Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners (PFRPG) PDF

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Cloak Yourself in Faith & Darkness!

The Known Lands of Aden are a dangerous and often dark place. Among the braves and most faithful of Aden’s people, the Thaumaturges walk boldly into the shadows, the brilliant light of legend and myth steeling their will and protecting them from harm even in the most sinister of circumstances. The Fallen, on the other hand, have been touched by the darkness against their will, and now they blend into the shadows to strike back at the evil that seeks to lay claim to their eternal souls. No matter how great the danger, no matter how deep the shadows, the Thaumaturges and the Fallen are there to lead the way.

It’s time to take Aden back from the Darkfall!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the class-centric Thunderscape supplements clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first of all – this book deals with the thaumaturge and fallen classes of the Thunderscape setting; I assume familiarity with them in my review. Secondly, while this is a class-centric supplement, it does not necessarily focus JUST on new mechanics – we kick this off with in-character prose, and indeed, the book defines the classes within the context of the world of Aden to a degree beyond what you’d usually see.

We do learn how it is to be a member of these classes in Thunderscape’s setting, both as member of a party, and within the context of the various societies of the setting. The respective, exceedingly well-written entries do not differentiate between Pre- and Post-Darkfall attitudes to the extent as in e.g. Law & Destiny, but this does not change that the supplement provides a lot of lore and context that makes the classes feel more like parts of a greater whole. I really enjoy this way of linking setting and crunch.

Speaking of crunch – let us begin with the fallen, shall we? As you know, the class is very much defined by essentially a bloodline-like ability-suite called “stigma”, and 10 new ones are presented. Yes. 10. Each of these come with 5 bonus feats to choose, two special abilities, and a suite of stigma abilities, with 2 provided, most of the time, for 4th level, 7th level, 10thlevel, 13th level, 16th level and 19th level. There are instances where higher level abilities only net one. Going through all abilities point by point would bloat this review beyond usefulness, so I’ll instead give you and overview. Apparition nets you negative energy or cold damage inflicting touch attacks, and later nets self-only invisibility, fly and high level turning incorporeal. The claws can be upgraded, obviously. Cataclysm is about withstanding – as such, it fortifies you versus being knocked prone, lets you stomp to knock targets prone, call forth magma elementals, create pits, earth glide etc. Drake is a dragon-apotheosis angle (which has a minor formatting snafu at one point, with a lower caps “reflex” save; the drowned stigma nets you water-themed SPs and better grappling, including grab. Midnight is the stealth HiPS-gaining one, including darkness, shadow conjuration, etc. Rimeweaver, unsurprisingly, is the cold-themed stigma, including minor terrain control, slowing targets, etc.

The sanguine stigma lets your torment cause bleeding damage, animate blood…and if you have kittens on your hand, you gain infinite fast healing. *sigh* needless exploit there, particularly since assuming blood form is such a cool angle. Scrapheap lets you integrate equipment into your body and is perhaps one of the cooler machine-apotheosis angles I’ve seen in a while. Stormwracked is about agility, with an increased base speed and Acrobatics as class skill, as well as air- and electricity-themed tricks. Withered, finally, might be another one of the really interesting ones, as it allows you to keep enemies from charging/running; it deals with time and space, particularly time, including combo’d haste and slow, for example.

As for supplemental material, particularly items, we have the darkforged bindings, which allow you to easily perceive the frightened and track them; an elixir of normalcy acts as a veil stigma. The hide of hellish fury makes them count as three levels higher for the purpose of stigma abilities. Trait-wise, we have 8 new traits, all classified as background traits. Vicious and Horrifying are two relevant for the fallen, enhancing torment DC or +1 scourge damage; the latter should be a trait bonus, not untyped. The other traits apply to the thaumaturge: +1 DC for an aspect, proficiency with a bonded legend, bonus to Diplomacy with them (again, type missing), and shedding light. Beyond these, we have counting as +1 BAB higher for a feat, and Disguise sans the usual penalty for pretending to be another race.

The pdf provides two engine-tweak-style archetypes: The chimeric fallen loses all bonus feats and toughened, but gets to choose two stigmas, gaining all 1st level abilities, with later levels requiring the PC to choose which one to take, and you suffer an additional -2 to Disguise to represent your nature. The Carnivore archetype also loses the fallen’s usual bonus feat array, and instead gets feast of the damned: As a full-round action, they can absorb the essence of a corpse of a being that has only been dead an hour or less. You get to choose an ability from a massive table, provided you meet the prerequisites. Essentially, this is a surprisingly well-crafted take on the blue mage angle. There are also 9 supplemental feats for the fallen: Agonizing Wave lets you impose the tormented condition (and only it) as a move action to all adjacent targets. Hungry Torment nets you a free action use of torment when reducing a tormented creature to 0 hp. Greater Torment increases torment and suffering ability DCs by 1. Nightmare Smite lets you expend two suffering uses to lace suffering into an attack, with a +1 to the DC. Stigmatic Mastery nets you additional uses for stigma-based abilities, differentiating between uses gained for daily abilities or those you can execute more often – kudos there. Terrible Charge lets you spend suffering to make a full attack at the end of a charge…which is basically a better limited-use pounce, and should probably have a higher minimum level. Torment’s Reach lets you apply scourge damage via ranged weapons when targeting tormented enemies. Withering glare nets you an AC-bonus against tormented enemies Finally, Wrath of the Fallen lets you entangle, fatigue, frighten, nauseated, blind or stun targets those that incur conditions from your suffering.

The pdf includes two fully depicted NPCs with fully realized background stories – Iago Vesten an echo fallen with the horror stigma, and Ariana Dell, a human fallen with the rimeweaver stigma. The thaumaturge NPCs are Gudrun, a jurak thaumaturge, and Ivana Vetrov, a saint adept. These note bound legends in their stats, as well as aspects typically prepared. As usual for Thunderscape, the statblocks are actually a bit more detailed than usual, and thus deviate a bit from the standards, calling e.g. racial abilities and favored class options explicitly out. I like this notion. All NPCs come in three iterations – one at first level, one at 6th level, and one at 12th level. The statblocks are per se solid, though I did notice a few minor snafus.

The thaumaturge gets a serious amount of content herein: 15 new thaumaturge legends are included herein, ranging from the Arcadian to Faceless, Kraken, Sentinel…the interesting aspect here, indubitably, is that the requirements for the respective legends, such as not speaking when drawing upon the Beast, often act as a roleplaying balancing-based tool for the per se potent legends included here. The Faceless makes you a great social chameleon, but if someone sees through your disguise, you’re on your own; the demon and champion’s tenets are incompatible; in comparison, the more down to earth fencer withdraws when you wield a weapon that is not light or one-handed. The magister has no requirement, while the kraken retreats when you spend more than an hour out of water – get it? The proficiencies, feats, spirit points and BAB generally make sense, though it should be noted that the new legends tend to be better than e.g. the Diplomat. Of particular note: The martyr lets you regain uses of legends or heals your spirit damage when withdrawing – which is pretty much a gamechanger. That being said, the rules-language here is a bit opaque – it took me a some close-reading to deduce how this fellow works.

The pdf then proceeds to present a huge amount of new aspects – unless I have miscounted, 18 of them. And these introduce a pretty cool innovation: A lot of aspects herein have so-called resonances, which are aligned with certain legends, changing how they operate. Let’s take the aspect of vigor as an example: The passive effect lets you recover 1d10 spirit damage when consuming an aspect and rendering it inactive. The consume effect lets you, as a standard action, recover 1d6 HP per level, maximum 10d6. If you, however, have the Immortal, said legend’s Spirit Points are increased to 4+2 per level, the passive benefits of the aspect increase tor recovering 2d10 spirit points, and you can consume the aspect to draw upon the Immortal as a free action if it is currently inactive, replacing the active legend. This addition of the resonance engine radically enhances the way in which the thaumaturge class plays, rewarding thematic consistency with combo-potential. I *really* like this. It cements the Thunderscape thaumaturge class as an, in many ways, better iteration of the medium-concept. Beyond these, we also have 14 new greater aspects, which follow a similar design paradigm, making the thaumaturge the definite “winner” as far as the book is concerned. Indeed, the inclusion of the resonance concept is a pretty significant incision into the chassis, and imho suffices in its extent to warrant potentially a revision of the core book’s aspects regarding an addition of resonance options.

Indeed, as much as I love the new thaumaturge material, it should be noted that rebalancing the entire class chassis to account for the new options would have been prudent, as the thaumaturge has, with these options, all the makings of something truly outstanding. Don’t get me wrong – the new and improved thaumaturge with these options is impressive, it seriously is. If you take an in-depth take of the combos and components, you will notice some inner-class power-discrepancies here and there, though. Still, big kudos for how this improves the thaumaturge.

As far as supplemental material is concerned, we get the mythwrought armor special ability that enhances the duration of aspect or legend effects; the weapon-version sets the weapon ablaze after consuming aspects. Terrifying weapons deal bonus cold damage and increase fear effect durations. Channeler icons let you replenish aspects, pearl of power style, while enhanced books of saints and sinners allow for legend-swapping (unlike the mundane version). Rings of mystic proxy help using scrolls by consuming aspects. As far as the equipment is concerned, we have outfits that designate you as infected (and nobody looks closely at them…), relics, incense that lets you focus on concentration, war paint and taxidermist kits. Oh, and there is a new artifact, which is essentially a chaotic evil Hellraiser-box, Garquorin’s Terrible Puzzle Box. As a note: The magic item section this time around oddly seems to be missing a couple of italicizations in the run-on-text. Nothing serious, but noticeable in the context of the overall book.

We also have 4 feats intended for thaumaturges: Ancestral Guidance nets each bonded legend an additional bonus feat. Extra Legend does what it says on the tin, Soul of Sacrifice lets you exchange a legend at the start of the day for two aspects, and Thaumaturgical Focus increases thaumaturge class ability DCs by 1. We also get two archetypes, the first of which is the saint adept, who gets a paladin code of honor, and 4 + Int skills per level, but only half the thaumaturge’s usual legends, rounded down, +1- 3rd level makes them choose a legend as saintly benefactor, which nets a bonus form a variety of choices, with 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter yielding an additional improvement. This replaces manifest legend. 9th level nets a 1/week commune instead of saving grace. 17th level allows for temporarily gaining the half-celestial template while drawing upon the saintly benefactor. The second archetype, the soulless, goes the other round – instead of focusing on specialized legends, the soulless doubles the number of legends. There is a glitch in the rules-syntax here, when “legend” is used instead of “level” at one point, but that as an aside. The available spirits are determined randomly each day, and when not drawing upon legends, they are staggered! OUCH! I actually really like this. This “full house” allows the soulless to use saving grace more often, and e.g. use legends to transfix opponents in a dramatic manner. I so want to play this fellow. I love this archetype.

Beyond that, we have the Legends domain for clerics, which essentially lets you dip in aspects, and, later, even a legend. The Nightmare sorcerer bloodline is easily the weakest piece of crunch in the book – it’s just another fear-themed bloodline, and an uneven one, with +6 to Intimidate at first level, frightful presence, etc. – not the biggest fan. Beyond the usual roleplaying tips, we get a couple of cool ideas regarding the fallen and their burden, quirks and eccentricities, and we close with detailed, well-crafted origin-tables in the vein of Ultimate Campaign for the two classes.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting oscillates between excellent (most of the book) to good, with few flaws, though these rare ones do sometimes influence rules-integrity. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the book sports fantastic full-color artworks. To my utter baffling surprise, the supplement lacks any bookmarks, which makes navigation a total pain. Particularly since we first get both class chapters, and THEN the items, feats, archetypes, etc. for BOTH, necessitating some serious skipping around. I am not a fan of this organization.

Rich Wulf, Chris Koch and Shawn Carman deliver a pretty impressive book here; while I generally consider the new material for the fallen nice, it was, to my surprise, the context of the class in Aden, the setting-relevant aspects, that excited me most. Then again, the thaumaturge did steal the show with the inclusion and solid implementation of the resonance-sub-engine. If you even remotely are interested in playing a thaumaturge, you need to get this book right now. This book, more so than any previous Thunderscape-supplement I’ve reviewed, walks the line to true greatness. However, as much as I love several aspects herein, there also are a few filler pieces here, a few typo level glitches that can slightly impede the ability to parse the rules at once.

And yet, I have always valued creativity and high concept over e.g. penalizing a BAB off by two in a statblock; this might not be perfect, but I can’t bring myself to rounding down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars, which is why I will round up. If you enjoy these classes, get this right now.

Endzeitgeist out.


5/5

Spoiler alert; my opinion of the Thunderscape class books are pretty much the same so I'll copy and paste part of the review for each entry.

I love me some classes from the hardcover Thunderscape: World of Aden. Sure the vehicles, races and lore is fun enough but the classes cover new grounds or feature new mechanics that are fun and innovative without being confusing or hard to use. I was skeptical about the $12 price tag but honestly the class books give you a lot of bang for that buck. I was not aware of how small these classes were until these books and not only do you get some sweet sweet mechanics for the Thunderscape classes but you get some more lore, NPC stats to put into your games and even some new options for your Pathfinder classes in almost 50 pages worth of content.

This book covers Thaumaturges and Fallen classes. The Fallen gets Bloodline-like 'Stigmas' that cover what kind of curse or catastrophe that influence their 'dark side' abilities. In the hardcover they have an choice of six stigmas, this PDF introduces 10 new ones, each just as awesome and as flavorful as the rest. Then there are two NPCs across three levels each. The Thaumaturge has the option of legends to call upon to possess them and give them abilities and talent-like aspects to help them out. The hardcover gives them the choice of 12 legends and 12 lesser and 12 greater aspects, this PDF gives 15 more legends, and while the hardcover covers basic non-caster character types for legends this book covers legends from beasts and devils to sages and martyrs with mechanics that just bleed flavor for your Thaumaturge. There are also gives 18 lesser and 13 greater aspects to further customize your Thaumaturge. Plus two more NPCs to cover the class within three different levels.

Now I counted out those numbers compared to the hardcover to emphasize just how much you're getting. This isn't something like getting a few new options for your new classes, you're getting more of their options than the book they appear in. That's more than I can say about some other PDFs. Plus you get yourself six NPCs so you don't have to work at building characters to fit these classes into your campaign.

You're also given some items which aren't nothing really interesting but add to some flavor for the classes inside. The magic items and weapon/armor property are more interesting in supporting the fallen and thaumaturge. You also get some new feats, some of which are so essential that I wonder why they don't appear in the main book, and some traits.

You also get some archetypes, a new Cleric domain, a new Sorcerer bloodline, and some advice on how to create the fluff for your Fallen of Thaumaturge including origin tables a la Ultimate Campaign.

Now granted you need to both have and like Thunderscape: World of Aden for this to be really valuable but even if you just like these two classes this is a lot of bang for the buck, not just giving you a ton of new options but tools on how to play these classes thematically, NPC stats to populate your world even if you aren't using Aden as a setting. With so much flavor and good mechanics filling these pages I have to recommend it for anyone that has the Thunderscape hardcover to get the most delight out of your experience. If you have the hardcover there is no reason to not get this book and every other book in the line of class option books. In fact it is one of the best class support books I've ever seen compelling me to give it five stars.


An excellent resource

5/5

"Saints and Sinners" is a class sourcebook for the Thunderscape campaign setting. It provides a chunk of options for characters of the fallen and thaumaturge classes, and more. (Scarman provides a helpful summary of what's included on the discussion page.)

It is 43 pages long, and as well as all the crunch provided above, it includes background to the two classes and how they fit into the setting of Aden. Also provided are roleplaying tips for each class, and a table offering suggestions for how the character became a member of their class. In addition, there are two sample NPCs for each class, detailed at level 1, 6 and 12.

The options presented in this book are fun and interesting. In fact several of the fallen abilities made me chuckle, while the thaumaturge options greatly increase the potential versatility of that class. The channeler’s icons are a must have for thaumaturge PCs, IMO, as they act a bit like pearls of wisdom, allowing a character to reactivate a consumed aspect.

Other points:
Personally, I think the mythwrought weapon ability should have a flat +1,000 gp price increase rather than having a +1 bonus price modifier. It should also have the option to inflict energy damage other than fire, but only one type of energy (perhaps chosen when first wielded).

The corrupted claws ability gained at 16th level deals the same damage as at 4th level; I suspect that this should have been increased.

The stat blocks follow an unusual format in that the racial abilities, class abilities and favoured class bonuses are included in their own entries. They should really have been included in the special attack line, special quality line (and so on), as appropriate.

Overall, if you are a fan of the Thunderscape campaign setting, or just the class options, this book is worth getting.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!


Thanks Liz!

Once I'm off work I'll post a complete list of included mechanical options like I did for The Iron Guard Field Guide. Informed customers are happy customers!


I had a spare moment between classes!

Fallen Mechanics
• Apparition Stigma
• Cataclysm Stigma
• Drake Stigma
• Drowned Stigma
• Midnight Stigma
• Rimeweaver Stigma
• Sanguine Stigma
• Scrapheap Stigma
• Stormwracked Stigma
• Withered Stigma

Thaumaturge Legends
• The Arcadian
• The Beast
• The Champion
• The Demon
• The Faceless
• The Fencer
• The Haunt
• The Holy
• The Kraken
• The Magister
• The Martyr
• The Sage
• The Sentinel
• The Woodsman

Thaumaturge Aspects
• Acumen
• Allure
• Bloodlust
• Conquest
• Divinity
• Firepower
• Genius
• Guile
• Horsemanship
• Inspiration
• Nature
• Poison
• Potency
• Punishment
• Resolve
• Solitude
• Steadfastness
• Vigor

Thaumaturge Greater Aspects
• Arcana
• Death
• Defiance
• Eternity
• Intangibility
• Invincibility
• Lightning
• Meditation
• Mourning
• Power
• Precision
• Purity
• Radiance
• Transference

General Mechanics
• 5 new items
• 3 new magic weapon properties
• 7 new magic items
• 13 new feats
• 8 new traits
• Chimeric Archetype (Fallen)
• Carnivore Archetype (Fallen)
• Saint Archetype (Thaumaturge)
• Soulless Archetype (Thaumaturge
• 1 new cleric domain
• 1 new sorcerer bloodline


Wow, that is an awesome over art piece! And thanks for the rundown of what is inside!


Glad you like it, Wolfie! Jeff Porter does great work, doesn't he?

And I would feel guilty if someone purchased a book because of a mistaken impression of what it contained. For mechanic sourcebooks like this, I feel like transparency is the best way to ensure satisfied customers.


Hey Shawn - will these add-on class books be available in Print?


Im interested as well. Having hard copies of the class option books would be so valuable.


The Iron Guard Field Guide is already available in Print on Demand form from DriveThruRPG, and I'm waiting on the proof for Saints & Sinners to green light POD for it as well.

My crew keeps a small number of each on hand for conventions and such, and they look great! DTR's work is top notch.


The print-on-demand proof arrived today and it looked great! I have just now approved the ability to order PODs on DTR. I don't think you can do that here on Paizo but I'll see what I can do about getting them some hard copies. Might take a while, though!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Reviewed


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to all the usual places.

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