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Hoary Muntjac

Oceanshieldwolf's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter, 7 Season Dedicated Voter, 8 Season Marathon Voter, 9 Season Star Voter. 5,830 posts (11,080 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 61 aliases.



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The burning sun rises above all below, and that bright star is Wayfinder

*****

This most recent serve of Wayfinder awesome is….awesome. In fact the most awesome yet, even more awesome than the awesome that won an Ennie. And I'm biased, because I had stuff in that issue, and not this one. Because I'm not Egyptophile. Sure I did my Akhenaten phase, coz he's the real deal, but beyond that - grave robbers, pizzle-mizzlids and khopesh swords are *yawn* amiright!??! Well, no actually. This issue shows that the completely derivative can work, and such sweet work it is.

Love the artwork, graphic design, cover and layout. Sweet.

So let's do this article by article shall we?

Foreword: Okay so this is seriously weird. It starts out ok, mentioning the staples of the genre (ancient gods, curses, traps, tombs etc) , and then turns into a long reverie about the awesomeness of working on Xen'drik and then a further bio/credit list!?!?! At least the author has the grace to say "but enough about me…."

Devoted Sword-Saint: A Divine Swashbuckler Archetype: Way too much in-character and golaric fanfic fro my tastes, then a fantastic archetype from Clinton Boomer - like a holy fusion of monk, paladin and devoted swordologist. Devoted Swordplay is nicely conceived and written, and Holy Blades of the Desert is a neat approach to the Finesse with two handed signature weapons issue. Which i didn't know existed until I read the archetype. There's more, including a cool holy blade style bonus at 5th level and a suitably mystic feat (though is it grit or panache).

I am Shabti: Skimmed ultra quick. So shabti's are kinda popular huh? Ok, fair enough. A very nice little vignette with a kick.

Osirian Ethnologies: The Sal`Awaan: Okay! Fennec variant of my least favorite race - the kitsune! Why not? Comes with both new AND alternative race traits, favored class options, and even a couple spells. This is the approach to variants I always wanted for Midgard's huginn (tengu) the oft ignored heru. Hoepfully that will be remedied in the upcoming Southlands….

Riddles For A Sphinx: Quite a tight little adventure, extra shout outs to designers rnshaw and Welham for the accompanying monster conversion, and an extra extra kudos-pat for artist Kimball - the mummy is fantastique!!!

Heroes' Hoard: Bajaba's Beetles And Reeds: Has some golaric flavor I actually appreciated. And the items are well on theme and really bring the region to life.

Weal Or Woe: The Fallen Pharaoh: Not a fan of the "Fallen Pharaoh Insrrection" as a group name; the investigator is serviceable (liked the art though) but the once-dead (at least) slayer is a nice character study. If you died once and returned, why not fight to the death again in service to higher powers….

The Binding Blades Of Osirion: A very tight little article that packs the crunch and oozes regional flavor. We get a new combat maneuver - Blade Bind!!! (Ok, I understand for alliteration it works, but really, this would work on more than just blades….) And a new weapon - Great Khopesh! And a regional trait that works with both!!! All in 750 words or less!!!

The Wasp And The Mantis: Fiction. Sorry Neil, I didn't read this.

Osirion Fashion: Fantastic. Awesome addtion to any Osirion and surrounds campaign. Next summer I'll be wearing a shenti AND a kalarisis.

`Ela Mesar Alheyah: Looks cool and Egyptid, but haven't played this board game. Nice artwork from artist Moore.

Servile Shabti: Osirian Funerary Relics: See!?! WHo knew shabti would be so popular. Nice article - these remind me of humanoid figurines of wondrous power, yet these are even ore tightly themed and flavored.

The Book of the Dead: What Egyptian themed work could exist without one? A very serviceable article detailing papyrus scroll spell books with very well thought out preparation ritual/boons. Loved the art by Mike Lowe.

Desert Drifter A Wizard Archetype: Hang on. Am I reading this right? A wizard archetype? And with such breadth of options and flavor? This is one of my favorite articles of the issue - hats off to designer Matt Roth. Sure it is a niche, and highly specific to the region, but still… A desert themed familiar, sandsailing ( though I would have preferred sandstriding…) Just very well pulled together. More beautiful artwork from Lowe.

Golarion Gazetteer Coast of Graves: I liked this - reminded me of ICE's Middle Earth stuff with the level of socio-political detail and the little motes of history and culture.

Harmony's Refuge: A Side Trek Adventure: Again, full of flavor, and I like the final chamber's description, but leaves me feeling like it needs more. Still, that is the nature of the format and not to be taken as a mark against the piece. Nice that it ties into the previous article.

The Nightly Ritual: Sorry Jeffrey, I don't read this one either. The art by Basil Arnould Price is fantastically evocative of Kay Nielsen for some reason.

Weal or Woe: Jaali and Hapuseneb: Ooh - dark and grim, just the way I like my dhampir devotees and ghoul ex-devotees of Pharasma! Hits all my biases here. Nice work, and Hapuseneb's drawback is inspired!

Osirian Traps: Dangers for the Curious and Greedy: Perfect fodder for this issue and for any GM wishing to waylay their PCs further with on-theme perils.

The Embalmer: Guide of the Eternal Night An Investigator Archetype: I love this. Then again I'm a sucker for undead themed anything. My only gripe is the loss of Inspiration functionality - swaps out the usual ability for a flat +2 competence bonus to attacks against undead - I know there are likely balances elsewhere in the archetype, but this feels like a lost opportunity. WOuld like to have seen more done with that.

Tanjit's Travel Guide Shiman-Sekh: Sorry Tanjit, you are a gnome. So I did not read this. Seriously though, the Tips are nice for a new visitor to the area.

Personalities of the Desert Sands A Traveler's Guide: Another favorite, though I cannot exactly explain why - it is free of crunch, and merely explains some personalities. But what personalities they are. The art piece by Catherine Batka is wonderful too.

Keeping the Dead Down An Extremist Order in the Church of Pharasma: More love for the only Goalrion deity I am really familiar with. A nicely dark and well thought out piece on just what Pharasma's ideals do when taken to tortuous logical extremes. And what people who espouse those ideals might be like. With two new Subdomains and a new Spell!
Glorious!!!

Heroes' Hoard: Sacred Oils of Osirion: Another very nice addition to the lore of the Lands of Osirion, and a nice addition to any world really - a definitely under-represented area of magic-itemry. Reminds me of the 1e Unearthed Arcana…

Night's Companion: Another nice little vignette, that like the first, deals with shabti and has a bite at the end. Well done Anthony.

Side Trek Seeds: Two useful plot seeds full of flavor. I liked both of them.

Warriors of the Ancient World: Tools and Tactics of the Warriors of Osirion: Another favorite, Ian "Set" Turner really delivers here. A really simple yet elegant archetype for Cavaliers, Fighters AND Paladins that plays on desert running using light armor and deft shield use. Also: A fantastic feat (among a bunch of feats) - Beast Breaker - that sunders natural armor or natural weapons. I love it! And finally: a mixed bag of magic items. Great article form start to finish.

Disturb Not the Dead Tomb curses of Osirion: Lovely work here - details Osirion curses, how they work and provides 8 sample curses, one of which includes The Withering, a curse and disease. A cursed disease? Yummy!!! Beautiful accompanying artwork by Price again.

Lamashtu Be Praised!: Sorry Tanith and Todd, I did not read your piece of fiction. Bonus points for including gnolls though. :)

Into The Pyramid: Treasure Hunters And Undead Busters: Four workmanlike archetypes from the irrepressible archetyper Margherita "Bardess" Tramontano. The third last paragraph appears to be missing the end of a sentence.

AND

Bestiary: A selection of fantastic creatures (standouts are the auction cat ravening jackal and hieroglyph swarm) to fill out your Osirion delve. But rather surprisingly no variant mummies???

ALL UP AN AMAZING ISSUE. BY FANS. FOR FANS. ALL FREE -----> ALL AWESOME.


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Tome of Tweaks and Twists!

*****

(Disclaimer - I received my copy of Tome of Twisted Things for review purposes.)

So Little Red Goblin Games are an eclectic bunch of dabblers in design, their Necropunk Campaign Setting showed off plenty of unique and innovative concepts well matched in design and mechanics, their recent mini-campaign settings are chock full of ideas and new options for players as well as land and mind-scapes for GMs and players alike.

So - the Tome of Twisted Things. Let's get into the basics!

The ToTT is 32 pages, one OGL, one Cover, one Credits - 29 pages of pure creativity!

Art/Graphics/Layout - 5 stars.

A simply dark and dread cover gives way to an interesting pink page-background with dread and moody black borders - now I'm not generally a fan of pink as a page background, but married with the black backgrounds I was pleasantly surprised by the effect. Needless to sat, the art is top notch throughout, artists Nathan Winburn (Cover/interiors) and Tamas Barany (interiors) do a fantastic job of bringing to life the concepts herein.

Grammar/Typos/Errors - 5 stars

Few if any exist throughout the 29 pages, and it is a pleasure to see LRGG lift its quality to this level. I detect typos as an SLA so it's good to get a rest from that particular OCD.

Concepts - 5 stars

Okay, so let's see what we have here - the Darkborn, a PrC that plays on "wickedness", the Avenger an Alternate Paladin Class; the Ruiner, an Antipaladin archetype; the Tyrant, a Lawful, non-good PrC and a new race, the Warped.

The Darkborn is a very intriguing mechanical take on what happens when you tray to play around with concepts like Wickedness and Purity. With a d10 HD, PrC-style "adds to existing spell casting", way kewl powarz and some crazy easy prereqs (Good Alignment and Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks) I'm tempted to say this is a very powerful add to any character. I guess taking on wickedness as a good character requires some pretty damned.... good backstory and plot developments, so that kind of creates an RP check and balance to the slim prereqs.

A special shoutout goes to the designer of the Darkborn who thought it would be a good idea to add an option for those casters following the Darkborn path that want a little more BAB (or those non-spellcasting characters on the Darkborn path) there is a "melee option Darkborn" progression table.

So how does Wickedness work in-game for the Darkborn? Basically, the Ritual of Shade ability at 1st level grants the Drakborn a pool of Wickedness equal to 3 x his HD. In contrast, other, mere mortals receive a pool of purity depending on their alignment (Good - 2 x HD; Neutral 1 x HD; Evil - 1/2 x HD) while Outsider get something else again (Good outsiders - 5 x HD; Neutral 1 x HD and Evil - zero purity whatsoever). And this is where the mechanic gets interesting - dark weaving. Essentially dark weaving involves a wager between the two parties - they who wager more from their pool win and the weave takes effect, and both parties lose the expended points from their pool. This involves the dark born taking the heat if his weave is trumped by the "victim".
Weaves include the Road of Trials (reduces speed and inflicts damage for 1 round +1 round/point wagered) Fire of Retribution (victim takes extra damage if hit by the creature they lost the wager to for 1 round +1 round/point wagered) and others - Wrath of the Wicked, Chains of Damnation, Sword of Punishment, Pit of Despair etc - in total 8 weaves are presented with a range of interesting mechanics.

At 2nd level the Darkborn can suppress darkweaves on themselves through pool point expenditure; other abilities include negative energy resistance equal to 5/level from 1st level; an increasing evil aura (3rd lvl); a per level Will check to avoid alignment step away from good/towards evil; extra damage against evil outsiders (4th lvl/8th lvl); a detect evil (4th level/8th lvl). And then a Darkform, kinda a natural-attack beast-transformation (climb/fly speed/swim speed) replete with natural attack mayhem (two claws/bite) that feels just a little OP - all natural attacks gain a 1d4 negative energy damage buff! - and some dark and low-light vision, natural AC. It costs 1 point of wickedness to attain, and 1 point per round. So at this level (5th) without any dark weaving, 15 rounds.
Afterwards the darkborn is fatigued on a round-for-round basis, and he can't manifest it if already fatigued.

I dunno, I think this concept is grand, but it may need a couple of rethinks - the negative energy resistance is way high - 25 at 5th level (so effectively 10th level), and the dark form natural attack mayhem also seems a little too good. But it may be fine - essentially this is a really cool class with an interesting mechanical approach to the Wickedness/Purity battle. Choose your wager, and hope your victim doesn't trump you!!! I guess I'd actually like to see this whole mechanic expanded and explored further!!! Kudos to the designer!

Next up is the Avenger - "Agents of the Gods of Vengeance" - basically a non-alignment-restricted hunter and stalker - is able to track down quarries using a divine (Su) Prey Stalker ability; Retribution - a self explanatory bonus damage mechanic on attackers; Recompense - heal when you make a critical hit, and then at 3rd level, a bunch of Reparations that trigger on Retributions - inquisitoresque buffs (accutally quite varied and interesting) that progress and expand at 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th level.
They get channeling at 4th level (I feel this could have been swapped for something more exciting, but it is a utilitarian ability - just felt out of theme); a tweaked paladin holy weapon buff at 5th level; and some interesting new auras.
Look I'm not a real fan of paladins, but this is flavorful and a creative diversion from the holy warrior that fills a nice niche between the inquisitor and paladin. Nice

Next is the Ruiner, a flavorfully ruinous Antipal archetype - Touch of Agony, Aura of Suffering, Pain Bringer, and a bunch of great Ruins - all nice tweaks to the Antipals cruelties - I like the Wrecker ruin that smashes objects and the caster-hating Painbringer ruin!! Some thematically grim Auras (Nihilism, Sacrilege, Woe) round out this successful addition to the Antipaladin stable. Nihilism is easily my favorite here, negating any creatures morale bonuses within 10' until their next turn.

The Tyrant is up next - another PrC with the following Prereqs: Alignment Lawful, Non-good; BAB +5, Iron WIll feat, Knowledge (nobility) 5 ranks and Intimidate 5 ranks. This bombastic character follows his own twisted code of conduct of might makes right and the heavy hand rules the meek - some really great abilities that utilize a Conviction pool - an over bloated sense of self and self-righteousness then Tyrant uses to overpower and abuse those around him. Abiiltes like Overpower the Meek (demoralizes those within 30 ft); Sway the Unthinking (demoralize the undemoraliseable); Command to Flee (a special aura shout Intimidate); Grandeur Overwhelming (interrupt opponents attack); Position of Power (added DC difficulty Intimidate to dominate victim) etc etc. This is a rally strongly themed and flavorful PrC, and would suit those wanting a less beneficial Commander type. A Deleterious Commander? Another really nice concept.

Finally we have the Warped, an EIdolon-blooded, evolution able race with some interesting racial archetypes - the Bloodborn (Summoner archetype) that has an Aberrant EIdolon and shares some evolution points (aspect) at 1st level; and the Monk of the Flowing FOrm (Monk archetype) that increases the evolution potential of their Warped racial heritage. A really... Twisted thing, and a tribute to the imagination of designer Christos Gurd. The Warped is a suitably strange and twisted addition to this Tome, and kudos to LRGG for bringing in some fledgling designers!!!

TO round of the PDF we get 21 (count 'em) new feats that run the gamut from racial (drow) to Darkborn-conversant to feats for Tyrants, Avengers, and Warped, and even an evil-themed Campaign trait.

Overall I'm supremely impressed by the variety and execution of ideas in this PDF. Two PrCs, some archetypes, racial archetypes and a new Race showing LRGG know how to work to a theme, and provide great value and volume!!!

Despite some concerns about the Darkborn's power level, I'm very impressed with the entire PDF. Nice one Little Red Goblin Games and well done designers Ian Sisson, Caleb Aylsworth, Scott Gladstein and Christos Gurd.


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Not dread - nor deadly. But still serviceable. :)

*****

Visually this looks really really good! Beautiful art and layout. Author and graphic designer, Kobold Press stalwart Marc Radle does not disappoint, gathering fantastic art and piecing together a gem of graphic design and layout.

Thematically, I love parts of the concept, others I could take or leave.

Mechanically I wonder if the WN is actually a bit weak, and Design-wise, I feel there are some conceptual missteps. These may of course be my own biases as an affirmed undead fan with definite ideas of my own.

* For me, the d6 HD/ ½ BAB, simple weapons and no armor crimps him, for while I do understand the arcane spell failure problem, I'm not sure the spell list gives him the punch he needs, either as support or buffer. Though I'm not a caster-expert so maybe I'm missing something. :) There are some new cool spells that up the ante a little – not only falvorwise but mechanically – bone shard and bone swarm stand out here.

I don't see his other abilities making up the shortfall or particularly synergising. More on this later.

SO the WN is a spontaneous caster that gets eshew materials at 1st level as well as some problems casting spells with the evil descriptor - Pet Peeve alert…. I’m not a fan of the anti-evil or even “white” necromancy. I think people get all caught up about undeath as some taboogeyman. Undead involves a mechanical apparatus (the body/bones/rotting flesh/spirit) that is given motive force. There is no need to clutter it with “alignment”. Sheesh. So the difficulty the WN has in casting “evil” spells just annoys me and I would houserule this into oblivion. Happily it disappears at 4th level.

* Rebuke Death at 1st level heals those below 0 hp. Nice idea. I’d possibly rename it though as “rebuke” is more aggressive than this ability feels – I would have preferred Cheat Death or similar. A minor niggle and not a design flaw by any means.

* There is a dead level at 2nd level. No I’m not talking about a new awesome White Necromancer power where you are dead and win the game. A dead, blank, no power gained level. Sure, you do get an extra 1st level spell per day and an additional cantrip known, but really? A dead level. I see Clerics and Wizards have dead levels all over the place, and this guy is in the same bracket (1/2 BAB, Full caster) but still. As you will see later, I have ideas for this dead level…and its similarly dead pals at 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 19th level. I could go on but there are only 20 levels. :)

* Power over Undead appears at 3rd level. Yep that’s right, an undead themed holy necromancer can’t Turn undead until 3rd level. Hmm. The saving grace is that this tweak to channeling is really quite cool. There are some restrictions against feats that alter the channel that actually keep the channeling on theme, and another interesting touch - “all undead are potentially affected, even those under (the WN’s) control”. There’s an added 20th level capstone power for this too.

* White Necromancy appears at 4th level, essentially removing the problems with casting “evil” spells and making summoned undead neutral instead of evil. Some nice stuff here about no actual concrete control of undead, use of Diplomacy, respecting the undead and releasing them once their service or task is completed really adds luster to the concept.
Personally I find this ability and it’s placement very problematic. I feel the whole class is built around this concept, and the pragmatism of creating undead and not having truck with petty alignment issues should appear at 1st level, not 3 levels later…

* Life bond at 5th level allows the WN to form a bond with another living creature within 90ft and allows the WN to sacrifice 5 hp in order to give the bonded creature 5 hp if it is below 0 hp. Necrotic Transfer at 7th level allows the WN to sacrifice 10 + Con score + WN level to a creature touched. I’m hoping this is supposed to be Con modifier, otherwise that is a lot of hit points!!! I’m also a bit mystified why it’s 90 ft, and not 30 or 60…

I really worry about the usability of both of these considering the low HD of the WN, and compounded by his lack of defense (mage armor spell notwithstanding...) he shouldn’t be giving away ANY hp. Perhaps the aforementioned 2nd level dead level/power suite could aid with this - like temporary hps from a white-necrotic buff of some kind? I just don’t think the WN has enough hp to be handing them out.

* Some nice, thematic abilities follow – Voice of the Grave (7th level) gives speak with dead; Life Sight (9th level) confers life/undeath detection, but only to 10 ft (?); Grasp of the Dead (11th level) creates the iconic clutching bony arms from below; Ghost Walk (13th level) provides incorporeality; Death Warded (15th level) protects against death spell and death effects, even where not normally allowed a save and Protective Aura (17th level) turns this into an aura that also provides living creatures with immunity to energy drain and effects causing negative levels...

So...

I'd like to have seen some cool white-necrotic power at the currently dead-2nd level, perhaps even the beginnings of a suite and/or pool - (that should also avoid those pesky 1st level dippers!) and bolster his capabilities – as indicated there are plenty of other dead levels and if you move the 4th level eponymous White Necromancy stuff to 1st level you get a even level progression from 2 to 18 and then a capstone. Or, keep the dead levels but give the WN d8 HD like a Cleric or, more likely, the Inquisitor.

Also perhaps move the Turn undead to 2nd level - seeing as it isn't as versatile as Clerics, who get it at 1st level - I see it as iconic for this guy - heck I'd move it to 1st level personally.

* While he can command undead with the spell at 4th level, the WN can’t create any until he gets animate dead at 8th level. Regardless of the parity with other casters, I personally feel this is too late. Again, the dead levels could help here…

* There are a bunch of new feats and spells, followed by two archetypes.

* The Grave bound archetype is particularly cool. I played a cleric back in 1e who had two wraiths as companions, though he was initially LG eventually he was as evil as they come. I've always liked the trope of the undead servitor/minion, and author Marc Radle adds some nice plot-hooks options to just what (or who) the servitor is to the Grave-Bound.
There are two problems with the archetype: One, I think the addition of an undead servitor is eorth WAAAAY more than the Life Bond ability it replaces which I see as not very useful, and two, I’m sad the Grave-Bound doesn’t get an undead servitor until 5th level - I would have liked to see this as a Ranger analog getting it at 4th level…I guess this is an at-level swap, but still. If there had been abilities at the dead levels this would have been a perfect swap – as it is the undead servitor gets abilities at those already dead 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th levels.

Another Pet Peeve, there is no Wight undead servitor option – the options provided make a certain kind of sense, Vampires, Skeletons, Ghosts, Mummies and Zombies – the more genteel or passive types... No slavering Ghouls or feral Wights. I see this as a missed opportunity to redefine some undead tropes and make some cultured ghouls or stealthy wights….

Final Thoughts/In Conclusion:
Look, this is still a five star review, but I feel the need to say that I think this could have been so much more. Maybe I’m stuck on Lew Pulsipher’s plate armor wearing, Chaos-Knight informing Necromancer class for 1e from White Dwarf magazine back in the day, or maybe I’m just an undead fanboy who didn’t quite get what he wanted with a “White” Necromancer. I guess the whole point of the exercise is to make an alignment distinction, rather than expand upon a Wizard’s Necromancer school. But if the stated aim is not to make a Wizard alternate or archetype, give the WN more hp and some freaking armor!!! Even some light armor casting would go a long way to making some memorable fashion!!! Same again with the simple weapons – why do the dark necromancers and fouldark priests get all the fun and dread weapons – at least give the WN some kind of useful martial weapon. I know, I know, this guy is an undead diplomat….

This is obviously a cherished class by many from the annals of KQ’s own “back in the day” and as such this Expanded PDF may have been constrained from departing from that version. I would still like to have seen the dead levels worked into a suite of some kind, the necromancy embraced from 1st level and a few of the other abilities synergizing with better hit points. Also, if there were a suite for the dead levels (or even individual powers) the archetype swaps might make more sense...

Still, it seems that the class has functioned very well up until this expansion, so I’m likely opining a bit much. This is onto a fly-by-night approach to a concept, the archetypes, feats and spells round it out.

I’ll end by saying: Excellent work from Marc Radle, this really adds to his collection of well received, critically acclaimed works like the Shaman, Battle Scion and Spell-less Ranger.


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Absolutely solid Base Class!!! Just lacks archetypes...

*****

First off, let me say this PDF is a beautiful specimen of graphic design - the background is stylised with curling borders and metallic curlicues, the paper it appears on is mottled and appears water damaged- all nice touches in which to house the large font that is crisp and easy to read. Three typically realistic Rick Hershey art pieces round out the PDF giving the Saint some grounding in "characters you might want to play/encounter." Let's move on to the crunchy stuff!

So what exactly is the Saint and where does it fit within the divine class/caster milieu?

I found the Role description to be somewhat vague but basically the saint is a buffer, a protector, is excellent mobility-wise and none too weak with the old deity's favored weapon.

As a Base Cl ass we have a 3/4 BAB, d8 HD class, proficient with light armor, simple weapons + deity's favored weapon, that has diminished, Bard level, albeit prepared casting of spells from a spell list that is, by the author's reckoning "made up of a combination of Cleric, Bard and Paladin spells, focusing on buff, healing and charm..."

Ok, fair enough, but what else does the Saint do?

Saints have a domain, but their domain spells are gained as SLAs, usable 3+ Wis mod/day (though higher level spells cost more uses - a nice balancer there!)

The real excellent design trick for me as far as abilities in the Saint is the use of Favor, and Graces.

Favor is a tweak of the Gunslinger's Grit mechanic - and if you think about Favor as it applies to deities, and how they might reward their warlike apostles - in this case Saints, then you might start to see the genius of the concept. Author Tyler Beck provides some excellent ways to regain Favor not just in combat, but also through thematically appropriate methods - conversion, proof of loyalty to deity and a broad feats of faith option...

Graces are to Favor what Deeds are to Grit, but there the comparison ends. Really, the Saint takes the grit mechanic and runs away with it into fantastic design territory - almost a score of Graces running the gamut of low to high level, with names like Favored Bodyguard (as long as you have at least one favor point you are treated a shaving the Bodyguard feat, and it synergises if you have the Combat Reflexes feat - nice touch there); Preach a tweaked Bard's fascinate; Silent Prayer - use Favor to gain Silent Spell without increasing spell level on one spell or SLA (great for domain SLAs); another great one is Guided Hand - provides short term bonus to next foe after gaining a Favor point through vanquishing enemies.

Some of the Graces I'm not a fan of - namely Far Healing and, though this might seem crazy in a very favorable review, one of the central abilities of the class - Favored Onslaught. The former just doesn't seem to fit my very personal view of the theme of the class, so let's just say that's irrational bias.
The latter ability is something of a tricky problem personally for me. Basically it's a Monk's Flurry of Blows with the deity's favored weapon. Monk's Flurries do my head in on a good day, so really that's where part of the problem lies - I also see the BAB for the Favored Onslaught, and it takes the Saint into pretty powerful territory. I guess the balancer is that it requires a favor point expenditure, and though not exactly specified (and may not need to be) it's only for one round. The second part is that, with this signature ability, I really don't get why this class is called the Saint, and not the Champion or War-Apostle. Saint drags my mind into totally different territory than a spell using, armored, weapon dragging scion of deific inspired favor. Oh, I forgot - Favored Onslaught only works in light or no armor - which plays into the mobility mentioned in Role.
Hmm. Oh well. No biggie, It's still awesome.

To round out the class we get some Bonus Feats (including the option to choose guided hand or the rogue's evasion and improved evasion without meeting prereqs though the latter still limited to light armor) and the Emissary ability which adds the Saint's level and Diplomacy and Intimidate when dealing with "those of another faith". A little vague and broad for me, and perhaps narrowly applicable if you cant define "faiths", but a nice touch to bring in the devout aspect of the theme.

There's a great spell list, a couple of bonus feats and a favored class bonus for EVERY race in the Core Rulebook and the APG. Sheesh. Strangely the Favored class bonuses are often nothing to do with the Saint, but geared more to the race in question's capability - I guess I can see a reason for this - some of the bonuses are on theme - the grippli gains a bonus to the Princely racial trait for example- perhaps it's all due to divine inspiration, but it was a little weird for me at first.

All in all this is a well thought out Base Class that explores a niche in the canon of classes and makes use of some existing mechanics in innovative and fun ways.

If I truly had a gripe here it would be this - where are the archetypes? For me, the rigour or measure of a base class is that the chassis can bear more concepts - not only are none presented herein but as I read through it I wasn't immediately coming up with a bunch - not just because the theme wasn't making them occur to me but also because I couldn't immediately identify what to replace within the mechanica design space. I think that will change as I ponder the class a bit more. Perhaps it's my personal irreligion hampering my ability to connect to the class, and also, more to the point, the name throws me. I don't like the name for this awesome base class. I would prefer something with Devout/Devoted/Apostle of.... but I can see that "Saint" is simple, evocative and to the point.

Oh, to Hell and Heaven with it, and the Neutral Afterlife as well - 5 stars from your grumpy old OSW...

[Postscript - ooh ooh, OSW you are a dimbulb - of course - either a spell-less Saint (War-Apostle) or spell-less AND domain-less along the lines of the Inquisitor's "ideal-rather-than-deity" - that might really be a Battle-Saint!!!]


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Weird Wasteland Wonders!!! More Midgard Magic...

*****

Seeing as I reviewed PGttC and PGttDE I thought I'd do the same for this baby - this is a slighty edited version of the post I made in the product description thread.  I am a Midgard fan and occasional freelancer for Kobold Press, so while obviously there is some favouritism, but my credo is credit where credit is due!!!

Overall, I really like this player's guide.

 For a start, the art - the cover is awesome and the interior art may just be the best I've seen yet in any Kobold Press product, and perhaps the best I've seen in any 3PP - there were no pieces that weren't beautiful. And the map of Maillon is rendered magnificently - I had adventure ideas popping in my head just looking at it. 

As for the text, while I did find some repetition from the MCS (though I would have actually liked to see all the Great Old Ones detailed) the regional/city writeups are awesome. 

Getting right into the really juicy stuff I loved the various regional traits (loved the Roatgard forest sacrifice one - great for NPC horned god sacrificeurs) and love the heritage traits. 

"Barsonaut" is a great name, just not so sure about why that makes you able to turn invisible! ;p 

The seven new archetypes are cool, particularly the Summoner and Druid - love me some altered friend action... I was a little non-plussed by the Witch being merely a bit of flavor and some new hexes, but the hexes themselves are fabulous! More my bias being a witch-freak I guess. :) 

Loved the two new Orders, they will likely mesh well with a particular adventure by B. Suskind in the upcoming Midgard Tales... I also liked the three new bloodlines, particularly Ghoulish and Realms beyond.

This is a great addition to the canon of Midgard! Adam Roy and other contributors have managed a fantastic suite of options and information for players, and a valuable resource for GMs.

5 stars from your flavor-munching pal OSW!!!


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