An Endzeitgeist.com review
The first player faction-offering for the Vathak-setting is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!
Player faction? Well, yes, for this is more than an organization - devoted to the Book of Black Earth, an ancient tome of cataclysmic prophecies unearthed from ruins led to genesis of a secret organization - on available for PCs, though personally, I'D rather suggest this ephemeral cabal more as antagonists. But more on that later:
Drawing in a cool professional way on how factions in Golarion are presented, we get the basic faction rules regarding prestige explained to us before we delve into the order's history and rather disturbing indoctrination rituals. A long and concise list of benefits depending on TPA and CPA (total and current prestige awards) are there and offer some intriguing options - amongst other to exchange character traits for the two new faction-specific traits provided in the pdf - both of which come with a nice fluff and mechanics I can't and won't complain about. Suggested classes and 4 new feats are also part of what the order has to offer - including one that allows the user to 3/day cast the message spell as a spell-like ability, but only t contact other order members - a powerful tool for shadowy conspiracies indeed. The feats are solid in presentation and while spells are not in italics, the fluff and ideas make up for this minor shortcoming by oozing flair.
2 new spells also complement this faction, one that deals damage and infects with a more powerful type of Borer Worm (a CR 1 acid-oozing parasite-worm introduced in these pages as well) and a spell that conjures up an area of writhing, shadowy, con-draining tentacles. Aforementioned Borer Worms are also provided equipment style stats and we get one damn cool poison: By extracting tainted earth from the dread pit of decay (a mobile, gory, maw-like appendage that shows itself annualy and is tied to the Old One of the cult), the order may create a potent toxin by mixing the soiled earth with blood. This location is not the only special one sacred to the order - there are also the Worm Ways, hidden and weird tunnels that serve as twisted smuggle-ways. A special celebration, a holiday if you will, the so-called Worm-Solstice is provided as well in a compelling, twisted write-up.
Among the creatures, apart from the Borer Worm, we also get the Crawling putrescence and a sample CR 8 mastermind of the cult.
Editing and formatting are very good - apart from some minor aesthetic glitches like aforementioned italics-bungle I didn't notice any glitch that would have impeded my enjoyment of this pdf. The layout adheres to Vathak's beautiful 2-column standard and the artworks are nice indeed, especially for such an inexpensive publication. On the downside, we don't get any bookmarks, which is a minor bummer.
Wow! Kudos to the Fat Goblins! This pdf for the Vathak setting is not only a great cult for the setting, but for any setting really - DMs seeking to flesh out the Age of Worms or those using Morithal (from Clockwork Gnome Publishing's excellent pdf) should definitely get this as a means to further flesh out the cults. The prestige benefits and iconic locales and rites add further flair to a presentation of a thoroughly twisted cabal that should strike a chord with all DMs that like their fantasy dark and twisted. An enjoyable read for a fair price indeed and well worth 5 stars - me omitting my seal of approval only because of the minor glitches and lack of bookmarks.
I won't lie, it's quite a lot - and I told Christina I wouldn't want e.g. two other candidates have to not go just to fly me in. Hence, I might be considered the final stretch-goal, I guess.
If I take a cheap flight, we'd still be talking ~ $1700 for the flight + hotel. And I'd still be paying for hotel costs and food as much as I can realistically pay, i.e. about $400.
Thanks for asking!
With my head in my pdfs, I almost didn't notice - it's this time of the year again, when humble me takes a short, goth-related vacation to Leipzig.
I'll return on Tuesday and reviewing duties will commence as usual - with a bang and 5 new ones and me hopefully motivated as heck.
That being said, I didn't want you guys to have no new reviews, so I dug in my pile and took 4 drafts of very good, appropriately dark-themed pdfs and posted them on my site.
Furthermore, I'd like to draw your attention to a worthy cause: Christina Stiles spearheads an indiegogo-campaign to get writers to Gen Con - and yes, grandmaster crunch Owen K.C. Stephens is part of the group. Oh, and humble ole' me is a stretch-goal.
So if you ever wanted to punch me in the face for shredding your products, buy me a drink, talk to me about design, riddle me with questions on the world of 3pps or campaigns, on my house-rules, character-deaths madness-system etc. - this might make exactly that possible.
Oh, and I actually have a seal and way, so if you really want a real life seal of approval, I'd bring that along. :)
Thanks for the attention, ladies and gentlemen, I'll see you on Tuesday (and possibly at Gencon)!
My post wasn't intended as a sting and I hope it didn't come across like one - but I think judging an encounter as if it were a module is a bit like complaining about a lack of new monsters in an installment of dungeon dressing.
To me, encounters are not side-treks, but much like random encounters, slightly more fleshed out mini-scenarios to throw at PCs during other quests/down-times - essentially set-ups that can devolve into fighting or work as social interaction. I saw this is a backdrop to throw at PCs and watch them interact with - much like the traveling tiefling-merchant with his bodyguards or the hill giant dozing of his hangover, to name two of my all-time favorites, this encounter can go in any direction a DM endeavors to take it. (My players actually managed to bypass one drunk giant by providing an anti-head-ache medicine...)
That being said, if you do rate it as a module, I can get where your criticism comes from. I am not questioning your integrity or complaining, mind you, so please don't take this the wrong way. I value your opinion and consider your reasoning, if one subscribed to your premise, valid. In this instance, my understanding of what constitutes an encounter differs, though and, no offense, in my highly subjective point of view, judging a product according to the premises/requirements of another type of product is problematic at best.
I do value your reviews highly and even if we do disagree on this one, I'll continue to gladly read any review you post. I just wanted to make my rating and how I arrived at it clear.
An Endzeitgeist.com review
This FREE pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Th pdf kicks off by introducing us to a new magical quality called “mirrored” that does not increase an item’s magical bonus, but only its base price. For every plus the weapon has, it gets 13 charges and upon using a spell-like ability, the weapon loses one of said charges. Every 13 charges that are depleted cost the magical item one of its +1 enhancements. This additional power is considered as being an item incorporated into the weapon price-wise. Furthermore, when two mirrored weapons clash, both abilities are activated without depleting a charge – otherwise, the activation is dependant on activation triggers that vary by weapon. Finally, mirrored weapons net bonuses when nearby allies also wield mirrored weapons and count as cold iron for the purpose of DR.
The first item provided is Cyrekksi’s Mirrored Spear, a +2 spear that protects the wielder with 1d4+2 mirror image upon botching an attack. These duplicates last 8 minutes or until hit.
Marizz’s Mirrored Club is a +2 club that may, upon striking a foe with a DR of a specific type, up to 2/day cast versatile weapon with a duration of 8 minutes – per se a cool idea, but does versatile weapon apply to the strike that prompted it or to the next one? Also, the charges of this one are unrefillable in contrast to the mirrored spear – a somewhat odd decision: Either make them all unrechargeable (would make sense to me) or make them all rechargeable.
The final weapon provided is the shortsword of enlarging diminishment, a +1 keened[sic!] shortsword (should be keen) – when wielded by a gnome or halfling, the sword may 1/day affect foes subject to a crit with reduce person, while the wielder benefits from an enlarge person. Unfortunately, the DC of this very specific ability is fixed at DC 14, meaning that the weapon will stop being useful fast.
The final 6 pages are devoted to providing versions of the items for 3×4 index cards and 4×6 index cards.
Editing and formatting is good, but not perfect – I noticed a couple of different minor glitches. Layout adheres to a full color standard with a parchment-style background that renders the pdf not particularly printer-friendly. Each weapon comes with its own artwork – and when taking into account that this pdf is FREE, the quality of them is actually rather nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length needs none. More significant is the absence of a proper SRD, which might prove to be problematic in the long run for the company.
This pdf actually offers some nice magical weapons with uncommon mechanics and solid fluff to back them up, though the club could use some minor clarification and the short-sword’s fixed DC and very specific activation conditions mean that that one becomes mostly useless fast, though it’s concept is ok. Personally, I prefer scaling DCs that keep items relevant.
That being said, while not perfect, author Mike Myler has created a solid pdf for FREE and even if you don’t use the items, at least you get some artworks to show players – all in all, this is a solid offering that is FREE and as such is definitely worth a read and the space on your HD. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.
This pdf is FREE but can't currently be purchased here and linking would be bad form.
I told myself I wouldn't do it. I told myself no more kickstarters for 3 months. I said I wouldn't do it, since my budget these days is next to non-existent and my bank-account weeps tears of blood every time is use an ATM-machine...
I caved in harder than a cave subjected to the tender caresses of a kobold demolition-team.
Pledged for print.
EDIT: On another note: I really hope you'll get an editor for ToN - the one thing not 100% glorious with WotW were the few glitches and typos that snuck in here and there.
I'm missing the ECS-series and like that Haiku of Horrors goes into that direction.
Personally, I'm not that into even more races/feats, though once in a while, some good ones still pop up.
What I like are complex options or those that cover gaps in the system - like your recent supplement on curses, Interjection Games +0 modifiers etc.
I've been hoping for a full-blown Kaidan player's guide, a HotJO-setting-book etc.
For the 30-series, I'd love to see incantations get some love.
With Ultimate Campaign coming up - supplemental rules for kingdom-building, temple organizing, mass combat and all the rest.
Vehicles + Vehicle-templates.
Options for hero points.
And I'd LOVE to get a Rituals of Choice/ Diamond Throne-conversion to Pathfinder.
I'd also love someone tackle monster-climbing rules/skill-gambits in battle à la Iron Heroes.
Mechas. We need Mechas in PFRPG.
What I could think of at the top of my head!
Radiance House + Dreamscarred Press - No regular magic, only psionics + Pact Magic would be an awesome concept for a setting. However, I'd first love to see MORE Pact Magic - say 2 -3 books? Now? *looks around* Damn, why doesn't my Reality Revision-power work? ;)
And I think Christina is on to something - personally, I loved the interlink-system and I think two publisher-crossovers that tie to together might work very well...