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Pathways #27 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2013 19:17:23
Hard to complain about a free supplement with such high quality, but I did find one omission with the template included. There's no duration listed for the Eye Ray ability that causes a Constitution penalty.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #27 (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus Chronicles: Fleshwraith (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/15/2013 20:31:23
I really liked the way the MachineSmith class worked. I wish it had a hero lab file, but I liked it enough that I seriously thought about playing it when we decided to play an evil campaign, where the characters started locked away in a sort of extradimensional super-max prison. But it didn't quite fit the character concept I decided to go with in the end: A flesh crafter.

After using a custom craft skill we sort of made this work, but it didn't quite have the crunchiness I wanted. I looked at a couple of supplements, almost went with one but it quite have what I really wanted.

Enter the Fleshwraith. The only thing I don't really like is the name. Based upon the Machinesmith in much the same way the antipaladin is based upon the paladin (antipaladin, even worse name for a class than Fleshwraith) and this class can do almost everything I envisioned my Flesh crafter is supposed to be able to do.

The pdf is 13 pages long, but since it builds upon another class there's more possibility here than you might expect. The class skills change, the abilities are in some cases similar, and in other completely different than the Machinesmith. Attacks, saves and hp are the same. Prototypes are a different list, but the overall choices are on par. One thing I consider a bonus is their healing by default works on living creatures, and at full strength, where a Machinesmith needs a feat to get it to work at half. They lose the ability to repair objects (and constructs) but that seems fair, and since most parties will have more living characters than constructs, probably makes the Fleshwraith a decent backup healer.

As they level, starting at second level, they start getting a few Evolution points to spend on themselves like a Summoner's Eidolon, to represent their own "intelligent evolution" experiments upon themselves. It isn't a lot of points, at 1/2 their level, but it isn't bad, especially since as they level they gain abilities to adjust it a bit per day (Don't need wings today but really need gills and a swim speed? No worries! Standard action and swap them out, and then swap them back tomorrow.)

Just like with the Machinesmith, you pick a Greatwork. But they add a few options. If you go with a construct, it is a biomechanical construct, which has a few effects on it (it can be healed, but is still mindless, etc). My favorite is the Genetics lab, because it allows you to store racial traits, which you can implant into other people (or your self) to give you that racial trait for 1/hour per level, with some limitations. Eventually you could even change the racial traits a character has permanently, though I'd like to see a way to add a template or something as well, that seems like a good candidate for a feat.

Finally, there's another class in this pdf that is related to the Fleshwraith, but trades the prototypes (spells) and repairing touch abilities for better Evolution Points and direct combat oriented abilities. It seems like a great companion or minion/master creation of a Fleshwraith.

I didn't even talk about the Hivemind and his.her/its love of Vermin!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Chronicles: Fleshwraith (PFRPG)
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More Malcontent
Publisher: Total Party Kill Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/05/2013 10:38:08
If you liked the Malefactor base class that this expands upon, you'll like this as well. It adds a prestige class that combines the Malefactor and Witch into a hex-throwing, curse-loving, unholy debuffer that looks interesting, as well as adding some ability to theme a Malefactor's curse based upon certain "unlucky" terrains (swamps, icy areas, caves, etc).

My only complaint is that it doesn't include a Hero Lab file like the original class did. It makes it a bit less useful to my Malefactor character, and would be worth an additional star if it did.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
More Malcontent
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TNT (The Narrative Toolbox)
Publisher: LakeSide Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/17/2013 16:54:11
The only thing keeping this from being a 5 star review is more specific examples of play. The one example of play provided elsewhere on this site is good, but genre specific. While it isn't hard to see how the rules would apply to different settings, I would have loved some more specific examples for my fellow players. We are considering using this for our Pathfinder characters who have made it into Epic level game play as the rules don't cover that situation very well (even using the 3.5 epic expansions doesn't quite cut it). We love our characters and the empire they've built, but while we've used the various systems for it, we've out grown the scale that each of them works at, and this system handles different scales effortlessly. We've had the goal for a while to turn this group into Gods in a new pantheon in our game world, but couldn't find a set of rules that would handle that. I think this will handle that just fine.

Players that are fairly new to more traditional role playing games like Pathfinder might actually be worse off than brand new players, since they'd have to unlearn some aspects. I've seen systems put everything in terms of the PCs before (in the old SAGA rules monsters didn't attack, rather the PC got hit if they failed to defend against an attack) which I thought was an interesting concept, but this takes it to another level, and gives multiple ways to show off how good (or bad) a a character is at any given aspect of the game. Is your character a badass witha gun? Is he the brain type who knows everything about everything? Is he something unique that wouldn't even be playable in most games? All of these are little to no problem.

One thing that would be an issue is the concept of plot threads. I love the idea, but trying to come up with a thread to connect to to each other character might not be as easy as it should be. I'd like to see a few examples in the book for that.

I'd like to see an expansion with alternative character creation. Maybe a life path like system for randomly generating your character's roles, especially if you don't have a specific character in mind for a session. Maybe tables for randomly generating adventure hooks and challenges? Discussions on different common and unique roles. A book covering those topics that would be worth as much to me as the base rules.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
TNT (The Narrative Toolbox)
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The Malefactor Base Class
Publisher: Total Party Kill Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2012 08:22:47
The Malefactor base class is a two edged sword. It lacks enough power to be really effective on its own and its debuffs benefit other classes quite a bit (wizards, sorcerers and witches especially) but in a group they will always be apart because they are too dangerous to the group when they are close by (benefiting enemy spellcasters).

The idea of a character that has been cursed in some way, and who uses that curse to their advantage (most of the time) is certainly different from most and I think this class has a lot to offer a group that other classes typically either can't do or can't do very easily. In the right party I think they could make a big difference by making it easier for the party's spellcasters to affect the enemies, but care must be taken to not affect the Malefactor as well, so I think this class would work better in an experienced group who works to maximize the advantage vs a group that doesn't understand the ramifications of battlefield placement. They don't get evasion or improved evasion, so they will need some protection of some sort if the sorcerer wants to drop a fireball on top of them if they get surrounded for example. And the Cleric will not want to spend much time next to them when they need healing since their save penalty (the core ability of the class) affects everyone in 10 feet.

The writing is good, and the concept is pretty solid, so I'm trying this class out in the next game my group is playing, where we are starting out as zero level dwarves, and in the first session my character was cursed and blinded (this was just before this class came out and I was trying to decide what class he could still be effective as with that drawback, so this seemed like a pretty obvious fit).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Malefactor Base Class
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The Rifter #50 - Special Anniversary Issue
Publisher: Palladium Books
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/30/2012 13:16:14
I bought this primarily for the Splicers information. The additional classes covered are interesting, but might be a bit difficult to use in actual game play. The Gardener OCC is designed for fortifying a location against the Machine by plucking and planting plant-based Biotech defenses in the ground, but while mention is made of what they need to do to raise the plants to full maturity (skill roll once per day) I didn't see anything indicating how long this actually takes per day. If it takes hours, then they could only tend a couple of plants if they want to to reach full maturity, but if it takes minutes they could tend many, or they could be much further apart. Also, rolling once per day when most of the plants take several weeks to reach full maturity means you will likely fail at least a few times, and each time you fail, you have to roll another (different) skill check, and if you make that one then you get to roll the best two out of three on the first check to recover. Again, no explanation for how long this takes. And if you fail the plant will never reach maturity. I'm not sure how any of the plants every would reach maturity this way. Even if you had a 90% skill (not likely!) if a plants takes 10 rolls you only have a 34% chance to make every one of them, and that's a remarkably low number of rolls to need to make. You could need far more than 30 in some cases. If you have around 50% (possible at first level) you have not realistic chance to raise anything to maturity. And the actual plants themselves have some really annoying rules, like this plants gets 3d6 branches and each branch has 3d4 of this fruit on them, etc. I really like the concept, but the crunchy bits needed to be thought out a little more. I still liked it simply for the ideas it presents, even if I don't think the actual OCC would be much fun to play.

Then there are a couple of additional classes, from a sort of bizzaro Saint that is interesting and flavorful (hurts rather than heals) to the Geneticists that do the actual grunt work around the genepools, from taking care of the young host armors and mounts until they are ready to be used in the field, to modifying biotech to come up with alternate designs and mods. They get pets in the form of failed (as in not quite right, but not truly useless) host armors that they can modify to do their bidding and act as test beds for experiments. They don't get host armors, so I'm not sure I'd want to play one as my primary character, but they could be very interesting in the right setting, or as an alternate for for a Dreadguard.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #50 - Special Anniversary Issue
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Armageddon 2089 Main Rulebook
Publisher: Mongoose
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2012 18:45:14
I just started looking through the PDF and the text is very unusually difficult to make out against the background used. I'm not the kind of person who normally cares about fonts, but the one chosen is too thin for the background image used. It needs to be on a different background, maybe with the area the text is at screened at 50% opacity or something. I was hoping it was just the first few pages, but the whole book is like this. I'm glad I only paid $5.99, because any more and I'd demand a refund (first time ever on Drivethrurpg, too). I'm not sure I'll ever be able to read the rules enough to really decide if they are good or not, which is unfortunate, because the setting sounds good. Maybe if there was a printer friendly version without the background.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Armageddon 2089 Main Rulebook
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Spirit/Diaspora [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/10/2011 09:26:46
I originally bought this because it was only a tiny bit more than Diaspora alone, so if I liked it then I'd have another game with the same basic rule set, and if I hated it I only paid about $2 more (at the time I bought it) than I would have paid just for Diaspora.

So far I haven't even looked at Spirit, and I'm impressed. I've read some other FATE based systems, so I had an idea of what to expect, but the detail for different areas from Ship combat to Social combat is exceptionally well done. The example from the play test for using social combat to influence a planet on page 169 shows something the vast majority of other Role Playing Games don't even try to touch, or if they do, it so simplistic as to be boring (a simple skill check or something). The only other game I've seen really try to tackle social combat is Exalted, and while not terrible, it isn't as fun in play as I would have liked.

Once you know the basic system, understanding the small changes for the other mini-games is pretty easy, and the character creation helps build characters with a sense of history and connection to the other player characters, which I find really helpful. Though adding a new character (for a new player for example) to a later session requires a little thought as it isn't specifically mentioned.

My only gripe is I'd love a mobi formatted version for my kindle as the areas with side bars don't convert correctly and become very hard to read through very conversion process I've tried so far (and native pdf viewing isn't all that great on the Kindle in my experience).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spirit/Diaspora [BUNDLE]
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Call to Arms: Gallant
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2009 13:07:43
I was surprised when I read this class. I bought the bundle, and this was the class I was least interested in, but I'm glad I bought it. The class abilities gained have great potential, both as an individual and in a team. He isn't as tough as the Monster Slayer, but his combat abilities could easily be a life saver. Depending on the options you take (such as the class you use as the entry point) and the opponent you face, you could easily be a better combatant than the Monster Slayer. In fact, you could be a quite nice Monster Slayer Slayer.

The three Feats posted in the back are really nice for anyone who uses a fencing weapon, and the stance for the first one would be very frustrating for many opponents (especially combined with "No More Games" class ability). The would then be unable to spend action dice to increase their attack or damage against you, as well as be unable to apply any tricks to actions targeting you (with 'No More Games'), which should make you quite a bit tougher than normal.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Gallant
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Call to Arms: Infernalist
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2009 12:53:48
The Infernalist is a very interesting class. They have great potential for roleplaying, both as a villain and as a PC. The layout is very nice and follows the same formula as the other class books, and the additional feats are quite nice. I could easily see additional classes like this, but based upon other otherworldly powers but changing the automatic feat gained at forth level as well as perhaps the penalty gained (levels of the Tainted flaw) as their level increases.

Personally, I think it would depend on my character's motivation as to whether I'd work on countering the flaw or improving my strengths if I were to play as an Infernalist. If I made the pact out of greed, I'd not worry about the drawback, but if I made the pact out of desperation, I'd probably be horrified at what it was doing to me and fight against that as much as possible. Of course the drawback only really hits full force if you are playing with the Corrupting Magic Campaign Quality, or you have some additional way to gain Tainted levels. But the potential power in the class is hard to ignore in either case.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Infernalist
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Call to Arms: Monster Slayer
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2009 12:44:00
I'll start out by saying the expert class Monster Slayer is a very useful class when you need to take out a monster (as opposed to a humanoid enemy). Some of his abilities are truly exceptional, especially in Dramatic scenes. You can generally sum this class up as somewhat like a Ranger focused on monsters like dragons, though that isn't a prefect comparison.

My only complaint is that the three feats at the end are NPC only, unlike the other two classes that were put out at the same time, though it is a small gripe as the upper level class abilities are really nice already.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Monster Slayer
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Fantasy Craft Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2009 23:56:19
I played Spycraft back when it was in version 1.0 and D&D was at 3.0, so when I heard about 3.5 coming out, I thought I knew what it was going to be like. I expected the sort of adjustments to the rules that I saw in Spycraft, but I was wrong. They decided to make minor adjustments and call it 3.5. Well, Fantasy Craft is exactly what they should have done. The rules, while detailed, are easy to understand. The options for character creation and in development are expansive. My only issue with it so far, is I can't decide what to make first!

If Fantasy Craft were a video game, I'd say there is tons of replay available. You have so many different ways to build a character, and different places you can branch out after creation, and none (or almost none) of them are wrong (or gimped). They all give you different options during play that are useful in different ways. The best way I can describe it to someone who has never played Spycraft would be if you took the ideas of Feats and applied it to everything. You have things that are sort of like feats in character creation, called Talents (human only) and Specialties (all species, including humans), that come from your background (Are you a Strong Human Barbarian, or a Wise Human Cleric?) and these are important aspects, even before you get to your class (So the Wise Human Cleric might be a Priest, or a Keeper, for example, since Cleric isn't a class, it's a Specialty in Fantasy Craft).

If you are on the fence about buying it and you like systems with crunchy bits, then it is a must have. If you liked D&D 3 (or 3.5) then it is a must have. If you liked Spycraft and like fantasy games, then it is a must have. If you prefer really rules lite games, then this probably isn't the game for you. But even then I'd suggest giving it a try, because it really is that awesome.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Craft Second Printing
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Origin of the Species: Transmechs
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/03/2009 15:46:29
I bought this shortly after I received the email about the release and though I was skeptical, I'm glad I bought it. The rules are quite well done and balanced. The feats do a good job of covering all the bases without eating up too many of your precious feat slots. So far, this is the best system I've seen for role playing the Transformers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Origin of the Species: Transmechs
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Evil Hat Productions, LLC
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