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An Endzeitgeist.com review

3/5

This program book clocks in at a massive 100 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page autograph page, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 96 pages, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by one of my patreons, to be undertaken at your convenience.

On the inside of the front cover, we’ll get the Gen Con luck chart, which has been modified for this year – overlaps are there, but yeah. Since Gen Con 2014’s over, this probably won’t be a factor to decide whether you get this.

Now, the first major section of the booklet is an “Age of Cthulhu” scenario, “Transatlantic Terror”, penned by Jon Hook. It should be noted that the “Age of Cthulhu”-series is primarily set apart from more mainstream Call of Cthulhu scenarios by the emphasis on pulp over horror. While there is usually something creepy going on in these scenarios, the modules are not per se horrific and feature themes à la dinosaurs, serpent-people and the like. This may not be fair per se, but honestly, I could never get behind the series and the pulp-theme it tries to convey. While I adore pulp themes, I never felt that CoC’s rules are particularly conductive to the themes of the genre. If you’re looking for something horrific, you won’t necessarily get it in this adventure. Otherwise, you may well enjoy the scenario and how it puts you in the guises of young dilettantes. Pregens and stats are provided. As a whole, I couldn’t really get behind this adventure. We do get a properly mapped luxus liner and per se, the angle is interesting, but a moderately capable keeper and logically-played adversaries would mitigate the chances for success altogether. That being said, if you’re looking for a solid CoC-oneshot with a pulp angle, this may well work for you. It did nothing for me.

After this adventure, we get 3 pages of the humorous “Dear Archmage Abby” help column before getting the DCC worlds tour section, highlighting the tour with brief notes and photos galore. 9.5 pages are devoted to this. Some modules when ordered on Goodman games’ store did come with a collection of different bonus encounters o postcards. Obscure by design, we do get three of these collected here: One for “intrigue at the Court of Chaos”, one for “The One Who Watches From Below” as well as one for “Bride of the Black Manse.” I own all three adventures, and the reviews of them are forthcoming. These bonus encounters span a total of 1.5 pages and represent a nice way for completionists to get these obscure components. The latter one, which does have an artwork for hand of glory creation, is particularly neat.

After this, we have “The Emerald Enchanter Strikes Back” – the bonus scenario/epilogue/sequel to “The Emerald Enchanter,” which has since then been included as the bonus scenario in the second printing of the module. I have covered this cool adventure in my discussion of the Emerald Enchanter-review.

A page of mailing label designs are next, and 7 pages explain the process of DCC cover design – which may or may not be interesting for you. Really cool: The classic “The Dungeon Alphabet” gets a unique entry here: “O is also for Omen,” penned by Michael Curtis. This is followed by a 4-entry selection of previews from the “Monster Alphabet.”

After a one-page ad for Maximum Xcrawl (seriously underrated!), we get “Too Tough to Die” – this short story spans 9 pages and is a pretty nice reading experience.

After this, we get a 1-page ad for Metamorphosis Alpha (if you don’t know what MA is and consider yourself to be an expert RPG-aficionado, look it up, seriously!), before none other than James M. Ward provides “Coming of Age”, an introductory scenario for the game. Full disclosure: I lack both the playing, playtesting and GMing experience in the system to properly judge the intricacies of the mechanics of the adventure. My experiences with this one are solely theoretical. This being said, the scenario is…actually really, really cool. It depicts the PCs going on the Destiny Walk, a coming of age rite, wherein the PCs venture into the maze of Thorn Valley. The mutant plant creatures and hazards, as well as the humanoids make this look a true blast to play, and frankly, the delightfully wacko creature ideas may make it worth checking out this book on their own. This is easily the strongest component of this supplement.

After this cool adventure, we take a look at some “upcoming for DCC” sneak-peaks and further previews. Following this, we get d40 questions for the Goodman crew, which can provide some interesting notes for fans, before the final piece of mechanically-relevant content within would be the Vandroid, designed by Joseph Goodman as a homage for the comic book series by Dark Horse.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good to good throughout the supplement. There are a few minor things to complain about, but nothing serious. Layout adheres either to a one-column, two-column or three-column standard, depending on the section covered, mirroring the preferred presentation of the respective game. Artworks are b/w and amazing, as is the cartography. Speaking of which: No player-friendly, unlabeled maps are provided for the respective scenarios. The supplement included bookmarks for each of the specific sections. I can’t comment on the merits or lack thereof of the physical copy – I only own the pdf.

Whether you enjoy this program guide or not anno 2018, is highly contingent of what you hope to get from it. If you’re a diehard DCC-completionist, you may appreciate the inclusion of the obscure postcard encounters (1.5 pages); the previously rather important Emerald Enchanter-sequel has since then been included in the 2nd printing of the module, depriving this book of its main selling point for DCC-fans. While personally, I REALLY disliked the whole Age of Cthulhu product line, if you’re enjoying it, you certainly also will enjoy the tone of the Age of Cthulhu scenario featured herein.

Personally, I consider the main draws here to be the Dungeon Alphabet entry – and, much to my surprise, an adventure for a system I have played a grand total of twice in my life. James M. Ward’s “Coming of Age” is a great adventure in every sense of the word, and with the advent of MCC, fans of should check this out. The adventure is so cool that it almost warrants the asking price for the pdf. As a whole, this program guide is aimed primarily at folks enjoying Gen Con, obviously, and in specific, Goodman Games fans. While I count myself among the latter, I couldn’t help but feel like this would be of limited use for most judges/GMs. If either the Age of Cthulhu scenario or a good old-school scifi/post apocalypse-style adventure sound like fun to you, then this is worth checking out. Folks solely interested in DCC need not get this one. How to rate this? Well, here things become tough for me. As a whole, I can see this work…or bomb horribly. All in all, this is, almost by design, a mixed bag, wherein not everything will appeal to everyone. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the Languard Locations-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover. It should also be noted that some nice author bio sections are provided – kudos for including these! The net content remaining would be 6 pages, so let’s take a look!

And you thought the shambles were bad. North of Cheap street, right next to the water front of Languard, there sprawls the reeking, tangled labyrinth known as fishshambles. A rickety network of jetties and tottering, desolate warehouses are used for purposes that are often, if not mostly, illicit and dangerous. While a relatively small section of Languard, as the excerpt from Tommi Salama’s map shows, the place is rife with danger and adventure, and 9 new locations are provided to add local color and hooks to this section of the city.

As in the previous installments, we have the respective key NPCs associated with locations within noted with alignment as well as suggested race/class combo and an inkling of the power they ought to have, but said NPC notes do not contain stats or the like. Each of the locations sports one or more different hooks for potential adventuring. Run aground slightly outside what is considered to be city proper, the Castoff’s Sanctuary sports folk with the haunted Gloamhold Look, watched over by father Uklo – this is the Castoff’s Sanctuary, and a selectively mute paladin and an ancient half-orc preacher tend to those traumatized and perhaps, broken. It s here that favors may earn even utterly coinless PCs some respite. Moss-covered and obscured by seaweed and shellfish, a wrinkled old mage with a penchant for the underwater world is peddling healing, narcotics and the like. (If you are up for a bit of conversion, you may want to check out Necrotic Gnome Production’s Wizardzine #1 – I got a vibe from this fellow that would make the spells from said supplement a natural fit…but I digress.) Did I mention coral zombies?

A barren, broken chapel, now known as Kingsfall, was once prophesized to be the birthplace of a messianic figure – but now, it is foreboding, twisted even. It is a testament of a promise unfulfilled, of a world unraveling. And I love it to bits. Of course, many folks frequent the fishshambles to vanish, at least for a bit – for such folks, Molley’s Bearded Lady is perfect: An inn specially designed to be rickety and chock-full with escape routes, this place just begs for a chase, conspiratory meetings, and more. And when no one is selling to you, you may want to contemplate checking out Aalto Ruusu’s dilapidated laboratory, commonly known as Ruuse’s rathole. Provided you can stomach the…sound…coming from the cellar. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess…

Sea’s Bounty is always bustling – it’s here that you can eat the cheapest meals in all on Languard – for a cp, information, favors…whatever you’re peddling. It is testament to the city’s state that it’s always booming. And yep, the food is called “Grey” – you probably don’t want to know the ingredients. A dingy taproom in a basement houses the neighborhood’s most famous fighting establishment: the 5 cuts. Five cuts – no more, no less, is one of the rules, which are explicitly stated. Yes, you can die here – but you could, you know, also make enough to get back on your feet… The most NPC-heavy of these locations would be the Arches Bazaar, set under a large building’s support beams – no lss than 8 different peddlers of wares and services are covered here.

If you’re in the mood for dark and dingy, but don’t want to compromise regarding food quality and grog, then you’ll want to check out Sandu’s grog and grub, a place that unrepentantly pretty much asks to become your adventuring group’s new favorite stomping ground. Sandu is lavishly illustrated, and hails from an exotic land – as such, his cooking is utterly unique, spicy and neat. Of course, foreigners in a city like Languard, ultimately will at one point or another be pretty grateful to have adventurers among their acquaintances…

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The excerpt from Tommi Salama’s map is neat, and as before, the City Backdrop does contain the player-friendly version of the full map. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one for screen use, and one intended to be printed.

Beth Breitmaier, Dave Breitmaier, Rachel Cruz, Steve Hood, John Large, Stewart Moyer, Tyler Omichinski, Rob Smith – quite a few new names among this list of authors, but surprisingly, the locations presented within nonetheless manage to evoke a unified aesthetic that situates the fishshambles firmly as part of Languard, while managing to provide a distinct identity. In short, this is a great little dressing file. While poverty is certainly a leitmotif, the pdf manages to paint a picture that is not simply a series of hopeless causes – while this place is poor, it’s not necessarily depressing. That is perhaps what struck me most about this. In contrast to the shambles, this feels a bit more cosmopolitan, as befitting of the dockside. A bit rowdy, a bit dangerous, but a place of life, where darkness and light are sharply contrasted, and perhaps just one alley away. A highly recommended addition to Languard, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the introductory page, we get a new spell, hymn of peace, which clocks in at level 6 for bard, 7 for cleric/oracle. This is basically a 40 ft. burst cantered on you that prevents targets from taking hostile actions unless they succeed a Will save. The mystery (which is erroneously referred to as “symphony” mystery in the introductory paragraph nets Bluff, Knowledge (history) and Perform as class skills. The bonus spells granted range from solid note to disrupt silence, magnifying chime et al, includes the new spell, and culminates, of course, in wail of the banshee.

Now, let us take a look at the revelations featured, shall we? We have, for example, enthralling performance, which provides a variety of spells added to the spell list, with the HD-caps of the spells granted adjusted based on Perform ranks. This is a nice way to scale here. As a nitpick: Two spell references have not been italicized properly. Harmonic concordance lets you enhance allied spellcasting with a short array of metamagic feats – basically, a teamwork casting ability, one that is limited in rounds and locked behind an appropriate minimum level. Inspiration of the muses provides a variant of the investigator’s inspiration that can be applied to Cha, Dex or Int-based ability and skill checks. Thankfully, it does not unlock inspiration-based abilities and can’t be used as a prerequisite. Instrument master lets you use class level in conjunction with magical instruments. Sound mastery lets you amplify or dampen sounds – your rogue friends will thank you for it.

Reverberation enhances sonic-based oracle spells with Widen Spell, or modify the area to a cone. Complaint here: the cone-modification should allow for a save if the base spell that targeted one or more objects or creatures did not, as the modification can bypass touch requirements. Skull-splitting screech is a single-target sonic attack that can daze a nearby target. Sonic body duplicates sonic form. Unwitting choir can force targets to lose part of their actions as they sing along with your merry tune, while allies joining in are buffed as per heroism. Vocal mimicry does what it says on the tin. Finally, the final revelation nets free application of a variety of metamagic feats to sonic spells.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good – apart from one potential rules-snafu and a cosmetic missed italicization, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to the latest 2-column full-color standard of the series, including a white background, making it pretty printer-friendly. The pdf has a nice full-color artwork, but no bookmarks. At this length, it needs none of the latter, mind you.

Joshua Hennington delivers an enjoyable, neat oracle mystery. While there are a few minor formal snafus here, as a whole, this mystery does some pretty unique things, has a well-chosen array of abilities and, in an interesting manner, actually does not cardboard-copy bardic tricks. Instead of grafting classic into the chassis, we get some distinct tricks. So yeah, all in all, this represents a fun mystery. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This adventure clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by one of my patreons, to be undertaken at my convenience.

All righty, first things first: This review is based on the 2nd printing that features a bonus scenario. I will analyze that as well. The adventure is intended for 2nd level characters, and the presence of spellcasters is recommended, as there are some scenes where items may be activated via spell checks. If you happen to have no spellcasters, DCC’s rules still allow for spell checks for non-casters, but yeah – I’d recommend, as pretty much always, a well-rounded group. This adventure can be rather deadly, and certainly counts as one of the modules that not everybody will survive – particularly since the focus here is pretty classic: There are several rather tough encounters that can’t be skipped, so your group should definitely have some combat skills – more so than in “Doom of the Savage Kings” and “People of the Pit”, we have a more pronounced emphasis on combat. If you happen to love the modules, but not the rules, you should know that the module doesn’t utilize many of the more intricate and unique components of DCC, which makes conversion pretty simple.

Speaking of which: The inside of the front cover features a STUNNING full-page b/w-artwork of the location of the final showdown of the main module, which is AWESOME. Seriously, this one picture sets the stage perfectly.

As always, the module does provide well-written read-aloud text to help you navigate and run the adventure. The main module does not require more prep work than usual for a dungeon; however, the bonus adventure is pretty free-form and either requires some experience in that regard or improvisation skills. The adventure does come with the encounter table listing the adversaries encountered.

Now, and this may just be me, but since it’s what I experienced, here goes: Look at this cover. It may just be me; it may just be an odd peculiarity of my brain and the myriad connotations accumulated over my life. But…I honestly expected some serious Oz-references here. You know, due to the whole green/emerald-aspect. This is not really the case. This is not a happy-go-lucky adventure, nor a dark twist on Oz-themes. Instead, it is a crawl into the fortress of a seriously demented wizard. I’m obviously not penalizing the module for that, but I figured that it would be useful to some to state this clearly.

All right, as always, this’ll be the place where I pronounce a big SPOILER WARNING. I’m going to thoroughly spoil the adventure below, so potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..
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All right, only judges around? Great! Villagers have been disappearing, and the brooding citadel of the emerald enchanter seems like a good place to investigate – the mad mage seems to have once more emerged from his studies…and indeed, upon arriving at the citadel, there will be no doubt as to the grisly fate of those taken: The emerald guard constructs (emerald eidolons) seem to come in two variations: One that represents genuine constructs, while the other such guards are the result of living beings dumped into the sorcerous vats of the enchanter. The latter revert to their erstwhile shape upon being slain, and indeed, the first such man encountered will provide a clue for a latter part of the adventure with his dying breath. He stated that Thesdipedes knows the word, and this clue will allow the PCs to later save the transmogrified humans…provided they know how to ask the mummy that is a part of the Emerald Enchanter’s consultorium. Alongside a brain in a jar and a talking skull. The PCs can’t cast speak with dead? Luckily, there is a scroll that would allow any spellcaster to cast it, though that requires lip service to a patron, which could have interesting long-term ramifications and further adventure options. The reversal of the process btw. is based on a low DC spell check and a blood sacrifice of 1 point of spellburn. Nice to see that smart PCs can be heroic and do something “better” than murder-hoboing everything.

But I digress. The first room of the actual citadel holds massive mosaics that form into a tile golem, which makes for a thoroughly enjoyable, if potentially very lethal combat: The entity can replenish its powers by drawing upon the environment, create beasts from tiles, etc. The mechanics here are amazing, and the options available to the golem are cool and consistent in their application. The golem’s tile absorption may actually reveal a hidden door, for example. Many modules would handwave this; this one provides mechanics. If I had one complaint here, it’d be that there is no real reward for being smart: The golem has Act 1d20 and gets a free tile draw (to blast, heal, create tile critters) in addition to 50 hit points. It basically represents a potent bottleneck right at the start of the module, and could be overwhelming to less experienced groups. If you have AoE-damage, this is the time to whip it out and destroy as many tiled sections as you can. Without AoE, though, you should get ready for a war of attrition that the PCs may well lose.

If you haven’t noticed it by now – this module is pretty damn dark, and while it does feature things that may seem goofy or gonzo, they’re not goofy, and even the gonzo components don’t feel funny. There is, for example, a hallway of blackened rock, with spirits of the slain trapped in the wall. These are hard to kill, attempting to hit them may result in broken weaponry, and they represent an important notice: Bypassing these is much easier than besting them, and indeed, this module is not necessarily intended to be cleared. Or, well, if you try, get ready to have the difficulty increase…

The eponymous Emerald Enchanter is a good example of a BBEG that has a presence before the final encounter: With emeralds acting as teleport foci and flying skulls tracking the PC’s every move, the evil wizard feels like a constant, threatening presence, and e.g. the lack of means to simply bypass many obstacles like the golem make sense from the perspective of this evil mastermind. These flying skulls btw. also represent a nasty trick: For a lot of the dungeon, these respawning surveillance mechanisms are pretty much a creepy paranoia-inducing dressing in creature form…until they’re not. There are instances where these skulls become capable of blasting the PCs with rays!

PCs doing their homework can also find the source of power of the emerald enchanter’s transmogrification vats, a captured moon-devil that clever PCs can free to gain a boon. An enterprising judge certainly should take this as a long-term angle to connect this section to adventures of the moon etc. in the future. Said entity is contained in a sublevel of the dungeon that is pretty much skippable – level 2 and 3 are both pretty brief and, together, constitute roughly the equivalent of a dungeon level that is slightly shorter than level 1 of the citadel. Minor complaint: The story notes that this thing is responsible for the transmogrification vats, but while releasing it does come with a potent reward, this has no direct impact of the finale, when it, logic-wise, probably should.

It should come as no surprise that, ultimately, the dungeon contains plenty of odd and weird guardians and magic tools – trapped protoplasmic demons, odd laboratories, ruby cats and topaz serpents – there is a clear leitmotif at work here, and a clear method to the enchanter’s madness.

It should also be noted that we do get a buff suite for said enchanter – and aforementioned demon? Well, freeing him does reward the PCs by making progress smoother. The showdown, which, as mentioned before, is lavishly-illustrated in a one-page, massive handout, features the emerald enchanter and his creatures – and a massive, factory-style mechanism that acts as a timer of sorts. Dawdling PCs will witness transformations of innocents. …but on the other hand, smart players will have a means to reverse the process by now, which can make the emerald enchanter trying to goad the PCs into rash actions less effective. Interesting choice!

This was where the main module used to stop. In this iteration of the adventure, though, the sequel “The Emerald Enchanter Strikes Back” (yes, with title printed in Star Wars font…) delivers the full-blown, unrepentant gonzo I expected from the module. This module was, to my knowledge, originally released as part of Goodman Games’ Gencon program booklet in 2014. Where the main adventure was an exploration through a mad scientist-style gonzo wizard, with some seriously dark tones, this bonus adventure penned by Jobe Bittman delivers the gonzo. It also radically deviates from the main module in structure, as it’s basically a hexcrawl. The overland map provided is separated in multiple zones, and from random encounters to a couple of keyed locations, this aspect is pretty free-form: Basically, the map is separated into two distinct zones. You see, the emerald enchanter the PCs have just slain? That was a simulacrum. Now, a gigantic robot…ähem…golem, with classic glass-bubble head and radiant emerald power-core in the middle is wrecking the landscape, and the module is about the PCs exploring the region and attempting to pin down the emerald enchanter’s engine of destruction. This is pretty amazing and a premise that could have covered much more than a brief epilogue.

I can’t say enough good things about this bonus adventure, but at the same time, it has one weakness that is somewhat grating. While the PCs *theoretically* can destroy the titan, it’s not the intended course of action. Instead, the PCs are expected to get inside the titan and make their way up. Wait…sounds familiar? Yeah, this premise was already used in the second of Goodman Games’ classic 3.X Wicked Fantasy adventures. That being said, the exploration of the emerald titan’s interior is much briefer and less complex, and emphasizes some goofy things. The colossus is not water tight, for example, so PCs in the feet may see the titan attempt to drown them by holding a foot under water. The colossus also will squeeze beehives inside, try to poke at players with treestumps, poking inside it – you get the idea. This very much embraces the ridiculous nature of the set-up. Sounds amazing, and frankly, it is. On the down-side, we get no descriptive text for the interior regions of the emerald titan, and indeed, scale and movement within the titan are not really covered, requiring pretty much that the judge wings these aspects. This feels doubly odd, since the aforementioned actions of the titan all get proper mechanical representations. The glass dome at the top houses the emerald enchanter, who proceeds to initiate evacuation protocols – 10 seconds, then the glass dome will detach and fly…wherever the judge desires. Nice way to segue into a new adventure!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect. I noticed a couple of typo-level glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w-standard of these adventures, meaning that we get quite a lot of content per page. The artworks in b/w are amazing, and the handout of the final showdown is particularly glorious. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. I can’t comment on the merits of the print version, since I do not own it. The cartography is, as always, awesome and beautiful – but there are no unlabeled versions of the maps, which means that VTT-appeal is slightly decreased…and that the players won’t get to see them. This is particularly grating regarding the bonus scenario’s hexmap. There is no justification for not at least getting a proper player-friendly version for the overland section. The bookmarks are pretty basic –no individual rooms are marked.

Joseph Goodman’s “The Emerald Enchanter” is an adventure that truly feels distinct in tone. The notion of a dark fantasy module that makes things that should by all accounts feel gonzo, actually managing to make them…disquieting? Horrific? Is quite a feat. There is no question as to the Emerald Enchanter’s vileness and insanity once the PCs get into this. Jobe Bittman’s bonus adventure adds a seriously fun over-the-top climax to the proceedings and represents a great change of pace. This adventure has a lot to offer, and I love its total commitment to its dark fantasy vibe and how it makes things that should be goofy disquieting. At the same time, it did not connect as well with me as the previous adventures in the main DCC-line. Perhaps it’s small inconsistencies like the one in the bonus adventure, or the fact that I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the Emerald Enchanter’s presence throughout the module, his active counter-measures and the like, could have been more pronounced. The constant PC surveillance ultimately doesn’t amount to much, and feels like a bit of a lost chance. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

3/5

This extended Star Log clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so this pdf introduces a new item type that should have been in the core book. Know how the solarian weapon is kinda more interesting than the armor? Well, this pdf allows you to customize solarian armor akin to what you do with weapons, via solarian armor crystals. These are hybrid items that can be placed in the solar mote as a standard action. While thus equipped, the crystal provides the AC bonus and attunement benefit when the mote is in solar armor mode. It can’t be interacted with in that form, other than via abilities specifically targeting the mote. Note, that item level=class level +2 is the maximum a solarian can use, and they don’t allow solarians that can’t manifest an armor to do so. (Minor nitpick: there is a “higher” missing in the sentence, but the rules are not compromised by this glitch.) If a solarian has level 5+, inserting such a crystal nets a +1 insight bonus to AC. Below 4th level, the solarian needs to choose between the attunement benefits granted by the crystal and the AC normally provided.

A total of 12 such crystals are provided, and they include a lot of really helpful tricks: We get energy resistance, a heat sink like effect that lets you inflict scaling cold damage, a shield that can prevent limited amounts of damage, short-range standard action dimension door, mirror image with a cooldown…and there is a crystal that doesn’t replace energy resistances, instead allowing you to switch between fire and cold, including short increases when being subjected to the energy. Help versus afflictions and traps is also included. A handy table lists crystal prices by level…
…and just that. And here is the one HUGE issue with this otherwise inspired section: Neither the table, nor the crystals themselves note an item level. While an experienced GM may be able to approximate item levels, this does not change the fact that, RAW, this otherwise amazing section is inoperable as presented.

The second part of the pdf deals with new stellar revelations. 5 new 2nd level revelations are provided. The 2 photon revelations are Celestial Guardian, which nets you wisp ally-like effect whenever you gain photon attunement, and these may be fired when fully attuned. Electromagnetic Lash nets a bonus to damage that can’t be applied to solar weapons, and when fully attuned, you may spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction after hitting in melee to make a technological item, cybertech augmentation, etc. cease working for a couple of rounds. Good catch: This can’t disrupt items that would end off killing the target. Critical effects may be added to this. Very unfortunate regarding the name: Gravity Barrier. This graviton revelation nets Barricade, made from graviton particles, and thus is not reliant on environment. When fully attuned, you can make a tougher barrier. I per se like it – but why, for f***’s sake, does it have the same name as the Zenith revelation released in Star Log.EM: Solarian Zenith Revelations?? *sigh*

Gravity Field lets you move opponents that attempt to move through the threatened area on a failed save. Those were 4 – the 5th is an unattuned stellar revelation, which may be used in either mode and do not count towards determining whether you’ve taken a disproportionate amount of revelations for either. This shield nets you replenishing temporary hit points. Interesting: here, the pdf gets the mode-descriptor right. In a puzzling editing glitch that should have been caught, the pdf tends to refer to the “proton” mode, which does not exist – it’s “photon”.

At 6th level, the unattuned revelation for that range further builds on aforementioned shield, providing different benefits while attuned to photon or graviton mode. For Photon mode, we get photon barrier, which lets you use aforementioned Gravity Barrier in photon mode as well. The one from this book. Not the zenith revelation. The barrier in photon mode does not generate difficult terrain, and instead may be moved around. Retributive Flare makes a creature that hits you in melee take electricity and fire damage equal to your Charisma modifier. I *assume* that this refers to “E & F” as damage type, but it could be read as dealing Charisma modifier electricity damage AND Charisma modifier fire damage. Minor clarification would be helpful.

When fully attuned, you can use the reaction to being hit to scorch foes with more damage, which scales at higher levels. For graviton mode, we get Rebuke Kinesis, which nets you 1 kinetic point for every 5 points of kinetic damage (the physical damage types) you take, with the pool having a maximum size of your solarian level. This is calculated before DR and hardness are applied. You can unleash this energy as concussive blasts, and you can spend all energy as a standard action, dealing 1d4 force damage to all enemies within 10 ft. per kinetic point spent. For every 5 points spent, this also pushes opponents away, provoking AoOs from other creatures, but not the solarian. Really botched Ref-saves can also render the target prone.

Finally, there are two stellar revelations for 10th level+: For graviton mode, we get Gravity Implosion, which builds on Gravity Surge, and allows you to sunder items, reducing energy resistance and DR when fully attuned. Cool! For photon mode, we get Vengeful Corona, which builds on Corona and provides synergy between armor and Corona. Additionally, when photon-attuned, melee or ranged attacks can cause the attacker to suffer the burning condition (1d6 F); fully attuned solarians add their Cha-mod to this damage, but when doing so, become unattuned. Note that this RAW does neither have an activation action, nor limit of uses per round. While the damage is sufficiently low to make this balanced, I am still a bit weary of it.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting re top-notch on a formal level. The same, alas, can’t be said about the rules-language level – the lack of item levels for the armor crystals compromises the whole section, and glitches like “proton” instead of “photon” mode speak of a product that was, alas, slightly rushed. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series with a white background, and the full-color artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I wanted to love Alexander Augunas’ armored solarian options. They are something the class really needs, allowing for defense and some soft crowd control. Indeed, in spite of the flaws herein, I found myself really enjoying quite a lot of the options within – the armor crystals are a concept that needs to be expanded. However, as a reviewer, I cannot ignore that about half of the book requires GMs to assign item levels to work. As such, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, and though the pdf doesn’t deserve rounding down…if you can live with its flaws, it’s an inspired little book, one that is easy to fix with a bit of work and price-comparisons. Hence, my final verdict will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This little supplement clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This supplement begins with 9 different magic items for vampires: Biteless bite is a glass bottle that contains liquid distilled from vampire blood, which nets a +4 bonus to Dex and Str, darkvision, and blood drain, but also a vampires susceptibility to holy symbols, which may hold the characters at bay, and they are dazzled and sickened by direct sunlight. However, after 24 hours, blood thirst kicks in, requiring a save – the DC increases by +2 for every 24 hours thereafter, and on a failure, the character goes berserk. Having fed, the character becomes a vampire under the control of the vampire that made this elixir. Slaying the creator dispels the effect. Claws of the lycanthrope are gloves that net claw attacks (differentiating between Small and Medium size), and they are properly codified regarding natural attack type – kudos. The wearer gets Multiattack and living humanoids donning them risk becoming temporarily werebats under the control of the creator. The wearer may end up with these acting as cursed items.

Cloaks of the daywalker do pretty much what you’d expect, and the greater variant can turn itself invisible, which can be a pretty cool option to bluff vampire hunters. False smile occupies the face slot and grants the vampire massive boosts to Disguise themselves as undead…and the item can block detect undead. Life leech is basically a leech that can hold blood and keep it fresh. Progenitor tracker is a bowl that lets you track the general distance of a progenitor. Thrall charm lets you 1/day as a standard action dominate a creature already under the control of another vampire. Cool: addle-minded template notes. Unholy aegis protects against holy water, and provides basically an evasion-like effect versus spells and abilities that deal damage sourced from the divine, like holy smite, provided these do allow for a save for half damage. Confusingly, this damage is lumped in with channel energy, which makes it hard to properly determine where the effect should apply and where it shouldn’t.

The pdf also includes a new artifact, the Remains of the First, a relic of either a bloodline’s source or otherwise epic, ancient vampire. This eliminates all vampire weaknesses while worn or swallowed. The DR is upgraded to DR 10/- and stakes can’t kill the vampire. Finally, there is a new occult ritual, the level 6 canopic relocation, which represents the vampire removing their heart and placing it in a jar, providing immunity to being staked.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, and the artworks within are stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jeff Lee’s items for vampires are an interesting little supplement. The items per se cover the classic tricks and tropes and should be enjoyable for GMs and players alike – particularly if e.g. potentially combined with rite Publishing’s “In the Company of Vampires” and similar supplements. All in all, an enjoyable offering. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive supplement clocks in at 151 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 4 pages of handy index, 1 page KS-thanks, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 140 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

…who am I kidding, I’d have moved this one up in my queue, even if it hadn’t been for that request.

Why? Because this is the book that translates easily my favorite PFRPG-crunch book EVER to SFRPG. I am, of course, talking about the winner of my Top Ten of 2017, the “Skill Challenge Handbook”.

You know, the book that, like no other before or since, should have been part of the core rules.

Yeah, if you’re like me, you probably have started smiling just a bit right then and there.

However, and this must be made abundantly clear by even a cursory glance at the page-count, this is obviously not all there is to it. We do not have a simple translation of a book to another system here – oh no. This book begins with a chapter on Leadership. Yep, you guessed it. This also is the Starfinder-equivalent of Ultimate Charisma, yet another masterpiece of a book.

But, once more, there is more to it, so let’s take a look at the nit and grit, shall we? After a brief piece of introductory prose, we begin with a glossary of terms: In case you’re not familiar with the terms “cohort” and “follower”, the pdf clearly and concisely defines them. Same goes for the basic mechanics: A Leadership check is a d20 roll, to which total level and Charisma modifier are added, and Leadership checks are treated as either Diplomacy or Intimidate, depending on the style of leadership employed. Leadership modifiers are determined by the GM, and are the result of your playstyle.

There also would be the Leadership score, which is the sum of character level + Charisma modifier, + a bonus to indicate fame. Further modifiers can apply, and concise tables provide sample check DCs by difficulty, as well as a selection of suggested modifiers. If you need a representation of a group effort, there would be PLS – Party Leadership Score, which is calculated and explained in similar and easy to comprehend terms.

Things become a bit more detailed when we take a look at cohort creation – here, the book deviates strongly from previous iteration, in that it employs (gainfully, I might add), the Alien Archive’s NPC-creation guidelines with minor tweaks to allow for an overall very smooth and painless creature creation. Different methods of cohort creation, from promotion to recruitment (including costs to hire) are presented and the book does present different degrees of simulation depth for cohort progression: If you, for example, don’t have the inclination of tracking cohort XP in the traditional sense, you can check out the option presented for one-roll adventuring abstraction, which does not bog down the game. (Of course, you could play cohort-only sidetrek adventures as well…) If that is still too intrusive, you can resort to the autoleveling guidelines, and if that sounds like a hassle – rest assured that tips for players and GMs alike are included to make the process of adding cohorts to the game simple and smooth.

Followers, then, are more akin to redshirts with names and personalities – once your players have a massive space ship with a huge crew, you may well want to have example followers – and indeed, the pdf provides; once more, in an organic manner: The concept of good and master skills is used in abbreviated form for the different roles these fellows may have, once more allowing for a super smooth integration that distinctly can be identified as a Starfinder-centric solution.

The book goes further. In the next chapter, we take a gander at reputation. Fame is a representation of how well you’re liked and known within an organization or region. On the flipside, there would be infamy, of course. These two are collectively known as reputation. “Deeds” would be the term assigned for things you are famous or infamous for, and as a whole, the rules use Starfinder’s “significant threat” rule and transpose it to organizations – in short, reputation only matters and should come into play with significant organizations. I am not kidding when I am, time and again, emphasizing how Starfinder-centric these concepts have been realigned: The reputation section, for example, takes theme-choices into account.

While reputation, as a whole, is a more narrative system, it is not one that leaves the GM or player hanging or in doubt regarding precise implementation. Instead, we receive detailed and precise guidance pertaining reputation shifts, sample fame rewards for certain thresholds…and favor. Favor goes hand in hand with fame and represents basically your ability to call in favors, a kind of social currency. Both favor purchases and deeds, just fyi, have been supplemented with handy tables that provide amply guidelines to run the system or smoothly expand upon it.

But perhaps you and your group are less interested in empire-building and the grand game, and rather would develop the way in which the PCs interact with NPCs and one another? Fret not, for if you’ve been dissatisfied with “I roll once and change the attitude” type of scenarios, if you enjoy the more personal takes and exploration of bonds, whether they be among rivals and enemies, families or lovers, then you’ll very much enjoy the next chapter, for here we take a look at relationships. For simplicity’s sake, they are grouped in 4 rough categories: Animosity, familial, peer and friendship. All of these are tightly defined. The relationships themselves may be roughly categorized in the healthy and dysfunctional departments, somewhat akin to the dichotomy used for the reputation system, and while this is a bit of a simplification, there is a difference here: The system tracks not an objective value of good/evil, but rather the intensity of the relationship! This is VERY cool and a smart choice. It eliminates the “love”-threshold. You know, “reach this many points to get love.” Instead, each character will have different preferences, reactions and the like, and relationships are dynamic. You can actually switch from a familial relationship to animosity to friendship, for example. And yes, you can fake relationships. You can, of course, roleplay all of this, but in case your group tends to favor quicker resolutions, they are provided once more. And yes, they have been designed to allow for quick and painless resolutions. They will not slow down your game – unless you and your group choose to explore them.

The next section also can tie in with that – it pertains alternate and secret identities, and it is one chapter that I wish had been slightly more Starfinderized: The default assumption here would be that a series of Disguise checks is sufficient to establish a secret identity, which, while quick and painless, struck me as a bit…easy, at least in the long run. For brief covert identities and the like, sure, but for long-term identity change, some notes on the use of Computers to delete electronic trails and the like would have made sense to me. (But then again, I’ll return to that aspect down below – and why I don’t consider it to be an issue here.) the subchapter does talk about different means of compromising your identity, and how secret identities and shifts can influence reputation and relationships. And guess what: Having your cover blown is not a pleasant experience. Juggling multiple secret identities is btw. also noted.

Now, the pounding heart of this book, obviously, would be the skill challenges. If you’re familiar with the “Skill Challenges Handbook”, you’ll notice some overlap here and will be already familiar with the central concept.

Basically, a skill challenge represents an encounter-situation that can range from a group dealing with a super-computer’s complex self-defense system,a s it’s steering the vessel into a black hole, in the mainframe to a game of chess. Skill Challenges may be undertaken between teams (representing contests), and can span different increments of time: From long trips across the surface of a blasted planet under a dead sun, to a high-speed chase, the engine can cover pretty much anything. Running a skill challenge may seem daunting at first, but once you’ve read the rules, turns out to be exceedingly simple: You determine awareness first, so yeah, there can be a surprise round. Then, you determine initiative order and proceed to run it akin to a combat, save that it is not a combat, but a collective task.

“Winning” a skill challenge is referred to as “clearing” it, and, depending on the skill challenge, you have several methods: Some skill challenges may require an accumulation. Drawing that moon rover from the ditch, for example? Accumulation. When working against an opposing team, points can be used. Movement-related ones track squares, and for straight win/lose situations with a less pronounced focus on grades of success, “successes” are the tracked method makes most sense. It should be noted that there are actions noted for PCs to in-game interact with the respective skill challenge – obscuring trails, for example, is relevant when embarking on a skill challenge that is based on squares as clearance method.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. How do you beat an accumulation skill challenge? Well, let's say your researching who the replicant-serial killer is, all right? You research, and roll a relevant skill, as determined by the GM. You have a success, and then take a look at the progress rating. For example, 22. Since you succeeded at the task, you accumulate value of by 1d4 + the ability score modifier associated with that check. Once you’ve beaten the progress, you’ve cleared the skill challenge. Being particularly good grants you bonuses, and may move you up in the dice-chain. Class skill? You roll one die size larger. High enough insight bonus? Ditto. To keep things interesting, these skill challenges generally have thresholds noted, where things happen, complications can occur, etc. Let’s say you’ve repaired a part of the mainframe of a desolate space station as you cleared threshold value 8 – electricity is suddenly restored…and the cargo doors open as part of the booting system, freeing whatever was locked inside…

This is perhaps one of the most potent and remarkable aspects of this system – while it can work on pretty much any timeframe, it similarly can slot in seamlessly with combat...and back out of it. What Do I mean by that? Well, you can easily slot skill challenge into skill challenge, Matroishka- or Inception-style.

Let’s say the planet the PCs are currently on is blowing up, and they are escaping the interstellar tyrants that have their homebase on the planet. The PCs embark on a grand skill challenge tracking abstract squares, as they hustle across the planet towards the dilapidated orbital elevators: Atop those, there is a ring of space stations surrounding the planet. (Yes, unrepentant Gundam fanboy here…) As they arrive at the elevators, the planet starts breaking apart…but the damn bullet train is old and needs to be fixed and maintained. Unfortunately, an alien species feeds on the thing, eating it while the PCs try to get it to start – enter a contest. As they finally get the thing running, the kill-squad sent from the tyrants has infiltrated the train – as the PCs make a desperate race for the top, trying to accumulate enough resources, combat breaks out….and even if they succeed, they’ll still need to get out of the system…

That is but one example of interwoven skill challenges, and once you get how these work, space’s the limit. Scratch that, not even that! To infinity and beyond! (Sorry, will punch myself later for that one…) The system may look daunting at first, but one glance at a statblock for such a challenge should tell you a lot about it…and once you understand it, you’ll realize how elegantly this one skill challenge statblock codifies a complex series of circumstances. In use, the system is so smooth, you basically don’t even need to make a statblock. You can run this spontaneously. The precision of all the definitions for increments, time pressure etc. are ultimately there to adhere to the conventions of the game, but in person, I can explain this whole system in under a minute. Heck, I actually implemented it without telling anyone, and it works. A quick-thinking GM can assign PC actions to the general actions within the respective skill challenge.

Basically, what the rules here do, is to allow you to structure how you think about the mechanic presentation of the challenges within. No GM really needs stated that some skill challenges can only allow for a certain amount of failures. Still, the rules are presented within, in order to allow you to write a quick and concise challenge. Similarly, backlash by hazards, traps and attacks, demerits (losing progress) – all there. Beyond thresholds, there also are obstacles – exemplified with the sample task of steering a vessel through an asteroid field. Chases would, obviously, be another example, and one that gets its own coverage – in detail.

If you need further means to modify these skill challenges and want an even tighter array of subrules, you’ll have a whole chapter of special qualities to modify them with: Obstacles, and, as noted, opposition, are covered. When you’re bodyguards for the ambassador’s daughter, whose word may save the galaxy, if you can only convince her… then you’ll want to take a look at the section on influence challenges. If you’re familiar with the way in which Ultimate Intrigue etc. structured social situations and cross that with skill challenges, then you’ll have an idea of how the system works: We basically get a “social” variant of a statblock that focuses more on personality and background, noting biases and strengths as well as weaknesses.

If you instead plan to talk in front of the board of directors of an interstellar megacorp, then you’ll want to check out the section on verbal duels. From allegory to mockery, this is indeed the first of these subsystems/skill challenges that I’d categorize as a mini-game of sorts. Knowledge of associated strategies and how they interact is important…but know what? It actually puts an end to the endless discussions that go nowhere, and it can make social interaction exciting for tables that usually prefer the tactical aspects of combat over storytelling.

For all of these, samples are provided, though, and let me make that abundantly clear: This is not a plug-and-play book of ready encounters. Instead, this teaches you how to use the system and make it your own. Extra design advice, a table of suggested sample DCs by difficulty rating and CR, suggested accumulation, square and success values by CR – ultimately, this is a ginormous guide that aims to teach you an easy system that can make literally everything, from treks across blasted desert planets to researching galactic archives, potentially exciting and interesting. It’s a system that inserts player agenda into what usually amounts to boring, singular pass/fail die-rolls and cutscenes, instead emphasizing the collective experience.

Part II of my review can be found here!


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

2/5

This pdf clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so first things first: Metafeats are NOT gained by the characters. They are gained by the players. The pdf suggests to award one per 5 sessions of game, which is a bit problematic; more detailed guidelines for different character XP-progressions and playstyles would have been neat to see. These feats, as they’re held by players and not PCs, transcend characters. The metafeats are as follows:

-But I LIKED my Character…: Basically gives you an extra life. Can be used once; but you may take it again.

-Dutiful Scribe: Rewards the records keeper by reducing Intimidate and Diplomacy check DCs in settlements where the character’s exploits are known by character level.

-Feed the Beast: Rewards player that brings food for everyone; 1/session swift action bite for 1d3 damage (not typed or clarified as per (natural) attack type), with a +20 luck bonus.

-Knowledge is Power: Player brings 1+ reference books to share. 1/session use out of game knowledge to identify a creature, obstacle, plot element, etc.

-Miniature Monstrosity: Bring an unopened box of minis. During the session, open it and have the mini join the fray as a NPC on the PC’s side. May only be used once, but you may take it again.

-Needed Intermission: Player volunteers to run game instead of regular GM. As a thanks, once per campaign, the player can designate a safe rest sans random monsters, etc.

-Oath to Play Well: The GM selects rules (like no electronic devices, ruling for now, etc.), and adherence to these rules provides a massive, usually on HDs, based bonus. I think these bonuses are overkill as presented, though I do like the sentiment behind that feat. It’s part of the concept of the social contracts of roleplaying that I champion.

-Well-Equipped: Players with props or objects. Nets bonuses or additional uses of consumables.

-What IF…?: Player describes action differently, things happen that way. May be used once, and only once.

Battlecry metafeats require that you shout a catchphrase, battlecry, etc. – “Blood, Death and Vengeance!”, for example. ;) Only one battlecry may be in effect at a given time.

-Cooperative Harassment: When a PC fails a combat maneuver, one ally that also threatens the target may attempt the same maneuver as an immediate action. Cool!

-Group Gangpile: All allies gain the character’s teamwork feat. No range, no maximum limit of allies. Broken.

-It Has to Hit: Once per character per combat, each ally may add a +1d6 surge to atk if it misses, potentially rendering a miss into a hit. This is a massive upgrade.

-Magic is Might: Once every other round, the PC may cast a spell as a swift action, provided it has a casting time of 1 round or less, and that the character has not used their standard action to cast another spell. Other actions are game. Do I need to say anything?

-The Power of Friendship: All allies within 60 ft. gain character level temporary hit points, which last for 1 minute. No limit. -.-

-NOOOOOOOOO!: Wounded ally immediately stabilizes and gains character level temporary hit points; also make a single attack at highest BAB against the target that struck you down. You may dra a weapon and throw it to do so.

-Wabba Wabba: Character generates a rod of wonders effect.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level. Layout adheres to a two-column full color standard, and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Joshua Hennington’s metafeats are a really tough nut to review. Perhaps I’m spoiled by my players and their commitment, but I do tend to think that many of the positive behaviors that these try to help you enforce should be a self-evident component of the social contract that is roleplaying. The goal of these metafeats then, would be to basically educate players to be good players…but personally, I think that the at times massive bonuses granted here are a) overkill and b) generate a sense of entitlement that can be rather grating. In short: Before you resort to the methods of using metafeats, just talking to your players may be the wiser move – after all, you’re all trying to have fun together.

This is a personal opinion, though.

As far as my reviewer’s perspective is concerned, I have an issue with the precision of a few of these feats; I don’t like that we don’t get more nuanced guidelines for the awarding of metafeats, and the internal balancing of these feats is all over the place. A 1d3 true strike’d bite 1/session? Versus infinite temporary hit points? There is no guiding principle regarding the power levels of these metafeats, making them all feel like the thing they truly are: House rules.

These are feats in name only; they are not really adjusted and unified regarding power levels of benefits bestowed. And honestly, none of them are really that unique. Their concepts are an idea worth exploring, but some of the benefits are frankly broken and would have required more precision. I expected more. And it’s not that I don’t like 4th-wall breaking stuff once in a while – Rite Publishing’s Metadventurer, for example, is a great example of how you can make that work. This supplement, though, will, in spite of the great idea, languish within the depths of my HD – it’s just not refined and well-balanced enough to warrant inclusion. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This DCC-adventure clocks in at 36 (!!) pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages, which are, as always for Goodman games, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by a supporter of my patreon.

This is an adventure for DCC – a classic, in fact. Most DCC-groups will have played this already. So why bother reviewing it? Well, for one, I’ve been gifted a couple of DCC adventures by one of my readers, to be reviewed at my convenience. Well, and I’m somewhat OCD. So there you go – consider this an indirectly sponsored review of this adventure. Secondly, and as important as far as I’m concerned: This module is imho interesting beyond the confines of its rules-system. It should be noted that this adventure contains a TON of truly evocative read-aloud text that really helps create a tight and intriguing

This adventure is intended for level 1 characters; it is pretty dangerous, but how dangerous it is ultimately depends on how capable your PLAYERS are. Sure, bad rolls of the dice can kill you, but as a whole, the module focuses much more on the skill of PLAYERS as opposed to characters. Your wits are more important than how potent your build is. I strongly suggest that you play this with one or more PCs that can cast spells to make use of the two new spells within. I will mention these below.

You see, there is a town. Some degenerate chaos cultists crawl out of a pit, tentacles, yadda-yadda, evil dudes abduct women. Go save them.

At this point, you probably ask yourself why I even bothered, right? Well, to explain that, we have to go into SPOILER-territory. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only judges around? We join the PCs as they are greeted by scratch-marks speaking of horrid sacrifices in a blasted landscape, and indeed, venturing down the mist-shrouded steps into the vast, eponymous pit, will establish the theme perfectly. You see, the cultists, handily, denote their hierarchies by the color of their robes…and seeing them for the first time will be the time when the PCs may well turn tail and run. Their faces are blank, rubbery masses, reminiscent of tentacles, and vestigial tentacles grow from their abdomens, twitching. There is nothing human about these things, and indeed, the inhuman nature of these beings is emphasized in perfect environmental storytelling that makes sense – they can, for example, navigate crawlspace-sized environments with ease. And yes, such claustrophobic places are included. Worse, these vestigial tentacles are so-called octo-masses that burst forth from cultists slain.

Once the horror of these beings has been experienced, clever PCs may make use of a couple of observations: Controlling when to kill targets can help, and indeed, there is another aspect that makes this stand out: The Chaos-Beast quasi-deity of the monstrous cultists. You see, they have beast-men, so-called Toans. Sure.

But the true horror and one of the coolest aspects of this module? The Chaos-Beast is basically a buried, kaiju-plus-sized mass of maws and tentacles, an idiot-god of sorts – and the cultists can, in groups, call forth and attempt to control Chaos-Beast tentacles! And yes, you can learn the spells! Shadowy tentacles and control of present tentacles! This means that a spellcaster can potentially turn the monstrous thing against its own creatures – and once the module is done, there is a good reason why those spells don’t work! The sooner the PCs realize this and the propensity for minimum-numbers of cultists required to call these tentacles, the higher their survival chances will be!

The partially living dungeon, the caverns and complexes suffused with these tentacles, is not simply window dressing – there are “tentacle elevators”, wherein the PCs climb down/ride tentacles to levels below! The strangeness of the cultists implies a unique life-cycle that the PCs will get to find out as they go. Much like the robe-colors, these experiences are not subtle, but incredibly remarkable – and indeed, they are enhanced by the bonus level that has been added in the current printing of the adventure. The three-page bonus dungeon adds another lifecycle and arm to the cult – the assassins of the cult, octo-masses that have outgrown their hosts, and that can duplicate the faces of adversaries as really creepy faceless men. Moreover, the bonus level is better integrated into the module than e.g. the one featured in the excellent “Doom of Savage King” – the entry is actually hidden on the first level, and considering how the assassins work, it makes sense to use them to potentially lure PCs that would miss the place there. An easy means would be to introduce them as a kind of counter-measure.

Beyond that, the module is actually not just a brainless hack and slash with some mechanic specialties and unique hazards/monsters. Far from it! There, for example, are meditative labyrinth paths – you know, the ones on the floor? These act as delightfully MAGIC teleporters – and yes, the PLAYERS have to solve these. There are handouts for the paths (and a convenient solution for the judge) – and indeed, this is a fantastic example of how sword & sorcery, dark fantasy and lovecraftian aesthetics can form a cohesive whole. You see, the cult is not simply alien in its physiology and life cycle. Oh no! From strange pods to powders and liquids with odd effects, curious PCs can find out quite a lot about how these…things…operate. Whether this is technology, magic, a blend of both…it all depends on how you interpret it. It shows, and does not necessarily explain. It is an example of how you can efficiently convey lore, piece by piece, and it is so successful at this, it may well make your players want to explore the entirety of the module, just due to how incredibly well indirect storytelling is handled within.

There is not a single room or encounter within this 4-level (5 with the bonus level!) dungeon that I considered to be boring; there is not a single trap or hazard that is not deserved; this makes sense in its twisted way – and this commitment to a kind of plausibility only serves to enhance the atmosphere of this place. Oh, and the finale? It is classic Conan, as the PCs arrive just as folks are being sacrificed to the massive Chaos Beast – and indeed, the main honcho may be eaten by their deity! To one-up this, the module actually also presents a super-impressive one-page handout that depicts the scene. If your player’s jaws don’t hit the table, if you hear no audible *gulp* when showing them this…then you have the most jaded players ever. Anyways, there was one point of criticism I had with the original module – one that has been rectified by the inclusion of the bonus level. You see, the PCs, originally, never got to actually walk directly on the chaos beast. Well, now they do, and the rules presented allow the judge to extrapolate hazard-like dangers for PCs unlucky enough to land on this titanic entity.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level – I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard with plenty of fantastic, b/w-artworks. Particularly the handouts add a second, super-impressive level to this pdf. The cartography is absolutely gorgeous, but we get no player-friendly version, which is a bit unfortunate for VTT play etc. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Joseph Goodman’s “The People of the Pit” is a frickin’ masterpiece. (And yes, I got the obvious Appendix N reference of the title.) At this point, I am utterly bored by most modules that feature an evil cult, particularly if it’s yet another mythos-deity of the week related thing they worship. This module, though? Damn, it is absolutely glorious and a perfect rebuttal to the internal conviction that the whole cult + tentacles angle needs to be boring. In fact, this module pretty shows everyone how it’s done. The dungeon is hard, brutal even, but fair. The adversaries are brilliant, creepy and unique. The dungeon has a ton of unique features that PCs can partake in. The focus on player-skill over character-skill is amazing. The prose is crisp and concise. The production values are great. Oh, and all my nitpicks about the potential of this set-up? Daniel J. Bishop’s bonus level stripped me of them. The consistence of the quality here is impressive.

In short: This is my benchmark of what any module with an evil cult should be able to offer, theme-wise. Fair warning: This can and will spoil hackneyed, lovelessly cobbled-together run-of-the-mill creepy cult modules forever for you. It’s that good. Ever since I first read this, I found myself comparing adventures with only remotely related themes to this one. If you’re playing DCC, you probably already have this. If not, then get this now!

Even if you have no idea of what DCC is, though, even if you have no plans to play using the system, even in such a case, this is worth the fair asking price twice over. Whether for idea mining of straight conversion, this module is so damn good it frankly should be canonized as an adventure that people should have played; as a rite of passage, if you will. This module will live on to become a true classic, mark my words. I mean, even jaded ole’ me gets this hyped about it. That ought to say everything.

My final verdict will be an unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval. If you even remotely are interested in the themes, get this asap!!

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the Advanced Adventures series clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front/back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by my patreons, to be undertaken at my convenience.

Okay, first of all, this is, as all Advanced Adventures-modules, written for the OSRIC system, but conversions to other OSR-systems are easy enough. The formatting deviates in some aspects from OSRIC’s formatting conversions. This module is intended for characters level 4 – 7, though it should be noted that it requires a smart and well-rounded group to excel – this is old-school in that PCs not smart enough to run in some instances, will indeed die. Horribly, I might add. The pdf does not sport read-aloud text beyond the brief introductory prose, which means that this needs to be properly prepared.

There is another special thing to note here: “Stonesky Delve” is the first tournament module in the series, and as such, it spends quite a lot of space to explain how to run and judge the performance of the adventuring groups. One page is devoted to the time scoring sheet, one to the exploration scoring sheet, and two pages contain a total of 10 pregens. While I applaud the inclusion of so many pregens, it’s annoying that you have to basically copy their stats by hand. The equipment of all characters are on the back of the page.

Now, the tournament framework means that the module is intended to be run in two 4-hour slots; in-game, the PCs get a cave moth pupa that will hatch in 72 hours, for the PCs have to spend at least 72 hours in-game exploring the complex…and a maximum of 120 hours. So yeah, we have a time-limit here, which is smart, as it adds a degree of urgency to the proceedings. Indeed, the framework is simple: The PCs are hired by dwarves to explore and map caverns where ancient dwarven holds may be found. This is also the reason I don’t mind the lack of player-friendly maps here – it is, after all, the task of PCs to map this place. It should be noted that, unlike most convention/tournament modules, this may be hard, but it’s NOT just a meatgrinder! This, if anything, behaves more like a ROLEplaying module than all previously-released installments in the series. It should also be noted that the module can easily be sliced in two, should you desire to do so.

The pdf sports a couple of unique/variant monsters – an umber hulk variation, a predator with a massive tongue that works best in conjunction with piercers (cool!), a three-tongued giant frog, a spitting gibbering mouther variant, and the classic vampire moss also gets stats. These feel down to earth and somewhat plausible. Solid.

All right, this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

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All right, only GMs around? Great! So, one glance on the map will show you what sets the first aspect of the module apart from many others: the first dungeon of the module represents an exploration of the caves of the eponymous Stonesky, but unlike countless modules out there, this complex manages to really evoke a sense of plausible fantasy spelunking. This is, in part due to the clever positioning of enemies, which are chosen and placed in order to evoke a sensible illusion of a subterranean eco-system; at the same time, the complex is set apart by its focus on verticality: When you’re rappelling down a massive tunnel next to a waterfall, and try to get down in the middle of the place to avoid being eaten by cave morays, you’ll know what I mean. The complex comes with a side-view and a top-down map of this area to help you picture the complex.

This sense of fantastic spelunking is absolutely amazing and enjoyable, and, more importantly, it rewards the exploration that is part of the central story angle: Thorough players can, for example, find a well-hidden cavern where the echoes of a dwarven deity’s words resound. This secret is rewarded well regarding scoring, and is but one aspect of the adventure. Aforementioned waterfall? Curious PCs that brave the tunnel can find a leaking decanter of endless water as the source, as well as the remains of a being. This commitment to details and player agenda over rolling the dice is evident in many details: Smart PCs can avoid combats and hazards, and exploration is thoroughly rewarded, and blends the plausible quasi-realism of spelunking with the wonderful magical sprinklings that made the best of the AD&D modules of old stand out. Danger and rewards are closely entwined, and player-skill trumps dice rolling.

PCs can accidentally flood passages with slightly acidic water, and from cramped spaces to vast differences in height, the cave complex is absolutely fantastic: In one cavern, the PCs may happen upon the resting place of Radivither the Breaker, a dwarf of the first generation, he who discovered theft, death, insanity and murder – a mighty impulse and spirit, he is not a combat encounter: Instead, Radivither acts as a kind of haunt/possessing, malignant entity – but encountering this deadly echo can also provide a great boon to the dwarves that hired the PCs. This commitment to focusing on player- as opposed to PC-agenda also can be found in the tunnel that allows the PCs to make their way to the second part of the module: To get there, the PCs have to pass a magical means that prevents access, seemingly preventing progress. The means to bypass this magic is to walk the corridor backwards. Really cool!

Part II of the adventure, the Hold of Dwergma, is a more conventional dungeon without the verticality of the cavern complex that preceded this place; the complex comes with a sewer system that clever PCs can (and should) use – for there is a mighty (and insane) cleric/magic-user here, one who can and will annihilate careless PCs if they do not take care…particularly since the fellow actually gets a detailed tactics breakdown. The PCs can encounter an animated stone fist with flawed intruder detection; hallucinatory tobacco, ancient tomes of lore (noted with title, weight and gp-value), a grue-like thing and a flail snail – the inhabitants are well chosen, the complex is smart and flavorful, and e.g. traps are telegraphed in a fair manner. That being said, this second part does not reach the amazing creativity of the first part of the module, feeling more like a classic denouement to the potentially fantastic things that you can encounter in the first half.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level; on a formal level, the pdf has a couple more typo-level glitches than usual for the series. Layout adheres to the classic two-column b/w-standard of the series, and we get a couple of solid b/w-artworks. The cartography is b/w and solid, and the existence of a side-view map of part I of the module is a plus. Due to the presence of the PCs-do-cartography-angle, I won’t complain about the lack of player-friendly maps. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Joseph Browning delivers pure old-school goodness in this module. Stonesky delve feels fantastic and plausible, evocative and dangerous, and remains, in spite of its harsh challenges, FAIR. This adventure rewards skillful players over good rolls of the bones, presents a great blend of strange flora and fauna and truly fantastic, hazard-laden caverns. The presence of consequences left and right, the constant rewarding of clever play, and the smart diversity of challenges faced all blend together to make the first part of this module downright amazing. Part II of the module falls a bit short of the fantastic wonder evoked by the first half on the adventure. The presentation of the helpful pregens is not exactly perfect, though. Still, as a whole, this most assuredly makes for one of the best adventures in the series – at least among those that I’ve covered so far. The first part is fantastic and warrants getting this adventure on its own; the second part, while not as strong, is still a good adventure. As a whole, one can consider this to be a great old-school module, well worth checking out, and as such, this receives a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the Languard Locations-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Well, first things first: This pdf does contain a list of author biographies in the back that spans 1.5 pages – and this is a damn good thing as far as I’m concerned. Freelancers have it tough, and such sections help generate name recognition, so kudos for that! And yes, locations are noted by designers. A handy list of the locations with brief descriptions is also provided on the final 0.5 page before the author bios – and it makes sense that it’s here.

Anyhow, we do begin this pdf is a slightly different manner: On the first page, we discuss the surrounding lands of the city of Languard – the plains, hills and sea are all described in details here, allowing you to get a feel for the vicinity. The excellent map of Tommi Salama is also provided, with the city proper grayed out to highlight the locations that this pdf covers – you know, the ones outside the walls. A total of 12 such locations are presented.

As before in the series, each location does come with notable folks presented in a fluff-only manner. Only race and an approximate level suggestion as well as gender and alignment are stated. The PFRPG version, courtesy of the variations of the system, is the most versatile in these suggestions. Beyond that, each of the locales does come with one or more specific adventuring hooks, designed to kick off a diverse array of possibilities.

And this is where I need to interject something: As much as I enjoy Raging Swan Press’ gritty and down to earth style, I freely admit to being worried about this pdf. Why? Because the style is contingent on a sense of realism, and which places to put in front of the city, beyond the walls, can have pretty tangible effects and contradict what we know of medieval structures. So, does this break the conceit established by the series?

Well, the first location certainly makes sense: Tor’s Tannery does belong outside the walls. Historically, being a tanner was considered to be an unclean profession in Judeo-Christian influenced culture, and the scents emitted from tanning…well, let’s just say that it makes sense that it’s outside the walls. Tanneries aren’t depicted often enough, and this one actually has an interesting angle as well…not all is as it must seem. And before you ask: No, for once, the Tors are not the cliché standard serial killers/evil cultists. To the north of Languard’s walls, situated at the cliffs, a prophet of the churning waves makes proclamations of repentance and doom, hiding his name beyond the moniker of being the Mouthpiece of the Waves – and his message is gaining traction.

Gallen’s Lost Manor, a many-winged monstrosity of a mansion, makes for a perfect example of the sense of decrepitude that suffuses Raging Swan Press supplements so often; it is inhabited by the last member of the Gallen family, though, oddly, he does have a lot of visitors – who curiously can’t ever remember much about their visits. Now if you can’t make something creepy out of that one, I don’t know. Pungent Grove, maintained by an unhinged halfling druid, is a place that thrives on the refuse of Languard – though, once more, there is more to this than a story of an addled mind with a massive cockroach pet…

The Mother’s Garden is a megalithic open air farmer’s temple that focuses ritualistic power via Stonehenge like rings, a formation of ancient trees and cottages tended by the Daughters – a title that made me flash back to the classic 70s version of Wicker Man. But that may just be me. The Twisted Wreath is amazing: An ancient oak, once a hanging tree, now split by a bolt from the skies, bent by the weight of curses and sorrow, watched my Mother Illona, who crafts poppets and hangs them on the tree – cursing those that the poppets represent. This is amazing.

Heckler’s Hall is unique – part mobile circus, part jester’s academy and part rent-a-riot, this locale is led by the gnome Satu Tylik, and most assuredly makes for an interesting foil…or tool regarding the politicking going on in the city. There would also be a capable freight operation that is bound to have some gainful work for adventurers, and an out of city boarding house also makes sense: After all, the gates won’t be open all the time! Weary travelers can find the vandalized shrine of a barbaric god, tended by a lone caretaker, and just south of Languard, a stone shack is pierced by a mighty olive tree, where a rail-thin and pockmarked misanthrope sells herbs. The aptly-named Outside Inn is a traveler’s place that can be a great source of information when visiting Languard for the first time.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports solid b/w-artworks. The cartography is great, and the city backdrop supplement does have a player-friendly version. The pdf is fully bookmarked and comes in two versions – one optimized for screen-use and one that has been optimized for the printer.

This pdf is the work of a surprising amount of authors: Christopher Bunge, Sam Cameron-McKee, Kim Frandsen, Christopher Hunt, Aaron King, Ben Martin, Rebecca McLaren, Hilary Moon Murphy, Adam Ness, Treyson Sanders, Kris Vezner, John Whyte. It is surprising, then, to note how unified the content feels. The locations outside of the walls are intriguing and captivating, blending the rural and the more metropolitan. Personally, I think that the entries that directly reference in some way Languard’s dynamics are the strongest. Where a sense of realism is enforced by businesses or dubious characters, where refuse makes for a disgusting grove, where enigmatic mansions may present a shadowy puppeteer behind the scenes, this is where the pdf excels. It is surprising, considering how many of these authors are names I don’t regularly encounter among my reviews, how refined and intriguing these entries are. So, all awesome? Well…almost. A couple of locations are off the map, and some traveling distance from the city gates would have been nice, but, as a whole, this is indeed a very good supplement. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgesit out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This humble pdf clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page of which is devoted to the front cover, leaving us with 4 pages of content, designed by James Sutter with Jonathan Weisnewski and Jonathan G. Nelson. Wait…yep, the same James Sutter who happens to be Starfinder’s creative lead!

The first item (with full and proper artwork, btw.) presented would be the combustion lance – and yes, we do get a cool, in-character prose section that contextualizes the weapon in the game. 4 different versions of combustion-lances are provided: At item level 2, we have the ignition class, while the most potent version would be the level 11 megaton class. These are advanced, two-handed, powered weapons with reach. They are unwieldy and on a successful attack, all creatures adjacent to the target must make a Ref-save or take damage equal to that dealt to the original target. To balance this, the base damage output is less than what you’d expect. (The DC is standardized as per the core rules pg 181, just in case you were wondering.)

The second weapon similarly gets a nice prose section that helps make it stand out – this time around, that would be the RD implosion grenade, which comes in 5 different versions: The basic one is a level 1 grenade for 120 credits, while the fifth version is a level 18 grenade, lovingly known as “Black Hole”: These explode in a blast radius, and then such targets towards the grid intersection where it detonated. A save negates this, and distance depends on the item’s version. Really cool!

An overheard conversation introduces us to the grapnel harpoon, which comes in 4 different versions, ranging from item level 2 to 14, with damage ranging from 1d6 P to 5d4 P. When you successfully damage a target, you have established a connection to the being, and then may activate the harpoon as a move action. You make an opposed Strength check with a +4 bonus. (Shouldn’t that be an insight bonus?) On a success, the creature is roped towards the closest unoccupied square adjacent to your, being drawn to you in a straight line. If you fail by 5 or more, you can end up being disarmed or be moved towards the creature. The weapon can only harpoon one target at a given time.

Reactive panels come in three Mks, (level 6, 8 and 10), occupy 2 slots and may be installed in heavy and powered armor. These grant you a number of temporary Hit Points that apply only to the three physical damage types (bludgeoning, piercing, slashing). Additionally, all creatures adjacent to you, must make a Reflex saving throw or take the same amount of damage as that prevent by these temporary hit points. Once the panels are depleted, they require 1 minute to recharge, taking up one of the charges. The temporary hit points budget ranges from 5 Hit Points to 15. Usage is 5, though, so yeah, these are battery guzzlers… Plates have 1 Bulk.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports one amazing, original full-color artwork for every weapon – kudos! The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Fun piece of trivia: All of the folks involved are musicians as well! Jonathan Weisnewski is the gunsmith for the Destiny franchise and is responsible for vocals and guitar for the band Sandrider. (Pretty kickass, imho!); Jonathan G. Nelson’s band is “A Different Breed of Men”, where he is responsible for drums and vocals, and James Sutter plays guitar and sings for “Brides of the Lizard God.” And yes, these are well worth checking out!

But I digress! This humble pdf’s weapons have in common that the well-crafted prose renders them more than just a collection of stats – and that each and every one of them does something unique that no other weapon does! Combined with the amazing artworks, we get a sweet little pdf of all killer, no filler weaponry. Totally worth 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, some notes first: This review is, in a way, not necessarily fair. This pdf has been released quite a while back, and as such, the spells do not note whether they should be made available for the Advanced Class Guide classes or the Occult Adventures classes. In a way, this review is a check of how this held up. The supplement, one could claim, is a continuation of the Transcendent 10-series, which is why I will tag them as such on my home page. In contrast to the designer’s commentary present in said series, we have we have a mixture of brief pieces of fluff, explanations and in-character comments here. Since I really adored some of the rough, but still very much inspired options in the Transcendent 10-series, how do the spells within hold up?

Jaunt portal, a level 5 spell for sorcerers and wizards that lets you think with portals: You create a portal in close and one in medium range, creating basically a two-way portal. Love it! And yes, this does take velocity into account and handles overlap by basing its rules on the portal consuming movement and potentially requiring squeezing. This certainly holds up! Caravan portal is a level 6 sorcerer/wizard spell, save that it extends to a greater range, as implied by the name. This spell can change the mechanisms of fantasy economies rather drastically, so a GM should check whether this fits the respective creative vision of the setting.

Gas trap is a 4th level spell that most vampire hunters will consider to be rather helpful. This touch spell targets a gaseous creature and entraps it in a force barrier, allowing the caster to bottle or similar container. Personally, I do think that inquisitors should get this spell. Minor nitpick: There is an instance of an ability score not properly capitalized. There also is a mass version of this spell included. Recall companion lets you call an ally to your side, though you must have had mental or physical contact. This is a simple 5th level spell /4th for summoner) at first glance, but honestly, it can be a game-changer – and it does allow for the classic “evil wizard calls champion”-angle. I am a bit torn on this one, but ultimately, I do like it. The level 8 (level 6 for summoners) mass version of the spell, oddly, has a restriction the regular one does not: It only works for Medium creatures (size not properly formatted) – which kinda makes me think that the former spell probably was intended to have the same limitation.

Summon weapon, a second level spell for sorc/wiz and summoner summons a weapon with a scaling enhancement bonus, which also governs the special weapon abilities it can have. (These are not properly formatted in the flavortext.) Interesting, though: If you *know* the weapon to call, the spell succeeds; if not, there only is a percentile chance of calling it. This, in a way, can be problematic, as it doesn’t create a weapon, but instead temporarily steals one from a vault. This can, on the one side, wreck a carefully-crafted plot…or it can allow you to craft a rather amazing magical mystery-scenario. Translocation trick teleports a small item away, and can be used in conjunction with Sleight of Hand. Transport, at 3rd level, nets you charges that duplicate translocation trick on objects, dimension door on creatures – and the latter is problematic. The spell should, balance-wise, be at least level 4. Finally, true creation, only available for clerics and sorcs/wizards capable of casting the lofty heights of level 9 spells, and it nets you…creation. Permanent. And yes, lost bodies or even living creatures are possible here, though the latter lacks any meaningful guidelines.

Conclusion:

Editing is rather good on a formal and rules-language level, but formatting flaunts conventions rather often. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf uses distorted stock art as artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Donald J. Decker’s lost spells contain some gems that actually still hold up very well, even after all of this time. They are high-impact spells, exotics that can fuel adventures or radically, if broadly available, change the dynamics of how your world works…or allow you to finally present some distinctly high-fantasy concepts. As a whole, this is still well worth getting. It is raw regarding its formal criteria, but it also sports this gleeful excitement that renders it more interesting than I frankly expected it to be. hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

2/5

This adventure for Skybourne clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, first things first: This adventure makes use of a lot of material from the Player’s Guide to Skybourne, so if some of these races and terms seem odd to you, that’s why.

Before I dive into the adventure’s plot, I should note that the pdf includes 4 magic items and a mundane item – the latter being the fang pistol, which is a more expensive flintlock pistol with really costly ammo – however, it does cause 1 bleed damage. The lesser ancestral fang increases slapping tail damage die size; odd: the write-up mentions a greater version, but the item fails to specify requirements or costs for that version. A spell-reference is also not italicized. The item can only be used by cherufe.

The feathered cape can be gripped with both hands for ½ speed fly speed and poor maneuverability, using Acrobatics instead of Fly. The magma heart nets simultaneously the benefits of elemental body I (earth) and (fire). The sanguine gorget allows wearers to, as a swift action, bite (1d4) a pinned target, which is automatically hit. That…is not something that usually happens in PFRPG. The wearer thus also gains temporary hit points, but risk frenzying for 1 minute, with fatigue thereafter. Not a fan of this item; its design could have been handled more elegantly. There is another magic item within, but more on that one later.

All right, this being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

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All right, just GMs around? Great!

This module begins with the PCs happening upon a halfling obviously in peril; this would be a man named Hadrid, who requests aid from the PCs to get to the cherufe village Avarudies; he makes a generous offer, courtesy of owning a magic item shop, but conspicuously mentions that the PCs should not use the airship docks, instead making their way on a different route into the settlement atop the mesa. Three paths are provided, and if they don’t hurry, they may well attract the attention of their first jhāmbi-raptor. After this simple escort mission, the PCs enter Hadrid’s shop in the settlement – only to have it surrounded by guards, dragging them off towards the chief, who, oddly, has the rough guards leave and then proceeds to free the PCs to explain the situation. There is a growing sense of unrest and paranoia, and some have accused Hadrid of being the culprit of the mysterious curse plaguing the nearby jungle. The settlement is briefly discussed, and no map is provided of it, which is a bit of a pity. The settlement does get a mostly functional statblock, though it is incomplete, lacking the alignment and size line.

The write-up does contain some notes on local villagers, and the module assumes that striking up a conversation will have the GM roll a secret Charisma check – on a success, a tidbit of information, the only relevant one to be gleaned, is learned. A more complex or interesting flow-chart, or an investigation that actually takes player-actions into account would have been nice here. Making the check irrelevant regarding PC behavior and ideas is not something I particularly like or consider to be rewarding adventure design. The diviner Mokwori, to whom the trail leads, is a pawn, but one that has a huge Bluff-check, thanks to a ring of glibness. This item is also a minor bottleneck to bear in mind – the module assumes that the PCs have no means to notice it. At the end of the first day of investigation, jhāmbi-raptors and jhāmbi-pteranodons attack the village! Oddly, the encounter doesn’t at least briefly, note the number of assailants bolded with a pointer towards the statblocks, requiring close-reading of the actual text; similarly, only the total number of attacking critters is provided, not the number the PCs get to actually face. A quick sidebattle resolution note is provided, though.

During the battle, the most esoteric/psychic/etc. PC is drawn into a mindscape by the ghost that has haunted the chieftain – this is scripted, and does not take the mindscape mechanics into account. The ghost flatly states that the aforementioned diviner has fallen under the influence of a great evil – and said diviner is, coincidentally “kidnapped” by one of the jhāmbi-pteranodons. The exactly locations and logistics here are somewhat opaque, courtesy of the lack of maps, and this sequence cannot be prevented RAW. If the PCs noticed the ring and attempted to bring the diviner to the chief, a reasonable course of action, the module derails rather hard.

From suspicion to wholehearted embrace takes but this one battle, and in the aftermath, the PCs will need to venture into the jungle, and the jungle indeed comes with 3 rather cool hazards that help generate the sense of hostility that Skybourne’s forests are supposed to evoke. The PCs seem to be hounded by the undead dinosaurs that otherwise would be enemies to one another – towards a waterfall, where the jhāmbizaur, the massive brute and source of the curse, has killed the diviner and awaits the PCs to kill them and assert “total dominance” – the premise for why the entity doesn’t have the undead dinos swarm and annihilate the PCs seemed somewhat flimsy to me. If the creature is defeated, the other monsters turn on themselves – unless you’re going with the alternate end-game, where the airship turns up after the jhāmbizaur’s destroyed, enabling the PCs to engage in a harrowing escape. That one would have made much more sense to develop, but remains a footnote.

Personally, I think most groups would get the ship as soon as possible, making the sequence here awkward. The reward for the quest would be golden hearts – items sans slots that merge with the PCs, granting 13 temporary hit points for a minute after the PCs are reduced to 0 hit points. The hearts have no daily limit on how often they can be used, have no cooldown, and are thus, mechanically, problematic. The pdf concludes with further adventuring ideas and stats for the local guards, the undead dinos and the CR +2 jhāmbi-template.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, the pdf is somewhat less impressive in the crunchy bits. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the undead dino-artworks by Jacob Blackmon rock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, but really suffers from its lack of any maps whatsoever – ever very basic b/w plans would have helped render the village more interesting.

Mike Myler does evocative, buttkicking concepts really well – and the elevator-pitch for this adventure is great: ”Undead dinosaurs!” – What’s not to love? Unfortunately, the execution of the adventure is less impressive than the amazing concept deserved. The module feels like a rough draft, a sketch waiting to be filled up, feels like a case of “This’ll do.” The adventure is brief and thus required concise writing – but that’s no excuse for its weaknesses. I can note several shorter OSR-modules or Society scenarios that provide more player agenda. The issue here, from a structural perspective is, that after the slightly modular introduction, the rest of the module is a very, very narrow railroad. The actions of the PCs, ultimately, do not matter at all during the investigation sequence. Thereafter, the jungle-trek, while spiced up with cool hazards, ultimately is yet another extended cut-scene. This is basically Telltale Games design – present an interesting concept/story, generate the illusion of choice and let the cut-scenes roll; combat is spliced in, sure, but it almost feels like a JRPG interrupting the linear story with combat encounters in their own engine; two aspects of the game that are more or less divorced from one another, if you will.

That alone would not suffice to sink the concept, but this is a module for Skybourne…and promptly takes the frickin’ airships, the central selling point of the setting, what sets it apart, and cuts them from the whole deal, relegates them to window dressing. I absolutely don’t get the rationale behind this. Worse, the railroad presented fails to grasp how owning an airship will undoubtedly change the ways the PCs tackle conflicts and challenges…like, you know, an undead dino-army in a cursed forest. Who in their right mind wouldn’t take the damn ship and its artillery with them? This module feels like sketch onto which Skybourne was painted as window-dressing; even if you eliminate all the Skybourne-specifics, you’re still left with a railroad sans player-agenda. The great concept deserved better. My final verdict can’t exceed 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the Languard Locations series, which details the different districts of the city of Languard in more detail, clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We have taken a look at where the unfortunate dwell, so let’s move to the other side of the Svart that almost bisects the town, let us take a look at where Languard’s elite dwells – and as such, we begin with an overview of the noble families of Languard, supplement by a half-page b/w-artwork. This section is followed by an excerpt from Tommi Salama’s excellent map of the city, which notes the respective points of interest of this section of Languard.

The pdf contains no less than 10 locations, depicted in detail, following the formula established by the series. Beyond the description of the respective locations, NPCs encountered are noted (with race and class suggestions in brackets) in a fluff-centric manner, and the locations all come with their own adventure hooks, should PCs wandering into them not suffice for you to jumpstart your adventuring impulses. It should be noted that all these locations are new.

All right, but what sights are there to be seen in the High City of Languard? Well, there would an immaculately pristine jeweler’s shop for the upper class – though, if you do dig a bit deeper, there will be plenty of adventuring possible here. As the center of commerce in the Duchy of Ashlar, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, that there indeed is a proper bank to be found here – which, if you’ve e.g. played the classic entries of the once-great Thief: The Dark Project franchise, should immediately get your creative juices flowing. Yes, it has underground vaults. Of course, it would be unseeming to bring animals to certain locations, and a proper member of the well-to-do will want a steed representative of the proper status. Well, a prized horse from Miya’s stables would be the Languardian equivalent of a proper sports car – and yes, stabling costs are noted and account for more exotic companions.

Utterly hilarious would be a fine bakery for the distinguished, which would be a prime target for assassination attempts, were it not for the fact that those that know how to ask can actually gain the attention of special employees. Excess breeds demand and decadence, and as far as culinary delights are concerned, you probably can’t do better than the Dragonheart tavern in Languard. Here, bulette flank, cockatrice eggs and the like may be ordered – which, obviously, results in a rather major demand for adventurers willing to risk life and limb to acquire these exotic oddities for the distinguished gourmands among the city’s populace.

A local favorite, part baker, part alchemist and weird, with alembics and cauldrons, Old Mother Grumm’s sells everything from fruitcake to elixirs of love, all made by the matronly and kind-hearted old lady-wizard the shop’s named for. This place btw. also notes proper magic items for sale. And yes, if you are looking for a fine yarn and have the coin to spare, then you’ll find a place that caters to these demands in the High City as well: Needle’s Poise provides just that – supplemented by a proper b/w-artwork, btw. Easily one of the most outré places in the whole city, the “Emerald Medusa” is a multi-decked sailing ship turned festhall/eatery. The intricately-carved medusa emits beams of colored light from its lenses, and it is here that decadent nobles come to politick, weave intrigues or impress adventurers. And yes, there is a means to actually make the obvious disco-angle narratively-relevant. Kudos!! Pharran’s Shroud, then, would obviously cater to another sort of vice: Run by a silk-shrouded lady of unknown origins, this place would be Languard’s high-class brothel – and in an interesting twist, said shrouded mistress is actually not an entity with a petrifying or similarly devastating gaze attack, but something more rewarding to unearth…

The Ruby Plate would be another culinary establishment, but one that focuses on showmanship, a place where experimental foods may be ordered. What about an assassin berry vine, for example? I know I’d try that…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports quite a lot of rather nice b/w-artworks. The excerpt from the map is neat, and since the city supplement itself featured the key-less player-friendly version, none is required here. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one optimized for screen use, and one for the printer.

Languard’s High City, to me, felt, in an interesting twist, distinctly American in its focus on consumption. “Are you still hungry?”, the question for ambition, for success, uses an obvious simile with consumption, and indeed, consumption, if anything, is the leitmotif of this district, which should make for a rather sharp contrast in comparison to the poorer regions of the city. The map, with its broader streets and less cramped environments, also emphasizes this – but perhaps that’s just me. I’m still flabbergasted and blown away by the vastness of the US – both in landscape, and in the sheer availability of pretty much anything the heart could desire. But this could just be my own interpretation of the pdf penned by Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez, Steve Hood, Amber Underwood and Mike Welham.

And, to make that clear, I do think that this fits in PERFECTLY within the context of Languard. The High City is unique and has its own flair, one that manages to be both part of Languard and distinct from its other components. The city, as a whole, is enriched by the thematically-stringent focus on the Leitmotif – and in a world where magics exist, the presence of a place like the Emerald Medusa, easily my favorite place alongside Grumm’s, makes sense on so many levels, and also allows you to inject a bit of the weird into the grime and grit of the poorer regions. It generates a contrast that highlights the global motifs of Languard even better. It works because it is this weird place in an otherwise rather grounded area, and because it is rather realistic in how it presents its weirdness. I love it. In short, the High City of Languard is a great place to dive into some serious intrigue, to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful, and to shake your head at the decadence of the aristocracy. A great and unique region, this retains the exceedingly high standard of the series. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

The second installment of the more in-depth look at specific neighborhoods and regions of the city of Languard clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Claustrophobically huddled within the southern part of the city, the region known as “The Shambles” lies close to the Svart, between Cheap Street and Low Gate, an area of narrow, twisting alleyways, tottering buildings and desperation. Here, the city’s poor huddle together in unsanitary, shoddily cobbled-together wooden constructions, with upper levels jutting over alleys, dimming what little sun makes its way down below. 3, sometimes 4 stories high, these structures rise, creating a general atmosphere of a labyrinth, a maze, a hive.

A total of 8 different, new locations are depicted in lavish detail within – as before, each of these places notes the respective people in the locale, depicted in brief, fluff-centric write-ups (usually 2 per locale), and additionally, each of these receives 2 or more adventure hooks to jumpstart adventuring. If there is gold to be spent at one location, it’ll state as much, noting e.g. the buy-in for arm wrestling and prices for drink, and one location even has some minor magic to be purchased.

That would be Kardagg’s discount emporium, where failed adventurers come to sell off their remaining gear. You know, this is really appealing to me. Adventurers are bound to fail often – all those dead guys and gals in dungeons throughout the world speak of this; ditto for “retired” barkeep adventurers. But what about the survivors who realize that gold and glory may not be as glorious, perhaps not worth the trauma adventuring can invariably bring? It’s a small thing, but I very much enjoyed this place.

Veera is similarly pragmatic: Her shop is called “Corpsewear” and certainly makes no excuses or pretenses where her clothes come from. And indeed, I do enjoy this as well – there is a lot of roleplaying potential here, from old legacies to items associated with haunts and the living dead. If you’re more in the mood for aforementioned arm wrestling, then you may want to take a look at “The Broken Elbow”, a rough and tumble tavern known for cheap beer and cheaper women. Not everyone is gracious in defeat, though – and someone may know about Gloamhold…but will only part with information if beaten in arm-wrestling. A small mini-game for arm wrestling would have been nice to see here.

At the intersection of Cheap Street and Cross Street, the crier’s corner sees heavy traffic, with doomsayer Kuura spreading proclamations of doom. A once reputable sage has been affected with a strange ailment that manifests as faint trembles and even mild hallucinations, but what is plaguing the poor fellow? Oh, and if you’re nice to the poor here, they may well warn you of Mongrel Alley – the darkened street, barely touched by the rays of the sun, is home to wild creatures…and, as they say, an unnerving vagrant wrapped in dirty rags. A scrupulous pawnbroker may make for a valuable asset for certain PCs, a foil to others, while “The Stone Cauldron” is never truly emptied of cider, its dubious brew bubbling constantly.

Crows and ravens perch atop a crumbling stone building, with branches of nearby trees hanging overhead; this is the Rookery, where a druid with a penchant and preference for corvids offers a unique service. Finally, there is the well of dreams, where some wishes may well be granted – though in a potentially grisly manner.

It should be noted that we do get a detailed, enlarged map of the region of the city that is “The Shambles”, but no key-less iteration of this enlarged section. That being said, since the city backdrop already offered that, it’s easy enough for players to fill that one out.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has solid, small b/w-artworks and an excerpt of the great map. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, and in two versions – one for screen use, and one intended to be printed out. Kudos!

It is puzzling to see how many people worked on this: the Shambles are penned by Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez, Steve Hood, Amber Underwood and Mike Welham – and it is testament to the prowess and skill of al of these authors that this supplement feels, this multitude none withstanding, like a concise and unified whole. Despite of the nature of the Shambles and the intentionally evoked, cobbled together, ramshackle sense the district creates, the entirety still gels together as an organic neighborhood – not only within its own framework, but also within the context of Languard as a whole. In short, this is one amazing little supplement, and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

3/5

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the first page, we get a brief history of the spells within in the Xa-Osoro system, and it should be noted that the spells within also take the spellcasting classes from the Starfarer’s Companion into account.

The first spell, blackout, is a technomancer-exclusive and comes in one version for all 6 spell levels. This spell makes you attempt a Computers or Engineering check as part of casting it. All items within the spell’s AOE (a 20 ft.-radius centered on you) that are powered or charged, including computers, technological items, etc. immediately stop working as though they had run out of battery charges. The spell’s effects are capped by spell level and DC accomplished, and a handy table presents these, but, in a puzzling layout decision, is on the next page. Why not have it on the same page?? On a really nitpicky side, I would also have welcomed a caveat that prevents this spell from potentially blackout-ing systems required for survival.

Bone spur transfiguration would be a cleric 3, magus 2, wizard 3 or mystic 3 spell, and requires that you touch a hand or prehensile appendage with a melee attack versus KAC. If you hit, you transfigure painful spiked into the appendage, causing 2d8 nonlethal piercing damage at the start of the subject’s turns. Interesting: Movement, including guarded steps, adds more damage, and if the target takes at least 1 point of damage, it’s sickened for 1 round. If a creature is below ½ maximum Hit Points, it’s nauseated instead, which is pretty nasty, condition-wise, and also requires tracking basically a pseudo-bloodied condition. (If I were to really nitpick here, I’d point towards interaction with Stamina, but you get the idea.)

The energy sphere spell is available for wizards at levels 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, for bard, magus and technomancer at levels 1 – 6. You get to choose one of the five basic energy types (yep, sonic included) and form a sphere of the energy, which may be moved up to 30 ft. as a move action. Dimensions and damage are contingent on spell level, and 3rd (wizard 4th) level begins also applying damage when a creature ends its turn within the sphere’s area. I am pretty sure that the 6th level caveat “A creature cannot be damaged by the sphere more than once per turn.” Should not have just been part of the 6th level text. While that level states that damage also applies when it moves through a critter’s space, it can end up dealing less damage than lower level versions.

Psychosomatic weapon is a second level spell for bard, wizard and mystic spells, and increases the damage caused by +2d6 weapon damage for one round; this is basically an illusion, so Will negates. One important component here, is that the verbiage implies that only you can inflict this damage, when the target, weapon touched, would allow you to buff allies. Clarification would be helpful here.

Slapstick is a spell available at levels 1 – 6 for bard, magus and technomancer, and changes one item with a bulk of not greater than 1 easier to wield. It counts as a basic melee weapon with the thrown (20 ft.) special property, and you use key spellcasting ability modifier instead of Strength to govern atk and damage with it, and damage type is usually kinetic, but subject to GM’s interpretation. The spell is balanced by the weapon’s damage being based on spell level, and 2nd level and all thereafter net Weapon Specialization with it, for +1.5 times CL to damage. Minor nitpick: While this prevents stacking two Weapon Specializations atop each other, the spell probably should only add CL to damage, as the feat usually only nets character level to damage, ½ for small arms and operative melee weaponry. The exception would be natural attacks.

Finally, we have vampiric bite, available for clerics level 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, and for mystics as level 1-6 spells. This is actually a close-range spells that deals piercing damage and bleed damage, while also bestowing temporary Hit Points, the latter of which may be used to heal damage on a 2-to-1 ratio. Solid one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are excellent; on a rules-language level, I have a few instances where I can nitpick some details. Nothing horrid, but a few minor clarifications would help. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, the artwork is nice, and apart from the unfortunate decision of dragging blackout’s DC-table to the next page, doesn’t offer much to complain about. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall has certainly come a long way – this is now the second of her pdfs that I consider to be, as a whole, well-crafted. However, in some of the spells have a few rough spots in their details that slightly detract from this pdf’s otherwise precise handling of complex concepts. Hence, my final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

3/5

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, some notes first: This review is, in a way, not necessarily fair. This pdf has been released quite a while back, and as such, the spells do not note whether they should be made available for the Advanced Class Guide classes or the Occult Adventures classes. In a way, this review is a check of how this held up. The supplement, one could claim, is a continuation of the Transcendent 10-series, which is why I will tag them as such on my home page. In contrast to the designer’s commentary present in said series, we have we have a mixture of brief pieces of fluff, explanations and in-character comments here. Since I really adored some of the rough, but still very much inspired options in the Transcendent 10-series, how do the spells within hold up?

Dead watcher, a spell for level 1 clerics, sorc/wiz and witches, makes a corpse basically a surveillance camera that records what it perceives - cool here: This manages to get the material component and when the opal disintegrates done right. A simple and rewarding spell, though “same acuity as an average person” unfortunately is *not* proper rules-language. I like this, but it needs a bit of polishing. Eyes of the dead does the same for corporeal undead, allowing you to see through them, but has an interesting twist in that the affected creatures may actually not be aware of the sensory hijacking, and you can choose to project hearing or sight – but once both are returned to your body, the spell ends. This is intriguing.

Enfeeble is a sorc/wiz or witch spell at 5th level and is a save-or-suck: The spell reduces Strength and Dexterity to 1. Bizarre: the creature may drop items in excess of the carrying capacity as an immediate action to the floor. Okay. Why would anyone? Also: Creatures and NPCs with a full BAB HD take -4 to the save. This spell sucks and is just not fun.

Mortal advantage is a level 9 spell for clerics, sorcs/wiz and witches, and it‘s rather cool: It forces the touched creature into an incorporeal state and into your body, forcing the target to possess you. The spell is particularly useful versus outsiders etc., and while thus housing the target, you have a much better place for negotiation. Ride the dead, a level 4 spell for the aforementioned full casters, is a variant of magic jar (not properly italicized) that renders you incorporeal and makes you possess an undead creature, which severely limits your options, but allows you to stowaway…and fortify undead thus ridden via channel energy, if available. Tighter explanation of what you can and can’t do while possessing an undead would have been nice here. Scare to death is an 8th level fear and mind-affecting spell that is a conical save or suck that kills you on a failed Fort-save after a failed Will-save. (As such, it probably should also be a death effect.) Additionally, even if you save, you take 1 Constitution damage per round; Fort-saves on subsequent rounds prevent this ability score damage. The verbiage here is a bit confused regarding sequence. I assume that failure on the Will save and success on the Fort-save paralyzes you, but I am honestly not sure.

Terrify, another fear and mind-affecting spell, may be an explanation for this, as this one both panics and then paralyzes the targets, getting the sequence right here. It’s a save or suck, but at level 6, I can live with this one. Touch channel, a level 3 cleric and sorc/wiz spell, lets you deliver touch spells of up to 4th level through the target. Touch spell charges are “treated as though you were holding the charge yourself.” Okay, so does the target hold the charge, or the caster? The greater version is level 7 and extends the maximum level channeled to 9th, but obviously suffers from the same hiccup. (As an aside: The flavor-text here hasn’t been properly italicized, making this a bit confusing. The final spell herein would be turn the tables, which allows a possessed creature another save to, bingo, turn the tables on possessors, which is a rather interesting option.

Conclusion:

Editing is per se good, though there are a few details where the rules-language could be tighter. Formatting is really rough: The pdf sports a bunch of wrongly formatted aspects, including a bunch of missed italicizations. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf uses b/w stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

So, here’s the thing: This is a rather rough pdf. The supplement has quite a bunch of different formal hiccups that shows that it’s an early work. However, Donald J. Decker’s spells actually do still have some rather intriguing components to offer, and with a bit of polish here and there, allow you to tell truly interesting stories, with particularly the possession angles being a rather engaging aspect. As a pdf, this may not be perfect, but at the low price-point, it may be worth checking out if the above concepts sounded interesting to you. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief piece of text that provides a context for Lorefinders within the Xa-Osoro system, we are introduced to the lorefinder chronicler archetype. The archetype gains alternate class features at 2nd, 6th, 8th and 12th level. At 2nd level, we get “knack for knowledge”, which lets you choose 2 skills from a list. In these, you get a +1 insight bonus, add them to the list of class skills and may use them even untrained. The bonus increases by +1 at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter , as well as at 20th level. If you gain an insight bonus from another class feature, you may roll twice and choose the better result, though only 1/day. You may do this an additional time per day for every time the bonus increases. This allows you to take the Extra Knowledge feat as an alternate class feature at 4th and 16th level.

This archetype exclusive feat lets you choose two skills and gained the benefits of the aforementioned class feature, even if the skills usually aren’t on the list. At 6th level, the archetype nets “Epic Tales”, which doubles as the hurry envoy improvisation; if you already have it, you gain another one instead. Same goes for 9th level, where improved hurry is gained. The 12th level ability nets you 1/day summon creature (4th level) as a SP, getting to choose whether you’d do so as a technomancer or mystic. 16th and 20th level upgrade that to 5th and 6th spell level, respectively, and these also net new creatures. For 2 Resolve Points, you can use it an additional time, and if interrupted, the Resolve Points are lost.

The pdf also features 3 new feats in addition to the one mentioned above:

-Deep Pockets: Spend 1 hour to effectively distribute gear, increasing total bulk you can carry by 4, lasting until the next 8-hour break.

-Live to Tell the Tale: 1/day attempt a new saving throw against ongoing conditions against which you failed a saving throw in a previous round, even if the effect would be permanent. This does not affect instantaneous or save-less conditions. You can spend 2 Resolve Points to add knack for knowledge to the result of the save. 6th level allows you to spend 1 Resolve Point to use this ability again after you used it that day. For 3 Resolve Points, you combine the two Resolve-fueled uses of this feat.

-Swift Aid (Combat): use covering fire or harrying fire as a move action. You can also use either as a swift action by spending 1 Resolve Point, but multiple uses of this attack do not stack, but you can provoke one target with multiple bonuses against multiple, different opponents. This does expressively not reduce the action required for feats involving covering or harrying fire. Nice catch!

The pdf concludes with a nice piece of flavor text about lorefinders in the Xa-Osoro system.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this level.

Alexander Augunas and Matt Banach present a rather cool adaptation of the Pathfinder Chronicler to SFRPG – I have no complaints here, and the archetype is actually more interesting than I expected it to be. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a cool (and rather extensive!) contextualization of skittermanders within the Xa-Osoro system, we begin with the skittermander paragon archetype, who receives an alternate class feature at 2nd level: Whenever the paragon spends 1 point of Resolve to take a 10-minute Stamina break, they also regain the daily use of the hyper racial trait. Additionally, skittermander-prereq-feats may be taken as replacement class features at 6th, 12th, or 19th level. Minor nitpick: The pdf reads “0r.”

The pdf includes 8 skittermander feats:

-Boundless Energy: Only for paragons of level 5+. Regains hyper racial trait even sans Resolve expenditure to regain Stamina after a 10 minute break.

-Helpful Hand: Increases aid another, covering and harrying fire bonuses by +1; doesn’t stack with other effects. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to extend a bonus you grant to last until the end of the target’s next turn.

-Hyperactive Leap: Athletics as a class skill, +1 to Acrobatics if you already have it. Always have a running start, and better vertical jumps. Utterly HILARIOUS: While hyper, you get an Ex fly speed that needs to end on solid ground or fall. Basically, I picture skittermanders wiggling their arms like a hummingbird on a sugar-high. XD

-Limitless Leaper: Builds on the previous one; you no longer have to be hyper.

-Mania: Use hyper as a reaction when gaining a morale bonus, taking an extra move action. Alternatively, you can forego this to increase the bonus by +1.

-Reflexive Assistance: Builds on Helping hands: Lets you aid, cover fire, etc. as a reaction when an ally does so. There’s a typo here: “Whenever an ally grants uses the aid another..:” – that “grant” should not be there. The rules language here is pretty complex, but it’s handled well.

-Skitterspider: Builds on climbing master, lets you traverse ceilings and vertical surfaces sans Athletics, as per spider climb. (Spell-reference not italicized.) Upside down climbing does not allow for the use of the run action, but otherwise, you may run while climbing. Note that this is better, since the skittermander can use 4 of its limbs to satisfy the climbing requirements!

-Skittermander Suplex (Combat): Here, something has gone awry with the rules language. “Whenever you successfully renew a grapple against a creature that you were grappling at the start of your turn, dealing damage to the grappled opponent as if you had hit them with an unarmed strike.” Either “dealing” should read “you deal”, or there is a part of a sentence missing here. I assume the former, since the damage is notes as grapple attempt minus opponent’s KAC, minus 8.

The pdf also includes two new biotech augmentations: For arms and a lousy 100 credits, you can get Hideaway Hands, which allows you to retract a pair of arms, which can be really helpful re Disguise. The torso can be enhanced with larva-drool tissue, which reactivates the gland producing the numbing agent of skittermander larvae, allowing you to excrete it as a swift action when renewing a grapple. The foe must save or basically suffers from disadvantage when trying to escape the grapple. The effect is precisely codified regarding type and duration, and it requires the grappler trait and the character must be shirtless or have custom clothing/armor. It can be used again after a rest and a 2 Resolve Point expenditure. Finally, we have a cybertech augmentation, nurse’s eyes, when nets 10 ft. blindsense (life) and better medical skills – such as biological anomalies automatically detected in creatures identified with life Science. I’m not a big fan of the “automatic” here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are still good, but not perfect – there are a few formatting hiccups, and the glitches, alas, can impede rules integrity slightly. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and the artwork is, as always, nice. We have no bookmarks, but need none at this length.

(X) Put a big “X” here if you think that skittermanders should be frickin’ core. They are an amazing race, and I love them to bits. And Alexander Augunas gets them. The flight feat and spider feat with their tactical (and hilarious!) implications alone warrant imho getting this one. That being said, I do think that hyper can, in the long run, potentially become problematic due to SF’s more transparent action economy, so that’s a thing to look out for. But that just as an aside. I did enjoy the vast majority of content within, and as such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

The first installment of the Languard Locations series, which depicts the respective districts of the aforementioned city in more detail, clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The low city if the part closest to the city’s wall, situated South of the Svart, and it is also home to the slum-like shambles and fishshambles, though these districts have their own supplements devoted to them – we’ll return to them in time, in the reviews that cover these quarters.

Anyways, on the very first page, we do receive a version of the city map, an excerpt, that highlights the regions that actually belong to the low city, and here, we also get points of interest duly noted. 12 locations are provided, and, as you could probably glean from the moniker and adjacent quarters, this is not exactly a high-class environment. (Though, as Languard adheres very much to a medieval, gritty Greyhawk-ish aesthetic, city folks still are better off than peasants…)

If you wander these streets, you can find frustrated social climbing jewelers, plagued by repeated break-ins and justifiably paranoid as a result. This would be as well a place as any to note that each every location within this supplement lists its key NPCs in fluff-only descriptions that manage to paint vivid pictures, and the respective locales also featured adventure hooks if gumption and peculiarities of these should not suffice to kick your players into adventuring mode.

The interesting thing about these locales, though, would be their diversity: In the second basement of a nameless tenement, a surprisingly vast, hidden tavern, the Mixing Pot, is hidden, serving as meeting place where both aristocrats and street urchins, the rich and the poor, rub shoulders while enjoying fine brews – and the eel and eggs sound like a dish I’d definitely be willing to try, considering my love for unagi…

Going one step further, the pdf also presents the “Orc’s Head” tavern – a place that sports a carved limestone orc’s head atop the entrance, and one that most assuredly should also work as a great place for adventurers to carouse away their hard-earned gold. More importantly, it’s also a place where the FREE mini-game “The Dragon and the Thief” may be played, and the rules are explained, in case you don’t want to download the free pdf. Finally, and that may be the most important thing here: The tavern (2 floors, cellar PLUS outbuilding!) are fully mapped by none other than Tommi Salama – and the map is player-friendly, making for one amazing handout!

If you know where to look, you may well find a smuggler and fence, and in an aspect all too often sanitized away, the pdf does note that there is actually a dealer in manure here, a refuse collector. And yes, this is relevant for adventuring purposes…. Marja’s House of Sighs, aka the “Moaning Halls” caters to other, worldly desires…and the madam may actually have some use for the PCs…or make a fine antagonist. Sometimes, location trumps skill – all too often, actually. The same may hold true for a healing establishment found within, which does provide brief descriptions of the respective rooms. Yes, there is a waiting room. If you’re more in the mood for a macabre round of drinking, you may want to check out “The Last Sigh” – in view of the cadavers dangling from traitor’s gate…coincidentally also a great place to check out what bounties are currently available…

Often neglected, the living situation actually also is covered here, and the Esoteric Fellowship’s White Tower should be a good reason for magically-inclined PCs to visit this place…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the book sports amazing b/w-cartography, as noted before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and it also is provided in two versions: One optimized for screen-use, one for the printer.

Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez and Amber Underwood provide the level of detail and finesse that elevates Languard’s already impressive City Backdrop file even further. The detailed descriptions of the low city’s surprisingly diverse (and adventuring-relevant) locations breathe a life into these streets that make it very easy to visualize this – with some time, your PCs will be able to say “Oh, and then we ran down the street across the white tower, towards…” – it’s that…in lack of a better word, “tangible.” Languard’s low city feels organic, plausible and diverse, the characters mentioned are interesting, and there is a ton of potential adventuring to be had here. What more could you ask for? An excellent supplement and furious start for the product line, this deserves 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This Star Log.EM-installment clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this supplement, as has become the tradition with this series, with a brief note on the tradition of boarding and consequences in the Xa-Osoro system.

After that, we begin with, no surprise there, the boarding rules. Docking or Landing a starship are concisely defined as new Piloting tasks, but invading a space station or enemy ship is another deal. One of the options here would be to breach a starship’s hull: When hitting a starship with a starship weapon that deals at least 1 Hull Point damage, the hull becomes breached until the end of the gunnery phase, after which the breach is automatically sealed. If the enemy ship is hit with an attack or board weapon, the breach instead remains for as long as the weapon remains attached or embedded. Alternatively, adjacent beings (e.g. on the hull with magnetized boots, Dead Space-style), you can use explosives to breach it, using Critical threshold as hardness. As far as weaponry is concerned, the pdf does include adamantine boring drills and claws for direct fire weapons; insertion pods as tracking weapons, intrusion pods as a heavy tracking weapon, and there also is a capital weapon version of pods, and we get a gravity vortex here.

Wait…Board and attach? Yep, the pdf does define these in a concise and sensible manner. Additionally, and much to my joy, these do actually work in conjunction with the ship arms that you could get in the Star Log.EM-pdf on expansion bays. (And no, the latter is not required to make use of the options in this pdf…) Unsurprising, the presence of these weapons, and weapons like claws and drills do mean that a melee range for starship weapons needs to be defined. Which this pdf also does.

Alternatively, you can attempt to override a starship’s docking ports – you can try to override these with Computers – this is a concisely defined new Computers task. PCs acting as boarding parties (with CR-suggestions for resistance faced) are covered. Similarly, if the PCs are more into starship combat, then the new captain action to apprehend boarders can make them lay down their arms – provided your Diplomacy is ace. Science officers can override enemy docking ports during helm phase…and that’s it! Concise, easy to grasp and succinct boarding rules.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and the artwork presented is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

David N. Ross’ boarding rules are fantastic. They are easy to grasp and painless to implement. Do yourself a favor: Print this, then attach it to your core rules – for that is where these should have been. Starfinder is a young system, but even in its brief existence, I’ve been asked, time and again, for boarding rules. Well, this delivers, and it does so with panache aplomb. 5 stars + seal of approval, plus, this is designated as an EZG Essential for Starfinder. If you’re like me and were always dissatisfied with the lack of means to represent cool boarding scuffles, then this is a pdf you will never want to miss in your games.

Endzeitgeist out.


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5/5

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, we take a look at the new zenith revelations featured within; as such, these all require being fully attuned. This pdf contains 4 new photon revelations:

-Burst of Life: When fully attuned, spend 1 Resolve Point as a move action or leave photon mode to generate a 10-ft. radius burst that heals twice Solarian class level HP. This upgrades to 3 times class level at 17th level.

-Inner Fire: Nets all allies within 30 ft. that you have line of effect to grant allies +2 to damage, and the ability renders half damage inflicted fire damage, as if affected by the flaming fusion. Additionally, the solarian may leave photon mode as a move action and increase the damage boost bestowed to +1d6+1 for Charisma modifier rounds.

-Lunar Shift: As a move action, choose a creature in close range and choose one of the 4 core energy types (sonic is excluded). You reduce the resistance to that energy type by 5, minimum 0, for class level rounds. Creatures without resistance instead gain vulnerability (ouch), but this is balanced by having duration only be 1 round. 14th level adds a second energy type, or you can reduce one energy resistance by 10. At 17th level, two may be reduced by 10, or one by 15, but you can only ever bestow one vulnerability. Really cool!

-Umbral Aura: As a move action, gain a gaze attack with a 10 ft.-range that blinds target until the start of your next turn, dazzled on a successful save instead. Duration increases at 13th level, and 17th level excludes allies from the effect.

The pdf also features 4 graviton zenith revelations:

-Collapse Point: Create a gravity point within line of sight and medium range; creatures within 10 ft. must succeed a Reflex save or be entangled and pulled towards the point, moving in initiative order from highest to lowest. They also take 2d8 + Cha mod bludgeoning damage, which increases by +1d8 for every 3 solarian levels beyond 9th. 17th level lets you either increase the radius or exclude a limited number of creatures. This effect lasts until the start of the next turn and the solarian’s immune to the effect. Neat one!

-Gravity Barrier: 10 ft. spherical barrier centered on solarian that lasts for Cha-mod rounds. This barrier pushes creatures away if they fail a Fort-save. Successfully saving mitigates the forced movement to an AC bonus that doesn’t stack with cover and 17th level increases radius.

-Gravity Wave: As a standard action, generate a 30-foot conical wave that pushes or knocks prone targets on a failed Fort-save. Distance of this push increases by 10 ft. for every 3 solarian class levels beyond 9th. Hitting a solid object that prevents movement nets 2d6 kinetic damage per 10 ft. the creature would have been pushed before knocking the target prone. What’s that, you ask? The GM chooses the correct damage type from the physical ones, depending on the object the target is shoved into! Elegant solution for this rules-language conundrum!

-Quantum Release: By spending 1 Resolve Point or leaving graviton mode, you may take an additional move action. Thankfully, no more often than once per round. The ability takes no action on your turn, and is a reaction otherwise – and, important, it may only be used once per round. Since the skittermander’s hyper ability exists, this should be pretty safe as far as future-proofing is concerned, but combo-ing skittermander tricks with this can be potentially pretty brutal.

This is not how the pdf ends, though: Instead, we get detailed notes on the most famous solarians in the Xa-Osoro system: There would be Collapse, anti-capitalist assassin of oligarchs, the samsaran teacher contemplator Valshavan, who notoriously hates the press, a kyubi paragon kitsune solarian, and more – pretty cool NPC background stories/concepts!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups in either the formal or rules-language criteria. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series with a white background, and the full-color artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza delivers an impressive, fun little supplement that delivers some rewarding tools for solarians to use, often tackling complex concepts, and executing them rather well. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – definitely recommended for fans of the solarian class!!

Endzeitgeist out.


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5/5

This massive settlement supplement clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, in case you didn’t get that immediately: This is basically the MUCH bigger brother of the beloved Village Backdrops-series, and this time around, we take a look at the “crown jewel” of sorts of the Duchy of Ashlar, the region that serves as a rough geographic backdrop for many of Raging Swan Press’ more recent supplements.

Housing a population of almost 8000 souls, Languard is a relatively cosmopolitan city for the region, with approximately 1/8th of the population belonging to the classic humanoid player-races. The city does include notes on the lie of the land (interesting to note: That’s the British version of “lay of the land”), and, as we’ve come to expect from Raging Swan Press’ settlement supplements, it does come with lore pertaining the settlement that the PCs may just know. Dressing habits, appearances and local nomenclature are covered as well.

Oh, and in the PFRPG-version, we do actually get the proper city statblock information. It should also be noted that we get a nice magic item marketplace section.

Present in every iteration of this supplement would be something that put a HUGE smile on my face: Tommi Salama’s excellent b/w-cartography if provided in not one, but two versions – one that sports labels and keys, and one that is fully player-friendly! Yep, you can print out or use the city map as is sans fuss in VTTs! HUGE kudos and thanks for that!

Now, it has been a tradition in these settlement supplements, that we should get some whispers and rumors, right? Well, this time around, we get a whole page, chockfull with hooks, correct and false information…and yes, these are surprisingly diverse. More bodies fished from the aptly-named Svart (which btw. translates to “Black”), rumors that provide connections in an unobtrusive manner with villages…rather cool!

Here’s the thing, though – most city supplements have an issue regarding the organization of content. Languard is very smart here: Letters denote types of location (“T” stands for “Temple”, for example), and also uses this approach to denote that some place belongs to one of the different quarters the city houses. “F”, to give you another example, means that the place can be found in the “Fishshambles.” Locations are listed by quarter, as well as by type, all on one page, which makes it rather easy to always know where what is. The pdf devotes a lot of loving care to talk about these immediately useful places, from the fortifications to the respective places. The quarters list the respective notable NPCs in fluff-only descriptions where they’re most likely to be encountered, and every quarter gets its own dressing/event table to add local flavor to the respective environments and set them apart from one another.

Beyond notes on the daily life in noisy and rather grimy Languard, we also get notes on the taxes and tariffs levied in the city – an aspect all too often neglected and forgotten. Law is covered as well as all those aspects of city life that the PCs may encounter. The pdf even provides information on accommodations, food and drink prices…and goes one step further, providing designated adventure hooks to pursue, in the exceedingly unlikely case that just exploring this place won’t suffice to yield a plethora of adventures. Did I mention the human ethnicity that is discriminated against, the Takolen, who suspiciously often live near the water? The notes on means to get your PCs to Gloamhold, if they’re in the mood for a massive dungeon? From politicking to slumming, from grime and grit to cults and dangers, Languard has a ton to offer. Did I mention the guilds?

Oh, and did I mention that the city supplement comes with a handy one-page handout, the Player#s Guide to Languard? Give your players the page and map and you’re pretty much set to go, no need for hour-long explanatory rambling, no annoying need to skim through the book to eliminate possible spoilers. This is as user-friendly as can be!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The cartography by Tommi Salama is excellent. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use, and one intended to be printed out (YEAH!). The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Creighton Broadhurst succeeds at a rather impressive task: To provide an overview of a massive city in just a few pages, to depict the complexities of daily life and the differences in tone and character of the different quarters; you will not confuse any of those locations with one another, and the pdf contains enough hooks, dressing and ideas to make Languard come to life…and best of all, there is actually a whole series devoted to going into depth regarding the individual sections of the city. Guess what I’ll be covering next? ;) Anyhow, this supplement succeeds in presenting an overview of a city that breathes old-school vibes, that feels positively medieval. Languard sports this gritty, Greyhawk-ish vibe I enjoy; the same atmosphere that you got from the grimy cities depicted in the Witcher novels. All in all, this is an awesome city supplement, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. (As an aside – this is my favorite of the 3 versions.)

Endzeitgeist out.


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4/5

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, including the role of the mythos in the context of the Xa-Osoro system, we dive right into the new connection, which has Intimidate and Mysticism as associated skills. As far as the spells are concerned, it should be noted that you do require Starfarer’s Companion to make use of this supplement – all spells granted by the connection are drawn from that book. Annoyingly, none of them have been properly italicized.

The first level ability, contagious whispers, allows you to use the mindlink class feature with a range of 30 feet instead of touch. Additionally, the save changes from Will (harmless) to Will – as the mystic can project horrifying revelations to the target, rendering a target shaken and sickened for mystic levels rounds. This would be utterly OP, were it not for the 1/day per target limitation of the mindlink class feature. 3rd level nets you summon creature via the expenditure of 1 Resolve Point, with 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter increasing the spell level. Formatting here does sport a few minor hiccups: Spell-reference not italicized and a “See page $” remnant. As a balancing factor, you can only have one of these in effect at a given time – oh, and the creature needs to have the eldritch graft.

What’s that? Well, we actually get the eldritch summoning graft here, with traits differentiation between below and above CR 7. NICE! Big kudos for the graft inclusion here. The 6th level ability lets the mystic’s spells and powers ignore fear immunity, with targets instead gaining +4 to saves. Cool: This is further differentiated: Stronger creatures in relation to the mystic’s CR instead get a +8 bonus, preventing anti-boss abuse, and versus CR+3 or higher than mystic level, the ability ceases to work altogether. Additionally, Intimidate, if exceeding DC by +5 or more, may also ignore fear immunity, and once more, we get differentiated treating of this aspect of the ability. 9th level nets Adaptive Fighting, and eldritch creatures summoned via the 3rd level power get the Adaptive Fighting feat- Multiple creatures have to have the same feat. If you know summon creature, you may use Resolve to apply it to summoned creatures as well. The spell, once more, is not italicized correctly.

At 12th level, we have immunity to fear and mind-influencing effects, and all creatures linked in the telepathic bond get +2 (untyped – should be typed) to saves versus fear and mind-affecting effects. You also get a free telepathic bond with creatures called forth with the 3rd level ability – this does not count towards the maximum. At 15th level, all critters critically hit by you or a creature summoned forth are shaken for mystic level rounds, frightened if already shaken. This is a critical effect and thankfully thus explicitly excludes the option to stack it atop another critical effect. The 18th level power lets you 1/day spend 1 Resolve Point to execute a 10-minute ritual that may not be combined with Stamina replenishment. At the conclusion, you get an eldritch summon, save that it lasts for 24 hours. Thankfully, once more, this caps at one critter. The pdf also contains two new spells. Corrupt insight is a mystic spell for levels 1 – 6 and is pretty damn fun: It basically strips insight bonuses away and replaces them at higher spell levels with penalties, with 3rd spell level starting to pile a debuff on failed checks and attack rolls that feature the bonus type. This is really clever, and its higher levels are not simply an escalation of numbers. Like it! The second spell would be glimpse terror, which allows you to strike fear in the heart of lower CR critters by virtue of opening a pretty scary hole in space, from which…things…can be glimpsed, with key ability spellcasting modifier as a cap preventing cheesing of the spell.

Conclusion:

Editing is very strong on a formal and rules-language level. Alas, formatting is weaker than usual for Everyman gaming, sporting a surprising amount of avoidable formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to the nice and aesthetically-pleasing two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has a nice artwork. It features no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall’s mythos connection wasn’t a pdf I looked forward to reviewing; for the most part, the mythos-class options often feel dull, and it’s very easy to phone them in. I am exceedingly happy to report that this is NOT the case here. With a pronounced consciousness of potential long-term issues evident, an intricate entwinement with the mystic’s rules and precise rules-language, the mythos connection actually is a really cool little supplement! From the graft to the spells, it is evident that the author cares – she has actually crafted a connection I’d not only allow; I do consider it to be a fun rendition of the concept. The reliance on the Starfarer Companion spells is not ideal as far as I’m concerned, but as a whole, I do enjoy this supplement. As such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


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