This supplement is 43 pages, including 39 pages of content. After a brief introduction, we are presented with a barrage of archetypes. The archetypes are divided into what the author calls “Core Archetypes” and “Unchained Archetypes,” the latter of which are meant to modify the Unchained Rogue class from Paizo. This division is somewhat of an odd choice, as it leaves the product without a clear target audience. The non-unchained rogue doesn’t really have a place at the same table as the unchained rogue, except maybe as an NPC class, and even that is a stretch given that it has to sit in the thin region between the Expert, Ninja, and Unchained Rogue. If this book had contained only “Unchained Archetypes,” then it would clearly be useful to someone looking for more support for a relatively new class. If it had had only “Core Archetypes,” then it could target an audience that wanted a low-powered game with NPC-class style classes, and complement Flying Pincusion’s previous Into the Breach: Forgotten Classes as well as things like Knotty Works’ It’s an NPC World. As it is, though, anyone who gets this book is going to be ignoring one chapter or the other, which is not a good situation for a book this small.
The 12 “Core” archetypes are somewhat hit or miss. For example, the Booksmart Scout trades away Trapfinding and non-skill-related abilities to get Bardic Knowledge and some Alchemist toys. The Fugitive gains flat-out immunity to magic that determines their location, but doesn’t get it until 14th level and everything else the archetype gets is flat number boosts. The Haunted Skulk gets some Oracle and Occultist class features, which are well-implemented except that they are obviously superior to the unarchetyped rogue (maybe this one should have been an “Unchained Archetype?”) On the other hand, the excellent Master Hawserier gets a bunch of unique rope-related abilities which vary depending on the material of rope used. Examples are given from exotic “rope” types ranging from Assassin Vine to Siren Hair to Shark Skin.
Now, we move on to the four “Unchained Archetypes.” The Brickbat Striker has the option to reduce the number of damage dice they roll for Sneak Attack in exchange for applying one of several debuffs to their target, and the strength of the debuff depends on how much damage they give up. This is my favorite archetype in this book and the one I had the most fun playing with.
Moving on, the Bunk Mentalist archetype gets certain “mentalist powers” tied to skill unlocks, with one additional bonus listed for each skill. Unfortunately the abilities are too minor to work as a major class feature, and most of the rest of the archetype is just number boosts.
The two remaining archetypes are called the Guild Capo, which gains intelligence-to-damage with a single (finessable) weapon, and the Sharp Shooter, which gets a bunch of archery-oriented boosts. I haven’t gotten a chance to play or run either of these archetypes yet….
Next comes the Libertine, a full alternate class for the Unchained Rogue. The principle class feature it gets is called an “Intrigue,” which consists of special bonuses relating to (or fighting against) a specific NPC chosen when you first get the class feature. This sort of mechanic has all the pitfalls of the Ranger’s Favored Enemy cranked up to eleven: the class features are very potent as long as the subject of the Libertine’s Intrigue is closely tied to the current events of the campaign, but utterly useless as soon as that character leaves the action. You could probably make it more consistent by using another PC as your Intrigue, but many of the abilities relate to attacking the subject of your Intrigue, so you’d have to ignore those options unless you want to do pvp. The text seems to suggest that assigning the status of an Intrigue to an NPC is temporary, or that it can be swapped out for another Intrigue, but it gives now indication as to how long an Intrigue should last or the method for altering it.
The other issue with the Intrigue ability is that many granted abilities depend on the clunkier portions of the Diplomacy skill. For example, you get bonuses depending on the “attitude” of the Intrigue in relation to the Libertine. Building a class feature around something you know a large portion of your audience is going to house rule is a risky move, as it is unclear how to implement numerous Libertine class options alongside the most common Diplomacy house rules.
Starting at 2nd level, the Libertine gets “Quirks” which are mostly just Rogue Talents by another name. Advanced Quirks show up at 10th level, too.
After some more number boosts and Uncanny Dodge, the Libertine gets another new class feature at 5th level, called “Shameless,” which allows you to make a skill check to negate an enemy’s action. At 11th level, you get an ability called “Hold Court,” which is one of the weirdest class abilities I have ever read. It allows you to invite numerous NPCs to a party/event. The Libertine gets skill bonuses against NPCs who attend the event, while NPCs who reject your invitation face penalties against those who did attend (it’s unclear whether that also includes you). The ability is somewhat vague in how exactly it works, but I have to give the author credit for trying to make a truly novel class feature that doesn’t require a whole new subsystem to introduce.
As a capstone ability, you can make an Intrigue permanent, which might be nice except that I don’t know how long an Intrigue is supposed to last in the first place, and it brings back all the issues of the Ranger’s Favored Enemy.
The entire class is indicated as requiring “any non-lawful” alignment for no apparent reason. That’s either a wasted sentence if your group ignores it or an unfortunate limitation if your group enforces it. If you do want to adhere to the class’ alignment requirement, you’ll have to homebrew how it interacts with alignment changes, since the class does not contain an “Ex-Libertine” entry the way the Barbarian and Paladin classes do.
Finally comes three pages worth of traits intended for rogues, divided into combat, social, magic, and faith traits. Like the rest of the book, they are rather hit-or-miss based on my initial reading. I haven’t gotten to actually play with any of these traits, though, (my group doesn’t use traits), so take my opinion with a pinch of salt.
Short Term Use: I’ll admit, I had difficulty understanding how a few of the abilities worked the first few times I read them, which doesn’t’ happen very often. The Libertine’s Shameless ability took me a couple readings to get, as did several of the Quirks. The easiest way to use this book with minimal prep (that I can think of) might be to plop a Core-Archetype on some NPC rogues. The lack of rules clarity is the biggest impediment to short term utilization of this book. The Libertine class also has a lot of diplomacy-related abilities that don’t make sense on an NPC, so a Libertine NPC would be very difficult to run. Hence, I’ll settle on a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: The most tantalizing option in this book should be the prospect of using the Libertine class either on a major NPC or a PC, but I don’t think it measures up to the competition. I could maybe envision running a low-powered campaign with mostly NPC classes, and making use of the Core Archetypes in this book (alongside Flying Pincushion’s other product for NPC class options), but several of the so-called Core Archetypes are actually quite a bit stronger and closer in power to the Unchained Rogue. There are some real gems in the Unchained Rogue archetype abilities, though. With a bit of work, some of the Libertine class features may be salvageable too. Overall, this product gets a 2.5/5 Long Term Rating, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform due to the low price.
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for my review. I received no other compensation, nor am I affiliated in any way with Marc Radle or Kobold Press.
OTHER DISCLAIMER: At the time of this writing, this product was released less than one year ago. Hence, everything in this review, especially the Long Term Rating, should be considered tentative.
This PDF comes in at 10 pages, including six pages of content. After the title page, we get a full-page illustration which is a duplicate of the cover art, and a short introduction before diving into the Trickster base class.
The Trickster class casts wizard/sorcerer spells. It only gets six levels of spellcasting, plus cantrips. It has 3/4 BAB, a low fortitude save, high reflex and will saves, and six skill-points per level. Its casting is intelligence-based, and uses a hybrid between prepared and spontaneous casting.
At first level, the Trickster gets Sneak Attack and Trap Finding, exactly as the rogue class features (though Sneak Attack advances slower than it does for the rogue).
At second level, the Trickster gets to choose a class feature called a “forte,” which gives them minor bonuses in one area. The available forte are Acrobat (mostly just number boosts), Arcane Accomplice (you get a familiar, and your familiar can make sneak attacks), Beguiler (more number boosts), and Spell Pilfer (which gives you an original spell-stealing mechanic).
Then comes the Sneakspell ability at 5th level, which allows you to cast an offensive spell as part of a sneak attack, analogous to the magus’ spell combat ability. After another handful of number-boosts, bonus feats, and class features copied from the rogue, the Trickster gets two more non-numerical class features. At ninth level, Ranged Lengerdmain allows the Trickster to use sleight of hand and disable device at a range (with an increased check DC). The ability is classified as (Su) for reasons that aren’t clear to me (I think it should be Extraordinary).
At 14th level the Trickster gets Filch Spell, which in my opinion is their most interesting class feature. If an enemy caster has an on-going spell that allows the caster to control or direct it after casting (e.g. Aqueous Orb or Flaming Sphere), the Trickster can steal control of the spell for one round by making a check.
After that, we just get more number boosts and bonus feats. And after the class features, the supplement ends abruptly. There are no archetypes, class-specific feats, or class-specific items, nor are their sample NPC Tricksters.
Aside from the cover art, there are a couple small, full-color illustrations throughout this product.
Short Term Use: I had to read the explanation of this class’ casting mechanic multiple times to get how it worked. That is unusual for me, even when I am learning a complete new subsystem. Much of the formatting and language of the class’ casting rules are styled similarly to the presentations of the sorcerer and wizard rules, even when the Trickster rules are actually different, which might confuse readers who are very familiar with the core d20 spellcasting system. Aside from the initial confusion, however, the clarity and presentation of this class are very good.
Aside from selection of bonus feats, there are very few build choices involved in creating a Trickster, making it a solid choice for an NPC that you need stats for quickly.
Balance-wise, this class falls close to the middle of most existing classes. It’s a bit higher on the totem pole than a bard, comparable to an inquisitor, and much less powerful than sorcerers and oracles. That balance point seems to be popular for a lot of campaigns, which once again makes this class easy to use in your campaign. Overall, this product earns a Short Term Rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Use: Two different Trickster builds are likely to be very similar, and the class is not amendable to multi-classing, both of which may limit how much use you can get out of it years down the road. While it has a lot of class features listed, most of them are rather dull number boosts. Still, the few non-numerical class features it does have can keep it interesting for a while, and might be useful if you are designing archetypes for another class and want to give them Trickster class features. Of course, Trickster archetypes that traded out some of the number boosts would greatly improve this product’s shelf-life, but there are no archetypes in this product. Overall, I’ll settle on a Long Term Rating of 3.5/5, rounded up to 4/5 due to the low price.
DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my review. I received no other form of compensation, nor am I affiliated with Rite Publishing, Steven Russell, or Dave Paul.
OTHER DISCLAIMER: At the time of this writing, this product was released less than one year ago. Hence, all opinions expressed in this review, and in particular the Long Term Rating, should be considered TENTATIVE.
This supplement clocks in at 50 pages, including 47 pages of content. First comes a one page introduction, which reminds the reader of the Settlement Size Modifier mechanic from Paizo’s Gamemastery Guide (which was itself copied from WotC’s 3.5 DMG). Some of the spells in this book have their effects modified by the size modifier of the settlement they are cast in. There are also a handful of spells which depend on the other settlement modifiers described in the GMG.
Next comes the conventional tables of spells by class and level, with their abbreviated descriptions, following the same format as the PHB and most d20 supplements. There are spell lists provided for all of Paizo’s spellcasting base classes (no guidance for use with non-Paizo classes is provided). One thing of note is that this book is sparse on very high level spells: the sorcerer/wizard, witch, and cleric lists all top out at 8th level spells, while the druid is not given any spells above 5th level. If you mainly play at low levels, that shouldn’t be a problem for you. Even at higher levels, of course, there are plenty of lower level utility spells here you may want to use.
Let’s start with the weakest: this supplement contains a handful of 0th level spells. Boot Pebble creates a pebble in an enemy’s shoe, giving them a speed and dexterity penalty until it is removed. Other cantrips allow you to give someone else a penalty on knowledge checks, conjure an illusory sound of footsteps (with advantages making it non-redundant with Ghost Sound), keep clothes dry for a duration which depends on the settlement’s climate, or telekinetically lift and throw a stone for a single point of damage without the possibility of missing.
On the other extreme, there are a couple of eighth level spells. Can’t Leave Town, as the name suggests, prevents everyone in a small settlement who fails their save from leaving, or prevents everyone in a larger settlement from leaving through a specific exit. Wake the Dead, another eight level spell, can (among other effects) grant a Raise Dead to all dead humanoids in an area, but they die again after the spell’s brief duration ends.
Short Term Use: The editing and formatting are top notch. The effects of the spells are varied and interesting enough to use. Moreover, as no new subsystems are presented, you know exactly what you are getting and how it works. On the other hand, some of the rules language is needlessly ambiguous, bringing the Short Term Rating down to 4/5.
Long Term Use: One question you might have is “can these spells be used in a non-urban environment?” The answer differs for different spells in this supplement. Almost all of these spells are most useful in or near a settlement, but most can still technically be used in the wilderness (though with varying degrees of usefulness). Overall, however, David Paul has managed to deliver an incredible array of varied and unique spells-- an impressive feat given how many have already been published in the last sixteen years. The occasional interactions with the Settlement Rules, which are often under-utilized in Pathfinder supplements, is an excellent touch. Thus, this supplement earns a Long Term Rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 for the purposes of this platform.
This supplement clocks in at 51 pages, including 47 pages of content. After a brief introduction, we dive into 101 detailed encounters. A few general notes about these encounters: all of them assume you are using the Questhaven Campaign Setting. If you aren’t familiar with it, that’s okay, because this book gives you enough to understand it. In fact, this book could work as an introduction to Questhaven. Also, these encounters are not just brief collections of generic monsters. Rather, each encounter gets about a half a page of fluff describing the creature(s) motivations and place in the world. All the creatures in this book belong to a faction called the Fold of Mother’s Pride, which is a criminal cartel in Questhaven. Strung together, these descriptions can give you ideas for campaign plots even if you don’t use the stat-blocks.
The creatures in this book show the full range of the CR gamut. At the low end, we have a pair of CR 1/2 creatures: “Nightblood”, a CR 1/2 stirge, and “Kuruk Starshade”, a fetchling.
At the high end, there are three CR 20 creatures, including the nominal leader of the Fold, the “Reverend Mother Panthia”. All are provided with fully detailed stat-blocks and a sizeable backstory. There is also one CR 23 creature, a dragon who secretly controls the organization. This one does NOT come with a stat-block, but instead refers you to a stat-block in Pathways (which is Rite Publishings series of free supplements).
Short Term Use: The editing is very good, though there are a few more glitches than usual for a Rite Publishing product. The stat-blocks are all clearly laid out and easy to use, which is particularly impressive for the high CR creatures. It may take some planning to work the fluff of the organization into your campaign’s plot, but if you are just looking for a quick encounter, you can use the stat-blocks without the full treatment of the Fold of Mother’s Pride. Even if you do want to use the fluff, it shouldn’t be too hard to at least work some of it in to your urban adventure. Hence, this book gets a Short Term Rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Use: Aside from functioning as an introduction to one chunk of Questhaven, this supplement contains enough information on the Fold of Mother’s Pride organization to base an entire urban campaign around the contents of this supplement. You could even adapt it to work in a big city in your campaign world, not just Questhaven. On the other hand, the specificity of some of the descriptions, combined with the dependency on some information being secret from the players, has the potential to limit the reusability of a lot of this content. All in all, it gets a Long Term Rating of 3/5.
This supplement comes in at 37 pages, including 32 pages of content. As a forewarning, the PDF version of this product contains a few “interactive” forms, which prevents lite PDF rendering applications from loading it. It does not load for me in Evince PDF reader, but does load in the free versions of Adobe Acrobat and Foxit Reader.
After a brief introduction we get a bunch of archetypes for each of the five NPC classes in the DMG. As a general note about these archetypes, they are almost entirely power ups compared to the base NPC classes. If you are looking for archetypes which keep close in power to the original class, this book won’t satisfy you. All the adept archetypes trade away their familiar, but each gains several class features in return, many of which are better than a familiar, and none of them reduce spellcasting. The expert archetypes have some restrictions on which skills can be chosen as class skills, which is barely a trade with Pathfinder’s skill system, and each gets numerous new class features. Some of the warrior archetypes sacrifice heavy armor proficiency or tower shield proficiency, but get a bunch of class features in return, and the commoner archetypes don’t give anything up at all.
We start with four Adept archetypes: the Caller, which gains elemental powers including the ability to create a construct of either fire, water, air, or earth; the Deep Forest Shaman, which gains bonuses while in a jungle; the Nun, which gains cleric domains; and the Vicar, which gains minor thematic non-spell boosts related to cleric domains.
Next comes three Aristocrat archetypes: the Coven Sworn gets hag- and witch- related abilities, the Noble Wastrel gets drug-related abilities, and the Tax Assessor gets features which improve their wealth as well as cavalier orders.
The three Commoner archetypes are the Forester, who gets some ranger goodies, the Hostler, whose class features all revolve around Handle Animal, and the Urchin, an urban-focused archetype. Then there are three Expert archetypes (the Boxer, the Master Craftsman, and the Minstrel), and four Warrior archetypes (the Deep Jungle Flesh-Hunter, the Farm Soldier, the Siege Sapper, and the Yeoman).
We also get a bit of non-archetype content. There is a chart of “100 random objects” for a peasant to carry, which can add a bit of variety to your descriptions. For some reason this chart is hidden between two warrior archetypes instead of being in its own section. There are a few new mundane weapons and armor. There is also the Way Trader, a new “alternate class” for the Expert. I’m not sure what makes this “alternate class” different from another expert archetype, aside from the fact that it is in a different section of the book. This “alternate class” isn’t any more expansive than the expert “archetypes” earlier in the supplement, it just uses yet another word to describe the game subsystem of Alternate Class Features/Kits/Variant Classes/Sub-Classes/Archetypes.
Short Term Use: The editing is good, but not perfect. The rules language is fairly ambiguous in a handful of places, so you might need to iron things out before using them. The obvious use for this product is to quickly make NPCs for your campaign. While each archetype has several class features, they give few build choices beyond what every class requires (like feat and skill selection), making it fairly easy to churn out a statblock when you need it quickly. The stuff that isn’t archetypes is also fairly easy to use. The actual quality of the class features, though, is a mix of mildly interesting features, copies of existing classes’ features, and basic number boosts. Thus, this supplement gets a Short Term Rating of 3.5/5.
Long Term Use: Since each archetype is more powerful than the base class, one question you might be thinking of is whether these modified NPC classes are appropriate for PCs. The answer, for most campaigns, anyways, is no. While they do get additional class features, most of those features are limited in where they can be used in ways that make them a poor match for adventuring. These archetypes are meant for NPCs that fill specific non-adventurer roles, and in most campaigns a PC with one of these archetypes won’t be substantially better than one with a normal NPC class. You can probably continue using this book to make NPCs for a long time, but the lack of originality in many of the class features is a disappointment. Still, there are a few good new mechanics for future mining. Overall, it gets a Long Term Rating of 3.5/5, rounded up to 4 due to the low price.
This supplement clocks in at 44 pages, including 37 pages of content. The interactions between alignment and the rules of Pathfinder are quite possibly the most criticized portion of the rules. Still, removing it is a nontrivial process. It’s easy enough to just say that everyone counts as True Neutral for rules purposes, and to remove the things that no longer have a function (like Detect Evil and aligned weapons). But removing elements of the core rules is tricky, because those rules are referenced in supplements. For example, many monsters get Detect Good as a spell-like ability, and alignment-based damage reduction is common. Making ad-hoc revisions to half the monsters in every monster manual ever written for the system is not something most end users want to do. Hence, this supplement aims to give a comprehensive set of adjustments to the core rules which make it easy to remove alignment-related rules from future supplements.
After a brief introduction, the first major section of this book summarizes the ways in which alignment interacts with the core game rules. It is a whopping nine page list of things that need to be addressed later in the book if the supplement is to achieve its stated mission. This section is largely stuff you already know, so it seems a bit like a waste of space. However, as a digital-only product, space is not exactly at a premium.
The next section is the heart of the book. Every game element in the core rules and some in the Advanced Player’s Guide which depends on alignment is modified. Some are simply tweaked, while others are given replacements (e.g., Magic Circle of Protection from <alignment> is replaced by a new spell called Magic Circle of Protection, so any class/monster/item which uses or gets Magic Circle of Protection from Evil by the core rules is instead modified to use Magic Circle of Protection). Base classes, prestige classes, spells, damage reduction, and items are all modified. The author also gives four new cleric domains to replace the alignment domains if you want each of the gods to keep the same number of domains. The entire process is quite succinct and easy to generalize to supplementary content not covered in this book.
Once you have separated alignment from the rules, you have three options. Firstly, you can continue to use alignment, just without it getting bogged down in the rules. Secondly, you can stop using alignment and just focus on roleplaying. Finally, you can introduce an alternate “alignment” system of in-game morality without having to worry about how it interacts with the game rules.
The final section of the book presents three alternate systems of alignment, which are all easy to implement because alignment has been removed from the game rules. None of them are particularly original, but they are there.
There are color illustrations scattered throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: Editing and rules language are very clear. The formatting is somewhat jumbled, possibly to reduce the page count at the expense of readability (reduced page count shouldn’t be a high priority goal for a PDF-only product). There is no table of contents, nor does the PDF come with bookmarks. For a 44 page PDF, that’s a real hindrance in learning the system. Once you’ve been using these rules for a while, they fit naturally enough into the rest of the game that you likely won’t need to reference this PDF at the table very often, but when you are first learning it the lack of bookmarks can be a problem. The fact that every rule in this book is meant to apply for entire campaigns also means that it is less likely you will implement it immediately after getting the book. Thus, its Short Term Rating is a 2/5.
Long Term Use: This supplement makes short and elegant changes to the core Pathfinder rules, and does so in a way which continues to fit with almost all future and current supplements. You can expect to be using this product for as long as you are playing Pathfinder, and with very little to complain about it. Death to Alignment therefore earns a perfect 5/5 Long Term Rating.
This supplement clocks in at 32 pages, including 25 pages of content. The first thing of note is that the PDF comes with no bookmarks, nor is there a table of contents, which is a somewhat annoying but not a complete deal-breaker at this size.
After a brief introduction, we get many pages worth of combat feats. These feats are designed with the knowledge that combat feats are the main class features of fighters, and, thus, should have a range of versatility and power comparable to other classes’ major features.
The feats allow for a range of different abilities, from blocking spells to damaging an area instead of a single enemy, to moving enemies you hit. There is one crucial flaw in this section: the feats which are supposed to be class features have long chains of incongruous feats as prerequisites. Barbarian rage powers don’t require taking numerous weaker rage powers as prerequisites. Witch hexes don’t require taking lots of non-synergistic weaker hexes as prerequisites. And, of course, learning or casting Summon Monster VI doesn’t require first learning Summon Monster I through V. The fact that fighters’ main class features are locked behind chains of prerequisites, while at the same time are no better (and often weaker) than other classes’ class features is one of the most commonly cited reasons for the fighter’s deficiencies. If the goal of this section was to provide Nice Things for Fighters, it didn’t meet its goal.
Next comes a string of archetypes for fighters. The Bombardier gets a version of alchemist’s bombs. The Everyman Hero archetype gets a bunch of minor miscellaneous boosts. The Grappling Cord Acrobat gets a bunch of grappling-themed abilities, the Scrapper archetype eliminates armor-related bonuses, and the Warrior-Poet gets a bunch of bard class features. The archetypes range from weak to moderately strong, but there is a dearth of originality in their abilities, with a lot being drawn from existing class features. The Grappling Cord Acrobat was the only archetype that really impressed me.
There are a handful of color illustrations scattered throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: The editing and formatting are very good, and the rules language is fairly clear. The lack of a table of contents or bookmarks hurts is usability as a PDF.
If you are reading this review, there is a decent chance you are considering whether to use this product or Path of War (or both). This supplement consists almost entirely of feats and simple archetypes, so it may seem easier to introduce than an entire subsystem like Path of War. However, when taken straight out of the box, Nice Things for Fighters does not actually accomplish what it promises. There is very little in this supplement that allows a fighter to affect things outside of its immediate vicinity or affect the narrative out of combat, so this supplement does nothing to bring it closer to the level of spellcasters. It sort-of helps by almost bringing the fighter up to the level of other martial base classes, but doesn’t quite make it because the feats are locked behind long prerequisite feat chains and the archetypes suffer from an overemphasis on number boosts. Overall, this product gets a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: Despite my earlier criticism, many of the feats in this book do have interesting effects. If one were to go through the book and tweak, remove, or reduce the prerequisites for all of the feats, you’d get a fairly good collection. That, combined with the fact that I really do like the Grappling Cord archetype, nets this supplement a Long Term rating of 3/5.
This supplement clocks in at 21 pages, including 14 pages of content. The first thing of note is that the PDF comes with no bookmarks, nor is there a table of contents. At this size, it probably isn’t necessary, but it is a minor drawback.
The primary feature of this supplement, as the name suggests, is the Abstract Thief base class. This class is a 3/4 BAB class with six levels of Int-based prepared casting. It has its own custom spell list (all the Abstract Thief spells are drawn from Paizo’s Core Rulebook, Advanced Player’s Guide, and Ultimate Magic). The spell list is quite a bit narrower than that of the Bard. The class has a variety of minor class features, including trapfinding and sneak attack (though with a delayed progression compared to the rogue class), and a variety of small number boosts.
The principle class feature of the Abstract Thief is its Abstractions. Starting at level one, they can steal “essential elements” of enemies, which replenishes a pool of abstraction points. The abstraction points do very little before level three. At 3rd level and every three levels after that, the Abstract Thief learns one of a variety of Abstractions (in a similar manner as rogue talents, witch hexes, and similar types of class feature choices). Each Abstraction allows the user to steal some idea from a target, applying a temporary debuff to the target and a temporary benefit to the Abstract Thief. The effects of the different Abstractions are varied: one allows you to temporarily steal skill ranks from the target. Another allows you to steal the effects of beneficial divination. One Abstraction allows you to steal the targets emotions, giving you the benefits of Moral bonuses, rage, etc. Other abstractions let you steal things like the targets memories, youth, senses, and health. One of my favorite Abstractions is called Steal Shadow: it temporarily removes the target’s shadow…and replaces it with a Shadow (as the monster from the Bestiary) that aids the thief.
I have mixed feelings about this class overall. Power-wise, it falls right in the middle of the range of Paizo classes, so balance is not a concern. The Abstraction class feature is one of my favorite class features I have read in quite a while. On the other hand, the Abstractions are the only unique or interesting thing this class brings to the table. I would have preferred if it got another major unique class feature (or an expanded version of Abstractions), and lost either the plethora of dull/minor class features or had its spellcasting scaled back or removed.
After the base class, we get a small handful of thief-friendly feats, including the expected Extra Abstraction feat. Finally, there are a few pages of fluff describing backstories of sample Abstract Thieves.
There is a small amount of color artwork scattered throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: The editing is good, though not perfect. The rules are presented clearly enough to be used easily, so you shouldn’t have trouble dropping an Abstract Thief into your campaign, making for a short term rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Use: As I said above, the Abstraction class feature is one of the best class features I have seen in a long time. The class has a niche as a skillmonkey class that is more “thief” oriented than the bard and alchemist, and doesn’t suffer from a lack of out-of-combat utility the way the rogue class does. On the other hand, the choice of Abstractions are the only meaningful decisions an abstract thief gets to make when leveling, which really leaves a narrow range of possible Abstract Thief builds, at least unless an expansion is released. Overall, it earns a long term rating of 3.5/5, rounded up to four due to the low price.
Disclaimer of compensation: I received a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for my review. I received no other compensation, nor do I have any ties to Purple Duck Games.
Disclaimer of Tentativity: At the time I posted this review, this product is less than one year old. Thus, all opinions expressed in this review, and especially the long term rating, must be considered tentative.
This supplement clocks in a whopping 214 pages, including 209 page of content. After a brief introduction, we get 110 pages presenting overview of each of the 52 major region in the world of Porphyra. Yes, 52 major regions. While each is given only a few pages, they are incredibly diverse and well written. Some of the regions are given more detail in separate, dedicated supplements.
Purple Duck Games has taken a unique route with Porphyra. Most RPG companies, even those who regularly use the Open Gaming Licesnse, have been very protective in keeping their fluff closed-content. Purple Duck Games has gone the opposite route and made the entirety of Porphyra open gaming content, including the gods, nations, and the extensive fictional history. The declaration of Open Gaming Content in this book says simply “All Text”. Much of the information in this book can be viewed for free on PDG’s Porphyra wiki.
Following the extensive descriptions of regions, we get a 15 page chapter briefly describing the places of different fantasy races in the world of Porphyra. Each of 87 races gets about a paragraph of description, and a list of regions in which they can be found. No stat-blocks are provided: most of the given races have been statted in one of Paizo’s bestiaries, whilst the others have been statted in other PDG products. All in all, this section is nice and convenient but rather skimpy on details.
Next we get details on the gods of Porphyra, separated into four major pantheons: the New Gods, the Risen Gods, the Elemental Lords and the Protean Lords. These pantheons are all described in more detail in their own, separate supplements. Great care has been taken to make the gods of Porphyra distinct from the generic clones many other campaign settings use. Better yet, all information in this chapter can be viewed for free on the Porphyra wiki.
After a few short miscellaneous sections, we get a long chunk of crunch. The section starts with various magic options, including tie-ins to other PDG supplements, and altered versions of several domains. Next comes a trio of prestige classes. The first, the Impervious, is a full BAB partial divine spellcasting class. The second is a 3/4 BAB partial spellcasting class which requires gunslinger’s grit. The third prestige is an anti-divine-magic 3/4 BAB class associated with the Sandmen organization described earlier in the book. Overall, the quality of the prestige classes is decent, but a step down from the earlier portions of the book, with a lot of bog-standard abilities. Following the prestige classes we get a bunch of regional traits tied to different regions of Porphyra, and campaign traits tied to other aspects of the world. The traits are the biggest disappointment of the book, with lots of bland number boosts and very little ingenuity.
Finally, we get the Ruins of Greencastle, a short adventure for first level PCs which is meant to introduce the setting. The adventure itself is a simple dungeon crawl. It is well constructed and comes with fully detailed maps and statblocks, but is on the whole unmemorable and mainly functions as a way to introduce pieces of the setting.
Short Term Use: The editing and presentation is top notch. The rules that are present are easy enough to understand that they can be dropped into a campaign quickly, but the crunch is overall subpar for Purple Duck Games. The campaign world’s elaborate fictional history and enormous scope makes getting in to it somewhat daunting, even with the introductory adventure. Hence, this supplement earns a short term rating of 2/5.
Long Term Rating: As you have probably deduced from my review thus far, the world of Porphyra is really big. The strong writing and diverse lands make it an excellent place to run a long-running campaign. The fact that many of the regions are sparse on details allows you plenty of room to fill things in during your campaign over many years of playing. Thus, this book gets a well-deserved long term rating of 5/5.
Completely essential in Porphyra, still good otherwise
This PDF clocks in at a 130 pages, including a whopping 129 pages of content. After a brief introduction, we dive straight in to the descriptions and supporting content for 12 player-character races. In brief, the twelve races in this book are:
Avoodim: native good-aligned outsiders who failed a test in the process of becoming celestials
Dhosari: monstrous humanoids with four arms and two legs
Dragonblood: humans with a tiny amount of dragon blood in their heritage
Erkunai: an offshoot of humans (they have the human subtype) that became a distinct race by making sorcerous pacts, giving them some built-in scaling summoning abilities
Eventual: the lawful counterpart to tieflings and aasimar
Ith’n ya’roo: monstrous humanoids with horns adapted to very cold environments
Kripar: a subterranean race of solitary hunters
Polkan: a centaur variant at a power level appropriate for first level PCs
Qit’ar: psionic catfolk
Urik: a mountain-based hooved race of fey creatures
Xesa: Jungle-native Plant-humanoid hybrids that count as both types
Zendiqui: destert-dwelling humanoids who continue to revere the elemental lords (the “old” gods of Porphyra)
Each race’s chapter starts with a brief in-character narrative before presenting the stats, and an overview of that race’s ecology, physical description, and society.
The fluff is very strongly tied to Purple Duck Games’ Lands of Porphyra campaign setting. If you don’t have at least basic familiarity with the setting, much of the descriptions in this book may not make sense to you on a first reading. That said, however, the fluff in this book is really compelling and detailed, and some chunks of it can be extracted for your own campaign setting.
Purple Duck Games has taken a unique route with Porphyra. Most RPG companies, even those who regularly use the Open Gaming Licesnse, have been very protective in keeping their fluff closed-content. Purple Duck Games has gone the opposite route and made the entirety of Porphyra open gaming content, including the gods, nations, and the extensive fictional history. The declaration of Open Gaming Content in this book says simply “All Text”.
After the general descriptions of each race, we get a big pile of supporting crunch. Each race gets a bunch of traits, feats, alternate racial traits, magic items, spells, and at least one full racial archetype. Also included are racial Favored Class Bonuses for many Paizo and Purple Duck Games classes. Finally, each race gets a fully-statted first level NPC.
But while the fluff was fantastic, the pile of crunch in this book is of comparatively lackluster quality. There are some hidden gems, but a huge chunk of the traits, feats, and even the archetype class features are dull, simple number boosts. The races themselves are much better, for the most part, though a few of them could probably be modeled just as easily by refluffing existing races.
There are small, full-color illustrations of all the species described scattered throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: If you are using the Lands of Porphyra campaign setting, this book fits perfectly into the gaps left open by the main campaign setting book. If you aren’t using Porphyra, but are at least familiar with it, you’ll probably still be able to get some use out of the wonderful fluff in this book.
The editing is very good, though I did seem to notice a slightly higher glitch rate than usual for Purple Duck Games.
The races themselves are well-designed and clearly explained, so you should be able to start using them right away. A couple archetypes have clunky or highly ambiguous rules explanations, but otherwise you should be able to use the rules in this book fairly easily.
If you are planning on playing in Porphyra, this supplement earns an easy Short Term Rating of 5/5. Outside of Porphyra, though, it’s closer to a 4/5.
Long Term Use: If you are playing in Porphyra, the fluff alone earns a 5/5 Long Term Rating easily. Otherwise, though, the consistently mediocre crunch really drags this product down. Some of the fluff may be adaptable to other worlds with a bit of work, though, which combined with the base racial traits and a few interesting archetypes brings the non-Porphyra Long Term Rating up to 3.5. Overall, I’ll settle for a 4.5/5 Long Term Rating, rounded down to 4 for the purposes of this platform.
This supplement comes it at 31 pages, including 27 pages of content.
With no introduction, we start with a table of short descriptions and prerequisites for 101 feats, all meant to work with the Magus base class from Ultimate Magic. Many of the feats are intended for magi with specific class archetypes, and the table is sorted by archetype, including feats for Bladebound, Hexcrafter, Kensai, Myrmidarch, Skirnir, Soul Forger, Spellblade, Spire Defender, and Staff Magus. Also included are feats for four magus archetypes from Owen Stephens’ Ultimate Options: New Magus Arcana. Finally, we get 48 feats intended for ‘standard’ magi.
For the most part, these feats avoid the trap of overly long chains of feat prerequisites. However, many of them still have non-feat prerequisites which make them unavailable until high levels. Lich Assault, for example, requires 11 ranks in spellcraft and a base attack bonus of +8. More affordable feats include Arcane Rejuvenation, which lets you use arcane pool points to recover spell-like abilities and limited-use class features.
Other feats give abilities like inflicting ability drain with a special-arcane-pool-powered attack, dispelling magic effects from the target of an attack, and regaining arcane pool points when you disrupt other spellcasters.
There was a significant feature that I expected but did not find in this supplement. Namely, I expected to see some feats which would be useful to gish characters, even those who didn’t necessarily have levels in the magus class. However, every feat in this supplement depends directly on specific magus class features, making them useless to non-magi gishes (unless you have an alternate class feature which gives one or more magus class features to another class). Obviously, the title specifically says 101 Magus Feats, not 101 Battle-Mage Feats, but I was still a bit disappointed that there was nothing for eldritch knights and duskblades.
There are numerous full-color illustrations spread throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: The editing in this supplement is….not good. It’s the kind of editing quality I’d expect from Paizo, not Rite Publishing. Several of the feats have ambiguous effects, requiring you to decide what they do before you can really use them. However, other feats are more clearly described, and the organization of the feat table and PDF makes it easy to find feats appropriate to the next magus character you are making. Unfortunately, even the most interesting feats can’t be used unless you know what they do, and so the editing really hurts the potential for immediate use. Hence, this supplement gets a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: I admit I had low expectations for this supplement, largely due to my dislike for the magus class. Judged on its own merits, however, there is an excellent variety of feat effects in this supplement. There are almost no page-wasting “number-boost” feats. Once you get past the lack of clarity in some places, I am impressed by the range of special abilities the author managed to squeeze out based on just the a few class features. The inclusion of feats for a wide range of magus alternate class features is also a nice touch. Hence, this supplement earns a Long Term Rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5/5 due to the low price.
Disclaimer 1: I believe RPG supplements can only be properly evaluated in hindsight. Hence, I normally only review supplements which are at least one year old. As of this writing, this adventure is more recent, so my rating is tentative.
Disclaimer 2: I received a free copy of this adventure in exchange for a review. I was not involved in its development, nor did I receive any other compensation.
This PDF comes in at 36 pages, including 31 pages of content. Being an adventure review, this review will contain spoilers.
The adventure background is fairly generic: long ago, the eponymous queen got a magic mirror which turned her evil. Her husband defeated her, sealed her away, and broke the mirror. She just recently broke her seal, but is weakened. The fragments of the mirror are powerful magic items in their own right, and if all are brought to the proper location the Dusk Queen will return to full power.
Next we are introduced to the Shadow Forest, the area in which the entire adventure takes place. There are eight locations identified and detailed in the Forest, and the PCs can essentially move between them as desired. Some of the locations, such the Shadow Nymph’s Pool, contain NPCs sympathetic to the PCs who provide useful information and a piece of the Mirror.
A random encounter table for the space between the detailed locations of the Forest is also provided.
Eventually, the PCs collect all the pieces of the Mirror, and head to the Dusk Queen’s Tower. The Dusk Queen informs the PCs that they have been misled about her true nature, that she is actually good, and that she is eternally grateful to the PCs for collecting her shards. She instructs the PCs to place the shards on her throne in exchange for a reward. At this point, we get the most inexplicable part of this book:
“The Dusk Queen focuses all of her charisma and powers
of persuasion to cajole the shards from the PCs. If
If the PCs (correctly) believe the Dusk Queen to be the villain of this adventure, she will likely be unable to convince them to give her the shards. In that case, the Dusk Queen summons her dread knight guardian and attacks.
But what if the PCs are persuaded of her honesty? Some of the Dusk Queen’s enemies in the adventure so far have been less than friendly to the PCs, so that is a distinct possibility. What happens if they give her the mirror shards? There is no indication of what happens in the book.
Once the Dusk Queen is killed, the tower collapses, and the PCs have to enact a daring escape.
The supplement closes with 13 pages of full-color maps and illustrations of characters and locations in the adventure.
Short Term Use: While the plot of this adventure is simple, it is presented clearly enough to run with minimal preparation. The setting is also sufficiently generic to work into the flow of your existing campaign. The NPCs are given full, detailed stat-blocks with top-notch editing, making them easy to use right away. The maps also make setting up encounters quick. Aside from the one glaring omission noted earlier, Marc Radle has written a fun, solid adventure at a level range with a dearth of published adventures, making for a Short Term Rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Rating: Almost everything in the Forest revolves around the Dusk Queen and the Mirror fragments. Unfortunately, that fact means you are unlikely to get much use out of the locations after the adventure is completed. Some of the NPCs are interesting in their own right, but as they are almost all tied to the forest, you likely won’t use any of them again. The unoriginality of the plot means it is unlikely to inspire stories of your own. The only part I can imagine using after the adventure is done are the encounter maps. Hence, this supplement clocks in at a Long Term Rating of 2.5/5, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform.
This supplement clocks in at 27 pages, including 23 pages of content. With no introduction at all, we start with a standard table of feats, with prerequisites and short descriptions. After the table comes the full description of 101 feats, all intended for barbarians.
Most feats have as a prerequisite either Rage class feature, a specific rage power, or class features specific to certain barbarian archetypes.
A few feats, such as Improved Body Bludgeon, fall into the unfortunate trap of overly long feat chain prerequisites. Feats are a rare commodity in Pathfinder, so a feat which isn’t all that powerful to begin with shouldn’t require five other non-synergized feats as prerequisites. Fortunately, only a few feats in this supplement fall into this trap.
Many archetype class features have ‘improved [alternate class feature]’ feats. Those which already had such feats get ‘greater [alternate class feature]. The benefits of feats are quite varied, from inflicting curses using rage power, to an immediate-action charge which costs three uses of rage, to feats like Demonic Rage, which grants both the benefits and drawbacks of having a demon live inside the barbarian. There are feats which can allow a barbarian to transfer afflictions from themselves to enemies. Some feats are essentially ‘bane’ feats, giving extra bonuses when attacking creatures of a specific type or subtype. Mindless Rage allows you to become immune to mind-affecting effects while raging, at the cost of having to follow pre-set tactics. Some feats are tied to races. For example, halflings and blinklingsget Maul Joint, which allows the user to damage enemies’ joints. There doesn’t seem to be much reason the racial feats are tied to a specific race, though, except possibly to make the reader aware of races from other Rite Publishing products. Then again, the same can be said of most feats with racial requirements in Pathfinder.
There are small, full-color illustrations spread throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: The editing and formatting are top notch, and the effects of each feat are clear. Hence, it is easy to add these feats onto your NPCs with little preparation. Of course, for PCs, more planning is typically required, given the nature of feat chains. Still, the variety of interesting effects earns a strong short term rating of 4/5.
Long Term Use: The nice part about these feats is that due to the variety of effects, they can be reused endlessly. You can combine them in a lot of different ways, or you could put them on monsters. These are all well-written and mostly interesting feats. If you are reading this review, you probably know what to do with a bunch of feats. The long term rating is 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 due to the low price.
This supplement clocks in at 18 pages, including 13 pages of content. I should start by saying that I dislike traits as they are presented in Paizo products. But this supplement isn’t full of Paizo traits, so I will try to assess it on its own merits, rather than on my dislike for the subsystem it is based on.
After a brief introduction, we dive right into 101 traits. There is no table of contents or bookmarks, though they are not strictly necessary for a PDF of this size. One thing that makes these traits different from those in Ultimate Campaign is that these traits do not have categories (they are not combat traits, magic traits, etc.), meaning they can be taken alongside each other or any other traits.
The effects of the traits are diverse. For example, False Flag allows you to disguise the flag (and hence allegiance and purpose) of a ship using the disguise skill. Hung From the Yardarn makes it easier for allies to raise you from the dead. Keep to the Code gives you a daily-use bonus against others who have broken codes of conduct.
Many of these traits are much more powerful than standard traits, but come with extra restriction. For example, Hornswaggled Davy Jones allows you to negate a character death, but it only works once. One of my favorites is Parrot-Voice, which grants you a free Parrot familiar (with the same stats as a raven), but makes you permanently mute. Several traits have abilities that work once per week rather than once per day, which may contribute to ‘nova’ play, but they do allow those traits to do more.
Small color illustrations are sprinkled throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: If you are running a pirate-heavy game, you will most likely want to add some of these traits to NPCs, and your players will likely want to take some of them as well. The use-per-week effects, however, make many of them harder to use on short-term NPCs. A lot of the traits have somewhat ambiguous effects, and the editing is worse than Rite Publishing’s usual standard, so you may need to consider what a trait does or should do before adding it to your campaign. Even with those problems, though, there are enough interesting effects to warrant a short term rating of 3/5 stars.
Long Term Use: If you plan on running a campaign with a lot of pirates or privateers, you can get a lot of milage out of these traits. While they do require more work to utilize fully than other traits, they are a lot more interesting, and there is little to complain about for such a low price. Hence, it gets a long term rating of 4/5.
This supplement clocks in at 17 pages, including 12 pages of content. An NPC Grudge is the opposite of a boon: it is something an NPC can do to make things more difficult for the PCs other than just attacking them. After a brief introduction, we dive straight into a list of Grudges, sorted by the kind of NPC that gives them. They are organized first into regions (Urban grudges from NPCs in a generic city, followed by Rural, Frontier, Nautical, and Wilderness). Within each region, the grudges are sorted by the social standing or occupation of the NPC who grants them. For example, the urban grudges are sorted into lower, middle, and upper class NPCs, along with guard NPCs and other generic occupations.
The effects of the grudges are quite varied. The simplest grudges involve the NPC using their influence to give the PCs circumstance penalties on some kinds of skill checks while they are in the area. Others involve providing information to enemies of the PCs, or providing false information to others to create new enemies for the NPCs. Many grudges work via deception, such as giving the PCs an item which supposedly indicates favor with one faction (that the PCs will deal with shortly), but which actually indicates favor with an opposing faction. Wilderness NPCs can destroy or conceal bridges or shortcuts, or guide predators to the PC.
Many NPCs can influence others to apply their grudges as well. For example, one NPC can blackmail others into causing trouble for the PCs, but if the PCs end up helping the one being blackmailed, that NPC can switch from a grudge to a boon.
A few NPCs have stat-blocks, though most don’t. It might actually have been better without the statblocks, as they aren’t particularly remarkable and won’t be as helpful to the user as more grudges with the same word count would have been.
Small color illustrations of generic NPCs are sprinkled throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: Since the NPCs are all fairly generic, it is relatively easy to work several grudge into your campaign, either by introducing an insignificant/generic character, or, more likely, by attaching grudges to appropriate existing NPCs in your campaign. Also, if the PCs earn the ire of an NPC, you can look for a generic NPC in this supplement which matches and use that grudge. However, they do take more planning to utilize fully than a typical combat encounter. Hence, this supplement earns a short term rating of 4/5.
Long Term Use: If you have time to plan grudges, you can cause far more trouble for the PCs than with a simple combat. Due to the way grudges can trigger each other, and the fact that the PCs may earn new grudges in their attempts to bypass or undo existing grudges, you can spin entire adventures out of a relatively simple objective blocked by a barrage of grudges. They work best at low and lower-mid levels, though, as higher level PCs are more likely to be able to negate the effects of most of the grudges. There is a fair amount of repetition in the later sections of the supplement. Even ignoring the repetitive grudges removed, though, you can get a lot of use out of this supplement without too much difficulty. Hence, it earns a long term rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 due to the low price.
This supplement clocks in at 35 pages, including 31 pages of content. There is no table of contents, although the bookmarks fulfill much the same function. We start with an introduction, and advice on how best to use cursed items.
There are two kinds of items in this supplement: cursed items and malevolent items. Cursed items are much as described in the core rules: poorly constructed magic items which do something harmful to the user. Malevolent items, on the other hand, are built like normal magic items, but are intentionally crafted to be harmful to the user. In essence, cursed magic items are like a fantasy analogue of software containing a critical bug, whilst malevolent magic items are analogous to purposely-constructed malware.
After the introduction, we get eleven cursed/malevolent armors. Also introduced is a +2-equivalent armor property, Fearlessness, which makes the wearer immune to fear. It is introduced alongside a cursed variant, which still makes the wearer immune to fear, but forces them to make will saves to avoid taunting others in situations where it could cause trouble for the wearer.
Next we get eleven malevolent weapons. These include things like the Deafening Weapon, which is a thundering weapon that has the side-effect of deafening the user, and the Narcoleptic Weapon, which has the benefits of a Shock Weapon, but also buts the user to sleep on a ‘successful’ hit.
After that comes seven potions and oils, such as the Potion of Blindness, which carries the normal (beneficial) effects of a potion but also blinds the user.
Subsequently we get 11 rings, five rods, five scrolls, six staves, six wands, and 29 wondrous items.
Finally, we get 10 malevolent Legendary Items. Legendary items, unlike normal d20 magic items, are items with long, detailed, and unique histories. They don’t have the same game-shaking power levels of major artifacts, but they are comparable in power to high-end non-legendary items. They cannot be destroyed by simply attacking them—each legendary item has a unique method of destruction, such as being struck by the weapon of an efreeti noble on the plane of fire, submersing the item in holy water for a full year, or appeasing the spirit of a deceased dragon. All the legendary items in this supplement have backstories written for the Questhaven campaign setting, though a few name changes would allow them to fit into other fantasy settings.
There are black-and-white illustrations woven throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: Usually the short term test for a book of magic items is how easily you can plop them into a treasure hoard and have the PCs (or an NPC villain) start using them. Cursed items, though, need to be used sparingly and carefully. The GM should carefully consider why a cursed/malevolent item is where it is. The nature of the supplement does not lend itself to short term use. The items in this supplement are well-edited and easy to understand, though, so I’ll settle on a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: My primary complaint about cursed magic items in the d20 core rules is that they are essentially simple traps. You roll a check to identify their cursed nature. If you fail, you are cursed, and if you succeed, the item is discarded. This supplement gets around that issue entirely. While a few items here are like those in the core rules, most of the items in this supplement do provide benefits to the user, along with a drawback. Hence, even if the PCs correctly identify that the item is malevolent, the players still have to make a difficult decision as to whether or not to keep it. The final section gives a glimpse into what has become a stunning campaign setting, Questhaven. This installment of the 101 series easily earns a Long Term Rating of 5/5.
This supplement clocks in at 25 pages, including 20 pages of content. Right at the beginning, we get a big chart of weapon properties for those who like to generate magic items randomly. This chart also functions as a table of contents. Afterwards, we get the full descriptions of all 101 weapon properties.
24 of the weapon properties have fixed cost increases: they increase the weapon cost by a set amount regardless of how many other enchancements it has. On the cheap end, adding only 400 gold pieces to the cost, is the Gripping Weapon, which gives a +2 to CMD against disarming. On the expensive end, at a whopping +42000 gold pieces, is the Revitalizing Weapon. It is…underwhelming. It is a limited use ability which allows you to heal for each successful hit. And not very much, either.
There is also the Friend weapon, a class of weapon restrictions which limit who can use the abilities of a weapon, and reduce its price by either 10% or 30%.
The remaining weapons all have plus-equivalent cost modifiers. At the low end, we have +1 abilities like Hexing, which applies various penalties to those struck by it, and Hindering, which can disable its target’s natural weapons. There’s the Interfering weapon, which forces casters to make concentration checks as if its damage had been continuous.
Most weapon properties are cheaper: there are only six +4 weapon properties and one +5. The +4 properties include the Spellstealing Weapon, which can dispel active buffs on its target and transfer their effects to the wielder.
The single +5 weapon ability is the Perilous weapon. On a critical, it allows the wielder to repeatedly roll to ‘confirm’ the critical until you fail (-5 penalty on each successive roll), with each additional confirmation adding more damage. It isn’t as deadly as the same-price Vorpal, but it can be used on more weapon types, is compatible with weapons with wider critical threat ranges, and can still damage creatures immune to Vorpal’s effect. It’s still underwhelming for a +5, but it’s not bad if damage output is what you want in a magic weapon.
The supplement has full-color illustrations of weapons spread throughout.
Short Term Use: The clean organization and random chart/ToC makes it easy to drop some of these items into your campaign with very little preparation. The editing is unfortunately not up to Rite Publishing’s usual standard. You can mostly still use it without trouble, though, making for a short term rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Use: The emphasis on low-cost weapon properties makes it easy to combine them in unique combinations. Some of the weapon properties have very interesting effects, but others don’t. It’s a mixed bag, but for such a low price, you’ll probably still find enough to get your money’s worth. 4/5.
This supplement clocks in at seventeen pages, including fifteen pages of content. After the cover and introduction, we jump straight into the crunch (no table of contents). What we get are a bunch of magic weapon properties, ranging from +1 to +5 cost equivalent. Each of these weapon properties has a stronger effect than others of the same cost, but causes the weapon to deal no extra damage on a critical hit. There is a roughly even mixture of ranged weapon properties and melee weapon properties. Most effects only trigger on a critical hit (replacing the extra damage). The effects range from restoring previously cast divine spells when using a god’s favored weapon on a critical, to duplicating offensive spells on the target, to healing the wielder on a critical. There are effects which cause the target to make a will save or strike themselves, and an effect which grants the effects of bonus rogue talents on a critical hit.
When I first saw the description, I was concerned that the weapon properties would give the short end of the stick to weapons with high critical multipliers, who trade out a lot more damage for these effects. But Crouch has answered my doubts in a clever way: when these weapon properties require a save DC, the DC is based partly on the weapon’s critical multiplier. There is even a property which increases the critical multiplier of a weapon, but only for weapons which have already traded away their extra damage on a critical.
There is almost no visual artwork in this product.
At the end, we get some random charts for the newly introduced weapon properties, for when you want to roll up a random magic weapon.
Short Term Use: Each weapon property is clearly explained, and the random charts make it easy to drop any of these weapons into a treasure hoard without much difficulty. For such well-done weapon effects at such a low price, this is an easy 5/5.
Long Term Use: Okay, the main thing that bugs me about this supplement is that the weapon properties herein cannot be combined with each other. Well, they could, but they are all balanced around losing the extra damage on a critical, so stacking them would mean getting the ‘penalty’ once but getting the bonus from two weapon properties, making for a more powerful weapon than the cost would indicate. Still, there’s a lot of variety you can get combining these properties with normal magic weapon properties.
Making these items available over the long term also has the effect of making “critical fishing” builds more attractive. If that is something you want to encourage, this supplement is a 5/5. If that is something you want to discourage, this supplement is a 3 or less. If you don’t care either way, it is either a 4 or a 4.5. Hence, I’ll settle on a long term rating of 4/5.
This supplement clocks in at five pages, including three pages of content. After the cover and a brief introduction, we dive right into the crunch (no table of contents).
Presented are 20 magic weapon properties which provide both an advantage and disadvantage, and so have no net effect on the weapon’s cost. The product description already does a good job summarizing their effects, so I don’t have to. There is nothing else in this supplement: it is just 20 weapon properties.
There is almost no visual artwork in this product.
Short Term Use: At low levels, you can throw one or two of these abilities onto weapons the PCs find before they could normally afford magic weapons. At high levels, you can use these abilities to further diversify magic weapons in your campaign. Each weapon property is explained clearly enough that you can add them to other weapons with little or no prep-time.
The one minor complaint I have for short term use is that there is no chart for adding these to randomly generated weapons. However, as the supplement just consists of 20 weapon properties with the same price, you could just roll a d20 to pick one of them, no chart required. 5/5.
Long Term Use: This supplement is very useable for running a game straight from level one. Since you can combine several +0 properties, there is an enormous variety of affordable weapons for low level heroes.
After low levels, go back through your old d20 books and find your favorite magic weapon. Apply any of these properties. Bam, your favorite magic weapon now comes in 20 different varieties. But that’s not all! You can combine several +0 properties. Now, you can’t combine any +0 properties, since several of them (ten, to be precise) all trade away the ability to do extra damage on a critical, so you can take at most one of those ten. Still, you can otherwise stack +0 weapon properties freely, so your favorite magic weapon now comes in 11,264 different varieties. With this one supplement, all the weapons in your old magic item books are several orders of magnitude more valuable. 5/5.
Note: As of this writing, this product is free on the OBS store but not on the Paizo.com store.
I got this back when it cost money. It was a good purchase then, but it is great now that it is free. This supplement comes it at four pages, including the cover and OGL, leaving us with two pages of content. Aside from the cover, there is no visual artwork; just tightly-packed crunch.
Anti-magic fields can be difficult to handle well in the d20 system. Once an AMF turns on, magic jumps from being super powerful at everything to being completely nonfunctional. There is no middle ground. This supplement corrects the all-or-nothing nature of AMFs. There are three separate mechanics, each of which can adjust the power of magic in an area: Difficulty (to use a spell), Consequences, and Radius. Difficulty refers to a check required to overcome the effects of an AMF (the ‘traditional’ AMF in the game’s core rules has an infinite DC). Radius is self-explanatory. Consequences has four mechanics for altering the effects of magic: Chaotic magic, Delayed magic, Eliminated magic, and Hindered magic.
Afterwards, there is a sample golem which emits a Hindering anti-magic field.
Short Term Use: Incremental Antimagic can be added in to an encounter or monster statblock without much work, and can produce interesting encounters or traps. And, it’s free. 5/5
Long Term Use: The system presented is robust enough to handle a wide range of situations, while simple enough to use easily. It’s really short, but you can keep mixing these effects into encounters for as long as you are running the d20 system. For a free product, this is an easy 5/5.
This PDF clocks in at 16 pages, of which 13 pages are content. This supplement introduces a race of intelligent ooze-like creatures. To start, we get a description of the puddlings’ history and society, including the species’ creation myth. It is written to be sufficiently generic to fit in to a typical campaign setting. The story also has the puddlings restricted to a relatively small region, making them easier to fit into your world. Puddlings do not have genders, and their language (Puddle) involves visual motions and effects as well as sound.
Next we get the racial traits. Puddlings are humanoids with a special subtype. While this typing may disappoint those who wanted a true playable ooze, it is much easier to work with (if you really want a true ooze race, consider In the Company of Gelatinous Cubes instead.) Puddlings must pick a skill as an “Obsession”, which gets a bonus and becomes a class skill, but which they are required to keep at max ranks. Their ooze-like body takes up their armor slot, but can be enhanced like a normal armor.
As usual with racial write-ups, I am irked by the fact that a default alignment is included. While the default puddling alignment (neutral good) fits with the lore presented, I’m still not fond of non-neutral alignments being made the default for an entire species.
Next we get a bunch of alternate racial traits which replace the standard puddling traits and mimic the abilities of “actual” oozes like Gelatinous Cubes, whilst still remaining balanced against the core races. There is a racial trait which increases your charisma when you are wearing a hat (explained via racial lore).
After that we get a bunch of racial feats which build off of the puddling’s racial features. These feats range from basic number-boosts to feats like Slimepression, which allows a puddling to squeeze through cracks significantly smaller than themselves.
Next comes a bunch of new items and alchemical goods, with explanations as to how they fit in to Puddling society.
Finally comes a pair of monsters native to Puddling society. There is the Arcanoplasm, a CR 8 ooze, which disrupts and feeds on spells cast nearby, and temporarily drains the power from magic items (but without the headaches of permanent item-destruction that accompany rust monsters). There is also the Blindfish, a CR 1 animal adapted to the dark underground area of the puddlings. It reflects foreign sources of light, giving it concealment and dazzling those who looks at it.
There is very little visual art in this product, and what art there is is mostly black-and-white.
Short Term Rating: This supplement is sort of a grab-bag. The monsters can be easily inserted into an encounter without much trouble. The items are trickier, since they are all tied to puddlings and puddling lore, so putting them in a campaign without introducing puddling society may be difficult. It is relatively easy to add puddlings into a campaign world, though, making for a final short term rating of 3.5/5.
Long Term Rating: Okay, I’ll admit it, I am biased in favor of oozes. Even so, the puddling society as presented is easily added to most campaign worlds, and provides enough information to make puddlings the focus of an adventure or even a whole campaign. It’s not perfect: not every feat or item is particularly interesting. But for such a low price, what you get is really good. 5/5.
This supplement clocks in at 34 pages, including nine pages of covers and legal matter, leaving us with 33 pages of content. Each installment in Legendary Games’ Mythic Monster series contains 13-14 mythic monsters: one original and the others mythic versions of nonmythic creatures from previous Paizo and Legendary Games supplements. The mythic-ized old monsters’ entries consist almost entirely of crunch, with minimal fluff to describe their new abilities and no artwork. The new monster in each supplement comes with complete fluff and crunch, along with a full page, full color illustration. Additionally, each installment begins with a few mythic feats, path abilities, or new miscellaneous game mechanics related to the type of creature featured in the supplement.
This installment starts by describing a campaign system called the portal code. The portal code consists of symbols which accompany planar portals that provide information about what lies on the other side to those with knowledge of the code. There is some description of how it can be used in a campaign, and illustrations of various sample planar code symbols.
Next we get a discussion of genie-granted wishes in a mythic campaign. We are introduced to a mythic path ability possessed by all mythic genies: Wishmaster. This ability allows a mythic genie to revoke or alter the effects of any wish granted by another genie of its kind. It also gives the mythic genie knowledge of all wishes granted by genies of the same kind on the same plane and their outcomes, so it knows when to use this ability. Like the wish spell-like ability itself, this ability functions more as a plot device than anything else.
Then we get the monsters: twelve old and one new. Of the twelve mythic upgrades to old monsters, five are genies, ranging from CR 5/MR 1 up to CR 16/MR 6. Other monsters include the CR 9/MR 3 mythic invisible stalker, which can track creatures through any environment without trace, even those who magically obscure their tracks (such as via Pass Without Trace.)
Finally we get the CR 10/MR 4 Liminal Hound, an original dog-shaped monster with hexagonal scales and glowing joints. Among other abilities, it has the immunities of a construct (despite being an outsider), can fly through voids of space, and can latch on to enemies who plane shift, following them to their destination. It can also automatically use some divinations against a creature it has bitten. It is described as hunting down creatures who travel across planes. Also, if killed, its hide can be made into a Liminal Armor, a new 5000 gp magic item which gives the wearer knowledge of nearby planar portals.
Sort Term Rating: The portal code may be something which requires time to work into a campaign, as does the wishmaster ability/plot-device. The one new magic item is easy to use, but only in a specific sort of campaign, and its effects are not as interesting as those of the monsters. For the five mythic genies, so much effort seems to have been put into making them good campaign or plot features that their use as simple monsters is neglected. To a certain extent, the other monsters here are also best used out-of-combat. They can still be put into a straightforward encounter, particularly the new Liminal Hound, but not as easily as you might expect from a Legendary Games bestiary. Hence, it comes in at a short term rating of 3.5/5.
Long Term Rating: More than anything else, this is a book of plot devices. The monsters all have abilities which make them strong candidates for reoccurring NPCs. It’s not perfect, but there is a lot you can squeeze out of this book. Hence, it earns a long term rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5/5 due to the low price.
This supplement clocks in at 32 pages, including nine pages of covers and legal matter, leaving us with 23 pages of content. Each installment in Legendary Games’ Mythic Monster series contains 13-14 mythic monsters: one original and the others mythic versions of nonmythic creatures from previous Paizo and Legendary Games supplements. The mythic-ized old monsters’ entries consist almost entirely of crunch, with minimal fluff to describe their new abilities and no artwork. The new monster in each supplement comes with complete fluff and crunch, along with a full page, full color illustration. Additionally, each installment begins with a few mythic feats, path abilities, or new miscellaneous game mechanics related to the type of creature featured in the supplement.
Oozes were the focus of Mythic Monsters III, and with this installment oozes become the first creature type to be the theme of more than one Mythic Monsters supplement. In my completely biased opinion, they deserve it (oozes are likely my favorite creature type).
To start, we get an archmage path ability, the Oozechemist, which grants the Bottled Ooze alchemist discovery (which is also made usable to non-alchemists) with additional mythic bonuses. Archmages who also have alchemist levels and have taken Bottled Ooze normally gain the extra ability to spend mythic power to lower the extract level needed to summon oozes.
Then we get a ooze-themed summoning spell, Summon Slime. Six of them, to be precise: there is one Summon Slime spell for each spell level up to six, much like the standard Summon Monster I-IX spells. It is not clear why no seventh, eighth, or ninth level versions are presented. And, of course, since this is a mythic book, mythic versions of the Summon Slime series are presented!
Next come a dozen mythic oozes, all upgrades of older monsters. At the low end, we have the mythic giant amoeba and the mythic amoeba swarm, both CR 2/MR 1. The design space of sub-CR 3 mythic monsters is rather underdeveloped, so these are a welcome addition to the series. The mythic giant amoeba has the ability to split itself into a mythic amoeba swarm, and vice versa. In giant amoeba form, it can transfer damage it receives to a creature it is grappling, while in can latch on to creatures who leave its square.
At the high end, we have the CR 20/MR 8 mythic plasma ooze. This monstrosity can invert its magnetic pulse to repel metal away, and it can use mythic power to overcome immunity to fire or electric damage.
Finally we have the Sonic Slime, an original CR 12/MR 5 beast. The sonic slime is described as being formed from tremendous natural cataclysms, or from the primordial stuff of the world. On the crunch side, it deafens and nauseates nearby creatures just by moving due to the sound its movement creates, and inflicts random conditions with its slam attack. It becomes more powerful in enclosed spaces due to echoes. When it is not moving, it absorbs sound, becoming invisible (since it is just sound-waves) and creating a zone of silence. When it is moving, it can be seen as a blur (and has partial concealment).
Short Term Rating: If you are looking for some monsters to drop into an encounter, the 13 oozes presented here are among the best monster stat-blocks I have seen. The summoning spells can also be given to enemy casters pretty easily. For immediate use, mythic or otherwise, this gets a perfect 5/5.
Long Term Rating: After I first acquired this supplement, I had quite a bit of fun with advanced versions of the mythic amoeba. At a starting CR of 2, there is plenty of room for customization via additional hit-dice and templates, and the ability to shift between a single creature and a swarm interacts well with advancement, making for a big range of enjoyable encounters. And that’s with just that one monster. The other oozes in the book also have powers that make them useful beyond throwing them into an encounter unmodified. The archmage path ability is particularly useful for NPC alchemists. The Sonic Slime is suggestive as a plot device as well as a monster. And as I said at the beginning, I’m biased in favor of oozes. Hence, this supplement wins a long term rating of 5/5.
This supplement clocks in at 34 pages, including seven pages of covers and legal matter, leaving us with 27 pages of content. Each installment in Legendary Games’ Mythic Monster series contains 13-14 mythic monsters: one original and the others mythic versions of nonmythic creatures from previous Paizo and Legendary Games supplements. The mythic-ized old monsters’ entries consist almost entirely of crunch, with minimal fluff to describe their new abilities and no artwork. The new monster in each supplement comes with complete fluff and crunch, along with a full page, full color illustration. Additionally, each installment begins with a few mythic feats, path abilities, or new miscellaneous game mechanics related to the type of creature featured in the supplement.
This installment begins by introducing a Mythos spell-descriptor and a Mythos monster subtype. These have no effect aside from interactions with specific abilities. All monsters in this supplement have the mythos subtype, and it lists several other pathfinder monsters which are retroactively assigned the mythos subtype. It does not, however, specify which spells have the mythos descriptor, leaving us to guess. The mythos descriptor and subtype are presented in “greater detail” in other horror-themed Legendary Games products, including the Gothic Campaign Compendium. Without those, though, you will have difficulty using abilities that reference the mythos spell descriptor.
Subsequently, we get two new mythic path abilities: Alien Alchemy, which gives alchemical creations greater effect against mythos subtype monsters, and Elder Signs, which grants four unique abilities for making specific hand signs (as a move action). Elder Signs is available for both archmages and hierophants, while Alien Alchemy is available to both archmages and tricksters.
Next we get four horror-themed alchemical compounds, with effects related to mythos subtype monsters and spells with the mythos descriptor (the lack of knowing which spells it applies to continues to bother users without previous Legendary Games supplements).
After that we get the main portion of the book: 12 mythic monsters which are upgraded versions of previously released monsters, with hyperlinks to the original monsters on d20pfsrd.com. At the low end, we have the CR 4/MR 1 Mythic Cerebric Fungus. It can confuse anyone who strikes or is struck by it in melee, and blur its enemies’ visions giving them a miss chance.
At the high end, we have the CR 24/MR 9 Mythic Shoggoth. In addition to upgraded versions of a normal Shoggoth’s abilities, this beast paralysis creatures who strike it in melee. It is a “gravity agnostic”, a flavorful ability allowing it to climb in any direction. It has a superior form of regeneration identical to that of the 3.5 tarrasque. And it has a daily ability to create a permanent non-mythic Shoggoth as a spawn!
Unlike in other Mythic Monsters supplements, the ‘new’ mythic monster is not actually new; it is a mythic version of a monster from d20 Call of Cthulhu. Even if you don’t have CoC, the CR 8/MR 3 Mythic Greater Bhyakee comes with a full description of its abilities, lore, and a full page color illustration. The fluff is rather bland: it’s yet another Evil totally alien unspeakable Evil creature with indescribable Evil motives that does Evil things that can’t be envisioned, and did we mention evil it is Evil? If you are feeling déjà vu from that description, it is probably due to it being the same lore given to almost every aberration, undead, and evil-aligned outsider in the monster books. Nonetheless, its mechanical abilities are interesting and clearly described, making it a fun creature to fight for a relatively straightforward combat.
Short Term Rating: After the initial hurdle of the [mythos] spell descriptor which applies to some specific spells that aren’t actually specified, we get 13 solid mythic stat-blocks with interesting abilities which can be put into a pathfinder campaign with relative ease, for a final short term rating of 4.5/5.
Long Term Rating: The monster abilities given bring considerable use to a pathfinder GM, either on the monsters they come with or when you are looking for interesting powers to give your own monsters. The mythic subtype and trickster path ability are nice to have for a mythos-themed campaign, although neither are particularly radical in either concept or execution. The Elder Signs ability might be fun to play with even in a non-mythic campaign. Overall, the crunch-filled monster stat-blocks are where the real value is, for a long term rating of 4/5.
This supplement clocks in at 28 pages, including nine pages of covers and legal matter, leaving us with 19 pages of content. Each installment in Legendary Games’ Mythic Monster series contains 13-14 mythic monsters: one original and the others mythic versions of nonmythic creatures from previous Paizo and Legendary Games supplements. The mythic-ized old monsters’ entries consist almost entirely of crunch, with minimal fluff to describe their new abilities and no artwork. The new monster in each supplement comes with complete fluff and crunch, along with a full page, full color illustration. Additionally, each installment begins with a few mythic feats, path abilities, or new miscellaneous game mechanics related to the type of creature featured in the supplement.
To start, we get suggestions for boosting standard ooze abilities like grab, and rules for mythic oozes which split themselves. Compared to the previous installment (and many later ones), there is little here in the way of non-monster ooze-related rules.
Then we get a dozen mythic versions of previously released oozes, ranging from the lowly CR 4/MR 1 Mythic Gelatinous Cube up to the terrifying CR 16/MR 6 Mythic Carnivorous Blob. Mindless creatures do not normally get feats with hit-dice. Mythic feats aren’t ‘actual’ feats, though, so mindless mythic creatures, like the oozes in this supplement, do have mythic feats. Since most mythic feats are upgraded versions of normal feats, though, most are unavailable to mythic oozes. Several of the mythic oozes here have mythic abilities granting them ordinary feats: for example, the Mythic Carnivorous Blob has abilities granting it both toughness and vital strike (and has spent mythic feats on Mythic Toughness and Mythic Vital Strike). Speaking of which, the Mythic Carnivorous Blob has an interesting ability allowing it to reduce its reach in exchange for extra attacks. Its constitution drain attack is also enhanced with dexterity drain and a staggering effect.
At the end, we get an original monster: the Quicksilver Ooze, which comes in at CR 12/ MR 5. The Quicksilver Ooze is described as being toxic leftovers from divine factories. As far as crunch goes, this ooze is one of the most interesting mindless creatures I have read. It can give itself mythic haste, and has the ability to mimic the magic weapon properties it is struck by. It can redirects lighting and fire attacks which strike it to nearby enemies. It also damages metal armors and weapons, which will scare player characters much like a rust monster.
Short Term Rating: The third installment of Legendary Games’ Mythic Monsters series contains 13 ready-to-use mythic ooze stat-blocks. Their abilities are coherent and interesting enough to help produce memorable encounters, and can be easily plopped into a mythic or nonmythic game. In the short term, this supplement gets a 5/5.
Long Term Rating: Many of the newly introduced monster abilities are interesting and could be useful in designing future monsters. However, other new monster abilities are just duplicates of non-mythic feats in a form useable by mindless creatures. There is also an inherent difficulty in spinning stories out of amorphous, mindless creatures, even those as fun to fight as a Quicksilver Ooze. These, together with the lack of new rules outside of the monster statblocks, bring the long term rating down to 4/5.