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An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This little bestiary clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this pdf with a brief introduction of the context of Ina’Oth and the deadly Plague of Shadows that ravages these lands…and the results of the methods to combat the plagues that sweep Ursatur.
The children of vinari healer Anna Schafer still haunt the places, constituting the first critter within, Anna’s Forgotten, a CR 13 undead. Born from the desperate attempts to find a cure from experimentation on children, the canonization of the good Dr as a Saint of the One True God has not helped to render the gas/miasma-themed and mist-shrouded undead rest easier in their graves. Chilling.
At CR 5, the second creature within would be the extergeist. While the plague of shadows was hard to stop, some folks tried to combat it with cleanliness. And as someone who used to be very OCD in that regard, let it be known that cleanliness can harm you…so yeah, this makes this ghosts extra chilling for me: They are those that perished, in spite of their cleaning neurosis, and they still fear disease…their touch capable of unraveling, of scrubbing away the tissue that makes up the living…and their pronounced fear of contamination beyond death making for a great Achilles’ hell. Big kudos!
The final critter makes use of one rules-innovation from the superb Gamemaster’s Guide to Ina’Oth (seriously, one of the best regional sourcebooks I know!), namely multi-stage diseases, one of which is presented here to accompany the creature. You don’t need that book to make use of the creature, but the Plague Cymoth, equal parts plague and creature, makes for a chilling finale…oh, and we actually get two feats for those that learn to…utilize their horrid parasites! Nice! (Btw.: One of them nets you a second bite in your bite, Alien-style…)
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. All 3 creatures get their own full-color artworks as well – impressive for a mere $1.50 asking price!
Landon Winkler delivers big time with these three creatures – they are all interesting and chilling in some way, and they have strong concepts and even manage to provide some mechanically interesting tricks. Honestly, you can’t ask for much more from such a humble, inexpensive pdf! This is absolutely worth getting if you even remotely like dark fantasy/horror and/or the Vathak setting! This gets 5 stars + seal of approval.
Secret Societies of Vathak: The People of Ash (PFRPG) PDFFat Goblin Games
Our Price: $1.50Add to Cart
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This supplement depicting one of Vathak’s secret organizations clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The huantlings of Vathak that believe that they have been granted their strange state of existence by virtue of fire hold the grimoires The Litany of Ashes in particularly high regards, searching for purpose in the book as well as the fragmented memories of their fire-stained past. Those that follow this creed of fire and ash are known as the People of Ash, and as such, the organization itself mirrors the diverse social realities of Vathak, with conflict, in spite of the lax unifying rules of the informal society, being scarce.
The pdf then proceeds to depict the three locations that are most known as gathering places for the People of Ash, depicting the locations in vivid, captivating prose. Following this presentation, three leaders of the society, Grandmother Bellace, Sarkara and The Foreman are depicted in flowery, well-crafted prose – no full stats are provided for these, but we do get write-ups that do grease the engines of the GM’s imagination. These NPC write-ups are indeed intriguing, and we do get 3 further fluff-only write-ups of further members that add further complications and angles to the material presented within.
The next section familiarizes us with the tenets and truths behind the beliefs of this society, which focuses often upon the realization of the hauntling condition, and a focus on the tempering of the body/mind, as ostensibly, only the strongest souls can make the transition, which adds an elite-thinking angle to the organization. The initiation rites of the society are presented, and as far as benefits beyond roleplaying are concerned, 5 feats can be found: Tempered Soul allows you to throw off mind-affecting effects for untyped damage that may not be cheesed; Fire’s Tempering builds on that in an interesting manner; Grace of Fire’s Fury is a torch-fighter’s feat and Graceful Brand lets you use fire to end bleed effects, building on it. Rekindle Soul can make fire have restorative effects while your hp is below 0 – and yes, it has a limit to prevent abuse. Nice one! The pdf concludes with 3 well-written adventure hooks.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports really nice full color artworks – impressive for the low price point asked! The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity – kudos for going the extra mile!
Landon Winkler can craft compelling prose – The People of Ash are a cool secret society and sport some compelling, exciting angles to pursue. The feats are gold for grittier campaigns and retain their meaningful effects. That being said, I did wish we got some stats for the cool leaders of the society. That being said, at a paltry $1.50, this is definitely worth getting. A really nice supplement, well worthy of a final verdict of 4 stars.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, the introduction specifies that technomancers can access magic tied t more than physical technology, mentioning search engines (digimancy), dubthurgy and spamorcery. Damn, now I really want a spamorcery-specialist! Anyways, younger technomancers (and those nerdy/young at heart) enjoy toonimancy, drawing upon concepts popularized by cartoons. This write up also mentions the Tooninomicon. It often comes in physical versions and contains this warning, in dozens of languages: “Warning! You are not B. Bunny!” Oh yeah? Yeah!
Anyways, we get a brief list that codifies spells by levels, just before we get the spells themselves. Anvil has a Medium range and comes in 6 versions – one for each spell level, and it targets a single creature or object, dropping an…anvil on them. Or, you know, pianos, safes, etc. Comparing the respective damage values with Starfinder’s spells, I have no complaints here. Ban hammer also comes in a version for level 1 – 6, and generates a massive, two-handed hammer with “BAN” written on it. It is massive, unwieldy, and critical hit effects as well as special weapon properties make sense. You btw. attack with caster level + key ability score. You may choose to end the ban hammer upon hitting a target – if you do, the target must save or be forced to move away from you. I’d love to have that IRL sometimes…
Boomspittle is a 5th level spell that may only be cast as a reaction while being an the area of a multiple-squares-targeting weapon attack that fails to hit you, or against which you successfully save. You inhale the weapon effect, and may then blow forth a harmless puff of smoke, or exhale the weapon’s blast! Heck yeah!! Control argument is a 1st level spell and makes the target disagree with everything you say. This made me smile so widely… The 3rd level spell coyote curse makes it impossible for the target to use technological or hybrid weapons, vehicles or equipment, including armor upgrades, but nor armor, without taking an extra move action to fix an annoying difficulty, a bizarre slip. I love this spell. I’m spo going to use its effects as a really brutal high-level terrain hazard!
Finger in the Muzzle is a 1st level spell that may only be cast as a reaction while adjacent to a target firing a ranged weapon. You put the finger in the muzzle. The target saves, and on a failure, for some backfire shenanigans. Neat! Flat foot is 2nd level and smashes a foe taking bludgeoning damage comically flat, making them…flat-footed. That is so funny on a meta-level, I actually laughed. Passpaint is a 4th level spell that lets you paint a gate in the time-honored tradition. Really neat. Shave-and-a-hair-cut forces targets to make a Will save or loudly proclaim “two bits” as a result of your knocks and take a move action or guarded step towards you – interesting 1st level spell. Theme music lets you hear your own theme music, inaudible to anyone else. This penalizes Perception…but it makes you automatically aware of danger – the music changes! It also can allow you to get a hunch of a given situation.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports fitting, cartoon-y artworks. The pdf does come with basic bookmarks, in spite of the brevity.
Owen K.C. Stephens’ toonimancy is amazing. The spells are genuinely funny, immaculately balanced and befitting of the quality we expect from Strafinder’s Lead. This is an all-killer, no filler collection of inspiring spells with even the fluff providing some damn cool ideas. I really found myself wishing for more, and indeed, in Starfinder, this works perfectly regarding aesthetics. 5 stars + seal of approval.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This extra-long installment of the Star Log-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Okay, this one is something completely different. Everyman Gaming and Rogue Genius Games have been at the vanguard of Starfinder content from the get-go; the massive Starfarer’s Companion book would be one such example. Now, here’s the thing – quite a lot of the releases of the companies managed to predate the Alien Archive, which means that NPC/Monster-creation couldn’t be taken into account.
Well, this book remedies that for quite a wide variety of different sources. To be more precise: We get the creature subtype grafts for the Starfarer’s Companion races, as well as for the Skinwalkers, gnolls, ganzi and msvokas introduced in the Star Log.EM-series. The traits are concisely codified and leave nothing to be desired, with level-dependent feat effects etc. accounted for.
The pdf also does feature class grafts, and this section does include the legacy classes pioneered in the Starfarer’s Companion and the stand-alone Witch Legacy class. I am not particularly fond of these legacy classes, but plenty of folks are; plus, balance concerns are less important for the creation of potent adversaries, so yeah. The presentation of these class grafts is concise and precise; Skill, ability score modifiers, required array – all precisely presented. Per class, we do get more than 10 ability-by-Cr-entries in respective tables; how many do depend on the class. Some get 14 entries, some just 11. Perhaps that’s just me being greedy or, well, kinda OCD, but getting those for all CRs would have been nice, if only for completion’s sake. Nice: Regarding gear, e.g. paladins and rangers get separate entries for melee or ranged focus, though oddly, formatting isn’t consistent here. For the ranger, the headers are italicized for the gear sub-focuses, while, for the paladin, they’re bolded. That is just a cosmetic hiccup, though.
A neat plus, at least for me, was the inclusion of the Zoomer-class pioneered by Everyman Gaming in the array. The Aeoncarnate base class is similarly included, but I do not own this particular class, so unfortunately, I can’t comment on the virtue of its implementation.
Editing and formatting are very good; apart from cosmetic, minor snafus, I encountered no issues. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series and the pdf does have a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, which usually isn’t a problem for files of this size, but considering the reference-character of this pdf, it is a bit of a pity. I’d advise you to print out the file and add it to your Alien Archive.
This is one of the pdfs that just screams “I have been a mindnumbing labor to make” to me, and I’m glad that Alexander Augunas sat down and did all the work that assembling these must have been. And don’t get me wrong: The like *IS* work. Take it from my own design experience. Heck, even reviewing this took MUCH longer than the brevity of this review would make you believe. Flip open all those pdfs, check…you get the idea. In short: This is an incredibly handy little pdf if you’re looking for the graft-information for all these aforementioned books supported within. It is definitely worth getting, particularly if you’re like me and this type of work sends you into a GM-ing-procrastination spiral. So yeah, this is USEFUL. That’s its focus, and it delivers. 5 stars.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Now, the first thing you’ll notice regarding these class options, is that gunslinging herein is not limited to the options of a new class; instead, there is a variety of ways to get the respective gunslinging tricks you want. Operatives may choose the gunslinger specialization, which has Intimidate and Perception as associated skills and allows for the use of Perception to make trick attacks. As a specialization exploit, you can choose any gunslinger ability of 9th level or lower. At 11th level, you may choose one gunslinger ability of 18th level or lower. You may select a possessively named ability, even if you have already selected abilities from other possessives. This is obviously a nomenclature issue, since the term is not clarified later. Instead, this should refer to method abilities.
A soldier gunslinger can select the gunslinging fighting style as either primary or secondary fighting style (not both), granting you a gunslinging ability at 1st,5th, 9th, 13th and 17th level. Abilities of your character level or your soldier level +1, whichever is better. There also is a gunslinger archetype: This requires proficiency in small arms, longarms or sniper rifles. At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th and 18th level, you may choose to gain gunslinging abilities. There also is a Gunslinger combat feat, which lets you choose one gunslinging ability of your character level or less; it may be taken multiple times.
Now, we’ve been mentioning these gunslinging abilities a lot, so let’s take a look at them! These abilities are organized by level and belong to specific methods – basically ability trees/families. The limitations imposed on characters regarding their choices is a neat idea – but it would have been even neater with an actual list/table listing the methods available. As written, you have to extrapolate the methods available from the respective ability-write-ups, which is an unnecessary comfort detriment.
The abilities per se are pretty interesting and do some creative things, even when referring to Pathfinder abilities that tended to elicit tired yawns in the original: When a ranged attack would theoretically miss you, you can choose to take it to stagger a few steps (10 ft.) around dramatically, taking minimum damage. The ability may be used more often than once, but doing so requires Resolve Point expenditure to do so sans resting. I also really liked the ability to set up basically turrets and similar traps – the rules here are tight, though, in a potentially confusing decision, the ability does not specify whether it uses Engineering or Mysticism to disable the traps placed. I assume Engineering, since it makes more sense, but theoretically, magical weaponry and the like would make sense with Mysticism as well. Some guidelines there would have been very much appreciated.
Better harrying fire, heavy armor proficiency, scaling grenade tricks. I am not 100% happy with the ability that nets fortification from the get-go: It does cost Resolve and a reaction to use, but considering the price of force fields that provide an unreliable means of negating critical hits, this does seem like a bit overkill for a 1st level ability. That being said, gunslinger’s dodge is actually fun here: It lets you move and nets an AC-bonus against the triggering attack, so yeah, it can actually matter. Nice one! There also is an interesting one that lets you create experimental weaponry that could inject e.g. vials or even spell ampoules at range, though at the cost of increased reloading durations – all of these special tricks do have their drawbacks to avoid breaking the item’s power. Like it. Pistolero, on the other hand, pretty much is a bit creepy for me: It allows you to execute a full attack as a standard action when wielding only small arms, and while it does have limitations imposed and an anti-abuse caveat, I am not sold on it: While the solarian’s solar acceleration zenith revelation has additional tricks added, it’s significantly higher level than 1st, and Starfinder’s increased ranged combat focus does make the movement more valuable. More nasty: Full actions do prevent swift action use, and this ability allows the gunslinger to avoid this limitation. It’s not *necessarily* broken, but for future-proofing, I’d definitely further elaborate upon the limitations this should have; as written, it only prevents full action or standard action-based attack options, and it’s probably just a matter of time before swift action-based tricks enter the fray.
Making a last reaction shot before being knocked unconscious, however, is a nice one. Determining randomly which target to shoot can net you a bonus, and there is a nice support ability as well. At range dirty trick (with trick attack synergy, if available!) and unlocking the soldier’s grenade expert at 3rd level, would be two examples for well-placed abilities regarding their power. Making precisely-aimed penetrating shots is also an angle I very much enjoyed, and quicker reloading for signature weapons is neat as well. Knockdown when hitting targets twice, with one of the hits being critical, is similarly a fun one. Rendering foes flat-footed that are subject to harrying fire or covering fire makes for a nice 6th level ability. Targeting shots and similar classics have been translated to Starfinder in often creative ways. I also liked the staggering warning shot. It should be noted that, starting 9th level, we no longer get a metric ton of new abilities for all methods – only 3 per level-range are provided, with only Gun Tank and Ace Shooter having high-level exclusives unlocked at 12th level for the taking. All in all, while I do consider some of the abilities potentially problematic and pretty strong, I found myself liking this section very much.
The next section is pretty damn cool: Dare feats. Dare feats are unique in that they are inactive most of the time. As long as you have Resolve, the Dare feats are inactive: They only kick in once your Resolve runs out! As soon as you regain Resolve, the Dare once more becomes inactive. Anyone can take these, and they are interesting in that they could have easily been broken. Making smart use of Starfinder’s significant enemy concept, the regaining of Resolve via the specific conditions provided by the feats is not cheesable. Big kudos – I think this concept could carry even more!
The final section provides the gunslinger base class: Dexterity is the key-ability modifier, 7 + Con Stamina, 6 HP, 5 + Int skills per level, proficiency with basic melee weapons, grenades, small arms, longarms, sniper weapons. You gain Weapon Specialization for all weapons this class gets proficiency with. The class has full BAB-progression and goo Ref- and Will-saves. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter nets a bonus feat, and the class starts with 2 gunslinger abilities and gains more at most levels – except those that net bonus feats of the grit ability increases. Grit is gained at 7th level and is 1 point that acts as a Resolve Point that may only be used to stay in the fight or to power gunslinging abilities. It does NOT qualify for having Resolve left – nice catch! The first time per day you kill or critically hit a significant enemy, you regain 1 Grit. 11th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase grit by +1. The class table is wrong here: 15th level should read “Grit+3”, 19th “Grit+4.” 7th level provides a decreased penalty with ranged full attacks; 13th level the three attack full attack and the capstone makes the gunslinger count as always having 1 Resolve left for gunslinging abilities. One gunslinging ability costing Resolve also does not cost Resolve anymore.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, though not perfect: the class table glitch is nasty, and there are a couple of instances where the otherwise precise rules-language could be a tiny bit more specific. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports quite a few really neat full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Owen K.C. Stephens flexes his design-muscles here, big time – while it may not have sounded like this in my review above, but this, from a design-perspective, an amazing pdf to read: Starfinder is a complex game, and writing rules-syntax for it is potentially harder than for Pathfinder. After all, accounting for general archetypes and critical effects, etc. adds to the things you have to bear in mind. Now, that being said, this is SUPER-impressive, as befitting of the Starfinder design-lead!
I tried *really* hard to poke some holes into this book, but frankly, I couldn’t come up with much: Apart from typo-level glitches, a few instances noted above, and the table glitch, my main concerns here lie in the future-proofing of a scant few abilities. That in mind, I am left with a few minor hiccups and said concerns, which leave me at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo. That being said, this is mechanically intriguing in multiple ways and manages to even make abilities that were bland in PFRPG matter in their new iterations. For this, the pdf does get my seal of approval. My favorite SFRPG-book by Rogue Genius Games so far, and a worthy addition to the game!!
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
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!
As before, we have a nice little flavorful contextualization of the subject matter in the Xa-Osoro system, noting the influence of the “Cult of .//ALL”, which I considered to be rather inspiring.
The pdf sports 3 different 2nd level hacks; Arcing Charge lets you expend an unused spell slot as a move action to charge a weapon, transforming its damage to inflict electricity damage. Nice catch: The weapons, if targeting KAC, still do so. If it does not have the arc critical effect, it gains this one for the duration; otherwise, the arc-range is expanded by 5 ft. per spell level of the spell slot expended. The hack’s duration lasts for 1 minute per level of the spell slot expended. Burning and Chilling charge are the energy type swapped fire and cold damage equivalents of this one, with burn and stagger critical effects instead, respectively. Already pre-existing such properties instead have their DCs improved for these. While the DC-increase thus possible can be pretty massive, the limited nature and cost here can be considered to be suitable.
There also are 3 5th level magic hacks: Animate File lets you expend a spell slot as a full action to search for recently-deleted files. You make a Computers check to hack, and on a success, identify all recently deleted files, with the spell slot level determining how far in the past you can reach. After this, you may spend any number of Resolve Points. You restore 2 such files per level of the spell slot expended, and gain an untyped bonus to Fortitude saves for an hour equal to the number of Resolve Points spent. The Fort-boost feels weird to me and doesn’t really make sense for me, but your mileage may vary.
The philosopher’s flash drive can be created during a 10-minute rest o regain Stamina while spending Resolve. To do so, you must sacrifice an unused spell slot. Thereafter, you can choose a transmutation spell of a level equal to the sacrificed spell’s one or lesser. That spell is then uploaded to the drive and may be used by any creature with the datajack augmentation as a swift action. Upon doing so, the spell immediately targets the creature, as though you had cast the spell. The hack takes customizing the drive into account, and notes the DC to hack these locked drives. Spells stored persist, but prevent that you regain the spell stored, preventing you from cheesing the ability. Upon regaining daily spell slots, you can choose to have all such drives cease functioning. Using a flash drive consumes it. Problematic here: RAW, this allows for the sharing of Target: Personal spells, which is something I’d eye with care. A caveat that limits spells stored would make sense here to future proof this.
Thirdly, encyclopedic cache lets you, when regaining spells and Resolve, spend 1 Resolve to select a spell on the class spell list of any level you can cast, but don’t know. You may then cast the spell instead of one you know. Problematic here: The hack does not note a condition for the reversal of the spell, which means you can slowly swap out your total spell load out. This should have a limitation.
The pdf also features two 8th level hacks: When determining the spells active in the cache capacitor, you may choose to it to ping magic instead of putting a spell in it – if you have the new Ping Magic hack, that is. If you do, you automatically detect magic (italicization missing) at the start of your turn sans action. The interval depends on the level where you take the hack – once per minute, per 5 rounds, or per round. You gain information as though you concentrated on every object in the 20 ft. ping burst. This is a cool idea, but the constant detect can be supremely annoying for the GM. The Summoned State Drive hack, finally, interacts in an analogue manner with the cache capacitor. You get to choose one creature per spell level you can cast summon monster that you could have chosen as summonable, but didn’t. This allows for better summoning flexibility. Once more, I think that a bit limiting would be nice here.
The pdf also offers the Adaptable Spell Hack feat. This nets you 3 magic hacks you don’t have, but whose prerequisites you meet and whose minimum level is equal to half your technomancer level or less. Once per day as a move action, you can get one of these for a minute. When gaining a level, you may switch out a hack, and the feat may be taken multiple times, granting an additional daily use for every time you take it. Note that you still can’t generate hack-chains thus, courtesy of the precise verbiage. Potent and restricted, but viable. Like it.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, some minor caveats added would probably make sense. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a nice artwork, but sans bookmarks. The pdf doesn’t need them at this length.
Sasha Hall delivers an interesting, creative and precise pdf. Now, I am a bit weary regarding future-proofing of a few of the options herein, as the flexibility offered can be construed to be rather potent and will exponentially increase with the system maturing. Thus, a couple of limiting caveats would imho make sense. Still, as a whole, I consider this to be a well-crafted supplement. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of the platform.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the player-centric/class redesign books clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content – as always for Legendary Games, these pages are packed with materials, so rest assured that there’s a LOT of content within!
Now, I’ve been pretty vocal about the copious issues that the gunslinger class has, so let’s start with the big selling point of this pdf – the Legendary Gunslinger base class. Now, in an interesting aside, the pdf already shows a level of care absent from many comparable files: The class table does come with a short note that allows groups that do not operate under the assumption of firearms targeting touch AC to make full use of it. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of “going the extra mile”-mentality I really appreciate.
Now, let’s take a look at the chassis: Legendary Gunslingers are proficient with simple and martial weapons as well as with all firearms and light armor, get d8 HD, and thank the 7 heavens, they actually get SKILLS. 6 + Int mod per level. And yes, these include Swashbuckling staples like Acrobatics, Bluff, Swim, Stealth, etc. The chassis of the class is also interesting in that it implements a change I have always been pretty vocal about: The gunslinger does NOT need full BAB; targeting touch AC for the most part makes math wonky at high levels for full BAB characters. Thus, the legendary gunslinger gets ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Ref-saves.
The legendary gunslinger gets a blunderbuss, musket or pistol at first level and this weapon may only be sold for scrap; other creatures treat it as broken. We also get Gunsmithing, however, ammo etc. may be crafted for 1% of the base price. This means that legendary gunslingers no longer break the bank of really gritty low level groups. Also at first level, the legendary gunslinger gets to add Dex-mod to firearm damage, though this bonus damage caps at class level until 5th level. (this ability is called “gun training”, fyi.) Additionally, misfire values are reduced by 1 to a minimum of 0, and broken firearms only increase misfire values by 2, not by 4. Grit is still governed by Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). A really big plus here would be that the legendary gunslinger’s grit-recharge mechanics allow for the regaining of grit via successful saving throws. And before you ask: YES, this is utterly and remarkable cheesing-proof. No chance to abuse it whatsoever. Big kudos!
At 2nd level, we get +1/2 class level to Perception, and choose two Int or Cha-based skills and use Wisdom instead as governing attribute. With the skill-array, this makes gunslinger faces very much possible. Nice! Also at second level, we get a significant alteration as far as design paradigms are concerned: We get the first so-called gun mastery, with every 3 levels thereafter granting another one. Yes, this means what you think it means: The class, finally, actually has meaningful player-agenda and build-diversification built straight into its chassis. Some deeds have been transformed into gun mastery and now require a conscious decision to get – like Charging Shot, or Counter Shot. As an aside: The latter now actually is balanced by the alterations of the gunslinging chassis in a more meaningful and exciting manner. The placement of these masteries as far as minimum levels are concerned btw. makes sense. A particular joy, at least for me, would have been to see that improved and expanded targeting add to the targeting deed. And yes, you can get renown! The gun masteries presented are extensive, interesting and yielded no issues in my tests.
3rd level yields uncanny dodge, and 13th level improved uncanny dodge…while also providing the deed mechanic! So yes, legendary gunslingers still retain basic deed functionality; it’s still very hard to make a truly sucky character with the engine proposed, and the choices that are still automatically granted thus make sense. 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th level unlock new deeds in this linear progression. 4th level nets nimble (improving it by +1 every 4 levels thereafter) and combat grit: This nets you a temporary grit point whenever you roll initiative. This does have a cooldown and can’t be cheesed, while making sure that you always have at least something to do. 5th level lets you spend 1 grit as a swift action for +1 to atk and damage for 1 minute, with the bonus increasing by +1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter. 6th level nets the skill unlock of a Dex or Wisdom based skill (including ones where the gunslinger may have substituted Wisdom for Cha or Int), and 6th level allows for a grit-based reroll of Dex-or Wis-based skill checks. This improves at 17th level. 7th level nets evasion, 16th improved evasion. True grit is the capstone. We also get two alternate favored class options for all races: +1/6 gun mastery or +1/5 combat grit.
The pdf includes no less than 15 different archetypes for this class, so let’s take a look at what we get, shall we? The alchemical hotshot loses deeds, but does get alchemy at minus 1 extract per level and is Int-based; the massive key feature here would be that the archetype learns metallurgy, which has two benefits per entry: One is the special type of bullet, and one allows for a firearm made from the material. Lead, for example, can temporarily lower SR, while copper bullets can prevent targets from attacking the alchemical hotshot. And yes, you get to go Golden Gun at higher levels; heck, you even get a platinum gun!! The archetype pays for this flexibility by losing some of the spontaneous tricks – it is Int-based, so requiring a bit more deliberate planning is perfectly in line with the concept here. Damn cool. The anthem gunner is basically a bard lite/legendary gunslinger hybrid that is Charisma-based and as such, has a lot of its class features tweaked accordingly. The black flag bandit is locked into pistols and represents a pistol + blade/siege weapon specialist. They can make siege weapons require smaller crews, which, in some campaigns, can be super cool.
The bullet wizard once more would be an Intelligence-based archetype, using the starting weapon as a bonded object and gaining a magus’ spellbook. The archetype makes delivering spells via bullets work (this is pretty hard) and may, at higher levels, expend spellslots to fire energy blasts from the weapon. This made me smile, for it does resemble to a degree the concept I implemented in my own etherslinger class, though obviously with a different base spellcasting engine. Nice job!! Don’t like firearms in your game? Take a look at the crossbow killer archetype. Big kudos: This fellow does come with a bit of advice regarding multi-archetyping it. The Demolition soldier is locked into a pistol and gets scaling bombs. Nice. The faded stranger is the faceless guy that folks may forget about after meeting them, the subtle infiltrator – I liked this one, though I did wish it had a silencer-style ability baked into its rules. The firearm striker is an unarmed/gun-fu-ish specialist that blends unarmed strikes and firearms. This is traditionally either really bad or really broken – this is neither, though it probably would have made for a viable class hack. The option to follow firearm shots with unarmed strikes, including movement, is interesting.
The living turret gets a culverin and may enter a special stance as a move action, improving defenses and counting as supported. Interesting: This does offer some tanking capabilities. Cool engine tweak! The muzzle roarer is one of the big archetypes: Born under a really bad sign, these guys may neither be good, nor lawful, and they must serve an evil patron deity or entity akin to demon lords, horsemen of the apocalypse or Great Old Ones. They have slightly less skill points per level, but do get an oracle curse, with additional spells codified as limited use SPs instead. With a Rovagug-y theme, they can shatter inanimate objects. They also may choose ninja tricks and rogue talents instead of gun masteries – and yes, grit is employed instead of ki, where applicable. Their firearms become particularly loud, making noticing them easier, and they may use grit to duplicate magical sonic based effects. Finally, the archetype gets a couple of nice, or rather, unpleasant evil deeds.
The pale slinger replaces nimble with an aura of misfortune, from which she may exempt allies, and hexes and hex/shot synergy are neat. I also enjoyed the unique benefit that prevents rerolls in the auras of higher level pale slingers. Rather cool one! Rumslingers only recover grit by drinking alcohol, replaces nimble with a synergy trick for Fort-bonuses to resist poison by imbibing alchemical fire. 2 unique deeds and a really evocative capstone complement this interesting engine tweak. Sky riders replace the resolve ability sequence and slinger’s quirk with a bird animal companion. The archetype also gets wild empathy and upgrades for monstrous mounts later. Solemn travelers may not be true neutral and instead get an alignment-themed cavalier mount, with later detect-SPs added. Judgments and an aura that penalizes fear-saves and negates fear immunity complement this one. Finally, there would be the technological shootist as the final archetype – you guessed it: This fellow would be the Tech Guide engine tweak for the Legendary Gunslinger. Nice one!
The feats within the book number 6 – Deed Specialization nets +2 DC for a deed’s save DC. Extra Gun Mastery nets, bingo, a gun mastery. For Demon-Haunted Drifter, you need an eidolon and may instantly call forth the eidolon or lesser evolution surge it via grit, which is cool. Kudos: Notes for use are provided for gamers with less system mastery. Guns Out of the Grave takes up almost a whole page and is a feat that is only available for the undead. The feat nets you rejuvenation while you have at least 1 grit, and the feat nets special abilities depending on the HD of the user of the feat. Obviously intended for NPCs, this makes for a truly fearsome feat for the undead, allowing the undead to call their weapons back. I’d obviously strongly advise against making this one available for PCs in all but the most potent (or apocalyptic) of campaigns. Whiskey-Soaked Drifter is once more a HUGE feat, one that makes the character basically an alcoholic, but allows for temporary grit gains via drinking alcohol. Minor nitpick: There is a reference to “grit” that should refer to “drunken grit” instead, making the second paragraph here slightly confusing. This feat is one I really like in theme, though the execution will not be for all groups. Since this reliably delimits grit, it requires some mature handling by player and GM alike. The Winter-Hearted Drifter feat is one that makes you an arctic specialist/one associated with entities of cold/etc., providing synergy with the Winter Shade of the Umbral Wood feat. While high-concept, these long-form feats do need a bit more careful consideration than the rest of the pdf.
There also is a page of nice firearm modifications – 8 to be precise. And yes, thank all 7 heavens, a silencer’s included. Gunslingers can now, you know, not insta-break any infiltration scenario. Huge kudos. The pdf also includes two magic items, the farsight duster that enhances range-increments and the lore bullet, which, while kept on the person of someone with deeds for 24 hours, nets the gun mastery inscribed within. There is a hard limit on how many of these you may carry. The pdf ends with a cool NPC, Theresa Diaz. She and her lover were enslaved by Nigredo, a neurokineticist and brother of Theresa’s lover, who had a …weird way of showing affection. Theresa now is looking for Hannah, lost somewhere out there. Nice way of tying stories together. And yes, we get a proper boon for this CR 7 lady.
Editing and formatting are excellent on a rules-language level; on a formal level, the pdf is similarly precise, though I did notice a couple of installments of bolding missing. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, with artworks being a blend of old and new full-color pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
N. Jolly, Jason Nelson, Clinton J. Boomer, Robert Brookes and Alex Augunas know what they’re doing. Siobhan Bjorknas, Blake Morton, Hal Kennette and Jason Nelson in development did definitely polish this to a shine.
So…ähem…you know, the longform feats…I’d have preferred them in a Legendary Villains installment. Öhm. Yeah. Those firearm mods? More would have been cool. Öhm. Yeah.
Who am I kidding?? This is the masterclass gunslinger that I always wanted. Meaningful differentiation, sensible design decisions that are grounded on a deep understanding of rules and obvious playtesting, high-concept options and an all around better playing experience? HECK YES. This is what the gunslinger always was supposed to be. It’s a rewarding, evocative, fun class that does pretty much everything resoundingly right, with the minor manabar-y combat grit making for a bold and cool engine-change. Add to that the skills, the expert ways to prevent abuse, and we have a masterpiece of a class redesign. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Oh, and since I only got around to reviewing this right now, this is definitely a candidate for this year’s top ten. A must-own offering for any group including gunslinging – get it and never look back.
Everyman Minis: Unchained Kangaroos: Dire Edition (PFRPG) PDFRogue Genius Games
Our Price: $2.95Add to Cart
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Everyman Mini actually clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Now, while nominally, this pdf does reference the Everyman Minis: Unchained Kangaroos and Yroometji, you don’t require either to make use of the majority of this pdf.
We begin this pdf with a new animal, the Procoptodon megafauna, whose critical kicks can cause Constitution damage and bleed. And yes, they are really effective for CR 3. Minor complaint: The senses-line notes “Perception +#”, which should be “Perception +7”; cosmetic, since the skills do note the proper value. The pdf also includes Mirro, a CR 11 yroometji five-strike slugger brawler, which means one of my favorite brawler archetypes does get an iconic – big plus there! Really cool: He also gets a fully statted intelligent item, Xyvinar, which is pretty cool. Better yet, though, would be the really cool, extensive background story we get for this character. Now, don’t get me wrong: I like rank-and-file statblocks, but folks like this fellow do deserve stories, and for me as a GM, such stories are often what decides whether I’ll implement a character in my game or not. So yeah, big kudos for making this fellow more than just a series of stats!
But neither of these will be the reason you’ll truly want to get this pdf, at least if you’re like me. 150 ft.; 75 ft. tail. CR 27. The earth shakes, courtesy of tremor-causing steps and seismic command; it’s impossibly agile for something this big. It can easily spot you. It has the fighting skills, prerequisite-wise, of a frickin’ level 20 fighter. It’s basically Godzilla crossed with a kaiju kangaroo, with an inexplicable fondness for yroometji! It’s amazing! Minor complaint here: The natural attacks, inexplicably, don’t seem to apply any ability score modifiers to their damage values. Unless I’m missing something, these modifiers should be applied. It’s easy enough to do so, but that still is a bit of a comfort detriment. (And yes, we do get a cool full-color artwork for the kaiju!)
The final component of this pdf would be the level 9 occult ritual Writhing Flesh in Father’s Form. This is a transmutation (polymorph) ritual that requires a massive 9 hours to complete, and it is amazing – you basically take something from a creature and then attempt to transform the target: The process is described in detail and made me shiver with anticipation: From the bath of mercury to the polymorphic hammer, this really tickled my fancy. Here’s a thing: The duration is contingent on failed saves of the subject, and failures in the ritual add a variety of destabilizations, ensuring that PCs won’t want to do this all the time – still, this basically allows you to temporarily go Kaiju…and perhaps have a PC locked in shape, which can provide the impetus for new adventures to revert the change… Truly versatile and inspiring!
Editing and formatting are very good of a formal level. On a rules-language level, the minor guffaws in the statblocks, while cosmetic, do detract slightly from the pdf’s appeal. Layout adheres to the artwork-bordered two-column full-color standard of the series and the artworks featured are cool. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Alexander Augunas’ unchained dire kangaroos are frickin’ cool! The sample NPC with his story, the kaiju and ritual – they all combine into basically one big, amazing adventure hook I really enjoyed. It is only due to the minor formal glitches that I can’t rate this higher than 4.5 stars, rounded down. If the like doesn’t faze you, get this asap!
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This hybrid class clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was requested by one of my patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.
So, the venommancer is a hybrid of alchemist and kineticist and gets d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons plus bola, boomerang, flask thrower, needle glove, scorpion whip, shuriken, scythe, throwing syringe, wrist launcher and whip as well as light armor, but not with shields. They get ¾ BAB-progression, begin play with poison use and have good Fort- and Ref-saves.
In case you were wondering: Both throwing syringe and needle glove are new exotic weapons with the inject special property. These weapons may be filled with a liquid as a 1.minute process, as a standard action for characters with poison use. Other weapons can get this one for +50% costs. Both are pretty expensive (15 gp and 35 gp), so plan this when spending the 3d6 x 10 starting wealth.
The venommancer begins play with the special blend class feature, which translates to 3 + Intelligence (not properly capitalized) modifier doses of a fast acting poison that may not be hoarded. This poison is an injury poison with a 1 round onset, dealing 1d4 untyped damage for the venommancer’s Intelligence modifier rounds. A successful Fortitude saving throw versus DC 10 + ½ class level + Intelligence modifier negates the poison/flushes it out. The venommancer adds his level to Craft (alchemy) or Knowledge (nature), Heal and Survival to checks pertaining diseases or poisons. They can also use a standard action to identify a poison affecting a creature in reach. Finally, 1st level nets the toxins ability: the venommancer has cultivated 3 + Constitution modifier (once more, Constitution is not properly formatted…) diseases: As a standard action, the venommancer may exude a 5 ft.-radius cloud within 30 ft. of his current location. Targets in the cloud get a Con-governed Fort-save ( 10 + ½ class level + Constitution modifier, once more, attribute not properly formatted…) to negate. The cloud can be dissipated as a full-round action, and fire damage similarly can dissipate it. Unless thus dissipated, the cloud lasts class level rounds. The toxin has an onset of 1 day and causes 2 Dexterity damage per day, lasting until the target affected succeeds a save. The cloud has AC 10 and automatically fails saves.
At 2nd level, the venommancer gets the first virulence, with every even level thereafter, excluding the capstone, another virulence chosen. Virulences can be applied to toxins and special blends, but only 1 per such toxin/blend. Saving throw DCs are 10 + ½ class level + Intelligence modifier. There is a bit of a didactic improvement to be made here regarding nomenclature: It would have been easier for toxins to be referred directly, for special blends to be referenced directly. While the fluff text designates toxins as diseases, and special blends as poisons, the virulences apply their benefits generally…and accelerate disease becomes problematic. As a full-round action that provokes AoOs and may target a single being within 30 ft. – this target takes one day worth of disease effects…okay, so what about diseases with a quick progression? Full effects? Is there a save? I assume no, since the poison virulence does not the save DC, but I’m not sure. This problem extends to and is exacerbated in the accelerate poison virulence, which applies a poison’s remaining damage to a creature, with but a single save. This purges the poison, but can be a dragonslayer save or suck nonetheless. The issue regarding nomenclature also extends to some of the virulences – Adaptability makes the toxins apply to aberrations and undead. This is odd, since RAW, aberrations can be affected by poisons. Does this mean that toxins usually can’t affect aberrations? Why?? Substituting a toxin’s effect with that of diseases is interesting, and class level -4 bombs is also available, though this one lacks the minimum level prerequisite. RAW, it doesn’t work at 2nd or 4th level. The flawed rules-language also extends to a few very basic operations: Clumsiness blend, for example, makes the special blend deal 1 point of Dexterity damage instead of hit point damage. “You may take this virulence 1 additional time for every 4 venommancer levels you have. The damage stacks.” You’d usually use something like “every time you do, you increase the…” here instead. Anyway, there is a virulence talent that lets you fire a ranged touch attack as a standard action against a target affected by special blend or toxin, dealing 1d6 + half your Constitution modifier untyped damage. This blast may be enhanced by features that enhance the kinetic blast class feature. This is basically all the kineticist that’s in the class, and I don’t have to explain why this does not work, right?
Save or suck unconsciousness can also be found, and formatting is bad: Beyond the attributes I mentioned, there are instances of lower case skills, non-standard save DC-sequences, and ability that attempts splash damage and, while nominally functional, doesn’t seem to get how verbiage or splash damage usually work…you get the idea.
3rd level yields alchemical bonds: 1 + Con-modifier points are in this pool, and another one is gained for every 3 class levels. Once more, the verbiage here is needlessly convoluted and confusing. Expending one of these points renders the venommancer sickened. (Conditions are not italicized in PFRPG.) This condition lasts for a number of rounds equal to the points missing from the pool. These include immediate onset, purging diseases from targets (which also replenish limited use class features), suspend symptoms, etc. Forced onset has no range, and the ability fails to specify when the points replenish, if they do, and the class erroneously refers to the alchemical bond points as psychic. Unless otherwise noted, these are a standard action. Increase with Power lasts 1 round and does not specify otherwise. *sigh* The 5th level lets the venommancer poison a weapon as a swift action, and starting at 7th level, the class can poison weapons of allies within 30 ft.. Odd: RAW, neither line of sight, nor line of effect are required. Spread the plague does not note the level it’s gained, requiring that you default to the table – it’s 7th level, fyi. The venommancer may touch an ally and give the ally a dose of Toxin – I assume this expends a use. The ally, when hit, releases the toxin, and all within 5 ft. must save, with the DC reduced by 2. Why only allies? 9th level cuts the onset of poisons and diseases in half, and targets suffer the effects twice per round instead of once. Okay…when precisely during the round? No idea.
10th level nets poison immunity, 11th level at-will neutralize poison and remove disease and 13th level provides the option to poison a weapon when picking it up, or to inflict a poison via grappling. At ¾ BAB and sans enhancers, you will not be doing the latter. Class features are still not capitalized n PFRPG – I don’t get how you can still get that wrong. Anyhow, 15th level allows for the swift action expenditure of an alchemical bond point to force a reroll. 17th level nets a 10 ft. aura that inflicts 1d6 level? Why?) – this damage is recovered when a target leaves the aura and a target succeeding is immune against it. The aura may be suspended as a standard action for 1-minute increments. Wut? Okay, you’ll never want to sleep next to those guys.
19th level is interesting, making the venommancer no longer detect as a living creature, but makes her still perceivably via detect disease/poison. The capstone lets her use a use of special blend + toxins to create a 40-feet cylinder centered on the venommancer. This storm of venom causes 1d8 points of ability score damage (minimum 1) on a chosen ability score on a failed Ref-save, and increases its radius by 10 ft. each round. “Creatures that flee the cloud…” only take 1d4 until there are cleansed via spells, immersion in water, etc. See, this capstone, while not perfect, is actually kinda badass!
The pdf includes 8 new feats: +2 special blend uses, increase Toxin save DC by 1, increasing range or radius of the cloud…the like. There also is a feat that lets you poison weapons while drawing them, which is kinda odd regarding the action economy boosts of the class. It also requires a Sleight of Hand check – failing the check makes drawing and poisoning the weapon standard action, which renders this feat an all out bad idea. Spray the Wound has a good idea: When an ally damages a living enemy with a slashing or piercing weapon, you may use an AoO to throw poison in the wound. Thing is: The feat is geared towards directly throwing poison, and the class doesn’t get Throw Anything. Why can’t you use drawn throwing syringes with it? *sigh* Stinging Swarms is a teamwork feat that requires that you and your ally wield poisoned rapiers. Guess what’s not on the proficiency list of the class? Bingo. Frickin’ rapiers. The feat is also, beyond being super-circumstantial, wide open to abuse: As a full-round action, you make one attack. If you hit, allies may make an attack as an immediate action. “These attacks deal 1d6 points of damage to the enemy…” Damage type? That’s not how PFRPG works…and the enemy then gets a separate save versus each poison. That’s standard in PFRPG. However, failing even one save affects the target with the effects of ALL poisons. This is broken, doesn’t work, is super-circumstantial and a total mess. Don’t get me started on the attempt of a coordinated salvo of projectiles.
The pdf also includes an archetype for the venommancer, the psilocybinist, who replaces the toxin class feature with an inability to become addicted to drugs. The skill boosts granted by toxicologist are modified by more efficient drug creation and associated skill boosts. The alchemical bond is replaced with the option to bond with a d rug for 24 hours. Then, we get the psyching the dose ability: “When a psilocybinist takes a drug she is psychically bound to; she may choose which effects to be subject to. When a psilocybinist chooses not to take part in a specific effect of a drug, the psilocybinist may not choose to activate that effect later in the drug’s duration. In addition, she may ignore any penalties while using the bonded drug.”[sic!] This is the most wordy and confusing way ever to say “The psilocybinist may choose to ignore any penalties, negative conditions or ability score damage or drain caused by effects of the bonded drug.” At 7th level, penalties incurred by bonded drugs become alchemical bonuses instead.
Editing and formatting are bad – neither on a formal level, nor on a rules-language level are they up to the standards of the 3pps of PFRPG. The class is barely functional as written, and then only with copious amounts of handwaving and GM interpretation. Layout adheres to 2 –column full-color standard and the pdf sports some nice full-color artworks. The pdf sports rudimentary bookmarks, which is nice. However, you can’t copy text from the pdf. This makes using the class supremely inconvenient and requires that you copy the abilities by hand to your character sheet. Big comfort detriment there.
Jarret Sigler’s venommancer is a cool idea – Scarecrow the class? Heck yes, neato!
I don’t see anything kineticist-y within, apart from one ability that sucks and is only relevant for multiclass characters, so if you’re looking for kineticist-style tricks, look elsewhere. I like the idea of the class, and frustratingly, it gets the ideas almost right in many cases, but then falls flat on its face. Worse, even if you do manage to somehow use the class, it ends up being really weak, courtesy of a lack of means to bypass immunities. The class also shows copious amounts of instances that depict obvious ignorance of how PFRPG’s more complex rules-interactions work. In short, this feels like a class that was well-meant, but that fails pretty hard; like an Alpha, if you will. Personally, I wouldn’t touch it as written with a ten-foot-pole, but as a reviewer, I can at least applaud the notions that grant this one a distinct identity. As such, my final verdict will be 2 stars.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Demiplanes-book clocks in at 59 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 54 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.
So, the first thing I should note is this: I am super picky regarding my Norse lore; I have a degree in the field, can fluently read Norse, and I’m most of the time really pissed off when I see how adaptations to roleplaying games butcher the concept when trying to stay authentic. You see, the most common roleplaying games we play feature assumptions colored by the dichotomous thinking and values cultivated over the centuries, courtesy of Christianity and similar book-based religions. Without going into the finer philosophical details, a perhaps more easier to grasp analogue would be this: Do you know the “Vikings” TV-series, the one adapting Ragnars saga loðbrókar and the Ragnarssona Þáttr? I’m the annoying guy who’ll chew your ears off about the liberties taken with the source material, who’ll endlessly drone on about aspects not being correct. In my defense, I still enjoy the series, but yeah.
The more prudent and smarter way to adapt the concept of Valhalla, and thankfully the one taken within this book, is to distill the concept to its essence, and to create something new that takes the realities of the gaming world into account – you know, both regarding cosmology and the presence of the god-forsaken alignment system. So yeah, if you’re looking for yet another adaptation of Norse myth that will never properly fit your current campaign setting, then you won’t find that here.
Instead, Valhalla is depicted as an infinite Outer Plane – one roughly associated with the Chaotic Good alignment, and one central leitmotif: Heroism. While a contextualization within a smattering of Outer Planes is provided, it should be noted that actually integrating the material presented within this pdf is rather easy – the pdf does offer some guidance and, moreover, does account for the infinity presented by the Planes. In short, we begin with tantalizing ideas of how e.g. a draconic Valhalla might look – the morphic and subjective qualities of planar reality and values are employed rather admirably and set this apart from being just another take on the classic pseudo-accurate rehashing of the concept. This theme is also emphasized by the Greater Petitioner template, which, while lacking a CR-increase note, provides regeneration in the version presented for Valhalla. The idea is obvious – the eternal fighting of the einherjar warrior spirits obviously can be undertaken by such individuals. I am not going to penalize the pdf for the lack of CR-increase here due to the limited scale of the replenishment – the ability does have a cap, preventing abuse.
Now, beyond the general establishing of leitmotifs within the context of Valhalla, the majority of the book is devoted to a variety of different Demiplanes with ties to Valhalla; they all share themes in one way or another, but as a whole constitute an exceedingly smart angle, allowing, by means of compartmentalizing themes and concepts, for easy and seamless integration into the cosmology of an established game. I could e.g. integrate these into Midgard, Oerth or Golarion without much fuss. In a somewhat weird decision or oversight, the central hub of Valhalla, the grand metropolis known as “Champion’s Arena” (settlement statblocks provided) would be the only sub-section, the only one of the demiplane-like sub-sections that does not come with bookmarks.
Now, as a brief glance at the respective sub-chapters immediately makes clear, the respective entries do come with secrets noted for the GM to develop, and they do make excellent use of the planar nature of the locales. In short: They offer quite a bunch cool planar traits for each of the respective demiplanes, which really helps rendering the book more useful than its premise: Each of the chapters get crunchy rules for these, with e.g. Arena’s Oathbound property providing nasty penalties for oathbreakers, while the Forge of Destiny provides for much easier crafting, but also forges the destiny of the creator, inflicting a mighty curse (no, it can’t be broken as easily as usual) that takes the concept of Wyrd, the personal destiny, and makes it a leitmotif of sorts for the afflicted. That being said, the fact that this theme is divorced from the ideological components associated with the term does render it into a potent roleplaying catalyst. On the downside, layout botched in the aforementioned forge trait, adding a single, nonsensical bullet point that then becomes a regular text. That should have been caught in proofreading, it’s pretty obvious.
That being said, the traits do provide some really cool notions – in the region known as Training Grounds, for example, you can, provided you have the sufficient knowledge, conjure forth adversaries to battle, using the kenform template presented within. Similarly, there are quite a lot tables that feature e.g. alternate morphic mishaps and creature mishaps – and a table that is called “Fact of Fiction”. You see the book does feature a region called the “Unknown Expanse”, which is both every lost civilization and the yarns woven about them, but also every FICTIONAL civilization that never was! The latter is frankly phenomenal as an idea. Picture it: The BBEG is actually so smart that his plans can’t be fouled. They can’t. There is no refuge, no success possible anymore. And yet, the tale survives of a place that houses his downfall – and then, it becomes real, in a way. Of course, the same theme could easily be flipped. I adore this notion, and it is actually supported by thematic blessings for explorers and a mighty atlas that allows for basically fast travel in a tightly codified manner.
So yeah, there are more crunchy bits herein than just planar geography. But before we get to those, let us talk about connections and conjunctions – the former is pretty self-evident and-explanatory, but the latter represents something we know from mythweaving all too well – basically temporary planar overlaps. Full blown manifestation of segments of the respective planes are similarly noted. Most places also note important NPCs, though these only come with fluff-information, not full stats.
As previously mentioned, each segment also comes with a couple of supplemental rules that add some crunch to the respective write-ups. These do include the grudgeglass, an artifact created from the blood,s eqt and tears of the defeated, which allows for the tracking down of an enemy…and there would be Ekena, a CR 25/MR 10 monstrosity that can generate evil clones of those it faces – but, following the theme, it can be bested by bravery: the rules employed here allow for nonstandard skill use as part of attacks to bypass the creature’s defenses. Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore this notion, but I am not 100% happy with the very narrative implementation Slightly tighter rules would have been appreciated here. On the plus-side, anyone besting the monster does become mythic, so yeah – it’s a nice crucible for ascension. Unfortunately, my immediate association was obviously the comparison with Rite Publishing’s genius “Coliseum Morpheuon”, which is still, after all these years, one of my favorite roleplaying books. (If you don’t have it, get it asap!)
The cliffs of renewal allow for redemption for those with the faith to leap – once more, taking a classic image and codifying it; in the Eternal Tavern, bards can learn a new masterpiece, the First Hero’s Journey (and yes, the First Hero actually is in the bar…), and in an interesting take, this masterpiece does provide a take on the concept of the monomyth, with three stages that happen consecutively. Similarly, there is a minor artifact that does improve mythic power or make the owner count as mythic, which does come with narrative potential galore, particularly if you’re like me and love throwing mythic critters at regular characters… In the somber Gardens of Memoriam, those so inclined can live through the final moments of heroes, which once more sports narrative potential galore. A very potent mindscape-based trap and the notion of the norn’s curse/will is within these pages, while the tavern of unsung songs bestows a healthy dose of humility on the mightiest of mighty, including a rather impressive spellblight…and there obviously would the Well. A place where sacrifices can be made to gain basically any effects – but not even the gods can alter the finality of it or recover losses incurred here! Nice to for once see no divine intervention clause!
Oh, did I mention that there is a creature born from former-familiar ravens, so-called exensils, which actually may choose to become familiars once more?
Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level; on a formal level, I consider this to be only good; I noticed more hiccups than usual for Rite Publishing’s recent offerings. Layout adheres to the beautiful, new two-column full-color standard Rite uses, and the interior artworks, for the most part, are stunning, though they do not adhere to a unified aesthetic. For the most part? Yeah, the artworks are neat, but there is one really ugly CGI-piece herein. Not enough to tarnish the book, but it felt jarring to me. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with the weird oversight of one subchapter’s, namely Arena’s bookmarks missing.
Andrew Mullen, Jennifer Povey and Stephen Rowe have created something that I thoroughly enjoyed – a planar toolkit/gazetteer full of inspiring and interesting ideas and material, a great little GM-toolkit that has appeal far beyond the concepts one usually associated with the term of “Valhalla.” Indeed, that may be the biggest strength of this pdf – the fact that it does not waste time trying to rehash bits and pieces from mythology we already know. Instead, it focuses, precisely and in an inspired manner, on how ideas can be distilled, and how they can be applied to the realities within the campaign worlds we play in. This idea suffuses the whole pdf and makes this a very worthwhile supplement to have. In short, this is exceedingly “gameable”, to use that buzz word. It also provides what definitely *is* Valhalla, without requiring the whole Norse pantheon – it is a Valhalla to customize, to make your own. You could, theoretically, make a grippli-Valhalla, for example.
This pdf provides a lot of interesting ideas, both regarding fluff and mechanics, and while it does offer from a few proofing-level hiccups, that is not enough to truly tarnish it. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo. Additionally, the exceedingly clever and versatile notion that distills the essence of the plane and makes it generally useful for various cultures and settings also means that this receives my seal of approval.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Echelon Reference Series clocks in at 290 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page blank, 16 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 269 pages of content, so let’s take a look! (This page-count is the one of the 3pp + PRD-version, mind you.)
This review was requested by my patreons, to be undertaken at my earliest convenience.
So, at this point, I have covered multiple Echelon Reference Series pdfs, so I’m going to be brief regarding the details: There are basically three different steps of completion for these pdfs: They grow, and once they have grown, their price goes up as they become more refined. There are three steps: RAF (Rough and Fast, 50% discounted), WIP (Work in Progress, 25% discounted) and the finished version. However, the “Rough and Fast” or “Work in Progress” monikers imho are actually a bit deceptive, in that they usually conjure forth images of Beta-tests for games etc. – this is nothing like that. Even the Rough and Fast versions already have full functionality provided, with bookmarks, etc. – however, a couple of the unique comfort functions of the series are not yet implemented in these versions.
Most importantly, the RAF-version does not yet include the flow-charts that depict the connections between feats, talents and similar class features – these can be particularly helpful when building characters or planning progressions. The RAF-version also does not yet feature full, internal hyperlinking (though there are plenty of working ones!), though navigation is sufficiently convenient, courtesy of the bookmarks provided. And yes, as you can see on the cover and probably have guessed by now, this indeed is the RAF version. The version already does provide the efficient presentation that makes ability types easier to grasp: With little bubbles noting minimum levels etc. noted at a glance, the added convenience the series offers is really nice; however, in this one, these have not yet been 100% implemented among the archetypes.
Now, structure-wise, we begin with the base class and the archetypes collated and collected from various sources among the more refined 3pps as well as the Paizo books. The version, right now, goes up to ACG and provides a solid selection of different archetypes – unlike the later versions of the series, we have the archetypes not yet integrated into statblocks, for example. It is due to not being (yet) the going-the-extra-mile level of convenience that this is characterized as a RAF-book.
However, this still is a curated compilation, and as such, it does offer a significant level of convenience. Particularly for fighters, the massive chapter that collects combat feats makes for a rather worthwhile section to check out. Note that suitable Style-feat progressions are provided in this compilation, and that the battle master with his martial techniques and derived feats – there is some nice, in-depth coverage here, though, alas, the Bravery feats by Roge Genius Games, for example, are not part of this compilation. Still, as a collection, this offers quite a few uncommon and lesser known, interesting components. I am looking forward to seeing the flow-chats here, though!
Of particular note when compared with other installments of the series would be the massive fighter NPC-section – the ToC alone takes up three pages, so if you needed a couple of statblocks collated, there you go! Many employ NPC races, templates like lycanthrope, etc., so yeah – there is quite a lot content here! Some have a bit of flavortext, some don’t. As always, this massive pdf comes with an extensive, detailed index that spans no less than 18 pages, making finding the proper components even easier.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to the functional and efficient 2-column b/w-standard with brown spliced in. This is a pretty printer-friendly file. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with individual bookmarks for the archetypes, for example, but not for every single feat. The book is internally hyperlinked and the index further helps making navigation simple and painless.
Keith Davies’ Echelon Reference Series is a massive ton of work; if you ever have worked in academia or in a position where you had to collate and compile data, you’ll definitely appreciate what this does. In one book, you get a metric ton of fighter options – just material for the class, nothing more, nothing less. Now, you know that I really adore the flow-charts and added conveniences that the more refined versions of the series provide, and while the RAF edition does not yet have them, the matter of fact remains that this is indeed a worthwhile compilation. While the added convenience is not yet as pronounced as in the finished or WIP-version, this remains useful to have and a handy addition to e.g. the GM’s arsenal. Players can certainly appreciate getting all this content in one place. As a whole, this RAF-version is already a good compilation – not as cool as the finished ones, but enough to warrant a final verdict of 4 stars.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Deadly Delves series of modules clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was moved up in my reviewing queue due to being prioritized by my patreons.
Now, first things first – this is a high-level adventure intended for level 15 PCs, and as such, is bound to be challenging. A well-rounded group is very much recommended. The adventure, theme-wise, centers around a sun deity and a grand malfeasance befalling her most sacred of temples, and as such, the stats for the deity are provided in an appendix. Domains, subdomains, inquisitions and mysteries are noted, as is an occult ritual unique to this belief. Big plus here: The deity is easy to replace with Saranrae and similar sun goddesses and gods – the module does not require in-depth understanding of doctrine or the like to work, making adapting it simple. A CR 18 high-level monster is also introduced and doubles as the BBEG of this adventure – and yes, the demon is actually VERY destructive. This adversary is not the only fully statted high-level being herein, mind you.
As far as cartography is concerned, this module gets two thumbs up: The adventure comes with a second pdf that provides the map in a version with all keys and features, one sans keyed numbers and all features, and one sans features or keyed numbers, providing all the tools we expect regarding the respective cartography demands of the modern player. The maps are in full-color and neat. Big kudos for including full and proper map support here.
A big plus here would btw. be the terrain use of the module: With complicating terrain hazards and a global effect that makes the fire theme work in properly codified rules, the adventure makes clever use of obstacles, traps, curses, etc. – this is a big plus and a component that keeps the battles dynamic.
A big issue that many a GM faces regarding high-level dungeon exploration, is that most modules do not take player and PC-capabilities into full account. This module has a distinct and clever way to make the PCs explore the dungeon properly without handholding.
But in order to talk about how this works, I need to go into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
All right, only GMs around? Great! So, bad things have been happening, and the PCs are asked to investigate the Temple of Luminescence, which is on lockdown. Bluffing or fighting their way past the guards, the PCs will soon realize the reason for the seismic activities haunting the area – it seem like the faithful have taken to a rather…well, let’s say, “radical” interpretation of their deity’s creed. The High priest plans to draw the sun closer to the planet, to bask all sinners and folks in the glory of a scorching sun. So yeah, the stakes are high – we’re talking about a global apocalypse here!
I did mention global effects for the dungeon before: Flame damage inflicted within stems half from divine energy, bypassing resistances etc., while maintaining the elemental theme. Furthermore, the seismic activities add further complications while exploring the already challenging temple. The clever idea I mentioned before, the one that makes the PCs explore the whole temple, ties btw. in with the ritual: The sanctum sanctorum can only be breached by defeating the Morning Priest and the Noontime Priest. In an interesting twist, this often puts the PCs in conflict with creatures only seldom faced in combat by PCs, for example devas and similar angels.
The traps, just fyi, are suitable for PCs of these lofty levels as well, and better yet, smart players may actually never get to see a few of them, as there is a sensible reason and means to bypass them – kudos for not sacrificing in-game plausibility for design here. That is not to say that they’re simple, mind you: One combo of a trap and a particularly nasty haunt (whose existence makes sense!) can be stated as something rather brutal, and delightfully so. The haunt is btw. fast, so yeah – this is a module that demands respect, even from high-level PCs – it’s not pleasant being blasted to dust by a photonic cannon or being crushed by a gravitic corridor, after all… That is a good thing. Not convinced yet? Well, one of the bosses that the PCs will need to best to get to the High Priest? Very old solar dragon. Did I mention the encapsulated singularity or the searing pulses of light? Light can be a cruel mistress indeed, and guess what? The High Priest is not the final boss! That CR 18 critter I mentioned? That would be a really nasty new form of demon, the sun demon. And no, he’s not so stupid as to fight those interlopers alone… So yeah, bring industrial quantities of magical sunscreen, you’ll definitely need them…
Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to the nice 2-column full-color standard of the series, and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks – these are organized in a smart way, btw., featuring nested entries for specific sub-routes the PCs have to take. That’s going one step beyond and deserves applause. Interior artwork is consistent and mostly of the same style and quality as the cover. The cartography, as noted, is nice and full-color, and the player-friendly map support is a big plus for guys like yours truly that suck at drawing, or for those that play online.
An elemental dungeon at high levels? In the hands of a lesser author, this could have easily been a trainwreck. However, Mike Welham is a veteran, and his reputation is well-deserved: The Temple of Luminescence is an actually well-done, cataclysmic and dynamic dungeon. The clever use of traps, monsters and modular and local terrain hazards and effects can constantly maintain the gravitas of the situation at hand. It’s very hard to forget what’s at stake here, and the plot of the adventure, as well as the clever way to make the PCs actually explore the dungeon, is really cool. The adventure, in spite of being a rather technical dungeon crawl, never loses its unique and sensible atmosphere, never feels like “just another” dungeon. The clever adversary choices and diverse challenges render this an excellent example for rewarding high-level dungeon design that also has a BBEG who is surprisingly smart in how the last stand is set up – but you can see that for yourself.
In short: The “Temple of Luminescence” continues the streak of excellent adventures that have lately come out of the Deadly Delves series – this is a great adventure, worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Everyman Mini clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
On the introduction page, we find a new oracle archetype, namely the erudite seer, whose skills are restricted to Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Knowledge (all), Linguistics, Perception, Sense Motive and Spellcraft, and the archetype only gets 2 + Int skills per level. This would be super annoying, but the archetype, but both spellcastings and revelations are governed by Intelligence as key ability modifier for the archetype – and before you ask, the class remains a spontaneous caster. Really sucky: The spell save DC of the archetype is just 10 + Intelligence modifier. No, I’m not kidding you. The spell level’s out of the picture. Is that an oversight? I assume so, for the archetype does nothing else, apart from replacing 11th level’s revelation with + Intelligence modifier as an insight bonus to Will-saves. Boring, sucky, wouldn’t take it.
Now, the second page is wholly devoted to the new riddles mystery, which adds Linguistics and all Knowledge skills to the oracle’s list of class skills. The bonus spell selection is eclectic, beginning with speak with animals and see invisibility and also including ones like shout, symbol of sleep and scaling up to statue, greater spell immunity and communal mind blank. Nice spell selection. The revelations of this mystery are varied: You can get a constant feather fall via the growth of wings as a standard action that may be maintained in 1-hour increments for class level hours. Improved Grapple, Trip and Stand Still are also there for the choosing. Higher levels unlock glide and fly speed with improving maneuverability. At 10th level, this also allows you to end a charge with a grapple – and yes, pounce and the interaction with it are included. Another revelation nets Conceal Spell, with 5th level adding Stylized Spell, which may be used sans casting increase and at +1 DC.
The mystery also allows you to poach divination psychic spells or glyph-themed spells, and this interacts with another revelation: Diviner’s Insight nets you Charisma modifier + ½ oracle level clairvoyant reservoir points. These points may be used to cast divination spells known as a SP, expending points in the reservoir equal to the spell’s level. Interesting! A bonus to Sense Motive and constant nondetection, with higher level constant foil enchantment making for a nice defense. The minimum level requirement is well-chosen. Knowledge bonuses and the bard’s loremaster ability may also be found. High level oracles can get 2/day maze – with a unique caveat: A trapped creature can contemplate while trapped – emerging nets vision. Cool twist on the concept, adding a non-offensive option here. A hex-like variant of hideous laughter that is language-dependent and doesn’t render targets prone, but spans species, makes for a fun idea. Really unique: There is a revelation that lets you 3 + Charisma modifier times per day puzzle your way out of an ongoing spell effect, with higher levels eliminating some restrictions. The mechanics here are interesting and compelling.
The final revelation nets constant mind blank that may be reactivated as a swift action. The minimum age for you to qualify for each physical age category increases by a factor 10, and the aging modifiers are similarly adjusted. Particularly cool if you’re using Childhood Adventures.
Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level, but on a formal level, I noticed a few typos. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard with the artwork-borders, and the pdf comes with a nice piece of full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but does not need them at this length.
David N. Ross’ mystery is evocative, intriguing and mechanically interesting. The same, alas, cannot be said about the archetype included. The erudite seer is really weak and feels like an afterthought at best. That being said, this is still a nice little pdf, hence my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!
This installment of the Mythic Monsters series begins with supplemental content, here in the shape of a total of 7 different magic items, three of which are magical boomerangs: The ricochet boomerang is obviously returning (like the other two) and allows the wielder to make an attack as a standard action at -2 to atk; if the attack hits, the wielder can select a second target within 10 ft. and may even bounce this way past cover, managing to get the complex verbiage done right. Mythic wielders suffer from less penalties for this type of attack and mythic power can be used to make full attacks with bouncing, allowing you to potentially bypass hard terrain etc. – impressive. The clever boomerang can execute at-range trips and within 30 ft., can be used to feint. In the hands of mythic wielders, the weapon can execute more potent combat maneuvers and use mythic power to snatch disarmed or stolen objects. So cool! The third boomerang would be the bloody boomerang, gaining an extended threat range that causes Constitution damage and bleeding damage that stacks with itself and other sources of bleed damage. The mythic wielder can use mythic power to bestow the keen property for tier rounds, or the wounding property for 2 mythic power uses. Both can be activated at once. The boomerang may also be fired via mythic power as a line-based AoE-attack. LOVE IT!
The pdf also includes the outback woomera, a spear thrower that may be wielded as a magical club in melee, and it makes short spears fired treated as distance or keen, and maximum range is increased as well. Mythic wielders get both properties, and mythic power may be used as a swift action to gain a bonus to atk and ignore cover and concealment and bypass DR, or vastly increase range. Path ability synergy is properly taken into account, and the same holds true for feats. The woomera of a mythic wielder can also produce goodberries and water. The possum-skin cloak fortifies versus the weather and elements, gaining also a bonus to Knowledge (local) and (history) checks due to the ancestor’s influence. The cloak can make for a warm shelter on trees that is hard to notice. Mythic wearers can consult with the ancestors via mythic power and the cloak enhances the surge mechanic. Similarly, the shelter-ability improves. Cool! The final two items would be amulets: The Hei Tiki Amulet fortifies versus fear and emotion effects and helps avoiding being surprised. Mythic wielders can benefit from mage’s faithful hounds or interposing hands, the latter in the shape of tiki masks or idols. Cool! The Hei Matau Amulet nets a luck bonus on saves and helps navigating the waves, greatly enhancing Profession (sailor) and allowing for know direction on the waves as well as limited water walking. If dropped into sea water, it becomes a celestial giant seahorse, a manaia, which is tightly codified and sports unique abilities. Mythic wielders can exert limited control over the waves and gets better interaction with the spirits – really cool. These items are really amazing.
Now, let’s take a look at the monsters, shall we? At CR 1/MR 1, we have a platypus familiar, who gains electrolocation in water, with mythic power upgrading its range temporarily, as wella s the ability to generate a mud cloud. Cool. There also are two marsupials at these CR/MRs – mangaroos and thylacines. Mythic kangaroos get massive leaps as long as they have mythic power and pretty brutal kicks. Thylacines can render a target flat-footed via movement, courtesy of distracting stripes, and they get a serious threat range, with the option to enhance the critical modifier to x3 via mythic power. The final creature at this CR/MR-range would be the lavishly-illustrated orang-pendak, whose backwards feet get proper rules-representation and better object-bursting. Unique and nice one.
There are also two mythic megafaunas – at CR 3/MR 1, the moa, and the CR 8/MR 3 megalania – the former may use mythic power for speed bursts and trample/stampede targets, making them more potent in groups. The megalania is brutal: 1/round, as an immediate action, the critter can expend a mythic power to take a full round’s worth of actions! Resting in sunlight can allow it to regain mythic power and their acidic stomach is particularly nasty.
At CR 4/MR 2, the adaro can create swirling cyclones of water and ride these, and their rain frenzy ability is upgraded. Solid upgrade! The manananggal’s mythic version, at CR 8/MR 3, deserves special mention: It gets the ability to emit deceptive noises, drain mythic power and the incredible flexible, prehensile tongue is a much-desired upgrade the changes how this one runs for the better. Add a mythic power-fueled shroud of shadows, and we have a winner here. Speaking of undead: There is a CR 6/MR 2 mythic penanggalen based on a oracle 5, sure…but the write-up is inspired due to another reason: The book contains a massive mythic template: 10 tiers net progressively cooler abilities. I adore this. Two thumbs up! Speaking of amazing undead: The CR 10/MR 4 mythic polong leaves thin blood coatings that grease the area, get proper bloody possession 8including tell-tale signs), and the mythic polong may attempt to slip the bonds of its limitations..its terrible wounds have also been improved. Glorious upgrade of the base critter!!
The Cr 16/MR 6 papinijuwari comes with a reprint of the mythic Awesome Blow feat, and receives an aura of fecundity. It can also crawl inside of deceased creature’s mouths, leaving a horrid disease behind that renders the corpse into a disgusting biological mine, while also replenishing mythic power. The write-up also provides a nasty pestilence form…inspired. At CR 12/MR 5, the kapre’s smoke can be made to last longer via mythic use expenditure. The mythic version also gets a massive debuffing aura that enhances flanking, interacting with confounding aura. 1/day spewing embers and better invisibility, a boost when almost defeated and the ability to grant a limited wish make this version of the creature infinitely cooler than the original. Huge plus! At the same CR/MR, the tiberolith’s corrosive strikes kickin MUCH sooner (thankfully!) and gets Power Attack, in spite of being mindless. The rudimentary clockworks of the construct net bonus feats and +2 to AC, as well as allowing mythic characters to imbue power within. It can also trap spells and discharge them. Damn cool and potentially, super lethal!
At CR 11/MR 4, we also get a coral golem’s mythic iteration, which reconstructs itself in water. Its attacks can infest targets with coral, and the entity can expend mythic power to break off parts of its body to generate healing powder. Very cool!
Speaking of “very cool” – At CR 5/MR 2, the new creature within these pages would be the Tiddalik – a Medium, bipedal magical beast that somewhat resembles a frog: The creature can absorb the liquids of those grappled, and absorb vast amounts of water – enough, and it actually assumes a giant form of sorts! Yes, stat mods provided! Super cool and oozing flair: bringing these guys to laugh can result in devastating expulsions of tidal water! I love this critter!
Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard, with a mixture of new and old full-color artworks – the one-page version of the cover artwork in particular is amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Alex Riggs, Mike Welham and Jason Nelson have done it – this installment of Mythic Monsters is genius. From the cool and unique items to the critters: Animals make sense and feel plausible; undead are icky and tap into taboos and anxieties; constructs feel effective and magical beings feel magical, improving vastly upon the base creatures in a wide variety of ways. This is a superior supplement in every way, even within the context of the high quality Mythic Monsters-series. This is a 5 star + seal of approval gem. You should definitely get this – it does vastly enhance the rich lore and concepts of the base creatures. One of the best installments in the series!!
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!
So, this time around, we get something rather radically different – we get an actual, full 10-level PrC as supplemental material, the fey-bound knight, who requires a BAB of +4, the ability to cast a 1st level arcane spell from the illusion and enchantment schools, suitable languages for the courts and 5 ranks in a skill. The knight gets d8 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, 3/4th BAB-progression and ½ Ref- and Will-save progressions and 7/10th spellcasting progression. The PrC nets proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light armor. At 1st, 5th and 9th level, the PrC nets “Skill Focus (enchantment or illusion” or “Greater Skill Focus (enchantment or illusion)” – that should be Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus, respectively. The PrC gains low-light vision at first level, or upgrades the ability further. Additionally, the PrC class levels are treated as fighter levels for the purpose of feat prerequisites, 2nd level nets a +4 bonus to Bluff and on saves versus mind-affecting spells or effects, which upgrades to slippery mind at 7th level. 3rd level nets +4 to Stealth checks. The knight may also become class levels rounds invisible, as per the spell, as a swift action, with 7th level increasing duration to 1 minute per class level. At 4th level, when confirming a critical hit, the knight can force a target to fall asleep 1/day, +1/day for every 2 levels thereafter. The ability notes that the save is Charisma-based, but since this is a PrC and not a monster, we’d expect to see the save DC spelled out here.
At 5th level, the knight gets DR 2/cold iron, which upgrades to DR 4/cold iron at 8th level. 6th level nets class level minutes of fly via gossamer wings, with activation being a swift action. 7th level nets an illusory armor (once more, disbelieving DC should be spelled out); 8th level lets the knight roll twice on Bluff or Disguise checks. 9th level nets a breath of life/dimension door combo that also greater invisibility-s the knight as an illusory duplicate dies in her place. Usable 1/day. The capstone nets fey apotheosis. The prestige class comes with mythic upgrades for all abilities – darkvision and greensight, mythic spell abilities, etc.. However, there is another pretty crucial flaw here: None of the abilities properly codify their type – Ex, Su, SP? No idea in many instances. This is really puzzling, and, like the save DC-guffaw, a puzzling oversight. Don’t get me wrong – neither breaks the PrC, but they constitute unnecessary flaws in the PrC.
Okay, there are a couple of CR 1/MR 1 fey herein: The brownie gets a series of cool SPs and makes these fey really helpful for Crafting and persuading folks, using the surge die in a cool manner. Their happy whistling while working also translates to some bardic tricks, making this an epic take on the concept. Big plus! The jinkin gremlin can solo the group tinker ability and leading a group, a mythic jinkin improves save DC and CL while also increasing the severity of the curse placed on magic items. The mythic jinkin can also use its hatred to penalize a target (I assume the default standard action for SU-activation, but an activation action would have been nice…) and become permanently greater invisible to the target – for mythic power, this may extend to a second target…damn cool! The mythic grig may 3/day upgrade its SPs to the mythic versions, and the grig may maintain its fiddling, once started, quicker and use mythic power to regain rounds of fiddling. The mythic sprite can use its luminosity to dispel darkness-based effects. The verbiage has a slight deviation from standard here. The sprite also gets the ability to emit a burst of potentially blinding light. The tooth fairy is wicked: Odontophobia makes it gain frightful presence versus a victim after extracting a tooth and imposes a penalty to saves versus its tricks. Brandishing a creature’s tooth lets them restart this ability. EW. They can also penalize natural bite and claw attacks. Really cool mythic upgrade.
The pdf also contains 2 CR 3/MR 1 creatures, the first of which would be the forlarren gets more versatile SPs and may exchange heat metal uses. The forlarren may also use an immediate action to relegate the remorse felt to other characters – when it uses this ability, a mythic power use nets an AoO nauseating aura. The nuglub gremlin would be the second creature at this CR/MR loadout and gets opportunistic grappling and bleed damage claws and teeth as well Improved Sunder as well as use mythic power to ignore hardness of an item.
At CR 6/MR 2, we get a mythic version of the sprite swarm, which can duplicate a hypnotic or rainbow pattern, though the latter requires a mythic power expenditure. The swarm also gets a bleeding damage causing needle cone that also affects targets with distraction. Nice one! The mythic iteration of the fastachee clocks in at CR 13/MR 5 and may use its abilities to 1/day duplicate heroes’ feast and the summon nature’s ally spells can be cast faster, with mythic power even as a swift action, and single creatures can get the agile or savage templates added. They can also instruct targets in farming and gardening, with a bonus for 1 year. Domain spells may be freely upgraded to their mythic iterations and the fastachee criting a target can alleviate starvation, but also make the target overly full – and yes, this may be used with regular attacks via mythic powers.
At a pretty massive CR 18/MR 7, the mythic hamadryad can’t be flanked or caught flat-footed, may extend her DR and energy resistance to allies, and is excellent at social skills – oh, and more targets for charm effects. Her arrows entangle (add constriction via mythic power…ouch!) and a mere touch can wreck metal - really cool. The hamadryad is also guarded from harm by terrestrial animals, plants and vermin, as befitting of her station. Cool mythic upgrade! The Cr 8/MR 3 mythic sangoi reprints the Mythic Aid feat for your convenience, and the curse of misery ability is significantly better. They can sneak attack bleeding targets, their horrific critical ability gets better…and they receive a paralyzing gaze, making an already cool critter even more badass. Speaking of which…at CR 20/MR 8, there would be the Vilderavn. This fellow is AMAZING. They can analyze fighting styles, use mythic power to reopen bleeding wounds just closed, add murderous command to their already nasty shatter loyalties ability. Oh, and they get better defenses, a death curse, better critical (including fortification-negation…), instant assumption of those whose souls they have eaten…the statblock takes up a total of 2 pages with a ton of unique and amazing abilities that further enhance an already impressive critter. Big kudos!
The new critter herein is a winner: The Horzitoth is described thus: “A thick mound of lumpy, tattered rags hangs suspended like a cloak over a blot of darkness in the doorway. Its two spindly arms end in long, downward-facing knives, and a horse skull, with a wild green eye behind it, rests where its face should be.” Yes, this one is CREEPY. At CR 8/MR 3, these fey are addicted to nightmares and pull the nightmares of the sleeping into the waking world. It also regains hit points or gains temporary hit points in the presence of sleeping targets, and it may Wisdom drain targets and regain mythic power. While this cannot be cheesed, these fey can use mythic powers to affect the waking world with them. They can also return home via mythic power, but only while near a civilized structure or observed. Not unobserved. Observed! Nice one. Oh, and it can dimension door with grappled targets through doors… Super cool critter!
Editing and formatting are very precise regarding most components, but there are a couple of details that are not as refined as we’ve come to expect from Legendary Games, particularly regarding the PrC. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and artworks are a mixture of old and new, with the quality being high. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Mike Welham, Jason Nelson and Loren Sieg all are designers that stand for excellence, and as such, it should come as no surprise that I adored most of the builds within. While the sprite somewhat underwhelmed me, the horzitoth is amazing, and so are most of the upgrades herein. HOWEVER, the PrC is significantly less impressive. It offers nothing I haven’t seen before apart from the mythic upgrade-synergy, is conceptually okay, but its rules-presentation is more in line with monsters than with PrCs. It feels a bit cumbersome and unfocused, as far as I’m concerned, and not up to the coolness of the rest of the pdf. If you don’t mind that, then consider this an excellent installment; as a reviewer, however, I need to take this into account, which is why my final verdict, alas, has to be 4 stars. However, since a couple of the builds herein, particularly the horzitoth, hamadryad, vilderavn, brownie and sangoi really captured my imagination, I will bestow my seal of approval onto this in spite of its imperfections.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement,1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!
Now, as always, the installment begins with a kind of customized bonus content, which, this time around, would be a collection of 4 new magic items, one of which is an artifact. Two of the items are directly associated with the fabled Hydra of legend: Teeth of the hydra grow phalanx soldiers upon being sown. Mythic users can expend mythic power when sowing these teeth to enforce cooperation, and more potent mythic beings can also spend even more mythic power to add the invincible mythic template. Solid one! Dread fangs of the hydra are an upgraded version of the standard teeth, growing skeletal champions that will attack those incapable of channeling negative energy. Mythic power can be used to bring them to heel, though, and those with both access to mythic power and channel negative energy, can enhance them with the invisible simple template. Nice one. Kudos: Schools associated have been modified for the improved version.
The yoke of the brazen bull may be placed on an animal once in 7 days, causing it to burst into flames that do not harm the animal. After a round, the target animal transforms into a fire-variant gorgon, which may be upgraded with the savage template via mythic power expenditure. The gorgon is hostile, but may be brought to heel via Handle Animal, and the control of the bull is tightly and concisely codified with precise rules-language. Really interesting would be that movement between user and bull/gorgon-thing is tied as though mounted, sans the benefits. Still, this makes movement potentially really interesting. Additionally, the user may manifest a plow behind the bull. Throwing the teeth of a sufficiently potent beast in the plowed earth creates a small troop-like skirmish that attacks everything in the area. Once the skirmish ends, the soldiers will remain at the user’s command. Really cool, complex thing. The artifact I noted would be the golden fleece, which sheds light and may catch light, returning it as daylight. If the fleece is placed on a target, the creature gains the benefits of heal and greater restoration. Curses and the like are also broken, and when placed over a corpse, it may even use resurrection if the creature hasn’t been dead for too long. The character can also expend mythic power to enhance its effect to the mythic iterations, and the fleece can also glow. A creature can only benefit thrice from the fleece, and every use comes with a chance of it dissolving and reappearing somewhere else. Nice take on the classic item.
At the lowest challenge array, the mythic faun clocks in at CR 2/MR 1. The mythic upgrade receives basic bardic spellcasting, something that the base creature really should have had, and the ability to make short-lived sleep arrows – so no, you can’t stockpile these folks to break economies. Kudos! The arrows they create can force two rolls to save, taking the worse result. Nice. At CR 4/MR 2, the dryad’s mythic iteration can animate the bonded tree to move, leaving a path of churned earth. Minor complaint here: The ability requires defaulting to the Su’s standard activation action, as it does not note one. The mythic dryad is aware of all fire within a mile (cool angle!) and her entangle (not italicized) blocks sight for Large (not capitalized properly) creatures and smaller ones. The dryad may also expend mythic power to greatly increase the save DC to escape. (Once more, skills and attributes have not been capitalized properly…weird.) I like this one, but the formatting hiccups are odd. At one CR more, the mythic harpy can use Bluff (once more, oddly not capitalized) to explain away her captivating song. Oddly the ability notes that it’s an opposed Bluff check, which Bluff is pretty much already; the verbiage may be misunderstood here. Cool: The harpy also gets the means to emit a mythic-power-fueled scream that spoils drinks nearby – including potions! Cool!
At CR 6/MR 2, the mythic Cyclops may 1/day use a variant of moment of prescience or vision, the latter focusing on mythic ranks, ascensions and the like. These guys get Master Craftsman instead of a mythic feat and may use 2 mythic power to temporarily gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Their insight can also 1/day exactly set the outcome of a roll, which may also have a fixed surge die result added. Mythic power can be used to make use of this more often, though this is subject to immediate action limitations. The mythic Cyclops also gets uncanny dodge or its improved brother ability, and they are immune to precision damage. Really cool upgrade of the base critter. Clocking it at one CR and MR higher, the mythic cerberi get a cool, unique defensive stance, may smell souls (tracking undead, even incorporeal ones) and all-around vision. The critter can also spend mythic power to further upgrade his sight. The three heads can also allow for triple saves on some effects. Really cool: The critter gets a super-potent 3-headed flaying jaw attack that can really generate some nasty bleeding wounds. This is based on the barbazu’s infernal wounds, though, annoyingly, some references to the original abilities are still here. The build, per se, is cool, though. The mythic version of the Stand Still feat has been reprinted for your convenience here.
The mythic iteration of the chimera clocks in at CR 9/MR 4, and when managing to hit a target with two heads, it renders the target flat-footed versus the chimera – ouch! Speaking of which: In such a case, the critter can expend mythic power as a swift action for a really painful extra damage that may stagger the foe. The mythic chimera also gets a potent defensive hide I really enjoyed, and yes, the breath weapon is upgraded with Devastating Breath (mythic feat reprinted for your convenience) and also has a more potent breath with additional physical damage mixed in. Nice one! At one CR more, we also get a mythic version of the stymphalides, whose wings “grind and shriek” – I assume this to make Stealth impossible. The mythic version also is particularly adept at using wings to attack, and may use them as a shield of sorts, deflecting arrows, and via mythic power, even negate targeted ranged spells requiring an attack roll. Big plus: The iconic rain of razor-shark feathers has been reproduced in a cool manner, creating caltrop’d terrain and taking shields etc. into account. Big plus!
Also at CR 10/MR 4, the gorgon’s mythic iteration is immune versus charm and fear effects, ignores hardness with trample, and they may use mythic power when hit to attempt a sunder maneuver versus the weapons striking them. Solid upgrade. Now, the pdf also includes quite a few sea-themed monsters: At CR 6/MR 3, the siren’s mythic iteration gets the ability to charm any who lay eyes on them (spell reference not italicized), and the siren may spend mythic power to extend the effects of the obsession effect of her songs. The CR 8/MR 3 oceanid have their water telekinesis slightly upgraded and may use it particularly effectively versus ships, capsizing them and dealing a ton of damage; additionally, they can use their summon nature’s ally V quicker, even as a swift action via mythic power. Oceanids can also help or hamper aquatic vessels with mythic power. Neato! The CR 17/MR 6 mythic Charybdis comes as a giant version, with Inescapable Grasp reprinted. With a great 1-page artwork, the critter gets a deadly drowning stomach and may upgrade its SPs to the mythic iterations. Speaking of which: More SPs and the ability to destroy spells and magics helping survival in the seas is cool. The monstrosity also benefits from a very powerful, defensive tidal wave. That obscures vision etc. While we’re on the topic of these legends: The CR 20/MR 8 mythic Scylla gets the same 3/day spontaneous mythic spell upgrade…oh, and she can drain mythic power with critical hits and even recharge her limited use feats. Supreme grappling and devastating tossing of targets is cool. She can also wolf down targets on critical hits for a particularly devastating hit. Her loathing for spellcasters is brutal and hampers concentration greatly – oh, and she may use mythic power to make single attacks versus casters daring to cast, potentially in addition to AoOs. This lady is super-deadly and rather fun – big upgrade from the comparably bland default critter.
The new creature featured within this pdf would be the Stheno Medusa, who clocks in at CR 13/MR 5, a Large and deadly being, whose blood from bleed or blood drain or critical hits can spawn venomous snake swarms or giant scorpions. Her scales automatically damage weapons of a hardness below 20, and her claws similarly ignore any hardness below that value and have an increased threat range. The arrows fired are all poisonous and she is immune to death effects, energy drain, exhaustion, etc. Cool: The head of the stheno may be used when she’s slain, but this comes as a risk for the wielder…This medusa also gets the option to make her face seem pleasing…or nauseating. And, obvious, poison, petrifying gaze and coil-grappling allows for a couple of cool tricks. Neat monster.
Editing is generally top-notch on both formal and rules-language levels, though formatting is, in a couple of critters, significantly weaker than usual for Legendary Games. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a couple of nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Jason Nelson, Jonathan H. Keith, Mike Welham and Jim Groves are all veterans, and it shows: The mythic upgrades herein are evocative, cool and truly neat. The new critter is strong as well, and yeah, I like this. That being said, this is formally slightly less refined than usual for the series. While I still very much enjoy this pdf, as a reviewer, I do have to slightly penalize the pdf for its minor glitches. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, though this still remains better than most monster books out there, which is why I’ll round up.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Everyman Mini 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!
On the introductory page, we are introduced to a couple of new quinggong powers, noting class features for which they may be exchanged, as well as tight presentation by level. 5 such ki powers are included here with restrictions, if any, and ki cost noted duly.
The pdf contains a total of 5 different new feats: Hunker Down requires heavy armor proficiency and allows you to spend a move action to gain an insight bonus equal to ½ armor check penalty to CMD to resist bull rush, drag, etc., which is retained until you move. Nice. Line Breaker builds on reposition, and allows you to switch places with a repositioned foe. This surprisingly manages to get the complex AoO-scenario here right. Neato! The final three feats are a new Style-feat chain, with the base feat Spiny Urchin Style building on Two-Weapon Defense, enhancing that option. Cool: Does come with double weapon and light weapon training synergy. Spiny Urchin Sting builds on this: When an adjacent enemy attacks you and misses, you may AoO the target as an immediate action- Spiny Urchin Bristle builds on this retributive attack lets you strike back with BOTH hands! And yes, this gets the rules-operation right. Nice one!
There are two archetypes within: The divine protector paladin replaces smite evil with righteous shield, which makes shields actually matter: As a swift action, you may add + Charisma modifier to your shield bonus and add the holy weapon property. The damage does scale in a unique way, and the ability lasts for 1 minute and may be used 3 + Charisma modifier times per day. 1st level, as you could glean from this, nets Improved Shield Bash as a bonus feat, replacing detect evil. Additionally, Charisma may be used as a substitute for TWFing prerequisites. 3rd level unlocks guardian’s auras: As a swift action, they may cause 1d6 damage to all within 10 ft. that attacked allies. 14th level lets the paladin spend lay on hands uses to channel in the brief radius…or in full radius, if more uses are spent. This modifies aura of courage and resolve, eliminating the immunities, and replaces aura of faith. At 5th level, we get avenging shield, providing Far Shot as a bonus feat. Why? The archetype can throw the shield as a non-improvised thrown weapon, and if imbued, it also returns! This btw. manages to clarify that it does indeed allow for full attacks – kudos! This replaces divine bond. Finally, 11th level’s aura of vengeance is replaced with the option to create basically a magical fortification that enhances AC and Ref-saves. And yes, it moves with you. I LOVE this archetype. It’s hands down one of the coolest paladin archetypes I’ve seen in a while!!
The second archetype would be the advance guard ranger, who modifies favored enemy, gaining +1 to AC and saves (bonuses properly codified!) versus the favored enemies; similarly, the animal companion gained applies the bonuses instead of the atk and damage bonuses, making for a defensively-minded character. 3rd level nets armor training, reducing armor check penalty by 1 (minimum 0) and increasing maximum Dexterity bonus values, with every 5 levels thereafter improving this further. Additionally, medium armor no longer hampers movement speed and 7th level allows for full movement in heavy armor. This replaces favored terrain. 12th level replaces camouflage with Heavy Armor Proficiency, or a substitute combat feat. Evasion and improved evasion may now be used in heavy armor! Hide in plain sight, finally, is replaced by DR 5/- versus favored enemies while wearing medium or heavy armor. Nice one! The archetype is complemented by a new ranger combat style – these are often tougher to design than they look, and the Protector style and the feat choices here make for a cool defensive ranger.
Editing and formatting re top-notch. I noticed no glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s artwork-bordered two-column full-color standard and the artwork featured is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Matt Morris had a tough task here: Pathfinder is notoriously offense-heavy, and making viable and, more importantly, FUN defensive options, is a tough task indeed. Well, this humble pdf succeeds with flying colors. While I like the defensive ranger well enough, the paladin archetype is AMAZING. It oozes style, is powerful without being broken, and it will make your enemies really fear your shield, while your allies will celebrate your protective aegis! This archetype is pure gold and rocks really hard. The feats and other components also all have something going for them, making this pretty much an all killer, no filler pdf. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. If you’re looking for some fun paladin and ranger tricks, look now further!!
Everyman Minis: Alchemical Power Components (PFRPG) PDFRogue Genius Games
Our Price: $2.95Add to Cart
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, in case you’re new regarding the concept of power components: These are basically optional material components that may be applied to the casting of spells to change them in intriguing and novel ways. I really love the concept, and if you enjoy it as well and think that it makes magic feel more magical and rewards clever players, well, then you’re in luck: Rite Publishing’s has a book full of them, and Playground Adventures’ excellent Creature Components book similarly should be considered to be an excellent purchase.
Anyhow, this one focuses on alchemical power components and presents the base rules in a concise and meaningful manner: In short, they are expended, and effects, if any require one, employ the save DC of the spell enhanced via the optional material component. Here’s a cool thing: This humble pdf takes alchemical items that already exist and adds further depth to them by codifying them as power components.
Okay, so far, so good – but what do these alchemical items do when used to complement spells? Well, for example, when taking blood-clotter salve and applying it to a cure spell, a target that suffers from a bleeding wound heals an additional +1d6 damage and the bleeding stops, with 3rd level spells and higher increasing that value. Cure spells targeting more than one being can apply the benefit to multiple targets, which is pretty damn cool and can potentially turn the tide of battle!
Bottled lightning can be applied to three different electricity-based spells: When used in conjunction with lightning bolts, it can magnetize affected targets temporarily; shocking grasp provides minor electricity arcs that affect adjacent opponents (really helpful at lower levels) and wandering star motes can gain the electricity descriptor (kudos for catching that!) and now also cause electricity damage, which makes all kinds of sense to me – I can see that modification. Adding defoliant to an entangle spell allows you to choose squares in the spell that are not affected, allowing for tighter tactical control. Love it!
Diamond dust vials added to gust of wind can blind targets on a failed Reflex save, and a similar upgrade may be made for snapdragon fireworks, though thankfully in a limited manner. Adding a gravelly tonic to a magic mouth allows the spell to demoralize a target in the trigger area – and yes, this accounts for the caster to have line of sight…or not. Flame arrow and spiritual weapon may be enhanced with holy weapon balm to inflict additional damage versus the undead and evil outsiders. Big kudos for not falling into the “holy damage trap” (does not exist in PF) – the damage type is concisely and professionally presented here!
With some impact foam, your mage armor not only provides minor DR/Slashing, but can also cushion your falls really well. Fire breath is twice as much fun with keros oil added – and suddenly, your enemies catch fire! Even cooler: Add the oil to obscuring mist and fire-based spells will cause the mist to go KABOOM! With summon monster creatures that have been enhanced with skyrocket fireworks, you’ll bring some fun to evil-doer slaying, as the creatures can have mini-fireworks explode upon hitting targets. And yes, I’m only scratching the surface here!
Editing and formatting are top-notch on a rules-language level, very good on a formal level – apart from minor typo-level hiccups (“blanach” instead of blanch), I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to the colorful two-column full-color standard of the series, with the artwork-borders. The new piece of art is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Jen McTeague is a designer to watch – she has already created/contributed to quite a few files I loved. Unless I am sorely mistaken, she also tackled Everyman Minis: Esoteric Implements, and did so rather admirably! If this mini is an indicator, I expect great things: This humble little book makes alchemical items matter more and adds seriously cool, diverse and creative components to spellcasting. Not a single component herein is OP or mechanically problematic, and they all go beyond simple tweaks of base properties. In short, this is an inspired file, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval. Can we get more?
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This module clocks in at 66 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 58 pages of content, quite a lot, considering the amount of information per page Legendary Games’ provides.
Now, “On the Siberian Line”, as the name implies, is an adventure that takes place in our world – to be more precise, it is intended to be spliced into the “Rasputin Must Die!” adventure, between the first and second part. The module is intended for 13th level characters, and is roughly based on historical facts, with a bit of the fantastic spliced in, obviously. The pdf includes the bushi fighter archetype, who gains a modified proficiency list and exchanges a couple of fighter bonus feats with a samurai or cavalier’s order. Instead of bravery, we have bonuses to chosen Knowledge skills, and instead of weapon training, we get a scaling bonus to atk, damage and combat maneuvers with the weapon in question, as well as applying the bonus to e.g. sunder attempts versus the weapon. The pdf includes the stats for 4 different types of real world armor, with the heavier ones providing DR versus firearms. The pdf also provides stats for percussion grenades and the Lewis M1916 machine gun.
Now, the cartography deserves special mention – it is amazing: Both settlements and combat-map-style encounters receive maps, and the latter are provided in aesthetically-pleasing, isometric versions. Cooler yet: In style, they are deliberately crafted to be reminiscent of propaganda posters of that time There is one downside here: While quite a few of these encounter maps work perfectly well as player maps, not all of them do, and there are no explicitly redacted versions sans keys provided. The adventure does come with copious amounts of read-aloud text.
All right, this is as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
Okay, only GMs around? Great!
We begin with the arrival of the dancing hut on Earth – it materializes on a rozen river, and that river may well collapse. Similarly, there is a shadow projection nearby, allowing for seamless integration into Rasputin Must Die. However, the hut will be spooked and run – causing an avalanche. Worse yet for the PCs: The Strange occurrences will make the PCs targets for an air raid executed by Nieuport 12 biplanes! It does not end there: Drawn by the battle, soon, a troop of Bolshevik soldiers will approach, briefly discuss the weirdos…and then open fire! In the chaos, all but one of the prisoners of the Bolsheviks escape: The PCs will have a chance to save the remaining British soldier after dealing with the deadly troop: Sam Hooley. Pointers for the discussion with Hooley and his rationalization of non-human beings and magic are provided, and the pdf does a solid job keeping the scenario on track here.
Not soon after, the PCs will hear shots ringing – and Sam immediately recognizes his fallen comrades. Spread of the bodies indicates that they have been shot from a single position, and indeed, this area is the hunting ground of Snezhana Bovarina, a rather deadly sniper working for the Russians. The combat encounter here is rather interesting, courtesy of the complex terrain, which includes a whole array of bear traps to keep charging characters at bay. Unfortunately, this is one of the maps that does not come with a player-friendly version, which means that the traps and sniper’s position are actually notes on the map, requiring some work by the GM. On the plus-side, it is very much possible that the PCs take the sniper alive – Sam does note the Hague convention preventing the killing of combatants that have surrendered.
Completing their overland trek, the PCs arrive at Priiskovyy, where the joint allied forces currently have their camp under the command of General Henry Nicholls and Katashi Wada. The camp is fully detailed and mapped (once more sans player-friendly version, but here, it’s okay – Sam could theoretically explain what the Cs and numbers on the map mean…), and, after meeting the brass, the PCs quite probably are enlisted. When confronted with news of Rasputin being alive, the commanders note that a double-agent that goes by the name of “Scriba” has provided similar intel.
At this point, the book takes a much-welcomes departure from the combat focus that is so prevalent in the AP at this point, splicing an investigation into the structure of the AP. There are things amiss in the camp, as the PCs will soon find out while waiting for the train. The module provides a massive amount of different, scaling pieces of information regarding the occurrences here – and indeed, there is a traitor among the soldiers: Arsenic intended for syphilitic soldiers was stolen and mixed into food, providing a rather creative angle here: Perceptive and particularly curious PCs will also pick up the mention of the “Order of the Evening Star” and notes towards magic: There is an imperial foo lion that will not be acknowledged, and Sam will be framed for murder –it’ll be up to the PCs to prove his innocence, as the Japanese drag him away. Unearthing the master spy responsible will be a hard task indeed.
Once this section is completed, the PCs will take the train, and here, missed information may be imparted – oh, and a potent, high-level ninja sans tongue may well try to assassinate the PCs…but due to the man’s tongue missing, interrogation will be difficult. This is where the module shows some serious care, as the module does take PC abilities to read thoughts etc. into account, proving a connection to General Wada, and providing the association should be difficult, as the mean do not recognize the ninja. That being said, the PCs may actually start putting together pieces of information here, concluding that Baba Yaga has touched Japanese shores as well. If the PCs botched their interaction with the spy, they may face a deadly encounter, wherein the bridge crossed by the train is blown up by an elite cadre of saboteurs – stopping these fully statted folks will be a hard task indeed. Whether the reinforcements for Irkutsk, currently held by the Czech Legion, will either have to walk or arrive by train in Port Baykal to board a ship and prepare for the invasion of the city.
Sam, in the meanwhile, was taken aside by Wada, who, with his men, left the ship in reach of Irkutsk. Sam believes that Scriba is endangered by Wada and his men and thus shares the code phrase. Irkutsk is intriguing: The city features quite a few armies, and the PCs can use various ways to get through the fully mapped settlement: The module takes Stealth and high-level magic into account and provides guidance there – oh, and since we’re talking about high-level PCs, the adventure also features one-man army rules for the PCs, which make for a fascinating and fun mini-game using the mass combat rules! That being said, if you do dislike these, the module does offer not only for variant rules within this context, but also for means to play the adventure without resorting to them!
However, as the PCs arrive at Scriba’s location, they will have been outmaneuvered: Wada has already taken the agent and hijacked the SS Baikal, hell-bent on killing both Rasputin and Baba Yaga – mistrustful, the PCs will have to best the Japanese that have taken control of the ship and general Wada – as well as the mighty foo lion. Explaining why they wear the witch’s dark mantle can make for an interesting angle, and indeed, the general and his order turn out to not actually be that opposed to the goals of the PCs…but that doesn’t mean that the stubborn samurai will just lay down his weapons…
The adventure concludes with detailed notes on how to proceed with the AP.
Editing and formatting are top-notch and adhere to the high quality we’ve come to expect from legendary Games in both rules-integrity and formal criteria. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color artworks as well as neat cartography; as noted below, the absence of player-friendly maps is a minor issue that primarily hampers one encounter, but represents otherwise less of a problem. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Pedro Coelho’s yarn during a Weird World War I is a compelling adventure that adds further context to what is often regarded as a highlight, perhaps the highlight, of the Reign of Winter AP – for those groups out there that enjoy its premise, that is. The additional time spent in our world can make for a compelling angle, and indeed, the challenges posed are diverse: From challenging tactical encounters to the investigation and the mini-game, the mixture of genres helps render the stay in Russia more diverse and interesting, at least as far as I’m concerned. If anything, the adventure excels in a variety of different ways, particularly in accounting for high-level capabilities. The incredulity of locals when confronted with magic and the like are explained in a sufficiently concise manner, and the adventure, as a whole, makes for a great addition to the AP. In short, I consider this to be a great addition to the series, and a yarn that is both mechanically compelling and diverse – if anything, I wished that this was an even heftier tome! Rating-wise, there is next to nothing to complain about. While the lack of player-friendly maps hurts the adventure, everything else is compelling, creative and fun. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – if you and your players loved the premise of “Rasputin Must Die!”, then get this – it’ll make that chapter of the AP shine so much more.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
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!
We begin with a nice little introduction and the contextualization of the archetype herein within the Xa-Osoro system, before taking a look at the archetype. The Eldritch Trickster may only be added to characters with classes that gain spells or spell-like abilities from the 1st level feat or the race. The eldritch trickster as presented herein replaces the 2nd, 6th and 12th level class features.
At 2nd level, we get psychokinetic trickster, which nets at-will psychokinetic hand as a SP, and if you already know it, you may lose it in favor of another spell of the same level. The rules language also takes the SP-angle into account. Additionally, the ability allows for the lifting of up to 20 lbs. or 2 bulk, +10 lbs. OR +1 bulk per every 2 levels beyond 2nd. Starting at 6th level, you may use Engineering or Mysticism’s disable device use and all skill tasks of Sleight of Hand at the range of psychokinetic hand.
At 4th and 9th level, you may optionally choose to get expanded arcana, i.e. a Minor Psychic Power feat or one based on it. If you have a spellcasting class, you may instead choose a feat using spellcasting as prerequisite. Additionally, if you ever choose Major Psychic Power, you may substitute augury or status with a new spell, burglar’s insight. This spell is a 2nd level divination for mystic and technomancer, and, should you be using the Starfarer’s Companion, also for the legacy bard and wizard. The spell nets a scaling insight bonus to Bluff, Sleight of Hand and Stealth. If you have a class feature that grants an equal or greater bonus, you may instead spend 1 Resolve to roll twice, using the higher result. Unique: The spell runs out after using it key ability score modifier times. Nice catch: caster level increases do not increase the potency of this spell.
The 8th level ability would be invisible thief, which lets you spend 1 Resolve as a standard action to use either disguise self or invisibility as a SP, with a duration equal to character levels. 12th level improves action economy to alternatively allowing for swift action activation. Also at 12th level, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction when provoking an attack of opportunity, preventing the provoking of the AoO.
The pdf also features a new operative specialization, the spell scoundrel, which features Bluff and Mysticism as associated skills. You can make a Mysticism check with a +4 bonus to make a trick attack by using essentially a variant of token spell for your advantage. The exploit would be the flight hack, and whenever the spell scoundrel moves 10 ft. or more, you may designate up to Dexterity modifier squares. When moving from these squares, the movement doesn’t provoke AoOs. This is properly codified as a teleportation effect.
The pdf also sports new operative exploits: At 2nd level, there is a Dexterity-governed Minor Psychic Power – follow-up exploits also use Dexterity instead of Charisma. 6th level has an analogue ability for Psychic Power, though the spells added to the list, charm person and command are not italicized properly. At 10th level, we have the Major Psychic Power follow-up allows for hold person or inflict pain to be chosen. I already mentioned Flight Hack: this one may be taken at 10th level, and it provides a 30 ft. fly speed with average maneuverability that is governed by 40 flight points, Per round you’re flying, you consume 2 fly points, or 1 flight point per minute for cruising flight, during which you’re off-target and flat-footed. Changing flight modes is a standard action. This requires being able to cast at least 2 spells or SPs and can’t be used while encumbered or in powered armor. Cool twist on the classic concept, though it would have been nice to know when these points replenish…
Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. The missed italicization and lack of replenishment clause slightly hurt an otherwise fun offering. Layout adheres toa 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has a nice artwork and no bookmarks, but needs no bookmarks at this length.
Alexander Augunas’ Eldritch Trickster is a surprisingly fun take on the eminent concept – I enjoy how it brings the concept to the game, and how it spreads its abilities. All in all, I consider this to be a fun, worthwhile offering. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars – well worth checking out!
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
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!
This Star Log begins with the traditional introduction, as well as a nice, brief contextualization of the Ganzi race in the Xa-Osoro system that is shared by Rogue Genius Games and Everyman Gaming.
But what are the ganzi? Well they are mortals whose bloodlines have been mutated by generations of exposure to the energies of chaos, whether by living on planets saturated by such energies or the direct lineage tracing back to beings like proteans. They can, in theory, be born from any race, but humanity, being numerous as it is, is the most likely base stock of the race. Their physical descriptions may thus vary wildly: Shimmering hair, fluid eyes, barkskin – quite a few such ideas are noted. They do not claim a single homeworld, and have increased in number since the regicide-event. As chaotic beings, they are prone to wander and come into conflict with law and order – something that also influences their racial relations. Adventurers and nomenclature is also noted, though we don’t get the side-bar that notes what other races usually think about you, you know, the “Playing a *insert race name*”-box.
Ganzi are medium outsiders with the native subtype, get +2 Constitution and Charisma, -2 Intelligence, darkvision 60 ft., +2 to Sense motive and Survival and acid, electricity and sonic resistance 5, as well as +2 to saves versus transmutation effects. Once per day, they can twist probability with their supernatural Quibble ability, using their reaction to force a creature they are aware of to reroll a d20 they just rolled, with a Will-save to negate. The DC here is governed by Charisma, and this is a curse-effect. Notice something? Yeah, the HP-value, alas, is missing. *sigh*
Ganzi get three racial feats: Boon Quibble lets you use quibble as a standard action. If you do, the target gets 4 luck points, which may be spent when rolling a d20. For each point spent, the target adds an untyped +1 bonus. Multiple uses on a target don’t stack, thankfully. Resolute Quibble lets you spend Resolve to use quibble once more. Twisting Form, finally, nets you 1/day disguise self (italicization missing) that lasts for 24 hours or until dismissed. Disguise is also gained as a class skill and if the target already has it, the character instead gains a +2 racial bonus.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level – apart from the missed italicization and the missing racial HP, that is. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Alexander Augunas’ ganzi have a nice mechanic angle with the fate/luck point idea, but, at the cost of sounding like a hipster, the chaos-tiefling/aasimar/plane-touched angle is not exactly super-interesting. The chaos-angle could have been implemented in much more interesting ways – as a template race that accounts for the different parental races, this could have been more interesting. Similarly, a slew of sample mutations would have been nice. As a whole, this is a solid, if not mega-exciting race, particularly when compared to the genius and both mechanically and conceptually inspired Msvokas. (Seriously, get these!) My final verdict for the ganzi will hence clock in at 3 stars.
Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea (DCC)Goodman Games
Add PDF $6.99
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This adventure clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was requested by my patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.
Now, if you’re playing DCC, chances are that you will be familiar with this adventure, and it being a classic funnel, it has kicked off countless campaigns – it was the first stand-alone adventure released for the system, after all. This is a pretty well-known adventure, but is it still holding up? Does it make sense today, and could it work in other contexts? We’ll see. Now, this is a funnel – that means it’s intended for 0-level characters. A lot of them. 10 – 15 are suggested, noting that typically, about half of them will survive. The module could be run as a level 1 or 2 adventure as well, though compared to most such DCC modules, it may be a bit easy for those levels. It *may* be – or it may not. You see, this module does a surprisingly good job at blending rules-relevant aspects and player-skill. While your characters can and will probably suffer a few casualties, their survival will be more contingent on the skill of the player than on the roll of the dice. I will highlight a few examples for this design-philosophy, which I btw. thoroughly enjoy.
Now, on a formal level, as pretty much all adventures in this series released for the DCC-rules, this is a beautiful book: The b/w-artworks are really neat, and the cartography depicts the main-module in a top-down style that is slightly tilted. The map of the bonus complex (see SPOILERS below) is delivered in an isometric perspective. All maps come with artworks and style galore. Thing is, I really wished we got a player-friendly key-less version of the maps, as the letters break immersion for me. Having the maps layered would have been another easy way to ensure that more groups get to see these gorgeous pieces, handing them out, piece by piece as the PCs explore. The module does come with copious amounts of read-aloud text that show the author’s talent for descriptive prose: The atmosphere evoked by these is compelling and captivating. The adventure comes with a handy encounter table that codifies the base module’s encounters by type and provides a handy summary for the judge. The module also includes a list of 10 different rumors pertaining the adventure-locale.
All right, this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
All right, only judges around? Great! So, in ages past, when the forces of Chaos (think of a more Warhammer-esque, nasty capital letters Chaos…) were more potent, they had champions – so-called Chaos Lords. Two particularly evil individuals, Felan and Molan, were such beings, but their wickedness did end, with one of them slain, and the other one retreating into Chaos itself, vowing to return once more. This foretold time has come, and the PCs are dumped right into it. As 0-level folks, they are assumed to be villagers and similarly unimpressive folks that respond to the recent abductions and raidings executed by beastmen from a nearby, ruined keep. This, thus is a combination of rescue mission and retribution, depending on your character’s motivations. These beastmen are btw. more versatile than the ones featured in the Warhammer universe: A table of 12 entries allow you to generate spontaneous and diverse looks for the beastmen, which may feature iridescent scales, weeping maggots, etc. – these are delightfully icky. Beastmen as a general notion, are assumed to have animal cunning, with only their leaders retaining a semblance of distinct personalities.
Now, while these beings constitute the primary antagonists of the module, they are not the only foes encountered, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The PCs may approach the keep from a variety of directions, which all carry their own dangers, and it is here that we already see the design paradigm I mentioned in action: Scaling a ruined wall’s slope can trigger an avalanche of rubble that can be lethal at this level, and that destroys equipment. Noticing that, well, scaling a steep slope of rubble may be dangerous can help here. The check is so low that succeeding it is all but guaranteed if the PCs just think. There also is a massive sinkhole, but approaching it may have the PCs tumble to a horrid fate – 500 ft. below, as the area seems to be hollow. The attention to detail here is impressive – the pdf even accounts for the unlikely case that PCs could have 500 ft. of rope! (Yeah, super-unlikely, but still – it’s nice to see this go above and beyond!) The extraction of PCs and approaching the sinkhole safely is noted as well as splaying out on the ground – mind you, this is not a dickish save or die: It does come with a creepy premonition warning the PCs!
In a way, this adventure, from the get-go, teaches by virtue of its design: PCs approaching the keep from the front will have to deal with rather dangerous vine horrors, basically corpses animated by corrupt vines; these things are actually more deadly than beastmen, so avoiding them, may be wise. In the best tradition of old-school modules, two threats are tied to curiosity and greed: Interacting with the Well of Souls can result in death or corruption, introducing the PCs to the potency of such decisions. The tomb of one of the Chaos Lords would be another such example: Lighted by an unearthly glow emitted from the ice covering all and exceedingly cold, the tomb offers treasure, yes. But the tomb is warded by 4 banes – which double as curses that the judge can later use for additional complications and as segues into other modules. Ideas regarding their use are provided. Still, this aspect of the module is completely optional, but that may not be evident.
This would be as well a chance as any to note how clever the adventure deals with magic: Exploring the charnel ruins, where the forces of Law locked in chaos cultists and had them burn. There is a darkened tar ooze that is a deadly foe, but with smart observations, the ooze may not need to be fought at all – smart players can find here an item that constitutes one of the solutions of the perhaps most deadly encounter herein. Placating the ooze is btw. something that smart players can extrapolate from the area and its description. Now, the regular “boss” of the keep level would be a beastman champion with some footsoldiers added, and, depending on how much you want the PCs to explore, you can disperse the villagers to be saved accordingly.
This ties in with the fully mapped “bonus content” additional dungeon included here. At the end of the module, there is an extra mini-dungeon, the “Summoning Pits.” This bonus module is rather creepy and slightly more deadly than the regular complex: These pits are the origin of the vine horrors noted before, and the place does contain a truly deadly and dangerous weapon – the Fiend Blade, which can provide power, but also corrupt and may even help casting some spells…but it does demand a price: It needs to be mentally battered into submission, requiring difficult Personality checks to use to its full capacity…or alternatively, a cost. Note that the danger this blade poses is clearly shown, and once more, the PC’s greed is what may be their undoing, for entering the circle that seals the blade may be rather deadly. Now, I mentioned the vine horrors – the PCs can find a rather twisted scene of these, seemingly locked in place, in the process of providing a human sacrifice. Serving the plant-entity known as the Slow God, they are executing a super-slow sacrifice, as the entity, curious about the concept of worship, dips its toes into the concepts. The Slow God can provide unique boons to brave adventurers, but it may also well lose themselves to its glacially-slow, alien thought-processes. Now, tinkering with the Slow God’s vine horrors may well be one of the most deadly encounters in the module, so once more, we have a sensible risk-reward ration here.
I really enjoy this bonus dungeon, and it may well work as a nice stand-alone scenario for conventions etc. Considering how challenging this one is, it is smart that it’s an optional sub-level, though one with massive benefits. You can completely ignore it – which is a plus or downside, depending on how you look at it. The main adventure’s text does not note the access points to the adventure, and as such, this is truly an optional bonus content. Now, personally, I think it would have been nice to see the main module text modified to acknowledge the existence of this content, but oh well.
Now, where was I? Oh, yes – having defeated the first beastman champion, the PCs can make their way into the bowels of the earth, where perceptive PCs will be able to notice two mosaics, which have been provided as a gorgeous handout. These handouts are important, for they contain clues that are potentially crucial for the PC’s survival. In these darkened halls, smart PCs that do a thorough job exploring may find a potent magical item, the band of fire, which can well spell the difference between life and death. The climax of the module deals with the subterranean shores of the eponymous starless sea: On it, the PCs can see a dragon boat awaiting, and clever characters may also deduce the magical means by which it may be called to the shore, for the waters are dangerous and home to an entity known as the Chaos Leviathan, a horrid, tentacle monstrosity far beyond the PC’s capabilities to best. The gigantic thing may be driven off by super lucky groups, but it also represents more of a puzzle than an actual combat challenge. If the players have been attentive, they may well have an idea on how to placate the leviathan – and while sacrifice is one possibility, it’s certainly not the only one. Tricking the leviathan is also an option, though one that can add further danger and a sense of frantic nature to the already challenging finale.
On an island in the starless sea, there lies a ziggurat, where beastmen are in the process of sacrificing villagers, throwing them into the magical forge crucible that is intended to reunite the body and mind of a vanquished chaos lord. Here, player smarts once more may make the difference between success and failure: Using robes of fallen chaos priests or sneaking are probably preferable, considering that there are quite a lot of beastmen attending the ceremony. This crowd of beastmen also acts as a unique terrain hazard of sorts, with PCs caught in their hands inexorably being moved towards the horrid fate of the sacrifice.
In order to come out on top here, the PCs will have to stop the shaman of the beast-men, and also get a chance to defeat the as of yet unstable form of the chaos lord – the skulls of challengers to the title of the chaos lord, which some PCs may have picked up, represent a potent weapon here, flaring with hatred. Defeating the as of yet weak form of the chaos lord with have pretty epic and cataclysmic repercussions, requiring that the PCs make haste to avoid annihilation, as the cave risks collapse. In the time-honored tradition of adventurers, they should run and get what they can – but tarrying may well see the PCs killed…once more, risk and reward.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. The layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and fits a surprising amount of content into its pages. The b/w-artworks are great, and the module’s cartography, as noted, is inspired, offering a top-down look of the keep and main complex, an isometric perspective for the bonus complex. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks for the headers, but not for individual rooms.
Harley Stroh’s “Sailors on the Starless Sea” is a fantastic adventure in the best sense. It is very dangerous, but never in an unfair way. The adventure manages to transport the notions of a thoroughly magical world without requiring the meta-concerns of RPG-systems: There is method and an internal logic to how magic works within the game; players that think are rewarded, whereas approaching this with solely a rollplaying attitude will result in pain galore. I love this, as the adventure teaches being methodical and consequently rewards players ability over that of the PCs, making this an all out fun module to play. Compared with MANY “first” adventures for systems out there, this is a phenomenal achievement and clearly highlights the strength of the aesthetics of both DCC and its aesthetics. Now yes, I could complain about the fact that integration of the second printing bonus dungeon could be smoother, but that may well be a feature for you. Similarly, the lack of player-friendly versions of the amazing maps DCC modules tend to have galls me to no end, but the atmosphere and epic climax of this complex, the expert prose and fantastic execution make it all but impossible to rate this any other way than 5 stars + seal of approval. This is a great adventure, and one that holds up very well to this date. Much like “Doom of the Savage Kings”, this is good enough to get it even if you’re not playing DCC. Yes, that good.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This hybrid class clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, this one takes a bit of a different approach than most hybrid classes – we begin with pretty extensive notes that first explain the design rationale, and then proceeds to provide a flavorful legend and some in-character prose. I enjoy books that take the time to set the stage. Now, idolatry has a bad reputation in the monotheistic religions that many people nowadays follow, but at one time, worshiping statues that actually properly represented the deity was the standard procedure. (One may well argue that, while nominally, most Christians don’t worship idols of their god, worshiping an abstract cross with a depiction of Jesus crucified on it, is actually not that different, and call hypocrisy on the idolatry ban, but I digress.)
Anyways, the idolator thus does feel somewhat “old”, a theme that is further emphasized by the quasi-Mesopotamian flair evoked by the cover and the layout. The class also is unique in that it lists 3 parent classes: Cleric, oracle and unchained summoner. Now, this sounds interesting, right? The class gets 2 + Int skills per level, ¾ BAB-progression, good Will-saves, proficiency with simple weapons + their deity’s favored weapon and light armor.
At 1st level, the idolator gets a favored ability score valued by the deity – these basically represent different specializations: These follow a similar design paradigm: You get either +1/2 class level (minimum 1) or + class level to all ability checks pertaining that ability score. Additionally, the class gets to select two skills based on the ability in question to add to the class skill list – this one, obviously, is not part of the parcel for those choosing Constitution – which is a good thing. The ability score chosen counts as two higher for the purpose of qualifying for feat prerequisites. In spite of the class not getting spellcasting per se, choosing Intelligence grants this boost also for the purpose of concentration, assuming Intelligence as the concentration-governing attribute. Beyond these, each ability score comes with bonus feats granted thus – Strength yields medium and heavy armor proficiency, for example, while Dexterity nets Lightning Reflexes and Weapon Finesse. All of the favored abilities have in common that they render the idolator immune to ability score damage for the chosen ability score at 10th level, with 20th level upgrading that to immunity to ability score drain of the chosen ability.
This also interacts in an interesting way with the class’s take on the mystery feature: We begin play with one, but idolators don’t get class skills or bonus spells from the mystery chosen; they start play with one revelation chosen from the mystery’s list and get another one at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter. As a mostly aesthetic nitpick – the class feature should specify that idolator levels count as oracle levels for the purpose of revelation prerequisites. The unique thing, though, would e that revelation DCs are governed by 10 + ½ class level + the ability score modifier of the favored ability chosen! Yep, that means Constitution, Dexterity, etc. could be the governing attributes for these DCs! This has me intrigued, so let’s take a look on how this all comes together!
Now, an idolator is obviously also defined by the idol, right? An idol has a base form and subtype and sports the deity’s alignment. It understands and speaks common and all of the idolator’s languages. An idol is only destroyed upon being educed to negative hit points equal to the idol’s Constitution score. The idol has two forms – statue and animated. Idols remain in statue form until an idolator performs a 1-minute ceremony to animate it. This ceremony necessitates that the idolator remains adjacent to the statue. While in statue form, the idol has a hardness of 8 + the idol’s Charisma modifier. In this form, it’s generally 1 ft. tall and weighs between 10 and 20 pounds. Less portable idols could be Large or Huge, with correspondingly higher weight. Animating the statue transforms it into a Medium creature, and it remains animated until the idolator reverts it back to statue form as a standard action. Dismissal and banishment can revert an idol to statue form. Important: If the idolator is rendered unconscious or asleep, the idol IMMEDIATELY reverts to statue form! This is a small thing, but it means that “Get the priest that animated this monster!” suddenly makes sense – a small touch, but one I enjoyed. The idol, chassis-wise, is based on the unchained eidolon, though the table is provided for your convenience. A crucial difference would be that the idol does not have a max attack column, since it does not gain additional attacks with natural weapons – however, the idol may make iterative attacks when wielding the deity’s favored weapon, with which it has proficiency. The idol may not be altered to conceal it – no alter self, polymorph, etc., though invisibility et al. remain viable.
The idol, when damaged in either form, may be healed by healing magic, but it may also be fixed by spells à la make whole. Idols do not naturally heal hit points, and while nominally constructs, they do not get the construct traits – a fact the discerning reader will have picked up earlier, when the pdf specified the extended death threshold. Instead, they get a subtype, base form and base evolution as though they were an eidolon. Idols don’t have an evolution pool, and they eat and sleep and breathe, but unlike mortals do: Being in statue form constitutes resting, and the idol must rest 8 hours in a 24 hour interval. (“We must raid the temple while the idol sleeps!”) While the idolator does the preparation/resting routine, he burns incense and offers sacrifices of negligible cost to the idol – idols thus can be affected by harmful gasses. Idols may not wear armor, but do qualify for receiving construct modifications, which is an interesting differentiation angle. Now, as an aside, bioconstruct modification makes no sense for an idol, so having a prohibitive list would have made sense, but that is me nitpicking.
The idol begins play with darkvision 60 ft., gets Bluff, Craft, Knowledge (religion), Perception, Sense Motive and Stealth as class skills, +4 of their choice. Idols that gain a fly speed also get Fly as a class skill – nice catch there! An idol begins play with two cleric domains known, chosen from the deity the idol represents, gaining their domain powers and treating the idol’s idolator’s class level as cleric level for the purpose of determining their powers and gaining new ones. Domain powers usually governed by Wisdom instead employ Charisma as the governing key ability score. Subdomains etc. qualify. At 1st level and every level thereafter, the idol chooses a spell from these cleric domains chosen. The idolator’s class level must be at least twice the spell’s level for it to be selected – slightly odd: This means that the idol can’t actually cast the SP chosen at first level, only unlocking it at 2nd level. 1st – 3rd spell level SPs may be used 3/day, 4th to 6th level 2/day, and higher level spells may be used 1/day. A single spell may be chosen multiple times, increasing the daily uses by 1. Material costs higher than 5 gp must be provided for, in spite of the SP nature, but the costs for these components are halved. (minor nitpick: There is a missed italicization here. Idols begin with a starting Charisma of a whopping 17. Minor complaint: A sidebar is a bit confusing: “As an idolator gains levels, his idol gains specific evolutions based on its subtype as if it were an eidolon.” – this directly contradicts the class table and other class features – the text here is probably referring to the abilities gained by a subtype’s base evolution class feature, at least that’s how I read it. Ability score increases are gained at 5th, 10th, and 15th level.
Now, beyond the idol, the class gets their own unique class features dubbed “Sacrifices” – the first of these is gained at 2nd level, with additional ones gained every even level thereafter. There are more than 6 pages of these provided, but they probably could have fitted on fewer pages: The sacrifices are indented below the main ability, and the layout already has pretty wide borders, which makes the pages depicting these look pretty empty. Anyways, as you can glean from the amount provided. Some of these are exclusive for some favored ability scores and/or domains chosen; to give you an example, you can have multiple forbidden languages, and when having the same class skill as your idol, you may roll twice, taking the better result. Charging sans penalty to speed imposed by armor, Improved Unarmed Strike, 20 ft. burrow speed, causing bleed damage when flanking with the idol (there are various flanking upgrades), charmed life, +2 AC for purposes of determining crits versus the idolator, deathless fervor, increasing darkvision building up to seeing through magical darkness, resistance to an energy for Constitution based idolators, divination SPs…and there are some unique tricks: Lock down one magic item slot for a permanent +1 luck bonus to a save that increases to +2 at 10th level. This one is particularly interesting for low magic games. Flight granted scales and retains the implicit 5th level cap for unassisted flight. There also are flavorful choices, like offering a 10 gp meal to the idol to be exempt from requiring food or drink for a week. You can also share potions between idolator and idol, granting both the benefits, though this takes a full-round action and provokes AoOs. Better Stealth, integrating a magic item into the idol, gaining additional, limited SPs, gaining scent…some cool ones. Alas, one of them is obviously a cut copy paste from another source, mentioning a reaction as triggering action, which does not exist in PFRPG. That should be an immediate action. Also odd: On one page of these, the font used around an artwork suddenly changes to a different type, which makes the page a bit harder to read.
Starting at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the idolator gets a bonus feat, with the list governed by the favored ability score chosen. The capstone allows for the choice of one of 4 different ones, three of which are apotheosis-style abilities, while one sports one time miracle and 1 true resurrection, usable by the idol once as an immediate action.
The class comes with favored class options for the core races + orc, and there are 3 different archetypes for the class: The earthly divinity archetype locks the idolator out of variant multiclassing, since that’s basically the angle: The idol loses subtype and base evolutions and instead grants variant multiclassing style abilities at 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th,16th and 20th level. These benefits have been reproduced for your convenience, and encompass the pre-ACG classes. So no, there is no occult support here. There also is an issue here: These benefits can yield animal companions, familiars, etc., and that is problematic regarding companion stacking and interaction. Not a fan. The strange font-glitch also can be found on one page here. The revelator replaces the 6th and 9th level revelation, and the 11th level sacrifice with material component less, improving divination SPs. At 4th level, the revelator can share the benefits of a revelation with a willing target for 24 hours via a 1-minute ritual. During this duration, the revelator loses access to the revelation, though the revelation may be revoked as a standard action. I get what this ability tries to do, but it is a bit rough in the details: Does the recipient use the idolator’s stats to determine the efficiency of revelations loaned? What about revelations with limited uses/durations that need to be spent in increments? Is the limit persistent between characters or not? What about revelations that build on others? Do they cease to function upon the prerequisite revelation being traded away? Does the recipient have to meet minimum level requirements, if any? As written, alas, RAW not 100% functional.
The wordgiver is basically the Moses-style archetype and loses the mystery and revelation class features, instead gaining a tablet. Once per day, the tablet may be used to cast any cleric/oracle spell, using class level as caster level and the favored ability score as governing modifier. The spell’s level must be half class level or lower (here, the minimum caveat is properly implemented), and an additional such wildcard spell is gained at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter. Damaged tablets restore their hit points upon resting, and when destroyed, they may be replaced after one week in an 8-hour ritual costing 200 go x class level. The tablet may be hurled as a thrown weapon with a range increment of 10 ft. Annoying: Since the wordgiver does not have Throw Anything, unlike the alchemist, this means that he takes a -4 penalty to atk with the tablet. The tablet, upon impact, deals 1d6 times class level energy damage to the target, with the energy type associated with the deity. No further guidance is granted there…so what if I worshiped Nethys? Free choice? The fact that the table can be thrown thus also is a bit odd, considering that the subsequent spell-upgrades granted don’t yield additional tablet – you have but one. 7th level’s bonus feat is replaced with Leadership.
There is a per se interesting suggested variant rule regarding moral ambiguity, which mirrors many of my own sentiments, but as often before, the like tends to take a lot of time to implement concisely, and what’s presented here cannot really comprehensively cover the repercussions of doing so; thus, I’d strongly discourage attempting to do so, even though personally, I do believe that a big book to make the game more shades of grey-y may be a smart choice. The pdf also includes 4 magic items: chime of divine summons may be rung 1/day as a standard action – 10 minutes after that, the idol appears adjacent to the idolator. The delay here is interesting from a narrative angle: “Look, I’m unarmed. Yeah, you can bind me and put me in shackles. You’re throwing me in a cell? Oh boy, what should I do….” Divine clay of mending can be used to heal the idol. Eyes of the idol lets you see through the idol’s eyes. The rotulus of command draws heavily from the Golem of Prague myth – place a simple order in the idol’s mouth, with conditions, have it execute it. Simple, yet cool. We end the pdf with a sample level 5 human idolator using the mystery of lore and his idol.
Editing and formatting, on a formal and rules-language level, are both rather good – very good, in fact, though there are a few minor blunders here and there. The archetypes in particular feel a bit like afterthoughts and like they received less care. Layout adheres to a really nice two-column full-color standard that enhances the quasi-Mesopotamian vibe of the class. Artwork is a blend of new full color pieces and fitting stock art – though it should be noted that these manage to all invoke the same ancient flavor. Layout –wise, I think that the sacrifice ability-arrays pages look a bit empty. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
This collaboration between Aaron Hollingsworth and Mark Hart deserves applause for a couple of things: The class is wholly cognizant of the power of the idol, and is structured thus in a clever way to account for its power. The flexible chassis allows for really fine differentiation between different favored ability score idolators, and from mystery to revelations and domains, there is a TON of potential to customize these fellows. No two idolators will be truly alike. Indeed, this hybrid class does have its own distinct identity that renders it distinct from its parents in a rather fun way.
The idolator has a distinct flavor and takes the flexibility it provides into account. In fact, this is a hybrid class that I consider rather worthwhile – it is intriguing, and the small tweaks to rules and the distinct flavor make it feel unique. While the minor hiccups and, in particular, the less refined archetypes do mar this
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This collection of items clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content. Now, as always, there is a lot of content within these pages, courtesy of Legendary Games consumer-friendly layout, so let’s take a look!
On the first pages, we have a list of all the items featured within this pdf, listed by price for your convenience, but before we dive into the specifics, let’s start with the new special weapon properties featured within. There are two ones that have a +1 equivalent, the first of which would be deceptive. This one adds twice the weapons enhancement bonus to Stealth and Sleight of Hand checks to keep it hidden from prying eyes, and similarly, the bonus is added to the DC of Diplomacy or Heal checks made to gather information about it – big kudos for taking that investigative aspect into account. Additionally, when striking a flat-footed or unaware target, a glamour is implanted that scrambles divinations pertaining the attack, serving as a misdirection, save that the wielder gets to decide the false information. This is genius. I mean it. This weapon quality alone may be worth getting the pdf for. This provides so many truly evocative and complex investigation angles, I can’t even begin to list them all. Easily one of my favorite special abilities for a weapon ever.
Partisan weapons are attuned to a city, nation, etc., and if the wielder is a member of this group, she receives a +4 insight bonus to Bluff, Disguise and Sleight of Hand to conceal it from members of other nations, cities, etc. On a critical hit versus a flat-footed humanoid member of another nation, that target must succeed a Will save or be shaken for 1 minute. The wielder also receives a +2 bonus to confirm critical hits versus other such members of different nations. The attuned nation, city state, etc. must be determined upon creation. Another winner in my book! The third one would be a +2 special ability, namely treasonous, which is basically the upgraded version of partisan, increasing its enhancement bonus by +2 versus members of other nations and +1d6 damage, which is not multiplied on a critical hit. It also makes the Sense Motive DC to determine lying etc. harder. Okay these latter two are amazing once you think about it – what they mean for nations and how they work, how that can influence the game – impressive indeed.
Beyond these, we also 4 armors and one specific shield. The first armor would be the crypt warden’s plate, which prevents the wearer from being raised from the dead; it’s also deathless and shows the difference between good and bad item design: In another book, the armor would just detect undead by some means. Here, however, the armor actually describes *how* it reacts to nearby undead – cold, glow, etc. – this adds a tangible sense of the magical here. The lavishly-illustrated hauberk-in-motley is so light, it does not penalize Acrobatics with the armor check penalty. Additionally, as a standard action, the wearer may make a Perform (comedy) check to fascinate nearby targets if they fail their save. A hex-caveat prevents abuse, and the armor provides synergy with the fascinate bardic performance for hideous laughter 3/day, and characters skilled in Perform (comedy) can allow for the increase of the save DCs. Quickchange studded leather is amazing: It can be donned quickly and may be loosened as part of making an Escape Artist check. Love this one! The scale of endless bureaucracy has 25 scales that may be removed, transforming into sheets of paper. 10 of these may be used to create perfect copies of nonmagical text. There also are scales that can transcribe spoken words. The transcribed request can then be forced upon recipients, compelling them to fulfill the requests. The final scales allow for the creation of compelling forgeries and the wearer’s skills pertaining law etc. are greatly enhanced. An utterly inspired armor here, one that feels truly evocative. The shield I noted would be the roofrunner’s buckler, which may be placed on the ground. A creature that’s not too heavy may place it on the ground and have it levitate short distances. Really cool!
The pdf also includes three specific weapons: The captive blade can be used freely while entangled or grappled, and is particularly potent when wielded against restraints, manacles, etc. The forgetful sap can add memory lapse to attacks, with a save to negate. The DC is higher for unaware targets. Creatures not armored too well can also be touch attack memory lapse’d. Thirdly, the nightwatch crossbow has a darkvision glass scope and may 1/day fire a daylight bolt. Cool.
The pdf contains 4 different rings: The diplomat’s signet is a low cost skill boost stacking with the other two diplomat’s items. These are wondrous items that also enhance diplomacy and net different Knowledge boosts. While I like sets, this one is, compared to the other items herein, not particularly interesting and doesn’t net anything unique beyond stacking bonuses.
The ring of erudite alacrity consists of 3 rings, and spinning the gold band lets you perfectly memorize one area or up to 1000 words of text, for 24 hours. This is perfectly codified. The platinum band allows for quicker spell research, magical crafting and locating written information – and yes, the item does take losing and retaking the item into account regarding total duration calculation! The final band provides a short-term initiative, Ref-save and AC-boost. Ring of the treacherous advisor mirrors the alignment of casters attempting to discern the wearer’s alignment; the second ability allows the wearer to lie even in magical zones. The scabbard ring can hold a weapon in tattoo form on the forearm of the wearer.
The pdf also contains a new rod, the heartstone rod, which nets blindsense – by virtue of hearing creature heartbeats! It also can affect targets with the curse of the tell-tale heart, making targets that lie or attempt to stretch the truth suffer from racing heartbeats and become both fatigued and shaken. So cool! The wondrous items with include the bracelets of freedom and are super tough to notice, netting the wearer a massive +20 bonus to hide them from inspection. These enhance Escape Artist, and, as a swift action, all but guarantee escape from manacles and similar restraints, making is a great item when attempting an extraction of a target of an infiltration under the guide of having been caught. The bracers also allow you to make inspection seem like you’re still restrained. Cool one! Candles of the sacrament blesses those nearby and may affect evil targets nearby with bane. Okay one, I guess. Chain caltrops are magical, cause bleeding damage, entangle like tanglefoot bags and are reusable. For 600 gp, certainly worth getting! Cool one!
The pdf also includes two stylish pieces of headwear – the cheater’s hat makes the target super lucky in games of chance, with suitable rules-representations of the effects and some nice storytelling potential. As an item for the crooked, the pilferer’s gloves complement it and have a built-in set of masterwork thieves’ tools and, beyond enhancing Sleight of Hand and Stealth used to steal or the steal maneuver, it also alerts the wielder of magical alarms and the like and may be used to dispel such effects. During Disable Device checks, the gloves can also shroud the wearer in silence. With the threefold knocker glove, you may knock on a door and emerge from another unlocked door within the same building or 100 ft. With three knocks, you can even bring allies with you. Love it! And if someone catches you – well, there’s always the toxic scabbard for light weapons, which can bypass detection and becomes even more useful for those with the poison use ability.
The second hat would be the detective’s cap, which enhances Perception and Sense Motive and allows for tracking In cities via Knowledge (local) – fun twist there! If you’re wearing that cap, you may also be interested in the mark of the authority, a badge that enhances your own CMB and that of nearby allies with a couple of fitting 1/day spells. With the inspector’s bullhorn you WILL be hear – it basically acts as a megaphone. It helps to Intimidate those in the cone, and the horn enhances the DC of sonic-based effects channeled through it. It also can 3/day greater command/greater forbid action, as chosen. The horn also allows the user to demand that targets show themselves, negating invisibility, blink and similar effects. If already visible, the affected targets must move towards the user. Damn useful!!
The beautifully-illustrated clockwork spotter is an intricate clockwork birdy that, upon activation, becomes a clockwork raven that can locate creatures and objects and help find the path. Really neat!
The cloak of the drifter helps generalize the wearer and disguise as nonspecific targets and helps blend in crowds. Nice one! Glassee gloves tightly codify making items transparent. The senator’s stole helps with social skills and allows the wearer to instruct targets with know peerage and it enhances language-dependent effects and fortifies the wearer versus charm and dominate while enhancing the wearer’s harmless charms, making them harder to dispel. At, ironically, twice the price of the stole, the ratty robes enhance Sleight of Hand and fortifies the wearer against poisons and diseases. The robe also prevents rats and rat swarms from attacking the wearer, and allows the wearer to turn into a rat swarm once per day. Even cooler: this may be used as a reactive dispersal to mitigate the worst brunt of assaults. The third such equipment would be the gorgeously-illustrated sewer suit, which acts as either a +1 leather armor or in conjunction with it, as a garment. The hood filters filth and helps versus disease and nausea and swarms. It also helps you hold your breath and allows for quicker movement through bogs etc. Cool! Finally, there would be portable waterworks, buckets that can turn into wells or fountains!
Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that crams a lot of information on every page, and the pdf sports some really cool, new original artworks in full color. The pdf comes with detailed, nested bookmarks, making navigation comfortable and smooth.
Jason Nelson, Victoria Jaczko and Loren Sieg show how it’s done. As befitting the names of two of these designers (Victoria meaning triumphant, Sieg being German for victory), this collection of items represents a triumphant victory: While the diplomat’s set is somewhat lame, that’s the only item herein that is not amazing: Even when the items are very much spell-based, they offer unique flavor, cool tweaks, and make them feel distinct. The items here are a godsend for a wide variety of campaigns, making this transcend its intended use as a Curse of the Crimson Throne plug-in. The items within this pdf are a boon for GMs struggling with making investigations or heists; any low-magic campaign will adore these; if you even remotely are interesting in espionage or heist scenarios, then this is pretty much a must-have offering. This humble pdf strings inspired items back to back, and it does so in a truly inspired manner – quality over quantity, this delivers in spades and is worth every cent. Get it! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.
An Endzeitgeist.com reviewEndzeitgeist —
This Everyman Mini clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
On the introductory page, we get a new spell (most spellcasting classes, including occult ones qualify): Remove pain is either a 2nd or 3rd level spell. The spell nets a +4 morale bonus versus fear effects for 10 minutes, while also suppressing pain effects currently affecting the target, and acting as a counter for inflict pain. Nice one.
The second page contains an assortment of new paladin mercies, grouped by levels at which they become available: At 3rd level, we can find 7 new ones: These include 1 round of good hope, mitigating the entangled condition, AoO-less standing up from prone position or providing uncanny dodge for a 1 round. Cool: If you already have it, improved uncanny dodge is gained. If the target has improved uncanny dodge already, they add the paladin’s Charisma modifier to the level to determine minimum rogue levels required to affect them. A couple of these, btw., are deity, or rather, domain-granted specific. If the deity grants Artifice or War as a domain, the paladin may pick up or draw an item as part of using lay on hands. Nice! Save benefits, making a d20 roll of 10 or less count as 11 a limited amount of times per day – there are some surprisingly creative tricks here!
There are 8 different 6th level mercies, with one providing the aforementioned remove pain spell, another providing fire or cold resistance (or acid/electricity for another one) and another repairing items or constructs. Helping a target get out a grapple, augury and a harmless true form variant or being nourished…some creative tricks here. The pdf also has two 9th level mercies, with one duplicating break enchantment for mind-affecting effects only; paladins whose deity nets the healing domain allows for further healing at the cost of the paladin’s health.
Finally, there are 5 different 12th level mercies. Jester’s jaunting targets, daylight, breath of life, repairing destroyed items (and magic item repair is tightly codified) and a telepathic bond complement the pdf.
Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the new, 2-column artwork-bordered standard of the series and the pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need them at this length.
I did not expect to find anything interesting in David N. Ross’ paladin mercy-mini. They are not particularly interesting, after all, right? Well, wrong. The mercies are really interesting and offer some rather surprising modifications that offer more tactical decisions than I expected to find. This is certainly worth getting and is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars – if you have a pala, get this!