In the world of Exodus, there are none that are more dangerous than the five person lead terrorist and criminal organization known as the Folding Circle. The Folding Circle rarely concerns itself with large-scale military style movements—preferring to work with pinpoint strikes, they send a small group of powerful individuals to achieve some aim or another. Usually, one of the leaders will travel out to wherever a problem or opportunity has arisen and deal with it accordingly. The Folding Circle doesn’t control territory in the sense that a nation does. The members of this organization are highly mobile and powerful, capable of traveling to an area viewed through the Star Fountain, dealing with the “problem", and returning. This travel capability means that a member of the Folding Circle can appear anywhere, at any time, with basically no warning.
This supplement includes:
History of the Folding Circle
The Folding Circle: Goals and Agenda
The History of the Leader of the Folding Circle: Makesh the Undying (CR 4, 10, 14, 20 & 24), Nysska (CR 3, 7, 11, 15 & 19), The Destoyer (CR 5, 9, 13, 17 & 21), Emok Zenyaka (CR 2, 6, 10, 14 & 19), and Haru Anon ( CR 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25)
Relations with the World of Exodus
Four all new protégé feats
Allies of the Folding Circle: Seeker-in-Flame (CR 10), Axo the Wildstorm (CR 14) and the eight members of the Brotherhood (CR 10—15)
This pdf is 80 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages mini-sheets, 2 pages char-sheet and 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving 73 pages for the folding circle, so let's check them out!
Detailing a kind of evil terrorist/guerilla-army led by powerful antagonists, the first PFRPG-compatible book of the "Enemies of NeoExodus"-line kicks off as it should, with the narrative of how the group of beings that make up the inner circle of the organization came together. The narrative is concisely and yet compellingly written and had me actually want to continue reading. The methodology of the group is explained, but the book does not stop there - we get paragraphs that explain which leaders are used for which tasks, which symbols they use ( great for foreshadowing) and even some unusual details of their headquarter. On the mechanical side, we also get a short table of the leadership-effects of individual soldiers fighting under the command of leaders.
The commanders are:
-Makesh the Undying, the glue that holds the group together. A human turned divine construct, he, as the other leaders, is presented in several incarnations: CR 4, 10, 14, 20 and 24. The stat-blocks come with EXTENSIVE tactics sections and even goes one step further than just progressing the stats- depending on the incarnation, he actually gets some cool completely unique abilities related to his background story and even his signature weapon is updated in each incarnation.
-Nysska, the renegade exodite assassin among them (CR 3, 7, 11, 15, 19) also gets this versatile treatment, her stats also containing signature poisons, tactics dependant on the level of her incarnation and once again unique signature abilities.
-The Destroyer, Enuka-incarnation of war and destruction also comes in several incarnations: Cr 5, 9, 13, 17, 21. Being the one creature that more or less could kill Makesh, this incarnation of destruction, as the other two, comes with cool signature abilities like a rebirth in blood or the ability to suddenly adapt to incoming energy. Or rip bone quills from his body and throw them at his enemy.
-Emok Zenyaka, a demon of corruption and life sealed in the body of a now genderless Prymidian. He comes as CR 2, 6, 10, 14, 19 and comes with disease-associated attacks and a special ability that defines how he uses his considerable magic power and culminating in terrible abilities that define how he can destroy and taint his enemies.
-Haru Anon, the condensed and combined terror and pain of both thousands of souls slain by Makesh (who is one day supposed to lead them to the afterlife) and his former tribesmen was bound into a hybrid undead/construct form by Emok. It comes as CR 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and actually has extremely cool ability progressions. As the other leaders, this IMMENSELY cool thing gets terrible destructive powers. Wow.
Next up, we get sections on how the organization of the folding circle interacts with the other powers of Exodus. However, apart from fluff, we also get mechanical benefits in the respective regions for members, even presenting feats to become the protégé of the respective leader, sans Haru Anon, of course, who is not interested in followers.
Followers...we get those, too: For example Seeker-in-Flame, a CR 10 burning Dalrean ranger with some very cool unique abilities and his mephit companion. Or Axo, crystalline Cynean apprentice to Emok who can focus arcane energy like a destructive lens.
Then, there is the Brotherhood. A sub-organization of assassins, they come just as varied and detailed in background as their leaders, though they "only" get one stat-block as well. From an Enuk-warrior who was fused with an elemental, a fate-twisting assassin wielding an artifact, a druid touched by elemental air, a Sasori monk possessed by an inner fire that can even create him anew, a Cavian sorceror disconnected from the hive-mind and muted in both bloodline, a corrupted nature-spirit and finally, a MPD-afflicted, undead child with terrible power over sleep.
Layout is just as beautiful as you would expect it, from LPJr Design. What I didn't expect, though, was how both writing and editing have improved in this file in comparison to others I've seen. I've scarcely encountered typos, to be precise, 2, (quite a feat with a book of this size) and stumbled across no glaring errors. While there are minor formatting glitches (I e.g. noticed a section that was supposed to be bold and wasn't), they are few and far between - I noticed 2 formatting glitches on 73 pages with a similar number of very minor punctuation errors that did not deter from my ability to understand or enjoy the text. The artwork in most LPJr-books rocks. This is even more true in this one - the full-color illustrations (One for EACH character) are beauties and only the portrait of ram (the corrupt nature spirit) didn't match up to a quality you could potentially see in a Paizo product. Especially the portrait of Haru Anon just blew me away and even surpasses the usually excellent artworks of NeoExodus books. More importantly, the NPCs detailed herein make AWESOME villains. Seriously. Just about every character comes with signature abilities, a new magic item or artifact or similar powers that would qualify them as being a major antagonist for your PCs. Even if you only use one of them, he/she/it is almost guaranteed to surprise your PCs. Add to that the fact that each one gets at least a page of background and you're in for quite a treat. While I have to admit that I didn't do the math on everyone of them, I noticed no obvious glaring inconsistencies and quite frankly, at this level I don't really care. The writing is cool, the NPCs rock, their organization is unique in design and agenda and the small bits and pieces like the aforementioned leadership bonuses make for a great reading experience. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to think about how to implement them in my campaign and which one to throw first at my PCs. What? I forgot the rating? 5 stars - this is by far the best book by LPJr Design I've read so far and I heartily recommend it to just about any DM looking for deadly villains, even ones who don't intend to play in NeoExodus. With cosmetic changes, these fellows can be the final bosses of your campaign.