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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds (PFRPG) $2.99
Average Rating:5.0 / 5
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds  (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2012 14:38:22
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=22913.

The Coliseum Morpheuon knows only two forms of gladiator: the quick and the dead. Z.Z. Grimshanks, with a smile as sharp as any blade, is one of the quickest… and not yet the dead-est. While he’s still alive and kicking, even your seconds aren’t safe. This product provides an interesting and surprisingly in-depth look at an NPC I would not like to meet in a dark alley.

OVERALL

Rite Publishing highlights yet another one of the members of their well thought-out and really freaking scary lineup of Unusual Suspects that inhabit the Tarnished Souk. If you are looking for a detailed and interesting NPC to work with or against an adventuring party, look no further than Z.Z. Grimshanks

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
When compared with products produced but some of the larger RPG makers, many folks would not consider this product a 10. For Rite Publishing and many, many other smaller RPG makers, it sets the standard. Rite Publishing was smart to stick with black & white illustrations with this product. In past reviews I have dinged Rite Publishing for forcing color illustrations or choosing color illustrations that didn’t sync with the text or just looked cheesy. Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds, Rite stuck to the fundamentals and it works! Rick Hershey captured Z.Z. Grimshanks with the cover art. The malevolent smile and the casual tossing of a wicked looking dagger gave me and idea of the type of character Z.Z. Grimshanks is right away. The page borders are done in Rite Publishing’s grey-green runic pattern that is normally used with the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series. The interior art is relevant and well-done. The Time Thief looks like a Time Thief. I enjoyed that the behind-the-scenes over at Rite Publishing (in this case Steven D. Russell and Matt Banach) chose to add non Z.Z. Grimshanks pictures to the descriptions of some of the templates. I am quite fond of the Betrayer Gremlin on page 9

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
I still contend that some of the templates in Rite Publishing books are way too overpowered. Here is an example from Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds; the Accelerated Creature adds 8 to initiative, a 6 bonus to AC, CMD and reflex saves, 4 to Dex based skill checks 30 feet to all modes of speed and a special attack for a CR 1 while the Charming creature grants a 4 to Cha and gives the creature a permanent charm monster effect also at a CR 1. I understand how powerful permanent charm monster can be but compared to the Accelerated creature template not so much. At higher levels these additional templates make sense and can really add to a memorable adversary but to add a measly CR 1 to a creature with all of those benefits is a power gamers wet dream! If the folks over at Rite Publishing put a minimum level requirement on qualifications for these templates I think they would feel more balanced. If an NPC is given one of these templates at level 2, things would get out of hand quickly. Because of the increased difficulty of leveling up at much higher (almost epic) levels, the laundry list of improvements included with some of these templates make more sense.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Rite Publishing has mastered the art of giving their customers more product for their money. Not only are their products priced to sell but they add things like variants of the already well thought-out creatures. For this product they included three variants for Z.Z. Grimshanks at each CR that they presented. This gives the GM a modular flexibility that few products provide. This is a great product for GMs and not bad for players.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Z.Z. Grimshanks, like so many of the other Faces of the Tarnished Souk, is a force to be reckoned with. Entire adventures and even campaigns could be based around an NPC like Z.Z. At lower CRs Z.Z. Grimshanks is much easier to integrate in places other than the Coliseum Morpheuom setting. Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds is a product whose time has come!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/22/2012 11:01:57
This pdf is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD, leaving 11 pages of content for the latest installment of the FoTS-series, so what kind of far-out NPC do we get this time?

Our culprit this time is Z.Z. Grimshanks and he's a goblin - but not a regular one. Where Bonetonbgue was an inversion of the chaotic nature of goblins, Grimshanks revels in it - in fact, the psychotic little goblin is not only a fearsome gladiator, but also the Tarnished Souk's newfound champion of thieves - even better, the goblin is a time thief whose dreams have been replaced by a strange static due to his constant tweaking of his own timeline. The fact that the time thief is used here is a cause for applause on my behalf, as I'm a huge fan of the Rite Publishing/Super Genius Games-synergy I've seen in the last couple of months and consider the expansion of it awesome. But back to Z.Z. - which by the way stands for "zeee...zeee...greatest!" - but don't ask, unless you want to be stabbed in the kneecap, that is! The goblins comes with 4 magic item properties, alterable, greater alterable, sync and critical sync weapons, which make his armament able to change form and adjust to a foe, adding luck bonuses to his attacks and his 6 magic items, including ones to facilitate his roguish abilities and two powerful weapons, one of which is an artifact, make this goblin a deadly foe indeed. Even better, the strange bug-eyed glasses he always wears and pretends that hide him from the eldritch things lurking between seconds are also a hook - for the time-scrambling goblin may actually be on to something!

One of my favorite templates from the Book of Monster Templates, the Betrayer creature (CR+1) also makes an appearance, as do the Accelerated Creature (CR+1), Charming Creature (CR +1), Stealthy (CR+2), Wounding (CR+2) and Jaunting Creature (CR+1) templates - quite a selection there! The low-level incarnation of Grimshanks clocks in at CR 8 and comes with 3 variants, using the accelerated creature, stealthy and wounding templates. This incarnation is a jaunting goblin monk (martial artist) 1/time thief 5.

His mid-level incarnation is a charming jaunting goblin monk (martial artist) 2/time thief 9 and clocks in at CR 14 - this incarnation also comes with 3 alternate versions using the aforementioned templates.
Have I already mentioned the Time Reaver-feat, which may rip temporal powers from foes to refresh your motes of time, but at the expense of becoming more vulnerable to said foe. It should be noted that Grimshanks CR 21 statblock is a beauty to behold (he's a betrayer charming jaunting goblin monk[martial artist]3/ time thief 14) and also comes with 3 alternates, which may amp him up to CR 23! If you don't have access to SGG'S Time Thief (Why? It's an AWESOME class, one of the best out there!), don't fret - all the information necessary to run Grimshanks is included in the pdf!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are once again up to RiP's excellent standard - I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's old b/w-rune-covered standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks. What can I say about a character that not only oozes comedic potential, can be used as both foe and ally and utilizes arguably one of the best 3pp-classes out there? The goblin makes not only for an unconventional and smart adversary, the amount of additional content and customization options ensure that you can get more out of this pdf than one character and his neat magic items make him even more compelling. In the end, I'm practically forced to acknowledge Grimshanks as a stellar NPC and thus will settle on a final verdict of 5 stars + Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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