Kob-Kog

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5/5

This is a compilation of variant monsters with base creatures chosen from the first bestiary. Each creature has three variants, usually one weaker and two stronger versions. Beasts are well made, nothing too spectacular, but also nothing bad that stands out. There are no pictures, but since these are variants of existing monsters they are not that necessary. I really like this book since I became too busy to apply templates to tweak monsters, and these offer variety if you need it when using monsters.
I wish I had this book, Monster Codex and Raging Swan's Tribes Most Foul when I ran my orc campaign, it would make my job so much easier.


5/5

Like its counterpart Dungeon Dressing, this is a massive tome of details and ideas for fantasy adventures, this one dealing with outdoors rather than indoors. This one includes castles, ruins, caves; people like bandits and travelers, features from borderlands, plains, hills, forests, mountains and frozen lands and special chapter dedicated to sea adventures. This one is, for me, even more useful than Dungeon Dressing since I have even harder time of developing outdoor details than indoor ones.
One thing I haven’t mentioned is the layout and graphic design of Raging Swan books. They are beautiful in their simplicity. Clean white pages, small print, simple layout and small amounts art that suggest rather than locks you in an image. And this one has better bookmarks.
And seriously, you could use Dungeon & Wilderness Dressing, Tribes Most Foul compilation and one of the Village Backdrop compilations and run a whole sandbox campaign out of those four books.


5/5

This is a collection of miscellaneous monstrous tribes. Each tribe has a 2-page description containing Society&Organisation, Ecology&Lair, Combat&Tactics, Notable Personalities, Tribal Lore (Knowledge DCs) and one NPC statblock. The collection contains 24 tribes (mostly 3 from each type of creature). Now this isn’t an NPC codex, this is (as usual for Raging Swan Press) a collection of ideas, the spark that can be used to flesh out a monster tribe. Just to mention a few: a tribe of ogre cooks, undead worg pack, trolls that share their flesh etc. Not all tribes are wellsprings of originality but not one is bland and all have at least one unique detail (if nothing the tribe crests are great).
I wish I had this book, Monster Codex and NecromancersofNW Exotic Encounters when I ran my orc campaign, it would make my job so much easier.
And seriously, you could use Dungeon & Wilderness Dressing, Tribes Most Foul compilation and one of the Village Backdrop compilations and run a whole sandbox campaign out of those four books.


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3/5

Disclaimer: I got this PDF for free to review.

Although called Antimagic Sourcebook, it's actually a book with one class and two prestige classes which are more or less antimagically inclined, several feats that mostly complement the classes, a new mechanic and a couple of antimagic options for other classes.

First class is a paladin variant called mage hunter. Although LRGG have proved themselves comfortable in tinkering with paladin chassis with the avenger in Tome of Twisted Things, this one feels a bit sloppy and cluttered. He has detect magic instead of detect evil (and can focus on a single item or creature). His version of smite targets spellcasters (and we get a sidebar that describes what a spellcaster is, and how to treat creatures with spell-like abilities) and damage is based on their caster level rather than his class level. Interesting, although I see a problem with GMs who don’t like to reveal NPC statistics. Also, I don’t like when my characters have varying performance with their signature ability. He gets dispel magic instead lay on hands (very powerful ability since it has relatively many uses, and gets rider effects with levels). Spell resistance replaces divine grace, but divine health is kept (thematically not really necessary). Channel arcane energy also feels forced rather than necessary. He keeps the spells (now a spontaneous caster) but is unclear what his spell list is (it says he chooses from mage hunter/wizard list, but there is no mage hunter list). Loosing the spells would be much more appropriate for mage hunter rather than the avenger, especially since he is rather loaded with abilities.

First prestige class, the spellweaver is a kind of anti-caster caster, but has kind of clunky mechanics. Nothing especially broken, but some things are unclear (like how do you use Leyline), Spell Distortion has opposed rolls (rather than a DC as is customary in PF). The new mechanic of arcane nexuses is rather heavy on the bookkeeping (since you have to mark the spots where arcane spells originated on the map) and plainly unusable for people who don’t use grid or battlemats.

Second prestige class the Arcane Luddite, is anti-caster martial, the “magic-hater”. Concept is great, and I really like one mandatory negative mental score, but also suffers from unnecessarily complicated mechanics (he also uses arcane nexus mechanic). The saves bonus is very specific (arcane spells that only target him, so no bonus on area spells).

Other options, six feats (most of them mainly for use of these classes), one rogue talent, one antipaladin cruelty, favored enemy option and a weapon special ability, are not bad, but are nothing special and feel like an afterthought. I thought I would be getting options like mage-slayer line of feats and spells like refusal and reciprocal gyre from 3.5 days. And most importantly, more of them, ‘cause they all fit on page and a half.

On the first browsing I thought between giving 4 or 5 stars to this book, but now I’m firmly set on 3. This book feels like a beginner offering with so many unclear options/abilities and cluttered classes. The whole book could be revised and expanded. Mage hunter abilities to be trimmed, prestige classes clarified and in places simplified and other options expanded. That said concepts of the classes are great(I really liked the luddite, and mage hunter could be great with tinkering), and they’re not unusable (on the contrary), so I cannot go any lower.


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4/5

This book presents expanded or increased bonuses for feats, making them scale in effect (usually at 7th and 14th level).
Now, I really didn't like this book when I bought it (partly because of expecting something else rather than scaling), but I have to admit that some of the feats are really good and could be used instead of original ones (save feats for example). But, too many feats have small circumstantial bonuses that are going to be forgotten, some feats should’ve never been upgraded (Ability Focus. Like I needed Slumber Hex to be more powerful), and some are still underwhelming (Skill Focus is in this book strictly inferior to feats like Acrobatic and Alertness). Some feats do expand what you can do with them, but are few and far between.
I think that the book would have benefited more in focusing on not-so-good and bad feats and expanding their uses or simply fixing them, rather than forcibly making every feat scaling. This way I think it’s a rare GM that will allow whole book since it’s a clear power up that wasn’t necessary in many cases. Still some of the reworks are good, and there are uses in some low-magic campaigns.


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5/5

Simply put, nuances are abilities that fighters can select instead of bonus feats. They are specifically designed to mitigate the flaws of the fighter class, although within set boundaries (mostly keeping the base class unchanged and no stepping on toes of archetype abilities).
Nuances are most alike barbarian rage powers, in that they are very good by themselves, and mostly do not require other feats or nuances to be effective. They increase in- and out-of-combat versatility, shore up defenses and some are simply cool. Nuances don't increase overall DPR or AC (although there are some save and skill increases), so if you're looking for that you should probably look elsewhere.

Think nuances granting evasion or resolve class features, nuance that grants limited use of some spells (like expeditious retreat, endure elements, nothing too magical) and can be used to boost other nuances, nuance that grants you to be a teamwork feat buddy, nuance that makes Profession (soldier) behave as Perception, Heal and other skills, nuance granting you version of pounce etc.

I cannot really find any downsides to this PDF, except maybe that I would like that it steps on toes of some archetypes (since I find most of the fighter archetypes to be bland and unusable), and I find that some of the defensive nuances are on the conservative side (Conditioning), and some require Wis or Int (Fighter is already MAD, nuances should ease that up, not expand it).
Some nuances are a bit unclear (what does „You cannot substitute a greater number of ranks in Profession (soldier) than your current fighter level“line in Fully Trained Soldier mean? Or, Prenatural Movement is a bit cluttered and mentions Instant Movement, whatever that is).

It has to be said that some of the nuance could stand to be standard fighter abilities (Adaptive ones, Compensative Specialization).

You also get some advice on alternative ways to incorporate nuances on the end.

This book has probably the coolest original artwork I've seen in a small 3pp (ones that don't use expensive artists).

Definitely the best book I've seen by 3pp for fixing the fighter. It's sad that he needs it so badly.


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5/5

Disclaimer: moments of 3.x D&D reminiscence in this one.

I got this one for the avenger.
I liked the concept of non-casting, non-aligned paladin. Also it reminded me of FR vengeance knight (a prestige class I never got to play). It delivered very much although I would have liked more if it had kept some of the self curing of conditions through his reparations. Allowing for bane property in his Instrument of Vendetta could be considered a bit on the OP side (the similar abilities never allow for bane because it the best +1 property if you can choose for what it is a couple times per day).
The weapon proficiencies are still bungled as far as I know (paragraph wasn't properly copy-pasted) and he is still missing class skills. Although author(s) have claimed that since it's a paladin variant it should have his class skills, but I believe that Intimidate should replace Diplomacy, Spellcraft should be nixed (no spells, after all), and maybe re-arrange Knowledge skills.
All that said, I very much love this class, and even if you don't need something vengence-themed, it is far easier to rework into a holy warrior than a paladin ('cause of no aligment focus).

The rest of the book is a very nice crunch toolbox for evil characters (much better than say 3.5 Exemplars of Evil, IMO), and even for relative short page count has descriptive moments and ideas that remind of Book of Vile Darkness (a great praise from me).


5/5

DISCLAIMER: I got this PDF for free to review.

This is a massive tome of details and ideas for fantasy adventures. It will serve anyone who needs fixture descriptions and assortments of traps, puzzles and treasure. Everything you need for dungeon design is in this book. Even casual reading breeds ideas for encounters, location details and even whole adventure ideas.
It is perfect for DMs who (like me) don't have natural inclination for providing details, to enrich the locations and make adventures more memorable. Even for those who do it is very useful since it reduces the workload considerably.
The dungeon design section, while I've seen better and more detailed books on the same topic, gives all the basics you need to pay attention to.
Only negative thing about this book are the bookmarks, which need to be reorganized and reduced (I'm guessing they were for the most part ported from constituting pdfs) and some of them fixed (first few instances of nested bookmarks all send you to page 240 or so).
And seriously, I need to get this book in print.
And seriously, you could use Dungeon & Wilderness Dressing, Tribes Most Foul compilation and one of the Village Backdrop compilations and run a whole sandbox campaign out of those four books.