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***** (based on 1 rating)

List Price: $2.99

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"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

This story, like so many others, begins with an old man in a tavern; he was not the wise old man of so many clichéd tales of fantasy, but rather a wizard who was completely and utterly smashed on the local nectar. Needless to say, the tavern goers were nervous. A crazy guy grabbing a chair and smashing another guy over the head was something they could understand and run from, but a drunken wizard who is likely able to turn anyone who makes any sudden movements into a newt for a few days? Why, that is something else entirely. Finally getting fed up with this pointless standoff, over a few silver on a tab, no less, an adventuring fighter stepped up to put an end to this.

After recovering from being a newt for nearly two weeks, the fighter decided that enough was enough. Something, anything, had to be done about these blasted spellcasters! Though his knowledge of magic was miniscule, he recalled that magic, particularly divination, had issues around lead. Thus laden with lead-based talcum powders from the local alchemist, the fighter went on to make almost impossible victories against obnoxious users of magic, that is until he died of lead poisoning a little over a year later.

Rallying around this man, now seen a martyr, a number of fighters and clerics of arcane-hating gods continued his crusade. Calling themselves The Order of the Nullblades, these individuals are committed to the elimination of the "misuse of magic" and can be seen battling mad wizards, planar incursions, and strange arcane anomalies the world over, for a price, of course.

Product Features:
• Organization overview for The Order of the Nullblades, including ranks and responsibilities, business model, internal politics, chain of command and several ways for PCs to get involved with the Order that just scream "Easy plot hook!"
• Rules for randomly generating chapterhouses in settlements, including special amenities that nullblades can use
• The nullblade prestige class
• NPC writeups for Drimble Underhill, halfling knight-champion of the Order (CR 8 fighter/nullblade) and Cerabiel, elven chaptermaster of the Order (CR 12 bard [arcane duelist]/fighter/nullblade)

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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 1 rating)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So what are the Nullblades? Essentially, they can be considered an organization fiercely opposed to the MACS-suffering casters - megalomanical arcane caster syndrome that tends too infect just about every high-level spellcaster. You know the drill - the point where the friendly arch-wizard experiments a bit too much and makes the fabric of reality unravel, transforming the town of Bimberton into undead oreo-cookies. And this makes sense in-game to me - there would probably be an organization like this, annoying, harassing and potentially, eliminating spellcasters they deem an issue. The organization and its stance on members, relationships with other classes, buying potions (only from bards and alchemists!), the chance of there being a chapterhouse in a given settlement - 6 possible amenities to be found in a chapterhouse - all of these (and the at times hilarious humor) render the organization a joy to read and highly entertaining. That being said, I'm a bit sad that chapterhouses don't have an influence on a settlement's statblock/kingdom building rules-information or prestige-mechanics based benefits - there's a hierarchy and benefits, why not codify them in the given system?

Oh well, the pdf also features a new 10-level PrC, the Nullblade, which provides full BAB-progression, 1/2 fort-save progression, d10, 2+Int skills per level. The class gets a 15 feet-lead-based aura that hampers concentration (and extends to 30 feet at later levels, increasing its potency throughout the PrC-progression) and become immune to lead-poisoning and more resilient versus diseases and toxins. furthermore, they may detect and identify magic a will and may choose up to 5 techniques (the talents of the class) over the course of their ten levels. A total of 20 techniques are provided for the PrC. These include preventing the teleport of foes, dealing damage to foes that fumble concentration, granting himself temporary SR and even forcing foes to stutter-cast, i.e. only be able to cast the last spell they cast for a round - a bunch of powerful, yet never overpowered abilities here. And, as a capstone, how could it be any other way - antimagic field-generation.

We round off this pdf with two pregenerated NPCs complete with story-hooks, background, appearance and tactics, reaching a neat level of detail one usually only sees in releases by Raging Swan Press. First would be Drimble Underhill, a fighter 6/Nullblade 3 halfling, second would be Cerabiel, an elven bard (arcane duelist)7/bard 2/nullblade 4 - a surprisingly varied and cool build, if I may say so.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, which is a slight bummer. The pdf's artworks are thematically-fitting stock art.

Bradley Crouch has humor - I've rarely enjoyed the subtle (and not so subtle) jibes herein, but rest assured - this is no joke. Indeed, this PrC ranks among the better takes on the innumerable anti-magic archetypes and PrCs I've read over the years and the Nullblade, honestly works rather well. The organization makes sense, the NPCs are neat and the PrC does what it sets out to do - make a magic-bane fighter. Now not all is perfect, as mentioned above - kingdom building/prestige/settlement-rules would have been the icing on the cake. Then again, this pdf is FREE. FREE is very hard to beat at this level of quality and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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