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Purple Mountain III: The Feasting
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2013 10:12:38
This module is 44 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages SRD, leaving us with 40.5 pages of content for this module, so let’s check this out!

This being an adventure-module, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.

All right, still here? The third level of Purple Duck Games’ megadungeon Purple Mountain could be transported to any subterranean location and is, like the other modules, modular enough to fit into your setting, though author Perry Fehr has managed to steep the locale in Porphyra-lore, the default world of PDG. Now, in Porphyra, the NewGod war has shaken the world to its core and seen the advent of a plethora of gods that supplanted the old elemental lords. One such lord, vanquished, slumbers in this level – or at least a fragment of him in the form of a sentient, dangerous crystal.

Now the level is much more sandboxy than previous levels of Purple Mountain and makes ample use of author Perry Fehr’s biggest strength (as far as I could glean from the Fehr’s Ethnology-series): The crafting of intriguing, believable societies. In fact, we get two different societies that inhabit the level: First of which would be the morlocks, degenerates now under the command of Nemyth Vaar, the nemesis, one of the rather cool gods of Porphyra (see also Gods of Prophyra/The Open Faiths Project for one of the coolest pantheons out there) and a consummate survival-of-the-fittest betrayer of double-edged gifts and dealings. However, to make matters more complicated, a faceless stalker has taken control of the morlock tribe and managed to, at least for now, take control of the degenerate creatures. Nemyth Vaar, not pleased, has since started sending mephits and similar beings to the sweltering caves (which also feature a lava river…). The truly despicable thing about these morlocks, though, is how they treat the mongrelmen, the second (and albeit weird and disgusting, actually rather pitiful and hospitable) group that inhabits these caverns:

Using the a dread bell, the morlocks have been instigating a tradition to feats upon the weak-willed mongrelmen, charming them via the Tolling of their bell to wander straight into their claws, thinking their charmed fellows wander off to a better existence. The contradictions between the naïve and charming, yet still potentially lethal mongrelmen society with threats from devil fish and other predators and the usurped morlock society that has stooped to lows even for their kind is striking and evocative, with ample chances for social interaction. Better yet, a mongrelman oracle plans on sacrificing magic items to aforementioned crystal – with potentially dreadful consequences, since it is definitely a most inappropriate item that will result in the summoning of a vast gibbering mouther that could empty the caverns if the PCs don’t intercede. And all of that BEFORE unique properties and hazards like strange mushrooms, weird rituals to Nemyth Vaar, the option to get a traitorous raven as a pseudo-familiar and oh so much more unique interesting bits and pieces come along. Have I mentioned e.g. the holes that feature the little locklings, a rather wicked (though not particularly lethal) hazard?

Better yet, the module also comes with a fully depicted, iconic obsidian legendary sword of Nemyth Vaar, new spells, all statblocks collated, lists of XP etc. for maximum ease of usability. Combines with the keyless high-res jpeg-player-maps of the complex, this leaves nothing to be desired on a comfort-level.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s two-column standard and the read-aloud text now is clearly offset against the regular text. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and with aforementioned player-maps.
Wow. It is not often that I enjoy an underdark/dungeon module – they all too often feel like lazy versions of surface societies and power-structures. Not so here. Author Perry Fehr has managed to create a smart, concise, iconic, alien and weird 2-page-map complex of interlinked societies and traditions that should be considered not only a call-back to the great classics, but an overall fun time for all involved, oozing with interesting opportunities and options for further development. While working fine on its own in some depth (it shouldn’t be adjacent to the surface), the module truly shines in the context of the underdark/underworld and takes terrain, environmental factors etc. into account. If you don’t like the Nemyth Vaar-angle, you could easily replace him with e.g. a waspy goddess in Golarion (or a certain mother of monsters) and easily move this to just about any other campaign world.

Modular, smart, professionally presented and featuring a nice array of neat bonus content, this level of purple mountain deserves my hearty recommendation and 5 stars + seal of approval. If you’ve been on the edge about the series until now, give this a shot.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Mountain III: The Feasting
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Items of Power and Ambition
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2013 05:18:52
This pdf is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover/editorial, 1 blank page, ½ a page SRD and a cove page as a separate jpg, leaving us with 21 ½ pages of content, so let’s check this out!

Being a collection of loosely-themed magic items connected by a common theme of being created for/by rulers and their servants, the pdf kicks off with shields and armors, providing 6 different ones – there would be the armor of Mars, which reduces the first crit the wielder suffers each day to a normal hit, a half-plate that gets another +1 when mounted and does not impede the rider when riding and then, with the mariner’s shield, we get the first item I’d actually consider interesting: We get a heavy wooden shield +1, but one that actually is buoyant and may support a grown man and thus keep him from drowning. A GREAT idea! The excellent full-color artwork provided helps to entice one to the item as well – it reminded me of the Iron Isle’s crest of house Greyjoy. Now Mathilda’s Shield has nothing to do with a particularly bright young girl and weird powers, but rather is a shield that can extend its protective capabilities to adjacent creatures and allows the wearer to punish those who would attack innocents via AoOs. The Shield of the People is a symbol of revolution and becomes much stronger when leading a group of people. It also has the option to grant rather significant bon uses for one combat via a rousing speech by the wielder. The Skirmisher’s shield absorbs some damage from magic missiles and 1/day makes the wielder faster.

The section on weapons kicks off with two new qualities: Steady weapons (+5000GP) grant the wielder further +1 to atk when braced and the option to AoO a charging foe and save at +6 vs. breaking due to impact. Wicked weapons enhance their damage die by one step and cost either +1 bonus or +6000GP, depending on base damage. After these qualities, we’re off to a very cool hand crossbow that can be assembled and disassembled fast into innocuous bits and which may also shoot silencing bolts a limited amount of times per day – Assassin’s Friend indeed! The Battle Staff works as a mace that can be extended to a quarterstaff. Okay, I guess. The Cat’s Paw is a foldable dagger that can greatly enhance your thieving skills.

It is after that that we get one of the most iconic magic items I’ve seen in a while: The Centipede Net – lavishly illustrated with a disturbing full-color image, the weapon not only seeks to subdue those it captures – if one tries to cut oneself free, the loosened centipedes turn into fiendish centipedes that attack. Have I mentioned that the net repairs itself? Cool, disturbing, evocative. The Crytsal Ice Stiletto is also rather smart – an enchanted cylinder that, when the command words are uttered, can create a magical stiletto when filled with liquid. Said stiletto degenerates in power over 10 rounds before it melts away – yet another great tool for killers. The Demon Death Dagger also has an interesting unique ability – once per moon cycle, a wound struck by the weapon is a bleeding wound and for each round the victim bleeds, dretches are summoned to do the bidding of the dagger’s master. In direct comparison, the Disciplinarion’s Baton, which grants bonuses to intimidate and a temporal morale bonus, feels bland.

Dragon Claw staves can be used as either scythes or quarterstaffs and are tuned to an appropriate element that they can add to damage. Dragonpoints are used to modify other weapons and add dragon-appropriate minor elemental damage to the respective weapon. Against particular bloodlines, though, they and their greater cousins are truly devastating. The Dragon Spine-Maul allows the wielder to name a foe and gain a single-minded determination to slay that foe. The Evergreen Staff of Spring, blessed by the Fae, can lead to their court and protect the wielder from the elements, while the fate-cutting arrows are truly magical and cool: By spilling blood (1 Con damage) and a year of the archer’s life, the arrow can be made a +2 named-bane wounding arrow that ignores DR, halves range penalties AND adds the Cha-bonus, if positive, to crit confirmations. VERY cool! The Fever Blade also rocks – not only is this blade the bane of casters (who find fousing while feverish hard), the blade also allows its wielder to go into a Veitstanz-like fever trance that makes him faster and deadlier, but also knocks him out afterwards and deals con-damage…

Flashing spears can change between short and long spear – lame. Not lame at all, though, would be the Flying Tiger’s Sword, which enhances WuXia-like stunts you might wish to make. Ghoul’s Claws may transmit your touch attacks via the blade (something players should imho NOT get a hold of) and there also is a magical bamboo spear that may sprout more spears and a halberd keyed to protecting a particular bloodline is especially effective when protecting members of it. Among the cooler items, there’s also a bow that, when touched to a tree, causes the tree to grow arrows that are particularly effective versus undead when fired from the bow. Javelin-fighters should rejoice, by the way – 5 new javelins are included herein, including a good reasoning for pricing them like ammunition (unless they do not break). Ever wanted a blade that can turn into a lightning bolt? Well, there’s one in here as well, as are viper arrows, enchanted sling-stones, cesti and even a whip-sword! And no, I didn’t mention all items.

Up to now, I went through the items piece by piece to allow you to make up your mind on how you’d like them – in the section on the wondrous items, I’m only, also for sake of brevity, gong to mention some of the items I considered distinct: Take for example the Golem Helmet, suitable for elite taskforces since it deadens the emotional capabilities of the wearer and increases analytical prowess of the wearer, making the wearer great at performing tasks that would otherwise shake them to the core. Or take Odalam’s Ward, keyed to a structure and allowing you to look at any point of the structure as if standing there, thus making it great to react to threats. We also get magical saddles, a stylus that shields the owner, an amulet to silence impertinent subjects, a magical cravat and rings that allow you to avoid geas and quests.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s 2-column standard and the full color artworks provided for some of the items are BEAUTIFUL – Tamás Baranya has done a great job. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for maximum ease of use and the pdf, like all PDG-offerings, is also relatively small, fitting on mobile devices.

I’m not a big fan of regular magic item collections. All too often, they just don’t elicit excitement from me, feel like something churned out and lack…well, magic. Add to that the fact that I prefer less and instead powerful items and you’ll realize what exactly made me appreciate PDG’s acclaimed “Legendary”-series so much. That being said, Sean Holland has managed quite a feat with this pdf and delivers an array of items that one and all have something going for them. Granted, not all of them excited me, but most of them did – be it via non-numerical benefits like floating on water or leading to the fae courts or mechanical ones like the awfully delightful centipede-web I can’t wait to inflict on one of my players – especially since we play with my homebrew insanity-rules and the character has a crippling phobia of insects… Add to that items like Helms of the Golem (which should be fitting for a certain former elite-squad of Korvosa to far-out items, I can pronounce that there is a surprising number of winners among these items that should put a smile upon a DM’s face. Since I honestly and against my expectation really enjoyed reading this pdf and since I consider Sean Holland’s offering here to be among the crème of magic item books and since I don’t have anything to complain about on a production quality-level, I will grant this pdf the full 5 stars – well done indeed and I look forward to a potential sequel, especially if such a sequel can get rid of the few fillers that are all that make me withhold my seal of approval for now.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Items of Power and Ambition
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Legendary I: Legendary Blades [PFRPG]
by Zachary H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/18/2013 19:34:29
This is a small, but truly enjoyable resource for Pathfinder. There's a lot packed into the 40-odd pages of this product, with each of the blades distinct and ready-made for a legacy weaponry role. Players should actually love the fact these blades will develop with them. It's pretty clear Purple Duck has a very good grasp on what makes Pathfinder work, and that helps make this product an excellent addition for any campaign looking for a weaponry "boost" or suitable legendary blade for questing and the like.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary I: Legendary Blades [PFRPG]
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[Icons] Heroic Moments: The Possession of Dr. Diamond
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2013 21:03:44
In this single-scene scenario, a supervillainous plot goes horribly wrong, creating even more problems than if the supervillain had simply succeeded. With a reasonably interesting villain and a combat encounter that’s more than just throwing punches, “The Possession of Dr. Diamond” definitely adds up to fun, and in terms of its storyline it’s a worthy addition to the Heroic Moments line. The formatting is clean and usable but uninspired and uninspiring, but Brian Brinlee’s illustration of Dr. Diamond is rather nice. In Dr. Diamond’s stat block, his origin is out of place (stuck smack in the middle of his qualities). Punctuation is used inconsistently, and there are a few other grammatical and formatting issues, but nothing too disruptive. I’m not sure why p. 1 proclaims this an “ashcan” supplement; that term usually implies a prepublication version or work in progress. These weaknesses do limit my rating to four stars, but the bottom line is that “The Possession of Dr. Diamond” gives the GM a good return on investment. In fact, it plants the seeds for an even longer series of encounters with Dr. Diamond, perhaps a whole issue fleshing out Diamond’s reputation and transformation. It’s definitely worth the price and few ICONS GMs will regret buying it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[Icons] Heroic Moments: The Possession of Dr. Diamond
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Fehr's Ethnology: Dragonblood [PFRPG]
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/11/2013 11:52:33
My son loves Dragonborn. He plays Skyrim because there is a "dragonborn" in that. He wanted to get all the Doctor Who episodes on DVD that feature the Draconians, and in every game we play that is the character race he wants.
Well...not every game has them. Good thing for him is that Purple Duck is here to help.

This one is pretty good really. Nice art, clear easy to read text and 7 pages of content (1 full page art, 1.5 of OGL and ads for 10 total pages). Simple race rules with not a lot of fluff, but a lot of crunch. There are some alternate racial characteristics and some feats. There are class suggestions and suggestions on play. For 10 pages it is really packed full. My son has been using this in our 3.x game now for a bit and we like it the most out of the many free options we have also found. At $1.25 it is an absolute steal.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fehr's Ethnology: Dragonblood [PFRPG]
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Fehr's Ethnology: Urisk [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2013 03:46:25
This pdf is 8 pages long, 1/3 page editorial, ~1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with about 6 1/6 pages of content for the Urisk, so what are these beings?

Essentially, the Urisk-race is of the fey-type, get +2 to Dex and Con, -4 to Cha, low-light vision, 1/2 their level as DR/cold iron, 1/2 level fire resistance, 1/day faerie fire, 1d6 gore natural attack with full damage bonus and 1d4 hoof-secondary attacks. They incur a -2 penalty with attacks with manufactured weapons and gain +4 to stealth in mountainous/hilly terrain. The race comes with full age, height and weight-tables and they essentially can be considered bovine fey hillbillies. Yeah. I couldn't believe it either first but then thought: Actually, damn cool!

The race comes with 4 race traits that allow them to use guidance 1/day, losing the penalty with manufactured weapons, +1 to all saves for a year, +1 to sleight of hand and initiative. There also are 6 new alternate racial traits for the race that include e.g. replacing fire resistance with climbing speed and +8 to climbing.

The pdf also has 6 different racial feats, allowing them to daze opponents with bluff, but each opponent only once in 24 hours. Now, the Dance of the Fey-feat is strange: 1/day you can substitute your BAB for an equal competence bonus to AC. Does the character lose the substituted bonus to BAB? For how long? I don't have the slightest idea how this feat was supposed to work. Another feat helps the race influence commoners and experts (being useless and too weak for players), heal yourself in limited ways via exposure to fire, while yet another feat grants 3 feats after 4 hours of meditation, but only for 1 hour - interesting - but oh so open to terrible, terrible, terrible abuse and unbalanced like all hell. The final feat adds +2 to CMD vs. trip, overrun and bull rush.

As all pdfs of the series, we get information on the race's stance on classes as well as 6 favored class options and a sample urisk witch.
Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's two-column standard and the 1-page full color artwork of the Urisk is neat. Very cool - even though the pdf is short, it is fully bookmarked. Kudos!

Fey-type. Scaling DR AND resistance AND options to get rid of the penalty with manufactured weapons? And ALSO spell-like abilities AND two types of natural weapons???? Not gonna happen in my game and I won't even start to elaborate in how many ways this is broken. This race is too strong for my tastes and needs some kind of weakness to offset its powerful abilities. Also, its "Dance of the Fey"-feat is unbalanced and needs clarification on how it's supposed to work. After the recent rather well-made entries into the series, the Urisk, while cool in concept feels terribly like an unbalanced Mary-Sue-race that can do anything better than standard races. Since I consider the Urisk broken as written, I have to warn you away from it - check out some other installments of the series - there are better ones out there. My final verdict, until this has been revised, will be 1.5 star, rounded down to 1.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Fehr's Ethnology: Urisk [PFRPG]
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Encounter Pages II [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2012 05:46:33
This pdf is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 26.5 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Now what exactly do we get? Essentially a collection of encounters to be inserted into your campaign, much like Raging Swan's "Random X Encounter"-line. The encounters span the CR-range from 1 to 15 and come with full stats for uncommon creatures. Some of the stats deviate from bestiary II or III standards since the creatures are taken from Tricky Owlbear's stellar monster-book "Forgotten Foes". That out of the way, here we go!

So what are the encounters? We get a chef attacked by killer frogs (he ordered large frog legs and tsathoggua was not pleased), a merchant that sells devil-possessed dolls, a parade of captive orcs in the streets, a hall with stranded ethereal travelers, a rich merchant's daughter whose refusal to clean her room created (with a rod of wonder) a junk elemental, a vegepygmy/shrieker symbiotic relation, planar portals guarded by greymalkin, arrowhawks defending their floating eggs (Genius!), mermaids who are not what they seem, the maze of a Shedu, mining camps besieged by spider eaters, nightgaunts guarding portals of time, a beastmaster's performance going horribly wrong, help a two-headed troll solve cyclopean riddles, vanquish water demons, greater basilisks and snake-like inphidians, prevent a bodak's murder-spree, test their mettle in the arena vs. amazons, help, hinder or attack a special marut called Red Hand and resolve a dispute between tritons and locathath.

*breathes deeply* Furthermore, the pdf also contains 7 spells.

Conclusion:
editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked. The stock-artworks are nice and production-value-wise, I can't complain.
In contrast to Raging Swan Press' offerings, these encounters are less tied to terrain, more versatile and easy to insert, but pay this versatility with being more generic, since they lack the terrain-features and similar complications. What this pdf does to offset this minor downside is interesting: Each of the encounters comes with 3 complications for the DM to make the encounters more complex. This simple, yet effective method alongside the creativity and sometimes tongue-in-cheek humor of a couple of the encounters makes this a very solid addition to a GM's library. While not on par with e.g. the by now legendary "Caves & Caverns", this is still a purchase DMs should definitely contemplate and thus will clock in at a solid verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Encounter Pages II [PFRPG]
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Legendary VII: More Legendary Items
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2012 09:33:04
This pdf is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages SRD, 2 pages advertisement, leaving us with 30 pages of content for new legendary items, so let's check these out!

If by now you don't know what legendary items and pieces of equipment are, you should definitely check out Purple Duck Games' whole product range - they essentially are weapons, armors, shields and miscellaneous items that are not your run-of-the-mill magic Walmart-crap, but unique items that improve with your character-levels, gaining new and often unique powers. If you are familiar with the 3.5-book Weapons of Legacy by WotC, think Weapons of Legacy minus penalties and suckage.

All right, this general introduction out of the way, the items usually improve every second character level, though the first slew of non-combat items provided by PDG only had 5 improvement-steps instead of 10. Now how do these new ones hold up in direct comparison? Well, we're off to a good start with an item so iconic I was actually asking myself why no-one bothered to do it before -we get an enchanted broom for witches! The Broom enhances flying acrobatics, improves hex-DCs and finally even allows witches to form coven sans hags. Very cool! It should also be noted that each item in this book is lavishly illustrated in full color, with the broom being no exception and looking rather awesome. The crusader's banner, its fluff rooted in Prophyra's NewGod-war, is also interesting in that its properties are a collection of knight's pennon and lord's banner-abilities - unique abilities instead of collecting several others would have been preferable, though - as written, the item lacks a unique signature ability that sets it distinctly apart.

Next is the Eye of Plaetius, a crystal ball that provides us with all the divinatory needs we'd expect to see (get it? *EZG puts 2 bucks in the bad pun jar*) and while its fluff is again interesting, the ball allows the user to combine e.g. telepathy and true seeing with scrying, which allows for nice gaslighting options for sadistic DMs. The item also grants access to the new "Sun's Brilliance"-spell, essentially a lesser type of daylight. Now the Favor of Kalashi is interesting in all ways: This quiver not only comes with nice fluff, produces ammunition etc., it also grants the user the option to deal elemental damage and grants a pool of hunter's points the bearer can use to temporarily enhance ranged weapons (even stacking on preexisting plusses!) and add the equivalent of progressively better enhancements to the respective ranged weapons. Nice ideas, mechanically solid and cool. Neat!

We also get a flagon that starts off as a decanter of endless water and later allows its wielder to produce sweet wine or oil, and later even tidal waves and the summoning of water elementals. Two spells granted by the item are part of the deal - including the option to summon a fully statted water dragon that even gets a neat full color artwork. For campaigns in the far north, the boots of Giald should not be left under the polar bear-rug - after all, they allow the user to raise igloos and even castles of ice! Beware of Dwarven Ice Wights, though! And what about a hat of tricks that may later gate things and beings in?

There is also a sinister necromancer's cauldron that may raise the dead (though its use should drive sweat to e.g. paladin brows), but where the items kick into full gear is with the Mechanism of Torl that kicks off as a new vehicle (again, with all required stats) and develops into two other vehicles, one of which is an apparatus of the crab and there also are special abilities. EPIC WIN!
The boots called Orphan's Rise are all about acrobatics, agility, tightrope mastery etc. - and perhaps it's me, but I immediately had a Dickens-style-story in the back of my head after reading the entry - beyond that, the boots are a godsend for catburglars.

There also are halfling gloves that deflect arrows and make all weapons return to the owner as if they possessed the quality. And then, there's the Rod of Bound Chaos, which deserves special elaboration: Working as both a weapon and an improving rod of wonders, this weapon spans more than 3 pages with random enhancements beyond the versatility of the of basic item-classes it's based on, all but ensuring that the weapon is not the same on any given day. Have I mentioned the vampire's cloak that allows all the iconic vampiric hovering and flying and multiple bat-related abilities? Or the horn that can summon the legendary boar of the Great Hunt, Goldenmane?

Finally, we get a severed hand that improves hand-related spells.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's 2-column standard and the full color artworks deserve special mention - at this price-point, the items are rivaled only by LPJr Design's Treasures of NeoExodus-line. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and it should be mentioned that it is relatively printer-friendly, sans background.
WOW! The Legendary Series never fails to satisfy my constant hunger for more of these neat items and this one in particular has some items that teem with creativity, iconicity and coolness without resorting to tried, true and boring territory. The mutable vehicle in particular is pure gold - every adventurer group should have one! Now while I'm still not a fan of the 5-level progression of many of these items, there also can be found several in here that adhere to the 10-level standard and thus, I won't hold it against the pdf: Better 5 good abilities than 10 with a 50%-bland-quote.

I'm happy to report that this pdf fails utterly in being bland, though - instead providing us with one of the best installments of the legendary-series released so far. Author Josh McCrowell did a great job and only due to the banner e.g. falling slightly short of what it could have been (it's still good) will omit my seal of approval. My final verdict thus clocks in at a very easily given 5 stars and an all-out purchase-recommendation.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary VII: More Legendary Items
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Stock Art: Iron Lich
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2012 04:51:41
Images that instantly spark an entire adventure always earn a special place with me, and this is one of those images. This picture cost me an entire night of sleep, as the second I saw it that hamster started running and the wheels started turning. By morning I had a full adventure fleshed out and written, all centered around the character this image inspired. A very cool not so typical fantasy image that shows off how cool stock art can be.

Love this image.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Iron Lich
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Stock Art: Evil Tree
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2012 03:36:10
Creepy Tree what?? OK, so a creepy old tree is a pretty basic image yes? Yes. But the devil is in the details with this one, the eyes, the skull...the fact that the tree looks like it's getting ready to reach out and grab someone. Perfect image for those needing to set a darker theme for a story.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Evil Tree
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Stock Portraits: Female Half-Elf
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2012 03:15:04
A perfect image for portraying either elven or half-elven. Clean lines and good imagery, exactly what one wants from their stock art.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Portraits: Female Half-Elf
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AL3: Through the Cotillion of Hours [DCC]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2012 05:11:10
This pdf is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This being a locale/adventure-sourcebook, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! This pdf can be considered a sidequest that can be inserted into your DCC-campaign as soon as the players have a significant quest on their hands - they are invited to the Cotilion of Somnos, the dreaming god and petition the god to fulfill their request.

Rather interestingly, the characters may encounter dream analogues of themselves, warped by dreamstuff and wearing masks - for example a cat-mask means that the respective character's otherwise identical analogue is of the opposite gender and strangely alluring to the character, while harlequin masks mean that the respective character's alignment is reversed. Now while that is unusual, more unusual is that splitting the party actually makes sense and that the module is supposed to be interspersed throughout multiple dreams, essentially constituting a dream-adventure in addition to regular explorations. Beyond this, time is also highly malleable, resulting is spells gaining instantaneous durations or having a spell last until the respective caster leaves the room, resulting in phenomena of fireballs hanging mid-air and similar appropriately weird modifications. Death in dreams may send you into a permanent coma and spellburn and patron favors extend from dreams to the real world.

The location of Somnos' Cotilion is iconic to say the least, allowing the characters to dance with their nightmares, navigate an endless hallway, engage in intimate liaisons, experience weird memories that may or may not belong to you. The players may also find a fountain of strange statues devoted to cats (including a potentially deadly alien cat) and finally navigate the great ballrooms, dance with goat-footed musicians and dance the waltz of years that erodes away their personality. In order to reach Somnos, though, they will have to answer (or vanquish) the deadly dream ghouls that feats on the years and best their own pallid reflections.

Information to invoke Somnos as a patron is included in the pdf as well, as are three versions of the maps as high-res jpegs for VTT-use - with and without DM-map keys. Neat!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked. Artworks are nothing to write home about, but reminiscent of old-school modules and rather neat when taking the low price into account. Wow! Daniel J. Bishop has not only created a hauntingly iconic sidetrek that oozes creativity, he has done so with flair and elegance, showing a working knowledge of the DCC-rules and providing a locale that is simple excellent and awesome. Even if you don't use the DCC-rules, you will still find oh so deliciously many awesome ideas herein that a purchase is not only a good idea, but actually wholeheartedly recommended by me, especially at the very low and fair price of admission. My final verdict will be 5 stars +endzeitgeist seal of approval.
Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AL3: Through the Cotillion of Hours [DCC]
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Fehr's Ethnology: Zendiqi [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2012 02:57:59
This installment of the Fehr's Ethnology-series is 11 pages long, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement and combined logo/editorial/etc 1/2 a page, leaving us with approximately 8.5 pages of content, so let's check these out!

The Zendiqi, as becomes readily apparent from the short, aptly-written fluffy introduction, are a sub-breed of humans influenced by their very distinct culture: The Zendiqi were actually the native population of the now-patchwork-world Porphyra before the NewGod-war that forever changed the setting. Culturally, they are atheists worshipping the elemental forces and fighting against the agents of the divine ad the incursions of the humanoids that have invaded and conquered and forever changed their lands.

Zendiqi get + 2 to an ability-score of their choice, + 1 to atk vs. gnomes and dwarves, +4 on con-checks and fort-saves to avoid fatigue, exhaustion and ill effects from environments, running, forced marches, starvation and thirst, +2 to AC and grapple checks vs. divine spellcasters, can detect the auras of divine spellcasters as per detect evil/good/law/chaos, +2 to saves vs. divine spells and apply -2 per character level to healing gained by positive or negative energy and gain resistance 5 against a chosen element. The race comes with full age, height and weight tables and 4 race traits for improved bone weapon handling, camel-riding, +1 to confirm crits and damage on crits and access to knowledge religion as a class skill and +1 to it. They also get 6 different alternate racial characteristics to make Zendiqi abandon their philosophy, a trait that helps sorcerors of specific bloodlines, +1 to disable device check and knowledge (engineering)-check, traits that allow the Zendiqi to focus their racial hatred towards elves or green-skins instead of the short folk as well as a characteristic that allows for more accepting Zendiqi that seek a path of acceptance.

There also are new feats for Zendiqi: One that allows the race to improve its resistance against elements, one that gets rid of bone-weapon drawbacks and improves intimidation, a feat for a devastating mounted charge, a dervish-feat that lets you add dex-mod to atk and damage when 1-hand-wielding scimitars, more resistance vs. the desert and the ability to heal yourself via godless meditation techniques. The feats also include a 3-feat mini-feat tree based on the sidewinder style feat, which increases the reach of your 5-foot-step to 10 feet and allow the practitioner to kick up dirt and sand to get +1 to AC and impose -1 to hit on opponents. The style also grants 1/2 class-level to bluff and improves your feinting capabilities and finally also dealing 1 point of dex-damage vs. feinted opponents.

After these rules, we are introduced to the race's take on the respective classes, favorec lass options for alchemists, barbarians, cavaliers, fighters, sorcerors and wizards as well as two new class options: The wildblooded Malahna Bloodline, that changed the elemental sorceror bloodline by replacing elemental resistance and allows the sorceror to emit rays that damage aura-bearing characters and heals non-aura-bearing casters. There also is a new cavalier-order herein, the order of the Sirocco, which represents the camel-riding elite chargers of the Zendiqi.

We also get a sample level 1 fighter.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard that is generally printer-friendly and the 1-page artwork of the Zendiqi is awesome. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. The fluff, the abilities, the well-balanced unique racial feats - while entwined with the background of Porphyra, are simply awesome and could easily be transported to other settings. let me spell it out: The unique culture of the Zendiqi hinted at in this book actually makes me SO want to include these interesting xenophobic beings with their ideologies and struggles into my game and that is something that only very rarely happens. Balancing between being easy to insert and unique, this is one of the very best installments of the series so far and gains my full recommendation at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fehr's Ethnology: Zendiqi [PFRPG]
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AL3: Through the Cotillion of Hours [DCC]
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/13/2012 12:23:34
This is an adventure like no other, one that if done properly will live in your group's collective memory for years to come. So what is so unusual about it? For a start, it comes billed as being for any number of characters of any level.

The concept is quite simple. When the characters are asleep, their 'dream selves' awaken in the halls of a deity. There's a party going on, a cotillion or formal ball. But if they can find their way to the deity, Somnos the Dreaming God, they can ask a favour or boon. Simple, huh? And safe, seeing as they aren't really there...

As well as the characters, the dance is being attended by 'dream analogues' which are masked and costumed aspects of the characters themselves - perhaps the opposite gender, perhaps able to offer a word of wisdom or a prophecy about that character - and these bob in and out of existence in a random manner, dreamlike in its surreal nature.

Things - and spells - work differently too, although the characters have access to the items and knowledge that they have in the waking world. Life and death, as well: and although damage isn't real, being injured or killed in this dream world may have ramifications when (if?) the character awakens.

As well as rules for making all this wierdness happen, there is a floorplan and detailed notes of the dream world in which the Cotillion is being held. Study the descriptions carefully, they're designed to help you make this a truly odd and dreamlike experience for your players, never mind their characters! There are all manner of odd sights and strange events for them to negotiate... and the really neat thing? If you so choose, you can always use it again with the same characters later on in your campaign.

This is an original idea well-presented. Other adventures that I have read for various game systems have presented 'dream sequences' and indeed this works best as a dream dropped into an ongoing adventure or campaign, but this is a complete dream-based adventure in its own right, giving you a chance to take matters in a quite unexpected direction.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AL3: Through the Cotillion of Hours [DCC]
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Stock Art: Skulk
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/12/2012 23:54:37
A simple scene, useful as a player reference when a particular unusual creature is in play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Skulk
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