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Kaiju, Mogaru

doc the grey's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 2,667 posts (2,692 including aliases). 12 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 10 Pathfinder Society characters. 5 aliases.



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Everything it says in the name

*****

A solid addition to the player companion line this book gives you everything you would expect with the title. More alchemical items to make, more weapons, new remedies, and drugs to add to your parties budding alchemist's cookbook. On top of that though you get tons of new item options you weren't even prepared for like Ooze crafting, herbalism crafting, mythic alchemical items, fungal grafts, and homunculus modifications everyone is in for a whole lot of new fun items to play with. On top of all that you get the spontaneous alchemy system, allowing players to throw together alchemical items potentially in instants but with bigger surprises in case of failure and slightly higher costs. Honestly the best part of the whole spontaneous alchemy system though is how they sought to replicate the historical system of alchemy, giving special symbols to each ingredient type and alchemical process. Right now I'm just starting to hand out some of these symbols to my party alchemist and I literally cannot wait to watch him start fiddling with different reagents and processes trying to instantly remake other items.

If I had to have one complaint though it's that we only get spontaneous alchemy stats for the poisons and drugs presented in this book (instead of all those in the PFC and GMG) as well as missing a lot of recipes for Ultimate Equipment as well. But they do manage to get all of the basic alchemical items from the Core rulebook and with luck they will manage to get the rest of the items in the PFC and Ultimate equipment stated out for the system soon enough.


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The Best players companion to hit so far this year

*****

After last months Bastards of Golarion I was worried I wasn't in the best of spirits for this books release, worried that it would be another book with weak mechanical offerings and content that is either too focused on small sections of the pathfinder homeworld or just not that interesting all together. I can tell you here that this book is nothing like Bastards, literally everything in this from the thematic elements, the new mechanics, and the discussions on the nuances between the neutral alignments is solid gold.

Inside you will get 32 pages of solid content awesome starting with an excellent discussion of the various nuances of the neutral alignment from how being LN does not mean that you cannot break laws to how CN does not mean you can play it like you are CE. These sections are incredibly well written, providing numerous examples of archetypes that exist within those alignments and some guidelines as to how to play those alignments well and in a fulfilling way. The rest of the book focuses on the various new mechanical offerings along with information on various references to many of the major nations and factions of Golarion and how to incorporate characters into those organization. As for the mechanical options they are all awesome, from the new gun twirling bullet naming death that are the new gunslinger feats to the new Impossible bloodline every piece of mechanics presented in this book is not only well thought out but evocative, leaving you wanting to play with them and build characters that take advantage of their abilities. Special mention must also be given to the 2 new archetypes presented here The Negotiator Bard and Survivor Druid. The former is basically a bard turned into professional lawyer, able to talk himself out of near any situation and convince people of just about anything he says. Meanwhile the Survivor Druid is like a survivalist or primitive hunter variant, trading some of your spellcasting and your wildshape ability for the trap mechanics presented in Ultimate Magic. In all honesty these are both some of my favorite archetypes I've seen all year, the bard fills a perfect niche that I have desperately been looking for in a bard archetype and the Survivor is such a cool option for druids, putting a whole new spin on the usual protectors of nature, setting them up as a magical trapper who supplements his hunting and trapping with more potent magical power. That alone has got my mind whirring on dozens of new druids alone and with the dozens of other options that this book presents in content I know I'm going to have more then enough to play with both as a gm, player, and pathfinder society member for the next year at least!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a cavalier of the scales hellknight to design, an impossible sorcerer, and figuring out if I can give my slayer the blood pact ninja trick.


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The perfect addition for any sunken city adventure/dungeonpunk style game

*****

So before I get too deep into this review I want to state that I'm coming at this review from a setting neutral standpoint as someone looking for material that is both mechanically well done and incredibly cool. Any connections this might have to any campaign setting work like Zobeck or kobold's other campaign works and how it integrates into that mythos will not be covered here.

Now with that out of the way lets get on to the review.

In short this might be one of my favorite 3rd party additions of the last 6 months. Seriously if you have any plans to run a game that has anything to do with lost civilizations sunken under the waves ala Atlantis, powerful ancient technology that seems both futuristic and at the same time old (aka archeotech or other past visions of future technology like jules verne, dungeonpunk, steampunk, or industrialpunk), mythos style aquatic abilities linked to some of the oldest cthulhian style monsters in the game (the aboleth), new fighting styles and feats centered around aquatic or semi aquatic campaigns, gear for aquatic or games based largely around, or even a little psychic magic style options or even potential gladiator style fighting options this book is for you. And if you can believe it that's just scratching the surface.

The book starts off with a nice foreword about the creation of the Aboleth, a nice addition and an interesting look at the creation of one of the oldest and most long standing monsters in the table top world. Next there is a wonderful section on ancient sunken civilizations of history including Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu along with ways to incorporate them or their feel into your own home world from talks about the technology associated with that particular fabled city to discussions on the writers and their associated styles that made those cities stand out from one another, along with various questions meant to get your mind churning on how to create your own great lost city lost to time.

After that we get a nice section of new feats and character options ranging from things like a net & fighter build for fighters to a sea monster domain for clerics and a few awesome new bloodlines up to and including a bloodline that gives you psychic powers that can not only shield you from attacks but let you fling people across rooms and read their minds! That last one has me jonesing for a chance to get into a game that lets me deflect attacks with my mind or have one of my players want to throw down a sorcerer who plays like something akin to a classic telekinetic telepath in a world of magic. This section has even more than this, with options for every core class ranging from rogue talent like options for base classes to whole new archetypes that help acclimate those classes to a campaign more focused on the sea/lost civilizations. On top of that you also have tons of feats to help further that motif with many that would work just as well in campaigns near the ocean as far away (with the trident & net fighting feats really springing to mind).


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Wow

*****

Really the title says it all but in an effort for completeness I will continue.

First a little background. I picked this book up with some store credit I had left over from GM'ing Gencon and in an effort to stem my pining for the October releases of Bestiary 4 and Blood of the Moon and because of an ever growing love of ancient american history. In short, I have not been disappointed thus far.

To start the book drops a whole new class on us called The Brave, a full attack melee character built around the iconic american brave and it is fantastic. Basically a Brave is a full BAB melee fighter with this pool of points he collects (referred to as coup) that he can use for everything from bonuses to his attack and damage to bursts of movement, extra attacks, and full party healing. Trick is that the only way to collect these points is to do risky things in combat like tapping enemies, performing combat maneuvers, never taking damage, and stealing and mounting an enemies mount with the most dangerous options netting the most points. On top of this the pool starts to leak points the longer a Brave goes without actually performing risky maneuvers so it encourages the player to get risky. On top of this you get various other abilities we are all familiar with like uncanny dodge, track, specialized weapon training, and pass without trace making it easy to build this tomahawk wielding guerrilla warrior who pops in and vanishes before anyone knows what hit them. Top this off with a few other abilities like the ability to Intimidate an opponent with a hit so badly that you get to add your Intimidate ranks to your damage when you hit him, stealth while being observed, and double rolls vs. fear saves and I have to say that I am sold.

Next we get 8 new archetypes which, as far as I have gotten as of this writing have been stellar. The Painted Warrior is an archetype to play as this classic painted warrior, hunting down enemies on horseback with a bow and arrow, bedecked in ceremonial warpaint, and taking it down. What's even more amazing is that it's an archetype for the samurai class and it works, especially when you stack it with the new Order of the Nomadic Warrior. On top of this is an awesome mechanic which grants you AC thanks to crafting and applying warpaint to yourself and you have an excellent archetype that takes a very different class and molds it perfectly to make it fit in a world of native Americans, buffalo, and the great plains.

Next we get the Conquistador, Spirit walker, Jaguar warrior, Cowbowy, Mountain Man, and Vigilante. The Conquistador gives you this amoral mercenary Fighter archetype with a proficiency in guns, an amoral attitude, and a knack for knocking off indigenous peoples. Basically you trade weapon training, armor training, and some of your feats for gun training, a mount, and the ability to select a race and gain proficiency with all their native weapons, know their language, and gain an intimidate bonus equal to half your level against them. Run on I know but that I just love that last ability, giving a fighter a free ability that grants him languages, knowledge of his enemies, and the ability to strike fear into them just oozes with so much style that I can see this arch working in just about any game that can field mounts and fire arms, from the conquering Spaniard it's based on to the blackpowder wielding dwarf determined to wipe the Orc menace from his home.

The spirit walker is a ranger arch that allows you to take an animal companion much earlier, bond with it, and enter a spirit walk where you and your animal become one and destroy your enemies. Add to this the fact that your animal companion eventually becomes fiendish/celestial and eventually half fiend/celestial depending on your choices and you have all the makings of an absolutely badass spirit walker and his half celestial bear, smiting whatever is foolish enough to threaten his home.

Next is the Jaguar Warrior, a barbarian archetype that allows you to become more and more like the Jaguar. It starts by modifying rage a bit swapping the bonuses to Str and Dex and penalizing Int and Cha then follows it up by giving you claws, a bite, and pounce as you level. Combine this with other optional jaguar traits you can take in rage powers and the loss of a few of your rage powers is more then worth the price of admission.

Special mention goes to the art in this book. It has about 5 pieces of art 2 of which are for some of the new weapons but what is there absolutely sells the piece. The images of the painted warrior are absolutely beautiful as well as the spirit walker and the Jaguar warrior is just mean looking. All of them are rendered in this kind of rough oil painting style that just bleeds cool and makes me a little jealous of what my players might think up looking at them as they are giving me a million character ideas.

Now I'm still working my way through this book but I haven't even scratched the surface of some of the other mechanics like new rage powers (including totems) sacrifice mechanics, feats, and new weapons. This book is absolutely dense with new fun stuff to play with that I think any player or GM would kill for. In short if you like cool new mechanics, buy this. If you like the old west, or native american themed options why do you not already have this? Go, spend money, this one is worth the price.


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The guide to running madness and Cthulian horror in your game

*****

So to start a string of reviews that don't have a title involving the word fantastic here is one of the first, Tomes of Ancient Knowledge. To start this book strives to accomplish 3 things in my mind. Number 1, to create a new and thematically appropriate system for sanity & madness mechanics for the pathfinder system, present the concept of mythos themed spells, creatures, and spellcasting in an interesting and thematically sound way, and presenting us with some thematic and compelling examples of these vile tomes.

First up is the sanity system and I have to say that they hands down hit it out of the park. For those of you who like me have a passion for a certain pulp author themed high mortality horror game you've all had that fantasy at least once of being able to run some of those madness rules inside your pathfinder game. The problem I've always found though is the dissonance between the two mediums with Call of Cthulhu's sanity mechanic being very well built to help promote that horror through it's disempowerment while simultaneously being ill suited to the power fantasy that pathfinder is built to help promote. In short, the big problem with the sanity mechanic is that it's built to increase the fun by taking away a characters power which is the exact opposite of what pathfinder is built to do. Now with all that stacked against them Legendary has somehow managed to pull it off. To start the system doesn't lock itself to your wisdom stat(the classic choice for most sanity ports) but instead is built around your lowest mental stat. This does two things, one it allows players to build the character they want and not have to pump a certain stat specifically, second it manages to somehow leave no one class truly safe from the madness of the mythos. Now you get to watch as your paladin becomes more forgetful, your wizard become unhinged, and your monk slowly become more and more distant and despondent until they start shouting Tekelili! at the top of their lungs. Next even though accruing madness does bring about some penalties to your stats it also grants boons including incite into the mythos and bonuses on rolls against it. Top this off with ways to handle the penalties including temporary and permanent solution and you have what might be the best system I've seen to handle insanity to date.

Next up we kind of have to talk about the tomes which make up the bulk of this book. Now I have to say that pretty much everything else in this book from after the sanity system on is pretty much GM's eyes only until your players get their hands on one of these dark and terrible tomes so if you are a player I suggest you stop reading to avoid spoiling the surprise. For the rest of you though carry on.

Tomes:
Each tome is not only well written but just oozes style with any one of the 4 tomes presented within being able to fit into nearly any game regardless of setting. From the bloody crystal shards of cannibal cults to the time warping hundred pound tablets of a Babylonian chrono cult you will find something awful to throw at your players and tempt them to play with. My personal favorites thus far are the crystal shards of Sarkulis shards, the aforementioned crystals carved with the dark teaching of a bloody druid cannibal cult and allows those who read its contents to crystallize their own blood and hurl it as a deadly weapon along or compel their enemies to try and feast on the still living flesh of their allies. The other one that really begs mentioning is the last tome of the book, All Flesh & Form by Flame Made Ash. A divine tome full of funerary rite and divine opining over the eventual heat death of the universe. Now it doesn't add any new spells in its pages but instead presents two new metamagic spells that either leave behind choking and revealing cinder clouds or mix in heavy doses of lethal radiation, forcing those who are hit by the spells to make saves or basically get cancer and begin to slowly waste away.

Now this book might not be for everyone, but if you have any interest in trying to pull of a pathfinder game with cthulhian elements or that wonderful cosmic horror that games like Call of Cthulhu have then you definitely need to pick this one up, now. There is not a better book for it.


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