Shadowsfall: Guide to Umbral Kobolds (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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The brave and noble (er, I mean cowardly and underhanded) umbral kobold survives the Plane of Shadows through stealth and guile—and, with this race guide, so can you. This supplement provides an exciting look into the life of everyone’s favorite miniscule draconic creature, along with full stats that are balanced to play seamlessly alongside the races from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. In this player supplement, you will find all-new alternate racial traits, character traits, archetypes, feats, spells, deities and much more for your umbral kobold PC. Play the kobold race that you always wanted to play—grab the Shadowsfall: Guide to Umbral Kobolds today!

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***** (based on 2 ratings)

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Kobold's in the shadows with something for everyone

*****

During a specific one-shot, I ended up playing an Umbral Kobold, and the character intrigued me for one reason in specific: I was playing a kobold that was competent! I’ve always hated the fact that kobolds were mostly just cannon fodder to launch at your players—if you wanted to play one, have fun jury rigging something! A new type of Kobold that isn’t just awful was very appealing to me ahead of time.

Returning to the review, Shadowsfall: Guide to Umbral Kobolds is a 16 page PDF with a front and back cover, a one page table of contents and another page with an ad and OGL, leaving 12 pages of content. It is a full color PDF, with full color images and art. It uses a 2 column page layout, very similar to how official pathfinder books do it, which I like a lot.

Another thing I’ve noticed is the great attention to fluff. They cover the design notes on WHY they designed umbral kobolds in the way they did, and afterward have an exquisite in-character story from an umbral kobold. I rarely review fluff, but this was not something I could overlook.

Gone are the days when to make a kobold build that actually did damage you had to make a Dervish Dance build. Umbral Kobolds are a small race that has a +2 to INT and Dex, and a -2 to STR, with a land speed of 30 feet. They have dark vision and light sensitivity, additional natural armor, and a bonus to crafting traps, perception and mining. All and all, fairly standard and nothing too ground breaking….

Or is it? Some of their alternate racial traits get to add very specific abilities. As an example, you can trade out their inherent stealth to become a garish albino, able to see in light just fine, or get a dirty, poisonous spit. Most interesting is how one of their traits adds a +1 to dex, and +2 to stealth, but removes the built in +1 natural armor. It changes how you’d point buy your character if you pick that, and feels like a pretty interesting balance in that it makes you choose between one definite (+1 AC) or the potential extra dex, and a free bonus to a skill.

Next up are traits and archetypes. The traits are all good. You are either a bit skittish (a little faster to react and dodge), or you’re an observer of the shadows (knowledge of planes as a class skill with a small bonus to it). However, archetypes are the treat. They are two archetypes, one for the rogue and one for the alchemist.

Dangerous to the core, the mad bomber archetype makes them lose their mutagens and poison for even stronger bombs. Tired of provoking while throwing? That’s not there anymore. Sick of people making saves on the bombs' splash damage? It is 3/4ths + int mod + level instead of the usual half. Tired that by the time you have your extra attack, you can’t get an extra bomb in? You can get bomb related discoveries earlier. All in all, a great way to show how kobold alchemists would really fight.

Eliminating enemies stealthily is the rogue’s specialty, and the Shadowsneak cranks that to 11—they get better at crafting traps and moving around. To give you a good idea of the play style you’d want, trap up a lair of yours, wait for your enemies to spring in, and then stop them before they even make noise. Iconic and delightful. They lose trapfinding for it, which is a little weird, however.

Moving on, we have racial feats, and from removing the built-in fumble rules in guns, to making a gang of kobolds immune to being intimidated and pushed around, they are all flavorful, but not always the “THIS FEAT IS OP MUST TAKE”. Also, built-in shadowdancing dimension door is wayyy too cool to not take :P

After that we have equipment, which covers some alchemical items and magic items. If you’re tired of being an albino, you can buy some scale stain to dye yourself, or you can get your hands on a weapon that unerringly kills the undead. There are also Deities, domains, and spells, the spells being especially cool as they are illusion blast spells.

Next, we have the list of Kobold communities, with different clans and groups and suggestions of certain leaders in it. Pretty cool, and if you’re trying to implant them in your setting, easy enough. We end with a CR11 NPC, a Kobold Rogue with the shadowsneak archetype. All and all, cool fluff, and a decent NPC.

Decidedly, this is a better try at a balanced kobold race. The fluff, while made for one setting, could easily be changed, and as a player race, you don’t feel like you got the short end of the small monstrous humanoid stick. The only complaint I have is that favored class bonuses aren’t listed, but I believe in the Shadowsfall guide they have that so… 4.5 stars out of 5, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of the review.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This pdf is 16 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

This pdf kicks off with an introduction of how Dale McCoy Jr., head of Jon Brazer Enterprises, was dissatisfied with the standard race of kobolds and an introduction of what this race is – essentially, a kobold-race ramped up to be on par with PC-races without using the identity of being koboldish. We also get a short rundown on Shadowsfall, the plane-of-shadows-setting of JBE before we delve into an actually very well-written piece of in-character prose. The short story gets you just in the right mindset before you get to take a peek at the mechanical traits of this race.

Umbral Kobolds get -2 to Str, +2 to Dex and Int, are small, get darkvision, +1 natural armor bonus, 2 to Craft (Trapmaking), Perception and Profession (miner). Stealth and Craft (Trapmaking) are always class skills for umbral kobolds. They also get light sensitivity, extensive pieces of information regarding their relationships with other races, alignment and adventuring etc. as well as thankfully a table for age, height and weight including starting age. They also come with 4 alternate racial options that may replace light sensitivity with albinism (weird choice, since albinism makes one not particularly appreciate bright lights either…), give them a blinding spit attack 1/day, make them especially tied to the plane of shadows (for increased caster levels in the dark, but also heavy drawbacks upon confrontation with bright lights and finally, kobolds that replace their natural armor bonus with +1 to Dex and +2 to stealth. With the exception of the albinism-trait’s minor fluff/crunch-disjunction’s exception nothing to complain about here.

2 racial character traits are also provided, one that nets you Knowledge (Planes) as a class skill and +2 on it and the other that gives you +1 to ref and initiative. After that, we're introduced to two new archetypes, with the shadowsneak getting bonuses to racial bonuses to movement and as well 1/2 rogue level to craft (traps) and Perception to discover traps. Solid, I guess, but nothing too special. The Mad Bomber alchemist archetype gets 10 + 3/4 level +Int to determine bomb-DCs, doesn't provoke AoOs when using bombs and counts as +2 levels with regards to alchemist discoveries related to bombs. Solid.

After that, we're introduced 4 new feats, with one allowing you to mitigate some issues related to 1s on disable device checks and gunslinger misfires, one that allows bonuses for saving throws for each kobold in range, one that doubles miss chance in dim light to 40% and one that allows you 1+Cha-bonus shadow jumps per day.

Two new items are also included, with a new nauseating, blinding poison being one and the other being a dye to color scales. 32 full-blown racial kobold gods are also here and after their well-written write-ups, we get 3 new spells - one that creates an illusory double you can blow up, assault foes with shadow-illusion coins and one to create an aura of darkness for which a swarm of shadowy kobolds panics foes. Among the new magic items, we get an incantation that makes shooting into melee versus undead easier, a crown that nets +2 to Int and Cha as well as form of the dragon I, black dust that sends the undead running from recollections of their past life and a kitchy talisman that guards you with minor bonuses versus specific types of death.

The pdf closes with 3 sample communities in neat write-ups (though sans settlement statblcoks) that can be considered well-written indeed. the final piece of crunch is a CR 11 shadowsneak umbral kobold.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a parchment-background 2-column standard and the original pieces of full-color artworks are nice and tie neatly the content together. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience. As per the writing of this review, the herolab-files for this has not yet been released, but will be soon. The pdf comes with extensive hyperlinks to d20pfsrd.com for your convenience.

This is essentially a nice little racial pdf that makes kobolds a nice, viable alternative to making to kobolds a better PC-race choice. The fluff is great and the crunch remains balanced, nice and I didn't encounter any particular piece of content I'd consider problematic. While neither the spells or items completely blew me away, overall, this can be considered a nice offering at a fair price and thanks to the great fluff, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Wahoo!!!

Written by Todd Stewart.

Edited by Richard Moore.

Its 16 pages of pure kobold awesomeness.


Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek, GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's store.

Contributor

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek, GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's store.

Thank you very much for the review :D

This was a really fun project to work on, and I had particular fun with the in-character fiction to kick it off.


I'm a big fan of fluff-introductions like that, so...well done!

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Thank you Endzeitgeist for the really nice review. I appreciate it.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Be sure to check out the Umbral Kobold Racial Traits at JonBrazer.com.


Review Posted!

Liberty's Edge

So when is more Shadowsfall stuff coming out? A full setting guide, perhaps, with lots of cool location write-ups ... or a creepy adventure for adventure maybe?

Contributor

Rubber Block wrote:
Review Posted!

Thanks so much!

I'm especially happy that the in-character fiction I wrote seems to have gone over so well with both reviewers. Warms my black little heart to no end! :D

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

With the upcoming I'm Not Going to PaizoCon Sale, you can grab the Shadowsfall: Guide to Umbral Kobolds for $1. It starts Wednesday. Add this to your cart today.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Just got home from PaizoCon? The I'm Not Going to PaizoCon Sale is still going on, but ends soon. Grab Shadowsfall: Guide to Umbral Kobolds for $1 before it is too late.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I feel like reskinning the mad bomber archetype and trotting out my Warhammer Skaven Globadiers...

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Incase you did not realize it, the Umbral kobold race was also added to the Book of Heroic Races Compendium. This excellent book is still available in print and always in PDF.

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