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Monster Menagerie: Draconis Arcanus
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 11/14/18 10:25:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive installment of the Monster Menagerie-series clocks in at 58 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 52 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

All right, so, if you’re like me, you can never have enough dragons. In my games, dragons are extremely deadly, rare, and my players try to avoid them at all cost – with my staggering array of supplements, supplemented by home rules, I have made these fellows true forces of nature. It’s a matter of aesthetics, but I’m very much in favor of using dragons very consciously of what they should signify for adventurers. This notion has ultimately led me towards considering pretty much every dragon as its unique entity – whether I’m using metabreath feats, the vast amount of templates, Legendary Games’ Path of Dragons or other supplements, I try to never have two dragon encounters feel alike.

As such, it is very helpful to get a whole bestiary devoted to a new type of true dragon – here, that would be the draconis arcanus; the collective term that peasants may butcher to instead be “spell dragons” – basically, these fellows are organized by magic schools, with each of the types of dragon receiving its own age category table, rules, and 3 sample dragons already statted for you. Much to my joy, none of these sample statblocks are devoted to the low levels, where any GM worth their salt can nowadays stat a dragon – instead, the lowest CR-iterations of the sample statblocks tend to clock in between CR 7 and 9, while the most potent ones run the gamut from CR 16 – 19. We get a sample young, adult and ancient dragon for each of the types of draconis arcanus.

As a new type of dragon, we do begin the pdf with universal rules for these dragons: These dragons can counter spells with any spell of the same school. They may freely learn cleric and sorcerer spells, and any spell from a school that corresponds with their type, regardless of spell list it’s from. As an immediate action, they can increase their CL for a spellcasting attempt by using Spellcraft, with the option to attempt for more potent overcasting by beating higher DCs. All dragons get the Spell Focus feat, with the adult age category also providing Greater Spell Focus. They add Charisma modifier and age category to checks made to overcome SR, get 11 + CR SR, and add their age category to their SR for the purpose of determining its value for spells of the school associated with them.. Interesting: These fellows get the ability to manipulate raw magic, either in the shape of untyped blasts of destructive energy of the dimensions of their breath weapon, or t heal themselves or other creatures – this is but one of the plethora of aura-altering abilities within. The latter, the healing aspect, is a gamble of sorts, though – for the spell dragon does take Constitution damage for using raw magic. Finally, for 1 point of Con-damage per spell level these dragons can attempt an immediate action counterspell. As beings of magic, all spell dragons are susceptible to antimagic effects, which actually hurt them – from dispel magic to mage’s (formerly Mordenkainen’s) disjunction, damage values for such effects are provided – and woe betide spell dragons trapped in a magic dead area.

The theme here is pretty obvious – dragons as incarnations of magic, as perhaps their source, would be a theme that these very well could provide. That out of the way, we begin with the massive array of draconic tricks that this pdf offers, and there are quite a few gems here that will make your PCs fear these majestic beings. Let’s take the Abjuration dragon: Usually neutral, these fellows have adaptive energy resistance, and at age ancient or older, they actually can become buffed by being attacked with magic weapons, leeching off the enchantments temporarily. That mighty +5 dragonbane holy avenger? Not so holy or dragonbane-y anymore…here, let me snap this metal twig for you… Oh yes, this one goes there: Players will fear these fellows. I mean, we all know that dying in honorable battle with a dragon is something many a player will brag about…but first having all magic items wrecked? Now that is plain mean…and I love it. Have I mentioned the 1/day 500 ft. disjoining pulse that wyrms get? Oh, the delicious tears… XD Kidding aside, I love how nasty these fellows can be. Did I mention the great wyrm prismatic scales – these are a dragon hunter’s worst nightmare, right after their disjoining pulse…And no, you won’t be doing a lot of fancy porting around these fellows…Love them!

Now, you may have noticed something – the abilities of the abjuration dragon don’t look very template-y; i.e., they can’t simply be exchanged for the “spell school xyz”-equivalent. This notion is proven true when taking a look at the conjuration dragon, who gets the ability to use free actions to layer metamagic feats on conjuration spells (no, he doesn’t have to know them!), and it can modify the duration of such effects, and retroactively layer metamagic effects on them – oh, and they can redistribute targets in line of sight. Know what’s conjuration? Teleport. Healing…oh BOY, will PCs and players look dumbfounded when first encountering one of these fellows. And yes, they get frickin’ unchained eidolons. Better summons…and great wyrms get a gate breath. They can transform their frightful presence into an undead debuffing healing aura…and what about mist-auras? Or ripping parts from other planes here for planar trait fun? This is gleefully creative, and yes, before you ask, these dragons do think with portals…and these portals actually are only visible for these dragons and those having true seeing…That they get a summoning breath should, at this point, be taken as a given.

Divination dragons get plasma breath (excellent: Rare damage type properly explained in breath weapon entry) and they add Int-mod to initiative and all saves as well as AC (at juvenile+ age category) – and at later stages in the life cycle, these guys get further defensive tricks. Their breath can trap targets in a flood of visions that may confuse them, and these fellows may exert massive control over nearby divinations. Free ation 1/round Int to a d20-check, scrying tricks, and seeing past and future, the dragon may strike traumatic fear in the hearts of his adversaries. Oracular scales…and did I mention the ability to get a more flexible true strike-y bonus that may be distributed among allies nearby? A massive disadvantage aura (roll twice, take worse result) is nice, but the capstone is the genius thing here: Great wyrms may utter a word after observing a target – this can change even an outsider’s alignment, make priests lose their faith, etc. – functionally, it can be insanity, and, ina cool touch, the ability states that making the save equals “forgetting” what the dragon said/not processing it. This one is frightening in all the right ways.

Enchantment dragons, as befitting of their school, are masters of the creatures they defeated, gaining a sonic breath weapon that may confuse foes, and control over an emotional aura that has several different modes. A paralyzing gaze, infectious suggestions and the ability to call forth minions charmed or dominated…nasty fellow. Oh, and attacking these guys? Not so easy, courtesy of their majesty ability. With subliminal commands and subtle suggestions, these dragons make perfect puppet masters behind the scenes.

Know what’s not subtle? Evocation. Neither are the dragons. They can (and will) absorb energy-based attacks – and yes, this includes sonic and even force effects and have these fuel their breath..or provide healing. Oh, and they can do one thing at age old or older that should make them frightful. If you’ve, in the 3.X days of yore, played with a lot of obscure 3pps, you’ll know the notion of chained spells – a concept that, by definition, never was balanced well…but it’s cool. Well, guess what? For an old dragon, chaining spells together makes a ton of sense and can provide one super-deadly, nasty surprise. These dragons can cause their energy effects to be admixture, charge objects with destructive force impulses. Speaking of destruction: Great wyrms can enter the aptly-named “Devastation” energy form; and adult or older evocation dragons cause all damage dealing evocation spells and SPs to be both Empowered and Maximized, with unique effects for the various damage types – basically, debuffs are heaped on top. Ouch. Nitpick here: This ability should REALLY specify a range – I assume here that aura range was intended, but not specified. Did I mention the sundering capabilities of their breath? The option to make wall-breath effects?

Illusion dragons get a vulnerability exploiting breath, the ability to create illusory servants and create projections which it may then inhabit. Subtle and smart, they are naturally greater invisible, and get phantasmal killer auras, shadow duplicates, a breath that traps PCs in a fantasy utopia…while the latter allows for a Will save to end, here’s an idea: The dragon can peer inside the PC’s visions, and thus could modify their memories, so what if you seed odd occurrences, and when you’re fed up with the current story/region – have the PCs wake up, facing the dragon! Just an idea, obviously – though not one that’s so far-fetched, considering that these fellows may indeed alter reality…

Necromancy dragons get an animating aura, the ability to use astral projection at will at age very old or older, acid breath weapon (laced with diseases, for extra fun!), blood drain…and the dragon may lick targets (EW!), and for the next 24 hours, drain physical attributes from targets licked. This is…awesome. “Sure I’ll help you, little ones…I just want to…lick you.” shudders A fear-based gaze, freely interacting with incorporeal targets, a fatiguing touch and a banshee-style howl can be found – oh, and their breath can cause frickin’ lycanthropy! Their blood is diseased. They can generate clouds of rotting skin flakes. Those slain by their bite are almost certainly, barring wish/miracle, lost…oh, and they get a kind of sub-bloodline with unique benefits and associated undead. Did I mention that great wyrms actually dim the sun in the vicinity, getting the full-blown dark overlord vibe? Soil becomes deadly, water toxic…and just uttering the name of someone allows great wyrms to curse them. This is just super-nasty and cool! I’d have loved to see this lair-style ability feature notes on how it can affect a kingdom, but oh well.

Finally, there would be the transmutation dragon – these fellows get electricity breath, the usual control over their associated spell school’s effects, the options to blink around, fabricate materials…and what about a mist that can haste the dragon or slow foes? What about a venom that deals massive damage due to dininetgrate-ing you? As masters of transmutation, these dragons have a serious amount of control over their own bodies, chosen from their own list. Potentially polymorphing breath, the ability to create reverse gravity traps or to control the sizes of their foes – and what about gaining the traits of a subtype? A transformation aura nonlethal damage + Strength and Dex damage via touch attacks, making anthros, temporarily reincarnate-ing targets…and yes, the great wyrm ability is, no surprises there, a time stop-tweak. Here, the rules are a bit odd, as the ability basically represents a target-lockdown, not the ability to step out of time and prepare, so the spell-reference doesn’t make much sense here.

This is not where the pdf end, though – instead, we close the pdf with 10 different templates that allow for e.g. oracle or witch ability pouching, basically presenting quick to implement ways to further customize these dragons.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level. While I noticed a few missed italicizations and similar formatting hiccups and a few glitches in some abilities, these are few and far in between. Layout adheres to the grimoires-like two-column full-color standard of the series, though, after each dragon-type/subchapter, we have pretty big sections of blank space. The artworks within are original pieces and in full color: Dan Houser certainly has a unique style that some may consider to be a bit goofy, others delightfully charming. The front cover should give you a good idea there. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience. The pdf comes with a second version that is more mobile-device-friendly.

Sam Hing’s draconis arcanus, for me, started off as a concept I honestly was not excited about. AT ALL. Well, I’m happy to report that I was wrong in this instance – the dragons themed around spell schools actually work. Even better, they dare to be NASTY. They dare to be deadly and brutal – you know, like dragons should be. The ability arrays presented render these dragons potent adversaries that offer both brains and brawn as far as their capabilities are concerned. While they share their school mastery as a leitmotif, I was pleasantly surprised by how distinct from one another they ultimately turned out to be. They play differently, have radically different abilities, and more than one could be its own story twist. That evil empire with the enslaved evocation dragon bolstering the battlemages, the conflict of an enchantment, illusion and divination dragon, an epic game of chess and maneuvering…there are some seriously inspiring components here. Now, the pdf is not perfect, granted, but it’s a surprisingly captivating offering that actually made reviewing it fun. If I were to nitpick something, then that would be that the pdf could theoretically make more use of PFRPG’s subsystems, but then again, this may be a feature, not a bug for you and as such, won’t influence my final verdict. Even after all these monsters I’ve covered over the years, these dragons managed to elicit a sense of excitement – and what more can you ask for? While I did not reverse-engineer all stats within, I did check out a couple of them, and they are solid. All in all, I definitely consider this to be a worthwhile purchase and a great addition to the GM’s arsenal. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Everyman Minis: Hecaviogos Levialogi
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/29/18 13:44:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, in case you’re wondering what the levialogi (singular levialogos) are: They are a new creature subtype introduced originally in Paranormal Adventures, originally inspired in a loose manner by the Leviathans from the Supernatural TV-series. However, they are really loosely inspired by them and imho surpassed the source material in that they had a more distinct identity.

There is another aspect to them that renders them remarkable. I a game as offense-focused as PFRPG, they withstand. They endure. They don’t immediately fall apart when confronted with a properly optimized group. Levialogi are both DEADLY and incredibly resilient, making your high-level PCs actually work for once if they want to have even a remote chance of taking one of these fellows down. Add to that great fluff, and we have perhaps my favorite component of the whole Paranormal Adventures book. They are awesome and singular among monsters, in a way that very few types of subtypes are, with perhaps only kaiju and troops having this significant an impact on the base creature.

In short, they are really, really cool. This supplement adds another one to the fray, a critter to challenge even the most powerful of heroes: The hecaviogos clocks in at no less than CR 24. There is no hiding. True seeing and Perception +43. (This guy has a chance to spot the ridiculously powerful magical ethermancer-assassin I have in my game…) Among the constant tricks this fellow has, we are looking at both freedom of movement AND haste. It’s amorphous and immune against all the instant you-lose tricks and exploitable ability score drain/damage tricks. It has almost 550 Hp and invincibility 20. This value acts as BOTH DR and regeneration. Are you seeing what I mean? :D

Okay, add 5 attacks and we also have a nice offense, but where the fellow becomes truly unique is with the mass conversion ability: The hit of a tendril can suspend aging for a year, penalize saves, cause Dex drain, modify memory, major curse…and those are the general tricks. If you own (you should!) the amazing Childhood Adventures or Microsized Adventures supplements, you’ll get two more tricks out of the fellow: For synergy with the former, we have age category manipulation, for the former, we have microsizing targets…oh, and the hecaviogos can also inflict all of that with its gaze. Did I mention the massive array of SPs? Or that, when it possesses someone, it can supersede the target’s body with its own?

The massive flavor text that further explains these horrific twisters of flesh just adds the final flourish to a pdf that oozes the level of panache I expected to find here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to the new two-column full-color standard of the Everyman Minis-series, and the artwork for the fellow is really cool! The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas had a tough job here: I usually end up as disappointed when I have expectations that are this high for a critter. Not so here. With grace and panache aplomb, the author delivers one nigh-unstoppable nightmare that can challenge the most stalwart of groups when played properly. This critter is a perfect example of what can happen when you emphasize quality over quantity, offering a level of coolness only rarely seen in creatures. This gets a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval, awarded without any hesitation.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Everyman Minis: Bloodline Mutations
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/26/18 13:46:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content.

The supplement begins with an explanation of bloodline mutations: Whenever a sorcerer or bloodrager would receive a bloodline power, they may exchange it for one of the mutations within; alternatively, bloodline feats may be swapped for mutations, though prerequisites must be met either way; minimum levels to take the respective mutation are noted for both classes, accounting for the different usefulness for the respective class. Bloodragers may use blood mutations even if they’re not in bloodrage.

All right, the introduction and explanation on the first page out of the way, let’s take a look at the mutations, a total of 10 of which are provided!

-Blood Bath: Whenever you cast a bloodrager/sorc-spell that deals HP damage and affects an area, creatures failing their save also take +1d4 bleed damage. The limit here is that only Spell Focus’d spells or those hearkening from the bloodline are affected by this potent boost. Still, this is one I wouldn’t allow in all my games. High fantasy? Sure. Lower-powered games? Less sure there.

-Blood Blister: Sickens creatures that fail their save versus sorc/bloodrager spells for Cha-mod rounds. Only applies on Spell Focus’d/bloodline spells, and is correctly codified as a pain effect. The minimum levels here are higher than for Blood Bath, which makes the bloodmutation’s potent benefits easier to digest for me.

-Blood Bond: When targeting allies with a sorc/bloodrager spell, you can choose to forma blood bond with one affected ally.. While such a bond is in place, both beneficiaries of Blood Bond gain the Lookout feat while adjacent, and receive the benefits of status (not properly italicized). Only harmless spells may forge a blood bond, and only one may be in place, with new casts allowing for the superseding of previous casts. Nice one, though 9th/12th minimum level may actually be a tad bit conservative for this one.

-Blood Enmity: Choose a creature type (and subtype, if applicable) from the ranger list. The choice may be determined by your bloodline, targeting opposed creatures, subject to GM’s approval. Creatures targeted by your Spell Focus’d or bloodline spells that fit the criteria are in for a bit more pain: You either get +1 to the spell’s CL, or +5 to caster level or dispel checks made with it. Cool one!

-Blood Feud: +1 to CL with single target spells if you’ve been hit by an attack, spell, SP or SU that wasn’t harmless by the target. To nitpick: This should specify a maximum duration, like “within the last minute” or somesuch. It’s just +1, but from an aesthetic point of view, it’d have been slightly tighter.

-Blood Lust: +2 to atk with sorc/bloodrager spells that need to hit; if you hit, the bonus lasts for Cha-mod rounds, minimum 1. This one is pretty potent, but has high minimum levels and is kept in check by the bonus type.

-Blood Mist: Gain concealment when you cast a bloodrager/sorc spell, courtesy of blood spray. This lasts for Cha-mod rounds. Minor typo: “This you can’t use this concealment to make Stealth checks.”[sic!] Important caveat, though! Still, this one is available from 1st level (for sorcs) and 4th level for bloodragers and represents a rather potent ability sans limits. I’d probably make this one require an action to activate.

-Blood Spray: Add + Cha-mod to the bleed caused by the blood bath mutation. This one is suitably high-level.

-Blood Surge: When you target yourself with a harmless bloodrager/sorc spell, you either get fast movement, or increase its power by +10 ft. for Cha-mod rounds. (Here, no minimum duration is noted.) Cool one!

-Blood Thirst: When you use a bloodrager or sorc-spell with the polymorph descriptor to gain a bite attack, your bite attack increases its damage output as though you were 1 size category larger. This one is a bit odd, as plenty of bloodlines grant bites – this should probably interact with those as well, right?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level, but not as tight as usual for Everyman Gaming. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard with the nice artwork-border. The artwork presented is nice, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris’ bloodline mutations are a fun little supplement; the concept deserves to be expanded further. That being said, due to the wide variety between bloodline powers and feats, it’s hard to judge whether or not you’d consider the respective options to be balanced. As a whole, a few seem to gravitate to the more potent side of things, often courtesy of having arcana-like effects that apply to many or all spells cast. That being said, this is a nice pdf to check out if you’re looking for some nice options for magical bloodlines, and it does have some really cool visuals. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Everyman Minis: Kitsune Kineticist Options
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/26/18 13:44:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with one page of introduction that also contains a nice kitsune proverb as well as 2 pages of content.

On these pages, we find a total of 5 new feats and a new archetype, so let’s take a look and start with feats!

-Kinetic Felling: When your blast would kill your foes, you can, as an immediate action, accept 1 + a utility wild talent’s burn cost to refrain from killing your foes and leaving them instead stable at Constitution score -1 negative hit points. Opponents get a save versus the talent and take a penalty depending on the overkill by which you’d have killed them. Interesting one from a story-perspective.

-Kinetic Shapechanger: Lets you use kinetic blasts, gather power etc. when polymorphed if the creature lacks hands or prehensile appendages. Personally, I’d have tied that to the ability to executed natural attacks, but yeah. That’s aesthetics. Slightly odd: Alternate shapes can hence use the blasts with hands full, while the regular form can’t…that’s a bit strange.

-Kinetic Kyubi: This one is massive. It basically provides a kitsune-themed list of spells and codifies them as a utility wild talents available for each element of the listed level, with a burn cost of 1. Some of these are permanent, and they are treated as psychic magic for spellcasting interaction, with CL equal to kineticist level and save DC adhering to default utility wild talent save DC scaling. Interesting: Higher level options net their lower level brethren. You grow one tail per talent chosen, but otherwise, this has no impact. There is a problem here, and it’s a pretty big one. The verbiage makes, for example overwhelming presence last until you next recover burn. That’s usually a level 9 spell with rounds as duration. Oh, and all of these “unless otherwise noted” cost 1 burn. One has a burn cost of 0, but apart from that, NONE of them have a diverging cost noted. This feat is broken and needs careful reevaluation.

-Blazing Fox Form: Whenever an opponent within 30 ft. makes a melee or ranged attack against you and misses, you can accept 1 point of burn as an immediate action, transform into a Tiny fox, and move up to 50 ft. with perfect fly speed, and if you possess Swift Kitsune Shapechanger, you may also use it as a move or as a free action. This is stated to interact with kineticist class features as an utility wild talent, but does not specify an effective spell level.

-Exploding Fox Form: I get what this tries to do. It builds on the previous feat, which is stated to interact with class features as a utility wild talent, but its verbiage falls apart. “Whenever you use the Blazing Fox Form feat, you can attack one creature who was adjacent to you when you used this ability with your kinetic blast.” Thing is, we didn’t use Blazing Fox Form with the kinetic blast; we were attacked and used it as a response. There is some sort of confusion here. Blasts are not utility wild talents and while some utility wild talents can modify blasts, they don’t have to. This is further complicated by requiring the modification of the blast to be executed by the kinetic blade infusion, which makes the sequence of events somewhat odd.

The archetype contained herein would be the chosen of the clan, who must be non-evil and has a code of conduct. At 1st level, the chosen of the clan can use gather power to transform her body’s vitality into elemental matter as an alternate means to gather power, choosing development or youth. If she uses this ability, she reduces the total burn cost of the next blast or utility wild talent by 2 as a move action, 3 as a standard action. This either increases the age of the character by 1/10th of the minimum age for venerable, rounded up, or decreases age by 1/10th. Odd: Only the becoming younger aspect features the caveat “for every point of burn prevented”, while the other option presents a one-time reduction. Pretty positive that’s an oversight. Changes to age remain for 24 hours, after which the character returns to her true age at the range of 1 year per hour. In short: This ability is intended to work in context with Everyman Gaming’s excellent Childhood Adventures book, but is a bit confused. It can’t kill you/regress you beyond newborn, btw….so once you are an infant or venerable, gather away. Pretty sure that’s an oversight as well.

Starting at 4th level, the kitsune may choose a selection of ninja tricks or feats instead of a utility wild talent, which includes the new feats or “Vulpine Pounce (see below).” Guess what’s not below? Bingo. Vulpine Pounce. 12th level unlocks master tricks, and burn is substituted for ki, with the ability expressly providing the means to use them in conjunction with the gather power tweaks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-language level, though, this is not up to par for either author Clinton Boomer, or Everyman Gaming. Kineticist rules-language is complex and intricate, but here, we have quite a few stumbles that I usually don’t get to see from them. Layout adheres to a colorful, nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

This pdf left me very disappointed. I like kitsune, and Clinton Boomer’s high-concept design tends to be amazing. Well, nobody can win all the time, and this time, a couple of things have seriously gone wrong. The Fox-feats should simply be utility wild talents; there are inconsistencies in the archetype’s verbiage and the Kyubi feat’s interaction with the kineticist chassis are WEIRD and kinda broken. I wanted to love this little pdf, but frankly, it has a lot of issues for its brevity. I can’t go higher than 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Star Log.EM-025: Dragon Disciple
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/23/18 07:25:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief text that contextualizes dragon disciples within the Xa-Osoro system as a setting that’s shared by Everyman Gaming and Rogue Genius Games, we are introduced to the Dragon Disciple archetype, which nets key abilities at 2nd and 6th level. It may not be added to a dragon with the dragon graft or template or to a construct, and if you have a class that sports a bloodline or heritage-themed ability, said ability must be dragon-themed, if possible.

The second level ability is draconic form. You choose one dragon template graft, and 1/day may manifest draconic form as a swift action. While in this form, you gain the benefits of draconic manifestations. You get one draconic manifestation at the start, and may use the Expanded Draconic Form feat, which nets you another one. If you have this class feature, you may choose Expanded Draconic Form as an alternate class feature at 4th, 9th, 12th and 18th level. The special line notes that archetype may get this feat as an alternate ability at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, as well as 9th – so, which one is the correct first one? 4th or 6th level?. Draconic form lasts for key ability modifier + ½ level. Starting at 6th level, you may spend 1 Resolve Point to use the draconic form once more before having to rest first.

The draconic manifestations provide a breath weapon, blindsense, shape change, expanded darkvision, draconic resistances, limited flight (with level appropriate unlock), natural weapons or a small boost to AC. Breath weapon thankfully has a Stamina-regain cooldown. At 9th level, the more potent draconic manifestations are unlocked. Here, burrow, climb or swim speed, DR, icewalking, better draconic resistances, sense through, SR, sound mimicry and both woodland and swamp stride may be found. It should be noted that your graft needs to be able to get these, so no undue cherry-picking.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level, with the one minor level inconsistency as the only relevant tarnishing. The full-color artwork is nice and layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas does a pretty damn neat job translating the dragon disciple to SFRPG. Mechanically sound, solid and fun, it is not too restrictive, but manages to keep the options presented in check as well. All in all, a rather nice option, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Star Log.EM-024: Expansion Bays
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/22/18 09:38:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log-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!

All right, so, as always, we begin this with a contextualization of the subject matter at hand regarding the shared and implied setting of the Xa-Osoro galaxy, summarizing two popular starship manufacturers in a nice piece of fluff.

The pdf contains a total of 8 different expansion bays, which feature a proper table with PCU required noted alongside BP cost. One of these, the Null-Space Hold, comes in 3 Mks and basically applies the same tech as the null-space chamber, allowing for the creation of 2, 4 and 8 additional expansion bays, respectively. Big plus: The write-up thankfully notes that e.g. bays requiring external walls can’t be installed, and neither may these be cheesed – you can’t build null-space chambers or holds within null-space holds.

The hydroponic bay provide food and water, making space trips more sustainable and cost efficient, and also helps you slightly reduce Life Science and Medicine costs thanks to your herbal medicines. The luxury suit[sic!] is probably missing an “e” at the end, being a premium recreation area. The table knows three different levels of extraordinary living quarters for the rich, super-rich and ultra-rich. ;)

The robotics control center has its reach and carrying capacity determined by ship size, as it includes dexterous, exterior-facing robotic arms that allow the operator to perform tasks outside the starship without leaving it. The more arms you have, the more robotic arms you can control at once, so definite advantage for ksathas and skittermanders. Computers, Piloting, Sleight of Hand may be used for the arms. Attacks and a small table of suggested skill DC modifiers complement this one. Really cool.

The security center basically dislodges the security system from that of the ship, requiring infiltration to hack it. Solar wings come in the normal version that does what you’d expect, as well as a magical one, levitation solar wings, which allows for aerial sailing, requiring no time to turn on its thrusters, and may into orbit in normal and low-gravity planetoids sans requiring thrusters. Stellar Simulators help the crew analyzing phenomena and navigation, and telepathic resonators, which come in 3 different types, which allow for the broadcast of telepathy use via screen: Basically, viewing a creature in range of the resonator allows for communication, and even f the target is not seen, there’s a chance the mental signal goes through, provided it’s in range.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with a nice artwork, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

David N. Ross’ expansion bays provide a couple of really cool bays that add a couple of options I’ve been waiting for; there are quite a bunch of fun options herein, more than one would assume! This is a really neat little pdf. Well worth getting, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Star Log.EM-023: Yroometji
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/22/18 09:29:38

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!

We begin this supplement with the by now traditional contextualization of the Yroometji within the frame of the Xa-Osoro galaxy, the evocative setting shared by Rogue Genius Games and Everyman Gaming, beginning the pdf of a flavorful note. We then proceed to get the racial information on the Yroometji regarding their physical descriptions, home world, etc. In case you didn’t know: We’re talking about kangaroo-folk here, which is a damn fine concept! The only flavor aspect not covered here would be the “Playing as…” sidebar that the core book races have, where brief preconceptions and clichés pertaining the race and its perception are noted.

Yroometji, rules-wise, are Medium humanoids with the yroometji subtype (no subtype graft included in this one) and have a base speed of 30 feet. They get +2 Str and Cha, -2 Int and low-light vision. Yroometji get a +2 racial bonus on Athletics checks and add it to their list of class skills. They are treated as having a running start for jumping purposes, and while jumping, may move as though they were flying with average maneuverability, which is a REALLY cool angle to represent jumping and unique tricks. They get 1d3 lethal damage causing natural attacks, and don’t treat unarmed strikes as archaic; starting at 3rd level, they add 1.5 times their character level to these attacks. They also have a pouch, and may store 1 cubic foot or items weighing up to 1 bulk in total in the pouch. Items may be transferred to and fro from pouch to hand and vice versa as a swift action, and may empty their pouch to the floor as a move action. Really cool!

…however, know what’s missing? Yep. The HP-value. I assume from the chassis that 4 or 6 may be intended, but I’m not sure.

On the plus-side, the pdf does introduce the null-space expander, which comes in 4 different mk-levels. This augmentation lets you fit even more stuff in your pouch and is concisely priced and codified. (And it’s so cool! Picture it: Drawing forth a ladder or 10-foot-pole from the pouch? Hilarious!)

The pdf closes with a new spell, the second level pouch ally, which is available to the mystic, as well as the legacy classes wizard, cleric and bard from Starfarer’s Companion. You need to be a marsupial to cast the spell, or have an equivalent pouch via an augmentation or somesuch. By casting this spell, you shrink a creature within one size category to 1/16th of their size and 1/4000 of their mass and transfer the creature into your pouch. Gear is left behind, and the target slumbers and is subjected to a state of lucid dreaming. It is nourished by you, and automatically stabilizes, and replenishes Stamina, Hit Points etc. as if resting, though at an accelerated rate. The target counts as 1 bulk, is basically live bubble’d while in the pouch, and if you die, the spell ends. The spell even gets the conditions for reemerging targets right. Total winner! I can see the sheltering bodyguard, the motherly medic and a wide variety of unique concepts based on the spell. Huge kudos!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, with the notable exception of the HP value missing, the one big strike against this pdf. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the artwork by Jacob Blackmon makes the yroometji look kickass! The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ yroometji are cooler than their Pathfinder brethren: The unique tweak on their jumps is amazing and creative and the spell and augmentations are winners indeed. This usually would be a 4.5 or 5-star file. However, the missing HP value, at least for now, deprives me of the option to pronounce the recommendation I’d otherwise utter regarding this pdf. It’s a small thing, and not something that should deter most GMs, but I can’t go higher than 3.5 stars for these guys – at least for now. I can’t justify rounding up, though. Everyman Gaming has a track-record of updating files, though, so once this glitch’s been taken care of, consider this to be a 4.5 or 5 star-file instead; same goes if you’re willing to just make a call on the HP-value.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Everyman Minis: Magus Arcana
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/12/18 04:13:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

This supplement contains a total of 15 new magus arcana, so let’s take a look!

-Abundant Metamagic: This arcana needs another arcana that adds metamagic effects to a magus spell with daily uses, and allows for the payment of arcana points to not expend the limited uses of such metamagic enhancer arcanas. Nice. Should probably specify requiring such an arcana as a prerequisite, though.

-Augmented Aspergillum: Upgrades the damage of the holy water in a battle aspergillum wielded in conjunction with spellstrike. Damn cool!! Love it!

-Blunt Strike: When dealing nonlethal weapon damage, the magus may choose to make the spell delivered via spellstriek nonlethal as well. Nice one!

-Combat Trapper: Another winner, this one allows for mancatcher magus use, as well as the channeling of spells into said catcher. Super iconic – picture the elite squad, subduing dangerous folks that way…Two thumbs up!

-Concealed Strike: Renders opponent flat-footed versus Conceal Spell-enhanced spellstrikes. Ouch!

-Consume Spells: Nets consume spells for magus arcane pool points instead. Not a fan, as it delimits the resource. It also doesn’t work RAW: The arcana specifies items as source, not magus spells, which generates a ton of questions regarding if they go dormant, if items wielded by enemies can be targeted etc.

-Dweomer Brace: Brace/spell combo. Nice!

-Ethereal Strike: Pay arcana when using spellstrike with ghost touch to bypass incorporeal traits with the spell. (Has a min. level cap that holds it in check.)

-Hypnotizing Strike: Use hypnotist’s lockets or nunchakus to add Reach Spell to touch attack spells, but these do allow, thankfully, for a save.

-Magus Exploit: Replace an arcana with an arcanist exploit. Not a fan.

-Polearm Sweep: Cool one: Modify a cone-spell to instead affect all squares threatened with polearm, min 6th level.

-Sand Spray: Use poisoned sand tubes to deliver touch spells as part of a ranged attack, changing delivery method and allowing for a unique, cone-shaped variant with a short-range and tight rules. That being said, the arcana should specify that the three spells that can be imbued at once in the poisoned sand should have a limitation regarding casting time. That being said, impressive to see the spell recall synergy here done right.

-Shining Limelight: liming weapon property added, plus unique debuff added, though that one should have a duration stated.

-Spell bash: Shield Bash-dispel combo. Nice!

-Swift Augmentation: Spend arcane pool points to enhance the weapon s part of expending a swift action to trigger a magus class feature.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, with not much to complain about. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports a neat artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jen McTeague is an author who needs more work. So far, I have been impressed by everything she has penned, and this is no different. At this point in time, it is remarkable that a class as well-supported as the magus has still so many blind spots, and many arcana within actually allow for thoroughly exciting and unique combinations. I do consider a few of them to be slightly problematic, but similarly, there are more than I expected that I really ended up loving, that managed to inspire me. And, as always, I prefer daring design and complex tricks over bland and safe perfection. This humble pdf had more arcana inside that made me come up with character ideas than almost every such file I have previously read. As a reviewer, though, I have to take these minor flaws into account, which is why I can’t rate this higher than 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Everyman Minis: Squishikins
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 10/03/18 08:38:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what are squishikins? Well they are a new race presented within, a kind of living construct in the shape of a helpful ability to transform themselves into plush. As someone who cherishes his old plush-Kiwi, this made me smile. The squishikins are noted as 2 – 3.5 feet in size and 20 lbs. weight; while no age, height and weight table is provided, in this instance, this information suffices.

Rules-wise, they get +2 Con and Cha, -2 Str,a re Small, have normal speed and are constructs with the shapechanger and squishikin subtype. They thankfully don’t get the massive array of construct immunities. They have darkvision 60 ft. and low-light vision and always treat Perception as a class skill. They can transform into a diminutive toy shape, analogue to tree shape sans the bonuses and immunities, but with a +10 racial bonus to Disguise. At 1st level, they choose whether they look like an animal or anthropomorphic humanoid. The former nets a 1d3 primary bite attack; the latter a humanoid subtype with a racial trait of the race to not exceed 3 RP. Polymorph effects chosen make the alternate versions resemble stuffed toys as well. Squishikins can hold their breath 4 times Con-mod round and work sans water for 1 + Con-mod days, sans food for a week before needing to make checks to avoid starvation and dehydration respectively.

It is pretty impressive to see the flavor of the race, expertly crafted, to actually make the concept come alive. We get favored class options for bard, fighter, oracle, paladin and rogue – no problems with them. The pdf sports two feats: Adjustable Size lets you change minor details of your appearance sans the usual penalty and lets you assume sizes between Fine and your form. Improved Facsimile lets you choose an additional benefit, depending on whether you chose animal or humanoid. It may be taken multiple times and provides access to further racial tricks or animal abilities (limited in a smart manner). The pdf also provides a CR +0 simple template to instant-squishikin-ify creatures. Cool!

The pdf provides 3 different class options: The order of the nightguard protects the civilians from the horrors of the night and nets a bonus to weapon damage in dim light or darkness via challenge. Skill-wise, Knowledge (local) and Perception are provided, and the latter do not change while asleep – a potent benefit for squishikins, who already have Perception as class skill hard-baked into their engine. Making a check while asleep lets the cavalier wake up. The order abilities begin with ever ready, which translates to Alertness and Lookout; all allies are treated as having Lookout, which is pretty nifty. Uncanny Reflexes at 8th level net Blind Fight and + being treated as having cavalier level ranks in Perception for Blind Fight prereq’d feats. The ability also nets + Wisdom modifier (min 0) AoOs per round (doesn’t stack with Combat Reflexes, but is treated as such for prerequisite purposes) and the cavalier may substitute Wisdom mod for Dex-mod for Combat Reflex prerequisite feats. 15th level nets blindsense 30 feet, based on audio, which doesn’t work versus incorporeal targets.

The sleepytime trickster mesmerist replaces the 1st level trick with hypnotic lullaby. A target of hypnotic stare may, as a swift action be targeted and must succeed a save of gain the drowsy (mild) condition from the fantastic Everyman Mini: Sleeping Rules, slowly building up to sleep. At 11th level, the mesmerist can target creatures other than those affected by hypnotic stare. At 3rd level, rule minds and touch treatment are replaced with 3 + Cha-mod times per day Sleep tight – a standard action that requires touching a target that’s asleep. On a failed save, the target falls into a slumber so deep he temporarily can’t be awoken. 6th, 10th and 14th level allow for longer increments of duration, with the latter also placing the target in temporal stasis while asleep, while 20th level upgrades sleep to permanent and the mesmerist may have unlimited contiguous sleepers, ending the previous limit on simultaneous sleep tight effects. Love it. At 3rd level, hypnotic stare can get rid of immunity to sleep effects, replacing bold stare.

The third archetype, the toymaker alchemist replaces bombs with a squishikin companion that works like a variant druid companion. Brew Potion and Throw Anything are substituted with Craft Wands, treating alchemist levels as aster levels for the purpose of other crafting feats. This is relevant, in that alchemy is altered to become toymaking, which replaces extracts with knickknacks; these behave like spells in wand form with a single charge and thus qualify for crafting purposes. Extract modifying discoveries instead apply to knickknacks. 2nd level adds all conjuration (summoning) spells from the sorcerer/wizard list and the druid list to his extract list, and such called critters get the aforementioned squishikins template instead of the usual templates. 6th level nets Craft Construct instead of poison use and the 2nd and 6th level discoveries. 3rd level allows the toymaker to heal squishikin subtype quicker 3 + Int-mod times per day and at 6th level, crafting is sped up. At 9th level and every 2 levels thereafter, the archetype chooses a complex construct modification with a CL equal or less class level; as a standard action, the toymaker can touch a squishikin creature, granting it one of the chosen modifications for 10 minutes per class level with 10 minutes per level duration; the companion may be upgraded with these permanently at half the price. This replaces poison resistance and immunity.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-tier on a formal and rules-language level – I noticed no glitches, no inconsistencies. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports adorable artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ squishikins are amazing on multiple levels: On a design-level, the pdf manages to do a variety of unique and creative things with the base race – sans making it too strong or weak. The supplemental options have strong themes and creative, complex rules that I thoroughly enjoyed, and the flavor is amazing. The squishikins as a race are amazing for kid-friendly games…and, paradoxically, also for horror games! You can make these super-creepy if you want; that’s not even implied in the wholesome pdf, mind you – it’s just where my twisted mind immediately went…Oh, and the flavor and prose for them also rocks!

In short, this is a superb example of concise race design, and a resounding success on pretty much every level. 5 stars + seal of approval, given without any hesitation!

Endzeitgeist out.



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Starfarer's Codex: Multiclass ThemeTypes
por Kevin C. [Comprador verificado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 09/25/18 03:59:29

OK, I purchased this product and to be bluntly honest, I am a little underwhelmed. First off, if you take this option for your character you lose the bonus attribute point that a theme gives you. Second, your primary character class is crippled for not much in return. This isn't the fault of the concepts in this book, but an overall function of the Starfinder Archtypes just being very subpar.

The Mechanic Themetype is nice, but really should not count as an archtype. Not enough bang for the buck.

The Mystic and the Technomancer Themetype seem a little more balanced, but honestly, If you really need to take some spells from the other spell caster list, take Mystic Dabbler (or Technomagic Dabbler) Feat at 5th level. When you get to 20th level you have 2 Cantrips and 6 times a day you have a 1st level spell. and you still have ALL of your main class spell and special abilities.

The Operative Themetype doesn't have the one ability that you would want to dip into Operative for... Evasion.



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Starfarer's Codex: Toonimancy
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 09/14/18 06:05:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, the introduction specifies that technomancers can access magic tied t more than physical technology, mentioning search engines (digimancy), dubthurgy and spamorcery. Damn, now I really want a spamorcery-specialist! Anyways, younger technomancers (and those nerdy/young at heart) enjoy toonimancy, drawing upon concepts popularized by cartoons. This write up also mentions the Tooninomicon. It often comes in physical versions and contains this warning, in dozens of languages: “Warning! You are not B. Bunny!” Oh yeah? Yeah!

Anyways, we get a brief list that codifies spells by levels, just before we get the spells themselves. Anvil has a Medium range and comes in 6 versions – one for each spell level, and it targets a single creature or object, dropping an…anvil on them. Or, you know, pianos, safes, etc. Comparing the respective damage values with Starfinder’s spells, I have no complaints here. Ban hammer also comes in a version for level 1 – 6, and generates a massive, two-handed hammer with “BAN” written on it. It is massive, unwieldy, and critical hit effects as well as special weapon properties make sense. You btw. attack with caster level + key ability score. You may choose to end the ban hammer upon hitting a target – if you do, the target must save or be forced to move away from you. I’d love to have that IRL sometimes…

Boomspittle is a 5th level spell that may only be cast as a reaction while being an the area of a multiple-squares-targeting weapon attack that fails to hit you, or against which you successfully save. You inhale the weapon effect, and may then blow forth a harmless puff of smoke, or exhale the weapon’s blast! Heck yeah!! Control argument is a 1st level spell and makes the target disagree with everything you say. This made me smile so widely… The 3rd level spell coyote curse makes it impossible for the target to use technological or hybrid weapons, vehicles or equipment, including armor upgrades, but nor armor, without taking an extra move action to fix an annoying difficulty, a bizarre slip. I love this spell. I’m spo going to use its effects as a really brutal high-level terrain hazard!

Finger in the Muzzle is a 1st level spell that may only be cast as a reaction while adjacent to a target firing a ranged weapon. You put the finger in the muzzle. The target saves, and on a failure, for some backfire shenanigans. Neat! Flat foot is 2nd level and smashes a foe taking bludgeoning damage comically flat, making them…flat-footed. That is so funny on a meta-level, I actually laughed. Passpaint is a 4th level spell that lets you paint a gate in the time-honored tradition. Really neat. Shave-and-a-hair-cut forces targets to make a Will save or loudly proclaim “two bits” as a result of your knocks and take a move action or guarded step towards you – interesting 1st level spell. Theme music lets you hear your own theme music, inaudible to anyone else. This penalizes Perception…but it makes you automatically aware of danger – the music changes! It also can allow you to get a hunch of a given situation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports fitting, cartoon-y artworks. The pdf does come with basic bookmarks, in spite of the brevity.

Owen K.C. Stephens’ toonimancy is amazing. The spells are genuinely funny, immaculately balanced and befitting of the quality we expect from Strafinder’s Lead. This is an all-killer, no filler collection of inspiring spells with even the fluff providing some damn cool ideas. I really found myself wishing for more, and indeed, in Starfinder, this works perfectly regarding aesthetics. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Star Log Deluxe: Starfarer Grafts
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 09/14/18 06:02:43

An Endzeitgeist.com

This extra-long installment of the Star Log-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, this one is something completely different. Everyman Gaming and Rogue Genius Games have been at the vanguard of Starfinder content from the get-go; the massive Starfarer’s Companion book would be one such example. Now, here’s the thing – quite a lot of the releases of the companies managed to predate the Alien Archive, which means that NPC/Monster-creation couldn’t be taken into account.

Well, this book remedies that for quite a wide variety of different sources. To be more precise: We get the creature subtype grafts for the Starfarer’s Companion races, as well as for the Skinwalkers, gnolls, ganzi and msvokas introduced in the Star Log.EM-series. The traits are concisely codified and leave nothing to be desired, with level-dependent feat effects etc. accounted for.

The pdf also does feature class grafts, and this section does include the legacy classes pioneered in the Starfarer’s Companion and the stand-alone Witch Legacy class. I am not particularly fond of these legacy classes, but plenty of folks are; plus, balance concerns are less important for the creation of potent adversaries, so yeah. The presentation of these class grafts is concise and precise; Skill, ability score modifiers, required array – all precisely presented. Per class, we do get more than 10 ability-by-Cr-entries in respective tables; how many do depend on the class. Some get 14 entries, some just 11. Perhaps that’s just me being greedy or, well, kinda OCD, but getting those for all CRs would have been nice, if only for completion’s sake. Nice: Regarding gear, e.g. paladins and rangers get separate entries for melee or ranged focus, though oddly, formatting isn’t consistent here. For the ranger, the headers are italicized for the gear sub-focuses, while, for the paladin, they’re bolded. That is just a cosmetic hiccup, though.

A neat plus, at least for me, was the inclusion of the Zoomer-class pioneered by Everyman Gaming in the array. The Aeoncarnate base class is similarly included, but I do not own this particular class, so unfortunately, I can’t comment on the virtue of its implementation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good; apart from cosmetic, minor snafus, I encountered no issues. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series and the pdf does have a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, which usually isn’t a problem for files of this size, but considering the reference-character of this pdf, it is a bit of a pity. I’d advise you to print out the file and add it to your Alien Archive.

This is one of the pdfs that just screams “I have been a mindnumbing labor to make” to me, and I’m glad that Alexander Augunas sat down and did all the work that assembling these must have been. And don’t get me wrong: The like IS work. Take it from my own design experience. Heck, even reviewing this took MUCH longer than the brevity of this review would make you believe. Flip open all those pdfs, check…you get the idea. In short: This is an incredibly handy little pdf if you’re looking for the graft-information for all these aforementioned books supported within. It is definitely worth getting, particularly if you’re like me and this type of work sends you into a GM-ing-procrastination spiral. So yeah, this is USEFUL. That’s its focus, and it delivers. 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Starfarer's Codex: Legacy Gunslinger
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 09/13/18 04:47:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, the first thing you’ll notice regarding these class options, is that gunslinging herein is not limited to the options of a new class; instead, there is a variety of ways to get the respective gunslinging tricks you want. Operatives may choose the gunslinger specialization, which has Intimidate and Perception as associated skills and allows for the use of Perception to make trick attacks. As a specialization exploit, you can choose any gunslinger ability of 9th level or lower. At 11th level, you may choose one gunslinger ability of 18th level or lower. You may select a possessively named ability, even if you have already selected abilities from other possessives. This is obviously a nomenclature issue, since the term is not clarified later. Instead, this should refer to method abilities.

A soldier gunslinger can select the gunslinging fighting style as either primary or secondary fighting style (not both), granting you a gunslinging ability at 1st,5th, 9th, 13th and 17th level. Abilities of your character level or your soldier level +1, whichever is better. There also is a gunslinger archetype: This requires proficiency in small arms, longarms or sniper rifles. At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th and 18th level, you may choose to gain gunslinging abilities. There also is a Gunslinger combat feat, which lets you choose one gunslinging ability of your character level or less; it may be taken multiple times.

Now, we’ve been mentioning these gunslinging abilities a lot, so let’s take a look at them! These abilities are organized by level and belong to specific methods – basically ability trees/families. The limitations imposed on characters regarding their choices is a neat idea – but it would have been even neater with an actual list/table listing the methods available. As written, you have to extrapolate the methods available from the respective ability-write-ups, which is an unnecessary comfort detriment.

The abilities per se are pretty interesting and do some creative things, even when referring to Pathfinder abilities that tended to elicit tired yawns in the original: When a ranged attack would theoretically miss you, you can choose to take it to stagger a few steps (10 ft.) around dramatically, taking minimum damage. The ability may be used more often than once, but doing so requires Resolve Point expenditure to do so sans resting. I also really liked the ability to set up basically turrets and similar traps – the rules here are tight, though, in a potentially confusing decision, the ability does not specify whether it uses Engineering or Mysticism to disable the traps placed. I assume Engineering, since it makes more sense, but theoretically, magical weaponry and the like would make sense with Mysticism as well. Some guidelines there would have been very much appreciated.

Better harrying fire, heavy armor proficiency, scaling grenade tricks. I am not 100% happy with the ability that nets fortification from the get-go: It does cost Resolve and a reaction to use, but considering the price of force fields that provide an unreliable means of negating critical hits, this does seem like a bit overkill for a 1st level ability. That being said, gunslinger’s dodge is actually fun here: It lets you move and nets an AC-bonus against the triggering attack, so yeah, it can actually matter. Nice one! There also is an interesting one that lets you create experimental weaponry that could inject e.g. vials or even spell ampoules at range, though at the cost of increased reloading durations – all of these special tricks do have their drawbacks to avoid breaking the item’s power. Like it. Pistolero, on the other hand, pretty much is a bit creepy for me: It allows you to execute a full attack as a standard action when wielding only small arms, and while it does have limitations imposed and an anti-abuse caveat, I am not sold on it: While the solarian’s solar acceleration zenith revelation has additional tricks added, it’s significantly higher level than 1st, and Starfinder’s increased ranged combat focus does make the movement more valuable. More nasty: Full actions do prevent swift action use, and this ability allows the gunslinger to avoid this limitation. It’s not necessarily broken, but for future-proofing, I’d definitely further elaborate upon the limitations this should have; as written, it only prevents full action or standard action-based attack options, and it’s probably just a matter of time before swift action-based tricks enter the fray.

Making a last reaction shot before being knocked unconscious, however, is a nice one. Determining randomly which target to shoot can net you a bonus, and there is a nice support ability as well. At range dirty trick (with trick attack synergy, if available!) and unlocking the soldier’s grenade expert at 3rd level, would be two examples for well-placed abilities regarding their power. Making precisely-aimed penetrating shots is also an angle I very much enjoyed, and quicker reloading for signature weapons is neat as well. Knockdown when hitting targets twice, with one of the hits being critical, is similarly a fun one. Rendering foes flat-footed that are subject to harrying fire or covering fire makes for a nice 6th level ability. Targeting shots and similar classics have been translated to Starfinder in often creative ways. I also liked the staggering warning shot. It should be noted that, starting 9th level, we no longer get a metric ton of new abilities for all methods – only 3 per level-range are provided, with only Gun Tank and Ace Shooter having high-level exclusives unlocked at 12th level for the taking. All in all, while I do consider some of the abilities potentially problematic and pretty strong, I found myself liking this section very much.

The next section is pretty damn cool: Dare feats. Dare feats are unique in that they are inactive most of the time. As long as you have Resolve, the Dare feats are inactive: They only kick in once your Resolve runs out! As soon as you regain Resolve, the Dare once more becomes inactive. Anyone can take these, and they are interesting in that they could have easily been broken. Making smart use of Starfinder’s significant enemy concept, the regaining of Resolve via the specific conditions provided by the feats is not cheesable. Big kudos – I think this concept could carry even more!

The final section provides the gunslinger base class: Dexterity is the key-ability modifier, 7 + Con Stamina, 6 HP, 5 + Int skills per level, proficiency with basic melee weapons, grenades, small arms, longarms, sniper weapons. You gain Weapon Specialization for all weapons this class gets proficiency with. The class has full BAB-progression and goo Ref- and Will-saves. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter nets a bonus feat, and the class starts with 2 gunslinger abilities and gains more at most levels – except those that net bonus feats of the grit ability increases. Grit is gained at 7th level and is 1 point that acts as a Resolve Point that may only be used to stay in the fight or to power gunslinging abilities. It does NOT qualify for having Resolve left – nice catch! The first time per day you kill or critically hit a significant enemy, you regain 1 Grit. 11th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase grit by +1. The class table is wrong here: 15th level should read “Grit+3”, 19th “Grit+4.” 7th level provides a decreased penalty with ranged full attacks; 13th level the three attack full attack and the capstone makes the gunslinger count as always having 1 Resolve left for gunslinging abilities. One gunslinging ability costing Resolve also does not cost Resolve anymore.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, though not perfect: the class table glitch is nasty, and there are a couple of instances where the otherwise precise rules-language could be a tiny bit more specific. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports quite a few really neat full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Owen K.C. Stephens flexes his design-muscles here, big time – while it may not have sounded like this in my review above, but this, from a design-perspective, an amazing pdf to read: Starfinder is a complex game, and writing rules-syntax for it is potentially harder than for Pathfinder. After all, accounting for general archetypes and critical effects, etc. adds to the things you have to bear in mind. Now, that being said, this is SUPER-impressive, as befitting of the Starfinder design-lead!

I tried really hard to poke some holes into this book, but frankly, I couldn’t come up with much: Apart from typo-level glitches, a few instances noted above, and the table glitch, my main concerns here lie in the future-proofing of a scant few abilities. That in mind, I am left with a few minor hiccups and said concerns, which leave me at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo. That being said, this is mechanically intriguing in multiple ways and manages to even make abilities that were bland in PFRPG matter in their new iterations. For this, the pdf does get my seal of approval. My favorite SFRPG-book by Rogue Genius Games so far, and a worthy addition to the game!!

Endzeitgeist out.



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Star Log.EM-022: Magic Hacks
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 09/13/18 04:45:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As before, we have a nice little flavorful contextualization of the subject matter in the Xa-Osoro system, noting the influence of the “Cult of .//ALL”, which I considered to be rather inspiring.

The pdf sports 3 different 2nd level hacks; Arcing Charge lets you expend an unused spell slot as a move action to charge a weapon, transforming its damage to inflict electricity damage. Nice catch: The weapons, if targeting KAC, still do so. If it does not have the arc critical effect, it gains this one for the duration; otherwise, the arc-range is expanded by 5 ft. per spell level of the spell slot expended. The hack’s duration lasts for 1 minute per level of the spell slot expended. Burning and Chilling charge are the energy type swapped fire and cold damage equivalents of this one, with burn and stagger critical effects instead, respectively. Already pre-existing such properties instead have their DCs improved for these. While the DC-increase thus possible can be pretty massive, the limited nature and cost here can be considered to be suitable.

There also are 3 5th level magic hacks: Animate File lets you expend a spell slot as a full action to search for recently-deleted files. You make a Computers check to hack, and on a success, identify all recently deleted files, with the spell slot level determining how far in the past you can reach. After this, you may spend any number of Resolve Points. You restore 2 such files per level of the spell slot expended, and gain an untyped bonus to Fortitude saves for an hour equal to the number of Resolve Points spent. The Fort-boost feels weird to me and doesn’t really make sense for me, but your mileage may vary.

The philosopher’s flash drive can be created during a 10-minute rest o regain Stamina while spending Resolve. To do so, you must sacrifice an unused spell slot. Thereafter, you can choose a transmutation spell of a level equal to the sacrificed spell’s one or lesser. That spell is then uploaded to the drive and may be used by any creature with the datajack augmentation as a swift action. Upon doing so, the spell immediately targets the creature, as though you had cast the spell. The hack takes customizing the drive into account, and notes the DC to hack these locked drives. Spells stored persist, but prevent that you regain the spell stored, preventing you from cheesing the ability. Upon regaining daily spell slots, you can choose to have all such drives cease functioning. Using a flash drive consumes it. Problematic here: RAW, this allows for the sharing of Target: Personal spells, which is something I’d eye with care. A caveat that limits spells stored would make sense here to future proof this.

Thirdly, encyclopedic cache lets you, when regaining spells and Resolve, spend 1 Resolve to select a spell on the class spell list of any level you can cast, but don’t know. You may then cast the spell instead of one you know. Problematic here: The hack does not note a condition for the reversal of the spell, which means you can slowly swap out your total spell load out. This should have a limitation.

The pdf also features two 8th level hacks: When determining the spells active in the cache capacitor, you may choose to it to ping magic instead of putting a spell in it – if you have the new Ping Magic hack, that is. If you do, you automatically detect magic (italicization missing) at the start of your turn sans action. The interval depends on the level where you take the hack – once per minute, per 5 rounds, or per round. You gain information as though you concentrated on every object in the 20 ft. ping burst. This is a cool idea, but the constant detect can be supremely annoying for the GM. The Summoned State Drive hack, finally, interacts in an analogue manner with the cache capacitor. You get to choose one creature per spell level you can cast summon monster that you could have chosen as summonable, but didn’t. This allows for better summoning flexibility. Once more, I think that a bit limiting would be nice here.

The pdf also offers the Adaptable Spell Hack feat. This nets you 3 magic hacks you don’t have, but whose prerequisites you meet and whose minimum level is equal to half your technomancer level or less. Once per day as a move action, you can get one of these for a minute. When gaining a level, you may switch out a hack, and the feat may be taken multiple times, granting an additional daily use for every time you take it. Note that you still can’t generate hack-chains thus, courtesy of the precise verbiage. Potent and restricted, but viable. Like it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, some minor caveats added would probably make sense. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a nice artwork, but sans bookmarks. The pdf doesn’t need them at this length.

Sasha Hall delivers an interesting, creative and precise pdf. Now, I am a bit weary regarding future-proofing of a few of the options herein, as the flexibility offered can be construed to be rather potent and will exponentially increase with the system maturing. Thus, a couple of limiting caveats would imho make sense. Still, as a whole, I consider this to be a well-crafted supplement. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of the platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Everyman Minis: Unchained Kangaroos: Dire Edition
por Thilo G. [Crítico destacado] Fecha en que fue añadido: 09/12/18 05:15:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini actually clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, while nominally, this pdf does reference the Everyman Minis: Unchained Kangaroos and Yroometji, you don’t require either to make use of the majority of this pdf.

We begin this pdf with a new animal, the Procoptodon megafauna, whose critical kicks can cause Constitution damage and bleed. And yes, they are really effective for CR 3. Minor complaint: The senses-line notes “Perception +#”, which should be “Perception +7”; cosmetic, since the skills do note the proper value. The pdf also includes Mirro, a CR 11 yroometji five-strike slugger brawler, which means one of my favorite brawler archetypes does get an iconic – big plus there! Really cool: He also gets a fully statted intelligent item, Xyvinar, which is pretty cool. Better yet, though, would be the really cool, extensive background story we get for this character. Now, don’t get me wrong: I like rank-and-file statblocks, but folks like this fellow do deserve stories, and for me as a GM, such stories are often what decides whether I’ll implement a character in my game or not. So yeah, big kudos for making this fellow more than just a series of stats!

But neither of these will be the reason you’ll truly want to get this pdf, at least if you’re like me. 150 ft.; 75 ft. tail. CR 27. The earth shakes, courtesy of tremor-causing steps and seismic command; it’s impossibly agile for something this big. It can easily spot you. It has the fighting skills, prerequisite-wise, of a frickin’ level 20 fighter. It’s basically Godzilla crossed with a kaiju kangaroo, with an inexplicable fondness for yroometji! It’s amazing! Minor complaint here: The natural attacks, inexplicably, don’t seem to apply any ability score modifiers to their damage values. Unless I’m missing something, these modifiers should be applied. It’s easy enough to do so, but that still is a bit of a comfort detriment. (And yes, we do get a cool full-color artwork for the kaiju!)

The final component of this pdf would be the level 9 occult ritual Writhing Flesh in Father’s Form. This is a transmutation (polymorph) ritual that requires a massive 9 hours to complete, and it is amazing – you basically take something from a creature and then attempt to transform the target: The process is described in detail and made me shiver with anticipation: From the bath of mercury to the polymorphic hammer, this really tickled my fancy. Here’s a thing: The duration is contingent on failed saves of the subject, and failures in the ritual add a variety of destabilizations, ensuring that PCs won’t want to do this all the time – still, this basically allows you to temporarily go Kaiju…and perhaps have a PC locked in shape, which can provide the impetus for new adventures to revert the change… Truly versatile and inspiring!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good of a formal level. On a rules-language level, the minor guffaws in the statblocks, while cosmetic, do detract slightly from the pdf’s appeal. Layout adheres to the artwork-bordered two-column full-color standard of the series and the artworks featured are cool. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ unchained dire kangaroos are frickin’ cool! The sample NPC with his story, the kaiju and ritual – they all combine into basically one big, amazing adventure hook I really enjoyed. It is only due to the minor formal glitches that I can’t rate this higher than 4.5 stars, rounded down. If the like doesn’t faze you, get this asap!

Endzeitgeist out.



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