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5/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. I did contribute to this small product, but only one single feat (Sculpt Spell, and even that was changed radically from my original idea) so I feel that I can review this product freely. If you don't feel that way, feel free to disregard my review entirely.

Feats are an important feature of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and as such, it becomes important to have a few to choose between. The core rulebook and Advanced Player's Guide presents a lot of feat options, but with time, players will want more and different options. As the title proclaims, this book presents 80 awesome feats... and two crappy ones. Honestly, I've been looking for the two crappy ones and haven't been able to locate them, well, perhaps there are a couple that are overpowered, but crappy ones? No, certainly not.

Lets have a look at some of the feats. First up are the very cool Totem feats. These feats are each tied to a different animal, from the Ape, Aurach, Giant Gecko to the Hawk and Hippopotamus (and others). These feats can be taken by any character and can be taken at first level. They give a character the power to summon his totem spirit which, while possessed, offer the character a small power (like a Swim speed of 30 ft. to the Lunge feat) as well as a simple +2 bonus to a single skill check. These feats can be used a number of times per day equal to 1/4 the character level + Charisma modifier, which means that they are quite useful. I love the flavor of these, and while a few seem a bit overpowered for the level that the player can take them, they are mostly balanced and...awesome.

You'll find a lot of feats useful in combat, but also a series of feats that makes the channel energy feature of the cleric even more useful. Some feats are only useful for characters of the dragon type and some are only meant for monks (there is even a single psionic feat in here), but overall, you'll find a little bit for each of the classes. I especially loved the Abundant Magic feat which makes spell-like abilities even more useful (as you can now cast them more times per day) and the Beast Senses feat which gives barbarians, druids or rangers the scent ability. Simple, full of flavor and just... awesome.

Need more feat options? Well, you should definitely check this product out, and for the very low price, you simply cannot let this one pass! I am settling on a 4.5 verdict, rounded up for the purpose of this format.


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4/5

I honestly don't know why I purchased this book, since I rarely play in northern settings, but something about it just intrigued me, perhaps because I come from the north myself and wanted to see how Open Design had handled Odin, Thor and Loki. Looking at the cover, how can you not be drawn to this book?

The first two chapters present the Northlands setting and the myths on which it was built. I love the nordic mythology and have read plenty of stories in my day, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the designers had changed certain things, like names, to give the setting its own feel. For one, Odin and Thor are nowhere to be found, but is probably hiding beneath the names, Wotan and Donar. These two chapters will probably get the least use in my own games, but are really well-done and did inspire me while I read them (especially the strange world of Hyperborea!). I should probably also mention the awesome map whose cartographer is not mentioned in the credits (I am guessing Jonathan Roberts?)! Shame on the person who did the layout, big mistake, or maybe I am just blind?

Chapter three presents new options for players, like the various northern races, new class options (for nearly all the core classes), expanded skill options, feats, character traits and new (northern) equipment. Most of these options are useful in games outside the Northlands, and I just want to mention a couple of my favorite options. First there are the two Hyperborean races, the dayborn and the nightborn, these have a really cool Sword & Sorcery flavor and will definitely find their way into one of my games (they felt slightly like those two races in H.G. Well's The Time Machine). I also want to mention the two new sorcerer bloodlines, Giant and Hyperborean. The giant is just shear genius and I love the flavor and especially the signature ability at 20th level. The achievement feats are just cool and if one dares introduce them into a game, will offer so much flavor and challenge to the players. The equipment section is probably my least favorite, but that is probably because it will see the least use in my games as they are highly tied to the Northlands setting. And really, snowballs deal 1d3 nonlethal damage? I could really do without the whole snowball theme that is scattered throughout the book.

Next up is chapter 4, magic of the north. Having read the small section on Grudge magic, I am still not sure why it is there or what purpose it serves, but I did like the rune magic section. The spells were not that interesting and I could probably have done without half of them, but a few were really cool and inspiring, especially Jotun's Jest (which causes a weapon to increase in size, becoming fit for a colossal creature) and Wolfsong (which allows a person to howl like a wolf, sending a message that can be heard up to 5 miles away, outdoors, of course). Most of the magic items are highly tied to the Northlands setting and even carry nordic-sounding names such as Hringhorni, Lævateinn, black lavvu, eisenscham and raidho sled. There were a couple that I didn't understand the purpose behind, like the World Tree (I understand the whole Yggdrasil thing, but to make it an artefact? I think not.). How is this supposed to be introduced and even used in a setting? I am also unsure about the Warning Wolfband, while I really like the idea (the wearer cannot be surprised), I dont get the pricing of this one (321,300gp). How did the designer arrive at this number? Rather make it an artifact or lower the price considerable. I would definitely go for the last option, as the ring isn't that powerful when compared to other items such as a Vorpal blade. Among the items that I thought were really cool, were the feather of huginn (break the feather and create a raven messenger) and the bitter horn (a drinking horn that can tell friend from foe, how cool is that!?)

The last two chapters presents optional rules for the frozen north and, of course, a bunch of new (or rather old) monsters. The rules chapter was well written and useful if you are playing in the Northlands setting, but also a little crammed and chaotic in its structure (while reading about natural hazards, we are certainly presented with Fate Afflictions and then, the hazards continue afterwards, as if it was just thrown in there at random). The monsters were just cool and useful. The only monster that I thought was missing was a low-level monster (CR 1-3). Aside from that, we get monsters for both epic, high-level and mid-level games.

Overall, a surprisingly good book with lots (and I do mean lots!) of options for both player and GM. My biggest concern is the layout. There are lots (and I do mean lots!) of small mistakes scattered throughout the book (spelling mistakes, font mistakes, font size mistakes, text placement mistakes etc.). It would have greatly benefitted from a couple of proofreaders before hitting the market. I own the softcover, so I am particular sorry to see so many mistakes, as it can't be updated along the way (as a pdf can).

I am going to settle on a 3.5 star verdict, but since the material is just so good, I am going to round up to 4 for the purpose of this format.


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3/5

Better people than me have already reviewed the adventures and since I haven't read all of them, or even played one of them, I am not going to review those. I should probably also mention that I participated in the open design of this one, but contributed nothing.

No doubt that the meat of this book are the 7 adventures, but since I rarely play any adventure as it is written, what really interests me about Streets of Zobeck is the rest of the book. So lets take a look.

First off we get a chapter called Faces of Zobeck which presents a bunch of NPCs from a strange fey called The Dragged Woman to a corrupt captain and an undead merchant from the Cartways. I loved most of these as they inspire a lot of adventure, but felt that perhaps the descriptions were a little short for my liking. I would have loved a little more detail about some of them, but since some of them are used in the adventures, I guess more information are presented there. I especially liked the Dragged Woman, who has a really inspiring power; the power to open a magical passage to somewhere else. I could easily see this fey creature come alive in a different type of setting as well, like a wilderness setting.

Next up is a chapter called Places of Zobeck. This chapter was a bit more hit and miss for me. As ideas, the locations are all really cool and gave me a strong feel of the city, but unfortunately, not all of the locations had enough detail to make them really useful. Let me give you an example: Hommal's Botanical Rooftop. This place is what? A botanical garden at the top of a building, owned by someone named Hommal who makes and sells drugs (I think). Instead of focusing on the botanical rooftop and the plants that we find here, we get a lot of useless information about the lower areas and for what reason? I could understand the point of reading about the tenements, if the people who lived there were somehow connected to the botanical rooftop, perhaps they were all additcs of the drugs produced by Hommal. I really appreciate what these locations are trying to do; give us a feel for the iconic places of the city, but I would have liked a few more interesting features. I did love the Silk Scabbard and how it allows the PCs to buy the gambling den and run it themselves. A really cool idea.

After the adventures, we get some crunch for the players. First up are a handful of feats. Most of these are plain and simple, but one of them struck me as pure genius. I like to play in urban settings and sadly wizards rarely gets the chance to cast fireball, but now, with the Urban Spell feat, they can. This feat modifies a spell so that it only damages living creatures. Yes. Your fireball will no longer set fire to half the city! Genius. This chapter also presents 16 new traits. I found a lot of these useful and will be introducing them into my own campaign setting. Lastly we get a couple of spells and magic items. These seem balanced and I really loved the magical items.

Lastly, I want to mention my biggest complaint about this book. It really needed another look by a couple of proofreaders. While the layout is really nice (cool illustrations, ok maps), there are just too many strange mistakes that bother me while I read the book. I own the softcover version so if the pdf has been updated to fix these, I am sorry that I haven't noticed. I would also have liked it if all the crunch had been collected in one place/chapter, instead of scattered throughout the book.

I'll settle for a 3.5 verdict, rounded down. If I owned the pdf and had an updated version, I would probably have settled for a 4 star verdict.


Cool creatures, lacking a couple of things

4/5

Before I write my review, I should probably tell you that I received a free review copy of this product.

An Infernal Index? Yes, sounds awesome doesn't it. I like demons, devils and daemons as much as the next guy, but I've also seen (and used) far too many of these, and while they seem to be one of the most complex and interesting type of creatures, there is also the danger that they might look (and feel) alike. This index presents us with 6 creatures from the Infernal Nether Realms, and they aren't all devils, demons and daemons.

No reason to beat around the bush, lets get to the creatures! The first creature is an ungudaemon, a weird-looking and vile creature that loves to force others to kill (as the book writes, the embodiment of serial killing). This is the weakest creature in the book and I would have liked it to have some powers of persuasion, how cool would it be to have a daemon that created serial killers of ordinary (and weak-willed) human beings? Next up is the feathered devil, infernal accountants and treasurers. I really like the thought of hell as a bureaucracy! Only thing I would change about this creature would be to give it the ability to fly. It has wings, and while there is something to be said for cheating the players, I think this would have been cool. And while I am nitpicking, I would also have given them some abilities to instantly count coins and locate treasure (detect magic at the very least). Yes, these would merely be flavor.

Then we get the Khorkhore, a creature that is the embodiment of gluttony and excess. I really liked this creature, and from looking at the rather stupid-looking illustration, I didn't think I would. This creature has a really cool ability that will make a small village into a disturbing community of gluttonous freaks. Awesome! After the khorkhore, we get what I would describe as a cool mix between sweeney todd and edward scissorhands: the baboulas kyton. I loved this creature, which might not work in every type of game.

Then we get an oni called a hanadaka oni. These creatures are excellent swordsmen, cunning tricksters and are somehow tied to tengus. I am not a big oni fan, but this one actually looks (and feels) cool. The last creature in the Infernal Index is the piasa. The thing that makes this CR 17 creature interesting for me, is that it is not very intelligent and hardly understand its own powers. It's a nice setup. However, I would have liked this creature to have a couple of powerful signature abilities to match its CR.

Overall, this Index presents a lot of interesting and original creatures. My favorites were the khorkhore, feathered devil and baboulas kyton, but honestly, all the monsters have something to offer. I would have loved to hear a bit more about the sources that the author talks about in the introduction.

Lastly, I just want to acknowledge the very cool (and colourful) illustrations. These, together with the cool ideas and low price makes this a must-buy for any GM. For the price, I can easily forget the small changes that I would have liked. I am going to settle on 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this format.


4/5

Mimics are often used in Roleplaying Games, and yet, I don't think I've ever used one . I've met a couple as a player, but somehow they have escaped my gamemastering grasp thus far.

Darkness Without Form (Secrets of the Mimic) was actually one of the first Pathfinder compatible pdfs that I bought and I've read it several times (it ain't that big, merely 24 pages). So... lets see what it contains.

It starts out with a short history of the mimic, which is also a history of the aboleth, as the two are tied in with eachother. It's a nice history, dark and fleshy, yet, I started to get annoyed by the end of it, as it merely paints a picture of the mimics as servants of the aboleths. I would have liked a slightly broader perspective. Perhaps a few escaped their master's grasp and made a 'life' for themselves somewhere else.

Then we get to the section on mimic symbiotes, which are fleshy mimics that capture a host and dominates them. These symbiotes come in two different shapes (templates, actually), the Puppetmaster symbiote and the Warhulk symbiote. I actually like these and could easily see both used in my current campaign setting, both gave me a very alien feel. By the end of this section, we are also presented with two new mimicky monsters, the lair tyrant mimic (a huge mimic that is often tied to a single location over many years... they also tend to bind themselves with other creatures), and mimicling swarm (not a fan of the name, but it is just that, a swarm of diminutive mimics. In the description they are described as coins). I really like the flavor of the lair tyrant and there are three really nice sidebars that will give your game a lot of flavor.

The last thing we get in this small pdf is a short toolbox on how to give mimics a different feel and power level (imagine a flying mimic...) It is easy to use and probably the thing that I liked the most, since it allows you to create mimics of you own that will definitely surprise your players.

Overall, this is a nice book on mimics, if a little singleminded. I remember a short article on the KQ site that painted a very different picture of the mimics and I would have loved a greater variation. In these days, a lot of 3pps tend to publish pdfs that appeal to both GM and players, but beware, this is a "GM's Only" type of book.

I should probably also note that it has excellent artwork and a very nice and easy to read layout. However, because it is so single-minded, I am going to end at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this format.


5/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I (probably) received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Monsters Unleashed is (or rather was) a very cool project that allowed people (who signed up) to nominate their favorite 3.5e monsters for a little Pathfinder update. Now everyone has the chance to buy these updated monsters, and this is the very first product.

In this pdf you get the following monsters; barrow wight (standard vengeful undead who hunt down those who violated their privacy and property), crystalline horror (a strange aberration of crystal and glass, with no facial features), devil dog (which has nothing to do with devils, but may be a distant relative of winter wolves), dragonnel (looks sort of like a dragon, sounds sort of like a dragon, but is a magical beast or... a dinosaur), kech (monkey-like humanoids that live like monkeys but act like humans, which is also a playable race). Among these, the crystalline horror is my absolute favorite. It has the cool ability to bend light and blind creatures.

Most of these creatures are rather boring/neutral (a standard undead, wolf and monkey-like creature), but I don't think this is any fault of the authors. Afterall, they were asked to update these creatures and weren't paid enough to recreate the story behind each of the creatures. They succeed in what they set out to do, to update a bunch of monsters chosen by others. All the monsters seem balanced and has a nice piece of artwork. The layout is pretty nice and makes the monsters easy to use.

For the low price, this is a winner!


4/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

So, an otyughnomicon? Yeah, that's a new word for me as well. I certainly know the otyugh, I mean, who doesn't, but what type of a book is this otyughnomicon?

Well, the pdf presents the reader with a new type of otyugh, called the Northern Waste Otyugh. It is basically an otyugh that has learned to survive the many challenges of the far north, it has sort of adapted to this environment. We also get a template called the Northern Waste Template, which makes it possible to add this northern waste flavor to any corporeal creature. Such a creature gains the cool ability to walk on ice as if it had the spider climb ability, but also gets an icy touch and is constantly covered in a mini-blizzard that gives it concealment and damages surrounding creatures. This template is pretty cool and certainly adds a lot of northern waste power and flavor to a creature.

The pdf also presents us with a lot of northern waste otyughs, in fact, we are given a whole tribe of them. It's always nice to have various levels of power to choose from, but I really missed a general overview of this tribe, all we get are 5 lines of description. It would have been really cool to see how the authors envisioned such a tribe, how do they interact, what are their purpose and just what does it mean to be a tribe of otyughs?

Next we get 6 spells with some icy flavor, of these only one of them really intrigued me, the Meld Into Ice spell. The rest seemed pretty logical and balanced, but nothing too exciting. Then comes a sorcerer bloodline... the Otyugh Bloodline. This is pretty strange, for one, the bloodline arcana allows you to move you eyes on stalks (which basically means that your opponents who flanks you gets no bonuses). You also exude the odor of a midden, grow a tentacle (that gives you added reach), makes you a carrier of disease and lastly, makes you the King of the Heap! This bloodline is filled with flavor, but also makes you wonder how otyughs have sex! Good stuff. And did I remember to say that the bloodline also introduces 6 new spells?

Honestly, while there is a lot to like and enjoy in this pdf, I would have liked it to be more like an ecology of the northern waste otyugh, with information that explains what such a creature is. I did enjoy the short discussion in the beginning of the pdf, which discusses whether an otyugh should be considered an aberration or a magical beast. I can certainly see the authors point that it should probably be a magical beast, but to me it has always been the creation of a mage (who needed some...thing to take care of his waste), which makes it closer to an aberration, in my mind. For the shear amount of cool crunch in this one (although I lacked some fluff), I am going to settle on a verdict of 4 stars.


A lot of cool races... ready for play!

5/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Monstrous Races: Second Horde is a collection of races from Bestiary 2 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, races that can be used as playable races. Each of these races contain the following: a walkthrough of what type of adventurers they would make according to the base classes (from the core rulebook and the advanced player's guide), favored class options and alternate racial traits (most have four, but a few have five, I especially liked those of the lizardfolk, as it added more than just a new trait, it added flavor and story). Some of the races even get a sidebar on racial traits, so that players can actually play them (like the dark folk, forlarren, living ghoul, lizardfolk and sahuagin). There is also a new disease, the dreaded ghoul pox which is part of the racial traits of the living ghoul.

These are nice options for players who want to play something a little different. I like my humans, half-elves and halflings, but some of these races actually intrigued me, especially the living ghouls. I could easily see the living ghouls add a whole new dimension to a game. All the new playable races actually felt balanced and I would have no problem introducing them into one of my games. There were a couple of minor mistakes, like an alternate racial trait that needed a trait to replace (ghoul form from the living ghoul) and a couple of favored class options that left me wondering exactly what was meant (sylph ranger and rogue).

Overall, this is a very useful product that makes it worthwhile to play one of those less known races. I also really liked the layout of this product, simple, yet elegant. Well-done!


Awesome legendary weapons!

5/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely. Well, I did help out in the proofreading phase and I did help inspire the jealousy variant rule (which I, obviously, really like!)

Legendary blades? Awesome! I seem to remember something similar for 3.5e (from WotC), but since I can't really remember anything else, I'll stop making any comparisons. Each of these weapons gets a thorough treatment, with a detailed history and a walkthrough of all the abilities. The authors also added the material for each of the magic weapon special abilities used for the legendary blades. There are a lot of legendary blades in this pdf and I really like most of them, but I would have to say that two of my favorites are the Lion of Iskander (which is a flaming blade that not only allows the wielder to keep a dire lion for a cohort, but also allows him to transform into a dire lion) and Sandman's Blade (which is tied to dreams and allows the wielder some control over time!) These weapons just come with awesome flavor and can spark many an adventure.

My only problem with this product is the layout. I am glad that the Purple Ducks changed this in later products. A two column layout would have saved us a lot of pages.


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Nice product, with a few flaws

4/5

This product is everything it says it is. It presents us with a dozen armor and shield properties, oh, and a spell; a spell that is used for one of the properties.

I really liked most of these special abilities (especially deeds and energy backlash) and found them quite useful. There were a couple with some flaws (the helpful ability is way too cheap, a +1 bonus would be fair for this, and the athletic ability should list what type of bonus it gives to speed, probably an enhancement bonus). There were a couple that were poorly written and confused me, like the runic and anathema ability (I know the gist of what they do, but I am still unsure of a couple of things). However, the rest were really cool and I am absolutely going to use some of these in my own games.

The layout is a simple two column layout with a few illustrations (that I could easily have done without). As I read the pdf, I found myself noticing a couple of minor mistakes (sometimes the author writes CL and at other times he writes caster level, also, minor is not used about aura, it is called faint), but really, these were just minor mistakes and nothing that disturbed my understanding of the material.

For the low price, this is a nice product that I would recommend to players. I am going to settle with a 3.5 verdict, rounded up for the purpose of this format.


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5/5

I love dragons and I love playing in settings where dragons have an important and prominent role to play. However, this is not a book of dragons, but a book of drakes!

Let me start by saying that this book is among the most beautiful that I've seen to date, and I am talking about the print version, which is black and white! I believe the pdf is in colour. Everything in this book has the feel of an old book of drakes and that is also how most of it is written, as a treatise on drakes.

First we get a little overview of drakes (how they are classified and how they are different from dragons), then we get the meat of the book, the player's section. This chapter presents you with new feats, alternate class abilities, an alternate class (the drake tamer), a prestige class (the master of drake forms), rules on how to play either a pseudodragon or a candle drake, spells, magic items and some more general adventuring gear. There is a lot to like here, especially the rules to play a pseudodragon or candle drake.

Next up is the bestiary! This book presents a lot of drakes, 20 drakes to be precise, with some amazing artwork. Personally, I am not a big fan of the whole drake philosophy (as this book presents it), that drakes are all over the place and come in an infinite number of shapes, however, those few that the book presents are really useful and will certainly bring the wondrous drakes into the game. And not to worry, while the drakes seem cute and harmless (especially if you look at the cover), there are evil drakes lurking among the shadows, like the sewer and mist drakes. This chapter ends by presenting rules on how to build your own drakes (basically a point-buy system). I haven't tried this system out, so I don't know if they work.

I really liked this book, although I would hardly use drakes as the book suggests. The book of drakes sets out to bring drakes into the world and they succeeds beautifully in doing this! Good work!


4/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Eastern and exotic weapons? Yes, we are talking about the katana, kusarigama, naginata, bo staff and my favorite, the fighting fan. I've seen just as many japanese martial art films as the next guy, and while I love the films (such as hidden dragon, crouching tiger, hero etc.), I loath playing in such a setting. However, I'll try to keep my personal preferences out of this and give a more neutral review (if possible).

So what is this all about? Basically, legendary weapons are weapons that are supposed to follow the PCs throughout their entire carrier, growing in power as the PCs grow in power. I really like this idea, although I have yet to implement it in any of the games that I run. This pdf, of course, presents weapons with an eastern feel. I guess the exotic part is due to most of the weapons being exotic.

You'll find weaponslike the sickle called Blood Flower (a weapon created specifically for a witch's familiar), Kowarenai (a katana based around honor and loyalty, allowing the wielder to protect his allies), Stormslayer (a naginata that has the awesome ability to tame lightning and send it against another), Totsuzen No Arashi (a fighting fan create to be easy to hide at court, with some cool abilities like the one that allows the wielder to call a protean lacky). There are 15 legendary weapons in this pdf and not only do you get description and powers, you also get the important information (such as weapon stats, magic weapon special abilities, a monster and spell).

The layout is simple and easy to use. Personally, I much prefer this two column layout than the one column layout that they used in their first legendary pdf. The artwork is fairly simple, but works well with the weapon descriptions. I only found a couple of typos/mistakes (nothing to really disturb my reading), but what really bothered me was, that sometimes the magic items/spells are in italics (as I think they should), but most of the times, they are not. I like the spells/magic items to be in italics, which makes them easier to discern and find should you need them.

Lastly, the weapons seems perfectly balanced, and if you like an eastern feel, these weapons are certainly for you. The pdf also presents some guidelines if you wanted to make your own legendary weapons, and of course, a small location in the Lands of the GOW.

Personally, I would probably give this pdf a 3 star verdict (because I would need to work on these a bit to make them work in my current setting), but to be fair, the writing is pretty good (with some original ideas), the mechanics work and feels balanced and you really get a lot for your money, so I'll settle on a 4 star verdict.


4/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Ever wanted to play a medusa? Well, I haven't, but if you have, now you can with this legendary race from Purple Duck Games. Even if you are not looking to play a medusa (perhaps because you are a GM), you can still pick it up and get a lot of useful material.

Lets look at some of the material. Within these pages you get a complete ecology of the medusa (which only lacks a lore table), new discoveries for medusa alchemists (there are some really cool ones, like the gorgon skin and serpent transformation), two new playable races (the medusa racial class and the half-medusa). The medusa is a little powerful, or at least she will be when she reaches 8th level, but I guess that she has to be. The half-medusa has no class levels and seem nicely balanced. The half-medusa also gets a complete writeup with racial options, alternate racial traits and favored class options.

Within these pages, you'll also find a medusa bloodline for sorcerers (which, I guess, is the same as Adamant Entertainment's, from their Bloodlines product), a couple of feats (both quite useful), 3 medusa variants (that give your medusa a new edge, to surprise players), a template, and three new monsters (blood summoner medusa, gorgon and the strange, but cool, medusa husk). There is also scattered a couple of medusa NPCs throughout the product.

Basically, you get a lot when you buy this product and I didn't find a lot that seemed unbalanced. I've noticed that the Purple Ducks like to bring options to both GMs and players, and this product is no different. The layout is a little messy and nothing that impressed me, I especially didn't like the image in the background. There were a couple of stupid mistakes that would have been caught with the help of a couple of proofreaders, but nothing terribly important.

I probably wont use the medusa player options (they are just not for me), except perhaps some of the alchemists discoveries and maybe one of the feats (swift poisoner), but as a GM, there are plenty of material that will prove useful in my current Sword & Sorcery campaign.

Overall, you get a lot of varied material for your money and it follows the high quality of Purple Duck products. If you are not a GM and not a player looking to play a medusa or half-medusa, this is probably not for you, but if you are... go for it. I'll settle for a 3.5 verdict, rounded up for the purpose of this format.


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Cool sorcerous bloodlines!

4/5

I love playing sorcerers, and in Pathfinder, they have a lot different bloodlines that allow a player to create a unique background. With this short pdf, nine pages of content, the sorcerer gets a whole bunch of new bloodline options. The author is Stefen Styrsky and I've noticed how much he loves to make bloodlines for sorcerers, and fortunately, he does this very well.

Bloodlines presents us with 13 new bloodline options. They are based around various monsters, such as the barghest, naga, medusa, treant and my favorite the lillend. Each of these have some signature abilities that makes it easy to understand the background of the sorcerer, such as the medusa's serpent hair and petrifying stare, or the barghest ability to change into a wolf. I didn't think these monstrous bloodlines would work, but actually, the do! Most of them seem perfectly balanced, but there is a few abilities that seem a little too powerful, like the serpents of the medusa, which each deals 1d3 points of strength damage, and the sorcerer has a number of these equal to his Charisma modifier. It is a level 15th power, so of course it should have some level of power.

Finally, the layout is simple and nice, with a couple of boring illustrations that has nothing to do with the bloodlines. I didn't find a lot of mistakes, which is also a huge plus. However, don't expect anything beyond what the title offers... you get 13 sorcerous bloodlines (and four feats), nothing more. I'll settle for a 4 star verdict.


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3/5

I love new races. For me, they are part of what make a setting unique and cool. This pdf presents a new race called the Wyrd. These guys reminds me of the 'gentle giant' type, with inborn magic and resistances. They actually reminded me a lot of the wilders from The Wheel of Time series (especially in appearances).

This pdf makes use of a narrator called Deimos Invincible Fox (one of the Wyrd), something that I haven't seen before in other products. But is this good? I would have to say yes and no. The writing is certainly good and I liked reading the thoughts of Deimos, but it also seems to limit the knowledge that the reader gets. We get a very personal oppinion about the Wyrd, and not a useful overview of the race. Also, there are times when this makes absolutely no sense, like when Deimos have to explain the alignment of his race... who in their right mind would label themselves with True Neutral? Why not describe the mindset of the Wyrd, with the narrator's own words and then the reader can make up his mind what kind of alignment they are, or even better, write a sidebar which complements the narrator's words. Personally, I would have preferred that the product had no narrator but a couple of cool sidebars instead, with the narrator's view.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the whole paragon class system, but the race class seems balanced, if not a little boring. How about some abilities that say a bit more about the race and help define how they develop? I have not seen a lot of paragon classes, so I am not sure if this is how they are supposed to work. I know that Purple Duck Games' Cyclop and Medusa pdfs had a few more signature abilities.

The rest of the pdf presents a series of feats, 11 to be precise. There were a few that I liked (like the mage/wyrd feats), but also a few that made no sense, like the Mystical Grace feat. I mean, why gain bonus hit points based on which feats you take (metamagic and item creation)? We also get a new sorceror bloodline (Oni), the Whispering Advisor prestige class and nine new spells. I liked most of the spells, which seemed balanced and flavored.

Overall, while the Wyrd seem a little too neutral (and bland) to me, they seem balanced. In this product, you get a lot of material for your money, which is nice, and the material presented are focused on the Wyrd (with a few feat exceptions). I didn't find a lot of typos and layout mistakes, which is also a plus. I am going to settle on 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this format.


Cool encounters...packed with material!

5/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product (If I remember correctly). However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

The Encounter Pages products have always been some of my favorite. They are extremely useful for the GM, has lots of inspiring ideas and even better, plenty of monsters and other goodies. Most of the time, these products even has some cool material for the players, and this product is no different.

So what do you get? Well, first of all, you get five encounters centered around such creatures as the grigs, hydrodaemons and my favorite, the junk elemental. Some of these encounters are a little too whacky for me, like the 'The Haunted Organ', but then there are the really cool ones like the 'Lurkers in the Pool' and 'When Good Loot Goes Bad'. The latter is a small looting encounter based around a junkyard where the PCs are looking for a wand for a mage. This encounter actually feels like it could spark other adventures, and while it is centered around a junk elemental, the author also introduces a greed dragon which could pose a second problem/threat for the PCs.

The encounters are short and easy to use. They also come with stats for the important monster (in the encounter itself), but you'll find the rest of the critters in the back, fully statted and ready to use. This is pretty cool and make for an awesome product in itself. But not only that, you also get 2 feats (nothing special, though), a legendary weapon (blade of aristocrats, which is pretty cool), 9 new spells, 2 magical items and the best thing in this product... a new Wizard school, the City Magic school. I didn't find any balancing issues with any of these and the monsters you already know, from Tricky Owlbear's Forgotten Foes.

Overall, this is an awesome product, packed with cool encounters, but also packed with new options for the players. I would have bought this product for the player options alone.


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2/5

A festhall... it doesn't sound like much, but an Intimate Shape Festhall sounds mysterious and, if you ask me, promising. So what is it? Well, certainly something out of the ordinary, something that brings a new game to the table. It reminded me of a Fafhrd and Grey Mouser story where our two heroes also encountered a living house. The author of this location may have been inspired of Leiber.

Honestly, this pdf is a little rough around the edges. It could really benefit from another round of editing, it seemed rushed. It had a lot of little mistakes that really bothered me as I read it, mistakes that would be so easy to change.

I really do like the basic idea here, but the pdf just doesn't offer a lot of information. What you get is a short introduction to the place by some unknown narrator, a few short adventure hooks, two NPCs (with a lot of unnecessary information, like all the bard abilities), a gargantuan mimic and a couple of monstrous feats.

What I really wanted to know was how to use the Intimate Shape Festhall... ideas on implementing it in a city. I mean, how would a city react if they learned that a gargantuan mimic lived amongst them? What purpose does it serve? How will it interact with the PCs?

Lastly, I want to mention the maps. These are amateurish, which is fine when you look at the low price, but I would rather have been without them, since I guess the Festhall can and does change shape... all the time.

I'll give this pdf 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this format. Promising with a really good idea, but rough and lacking a lot of simple information that make it truly useful.


4/5

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

I love new classes, and the idea of a mix between a mage and a rogue sounds really good, but does the Rook work?

The Rook has spells (up to 6th level) and gains talents much like the rogue, but what really sets the class apart from the sorcerer and rogue is something called schisms. These are unique philosophies that enables the Rook to walk different paths. Some of these seem a little weak and single-minded, like the Necrotist schisms (which seems heavily focused on hit points), but also includes a schism like the Schade, which brings something entirely new to the gametable... the Silhouette. This is just that, a silhouette of the Rook that he can control and use in battle, but it just has a much different feel than the shadow of the shadowdancer. These seem pretty useful outside combat as well and would make great spies for the PCs. The Rook has a choice between 4 schisms. I can only hope that the purple ducks will make new schisms available in the future.

The pdf also includes a really nice section for making spells available to the Rook, from other 3pp sources, which is pretty cool. This section is written in a very useful way that certainly makes the GMs life easier, but also makes the Rook more useful to the players.

Overall, you get a lot of content for your money (a base class, a 1st level NPC, favored class options, 2 rook feats, 2 magic items and 10 new spells) and the Rook seems pretty balanced. I found only a couple of powers that seemed either too powerful (like the Schade's Shadow Siphon talent) or too weak (like the Schade's Soul Shift power at 20th level). Unfortunately, the Schade is also my absolute favorite among the schisms. I hope to find some use for this class in upcoming campaigns... and who knows, maybe I am wrong on those few balancing issues.

I think this product deserves 3.5 stars, but since that isn't possible here, I am going to round up, seeing as the low price makes this a steal.


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4/5

Infamous adversaries... this pdf is aptly named. It introduces an NPC (or more like an antagonist, really) called Cytheria the Blasphemer. She is evil and understandable so, she was taken as a child and tortured until she herself broke and killed her torturer.

What you get for your money... a nicely written archenemy for your PCs, complete with a detailed history, motives, tactics etc. You also get stats for both Cytheria, but also for her fiendish servant. However, even at this low cost, I would have loved to see something new brought to the table, like a new magic item, feat etc.

The pdf has an ok layout, but nothing impressive. It is quite useful, even though I have no use for all those hyperlinks. Overall, worth buying if you are a GM looking for a nasty villain to challenge your players.


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Pathfinder? Where? I don't see it.

1/5

I've been wanting to check out at least one of Avalon Games' products for a while now, and now I have.

So what do you get for $1.50? A couple of pages worth of fluff. This could have been enough for me, if... the story here were worth anything. Unfortunately, everything seems very vague and lacks any kind of detail. But this isn't the worst part about this product...

The Avalon Adventures: Search for the Snow Dancer bears the Pathfinder logo (and OGL), but there is no reason for this, other than to fool people into buying it. I did not find one single word of Pathfinder-related stuff. They could surely have used a couple of magical items for the reward section, but as with everything else... this section is also very vague, leaving everything up to the GM.


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2/5

I was curious about this product as we are currently playing an epic sword and sorcery campaign, but while the simple changes that this pdf proposes may work for some, it wouldn't work for me.

The pdf basically proposes that each player takes two classes at each level and use the best BAB, saves, hp etc. Furthermore, the PCs get all the class skills and class abilities. It also allows the player to take two wizard levels instead of, say, a barbarian and bard level. So now the spells per day and spells known stack.

This may certainly work for some, but absolutely NOT for me. I was hoping for something a bit more simple and elegant. Also, the rules for the GM seems like a lot of work to implement, a couple of simple templates would have been much better and easier to read.

Lastly, the layout is messy and was clearly not first on the publisher's mind. I don't mind a simple layout, but a simple white layout had been much better and pleasing to the eye.

However, at $1, I can easily forgive the layout. This is not very useful for me, but may be for some.


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Creepy and Bizarre Monsters Indeed!

4/5

It is rare to be treated to a big monster book from a 3PP... in colour! This is exactly what Creepy Creatures: Bestiary of the Bizarre is. The illustrations are perhaps a bit too big. I would have preferred a bit more text to some (if not all) of the creatures, but the quality of the artists are... exceptional.

There are creatures that make no sense (lobsterpede, centipede folk, hair golem, frogodile), but all monster books have some of those, and then there are the really cool monsters... the rest!

There is much to love in this book, but I have to settle for a 4 star rating because the monsters lack information and have made their illustrations twice as big as they should have been, to cover for the lack of text.