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Deadly Gardens Collection
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/16/2019 08:21:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive collection of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 76 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 70 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The Deadly Gardens-series has, so far, provided quite a smattering of plant-creatures and related material, and this book collects the material in a handy compilation. From the get-go, we can see that this is not simply all the pdfs tacked together – the content has been reorganized in a sensible manner.

We begin the book with 4 new feats, which center around a couple of crucial components: There are feats that allow for the harvesting of poison from living creatures, for better resilience versus poisons, and, most interestingly perhaps, one that allows you to use poisons to treat diseases and addictions. The other key-feat included herein would be the Deadly Gardener-feat, which lets you Handle Animal plants without the DC-penalty, and even handle unintelligent plants and use wild empathy, if available, in conjunction with them. As far as organization is concerned, I’d have appreciated the plant companion stats that are provided for some creatures to feature here in the beginning as well – instead, they are located in the individual plant creature entries, which is slightly inconvenient, as most GMs probably wouldn’t want to hand out the creature-information.

From here, we get a couple of natural hazards like quagmires, and then move on to one of my favorite aspects of the series – the expansion of mechanically-meaningful terrain types – from kudzu to salt flats to razor shale and scree types, there are quite a few really amazing means to make combat more exciting and dynamic here. As a minor complaint: Damage types generally are concise, and so are the rules, but the scree types don’t mention the proper damage type they inflict –it is readily apparent that bludgeoning is correct here, though. Analogue, thickets should probably inflict piercing damage. These are cosmetic gripes, but I figured they’d warrant mentioning.

The next chapter is one of the hearts of the book, and seriously one of the best reasons to get the book: We receive a massive item-chapter. And I mean massive - if you’ve been following the series, you’ll know that it has championed natural items long before the release of Ultimate Wilderness, and did so rather well. Particularly for low level games and campaigns that enjoy a down-to-earth tone or a more dark fantasy and/or low/rare magic-approach, this’ll deliver in spades! If you’re like me and adore Playground Adventures’ fantastic Creature Component-books, then it should be noted that use of the books in conjunction is a pretty painless procedure!

Category-wise, the book first lists 5 alchemical items that include oil that hardens plant skin, liquid fertilizers, salt bombs, and the like – these are neat, but on a formal level, I noticed that sometimes there is a blank space between the gp amount and “gp”, and sometimes there isn’t. The salt bomb also mentions salt damage, which technically doesn’t exist, but seeing how circumstantial its effects are, I don’t necessarily object to that here to the extent where I’d usually do. The book then goes on to present 8 herbal remedies that range from aloe and lavender, to super-hot peppers that may sicken you with heat, but also help stave off the cold. Their benefits are subdued, nice and would theoretically be appropriate in even a no-magic game. Here, I have no nitpicks. The lion’s share of the items herein, though, are natural items – they note a source creature, the related skill check and the yield you can get from the target – as well as the price these components fetch on the market. The rules for preserving them are as simple and painless as the base engine. While quite a few of the natural items listed here are sourced from the new plant monsters that may be found within these pages, the majority hail from classic critters like intellect devourers, leucrottas, etc.

The eyes of accuser devils, for example, may be used as a kind of grotesque video camera that records things it sees; achaierai oil can be added to flame to create noxious, nauseating and nasty black smoke. Adherer tendrils may be used to facilitate the creation of sovereign glue. The voice-boxes of androsphinxes may be used to double the range of sound-based spells when used as a material component. Blood root vitae can be used to heal and also lesser restoration targets. Boggard tongues can be used as impromptu bungee ropes, while bulette musk is a kind of aphrodisiac that helps you influence those attracted to you via Diplomacy (Skill-reference not properly capitalized). The items also include e.g. items that can act as insect-repellant, as a power component to enhance fire magic, provide metamagic synergy, etc. I am still not a big fan of the cyclops eye soup, which makes the next critical threat within 8 hours automatically confirm. There are also small hiccups in the otherwise generally well-made rules language here – for example, an item that deals sonic damage, but its splash damage fails to properly type the splash damage’s damage type as sonic. This doesn’t impede the functionality of the items, but if you’re as anal-retentive as I am regarding these components, it may bug you here and there – a careful additional pass regarding rules-integrity could have further increased the value of this section. (As an aside – some of the glitches of the individual pdfs that I called out in my individual reviews have actually been rectified, so kudos for those!)

Beyond the ton of items, a massive table of almost 2 pages of natural poisons and 4 power components can also be found here. The book includes a new special material, an armor quality to grant/enhance woodland stride, and a whole array of magic items that include particularly smelly onions that you can eat to become really unappealing to eat (or get near…); there are classic quickly-growing beans, a silver apple that acts as a lycanthrope detector. The rules here generally are solid as well, often doing interesting things (such as with an assassin vine-based whip that can constrict on its own), but there also are some instances where damage is untyped that shouldn’t be.

Now, obviously, this being a compilation, the book also contains the stars of the Deadly Gardens-series – the monsters! From the lowly ophidian vine to the CR 23 Kaiju Verdaxag (who comes with a summary of kaiju traits and a spell to call for its wrath), the book contains a lot of interesting critters – and while it’s not included in the bookmarks, the wandering sundew is actually included in the book. The artworks btw. are sometimes glorious b/w (like the hypno-lotus) and sometimes in full color – in most instances, I ended up liking the b/w-pieces a bit more, though exceptions exist. Now, I really don’t enjoy repeating myself too much, so if you want a critter-by-critter discussion of everything within this tome, please do consult my reviews of the individual Deadly Gardens-installments.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are pretty good on a rules language level, but on a formal level, there are still a couple of minor hiccups present herein that should have been caught. Layout adheres to a nice and generally printer-friendly two-column standard, with matte backgrounds. The artworks are, for the most part, really nice, particularly considering the super-indie niche of the series. Really impressive! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, making navigation comfortable.

Russ Brown, Matthew Carroll, Kim Frandsen, Jeff Gomez, Chris Hunt, Sam Kaplan, Joe Kondrak, Jacob W. Michaels, Stephen Stack, Andrew Umphrey, Isaac Volynskiy, Mike Welham – considering this cadre of authors, it is pretty impressive to note how unified this book ultimately is. Compilations are difficult for me – on the one hand, I don’t want to unduly repeat myself; on the other, I still need to present valid advice and check the book. So yeah, this was a bunch of work, but work I’m glad I invested my time in.

There is value in this compilation, and it lies in convenience and organization – in contrast to the individual pdfs, you can have all those small tidbits and items all at the flick of the wrist, conveniently-presented in one book, and this ultimately renders the book a useful resource. If you do NOT have any Deadly Gardens installments so far, then this is most definitely the iteration I’d recommend getting. However, if you already have them, the usefulness of the compilation lies primarily in its unified presentation and organization. So yeah, as a whole, I consider this to be a good compilation product. While I would have loved to report that is has gotten rid of the small tidbits and inconsistencies, there are a few still here that made me wish this had received another editing pass to remove the remaining aesthetic blemishes. This notwithstanding, we have a rather nice book here, though my final verdict can’t exceed 4 stars for it – a good book, and an excellent resource if you’re new to the horrific plant-threats and natural items presented by the series.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens Collection
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Deadly Gardens: Verdaxag, King of Trees
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2018 04:50:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, ½ a page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, this is a change from Deadly Garden’s usual formula, in that we do not begin with the usual magic items – instead, we hear about the legend of Verdaxag and how it works: The colossal king of trees seems to empathetically feel the pain of plants, ignoring it for a while…and when the threshold is reached, the fury is unleashed! Well, or when multiple high-level druids undertake the wrath of Verdaxag ritual, which summons the mighty kaiju to lay waste to all humanoids within a 50 Mile radius. (Btw.: Kaiju subtype information is included for your convenience!)

Now Verdaxag itself is a BEAST. As befitting of a creature of its legend and power, it clocks in at CR 23. With AC 40, fast healing and impressive defenses, even high-level PCs will have a challenge on their hands when facing this force of nature, which btw. has no less than 5 attacks! Verdaxag can breath a cone of devastating, bleed-inducing thorns as a breath weapon and its mere presence entangles targets. Slaying a foe heals the king of trees and no plant creature can be harmed or compelled to harm Verdaxag. Additionally, the lord of trees can emit two types of pollen: Poison and rust can be caused …ouch. Setting fire to the fellow is btw. NOT a smart idea…and even if the mighty kaiju is defeated, that will not end the threat, as it will regrow. Only while in a weakened state after regrowth can the lord of trees be defeated. (Minor complaint: There is a spell reference not italicized.)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, top-notch on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the artwork for Verdaxag is fantastic, particularly considering the low price point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked in spte of its brevity – kudos!

Mike Welham’s King of Trees is AMAZING. I am a sucker for kaiju, and Verdaxag sports a ton of unique and intriguing abilities that should make the king of trees a fantastic foe for the forces of civilization. All in all, an excellent supplement for a super-fair price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Verdaxag, King of Trees
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Deadly Gardens: Wandering Sundew
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/12/2018 06:00:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, ½ a page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now as always, we begin the pdf with 2 new magic items, the first of which would be the blackthorn gloves allow the wielder, whenever they deliver a spell with a melee touch attack, to inflict +1d3 piercing damage, with a Reflex save to negate. For each point of damage caused by these thorns, the SR, if any, of the target is reduced by an equal amount versus the spell delivered. If the spell sports a save DC, it also increases by +1 per point of damage caused. Additionally, 2/day, the wielder can generate a 15-ft.-cone dealing 1d6 piercing damage, with a Ref-save to negate. The interesting component here would be that all targets affected by the cone are potentially targeted by the spell, replacing the usual touch delivery mechanism, but not the triggering condition for the item. It should be noted that this alternate delivery mechanism does not come with the SR/DC-modification. The spell thus delivered cannot be held and the item covers its bases to prevent Bouncing/Reach Spell abuse. AMAZING item. Looks simple, but is anything but simple and actually a complex, difficult rules-operation. The second item would be the sturdy walnut, which, upon command, can split into two halves, generating a masterwork buckler and a masterwork dwarven boulder helmet, but complete with straps etc. They may be enchanted as usual. Come on, that is a really awesome item that could come straight from fairy tales. Feels magical, love it.

The pdf also contains a total of 6 different natural items: The axe beak adrenal gland, when applied to a wound, doubles hit points gained via resting and nets a +1 dodge bonus to AC and Ref-saves after application. Lammasu claw powder can be used as a power component, increasing the radius of magic circle against evil. Criosphinx horn powder nets a +2 bonus to Cha-based skill checks against the opposite gender. The tentacles of the giant sea anemone allows for saves with a bonus to end ongoing pain effects. The trollhound heart nets brief fast healing and eating it provokes an AoO. Finally, the wandering sundew seedpod is cool. Why? Because it allows you to grow a wandering sundew companion! And yes, we get proper companion stats and proper rules-interaction, courtesy of the plant companion engines created by Rusted Iron Games. The companion is pretty potent, but considering the requires investment and story-requirements, I’m good with it.

Now, as for the star of the pdf, the monster. Wandering sundews are NOT creatures to be taken lightly. Yes, the cover makes them look nice, but they actually clock in at a massive CR 18! With gore, slam and tail attacks, they are pretty brutal melee beasts, particularly considering their Strength above 30 and the bonus acid damage their attacks cause. In spite of being Huge, these critters are actually really stealthy and they have a build that will make players think really hard before engaging: You see, the wandering sundew is a sundering specialist, with the acid bypassing hardness of metal and stone with sunder attempts. Beyond that, the creature has grasping stalks: At the end of the round, a melee touch attack is made against all creatures in reach, which then proceed to stick to the sundew, taking acid damage. A total of 4 creatures can be held thus and targets held as such do not penalize the capabilities of the sundew AND do not bestow the grappled condition on the sundew. OUCH!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and the artwork provided is nice, particularly considering the low price point. The pdf fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. Kudos!

Russ Brown, Joe Kondrak and Kim Frandsen deliver a really cool critter with ambitious, well-executed supplemental material. I have no complaints to field against this cool pdf, particularly considering the extremely fair, low price point. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Cool critter!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Wandering Sundew
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Deadly Gardens: Cinder-Heart Treant
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2018 05:14:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, ½ a page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As always in the series, we begin with new magic items – this time around, the first would be the gullet stone, which is a single-use item that is actually a Medium boulder shrunk to Tiny size – it can be expanded to its proper size on command, sickening the target f it has swallowed the stone. Yes, the creature can vomit the stone. Beyond that, the stone allows an adventurer swallowed by the horrible entity from the 19th dimension to dimension door out of the being swallowed impasse. Cool item and makes sense – If I were an adventurer, I’d carry one of these with me… The second item would be the spring totem, which may be embedded in freshly turned soil, generating fresh water spring for as long as it remains. Destroying the totem may cause springs to slowly dry up and once used, it roots itself, preventing the integrity of your world’s world-building. Really cool story-item!

A total of 8 different natural items are provided as well: Amoeba t the next save, granting a minor bonus; brain ooze gray matter may cause the target to be nauseated, but also prevents being surprised. The tendrils of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing can greatly enhance the power of undead created, particularly zombies. Jotund troll cranial fluid can nauseate the imbiber, but also provide essentially advantage on the next Will-save. Deep sea serpent jawbones can be used as super greatclubs with an increased critical multiplier. The weapon also causes all three damage types, which can be a bit wonky. Not a huge fan here. Hippocampus swim bladders contain air that can last Medium targets 10, Small ones 20. It can be reused. AMAZING one! I’m so going to use this one. The dire corby femur can be made into flutes that enhance bardic performance DCs. Finally, there would be the cinderheart. This item is really hot, causes damage upon being touched and can act as a large fire source for pyrotechnics etc. Additionally, it can be used as a focus for fire-spells, reducing the resistance of targets affected by the fire spell by 5.

Now, the cinderheart treant (amazing artwork, btw.!) clocks in at CR 10 and gets the fire subtype. The creature is Huge and retains the base treant’s siege capacities. These, however, explode upon being slain and have a short-range heat aura as well as a breath weapon. Driven insane by the ordeal they suffer, their treespeech can confuse plants that hear it. Nice take on the classic burning/insane treant trope.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games’ nice two-column full-color standard and the artwork is fantastic, particularly for the low price point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity – kudos!!

Russ Brown and Kim Frandsen deliver a rather cool, fun adversary here – the supplemental items are nice and the execution of this take on the burnt treant trope is nice as well. All in all, a neat addition to the series, well worth 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Cinder-Heart Treant
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Template Races: Half-Humans
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/01/2017 05:51:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little pdf clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, ½ page of SRD, leaving us with 5.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Half-human is an inherited template that can be applied to 0-HD-creatures. It is not intended to be applied to races that already are half-human, obviously. So, the base race’s physical ability score bonuses are reduced by 2. For each bonus thus reduced. You also reduce an ability score penalty by 2: The order of these is Constitution, Dexterity, Strength, Intelligence, Charisma and finally, Wisdom.

Mental ability score bonuses are also reduced by 2 and for each bonus thus reduced, you reduce one penalty to another ability score by 2. This is pretty impressive – it evens out the ability score bonuses/penalties. After this evening of scores, the half-human may assign a +2 bonus to one ability score that does not have a penalty or bonus attached yet. Ability score bonuses reduced to zero do not count as having a modifier. The template goes on to codify the type/subtype of the race. Size-category-wise, Medium or Large parent races result in Medium half-humans, while Small or smaller parent races result in Small half-humans. Nice: Even larger parent races are codified.

Movement rates, speed etc. is retained from the parent races, as are special considerations and/or restrictions imposed on the movement rates. Darkvision and low-light vision are retained from the parent race. Half humans gain the skilled racial trait and also count as humans via the dual heritage. We are taking a look at weapon familiarity, hatred, defensive training, natural armor. Half-humans also gain keen senses, and additional racial traits are lost – half-humans only qualify for alternate racial traits of humans, not those of their parent race. All right, the basic set-up of the template is pretty solid and should result is pretty solid results.

Now there are a ton of racial traits that may result in some potentially confusing set-ups – thankfully, the pdf does believe in showing how these cases can work out: The translation of the half-human android’s exceptional senses from the parent race, for example. Samples for the core races as well as android, drow, nagaji, ghoran and hobgoblin are provided. Now, obviously, the half-human orc is a bit different than the half-orc, but it makes for a decent alternative.

Hatred, if applicable, can be exchanged for a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy, and weapon familiarity may be exchanged for proficiency with simple weapons and a single martial weapon.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games’ two-column, color standard. The interior artworks are solid stock pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

When I saw Russ Brown’s template race approach here was honestly, not something I looked forward to. With the ARG’s RP being notoriously bad at codifying racial strength, I was skeptical on how the pdf would succeed at providing a balanced racial array. Now, with so many different options, it is clearly obvious that the template, system-immanently, can’t account for absolutely everything, but it does account for a truly impressive amount of material. The further guidance by example does help here and, as a whole, the result of applying the template speeds up the creation of half-humans in a concisely-presented manner that is easy to grasp.

In short: This is a surprisingly concise, handy little pdf. This is worth getting and succeeds at its task probably as well as it conceivably can – my final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Template Races: Half-Humans
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Deadly Gardens: Hydra Vine
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2017 04:33:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, ½ page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This installment’s magic item would be the vermin bait flask, which is a low-cost, sticky splash weapon that allows smart PCs to fool mindless vermin and/or use them for their advantage – cool, concise, two thumbs up! The pdf also contain 6 different natural items: Cyclops eye soup can auto-confirm the first critical threat after consumption; Gug wishbones can be broken – the one with the bigger piece gets a luck bonus for 24 hours. Moonflower blossom emit light and may be squashed for a blinding pulse…and they may force shapechanges from lycanthropes on failed saves.

Mothman powder nets +2 to Cha-based skill checks and to the DC of fascination-causing effects. Purple worm dye permanently dyes inorganic material and may only be removed with universal solvent (not properly italicized). Sard sap is hard to collect (spell reference in the text is not italicized, and formatting of magic item referenced is also incorrect)…and utterly ridiculous. It prevents death from negative hit points or negative levels for 24 hours. Functional immortality, if you cover insta-death bases. Utterly broken at 5K price. Utterly broken, even as a super high-powered item. Kill it with fire.

The central focus of the pdf would, however, be the lavishly-illustrated hydra-vine, which clocks in at a mighty CR 15. These critters entangle those within reach and whenever they take slashing damage, is gains growth points and heals…oh, and the plant knocks missiles out of the air – 50% miss chance. What’s the unique thing about it? Well, beyond aforementioned reactive regeneration, swallowing foes nets growth points – and upon gaining 5 of these, the plant gains the giant creature simple template – statistics for Huge, Gargantuan and Colossal size are also provided, which is pretty amazing! After 24 hours in a size greater than Large, the vine splits in two, decreasing both offspring plant sizes by one step…yes, you can have a plague of these plant juggernauts on your hand rather quickly! The creature is evocative and cool…though it should be noted that the statblock does sport some hiccups – these don’t compromise the coolness of the critter unduly, but yeah – if you’re picky about that kind of thing, it’s something to note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay – there are a couple of avoidable formatting hiccups and a few components interact with rules-integrity a bit. Layout adheres to the two-column standard of the series and the b/w-artworks are nice, particularly for the low price-point.

Russ Brown, Joe Kondrak and Isaac Volynskiy deliver a per se nice little supplement, that has some cool components, but also some rough edges – the critter’s stats could have used a second pair of eyes, particularly considering how cool it is. The magic item is neat, but the sard sap needs to die in a fiery blaze – pretty much the epitome of unbalanced BS. This item and the minor formal hiccups drag slightly down an installment I otherwise rather enjoyed. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Hydra Vine
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Deadly Gardens: Blood Root
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/25/2017 04:14:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, ½ page of SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, as almost always, we begin with a new magic item, which would be the hideaway log this time around: This item would basically be a twig that, on command, can turn into a moss-covered, hollow log, into which Medium-sized (or smaller) creatures can squeeze themselves. The item itself is concise in its presentation and has actually a second use: When uttering the command word again while inside the log, it doesn’t shrink, but instead detonates, potentially blinding targets nearby and also causing piercing damage to those outside the log. Slight problem here: there is no limit regarding the amount of explosions you can thus trigger: While not overly powerful, I am pretty sure that the item regenerating hit points while inactive in its small twig-size was supposed to cap this aspect somehow. Also problematic: The log has no weight even in its deployed form – this means that you can carry it around pretty easily – put a halfling sniper inside and you have a potent weapon. I am pretty sure that the deployed, massive version of the log was supposed to have a weight.

The pdf also contains 9 natural items: light-duplicating blindheim eyes that can be thrown as flashbangs; the alter self duplicating green hag wig; the shantak suit that helps fortify its wearer against the void between the stars; there would be lamia matriarch scales that can be added as power components to spells, causing failed saves to add minor Wisdom drain to the effects of compulsions. Stirge powder can help against poison, but does cause bleeding. Twigjack shafts can make arrows that burst into splinters, causing harm to adjacent foes on a failed Reflex save. Yeth hound fangs can be used in lieu of regular spikes, helping demoralization efforts. Xacarba runes can be used to make the covers of spellbooks, which nets 1/day access to Bouncing Spell sans changing the casting time or spell level, but only for a spell taken from the book. Not the biggest fan there, but oh well. Finally, there would be blood root vitae, which heals 1d8 points of damage and also duplicates lesser restoration (not properly italicized).

Now, the star of the book is obviously the critter, here the CR 7 Blood Root. The blood root can use sickening entanglement 1/day as a SP and is actually two plants: The conglomerate consists of a tendril network and the carnivorous predator. The latter sports a heart root, making it likely to regrow. Blood roots can move via earth glide through a symbiotic tendril network, which they may even share among others. The network also provides superior senses or the plant and blood roots can fire spray of thorns. All in all, a cool critter, though it does sport some minor hiccups; e.g. the CMD forgot the special size modifier for being Large and should be one higher. Unless I am not sorely mistaken, that’s not the only minor hiccup there – let it be known, though, that the plant can be used as provided.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect – I noticed a few minor hiccups, some of which pertain the rules. Layout adheres to the nice two-column standard of the series. The b/w-artwork provided is nice. Big kudos: The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Russ Brown, Andrew Umphrey and Joe Kondrak deliver an inexpensive file with a solid critter here. I wished the pdf did something more with its cool premise of two symbiotic creatures here, but yeah. As a whole, the blood root is a nice creature to thrown at your players. Not a mind-boggling one, but for the fair price-point, the pdf is worth checking out. Still, as a whole, I can’t round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Blood Root
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Deadly Gardens: Swarmhive
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/28/2017 05:46:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page of SRD, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Okay, this time around, we don't have magic items in the pdf - but there's a reason for that I'll get to later. We do get 3 natural items, though: Boggard tongues, 10 feet long, can stretch to up to 50 ft. when used as a short bungee! Sargassumm [sic!] Fiend Pheromones can produce the mirage effect of the creature and finally, swarmhearts can be used to affect the swarms of the swarmhive creature from which it was created.

My experienced readers will have probably noticed the gig by now: Swarmhive is actually a template and sports a brief table to calculate the CR of the new creature; depending on how they align, the table may increase the CR - you take the base creature and swarm and consult the table. As a minor complaint, I think this section could be a bit cleaner in how it works. I read it a couple of times before getting it. The host creature gains the augmented subtype and traits of the swarm minus the swarm or mindless traits. (As an aside, there is a "the" missing in the text here.) The base creature gains the swarm's senses and while the base creature is supposed to be a plant, a designer's note acknowledges that this is more to retain the consistency of the product line.

The swarmhive creature receives an aura that works pretty much like the swarm, with the base creature determining the aura radius. The HP of both creatures are added together and the aura's benefits are based on the respective swarm. Swarmhive creatures can vomit swarm 3/day as an extraordinary ability, with the swarm's type being equal to that of the base swarm. Problem: I have no idea how long this is supposed to last. Being Ex, this really needs a duration...without it, the creature could generate, provided the time's there, infinite swarms.

The pdf does contain a sample CR 10 sargassum fiend creature and a CR 7 shambling mound with the template applied.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, but could use some more clarity; I noticed typos, rules-language hiccups and the like, sometimes to the detriment of the content. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports some really nice b/w-artworks by Graeme Cunningham and Christian Dragos. The pdf is fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity - kudos!

Russ Brown's swarmhive is a cool template in concept, though its current incarnation could have used a bit more polish to really make it shine. The template is neat, but it is not that easy to use and sports a couple of typos. The pdf is inexpensive, though, and well worth checking out for the low price point. Still, I can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Swarmhive
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Deadly Gardens: Ghost Spore Swarm
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:27:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As always, we begin with two magic items - the first of which would be angry hornet, an enchanted blowgun dart: The dart, when fired at a target within 2 range-increments and misses, suddenly animates, trying to hit the target on the subsequent round, ignoring cover relative to the shooter - the dart buzzes around the victim, basically. The victim can try to outrun it or swat it out of the sky, though. The item takes winds and AoE-effects into account as well - flavorful and actually works, in spite of the complexity of the required rules-language - kudos!

The festering angry hornet adds Con-damage and makes saving versus poisons harder, but otherwise works pretty much like the base hornet. As in all of these, we also receive an assortment of natural items: Glacier Toad Hide can keep consumables fresh and may protect from hot environments. (the spell reference here has not been properly italicized, though.) Leng Spider Eyes are a bit too strong for my taste: Adding one to a staff adds a second save to an existing one, Will, which causes temporary confusion...that should probably have a cap on how many times it can be thus used. Salamander tonic nets vulnerability to cold and fire resistance 10. Slurk grease can enhance grease spells as a power component and a brush made from tenebrous work's bristles can really help increase the market price and beauty of paintings.

Oh, and there would be ghost ale. This draught is brewed from the spores of the eponymous creature and may make you incorporeal...but not necessarily lets you retain non ghost touch equipment. (Not italicized, btw.) Interesting if the wording on how not properly affected equipment works is a bit confusing at first reading: Weapons deal half damage to corporeal targets and armor only protects versus incorporeal foes - basically an inverse incorporeal. Interesting and warrants the complexity!

Now, on to the creature, shall we? The Ghost Spore Swarm clocks in at an impressive CR 11 and is an incorporeal swarm: The swarm fades its victims out into incorporeal states (on a failed save, sans equipment if that's not ghost touch)...oh, and guess what: The swarm inflicts serious bonus damage versus incorporeal creatures...which, when slain, have a REALLY high chance to become another swarm. Well, on the plus-side, the swarm's still vulnerable to plant-targeting spells...but seriously, like this beast. It's very lethal and just enough of a sadistic move to challenge experienced players. (Novices should be handled with care, though - ill-equipped PCs may face a TPK here...)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good: While a noticed a couple of formatting hiccups, nothing too grievous. Rules-language-wise, the magic items impressed me this time around, so kudos there! Layout adheres to the series' two-column full-color standard. The artwork is okay, but a bit cartoon-y for my tastes.

The team of Mike Welham, Joe Kondrak and Andrew Umphrey provide another intriguing and well-crafted critter with some nice supplemental material. While I had a couple of minor complaints, none are grievous and for the more than fair price point, this is worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Ghost Spore Swarm
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Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Forest Shadows
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/11/2017 10:32:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the player-centric Deadly Gardens-pdfs clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are forest shadows? In a nutshell, they are humanoid flying squirrels. Racial traits would be as follows: Forest shadows get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Str, are Small fey with the gnome subtype, have a slow speed, low-light vision, +4 to Stealth in forests and +2 to Acrobatics to balance and Fly checks. Beyond that, they have antlers that grant them a primary gore attack for 1d4. They increases their miss chances due to concealment or total concealment by 5% and gain DR 5/cold iron. They also have gliding wings, making the race as a whole pretty strong, though not to the extent that the race would exceed or outshine the power of the more potent of races.

As far as alternate racial traits are concerned, the forest shadow can exchange their antlers for 20 ft. climbing speed. The miss-chance-increase can be replaced with a +2 to Handle Animals that is increased to +6 when dealing with squirrels. The DR can be replaced with electricity resistance 10. Some forest shadows can btw. be Tiny, but lose antlers and fey resistance. This can be pretty nasty with the right build, very detrimental in the hands of someone not as capable of minmaxing. Stealth bonuses for forests may be exchanged for urban areas.

Forest shadows are omnivores and tend to live in small family units and the race generally, culture-wise, should be easy to introduce to any setting. The race does btw. come with age, height and weight tables and the race features FCOs for alchemists, druids, investigators, rangers, rogues, slayers and sorceror. There are two archetypes included in the supplement, the first of these being the aerial daredevil swashbuckler, who gets a modified class skill list. The deed-list of the archetype's modified: Swoop replaces kip up and nets a potent assault option. 7th level replaces swashbuckler's grace with darting flight: As a swift action, the daredevil can expend 1 panache to "make a 5-foot adjustment to avoid an attack by succeeding a Fly check with a DC of 25 or the attack roll, whichever is greater." A) "5-foot adjustment" is no rules-language. Does that count as a 5-foot step? What about AoE attacks? B) This ability does not work RAW. The action should be immediate. 11th level nets the option to use panache to help flying a vehicle instead of bleeding wounds, which is pretty situational and very late in the class progression. 15th level nets the option to take 10 for Acrobatics and Fly, take 20 for panache expenditure, replacing swashbuckler's edge. It should be noted that the deeds are not formatted as such, which can be a bit annoying. Instead of charmed life, the 2nd level 3/day as an immediate action, they can add Cha-mod to Acrobatics and Fly, +1/day at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Instead of nimble, the 3rd level yields scaling dodge bonuses and the bonus feat list is slightly modified. All in all, not impressed by this one.

The second archetype would be the unfettered sneak rogue. The archetype gets a bonus to CMD against grapples and to Escape Artist checks, replacing trapfinding. At 3rd level, they get +1 to saves versus mind-affecting effects, which increases at later levels, replacing trap/danger sense. 5th level locks the class into the Escape Artist skill unlock - not sure whether this holds true for the non-unchained rogue, though. The pdf does contain 6 different rogue talents exclusively available for the forest shadow race. Quicker crawls are nice, as are better squeezing defenses and attacks, but that one should probably reference replacing the regular squeezing rules. RAW it could be read as added penalties. Greater slippery mind, swift action Escape Artist and a CMD bonus to resist grapples + immunity versus being entangled.

The pdf does come with 3 pieces of equipment: Ailerons are basically feather-piercings that help gliding, while antler spikes add bleeding effects. Shadow pouches can conceal items, helping with Sleight of Hand. The pdf has 5 feats for the race: Between the Ribs nets +Dex mod instead of Str when doing precision damage. Situational and not too cool. Diving Attack. When using Flyby Attack, you don't provoke AoOs from the target of the attack, provided you end the attack at least 10 ft. from the target. Duck and Roll lets you 3/day, but only once per creature, attempt a Ref-save, Acrobatics or Escape Artist check to halve damage incurred from a melee attack, with a save equal to the attack roll and crits adding +5. This has synergy with evasion. Multipoint Antlers increase antler-damage to 1d6 and 1/day allows you to break off a bit of antlers to cause bleed damage. The feat may be taken a second time for further increase of power. Sugar Rush nets the option to 1/day, within 1 hour of eating gain the benefits of haste (not properly italicized) for 3 rounds as a nonmagic effect. At the end of the rush, the forest shadow is exhausted and is treated as though he hasn't eaten for 2 days; eating food removes these effects,. The feat may be taken additional times for additional daily uses or longer duration.

The pdf contains two magic items - dreams of the bough lets you teleport 3/day to the top of natural rocks or trees attuned to it, with a maximum height. Re-attunement is similarly simple. Feasting acorns can 3/day produce a duplicate acorn that acts as a full meal. Breaking the item is also possible, duplicating the effects of hero's feast for up to 11 beings. 3 new spells are included: Sweeten can make food more palpable and is particularly nice for forest shadows with Sugar Rush. Swirl of Leaves generates an obscuring cyclone you may move around. Updraft is pretty self-explanatory. The pdf concludes with a sample forest shadow hunter and his dire weasel companion.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, but only good on a rules-language level: As a whole, the bonus-types etc. are nice, but rules-language isn't always perfect. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard. The artworks are originals and in full-color -and really nice, perhaps my favorite aspect of the pdf - kudos to Liz Courts and Jacob Blackmon. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham's forest shadows are a very cool race, concept-wise - come on, antlered flying squirrels? Basically a cool wolpertinger-race? Damn cool! Unfortunately, the supplemental material provided for the race isn't as unique as the concept of the race. The archetypes left me less than impressed, with the swashbuckler being unfocused and the rogue's non-unchained sections feeling like an afterthought. The other supplemental material similarly did not blow me away either. Don't get me wrong - this is not bad, but neither will it redefine races or utterly blow you away. In the end, this is a solid mixed bag, slightly on the positive side, but not to the extent that I'd feel I could round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Forest Shadows
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Deadly Gardens: Star Blossom
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/05/2017 14:27:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 2/3 of a page SRD, leaving us with 3 1/3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The pdf, as always, includes a couple of magic items -the ambusher's cape sports a colony of chameleon-style lichen and increases miss chance for its wearers - pretty cool! The second item would be the urchin star -a morningstar made of driftwood and an alchemically-hardened sea urchin that can poison targets! Really cool visuals here!!

The pdf also contains 6 natural items: Achiaierai oil can be burned to generate noxious fumes, while behir horn powder can add some serious electricity to bombs. Decapus tentacles can be used for black tentacles to make weirder effects. Arrows with harpy feather fletching can temporarily fascinate targets, while seugathi skin gloves can help with UMD. Star blossom pendants can egnerate a limited amount of SR...all cool this time around!

The creature featured herein, the star blossom, clocks in at CR 9 and absorbs arcane and divine magic in separate pools: Divine magic can power negative energy bursts or healing, while arcane pool energy can generate dimension doors (not properly italicized) or add force damage to the plant's assaults. Oh, and if you are grappled by it and die, you liquefy, healing the plant. Worse: Failure to penetrate the plant's SR makes it grow in potency. Really, really cool critter - though I wished it'd specify what happens with psychic magic, though I wager it makes most sense to treat it as arcane magic.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. Rules-language-wise, it is similarly very good, but not perfect. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' 2-column's two-column standard and the pdf comes with a really nice full color-artwork. Really cool: The pdf is fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity.

Mike Welham, Andrew Umphrey and Joe Kondrak deliver a really cool installment here: I really like the items and I adore the creature - it is creepy and cool in all the right ways and all my complaints are superficial. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Star Blossom
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Deadly Gardens: Dream Weed
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2017 05:46:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 2/3 of a page SRD, leaving us with 3 1/3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The pdf, as always, includes a couple of magic items - the first of these would be the low-cost accursed thorns - really cool magical caltrops that temporarily affect the unfortunates with a deforming curse, halving their land speed. The second item would be the silvered apple, which detects nearby lycanthropes and may be eaten to temporarily silver the unarmed and natural attacks of the person consuming it. Nice!

Also included in the deal would be 6 natural items, including tatzlwyrm glands that provide a bonus versus paralysis and sleep after consuming it. Shadow mastiff eyes can be flung to the ground (as a thrown weapon or slingstone), shattering and dimming the environment. Gecko glue, gar scale armors, disenchanter trunks that can sometimes recharge items (though it imho should have limited uses), sound-range doubling androsphinx-voice-boxes...some cool ones here. The dream weed snuff can help creating things in psychic duels.

Speaking of dream weed - the plant is a CR 10 creature: Upon being hit by these, they implant a psychic seed, instigating a psychic duel and creating a thoughtform to battle the unfortunate...and worse, defeating the thoughtform may not be the end: There is a chance the thing reconstitutes itself! Really nasty and cool...and know how these spawn? From those that fall to e.g. a xtabay's victims, incapable of rising from the visions...yeah, creepy.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. Rules-language-wise, it is similarly very good, but not perfect. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' 2-column's two-column standard and the pdf comes with a nice b/w-artwork. Really cool: The pdf is fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity.

Jacob W. Michaels, Joe Kondrak and Kim Frandsen deliver a rather cool installment here - the critter is cool and so are the items, though not all of the natural items are perfect. For the low asking price, this is very much worth getting. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Dream Weed
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Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Verids Revised
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2017 09:15:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

The revised version of the first player-centric Deadly Garden-installment clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Verids are, as you may have surmised, a new plat-race intended for use as PCs - originally of extraterrestrial origin, they have several unique spins on the established tropes: Beyond looking a bit like plant-like versions of gray men, they seem to have a grudging respect for dwarves (!!!) for their mining prowess, but consider other races to be deviations from the natural order. While personally, I like this spin on the tropes and a GM could rationalize it by them having a somewhat odd or skewed perspective on "natural order", the fact remains that dwarves, in most campaigns tend to hearken closer to the tropes of scions of civilization and industry, so that may be something to look out for.

Racial trait-wise, they get +2 Int and Con, -2 Str, are Small, have a slow speed, get +2 natural AC, and require the sun as nourishment - failure to spend 4 hours in the sun results in decreased natural healing. 3/day, they can, as a swift action, extend their arms by 5 feet, increasing reach for 1 round. Additionally, they replace animal companions with plant companions (and the Deadly Gardener feat that helps there as a bonus feat) and can, Con-mod times per day (minimum 1) release a 10-foot spore burst as a standard action. This burst sickens targets via a poison effect for 5 rounds on a failed save, with Con as a governing attribute for the save DC and an additional daily use gained at 4th level and every 4 levels after that. Additionally, they are plants with the sentient plant subtype (concisely defined here - and yes, they breathe, eat and sleep), gaining low-light vision and immunity to sleep effect as well as a bonus of +2 to saves versus paralysis, poison, polymorph, stunning and mid-affecting effects, excluding morale effects. This bonus increases by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. The race comes with a proper age, height and weight table.

Alternate racial trait-wise, there are thorny verids that lose the sunlight dependency and who can draw sustenance from grapple-based blood draining, but such verids need a steady supply of blood to work at full efficiency...which has its own creepy implications. Can you see the blood farms of our plant overlords, the red sprinklers? I can. shudder Such verids may also choose another racial trait to help them heal once they have taken care of the day's blood sustenance requirement - and yep, that aspect cannot be kitten'd - kudos! Alternate spores that deal Con-damage are interesting and certain verids have defoliant spores that may affect plant creatures and negate plant-based difficult terrain. Cool! Instead of the stretchy arms, limited healing (again, abuse-proof) for immersion in freshwater can be gained. Verids may also replace their spores with 1/day goodberry and plant growth, provided they have Cha of 11+. Continual speak with plants can also be gained for stretchy arms, though the spell has not been properly italicized. Another alternative for the spores would be the option to make an unattended wooden object grow into a desired shape 1/day. As a minor complaint - this should specify its activation action. I assume standard action as a default.

The favored class options gained by the race often continue the leitmotif, granting e.g. more goodberries, limited healing in sunlight for mounts etc. or more vine arm uses - kudos for going the extra mile there and making these not boring standard options! Alchemist, arcanist, barbarian, cavalier, druid, fighter, hunter, inquisitor, kineticist, mesmerist, ranger, rogue, slayer and shaman are covered.

So, next up would be the racial archetype, which this time around would be the terraformer kineticist. These guys get a modified class skill list and must choose earth, water or wood as primary element. At 1st level, the terraformer selects a ranger's favored terrain, though the bonuses granted are only +1. Additional favored terrains are gained at 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th level and may be sued to increase the bonus, but only increase it by +1. This eliminates the basic utility talent granted by the kineticist's primary element. Instead of gather power, the archetype gains the eponymous terraform ability. As a move action, a terraformer may transform natural vegetation and minerals into alien variants of their selves in a 20-foot burst for one round. While in this area, the terraformer reduces the burn cost of a blast wild talent by 1 - here's I'd have appreciated the same (minimum 0)-caveat that many kineticist archetypes sport, but that's cosmetic. If a terraformer instead spends 1 full-round action, the transformation instead lasts for 1 round per "level" - that should be "Class level".

If the terraformer takes damage during terraforming, he must succeed a concentration check - but the DC-calculation is off: The DC mentions effective spell level of her kinetic blast - and the terraforming ability in itself does not have an effective spell level. If the terraformer loses concentration, he suffers 1 burn. At 5th level, when using one or more infusion with a blast, the terraformer reduces the combined burn cost by 1. If within a favored terrain, the terraformer instead reduces burn by the favored terrain's bonus - +4 would e.g. reduce burn by a whopping 4! When also in an area terraformed, the burn cost is reduced by a further 1. Thankfully, this can't reduce the burn cost below 0. The ability replaces infusion specialization. Starting at 6th level, the terraformer may accept burn when terraforming, increasing the radius by 10 feet per level for each point of burn, replacing internal buffer. Instead of supercharge, 11th level terraformers can reduce the total burn cost of a wild talent by 2, with 15th level increasing that to 3. All in all, a definite improvement over the original iteration that shows the influence of N. Jolly.

There are three different equipment pieces: The first would be an interstellar beacon that lets you use interplanetary teleport...and only costs 2,5 GP to create, which seems underpriced for such a cool, powerful option. Spore collectors allow verids to collect their spores as splash weapons - the item still does not specify that these collected spores still should be treated as the verid spores. Cool: The spore launcher, which can fire spores and low-weight alchemical items, has been codified as a proper simple weapon. Minor complaint - the text calls it pneumatic launcher instead of spore launcher, but that's a cosmetic nitpick.

Feat-wise, the Deadly Gardener feat mentioned before has been reprinted for your convenience. We also get +4 daily spore uses and Horticultural Mimic adds Plant Shape I - III to your spell-list. Mi-Go Technologist lets you choose two Item Creation feats for which you'd qualify character level-wise. You may use Heal to create Mi-Go technology variants of these items, ignoring spellcasting requirements and reducing the cost to create to 75% of base price. Finally, Potent spores lets you increase you spore DC by a potent +4.

The pdf also sports 5 new spells, with verdiform and mass verdiform being very precise buffs: They allow the targets to become somewhat plant-y, specifying the type of natural attacks they net, note deviations from the default damage-die sizes of these attacks, etc. Kudos! Corrupt Plants makes plants poisonous and bloated (neat idea!) and Alien Landscape affects an area, temporarily shaping it into a verid-friendly iteration of nature, which penalizes non-verid casters. Cool: The landscape also changes atmosphere/air, suffocating targets potentially, but it now sports a caveat that specifies that you have enough time to hold your breath, preventing suffocation-abuse.

The pdf also features 5 of the aforementioned plant companions: Living topiary, mushzoom[sic!] (yes, that's intentional - 50 ft. base speed!), ophidian vine, phantom fungus and shambler - these guys are powerful, but also pretty cool. Kudos for the bonus vine new to the revised edition! The pdf closes with a sample verid ranger 3 and a CR 6 verdiform shambling mound, including a cool full-color artwork for the mound.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting definitely show that N. Jolly has been brought on board for the revised edition - significantly more precise in all key aspects. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' two-column full-color standard and with nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with detailed, nested bookmarks.

The verids, penned by Jacob W. Michaels and Russ Brown really deserved getting this revised edition and I applaud Rusted Iron Games for caring enough to polish these guys. Gone are the confusing interactions and hiccups...and beyond polish, we actually get quite a bit of new content herein! That is caring and I really enjoy it when I can write a positive review of a revised version. Better yet, the verids, while still a potent race, has been cured of boring and unnecessary feature-bloat and brought in line to conform to the power-level of the stronger PF-races. It should work sans issues for all but the most gritty/low-powered games now. This is how an improvement looks like! The revised version gets the full 5 stars - I certainly hope we'll learn more about the alien landscapes these guys create in a future book!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Verids Revised
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Deadly Gardens: Hungry Pit
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/01/2017 04:23:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As always, we begin with two new magic items, the first would be the garland of sweet scents decreases nauseated as a condition to sickened by virtue of sweet bulbs erupting, taking the brunt of the smell/effect. As a move action, the garland's user can cause all bulbs to bloom, which ends the usual protection, but for 1 minute negates sickened and nauseated penalties of the wearer and all creatures within 10 ft. Cool! Pungent Onions are sickening and smelly - when consumed, the user emits an even worse, horrid smell for some time. Nice!

The pdf also contains also 7 new natural items: Adherer tendrils can make the manufacture of sovereign glue easier. The great cyclops eye can increase the CL, act as a focus or as a means to lower the cost of making a crystal ball. (It also has a cosmetic typo: "a lso") Giant slug tongue can make a more nasty masterwork longspear with a crit-range of 19-20/x3. Hieracosphinx dewclaws can be used as variant daggers and hippogriff feathers can be fashioned into a talisman that enhances Fly. Hungry pit nectar doubles as a sticky acid and the stats for the hungry pit's toxin are also provided - it renders unconscious, btw.

Speaking of which - what exactly does the creature do? At CR 6, the hungry pit does not move- it is an ambush predator that looks like a plant with leafy fronds that is well-camouflaged. It uses feeder tentacles to grab those nearby and draw them into its insides. It also has a nasty stinger that can render those hit unconscious...oh, and inside it has acid. OUCH. Cool ambush-predator, illustrated rather well by Jeremy Corff.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard and is still rather printer-friendly. The pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity. The b/w-artwork of the creature is pretty cool as well.

Russ Brown, Kim Frandsen and Joe Kondrak provide one of the better installments of the series. Granted, the ambush predator angle is not necessarily new, but the execution here is pretty cool and well done. Oh, and the pdf is more than inexpensive - less than a buck is truly fair. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars - well worth getting!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Hungry Pit
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Deadly Gardens: Hypno-Lotus
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/19/2017 06:36:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The pdf begins, as always, with new magical items, the first of which would be the alluring everbloom crown, which is a high-priced item that allows the character wearing it to affect plants with mind-influencing effects and 3/day cast charm monsters, but only on plants. The second item would be the mowing scythe, a +2 plant bane scythe - the first attack each round with this scythe targets all plant creatures threatened by the wielder - which is powerful, but only works when all creatures threatened are plants. Additionally, 3/day, the wielder can attack ALL CREATURES in a 60-ft.-line, which is extremely powerful - 68K does offset that somewhat, but still...circumstantially, this can be insanely strong.

We also get a total of 7 natural items: Accuser devil eyes can record visually everything that occurs within 24 hours, allowing for easy recollections; blink dog fur can once prevent being unwillingly pulled to the ethereal plane. Bunyip shriek balls can panic foes when squeezed, while chupacabra tongues can temporarily enhance the user's movement. Hypno-lotus petals can be used as a full-round action to grant telepathy with a creature or induce a mind-affecting effect preventing autohypnosis. Necrophidius bone meal fortify the user by providing bonuses versus dazed and paralyzed conditions. Powdered forlarren horn grants DR 5/cold iron, but also imposes a penalty to saves versus emotion effects. Aforementioned blink dog fur can be used as a power component for blink's percentile miss chance to be rolled twice, while use in conjunction with dimension door reduces damage of being shunted into a free space. Hypno-lotus petals can increase the duration of hypnotism and suggestion. When used with mass suggestion you can affect +1 creature and murderous command grants a bonus to attacks of affected characters.

All right, I've beaten around the bush long enough: The star of the pdf would be the hypno-lotus, which clocks in at CR 10 and is lavishly and gorgeously rendered by artist Becca Baen. Mind-affecting abilities can affect the lotus and the critter gets a pretty strong mental defense. The petals of the lotus generate a mesmerizing, hypnotic pattern with its leaves...and the plant can make creatures nearby attack themselves and communicate with their charmed thralls. Oh, and their slams and grabs are nasty. Love this critter!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard and is still rather printer-friendly. The pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity. The b/w-artwork of the creature is amazing.

Stephen Stack's hypno-lotus is an amazing critter. Deadly, versatile and fun. The supplemental material is similarly well-crafted. With no significant glitches or complaints on my end, this can be considered to be an amazing little pdf, well worth the asking price of less than a buck! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, missing my seal only due to the imho OP, but cool scythe.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Hypno-Lotus
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