Kobold

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a good book but......

4/5

The book was good. It was a different sort of task with the first part. Clearing the name of a hideous creation. An example of what heroes kill during a campaign. Investigation and combat followed by the climax of the trial. Brings in a flavor of the sherlock holmes novels.

The second part was well-made with the creepy mansion and making their way through to the alchemist. The only problem was the end boss. Had too much going for it. Stacking on the DR on top of everything it had just made it too much for the party to handle. Finding the bondslave trall was the only route and that required a search check of 30. A good adventure slightly soured by a too tightly rail-roaded ending.

I would have given it 5 stars if not for the ending.


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Good portrayal

4/5

I read it and must say liking the way horror is portrayed. Much of it is of course description by the DM but the added tunes to play while running the game was a very nice touch. Fair amount of combat but not too much. Allowing skill checks to play an important role and awarding xp for it. While this has been done before, it addresses the issue of some players I know who feel DnD is all about combat. "You only gain XP from killing or destroying things." The portrayal of Harrowstone was not dark and scary because of the knowledge of undead around which were trying to kill you. It had a more passive diablo 1 creepiness about it. ALL in all, a good start to the adventure.


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Too much too fast

2/5

The main beef I had was with the alchemist and magus. Alchemists are supposedly primitive scientists/herbalists. In this however, they gain all kinds of bombs and discoveries. Their "alchemical created specialties can be stolen but cannot be used by anyone other than themselves." One heck of a failsafe but complete b@!%++*s. They gain reistance to poison faster than an assassin. Apply poison as a swift which makes them even better at that than an assassin or ninja. Bombs which do fair amount more than alchemist fire since its 1d6+Int and their Int would be high since its the basis for their abilities. True ressurection at level 16 which is a level earlier than the cleric. Also considering the fact they cast up to level 6 spells but can cast a level 9 spell is laughable. This resurrection potion can also be drunk by them and it functions as a contingency effect since it'll bring them back to life should they perish. Feels like a combination of cleric/wizard assassin but is better than each in certain select areas of the other three classes. There are other factors but these are the main crux of it.

On to the magus. At first levelhe can enhance his weapon and the bonus goes up with levels. This isn't a problem but the enhancing weapon ability is drawn from some mystical arcane pool which doesn't take up casting a spell when doing this. Later on, more abilities can be created from this pool which also increases as the magus level increases. A desperate attempt to get around the limitations spellcasters have of only so many spells per day. This coupled with the fact they can cast later in medium and heavy armor at no penalty is ludicrous. If it was just in light armor, it would be believable. They also qualify for fighter feats despite having no levels in fighter. What was originally fighter specific now applies to them. There is more but that about spells the main part of it.

All in all, a book which has introduced classes which gain too much too quickly and tries desperately to tear down the limitations of other classes then mix them all in together. With the alchemist its assassin/wizard/cleric. With the magus its ninja/wizard/fighter.


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hmmm....

2/5

High review results for this book (average 4.7 out of 5) and so much praise. Indeed, the book does bridge certain problems like condensing the skills to give characters more choice to spread skills around. The rage powers for the barbarian class was another nice and welcome addition. Good ideas by the creators.

However, then there is the problem with certain base classes which get too much too quickly. One example of this was the rogue. Rogue talents every two levels on top of the rogues broad class skill list and skill points per level. Each is as strong as a feat on top of everything else the class gives; evasion,uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, etc.

The fighter who now gets the knights ability to move normally in medium/heavy armor. Sorcerer bloodlines giving them more oomph. Especially the one about being destined for greatness. Seen a player play one with that bloodline. Very bad choices made in game. Power crazy and got screwed horribly partway through the campaign. The list goes on.

While it is the impression of more power to the players, this makes classes which are relatively unchanged weaker. Hardly a uniformity of power across classes.

Npc classes were also surprising. Commoners were d6, experts and aristocrats d8, warriors d10. Seeing that commoners are literally thse who engage in the least combat, the upgraded hit die felt odd. Warriors are pretty much thugs and militia with training but not the specialized training of the fighter. Sure, they don't get the bonus feats but the fact that their hit die was equal with the fighter made little sense.

Some new feats were equally mind boggling. Cleave which now allowed you to attack an adjacent foe as long as you hit the previous one. Almost strong enough to replace whirlwind attack which actually had a feat tree attached to it.

Acrobatic steps and nimble moves which let you move through 20 feet of difficult terrain as if it were normal. This felt like it was just grabbing the mantle of the swashbuckler and drunken master since its one of the signature abilities of their class.

Arcane strike which lets a spellcaster makes his weapon magical as a swift action. No limit on the number of times they can do it per day. Trying to get around the problem of obtaining a magical weapon regardless of whether its through buying or adventuring. Too convenient.

The most laughable one was master craftsmen which lets you craft magic items in the sense of +1 to +(whatever) magical items. Really? So the blacksmith who has no exposure to or knowledge of the arcane pulls mystical energy from OUT OF NOWHERE and imbues the normal axe with magical power. Huge gap in logic there.

The list goes on. Too many imbalancing feats. All in all, some nice ideas but think i'll stick with 3.5 primarily for classes, rules and feats.


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impressive from so many angles

5/5

After reading the book I have to say I am very impressed. It details the background of the dwarves and their collectivist culture. Describes their attitudes and how they were raised thus giving rise to their strengths but also glaring weaknesses.

The history section was filled with so much bloodshed and tragedy with one standing point; even the hardy dwarves have been routed and experienced low points in their racial history.

The new feats were balanced and the traits were unique, especially the regional ones. All in all a very realistic book almost reminiscent of historical texts on ancient civilisations. A very well thought-out product.


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The fabled fabulous elves (part one)

1/5

I have read a fair amount of pathfinder stuff and I have been impressed by the effort and quality of products. Then I read the book on elves and it was amazing.
Straight from the beginning, the condescension starts. Elves do not think less of the short-lived races since they’re lifetimes come and go in the blink of an eye and they won’t live long enough to truly master any discipline. Its nothing personal, just bad luck on the part of the other races. Really? What about certain key figures like the wizard king and lich king Nex and Geb. The runelords or Lord Belkzen who united the orcs. Cavalry of Lastwall which managed to route 2000 orcs with 17 cavalry members? None of those were elves, yet all of them were very prominent historical figures in their own way. (I’d like to see 17 elves route 2000 orcs)Stranget thing is, don’t hear any mention of famous elven figures anywhere. Yes, very odd indeed for a race which has “mastered” their disciplines.
Under brief history, it mentions that humans rapidly multiplied and vile things clawed at the edges of their lands. The elves fought but despite being worth 10 humans for each elf, they clearly could not win. They left before the starstone struck for their beloved original plane of existence. Watching in frustration as their homes were looted by vandals. Duh! If you abandon your home, it doesn’t take a genius to realise you’re turning over whatever is left to whoever passes through. You are so wise and yet didn’t see this coming?
Furthermore, they just upped and left the forests? Yet they are able to return with no direct repercussions. The god of nature Erastil welcomes them back with open arms for abandoning his beloved gardens and creatures. The fey get along famously with them having being abandoned. Decades pass and they trust the elves again. Really? There are no drawbacks? I’d hate to think the wrath of a god is a few showers in the early morning and afternoon with the next day’s forecast as mildly cloudy. The fey get back to trusting them again so easily? Gaps in logic and consistency here.
The non-elves wonder why elves are not all master swordsmen or powerful wizards. There it states they measure success differently, wealth and reputation are but distractions to the more important things like honour and seeking enlightenment. Well, that’s all good and dandy but is it not common sense to ensure your wizards can hold their own in combat, your soldiers can stand toe to toe with invaders coming to take your lands? If not, you won’t live to attain enlightenment and honour.
Elves who interact with “transient” races are already on the outliers of society. Just by that reason alone they are outliers of their society. A learned and wise race which closes itself off from the other races is blinded by its own “wisdom”. Isolationism breeds stagnation, not development not the furthering of disciplines. They can maintain their standards but sooner or later they will be surpassed as everyone who is learning from everyone else.
The part on where an elf will still be around when the last monument crumbles.
Highly doubtful there. Dwarves forge item and buildings which last a long time. The Thassilonians had monuments, some of which still stand in golarion and that was 10,000 years ago. An elf doesn’t live to be even 1000 years old. Complete contradiction and b$*#@+++ there.
It states that the most powerful wizards can sense the presence of magical auras without even looking. The only class which can do that is the warlock which can cast detect magic at will. Elves are not magical, they are not nishrus. They frown upon the channelling of innate mystical power like the sorcerer and warlock. Since wizards will know thousands of spells by the time the sorcerer knows dozens. Complete stigmatization of two spell casting disciplines which have their place. You may have variety but they can cast more times per day than you. Variety is pointless if one cannot implement it. Keep in mind this is the decision of a highly intellectual and superiorly wise race.
Under the description of rangers and wizards, rangers are the frontiersmen
and all that. Wizards however are highly respected since arcane magic is the pinnacle of study and concentration. That’s fine but you sure you want favour mystical librarians so highly over your own soldiers. Not realising that being a ranger has its place in their society and not below wizards screams ignorance and blind arrogance.
Elven elders which tend to be wizards and give advice which is highly respected. They speak cryptically and their younger members aren’t sure they’ve gotten the message. Lets think about this. 20,000 orcs storm Kyonin. The younger wizards ask the elders for advice. They say something like:”if it is destined to happen as failure is the mother of success.” Then teleport away goodness knows where. This could be interpreted a number of different ways. What if one of them decided to let the orcs advance a bit more. Let the rangers fight them out. A lot will die but perhaps a weakness in the orcish lines could be found. They’re just rangers after all, not wizards right?
Then the book speaks of honour as being highly emphasized. Its apparently all about friendship and keeping one’s word. However, when elves get into feuds they don’t desire a one on one duel. This is frowned upon. They instead prefer to take apart the other persons life piece by piece and thoroughly destroy them. So let me get this straight. A show of mutual elven respect and honour through duelling is laughed at as opposed to trickery and slow excruciating pain. Does this not scream sadism on a severe scale? A dodgy rogue would do something like this while a knight would scoff in disgust. What part of that is honourable?
The elves are supposedly consummate craftsmen. They import raw minerals but look on with disdain when it comes to smelting. That’s all good to get past the mining. However, without smelting there is no crafting. I suppose one could get around this with spells but spells are not permanent. Adding the cost of permanency on an item regardless of whether it is magical would be ridiculous. Not even their own people would buy from them since permanency spells cost thousands of gold pieces.
From there it moves on to relations. Elves hate orcs and vice-versa. A half-orc holds dim hopes of being close to an elf. If he conducts himself with dignity and honour, he may win grudging respect. Elves do not differentiate them from their full-blooded kin. After a half-orc saves an elf a dozen times from the brink of death, braves the blistering elements of the desert and the blistering cold of the frozen tundra, the best he can hope for is grudging respect? Sorry to say that sounds like pure ungrateful selfishness and arrogance there. “Regardless of what you do I will never truly treat you as an equal” is what it is saying. Furthermore, deliberately not making the differentiation and just lumping them in with their hated foes sounds like simply lazy convenience. To not realise that there are exceptions in every race is an error born through lack of knowing and information. Hardly wise or learned.
There it goes to religion and it just gets better. It says elves pay homage to any god but most shun evil or corrupt deities. Calistria is the most widely worshipped of elven gods. What? Do the elves know what Calistria stands for? She may not be evil herself but she could swing towards it easily. No solid allegiance on any set beliefs or commitment. Beauty and cold vengeance are all that matter. Vengeance and justice are not always on the same page and the fact that she is widely worshipped contradicts this.

link to part 2: look to the comments section.