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Star Log.EM-032: Levialogi
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/18/2019 03:51:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

With an original debut in PFRPG’s Paranormal Adventures, levialogi were high-CR threats, tailor-made to withstand the punishment that high-level PCs can dish out, designed to NOT be a wet paper-towel under stress…suffice to say, I absolutely loved them to bits, and now, they have come to Starfinder!

In a great bit of encrypted (and already decoded) introductory prose, we are introduced to the threat of the levialogi, with [redacted] components enhancing the atmosphere generated from the get-go. Originally, levialogi were inspired by the Leviathan as depicted in the Supernatural TV-series, and as such, their original shape is pretty much liquid. Encountering flesh, it can rewrite the creature’s genetic code, creating indistinguishable copies of the originals, stalking among mortals. Careful and calculating, they are intelligent and combine themes of doppelgangers, body horror and cthulhoid horror. And I mean horror. They are genuinely frightening.

Their bites ignore all DR, and when they devour at least a light bulk’s worth of flesh, they can assume that flesh’s owner’s appearance. With a ton of immunities and resistances, they thus retain a crucial function they had in PF, perhaps doing that aspect even better: Know this anticlimactic scene, when player cheers turn muted as they realize that their strategy/insane luck has just one-shotted/crited to smithereens this cool adversary? When being really good isn’t as fun anymore? Enter these fellows. Unbeknown to the PCs, the mastermind was a levialogos, and bam, suddenly, the combat turns into a whole new thing! Beyond immunities, they also have regeneration and DR, both of which are notoriously hard to deal with – and full functionality is provided, in that the levialogi get a full subtype graft write-up that codifies traits and how they can emulate class-based abilities, all perfectly in line with the Alien Archive’s graft-system.

The pdf also contains three sample statblocks – the CR 1 Cessilogos that still has to consume an appearance, and the mighty CR 20 Erythologos (with soldier tricks), as well as the CR 25 Leucologos, who seems to have feasted on an operative. Their stats are within the parameters of what you’d expect from really difficult targets – as a minor nitpick, the Leucologos’ EAC and KAC are not properly bolded. A minor nitpick that won’t influence the verdict: It would have behooved the pdf to mention that devour appearance’s class graft granting does not provide the benefits of the class graft’s adjustments, if any. While this can be deduced from studying the Alien Archive, it may be a minor stumbling stone for less experienced GMs.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Star Log.EM’s two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ levailogi have been translated exceedingly well to Starfinder. Indeed, I do believe they may fit Starfinder better than Pathfinder; the statblocks are solid (though some signature tricks would have been nice – but then again, their subtype already provides a ton of them…), but the subtype graft is where the gold lies. The levialogi graft just plain rocks, and I’m sure to use it in the future! It makes creating them swift and painless, and allows crafty GMs to create a failsafe to make sure that, even if in the future power-creep changes the power-balance of SFRPG, the old materials can still be sued…just add in a levialogi subplot and add some serious staying power to the big bad guys and gals and other things… A nice toolkit indeed, this gets my recommendation at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-032: Levialogi
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Monster Menagerie: Bulette Points
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/15/2019 10:45:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Monster Menagerie series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, so first of all, the pdf acknowledges the folks that contributed in a FB-chat that gestated into this book – kudos for giving credit where credit is due! The introductory page provides a bit of optional setting-contextualization for the bulettes herein…and then we begin with what may be the most pun-tastic monster book for Pathfinder.

How pun-tastic is this? Well in case you missed that the title obviously is a reference to Rogue Genius Games’ Bullet Point-series, each monster herein represents some sort of pun regarding bullet/bulette. Every. Last. One. … Yeah, who am I kidding? I love puns. Particularly bad ones. The real groaners. So let’s see what we got, shall we? We begin with a pretty harmless one – the CR 7 armor-piercing bulette, a bulette like one from a final fantasy game, with a massive adamantine blade embedded in its head. This obviously also is represented in the specialized leap and charge assaults these fellows have. Nice and delightfully odd critter, though I would have loved to see a unique Achilles’ heel here – after all, the blade impedes line of sight of these beings, at least judging from the artwork.

The CR 8 frangible bulette has strange pustule-like pods on its body, and has some serious resistances and defensive tricks. Negating such damage, or being struck by physical damage, charges these bulettes, to be more precise, said pods/pustules, which the bulette may discharge in a nasty 60-feet blast, as the immature bulettes gestating in these pods are fired in a living shrapnel blast. While the young of this mutation are usually killed by the impact, not all of the survivors grow to become full bulettes. Some of them stay Tiny CR 1 bulettes…that are called…yep. BeeBee. With rolling leaps and the ability to curl up, they are a nice example of a low-CR critter that makes sense.

Leave it to magic-users to devise solutions to problems that make things worse: The Blank Bulette is a CR 7 incorporeal version of a bulette, shunted to the ethereal to make it cause less havoc. Well, the entities have developed a life drain aura, trigger conical force energy blasts on critical hits, and the avoid detection of undead or living, being invisible to lifesense and the like, as well as not registering for locate creature. Yeah…definite “improvement” of the bulette problem…

At CR 8, the cross-cut bulette has the good subtype, and gets smite evil. Basically good bulettes. Hmm..okay. Not particularly interesting. Why don’t they get a “named bullet/bulette”-type of ability that allows them to engrave an evil-doers’ name upon themselves? Some interesting tweak to the smite evil angle? Anyhow, at the same CR, the Dum Dum is more interesting: It can crush targets and may, as a swift action, expand itself to twice the size and 8 times the weight. Yeah, this one’s pretty cool – can see this being a fearsome foe! Also at CR 8, the incendiary bulette radiates heat for +1d6 fire damage, and the charges of this bulette also result in a 30-ft.-radius fire blast, with a cooldown. Also at CR 8, the multiple-impact bulette can divide itself up into two Large or 4 Medium versions with magical fission, which do have identical statistics…and yes, we do get the modified stats for them, and hit points are evenly divided. Awareness is shared, making these fellows pretty lethal one-monster-pack-predators, which is also reflected by the feats chosen – nice one and mechanically, one of my favorites within.

The Percussion Cap also clocks in at CR 8 and gets a leap into combat that allows it to slam its head against targets of the ground, detonating embedded thunderstones for a blast of shrapnel that is in equal parts stone shards and pure sonic damage. And yep, it looks like a being that attacks you by literally smashing its detonating face into you.

Clocking in at CR 10, the full metal jacket (XD) gets a boost to overrun and bull rush targets, and they come with rules to remove the plates fitted into these war-beasts. How do you call an undead bulette? …Hollow Point! Yeah, this got a long chuckle out of me, and at CR 9, the undead bulette has a detonation upon destruction, gets an Acrobatics-based pounce-bite, and swallowed foes are energy drained. They also rejuvenate unless their remains are specifically treated and consecrated.

The final bulette within would be the CR 7 tracer, basically a tracking specialist that leaves a trail of faerie fire-like glow, and gets a trigger scent, falling into a frenzy upon reaching a target whose scent it tracked. Cool concept, and one of the critters within that I’ll definitely use.

The final page provides two feats: Number One With A Bulette nets an adjacent bulette you trained a +2 bonus to Wisdom, and allows you to…bingo, train bulettes. The more ranks in Handle Animal you have, the faster you can teach them tricks. High Caliber Summoning allows you to call the monsters within this book via the use of summon nature’s ally/monster, with a handy table organizing them by CR.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules languages level. While I noticed a couple of minor hiccups here and there in the statblocks, as a whole, the pdf is pretty solid. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, mirroring a grimoire, and the pdf comes with pretty neat full-color artworks for all of the bulette-variants – all of which are original pieces! Kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf comes with a second version that has a smaller size, and thus is more mobile device friendly.

Jeff Lee’s menagerie of bulettes is a cool and pun-tastic little bestiary. There is plenty of flavor and background story to contextualize the critters, which is a good thing, as it helps render them more organic and inspires the GM. While this book is not flawless, and while not all variants within are genius, there are plenty of outré and interesting bulettes within, quite a few of which I considered to be genuinely interesting. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up, since the book is closer to being good than to being a mixed bag.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Menagerie: Bulette Points
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Everyman Minis: Vessel Passengers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/04/2019 12:08:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

First of all: In case you didn’t know: This pdf is an expansion for the vessel class that was originally presented in Paranormal Adventures, itself a love letter to the Supernatural Franchise and Occult Adventures’ design-paradigms. The class could be best summed up as: “Do you want to play Castiel, but retain control of your faculties?”-the class. Alternatively, if you had no idea what that sentence meant, one could consider the vessel to be basically a medium-style character in theme. No, it has nothing in common with Paizo’s medium class – the vessel has a specific bond with a powerful outsider and may be ridden in a way. Think more of a permanent Loa, a fusion with a devil, etc. From Spawn to similar classics, the vessel has a lot of potential and radically different ways to express the unique class.

Passengers, unsurprisingly, are an important and pretty much essential component for the class, which, in impact, could be likened in severity of impact, to a bloodline or an order, perhaps even beyond that. I assume general familiarity with the vessel class in the following review. But before we take a look at the new passengers herein, we should acknowledge the new feat that is included on the introductory page: Life to Grace.

Grace, the vessel’s point-based resource, can be gained here via a unique mechanic – upon gaining the feat, the GM rolls maximum age in secret, and when you’d need to spend grace, you can reduce your maximum starting age by a number of years equal to the race’s trained starting age modifier to reduce the total grace costs by 1, to a minimum of 0. Basically, you sacrifice years of your lifespan to fuel your abilities. This is a stroke of genius – races have wildly diverging lifespans, and tying this mechanic to trained starting age accounts for that. Now, sure, mathematically, there will be differences, but if you have millennia ahead, wouldn’t you be extra careful with this one? This aging process also can explicitly only be reversed by divine intervention, and before you ask: Immortal or non-living creatures are explicitly prohibited from taking this one. I love this and the only super-specific nitpick I could field here, would be that samsarans should be prevented from taking the feat…but that is an aesthetic choice. One could argue that rebirth is a death, after all, and depending on how nonchalant or serious you take the concept, this may never be a true issue.

All in all, I adore this feat to bits, and its mechanics can easily be used to create derivative feats or class features that literally burn away lifespan to power other resources. One of the coolest feats I’ve seen in a while!

There are three vessel passengers contained within the pdf: Fey spirits get DR/cold iron, are associated with magic, plant and Weather as far as domains are concerned, and the boons include selective SR that scales, woodland stride and enhanced speed. The passenger also provides scaling options to call fey, akin to a summoners’ summon monster ability. Higher levels provide the means to use grace to become invisible as per invisibility, and fey forms that improve at higher levels, culminating in fey apotheosis and constant mind blank at 18th level.

The second passenger would be the shinigami, who requires LG, LN or LE alignment, is associated with the Death, Healing and Repose domains, and the DR is /chaotic and silver. Vessels stop aging (but remain susceptible to aging effects) and gain a bonus to saves vs. death, poison, cold and disease. On the passive benefits side, we get fire resistance 5 (10 at 15th level) and scaling SR. 6th level provides grace-powered fast healing and gains cure spells and breath of life as spells known, with the former being optionally powered by grace expenditure. Frightful presence, deathsense – some cool tricks. At 15th level, natural 20-based crits can add negative levels onto targets, potentially affecting the vessel with heal for more grace. Kudos for making this proof against attempts to cheese it! The final ability adds some potent immunities as well as grace-powered casting of death-themed spells to the passenger.

The third of the passengers would be titans, with alignment restrictions based on the titan subrace in question. Similarly, associated domains are contingent of the specific titan subtype chosen. This modularity also extends to the damage types to bypass DR. As far as grace boons are concerned, we have save bonuses that scale, SR versus outsider spells and SPs and later, some immunities: Minor nitpick: The ability name hasn’t been properly italicized, which represents a purely cosmetic snafu. The passenger nets rock throwing and catching, and 9th level nets righteous might (not italicized properly in one instance) as a grace-powered SP, with DR adjusted for the titan subrace, and it later improves to also feature air walk and trample! Grace-powered heal (again, not italicized) and size-increases for grace are cool. The high level ability, among other things, “stios aging” – it’s odd how this last passenger has accumulated these typos. They don’t wreck it, but I couldn’t help but notice them.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level. On a formal level, formatting and editing are slightly less tight. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and the piece of artwork presented is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

David N. Ross knows what he’s doing. His pdfs range rather often among the highest echelons of my rating system, and indeed, his passengers are amazing. While I would have loved some more Death note-y abilities for the shinigami, it’s close enough to make me smile. Similarly, the titan…is relevant for fans of a franchise that features these guys in a prominent manner. The feat, imho, is a stroke of genius, and its design paradigms will influence my own home-game. While the uncommon accumulation of minor formatting glitches in the last vessel is slightly jarring, I will still round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars, and the feat’s cool angle single-handedly nets this my seal of approval. It’s not a feat for every game, but I love it to bits!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Vessel Passengers
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Everyman Minis: Microsized Monsters
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/04/2019 12:07:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, just to spell that out explicitly: This supplement obviously makes use of Everyman Gaming’s Microsized Adventures. This phenomenal supplement made my Top Ten list for a reason and is one of the truly beloved components in my GM-arsenal.

This supplement, then, presents three creatures that allow a GM to temporarily microsize the PCs without requiring much set-up. The pdf does warn that application of the Microsize rules can make e.g. a housecat or a budgie a lethal threat to the PCs and advises caution, but it should be noted that the monsters their CR-ranges make them ttough, but no TPK-engines.

Got that? Great! So, first we have the crystaphors at CR 10: Highly territorial, these creatures of elemental earth have crystalline disc-bodies that can fire shrinking rays. Beyond their defensive light distortion, they can attempt a truly dickish move and try to shrink PCs…without their gear! This is a heavily penalized attack, when they do manage to pull it off, the PC in question will not be amused…

The Tiny dwindling adder is a CR 7 magical beast that goes another route: They can compress in a defensive manner as though affected by reduce person, becoming Fine (and then still have compression while Fine!) – and they have a poison that shrinks targets! Effects are cumulative, the poison has a GP-value, etc. – really cool one!

For lower CRs, we have, finally, the Tiny CR 3 miniaturizing mimic, who can assume the forms of Tiny objects, obviously, but who can also emit a mesmerizing melody that affects those nearby with the shrinking curse usually transmitted by bite. As a cool bonus, we get a new bardic masterpiece for Unchained Bards – the Song of Diminishment, which is impressive in that it allows for multiple size reductions, but also manages to get the rules-interactions of maintaining them right. A cap also prevents undue cheesing. It should be noted that unchained bardic masterpieces work differently than default bardic masterpieces, though…so if you haven’t checked out the unchained bard, this may be a good reason to do so!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and the artwork presented is pretty damn cool. That being said, apart from the cover-artwork, there is no individual illustration of the monsters themselves. Personally, I didn’t mind – I’m a substance over style kind of guy. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris? Microsized critters are cool, allow for quick and flexible use of the amazing microsizing rules, and not one of them is boring. The magical beast feels like a magical animal, the outsider like something weird – you get the idea. This is a damn fine little critter-booklet. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Microsized Monsters
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Everyman Minis: Lost Children
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2018 05:22:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Somewhere between the Plane of Dreams, the Shadow Plane and our mortal realms, there lies a place that we all can remember from our childhoods: The realm beyond the streets, beyond the bed, beyond the walls of the closet – the Underverse, a place where nature is not fixed, a place that can be equal parts Neverland or Nightmare realm. Time is erratic, and entryways and exits are ephemeral. Whether you visit UnLunDun or one of the aforementioned places – they all potentially fit in the underverse.

However, those kids and young beings (monstrous humanoids qualify) that stay too long in the Underverse, ultimately, become Lost Children, represented as a CR +1 template. Particularly if you consume the food and drink there, you’ll be at risk. And yes, this pdf does codify proper planar traits for the Underverse!

Mechanics-wise, Lost children gain darkvision, an improved natural armor bonus and a built-in armor bonus that scales with HD, +2 to all ability score modifiers, Ranged Feint…and they get claw attacks and are experts at combat maneuvers, courtesy of their mischievous nature. Protected by misdirection and nondetection with the ability to bed-stride (treestride using beds, with a greater range and the option to bring others along…), they are potent…however, exposure to bright light may have them temporarily collapse into piles of unwashed clothing – for a time. They rematerialize properly, but only when the clothes are not separated!

The pdf also includes a sample statblock, a young human lost child unchained rogue that clocks in at CR 5.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and Jacob Blackmon’s artwork provided is neat – strong Oliver Twist vibe there! The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ take on peter Pan-ish lost children is really cool. The plane is a great concept, and indeed, the concept can be captivating for adults and kids alike. It’d be perfectly valid to use the Underverse in conjunction with Childhood Adventures – or, if you’re looking to make things more horrific, to scavenge the concepts from DCC’s “Sinister Sutures of the Sempstress” and weave them in. Or to have the PCs, you know, attempt to cure/capture lost children and bring them back to their parents… The contextualization of the plane within a general planar cosmology helps to keep this easy to integrate into your game. That being said, I do have one minor complaint: As written, there is no way to lose being a lost child. While this obviously is thematically consistent with the real world mythweaving that inspired this pdf, it’s still a potential stumbling stone. That being said, I am complaining at a high level here. I genuinely adored this little pdf. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Lost Children
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Everyman Minis: Catfolk Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2018 05:18:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the first page, we get a brief catfolk gazetteer: The race as a whole is dubbed Mauyujraa, which is then further differentiated between subspecies – it’s a small bit, but the presence of a bit of lore here helps contextualize them in a cool way.

The pdf contains a total of 4 new feats: Graceful Fall lets catfolk fall any distance, taking the minimum amount of falling damage, and allowing for Acrobatics to reduce falling distance. 5 ranks and Dex 13+ mean that the feat won’t break low-level module assumptions. Nine Lives upgrades cat’s luck to 9 uses per day, and extends use to any Dex-based skill check or ability check, initiative or Reflex save, rolling twice and taking the better result. Alternatively, you may use the ability after a roll has been made, but that use locks you into the new result. As a whole, this makes for a very potent use of a feat. Depending on the power-level of races and race-related options, it may be a bit overkill for some grittier games. Retractable Claws lets you retract or extend claws as a standard action – this allows you to hide them as with Sleight of Hand, with a +2 bonus to Disguise. Quick Draw and surprising opponent synergy is provide. Nice one. Split Tail nets you the disguise hex, and the feat may be taken multiple times, with additional feats providing access to more witch hexes, as chosen from a limited list.

Rangers with the skirmisher archetype can choose two new skirmisher tricks: Bellowing roar nets a 15-foot conical sonic blast, with scaling damage and daily uses. Cunning hunter lets the ranger declare enemies as though they were favored enemies for a limited number of rounds, but only one such ability may e in effect at a given time. Basically, this delimits favored enemy and makes the much-maligned ability more flexible, but extols its price by the action required to activate. Whether you like that this basically lets you freely favored enemy anything or not is highly contingent on your preferred playstyle.

The pdf also contains new material for Paizo’s shifter class, in the guise of 3 different cat-themed shifter aspects: Cheetah’s minor form benefit eliminates charging penalties and increases them at higher levels, and allows you to apply their benefits to all attacks made at the end of the charge. Major form provides an increased base speed, scent, low-light vision, a primary bite with trip and the sprint ability, with higher levels unlocking more sprint uses. Jaguar lets you make sneak attacks with minor form, increasing the damage dice twice over the levels. The major form benefits include 40 ft. speed, climb and swim speed, low-light vision and scent, a bite with grab, a rogue talent favored terrain equivalent and pounce. 8th level nets hide in plain sight in favored terrain, and increase of the bonus, while 15th level allows for the synergy of movement and sneak attack bonus damage. The lion aspect’s minor form nets your allies access to a teamwork feat for the purpose of determining whether you benefit from it. The number of teamwork feats to which this applies increases to 2 and 3, at 8th and 15th level, respectively. Major form nets 40 ft. base speed, low-light vision, scent, primary bite with grab, pounce and frightful roar. 8th level nets an Acrobatics bonus, and 15th level makes aforementioned roar cause targets to cower.

If you’re a fan of the rather cool Unchained Fighter released by Everyman Gaming, you’ll also find an archetype for the class here, the pride commander. Instead of heavy armor and tower shield proficiency, the archetype gets 4 + Int skills per level and adds Knowledge (geography) and Knowledge (nature), as well as Perception, Stealth and Survival to the list of class skills. Weapon training is altered in that the archetype is limited to an array of certain weapon groups. Instead of armor training and advanced armor training, we get favored terrain, chosen alike the ranger class feature, with +2 to initiative, Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth and Survival checks. These bonuses increase by +2 at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter, and the benefits may be shared with allies as though they were a teamwork feat. While sharing the ability, the pride commander cannot rest to regain Stamina, and allies retain the ability for 1 hour. How does he share? Leader of the pride lets the character spend 1 Stamina Point as a move action to grant all allies within 30 feet a teamwork feat for up to his class level rounds. At higher levels, the character can spend more stamina to share more feats – 2 at 11th level, 3 at 19th level. Alternatively, the archetype can share teamwork feats in a quicker manner, making action economy more flexible. Nitpick: There is a “cavalier” reference left in the rules-text – obviously a remnant from the tactician ability, on which this is based. This replaces second wind.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed only cosmetic glitches and nothing that would badly impact rules-integrity. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is rather nice and in full color. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ catfolk options are situated, for the most part, on the slightly higher end of the power-scale, particularly considering the pouncing synergy options. That being said, the Paizo shifter really needs some unique or more viable options, so yeah. The commander archetype is solid, and the supplemental material, as a whole, can be considered to be nice. All in all, a pretty neat pdf for catfolk fans. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Catfolk Options
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Everyman Minis: Eidolon Knight
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2018 12:17:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After we briefly discuss the morality of riding an eidolon, as the unchained summoner was kinda prohibited from getting a mount eidolon, at least pre-Ultimate Wilderness, due to mount as an evolution being relegated to non-good subtypes only. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the notion expressed here, that riding an eidolon is not disrespectful or demeaning.

But we’re not here to talk philosophy, we’re here to check out the eidolon knight archetype for the unchained summoner. These guys get proficiency in simple and martial weapons, light armor and shields, excluding tower shields, but do get one fewer spell of each spell level. 1st level nets Eidolon Mount instead of summon monster I, 2nd level Mounted Combat instead of bonded senses and 3rd level nets bonded tactics. The eidolon can spend 1 evolution point to choose one of the knight’s teamwork feats, gaining it as a bonus feat, regardless of prerequisites. Such teamwork feats count as evolutions, and thus are valid choices for e.g. evolution surge (nice catch!). 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter nets a bonus teamwork feat for the knight, replacing part of the summon monster-sequence of abilities culminating in gate. The second array of these abilities is replaced with improved bonded tactics at 5th level, which nets Improved Spell Sharing, and durations of effects split are enhanced at higher levels – once more, thankfully getting the interactions right.

Of course, we also get a couple of new evolutions: Among the 1-point evolutions, we have eidolon saddle, which can be configured for gear or riding (switch between these takes a minute). Really cool utility component. Eidolon storage makes the eidolon have basically portable hole style saddlebags that can store smaller items. Rather handy indeed, and yes, maximum capacity increases over the levels! The pdf sports 3 2-point evolutions: Fast retrieval builds on aforementioned storage space and makes retrieving items quicker. Speed boost does what it says on the tin +10 ft. movement, can be taken multiple times. Bonded initiative makes the duo of knight and eidolon take the higher initiative, which can be pretty nasty. Three 3-point evolutions are provided: Bonded charge nets +4 to atk for eidolon and knight when charging and eliminates the AC penalty for doing so. Expansive storage really upgrades storage capacity, and maker’s jaunt lets the knight + mount dimension door as part of a charge, though encumbrance while doing so may fatigue or exhaust the mount. Personally, I think this should have a scaling cap of daily uses. The 4-point evolution provided further increases the potency of the bonded charge option, doubling the knight’s threat range (thankfully noting explicitly that this does not stack), while allowing the eidolon to execute a selection of maneuvers.

The pdf also features 3 feats: Summon Mount does pretty much what it says on the tin and requires the Summon monster I class feature, making it an alternative for those that don’t want to go the archetype route. Summon Steeds is the more potent version, building upon phantom steed (spell reference not italicized once). Relevant for eidolon knight and others: Ride-By Spellcasting. This lets you cast a spell, spell-like ability or supernatural ability analogue to Ride-By Attack, and notes some limitations that prevent this very potent feat from getting totally out of hand. It still represents one option that should at least warrant some scrutiny by the GM,as it can result in utterly devastating hit-and-run scenarios and VERY potent magical knights. I don’t consider it broken, but it’s not for every game.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level. Apart from a missed italicization, I noticed nothing glaring. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column full-color standard for the series, and the pdf has one really cool artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

I ended up liking Alexander Augunas’ eidolon knight more than I thought I would. The magic knight riding a deadly, smart companion is a cool trope, and from He-Man to more contemporary series, there are a ton of instances wherein this trope works rather well. The eidolon knight’s loss of the summon monster tricks radically changes the class – instead of the minion-spawner, the eidolon knight feels like a potent, but also rather squishy magical knight, and as a whole, this makes for a cool experience. Now, at the same time, I do think that a few more magical tricks instead of charge upgrades would have made this fellow cooler, but that is simply personal preference. All in all, I consider this well worth picking up if the concept intrigues you. 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!]
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Everyman Minis: Dynastic Armory
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2018 12:08:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 4.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief discussion of the dynastic races (i.e. the races covered in amazing detail in the Dynastic Races Compendium), the pdf kicks off with the engraved special weapon property, which is the equivalent of a +1 bonus and allows a character with Scribe Scroll to scribe scrolls into the weapon at 25% increased cost. A wielder who has identified the spell engraved may use it when wielding the weapon as though it were a scroll. The total number of spell levels the weapon can hold is equal to its enhancement bonus. I assume that using the spell thus stored eliminates it, but not the blade that held it or the engraved property per se. Furthermore, I assume that the weapon does not impede somatic casting as pertaining the stored spell. I like the notion here, but these aspects would have imho warranted being explicitly stated.

The bindi of the socialite comes in three different iterations ( +2, +4 and +6) and is basically a headband of alluring charisma with a +5 Knowledge (local) and Knowledge (nobility) bonus tacked on, which is priced for +2K gold. Lame. Mat of the scintillating mandala is a slot-less item that lets a creature 1/day meditate on it for one hour t attempt any Knowledge checks untrained, and a +10 insight bonus to their skill check’s results. NO LIMIT. This should definitely have a limit. Alternatively samsaranas or those reincarnate’d can enter a trance to begin a temporal stasis (spell reference not italicized) for one week, emerging as a Child or Youth (see Childhood Adventures), or, if reincarnated, as the previous race, including exchanges of class features, feats etc., where race-bound – basically an omni-retrain.

Nagastra are +3 arrows that may be fired as a full-round action in a special shot that destroys the arrow and spawns a summon monster VII giant snake, using tweaked dire crocodile stats as a base line. Shadow scar tattoos can depict nightshade, kytons or gloomwings, granting a +5 competence bonus to Stealth, Intimidate or Acrobatics, respectively. Additionally, 1/day, the user may use light piercing or slashing mithril or cold iron weapons to harm themselves, temporarily doubling the bonus. Kudos: This can’t be cheesed and initiates a cooldown before it may be used again. Wayang with the light and dark trait get to freely decide which bonus to gain, instead of being locked into one by the shape of the tattoo. Minor nitpick: Superfluous plus before the Cost in gp in the construction section.

The pdf introduces a new magic plant, following the Ultimate Wilderness rules. This would be the flowering foxleaf shrub, which weight 75 lbs., and the berries harvested net a +5 competence bonus to Bluff, Disguise, Sleight of Hand and Stealth for a day. Overindulgence can render you sickened, but the save DC is pitiful. That should scale for repeated use after the first.

The pdf also touches upon magic teas: If you have Brew Potion or Cultivate Magic Plants, you can make teabags. Everflow foxleaf blend changes age category to that remembered while imbibing, if only temporarily, tying in with Childhood Adventures’ mechanics. Ground foxleaf blend affects only kitsune, and locks them in their current form, but makes this form also act as the true form for purposes of magic detection etc. Cool! Infused foxleaf blend affects only humans or kitsune drinkers as though reincarnate’d (spell reference not italicized), with humans becoming temporarily kitsune, while kitsune get an additional form. Kyubi foxleaf blend comes in 9 iterations, and only affects kitsune with the Magical Tail feat. The drinker regains all uses of Magical Tail, or kyubi tricks from the Kyubi Paragon PrC that function as spells of the indicated level or lower. Not a fan of the delimiting here. Settlestomach foxleaf blend is another winner: When forced back into natural shape, the imbiber may make a Constitution check to prevent return to the true form. Additionally, this has synergy with the involuntarily shapechange drawback, partially mitigating the effects.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a rules-language level, okay on a formal level. For such a small pdf, there are quite a few formal snafus here. The instances where rules are a tad bit more opaque than they ought to be weigh heavier, though. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the artwork provided is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jacob McKiernan’s dynastic armory oscillates between some inspired and interesting aspects, and some components that frankly are filler (cough lame headband modification /cough) or rules-wise not as precise as they should be. There is some cool stuff here, and particularly kitsune players and rounds that favor smart intrigue should take a look at the teas – which btw. beg to be expanded as a concept! That being said, this still, as a whole, represents a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side of things. My final verdict will hence be 3.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Dynastic Armory
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Everyman Minis: Unchained Ninja Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/19/2018 11:13:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the introductory page, we have a new feat available for both the standard and the unchained ninja: Without a Trace. This feat requires the no trace class feature, and does something that stealth-based classes like rogue et al. should have as class features, namely the option to use Stealth to avoid automatic detection due to blindsight etc., and the feat as such is pretty damn cool.

The pdf then proceeds to present 8 different ninja tricks: Conditioning nets a +2 competence bonus to two types of effects chosen from arcane spells, curses, environmental effects, diseases, poisons or psychic spells. Odd that divine spells are not included, but that may be intentional. Darkfall lets the ninja spend 1 ki to activate darkness as a standard action, lasting for Cha-mod rounds. The trick gets interaction/CL et all right. Nice. Dashing blade lets the ninja spend 1 ki as part of an attack to move 10 feet, allowing for controlled skirmishing steps – very cool! Extrasensory block allows the ninja to reduce sneak attack damage to prompt a save to temporarily negate a variety of special senses, depending on the amount of sneak attack dice foregone. This doe include stuff like mistsight and thoughtsense. Cool! Extrasensory suppression builds on that and allows for the substitution of ki instead of foregoing sneak attack damage dice, and for a longer duration. Improvised ninjutsu nets the dispatchment class feature and has synergy with Catch Off-Guard. Instant reactions nets +2 to initiative as well as +10 ft. movement to all movement speeds during the first round of combat, and quick retrieval lets the ninja use ki to make thrown weapons come back instantly, allowing for full attacks. And yes, the latter requires Quick Draw.

Okay, so far so cool – do the master tricks hold up? 4 are provided: Dashing finish lets the ninja move 10 feet when reducing a target to 0 hp, and for 1 ki, said movement doesn’t provoke AoOs. Incredible leaper nets flyspeed with average maneuverability, save that you need to land or fall - and you can do this for as long as you have ki. WuXia fans will like this, and it has proper and sensible prerequisites noted! Ki detection lets the ninja blindsight for 1 ki in a 30 ft. radius for a singular, instant detections. Ranged maneuvers, finally, does what it says on the tin, but uses Dexterity and has a proper range limit, so no cheesing there.

Finally, we have 8 ninjutsu arts: Advancing Assault nets bull rush; Battering Knockout a free disarm or steal; Maneuvering Strike nets reposition – these would be the maneuver combo arts. Cascading River Plunge compares Acrobatics to the foe’s CMD, and on a success, deals sneak attack as though the foe was flatfooted. Note that this does NOT render the target flatfooted, which is important to note re balancing, as skills are ridiculously easy to blow up, bonus-wise. If the attack would already qualify for sneak attack damage, we get bonus damage instead. Dancing Lead Twirl compares Escape Artist to CMD to determine whether an opponent gets AoOs versus her movement, and also ignores difficult terrain in the opponent’s space, which is an interesting design decision here. Fade From Plain Sight triggers after the final attack of a full attack. Stealth vs. DC 10 + highest observer’s total Perception skill bonus or highest CMD, whichever is higher – on a success, the ninja teleports up to 100 ft. away into a position of cover, using the Stealth check result. The limitations here are important. Minor complaint: This should probably be classified as a conjuration (teleportation) effect. Gentle Jab nets 3 additional attacks instead of one, but all do minimum damage and must target the same being. Now, this one may be problematic and cheesable, depending on the ninja. I certainly know one power-gamer build that would make this one…nasty. Big time. Finally, Galeforce Strike upgrades all attacks in a full attack to full BAB, provided the first hits – but the ninja may not attack the same target more than once. Important: If the first target was flanked, ALL targets count as flanked, and same goes for being denied Dex to AC. I like what this does…but could you hold my tied-up kitten while I flank it? Ok, okay…I concede. No one is gonna do that…right? Right??

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column full-color standard and the pdf has a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall’s unchained ninja options rock hard. They make the ninja more versatile, a better skirmisher, and provide some tricks that I really enjoy. While I will never become a fan of using overinflated skills in conjunction with attack-relevant aspects, these are kept in check here. The tricks provided often are genuinely cool and useful – you know, stuff you can and will employ time and again. I was more than pleasantly surprised by this supplement. While two arts have me a bit weary, they can’t really tarnish what I’d consider to be a very good addition to a ninja’s arsenal. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Unchained Ninja Options
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Everyman Minis: Unchained Fighter Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/19/2018 11:07:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

In case you were wondering, this obviously builds upon Everyman Gaming’s unchained fighter from the supplement of the same name. The first page recaps the advanced armor and weapon training options from said pdf, as well as the fighter training component. This makes that particular page an excellent sales-pitch, in case you were wondering. I assume familiarity with the unchained fighter in my review.

The first archetype would be the Charming Champion (who has a superfluous “s” after “archetype”), who alters class skills to include Bluff and Diplomacy instead of Craft, Knowledge (engineering) and Survival. These fellows design their own signature weapon group! The champion gets 6 points, plus another 4 at 2nd level and every fighter level thereafter. Adding a simple weapon costs 2 points, martial weapons cost 3, and an exotic weapon costs 4 points. All points must be spent upon gaining a level, so think carefully about martial weapons…Still, a really cool way to add player agency here. Instead of bravery and 2nd level’s bonus feat, we get Psychological combat synergy here: 1 stamina as a swift action can either dazzle creatures (or daze those with lower HD) or buff the champion. Neat.

The mystic kensai chooses only a single weapon instead of a weapon group, gaining Weapon Focus with it – this is the focus weapon. The archetype can spend 1 stamina point to grant the weapon a +1 enhancement bonus that increases by +1 for every 4 levels thereafter. Stacking is covered properly, and the ability cannot be cheesed – but to make up for this, the archetype may not spend stamina to gain a bonus to atk. At 4th level, unsurprisingly for the veteran PFRPG connoisseur, we build on this with special weapon properties, with the mechanics remaining pretty damn tight and precise regarding the limitations imposed here. To make up for this potent ability, the archetype loses martial spontaneity. The archetype adds either Strength or Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD when unarmed and unencumbered – Strength is applied for melee weapons as a focus weapon, Wisdom for ranged ones. A further bonus is applied over the levels. The split here makes an otherwise classic ability sequence interesting and ties it closer to the choice of focus weapon. 6th level nets focus weapon training: Whenever the kensai gains a fighter bonus feat, he may choose an advanced weapon training instead. The kensai may choose one such option at 6th level, and another one every 4 levels thereafter. 19th level replaces armor mastery reduced the stamina cost for the enhancement bonus granting, to a minimum of 0. The capstone provides immunity o being disarmed when wielding a weapon enhanced via the class features, and increases crit multiplier by 1. (This should probably have a cap, but it’s the capstone, so I’ll let it slide.)

The Massive Weapons Fighter (Archetype) oddly is missing the “Fighter” in the brackets, and is excluded from a couple of weapon training and expanded weapon training choices. At first level, we have a notoriously tough cookie to get right: Oversized weapon proficiency. When attacking with a weapon of the chosen fighter weapon group that is one or more size categories larger, the archetype may spend up to 4 stamina points to reduce the penalty taken to atk with that weapon by an amount equal to the points spent. This reduction lasts until next turn. To make up for this, no spending stamina for competence bonuses to atk for this fellow. 7th level lets the archetype use the oversized weapon as a shield for stamina cost when fighting defensively or in total defense. Really cool one! It works with the system, instead of against it.

Warmarshals lose the 1st level bonus feat and may use a move action to coordinate allies against an enemy within 60 ft., bestowing a +1 competence bonus to attack versus the foe until next round. This bonus persists even if the enemy goes out of range. 5th level and every 6 levels thereafter increases this bonus. The warmarshal can, you guessed it not spend stamina for a competence bonus to atk. 4th level replaces the usual bonus feat with warmarshal’s support. When the warmarshal uses martial spontaneity to gain a combat feat that is also a teamwork feat, he can spend up to 5 stamina to grant it to an ally within 30 ft. for every stamina point spent. Kudos: No cheesing/stacking! Additionally, the warmarshal may use second wind on nearby allies as a move action. Instead of 5th level’s advanced weapon training, we have an ability that penalizes opponents hit by the warmarshal when they attack allies of the character, and stamina-based synergy with Cleave et al. is included.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a rules language level. On a formal level, there are a few harmless, but somewhat glaring minor hiccups of an aesthetic nature. I’d consider this to be still good in that regard. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, the artwork is kickass, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Blaine Bass delivers some interesting unchained fighter options here. While none of them truly reinvent the wheel, they all do have something interesting going on for them, some aspect that makes them viable and intriguing choices. Since all gripes I can field here remain cosmetic, I will round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Unchained Fighter Archetypes
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Starfarer's Codex: Multiclass ThemeTypes
by Matthew D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2018 21:11:44

Multiclassing in Starfinder is hard. This has been an issue ever since the days of 3.5, as giving up even one level of spellcasting for a lot of characters was brutal. This made character building a more narrow process than it should have been, especially for casters. This makes it all the more impressive that Rogue Genius Games has come up with a reasonably functional solution to this problem.

Multiclass themetypes allow characters to replace their theme and a few of their class features with numerous other abilities from another class, taking a page from D&D 4e and effectively creating hybrid classes which can be built from any combination of classes. While this book is far from perfect (the complaints levelled by some other reviewers are very valid), I am quite happy that this supplement exists and I think that many players would greatly appreciate having it at their table.

You want to play a casting Solarian, a Technomancer with a robotic sidekick, or a martially-inclined Operative? This book is how you do it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Codex: Multiclass ThemeTypes
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Everyman Minis: Superior Alchemical Items
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/18/2018 10:22:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Alchemical items, much to my chagrin, are relegated in usefulness mostly to low levels – at least in PF1. This is one aspect I very much prefer in Pathfinder Playtest, but that’s another can of worms. The pdf remarks that an item that would be fair for 5th level might very much be utterly OP at 1st – as such, the pdf handles the issue by introducing proficiency. This value denotes the minimum number of skill ranks needed to use the item reliably, and which skills these ranks must be invested in. Basically, it makes skills also act as a kind of unlock mechanism for items. Not having the proper skill ranks nets a 75% chance of misuse, +5% for every rank that you fall short. This may seem brutal, but ultimately, it makes using stuff beyond your ken what it should be: An act of desperation.

This basic system provided, we are introduced to full-sized and portable masterwork alchemist labs. These labs can refine two uses of an alchemical item into 1 use of a refined one, which increases save DCs and damage as well as bonuses, if any. Basically, this is a one-item scaling engine, externalized to an item. I love it. Considering the focus of the pdf, it should not come as a surprise that the items herein tend to clock in at the higher power-levels: Spectral drops net you the ability to see the invisible and ethereal, and automatically alerts you of scrying sensors and bestows darkvision. Minor complaint: A Bonus to noticing sensors would have been more elegant here. On the offense side, we get the ability to create aqua regia at 9th level, a deadly acid that nets 12d6 damage, 4d6 splash in a 20 ft. radius, and targets directly hit begin to corrode – an acid-based variant of catching fire. I love it. Endothermic spikes are throwable cold-based weapons that come in two variants, combining damage with difficult terrain. Once more, neat!

Also available in two variants, death remedy is a potent draught that heals significant amounts, and that may actually revive the recently deceased in a breath of life-y way. Multi-consciousness tea is genius, in that it allows you to remain aware while sleeping. Spirit of exaltation lets you grant a target short-term flight and a variant of fire shield. Universal cerator is one for creative PCs, allowing you to reduce hardness and compromise object and creatures.

The pdf also contains a variety of different alchemical discoveries: Alchemical salvage lets you scavenge items from large quantities of the items (e.g. an antitoxin’s vial, the residue of an alchemist’s fire’s impact site) and recreate items. Extract injection lets you infuse extracts into melee or ranged weapons – and yes, save structure etc. are noted. Material transmutation represents one of the key concepts of real world alchemy, and allows you to transmute one type of nonmagical material into another. This only creates raw materials, but in the hands of the right player, this can be a phenomenal asset, particularly if your game’s like mine and you enjoy Achilles’ heel designs for bosses, research etc. Greater transmutation and true transmutation build on this one, allowing alchemists to finally cover a core concept we commonly associate with alchemy.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to the latest 2-column full-color standard with a white background that the series uses, and the artwork is really neat. The pdf has no bookmark, but needs none at this length.

David N. Ross’ superior alchemical items are a godsend as far as I’m concerned. Transmutation as a concept should have been part of the core alchemy array, and the use of masterwork labs to make alchemical items scale is genius – in fact, with better healing and AoE damage, I can actually picture running a game with a primary focus on alchemy to represent the majority of supernatural abilities. If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know that this is something I absolutely adore. My only complaint here would be that, frankly, I’d have wanted a massive expansion booklet of alchemy rules like this. This pdf takes the lump of iron that alchemical items become after the first few levels and turns them into gold, and unlike real world alchemy, no manure of any kind is involved/included in this pdf. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Superior Alchemical Items
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The Genius Guide to the Opportunist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/18/2018 10:20:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The opportunist is a hybrid class of barbarian and rogue, which, chassis-wise, gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency in simple and martial weapons, an exotic weapon, as well as light armor and light shields, full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Ref-saves. At first level, the class gets the key feature opportunistic attack, which, at this level, is +1d4 damage with AoOs and while flanking, and increases by +1d4 at every 2 opportunist levels thereafter. This bonus damage is not multiplied on critical hits, and the damage may be nonlethal in conjunction with attacks that inflict nonlethal damage. As a final caveat, the opportunist must be able to see the target well enough (as a nitpick: perceive would have probably been better). The class feature counts as sneak attack for the purpose of abilities, prerequisites and class features based on sneak attack. Secondly, the class gets overload at 1st level.

Overload is basically the rage-equivalent here, and while the number of rounds per day (4+ Con-mod, +2 per class level beyond first) is based on Constitution, the benefits are not: +4 to Strength or Dexterity, or the opportunist can get +2 to both Strength and Dexterity. While in this state, the opportunist can’t use spells or perform a task that is in excess of 5 rounds (half a minute) duration, and takes a -4 penalty to Will saves. After overload state is exited, the class suffers from fatigue for twice the number of rounds spent in overload state. 11th level reduces the penalty to Will-saves to -2, and increases the bonuses to +6 or +4, respectively. 17th level eliminates fatigue, and the capstone, no surprise there, increases the bonuses to +8 or +6.

2nd level nets reflexive combatant, which provides Combat Reflexes and an additional AoO per round for every 5 class levels attained. 3rd level nets trap sense, 4th uncanny dodge, and 8th level nets improved uncanny dodge. At 5th level, we get feinting opportunity, which allows for the use of a move action to use Bluff to feint in combat. Alternatively, the opportunist may forego the first attack in a round (note that this does NOT limit the ability to full attacks!) to feint, and targets successfully fainted take opportunistic strike’s damage until the opponent’s next turn. Not tying this to the opportunist, but to the enemy, is actually pretty smart, as it means that you have to play tactical. Delaying actions may be a smart move. At 10th level, the class may use this feature as a swift action, which theoretically means that you can feint twice in a round, as the ability has no 1/round limit.

At 14th level, the opportunist gains Vital Strike, or the subsequent feats in that tree, if they already have the previous one. After using Vital Strike in a given round, the benefits of the feat may be applied to the next Intelligence modifier AoOs executed before the start of the next round. At 16th level, the critical multiplier of weapons is increased by 1 when executing AoOs – and thankfully, this does cap at x4. The second capstone beyond the final overload upgrade would be master opportunist, which lets the opportunist declare up to Intelligence modifier attacks per round as AoO, which do not count against the limit of AoOs per round. The class feature also negates the benefits granted of the Mobility feat versus opportunist AoOs.

Unsurprisingly, the opportunist class does come with its array of class talents to customize the experience. The class gets the first of these at 2nd level, adding another every 2 levels thereafter. The class may also take rogue talents and rage powers, with the latter instead using overload as the rage-substitution. As far as the class-specific ones are concerned, we can find, among others, +10 ft. base speed while overloading, or the option to draw a hidden weapon as a move action, making targets that failed to perceive it eligible for opportunistic attacks. Kudos: This can’t be cheesed due to a hex-like caveat. There is also a talent that allows the opportunist to execute an AoO when failing a combat maneuver chosen from a list, but only while in overload. There is an option to count attacks executed in the surprise round as AoOs when overloading, immunity to poison and disease and the means to ignore them in overload (thankfully locked behind 6th level and a prerequisite talent that nets +4 to saves versus the like in overload), increased reach, and the means to share a lesser version of overload with allies.

At 10th level, we have advanced talents, and here a plethora of skill unlocks is covered. Interesting would be the option to provoke a number of AoOs equal to Intelligence -mod; creatures that fall for this and take the AoOs themselves then provoke AoOs from the opportunist. I assume that the opportunist’s AoOs are resolved after those of the creatures duped into attacking, but the verbiage could be slightly clearer regarding sequence here. Adding damage to combat maneuvers, thankfully with a 1/round cap, can also be found.

The pdf does contain multiple archetypes for the class: The bareknuckle master gains Improved Unarmed Strike and associated damage increases, and Int-based style monk bonus to AC and CMD (which replaces the talents gained at 6th levels and every 6 levels thereafter), substitutes trap sense with fast movement, and 4th level’s talent with the magic/cold iron/etc.-progression for unarmed strikes. At 5th level, the archetype always has a running start when trying to jump and adds class level to Acrobatics checks.

The exoticist gains proficiency in simple weapons and an exotic weapon, and deals more damage with opportunistic attack, increasing damage die size to d8, but only in conjunction with exotic weapons. For other weapons, they reduce the die-size to d3. Instead of the talents gained at 2nd, 4th, 8th and 12th level, these guys get Weapon Focus (2nd), Weapon Specialization (4th), Greater Weapon Focus (8th) and Greater Weapon Specialization (12th). The trap sense ability is replaced with a +1 bonus to atk and damage that increases every 3 levels thereafter. This bonus is also added to combat maneuvers executed with exotic weapons, and the bonus is also added to CMD versus disarm and sunder of the exotic weapon.

The mentalist archetype gets a variant of overload, namely overdrive, which instead enhances the Intelligence and Wisdom ability scores, while penalizing Fort-saves. An unfortunate oversight would be that this does not scale – the greater/tireless/mighty abilities granted thus now point into the empty void, as the ability does not explicitly state that this is treated as overload instead. Instead of trap sense, we get opportune inspiration, which nets class level + Intelligence modifier points, which may be used as a free action to add a bonus to the skill checks from a fixed list, with the bonus equal to the number of opportunistic attack dice. The archetype may, however, take the skill unlock talents as regular talents starting 4th level, replacing uncanny dodge. This one is a bit messy.

Finally, there would be the practitioner, who is only proficient with simple weapons, armor and shields and gains produce flame and shadow weapon as at-will SPs. Using class level as caster levels. At 3rd level, the archetype may, as a standard action, to enter a state of readiness that allows them to make AoOs with SPs versus targets within 5 ft. times CL. This replaces trap sense, and the practitioner’s holding etc. is noted properly. I do have an issue here, namely that the SP-AoO-ability should definitely only apply to SPs granted by this archetype. With multiclassing, you can really do some super-nasty tricks without this caveat, so yeah…this can be rather broken. Starting at 4th level, we get a progression of spell-like abilities of up to 4th spell level, replacing the talents gained at 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level, and drawing said SPs from a custom list. At 6th level, we get the impromptu opportunistic attack, which 1/day lets you declare a ranged (30 ft.) or melee attack to be an opportunistic attack. The target loses Dex-bonus versus the attack, and critical hit immunity does fortify against this. 10th level and every 4 levels thereafter provide an additional daily use, replacing the talents gained at all these levels.

The pdf contains 5 different feats: Elemental Practitioner is an exclusive for the practitioner archetype, and lets you choose one of the 3 core energy types that is not fire, and substitutes the chosen energy type for the effects of produce flame. Extra Opportunist Talent does what it says on the tin; Focused Opportunistic Attack lets you forego regular attacks to increase the die size of opportunistic attack until the start of your next turn by one step. Overload Impulses replaces the penalty to Will-saves with half as much penalty to AC, Ref-saves and Dexterity-based skill checks. Overload System reassigns the penalty to Will-saves to Fortitude instead.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the pdf is also exceedingly precise for the most part – apart from the two snafus among the archetypes, the pdf is otherwise very precise. Layout adheres to Rogue genius Games’s two-column full-color standard, and the artworks chosen are stock pieces I’ve seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Myler’s opportunist is a surprisingly interesting class – while it is not particularly “sexy”, in that it doesn’t have much in the way of truly unique abilities that make it visually stand out from other martials, its focus on devastating AoOs in an interesting angle, particularly when multiclass’d with mobility enhancers or when gestalted. This is a class that plays more distinctly than it reads, but it’s also a class that doesn’t really have much in the way of a distinct identity. That being said, I consider the base class per se to be interesting, probably at around 3.5 to 4 stars. However, unfortunately, the archetypes are less interesting/refined, and two of them have red flags regarding their functionality, which does drag down the final verdict. All in all, this is a solid class that could have used a tad bit more unique tricks and more interesting customization options. It’s not bad, but neither is it particularly exciting. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to the Opportunist
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Everyman Minis: Mystery of Music
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/17/2018 06:44:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the introductory page, we get a new spell, hymn of peace, which clocks in at level 6 for bard, 7 for cleric/oracle. This is basically a 40 ft. burst cantered on you that prevents targets from taking hostile actions unless they succeed a Will save. The mystery (which is erroneously referred to as “symphony” mystery in the introductory paragraph nets Bluff, Knowledge (history) and Perform as class skills. The bonus spells granted range from solid note to disrupt silence, magnifying chime et al, includes the new spell, and culminates, of course, in wail of the banshee.

Now, let us take a look at the revelations featured, shall we? We have, for example, enthralling performance, which provides a variety of spells added to the spell list, with the HD-caps of the spells granted adjusted based on Perform ranks. This is a nice way to scale here. As a nitpick: Two spell references have not been italicized properly. Harmonic concordance lets you enhance allied spellcasting with a short array of metamagic feats – basically, a teamwork casting ability, one that is limited in rounds and locked behind an appropriate minimum level. Inspiration of the muses provides a variant of the investigator’s inspiration that can be applied to Cha, Dex or Int-based ability and skill checks. Thankfully, it does not unlock inspiration-based abilities and can’t be used as a prerequisite. Instrument master lets you use class level in conjunction with magical instruments. Sound mastery lets you amplify or dampen sounds – your rogue friends will thank you for it.

Reverberation enhances sonic-based oracle spells with Widen Spell, or modify the area to a cone. Complaint here: the cone-modification should allow for a save if the base spell that targeted one or more objects or creatures did not, as the modification can bypass touch requirements. Skull-splitting screech is a single-target sonic attack that can daze a nearby target. Sonic body duplicates sonic form. Unwitting choir can force targets to lose part of their actions as they sing along with your merry tune, while allies joining in are buffed as per heroism. Vocal mimicry does what it says on the tin. Finally, the final revelation nets free application of a variety of metamagic feats to sonic spells.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good – apart from one potential rules-snafu and a cosmetic missed italicization, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to the latest 2-column full-color standard of the series, including a white background, making it pretty printer-friendly. The pdf has a nice full-color artwork, but no bookmarks. At this length, it needs none of the latter, mind you.

Joshua Hennington delivers an enjoyable, neat oracle mystery. While there are a few minor formal snafus here, as a whole, this mystery does some pretty unique things, has a well-chosen array of abilities and, in an interesting manner, actually does not cardboard-copy bardic tricks. Instead of grafting classic into the chassis, we get some distinct tricks. So yeah, all in all, this represents a fun mystery. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Mystery of Music
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Monster Menagerie: Kith of the Harpy Queen
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/14/2018 11:11:33

A solid outing, the Kith of the Harpy Queen is primarily a presentation of several "themed" harpies - the "giant" harpy, the small, flock-focused harpy, the demonic harpy, etc. as a monster supplement. It also includes several harpy-themed magical items and spells.

It's always difficult to assess a supplement like this. The Glory Harpy's CR seems off base (it has not just one but three spell-like effects which are among the most overpowered effects for their level, and can take one of the harpy feats listed to multiply their usefulness), but that's true of the monsters in the base game too. I can't call it great because it doesn't rise above the bad judgment calls of Pathfinder/D&D3 with respect to monster evaluation (or spell evaluation for that matter), but perhaps I can't rightfully critique it on that ground either.

I should say I very much appreciate the pagination of the monsters. Ever since the days of the three-ring-binder Monster Manual for AD&D, I've been very attentive to how I can assemble monsters and other information for the campaign. Just print the page you want and you're good to go. (The same advantage isn't there for the spells and magic items.)

I do love harpies, so perhaps I'm giving this one an extra star just because they're such great monsters, but there's still a lot to do on the subject - a discussion of the mythological harpies and their roles, roles for different types of harpies in different types of campaigns or adventures, at least some attention to the gender politics of the harpy legends and how they might be used for political expression in your game. These types of analyses would be my suggestion for ways to improve the supplement.

Overall, however, the Kith of the Harpy Queen is a solid, straightforward, simple monster supplement that carries with it some attention to other factors of the D&D3/Pathfinder era which are relevant to players: spell choice and character building. It's worth a look.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Menagerie: Kith of the Harpy Queen
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