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Village Backdrop: Hulw'ma
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/14/2014 04:00:07
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement Greg Marks has crafted here, shall we?



Hulw'Ma translates roughly to "Sweet Water" in the local tongue and as you may glean by this, the village is actually build around an oasis! Great to see Raging Swan's Village Backdrops broaden their horizon thus! As has become the tradition with the series, we get a fully detailed marketplace, village statblock, lore-DCs, a short paragraph on how the villagers look as well as 6 rumors.



So what makes Hulw'Ma distinct? Well, the village is ruled by a theological autocracy that worships the very water of the settlement, which is not only taken in by the folk and travelers here, it also may assume humanoid form in the guise of Musheer. Said being, essentially treated as an avatar of the life-giving waters, is actually a marid with a sinister agenda unknown to the people of the village. What agenda? Well, you'll have to get this yourself!



Further complicating factors in the village are the power-hungry druidic ruler of the village, the nearby ruins of Xa'Niphan and the exiles that have fled the tyranny of the oasis, the Naji Su'ad, who wander a thin line between bandits and freedom fighters and may actually be both. Oh, and then there's the fact that the daughter of the local spice mogul, the most important employer of the village, has taken Musheer as a paramour...with potentially volatile consequences.



Both Naji Su'ad raiders and Musheer get btw. full statblocks and 6 events can serve the DM as catalysts or further complications for the PCs staying in the village. Oh, and of course, as always, law and industry and covered herein as well.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a nice map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs on RSP's homepage. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.



Author Greg Marks has done a great thing in diversifying the breadth of themes Village Backdrops cover - the desert settlement is a welcome change of pace for the series utilized with surprisingly efficiency - from the neat statblocks to the flair that should make both fans of Al-Qadim/LoF/Qadira as well as Sword & Sorcery-fans happy, this village offers a moral dilemma, shades of grey, intriguing customs and adventure potential by the spades - so much, I'm astonished that all fit on the scant few pages herein - a superb example of concise writing, this pdf is easily worth 5 stars + seal of approval - be sure to check this awesome village out!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Hulw'ma
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Mythic Minis 1: Monster Feats
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/14/2014 03:56:41
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 3 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So here we get mythic feats for monsters, so what do they do?



-Ability Focus (Mythic): Increased the bonus to the DC granted by ability focus by +2, use mythic power to force targets to roll their save twice, taking the worse result.



-Awesome Blow (Mythic): Essentially awesome blow's improved mythic version, including potential stunning (which can be extended via mythic power)



-Improved Natural Armor (Mythic): Increases natural armor further (depending on how often the non-mythic feat has been taken) and reduces bleed damage, even attribute bleed. Okay, but feels a bit underwhelming for a feat-slot, particularly for a mythic feat.



-Improved Natural Attack (Mythic): Increase damage for natural attacks enhanced by the non-mythic version of the feat and use a swift action to ignore up to 15 points of DR for mythic rank rounds.



-Multiattack (Mythic): Secondary natural attacks become primary natural attacks. When hitting a creature once with each natural attack in 1 round, spend 2 uses of mythic power for mythic rank times 1d4 damage. I assume this stacks with bonus damage from rend, if available.



-Multiweapon Fighting (Mythic): Gets rid of the -2 TWF-penalty for the primary hand and allows you to make a free non-AoO disarm or sunder attempt at +8 to CMD when hitting with both weapons in the same round for one mythic power.



-Snatch (Mythic): Use 1 use of mythic power as a swift action when making a grapple-check. Upon success of the maneuver, the target is automatically pinned and the penalty to AC is increased by mythic rank of the grappler.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Authors Tom Phillips and Jason Nelson have created some Mythic versions of the most common monster feats, of monster feats that see A LOT of use. The variants are generally well-crafted, have solid mechanics and generally are well-worth the taking. That being said, they also are universally predictable and do what you'd expect them to. We get a solid nice little supplement, very useful and well-crafted, but no instance of truly astounding rules - hence my final verdict will clock in at a hearty recommendation for Mythic DMs at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 1: Monster Feats
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Super Mega Ultra Mecha Fighting for You, Me, and All of Our Friends (A Tinker Prestige Class) [PFRPG & D&D 3.5]
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/11/2014 04:58:30
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, this is the much-anticipated installment of Tinker-expansions Bradley Crouch has promised should ever 200 Tinker-pdfs be sold - The SMUMFYUMAOOF-(said that out loud - surprisingly fun!)-expansion that provides us the Mechgineer, a 10-level PrC that gets 3/4 BAB-progression, medium ref-save and full invention-progression as well as d8 and 4+Int skills per level. The requirements for this particular PrC are rather steep, requiring ten ranks in Ride and Knowledge (engineering), the endurance-feat, the option to install 4th level inventions as well as the Megadroid greater innovation.



At 1st level of the PrC, the Mechgineer gains the cockpit innovation and may install it in blueprints, even if the Mechgineer's level would otherwise not be high enough to install them. Also at first level, all of the Mechgineer's blueprints automatically have the Megadroid greater innovation added - and yes, this includes any future blueprints - the ability isn't called "Go Big or Go Home" for nothing. Note, however, that this does not extend to the Alpha. As written, this does not retroactively decrease the number of automatons, so yeah, a rather powerful ability that adds +50% build point limits for all automatons sans the innovation's usual downside.



At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the Mechgineer increases the HD by +1. At 3rd level, we get the ability "Powers Combined" - insert your favorite Captain Planet, Power Rangers , or imho, even better, Saber Rider-reference here. But how does the ability work? Essentially, at 3rd level, a Mechgineer may combine his Alpha with a deployed Megadroid to form a Super Ultra Mega Mecha, or SMUM. This is a full-round action that provokes AoOs and requires the Tinker to be in the cockpit of his Alpha. This combination consumes one use of the infuse automaton class feature. Per se cool and concisely-worded, though I think a caveat for the non-alpha megadroid to be required to be adjacent to the Alpha for the transformation would be prudent. When automatons combine, their maximum and current HP are added together for the new maximum, while the ability scores of the automaton with the most HD are used, thus meaning that usually, the Alpha will be the determining factor. It should be noted that size increase (for the SMUM is +1 size larger than its largest component) bonus HP are also depending on the size of the "dominant" construct, meaning e.g. a huge SMUM formed from a medium and a large automaton would get +20 HP if the medium automaton is the one with more HD and only +10 HP due to size increase if the large one is the one with more HD. A handy table summarizes the amount of bonus hp for size-increase, btw. - a smart move, since not many players out there will be familiar with this particular rule. It should also be noted that how daily uses of inventions, stacking of bonuses etc. is addressed.

On another note unrelated to this pdf's content: Sadistic DMs out there, take heed: An organic creature combined via these rules would get a whopping +80 bonus HP - keep that in mind for the next mad alchemist/fleshwarping beast...

Another thing you should be well aware of, is that automata need to be one size larger than their riders to have them in a cockpit, hence the medium Alpha of the example can only house a small Tinker, since the Tinker NEEDS to be in the Alpha's cockpit in order to combine into a SMUM. Medium Tinkers better increase the size of their Alpha as well...



Disassembling a SMUM once again costs a full-round action that provokes AoOs and sees the remaining hit points evenly distributed among participating automata. Excess hit points of single automata instead are added to other component automata. Inventions of the combined automata stack, as do bonuses and daily uses of duplicate inventions if applicable, though duplicate inventions per se do not. While Tinker, Alpha and Megadroid essentially form into a SMUM, the SMUM/Tinker only get one array of actions, essentially a balancing factor for the power-gain the SMUM offers.



At 4th, 7th and 9th level, the Mechgineer gets to choose from a list of 14 Super Mega Ultra Subroutines, which include massive barrages of all electro-related inventions, alchemical barrages (Full Mental Alchemist - nice nod to one of my all-time favorite anime...), the option to put allies into one of its cockpits (thus potentially saving them from being swarmed), the power to activate inventions that are already expended by tapping into the daily uses of other inventions, always having greenblood oil ready for poison-manufacturing inventions, dealing +twice BAB as damage as a standard action, as an AoO keeping foes from moving through threatened squares or the use of an activated invention as a swift action, which consumes all its daily uses, though, - all of these are possible via this PrC. Said latter invention needs to have at least two uses left, though.



At 5th level, the Mechgineer gains the Gigadroid greater innovation and may take it multiple times, while at 6th level, Alpha, Megadroids and Gigadroids ALL get free cockpits (and at 6 BP, that's a lot of free space to fill with gadgets and weaponry...). Finally at 10th level, the Mechgineer gets an epiphany, which can be used 1/SMUM-deployment, i.e. upon disassembly and recombination with another automaton, the ability is refreshed - and each and every selection here will bring broad smiles to the faces of otakus out there: From long disintegrator-rays (Saber Rider!!!) to coup-de-grace-damage dealing slices, kamikaze-attacks that leave the SMUM (relatively) intact to automatic ejector seats to the ability of the SMUM to interpose itself and catch attacks that would kill allies to repair subroutines that prevent destruction to the options to go into a defensive stance or even punch foes in orbit (or an adjacent height), these capstones ROCK. HARD.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Let's you things out of the way: Number 1: I absolutely adore the concept of this class - it caters to some of my unfulfilled nerdy sensibilities in roleplaying and I so want to go all Saber Rider (listen to this kick-ass theme music) on adversaries and blast them to shreds. Secondly, if you get this pdf, you should be thoroughly familiar with the Tinker class - not cursory, but really, intimately familiar with it. The concept is so complex that you'll require some book-switching unless you're very familiar with the class. This is by far the most complex Tinker-PrC released so far and it also doubles as perhaps the best: building your own mech and going toe-to-toe with the biggest of monsters, this pdf offers you an AWESOME take on being able to pilot mecha that does not compromise your ability to undertake regular dungeon exploration. Furthermore, the sheer coolness of the abilities more than make up for the loss of flexibility that results from combining automata.



This pdf took me longer to review than most 20+-page supplements out there: This class is complex and requires you to take a look at things you probably haven't seen before - bonus hit points for bigger construct-sizes, for example, but once you get behind it, it also is cool, rewarding and offers something no other class even has attempted. unique signature abilities, solid rules. How to rate this? All right, I'll get one thing out of the way: This is one of my all-time favorite PrCs. Seriously. I love it to death. Hence, my final verdict would be a gleefully giggling, mecha-name-shouting, orbital-punching 5 stars + seal of approval, while also being a candidate for my top-ten-list of 2013, of course!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Super Mega Ultra Mecha Fighting for You, Me, and All of Our Friends (A Tinker Prestige Class) [PFRPG & D&D 3.5]
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[PFRPG] Pug's Bazaar: Tent #2
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/11/2014 04:53:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment in Tricky Owlbear's Pug's Bazaar-series is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Written in-character like the sales pitches of Pug, we are introduced to a variety of curiosities and oddities in this supplement, first of which would be hexeater voodoo dolls - these essentially work as buffers for curse-spells and hexes, with each prevented one draining chrages from the doll. As a nice idea, each item herein comes with adventure hooks, the Hexeater's one dealing with the potential that these dolls that emit shrieks upon expending their final charge, may actually be linked to orphans...haunted orphanages...perhaps using lifeforce to fuel their protective properties? Disturbing!



Desert-dwelling characters may be interested in the Sacrabshell Breastplate, which is actually a +2 shadow agile breatplate that protects the wearer from heat dangers and damage incurred by sandstorms, even allowing the wearer to burrow at 10 ft through sand - cool armor!



Blasting bubbles are actually a new battlefield control spell that allows Magi and Wiz/Sorcs to place bubbles around the battlefield - these not only block squares (but not line of sight/effect), you may cause them to emit damaging pulses as standard actions - oh, and trying to destroy them results in unfortunate explosions - which may result in rather deadly chain reactions that may be a bit much damage-wise for the level. Still, since the explosions cannot be triggered by the caster without attacking the bubbles, I consider the spell interesting enough to consider it cool and working - oh, and the hook has a wizard trying to make the PCs destroy their copy of the spell, claiming copyright infringement. XD



Now if you like those blackpowder weapons, do you know about the new Dragonfury Cartridges? No misfire, no attack-roll, 30 foot fire cone, 7d6 damage, ref 16 for half damage. Oh, and there are ones for other damage types as well. Powerful, but also rather cool and limited enough.



I love battlefield control and Banerock Caltrops - these caltrops are not only more efficient than regular ones - they actually move towards a creature type specified and deal even more damage to said targets NASTY and cool!



We get another spell that deserves the moniker "nasty" with the level 7 sor/wiz-spell Portal Guillotine - warding a portal, door or similar gate, the spell deals force damage to those trying to pass it, potentially decapitating foes! My only gripe here is the lack of mundane means of disarming the ward.



Marionette Meathook Gloves act as +1 cesti and may be quite nice - where they start becoming sheer awesomeness is when the wearer is swallowed whole -DR 25/-, acid resistance 20 and apart from the usual way to lsoe the grapple condition, as a standard action, the wearer can attempt to hichjack the mind of the creature that swallowed him/her - will save or dominated... OUCH. Purple Worm tank/Dune, anyone?



The final new spell herein is Bloodfrost, for Druid 2, Sorc/Wiz 3, Summoner and Witch 4 - this spell deals cold damage, more so if the target suffers from bleeding wounds. Solid, but compared to the other pieces of content herein, rather common.



The Amplifying Wand Widget can be applied to wands to burn more charges, but apply specific metamagic effects to the wand's effects - at the cost of a 10% misfire chance on every use. Nice!



The final item would actually 3 i one - Gerzar's Amazing Unguents: Crimson Clay may be shaped in either a doll that can do easy tasks for you or into a protection from evil-effect or it may be ignited for small bursts via fire or electricity damage. Green Gel nets natural armor bonus, but decreases starting attitudes due to smell, can be stretched into a bubble that allows temporary breathing under water or be formed into bullets/sling-stones that deal non-lethal damage. Awesome! Finally, Purple Putty can be used for +10 to disguise (but does not affect clothes and must be of the same creature type and only allows for 1 inch height-difference), allow the user to walk over liquid or copy a page of nonmagical writing by pressing it on the page - I LOVE these! Kudos for all of them!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read, nice and printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor bummer, but still okay at this length - though only barely so. The pdf offers awesome little b/w-artworks for each and every item herein, amazing at this fair price-point.



Author Wendall Roy has created a selection of items that is almost exclusively killer, bereft of components I'd consider broken and full of cool ideas, with aptly-written prose adding fun to the reading experience of cool items - add to that the top-notch production values Tricky Owlbear Publishing has provided here and we get one stellar supplement indeed - apart from the lack of bookmarks, I've got nothing to complain and honestly, I can't justify rating this down for such a paltry oversight - it's just too much fun! Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Pug's Bazaar: Tent #2
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Dark Fey (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/10/2014 03:58:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This mini-bestiary of dark fey is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC,1 page SRD, 4/5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 19 1/5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The first creature herein would be the CR 6 Aridni, essentially tainted pixie hunters that can shoot arrows that can cause hideous laughter, confusion and similar effects, making them well-suited to their task. Beli on the other hand are the ice-arrows firing servants of the arctic god Boreas, whereas Bereginyas at CR 4 are semi-gaseous and, though tiny, they get a racial bonus to CMB and CMD that not only offsets their size penalty and makes them rather adept at their task - these fey actually try to smother you. Ouch. Boloti are frog-headed humanoids clad in jelly-fish like mantles of water that can cause vortexes and even cause water to sprout grappling tentacles. this is the first fey herein I'd consider truly awesome and original - semi-gaseous smothering fey are neat, the Boloti are downright awesome!



Bucca are tiny, poison-using bat-like fey that are vulnerable to sunlight and known for their poison-use. At CR 2 okay, if not particularly awe-inspiring. Chernomoi at CR 1 are essentially the draconic equivalent of brownies. The CR 4 Clurichaun wields antler-glaives that can extend or shrink and disarm or trip adversaries; Combined with their array of SLAs, they make for nice hunter-style adversaries/ hit-and-run foes. Dark Satyrs at CR 6 are...different - with insectile antennae, sleep poison and twisted effects via their piping, these satyr tainted by the Great Old Ones make for one damn cool adversary, both with their signature abilities and SLAs.



Domovoi are fighting fey, house spirits turned enforcers and guards at CR 6, while at CR 6 the Dorreqi, balls of twisted tentacles, are the Walker's tainted version of the Korred. The CR 1 Fey Water Strider are water-walking docile insect-mounts - now this one, I really love! An amalgam of dead fish and amphibians, Mamura at CR 5 are aberrations with the (fey) subtype - which does not exist per se. The description is completely awesome and terrifying, though and their reality-bending and concentration-hampering makes them useful and surely an adversary your PCs will not forget.



The CR 11 Mavka are undead (again, with the non-existent fey-subtype) dryads, tainted into servitude by vampires, bound to cauchemar nightmares and now vulnerable to sunlight: Once again, excellent prose makes one want to sue this creature! The CR 12 Naina are drake fey with various breath attacks, spells and SLAs as well as shape-changing, make for an adversary that may, thanks to the array of abilities, prove to high-level parties as confusing as faerie dragons to lower level PCs.



The CR 11 Nichny resemble humanoid black cats and are actually great soothsayers that may, contrary to appearances, imbue other with luck. This one features a concept with a nice twist and feels rather innovative, so yeah: Neat. Why? Because their xenophobic and gleefully carnivorous... approach at your own peril...



Qwyllions at CR 8 are bloated, hideous mutations of nymphs, again spawned from the corruption of the Walkers - and they actually get an array of fun abilities as well as a weakness and a heritage feat that marks a character as a former thrall to these disgusting parodies of what once was good and pure. Scheznyki, CR 9 fey resembling essentially disheveled dwarven bums, can be rid of some of their abilities by stealing their hats or cut their beards - which is just awesome and cool! This type of information drives home how alien fey truly are and resonate well with me. And yes, we get full item-stats for the hats.



The final fey herein would be the CR 1 Zubnaya, clad in armors of teeth and fighting with tooth-riddled spiked chains, they make for a very disturbing take on the tooth faerie.



The pdf also provides the CR +1 fey animal template as well as a list of known Fey of Midgard by Type and one by CR, all featuring the respective source-books in brackets - handy to have.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - still no true reasons to complain. Layout adheres to Midgard's drop-dead gorgeous full-color 2-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks used herein are insane - beautiful, of top-notch quality and just beauties to behold, one and all of them - they universally made me want to include their depicted creatures in my game.



Adam Roy provides us with a cool mini-bestiary that admittedly has a hard standing with me - both Legendary Games and Alluria Publishing have upped the ante so high regarding monster books that it's hard to excite me anymore and at first, I confess to not being overwhelmed. But slowly, though distinctly so, Adam Roy seems to have found his stride - the more I read, the more imaginative and unique the creatures got - to the point where there are some serious strokes of genius herein. Now on the downside, aforementioned awesome artworks are not provided for each creature, nor do we get lore-DC-section of fey-like tricks like the ones mentioned before for every adversary herein. What we do get, though, would be very compelling prose that drives home the weirdness of many of the creatures herein. Also, I'm a sucker for fey and mythos combining into something...different and twisted. Oh, and then there's the VERY low price-point - for the artwork, for the quality of the content, the price-point of this mini-bestiary is more than appropriate and indeed a steal. It is also the deciding factor that made me round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars to 5 - while not all creatures herein are killer, there is some awesomeness to be discovered in this pdf - if you dare to look, that is.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Fey (Pathfinder RPG)
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Legendary VIII: Legendary Evil
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/10/2014 03:47:23
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The seventh installment of Purple Duck Games' superb series of magic items that improve over the levels is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 36.5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Okay, let me come clear for a second - I'm a complete sucker for legendary weapons. No, not the mythic kind, but the ones by Purple Duck Games that have been established for a lot of installments - weapons that grow with the character are just awesome. Until now, the focus has been mostly on tools for the PCs, though - now, we get an arsenal not only fitting for PCs in Way of the Wicked, but also for villains.



The first weapon already sets a cool tone: Thematically spiced with Freeport-lore, the Adderwhip, a whip that was crafted in Valossa, consisting of a magical serpent added to a bone and potentially making for a whip that not only stings, but rather bites and which comes with the speed weapon property.



The greataxe of Minos makes the wielder an nigh-unstoppable juggernaut, including an imho broken upgrade to crit x6 (!!!) over the levels, whereas the planar assassin's dagger Black Spider may actually not only nullify SR, it may actually animate as construct! One weapon the PCs will both covet and hate would be the bow of swarms, whose projectiles may actually distract targets as the swarm quality and even assume control of swarms. The Brothar Hammer is also intriguing - made from a humming metal, it incites melodies and weird sounds - at level 18, it gets an ability to KILL ANY FOE on a failed fort-save of DC 15+damage dealt. Which is insane, even at this level. Here, we require a generous application of the nerf-bat. I'm also not a big fan of the hammer's concentration-ruining humming - at DC 25, no scaling, it starts off as very strong - oh, and the pdf fails to specify what type of action making the hammer hum thus is. The Undead Flail, made from a decapitated head, also has an ability that should never fall into player hands - at 18th level, the wielder may auto-control all undead, with intelligent undead getting a save - but not what the save actually is. I assume standard for supernatural abilities, but getting the DC would have been nice - this holds true for multiple abilities throughout the pdf, by the way.

Oh, speaking of nerfbat - the flail automatically MAXIMIZES any spell of the necromancy school or evil-descriptor within 20 feet, sans cost to the caster. This is insane and broken on so many levels, I don't know where to start. Next: The pyromaniac dogfryer, a magic goblin dogslicer. At 12th level, the weapon has a cool ability, idea-wise: "The wielder of dogfryer may attempt to destroy writing within 30 ft. One page of nonmagical writing is instantly destroyed per ranged touch attack. Magical writings receive a Will save to resist the effect. This is used to target random pages in opponent’s spellbooks." Oh, this is problematic - does a spell that lacks one page stop working? How do you randomly determine spells/writing erased? Does this extend to allies? This ability is woefully under-developed and simply doesn't work as intended. We also get a staff that sacrifices your familiar to be added to its form and instead allows you to conjure forth said familiar in a dire version. Unfortunately, there is again a weird piece of rules here - the wielder may assume the form of his/her familiar, but has the potential of the familiar's spirit highjacking the transformed body. Why should ANYONE go for that? Limited polymorph that sucks? Yay? Also: what about witches using the staff? Can they still regain spells? Do they require a new familiar? I don't know.



The diseased fungal bolas that may spawn violet fungi once again work, though the item feels a bit on the weak side for me. The Ghost-Fire Battle Poi once again work as intended and should be considered a cool weapon. Grasping Electrum also fits this bill, being a meteor hammer that allows the wielder to create silver and golden motes and direct them versus foes. The war-rake Griffon's Claw, especially effective versus mounted and larger foes and a cutlass allows for the raising of galleons.



The deadly spear Heart-Seeker and Hell's Eye, the infernal pistol work rather well - the latter getting a special shot that fires...teeth. Those of the same type of the tooth's "donor" suffer the damage of the tooth again until the offending tooth is removed. Speaking of infernal - the Infernal device can change between dagger, buckler, short-sword and dart-launcher - cool idea! The scythe infinity's edge could e summed as a monofilament-scythe and thus later gains the vorpal quality.



The leaden spear has a cool story and deals additional damage due to its weight - but does not specify how heavy it is. :/ The Liar's Tongue allows the wielder powers that make the rather cool seducers, including a capstone ability that allows them to twist wishes most maliciously. The Linnorm Blade has a cool idea -allow the wielder to place curses on foes in lieu of attacks - but at what DC? As SU-standard or as per bestow curse? It does not specify...



The maticore-themed morningstar Manticora and the Saurian Armorspikes once again work rather nicely (if a bit clunkily in the case of the former), as does the ooze-flinging slime mace. The club Stonefist unfortunately once again is broken. The first ability allows for EVERY ATTACK to force a fort-save or be knocked prone. Yes. You can hit dragons or the Tarrasque prone with that one. Again, no DC. Why not CMD? And why EVERY hit? At 4th level? WHAT? No way. Worse, later, the hits automatically fling ALL targets of size large or smaller away. Damage + prone+ whatever obstacle available.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not up to Purple Duck games otherwise high standards - I noticed both minor glitches à la "Many" instead of "May" and wordings that could have been clearer. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes lavishly illustrated by Tamas Baranya - all items get their own cool signature drawings in gorgeous full-color. the pdf is extensively bookmarked.



What has happened here? Seriously, this is not what I've come to expect from either author Sam Hing, or Purple Duck Games. A significant amount of weapons herein is downright BROKEN and unbalanced as all hell. (Haha!) there are various instances of item-mechanics just not working as they ought to according to established rules and the lack of DCs for supernatural abilities is quite a comfort-detriment, especially when properly scaling DCs could save multiple abilities herein. This pdf feels like a BETA-version -a multitude of awesome storylines oozing flair, iconic weapons, neat ideas - and then, the glitches and at times utterly broken abilities drag down this pdf. I wanted to love this pdf, in fact, I waited for a moment of disillusion to review this one since usually, the series has established a high standard of awesomeness and fodder for villains and evil PCs sounded like fun galore. Unfortunately, while these weapons may work for DMs to add an unfair edge versus PCs, they should never ever fall into player hands - as written, there are far too many balance-issues herein that simply unhinge a game and could mean the difference between victory or TPK. Yes, that significant.



I have honestly no idea how this could get past editing - I made sure I got the updated version, but still - a significant amount of crunch herein is utterly broken. Which sucks and is just bitter, since the ideas, the stories, are downright AWESOME. This is one of the pdf that leaves a very distinct bitter flavor in my mouth. As much as I love the ideas herein, I can't recommend this pdf to anyone but DM's willing to work quite a lot to iron out the issues. In the end, I can't rate this higher than 2 stars, in spite of evident potential that could have made this the 5-star+seal crowning achievement of the series. Let's hope for a completely revision.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary VIII: Legendary Evil
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The Northland Saga Part 4 - Bood on the Snow, Sword and Wizardry Edition
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/09/2014 03:12:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth installment of the Northlands-Saga-series is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



Still here? The area of Estinfird in the Northlands is depicted in lavish detail regarding its infra-structure and mindset - considered rather provincial by the jarls of the Northlands, this area is a true frontier among frontiers, where men are truly free and not even the yoke of jarls reaches. The geographic area by the way also includes full settlement statblocks for all mayor settlements herein, lending a further level of detail to the respective settlements. But what exactly requires the PC's intervention? well, unbeknownst to just about all mighty beings, the beast-cult of the demon god Shibauroth has been gathering its strength: Making its adherents rather stupid, but enhancing them into deadly, primitive, cannibalistic killing machines via twisted runes, the cult has risen and seems to follow a surprisingly organized plan. The PC are to travel to the largest settlement, the town of Three Rivers, where local hero Hengrid Donarsdottir has traveled. On their way, they can recruit essentially a small army of undisciplined followers and hirthmen (alas, no Ultimate Campaign-synergy) to help the beleaguered capital of Estenfird.



On their way to Three Rivers, the PCs will have chances to deal with first encounters against the Beast Cult and, via befriending the Great White Stag, potentially even turn an otherwise lethal ambush upon the bestial cultists. In order to reach the city, they'll also have to sneak past the camps of the unorganized cult. Finally, inside the town, the PCs will have a bit of time to get accustomed to the fully mapped and lavishly detailed town before the horns are sounded and the assault begins - depending on the amount of followers the PCs have recruited, the respective monsters get hurt/decimated. Oh boy - the siege is awesome - standing on doomed ground, the PCs will have to combat elementals, badger-sapper-squads and even keep a war-mammoth from breaking the nigh-impregnable gates - all while ice trolls and drakes ravage the town in one of the most concise, superb depictions of a deadly siege I've ever seen.



As the dust settles, the PCs will be in for a shock - the aasimar warrior-maiden has been kidnapped! Thus, the PCs have to enter a haunted marsh and infiltrate the poison-thorned, hedge-labyrinth of a frozen marsh maze in which the beast cult seeks to sacrifice the daughter of Thor himself in order to bring down their deadly beast-god: The finale sees the Pcs storm the ritual and hopefully free Donar's daughter from her bonds - otherwise, the terror has just begun. Oh, and bravery is required here - essentially the final encounter is insanely hard and requires the PCs to focus on their goal of interrupting the ritual - should they succeed, Thor himself will annihilate the beat cult and scourge it from the lands. And while the treasure is rather weak due to the savage nature of the cult, the Aesir don't forget the PCs, as the module concludes with a feasting held by Thor himself to congratulate the PCs - if they succeeded, that is. If they failed, they'll have a CR 22 Thanatotic Titan on their hands and survival chances that are at best slim...



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed some minor glitches here and there. Layout adheres to FGG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf comes both with lavish maps and artworks as well as extensive bookmarks for your convenience.



Kenneth Spencer continues to deliver and provides an exceedingly awesome, cool module that breathes the spirit of Sword & Sorcery, dark fantasy in the north and simple panache to an extent that made me marvel at how the author managed to cram that many awesome ideas into the scant few pages. Now the module is not perfect - no Ultimate Campaign-support, some minor glitches - but this is epic, versatile and just compelling in so many ways, all of these nitpicks are swiped away by the sheer awesomeness of this superb module. Fans of Northlands and their lore, savage cults and challenging modules that push your players to the edge - this is for you! This is old-school awesomeness and Frog God Games very close to at their very best - my final verdict hence will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. When do we get part 5?

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Northland Saga Part 4 - Bood on the Snow, Sword and Wizardry Edition
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The Northland Saga Part 4 - Bood on the Snow, Pathfinder Edition
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/09/2014 03:12:20
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth installment of the Northlands-Saga-series is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



Still here? The area of Estinfird in the Northlands is depicted in lavish detail regarding its infra-structure and mindset - considered rather provincial by the jarls of the Northlands, this area is a true frontier among frontiers, where men are truly free and not even the yoke of jarls reaches. The geographic area by the way also includes full settlement statblocks for all mayor settlements herein, lending a further level of detail to the respective settlements. But what exactly requires the PC's intervention? well, unbeknownst to just about all mighty beings, the beast-cult of the demon god Shibauroth has been gathering its strength: Making its adherents rather stupid, but enhancing them into deadly, primitive, cannibalistic killing machines via twisted runes, the cult has risen and seems to follow a surprisingly organized plan. The PC are to travel to the largest settlement, the town of Three Rivers, where local hero Hengrid Donarsdottir has traveled. On their way, they can recruit essentially a small army of undisciplined followers and hirthmen (alas, no Ultimate Campaign-synergy) to help the beleaguered capital of Estenfird.



On their way to Three Rivers, the PCs will have chances to deal with first encounters against the Beast Cult and, via befriending the Great White Stag, potentially even turn an otherwise lethal ambush upon the bestial cultists. In order to reach the city, they'll also have to sneak past the camps of the unorganized cult. Finally, inside the town, the PCs will have a bit of time to get accustomed to the fully mapped and lavishly detailed town before the horns are sounded and the assault begins - depending on the amount of followers the PCs have recruited, the respective monsters get hurt/decimated. Oh boy - the siege is awesome - standing on doomed ground, the PCs will have to combat elementals, badger-sapper-squads and even keep a war-mammoth from breaking the nigh-impregnable gates - all while ice trolls and drakes ravage the town in one of the most concise, superb depictions of a deadly siege I've ever seen.



As the dust settles, the PCs will be in for a shock - the aasimar warrior-maiden has been kidnapped! Thus, the PCs have to enter a haunted marsh and infiltrate the poison-thorned, hedge-labyrinth of a frozen marsh maze in which the beast cult seeks to sacrifice the daughter of Thor himself in order to bring down their deadly beast-god: The finale sees the Pcs storm the ritual and hopefully free Donar's daughter from her bonds - otherwise, the terror has just begun. Oh, and bravery is required here - essentially the final encounter is insanely hard and requires the PCs to focus on their goal of interrupting the ritual - should they succeed, Thor himself will annihilate the beat cult and scourge it from the lands. And while the treasure is rather weak due to the savage nature of the cult, the Aesir don't forget the PCs, as the module concludes with a feasting held by Thor himself to congratulate the PCs - if they succeeded, that is. If they failed, they'll have a CR 22 Thanatotic Titan on their hands and survival chances that are at best slim...



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed some minor glitches here and there. Layout adheres to FGG's printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf comes both with lavish maps and artworks as well as extensive bookmarks for your convenience.



Kenneth Spencer continues to deliver and provides an exceedingly awesome, cool module that breathes the spirit of Sword & Sorcery, dark fantasy in the north and simple panache to an extent that made me marvel at how the author managed to cram that many awesome ideas into the scant few pages. Now the module is not perfect - no Ultimate Campaign-support, some minor glitches - but this is epic, versatile and just compelling in so many ways, all of these nitpicks are swiped away by the sheer awesomeness of this superb module. Fans of Northlands and their lore, savage cults and challenging modules that push your players to the edge - this is for you! This is old-school awesomeness and Frog God Games very close to at their very best - my final verdict hence will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. When do we get part 5?

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Northland Saga Part 4 - Bood on the Snow, Pathfinder Edition
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Dungeon Dressing: Legends II
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/09/2014 03:06:51
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second Dungeon Dressing installment featuring legends is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page how-to-use, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of legends, so let's take a look!



We kick off this pdf with 10 legends about lost treasures (wrongly headed by a d20 -as are all tables herein) - take the potion of permanent invisibility and its unhappy, now mad first imbiber. Or what about a magic armor that protects from all blows, but did not save the wearer from being eaten by otyughs. D10 famed adventurers also get their own legends - From Ley Blude, the seductress to the Gardener, an assassin whose only trace is a smell of roses or a druidess raised in fungus-filled caves.



We also get 10 legends on dungeon features - extradimensional rooms, a beehive of smart, exceedingly deadly bees, tunnels or a room that has a window that always show winter. What about a palace of rice paper, with the final artwork in the center having been consummated and completed by the murder of the artist. We also get a table of 10 dungeon inhabitants here - from doorways leading straight to hell, a hall inhabited by a dryad, a gold-digger's ghost to humanoids, we gat an okay selection of legends here.



The final table deals with events and deeds, again offering 10 entries, this time handling e.g. the theft of the Scrolls of Nethnargay, treaties with dark fey or the imminent quartering of an ogre - these legends once again are awesome and iconic.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though the tables sport the wrong dice-type. Layout adheres to RSP's two-column b/w-standard and comes fully bookmarked. We get two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.



Pierre van Rooden's first collection of legends resonated exceedingly well with me - they universally caught my imagination and just were AWESOME in every way. This pdf...had a hard time following that legacy and it unfortunately didn't live up to it.

After careful deliberation, I determined the culprit - essentially, most of the entries (up until the dungeons) are simply not legends. they're rumors or character descriptions, but they do not offer the symbolic gravitas of legends, the sense of antiquity, of the supernatural, the unexplained. Instead, many of these legends actually sound more like regular PCs/NPCs/thing happening in many a campaign - and thus lack the sense of wonder in the context of a fantasy universe. Now don't get me wrong - this pdf is not bad by any means, it just feels not like it's focused on legends, but rather like an unfocused dressing-pdf offering a gamut of short tables for varied topics. This does not make it bad, but at least for me, it makes this pdf work much less well than its predecessor. There is magic to be found here, just not that much. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Legends II
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Beasts of Legend: Boreal Bestiary
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2014 03:20:41
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collections of monsters is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page ToC, 1 page how-to-use, 2 pages back cover variants, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let's take a look!



After a short introduction of the monsters herein, we dive head-first into the new beasts herein, first of which would be the CR 4 Arctic Harpspider, a spider that plays a hypnotic, haunting tune via its crystalline web - cool! At CR 5, Green Children are small undead spawned from the soured mires of the colder climates and they are GLORIOUS: They can phase around, use deadly pack tactics versus their adversaries and get three (!!!) different types of gaze attacks - from stripping foes of sleep to wis-damage and starvation-based non-lethal damage, these attacks are cool and the creature is both disturbing and awesome - that is great monster-design there!



Gruen are disturbing, small CR 1 fey with lower torsos of centipedes and wide, insectoid maws that may affect foes with nauseating bites and they may also benefit from slopes by curling up - deadly and almost aberrant allies of mites. On the opposite of the CR-scale, at CR 16, are the scraggly huge humanoids called Hiisi, which are not only masters of exotic traps (with 4 sample traps), they may also bleed themselves to generate dead magic zones - which makes for GLORIOUS tricks to spring upon those pesky spellcasters. Awesome!



Also on the upper CR-range would be the Maniitok at CR 17, a colossal intelligent ooze born from spirits and desolate landscapes, these beings have hyperaware senses and thus avoid civilization with no less than 7 (!!!) signature abilities/weaknesses, including some that differ depending on the temperature - awesome! Just glorious!



At CR 10, Orroul, the stone fey, have already featured in Cold Mountain, so I won't go into details regarding that cool creature here. The CR 14 Poleviks are essentially fey-slashers that deal with their adversaries with chain-linked double-sickles and garrote their foes, even stealing their souls. Worse, they can fashion a variety of fetishes from said souls. Disturbing and oh so cool...



The Torden come as CR 3 and CR 7, black-antlered humanoid hunters of the cold lands, these beings may cause hypothermic bleed and boost allies via their hunting horns. Vodenjak, at CR 6, would be gaunt, dark ferrymen that may drink the souls (and make potions from them) of the dying, grant limited wishes to petitioners and conceal their less than savory intentions. GLORIOUS!



The Wiitikowan (lesser Wendigo) comes with no less than 3 sample creatures at CR 6, CR 4 and CR 3 as well as the surprisingly cool template, either at same CR or at CR +2. Beyond treating the Wendigo-myth more like a disease/curse, the template also offers synergy with the sanity-system introduced in "Tomes of Ancient Knowledge".



The final regular page features paper minis of all the creatures and finally, the end of the book offers awesome 1-page hand-outs of the illustration for each creature herein - awesome to have those ready to show to your players and even cooler to have them all collected in the back of the book.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as I've come to expect from Legendary Games, is top-notch -I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the glorious 2-column portrait full-color standard of the Kingmaker-plug-ins. The artworks by Tanyaporn Sangsnit, Jason Juta, and Frank Hessefort are SUPERB and drop-dead-gorgeous - each creature benefits vastly from the evocative artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version.



Jason Nelson, Tim Hitchcock and Matt Goodall have crafted an array of exceedingly awesome all-killer, no-filler monsters herein - oozing a sense of antiquity, folklore-flair and combining that with signature abilities galore, each being in this book is just a glorious monster that mops the floor with the majority of creatures out there - if Paizo released a full bestiary of creatures of this quality, everyone would be screaming about the best bestiary ever - it's that good. With a lot of space devoted to each creature, lore, stellar artworks, player-friendly artwork-handouts ("THIS attacks you!") and sheer imaginative potential, these beings have the space required for them to shine. And yes, you may know some of these beings from e.g. the excellent "Cold Mountain"-adventure, but believe me - this bestiary is well-worth every cent of the asking-price, making for one of the best mini-bestiaries ever released for any d20-based system -Period. Final verdict? Unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval - Legendary Games once again lives up to the premise of the company name - legendary indeed!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts of Legend: Boreal Bestiary
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Magic Abilities For Cold Iron Weapons
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2014 03:18:18
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Bullet Point is 3 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 1 page containing the 5 new weapon qualities for cold iron weapons, so what are they?



-Distracting: At +2bonus, damage thus dealt counts as continuing damage for purposes of concentration for one round. Regular concentration DC when hitting foes to interrupt casting. only the largest amount of damage applies. What a mage-slayer! Two thumbs up - I like!



-Grounding: +2 bonus; first time you a foes in a round, said foe is targeted by dimension anchor, thankfully with a save. Synergy with anchoring weapons. Again, complete awesomeness and win!



-Revealing: +2 bonus, foes cloaked in illusions appear normal to you when failing a save upon being hit. neat!



-Spell penetrating: +1 bonus; When using these to deliver touch-range spells, gain 3+weapon enchantment as a bonus to overcoming SR. SR-reducing synergy with ward cracking. Ward cracking?



-Ward cracking: +1 bonus; First time you hit a foe in a round that benefits from AC-increasing spell or spell-like abilities, reduce the AC-bonus granted if the target fails at a save.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adhere to the unfortunate, slightly cluttered 3-column portrait-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Owen K.C. Stephens delivers - not only are these qualities awesome, they convey exceedingly cool the anti-magic fluff of cold iron, blending great crunch and fluff in one all killer, no filler page of awesomeness that plain out rocks and lacks any sense of mediocrity. Final verdict - resounding, triumphant 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Magic Abilities For Cold   Iron Weapons
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CLASSifieds: The Saint
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2014 06:22:58
An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This pdf is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page editorial, leaving us with 15 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look at the saint, shall we?

Saints need to have the same alignment as their deity and get d8,4+Int skills per level, proficiency with the deity's favored weapon and simple weapons as well as shields and simple armor, but not tower shields. Saints get prepared divine spellcasting via wis of spells of up to 6th level from their own spell-list, 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref and will-saves and one domain from their patron's available list. Regarding their spell-list - the list has been modified and has lost, among others, expeditious retreat, moment of greatness ,timely inspiration,, vanish, gallant inspiration, control summoned creature, litany of sloth, litany of defense, litany of eloquence, litany of righteousness, glibness, litany of escape, litany of sight, primal scream, commune, litany of vengeance, getaway, veil but gained sun metal, reprobation.- all in all, still a strong spell-list with some exclusives, but not as broken as it was before.
Aforementioned domain deserves special mentioning, for it does NOT add the respective spells to the spell-list, instead converting them into spell-like abilities that can be cast interchangeably (essentially like the domain is cast spontaneously via a pool). The save-DC for said abilities is 10+1/2 level + wis-mod and are cast from essentially a pool: 3+Wis-mod cats per day, with spells level 1 to 3 costing one use, level 4-6 spells costing 2 uses and higher level spells eating 3 uses per day. A rather interesting expansion of the spellcasting capabilities - though I'm not comfortable with the increased DC - domain spells tend to be rather powerful and further increasing their DC might propel them towards regions I'm not wholly comfortable with - especially since they can't be counterspelled. While before, they ignored some of the costs, now saints need to provide costly components... which violates how spell-like abilities work: They have neither somatic, verbal, or material components and require no focus.

Saints add their class level to diplomacy and intimidate-checks versus unbelievers and get bonus feats at level 5 and every 4 levels after that - and that's the only ability to help the fluff-concept of a negotiator/peaceful agent of the gods. That's not the signature trick of the saint - said component would be favor, of which the saint gets wis-mod per day. They can be regained by vanquishing challenging foes with the deity's favored weapon and non-combat ways of gaining favor, like converting others and proving your loyalty are also included - essentially, we thus get a version of grit based on faith. And I love the idea. Seriously, my one complaint with divine spellcasting always was that it didn't FEEL like wonders bestowed by a god - but rather a class feature analogue to the one of arcane casters. Tying a class ability to a deity's favor feels distinctly divine to may and makes this a rather neat decision - so kudos to designer Tyler Beck for that!
A Saint's favor caps now at wis-mod. Furthermore, several graces may award temporary favor, of which a given Saint may have a maximum of one at any time and they only lass for class level rounds.
Where there's something like grit, there'll better be some mechanics akin to deeds - and we get them in the guise of graces: At 1st level, 3rd level and every 4 levels after that, the saint learns new favors, of which a total of 18 such favors are provided. Thematically, akin to deeds, there are some favors that require the expenditure of a favor point, whereas others are passive and work as long as you have at least one favor point in your pool. The favors per se are interesting - one for example nets the saint access to the bodyguard feat and expands it if the character also has combat reflexes, making it usable dex-mod times per day - really nice to see such interwoven rules. Since the graces now no longer allows for the infinite regaining of favor, no more complaints on my side. Another grace allows the saint to temporarily (for class level rounds) make his deity's favored weapon merciful and when s/he manages to render a foe unconscious with the weapon s/he gains a point of temporary favor. One minor nitpick here would be that the Saint could hand said weapon to an ally - while not getting the temporary favor, I'm not 100% sure that was intended. No penalty-points for this very minor ambiguity, though, since either interpretation isn't too strong. Favored Dodge has been purged and no longer exists..

There is also the so-called favored onslaught - an array of attacks that requires the expenditure of one point of favor, but nets the saint an additional attack at his/her highest BAB with the penalty of -2 applied to all attacks. As a caveat that makes this more viable regarding the saint's less than stellar BAB, favored onslaught uses a full BAB to calculate the attacks at -2 and also requires the use of the favored weapon of the deity and while it can be used in conjunction with two-weapon fighting and similar attacks, it does not stack with haste-based effects. This is essentially the saint's signature offensive ability and it can be combined with two weapon fighting. I applaud the courage of this decision, as most designers won't touch the mess that is something like flurry of blows with a 10-foot pole, much less potentially combining it with TWF. The ambiguities that hounded the previous iteration of this ability have been thankfully cleaned up, though it still requires careful deliberation on the side of the player.

At 3rd level Saints benefit from the "In Harm's Way"-feat as long as he has at least one favor point and gains a temporary favor point whenever he takes an attack for an ally. They may also use a bard's fascinate ability. They may also spend favor to increase the DC by + 2 when casting spells that influence the target's attitude - note that per the wording of the ability, this means that the domain spell-like abilities cannot be enhanced this way! (Otherwise you'd have me complaining about a high DC being increased even further...)
At 7th level, Saints may spend favor to cast cure-spells on allies at range, with one point making the range 15 feet, 2 points increasing it to 30 feet. To heal e.g. dhampirs, he can use this ability in conjunction with inflict-spells, but either application may not be used offensively. Wording-wise, this ability is slightly ambiguous since e.g. heal and similar conjuration [healing]-spells probably should be covered as well. That's nitpicky, though. Saints also may, as a swift action, spend a favor point to bypass up to 5 points of DR (unless it's DR/epic) with his/her favored weapon or add for one favor silent spell to his/her spells sans increasing the spell level. Unfortunately, no action-type is given for this application of favor and the ability can be added to spell-like abilities, which makes no sense since last time I checked, spell-like abilities had no verbal, somatic or material components.
At 11th level, Saints learn to spend favor to channel energy as a cleric of his level, but NOT power this ability via temporary favor. Furthermore, the Saint always may choose whether to channel positive or negative energy and always uses the variant channeling rules from Ultimate Magic, halving dice, but adding an effect depending on the Saint's chosen domain. Also at this level, the Saint gets bonuses when s/he interposes him/herself between allies and foes and further increases the amount of bypassed DR when using the righteous strike grace, dealing bonus damage, which even multiplies on crits. Not a fan of that one since it runs contrary to how bonus damage is handled in almost all other cases – this may lead to some confusion in the long run.

At 15th level, saints may sacrifice all remaining favor and take 1d6 points of damage on ALL physical attributes - but also save an ally that would otherwise perish. VERY cool last second save ability that comes with enough of a drawback to be considered well-crafted! The saint also gets a now fixed protective aura that slowly increases over the levels. Saints may also spend favor to pay for expensive components of their domain spell-like abilities...which makes sense in the context of these domain-spell-like-abilities, but it should be noted that the domain-casts per default are spell-like abilities and thus would not require material components in the first place - hence also my complaint in the original review (and here again) that these are slightly too powerful. Essentially this whole grace is moot.

At 19th level, the Saints may use divine vessel with favor for class level rounds, further improves righteous strike and shorten the casting of a spell from standard action to swift action via 2 points of favor - thankfully not working on the domain-casts.

As a capstone, we get an outsider-transformation, that nets the celestial or fiendish template, with neutral saints being able to choose as well as smite like a(n) (anti-) paladin 1/day and essentially sees the saint turn into a herald-like figure of the deity, including some exclusive casts that may only be used if they pertain their divine mission.

We also get three new feats: Expanded Favored Weapon, which allows you to use abilities that would usually require wielding your deity's weapon to the weapon's whole group (As if the basic ability wasn't powerful enough already...) and one for +2 favor points per day. The final feat adds +2 uses for the domain spell-like ability pool.

The pdf also features massive lists of favored class options for ALL core races, featured races and uncommon races -kudos, since some of them actually are very unique: Kobolds e.g. getting 1/4 ranger trap fits nice with their racial theme.

The updated version also has two archetypes for the Saint, first of which would be the Temple Guardian, who gains no spells, but retains the domain spell-like abilities (with all the issues they entail). They do get access to ranger traps, though these may only be placed close to places of worship. Instead of favored onslaught, the Temple Guardian gains access to a monk's flurry of blows as long as he has at least 1 favor, useable freely with unarmed strikes and the favored weapon. Problem here - sans improved unarmed strike, flurry of blows using unarmed attacks is a bad idea at best. Why is flurry of blows powerful here? Choose ANY deity with a two-handed weapon and you’ll know why – Greatsword-flurry. Yeah. Ouch. Not every DM will be comfortable with this. Temple Guardians also learn to spend a point of favor to create an aura that makes foes shaken (later frightened) on a failed save, consecrate areas via favor (allowing them to use ranger traps). They also get a sense on a limited area of 10 ft./level and can determine the presence of non-believers. So....do heretics count? What if an area is high? As written, the ability is 2-dimensional. Also: What type of action is designating the area in question? No idea. At 19th level, the temple guardian can meditate 1 hour to create portals to the nearest temple of his/her deity, a portal only he can use. So...can this portal be blocked by teleportation-hampering/redirecting spells/effects? How wide is it? Does it have a CL, if so, which one? Why is it SU when it does what spells do? Can e.g. a siege engines drawn by designated horses go through? Is there a limit on the amount of beings/material that may pass through? Could he create a portal to empty e.g. a small sea into a temple by designating that the water may pass? Can such a portal transcend planar boundaries of demiplanes or full planes? Many questions and alas, no answers.

The second archetype would be the Dark Apostle: Instead of favored bodyguard, these individuals get a rogue's sneak attack of up to +6d6 as long as s/he still has at least 1 favor remaining. Dark Apostles also get the poisoner (ex) quality and may gain temporary favor by poisoning creatures of a CR of at least their HD-2. Due to the cap of temporary favor still okay in my book. They may also spend favor to have their weapon weep a special profane poison (which is rather potent at DC 10+1/2 level, wis-mod rounds frequency, 1d3 Con and 2 required consecutive saves) and spend favor when sneak attacking foes to set them up for easier disarm attempts. At 7th level, one particular ability is hardcore broken here - Forget Secrets. As a SUPERNATURAL ability, the Apostle may cause nearby foes to forget the last minute, dazing them. While only usable once in 24 hours on a target, the ability ISN'T mind-influencing: No protections, no counterspells. That's insane and would change how many organizations work. This needs to AT LEAST be (sp) and mind-influencing. At higher levels, Dark Apostles may spend favor to make extra attacks against foes they sent into the dying state, shadow jump. At 15th level, the Apostle exudes an aura that causes non-allies to forget to forget all that happened inside the aura after 1d4 minutes - since this counter does not start upon leaving the aura, this is a permanent amnesia-machine. This is so insane. The aura requires no conscious effort and is maintained as long as the Apostle has at least one favor - an apostle could steal YEARS with this ability, by mere continued presence. Again, no protection since it's supernatural and not mind-influencing. Oh, and the Dark Apostle gets 1/2 class level to disguise, bluff and sleight of hand as well as a modified spell-list.
.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, while not perfect, can still be considered very good - I didn't notice significant typos. Layout...is DROP-DEAD-GORGEOUS. I mean...beautiful. Evocative. Awesome. The full color artworks also help here and make this pdf a true beauty to behold. The pdf has no bookmarks, which I'd usually complain about - but this pdf is extensively hyperlinked: With the good kind of hyperlinks - you know, the ones that take a lot of effort. Where a hyperlink actually pertains to the right content -even the dispel alignment-spells are properly hyperlinked and you won't see e.g. "will" hyperlinked to will-saves when it does not refer to them! My hat's off to Fat Goblin Games for getting this right and for the significant increase in production values they have achieved since the last pdf I've read from them!

So this is author Tyler Beck's second shot at the Saint and he has learned from his last beat-down - with cleared-up rules-language, vastly improved abilities and better balancing, the saint now actually works as intended thanks to the introduction of the concept of temporary favor. The DC for the domain-casting is still too high, though, and he unfortunately did not get the mechanics of spell-like abilities right, which extends to some of the graces.

So no, the new saint is not perfect, but it's a VAST improvement, with the newish/modified graces kicking ass. What about the new content? Oh boy...well...I'm sorry to say it, but I wouldn't allow either of the archetypes in my home-game. The Temple Guardian is rather weak (unless you go greatsword/similar 2HW-flurry) and his limited ranger traps do not pay well for the loss of spell-casting. Add to that the fact that some of the archetype's ability require further clarification and that one falls through for me. The Dark Apostle is just downright broken: Poison, spellcasting and the insanely powerful amnesia as well as the ability that is an all-but-de-facto guaranteed kill on downed foes conspire to make this archetype too powerful. Add to that the fact that the aura requires clarification and we get an archetype that gets so much more than it loses.

So...how to rate this? Well, the base-class is *MOSTLY* fixed, but unfortunately, the archetypes require some work. There still are no bookmarks in here, but the hyperlinks are great. Were it only for the class, I'd settle for a final verdict of straight 4 stars, but with the massive issues of the archetypes, I'd have to go down to 3.5 stars, rounded down. My final verdict will be in-between, at 3.5 stars, with a recommendation to ignore the archetypes. Whether you round up or down much depends on your personal preference, personally, I'll round up because I REALLY like the concept of graces and how they feel divine.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: The Saint
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In The Company of Fey: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2014 05:53:16
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Rite Publishing's "In the Company of"-series is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisements, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



As has become the tradition of the series, we kick off with an aptly-written frame-narrative, this time even featuring a nice, disturbing poem - from the perspective of Red Shuck, we are introduced to two different origin myths - one brighter, one darker, both including nods to Auberyon, the fabric of dreams and tying superbly in with Rite Publishing's established canon - disturbing and whimsical, both are well-worth the read. Now physical-description wise, the First Folk have three distinct shapes - their "original shape", the human/elf-like "seeming" and the at times beautiful, at times disturbing "aspected form", which most First Folk consider their original form that reflects their nature. Born from the material of dreams, the first folk may create new individuals by giving up a part of their very being. Bonds with other races, their take on alignment and religion and their roles as adventurers and of course, nomenclature are covered as well in this supplement, featuring a selection of nice, flavorful insights into First Folk psychology.



Now crunch-wise, the First Folk gets +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis, +2 to saves versus illusions and may automatically disbelieve any illusions within 10 ft., are treated as both fey and humanoids with the shapechanger-subtype, heal +2 points when benefiting from magical healing and twice as many hit points from natural healing, but may not heal naturally damage inflicted by cold iron weapons and may assume the "Seeming" as a polymorph effect, a fixed humanoid form that can't be changed later. I assume at will, but unfortunately, the ability fails to specify the type of action that changing shapes is. Oh well, at least it does mention the effective spell level. They also get a special sight that works like low-light vision and automatically pierces seemings of other First Folk. The unique lack of aging in the prime material plane is covered thankfully in the age-height and weight-table as well.



Of course, we also get a wide array of alternate racial options: +2 Con and Dex, -2 Int or +2 Int and Cha, -2 Str would be alternate attribute modifier-sets and a total of 12 other ones await as well: From being better skirmishers, three arrays of minor spell-like abilities usable 1/day, a resistance to negative energy, darkvision and light blindness, improved DCs for curses and hexes, energy resistance 5, bonuses in the shade or fey-like resistances/immunity to sleep. you can also play First Folk that have been exiled or First Folk that may change alignment every level. The latter is particularly cool, though it also opens some questions: Does this alternate racial trait allow a First Folk to e.g. take a level as barbarian and next level, change alignment to lawful and become a monk? I assume that's not possible as per the text of the respective classes. Still, even if that's not possible, the trait is roleplaying potential in gallons - Seriously, think about the story-telling potential. This one is VERY fun!



We also get an array of favored class options, covering barbarian, bard, druid, ranger, rogue, sorceror, summoner and witch as well as the 3pp-classes shaman, time thief, taskshaper and luckbringer - all of which are nice and balanced.

Of course, there also are new archetypes for your perusal, first of which would be the Solstice Pariah for the TASKSHAPER! Yes, my favorite shapechanging class gets new fodder! These beings, cursed by Auberyon to become Taskshapers essentially blend the taskshaper and the new racial paragon-class contained herein - interesting archetype!



The Wild Hunter archetype for the witch gets a hound of the hunt as a familiar - complete with unsettling aura and may conjure forth steeds from the hunt and later even hunters in the guise of a wolfish spiritual ally -rather cool high-concept archetype here!



Now I've already mentioned the racial paragon class - which has no name beyond "First Folk Paragon" - a bit of a pity there. The class is not available for lawful characters and crunch-wise nets you d6, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, 1/2 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. Yes, no spellcasting. But let's take a look, shall we? At first level, the paragon chooses one particular aspect of the prime material plane - a total of 6 different aspects are there for the choosing. Each aspect comes with two skills that henceforth get an untyped bonus of 1/2 character level, min 1 and the aspect also offers a unique ability: Wild Empathy, Favored Terrain, environmental adaption versus deadly terrain/climates. Alternatively, one aspect allows for a sense motive check to " learn a creature’s biggest and most immediate fears and concerns. When this ability is successfully used on a shaken, frightened or panicked target, the first folk paragon also learns the target’s surface thoughts" - per se cool, but what do surface thoughts entail? As per detect thoughts? Is this a mind-influencing effect? It ought to be, I guess... Improved saves versus fey are offered by another aspect and a third allows for an emotional surge that nets + 2 to Str and Con, +1 to will-saves and -2 to AC like a barbarian's rage or alternatively gain +1 to atk, damage and skill-checks and can be maintained as a free action. It can be used 2xlevel+cha-mod rounds per day, but unlike a rage, a surge is a mind-influencing effect that does not impede concentration etc.



First Folk Paragons also get DR scaling up to 5/cold iron and at 2nd level and at every even level after that, the First Fold Paragon learns a fey power. Unless otherwise noted, the fey powers use a DC of 10 +1/2 class level + cha-mod if applicable and some, those marked with an asterisk, can only be used when is aspected form. Aspected Form? Yes, before I cover the Fey Powers in detail, let's take a look at the aspected form ability gained at first level: Depending on the aspect you've chosen, you'll also get aspected form abilities. Unfortunately, once again the pdf does not clarify which action the changing of forms is, just what level the polymorph effect to change shapes is. Depending n your shape, you get natural weapons (like claws, a bite or even hooves) or may even shape large swaths of terrain, potentially entangling adversaries or grant other creatures luck bonuses or penalties. Also interesting - one aspect form allows them to unleash specific bolts as a standard action that deal 1d6 (+1 1d6 for every two levels) and may deal either fire, cold or electricity damage. or nonlethal damage, which should be a bane to ranged fighters, as it affects the target with severe winds for a round. The effective spell level of this ability scales up to 9th and the damage to 10d6 at 19th level. I'm not a fan of this ability. Unlimited touch attacks are an unpleasant thing to contend with, even before adding in the elemental flexibility. That being said, the bad BAB and limited range keep me from breaking into one of my OP-rants. Still - a generous limit (like 2xclass level + cha-mod) would see me much more comfortable with this particular aspect form.



But back to the fey powers, shall we? Let's take a look at the captivating tail power - usable only in aspect form, the tail allows for the fey to fascinate nearby creatures, even so far as to have them follow you - Hameln's (or Hamelin in the English-speaking world) famous Rat-catcher, anyone? Especially since, much like the legendary flutist, there is no caveat of not following into dangerous areas... Another ability allows First Folk paragons to curse buildings to curse all who spend a prolonged time inside to be hounded by hostile animals -as a supernatural ability, which means no break curse. OUCH. Here would also be a good place to mention fey powers with a certain affinity - a total of 13 of the powers come with an affinity - for all intents and purposes, Paragons with the appropriate aspect for the affinity treat this particular power as if they were two levels higher. Have I mentioned the ability to actually EAT non-instantaneous spells? Enchanting dust (with mania-inducing and AoE-upgrades and even blindness + bleed damage/ undead-sanctums or aging foes as possible effects!), splitting into two (one of which is an illusion, but tangible enough for flanking), taking on the aspect of eldritch plants (6 different effects!), producing a confusion-inducing toxin, growing wings, poaching in the druid and sorceror-spell-lists (or rogue's sneak attacks or stacking benefits with bardic performances), additional prowess versus undead foes jumping impossibly high, highjacking curses or exploiting the law of sympathy between creatures (or creatures and objects) - the powers offer a complex and interesting array of options for first folk to pursue.



That's not all, though - starting at 3rd level and every 3 levels after that, the First Folk Paragon unlocks an ability called aspect endowment - these grant the first folk additional powers usable exclusively when in aspect form. Especially the environment-aspect endowment, which provides a vast array of different benefits depending on the terrain they find themselves in - neat!



At 7th level and again at 13th and 19th level, the First Folk Paragon also learns a type of spelltrick from either the sorceror or druid-list as spell-like ability. Starting at 9th level, the paragon also learns to create complex illusions (dubbed waking dreams) at will, fitting nicely with the theme of glamers. The capstone essentially allows for a type of immortality - only in the primal world can the character henceforth be permanently slain.



We also get 8 new feats herein - improved disguise via seeming (important in investigation/socially-strong campaigns), making your seeming blend in with the surroundings, making untrained knowledge checks, gaining bonuses versus those affected by polymorph effects (and even suppress them), gaining a sidhe-form or the skill bonuses (but not the other benefits) from a second aspect - all in all, solid feats.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from one ability being wrongly italicized and very minor glitches, I didn't notice any issues. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard with borders that reflect a nice old painting of nature. The artwork deserves special mentioning - while fans of Rite Publishing will recognize e.g. the artwork of Auberyon from Coliseum Morpheuon, but most of the artworks I've never seen before and they universally are beautiful full-color pieces. Impressive! The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Speaking of impressive - author Wendall Roy has created a supplement here that is a joy to read indeed - the race per se is awesome and the racial paragon class complex. Half BAB, no spells, all tricks - can it work? Surprisingly, yes - but it's a class that REQUIRES careful deliberation: taking e.g. only the natural attacks will make you terribly ineffective. This class is all about smart playing and properly using the abilities, which in another class I'd often consider unbalanced - here, they are the tools that ensure survival. While I'm not sold on the unlimited ranged touch attack, the overall class, when run in my simulations, worked rather fine and offers intriguing roleplaying potential indeed without resorting to tried and true ability-suites. The taskshaper archetype is exceedingly cool to see, as is the glorious writing and in the end, my only gripes are that the alternate forms don't really do that much to influence crunchy abilities - a tighter synergy would have improved this even further. That, combined with the minor glitches here and there unfortunately keep this pdf from reaching the highest rating echelons: As written, I will settle on 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Fey:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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NPC Arsenal No. 1: Drunken Aasimar Sensei
Publisher: Abandoned Arts
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2014 05:47:56
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This new series by Abandoned Arts offers you one NPC-build, a complex one - 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page character, so what do we get here?



Well, we get a middle-aged aasimar monk (drunken master) 9 - as a peculiarity, the build gets lesser age resistance as a Spell-like ability and Panther-style feat-tree. The NPC comes with extensive notes on how the build was made, what magic items can further supplement it and tactical options, which make running the build much more comfortable (and fast!) for the beleaguered DM.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a landscape two-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



This pdf delivers exactly what it promises - a moderately complex build for a NPC that would take quite some time to put together for a solid, fair price-point. I don't have much to complain here and seeing the NPC is high in concept and nicely built, I'll settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5 since I don't consider it to be a brilliant build or too complex, but still interesting enough to warrant a heartfelt recommendation.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NPC Arsenal No. 1: Drunken Aasimar Sensei
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The Mysterious Peaks of Baranthar
Publisher: Mike Myler
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/03/2014 02:51:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1/2 a page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 23 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



Still here? All right! In the "Clockwork Wonders of Brandlehill", the PCs found a corpse of a half-orc ranger and his journal detailing an uncompleted quest dealing with the demonic entity Grualroth and finally putting an end to its vile ruminations. The trail of the compiled information leads towards the peaks of Baranthar. This, of course, only remains one of the possible adventure hooks to introduce you to this module.



Near the peaks, the outpost of the alchemist Skarvass (including explosions!) makes for the final stretch of civilization as well as an option for the PCs to stock up with special alchemical draughts that help with the dangers of high altitude - but not cold! Following the trail through the wilderness for a week, the PCs arrive at Vorn's Gorge, where they have a chance to find a so-called mimetic crossbow, which allows the target of its shots to be the target of essentially a skill-theft - up to 5 ranks of a skill can be stolen and temporarily transferred to the crossbow's wielder, but only for up to 5 rounds and only for one use of the skill. Furthermore, the skill, for its short duration, if it's a class-skill for the wielder but no ranks, gets the +3 bonus. I'm not comfortable with this item. First, while the will-save to resist is harmless at DC 13, the flat-out -5 penalty to the respective skill-checks feels not particularly organic - if a foe only has 4 ranks, I think the penalty should only be -4 penalty. And while the maximum amount of skill-points transferred caps at 5, the ranks can, as written, break the level-cap of the user. While the item states: "The beneficiary of this enchantment may not have more ranks in a skill than normal via this enchantment (the target still suffers the penalty in skill ranks regardless of the bonus received by the user).", this is still not a proper cap. Additionally, while only one skill may be thus scavenged at a given time, there is no limit on how many adversaries can be affected at a given time - stealing two times acrobatics from 2 rogues for 10 ranks would be possible in theory, though I think the intent was for no more than one skill being at any time transferrable via the crossbow. I like the idea of the item, but its execution is a tad bit wonky and could use some clearer wording.



Back to the module: Forging New Paths for PCs going off the beaten track is covered thankfully and sooner or later, the PCs will have to contend with a fiendish dire wolverine stalking the frigid peaks. Oh, and an artificially-caused avalanche will have the PCs run for their lives, thankfully with an excessive table of how far characters can run (and possibly escape) the avalanche. Nice hazard! No time to breathe, though - the ice-trolls of the thickskin tribe make ready to attack the PCs and after (hopefully!) some fruitful negotiation, the PCs will find out that the brutes have suffered from the cursed peaks as well. But in order to end the curse that blurs the mountaintops, the PCs will have to ascend the Slopes of Madness. The way up these could be handled via various skill-checks (including flight) - or be supplemented with a cool idea: Have your players actually stack dice - fast! Success nets massive bonuses to the checks. Awesome idea and two thumbs up!



In Vornskall's Pass, jets of freezing water, gargoyles and finally, Yalroth, the half-fiendish yeti offspring of Grualroth preside over tortured ice trolls being strapped to ice-made torture devices that litter the peak's snow blood (depicted in one superb piece of full-color artwork). Defeating the dread spawn of evil ends the snowstorms and the descent proves to be rather anticlimactic. The pdf comes with one awesome map of the overall lands as well as 4 grid-studded maps of all encounter areas - all in full color.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read 2-column standard, broken up by one-column entries - a clearer line that sticks to the former would have probably made reading the module slightly easier, but I won't complain about that. The pdf comes with a printer-friendly version and excellent maps as well as cool full color art, especially for the low price. On the downside, the module has no bookmarks, which is a detrimental factor in my book.



Author Mike Myler offers us a module that is an actually really good expedition/wilderness module, though one that could have used some random encounter charts for the uneventful interludes between the encounters. Still, the use of environmental hazards and cool variety of challenges make this a module that is very much...awesome. Seriously, there aren't many good wilderness modules out there and Mike Myler's evocative prose does quite a bit to add to the module's appeal. Yes, the crossbow isn't perfect, yes, some weather charts for dynamic weather and random encounters would have improved this further and yes, I don't get why this has no bookmarks. The finale is also a bit anticlimactic and could have used more terrain - what about the prisoners flailing about, grabbing PCs? Ice slippery with blood? The making of a superb final encounter are tehre for the DM, but the module weirdly doesn't develop them to their logical conclusion, opting for a more conservative approach.

But: It still is a great module for a price that is indeed a steal. While it has rough edges, I can't bring myself to rating this down, also thanks due to the cool way to RL stack dice to improve the checks - genius and cool. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mysterious Peaks of Baranthar
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