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[Legendary Games] A new direction for Mythic Monsters! What myths do you want to see made monstrous?
An Endzeitgeist.com review
This book clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!
All right, so let's get this right out of the way - this one will be brief - why? Because this is a player's guide and it's the school of book that is all about the fluff: We thus begin this player's guide with the PCs entering the city of Endhome - a massive settlement and one of the key locations of the massive "Lost City of Barakus"-mega-adventure. As befitting of people arriving at such a place, the PCs hire a guide, Corlius, who then proceeds to show the PCs the sights and introduce them to the dynamics of Endhome, relevant places and the like: After an extensive and well-written tour through the massive city (including a nice, schematic map of the place), the PCs will find themselves in the King's Road Inn, the place most likely to cater to the adventurer's profession.
As such, here, the PCs will not only be introduced to some crucial NPCs, they also will hear quite an array of rumors that may result in them going forth, checking them out - within the frame narrative of these conversations, the PCs get to know about several of the dangerous and intriguing areas beyond the confines of Endhome's walls - without spoiling the achievement of discovery when the PCs finally explore Barakus - kudos for going this route!
That's not all, though: Players will certainly appreciate the run-down of the places that offer shopping opportunities, a list of notable key persons and even a page of common knowledge and obvious rumors.
Editing and formatting are very good, though one header has a formatting glitch with a relic <n> and a header that is regularly sized. Apart from that, no complaints. Layout adheres to Frog God Games' two-column b/w-standard with nice b/w-artworks and hand-drawn, sketchy schematic maps that spoil nothing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, though I'd advise in favor of getting this book in paper (the print-version being glossy with high-quality paper) - perhaps one for each player.
Why? Because Vicky Potter's player's guide is not only a good read: This is perhaps one of the most useful player's guides I've read in a while. You see, I played Barakus back in its 3.X-iteration and while I loved this gigantic sandbox, it took a lot of time to set-up: You've probably experienced this yourself: Until the players and PCs have a grip on a wide open sandbox, you'll be doing A LOT of exposition, when everyone at the table would rather be adventuring. This is where this player's guide comes in: Simply hand it to your players, have them read it and there you go - all exposition right out of the way, and in medias res, you can start the discussion of what they want to check out first. This book makes getting to the meat of the module so much easier - sans SPOILING any crucial details. Oh, and it's also a compelling, fun read AND a good reference book for players forgetting the names of important NPC XYZ. This is pretty much a glorious Player's Guide that does its job exceedingly well. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, the submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here. Cheers!
You seem to be looking for weirder dungeons, not the standard "couple O' gobbos+ogre-routine: I furthermore assume you know about how to scavenge Slumbering Tsar, Rappan Athuk, etc., so I'll leave out the obvious ones. I'd suggest:
-Panataxia by 4 Dollar Dungeons (is downright brilliant and planar theme lets it easily move/gobble up PCs)
-C07: The Sussurus Tomb by AAW Games (very unique, hazard-centric and has a theme of keeping powerful things locked in and sealed)
-Tomb of Caragthax the Reaver by TPK Games (viking-esque 2-level dungeon; very lethal...and cool)
-The Spire of Iron and Crystal by Frog God Games (has fantasy-scifi-elements)
-Hollow Mountain by Frog God Games (has weird plant thingies/horror-ish theme and is pretty unique)
-A12: When the Sky falls down by AAW Games (upside down storm-giants flying fortress)
-A9: Rogue Wizard by AAW Games (Icky alive tower with a nasty finale)
-Purple Mountain III - VII by Purple Duck Games have been pretty much excellent in their ideas/flavor and work perfectly on their own or in conjunction with other modules/dungeons.
Here's the tl;dr:
III: Interact with degenerate morlock-y culture
IV: The movie Running Man with fire-elemental theme
V: Dungeon-horror with a nice psychology-component
VI: Psionics AND underwater -> Ultimate Psionics; add in Waves of Thought for extra fun
VII: Explore the body of a sleeping god; may fit your steampunk-y criteria
EDIT: Quests of Doom by FGG also has a LOT of unique dungeons.
EDIT 2: Reviewed all in detail, should you require further guidance.
Oh yes, Adam B.135. The old races were not only errata'd, they were expanded and re-written.
I provided e.g. a system for gradual transformation into gearforged alongside a less high-powered version of the race. Oh, and Dragonkin get some pretty cool tank-y tricks. I made sure each race I worked on got something that truly sets it apart from all other races. So yes, I am pretty proud regarding some of the things I crafted there...
An Endzeitgeist.com review
This massive book clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 46 pages of content, so let's take a look!
Carnivals are awesome...and creepy. The blending of the alien and the familiar, the oscillation of bright light and deepest shadows fascinate, entice. I distinctly recall a sense of kinship when I first saw the more weirder performances and the sense of freedom implied in such a life, despite the hardships, resonates with me on a primal level. In roleplaying games, specifically the various iterations I've played, I did ten to enjoy the modules and supplements dealing with this topic - whether in Ravenloft's by now legendary "carnival"-supplement, in Necromancer Games' "What Evil Lurks" or many others - the theme just won't let go of me.
The first thing you notice upon opening this book is the custom layout - Rick Hershey has crafted a downright beautiful presentation here that perfectly underlines the theme of the book - red curtains, appropriate fonts - presentation-wise, this is a gorgeous book. Content-wise, we begin with an elaboration of the basic set-up of the carnival grounds and what to find there - only to lead into the perhaps most surprising section in the book: Carnival of Sinners gets something right no other supplement dealing with the topic has: It presents, extensively, I might add, a full-blown thieves' cant-ish section of carny-slang: "Pay the bag man and put up the bills for your dukkering services - we gotta proof we're no fireball show!" AWESOME!!!
A total of 5 sample adventure hooks is provided before we move on to the next section, the trooper's gallery, wherein sample NPCs are provided - and boy, oh boy. For one, each of the builds herein has at least one interesting component - whether it's race, archetype'd multiclass - there is something mechanically interesting going on for each character. However, more intriguing than even that would be the fact that each key performer gets more than just the minimum space to shine - each character receives an extensive background story AND a high-quality, custom artwork. Better yet, the concepts and their execution are downright delightfully wicked - the two-headed man's second head, for example, is his eidolon! The carnival's cook also is a particularly nasty sort - you'll see when you get this book...
Things get truly sinister, though, with the troupe of lay-actors, clowns, stable-hands and the like - represented via diverse mook-statblocks (for a reason...), this component of the carnival hides a secret most dire...and awesome.
Obviously, no carnival would be complete without a cabinet of curiosities - and a collection of oddities and usual prizes, partially represented with great artworks, can indeed be considered nice. Going one step beyond, entry-tickets to print out and hand to your players, a sample advertisement poster (lavishly rendered as another hand-out) and a map are provided - the latter of the kind of style which the characters may find themselves while visiting the carnival.
My only gripe here, ultimately boils down to the fact that I would have liked sample games or a sample performance-schedule to be included herein.
Editing and formatting are pretty good - I had no issues in grasping anything herein and there was no undue amount of glitches to be found. Layout and artworks, as mentioned above, are top-notch - this is a beautiful book indeed, with the handouts providing the icing on the aesthetic cake. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Chris Bayes, Eric Hindley, John Bennett, Kalyna Conrad, Lucus Palosaari, Rick Hershey - ladies and gentlemen, you have crafted a great sandbox/set-piece/supplement herein. This book can be used as both an awesome fluff-book to expand a given carnival, as a sand-boxy module to embellish, flesh out and use as you see fit, or just as a delightful scavenging ground for stats, builds and ideas. This massive source-book is well-written, concisely-presented and the carny-slang provided alone, to me, makes this well worth the...
...wait. There was this one component, right? Well, in case you didn't know: This massive, fully illustrated, lovingly-crafted book is actually "Pay what you want." No, I'm not kidding. You can get this big book and then decide whether it was worth your time. Know what? There is no reason to not at least check this one out and, as for my part, this delightfully disturbing sourcebook definitely deserves to be acknowledged. So if you like this sourcebook, please pay for it a price you consider as justified. While not perfect, the love that went into this book is readily apparent and I'm quite honestly a bit baffled to see such a massive book as PWYW. My final verdict for this inspiring set-piece/supplement that doubles as a drop-in sandbox would be 5 stars + seal of approval.
First of all: THANK YOU, Lucus! Not only for the kind words, but also for linking to my patreon - FWIW, next week, I have two Vathak-books scheduled...and today another review of a Halloween-ish book you worked on.
I second your rallying call - I try hard to cover everything, but on my own, it's pretty hard.
Also: Thanks for the kind words, Sepik! :D
This FREE adventure clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let's take a look!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may want to jump to the conclusion.
All right, only GMs left? Great!
This pdf kicks off with essentially a highly detailed gazetteer of the city of Remballo, which is, btw., fully mapped in nice b/w-cartography. A pronunciation guide for the name, a full settlement statblock - all there. Relevant for this adventure would be to know that Remballo is essentially the home-base of the powerful Borgandy family, who is big in finances - like safe-keeping treasures for adventurers...for a price. I really like this notion, since the logistics of keeping a hoard of dangerous, highly volatile magical items is an often neglected component in adventures I personally like to emphasize.
But back to Remballo - from the local temples to the important tradition of toasting when gambling (also a nod to Chuck Wright, FGG's layout artist and a damn cool guy!) and an inn, this brief gazetteer is pretty well-written and compelling, painting a picture of a commerce-driven town in a time of turmoil, as the protectorate that once guaranteed stability crumbles and new power dynamics arise. But you want to know about the module, right? Well, we begin with one of several hooks - whether contacted by the Borgandy family, by the city watch or another hook, they will have to investigate the area surrounding Dead Fiddler's Square - a neighborhood fully mapped for your convenience. I love the fact that we get a GM and a player-friendly version of this map, though the player-friendly version sports numbers. Why am I not starting my usual rant? Because the numbers are deceptive - they do not pertain to the actual locations, but the number of stories of the houses! This is pretty brilliant and awesome.
The interesting thing here would then be one of the most concisely written investigation set-ups I've seen in quite a while - with a level of detail and a requirement for discreet inquiries and no less than 35 (!!!) investigation locales to check out, all with read-aloud text, mind you, the area is ultimately a glorious micro-sandbox that sports a level of detail scarcely seen in PFRPG-modules. In fact, this is further enhanced by the actual target area sporting an even more detailed room-by-room map - and yes, there is dungeon-exploration to be had as well - ultimately, the different hooks all tie together in a rather round climactic exploration that sports a truly dangerous adversary the PCs will definitely remember - oh, and I've failed to note that the conclusion, when handled properly, leads to connections with the Borgandys, the thieves guilds and the city watch, right? So yes, adventure galore to be had here!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't spot any glitches. Layout adheres to Frog God Games' 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork and maps are copious and thematically-fitting b/w.
All right, I'm gonna go right out and say it - a couple of Richard Develyn's (of 4 Dollar Dungeon) modules have all but ruined me for first level modules...because they're that good. When I nowadays read a first level module, it should better be truly remarkable and exceptional in some way. Surprisingly, this FREE module is just such a case. Matt Finch's free-form investigation is AWESOME. The level of detail provided generates an immersion I crave, a level of detail that makes the players feel invested, like they're actually walking the streets of Remballo. The sheer fact that it is relatively non-linear and detailed provides a level of realism scarcely seen, even less so in any free offering. I am quite frankly astounded by this component - usually, I have to sit down and generate x shops, x people, to make investigations not feel like "find the next action-spot to investigate."
This book's approach is glorious and I am of the deep conviction that we need more modules that feature this level of realism. In fact, I'd probably drool and slobber all over a complex investigation in a big city (like, mega-adventure-sized) with this level of detail. Have I btw. mentioned that there are none of the boring level 1-adversary combos to be found herein? Templated foes, multiclass'd enemies...NICE! The player-map depiction is also downright genius.
In one word: I love this module. I got it before the KS went live so I could playtest it and it ran as a stunning success - my players loved it and it proved to be a challenging, very rewarding experience. I can wholeheartedly recommend this module and will award it 5 stars + seal of approval - even if you're not interested in the module itself, it makes for a great neighborhood-sourcebook you could scavenge for your city, adding yet another level of usefulness to this pdf.
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here.
Part II of my review:
The next archetype would be for Flaming Crab Games' Priest-class, which I do not own and thus cannot judge. It seems to be on d20pfsrd.com as well, but I do not review online content - it's too mutable. The pdf closes with some brief, basic pieces of advice regarding the integration of spellstaves into your campaign, the aforementioned FAQ and also provides a significant array of different plot-hooks - all of which are pretty nice!
Editing and formatting on a formal level can be considered okay, but on a rules-language, this pdf, alas, is deeply flawed and is in dire need of a good developer and rules-editing. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard and is by far my favorite component of this book - it's elegant and the book also sports numerous beautiful pieces of full-color art I really enjoyed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with a very small (less than two MB!) version for mobile devices - kudos!
It is pretty obvious from the get-go that author J Gray has some absolutely glorious ideas - and indeed, I love the concept of the spellstaff to death. It is pretty much a gaping hole in the rules that should be filled. Alas, this pdf, and there's no two ways around it, fails pretty hard in almost all regards. Beyond the vast array of issues in the finer details of rules-language that render this pdf more opaque than it should be (and no, I have not listed all of them), the rules unfortunately pretty much result in a whole cornucopia of problems. For full casters, spellstaves remain a sub-par option due to the massive feat-tax they require - my playtest did show that with either option, casters are, after first level, pretty much better off when simply retraining. It's not like they'd hit much with their abysmal BAB. So, in my game, primarily gishes felt that these staves were useful - and for them, they may be a tad bit too good. The problem remains that the very basic rules of how spellstaves operate, are too opaque and leave holes at the very foundation of the concept, destabilizing everything built on it.
Now this focus on gishes could be intentional, granted - the issue remains that, once multiclassing comes into the fray, this pdf completely falls apart. There are several extremely ill-conceived archetype abilities that are horribly broken herein, running the whole gamut of problematic exploits and flawed wording, to the point where I honestly wouldn't allow anything in these pages near my main campaign without excessive fixes. And we're not talking about brief changes, but about massive design-changes, which would take me quite some time to do. Less experienced GMs will look at the task required with question marks over their heads.
While writing this review, I've been cursing quite a bit - because the system, make no mistake, CAN be salvaged. In fact, just about every chapter herein, with some SIGNIFICANT streamlining, could have been made awesome. In fact, that's what I hoped for. I re-dl'd the pdf right before posting this one to make sure it hadn't been, hoping that I might rewrite this review. Alas, the flaws remain - there is next to no component that does not sport one issue or another and I am, quite frankly, pretty frustrated with this book.
Author J Gray does show promise, but this pdf, and there are no two ways around it, is simply not functional. The rules-language is horribly flawed and does not manage to represent the complex concepts properly and there is a whole array of issues with even the base items. That being said, while not many, there are some functional pieces of crunch herein, some concepts that are awesome and show promise. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, rounded up to 2 due to the awesomeness of the concepts and these components. I sincerely hope I'll be able to write a review of a revised edition soon, one that eliminates these issues and lives up to the awesome premise.
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on d20pfsrd.com's shop.
You may want to check out:
-Assassins of Porphyra by Purple Duck Games (Imho best assassin base-class)
All of these are well-liked among my players and have seen some extensive testing in my group.
I've written reviews for all of them. If you require more in-depth assistance, feel free to contact me via endzeitgeist.com's contact-tab and I'll see whether I can help out. (Excuse my shameless plug for my 3pp-review-site...)