Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Vimanda

Eric Hinkle's page

2,171 posts. 64 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist.



1 to 5 of 64 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart

Samsaran Compendium review

*****

The Samsaran Compendium is a PDF from Everyman Games, 31 pages long, one for the cover, credits, table of contents and basic racial information on samsarans, and one for the OGL. This leaves us with 26 pages of all-new information, and here we go.

The Samsarans are one of the lesser-known races introduced in the Tian Xia material for Pathfinder. Until now there's been very, very little about them aside from a handful of material here and there. Basically reincarnated humans, we got almost nothing else about these people. This leaves a writer with considerable freedom on how to develop them, and that is what this PDF does, and very well too.

The PDF starts with some basic facts about samsaran psychology and what everyone in setting knows about them. It's well handled, short but it gets the point across that samsarans are understood to be reincarnated humans by other races. Like normal people but different in some uncanny ways.

Next is a section on samsaran life, their physiology, life spans, and some new alternate racial traits. Most of them play off of the many incarnations the samsarans have had, allowing them to use memories of past lives to aid with problems in this one, but some involve their strong conection to the Positive Energy Plane. Suffice to say that there's something here for practically any class you might want to play your samsaran as, and they're done in a way that works very well with their unique viewpoint.

Next we get information on samsaran culture. It covers just about everything from dress, food, architecture, personal relationships, and includes samsaran attitudes about the more common races. Suffice to say that their unique existence as reincarnated beings 'born' as adolescents with knowledge of their past lives, but dreamy enough that they can't use old class abilities -- unless they take some of the new feats uncluded -- makes them seem very odd to outsiders who try getting to know them.

There's a section on samsaran origin legends, in which we discover that their greatest foes are the rakshasa. It makes sense. Samsarans reincarnate to become wiser and more enlightened, to escape the bonds of material life, while in Pathfinder rakshasas see reincarnation as an endless merry-go-round so they can indulge their twisted appetites for all eternity. I personally like this one. And oh yes, the chapter also gives us three bardic masterpieces that can preserve corpses, reincarnate someone, or even raise them from the dead. They seem balanced to me given just how difficult the latter two are to perform, and they work very well with the legends given.

We get information on samsaran religion, which seems to be basically a sort of Buddhism. We get a list of how this faith/philosophy works on a day to day level for the samsarans, as well as domains and subdomains for the followers. Including one new subdomain, Reincarnation, which allows for some control of the form a reincarnation spell will leave someone in.

Next is a section on slumbering samsarans? And they are? Samasarans who have yet to become enlghtened enough to become 'true' samsarans. As members of the race journey through hundreds of lives on their way to becoming true samsarans, these are samsarans-to-be who have some of the racial traits of their birth race and some samsaran traits. This section includes a pair of alternate racial traits allowing you to make a samsaran who still wears the form of a dwarf or half-orc or kitsune as well as any of the other major 'normal' Pathfinder races or Tian Xia ones. I admit, this is something I really like; if they reincarnate, why DON'T some samsarans 'come back' as members of other races? Well, now they can!

A section on reincarnation follows, with some hints on how to handle this for non-samsarans who reincarnate. We also get the utterly awesome Reincarnation mystery for the oracle class. It focuses around understanding your prior lives, allwoing for everything from use of skills in prior incarnations, to taking their forms, to improved healing from your connection to the Positive Energy Plane and even a way to handle raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection without paying a fortune for it. You trade class levels instead, which maks this a somewhat risky way to go restoring someone to life (they come back in 24 hours but nothing can hurry this). Have I said before that I love the way this PDF is handling reincarnation?

Then we get a section on martial combat that includes new archetypes for the Hunter (Reincarnated Hunter), the Monk (Monk of a Million Lives), and a samurai-like paladin, the Seinaru. All three are wonderful to me. The Reincarnated Hunter doesn't call on animals for their focus, but their past lives, gaining class abilities from them. You also gain the ability to reincarnate if killed at 8th level, with the ability to locate your old body for seven days and probably leading you to whoever killed you in the first place. Oh yes, if killed during that 7 day period, you die forever.

The Monk archetype gets several neat abilities, not least of them a Zen Trance that acts like a more focused version of barbarian rage, as well as at later levels the ability to reincarnate both yourself and others, though not easily.

The Seinaru is a paladin archetype that gets some of the samurai's weapon proficiencies, along with replacing the normal paladin auras with an increasingly-powerful samurai banner that can also be a focus for channeled energy. The chapter ends with a list of ninja tricks and rogue talents that allow you to replicate even more class abilities. It fits with the feel of the PDF and race, but for some reason doesn't wow me nearly as much as some of the other new material.

Next is samsaran magic. We get a cleric archetype, the guru, who focuses on the Knowledge domain. There are archetypes for a shapeshifter-hunting inquisitor, which sounds right up their alley, one for shamans, ans one for sorcerers which mainly replaces the normal bloodline with an oracle mystery and curse. Then comes what I really love here, new witch hexes that allow for shapeshifting yourself or someone else into a prior incarnation's form. A new witch patron, Reincarnation, is included.

Then it's some new spells as well as the samsarans' in-setting attitudes about the various schools. I especially like the rebirth spell which allows for someone to be voluntarily reincarnated.

Next come some new feats. They again play off the reincarnation angle, permitting the samsaran to change around some spells from other feats like Expanded Arcana, new fighting styles for monks (and some specifically for the qinggong monk archetype) ad a list of new favored class options for all the main rulebook, APG, and ACG classes. Last but not least are some new samsaran traits along with a drawback.

This is a very good buy for the price asked, and it does a magnificent job of expanding on the samsaran race as presented in the game. It also is broad enough to be useful to non-samsaran characters. I'd go with five stars for anyone who wants to use or play a samsaran character as well as a 'You need this', and four for anyone else, rounding off to five stars simply because someone wrote up this odd race and made them so very playable.

Oh yes, there's a hint that we'll see more such publications covering the other nonhuman Tian races. Here's hoping!


Our Price: $2.00

Add to Cart

The Turtles Come Out Of Their Shell

****( )

Another entry in the Animal Races series, like the rest this is a short but information packed PDF. It's rather different in several ways, not least for being the first non-mammalian race in the series. We get some wonderful background information about the other non-mammalian Clans and their collective origin.

They differ in another way, too, in that every Turtle (save for the mutant turtles) has their own suit of armor in the form of their shell. They can get it megically enhanced like any set of masterwork scale armor, and they have a natural armor bonus on top of it. The Turtles can also take the Stalwart Defender PrC from first level, as they can ignore the normal prerequisites for it, which feels odd to me. You can also take racial heritage feats that improve the shell and the natural armor bonus even more. The Turtle Clan Mutants get some feats that can change your shell so it still protects but doesn't interfere with class abilities that depend on not wearing armor (monk and ninja abilities). This may all be a bit much for some campaigns.

Then comes the usual well-done folklore about Turtle clan monsters, and a new god who bears an odd resemblance to a certain villain TMNT fans will be familiar with. We also get the Heraldic traits -- which here are not of various animals or the like, but of simple colors painted onto a Turtle's shell. Nice change and a cool bit of differentiation from the other Animal Clans!

Even with minor qualms about the whole shell thing, I'll give this one four stars and a recommendation that it's very worth the price.


Our Price: $2.00

Add to Cart

Nanananana, Bat Clan!

****( )

This is another entry in the wonderful Animal Races series that presents new animal-based races for use. This one covers the bats, presenting them with a somewhat Mayan/Aztec feel. It does tend to be vampire heavy, though oddly enough the individual bats are usually good though their society (due to being ruled by vampires; no word on whether these are human or Bat Clan vampires) tends to be very evil. That's rather a unique twist, having mostly good people living in an evil society.

It also contains rules for the Lesser Vampire template (a very weak version of the usual vampire), as well as options for your Bat to be descended from Jiang-shi and Nosferatu as well as the more usual Bats. I confess to some dismay here, as I wish they could have gone for some of the real-world differences between bats (fox-faced fruit bats?), but this will delight anyone who ants to get their bloodsucker mojo on. There are also feats that allow you to make your bat more, well, batty with new racial traits as well as somewhat vampiric, gaining several of the resistances and immunities undead possess. The latter can betaken from first level on, and while they can't be taken every level and the weaker immunities come first, it might be a bit much for some campaigns.

The Bat Clan also has the Dhampir subtype, so feats and traits meant to work with them will go fine with the Bats as well.

We also get the usual heraldic traits along with the Bat God, Camazotz, and differences in the way Bat mythology views some monsters. It's always a delight to read the world-building that goes into these Clan books. It ends with a brief description of the vampiric rulers of at society, and how they differ from their subjects as well as mortals in general. Very nice entry in the series, especially for vampire fans. Folks who wanted non-bloodsucking bats might be a little disappointed, though. Four stars and very worth the price!


Our Price: $2.00

Add to Cart

Real orcs have tusks!

****( )

Clan of the Pig is one of the releases in publisher Eric Morton's line of animal-based races. Like most of the rest it consists of eleven pages -- a cover page, title page, back cover, and two for the Open Game License. This leaves six pages to cover the Pig-clan therians, and they are pages well spent.

We get first a short bit of fiction establishing the unsavory reputation of pig therians. They are basically the Orcs of the therian clans, with all the nastiness that implies. That stated it's made obvious in the story that pigs can be something different if they want to be.

Next comes the basic information on their appearance, basics on their society and relations with others, height and weight and aging tables are all included. We also discover that the pigs have two water-going tribes, the hippos and orcas (killer whales). I really don't think I've ever seen anthropomorphized versions of either of those species before. Kudes to Mister Morton for being very original!

Then comes the crunch. Pigs can be both small and medium in size with different modifiers for each. They also get different modifiers based on which kind of pig they are. Orcas and hippos are strong, while boars (meaning feral pigs, I assume?) and warthogs are tough. They also have the Orc subtype and oddly enough given the reputations of both orcs and pigs get a bonus to Charisma.

Like with the other therian clans you get an option to choose more
piggish traits as their characetr develops. The various subraces also have the option to take this feat in place of various bonus feats a particular class would grant them, which I think is a clever idea. You can also take a feat that makes you big and fat and effectively one size larger for the purpose of combat maneuvers based on size. There are also feats that allow you to take on tiefling racial traits as well as one that allows a witch, be they pig therian or orc or half-orc, to take the Infernal sorceror bloodline spells as bonus spells along with the normal patron spells. Sounds like an appropriate gift for a malevolent witch's patron!

We next get some pig racial genealogy, and then some notes on pig folklore and how some monsters will be and look different when seen through their eyes. This includes a brief section on half-orcs (half-hogs?) of human-pig clan descent. Nice to see some of these races be looked at from a PC-playable take on Chaotic Evil.

Next is a section on the pig deity Triath, a vain and savage deity. His links with the Wild Hunt are played up as are his links to other related deities of the other therian clans.

Lastly comes a section with various heraldic symbols that can be taken as traits, providing a feat in exchange for a penalty of some sort to usually either saves or initiative. It's rather a new way to handle traits in-game, and it seems to be a good one.

My sole real criticism of this and the other entries in the series is the lack of racial favored class options, but this PDF gives so much that's a minor flaw at best. I'll go with four stars and definitely a worthwhile purchase at the price.


Our Price: $2.00

Add to Cart

Truly An Original Choice

****( )

Clan of the Deer is one of the releases in publisher Eric Morton's line of animal-based races. Like most of the rest it consists of eleven pages -- a cover page, title page, back cover, and two for the Open Game License. This leaves six pages to cover the deer therians, and they are pages well spent.

We get first a short bit of fiction explaining that deer are a part of nature. Real nature, not Disney-animated film nature, which means that deer can be as savage and remorseless as any predator. It's an effective bit of work, showing how the deer are different from humans and other races but can still be understood. This is something rather rare in works like this.

Next comes the basic information on their appearance (anthropomorphic deer, though here even the does have antlers), basics on their society and relations with others (they like salt for candy, nice little touch!), height and weight and aging tables are all included.

Then comes the crunch. Deer can be both small and medium in size with different modifiers for each. They also get different modifiers based on exactly which kind of deer they are. Elk tend to be physical powerhouses, for instance, while reindeer are tough and enduring. It works rather well as a way to differentiate the subraces of deer.

There are also feats that allow the player to, as their character develops, take on more deer-like traits such as increased speed or hard hooves. The various subraces also have the option to take this feat in place of various bonus feats a particular class would grant them, which I think is a clever idea. You can also get a set of evil antlers as weapons, which is definitely original. How many people ever think of diabolic deer?

We get some genealogy explaining how the deer clan developed, and then something rather novel, some notes on deer folklore and how some monsters will be and look different when seen through deer eyes. That is one of the better aspects of this series to me -- why would every single race view monsters the same way or tell the same stories about them?

Next is a section on the deer deity Cernnunos, who is more of a grimly merciless if not evil figure here than in the 'main' Pathfinder setting. His links with the Wild Hunt are played up as are his links to other related deities of the other therian clans.

Lastly comes a section with various heraldic symbols that can be taken as traits, providing a feat in exchange for a penalty of some sort to usually either saves or initiative. It's rather a new way to handle traits in-game, and it seems to be a good one.

My sole real criticism of this and the other entries in the series is the lack of racial favored class options, but this PDF gives so much that's a minor flaw at best. I'll go with four stars and definitely a worthwhile purchase at the price.


1 to 5 of 64 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

©2002–2015 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.