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Vampire Bestiary - Mountain of the Cannibal God
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2012 18:55:46
I am a fan of Vampire Lore and a fan of the author's work in monster design, having discussed things with him via the EnWorld forums over the years. This first part of a three {to six!} mega package is well written, has some of the best 4e monster design methods, and despite the author stating it is not an encyclopedia of the various vampire myths... it does an excellent job of going beyond the Bram Stroker's vision.

I am looking forward to the following releases in this series!

Regarding the content itself:

Artwork is nice and appropriate. There are a couple full page illustrations that are very well done but I would not want to waste ink on printing them.

Organization is solid. My only complaint is that the table showing the different types of vampires is (a) not at the top of the chapter and (b) doesn't reference the real world mythological founding.

Content: Vampires, Cannibals, and Wendigos. The Vampires I have seen previously, but never put together so well. The cannibals are nicely linked to some of the Vampire creation process so I don't mind them here.

But the Wendigo. WOW. Love it! I had no idea how cool a Wendigo could be as far as a game changer and major playing in a sand-box game!

Consider me signed up for future offerings from Eternity Publishing!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire Bestiary - Mountain of the Cannibal God
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Immortals Handbook: ASCENSION
by J. M. N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2011 05:19:18
I give the author an A- for the ideas, and a D for the execution.

There is a core here that might make epic play reasonable. By introducing quintessence, it draws a line between gaining XPs for killing mortal things and something else for killing gods. And, yes, you can kill gods, but it's mostly only possible if you're one, too.

The various ranks of deities is comprehensive, and the ways in which they connect to the universe as they become more powerful are effective. Other games tell you that your character has become a god and no longer cares about the material world. This book explains why they no longer care about the material world, and what they care about instead.

It introduces portfolios, which are essentially the next step for cleric's domains. Here I think there could have been more creativity in the various powers associated with each portfolio. They really run together and seem kind of the same. At the Lesser Deity level, every portfolio gets a high level Effect ability. At the Hero-Deity level, they all get a big competence bonus to to some set of skills or abilities under some set of circumstances. The portfolios provided really lack flavor, though it wouldn't take a lot of work to toss some powers out and install ones that do have flavor.

The last chapter starts by providing more than 200 new (or kind of new) epic feats. I don't really like all of them, and I'm not sure that the system the author has come up with to replace Increased Spell Capacity and other epic metamagic feats works nearly as well as he thinks it does, but it's worth trying out. Still, there has been a desperate need for more, and better, epic feats. This is followed by the abilities that deities get at various levels. They work like Super Epic Feats (and Ultra Epic Feats, Ultimate Epic Feats and Ridiculously Epic Feats). On the whole, I like them quite a bit.

Now for the problems. This book is horribly confusing to read and try to figure out. The rules for gaining quintessence, particularly through Glory and Worshipers, are complex and confusing. I still haven't managed to sort them out. The chapter on deific ranks is notably lacking in anything describing the process for moving up the ranks. If you gain enough quintessence, do you automatically go up to the next rank, or are there Greater Deities with more than 120 Hit Dice? If it's the former, what happens if there isn't any place in the cosmos for a new Sidereal, who are the personifications of planar layers, entire planes, or even dimensions. If a Greater God goes to 121 Hit Dice, does that mean that a new planar layer is created? Don't look for the answer in the book, because you won't find it. At least, I haven't yet.

There are two problems with the chapter on feats and abilities. The first is that there are places that are just poorly written. On page 147 there is a Siphoning [Effect] ability. When you use it, do you simply cause damage that subtracts from the amount of quintessence your opponent has, as is implied by the way that the ability is written up, or do you steal that quintessence and add it to your own, as is implied by the example given for the ability? There are a number of these sorts of glitches. Potentially a bigger problem is that there are a large number of abilities that refer to non-existent products. Some of the abilities provide a new template for your character that it says will be "detailed within a later Immortals Handbook supplement." Given the extent to which this company specializes in vaporware (Hey, when is Godsend coming out?) that is absolutely inexcusable.

On the whole, I really feel like the author treated me with contempt by doing such a poor job of basic editing and selling me a product that is incomplete. So, while I can recommend picking it up if you want to strip mine it for ideas for really high level gaming, I dislike the idea of putting money in the author's pocket.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Immortals Handbook: ASCENSION
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Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
by Alfonso O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2008 15:24:50
This book has mosnters that truly define "epic." A great buy for any lover of the high-level game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
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Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/02/2006 00:00:00
Good epic source material from Mr Cochrane. The creatures presented are flavourful and suggest a richer background as yet unexplored. It left me wanting more.


LIKED: Scaling templates.
The clarity with which he explains his departures from SRD rules.
The sheer scope and scale that Upper_Krust brings to epic.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
by Adam S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2006 00:00:00
Picked this up as the monster provided by the ELH/Epic SRD do not provide enough variety for epic gaming.


LIKED: Original ideas and some very nasty monsters. Plus one of the few epic books out there that actually possesses a good grasp of epic level mechanics.

DISLIKED: The high level presented mean the roll of a d20 has little ability to affect the final outcome of rolls.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
by Colin F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2006 00:00:00
This product stands out because it's one of the few epic-level supplements in existence. That alone doesn't make it worth buying, but the concepts introduced here make it worth a look for anyone running an epic-level game. I hope that when a print version of this comes along (and it's been announced) they fix the two things I had problems with.


LIKED: The monster concepts are excellent; there are definitely some I want to incorporate into my next game.

DISLIKED: Some of the numbers on the monsters don't match with the challenge ratings, especially for higher CR monsters. PCs of appropriate level can often walk through all the monster's effects without even the chance of failing a save. Also, the title font is horrific.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2005 00:00:00
The Immortal?s Handbook Epic Bestiary volume one is the first release from Eternity Publishing. It?s the first part of a series of products that are collectively under the banner of ?The Immortal?s Handbook? which is geared towards epic and immortal gaming in the d20 system.

The zip file is just under 2 meg, and contains a PDF that is just over 3. The single PDF has a (non-hyperlinked) table of contents, as well as bookmarks. In addition to covering all of the new monsters, the bookmarks also link to all of the new artifacts, magic weapons, epic spells, and even the new material in the book.

The cover of the product is done in color, presenting an amilictli and seraphim battling, while a tarrasque cowers in terror. The rest of the product contains black-and-white artwork for most of the monsters (only the Dire Creature template lacks a picture).

The product presents thirty-eight epic monsters. However, five of these are templates, and each template has an associated example monster presented alongside it. One of these (the aforementioned Dire Creature template) is a template that stacks with itself multiple times, effectively becoming a new template each time (twice is the Behemoth Template, thrice is the Teratoid Template, four times is the Brobdingnagian Template, and ten times is the Macrobe Template), and has a variant template (the Legendary Animal) template presented, which gives an increase to power without the increase in size, and then presents two example Legendary creatures. Between the age categories of the dragons, and that the various elementals and golems have multiple entries (see below), this book could be said to have well over fifty new monsters.

One thing that needs to be mentioned before going any further is that this book is meant for not just epic gaming, but gaming that stretches into the realm of immortals; that is, gaming at high enough levels where the characters are effectively (if not literally) gods. As such, the monsters (and other information here) are extremely powerful. Challenge Ratings go up into not just the dozens, but well into the hundreds and, in two cases, the thousands. This makes every other epic-level product seem timid by comparison.

After the table of contents, there are lists for the monsters by CR (which also includes ECL), and Type and Subtype. After this comes a single page of new epic feats. Eleven new epic feats are presented here, and there?s something for every kind of character. A new feat tree is presented in the Three-Weapon Fighting feats, wherein you fight with three weapons by constantly juggling them between your hands. Also of note are two new feats that change the way metamagic works. The first is Automatic Metamagic Capacity, which gives you +1 free levels of metamagic everytime you take it (e.g. each time it?s taken, all metamagic feats use up a spell slot one slot lower than normal, down to +0). The second is Metamagic Freedom, which lets you stack the same metamagic feat on a spell multiple times.

Size Matters is a four-page section detailing new rules for sizes. The basics of this system are (besides calling Colossal+ ?Titanic?) that, once you go beyond Titanic, the ten size ranking continue to go up, gaining a new prefix. E.g., after Titanic comes Macro-Fine, then Macro-Diminutive, etc. Beyond the standard, nine such prefixes are presented, all the way up to Xota, or universe-sized creatures. An associated table lists the cascading bonuses and penalties to AC/attacks, speed, ability scores, etc. After this is a section on virtual size categories (that a creature or object gains by being very dense without being exceptionally larger), and increases to damage based on expanding size (or virtual size).

The next page-and-a-half is A Glance at the Kosmos. This presents the multiverse that the Bestiary is using when it presents its creatures. This is fairly standard to the D&D multiverse (Prime Material Plane, along with Inner, Outer, Transitive planes, and the Far Place), but it adds a few new dimensions, such as the Death Dimension below all the existing planes, as well as the holistic meta-realities beyond the planes.

After this comes the monsters. Each entry has the monster?s proper name, and a given name as well. After the stats is an in-character description of what it looks like, then a paragraph or three of description. Following that is the combat section describing its powers and abilities, and then a listing of its tactics round-by-round is given. Finishing each entry off are at least three adventure possibilities listed.

Quite a few of the creatures are presented in categories (e.g. Abominations, Angels, Dragons, Golems, etc.), which always have their basic properties and shared characteristics, as well as their history and outlook, given in a section beforehand. Well over half of the monster entries end with a new epic weapon property, a new artifact, or a new epic spell listed at the end. A new epic material, orichalcum, is also listed towards the end of the product.

Altogether, this book is quite literally a must-have for epic gaming. While it calls itself a Bestiary, the truth is that there is far, far more than just that here. Between the new rules, new items and artifacts, and adventure ideas, this book is worth its weight in gold for what it brings to the table, in regards to epic gaming. Players and GMs won?t realize how much they?re missing this book until they read it, at which point they?ll likely wonder how they epic gamed without it. This book deserves a 5 out of 5 stars, as it's an epic book for epic gaming.

EDIT: This review has been edited based on the product being updated. While initially it was plagued with minor errors, these have almost all been corrected since. Eternity Publishing has truly risen to the occassion, updating their book to smooth out stat problems, leaving a product that is virtually flawless, even as it takes epic gaming to the next level.



LIKED: This product was spectacular in the related material it presented; new epic feats, new rules on size categories, new ideas for a mega-multiverse, new epic magic weapon qualities, new major and minor artifacts, new epic spells, and more!

DISLIKED: This product lacked a printer-friendly version, but that's a minor complaint when compared to the work as a whole, which is spectacular.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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