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Anevia Tirablade

El Ronza's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter. FullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,020 posts (9,343 including aliases). 13 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 19 Pathfinder Society characters. 50 aliases.

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Interesting concept let down by errors

**( )( )( )

$2 Generals: Deiro Domine earns points for being a cool concept; prepackage a powerful NPC that can be dropped into any game quickly and effectively, or woven in from the beginning. However, the actual construction of the product leaves much to be desired.

Deiro's statblock is confusing in a lot of ways, ranging from an unclear indication of how he was built to numerous formatting issues such as spells not being presented in italics. Paizo uses its format, and other companies copy it, because it works, and Flying Pincushion took a big risk by not following the standard. Additionally, it's difficult to tell whether or not Diero's statblock is pre-buffed, and with what.

Diero seems to be a caster magus, but no spellbook is included in his statblock. This is frustrating, as many GMs would like to customize while remaining true to the NPC's concept. This lack of information further hurts Diero, and by RAW, leaves him unable to prepare spells.

Tactically, Diero *can* present an interesting challenge in the right environment. However, apart from his mimic rogues, his other help is vague - referred to as “his men” or “bandits” throughout the product, and only at the end given levels and classes - and he doesn't stack up very favourably without backup. His saves are quite low for his level, which makes him dangerously vulnerable to an optimized party, and he lacks the ability to deal with multiple enemies by himself effectively.

One bright spot for Diero is his backstory, which offers a glimpse of how Diero came to be and what his motivations are. He seems to be an interesting character, and it's a shame that the crunch doesn't do him justice.

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Four-stars of creepy awesome

****( )

Letters from the Flaming Crab: Haunted Places is the third offering in the monthly ‘allsorts’ Letters from the Flaming Crab series, focusing on spooky, scary haunts and associated material. It includes four haunts, each of which has an extra association – three archetypes, and a new spirit for the medium class. It opens eerily, with a letter from the ship’s doctor aboard the UCS Flaming Crab to the captain, providing a bit of narrative on the discovery of the content within, before launching into the first haunt.

The Chimney Coffin is a CR 6 haunt that brings creepy flavour immediately, being the lingering spirit of a chimney sweep’s apprentice who was stuck, and subsequently died, inside the chimney in question, spreading suffocating soot to those foolish enough to light the fireplace beneath. It introduces the Child medium spirit, which has some delightful taboos – such as refusing to eat anything even remotely healthy, or not staying up past your bedtime. The spirit abilities allow the medium to gain increased bonuses from the aid another action; gain improved evasion; be contrary to adults by making additional saves against mind-affecting effects; or limited wish upon a star.

The Shifter’s Stone is a loci spirit that allows participants in the associated ritual to take the form of wild beasts – however, when corrupted, this benevolent spirit becomes a haunt that causes afflicted creatures to believe they’ve been transformed into harmless critters. Wonderful job linking the benefit and corruption! The Primal Spirit archetype for spiritualists accompanies the loci/haunt, with an altered class skill list, summon nature’s ally instead of summon monster on her class spell list, and a hunter’s animal focus ability instead of a phantom. She can manifest ectoplasmic claws, which gain further power as she levels, and wild empathy as a druid. Instead of spiritual interference, she gets a scaling insight bonus to AC and saves; and instead of several phantom features, she gains Wild Shape at a diminished level (she can assume animal and plant forms, but not elementals). She gains some very cool abilities while in wild shape – such as permanent air walk, phase lurch, and horrifying ooze. It’s an unusual archetype that doesn’t feel much like a druid by the time you’re through with it, but it’s certainly interesting.

The Stable of Despair, a manifestation of the tortured spirits of mistreated horses, causes those nearby to see their own flesh rotting and melting away, and is accompanied by the Rider of the Dead archetype for antipaladins. Diplomacy replaces Stealth as a class skill, and a scaling bonus to social skills against undead replaces aura of cowardice. The rider of the dead can also command undead (as the feat) by spending extra uses of touch of corruption, gain bonuses against undead’s abilities and can give extra bonus to undead allies with aid another, and gains a skeletal mount (which has undead traits and cold resistance) that replaces the standard fiendish boon.

The final haunt, the Unfinished Painting, is created when a painter dies before finishing their masterpiece, and the twisted soul infuses the unfinished creation with suffering and obsession. The victim of the haunt becomes determined to finish the painting, with whatever materials it can use – including, in the end, their own blood. This is accompanied by the Mad Painter archetype for the Mesmerist, who replaces his hypnotic stare (!!!) with the ability to distract or fascinate enemies (as the bardic performances) by painting hypnotic patterns in the air (which gains more effects at higher levels, including mass suggestion), and can’t implant mesmerist tricks unless he paints symbols over the recipient’s eyelids (no word on what to do with eyeless creatures, though). He can implant spells in his paintings, which are activated when a creature examines the painting, and takes a penalty on their saving throw. As a capstone, he can create paintings so terrifying, they cause those gazing upon them to die of fright!

At the end of the day, this is a solid little product that delivers what it promises. The haunts are interesting, the addition of the loci is a great touch, and the supporting archetypes are flavourful. My final score for this product is four stars – it’s definitely good, and I would have liked to see more, but the Primal Spirit seems bizarre and dissonant to me.

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Left me wanting more!

****( )

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product.

Letters From the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry is a 13-page supplement that delivers an alternate class for the cavalier – the Wind Warden. The Wind Warden, rather than inspiring and commanding allies, gains the services of a flying mount, and a host of abilities to help lessen the dangers of aerial combat. Abilities such as Order and Challenge remain unchanged from their Cavalier equivalent and will not be discussed here.

First off the bat, the Wind Warden’s mount – which can be any Druid companion that has or gains the ability to fly - gains bonuses to Fly checks, the ability to fly in medium armour (but doesn’t automatically receive proficiency in it), and can carry the wind warden at normal speed. It can always take 10 on Fly checks, and gains three bonus feats from a restricted list over the course of advancement.

As the Wind Warden levels, he can decrease falling damage, gain teamwork feats which his mount shares, and gain bonuses to attack rolls against flying targets. At the highest levels of play, he can use Trip combat maneuvers to knock flying enemies out of the sky, and even expend two uses of his Challenge to apply it to all flying enemies.

The wind warden can choose from all orders available to cavaliers and samurai, but the pdf also presents five new cavalier orders that have the wind warden specifically in mind. Firstly, the Order of the Feather wind warden gains a Pegasus mount (complete with statistics for the companion), and is expected to patrol for the presence of evil creatures with her mount, taking action depending on the strength of their aura. Her challenge allows her to see her target through concealment, and as she progresses in level, she gains more and more bonuses against evil creatures – including extra damage, and leaving them shaken on a successful hit.

Order of the Hunt wind wardens track and recover bounties with their pteranodon mounts, but unfortunately this order seems to lack something. The ability to track by scent more effectively is nifty, and dealing nonlethal damage with a lethal weapon is a bit plain, but what confuses me is the fact that the wind warden can add his Wisdom bonus to combat maneuver checks made against the target of his challenge. While it makes sense, I feel as though it doesn’t stand up to the eighth-level abilities offered by other orders, such as the Order of the Dragon’s strategy, or the Order of the Cockatrice’s steal glory. However, the final ability of the Order of the Hunt allows the mount to grapple as a free action when the wind warden hits the target of his challenge, which is very cool.

Order of the Spire wind wardens, sworn to protect an object or place of great spiritual significance, receive perhaps the coolest mount among the new orders – magic carpets. In addition to this super cool construct mount (which can hover and, at 7th level, wield weapons in its tassels!), the Order of the Spire wind warden can charge from a distance up to four times his carpet’s speed, deal precision damage when attacking from above, and, at 15th level, gains spell resistance. The pdf also includes a statblock for magic carpets as a creature – a perfect thing to slip into a treasure hoard!

The Order of the Sting presents a stealthy, giant wasp-riding, poisoning, criminal-oriented option. The Order of the Sting wind warden gains poison use, sneak attack – including an ability like pack flanking with his mount – and as a high-level ability, opponents poisoned by he or his mount are flat-footed against his attacks. The last order presented is the Order of Talon and Mane. Wind wardens belonging to this order take griffon mounts, swear to protect the weak and inspire those less fortunate than themselves, and gain abilities based around defending their allies- the feats Bodyguard and In Harm’s Way, with added effects, and granting the effects of Spirited Charge and Mighty Charge to their mounts.

As added bonuses, the pdf then presents a chart of the most common checks made in aerial combat by both mount and rider, and a simple mechanic for cutting down on dice rolls from both parties. It closes with four new advanced aerial maneuvers – barrel roll, loop-de-loop, roll-off-the-top, and sudden dive.

Letters from the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry is a well-formatted, visually clean product.It includes three pieces of art – a wind warden of the Order of the Spire, one of the Order of the Feather, and Captain Molly Shell of the eponymous Flaming Crab (tucked away near the OGL). The pdf includes a printer-friendly version without borders and backgrounds.

In all, I found this to be an enjoyable read, and a must-have for mounted aerial combat (an underrepresented niche). From the new animal companions to the advanced maneuvers, this product delivers page after page of options that are mechanically sound, and just plain cool. I’ll clock it in at a solid four stars – the Order of the Hunt feels lacking, and I would have loved to see more maneuvers, maybe even suggestions for representing 3D combat on a 2D grid, but other than these quibbles, the product is worth the price of admission. Well done!

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A robot-deploying base class


The Tinker – Master of Modular Mechanical Mayhem is a complex, in-depth, customizable class with excellent potential. It is, however, something that should be attemoted by more experienced players, due to the large amount of options presented. The pdf weighs in at 34 pages, so let's crack it open and see what we have.

The Tinker gets d8 hit dice, ¾ BAB, and 4+Int skill points per level. He also gets a good Reflex save, simple weapon proficiency, and proficiency with light armour and shields. As it turns out, medium and heavy armour interferes with ‘all of the ridiculous pantomiming’ that comes with issuing orders, creating a sort of mundane failure chance.

Now for the crunchy class features, which the Tinker certainly brings in spades. Probably the biggest thing is the robots – or ‘automatons’, Small constructs with poor saves and a set number of hit points. The Tinker can deploy a number of automatons a day equal to his class level, and can have one out at a time at first level, eventually gaining the ability to have up to three automatons deployed at once. These automatons are built from blueprints, of which the Tinker only has a very limited number, which are customized with inventions (more on those later). The process takes an hour, much like a wizard preparing his spells.

Once deployed, the Tinker has to give his automatons directives, which takes a standard action. The automatons, it should be reminded, have only a semblance of intelligence – the directives include warnings that, for example, should the target of an Attack directive die, the automaton will continue to maul the corpse. Automatons can also be directed to use potion injectors, repair kits, and any skills in which they have ranks as directives.

Master’s Presence allows the Tinker’s automatons to use some of his own basic features, such as BAB and base saving throw modifiers, on their own rolls, while Scribe Invention functions much like Scribe Scroll, allowing the Tinker to make copies of his inventions to distribute – handy, as copying from one invention book to another tends to end messily!

At every even-numbered level, the Tinker gains an Innovation, a breakthrough discovery that enhances his automatons. Such innovations include additional, specialized directives (such as Aid or Kamikaze), the ability to include design inventions in his blueprints without having to remove other inventions, heavier construction (granting automatons more hit points), more blueprints, self-defence programming, and, in a truly wonderful bit of flavour text, ‘Overzealous Execution’ – Having given each of your automatons a semblance of a personality, they suddenly begin to exhibit an almost dog-like desire to please you by following your commands with an overzealous excitement. Cute!

Moving on, the Tinker gains ½ his class level as a bonus to Craft checks, and, at 4th level, the Alpha. The Alpha is a Medium construct, with an Intelligence score of 10 and the ability to gain feats. It can also hold more inventions, but the downside is that these inventions can’t be changed except upon gaining a new class level, or completely rebuilding the Alpha (an expensive process, but a necessary one if the Alpha falls).

At 5th, 10th, and 15trh level, the Tinker gains a Greater Innovation. These allow him to, for example, grant extra hit dice to his automatons, decrease the cost of rebuilding his Alpha, change blueprints as a full-round action, and even make ‘gigadroids’ two size categories larger than normal. Probably the coolest ability, however, is the Swarm that the Tinker gets at 11th level – a swarm of nanobots that can duplicate fabricate to turn raw materials into a finished product, and, at higher levels, can process living creatures (as per disintegrate), and reshape solid magical effects. Finally, at 20th level, the Tinker has to choose a line of succession – the options are Constitutional Monarchy, Progenitor, and Gavelkind. As capstones go, I have to say this is a brilliant way of handling it – deciding what happens to your robot buddies after you die!

We then get an overview of the automatons and the Alpha, complete with tables showing level advancement. Automatons gain a semblance of personality, as well as the ability to help, unasked, on Craft checks using the Aid Another action – a nice little mental image. The Alpha gains the ability to issue directives to other automatons, and to deploy automatons if the Tinker is unconscious or dead (though it can’t alter the blueprints).

We then get some favoured class bonuses, a few feats (mostly focusing on Honorary Tinker, which allows a non-Tinker to issue directives to idling automatons or automatons defending them), and then 20 pages of Inventions, first grouped by level and summarized, then explained in full detail. There are too many to describe, so I’ll just say this much: many of them build off each other and you can find some fun combinations. And if you’re like me (easily overwhelmed by options), the author has helpfully included sample configurations at various levels, for various purposes. You can build a sunder-bot, a tripper, an electroshocker, a heavy melee bot, a missile blaster, or even a kamikaze root, built entirely to explode and deal as much damage as possible. Excellent stuff! Other inventions include potion injectors, crossbow turrets, and “robosaddles”, allowing the Tinker to saddle up his ‘bot and ride it into battle!

The entire pdf is presented in crisp black and white, with a simple border and a few pieces of line art. If you’re looking for beautiful illustrations of the Tinker and his buddies, you won’t find them; however, you’ll probably be too busy trying to wrap your head around all the crunch. I’ll be honest, here – when I first read this class, I was overwhelmed. It definitely needs to be opened up and played with before you can begin to appreciate the true potential of the class.

That said, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderful class, sprinkled liberally with humour, ridiculously customizable, and carrying plenty of support from the author. A solid five stars – worth every cent of the asking price!

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Lives up to its name


This pdf really lives up to its name - most of the feats within provide options that will make you wonder why they weren't in the game to begin with. For example, there's Exotic Hunter, which allows rangers access to the entire druid lost of animal companions. There are three feats offering new circumstances to use Vital Strike; Impressive Sneak Attack, which allows you to deal (non-multiplied) sneak attack damage on a critical hit; and Improved Combat Reflexes, which allows two additional attacks of opportunity per round (I know a few swashbucklers who'll appreciate that one!)

I don't want to spoil too much more, so I'll leave it short, but this product is well worth it. Be warned, though - some of the feats are almost too good not to take. Such as Improved Furious Focus (Power Attack carries a penalty for a reason!) That said, there's more than enough awesome here to work well right off the bat, and some that may require adjudication. Look into it if you want more options!

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