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Modern Day Maps 2
by Jeff P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2013 09:41:34
Black and white, scale varies from map to map, no grid...not very useful for a minis game.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Day Maps 2
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NeoExodus Adventures: Origin of Man (PRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2013 09:38:33
This module is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD,1/2 page of advertisemnet leaving us with 30.5 pages of adventure, so let's check this out!

Before I go into any details, I feel I should mention that I was a backer of the kickstarter that gave birth to this module, though I didn't contribute anything to its content or was otherwise involved in the production of this module.

That out of the way, the following review contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

All right, still here?

The PCs are told to come to a tavern with a pass-phrase and are recruited by a man named Reest who wants to help a certain professor Reinhalt von Grumborg. On a nitpicky side: The very first read-aloud box is not necessarily off to a good start, mentioning "The Pcs wait" and the option to make a skill-check as part of the read-aloud section. While not a game-breaker, I would have preferred the box to be cut in half to make a more distinct separation between read-aloud text and rules-information. At the famed royal library of the Caneus empire, the PCs then meet Reinhalt and the scholar may be on to something: he has found a book containing lost Nexus-gateways and has a theory about the ethnicities of Nasians and Armans - as the PCs can find out via some investigation.

They thus are off to a journey that leads them to the not-particularly safe area near Macawi, close to the territory of Samentia and the Horde. The civilized lands falling behind, the threats like grizzlys, ettins and trolls grow and finally, in the Samentian highlands, the PCs will find the ruins of Ardeth, where a sphinx is happy to discuss philosophy with the PCs. From there, the journey leads them close to Eimhin, where they not only have to contend with cockatrices in the grassland, but also get a chance to battle vast mobs of calibans and worgs if they are not smart enough to disguise themselves - they are in hostile territory, after all! After crossing these grasslands, the PCs reach the Sametian jungle, where further hostile wildlife offers chances for combat and a patch of dalreans offers the potential for roleplaying as well as pointers towards the ruin. After vanquishing an ambush of assassin vine and vegepygmies, they finally arrive at Ulfsberg's ruins where the undead guardians make for the final opposition between the PCs and activating the Nexus Gateway lying dormant there.

Unbeknownst to the PCs, they are spat out of the gateway on the island of Ablis, in the ruins of a thoroughly thrashed coastal village. Better yet, the nexus gateway on this side is broken and doesn't work anymore. The PCs are stranded. Exploring the village should instill a sense of desolation, with an undead, weird fauna (shark-eating crabs) and collapsing walls all painting a picture of something terrible having wiped out the settlement. After the PCs have explored the village (and rested) and when they are ready to move on, then it's time to drop the bomb on them: Locari assault! The dreaded, highly adaptable arachnid creatures attack in waves upon waves, crushing down on the PCs - hard, and worse, manage to capture the professor. Hopefully, the PCs manage to get enough respite from the assault and escape from the onslaught, running a desperate sprint through the forest. The chase could use some development/usage of regular chase-mechanics instead of the relatively bland checks presumed for the extended run. Sooner or later, the PCs will reach a castle and just manage to slip in before the conveniently appearing locari princess attacks. Inside the fortress, the PCs may think they'll be able to look forward to a protracted siege and sans most of their supplies. And indeed, the PCs are off to exploring the keep for now and it's not looking good - there are unstable walls here. Researching the keep, the PCs have a chance to make contact with a celestial and examine a lost library where a glimmer of hope may be found: While it may be known that the Armans destroy any vessel coming from the island of Ablis to contain the locari-threat, the research may also yield information on a second Nexus-gateway.

Only, if the PCs want to get to it, they'll have to break the siege. Speaking of siege: While it shouldn't be too hard for a good DM to introduce locari-assaults on the keep, the module per se is slightly too lenient here. If you want my advice: Keep the pressure, challenge the PC's defenses while they research. On a desperate flight towards the second gateway, the PCs may find the professor, tussled, but still alive, guarded by locari and accompanied by a Khaynite (an old acquaintance of the players if they've played the first two scenarios) who teleports away. The gateway is almost functional again and the professor infected with locari-larvae - hopefully, the PCs manage to defeat the locari "helping" the professor and extract the larvae BEFORE returning through the arch. Also: Hopefully, they destroy the arch afterwards, otherwise the locari have a way around the quarantine...

Upon their return, with the professor alive or dead, the PCs are sworn to silence and the module ends with an epilogue that shows a certain Khaynite's hand in arranging this nightmarish trip.

After the module is concluded, we get appendices depicting all NPCs/monsters relevant for the module, rules for scrolls sent by the gods that anyone can use and short rules for creating mobs, i.e. swarms of larger creatures. (Something I use in my homegame via my own rules as well, btw. - pitchfork-wielding mobs should be feared!)
The module comes with 3 maps: One showing the overland-journey on the NeoExodus map and the other two depicting the ruined village and the cellar. Unfortunately, the latter two maps are terribly ugly and rank among the worst I've seen in any publication. Even b/w-line-drawings of the most basic nature would look better. Additionally, the keep of all places is not mapped - a MAYOR downside.
We also get 7 handouts depicting information they can find. It is here, unfortunately, that the writing is WORSE than in any of the pages of the module: To give you some examples from the hand-outs, these glitches are all on one page: "marvel as[sic!]" instead of marvel at ; "These log information about rich settlements along the coast of mainland Exodus."[sic!] "Exactly where that settlement is not clear, but should it is clear that such a settlement is located on the mainland."[sic!]. In my home-game, I can't use these hand-outs.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are bad, I noticed numerous glitches a read-aloud box missing etc. - the file could have used another pass at editing. Or 3 to 5. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's beautiful 2-column, full-color standard and the module comes with a second version with the white background that is slightly more printer-friendly. The artworks range from stock to some you may already know from other NeoExodus publications. Cartography, I'm loathe to say, stands out like a sore thumb and SUCKS, with the most vital map of the module missing. Also: The pdf lacks bookmarks, which makes running the module from a laptop much harder than it should be an all but requires you to print it out. The pdf comes with a legacy sheet-record for NeoExodus' organized play.

Man. This is one of the reviews I hate to write. I really like the page-count devoted to the long journey, lending a sense of foreboding and epicness to the endeavor. I LOVE the primary antagonists and how the main meat/escalation of the module is handled. I LOVE the sense of dread, the cool ideas and how they're executed. Also, author J.P. Chapleau's writing has improved - while he still sometimes succumbs to the "short-conjunction-less-sentence-disease", these instances are few and far in-between. In fact, the module is good enough to be considered for a 5 stars + seal of approval-verdict. Content-wise.

And then comes the execution. While the module only barely made the moderate funding goal, it still feels underfunded to me. The execution of the module has some mayor issues: Editing-wise, the amount of glitches, which come especially massed in the player's handouts, are very unfortunate. Worse, the lack of a map for the most crucial location of the module is a mayor downside as well. And the cartography is at the lowest level and so ugly, that even my own sketches probably look better and I'll use them when I run this module. Speaking of the missing map: The location and the siege could have used some development, with more consequences for PC-actions and pressure. While any DM worth his salt can improvise this, as a written module, that's a weakness. And then there are the missing bookmarks that just are unacceptable at this point.

*sigh* I want to give this module the glowing recommendation its content deserves. It's exciting, it's cool. I can't. The production values undermine the appeal of the module to an extent where I can see people having their fun actually spoilt by the lack of bookmarks, editing glitches and quality/lack of maps. Each on its own may not be as significant, but combined, they serve to pull this module down. Were it not for the great content, I'd whack this down even further, but I feel that the content deserves to be acknowledged. Still, I can't go higher than 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 stars on this one - with one caveat: If you're willing to get your own maps, don't run this via laptops/electronic ways and don't mind editing glitches, the go get this if you're willing to work on it. The module per se is worth to be perceived beyond its failures in formal criteria.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Adventures: Origin of Man (PRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Emissarite’s Gladius (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2013 04:13:13
This installment of the Treasures of NeoExodus-line is 4 pages long, with 1 page being taken up by SRD/editorial and 1 page devoted to item-cards, leaving two pages of content, so let's take a look!

This gladius was wielded by the fire-and-brimstone preaching religious zealots/terrorists of the Phoenix Guard when they destroyed the Rylosian Hermitage devoted to a religion that was not the Sanguine Lord. After the massacre, which is rendered in a compellingly-written piece of prose narrated by a convert/survivor, the supremacy of the Sanguine Lord was readily apparent - no small thanks to this blade.
Mechanically, the blade is a +2 heartseeker gladius that deals an additional 2 points of wisdom damage and improves the wielder's Str-score by +1 for each drain so inflicted. A critical hit resets the 1 minute duration of the buff.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color drop-dead gorgeous standard and the artwork of the gladius, as we've come to expect from the line, is a beauty to behold. The pdf comes also in a second, more printer-friendly version and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Fluff-wise, this ranks by far among the best in the whole line, delivering a cool, compelling narrative with a nice twist at the end. Mechanically, I'm honestly not completely sold on the gladius - 2 points of wis-damage sans save feel like a lot and a death-knell to clerics and druids. In the hands of a two-weapon fighter of any decent level, perhaps a hasted one for additional pain, these weapons would be EXTREMELY deadly. That being said, while I'd be wary of letting them fall into PC-hands and especially of making them a TYPE of magical weapon rather than a unique one (at 12 820 GP they are not that expensive to create...), as a unique weapon it might make for a good addition to the arsenal. Still a slight discomfort remains, somewhat similar to the one I voiced regarding silence, and that one WAS unique. Thus, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Emissarite’s Gladius (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Peace & Tranquility (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2013 04:06:24
The latest installment of the Treasures of NeoExodus-line is 4 pages long, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Peace and Tranquility are a pair of two butterfly-swords originally wielded by the legendary Final Arbiter Shani Bakradze of the order of Janissaries in the final battle of the twilight war that resulted in the order of Janissaries shaping the political landscape of NeoExodus and creating the unification. The twin swords, on a crunch level, are a +2 ki focus butterfly sword and a +1 ki intensifying butterfly sword. When fighting defensively with both weapons, the wielder gets a +2 shield bonus to AC.

Additionally, the enchantments of the weapons (i.e. the ki-focus/intensifying qualities) allow the wielder to use ki-dependant abilities through the blades and may add two option for ki: Peace may, for one extra ki-point when channeling a stunning fist mute spellcasters for 12 rounds if they fail to save. Tranquility may instead paralyze via the same mechanic, though the +1 DC of the ki intensifying quality of course raises the DC.

The pdf, as always, contains item-cards for the weapon, though only one that contains both swords - I would have preferred one for peace and one for tranquility.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting this time around are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the original piece of art of the blades is beautiful to behold. The pdf comes with a second more printer-friendly version and both have no bookmarks, but need none at this length.

Peace and Tranquility rank as my favorite installment of the series so far - the weapons are interesting regarding their mechanics, have a cool background, are a too-rarely supported weapon-class and their crunch is concise and worded with precision - the only reason I refrain from adding my seal of approval would be that getting two item cards, one for each sword, would have been the icing on the cake. My final verdict: 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Peace & Tranquility (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Aegis of Makash (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2013 07:05:19
This installment of the Treasures of NeoExodus-line is 4 pages long, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page item-cards, leaving us two pages for the weapon, so what do we get?

The Aegis of Makash is a trident that, story-wise, may yet prove to be the instrument of destruction for the particular and vile threat the quickslavers are in the NeoExodus-setting. The trident's story is nice, though not as catching as some others in the line. Mechanics-wise, the trident is a +2 ooze-bane trident that, as a full-round action, allows the wearer to make a touch-attack to expel a quickslaver from the body of one of its victims, turning the tell-tale remaining spots that remain from the infection golden and rendering the recipient immune against renewed quickslaver infection. The weapon also provides a +2 resistance bonus to saves versus diseases.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful 2-column full-color standard of the line and the artwork provided for the weapon is gorgeous indeed. the pdf has no bookmarks but needs none at this length and comes with a second, more printer-friendly version, which is also in full color.
This weapon is interesting in its foreshadowing of a hopefully soon upcoming book on the quickslaver-threat, but also makes it hard to judge if the weapon properly works. As a bane to quickslavers as a very specific enemy-type, as a kind of hope, it seems to do its job, though the lack of a restriction on the quickslaver exorcism, either per day or by allowing a save, feels quite powerful - especially if mass-production of these as per the plan outlined in the fluff-text, could work. I hope this doesn't make the quickslaver-threat too weak and also hope, that the gold spots could hint at a nefarious undermining of the item's noble purpose. That being said, all in all this is a solid addition to the series and deserves a final rating of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Aegis of Makash (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Peace & Tranquility (PFRPG)
by Chad O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2013 13:22:30
"Treasures of NeoExodus: Peace & Tranquility" is four pages, including 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page item-cards, and 2 pages for the item and its history.

"Peace" and "Tranquility are twin butterfly swords. "Peace" is a +2 ki focus butterfly sword and "Tranquility" is a +1 ki intensifying butterfly sword. In addition to their individual bonuses, a character fighting defensively with both weapons gains a +2 shield bonus to armor class (above and beyond the normal benefits for fighting defensively).

Each weapon also has special abilities specifically aimed at hampering spell casters. "Peace" can be used in concert with a stunning fist attack to cause a target to become mute by spending 1 ki point. "Tranquility" can be used in a similar way, but instead paralyzes the target by spending 1 ki point. Though the rules are not explicit, it seems quite clear the stunning attack is meant to occur through the weapon(s) using ki focus / ki intensifying.

The accompanying description offers a flavor history of the weapons along with theories concerning their uniqueness (one of a kind or not?). Although the history and names are specific to the NeoExodus setting, the provided information is vague enough that the items could easily be used in setting. The items seem especially fitting for Far East themed campaigns. These effects last for 12 rounds.

Overall, I noticed no editing or formatting issues. Both a B&W and full color version of the PDF are included. The art is great and matches the flavor and description of the item nicely. With the included description, stat block, and item cards (with or without item info.) the PDF is a great value (especially at 99 cents). This publication was exactly what I hoped it would be and more. 5 stars well deserved.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Peace & Tranquility (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Daemonwatch Blade (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2013 09:11:17
This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page item-cards, leaving 2 pages for the item and its history, so let's take a look!

The Daemonwatch Blades are wicked greatswords that are utilized by the gevet temple guardians of Var Shaal. The fluffy entry is written like the diary of a perished servant of the sanguine covenant and ranks among the best flavor-texts of the line. Rules-wise, the blades are +1 unholy everdeath greatswords that allow the wearer to use locate creatures on foes damaged for 12 hours, making them deadly tracking devices. They also help with +2 when dealing with gevet in social situations.

The new everdeath weapon quality is part of the pdf, at +2 bonus it requires a DC 20-caster level check to heal damage dealt by it and a DC 25 check to raise the dead killed by them. They also work especially well for bearded devils.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch this time around and I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres in both the regular and the printer-friendly version to LPJr Design's respective beautiful two-column full-color standards and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
A solid class of swords with a cool artwork, a new weapon quality that is nice and solid rules to back them up - nothing to complain about, a nice offering to the line and consequently a 5 stars verdict.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Daemonwatch Blade (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Raindrop (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2013 05:07:27
This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page item-cards, 1 page SRD/editorial - let's check this out!

Raindrop is an interesting weapon indeed - the signature weapon of a master-spy, the weapon is actually more than meets the eye - disguised as an umbrella, the blade can be drawn from its umbrella-sheath and work as a +1 keen dueling wakizashi. When used in parasol-form, the item can instead work as a +1 animated light steel shield and allows the wielder to act as if s/he had the Missile Shield feat. The wielder also gets the benefits of a glide spell while wearing the weapon and it has an additional, neat idea:

When spinning the parasol as a free action, you may 1/day produce the effects of a hypnotic pattern spell - affecting 2d4 +10 HD since the spell caps there and the CL of the item is 12. Cool and fitting with the topic, were it not for a central oversight: We don't get to know against which DC the foes are supposed to save, though I presume the caster's int. The effect lasts as long as the parasol, is spun, which is a cool idea.

The pdf comes with item-cards.

Conclusion:
Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of NeoExodus and is just as beautiful as we've come to expect. The printer-friendly old layout is just as gorgeous. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length and the artwork is gorgeous. The Editing and formatting are top-notch and apart from which attribute governs the save versus hypnotic pattern, I don't have any problems. This pdf was first accidentally released as its draft and LPJr Design, in a VERY quick response rectified the issue and updated the pdf, which is great customer-service. The weapon's signature-ability has been streamlined and apart from the slight confusion with the save, I don't have much to complain about, for Raindrop is an interesting, versatile and cool weapon. My final verdict will thus clock in at 4 stars.
Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Raindrop (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Raindrop (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/01/2013 03:01:58
Hiding things in plain sight is alway a neat trick... especially if you play the Great Game (spying, that is...). So here is the very epitome of tradecraft, what is more innocuous than a ladies' silk umbrella? Just a gaily-painted fashion accessory, surely.

But no. Within its handle is hidden a fine blace, sword-stick style; while the canopy - due to enchantment - acts as a shield and has the added effect of being able to generate an hypnotic pattern (as in the spell) when twirled.

The main part of the product gives the item's backstory, how in a few short years both Raindrop and its owner became legendary as she snuck into all manner of places she ought not to have been in yet evaded capture until a cunning trap was laid - and even then escaped before being brought to trial. Not to mention that the umbrella vanished from the evidence locker! Nobody knows where either of them are now...

There are brief details of the item's construction and two item cards: one with all the details as supplied in the text and a blank one if you have ideas for a variant (she says, wandering off muttering in Bulgarian!). It's a neat and original item which could prove a diverting focus for a side adventure or even more...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Heroes of NeoExodus: Chanda Kesin (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2013 05:47:29
This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Chanda Kesin (which actually means "One from the North"), is a human female of Khymerion stock and her name is unknown - what is known, though, is that she is a foe to oppressors, a deadly opponent on the battlefield. PCs may encounter her as she stalks slavers, be manipulated into conflict with her or simply end on the wrong end of her axe/punching dagger, for Chanda's true foes are the extremely secretive cadre of foes detailed in the Enemies of NeoExodus-supplement, The Crimson Hand.

While not per se required to get all out of Chanda, the inclusion of the organization will definitely increase her usefulness and entrenched value in the setting. Chanda comes with 4 different incarnations, all straight-forward and linear progressions of her chosen profession, that of the Barbarian (Legendary Killer). We get iterations for her ranging from level 3 (CR 4), level 8 (CR 9), level 12 (CR 13) and level 18 (CR 19). Each of her statblocks comes with stats for her raging as well, which is a nice bonus.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout in both the parchment-style and printer-friendly version is full-color, 2-column and drop-dead-gorgeous. The artwork provided for Chanda is top-notch and glorious. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily need them at this length.

Chanda Kesin is a cool NPC with top-notch production values for a fair price. While I don't consider her to be extremely ingenious, she delivers what she sets out to do. All in all, a solid NPC-offering with a great artwork and definitely worth my final verdict of 4 stars, falling flat of the 5 only due to her build being not that complex.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of NeoExodus: Chanda Kesin (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus Legacies: Cold Visitor (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2013 08:14:52
This pdf is 39 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages monster-sheets, 1 page spell-sheets, 1 page buff sheets, 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving us with 32 pages of module – not bad at all!

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

All right, still here? The PCs in this module have been employed by one Sheik Arjouf ben Ibrahim to travel to an island off the coast of Gavea, contested between Dominion and Caneus Empire. The problem is – the Nexus Gateway they are to use for transportation instead dumps them right at some damaged archway, the magic of the archways runes fading fast. A searing cold wind blows right into the PC’s faces and a person clad in thick winter’s robes greets them as newcomers to this strange arctic place called Praegelidus. Following the lieutenant Orgun through the blizzard from continual flame post to continual flame post, should show the PCs how deadly this climate is and also set the mood for the rest of the module - a struggle for survival. Now the PCs are soon led to the camp and here, they will meet Captain Penser, commander of the green griffon mercenary unit and Silas Fedders, head of the researchers secluded in this place.

The first day in the camp is thus spent with establishing no-go areas for the PCs (we know how players love these) and questioning the PCs on the outside world – their reactions to these probing will determine how all the NPCs will treat them later on. Wise PCs are nice, since in the camp military-style hierarchy, they are right at the bottom and should not complain too much about the menial labor that is expected of them. On the second day, at breakfast, things seem to start to get…weird. Perceptive PC will notice researcher Morkin mentioning that “it” is gone and soon afterwards the first body is found and it will not remain the last – the second one has been dragged outside from the watchpost and thus, a search-team will be sent out – containing the PCs. In the dread cold of Praegelidus, it will take 2 miles before they find private Suven – confused, frostbitten – and, unbeknownst to the PCs a shell of an elder evil bound by First One magic to this demi-plane. An elder evil that has been awakened by Silas’ meddling and the proximity of all those delicious souls…

If you haven’t realized what the inspiration for this was: Think John Carpenter’s “The Thing” with the added complication of no technology, being at the bottom of the food chain and completely unequipped for the clime. *diabolic laugh*

Worse, while the PCs are outside, captain Penser gets a visit from Pah’tharsus’ shard, a fragment of the beast and the culprit of the soul shells – two further privates are turned into soul shells and captain Penser is gone – and with him, the central authority figure of the mercenary company. Upon their return, Lieutenants Orgun and Jandis thus quarrel for leadership of the company, further adding to the atmosphere of paranoia that will be further be enhanced by separating PCs with the menial duties they are still supposed to perform. Over the next couple of days, the shard will continue its slow and inexorable war of attrition – soul shells are, after all practically indistinguishable from regular folks and attacks every 4 hours should soon result in at least 4 of these soul-gathering sleepers. Add to that paranoia between regular privates, an attack on the dogs supplemented by two soul shells demasking as a distraction and further attacks (possibly also on Elise, one of the scholars) and we have ourselves a neat climate of distrust, paranoia and fear. Worse, the Pcs will soon be accused to being soul shells or the instigators of the deaths, the still will blow up and its fire, if not quenched, start to burn down building upon building. Hopefully the PCs can manage to survive to day 4, where an all-out snow-storm will give them some respite from the shard’s attacks – only to have it attack en masse with all its soul shells on the following day. Hopefully the PCs have by now pieced together the clues – in order to strengthen again the prison of Pah’tharsus, they must translate the First One glyphs on the archway, find out that Silas has gone batshit crazy and deduce from his journal the true nature of the killer and origin of the shards. With this information, they may have a chance at finding the correct tome that contains the necessary ritual to be performed at the archway – a final dash through the howling winds while beset by Pah’tharsus shard(s) (soul shells have a nasty habit of turning into these…) will be in order.

Now this being essentially a horror sandbox with a timeline, the camp is provided in excessive detail – including the necessary gear for survival in these hostile climates. The compound is heated by magical heat stones and if you’re a sadistic DM like yours truly, you may, slowly, but surely, start taking them away via shards and shells, one by one… It should be noted that the camp is provided in a nice, player-friendly b/w-map and that we get a total of 8 hand-outs as well as features of the demi-plane. Think survival horror with magic is too simple? Well, divine magic in the demi-plane works unreliably at best and summoning, blink and similar effects automatically fail and channeling has its effects halved. To aid the DM with his cheerful task in this module, we also get full environmental details for the snow-falls, wind etc. as well as full stats and a neat artwork for the shard, the shell-template and full stats for all the relevant NPCs – commendable!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good and while not perfect, show that the guys from LPJr Design can do it if they set their mind to it - all in all I encountered less than 5 glitches, all of which minor. Layout, as with any LPJr Design-publication, is drop-dead-gorgeous: 2-column, full color and even the alternate printer-friendly full-color version is a joy to the eye. Speaking of joy to the eye: While I’ve seen some of the many b/w-artworks in the module before, they all serve to enhance the excellent atmosphere of the module. Furthermore, you’ll get neat (stock) b/w-artworks for all the dramatis personae (which btw. have been compiled in a list for your convenience) to show to your players, which is also a huge plus. What is NOT a huge plus is the lack of bookmarks – a module of this length should definitely have bookmarks, especially since timeline and location are two separate beasts. I heartily recommend any DM wishing to run this to print this out. Also, the cartography is not particularly helpful or nice to look at.

Modular, sandboxy, urgent, dishing out paranoia and atmosphere by the spoon and mixing unique NeoExodus-style with a healthy dose of horror that could be either focused on gore, psychological warfare…or both, all depending on how you run it. This module is a glorious offer and mops the floor with its two predecessors in the NeoExodus Legacy-line – not only is it longer, better edited and tighter written, it is also much more detailed, concise, offers more room for PC-choices and should be considered a stellar horror-module for any setting, not just NeoExodus. I wholeheartedly recommend this module for all DMs seeking to put a certain sense of dread back into their players, who want a change of pace…and of course for all aficionados of horror. Though admittedly, a DM should have a bit of experience to properly convey the rising paranoia and atmosphere, several troubleshooting tips should make sure that the module works. Still, a bit of experience when playing multiple characters can help. Lee Hammock, Chris McCoy and JP Chapleau have created a module with this I can wholeheartedly recommend, and were it not for the lack of bookmarks, would rate 5 stars + seal. Especially due to the lack of them and the relatively scarce, undetailed map, I’ll have to scale down to 4.5, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform! Still, this module represents infinitely more the quality I want to see for the product-line and reading modules like this is what makes reviewing fun.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Legacies: Cold Visitor (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Daemonwatch Blade (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2013 10:56:54
A neat - and nasty - weapon to incorporate into your adventures, it comes with a new weapon property: Everdeath. This includes soul-drinking on the part of the weapon, and makes it extremely difficult to resurrect anyone killed by it.

The backstory provided includes fragments of a journal that could be used as clues in a search for one of these weapons, as well as a temple-full of fanatics the most notable of whom are issued these blades. See someone with one of those, it's advisable to run... unless you are brave, powerful and lucky!

To look at, a Daemonwatch Blade is a greatsword with irregular serrations and spikes ornamented with a stone that looks like a reptilian eye. Finding a scabbard for the thing is likely to be difficult! As well as the Everdeath property, it is also capable of tracking the last person hit with it, so even if you flee after being injured you may not get away...

As well as all this detail, plus a big drawing and full stats, you also get two item cards. One has all the details as given here, the other is blank so if you like the sword but want to play around with the properties a bit, you have scope to do so.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Daemonwatch Blade (PFRPG)
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Espionage Genre Toolkit: New World Disorder
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2013 22:34:33
For $2, the current price, this toolkit is a bargain. Although there's many ways it could be improved (see below), what you get is a set of ideas, GM advice, simple mechanics, planning forms and an advanced class to flavor a d20 Modern campaign.

One criticism often leveled at d20 Modern is that unlike Third Edition D&D, its predecessor game, it doesn't have a clear tone/core concept. Although Allegiance was a step in the direction of providing that concept, it wasn't clear that this was what the game should be built around. LPJ has come out with Genre Toolkits to try to help push d20 Modern "gently" (my word) in a direction in order to alleviate this problem.

The New World Disorder campaign is one of overlapping and conflicting conspiracies and 1990s-style government clampdown theories. Anyone who watched the X-Files (or, really, any show in that time period) can immediately recognize the style.

The toolkit starts with some flavorful, but not mechanically overwhelming Allegiances, from The Man to The Truth, then gives three GMing tools to help conspiracies maintain a mysterious feeling even as the player characters may be charging into them head on with all they can bring to bear. Next there are the "spook" templates, based on the super-agents that are often deployed to take out or pursue troublemakers. These introduce some interesting mechanics that will pressure characters in ways they often wouldn't be, but aren't overwhelming.

A new advanced class, the Man In Black, seems to pursue that mythology really well. Class features in d20 Modern aren't balanced to start with, so I'm not going to work that out. Suffice to say they seem interesting and flavorful enough, so we'll call it a success. And of course what Man in Black would be seen in anything but the creepiest black cadillac? I question these vehicles' inclusion as a class feature - given the normal means of providing assistance in d20 Modern's organization/allegiance rules, it seems superfluous.

Finally, there's several pages of planning forms that are tailored towards a conspiracy-based game, a welcome addition.

There's some weird stuff going on here. The bookmarks are, hilariously, for an entirely different product. The planning "forms" are not actual PDF forms, you have to print them out to use them. There's a blank page just sitting there. It's kind of bad, format-wise. But I can't argue with the price tag and the pile of stuff you get for it - stuff you might really need if, like me, you like d20 Modern but have to do a lot of work to get it to the table. So it gets an extra star for me for that.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Espionage Genre Toolkit: New World Disorder
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Ultimate Spell Decks: Inquisitor Spell Cards (PFRPG)
by Jason T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2013 21:40:53
I love these cards. I obsess over my character sheets - more accurately, my character books - and I was really looking forward to printing my inquisitor's full spell book into a bound tome. I bought this title, downloaded it, and immediately noticed that it wasn't complete: there are spells missing. Even after going back and downloading the Cleric's and Domain Spells titles, my inquisitor spell book remains incomplete. I get that you don't want a lot of repetition between titles, but I don't want to have to download the bard's cards (for another charge) just to get the two or three spells I'm missing from my selections.
Still, the cards are perfect for my purposes... I just wish there was a way to know exactly which packages I need to download in order to get the full product for which I am looking.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Spell Decks: Inquisitor Spell Cards (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus Legacies: Encounter at Ramat Bridge (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/18/2013 08:20:22
The first module for NeoExodus since the FREE-RPG-Day module "Undying Legacy of the First Ones" is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages mini-monster sheets, 1 page combat & initiative tracker, 3 pages of daily spell-list sheets and 1 page of buff sheets, leaving us with 16 pages of content for the module, so let's check this out!

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

All right, still here? The PCs are hired by an agent of the Imperial Alliance to venture forth into the border area between the Arman Protectorate and the Janus Horde, where trouble and possibly even war, is brewing. The PCs are sent out to check out a fort situated at Ramat Bridge after being briefed in the back of a seedy tavern. The module provides short letters to draw them into the module as well as a sketchy overlook of the fort of Ramat bridge, which lies on an island. After navigating/avoiding/talking themselves past a force of the Arman Protectorate and a possible ambush, the PCs pass by an occupied town to find that Ramat Bridge's fort now lies in ruins, the nearby horde-town pillaged, churches of the Sanguine Covenant burned - a lot of mood is set here. It should be noted that for ease of playing this in a limited time-frame, optional encounters are marked as (soft), should you be in need of haste. The fort itself, provided the PCs manage to avoid the potentially collapsing bridge and the subsequent, deadly plunge, seems to be in just as bad a shape - all the more impressive when taking the Protectorate's mechanical servants into account. Booby trapped bodies, slain guardsmen and P'Tan as well as a mysterious merchant-survivor should arouse the player's suspicions when investigating the slaughter.

And indeed, nightfall brings terror to the PC's door, with waves of P'tan and Scythians attacking upon wave - hopefully the PCs have used the provided map (resembling dundjinni in style - ok, but not too glorious) and made some preparations - otherwise, the battles will be a test of endurance. In the morning, a mysterious villain shows and can be seen as an exercise in foreshadowing that should prove to be interesting for the sequel if the DM manages to pull it off. Speaking of sequel - should the player characters survive, they may rapport to a high-ranking military officer and bear witness to an act that may very well mean war... but that are stories for future NeoExodus modules.

The pdf also features 3 feats used by the adversaries herein as well as two spells that are rather interesting: Minion mark and dispel minions, the latter of which destroys the remains of all dead marked with a minion mark - a nice component to explain the complex designs by which the First Ones managed to avoid detection of their schemes.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting could have been better and drag somewhat down what would otherwise be a neat, simple module - glitches à la "Mobile cannon cannot be looted for parts and have no value."[sic!] are unfortunately to be found more than once in the module. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's full-color old (non-parchment-look) NeoExodus-standard and the artworks in full-color are neat, though you will recognize them from other NeoExodus publications. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is by this time a no-go and a definite down-point of the module. Any pdf longer than 4 pages should come with bookmarks by this point.

Author J.P. Chapleau is one of the lead creative minds behind the NeoExodus setting and it shows - he has a firm grasp on the concepts and mood evoked by the campaign setting and manages to transport this feeling to the module. However, not always. The quality of the writing fluctuates rather strangely between compelling reads and accumulations of short sentences that lack conjunctions, prepositions etc. I'm not sure why these subject-verb-object-sentences crop up, but they do. Wording-wise, another component of my gripes vs. the writing are sentences that contain word-proximities derived from the same root à la "support their supporters"[sic!] instead of "support their allies". While per se minor points, they conspire with the subpar editing to drag down what would otherwise be a nice, short, action-packed module. The potential repercussions and sense of gravitas the PCs should have by the end of this module is definitely something I'm missing from many of the PFS-modules.
Speaking of organized play - This is something I'm not getting at the moment: The module is an organized play scenario for NeoExodus, which is cool. It also has the (soft) encounter markings, which is a bonus. BUT: As per the writing of this review, I couldn't find out how the module would work in an organized play context - factions? Faction prestige? Faction Quests? PC limitations? Notably absent. The Organized Play-pdf mentions patrons and tasks/favors for them, but none are available in this book- there also in no LR-sheet for the scenario included.

As a short module, the encounter at Ramat Bridge does its job rather well, but the aforementioned glitches and lack of bookmarks drag down what would usually be a good module to just a solid one. Add the decreased usability in an organized play context (as which this was advertised) and we have another downer. Thus, I'll settle for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded still (albeit by only a slight margin!) up to 3 for the purpose of this platform since the general flair and atmosphere don't deserve a 2-star rating.

EDIT: +0.5 stars since we now get a chonicle sheet as well for a verdict of 3 stars

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Legacies: Encounter at Ramat Bridge (PFRPG)
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