Letters from the Flaming Crab: Strange Weather (PFRPG) PDF

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Letters from the Flaming Crab is a monthly series of Pathfinder-compatible supplements. Each Letter focuses on exploring a different topic to give gamemasters and players new, exciting options that can be dropped into any campaign.

Within Strange Weather...

We bring you a dozen new Conditions and Hazards more magical and exciting than a mere thunderstorm! Acid rain, aurora hypnosis, ball lightning, blood storm, ectoplasmic storm, fire whirl, hailstorm, pollen storm, skyquake, blood moon, dread moon, radiant moon, and the solar eclipse!

We also introduce the Storm Elemental with four variants: the blizzard storm elemental, dust storm elemental, hurricane elemental, and lightning storm elemental!

And we finish Strange Weather with two weather related archetypes: the Stormcaller (Shaman) and the Child of the Sky (Barbarian)!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of Flaming Crab Games' neat series of oddball pdfs clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this installment of the series, as always, with one of the charming introductions of the meta-narrative, wherein line developer J Gray salvages letters from the planes-hopping vessel UCS Flaming Crab before diving into the strange weather herein.

We begin with simple acid rain before we are introduced to the aurora hypnosis, a fascinating, Wisdom draining aurora borealis that is just awesome. Speaking of which - the Ball Lightning. 4 different types of ball lightning, from CR 1 to 9 can be found, all with diameters, duration, speed, save DCs, damage and explosion radius - you can make those cool lightning balls rolling around the battlefield with this. Do you want something, dare I say, more biblical? May I introduce the frickin bloodstorm that can cause no less than 6 diseases, from dysentery to scarlet leprosy and typhoid fever? Yeah, now THAT spells "sh** got real!" when the BBEG is getting the better of the heroes! Have I mentioned the fact that they may contain blood hail??

What about the Constitution damaging ectoplasmic storms that escalate fear conditions on failed saves? Have I mentioned the TORNADO OF FIRE?? Fire, ash, intensified wind - all amazing. Heat damage! Catching Fire! Smoke Inhalation! Being sucked in! Spawning secondary fires! This is a all-inclusive buffet of awesome, delicious pain to visit upon the PCS! More mundane hailstorms can be found.

Oh, and there would be moons! Blood Moons enhance bleeding and lock lycanthropes in their shapes; dread moons and their counterpart, radiant moons, enhance pacts made with the entities of the dark or light, with each phase of a moon enhancing the effects on creatures. And be calmed - you don't have to track either of those lunar phenomena.

If you're an allergic like yours truly, the massive pollen storms of fantastic flora obscures sight, detracts from flying and can have really nasty repercussions for those caught in it. Oh, and the layers and layers upon pollen? That makes for some really flammable material...Have I mentioned the massive skyquakes?? The power-boon solar eclipses may grant? Yeah, amazeballs!!

The pdf also contains a new creature-type, the storm elemental, which not only receives progressively better harsh winds, we get iterations from CR 1 to 11 and 4 variants, from blizzard to dust storm and hurricane storm elementals, these modifications span the CR rates from +2 to +4.

The pdf also contains two different archetypes, the first of which would be the stormcaller shaman, who receives a replacement bonus spell array. 3 + Cha-mod times per day, these guys may call forth a tempest as a standard action. The archetype knows one of these at first level, +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels afterwards and at these levels, they also increase range. Firestorms, caustic storms, etc. - pretty cool. It should be notes that the governing attribute for the DC is Wisdom. The archetype loses spirit for this option of AoE-damage/terrain control. The archetype also receives access to 5 unique hexes, from wind stance to walking through sleet and rain and generating an eye of the storm, this is neat. 10th level nets a better supernatural control weather and the capstone is, alas, a somewhat lame apotheosis.

The second archetype herein would be the child of the sky barbarian, who replaces trap sense with the option to see through mist et al. Instead of fast movement, the archetype receives more speed, but only when not carrying a heavy load or wearing heavy armor. Additionally, the archetype receives 6 weather tricks, though 1/day, the character may meditate to replace a weather trick with another one - think of these as somewhat more flexible rage powers. Using Stealth while raging and hiding while being observed, but only in the rain, gaining evasion in mist, etc. - the flexibility these offer are predicated upon their interaction with environmental circumstances, rendering this pretty neat. On a purely cosmetic hiccup level: The DC formula is "10 + 1/2 class level + attribute modifier", not "10 + attribute modifier + 1/2 class level."

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Flaming Crab Games' two-column full-color standard with a nice blend of amazing original b/w-pieces and thematically fitting stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jeff Gomez, Michael Ritter and Treyson Sanders deliver one phenomenal installment of this series. Frankly, we do not have enough amazing hazards. Go ahead. I challenge you to name 10 good hazard books. Yeah. We have a ton of class options, but cool environmental effects to throw into our combats to make them more memorable? That's rare. The strange weather contained herein is absolutely inspired - the deadly effects, the evocative visuals...I absolutely adore this pdf. This is such a great one-stop shop pdf to get some amazing, magical environmental effect to enhance pretty much every game. PCs down on their luck, almost certain to fail? Perhaps a radiant moon's on the rise! Bored in an overland track? FIRE-TORNADO. Need to drive home that they better stop that villain NOW? Rain some diseased blood upon their heads! I'm celebrating this pdf hard!

I adore this. I love it. I'm using the living hell out of it and wish this was a 200-page tome. The archetypes are pretty cool as well, though they fall slightly behind in awesomeness of the main meat. But who cares? At this low price-point, we get amazing, cool pdf that will enhance pretty much every game. This belongs in the toolbox of GMs. Amazing. 5 stars + seal of approval + candidate for my Top ten of 2016. This humble pdf deserves to been seen, used and celebrated!!

Endzeitgeist out.


Meteorology CAN be fun!!!

4/5

Disclaimer, I was fortunate enough to receive a free copy of this PDF as one of the first ten folks to register an interest in the supplement when it was added to the paizo.com store.

Weather, weather, weather… there’s no escaping it’s influence upon your day… heat, rain, snow, ice - all seasonal occurrences which, at least here in the UK, form the basis of at least ten percent of your conversations!!! Yet, for your average adventurer, the weather is rarely more than a little bit of flavour text… ominous castle up ahead? better drop a lighting crack and a rumble of thunder… doing some hex-crawling? we’ve got the option of a really hot day or just endless rain dependent upon mood…

…but now, courtesy of this letter from the Flaming Crab, the GM has some fun new tools in their toolkit. There are ten new weather effects, not including a detailed and fun look at the effects of different phases of the moon (and the appearance of rogue moons!!!), here and I can honestly say that my poor gaming group are going to experience the majority of them… we’ve got blood storms that carry disease, strange atmospheric aurorae with hypnotic effects, ball lightning… all the way to the humble hail storm. As a toolkit, these new weather effects are just fantastic… pick one up and throw it into a combat to make it utterly memorable…

But that’s not all the GM gets to play with… this letter also presents a weather themed adversary - the Storm Elemental. As you might expect, this creature is a destructive force of nature - presented in six iterations (Small all the way through to Elder), the monster has a radius effect around that truly conveys the feeling of being battered by a storm… and, if you want to have some real fun with it, there are a further four variant Storm Elementals to help reflect the environment in which the encounter occurs (Blizzards, Dust Storms, etc)… the presentation of this monster is, as far as I can tell, spot on and, with the sizes / variants available, you’ve got a great range of options to play with.

This letter isn’t just about the GM though, there are two weather-themed archetypes here as well… one for the shaman (the stormcaller) and the barbarian (child of the sky) - again, these are very well-flavoured - the stormcaller, in particular, really living up to the name with the ability to create larger, longer lasting and more types of storms as their shaman level increases… I could definitely see me playing a stormcaller some time soon (or throwing one as a memorable adversary at my players).

Whilst the stormcaller brings the weather with them wherever they go, the child of the sky could be slightly more problematic at the table as their powers tend to riff on the prevailing weather conditions - which, as you might imagine, is fine for outdoor adventuring… although maybe a little less so on level three of a mega-dungeon. So, it’s probably a case of choosing this archetype knowing what kind of adventure you are in for - because in weather, be it rain, snow, fog, wind, etc, the child of the sky really shines with some cool rage-based tricks…

In summary then, this letter from the Flaming Crab is a great little digest to pick up and add some well written, weather-based fun into your game. Recommended.


Useful supplement for outdoor campaigns

4/5

Strange Weather is a fun, brief supplement that lists a number of weather-related hazards and weather conditions. Most of these conditions are supernatural or at least unusual, like the "aurora hypnosis," where atmospheric lights stupefy onlookers. The CRs of the hazards go up to 10. Most of the hazards are quite creative and provide useful, non-combat ways of challenging a party. As the introductory "fluff" descriptor intimates, this can be especially valuable for sea-voyage based campaigns, but the hazards and conditions listed are diverse enough to be useful in any kind of terrain. I especially like the detailed description of supernatural effects of moon phases.

For the most part, the mechanics for these hazards and weather conditions are solid; while many are quite complex (as are the more ordinary weather conditions in the Core Rulebook), I'd definitely use them in my campaigns even though I am the kind of GM who gets easily overwhelmed by new rules.

Weirdly, the one exception to the rule of the hazards being well thought out is the hailstorm: there are already rules for hail in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, and more to the point, the description of the hazard is basically a combination/repetition of the existing rules. This appears to be an unnecessary attempt at providing space filler that stands out against the far more superiorly creative and new elements surrounding it.

Likewise, other sections of the book repeat existing rules, such as listing the effects of diseases from the Core Rulebook (the diseases are there because of a plaguestorm effect). My take on supplements is that, for reasons of space, they ought normally not repeat anything that can be found in the Core Rulebook. These rules repetitions could have been replaced by more original text or artwork. On the other hand, as a GM, I like not having to look up everything in several different books; I can allow to some extent the designers were trying to do just that, but especially as some of these fill sidebars or bring a section to the end of the page, my critical side wonders if the developers were using the repeated rules as filler.

Strange Weather also includes a new creature, a storm elemental, and two archetypes, one for the shaman and barbarian. Best stuff first: the archetypes were really flavorful and well-written. At initial glance without opportunity to playtest, I can't comment on balance, but nothing untoward pops out at me mechanically. Both archetypes build well on the theme and provide some useful abilities I hadn't personally seen before in any variation.

The storm elemental on the other hand has far less "wow" factor. The creature is a standard elemental-type build with only one new special ability called “harsh winds.” AND the designers actually fail to list said special ability on the individual statblocks for each size of elemental (it's not clear, but I believe it's an aura effect and should be listed in its brief form in that slot on each statblock). The harsh winds ability is fine but not enough alone to make it stand out as a new, cool creature and there’s nothing that makes me want to use it over a standard air or lightning elemental. Personally, given how good the designers are at making archetypes, I would have preferred to see this space filled by another archetype.

I also wish we had the following instead of repeated rules and a lackluster monster: random weather tables that incorporate the new conditions, perhaps a handful of weather-related feats or spells or items, weather-related curses ("raindrops keep falling on your head..."). There's definitely room for more if the developers wanted to make a "Strange Weather II."

Regarding production values, the book/.pdf overall is pleasant to look at: everything is clear, consistent, using good, minimal use of contrasting colors, and printer-friendly. While no glaring spelling or grammar errors appear, the professional editor and ex-layout editor in me chafes at some more minor errors (e.g., comma splices) and word spacing issues (especially a lot of dangling, hyphenated words that could have been easily fixed with minor tweaks to tracking or kerning; a few word truncations are fine, but there are too many and/or many badly-placed ones).

In addition to word/character spacing issues, there's also some paragraph spacing issues; on some pages it looks like text is crammed in and on others far too spaced out. Likewise, some artwork appears "squeezed in” in some places and has too wide a space buffer in others.

The artwork itself is also inconsistent. Some of it is clearly original and quite nice, and I want to take particular note of the beautiful stormcaller artwork on page 10. Other art looks out-of-place or a distinctly different style from other artwork; for example, on page 12 there's an insert of what looks like a 19th century French painting! It is both incongruous in style with the rest of the book’s content and has nothing to do with the surrounding text. I know small third-party publishers cannot easily afford artists or even packs of royalty-free artwork. But I'd rather see no artwork or a simple design than something that draws me out of reading the text to go, "Huh? Why the heck did they put that there?"

One last quibble with layout, but I do not let this last one affect my "scoring" as it were, because all game publishers appear to do this: this is a .pdf-only product, but it is laid out like a print book, with two side-by-side columns of text. This means on a monitor or tablet, you have to scroll down to read one column, then go back up on the same page to read the next. This makes fast look-up of rules very annoying. I wish that ALL developers of .pdf-only materials would make their products much more screen-friendly to read. If there's no hard copy, there is absolutely no reason to make it look like what a printed book would look like. Yes, people rich in ink and paper do print out .pdfs, but interestingly a screen-friendly layout remains readable when printed far moreso than another way around.

Bottom line: in spite of some complaints (non-stellar monster, unnecessary repetition, minor editing and layout problems), I ABSOLUTELY recommend this book for GMs who are looking for ways to spice up a campaign that takes place outdoors. The material is well-written, creative, and accessible. Players of shamans and barbarians will be very interested in the archetypes. I look forward to more from this publisher, and expect many of the little wrinkles seen here will be easily ironed out with time.

Disclaimer: I received this item for free in a special offer at the Paizo boards.


Community Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Now available—and courtesy of Flaming Crab Games, the first ten posters in this thread will receive a free copy!


It does look interesting.


May I have one? Thanks!


I would like one! I know I have'nt reviewed the last one that I got yet, but I'll try to do it soon. Sorry for that


I too, would love one... although, having already received a PDF for the, quite wonderful, Country Faire and also for Coins / Commerce, I do feel a bit guilty... how about a review in return for the free PDF?

Silver Crusade

May I also have a copy


May I also have one for review purposes as well?

Liberty's Edge

Sounds interesting. Especially if it's free. I'd like to try this out in my home game ( is it PFS legal for Pathfinder Society play ?).


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Sounds interesting. Especially if it's free. I'd like to try this out in my home game ( is it PFS legal for Pathfinder Society play ?).

Not PFS legal as it is third party publisher.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hi, could I also please have a copy?

The Exchange

Am I the last?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I'm counting nine so I'm hoping I can be ten. This'd be very useful in my seafaring pbp.

Community Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

PDFs granted—I'm sure the publisher would appreciate a review in exchange. ^_^


Liz Courts wrote:
PDFs granted—I'm sure the publisher would appreciate a review in exchange. ^_^

Thanks, Liz! And yep, we'd appreciate reviews!


Darn it, missed by that much...

Sounds very nice, though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
PDFs granted—I'm sure the publisher would appreciate a review in exchange. ^_^

Thanks!!! A really neat little Letter again... On a first read through I have already seen a few interesting phenomena to treat my players to when they head out into the wilds... I will read further and, once I have gathered my thoughts, will post a review.


As always, reviews are appreciated. Also, please don't forget out Kickstarter. We're trying to prefund the 2017 Letters from the Flaming Crab!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456806822/letters-from-the-flaming-cr ab-2017-for-the-pathfin


A little later than I planned but I have finally got a review up :)

Also @Deathquaker, the art is Renoir's 'The Umberellas'... and I must admit that I rather like it in the Letter!!!!

Now to check out that Kickstarter.


Zesdead wrote:

A little later than I planned but I have finally got a review up :)

Also @Deathquaker, the art is Renoir's 'The Umberellas'... and I must admit that I rather like it in the Letter!!!!

Now to check out that Kickstarter.

In our version of reality, one of those young women is a Stormcaller. :)

Thank you for the thoughtful review. We're considering retooling the hailstorm to be an exploding hailstorm for a revision of the book.


Just letting people know...

Feedback has suggested the inclusion of a hailstorm weather event was a bit of a letdown since rules for hail already exist. So, we've made some changes and rewritten the section to be about exploding alchemical hail with unpredictable and random effects.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

JGray wrote:

Just letting people know...

Feedback has suggested the inclusion of a hailstorm weather event was a bit of a letdown since rules for hail already exist. So, we've made some changes and rewritten the section to be about exploding alchemical hail with unpredictable and random effects.

Cool! Is the .pdf itself updated?


DeathQuaker wrote:
JGray wrote:

Just letting people know...

Feedback has suggested the inclusion of a hailstorm weather event was a bit of a letdown since rules for hail already exist. So, we've made some changes and rewritten the section to be about exploding alchemical hail with unpredictable and random effects.

Cool! Is the .pdf itself updated?

There was apparently an issue with that. We've tried to upload a new one and are waiting for confirmation from Paizo.


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted in the usual places.

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