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Razor Coast Heart of the Razor - Pathfinder Edition
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 21:13:23
Heart of the Razor is a 4 adventure anthology of piraty adventures for your Pathfinder campaign. The adventures are a great compliment to the Razor coast adventure path but can be played completely separate in any campaign.

Each adventure brings something new to the at seas adventure, something that people will enjoy. Even what seems like the most straightforward of premises, finding treasure, takes a series of twists and turns.

What was Iron
The strongest of the adventures without question is Owen Stephens JungleFever. The story was great at pulling in the players and is staged like a 3 act next entry into Pirate of the Caribbean.

What was Not Iron
The two level 5 adventures were great, but I wish there was a lower level adventure for early level adventures.

The Iron Word
Heart of the Razor is great for that side trek adventure where the PCs find themselves on a ship and you want to establish a strong non generic adventure. The editing performs its job, giving strong side bars and a clear direction for each adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Razor Coast Heart of the Razor - Pathfinder Edition
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Razor Coast Fire As She Bears - Pathfinder Edition
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 14:58:12
It is amazing how much time a typical party will spend on ships and boats in a Role Playing Game. With Countries, enemies and new plunders usually separated by rivers, oceans and seas, players spend at least one or two sessions in a campaign arc aboard on a sea vessel. Fire As She Bears presents a set of meaty shipbuilding and ship combat rules that will ignite those long boring sea rides.

Fire As She Bears is one of the most engrossing subsystems of Pathfinder you are going to find. The systems bread and butter is an innovative building block system that creates an abstract series areas on the ship. In these areas, you place elements such as weapons, rigging, armaments and special options. The abstractness of this block system allows players and dungeon masters to creatively design their ship without delving t into engineering logistics. Once a ship is created, a unique recruitment system allows you to make your ship functional without creating dozens of NPCs.

The Combat system significantly differs from the Pathfinders static ship to ship combat system. In order to engage all PCs in the system, they receive Leader. With another element of smart design, the roles are not specific to any class or race, but instead relate to key ability scores. During Combat, players perform actions based on these roles, damaging the opposing ship and its crew. The combat feels very epic and adds depth to what even the most mundane pirate plundering.

For the Dungeon Master
This system is built for those who like depth. The ship options are plentiful and allow for a diverse assortment of ship creations.

For the Player
This is a very player friendly system. One of my biggest beefs with sea combat is that a good many systems only speak to 2 or 3 character classes leaving the rest high and dry. This system allows for any class to shine as they must pick the right roll, right equipment and perform the right tactics.

The Iron Word
Fire as she Bears is an in depth sea combat rule system with a very different set of ship building rules. This is a great buy if you plan on a party being at sea and you want to adds some pop

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Razor Coast Fire As She Bears - Pathfinder Edition
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Better Angels (ePub Edition)
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 10:46:04
I have been pretty stubborn when it comes to my superhero RPGs. Unlike fantasy RPGs, I just could not see where, as far as systems would go, the genre can go. Arc Dream Publishing emphasizes that there is plenty of room for Growth with Better Angels, a truly unique take on the Superhero RPG

Why This Book IS Iron
Better Angels has a lot of things very similar to other superhero systems. It has a quick and easy your roll versus my roll conflict mechanic and a small amount of stats and powers to make conflict resolution quick. Better Angels is a game where the players play villains, but even that is possible with most superhero RPGs.

What other superhero rpgs do not have is Better Angel’s character creation system. In most RPGs, each player builds their own character. In Better Angels, players create their character as a group, with players adjacent to you helping to designing major aspects of your character. Each player designs and implements the good parts of their character. However, the player next to him adds in all the vile, evil and awful things about the character. This unique character creation makes playing Better Angels a blast. The player next to you plays out the demon in you, and your character is always in conflict with this character. This weird game play makes for a fun game where you feel like you are arguing with yourself and attempting to push your own limits.

Outside of the actual game play, it should not be overlooked that the players are playing evil characters, and the book goes to great lengths to make sure players are playing comic book evil and not real life evil. The advice provided and campaign structure aids really help bridge the difficult gap it takes to run and play in an evil campaign. Because of the fun nature of Better Angels, the whole system feels more breezy than it actual is.

At 178 pages, book is pretty light for a single campaign book, a nice feature when you’re introducing a truly new system. The layout is spectacular, with everything from bookmarks to table of content fully linked and neatly organized. The art is gritty, but still possess that Iron Age of comics vibrant color look.

What is NOT Iron
The character creation can take a bit of time, and its important to make sure that each player understand the rules. There’s an example in the book of a player who just glossed over the system and ended up screwing over himself and making a less “conflicted” player next to him.

The Iron Word
Comic book fans who want to taste villainy in a system that is built for the bad guy should try out Better Angels. Character creation is a bit lengthy, but its worth it to play a character who is always fighting against his nature to lose control. I would love to see a system like this in a fantasy setting or as a supplement for other systems.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Angels (ePub Edition)
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Better Angels
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 10:45:47
I have been pretty stubborn when it comes to my superhero RPGs. Unlike fantasy RPGs, I just could not see where, as far as systems would go, the genre can go. Arc Dream Publishing emphasizes that there is plenty of room for Growth with Better Angels, a truly unique take on the Superhero RPG

Why This Book IS Iron
Better Angels has a lot of things very similar to other superhero systems. It has a quick and easy your roll versus my roll conflict mechanic and a small amount of stats and powers to make conflict resolution quick. Better Angels is a game where the players play villains, but even that is possible with most superhero RPGs.

What other superhero rpgs do not have is Better Angel’s character creation system. In most RPGs, each player builds their own character. In Better Angels, players create their character as a group, with players adjacent to you helping to designing major aspects of your character. Each player designs and implements the good parts of their character. However, the player next to him adds in all the vile, evil and awful things about the character. This unique character creation makes playing Better Angels a blast. The player next to you plays out the demon in you, and your character is always in conflict with this character. This weird game play makes for a fun game where you feel like you are arguing with yourself and attempting to push your own limits.

Outside of the actual game play, it should not be overlooked that the players are playing evil characters, and the book goes to great lengths to make sure players are playing comic book evil and not real life evil. The advice provided and campaign structure aids really help bridge the difficult gap it takes to run and play in an evil campaign. Because of the fun nature of Better Angels, the whole system feels more breezy than it actual is.

At 178 pages, book is pretty light for a single campaign book, a nice feature when you’re introducing a truly new system. The layout is spectacular, with everything from bookmarks to table of content fully linked and neatly organized. The art is gritty, but still possess that Iron Age of comics vibrant color look.

What is NOT Iron
The character creation can take a bit of time, and its important to make sure that each player understand the rules. There’s an example in the book of a player who just glossed over the system and ended up screwing over himself and making a less “conflicted” player next to him.

The Iron Word
Comic book fans who want to taste villainy in a system that is built for the bad guy should try out Better Angels. Character creation is a bit lengthy, but its worth it to play a character who is always fighting against his nature to lose control. I would love to see a system like this in a fantasy setting or as a supplement for other systems.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Angels
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Story Mechanics: Incremental Antimagic
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 10:06:44
Playing D&D sometimes feels like a battle between players attempting to avoid railroads, the Dungeon Master trying to carefully mask them, and the system ramming them down your throat. Interjection Games Story Mechanics: Incremental Antimagic provides a creative idea to at least avoid one of Pathfinders built-in railroads, antimagic.

Why This Book IS Iron
If you are like me, you hate definite in your role playing game. One definite that has proven time and time again to be a definite, railroad and deux ex machine to neuter spellcasters is the use of antimagic. Whether it’s a golem or a field, the dreaded antimagic ability turns the parties wizard into a subpar archer. Incremental Magic rewrites the rules of antimagic by allowing the layer to make rolls to battle the antimagic. The system could have easily included this and would have been great, but the good writers at Incremental Games goes the extra step of including four different types of antimagic. The subsystems include suggested uses and covers a variety of situations where antimagic may come into play.

Why This Book is NOT Iron
I understand the need to keep the PDF short, but it feels too brief. The Chaotic hindering deserves some more pampering as a chaotic chart would have really benefited. I also wished that the NPC included was a simple traditional Iron Golem, to show how versatile the system is.

The Iron Word
Kudos to Incremental Games for making Antimagic a fun feature to toss into the game again. The four alterations to Antimagic are simple and provide a lot more player interaction to the current system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Story Mechanics: Incremental Antimagic
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Publisher Reply:
That's Interjection Games, sir :P Thanks, though!
Rogue AIs: Construct Friends and Foes [PFRPG]
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 09:35:24
Rogue AIs: Construct Friends and Foes, by Interjection Games, totes that the four NPC creations inside are for wacky hijinks. I would beg to differ, at least with a couple. That is not a bad thing, that is one of the highlights of the PDF.

Why This Book IS Iron
The short PDF contains 4 sets of NPCs built around the theme of Constructs acting on their own accord. The writing is really good, sucking you into the current plot of each construct set. Each set has a unique take on the construct. My favorite by far was Renee Corithas, a Frankenstein monsterish girl that clearly shows the range of the writer. Flint and Tinder also have a slightly darker story, but I found the mechanical design of the characters was not as through as it was with Renee.

Why this Book is NOT Iron
I was hoping for more chances to be taking with the actual design of the creatures. My big hope was that they would have borrowed some of the lore and mechanics from the amazing Tinker class they developed.

The Iron Word
I hope Interjection games continues with this line of “different” NPC PDFs. Whereas a traveling monk or a rogue mercenary are pretty common place in the D&D realm, rarely will you encounter a discarded science project, a kleptomaniac golem and a couple of constructs who feel like they are in way over their head. This is a solid supplement for any Dungeon Master to place in their collection.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue AIs: Construct Friends and Foes [PFRPG]
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The Genius Guide to the Talented Rogue
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 09:17:50
To be the class with the most skill points, Rogues are usually very one dimensional. Sneak attack hampers their creative attack prowess, forcing you to build around it one way or another. New players get the impression that all rogues must be thieves, considering the build of the character. Super Genius Games obviously sees the flaws in the current class setup and breaks down and rebuilds the Rogue house with The Genius Guide to the Talented Rogue,
Why This Book IS Iron
I wish I could just wrap up this chapter by saying, it’s Owen Stephens, but my contract requires I embellish on this. The Talented Rogue strips down all the required abilities of the rogue and allows characters to pick and choose talents to build their ideal rogue. There are also edges, a way to define your character both mechanically and through fluff. Toying around with the system, I made 4 NPCs, a traditional rogue, a foreign diplomat, a spy, a tavern owner and a thief. For the first time this one class gave me different flavors and yet all were that “rogue” character. It’s a very simple system compiled in this 27-page PDF, but it works so eloquently. The presentation is spot on, and the layout work is to notch. I love how Stephens included a table that breaks down all 165 new talents and edges into simple categories.

Why This book is NOT Iron
I would say that I wish there were more talents and edges but there are already two supplements for the book.

The Iron Word
After reading this PDF, I wanted to go to every SRD site I can find, delete the Pathfinder rogue class and replace it with this. If there’s another iteration of pathfinder, Owen Stephens needs to be on that team.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to the Talented Rogue
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Heroes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 08:57:18
One of the best depictions of Dungeons and Dragons, comes, ironically, from a Japanese Anime called Record of Lodoss War. The merging of Western Dungeons and Dragons with Asian culture has always been a harmonious one. Rite Publishing continues the trend of amazing Asian/D&D blends with the full release of Jade Oath.

Why This Book is Iron
Heroes of the Jade Oath is by far one of the best Far East campaign books to come along in a few years. This game is a Pathfinder remake of the 3.5 book. The conversion is flawless, really taking advantage of Pathfinder’s power jump and uniformed class creation process. The Enlightened Scholar class is my favorite versatile scholar class. Adding to them we have a variety of unique and standalone awesome takes on barbarians, paladins, sorcerers and monks. In addition to new classes, the book contains a great selection of eastern theme races, weapons and character and DM options. The greatest thing about the book is the story that it weaves for your PCs. There is a strong amount of prose to build a campaign on, and I recommend DM’s giving it a thorough read.

Why this book is NOT Iron
I was not as keen on the Cinematic Combat. I have seen some stronger designs for moving through an encounter.

The Iron Word
Heroes of the Jade Oath took a long time to get here but it is worth it. This is the premiere Eastern Campaign setting for Pathfinder D&D. It will be hard for another company to develop the amount of history, mechanical design and campaign thinking involved in this PDF.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
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Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints Compilation
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 08:44:51
I am never sure why people defend the Dungeons and Dragons spellslot system the way they do. Most arguments center around tradition. I find history to be a poor reason to keep anything that begs for change. Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints is the kind of change I like. It is a different take on the spell point system by Super Genius Games.

Why This Book is Iron
Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points is a 24 page book that is trying to evolve the spell point variants that litter the landscape. Most spell point systems are the same. Usually there’s an equation of how many spell points you receive, and this equation replaces spell slots. Spell Points gives a little more in depth design work, adding a sub system to prevent players from casting the same spell. This makes for an easy to integrate system that eliminates one of the biggest complaints about spell point systems.

Why This Book is Not Iron
The biggest strength is its only weakness. I still found the system too reliant on tracking, as the sub system to prevent overusing spells requires you to track how many times you use each spell to gauge their point total. There were a couple of design ways to get around this that I wish the Dungeon Master would have explored.

The Iron Word
A little record keeping has never hurt a D&D player though, and it doesn’t outshine the creative output in Spell Points. This is one of the best (and balanced) systems out if you’re trying to escape the hold of Vancian on D&D.

Expanded Review
This bundle includes the expansion which adds rules for additional races and, most importantly, includes the formula to calculate spell points for archetypes and 3rd party classes.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints Compilation
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Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 08:42:25
I am never sure why people defend the Dungeons and Dragons spellslot system the way they do. Most arguments center around tradition. I find history to be a poor reason to keep anything that begs for change. Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints is the kind of change I like. It is a different take on the spell point system by Super Genius Games.

Why This Book is Iron
Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points is a 24 page book that is trying to evolve the spell point variants that litter the landscape. Most spell point systems are the same. Usually there’s an equation of how many spell points you receive, and this equation replaces spell slots. Spell Points gives a little more in depth design work, adding a sub system to prevent players from casting the same spell. This makes for an easy to integrate system that eliminates one of the biggest complaints about spell point systems.

Why This Book is Not Iron
The biggest strength is its only weakness. I still found the system too reliant on tracking, as the sub system to prevent overusing spells requires you to track how many times you use each spell to gauge their point total. There were a couple of design ways to get around this that I wish the Dungeon Master would have explored.

The Iron Word
A little record keeping has never hurt a D&D player though, and it doesn’t outshine the creative output in Spell Points. This is one of the best (and balanced) systems out if you’re trying to escape the hold of Vancian on D&D.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points
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Class Expansions: Illusion Sorcerer Bloodlines [PFRPG]
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2013 08:25:50
Iron Nugget
Illusionists seems to be a pretty popular class request when I meet new players. Perhaps it’s the ability to make people perceive whatever you wish, or the ability to perform a Wile E. Coyote and have someone fall off a cliff, but it is one of those classes that people love to play. Interjection Games Class Expansions: Illusions Sorcerer is an inexpensive supplement that goes a long way.

What Makes it Iron
The short PDF provides 3 bloodlines to be taken by sorcerers. Each bloodline focuses on one aspect of the Illusion school. The writing is concise, and creative, utilizing the theme illusion without focusing on a specific creature, like many bloodlines do. Of the three bloodlines, the Artist and the Restless give provide two distinct and interesting spins on illusionist classes. The Artist provides bonuses and enhancements to a little used Illusion School subclass, the Phantasm. This is one of the better sorcerer subtypes to come out of the supplement world, and feels like it was the inspiration for the book. The Restless, though a tad too overpowered, strengthens figment spells.

What’s Not So Iron
As previously mentioned, the Restless is a tad too overpowered, and should accepted on a DM to DM basis. Illusions that can become real sound great, but I can think of some game breaking ways to use it. Also, the Facet bloodline caters to another rarely discussed subtype, the facet illusions. The classes design was not as strong as the previously two mentioned.

The Iron Word
Illusions Sorcerer is a beneficial supplement for those sorcerers looking for illusion specific bloodlines. Just be sure to run the choices by your DM.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Illusion Sorcerer Bloodlines [PFRPG]
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War Journal
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2013 10:44:43
Iron Nugget

War Journal, by Little Red Goblin Games, is a beneficial supplement for DMs who are aiming to get a little more cohesion out of their gaming group. I have had issues with team feats in the past, in that they require every player to take a team feat slot. Asking a player to give up a team slot to be apart of the team seems to sprout the opposite of what you’re aiming to do. War Journal fixes that by creating a party feat in the name of a Party Tactical Archetype. The ability allows a special action for specific tactical formations by the PCs. To balance things out, each party receives a weakness. Neither the action is ever too powerful nor the weakness to harsh.

War Journal also continues two other additions to the game. Heralds allow players to use Heraldry to boost their character and their allies. These symbols that the PCs can create can be placed on armor, flags or shields. There are two classes associated with it. One of which, the Veteran adventure is a pretty neat idea when building a jack of all trades kind of character.

The other system is a new crafting system that allows mundane weapons to be more finally tuned. There are a number of additional modifications you can place on it, and it feels far easier than the normal crafting system.

The Iron Word
The War Journal is a great buy for any DM trying to add some teamwork to a party.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
War Journal
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Lorefinder: GUMSHOE Pathfinder Mashup
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2013 09:51:26
If there is one thing that makes it difficult to do actual mysteries and investigations in a traditional fantasy RPG system, it is the dependency of the system on skill roles. With a mystery, the adventure only goes on if the clues are discovered, so failing a roll can hinder or stop an investigation. The actual “thrill” of solving the adventure is lost as there was no input by the player, they simply rolled a die the way they always do.

What Makes it Iron
Lorefinder, by Pelgrane Press, is a great start to a fix around that problem. When 3.5 went to Pathfinder , I was on the fense about diminishing skills. It was the argument of having less rolls versus having more diverse schedules. Pelgrane reinstates a lot of skills that were dropped off and breaks out other skills into a separate skill system called Investigative skills. The remaining few skills are still general skills and work the same way. However, investigative skills work in entirely different. They do not require rolling. You receive ranks skills that revolve around investigating, from diplomacy to bluff to knowledge skills to search. When you want to investigate something, you simply go to what youre investigating and say I want to investigate such a thing, the DM then gives you the information, or asks you to spend ranks. Ranks only recover at the beginning of an adventure so these resources must be used sparingly as most individuals only have between 12 to 16 for most of the campaign.

This new system changes the “investigative game” from beating a particular roll to figuring out which skill to use on the clues you find, making for a more rewarding mystery solving segment. The PDF starts off by explaining to you how each of the main classes should be changed and explaining how to convert other classes. Each skill is explained in depth. To add additional motivations to your gaming group, Drives are included to flesh out the reasons why your PCs investigate. A sample adventure is included.

Why its not Iron
The system feels a bit incomplete as it certainly needs some tweaking so that the Charisma, Wisdom and Intelligence do not become dump skills. One of the solutions my group used was to develop a limit for ranks based on the previously mentioned abilities. For instance, all Lore skills are limited by your Intelligence bonus, Cunning skills by Wisdom and Interpersonal skills by Charisma.

Another major issue with the system is it doesn’t do a great job of giving an adequate amount of General Skill ranks to classes based on the current skills of that class. For instance, fighters and fighter classes should have more ranks in general skills because that is the basis of most of their class skills.

The Iron World
Despite what seems to be major issues with the system, small DM changes make them very fixable. Lorefinder is a great product that I can’t imagine not using in a game again. It is easy to integrate and does not complicate the game. Instead, it actually eases up the game by reducing the number of skill rolls and making a once boring part of the game a bit more interesting.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lorefinder: GUMSHOE Pathfinder Mashup
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ZEITGEIST #5: Cauldron-Born (4E)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2013 09:17:57
Enworld Publishing pushes out the fifth installment of this masterpiece of an adventure path, Zeitgeist, with Cauldron Born, a climatic mega adventure that serves as the final piece to the first arc of the Zeitgeist campaign.

What Makes it Iron
As I have said time and time again, Zeitgeist is written by dungeon masters for dungeon masters. I am not talking about a few novice dungeon masters who cling to xp tables and random charts. I am talking about the die hard dungeon masters who still like to create their own side quests and enjoy freedom in a module. Cauldron Born is a very free type of module. In the first Act alone, there are 4 adventure hooks the PCs can explore.

The dungeon master is free to expand or deexpand this as much as possible. If the DM decides that he wishes to act out the major raids on the local crime family, he can draw up some maps and get down and dirty into small squad fantasy tactics. There are options on some hooks to side with the not so good guy to achieve a greater goal. These are things you see parties attempt to do all the time but the restrictions of a module make for a broken adventure if you allow it. In Zeitgeist, its all there.

The 93 page book centers around the PCs attempt to keep peace during the peace talks while exploring a secret organization. The organized thieves’ guild are not the only threat. Other problems include a dark fey army, mad dwarves and a very large and angry golem. The handouts designed are exceptional. Helping catch players up on a yearlong campaign by providing cliff notes of the PCs exploits complete with insults by their boss.

Not So Iron
The book has a couple of awesome subgames in a minigame to take down the organized family and a b-team to show the PCs what is going on in other places. Both of these are good, but felt like they could have been fleshed out more. The minigame needed more ways to get the win condition for smaller actions. After all All Capone was caught on tax evasion. The alternate team is a bit fumbly, frequently breaking up the action of the game for characters the PCs couldn’t care too much about. DMs attempting to correct this should let the PCs make their own b-member characters of 5th level, giving them a slight more chance to survive. Also, only switch once, at the beginning or end of a game session.

The Iron Word
Zeitgeist: Cauldron Born is every bit the epic conclusion to the first arc that it should be. All of the plot threads either complete or further into the next arc. The combat, as usual, is not over done. DMs who want more of something can easily insert it into the many unseen vignettes that occur. I should also note that even if you have not played a single adventure, this one can be easily adapted for a campaign as most of the premises are basic, thieves guild needs to be taken down, king’s in town and attempting to be assassinated and 100 foot golems are never a good idea.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #5: Cauldron-Born (4E)
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ZEITGEIST #5: Cauldron-Born (PATHFINDER RPG)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2013 09:17:37
Enworld Publishing pushes out the fifth installment of this masterpiece of an adventure path, Zeitgeist, with Cauldron Born, a climatic mega adventure that serves as the final piece to the first arc of the Zeitgeist campaign.

What Makes it Iron
As I have said time and time again, Zeitgeist is written by dungeon masters for dungeon masters. I am not talking about a few novice dungeon masters who cling to xp tables and random charts. I am talking about the die hard dungeon masters who still like to create their own side quests and enjoy freedom in a module. Cauldron Born is a very free type of module. In the first Act alone, there are 4 adventure hooks the PCs can explore.

The dungeon master is free to expand or deexpand this as much as possible. If the DM decides that he wishes to act out the major raids on the local crime family, he can draw up some maps and get down and dirty into small squad fantasy tactics. There are options on some hooks to side with the not so good guy to achieve a greater goal. These are things you see parties attempt to do all the time but the restrictions of a module make for a broken adventure if you allow it. In Zeitgeist, its all there.

The 93 page book centers around the PCs attempt to keep peace during the peace talks while exploring a secret organization. The organized thieves’ guild are not the only threat. Other problems include a dark fey army, mad dwarves and a very large and angry golem. The handouts designed are exceptional. Helping catch players up on a yearlong campaign by providing cliff notes of the PCs exploits complete with insults by their boss.

Not So Iron
The book has a couple of awesome subgames in a minigame to take down the organized family and a b-team to show the PCs what is going on in other places. Both of these are good, but felt like they could have been fleshed out more. The minigame needed more ways to get the win condition for smaller actions. After all All Capone was caught on tax evasion. The alternate team is a bit fumbly, frequently breaking up the action of the game for characters the PCs couldn’t care too much about. DMs attempting to correct this should let the PCs make their own b-member characters of 5th level, giving them a slight more chance to survive. Also, only switch once, at the beginning or end of a game session.

The Iron Word
Zeitgeist: Cauldron Born is every bit the epic conclusion to the first arc that it should be. All of the plot threads either complete or further into the next arc. The combat, as usual, is not over done. DMs who want more of something can easily insert it into the many unseen vignettes that occur. I should also note that even if you have not played a single adventure, this one can be easily adapted for a campaign as most of the premises are basic, thieves guild needs to be taken down, king’s in town and attempting to be assassinated and 100 foot golems are never a good idea.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #5: Cauldron-Born (PATHFINDER RPG)
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