DriveThruRPG.com
Browse Categories













Back
Other comments left by this customer:
You must be logged in to rate this
Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
Publisher: Kyoudai Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/16/2020 06:33:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the class-centric Thunderscape supplements clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first of all – this book deals with the thaumaturge and fallen classes of the Thunderscape setting; I assume familiarity with them in my review. Secondly, while this is a class-centric supplement, it does not necessarily focus JUST on new mechanics – we kick this off with in-character prose, and indeed, the book defines the classes within the context of the world of Aden to a degree beyond what you’d usually see.

We do learn how it is to be a member of these classes in Thunderscape’s setting, both as member of a party, and within the context of the various societies of the setting. The respective, exceedingly well-written entries do not differentiate between Pre- and Post-Darkfall attitudes to the extent as in e.g. Law & Destiny, but this does not change that the supplement provides a lot of lore and context that makes the classes feel more like parts of a greater whole. I really enjoy this way of linking setting and crunch.

Speaking of crunch – let us begin with the fallen, shall we? As you know, the class is very much defined by essentially a bloodline-like ability-suite called “stigma”, and 10 new ones are presented. Yes. 10. Each of these come with 5 bonus feats to choose, two special abilities, and a suite of stigma abilities, with 2 provided, most of the time, for 4th level, 7th level, 10thlevel, 13th level, 16th level and 19th level. There are instances where higher level abilities only net one. Going through all abilities point by point would bloat this review beyond usefulness, so I’ll instead give you and overview. Apparition nets you negative energy or cold damage inflicting touch attacks, and later nets self-only invisibility, fly and high level turning incorporeal. The claws can be upgraded, obviously. Cataclysm is about withstanding – as such, it fortifies you versus being knocked prone, lets you stomp to knock targets prone, call forth magma elementals, create pits, earth glide etc. Drake is a dragon-apotheosis angle (which has a minor formatting snafu at one point, with a lower caps “reflex” save; the drowned stigma nets you water-themed SPs and better grappling, including grab. Midnight is the stealth HiPS-gaining one, including darkness, shadow conjuration, etc. Rimeweaver, unsurprisingly, is the cold-themed stigma, including minor terrain control, slowing targets, etc.

The sanguine stigma lets your torment cause bleeding damage, animate blood…and if you have kittens on your hand, you gain infinite fast healing. sigh needless exploit there, particularly since assuming blood form is such a cool angle. Scrapheap lets you integrate equipment into your body and is perhaps one of the cooler machine-apotheosis angles I’ve seen in a while. Stormwracked is about agility, with an increased base speed and Acrobatics as class skill, as well as air- and electricity-themed tricks. Withered, finally, might be another one of the really interesting ones, as it allows you to keep enemies from charging/running; it deals with time and space, particularly time, including combo’d haste and slow, for example.

As for supplemental material, particularly items, we have the darkforged bindings, which allow you to easily perceive the frightened and track them; an elixir of normalcy acts as a veil stigma. The hide of hellish fury makes them count as three levels higher for the purpose of stigma abilities. Trait-wise, we have 8 new traits, all classified as background traits. Vicious and Horrifying are two relevant for the fallen, enhancing torment DC or +1 scourge damage; the latter should be a trait bonus, not untyped. The other traits apply to the thaumaturge: +1 DC for an aspect, proficiency with a bonded legend, bonus to Diplomacy with them (again, type missing), and shedding light. Beyond these, we have counting as +1 BAB higher for a feat, and Disguise sans the usual penalty for pretending to be another race.

The pdf provides two engine-tweak-style archetypes: The chimeric fallen loses all bonus feats and toughened, but gets to choose two stigmas, gaining all 1st level abilities, with later levels requiring the PC to choose which one to take, and you suffer an additional -2 to Disguise to represent your nature. The Carnivore archetype also loses the fallen’s usual bonus feat array, and instead gets feast of the damned: As a full-round action, they can absorb the essence of a corpse of a being that has only been dead an hour or less. You get to choose an ability from a massive table, provided you meet the prerequisites. Essentially, this is a surprisingly well-crafted take on the blue mage angle. There are also 9 supplemental feats for the fallen: Agonizing Wave lets you impose the tormented condition (and only it) as a move action to all adjacent targets. Hungry Torment nets you a free action use of torment when reducing a tormented creature to 0 hp. Greater Torment increases torment and suffering ability DCs by 1. Nightmare Smite lets you expend two suffering uses to lace suffering into an attack, with a +1 to the DC. Stigmatic Mastery nets you additional uses for stigma-based abilities, differentiating between uses gained for daily abilities or those you can execute more often – kudos there. Terrible Charge lets you spend suffering to make a full attack at the end of a charge…which is basically a better limited-use pounce, and should probably have a higher minimum level. Torment’s Reach lets you apply scourge damage via ranged weapons when targeting tormented enemies. Withering glare nets you an AC-bonus against tormented enemies Finally, Wrath of the Fallen lets you entangle, fatigue, frighten, nauseated, blind or stun targets those that incur conditions from your suffering.

The pdf includes two fully depicted NPCs with fully realized background stories – Iago Vesten an echo fallen with the horror stigma, and Ariana Dell, a human fallen with the rimeweaver stigma. The thaumaturge NPCs are Gudrun, a jurak thaumaturge, and Ivana Vetrov, a saint adept. These note bound legends in their stats, as well as aspects typically prepared. As usual for Thunderscape, the statblocks are actually a bit more detailed than usual, and thus deviate a bit from the standards, calling e.g. racial abilities and favored class options explicitly out. I like this notion. All NPCs come in three iterations – one at first level, one at 6th level, and one at 12th level. The statblocks are per se solid, though I did notice a few minor snafus.

The thaumaturge gets a serious amount of content herein: 15 new thaumaturge legends are included herein, ranging from the Arcadian to Faceless, Kraken, Sentinel…the interesting aspect here, indubitably, is that the requirements for the respective legends, such as not speaking when drawing upon the Beast, often act as a roleplaying balancing-based tool for the per se potent legends included here. The Faceless makes you a great social chameleon, but if someone sees through your disguise, you’re on your own; the demon and champion’s tenets are incompatible; in comparison, the more down to earth fencer withdraws when you wield a weapon that is not light or one-handed. The magister has no requirement, while the kraken retreats when you spend more than an hour out of water – get it? The proficiencies, feats, spirit points and BAB generally make sense, though it should be noted that the new legends tend to be better than e.g. the Diplomat. Of particular note: The martyr lets you regain uses of legends or heals your spirit damage when withdrawing – which is pretty much a gamechanger. That being said, the rules-language here is a bit opaque – it took me a some close-reading to deduce how this fellow works.

The pdf then proceeds to present a huge amount of new aspects – unless I have miscounted, 18 of them. And these introduce a pretty cool innovation: A lot of aspects herein have so-called resonances, which are aligned with certain legends, changing how they operate. Let’s take the aspect of vigor as an example: The passive effect lets you recover 1d10 spirit damage when consuming an aspect and rendering it inactive. The consume effect lets you, as a standard action, recover 1d6 HP per level, maximum 10d6. If you, however, have the Immortal, said legend’s Spirit Points are increased to 4+2 per level, the passive benefits of the aspect increase tor recovering 2d10 spirit points, and you can consume the aspect to draw upon the Immortal as a free action if it is currently inactive, replacing the active legend. This addition of the resonance engine radically enhances the way in which the thaumaturge class plays, rewarding thematic consistency with combo-potential. I really like this. It cements the Thunderscape thaumaturge class as an, in many ways, better iteration of the medium-concept. Beyond these, we also have 14 new greater aspects, which follow a similar design paradigm, making the thaumaturge the definite “winner” as far as the book is concerned. Indeed, the inclusion of the resonance concept is a pretty significant incision into the chassis, and imho suffices in its extent to warrant potentially a revision of the core book’s aspects regarding an addition of resonance options.

Indeed, as much as I love the new thaumaturge material, it should be noted that rebalancing the entire class chassis to account for the new options would have been prudent, as the thaumaturge has, with these options, all the makings of something truly outstanding. Don’t get me wrong – the new and improved thaumaturge with these options is impressive, it seriously is. If you take an in-depth take of the combos and components, you will notice some inner-class power-discrepancies here and there, though. Still, big kudos for how this improves the thaumaturge.

As far as supplemental material is concerned, we get the mythwrought armor special ability that enhances the duration of aspect or legend effects; the weapon-version sets the weapon ablaze after consuming aspects. Terrifying weapons deal bonus cold damage and increase fear effect durations. Channeler icons let you replenish aspects, pearl of power style, while enhanced books of saints and sinners allow for legend-swapping (unlike the mundane version). Rings of mystic proxy help using scrolls by consuming aspects. As far as the equipment is concerned, we have outfits that designate you as infected (and nobody looks closely at them…), relics, incense that lets you focus on concentration, war paint and taxidermist kits. Oh, and there is a new artifact, which is essentially a chaotic evil Hellraiser-box, Garquorin’s Terrible Puzzle Box. As a note: The magic item section this time around oddly seems to be missing a couple of italicizations in the run-on-text. Nothing serious, but noticeable in the context of the overall book.

We also have 4 feats intended for thaumaturges: Ancestral Guidance nets each bonded legend an additional bonus feat. Extra Legend does what it says on the tin, Soul of Sacrifice lets you exchange a legend at the start of the day for two aspects, and Thaumaturgical Focus increases thaumaturge class ability DCs by 1. We also get two archetypes, the first of which is the saint adept, who gets a paladin code of honor, and 4 + Int skills per level, but only half the thaumaturge’s usual legends, rounded down, +1- 3rd level makes them choose a legend as saintly benefactor, which nets a bonus form a variety of choices, with 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter yielding an additional improvement. This replaces manifest legend. 9th level nets a 1/week commune instead of saving grace. 17th level allows for temporarily gaining the half-celestial template while drawing upon the saintly benefactor. The second archetype, the soulless, goes the other round – instead of focusing on specialized legends, the soulless doubles the number of legends. There is a glitch in the rules-syntax here, when “legend” is used instead of “level” at one point, but that as an aside. The available spirits are determined randomly each day, and when not drawing upon legends, they are staggered! OUCH! I actually really like this. This “full house” allows the soulless to use saving grace more often, and e.g. use legends to transfix opponents in a dramatic manner. I so want to play this fellow. I love this archetype.

Beyond that, we have the Legends domain for clerics, which essentially lets you dip in aspects, and, later, even a legend. The Nightmare sorcerer bloodline is easily the weakest piece of crunch in the book – it’s just another fear-themed bloodline, and an uneven one, with +6 to Intimidate at first level, frightful presence, etc. – not the biggest fan. Beyond the usual roleplaying tips, we get a couple of cool ideas regarding the fallen and their burden, quirks and eccentricities, and we close with detailed, well-crafted origin-tables in the vein of Ultimate Campaign for the two classes.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting oscillates between excellent (most of the book) to good, with few flaws, though these rare ones do sometimes influence rules-integrity. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the book sports fantastic full-color artworks. To my utter baffling surprise, the supplement lacks any bookmarks, which makes navigation a total pain. Particularly since we first get both class chapters, and THEN the items, feats, archetypes, etc. for BOTH, necessitating some serious skipping around. I am not a fan of this organization.

Rich Wulf, Chris Koch and Shawn Carman deliver a pretty impressive book here; while I generally consider the new material for the fallen nice, it was, to my surprise, the context of the class in Aden, the setting-relevant aspects, that excited me most. Then again, the thaumaturge did steal the show with the inclusion and solid implementation of the resonance-sub-engine. If you even remotely are interested in playing a thaumaturge, you need to get this book right now. This book, more so than any previous Thunderscape-supplement I’ve reviewed, walks the line to true greatness. However, as much as I love several aspects herein, there also are a few filler pieces here, a few typo level glitches that can slightly impede the ability to parse the rules at once.

And yet, I have always valued creativity and high concept over e.g. penalizing a BAB off by two in a statblock; this might not be perfect, but I can’t bring myself to rounding down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars, which is why I will round up. If you enjoy these classes, get this right now.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Cha'alt Pre-Generated
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/16/2020 06:32:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreon supporters, and to supplement the review of the Cha’alt tome, which’ll hit sites soon.

So, first thing you need to know – these pregens work not only for Cha’alt, but also for other games using the Crimson Dragon Slayer D20-rules; there are 27 such pregens provided, and all are made for first level. Some background information does tie the characters to specific locations in Cha’alt.

The pregens state the class-dependent HP, the name, race, class and alignment. As a minor nitpick: The class refers to “Sorcerer”, when Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 called the class “Wizard.” The more detailed paragraphs for each pregen notes something “Noteworthy”, which may be speaking in infernal tongues, never forgetting a face or the like. There are also races beyond the standard mentioned in Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 (no surprise there, since Cha’alt sports a TON of weird elven races!), including lesser demons, which are immune to heat, fire and poison, but take double damage from cold attacks and need to consume blood and flesh for nourishment. The pdf also features classes like barbarian (12 HP) and Monk (6 HP) – these are kinda problematic, in that they include rules for these “classes” in the pregens – that’s not per se bad, but I think the like should be in the rules-pdf, and balanced versus those.

It should also be noted that the monk-class makes use of Cha’alt’s basic psionics engine (pg 50 of said book); without this engine, you’ll need to do some handwaving there. There is also e.g. an assassin pregen, who gets a fighter’s class level bonus to atk and damage AND a thief’s backstab (which has still not been properly codified). Sure, the assassin only gets 6 HP/level, but yeah – these rules should imho be in the rules-pdf, not in the pregen.

The second thing that the pdf includes in slightly more detail, would be the character’s belongings – these are generally sufficiently varied, but I did notice an instant of a thief sans thieves’ tools and a cleric sans holy symbol – two basic components of gear that the other characters of the classes do have.

The pdf then presents rules for divine favor: One point of divine favor may be gained per session, up to a maximum of 3. This replaces the default Inspiration-rules, and the pdf states how you gain these points by alignment. The agencies of Cha’alt’s old gods (and new gods) are explained – the old gods adhere to Crowley’s famous axiom “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” – these individuals seek to become deities, while the new gods attempt to return and form a unio mystica with the omnipotence of the universe – somewhat akin to how many New Age shamanism-like beliefs champion a mystic union and death of the “I”. Essentially a question of fierce individualism vs. fierce collectivism – I think this is an interesting angle.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, good on as rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, and the pdf presents pregen-stats in card-like form; print a page, cut it up, viola, several pregens to hand out. As for artworks, we get aesthetically-pleasing cosplay photos of both females and males, as well as a one-page, pretty nightmarish demon-thing. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor comfort-detriment, but okay at this length.

I like Venger As’Nas Satanis’ pregens, and they’re FREE, which definitely adds to their appeal. Personally, I think that the primary shortcoming here is, that it jams class information that should be in the core pdf instead right into the pregens. These classes can also be significantly better than the Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 core classes: Barbarians can e.g. rage class level times per day, doubling damage and hit points until the combat ends. This makes no sense, since “combat ends” is not a viable time metric – beat a goblin to pulp in a minute? Rage ends. Fight for 2 hours against endless demonic legions? Rage ends. Same resource-expenditure. Per-encounter mechanics make no sense in game without being grounded in time. The barbarian’s downside is that they need to save to use magic or tech, or be unable to do so “until the next scene.” You get the idea. The new classes need some finetuning to bring either their rules-language, or their power-level in line with the core classes.

Oh, and the divine favor rules? They should be in the Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 pdf, not herein!

As a whole, I’d consider this to be a solid, if not perfect example of a pregen book, mainly because it jams material into the file that simply doesn’t belong here. While this would usually make me settle for rounding down, my final verdict will instead round up due to this being FREE, resulting in a verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cha'alt Pre-Generated
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Falls Keep (5E)
Publisher: Fail Squad Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/16/2020 06:31:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

This Fail Squad Games Side Quest comes with boxed read-aloud text, and a total of 6 rumors can be used for foreshadowing, or to reward player characters for doing the proper legwork. The module features a couple of astounding full color artworks – Lloyd Metcalf is an artist, and it shows – I particularly loved the artwork depicting the eponymous Falls Keep: Near a guard tower, a low, square place, intentionally designed regarding windows and entry to elicit skull-like associations without being ridiculous, rests among stunning waterfalls that made my heart ache for some places in the United States or Scandinavia. I Love this artwork, and I’m seriously curious why it’s not on the cover. The cartography is a hand-drawn full-color map for the lead-in-encounter, and that map has no scale. Falls Keep itself sports a little full-color overview map for the outside, and b/w interior cartography – which does sport grids. To my chagrin, no key-less player-friendly versions are included.

I did like the inclusion of a visual puzzle, which is represented in three different artworks regarding clues…which brings me to a curious decision: Why not have these rendition in an art-appendix, so referees can print it out, cut it up, and show it to the players? As written, I need to print several pages and cut out these visual representations from the module.

This version of the module is penned for D&D 5e, for 4-5 PCs. Or at least, it formally purports to be. The module is missing pretty much every instance of something that should be in italics, saves and checks are persistently formatted in the wrong way, and while the module contains a couple of statblocks, there are SERIOUS glitches in ALL of them. These range from improperly calculated attack values, incorrect damage averages, to damage types missing… or what about the BBEG’s statblock missing senses that he supposedly has an explanation for why he can’t be surprised. DCs are incorrectly calculated, there is an instance of something hidden missing a DC to find it, and there is an instance, where item durability is relevant…missing a damage threshold. In short: The 5e-rules are a sloppy mess; not in a gamebreaking manner, but in one that is seriously jarring if you’re anything like me and care about the like. You only want to dive further if you don’t mind that.

Genre-wise, Falls Keep hits closer to the dark fantasy side of things, sporting an instance where children might be slain, as well as a tragedy. It never devolved into grimdark territory, though. If you need a reference, I found myself most reminded of e.g. Tim Shorts’ less grim work, as featured in the Manor-‘zine. While 5e lets you choose whether to kill or subdue vanquished foes, I still strongly suggest bringing a paladin along, for lay on hands is one of the only ways to reliably cure diseases at a low level. The module is not exactly super-hard in this iteration, but it is no cakewalk either – PCs can very well die, and more importantly, be maimed permanently at one point.

Okay, and this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential GMs should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the module kicks off in the vicinity of the Wheatwey farm, where the PCs are attacked by hens in a blind rage – these hens are cursed. These are a precursor of the things to come, namely two cursed children currently devouring a farmhand they dragged up into the tree near the well. The well contains strangely radiating water, which, as it turns out, is the source of the berserker-rage-inducing curse. (As an aside: The curse can be mitigated via remove curse, dispel magic or cure disease. This is my aforementioned gripe with the suggested level-range: The farm contains further cursed individuals, and without a paladin (who can use lay on hands to cure diseases – I assume that counts!), the group will not have a way to cure the cursed, save to put them out of their misery. Considering that there are cursed kids involved, this begins on a pretty darn dark note.

Anyhow, by carefully checking the strange, cursed farmstead, the PCs will be able to deduce the source of the contaminated water, namely the tower of the mad lord Venwexal, who retreated into it to escape the rebels during a recent uprising, sealing the keep behind him. Okay, so, what if the PCs cast purify food and drink on the affected? What about lesser restoration or any other more likely option that PCs at this level should have? In many ways, this does not make use of 5e’s potential to a degree I’d consider to be satisfactory.

Venwexal’s survival is explained by an escape to the Lands of Lunacy (not required to run this, fyi)…and so, the PCs, provided they can best some worgs, gather clues from the remains of the Wheatwey farmer who perished here and the guardpost. Perceptive PCs can find a parchment and markings that hold the key to solving the puzzle required to enter Venwexal’s tower. As a curious aside: Cursed farm animals are MUCH more lethal than the worgs! The tower holds 9 holes, with handles, and the correct ones need to be turned in the right direction – trying to bruteforce this will btw. cost you your appendage, which can be pretty nasty. In 5e particularly, that is not something you’d usually do. Rules-wise, this trap uses a check instead of a save to mitigate, has an incorrect damage value, and does not format its magic blade properly. Speaking of which: The blades that cut off the appendages can’t RAW be disarmed or removed, or bypassed by magic, which rubbed me the wrong way as railroading. It should also be noted that the blades are, as written, +1 blades, and yet, the PCs have no means of removing them.

Things turn a bit sour in Venwexal’s tower, though. There is a metal rod causing AoE-blasts of electricity (it’s not called “electrical damage” – there’s no such thing in 5e; that’s lightning damage, FFS), and there are animated items – an armor, a table and a firepoker – with the latter using the stats for a flying sword. Spell/item-references here are not properly set in italics, and then, there’s the super railroady finale: Venwexal has 32 Hit Points and while his spell array in 5e makes him MUCH more interesting than the OSR-TPK-machine, the mad wizard has another issue: His addled state is due to a glowing rock that deals damage to those striking it. The stone has 60 HP, and notes no AC to hit, nor a damage threshold. Considering that destroying it is supposed to be the “good” way to solve the module, as it allows Venwexal to come to his senses, this is somewhat appalling. The stone orb’s destruction also makes the magical taint causing the curse to lift, but RAW does not end the cursed state of those affected.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are bad on a formal and rules-language level; they disregard, left and right, 5e-conventions, eking out a barely passable, and only because the average GM can run this as written. It’s not as bad as Marathon of Heroes, but it’s pretty close. Anyhow: You can run this. Layout adheres to a green-tinted two-column full-color standard, and as noted, the artworks presented are definitely my highlight of the book. A more printer-friendly version is included in the deal. Cartography is okay, and the lack of player-friendly maps is a bit sad. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessary need them at this length.

Lloyd Metcalf’s adventure Falls Keep starts off on a potentially pretty dark note, but one I’d generally like, were it not for the fact that the author obviously has serious issues with 5e’s finer rules components. Formatting is all over the place, and considering 5e’s simple math, there is no excuse for getting ALL stats wrong in some manner. Structurally, the railroading into the final encounter is okay, but both the BBEG’s spells and the environment make me marvel at the lack of lair actions, which are pretty self-evidently what should be here. If you can stomach the deeply-flawed formal criteria, there is a decent module to be found here, but much to my chagrin, the adventure, while working RAW/balance-wise better in 5e than for OSR, manages to suffer from a whole array of different issues than the old-school version. I wanted to like this, and just can’t. There is potential here, but it is squandered. 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Falls Keep (5E)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Cliché Catalogue
Publisher: Zzarchov Kowolski
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/15/2020 06:09:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue because I like really Neoclassical Geek Revival as a system that plays differently from the D&D-adjacent systems.

Now, Neoclassical Geek Revival (NGR) uses the notion of Schrödinger’s character as a means for both in medias res exposition and to speed up character creation, which extends, should you choose as such, also to equipment. While this has its uses, it does somewhat rub me the wrong way, which is why the equipment packs, and for NPCs, quickly assigning skill packs is the way to go.

The book also presents a randomized alternate method to choose a starting skill pack. The first component of this book is a massive array of skill packs by region – “The King’s Realm” depicts the standard medieval environment, and is a massive table of 20 rows and 6 columns. Fool #3 would, for example, take the pilgrim pack. Beyond this, we have smaller tables (6 rows, 6 columns) for the wild frontier, the far off decadent shores, and the halls under the mountain. Interesting here. An interesting layout decision is to e.g. make the packs from “far off decadent shores” use a somewhat pseudo-Arabian font, while making the font used for the “wild frontier” look more rugged.

Each pack consists of Stuff (usually a relevant item, such as rope for an acrobat, art supplies for an artist, etc.), as well as 4 different skills. Beyond these 3 to 5 exits are provided per package. In a way, these skill packages act as a kind of NPC-Codex generator, but unlike in more complex systems like PFRPG, they represent jobs or culture – six sample cultural skill packs are included as well. And yes, you can engage with all of those materials without the pdf, but the convenience presented is significant.

But perhaps you don’t just want skill packs? Well, the second part of the pdf presented sample stats – 30, to be precise. We get bodyguards, captains, scholars, knights, mad doctors, etc. – all wth suggested careers and stats properly presented.

The final page is devoted to a handy table that presents a means to determine random combat tricks: 8 entries are provided for archer, brawler, barbarian, cavalier, edgelord (LOL!!), hoplite, fencer and monk.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column b/w-standard that makes good use of the different fonts, as previously mentioned. The supplement has, unfortunately, no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment. I strongly suggest printing this.

Zzarchov Kowolski’s “Cliché Catalogue” is a supplement that is essentially all about utility; it is helpful, quick and speeds up the game when employed by a capable GM. And that’s all it is, all it tries to do. The focus on skill packs allows you to get more out of the supplement than a straight NPC Codex style book (those are the books with stats for nameless NPCs, fyi) would have provided. If you expect detailed stories or the like, look elsewhere, but for those of us who are playing the wonderfully quirky NGR-game, this is a helpful GM-aid indeed. My final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cliché Catalogue
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Monstrous Lair #46: Basilisk's Den
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/15/2020 06:07:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.

So, outside of the lair, we can find massive barbarian statues, around which thick moss and vines have grown, massive lizard-tracks, and e.g. statues impaled on rocks or branches – in short, there is a savagery, a randomness and bestial quality to the dressing, which sets the basilisks properly apart from e.g. the medusa. Well done! As for what’s going on, we can witness a basilisk defecating gravel-like substance that stinks of rotten eggs, we can find them in the process of doffing furrows with for their eggs…and what about using a petrified elk’s head as a kind of chew-toy? There is a general sense of fantastic plausibility for these creatures here, which is a good start indeed.

As for major lair features, we obviously have the obligatory petrified beings, and there is a focus on those, but much to my joy, there also are, for example, petrified mice as a tripping hazard, fragile spider carvings on the wall and the like – while these could have been a bit more varied, the petrification-angle has been executed rather well. As for minor lair features,, we have a young basilisk petrified by inadvertently gazing into a halfling statuette’s mirror, weaponry gripped in hands of stone, grisly piles of stone body parts, or broken basilisk teeth around a petrified dwarf-head, proving that the stout folk’s fabled thickheadedness is retained in stony death.

As for the different basilisk appearances, we can find scales of different colors, basilisks that have seen their fair share of combat, sporting blotches and missing horns, heterochromia, and the like – these not only allow for different contexts regarding biomes, their respective execution also drives home the unnatural nature of these beings. Treasures suggested include cured basilisk hide, gore-covered, reflective shields, figurines that can create essentially basilisk-y mounts and the like – and what about cloaks that let you merge with stones, or the cultist’s chalice that fills with basilisk blood on command? Rather cool array! As for the less useful miscellanea/trash that may be found in those lairs, we have broken swords, stone mice peeking from cracks in the wall, broken weapon and armor, with petrified limbs still attached – all in all, a cool array.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.

Steve Hood’s take on basilisks is a well-crafted, versatile dressing file. While the bestial basilisks obviously are essentially animals, and as such, there are a lot of petrification-themed components, and the pdf manages to retains the sense of the fantastic and retain some groundedness. While not as versatile as the excellent hydra-dressing, this still remains a great, inexpensive little dressing file. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #46: Basilisk's Den
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for this review, Endzeitgeist. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book!
Falls Keep (S&W)
Publisher: Fail Squad Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/15/2020 06:06:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

This Fail Squad Games Side Quest comes with boxed read-aloud text, and a total of 6 rumors can be used for foreshadowing, or to reward player characters for doing the proper legwork. The module features a couple of astounding full color artworks – Lloyd Metcalf is an artist, and it shows – I particularly loved the artwork depicting the eponymous Falls Keep: Near a guard tower, a low, square place, intentionally designed regarding windows and entry to elicit skull-like associations without being ridiculous, rests among stunning waterfalls that made my heart ache for some places in the United States or Scandinavia. I Love this artwork, and I’m seriously curious why it’s not on the cover. The cartography is a hand-drawn full-color map for the lead-in-encounter, and that map has no scale. Falls Keep itself sports a little full-color overview map for the outside, and b/w interior cartography – which does sport grids. To my chagrin, no key-less player-friendly versions are included.

I did like the inclusion of a visual puzzle, which is represented in three different artworks regarding clues…which brings me to a curious decision: Why not have these rendition in an art-appendix, so referees can print it out, cut it up, and show it to the players? As written, I need to print several pages and cut out these visual representations from the module.

This version of the module is penned for S&W (Swords & Wizardry), for 4-5 PCs, but adaption to other OSR-games is generally pretty simple. It should be noted that the module makes use of a roll under mechanic for checks. Genre-wise, Falls Keep hits closer to the dark fantasy side of things, sporting an instance where children might be slain, as well as a tragedy. It never devolved into grimdark territory, though. If you need a reference, I found myself most reminded of e.g. Tim Shorts’ less grim work, as featured in the Manor-‘zine. Regarding difficulty, this is a pretty brutal adventure, particularly regarding the final boss fight, and it is a pretty linear affair. I have an issue with the target level, which is 3rd. Unless your group contains a paladin willing to rest A LOT, you will encounter a hazard that you can only solve a couple of levels later.

Okay, and this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only referees around? Great! So, the module kicks off in the vicinity of the Wheatwey farm, where the PCs are attacked by hens in a blind rage – these hens are cursed. These are a precursor of the things to come, namely two cursed children currently devouring a farmhand they dragged up into the tree near the well. The well contains strangely radiating water, which, as it turns out, is the source of the berserker-rage-inducing curse. (As an aside: The curse can be mitigated via remove curse, dispel magic or cure disease. This is my aforementioned gripe with the suggested level-range: The farm contains further cursed individuals, and without a paladin (who can use lay on hands to cure diseases – I assume that counts!), the group will not have a way to cure the cursed, save to put them out of their misery. Considering that there are cursed kids involved, this begins on a pretty darn dark note. Considering the difficulty of the final encounter, I’d genuinely recommend this for level 5 characters, at the very least.

Anyhow, by carefully checking the strange, cursed farmstead, the PCs will be able to deduce the source of the contaminated water, namely the tower of the mad lord Venwexal, who retreated into it to escape the rebels during a recent uprising, sealing the keep behind him. His survival is explained by an escape to the Lands of Lunacy (not required to run this, fyi)…and so, the PCs, provided they can best some worgs gather clues from the remains of the Wheatwey farmer who perished here and from the guardpost: A parchment and markings that hold the key to solving the puzzle necessary to enter Venwexal’s tower. The tower gate holds 9 holes, with handles, and the correct ones need to be turned in the right direction – trying to bruteforce this will btw. cost you your appendage, which can be pretty nasty. The blades that cut off the appendages can’t RAW be disarmed or removed, or bypassed by magic, which rubbed me the wrong way as a bit of railroading. It should also be noted that the blades are, as written, +1 blades, and yet, the PCs have no means of removing them, which can be pretty problematic if you run with GP = XP.

That being said, so far, the module is a solid, unpretentious offering. Things turn a bit sour in Venwexal’s tower, though. There is a metal rod causing AoE-blasts of electricity (which have a really good chance of killing off magic-users), and there are animated items – an armor, a table and a firepoker – with the latter using the stats for a flying sword. No such creature can be found in the S&W Complete rules, or in the appendix, though. The appendix does have stats for animated objects, though. Spell-references here are not properly set in italics, and then, there’s the finale, which is the main issue of the module in several ways: Venwexal has 32 (As magic-user in S&W!!) Hit Points and can cast frickin’ third-level spells. Venwexal has “blindsight, darkvision, and true sight”, and can’t be surprised, which is lame. Also: Guess what does not exist in S&W? Bingo. Blindisght and True Sight.

Venwexal is brutally difficult (lightning bolt can TPK a 3rd level party, easily), and mad, courtesy of a rock: The stone has 60 HP, and notes no AC to hit, even though it is supposed to be the “good” way to solve the module, as it allows Venwexal to come to his senses. The stone orb’s destruction also makes the magical taint causing the curse to lift, but RAW does not end the cursed state of those affected.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are okay on a formal and rules-language level; they are not exactly impressive, and I noticed a couple of formatting deviations, but yeah. You can run this. Layout adheres to a green-tinted two-column full-color standard, and as noted, the artworks presented are definitely my highlight of the book. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. Cartography is okay, and the lack of player-friendly maps is a bit sad. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessary need them at this length.

Ian McGarty’s conversion of Lloyd Metcalf’s adventure is solid, if not entirely remarkable. Falls Keep starts off pretty darkly, and my main complaint beyond formal issues with this version, is that the OSR-iteration makes it nigh impossible to do the good thing, as the one means to help people, apart from putting them down, is beyond the grasp of most adventuring groups, i.e. all save those that have a paladin. Those with paladins will require A LOT of rests, which can be a bit grating. The module, this notwithstanding, was off to a pretty good start, and while I did not like that the PCs are forced to solve the puzzle, I can still kinda get behind that. Unfortunately, the module kinda falls apart in the end. The final encounter is pretty ridiculous, and wasn’t properly scaled for S&W; the end of the module also suddenly becomes inattentive with formatting, making the entire finale feel rushed, and unfortunately, very flawed in that it does not properly adjust the challenge faced down to the appropriate OSR-levels. This very much is a 5e-conversion that could have done it right, but didn’t. As such, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Falls Keep (S&W)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Starfaring Species: Otyughs
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/14/2020 09:01:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfaring Species-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1.5 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The otyugh as described herein comes with all the flavor-information you expect from SFRPG – including a box on “playing an otyugh”, and what other races probably think. Rules-wise, Otyughs get +2 Constitution and Wisdom, -2 Intelligence, and 6 HP. There are alternate ability adjustments provided as well: +2 Wisdom for “civilized” otyughs, +2 Strength, +4 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma for elder otyughs (obviously lopsided, wouldn’t recommend using this one for players; they are Large, though, making them more likely to be targeted in-game), and young otyughs are Small (not capitalized properly), have 4 HP, a land speed of 35 ft., and Dexterity +2.

They are Medium aberrations with 60 ft. darkvision, and otyughs with 1 or more ranks in Perception or Survival receive a +2 racial bonus to that skill, representing their sense of smell, a nice operation that has some potential in design-aesthetics. Otyughs may apply their Wisdom modifier to Engineering checks instead of Intelligence, but items thus created are obviously junked together, and decrease their selling value by 25%. Otyughs are immune to both diseases and radiation, and may survive in vacuum for their Constitution score rounds without ill effect, which is pretty potent overall, considering the increased potency of diseases/radiation. Otyughs have three tentacles, with two behaving as arms with a 10 ft.-reach, which are non-archaic unarmed strikes. The third tentacle holds the eyes, and lets the otyugh glance around corners, gaining only improved cover when doing so.

Otyughs, flavor-wise, are contextualized as less of the stupid scavenger (though such stereotypes still exist), and more as sedentary, introverted survivors, the cliché of the brute has been divested on the notion of being a result of nature, and instead the result of a previous lack of education, which has since been more than relativized. That notwithstanding, the notion and importance of appetites, and of art and eclectic interests receive additional emphasis, adding some depth to the species.

The pdf also presents a selection of 5 alternate racial traits: You can be aquatic and be amphibious, including a 30-ft.-swim speed, at the cost of the flexibility of the eyestalk, the increased reach and the natural weapons. Alternatively, this may be exchanged for a scaling ability to vomit forth acid at short range, with 3rd level and later gaining a scaling corrode critical hit effect. Additionally, they also gain their class level as resistance to acid damage.

The boost to Perception and Survival, ranks provided, can be exchanged with one pertaining to Diplomacy and a Charisma-based Profession. The scavenging crafting trait may be replaced with +1ß land speed, or with a potent bite attack (that behaves akin to the vesk’s natural weapon specialization), which is also accompanied by the ability to subsist on stone, metal, plastic, etc. A proper template graft is provided as well.

The pdf concludes with 4 new feats: Elastic Tentacles lets you use a move action to extend your natural reach by 10 feet, including the eyestalk, if present, but doing so makes fine manipulations and your Reflexes less efficient. Iron intestines provides immunity to ingested poisons, as well as an untyped +2 bonus (would have preferred the SFRPG-standard insight bonus for feats here) to saving throws versus effects that would cause the sickened or nauseated conditions. Junkyard Savant lets you improvise barely functional technological items capping at your class level as item level for the cost of 1 Resolve Point. Thankfully, the feat explicitly states that the GM remains the final arbiter here, and the feat prevents resale cheeses – not possible, thankfully. Personally, I think that it would have made sense to further designate that the items must at least theoretically have more than one charge or more than one increment of sustained use, but that is just me being super nitpicky. This will not lead to issues in most games. Ultimate Survivor, finally, is pretty darn potent, as it greatly increases the time you can survive in vacuum, and also lets you spend 1 Resolve Point as a swift action to gain ½ character level as energy resistance of your choice. I don’t think we needed that energy resistance addition here; at the very least, I do think that the available energy forms should be limited to the basic energy forms, but that may be me.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are executed very well on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standards, with the rendition of the author-as-otyugh, I assume, being a super-charming touch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Crystal Frasier knows what she’s doing – her depiction of the otyugh is a charming one that doesn’t seek to mitigate what makes them special per se; instead of invalidating the canon and expectations to the otyugh, it engages in a well-executed reframing of the species as a species you may wish to actually play.

As a whole, the otyughs presented here definitely can be considered to be among the more powerful SFRPG-races, depending on how much the GM enjoys using hazards and radiation/diseases as dangers to be encountered. (I very much love doing that, and I kinda wished the otyugh had some sort of scaling for radiation at least hard-coded into its write-up – though that is easy enough to add in.)The jury-rigging of technological items is a powerful boon, and the combination of the abilities to peek around corners and the vacuum-resiliency did let me come up with a variety of cool ideas for plots, for scenarios where having an otyugh on board certainly is a true boon. I won’t lie, the pdf does feature a couple of design-decisions that I’d have handled differently, that rub me slightly the wrong way. However, I don’t rate just based on what I’d like or prefer. When viewed neutrally, this is an inspired race.

Considering the low price, I can definitely recommend this humble pdf for what it does with the species. It manages to play differently, and as such, this receives a definite recommendation for all but the most low-powered of SFRPG, which means my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starfaring Species: Otyughs
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Monstrous Lair #45: Hydra's Den
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/14/2020 09:00:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.

As for the outside of the lair, we have broken branches and rocks sporting shredded pieces of old hydra ski, trees with spiraling bark (awesome) or polluted puddles bubbling, hinting at the supernatural nature of the hydra. As for what’s going on, we have hydras lounging in the sun, watching in multiple directions for intruders. We have them coiling protectively around statues, or coiling in a serpentine manner around the branches.

As for the various lair features, we have fragments of toppled towers spread throughout the lair, we have dusty floor resulting in choking fog clouds when the hydra moves, several pits filled with serpents, attracted to the hydra…really cool, and meaningful entries here. The minor lair features include oversized, half-eaten lizard-carcasses, crusty growths on rocks, born from spilled hydra blood, crushed eggs…quite diverse here.

The pdf also provides an array of appearance dressing, which include red and black cobra-heads, crocodilian hydras waiting in deep pools, icy-scaled hydras or ones with pronounced bone crests and shark-heads. Awesome. As for treasures, we have, obviously, the hydra blood angle; we have entwined serpentine rings protecting us from poison, or what about a magical figurehead? As for the miscellanea or trash that might be found, we can find blades made to hack off heads, but only that – too flimsy to swiftly use in combat. We have smashed helmets and shields…and strange feathers, bound together in charms.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.

Steve Hood delivers big time in this one; hydras are tough, being primarily defined by being magical and multiheaded; bestial, yet more cunning than a mere animal. It is impressive, then, to notice how he manages to coax new and unique dressing out of this little pdf, all while retaining a well-constructed baseline with the concept. I can’t picture a hydra-centric dressing file doing a better job, which is why my final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #45: Hydra's Den
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for this review, Endzeitgeist. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book!
Monstrous Lair #39: Otyugh's Sewer
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/14/2020 08:59:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.

Outside of an otyugh’s lair, you can find rusting ladders covered in grime, old grates with severed hands clinging to them, sewage flows into pits, mossy vines hanging from the ceiling – a theme of decay is prevalent here, but there are less direct hints for sentience here. As for what’s going on, the otyugh is currently throwing stones into the sewage; the otyugh might be catching dripping waters. It might be hunting, bending grates…or it might be hooting and crying. This table is more interesting – liked it.

The major lair features include deer skull points sticking up from the muck, effluent dripping from above forming stalagmite-like growths, jagged statues blocking sewage and similar icky components – they do have the potential to be relevant in combat, which is exactly what I want from these. The minor lair feature table includes pigskin balls floating in the effluence, boobytrapped ladders, sewer gas and the like – kudos for making these also relevant!

The otyugh appearances include blue tentacles, camouflage and colorful patterns, bristled bodies and the like, providing quite a few means to differentiate them. The treasure table includes figurines of crystal that fortify against disease, pomanders containing herbs, capable of canceling the nauseating sewer stench, fencing foils bearing noble crests and the like – nice table. The trash-table includes collections of spoons (Witcher 3, anyone?), jar decorated with parrot skulls and similar odd components.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.

Steve Hood has definitely cracked the code of making compelling Monstrous Lairs – while the first table were a tad bit weaker than usual, the rest of the tables more than make up from this – 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #39: Otyugh's Sewer
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for this review, Endzeitgeist. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book!
Legendary Planet: Dead Vault Descent (Pathfinder)
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/13/2020 13:03:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the Legendary Planet AP clocks in at 108 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 97 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

I was a kickstarter-backer for the Legendary Planet campaign, but I was not in any way involved in the production of this AP. My review is based on the Pathfinder version, since that is the game I’m using for this campaign.

Wait, before we continue, there is another thing to note: The adventure comes with a MASSIVE Art-and Map folio: The folio is 37 (!!) pages long, and presents the artworks as handouts. Oh, and we do get player-friendly versions of ALL of the maps! No Spoilers on them, but plenty of details; no immersion-breaking letters or keys. AMAZING.

To reiterate once more: Publishers, this right here should be industry standard! Huge kudos for going the extra-mile, as this renders the folio essentially a massive handout/map-booklet, ready for table-use!

Structurally, this installment of Legendary Planet, like those before, follows the formula popularized by Paizo: We for example get a well-written piece of prose (by Chris A. Jackson). The adventure is designed for 8th level PCs with 2 mythic tiers, and by the end of the module, the PCs should have reached 11th level.

Since the setting of this adventure features a blending of magic and technology, we also have quite an array of archetypes by Jason Nelson, Jeff Lee and Clinton j. Boomer: The book includes the astrologer (mesmerist), delver (wizard), engram channeler (spiritualist), nanotech infuser (sorcerer), penumbral arcanist (arcanist), robot fighter (ranger) archetypes, and the Technopath, Teletechnopath, and Walker in Rust feats. Sound familiar? Yep, this is a significant component of the Magitech Archetypes book. I’ve already covered that book, so I’m not going to retread that discussion here.

The book also contains 8 new magic items:, which include a fishbowl hat, dubbed atmosphere visor, which protects versus inhaled toxins and environmental effects, but not versus vacuum or pressure. Chimes of warning generate a magical resonance, which traverses several miles, providing ample warning – interesting item, and certainly one that has seriously neat application regarding e.g. security system designs, or warnings from Dune worm/tarrasque/etc. critters. The convocation stone is interesting, in that it requires a countdown of concentration before sending request to be teleported to the target – this one has great potential for interesting encounter designs and escapes. The dauntless jacket Is my least favorite item herein – it nets an initiative and skill bonus, as well as a 1/day reroll of an opposed check; at just 4,500 GP, it is pretty inexpensive, particularly for an AP that uses mythic rules. The energy blade, which essentially is a lightsaber, using plasma (half fire, half electricity) as damage basis. And yes, you can use it to fire rays. The orb of venerable memory is interesting, in that it lets you tap into memories/experience, and as such becomes less potent for older characters. Wrappings to conceal magic auras and a minor artifact, the necromantic box, which can be sued to conceal phylacteries, seal in souls or the like, complements this well-wrought section. Matt Goodall also penned this one, and the bestiary-section, which this time around contains 5 new creatures.

Okay, since the monsters, gazetteer and module all are relevant to the story, consider this to be the big SPOILER WARNING. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

Okay, only GMs around? Great!

As for the monsters: The CR 8 Amalgamite Swarm is a super-deadly swarm that can us its Step-Up based feats to maintain control, and with the ability to disperse and reassemble, makes for a challenging foe. The Divymm are sentient constructs with a sueprisingly-detailed customization engine, including different materials. At CR 3, the hetzuud is more deadly than you’d assume: These intelligent oozes may generate perfect copies and duplicate objects…and they can merge. Have you played the phenomenal videogame Prey? Think of the mimic’s from that game, in slime-version, in smarter. Yeah, a good GM can play these fellows as truly dangerous threats. Supported with animal companion stats, I really liked the entry of the CR 3 Narav, a lizard that can detach its tail – so far, so good…but the tail retains its combat-prowess!, and can continue to maintain grapples etc.! That makes sense from a fantastic point of view, yet feels grounded. Love it! Finally, at CR 9, we have the toxic eradicator, an incorporeal ooze, essentially a kind of living poison gar bio-weapon. Nasty!

The gazetteer is once again something I definitely recommend that GMs read prior to the adventure, for this installment sends the PCs to Kylorn, the Sunset World, a tidelocked planet that may be frozen on the night-side, and very hot on the day-side, but not in a way that would be uninhabitable. Indeed, the planet’s sunset strip, if you will, is a lush and fertile land, and we do get a massive map of the surface of the place. This map sports squares, as well as letters and numbers – at one glance, you could e.g. determine whether quadrant 14-UU is in the dusk-zone, the sunset-zone, etc. I LOVE this, and even more so due to the presence of a player-friendly version of the map. The visuals of the planet and its concepts are easily my favorite in the Legendary Planet supplements so far.

Which brings me to the module itself: Now that the PCs have obtained the knowledge contained in The Scavenged Codex after the massive treasure hunt in the last module, they have the means to reopen a dormant path from the world of Kylorn to return home, but unfortunately, the only available gate to said world is controlled by the Thanex Coterie…who deactivated it in a show of force some 300 years ago, and the Coterie is known for being ruthless and rather nasty. Before you fear the like: No, the PCs won’t have to enter a devil’s bargain once more, and make knowledge of the Opus Aeterna known to them, which is not exactly desirable – instead, the first part of the adventure is one massive caper!

The PCs will have to infiltrate the Thanex’ reception halls, steal the component, and then enter the warehouse currently storing the gate. These locations are fully mapped, and I’m absolutely ecstatic to see a well-presented caper executed in the AP. Emphasis on “well-executed”, for, from brute- force to stealth to subterfuge, we have various means of infiltration, fully mapped areas, and more hooks/angles to achieve each part than you can shake a stick at. Moreover, the adventure structures its material in a smart manner: “Who will be there?,” “How will we secure the component?”, helpful tables for stats of nameless staff – this whole section is LITTERED with troubleshooting information and manages to render the caper more freeform than what you’d usually ever get to see in comparable adventures. Indeed, the whole section can be seen as a massive rebuttal to the claim that rules-intense games like PFRPG etc. can’t handle freeform infiltrations/heists properly, as its sheer scope is certainly beyond anything I’ve seen executed for the system.

In case you haven’t noticed: This section is easily my favorite in the AP so far, and I consider it exceptional enough to warrant a recommendation to scavenge the module for it, even if you do not enjoy the sword and planet genre per se. With a bit of reskinning, you can adapt it, and the massive caper is amazing. We need more modules that go this route. It’s really a bit of James Bond/Mission Impossible, seen through a sword and planet lens, even before the custom NPC builds are taken into account. I adore this.

Once the PCs have finally managed to pass through the gate, they will find themselves on the dark side of Kylorn, and they’ll have to navigate the massive, darkened tunnels that crisscross the strange world – between haunts representing temporal instabilities, the deadly bio-weapons (see monster-section above…), they PCs will have their hands full – but thankfully, they will also find the transportation network that will guide them to the habitable zone of the planet via transport tubes, catapulting them through the planet at incredible speeds. (If none of your players quotes Mortal Kombat, Futurama or a similar movie here, I’m sorely disappointed.) After this chapter of claustrophobic survival, the PCs will have a chance to soak in the wonders of this strange new world – and are pointed towards the Citadel of the Oracle.

It is here, however, that the PCs find that the citadel’s been taken over by a coterie of hostile intelligent constructs; it is here we get a more “regular” type of dungeon-crawling and combat experience, but this is not where the module ends: With the citadel liberated, the PCs learn that the planet’s primary gate lies beneath the scorching dayside of the planet…and the trail there will require that the PCs brave the Palace of the Undying Empress, right at the edge of the sun-blasted daylands. Empress Zefora is btw. a lich, and not one of the simple ones: Interesting here would be the fact that this also is a bit of an investigation, as the empress’ undead “daughters” scheme for her demise, adding a very lite bit of intrigue to the mix, which ultimately culminates in attempting to best the undead ruler – who btw. once was an elali, akin to the PC’s faithful ally.

From the palace, the PCs can once more find a part of the transport tube network, as they make their way to the Dragon’s Gate, which is the final area/dungeon of the adventure. Unlike the previous ones, this one is very much linear, and for a reason: This is one of those rare, finely-tuned and mechanically-impressive gauntlets and combat challenges that will definitely test the PCs beyond what you usually get to see, as befitting of their powers and achievements so far. The adversary-selection here is calibrated rather well, as the PCs make their way to the CR 13/MR 5 mythic vortex dragon you can see on the cover. This is, mechanics-wise, a truly fitting and epic final stretch for the module….only to end in failure for the PCs: The gate can’t be used to send them home, and ultimately, while they will gain the ability to stabilize the planet’s secondary gates, the ultimately will have to return to Argosa, though thankfully, the Thanex won’t harbor a grudge, courtesy of the new venues the PC’s meddling has caused…but this will also have once more put them on the radar of the hegemony.

So yeah, if we’re honest, this module didn’t exactly propel the metaplot of the series farther than it was before, making it a candidate you could theoretically cut, but I genuinely found myself minding less than I expected, courtesy of the pitch-perfect execution of the unconventional vistas and genres explored.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, with a plethora of new full color artwork, and full-color cartography, the latter ranging from amazing to good. The inclusion of the art and map folio, as noted above, should be industry standard. The pdf comes bookmarked, with bookmarks for chapter-headers.

Matt Goodall, with supplemental content by Chris A. Jackson, Jeff Lee, Clinton J. Boomer, and Jason Nelson, delivers my personal favorite in the AP so far. I’m a huge sucker for capers and heists, and to see one executed so well warmed my heart. The world of Kylorn is also exciting and most assuredly a place I’d love to visit. I consider this to be a masterclass installment. All great? Well, yes…apart from the relatively slow progression of the metaplot and the class options, which I considered to be not exactly among the finest in Legendary Games’ cadre. Personally, I think that expanding the section on Kylorn or the gazetteer (perhaps gameify in some way the surface map?) would have been a better use of the space than reprinting a significant portion of the Magitech Archetypes book, but then again, but that may be me. Still, it is particularly jarring, since e.g. the engram channeler would have made for a great baseline for a NPC in the palace of eternal sunset, for example – but it’s not used. In short, the class options, while certainly not bad, are also kinda superfluous. Then again, they only take up 8 pages, and I’ve already rated those. As a sidenote: Items and monsters introduced do matter in the module’s context, so this struck me as doubly odd. As a whole, that section’s tacked-on feeling is a main reason why this doesn’t transcend the level of being “just” as great as the AP so far, which should tell you something about how well executed this adventure actually is. (I.e.: This almost reached Top Ten Candidate/Best of…-levels.)

In the end, my final verdict will be based on the main meat of this offering, and that’s the adventure, the setting, the items & monsters – the material that is actually relevant for the AP – and that material is, in the grand scheme of things, simply fantastic in the literal sense of the word: This module breathes the notes of sword and planet romance, with touches of raygun gothic, in a way most exemplary. The module most assuredly is worth running, even if you’re not interested in going through the entire AP, and if you do, prepare to engage in a truly fantastic offering. 5 stars + seal of approval. The run of excellence of the AP remains unbroken, and if Legendary Planet can retain it for the remaining modules, we’ll have an all-time great saga on our hands.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Planet: Dead Vault Descent (Pathfinder)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Star Log.EM-078: Gerana
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/13/2020 13:01:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

The gerana, originally conceived as in an Everyman Mini-installment, has been finally adapted to SFRPG – and since this creature is all about the creepiness of age regression, the pdf illustrates the potentially whimsical (and potentially frightening) abilities of these creatures in a well-written introduction. While obviously primed for use with the amazing Star Log.Deluxe: Aging Rules, the pdf does provide abbreviated aging rules, and does not require aforementioned book to be used.

The gerana clocks in at a CR 13 creature using the expert array, and is codified as a magical beast in Starfinder. Minor niggle: Darkvision and low light vision are listed twice in the senses-line, but that is a cosmetic glitch only. DCs, saves and attack and damage values check out, and the creature has an additional good skill, since one of its regular ones is devoted to a flavorful “story”-skill – in short, there is nothing to mechanically complain about here.

Gerana are expert childminders, and may use this expertise to Intimidate the young, with their natural weapons having the stun property. They can swallow sleeping targets (rules interaction correct!), and those swallowed whole become ever younger. If reduced to 0 years, they are transported to the creature’s ovaries, to be laid in an egg, and the effect of the de-aging of a lain egg’s individual becomes instantaneous, meaning that the previously permanent de-aging can no longer be undone! The gerana have telekinetic hands, and can conjure nourishing food that can also de-age targets, and the slumbering song these strange creatures can sing also has been codified properly for SFRPG.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal, very good on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ 2-column full-color standard, and the artwork is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ take on the gerana is a prime example of a fantastic SFRPG-conversion: Apart from a minor cosmetic niggle, this is a truly well-crafted conversion that retains the spirit of the creature and contextualizes the creature properly in the context of the game. 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-078: Gerana
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Old School Renaissance Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/13/2020 12:57:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content – oh, and it is FREE.

Which is also why I’ll diverge from my usual reviewing-template a bit: If you’re interested, check it out. It costs you literally nothing, and isn’t even PWYW.

What is this, and why did I tag it as “system neutral” instead of as “OSR”? Well, in short, this can be considered to be Venger’s 37-rule (+rule 0) manifesto for running games, a distilled array of pieces of GM-advice, aesthetics and tricks, and it genuinely is SUEFUL. It is not a book that will blow away veterans, but it is a great little pdf to flip open once in a while to refocus. When you read “Your NPC sucks” as a rule title to make you recall that you shouldn’t get too attached or hog the PC’s spotlight, the impact is immediate and efficient. Keeping the foreshadowing high, running with themes, milking what works and the PC’s idea, retaining of mysteries, etc. – this is not world-shaking, but the collection of these rules is indeed helpful.

And it is helpful, as a whole, beyond the confines of the OSR. Sure, rolling just ONCE is not always possible in more rules-heavy games, and abstract combat or getting slain PCs back in? Also not always feasible in a speedy manner. However, letting the player of a slain PC play an NPC for a while? Totally possible. That’s why you have those NPCs stats, right? In short: The vast majority of the rules apply beyond the confines of the OSR and its aesthetics.

That being said, there is one instance here I have to poke fun at: The trouble-shooting section for too long combats notes to keep healing, both natural and magical, in check, when ridiculous infinite healing exploits that break the attrition and resource management tenets is exactly the main issue I’ve had with the last couple of installments of Venger’s Crimson Dragon Slayer systems- Sir, please listen to your own advice, it is sound. ;)

That aside, this is a neat little booklet, and it won’t hurt to read it as a refresher, regardless how experienced a GM you are. And for FREE? Heck yeah. 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old School Renaissance Like A Fucking Boss
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Star Log.EM-076: Belledam
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/10/2020 07:48:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

On the first page, we get something I was missing from the Alien Archive, namely precisely-codified rules for the web universal monster ability – I really enjoyed the precision of the rules here!

The Belledam was originally introduced in the Everyman Minis-series, but the SFRPG-version introduced here is not simply a copy: The belledam is a CR 14 creature that uses the spellcaster array, with ability score modifiers for ability score beyond the standard three boosted to +2, which is relevant for the creature regarding its initiative. The outsider bonus to atk has been properly implemented, and the save bonus has been assigned to Will. Damage values, DCs for spells and abilities and the like are all correct. Blindsense does, however, not list its subcategory (I assume (vibrations)…), and unless I have missed something the attack line for their multiattacks should be at +18, not +20. As a plot/boss monster, the belledam has more good skills than usual.

The creature has an array of unique abilities: They can animate severed parts of their body as independent creatures, and generate their own unique personalized demiplanes – and they have control over the egress, and, in a combination of their SPs, use their knowledge to duplicate copies of target homes. The belledam can also mark targets and even weave replicas of targets!! The latter is SUPER-Creepy and amazing – and if you have the excellent Occult Skill Guide: Cloning Ritual, you can use that here.

As a kidnapper of children and dweller of hidden rooms, belledams are essentially the horrific thing from the Coraline movies, just amped up to 10, and concept-wise, are frankly amazing – hence also the permanent marking of targets. The pdf also provides surprisingly detailed and inspiring information of belledam lairs and modus operandi. Finally, we do get a new feat, Gruesome Shapechanger, which has a cosmetic glitch in the prerequisite line: It’s supposed to be “Change shape universal creature rule”, not “Change shape creature type” – but that is a cosmetic nitpick. The feat lets you use Disguise to e.g. slough off your flesh or otherwise have a creepy shapechange effect that allows you to AoE demoralize targets. This is very potent, but has an anti-abuse caveat.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ 2-column full-color standard, and the artwork is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ SFRPG-version of the belledam is fully functional, dangerous and unique – I very much enjoyed it, and only the minor formal hiccups keep it from achieving even higher ratings. As written, I can’t exceed 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-076: Belledam
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Star Log.EM-075: Timelost Characters
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/10/2020 07:47:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

So, e.g. the fantastic Time-Traveler’s Hot Tub installment of Star Log.EM has established that time travel is possible, if rare – and this supplement provides the rules to play a character e.g. catapulted from the age of PFRPG to that of SFRPG, from a fantasy (or other ancient) setting to the Nova Age. Some of the feat classics for the old game have been converted, though. It should be noted that this is no conversion tool or the like, and it doesn’t require other Star Log-EMs to get the most out of it – instead, it is a tool that lets you play anachronistic characters stranded in the far future.

As such, we begin with a new theme, the timelost: The theme-knowledge lets you add a +1 enhancement bonus to your Strength for the purpose of determining bulk you can carry, and as much to Constitution checks to avoid the fatigued or exhausted condition. Knowledge pertaining your age of origin has its DC reduced by 5, and one skill, with the exception of Computers, is a class skill for you, or otherwise, you gain +1. Unlike most themes, you get to choose which of your ability scores receives a +1 adjustment. Minor nitpick: I was surprised to see Engineering not as exempt from the available class skills, but then again, taking a look at the marvels left from medieval times, I can’t fathom what the craftspersons back then would have achieved with tech, so I can get behind that decision. Same goes for Medicine and the knowledge lost due to Christianity’s witch hunts.

6th level nets the “Built Tough” feature, which nets you a difficult choice: 1 Stamina Point per level, and for every level attained, 1 Resolve Point, +1 enhancement bonus to Fortitude saves, DR/- equal to ½ base attack bonus, or your base attack bonus as energy resistance against one type of energy. You get one of those. 12th level lets you once per day add +1 before making an ability check, attack roll, etc., and 18th level lets you choose a second benefit from the 6th-level array, but you must choose a different one.

The pdf then proceeds to present the timelost warrior archetype, which requires aforementioned theme. At 2nd level, you get a bonus feat as an alternate class feature, and at 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th or 16th level, you get another one. There is a catch, though: They may not list a class level or ranks in Computers as a prerequisite.

The pdf then proceeds to provide 7 new combat feats, which will indeed be familiar to veterans of PFRPG:

-Combat Expertise: Reduces penalties for fighting defensively by 1/4th of your BAB, minimum 0, and increases the bonus granted by +1. This does not stack with other effects that increase or decrease fighting defensively.

-Power Attack: Requires Deadly Aim; when attacking with an analog weapon,, the increased weapon damage increases to full BAB.

-Precise Shot: As a move action, steady your aim and choose an opponent within 30 ft. If you then make a ranged attack before the end of your turn, cover benefits to AC for a target chosen are halved.

-Double Slice: Requires Multiweapon Fighting; when making a full attack with 2 or more operative melee weapons, and at least one hits, the full attack penalty for the remaining attacks is reduced by 3, minimum 0. Does not stack with itself.

-Furious Focus: Requires Deadly Aim; no penalty to atk when using it for the first (or only) attack made with it.

-Shatter Defenses: Requires 5 ranks Intimidate or base attack bonus +6; when striking a target subjected to a fear-based negative condition, you render the foe flat-footed against your attacks until the end of your next turn.

-Vital Strike: Requires BAB +6; use attack action as a full attack instead; if you hit, roll weapon damage twice and add the results together before adding damage bonuses. This does not work for explode weapons. If you have 3 attacks in a full attack, you can choose to take a -4 penalty to attack rolls; if you hit, you get to roll damage dice thrice. From in-game logic, I’d consider it to make more sense if this applied only for melee weapons, but that may be me.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are excellent on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with a cool artwork. The pdf comes without bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ timelost character options are pretty well-crafted, feeling like organic extensions of the core SFRPG-engine. The feats are potent and viable and help you translate the core style/experience of a character rather well to SFRPG. I am not the biggest fan of Vital Strike’s implementation, but as a whole, I consider this to be a very much worthwhile addition to the game. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-075: Timelost Characters
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

A Single, Small Cut
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/10/2020 07:43:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This encounter/mini-adventure clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5), so let’s take a look!

This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue by my patreon supporters.

The material herein is intended for six 3rd level characters, and uses the LotFP (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) rules; it can be adapted to other OSR-games with relative ease. The action is set in a remote church and its crypt, which comes with full cartography. Puzzling: The supplement is a layered pdf, but does not allow you to turn off the annoying pieces of information like “Nave”, “Narthex”, “Font” or the like – so, alas, no player-friendly version included. This is a bit puzzling, as LotFP did that in some supplements. Statblocks are made easier to see by being in boxed text, but this measure has not been consistently implemented.

All right, this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only referees around? Great! So, the module begins with a pet-peeve of mine, namely that the lore of the encounter introduces a massive secret society/order, here, the Order of the Kite, a secret organization of Christianity to find and contain “Satanic” artifacts; notoriously underfunded, these individuals have now accumulated more dark artifacts than the enemy, i.e. everyone else. They proceeded to use those, in particularly the Red Bells, cut from a single garnet. One of their commanders was buried with the Red Bell beneath that church.

The inside of the church features a priest, who invites the PCs in – and PCs being careful can notice him sporting a single, small cut on his red head – a hint that he has hastily shaved his head and assumed the priest’s garments, for the “priest” is actually a wanted murderer. He and his cronies (lying in wait, with crossbows cocked) are here on the express orders of some sorcerer who learned about the bell. A single small cut (zing) from his recent shaving of a monk’s tonsure acts as a hint of danger, if the PCs have not yet been appropriately traumatized by friendly priests in The God That Crawls. While Clement “The Priest” secures the church, the sorcerer botches big time and rings the Red Bell –summoning a Corrector of Sins, the monster on the cover, which btw. has 6 attacks and 54 hit points, making it a frickin’ shredder, particularly considering LotFP’s further nerfed magic and offense capabilities of PCs!

Clement’s ambush can be devastating if the PCs fail to it, and after a few rounds, the crypt bursts open, and people stumble out – these are the survivors of the sorcerer’s retinue, and their stats are, oddly, not highlighted in the same boxes as other stats. The Corrector follows, and makes for a free-for-all, very tough battle. Correctors become more potent the more corpses are around when it’s called, so even if the PCs are victorious, a single careless moment with the Red Bell can be pretty deadly, since it’ll appear in the area with the greatest concentration of corpses – which may well be behind the PCs, potentially trapping them in the crypt.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no particular accumulation of hiccups. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a lot of original b/w-artworks. The cartography is b/w as well, but no player-friendly version is provided. The pdf is layered, but only lets you turn off graphics or text – having an art/map folio would have been a better call. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I am usually a pretty big fan of Michael Curtis’ writing, but this pdf, even considering its intended, limited scope, left me less than impressed. The monster is a standard flesh-tendril-y thing, the adversaries aren’t that interesting, and it’s all combat, in a system not designed to make combat that exciting. Worse, the author actually did show that he can do a dark fantasy/horror church MUCH better: His temple in “The Croaking Fane” for DCC is superior to this module in every single way. The module’s base premise also is akin to the one employed in “The God That Crawls” and less impressive in its execution; the fact that the lore introduces yet another massive secret society is a downside as well, though at least one you can ignore with relative ease. Still, it takes up wordcount that could have been used to make the actual adventuring site sport more interactivity, which is woefully lacking. All in all, this is a combat cut-scene, with player-agenda limited beyond that to two decisions. And honestly, I think that’s lame – and puzzling, considering how the author did show how much better he can do. All in all, this might be worth getting for the low price, but I consider it to be a dud; I can improvise better scenarios. My final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
A Single, Small Cut
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 4544 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
0 items
 Gift Certificates