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An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This collection of items clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content. Now, as always, there is a lot of content within these pages, courtesy of Legendary Games consumer-friendly layout, so let’s take a look!
On the first pages, we have a list of all the items featured within this pdf, listed by price for your convenience, but before we dive into the specifics, let’s start with the new special weapon properties featured within. There are two ones that have a +1 equivalent, the first of which would be deceptive. This one adds twice the weapons enhancement bonus to Stealth and Sleight of Hand checks to keep it hidden from prying eyes, and similarly, the bonus is added to the DC of Diplomacy or Heal checks made to gather information about it – big kudos for taking that investigative aspect into account. Additionally, when striking a flat-footed or unaware target, a glamour is implanted that scrambles divinations pertaining the attack, serving as a misdirection, save that the wielder gets to decide the false information. This is genius. I mean it. This weapon quality alone may be worth getting the pdf for. This provides so many truly evocative and complex investigation angles, I can’t even begin to list them all. Easily one of my favorite special abilities for a weapon ever.
Partisan weapons are attuned to a city, nation, etc., and if the wielder is a member of this group, she receives a +4 insight bonus to Bluff, Disguise and Sleight of Hand to conceal it from members of other nations, cities, etc. On a critical hit versus a flat-footed humanoid member of another nation, that target must succeed a Will save or be shaken for 1 minute. The wielder also receives a +2 bonus to confirm critical hits versus other such members of different nations. The attuned nation, city state, etc. must be determined upon creation. Another winner in my book! The third one would be a +2 special ability, namely treasonous, which is basically the upgraded version of partisan, increasing its enhancement bonus by +2 versus members of other nations and +1d6 damage, which is not multiplied on a critical hit. It also makes the Sense Motive DC to determine lying etc. harder. Okay these latter two are amazing once you think about it – what they mean for nations and how they work, how that can influence the game – impressive indeed.
Beyond these, we also 4 armors and one specific shield. The first armor would be the crypt warden’s plate, which prevents the wearer from being raised from the dead; it’s also deathless and shows the difference between good and bad item design: In another book, the armor would just detect undead by some means. Here, however, the armor actually describes *how* it reacts to nearby undead – cold, glow, etc. – this adds a tangible sense of the magical here. The lavishly-illustrated hauberk-in-motley is so light, it does not penalize Acrobatics with the armor check penalty. Additionally, as a standard action, the wearer may make a Perform (comedy) check to fascinate nearby targets if they fail their save. A hex-caveat prevents abuse, and the armor provides synergy with the fascinate bardic performance for hideous laughter 3/day, and characters skilled in Perform (comedy) can allow for the increase of the save DCs. Quickchange studded leather is amazing: It can be donned quickly and may be loosened as part of making an Escape Artist check. Love this one! The scale of endless bureaucracy has 25 scales that may be removed, transforming into sheets of paper. 10 of these may be used to create perfect copies of nonmagical text. There also are scales that can transcribe spoken words. The transcribed request can then be forced upon recipients, compelling them to fulfill the requests. The final scales allow for the creation of compelling forgeries and the wearer’s skills pertaining law etc. are greatly enhanced. An utterly inspired armor here, one that feels truly evocative. The shield I noted would be the roofrunner’s buckler, which may be placed on the ground. A creature that’s not too heavy may place it on the ground and have it levitate short distances. Really cool!
The pdf also includes three specific weapons: The captive blade can be used freely while entangled or grappled, and is particularly potent when wielded against restraints, manacles, etc. The forgetful sap can add memory lapse to attacks, with a save to negate. The DC is higher for unaware targets. Creatures not armored too well can also be touch attack memory lapse’d. Thirdly, the nightwatch crossbow has a darkvision glass scope and may 1/day fire a daylight bolt. Cool.
The pdf contains 4 different rings: The diplomat’s signet is a low cost skill boost stacking with the other two diplomat’s items. These are wondrous items that also enhance diplomacy and net different Knowledge boosts. While I like sets, this one is, compared to the other items herein, not particularly interesting and doesn’t net anything unique beyond stacking bonuses.
The ring of erudite alacrity consists of 3 rings, and spinning the gold band lets you perfectly memorize one area or up to 1000 words of text, for 24 hours. This is perfectly codified. The platinum band allows for quicker spell research, magical crafting and locating written information – and yes, the item does take losing and retaking the item into account regarding total duration calculation! The final band provides a short-term initiative, Ref-save and AC-boost. Ring of the treacherous advisor mirrors the alignment of casters attempting to discern the wearer’s alignment; the second ability allows the wearer to lie even in magical zones. The scabbard ring can hold a weapon in tattoo form on the forearm of the wearer.
The pdf also contains a new rod, the heartstone rod, which nets blindsense – by virtue of hearing creature heartbeats! It also can affect targets with the curse of the tell-tale heart, making targets that lie or attempt to stretch the truth suffer from racing heartbeats and become both fatigued and shaken. So cool! The wondrous items with include the bracelets of freedom and are super tough to notice, netting the wearer a massive +20 bonus to hide them from inspection. These enhance Escape Artist, and, as a swift action, all but guarantee escape from manacles and similar restraints, making is a great item when attempting an extraction of a target of an infiltration under the guide of having been caught. The bracers also allow you to make inspection seem like you’re still restrained. Cool one! Candles of the sacrament blesses those nearby and may affect evil targets nearby with bane. Okay one, I guess. Chain caltrops are magical, cause bleeding damage, entangle like tanglefoot bags and are reusable. For 600 gp, certainly worth getting! Cool one!
The pdf also includes two stylish pieces of headwear – the cheater’s hat makes the target super lucky in games of chance, with suitable rules-representations of the effects and some nice storytelling potential. As an item for the crooked, the pilferer’s gloves complement it and have a built-in set of masterwork thieves’ tools and, beyond enhancing Sleight of Hand and Stealth used to steal or the steal maneuver, it also alerts the wielder of magical alarms and the like and may be used to dispel such effects. During Disable Device checks, the gloves can also shroud the wearer in silence. With the threefold knocker glove, you may knock on a door and emerge from another unlocked door within the same building or 100 ft. With three knocks, you can even bring allies with you. Love it! And if someone catches you – well, there’s always the toxic scabbard for light weapons, which can bypass detection and becomes even more useful for those with the poison use ability.
The second hat would be the detective’s cap, which enhances Perception and Sense Motive and allows for tracking In cities via Knowledge (local) – fun twist there! If you’re wearing that cap, you may also be interested in the mark of the authority, a badge that enhances your own CMB and that of nearby allies with a couple of fitting 1/day spells. With the inspector’s bullhorn you WILL be hear – it basically acts as a megaphone. It helps to Intimidate those in the cone, and the horn enhances the DC of sonic-based effects channeled through it. It also can 3/day greater command/greater forbid action, as chosen. The horn also allows the user to demand that targets show themselves, negating invisibility, blink and similar effects. If already visible, the affected targets must move towards the user. Damn useful!!
The beautifully-illustrated clockwork spotter is an intricate clockwork birdy that, upon activation, becomes a clockwork raven that can locate creatures and objects and help find the path. Really neat!
The cloak of the drifter helps generalize the wearer and disguise as nonspecific targets and helps blend in crowds. Nice one! Glassee gloves tightly codify making items transparent. The senator’s stole helps with social skills and allows the wearer to instruct targets with know peerage and it enhances language-dependent effects and fortifies the wearer versus charm and dominate while enhancing the wearer’s harmless charms, making them harder to dispel. At, ironically, twice the price of the stole, the ratty robes enhance Sleight of Hand and fortifies the wearer against poisons and diseases. The robe also prevents rats and rat swarms from attacking the wearer, and allows the wearer to turn into a rat swarm once per day. Even cooler: this may be used as a reactive dispersal to mitigate the worst brunt of assaults. The third such equipment would be the gorgeously-illustrated sewer suit, which acts as either a +1 leather armor or in conjunction with it, as a garment. The hood filters filth and helps versus disease and nausea and swarms. It also helps you hold your breath and allows for quicker movement through bogs etc. Cool! Finally, there would be portable waterworks, buckets that can turn into wells or fountains!
Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that crams a lot of information on every page, and the pdf sports some really cool, new original artworks in full color. The pdf comes with detailed, nested bookmarks, making navigation comfortable and smooth.
Jason Nelson, Victoria Jaczko and Loren Sieg show how it’s done. As befitting the names of two of these designers (Victoria meaning triumphant, Sieg being German for victory), this collection of items represents a triumphant victory: While the diplomat’s set is somewhat lame, that’s the only item herein that is not amazing: Even when the items are very much spell-based, they offer unique flavor, cool tweaks, and make them feel distinct. The items here are a godsend for a wide variety of campaigns, making this transcend its intended use as a Curse of the Crimson Throne plug-in. The items within this pdf are a boon for GMs struggling with making investigations or heists; any low-magic campaign will adore these; if you even remotely are interesting in espionage or heist scenarios, then this is pretty much a must-have offering. This humble pdf strings inspired items back to back, and it does so in a truly inspired manner – quality over quantity, this delivers in spades and is worth every cent. Get it! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Everyman Mini clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
On the introductory page, we get a new spell (most spellcasting classes, including occult ones qualify): Remove pain is either a 2nd or 3rd level spell. The spell nets a +4 morale bonus versus fear effects for 10 minutes, while also suppressing pain effects currently affecting the target, and acting as a counter for inflict pain. Nice one.
The second page contains an assortment of new paladin mercies, grouped by levels at which they become available: At 3rd level, we can find 7 new ones: These include 1 round of good hope, mitigating the entangled condition, AoO-less standing up from prone position or providing uncanny dodge for a 1 round. Cool: If you already have it, improved uncanny dodge is gained. If the target has improved uncanny dodge already, they add the paladin’s Charisma modifier to the level to determine minimum rogue levels required to affect them. A couple of these, btw., are deity, or rather, domain-granted specific. If the deity grants Artifice or War as a domain, the paladin may pick up or draw an item as part of using lay on hands. Nice! Save benefits, making a d20 roll of 10 or less count as 11 a limited amount of times per day – there are some surprisingly creative tricks here!
There are 8 different 6th level mercies, with one providing the aforementioned remove pain spell, another providing fire or cold resistance (or acid/electricity for another one) and another repairing items or constructs. Helping a target get out a grapple, augury and a harmless true form variant or being nourished…some creative tricks here. The pdf also has two 9th level mercies, with one duplicating break enchantment for mind-affecting effects only; paladins whose deity nets the healing domain allows for further healing at the cost of the paladin’s health.
Finally, there are 5 different 12th level mercies. Jester’s jaunting targets, daylight, breath of life, repairing destroyed items (and magic item repair is tightly codified) and a telepathic bond complement the pdf.
Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the new, 2-column artwork-bordered standard of the series and the pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need them at this length.
I did not expect to find anything interesting in David N. Ross’ paladin mercy-mini. They are not particularly interesting, after all, right? Well, wrong. The mercies are really interesting and offer some rather surprising modifications that offer more tactical decisions than I expected to find. This is certainly worth getting and is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars – if you have a pala, get this!
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
The fifth compilation of Village Backdrops clocks in at 89 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 82 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This massive compilation includes the following villages: Black Wyvern, Bleakflat, Byrnfort, Dawnmarsh, Farrav’n, Lanthorn, Needlebriar, Quey’s Glade, Ronak, Skaalhaft, Suurin and Woodridge.
I have written reviews for all of these villages, discussing them in detail, so if you require detailed guidance regarding the individual villages, you may want to check out these reviews. Since I loathe repeating myself, and the actual use of a number of Village Backdrop-reviews stringed together would be of dubious use, I will leave it at that. Now, in direct comparison to the individual pdfs, we get quite a few neat new pieces of b/w-artworks, and that alone is a big plus.
Now, the villages, as a whole, are of the exceedingly high quality we expect to see from Raging Swan Press – no surprises there. However, it should be noted that this still is “just” a compilation – while this could have been used to fix the few more problematic components of some villages, the like has not happened. There is still mentioning of poisoning a plant creature, which RAW still doesn’t work in PFRPG. Similarly, the great magical lanterns of Lanthorn still remain opaque backdrops sans concrete rules. This is a compilation of files – nothing less, nothing more.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard, and the book features great b/w-artworks. The b/w-cartography by Tommi Salama and Maciej Zagorski is amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two different versions – one optimized for screen use and one intended for printing out. I can’t comment on the print version, as I do not own it.
John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez, Richard Green, David N. Ross, Amber Underwood and Mike Welham are all top-tier authors, and it shows in these settlements. The villages within are evocative, fun and cool – and yet. In direct comparison, the compilation has missed the opportunity of refining the less amazing villages within, updating and improving them, which would not have been hard. This compilation could have been one of the strongest in the long and storied history of high-quality backdrops in the series, a jewel. The lack of further refinement, however, does hurt the compilation somewhat. Don’t get me wrong – this is still a great book of backdrops, but it could have been a great one. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Star Log-series clocks in at 10 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 6.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This supplement clocks in with the usual introduction, which also contextualizes the class in the context of the Xa-Osoro system. The zoomer’s key ability modifier is Dexterity, and the class gets 7 HP and 7 + Constitution modifier stamina. The class gets 6 + Int skills per level, with Acrobatics, Athletics, Engineering, Perception, Physical Science, Piloting and Profession as class skills gained. The zoomer class gets a free skill rank in Acrobatics and Piloting at each zoomer level, as well as Skill Focus in them both. Furthermore, the bonus granted increases by +1 at 11th level “land” 8should be “and”) every 4 levels thereafter. This puts the zoomer, skill-wise, on par with the operative.
Proficiency-wise, the zoomer gets light armor, basic melee weapons, grenades, small arms and full BAB-progression as well as good Ref- and Will-saves. The zoomer begins play with the Deadly Precision feature, which nets a bonus to damage rolls with small arms, thrown weapons (except grenades) and operative melee weapons equal to Dex-mod (min +0), capping at zoomer class level. At 3rd level, if you have Weapon Specialization with small arms or operative weapons, you add class level to damage with them, +1/2 class level in other classes. This is relevant since 3rd level nets you Weapon Specilization for all weapon types this class nets you proficiency with. This bonus damage does not stack with bonus damage from attacks made as part of a class feature. Also at first level, we get the jitters ability, which is a +1 bonus to initiative that further increases by +1 at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter.
The most important starting ability, though, would be the zoom dash – either granted by a freak accident or tech. If you choose gear, it does not influence slots available and merges with footwear. This gear may be replaced via Engineering, but it is…well, tech. Supernatural sources of this ability are subject to appropriate limitations. The ability increases your land speed by 10 ft., further increasing this by +10 ft. at 3rd, 9th and 15th level. 2nd level nets evasion.
Starting at 5th level, the zoomer may, as a standard action make a charge sans charge penalties, and may substitute a combat maneuver for the attack at the end of the charge. At 11th level, the ability lets you make two attacks at -4 at the end of the charge; at 20th level, you may execute 3 attacks at the end of the charge, at -6 penalty. These tricks, level-wise, are solid in their placement compared to established core classes.
5th level provides the zoomer’s advance ability: You can spend 1 Resolve Point as a swift action to move up to your speed; at 9th level, you may spend 2 Resolve Points to move up to double your speed as a swift action; 13th level upgrades this to triple speed for two Resolve points, but triple movement requires a move action. At 17th level, you can move quadruple speed as a move action for 2 Resolve points. This may not be used while encumbered, in power armor, etc. 7th level provides the operative’s uncanny agility, i.e. immunity to the flat-footed condition and foes don’t get bonuses for flanking you or attacking you while prone. Covering and harrying fire also don’t provide benefits against you. 1th level nets zoomer’s onslaught – as a full attack, you may make up to three attacks, at -6 penalty. The capstone doubles your speed when you charge, run, withdraw, and you may run a s a swift action sans provoking AoOs, though this swift run requires a 10-minute rest to use again.
At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the class chooses a zoomer stunt, basically the talent-array of the class. 8th and 14th level serve as caps where new zoomer stunts are unlocked. These allow for e.g. ending a charge with a small arms weapon or a thrown weapon, which still provokes AoOs – however, you may end a charge 10 ft. prematurely, provided you moved at least 10 feet. Better snap shot attacks and vehicle-born firing, expanding the edge…and really interesting, not counting as prone while crawling and retaining the zoom dash bonus to crawling speed make for interesting tricks. A more flexible charge contingent on Acrobatics and enemy CR is okay, and I liked preparing two actions to ready, with concise restrictions. Using reactions prior to acting for the first time in combat, and quick assertion of control over a vehicle is interesting.
Among the stunts unlocked at 8th level, you can catch targets off guard via charges, provided you succeed an Acrobatics check, non-stacking concealment when moving, guarded step, limited auto-haste, upgrading class features further – some cool tricks here. (As an aside: there is a slightly confusing type here, one that notes “reading” instead of “readying.”) Another issue here is that there is one stunt that allows the zoomer to forego readying three triggers to ready a full action. This is problematic, since readying an action is a standard action. Note that RAW, readying actions can only be done via a standard action, preventing cheesing here. The highest level stunts unlocked at 14th level include, among other things, improved evasion and a further upgrade for the movement contingent miss chance. Most mechanically interesting would be the zoomer whirlwind, which has a radius and area of effect contingent on speed, with maximum number of targets affected also defined by this. A handy mini-table helps here, and the effects differ for e.g. whirlwinds made on liquid. The ability is, design-wise, precise, as the base ability codifies skill checks and saves, if any – these are governed by Dexterity, fyi.
The class loses zoomer stunts for multiclassing at 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th, and 18th level. At 9th level, the pdf notes “Your zoomer’s advance class feature improve at 9th level.“ – There is a “doesn’t” missing here.
Editing and formatting are pretty good on a rules-language level. On a formal level, there are a few hiccups here that could have been caught, some of which may cause a bit of confusion. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and the pdf sports solid full-color artworks of Jacob Blackmon’s characteristic style. The pdf has no bookmarks.
Alexander Augunas’ zoomer is a fun class that won’t break your game. It focuses on agility and skirmishing, and does so in a rather interesting manner. The zoomer’s mobility makes the class pretty potent, but not to an extent where it eclipses e.g. operative or solarian etc. Their charges can be deadly, but the focus on these does limit them somewhat. All in all, I liked this class, though I felt it could have used a few more tricks like the whirlwind. All in all, I consider this to be a solid, if not perfect class, worthy of a final verdict of 4 stars.
Thunderscape Nights #1: Trouble at the Dunswood Inn (PFRPG) PDFKyoudai Games
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An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This brief adventure clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This adventure is intended as an introductory module for Aden, and as such, for 1st level characters. The module does feature read-aloud text and also has a side-bar based option to make the module slightly darker, as befitting of Aden’s flavor.
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the pretty sizable family of Knut Bjornson has weathered the Darkfall, and Knut’s no-nonsense attitude may have spelled doom: One of his younger sons, Magnus, is an aspiring mechamage, largely self-taught. When bandits arrived, one an arcanist and one a golemoid and Knut refused protection, Magnus snuck out, offering to help the golemoid to keep the family safe and satiate his thirst for knowledge.
The module features 4 scenes: The PCs happen upon a man being attacked by nocturnal fire elementals (fully statted) – unless the PCs intervene, the golemoid is as good as dead. Problematic – the man is ostensibly difficult to move while unconscious, but no weight value is provided, which locks the PCs into seeing Knut and his guards approach – the man offers Magnus’ services. As the PCs accompany the Bjornsons to their stead, they rest…and on the next day, the man has died, to be committed to the pyre. Here’s the thing: Why would the PCs not guard the man from the weird folks that suddenly showed up? The module crumbles apart with even a modicum of PC care, for it is contingent on Magnus removing golemoid components. Whether the golemoid was still alive or not depends on how dark a ton you’d like to evoke.
Magnus, in the meanwhile, has taken off to his bandit buddies – defeating the 3 remaining bandits (fully statted) ends the module.
Editing is tight in all regards, but formatting is not nearly as tight: Italicizations are missed left and right. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the sports a nice artwork that Aden fans will recognize. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them at this length. The pdf has no cartography or battle maps, which is a problem: Since the description is not exactly precise regarding combat environments, the battles feel opaque. As there are no maps, there also are no player-friendly maps.
Shawn Carman’s brief sidetrek has a good idea, but ends up as a horrible railroad. There is zero player-agenda here, and while the background notes on the NPCs are nice, they have no bearing on the plot. The eponymous Inn is utterly opaque – I have no idea how it looks, how rooms are arranged, etc. The module is also contingent on superbly incompetent players that lack even a modicum of the paranoia that characterizes even journeyman adventurers. In short, while the prose and production values are solid, this does not work. Not even for the low price. I don’t consider this to be a worthwhile introduction or a good adventure. My final verdict will clock in at 2 stars.