It always bugged me that sorcerors get one ability suite and then have to stick to it - the same with oracles. Don't get me wrong, I love both classes and talented alternatives would be a serious challenge - especially sans losing the fluffy focus on a theme...
Also: +1 for the Samurai - the class has seen enxt to no support and could use some additional oomph!
If I may, I hear both of you, Jason and BlackKestrel and I think both of you have valid points.
If I may just add my 2 cents:
As far as I've understood, LG is not trying to compete with Paizo - and let's be honest - competing with them in ALL areas just isn't doable. Instead, LG opted to actually provide supplemental material for Paizo-APs - which imho is a smart move.
Now in order to ensure their products can be used thusly, layout, editing (!!!), art etc. has to adhere to Paizo's standards - which are insanely high and one of the reasons why I continue buying their stuff. Now this level of quality paired with a smaller audience also means that necessarily, the prices will be higher than for products of other 3pps of a comparable length. I think of them as premium-products, especially since so far, LG has failed to truly disappoint me even once - which is quite a feat. In the range of modules, BlackKestrel can compare them, but since LG's modules are expansions to APs, I'm not sure whether just comparing them with regular Paizo-modules is fair to either - they do something different, after all: One is an original story, the other essentially a bonus-chapter.
So yeah. I think that while some people might be scared away by the price, e.g. the grimoire-series (imho VERY fairly priced!) brings something new to the table at a very high level of quality and that seems to be worth something for a couple of folks, me included. I'm currently struggling with my finances and thus, yes, the price-point hurts, but I don't consider the pricing unjustified for the bang-for-buck-ratio and have yet to regret a purchase of an LG-product. Everyone is free to disagree, of course and I don't mean to offend anyone here.
Now the direct comparison of cents per word, at least imho, is actually hurting LG - I get what you're trying to say, but by opening a direct comparison, you put yourselves on the same level with Paizo, which, as seen above, is problematic at best, also since most your products tend to be VERY crunch-heavy, whereas e.g. Player's Companions offer a lot of fluff - yes, they are pretty and useful and have improved as a line, but they are not particularly meaty. (And there are some none too impressive pieces of content I banned... *cough* Deadly Snowball-Spells *cough*) Not trying to bash on Paizo here, just trying to put things in perspective - we are comparing apples and oranges here. I think there is another range than art, price etc. to compete here and that this is why LG works - ideas.
In the end, I consider the roleplaying games industry to be a market determined in large amounts by good ideas, codified in a common language, the rules, that has to be mastered - and if one sees ideas one might enjoy, then one can get them, expand them etc. Personally, I buy for them, not (exclusively) page-count. Quality trumps quantity - to speak with books: I'd rather read a gripping 80-page novella than a 2000-page snorefest with two exciting chapters. If one company continues to deliver the RPG-equivalent of "War and Peace" and marries quality with quantity - awesome! But not required.
Now don't get me wrong - you do have a point here - I have in the past and will continue to do so, complain if I feel the bang-for-buck-ratio is off when compared to other 3pps - but it's more than sheer number of pages that count.
Oh, one final thing, if I may voice a humble request: Please let's not start another "Why our products cost X but our competitor's cost Y"-discussion. I don't have fond memories of the last one...
Thanks for the attention and sorry for the rambling tangent, again, sorry if I came off as belittling or abrasive - it was neither my intent or purpose.
Hej Eric! Thanks for your kind words - I actually do read your reviews, by the way, and consider them well-written and trustworthy, for what that's worth. :)
Regarding Incantations: They are essentially a system of ritual magic that allows anyone to use magic - but unreliably so and at a price.
The basic rules can be picked up for a measly two bucks here. (And ALL of my campaigns feature these since I stumbled across them - they made my Top Ten list of 2010. It's also quite hilarious: "The wizard MUST be behind the the recent extraplanar incursions..." - And then watch PCs gasp in disbelief when the commoner widow was behind it all...)
If you want some sample incantations cut out for you, there's also a bigger book that has some Dark Tapestry/Slavic Folklore/Voodoo-themed incantations ready, I'd suggest this one -it contains the aforementioned pdf as well.
From what I could glean of your taste, I'm willing to bet you'll like them!
Tales of the Old Margreve and several other Kobold Press-products (like Northlands) also feature incantations, so it's not a one-product-then-forget-deal.
@Caedwyr; I don't have Ultimate Campaign yet (can't afford it this month) - so I can't comment on what/whether that book brings something to the table regarding characters and settlement-improvement, but of all products I've read, this is the first that has a settlement-improving ability - so yeah, I consider it quite unique. ^^
If you have the archetype done and feel like sharing, I'd eb interested in it - I'm currently building a Puppetmaster/Marionette-monk (Wayang-monk archetype I use for other races as well - Amazing Races: Wayang)- monastery serving the Penumbral Pentagon and your archetype sounds just like a cool addition! :D
An Endzeitgeist.com review
This pdf is 4 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover (with a sketch by Wayne Reynolds!!!), 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 1/3 of a page content, so let's take a look!
The dragon has raided the village, the orc-horde has rampaged through the town, the necromancer-king is ravaging the country-side or the insane druid has conjured forth tornados and tidal waves - business as usual for adventurers: They set off, kill the bad guy and there - all well! Well, not in my game. I always considered it weird that there was no repercussion for the people - beyond a motive for closure/revenge - what help is it to a town if the PCs kill threat xyz, but they'll still starve?
Enter this cavalier order, which is not about killing baddies, but about HELPING people. You know, doing something that's actually GOOD. The merciful cousins get heal and knowledge (engineering) as bonus class skills and may use the latter untrained - and if the cavalier actually has ranks in the skill, s/he can substitute Craft (Masonry/Carpentry) and Profession (Engineer) for Knowledge (engineering). When issuing challenges, allies within 60 ft. get a +1 bonus to AC and allies with significantly less HD than you get a more substantial AC-bonus. Additionally, such cavaliers may expend one use of a healer's kit as a standard action to restore one hit point to a dying creature, thus saving it. Treating deadly wounds is still possible after benefiting from this usage of the heal-skill. As beacons of hope, they may also reroll saves versus despair, fear and similar negative emotion-inducing effects with a neat +4 bonus.
So far, so good - but where the class starts rocking VERY hard is with the Architect of Improvement-ability: It allows the cavalier to devise an improvement plan for a given settlement by succeeding at a knowledge (engineering)-check that is determined by a settlements size. Properly implementing the improvement plan can be done with or without the cavalier and takes DC minus 10 months, but every day the cavalier helps counts as two for the purpose of when the plan is ready - its aftermath netting a new settlement quality. The settlements maximum number of qualities can thus even exceed its usual limit by 1. Additionally, settlements can thus modify one of their modifiers (like crime, lore, etc.) by 1 - upwards or downwards. Settlements may only implement one such plan per year, though.
But that's not all you can do with the ability! Creating shelters etc. at half the time and improving strongholds at cost are also possible! And to provide something even cooler, we also get 5 new beneficial settlement qualities: Defensible, Good Roads, Planned Community, Therapeutic and Well-educated - awesome!
Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed a missing blank space, no glitch impeded my understanding of the pdf. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column horizontal standard and the cover artwork is awesome. The pdf even comes with bookmarks, in spite of its short length - commendable indeed!
Well, usually, I would complain about the product's length - but this is a charity product, as all benefits are donated to the red cross relief funds to help the victims of disasters. And it actually doesn't feel like just some cheap charity product - it actually provides the coolest cavalier order I've seen so far - unique abilities, balanced crunch and an option to make a difference in the lives of the people of the campaign world as well as an option to actually do some good in real life? Hell yeah! Now don't get me wrong, I'd recommend this pdf even if it wasn't a charity product - but SGG's quality combined with the good cause? A must-buy and an easy verdict of 5 stars plus seal of approval.
Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here as well as on OBS. Cheers!
It's a completely different system - Mediums are special spellcasters that use spell-like abilities less based on individual spirits, more on general themes (like hell, heavens, seelie etc.). Covenant-Magic per se is feat-based, i.e. available to anyone and is more akin to deals you might know from e.g. the Dresden-file books. Where Pact Magic Unbound focuses on individual spirits and temporarily utilizing their power, I see covenant magic more as a semi-permanent system of allegiances with corresponding benefits.
Due to this distinction, at least at my table, there never was any confusion on the side of the players. I made Pact Magic the "pro-version" of dealing with otherworldly beings, whereas Covenant Magic represents more or less the dabblers - the medium being the exception to the rule and considered an agent of the forces beyond.
Hope that helps!
Kolokotroni - it's 6 (3+Int-mod) rounds, for 2d4 assuming Int 16 - slower, but more. And it's reliable damage that can't be saved/ACed against. While it does not destroy encounters, e.g. traditional low level bosses like shadows (incorporeal!) and high AC bandit lords (or just guys using smart concealment/terrain - I actually did playtest that one...) get blasted - which wouldn't be bad, after all, it rewards the class for conserving resources. What made me consider this class broken at low levels is that the Battle Scion can blast RELIABLE damage better than sorc, wizards and witches (which have already a tough time shining in battle at low levels) AND fight almost on par with regular martial classes. At ~level 5-6, the class works just fine and the problem disappears and hence I didn't want to give an impression of the Battle Scion being bad, but, at least to me, this is overpowered in a certain level-range.
And yes, I've had a Revised (I didn't have the original Vanguard class)Vanguard - but in contrast to the Battle Scion, one could simply disarm her/steal the weapon etc. and bam - no more blasting. Additionally, the Vanguard doesn't get full BAB, but 3/4 BAB-progression and no heavy armor proficiency at first level...so yeah. The Vanguard could be defused - not easily, but it is possible and the Vanguard doesn't shine as much in the martial side - send a disarm/high AC-opponent versus a Vanguard and watch the character weep - do the same versus a Battle Scion and get an unerring force blast in your face and after that, face a full BAB-combatant in good armor... The Battle Scion can't be defused, there is no Achilles heel to exploit/serve as a minor balancing factor.
And no, I was referring to a regular Battle Scion - I will NEVER allow an archetype that can deal almost unnegatable damage AND pull off combat maneuvers without fear of repercussion anywhere near my table - the Forceblaster won't be seeing any action on the player-side - and as a DM, I don't know - only if I'm feeling particularly cheap.
Hope that helps making my reasoning clear! Cheers!
I always appreciate your insightful comments, civil nature and mostly great design. Part of the reason why this review took so long was because I wanted to try out the BS in playtest on 1st level - and while, if your group is high-powered, it might not be an issue, for some groups outblasting the sorc with almost guaranteed damage, at least at low levels, is a massive issue - at least in my group high-AC bosses were WIPED by the battle scion alone, when usually multiple front-line warriors would have had a tough fight - and that, to me is a balance-concern.
Not for every group, but for some. Hence my verdict.
Thanks for all your kind words and keep up the great design - I'm still extremely stoked for Sunken Pyramid! :D