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Threats: Echoes of the Typhonians (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2014 08:36:20
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement for Lords of Gossamer and Shadows is the first providing a spotlight for a particular kind of threat (D'unh) faced by the Gossamer Lords and Ladies (and other - we don't discriminate on the great stair...) clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page editorial, 1 page front cover, 21 pages of content - so let's take a look!



So, as has become tradition with Rite Publishing's supplements, this one as well in written in aptly-crafted in-character prose, introducing us to the so-called Usari. What are these people? Well, you're probably familiar with the saying that everyone has a Doppelgänger out there? Well, we have one world. With infinite worlds at one's beck and call, the existence of strikingly similar versions of one's self would be a given then. The book goes further in concept, though - Usari that actually meet are locked into a strange trance and then, rather inexorably, reality bends and both merge, with equipment and all and a stronger Usari emerges, the weaker one's personality subsumed, but part of the new, merged being. The Usari become progressively stronger via these mergers and both items and memories create new beings - thsi merger is btw. properly codified in LoGaS-rules as a 10-point power.



Now one of my favorite things about LoGaS would be the infinite potential for creativity and this pdf thankfully does not delve into the trap of providing one canonical truth about the Usari and their true nature/origin - instead, we get a vast amount of different theories that range from the Usari being God, to them being avatars of the universe, seeking to destroy the rifts in space and time, to them being servants of the stairs or the fragments of a particularly legendary Typhonian, seeking to recreate itself. The interesting thing here is, though, that Usari are free-willed and may not want their whole being to potentially be "diluted" or worse, utterly suffused under another will - the roleplaying potential with the vast array of origin myths is significant indeed.



We also get sample stats for Usari - depending on their power-levels, these beings are classified in five types, from weakest (1) to strongest (5) and while the first 2 provide generic sample stats, the former 3 provide full-blown original NPCs, all with simply stunning, drop-dead-gorgeous, highest tier original artworks, powers, background story and advice on using the respective Usari as ally or enemy, of course also providing artifacts and creatures, info on domains and their goals if applicable - all 3 are glorious characters, btw.!.



Now as you may realize, introducing these guys and gals as a mystery to be solved would be most effective and hence, extensive advice on planning the reveal and even going full-blown Usari War (especially nice, if you want to go captain exposition via an NPC and go full blown...). Better yet, the advice for playing Usari that DOES address the potential for power creep and the inherent risk of fusing - lose the merger, lose your character... and yes, this has potential galore!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's two-column full-color standard and the artworks (mostly original) rank among the best you'll see in any publication - GLORIOUS.



LoGaS stands and falls with the power to incite the imagination, to foster creativity and not stifle it and this book does a superb job - exploring just enough of the concepts to make this supplement a just fun to read, even if you don't play LoGaS - the concept translates well into just about all systems and settings. Author Cam Banks does a superb job and makes this a glorious addition to any LoGaS-game and beyond - well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Threats: Echoes of the Typhonians (Diceless)
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In The Company of Fey: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/20/2014 22:21:07
In the Company of Fey by Rite Publishing provides more options for the Fae, allowing them to be played as characters or created as more fulled formed NPCs. Following a lengthy discussion of the way the fae view and interact with the mortal world, the First Folk, a playable fae race, are detailed complete with alternate racial traits, two class archetypes and a twenty level racial paragon class. The paragon class gains various fae powers center on their choice of an aspect, the paragon has a variety of abilities that interact with the core abilities of other classes making it useful for multiclassing options, though it is very much a class based on its own special ability chains. Because of its ability to build very specialized character from the paragon class, it is well suited to building characters to challenge player characters in narrowly focused ways. Eight new feats for the First Folk round out the resources presented. This is another useful resource for the fae and while the racial paragon class is not for everyone it is full of useful ideas and inspiration for the fae in a campaign.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Fey:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Tetsujin Shogunate (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2014 02:05:38
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Rite Publishing's extremely affordable tour through the infinite worlds of the Grand Stair is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The world of the Tetsujin Shogunate has been hit by a catastrophe - caught in-between the insterstellar warfare of the alien races oni and kappa, much of the world has become uninhabitable when the aliens crash-landed there. That being said, there also were positive aspects to all of that (or at least: supremely cool ones!): The kinda-slightly-benevolent Kappa came down in Japan and were coerced/swayed to help stem the tide of the monstrous oni that kept mutating and destroying the remnants of human civilization where the remnants of their ship didn't finish the job.



The result of that uneasy cooperation was the advent of Tetsujin - gigantic war-machines, piloted by humans and used to stem the tide of monstrous oni. On earth, which is now mostly a domain of nightmarish creatures, the last bastions of humanity thus wage war against the threat of the demonic oni and oni-blood tainted creatures, all while the kappa represent a dying breed on our planet and ninja seek to steal alien technology for their own inscrutable ends.



A sample Tetsujin is btw. provided (and yes, generally, it MIGHT be possible to bring these to other realms...though how is for you and your player's creativity to decide..), as is a neat array of massive adventure options.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's two-column full-color standard with superb original artworks as we've come to expect from the series. The pdf comes with rudimentary bookmarks, in spite of its brevity - nice. Author Matt Banach weaves an interesting world here, somewhere between Cthulhutech, classic mecha-action and Japanese mythology for a thoroughly compelling world with enough potential to offer fodder for a whole campaign of LoGaS, should you so desire.



All in all, an awesome addition to the overall series and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Tetsujin Shogunate (Diceless)
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#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2014 20:36:03
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=44353.

This 23 page product contains 21 pages that provide succinct and really fleshed out descriptions of 30 different mercenary companies that both players and game masters can use in their Pathfinder campaign as well as other fantasy settings with few or no adjustments. Entries are formatted just like the entries one would expect to find in a Bestiary or Monster Manual and include the alignment of the company, the name or a brief description of the company’s’ headquarters, the name of the company’s leader, resources, structure and leadership (Order of battle), uniform and banner, an overview described using Difficulty Class (DC) to determine how much information a player can get on the company, a description of the company normally narrated by one of its members (usually one of the common soldiers rather than the commander) and a statblock that allows you to use the company not only in an encounter, but in the Pathfinder mass combat rules.

The folks over at Rite Publishing have been listening and this is one of the tightest, most cohesive products that I have seen from them. I’ve always loved their products, but in every one it seemed like there was some little thing that kept a really well done product from being the best that it should be. Those problems could be a tiny editing problem or even stock art that varied between amazing and dreadful, or even the mixing of very desperate types of art to ruin the flow of a product. #30 Mercenary Companies had none of those problems. If you look at the list of problems you will notice that I didn’t mention content as one of the problems, because Rite has always done a great job of bring its customers interesting and affordable content.

Liz Smith, the author, was on point with her vision for this product and the gang really supported her. All of the art in this product was public domain and it all worked really well for the entries near which it was placed. All of the art was in a similar style, and it was all in color, no color on one page, and then black and white on the next page followed by three more pages of color. The cover evokes thoughts of swords for hire and the interior art syncs well with the entries. The page borders are the normal Rite Publishing “lions head” style which blended well with the theme of this product.

As a GM this is such an elegant product; in a very small space and with minimum amount of time I can reference this book and generate 15 different ideas for encounters or even adventures and campaigns based on the companies presented. Smith was smart to include some companies that tend to operate in environments other than the typical European type forest with interspaced mountain ranges. I was a big fan of a few of the nautical companies especially. Who doesn’t love a group of aquatic elves that likes to cut holes in the hulls of ships and attack them from below? That right there is fodder for a series of amazing at sea encounters or even an undersea/above sea campaign.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
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Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/12/2014 16:28:09
Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes by Rite Publishing provides three new archetypes, seven new feats and a new monster for the Pathfinder RPG. The three archetypes are: Faerie Knight, a Cavalier variant, that serves one of the fae courts gaining a fae mount -with whom the knight can perform various magical abilities- and access to allies from the realm. Laughing Man, built off of the monk, who uses words to manipulate his foes as much as weapons, the class uses skill rolls quite heavily but looks like it could be fun for the right player. And the Masquerade Reveler, a Barbarian variants, who uses masks built off of Eidion powers (from the Summoner class) as their "rage" effect. a vary interesting archetype that looks quite intriguing. The new feats are mostly linked to the new archetypes but three of them could be used by others. Lastly there is the new fae being, the Gancanagh, a trickster and seducer adapted from Irish and Scottish lore which could be used for a variety of tricky scenarios. Overall, a good selection of options on a relatively narrow theme, so if you are looking to expand the role of the fae in your campaign you should find some inspiration here.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
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Rite Map Pack: Ocean Cave
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/11/2014 03:11:42
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This map pack is 35 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page map, 16 pages of full color blown-up versions of the map and the same amount of pages for the b/w-versions, so what's on the map?



The map depicts a grotto on the ocean, on the left side a coastal path leading alongside the ever-darkening waters. Inside of the cave, a raised level which features a dais and an entrance to what could be the cellar of a tower loom as a kind of hidden harbor, while at the shore within the grotto, a damaged boat looms.



Conclusion:

The map is a beautiful as we've come to expect from Tommi Salama's excellent cartography, with beautiful water, stellar work and helpful, unobtrusive grids. The pdf comes with full bookmarks t the respective map versions. As a cool additional bonus, we get high-res jpgs of the map with and without grids for those who want to use this online/via electronic devices. That being said, the map, due to aforementioned cellar/tower-like elements per se is slightly less versatile than I would have hoped - the entrance to the round structure, the dais - these conspire to make this map just a tad bit than it could have been - that being said, this is still a neat, beautiful map, testament to the immense talent of Tommi Salama and well worth 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: Ocean Cave
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Threats: Dawn of the Dwimmerlaik (Diceless)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2014 00:39:30
Dawn of the Dwimmerlaik should have its art complimented from the outset. The Dwimmerlaik (DWL) seem almost native American in design, and those elongated faces are more than a little creepy. What they do and their powers do not reduce their creepiness.

This is a heavy-information text and there is a lot inside it. It is set up as unconfirmed documents on the mysterious Dwimmerlaik. They are apparently magic users and mentalists and quiet alien. As such there are astral channelling rules included. They seem a bit like inquisitive mages, probing Lovecraftian mysteries in the attempt to get ahead. I don’t want to reveal too much, but it is quite rich and the DWL could be mysterious allies, manipulators or enemies. Coming to grips with them will be difficult for the players, as their astral powers could easily keep foes at length while they move their pieces around any campaign board.

There are magic items, like the portal tearing knife and clan houses are detailed so that a GM can quickly throw in DWL groups to attack, help or hinder Gossamer players.

To conclude, this is quiet well done. The art is excellent and the writing holds plenty of mysteries a GM could use for their game. I find them weird and odd, and they set me a little on edge. So the author did a very fine job.

I would get it if you want strange seers from beyond. 5/5 is secured because of good writing and very nice (disturbing) art.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Threats: Dawn of the Dwimmerlaik (Diceless)
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Pieces of Fate: Wyvern Coops & Easter Dragons (FATE)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2014 23:37:10
Pieces of Fate: Wyvern Coops and Easter Dragons is a fun, short supplement.

It has some ideas and rules on dragons, wyverns and their weaponization and proliferation in your games.

The idea of making wyverns as numerous as chickens and that they both taste like chicken, is pretty crazy (crazy good!) when you think about it. Then imagine that in a modern, wild west or post-apoc setting, there are giant wyvern eggs that can feed thirty, they can be used to make concrete and used for construction, but it is a whole lot of tech and danger to get them. You could use machines to fetch them, but the wyverns often eat them. *gulp* I smell adventure, and fried egg...

What sticks out most to me, is the funny, succinct storytelling in this supplement. I know a friend that likes wild west, Serenity and prairie settings and I am letting him know about this. Wyverns for all.

This also has the rules for a wyvern poop barrage.
5/5. I regret nothing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pieces of Fate: Wyvern Coops & Easter Dragons (FATE)
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Lucien's Guide: The Black Files (Diceless)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2014 23:08:01
Lucien’s Guide begins with a picture of a very creepy looking undead, chained underground with its mouth sewn shut and tearing at a beautiful glowing insect. This certainly has a lot of mystery, and this theme continues throughout as this book is about “some of the deepest secrets of the Universe” in the Lords of Gossamer & Shadow setting.

The preface is a great little primer by the character-author Lucien and it is very entertaining. The text is a series of reports by Lucien for the GM. It is conversational, easy to read, and pretty fun to go through.

There are a lot of jokes in-text and some very useful summaries in the conversation Lucien is having with the reader. Rob Donoghue can clearly write and it is believable, because while discussing ancient horrors the character of Lucien is frank with a sense of humour. How else would you discuss it? It is like this knowledgeable character is trying to get this information out as clearly as possible while also taking the reader along on a journey and not wanting them to freak out or go insane.

There are rules attached for using the entities covered, and my favourite is Basta: “Basta is... I suppose in the most technical sense, a plant”. I like the idea of a creeping partially-sentient jungle that experiments with different forms, what can I say. Definitely using that for one of my games. Especially its world-hopping aspect.

Lucien’s Guide, is simply really good. Definitely get it if you are into the setting or you want some new sci fi ideas (and you could re-work them for fantasy or Lovecraftian settings easily, yes, very easily).

5/5

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lucien's Guide: The Black Files (Diceless)
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Rite Map Pack: City by the Sea
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/02/2014 04:16:26
AN Endzeitgeist.com review

This map pack depicts a City by the Sea on 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving 14 pages for the maps, so let's take a look!





The first map depicts a massive, walled city by the sea, with streets connecting organically gates with the area around the harbor and one section of the city on a hill. It should be noted that unlike Port Shaw, Freeport etc., there is no huge harbor here, but rather the harbor can be considered just one part of the city, not one of its defining, center features.



The second page also has the city, this time depicted horizontal - with a truly jarring white box of text on the parchment-like header and a similarly jarring list of important buildings. Layout-wise, these white, angular boxes on a background of parchment are a total disaster that thankfully only mars this one rendition of the map - until you click on it, when the white box disappears. Printing it out, the boxes disappeared, but for those of you aiming to use this incarnation of the map online or via tablets should be aware of that.

EDIT: I've been made aware by two sources that I seem to be the only one stuck with this weird glitch - probably due to some personalizer issue or something like that. So ignore that portion.



6 pages each, both in b/w and full color, depict the city in a larger version.



Conclusion:

Tommi Salama is a glorious cartographer, and he obviously is just as at home with city maps as with battle maps - and this one comes beautiful indeed - craftmanship-wise, there's nothing to complain. A minor downside would be the lack of bookmarks to e.g. the b/w-version -while a marginal gripe, it still would have been nice to see. The pdf is also accompanied by an array of 4 cool high-res jpegs with and without labels. Internal logic-wise, I also have a minor gripe - for a city constructed so all roads lead towards the harbor, said harbor is VERY small when compared to the size of the city. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: City by the Sea
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Rite Map Pack: City by the Sea
by Joe K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2014 21:56:35
I'm one of those guys who loves maps. Some of my favorite products from the 'golden' era of TSR were the various fold out maps that could cover half a table.

While this map is not that large, it's not meant to be. This is a generic city by the sea that is walled and could easily be slotted into any fantasy or historical campaign with little effort.

There is a black and white version along with the color version. The color version has some nice subtle colors. The greens aren't blaring off the page for example but are more soothing and cool.

You get an overview of the city, as well as larger portioned maps for ease of use and reference. There are even a few 'keyed' entries on the map, 14 in all, so if you're looking for some quick inspiration outside of the visuals, this should quickly help you out.

I find products like this work great when you're using a home brewed campaign, or a mix of home brew and thinly detailed campaign like those put out by third party publishers that don't receive a ton of support. For example, despite how awesome the Scarred Lands was, the number of 'good' or friendly cities you could start in that were mapped, outside of Mithril and Hollowfaust were thin.

If you're looking for a city map, this one is a quick hit.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rite Map Pack: River Rapids
by Joe K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2014 20:59:24
When it comes to map packs, in the digital age, the consumers are fortunate enough to have a lot of variety. I've used some Fiery Dragon and some Skeleton Key Games before. The only bad thing about such maps, and it's true of this one as well, is they can be ink intensive.

The good news here is that the map comes in two formats, one full color and one in black and white.

For me, I instantly thought of a certain old warhammer adventure that is on a river. Rivers are a popular place for 'dramatic' turning points. They're often a huge part of historical battles acting as a barrier or waiting until it's low enough to cross or knowing of a crossing.

The art on these is top notch and if this specific map is one you're looking for, it's well worth getting. The fact that it's scaled for 1" per grid makes it easy to use with Pathfinder or other games that use "each square equal 5'.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: River Rapids
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Magus of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2014 01:09:14
The magus is a potent class in Pathfinder, and this product is all about giving more options, powers and backgrounds for a magus player. The catch is that it is all Eastern themed, so it works for Jade Regent games, and any of the Eastern settings being played, but may not fit for every gaming group. Whether you are for eastern fantasy or against it, this book knows what it is about and sticks to it.
We begin with a flail wielding eastern warrior, that looks they are trudging through the Vale in Game of Thrones. Then you realise that this may indeed be a labour of love. You see the creators have renamed themselves with titles such as Jade Mandarin and Lowly Farm Peasant. Very entertaining, I like a bit of humour in gaming products.
As it moves to explain how the magus fits into an eastern setting, it all makes sense. The magus allows the designers to mix martial arts, myths and magic into playable character! This is an incredibly good idea, and answers the question of “why can’t fighters have nice things with”, that has been raised in the Pathfinder hobby with “well they can be magic using martial artist magi.”
I continue, eager to find out more. It presents a number of magi organisations, secret societies, schools, celestial guards and alliances which each have a focus and character. The Golden Bat and Thunderous Cricket alliance sounds excellent and very fitting.
Then we arrive at more options and new archetypes. For the manipulators of mechanics, this will be what they are looking for. I quite liked quick draught and Akashic (blind) sight. A very useful ability, that even accords with mythic techniques from Asian martial arts. For those that like defensive builds, the web of defence 7th level ability of the threadcaster is very nice. There are also a couple of spells including a very nice low level spell allowing the magus to take damage in the place of another pc that was about to be killed. Potentially, very useful for an adventuring party.
I give this 4/5. It mainly loses a point because while I liked it and it had a lot of depth and the producers were clearly interested in the subject material, some of the font choices make it a bit hard to read, and that troubles me.
Otherwise, great if you like the magus and want more on them, brilliant if you are running anything in an Eastern setting, perfect for creating new enemies or npcs that are different to what the players know and a rather nice and cheap book that is over 30 pages.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Magus of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
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#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/20/2014 02:06:34
From the front page and the first entertaining quote on a mercenary mocking adventurers, I knew this would be a good book.

I confess bias! I really like mercenaries. I put them in my games, I’ve got an interest in the Condottieri and the history of mercenaries and warrior tribes that fought for profit since ancient times. So I was really looking forward to going through the pages, but I also had high expectations. I want mercs done right, I want interesting leaders, and I don’t want clones of Daario Naharis everywhere—they have to have character the companies must have invigorating stories with a discussion of their speciality, background and appearance. This book didn’t disappoint, it covered exactly what I wanted.

As we proceed through we move through many different types of mercenary bands, and they have different motivations and leaders. It also gives their HQ and strength, characteristics and abilities, making them easily able to come in as allies or enemies to a campaign. One even has a song in the description, which makes a lot of sense for a mercenary company. It is great to see so much detail describing their uniforms and banners.

Of note, the pictures are actually very colourful. This gives a sense of life and certainly not dreariness or “Grim-dark” in this product. There are a few spelling and formatting errors in the piece, so I feel it should have been edited just a little more closely.

My favourite company is the Fins of Blood, and I would definitely put them in a maritime game. Second would definitely be the Wolflings, and a company of Lycanthropes is an excellent idea. The Dwarf cavalry are also very interesting. The Motlies would fit into dangerous border regions and a lot of quests concerning hunting fugitives could be tied to them.

5/5
It gave me more than I wanted and my high expectations were reached. Get into it if you like mercenaries and want some ideas for roving groups of highly varied combatants for your games. The price is also crazy good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
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Rite Map Pack: River Rapids
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/14/2014 04:25:46
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This map-pack is 35 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 16 pages of full-color map and 16 of the same as b/w.



So this would be a new gorgeous full color map with a gorgeous grid - so what is on this map? We get a river, full of dynamic-looking foam and different depths, with several large rocks jutting out of it and a short section of sands on both sides - at least up to the beaver dam that can be found in the upper third of the river - the river making its way through two massive breaches in the dam.



The maps come with a grid.



Conclusion:

Water is hard to get right on maps and Tommi Salama creates water that is gorgeous - whether the dam, the jutting rocks - this map is beautiful indeed and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, which is a definite plus. This map-pack is gorgeous - Tommi Salama can be considered the heir apparent of map legend Jonathan Roberts if this pdf is any indicator. Now, personally, I think a version sans grids (or with hex-grids) would have been nice to have, but all in all, that's not enough to rate this down a whole star - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: River Rapids
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