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Children of Wyrms
Publisher: Fantastic Gallery
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2012 09:05:00
Dragons are a part of most fantasy settings, or at least, most of my fantasy settings! I love dragons and have played a Dragon Disciple more than once, they are just damn awesome. So when I saw this book I knew that I just had to buy it, if for nothing else then to learn something new about dragons and their children.

So, did I learn anything? Was there anything within these pages that I could actually use?

The simple answer is... yes, but it was not what I expecting. I had hoped that this would be a book useful for players, but since all the templates within increases a creature's CR (from +3 to +1), they wont really be useable for players starting a campaign at 1st level. Sure, you could easily use these if starting a higher level campaign, but I tend to start games at 1st level. I was also hoping to learn a bit more about life as a wyrm child, but the book actually has very little of this type of information and is mostly focused around the four different draconic legacy templates (legacy half-dragon, quarter-dragon, greater draconic legacy and lesser draconic legacy). Don't get me wrong, these templates are all varied and useful, especially to GMs and you could certainly build a campaign around these, imagine if all the PCs start as one of these?

Aside from the templates, you'll also find a couple of NPCs that use the templates (CR 7-13), a few new feats (logical, but nothing spectacular), 3 new magic items (solid and useful), and some optional rules for draconic sorcerers.

I liked the last part of the book the best, which describes the problems of carrying a wyrm child to term. It's just as dangerous as it sounds, especially if you are a halfling! This is the type of information I was hoping to get more of.

All in all, a nice book with spectacular artwork and probably the most beautiful layout that I've seen in any 3PP book (not counting most Open Design books). However, I would have loved more information about how society view these children, how their presence could form a setting or maybe just a campaign, and overall, how to introduce them into the game. Had the designers presented a playable race for players wanting to introduce one of these into a 1st level party, that would have been perfect.

For the price, I actually don't think you get all that much information, so I am going to settle on a 3.5 star verdict, rounded down to 3. A nice book, but more beautiful than it is insightful.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Children of Wyrms
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review! You make some valid points, and the CR-adjustment thing seems to be a sticking point with most readers. I would have loved to have left them off entirely (especially since all of this was born out of trying to find a way to play a "draconic legacy" concept without incurring a CR adjustment), but I'm afraid they were just unavoidable. The existence of the original half-dragon template was the true hurdle I had to face as that set the precedent for everything I did in this book, and it has a CR adjustment. Now, that being said, there are ways to play a creature with a CR adjustment at first level, at least CR+1. Paizo addresses some of these in a few different products, most directly, "Bastards of Erebus," the first module in the Council of Thieves adventure path. These include starting the rest of the party at a higher level so the CRs match, giving them better magic items and, my personal favorite, denying the CR-adjusted character the ability to take traits (essentially treating the template as his traits). That's a bit harder with the higher CR templates, I'll admit, but it helps. Another way to do it would be to take all the special abilities of a particular template, including the wings and breath weapons that the higher CR templates get automatically, and treat them all as individual Traits, allowing the player to pick two at character creation. The closer the character is to his draconic ancestor, the larger the pool of abilities he has to choose from, but he still only gets two. Although this method ends up somewhat equalizing the Draconic Legacy generations, eliminating the "fading power" effect I was going for, it should go pretty far towards creating a somewhat balanced character at 1st level. Thanks for giving our book a try! I hope you can find some use for it in your games! -Talon Dunning/Team Fantastic Gallery
Northlands (PFRPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2012 11:37:43
I honestly don't know why I purchased this book, since I rarely play in northern settings, but something about it just intrigued me, perhaps because I come from the north myself and wanted to see how Open Design had handled Odin, Thor and Loki. Looking at the cover, how can you not be drawn to this book?

The first two chapters present the Northlands setting and the myths on which it was built. I love the nordic mythology and have read plenty of stories in my day, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the designers had changed certain things, like names, to give the setting its own feel. For one, Odin and Thor are nowhere to be found, but is probably hiding beneath the names, Wotan and Donar. These two chapters will probably get the least use in my own games, but are really well-done and did inspire me while I read them (especially the strange world of Hyperborea!). I should probably also mention the awesome map whose cartographer is not mentioned in the credits (I am guessing Jonathan Roberts?)! Shame on the person who did the layout, big mistake, or maybe I am just blind?

Chapter three presents new options for players, like the various northern races, new class options (for nearly all the core classes), expanded skill options, feats, character traits and new (northern) equipment. Most of these options are useful in games outside the Northlands, and I just want to mention a couple of my favorite options. First there are the two Hyperborean races, the dayborn and the nightborn, these have a really cool Sword & Sorcery flavor and will definitely find their way into one of my games (they felt slightly like those two races in H.G. Well's The Time Machine). I also want to mention the two new sorcerer bloodlines, Giant and Hyperborean. The giant is just shear genius and I love the flavor and especially the signature ability at 20th level. The achievement feats are just cool and if one dares introduce them into a game, will offer so much flavor and challenge to the players. The equipment section is probably my least favorite, but that is probably because it will see the least use in my games as they are highly tied to the Northlands setting. And really, snowballs deal 1d3 nonlethal damage? I could really do without the whole snowball theme that is scattered throughout the book.

Next up is chapter 4, magic of the north. Having read the small section on Grudge magic, I am still not sure why it is there or what purpose it serves, but I did like the rune magic section. The spells were not that interesting and I could probably have done without half of them, but a few were really cool and inspiring, especially Jotun's Jest (which causes a weapon to increase in size, becoming fit for a colossal creature) and Wolfsong (which allows a person to howl like a wolf, sending a message that can be heard up to 5 miles away, outdoors, of course). Most of the magic items are highly tied to the Northlands setting and even carry nordic-sounding names such as Hringhorni, Lævateinn, black lavvu, eisenscham and raidho sled. There were a couple that I didn't understand the purpose behind, like the World Tree (I understand the whole Yggdrasil thing, but to make it an artefact? I think not.). How is this supposed to be introduced and even used in a setting? I am also unsure about the Warning Wolfband, while I really like the idea (the wearer cannot be surprised), I dont get the pricing of this one (321,300gp). How did the designer arrive at this number? Rather make it an artifact or lower the price considerable. I would definitely go for the last option, as the ring isn't that powerful when compared to other items such as a Vorpal blade. Among the items that I thought were really cool, were the feather of huginn (break the feather and create a raven messenger) and the bitter horn (a drinking horn that can tell friend from foe, how cool is that!?)

The last two chapters presents optional rules for the frozen north and, of course, a bunch of new (or rather old) monsters. The rules chapter was well written and useful if you are playing in the Northlands setting, but also a little crammed and chaotic in its structure (while reading about natural hazards, we are certainly presented with Fate Afflictions and then, the hazards continue afterwards, as if it was just thrown in there at random). The monsters were just cool and useful. The only monster that I thought was missing was a low-level monster (CR 1-3). Aside from that, we get monsters for both epic, high-level and mid-level games.

Overall, a surprisingly good book with lots (and I do mean lots!) of options for both player and GM. My biggest concern is the layout. There are lots (and I do mean lots!) of small mistakes scattered throughout the book (spelling mistakes, font mistakes, font size mistakes, text placement mistakes etc.). It would have greatly benefitted from a couple of proofreaders before hitting the market. I own the softcover, so I am particular sorry to see so many mistakes, as it can't be updated along the way (as a pdf can).

I am going to settle on a 3.5 star verdict, but since the material is just so good, I am going to round up to 4 for the purpose of this format.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Northlands (PFRPG)
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Darkness Without Form: Secrets of the Mimic
Publisher: Sean K Reynolds Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2012 09:23:33
Mimics are often used in Roleplaying Games, and yet, I don't think I've ever used one . I've met a couple as a player, but somehow they have escaped my gamemastering grasp thus far.

Darkness Without Form (Secrets of the Mimic) was actually one of the first Pathfinder compatible pdfs that I bought and I've read it several times (it ain't that big, merely 24 pages). So... lets see what it contains.

It starts out with a short history of the mimic, which is also a history of the aboleth, as the two are tied in with eachother. It's a nice history, dark and fleshy, yet, I started to get annoyed by the end of it, as it merely paints a picture of the mimics as servants of the aboleths. I would have liked a slightly broader perspective. Perhaps a few escaped their master's grasp and made a 'life' for themselves somewhere else.

Then we get to the section on mimic symbiotes, which are fleshy mimics that capture a host and dominates them. These symbiotes come in two different shapes (templates, actually), the Puppetmaster symbiote and the Warhulk symbiote. I actually like these and could easily see both used in my current campaign setting, both gave me a very alien feel. By the end of this section, we are also presented with two new mimicky monsters, the lair tyrant mimic (a huge mimic that is often tied to a single location over many years... they also tend to bind themselves with other creatures), and mimicling swarm (not a fan of the name, but it is just that, a swarm of diminutive mimics. In the description they are described as coins). I really like the flavor of the lair tyrant and there are three really nice sidebars that will give your game a lot of flavor.

The last thing we get in this small pdf is a short toolbox on how to give mimics a different feel and power level (imagine a flying mimic...) It is easy to use and probably the thing that I liked the most, since it allows you to create mimics of you own that will definitely surprise your players.

Overall, this is a nice book on mimics, if a little singleminded. I remember a short article on the KQ site that painted a very different picture of the mimics and I would have loved a greater variation. In these days, a lot of 3pps tend to publish pdfs that appeal to both GM and players, but beware, this is a "GM's Only" type of book.

I should probably also note that it has excellent artwork and a very nice and easy to read layout. However, because it is so single-minded, I am going to end at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this format.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Darkness Without Form: Secrets of the Mimic
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Monsters Unleashed V.1 [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2012 13:11:33
Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I (probably) received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Monsters Unleashed is (or rather was) a very cool project that allowed people (who signed up) to nominate their favorite 3.5e monsters for a little Pathfinder update. Now everyone has the chance to buy these updated monsters, and this is the very first product.

In this pdf you get the following monsters; barrow wight (standard vengeful undead who hunt down those who violated their privacy and property), crystalline horror (a strange aberration of crystal and glass, with no facial features), devil dog (which has nothing to do with devils, but may be a distant relative of winter wolves), dragonnel (looks sort of like a dragon, sounds sort of like a dragon, but is a magical beast or... a dinosaur), kech (monkey-like humanoids that live like monkeys but act like humans, which is also a playable race). Among these, the crystalline horror is my absolute favorite. It has the cool ability to bend light and blind creatures.

Most of these creatures are rather boring/neutral (a standard undead, wolf and monkey-like creature), but I don't think this is any fault of the authors. Afterall, they were asked to update these creatures and weren't paid enough to recreate the story behind each of the creatures. They succeed in what they set out to do, to update a bunch of monsters chosen by others. All the monsters seem balanced and has a nice piece of artwork. The layout is pretty nice and makes the monsters easy to use.

For the low price, this is a winner!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters Unleashed V.1 [PFRPG]
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Otyughnomicon: Northern Waste Otyugh [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2012 11:15:28
Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

So, an otyughnomicon? Yeah, that's a new word for me as well. I certainly know the otyugh, I mean, who doesn't, but what type of a book is this otyughnomicon?

Well, the pdf presents the reader with a new type of otyugh, called the Northern Waste Otyugh. It is basically an otyugh that has learned to survive the many challenges of the far north, it has sort of adapted to this environment. We also get a template called the Northern Waste Template, which makes it possible to add this northern waste flavor to any corporeal creature. Such a creature gains the cool ability to walk on ice as if it had the spider climb ability, but also gets an icy touch and is constantly covered in a mini-blizzard that gives it concealment and damages surrounding creatures. This template is pretty cool and certainly adds a lot of northern waste power and flavor to a creature.

The pdf also presents us with a lot of northern waste otyughs, in fact, we are given a whole tribe of them. It's always nice to have various levels of power to choose from, but I really missed a general overview of this tribe, all we get are 5 lines of description. It would have been really cool to see how the authors envisioned such a tribe, how do they interact, what are their purpose and just what does it mean to be a tribe of otyughs?

Next we get 6 spells with some icy flavor, of these only one of them really intrigued me, the Meld Into Ice spell. The rest seemed pretty logical and balanced, but nothing too exciting. Then comes a sorcerer bloodline... the Otyugh Bloodline. This is pretty strange, for one, the bloodline arcana allows you to move you eyes on stalks (which basically means that your opponents who flanks you gets no bonuses). You also exude the odor of a midden, grow a tentacle (that gives you added reach), makes you a carrier of disease and lastly, makes you the King of the Heap! This bloodline is filled with flavor, but also makes you wonder how otyughs have sex! Good stuff. And did I remember to say that the bloodline also introduces 6 new spells?

Honestly, while there is a lot to like and enjoy in this pdf, I would have liked it to be more like an ecology of the northern waste otyugh, with information that explains what such a creature is. I did enjoy the short discussion in the beginning of the pdf, which discusses whether an otyugh should be considered an aberration or a magical beast. I can certainly see the authors point that it should probably be a magical beast, but to me it has always been the creation of a mage (who needed some...thing to take care of his waste), which makes it closer to an aberration, in my mind. For the shear amount of cool crunch in this one (although I lacked some fluff), I am going to settle on a verdict of 4 stars.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Otyughnomicon: Northern Waste Otyugh [PFRPG]
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Monstrous Races: Second Horde
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2012 10:38:00
Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Monstrous Races: Second Horde is a collection of races from Bestiary 2 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, races that can be used as playable races. Each of these races contain the following: a walkthrough of what type of adventurers they would make according to the base classes (from the core rulebook and the advanced player's guide), favored class options and alternate racial traits (most have four, but a few have five, I especially liked those of the lizardfolk, as it added more than just a new trait, it added flavor and story). Some of the races even get a sidebar on racial traits, so that players can actually play them (like the dark folk, forlarren, living ghoul, lizardfolk and sahuagin). There is also a new disease, the dreaded ghoul pox which is part of the racial traits of the living ghoul.

These are nice options for players who want to play something a little different. I like my humans, half-elves and halflings, but some of these races actually intrigued me, especially the living ghouls. I could easily see the living ghouls add a whole new dimension to a game. All the new playable races actually felt balanced and I would have no problem introducing them into one of my games. There were a couple of minor mistakes, like an alternate racial trait that needed a trait to replace (ghoul form from the living ghoul) and a couple of favored class options that left me wondering exactly what was meant (sylph ranger and rogue).

Overall, this is a very useful product that makes it worthwhile to play one of those less known races. I also really liked the layout of this product, simple, yet elegant. Well-done!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Races: Second Horde
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Racial Ecologies: Guide to Ratfolk
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2012 04:57:21
I've always been particular fond of ecologies, so when I saw an ecology to the ratfolk, I had to pick it up. I love wererats, but how are the ratfolk different from these well-known lycanthropes? Well, for one, the ratfolk only has one shape, and since there are more of them (a lot, in fact) they can build rather large and complex societies.

Lets look at the guide to ratfolk. This presents us with a short history of ratfolk (which is large unknown, sadly), a description of the three different ratfolk variants (ratlings, ratfolk and nezumi - the biggest difference between these are the size and whether or not their walk on two or four feet), a description of the mindset and society of the ratfolk (which I could have been without since each race gets its own walkthrough later on), a short section on enemies and allies (note that ratfolk only really trusts drows!).

Next up is the meat of the product, the three playable races. They are pretty straightforward, but a little underpowered, if you ask me. I am also not sure that I agree with the various ability score bonuses/penalties. I find it really hard to believe that ratfolk are weaker physically than ratlings, who weighs between 15-25 pounds. The four alternative racial traits are pretty cool and useful and I think two of these should have been part of the original traits (prehensile tail and scent). This meaty section ends with a couple of mundane items and some feats, 4 to be precise. Of these, I really like the pack fighter.

Lastly, the GM gets a single monster called a rat ogre. I really liked this creature, which is created naturally, as part of the mutation process. I can easily see how these stupid brutes will be used in the ratfolk society.

Overall, I like the material found within this pdf. You get a lot of material for your $2, which is really nice. However, I would probably need to make a couple of adjustments if I decided to use the playable races, but with the excellent alternate racial traits, I think this could easily be done. My biggest problem with this pdf is the layout, it could really use another round of proofreading, also, when printing, the dark (purple) corners become really dark making it hard to read some of the text. This is a little annoying. Lastly, I want to mention the artwork.... which is excellent and of really high quality.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Racial Ecologies: Guide to Ratfolk
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Legendary I: Legendary Blades [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 13:48:41
Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely. Well, I did help out in the proofreading phase and I did help inspire the jealousy variant rule (which I, obviously, really like!)

Legendary blades? Awesome! I seem to remember something similar for 3.5e (from WotC), but since I can't really remember anything else, I'll stop making any comparisons. Each of these weapons gets a thorough treatment, with a detailed history and a walkthrough of all the abilities. The authors also added the material for each of the magic weapon special abilities used for the legendary blades. There are a lot of legendary blades in this pdf and I really like most of them, but I would have to say that two of my favorites are the Lion of Iskander (which is a flaming blade that not only allows the wielder to keep a dire lion for a cohort, but also allows him to transform into a dire lion) and Sandman's Blade (which is tied to dreams and allows the wielder some control over time!) These weapons just come with awesome flavor and can spark many an adventure.

My only problem with this product is the layout. I am glad that the Purple Ducks changed this in later products. A two column layout would have saved us a lot of pages.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary I: Legendary Blades [PFRPG]
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A Dozen Armor and Shield Magical Properties (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 13:15:05
This product is everything it says it is. It presents us with a dozen armor and shield properties, oh, and a spell; a spell that is used for one of the properties.

I really liked most of these special abilities (especially deeds and energy backlash) and found them quite useful. There were a couple with some flaws (the helpful ability is way too cheap, a +1 bonus would be fair for this, and the athletic ability should list what type of bonus it gives to speed, probably an enhancement bonus). There were a couple that were poorly written and confused me, like the runic and anathema ability (I know the gist of what they do, but I am still unsure of a couple of things). However, the rest were really cool and I am absolutely going to use some of these in my own games.

The layout is a simple two column layout with a few illustrations (that I could easily have done without). As I read the pdf, I found myself noticing a couple of minor mistakes (sometimes the author writes CL and at other times he writes caster level, also, minor is not used about aura, it is called faint), but really, these were just minor mistakes and nothing that disturbed my understanding of the material.

For the low price, this is a nice product that I would recommend to players. I am going to settle with a 3.5 verdict, rounded up for the purpose of this format.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Dozen Armor and Shield Magical Properties (PFRPG)
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Book of Drakes
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 09:56:33
I love dragons and I love playing in settings where dragons have an important and prominent role to play. However, this is not a book of dragons, but a book of drakes!

Let me start by saying that this book is among the most beautiful that I've seen to date, and I am talking about the print version, which is black and white! I believe the pdf is in colour. Everything in this book has the feel of an old book of drakes and that is also how most of it is written, as a treatise on drakes.

First we get a little overview of drakes (how they are classified and how they are different from dragons), then we get the meat of the book, the player's section. This chapter presents you with new feats, alternate class abilities, an alternate class (the drake tamer), a prestige class (the master of drake forms), rules on how to play either a pseudodragon or a candle drake, spells, magic items and some more general adventuring gear. There is a lot to like here, especially the rules to play a pseudodragon or candle drake.

Next up is the bestiary! This book presents a lot of drakes, 20 drakes to be precise, with some amazing artwork. Personally, I am not a big fan of the whole drake philosophy (as this book presents it), that drakes are all over the place and come in an infinite number of shapes, however, those few that the book presents are really useful and will certainly bring the wondrous drakes into the game. And not to worry, while the drakes seem cute and harmless (especially if you look at the cover), there are evil drakes lurking among the shadows, like the sewer and mist drakes. This chapter ends by presenting rules on how to build your own drakes (basically a point-buy system). I haven't tried this system out, so I don't know if they work.

I really liked this book, although I would hardly use drakes as the book suggests. The book of drakes sets out to bring drakes into the world and they succeeds beautifully in doing this! Good work!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Drakes
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[PFRPG] Legendary V: Eastern and Exotic Weapons
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 02:46:00
Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Eastern and exotic weapons? Yes, we are talking about the katana, kusarigama, naginata, bo staff and my favorite, the fighting fan. I've seen just as many japanese martial art films as the next guy, and while I love the films (such as hidden dragon, crouching tiger, hero etc.), I loath playing in such a setting. However, I'll try to keep my personal preferences out of this and give a more neutral review (if possible).

So what is this all about? Basically, legendary weapons are weapons that are supposed to follow the PCs throughout their entire carrier, growing in power as the PCs grow in power. I really like this idea, although I have yet to implement it in any of the games that I run. This pdf, of course, presents weapons with an eastern feel. I guess the exotic part is due to most of the weapons being exotic.

You'll find weaponslike the sickle called Blood Flower (a weapon created specifically for a witch's familiar), Kowarenai (a katana based around honor and loyalty, allowing the wielder to protect his allies), Stormslayer (a naginata that has the awesome ability to tame lightning and send it against another), Totsuzen No Arashi (a fighting fan create to be easy to hide at court, with some cool abilities like the one that allows the wielder to call a protean lacky). There are 15 legendary weapons in this pdf and not only do you get description and powers, you also get the important information (such as weapon stats, magic weapon special abilities, a monster and spell).

The layout is simple and easy to use. Personally, I much prefer this two column layout than the one column layout that they used in their first legendary pdf. The artwork is fairly simple, but works well with the weapon descriptions. I only found a couple of typos/mistakes (nothing to really disturb my reading), but what really bothered me was, that sometimes the magic items/spells are in italics (as I think they should), but most of the times, they are not. I like the spells/magic items to be in italics, which makes them easier to discern and find should you need them.

Lastly, the weapons seems perfectly balanced, and if you like an eastern feel, these weapons are certainly for you. The pdf also presents some guidelines if you wanted to make your own legendary weapons, and of course, a small location in the Lands of the GOW.

Personally, I would probably give this pdf a 3 star verdict (because I would need to work on these a bit to make them work in my current setting), but to be fair, the writing is pretty good (with some original ideas), the mechanics work and feels balanced and you really get a lot for your money, so I'll settle on a 4 star verdict.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Legendary V: Eastern and Exotic Weapons
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Legendary Races: Medusa [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/03/2012 08:56:02
Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

Ever wanted to play a medusa? Well, I haven't, but if you have, now you can with this legendary race from Purple Duck Games. Even if you are not looking to play a medusa (perhaps because you are a GM), you can still pick it up and get a lot of useful material.

Lets look at some of the material. Within these pages you get a complete ecology of the medusa (which only lacks a lore table), new discoveries for medusa alchemists (there are some really cool ones, like the gorgon skin and serpent transformation), two new playable races (the medusa racial class and the half-medusa). The medusa is a little powerful, or at least she will be when she reaches 8th level, but I guess that she has to be. The half-medusa has no class levels and seem nicely balanced. The half-medusa also gets a complete writeup with racial options, alternate racial traits and favored class options.

Within these pages, you'll also find a medusa bloodline for sorcerers (which, I guess, is the same as Adamant Entertainment's, from their Bloodlines product), a couple of feats (both quite useful), 3 medusa variants (that give your medusa a new edge, to surprise players), a template, and three new monsters (blood summoner medusa, gorgon and the strange, but cool, medusa husk). There is also scattered a couple of medusa NPCs throughout the product.

Basically, you get a lot when you buy this product and I didn't find a lot that seemed unbalanced. I've noticed that the Purple Ducks like to bring options to both GMs and players, and this product is no different. The layout is a little messy and nothing that impressed me, I especially didn't like the image in the background. There were a couple of stupid mistakes that would have been caught with the help of a couple of proofreaders, but nothing terribly important.

I probably wont use the medusa player options (they are just not for me), except perhaps some of the alchemists discoveries and maybe one of the feats (swift poisoner), but as a GM, there are plenty of material that will prove useful in my current Sword & Sorcery campaign.

Overall, you get a lot of varied material for your money and it follows the high quality of Purple Duck products. If you are not a GM and not a player looking to play a medusa or half-medusa, this is probably not for you, but if you are... go for it. I'll settle for a 3.5 verdict, rounded up for the purpose of this format.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Races: Medusa [PFRPG]
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Creepy Creatures: Bestiary of the Bizarre
Publisher: Alluria Publishing
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/03/2012 08:31:56
It is rare to be treated to a big monster book from a 3PP... in colour! This is exactly what Creepy Creatures: Bestiary of the Bizarre is. The illustrations are perhaps a bit too big. I would have preferred a bit more text to some (if not all) of the creatures, but the quality of the artists are... exceptional.

There are creatures that make no sense (lobsterpede, centipede folk, hair golem, frogodile), but all monster books have some of those, and then there are the really cool monsters... the rest!

There is much to love in this book, but I have to settle for a 4 star rating because the monsters lack information and have made their illustrations twice as big as they should have been, to cover for the lack of text.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creepy Creatures: Bestiary of the Bizarre
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Bloodlines: New Options for Sorcerers
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/03/2012 02:58:02
I love playing sorcerers, and in Pathfinder, they have a lot different bloodlines that allow a player to create a unique background. With this short pdf, nine pages of content, the sorcerer gets a whole bunch of new bloodline options. The author is Stefen Styrsky and I've noticed how much he loves to make bloodlines for sorcerers, and fortunately, he does this very well.

Bloodlines presents us with 13 new bloodline options. They are based around various monsters, such as the barghest, naga, medusa, treant and my favorite the lillend. Each of these have some signature abilities that makes it easy to understand the background of the sorcerer, such as the medusa's serpent hair and petrifying stare, or the barghest ability to change into a wolf. I didn't think these monstrous bloodlines would work, but actually, the do! Most of them seem perfectly balanced, but there is a few abilities that seem a little too powerful, like the serpents of the medusa, which each deals 1d3 points of strength damage, and the sorcerer has a number of these equal to his Charisma modifier. It is a level 15th power, so of course it should have some level of power.

Finally, the layout is simple and nice, with a couple of boring illustrations that has nothing to do with the bloodlines. I didn't find a lot of mistakes, which is also a huge plus. However, don't expect anything beyond what the title offers... you get 13 sorcerous bloodlines, nothing more. At this price, a couple of feats and spells would have been nice as well, to build on the bloodlines, so I'll settle for a 4 star verdict.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bloodlines: New Options for Sorcerers
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Wyrd of Questhaven (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2012 13:34:23
I love new races. For me, they are part of what make a setting unique and cool. This pdf presents a new race called the Wyrd. These guys reminds me of the 'gentle giant' type, with inborn magic and resistances. They actually reminded me a lot of the wilders from The Wheel of Time series (especially in appearances).

This pdf makes use of a narrator called Deimos Invincible Fox (one of the Wyrd), something that I haven't seen before in other products. But is this good? I would have to say yes and no. The writing is certainly good and I liked reading the thoughts of Deimos, but it also seems to limit the knowledge that the reader gets. We get a very personal oppinion about the Wyrd, and not a useful overview of the race. Also, there are times when this makes absolutely no sense, like when Deimos have to explain the alignment of his race... who in their right mind would label themselves with True Neutral? Why not describe the mindset of the Wyrd, with the narrator's own words and then the reader can make up his mind what kind of alignment they are, or even better, write a sidebar which complements the narrator's words. Personally, I would have preferred that the product had no narrator but a couple of cool sidebars instead, with the narrator's view.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the whole paragon class system, but the race class seems balanced, if not a little boring. How about some abilities that say a bit more about the race and help define how they develop? I have not seen a lot of paragon classes, so I am not sure if this is how they are supposed to work. I know that Purple Duck Games' Cyclop and Medusa pdfs had a few more signature abilities.

The rest of the pdf presents a series of feats, 11 to be precise. There were a few that I liked (like the mage/wyrd feats), but also a few that made no sense, like the Mystical Grace feat. I mean, why gain bonus hit points based on which feats you take (metamagic and item creation)? We also get a new sorceror bloodline (Oni), the Whispering Advisor prestige class and nine new spells. I liked most of the spells, which seemed balanced and flavored.

Overall, while the Wyrd seem a little too neutral (and bland) to me, they seem balanced. In this product, you get a lot of material for your money, which is nice, and the material presented are focused on the Wyrd (with a few feat exceptions). I didn't find a lot of typos and layout mistakes, which is also a plus. I am going to settle on 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this format.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wyrd of Questhaven (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
I wanted to thank Kenneth Axel Carlsson for taking the time to do a review of our product.
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