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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Gobseck Vaultwright, Meister of the Golden Anvil (PFRPG) $2.95
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Gobseck Vaultwright, Meister of the Golden Anvil (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Gobseck Vaultwright, Meister of the Golden Anvil (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/03/2012 15:56:10
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=23869.

Money talks and his vault walks! In the realm of dreams, money still has value and you can pawn your dreams. Gobseck Vaultwright sits atop a living vault that is filled with the hopes, dreams and gold of others. He sees no profit in fighting, but he will fight when it comes to protecting his ever increasing horde. Gobseck is not a Druegar to be crossed. He and his magic items can detect and smite cheaters from miles away.

OVERALL

I have rated Rite Publishing’s Faces of the Tarnished Souk very highly in the past, however Gobseck Vaultwright hits the reader with a level drain that might make Rite publishing fans cringe. This entire supplement lacked the spirit of many of the past additions to this series and ended up feeling more like a coherent collection of complex mechanics.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
For me this book’s cover was the start of a product that is below Rite Publishing’s standards. Does that mean it is a horrible product that isn’t fit for whipping my backside with, no way! Rite Publishing reads reviews of their products and if the suggested changes make sense they do it. While the cover illustration was well done, it is white on a black background rather than the penciled looking drawing Rite has used in the recent past. This product doesn’t look like part of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series. Rite has used this drawing before and it normally works, but not in this case. I found a grammatical error on the first page. It could be a word agreement issue, but it just didn’t sound right, not a good way to start a supplement. The suit of armor depicted on page 4 looks like a regular photo with a grey filter placed over it. I’m glad they didn’t go with color on it, but it seemed a bit out of place. If it is a drawing I’m sure it is a great drawing. The pictures of the interior of the living vault felt like they were phoned in. I know it is stock art, but Rite Publishing had a chance to do something amazing with a great concept and failed. A picture of the living vault from the outside would have been epic, but I guess there just wasn’t any stock art to support that…. Rite is still doing a good job of branding some images with bits of information from other books and the reprinting of feats or templates is helpful and creates the “one stop shopping” experience GMs crave.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Rite Publishing’s templates, while interesting, are overpowered; they need to develop more prerequisites to balance them out. I have tried to justify the whole these characters are high level, but with no level requirements of these templates, things could get out of hand really quick. Some of these abilities are like putting a cocked and loaded gun in a small child’s hand, something bad is bound to happen. Many of the mechanics in this supplement were good, but really crunchy, like crack your tooth crunchy. I’m not sure if it was because I got off to a bad start with this supplement, but as I read what some of the abilities and magic items do I tried to figure out how long a round of combat would take and how many calculations would need to be made to resolve that round if you were the GM running Gobseck Vaultwright, and I shuddered.

Value Add: 7 out of 10
There is some great stuff in this supplement, but much of it feels heavy. I can see the point of having a character like Gobseck Vaultwright, but outside of the Tarnished Souk he reeks of diminishing returns. There are some interesting magic items and abilities but they will require lots of paper work and the ability to do cool things becomes un-cool if those cool things become over complicated.

Overall: 7 out of 10
When you are producing top shelf products you are bound to have a bad batch and sadly for Rite this is that “bad batch” The character concept in this felt like the plot to a porn, kinda useless and a bit laughable. Big surprise an angry Druegar banker who was scorned by his one true love, so he dedicated his life to greed… The living vault is a really cool concept that kept this supplement from dipping lower in the standings. When on sale it is well worth the price, otherwise unless you are running a Coliseum Morpheuon game pass this one up. Don’t worry, Rite Publishing has plenty of other great products out there for you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Gobseck Vaultwright, Meister of the Golden Anvil (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/07/2012 07:45:59
The 18th installment of the FoTS-series is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 13 pages of content, so who exactly is Gobseck?

As per the formula of the series, we first get a page of introduction to the character depicted in here, including a box with suggestions on how to use Gobseck and information on his dreams for use with the dreamburning rules. Essentially, Gobseck is the super-capitalist of the Coliseum - an extremely reliable, deadly banker with brutal interest-rates and a fortune that dwarfs most draconic hoards.

4 templates are included in the pdf, the smoke-creature (CR +1), the exemplar (CR +3), the element-infused (CR +1) and the divine creature (Cr +1) templates. Each of the statblocks apart from the high-level version of Gobseck gets two variants to further customize your personal vision of Gobseck.
The most humble version of the curmudgeonly duergar starts off at CR 6 as a fighter (unbreakable) 1/magister 6 and his medium-CR (CR 13, btw.) incarnation adds another fighter level, 5 levels of magister as well as the air-infused template. His beautiful high-CR statblock is a whopping CR 20 and a air-infused smoke duergar fighter (unbreakable) 3/magister 16. And not the highest CR-being in this pdf.

On the supplementary crunch-side, Gobseck comes with 5 feats (including one to accurately depict the stone-faced poker-face dwarf) two spells to ensure the safety of the vault and parley with intruders, two armor enhancements and 5 weapon enhancements as well as his signature item, the Banker's Helm of Servitude (in three incarnations), which makes him the true bane of cheaters and oathbreakers. The write up is a bit strange in that the section provides the fluff for the three iterations of the helm in consecutive order, making it first look like a misprint. Just putting the effects for the improved versions in brackets or give them their own entry would have probably been a good idea. His other signature item is a warhammer that hates cheaters and he also sports a ring to negate light sensitivity.

The true star of this installment, though, would be Gobseck's Vault itself - the colossal structure is actually alive and DEADLY. CR 33. You don't want to F*** with Gobseck's vault. Ridiculously powerful, mobile and being able to mass imprison intruders, the vault should be considered the ultimate challenge for a n epic heist and could easily be developed to become THE challenge for any master-thief. "Lesser", i.e. CR 21 and 23-versions of the vault are included as well, but braving ANY incarnation of Gobseck's vault should be something that puts sweat on the brows of even the highest-level PCs. Oh, and there's a neat piece of fluff. Somewhere in the vault, a tear-drenched kerchief rests - once testament to Gobseck's love, the heart-warming vow of love stitched into it remains as the evidence of the betrayal that has shattered his heart and made him the tragic, bitter man he has become, thus offering a chance for redemption and even sympathy. Or a good way to blackmail the dread banker.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good - apart from the strange choice in the helmet's section (which may be intentional), I didn't notice anything to complain about. Layout adheres to RiP's old, rune-covered border and is b/w with stock-art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. Gobseck is a great character - tragic, despicable, usable in many different roles. Add the variants of his stats, the bonus stats for his vault and the plethora of cool supplemental items and content and I have nothing to complain about apart from my constant yearning for slightly more fluff in the FoTS-installments. Thus, I'm left with no choice but to give this 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval. Perhaps we'll even one day get a high-level heist into Gobseck's vault? Personally, I'd love to see maps for it...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Gobseck Vaultwright, Meister of the Golden Anvil (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/31/2012 16:10:36
It’s easy to overlook the importance of money in Pathfinder. While many quests are centered around lofty ideals of saving worlds and defeating evil, the immediate focus of typical sessions tends to revolve around acquisition, usually right after having killed the monstrous former owners. Indeed, some creatures may establish a fortune of wealth so vast that they have other creatures specifically to guard it. In the Tarnished Souk, the Khan of Nightmares has such a creature overlooking his own vast finances: Gobseck Vaultwright, Meister of the Golden Anvil.

A seventeen-page book, this product hits most of the technical benchmarks we’ve come to expect from quality PDFs. Full nested bookmarks are present, and cop-and-paste is enabled. Ornate borders are on all sides of every page, and several black and white illustrations break up the text every few pages or so. I do wonder if there should be a printer-friendly version, as the heavy borders combined with the periodic artwork may be tougher for some printers, but in a PDF this short it’s probably not a huge deal.

Gobseck is, as a character, perhaps best characterized as Ebenezer Scrooge before he met the three ghosts – that is, he’s a cold and heartless money-grubber who has a romantic tragedy in his past. The nature of this tragedy, or more aptly, the identity of the woman in question, is never revealed, though a sidebar on using Gobseck in your campaign does include some pointers on who she should be in a Coliseum Morpheuon campaign. As with other characters from the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, Gobseck’s stat block is an impressive collection of first- and third-party content. While some of his levels use a fighter archetype from Ultimate Combat, the majority of them are magister levels, from the Super Genius Guide of the same name (though take note, those with older files may remember it as the Genius Guide to the Magus instead).

Several of Gobseck’s feats are reprinted here for ease of reference, even those that can be found in the PFSRD already, which I found helpful. A pair of spells from Rite’s own 1001 Spells book are given next before we move into a number of magic weapon and armor abilities – these are quickly put into context as we then get Gobseck’s individual magic items broken down, and I have to say, he’s as equipped as a CR 20 encounter should be! His hammer, in particular, is not something you want to be on the receiving end of.

Gobseck’s vault is statted up next – not just a thing, it’s actually a living vault, albeit a unique one. Not only does it have powers unlike other living vaults, it’s also a monstrously powerful thing, weighing in at CR 33! I actually snickered at the listing for its XP rating, as I strongly suspect very few groups will ever be able to earn experience points for destroying it.

Slightly oddly, two quick variants are then given for Gobseck – specifically, there are two sections listing what changes should be made to his stat block if you add the Divine or Exemplar templates to him. I wish there had been more context to why these were here – are these versions of Gobseck from parallel universes? Things that could happen to him in the future? Just dumping alternate materials on us without talking about what they mean in the game gives us numbers, not a character.

This is a lesson driven home in the two alternate stat blocks for Gobseck that follow, lowering his power down to CR 13, and CR 6. His title changes with each stat block, which I take to mean that these represent Gobseck at earlier stages in his life (ironically, each also has a note on what to change if those templates are used with him).

The book closes with four templates presented – these are the two templates that Gobseck does have (Smoke and Element-Infused, with him having the air version of the latter), and the two that he could potentially have. Oddly, there’s a small section (two or three paragraphs) of “bonus content” that talk about the one sentimental item that Gobseck keeps in his vault. I did like this bonus bit of exposition, but I found that it actually highlighted what would have been a far better bonus – a listing of what’s to be found in the Vault; while this will obviously vary between campaigns, even a guideline of what sort of fortune of treasures and magic is to be found in the vault would have been useful – I consider it a missed opportunity.

Overall, however, the book is still a good one, and like all of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, it’s a case-study in how to use OGL materials to great effect. While the aspect of character development is somewhat overshadowed by the game mechanics here, that’s the natural consequence of (rightly) including the reused material for reference purposes. The result is that you have a very strong character with an understated but potentially engaging backstory, to say nothing of his massively-powerful living vault. Use Gobseck in your game, and see why money is the root of all evil.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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