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The Sinking: The Skullfire Inquisition
Publisher: 0one Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/08/2014 04:34:20
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of 0onegames' short modules centering on one catastrophe is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



Still here? All right!

Blood Senator Eldon Vulgrax contacts the PCs to escort one of his contacts in the Temple Ward from a safe house to true safety - unfortunately, said man, one Myron (or Byron, the module isn't sure there) Galdemarr, has already been captured by the Skullfire Inquisition - a militant arm following the church of the newly incepted Cult of Lazarus. Turns out, the safe house isn't that safe and a whole team of inquisitors is ransacking the place, looking for Byron/Myron's silver sextant. It should be noted that the module here makes a lot of references to "move silently", which should be "stealth" - easily avoidable glitch there.



Via minor investigative skills, the PCs track the inquisitors to a warehouse, which they can infiltrate (though the watchdog chimera will provide a challenging foe) and then make their way through subterranean torture chambers - via drugs, prisoners are made pliable, then they are subjected to the tender ministrations of the villain and his gargoyle ally - turns out, they have an item that, when placed upon the brow of a target, lights up and has their thoughts and memories literally burned away. The torture master may inhale these fumes to know the respective contents. A vile (and fully depicted) item. Oh, and the hiding place of the sextant is actually smart enough to make the adversaries not look like complete tools for not getting it.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, though some glitches have crept into the module. None of them are truly glaring, though. Layout adheres to 0onegames' elegant, nice two-column b/w-standard with awesome pieces of b/w-artwork and neat cartography, though sans player-friendly versions. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Michael O' Day's Skullfire Inquisition is a straight-forward rescue scenario that comes with some nice ideas, but ultimately mostly boils down to "KILL EVERYTHING". Don't expect much social interaction, investigation or the like. That being said, the adversaries herein are delightfully despicable and the item they use is dastardly indeed - there ought to be no question after that who bad guys are. Which is also one of the weaknesses of this module. The meta-plot of "The Sinking" has set up a particular faction as enigmatic and weird, but not clearly as evil - and this module ends suddenly, with one blast, all pretenses: Said faction is revealed to be vileness incarnate, capital "E" EVIL. And the meta-plot suffers from that, at least in my opinion. When weirdness and enigma before this module made the faction in question intriguing and frightening, now it is simply yet another group of vile bullies for the PCs to crush. In fact, at least in my opinion, this module ends one of the most intriguing questions in a surprisingly one-dimensional way, not starting with how fast said faction got access to significant resources. Is the module bad? No. It may be a bit railroady and combat-focused, but it's not a bad offering. But it also isn't a mind-blowing one and resolves one enticing open question in a very disappointing manner. I'm not sure whether that's due to meta-plot-issues or the author's prerogative, but it left me a bit less excited than I was prior to reading this about The Sinking. Still, the price-point is excellent and hence my final verdict will clock in at a tentative 3 stars since I can't fault the module for having the meta-plot not live up to my expectations.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Sinking: The Skullfire Inquisition
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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 00:11:15
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive compilation of the New Paths-series, including quite a bunch of new content), clocks in at 130 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 124 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, from the get-go - I did reviews for the arcane paladin-class, the Battle Scion, the Spell-less Ranger, Shaman, White Necromancer, Monk/Ninja and Gunslinger-installments of the series, so if you're interested in a direct breakdown of these, please take a look at the respective reviews. I will, though, mention the new content or fixes. I also did not review the elven archer-pdf (simply because I don't have it), so that one will get its breakdown. Got that? Great!



So let's take a look at the elven archer, shall we? A racially restricted class (only elves and half-elves may apply), it gets d8, 6+Int skills, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armors, bucklers, full BAB-progression, good ref- and fort-saves, prepared divine spellcasting of up to 4th level with wis as governing attribute and track/wild empathy at first level. Beyond that, the class adds so-called precision-damage, +1d6, against foes denied their dex-bonus within 30 ft., increasing this by 1d6 damage every 5 class levels. This damage also applies when flanking with the bow, which becomes possible at 16th level.



Eleven archers are bow specialists and at 2nd level, get a bonus feat (another one every 3 levels) and count as fighter-levels -3 for purposes of feat qualification. They also get a creature type à la favored enemy at 3rd level and gets +2 to several skills pertaining them, as well as +2 to damage and atk against them. This bonus scales up to +6 - but choose wisely, for the archer may choose only one such target! Beyond that, these archers may hide in natural environment sans concealment, ignore specific difficult terrains, leaves no trails, can track faster and later even no longer provoke AoOs with the bow in melee. Beyond that, the elven archer at 9th level learns to temporarily enchant arrows and imbue them with special magical qualities. The class later also learns to deal more devastating shots against stationary targets by taking aim - though this only becomes available at 13th level. Now the class also comes with 3 alternatives for other races.

For example, the halfling sling master, who is rather similar to the elven archer, but instead of bonus feats, the alternate class gets a special trick to perform with the slingshot at 5th level and every 6 levels after that. Trick shots include ricochets and detrimental conditions that can be exchanged for precision damage - sans saves. OUCH. They also get rapid reload for slings. They also are more stealth-focused.



Dwarven Crossbowyer can ignore partially armor, shield and natural armor bonuses, carry more equipment, get a favored terrain and essentially get the elven archer's bonuses in forests instead in caves/earthen environments. The final variant, the mystic archer, has no race restrictions. They are rather similar to the eleven archers (minus the foresty/stealthy components), but at 5th and every 6 levels after that, they may choose from a special array of tricks. All in all, solid, if a bit conservative classes.



Next up would be a new class, the savant. The class gets a d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort- and will-saves and they start game with 3 knacks and expand that up to 8 at 20th level. Savants may assume a persona for 3+cha-mod minutes per day. A persona is just the name for a given combination of knacks. Some of these are spell-like abilities that duplicate arcane or divine spells and follow the usual restrictions regarding these forms of magic, including DCs - in stark contrast to the regular DC, which clocks in at the expected 10+1/2 class level+cha-mod.. Embodying a persona is a full-round action that doesn't provoke AoOs. The knacks allow the savant to temporarily gain access to proficiencies, items, +4 (scaling up to +8) bonus to attributes, spells (limited in level by the savant class level), skills, racial tricks (like scent or swim speed) and even temporarily boost his BAB. Now as if this kind-of-jack of-all-trades-style ability wasn't enough, a savant also has a notebook - by observing certain happening, he may enter specifics on equipment, feats, races etc., gaining power literally as he observes and travels - much like the emulation of abilities in Rite Publishing's Taskshaper, this means a DM ought to tell the player in question in detail to very carefully keep the books regarding this notebook. Now another interesting thing here is that the savant needs to observe at least a minute and then get to noting this fast - and there's a daily limit on what he can jot down, so some planning involved as well.



Later, the savant also gets advanced knacks with natural attacks, healing (also negative conditions), apply metamagic etc. further increasing the options available. They also learn to conjure forth so-called avatars of legends - essentially cohorts with access to knacks that can be summoned, but which remain only as long as concentration si maintained - cool! The savant later also learns to combine knacks into a so-called hyperbole, , switch knacks etc. and finally, the savant may even share knacks with allies and as a capstone, maintain concentration on their avatars as a move action. All in all, the savant may be a book-keeping intensive class, but also a rather rewarding spinner of tall-tales jack-of-all-trades-style class - that is also sufficiently different from Drop Dead Studios' Dilettante! Kudos for a smart design here! We also get advice for playing the character, as well as a sample character and 3 sample avatars of legend - neat! All in all, one damn fine example of great design, an iconic idea properly realized. Kudos, two thumbs up, great work!



The Spell-less ranger also gets a variant class herein, the skin-changer - this one's interesting: Learning to change into the forms and animals and specializes in better natural attacks. No animal companion, though, and a different list of talents. The skin-changer also gets natural armor etc. - per se a concept none too complex in what it tries to do, but remains very evocative in its versatile options - the variant class remains one of the more iconic ones I've seen and makes for a great addition - once again - fine work indeed!



The next new class would be the theurge - d6, +Int skills per level, 1/2 BAB-progression, proficiency with simple weapons, good will-saves and prepared spellcasting -arcane spellcasting via Int and divine spellcasting via Wis - both from first level on. A Theurge gets a spellbook and a prayerbook and the latter requires the divine spells to be learned similar to arcane spells - from scrolls or levels. However, a theurge may wilder in e.g. druid or inquisitor spell-lists. Which leads me to a massive issue: Not all spells are available for all classes at the same level, making for possible cherry-picking (not only content, but also level-wise!) here, not to start with VERY powerful class-exclusive spells....Think Paladin, Inquisitor, Druid, Magus, Witch...ouch. Yes, there may be costs etc. While first, slots are distinct from another, starting at fourth level, arcane spells may be prepared via divine slots and vice versa, but at a penalty level-wise to the spell prepared, i.e. second level spells need to be prepared as third level spells etc. The capstone gets rid of this minor penalty, though. At 5th level, theurges may cast two spells at once - one arcane, one divine, both imposing a -4 penalty to saves 1/day +1/day 6 levels after that. They also learn to cast a select limited array of spells as SLs. So, I'll be frank here - this class is OP in my opinion. Being able to wilder in any classes spell-list, cherry-picking any exclusives sans penalties or limits is very powerful. A full caster that can cast both divine and arcane spells is a cool concept, but this class drops the ball hard regarding the balancing of spell-levels and spell-lists - there ought to be some kind restriction here.

And yes, the amount of spells cast (which never increases above 2 arcane + 2 divine per level (+ bonus spells via Int + Wis) is severely restricted. It means every spell needs to count. But for a class which may pick the best of the best of ANY casting class, with this amount of flexibility, that also means that every cast WILL count. Which brings me to another issue - I get that the general restriction on spells-slots is there for balance. I'm not sold, though, that it'll make for a particularly fun playing experience. Sure, once you hit out your crême de la crême spells, you'll own the game...but what about the other time? Unlike most other classes, the theurge has nothing but spellcasting. And you don't have enough spells for proper utility tricks, proper buffing, proper debuffing - essentially the class is geared very much toward being flashy super-spell nova-heavy. Which you *may* like, but personally, I think the class would have been more rewarding with more casts per day and a more restricted balancing via spells known. I was not sold on the class concept and playtesting it at level 4, 12 and 16 didn't help either - mainly due to 2 things - theurges at higher levels can be superb crafters - with access to ALL spells and the option to learn just about every spell, these guys can craft like crazy. They may also use just about every spell-in-a-can-item conceivable by virtue of their all-encompassing spell-lists, which means that theurges in game probably will resort quite a lot to wand/staff-slinging when not casting their flashy super-spells.

It's a glass pumpgun (also re buffs/debuffs) - two devastating shots and empty. Personally, I'd be not keen as a DM to structure my adventures to "empty" the super spell-arsenal of the theurge or to play one, trying to keep my super-ammo for the big bad boss. Now all of this sounds negative, but the class per se is not a bad design, it does have its niche in which it will excel superbly. While I'm not sold on the place in a regular adventuring group, I do think the theurge will work superbly in 1 on 1-adventures and small groups - especially if the DM modifies adventures accordingly, groups starved for players get essentially divine and arcane in one class without resorting to gestalting - so yeah, the theurge has its niche, though I maintain it could have been more versatile in its use.



Of course, we also get new archetypes - the elven archer gets the Royal Guardian, a more urban Night Watch-style archer and the Plains Rider, a mounted archer. Apart from that, all the archetypes you'd expect from the base-pdfs can be found herein. It should also be noted that the archetypes have been mostly cleaned up re typos in the originals etc. - nice to see.



In the next chapter, we get a whole slew of traits and feats - also fodder for the new classes, with feats to improve the savant's avatar of legend, leadership for animals - I've covered a lot of these in former reviews. Unfortunately, not all gripes I had with some have been fixed. Take Eagle Style: Upon a successful dirty trick, you can substitute making the target mute for your regular effect. Doesn't sound so bad? Well...no duration. The muteness is, as written, PERMANENT. Yes, this one was broken in the original and is still - but it should be noted that overall, cases like this remain the exception, rather than the rule. Generally, the feats herein can be considered worthwhile additions, with some of the more esoteric style-trees especially coming to mind.



Marc Radle's scaling combat feats from Gygax Magazine #1 are also included herein - and while I still consider them a good idea, I still think it would have been nice to have a note detailing handling the chain balance-wise - it's a slight shift - not a big one, but it exists. It should also be noted that, since the original inception of the idea, TPK Games have released two pdfs of scaling feats, covering the whole core-book and the APG, so if you plan on using scaling feats, make sure that it's clear which system you're going to use.



The spells herein provide rather iconic options - whether conjuring forth Rivers of Moonlight, weaving deadly magics into your arrows/bolts/sling-stones, cast cool bone-themed spells or rain fangs down upon your foes. All in all, a nice array of casting options. We also are introduced to a total of 7 weapon types, various pieces of equipment and magic items and also the 3 legendary items (the level-scaling variant, not the one from Mythic Adventures), depicting the regalia of Gax the Great.



The book concludes with sheets - for animal companions, arrow tracking sheets, favored enemies/terrain, prepared spell tracking sheets, spirit guide, summon monster-sheets and even a wildshape-sheet make for a massive array of neat sheets that will prove to be useful.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - there are next to no glitches in this massive compilation, which is quite a feat at this length. The pdf comes with a relatively printer-friendly two-column full color standard and the artworks in full color are neat and numerous and original/former cover illustrations - all in all, a beautiful book. The pdf comes with massive, nested bookmarks, making the book easy to navigate. I can't comment on the physical book, since I only own the pdf.



Designers Marc Radle, Ryan Costello Jr., Crystal Frasier, John Ling Jr., Jerall Toi, Wolfgang Baur, Matt Blackie, Charles Lee Carrier, Chris Harris, Stu Logan, Nicholas Milasich, Mitch Radle, Vincent Colon Roine, Justin Sluder and Michael Timpe have crafted a massive crunchy book full of (mostly!) awesome classes, several of which had player characters in my current campaign. The Savant is a glorious class, the theurge - well, as you've read, I'm not 100% sold on it, but oh well. The archer-classes are nice, if a bit conservative and linear for my tastes. The other classes - well, check the respective reviews for those.



The supplemental information and crunch provided also falls within this spectrum - mostly, the content herein ranges from good to awesome, but here and there, we can find a piece of crunch that could have used some streamlining. On the downer-side, I REALLY expected favored class options, at least for the Midgard and Core-races herein for the new classes and their absence is a bit of a let-down.



How to rate this, then? The New Paths Compendium is a nice resource, if not a perfect one and while the book can be considered mostly awesomeness, the few rough edges standout all the clearer. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars - with e.g. savant and fixed typos etc. pointing towards the 5, theurge and the few flaws pointing towards the 4. In the end, I will round up due to the majority of the content being problem-free and the good outweighing the slightly problematic by quite a bit and my general maxim of in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
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Mythic Minis 7: Feats of Charging
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 00:08:22
An Endzeitgeist.com review

As always with the Mythic Minis line, this pdf is 3 pages long - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD and 1 page content, so let's take a look at these new feats!



-Crooked Charge: Make one 90-degree or 2 45 degree turns while charging. Also get +2 dodge bonus to AC against AoOs when charging and also add +2 to ref-saves against attacks that require these. If you expend a use of mythic power, you may make as many turns as you want and add 1/2 mythic tier to aforementioned bonus.



-Devastating Charge: Add 1/2 your mount's str-mod to damage when making a charge. You can also substitute a str-check for breaking objects at the end of a charge, also allowing you to add 1/2 the mounts str-mod. You may also use your mount's size to determine CMB as part of a charge. When using mythic power, you can add your mount's full str-bonus to your own to calculate damage bonus (as well as its size modifier for CMB). Dragon riders will want that one.



-Impaling Charge: When impaling foes with a gore and managing the CMB to grapple the foe, you may continue moving and take the opponent along. Use mythic power to temporarily stagger opponents thus hit.



-Minotaur's Charge: +10 ft. distance knocked when bull rushing foes, also daze them and make them prone. +1 round daze-duration for 1 use of mythic power.



-Saddle Shrieker: +4 to handle animal when benefiting from the non-mythic version feat. Spend 1 use of mythic power to negate the benefit for 1 minute. That one's a bit lame and very specific.



-Stampeding Charge: Allied creatures of your size and smaller don't hamper your charging. Also flank foes that are hit by your and an allies charge. No mythic power-use to boost this one.



-Tremendous Charge: When charging with a natural weapon, increase their damage dice by 1 size. This also extends to special attacks like charge, trample etc. as part of charges. Also get +1 to CMB with maneuvers used in conjunction with said charges. This bonus can be upgraded to 1/2 mythic tier by expending one use of mythic power. This use also upgrades the damage-dice by 2 steps.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not perfect. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf doesn't have bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson delivers a neat array of feats themed around charging herein and while not all of them feel mythic (some feeling like slightly upgraded regular versions), but that's ultimately me complaining at a high level. So are these feats required? No, not necessarily, but they do have some great ones as well as some that aren't that iconic - all in all a good purchase, if not one that is required for all groups, though mounted characters will like what can be found herein. A solid purchase at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 mainly because it lacks a feat that truly blew me away.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 7: Feats of Charging
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Meta-Combat Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 00:05:07
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal - 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of content, so let's take a look at these meta-.combat feats, shall we?



So what are these? Meta-Combat feats require a full-attack action and have individual additional restrictions and each comes with an individual cool-down that does not stack with other Meta-Combat-feats. Got that? All right, so what do they do?



-Bind and Bash (Metacombat): Bind foe's weapon, wand etc. Make a CMB vs. CMD-check that provokes AoOs. If you succeed, you may make an off-hand attack and neither weapon can be used. Bound weapons/items may be dropped or ended via CMB vs. CMD or by stepping away. On subsequent rounds in a bind, you may attack with an off-hand attack as a standard action. After the bind breaks, cooldown is 1d4 rounds. Okay take on the swashbuckling maneuver, but rather weak for the investment of a feat.



-Duck out of Sight (Metacombat): Stealth -10 to prevent the target from having line of sight with you until you next attack, cooldown 2d4 rounds. This one will result in bad scenes - ranged fighters, wizards etc. can potentially abuse the HELL out of this feat via guerilla tactics.



-Hammer Down (Metacombat): As a full attack, make one attack at +5 that provokes an AoO. The attack deals half damage, cooldown 1d3. Okay feat.



-Over the Top (Metacombat): As a full-round action, move from a space adjacent to a foe to any adjacent location on the far side of the foe and make an attack halfway through your movement. If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, you knock the target prone. Does not provoke AoOs from the target, but from other foes, cooldown 1d4+1. Not sold on this overtly complicated variety of trip.



-Running Attack (Metacombat): Move 2x your movement rate and make two attacks at any point as you do, both of which incur a penalty of -2. You do not gain the benefits of your mobility feat versus AoOs you incur thus, cooldown 1d3 rounds.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay - I noticed a line of missing blank spaces, for example. Layout adheres to a portrait three-column standard of which I'm not a big fan - it makes the text look more cluttered and harder to read than SGG's old landscape 3-column standard (even though this is now RGG - I'm aware of the new company, just wanted to give you the reference...). The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Oh boy. I like the basic premise of metacombat feats and when they were first introduced (in the Horrifically Overpowered versions in the respective Genius Guides) I was one of the people who asked for more of them. These, though, just don't do it for me - they are overly specific and complex for what they do and yes, while they are not necessarily broken, they cultivate one-trick-pony-style fighting. Over all, the rules herein feel surprisingly clunky and VERY specific. One of the feats is utterly broken in my opinion and even the swashbuckling binding-feat just isn't that compelling. Owen K.C. Stephens did not deliver bad feats here, but awfully specific ones that don't necessarily warrant the feat-investment or provide a rewarding payout. The concept of metacombat-feats is great, but the examples here universally failed to convince either me or any of my players to take them. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 due to the low price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Meta-Combat Feats
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Feats Reforged: Vol. II, The Advanced Feats
Publisher: Total Party Kill Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 02:54:42
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of TPK Games' books on redesigns of feats that scale with the level is 39 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This time, we get the feats reforged-treatment for all feats in the APG. So how do they scale? Most feats get their first upgrade at 7th level, the second at 14th, but that can in no way be claimed for all of them - one upgrade at 17th level (for feats that require 10th level), 13th and 20th level-upgrades...see the reasoning? Essentially, the feats upgrade in increments of 7 levels after the earliest level you could take the feat, which seems like a prudent guideline. Additional Traits, for example, nets you +1 trait at the respective increments, though you have to choose it from a category you don't already have a trait in.



Usually, the feats have relatively straight progressions, like additional +1s, less penalty with Bloody Assault etc., but not all adhere to this formula - take the bodyguard feat - its first enhancement reduces the AC you have to hit to 8 (making it kind-of automatic sooner for non full BAB-classes like the monk) and the second upgrade increases AC granted to +3.



Special mention deserve usually rather useless feats à la cosmopolitan - their upgrade nets them a bonus to linguistics and later +1 language and even a 1/day reroll and makes them a much more valid, if not 100% optimal choice. Crossbow Mastery nets you an initiative bonus and an attack in the surprise round at -5 with crossbows, which also makes imho for some rather cool ideas regarding upgrades of a feat that in its base benefit is rather static. But, you know, I wouldn't be me if I found nothing to complain about now, wouldn't I? The good news here is - the following complaint is with the base feat, NOT exclusively with the reforged one - Deepsight has a prereq of Darkvision 60 ft. and extends it to 120 ft. - which is per se cool. However, there are beings with darkvision 90 ft. that, as written, can't take the feat. And yes, that's a blunder n Paizo's part, not on the side of TPK Games, who stayed true to the base feat, but I still would have loved to see the Plus added that fixed the prereqs. That being said, ultranitpicks like this one of course will not influence the final verdict.



Disruptive Spell is also interesting, using a particular rule that is near and dear to my heart - degrees of failure. The disruptive effect lasts longer if the target botches the save by 5 or more. Which is definitely a plus. A downside, on the other hand, would be that broken feats that have inherited their non-scaling issues, missing the chance to be fixed.. Take Dreadful Carnage. Whenever you reduce an enemy below 0 HP, you get an AoE-demoralize as a free action. Fails the bag of kitten tests - carry around bag of kittens = unlimited demoralize AoEs. All right, at level 11 perhaps not the best strategy, but still, probably not how the feat was intended in either incarnation.



The Extra-feats take an interesting approach - instead of tying the benefit-upgrades to fixed levels, they net you a second discovery, hex etc. 10 levels after taking the feat. Where I can potentially see issues with certain builds would be the fast drinker-feat - at 7th level, it reduces the action required to imbibe alcohol down to a free action, thus opening the swift action slot. While MOST builds won't benefit too strongly from this, some classes out there put quite a value on the swift action, so not 100% comfortable here. What's damn awesome would be Groundling - taking a relatively lame base premise, its upgrades allow you to talk to earth elementals and all creatures with the earth-subtype. Quite cool! Also nice - the additional effects of improved stonecunning that allow for the bonus to be added to perception-checks to determine surprise and even initiative while underground or surrounded by stone, making the feat in this iteration not suck. Kudos!



Now while most of the upgrades make sense, there also once in a while is an effect that just is broken - personally, I won't ever allow the light step upgrade at 7th level near my table - it extends the ignoring of difficult terrain to unnatural environments, which becomes problematic once one recalls the amount of effects, spells and items that can create unnatural difficult terrain. Not a big fan. What do like is that some of the teamwork feats herein, at their highest level, allow you to treat all adjacent allies as if they have this feat. Makes sense and works...and is probably closer to what Teamwork-feats set out to do than the regular iterations.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting...this time around are actually very good -almost excellent. The only minor glitches I stumbled over, were some missed italicizations, nothing grievous. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and also hyperlinked.



Brian Berg has taken the APG and turned the feats into scaling ones - and they work. Where issues present themselves, they are few and far between and often are based on Paizo botching that particular source-feat. Overall, I'm positively surprised to note that this installment of Feats Reforged works imho even better than the first, salvaging some feat-choices that in the original iteration were rather...let's say bad. That being said, one gripe with the series so far hasn't been remedied and that would be that feat-rich creatures and characters simply benefit more from these reforged feats, thus slightly altering the balance. While the resulting power-creep is marginal at best, some concise advice for DMs to handle it would have been much appreciated. Still, if you don't mind the rather conservative benefits added to the feats, this is a great buy. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Feats Reforged: Vol. II, The Advanced Feats
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Gossamer Worlds: Empyrea (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 02:49:49
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Infinite worlds lie on the Grand Stairs - here, we get Empyrea in the second installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series in a 9-page pdf, of which 1 page is the front cover, 1 page the editorial, leaving 7 pages - so what is this place all about?



If you're a comic-book-nerd, think New Genesis. If that doesn't ring any bells - think an idealistic, enlightened greco-roman-style planet of essentially superhumans - guided by a benevolent allfather who is only slowly coming to grips with the existence of the Grand Stair, the people of Empyrea essentially live in bliss and, via positive eugenics, can be indeed considered superb beings. If you're like me, this makes you shudder somewhat, though the ruler seems indeed to be a mostly benevolent influence. Overall, though, the otherwise very elysian society remains ignorant of the Grand Stairs...at least for now.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's purple-bordered two-column full-color standard and the thematically-fitting stock-art by Thomas Cole is great. The pdf comes with bookmarks, in spite of its brevity.



Matt Banach's in-character prose once again is glorious and Empyrea comes alive from the pages of this supplement - the writing is awesome and the world per se compelling and full of potential. That being said, the world as such feels slightly less unique than Brokeworld, has no per se unique characteristic regarding its influence on magic/characters. It makes for a great, compelling backdrop, but it feels a tad bit less original than Brokeworld. It makes for a great place to visit, but verdict-wise, this installment of gossamer worlds clocks in at 4 stars for me - a good supplement, but not 100% as unique as its predecessor.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Empyrea (Diceless)
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Urban Dressing: Theatres
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 02:46:14
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Urban Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!



This pdf kick off with a table of 55 entries for external theatre appearances - from humble stands of a puppet theatre to circular halls and strange doors engraved with words that prompt the reader to sing to have the door open, we get a surprising array of external appearances that run the gamut from humble to easily inserted to tantalizing - neat!



The second table, spanning 50 entries, depicts internal characteristics -which include illusions used for scenery, twisting galleries, blaring lights and weird occurrences, like apples bouncing down the stairs - quite a bit of interesting entries, though some feel more like "things that happen" than "characteristics/appearances of the theatre inside."



We also get a table of 20 complications, which include couples fighting and full-blown fires breaking out as well as a sample list of 20 names for respective plays. Beyond these, a table of 50 sights and sounds provides ample food for further complications - from children trying to sneak in sans paying to actors being fitted for their costumes to mages testing their illusions, quite a nice table to add color to the theatre...though perhaps not a table to roll spontaneously on, since the respective happenstances diverge wildly from mid-performance to backstage. Smaller, more thematically limited tables would have probably helped here in making the overall entries easier to use for the DM.



The final two-pages are devoted to fluff-only short write-ups of sample people to meet in the theatre - from stage magicians and actors to bards, they run a surprisingly versatile gamut and include even a doppelganger and a LIZARDFOLK ARISTROCRAT. Yes. Awesome. So far my favorite selection of such short NPC-write ups in any of the Urban Dressing-series' installments.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out. The pdfs comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



The Urban Dressing-series has often a problem with trying to fit a rather complex environment into a couple of tables and this one, partially, also suffers from this - the internal characteristics table feels a bit unfocused, with some entries depicting what happens rather than what's there - which becomes especially relevant since the sights & sounds-table already covers that ground. Furthermore, the latter table could have benefitted from being split up -why? Because, as a DM, were you to try to make the theatre in question on the fly and supplement it with this table, you could potentially encounter some issues due to entry/back stage etc. being not clearly separated. When used beforehand, it is great and works well, but still - a comfort detriment there. The writing by Liz Smith is actually really, really good, with the sample NPCs rocking and the overall entries also being quite nice. Still, I can't help but feel that, as a spontaneous generator, it could have been improved further. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down by a slight margin to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Theatres
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Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/03/2014 03:59:19
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Obsidian Apocalypse is a massive 200-page book, 1 page front cover, 1 page donor-list, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of ToC,, leaving a massive 194 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What is Obsidian Apocalypse? Well, first of all, it's the heir of Obsidian Twilight - a campaign-setting that gloriously failed just about all my expectations. Still, LPJr Design improved so vastly that I joined, with a somewhat hopeful anticipation, the Kickstarter to make Obsidian Apocalypse, the sequel. Kind of. For, while there is a default setting kind of assumed, Obsidian Apocalypse now is less of a campaign setting, but rather an extremely versatile toolbox for to scavenge from. So after the first introduction to the cataclysmic world of Abaddon, we're introduced to the base-races - minus half-elves/half-orcs, for the world was not kind on these beings. Each of the core-races gets their own apocalyptic vista of what has happened to them - from the forlorn/mushroom-infected elves to the cannibalistic halflings, the takes on the races are disturbing and evocative at the same time. Beyond that, each of the races gets 3 alternate racial qualities - want to for example play shaven, mad dwarves, akin to Warhammer's Slayers? Yep. Damn cool.



Of course, we also get an array of new races. While I could go into the details regarding each race, I'll instead try to give you a short run-down. Another note before I start - the races herein you may remember from the previous installments, yes. They are nothing like their previous iterations - they actually by now are mostly rather well-balanced, on par with the stronger PC-races...without using their fluff. How is that accomplished? Well, where before, these races had a slew of special abilities, they retain these, but have to choose them as alternate racial traits. Take the Exalted, essentially the aasimar of the setting, the descendant of legendary half-burned angel Zebadiah, the last angel of Abaddon. Want a blade of deadly light? Angelic Wings? Well, you can now exchange these for the divine spell-like abilities of the race. Where before, they were stronger than even the aasimar, they now are a powerful, but balanced option. Another general improvement that hold true for all races, would be that they're less geared towards a specific class than before, often allowing for a more free assignment of ability score-modifiers. Where there are spawn of the upper planes, there also ought to be those of the lower, and yes, the Infernals are essentially the take on the Tieflings herein. Where in the previous iteration, they were a bit too strong for my tastes and while that kind of still is true by a margin (and this one's crunch sports a couple of minor typo-level/bolding glitches - more than in others), the new take on the infernal is vastly improved.



One of the more iconic races herein would be the Genesai - offspring of angels and demons, these unnatural beings once were somewhat of a Mary Sue-race; Now in this iteration, their powers have been more streamlined, their relative strength cut down to a level where they make for a more valid option. More importantly, their shattersoul blade, a blade made from the dichotomies of their very being, got a more varied mechanic that makes more sense - the scaling is also different from the one of the celestial. Now the Lykians, werewolf-like humanoids still are a tad bit too strong for my tastes: Claws, a diseased bite, +4 to Dex, increased miss chances in dim illumination etc. - even with a weakness to silver, this is a tad bit too much for my tastes. Another gripe - personally, I'm never a friend of +4 attribute modifiers like this one and the one of the harrowed, the spawn of the living and undead. Why am I not complaining about these semi-undead? Simple - they aren't healed by positive energy, but by negative energy, making them much more fragile in your avergae adventuring group. For a race geared towards melee with str+4, that's enough balancing for me - also due to not getting full-blown undead immunities.



It is here I'd like to mention that each of the races can expand their racial abilities via feats, in the case of harrowed allowing you to play any harrowed from the offspring of zombies to descendants of shadows and even liches. These feats often help drive home the uniqueness of these new races, by e.g. allowing you to expand the tricks of your genesai's shattersoul blades or truly be exalted: One feat allows you to sacrifice silver to temporarily stem the tide of the taint across the world and make an area fertile...for a time, as mentioned. Another interesting race would be the Osirions (not related to the Golarion-nation) - a black-skinned high-culture of beings with innate affinity towards necromantic arts - both beneficent and deadly. Not all feats are superb - there is for example one that hasn't been updated and might generate some confusion regarding the final race, the Khymer.



What are the Khymer? Essentially, they are people reduced to puddles of psionic, sentient, toxic blood that can take over corpses and remodel them to look like their lost forms. More importantly, they may burn out these husks (and their bodies) to fuel their psionic powers metapsionics-style. The rules for this race have been massively streamlined and the fact that the race now works better is great - especially since changing bodies can potentially be lethal and a lengthy procedure. The feat I mentioned before still assumes a more short-term duration for host-change than the new one, which takes several hours. Still, they are one of the most unique, iconic races out there and while the enhancements to their psionic abilities are imho too strong at low levels, the race per se is too cool for me to condemn - sometimes, even for me, coolness trumps all.



The feats I mentioned before deserve further mention -there for example are necromantic feats, which allow you to enact special necromantic treats - like forming the bones of a corpse or similar source into a superb armor for fragile spellcasters. Where in the predecessor, balancing was rather all over the place in these, the new takes on the feats even could have used a minor power boost here and there - none of the vast array of feats made me yell or get upset, many though made me grin and ponder why/how I'd use them - so all in all, a surprisingly well-crafted chapter - especially since I didn't really consider it necessary before. The same can be said in a much higher degree about the chapter on spells - with one exception (and that one's level 6 and requires foes to actually have blood circulation: Death by de-veining!), you'll no longer find any save-or-die spells. Indeed, instead, the magic chapter has been thoroughly cleaned up, the spells now often doing actually rather interesting things - what about e.g. a wall of spiders that becomes less efficient the more armor its victims wear? Spells that are hampered by wearing the right equipment? The option to create a duplicate, which if you or it dies, may well actually become you? Teleport-blocks? Anti-true-strikes? Yeah - if you're familiar with some - that's because the book updates quite a few spells from Monte Cook's by now legendary Book of Eldritch Might to PFRPG - and, just like the feats taken from the book, these are no lazy cut-copy-paste jobs, but rather true conversions and often, significant improvements.



But all of that crunch is not what this book is about - this book is about the end of the world. Or rather - the ends of the world - for each of the following chapters deals with one of the possible ends of the world.



And they mince no words. They don't turn tails. They are capital B bad news for all good. The first calamity to end the world depicted is engineered by no one other than the Morning Star, the Prince of Lies. No. Not Asmodeus, this knock-off. Lucifer. Yes. Lucifer. The Prince of Lies has destroyed his opposition, merged his former prison with the prime material and obtain the contract of creation - hence "Hell on Earth" really encapsulates well what has happened here. It should be noted that hence infernal taint comes with feat chains that net significant synergy benefits, allowing the characters to represent the taint and changed dichotomies. It should also be noted that each of the end-of-the-world-scenarios comes with multiple organizations (though no Prestige-mechanics) and fully depicted settlements as well as suggested campaign-outlines/DM-advice. Have I mentioned rules for apocalyptic, hellish weather like rains of frogs, tornados of flame and the like? What about the one ritual that keep the hellish hordes from crushing all resistance?



The next apocalypse would be the result of a meteorite, from which weird life spawned - an illness consuming organic and inorganic material, subjugating everything under its dread swarm-intelligence and potentially non-euclidian-seeming aesthetics. The shaper virus has changed the world by separating it into ever decreasing healthy lands with draconian anti-infection protocols, which proved to be the only way to stem the tide of infection, and the virus-controlled second half of the world, by now a nightmare of infected creatures. PC will have to struggle with the infection, draw strength from it and avoid succumbing to it - this apocalypse is by far the worst in my opinion: In a good way. I love the moral implications, the deadly abilities, the feats that let you draw upon the virus's strength at a price - this one is glorious indeed. Of course, we also get the contaminated-template here as well as an array of sample contaminated victims of the dread virus...



Want to go more conservative with your weird apocalypse - well, there's also a chapter detailing the apocalypse due to the return of the cthulhoid elder gods - and as such, the chapter of course requires sanity rules. What can I say - they're elegant, versatile without being CoC-level punishing, leave enough control for the DM and over all, are the best sanity rules for any d20-based game I've seen in quite a while - essentially characters get starting SAN, a can lose SAN, regain it via Heal and encountering the strange may result in gaining new insights into forbidden lore - yes, essentially, that's the d20-version of COC's SAN-system and it actually works rather well in play! And yes, it includes the Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)-skill (somewhat akin to cthulhu mythos in CoC), but also takes the options of restorative magic etc. into account. Beyond that, sheer proximity to these beasts changes planar properties in interesting ways - this chapter should also prove to be extremely interesting for Midgard-DMs looking to add some oomph to the wasted west. We also get two nice simple templates to modify creatures. Once again a great apocalypse with awesome supplemental material.



Of course, there also ought to be...yes! The zombie-apocalypse - with a new breed of zombie that decreases your movement automatically and by sheer proximity, easily pinning those immobilized and spreading undead destruction around the world - in this world, the war against the never-ending hordes of mindless dead, necromancer lords etc. all rule, making for a nice, traditional undead apocalypse supplemented by some neat ideas and crunch. On the supplemental side, traits, feats, spells and a table for vast hordes of undead and their CR are provided as well as a rather significant array of shambling sample zombies of various CRs



Now it should be noted that theoretically, you could combine all of these into a truly devastating super-apocalypse... but who would do that? *evil grin*



Now a setting like this can't work with petty CR 10+ villains - hence we also get the super-movers and shakers in all their glory -if you recall Calix Sabinus, the Vampire-Lich-God-king and his brethren, you'll know that this chapter provides some truly nasty adversaries - with legendary Mummy-king Asi Magnor getting a resplendent new artwork, just as the newcomer, Reikenjo, the first agent of the shaper virus. CR-wise, these legends range from CR 30 to CR 35 - and thankfully don't include Lucifer or Elder Gods, i.e. beings that should not be slain by mortal hands. One kind-of-gripe here - the equipment of these legends is rather puny compared to their level. DMs probably should add some items and yes, in my opinion also artifacts to make these unique threats a tad more challenging.



Of course, there also are less epic monsters herein, with each and every one of them coming with a downright glorious artwork - whether its old favorites like the boneshard golems or the necromantically-infused creature template or new critters like the slumber-inducing intelligent eye-consuming insects, the undead-hunting bird-like humanoids called Hargila, face-stealing fey, shadow-consuming undead or ooze-like outsiders that spread and sustain themselves on hatred - the creatures in this chapter are gloriously wicked and powerful -beasts to truly FRIGHTEN players, not just their characters, often with an array of interesting signature abilities. This chapter also includes a damn cool array of environmental hazards and weird diseases to spring upon your players.



The book concludes with campaign ideas and options to help a DM plan/organize such a campaign.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are generally very good - while some glitches have crept in (which happens in almost all big books), editor Joshua Yearsley generally has done a great job. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the artworks deserve special mentioning - this ranks among the most beautiful books I've seen in that department, with iconic piece upon iconic piece. While some you may know from older Obsidian Twilight-publications, the majority is actually new and drives home the superb art direction. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in full color, but is *relatively* printer-friendly when printed out in b/w. If you somehow can get your hands on the color exclusive version from the KS, DO SO. Seriously, I got both the full color and b/w print version and the former is just...beautiful. Even for LPJr Design standards - and that means something.



So...this was another review that took forever, mainly due to having to check back to the old material, comparing it etc. First of all - the balance-concerns I had with the races previously have *mostly* been alleviated, in favor of a much more streamlined experience. And while I'm not 100% sold on the balance of some of them, there always is the "rule of cool"-factor - take the Khymer: While the meta-psionic tricks of the race are VERY powerful and something to take into account as a DM, they are a race of sentient, body-invading BLOOD. The main gripe I have here is that the DC to determine con-damage doesn't scale and that the enhancements, per se, would imho work better as a feat-chain. Now declaring them as such wouldn't be hard on a DM, so there you go. generally, the races can be now categorized as a medium till strong race-option, but not as overpowered as they once were - the core-races no longer feel like declassified second choices compared to them, with fungoid infections, slayer-dwarves etc. offering a neat array of racial fodder.



On the other hand of the spectrum, there are some feats (like aforementioned bone armor) that can only be used 1/day - some scaling for additional uses based on level etc. would have made some of these more viable - which they deserve to be, for they are exceedingly cool.



More than all of that weighs another point - whereas Obsidian Twilight felt a bit like "What's cool? All right, let's mush it together into a setting!", Obsidian Apocalypse does not pretend to be a setting - it's a toolbox, a kit of a plethora of options, ready for the picking. Want to combine the sanity-mechanics from the chapter on cthulhoid threats with the shaper virus or Lucifer's incursion? There you go! You could even reappropriate the mechanics for "humanity" and go for a walking dead-style zombie apocalypse, where the survivors slowly turn into sociopaths. Obsidian Apocalypse KNOWS what it is - it's not the subtle kind of horror (though especially the shaper virus lends itself to this approach), but rather the in-your-face blare of horror, of Midnight-level despair and valiant last stands.



The crunch in the beginning was good, much nicer and more streamlined than I expected - but in the apocalypses, in the scenarios, their settlements and organizations, in the monsters and threats - this is where the book started to grow its rather evil potential. let me give you a comparison: One of my favorite 3.X books EVER is Elder Evils. I loved the book's threats to death - but the signs, the repercussions of the impending apocalypse there just...FAILED. One paltry little change and that's it? All the page-count devoted to lame maps and lamer minion-stats, when all could have been devoted to actually helping a DM make the catastrophes his/her own? Yeah, Elder Evils failed there. Obsidian Apocalypse triumphs in that regard - I guarantee you, that upon reading this book, you WILL be inspired - whether it's a spell, a feat, a monster, a hazard, a legend (though, as mentioned, give those guys more equipment!), an organization - this book will get your creative juices flowing. Whether it's the drawback-laden infection-feats, the ideas, the compelling prose that depicts the respective cataclysms - there is so much to take, combine, change and use that the book simply screams to be used.



This campaign toolkit ranks as one of my favorite toolkits for any iteration of d20 - it may not be perfect in EVERY little component, but it manages to be INSPIRING, even for jaded "seen it all"-DMs like yours truly. There aren't many of these books around. Now don't expect a full-blown setting , but rather consider this an inspiration to follow, a means of making your very own end-of-the world scenario with all its repercussions and you'll find ample, copious inspiration herein. All in all, this is, in my opinion, the BEST BOOK LPJr Design has so far made. It oozes heart's blood, passion and makes for a fantastic book to own. I was honestly skeptical when I backed the Kickstarter back in the day - and am thoroughly glad I did. I'm not kidding when I say that this is a whole new beast that rectifies just about all of the issues of its predecessor and adds vast amounts of awesomeness on top. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - and, since I didn't manage to get the review done in time in 2013, this one now is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2014. If you'll excuse me, I have an endtimes-scenario to plan...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
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GM's Miscellany: Tribes Most Foul
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/03/2014 03:55:18
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of Ranging Swan Press' superb Tribes Most Foul-series is 65 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page info about the designers, 1 page advice on reading statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 57 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We kick off this book with a table of statblocks by CR (Including the page numbers) and then, get a tribal name generator: 100 descriptors, which are then supplemented by one of 4 characteristics: These may either be a body part, geographical, weapon/armor or animal/monster. Each of these sample characteristics gets a 50-entry-table and for DMs really hard-pressed for time, a final table offers 50 ready-made sample names.



As you may know if you've followed my reviews, I've reviewed all component-pdfs in detail, so if you've got questions regarding e.g. were-troll dire echidnas and the like, I'll hereby refer you to these. If you're new to the series - essentially, we get thoroughly unique tribes containing a sample tribal roster, advice on how to use them in a campaign, lore-sections, notable personalities and sample statblocks for the respective NPCs as well as heraldic crests.



And yes, ogre-cooks, deadly kobold trapsmiths, primitive orcs led by awakened dire apes...there are a lot of cool tribes herein that just kill it - concept-wise, style-wise, all awesomeness. These are now supplemented by the new Scions of the Grinning Skull, a tribe of ghousl/ghasts/wights awaiting the prophesized return of their fallen lich-master, lairing in the abandoned cliff-village of Awan Ral for the shattered phylactery to once again give rise to their foul master. Statblock-wise, we get a ghoul-cleric and an advanced wight weapon master here.



The second new tribe would be the Black Wing Lizardfolk -- degenerate beings on teh rise, these survivors struggle in the demesne and bones of their erstwhile master, while sicking half-draconic crocodiles on intruders and slowly increasing in number... Statblock-wise, these come with a lizardfolk ranger and an advanced half-dragon crocodile.



The bleached white fur-sporting bugbears of teh Ghostbear clan may be a small tribe, but vicious indeed and in dire need of new blood as well. Coming with a sample warrior as well as a ranger2/rogue 2 bugbear, the ghostbears make for a good take on the mountainfolk-trope, including potential inner-tribal squabbles that may tear the small tribe apart.



The final new tribe would be the Kukulkan - a clan of lizardfolk broken into 3 castes, protecting the partially sunken stone pyramid their swamp hides. Hands, Feet and Heart make for interesting castes, as the scaled humanoids worship their living goddess, the fully statted medusa sorceress Illyria.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press, are top-notch. Layout adheres to RSP's printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the artworks are thematically fitting. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with nested bookmarks and even sports a second version, allowing you to choose between one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.



The conglomerate designers Creighton Broadhurst, Alex Connell, Ben Kent, David Posener and Mike Welham have crafted a collection of tribes that should bring fear to players out there - in case you don't want to dig up all my reviews: More often than not, the respective tribes herein are thoroughly unique, add superb spins on the humanoids/creatures in question and offer both great cultural flair and ideas. The Tribes Most Foul-series quite literally has not a single bad entry in its run and this collection of pdfs, with its bonus content, makes sure that there is no valid reason left not to get these if you haven't by now. With literally each tribe offering a conservative easy-to-fit or just a plain awesome angle, just about any DM looking for some unique panache for his/her humanoids will get their buck's worth out of this. Had I any complaints here, then that would be that I would have enjoyed the full 3-tribe roster for those tribes included as a bonus and that I would have loved seeing unit-statblocks for the tribes. This is me complaining at a very high level, though. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval...unless you also have all component pdfs. If you do, this offers slightly less bang for buck and should be considered a nice, if not required compilation at -1 star, primarily due to not all of the new tribes completely blowing me away.


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Tribes Most Foul
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Path of War: The Warlord
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/30/2014 03:21:05
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Path of War-series is 52 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 49 pages of content, so let's take a look...



...wait. Since my review of The Stalker was met with downright hostility by some people (but not the designers, I should add!), let me make some things clear: I have excessive experience with To9S. And while I loved the basic concepts, its flaws became abundantly clear in game. One caveat DM's ought to have in mind when using PoW is that the classes herein are INTENDED as a power boost. Multiple d6-bonus damage, attack negation etc. is beyond the capabilities of regular martial characters and since their abilities can universally be refreshed infinite times, these tricks can be pulled off more often than the spells of a caster, thus making a DM's war of attrition as a tool much less effective. So no, we're not looking at regular PFRPG-balancing here. In short: DMs should be aware that PoW increases the power-level of the party.

Path of War has established, as a spiritual successor, a superior take on the concept of To9S, one that works much more streamlined.



Why do I consider it superior? Take the refreshing of maneuvers: By allowing for actions, i.e. concisely defined time-frames, as a means to refresh maneuvers, the classes are more in line with the in-world logic. I consider per-encounter refreshing of abilities, pardon my language, stupid, since it makes no sense in-game - an encounter can span any duration from 1 round to, hypothetically, hours and is a metagame concept that makes in-game no sense.

...

Or rather: MADE. Path of War is SMART - we actually now GET a concise in-game definition of per-encounter abilities, one THAT MAKES SENSE in-game!!! Yes, you can now put away your axes.

This takes care of an unpleasant relic from the 3.X days and streamlines the whole system. Excellent. I already explained the basic system, just in case you're not familiar with it - essentially, Path of War wants to bring martial characters more in line with the casters, allowing them to use martial maneuvers, essentially supernatural martial abilities that they can use to destroy their opposition. These maneuvers have different sub-categories: Boosts tend to buff/debuff as instant effects, stances are maintained and offer bonuses as long as they're active and strikes are special attacks. Finally, there are counters, which you can usually use as a reaction to attacks etc. - many of these utilize immediate or swift actions, which means as a player, you ought to be rather familiar with these types of actions to properly plan your action economy.



Another caveat before I FINALLY start the review - the goal of Path of War is a power-upgrade for martial characters. As such, I will not reference other martial classes in direct comparison - PoW-classes, by design, are supposed to be superior, something DMs ought to bear in mind. That means, my balancing complaints, should any come up, do not refer to the power-level assumed by CORE-martial characters, but rather to potential issues within the frame of PoW. I, of course, will otherwise be the obnoxious complainer about any issues that I see. Got that? Awesome!



So let's take a look at the Warlord! The warlord gets d10, 4+Int skills per level, good fort-saves, full BAB-progression, proficiency with light and medium armor, bucklers and simple/martial weapons. They start with 1 stance, 6 maneuvers known, 4 maximum maneuvers readied and expand these to 18 maneuvers known, 11 readied and 6 stances at 20th level. Now I've already touched upon regaining maneuvers and the warlord may regain an expended maneuvers as a standard action... or the warlord may use a so-called warlord's gambit.



Each gambit can be initiated as a swift action and consists of 3 components, a risk, a rake and a reward. The gambit describes a risk, an action the warlord must undertake. If the action is successful, the reward of the gambit kicks in, thus rewarding combat behavior that is not the "I attack routine" - cool. When succeeding the gambit, the warlord regains cha-mod, min 2 maneuvers. If he fails, he only regains one maneuver. If a maneuver helps a warlord accomplish a given task, it should be noted that it can used to succeed in the gambit by initiating it. However, a gambit cannot be used to refresh a maneuver that is expended as part of the gambit, thus preventing the looping of maneuvers. Warlords start the game with 2 gambits chosen from a list of 15 and gain another one at 4th level and every 4 levels after that. Now if a warlord fails at a gambit, s/he incurs a penalty of -2 to d20 rolls for one round - which seems harsh, however, one should bear in mind that ANY d20-roll required to succeed at a gambit (be it skill, CMB/attack/whatever) gets the warlord's cha-bonus as a luck bonus, which can be quite a significant bonus - for many 1st level warlords this will probably mean at least +3, more realistically +4 or even +5 - which is more than an improved xyz-feat would grant.

Generally, I think this somewhat undermines the point behind gambits - refreshing maneuvers, especially at low levels, should not entail such significant bonuses: To compare: A paladin's smite evil would apply in a similar manner to the attack and is limited in daily use. And yes, I am aware that the smite's bonus damage is the primary benefit of the ability, but still. Gambits do have some limits, though -they can only be used once per encounter. Some gambits also provide benefits to allies within 60 feet - for example, when using dastardly gambit, a warlord tries to use dirty trick. If s/he succeeds, s/he and all allies get the warlord's cha-mod to a single attack against the target in the next round. Other gambits allow you to follow up on successful combat maneuvers initiated via gambits to follow up with an AoO against the target, usually with +cha-mod bonus damage.

Granted, the gambits do not offer AoO-free combat maneuvers, but also, their risk is often rather minor - Pinhole Gambit requires the warlord to make a ranged attack into melee, with one feat rather easy and with a decent cha-mod, it even makes precise shot not necessarily required. Additionally, the foe takes a penalty equal to the warlord's cha-mod to AC for a round if the gambit succeeds.



I LOVE gambits - their concept is downright friggin' AWESOME. How do you get players to play more risky, more diverse? Offer them actual incentive to do. Tying the whole process to maneuver replenishing is a win-win - make more interesting combat decisions and be rewarded for it by getting to do more of your favorite tricks. This mechanic rewards planning and smart playing and that is always good in book. However (I can hear the "boos" as I'm typing this), I do think the system needs some fine-tuning. Why? Because there currently is simply no reason NOT to gambit. At low levels, cha-mod as a bonus is a huge thing in itself, even before the additional benefits come into play. Let's take the pinhole gambit as an example, shall we? So, a warlord starts the gambit to shoot into melee. If the warlord doesn't have precise shot, the cha-mod of Cha 18 would completely offset the penalty for shooting into melee, if he does have the feat, we're looking at a +4 bonus to atk. If the attack hits, the target incurs a -4 penalty to AC. Furthermore, our warlord would regain 4 expended maneuvers upon hitting. This is the success criteria. The failure criteria would be to incur a -2 penalty to all d20-rolls for 1 round. Yes, this trick can only be pulled off once per encounter (thus no complaint in that regard), but it is, especially at first level, a VERY powerful trick. Still, not enough to make me yell OP...at least in the context of PoW.



What does irk me about it, would be that the system seems to somewhat deconstruct its intent - as far as I've understood, the intention of gambits would be to reward risks in certain contexts, but the penalty on failure feels like it is not in a significant relation to the rewards. Due to not scaling both benefits and drawbacks, the former start off as strong, whereas the latter become more and more insignificant over the levels. This becomes especially apparent when taking a look at acrobatic gambit, which rewards an acrobatics check through a threatened square by dealing +1d6+cha-mod damage upon a successful attack. At first level, that can be rather impressive, double damage even. At let's say, level 10, I can't imagine anyone being impressed by this -especially since CMD for acrobatics-DCs scales differently (i.e. more rapidly) than AC (as per pinhole gambit) does. Now apart from this rather different scaling (and thus, diverging utility of the gambits), I do think that right now, there is simply no reason not to use a gambit if you can...ever. After all, you only get -2 to all d20-rolls (which is unpleasant at low levels, but there are worse debuffs out there) and still regain one of your signature tricks. And this relative minor consequence for failure detracts from the potential of the whole concept - if the penalties (and benefits!) did scale and were at least a bit more severe at higher levels, their significant benefits would make enacting a gambit no less rewarding, but actually more exciting for the player - can s/he pull off the gambit and regain her arsenal or be kicked in the shins, only regaining a portion of his/her arsenal? That would be the situation where the whole group holds the breath and stares at the dice as they roll...



Another issue would be that two gambits fail the kitten-test: Brave gambit requires you to charge a foe, then nets all allies your cha-mod as bonus to their first attack. You could throw a kitten in the field, initiate a gambit against said kitten dies horribly, which emboldens your allies. Weird that here, among all gambits, the tie of the bonus to the target of the gambit has been forgotten. Second failed kitten-test: Deadeye Gambit. Initiate a called shot against a kitten. He and all allies within 60 feet gain cha-mod hit points. While this infinite AoE-healing via shooting kittens, takes long due to the definition of per-encounter in concise terms, it's probably still an oversight not intended and makes potions of healing and similar low-level healing items completely obsolete.

Another nitpick I have here would be with the bonuses granted to allies as part of successful gambits - as per the writing of this, they are universally untyped and thus stack with other sources. They probably should be labeled as luck-bonuses (like the one the warlord gets when executing a gambit) or as morale bonuses (which would make more sense to me) - in either case, they would prevent stacking with defense buffs and thus make the whole gambit-system more streamlined. To cut a long ramble short: Glorious class feature that could use some streamlining both in its system and in balance between the ranged and maneuver/melee gambits.



Beyond gambits, warlords may, at 2nd level a warlord may maintain a so-called presence as a move action (free action starting at 7th level) - there is no choice here, the progression of presences is linear. Not that you wouldn't take the second level presence: All allies within 30 feet get the Diehard-feat and + warlord's cha-mod to saves against death effects, fatigue/exhaustion and poison effects as a morale bonus. Yeah. That means, for a significant amount of effects, the allies get the equivalent (again, presuming a cha 18 warlord) the equivalent of Inspire Heroics, a level 15 bardic performance. More if the cha is higher. Okay, I can see the tighter focus on which saves this is applied to as a mitigating factor. Paladin's get their SU aura at 3rd level, after all...the aura that nets allies +4 to saves against fear. Within 10 feet. Okay, I won't compare those two, though presence is Ex and thus not subject to antimagic fields. What does irk me, beyond that would be the warlord's presence neither requiring line of sight, nor actions to maintain. nor audible or visual components - there is simply no way to negate it. RAW, the presence doesn't even stop if the warlord drops unconscious or is paralyzed. The ability also fails to specify whether allies already unconscious get to choose whether to benefit from diehard upon the warlord using the presence or upon falling to/below 0 hp. What if an ally is unconscious and the presence is initiated? Does the unconscious character get to choose whether to remain lying or start acting as per the feat or are only conscious allies eligible to receive the bonus?



At 5th level, a warlord may use rallying presence to add his cha-mod as a bonus to will-saves of allies versus fear, death or compulsion effects within 30 ft. The overlap with death effects here is a bit strange, as is the fact that this presence, though received later, can actually be interrupted. At 11th level, 2 of the presences can be maintained at the same time and at 15th level, all 3 may be maintained at the same time - bear in mind that these are morale bonuses, though and thus the overlaps between the first two don't stack.

The final presence works - starting at 9th level, the warlord and all nearby allies within 30 feet get character level + cha-mod temporary hp upon the warlord being reduced to 0 hp. at this point, the action to enter the presence is a free action. HOWEVER, as Caedwyr pointed out (yes, I did not catch that one), the reflexive nature of the presence doesn't work - free action can only be taken upon one's turn. While the ability uses the word "immediately" in the wording, it does NOT state that receiving the benefits of this presence requires any actions. As written, the presence can be adopted as a free action, but does nothing until its conditions are met. I'm not entirely sure whether the intention was to make this presence available reflexively or not - in dubio pro reo, though, so I'll assume the ability works as intended.



At 3rd level, the Warlord gets the Warleader ability, which translates to receiving a teamwork feat that the warlord, as a standard action (later as a move action and even as a swift action), can share with allies. Alternatively, the warlord can thus benefit from an ally's teamwork feat - for a total of 3+cha-mod rounds. The ability can be used 1+cha-mod times per day. The warlord also learns to add cha-mod to will-saves at 3rd level and later, when flanking foes, instead of the net +2, warlord and ally flanking a foe get +cha-mod instead of +2 to atk. The warlord also gets a bonus to atk and damage when using a weapon associated with a fighting style when in a stance of said style.



At 6th level, warlords learn to execute 2 boosts as a swift action 1/day, +1/day every 6 levels after that, use aid another for allies at range with cha-mod instead of the standard bonus. As a capstone, a warlord may enter two stances simultaneously.



After that, we are introduced to the Knowledge (martial) skill to identify maneuvers etc. - nice one, though I hope the final book will offer information on which non-PoW-classes ought to get this as a class skill. Next up would be new feats, 17, to be precise. 6 of these allow non-PoW-classes to wilder in PoW-maneuvers. Of course, expected feats can be found - for example one to learn more maneuvers/stances, one that nets you another gambit, an extra maneuver or a focus on a discipline and its weapons that increases saving DCs and weapon damage. Increased damage for unarmed attacks (significant for non-monks), entering both a style and a martial stance via the same swift action - all possible. Deadly Agility, which allows you to add dex-mod to damage instead of str-mod when using a finesse weapon also deserves mention, as does a feat that allows you to finesse double weapons. Another feat allows you to 1/day regain a maneuver as a free action. There also is essentially an improved version of quick draw and a feat called martial power. This one allows you to incur a -1 penalty to melee atk and CMB-checks to gain 2 temporary hit points. This increases by -1 and +2 temporary hit points when your BAB reaches +3 and every +2 thereafter. The temporary hit points increase by 50% if you wield a shield. You may only use this feat as part of a melee attack or when initiating a maneuver. Temp hit points only last one turn, but the feat doubles as an alternative combat expertise. All in all, solid, since its limit means it does not fail the kitten test.



Now let's get a broad overview of the maneuvers, shall we? If you have the Stalker-pdf, you'll notice that both the thrashing dragon and solar wind disciplines also are available for the warlord. They also get access to the Golden Lion, Scarlet Throne and Primal Fury disciplines. It should be noted that among these, only the scarlet throne has an equipment restriction - the maneuvers require the initiator to have a shield, buckler or ring of force shield in order to initiate the maneuvers. The Golden lion discipline can be hearkened to the White Raven of the To9S, focusing on buffing allies and charging into battle, allowing the initiator to provide additional flexibility to the respective ally. Additional 5 ft. steps and even move actions for allies resulting from your attacks are distinct possibilities for adherents of the golden lion, as is the initiative moving of allies that at my table, once was rather well-liked. Primal Fury on the other hand, surprisingly often is about destroying the weaponry of foes, coming off as a combination of martial arts and a fighting style reminiscent of savage battle skills, whereas scarlet throne is defensive, but also allows for quite some celerity while moving around the field of battle.



So...I actually have good news to report - no insta-death effects. And only a couple of the new maneuvers herein follow the "make an opposed skill-check versus attack roll"-formula. As I've mentioned before in various contexts, I consider skill-roll versus atk/AC not optimal. Skills had been easy to buff in 3.X, and they're more easily buffed in Pathfinder. Don't believe me? Look for items that net you a significant skill-bonus, note the cost and then find an item that nest the same bonus to atk or AC. Note the price of that item. Compare. Same goes for spells. Yeah, note a slight discrepancy there? Also: Note how many bonuses to said skills granted by magic items are untyped and how many different slots grant those bonuses...much more stacking potential than atk/CMB.



I can see the outrage flare up again "You hate on the key concept of To9S 1111eleven!!!" No, I don't. The basic concept is maneuvers and using them/managing them, not rolling a skill versus something that adheres to completely different scaling-mechanisms, also regarding treasure/WBL/buff-spells. "But this is required to maintain the feel of Path of War!" No, it's not - take a look at Golden Lion. A grand total of ONE counter uses diplomacy versus attack roll. ONE counter. Other than that, the discipline is completely free of the d20 versus d20-roll/skill-check using relics. Two of the primal fury maneuvers use survival. Unfortunately, scarlet throne relatively heavily relies on sense motive versus x. I'm not getting into the perception/solar wind stuff or thrashing dragon/acrobatics. I particularly object to "roll skill x to negate attack z"-maneuvers. They are essentially better evasions against more common attacks, exceedingly easily buffed through the roof with inexpensive items.

Some of the maneuvers herein could also use some minor clarification, unfortunately also sometimes tied to said skill versus X-mechanics. Take thrashing dragon's devastation roll: Here's the text:



"The martial disciple’s movements are so quick and precise, his deadly strikes are hard to evade. With a sudden twist and Acrobatics through the opponent’s defenses, the disciple strikes hard into the exposed and undefended foe. The initiator must move at least 10 ft. alongside his opponent and make a Acrobatics check equal to the target’s AC. If successful, the target is considered flat-footed until his next action due to being put off-balance from the strike, and the attack inflicts an additional 6d6 points of damage."



So...what does "alongside" mean? I *assume* it means the target moves through two squares adjacent to the target, which would mean that an acrobatics-check against the opponent's CMD per threatened square, CMD +10 when moving full speed for half speed movement. But is this acrobatics-check in addition to the one the maneuver calls for? If so, why? Why is AC the opposing value, not CMD as per the standard of moving through threatened squares? Does the maneuver's use of acrobatics incur AoOs or doesn't it? Also: Why not simply use the CMD/CMD+5-formula standard in acrobatics?



Another example for a maneuver that could use a bit (literally - just one word...) of rephrasing would be Primal Fury's Panthera on the Hunt - per se a cool strike - full round action, charge at +2 (for a total of +4) and it ignores "attacks of opportunity from moving through a threatened square." I assume this means ONE threatened square, not ALL in the charge. If so, then please specify this and also, please denote whether the initiator can freely choose which square doesn't provoke the AoO.



It should be noted, though, that the VAST MAJORITY of the maneuvers actually work sans such clunky mechanics and do a MUCH BETTER job at utilizing Pathfinder-streamlined rules...at least the new ones.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good - while I noticed a typo and relic here and there, the vast majority of the pdf is concisely-written and well-edited. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard, with original pieces of art and stock being mixed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and with a second, printer-friendly version.



So...Path of War: The Warlord. I'll be honest. After the stalker, I did not look forward to reviewing this one. I was consigned to being "that guy who hates on PoW", in spite of actually believing in the concept and trying to help make it better. After reading this pdf, I was pleasantly surprised - I said it in my review of the stalker - Chris Bennett is a talented designer...and here it shows, even more so than with the stalker. There are reasons for this claim:



Number 1: Per encounter is concisely defined, maintaining in-game logic. Great! Number 2: "Skill vs. X"-rolls obviously aren't required for PoW - in fact, I am of the certain conviction that the system can perfectly work without them. The decrease in their prominence is a promising factor in favor of the system and its streamlining within established PFRPG-rules.



Beyond that, the warlord as a class is just...rewarding as all hell. The capable, cool commander is a neat trope and the warlord is great at fulfilling it...though it does have its rough edges. Even within the increased power-level presumed by PoW, the presence-abilities need to be knocked down a notch. As written, they are extremely powerful when compared to similar effects, both among spells and class features by casters and martials alike, not starting with them requiring no actions to maintain or somatic/visual components.



The gambit system is a stroke of brilliance, but as written above, I think that the risk/reward-ratio is off, somewhat negating what the system tries to do - instead of being a tension-inducing choice for the players to actively make, right now it feels more or less like a non-maneuver maneuver, a cooldown that's actually a defensive maneuver in disguise, if you will. Add to that the fact that the gambits vary more than a bit in strength and we have a couple of strikes against the pdf, even when assuming PoW's increased power level. Some sort of scaling instead of fixed bonuses would make these components much more useful (and balanced over the levels).



But not enough to put this pdf in the box. Overall, we have a massive improvement over the last PoW I looked at and generally, a superior book that shows A LOT of promise. I sincerely hope that some of the rough edges will be filed off prior to finishing the compilation, for this pdf actually renewed my hope in the PoW-series, making me actually want to take a look at the warder very soon.



How to rate this, then? As mentioned, I see a couple of rough edges, but the discrepancy between could be/and is-state is much less pronounced. If you don't mind the skill-check issues, minor wording hick-ups and mentioned power-level of the warlord, then I encourage you to check this out - while not perfect, I do think that fund can be had here. Since the design is much more in line with PFRPG-standards, since this time the class doesn't fail as hard the kitten test: it still fails it, twice, but is less easy to abuse than usual due to the concise definition of per-encounter.



Still, while I do see quite some potential for improvement and streamlining, I still consider this installment of PoW a big step in the right direction. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 - while I'd love to rate this 4 stars or even higher, the failed kitten-tests, minor ambiguities and rough edges do crop up, even when assuming the increased power-level of PoW. If you didn't mind the examples given in this review, then check it out - I'm fully aware that not everyone is as critical regarding these things as I am and chances are, you'll enjoy this.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Path of War: The Warlord
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Eclipse: The Codex Persona Shareware
Publisher: Distant Horizons Games company
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/30/2014 03:12:34
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Okay, today I'll do something different - and take a look at a free d20-supplement. This review has been requested last years and it took forever. Why? Because we're talking Eclipse, 202 pages, 1 page front cover, 3 pages editorial, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 197 pages, so what do we get?



First of all - if you like this pdf, you can buy the print edition or pay for it here - in the fine shareware tradition, I encourage those of you who find this book interesting to do so.



So, what is this about? This book is essentially the world's biggest character class-generator for d20-based systems. Don't believe me that this system is massive? Well...you could conceivably play children, infant characters even with it. The system introduces CPs - character points, which are used to buy EVERYTHING - skills, feats, Hit Dice - everything can be customized via these points, of which a character receives 24 per level. How does HD work? Essentially, a character gets d4+con-mod for free - bigger HD cost progressively more CP, allowing, provided the DM allows it, up to d20 HD.



This is a running theme - the system herein offers maximum flexibility, but never tires of emphasizing that a DM should retain the final say.



Skills not on the class-skill-list start as essentially the equivalent of cross-class, becoming class skills at 6 invested CP- with 1 CP equal to 1 rank. Now relevant for PFRPG would be that class skills/cross-class skills are handled more in line with PFRPG than its 3.X predecessor here, but with a catch - the character can also buy very specialized knowledge, i.e. knowing about a specific tome, a ritual etc. - these cost CP as well and provide in-depth information on those topics. Generally, that makes for a very interesting way of handling very specialized information. Saving throws cost 3 CP per point and most specialized abilities clock in at 6 points, but could theoretically also cost more, depending on the ability in question.



BAB is increased similarly - via the slightly unfortunately named Warcraft - which is an ability that costs 6 points and nets +1 BAB. Base Caster Level works similarly and have a limit of level+3, surprisingly. This also extends to the BAB, allowing you to potentially go above the level in question. Spellcasting per level is purchased in a similar manner, with fixed costs. And yes, these include the 3.X psionic classes.



Now beyond tables upon tables, there are roleplaying modifications to CP earned - depending on the campaign you run, you could prescribe X bonus CP to be used in a specific way. On a character's side, players may enter obligations, restrictions and the like to increase or decrease the CP gained each level. Disadvantages, much like flaws, are presented here as well. Action points are part of the deal as well, mind you, and represent just another buy-in option of specialized abilities available for CP.

Want to have a dominion, an equippage? Doable. Want to get completely rid of any class-distinctions? There you go. Point-buy casting via mana (which could be used to generate power points or spell-levels?) - in here. Return from death, villain-style? Possible. Shapeshifting? Sacrificing treasure in favor of mystic powers? Oversized combat maneuvers and weapons? Yep. Deal ability damage with attacks? Yup. Block attacks via fixed ref-DCs? Yep. This would also be one example (of many), where a particular rules-solution is inelegant and wouldn't see use at my table - ever - non-scaling, competing throws? Not my cup of coffee and similarly, not particularly balanced design.



Metamagic, lacing of spells - the same exceedingly modular approach applies. The same goes for handling ECL+X races and race-generation - including size modifications down to cellular levels. Some existing templates are also broken down by CP-cost and channeling energy, monster abilities etc. are covered in their own chapter, allowing for quite an array of alternative options for channeling.



Now, I've noted the option to have a dominion - this one nets Dominion Points, which allow further options for customization and achieve with the political might. Card-themed casting, godfire, occult abilities, martial styles, ritual magic, witchcraft - all there. Have I mentioned spells from the levels 10 -23? Yes, in case these meteor showers just don't cut it anymore.



World generation and motivations for characters would also be found herein - the system supports anything from anime-style campaigns to gritty ones and even pokémon-style gameplay. Sample character class (and PrC)-break-downs, handling different power-levels - and even checklists to make sure your now class-less character has proper motivations etc. - all of this is covered and infinitely more.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice significant glitches. Layout adheres to an easy to read 2-column b/w-standard with fitting stock art. The pdf comes extensively bookmarked with nested bookmarks.



Paul Melroy and Patrick Bryant have created an interesting book for 3.X - one that can be made compatible with PFRPG, by the way, if you're willing to do some work.

EDIT: I've been made aware that the system has been made Pathfinder compatible - you can find the respective information here:



http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/eclipse-pathfin-
der-basics-and-races/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-barbarian/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-bard/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-cleric/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-monk/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-fighter/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-druid/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-paladin/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-ranger/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-rogue/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-expanded-alchemist/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/eclipse-pathfin-
der-the-sorcerer/
http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/eclipse-d20-the-
-soul-knife/ (notes on the Dreamscarred Press-Pathfinder version at the end)

Thanks to the comments that pointed this out!

Over all, Eclipse provides a superbly modular framework, essentially breaking down d20-based gaming to its base constituents in the endeavor to allow maximum flexibility. And generally, the authors have done an exceedingly fine job with it. The major problems I found were system-inherent - maximum flexibility allows for maximum options and hence also maximum fluctuation between PC power levels. While generally, the system tries hard to maintain a sense of balance, overall, eclipse is less about standard number-crunching and more about narrative-driven playing environments. "But why not go diceless or old-school in that case?" Well, perhaps you like the framework, perhaps you want some choices...or perhaps you just want general ideas on what *could* make for compelling, non-standardized options.



Now what makes Eclipse different, concise within the d20-framework? It is a system that breaks just about EVERYTHING down to CP - everything. Attacks, sneak attack, psionics, mana, runes, being a lord - everything. This is the system of ultimate possibilities and this vast array of options, some of which you probably won't even think you desired, makes this book such a mile-stone.



For a mile-stone it is. This book, true to its name, eclipses by far other race/class generators I've seen and over all, remains MUCH MORE balanced than e.g. the race generation in Paizo's ARG or just about all similar generators I've read so far. I still wouldn't unanimously recommend it as a base for a campaign if your players enjoy the power-gaming/number-crunching game, unless you're willing to do quite a lot of checking, also because some of the individual rules simply aren't balanced (or not scaling) or rather clunky. While in no way true for the majority of content herein, I managed to break a couple of sample concepts - which is acknowledged and in line with the more narrative-driven focus of this book. So what is the grand achievement in this book? This is essentially the talented concept, taken a significant step further. Now while it's theoretically compatible with Pathfinder, I'd contest that claim somewhat by pointing out the changed ability-suites, power-levels, skill-emphasis etc. - it *IS* compatible, yes, but it also imho requires A LOT of work and quite a few design-decisions not all DMs will be capable of making to fully break down PFRPG in CP. While the conversion on the blog are extensive, they necessarily can't cover the entirety of material out there, so be aware of the necessity to do some conversion.



This is modular...in the highest sense. And it also is one of those books that get the juices flowing. Even if you don't use this book, there are so many ideas for classes, archetypes, feats, magic systems etc. in here that any designer who hit a writer's block regarding such concepts can flip open this book and get inspired - not necessarily by the individual mechanics, but by their proximity, their concepts, their general idea and general CP-cost - the same holding true for balancing more esoteric means and CP as a means of specialized knowledge is a stroke of genius idea that could easily be integrated into a given game, even without the rest of the rules - this is crunch/idea-cherry-picking at its finest - and it's free to check out. If you like what you're reading, support these guys.



All in all, this may not be perfect, but the book is an inspiring read nonetheless and should be checked out by anyone intrigued, even slightly, in the idea of a truly modular character-generator that gets rid of all the class-borders. As such, I will rate the inspiration, what can be drawn from this, at 5 stars. You should be aware, though, that the experience provided here is radically different from standard d20 and requires a crunch-savvy DM as well as a lot of dialogue between DM and player and should not be considered a toolkit for anyone. Personally, some of the rules-components rub me the wrong way, I'm a bit too balance-obsessed and too time-starved to break down NPCs etc. in CP, but at the same time loved the inspirations this book provided.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse: The Codex Persona Shareware
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Razor Coast Heart of the Razor - Pathfinder Edition
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/29/2014 03:41:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion anthology of 4 adventures to enhance Razor Coast clocks in at 162 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages char-sheet, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 152 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



All right, still here?



First of the adventures would be Richard Pett's "Angry Waters" for 10th level characters - which could be summed up in the words "Quest for Eldorado," at least on a superficial level. The PCs are recruited by one dazzling lady-captain, captain Mercy and her crew - they require the PC's assistance, since they've found the legendary veiled isle - unfortunately, it's within the territory of Armada. What's Armada, you ask? Well, if you've read China Miéville's "The Scar", you'll have an idea - Uriah Tame, the vile lord of the place, lords over a lawless city made of vessels tethered together. Unfortunately, Tame and Mercy aren't exactly on speaking terms. Thus, accompanying the crew on their voyage, the PCs are off to said place. Here, a rather cool mechanic takes root -the PC's actions accrue Victory Points, which serves as a means for the DM to determine the loyalty of Mercy and her crew towards the PCs...and whether they'll be betrayed. Neat! It should also be noted that the module offers quite an array of troubleshooting advice, should the PCs betray Mercy at given stages in the module, making it rather easy to run. But back to Armada - in order to secure passage, the PCs will have to brave the decadent, chaotic revels on Armada in a cool mini-game of skill and, potentially, combat.



Securing passage, the PCs then finally reach the isle in question...which first brings me to an issue. Armada...ought to be more detailed, Seriously, I love the concept (air elementals as spies, btw.!) and its presence in the module, but at the same time, I feel that Armada would change the power dynamics in Razor Coast as a setting, whereas it here is mostly an afterthought to the plot of this one module. So DMs using this in razor Coast probably ought to give some thought to the change of dynamics Armada's existence poses to the power dynamics of the coast. That complaint out of the way, the island is interesting - displayed as a mini-hex-crawl (YEAH!), not only has another crew of pirates been stranded there (and make neat adversaries/allies, depending on your PC's actions!), the island is also home to degenerate orcs sired by the local girallon populace, which makes for formidable guerilla foes. Worse, said intelligent primates are led by a deadly girallon vampire, offering the true Pett-horror in terrible traps and truly spooky environments. What about e.g. a corpse of a fallen pirate, stuck on a tree and stuffed with rotten fruit, thus attracting swarms of hornets? Yeah, shudder-worthy...in a good way.



Sooner or later, the PCs will finally reach the city of gold - beyond the gold, deadly guardians remain, as do sadistic traps (which I will not spoil) as well as some old-schoolish puzzle-like hazards. Exploration of the city will sooner or later put the PCs in a position, where they may wake an ancient evil and defeat it...also dooming the island, which proceeds to sink, while all hell breaks loose. As they are trying to escape with as much gold as possible, the PCs will reap what they have sown throughout the module and potentially have final chances to out-gambit their opposition. A rather uncommon module that shows well that Richard Pett's talent is not limited to dark adventures - he can obviously craft old-school explorations just as well!



The second module, would be Gary McBride's "Black Spot" - in which the PCs are once again hired for a mission, this time by one captain Riggs, who wants them to help him salvage the grounded wreck of the Flying Fortune, which is stranded on a tooth-like mountain in the middle of the sea. Once again, the journey provides ample opportunities for bonding with the crew. As soon as the PCs reach the iconic locale, though, a completely different tone begins - exploring the Flying Fortune proves to be one of the finest examples of mood-setting I've seen in any mystery/horror module - the slowly creeping suspicions rising, inquisitive PCs may soon deduce that something's not right with captain Riggs. Indeed, he was the captain of the Flying Fortune and as clues accumulate, the PCs may actually find out that he's possessed by a weird, parasitic black leech. Taking the captain prisoner, killing or saving him or falling prey to his wiles, the PCs find themselves in a nightmare most uncommon: Riggs ran afoul of the wiles of the Engineer - the vanguard of a planned neh-thalggu invasion, whose ship is hidden in the depths, just missing a few brains to launch true otherworldly death on the Razor Coast. In order to stop the aberration's plan, the PCs will have to brave the vastly iconic and superb ship and its dread inhabitants:



From strange undead-like creatures to jade butterflies used for scrying (which are also rather deadly!) up to a heart-pounding race to escape the self-destruct of the ship upon the defeat of the dread engineer, this mystery/horror-module makes for a superb offering - even in Gary McBride's great oeuvre, this one stands out as one superb example of adventure-crafting, including the extensive notes on possible aftermaths. Glorious indeed and both as stand-alone and as part of Razor Coast, a great module!



The third module, intended for 11th-12th level, would be Owen K.C. Stephens' "Jungle Fever" - yes, grandmaster crunch actually took up the pen for an adventure - but how does it fare and what's it about? It starts with a simple, yet uncommon hook - the PCs are hired by the mistress of a brothel, which has suffered from a curse/returning disease that is, of course, bad for business. But, and that is no hyperbole - your players won't see where this module is going with that angle. Soooo...players, seriously, skip ahead... All right. What happens if isolated Tulita become desperate? They, in this case, turned to a dragon turtle as a false deity, cannibalism and worse....and no one would care. Problem is, their island harbors a special plant which amplifies the power of the dragonsmoke-drug. A Tulita survivor seeking help stumbled across a truly vile captain with this drug and she promptly set out to erect her own, no less vile and despicable colonial nightmare on the island, enslaving everyone, poisoning the dragon turtle and killing the spiritual leader of the tribe in a most gruesome manner. Now her super-drug didn't catch universally due to limited supplies and the wanton cruelty of her men - and now, only one of her former crew remains, for the wench has reaped what she's sown - the dread cannibalistic shaman turned the tables upon his vanquishers upon returning from the dead, making terrible disease-creature-incubators of the living and turning the island into full-blown nightmare territory. In order to stop the disease and its undead carriers, the PCs have to find the island, navigate its treacherous reefs and end the various despicable existences on the island as well as the false turtle-totem and its degenerate offspring -preferably including all the dread dragonsmoke enhancing flowers and before Pele smashes the island for the atrocities there. Seriously...wow. If I hadn't known better, I would have assumed one of the masters of dark horror here - Owen K.C. Stephens delivers in spades here, with a module that encapsulates all the terrors of colonialism without falling into the "tulita are good"-glorification some parts of Razor Coast fall prey to. This module is dark, iconic, action-packed and full of great, unique creatures. If you've asked yourself why Paizo got Owen for their module-series - here's a superb reason. I've always said that I'd enjoy it if Owen wrote more fluff - this one is an excellent example for that stance. Impressive indeed!



The final module, by Tom Knauss, would then be "Sinful Whisper" for 5th level characters - but can it stand up to its predecessors? The PCs are hired for a task they're bound to hate rather soonish - escort a noble scion, a pampered (but capable!), arrogant elven woman to a taboo island where her former vessel was attacked, her fellow noble scions taken by bestial men. The thing is - the island isn't taboo for nothing - chocked in hallucination-inducing, paranoia-enhancing spores, populated by degenerate subhuman creatures, the trip to the island not only will lead them all into dire danger, but also on a journey into the heart of the surprisingly dynamic elven maid - who may be turned towards good or evil, all by the PC's actions - if they manage to survive the truly dastardly creatures and not lose their sanity to the plants of the place, the vile practices there or the ancient evil slumbering beneath the island's soil, waiting patiently for its time to return to truly vile glory... This module is psychological horror paired with some truly disturbing imagery and on par with the best and most disturbing ones I've read for PFRPG - a good indicator that Tom Knauss should try his hand at these types of modules more often!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice an undue amount of glitches. Layout adheres to Razor Coast's two-column full color standard and the pdf comes with quite a few iconic, awesome original pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf comes with one bookmark per adventure, which makes navigating rather hard and in the pdf, at least the cover is a bit blurry - something absent from my hardcover copy. The maps in full color are great, though I wished they had player-friendly versions included in the map folio.



4 modules by masters of their craft - and I don't use that lightly - and all 4 are killer. Seriously, all 4 of the modules in this book greatly enhance not only a Razor Coast campaign, but can easily stand alone. In fact, at least "Angry Waters" probably works slightly better as a stand-alone, with Armada otherwise changing the political landscape of the coast a bit too much for my tastes. The other 3 are plug-and play in the truest form, with the last one offering actually a way into Port Shaw's elite sans rubbing shoulders with the despicable masters of the place and thus making for an all but required addition for particularly virtuous groups. Now let me say this again, loud and clear - each module herein is killer. Each one, 5 star + seal of approval material. However, the scarce bookmarks and lack of player-friendly maps make for somewhat significant detriments. Usually, I'd rate this down a whole star for these issues...but the modules don't deserve that. They're too good, even providing, in multiple instances, vistas that help make the Tulita less annoying one-dimensional good guys. As such, I think they should be considered required for Razor Coast. If I may offer a piece of advice for DMs: Don't fall back quite as often on the "island-sinks"-gimmick as implied here; a given campaign should probably one employ this plot-device once and I'd suggest "Angry Waters" as the best candidate. Owen K.C. Stephens' module doesn't require the sinking and actually poses an interesting conundrum if the island remains...

But I'm rambling. Long story short - too good to be rated down, in spite of some comfort-detriments - 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Razor Coast Heart of the Razor - Pathfinder Edition
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Dungeon Dressing: Ceilings
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/29/2014 03:38:06
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As often with the Dungeon Dressing-series, we kick off with a DM's primer on construction - this time offering no less than 5 different quality modifications to apply to ceilings as well as 6 base materials. Beyond that, rafters, beams and handholds as well as climb DC and a short primer on ceiling style vocabulary kick off this installment with a bang of customization options even before 42 entries of a d%-table introduce us to a wide array of different appearances of ceilings - from ceilings created to look like scrolled parchments to strange apertures emitting miniature waterfalls, the entries contain from regular to the wildly wonderful quite an array of excellent and evocative appearances.



Next up would be a massive 100-entry table (though no. 100 is the roll-twice-entry) that contains walls studded with faerie fire, knowledge (dungeoneering) DCs to realize the presence of suspended ceilings, embedded ammunition, chains and rings and even dead people with doom-laden messages. Over all, a versatile, cool table.



The final page contains 3 new traps, including different CR-variants with additional effects. The base ones clock in at CR 2, 8 and 8, with the variants covering 4, 5, 6 and 12. The traps per se once again partially span multiple rounds and come with crushing blocks, cave-ins and collapsing ceilings. Per se, nice.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column b/w-standard and the art is fitting stock that takes up about 2/3 of a page. The pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for screen use and one for the printer. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Aaron Bailey covers ceilings in this installment of Dungeon Dressing - and weaves a surprisingly awesome yarn with quite an array of cool options, superbly useful first page (DMs - archive that and never leave home without it!) and imaginative tables. All in all, an exceedingly great installment on a topic that is many things, but probably not that easy to write for. So all superb? Not exactly - the traps, while not perfect, are cool and useful, but also not completely in line with the awesome start of the pdf. Still, that is me complaining at the highest level - this is still a 5 star-file, though one slightly short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Ceilings
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Mythic Monsters: Mounts
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/26/2014 03:11:17
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Legendary Games' Mythic Monsters-series is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement and 1 page inside back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of raw content, so what do we exactly get here?



Since mounts aren't just monsters, we kick off the pdf with some general pieces of information regarding mythic mounts (and animal companions), noting that some of the mounts herein come with integrated advanced creature templates as alternatives to provide sturdier options. Cool! Advice on further advancing mounts via templates, training them and 2 new mythic feats help here as well - one upgrading a companion's ability to its mythic equivalent, one making the training of mythic creatures easier. The Trick Rider and Mythic Rider champion/guardian path abilities are also included, as is the companion mythic ability for the 6th tier guardian. Whereas the former you'll know from the respective mythic minis, the latter makes a companion mythic/adds a mythic ability. This bonus content is okay, but a) not the focus of this pdf and b) not yet something that got me excited. Solid in craftsmanship, yes, but not yet legendary.



Let's start, shall we? First would be the CR 5/MR 2 Mythic Bison, which can generate spirit bison phantoms to improve its trample. Sweet! CR 2/MR 1 mythic camels are next to unkillable due to starvation/thirst thanks to counting as if under the effects of a ring of sustenance. better yet, via mythic power, said camel can share its powers with the rider and even negate the fatigue condition or mitigate exhausted down to fatigued. Again, very cool. Mythic Riding Dogs (CR 1/MR 1) can emit pity-inducing whimpers and follow trips immediately with drag-maneuvers. This one also comes with an advanced version at CR 5/MR 2 that also gets the ability to stabilize the dying and duplicate some healing/soothing-themed SLs via licking the targets. Super-Lassie ftw.! ^^



Mythic Dragon Horses (CR 11/MR 4) can ride the lightning and generally makes for a truly fearsome flying beast to carry the most powerful of heroes into battle. The Mythic Giant Eagle at CR 4/MR1 gets an ability that more creatures should have - when hitting with both claws, they may drag opponents along: Either offensively or defensively. Nice swooping action! The CR 8/MR 3 version is an even better aerial interceptor that gets bonuses when readying against adversaries.



Mythic elephants clock in at CR 9/MR 3 and may pass through natural undergrowth, throw adversaries with the trunk and even toss adversaries with their charges - once again, this is one of the beasts that is closer to what the base creature ought to be able to do - the trunk and charge-tossing will be added asap to all non-mythic elephants in my campaign. Mythic hippocampi clock in at CR 3/MR 1 and allow the riders to breathe water or even act as if under freedom of movement while underwater. They may also create waves to topple/bull rush foes. Neat! The Mythic Hippogriff comes sans a non-advanced version and may emit a stunning shriek and catch falling allies mid-air via mythic power as immediate actions.



The CR 2/MR 1 Mythic light horse has superb speed and when running, benefits from an array of cool defensive abilities. Again, a set of abilities I will apply to some (though not all) supernatural/legendary horses. The Cr 6/MR 2 mythic advanced heavy warhorse is more geared towards combat and not only is not particularly impeded by armor, it also gets essentially a counter-flanking kick and diehard/mythic power fast healing when knocked below 0 hp.



The CR 6/MR 2 Mythic Nightmare can exhale soporific smoke and entice innocents towards an enchanting ride...that fascinates and kills them. NASTY! The CR 14/MR 5 Mythic Nightmare Cauchemar is this beast's big bad brother - flaming hooves, hellfire, powerful trample - a steed worthy of the champions of darkness. Perhaps it's my Warhammer background, but I was constantly thinking "This could be Archaon's steed" while reading this one.



We also get two pegasi, one at CR 4/MR 1 and one at CR 9/MR 3. These flying steeds are particularly adept at avoiding titanic adversaries and they also can emit a reflexive whinny after succeeding a save versus freedom-restricting effects. The advanced version also gains wing buffet attacks and the option to use mythic power to smite foes larger than the steed. Cool.



At CR2/MR 1 the mythic advanced pony has one of the coolest abilities in this book -inexplicable survival. For one mythic power, these trusty mounts can survive EVERYTHING. Yes, even rocks fall, all die. And no, abusing this ability will not end well for the rider... At CR 15/MR 5, the mythic advanced roc makes for a truly majestic beast -with fortification, the option to drop huge things on foes, the option to create superbly strong winds, these titanic birds will make for a superb entrance.



At Cr 13/MR 5, I was exceedingly looking forward to the Mythic Sleipnir - and boy, does it not disappoint -summoning valkyries as the choosers of the fallen, and creating giant-damaging rainbow-bridges breathe the spirit of myths. Glorious and so much closer to the myths than the rather disappointing non-mythic standard sleipnir!



What can step up to this awesomeness? What about riding a CR 10/MR 4 Mythic Triceratops that is a true juggernaut of charging destruction? The pdf also includes a list of the mounts by CR.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2.column full-color standard and the pdf comes with several nice artworks. The pdf comes without bookmarks, which is somewhat of a comfort detriment, but it is hyperlinked with unobtrusive hyperlinks -the good kind, that only is applied where it makes sense.



Jason Nelson delivers a glorious array of mythic mounts, worthy, one and all, to carry the best of heroes and worst of villains into battle, adding arrays upon arrays of superb signature abilities to the base-creatures, several of them actually fixing the base creatures not being too closely in line with what the creature ought to be able to do. Usually, I'd consider depriving this pdf of my seal of approval for the bookmark lack, but the pdf is simply too good - the mounts are universally awesome and not one felt lackluster or boring - final rating: 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Mounts
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Gossamer Worlds: Brokeworld (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/26/2014 03:03:11
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Infinite worlds lie on the Grand Stairs - here, we get Brokeworld in a 6-page pdf, of which 1 page is the front cover, 1 page the editorial, leaving 4 pages - so what is Brokeworld all about?



In in-character prose, this little supplement introduces us to the Brokeworld, a cosmic dumping ground for other gossamer worlds - plagued by size/shapechanging gremlins that propagate via fecal matter, roamed by the Unmade, broken practitioners of Eidolon, this world not only is notoriously hard to leave, its domain table also makes sure that poor saps stranded there have their good stuff slowly drained and means of taking control etc. all are present - a truly destitute, apocalyptic vista indeed!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's purple-bordered two-column standard for LoGaS and the pdf even comes with bookmarks, in spite of its short length.



Written by Matt Banach, who has proven his mettle for the weird before in RiP's superb Faces of the Tarnished Souk-series (which remains my go-to benchmark for NPC-supplements), Brokeworld is a captivating read of a supplemented by a superb top-notch artwork by Trung Ta Ha. Mechanically interesting, with ample narrative potential, it makes for a great place to integrate into a LoGaS-campaign and should also act as a neat inspiration for planar adventures of other settings. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Brokeworld (Diceless)
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