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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!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Jean-Christophe C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
Jason Durall offers his inspired vision within a nice book from Rite Publishing. The system is brilliant. The universe sounds familiar if you know the Chronicles of Amber series of course. But the universe is different enough and will surprise you.

Lords of Gossamer and Shadows is diceless, brilliant, well written, nicely illustrated. Lords of Gossamer and Shadows is about exploring limitless multiverse, about wheels within wheels within wheels intrigues.

I can't wait to play!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #32 (PFRPG)
by Luke M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2013 20:39:10
Excellent sourcemag for campaign ideas. Not quite as good as the now defunct Open Gaming Monthly, but the best replacement on the market for it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #32 (PFRPG)
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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
by Kristin H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2013 13:50:33
Its an amazing piece of work. The Book itself is well bound, and the pages are gorgeous (purple pages which go from light to darker purple as you go down the outside!)

The System itself is simple 4 Stats , an a host of Powers with point costs, not to mention the ability to make Artifact and Creatures- who by most standards are just as powerful as your character.

The Game doesn't hold your hand, but encourages you to imagine and explore your character(s), and they world they inhabit. The game also is a book to GMs who maybe a little lost in trying to figure out how to run a game, that lacks 'dice mechanic' or may just be 'new' to GMing but its a wonderful product.

The NPCs are well realized (dedicating usually a page+ to the major 'Players'- their powers and their responses as Ally, Enemy ect).

This game would be an excellent place to start for roleplayers- who are perhaps transition from another medium (say play by post/forums) to Table Top games- or for people who want to introduce people in general but don't want to worry about Dice, Levels, or other 'fiddly bits'.

This game is about Narration, thought, and overcoming or dealing with obstacles not because you have a Sword of 2+ Smiting- but because you've thought your way through, tricked, trapped, outwitted, or otherwise corned your enemy, or perhaps turned him to your side against a common foe.

Lords of Gossamer & Shadows is ultimately about what happens when characters are given a taste of power.. and for good or ill use it to define themselves.. and the worlds they visit.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
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Monster Templates: Headless Horseman
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2013 01:55:41
Rite Publishing brings us a template for the headless horseman, and a CR 11 headless horseman to challenge your players.

I firstly have to acknowledge the perfect choice in the scary pumpkin background of this pdf. I like it a great deal. On the template, the vorpal ability is pretty nice and ensures there will be plenty more heads being lopped off. The others are very thematic and related to the fluff, but I don’t want to give them away here.

Concerning the headless horseman of CR 11, he can certainly kill. The hellfire is a nice touch. The vulnerabilities are the AC and the hp weakness of the Sygian mount—making dismounting the headless horseman a very real possibility. A dm may want to improve the horse. It isn’t bad offensively, but a horseman and horse against a party may lack the AC and HP to last long. There is also some lore and description which leads into feats and the spell to create the horseman.

This was a very enjoyable read, allowing the headless horseman to quickly be placed into a mid-level game, or for a player to assume the role of the horseman following their demise.

5/5. It has a central idea and runs with it, fully realising the headless horseman for pathfinder games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Templates: Headless Horseman
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In The Company of Medusa: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2013 00:55:29
This product begins with a story on the origin of the medusa, and a gm could make use of this to create the medusa as a force in their world. The early parts of the book on how a medusa should behave according to a matronly medusa is a welcome addition. The idea that snake control marks the entrance into adulthood for the medusa is a fascinating little idea. There are further sections on medusa society, the ways of the foremothers and even a section on reproduction and medusa seduction.

This is a short and inexpensive document, and the writing is quite good. Effort and care has gone into the expression and serpentine and predatory metaphors have been placed inside. I found it enjoyable to read; and this direction in the provided background material is designed to help gms get in the mood to run medusas.

Mechanically there are the stats required to run or play a meduse pc or npc. There is some choice across traits, meaning different medusas can be created. This gives the dms some options. Archetypes follow and I quite like the Gorgon shaman for the druid, with earth powers, stone sense and a whole lot of flavour (this was definitely well thought out). There is a bit more, and levels 1-20 of a class, but that is enough noted here. This is a very inexpensive product, so if you like medusas and want to build them into a world and setting with a bit more flavour and abilities, go for it.

5/5

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Medusa:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2013 20:21:34
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.
Originally posted to http://thoughtswithbrokendice.tumblr.com/

Convergent Paths Fey Archetypes weighs in at 16 pages (2 ads, the OGL, cover and credits) with 11 presenting us with new material. Three new archetypes connected to the fey, along with a new monster and a handful of feats are introduced here. Format follows the standard dual column layout, with several pieces of artwork interspersed throughout the book, with several of them being very good pieces.

Opening this with the Faerie Knight (Cavalier), a knight in allegiance and loyalty to a fey or full court of fey. The write up for this archetype made for a great read, as it is presented in the form of a conversation between a knight named Tristan, his mount Meliodas and the writer of this journal, the interaction between the knight an his mount are hilarious. So, what makes this cavalier worth playing right? Well, to be honest, the mount. The mount adds the template for a few creature, with a series of progressive abilities, that make this far more than just a simple means of getting around. When connected the rider and mount can cast a small list of spells (dancing lights, faerie fire, etc.), with the mount being the anchor for the caster numbers and such, along with any concentration checks required, freeing the knight to keep their attention on other things. The mount also gains the ability to be sent into the realm of faerie seeking aid for its rider, bringing the aid as in a successful summon nature’s ally V. Not to mention that being a loyal subject to the faerie the knight works for offers them a level of respect when dealing with fey, as much as one can hope for those chaotic interactions to go well, lol.

Second to the party here would be the Laughing Man (Monk). This archetype presents the first editing hiccups, but they are simply text line justifications (those weird spacing blanks that happen in a justified column of text). There are only a few of them, and they truly don’t affect the product enough to be more than a minor distraction, in other words, I am mentioning them more so that when you read through this book for yourself you don’t find them and wonder what the heck, lol. So, moving on…the Laughing Man offers up an interesting archetype that has taken the concept of words hurt to a whole new level. Short story breaks down to this monk can weaponize his words through a combination of skills and abilities, choosing to do damage as per sonic attacks with their spoken words. I can see a lot of potential here for a very cool character or two, but would require a player willing to make the character worth it in combat. Well worth the effort I believe though.

It takes us to the Masquerade Reveler (Barbarian). One of the most alien thing on dealing with the fey and faerie in general are that our perceptions as humanity, or the mortal world, are constantly shifted and skewed due to their nature. They have the capacity as fey to alter their looks and hide behind various masks and forms, leaving us wondering who and what it is we are dealing with. This archetype seeks to perhaps bridge that, in the form of one who has been touched by the realm of faerie and came back not entirely whole, but far from broken either. The easiest way to shorten this is to say that the Reveler operates at their own eidolon. A rather specific eidolon, but none the less. Using this ability they gain the ability to mask themselves much as the fey can, fueling this ability with the standard rage of a barbarian…yeah, let that stew for a minute. A very cool concept of what one can do with a barbarian outside of the typical “Thunk! Kill!”.

Seven new feats are presented, with perks for the mentioned archetypes, with two feats for the Faerie Knight and the Masquerade Reveler, and three for the Laughing Man. The Gancanagh closes us out this time, as a new fey monster. Appearing as an extremely attractive individual, with all the charm required to seduce anyone who catches this fey’s attention, it tends to keep the deck stacked in its favor with an excretion from its skin that is addictive (known as Gancanagh’s Kiss presented after the monster entry). Add to this its Mindbender and Sweet Nothings ability this fey will keep a mortal entranced for hours conversing for its entertainment. Not exactly a malicious creature by intention, but the extremely different skew the fey place on the mortal world makes any interaction with a creature with the ability to force anything to entertain it for fun runs the risk of ending bad. Supplied with hooks and a sidebar detailing some of the real world mythology for this fey.

So, checking over the score sheet here, the one thing that stood out was only truly the justified lines, which I am not going to hold against this product. The archetypes all bring to the table their own flavor, with suitable dressings of that taste of fey influenced to them. Looking for some fey affected archetypes this product does a very good job, and would be a worthy purchase at five stars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
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20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons (PFRPG)
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2013 03:42:55
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

Starting with the incredible cover piece from Henry Toogood 20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons demands to paid attention to. Far to often a list of this type ends up a simple rehash of boring numbers, with not truly enough to make the collection worth the effort. Elaine Betts and Justin P. Sluder present here 20 NPCs in the form of Red Dragons that are far more than just the standard big egotistical lizard. They seek to give you characters for your campaigns that will live in the memories of your players for years, earning the right to become reoccurring villains, possibly even allies if presented properly.

Format is presented in the well known dual column approach, with artwork interspersed throughout the book, varying from truly WOW worthy to decent, with only one piece kind of feeling out of place. Now, there are several pieces in an index at the end of the book dealing with templates that include examples of the templates that are not draconic in nature, so they come off as slightly jarring at first due to the entirety of the remainder of the book being all draconic goodness, but the art pieces here all make sense, and are logical and good pieces. When it comes to the specifics of the statblocks, anyone who knows me and my style of reviewing should by now know that I tend to forgive the occasional slip in statblocks, as any GM worth their salt should be able to adjust the occasional errors. That being said, occasional is the important word in their. The very first dragon presented in this book, a very cool build and character concept, is Seer Hekkush, the Undying Oracle of Ash CR 30. He is an (ready for this?) accelerated bipedal dread mummy undead lord very young red dragon diviner 11/loremaster 10. Get all that? In case you are scratching your nogging right now wondering what half of those templates are, have no fear, as they are all covered in an index at the end of the book (included with several other templates as well), Why am I showing off this mouthful of words making up this character’s list of awesomeness? Because of the fact he is listed as a very young, when the character is presented as extremely old, has a freaking CR 30 and is a freaking mummy…he uses his sarcophagus as armor, there is nothing about the write up or abilities of this dragon that feels like a very young dragon. Having said all of that, I have no doubt that someone could run the numbers fairly quickly and deduce the proper age for this beast, but for the purposes of this review, I am not feeling like doing such at this time, What I will say is that the character is not tarnished by this oddity in the aging, the concept for the character made me want to include him as that venerable beast so past the point of what a playgroup could ever take on with ease. Those beasts that almost instantly force your players to respect them as the forces of nature that dragons are, as opposed to yet another disposable piles of XP and GP.. Now, here was a character that was designed to make you think, both as the GM running it as well as the player navigating interaction with a character living on this level of power.

No, I am not going to go through more than a handful of these dragons, nor am I planning to simply run through them presented in order in the book, but the very second I came to stopped me instantly. The Foul Doctor Feulzik CR 28, mythic rune-carved savant great wyrm red dragon. Reading over his “bio” intro there was the feel of a bit of the benefactor in this, living amongst a peoples while looking over them, caring for their illnesses and poor. Of course, that is until someone goes missing to be used for whatever experiment the good doctor is currently up to. It stands to be brought up at this point that there are two specific “voices” to each entry for the individual dragons, the first of the dragon itself, as well as that of the chronicler compiling this tome to be dispersed amongst the lands to better share the tales of these mighty creatures. So, you receive the “selling” pitch from the dragon as to who they are, and the comments and observations from the writer of this journal. It is from him we learn that the good doctor is dabbling in Fleshgrafting. Experimenting on those he has taken to perfect methods before adding the Troll’s Gland fleshgraft to himself. Yes, it is one of many things in a long list of things (he is a dragon after all), but the idea of seeing fleshgrafting brought to usage brought a smile to my face.

The Lord of Fangs CR 24, a freaking ninja….yeah, you read that, lol. Arkaz and Zakra, The Twins CR21…a two headed old red, with a very distinct set of two personalities in those heads of hers. Qux-Nurgesh, Man-Eater, the pygmy….lol…oh man, a pygmy dragon….love it!!!!! However, this dragon handed me the first true area of poor editing, a typo and duplication of a word. Not the worst mistake I have ever seen, but it is there. Tindertwig, a wyrmling rogue, taught by her father to function as a rogue amongst the human world she will have to deal with as well as simply being a dragon. Fell in love with her instantly, as will be introducing her into my campaign world very shortly.

Juerix the Lame CR10 just might be one of the oddest dragon concepts I have ever come across, and mainly for the sheer uniqueness of his circumstances. His egg was broken before he should have hatched, and was felt in the cold away from the warmth needed for the development of a young dragon. When discovered by his mother she intended to eat him as a loss for being flawed and lame but he bite her nose on his way to the maw sending him to his death. A mother’s love after all, and she allowed him to live within her lair, much as a mother with a child who will never fully mentally develop might never leave her home. Yeah, getting this now? He’s not the brightest crayon in the box, along with being physically diminished and wingless, but there is still a great deal of cool personality that makes him excellent for encounters. Am very impressed with the delicateness of handling the idea of a dragon birth with birth defects, this could have been a train wreck offending people easily, but came off instead as a character you can’t help but like, instantly. Well done, well done indeed.

Sparky the Chaos-Touched, and insane dragon….how can you not want to roleplay this???? I mean, seriously????? An INSANE DRAGON!!!!! I think I shall simply allow him to speak for himself, and I quote

"Fire so pretty. Sparky like fire. Sparky like pretty things. Pretty things burn. Then Sparky sad. Sparky hatch in fire. Pretty, pretty fire. Fire burn everything up, but not Sparky. Sparky swallow up the fire. Now it burns in Sparky’s head. Oh it burns! It burns, burns, burns…”

Like I said, how can you not want to unleash this on a playgroup when they need a night of being reminded that sometimes you are supposed to be having fun, lol.

The indexes bring us 7 templates (used throughout the book in the statblocks) as well as 11 feats (with one dealing with fleshgrafting that first appeared in the book #30 Fleshgrafts included here for the sake of those without the book). The spell Flesh Culture also appears here, previously from the #30 Fleshgrafts pdf as well. A simple and dirty breakdown for the rules for Domain Channeling from The Secrets of Divine Channeling/The Secrets of Adventuring are presented here closing out this pdf. Other of course for a few pages of ads and the OGL.

So, what have we got here, a couple of small hiccups in the editing, my personal opinion about the age of a dragon (which, to be true I could be wrong, it happens) and the rest pretty much all being win and confetti rainbows my friends. Yes, this collection will seriously increase your draconic population for your setting without requiring you to write up another handful of “Generic Dragon X” pages. As I stated at the beginning of this review, collections like this can easily end up a list of numbers and boring as watching water dry. Luckily, this is so far from that that this book ends up as one I highly recommend to any dragon loving fan of the mighty reptilian rulers of the food chain.

A well deserved 5 star rating, and well worth the cost of admission!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons (PFRPG)
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Infernal Romance at Moon Temple (AE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/15/2013 07:32:58
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure for the "Heroes of the Jade Oath"-supplement is 44 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 40 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



All right, still here? Once upon a time, Heng-O, Goddess of the Moon, broke the vase sealing dragon fire and her brothers promptly absconded with it, turning into no less than 10 suns, scorching the earth. When the archer Yi-Shan proposed a solution, he was granted leeway to do so and, thus, did he shoot down no less than 9 of these suns. As reward and at the same time just punishment, he was elevated to the celestial bureaucracy - as a demon. Not giving in to the temptations of the demon goddess Chang-Wu, he maintained a relatively pious life, for his claim lay not with the nether-realms, but with none other than Heng-O herself. After a sufficient courtship, the archer turned demon actually managed to beguile the goddess and hence, a marriage was proposed wherein both would partake in the elixir of immortality. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and thus, Chang-Wu lied to Heng-O, insinuating that her shawl had been enchanted by Yi-Shan.

Furious, the moon goddess thus imprisoned Yi-Shan in her shawl's extradimensional folds, drank both doses of the wedding's elixir and proceeded to ascend to the heavens. Chang-Wu, though, tried to steal the shawl and thus the man who had jilted her and Heng-O finally understood - though too late. In the ensuing battle, the shawl was torn. Crying bitter tears, the ascended Heng-O's grief threatened to drown the world in a vast flood, but thankfully, the Jade Emperor intervened by granting Yi-Shan immortality and make him the minister of the sun. Creating a temple on the cross of dragon lines, Yi-Shan would be able to escape his prison once every 8 lunar cycles and meet his beloved in said temple. Unfortunately, Heng-O's tears had already created a tidal wave threatening to crush the temple's site - hence Heng-O used her control over the tides to essentially freeze the flood wave in place. In order to free Yi-Shan from his prison, mortals must carry the pieces of the shawl through the temple's gates, though - and this ceremony, as appointed by the Jade Emperor, would become the Spring Moon Festival. All of this is provided in both read-aloud text and as a player's hand-out and makes for the background of the city of Langyin, over which the still frozen in place tidal wave has loomed since this mythical age.



The player characters arrive at this historic site in time for the festivities and, via numerous lore DCs, can unearth even more information on the uncommon city. As heroes are wont to, they are contacted by the Mandarin - unbeknownst to the public, one of the pieces of the shawl of the moon goddess has been stolen and the moon goddess may well show her displeasure by unfreezing the tidal wave if the ritual is not properly conducted. The officials have deducted that a participant of the festivities is probably the culprit and thankfully, the Dragon-Lion Dance combat tournament is today and the PCs can do some research here as well, bringing them up to snuff regarding the Cult of the Lost and the folk heroines of the Stone Monkey Maidens, who are in conflict with the local mandarin. The PCs will have to participate in the performance combat of the Dragon-Lion Dance for the honor of being chosen as Moon Hunters - and the combat follows interesting rules: The participants have to hold on to the dragon-lion costume, can't move fast and the lead performer needs to provide dancing steps and the lead also needs to hold a lantern in the dragon's mouth. Fighting is strictly non-lethal. The participating teams enter the arena (fully mapped, btw.) in a free for all, with each team having some modifications to the basic stats - a combat the PCs will definitely remember - it should be noted, though, that DM's should probably have some experience under their belt since the combat per se is a bit abstract - some additional guidance for the behavior of the various teams would have made running this easier. The second test would be a test in courting a spirit attendant in the Blue Tavern of Eight Tails - here, we essentially get a complex series of skill-checks and social interactions in a kind of ceremonial masquerade - here, persistence in spite of incompetence may be seen as a type of virtue in itself. 5 fully depicted NPCs, all with their own agendas and motivations await the PCs here and while the basic rules for the contest have some minor formatting glitches, overall this section should be considered rather enjoyable. Cara Bui, a shenxue courtier gets promptly kidnapped by Faen pirates as the PCs are busy and a wild chase ensues - a complex chase with various obstacles etc. that leads the PCs to the Wharf Towers, where they will have to free Cara Bui (said courtier) from the clutches of infamous Faen pirate Tiger Eye - only to have to realize that the two were former lovers and the courtier with the fake shawl.



In the meanwhile, the cult of the lost has taken control of the shawls not in the PC's possession and is on the way to the temple - a second chase will lead the PCs to the sacred site, where immortal, constantly resurrecting terracotta guardians and the insane undead mandragoran who fancies herself Chang-Wu are trying their hands at the ritual - in order to save the city, they will have to eliminate the undead creature and perform the proper rite themselves while being harried by the immortal guardians of the temple - a furious finale indeed.



The appendix contains the information for the moon shawls (including object loresight-info), two new combat rites, the new moon shenxue aspect as well as the template for becoming essentially a vampiric mandragoran and much of the origin myth is duplicated on a handy 1-page handout for players.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I did not notice any deficiencies in that department. Layout adheres to HotJO's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks are beautiful. The cartography in full color is player-friendly and extensive. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Author Frank Carr knows his lore - this module breathes high-fantasy WuXia-wonder in all the right ways and literally NONE of the encounters herein is anything less than high concept: This is a tour-de-force if there ever was one, one that breathes style and panache in every second. Genre-wise, this is a very much event-driven module that allows DMs to set up their own pace, but this is also a module that requires an experienced DM: The respective encounters are not that neatly tied together, the transitions very much remaining up to the DM, also due to the modular nature of the module which allows for various ways in which encounters can be drawn out or even cut from the module. This is no module for the faint of heart, but an experienced DM can create one glorious experience here - also one that could easily be run in the context of a convention.



Now usually, the weak transitions would see me rate this down more, but I honestly can't bring myself to do it - why? Because this module breathes the spirit of WuXia, of alien vistas and made me more excited for the Lands of the Jade Oath than I've been in quite a while for a setting, up to the point where I really wished there were more Jade Oath-adventures out there. It's that imaginative and cool and having played extensively in far eastern campaigns, this should be considered a joy in its potential. This being the original version of the module, the content works top-notch and is glorious. In fact, this module ranks as one of my favorite Arcana Evolved modules of all time and as one of my favorite eastern modules ever.

If you are not an experienced DM or very nitpicky about not wanting to work with transitions etc. then this is will prove to be very challenging indeed, though - still, one superb module and well worth 5 stars plus seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Infernal Romance at Moon Temple (AE)
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Infernal Romance at Moon Temple (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/15/2013 07:31:40
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure for the "Heroes of the Jade Oath"-supplement is 45 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 41 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



All right, still here? Once upon a time, Heng-O, Goddess of the Moon, broke the vase sealing dragon fire and her brothers promptly absconded with it, turning into no less than 10 suns, scorching the earth. When the archer Yi-Shan proposed a solution, he was granted leeway to do so and, thus, did he shoot down no less than 9 of these suns. As reward and at the same time just punishment, he was elevated to the celestial bureaucracy - as a demon. Not giving in to the temptations of the demon goddess Chang-Wu, he maintained a relatively pious life, for his claim lay not with the nether-realms, but with none other than Heng-O herself. After a sufficient courtship, the archer turned demon actually managed to beguile the goddess and hence, a marriage was proposed wherein both would partake in the elixir of immortality. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and thus, Chang-Wu lied to Heng-O, insinuating that her shawl had been enchanted by Yi-Shan.



Furious, the moon goddess thus imprisoned Yi-Shan in her shawl's extradimensional folds, drank both doses of the wedding's elixir and proceeded to ascend to the heavens. Chang-Wu, though, tried to steal the shawl and thus the man who had jilted her and Heng-O finally understood - though too late. In the ensuing battle, the shawl was torn. Crying bitter tears, the ascended Heng-O's grief threatened to drown the world in a vast flood, but thankfully, the Jade Emperor intervened by granting Yi-Shan immortality and make him the minister of the sun. Creating a temple on the cross of dragon lines, Yi-Shan would be able to escape his prison once every 8 lunar cycles and meet his beloved in said temple. Unfortunately, Heng-O's tears had already created a tidal wave threatening to crush the temple's site - hence Heng-O used her control over the tides to essentially freeze the flood wave in place. In order to free Yi-Shan from his prison, mortals must carry the pieces of the shawl through the temple's gates, though - and this ceremony, as appointed by the Jade Emperor, would become the Spring Moon Festival. All of this is provided in both read-aloud text and as a player's hand-out and makes for the background of the city of Langyin, over which the still frozen in place tidal wave has loomed since this mythical age.



The player characters arrive at this historic site in time for the festivities and, via numerous lore DCs, can unearth even more information on the uncommon city. As heroes are wont to, they are contacted by the Mandarin - unbeknownst to the public, one of the pieces of the shawl of the moon goddess has been stolen and the moon goddess may well show her displeasure by unfreezing the tidal wave if the ritual is not properly conducted. The officials have deducted that a participant of the festivities is probably the culprit and thankfully, the Dragon-Lion Dance combat tournament is today and the PCs can do some research here as well, bringing them up to snuff regarding the Cult of the Lost and the folk heroines of the Stone Monkey Maidens, who are in conflict with the local mandarin. The PCs will have to participate in the performance combat of the Dragon-Lion Dance for the honor of being chosen as Moon Hunters - and the combat follows interesting rules: The participants have to hold on to the dragon-lion costume, can't move fast and the lead performer needs to provide dancing steps and the lead also needs to hold a lantern in the dragon's mouth. Fighting is strictly non-lethal. The participating teams enter the arena (fully mapped, btw.) in a free for all, with each team having some modifications to the basic stats - a combat the PCs will definitely remember - it should be noted, though, that DM's should probably have some experience under their belt since the combat per se is a bit abstract - some additional guidance for the behavior of the various teams would have made running this easier. The second test would be a test in courting a spirit attendant in the Blue Tavern of Eight Tails - here, we essentially get a complex series of skill-checks and social interactions in a kind of ceremonial masquerade - here, persistence in spite of incompetence may be seen as a type of virtue in itself. 5 fully depicted NPCs, all with their own agendas and motivations await the PCs here and while the basic rules for the contest have some minor formatting glitches, overall this section should be considered rather enjoyable. Cara Bui, a shenxue courtier gets promptly kidnapped by Faen pirates as the PCs are busy and a wild chase ensues - a complex chase with various obstacles etc. that leads the PCs to the Wharf Towers, where they will have to free Cara Bui from the clutches of infamous Faen pirate Tiger Eye - only to have to realize that the two were former lovers and the courtier with the fake shawl.



In the meanwhile, the cult of the lost has taken control of the shawls not in the PC's possession and is on the way to the temple - a second chase will lead the PCs to the sacred site, where immortal, constantly resurrecting terracotta guardians and the insane undead mandragoran who fancies herself Chang-Wu are trying their hands at the ritual - in order to save the city, they will have to eliminate the undead creature and perform the proper rite themselves while being harried by the immortal guardians of the temple - a furious finale indeed.



The appendix contains the information for the moon shawls as well as the template for becoming essentially a vampiric mandragoran and much of the origin myth is duplicated on a handy 1-page handout for players.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I noticed some unfortunate formatting glitches, though none that deterred from my enjoyment of this module. Layout adheres to HotJO's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks are beautiful, though inexplicably pixelated in places - something not found in the Arcana Evolved original version of the module. The cartography in full color is player-friendly and extensive. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Author Frank Carr knows his lore - this module breathes high-fantasy WuXia-wonder in all the right ways and literally NONE of the encounters herein is anything less than high concept: This is a tour-de-force if there ever was one, one that breathes style and panache in every second. Genre-wise, this is a very much event-driven module that allows DMs to set up their own pace, but this is also a module that requires an experienced DM: The respective encounters are not that neatly tied together, the transitions very much remaining up to the DM, also due to the modular nature of the module which allows for various ways in which encounters can be drawn out or even cut from the module. This is no module for the faint of heart, but an experienced DM can create one glorious experience here - also one that could easily be run in the context of a convention.



Now usually, the weak transitions and minor formatting glitches here and there would see me rate this down more, but I honestly can't bring myself to do it - why? Because this module breathes the spirit of WuXia, of alien vistas and made me more excited for the Lands of the Jade Oath than I've been in quite a while for a setting, up to the point where I really wished there were more Jade Oath-adventures out there. It's that imaginative and cool and having played extensively in far eastern campaigns, this should be considered a joy in its potential. I should nitpick this one so much more, but its ambition and beauty, at least for me, offset this pdf's flaws like aforementioned formatting glitches or e.g. mentioned listen-checks which should read perception etc. For me as a person, this would then clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 - if you don't care about aforementioned glitches. If e.g. reading "listen check" annoys you or if e.g. the mentioning of a jump-check (when two lines before that, we were talking acrobatics...) annoy you, then detract 1 star. Especially when viewed back to back with the AE-original, this one feels a bit inferior.

If you are not an experienced DM or very nitpicky about not wanting to work with transitions etc. then this is not for you, though. One more note - Heroes of the Jade Oath is not an optional book to run this, in my opinion it is required. Also, if you're playing both Arcana Evolved and Pathfinder, go for the Arcana Evolved-version (which I've also reviewed) - its formatting is much better. In the end, my final verdict will be in-between a good and an ok offering, at 3.5 stars - As a reviewer, I will have to round down for the purpose of this platform, while still encouraging you to check this out - the concepts of the encounters alone are worth the asking price!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Infernal Romance at Moon Temple (PFRPG)
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Pathways #32 (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/08/2013 04:12:01
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The latest installment of Rite Publishing's "Pay-what-you-want"-e-zine is 41 pages long, 1 page front cover, 10 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 28 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



As has become the tradition with Pathways-magazines, David Paul kicks off this issue, this time asking for homebrews of monsters, where the PCs are not your usual guys - so have you created a scenario à la e.g. Hans Cumming's "Wings of Twilight"? If so, drop him a line!



Steven D. Russell's template of the month would be the Tempest-creature at CR +1 to 3 depending on HD. Exclusively CN or CE, these beings come not only with electricity attacks, but also with an aura them prevents 5-foot steps and which creates difficult terrain and also teleport when using electricity-effects or casting electricity spells and additionally, their attacks resound with deadly thunder - damn cool template, applied to a damn fine CR 24 Elysian Titan (ouch!). Furthermore, the entry comes with a cool level 9 spell of tempestuous destruction and a wind-based level 1 spell. really an awesome template here!



Next is a fluff-only article by Liz Winters, making a point for different game systems - 13th Age, Fate Core, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and Numenera. Definitely interesting for those not familiar with the systems/settings, though personally, I have issues with all but 13th Age, but hey, that's just subjective taste! I might also add the now by virtue of the Sword of Air-kickstarter free 0e retro-system "Swords & Wizardry" by Frog God Games for a nice change of pace away from simulation towards a more narrative system.



Creighton Broadhurst, mastermind of Raging Swan Press, once again has a lavishly detailed encounter all ready to go for you - this time driving the PCs to seek shelter with miserable weather, only to have them trapped underground by an earthquake! Getting out of the cave before everyone suffocates should prove to be an exciting task and various skills and difficulties are provided for you to choose from - this article alone is worth the space on your HD! Absolutely awesome and my favorite encounter Creighton has written for Pathways so far!



That's not all, though - Creighton Broadhurst and Will McAusland also have an article for players - about something my PCs learned the hard way - on how to properly run away! A nice article, especially for stubborn or inexperienced players.



Steven D. Russell continues his spree of providing new material for the excellent races provided in "In the Company of Monsters", this time with a total of 17 alternate racial traits for the Stonewarden gargoyles - and they actually universally are balanced, even the one that nest you SR, for it requires standard actions to temporarily lower it. The 14 favored class options include support for SGG's Armiger, Shadow Assassins, Time Thieves, Warmasters, Witch Hunters and Rite's own Divine Channeler and PDG/4WFG's Gladiator. Neat!



This issue's interview if with the master of Adventureaweek-com's blog, freelancer and self-publisher Mike Myler, whom I had the pleasure of working with, by the way - he's not only a talented designer, but an all-out nice guy! So take a look!



In the review section, we have Mike Knights, Megan Robertson and yours truly covering some of the best supplements recently released by 3pps.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch this time around - I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the original artwork by Ramses Mendelez is neat indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



From the template to the stonewarden support to Mike's interview and Creighton's superb encounter, this is one of my all-time favorite installments of Pathways - superb content for an unbeatable price, well worth the download and HD-space, this deserves 5 stars + seal of approval and would even make for a nice commercial purchase! If you concur upon downloading, drop the hardworking crew at Rite Publishing a tip!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #32 (PFRPG)
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In The Company of Medusa: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2013 05:05:38
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This new supplement in Rite Publishing's "In the Company of"-series is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, so let's take a look, shall we?



"We were born from blood and tears, venomous as jealousy." If you're like me, these words resonate - as has become the tradition with Rite Publishing's offerings, this pdf is written in in-character narratives, as told by characters to Qwillion of Queesthaven - and the prose here is...well AWESOME. The medusa-society is described in ample detail as per a schooling book/an instructor, including information on how to keep both scales and snake-hair proper and trim and keep the latter in control - fluff-wise, these paragraphs are pure gold; Take for example the mentioning of a bed of invisibility, hinted at , but never explicit elaborations of subtle and brute force ways of seduction... these pages reminded my pleasantly of Catherynne M. Valente's Orphan's Tales-series and author Liz Smith has indeed delivered pages that are not only a joy to read, but which breathe vast narrative potential for adventuring hooks, while, with the three dominant philosophies (Euryale, Sthennos and Medusa) covering all types of way of life/conceptions of how medusa act - kudos, but can the crunch live up to the fluff?.



Regular medusa get +2 to Con and Cha, -2 to Str, darkvision 60 ft., all-around vision, a secondary natural bite attack at 1d4, a poison (DC 10+1/2 HD+con-mod for 1d2, 6 rounds, cure 2 saves), immunity to medusa poison and the petrified condition with the exception of the own gaze and a petrification gaze - usable 1/day as a standard action, range 30 ft, save scales with HD and is based on cha. Said petrification, however, is not permanent until 11th level/HD and lasts until then 1 round per HD.



Greater Medusa get +2 to one ability score of their choice, darkvision 60 ft., all-around vision, 1d6 secondary natural attack with the same poison as their regular kin, the same immunities and petrification gaze, but also cannot be tripped due to a lower body of a snake - which conversely also precludes them from having a slot for feet.



We get age, height and weight tables for both and 15 (!!!) alternate racial traits - unfortunately, the very first would be alternate racial attribute modifications that have been mixed up - +2 Con and Cha, -2 Str replace..+2 Con, Cha, -2 Str? That ought to read something like +2 to Dex, at least judging from the text - unless, of course, said racial trait is intended exclusively for greater medusa - which I'll assume due to in dubio pro reo, even though the specifically mentioned attribute-suite belongs to the regular medusa. Another alternate trait nets +2 Con and Int, -2 Dex and getting augury and later divination or commune in lieu of darkvision is possible as well. Archery mastery with a chosen bow type (in exchange for poison) can also be found, as can a trait that nets the hold breath quality of amphibious creatures, +2 to swim and two secondary claw attacks at 1d4 in exchange for medusa immunities and all-around vision. Another trait allows the medusa to gain a point (up to a maximum of 10+HD) whenever they roll a "1" on an attack or saving roll, with the option to exchange a point for +1 on an attack or saving roll - nice for unlucky players. +2 to saves versus necromantic spells or cha-based skill checks (regular medusa only) as well as three traits representing aforementioned 3 philosophies can be found herein, as can one that sees a medusa ritualistically shave her hair in exchange for the extra hex or extra malediction-feat - cool 3pp-synergy here.



We also get a suggestion of suitable archetypes (nice, seeing how many are out there) and favored class options for Alchemist, Bard, Druid, hellion (by SGG), Magus, Malefactor (by TPK Games), Occultist (Pact Magic by Radiance House), Oracle, Ranger, Rogue, Sorceror, Shaman (by Kobold Press) and witch -Very cool to see this level of support for some of the finest 3pp-classes out there!



Of course, we also get 2 unique racial archetypes, with the first being the gorgonic shaman for the druid -these shamans are restricted in their choice of companion and get impeded wild-shape, but also learn to commune with the earth (making catching them by surprise HARD unless flying) to temporarily take on an improved aspect that allows them to temporarily enhance their own body with a variety of special tricks - from uncommon speeds to a temporary petrification stare up to natural weapons, this archetype allows other characters to take on a semblance of being medusa-like or medusa to offset some of the losses they may have incurred via the choice of their alternate racial traits - nice indeed, as it conjures up images of a society of servants striving to take on aspects of their mistresses...



Sorcerors may opt to become stone-eyed sorcerors, who may supplement their body temporarily with the fortification quality to nondetection and similar defensive qualities.



The star herein, though, is the racial paragon-class for the medusa - this 20-level class gets d10, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons plus longbow, shortbow, rapier, scimitar, shortsword, light armor and their own bite and tail if applicable (i.e. if the character is a greater medusa). The class gets full BAB-progression, good ref and will-saves and the poison of the medusa scales up from 1d3 str to 1d8 str as well as +4 natural armor at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level and every 3 levels after that. Medusa paragon of first level can fascinate foes not in combat within 50 feet by using the hypnotic wriggling of their hair as a standard action, learning to fascinate more adversaries at higher levels, also benefitting from improved reactions to them. And no, not overpowered since it doesn't work in combat and upon a successful save, the ability stops to function versus that foe for 24 hours. Now if you were underwhelmed by the gaze attack of the base medusa races, you'll enjoy the fact that petrification gazes vastly improved over the course of the class, gaining an additional use at 7th level and becoming continuous at 10th level. Rather cool, at even higher levels, their gaze can turn mud or quicksand into rock (think about it: vast planes of quicksand, with rocky palaces crafted in a waveless sea of sand), selective gaze (at 16th level) and may even animate the statues that once were the victims of their gaze to fight for them at 18th level - rather cool.



At 3rd level, they also grow to large size and learn to use their hair to manipulate or hold items (leaving hands free for e.g. two-handed large weapons...ouch...) and at 6th level, medusa may extend their hair to grapple foes at range (25 ft. +5/2 levels) - and you'd expect me to scream "OP" here, but the fact that moving or pinning foes is not possible as well as the fact that sunder-attempts versus your hair count as attacks versus you should limit the usability of this ability, though I do get some headaches when thinking about the hair extending from the body counting as part of the character and the potential for attacks on it - clarification on how to resume this/perhaps a scaling mechanic for sundering strands of hair would have gone a long way here - especially since at higher levels, constricting, pulling and even strangling foes garrote-style via hair also are possible and at this point, the range-grappling component, limited though it may be, gets rather complex.



As 2nd level and every 3 levels of the class after that, the medusa also gets one of the medusa talents from 20 talents - these include further ability growth, a bonus feat, blindsense, climb speed, the constrict special quality, may grow wings (and learn to use them as weapons) and learn to tail-slap (which is btw. required for grabbing, constricting etc.) as well as gain stone-related tricks and movement and gazes. The capstone is an outsider transformation, including DR 15/ epic good/evil, depending on alignment - but what about neutral medusa?



We also get a feat for an extra medusa talent and the half-medusa CR+1 template.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect, I did notice a couple of minor glitches. Layout adheres to a unique full-color two-column standard with green, scaled borders and the pdf offers neat full-color artworks -especially cool at this low, fair price-point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Author Liz Smith has woven a yarn that ranks very highly indeed, with superb fluff drawing you deep into the race - even if you're just looking for inspiration for a culture, this serves the role superbly. Crunch-wise, the offering is solid indeed, though the ranged grappling feel a bit problematic depending on your campaign's power-level. The racial paragon class and the greater medusa both feel a bit like on the strong side of the power-level, with the class allowing you to become a true melee grappling/constricting threat that may rend foes asunder. That being said, I did not consider any part of the crunch herein broken or overpowered per se - the overall combination of them may be a bit much for some campaigns, though. The regular medusa, on the other hand, is completely fine with me and could potentially see uses in all but the most low-powered campaigns. The minor glitches here and there and the slightly high power-level for my tastes and the fact that the range-grappling could use some minor clarification are, however, the only complaints I can muster against this pdf - especially the superb writing offsetting these minor flaws in my book, thus seeing me settle on a final verdict of 4 stars - especially the proper implementation of snake hair and gaze attacks without unhinging the game deserving accolades for the author.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Medusa:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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The Demolished Ones (Fate)
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2013 09:21:45
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=40343.

Few games are capable of deeply exploring what drives a character while at the same time completely discouraging any kind of back story from the players. The Demolished Ones is a game where players must put a lot of trust into their GM and the writers of the module to create a compelling experience of self-revelation. Players won’t like what they discover about their characters, but then again, that’s kind of the point of the game – discovery. This is a game that revolves around a big secret, and it’s pretty tough to talk about it without at least touching on that secret. You have been warned.

The Demolished Ones is a fantastic little book that offers the best way I’ve ever read to introduce your players to the world of the Fate RPG system. If you’re not familiar with Fate, it’s an abstract, rule-medium system that has become quite popular recently, in no small part thanks to the massively-successful Kickstarter campaign from Evil Hat Productions, the creators of Fate. Since the demise of the glut of d20 products of the late 90′s and early 00′s, Fate is one of the systems among a handful of options available to third-party publishers. It’s a difficult game system to describe in just a few words, but the important thing to note is that it’s highly-adaptable and perfect for pulpy action. You can mold Fate to do many, many different things, and the folks at Rite Publishing appeared to have designed the perfect introduction to the basic game mechanics.

So what is this big secret of the game? Let me start with the premise. The characters wake in a room with a dead man and no sense of who they are or why they’re there. Through the course of the game, they discover the secrets of the Domed City (the setting of The Demolished Ones), the ones who put them in this situation, and of themselves. Here’s the thing though, can they trust what they find out, or is just another layer of illusion – another lie? If you’re familiar with the movie Dark City, you’ll see that The Demolished Ones owes a lot of its inspiration to it. Of course, while Dark City may appear quite original, it shares a lot in common with some universal themes of deception, deceit, and out-right subjugation of one’s will to a more powerful, malevolent being. These themes pop up in other movies where reality is hidden under an illusion for the purposes of control.

Reality is what you make of it. This is a central theme of the game and the story. It’s a particularly strong theme to match up with the rules of Fate. Fate offers players the freedom to create or discover new aspects of their environment, sharing some of the responsibility of setting the scene and telling the story. This translates well to the story because players will discover that their characters eventually have the power to actually change reality around them; at a price. As they discover more about their past, what they were supposed to be, they’ll gain power and abilities in the game as well. It’s a very tidy way to tie story and mechanics together for a powerful effect on the players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demolished Ones (Fate)
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