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In The Company of Fey: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/16/2014 08:44:34
The following review was originally posted at Rolepalyers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=40932.

In The Company of Fey is a wonderful sourcebook for those gaming groups that want to really run a fey-inspired campaign rather than just inserting fey type things into their games. This book starts out as a narrative overview of the fey lifestyle by an enigmatic figure named Red Shuck. This narration covers things like Physical Descriptions, Fey Society, Relations, Alignment, Religion, and Naming Conventions. The standard information one would expect. Following this is a racial description of the First Folk. After the description of the First Folk, the creators move into describing 2 Class Archetypes, The Solstice Pariah (Taskshaper) and the Wild Hunter. Next comes an extensive and compelling description of the Fey Racial Paragon Class, taking a character from level 1 to 20. This book closes with six fey feats.

This is by far the most stunning book I have reviewed from Rite Publishing! In the past I have been critical of their use of stock art and flirtations with color art. My only complaint with this product is I wish there had been more art. The cover of this book while Drow worthy, was hauntingly beautiful, just like the Fey themselves. The page borders (which Rite has always chosen well) – a woodland scene that is museum quality. What makes this product even better is that it’s much more than just a pretty face.

I have seen the fey get different levels of treatment from fantasy RPGs for years; as you can imagine some of those treatments have been overwrought, while others have seemed like an afterthought. This book hits that sweet spot; it is dead center and spot on. The introduction and its narrative form are compelling. I felt like I was being treated to the introduction to a really good novel that happened to contain some really solid, rules crunch. I was slightly distressed that the abbreviation Dr. was used in the introduction as I think that is a more modern term for someone who is learned, but that was minor, really minor. This product had its hook into me quickly, after just a few pages of the background information I was already formulating ideas for a fey campaign.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Fey:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to do a review, Special Note: The term Doctor is older than you think and was in use in the 11th and 12th century (thanks to places like the University of Oxford and the University of Paris among others). Steve Russell Rite Publishing
Lucien's Guide to the Grand Stair (Diceless)
by Bruce B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2014 00:12:34
This is a couple dozen pages' worth of commentary on the Grand Stair, the liminal space that links worlds in the setting. The bulk of it is the correspondence and lecture notes of a particularly talented traveler and observer. Rob Donoghue does a good job capturing the voice of a smart, capable jerk here - Lucien is what a lot of net flamers fancy themselves, but with the accomplishments to justify a good measure of self-confidence. There are also some very nifty new sorcery spells, suggestions for new uses of existing cantrips and such, and a very sensible framework for allowing characters to develop individual aspects of the Grand Stair powers.

All of this does the most important thing a setting book like this can do: it opens up possibilities rather than closing them off. Every statement about "this is how the Grand Stair works" comes with an acknowledgement of the variety innate in a basically infinite setting, and every speculation about why the Grand Stair works like this comes with some frank acknowledgement of the limits to anyone's knowledge. If you want to establish the essence of the Grand Stair as an unsolveable mystery, this book has your back. But it also supports you if you want to use one of the theories presented here or invent some of your own. It's useful.

Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lucien's Guide to the Grand Stair (Diceless)
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Lucien's Guide to the Grand Stair (Diceless)
by Kristin H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2014 22:41:01
The Good: A wonderful minor splat book giving us incite into characters like Lucien (a Master of the Grand Stair in his younger days), and some of the people he had contact with. Also extra 'sub powers, such as parceling out some of the Abilities of the Warden & Master of Grand Stair, to be given in part to characters. Magical Maps & Guidebooks ( Moonletters Maps from Tolkien?), and a few other nifty bits.

The Bad: The 'Letter' Format of the writing is in DOUBLE columns. Its more an annoyance than a deal breaker forcing the reader to do reading on a single column and then going to the top of the page, in a letter fashion that is... awkward and unnatural if it were an 'actual letter'. Its annoyance, but not anything to loose a star over.

Overall: A good first 'Splat', having things fan had spoken of, and some had House ruled into their games on the Rite Publishing Forums, apparently made it into the book- which is kinda cool. Its realtively short at around 26 or so pages, but a good one.
The Letters give us a snap shot into the enigma character of a man who in the Core is... hazy at best. This gives us a sense of who he may have been and how he's become who he is.

Hopefully there will be more.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Kristin, Thanks for taking the time to do a review. Steve Russell Rite Publishing.
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2014 20:23:02
Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is the new diceless RPG from Rite Publishing. I was a backer of this game via Kickstarter and it has now come to fruition after being released on the 1st of December 2013.

Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is essentially Amber with a new setting. It has been called the "spiritual" successor to Amber which is something I can't really comment on. As much as I have wanted to play Amber I never actually got around to it. I can say that the new Rite Publishing game is right on the money though. I have often wondered how a dice-less system worked and I have to say that it works well!

The characters are made in a group setting and an attribute auction is held with every player having a set number of points to spend on these attributes. In game play the actuality is all actions are referred back to the attributes and in essence the highest wins (of course tactics and circumstance have a role to play). In essence, the system is elegant and streamlined. It is quick and painless and allows for a focus on story.

This game is a story tellers wet dream. For both the GM and the player it offers an open set of realms to play around with. This game is GURPS except you play with one character across as many settings as you want to! It is a version of Rifts or the TV series Sliders with much, much more powerful lead characters! The setting of Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is that of the Grand Stair which in essence is a realm that exists between realms! It is a stairwell that alters its appearance and structure throughout its entire length (not that anyone has found a top or a bottom to it) and the Lords and Ladies of Gossamer and Shadow travel its paths to enter realities that are connected by doorways.

A Lord/Lady of Gossamer is what the players are. They are beings capable of finding, and opening, the doors to different realities on the Grand Stair. They may only be new to the stair or have had the ability to traverse it for some time. They are an elite few among all of the realities and they see the forms of power that create the realities in the form of the Eidolon (structure and form in magic) or the Umbra (Chaos, destruction and wildness in magic). Players can draw from either aspect but generally a Lady of Gossamer is a follower of the Eidolon or Umbra whilst a Lady of Shadow would be something more sinister altogether.

The lords and ladies of shadow are a race of creatures known as the Dwimmerlaik who use a power separate to that of the Eidolon and Umbra. They war with the Lords as they see the Grand Stair as theirs and theirs alone. They had recently been thought but a myth by the travellers of the Grand Stair but have made attacks that cannot be explained away recently.

So, you have a meta-plot (the Lords of Gossamer vs. the Dwimmerlaik or Lords of Shadow) and you have a Grand Stair that has doors to an infinite number of realities. Realities with any setting and any genre to play with. Same characters for the players and an infinite number of realities. I can see why I love this game so much. I wander the internet and see so much good stuff going on and right here is a system I could use to represent it all, in one game! The book is beautifully written and is a great system for those of us who are story tellers at heart. It talks more about the way to weave a good story and tackles some big topics in its pages.

It is a game that focusses on players and their wants and needs. It seeks to generate conflict and drama for the players and may often even pit them against one another with crossing one players goals with another. The attribute auction from the very get go points to the possibility of this as the players compete against one another to develop their character. So although they may align and travel the Grand Stair together it is quite possible that they will end up at odds with one another in the long run.

The illustrated PDF that I have is lush and filled with full coloured gorgeous artwork with lead artist Jason Rainville . Most of these images focus on one individual giving a feel for them and the world they may come from. You feel like you know these characters immediately and the images help you overcome the initial shock of "so many genre choices" as they are laid out across many genre fields. You may laugh but when I read the rules as a straight pdf I was a little numb to how I would GM this game because of the immense scope of the realities! The artwork really helps me factor all this in to the game as a whole. The small game I did run all occurred on the Grand Stair so I could avoid putting it in a setting! The art is not on every page though and you will get runs of up to six or seven pages at a time where you will see no art at all.

This game will of course not be for everyone. I have had some very strong reactions when I have talked about the dice-less nature of the system and how it works. There are a large number of people that believe that what happens is purely up to the GM which is simply not true. I have had people say that you might as well have no character sheets at all and sit around a circle and tell a combined story. Again not true. I really wish that this game would appeal to everyone but if you are a player that must hold on to the random element or loves the tactile nature of dice and will feel lonely without them then perhaps this is not the game for you.

I do implore anyone though that has a slight interest in this system to give it a go. I love this game and its possibilities. I will eventually run a campaign with this game. It will not be immediately but it will happen. The beauty of the setting combined with the elegance of the rules is just fantastic. I am keen to build a story in this world that centres around the characters and their abilities. The book is beautifully presented and I can not wait to get my game provided by one of the developers that is on offer as part of my Kickstarter backer level.

This game is for me (and see above about dice-less systems that will cause some to turn away from this) a five out of five star game. It ticks every box for me and is written in a readable and interesting format. Once you get your head around the rules and the setting you will see the infinite possibilities that this game brings to your table. No more rolling!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
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In The Company of Fey: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2014 05:53:16
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Rite Publishing's "In the Company of"-series is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisements, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



As has become the tradition of the series, we kick off with an aptly-written frame-narrative, this time even featuring a nice, disturbing poem - from the perspective of Red Shuck, we are introduced to two different origin myths - one brighter, one darker, both including nods to Auberyon, the fabric of dreams and tying superbly in with Rite Publishing's established canon - disturbing and whimsical, both are well-worth the read. Now physical-description wise, the First Folk have three distinct shapes - their "original shape", the human/elf-like "seeming" and the at times beautiful, at times disturbing "aspected form", which most First Folk consider their original form that reflects their nature. Born from the material of dreams, the first folk may create new individuals by giving up a part of their very being. Bonds with other races, their take on alignment and religion and their roles as adventurers and of course, nomenclature are covered as well in this supplement, featuring a selection of nice, flavorful insights into First Folk psychology.



Now crunch-wise, the First Folk gets +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis, +2 to saves versus illusions and may automatically disbelieve any illusions within 10 ft., are treated as both fey and humanoids with the shapechanger-subtype, heal +2 points when benefiting from magical healing and twice as many hit points from natural healing, but may not heal naturally damage inflicted by cold iron weapons and may assume the "Seeming" as a polymorph effect, a fixed humanoid form that can't be changed later. I assume at will, but unfortunately, the ability fails to specify the type of action that changing shapes is. Oh well, at least it does mention the effective spell level. They also get a special sight that works like low-light vision and automatically pierces seemings of other First Folk. The unique lack of aging in the prime material plane is covered thankfully in the age-height and weight-table as well.



Of course, we also get a wide array of alternate racial options: +2 Con and Dex, -2 Int or +2 Int and Cha, -2 Str would be alternate attribute modifier-sets and a total of 12 other ones await as well: From being better skirmishers, three arrays of minor spell-like abilities usable 1/day, a resistance to negative energy, darkvision and light blindness, improved DCs for curses and hexes, energy resistance 5, bonuses in the shade or fey-like resistances/immunity to sleep. you can also play First Folk that have been exiled or First Folk that may change alignment every level. The latter is particularly cool, though it also opens some questions: Does this alternate racial trait allow a First Folk to e.g. take a level as barbarian and next level, change alignment to lawful and become a monk? I assume that's not possible as per the text of the respective classes. Still, even if that's not possible, the trait is roleplaying potential in gallons - Seriously, think about the story-telling potential. This one is VERY fun!



We also get an array of favored class options, covering barbarian, bard, druid, ranger, rogue, sorceror, summoner and witch as well as the 3pp-classes shaman, time thief, taskshaper and luckbringer - all of which are nice and balanced.

Of course, there also are new archetypes for your perusal, first of which would be the Solstice Pariah for the TASKSHAPER! Yes, my favorite shapechanging class gets new fodder! These beings, cursed by Auberyon to become Taskshapers essentially blend the taskshaper and the new racial paragon-class contained herein - interesting archetype!



The Wild Hunter archetype for the witch gets a hound of the hunt as a familiar - complete with unsettling aura and may conjure forth steeds from the hunt and later even hunters in the guise of a wolfish spiritual ally -rather cool high-concept archetype here!



Now I've already mentioned the racial paragon class - which has no name beyond "First Folk Paragon" - a bit of a pity there. The class is not available for lawful characters and crunch-wise nets you d6, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, 1/2 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. Yes, no spellcasting. But let's take a look, shall we? At first level, the paragon chooses one particular aspect of the prime material plane - a total of 6 different aspects are there for the choosing. Each aspect comes with two skills that henceforth get an untyped bonus of 1/2 character level, min 1 and the aspect also offers a unique ability: Wild Empathy, Favored Terrain, environmental adaption versus deadly terrain/climates. Alternatively, one aspect allows for a sense motive check to " learn a creature’s biggest and most immediate fears and concerns. When this ability is successfully used on a shaken, frightened or panicked target, the first folk paragon also learns the target’s surface thoughts" - per se cool, but what do surface thoughts entail? As per detect thoughts? Is this a mind-influencing effect? It ought to be, I guess... Improved saves versus fey are offered by another aspect and a third allows for an emotional surge that nets + 2 to Str and Con, +1 to will-saves and -2 to AC like a barbarian's rage or alternatively gain +1 to atk, damage and skill-checks and can be maintained as a free action. It can be used 2xlevel+cha-mod rounds per day, but unlike a rage, a surge is a mind-influencing effect that does not impede concentration etc.



First Folk Paragons also get DR scaling up to 5/cold iron and at 2nd level and at every even level after that, the First Fold Paragon learns a fey power. Unless otherwise noted, the fey powers use a DC of 10 +1/2 class level + cha-mod if applicable and some, those marked with an asterisk, can only be used when is aspected form. Aspected Form? Yes, before I cover the Fey Powers in detail, let's take a look at the aspected form ability gained at first level: Depending on the aspect you've chosen, you'll also get aspected form abilities. Unfortunately, once again the pdf does not clarify which action the changing of forms is, just what level the polymorph effect to change shapes is. Depending n your shape, you get natural weapons (like claws, a bite or even hooves) or may even shape large swaths of terrain, potentially entangling adversaries or grant other creatures luck bonuses or penalties. Also interesting - one aspect form allows them to unleash specific bolts as a standard action that deal 1d6 (+1 1d6 for every two levels) and may deal either fire, cold or electricity damage. or nonlethal damage, which should be a bane to ranged fighters, as it affects the target with severe winds for a round. The effective spell level of this ability scales up to 9th and the damage to 10d6 at 19th level. I'm not a fan of this ability. Unlimited touch attacks are an unpleasant thing to contend with, even before adding in the elemental flexibility. That being said, the bad BAB and limited range keep me from breaking into one of my OP-rants. Still - a generous limit (like 2xclass level + cha-mod) would see me much more comfortable with this particular aspect form.



But back to the fey powers, shall we? Let's take a look at the captivating tail power - usable only in aspect form, the tail allows for the fey to fascinate nearby creatures, even so far as to have them follow you - Hameln's (or Hamelin in the English-speaking world) famous Rat-catcher, anyone? Especially since, much like the legendary flutist, there is no caveat of not following into dangerous areas... Another ability allows First Folk paragons to curse buildings to curse all who spend a prolonged time inside to be hounded by hostile animals -as a supernatural ability, which means no break curse. OUCH. Here would also be a good place to mention fey powers with a certain affinity - a total of 13 of the powers come with an affinity - for all intents and purposes, Paragons with the appropriate aspect for the affinity treat this particular power as if they were two levels higher. Have I mentioned the ability to actually EAT non-instantaneous spells? Enchanting dust (with mania-inducing and AoE-upgrades and even blindness + bleed damage/ undead-sanctums or aging foes as possible effects!), splitting into two (one of which is an illusion, but tangible enough for flanking), taking on the aspect of eldritch plants (6 different effects!), producing a confusion-inducing toxin, growing wings, poaching in the druid and sorceror-spell-lists (or rogue's sneak attacks or stacking benefits with bardic performances), additional prowess versus undead foes jumping impossibly high, highjacking curses or exploiting the law of sympathy between creatures (or creatures and objects) - the powers offer a complex and interesting array of options for first folk to pursue.



That's not all, though - starting at 3rd level and every 3 levels after that, the First Folk Paragon unlocks an ability called aspect endowment - these grant the first folk additional powers usable exclusively when in aspect form. Especially the environment-aspect endowment, which provides a vast array of different benefits depending on the terrain they find themselves in - neat!



At 7th level and again at 13th and 19th level, the First Folk Paragon also learns a type of spelltrick from either the sorceror or druid-list as spell-like ability. Starting at 9th level, the paragon also learns to create complex illusions (dubbed waking dreams) at will, fitting nicely with the theme of glamers. The capstone essentially allows for a type of immortality - only in the primal world can the character henceforth be permanently slain.



We also get 8 new feats herein - improved disguise via seeming (important in investigation/socially-strong campaigns), making your seeming blend in with the surroundings, making untrained knowledge checks, gaining bonuses versus those affected by polymorph effects (and even suppress them), gaining a sidhe-form or the skill bonuses (but not the other benefits) from a second aspect - all in all, solid feats.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from one ability being wrongly italicized and very minor glitches, I didn't notice any issues. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard with borders that reflect a nice old painting of nature. The artwork deserves special mentioning - while fans of Rite Publishing will recognize e.g. the artwork of Auberyon from Coliseum Morpheuon, but most of the artworks I've never seen before and they universally are beautiful full-color pieces. Impressive! The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Speaking of impressive - author Wendall Roy has created a supplement here that is a joy to read indeed - the race per se is awesome and the racial paragon class complex. Half BAB, no spells, all tricks - can it work? Surprisingly, yes - but it's a class that REQUIRES careful deliberation: taking e.g. only the natural attacks will make you terribly ineffective. This class is all about smart playing and properly using the abilities, which in another class I'd often consider unbalanced - here, they are the tools that ensure survival. While I'm not sold on the unlimited ranged touch attack, the overall class, when run in my simulations, worked rather fine and offers intriguing roleplaying potential indeed without resorting to tried and true ability-suites. The taskshaper archetype is exceedingly cool to see, as is the glorious writing and in the end, my only gripes are that the alternate forms don't really do that much to influence crunchy abilities - a tighter synergy would have improved this even further. That, combined with the minor glitches here and there unfortunately keep this pdf from reaching the highest rating echelons: As written, I will settle on 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Fey:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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In The Company of Monsters (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2014 23:13:43
In the Company of Monsters is a book that has background & fluff, mechanics and options. It is all about making monsters playable at first level, trying to balance them and presenting monster or “racial paragon” classes to enable monster-pc play. Organized into six parts, providing new options to take monsters from levels 1 up. Not all go to 20, but most do. Steven D. Russell is the main contributor (there are others); and it is a solid book for playing monsters with their special abilities and bonuses developing as you level, without having to worry about leveling in specific classes (unless of course you want to just level your jotun giant for three levels and then hop over to barbarian), although of course you can mix the paragon classes with existing classes and other homebrew options.

As I read this, quite a few things caught my attention. The spells in the gargoyle chapter could make a potent stone sorcerer. There are magic items, feats and other options. In the giant chapter, the feats like stomp, quick at hand and night stalker could help a DM to make ogres or other giants a bit more dangerous. Pinning throw could be very strong and allow giants to use more in-depth tactics than charge, full round attack or grapple. These feats suit giantkin quite well, and can make such monsters a little more appropriately designed rather than just having the same feats as other monsters and the same build load-out all the time. Beware of the giant foot ogre clan, all with stomp and whom may truly challenge a party of tanks.

The minotaur and giant chapters are my favorite, but I have high praise for the diverse feat options for the restless souls. The customization options are high, and then they have a small collection of spells to make use of to boot!

Curiously, the illustrations are black and white. This gives the book an old school feel. The pictures are largely consistent in style, being dark and foreboding and some with plenty of action being shown. I especially liked the minotaur vs. centaur picture in the minotaur arena. Good illustrations like this can give a DM plenty of ideas. Unfortunately, they aren’t the best color designs out there.

The book comes in at 94 pages, and I heartily recommend it. It isn’t very large (a slight flaw, there could have been some more monsters) so reading through it won’t take very long for a dm or player eager to design a new monster paragon pc from the options within.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Monsters (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to do a review. Steve Russell Rite Publishing
Convergent Paths: Students of Arcanum Archetypes (PFRPG)
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2014 20:59:41
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=40862.

This 11 page product ends up with 6 pages of content. Students of Arcanum Archetypes introduces 4 new archetypes for magic users, in the form of different houses that focus on various forms of magic use. The houses include House Dweomerden, House Glammerforge, House Nethervault, and House Spell Tower. This book includes 4 new spells, and 6 new traits.

House Dweomerden focuses on utility spells and for the sacrifice of the scribe scroll feat gives a member of this house an extra spell slot and includes a limited amount of daily opportunities to substitute the wizards bread and butter spellcraft skill for much more utilitarian skills like heal, craft, and survival skill checks.

House Nethervault members are the heavies of the institution, for taking the nethervault template they are given intimidate as a class skill. To add to this they are given the coveted use magic device skill. Because of their duties as protectors of lore that is best forgotten, they get a secret language that has a good deal in common with druidic. Nethervaulters are given a +5 to their spellcraft checks when they are building items they couldn’t normally build. As they gain levels they become more and more resilient to curses, poisons, and diseases and acquire some immunities at 20th level. Because of the nature of their positions as lore keepers, when contacting creatures from other planes they can take some wisdom penalties to tell if their otherworld contact is telling the truth or not.

House Glamerforge is aptly named as it adds perform to a wizard’s skill list and gives the wizard a limited amount of daily uses of bardic music-like abilities. These abilities are limited to countersong, distraction, and fascinate. But with great power comes great responsibility and the use of each of these abilities has a condition that goes with it. Being a member of this house includes the ability to fuse scrolls with inanimate objects and they have the bonus of concealing their spell books in works of poetry and drawings.The final house, House Spelltower, is listed as One School and provides no archetype.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convergent Paths: Students of Arcanum Archetypes (PFRPG)
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Amnesia (Fate)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2013 03:09:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplemental pdf for Rite Publishing's superb "The Demolished Ones"-FATE-setting/module/sandbox is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's check this out!



Now, if you've read my review of "The Demolished Ones" (TDO), you'll know I a) hate the FATE-rules and b) loved the "Demolished Ones" enough to actually want to run/play it and consider the FATE-rules actually good for something. I am in love with this setting, but it is a demanding one for DMs to run - due to the free-form nature and player-driven action in TDO, a DM better should have some experience under his/her belt. Since there are some differences between standard FATE-CORE and TDO, we are given a quick run-down of the interaction of the two and how they relate before we delve into one of the two types of "memories" provided herein - in order to avoid SPOILERS for TDO, I will refer to them as "a-memories" - these are the ones pertaining to positive life events or those that are...well. Normal. Job-related, marriages, victories - each memory comes with an array of related skills, aspects and possible stunts the respective a-memories may provide. While generally positive, the memories may still be a source for discomfort - how do memories of oceans or holidays enter your mind if there is no beach within the Dome? A total of 17 such a-memories are provided, all with ready-to-go read-aloud text in vivid prose that only at best requires minor modification, making introducing resonating memories easy.



And then there are "b-memories" - these tend to be...less pleasant. I've managed to avoid spoilers about those in my review of the base book and will try to remain so. Generally, these b-memories are unpleasant...morally despicable and hearken to the theme of identity and ID suffusing the setting of TDO in at times unobtrusive, at times obtrusive symbolism. A total of 10 such b-memories are provided and the memories are depicted in just as vivid prose - only that here the nastiness of the memories lends a totally different quality to the memories. As before, we get associated aspects, skills and stunts for each of these... b-memories. Why two categories? DMs will know, player's shouldn't and I'm not telling. ^^



Beyond these memories, we also are introduced to an array of stunts, unless I miscounted, a total of 58 ones, to be precise. of these, 5 are particularly designed for TDO and are problematic to convert, but over all - they actually add a much more strategic edge to TDO than via the basic FATE-CORE stunts available in TDO, which btw. have also been reproduced herein for convenience's sake.



We also get a short errata on zones and movement and advice on how to handle the respective memories.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with glorious b/w-artworks and fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Author Bill Collins has created a supplement that should make running TDO not only easier on the DM, it should also add a more distinct level of tactical depth in the conflicts in TDO, allowing for a more streamlined flow of the free-form module, all supplemented by vivid prose and at times disturbing imagery that supplements well the superb setting of TDO. If I had anything to complain about this, then that would be the lack of new gear-aspects herein - the steampunkish component of TDO could use some additional development, but still - that is no fault of either the base book, nor this supplement. While I still won't run standard FATE, I most definitely will run TDO and consider this supplement an excellent addition to the books canon as well as a great help for DMs. Even non-TDO-DMs/players may get some use out of this book to add a sense of alienation and wrongness to their game and play with the identity of characters. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at a solid 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Amnesia (Fate)
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Pathways #33 (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/18/2013 08:58:32
The latest installment of Rite Publishing's "Pay what you want"-e-zine Pathways is 49 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 10 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 36 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



David Paul's editorial this time around poses an interesting question - since Pathways has gone from free to "Pay what you want" (which is semi-free/dependent on your appreciation of the magazine), he asks what YOU would like to see and you would pay for seeing the respective content.



After that, we are introduced to Steven D. Russell, aka "Grandmaster of Templates"/Rite Overlord's template for the issue - the CR +3 Kingkiller Creature: These creatures are chaotic evil harbingers of ruin and decay - with the power to slay servants of a kingdom, inflict wounds that are cursed and can only be healed by specific individuals under specific conditions, Furthermore, these harbingers of destruction can absorb spells (though they may be overcharged!), rejuvenate and gain a specific scourge upon creation - whether it be fire, madness, blight, storms, pestilence or war - while two of the scourge-headlines are in italics, not as intended in bold, this template is just too AWESOME. Representing creatures foretold by prophecy, legendary slayers of not only rulers, but also their very kingdoms, these beings are powerful, iconic and add a whole new level of threat to a powerful villain. AWESOME and one of the best templates Steven D. Russell has ever created. Drool-worthy and well-supplemented by a CR 9 Scourge of War Lizard Kingkiller, an advanced lizardfolk fighter 2 with the template applied.



Liz Winters has an article on the benefits of imaginative play (like RPGs!) in the formative years of children - and believe it or not (though she provides some examples of literature), I can attest to the impact roleplaying (though I didn't know it by that name then) has had on me, my creative output and my very frame of mind, not to start with vocabulary and so on - parents and fellow gamers should definitely check that article and do some further reading.



Mike Myler, known not only from his ample contributions to Adventureaweek.com, but also for his solo-venture provides a mapless module herein for level 3 - 4, named Quadrial's Tower.



SPOILERS FOR THE MODULE

The wizard Quadrial has gone missing and this is due to an experiment going wrong - seeking to create learning golems from an obscure metal dubbed *drumroll* Asmov, but ignoring the required laws of the almost namesake author, the wizard feel prey to a combination of a young cloaker and the attacks of his own golem. Tiny at first the threat returns upon defeat again and again, each version more powerful than the one before, while the cloaker starts his sabotage of the tower. Via anautopsy, some decutiona dn sheer perseverance at destroying the golem again and again, the PCs may put an end to the threat and uncover the details of the wizard's grisly fate. A creepy, hardcore challenging sidetrek - nothing to complain. And yes, the narrative, non-mapped nature at least for me works rather well - I ran 3 whole campaigns sans maps and my players are accustomed to it. In some complex environments, it could become problematic, but here, it works. Nice one!



/SPOILERS



Creighton Broadhurst, mastermind of Raging Swan Press, has an EL 8 encounter versus the Gnoll slavers of Yog Parof here, with Zog Ahl the gnoll cleric 5, gnoll skeletons, zombies and fighters all fully detailed. Furthermore, we get 8 random events to spice up the desert-bound battle. Neat and fun one!



Next up would be a spell-list of antipaladin-spells for 1001 spells -cool and handy!



Now next up would be an interview that actually touched me - when Rocks Fall Games came around, Charles Marleau, the head-honcho, had created modules I considered terrible. Conversely, I wrote some (even for my hardball standards) harsh reviews. Instead of spite, he replied with kindness, which bespeaks of a mind able to process criticism - which is good to see...but not enough and no substitution for talent. I was skeptical, but turns out, he and his team have revised a couple of their modules so far and the results have universally been IMPRESSIVE - these guys actually do have talent! Never in all my time as a review have I seen products that once were almost utterly generic zeroes make such a thorough transition to full-blown, soulful awesomeness. If you haven't, give their revised modules a chance - these guys have talent and by now I actually look forward to their releases as they seem to get better with each and every one of their products. So yeah, read the interview and take a look at Rocks Fall Games' Dark Totem-modules - they are extremely affordable and fun!



Speaking of reviews: As always, a selection of 5-star reviews of 3pps and Rite Publishing itself are provided, offering you a sweep of some awesome 3pp-products - the reviews you'll get are by Trevor W., Joshua "KTFish7" Gullion, and, of course, by yours truly.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed a couple of minor formatting and editing glitches here and there, though only cosmetic of nature. Layout adheres to RiP's 2-column full-color standard and the cover-artwork is neat. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



A cool interview with one of the lesser known rising stars among 3pps, a useful spell-list that makes a cult-book more useful, a neat encounter with cool environmental effects - all that is nice.



Where this issue shines is with Mike Myler's rather cool mini-module, which offers more challenge and weirdness than many commercial modules...and Steven D. Russell's template. The Kingkiller is just so AWESOME - with his templates seeing a lot of use in my game and "The Book of Monster Templates" as well, I thought that one of these days template fatigue would set in - and then he suddenly crafts one of perhaps the most intriguing, awesome templates I've ever read. this template alone is worth the HD-space on its own - seriously, you SHOULD check this one out - it's templates like this I will judge Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary against once it releases and it will have a hard time versus awesomeness-beasts like this one. Believe me, the kingkiller is worth a donation. EDIT for clarification: While there are rules for kingkillers versus kingdoms (WHICH ARE AWESOME), I would have loved additional rules interacting with armies as well, but I am just greedy here. ^^



Final verdict? One of the best Pathways e-zines ever released, 5 stars + seal of approval, even if it would have a fixed price. At PWYW, there's no excuse - Get this as soon as your download speed allows.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #33 (PFRPG)
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The Secrets of the Divine: Pantheon, Love, Sky, & Wright
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2013 10:46:48
This is a delight for anyone who wants to make religion an important part of their campaign world, rather than merely regarding deities as sources of divine power for clerical spellcasters. Each of the four faiths presented has been written up with a whole bunch of flavour and detail, so that characters choosing to follow that faith are equipped with the information that they need to portray a devotee appropriately, knowing what they believe and how they should conduct themselves... there are even snippets of sacred texts to quote at apposite moments!

First up is the Great Church of the Pantheon, a NG aligned faith that venerates all the deities in heaven equally. Perhaps they are hedging their bets, or maybe they see that any being acknowledged as a deity is equally worthy of worship. They welcome those who worship a single god, or who pick the most appropriate deity for their immediate needs, and have one quirk: no god is ever adddressed or spoken about by name. Like any well-established religion there are differences of opinion amongst the faithful - and from experience I can say that this can lead to some memorable role-playing when characters of different views start arguing about religion in the middle of a game!

The Great Church of the Pantheon offers a prestige class, the Deacon, open to the non-clerical faithful. As well as full details of this class, there are copious notes on beliefs, mythology, holy days, religious orders (including a paladinical one) and something called a Divine Vessel, an individual who becomes an avatar with some quite spectacular powers.

Next up is Our Fairest Lady of Love and Song, a CG deity ideally suited to bards and artists. Again there is a wealth of detail to enable you to bring this faith to life and to empower those characters who wish to become devotees. There are feats, religions orders (this faith is well suited to cavaliers) and other useful notes.

Similar treatment is given to Our Father of Star and Sky and to Our Grand Wright of Heaven. Each becomes a distinct, living faith that you can easily imagine being practised somewhere within your alternate reality. Pick one or two, or use the lot... it is this kind of detail that makes your campaign world really come alive.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Divine: Pantheon, Love, Sky, & Wright
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The Demolished Ones (Fate)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2013 02:37:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book is 94 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page index (nice!), 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 88 pages of content, so let's...wait. I've gotta come clean first.



I don't like the FATE-system. I really, really don't like it. Much like alignments (which I LOATHE and always get rid of in my homebrew), I consider the reductionist concepts as reflected in e.g. the aspects as a factor that severely impedes the development of well-rounded situations and character-interaction, as a crutch that may be useful for inexperienced roleplayers, but at the same time as a ball-and-chain for experienced roleplayers seeking to portray a faceted, interesting character in constant flux and growth. I'm obviously the wrong target demographic here and I imagine some of you guys and gals out there feel the same. I'd encourage you to still read this review - things are not so simple in this case. All right, I'm as far out of my comfort-zone as possible, so let's get this thing started: Here's a quick summary of what you need to know, all taken from this book, btw. - you don't require the FATE-core-rules to run this, though I do own them. (Bought them, read them, shelved them as "not my cup of tea.")



What do you need to play? As FATE-experienced people will know, you'll require specialized fudge dice (called dF) as well as some tokens to represent Fate-points. Tasks are accomplished by rolling 4dF and then adding the relevant skill and compare it with a basic difficulty modified by the "ladder", a modification of tasks according to the difficulty of the task attempted. This basic formula may be modified by stunts and aspects. Aspects may be discovered and are part of the characters involved or the scenery, allowing you to take advantage (or be put in a disadvantageous position). In combat, DMs determine who acts when and each character may attempt an action on his/her turn. Damage is handled via stress, both to the psyche and the body, via composure or health. If you take stress that you otherwise couldn't handle, you may incur a consequence of either minor, medium or severe level, all of which can absorb varying degrees of trauma and which are less easy to recover than the auto-recovering stress.



Now I've mentioned aspects - Aspects are one sentence-descriptions of some of your character's traits/powers - you may invoke these to get a bonus to your rolls or make a declaration associated with the aspect - Security-experts may e.g. make a declaration to have an escape plan ready. This costs a fate point, which may be regained by compels. The DM may use aspects versus the PCs with compels - by accepting these, they may regain fate-points. So yes, the system awards double-edged aspects that can be interpreted both positively and negatively. We also are introduced to the set of skills available, each of which may positively influence the stunts attempted by the respective player character.



Now this is where the basics stop and the minor SPOILERS begin. The players start with an empty character sheet and NO idea who their character is. Instead, the players get the following questions: "The PC of the player to your right - what is his/her most distinct physical feature? The player to your left: What is your char's first impression of that character? What common object do you have on your person? - These questions are the beginning in creating a new character - for they all have amnesia and only fragmented disturbing glimpses of memory and seem to be alone in a dirty room with strangers (the other PCs), who also suffer from amnesia. Oh, and a dead body.



From here on reign the SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.



Still here? All right! As the PCs escape from the police, they will be faced with the surreal surroundings - turns out they are in the "City", which is encompassed by the "Dome" - a Victorian, strange noir dystopia and closer environment. And they better find out who (if any of them) killed the man lying in the room. From properly escaping to fighting the police to the very real possibility of being imprisoned, there are a lot of possible things that may happen. Much a player-driven setting, we also get multiple further leads that lead to either the house of the deceased or to a boarding house - beyond these, a chance encounter with a madman who may know the truth behind the strange conspiracy...or just ramble on with just false information.



So what is the Dome about? Do you get those "Dark City"-flashbacks? (If not, go watch the movie before running this!) Here, I might go on to depict the intricate layer of mystery that this book weaves - and quite probably fail at it. Why? because, while there IS an underlying plot including a great adversary, the action remains impressively player-driven. While many factions and NPCs add their own motivations to the fray, the plot itself is surprisingly layered and versatile - for the PCs not only will start to be hounded by strange inhuman monstrosities and contact various factions - all of which seek to use the PCs for their own more or less nefarious ends - worse yet, as the noose tightens and the sheer wrongness of the setting slowly hits home, the memories of the PCs will slowly return - and they are not reliable.



However, these memories are actually extremely ingeniously entwined with the FATE-rules-system: There are TRUE aspects - these reflect a sort of component of the character's true nature and these allow the respective PCs to bend the laws of physics and do superhuman stunts, but at the cost of their sanity... All while the somewhat trans/inhuman masters of the Dome play their inscrutable gambits for power, change or retaining the status-quo: The FATE of the Dome hangs in the balance indeed... But the endgame, as befitting of such a free-form setting/rule-system, is very much up to the players and the DM - the mystery's yours to shape and a vast chapter on locations, characters and associated memories should make sure that the imagination of all but the most burnt-out DM should brim with ideas galore for how to end this epic journey.



Speaking of running this - copious advice on steampunkish anachronisms, noir mood, lovecraftian horror and how to entwine these and emphasize different aspects, on how to handle the fluidity of memories - all of that is covered. Better yet - ways to "grit-up" the experience, changing and emphasizing aspects (haha) and themes - all of that and beyond, both rules and the dome, are provided for the DM. We also get 6 player-handouts, a glorious map of the Dome and a char-sheet as well as the index to improve the overall playing experience. And no, I'm NOT going to SPOIL all the details of the story and how it may or may not turn out - in order to experience that, you'll have to take a look at the Demolished Ones yourself!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous b/w-2-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked. let me talk about teh art a bit - it's b/w, it's all by Hugo Solis, and if that name doesn't ring a bell - he is one of the most prolific and talented artists working in the industry right now. These drawings are AWESOME, oozing both familiarity and wrongness, capturing and enforcing a distinct visual style unique to "The Demolished Ones" and...well, rendering the book simply awesome to look at. The pdf comes with extensive nested bookmarks for your convenience. The product also comes with an extra-pdf of char-sheets.



I rambled and ranted on how I don't like FATE. Did that change? No. I still consider the rules-system to be reductionist, don't like it and vastly prefer e.g. Pelgrane Press' GUMSHOE for investigative-heavy scenarios. HOWEVER: I spite of my complete and utter disdain for the rules, I actually really, really want to run this. "The Demolished Ones" actually has succeeded in taking rules I don't enjoy and turn them into the form of a supplement with a setting so compelling, so unique, so intricately interwoven with the rules, that I do think that I'll convert it but rather instead run it in its presented and intended form - where in a regular story, I'd consider the rules an impediment to my enjoyment and the story, here they actually improve it, enable it and make it almost palpable.



Creepy, distinct and masterfully crafted, I can't fathom how awesome this setting must be to people who actually ENJOY the FATE-rules, when even from my own point-of-view, I'm blown away. Designer Brian Engard has crafted a truly superb supplement here and one that has shown me as a detractor of the system, that there are actually stories it tells exceedingly well. I'm somewhat stumped how well this book works and entwines narrative. set-up and crunch and can only recommend from the bottom of my heart, to check this out, even if you're a skeptic of the FATE-system or even, like me, someone who actually actively dislikes it - when a supplement is good enough to broaden one's horizon with regards to a particular rules-set and how it can be used while also providing a thoroughly captivating read - well, then we have a product on our hands that does indeed deserve 5 stars + my seal of approval: Harder won than about 99% of products I've ever reviewed, this supplement leaves you essentially no choice but to love it. It's that good and should provide a distinct, cool alternative. Get this. There are not many supplements out there that can pull off such a stunt.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demolished Ones (Fate)
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Monster Templates: Headless Horseman
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2013 03:59:22
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement from Rite Publishing's mastermind and veteran of templates (no-one has done that many great ones for PFRPG so far) Steven D. Russell is 9 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



As the name implies, we get a template herein to create headless horsemen. The template adds a +2 to the CR of the base creature, and turn the creature into an augmented undead (with d8 as HD) and also DR - 5/good, DR 10/magic + good for CR 10+ and 15/magic, good, slashing for CR 15+, SR 11+HD and...well, if that weren't enough...fast healing equal to their cha-SCORE. Yes, not the modifier, the SCORE. And no, I'm 100% positive this is NOT a glitch - these guys are nigh indestructible! OUCH!



Of course, no template by Rite Publishing would be complete sans an array of defining, unique signature abilities: Headless Horsemen may emit cackle-induced panic. Worse, each attack by the horseman is infused with hellfire, dealing more damage - and should one of these creatures actually be destroyed, they may draw the soul of their slayer to hell. As HORSEmen, these beings also get a cavalier-style mount and they also rejuvenate when not destroyed the "proper" way - for they do have their own weaknesses to offset the deadly powers of the template:



Possession of the Horseman's head allows a creature to control the horseman and also allows for a way to destroy the horseman by annihilating or returning the head. Which is a wise decision, for combat is not a smart option - the horseman, in addition to its impressive ability-array, treats ALL weapons they wield as vorpal.



Following Rite's tradition, we also get a sample creature ready to drop in your campaign, this case a headless horseman gendarme cavalier 10 - both said adversary and his mount get full stats, but that is not where said foe shines - instead, he is depicted in a great in-character monologue that tells us about the driving force of this sworn foe of adventurers, a member of the so-called Hero-Killers - the dread Harn, erstwhile servant of the immortal lich-king Cynmark (or substitute Tar-Baphon in Golarion..) - awesome prose here and complete with lore-DCs!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout comes with a pumpkin-covered, appropriately helloweenish full-color border and adheres to a 2-column standard. The pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its small size - commendable!



I've so far seen various takes on the headless horseman and all failed to impress me in one degree or another - not so this one: Deadly to the extreme, full of nasty tricks, an almost unstoppable juggernaut, these horsemen are glorious adversaries WORTHY of the iconic horror-trope and most definitely rank among the finest horror-critters out there: Exceedingly deadly, while at the same time vulnerable, these beings will make your PCs run (if they're smart!) - and all for a fair price-point. My only gripe is an utter nitpick of epic proportions, namely that I would have loved the Horseman to optionally utilize Hellfire as portrayed in e.g. the Genius Guide to hellfire Magic, but those spells are easily added, aren't they? This far-fetched nitpick is ALL I can muster against this superb template - a purchase well worth the asking price and deserving of 5 stars + seal of approval! There's a reason I call Steven D. Russell the "Master of Templates"...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Templates: Headless Horseman
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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Cale R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
Well laid out, amazing artwork, and a grand system working off of Erick Wujcik's Amber Diceless, LoGaS is a book for any gamer's collection. This book will teach how to run, play, and enjoy a rich multiverse themed game. Want to be a thirty foot tall ogre with shadow wings made of darkness itself? This book and system will let you do it! I've always been a fan of multiverse theme'd products, and LoGAS is one of the best I have found. If you have ever thought of playing or running diceless, or you are interested in breaking the ordinary boundaries of character creation (why play a human when you can play a shapeshifting dragon?), then this book is for you. It also has amazing Item Creation and Powers to play with. This is not your standard run of the mill role playing book, expect to find new ideas and new gaming experiences! Buy it and enjoy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Jason D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
The Short of It:
As a long time Amber GM, I am pleased that this game was published. The setting material is interesting and well thought out. The system is the same as Amber Diceless, which wasn't a surprise due to the license. However, I am disappointed in the quality of the printed book.

The Longer Version:
The PDF is nice and shows off the lovely artwork well but is hindered by the large ugly border on every page. Happily, I can crop the file on my tablet and ignore it.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for the book and, though I own a tablet, I prefer to read longer material on paper.

The book has a beautiful hard cover. Inside, the full color artwork is hampered by what feels like thin and substandard paper when compared to any other gaming book that I've purchased in the last decade.

Adding to the muddy look of the artwork on the page is the huge ugly border. The border not only closely hedges in the text on every page, making the reading experience somewhat unpleasant, but it is also boring and repetitive with no apparent connection to the material presented.

The fact that the text is also set in tiny 8 point type doesn't help the readability, either.

Conclusion:
I am pleased with the setting that author Jason Durall presents. The artwork is gorgeous. Unfortunately, the physical product is marred by poor layout choices and substandard paper.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Josh W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
I was a backer of the kickstarter, and that was one the things that impressed me about the whole product and the company.

I'll start with the campaign to fund it. It's been my experience as a backer that I tend to notice bad kickstarters, but not the good ones. For them, the campaign just disappears into the background. That wasn't the case for Lords of Gossamer and Shadow. It ranks among the very best of all the crowdfunding campaigns I've ever seen. Regular updates, constant communication, it was extremely professional at every point of contact. The bulk of the work was done by the time they began the campaign. The funding goals were well-planned. Too many kickstarters give away too much or too little, but this campaign offered value at every level. They even released on time! If they made any missteps at all at any point in the process, they weren't visible to me as a backer. I can stress this enough. Too often, companies that publish RPGs treat it as a hobby instead of a business, but Rite Publishing was rigorously professional.

I was on the fence about funding it in the beginning. It seemed like Amber Diceless without the Amber part. I wrote as much on my blog, prompting one of the principals behind the project to answer my concerns. I figured I'd kick in fifteen dollars for it.

The PDF is gorgeous. Full color pictures all over the place, bookmarked, cleanly laid out. Again, no complaints about the presentation. As a supplement to the ADRPG, it's a wonderful product. Ambiguous rules are clarified, more options are outlined for psyche and strength contests, powers have been refined.

As a stand-alone product, I'm less enthusiastic. The system for Amber Diceless was developed in the 1980s and released in the 1990s. It revolutionary when it was introduced, and has held up fairly well in the years since then. While there were elements that were genuinely innovative, such as the Attribute Auction, I never felt it was the best system for Diceless role-playing (I happen to like Nobilis a little better myself), but rather the system we wound up with. It was neither good nor bad. I never felt it got in the way, and while the rules allowed you to play the game, they never drove the game like the rules in certain systems do.

The setting for the original game is what sold me and I'm probably not alone.

I don't like the setting of G&S. (Also, I think Dwimmerlaik sounds a little bit silly). This is something entirely subjective, so your mileage may vary. I'll admit, I'm judging it against the original, one of my very favorite fantasy worlds, so almost anything is going to come up short. It reminds me of the "let me tell you about my campaign" short stories from Amberzine (which isn't necessarily a dig, because I still like Carolan's Diary). They were generally good, and sometimes even great, but they were always eclipsed by the source material.

Again, the creators were very candid about this. I can't complain that the I didn't know I was backing what amounted to ADRPG without the A. They told me that in the pitch, and it's right there in the introduction. You can play Amber and you can play MORE than Amber.

I think I'm happy that they designed their own characters and didn't give us "Not-Eric" and "Not-Benedict" to go with the "Not-Pattern" and "Not-Logrus", (and the powers aren't simple one-to-one analogues to Pattern and Logrus, but I'm exaggerating a broad similarity to make a joke). I personally didn't find them as as deep or as interesting as the Elder Amberites, but that's not a fair comparison, as the ADRPG didn't create Brand or Corwin or Oberon. They were able to draw on existing characters who had been developed over the course of many years and thousands of words. There's just no way a character sketched out over a couple paragraphs can compare.

I don't think it's a bad game. In fact, I think it's a pretty great one. The rules are refined and improved in almost every way. As I said above, I like it a lot as Amber 1.5. Rite Publishing has been scrupulously professional, and they've turned out a very polished product, about which they are extremely, and rightly, enthusiastic. It's not the game for me. If I want to play Amber, I still have ADRPG. And now, thanks to Rite Publishing, I have a better version of Amber.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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