Monster Focus: Liches (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Do Battle with the Most Powerful Undead!

Forsaking life for an eternal existence as a lich, these powerful spellcasting undead seek only one thing: power. Considered the vilest of blasphemes, those that would seek to become a lich do so at the cost of their own lives. For what is one life in exchange for an eternity of knowledge and endless pursuit of power? The only thing that stands in the way of these immortal warlocks is the courage and skill of your player characters.

Inside this PDF, you'll find a number of options for player characters preparing to take on a lich. Options like the True Channel feat, which allows the power of the gods to blast away even the most resilient lich, or the mace of destruction, a powerful weapon that can turn a lich to dust. In addition, there are a wide variety of new rules for the Game Master to power up these undead tyrants. You can obliterate your characters with the black blade spell or keep them guessing with the blackfrost lich, capable of freezing the blood in their veins! Game Masters will also find plenty of new lich feats, magic items, and adventure hooks inside. In total, this PDF contains:

4 New Feats
4 New Alchemical Items
5 New Spells
5 New Magic Items
3 New Types of Lich
3 Adventure Hooks

Monster Focus is a series of short, easy to integrate PDFs, designed to make one classic monster the central theme for an adventure or even a small campaign. Each PDF in the series includes options for player characters and game masters, including new feats, spells, magic items, and more! Written by veteran game designer, Jason Bulmahn, you can be sure that these rules will fit seamlessly into your game.

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****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, ~1/2 page of SRD, leaving us with 41/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a short list of knowledge DCs, we kick off this pdf with 4 new feats:

-Life Siphon: When a lich damages foes via his touch, he heals an equal amount of damage. Neat!

-Supreme Fear: Bolsters your fear aura, making the conditions incurred more serious and lessening the time it takes until those who saved successfully can once again quake in terror. Nice one!

-True Channel: Harm Undead with d8 instead of d6 and ignore channel resistance to will-saves to halve damage. Even with the 6d6 channel requirement, this feat is overpowered in my opinion.

-Twin Phylactery: Create a second backup phylactery - cool one, though personally, I prefer the take from Gaming Paper's Fractured Phylactery-module.

We also get 4 new alchemical items - an essence versus death magic, a drink to help versus fear-effects, a crystal to slightly reduce the results involved in becoming a lich and a component that makes all creatures affected by horrid wilting when it is used in conjunction with it exhausted. Those that save, instead are fatigued.

We also get 5 new spells: Black Blade brings the iconic necromantic blade to PFRPG - but the nomenclature is unfortunate - Black Blade in PFRPG has since taken another meaning. Channel Protection is interesting not only for liches in that it allows them to make a shield that absorbs channel damage. We also get a new Power Word spell to enslave foes (Wizards will hate that one!) and one that allows you to use a light version of a phylactery with Soul Vessel. There also is a deadly buff spell at level 8, the unlife shroud.

We also get 5 new magic items: The evil cousin of blessed books, a mace of disruption, two special phylacteries (that also can be used as headbands, not only as phylacteries) and a sacred shield that can be sacrificed to prevent the wearer's death via death effects.

Next up are three variant liches: Apprentice Liches at CR -1 are on a timer and will collapse unless they find a way to revert their degredation. Blackfrost Liches at CR +0, are vulnerable to fire and may emit deadly blasts of conical ice and ice-cold, damaging auras - nice. The CR+1 Gloom Liches may be deteriorating, but they become faster, can exert greater control over their forms etc. - awesome one!

Finally, we get 3 adventure hooks - while not brilliant, they are neat and have some nice potential.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column standard and the original pieces of b/w-artwork are nice for the low price point. The pdf has bookmarks, but doesn't need them at this length.

All right, this supplement once again hits closer to home than the last Monster Focus I read - but honestly, the True Channeling feat still is broken. The magical items aren't that mind-boggling and while the templates are nice, they're nothing I haven't see before - while a solid addition to a lich's toolkit, this pdf fails to excite me to the level where I'd truly gush about it. All in all, a solid 4-star offering.

Endzeitgeist out.


Awesome Options

*****

I have bought all of the Monster Focus by Minotaur Games so far and by far this is my favorite (and thats not just because I love liches.)

In this book you will find new alchemical items, spells, and magic items meant to help and to hinder these undead masterminds. Along with that there is a few new templates that can be added to the lich. Ultimately if you are planning on running your players against a Lich I suggest getting this so that you can have a few surprises up your sleeve.


Solid great content, no-frills production, great price point

*****

Jason Bulmahn's two dollar PDFs are becoming no-brainers. For those who have not purchased any of his other PDFs, what you're buying is content. Not art and high production values, but solid game material—for about the price of two items off the McDonald's Dollar Menu.

But man.. the content is great. It's all stuff I would expect in a Core Book. There is more usable content here than what appeared in many gaming articles when RPG magazines were more common than they are today.

It is well balanced between GM exclusive content (new lich templates, specialized lich feats), and player based content (player feats, and items). And honestly some of the spells fall in a deliciously nebulous gray area where I could see both lichs and players utilizing them.

As always with Jason's PDFs, at a glance all the content passes the sniff test of being balanced. I think absolute balance is an illusion, but everything appears well thought out and considered.

Honestly, this PDF is cheaper than a lot of gas station beef jerky. At that price, it doesn't have to look very pretty, and to review it at anything less than five stars would be unfair.



1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just had to put together this PDF, liches are my favorite undead. Enjoy everyone!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks to this PDF, I got 99 problems and a lich ain't one.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Reviewed!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sweeet!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is this PDF backed with a "Will kill at least 1 PC, or your money back" guarantee?


Ha, thanks for the awesome review Jim. I am working on those production values btw, but that takes a budget. Getting there...


A must have.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Minotaur Games wrote:
Ha, thanks for the awesome review Jim. I am working on those production values btw, but that takes a budget. Getting there...

It wasn't meant as a dig really, I was trying to put a comparative value on the content. :)

When folks go to PaizoCon, they'll probably be asked to pay $1.99 for a bottle of Pepsi. This PDF is well worth skipping that and having a free glass of water while enjoying this material. The mechanics are really plug and play with the Core Rules, and having lichs do scary new and unexpected things is priceless.

EDIT: There's a contingency "resurrection" spell that is sheer genius that I can see any high level player wanting to use.. But with the wrong counterspell.. boy, that's interesting!


Yeah, no worries. It is something I want to improve on the future, but for now, all I can offer is my scribbles, layout skills, and expert rules content. :)

Jason Bulmahn
Minotaur Games


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

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