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AL 4 - The Waystation (DCC)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2013 06:07:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!



This being a review of an adventure-module, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.



Still here? All right! Many a world features massive remains of underground dwarven subterranean city complexes and this pdf details one such complex or at least a part of it - the titular waystation, which features hammer-handed, old dwarven guardian-beings as well as an infestation of fungous, acidic ambush predators. PCs may also find an ancient, powerful magic hammer (with deeds to unlock the powers) or find multiple entries on donations from days long past - but do you know what makes what would otherwise be a relatively good, but not too exciting dungeon-crawl really stand out?



One word: Railway system. Essentially, the now defunct empire once featured magical rail cars the PCs can ride through the depths and battle on. This idea alone is imho worth the very fair, low asking price and any even remotely talented DM should be able to properly craft from this framework a more massive set of vehicular encounters - not only in the DCC-ruleset.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and with both a player-friendly map and a DM-map for your convenience. The pieces of b/w-artworks, all original btw., greatly help enhance the unique mood of the set-piece dungeon locale.



I'm impressed - while short and sweet and more locale than adventure, author David Przybyla has crafted an iconic, interesting place that can easily be expanded and add some speed to your underdark explorations with not only the content it features, but also with the ideas it introduces and leaves for the DM to develop. A prime example of an inspiring supplement, I'll gladly rate this 5 stars and can recommend this to DMs of other rules-systems for idea-mining just as well.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AL 4 - The Waystation (DCC)
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TOME: As Likely As A Goat Herding Fish
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2013 13:25:23
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This free pdf is 7 pages long, 1/2 page editorial/logo, 2 pages SRD, leaving us with 4 1/2 pages of content, so what do we exactly get?



Well, we get one short encounter for EL 1, which is based on a hilarious assumption – set in the seeding season, a generic village (with statblock) has had its local doom-spouting madmen tell of a vision of dread horned ones and scales. No horror to be found, though – in fact, a bunch of goatmen herding flying koi (!!!)via specialized fish-whistles (!!) are just en route towards a place where they can sell their animals. Unfortunately, said fish are ravenous and would spell doom for the upcoming harvest as the fish’s path would scour the seeds of the future harvest. It’s up to the PCs to negotiate a solution for both factions and avert hostilities.



The product also features full stats for the doom-sayer, the town’s cleric, the goatmen and their flying koi as well as 5 low-level spells to help herding animals. We also get racial characteristics for the goatmen.



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 b/w-artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length, but comes with hyperlinks for your convenience.



This encounter is weird in all the right ways and especially when used to foreshadow fey hijinxs or just change the tone after a particularly depressing/dark adventure, this weird encounter will provide quite some enjoyment – for diddly-squat! As a FREE offering that features some neat, far-out ideas, I’ll gladly rate this 5 stars + seal of approval – well worth your bandwidth and HD-space!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TOME: As Likely As A Goat Herding Fish
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TOME: As Likely As A Goat Herding Fish
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2013 14:15:19
It’s a truism that heroes are only as great as the monsters they overcome. The reverse of this, that monsters are only as monstrous as the heroes they face, isn’t quite as elegant an idea. Nevertheless, it does communicate the more elemental principle – for RPGs at least – that monsters are meant to be used in the course of a game.

To that end, the Tome of Monstrous Encounters series is an attempt to do just that for the creatures from the eponymous Tome of Monsters from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming. This first entry in that series, As Likely As A Goat Herding Fish, from Purple Duck Games, showcases a simple encounter for a 1st-level party. It’s an interesting encounter, and simultaneously manages to showcase both the strengths and, at least in this first product, the weaknesses of the idea.

The adventure here is fairly straightforward, with roughly a page of text laying out the entirety of the premise and setup. A farming village sends the PCs to investigate the ramblings of their local “the end is night” doomsayer when the town cleric finds that his current prediction – that some sort of evil will descend on the town from a nearby forest – stands up to her divinations.

In the forest, the PCs find a group of caprians (goat-people; if you need help imagining that, think of catfolk, but with goats instead), herding a school of flying fish to a distant city for sale. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but they’re taking them right through the village’s farmland, and the voracious fish will devastate the town’s crops, something that the Chaotic Neutral goat-people don’t care about.

As noted above, all of this is laid out over roughly a page. The rest of the page count is devoted to giving stat blocks. The adventure is surprisingly forthcoming with these; there’s a settlement stat block given for the town (though oddly, it has no name, unless its inhabitants named it “Quiet Small Farming Village”), stats for the local doomsayer and the town cleric, as well as for the flying fish and the goat-people (including PC and NPC stats). While I’m fairly certain that they’re reprinted from other sources, there are also several new spells and even a new settlement quality to be found here as well.

It’s interesting to note that this adventure is nominally set on the Purple Duck Games campaign setting of Porphyra. I say “nominally” here because the game world uses neutral language in describing the setting – a single paragraph is dedicated to where this would be on their campaign world. At a casual glance, that’s all there is, but there’s more here that suggests their campaign world’s touch, such as how the human NPCs have a special racial trait (which is annoyingly referenced, but not expounded upon), and the eclectic nature of little things that the NPCs have, such as the caprians having a dictionary for the catfolk language, or the cleric having a “living steel heavy shield.”

While I can appreciate these little touches – they certainly give the adventure a very distinctive aspect that is completely in line with what I know of Porphyra – they fly in the face of the adventure’s apparent desire to remain setting-neutral. If the adventure is set on Porphyra, eliminate the “On Porphyra” sidebar and let it be set there, but if it’s not meant to be, then campaign-specific elements should be scrubbed from every place except that section. Splitting the difference like this only muddles things.

Another muddling element is the lack of notations for game elements that aren’t from the Core Rulebook. The town stat block, for instance, notes that one of the medium magic items for sale there is an aquatic cumberbund. That’s from Ultimate Equipment, but you’d never know it here, since there’s no superscript with an abbreviation to help figure it out. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if there was a link to the d20PFSRD, perhaps, but there isn’t. Why certain spells were reprinted in full while other materials weren’t even hyperlinked is beyond me.

Ironically, certain other words are hyperlinked to the d20PFSRD, despite having no particular relevance in doing so. The word “wish” appears in the middle of a sentence, for example, having no relevance to the spell of the same name, and yet it’s a hyperlink to that spell in the d20 PFSRD, for no reason that I can tell. Worse, there’s no visual indicator that this is a hyperlink, so you’ll likely click on it by accident.

I should also mention that there are some issues with the layout that I didn’t care for too much. I’m not a fan of having all of the relevant stat blocks for an adventure at the end of the adventure, for instance. That’s not quite a big deal here, given that the adventure proper is a page long, but it’s a preview of coming attractions for the TOME series that made me frown. There are also no maps of any kind. Again, that’s not such a big deal, but it really keeps things on the simple side – there’s a village, and a forest, and that’s it. You start in the village and go to the forest and immediately find what you’re looking for. Much more could have been done here, with additional forest encounters, random encounters, etc. I understand that it’s natural to keep a free product bare-bones, but this is certainly an effort most minimal.

By far the element I liked the least, however, was how the adventure lacks any sort of clear victory conditions. To be clear, it’s obvious that the goal is to stop the caprians from letting their flying fish eat the town’s crops, but the adventure is silent on specifically HOW the PCs are supposed to do that! It does say that killing them is an option, though a poor one, but then completely fails to lay out what the other options are. Presumably a single good Diplomacy check could pull it off, which makes this quite possibly the shortest adventure ever, and also one of the most anticlimactic.

This isn’t some sort of mistake in the adventure so much as it is a complete oversight on the part of the writer. There’s no listing of XP awards, which follows perfectly since there’s no suggestions for how the PCs are supposed to accomplish their goal (short of butchering the goat-people shepherds), and even the monetary rewards that the PCs gain from the village are food and a few rations. Ironically, the PCs will be rewarded by the caprians also (why?) by teaching them a phrase in their language that earns them, when they use it, a permanent +4 bonus to Diplomacy checks with their kind – this has all kinds of narrative problems, such as how exactly do people who already speak that language not have this permanent bonus?

Ultimately, the first adventure in the TOME series isn’t so much bad as it is incomplete. All of the pieces are here, but they seem to have been simply plunked down, with only an outline to connect them, rather than a full scenario. This encounter needs to be fleshed out, have its layout tweaked, and its technical issues tightened before the rest of the series debuts, lest we all decide to close the book on the TOME.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2013 07:14:25
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 47 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 42 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Without any introduction or wasted space, we are introduced to the new Medium base-class that gets d8, 4+Int skills, 3/4 BAB-progression, good will-saves, proficiency with light armor and simple weapons, as well as spell-like abilities of up to 6th level - and you'd be outrageously gasping by now since they cannot be counterspelled - but: A rather interesting balancing method is being used - a medium can only maintain one spell-like abilities at once, with a new ability immediately ending the first. These abilities also get aligned later and count as spell for item activation purposes starting level 2. The spell-like abilities can be each used 3/day and their governing spellcasting attribute is charisma. At first level, the medium also chooses an influence - but more on that later.



Mediums gain spirit guides that may use guidance on their behalf whenever s/he enters a trance and detect spirits, which include undead, fey, invisible, outsiders and also use this ability to notice and analyze haunts and even keep them from attacking - which is great since they are mostly untapped regarding class abilities. Starting at 3rd level, the medium also gets perhaps one of the most complex and well-executed abilities I've seen in quite a while - Séance. Mediums may call spirits and souls of creatures into their bodies to tap their knowledge and bargain with them planar ally style - including a max HD-table per level.

Now Influences, as I've mentioned before, are important: Mediums may choose from 11 influences that include diabolical forces, angelic hosts, restless souls, elemental forces or seelie and unseelie courts. Each Influence nets the medium a bonus language, a selection of trance covenants and spell like-abilities and a different capstone ability (yes, one for every influence) and also recommended, but not prescribed spirit boons.



I need to address Trances. Mediums may enter a trance that lasts 4+Cha-mod rounds +2 per medium level after the first. While in trance, mediums get +4 to Con and Cha as well as access to the covenants and spell-like abilities associated with her/his influence and may use his/her spell-like abilities associated with influences once per trance without counting against the daily maximum. Essentially, the trance can be considered a caster's equivalent of a barbarian's rage (and no, they are not compatible) and trances do have some restrictions to maintain balance.



Now regarding favored class options... WOW. Blues. Half-Rakshasa.Duergar. Fehr's Ethnology-races. Psionics Unleashed-races. Remarkable Races from Alluria Publishing. And even ARG-races ALL COVERED. Wow. Just wow. 2 pages CHOCK-FULL of favored class options. This goes above and beyond. Nice!



Now have I mentioned spirit boons? At 1 st level, 3rd level and every 4 levels after that, the medium may choose a spoken invocation to gain the benefits of one of (unless I miscounted) 44 (!!!) spirit boons, which include things you'd expect like reading minds and telekinesis and implanting geas, absorb wounds of others via stigmata, add essentially add what amounts to metamagic-like, yet thoroughly unique effects to your spell-like abilities, which include ignoring the miss chances of incorporeal adversaries, prolong them etc. Have I mentioned the option to put psychic shackles on spirits and chain them in your mind, turn incorporeal, possess foes (also only limbs - quite cool!), heal ability damage and raise the dead? Yes - the options are varied and damn cool.



A new spell lets you expel spirits and then, we're off to the topic of covenants - Depending on the strength of the spirit called, a covenant requires the expenditure of money, with access being also predicated on a tree of 5 progressively more expensive feats - though advice for alternate progressions are given as well if you're not sold on the approach. Finding covenants is not only an opportunity for spending character resources, but also for roleplaying and entering covenant examples are provided alongside comprehensive lists of covenants by strength. Covenants are depicted somewhat akin to feats - the power-level of the covenant being included in brackets behind the name, followed by a short fluff description and then the benefits as well as a comprehensive list of patrons that can grant the respective covenant. Dark Arcanas, Archon Wards, the option to temporarily rip someone from death's grip, turn into elemental body II, gaining living illusions as companions, tap into your patron's abilities, manifest blades from the very heavens, immunity to ageing, mitigating dazing and stunning down to being staggered, gain a gaze attack that detects thoughts and may stun those that meet your gaze, cast foes down to the very hells - all these are just the tip of the ice-berg.



The pdf also features advice on creating new covenants as well as guidelines for non-monetary tasks for entering covenants.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and the interior artwork is far beyond what the humble cover would make you believe - we neat full-page full-color artworks, multiple of them, and I have seen none of them in other publications before. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience, making navigation easy.



Damn. I'm stupefied. Seriously, honestly stupefied. This class and its material rank for me as one of the most complex examples I've seen so far and it takes a bit of effort to properly get this material and appreciate it. And then, slowly, the potential, the vast friggin' potential of this class and its covenants sink in. Harry Dresden-style deals with fey? Check. Haunted by visions of hell? Check. Scions of the Heavens? Check. Champions of the elemental forces? Ditto. We essentially get a feat-style-ability-suite-style-class COMBINED with unique spellcasting COMBINED with talent-based abilities COMBINED with domain/bloodline-like abilities COMBINED with modes à la rage. And all elements interconnect. Yes, you could just extract the covenants for any class. But oh boy would you miss out.

This may be no class for beginners, but it is G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S. Complex, mechanically innovative, customizable. Oh boy. It's been AGES since I've been this excited about a class and it marries author David Nicholas Ross' mastery of crunch with great production values and we get perhaps one of the best classes, perhaps even the best I've read so far for PFRPG. Yes. That good. Do me a favor, do yourself a favor - get this. The class and covenant magic is so modular, it practically screams to have its already impressive array of abilities further expanded. Even if you're only remotely interested in good crunch, get this. If you want a class with complex customization options that marries these with massive roleplaying potential, get this.

This is worth every cent thrice. At least. This is the new gold-standard for class-design against which all other classes will be judged.

My final verdict would be 6 stars, if I only could - hence, 5 stars + seal of approval and a high chance that this will feature on my Top Ten of 2013-list.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic
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Stock Art: Air Scarf
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/02/2013 13:46:01
Purple Duck always has the best stock art. Usually all I have to do is search RPGNow or DriveThru and they have the very thing I need.

Great art, easy to understand license.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Air Scarf
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AL 5: Stars in the Darkness [DCC]
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/28/2013 20:17:35
Generally speaking, if I take the time to review it, its because I like the product. Still, after a while, much of it gets to seem familiar. Stars in the Darkness is NOT familiar. There is no deja vu. There is only awesome. Fresh, new, and lethal as all hell. I want to be a player in Stars in the Darkness, and if I survive to the end there will be epic stories to tell. If my character falls, it will be an epic death.

Let me give you the blurb, just to set the stage:

"In millennia past, the ancestors of the elves protected the stars as they followed their courses, for there are wolves in the outer dark. Yet what manner of creature would dare to consume stars as though they were sheep in the field? And what has become of the ancient starherds who once stopped such monsters? For such a monster is back - Urstah, the Star-Drinker. Stars are disappearing from the night sky, and with the loss of those stars, luck is being drained from the world. Your luck. Dare you enter the caverns, face the star-drinker, and release the stars in darkness?

Stars in the Darkness is a DCC adventure designed for four to eight, third level characters, that can easily be dropped into your campaign. In it, characters seek to stop an ancient evil from arising, with possibly devastating effects should they fail. This is our largest, and most epic, adventure for DCC to date."

This most certainly is epic. It is one of those rare adventures that you need to read through three times, write in the margins and use a highlighter, not because it's confusing, but because there is a lot of cool shit going on and you'd want to make sure your players get the full experience.

I want to be a player in Stars in the Darkeness. I want to cross the Bridge Over Infinity, Fight a Mormung and flee from... no, that would give too much away. This is too good to spoil, and I feel like it may be spoiled for me, as I so want to play in this adventure.

Seriously, I can give no greater compliment than I would love to be a player in a campaign where Stars in the Darkness would be there for us. Waiting for us.

Daniel Bishop you done did good. Fucking good. I owe you a beer :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AL 5: Stars in the Darkness [DCC]
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Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers III [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2013 08:31:51
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third pdf in the series, detailing Perry Fehr’s take on monstrous bloodlines for sorcerors, is 9 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 13/4 of a page SRD, leaving us with 5 ¼ pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The first of the new bloodlines would be the aranea bloodline, which offers the respective sorcerers Spiderman-style spinnerets at the wrists, a spidey-sense (roll multiple times perception-checks 3/day), poisonous touch and at high levels you can ignore the full-round metamagic casting restriction a limited amount of times per day. The capstone is slightly weak, as it allows you to turn into spider-like creatures for 1 hour per transformation until the total CR of transformed spider-creatures equals 20 or less. The problem is, that there isn’t really a monstrous category that defines spiders – are scorpions part of the deal? What about demonic retrievers? Ettercaps? I get the idea behind the capstone, but rules-wise, it unfortunately is rather ill-defined. I also would have loved a tighter wording with the web-swinging usage of the strands and what precisely can be done with them – what are their stats? As soon as you can use them as retractable cables, hp and hardness are REQUIRED. Additionally, can webbed foes be roped in? If so, via which rules? There probably should be a bonus to CMB of the maneuver, but the bloodline doesn’t deliver that. Cool ideas, partially flawed in execution.

The Asura-bloodline gets some truly powerful spells and its capstone allows the sorcerer to reshape slain foes into CR-equivalent beings to do his bidding. Resistance and DR-granting shields are neat to have and the bloodline also gets a specific force blade they can manifest and direct to attack up to50 ft. away. Unfortunately, the wording of the ability leaves me puzzled – what kind of action is conjuring up the blade? Does it have to travel to the foe to be attacked? If so, can it be intercepted by e.g. force cages? Directing it to attack foes is a move action, but does the blade gain iterative attacks? Does the sorcerer need to have line of sight or line of effect to have the blade attack its victims? None of these questions are answered by the ability’s wording, rendering it imho useless and severely hampering the bloodline’s appeal.

The Behemoth bloodline is interesting in concept, as it makes you essentially a walking doom-speaker – its capstone REQUIRING you to turn into a huge beast for a limited amount of time per day. Unfortunately, the bloodline suffers from MASSIVE wording ambiguities. Take the capstone: What if the sorcerer can’t become that big? What if he’s caught in e.g. a cell/ adventuring in the claustrophobic depths of the underdark? Does he still grow? If yes, what are the consequences? Does this involuntary growth potentially damage the sorcerer? What structure can be destroyed thus? The first ability suffers from similar issues – while cool in its idea of enabling allies to run away and enhancing their movement speed and initiative, the ability fails to specify what kind of bonus the enhanced movement is and whether it applies to all kinds of movement when applicable or only to one mode of movement – a 20 ft. burrow speed enhancement of the wild-shaped druid is a completely different matter from the said enhancement to land speed… Again, a great concept ruined by flawed execution.

The Kami bloodline also has an issue – at 3rd level it grants access to a gaze attack that staggers foes – unfortunately, the save of the ability is only rolled on the round following after that, resulting in gaze attack-blinking: Activate, auto-stagger foes, deactivate. Rinse and repeat and you can keep one foe staggered – sans save. Broken and needs revision. Another problematic ability is the level 15 ability, which lets you increase or decrease age of targets – resulting in 1 point damage to physical or mental attributes. The thing is – at this level, this is rather weak and it is not clear whether e.g. this is true aging – does it drain the years the individual still has to live? Can it be used to prolong life? How many years would be the equivalent of an ageing effect? What if the ability pushes a foe over one age-category threshold, does s/he gain the attribute modifications of an increased age category? Or is it just a fancy way of justifying attribute damage? Again, good idea, flawed execution.

The lamia bloodline nets you SR against divine spells, immunity to curses (Not a fan of that, but that won’t fracture into the verdict) and a wis-draining touch attack. Rather cool: Suggestions and charm can be added to the damage – though, to nitpick, the correct wording would not be “for free”, but as “part of the touch attack” – also, the ability should specify that this effect does not provoke AoOs. The high-level abilities are cool per se, with the capstone sporting acidic blood that damages attackers on a failed ref-save. Unfortunately, again, the wording fails – the ability is not restricted to melee attacks, meaning ranged attackers can be hit by extremely precise acidic blood spurts… ;) Kidding aside, unfortunately, this again needs rephrasing.

The Mi-Go bloodline kicks off with an excellent idea: The sorcerer can create biotech weapons that deal 1d6+ 1 per two sorcerer levels and deal either fire, cold, electricity, acid or force damage, though you must specify which type of damage you deal when making the item. It can only be fired a limited amount of times per day. The idea is so cool, but its ramifications have not been properly thought through: If there is a physical manifestation of the weapon, can the sorcerer hand it over to allies? What about iterative attacks? Could he sell an item and keep it functional, then create a new one? Mi-Go sorcerer-scam artists? Worse yet, there is the level 9 ability which can and will WRECK the logic of your campaign world. Choose any 3 item-creation feats. Items you create via them run out of power after 3+cha-mod weeks. Worse, the items made are considered non-magical, meaning that they work in antimagic fields – and worse, that they CAN’T BE COUNTERSPELLED. Create a wand and BLOW through any mage academy as you watch the archwizards feebly fail at countering your tools. Worse, does this ability’s time-limitation mean that the items have no charges? Anyway, this can and will wreck the internal consistency of your campaign world. If multiple sorcerers work together, they could take on just about ANY lich, wizard academy etc. Hand wands and staves to those grunts and watch the opposition WEEP. Broken beyond repair.

The final new bloodline is the robot bloodline and its laser eyes lack the specification that it remains fire damage at 9th level. At 15th level, you get hp “as a construct would, 10 if small, 20 if medium, 30 if large” – what does that mean? 20 hp per level? A one-time boost? Does it work retroactively? If it does, that would mean280+first level hp+con-mod. Speaking of which: Does that one still apply? I assume so, but how does it affect these hp? If at all? Or does it mean that starting at 15th level, the sorcerer gets these hp instead of his usual hp? What if a sorcerer belongs to a size category beyond large? Again, the bloodline’s ability fails to specify necessary information.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting on a formal level are good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s 2-column standard and the pdf comes bookmarked, which is nice to have.

Wow. After the rather excellent second installment of the series, I had high hopes for this one – hopes that were utterly crushed. Don’t get me wrong, author Perry Fehr has managed to pinpoint some cool concepts and uncommon design-decisions and integrate them into the respective bloodlines to make them feel unique. The ideas per se behind the rules are often excellent. But the execution is a complete, utter and absolute TRAIN-WRECK.

NONE of the bloodlines herein work as intended. NOT ONE. Concepts have been taken and worded in a way that is sloppier than my ad-hoc decisions at the gaming table, lacking necessary balancing tools (stagger gaze-exploit), information on how they were supposed to work or just take a concept that sounds “cool” without thinking through ANY of the resulting implications. From the lack of mechanics to spinneret-drag foes and web-swing correctly to the Asura’s malfunctioning blade, the Kami’s ill-defined aging touch, the Behemoth’s issues with size and fleeing, the minor lamia-issues up to the robot’s glitches up to the Mi-Go-bloodline’s potential to utterly and completely destroy your campaign setting’s internal logic, these bloodlines, unfortunately unanimously FAIL. Badly thought through, rushed and amateurish in execution, I can’t find any saving grace for this pdf – which is a damn huge shame, since the basic ideas are superb, but completely and utterly come apart due to the imprecise, sloppy mechanics. My final verdict will be 1 star.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers III [PFRPG]
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[PFRPG] GM's Options: NPCs 2: Druids, Fighters, and Monks
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2013 03:31:06
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the GM's Options-line is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Much like the first installment of the series, we get statblocks in this pdf, in 3 different level-ranges -as 1st level, as 5th- and level 10-incarnations. Much like in the first installment, we also get advice for each character to integrate them into the upcoming Porphyra-campaign setting by Purple Duck Games as well as sample boons his respective incarnations may provide to PCs if they befriend him.
The first character would be Connaghyn Halfhand (so nicknamed due to having lost some fingers in a fight with goblins). No animal companion stats accompany Connaghyn and mechanically, he isn't that interesting, but the druid is rather interesting fluff-wise, at least.

Corra Greenthumb, a halfling urban druid is next up and makes for an interesting, benevolent ally with one ear at the heart of a given city's gossip as well as a competent herbalist. The Half-elf Sherdan Silverblade, a mobile fighter and moderately capable fast-talker that is particularly good at dirty fighting makes for a nice contrast with the next character: Dotha Hearthstone, a female unbreakable fighter who is essentially a woman who has vowed to never marry or produce children as a kind of dwarven battle nun - nice.
Brother Nadir is a half-elf Martial Artist Monk who is all about record-keeping and may also provide access t his monastery's library and finally, we get Kokachin, a halfling Ki Mystic Monk depicted on the cover. She is also mechanically perhaps the most interesting of the characters. It should be noted that each character has the traits used in the creation listed as well for your convenience.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - we have minor glitches like e.g. a header of a trait that is purple when it should be simply black and bold - nothing too serious, though. Layout adheres to PDG's 2-column standard and each character comes with a b/w-mugshot, though you'll know them all from old e.g. Raging Swan publications. The cover is nice and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

This collection of stats and characters is better than its immediate precursor - the characters feel more unique, utilizing some archetypes and coming with more interesting fluffy backgrounds that make one actually want to use some of these characters. That being said, the pdf's crunch still feels not particularly exciting, with the respective builds being very linear and not particularly complex. In the end, if you want some straight builds, you can't go wrong here, but if you want some statblocks that are a bit more complex, then this is not the pdf to deliver.

Over all, this pdf is a nice collection of characters/stats, but simply is nothing out of the ordinary - no PrCs, no complex builds etc. - instead we get rather vanilla builds. Nothing wrong there, but also not enough to make me truly recommend this.
My final verdict would hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform. If you want some vanilla stats, take a look!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] GM's Options: NPCs 2: Druids, Fighters, and Monks
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Celurian's Magical Miscellany [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2013 02:42:07
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1/2 a page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 1/2 pages of content, so let's check it out!

The pdf kicks off with an introduction by Hugo "Butterfrog" Solis before we are introduced to Celurian Iz'zer, the trader of strange magical items contained in this book and we actually get his full statblock (he's a half-elf rook 6 from PDG's Legendary Classes: Rook) as well as a gorgeous full color artwork for him and his cart - the cart, a magical item in its own right, comes with a whopping one-page full color artwork and after that we're in the category of new magical weapons:
And the first one is already interesting - a little figure that can transform into an adamantine hammer for a limited amount of rounds per day makes for an interesting weapon/crowbar-style lockbreaker to carry around. There is also a figurine that can be transformed into a dagger coated with greenblood oil for a limited amount of rounds per day. We also get two new weapon special qualities, one of which may ignore up to 4 points of cover-AC-bonus granted by concealment, while the true metal-enchantment ignores 5 points of any type of DR. The latter feels slightly too strong for its paltry +1 price bonus in my opinion.

Celurian has 3 rings in his cart as well - the Archer's Luck Ring is very powerful for ranged combatants: Ignore 5/day all but total cover, 3/day use true strike and 1/day reroll one missed shot. Perhaps a tad bit underpriced for its massive benefits. Chain Link Rings come paired and allow the wearers to transfer up to 10 points of damage to the wearer of the linked ring, but not offensively - killing others this way is not possible. Slightly problematic is the fact that the rings don't specify whether damage-type is retained - if it is, this can be somewhat abused - one character with immunity to e.g. fire, linked to someone then subjected to fire damage could essentially not get any damage thus transmitted - or could he? A slightly more concise wording would help here. Shared fortune rings allow the wearer to 3/day one of their base saving throw bonuses as an immediate action for 1 round.
The pdf also features 2 new rods - one that can be struck in the ground to emit antimagic fields and a rod that is especially good at breaking things like doors etc. and may be used as a +2 mace. Among the wondrous items, we get a scarf that protects you from inhaled poisons and airborne diseases, a sphere you can throw at outsiders to banish them, a vest of magical wood that helps with swimming as well as serving as armor, a cloak to let you beast shape, a belt of ropes that helps climbing and may be animated, paired rocks that attract each other (Awesome for SO MANY occurrences and an item that encourages smart usage of resources), a seed that spawns a tree that offers healing fruits, a scroll-case that can produce a scroll of a given level and school once per day, gloves that allow the gloved arm to become incorporeal to e.g. reach through doors 3/day. There also is a rope that can be awakened, a morale-bonus-granting everburning torch, an headband that alerts you visually to scriers and two new types of prayer beads.
These can be attached to weapons to add effects to your weapons - one granting the power to deal half damage as positive energy damage and bless weapon on their weapons. The second prayer-bead converts half damage to fire and emits light. 2 more tokens can be added to weapons, one increasing harness, one adding minor sonic damage and finally, we have a pen to write limited wishes before we go to the pdf's final item, a minor artifact - the Vessel of Linium, which is a complex clockwork wonder that transforms regular water into increasingly powerful healing effects, depending on how long you let the water rest. Great idea and actually an artifact that is not overpowered for once. Neat!
The pdf closes with a list of items by GP-value and category.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's crisp, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience. Special mentioning deserves the beautiful artwork - each and every item herein comes with a gorgeous full-color artwork - author/artist Carlos Torreblanca has not only crafted some neat magical items with uncommon benefits, he has also created a great array of truly beautiful artworks that help the items come to life.

Artwork-wise there is nothing to complain in this supplement and rules-wise, the vast majority of items feels interesting indeed - while not all items hit the nail on the head, with especially the archer-ring feeling quite powerful to me, we still get a neat selection of great magic items that can enrich your games beyond boring +X bonuses. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to the ridiculously low price. I'm hoping for sequels by this talented artist/author.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Celurian's Magical Miscellany [PFRPG]
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Stock Art: Female Half-Orc Monk
by Stardust P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/12/2013 15:09:15
This is an excellent piece of art and exactly what we needed to complete a recent release of ours. keep up the good work.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Female Half-Orc Monk
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[PFRPG] Player's Options: Humans
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/09/2013 07:29:42
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 10 pages long, 1 page editorial, ~4/5 of a page SRD, leaving us with 8 1/5 pages of content, so let us take a look at the new options for humans!

This pdf kicks off with two new variants of the basic human racial traits, with the first one being Adopted Humans, who get +2 to an attribute their adopted parent race doesn't get the bonus to, count as both humans and their adopted race, get weapon familiarity with weapons of the adopting race, a bonus feat and an extra skill pint per level. Solid and useful if you want to go beyond background traits to customize an adopted human, but nothing too special. More distinct would be the Wild Child, who gets +2 to a physical attribute score, +2 to Wis and -2 to Int, count as humans, gte +2 to AC in their home terrain, climb or swim speed 30 ft., low light vision, scent and need to learn speaking languages. Both come with starting age, height and weight tables. If you can't see the problem by no - the Wild Child is a good idea, but utterly, completely op. A non-standard movement speed, on par with regular movement, scent and low light vision for the ridiculous payoff of needing to spend some skill points in languages? Come on! Designer Ryan Costello Jr. can and has done better than this not even remotely balanced design-failure.

Next up are 13 new feats for humans - and they are unfortunately of a varying degree of quality. Take "afficionado": Get +1 to all knowledge skills that are class skills for you. Would ANYONE spend a feat for this exceedingly LAME benefits? "Always Prepared" also falls into this category - as a reaction to sundering/disarming, you may make a 5-foot step, draw a weapon and make an AoO. While the AoO looks nice in theory, this feat has two feats prerequisites and its use is predicated on you having your weapon sundered or disarmed, something that usually doesn't happen all that often. Rather specific in its benefits for the investment of a feat. If the wild child is not yet broken enough for you, you may get a bite attack at 1d6+1/2 str. "Hide in crowds" and "crowd assassin" are two interesting ideas - they allow you to hide in plain sight when there are more humans than your HD around and even make sniping attacks from crowds and vanish back into them - these are actually good concepts with a worthwhile execution.

Determined Student increases the maximum ranks in class skills to your level +1, which is ok, I guess. "Flexible Training" is something usually houseruled in most campaigns I know, as it allows you to retrain feats that are not required as prerequisites, one per even level. Not really sold on this - while design-wise solid, I maintain that houseruling this depending on your player's foresight/experience might be the more prudent thing to do. There also is a feat that cuts your required sleep down to 4 hours - a feat I guess I have irl and generally a nice idea. Adopted humans may take a feat to better pass for their adopted parent race. "Passing Interest" is also interesting - it nets you 2 ranks of skills you can reassign via 1 hour of study on a daily basis. Great idea, though I wished it would scale with levels - as written, it's incredibly useful at low levels and later loses almost all relevance. Another feat nets you the benefits of versatile weapon training as a swift action - the basic feat allowing you to use a move action to get +1 to atk, +2 to damage or +1 shield bonus AC for one turn. Solid, since it trades action economy for increased flexibility. Finally, there's a feat that nets you +2 to diplomacy and allows you to increase the initial attitude by up to 3 steps.
After that, we are introduced to new flaws (introduced in the rather neat Player's Options: Flaws - which I encourage you to check out!) and the pdf features all necessary pieces of information to introduce flaws into your campaign - a total of 8 new flaws are presented and they are universally neat and offer some nice options. Two thumbs up for this part of the pdf!

The final section of the pdf provides the new simple weapons branding iron & pitchfork, stats for appel pie, lift shoes and a make-up kit - again, a nice section.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to 4WFG's printer-friendly b/w 2-column-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked. The pdf has no artworks but doesn't need any at this length and the front cover is a separate jpg.-file.

Humans are hard to write for, as they are the default race and usually what one sees as the norm against which we judge the other fantasy races - even more so in the context of a rules-supplement such as this that has the additional handicap of not being able to make rules based on campaign-specific cultural peculiarities. That being said, the pdf has me rather neat ideas in its pages, though it is far from perfect - the wild child is every definition of the word "broken" and the vast majority of feats is very specific or simply underwhelming. The crowd-related feats are interesting, yes, and I like the design rationale for the Versatile Training Feats, but most of the other feats did not seem like valid choices to me. The flaws and equipment, then again, are cool and well-written and provide some nice options for the race of humans. Whether that's enough to carry the product, though, largely depends on whether you like the concept of flaws or not. If you do, then this pdf has something to offer you and might offer some nice options. If you don't, then this loses quite some of its appeal.
However, this is no pdf that can blindly be introduced to your table and also features some components that are simply not balanced with existing options. Since the price is low and this pdf still has something to offer, I'll settle for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Player's Options: Humans
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Memorable Townsfolk [PFRPG]
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/28/2013 12:29:12
This simple work contains everything that one could want for what's advertised, and then some.

NPC books have always been a big part of my gaming experience, since I learned that by personalizing all aspects of conflicts players get much more involved in the experience. So I've read a lot of good and bad NPC books. The bad ones either don't tell you what the NPCs should do in your game, or give you NPCs that don't do what the creators say they will.

The good ones, like Memorable Townsfolk, pursue a game role for the NPCs and explain clearly how they will work at your table.

The 12 NPCs in Memorable Townsfolk will never overshadow PCs in adventuring roles - they are tied up in their own agendas and situations. Yet they each have some significant thing they want from the PCs or that the PCs want from them. They each have simply expressed personalities, along with tips for the GM in portraying them. They each have gossip and rumors about them that may or may not be true, which may lead to further adventures or opportunities for the PCs.

What raises Memorable Townsfolk above other NPC supplements, though, is that after the NPCs, there are several sample settlements to help put the NPCs into a particular context, showing you how to put them in your campaign. This was a welcome surprise. It's rare that a supplement goes the extra step of putting its characters in the context of a setting element.

I was especially pleased to see that there were significant Pathfinder-specific materials in the game such as the witch class and the settlement rules. Why mark something as a Pathfinder supplement if you're just going to give me D&D3 stuff?

There's also a few fun tables about randomly generating personality traits or tics to make any particular NPC stand out more. (Honestly I don't see why a random table is a good idea for this, since you could conceivably roll the same entry on the table and end up with 20 people who always talk with their arms crossed - wouldn't it be better to put it on a list where I could cross them off one by one as I use them? But there always seems to be a random table. Oh well, nitpicky.) This is a fun addition to the supplement as well.

Layout is solid and clear., bookmarks are used throughout. The "completist's checklist" at the end would be a lot better ad for Purple Duck if the names of the supplements actually linked back to DTRPG or the Purple Duck website!

All in all, this is an excellent supplement that you should pick up if, like me, you like to put NPCs at the centers of your games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Memorable Townsfolk [PFRPG]
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Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers II [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2013 04:57:38
The second installment of Monstrous Bloodlines is 9 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page (and a bit) SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's check out these new bloodlines!

This time, the bloodlines are WEIRD with a capital "W" - the first being the Couatl-bloodline that nets access to minor divine magic, a weak poison, telepathy and rainbow-hued wings. Nice!

The second bloodline is the eidolon-bloodline (who may not multiclass as summoners) and, let me spell this out: This is the COOLEST bloodline I've read so far for PFRPG. The bloodline nets you access to evolution points - you may spend these points and maintain these evolutions for 1/2 character + cha-mod rounds. Versatile, smart and glorious - and well worth the low asking price for this one alone. We also get a nice list of available evolutions for convenience's sake.

And then we get another supremely cool bloodline I never thought I'd see - the poets of the underworld, Flail-Snail-blooded sorcerors that come with a VERY interesting ability: Spell specifically targeted at the sorceror has a 10% + 5% chance per level to be warped. Spell failures and rebounds are possible - for beneficent and hostile magic, making the ability change the overall playing experience, which is interesting indeed. You may also exude sticky or slimy slime to modify terrain and entangle foes etc. AWESOME! What author Perry Fehr has done with this one is GLORIOUS.

The Flumph-bloodline is also interesting, featuring a cool, interesting background to explain the origin of the bloodline. Ability-wise, sorcerors get access to a spray of stench, acidic flesh and the ability to fly slow, but with perfect maneuverability, culminating in interesting high-level abilities to combat aberrant threats.

The Phoenix-bloodline is more conventional/what you'd expect - fire-touches, flame resistance, and flaming wings. The issue the bloodline had at first has been cleared up.

The Pugwampi-bloodline is also interesting: At first level, they may force foes to roll twice a d20 and take the lesser result. The ability does not work for characters that have a luck bonus and now the bloodline has been stripped of its ambiguities, it works rather well!

The final bloodline is the Time bloodline and its abilities are unconventional: These sorcerors may shunt targeted creatures into the future, taking them temporarily with touch attacks (that thankfully allow saves) into the future and thus out of the combat for some seconds. The bloodline also gets a more powerful mirror image that always is hit instead of the sorceror - powerful, yes, but also damn cool and something no other bloodline has done. Nice! The final abilities are not that exciting, though the option to negate damage done by a single foe slain by you is cool! This bastard has killed all of your adventuring companions? As long as you manage to defeat the adversary, you may unravel him from time and get them all back. Also: Can you see the narrative potential not only for this, but also for the repercussions of the foe being unraveled from time? NICE!

Conclusion:
EDIT: The pdf has been updated to feature excellent editing and formatting, now lacking any obvious glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's no-frills two-column standard and the cover-artwork (the only one) makes flumphs actually look hardcore. Nice. The pdf is fully bookmarked, a neat feature at this length.

If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't believe that the same author that did the imho rather mediocre first book also made this second Monstrous Bloodline-pdf. Perry Fehr has REALLY found a stride in this pdf - NONE of the bloodlines are boring, every one features at least one, often more unique and smart signature abilities. The Eidolon, Flail-Snail and Flumph-bloodlines are just awesome and the Time bloodline also rocks hard. In fact, I consider these bloodlines to rank among the best released by ANY publisher out there. Yes. They are that good. And now, with the glitches I complained about in my first iteration of the review purged, thisis a glowing 5 stars + seal of approval recommendation - these bloodlines are interesting, smart and will result in unique playing experiences. Give them a try!
Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers II [PFRPG]
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Celurian's Magical Miscellany [PFRPG]
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/17/2013 09:52:18
For anyone who likes shiny things, or wants a few choice items to spice up a treasure hoard, a feast is in store within these pages. Or indeed you may wish to use it 'as is' for what we have here is a travelling salesman in magical items, complete with a very magical cart and some of his wares.

First we meet Celurian himself. Celurian Iz'zer, a rather dandified half-elf, who collects and trades in all manner of beautiful items, both magical ones and object d'art. He's fully-detailed and would make an interesting NPC, in fact I can think of a few adventures to involve him in already...

We read about his magical mode of transportation, a horseless carriage that is bigger on the inside than on the outside and rather appropriately is painted blue! And then there is a fabulous listing of just a few of the wonders to be found inside. Weapons, rods, rings... and a host of wondrous items. Perhaps you might care for a Rod of Breaking and Entering, which looks like a golden crowbar and adds considerably to efforts to, well, get into places! Or maybe a Beastcloak takes your fancy - of heavy grey fur lined with red velvet, it has a hood shaped like a wolf's head and enables the wearer to shapeshift... Or perhaps a pair of Directional Stones, which have a permanent attraction to each other. Plenty of creative uses for them.

Everything comes with complete game statistics, often a suggestion or two for their use and a charming full-colour sketch. Plenty of scope here, however you decide to use them.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Celurian's Magical Miscellany [PFRPG]
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Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2013 04:52:22
This pdf is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at these new bloodlines, shall we?

The cyclopean bloodline gains perception as a class skill and has its spells focused on ill omens and divination, with bonus feats reflecting the divination focus as well as the toughness associated with cyclopes. Among the bloodline powers, we get a gaze of doom as well as the interesting development that has cyclopean sorcerors turn blind on one eye, hampering depth perception. This is offset by two insanely powerful abilities, though: One allows you 1/day to EXACTLY the die-result of one of your die-rolls. While only working for you, that's an automatic critical threat at 3rd level, a 100 on a d% etc. - I don't need to tell you how broken this is, do I? Worse, the bloodline, starting at 9th level, allows these sorcerors to DOUBLE the threat range for ALL attacks - rays, natural attacks, melee, ranged etc. for 3+cha-mod rounds 1/day. Never gonna happen in my campaign.

The Inevitable bloodline has unsurprisingly diplomacy as well as law-spells in its arsenal as well as e.g. combat expertise and similar discipline-themed feats in the bonus feat selection and gains a limited regeneration (3+Cha-mod rounds per day) that improves over the levels. Nothing to complain here. Medusan sorcerors get disguise as class skill, bonus feats appropriate for her like skill focus (sculpture) or brew potion, a slowing gaze, poisonous blood (that lacks frequency, onset etc. and information on whether it can be harvested) and finally undergo an apotheosis.

Otyugh sorcerors (rather disturbing concept, but cool) gain sickening and plague-based spells and bonus feat-selections based on toughness, fortitude and become progressively a carrier for diseases, increased senses and immunity to diseases but strangely not the ability to draw sustenance/heal from waste-consumption - a wasted opportunity indeed. *Puts two cents into the bad pun-jar...* The full color artwork by Tamas Baranya is worth special mentioning here - a cool Otyugh, though I would have preferred an artwork of a sorceror that has undergone the capstone apotheosis into an otyugh/mortal-hybrid.

Sphinx-bloodline sorcerors get access to a Knowledge skill of their choosing, divination/language-themed spells, may utter confusing riddles and shout deafening battle-cries at higher levels. Nothing to complain here balance-wise.

The Stirge bloodline (featured as an awesome example on the cover) gets stealth as a class skills, bleed/insect-themed spells, grappling and agility/disruption-themed feats grows both wings and draining proboscis as well as act as a disease-carrier and create mirror images of yourself. thematically, the most concise and cool of the bloodlines, its solid mechanics back it up. This one is actually really, really good.

The final bloodline would be the unicorn bloodline that gains access to heal as a class skill as well as curative magic as bonus spells and feats that help with rays, self-sufficiency etc. You may manifest a horn, call nature's allies and later even later emulate the kirin, gaining flight. Though probably my players would never stop making virgin/unicorn-jokes, a solid choice.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, though I lacked the medusa sorceror's bloodline poison-information. Layout adheres to a relatively printer-friendly two-column standard with some awesome full color artworks I wouldn't have expected at this price-point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. Oh boy, most of these bloodlines actually have at least one good idea going for them, with especially the stirge bloodline standing out. However, for each idea that stands out, there's also one that would require some balancing imho - the Cyclopean bloodline is utterly broken in my book and e.g. the sphinx, inevitable and otyugh bloodlines all somewhat fall behind their own potential - some more courageous, more unique ideas would have gone a long way there - why can't e.g. sphinx-sorcerors not, gargoyle-style enter a kind of temporal stasis to whether the ages and await intrepid adventurers? Why can't otyugh-sorcerors eat waste to sustain/heal themselves? Why can't inevitable sorcerors swear an oath to complete a particular objective and gain bonuses when seeking to fulfill it? When all's said and done, I feel that quite a few of these bloodlines miss the essence, what makes the parent-creature iconic. Add to that the minor issues here and there and we arrive at an offering that is ok, but not much more, reflected in a final rating of 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 due to the fair price for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers [PFRPG]
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