Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Perfect Aneshka, Fate's Immaculate Blade (PFRPG) PDF

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"Follow your destiny; deny it at your peril."

Belief has power. Some believe that freedom is an illusion, choice is a lie, and the path destiny has laid for us all is perfect, immutable, and undeniable. And when such a belief is held by an unstoppable dealer of death, you can only pray that fate is on your side.

This product provides Game Masters with details on a supreme swordswoman 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: Perfect Aneshka, a killer supreme with a fate-driven theme

  • CR 22 Female horrifically overpowered half-giant ranger (urban ranger, weapon champion) 18
  • CR 14 Female horrifically overpowered half-giant ranger (urban ranger, weapon champion) 11
  • CR 8 Female horrifically overpowered half-giant ranger (urban ranger, weapon champion) 6
  • New magic items, including bracers of the Lords of Summer and Winter
  • Featuring Horrifically Overpowered feats from the mad mad geniuses at Super Genius Games!!!

Authors Matt Banach and Justin Sluder
Cover Artist: Toby Gregory
Pages: 11

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The most complex build to date - a joy to behold

*****

The latest installment of te FoTS-series is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving a total of 11 pages for the latest addition to Rite's roster of far-out NPCs, so let's take a look at her!

Following my standard for reviews of the FoTS-series, I'll start with the supplemental material:
There are archetypes in here, and a lot of them. Special mention deserves the weapon champion generic archetype, one, that akin to those innovated by SGG in what seems to be a long time ago, can potentially be taken by every class: This archetype enables one to specialize in a very close set of weapons and receive rather versatile bonuses when using them, from additional damage to shield bonuses, improved CMBs etc. The physical exemplar is another such generic archetype and portrays a character that tries to hone his/her/its physical form towards perfection, resulting in improved attributes etc. To properly realize which abilities Aneshka has given up in her classes, the ki master and woodland spellcaster archetypes (which are part of the regular classes ability roster) are also defined. Beyond that, we get the urban ranger archetype as well as the serene savage (barbarian) archetype. Due to Aneshka being a half-giant, her racial traits (originally appeared in Psionics Unleashed) are also reprinted. Now, before all the psionics-haters start screaming, you shoudl know that half-giants only get one psionic ability and that is to cause a shockwave with a stomp and said ability is reproduced as well. And come on - that is not particularly psionic now, is it?

Aneshka also comes with 6 feats and a particular specialty: The synergy with SGG continues to my enjoyment and this illustrious member of the FoTS-series is lethal even for the Coliseum - especially due to utilizing two feats from SGG's guide to horrifically overpowered feats: "Gestalt", which grants her the abilities of a monk with the physical exemplar archetype and a barbarian with the serene savage archetype and "Prestigious", which grants her access to the special powers associated with the assassin PrC. Both feats are reprinted here and their benefits are explained in detail. 2 new traits associated with the dreamburning mechanics of Coliseum Morpheuon are part of the deal, as are 6 items, one of which is actually a major artifact. Have I mentioned her 25-point buy or her PC-level wealth? All that is fractored into her Cr and explained, should you wish to create similar characters. Even her lowest incarnation can be considered deadly at CR 8, but the true terror is her CR 22 incarnation - we're talking about up to 9 attacks, the worst of which is at +17!

But what about her as a character? Aneshka has once won the Coliseum - she has drunk from the cup of desires and her prowess is partially a result of this - however, still, she has lost all she ever held dear, her family dead and gone. Seeing this as a twist of fate and punishment for her scrupulous past, the giantess has turned towards a cold fatalism and a belief in the strands of fate and change - at the same time a devoted observer of other's destiny and a harbinger of doom for others. She comes with dreamburning information as well as some rather devious hooks, one in particular awesome if you as a DM manage to stage her continuous reliance and driven nature and belief in the whispers of fate early on and escalate it - but I won't spoil that one here.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's old two-column b/w-standard and the artwork portraying her is nice.

The pdf comes fully bookmarked. When I heard that this installment would use SGG's HO-feats, I gibbered a bit - FoTS-NPCs are formidable, cool foes and Aneshka even more so due to them. The amount of options her highly volatile build has are staggering and her combat prowess is frightening indeed, I love it! Her character feels multi-facetted and the additional content - well the additional content and specifically, its implementation, is what makes this interesting: The combination of high point-buys, HO-feats, generic and specific archetypes and all the abilities coming together in one deadly, glorious being of raw destructive power: This NPC and its statblock is a beauty to behold. As a character, Aneshka is also interesting and a multi-facetted being, though there are FoTS-installments I personally prefer - Smiles, Nix-Ra-Bael etc. But from a mechanical point of view and regarding her build, she might yet be the most complex (!!!) character in an array of NPCs that is famous for its elaborate builds. Seeing that I can't find a fault with the pdf and love her build, I am practically forced to rate this the full 5 stars + seal of approval,

Endzeitgeist out.


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Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMs magazine. Cheers!

Dark Archive

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Thanks for the review Endzeitgeist, I'm glad you continue to enjoy the insanity which oozes from my brain and then refined by Matt and Steve.


I was under impression that horrifically overpowered feats were not meant for regular play. Could someone tell me if Aneshka is actually a standard NPC?

Regards,
Ruemere

Dark Archive

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ruemere wrote:

I was under impression that horrifically overpowered feats were not meant for regular play. Could someone tell me if Aneshka is actually a standard NPC?

Regards,
Ruemere

Not meant for regular PC use. NPC use is fine if you're OK with it as a GM.


Thank you for the reply.

Regards,
Ruemere


It should be noted that Aneshka had her CR increased to reflect the HO-feats, but still is insanely powerful, even when compared to other FoTS-characters.

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ruemere wrote:

I was under impression that horrifically overpowered feats were not meant for regular play. Could someone tell me if Aneshka is actually a standard NPC?

Regards,
Ruemere

The Glib Answer: Here at Faces of the Tarnished Souk, we don't publish "standard" NPCs...

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The Tarnished Souk is a bazaar on the Plane of Dreams. Anything could be encountered there, including Horrifically Overpowered entities. While you can find "standard" creatures there, you're more likely to notice the abnormal "things" the normal creatures are existing around.

After all, anything is possible in a dream.

Edit: Also, thanks to everyone else chiming in to explain things. I love y'all. :D


Allow me to revisit my question then - does Aneshka adhere to NPC CR guidelines as outline by Pathfinder? Outrageous powers are fine with me as long as the character's strength does not make it reach beyond's its CR.

Yes, it is a trick, loaded, even unfair question. Still, as I a GM I owe my players a degree of fairness. Otherwise, why would I bother using rules at all.

Regards,
Ruemere

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
ruemere wrote:
Allow me to revisit my question then - does Aneshka adhere to NPC CR guidelines as outline by Pathfinder? Outrageous powers are fine with me as long as the character's strength does not make it reach beyond's its CR.

As with any kind of CR modification, it all depends on the example. For Aneshka, while she is powerful, she has her weaknesses.

ruemere wrote:

Yes, it is a trick, loaded, even unfair question. Still, as I a GM I owe my players a degree of fairness. Otherwise, why would I bother using rules at all.

Regards,
Ruemere

I welcome questions off all kinds, and I have a question for folks.

Of those of you who have used any of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, how did they play? Do you feel they are balanced for the CR in which you used them?


Justin Sluder wrote:
ruemere wrote:
Allow me to revisit my question then - does Aneshka adhere to NPC CR guidelines as outline by Pathfinder? Outrageous powers are fine with me as long as the character's strength does not make it reach beyond's its CR.

As with any kind of CR modification, it all depends on the example. For Aneshka, while she is powerful, she has her weaknesses.

ruemere wrote:

Yes, it is a trick, loaded, even unfair question. Still, as I a GM I owe my players a degree of fairness. Otherwise, why would I bother using rules at all.

Regards,
Ruemere

I welcome questions off all kinds, and I have a question for folks.

Of those of you who have used any of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, how did they play? Do you feel they are balanced for the CR in which you used them?

I have used mostly lower CR versions for very specific applications (serial numbers filed off, colorful NPCs needed). The full-power originals are waiting for end-game plots. As the party average level reaches number fifteen, the time of biggest guns encroaches ever closer.

Stuff actually used includes content of Book of Monster Templates, NPCs from Evocative City Sites (the bartender fiend with aspirations to godhood and her ex-poisoner expert companion) and a few others.

(warning: some rambling ahead)

Somewhat on-topic note: in my games there are no unkillable opponents, the big bad bosses play by the same rules as heroes and if you hit anyone strong enough, they keel over and die, without last minute speeches, last second escapes or deus ex machina tricks.

It's a dirty world where a paladin is fine with taking away a hand of a notorious thief, economic and political interests drive forth holy folk, the evil guys can be bargained with and can be quite nice, and living is full of small choices... bystanders die from accidental fireballs, family members turn to be good and bad, and likable to the point of breaking law for them, laws are bent by the mighty (or not), and the players know that everyone can die.

Such is the world of Scarred Lands, probably one of the best settings of d20 era, quite lost to the RPG community due to White Wolf stranglehold on its property.

Due to Google's ever present sniffing, I cannot reveal my plans for the end-game yet, suffice to say it is going to be somewhat modified Coliseum Morpheuon - I'll just drop this little hint: Jack of Tears x Khan (x as in Cartesian product symbol).
Note: Jack of Tears is a baddie from Scarred Lands.

For now, I am just gathering resources to build my own planescapish continuum. And biding my time, since the PCs haven't yet survived challenges of modified Bonegarden (converted 3.5 sandbox from Necromancer Games).

Aneshka, well, if she was a part of a Faces anthology, I would not mind purchasing the book. For now however, I am a bit uncertain. If she is indeed "horrifically overpowered", and if she exists outside of standard d20 rules, well, I do not really think I can fit her in the roster of the beings I need.

Regards,
Ruemere

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I'm moderately familiar with the Scarred Lands setting. I found it interesting, but have moved the majority of my interest in pre-made settings onto Golarion and my various homebrew worlds.

Thanks for the feedback Ruemere.


I run my Questhaven game using the mid CR version of this called the Untarnished Souk it only appears at night in the political enclave within Questhaven called The Mar. It is a strange unexplained manifestation of the Untarnished Souk in the waking world.

Dark Archive

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Steve, sounds like fun. I'd love to hear how things go.

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