A Necromancer's Grimoire: Marchen der Daemonwulf (PFRPG) PDF

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Master the Power of Lycanthropy!

Werewolves have long been figures of fascination. Dating back to ancient times, tales of men who transformed into wolves are nearly as old as civilization itself. There is something primal about the werewolf, about the ability to rid oneself of the restraints of society, and live free like a predatory, ruthless animal.

Marchen der Daemonwulf brings the power of the werewolf into your hands. The Lycaonite class not only provides a number of werewolf-related powers, but also ties the character closely to the phases of the moon, waxing and waning alongside it. Further, the book contains over 50 werewolf-related feats, designed to allow a player or GM to create his own assortment of werewolf powers, in a similar style to Necromancers of the Northwest's first book, Liber Vampyr.

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The best book for PC werewolves in Pathfinder

5/5

I really don’t know where the current zeitgeist of “werewolves vs. vampires” came from, but lately it’s been everywhere. From the Underworld movies to Twilight, the two somehow seem to have become natural enemies, or at least counterparts. Given that, it’s somewhat appropriate that Necromancers of the Northwest – whose Liber Vampyr sourcebook made vampires into playable characters in Pathfinder – should release A Necromancer’s Grimoire: Marchen der Daemonwulf, which makes werewolves into a PC choice in your Pathfinder game.

Looking at this book’s technical merits, it does rather well for itself. The product has full, nested bookmarks, and the text is selectable. However, copy and paste has been turned off, which is a rather unpleasant surprise. Hopefully this will be addressed in an update.

The book’s visual design plays into the title’s theme. All of the pages are set against a cream-color background, as though written on old parchment. There are only three illustrations in the book, but they’re done in a very evocative style and contain hyperlinks to the page of the artists, which I found to be a great way of acknowledging the people who helped illustrate the book.

But what does this book actually offer for people who want to play a werewolf character? First, it should be made absolutely clear that this book is for would-be wolves only; other lycanthropes need not apply. Now, you could certainly reskin this book to deal with other sorts of were-creatures, but as written it’s all about the lupines.

The book opens with a foreword discussing where the idea came from and its evolution to fit the Necromancers of the Northwest’s style of smaller releases. This was rather telling, since the book does narrow its focus considerably from its vampiric counterpart. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since unlike that book this one is a pay-for-download product, but still, it’s something else to know that they could have added more but chose not to.

The book begins by introducing us to the lycaonite base class. This class is not only heavily invested in offering bonus werewolf feats (see below) to help flesh out your werewolf character concept, it also presents an escalating series of mechanics based around offering bonuses or penalties to various stats depending on the phases of the moon. I suspect that some players and GM’s will be put off by the idea that a PCs bonuses can fluctuate (heavily so as the class levels up) due to events beyond the character’s control, but this is addressed in sidebars and a surprisingly frank discussion about using the class in the game. If nothing else, the book is very open about the challenges of using this class, and offering some alternative ways of utilizing it.

One thing I would have liked to have seen more of, though I can’t hold this against the book considering the attention given to keeping it on the lean side, was new options matching what was in the Advanced Player’s Guide. Werewolf traits, for example, or class archetypes for the lycaonite (perhaps that would have been a good way to work in alternate lycanthropes?) would have been welcome.

The bulk of Marchen der Daemonwulf, however, is devoted to its werewolf feats. Weighing in at fifty-five feats, the design philosophy here is told to us outright: that you can take whatever combination of feats lets you build the werewolf you want. And make no mistake, there are a lot of options. Several feat “trees” are presented, such as an escalating series of feats around gaining power from devouring corpses (you gain extra power if it’s the corpse of a sentient creature) or around becoming a leader of wolves. Others are stand-alone feats, such as improving your ability to transform, or gaining fast healing at night.

A half-dozen new magic items round out the book. Two are magic weapon properties, while the other four are wondrous items. I was a little surprised by this section, as it seemed rather anemic and thus against the philosophy of keeping the book narrowly focused; only here are things that can be used against werewolves, as opposed to playing one (though there are some beneficial magic items here too).

Overall, Marchen der Daemonwulf does a superb job of making werewolves an option for PCs. By using feats to grant werewolf powers, along with a class that maximizes not only how many feats you can gain but also introduces lunar abilities, playing a shapeshifting lycanthrope is made into a viable and interesting choice for players. Though the book has some issues, such as the uncopyable text or the sparse magic items, none of these are enough to hurt its focus. If you’ve always wanted to play a werewolf character, then you have cause to howl in joy with the release of Marchen der Daemonwulf.


Worth a look for the price.

3/5

A Necromancer's Grimoire: Marchen der Daemonwulf by Necromancers of the Northwest

This product is 28 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, forward, and credits. (4 pages)

Introduction (22 pages)
This introduces the racial class Lycaonite. It is a melee combatant based werewolf class. D12, high BaB, 2 skills, simple weapons, light armor and they get natural weapons. They are effected by the moon, the closer to full the bigger bonuses to to-hit, dmg, skills, saves, etc. but on the flip side new moons and close to that gives minus. Plus some bonus feats and special abilities with their natural weapons.

It gives information about them, a lore table, daily life etc. There is 55 new feat's most of them require you to be cursed of the werewolf. Most of them are pretty neat and make sense. It ends with 4 new magic items.

It ends with a OGL and back cover. (2 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art work is color and is mostly pretty good. Editing and layout was ok. I noticed a couple of errors and in one spot I thought the layout should have been done differently. While it is a pretty book it would be brutal on a printer as there is no print friendly version. The feats alone are almost worth getting the book if nothing else to use for NPC werewolves. The class while a neat idea I am not sold on. It is a great deal of major book keeping, that I am just not sure I think the payoff of playing it is worth the pain in the ass of the book keeping required. Not to mention at some times of the month depending on the moon the class will be pretty strong while at other times it will honestly be pretty weak. So all and all I am going with, nice idea, but needs work to make it work. So what's my rating? I am going with a 3 star review. If you don't mind the book keeping it isn't to bad and the feats alone are worth a look for the price.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.


Werewolves!

4/5

Endzeitgeist did a very thorough review so I'll just say that I found this to be a very good and flavorful purchase with a few minor problems that can be handled easily enough. If you are looking for very complete werewolf rules, including a 20 level core class, then you don't need to look any further. This is one of Necromancer's best products to date.


Werewolf as a base-class with a lot of accompanying feats

3/5

This pdf is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 23 pages of content.

After a one-page introduction on the creation of this book, we are introduced to a new base-class, the Lycaonite, a lycanthrope (to be more precise, a Werewolf) who loses his curse and gets new abilities while trying to control the beast.

The Lycaonite gets d12, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with their natural attacks, simple weapons and light armor, but not shields, a good fort-save and good BAB-progression. the class is more or less what you'd expect of a werewolf-base-class, complete with improving natural weapons, some minor bonus feats and several abilities that are tied to the 28-days lunar cycle and grant bonuses on the waxing/full moon while penalizing the class on waning and new moons: Lunar Rage grants penalties and bonuses to attack and damage rolls, Lunar Skills grants bonuses on Acrobatics, Climb, Intimidate, Perception, Stealth, Survival, and Swim, Lunar Agility grants bonuses to Initiative and Reflex saves, Lunar Bloodlust and Lunar Frenzy are the improved versions of Lunar Rage, Lunar resilience grants bonuses to AC and Fort saves and at high levels, the Lycaonite gets regeneration as well as the cool capstone ability to summon the bloodmoon.

The designers talk about the necessary book-keeping for the lunar phase, which is a minor downside to me, as well as the potential to abuse the class. True, involuntary night-time transformations and the need to stay lucid are drawbacks, but take a look at the following list:
At full moon, a lvl 19 Lycaonite gets +8 to Atk and damage (the bonuses of the predecessor abilities being +5 and +3 respectively), + 6 natural AC and +5 to Fort (gained at 15th level), +8 to Ini and +4 to reflex saves (gained at 7th level) and +8 to all the skills for Lunar skills (gained at 5th level).

That's an awful lot of bonuses to track.

Compare to the new moon penalties: Lunar skills is penalized with -6, we get -6 to Ini and -3 to Reflex saves, -4 to AC and fort saves and finally -6 to atk and damage (-3 and -2 in the predecessor abilities, respectively).

That's a huge amount of penalties and benefits to track and a major difference in efficiency of the character., making up 14 (!!!) points difference and damage in atk alone. You can do the rest of the math yourself, but, quite frankly, I'm both concerned about balancing this immense fluctuation with other characters as well as the enjoyment of potential Lycaonite players. ("Ah man, I want it to be full moon again..." "Let's wait till full moon, then we're gonna kick XYZ's behind!" etc.) While I think the idea to tie the abilities to the lunar cycle is nice, I also think that the fluctuation in power is too big and that the payoff for the additional book-keeping is somewhat lacking.

After that, we get the 50 new feats that define this take on the Lycanthrope:

-Bestial Agility: Dex bonus while transformed, improves at 10th level

-Bestial Endurance: Con bonus while transformed, improves at 10th level

-Bestial Speed: Movement bonus while transformed, improves at 10th level

-Bestial Strength: Str bonus while transformed, improves at 10th level

-Bestial Toughness: natural armor bonus while transformed, improves at 10th
level

-Call of the Wild: Summon wolves and wolf-like creatures

-Canine Hearing: Better hearing

-Canine Vision: Better sight

-Corpse Feeding: Cannibalize fallen foes to stave off detrimental effects of
transformation

-Consume Agility: +2 to Ac and Ini after eating a corpse

-Greater Consume Agility: see above, +4

-Consume Resistance: Gain +1 to all saving throws after eating a corpse

-Greater Consume Resistance: as above, +2

-Devour Strength: + 1 to atk and damage after consuming a creature

-Greater Devour Strength: as above, +2

-Enduring Feeding: Benefits of consuming a creature last 12 hours or until
sunrise instead of 1 hour

-Lesser Consume Defenses: Gain DR 1/- after eating a corpse

-Consume Defenses: Gain DR 2/- after eating a corpse

-Greater Consume Defenses as above, DR 3/- or DR 4/- (if creature was
sentient)

-Quick Feeding: Eat a creature in 1 round instead of a minute

-Taboo Recovery: Consume a creature to recover from fatigue, exhaustion,
fear and confusion

-Greater Taboo Recovery: As above, plus cures poison, insanity and 1
negative level.

-Vital Consumption: Gain temporary hit points for consuming creatures

-Curse of the Beast: This is the central feat of the book and the basis for
the Lycaonite class: You can transform into a wolf, willingly and unwillingly, getting a +2 to natural Ac, +2 racial bonus to Dex and Con, low-light vision, movement rate 50 ft., the scent ability, a bite attack, +4 to CMD against trip but also suffer from the involuntary transformations.

-Cursed Bite: Your bite can spread lycanthropy. Fixed DC.

-Greater Cursed Bite: As above, DC scales with your level and you can affect dragons, monstrous humanoids, fey, outsiders, and corporal undead. Dragon werewolves? Fey werewolves? That hurts me almost physically. Not my game.

-Extended Transformation: You transformation lasts for 1 minute per lvl instead of 1 minute per 2 levels.

-Improved Extended Transformation: As above, 10 minutes per character level

-Greater Extended Transformation: As above, 1 hour per character level

-Extra Transformation: +1 transformation

-Greatwulf Form: Transform into a Direwolf-like creature

-Howl of the Night Hunter: 1/day you gain a howl that frightens creatures or panics them.

-Hybrid Form: D'uh.

-Hybrid Pounce: Full attack after a charge when in Hybrid form, can only be used with natural weapons.

-Improved Low-Light Vision: Better sight.

-Improved Scent: Better scent

-Lycanthropic Toughness: Gain DR 2/silver when in wolf or hybrid form

-Night-Eye: Gain Darkvision 60 ft.

-Night Healing: Fast healing equal to 1/4 lvl at night in transformed form

-Paralyzing Gaze: Gain a scaling gaze attack that paralyzes enemies and can be used Cha-mod times per day. This could be abused.

-Poisonous Bite: Gain a bite with a scaling poison

-Poisonous Claws: Coat your claws with your bite poison

-Powerful Bite: Bite gets 1.5 times Str-mod

-Practiced Transformation: Only be exhausted for one round and fatigued for
a minute after transformation instead of 1 minute exhaustion and 10 minutes
fatigue.

-Pull Down: Gain the trip special quality in wolf or hybrid form.

-Resist Transformation: Will save to avoid transformation

-Greater Resist Transformation: as above, but +4 and 1 re-roll per day

-Silver Fang: Your attacks count as magic and silver when in werewolf form.

-Tame the Inner Beast: + 2 to become lucid while transformed.

-Wolf Empathy: Speak with wolves, +4 on Diplomacy with them.

We also get two new special equipment qualities and 4 new magic items:

-Shifting: Can transform special properties to natural weapons.
-Wolfsbane: Hit Lycanthropes to force them to revert on a failed save.

-Collar of the Unchanging Form: Restricts power to shapechange
-Wolfsbane Amulet: Werewolf detector
-Wolf Belt: + 4 to stealth and transform into a wolf via Beast Shape I
-Wolf Pelt: +4 to stealth and survival and transform into a wolf via Beast Shape II

The conclusion is in the product discussion. :)


Dark Archive

When did this come out?


Dark_Mistress wrote:
When did this come out?

Dear DM

This came out about a month ago if i remember correctly. I found it by surprise on RPGNOW first and waited till on paizo and bought it then.

I am surprised this has not had bigger talk about it and a "famous" dark mistress review.

I personally think this is excellent and does the whole subject justice. They hint at a follow up book coming at some point. I have not had chance to do a formal review yet but may try to as i believe this is a very sound purchase - even more in view of cost and if you like werewolves. I have created some characters using it and can create some memorable archetypes. I have not played in game yet. As the blurb says there are over 50 feats that allow a good deal of customisation, such as a hybrid specialist, master of the wolf pack and even a cannibal focused werewolf! They touch upon some of the european myths about werewolves and allow for you to create them such as those with poisonous bites.

If (or when) i do a formal review i would give this 5 stars. I have been very impressed with the quality, free or paid, that Necromancers of the Northwest put out and along with Super Genius Games are one of the companies i really look forward to what they do next.

Hope that helps and i wonder what other people who have purchased this think about it?

Cheers

Dark Archive

Yeah it is in my side cart now. I have liked there stuff they have done so far for the most part. I just didn't know this was even out. I didn't see any mention of them doing a new product. I was just surprised, as most companies make forum threads about new products and post in them actively to draw peoples attention to them. Just surprised NotN don't seem to be doing it.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
Yeah it is in my side cart now. I have liked there stuff they have done so far for the most part. I just didn't know this was even out. I didn't see any mention of them doing a new product. I was just surprised, as most companies make forum threads about new products and post in them actively to draw peoples attention to them. Just surprised NotN don't seem to be doing it.

Yeah i agree that they are not big into advertising outside of their website, and have found alot of their products only by virtue of regular checking on say RPGNOW.

I would certainly agree their quality should mean they should happy to plug their products. I do not know whether the way they started ( ie fans creating regular dedicated balanced material) means they have a different work ethos to dedicated more commercial companies? It seems they have "slipped" into the commercial aspect. They were meant to be releasing regular free pdfs every 1-2 months for fans which seems to have slowed down. I do not mind as the sold products have been good prices and quality. I still think Liber Vampyr was one of the best free releases since PFRPG started taking all assessments into account.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alex Riggs of the NotN team discussed the change in their business plans at the end of last year. Most of what they do is discussed in their columns and nowhere else.

Having said that, I've already posted my review of Marchen der Daemonwulf over on RPGNow.


Conclusion:

This is hard to rate, so I'm starting with the obvious: The full-color artwork is beautiful and something I didn't expect to see for this price. Editing is ok, I only noticed 1 typo. Layout adheres to the NWN-standard, i.e. you unfortunately get the used-parchment look, which, while not ugly, is not printer-friendly. The pdf is extensively bookmarked.

Those of you who read my review of Liber Vampyr know that I have very specific ideas of what a vampire should be and the same unfortunately holds true for werewolves. Personally, I don't think that players in PFRPG should be able to play werewolves. That being said, the mechanics are actually very interesting - the huge selection of feats offers a wide array of tools to customize your werewolf and lacks almost nothing. On the other hand, the (intentional) discrepancy between the full-moon-strength of the Lycaonite and its new-moon weakness is more than pronounced and would frankly annoy me as a player. The amount of book-keeping necessary for the different phases of the moon and the associated book-keeping is also quite extensive, somewhat limiting the attractiveness of the class for me. On the other hand, that's an innovative, new mechanic.

I just think that the difference from the two extremes should, for reasons of balance, be smaller. a difference of 14 points to attack and all the other abilities means that the werewolf will be sometimes much stronger, sometimes much weaker than the other characters. I would have handled the night-time transformation differently, too. I would have set a specific trigger (e.g. full-moon) and have the character transform involuntarily then - if he/she succeeds at a very hard DC (that scales with the levels) he/she retains control and gets bonuses. Otherwise, once an in-game month, the DM gets control. Due to the transformation happening every night, there is a certain potential for conflict and general usability of the character - after all, a significant amount of adventures happen at night.

If the player botches the save (presuming he has one!), he/she can't participate, as he/she is off hunting. What's my final verdict, then? I'll settle for a solid 3 stars - the lunar mechanic is clunky and I'm concerned about balance with regards to it, but the rest of the book is solid.

P.S.: While I'm flattered as a German that the book has a German title (and gets the Umlaut right, at least on the cover!), the title literally translates to "Fairy-tales the demonwolf". To be nitpicky, it should probably read "Märchen des Dämonenwolfs" or "Märchen von dem Dämonenwolf".

Dark Archive

Nice review End, this is actually one of the next books I will be reviewing soon myself.


Thanks D_M, I'm looking forward to reading your opinion. I'm doing the staff-book next. :)

Dark Archive

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Thanks D_M, I'm looking forward to reading your opinion. I'm doing the staff-book next. :)

Cool the staff book is in my cart to buy in the near future too.

Sovereign Court

You two (End and DM) probably deserve some kind of 'star-reviewer' rating.

I've probably bought twice as many 3pp pdfs as I would have if you weren't posting reviews.

I'm tempted to get this, initiate Endzeitgeist's suggested changes and then let one of my players play a werewolf in Carrion Crown.


GeraintElberion, thank you very much indeed for your kind words - it's people like you stepping up and telling me that I actually did something informative and constructive that makes me go on reviewing. I'm glad I could be of assisstance to you! If you follow through with your experiment, be sure to let me know how it went. :)

Thanks again,
Endzeitgeist

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
You two (End and DM) probably deserve some kind of 'star-reviewer' rating.

Very much in agreement.


This is a great product. It does a very good job of bringing us playable werewolves that feel like werewolves!

I can see that the Necromancer team has come a long way since their Vampire book. Its a much cleaner presentation with werewolf rules that feel solid and well thought out. It also has a wonderfully grim aspect to it with the corpse devouring feats.

One thing that bothers me is the night time transformations. Early on the DC20 Will save is formidable and will likely result in the player spending much of his time running around as a ravening monster and effectively out of the adventure. To compensate I would say that forcing a nighttime transformation should be limited to dramatically appropriate times rather than consistently every night. The sidebar even discusses hand waiving the transformations when they are inconvenient and this would just be one more step to keep it enjoyable.

I'm not bothered by the fluctuating scores of the lunar cycle. The record keeping isn't really that big a deal. You just chart the bonuses on your sheet and you just apply the appropriate ones. The bonuses and penalties will stay consistent for days which is sufficient to complete an entire adventure! I can see where it might become a problem with the players planning around moon phases but frankly that's a DM responsibility to make sure not everything can be done on the full moon.

The big spread of bonuses and penalties at high levels does make me nervous though. Given the severity of some of the penalties and the generosity of some of the bonuses can you really blame a player for planning around it? Thats like frowning at the archer for not purposely picking up a sword and charging into melee at every opportunity.

All in all I would give the book a solid 3 out of 4 stars.

Dark Archive

reviewed.


Nice review, D_M and pretty closely mirrors my own feelings.

Dark Archive

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Nice review, D_M and pretty closely mirrors my own feelings.

Thanks and yeah. I loved the idea but just thought there was way to much book keeping to make it practical for most groups sadly.

Liberty's Edge

Have to wonder how compatible this class is with the Skinwalker race from Blood of the Moon. Might be interesting to play a Skinwalker who chooses to embrace his full lycanthropic heritage by leveling up in the Lycaonite class.


Marchen der Daemonwulf predates Blood of the Moon, so unfortunately, we weren't able to design it with that book in mind. A skinwalker could certainly take levels in lycaonite, it's compatible in that regard, but the skinwalker's ability to change shape would be a completely different ability from the transformations granted by the Curse of the Beast feat. That said, much of the "meat" of the book comes from the feats, and those were designed to be able to be taken by other forms of werewolves, as well, so as long as your GM is willing to accept that the skinwalker ability is similar enough to having the curse of lycanthropy to count as having the Curse of the Beast feat for the purposes of the other feats in the book, there's still a lot to be gained from the feats.

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