Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Po'Kesteros, the Lostling (PFRPG) PDF (based on
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"All the luck in the world can't change the past."
Many dreams are nightmares, and most fairy tales are gruesome tales of blood and betrayal, when you get right down to it. One little boy's ill-fated wish took him away to a land of make-believe and wonder... and, in a realm of madness and lies, that lost boy grew up. Lucky him. Now a tricksy old man in funny clothes walks the treacherous streets of Dream with a dagger in his hands, a haunting tune upon his lips, and shadow that curdles probability itself. Many wish he would've stayed lost.
This product provides Game Masters with details on a long-lost luckbringer found amongst the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, ready for immediate use in any campaign—but especially for use within the Coliseum Morpheuon. Each entry features ingenious stat-blocks from multiple OGL sources, history, motivation, secrets, and insight into the NPC's most carefully guarded dreams, along with complete game statistics for low, middle, and high levels of play.
Within you will find: Po'Kesteros, a fey-faced fortune fiend who doesn't care about the "odds."
The latest installment of Rite Publishing's series of complex, far-out NPCs is 16 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages for the 3 incarnations of Po'Kesteros, so let's check him out!
First of all, what supplemental material do we get? We get the Trickster Creature template (CR +1), the preternatural creature template (CR +2), the Fey-creature template (CR +1 or +2) and the adaptable creature template (CR +3). The adaptable and preternatural creature templates are used for the variant version of Po'Kesteros provided alongside his regular statblocks.
The low level incarnation of Po'Kesteros is a fey half-elf vivisectionist 1 /luckbringer 5 at CR 7, while his medium advanced version adds five more luckbringer levels, one level of ninja and the trickster template for CR 15. The beautiful high-level statblock adds 4 more luckbringer and 1 ninja level for a whopping CR 20-foe.
But who is Po'Kesteros? Essentially, he's a grown wild boy - abducted by cruel fey, the freakishly lucky guy has recently lost leadership of the Tarnished Souk's thieves guild to Z.Z. Grimshanks - just before the crackdown. Cursed and blessed by his luck, he is a consummate, breeding loner who brings misfortune on those he cares for. He also makes for a frustratingly lucky and lethal wildcard of an NPC and a lethal combatant to say the least: He comes with 3 Luckbringer feats and 2 traits as well as information on Ta Mo-daggers and elven long knives. We also get the rather lethal dream-shattering weapon enhancement, which can consume dreams - of course, information on CM's dreamburning system for Po'Kesteros is included. On the magical item side, we get his gauntlets of blood, his viper kiss-daggers, his bite-attack-granting chaplet and the extremely lethal "Swift End", which will indeed deliver its namesake upon his foes. Who truly earns his ire might also meet the business-end of the deadly dreamslayer-dagger.
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's old two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. There I am, asking for a luckbringer-character and lo! and behold, here's the one! If you don't know about the class, be sure to check out Rite Publishing's "Secrets of the Luckbringer", it is one of the best 3pp-classes out there - period. If you don't want to, though, fret not, for this pdf contains all the information necessary to run Po'Kesteros without owning the class-pdf. Po' Kesteros is a stellar character - his options in battle are extremely varied and his luckbringer abilities complement the ones from the other classes to create a true survivor character with more options in battle than almost any character out there - combining true strike extracts with improved critical hits (and chances to score the like) as well as misdirection and harm-spells that trigger upon critical hits as well as the fortune-manipulating powers of the class make battling (or siding with) Po'Kesteros a memorable thing indeed. Add to that the feud with the awesome Z.Z. Grimshanks character and we're in for one of those must-purchase recommendations of the series. My final verdict? 5 stars + endzeitgeist seal of approval.
An Excellent Addition to the Tarnished Souk Series
Po’Kesteros, the latest offering in the Faces of the Tarnished Souk line shows just what can truly be done with the excellent Luckbringer class, in a very well executed manner. Following the standard Rite format of the dual column with embedded artwork (all B&W with two of the pieces being close up details taken from the excellent cover piece from Kimagu, and one being the cover piece from the second book in the Luckbringer series – 10 Luckbringer Feats. Editing/Spelling all looked good, and I found no stumbling blocks to interrupt the flow of reading or understanding, which is always a good thing. After OGL, credits and the rest, we are left with a solid 11 pages of material covering Po’Kesteros and a sampling of templates (along with a few example creatures). The Pdf also comes fully bookmarked, which always pleases me.
So who is Po’Kesteros? Well, he’s Peter Pan, all grown up…with a blood lust. Stolen by dark fey as a babe, this half elven fey grew up in a world unlike the one he was intended to, developing a specific set of talents designed to not only allow him to survive such an upbringing, but to make him a very, very dangerous man to be near. He chooses to focus on what is in front of him, living in the here and now, rather than placing any value or faith in what the future may bring, knowing full well how quickly all one knows can be taken, and how uncertain tomorrow truly is.
Presented with three separate CR ratings, giving you a range of variables to utilize as to which Po’Kesteros you wish to unleash upon your playgroup, we are given write-ups for a CR 7, 15 & a 20. With the CR7 we are also given the reason behind the name, as he starts his journey as Poor Kesteros, the Boy the Fairies took, shortening it later in life to Po’Kesteros. Amongst his abilities are the Formula Book for his sole level alchemist level, and the Enhanced NPC ability (which if you are unfamiliar with, grants him a 25 point buy, PC level wealth, 2 traits, and increases his CR by +1. From there we get into the wonderful world of the Luckbringer as far as the rest of his amazingly useful abilities, which is one of those moments where this PDF could have hit a snag, but I gladly get to report that the designers were thinking ahead, and presented here the crunch one would need to utilize all of Po’Kesteros’ luckbringer class abilities. I still recommend if you have not picked up the luckbringer class book, to do so, as reading the crunch for a few class abilities will not fully give you the feel and vibe of a class, and the book is flat out worth it regardless.
Now, on top of the solid design that has gone into this character, both in personality and crunch, we are presented with templates (and variant crunch for Po’Kesteros if you wish to use the templates on him) such as the Fey Creature, Adaptable Creature, Preternatural and Trickster Creatures. And yes, there’s still more.
How about three new Feats, two for the luckbringer class (Improved Narrow Escape: negates need to spend a moment of chance to use Narrow Escape, and Motion of the Moirai: as long as you have a moment of chance in your pool, fateful footing’s speed rate benefit is continuous, and the negative effects are permanent.) And, for those other classes out there, how about Shadow Strike, allowing for precision damage against targets with concealment. For Traits we have Dream-Scarred: having suffered an extreme trauma, you now cling to the faintest of memory of lost Hope, and are never without Dreams. Or, if that isn’t up your alley for trait choices, how’s Suspicious? At a tender age you came to learn that someone you trusted has played you for a fool and lied or mislead you, causing you to trust no one and question everything.
The Ta Mo Dagger (a pair of nested daggers forming a small baton) and Elven Long Knife would be the two pieces of standard equipment introduced, both of them small, light bladed weapons. A new weapon enhancement, Dream Shattering: does exactly what you might think….it destroys the Goals, Aspirations and Dreams of those it successfully hits with a critical. Very wicked weapon enhancement for the Coliseum Morpheuon setting to say the least. The remaining new goodies would be a handful of new magic items, such as the Beast Chaplet: allowing one to transform their head into a feral form, gaining a bite attack. Gauntlets of Blood: are vicious spiked gauntlets with a thirst of their own, causing not only crit multiplied damage on confirmed criticals, but additional bleed damage as well. Swift End: OK, this one actually stopped me when I got to the end of its description…starts out looking like a good blade, got a bonus, a few nice enhancements (keen, speed) but then you get to what it does on a confirmed critical against a favored enemy….I will never let my Ranger PC at my table near this thing, lol. He rolls way to many criticals …lol. The weapon unleashes a harm effect upon succeeding on a crit roll, adding serious injury to the damage you just did. And Viper’s Kisses: ta mo daggers formed of the fangs of an immense serpent, these blades subject a victim to a poison effect if they both hit a victim within the same round.
So, final thoughts on the latest Tarnished Face…he’s creepy, and that’s a good thing, to say the least. He truly did have me thinking, looking at his art, and reading his background, what if Pan had been taken by a darker fey, how very different that particular Lost Boy would have been. My players are no where near ready level wise to be going anywhere near the Coliseum, and I fear for their sakes that means Po’Kesteros will have to come to them, as this is one NPC that demands time at a game table. I love the story that defines him, the artwork that captures him, and the solid usage of the Luckbringer class to truly build a solid challenge for a playgroup that will not only endanger them, but frustrate them immensely.
A solid 5 star, with a bonus star stuck up there right beside, making this one a 6!