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Deadly Games
by Micah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2014 07:24:44
Disclaimer, I adapted this for the Dungeon World rule system, so anything related to the stats of the traps and monsters I cannot speak to.

The book gives you 5 arenas, I have GM'ed a one shots with one of them as well as incorporated one into a larger campaign. They were fun, but I would say that some of the traps are repetitive. I incorporated some traps from Scavenger Studios "14 Traps" to make the games more dynamic which did the trick.

The maps were great to use when I projected them digitally onto my tv from my laptop.

Solid product

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Games
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ZEITGEIST #4: Always on Time (PATHFINDER RPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/01/2014 05:03:33
An Endzeitgeist.cm review

The fourth installment in EN Publishing's so far simply superb, investigation-driven steampunk-AP clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 68 pages of content, so let's take a look!



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



Still here? All right! The intrepid constables of the RHC, i.e. the player characters, find themselves on a reconnaissance mission in this module - they have uncovered the presence of a shadowy conspiracy, but so far know next to nothing about them. Having investigated Caius in Zeitgeist #3, the PC's know he would have been boarding a train in Beaumont at one end of the Avery Coast Railroad and travel its length to the city of Vendrice. Spy Missions are no easy thing, and unlike many a shadowrun mission I've read throughout my DMing career, here we are not left in the dark: By starting the adventure with a planning phase and providing ample options for skill checks to e.g. create false paper trails, establish cover identities and make plans for contingencies. Even risky propositions such as attempting to buy off the spies on their trail, are not off the books and distinct options - though ones that already carry a solid possibility for failure. Better yet: If your players don't like investigations/spywork (then why are you playing this AP, though?), they can jump immediately into the operation, though at least in my opinion, the module looses quite a bit of its charm that way - especially since failures tend to not result in dead-ends, but rather detractions from the degree of the respective success of the PCs.



On the way to Beaumont by ship, the PCs will have their first hostile encounter herein - if you want to go naval combat here, I'd suggest Frog God Games' "Fire as She Bears" instead of the standard "Admiral o' the High Seas"-rules the Zeitgeist AP presumes. Beyond that, enough information is provided for you to run this particular encounter as a more or less straightforward hackfest. Anyways, the PCs should thus have a good reminder that their meddling has made some important people rather giddy. Thus they enter the nation of Danor.



Danor is problematic for especially casters - magic doesn't work well within the wild/dead-magic-zone riddled nation, thus requiring some careful deliberation on behalf of the players regarding their casting prowess. So yes, the PCs will need to be smart when handling this assignment - after all their goal is not engagement with the enemy. hence, they board, among the vast bustle of people, the train - 1st class, of course! The train and its passenger are lavishly detailed and making appropriate observations and conclusion will be hard - even before a stop in Danor's capital Cherage makes tracking the suspects (all of which have something going on the PCs can discover) rather interesting.



On the next day, a passage through the wild lands (including a short safari-break) beckons - as doe new passengers. The city of Orithea, the next stop, will also see complications in the PC's espionage-duties, with interactions between passengers, many a thing to do...and a constantly ticking timer. On the next day, the constables will have a chance to thwart a train heist in a swampy terrain, with aberrations and bandits - and thankfully a nice breakdown of locations, number of spawns and cars for the respective characters, making this encounter complex, but manageable for an experienced DM. Less than an hour after the attack by the gargantuan aberration, the PC's adversaries are notified of them being spied upon, just as the train reaches the lands of Drakr.



Discussing the nature of conflict (and world's end), counter-espionage by the PC's targets, unrelated black market/espionage deals - there is a lot going on beyond the main plot - so much, in fact, that all the characters come vividly to life and can or cannot have serious impact in the future, while remaining optional for the purposes of this investigation. Still, by the end of this part, the PCs ought to know who their primary suspect is, while at the same time having met some characters that will return in future installments of the AP.



Here a massive spoiler is in order - part of the plan of teh Obscurati revolves around magical lanterns, which can draw targets throughout the planes. hence, the villain's goal is to get the PCs in a given isolated locale and draw them into a hostile plane - In Nem, the spirit becomes the body - when no longer close to the approximation of their bodies, the PCs die. Usually, this would be no problem, but the train's movement means that they are on a tight timer. Undead, the ghosts of the murdered - the PCs are stuck in the train's ghost equivalent, fending off the deadly assailants and hopefully finding the lantern, destroying it before their spirits are whisked away. After this supernatural assault, the PCs ought to be VERY paranoid when they reach Sid Minos.



There, a red herring/further assassination attempt, including a cursed island with its own intelligence and copious undead awaits - along-side a chained demoness who offers one last way for the PCs to resume their work, should they have been suckered in. Then, at a private rail station, the mastermind behind aforementioned lanterns is in danger of being recruited by the Obscurati... And said interaction involves someone in the highest echelons of power...



In order to triumph here, though, the PCs will not only have to have drawn the right conclusions, they better also be up to their a-game - if they are, they may have actually gained some important allies.



The appendix depicts in detail (and with maps) the train, provides further filler NPCs and general guidelines for investigation and the tailing of suspects are provided alongside a selection of 8 magic items (one of which is a new quality) as well as a quick-reference sheet of NPCs for the DM, a mission timeline and a nice advertisement-style handout for the scenic railroad route.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I noticed e.g. one instance of part of a DC's number being obscured beneath a relic and I also encountered some very minor typos/wording glitches. Layout adheres to EN Publishing's drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard, with artworks ranging from superb full color to comic-style mugshots to thematically fitting b/w-stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience and the pdf is layered, allowing you to customize the pdf for printing it out, all according to your needs.



Zeitgeist modules are damn friggin' complex beasts, but gloriously so - they involve a lot of moving parts, NPCs, contingencies and options for DM to get the module, proverbially, back on track. This is no exception and while the module is, quite literally, a railroad, it also is surprisingly player-driven with all the suspects, investigation guidelines, etc. allowing for a lot of outcomes, for a lot of different approaches, while always providing options for the DM to get things back on track. Sorry, I swear that was the final railway-pun. So is this a great module? Yes, yes, indeed - author JAcob Driscoll has delivered a complex, cool investigation against a unique backdrop, one that not as complex as CoC's legendary Orient express-campaign, but one that fits seamlessly in with the overall AP. More so than in previous installments, though, DMs should take heed to impress the investigation-focus of teh whole AP: Players seeking primarily roll-playing will eb frustrated by this triumphantly brains-over-brawns module. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - I applaud the sheer guts of deviating from the mostly combat-driven gameplay of most modules towards a rewarding ROLEplaying experience seldom seen in any d20-based system.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #4: Always on Time (PATHFINDER RPG)
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Admiral o' the High Seas: The Naval Combat Supplement for Pathfinder & D&D 4th Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2014 03:31:01
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement for Pathfinder and D&D 4th edition is 81 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page back cover, leaving us with 77 pages of content, so let's check this out!



So, if you've been following the Zeitgeist steampunk-AP by EN Publishing, you may have noticed that the naval combat rules used by the AP are different from those used by Paizo in "Skull & Shackles". Well, that's because this supplement in the basis for them.



We kick off the supplement with general considerations on technology level, availability/feasibility of teleport and similar means of travel before getting into the meatier aspects of the rules, namely ship statblocks. Ships have sizes (D'uh) and a hull integrity - this is the amount of shipboard weapon damage it can take before the vessel sinks. Ships also have a defense value, which essentially acts as a form of DR against shipboard weapons. In Pathfinder, ships have a touch AC of -3 and +0 to all saves, which feels a bit weird, since usually, the size of a vessel should influence the AC, whereas here a single default value is assumed. Ship saves, when called for, usually are rolled versus a fixed DC 10, at times modified, but more on these intricacies later. The Maneuverability-value applies to some command checks and essentially determines how easy a ship can be turned around. The Speed is also a fixed value (like 7) that denotes the amount of 5-foot squares a ship can travel in combat (and the amount of knots per hour it makes). It also applies to some command checks and double the value equals the vessel's maximum speed. Each vessel has a command rating depending on captain and crew, a minimum amount of crew members required to run it and an entry that denotes how many crew members are required for maximum functionality as well as an entry on how many people can make up the vessel's crew.



Height, length, breadth, decks, weaponry and total cost are also displayed in a ship's given statblock. and before getting into battle, hazard pay for crew as well as plotting a course and following it - essentially, via simple skill-checks solutions, the basic stuff is covered. One particular thing you'll have noticed by now is that the system, since it was designed for two systems, teds to provide Pathfinder information in a slightly greenish tint and brackets - which should annoy me, but honestly, it blends unobtrusively in and seriously does not impede the flow of the text - plus, it makes ignoring it easy for 4th edition DMs. Still, I wished the authors had e.g. provided tables for the skills.

Chops, small crash hazards etc. - most minor annoyances in battle can be negated by aforementioned command check, which btw. constitutes a d20+1/2 level+ highest mental attribute modifier...which is a bit problematic. While an elegant way that allows characters to easily command vessels, it also means that ranks in Profession (sailor) and similar skills are essentially wasted - once relative mastery in such a peculiar field becomes so easy and requires no investment from the characters, it takes away from the sense of accomplishment when actually doing something awesome as a captain.



Now Stern chases are covered via an abstract system that approximates different round-lengths for the ships depending on how close they are - per se a cool idea that manages to make the chase per se be more tight - the system per se is simple, requiring only one side to get 3 successes over the other and makes for a nice, fast to play solution...until you start taking it apart: While we are told that failure of a navigator in such a chase might grant the other a bonus from +2 to +5 or allow a navigator to incur a penalty on one round for a bonus in the next, we get no hard guidelines - essentially this is do as you please" - which isn't bad, but also fails to provide a solid framework from which one can glean what would be appropriate. And no, CR-modifications for encounters based on naval hazards are not provided- why? Because, if you haven't gleaned it, naval combat essentially happens in naval rounds...and it follows abstractions. Take counterspell defense - if you have a ship's mage, said mage can briefly ward a ship 3/day, reducing damage of an incoming spell by 10. Only...that's not how counterspelling works. Also: What kind of resources does this shield cost? Why doesn't it scale with the level of the ship's mage? Where things get completely ridiculous is with the dinner plate defense - mage hand + plate =blocked AoE-spells or rays thanks to PERCEPTION? Sorry, but that's just so incredibly NOT how it would work: Mage Hand has a duration of concentration, which means usually maximum one spell in effect per caster, at close range. Worse, even with a readied action, the plate could only be moved by 15 feet: NOT enough to cover a whole vessel... Yes, I guess that this is intended to be a fun countermeasure to spells, but it ends up being ridiculous, Pythonesque even (Sailors of the penetrated plates, anyone?) and also does simply not work as a strategy as presented - the rules directly contradict it.

Where any semblance of dual systems fall apart is with the mechanics of hitting hooks into sea serpents and similar huge creatures to drag them towards the ship - first of all, the sample creatures usually have an array of spell-like and supernatural abilities. Secondly, the whole maneuver may work against "Defense",, but essentially would be a drag/pull-maneuver in PFRPG - don't expect CMB/CMD or the like here and while the system works at least within the proposed subsystem in 4th edition, it also mentions strikes and honestly, just doesn't feel like you could simply insert a given creature into the equation - removing tethered hooks is in no way dependant on the creature hooked (Kraken!) nor are actions given for e.g. servants to remove the hooks. All in all, an abstract maneuver not thought through to its logical conclusion.



Next up would be different crews (and morale categories that modify the difficulty of e.g. command checks) as well as two feats that allow you to take e.g. multiple elite officer roles and optional modifications for ship-shape, crew size etc. to further modify the basic rules and add more variety to the respective components. Mutiny is also mentioned shortly, as are supplies, but it is here that the supplement also fails - supplies, water, disease - essential components when it comes to the well-being of a crew (not to start with superstitions) are basically only glanced over in the most cursory of ways. While I get WHY this was done, the fact is that a lot of people out there, me included, actually DO track water-consumption, food resources etc. -if only so survival means something. In the context of perilous journeys on the ocean, such components should NOT be simply a half-developed backdrop - more often than not, survival may be just as exciting as straight out combat. So in that particular department, the supplement, at least for me, fails miserably - in either system.



Sooo....naval combat. Each round of naval combat consists of 5 phases: maneuvers, location, terrain, bearing and attack. In the maneuver phase, perception-checks are made by the look-outs and maneuvers are being decided upon - it is here that it becomes evident that the aforementioned chase is essentially handled like a naval combat - why don't the chase-rules just mention that? Oh well. Essentially, the maneuver-phase allows for tactics via 6 different maneuvers, which usually pay for a bonus in one phase with a penalty in another and thus allow for some strategy...but also could have used more variety. A total of 10 maneuvers (6 basic maneuvers and 4 situational ones) to choose from may be enough for sojourns to the seas, but in full-blown nautical campaigns, they'd get boring fast. In the Location phase, blocking an enemy, pursuing ships etc. become possible - again, why first list the chase and then, pages later, provide the other rules - the chase rules aren't bad, I just don't get why they've been divorced from the combat rules on which they're based in the first place. In the terrain-phase, hazards are dealt with. In the bearing phase, competing command checks are made to determine whether the ships can outmaneuver one another and bring weapons to bear. I do like that we have multiple degrees of success and failure here, with varying effects and consequences. However, with opposing d20-rolls, much is left to chance and at least in Pathfinder, that's a violation of how such things are done - usually, one would shoot for roll versus fixed value. In the attack-phase, a ship can fire from each of its firing arcs and hit other vessels - each hit hitting one of 4 potential regions of a ship, with varying consequences: Each hit constitutes a STRIKE. One strike means damaged, 2 broken and, as always, 3 and you're out, i.e. the component has been destroyed. This, again, is rather abstract for my tastes and becomes problematic and overly general once exotic materials and enchantments enter the fray: What if components are guarded versus a special damage type? How much damage does a strike cause when applied in regular damage terms? What about weapons used to decimate the crew? There are some significant holes here, and while we get rules for volleys and a simplified alternate way to track crew damage, I still would have liked more diversified rules there and better synergy with the other levels of battle.



Where the system does something RIGHT would be with the officer roles - a ship has a total of 6 officer-roles, all of which allow players (and NPCs) to influence the performance of their ship in varying degrees and phases, allowing for a nice and dynamic experience that feels superior to essentially the "one player versus DM"-experience the default naval combat rules for Pathfinder provide - if your group isn't as large as mine (over 6 players), you'll be fully covered and have things to do for every player. On the magic side, though, we once again get a massive failure, when an "Arcana check (DC 10 + half the level of the target's highest level component)" can be made to bypass the shoddy arcane defense rules on which I harped before. In my opinion, this particular component is overly simplistic and works in neither system. What's nice, though, would the very real possibility for burning boats to sink, though we are not introduced to shipwrecked rules.



Boarding actions, with and without grids, crew templates - there is quite a lot to be found here. Speaking of which: What I really, really love about this supplement are the myriad floor plans for vessels of all sizes - in lavish full color, with grids - there are so many of them, they actually accompanying the respective ship statblocks, it's just awesome - especially since we also get zeppelins, airships and the like. The fluffy write-ups of sailor's superstitions are awesome as well, though actual mechanical consequences would have been neat. Extensive information on real-world ghost-ship legends, some fantasy ports and 4 legendary vessels (which include an undead whale) also feature here, before we get easy to follow design guidelines to create your own ships, including a wide array of additional components, which, yes, even include a time machine. Unfortunately, you won't find Pathfinder rules for these and much like the previously mentioned components, several of them come apart when taken into the design-context of the respective system.



The pdf concludes with 2 pages of sheets for vessels, a short summary on Admiral Lord Nelson's life and a one-page adventure hook/synopsis for you to develop.



Conclusion:



Editing and formatting per se are top-notch, I didn't notice any glaring glitches. Layout adheres to an easy to read 2-column full color standard and the pdf is layered, allowing you to customize it and make it more printer-friendly. The artworks are universally thematically fitting stock art and the floor plans of the ships are awesome and full color. The pdf comes extensively bookmarked for your convenience.



Author Ryan Nock has created a system that works in this supplement, and one that perhaps is a bit more fun for the whole group than the default ship-combat of the respective systems. That being said, this pdf has issues, many of which can be attributed to it trying to provide one system for two vastly different roleplaying systems. Instead of working with the rules and design-assumptions of D&D 4th edition and Pathfinder, Admiral o' the High Seas creates its own system, necessitating quite some conversion work on the DM's side. I wouldn't complain about that.



What I do complain about is that the system introduced herein may work on its own, but roleplaying systems are not like computer games - mini-games that suddenly follow radically different assumptions don't work here. If arcane batteries can that easily be countered, why don't fortresses follow these rules? Armies? How does one raise a defense shield on a ship? How much resources does this consume? Can it be raised on land? Why not? I get that the system endeavors to make magic artillery not as overpowering by providing countermeasures, but instead of working with the systems, it jury-rigs an ill-conceived concept together, which, when thought to its logical conclusion, makes no sense within the reality of the game world. Since all rules are connected, taking this system and divorcing it as thoroughly as this pdf does from basic rules assumptions and how things are handled results in an almost jarring backlash.



Worse, while the options herein allow for a more tactical approach, it just doesn't cover enough: With some many moving parts via spells, magic items, smaller vessels, flying animal companions etc., this supplement falls painfully short of accounting for the myriad of options potentially available. Now, again, I understand this is partially due to being system-spanning, but my point is: It doesn't work as well as it should in D&D 4th edition and in Pathfinder, it flat-out fails. The latter ruleset has obviously been an afterthought at best, with A LOT of rules differing completely from how things are done in the syntax and grammar of the rules and many options herein simply lacking PFRPG-equivalent rules.



This supplement shows that its system actually works, is fun and provides something to do for players - but it doesn't fit seamlessly into the given rules-systems (though D&D 4th edition works MUCH better with this than PFRPG) and potentially breaks some of the underlying tenets on how your campaign world works in the first place - hardness, hit points, damage of spells etc. - all that is NOT THAT UNMANEGEABLE. This system could have worked with the rules instead of against them - it has all the makings of a good supplement. But it execution is at times lackluster and it suffers from trying to cater to two audiences, ultimately missing one completely and not perfectly hitting the other either. In the superb Zeitgeist AP, these rules may work - because naval combat is used as interludes. But in prolonged naval campaigns, all those small glitches, all the unaccounted possibilities, all the cracks in the system and the relative few tactical options WILL sink this supplement - I guarantee it.



How to rate this, then? For D&D 4th edition, this is a valid supplement, if not a perfect one - it leaves many small options to be desired, but does provide some fun and a relative easy system - 3 stars. For Pathfinder, this supplement fails - it ignores design-tenets, rules-information seems to have been forgotten for many pieces of crunch and the information provided is barebones and reeks of an uninspired, shoddy conversion at best. For Pathfinder, I'll settle for a final verdict of 1.5 stars. My final verdict will fall in-between at 2.5 stars. I'll round down though, since the huge amount of logic issues this supplement may bring up can thoroughly destroy any sense of immersion and internal logic in a given setting.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Admiral o' the High Seas: The Naval Combat Supplement for Pathfinder & D&D 4th Edition
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The Return of SANTIAGO (Novel)
by Ratimir I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2014 18:15:25
It's a classic Resnick space western. If you know what that means, then you've got a good idea what you're in for. If you don't, then I STRONGLY recommend reading Santiago first (for fairly obvious reasons, this book contains massive spoilers for the original).
Return doesn't quite measure up to the original Santiago, but is still an excellent read, packed with the larger than life personalities that populate Resnick's Inner Frontier, but a few of them come across as repeats of earlier characters. This is clearly deliberate in the case of Dante, who seeks to carry on Black Orpheus' work, but Tyrranosaur Bailey comes across in some ways as a repeat of Manmountain Bates, and Waltzing Matilda's introduction bears quite a resemblence to Mouse's in Oracle.
For me the biggest frustration was inadequate proof-reading. I lost count of the typos: a couple of worlds get their names misspelled, a character mentions the Democracy covering "50,000 words", etc. Ten years since publication, these simple errors should have been cleaned up long ago.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Return of SANTIAGO (Novel)
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SANTIAGO AP #1: A Visit to Keepsake: The Hunt Begins (D&D 4th EDITION)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/10/2013 11:20:22
Designed to embroil the characters in the plotline from the get-go, the opening scene comes over as a bit forced: a group of strangers standing in a completely automated post office decide, apparently on a whim, to team up and go after three very dangerous brothers for the price that is on their heads?

It might be preferable to run an introductory scene of your own that gets the party together and deciding that they actually want to be bounty hunters first! Anyway, once the initial identification of the first targets has been made, the action flows well, with an array of clues to be gathered that will bring them to the right place to catch said brothers as they are about to flee the planet. Provided the ensuing combat goes well, the characters will not only now have some claim to the title of bounty hunter, they also get the reward and a ship...

From then on, the adventure is laid out in such a way that the characters ought not to feel quite so railroaded, with suggestions as to how to get things back on track if they don't decide to visit Keepsake - a good planet on which to relax, apparently - or otherwise ignore what has been prepared for them here.

Throughout, it is clear that characters are going to need to be able to interact, investigate and think as well as brawl. Make sure that the party has a good mix of skills as well as some combat abilities or else they will struggle. That said, they will not be short of opportunities to fight, and groups lacking in sheer muscle will also be at a disadvantage.

Everything is presented clearly, with copious notes about how the folks the party meets will react and what information is to be had from them (and at what price). There is also an appendix with new item and NPC information. Everything is well structured to accommodate the D&D 4e mechanics, though, which makes it very clear what is going on.

Overall a good start, once you are past the initial scene.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SANTIAGO AP #1: A Visit to Keepsake: The Hunt Begins (D&D 4th EDITION)
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SANTIAGO AP #1: A Visit to Keepsake: The Hunt Begins (PATHFINDER RPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/04/2013 10:49:16
Designed to embroil the characters in the plotline from the get-go, the opening scene comes over as a bit forced: a group of strangers standing in a completely automated post office decide, apparently on a whim, to team up and go after three very dangerous brothers for the price that is on their heads?

It might be preferable to run an introductory scene of your own that gets the party together and deciding that they actually want to be bounty hunters first! Anyway, once the initial identification of the first targets has been made, the action flows well, with an array of clues to be gathered that will bring them to the right place to catch said brothers as they are about to flee the planet. Provided the ensuing combat goes well, the characters will not only now have some claim to the title of bounty hunter, they also get the reward and a ship...

From then on, the adventure is laid out in such a way that the characters ought not to feel quite so railroaded, with suggestions as to how to get things back on track if they don't decide to visit Keepsake - a good planet on which to relax, apparently - or otherwise ignore what has been prepared for them here.

Throughout, it is clear that characters are going to need to be able to interact, investigate and think as well as brawl. Make sure that the party has a good mix of skills as well as some combat abilities or else they will struggle. That said, they will not be short of opportunities to fight, and groups lacking in sheer muscle will also be at a disadvantage.

Everything is presented clearly, with copious notes about how the folks the party meets will react and what information is to be had from them (and at what price). There is also an appendix with new item and NPC information.

Overall a good start, once you are past the initial scene.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SANTIAGO AP #1: A Visit to Keepsake: The Hunt Begins (PATHFINDER RPG)
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SANTIAGO: A Myth of the Far Future Campaign Guide (PATHFINDER RPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/03/2013 10:54:06
Setting the scene for some science fantasy adventuring, the Campaign Guide opens with atmospheric fiction about day-to-day life in the spaceways... which would have been even better if the text had not been printed on a messy background. The Introduction then explains that the characters are cast as bounty hunters on the trail of a near-legendary bandit called Santiago.

And that's where most of you had better stop reading!

The rest of this document is for the GM, with plot overviews and advice on how to make this adventure path come to life for the players. There are also thumb-nail sketches of major characters and outlines of each adventure, to enable appropriate foreshadowing of future events as well as to give you a good idea of where the campaign is going.

The next section looks at the worlds of the far future, an overview of the galaxy in which the adventures are set. Loads of planets, with a brief description of each, which may well be of use for your own adventures as well as in running those of the adventure path.

Section 3 looks at Campaigns in Space, with all manner of advice for running spacefaring games - of general interest and use even if you are not planning on running the Santiago adventure path. This is followed by a brief section on new rules (primarily covering weapons and star ships) and one on Enemies of the Far Future - prinarily the sentient sort rather than 'monsters' although of course those will be present as well. There's certainly enough to keep everyone busy.

If you are intending to run the Santiago adventure path, this is essential reading. It will also be useful if you want to run a Pathfinder game set in a space-faring far future - plenty of ideas to spawn adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SANTIAGO: A Myth of the Far Future Campaign Guide (PATHFINDER RPG)
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Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Medieval Insults
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2013 12:02:53
A stylish insult can spice up a brawl - or start one - and if you find yourself short of anything that can be repeated in polite company (which, I trust, includes your gaming companions even if their characters are somewhat rougher), you may find this handy list useful.

"You villainous, ignorant son of a lobster!" has a certain ring to it, has it not? Or perhaps you prefer to label your target as "You vicious, pestilent latrine stain!"

Naturally, if you read them through all at once there's a certain sameness to them, but they do have some of the inventive flavour of real mediaeval insults, which rarely resorted to the 'F-word' and other examples of foul-mouthed speech common today.

A little bit of fun...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Medieval Insults
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ZEITGEIST #1: Island at the Axis of the World (Pathfinder RPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2013 02:22:39
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure-module for the Zeitgeist-AP is 59 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 54 pages of content, 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? Then onwards! Because of the espionage/conspiracy-theme of the AP, a roster of NPC-handouts is provided for the DM to keep track of the movers and shakers, but more on that later - The PCs, agents of the RHC (Royal Homeland Constabulary), have prepared for weeks for an interesting event - the Coaltongue, Risur's first steam-powered ship is off to its maiden voyage and the king will attend - thus, their first task will be to check upon the crowd (potentially helped by a portentous dream) for potential troublemakers. Creating threat profiles, recruiting cops to fleece the crowd and dealing with the troublemakers makes for a rather cool and unconventional first encounter, based massively on skills and roleplaying - awesome! Even better, the AP addresses a pet-peeve of mine - since the PCs are good guys working for law and order, their training involves not killing their adversaries, making subdual damage a central mechanic and the PCs able to deal it. While a brawl is possible, a non-violent solution is preferable. And better yet - a duality between dockworkers and policemen is already introduced, delivering the first array of consequences for their actions.

And the PCs do get a prompt reward - after being introduced to Principal Minister Harkover Lee, bodyguard to the king, they are bidden abroad the coaltongue to first socialize and keep an eye on potential threats (and there are a lot of interesting characters and even philosophical debates going on) before the king gets on board. After socializing and meeting with some rather cool characters and movers-and-shakers of the nation, the PCs will be warned that a certain individual has not yet shown up - and the chase in on, for the person is gone and a certain handmaiden is up to no good, trying to sabotage the boiler of the ship! Worse, with the firedust and the rather complex mechanism, a simple disable device-check will not be enough - instead, creative thinking, fast actions etc. will be required to contain what could turn out to be a catastrophic chain reaction of explosions that slays the king and everyone on board. Hopefully, the PCs are up to the task!

Unfortunately, though, the mastermind behind the assassination is by this time already gone with the winds and until the minister of outsiders, Lya Jierre challenges the PCs with a puzzle one week later, they have to bide their time and wait for civil war. Thankfully, the minister is here to bend the rules - to prevent a war, she orders the PCs to accompany the RNS Impossible to an attack on the Axis Island, where the duchess responsible for the sabotage is hiding. The army's infiltrators will go first and if anything goes awry, it's the PCs turn. The operation has to be done in less than 3 days to ensure no political ramifications and Lya also wants the PCs to rescue a relative of hers. Guess what? Bingo, they botch the job. Well, at least the PCs get supplied with mission critical equipment by the RHC. Entering the island via a sea-cave and finding some perplexing relics, the PCs make their way past half-mad survivors to the fortress of Axis Island - and its sea-gate, which the PCs should open if they want to have any chance to retake the island. After an infiltration of the lighthouse (and the potential to botch royally), the stakes are up, though, and the PCs will be sorely challenged by a hold-the-line type scenario, where the PCs have to keep enemy forces from entering the lighthouse and can use a staggering variety of skills and methods to keep the enemy forces at bay.

After this section of the invasion, PCs will witness the legendary elf-warrior Arabey emerge as a stowaway from one of their ships, cutting a swathe through both their men and the duchess' guards - and after a prison interrogation, the PCs have a chance to follow the legendary warrior into a strange phenomenon of reality-ripping into a fey-inhabited, slightly burning hedge-maze before they can enter the central tower - where they can hear the duchess, Arabey and Nathan Jierre discussing the weird political situation and the enigmas brewing - and have a chance to take the legendary elven one-man dreadnought down: Though he is level 15, he is down to 1 Hp and a lucky PC may actually take him down and capture him. Anyways, the PCs have hopefully averted open war between the nations of Danor and Risur and realized that the elven Unseen Court also has stakes in this grand game, which will be continued in #2.

The pdf also provides a quick reference-list of NPCs, 1 page of dramatis personae (including mug-shots),2 handouts for the assault the lighthouse-section of the module, a full-page map of Flint and 8 pages of player-friendly maps, with only two of them sporting keys and numbers that may give away locations - since, however, both are of overland locations and don't contain spoilers, I won't rate this down.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful full-color standard and as per the free guides, the pieces of artwork featured herein are mostly stunning and mind-boggling. The cartography is just as impressive and also in full-color and the amount of maps provided is stellar indeed. The pdf, gorgeous to look upon as it is, will, just like the guides put a brutal drain on your ink reserves - unless you make use of the layers of the pdf, which let you customize the adventure to set how much you're willing to spend ink-wise. The pdf comes fully and extensively bookmarked.

Wow. Honestly, I knew that the crew of ENpublishing is good - I do own the War of the Burning Sky. This one mops the floor with just about every installment of aforementioned AP - the encounters are diverse, challenging, focused on intelligent roleplaying, provide action galore and add a sense of identity and "being different" to the AP that is a joy to behold. Zeitgeist is different from other APs and it is proudly, boldly even so judging from this module. Better yet - this first module is free to get you hooked and it does a stellar job of doing so. This is by far the best free module I've read for PFRPG - with top-notch production values and enough ideas to fill multiple modules. While the lack of a printer-friendly version is a pity, the layers do their job and this module still remains a truly excellent adventure and thus my final verdict will be 5 stars + endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #1: Island at the Axis of the World (Pathfinder RPG)
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Russ Morrissey's 1d100 English-Style Town Names
by Margaret E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2013 20:26:22
This was overall a good list of names. However, the last twenty names on the list (81-100) are exact duplicates of the twenty before them. Therefore, it is only a list of 80 names.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 English-Style Town Names
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Publisher Reply:
My apologies; and thanks for pointing that out! I have no only corrected the file (which you can redownload) but also added an extra bonus 20 names.
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Technobabbles
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2013 11:19:21
I play a lot of Traveller, and always end up the engineer (even on one ship where I'm really the chef, but double as Jump-drive tech and lay claim to being the only person to initiate Jump when wearing chef's whites!) but there are only so many times you can wander off saying you'll run a diagnostic....

One awful day, someone's going to ask you what that diagnostic discovered!

So reach for this list and my percentage dice and tell them there's an imbalance in the Transwarp E-M Harmonic, the Rapid Wavefront Discriminator is shot to hell and the Temporal Plasma Relay is overdue on its planned maintenance schedule.

Nobody knows what I am on about, but it sounds good. And when it comes to a game, that's what matters: maintaining the look and feel of the alternate reality we are sharing around the table until it's time to go home. So this is something I shall keep to hand...

At least until they read the memo about installing fuses in the bridge displays!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Technobabbles
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Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Delicious Tavern Meals
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2013 11:05:02
An evocative meal is an excellent way of establishing your alternate reality as a real place, just not in the regular world... and if you find it difficult to think of much beyond what you had for dinner yesterday, here are some delights to lay on the tavern table.

How about spicy caremelized unicorn stuffed with pheasant cooked in Good Hook Brandy (# 43)? Just 16 sp to you, sir. Seared apples and blueberries pie (# 11) you could maybe get around here, but a juicy sphinx and blackberries stew? Or maybe our renowned half a roasted dragon doused in a wolverine, and apples puree? Or juicy charbroiled snake and rice... hang on, I had that in China, once. But it was a memorable occasion :)

Dining out ought to be special. So should dining out in your favourite fantasy world... and here are some ideas to make that happen.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Delicious Tavern Meals
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Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Fantastic Books
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2013 10:46:30
Sages and wizards (and me!) like to have piles of books around them to pore over, quote from, argue about.... and on rare occasions let other characters look through them. But unless you are very well prepared, there will come a day when a character turns to the bookshelf and asks what volumes he can find there....

... don't panic, start rolling against the hundred different tomes listed here. And then sneak in a book or two that's relevant to your plotline, that holds the relevant information, without it being too obvious!

Roll a 12, for example, and find "Illusion and Summoning: A Tract" by Susan Taylor the Trifold. You can see the words "Igira kali kini dolibix!" inscribed on the inside cover.... now, I wonder what happens if you say them aloud. What if you said them at midnight whilst burning incense...? Perhaps it's better not to know.

Or maybe you found "The Huge Pamphlet of Flower Arranging and Alchemy" - OK, why those two together? Watch the characters going nuts trying to work it out!

Just plain useful, and entertaining, and... cannot really go wrong at the price!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Fantastic Books
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Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Technobabbles
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2013 10:44:43
Ah, technobabble, the duct tape of science fiction – when you need to tie an action and a resolution, and hope that people don’t examine the connector too closely, this is what you use. After all, it’s not important that people know what “multi-modal reflection sorting” or “de-polarizing the phase discriminators” actually is; what’s important is that it’s an excuse to move the scene along.

This can often be the case in sci-fi RPGs, where the PCs need to make a particular skill check regarding some futuristic system. When you’re developing a cure for an alien plague, for example, which sounds more fun? Saying that you’ve made the skill roll, or saying that you’ve successfully utilized an astrophysical tetryon mutation? That’s where this product comes in.

Russ Morrissey’s 1d100 Technobabbles is pretty self-explanatory in its title. The brief introduction quickly takes us to the table of technobabbles, which are laid out in no particular order that I can see. Most of these appear to be nouns – that is, these are things that you use, rather than things that you do. Of course, that’s not really a barrier to a creative player, since it’s easy enough to turn a “photonic quantum disturbance” into “I’m disturbing their quantum photons,” etc.

Other than that minor presentation issue, what’s here is, well, about as plausible as any other technobabble you’ve ever heard. More relevant is that it can be surprisingly difficult to come up with good technobabble, especially on the fly. It’s instinctual to want to make sense of things, so coming up with nonsense that sounds at least somewhat plausible can be surprisingly difficult. Having it done here for you can be more helpful than you’d think.

Pick this up and start working on your phased dampening signal today!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Technobabbles
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Publisher Reply:
Verbs - good suggestion! I'll make sure the sequel contains verbs - manipulate the ambient frequency interference and redirect the nucleonic quantum phenomenon!
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Dwarf Names
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2013 10:35:22
Some people struggle to come up with character names, other people seem to produce an endless stream of them... and some folks have some really strange names for their characters (she says, remembering DMing a 'Samian Ware' and struggling to keep a straight face over a character named after a type of mediaeval pottery!).

So, if it's a dwarf you have to name and you are bereft of ideas, grab your dice and a copy of this list. There's an hundred names, first and last, to choose from... and if you need even more, why roll twice, taking the first name and last name separately instead.

They all sound properly dwarvish too, the sort of name any dwarf worth his beard will be happy to be tagged with... and as time goes on, to hear the bards sing about!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Russ Morrissey's 1d100 Dwarf Names
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