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4,148 posts. 1,679 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.



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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series depicting infinite worlds along teh Grand Stair clocks in at 51 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 48 pages of content, so let’s…

…wait. What? Yes, this is a break of form for the series: Where usually, Matt Banach provides, short, extremely affordable primers for worlds that can be essentially considered campaign seeds, this one is penned by Matt Forbeck and is more of a full-blown sourcebook.

Now the book kicks in with a 2-page full color map of the island and city of Nexopolis and while not bad, it is one weak spot of the pdf – compared to the awesome, original pieces of full color atwork, the map didn’t wow me – it is functional, but nothing special. That being said, LoGaS stands and falls with its setting – and here, the foreword sets a theme – much in line with e.g. Catherynne M. Valente’s “Palimpsest” and similar weird cities that act as a kind of nexus, Nexopolis has a welcoming committee – one exemplified by the character (and player!) potentially reading this as an introduction to the setting at hand.

The city of Nexopolis and its island is ultimately one island that is the last inhabitable place in a world ravaged by the war with the dwimmerlaik – here, survivors of once the more door-rich worlds on the Grand Stair still dwell and here, countless doors still exist. Though legendary Finnian has some control here, via specially created keys. So Finnian’s the leader and lord? Well, yes and no. Finnian is the none-too-subtle power behind the leaders, the constant power behind the throne, so to speak – Finnian’s not about politics, but rather governing: Managing and ensuring survival. And in a world ravaged by war, where poisonous storms may howl with the ghosts of the dwimmerlaik slain in the war, where people from countless worlds come for trade (or vacation – the weather’s nice!) and where both magic and high technology reign supreme, that’s something.

Indeed, Nexopolis can be considered the ultimate melting pot – in the tradition of planar metrolpolises like Sigil, next to everything you can imagine can be found here – hence, the local populace tends to exhibit a jaded, somewhat condescending stance toward less cosmopolitan dwellers of other Gossamer Worlds. Also in tradition of similar hub cities, law and its enforcement is less conventional; to prevent constant ideological issues and gripes, law is more about keeping the peace here and different zones (i.e. neighborhoods) with their own styles, rules and things to do are provided. And surprisingly, the respective neighborhoods actually transcend the standard depictions one would expect from e.g. the slum-like area.

Rather interesting would be, that often ignored issues like e.g. the transport of military and WMDs are covered as well, including the outside of the inhospitable world, ravaged by the wars long past. Glorious! The book also features quite an array of different NPCs – from the Lord Finnian to the in-character author of the pdf to Marhseeba, Finnian’s scientist-come-trade-advisor to the leader of the Vigilance Council, the leader of the Official Business Development, the justicar, the mysterious potentially reverse aging Mother Girl sorceress -all these characters come with full-blown stats – and fluff-only write-ups of even more intriguing characters provide quite an array of hooks. Beyond that, even the stance of well-known Gossamer Lords and Ladies regarding Nexopolis and its special position is discussed, adding further potential for story-weaving.

Now beyond this vast panorama of narrative options, we also are introduced to an array of no less than 8 cantrips, 6 spells and 4 artifacts. Not enough? What about rats that use coconuts like hermit crabs use shells? The fabled white squid?

Now beyond these, this supplement opens a whole new dimension of LoGaS-gaming – the primer for creating nonpowered characters! While the primer is short, the total usefulness of the short section rocks.

Finally, the pdf closes with a smattering of adventure hooks, just in case you’re not inspired enough yet – and if neither reading this book, nor the hooks helped, I really don’t know what will.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a neat plethora of awesome, original full color artworks. The pdf comes with extensive, nested bookmarks.

Matt Forebeck delivers what could essentially be summed up as a inter-planetary/planar Nexus meets tropical, post-apocalyptic casablanca meets high-intrigue capitalism and CEO-business-level intrigue. This supplement actually managed to carve out its own niche within the plethora of planar nexus-style cities I’ve read for various supplements and systems and that’s a feat in itself. The lively, cool characters add vast array of angles to pursue is staggering – even before adding other gossamer worlds. Add to that the more than required rules for non-powered characters and we have a supplement on our hands that should be considered a non-optional purchase for anyone invested in Lords of Gossamer and Shadows. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This pdf clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After one page of aptly-written prose, we dive into the basic recaps of what constitutes a story feat, how to read them and common rules terms like "challenging foe", "Decisively Defeat" etc. this is important, for within this context the wordings carry meaning and if you happen to not own perhaps one of the best books Paizo has ever made (Ultimate Campaign), in which these feats were introduced, well then here you have it explained.

The pdf also provides a massive table of story feats with appropriate backgrounds in case you also use these. Now why are story feats awesome in my book? Know all those stories where a hero vows to accomplish something, then succeeds and transcends his former capabilities? That#s what sory feats are - they are essentially rewards for making a compelling, interesting character the DM has an easier time to work with. As such, and I feel obliged to mention this, players should work together and with the DM to ensure that a good yarn can be woven that potentially offers fulfillment for all those story feats - for yes, they increase in power when their built-in goal has been reached.

Got that? Awesome, so let's take a look at what we get herein! Take Armchair General as the first story feat - representing a formal, theoretical military training, it requires you to select a teamwork feat you have. 1/day, as a standard action, you may grant said feat for cha-mod rounds to all allies within 30 ft, whether they fulfill the prereqs or not. To unleash the feat's true potential, though, you have to be in charge of a large military unit of at least 500 and lead them to a decisive victory, getting some practical experience in the field of war. if you manage to do this, you can designate a limited amount of so-called field-leaders, who then may disperse the teamwork feat as if they had the base armchair general feat sans its completion bonus, allowing for an epic spread of temporary teamwork.

On a more mundane and easier to fulfill level, Blow the Joint nets you 2 Knowledge class skills and skill bonuses that increase once you've been to a bunch of truly big towns. Additionally, people like "one of their own making it in the big city", making the townies more favorable toward you. Likewise, obsession with an obscure artist and collecting said artist's works may allow you upon completion to use appraise in lieu of spellcraft for item identification purposes. Characters that are Cryptohunters r Conspiracy Nuts, even those brainwashed by cult indoctrination or devoted to one of the deadly sins - all get their proper and cool options here. It should also be noted that the cardinal virtues also are an option, not just the runelord centric deadly sins...

Or perhaps a certain creature has traumatized your character and slaying it by facing down his/her fear is what you're going for? What about preventing the death of the last of a creature's kind? Paying a karmic debt? Devoting yourself to a familial quest handed down over the generations? Go where no one has gone before? Or perhaps you want to run the big con, reconnect with your heritage after being estranged from it, act as a mentor for another (player) character? Be a warrior that eschews brutality? Perhaps you have survived a dread plague or are possessed, blacking out? Perhaps your character is the only one believing in one person's innocence or perhaps, you seek to stem the uprisings in your home country, believing in your nation's ideals and values.

Even characters seeking true independence or those that, in their hubris, seek to summon an avatar or follows an unknown deity no one else knows or believes in - the options are often pure narrative gold - specific, yet not too specific and the benefits generally are interesting, especially when tying in with the story in less crunchy benefits, weaving the story of their respective feat further.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no obvious glitches that would have impeded my ability to understand the content herein. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.

Rick Howard and Mike Welham deliver an array of feats that manage to not bore me, which, at this point, is quite a feat. get it. Ouch. Yeah, I know, I'll put a buck in the bad joke jar. Kidding aside - I like the basic premise of story feats and the story feats provided herein greatly expand the cool concept by filling the gaps left by the original introduction in Ultimate Campaign. Generally, I would have enjoyed it if some of the story feats herein had been a bit braver - there are quite a few that do some combination skill-bonus stuff, which, while nice to have, has been done before. Some more synergy with perhaps Downtime, other feats, perhaps even, dare I say it, Story Feat-trees, would have made this pdf even better. As written, it is an enjoyable read that has crunch for once properly support the story and not vice versa, which is a good thing in my book. At least if DM and player have agreed upon story feats, which they should. Communication here is necessary and valuable, but this basic good provided as a prerequisite, I think these feats will have something to add to the campaigns. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


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*****

This Village Backdrop clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Now Hjalward is a change pace for the series, for Hjalward is not only the moniker of a village, but also of a vast defensive fortification, with vast watchtowers and flying buttresses, erected in times long past by giants...or some other strange civilization.

Nowadays, not even a tenth of this engineering marvel remains and the village of Hjalward is located around one of these last remaining defensive fortifications. The attentive reader will immediately realize here that Raging Swan Press has significantly streamlined the layout of settlement statblocks, making the formal write-up of the village actually less cluttered than in a default layout - awesome!

As always with the series, we receive magic items for sale in the market place, an array of rumors and events, information on local dressing customs and nomenclature - but this one goes a tad bit beyond that, also providing a kind of local geography and mythology, thus entrenching the village further in an evocative past.

A kind of frontier's town of the coolest kind, the place is fortified and breathes a mix of frontier's spirit/trading post atmosphere, coupled with an underlying sense of decay that is hard to achieve indeed. The augan, the wondrous watchtower at the heart of the village sure has captured my imagination -what do they guard against? How were they destroyed? If it falls, will it be the end for the settlement? Can the PCs keep it intact, perhaps reclaim a part of the splendor of the wall?

Hints towards Wolfsbane Hollow and the surrounding mountainsides and areas )hopefully!) hint at the cool things to come, and a sample bard finishes what can be considered an evocative installment of the series.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's superb, streamlined and printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf's b/w-cartography (of which you can download player-friendly versions on Raging Swan's homepage for free!) is just as awesome as I've come to expect from the series - it should be noted that the map's quality is back to the superb standard we've come to expect and not on the slightly lower level of the previous installment of Village Backdrops. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Rife with roleplaying potential galore, suffused by an imagery that is truly iconic, Robert Brookes' Hjalward breathes a spirit of epicness, of opportunity and adventure - sure, you can make this a minor place in your campaign, but just as well, you might blow this up to being an anchor of it or a central component of the things to come - in any way, Hjalward is awesome and deserves a final rating of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


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*****

All right, you know the drill - 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look!

This Mythic Mini about dirty fighting provides 7 new mythic feats, so what do we get?

-Adder Strike: Penalize saves versus Adder Strike-delivered poisons, use mythic power to make the poison last for multiple rounds.

-Broken Wing Gambit: You need only hit touch AC, but only deal damage when hitting regular AC. Use one mythic power to allow one ally per 2 mythic tiers to allow allies to make AoOs by expending your immediate action as if they had Broken Wing Gambit.

-Drag Down: Deal unarmed damage in addition when tripping foes. Also, keep foes prone while prone yourself. Neat!

-Felling Smash: Felling Smash as a free action, or sans Power Attack penalty as a swift action. If you already may mitigate said penalty in favor of better tripping. This one's wording is slightly ambiguous and could have potentially been phrased slightly more concise.

-Pinpoint Poisoner: Add unarmed damage to blowgun dart damage(+poison) and resolve close range shuriken-style throwing of darts as touch attacks; Can be enhanced via mythic power. AWESOME.

-Punishing Kick: Increase DC by 1/2 tier, target may end up in unsafe squares and you may bull rush multiple foes. Mythic power can be used as a resource for daily punishing kicks. Neat!

-Vicious Stomp: Use mythic power as swift action to make unarmed attacks against prone targets. Also makes standing up harder from being stomped.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the cover-art is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alistair Rigg's mythic takes of dirty fighting rock - they are deadly, cool and do not follow formulaic mythic structures, instead coming with cool, unique effects that, more often than not, are inspired. Thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page how-to-use, 1 page ToC (including CR/MR), 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of raw content, so let's take a look, shall we?

Now while this book is intended to provide additional adversaries to the Wrath of the Righteous AP, it should be noted that more so than many other Adventure-path-plug-ins, this book and the villains herein do in no way need this connection and can easily be introduced into non-AP contexts - especially due to not making that heavy use of the Mythic Adventures-rules, meaning that even non-mythic campaigns get their due with this pdf.

So what kind of adversaries do we get herein? Well, the first would be the Unique Quasit-bound demon sorceror Terracg p nmvczy. No. Not a Typo. I didn't fall asleep at the keyboard. In a cool twist, this creature's name is also written in a strange , glyph-like font that makes identifying its proper name hard. Now the catch is - this creature is the fragment of a greater demon and is usually encountered as something saved from demons - becoming a kind of foul-mouthed sidekick for its mortal masters, one with a keen intellect...and one that is nigh impossible to get rid of. BRILLIANT. The additional hooks provided further cement this creature as something I will gift my PCs with...

Koyo-Shojaxus is a more straightforward adversary - at CR 13, the babau martial artist 7 makes for a deadly adversary and a vile variant of the wandering martial artist-trope. Neat! The CR 13 succubus gunslinger (mysterious stranger) Lilevyrrin gives new meaning to the moniker of femme fatale by pairing both deadly prowess and her succubus heritage's "needful things"-style manipulation-capabilities into a glorious package of mayhem. And that's before her Glabrezu lover/mortal enemy enters the fray...

Malcaedix, the shadow demon rogue, takes one of the most powerful creatures for its CR and amps it up to CR 10, adds a new feat for better possession and makes for a strange creature - unlike many demons, she is subtle. She actually cares for her hosts and does her best to eliminate threats to her host...which may include any and all people said person cared about or even those that mildly offended the creature. As a kind of dark guardian angel, she also doesn't deal well with rejection, meaning you'll better be able to fend her off if you question all the good things that happen to you... Awesome and the potential for actual deep, psychological conflict and moral questions as well as roleplaying is vast here.

Ser Meridrand Palisard, the disgustingly fat human antipaladin/low templar with an implanted demonic graft for a stomach makes for a truly vile and disgusting cannibalistic foe, who further adds to this imagery with his equipment -a disgusting, bloated individual, a fallen champion and deadly to boot at CR 15, this erstwhile paragon is a great adversary for a "Through a mirror, darkly"-type situation, when the PCs realize how fragile the sanctity of their alignment truly is and how easily they, too, can fall into the clutches of the Abyss and its servants.

Mons' Verix, the CR 16 Glabrezu-summoner also has a very cool twist - his eidolon looks like an angel. With this tool of deceit, the creature may fool even the most stalwart of heroes and lead them on the first steps of the downward spiral of temptation if played properly - a cool idea indeed and with all the magic capabilities of the creature, one supplemented by the proper magical oomph! As a minor complaint, the final page of his entry is half empty - more story could have easily fitted in there.

Now so far, we've had next to no possession - so what about a demon-possessed inquisitor/assassin build with the erstwhile witch hunter Count Ulus VonKaval? It should be noted that the count is the one character herein who does not get an awesome, original piece of full color artwork, but that does not detract from this example how pride vo make even the mightiest fall.

Finally, at CR 15/MR 6, Dasnikynlin, the mythic coluxus demon with the awesome artwork, its mesmerizing drone, charisma damage AND bleed-damage causing bite, death attack and vicious mythic spell-like abilities makes for a powerful final entry, though one that could have used a unique story-expansion herein. EDIT: I've been made aware that this is the demon that is supposed to be the possessor of Ulus VonKaval and yeah, that works. However, I still would have loved a full-blown ecology-level detailed write-up like the ones in the Mythis Monster-series. Oh well!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches herein. Layout adheres to Legendary Games fiery, slightly orange-tinted standard for Wrath of the Righteous-plug-ins and the pdf comes with bookmarks for your convenience. The artworks deserve special mentioning here, for almost all adversaries receive their own, glorious full-color pieces, sometimes even on a full-page spread.

Alistair Rigg, Todd Stewart, Clinton J. Boomer and Nicholas Logue - notice something - yeah, these guys have in common that they know how to WRITE. I don't mean "write a supplement", but really WRITE. Evoke moods, atmospheres and multi-layered characters. It's easy to delve into the "wants to destroy everything due to being EVUUUL"-trope with demons and the adversaries herein almost universally manage to avoid this, instead being round, nasty individuals that make sense in a twisted way, providing roleplaying opportunities aplenty, not just within the context of Wrath of the Righteous.

In fact, the writing is so good that you really, really want to use these villains - almost immediately. This miniature rogue's gallery definitely provides some of the most depraved adversaries I've seen in a while - and that is meant as a compliment. But that wouldn't be enough if their statblocks were bland or boring. They aren't. While not all statblocks reach the level of complexity I tend to enjoy in NPC-builds, a couple of them do and that, coupled with the awesome writing, is enough for me. Add to that the slight touches - like aforementioned glyphs, like demonic trysts gone wrong, the evocative adventure hooks - and we have a grand collection of villains, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval - legendary indeed!

Endzeitgeist out.


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