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A Terrific Addition To Any Group's Table

5/5

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the New Paths Compendium Expanded Edition a while now, but everything just keeps getting in the way. I have a little bit of time now so I’ll put some thoughts down. Megan and Feros have both written wonderful reviews of this book so just about anything I say here would be redundant; though I will jot down a few things I liked best about it.

The retooled Elven Archer, now the Mystic Archer and the totally overhauled Savant are terrific. The Savant is much easier to comprehend than before and its playability has been saved from doom. Of the five classes added since the original New Paths Compendium was released I have to say the Priest, the Trickster, and the Warlock are my favorites. I was very excited to see a retake on the Warlock, since the D&D 3.5 version seemed a little bland to me. I will say that this version treads a little too closely to the Blade Bound Magus archetype, but I think there are enough differences that the two could share a table without much trouble.

There are a host of new archetypes that will please a lot of players. It’s hard to pin down a favorite. I’m not very good at breaking down the mechanics of a class but there is a lot of flavor here. As a GM, it’s hard for me to choose one that I would use in a game. Of the 14 classes that have new archetypes offered five come from the Paizo camp and the rest are for the classes in the expanded edition of the Compendium. I have a munchkin-y love for one in particular though, the Force Blaster for the Battle Scion class. If I were a player, whipping out blast after blast of pure force would be just too much fun.

There are feats aplenty, too, most or all of them seem useful, fun and balanced for play. There are three subsections, Feats, Style Feats, and Alternate Feats, the last being the real stars of the feat selections. Death feats are really my favorites. Dying is traumatic enough, but to do so then be revived should be a special event for a character rather than a cash transaction between the group and a Cleric (or Priest from this book) and as such the player should have options to choose from when doing so.

The Scaling Combat feats are just that. Rather than adding links to a chain of feats, two or more are rolled into one heading and they improve with the character’s advancement. This *might* be something that could be abused, but it would be up to the GMs and their players if they wanted to work these into a game.

The Alternate feats see the Leadership feat broken down into two feats: Leadership (Cohort) and Leadership (Followers). I think it may be the solution to the question about whether or not the original Leadership feat is too powerful. These will be the default versions of Leadership in my campaign should anyone choose to go that route.

There’s a really nice selection of spells, nearly all of which have been seen before in the original New Class Compendium. There is a new option called Combat Divinations, which are spells that can be cast as swift or immediate actions to reflect a character’s extensive training and training in how to anticipate and respond to a foe’s attacks before they take place. I plan to offer this option to my spellcasting players to see how well they work out, should they choose to use them.

The section on gear is essentially the same as in the original Compendium. Not a great many items, but they are pretty interesting and some would definitely see use in my game, especially the Ever-Full Quiver from the magic item section of the Gear and Magic Item chapter.

The only thing I really had an issue with is the number of editing errors, which have been pointed out in various levels of irritation on the boards. Putting together a book is hard I know, but the number of errors gives the book a feeling of having been rushed to get it on the shelves and in the hands of players as quickly as possible. While the intent for doing so is good, it resulted in a bit of sloppiness showing through. These issues were addressed in the .pdf, so if you bought the hardcover with the downloadable you can track down the re-edits and sort them out. There is also a forthcoming errata release coming, I believe.

Aside from the editing problems I love this book. I won’t even count off for the editing issues because the usefulness and flavor of this book is too good to let those mar any thoughts I have on the new and improved Compendium. I give it 5 stars. Get this book and get to adventuring!


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You Need This Book

5/5

Intro

Wow, where do I start? There is just so much in this book, and it’s not even the largest volume in the GM’s Miscellany series. I supposed we could start with the very basics. The .pdf comes in at 159 pages, and every page is a winner, jammed full of interesting events, objects, encounters, and more. It also comes in two versions, one for laptop or handheld device screens and one for printing; though with both documents being black and white with no color artwork I don’t think that’s really an issue. The font is clean and easy to read (I’m not up on my fonts, so I can’t say which one it is, however). The chapters are laid out in such a way that their contents can be quickly referenced and used by random dice rolling on the spot during a game or chosen specifically for a location or event. All in a well laid out book.

Contents

The contents are broken down into four main headings: “Features and Events”, “Folk”, “By Land”, and “By Sea”. Each of these chapters are further divided into myriads of other lists to go over that allow much greater customization in each of the primary chapters. There’s no way to really go into every subheading without going over the word limit for reviews, but suffice to say it covers every possible wilderness thing you can imagine stumbling across. The descriptions are setting neutral, very detailed but short, and can be dropped into any game for flavor or even as adventure hook. From folk tales and local contests and events to pirate ships and crews, this book is totally full of great ideas. I’ve used several as wilderness dressing, just as the title suggests, and my players, ever paranoid, are always on the lookout for what caused the fox to sneak through the camp at night to the classic remains of a raided caravan. If you’ve seen Creighton Broadhurst’s Friday freebies from this, its companion works, or upcoming releases, you’ll know what to expect.

Artwork

The artwork, for the most part, is superb, and calls to mind the great black and white illustrations from the 1e supplements and old Dragon magazines, and in many ways can be used itself as a description of something stumbled across or way to start an adventure. There’s a bevy of contributing artists, all doing great work to compliment the encounters found in the pages of this .pdf or hardcover, whichever you own or prefer.

Summary

You need this book, whether you know it or not. If you’ve seen Creighton Broadhurst’s Friday freebies from this, its companion works, or upcoming releases, you’ll know what to expect. Great encounters, clues, adventure starters, or just plain curiosities, Wilderness Dressing is essential. Even if you’re a GM who’s a master at description and dropping things in games to entice or puzzle your players, Wilderness Dressing shouldn’t be passed up, because you’ll find ideas there you may never have come up with on your own. Buy this book. You won’t regret it. I give it Five Stars!


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I Needed This Class

5/5

To be honest, I think the game as a whole did. The Oracle and the Cleric, as well as the Druid, are great classes, don't get me wrong. But a non-combatant holy class was missing, and the Priest fills this role nicely.

There's not much I can say about the class that other reviewers haven't already. It's spellcasting is more Arcanist than Cleric, and the Divine Gifts are great additions to the class. And where the Channel Energy ability falls a little short compared to the cleric, there is a MUST HAVE feat, Powerful Channel. For the price of a fatigue round per number of HD channeled, the Priest can substitute a d10 for the d6 usually used to tally damage or healing. Just make sure to keep a protective hedge around the Priest until she recovers from the fatigue. And there's no reason a normal Cleric couldn't take this feat for even more bang, though the more combative role some Clerics take might suffer from the downtime. The other new feat is Extra Divine Gift, a nifty treat that allows you to gain another use of Divine Gift per day. Taking this feat more than once allows the Gifts to stack. There is a typo, however, in the "Special" section of the description, where it refers to "Divine Gift" as "Divine Boon".

The single archetype, The Chosen of Nature is interesting, being a Priest who draws from the Druid spell list. And beginning at 5th level it can cast Beast Shape or Plant Shape as a spell-like ability. It also adds the skills Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Ride, and Survival to its skill set.

There's not much more I can add to what others have said. This is a great class and one I think the game has been needing. It's on par with every class Kobold Press has released in the New Paths line, which in and of itself makes it worth the purchase. I give The Priest Five Stars and wholly recommend it to any player, from novice to advanced. Good job again, Marc, Wolfgang, and the rest at Kobold Press!

DMCal


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The Trickster from Kobold Press

5/5

The Trickster (Second Revision) Please see my addendum to this review at the end of the original.

The Revised Trickster receives a d8 for Hitpoints and 4 points plus INT bonus for Skills (though I may still house rule it gets its original 6 Skillpoints/level). Its spellcasting abilities are considerable, making it more versatile than the Bard where that is concerned as it draws its spell from the Sorcerer/Wizard list rather than having its own set of spells. With this vast amount of magic to choose from, it can go from buffing the party to outright damage dealer with no problem, though it can only cast a limited amount of spells per day and is limited to 6th level. It must have a spellbook with its spells in it, though it casts as a sorcerer using spell slots, allowing the casting of the same spell over and over until the slots of the appropriate level are gone.

As far as skills and proficiencies go, it has a nice selection of the former which borrows a little from the Bard’s list, as well. Combat wise it is proficient with all simple weapons plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Light armor and shields are allowed, though not tower shields. The Trickster also gains a number of Rogue abilities. These include Trapfinding, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge, and Sneak Attack, though this last one caps out at +7d6. While that may not seem like much, it can augment this ability with other abilities that will be explained.

The unique things that set a Trickster apart from the Bard and the Rogue are its Fortes. There are five of these, and the Trickster must select one at second level. After that it cannot be changed. These are Acrobat, Arcane Accomplice, Beguile, Shadow, and my personal favorite, Spell Pilfer. The five Fortes are as follows:

Acrobatics gives the Trickster allows him to perform Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth checks while wearing light armor with no penalty. Wearing no armor at all allows for +2 to Acrobatic and Fly checks. The trickster is also considered to have a running start when it comes to jumping.

Arcane Accomplice allows the Trickster to gain a familiar as a wizard might. This stacks with any other ability it might have that allows familiars. The cool thing about the familiar is that it can sneak attack within 30 feet of its master, though it only does d4’s for damage instead of d6’s. It also adds Sleight of Hand and Disable Device to its skill list. It can also deliver harmless touch spells to a target, as well.

The third Forte is Beguile, which, among other things, gives it bonuses to overcome the Spell Resistance of a flat footed target. This begins at +1 and caps out at +3, making it a pretty handy trick to have. It can also use Bluff in combat to cast a spell on a foe during combat, denying it its DEX bonus, though the Trickster is still open to an AoO from its target unless casting defensively.

The Shadow Forte is the new addition to the list of the Trickster’s key abilities. Granting 30’ lowlight vision, or extending existing such vision by 30 feet is the least of this Forte’s gifts. Darkness or shadow spells are cast at the Trickster’s level +1. The great advantage from the Shadow Forte is at 5th level, where in bright light the Trickster can animate his own shadow, allowing the Trickster to flank an opponent, as well as doing 1d8 of negative energy damage to an opponent via touch attack.

The fifth Forte is, as mentioned before, my favorite, Spell Pilfer. This allows a Trickster to actually steal a spell from an opponent’s mind and use it against him, as long as it’s within a span of time equal to half the Trickster’s level (minimum 1 round) and the Trickster can cast a spell of the appropriate slot. At 9th level the Trickster can pilfer a spell of a higher level it can cast, though it cannot cast the spell, though it prevents the opposing caster from using it.

Other Trickster abilities include Crafty, which gives him +1 to one of the following skills: Bluff, Disguise, Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand or Stealth. This bonus increases by +1 at every third level thereafter, and can be applied to the same skill or one of the others on the list. The Trickster also gains a small number of bonus feats beginning at 6th level. These feats must be one of the following; Deceitful, Persuasive, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Stealthy or a metamagic feat. It gains another bonus feat at 12th and 18th levels.

Sneakspell gives the Trickster the ability to add spell damage to a successful sneak attack. This is one of the Trickster’s greatest abilities and is gained at 5th level, and on a critical hit the damage is doubled. If the attack misses, the spell is expended normally but does not take effect. At 17th level gains Improved Sneakspell, which means the spell is not lost but can be held until the next successful sneak attack is resolved.

9th level sees the ability Ranged Legerdemain come into play, allowing Sleight of Hand and Disable Device checks out to a range of 30 feet, though with a +5 added to the difficulty of the task’s DC.
14th level sees the introduction of Filch Spell, which allows the Trickster to wrest control of a spell away from the original caster.
Surprise Spells, gained at 15th level, the Trickster adds his sneak attack damage to any spell that causes damage. Care must be exercised in using this ability, because spells such as Fireball deals damage to everyone within its normal range, so friends, foes, and the Trickster itself could take damage from the spell being used. 20th level sees the Trickster at his most dangerous, maxing out its sneak attack at +7d6 and treating all 1’s and 2’s as 3’s on sneak attack damage, making him truly deadly at this level.

Let me talk a bit about the two archetypes, the Dual Forte Trickster and the new Forte Master Trickster, the latter being the big star of this revision. The Dual Forte Trickster is just what it says, a Trickster with the ability to use two fortes, but at the expense of spellcasting power. Maximum spell level has been reduced from 6th level to 4th to allow for the extra forte and its abilities. It's a pretty good trade off, in my opinion - a little less bookkeeping in exchange for some nifty tricks. At 6th level she can choose a second forte. The second forte is treated as though the Trickster is second level for purposes of utilizing the new abilities, and remains at -4 levels regarding the second forte until 11th level, where the level difference is treated as -2. The capstone ability at 20th level allows the Dual Forte Trickster to use both fortes at an equal level, giving it the full catalog of abilities from both. This is a modification to the Master Trickster ability.

The Forte Master Trickster is a nifty addition to the class. Like the Dual Forte archetype, it receives a cap of level 4 where spellcasting is concerned. But it gets a bucket load of new abilities to compensate. Each forte gets a boost at higher levels (11th and 14th). I won’t go into them all for reasons of word count, but I will touch on the biggest advantage to being a Forte Master; The Spell Pilfer gains the ability to steal divine spells beginning at 11th level. The target of this attempt receives a +2 to resist this attack. The Trickster can’t use this stolen spell, however, until he reaches 14th level, whereupon the divine spell may be cast the same as an arcane spell. This ability replaces the bonus feats gained at 12th and 18th level.

There is also new sidebar which talks about Trickster spells and balance, changing the magic schools to exclude Evocation and Necromancy, which is something I'm on the fence about, though I understand the reasoning behind these choices. I personally think the Trickster should be able to choose which two schools he excludes himself, but it's a minor quibble and one I'm sure won't be shared by everyone who uses the revised version. Overall I can say that I still love this class, revisions and all. It seems to be the perfect balance between Rogue and Spellcaster, able to provide a very skilled character whose abilities can be augmented by its own magic as well as serving in a support role as a backup spellcaster. Think of it as the sneaky version of the Magus. I give this class a solid 5 stars. Good work, Kobold Press!


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Terrific Product

5/5

Absolutely excellent product. The templates are easy to understand and implement and will make my encounters so much more interesting. And it's also one of the most beautiful PDF products I've ever seen. Great work!


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THE Definitive Psionics Book

4/5

This won't be a long review, because I can't compete with Endzeitgeist's excellent reviews. It's really a small list of glitches that affected my impressions of the books.

First, the good stuff. Fixes to original base classes are great and were necessary, as well as changing some of the feats and the addition of 0 level powers. All good. The expanded list of powers is amazing, and the new classes, for the most part, are pretty interesting. More on that in a second.

The artwork is good, not stellar but, but good. My only gripe with it is once again a female ophiduan was shown with hair and breasts. They're reptiles for Pete's sake, and it clearly says in their description they are hairless. Grr.

There are an uncomfortable number of typos and some awkward sentence structuring, but it's easy enough to extrapolate what's being said in each case. I wish that they'd proofread things a bit more thoroughly.

My biggest "gripe" is the Dread seems unnecessary in my book. It's focus is very narrow and would've made a better psion prestige class, in my opinion, just as the marksman would've been a better psychic warrior PrC.

Overall I'm going to give the book 4 stars, largely for the truly amazing amount of work that went into it. But the glaring typos and curvaceous ophiduan really bugged me.

Addendum. I received two copies 4 days apart with the same order number, though I only purchased one. I've been in touch with Paizo Customer Service and as soon as I get paid I'll be sending the extra copy back so that someone else might enjoy it.


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You Have To Have This Book!

4/5

Let me just say (as I’ve said before) this is the book “Ultimate Magic” should have been. This book is a must have for any player who gravitates toward magic using classes, and with Incantations from Chapter 4 you don’t even have to be a spellcaster. Here’s a brief breakdown of the book:
Chapter One: New Magic Options offers many new spells from some pretty specific sources, ranging from Angels, Minotaurs, Time, and much more. Included in this chapter is the section on Vril, the primal, raw magic that exists all around us. It’s the “spellfire” of the Pathfinder game, I guess you could say. Of the specific types of spells and magic it may be my favorite, though Time and Chaos/Wonder magic are right up there.
Chapter One also brings us Ley Lines, a fantasy tradition that posits the world is crisscrossed with lines of power where a spellcaster can tap into the energy that suffuses the world itself. A Ley Line magic user is powerful and not to be reckoned with.

Chapter Two is the part we waited for the most; new spells - 733 new spells. Some are pretty specialized to certain classes or types of magic, but not so much you can’t use them for another compatible spellcaster. This is the meat of the book, and it’s mighty tasty, indeed.

Chapter Three brings us Symbolic Magic, or the magic of glyphs, runes, and ink magic, which is the magic of ciphers and the power of ink drawings. I found this to be a pretty interesting school, and the book even suggests ink magic could be an optional type of magic, rather than a school. The sections on runes include Aboleth glyphs, magic going back before the dawn of the gods themselves. This is a really good chapter that goes in depth to make these playable and fun.

Chapter Four offers the magic of Words and Incantations. The section on Incantations offers some truly interesting and potent magic often found being used by hedge wizards, adepts, etc. A great deal of detail is offered in this section on the rituals and ritual spaces needed to cast this magic and really makes for an interesting read.
Word magic continues a concept that first appeared in Paizo’s “Ultimate Magic”, whereby using the spoken word to shape magic into new or variant spells and effects is explained. Word magic is flexible and customizable. This system expands on the original words of power with new ones, and makes it easy to incorporate them alongside the existing words of power found in UM.

Chapter Five brings new Bloodlines and Mysteries to the player. The new bloodlines, at least some of them, seem pretty esoteric. For example, the Raven Blooded bloodline is relegated to Ravenfolk only. Others, such as the Aboleth, Mechanical, and Ooze bloodlines bring elements of strangeness to the Sorcerer not found before. There is also a Vril bloodline, which offers the Sorcerer the ability to channel the substance of magic through his blood.

Chapter Six offers us, among others, the Chaos mage, the Demon Binder, the Clockwork Mage, and the Vril Adept. More specialized are the Iounmancer and the Cultist of Charun.

Chapter Seven talks about the Homunculus, Magic Item familiars, Leastlings (strange little man shaped constructs covered in needles that can be used minions and even assassins. The section on crafting undead is perfect for the budding necromancer in your group, giving details on how to create many different types of the traditional undead found in fantasy RPGs.

Chapter Eight offers the reader nine sample spellcasters that use some of the options presented in “Deep Magic”. The NPCs range from CR 5 to CR 20, with some pretty unique individuals included such as Grog Bonegrinder, the Cheerful Goblin, Lady Sorreminx, a “cruel Elven noble”, and a disfigured Clockwork Mage.

The artwork throughout is excellent, and the pages themselves are beautiful, being slightly textured and not glossy (which I really liked) with runes and thaumaturgic circles seen faintly behind the text. Heck, the book even smells good! The binding is good and should provide years of use without worrying about pages coming loose. If I could count off for anything, there are an uncomfortable number of typographic errors from using the wrong word in a sentence to many misspellings. There is an errata sheet coming, but something as long awaited as this book should’ve been proofread a little closer. I’m taking a star for this, as the mistakes can be pretty glaring.
Overall I’m giving “Deep Magic” 4. This book is indispensable for the serious magic using players in your game. It’s well worth the money and the wait; probably one of the finest Kickstarter products I’ve seen. Pick this one up and happy casting!


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Not for beginners

4/5

The Swordmaster is the Swashbuckler you've all been waiting for!
The Swordmaster is the Kensai you've all been waiting for!

I'm not going to delve as deeply as EZ did in his excellent review, because that would be redundant. But I will say that this class is the first Dreadfox product I've ever seen, and I was very impressed. I really believe the work and playtesting that went into the class' development was thorough, and quite likely, exhausting.

Now, to business. This class is not for the faint of heart or most novice or inexperienced players. Although the instructions to use the sword arts are clear, it's just the sheer amount of bookkeeping that's necessary. If a player doesn't stay on top of the action in a combat session he might slow the battle down having to look at the character sheet and decide which art to use on his next turn. These actions need to be worked out as soon the player's turn ends, otherwise this will result in the dreaded "bored player dice stacking" phenomenon while they wait for the next dazzling display of death dealing.

But for a player willing to take the time and set up the character sheet beforehand, this is a brilliant class. It's the acrobatic fighter so many others have tried to develop (with varying degrees of success). A lot of the sword arts, in particular the advanced ones, call to mind some of the maneuvers found in the Tome of Battle (a book I love, by the way). The moves are easy to visualize, as well, helping paint a picture of a dashing, darting warrior cutting through foes like stalks of wheat. It's a class that really fits both the Western and Eastern styles of play, making it easy to be a swashbuckling musketeer or a wuxia master of the deadly arts.

The layout and look of the pdf are really well done, too. Parchment toned, with heavily decorated borders and good interior art. While truly only cosmetic, interior design and artwork plays a large factor in my decision to purchase a product. To me it shows the publishers wanted to go that extra step to cap off a really good effort.

I wanted to give this a 3 and 1/2 stars review, because of the complicated nature of this really flavorful, powerful class. But with great power comes great responsibility, so the player of a Swordmaster must be ready at the beginning of each turn with his chosen sword art. But I'll round up to a 4 star rating, simply because I am so impressed by everything that went into the product's creation. And now that I've seen my first example of Dreadfox's craft, I hope to review more of them.

Have at thee, varlet!!


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Finally! A workable, logical spellpoint system!

5/5

I'm not going to go into the nuts and bolts like Endzeitgeist already has, because he did a great job of doing so. I'm just going to let my feelings flow and say that among all the SGG products I've purchased (and that's lot) this is by far my favorite. I know folks who have lifted the Psionic point system to use as spell points, and I'm sure that works for them. But this reflects the "classic" magic user's method, even down to the fatigue aspect. Easy to understand rules with clear examples and explanations of how they work, and of course SGG's almost paranormally fast responses to questions anyone might have about the product.

In a nutshell, this is perfect. I can't find a mountain high enough to tell it on. Get online and buy this product. Stop whatever you're doing, unless it's CPR or something similar, and buy this pdf. There are rumors of Print On Demand in the future, but don't wait. Buy it. Print it. Love it. You won't be disappointed.

For my longer and more in depth review, see my review at Big Game Productions Reviews. While you're there, if you're a board games fan, you'll find some reviews of some new games for the whole family.


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Magic Missile just got even more magical!

5/5

I'm not going to go into a mechanics breakdown, because that's not my forté. I'm a flavor kinda guy; I like the whole whiz bang aspect of spells and related feats. I will say this about the mechanics; I believe a great deal of thought went into making sure these spell modifications are balanced and useful. Prerequisites for them make sure that not every Tom, Dick, and Merlin can just whip these out on unsuspecting foes. Very well thought out.

But I love the new affects these modifications offer. Magic Missile, for all its iconic standing, has for decades just been the go-to first level spell for any burgeoning arcane magic user. But for all its usefulness it's just streaks of light that smack into their targets, usually with little description from the PC or DM to add any flavor to them.

These modifications make this old favorite exciting for casters to use. Imagine the look on your PCs' faces when the realize that magic missile is about to be cast when suddenly they're blinded and staggering around with bright lights clouding their vision. Or to be suddenly stopped in their tracks as though a Hold Person spell had taken effect. And Legendary Missiles when they're slammed with a single missile that does twice the damage they're expecting. Fun stuff!

I love this product. I wish I knew how SGG turns out one home run after another, because I'd build a mind transference machine then kidnap their whole brain trust. Good job, SGG!


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Trapped in a Faerie Ring

3/5

That's why it's taken me so long to write a review. I honestly did mean to write this a long time ago, but for some reasons I'd rather keep to myself I'm only now getting 'round to it.

Sam Hing has a gift. The man just keeps on keepin' on, and the creatures he lays down for our wonderment are consistently interesting and challenging. The creatures contained in "Faeries of the Fringe" come from several different sources and cultures (I love the Gahonga from Iroquois mythology) and seem very interesting, offering new challenges to PC's who have become used to encountering "the same old fey" all the time.

The magic items section is a little disappointing, with only three in the offering, and the only interesting one being the nathair, an animated rope made of woven metal strands that can be used as a double weapon. And likewise, the feat selection is a bit disappointing, with three of the six feats being useful only when using the nathair.

The only two spells leave plenty to be desired. Fang Call is just a reworked Summon Nature's Ally, though I will admit Razor Birds could be fairly useful.

My last thing is the artwork. Let me just say that while I'm no artist (I can't even draw attention to myself, let alone fantastical creatures), the art in "Faeries of the Fringe" is disappointing. The best piece is the River Mother and the worst by far is the Glade Maiden. There are hundreds of artists on deviantart.com who produce beautiful fantasy art who'd offer their work for a song just to get the exposure in publications as widely seen as those published by Super Genius Games products.

This would've been a 5 star product if everything had matched the quality of the creatures themselves. I know space is a premium in these .pdfs (they're meant to be small, I think), which means the magic items, feats, and spells need to be real attention grabbers. These fall short of the mark, unfortunately.


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Better and better

5/5

I liked this product right from the gate, and the more I read it, the more I liked it. Like the description says, it's an alternative to the anti-paladin, which is an alternative paladin. But really, this class is good enough to stand on its own with only a tip of the hat to its ancestors.

The first four levels make the Death Knight seem a bit front loaded, but I'll be the first to admit I'm not very good at evaluating the crunchy bits. I'm a flavor guy, which is why I love how the descriptions are generic enough to make this an effortless drop into any setting. The "Low Road" and "The Grey Mistress" all have a sepulchral ring to them without labeling them as belonging to any particular milieu.

The Death Knight makes a perfect villain, possibly even better than the Anti-paladin itself. A being focused on the spreading of death at any cost, even using the risen dead to further his ends makes for a formidable foe if not stopped in time.

So get your affairs in order, and make sure your family will be well provided for after your demise. Death comes not on silent wings or with a scythe gripped in bony hands, but thundering on a black steed in blood stained armor with an army of the living dead at his beckon call. The bell is tolling.


Good, but not great

3/5

Let me start by saying I'm not a number cruncher, min-maxer, or any other sort of gamer who whips out an abacus to scrutinize monster abilities for balance and what not. I'm a "flavor" kinda guy, and I'm more concerned with how much fun it would be throw a new monster at my players.

I'm not going to give a rundown of every creature in the .pdf, but will give my impressions on a select few. First, I love the Alchemical Mutant template. A classic B movie trope, the unfortunate victim of environmentally unsafe practices, this is a monster to be reckoned with. It calls to mind the movie "Grizzly" crossed with "The Toxic Avenger". Great fun.

I also really liked the Molekin. Making them a fairly unique creature rather than simply bipedal moles or (looking at the illo, green bipedal naked mole rats) make them fairly interesting. And the fact they're monotremes (egg laying mammals) was a nice touch to make them just "alien enough" to surface dwellers.

The Crawling Terror is, well, meh. It's not really any different than any of a dozen aberrations that have super intellects and want to take over the world via thralls. And the fact they live in high altitude and latitude polar regions makes them a creature that would be encountered only under certain conditions. I will say, however, the accompanying magic items they use were really interesting. I especially liked the Agony Scepter (Mr. Chekov, your agonizer, please).

The last one I'm going to really go into is the Dire Rabbit. Sure, a St. Bernard size coney is pretty impressive, but they are still described as fairly docile herbivores. A Dire Rabbit should be a horrible (and kinda goofy) bloodthirsty, Buick-sized creature like in the classic B flick, "Night of the Lepus". Or heck, even the Vorpal Bunny from "Holy Grail" would've been cool. But here they're just big furballs that Halflings can ride (which, by the way, if you've ever paid attention to how rabbits move, this would be very impractical).

Overall, though I'll give "It Came From the Silver Screen" 3 stars. It's a decent purchase, but not as good as the first Creature Codex, "Monsters of Twilight". The art is not bad, but not great, and most of the monsters just didn't seem to evoke that B movie feel for me. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful.


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A fairly fast and loose review

4/5

This is a word for word re-post from what I said on the Dreamscarred Press Forums:

My copy shipped from Amazon on 12/29 and I received it today (normal shipping, nothing express..go Amazon!). I've spent the last few hours browsing through the book, and I really like what I've seen, with only a few minor exceptions.

I'm not a number cruncher. I don't examine every power, ability, or class for its possible degree of broken-ness or nerf-ness. I'm content to let those be determined during play, rather than with a slide rule. I like how some of the powers have been tweaked or even totally re-imagined, I really like the new class builds and their options, and the changes to the feats seem to make sense. In particular I love the new builds of the psychic warrior and the soulknife, though for those folks who think the soulknife was too weak in its former incarnation, with the right feats (using the 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook and some from the Complete Psionic) I played one that could stand side by side with the party tanks as well as make a decent short range sniper. But I digress. I really like the new one.

My only "gripe", if I had one, is some of the art. A lot of it seems cartoonish to me, and while it doesn't detract from the overall quality of the product, is just a pet peeve of mine. The artists can certainly draw rings around my talent, so I'm not going to bash them.

I'm not a big fan of the races, though I wasn't in the WotC version, either. I doubt I'd actually allow any of them in my current campaign, and truth be told, if my players wouldn't lynch me it'd be humans only in every world I create.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I love the new Psionics Unleashed. It's the first product I've ever purchased from Dreamscarred Press, and they now have a new fan in the fold.

Cheers and Happy New Year!


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I love this!

5/5

Ok, I've just finished reading all of "Rise of the Goblinoids" and I love it. The art is amazing and the writeups provide great backgrounds on the creatures without over-shadowing the crunch. The creatures are interesting to downright creepy (the Ophidiyarr...yeesh), and provide challenges at all levels of play. I really, really recommend this supplement.

This is my first Mythic Menagerie purchase, and if the others are on par with Rise of the Goblinoids, Imma gonna come back for more!


Well, that was disappointing

3/5

Nearly the first half is taken up with Universal Monster Rules and the like before we even get to see a critter. Once there, things begin to pick up. There are some nice takes on familiar baddies, and the illustrations, for the most part, are good.

Like most of what we've come to expect from Paizo, it looks like we're in for some good times with the Bestiary II. I only gave the preview 3 stars because of the wasted space on rules.