Goblin”, the tale of Oswald Verr, a dwarven food synthesizer repairman alone on board the eponymous vessel, with only a living hologram, a senile AI and a catfolk as company. Fans of the series can benefit from the Engineering knowhow conveyed, and may use Engineering untrained regarding ships and crew actions, even getting ½ class level as a bonus when doing so; if you are trained, you instead get a +1 bonus to the checks, which, while potentially meaning that you be better untrained than trained, kinda fits the premise of the series perfectly. And in case you haven’t realized the obvious real-world version: Go watch Red Dwarf now if you even remotely enjoy darkly humorous scifi. It’s a cult series for a very good reason.

Dead station features protagonists like a vegan vampire (XD) and is a black satire about a station overrun with undead, who are primarily cast from a nearby planet…but yet, rumors of there being living actors in deadface continue to circulate… Deisauryu (still love the linguistic compound, invoking god of dinosaurs), Xa-Osoro’s Godzilla (fully statted in their own Star Log.EM) also gets their own cartoon-series, and its strong themes of cooperation are represented by the fandom perk allowing you to enhance covering or harrying fire, as well as aid another, with the usual rest + Resolve regain caveat to prevent abuse. Televangelism/a primer to the philosophy of solarians is particularly useful for solarians, who can spend 1/day Resolve to gain one attunement at the start of their turn; and yes, non-solarians also get a benefit. Habitat, Xa-Osoro’s version of Cribs, was recently wrecked by a scandal that unearthed that several shows were actually fakes made with the vidgame Simulacraft Zeta! Shirren police procedurals, medical dramas…but there are also some less cute ones. Pain Game, a kinda illegal show of brutally gory fights, is particularly notorious, as it has so far evaded the authorities. While officially, it’s supposed to be primarily show and effects, there are plenty of people suspecting foul play and actual deaths happening…now doesn’t that sound like a great adventure for your party?

My favorite show herein, though? Well, much to my pleasant surprise, I’ve seen “Rimestone Squox” – which is obviously a take on the phenomenal indie cult-series dealing with Slenderman; since the Tall One (i.e. ole’ Slendy) is canon in Everybody Games’ supplements, this would allow you to do as the Unfiction community (if you’re interested: Check out NightMind’s summaries on Youtube after watching the series, or to get some recommendations) has done, and build your own adventures surrounding the myth. (Also: Yes, I’m one of the guys who bingewatched Marble Hornets obsessively; if you enjoy that show, I’d also recommend Everyman Hybrid; that one starts slow, but becomes REALLY cool.) so yeah, the diversity of shows, genres and benefits provided is pretty wide, with Disney-like shows (Whacky World of Whimsy) and a proper news-show all included as well. The former lets you btw. spend 1 Resolve for a 1d6 surge to a Culture check to recall a culture’s history, the latter lets you reduce the DC to recall knowledge pertaining current Xa-Osoro events by 5, explicitly stacking with theme-based benefits. Balancing-wise, I had no problems here.

After this section, we get a similar treatment for no less than 6 fully-realized streaming services: These include the magic-focused Dweomervision owned by kitsune billionaire Tashinado Tymira, or the horror-streaming service howler (bonus types smartly chosen and balanced with regards to Rimestone Squpx, for example. I know I’d have the latter at the very least, in spite of the rumors that it’s actually a study of 1010 Robotics regarding the effects of fear on intelligent beings. I’d certainly also be interested in the educational streaming platform Icewire, and if you’re into sports, there’s no way past Kapow! The new Disney streaming service’s analogue, UltraWhimsy, btw. also owns the MCU-representation – and in the entry, we learn a bit more about some of the legendary heroes of that universe.

Now, one of the things I always appreciate about this series, is its commitment to actually defining its content – as such, streaming platform types then proceed to be concisely-defined. Beyond that, we get proper prices for pay per views of different quality-levels, subscirptions, vidjacks 6 mks of streamcast modules, prices for autographs, print media, collectibles, trading cards, production drones, and rates for professional actors based on their skill bonus. The items among those, like the streamcast modules, are properly defined, and include holovid editing modules; if “toy” seems too generic too you, by the way, fret not, for different subcategories are presented…oh, and did I mention the level 1-6 technomancer spell mystic streaming? With the rules presented here, you could run a whistleblower/investigative journalism module…just saying…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports quite a few neat full-color artworks. The company/series-logos are an awesome touch, and I really love them: One look at e.g. the Marble Hornets-version, and fans of the series will immediately recognize it. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

George “Loki” Williams is an excellent writer for this series; considering the exceedingly high standards Alexander Augunas has set, it is impressive to observe that the installment retains the combination of whimsy, imagination and gameable content that made me fall in love with the series. How much do I enjoy it? Well, as some of you might know, I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews – I’m ultimately a fan of RPGs, and I want to see creators rewarded for their efforts, help them improve. So sometimes, being a reviewer can be strenuous. I know how much time and effort flows into many books. Anyways, when I’m starting to feel a bit down, when I want to read something that has a high chance to put a smile on my face, that lacks any issues and makes me recall why it’s also fun doing this? Well, then Pop Culture Catalog is a series that has so far ALWAYS delivered. Reviewing this series makes me feel good, and it puts a smile on my face. It makes the space opera that is SFRPG feel alive, fills in details usually ignored in world-building, and has these satirical touches woven into genuinely interesting adventure hooks that make you smile and jumpstart your imagination. I love this series, and this pdf, in case you haven’t guessed it, continues this impressive streak. My verdict: 5 stars + seal of approval. If you haven’t checked out the series, now’d be a great time – after all, we can all use some good news by now.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pop Culture Catalog: Infosphere Shows
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The Duskwalker's Due
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2020 18:15:26

For the past few days I have soloed my way through The Duskwalker's Due made for Pathfinder 2.0. It is available for pay what you want/free $ at DriveThruRPG. I used the Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest to play it and the Solo Adventurer's Toolbox to solo it. It is a solo adventure and a character is included that you use (higher than first level). The document is 19 pages long and it took me several hours to play it. It is well designed but brutal. The Boss took me out in no time at all. I wanted revenge. So, I used Rabbits & Rangers (2$ for 86 pages) and I combined it with Castles & Crusades. I turned it into a level one adventure and used six toon characters to play through it. My armadillo wizard used an ACME Catalogue to order a ghostbuster trap. When it was turned on, it did spark and smoke (some old cheap model), but it was able to capture the Boss. Bustin' makes me feel good . . .



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Duskwalker's Due
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Starfarer's Arsenal: Shotguns
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/26/2020 13:18:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfarer’s Arsenal-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The pdf begins with some observations I found myself applauding – namely that scatterguns are not shotguns, in either functionality or concept. Based on these observations, we begin with new weapon qualities. “Double” means that the weapon has two barrels, and may be fired with a usage of 1; however, as a full action, you can unload both barrels at once, expending 2 rounds of ammo, dealing additional damage as listed by the quality. “Imposing” weapons are load, bright, and somewhat flabbergasting – as such, if you use these weapons to hit and damage a target, the target gets no AoO against you until the start of their next turn. This is very strong versus some builds, but also adds a serious tactical angle to the gameplay that I really love.

The “Shotgun” quality means that you can fire scattergun shells, which come as slugs or shot; slugs behave as kinetic weapons, but may not eb fired with using a choke. When using shot, for each range increment beyond the first, you get +1 to atk, but also -minus 1 damage PER DIE. On 0 or less, the target takes no damage at all. A shotgun can be sawed off/have a shortened barrel, or a choke. A sawed-off has a shorter range-increment, determined in 5-foot increments, minimum 5; chokes increase the range increment by 10 feet. Chokes can be removed or replaced as a standard action.

The pdf presents 5 types of shotguns, all of which come in 4 different iterations. We have assault shotguns, combat shotguns (which are automatic), hunting shotguns, riot guns (imposing) and break guns (which get double). Combat shotguns get bleed as critical effect, while riot guns get wound; hunting shotguns and break guns get knockdown. Ranges and capacity make sense for the items, the former being obviously on the low end of the spectrum, and one weapon is presented for each of the 20 item-levels. They are classified as longarms, just fyi.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork features on the cover is neat. The supplement has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Owen K.C. Stephens delivers big time here; from pricing to damage values to genuinely playing differently from scatterguns, this supplement delivers big time in its frame. This is a great little supplement, well worth getting for your Starfinder game. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Arsenal: Shotguns
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Occult Skill Guide: Pact Magic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2020 11:19:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Occult Skill Guide-series clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

So, pact magic! Finally! As you all know, I am a huge fan of pact magic – the Grimoire of Lost Souls for PFRPG is one of my favorite crunch-books for the system, and I’ve been a fan of it since the 3.X days of yore – so is this just another conversion of PFRPG material to SFRPG?

The answer, thankfully, is a resounding “No!” It is my pleasure to announce that this is not the case! Instead of grafting a new subsystem onto Starfinder here, the book elects to use the very elegant Ritual-engine already employed by the Occult Skill Guide series as a basis, which is a rather interesting angle. I assume that you’re by now familiar with the ritual engine, as I’ve explained it in my previous reviews of the series.

So, the ritual that’s the base of the system here would be spirit binding, which is a level 1 necromancy [pact magic] ritual that has a casting time of 10 minutes and requires that the ritualist has researched the spirit’s ceremony and seal as the Characteristics-component; as a Focus, a twelve-faceted crystal is required, and reagents are stick of chalk and any reagents demanded by the spirit; if you wish to get the spirit’s vestigial companion, you must provide a sacrifice as well, one that corresponds to the spirit’s allies or enemies, as noted by the spirit. The ritual may target the ritualist, or a helpless or willing creature, and the duration is 24 hours or 1d2 days; Will negates and SR applies. On a failure, we have a disadvantageous pact. Additionally, you roll 1d20: On a 5 or less, you gain a pact malady of the GM’s choice. The ritual does come with notes on adventure ideas/hooks, and then proceeds to explain spirits.

You can have two types of pact with a spirit: An advantageous pact is what you’re trying to get – it lasts 24 hours, nets you control over the spirit’s gifts, and lets you accept 1 Influence Point to roll twice on a d20 and take the better result. You can also hide the sign while you’re not using the spirits power as a move action, if you want to; on a disadvantageous pact, the binder (the term for the one using spirit binding) is subjected to more of the whims of the spirit; binder level is set to a level, duration is 1d12 days, all gifts must be accepted, and you gain an Influence Point sans benefits and must always show the spirit’s sign. Binder Level is interesting: This is a level denoting the power of the gifts you gain from a spirit: As noted, you can choose this if you make an advantageous pact, but if you make a disadvantageous pact, the spirit gets to choose them! Binder level must be at least 1, and cannot exceed your total level.

Gifts generally fall into 4 categories: Apotheosis is a kind of transformation of the binder, often acting as a polymorph. Major Gifts represent serious power – once you’ve used one of those, you can’t use any other major gifts for 1d4 rounds. Minor Gifts may be used more freely – some require the expenditure of Resolve Points, others don’t. Vestigial Companions make a companion creature out of a sacrifice, and you may only have one of those at a given time.

Each spirit has its own ceremony and backlash, and most belong to one of 12 constellations: Angel, beast, dragon, fiend, hero, mage, noble, scholar, seer, skull, tree. There are also spirits that are unaligned – the starless spirits.

The abilities bestowed by spirits are called “gifts”, and Influence Points are a means to classify the degree of influence a spirit ahs over a given character. Binders without any Influence Points are free-willed; beyond that, the pdf presents a new kind of track, the overbound track: At 1 Influence Point, you become stained; at 3 Influence Points, you become darkened, and at 5 Influence Points, you become eclipsed – nice differentiation here, and very much in line with SFRPG’s design-aesthetics. They are also genuinely INTERESTING. When stained, you take scaling nonlethal damage when acting against the wishes of the spirit; this may also increase Influence Points. When Darkened, the spirit puppeteers the character when the victim’s asleep, dazed, etc., which can be VERY interesting. While eclipsed, the spirit gains complete dominance for the pact’s duration.

A spirit has 3 components: Ceremony, gift and rites – all may be discovered via a Mysticism check versus DC 15 + 1.5 times the ritual’s level, equal to the spirit’s level, each of which requires 8 days of study per level of the spirit. The pdf provides concise rules for discovering spirits beyond roleplaying.

Spirits offer supernatural abilities, and for each one you accept, you must accept 1 Influence Point OR lose a replacement class feature, which is yet another aspect where the system makes great use of SFRPG’s rules-chassis, and it precisely states how this works with e.g. archetypes, etc.. This choice is obviously not up to you if you have a disadvantageous pact, though.

If you want to get rid of a spirit, you can do so as a full action, trying to expel it, but failing to do so will net the spirit a LOT of Influence Points, and you can only try to do so once per day. Alternatively, you can try to get rid of the spirit with the exorcism spell.

Amazing: The Spirits come with artworks, organized in a circle – blue lines denoting allies, red lines denoting enemies. If the one-glance-you-get-it artwork/diagram is not your cup of tea, each constellation also lists the appropriate allies and enemy. If a spirit considers a binder an ally, they may reroll one check during the binding ritual; if the spirit considers the binder an enemy, the binder has to roll ALL checks twice and take the worse result. Totems, certain requirements you can fulfill, increase your chances to bind a spirit – each totem nets a +1 bonus to all checks made to make a pact with a spirit.

Okay, so what spirits are covered here? Well, we have, for example, Aza Azati, the Green Wyrmling, as a level 1 spirit. Aza Azati offers one major gift, acid gout, which nets you a scaling breath weapon of acid; 5 minor gifts are available: Acid Belch lets you have a decoupler pistol-like ranged attack; if you’re proficient with longarms, you instead get decoupler rifle-likeabilities – and scaling is handled via item level/character level. You can also get draconic senses, woodland stride,, the ability to sniff out gold, and scaling at-will shrink. The apotheosis nets you scaling DR, swim speed and a bonus to saves vs. paralysis and sleep, and you can be permanently shrunk if you have that. As a vestigial companion, we get the pocket wyrmling.

Second would be Coralene, Sovereign of Silver, who lets you sense your mark up to 1 mile away, and nets you bonuses regarding subterfuge, etc.; the major gift here lets you step into the Byways for short-range teleports/skirmishing – awesome. The cat burglar companion is also cool, netting you a common house cat capable of perfect hand-manipulation. I love this one!

Speaking of love: Kevix the Quick, the skittish skittermander – his legend is amazing and struck a chord with me: It is written as a bed-time story/morality tale for skittermander-kids; you see, Kevix was special – he never slept, he constantly busied himself, all while the rest of his culture, oddly, seemed to be lazy! Seeing this frantic activity, Kevix’ parents drugged the little skittermander, rendering him tired and able to sleep – but when a threat came, it was Kevix speed and hyperactivity that saved the day. This is genuinely heart-warming. Oh, and apotheosis? It nest you skitterarms, of, if you already have 6 arms, you gain a bonus feat. The spirit lets you temporarily phase out of reality. Ever helpful with better aid another, and a means to use Resolve for extra move actions, this spirit is powerful and INCREDIBLY charming. As far as I’m concerned, this fellow warrants getting this pdf all on his own. Oh, and as always: Skittermanders should be CORE!

Rextavious Zul is also pretty epic: As a Focus, you need 243 wargaming miniatures that depict a historically accurate pre Nova Age vesk army, with paint-job; for the spirit is that of those vesk tasked by their glorious deity to conquer the stars and bring order –even at the cost of their free will. Great take on the conqueror, with suitable combat abilities and the ability to call soldiers. Oh, and you can make living weapons.

Tommy Greenspout, the immortal rapscallion, is also damn cool: Knock twice on an object and get a secret base extradimensional space? Really cool when coupled with the aging rules: The fellow can also temporarily make targets a Child. Another mechanically distinct and flavorful one here. Yith’anu the Body-Snatched gets mind switching and wiping tricks, as well as some kyubi points – the entity is a kind of blend of yithian and kitsune tropes. Neat!

The pdf concludes with the rules to design your own rituals.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups on a rules-language or formal level. Layout adheres to the series’ elegant two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with plenty of full-color artworks and cool sigils for the spirits. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alexander Augunas does it again, the nigh impossible, as far as I’m concerned. He has crafted a pact magic engine that not only seamlessly integrates into his phenomenal ritual engine, it also feels distinctly SFRPG in all of its rules and way it handles the game; this is no conversion, this is its own beast – and frankly, I LOVE that pact magic is no longer class-bound. In my homegame, I champion a similar approach, and this delivers – as they say in my group: Pact Magic is for everyone! This is imho the best rules-chassis for pact magic that we ever had. I adore it to bits, and I so want more. 5 stars + seal of approval, and this is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2020 – can we please get more?

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Occult Skill Guide: Pact Magic
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Occult Skill Guide: Soulless
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2020 05:31:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Occult Skill Guide clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so the concept of the Soulless was first introduced at the very end of the run of the mini-series for PFRPG, but this is NOT a simple rehash/conversion of that file. Oh now. This is more.

We begin on the introductory page with a neat summoning graft for calling the soulless, which changes the type to outsider, nets see in darkness and darkvision 60 ft, incorporeal,, immunity to mind-affecting effects, and the gloom and flatten abilities – more on those below. Since incorporeal is so powerful in SFRPG, the creature loses DR, if it has DR. The creature adds Stealth skill-wise, and the creature’s natural attacks deal half kinetic damage (type of your choice from the physical damage types), and half sonic damage. It also nets blindsight 60 ft. (souls). The pdf also precisely codifies the soulless subtype graft.

Anyhow, instead of beginning with stats, we get a proper soulless corruption, and yes, the corruption rules are explained if you’re new to them! The corruption’s associated save is Will, the ability score is Charisma. You can catch this corruption from a soulless’s consumption ability, from being overwhelmed by base emotions (Hello, anime trope! Nice!), or from meddling with the dark powers lurking in the Byways.

As for the latent stage, anytime the victim experiences a base emotion, they gain one corruption point, plus an additional one for every 10 minutes they experience that emotion. For victims using an ability that causes the victim to experience these, the tally is increased to 1d6. Manifestations of the corruption are exempt. If you’re wondering: The save starts at 13 + half victim’s level +1 per saving throw attempted since last stage entered, with each stage increasing the base DC by 2. At the latent stage, embracing virtuous emotions truly cures some corruption points – so yeah, curing is fully contingent on nuanced roleplaying! Nice!

At the latent stage, the character gets the soul consumption manifestation: When you attempt an ability or skill check, save or attack roll, you can accept a number of corruption points of up to 1 + your corruption stage. Anyhow, when you do choose for this bonus, you gain an increasing die size of corruption points, with die-size resetting each day. I love this ability; it appeals to the edgelord antihero-liking guy that’s not really hidden deep within ole’ me.

At stage 1, the character can now be detected as an afflicted by the proper targets, and gets the call the soulless manifestation: You can summon creature for 1d10 corruption points, with the critters having the soulless summoning graft. The spell level is equal to 1 + 1 spell level for every 3 level or HD, maximum 6th. This SP is at-will., but recasting it makes the previously summoned critters vanish, so no spamming. Nice!

At stage 2, you count as both your original type and as an outsider with the gloom subtype, whichever is more detrimental, and you get the Gloom Anatomy, which makes your attacks count as magic and having the ghost killer weapon fusion, here called infusion. At stage 3, whenever you’re subjected to a critical hit, you get to roll a flat 1d20 against DC 10 – on a success, you ignore the attack’s critical effects; if you succeed by 5 or more, you only take normal damage! In the endstage, you turn into TWO monsters – the soulless, moth-like thing, and the undead soulshell; if properly destroyed, these can be recombined…sounds like a great quest to me!

After this, we essentially get a full mini-bestiary of the soulless: At CR 3, we have the soulless gloom, which can flatten itself into a 2-dimensional shadow; the build uses the combat array and is correct. The CR 5 gloomball is made via spellcaster array, and pure amazing, easily one of my favorite artworks by Jacob Blackmon ever – the critter has a bloated head that reminded me of Majora’s Mask, and it can shrivel and suddenly expand in a super effective and pretty nasty attack – extra bonus points if you combine that with a creepy sound-effect at your table…

The CR 10 Syngloom can flatten itself, but still attack while flattened, and attempt to paralyze foes while flattened…oh, and trick attacks... The CR 13 Gloomigre is pretty awesome, as it had pretty nasty incorporeal armaments that can switch damage types and critical effects, cause bleed, and they can shadow step; they can use their Resolve to plunge their armaments into the ground to make a devastating AoE-attack…awesome.

One of the most brutal SFRPG-creatures I’ve seen so far: The CR 15 gloomtide, which is an amalgamation of corrupted souls, behaving as a swarm: Every attack makes them spawn tiny glooms, which they can attack and reabsorb – they are vulnerable versus magic, and you better use that…with incorporeal and swarm defenses, as well as whirlwind, these are brutal.

More brutish would be the CR 16 Gloomhemoth – obviously inspired by the classic Final Fantasy creature, including the option to switch between upright and bestial gait. They can use Resolve to leave magical darkness, summon copies of themselves – and these copies may be detonated! They can eat darkness to buff themselves as well. Epic, deadly, awesome.

The gloomtitan, at CR 18 reminded me of another awesome critter from my favorite JRPGs…can you guess which? Well, they get a massive gravity aura, and can use Resolve to draw those in the aura closer. They can also shatter a titanic sphere of soul energy atop their heads, raining soul-seeking missiles. They can crush the souls of those grappled, swallow targets whole and shear off sections of the target’s souls.

That’s not all. Finally, there is the Gloombringer, at CR 20 – who was obviously inspired by Persona’s Reavers; they can generate blasts of elemental magic in cones, lines or spheres, and they can sue their spellslots to bolster these effects; in their vicinity, stabilizing is difficult and may result in the victim’s soul being extracted, and these beings can spend Resolve to cast any 5th level or lower mystic spell. BRUTAL. Love it!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level; layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard. The module sports full-color artworks for each of the soulless, and they are awesome – some of my favorite monster-drawings from Jacob Blackmon so far. The pdf comes fully bookmarked at your convenience.

Alexander Augunas’ Soulless not only offer a fantastic new corruption, they are also some of the most awesome monster-builds I’ve seen for SFRPG so far; each of them is somewhat unique, meticulously-crafted, and deadly – the supplement is absolutely awesome. 5 stars + seal of approval, and for builds like the soulless behemoth-thing, this gets a nomination for my Top Ten of 2019. Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Occult Skill Guide: Soulless
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Blood Space Gazetteer: Tor
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2020 08:44:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second Blood Space Gazetteer depicting unique environments in Everybody Games & Rogue Genius Games‘ shared Xa-Osoro campaign setting clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

After a brief introduction to the Xa-Osoro system’s basics, we begin with Tor. To get into the spirit, I’d recommend putting on Warframe’s “We all lift together” – Tor is known as “The Anvil” in the system; its atmosphere is toxic, and its local year 400 days long; Tor is highly technological planet, dominated by vast machinery for production and the artifice of war, its vast factory cities dotting the land like molochs. When the catastrophe of the Regicide annihilated dozens of worlds and moons, including Azan, the seat of the Radiant Empire. I the aftermath Tor became a rallying point, and thus Metroheim became the Imperium’s new capital.

Tor nowadays is hopelessly overcrowded, with 1 trillion (!!) inhabitants; much like in real life, there is a huge discrepancy between the rich and poor, as trillionaires invest in essentially a cultural renaissance, while the masses exist in abject poverty in a tainted world, social change seemingly a near impossible goal. Oil-slicked equatorial seas divide the planet into two supercontinents, and while there are conservatories, these ultimately feel more like massive zoos, with even farmlands looking somewhat gray from above. A few reclamation efforts have started to be made, but whether they pay off remains to be seen.

The pdf then proceeds to fill us in on the residents: “Where humanity treads, foxes follow” rings true – kitsune and humans are numerous here, andhave been subjected to rather brutal forms of persecution. I mean it. Since the end of the Nova Age, the lot of kitsune has improved, thankfully, and a proper Kitsune Rights Act helped them gain a better footing. Tor also sports a massive amount of dwarves and liberated mechanoi and nuar are also quite numerous here.

The pdf also provides full poison effects for the atmosphere, which is (funnily enough), called Imperial Air, calling back to the old medieval notion of cities stinking. That being said, life on Tor is not exactly simple for most of the inhabitants; beyond pollution and poverty, the Radiant Imperium’s heavily-armed bureaucracy has actually survived the Regicide, with Martial Law the rule, rather than the exception. Local delicacies include the laser-roasted smog-bat, to give you a good idea. Off-worlders should probably refrain from eating those…

Beyond bureaucracy, gang-culture is ever-present, ranging from the street-level to the elite clubs at the apex of the corporate ladders, and a general tendency to settle disputes yourself, on the streets; in many ways, the picture painted here is that of a dystopian place that is closer to the aesthetics of many Cyberpunk games than I expected to find here.

The Mega-city of Hyperborza has developed essentially hyperspace-using Futurama-tubes, which is a pretty damn cool idea. Ivantis is the sole mega-city that was constructed in the middle of the ocean, using powerful force-fields to hold the water at bay; as a result, gravity and geothermic vents generate all electricity, which makes the place not exactly one where you go for a job. Karkaghov has another focus: This city is essentially the planet’s brain, with plentiful universities, academies, etc. – and here, hope is real, as the best minds seek to find ways to deal with Tor’s issues. Mount Lumia, Tor’s northernmost city, is the least tainted one, and focuses on environmental engineering in the more pristine cold. I’ve already mentioned Metroheim, but it gets a write-up here as well. Relatively young would be the mega-city of New Citadel, founded by dwarves, and unsurprisingly, focusing on luxury produces…

Beneath the surface of Tor, primal life slumbers in the Greenscars – and those that disturb it face the wrath of plant creatures, fungi and fey alike, but each also contains massive power – mayhaps enough to return the planet to a less tainted state and exterminate civilization… of course, the Imperial War College is depicted herein as well, and we learn about the Labyrinths, the vast underground urban mazes that form the roots of the mega-cities. Zone ZE-43, an urban wasteland, houses a truly nasty mega-city. Steelglade, which is essentially a ginormous prison city that is somewhat between prison, anarchy and corporate serfdom.

The sole lunar body of Tor, Tenguholme, is a stark contrast to Tor: Lush, lively, and as habitable as Azan once was; it was considered, of course, but a rare compound in the air generates a strange dizziness and nausea that few can stomach. Drops can counteract the reaction causing this, but also has a habit of making the ears kinda…green. And yes, the pdf explains why and how, and we get proper stats for this unique environmental hazard. Anyhow, it’s called “tenguholme” nowadays due to the exodus of Tengu under the lead of legendary Imijol. We here learn of two metropolises, as well as of a massive skeleton unclaimed by the desert sands, a mysterious cathedral that attracts conspiracy theorists…and there is Pezroh’s Peak. The otherwise pretty deadly megafauna of the planet is super-cute here: 1/256 the usual size. Who’s a good mega-raptor? Anyhow, you do not want to stay here too long – it’s 48 hours, and then you’re gone. Where to? Why? Only you can answer…If you really want to see megafauna in proper sizes…go to the Romping lands. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you, okay? Did I mention the ostensibly cursed city at the bottom of the Sea, the one that the former, mysterious inhabitants of the world left behind?

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, with neat full-color artworks included. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience, with a bookmark for the start and for the end of the pdf – rudimentary, but okay at this length.

The collaboration of Alexander Augunas and Matt Banach has yielded interesting and very different fruits this time around; whereas the gazetteer on Ulo focused on pure wonder and majesty as leitmotifs, this one has a scifi-super-industrialization-sprawl-angle. Tor is a volatile place, and one that is pretty grim in comparison with the material provided for Ulo; the contrast of such dark corners with the generally optimistic vision of the Xa-Osoro system has always been an interesting factor, though, as a person, I’ll freely admit to me being slightly less enthused about Tor’s dark angle than I was about Ulo. Perhaps that’s me, but Tor struck a bit too close to home for me, with its brutal class-divide and pollution issues. That being said, Tenguholme really inspired me! As a whole, I consider this to be a fun sourcebook, well worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood Space Gazetteer: Tor
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Gruesome Foes
by J H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2020 02:52:17

The Advanced Bestiary is one of those books that is known for 3.X versions of the world's most popular roleplaying games. It's a really good book as templates are awesome.

Why are templates awesome? Because at its heart (I believe) D&D really revolves around troupes. You need to know the genre and roll with the punches. If there is a thunderstorm and your carriage breaks down, and lightening illuminates a sign of 'Castle Inn 1 mile' you are absolutely going to be going there. There will be some form of horror monster. But finding out what is half the fun.

The problem is that the monster needs to be new. It needs to be different. There are only so many times you can face a vampire and be really surprised that your usual weapons aren't doing the damage they should.

This is where templates come in. You keep the core of the monster, the zombie still shambles. But it does different things in mechanics.

Gruesome foes understands this. It is 45 templates. Each one has a monster stat block of a monster that this template has been applied to. There are a number of things it does well:

Each template mixes it up with how the monster attacks/how the monster is challenging. We're not simply granting a +4 to STR. We have creatures that make another attacks when they threaten a critical, creatures that swallow you and then get bonuses depending on how much loot you were carrying, and 43 other cool effects. These effects will make players stop and thing.

Each template also has a weakness. This isn't just DR 5/Silver. For example Whispering creatures are shaken inside a silence spell. They're nice, their understandable, and they will enable savvy players to feel useful.

Tying into this is something I loved from Monster Manual V, there is listed information for a successful knowledge check. These tie in with the strengths and weaknesses.

The templates also support Mythic play, with a number of them (about 20%) incorporating mythic rules. These are as well done as the other templates.

The books has a number of appendix's. These are pretty standard. We have one for monster feats. Then the spells introduced. Then we have the standard bestiary ones, monster types, monster sub types, universal monster rules, list of template by CR increase. (Most are either +1 or +2, with the highest being +3). Then a list of the monster stat blocks by CR level, with their names and page number. We have our OGL, with an absolutely massive section 15. I'm sure there is a reason for it being so massive, mostly with Frog God Games monster from Tome of Horrors (2002), but a number of these monsters didn't appear in the actual book. We're also referencing Ultimate Equipment and Ultimate Campaign so virtual chocolate fish for the person who can tell me why.

The art is full colour, with each template getting its own piece of art. The art is good, but it's not my thing. It's black lines, with some shading in the (often very light) colors. I definitely prefer the more aggressively shaded and more photo realistic art you find in say 5e's Monster Manual.

The book came close to being a perfect 5, but fell short for a few reasons: The first is that there isn't herolab support for it. Which for templates can be a drag. Templates are awesome but applying them to monsters can be really unfun.

The second reason is that the book is only avaliable in pdf and softcover. If I'm going to use this book (and I will) I'm going to have it on the table open, and I'm going to want it to stay open as I reference it and another bestiary and my note book. I'll want to see the original monster, the template, and put the finished monster in my GM book of secrets. Softcovers don't stay open. I'm going to use another book (I play pathfinder I'll have heaps on hand) to wedge it open. This will (probably quickly) cause more damage to the book than I'd like. However I'm a hard man, I buy books to use to collect.

Another disclaimer - I was a kickstarter backer for this. I know I tend to be quite a happy kickstart recipient I maintain this is because I am a selective kickstarter and usually only back good stuff. But you are welcome to think it is because I have a sunk cost fallacy.

In summary this is a very good book of templates. The content is very good. If you are a pathfinder GM I do recommend it. I would recommend it over Advanced Bestiary if you were a pdf user.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gruesome Foes
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