Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Nameless Nil, the Beggar of Self (PFRPG) PDF

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“If 'to be or not to be' is the question, this is the wrong answer.”

In Dream, something can arise from nothing—but what happens when that something doesn't want to go back? The bizarre almost-being called Nameless Nil is a disjointed accumulation of identity that shambles through the Tarnished Souk, begging for dreams and gobbling up stray items of power. Disturbingly, for a creature with dozens of faces it can wear, not a one feels like its own.

This product provides Game Masters with details on a mask-made moocher found amongst the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, ready for immediate use in any campaign—but especially for use within the Coliseum Morpheuon. Each entry features ingenious stat-blocks from multiple OGL sources, history, motivation, secrets, and insight into the NPC’s most carefully guarded dreams, along with complete game statistics for low, middle, and high levels of play.

Within you will find:

  • Nameless Nil, a hungry hobo with faces a-go-go
  • CR 21 Bloody maw half-construct horrifically overpowered hungry nightmare unfettered eidolon savant 10
  • CR 13 Half-construct horrifically overpowered hungry nightmare unfettered eidolon* savant 3
  • CR 6 Half-construct horrifically overpowered unfettered eidolon* savant 1
  • New magic items including biting belts, dangerously pointy robes, and the relic seven league boots
  • Using more wonderfully Horrifically Overpowered feats from the tricky devils at Super Genius Games!
  • And, featuring the ingenious savant class—from the pages of Kobold Quarterly #18!

Authors: Matt Banach and Justin Sluder
Cover Image: Brian Brinlee
Pages: 18

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THE new platinum-standard for NPC-books

5/5

The latest installment of the FoTS-series is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisement, leaving us with a total of 18 pages of content . quite bunch, so let*s checkout Nameless Nil!

Following my format for the series, I'll first examine the new rules-content we get: We get the bloody maw, half-construct, hungry nightmare templates and Nil uses horrifically overpowered feats from SGG's book of said name, namely the Gestalt feat, which is reprinted here. Nil also makes use of the autohypnosis-skill you might know from Dreamscared Press without being psionically active (psionic-haters may breathe a sigh of relief) and its incarnations have multiple Savant-levels (KQ, if I'm not mistaken) and sport 11 (!!!) feats in addition to the horrifically overpowered one. Oh, and Nilcomes with stats for scorpion whips and 9 (!!!!!) magic items (including illustrious items like the Belt of Consuming Teeth that can literally eat you up and a minor artifact) as well as a Relic from SGG's Relics of the Godling, the 7 league boots. Latter improve over the levels much like Purple Duck Games' acclaimed Legendary Items.

Oh, have I mentioned the steal combat maneuver? Also, Nil's mid an high-level incarnation can call upon different versions of Rimeheart, a white dragon rogue as support. Of course both come fully statted. And finally, Nil also comes with two new unfettered eidolon evolutions and two traits related to the dreamburning mechanic of Coliseum Morpheuon.

At CR 6, 13 and 21, the incarnations of Nil span all playstyles, so I guess it's time to talk about the creature. SPOILERS. Seriously. I usually don't do SPOILERS in FoTS-reviews, but here it's justified - potential players, jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! A being of masks, clad in ragged robes would be a strange sight anywhere but in the Tarnished Souk. Here, Nil, pitifully, is begging for dreams of other people, requiring the consumption of both dreams and magic items to sustain its existence. At first, Nil may actually evoke pity, for it can be pleasant and attach itself utterly to a person, a quest, whatever seeking to emulate the heroics of characters or others But if the boots, whip etc. were not ample clue enough - this being is, among others, about making escape a nigh impossibility, for Nil is a conglomerate of beings, each mask representing one personality buried in the vast network of Nil's jumbled mind. If you recall the undead-conglomerate One-as-Many from Mask of the Betrayer, that would be an analogue - only that Nil can't even evoke the sympathy of a broken being that needs to be put out of misery.

Nil is not broken. Nil was never whole. Born from the imaginary friend of a summoner, its core is an empty void, its emulation of life, humanity, feelings, conscience being just that - a pantomime in search for something it can neither attain, nor grasp. The horror of Nil's utter alienness (btw.: Its Masks can swallow you whole...), once exposed, goes even beyond the chill of Many-as-one: It is the horror of a mirror-image through a darkened glass trying to eat you and replace you without gasping truly what all of this entails. The advice provided for the DM on using Nil, btw., is more than sound. Oh, and have mentioned that Nil comes not only with its basic statblock, but with 8 (!!!!!!!!!!) fully statted ability suites for the different roles it can take on, each with different powers, attacks etc.? There is much space in the Hollow and it tends to consume all that encounter it - will your PCs prevail versus such a versatile for?

Conclusion:
editing and formatting are top-notch this time around - I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's old rune-bordered b/w-standard in 2 columns and the artwork of Nil by Bran Brinlee is brilliant. The pdf comes with extensive nested bookmarks.

Take a look at all the FoTS-reviews I've written, at the vast array of 5-star + seal of approval-verdicts. Nil blows them all out f the water. I can't recall when we ever had such a complex character with so many different supplemental pieces of information and neat combat options provided. Matt Banach and Justin Sluder have transcended their usual great work and married their mastery of complex crunch and far-out ideas with a sense of wrongness the likes of one usually only sees by the hands of Richad Pett or Nic Logue; And even when compared to the oeuvre of these two demented geniuses, Nil would stand out. This is hands down my favorite FoTS-character so far. Hell, I'll make Nil a legend in my next campaign. I'm hard to excite anymore, but this thing is gloriously demented, its iconography so disturbing it's a joy for my malicious DM-heart. If I could, I'd slap 6 stars on this one - 5 stars + seal of approval, easily earned: A new benchmark for Character-pdfs à la FoTS, Infamous Adversaries etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Dark Archive

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Thanks Liz!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Into the shopping cart we go...

Regards,
Ruemere

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Thanks ruemere, I hope we don't disappoint. :D


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RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

I'm starting to run Paizo's "The Harrowing" this Sunday as an interlude between books 3 and 4 in my Kingmaker campaign. I picked up Nameless Nil as I think he would fit in very well, instead of dreams he's looking for, it's stories (and he'll start by wearing the strangler and serial killer masks). Can't wait to run him.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
John Benbo wrote:
I'm starting to run Paizo's "The Harrowing" this Sunday as an interlude between books 3 and 4 in my Kingmaker campaign. I picked up Nameless Nil as I think he would fit in very well, instead of dreams he's looking for, it's stories (and he'll start by wearing the strangler and serial killer masks). Can't wait to run him.

Awesome! Please share how things work out. :D

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hey John, how did things work out in your game?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

It's still ongoing, but the players did encounter a bunch of CR6 Nameless Nil's. I'll spoiler below for those who are unfamiliar with The Harrowing module.

Spoiler:
Instead of the world of dreams, the Nameless Nil are drawn to the Harrowed Realm where they suck the stories out of the hapless storykin. Some blame the Night Peddler for bringing the creatures from beyond. The PCs were ambushed by a group of 4 (CR 6 versions), each a different color (representing the role that particular one was using, I had the warrior, assassin, arcanist and thief). The halfling fighter quickly fell under the mask of control and defended the arcanist. Unfortunately, the rest of the Nil's were slaughtered, but that's ok). We're still running through the module and they'll find more evidence in the form of the drained husks of storykin. As the players kill more of the Nameless Nil and as the Nil themselves feed more, they will get more powerful until they finally form the CR 13 version sometime at the end of the module).

I'll provide more details about the final fight, but the players said that Nameless Nil was really creeping looking when I showed them the cover image.

I'd love to see a printable pawnset for the the Faces of the Tarnished Souk. I also use Po'Kesteros in my campaign as well so it would be great to have something to represent him on the battlemap.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

John, you have made me a very happy designer. Thank you! :D

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I've designed NPCs for Raging Swan and Zombie Sky Press, and both from a design background and as a regular customer, I think it's important to point out to people who may not have really looked at this line, is that the Faces of the Tarnished Souk characters, while primarily created for the Coliseum Morpheuon, can easily be inserted into any campaign. I've been running Kingmaker for a year and half now, and I can insert these guys in as easy as I insert Raging Swan stuff or the Jon Brazer Kingmaker material. The different CR incarnations is great, because it offers a great deal of flexibility, even if you use the lower incarnation as mooks.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah the idea when I asked Justin and Matt to create this a group of Npcs that could fit into any market place (hence high, mid, and low CR versions). They could be antagonists, allies, or simply neutral merchants who have their own complex motivations and agenda's rather than just being a simple alignment. The complex stat blocks are about giving GMs npcs that are not easy to create on the fly, and go beyond the core books without requiring you to own those books to use the npcs.

I will look into the printable pawn PDFs when we hit 30 Npcs.


Pdfs like this remind me why reviewing can be fun. This is the new standard against which all other NPC-pdfs will be judged. I'm blown away!

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Thank you for the review Endzeitgeist, I'm glad, and worried, we have raised the bar.... ;)


Thanks End.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

Hey fans -- If you love Faces of the Tarnished Souk and Coliseum Morpheuon and would like to read more about the wild realm of Dream and the bizarre characters who (I think) inhabit it, please check out Rite Publishing's Kickstarter for a full-length novel Lost in Dream based on the brilliant Coliseum Morpheuon and its offshoots.

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