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Ninja

Endzeitgeist's page

5,802 posts. 2,608 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 44 pages,1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial/introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Knowledge is power. This sentence has become a bit of a cliché. Okay, it *IS* a huge cliché. It is true nonetheless. From Latin to runes, language as a means of transporting knowledge in a written form is exceedingly powerful and ideas, ultimately, are the most powerful weapons of all.

As has become the tradition with the Call to Arms-series, we thus begin the pdf with a complex array of ruminations on the nature of text, its functions and components, not shirking e.g. the issues of copying and translation. (And anyone who has ever compare e.g. Shakespeare, Baudelaire or Goethe translations with the original will certainly attest a cringe-worthy quality that can result here...) In a fantastic context, the concept is similarly important, if not even more so: The pdf does mention Chambers' classic The King in Yellow, which may well have provided an initial spark for Lovecraft and others...as often, the idea cuts deep.

One of my central gripes with Pathfinder as a system has always been the fact that tomes basically suffer from a rather niche existence; when compared to e.g. the Witcher games, where knowledge is the most valuable good you can have in combat with the weird creatures of the earth, it is significantly less important in our games and has less mechanical repercussions...and this one tries to fix that. The pdf collates, collects and expands the mundane tomes released so far, introducing arcane school reference books, chronicles etc. - rules-wise, these generally grant bonuses to associated checks when referencing the book or studying it. 3 new types of spellbooks (and two classics) can be found within these pages as well. The pdf also features two spellbooks with preparation rituals. (one for magus and one for the investigator.)

Beyond that, the pdf also collects all types of intriguing books herein - from the golem manuals to the summoning extenders and manuals that increase your attributes, grant combat feats. Very cool for sorcerors: Pages of Spell Knowledge. These pages contain a single spell; prepared casters may expend a spell slot of the appropriate spell slot to cast the spell on the page. A writ allows for instant atonement benefits, but requires longer hours of studying to maintain the benefits. As always in the series, we get a cursed tome and an intelligent item: The latter being A Young Person's Phantasmagorical Primer, which contains fairy tales and allows persons featuring only NPC classes to gain the training required for PC classes and the book's illusory realms are interesting, to say the least. Beyond that, we also get a total of 3 mythic books, one of which enhances a character's capabilities when dealing with extraplanar creatures and another nets cruel jokes. Finally, another book allows for reincarnate. The book also contains 3 artifacts - the classic book of infinite spells, the codex of the lower planes and a take on the mother of all evil books, the intelligent necronomicon, including an advanced soul eater that may come for you. (CR 15, just fyi.) And yes, the book is cursed.

The pdf does contain two different spells, one that translates a book perfectly into ancient dwarven and one that animates a quill to copy writing. As always, though, we do receive a couple of variant rules, the first of which would be modifications for Linguistics to account for time-related changes in dialects, handwriting, translation qualities, if applicable, etc.

More importantly, the pdf does feature rules for forbidden knowledge - studiyng texts like this may result in corruption and the more thorough you study the texts, the harder it will be to resist the nasty effects of the respective tomes. Certain actions will trigger corruption saves and on a failure, the character gains a corruption point - all pretty simple. Here's the cool thing, though: Tehse points can be used as either mythic power, hero points, as sanity...or a combination of them all, depending simply on your own tae on the subject matter, with proper synergy with the much-anticipated new Shadows over Vathak campaign setting book. A total of 3 such tainted tomes end this installment of Call to Arms on a high note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good; while I noticed a couple of typo level glitches and would have loved slightly modified wording here and there, as a whole, the rules-language remains sufficiently precise to not result in any issues. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has some neat full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Richard D. Bennett's revised take on Tomes of Power is a fun offering, with in particular the variant rules herein being an inspired array of modifications. The book, as a whole, is a fun offering and delivers what it promises. In contrast to some of the other Call to Arms-books, though, it does feel a tad bit less evocative: A lot of the options here in the book are pretty conservative in the items represented - the more powerful items, for example, are either classic in concepts or, in the case of the mythic books, pretty weak. Apart from the evocative intelligent book and the awesome forbidden tomes, I simply wasn't as blown away here, since I already knew a lot of the concepts here. This does not make the pdf bad, mind you, but it does deprive it of a place amid the best of these books. In the end, this is a good book - and well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine, posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Great job on this one, Mike!!


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Thanks for making this PrC! *REALLY* like what you've done here!


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment in Raging Swan's Village backdrop-series, converted to 5e, is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 5 pages of content for the village of Wellswood, so let's take a look!

In this installment of Raging Swan Press' critically acclaimed series, we travel to the village of Wellswood - which is aptly-named: Situated in the midst of a gorgeous forest, the settlement sports numerous wells - both natural ones and those crafted by dwarven hands, for the settlement sports a significant dwarven population, who faithfully serves the local dour and somewhat greedy, but none too unpleasant lord Ilmari Issakainen.

The uncommon occurrence of a forest-bound dwarven clan also results in a surprising amount of fortified stone buildings jutting forth from the massive forest. While secure, the rather significant taxes imposed are not to be trifled with, though merchants and travelers won't have too much of a problem paying them. No less than three inns (all coming with information on accommodation-prices and food) are detailed within these pages, as befitting of a village under the auspice of a church of travelers - which btw. includes a brief deity-write-up. And yes, the domains actually point towards proper 5e-domains. Industry-wise, the local lake with its fishing (requiring permission of the lord...which is, again, taxed) is based mostly on the massive influx of travelers passing through.

Oh, but I've failed to mention the interesting component here: You see, aforementioned lake, much like the hold of the dwarven clan, is subterranean and heavily regulated - though that does not mean that there are no means of getting down there sans the lord knowing...if you know whom to ask. Yes, the subterranean lake actually writes adventures of itself, considering the plethora of potential dangers there and the mere presence of it makes a potentially cataclysmic earthquake all the more dangerous. Plenty of development options are provided here, from the local color (the village sports notes on nomenclature, clothing, etc.) to more massive storylines - after all, there is a reason the dwarves are here - but to know that, you'll have to travel to Wellswood yourself! As a minor complaint, I think tying the unearthing of village lore to an Intelligence check not that elegant; Why not go history, or perhaps allow for the proficiency bonus to be added for dwarves or certain backgrounds? But I am nitpicking at a very high level here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out and sports a great artwork of a fishing trip on the subterranean lake.

Creighton Broadhurst's Wellswood is a compelling settlement that manages to strike a precarious balance: On the one hand, it is a pretty pleasant place that, in itself, is not yet an adventure and the lack of a central conflict means that you don't have a streamlined narrative cut out for you. However, unlike many a supplement with such a broad focus, Wellswood still manages to retain a sense of holistic integrity, a feeling of concise options, ready to be explored at any time. From politics to potential threats, whether as just a waystation or as a new home for the PCs, the village manages to support and accommodate threats both significant and trivial. While the supplement does not achieve the highest echelons of the series, it remains an excellent book that does offer a significant, tight array of interesting options for GMs and players to explore and, more importantly, a tight and unique place to visit that loses none of its draw in 5e- hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Part II of my review:

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports copious amounts of thematically fitting stock art. The pdf features bookmarks for the chapters and tables (for e.g. the robe of many-things-like runes), but not to the individual runes.

It is pretty hard to convey the fascination this system has provided for me; you see, the runesmith, make no mistake, is a caster; yes; but at the same time, the class obviously has a completely different feeling than just about all casters I know. Similarly, it is easy to see the appeal regarding an utility/tools character, but that would not take the magical capabilities into account. The appeal it has also does not lie within the engine, for while it like the mechanical framework underlying these guys, it is not my favorite of Brad's engines.

The best picture to exemplify what these guys do I can come up with is that of the rune-savvy skald (not the PFRPG class) in literature; the rune-casting Pict banishing the giant golden slug-thing in Conan (kudos if you know that one!), the soldier who knows some magical runes in a magical quartermaster-style way; the wise and mystical philosopher-calligrapher in a WuXia-setting or the primitive runecaster in a savage culture - runesmithing represents all of these and does a better job at that task. Better yet, the framework and how it works is *really* simple. The system itself is complex and allows for great tricks, but as for difficulty to play and build, the runesmithing options here are easy to grasp and implement, easier to grasp than e.g. the kineticist, if you need a direct comparison. Runesmithing makes sense in a traditional fantasy context as well as in a more savage or sword and sorcery-esque scenario.

That still does not properly enunciate what I love about this class: Runesmiths are a trickster's option; an utility (or blasting) option...and they have a very unique feeling. After digesting and testing the options herein, this pdf did not only leave me with the wish to implement the content in my notoriously hard to get in main campaign; it actually made me come up with campaign ideas that focused on it as the primarily available means of performing magic for the PCs. Whether it's one set in a medieval/stone-age period of our own world, a savage trip through hyperborean realms of ice or early Malazan-like struggles of elite units in a war in a fantastic world - runesmithing, as a system, feels like it could carry a setting. The expansion potential for new runes and tweaks of the system is huge and I do believe that crossovers with e.g. truenamers or similar more caster-y spellcasters would actually work...but for now, I'm content. This book seems to be pretty successful and Bradley Crouch has been consistent in his class support for the classes that have an extended audience. In this case, this is excellent news, for the whole concept of runesmithing as present here has nigh infinite expansion options on its own. Similarly, no or rare magic (items) campaigns could easily use the framework posited here and modify/scavenge it to replace magic items in a world that simply doesn't have as much and somewhat mitigate the issue of PFRPG's math falling apart without them.

So yes, runesmithing works impressively smooth, is pretty easy to grasp and has a ton of potential... and I'll put a campaign using these instead of more traditional types up magic up for a vote when we decide on the next main campaign to run. That's a pretty huge deal. This is a truly inspiring little book and well worth 5 stars + my seal of approval as well as being nominated as a candidate for my top ten of 2016.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Upgraded review to reflect the improvements made in all the usual places.


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Part II of my review:

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no accumulation of significant issues; both on a formal and rules-language level, the book is neat and the statblocks I did reverse-engineer sported no significant issues. Layout adheres to Purple Duck games' printer-friendly two-column standard with purple highlights. The different artists used this time around work to the book's advantage: While there is ONE artwork I didn't care for in the book, from Jacob Blackmon's signature style to old-school paintings and truly horrific pieces for the nastier critters, the artists complement the creatures in question very well. The pdf comes excessively bookmarked for your convenience.

Main authors Perry Fehr and Mark Gedak, with additional monsters by Russ Brown, August Hahn, Julian Neale and Todd Stewart have crafted one massive book here. But let me take a step back first: Mark Gedak has a patreon that has by now produced this book; the second of the massive Porphyra bestiaries. Book 1 was good; a fun and well-written bestiary and a quality-wise neat tome.

Against the usual trend, Monsters of Porphyra II blows its predecessor clean out of the water. Are you looking for mechanically creative abilities that provide a unique combat experience and tactical challenges? there are creatures for that inside. Want something owlbear-goofy but also cool? Included. Some creatures drawn from more exotic folklore? In here. Utterly unique creatures and cultures, campaign-endbosses, puzzle foes? All inside. No matter what you're looking for in a bestiary, from the wholesome to the horrific, from the fantastical and purist to the off-the-walls weird, this one delivers.

More importantly: There is no suck inside. I did not find a single creature that felt tired or bland; It's either the artwork, the unique signature abilities or the combination of both that add a sense of the "want to use" to these critters. I mean, it actually makes one of the most tired concepts ever, the ice worm, feel pretty creative. Similarly, when creatures from obscure 3.X OGL-books were upgraded, the upgrades often include twists and different flavors that render them fresh and distinct. The lore sections, prose and the like help render the back-to-back reading experience more fulfilling as well.

...

I have no formal complaints. There are some very minor hiccups here and there, but they are so few and far in-between and don't influence the functionality of the critters. For a book of this size, that is a true feat. Oh, and consider the fact that this one was made sans a huge KS-budget, instead thriving on continuous, dedicated work. It's one thing to have a burst of inspiration; constantly generating creatures with this level of quality is a feat. Magical beasts feel magical, dragons feel draconic; folklore beasts are close to their source-material or make it cooler than in our mythology. Animals and vermin feel effective and pretty realistic and like they make sense. In short: This is an absolutely stellar bestiary for a more than fair price point.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the bestiary formula; I prefer my creatures with a ton of back story, ecologies, etc. Blame it on my old-school origins. Most bestiaries I end up liking thus have a lot of flavor text. Monsters of Porphyra II does have a bit of it..but still is a bestiary. And guess what? It's probably as close to "I love everything" as a monster book of this size is ever bound to get. This is one of the best monster supplements out there in the 3pp circuit, with more inspiring creatures in it than I would have expected. As noted, book 1 was already very good...but it is here that the authors take a huge breadth of themes and topics, mechanics and go full-blown all-out. To me, not a single one of the critters herein felt phoned-in; they all feel like they were made with a passion that translates very well from the pages. After reading this book, I found myself sketching a sequence of adventures featuring a ton of the critters herein - and that is something that only rarely happens as far as bestiary books are concerned.

So yes, get this! Monsters of Porphyra II is a phenomenal resource of creative critters of all types, shapes and forms and deserves the highest accolades. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and I nominate this as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Purple Duck Storeroom-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? If AAW Games' critically acclaimed Rise of the Drow has taught me anything, then it's that modern gaming had lost some of its sensibilities; when the saga took the wonder of the 2nd edition's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide and the general notion of believable environments and infused it right back into the subterranean realms, I was ecstatic. The underworld hadn't felt that alive, that wondrous, in a long, long time.

So, this little pdf can be considered to be something of a mini-dressing file: The idea is as follows: The things in the underdark need to eat, right? Well, fungi grow below and so, the pdf does contain subterranean spore groves for your perusal. in power-level, they are rules-interaction-wise mostly at the lower scale and the pdf works as follows: You have 12 entries to determine weird fungi; then, you determine the size of the grove with a d12, which also modifies all subsequent tables, so yes, size does matter here.

Next up, you determine the food value to be scavenged from the grove...and then the effects. Sure, the shrooms might be poisonous...but there is similarly a chance that one of 8 strange effects may kick in upon consumption. These range from mild hallucinations to bonuses to Cha or medicinal properties, and while slightly more precision here pertaining conditions, bonus types and the like, the basic functionality is there. A sample hazard table modified by the number and CR of PCs is included, with hazards and foes ranging from CR - to 7. A little table to determine fungal themed monsters is next (15 entries strong and pretty much what you'd expect) and 12 non-fungal sample monsters (standard underworld fare) can be used to include here.

The pdf concludes with a sample hazard - the CR 3 cyan fungus, which sends discus-like projectiles towards anything nearby when subjected to light. The fungus is awesome, though the rules-language for the attack and damage is a bit jumbled.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is very good on a formal level; on a rules-level, there are some minor deviations, but none that break the material. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column, printer-friendly standard in A5-size (6'' by 9''). The pdf has a nice one-page artwork of a vegepygmy in full-color. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Perry Fehr's little pdf has the heart at the right place: The visuals are nice and while it does not reach the level of evocative wonder of RotD's fungal jungle, that's not the goal - this is a great fungus fields generator and it does not purport to be more than that. The new fungus is pretty cool and something I'll definitely use.

All in all, this little pdf is a fun addition to subterranean gameplay and particularly lower-level underdark adventuring will benefit from the quick and easy food generation tables here; for longer or survivalist treks through the lightless depths, this can be a boon indeed, though I found myself wishing it had devoted more time to the fungi and provided slightly more in that terrain, less to the pretty generic sample creatures encountered tables. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars - an inexpensive, fun and very useful little pdf, but one that falls short of what it could have been. Still, whether it's Second Darkness, Rise of the Drow or the quasi-defunct Throne of the Night - subterranean campaigns will enjoy this one.

Posted first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to NErdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


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You and Ryan did a great job there - this one imho feels more Zeitgeist-y, investigation/intrigue-focused than the pretty action-focused #10, without losing the oomph of insane high level gameplay. Great job!!


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


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The last information I had as a fellow ardent fan of Kaidan is, that Rite's operation will continue for now, so there is a definite chance you and me will get the final book. I'm not sure if it's being worked on right *now*, and I think there is a very real chance we'll get to see this. having talked to a couple of Rite freelancers at the con, I am pretty positive you'll get to see this eventually.


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Part II of my review:

All right, and here's the final section of the book - the bestiary. These critters were penned by Russ Brown (of Rusted Iron Games), Matt Duval, Joe Kondrak, Thomas LeBlanc, John Lessing, Mark Nordheim, Kendra Leigh Speedling and Jeffrey Swank, illustrated by Becky Barnes, Lynette Fetters, Michael Jaecks, Chris L- Kimball, Adam Koča, Danny Hedager Krog and Dionisis Milonas.

We begin with the CR 1 blood sapling - grown from a corpse buried to the head in soil, this twisted plant creature feasts on nearby bleeding and dying creatures and may spray a blinding sap at foes. The beautifully rendered gaint knifewing dragonfly at CR 3 is a surprisingly cool vermin, with functionality and "realism" suffusing the flavor as their wings cut foes to ribbons. The Ferrywight can dip its oars in the water, making it enervating, which is kinda cool - though I've seen the undead ferryman too often by now...for me as a person, I'll stick to big bad Charron. Similarly, the CR 6 Hearth Wraith is a trope I am pretty familiar with at this point - while by no means a bad build, it falls short of the CR 12 river raken that can run vessels aground and even move on land - much like real krakens can. A heartfelt kudos to the artist that provided the artwork for the CR 12 predatory sandbar - what could have been a solid ooze is rendered significantly more captivating by a glorious artwork. Now yes, I know I have bashed the aforementioned wraiths a bit - but there are some concepts that work for me: The Cr +2 river wraith with its unique ability array may also be a familiar trope, but I feel like it does its job slightly better. The Tsemauis at CR 6 look like a log with protusion from the top - below the surface, though, they are basically a magical variant of a particularly nasty orca, hell-bent on eating PCs. Oh, and though they only are CR 6 - one failed save after their gore and they have bisected you. Game over. Yes. I know. Massive damage would make more sense. Unfair. Yadda-yadda. I'm a killer-GM. I don't care. I like that they actually are lethal as all hell. Their artwork is also pretty impressive an thus, we end this book on a definite high note!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, both on a formal and rules-language level, is significantly better than in many a commercial publication I have reviewed - that is to say: Very good. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard that is easy to read. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and features a TON or gorgeous original artwork by: Becky Barnes, Catherine Batka, Darran Caldemeyer, Snow Conrad, Jeremy Corff, Liz Courts, Andrew DeFelice, Jess Door, Lynnette Fetters, Silvia Gonzalez, Michael Jaecks, James Keegan, Chris L. Kimball, Adam Koča, Danny Hedager Krog, Alberto Ortiz Leon, Mike Lowe, Dio Mahesa, Dave Mallon, Jesse Mohn, Dionisis Milonas, Alex Moore, Beatrice Pelagatti, dodeqaa Polyhedra, Basil Arnould Price, Tanyaporn Sangsnit, Kristiina Seppä, Carlos Torreblanca, and Todd Westcot.

Beyond these artists, the following authors have contributed to this issue: Charlie Bell, Landon Bellavia, Charlie Brooks, Russ Brown, Dixon Cohee, Chuck DiTusa, Matt Duval, Robert Feather, Benjamin Fields, Aaron Filipowich, Nikolai Geier, Spencer Giffin, Amy Goodenough, Garrett Guillotte, Bran Hagger, Kiel Howell, Dana Huber, Joe Kondrak, John Laffan, Thomas LeBlanc, Jeff Lee, John Leising, James McTeague, Jacob W. Michaels, Brian Minhinnick, Tim Nightengale, Mark Nordheim, Kelly Pawlik, Matt Roth, Jeff Sexton, Elliot Smith, Kendra Leigh Speedling, Jeffrey Swank, Ian Turner, Brendan Ward, Steven Lloyd Wilson, Alexander Wreschnig, and Scott Young. Cartography was provided by none other than Liz Courts and Alex Moore.

There is a lot of love that has gone into this magazine and it shows everywhere - from superb artworks to great ideas, there are some true gems to be found here. While not all pieces of content may be perfectly polished gems, there is an exceedingly high chance you will find something astounding and useful herein...and if you're playing Kingmaker (or in the River Kingdoms or a similar environment) this suddenly becomes pretty much a must-own, non-optional supplement to your game. Even if this was a commercial enterprise, it would rate highly in my scale; considering that this very much is a labor of love and FREE is staggering and humbling; to the point where I'd honestly recommend getting the print for this one, provided you can afford it. And if you're not sure...well, you can just download it.

For free.

FREE.

This is a labor of love and a testament to the health and commitment of the community I love. It is my utmost pleasure to rate this 5 stars + seal of approval. Download this ASAP; now. It is worth every KB, ever MB on your hard drive.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here!

Cheers,

Endzeitgeist out.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


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It was a stretchgoal in the first KS - if there is enough demand, there'll be a KS-campaign for book 2, covering alchemical items, energy, magic, etc.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The 5e-version of Tuffy's Good Time Palace is, fluff-wise, pretty identical to the Pathfinder-version: I.e. Tuffy's is still a seedy dump of a bar with an eccentric, female, dwarven barkeep and a somewhat less-than-bright brute at the piano. Scantily-clad women dance here and shady groups, two to be precise, scuttle through the shadows, as a surprising amount of patrons seems to vanish behind a door behind the bar...the set-up of a seedy bar, complete with the chance to contract mild food poisoning has been translated very well into the 5e-rules-frame, with the notable exception of one Wisdom (perception) check that retained the, for 5e rather high DC 15 from its Pathfinder sister file.

The supplement does come with extensive rumors and events to facilitate roleplaying within the context of Tuffy's - each of the respective entries is rather detailed and can be considered a good and rather detailed hook. One of the main draws of the file, though, would be the depiction of the owner, her employees and the two shady groups of people frequenting the establishment.

Here, the change in systems is more pronounced and honestly, it is here that the pdf had its most significant challenge: The PFRPG-builds utilized several rather specific mechanics-combos and translating these in spirit to 5e would not be an easy task. Instead of restricting itself to the class features of the default classes featured in the PHB, the pdf instead opts to go the more interesting way, granting unique features to the respective NPCs.

Tuffy, for example, has several tricks that render her particularly lethal in the environments of her bar, with the big mastermind gaining a unique, charming presence as well as a damn cool BBEG-escape trick. As a whole, the builds provided in this pdf turned out to be pretty intriguing. The fact that the Dire Rugrat-team went one step beyond in these builds is something I really appreciate. Challenges of the NPCs range from 1/2 to 10.

The tavern does come with a serviceable map in b/w, but sand a print-out-sized version or one that is key-less/player-friendly.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, no-frills two-column b/w-standard. It's minimalist and functional - no significant complaints here. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and cartography is nice, particularly in such a low-cost little book. The b/w-artworks are flavorful and nice.

Kelly and Ken Pawlik's 5e-version of Tuffy's, surprisingly, actually turned out to be more interesting to me than its PFRPG-iteration. The characters are pretty cool, though we don't get scaled statblocks for characters in this version. Beyond its colorful characters and nice flavor-text, the pdf des share the lack of a menu or prices with the PFRPG-version and, like it, there is no clear distinction between the introductory prose and the rules-relevant section - generally, the tavern could have used a bit more fleshing out, with the majority of the appeal here stemming from the cool potential of the NPCs and their local color.

Still, this is, ultimately, me complaining at a high level. My final verdict, ultimately, will clock in at 4 stars for this one as well - while it is slightly briefer than the PFRPG-version, it is slightly more creative in my book.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Posted here, on OBS and wherever I could and obviously, first on endzeitgeist.com, GMS magazine and Nerdtrek.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


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Nice review, Eric!! And fyi: This is the rogue-class in my games now. I never looked back. :D


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Nice reviews, Eric and N!


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Steve was one of the reasons I stuck to Pathfinder. This is no hyperbole, this is the truth.

I became a fan of his AE-material back in the day. He was the first publisher to publish my writing, the first man who gave me complimentary copies on a regular basis. He was the one man who continued to provide feedback, who helped me evolve into my own reviewing style. He was the first to tell me that I made a difference with my rambling feedback. He never minced words, but neither did he confuse me as a person with my reviewing "duties"...

His designs have brought countless hours of joy to my table.

But more than that, he always had my back. When I fell upon hard times back in the day, he helped me recover with stern, constructive advice; with an open ear and a big heart. He was not only a publisher and designer I admired, a motor for creative and innovative impulses...to me, he was a friend.

My hands still shake. I still don't want to believe it. I'm stunned.

We have lost a giant. I can only fathom and extrapolate the impact he must have had on those people blessed enough to know him better than I did.

Rest in peace, Steve, and thanks to the Paizo-crew for the entry.
I will never forget you.


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Posted my review of Cults on my site, including a link to the KS, hopefully gathering some last-second interest!


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Updated my review in all places to represent the significantly improved revised edition.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and the usual places.


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If you assume a default of early firearms being available fireworks behave as alchemical weapons, as they are based . That being said, there is a caveat for handgonnes and similar weapons in the lead-in section that discusses availability.

The section on firework weapons (New Firework Weapons) puts them directly in the same category as the fireworks in UE. Hope that helps!


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Revised my review in all the usual places. Feel like a prick for it, but there you go. As a person, I like it less now than before, with the dual forte archetype being imho utterly broken. :/ Didn't penalize it further due to the GREAT revision of the Acrobatics forte and the fact that the update is free. So sorry I couldn't upgrade this to +seal status...I really hoped I could. :(


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Part II of my review:

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good; on a formal level and regarding rules-language, there isn't much to complain apart from a few hiccups. Formatting-wise, the pdf similarly sports a couple of minor issues, with in particular line breaks between abilities not being always clear - one more pass in those two disciplines would have made the book a bit more streamlined. Layout adheres to a nice, two-column full-color standard with branchy-graphic elements based on public domain art in the margin, providing a nice, fitting aesthetics here. The full-color artworks in the book seem to be not only original, they also are rather beautiful. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Oh boy, this was work. But also a rather joyous occasion, at least for me. Why? Because I'm honestly glad Jonathan McAnulty has once again written a big, whopping book. Then, I started thinking about treants and started shuddering. I mean, seriously? How can you maintain their power and evocative tricks and retain a sense of balance? It seems like a losing game, no matter what you do: Get rid of the plant traits and the high-power games while whine; don't get rid of them and the low-powered games will start yelling "unabalnced!". How does this book solve this conundrum? Simple. In the best way possible. It's all in here. Want a high-powered treant? Go for birchwalker. If you're like me and like races to have powers and drawbacks and a unique flair, go for the oakheart. Want a more agile one? Willowkin. Something in line with the core races? Seedling. Better yet, the racial paragon class and archetypes generally sport the "treant"-feeling. They are not simply general archetypes with a racial coat - they feel and play distinctly unique, they are fitting for the races. The cornucopia of supplement information and fluff further enhance this book and render it, as far as player-agenda, table-variation and the pure imaginative potential is concerned, one of my favorites. The mile-mist...the moving of trees...beyond mathfinder abilities (which are there, fret not, my fellow crunchers!), this pdf offers great storytelling devices that may actually be useful above and beyond the limitations of the system. This book codifies what we know of treants from literature and our cultural unconsciousness and provides the definite book on playing the masters of the woods and, personally, my favorite in the whole line alongside the rakshasa-book. That being said, there are a couple of glitches herein, some of which pertain to ability activation and thus, the rules-language. While one can usually glean what they are supposed to be, that does remain as a minor drawback- Mind you, these glitches are few...but they're there.

So...let me reiterate that: As a *person*, I absolutely adore this book, particularly the extensive means to customize treants to make them viable for just about any campaign. As a reviewer, however, I can't let the glitches that are here slide...and thus, I'd arrive at a final verdict of 4.5 stars. I do know, however, that quite a few of you out there tend to share my opinions and prefer evocative, unique options that emphasize a cohesive theme over formal perfection of bland content. Hence, I will round up for the purpose of all the platforms - this pdf has its heart at the right spot and is a fun, great read that will make you want to call forth the shambling, ponderous masters of the forests deep.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted in ath usual places.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to NErdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on OBS.


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Aye, the art in this one was truly impressive and complemented the builds very well!


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I've been horribly busy this week with work and my upcoming birthday; I just wanted to chime in and extend my most heartfelt gratitude to all of you. If this continues, my insane dream will actually become reality...which is pretty much...staggering. OO

So, to all of you...thank you. I take a bow.


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Reveiwed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.


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Dear Fellow Paizonians!

(An apology to the patreons and readers of endzeitgeist.com who will see a variation of this message in their patreon-feed!)

As some of you will know, my financial situation isn't the best - quite frankly, without my patreon, I couldn't do any reviews at all. As in: "I'm working all day to scrape by." The patreon literally keeps the lights on right now.

While my trip to Copenhagen and job application there and at other places (as some of you may know, I've been pretty busy in that regard) *may* remedy that situation, for now, my resources are incredibly stretched; they have been so for quite some time and I'm working hard to change that fact. I don't really talk much about it or advertise much of that aspect of my life since frankly, I'm ashamed of being poor in spite of my qualifications.

Anyways, I am working hard to change that reality, but this post is about something awesome - something that can benefit you:

There's a colossal bundle of AWESOME books gathered together by publishers, authors and friends with one goal: To make it possible for me to actually attend Gencon. The flight is far beyond my capabilities to afford; same goes for the other components associated with attending. It's a long shot, but guess what? You have nothing to lose and the bundle contains some of the most glorious books out there!

AAW Games' "For Rent, Lease & Conquest"; Fro God Games' legendary "Cyclopean Deeps"-saga; Rite Publishing's "Breaking of Forstor Nagar" & "Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler"; Kobold Press' "Courts of the Shadow Fey"; Everyman Gaming's legendary "Ultimate Charisma"; Legendary Games' glorious grimoires and must-own "Mythic Solutions"; Rogue Genius Games' classic make-Bravery-suck-no-more "Bravery Feats" and "Hellfire Magic"; the glorious "Pixies on Parade" by Playground Adventures; LPJ Design's awesome Ultronesque Cyrix - and that's not even close to everything in the bundle! Notice something? These are pretty much crème-de-la-crème of files, the top-tier-OMG-must-have-books.

And yes, when I got back from my trip and saw this, I actually teared up!

So take a look at those gems and the HUGE discounted bundle of awesome material here.

If you just want to get me to Gencon and don't care about those awesome books (or already have them), you can actually donate here on OBS via Pay what you want - so yeah, if this works out, I may actually be able to *finally* meet some of you awesome folks in person and roll the bones with you! Finally, if you dislike OBS, you can also directly donate here on paypal!

I'd certainly love to talk shop with you all and talk to you fine folks in person!

Thank you for reading this. And to all the publishers that contributed to the bundle and everything -I'm absolutely blown away. Words fail to properly encapsulate what I'm feeling right now. Roleplayers are simply stellar people. Thank you.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Indeed - one of the most impressive components of the module lies in the variation of tempo and genre Starfall offers! I certainly hope that my review will make a couple of people check out this module!


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

And now for something *completely* different - this book clocks in at 92 pages. While I do own the electronic versions, I'd suggest getting the print version if you can - mainly since I'm old-school and have based this review on the print copy.

This book was moved up in my review queue due to me receiving a print copy of the book in exchange for a critical, unbiased review.

Okay, so what is this? It is, at least to me as a German, a piece of gaming arcana: Back in the 3.X days of old, there was a Living campaign of organized play called Living Greyhawk, shaping the classic world, with different regions sporting different adventures. During the impressive 8-year run of Living Greyhawk, the region Bandit Kingdoms produced more than 130 unique modules. These modules, to my knowledge, have never been published in a concise form, which renders a part of this region's turbulent history...opaque.

Well, no longer. The bandit kingdoms in their diversity are laid open in this book's summaries and depictions. Okay, but why should you care? Well, let me elaborate for a second my own personal stance towards Greyhawk. I know this is tantamount to blasphemy, but here goes: I was never the biggest fan of the setting. Sure, I was pretty excited to get to know the place Mordenkainen called home, where Vecna and Kas feuded...but ultimately, the 3 settings I truly loved from the classic TSR/WotC-IPs will always be Ravenloft, Planescape and Dark Sun. Perhaps it's my own predilection for darker fantasy and horror and the weird fiction in general, perhaps it's just a resonance of the disillusion that accompanied many a book and gaming-supplement for 3.X's FRs and the mounting feeling that this world needed no heroes. I'm not sure. But at the end of the 3.X era, I had the feeling that the realms had devolved into a mess, where every hamlet had a level 16 blacksmith. It's subjective. I still like the realms...but from afar. It should hence come as no surprise that I never went truly deep inside the Greyhawk's canon's evolution during these times.

Turns out that that was a colossal mistake. The flair and old-school vibe of a world close to the brink, with mature shades of grey mentalities and ideologies, the sense of threats I enjoy in offerings by Raging Swan Press, Frog God Games or TPK Games can be found within these pages - as the introduction aptly puts it "I had to save the bad guys from the other PCs." In the Iuz-dominated and war-torn bandit kingdoms, royals are forged by tourneys of madness, taking the crown may spell your doom and heroism has still its place, although it's tinted with a healthy dose of survivalism and realpolitik. From 591 - 598, this book chronicles the adventures that were undertaken by countless players, shaping the destiny of the bandit kingdoms in struggles that deviate from the tired challenge-rating-appropriate-formula in quite a few instances, breathing a sense of old-school danger that has been absent in far too many publications. A handy index sums up the respective scenarios by year for your convenience and we also get a glimpse behind the screen, wherein author Casey Brown, one of the meta-organization coordinators, discusses the respective issues with scenario designs and encounter design problems that resulted from some...well, let's say less than well-conceived design decisions that were imposed on the respective authors.

Now here is the interesting component - this massive book provides a comprehensive list of extensive summaries for all those aforementioned modules. The respective modules come with their own designation, the name of the author and list the AP they are associated with - with AP here denoting the sequence of modules that form a cohesive story, not the "whole campaign"-meaning the term has lately taken as its primary meaning. Each of the respective modules comes with a synopsis of the plot as well as a commentary.

Here would be as good a place as any to talk about Casey Brown's obvious experience in academia: From informative and properly placed footnotes to an easy to read, compelling style, what should by all accounts have been a pretty dry read actually became rather engrossing and kept me awake at night while digesting all the information contained herein - also from a mechanical standpoint, for e.g. calling out the Spell compendium (still hurts to type that book's very name). And yes, these tangents are brief, but their very existence is something I truly appreciate. Additionally, if that sound tiring or bland to you, the respective entries often feature extensive commentary that satisfy another craving of the conditio humana we experience: The human element. When e.g. a knight has won a crown as part of his retirement and steps down in favor of his competitor, only to have said competitor be soultrapped by the vile opposition, you can practically see the tables upon tables of players staring in utter disbelief. When an arrogant player's letter results in him becoming part of the metaplot, when a dwarf's famous last stand becomes a symbol for heroism in a region known for cut-throat politics, betrayal and dishonor - then the knowing roleplaying veteran nods and realizes that there are some stories that are only written in our medium, at least in the extent and impact they have on lives and collective ideologies shifting.

The compelling and intelligently-crafted political landscape of the bandit kingdoms, slowly unraveling before my eyes, complete with a powerful (almost) undefeated dragon, a kind of elder evil and Iuz' nigh-unstoppable forces ultimately provides a truly compelling insight into a whole campaign's worth of material, with a massive list of adventures by associated AP and a timeline that chronicles the events by year from CY 576 onward, this book offers a fascinating insight into the rich landscape of this region.

Beyond that, the pdf also offers intriguing miscellanea: Including favorite quotes...and they are hilarious: "You say medusa, I say artist." DM: "You hear a bloodcurdling scream from down the hallway." Player of a rogue: " I Take 10 searching the square in front of me." "We have two kinds of heroes: dead ones and...we have one kind of hero, actually." This book ends with a list of those who served as triad and Iuz circle members.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no glitches of hiccups. The book's layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting stock art. One thing that may annoy you is the tendency to have a blank page at the end of a chapter, but that's about it regarding complaints in formal criteria. The electronic version comes in three formats: Pdf, EPUB and MOBI and the print and the classic cover style, with the book sporting the 8 x 02 x 10 inch-dimensions. The pdf, in a minor complaint, is not bookmarked, which is a bit jarring. The paper used in the print does its job regarding its thickness and consistency.

Okay, so why should you care about a by now non-existent, discontinued living campaign? The obvious reason would be nostalgia on part of the participants...but that alone does not do the job. More important, for me as a reviewer is that this book made me actually want to participate in organized play. Pretty much for the first time. I'm not a fan of formulaic or necessarily "Balanced" or "fair" modules - I want a compelling, evolving world and this is a truly astounding glimpse right into such a world. I am neither a big fan of Arcanis, nor of the Pathfinder Society or Greyhawk, as a setting for that matter. But damn, I want to play this. Had I lived in Texas and Oklahoma during this campaign's run, I probably wouldn't have missed a single adventure. The picture painted vividly in this chronicle is that of a campaign that is mature, compelling and dynamic. Beyond the knowledge on the formal aspects conveyed herein, this can be considered to be one of the most compelling takes on roleplaying history I have ever read - and it is an inspiring book. I put this book down and started scribbling scenario-ideas and campaign seeds right of the bat - so even if you are not at all interested in Greyhawk, bandit kingdoms or anything like that, you still get a lot of mileage out of this book.

Casey Brown, Britt Frey and Austin "Theo" Judd have crafted a thoroughly unique document that has its special place of honor on my bookshelf - whether for the Lost Lands, the anarchic regions of Golarion or any other campaign setting, really - this book has a ton to offer for people who don't care about Greyhawk at all. An inspired chronicle that got me excited, a book that is testament to the fact that major story-changes by players can and should happen in living campaigns, a book that does show that there is fun to be had in darker settings and dangerous challenges - what more can you want? This is an inexpensive, awesome book and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and amazon.com.

Oh, one thing: Before anyone flags this as in wrong forum: This very much works with PFRPG, being mostly about the ideas and the structure, hence why I posted this here as opposed to the "Other RPG"s-section.

Endzeitgeist out.


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@wraithguard: People can roll their eyes all they want, but the buoyancy and depth tolerance rules really made my day when I first read them. I totally get it... XD


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@Mosaic: Same thing happened to me; but unlike Throne of Night, they at least were open about everything and explained it. *AND* the KS was intended, from the get-go to keep them in business, not grab products, so at least for my part, I'm glad the ultimate goal there succeeded. I won'T lie, I was somewhat annoyed as well, but in the end, the qualitatively high follow-up books made it worthwhile for me.


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You're welcome, Jason! Modules like this are what makes reviewing fun and worthwhile. :)


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Aye, but you *can* do that potentially; as mentioned, in my test, the PCs considered them a threat ("You're not colonizing ANY planet!"), but the ally angle works as well. I was particularly interested how the module begins intentionally as "generic adventurer sidequest xyz" and then completely flips the expectations. So yeah, this played rather well. And, as always, thanks for the kind words, Eric! :D


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Seconded, fwiw! WoT is damn cool and more would always be cool!


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Wraithguard, for what it's worth Cerulean Seas is an EZG Essential book; that means I consider it a must-have in all of my campaign for the inevitable underseas adventuring. I haven't regretted having a single book from the product line. They're worth their normal price (and owning them in print); at the reduced price, they are a steal.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted ehre, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop and amazon.com.


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They are, Eric! That's the beauty of this book! Demons feel like demons, not just stats that bash you. They are delightfully despicable and dark...and boyo, WotR should use these as a default...then the campaign (and with path of Villains) doesn't devolve into insta-gibbbing after book II...


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Aye, the review will hit Paizo et al tomorrow. :)

And thanks for the kind words, Tom!

Eric: I'm currently knee-deep in a big 5e-conversion job, a big PFRPG-dev-job with lots of complex statblocks and obviously I strive to maintain reviewing at my usual frequency I also had the most important assessment center test of my life on Tuesday (keep your fingers crossed for me!) and...then there's real life concerns. So yeah, crazy busy, but not necessarily in a bad way.


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Yep, the simplified practical pack table seems to have a glitch there - base DCs moved to the weight column (so yeah, 10 for good, 5 for superior), displacing, oddly, the standard weight value for the superior backpack - which is, as you've correctly surmised, 50 lbs.


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS as well as amazon.com.


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LG does not own AAW Games; The chief of LG is Jason Nelson, the master of AAW is Jonathan G. Nelson, same last name, but completely different people. As far as I know, adventures are just as expensive and generally have thinner profit margins than e.g. crunch-options. That being said, I hope Alluria can continue producing material - I supported their last KS and would love to see some modules in Cerulean Seas.

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