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Adventure Quarterly #5 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/06/2014 11:09:05
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fifth installment of Rite Publishing's spiritual successor to Dungeon magazine clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 68 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The editorial by Robert N. Emerson already shows and the subsequent adventures do as well - Rite Publishing's Kickstarter to amp further up the quality of the magazine was a full success - beyond the full color art throughout this magazine, it is especially the cartography, which has benefited extremely - Rite Publishing overlord Steven D. Russell did not pinch any pennies budget-wise here: The cartography in this book is rendered in stunning, gorgeous full color by the hands of Tommi Salama. If you're by any chance not yet familiar with him - he's imho the heir to Jonathan Roberts. Yes, that beautiful. So production-value wise, we get a steep step upwards, so let's see whether the modules themselves hold up to the art, shall we?



The following is a short overview of the 3 modules herein, which necessarily means the text contains SPOILERS. Potential players are advised to skip to the conclusion, especially since the modules herein tend to be a bit...let's say unconventional.



First of which would be Mike Welham's level of Ruins Perilous, this time intended for level 3. What is "Ruins Perilous"? It's Rite Publishing's serialized mega-dungeon, situated near the city of adventurers, Questhaven. Beyond being a mega-dungeon, it's also a kind of testing ground for adventurers and a means of increasing one's status within the hierarchy of the adventurer-governed city. As such, the dungeon is lethal, but also a kind of hyperreal simulacrum - essentially, post-modern dungeon-crawling. The created nature of the dungeon allows for some interesting tricks indeed and both ratfolk populace and the other challenges herein fit this theme rather well - whether it would be the traps or the required guild forge to properly add the clout to show they've "completed" this level - the strange nature of the dungeon is well-reflected here. One of the crucial differences here would be that the forge this time around is easy to find - but in the form of an organ and furthermore, locked - to activate it, the PCs will have to brave sense-themed encounters, which include giant skunks and an lion consisting of sonic energy. An interesting dungeon level indeed, though one that could have easily been made even more memorable by providing an stronger tie to the theme of senses: What if each key required the sacrifice of one sense, albeit temporarily? Blinding the ranged fighter, depriving the rogue of the sense of touch, making the scout deaf, that sort of thing? As a kind of didactic lesson for adventurers that they have to depend on their allies to help? I once used this ploy in an adventure of mine and my players loved it - even the spellcaster, when he was muted and I required him to roleplay or write interactions... As written, the level has a strong theme, but one that is, at least for my taste, not pronounced enough and thus misses a treasure trove of roleplaying opportunities to supplement the roll-playing dungeon exploration.



Michale Allen's "Legacy of the Fishermage" (for level 9 characters) is an adventure, mood-wise, after my tastes: The sage Muchadha was after the regularly (every 500 years) respawning "Salmon of Truth" - last time, he was foiled by his apprentice, who, by burning his thumb on the fat, accidentally got the salmon's wisdom, thus becoming a wise, but thumb-sucking hero. Yeah, this adventure is kind of goofy. The fishermage is gone, but now an ogre has stolen clues pertaining to the locale of the returned salmon and the players are on the brute's trail, alongside the friendly (as far as dwarves go) goblin-converting priest Ruag the Daft. To emerge victorious from this quest, the PCs will have to deduce the truth behind the legends, riddles, explore the fishermage's grotto (and defeat his failed, second apprentice...no longer human) and finally, track the ogre and confront the salmon. Yeah, confront. The salmon can turn into huge size and is rather deadly - death by salmon is surely a fate most players will try to avoid, if only to avoid all the cackling... All in all, a fun, uncommon adventure with a lot of winks, a good variety of roleplaying, combat and using one's brains and plenty maps and intriguing terrain to support it - nothing to complain here!



The high-level module here, for level 18 characters, is provided by Tricky Owlbear Publishing's Bret Boyd - and if the title "Paradox" isn't enough of an indicator, yes, time-travel is included. 1300 years ago, the archmage Delgoon created an artifact that broke down the boundaries of the planes and time itself, the sphere of ages. Yeah, a McGuffin, but wait a second - another caveat: The module is a campaign ending event - or alternatively, a complete game-changer. Why? Because the PCs visit an archeological dig, where they find statues of themselves - more than a millennium old. A sphere subsequently transports the PCs back in time - to the apocalypse they obviously...stopped and no one recalls? As the planar boundaries in the past come crushing down, the PCs have to find a way to diffuse the situation and stop the collapse. Over the course of this, the PCs are hurtled through time to undo their greatest regrets, to get a second chance...to vanish with the sphere, have the apocalypse undone and perhaps even return. And this is where the module, for me, kind of necessarily falls a bit apart. I once had a time-travel plot in my campaign and planned it for years, setting up blank spaces, mysterious happenstances etc - a DM is advised to do so for this as well. The emotional impact of the module hinges a bit on that. Beyond this, there's another problem - the suggestion to undo things - that's not how time-travel works.

Changing the past changes all from this point onwards, preventing potentially (or at least, modifying) the choices that led up to the PCs getting to the point of time travel in the first place, preventing them from enjoying the benefits. It's the crucial conundrum of time travel and the module's "satisfying" reward for the PCs breaks this one tenet. To take an example - what if a paladin's regret was being unable to save a king? Now, he manages it and dies. No war erupts, thousands don't die, friends and allies perhaps perish due to the paladin not being there to save them... even beyond the conundrum mentioned, the decisions influence the other players and even if the conundrum is ignored, the nature of collective adventuring is weird and at the very latest, here timelines diverge. So if your PCs screwed up a world's canon big time, that's a nice way to hit the history eraser button - but whether your players are okay with that...best be sure to check that, otherwise the implied undoing of their deeds or the sloppy "PCs are still around, in spite of changes"-ending stratagem could frustrate everyone to no end. Now don't get me wrong, this module isn't bad, but it fails to live up to the logic of its own gimmick by falling prey to the problematic past modification bug. Then again, your players might not care - I know mine would and I'd never, ever hear the end of it. That being said, with high-CR Aeons, chain gun studded lion robots and several other damn cool high-CR critters, many of which with their own artwork, this module still has quite a bit to scavenge.



Next up would be a short encounter by Creighton Broadhurst of Raging Swan Press, providing the complex haunting of spectral orcs and the treasure they guard. Steven D. Russell also provides open sandbox advice, (including some nods towards cool 3pp-supplements) - this time, all focused on getting instant NPCs (and how to handle statblocks, art, etc.) and where to scavenge them from -including a cool multiclass CR 15 sample build.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and, as mentioned, the copious original pieces of artwork and cartography render this a good premium product - no complaints on the production values side of things. The issue also comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks, with high-res jpgs of the 9 (!!!) maps - but not including key-less version of all maps - a minor complaint here.



This one's hard - on the one hand, the increase in massive production values helps and amps up the bang-for-buck ratio by quite a bit. I'm a big fan of Mike Welham's writing and the concept of the dungeon, but I also felt that this module did not make full use of its theme, falling slightly short of excellence. Michael Allen's module is hilarious and fun and gets two thumbs up from me, as do the supplemental articles and the monsters of the last module. On the other hand, at least for me, the final module doesn't work - at all. It's the, to quote the doctor, "Wibbly-wobbly" concept I just can't get myself to...like. (Yes, I know I'll be booed by plenty people out there...) - Time travel is NOT something simple and the module fails to address the consequences properly. And yes, I'm aware that for quite a few people, how the module handles it is no problem - but every time, Doctor Who time-travel starts, I gnash my teeth (in spite of actually loving the series, so put away the pitchforks...). I'm more of a Primer kind of guy. But I *know* that for some of you out there, it will be a huge of an issue as it is for me.



Now usually, my gut reaction would be to rate this issue slightly more down than I would - but on the other hand, my gripes with it are admittedly kind of subjective - the realization of untapped potential, the way time travel is handled...you can have radically different opinions on these. Especially the former - your players might actually loathe the suggestion I posited above...or they might love it. In the same manner, your players might actually enjoy the final module in here and with some copious DM foreshadowing, it won't feel abrupt. So yeah, if you were shaking your head at my complaints (and want the creatures, the awesome second module or get these just to scavenge parts or the glorious maps...), go get this. If you found yourself nodding, detract one star. Since my policy is in dubio pro reo, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Quarterly #5 (PFRPG)
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Mythic Minis 19: Feats of Sneaking
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/06/2014 11:04:51
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Mythic Mini clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This time, we're all about feats associated with sneaking after the first, awesome installment, so let's check this out!



We open this mythic mini relatively conservative, with a mythic blinding sneak attack that can be powered by mythic power to keep the blindness (upgraded to the end of your next turn per default) last up to mythic tier rounds. Solid. Now "Dampen Presence" is interesting, allowing you to avoid lfesense, tremorsense (but not blindsight/sense as written...) and also allows you to use mythic power to treat stealth as a natural 20 - but only before the roll. The latter feels a bit too generic - not sure if that is supposed to work only for the senses mentioned by the feat - I *assume* so, but as written, this can be done in any context. If you have the mythic version of "go unnoticed", you can be treated as invisible by those who fail to see you, whereas "shadow strike's" mythic pendant allows you to inflict precision damage as if your target had no total concealment.

Now "Sneaking Precision" is very interesting - first it does not require an expenditure of a swift action to add critical effects from feats to your attacks. Secondly, it allows you to add these effects to regular hits via mythic power - a godsend for high-crit builds in that vein and rather strong, but an imho warranted power-upgrade for the respective builds in Mythic Adventures. "Stealth Synergy" (one of my group's favorite teamwork feats, also gets a mythic version - though treating adjacent creatures as an aid another may be nice, it underwhelmed me hard in the context of Mythic Adventures.



The mythic version of "Strangler" upgrades damage dice to d8 AND allows you to forego extra damage to render the target unconscious on a failed save - nice one.



Finally, there is the 3-feat spanning "Moonlight Stalker" tree, which increases damage output (and crit multiplier up to potentially x6!), increases your feinting chances (with the option to use mythic power to get a natural 20...) and further increased miss-chance, with the addition of foes missing you counting as flat-footed.



Conclusion:

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



Alistair Rigg is in charge of this Mythic Mini, and he does a fine job - while not all of the feats wowed me and most fall into the formula of faster, better, etc., they generally can't be considered bad and here and there have small components that deviate in a positive manner from simple numerical progressions/mythic power enhancements. As such, this pdf can be considered a good purchase and receives a solid final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 19: Feats of Sneaking
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Retribution Collector's Edition
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2014 05:02:04
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 71 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page ToC, 1 page CR-lists, 1 page advice on reading statblocks and 1 page advice on running the module for novice DMs, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 62 pages of content, so let's take a look!



I will break my own format for reviewing with this module. The original Retribution was the first Raging Swan Press-product to see the light of day and I bought it on a whim back in the day, long before I was a reviewer. I expected it to suck, frankly, and did so out of a morbid curiosity. I was utterly flabbergasted at what I found. Retribution is probably as close to a traditionally gothic (in the "Castle of Ontranto" "Name of the Rose"-style, not the association commonly used for this term...) mystery as you can get in a module. It breathes psychological depth, symbolism, has an unprecedented level of detail for the NPCs in here and to this date remains one of the best 1st level modules I've seen for any iteration of D&D or d20-based systems like Pathfinder.



Retribution is one of those non-optional relics of good gaming I'd consider a must-own for any PFRPG-DM - why? Because it's not over the top, it's not grindy, it is the perfect, absolute incarnation of atmosphere and mood, with diverse challenges, smart and unobtrusive subtext and, better yet, it retains this fascination throughout, evoking a level of grit and desolation that is simply entrancing - both while reading and while playing it.



My players still talk about this one, and it's been more than 4 years since we ran it and it made second place on my first best-of-list.. Now it's back and got a collector's edition - and honestly, I was afraid. I feared something akin to what happened to Star Wars. Almost perfect cult classics don't do face-lifts well in many cases.



This collector's edition kicks off with a n abbreviated primer on the village of Swallowfeld before getting into the meat of the module - which I will NOT SPOIL. Seriously - just think monastery full of eccentric clerics, snowstorm outside, glorious psychological underpinnings, a great (and easy to run!) banquet scene, slowly rising tension - a furious finale. Social skill challenges to bypass certain obstacles, a dungeon now with a small dressing table, improved artwork...generally, organization is perhaps the most significant improvement here - you get the respective content like magic items etc. on the page you'll need them -the collector's edition requires next to no page-flipping.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as almost always in RSP's offerings, is flawless. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out. The pdf comes with excessive bookmarks. It should be noted that the pdf features improved artworks for many a piece and also features one version for screen-use and one for print-use.



Creighton Broadhurst's master piece "Retribution" didn't have much to gain by this Collector's Edition - it was already one of the best 1st level modules I've ever read. On the other hand, it had a lot to lose - and does something smart. It applies RSP's by now acquired knack of making extremely user-friendly books and applies it to the classic, very cautiously streamlining presentation and adding minor bits and pieces herein that do not stick out like sore thumbs and rather organically fit with the module.



I do have the print version (one great reason to get this, imho!) and it should be considered a steal at the low price. - with paper, spine etc. all being up to my standards.



Now let me get one thing clear - this module can be run by even novice DMs (in spite of a banquet scene!) and offers one of the best playing experiences I had for Pathfinder. Additionally, the further streamlining almost makes it possible to run this module sans preparation - one read should suffice for almost all DMs. Beyond that, the improved streamlining of the layout makes the running of this legendary module even easier. This would be a serious contender for my Top-Ten-list of 2014, but let's face it, the first edition already made such a list and this one is very close to it. Hence, I remain with a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and one general announcement - people, if you don't have the original Retribution, this is your chance; You literally have no reason not to get this gem and having it as a print edition made me feel all fuzzy and warm. This has its place on my shelf of honor and is truly a must-own for any PFRPG-DM's module-library.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution Collector's Edition
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Mythic Minis 18: Hierophant Path Abilities II
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2014 04:57:59
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Mythic Mini clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This time, we're all about more hierophant path abilities, after the great first installment for the path so let's check this out!



So what do these do? First, there are 2 1st tier abilities, the first of which allows you to use mythic power to change your energy resistance temporarily, but on the fly. That one works. The "Treesinger" ability nets you plant-themed bonus spells known, heal and bolster (and even enthrall) plants, undo effects on organic material made from plants/plants. Mythic power can be used to make the abilities etc. easier to use. Complex and very in line with the concept of the plant-whisperer.



We also get 2 new 3rd tier abilities, with the first adding a bunch of spells to your spell-list (and, much like any of the spell-granting mythic abilities here, providing further bonuses) and the second being the improved version of the former plan-based ability, with options to enlarge/reduce creatures and literally, create vast swaths of plants instantly and create feather token-like trees on the fly. And yes, this ability has VAST potential for creative players...If I had a dime for every smart use of growing plants and feather tokens my players sprung on me...Oh yeah, have I mentioned the increase in power due to tier-increase or the repair of objects? Damn useful.



There is also a new 6th tier ability, the Saintly Shroud, cloaks you in saintly or profane power, making even contact to you painful for foes opposing your beliefs. Add DR for mythic power and we get a cool ability here as well.



Conclusion:

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



Jason Nelson's second take on Hierophant Path abilities offers even more interesting abilities to choose from, with all interested in druidic/ranger-style abilities getting more than their share due, while those of a more traditional, clerical bent falling a bit short. Like some other Mythic Minis, this one has a bit of spare space that could have been filled with more content, though the blank space is less pronounced than in other installments. Whether this one does it for you depends very much on whether you enjoy the druidic-themed, complex and versatile, very mythic-feeling abilities - the other, with the exception of the shroud, fall a bit flat and feel a tad too mundane, common for my tastes. That being said, I will rate what's here and the great pieces outweigh the somewhat bland ones, resulting in a pdf that can be considered good, though not superb - resulting in a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down by a slight margin to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 18: Hierophant Path Abilities II
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Prestigeous Organizations: The Order of the Nullblades
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/01/2014 06:46:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So what are the Nullblades? Essentially, they can be considered an organization fiercely opposed to the MACS-suffering casters - megalomanical arcane caster syndrome that tends too infect just about every high-level spellcaster. You know the drill - the point where the friendly arch-wizard experiments a bit too much and makes the fabric of reality unravel, transforming the town of Bimberton into undead oreo-cookies. And this makes sense in-game to me - there would probably be an organization like this, annoying, harassing and potentially, eliminating spellcasters they deem an issue. The organization and its stance on members, relationships with other classes, buying potions (only from bards and alchemists!), the chance of there being a chapterhouse in a given settlement - 6 possible amenities to be found in a chapterhouse - all of these (and the at times hilarious humor) render the organization a joy to read and highly entertaining. That being said, I'm a bit sad that chapterhouses don't have an influence on a settlement's statblock/kingdom building rules-information or prestige-mechanics based benefits - there's a hierarchy and benefits, why not codify them in the given system?



Oh well, the pdf also features a new 10-level PrC, the Nullblade, which provides full BAB-progression, 1/2 fort-save progression, d10, 2+Int skills per level. The class gets a 15 feet-lead-based aura that hampers concentration (and extends to 30 feet at later levels, increasing its potency throughout the PrC-progression) and become immune to lead-poisoning and more resilient versus diseases and toxins. furthermore, they may detect and identify magic a will and may choose up to 5 techniques (the talents of the class) over the course of their ten levels. A total of 20 techniques are provided for the PrC. These include preventing the teleport of foes, dealing damage to foes that fumble concentration, granting himself temporary SR and even forcing foes to stutter-cast, i.e. only be able to cast the last spell they cast for a round - a bunch of powerful, yet never overpowered abilities here. And, as a capstone, how could it be any other way - antimagic field-generation.



We round off this pdf with two pregenerated NPCs complete with story-hooks, background, appearance and tactics, reaching a neat level of detail one usually only sees in releases by Raging Swan Press. First would be Drimble Underhill, a fighter 6/Nullblade 3 halfling, second would be Cerabiel, an elven bard (arcane duelist)7/bard 2/nullblade 4 - a surprisingly varied and cool build, if I may say so.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, which is a slight bummer. The pdf's artworks are thematically-fitting stock art.



Bradley Crouch has humor - I've rarely enjoyed the subtle (and not so subtle) jibes herein, but rest assured - this is no joke. Indeed, this PrC ranks among the better takes on the innumerable anti-magic archetypes and PrCs I've read over the years and the Nullblade, honestly works rather well. The organization makes sense, the NPCs are neat and the PrC does what it sets out to do - make a magic-bane fighter. Now not all is perfect, as mentioned above - kingdom building/prestige/settlement-rules would have been the icing on the cake. Then again, this pdf is FREE. FREE is very hard to beat at this level of quality and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prestigeous Organizations: The Order of the Nullblades
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Mythic Monsters: Undead
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/01/2014 06:16:25
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' Mythic Monster series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages introduction to the product line, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look!





We kick in with a short introduction by Jason Nelson before delving into expanded versions of mythic spells related to undead - whether its mythic animate dead, lesser, a new augment for the mythic ghostbane dirge or size changing via sculpt corpse's mythic version - the 10 additions are nice and provide even adventure hooks and ideas here and there!



That's not what you're here for, though, right? So let's take a look at the undead: The mythic Baykok (CR 11 /MR 4) is the 7th version of the Baykok for a d20-based game I've seen, so it better live up to its dreadful reputation...and it does. Hail of arrows versus all targets within 110 feet? Yeah. Add paralyzing howl and arrows to the mix and we get a truly deadly, nasty foe and one of my favorite iterations of the creature so far. Have I mentioned that these guys can spend mythic power to make slaying arrows? Yeah...frightening indeed!



The Mythic Demilich at CR 17/ MR 7 may not be on par with what these guys once were (and ought to be!9, but at least it's closer than the neutered default PFRPG demilich: Adding the good ole' crumble to dust-effect to wail of the banshee, for example. The Cr 13/MR 5 mythic devourer gets a negative level-inducing AoE-breath weapon that even staggers on made saves (OUCH!) and can permanently destroy souls and fuel crackling waves of negative energy with said essence. Nasty! Now the one I've been most excited about in here would be the CR 9/ MR 4 mythic dullahan - whether via placed, penalty-inducing markers or a paralysis-inducing gaze, these guys are deadly and cool - alas, Rite Publishing's Headless Horseman-template imho delivers the slightly superior version here, with the nigh unkillable aspect and rp-based ways to exploit the creature as well as supremely deadly melee making for the more deadly adversary. The provided artwork (which also includes the next creature, the CR 10/ MR 4 Mythic Mohrg) is awesome, though. Mythic Mohrgs may use mythic power to confirm crits and unleash massive,, extremely deadly circles of death - and even the non-mythic version of this spell is nasty, as 3 dead PCs in my current campaign can attest. Especially cool since it thematically enhances the mass murder-aspect of the mohrg's origin lore.



CR 2/MR 1 mythic ghouls and their CR CR 3/MR 1 ghast-brethren get the option to spend mythic power for faster coup-de-graces and also receive a paralytic aura. I wish the ghast had a unique ability, but oh well. The CR 2/MR 1 pickled punk may now turn to stone and temporarily turn hard as stone - also getting the option to flat-out negate attacks via mythic power, rendering this being a very interesting adversary at low levels. CR 9/MR 3 mythic spectres get a cool, iconic ability - dealing damage by moving through living targets. Their aura of desecration is nice as well, if nothing to write home about. The mythic wight at CR 4/MR 2 btw. also gets this aura, but no other unique signature tricks.

More interesting would be the Mythic Totenmaske (in case you wondered - that's German for Death Mask) at CR 9/ MR 3 may use mythic power to instill a permanent staggered condition due to ennui on targets drained of charisma. Much cooler - the creature can actually make use of the senses of those subject to its flesh-shaping and dominate its victims. Neat and so full of story-telling potential...



The CR 11/MR 4 Witchfire may cause its cursed flames to actually BURN the targets (amen...that one was overdue from the base-creature...) and foes attacking the creature in melee constantly risk catching the cursed spiritual fire...nice! Have I mentioned the ability that lets the witchfire use mythic power to automatically hit and inflict max damage (ref save halves)? Yeah, OUCH! The Wraith at CR 6/MR 2 surprisingly gets some very cool abilities - a shroud of darkness that negates the vulnerability to sunlight while also dealing cold damage and the ability to inflict con-bleed damage on hit targets.



Now the Mythic Monster-series usually has its climax at the end with the new creature and this time, we get the CR 12/MR 5 Jigsaw Man - no, these guys do not catch people and put them through strange tests, they are called thus because they've been quartered for being serial killers - with their fractured anatomy, they can use mythic power to completely negate attacks, disassemble into a swarm form as well as a particularly lethal, rusty blade - that turns into an instrument of swift death in the hands of the jigsaw man. (In case you need a neat idea how to effectively scavenge this guy's rules- slap a ninja-level or two on of these, a add some telekinetic-focused psion-levels/psi-like abilities and you have a great representation of Metal Gear: Revengeance's Monsoon...)



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games nice 2-column full-color standard. The 2 pieces of original full color artwork (one being the new creature) by Ivan Dixon and Steve Wood are awesome. The pdf unfortunately comes sans any bookmarks, making navigation less comfortable than it ought to be.



Jason Nelson and Tom Philips deliver an installment of Mythic Monsters that has some true stars - the new mohrg, the baykok, totenmaske and wraith are all damn cool, and, as almost always, the original, new creature is superb. That being said, the ghasts for example, and to a lesser extent, dullahan and demilich just didn't feel that much improved to me - perhaps because I've seen too many versions, I don't know. These got me all stoked up and while there's nothing wrong with them, they are pretty conservative takes on what you'd expect from mythic versions of them. Don't get me wrong, that does not make them bad, but it also makes them not as awesome as their further enhanced brethren herein. Generally, this book feel like it's situated on the upper edge between good and awesome, but the lack of bookmarks as a serious comfort detriment makes me round down - my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Undead
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Alternate Class Abilities
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/01/2014 06:14:16
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/explanation, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so what are these alternate class abilities?



Essentially, you could think of them as micro-archetypes - to learn one of them, you have to give up a class ability of a equal level when you level up or retrain. Bonus feats and divine auras do not qualify and spellcasting progression potentially counts as such an ability. In the end, the DM has the final say. Got that? Good!



A total of 18 1st level abilities are provided and range from access to a mount (which works as a full-blown animal companion!) to poison use, throw anything as a bonus feat or gaining animal empathy. All those nice little abilities like trapfinding, familiars etc. are part of the deal, as is the unarmed AC bonus of the monk.



At 2nd level, 5 are provided, with uncanny dodge, favored enemy and stand up some more powerful options coming into the fray.



For 3rd level, only maneuver training and trap awareness are available, whereas at 4th level, expert trainer, favored terrain adn slow fall become options. AT 5th level, you may go for solo tactics, at 6th for evasion and swift poisoning, at 10th for opportunist and at 12th for camouflage or stalwart.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I did not notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a one-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no art, but needs none at this length. The pdf does have bookmarks, which is awesome to see.



Author and mastermind of Purple Duck Games Mark Gedak provides a surprisingly complex system here for next to no cost -essentially, these can be considered a way to make all classes talented in a limited manner. And that is awesome - thief with cantrips? Done. Cleric with trapfinding? Done. And so on. The options are diverse and solid indeed, covering important abilities, but not the signature ones and thus enrich the list of valid character concepts. Now that being said, I do have gripes with the pdf - for one, the balancing is off regarding some of the options: bonus to craft versus gaining a mount that will eclipse at low levels its rider? Hmm, which do I take? Or take evasion - arguably one of the most useful defensive abilities in the game, it is too easy to get as written. Seriously, though - that can be handled by a DM. Another oversight would be that, as written, nothing prevents the stacking of these class abilities other than the usual convention. Witches with two familiars, druids with two companions. Urghs.

The concept is glorious and would warrant further expansion/ a proper, full-blown book with streamlined balancing. As written, this is still a great resource as long as you as the DM keep a tight control on what which character can exchange - a notion the pdf admittedly calls attention to. For the expansion of options and due to the low price, I will hence settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Alternate Class Abilities
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Threats: Dawn of the Dwimmerlaik (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/31/2014 11:23:31
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Rite Publishing's ecology-style sourcebooks detailing threats for the LoGaS-setting is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving 24 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As per the tradition by now, this sourcebook is written in glorious in-character-prose and depicts documents of the dwimmerlaik - a narrative by one of these threats in LoGaS, taking a cue from LPJr Design's "First One"-pdf and doing something smart - establishing from the get-go that, what follows, are lies. The origin-myth depicted, analogue to Shakespeare's Tempest blended with several classical topoi from mythology, starts with the ascension of the race, elevation from shackles and wilderness and the overcoming of an all-powerful, Typhonian god-like father-figure (though the latter should be taken not in the nourishing way...) to the awakening into autonomy and a new racial self-consciousness that resounds even in nomenclature: The Dallaik became the Dwimmerlaik, "That which is superior." From there, the race set out to erect their world-spanning empire.



Now it should be noted that 2 cool 5-point powers for exalted channeling are provided here as well - one to project one's astral self to other worlds (and if you require inspiration there, just read the weird fictions of old for a vast array of potential hooks to use this...) and one that allows astral projecting dwimmerlaik to place marks while projecting - these work as a kind of tracing beacon...and if you don't have about 20 different great ideas for stories resolving around the combination of these powers by now, think harder or drop me a line. Seriously, these are narrative gold.



Now the weapons/artifacts of the first Dwimmerlaik, those that vanquished and consumed Eos, are also are depicted in here, as is a list of the 8 houses of the race - a kind of rigid, caste-like system. However, the genesis of the race demanded retribution from the nigh-all-powerful Typhonians. While the battle was fierce and indeed, yet another of the beings fell, the resulting onslaught saw the dwimmerlaik at the verge of extinction, with reality, the grand stair or *something* intervening and saving them, destroying Selene, their adversary - at terrible cost for their homeworld Caliban as well as for numerous worlds.



Since then, the Dwimmerlaik have taken back to the stairs...and the Gossamer Lords and Ladies have appeared - here, though, the stair turned against the Dwimmerlaik, offering an uncomfortable possibility that some time, the age of human Gossamer Lords may end as well...still, the war rages between teh Dwimmerlaik and the Lords...



We also are introduced to a ruthless meritocracy as a culture, placing strength above all and seeing lies as a means to end, as a device to prove cultural superiority and expose weakness - a compelling dystopia. The somewhat ancestral worship-like basis of their religion is interesting - the dwimmerlaik essentially create a Grand Narrative in the traditional term - their devotion belongs to the conglomerate history they create, the representation of the collective of their achievements and failures as well as their own unconscious, by the very definition of their object of worship. Glorious and potentially enlightening, this takes the concept of a historic pluralism and makes it work in context of a society by acknowledging the need for a grand narrative on one hand, while on the other putting it into a relativistic perspective by their ideology regarding truth. Glorious and so full of potential!



Birth and Death, life and recreation (like psychic duels called Shayde) are also explained. The Gossamer Lady that delivered this document gets btw. full stats, as does Cicarus, the legendary Witchknife dwimmerlaik assassin and the guardian of Caliban, the oldest of Dallaik and final chronicler of the race. Yeah. Awesome.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's two-column full color standard, with most of the artworks being top-notch original pieces of the highest caliber, while some others are thematically fitting stock. the latter is the minority, though. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Writing an ecology on arguably the primary antagonists of the LoGaS-setting must have been a daunting task - first one requires a society that is sufficiently unique to not elicit yawns when compared to similar races throughout fantasy. Secondly, LoGaS, more than any other setting, thrives on ambiguity, on the option to develop ideas and determine truth. These seem to directly contrast what one would require from an ecology-style book.



Author Andrew Peregrine found an elegant and exciting way to circumvent this conundrum, by providing ample doubts...and via a subtle trick: Much of the respective narrative potential rises from the deliberate blanks in the interaction of potential truths in here, weaving a stunning panorama of world-spanning and epic confrontations, strange creatures and a society alive and organic...and mysterious. This book is an inspiring joy to read an well worth 5 stars + seal of approval, not only for LoGaS-players and DMs, but also for those starved for inspiration for their own world/plane-spanning antagonist empire...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Threats: Dawn of the Dwimmerlaik (Diceless)
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Random Encounters: Wilderness
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/31/2014 11:02:13
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at a weighty 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page advice of how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We kick this pdf off at a list of statblocks by CR, encounters by terrain, by EL (spanning the gamut from EL 2 to 12) and by designers. Wait, what? Yes, for this pdf is the child of Raging Swan Press' freelancer call and as such offers us the winners of said contest. Hence, I will provide the author alongside the discussion of the encounter. Got that? All right! After author biographies (which imho wouldn't hurt ALL RPG-companies - name-recognition for designers = good thing!), we kick off with Jesper Andersen's "Canoes & Crocodiles" - and what a glorious first encounter it is: The premise is simple - crocodiles (which can be replaced by just about every aquatic critter, should you so choose) versus, you guessed it, canoes. What makes this encounter such a joy to run would be the quick and easy summary of base vehicle rules, concisely and coherently summed for all intents and purposes - the same, of course, goes for the terrain and the canoes. I've never run such an easy vehicle combat - two pages of the pdf are literally all you need and even if you usually shy away from them, this one is a cakewalk to run - even sans preparation. Two thumbs up!



Now Jeff Erwin's "Death-Dealer of the Gloaming Hills" is something less straightforward -it's essentially a miniature tragedy - featuring death, foreshadowing, a mini-mystery and a shapechanger - and that is all I will spoil here, in case players are reading. Still, experienced DMs will consider this one a been-there-moment.

A neat sidequest indeed and especially nice if the PCs are frequently travelling e.g. between settlements etc. Richard Bennett's "Hunters as Bait" is all about one two types of beast fighting one another - with the PCs used as a means to spring an ambush of one of the parties, so the other monster can annihilate its competition. Nice, though probably an encounter you should foreshadow accordingly. Full-blown buff-suites included. Jacob Trier's "Lost Love" is about a bard seeking his stunning beauty - who is not all she seems to be - and alas, heart-break will resume, should the poor sap survive finding his beloved... Still, as much as I hate to be that guy - the encounter is great, the writing neat...but I've seen this particular storyline done quite a few times before.



Fabian Fehr's "Mourning Monster" once again has this touch of the absolutely special - guarded by her crestfallen young grey render, a wizard's mortal remains lie in a circle of standing stones - will the PCs dare to loot her body? Of perhaps, they require her to be resurrected...but how do you explain that to a faithful beast, determined to guard its mistress, mad with grief? In Denver Edwards Jr's "Secrets of the Swamp", the PCs may save a doe and inadvertently stumble into both the undead, sinkholes, a degenerate tribe of lizardfolk and the globster-ooze they worship as a deity...Neat!



F.D. Graham's "Stuck in the Mud" deserves special applause - good encounters don't necessarily mean that there will be massacres and monster-blood galore - in this one, the PCs may aid a kind halfling free his wagon and horse from the mud in a thoroughly compelling and awesome change of pace. Two thumbs up for being this brave and daring for something completely different! Also by Fabian Fehrs would be an encounter, where the coolness lies in the details - a clearing that houses abandoned brownie-tunnels now is the home of a wasp swarm and may collapse as soon at the PCs step inside -great insult-to-injury encounter, with the tunnels of the fey lending the special touch to everything.



Jacob W. Michaels' "The ants go marching in" is very much a question of morals - the PCs happen upon the gruesome execution of a faun, buried and covered with honey, via ants - slow and agonizing, while two inquisitors watch - whom to help, whom to trust - and the ants march ever onwards.

The final encounter, Brian J. Ratcliff's "The Gray Grove", comes with color-blighted creatures, fey and the true source of the forest's blight, a color out of space. And I *LOVE* the interaction of fey/lovecraftiana here, I really do, but I wished this were a full-blown module; For one encounter, the resolution and scope feel too grand and somewhat too stuffed together. that being said, I very much hope to see such a module one day!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as almost always in raging Swan Press-products, are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience and in two version, with one being optimized for screen use and one to be printed out. Artwork consists of thematically fitting stock art you may have already seen in other RSP-books, but oh well - take a look at the low price and page-count: Still superb in the production value department.



Random Encounters: Wilderness provides excessively-detailed encounters that range from very good to stellar . while some of the encounters here have basic plots that are a bit old, while one is slightly beyond its scope, you only notice this because they are so good - the respective encounters have many a thing going for them, with "Canoes & Crocodiles", "Mourning Monster" ad "Stuck in the Mud" being my favorites - especially the latter, which is so fun in its utterly mundane premise, which manages to be exciting in spite of no creature-feature overkill and no deathtrap-9000-killer-combo, is just awesome - because it is about very pure roleplaying without sacrificing tension. Now I may have seemed complain-happy throughout this review, so let me make this abundantly clear - this is a neat selection of encounters and well worth 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval. And it has done one thing: Make me universally look forward to the things these authors put out in the future. So go ahead, check it out!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Encounters: Wilderness
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Mythic Minis 17: Feats of Seafaring
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/30/2014 13:08:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Mythic Mini clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This time, we're all about sea-themed feats, so let's check this out!



The mythic version of "Corsair" extends its benefits to any aquatic environment and doubles the bonuses while on board of a ship and also allows you to treat foes as flanked via mythic power. Solid. The "Hoist the Colors" mythic feat allows you to intimidate foes via your flag and, with mythic power, even whole crews/vessels and similar military units - and yes, more power, more severe fear-effect. Awesome, mythic - nothing to complain about!



Naval Commander comes as a regular and mythic-augmented version - it allows you to aid another ALL target allies on your ship. Which is damn cool even before expending mythic power to make the bonus LAST. Two thumbs up, especially since bonus to atk is still limited to once per ally/turn!



Savy Seafarer also offers two versions - the regular one offering bonuses to ship/repair/survival-themed actions, increasing the bonus with familiar vessels. The mythic version further increases these bonuses...and allows you to TRACK VESSELS OVER WATER. Yeah. THAT is what I want in mythic - epic options, more roleplaying potential, stunning derring-do, doing things that transcend the powers of regular PCs. Two thumbs up!



Finally, mythic Sea Legs kilsl most penalties to acrobatics and climb and also lets you move sans delay through water-themed terrain, but does not protect you from it. Solid.



Conclusion:

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



See, this mythic mini is what I'm talking about -feats that are bland and subpar in their regular, non-mythic version get better and worthwhile. The new feats are glorious and actually vastly increase roleplaying potential while breathing the spirit of mythic gaming, offering both rules and simply new hinges on which to base storylines and scenes. This one's just awesome and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval - if your mythic campaign goes anywhere near pirates and similar themes GET THIS!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 17: Feats of Seafaring
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Under the Knife: The Grafter, a Tinker Prestige Class
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/29/2014 04:13:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Tinker-expansion clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's check out the Grafter!



Mechanically, we have a 5-level PrC with 10 ranks heal, 7 ranks knowledge (engineering), skill focus (heal) and 3rd level invention/blueprints as prereqs. The class gets d8, 3/4 BAB-progression, good will-and fort-saves and 4+Int skills per level, but ONLY heal and intimidate as class skills. They also get full invention-progression, with the important caveat that BP per blueprint DO NOT increase via grafter level.



Got that? All right. At first level, a grafter gains a grafting pool equal to class level X 3. These points can be used as BP to apply inventions to the grafter's own body when preparing inventions and do not replenish, unless the grafter removes a given graft to free points. Inventions with limited uses per day refresh upon blueprint-preparation and at 3rd level of the class, the grafter may apply grafts to others as well. Inventions that require activation also require at least int 3 (no grafted oozes, sorry) or int 11 on behalf of the controller in the case of controlled unintelligent foes (like undead). This also provides an interesting precedent for similar master/minion relationships with other creatures such as constructs. A given creature can maintain a total of grafter's int-mod in BP as grafts at a given time.



Now there are restrictions - skill bonuses, class skills and proficiencies cannot be granted via these grafts and any untyped bonus for an automaton becomes an enhancement bonus for an intelligent grafted creature. If a graft requires a given feat via an invention and the base creature also has that feat, it can take the follow-up invention as a graft, but graft-granted abilities cannot be used as prerequisites to qualify for feats etc. Got that? Good!



At first level, the grafter also learns to add int-mod to wis-mod regarding heal-skills (NOT a fan of two attribute-mods to one skill). As you may have noted, grafters can be somewhat neutered in their grafting capabilities by their graftees simply walking away - this is remedied at 3rd level, when they get full control over their grafts, allowing them to declare them obsolete when resting and thus making them break/reclaim their grafting BP...which allows for nice roleplaying potential: "Yes, Mr. Ogre...I can graft you so you can eat those knights in the castle." *ogre flies off with rotor* "I declare it obsolete." Ogre falls...far. (Though this does, unfortunately, not work - design-inventions can't be grafted...)



At 4th level, the class nets those grafted with 5 BP or more one of 5 bonuses (HP, CMD, fort, COn or natural armor) as long as they remain enhanced by you. At 5th level, the grafter may artificially increase his graft-pool temporarily by expending his infuse automaton ability, allowing for even more flexibility in that regard.



It should also be noted that the grafter at 2nd level learns a so-called implant, essentially an invention that can only be applied to organic beings and not automata. He also learn another one every class level after that (though it should be noted, that, like regular inventions, only one of a kind can be applied to a given being, i.e. no doubling of a given implant on a creature). Some of these have level restrictions as well.



I was talking about implants. What about an adrenaline injection unit, that nets a bonus of +4 to Dex (or Str...) for one round as a swift action class levels x 2 per day times? Vastly improved carrying capacity? A nose-installed flame-thrower? (If you're like me and grew up with Sonic, remember the final boss of Sonic & Knuckles and chuckle...) A limited use +5 insight bonus to attack? Limited times per day auto-succeed saves versus toxins and diseases, even if you have failed the save? Immunity to fear at the cost of gaining no morale bonuses? Fortification-like metal plates that help versus sneak attacks? Simply more Hp? Auto-heal via stimpack when reaching 0 hp (but not when dying immediately)?



The most powerful of grafts allow you to grant yourself (and others) dragon-like energy lines (and even cones!) as breath weapons and implant artificial brainstems that temporarily revive your minions as double HD fast zombies that retain their weapon and armor proficiencies - great if your villain just has to run...or if your fighter has no scruples about that sort of last ditch-effort to take down a villain...



Now, I know what you're asking - how does the PrC play with all those inventions? Well, there are (as can be imagined in such a wide field) some cases, where the interaction between inventions and implants, for example, take a VERY experienced player to handle. Take Augmented (or Definite) Structure: +1 Hp per HD of the base-creature at 2 BP cost. Does that one stack with the structural augmentation implant for +5 maximum Hp at 1 BP? (Answer: Yes it does - bonus-types stacking...) What I'm trying to say here is -know the rules, tinker and this book - this is complex as hell.



It should be noted that by now, prior ambiguities as to e.g. arms/legs etc. and inventions have been cleared up and via the now established transparency between implant and invention-usage, another source of potential confusion has been streamlined away.



The revised rules also properly cover action economy for graftees of varying intelligences by being treated like an alpha using the invention, thus eliminating some of the ridiculously action-economy breaking potential builds I could construct. Great to see this smoothed and made work!



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 has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Artworks are thematically-fitting stock.



Okay, Bradley Crouch's Grafter's V.1.0 struck me as awesome, but unrefined. I wrote a review and then, life happened. For a time, I was actively out of the reviewing game as you may know and then, I get back and I find this beast. I check back...and by now it actually works. At least I couldn't, from the top of my head, break it and reading this revised edition provided no angle for me to break this beast -and this deserves accolades. No, seriously. Fixing glitches to provide a better experience for one's customers is great, especially when always trying to stretch the boundaries by trying insanely complex rules-stunts and classes and actually getting the job more than done deserves applause. The grafter as such took a mind-bogglingly complex base class and made it more complex while also opening its benefits up to other classes, adding some significant value to your tinker-class in game. Well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Under the Knife: The Grafter, a Tinker Prestige Class
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Mythic Minis 16: Universal Path Abilities II
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/29/2014 04:11:06
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Mythic Mini clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This time, we're all about more universal path abilities after the first, awesome installment, so let's check this out!



We begin with 4 different 1st tier abilities, with two of these netting bonus feats from Mythic Magic: Core Spells. Yeah - while I get why they're here, let's call them out for what they are - filler. So what about "Dramatic Reveal". This one is all about roleplaying potential - whether a birthmark or another characteristic - something marks you for greatness and revealing it helps immensely in social skills. While mechanically none too awesome, the potential and concept BREATHES mythic for me, so yeah - as far as I'm concerned: Cool! The final 1st tier ability, "Planar Scholar" makes you a savant of planar knowledge, allowing you detect portals and decipher information about them. This ability is damn cool and carries a LOT of roleplaying potential while feeling distinct and suitable for mythic characters. Two thumbs up!



We also get 3 different 3rd tier abilities and oh boy...neat: Take one that nets you contingency (or its mythic equivalent, depending on your tier!) as a mythic power fueled ability. Yeah! What about being eternally young, including age-disguising/changing and yes, the immortal ability is also granted at higher tiers. Neat! Gaining endure elements and know direction on other planes and further expanding your planar knowledge, this one is a neat follow-up that delivers narrative potential galore: Two thumbs up as well!



The one 6th tier ability allows you to grant one mythic monster ability to your eidolon, companion etc. Solid and versatile, yes, but nothing that utterly wows me.



Conclusion:

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



Jason Nelson's second universal path-centric pdf offers quite a few cool abilities that range from awesome to filler. While the majority of path abilities herein belong on the winner side, the second column of the pdf is 1/4 empty, offering ample space for additional content and the two feat-granting abilities feel like filler to me. Generally, the overall path abilities can be considered cool, yes, but still, the last spark didn't jump over to me. Make no mistake - this is a cool, nice pdf, but falls short of true greatness due to both the relative brevity and aforementioned points. Overall, a quintessential "good" pdf and thus well worth 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 16: Universal Path Abilities II
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Mythic Monsters: Abyssal
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/25/2014 07:30:55
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' Mythic Monster series clocks in at a massive 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages introduction to the product line, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let's take a look!



After a short introduction to the matter at hand, we are introduced to an extremely cool introductory text that serves as a frame narrative - essentially a lecture on a newly discovered species of qlippoth, before we are introduced to options available for those who want to conjure forth these antediluvian threats of evil - including a new way with the so-called qlippoth talismans (in case the sacrifice of pregnant women is not an option for your vile villain...) - no less of 10 such talismans are provided and they essentially make calling these dread beings via summon-spells possible. Neat!



After this cool supplemental material, we kick off with the respective creatures - Baregara get a mythic version of CR 15/MR 6 that has truly devastating grapples (including a maw that consumes targets, automatically dealing damage on grapples, which they can maintain one-armed, and also providing AoE-demoralizing. Essentially, all basic abilities have been upgraded to be more lethal - nice.



Second would be the CR 13/MR 5 mythic bebilith, and these foes are even better at dismantling foes armor (including natural armor) and their rotting bite is truly devastating. At CR 23/MR 1o, shaggy demodands are terrifying forces indeed - blocking any channeling in the vicinity (unless the target succeeds a very difficult save), these are mythic monsters at their best, taking a relatively bland base creature and slapping a vast array of signature abilities on the creature - towards a more concise monster concept, that one being the anathema to divine casters. Two thumbs up and kudos for improving the base creature like this.



The Mythic Slimy Demodand at CR 20/MR 8 can add stun as insult to injury (when foes bleed and take acid damage...) and even highjack channeling and temporarily sever divine casters from their powers - better yet, said duration can be further expanded with the aptly-named "Where is your god now?" - glorious and once again a HUGE improvement over the relatively bland base creature. AT CR 16/MR 6, the Tarry Demodand is slightly less awesome, but continues the theme of anti-divine outsiders, but their sense of faith and entangling tar-like secretions make them powerful hunters - including an anti-divine smite.



Need something at lower levels? CR 4/MR 1 mythic howlers have quills that drive those embedded with their quills insane and furthermore, heal via drained sanity. Evil! TA CR 18/MR 7, the Kauen-Taka can ROT THE EYES OF THSOE THAT SEE THEM. That's damn creepy even before their carrionstorms get mythic templates added... As a minor complaint - the mini-statblock for flesh-mansion-less Kakuen-Taka could have used a better formatting/some highlighting. But then again - mere presence induces hallucinations? Animating flesh piles and withering plants? This one is disturbing indeed! And while the base creature was awesome, unleashing eyeless hounds and killing foes at short range via ethereal hails of soul splinters round out an epic creature indeed.



Speaking of which - AT CR 15/MR 6, the Chernobue Qlippoth may be a cool upgrade, but in direct comparison to the former critter, it falls a bit flat. Then again, cythnigots-spawning poison is cool - that might be the Qlippoth-fanboy speaking... Speaking of which - these clock in at CR 3/ MR 1 and their spore-infested wounds can entangle, even entrap targets! Cool and rather lethal low-level mythic threat that works well in that context. The Nyogoth (At CR 13/ MR 5) can attach itself to targets via its intestinal limb bite attacks and upgrades the acid spray with poison - neat!



AT CR 9/MR 3, the mythic shoggti no longer just clouds the minds of foes - it can now utterly dominate them and even stun those subjected to its wis-draining powers. OUCH! Have I mentioned that breaking targets free of the control may see them attack you in a murderous rampage? Yeah - nasty, indeed! The CR 19/MR 7 mythic Xacarba learn to mix their poisons (Yes!) and even spray them over an area - neat improvements of the base creature!



Finally, at CR 16/ MR 6 we get the Mythic Ylyrgoi - huge, hydra-like, multi-stingered monsters studded with countless shrieking maws and eyes. This creature is brand-new and oh boy - an aura that reduces gestation periods of infections, parasites and diseases, improved demon killing, stingers that regenerate, insane reach, egg-implants - utterly disturbing and oh so awesome - its signature abilities taking up more than 1 full page - that does not count the statblock! Add to that the extremely awesome artwork and we have a truly glorious beast here!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I did not notice any glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games nice 2-column full-color standard and the two pieces of original artwork by Ivan Dixon are awesome indeed, with the new creature's artwork taking up a whole page so you can show it to your players. Now, layout-wise, like Mythic Monsters before, this one has some blank space at the end of one monster's entry, which is nice if you just want to print out one, but also means that printing this out is slightly more wasteful on the paper than it could be. It's a matter of preference whether you prefer this or a more "cluttered" approach, so that won't feature in my final verdict. Now what does feature in it would be the glaring lack of bookmarks, which renders navigation more difficult than it ought to be.



Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips and Alistair Rigg provide a glorious collection of uncommon abyssal foes - and deliver in spades. You know, mythic can be often taken as a bland "faster, harder, wider"-contest and yes, some creatures can be seen as a relatively straight progression. The vast majority of abyssal threats in here, though, is not content with such a treatment, instead developing the base creature, often into something truly distinct that works so much better than the base beast - with signature abilities emphasizing niches and foci of the monsters herein, there is not one critter in here that has not been massively improved, with the abilities of demodands and their thus much tighter focus making them my favorites in here and, perhaps for the first time in ages, actually DISTINCT. The new qlippoth is one glorious beast as well, and were it not for the lack of bookmarks, this would be immediately 5 stars + seal of approval. Their lack means I'll refrain from putting my seal on this, but still consider this one superb purchase that any DM who thinks the players should FEAR the denizens of the abyss should get - even if only to scavenge signature abilities...of which there are soooo many...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Abyssal
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Dungeon Dressing: Goblin's Pockets
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/25/2014 07:28:27
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Dungeon Dressing-installment clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The first page is taken up by a short explanation of how to use this pdf and a d0-table that helps you determine on which table to roll and how often. And oh boy, do these table's names already spell out the respective themes of the tables:



No.1 would "Utterly Worthless", 50-entry strong (like all tables herein), features delightful things for adventurers to grab - a tangled ball of multicolored thread, a dried up snake. The left arm and head of a doll. A half-eaten shoe soaked in brine. A mouse stuffed with strange herbs. While this one (and the other tables) have entries for roll twice/thrice, in a cool twist, the resulted items are nailed together, glued together, dirty etc., adding more variety than a simple reroll otherwise would. Awesome.



"Broken and Battered" is probably better suited for clues, though the anarchic goblins have spared these in any way - lockets defaced with mustachios, sling stones with traces of gnawing, angel-shaped-pendants that have been bereft of their wings - disturbing and still funny and once again full of narrative potential.



Table number 3 is all about "Yummy tidbits" - with the roll thrice-entry commenting they've been made into a stew. Stew in pockets makes no sense? Pshaw, these are goblins we're talking about! Meat with canine fur, honeycombs with bee-bodies, bird heads, cheese so covered in green fuzz it might run off at any moment... delightful, disgusting, fun.



Finally, table number 4 provides shiny treasures - like whetstones with holes drilled through the center. Small pairs of scissors to run around with. Collections of buttons, preserved eyes, ancient turnips, dented coins from obsolete kingdoms...once again, rather interesting entries. (Though gold, or rather, silver/copper values for some of them would have been appreciated...)



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's superb, streamlined and printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting, neat b/w-stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.



I do not begrudge author Eric Hindley this task - goblins are hard to depict properly - on the one hand, they ought to be somewhat comedic, on the other hand utterly psychotic - plus, they are since Burnt Offerings the iconic humanoid antagonists that set the tone for Pathfinder (and made me, back in the day, start getting the books...) - what I'd like to say is: This assignment was probably hard...and fun. And the fun translates. I'm writing this review after a bunch of underwhelming, crunch-intense books that dragged down my mood considerably. (Contrary to what some of you might think - reviewing bad books is a ton of work and no fun at all...) After reading this one for the first time, my mood was back to excellent - you might not exactly need this book, but it enriches your arsenal when depicting goblins. And some entries are plain funny and made me smile. And there aren't that many lighthearted supplements out there. Add to that the top-notch production values and this bland of the hilarious and horrific that so well reflects the goblin mindset gets 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Goblin's Pockets
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Pathways #36 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2014 09:30:10
As you may have noticed, real life’s been busy – so I’m trying to catch up to the backlog and hence, I had to make a decision – while usually, I write full reviews for Pathways-issues, this time, I’ll just give you brief bullet points for each issue – they’re free, after all, so go and download them and judge for yourself!

Highlights: Great time-themed template by Steven D. Russell (wished it had synergy with RGG’s Time Thief, though), psionic red grindylow by Elton Robb, great rakshasa monk by Creighton Broadhurst

Flaws: Formatting of my Top Ten-list a bit awakward.

Final verdict: 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #36 (PFRPG)
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