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Crisis of the World Eater: The Collected Epic (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/30/2018 04:05:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The collected version of the Crisis of the World-Eater-serial clocks in at 106 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2.5 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 99.5 pages of content.

Now, I have spent already too many hours dissecting what started with such promise in the Prologue – which is included herein, fyi. You can read my dissections of the modules and their countless issues in my individual reviews – you can just click on the tag on endzeitgeist.com and have them all at your beck and call.

I’m just going to talk about this in function of its compilation aspect.

Nothing has been reorganized.

The oddly out of place supplemental articles are found at the end of each adventure section.

They have not been assigned to an appendix.

Instead, the book is basically all modules, slapped together sans rhyme or reason, back to back. You’ll still need to do copious flipping back and forth during attempting to run the mess of book 3, referencing the lesser mess of book 2, since crucial stats haven’t been reprinted where they belong…

Most insultingly, the REQUIRED NPC-stats from the “Adversaries of Crisis”-pdf, you know the ones that adventure #3 constantly uses?

They have NOT been implemented in the module.

“Collected”, hmm?

Don’t make me laugh.

At this point, please imagine me using one form of expletive or another after every second word.

Alternatively, picture a pirate with a German accent going on a 5-minute-swearing tirade that would make the most hardened sailor blush. Now you get how listening to me reviewing this must have sounded for my neighbors.

Oh, before you get it wrong:

Not only have the stats not been implemented into the third module…oh no! The bonus pdf, you know, the one you absolutely NEED in order to run module #3? Well, it’s actually not part of the deal for the “COLLECTED EPIC”!

No, I am not kidding.

Yeah. How’s that for you? You buy the “collected epic” and can’t run module #3 because it’s incomplete.

W-T-F.

…Oh, and the player-friendly maps at the end of the stand-alone modules? NOPE. Not in here.

Hope you got those stand-alone modules, otherwise you’ll be looking as mighty pissed as I am right now.

This manages to F*** up even being a compilation!!

You’re actually better served getting the individual modules! Now how’s that for a slap in the face???

I’m not even gonna bother with a conclusion. This review has seen more care go into it than this insult of a compilation.

This compilation is a slap in the face of anyone who bought it, and not the individual modules.

Even if you’re willing and motivated to invest the untold hours required to make this series work, don’t get this compilation. Get the individual modules instead. Steer clear of this insult of a book.

This made me ASHAMED of having ever recommended the kickstarter that gave birth to this abomination of a hackneyed series. In my defense: LPJ Design, at one point, had made several good books.

I hereby profusely apologize to ANYONE who got this series due to hearing about its KS from me. I offer my sincerest, heartfelt apologies. I’ve literally never been so ashamed, embarrassed for and angry about a series of pdfs.

Even If you like the ideas in the series, take a look at the above, at my reviews of the modules. Do you really want to support such business practices?

This “compilation” is the final nail in the coffin.

It’s nigh impossible to make an even sloppier compilation.

This type of behavior and poor overall quality gave 3pps a bad name back in 3.X.

The series’ insulting lack of care and obvious “this’ll do”-sloppiness is what we all fought so hard to get rid off.

Please, for the love of all you hold dear and sacred: Don’t reward it.

Final verdict? 1 star is too much. I’d give this compilation 0 stars if I could.

No. I am not even gonna dignify this by linking to it. F*** this book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Crisis of the World Eater: The Collected Epic (PFRPG)
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Crisis of the World Eater Omega: Inheritor of Entropy Heart (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2018 04:15:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The final installment of the Crisis of the World-Eater campaign serial clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2.5 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 29.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, a big plus from the get-go: Unlike previous installments of the series, we get 4 pages of player-friendly maps for different levels of the main adventure locations featured within this module. Big plus!

The book also once more features an odd supplemental article – one focusing on making traps more rewarding. It lists a few red herrings and typical trap tells – and I actually enjoyed it! I really did…but here’s the thing…why, in all the 9 hells and by Asmodeus’ goatee, is this article in this module?? In a level 18 adventure? In a series that required super-experienced GMs to properly run, due to all the rules-inconsistencies and logic bugs? Even if the series was perfect, the presence of this article is utterly baffling to me. It’s not bad, but its presence here makes no sense whatsoever.

Anyhow, the Adversaries of Crisis-bonus-pdf is once more included with the module:

This book, penned by Matt Medeiros with Louis Porter Jr., provides 12 pages of statblocks for high-level gameplay: ranging from CR 17 to 22, the NPCs depicted within this bonus pdf have unique super-power-like tricks, are fearsome to behold…and sport a couple of odd glitches like incorrect ranged BAB, missing gear-lines, italicizations that start in the middle of words where they shouldn’t…which is a pity, for per se, the ideas here are cool: We have a Green Goblin type of character, a super-deadly robot (30d6 force damage infinite gravimetric pulses, range: line of effect…) and similar beings. Per se, I liked these, but even the best designer can stumble with high-level statblocks, and these could have used a second set of eyes. As far as bonus content is concerned, I liked the NPCs herein very much, though. The bonus pdf has no bookmarks.

The NPCs from this file are heavily referenced in the pdf, which makes the choice to have it as a separate pdf feel weird – why not simply incorporate the stats in the module? Since the bonus pdf lacks bookmarks, handling is a bit rough here and there is no reason why the stats should not be incorporated in the adventure. None but that it’d have been more work. Plus, in hindsight, this is pretty much the first time we’d actually need those…

Anyways. This adventure is intended for level 18 characters, and with the dearth of good high-level adventures, you should contemplate well in advance on how to fill in those levels since the Delta adventure. While three brief hooks are provided, the downtime feels odd, considering the situation.

But to elaborate that, I need to go into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

In the aftermath of the Deliverer of Omega’s defeat at the hands of the superman’d up PCs, the Final Moon broke, and the chains that held planets in the sky snap. In the aftermath of the battle (insert here a transition from Final Moon to the world), once the players have reverse engineered their characters, they witness spectral chains drawing the planets together – cataclysm looms, and the Ark, as well as the chronicler, is nowhere to be found.

Another strange call by the Chronicler speaks of doom (why can’t the Chronicler send these visions all the time?) and the PCs meet Major DePompa (still can’t get past the name) – and we’ll notice something. Or rather, I did. Editing, if anything, is even worse than before, now also extending more than usual, into the prose. “He curses; if he abandons them, he says, the meeting might devolve into bloodshed or even war, and suggests…”; “At the end of this adventure, the party will quite literally have in their hands the power to destroy or save the entirety of the .“ …and so on. Seriously? Even cursory glances should have caught these. sigh

This adds a delightful sense of uncertainty to the proceedings; which is not something you want in a super-high-level adventure. It should also be noted that the precise abilities of the super-powerful Seed of Change still haven’t been properly and precisely codified. This is particularly galling since the module does seem to labor under the belief that self-sacrifice to the seed of change will ultimately be required to triumph – the thing is, while the Delta module made abundantly clear how the Seed works and how it destroys the PCs, the like is NOT noted in this adventure. You’ll have to search through the previous one! And yes, the PCs will have to use the Seed. Yes, this means that, prior to the final boss fight, one PC will be taken out of the picture, probably permanently. Hope you enjoy watching your friends duke it out with the BBEG for hours on end… I get the intent of the heroic sacrifice, but that should happen AFTER the final boss fight. That’s literally game-design 101.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, the Ark. You see, turns out that the Onyx Cabal actually had the power to stop the Deliverer of Omega. You see, they have a ton of high-level characters. Sure, they serve Omega, but…why walk willingly into looming annihilation? Without the defeat of the Deliverer at the hands of the heroes, there’d have been no reason whatsoever for them to be needed…but okay. Let’s ignore that barn-sized logic bug and just live with a dungeon full of super high-level NPCs, all right? You see, the commander of the cabal, the Onyx Commander has taken the heart of the Deliverer of Omega, becoming the eponymous inheritor. They tricked the Chronicler and now, the pyramid-shaped Ark is tied to a duplicate, the Inverse Ark, which looms in the shadow plane. If that plot sounds a bit convoluted and contrived, then because it is. We have approaching plants in the sky, we have just crushed the Final Moon. (Which had a star inside that curiously did not destroy the world.) The transition from Delta to Omega Adventure is a bit of a mess, to put it bluntly. The Ark itself is actually an interesting “final dungeon” and comes with a patrol schedule, and, oddly, no real magical security measures. Once more, btw., don’t expect Tech Guide synergy. Plus-side: The more beings are slain within, the worse things get for the PCs, with ever increasing manifestations of shadowy doom. That being said, the precise effects are…kinda ridiculous at this level? 1 negative energy damage in dim light, 1d6 in darkness, 1d6 + in magical darkness? At level 18? The respective rooms also don’t feature read-aloud text anymore and the PCs will have to basically bypass or slog through the Ark.

The PCs will sooner or later free Chronicler and potent allies and duke it out with the Onyx Commander – failure for the first time has no consequence, RAW, as a NPC revives the PCs, but the commander takes the Seed in the interim. Yeah, not taking those items from the PCs or obliterating them makes no sense. The commander is obviously mustache-twirling stupid-evil. As the PCs make their way through the inverse ark (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, anyone?), they finally throw down once more with the proper Onyx Commander. Defeating his this time around ends him for good. FYI: If the PCs get the heart from him, it’s a whopping DR 15/- and 10 hit points. At these levels, the PCs can literally sneeze it asunder.

The Ark then crashes, and guess what? Omega shows up. The Deliverer is back from the annihilated. Sure, PCs can hand over the Seed, but that’s a bad idea, right?

It’s here that the PCs MUST use the Seed and defeat thus Omega. My issues with this course of action have been made abundantly clear above. The pdf does note that the Onyx Commander might suggest this course of action if he’s still alive, but RAW, he can’t make the sacrifice, even though he’d be willing to redeem himself thus. This basically invalidates the choice of the PCs to spare the guy, if they did, and prevents a nice redemption angle. Speaking of confused: The conflict against the Onyx Commander mentions “Dark Phoenix imploding”. Who or what that is? No idea. It’s never mentioned before or after. This is but one instance where obvious lack of any quality control hurts the adventure.

By the way: The Deliverer’s stats are not reproduced herein. Hope you like book-flipping to the Delta module. Oh, and once the Deliverer’s been beaten, if Omega’s been McGuffin’d away, the PCs get to fight a slightly weaker undead version of the Deliverer. We don’t get full stats for this one, which makes handling that phase of the fight even more clunky.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are bad. As in, even worse than before. At one point, I had a hard time following the plot. It’s already pretty complicated, and a lot of the unique situation happens kinda-somewhat in-between modules, but not really. The editing glitches further exacerbate this issue. Not going to start with the rules-components. This is so sloppy, the bottom of the pages reads “A Warning Too Late” – the same of the prequel. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf features nice, full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The non-optional bonus pdf has no bookmarks and should have been integrated into the adventure. The lack of information on crucial components and the BBEG herein is annoying and requires that you flip to the Delta module. In short: This is supremely inconvenient.

Okay, picture me sitting in front of my screen, Captain Picard style, with two hands on my face. That’s how I honestly feel right now.

Once I got past my misgivings about how this KS turned out, I was actually hoping that this series could still be a candidate for my Top Ten list.

Yeah, that did not happen.

Inheritor of the Entropy Heart, the chance for the series to achieve redemption, is rather than that an exacerbation of the weaknesses of the previous installments. The editing is bad and now also extends to the prose; the plot is convoluted and actually feels like a big step down from the cosmic, epic scale of the Delta adventure – if anything, switching these would have made sense. The final dungeon does not require the vast means that high-level PCs have to solve. Sure, the module mentions that skipping past sections may be in the interest of PCs, but high-level modules need to engage the vast capabilities of PCs in a meaningful way, which this pdf constantly fails to do. The Ark/Inverse Ark angle could have provided some unique, planes-hopping problem-solutions, but instead just serves as an excuse for going through the same scenery twice.

The finale is a horrible let-down and forcing one PC to sit it out, is an insult.

I don’t understand it. Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. had this special thing here. Crisis could have, in spite of not meeting the “Crisis of Infinite Earths”-angle-stretchgoals, become something amazing. Release a brief gazetteer or the world, a few modules to establish factions and NPCs, then the series. If this worked, if it had not this vast amount of horrendous, sloppy errors and handwaves, if this had been properly developed, it could have, easily, made my Top Ten list.

This is the single worst case of squandered potential I have EVER seen in an adventure series. This is a rushed first draft that has never seen any form of critical analysis and finetuning. This oozes a level of disappointment, a “Why bother?” attitude, that sinks what could have been one of the most remarkable series of all time. If this had been properly finetuned and polished, who knows, perhaps we would have had a chance to see those tie-in adventures. As written, this is a trainwreck par excellence in pretty much every formal regard.

Where the Delta adventure stumbled, this one downright falls. With the formal issues, the series so far had at least the high-concept plot to hold it aloft…but even that falls apart in a rather anticlimactic mess here. My final verdict cannot exceed 1.5 stars, rounded down. A depressing end for what could have been a genre-defining series.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Crisis of the World Eater Omega: Inheritor of Entropy Heart (PFRPG)
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Crisis of the World Eater Delta: Devourer of a Thousand Worlds (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/20/2018 04:52:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second adventure in the Crisis of the World-Eater campaign serial clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The second part of the “Crisis of the World-Eater”-serial begins at 12th level, which means you’ll have to slot in some modules between the Alpha adventure and this one – some adventure-ideas are briefly touched upon before we begin the module proper. The adventure does contain two player-friendly maps – one half a page-sized, one full-page sized. I wished the former got its own page. Anyhow, the adventure also depicts another faith of the implied setting of the campaign-serial, namely a religion worshiping the 4 central tenets, the physical entities, that drive the complex metaplot of universal struggle – in a way, these are overgods, not akin to how Io worked; whether you like this or not is up to personal tastes.

The pdf also introduces a brief notoriety system, which uses it as an alternate form of currency, and 6 feats provided to capitalize on it…and once more, I have to say that, while I do get why the system is here…we already have a reputation system for Pathfinder. Why not expand on that one? Heck, why is this even here? I get the idea regarding “survival is worth something, we’re fighting for you” – but ultimately, this section is, essentially, a brief, but also somewhat superfluous system that requires significant pay-in via feats by the players…and while this may make sense in a setting book (with more room to develop the system!), as an appendix of sorts in an adventure, it’s ultimately wasted space. If the like is something a GM wants, they’ll already have one in place that conflicts with this one.

The pdf also introduces two new drones: The CR 10 security drone and the CR 6 telescopic drone; the former is missing the (robot) subtype that it clearly should have, and much like the Chronicler (properly statted in this adventure), the statblocks like referencing the “laser” damage type. Guess what does not exist? Bingo. There is no such thing as “laser damage” –a simple look at the Tech Guide (thanks to my friend Chad, who got this book for me!) will show you that laser weapons inflict frickin’ fire damage. The statblocks otherwise are pretty interesting, but could have used a closer look. Once more, the esoteric plasma damage type is not explained. (Half fire, half electricity) – this is frustrating, for I do like the unique abilities these critters have.

This being an adventure review, the following will contain SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great!

The Confederate is in chaos; the skies darken, as the planet-sized vessel of the Deliverer of Omega, the Final Moon, arrives! The PCs are hailed by the Chronicler, and when they arrive, they will get two bags of dust of instant repair (oddly, not using Technology Guide rules) and then be introduced to the Chariot, the Chronicler’s space ship. While the Chronicler will attempt to create a last-ditch ship that can save a couple of folks, the PCs are tasked to fly to the Final Moon and establish contact with the Deliverer of Omega.

The Chariot represents a per se cool mini-game, wherein 4 PCs take control of the vessel. Smaller groups are accounted for, but larger groups have a slightly less cool solution. You see, beyond the dangers faced without, there also are saboteurs on board – The Onyx Cabal has infiltrated the vessel. Here’s the thing, though. The vessel is pretty small. The module says that the saboteurs “used magic” to stowaway. Yeah, don’t know about you, but my players would never embark on such a journey without THOROUGHLY checking the vessel. This feels, to me, like fiat and railroading – no chance to find them prior to embarking, and we don’t really know where they hid on the small vessel. At this level, any group of PCs that doesn’t use see invisibility, arcane sight, etc. and thoroughly checks the place deserves punishment. So yeah, unnecessary railroading there.

Anyways, I like how the ship is presented – somewhat akin to mecha-rules, each PC manning a station determines the attacks and defenses, which is pretty cool and makes this rewarding. That being said, the rough editing that plagues this module also rears its ugly head here: We have a spell-reference that is not properly italicized, and the respective stations that the PCs can man don’t specify the actions they require to activate. The section also refers to defense” when AC is meant, and the ship’s AC is very swingy, based on Strength or Constitution checks, which made no sense to me. This is also evident with air-cycling – I like the idea that it needs to be taken care of and the multi-step consequences of bad air…but the section does not comment on whether exhaustion incurred by bad air is alleviated or not upon air becoming fresh again. So yeah, mechanically, this section could have really used some critical editing to polish the amazing concept – particularly since the encounters en route to the Final Moon manage to drive home the stakes perfectly: The prose did send a shiver down my spine, highlighting Michael McCarthy’s talent as a narrator.

This excellent atmosphere also is represented in the exploration of the Final Moon itself – a desolate place, it is home to robots and automatic defenses, and the PCs may explore, for example, the museum of dead worlds, battle a child of saitan in the Biosphere (racial traits included – they’re lopsided and not suitable for PC use). I loved this section and how desolate, eerie, silent it felt. However, the respective rooms don’t come with big versions and, oddly, we get no big versions of most of them. A downside of this section, though, would be that the connections of the rooms via the respective Plexus makes the moon feel less grandiose than it could – a kind of travel-mini-game or the like would have added the icing on the cake here.

Once the PCs reach the throne room, they can talk to the Deliverer of Omega (yep, I’m still refusing to use the name given to this fellow), who also promptly resurrects Asa…I guess the poor armageddon angel hasn’t been humiliated enough yet. The Deliverer’s room also sports an increasing, deadly vortex and activation of the Seed of Change, ostensibly the trump card here, is unreliable, oddly requiring Will- and Fort-saves. The activation is a bit opaque, since it doesn’t work via UMD (which is illogical) and fails to specify the activation action. The Seed can generate wish or limited wish (not properly italicized) and lacks a CL. The battle is a sham of sorts, as the Deliverer can 1/day cast mythic wish, which ostensibly suffices to tear the PCs asunder. You see…offensive use of (mythic) wish, while not unprecedented, is NOT RAW covered in the spell. As such, some proper guidance here would have been very much appreciated. When recalling e.g. the finale of Legacy of Fire, saves would certainly have made sense. Similarly, some trouble-shooting regarding the Seed’s wish-powers would have been very much appreciated here.

Anyhow, as the PCs fall as preordained by the script, the Seed draws them inside itself: And here, things become odd: A titanic scarecrow, the body farmer, may help the PCs, and they proceed to travel through the infinite expanses within the Seed: Here, they can witness unlikely changes be destroyed, traverse the infinite highways of direction, gain a surprising lame regalia of an empire that never was, walk the infinite graveyard of all things…and each region has a d10 roll, which determines whether there’ll be combat or not…potentially pitting the PCs against entropic reapers. As before, formatting is inconsistent. In the end of this trip through infinite expanses, the PCs will meet Change.

Yep, the over-deity thing. It has a gift for the PCs, beyond a mass of XP: Mythic power. Or, well, kinda. You see, the benefit is just temporary. And it’s pretty obvious that the author has no significant experience with mythic design. You see, while the base system is flawed (seriously, NEVER play Mythic without Legendary Games’ amazing supplements. Mythic Solutions and the Path of…pdfs for mythic adversaries are pretty much required!), it still is pretty deftly codified. Mythic, in essence, exacerbates the rocket launcher tag syndrome that high-level PFRPG-gameplay often boils down to; the reason why you need Justin Sluder-style super-optimized mega-bosses to provide a decent challenge for the PCs. Here’s the thing: Mythic power, as granted by Change, will only last until the end of the adventure. I get why, but it still feels somewhat cheap to me. More than that, though, mythic design has very specific requirements: When Legendary Games began designing mythic content, they first fell into the trap that regular Mythic Adventures fell into – an escalation of numbers that quickly proceeds to make PFRPG fray at the seams. The Legendary Games crew realized this pretty quickly and changed the design paradigm, emphasizing breadth and unique narrative angles, creating an astonishing series of master-class supplements that really drive home the potential of mythic gameplay. Beyond that, mythic design requires immaculate precision in rules-verbiage.

Guess what this pdf does not have. Bingo. The Deliverer of Omega has no Mythic Tiers or Ranks noted, doesn’t have the mythic subtype – the deliverer is considered to be a mythic or non-mythic entity, whichever is more beneficial. Guess what? It’s always more beneficial to be mythic. Anyway, the PCs get mythic power, right? Well, how much? No idea. The pdf fails to specify the tier achieved, so even if you do want to go full-blown mythic at this point, you’re only left with question marks.

But what if you don’t have Mythic Adventures? Well, then we come to the default solution this pdf obviously champions: Instead of real mythic gameplay, we get basically mythic power sets. All characters get +10 to one attribute, or +5 to two. All plusses of equipment etc. are increased by one, beyond the +5 limit. Auto-stabilizing and living until twice negative Constitution (invalidating some build-choices) and 20 (!!) mythic surges. Know what’s missing? Yep. Mythic power. Or tier. Those are the base benefits. On top of these, every PC chooses one of 4 mythic power set templates, which yield basically superhero powers. Fly speed, more hp, multiple mythic spells, etc. Once more, these invalidate build choices and player agenda…and their formatting is sloppy, active ability action economy is not specified and power goes beyond what even tier 10 mythic gameplay usually offers.

I get why. I love the idea, in fact. The Deliverer of Omega is a CR 25 monstrosity and basically a world-ender. Why damage types aren’t concise…that may actually not matter. Does your group include a playable outsider or has such an ally of sufficiently high level? Well, you’re RAW, quite possibly, F****D. In allcaps. “Saitan is protected against the direct intervention of deities, outsiders, and other immortals. When acted upon by any immortal entity whose CR is 21 or higher, Saitan gains 10 mythic ranks for a year and a day. During this time, when she is slain, she is resurrected by her Omega resurrection after 1d4 rounds.“ I get the reasoning here – it’s why the deities and super-powerful fiends and angels don’t intervene, right? Okay, throw a metric ton of CR 20 outsiders at the being. Problem solved. ;) But how do the PCs with their super-duper-Mythic powers feature here? The surge die-size, at d12, suggests tier 10, which translates to +5 CR, but that’s WITHOUT the massive power set or the potent base ability gain. CR +2 for these benefits would be very much underrated, which would catapult the PCs, potentially, to CR 21 and beyond. I am not dragging this out of my behind, mind you: The module considers the showdown to be the equivalent of CR 18 – that’s 7 CRs difference, and the +2 thus implied is actually not enough in my opinion!

And yes, I am theorycrafting here, I know. I just wanted to use this example as one highlight to show how, beyond formal oversights like damage-types and a ton of missed italicizations, the adventure feels unfinished, unpolished. The Deliverer of Omega’s Omega Barrage’s second use, for example, fails to specify its damage types…and I could go on. Is the Deliverer of Omega hard to kill? Yes. Epic? Yes. Can she stand against a properly optimized group that has just received a super-buff par excellence? Nope. You see, instead of enhancing the survivability and options the PCs have, the final fight boils down to rocket launcher tag – who can hit harder faster. This is a huge wasted potential. Where are the counter abilities for the Deliverer’s super-attacks? This is, alas, much like most parts of the book, a lost chance.

Big plus: The pdf comes with a bonus file (included in all individual modules): Adversaries of Crisis. This book, penned by Matt Medeiros with Louis Porter Jr., provides 12 pages of statblocks for high-level gameplay: ranging from CR 17 to 22, the NPCs depicted within this bonus pdf have unique super-power-like tricks, are fearsome to behold…and sport a couple of odd glitches like incorrect ranged BAB, missing gear-lines, italicizations that start in the middle of words where they shouldn’t…which is a pity, for per se, the ideas here are cool: We have a Green Goblin type of character, a super-deadly robot (30d6 force damage infinite gravimetric pulses, range: line of effect…) and similar beings. Per se, I liked these, but even the best designer can stumble with high-level statblocks, and these could have used a second set of eyes. As far as bonus content is concerned, I liked the NPCs herein very much, though. The bonus pdf has no bookmarks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not good. I wouldn’t consider them okay anymore. Rules-language is often woefully opaque, more italicizations are missed than properly formatted and the whole file feels like it really required both a firm editor and a proper content-development. Layout adheres to the per se nice two-column standard of the series, with amazing full-color artworks. Cartography is solid, though oddly, we don’t get battle-map-style big maps of most places. The presence of player-friendly versions for the Chariot and one locale are nice, though. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, but the bonus file has no bookmarks.

Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr.’s second installment in this series suffers from a wholly different set of problems than the first. Where the first module suffered from being under the delusion that we should know the implicit setting and care about stuff we know nothing about, and from logic bugs galore, this one instead is wrecked by rules-language being really sloppy and imprecise.

The lack of experience with Mythic Adventures rules is painfully evident and shows that, alas, the really cool and versatile gambits and stratagems that you can pull off with it, have not really been taken into account.

Damn, this series breaks my heart. It really does. I so want to like this…but once more, the GM is basically forced to redesign the whole space-craft section (presentation of the rules there also isn’t exactly streamlined) and while there are less logic bugs here, the book also is really, really railroady, and not in a good way. More so than the Alpha adventure, though, this has all the makings of a phenomenal adventure.

It just needed this one pass by a really crunch-savvy, nitpicky developer/rules-editor. If Stephen Rowe, for example, had gotten a hold of this, if Jason Nelson had went through this, we’d have a masterpiece on our hands. What we get instead are amazing ideas, bogged down by issues in the execution, pacing and rules. This feels like a rough draft that hasn’t been edited, like someone said “This’ll do.” and went on.

No. It does not suffice.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore the ideas here. I really do. But they feel crammed into a brief module, and the inspired vistas don’t get to breathe properly. And, whenever rules come up, we falter. The one parallel between the first adventure and this, is that the module disregards what’s already established for PFRPG, in favor of its own solutions. If these alternate solutions worked, I’d be happy. They don’t.

If you’re willing to invest A LOT of work into this, and if you’re REALLY good at high-level number-crunching, then you can have a masterpiece. If not, though, you will be left like I am – disappointed at the squandering of such inspired potential. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Crisis of the World Eater Delta: Devourer of a Thousand Worlds (PFRPG)
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Crisis of the World Eater Alpha: Immortal Wrath of the Armaggedon Angel (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/19/2018 05:55:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second part (if you count the prologue) and first act of the Crisis of the World-Eater saga clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Well, before we do, let us briefly discuss what this is: “Crisis of the World-Eater” represents, depending on how you look at it, either a mega-adventure in 3 parts (plus Prologue) or an adventure arc. It is inspired, as the name notes, by the much beloved comic book event “Crisis of Infinite Earths”, with a healthy dose of Ultimate Galactus-shenanigens thrown in for good measure. (If you’re not familiar with these events: Crisis of Infinite Earths was a story that basically streamlined the myriad different worlds in the DC-universe; Galactus is a being of nigh-infinite power in the Marvel universe, a consumer of worlds. You know. A World-Eater. Galactus also has an immortal herald who scours the multiverse for suitable planets to consume, the “original emo”, perpetually angsty superhero/villain silver surfer.)

As you can glean, I am very much a comic-book guy; they were one of the reasons I learned English at a very young age…but I won’t drown the review in all the references I find and only note the most obvious ones and explain them, if possible. You don’t have to be into comic-books to enjoy this series….but there’s one aspect herein where the comic-book heritage of concepts becomes important.

You see, the module includes a brief discussion of “non-vancian work days”; as probably most of my readers know, the “limited uses per day” type of spellcasting, often termed “vancian”, is named after Jack Vance’s writing. It’s different from the magic assumed in comic book universes. And the adventure actually has suggestions on how to get rid of these limitations. On a grand total of slightly less than two pages. If the lack of scope didn’t make that abundantly clear: This doesn’t work. AT ALL. But due to more reasons than you’d expect. PFRPG’s mechanics are based on limiting powerful abilities to ensure at least a modicum of balance, and the book basically tries to jam a hackneyed, half-baked attempt of introducing 5e/Starfinder-ish short rests into a system not designed for it. Disaster ensues.

The guidelines are sketch-like at best, lack any form of proper depth and are basically wasted space. They also are somewhat insulting, insinuating: “While this functions reasonably well as a means of keeping your physics-defying wizards somewhat more in line with melee warriors, it’s less good when it comes to letting players feel heroic for more than ten minutes into the day.” This is condescension in its purest form; it did D&D 4th edition no good to talk smack about a system that the fanbase enjoyed; it does a 3pp-module even less good to do so for the system for which it was designed, particularly in light of the absence of any feasible alternative – which, granted, would require a 100+ page book of revisions and detailed guidelines. Instead of working with the system, the module basically tells you that you may be playing the game wrong if you want “heroic” fantasy.

I don’t know about you, but if PFRPG does one thing well, it’s heroic high-fantasy. And vancian magic, while not for everyone, certainly is not alone as a spellcasting option – psionics, akasha, ethermagic, kineticists, etc. In spite of its detractors, there are plenty of folks that love vancian magic.

Novaing, the phenomenon of PCs blowing out all steam and then resting, is both the result of a too lenient GM, immature players and sucky class design. None of which are remedied by the solutions offered. Warrior-characters get even less power in the system proposed? Behold the brilliant solution proposed within: Replenishing hero points (oh boy…), plusses and faster XP gain. Yeah, my unbelieving chuckle pretty much drowned in bile right there.

In short: These 2 pages are a very ill-conceived notion that could be taken as insulting, doesn’t work or address the problems resulting from implementation, and is an all-out bad idea of working against the system for which you design, rather than with it.

You know, there is something out there for over-the-top superhero-style escapades for PFRPG. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Mythic frickin’ Adventures.

I apologize. This section really made me angry, as it misleads less experienced GMs into making modifications to their game, potentially destroying it utterly. It’s the worst type of half-baked alternate rules you can imagine and lacks the foresight and detail to achieve what it tries to do. Steer clear of these suggestions.

Okay, here’s a brief history lesson on the genesis of the series:

The idea underlying the series was pretty amazing and a cool, unique selling proposition: Have one event that affects a variety of different 3rd party publishing worlds! Damn cool, right? Here’s the catch, though: The KS, back then, blocked this unique selling proposition behind stretchgoals, which robbed the series of its…unique selling proposition. The KS still funded, but it fell, in scope, flat of what it was supposed to be, as a result of not funding tie-ins into many beloved worlds. Making the project an all or nothing high-end goal or making all tie-ins one stretch-goal would have probably been more enticing for backers. (Why back a series in the hopes that it may tie in with the world you’re invested in?) I believed in the project, and LPJDesign did create the series, but I still had to take a step back from it and let some time pass, so that my own expectations would not color my reviews of the saga.

The following discussion contains notes on the assumptions of the series. These contain SPOILERS. Mild ones, but SPOILERS nonetheless.

Now, the first thing you’ll notice upon opening this book and reading about it, is that it does assume quite a lot. Where the prologue’s assumptions were pretty unobtrusive, this adventure does reference a cadre of pretty specific details about both the planet the series starts on, and the cosmology underlying the campaign. Let me elaborate: The PCs are assumed to be professional soldiers of the Confederate of Nations, the mightiest empire of the world, with 41 nations under its banner. This quasi-UNO/NATO-like scenario is bound to be different from the realities of pretty much any other setting. Even in NeoExodus, which is pretty close to the starting scenario, that won’t go over without a hitch. The adventure also introduces the “Faith of Maroen”, a new religion, which is roughly based on Christian ideas, with halos bestowed upon worshipers, a concept of an immaculate conception, etc. Both of these receive brief summaries, and both could have used a proper setting book to adequately shine.

These are also not tangential components, but more on that later. The plot suggests that Beginning, Ending, Change and Continuation, as personified physical entities, predated the gods, with Continuation having a cadre of agents called “Entropy,” a race hailing from the shadow plane (I’d have expected negative energy plane…), one that consists of energy. The greatest among these beings would be Omega, and it can grant basically super-powers via the Omega Force. Comicbook aficionados may knowingly nod here – parallels to Darkseid’s Anti-life Equation and Omega Beams are certainly intentional. Omega’s herald of sorts would be the astral titan Saitan.

I usually don’t comment on nomenclature. But really? This sounds either like Satan, you know, the devil, or like the tofu-ish wheat gluten, “seitan.” Either way is not really ideal and either cheesy or unintentionally hilarious. I’d strongly recommend renaming this poor fellow when running the series.

The herald of what gluten, pardon, Saitan, is the entity called Asa – the eponymous Armageddon Angel. Much like the silver surfer, Asa looks for worlds to destroy…and a survivor of one such world, the Chronicler, rendered comatose by Asa in a battle over the implicit world, attempted to warn the nations…but the predictions of doom fell on deaf ears. Only the Onyx Cabal and the PCs that tracked down the warning of the Chronicler seem to grasp how dire the situation is…until it was too late. In the aftermath of the prologue, the PCs are invited to a summit of the Confederate.

And this is why I felt the need to note that this module is NOT campaign-setting agnostic. Adaption to a given setting will require some work on behalf of the GM, also to explain why, in face of global annihilation, mass exoduses via interplanetary teleport or plane shift are no options; the heritage of the comic-book storyline does collide somewhat with the planar cosmology assumed by pretty much any setting in Pathfinder – a global effect, akin to those posited in 3.X’s brilliant “Elder Evils” book, would have gone a long way in explaining why paltry level 6 folks suddenly fight for survival of the whole planet.

So yeah, at this point, you can probably see some of my issues with contextualizing the adventure in a given world…but let’s move on to the module itself, shall we? It should be noted that the module sports well-written read-loud text and comes with 5 campaign traits of sorts.

From here on out, the SPOILERS reign! Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, we begin with a bang as the PCs are en route to the summit: The carriage crashes, and a mental scream briefs them that Asa has arrived and must be stopped, before the “Deliverer of Omega” is called – we get some suggested random encounters, and the PCs have to make their way past Entropy-possessed beings towards Fort Nero. En route, the PCs can find the marble building called “Voice of the People” – with some minor encounters thrown in. The place is not mapped, but like many locales herein, does come with snippets of information for the players – a plus, as it foreshadows some foes faced later. (One of the founders mentioned by name, Saul Silver, will later be faced as a vampire…) I like this, but it once more assumes a depth of lore that implies a very specific setting – if you attempted to ignore the whole Confederate-angle, you’ll stumble over the like time and again.

A new monster, so-called entropy pods, herald the arrival of Asa, though their page references are “see page @@” – they are not the only ones, fyi; glitches like this and missed italicizations and similar formatting hiccups, alas, do haunt the otherwise professional presentation. Fort Nero comes mapped in full-color, but like the other maps, we do not get player-friendly versions sans key.

As the PCs make their way through the mook-y adversaries, they will arrive at the ruined Capitol building. Here, the PCs will have to fight Asa, and while the Armageddon Angel can’t be truly slain, an indistinct amount of soldiers will be firing and providing infinite healing for the PCs. Considering they’re level 6…that stretches the imagination somewhat. Asa’s artwork and statblock are btw. pretty cool and impressive, though a damage type that is untyped should be classified and some minor formatting and verbiage stuff may be complained about. After the first defeat, the PCs have two hours before Asa returns to life, fully healed. Okay. That was, kinda, expected after all the hubbub, right? However, know what Asa doesn’t have? Means to counter pretty much any sort of imprisonment. It’s almost sad. You don’t even need a proper imprisonment. You can pretty much render the much maligned armageddon angel utterly impotent via frickin’ resilient spheres. Forcecage. I could go on. At no Escape Artist ranks and CMB +18 and a Strength of 14, you could bind him with mundane tools.

But surely PCs never would think of double-tap-ing the frickin’ Armageddon Angel that heralds doom for the whole world…right? I can suspend my disbelief for the sake of the narrative, but this module asks us to accept a ridiculous amount of railroading. During the second combat with Asa (because, you know, PCs surely won’t do something to restrain him…), a silvery disk starts firing plasma upon Asa, helping the PCs. (No, plasma as a damage type is not defined – it should be noted that it’s traditionally half fire, half electricity. Not every GM is familiar with this esoteric energy admixture.)

The PCs are told that the only thing capable of saving the world now would be the Seed of Change, conveniently located beneath the very feet of the PCs in Vault II, as Major DePompa (what’s up with names here?) tells the PCs. Thus, the so far rather cinematic module becomes a dungeon-crawl through three levels of Vault II, wherein the PCs face undead guardians of the Seed, who once have been heroes of the Confederate. This is per se a really cool set-up and the encounter versus aforementioned Saul Silver has a unique hazard (though why chain-links on the floor require Strength to move and can’t be navigated via Acrobatics is anyone’s guess); indeed, this should have shocking consequences on the PCs. The beloved, legendary founding fathers/heroes of ages long gone, reduced to undead that can’t be bargained with? This could have had a ton of gravitas.

Only, it doesn’t. Because we know nothing about those heroes. The pdf does a valiant job at trying to foreshadow them, but for the proper payoff, these guys should have been household names for the PCs from the very start of their career. As provided, the impact is somewhat lost – same goes for the legendary gear the PCs get from defeating these bosses. The items are okay, though not exactly mind-boggling.

Ultimately, the PCs will get the seed; hereafter, Asa breaks free of the combat with the Chronicler (if he hasn’t already) or instantly revives, for a final showdown with the PCs, as he crashes through, suddenly, to the PC’s locale. Oddly, without getting a power-upgrade, which is a bit of a let-down and a pretty severe clash between flavor and crunch. The seed can destroy his omega blade, Asa falls and the PCs have a vision of things to come.

The module concludes with the chronicler opening a gateway to sidequests on 3pp worlds…that were never funded, as 5e-conversions (should have been part of the deal from the get-go) and sourcebooks were put as stretch-goals before them, diluting the focus of the series.

Big plus: The pdf comes with a bonus file: Adversaries of Crisis. This book, penned by Matt Medeiros with Louis Porter Jr., provides 12 pages of statblocks for high-level gameplay: ranging from CR 17 to 22, the NPCs depicted within this bonus pdf have unique super-power-like tricks, are fearsome to behold…and sport a couple of odd glitches like incorrect ranged BAB, missing gear-lines, italicizations that start in the middle of words where they shouldn’t…which is a pity, for per se, the ideas here are cool: We have a Green Goblin type of character, a super-deadly robot (30d6 force damage infinite gravimetric pulses, range: line of effect…) and similar beings. Per se, I liked these, but even the best designer can stumble with high-level statblocks, and these could have used a second set of eyes. As far as bonus content is concerned, I liked the NPCs herein very much, though. The bonus pdf has no bookmarks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay; while I noticed several avoidable formatting hiccups, and while the rules-verbiage isn’t always as tight as it should be, the module remains playable. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the artworks deserve special mention: The original pieces are downright gorgeous and impressive. Cartography is full-color and solid, but the lack of player-friendly versions is, at this point, a pretty sad state of affairs and detracts from the usefulness of the module. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, though that does not extend to the bonus-pdf, alas.

This was depressing. Michael McCarthy has written a ton of vastly superior modules, and Louis Porter Jr.’s influence can’t either be faulted for how this turned out, or the Gatekeeper-serial provided by the same team-up, turned out much better.

The issues of this module can be boiled down to one problem: It tries to make Pathfinder feel more like a comic-book-storyline, but attempts to do so in the most unfortunate way. The adventure suffers tremendously, more so than any module I’ve reviewed before, from the lack of context. We ultimately don’t care about the world, about the founders and legendary tools, because we have no idea about the setting.

Secondly, the adventure tries to be cinematic, and it can run that way – provided the PCs don’t try to jump off the VERY narrow rails – pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Asa, as a adversary, is amazing and deserved better; heck, the combats per se have this sense of cataclysmic events that is a joy to behold. But the module does not really seem to know how to negotiate the different realities of comic book storylines and PFRPG’s heavily codified rules.

It’s hard to suspend your disbelief, when the world-ending armageddon angel clocks in at a paltry CR 10 and has no means to escape bonds. Thing is: This storyline could have worked without those issues! Easily! If the module, instead of suggesting half-baked alternate rules, had focused on actually utilizing the wealth of materials that is here! If the PCs had the option to play as soldiers from level 1 onwards, build relationships, the payoff could have been EPIC:

As the PCs arrive at the Capitol, they rendez-vous with their NPC-friends. They are then given armies or troops to command – Asa fights as a super-powerful one-man-army and kills hundreds of soldiers; each hit Asa takes during the army-combat will bring down the angel a notch; then, have the PCs and their NPC allies fight the weakened angel, preferably as Asa mows down the troops the PCs command, cherished NPCs, etc. – make the victory, even with the chronicler’s disk, nigh impossible. And THEN encapsulate Asa in omega force, telling the PCs that the thing will respawn. As they look around, mourn their foes and see the carnage, the PCs will realize that they have no chance of bringing down Asa a second time, putting a hard timer on the Vault II exploration…instead of the almost comical, multiple defeats Asa faces in the module RAW.

Then, as the PCs get the seed, don’t have the angel suddenly dues ex machine into the complex; have an emergency broadcast hurry the PCs to the surface as the complex collapses around them. Why can they now defeat Asa? Simple. The seed made them mythic. (Come on, if the seed can’t make you mythic, what could??) Now, they can actually bypass the custom DRs that made the angel nigh-impervious before. Asa’s defenses obviously include immunities to being trapped and stopped, etc. There, done. I fixed the plot. How? Simple. I worked with what Pathfinder offers, instead of trying to half-heartedly change the system into something it’s not.

This same methodology could have been used to make the whole plot work better; global effects, perhaps even a cataclysmic death of all folks beyond a certain HD limit (the strong are consumed first…) and the like – Pathfinder has all the means to make this exact story work, without the glaring logic holes that this module suffers from. If you provide the set-up and rewrite the majority of the module, you can make this a truly glorious masterpiece of an adventure…but as presented, it became a depressing dud for me, mired in logic bugs and narrative conveniences that disregard basic in-game logic and potential power-structures. I have rarely been this crestfallen about a final verdict, but I can’t go higher than 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Crisis of the World Eater Alpha: Immortal Wrath of the Armaggedon Angel (PFRPG)
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Prototype: Texas Ranger
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2018 23:50:42

Many abilities drawn from the legends of these intimidating lawmen build up to a distinctive and focused class description.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prototype: Texas Ranger
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Hybrid Classes of NeoExodus: Anointed Guardian (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/22/2018 03:52:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The anointed guardian class, a hybrid of paladin and unchained summoner, clocks in at d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light and medium armor and shields, excluding tower shields. The class gets a clerical aura of good, detect evil at-will (with the pala’s move action trick to determine an item/creature’s evilness quicker), full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves, and at 4th level, prepared spellcasting governed by Charisma (unusual choice) at the usual -3 CL. Spells are drawn from a spell list that incorporates spells from paladin and summoner, with maximum spell level being 4th, akin to the pala.

2nd level nets the grace ability (which sports an erroneous italicization of “bless” in blessing) – the anointed guardian starts the day with Charisma modifier, minimum 1, grace points. The pool is shared by anointed guardian and divine eidolon, and grace is spent to perform benedictions. Some of these are passive, remaining in effect until the final point is spent, while others are active. The term of grace does not really contain anything new: At second level, it encompasses smite evil and lay on hands. The rules-language here is inconsistent: Some abilities call out explicitly that the divine eidolon can use them, while others don’t – however, the termino umbrellone rules-paragraph establishes that these may universally be used by both, which makes the inconsistency more grating to me. Getting Charisma bonus to saves, gained at 5th level, lacks a duration. Also at this level, mercies are gained and scale according to the classic mercy-progression (prior to enfeebled etc. being added), though some of them have been moved around a bit. 4th level yields tactician for use with the divine eidolon, and 7th level and every 3 levels thereafter yield a bonus feat. The capstone is a composite gestalt of eidolon and anointed guardian – this ability, oddly, is called “apotheosis”, which is not, unless I am really wrong (I’m not) what that usually means. It’s also somewhat out of left field. The class treats grace as the singular resource for the pala abilities. The eidolon can smite…and guess what? Grace behaves like grit for evil-aligned enemies. Crits on them and killing them replenishes the shared pool, and both guardian and eidolon can refresh it. THANKFULLY, the refresh-methods come with a caveat that prevents kitten-abuse.

The class gets a divine, good eidolon – while it’s manifested, a glowing run on the forehead of guardian and eidolon set them apart. The divine eidolon does not heal naturally, but life link’s available from 1st level on. Annoying: The divine eidolon does not have the imho rather helpful “no other companions” caveat of the mechanically-superior spiritualist class – a missed chance to improve the base class chassis employed. Divine eidolons have ¾ HD (d10, btw.) and BAB-progression, two good saves, gains 4 skills at first level with ¾ levels netting +4 skill points. Up to 8 feats are gained and AC bonus improves from +0 to +16….sounds familiar? Yeah, unchained eidolon. This includes the abilities like devotion, evasion, link, etc. Skills are the same as well. The pdf lists the aquatic base form from ultimate Magic, the Avian base form from Cohorts & Companions, and two forms taken from Everyman Gaming’s Unchained Eidolons.

As far as subtypes are concerned, Agathion, Angel, Archon, Azata, Celestial Beasts, Foo Creatures and Manasaputra are provided. Oddly, agathion base form is identical to the one from Horror Realms, but lacks the aberrant base form option – once you realize this predates Horror Realms, though, that becomes plausible. Angel, Azata and Archon are old acquaintances, with Foo Creatures and Manapsutra taken from the excellent Everyman Unchained: Eidolons-supplement. Speaking of said supplement: The aligned animal option in that book is imho more interesting than the celestial beast provided within. Oh, and a lot of the new evolutions have been taken straight from that book as well. Armor Training, increased speed, spore cloud, to name a few. Hooves is from Ultimate Magic. Mount is NOT new. Manifest weapon manifests the eidolon with a scaling, aligned weapon.

These eidolon subtypes are also the most pronounced difference between the anointed guardian and the second class herein, the profane marauder. Achaierai, Daemon, Demodand, Demon, Devil, Div, Hell Hound, Kyton, Nightmare and Qlippoth are listed here. Once more, demodand and kyton for example is taken from the Everyman Gaming book. Demon, devil, div, daemon…some previously-released material here. The achaierai eidolon gets a nice, tightly-codified breath weapon. This, and the unlimited breath weapon of the hell hound form (which should probably have a cap) lack activation actions. The nightmare eidolon’s fly speed lacks a maneuverability. There are quite a few missed italicizations.

I’m not going to bore myself or you with once more listing the profane marauder’s class features – they are essentially a palette-swapped antipala-version of the anointed guardian. Class features of the class reference improving class features via feats, none of which are included in the pdf. There are no favored class options or similar supplemental materials included.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are, considered the amount of text cut-copy-pasted from other sources, surprisingly inconsistent. I found myself neither impressed on a formal, nor on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to the really nice two-column full-color standard of NeoExodus supplements, and the pdf sports a really amazing artwork, as seen on the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and it comes with a second, more printer-friendly version.

Jeff Lee’s anointed guardian is uncharacteristically lackluster in many ways. This is an unbalanced Frankenstein-Gestalt that has not seen playtesting – it’s superior to the pala, lacks means to balance the power the eidolon represents, has rules-hiccups and sports a ridiculous amount of reprinted material. The lack of supplemental material further hurts the class, and the amount of cobbled-together material means that the class never develops anything regarding an identity of its own apart from being a “OMG, KEWL, Ima pala wit ze eidolon 11oneone!!”-angle; the pseudo-grit takes the one interesting resource-management component away, and while the angle is cool and could have resulted in a truly inspired class, the anointed guardian instead opts to create the most bland iteration of its concept possible – sans caring about how its power impacts the game. I can see this work in super high-powered games or solo-play, but even then, the design is simply not interesting or distinct. This feels, ironically, soulless and cynical. My final verdict will clock in at 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Hybrid Classes of NeoExodus: Anointed Guardian (PFRPG)
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Xao: Island of Iron and Silk (PFSRD)
by Yannick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2018 23:12:11

Xao Island of Iron and Silk is a great product, as a stand alone product, you could even just use it to get inspiration for an asian setting. As part of Exodus, this offers an exotic land to visit as it seems the island of iron and silk don't have any presence for all the other races of Neo Exodus.

As mentioned in the pdf, a lot of feats were made during 3.5 and were not updated, so they are mostly just there to serve as inspiration, I could see some of them turned into traits even or some of them already have PF equivalent versions.

Since it is mentioned in the NeoExodus campaign setting that sometime foreigners stop there (well people from the regular setting basically), I would have wanted to see how they deal with these foreigners. I can imagine that people talking about strange technology, planes and etc...probably affect their society, a bit. (Maybe related to how people are often found to be mad coming from there)

Anyway beside that, it's a great product, just couldn't give 5/5 since technically the mechanics are not 100% PF comptatible with the feats.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Xao: Island of Iron and Silk (PFSRD)
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Enemies of NeoExodus: Lucia Krille (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/13/2018 05:59:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Enemies of NeoExodus-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1page SRD, ½ a page advertisement, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Lucia Krille’s story is one that is told behind the scenes of the legends of our games a vast multitude of times – the tale of mediocrity as a thief, whose life was changed in one single moment, one that ended up changing towards one life of exceptional peculiarities with one opportunity, when a package she stole burst into magical flames, changing her…and allowing her to turn her skin to granite, granting her limited self-healing as well as DR, natural armor etc. – to become a being of living stone. Thus, her base CR 4 stats do not make use of classic level-structures and instead follow a design paradigm closer to the creation of monsters, though grounded in standard NPC design. This makes reverse-engineering of the statblock rather difficult, with e.g. her initiative of +6 seeming to contain a +3 inherent bonus – at least, that’s the only explanation I could find. Similarly, her Ref-save is really high (+11) for her HD and seem to have a similar bonus featured in her stats (good save +5, +3 Dex…which means that +3 is unaccounted for re items, feats, etc.) – while personally, I don’t mind this, it’s something that a few of my readers want to know about, so yeah.

From this set of stats, we further follow her story, as Lucia became jailed by the alchemist Mikando Moor, only escaping after the lab burst into flames, consuming her benefactor-turned-captor. This hardened her, obviously. Odd, though: her Ref-save actually gets worse with no apparent reason for that in the following iteration. That being said, regarding saves, CMB etc., the values and attributes simply don’t line up – there are some glitches here. On the plus-side, I love how she has gained new abilities, like seeing through smoke and cinder – it makes for a cool progression mirrored in her abilities.

As she continued work as an enforcer/secret weapon of crime lords, her use of powers began to increase the changes within her, slowly granting her more powers, including elemental abilities in her CR 11 iteration. Finally, she makes, at CR 16, the transition into an ever-changing, potent elemental creature.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-relevant level, the statblocks unfortunately sport glitches, which, in spite of the creation mechanics being a bit opaque, becomes evident when comparing the different iterations. Layout adheres to LPJ Design’s gorgeous 2-column full-color standard for NeoExodus files. The artwork of Lucia is amazing. The pdf has basic bookmarks, in spite of its brevity. Kudos!

Neal Litherland’s Lucia Krille is, idea-wise and ability-wise, a really cool NPC/adversary/foil. I really like the progression of Lucia, which makes using her as a recurring character with evolving abilities rewarding. Similarly, I enjoy the unique signature abilities she sports. At the same time, however, the builds do suffer from some obvious errors – I can live with inherent bonuses here and there, but once some basic stats don’t line up, things become a bit troubling. That being said, while not perfect, the pdf is inexpensive and may well provide a worthwhile adversary to challenge your PCs. Provided you are not as picky as I am regarding these things, you’ll get a nice adversary. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I cannot round up for Mrs. Krille.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of NeoExodus: Lucia Krille (PFRPG)
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Kings (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2018 04:09:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Adventure Path Iconics-series clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, first things first: The respective NPCs are made with a 20-pt.-buy option in mind, but we get scaling notes for both 15 and 25 pt. buy campaigns. However, no other notes for the generation process are provided – instead, we dive right into the respective pregens. The characters have all been created with the Kingmaker AP in mind, but may be used, obviously, just as well in other contexts.

Now, as a plus, each of the characters comes with notes for further advancement at higher levels. Annoyingly, spell-references there, if any, are incorrectly formatted – they are capitalized and not italicized in the advancement notes of the pdf, which is a pretty basic snafu. Plus-side: Special abilities are reprinted, if any. Each of the characters also comes with roleplaying notes as guidance for the players, a sample quote and a nice, full-color mugshot.

The first character herein would be Davor the Loresteeped, a half-orc wizard with a bonded object, who had a tough time growing up due to an absentee father. His mom did her best to raise him, though, and he did complete his apprenticeship. That’s pretty much the extent of the story here. Minor aesthetic complaint: There are two superfluous line-breaks in the AC-section – alas, not the only such glitch: The elven fighter Faunra has “CG alignment medium humanoid” in her header line; there usually is no “alignment” word here. This would also be a good moment to note that her atk-values for weapons in her statblock are absent; while it’s easy enough to discern them, it’s annoying. It should also be noted that she is carrying medium load for her Strength score, which is not reflected in her movement rate, an oversight that can be found with quite a few characters herein – it’s an uncommon choice and would be more player-friendly if it was noted somehow.

Beyond her, we get a human bard (Felix) and a dwarf barbarian (Gegig) – none of these characters come with archetypes or the like. In Gegig’s case, it’s a bit sad to see that no premade rage-modifications have been supplied as supplemental material. Gegig is also referred to incorrectly as “she” in the fast movement and rage sections.

The NeoExodus-specific races that make up the next 4 pregens, alas, fare no better: Gryn Ogyn, a prymidian ranger, is lacking CMB and CMD stats, and with Dex 16 and Improved Initiative, he should have initiative +7, not +5…and that is before the reactionary trait (which A LOT of characters herein have…without that choice making much sense). Rangi the half-giant paladin sports a similar glitch, and one of the traits and the background mentions Torag, which I’m pretty sure is an infringement on Paizo IP. He also lacks a couple of racial traits. There would also be a Sasori rogue and a p’tan cleric to complement the pregen array.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting, alas, are not up to the standards we require, particularly for pregens. On a formal level, minor oversights and glitches can be excused, but as soon as they start to seriously compromise the rules, things become problematic. Layout adheres toa nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. We also get a second, more printer-friendly version.

I’m sorry to say this, but I cannot recommend Gabriel Jewell’s pregens for Kingmaker. The characters sport several really nasty hiccups in the statblocks, which is baffling, considering the relative simplicity of the builds – no archetypes, no uncommon choices. The background stories are also painfully vanilla as far as I’m concerned. Finally, the pdf had a real chance with Kingmaker’s subsystems: The pdf could have noted preferred roles later, etc. Nothing. This pdf is really rushed and rather unimpressive. Compared to Legendary Games’ pregens, I can’t really find a reason to get this. I am honestly sorry, but my final verdict will be 1.5 stars, rounded up due to the nice mugshot artworks. Content-wise, I couldn’t find anything nice to say.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Kings (PFRPG)
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Page Portfolio 009: Bloody Mess Background
by Cody B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2017 19:07:24

thought it would be images i can drop into the background but its acrually full pages. they do look good though!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Page Portfolio 009: Bloody Mess Background
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Infinite Space: Themes: The Outlaw Crew (SFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2017 19:37:29

The themes provided by LPJ for Starfinder made me decide to allow all of my characters to take second Themes for their characters. Here are Themes missing from the original Starfinder offering. No matter how good your Mystic is, having a Doctor in the party is essential. And being an Envoy with the Captain Theme makes much more sense to command a starship.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Space: Themes: The Outlaw Crew (SFRPG)
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Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 4 - The Clockwork Catastrophe (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2017 03:51:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth level of The Halls of the Eternal Moment clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As always, we begin with notes on the general property of the dungeon’s level – walls, light, etc. After level 3’s relatively tame treatment of PCs, the fourth level is back to the attrition tactics – 40% chance of being attacked, per hour. OUCH. Now here’s a mind-bender: Once the alarm is triggered, the dungeon RAW becomes easier – the ambushing default encounter is replaced with a reactivation of dormant constructs, which are finite. One note: The statblocks provided for these encounters sport some glitches: Formatting (bolding inconsistent) and also ones that influence the rules. On the plus-side, a total of 6 ghostly phenomena (harmless dressing to enhance atmosphere) is provided.

Utterly puzzling: Remember how level 3 had temporal anomaly effects? Well, they’re gone once more, in spite of level 4 being lower. I don’t get it.

All righty, let’s take a look at the content, shall we? From here on out, the SPOILERS reign – potential players should jump to the conclusion.

..

.

Okay, just GMs around? Great! So, the basic premise is that the dwarven engineer Talpidae tried to dig into the dungeon with a massive clockwork contraption. That did not go well, as the title very much implied. The catastrophe killed the crew, who now haunt these halls – they are a persistent threat…and strangely, once alarm has been triggered, they vanish. Instead, clockwork laborers and archers animate…and indeed, the pdf does employ the theme of temporal twists a bit: There are rooms stuck in time, for example. Downside: As mentioned before, the mechanical aspects fall a bit by the wayside and no, there are no puzzles that employ this angle. The PCs can’t prevent the catastrophe or influence it.

On the plus-side, while the AMAZING potential of the premise isn’t used fully, there are some nice hazards and pieces of the engine that are still operational…and lethal. Down-side: Their damage type hasn’t been properly codified. That being said, the mole machine is really interesting: Its mobility is limited and it behaves mostly like an amazing hazard – smart PCs can have a BLAST here, while those foolhardy may well end up being blasted to shreds. Defeating it is HARD, but incredibly satisfying, making this the highlight of all levels released so far. In fact, the cool encounter against the machine single-handedly improves the rating this pdf would have received. On the downside, a visual representation would have helped, big time, picturing this threat.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay – there are a couple of glitches that should have been caught, including several that influence the rules-integrity of the content herein. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard. The pdf’s artwork is stock and has nothing to do with the module. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography, as in the whole series, is very rudimentary and somewhat inconsiderate – while we get a key-less version, secret doors etc. are not either version and they are not redacted.

Jeff Lee, Michael McCarthy, Rich Redman and Louis Porter Jr.,’s fourth dungeon-level does a lot of things right: The leitmotif of the dungeon does tangentially influence the proceedings. The level itself is, theme-wise, interesting. The boss fight is creative and phenomenal. In fact, this has the makings of a good, even a very good, dungeon-level. But it feels like interest was lost at one point – one careful pass to fix the issues and slightly streamline the aspects that, mechanically, are rough around the edges, and this could have scored higher. But as much as I like the boss, from the lack of global effects to the minor inconsistencies, the hiccups accumulate and tarnish what would be an easy 5 star + seal module, had it received a bit more care in realizing the evocative, cool premise of both dungeon and level. In the end, I can’t go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down for this – it is VERY rough around the edges and needs some work by the GM to shine, but concept-wise, it does have its definite strengths.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 4 - The Clockwork Catastrophe (PFRPG)
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Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 3 - The Clairvoyant Halls (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/03/2017 04:22:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third level of the Halls of the Eternal Moment clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, as in the levels before, we get a concise summary of the properties of the dungeon regarding its walls, lighting etc. However, we do get a cool unique dungeon feature – within these walls, you can find columns made of skulls – and inside the skulls are eyeballs that twitch, unless they are actually observing someone – in which case they become eerily still and staring. Oh, and guess what: The theme of the dungeon FINALLY comes into play. While the header of “Temporal Fluctuation” has not been properly formatted, there is a 1 in 8 chance per room (same for random encounters, 3 are provided) that a fluctuation begins: A total of 5 entries can be found - +1 initiative, -1 atk and Ref-saves (this one, annoyingly, makes up 2 entries in a 5-entry-table – why duplicate them??), -4 to Perception and +4 to critical confirmation rolls. …yeah, I kinda expected something cooler as well.

Anyways, as the write-ups of the monsters show, there is a leitmotif here – namely sight or lack thereof – the undead are beheaded and blind and isitoqs are included as well.

…and that is as far as I can go without delving into major SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, first of all: After two levels sans a unique boss, guess what we get? Bingo, a cool and actually really creepy villain, namely Illquis of the Thousand Eyes, a nasty derro necromancer. While the statblock isn’t perfect, it’s good enough for most…and the derro can actually see through the ocular columns throughout the level, as per clairvoyance (nor properly italicized). This allows an even halfway competent GM to instill a surprising sense of paranoia and eerie creepiness. The resting restrictions of the previous levels, just fyi, are gone…and indeed, paradoxically, the level may actually end up being easier on the PCs than previous ones: For one, the necromancer creates headless zombies, beheaded and isitoqs as primary minions – all of which have in common that their CR is really low. Similarly, even blind beheaded swarms may be taken out with relative ease. While a gray ooze makes for a nasty challenge, the primary combat antagonist here is clearly the derro.

That being said, the traps featured this time around are significantly more interesting than those on the last level, with a vertigo trap or a charnel pit that has been granted limited, churning animation – particularly the latter represents the strongest trap in the series so far. More so than the mechanical challenges, this level excels beyond level 1 or 2 in the respective rooms – “The walls and ceiling of this room are festooned with braids, ropes and nets, all clumsily woven from what appears to be humanoid hair. The room’s two doors are decorated with wreaths crafted of the same material.“ That is CREEPY. The whole level, with its theme and leitmotif, manages to instill a more unique and interesting atmosphere.

Now, as for the maps – they are still bare-bones; player maps have not had secret rooms redacted and GM maps lack the secret room notes. Similarly, the lack of most terrain features, even in icon form, on the maps means that a GM has to do some work on them. This is not a go-play module.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re good, but weaker than in previous installments – I noticed a couple of minor hiccups, some pertaining rules-relevant material. Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard of the series. Artwork is stock and has nothing to do with the material herein. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography still remains a big downside of this series.

Jeff Lee, with additional writing by Michael McCarthy, Rich Redman and Louis Porter Jr., finally delivers on the promise of this complex, at least in part. While I wasn’t exactly blown away by the temporal effects, they at least provide a unique descriptive angle for the GM. The fully statted boss and the leitmotif of this level are the stars, though: While mechanically less challenging than the wars of attrition that were level #1 and #2, this level feels, paradoxically, rather tame – particularly when considering level #1’s at times hyper-deadly traps. Mechanically, this is not the most impressive level herein.

However, it’s the first level that reaches the level of originality and flavor I expected from the series: The writing, always a strong suit for the series, is tight in this one; the flavorful rooms and creatures encountered are unique and horrifying and the paranoia an even moderately competent GM should be able to elicit here is just FUN.

While surprisingly easy (apart from the boss), the dungeon level is interesting, flavorful and cool. That being said, editing isn’t as tight here and, as mentioned an abundant number of times, the maps are puzzling in how inconsiderate they are. Still, the writing and unique theme of this level make it worthwhile – though the formal hiccups, alas, make it impossible for me to round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 3 - The Clairvoyant Halls (PFRPG)
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Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 2 - The Rattling Crypt (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2017 04:20:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second level of the Halls of the Eternal Moment clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, we begin this installment with a brief summary of the opposition and a nice d20-dressing table that sports descriptive hooks and concrete items, for a total of 40 entries – nice and adds a sense of consistency to the level and the adversaries – kudos there!

As before, we get helpful information on floors, walls…and slender pillars, which almost take up a square – destroying these can cause a ceiling to collapse (Okay, how much squares? The whole room? Whole dungeon?) and in some cases, they are connected by iron chains. Both these and decorative copper chains mentioned come with proper stats – so as far as general features goes, this is a step up from level 1.

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! If the name of this level wasn’t ample clue – undead would be the leitmotif of this level of the Halls of the Eternal Moment…and they are organized. Under the leadership of the ghast Benivuul and his ghoul lackeys, the roaming skeletons and zombies make for a persistent and dangerous threat. Camping is impossible, with each hour and each campaign attempt resulting in a random encounter – on the plus-side, this level can actually be emptied of the scouring undead, though leaving for too long sees other things move in…Nice: the nature of this second cadre is briefly discussed.

The level kicks off with a sliding staircase trap and foreboding graffiti can be found throughout the level, adding a special sense of gravitas to the whole proceedings. Trapped, evil altars and concealment-granting cob-webbed sheets and an evil altar used for undead creation, cacophonous traps – the undead in the level are keenly aware of the traps and make good use of this gauntlet, which plays significantly better than its vanilla premise would lead you to believe. While it’s a bit strange that room 22’s text refers back to room 22 for a patreon goal. Some passages/secret doors lead to patreon goal rooms and are not included in the pdf.

As a whole, I enjoyed this level more than the previous one – though personally, I would have made even more use of the slender pillars – they are a unique architectural feature that could have yielded some interesting additional options regarding 3D-combat, pits, etc. Their rules-language could be slightly more precise, but oh well. More significant: Apart from the traps, all adversaries herein are painfully vanilla – don’t expect archetype’d, templated or class level’d foes herein – standard critters.

Speaking of which: If you hoped, like I did, that the temporal angle and the potential for cool shenanigans with undead (like in several OSR modules) and traps, I’ll have to disappoint you – the leitmotif of the dungeon remains a backdrop at best.

Now the maps, while still very bare-bones, do sport icons for the pillars, which is nice. Icons for altars etc. are also provided and while the maps are anything but nice to look at, they are a bit better than those in level 1. Slightly annoying: Secret doors are not designated as such on the GM map and on the player’s map, they have not been redacted.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no undue accumulation of glitches. Layout adheres to a really nice two-column full-color standard. Artwork is stock and has no relation to the material depicted herein. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. Cartography, while still bare-bones and not up to the level of detail I’d like to see, particularly regarding player maps/VTT-capabilities, but they are a bit better than the ones for level 1.

Rich Redman, Jeff Lee, Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. have written a per se solid undead-level here. The chain/pillar motif is cool and I frankly wished the module did a bit more with it (swinging rooms! Crossing pits on chains! Immortal undead that need to be buried… (due to the temporal nature of the dungeon, one could explain reverting collapses…) There are so many cool ideas there that the module simply doesn’t use. The rattling crypt is creepy; it is deadly; it is well-written…and it is, as far as undead dungeons go, painfully vanilla. It’s deadly mainly due to the fact that you can’t properly rest, but a strategic group can empty the level – the boss is underwhelming and so are the enemies encountered. The module doesn’t make use of the cool dungeon-premise, but I expected that; what I did not expect was that it reduced its cool, evocative terrain features and leitmotif only to this extent – the pillars and themes here could have carried so much more.

Don’t get me wrong – the writing’s pretty good and the dungeon level is pretty nice…but at the same time, it falls short of the potential of both the dungeon and the level; the standard enemies and the less than impressive maps also don’t really help this module. If you’re looking for a solid undead-themed level, then this certainly does the job…but honestly, I know a lot of undead-themed dungeons and levels that may, in parts, have weaker writing, but more interesting mechanical components, better components to set them apart. As a whole, this is, to me, this was a rather weak and disappointing installment – not bad per se, but also weaker than level 1. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up by a margin due to the low price and in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 2 - The Rattling Crypt (PFRPG)
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Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 1 - The Overgrown (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/28/2017 04:40:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first level of The Halls of the Eternal Moment clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This level has been claimed as a home by the druid circle of the ages – and as such, we have a nature-theme on our hands here. The pdf notes walls, ceilings, etc. and also provides notes for wandering monsters, simulating a kind of organic and dynamic environment. Each of the rooms comes with read-aloud text, which can help GMs less confident in their improvisation skills.

So far, so good, so let’s go into SPOILER-territory. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

..

.

All righty, only GMs around? Great! So, the monsters that constitute the major inhabitants would be leaf leshies, giant caterpillars and headless, fungal zombies held together by dark magics – somewhat annoying – their SQs etc. have not been reprinted in their statblock, meaning that you’ll have to look these up. Each of the rooms does have something to do – a skill to use, a hazard like poisonous vines. Specially planted trees that hamper movement and creative traps, including organic responses by the creatures herein make for an overall interesting dungeon – and a hard one. There are traps here that WILL insta-gib a PC – 6d6 smashing stones into which you may run due to being stricken with fear by a magic pool – this is not a dungeon for noobs.

Indeed, the lack of a maximum value of inhabitants in the monster-placement for cleared rooms etc. means that rest etc. can be a much sought-after commodity – and personally, I applaud that. I do not applaud the boss fight versus a spirit, who animates a fungus leshy, who governs the respawns of leshies – not because I don’t like the boss fight, but because the animating druid spirit is not really covered – killing the fungus leshy ends the influence of the spirit, which is weird to see in a game so steeped with ways to deal with spirits and the like.

Okay, admittedly, I’m stalling. You see, the main draw, to me, for the dungeon is its fluid, erratic time – I said as much in my review of the prologue. And yes, temporal weirdness can be found here. In the dressing. And as a justification for the critters showing up. Do you need temporal tricks to navigate a room? No. Do you get to solve time-based puzzles? No. Are there special ramifications for certain areas? No. The execution of the amazing leitmotif falls flat for me. The dungeon-level is wondrous, yes, but it does not come close to fulfilling the promising theme.

There is another aspect where the pdf does not reach the levels I hoped for: The map. While it comes with a keyless version and while it’s in color, it just shows the rooms. Secret doors are not redacted and neither terrain feature, not traps are noted on either map, making their use rather annoying – basically, you have to print them out and fill them in yourself. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t need gorgeous maps – but I’d like to at least have maps that note the basics.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good – I didn’t notice a big accumulation of glitches, but some formatting decisions/requirements to look things up are a bit questionable. Layout adheres to a really nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports solid stock artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography is worse than in pretty much every comparable dungeon, providing just blank and empty rooms – the work required here by the GM represents a serious comfort detriment.

Jeff Lee, Michael McCarthy, Rich Redman and Louis Porter Jr. have per se written a cool dungeon-level here. The leshy-theme is cool and hasn’t been done to death and the hazards and traps are deadly, challenging and fun. That being said, this pdf falters in the details – it is, most of all, inconvenient. You have to look a lot up; you have to basically fill in the maps to render them operational. One of the rooms notes “Don’t go down the Well” as a header and reference to Rappan Athuk – referencing a superior book may not have been the smartest move here. You see, the dungeon, let me make that abundantly clear, is NICE. The rooms are varied and interesting. At the same time, it is VERY inconvenient to use. I have had an easier time using OSR or 5e-dungeons in PFRPG than with this one, courtesy of a couple of really unfortunate decisions and the cartography being this incomplete. A wholly barebones dungeon. No chairs. No landmarks. No secret door “S”; no trees. I don’t get it and I have never seen anything like it, not even in really rudimentary DIY-supplements.

My disappointment regarding the unrealized temporal angle notwithstanding, this would be a worthwhile dungeon, were it not for these inconveniences. As written, I can’t go higher than 3 stars for it, stars earned solely earned by the good ideas that are herein and the quality of the writing. Let’s hope level 2 fares better…

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment Level 1 - The Overgrown (PFRPG)
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