Player's Guide to the Crossroads (PFRPG) PDF

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This 36-page collection of materials provides players with an overview of the core region of the Midgard setting and provides a wide range of new powers and options for any fantasy Pathfinder RPG campaign, including:

  • New PC races: the Kobolds, the Ghoulish Darakhul, and Gearforged
  • The Shadowsworn Class: a 20-level class of roguery and shadow magic, with 7 new spells!
  • Dark Holidays of the Crossroads
  • New options for Cavaliers, Paladins, and Rogues, including Griffon Knights, Fixers, and White Lions
  • Ghoulish and Vampiric Sorcerer Bloodlines
  • Clockwork and Illumination Schools of Magic
  • 60 new feats and dozen of regional traits
  • 8 new weapons for dwarves, gypsies, and rogues, including the rat poniard and Nordmansch greatax

The Crossroads region of Midgard includes all the most famous locales of the setting, including the Margreve Forest, the Ironcrag Cantons, the Magdar Kingdom, the Free City of Zobeck, and the undead lands of Morgau and the Ghoul Imperium.

Master the magic of the Crossroads, and unleash its new spells, feats, and mysteries!

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4.80/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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4.5 stars - a glorious gazetteer with some minor blemishes

4/5

The first in the Player's Guide-series for Kobold Press' Midgard Campaign Setting is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Tantalizingly hinted at in the Zobeck Gazetteer, I was looking forward quite a bit to this Player's Guide and let me say here that I'm a huge fan of good player's guides as I hate giving my players access to all the delicious plot hooks and pieces of information usually contained in a campaign setting or e.g. city setting book like the one on Zobeck. That out of the way, what's in here?

Well, first we get an overview of the Free City of Zobeck, the Electoral Kingdom of Krakova and the Ironcrag Cantons, Perunalia (The Duchy of Perun's Daughter), Magdar and of course the Ghoulish Empire under the surface and the dread Principalities of Morgau and Doresh, where the undead rule. Now if you're a DM, go get the Imperial Gazetteer and the Zobeck Gazetteer ASAP, for while these entries feature pieces of information on gods, populations and short briefs on public people and interesting places, it is there that the truly juicy bits are - and that's just like a player's guide should be. Now I have one very minor nitpick here - I do love the Germanic Nomenclature and calling an equinox festival in Morgau "Messern" (essentially German for "Knifing") is awesome, but the midwinter festival of "Verhangnisvoll" should a) read "Verhängnisvoll" and b) does not translate to "Gathering in the Darkness", but rather to "Ominous", "Fatal" or "Cataclysmic" - which is awesome per se, but if you're as picky with things like that, you may want to be aware of that. Now, don't get me wrong - I get that in setting, the word can translate to anything, really, but if you're like me, you'll probably rename the festival - especially when e.g. a festival like "Vielfraz", a bastardization/pseudo-anachronism of the German word "Vielfrass" evokes perfectly associations with unbound greed, as appropriate to a holy day devoted to Mammon! Now the fact that I complain over such paltry issues should give you pause to ponder on the quality of writing that is at such a high level as to making me resort to it. Yes. it's that good.

Now, there's also one page containing adventure hooks for the dark holidays and honestly, I'd love to see a mega-module dealing with these, but I'm not sure these belong in a player's guide - in my opinion, they should be reserved to a DM's book, for as soon as they are read, they lose some of the potential for the players.

Now, we get a new crunchy racial options for player characters, the first being the Darakhul, who get +2 to Cha, are small or medium, gain a burrow speed of 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., channel resistance +2, a 1d8 bite attack and also thankfully weaknesses. Why? Because, if you're not in the know, Darakhul are undead, to be precise, High Ghouls. Thus, these beings get all the immunities of undead, no con-score etc., but also are have a reverse reaction to positive and negative energy. Furthermore, they suffer from a -4 penalty to skill and ability checks, saving throws and atk while in daylight, -2 when affected by the spell. They also need to eat raw meat every day to avoid suffering from lethal, unhealable damage. Now, if you're following my reviews, you'll know that I LOATHE undead player characters in most times. However, I have to admit that while the benefits are significant, the drawbacks should do their part in addition to the social stigma to make this race an option that could be considered balanced. The next new race is the Gearforged, who are clockwork constructs. While I really like the integration of clockwork constructs as deeply into the setting as Zobeck has managed, I also have to compare these to RiP's Ironborn, NNW's Replicants and Stormbunny Studios' Automata, and unfortunately are of these construct races are mechanically more interesting and in my home game, I fear I'll rather use these. Of course, we also get stats for Kobolds, who get -4 Str, +4 to Dex, -2 to Con, are small, get darkvision 60 ft., +1 natural AC, +2 to Craft (Trapmaking), light sensitivity and proficiency with picks. Nothing to complain here.

After that, we're off to new character options: Cavaliers may now also belong to the order of the famous Griffon Knights of former House Stross-fame, while paladins may now become members of the Order of the Undying Sun (light and warmth-related abilities) and the Order of the White Lion, who gets modified mercies and a celestial bond at 5th level. Rogues may now take the fixer-archetype and there is also a new base-class, the Shadowsworn. Shadowsworn get d8, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, hand crossbows, rapiers, saps, short bows and short swords, but not with armors or shields. Shadowsworn may also cast spells of up to 5th level and cast them spontaneously, but use the unusual attribute Int instead of Cha for spontaneous casting. They also get up to +7d6 sneak attacks, 3/4 BAB-progression, a good ref-save and may select from 14 different talents, which I'd expand by giving access to some of SGG's Shadow Assassin talents. All in all, the class could be summarized as "spellcasting thief with shadow-theme" - a solid class, though one that could use more supplemental material or a unique signature ability beyond some exclusive spells. As provided, it feels a bit lacking and I'd honestly consider the Shadow Assassin by SGG the more interesting class. The class also comes with a spell-list and write-ups of a couple of new spells for the shadowsworn.

Other arcane casters also get fodder - the sorceror being now able to elect to get the ghoul and vampire bloodlines - both actually surprising me with nice abilities like ghoul fever-laden spittle. Nice! Wizards may now get access to the Clockwork and Illumination schools and may add that they are neat indeed - both are balanced and come with multiple nice ones. We are also introduced to new skill uses for Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering) as well as Disable Device and the Craft (Clockworking)-skill and if I haven't miscounted, we also get 57 new feats - which range from awesome to problematic: Take a firm hand, which allows you to slap unconscious people awake to ricocheting shots to being able to use the Kariv's Crab-divinations and Trick-Riding as well as figuring whether one lies after tasting the person's blood. (Vampire red herrings, there we go! Very cool!) Unfortunately, there's also a rotten apple in here that threatens to spoil the bunch: The harmless-sounding feat "underhanded Strike" is INSANE. Requiring only one feat and a BAB of +6, this allows the character to treat ALL hits versus a foe who is denied his/her/its dex-mod as critical threats. That's so unbalanced it's not even funny. How this abomination of a feat could slip past the capable editors and designers of Kobold Press, I have no idea. We also get almost 50 new traits for the areas covered in the book that help immerse the character in the respective setting.

The final pages of the pdf are covered by some dwarven weapons, street weapons appropriate for gangs as well as stats for alchemical smoke bombs and clockwork caltrops and narcotics: Apart from the Akiri Blossom, we also for the first time get PFRPG-stats for the very cool Requiem-drugs introduced in KQ.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice a single glitch. Layout is in full-color, adheres toa 2-column standard and can be considered drop-dead gorgeous, as can the artworks rendered in gorgeous full color. The pdf comes with full nested bookmarks, but no printer-friendly version, which is a bit of a pity.

This Player's Guide is a good offering indeed - Open Design/Kobold Press has been known for the stellar quality and imaginativeness of their writing and this pdf is no different, providing mostly stellar content - only mostly, though. There's the broken feat. The comparatively boring Gearforged and the traits, which, while nice, don't do too exciting things. That being said, there's some material you'll recognize from other releases set in Midgard like e.g. "Streets of Zobeck", now compiled for player use, which is also why I won't complain about them. As much as I like this guide, it still feels like it could have been a tad bit more streamlined, with e.g. the page of hooks being replaced with other content like Gearforged modifications, something rather absent from this pdf and something I'd expect from a construct race. Now, all of this conspires to make this pdf a very good offering, but not a perfect one - hence, I'll settle on a final verdict of "only" 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform and still urge you to check this out: When playing in Midgard, this is all but required.

Endzeitgeist out.


What I like about the Crossroads Players' Guide.

5/5

I will try to not cover what has already been covered.

I too am a fan of Midgard. I like the mix of Eastern European and middle east and Scandinavian mythology. My interesting part was the description od Darakhul, Gearforged, and Kobold PC's. The coverage of Player Options that cover the Cavalier, Paladin, Rogue Sorcerer, and Wizard are very interesting options. The new Feats are fun too. Feats like Bank Shot, Bend Shot, Echoes of Past Lives, several Gearforged only feats, and additional Midgard based Traits are interesting options for Players'. Two new weapons are catching my eye, they are the Estoc, and the Nordmansch Greataxe.

In the Midgard Campaign Setting there is a limited amout of information on the different areas of Midgard. The idea of Players' Guides to fill out the regional information makes sense. I sort of wish it could have all been in one book, but with each area being near 20 to 30+ pages, and each area being written up at different times it would have been near impossible and several years away from publication.

I think Midgard and the Crossroads Players' Guide are well worth the cost. Perhaps in time it will be in print so I don't have to use up the ink in my printer.


Midgard canon fires boldly!!!

5/5

Full Disclosure: I had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of this book. I am a fan of Kobold Press. Call me biased. That takes nothing away from this latest release from the Kobolds.

I'm not going to regurgitate the contents as listed above. I'm merely writing this to explain what I liked about it and why it's a fabulous addition to the beautifully realised world of Midgard.

If you are a long time fan of Midgard, this should not surprise you - the really amazing thing about the Midgard setting and range of books is that there are never ideas that exist in a vaccuum. Bringing ideas and concepts together with flavor (and panache) seems to me to be the defining aspect of a Midgard release - taken all together, almost all the information contained herein is relevant to the region.

Standouts for me:
* Creative and flavorsome gang equipment, rogue archteype (the fixer) and feats that really scream "Zobeck".

*The section on "dark" holidays for Morgau/Doresh and Zobeck - I loved that this ties these regions together - remember that Morgau and Doresh were mundane kingdoms before the advent of Lord Lucan and his vampires - I especially liked the page of adventure hooks relating to these. Again - the beauty of the Midgard design is that little is presented in isolation or without some Midgard-esque guidance - helping you to make Midgard living and breathing.

* A small section on narcotics - again, a nice design aside that brings out more of the culture and natural history of Midgard.

* A new base class - the Shadowsworn. Now I'm not sure exactly why this is in this book, although its dark mien does fit neatly into Zobeck's dark and grimy alleyways this is not explicit in the text. Why do I love this guy? First off - it's a freakin' Base Class. What does that mean folks? That's right - potential for.... archetypes!!!!
With his nice mix of sneaky thiefstuff and arcane shadowmagic, this class strikes me with its flavor and mechanics.

If I have a few little niggles with the shadowsworn it is in the formatting/layout of the class - firstly it isn't explicitly stated at the outset that it is a Base Class - it just kinda sits under the Rogue Fixer archetype, and even has a less eye-catching heading than the "Rogue" heading above Fixer.
The other small gripe is that the layout has the progression table on a separate page from the ability desciptions, and a lack of italicised shadow traits made it difficult to determine which were main class abilities and which were these shadow traits - as both have their fair share of "shadow-" in the title it was a tad confusing. None of this takes away from the sheer awesomeness of the (base) class.

There is a fantastic mix of rule/crunch/mechanics and flavor/campaign meat in this little gem. It seems way more than a mere 36 pages. I love the way that I'm equal parts intrigued and inspired when I stare away into the midddel distance imagining my Midgard adventures and planning the next session.

Lastly folks, as usual for Kobold Press publications, the artwork is mouth-wateringly good - the whole PDF is an artwork in and of itself - my faves are the female Paladin of the Undying Sun (love the sword and shield) and the darakhul bard.

All in all, a worthy addition to the stable of awesome Midgard books. Well done Kobolds.


Excellent!

5/5

I am not much of a reviewer... but I really loved this book. It gives a lot of ideas to players, as well as having some very nice crunch. I love the Ghoul bloodline.


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Liberty's Edge

And ... it's available!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Constructs and shadow magic in the same product? faints

Who wrote the Shadowsworn?

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

I wrote the shadowsworn in the second Kobold Press book ever, a module called Castle Shadowcrag. That was in the 3.5 D&D era, and the shadowsworn never got a wide distribution because the book went out of print quickly.

Christina Stiles converted it to Pathfinder RPG, and Spike Jones did a superb job editing and refining it.

I'm pretty happy with the fact that the shadowsworn is now back in the light. They were a major set of villains for the Midgard campaign, and they are fun as dark heroes, too.

Shadow Lodge

DO WANT


Awesome! I look forward to reading through it and the rest of the book.


Holy smokes, this is chock full o' awesome!

I want to play a griffon knight! And a shadowsworn!

Where can I find the griffon companion template for starting with one at first level? Is it in another publication?


Ghoul bloodline is one of my favorites!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

Cool, first review is short and sweet.

Thanks for rating it, Mead!


No prob. :)


This...looks...epic! I knew the Clockwork magic thing was going to be cool, but SHADOW MAGIC, Paladin options, AND a playable undead-type race!? If only there was a print version coming out!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TheDisgaean wrote:
This...looks...epic! I knew the Clockwork magic thing was going to be cool, but SHADOW MAGIC, Paladin options, AND a playable undead-type race!? If only there was a print version coming out!

Not just playable undead race, but two bloodlines descended from undead (Ghoul and Vampire).

Dhampir Vampiric Sorcerer is full of win!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Now that you mention it, dhampir vampiric sorcerer is rather completely awesome. Hm, you may have talked me into making one a villain in an upcoming adventure.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Now that you mention it, dhampir vampiric sorcerer is rather completely awesome. Hm, you may have talked me into making one a villain in an upcoming adventure.

Yay!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

Thank you for the review, Oceanshieldwolf, and I'm glad you like the book.

To respond to your question about the Shadowsworn, it's hear because the school of Star & Shadow magic is a very Crossroads sort of school. Also, because the Shadowsworn class was a plot point in some Zobeck adventures, and is associated with House Stross.

Not sure that those story elements are in the crunchy writeup, but there's the story-behind-the-story!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey, cool, this made the Top 10 downloads last week!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And it made the Top 10 Downloads again! Thank you everyone!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Another week at number 1 top "downloads from other companies"...

Contributor

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Another week at number 1 top "downloads from other companies"...

Sweet!


Just got Dragon Empires.... Mharoti rugmakers are real jerks. So far I like that PG, but those rugs stand out the most to me.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
ChristinaStiles wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Another week at number 1 top "downloads from other companies"...
Sweet!

Sweet indeed!

Oh, and Mead - glad you like the Dragon Empires players guide! Is it available here on Paizo.com yet?

Dark Archive

A few questions:
Where can I find rules for a griffon mount?
What does an Order of the Undying Sun Paladin lose?
Why do the Order of the Undying Sun and the Order of the White Lion grant Celestial and Divine bonuses instead of a sacred bonus?

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

Griffon mount is mentioned in the Midgard Campaign setting section mounts (see Trombei). Is there something else you are looking for?

Order of the Undying Sun paladin loses Divine Bond to gain the archetype. This correction was made in the current version of the file here at Paizo, I believe, so you might want to download the latest version.

Dunno why those two bonuses are typed strangely. Sacred bonus seems like it would cover those cases.

Dark Archive

Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Griffon mount is mentioned in the Midgard Campaign setting section mounts (see Trombei). Is there something else you are looking for?

Order of the Undying Sun paladin loses Divine Bond to gain the archetype. This correction was made in the current version of the file here at Paizo, I believe, so you might want to download the latest version.

Dunno why those two bonuses are typed strangely. Sacred bonus seems like it would cover those cases.

Thanks for the answers. I ordered the pdf at another side that allowed me to use Paypal.

Concerning the Griffon knights, they have to use a griffon mount, but there are no rules for a griffon as a cavaliers mount, aside from using the monster stats from the Bestiary.

And will there a PoD option for this and further Player's Guides?


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

Griffon mount is mentioned in the Midgard Campaign setting section mounts (see Trombei). Is there something else you are looking for?

Order of the Undying Sun paladin loses Divine Bond to gain the archetype. This correction was made in the current version of the file here at Paizo, I believe, so you might want to download the latest version.

Dunno why those two bonuses are typed strangely. Sacred bonus seems like it would cover those cases.

Speaking of, I noticed the one at DTRPG wasn't updated, it still doesn't have that update.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

Ok, I did go to check DTRPG, and the update showing the loss of Divine Bond is in the copy I downloaded. It's the second paragraph on page 15.

Dark Archive

I rechecked and the text shows up normal in Acrobat Reader, but PDF-X-Change Viewer only shows cryptic symbols.

Aside from divine and celestial bonuses, there are also equipment and synergy bonuses mentioned in the text. The Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire also contains an Arcane Bonus.

I like the player's guided, but they could certainly use better editing as there are several other errors and oddities.

Also, when will the Player's Guided to the Wasted West and the Seven Cities be published? The Campaign Setting lists them as available.


What is the Shadowsworn's starting gold? Can't find it...<adjusts coke-bottle lens glasses>

Contributor

Torillan wrote:
What is the Shadowsworn's starting gold? Can't find it...<adjusts coke-bottle lens glasses>

As per rogue.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Quarterly

Jadeite wrote:
Also, when will the Player's Guided to the Wasted West and the Seven Cities be published? The Campaign Setting lists them as available.

Wasted West is likely January, and Seven Cities in February. I switched up the order of release to put Crossroads first (as the center of the setting). But those two are edited and heading into layout.


Kk, I will redownload from DTRPG. I thought I did, but maybe I screwed something up. lol

Can't wait for the next two.


Mead Gregorisson wrote:
Just got Dragon Empires.... Mharoti rugmakers are real jerks. So far I like that PG, but those rugs stand out the most to me.

He he he....as usual, the evil "jerk" stuff is mine...what, you expected the Mharoti dragons to just GIVE their hoards away....? They expect a little entertainment before dinner - like incautious adventurers getting teleported into the hungry wyvern pit.... >:>

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press, RPG Superstar Judge

And yowza, I think this makes 5 weeks for Crossroads at the top of the Download chart.

To celebrate, I've uploaded some clarifications, responses to questions on this thread, and even some full-bore errata (to bonus types) with a new PDF. I suspect the revised file will go live here on Monday.

Dark Archive

That's great to hear. Will the pdf also be updated on other sites?

I have an additional question about the Undying Sun paladin: Can the light be turned off or is it always on?


Just posted a review. Hope it does some good.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press, RPG Superstar Judge

Jadeite wrote:

Will the pdf also be updated on other sites?

I have an additional question about the Undying Sun paladin: Can the light be turned off or is it always on?

Yes, updated PDF now live on DriveThru and RPGnow as well.

At my home table, the light can be turned down to candlelight but never off. YMMV.

Dark Archive

I think I'll go with that when I propose this archetype for the Paladin of Sarenrae in our Carrion Crown game.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:

And yowza, I think this makes 5 weeks for Crossroads at the top of the Download chart.

To celebrate, I've uploaded some clarifications, responses to questions on this thread, and even some full-bore errata (to bonus types) with a new PDF. I suspect the revised file will go live here on Monday.

I greatly appreciate that. Having up-to-date products is a Good Thing.


Wolfgang, is the Crossroads PDF updated on the Kobold Store? That is where I originally bought it from.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press, RPG Superstar Judge

As they say, the cobbler's children have no shoes.

I regret that I have not yet updated the file on the Kobold Store, but that is on my to-do list for tonight. Please wait about 12 hours and the new PDF will be live there as well for re-download.


Updated on Kobold Store yet?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ya, I too am somewhat confused how the Griffon mount is supposed to work. Just use the Griffon stats right out the Bestiary? That is pretty strong for first level.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

silverhair2008 wrote:
Updated on Kobold Store yet?

Yep, last night. Kobold store is not equipped with a fancy automatic notification system, more's the pity, but if you download it again, it's the new version.

Griffon mount is one of the elements detailed in the new version. It's not a griffon from the Bestiary at 1st level.


Thanks, Wolfgang. I used my credit form my Kobold Quarterly subscription to buy this and a few more. Decided to keep the money in the "Family"


*Goes back to revise his review-draft and deletes a paragraph of balance-b@~*#ing* :D

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Whew, got that update out just in the nick of time. :)


Maybe I am missing something but I see no difference between the PDF I downloaded a week ago and one I downloaded from the Kobold Store just a few minutes ago.


I've also re-downloaded from the Kobold Store, where I purchased, and it doesn't seem to be a new version (unless I'm missing something).

Contributor

Pseudopod wrote:
I've also re-downloaded from the Kobold Store, where I purchased, and it doesn't seem to be a new version (unless I'm missing something).

I'll ping Wolfgang, guys.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Huh, we're talking about the Kobold Store on the Paizo boards. Ok. I hope the Paizo folks don't mind.

I'm staring at the file download with the V2 on the end of the filename. I open the file from the store, I go to page 14, and there's the new text for the griffon mount. So clearly the new file is up on the store.

Did you get the V2 version when you re-downloaded? Or is the store still offering the old file? I'm not sure where this is going wrong.

Liberty's Edge

Technical difficulties are fun ;)

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