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Midgard: Player's Guide to the Wasted West
von Thilo G. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 07/19/2013 04:02:00
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This player's guide for the Midgard-setting is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's dive in!



As has become the tradition with Midgard Player's Guides, we kick this book off with a fluffy, player-friendly introduction to perhaps the most feared region of the world of Midgard, the desolate wastes spawned from an arcane cataclysm, where Great Old Ones trudge eldritch symbols in slow-motion into the blighted plains, slowed and perhaps sleeping, but unvanquished as their warp and taint spreads even through the complex bonds that hold them. The Dust goblin-inhabitants and their major tribes as well as three Great Old Ones also get a short player-friendly write up, as do 3 of the strange plants that can be found in these wasted fields. the Seat of Mavros, god of war (including a table for battle blessings) are introduced alongside the Magocracy of Allain and we even get a neat full-page full color map of the city of Maillon before we leave for the haunted lands of the giants, where not only the eponymous creatures dwell, but where lizardfolk adorn their sacred black cypress with shrunken heads...



After this disturbing journey, we're off to the crunchy bits and 35 traits await for the choosing and mostly, they are known fare - bonuses to saves, skill-checks, class skills etc. - though some vril-themed ones are neat and riding boars and swine is cool - if you didn't guess: Humanoids, more savage PCs and goblins especially get a rather extensive selection here. I'm also happy to report that I didn't consider any of the traits overpowered - not even the sinister one that allows you to 1/day sacrifice a sentient creature of equal of greater HD than you to gain +1d3 to an ability score for 3 hours.

Feat-wise, we get 12 new feats, which range from lame filler à la +1 to CMD and CMB to an okay item creation-feat that allows you to create charms to a feat that enables you to recall a spell of two levels lower than you can cast once per day. Feats to enhance slightly fire damage, better tracking versus creatures with the realms beyond or alien subtype, but not aberrations! The Alien-subtype...Wait. There is no alien subtype. Neither is there a realms beyond subtype. So which creatures do net the bonus? That's another issue I have with multiple pieces of crunch - most instead refer to "keywords" - a not truly defined term. Would mothmen, for example, count for the purpose of these abilities/feats? Why not simply make it aberrations and be done with it? This needlessly complicates what should be simple, not too exciting abilities. Or take the "Rebel of Allain"-feat: +2 to saves versus spells or effects with the "illusion, charm or dominate keywords". Ähm, ok, does Phantasmal Killer count? I know I'm nitpicking here, but these feats NEED clearer definitions - their focus is wobbly at best and when providing feats for uninspired +x bonuses, I'd at least expect to get concise definitions of what the bonus applies to. Sorry, but at least to me, the feat-section is uninspired, boring and fails to properly codify what the bonuses apply to.



I gushed about heritage feats in my review of the "PG to the 7 cities" and this time, we get 6 of them - most of them themed around the void beyond and netting spell-like abilities usable once per day - whether it is blink, invisible, entropic shield once per day or augury once per day. Unfortunately, the feats e.g. mention a "feat bonus", which at least via standard-rules does not exist. Speaking of which: getting less damage from energy is usually not called DR (as in the feat), but resistance. Faulty nomenclature is simply not helping here. Unfortunately, these heritage feats also feel a bit unbalanced and honestly, I'm not sold on them either, though at least they're not as bland as the regular feats.



After that, we're off to the new archetypes - first of which would be the Wasteland Summoner: These summoners can leech off the life energy of his eidolon, have his/her eidolon 1/day cast a spell as a spell-like ability and even temporarily borrow evolutions and later even split eidolons and incur ability damage to enhance his/her eidolon. We also get a new base form as well as 4 new exclusive evolutions. Magi may now opt to become Feywardens of Tintager that gain intelligent midnight blades as well as several abilities centered on fey and combating their tricks. Clerics may now become militant members of the order of Mavros, who sacrifice their channel energy for a variety of diverse effects like smiting wielders of the power arcane. Watseland Seekers (rangers) get a mostly boring archetype with a problematic ability: Automatic total concealment versus ranged attacks in wastelands and deserts? Depending on your campaign, that one's a game-breaker. Wasteland Druids don't get any proper nature bonds, but may choose some sinister domains and may use empathy with swarms and vermin - and that's just one of the neat abilities of this particular archetype. Wizards may opt to become Warmages of Tintager, with access to the Iron and Fire School and 2 arcane discoveries. Witches may now opt to become Servants of the Realms Beyond with 2 hexes, 2 major hexes and 2 grand hexes as well as 5 new familiars and 5 improved familiars.



Sorcerors can choose from one of 4 bloodliens: Ghoulish, Realms Beyond, Goblin-Blooded and Giant bloodlines. The Ghoul bloodline is nothing to write home about, but solidly designed, but the Realms Beyond bloodline once again is rather neat. The goblin-blooded bloodline is not as interesting and the giant bloodline would once again constitute an interesting take on the concept. We also get 3 new cavalier orders: White Knights are the defenders of Bourgund and may use retributive arcane attacks, intimidate foes and dimension door at high levels with a cool-down. Knights of the Black Rose don't serve Lord Soth, but rather are the defenders of Tintager - they are particularly fearsome and deadly in the saddle and against fey. And finally, there are the boar-riding goblin cavaliers of the wastes - and these guys win for both the cool imagery and the neat execution.



Next up, of course, are the obligatory spells, this time netting us 4 new ones: Summoning a whole goblin tribe, conjure a darkness that can't even be penetrated by darkvision, blast foes with laser-like annihilation rays as well as a spell to traverse the wastes more easily - these spells are universally winners.



The final page of the product features an animated hangman's knot (AWESOME!) and e.g. animated shrunken heads that can be consulted - 4 items, all cool, nothing to complain here.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed some flawed usages of rules language in the pdf. Layout is beautiful and adheres to the 2-column full color standard and both the b/w-artworks and the map are superb. The guide comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



The fluff is superb, as are the spells and magic items - but the crunch is of a varying quality - faulty rules-language, mostly bland traits, filler feats - whereas the majority of the archetypes, especially the glorious summoner archetype are awesome. In the end, it is this varying quality that hurts this guide the most - all in all, a solid product that fell short of what it could have been with slightly more inspired content and a tighter rules editing. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Midgard: Player's Guide to the Wasted West
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Midgard Campaign Setting
von Bryan P. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 07/15/2013 15:50:59
MIDGARD CAMPAIGN SETTING REVIEW
(This is my 1st review.)
I’m a sucker for campaign settings. I have been since I purchased that first Greyhawk Campaign Setting with the charging knight on the front. I’ve used them as the foundation of my campaigns (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Birthright, Golarion) and I’ve taken and ported elements that I liked from others (Ravenloft, Scarred Lands, Krynn). But despite my love of campaign settings, as with most things gaming, I’m pretty damned picky. If something doesn’t work for me, it usually [i]really[/i] doesn’t work for me.

Also, for the record, prior to a few issues of Kobold Quarterly and an Advanced Feats PDF or two, I had not purchased any Open Design/Kobold Press products prior to the Midgard Campaign Setting, so I’m not reviewing this product through the lens of a Patron, a Kickstarter supporter, or as an established fan of the setting. I’m also someone who initially avoided the setting as it seemed to me that in those dark days before the PFRPG was launched, the setting was fully embracing 4e. (Full disclosure, there is little in 4e that appeals to me.) This review is of the PDF (but I’ve ordered a hardcopy).


[B]WHAT COMPRISES THE MIDGARD CAMPAIGN SETTING?[/B]
The Midgard Campaign Setting is a gorgeous book. Layout is clear, yet attractive with full-colored illustrations & detailed maps (with a scale on each map!).

[b][i]Chapter 1: Midgard[/i][/b] presents the setting at a high level and introduces setting-specific characteristics. Most notable are the “Seven Secrets” that present some core fundamentals about Midgard, in particular, that dragons seek to rule in parts of the world, ley lines are a major conceit of the setting, and that while the timeline isn’t overtly fixed, it is assumed that the setting can change in significant ways. While that last bit may be old hat for seasoned gamers, I’ve rarely seen the “permission” to change the world so explicitly stated.

History, calendar, recent events, festivals, and planes are presented next. The history is detailed enough to present a sense of scope and backdrop without bogging down into textbook-style reading, the planes are flavorful and presented more in a tone of myth and uncertainty than a scholar’s treatise on their characteristics. Calendars, festivals, and recent events, which are often relegated to later chapters in other setting books, help ground the reader in the setting by showing up earlier than usual.

Finally, Ley Line mechanics are presented. These support the richness of the setting lore within the familiar framework of Pathfinder feats. Some subsystem details complete the Ley Line rules without becoming a burdensome add-on.

[b][i]Chapter 2: Heroes[/i][/b]
Races, Languages, and campaign-specific Feats & Traits are up next. Here are many of the things that make Midgard distinct and they are the same things that foolishly deterred me from looking at the early Open Design releases when they were 4e-centric. Kobolds as a major race? Minotaurs as a player race – didn’t we already get that with DragonLance? Dragonkin, -er Dragonborn… can you see the eye-rolling from here? Except that it all works and deliciously, flavorfully, so. The dragonkin & kobolds tie directly to the setting conceit of empire-building dragons. The dragonkin are more akin to Arcana Evolved’s dragonman race than the 4e dragonborn fluff hyped by WotC (IMO, at least). Much as Paizo has done for Goblins and Ogres, dwarves and elves are familiar but varied slightly in their own unique ways. I’m still not a huge fan of Gearforged but they’re not omni-present in the setting. Centaurs, gnolls, and tengu get more prominence than they do in many settings. Every race is recognizable from Pathfinder RPG core concepts, but all have a distinctive Midgard spin to them.

The standouts of this chapter, however, are the Midgard Feats & Traits. Broken down by region, they are mechanically sound yet dripping with setting flavor from evocative names to concise descriptive text. These reinforce the cultural differences of the various regions while avoiding long stretches of description-by-essay. By not having to hit the “generic PFRPG” button that the PFRPG line has to do, these all feel very connected to the setting yet can easily be ported to other settings. They avoid the sometimes over-specific traits found in some of the PF AP player’s guides, but those are designed to serve a slightly different function anyway.

[b][i]Chapters 3-9: The Regions of Midgard[/i][/b]
The bulk of the campaign setting, it is also the part I will summarize the most as this review is lengthy as-is. Here are the sections where Midgard is painted in vivid colors and contrasts. Each chapter covers a particular region: The Crossroads, the Wasted West, the Dragon Empire, the Seven Cities, the Rothenian Plain, the Domains of the Princes, and the Northlands. With the exception of the Northlands, the names themselves are evocative and inspire further investigation. Yet all of the chapters have a structure and flow to them that encourages one to continue reading through – a feat most campaign settings fail to achieve. Plot hooks and adventure seeds are laden throughout and each region is distinct. Yet by pulling from Earth-based myth, particularly of Norse and Eastern Europe, it has a familiarity that allows the reader to quickly grasp the cultural concepts of each region.

Important game info is presented for each region: a more detailed map, population info, gods worshipped, etc. as one would expect. But it’s the little details that stand out. Details that are often hand-waved away in other settings are found here as well. Travel times & costs between various cities, trade goods, prominent castles, cultural tidbits, and relevant game mechanics all combine to form a rich, yet cohesive whole that can support a very diverse range of themes & playstyles. It’s a customized kitchen sink, not a generic one, and the setting is stronger for it.

Midgard is a darker setting yet is still a setting ideally suited for High Fantasy. Most settings chose to hew strongly towards the dark (WHFRP’s Known World) or the High Fantasy genre (Forgotten Realms), with only token attempts to support other genres and styles of play. Midgard strikes a great balance, making it easy for a GM to lean whichever way suits the campaign or players without having to drastically change the tone of the setting.

[b][i]Chapter 10: Pantheon[/i][/b]
Once again, my expectations were dashed with this chapter. Fantasy pantheons are a favorite setting aspect of mine and compared to a [i]Book of the Righteous[/i] or [i]Scarred Lands’[/i] pantheon, how could gods pulled from Norse, Eastern European, and Egyptian myth possibly compare?

As it turns out, pretty damn well. Forgive my soapbox-grandstanding for a moment, but gods should not be the top of the monster pyramid for homicidal players to slay. In a game where alignment provides a shorthand for a character’s morality and ethics, portraying the gods as relevant for something more than the source of a cleric’s power can be a difficult goal to achieve. Pages of backstory on a god’s personality might make for an interesting read, but often has little bearing on the playing of the game. Too often, there is little room for theological debates, heresies, or wars and a rich source of conflict and story/setting development is lost.

So how does Midgard avoid these pitfalls? Masks & alignment. See, some of Midgard’s theologians believe that the gods represent themselves differently to different cultures. Few regions agree which of their gods are the “masks” of another in a different region. One man’s Thor may, or may not, be another man’s Mavros. Also, most gods, being unknowable and beyond mortality, usually only have one alignment axis fixed (Law, Chaos, Good, or Evil) and the other is variable. The result is a world where the familiar mythological figures shorten the learning curve for new players and where mystery is injected back into fantasy RPG religions.

In short, it rocks.

Of equal import, rather than paragraphs and pages on a god’s personality, we get more practical, game-relevant info: expectations of worshipers, symbols, holy texts, shrines, priests, and interactions with other faiths along with standard domain & favored weapon info.


[b]WHAT SETS MIDGARD APART FROM OTHER SETTINGS?[/b]
I’ve considered writing RPG reviews of other products. However, with Midgard, I was [i]inspired[/i] to write a review. Honestly, that bugged me. What was it about this setting that made it stand out among the many I’ve read and used in my games over the years? I’ve been ruminating over it for a few days and these were my “Aha!” takeaways:

1. [b]Seasoned, not saturated.[/b]
This was the setting I shouldn’t have liked. It allowed for dragonman characters, gunpowder, clockwork/steampunk, and Earth-myth gods. All things I generally do not like in my FRPGing. But they’re placed in the setting in such a light-touched and organic way that the “coolness” outweighs my reservations. Limitations are placed in a way that seems plausible rather than forced. Most importantly, the writers understand that a little can go a long way and that it’s easier to increase certain elements to suit a GM’s game than it is to rip something out.

I love the clockwork city of Zobeck and the fact that dwarves have invented gunpowder. But I still get to have orders of knighthood, witches in the forest, and all of the medieval tropes that I embraced when I bought that first Greyhawk campaign setting. It doesn’t feel forced and it’s not laden with anachronisms that break the immersion in the setting.

2. [b]Rules serve the setting rather than the setting serving the rules.[/b]
This is perhaps an unfair critique against other settings, and I’m sure it’s not true in all cases but it rings true to me. It’s how I felt after reading this book. I look at things like Ley Lines, the Mana Wastes, gearforged and the rest and it’s clear that they are there because the writers thought they were interesting and cool. They added to the distinctiveness of the world, the plot hooks, the adventure seeds – they added to Midgard’s character. They didn’t build a world to fit the Pathfinder RPG. They built a world and then built PFRPG rules that made the integration seamless.

3. [b]“I want to run a campaign…here”. [/b]
This is the first RPG setting where I could not only envision running a campaign in every region, I [i]wanted[/i] to do so. There were no regions that didn’t interest me, nowhere that I definitely wanted to stay away from, no place that didn’t “work for me”. I don’t know that anyone else will feel that way, but it was a first for me.

[B]WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?[/B]
Not a great deal, honestly. There are a few errors/typos such as the omission of the “Time Flies” optional rule while reference to it survives and things like races having a Favored Class rather than a character choosing their favored class.

While some will find it part of the setting’s charm, fans of elves and half-elves may be surprised at how elves are less common than in other settings. Halflings return to their Tolkein-esque roots and seem almost an afterthought.

After Paizo’s much-cheered revamp of gnomes into an interesting race, some might be taken aback at the dark circumstances of many of Midgard’s gnomes. However, it’s not a universal situation for the entire race, so again, season to taste.

There is little mention of orcs, and I’ve always had a soft-spot for orcs as one of my go-to bad guys. I hope that they gain some prominence in the setting if the line expands to regions beyond the seven described in the campaign setting.


[B]CONCLUSION[/B]

Midgard is a rich, vibrant campaign setting that should be in every fantasy RPG library. It’s familiar without feeling rehashed. It’s unique in a way that enriches the differences rather than overshadowing other genres or aspects of the game. It’s written in a way that provides a massive amount of info in manageable chunks and ignites the imagination.

Yes, it’s that damn good. Go get it now. 5 of 5 stars.

Wertung:
[5 von 5 Sternen!]
Midgard Campaign Setting
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Midgard Adventures 5: Beyond the Ghostlight Reef
von Thilo G. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 07/11/2013 02:53:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 18 pages of adventure, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this product with one massive box - since it was originally designed to be run at conventions, scaling advice for stronger tables is given in the beginning for stronger tables/groups before we delve into the meat of the module.



This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.



Still here? Set in the coastal city of Friula, the adventure has the PCs being hired by a member of the Bibliotori - hoarders and merchants of knowledge both mundane and magical - with what seems to be a binding oath (but in fact is just showmanship and hocuspocus). Their contact, one man named Giolan seeks scrolls recently unearthed by the reef-tenders of the Ghostlight Reef - i.e. the servants of the Red Hags and blood druids that seek to eradicate arcane magic (or at least control it) to prevent a second cataclysm after the one that spawned Midgard's Great Old One-infested wasted west-region. Now if you think they are benevolent - they aren't. The red hags subsist on a diet of blood and harvest poisonous squid ink and addictive corals that are used as drugs in the weird coral reef. Unfortunately for the PCs, said hags have managed to get a hold of the scrolls in question.



In order to retrieve the scrolls, the PCs will have to traverse the dreaded "Dead Man's Ring", a reef which is the hunting ground of Friula's most famous aquatic boogeyman - Dark Willy, the irreverently-named, yet at the same time dreaded and admired aboleth. And after navigating some rocky hazards, the PCs indeed have to stand their ground against the creature - hopefully after doing some research, for the preferred means of traversing his high ground would be with a non-violent resolution - which is by the way something I enjoyed seeing in here!



The next stop of their quest is the dreaded Red Hag's isle, where not only the hostile flora and fauna, which includes smart worgs and grass cloakers (insert Spoony Grass-battle reference here) should provide a challenge, but where they'll also stumble across a ziggurat - where they can invade the Red Hag's alchemical laboratory and meet one particular Hag named Hislargat and her blood weird - who offers a counterproposal to fighting...

Here, it is up to the PCs to decide which of the two sides to choose, ending thus the module with different consequences, but not different final encounters.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard with the boxed text being framed by a purplish hue - all in all a nice module to look at. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and the cartography is awesome indeed - though we don't get player-friendly versions of the maps.



Steeped deeply in Midgard-lore and set against a fascinating landmark spiced with subtle humor that doesn't detract from the seriousness or concise nature of the fluff, Christina Stiles once again proves why she's one of the top writers out there - especially the first encounter is unconventional and carrying some rather interesting, unforeseen repercussions if handled poorly by the players. Fluff-wise, this is a glorious module and the solid statblocks do their part in making this work out. That being said, the main locale of the module is simply not that inspired - the ziggurat could have used some unique terrain-features: Perhaps life-draining stones that suck blood? Dream coral dust in the air, resulting in hallucinations? Something along that line would have made this module simply glorious! As written, it turns out to be a mechanically not too interesting, but incredibly atmospheric piece of adventure-craft for a price that is a true steal.



My final battle will hence be 4.5 stars - though I was contemplating hard whether to round up or down, I opted for the latter in this case since the primary locale could have used some unique terrain feature/property to set it further apart.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Midgard Adventures 5: Beyond the Ghostlight Reef
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New Paths 5: Expanded Monk and Ninja (Pathfinder RPG)
von marc-andré p. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 06/29/2013 23:07:27
This is Kobold Press's fifth book in the New Paths series. This one marks a departure from the others as it does not present a new class for the Pathfinder Game (like the Battle Scion or Shaman New Path) or present a class variant (like the Spell-Less Ranger New Path). This books contains 7 archetypes for monks and 2 for ninjas, plus a series of new feats, new weapons and new ninja master tricks.

The book is 18 pages long and has 14 pages of content when cover, credits, OGL text and add are not counted in.

Before I continue I must say that I have some archetype fatigue because they have becomed what Prestige Class were to 3.5. Too numerous, sometimes fillers, some power creeps (with combos), some are just bad and we will never be able to play them all (sad panda). I feel the same with feats and would prefere sub-systems or alternative rules to archetypes and feats. So with that being said, how well does this book do?

The first archetype for monks is called Beast-Soul Monk. Yes, this is an archetype that deals with fighting styles named after animals, but with a twist. You get a animal companion right from the start in exchange for your flurry of blows and stunning fist abilities. Difficult trade off since those are very iconic abilities. Of course, you do get a very iconic animal in exchange for it. The animal must match you fighting style (e.g. crane, monkey, mantis), so the choice is limited. The matching combat style feats are added to the list of bonus feats the archetype gets. At later levels you can spend ki points to transform into your animal, using the beastshape spell. An interesting archetype, both for PCs and NPCs that does seem balanced and adds variety to the monk.

The second monk archetype is a racial archetype (Gearforged race) specific to Midgard, the Cloakwork Monk. The Clockwork Monk is proficient with light and medium armor (!), but still takes relevent penalties from wearing the armor. The first ability the Clockwork Monk gets is that it adds all feats with gearforged as a prerequisite to his list of bonus feats. This is interesting, but it is also the weak part of this archetype. You need other books from Kobold Press to get the full potential of this archetype (of course, Gearforged fans probably already have those). The Clockwork Monk gets bonus 2 hp at level 3. He also gets +2 hp for every feat with Gearforged as a prerequisite that he has. This replaces the still mind ability. Starting at level 5, while wearing light armor gained with a Gearforged feat, the Clockwork Monk can use flurry of blows, at level 11 he does not lose fast movement while wearing armor and finally at level 17 he doesn't lose his AC bonus while wearing armor. These abilities replace purity of body, diamond body and timeless body. All very interesting and powerful ablities. The crowning touch is the new capstone ability at level 20, inevitable form. I like this archetype, it would make an interesting NPC. Althought Gearforgeds are from Midgard's campaign setting, they can be used in any setting the GM wants them to be in. I suppose that the archetype could also be adapted to Eberron's Warforged or maybe even Golarion's Android race (Inner Sea Bestiary) with some work and imagination.

The third archetype is the Monk of the Compliant Style Rod. Translation, a monk specialized in combat with a staff (either bo staff or quarter staff). This is not a super flashy archetype or very original one, but it is very much an iconic one since staff masters are very present in kung fu flicks. I can see players wanting to use this archetype. Some of the feats contain in this book help support it. I like!

The fourth is Monk of the Glorious Endeavor. This archetype is essentially a way to get a monk to be specialized in one weapon (any, even exotic), but only one weapon. An interesting idea even if already tapped (e.g. the previous archetype mentioned here), but this one gives you more freedom to build your desired character as you get to choose the weapon. The problem I have is that the abilities gained are rather generic, numerical and thus boring. This archetype was a miss for me.

We then get a short box text for Darakhul Ghoul (Midgard campaign setting) monks. Essentially you get to combine two archetypes even if you usually could not, and get the Darakhul Hunger Monk. Pretty cool, but I am bias as I love Wolfgang Baur's Darakhul Ghouls. If you are not familiar with Darakhul Ghouls, just use a Ghast, a Ghast Lord from Minotaur's Monster Focus: Ghouls, the Dread Ghoul template from Green Ronin's Advance Bestiary or the Ghul template form Super Genius Game's Simple Monster Templates. I like!

The fifth archetype is the Monk of the Peerless Mountain. Flavor wise this is a monk that focuses on kicks. Mechanic wise, this is the monk that focuses on Cleave. Maybe this will be popular with some players. It depends on the games and the usual number of monster present in fights.

The sixth archetype is the Paper Drake Monk. Origami! This is mostly a defensive archetype, comparing the monk to a sheet of paper. The monk can "fold" himself, increase or reduce is size, get DR/slashing or piercing, stuff like that. The cherry on top is that the monk can transform himself in a paper crane swarm. Not a bad archetype flavor wise, but I'm not sure a lot of players will pick this one.

The seventh archetype is the Six Talismans Monk. This is a cool one! Talismans are basically a piece of paper with words on it that have magical effects when thrown or place on a creature. Plus the monk gets to use his Wis for UMD! I like this one a lot. Very flavorful and evocative. Just this archetype is worth the price of the book. This is probably because this is almost a new class that uses a new type of magic. This should get a sequel, a New Path book expending rules for talisman magic (like can I burn it off a affected creature?). There are three feats that support this archetype, but many more would be welcomed. Some magic items too. I do have a question about the wording of Greater Paper Talisman. Does this mean the paper talisman deals 3d6 + Wis points of damage when you take the feat for the first time or that it deals 2d6 + Wis points of damage? Still great addition to a game. I can't wait to drop this one on unsuspecting players.

Next we get four new master tricks for ninjas. Empty form and smoke demon are peticularely effective. You transform into mist (Empty Form) that can be inhaled, causing unarmed strike and sneak attack damage (smoke demon)!

Elemental Ninja is the first ninja archetype. You get the abilities specilist wizards of elemental school (Advance Player's Guide) get. Interesting, but I wonder if players will choose this one.

The second ninja archetype is the Mist Stalker. This one is a simple archetype that can be used to build a ninja that is reduce his miss chance combating in mist or fog and gains blindfight. Smoke bomb ninjas rejoyce! GMs too *evil laugh*.

Now we have 25 new feats. 15 of them are style feats, 3 feats per style that means 5 new styles total. I won't go over all of them just the ones that stand out. The Broken Mirror Style is the most evocative one. It is a style for ninjas who have the shadow clone trick or PCs that can cast mirror image. It is very cool, giving you extra clones and letting you make AoOs when a clone is popped. Nightwave Style is interesting as it is the underwater combat style. It gives you slashing damage with your unarmed strike, deals bleed damage and lets you hide in the cloud of blood (!) that comes with the bleeding. It is usable outside of water environment, but not at its peak efficiancy.

One-Inch Punch is a very iconic feats for kung fu fans and I think it delivers when it comes to the mechanics. You basically combine a Stunning Fist with a bull rush maneuvre. Ring the Bell is great, it lets you use Stunning Fist twice in a round. Ashame monks can only take it a level 11. The three talisman feats are good and compliment that archetype (one for increase damage, one to affect undead as if they were living creatures and one to make the damage half divine damage). I would like to see feats that are designed to hinder outsiders, undeads, maybe feys. Maybe a feats to target objects (e.g. seal a room or chest) or expand what the taslimans do (e.g. protection from evil, remove curse, etc). Like I said, this could fill an entire New Path book. Coiled Strenght is pretty cool. You get your Dex bonus to attack and damage rolls made with flails with the monk weapon quality and staves for those with Bo Staff Master and Quarter Master Staff feats! Combination Finish is a feat that gives you a bonus to the DC of your Stunning Fist for every prior hit you made this turn. Not a great one since it really is a "gambling" feat with a reward that is just meh if you pull it off.

Finally, we get 7 new weapons from the orient.

For a book I was curious about (love monks and ninjas), but not too enthusiastic about (archetypes are sort of meh for me) and mostly bought because I trust the quality of Kobold Press books, this was overall a good read with lots of elements GMs and players will happily glean from.

This is a quality book, like we expect from Kobold Press (this is why I support their Deep Magic Kickstarter). For 3,99$ you get your money's worth. I recommand this New Path, if only for the Six Talismans Monk archetype (that needs a full book!) and the Broken Mirror Style feats. They are very iconic and flavorful, not to mention useful. I do feel like there is some filler in the book though, and the Midgard focused racial archetype limited my appreciation. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

Enjoy!

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Midgard Adventures: The Raven's Call
von Thilo G. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 06/20/2013 06:09:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let’s take a look!



This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion. Still here? All right!



The world of Midgard, the Northlands – rather specifically, the small thorp called Nargenstal… has seen better days. Thankfully (depending on the hook), the Shadow Road known as Raven’s Road opens for the PCs and dumps them near it – for unfortunately, the village has been taken. By whom will become apparent once the PCs encounter the few villagers that have escaped: Trollkin (which btw. are fully statted) and their kobold allies have taken the thorp and most of the surviving villagers hostage. The PC’s objective thus will be to infiltrate the village and take it back – but how they do that is up to them – trying to kill foes one by one for example might result in revenge-killings f hostages and if trollkin perish, their shaman will demand weregild and start joining the fray. Shaman? Yes, from Kobold Press’ New Paths-series, the shaman is essentially a prepared caster variant of the druid – with quite a few different unique options.



Speaking of options: Two mercenaries are selling enhanced alchemist’s fire (so-called demonfire) that burns longer and produces soporific vapors, but while they sell them for a price, DCs and regular market prices for the item would have been appreciated. The sandboxy environment that is this module also is ehnaced by 12 optional minor tasks/subquests DMs may introduce to the fray to make the village and its surrounding areas come more to life. Speaking of life: The thorp was guarded by gaint crab that has been trained and is now under the command of the invaders – saving it might make for an uncommon ally. Counter-tactics for the PC’s actions and sneaking in are covered as well – the latter option being particularly interesting, since it require first luring the swarms of ravens away that have taken a liking to the carnage.

The village is beautifully mapped by Alyssa Faden and the bulk of the foes will soon either retreat or be waiting in the thorp’s inn – where the Ogre lord as well as the trollkin shaman make for interesting final bosses of the module. Said inn also holds a secret – its cellar hides 3 ancient sarcophagi and 3 javelins of Thor, mythic items. Mythic? Yeah, for this, at least to my knowledge, is the first module that actually has information for mythic tasks etc. – whether saving the crab, finding the javelins etc. Nice! Midgard’s status-rules also get a nice nod. The inn, again, is beautifully mapped in b/w, but since a secret compartment is included in the map, at least one of the 3 levels of the inn won’t be shown to them – which is a pity. A player-friendly map would have helped there.



Speaking of help: DM’s get help in tracking the occupying force by an easy-to-use table with percentile chances of particular creatures being in one location, while the PCs may encounter a help (or complication) in the guise of a dhampir treasure-hunter of questionable morals who is also after the javelins…



Conclusions:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect: I was at first stumped when a particular entry pointed my towards a “Blood Money” boxed text – which isn’t boxed. It’s there, it’s easy to find – it’s still a minor glitch. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard that is a joy to behold and the b/w-artworks are universally awesome – especially at this very fair price point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.



I really like this module: There aren’t that many good low level sandboxes out there and this one in particular deals with a trope that has been left mostly untapped and, in spite of the few pages it has to develop it, makes for a compelling scenario indeed – not one that is particularly exciting story-wise, but still a great scenario. It is not perfect, though: The alchemical item for example lacks proper default prices and the mercenaries from which the item can be bought lack stats, though pressganging/negotiating with them into saving the thorp is something most groups will probably try. That being said, the amount of detail crammed into his module is still interesting – swim and climb-DCs etc. –all provided. The optional side-quests also help to make this module come alive – to an extent that few modules manage.

There is a reason why Wolfgang Baur is such a celebrated author and this module shows experience in design, story-telling and details that are the hallmark of an experienced designer. The Kobold-Commander-in-Chief has crafted a cool module indeed, though one that is not as ambitious or mind-boggling in scope as e.g. “To the Edge of the World”. It doesn’t try to be – it’s a different beast, but another minor nitpick I had was that I would have enjoyed a slightly tighter focus of the mythic javelins in the story – as provided, they feel slightly like an afterthought added to the module.



Mind you, this is complaining at a VERY high level and I’m still wholeheartedly recommending this module – my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of the seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

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The Iron Secret for 4th Edition D&D
von Megan R. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 05/14/2013 03:10:28
This is an interesting adventure for low-level characters, managing to involve them in political intrigue that's probably well above their pay grade whilst providing opportunities for a modicum of investigation and an appropriate level of combat. It's set within the Kobold Press campaign world, but could be relocated if you have a suitable town that has developed quite a high level of technology within its fantasy setting.

The introduction to events sweeps the characters into the action pretty much without the option, but ample reasons are provided for them to want to follow up rather than retire to the nearest tavern for a well-earned ale! From there investigation leads them further into the affair...

An interesting aspect of this adventure is the focus on the different races and their diverse attitudes, approaches and interests. At times this can get quite polarised, and more thoughtful characters will be challenged to see beyond stereotypes to view individuals as more than merely 'a kobold' or 'a dwarf' but as people with their own unique views and place within the world.

Various options are provided to aid you in bringing the adventure to a conclusion... and there are several options as to how what the characters do here can be built into further activities within your campaign. You may even wish to use this to start off a whole campaign with beginning characters, or slot it in quite early as you tie them into wider activities within the locale. Neat, and well presented with some delightful illustrations.

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KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding
von Jacob W. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 04/27/2013 23:04:22
The Kobold Guide to Game Design is an excellent resource for any game designer or GM. It offers over 100 pages of essays by 11 industry-leading professionals such as Wolfgang Baur, Monte Cook, Chris Pramas, and others.

Topics cover a wide range of worldbuilding advice, from basic overviews like "what is worldbuilding?" to more in-depth analysis about different kinds of worldbuilding, how to build a "world bible," considerations when developing a pantheon of deities, mapmaking, and more.

As someone currently working on a new world, I found this book immensely helpful. It helped me think of my world in new ways and consider things I hadn't before. I came away with several pages of additional notes that I can now put to good use; I've considered the setting's geography, technology/magic level (and how the two interact), the nature of the gods, how guilds and secret societies interact, etc.

I can see this book as being a valuable reference -- something to come back to time and again as you continue to flesh out a setting. You may read it cover-to-cover like I did, but as you start to focus on one area of your new world you may find yourself coming back to individual essays for inspiration.

The book is simply laid out and logically designed. In general, each of the essays flows logically; "What is worldbuilding?" comes first to explain what the book means by the phrase, and the end of the book contains information about building on a world that is already part of a licensed property (this essay contains some really unique industry information about dealing with licensers). Three essays about religion are all grouped together, and everything else just seems to fit into place.

As a primarily text-based book, the layout is simple. There is little art, but the book doesn't really need any. The essays are really what count, and they all hit home in their own way.

Definitely check out this book if you're a game designer or GM who likes to build homebrew settings (or even build on existing settings). It's a top-notch book from start to finish.

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KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding
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Midgard: Player's Guide to the Seven Cities
von Thilo G. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 04/23/2013 07:31:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth in the series of Player's Guides for the Midgard Campaign Setting is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD (though the page also contains one final magical weapon), 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As is the tradition by now with these Midgard Player Guides, we kick off this one by getting not only a beautiful full-color map of the area in question, but also by essentially short gazetteer-style write-ups of the respective regions - and here I'd love to interject something these guides thankfully do right: The short pieces of information beyond the basic write-ups of the regions, whether they be on characters or places, detail commonly known perceptions of the respective people/places, not the rumors one could glean from listening to the right people or spoiling any surprises on the side of the DM, which is EXACTLY what player's guides should do - so kudos for that. While this is called the "Player's Guide to the 7 Cities", actually more is covered than the territory of the Septime - the minotaur island-nation of Kyprion and the duchies of Illyria and Verrayne are part of the write-ups as well. Beyond these immaculately-written write-ups, we also, of course, get new crunch to customize characters and represent them better with regards to the region.

A total of 47 new traits await your character and are rather detailed in their geographic peculiarity - while there are traits that can be taken by everyone from the 7 Cities-region, there also are numerous traits that are exclusive to one of the cities or surrounding realms, adding further distinction and depth to the respective regions - thankfully without drifting into the overpowered or irrelevant-sections to which traits are prone to glide. Nice, though you probably won't find any mind-boggling concepts in this section - the traits offer customization and fluff, no less, no more.

Among the new feats herein, we get a slew of so-called heritage-feats, which represent a particular upbringing. As such, they may only be taken at first level and design-wise are interesting, since they may grant you access to supernatural and spell-like abilities. Whether it's a bonuses' dependency on moon phases, a link to master who may scry on you, limited underwater breathing, the aftereffects of being addicted to requiem (detecting undead 1/day) and the resulting potentially prophetic nightmares, increased darkvision or seeing the invisible - the feats do interesting things and offer options that tie in well with their design-goal, setting characters distinctly apart and offering even further means of customization upon character creation. Beyond these 10 heritage feats, we also get 6 new generally available feats, though these can't hold a torch to the former: Two feats provide relatively bland +2 bonuses, one increases caster level for a school you have a spell focus for and one feat halves your siege equipment reload and makes you more proficient with it. Two of the feats unfortunately, are imho rather overpowered: Shake it off lets you get rid of the dazed, nauseated, sickened and staggered conditions if you manage to save versus 20 (why not the DC of the attack that originally prompted it?) -not once but each turn! The second feat, Swordborn, not only grants you proficiency in a sword of your choosing, it also increases said sword's threat range by +1. Whether that stacks with improved critical or not is not specified by the feat, but the lack of any prerequisites it has means that it is vastly superior to any regular sword-based exotic weapon proficiency, which is imho broken - this needs either an exotic weapon caveat or some other kind of modification.

The next chapter provides us with new character options for septime character, starting with two archetypes for the druid base-class, the Bloodred Druid and the Nethusian Mer-Druid - both rather uncommon and interesting ideologies: The Bloodred Druids serve the Blood Hag, seeking to prevent another arcane escalation à la the Wasted West - at any costs and the Nethusian druids mixing aquatic powers with the ideological obligation to free the chained god - though that one solely based on fluff. The two archetypes are rock solid, as the Clockwork Warrior that is exclusively available to Gearforged characters. Speaking of exclusive archetypes - minotaurs may now elect to become horned lords, master of charging, bull rushing etc. and using gore attacks to destroy the pinker races. It should come as no surprise that the Septime Duelist, this book's take on a duelist-style archetype and then there is also the Triolian Corsair - yet another corsair-style fighter archetype, which, while solid, fails to seize the opportunity of providing naval combat bonuses - I don't get why all those pirate classes fails to make use/add new options to naval combat. The final archetype is the Battle Wizard, who may gain access to the new Battle School, which includes the power to make spell grenades - i.e. stones charged into grenade-like weapons by magic, as well as electrical storms that hurt especially those wielding metal armor or foolish enough to attack the Battle Wizard with a metal weapon. Creating gearforged siege engines that require no crew as well as mastery of siege weapons are two new arcane discoveries included in here.
Sorcerors are not forgotten either, coming with the Hagblooded, Merian and Minotaur bloodlines, all of which I'd consider both flavorful and valid additions to one's game. Cavaliers may chose from two new orders, the first one being Illyria's Order of the Flying Lancers, light cavalry-type, inspiring cavaliers that may, at the DM's approval, gain flying mounts. The Order of the Septime Lancers, founded by a former Mharoti general, is a particularly agile combatant who may use swap places and light steps as well as dismounting check-less as free actions, making them rather maneuverable in the heat of combat.

In the magic section, we get 12 new spells that include the option to conjure up a selection of unseen servant/torchbearers, spread contagion via tiny animal agents, blast foes to smithereens with a ballista made of force, enchant a weapon with the bane quality, level structures that could withstand earthquakes, detect draconic creatures, bolster yourself versus frightful presence, protect your mind versus mind reading (GOLD!), raise an undead army or invoke the swiftness of the Illyrian Ram. Water-based scrying and invisible passages through plaster and wood walls are also part of the new tricks.

The pdf closes with 11 new, universally rather cool magical items, including dimensional nets, linked tablets to secretly exchange information (à la the typewriter in Fringe) or the Aurochs bracers and Great Axes of said elite minotaurs.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches in the guide. Layout adheres to a 2-column full color standard with gorgeous artworks in full color complementing an all out beautiful presentation that is further enhanced by the stellar piece of cartography. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Nice - author Adam W. Roy has definitely learned from the second Player's Guide's initial issues and overall, this offering in the line feels much more balanced and cleaner in design. the content is balanced, the writing superb, no SPOILERS to be found and spells and items that beg to have adventures crafted around them. So all well? Not exactly. Whereas the Heritage feats are awesome, the 6 regular ones universally fell flat. As did, at least for me, the corsair and duelist archetypes - these concepts have been done to death in a myriad of iterations and neither of the two are particularly inspiring to me - dex-based combatants are probably better served by using Dreadfox Games' Swordmaster. That being said, the rest of the archetypes is great and overall, my gripes remain minor issues in an otherwise well-crafted Player's Guide that deserves my final rating of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Bonus Bestiary for 4th Edition D&D
von Megan R. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 04/14/2013 11:17:10
You can never have too many monsters! But it's a real treat when you get thoughtful well-designed ones that can really establish themselves as living (usually) creatures within your world rather than mere cannon-fodder to wheel out when it's time for a brawl.

Each of the twelve comes with a wealth of background detail about how they fit in to wherever it is you'll find them, as well as an illustration and full stat-block. All the entries lack is a pronunciation guide, a few are tongue-twisters.

Perhaps you would like a dragonleaf tree in your garden. I can see some puzzled mail carriers when they see a 'Beware of the tree' sign... just before an oculo swarm happens by. Maybe you'd like a salt golem for a butler, or a pet star drake. And there are several others, some capable of interaction, others mindless marauders with whom you'll have to do combat as soon as they come into view.

Just reading through the descriptions sets ideas into motion, how they might be woven into existing plots and locations or even spawning ideas for side-adventures or whole plotlines of their own. This is what monster books ought to be like!

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Midgard Legends
von Thilo G. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 04/08/2013 04:09:08
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 50 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page intro/patrons, 1/2 a page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 44 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Humans have a desire for legends - they speak on some primal level to our own failings, to our dreams, hopes and aspirations and incite us to be the best we can. They daunt us with impossible tasks, offer symbolic and iconic obstacles, warn us away from the vortex of sins and destructive behaviors and touch us by speaking to the archetypical topics of our existence. In roleplaying games, however, this all too often translates into "Let's stat legendary creature/character XYZ so PCs can kill him/her/it." Not so in this book.

What we get here are legends and as such, they are not necessarily intended to be fought, nor do they have to be beings. Instead, they represent concepts, truisms, truths that resonate within the world of Midgard, supplemented by crunchy pieces of content where appropriate. Take the first legend, the one of Abderus, first wizard of the infamous House Stross, providing three of the spells that made him be known as the devil's commander as well as the lance of Khors, all packed with ideas to spark investigations into the history of the man and the places he left behind. Melathea Stross, the black sorceress, taught by both Baba Yaga and the Moonlit Court, while lost between worlds, remains an echoing force as well, her incantations (2, one to open gates and one to summon fragments of great old ones) and the Fey Waystones being testament to her arcane prowess.

Other legends are centered as much around personalities as around items of legend, like the legendary Khazzaki Khan Achaz, wearer of the horned crown. Or take the Azure kings - spawned in the coldest of climes, these blue-skinned barbarians have been changed by proximity to a near-deity-level haunt and now their progeny may, via 3 traits and 2 feats, exhibit the vast prowess of these beings, wielding oversized weaponry and fighting with a larger reach - especially awesome if the person in question can come into possession of the evil Menneskelig-død, a huge legendary axe carved from the ice of the haunted Riphean glacier...
If you're more inclined to subtle dealing, be wary of the Blackened Man - offering a life for a soul, pain for pain or mercy for madness, the mysterious figure offers your heart's desire, but forever marks you with the sign of the black sun, condemning the bartering individual, but also providing vengeance perhaps otherwise unrealizable.
When this book was announced, I sincerely hoped that we wouldn't get stats for Baba Yaga - and thankfully, we don't - instead we get the stats for Blood Mother Margase, the CR 26 blood druidess that vies for nothing less than godhood - the insane arcanists that wrought the cataclysm in the West have after all shown that the mortals need her guidance. Speaking of guidance, though of a more benevolent and less extreme manner - Calm-Tongue, a true scholar and gentleman, single-handedly not only spread language and enlightenment and a philosophy of non-violence, he also more or less single-handedly raised the gnoll race from savagery into a status where they may not be liked, but at least often are accepted, raising his kin to a more civilized form. Rules-wise, his teachings reflect an alternative, focused barbarian that replaces rage with a dex and wis-enhancing state of tranquility. Interesting!

In the 7 Cities, there is a bloodline, the bloodline of Jannik and his daughters still can call upon his spirit to help them when near Sperenza, gaining rather significant boosts in power by his vow to forever protect those of his blood. Enkada, whose name shall not be uttered , still guards his name, his shadow being drawn by investigation, covering the curious in poisonous strands and haunting them via his rather deadly shadow - coolest, though in his entry would be the incantation that draws attention if the name of the caster is uttered...

A legendary horse, the questing beast, the lord of doors who guards passages anywhere, the first storm that contains the last remnants of the first cultures of Midgard, the kobold that ruled empires, the fully statted founder of the Mharoti Empire, the lucky man who brings misfortune to all around him, the legendary songraven and his bardic disciples, Saint Vadim to a lich betrayed by her love and so much more, the legends herein cover a broad spectrum of topics. I'll stop spoilering now - if you want to know more about them, you'll have to get this book.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch - I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful full-color two-column standard and the original b/w-artworks, one for every legend, are a joy to behold. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

These are legends and they resonate. They strike the right chords, the right topics, adding depth, primal concepts and wonder to a world already rich in all of these attributes, without being necessarily restricted to Midgard, though application to another setting admittedly would take some work. This book does not fall into the trap of over-crunching the topic at hand - legends don't need hard rules (though the ones provided herein help to mechanically represent their wonder), what they need is an essence and the writing universally captures this. While the rules are solid, it is the writing and the writing only that decides over weal or woe regarding this product and it succeeds with accolades: Providing hooks and ideas galore, enough to last for years, these legends are Kobold Press/open Design at their very best: Iconic, ancient, suffused with wonder and magic and helping so much more in bringing the sense of wonder to one's gaming round than the oomphteenth selection of feats, traits and spells. Don't get wrong, I have nothing against them and e.g. the traits and feats for the Azure Kings, the incantations and spells etc. all are welcome, but ultimately they should supplement the material, not be its essence.
We need more books like this, books with a heart that put the wonder, the amazement, the tragedy and triumphs in the center and provide the readers not only with great rules, but with ideas and concepts that resonate beyond the gaming table. Even if you don't use Midgard, I wager that scavenging the legends should enrich your game vastly, as it is my firm opinion that no one can read this book without drawing some kind of inspiration from it. A stellar offering and one of a kind of which we require more - I hope to one day see a sequel and other campaign setting should take heed here: this is how you add life and virility to your reader's imagination regarding your setting. My final verdict will unsurprisingly clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Midgard Legends
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Midgard Adventures: The Raven's Call
von Customer Name Withheld [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/27/2013 11:11:31
It's not often that I make my players start at level one in a Pathfinder game. I have a couple of reasons:

First level characters never seem to have enough options.
They're so...smooshy. It takes nothing but some unlucky die rolls to take them out.

In other words, it's hard for first level characters to feel truly heroic. But, worse than than, they often feel ineffective!

When I got a copy of Midgard Adventures: The Raven's Call, though, I got pretty excited. Finally! A chance for first level PCs to feel a bit of agency in a dangerous and deadly world!

Most of the time, published adventures are not really my bag. I'm not a big fan of dungeon crawls, and I really hate being constrained by adventure modules that (in my experience) are pretty linear. When I create my own adventures, I try to keep them as open-ended as possible; you never know what kind of monkey wrench the players will throw in your plans, so having a less linear approach generally helps me come up with things on the fly.

That's why I was so surprised by The Raven's Call! It wasn't linear. In fact, it set up a fun sandbox for the players to adventure in and gave them multiple possible motivations to move things in the right direction.

Here's the premise of the module: A group of nasty raiders has taken over a town, displaced the townspeople (or imprisoned them in a barn), and begun consuming all the supplies. The players are motivated in some way (there are options in the book for creativity when it comes to said motivation), and it isn't a hard leap for the adventurers to want to right the wrong.

Saving a village from a bunch of raiders might seem like a daunting task, but Wolfgang Baur's design in the adventure really shines. With a bit of bravery, luck, and some well placed magical items, the PCs can be the heroes they were meant to be. With multiple ways to approach the adventure, there are many opportunities for characters with different skill sets to show off.

The various elements of the module are detailed enough to help the game master if the players get off the beaten path a little bit, but they're not so detailed that the information gets lost in a morass of text. It was also really easy to fill in small details with some of my own information, which helped set the stage for further adventures.

The art and included maps were both very well done. The sketch of a trollkin on the final page of the adventure really stood out to me. I have to admit there were a few times when I'd be scrolling to that page to get some information, and I would find my eyes drawn to the sketch rather than the info I needed. I don't think that's a bad thing, though.

Overall, I've never been disappointed by the art in any Kobold Press release, and this adventure module continues that great tradition.

What's the most rewarding thing about The Raven's Call? The fact that my PCs really felt like they had "won." The adventure was challenging enough that they felt a real sense of accomplishment when they rescued the village. At the end of the day, that kind of euphoria is part of the reason why we play RPGs.

Once again, Wolfgang Baur and Open Design have impressed me with what they bring to roleplaying games. If you are looking for a low-level adventure for your party, this is one I highly recommend!

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Party of 1: Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls Through the Breach (solo adventure)
von JB B. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/18/2013 14:55:53
This was my intro to Pathfinder in preparation for a PF Society game later in the week. I found the intro to combat useful along with the circumstances to make a saving throw helpful.
I feel replayability is limited to only a few times once you have the story down it just becomes a combat throw exercise.
The solo includes two pregenerated characters at level 1 and 3 but the intro text doesn't introduce them or how to incorporate them or use them later. (Maybe I'm just too new to PF to figure that out).
For the price I highly recommend it as a learning tool or when you have an urge to throw some dice.

Do note this PDF is not gray scale printer friendly. The PDF has a background that does not print well with the font. If you must print it choose color output.

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Party of 1: Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls Through the Breach (solo adventure)
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Midgard Adventures: The Raven's Call
von Timothy B. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/17/2013 17:11:22
I recently began running this adventure for my wife, who has never played an RPG before. I wasn't sure how the sandbox format would work -- would she be overwhelmed by the options? Quite the opposite! She's enjoyed the flexibility of being able to do whatever she imagines. Being an MMO player, she is particularly impressed with the non-linear flexibility of a tabletop RPG. She keeps asking if she's allowed to do certain things, and I keep saying YES (or at least she can attempt it). It's been great fun experiencing her flexing her creative muscles, as it were.

This adventure provides all of the important information that I need. There are several plot hooks to get the PCs started. It has names and descriptions of NPC. Even the minor characters are given names and a brief description. The villains have motivations, and react to what the PCs do. There is a table that explains where the various villains are at any given time. The illustrations and map are clear and helpful.

This is most definitely not a dungeon crawl or a hack and slash adventure. If the PCs go in, swords swinging, they will be overpowered. Fast. But if they apply their creativity and use the "tools" that Mr. Baur has provided, they'll prevail against enemies that you typically wouldn't pit starting PCs against.

I also wanted to mention that I've been running this adventure using 13th Age rules, rather than Pathfinder. I had to convert a few monsters, but otherwise, the conversion has been smooth, and I've been really pleased with the results.

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Midgard Adventures: The Raven's Call
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Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
von Nigel S. [Verifizierter Käufer] Hinzugefügt am: 03/17/2013 03:25:20
Initially I was attracted to this product as I had the campaign setting Midgard and wanted more. I wanted monsters for a campaign I was setting up for a number of friends. I was not disappointed with Midgard Bestiary. There are 89 monsters,75% of which are instantly usable in my campaign. The monsters are well thought out and are easy to use in a campaign. The Bonepowder Ghoul is one such. It is a ghoul distilled to nothing but dry,whispering sand and teeth. See that pile of dust in the corner as the players walk by,materialise into a ghoul. Great fun. Another monster created with a good twist is the sandman,not to confused with the monster of the same name in the Pathfinder Bestiary. These sandman visit Midgard each night to sprinkle glittering dream sand over mortals. Again the possibilities are endless. Some monsters,in my opinion do not work,the shark goblin does not sit well with me as a monster but the concept of gilled goblins is a great idea. In summary a book with great ideas and well worth the cover price as it contains monsters you will actually use in a campaign.

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Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
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Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
von Timothy B. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 03/07/2013 13:24:03
We always need more monsters. Over a 100 new monsters for Pathfinder. Lots of really interesting ones too. I loved the Shadow Fae, Ice Maiden and Red Hag and have hooks already for all of them. The new dragon types are also very interesting and I can't wait to use a Mithril Dragon or Baby Yaga's Horsemen. In fact there are two completely separate campaigns I want to use this book in, a Dragon based one and a Witch-centric one. Both need unique monsters that the players have never seen before, and there are a number of monsters here that are perfect for one or the other or both!

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