RPGNow.com
Close
Close
Browse
 Publisher Info











Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Forces of Darkness Zunirei of the Thousand Eyes (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/04/2013 03:33:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/author bio, 1 page ToC/short intro of the concept behind Zunirei,1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

So, who is Zunirei? Born in the Eastern lands of a now forgotten prime material plane, she was born from the lowest of stock, sold into prostitution and climbed the ranks of her homeland by guile and deviousness, making good use of the skill-set of a courtesan. On her way to the top, she started working as a double-agent, following her one true passion - exerting power and destruction by revealing secrets in the most destructive of ways. When death claimed her, she rose through the ranks of the abyss - and now she's back, elevated even beyond succobus status.

Among her minions, we find her erstwhile succubus-sisters, a clan of doppelgangers and more exotic beings - for example a lillend with which she maintains a careful exchange of information. Beyond that, Zunirei has also taught the art of crafting living tattoos to some of the mortals she has tempted and one of the hooks herein actually see the PCs seek to reclaim the lost soul of one of her erstwhile lovers from the Darklands - interesting!

Zunirei herself is a CR 12 threat and a unique outsider with a whole array of different signature abilities -her guise as a radiantly beautiful woman conceals the ability not only to create,d etect and influence living tattoos and dominate members of her network sans save, she also has claws of gemstone hardness disguised as her gorgeous fingernails! Her living tattoos are CR 2 diminutive constructs that act as spies for their deadly mistress, complete with creation options - and yes, they may be reabsorbed after their host has perished.

Beyond her regular incarnation, we also get a CR 15/MR 6 Mythic version of Zunirei - fitting thematically with her agent-role, she has learned here to actually hide her presence and erase herself from the memories of others - oh, and she gets her very own extraplanar private sanctum, making the Mythic Zunirei even harder to track down and defeat. Worse, she can now change her place with beings with her tattoos - OUCH.

A short box on teh willing and unwilling bearers of her tattoos and active and unaware agents of her network is provided as well, as is a page of detailed suggestions of how to integrate Zunirei into your campaign - 6 rather detailed hooks are here to help DMs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from a strange change of fonts in ~3 lines of the first page, I didn't notice any particular distinct glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read 2-column standard in full color with a parchment-style background. The artwork of Zunirei by Caeli Smith is AWESOME and the other interior artwork thematically fitting - especially nice that we get a depiction of Zunirei's signature mark. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Author Robert H. Hudson Jr. has created an intriguing demoness that strays from the default "bash-'em-in"-CE-outsiders approach - and kudos for that! Zunirei makes for a fantastic, cool adversary and I honestly don't have much to complain herein - personally, I would have enjoyed her expertise in seduction to be reflected in her skills, e.g. via Profession (Courtesan) or Perform (Seduction), but I get why they were omitted - fluff-only, both don't really have a lot of back-up rules-wise. The two builds of Zunirei are cool, with the Mythic one offering some exceedingly deadly and downright evil tricks that may have the PCs unintentionally slay her innocent, tattooed victims - EVIL with a capital "E" indeed. So yes, generally, Zunirei is a great build with top-notch production values and full color artworks to boot and the Mythic-support adds further value - but honestly, what I'm missing would be a minion-statblock or a lower CR-incarnation of Zunirei, something to occupy lower level PCs akin to FotS' different CR-builds. This gripe being mostly cosmetic, though, I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forces of Darkness Zunirei of the Thousand Eyes (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Gingerbread Golem
by Louis D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2013 09:46:13

Very well done, the layout, the art, Gingerbread Golem how can you not like that :) Louis E Danhoff - AHC



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Gingerbread Golem
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Bite Me! Wereblooded
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2013 05:11:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Full disclosure: I was one of the contributing authors of the Bite Me!-kickstarter that also made this pdf possible. That being said, I had no hand in the creation of this pdf and consider my verdict not compromised in any way.

This pdf clocks in at 23 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (which also mentions that the characters herein will not show up in the final book), 4 pages of SRD and 2 pages advertisement, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

As you have probably gleaned by now, this book introduces us to the race of the Wereblooded - offspring of natural lycanthropes and regular humanoids, they breed true (and may even spawn trueblooded lycanthropes). Rules-wise, they get +2 Con, +2 to Dex or Str (depending on the clan), -2 to Cha, are humanoids with a base speed of 30 ft., low-light vision, get DR 2/silver and always treat perception and stealth as class skills. Furthermore, wereblooded adhere to one of 3 clans that furthermore modify their abilities:

Wereblooded of Clan Felis must take +2 to Dex and get 1/day a reroll for a reflex save and a +10 ft. racial enhancement to their speed when charging, running or withdrawing. Members of Clan Lupis may choose whether to take the bonus to dex or str, get +10 ft. movement rate and always treat Survival and Knowledge (nature) as class skills. Finally, members of Clan Ursus need to take the bonus to str and get +2 to saves versus fear as well as +2 to bull rushes and overrun-attempts while both they and their adversary are standing on terra firma. Now beyond the extenisve information on their roles, alignment and religion etc., we also get the RP-build-information for both the base race and the respective clans. The base race clocks in at 6 RP, with clans taking up 2 RP of these points. And now while I consider the ARG's guidelines rubbish and the wereblooded to be stronger than what one would expect from "only" 6 RP (a great example of how the ARG-rules don't work - at all), I do have to concede that the race per se is well balanced, perhaps a wee bit on the strong side on par with dwarves and elves - a fact that enterprising DMs can easily further develop by playing up potential social stigmatization.

We also get 7 alternate racial traits - Desert-bred wereblooded can replace their clan with +2 to survival checks, whereas those bred on the mountain-ranges reduce the penalty to stealth while moving by 5 and may use it while running at -20 and those born in swamps get +4 to stealth in marshes as well as +2 to saves versus diseases, ingested poisons and the sickened and nauseated conditions. The desert-benefits are VERY weak here and could use an upgrade - when compared against the mountains and marshes and clan benefits, a paltry +2 to survival is not that impressive.

Now the customization does not end there - we get 3 subtypes of the clans: Felis may instead opt for being cheetah-like, gaining +10 ft. racial bonus to movement and may chose a favored terrain in which they can ignore difficult terrain in exchange for losing their DR. Lupis may opt for the alternate coyote subtype, which also loses the DR in favor for +1 to Bluff, Disguise and Knowledge (local) and may 1/day roll bluff or diplomacy twice and take the better result. Finally, wereblooded from the frozen north that hail from clan Ursus also exchange their DR for polar-bear style 1/day endure elements at character level=caster level and get +1 Knowledge (nature) and Survival in frozen or arctic environments.

We also get favored class options for all classes from the core rules, the APG-classes, the Magus and the Gunslinger. Personally, I think +1 to concentration for inquisitors and magi may be a bit strong, but I'm generally VERY cautious with any bonuses to concentration-checks in PFRPG.

Now the pdf also offers one damn cool ritual following the Incantation-rules as used extensively by Kobold Press and pioneered by Zombie Sky Press - again, with full construction-notes: "Claim the Ravenous Hunter's Form", which allows the target of the ritual to essentially gain a semblance of a werewolf, complete with the corresponding power-gain. Now this one is story-telling gold - whether as an edge in battle, as a devious trick or to properly frame wereblooded or lycanthropes, this one is nasty and versatile - two thumbs up!

Now if you're running a high-powered game (or are a DM looking for a further edge), there is also a "monstrous" version of the wereblooded herein, one that cannot be mistaken for a human - at 12 RP, they get +2 to Con (and +2 to Str or Dex depending on clan), -2 to Cha, 40 ft. movement, darkvision 60 ft, DR 5/silver and always treat stealth and perception as class skills. They also get a natural bite attack at 1d3 points of damage. The basic clan-abilities are not influenced or modified, but since the DR of monstrous wereblooded is higher, so the subtypes do get an upgrade: Monstrous Cheetah get +2 to initiative and the run-feat, Monstrous Coyote get +4 to bluff when lying and 1/day roll diplomacy or bluff twice, taking the better result. Monstrous Polar Bear Wereblooded get the 1/day endure elements spell-like ability of their non-monstrous brethren and also get +4 to con-checks and fort-saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion and ill effects from running. forced marches, starvation, thirst etc.

Now new rules are neat - new rules, ready to be dropped in a game without any fuss are even better - hence we are introduced to two new characters, first of which would be Sabra, Daughter of Katja Four-Named, a wereblooded felis rogue 3 in both regular and monstrous version, a catgirl temple-thief and Fyodor, son of Yuri Seven-Named, a polar bear ursus barbarian 7 of the hardiest stock who has no tolerance for softness and thus might make for a problematic guide. Both characters come with awesome full-color artworks depicting them as well as 2 adventure seeds.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout deserves special mention here - with blood-spatters on the sides and a fitting, easy to read font, this pdf's 2-column layout-standard is glorious to look at - further enhanced by the 3 full-color artworks and 2 one-page b/w-artworks (by Peter Bradley and Jacob Blackmon) that all are original and beautiful to look at indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Furthermore, we get a very printer-friendly b/w-version - neat indeed!

Award-winning author Ben McFarland has an excellent reputation and there's a reason for that. Still, every time I see RPs, my alarms go off - all too easily, the ARG can be used an example for a deeply flawed system justifying unbalanced design.

This pdf's races, however, do NOT, and let me make that abundantly clear, fall in this trap - the wereblooded, both of their incarnations, each fitting a niche in campaigns of respective power-levels and content- as well as theme-wise this pdf delivers. The production-values are superb and should leave no one unimpressed, offsetting the price-point, which is not too cheap. Still, layout, content and artworks mean that I still consider it okay regarding bang-for-buck ratio. Now, this sounds like a 5 star + seal of approval file and yes, it is a neat buy - but not a perfect one: I do have two minor complaints: Desert-based wereblooded get the short end of the stick with rather weak bonuses compared to what they give up. And we don't get age, height and weight-tables. While the latter may seem like a nitpick, lighter Felis, heavier Ursus etc. would have made sense to me and, at least to me, these tables are not optional. Hence, I can't rate this the full 5 stars and will instead settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform and still a definite recommendation for both DMs and players who'd love to play a balanced race in touch with their inner beast.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wereblooded
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Do-Gooders & Daredevils, Operation: Marshal Law
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2013 12:01:57

This is a handy collection of oddments that will come in handy if you are of the opinion that law enforcement will try to recruit (forcibly or otherwise) superheroes to their ranks. It's a concept that can make for a cracking campaign, and at least stops people accusing your caped crusaders of being mere vigilantes and almost as much of a menace that the supervillains they fight!

The first - the Mole Network organisation advantage - could be of use to anyone, whether or not they are involved in law enforcement. Basically, it allows a superhero character to discover that somewhere in an organisation he's dealing with there is a mole who is affiliated to his own parent organisation and who might be persuaded to help him, if he can do so without breaking cover.

Next come some new skills, mostly based around who you know and where they are - a modified version of Connected that focusses on particular organisations, a revised version of Contacts, and Ear to the Ground - you use contacts, connections, water-cooler gossip and the like to good effect, enabling you to know what's going down.

This is follwed by Operation: Marshal Law, which lays out how superhero involvement in law enforcement could be run, particularly if your game is set in the United States of America. The premise is that the US Marshal Service has decided to recruit superheroes for the specific purpose of dealing with empowered villains - both the catching of them, and the transport and retention of them once they have been caught. They also can be tasked with witness protection and the guarding of Federal officials such as judges when a potential threat from metahumans has been detected.

Details for a local US Marshal office, which will be their base of operations, and of the training prospective Marshals undergo - it's the same as regular human ones, but conducted in a separate facility to accommodate superhero needs - are give, with all the game mechanics you need to make it happen in your game. There's a note on the standard issue equipment they get and several adventure seeds to get such a campaign going.

Some neat ideas here, excellent for those wishing to integrate into society rather than existing on the fringes as vigilantes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Do-Gooders & Daredevils, Operation: Marshal Law
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Bite Me! Wereblooded
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/21/2013 11:40:06

This work opens with a foreword by Christina Stiles explaining a project about lycanthropes that is presently being written following a successful Kickstarter campaign - the Bite Me! The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes if you are interested. Whilst some of this work forms part of that book, not all does so even if you are a supporter or intend to purchase it, you might want to grab this... rather than wait until next year.

OK. The Wereblooded are what you get when a werewolf and a human mate. Given the general tenor of 'teen angst/urban fantasy' that's around at the moment, this may happen more often than you might imagine. They combine the animal ferocity of one parent with the more civilised nature of the other, but form their own distinct race. However, as they usually resemble the human parent and don't have the classic lycanthrope powers, they often can pass within human society without comment. They usually breed true, producing wereblooded children, but sometimes produce a natural lycanthrope, a throwback to the were ancestor.

Whilst appearing more-or-less human, they still have animalistic features and nature that can lead to trouble - particularly when the locals are up in arms about lycanthrope depredations! In particular their eyes and hair tend to reflect their lycanthrope heritage, that of a wolf or a cat or a bear. They do not have the capability to shape-shift, unless accessing a spell or other power that confers that ability. In those fairly rare instances when there are numbers of wereblooded around, they form their own communities based on clan and bloodlines; but mostly they remain inconspicuous amidst 'ordinary' human society... but many seek the adventurer's path.

Each wereblooded has specific traits based on their clan: Lupis (wolf), Felis (cat) or Ursus (bear). They all have excellent low light vision and are affected by silver, although not as much as a natural lycanthrope. There are terrain-based alternate traits and some sub-clans as well to provide variety.

However, there are other wereblooded... those who take more after the lycanthrope parent in appearance. Monstrous humanoids that may have animal-shaped heads or fur all over their bodies. They may also have natural attacks and move faster than normal.

After discussion of all the rule mechanics you need for either type of wereblooded, a couple of samples are provided. After all, if you want to introduce a new concept, having an appropriate NPC is a good way to show your players what can be done. Both have fully detailed stat blocks as well as descriptions and other details to help you play them, and plenty of plot ideas for why they might show up in your campaign.

If the rest of the final book is to this standard, I definately want a copy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wereblooded
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
by Steve W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/06/2013 16:19:17

I have never been a huge fan of d20. The system is cumbersome, has way too many rules to keep track of, and is class based. About the only time I have liked anything d20 was Mutants and Masterminds. They took the standard d20 and turned it into a cool classless system that worked. Well now I have discovered something else d20 that I like. The Rogue Mage RPG fell into my lap and when I began reading it, I discovered a new d20 classless system that works.

Now I am NOT familiar with the Faith Hunter's alternate Earth but I am very intrigued by what I see in the game. You get to follow in the steps of others who survived the end of the world, a modern ice age, and worse. If you like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, d20 Star Wars, or Mutants and Masterminds, then you will find Rogue Mage to be a delight. As with any new game, you will have a small learning curve but once you overcome that small hurdle, you will be on your way towards exploring a new world with many possibilities



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Scott Harshbarger Presents: Zombie Art Pack
by Jerry T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2013 09:29:40

The definite positive for this art pack is that the scenes are all very usable for a modern zombie project. There are many different scenes including street, morgue, hospital, and others that can be incorporated into what you have planned.

The license also grants permission to crop and color images, which is a definite plus.

Some images do feel more 'finished', but the price per image is definitely in line with other similar art that is available.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scott Harshbarger Presents: Zombie Art Pack
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2012 10:53:57

What if someone held an apocalypse and nobody came?

That is an over-simplification, but it is the jist of what I get from reading a little bit of the Rogue Mage series by Faith Hunter. Now I need to be upfront here about a few things.

  1. I have never read the Rogue Mage books, but they are something I have been aware of and I have been meaning to check out.
  2. I know Christina Stiles and have worked with her (somewhat) in the past.

That out of the way, lets look at this game.

Rogue Mage is a new RPG from Christina Stiles and Faith Hunter, published by Misfit Studios. It is a modern supernatural game, so I am already inclined to like it, but also inclined to be critical of it. I will work to balance this for this review.

The game is a d20 based one, but not 100% d20. There is a list of changes for those of us that pick up a d20 game and try to go as we always have. So no attacks of opportunity, no hp, no classes, no levels and so on. Mostly this resembles Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Ed quite a bit. The damage tracker is similar, but simpler. There is a Toughness save (like M&M) and Combat is a skill (like other games). So mechanics wise this is really an elegant system, but it doesn't add a lot of new material. So like M&M all you need is a d20 to play. Also this is the Player's book only. The Game Master's Guide will be out later.

Chapter 1 covers the basic rules of the game. I thought this was a touch odd, since we have not rolled up any characters yet, but I think the reasoning is that the rules are so simple that leading off with them allows you to read them once and then easily refer back to them as needed.

Chapter 2 covers the setting. You don't need have read the Faith Hunter books to use this game, something I think is very important. The books look good and I am looking forward to reading them, but I have this book now. Briefly the world changed with the return of the Seraphs on June 12, 2011. Day before my birthday. The war that follows engulfs the world and leaves it in shambles; in fact it is known as the Last War. The present day is 2117 (or 105 PA, post ap). Given Rush is in concert as of this writing 2112 would have been cooler for me, but hey. Immediately I am drawn to the parallels between this game and Eden's Armageddon. Except in Armageddon the war is still going on and it's 2018 (that seemed SO far away back when I was playtesting the game). The world though in Rogue Mage is more messed up with the new Ice Age and all the plagues. Tech is all over the place with advanced technology in the regions away from the ice to steam powered retro-tech.

Chapter 3 is Character Creation. There are abilities and skills familiar to most d20 games. Characters though have points in which to buy these similar to many other non-d20 systems and M&M. In addition there are Talents, Drawbacks and Magic. First up are the character races; neomage, third-generation kylen, human, seraph-touched, rogue daywalker, and second unforeseen (mule). These are detailed in the book and fit into the cosmology of the game. Races can be bought with character points, or in the case of humans, character points are awarded back to you. Attributes and skills are bought with points. Talents can either be normal, special or supernatural and have varying point costs. Drawbacks give you back points. There are also Luck points (think Hero or Drama points) and a virtue/taint tracker which is a new twist. There is a character creation walk-through and many sample characters.

Chapter 4 deals with abilities; Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom and so on and saves. Chapter 5 deals with skills. The list is a familiar one for anyone that has played a d20 game in the last 12 years. Of note though, Combat is a skill now. I rather like that to be honest. A trainable skill instead of a built in aptitude.

Chapter 6 covers Talents. Think of these as something similar to Feats or Qualities, or most like the Powers in True 20. Many of these are Feats from the SRD, but that is fine because they still work here. As you can imagine there are a lot of them here, a little more than 30 pages worth. Then we also get the Drawbacks. These are like negative feats. They take something from you, but you get Character Points in return. We get 10 pages of those.

ASIDE: While this game diverts a bit from the d20 mainstream, there is enough here that is the same to make you wonder if your other d20 resources might work with it. For that answer I would have to say I see no reason why not. Sure you are deviating from the source material more, but mechanically speaking, unless it relates to levels, classes or HP I can't see why it wouldn't work.

Chapter 7 is Magic. There is a lot here, not just in terms of rules for magic, but the spells themselves. Over 46 pages. Again some spells from other games could be converted and used here. One would need to figure out the point cost for casting them. I wonder if the spells from the d20 Call of Cthulhu would be compatible? Or even BESM d20 Advanced Magic. If so, then this game would open up a wealth of playing options.

Chapter 8 details Virtue, Money and Luck. Virtue and Taint stand in for the basic alignment system, but this also has more in-game effects. Virtuous characters are more resilient to some magics for example. Wealth is a score, rather than a track-able resource like gold pieces. And Luck Points, like I mentioned are like Hero or Drama points.

Chapter 9 discusses Secondary Characters, aka NPCS. Chapter 10 has equipment. It is an interesting mix of future and past tech and high tech and magic.

Chapter 11 details combat. Combat normally gets it's own chapter, but I would have figured it a little closer to skills. No matter, it is here and it tells you what you need to know. Of importance here is the damage track and conditions rules. Remember, there are no HP here, so this is how you know if you are good or about to die. This combat makes this game a bit more deadly than your typical d20 game.

We end with some fiction from Faith Hunter (each chapter had some too) and an Index.

The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is really good as well and really captures the feel of the game well I think. It is all black and white so it won't kill your printer.

There is a lot I really like about this game. First it has so much potential with things I am already doing. Secondly the fact that is also seems to fit in mechanically with a bunch of books I already have is also great.

I think I would have loved to have seen this as a Unisystem game. But I know there are a lot of reasons why that could not have been done. Plus the rules from Mutants & Masterminds, as I have done in the past, can be tweaked to give you a Unisystem like experience. To be 100% honest if there is anyone out there that could be trusted to do that it is Christina Stiles and Misfit Studios.

Something though is keeping me from absolutely loving this game though. I think it is because I have not read the books it is based on yet. I also think there is not enough information here on how to run a game. That is not a big deal for me really, I have 100s of books that tell me that. I don't know how to run one in this universe. But these are not the shortcomings of this book; only my understanding of the world of this book. I do hope the Game Master's Guide comes with a sample adventure.

Here is what I do know. Misfit Studios has done a a great job in the past with Unisystem products and Mutants & Masterminds ones. This rule set seems to be a perfect middle ground for them and I hope that we get to see it for more games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2012 21:36:51

WHAT WORKS: Here's the thing - I am not a big d20 fan. However, there have been some games that tweak it really, really well. I thought Know Your Role/Wild World Wrestling did and I thought Star Wars Saga Edition did. Rogue Mage does a very fine job of focusing the Mutants & Masterminds version on a specific power level, capping the skills to keep them from exploding into wild ranges and so on. The magic system has a lot of bells and whistles, but I mean that in a good way, given the setting. I like abstracted Wealth as I hate bean counting, so that's a plus, and the Virtue and Taint system is handled very well.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: My biggest gripes are organization and capitalization. Now, it may be a stylistic thing, but it sure would help me if the racial names were capitalized in the text. Also, I would have preferred the Talents section coming before the Magic section...seems like an odd organizational choice to me. Personally, I would probably have also combined the Secondary Touches chapter with Chapter One, but most of that is just nit-picky.

CONCLUSION: If anything, I just wanted More...which makes sense, as I am primarily a GM and this is the Player's Handbook. It also speaks well of the information in the book that I am genuinely interested as to what's in the GM's book. I can't say I wouldn't be more excited if this used a different system than a modified version of the Mutants & Masterminds iteration of d20, but they have done a really good job of modifying the system to fit what they are trying to emulate rather than just bolting it onto the existing framework. That's something I can certainly appreciate and I would be willing to give this version of d20 a shot as written. In my opinion, Rogue Mage is shaping up to be a very fine project with a lot of time and care going into it (and with the first credited playtest noted in the book as being in 2008, I should hope there has been). There's lots to like here, and Mutants & Masterminds has a track record of being particularly smooth among the d20 family, so the base is strong and tested even before the Rogue Mage team got to it.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/02/tommys-take-on-rogue-mage-players.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Bestiary of GOP, Grand Ol' Predators
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/21/2012 18:19:38

I’ve always been fond of the idea that material for RPGs could be drawn from existing sources. Usually this means from a given movie, book, video game, etc. But more there’s something to be said for caricature as well; where you put in an NPC or monster equivalent of someone your players will recognize. While it can be fun to have this homage be of someone benevolent, there’s a lot more fun to be had in making a mockery of a bad person in this manner.

Enter The Bestiary of GOP, Grand Ol’ Predators, from Misfit Studios.

A short Pathfinder monster book, the Bestiary of GOP presents monsters out of four real-life conservative candidates for the American presidency (some among you may be wondering why I’d even bother saying that, since it seems so obvious. Well, there are more countries than America which have Pathfinder fans, and it won’t be 2012 forever). Each is given write-up that satirizes its inspiration in the form of some sort of awful monster.

The product is ten pages long, and does everything a PDF should do. Copy and paste is enabled, and bookmarks to each of the creatures is present. Moreover, a printer-friendly version is here as well. While it does keep the interior illustrations, it removes all of the coloring, rendering them as line-versions of the finished artwork.

The books four monsters need little introduction if you pay attention to politics. The Ron’Pol devil is an infernal creature able to debate you into confusion (an act which empowers it) and can sell you a wish for your soul. The mitt is actually a new race (with PC stats!) that is obsessed with money and has the ability to adapt itself to any particular social situation. The gingrich newt is a hideous creature that poisons everything around it, and yet has the ability to charm you nonetheless. Finally, the santorum is an undead creature so obsessed with pushing its foul dogma (and misogyny) that it comes back to do its god’s work, regardless of its god’s feelings on the subject. Just watch out for its, er, “santorum” attack.

In terms of mechanical utility, all of these creatures hold up fairly well. None of them are, with their base stats, powerful monsters – the highest is CR 5. I did notice one or two things that were off, however; the sample mitt should be CR 1/3, not ½, since it has one level in an NPC class. Similarly, the santorum’s aura of anachronism (science doesn’t work on it!) is in the wrong place in its stat block. The errors are like this – never anything wrong so much as in need of a slight clean-up. But then, having things be wrong somehow seems appropriate for these evil things.

Overall, minus the potential ramifications from your group, depending on their political beliefs, what’s here is a perfectly viable micro-bestiary of new monsters for your Pathfinder game. Strip out the real-world context (which, in most cases, is as simple as a change of names) and you have monsters that stand alongside any of the others that you’d use at your table. Of course, if you aren’t worried about anyone being offended, then there’s no reason why you can’t leave the subtext in, and let your players really go to town on hack ‘n’ slashing some of the most vile creatures they’re ever likely to encounter.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Bestiary of GOP, Grand Ol' Predators
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher Reply:
Glad you liked it, and good eye on the two errors. Now they're fixed!
Superior Synergy Fantasy PFRPG Edition
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2012 07:02:26

This pdf is 73 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 69 pages of content, so let's check this out!

If you're anything like me, you breathed a sigh of relief when PFRPG got rid of skill snyergies. They were clunky, overtly complicated and often forgotten. In summary, I don't know a single player or DM who actually liked how they worked. Now that I've established that, let me assure you that the skill synergies herein work nothing like those in the 3.X-days of old, instead providing us with a wholly original system: Essentially, you can opt to modify skill checks with your primary skill by complementing them with a secondary skill, for example making feinting via Bluff easier if you succeed at an acrobatics skill check. These secondary skill checks, however, are anything but a sure bet: Each of the secondary skill uses has 9 potential outcomes that range from utterly failing (Dc missed by 15+) the second skill check to utterly rocking it (DC surpassed by 20+), making the additional skill use a gambit. Furthermore, the original skill DC is modified depending on the action you try: Using acrobatics to enhance your climbing, for example is against the DC of the climb check -5. Note that these secondary skill checks do not supplant the original skill checks, but add options to handling skills. The possibility to gamble and modify your primary skill checks definitely opens up some interesting new options, if you are willing to run with the additional dice-rolling they require. Advice on how to handle skill synergies and e.g. using them depending on classes are included in the deal as well.

This is by far not where synergy stops, though: The next section provides us with feat synergy-rules. To give you an example on what that actually means, I'll take the very first of the synergy effects, adamantine lungs. To qualify for this synergy, you have to have the feats athletic, great fortitude and endurance. If you have these 3, you get the benefits of adamantine lungs, making it possible to hold your breath for 50% longer than normal. This is one of the simpler synergies, though, several other needing a selection of up to 6 feats that e.g. open up the option to use whirlwind attack to force enemies surrounding you to step back from you. What this does cannot be understated: First of all, it provides tangible benefits for characters who take feats that may not be wholly optimized, but fit in line with an organic character development. Secondly, the synergy effects could easily be considered special fighting styles and tactics that could easily be utilized as non-monetary rewards by a DM. In fact, you could also make these synergy effects regular feats if you don't like the general idea. While reading these effects I did not notice one I'd consider broken or uninteresting and in fact, am enjoying the whole section and the way in which the material presented can easily be modified to suit your and just about any individual game.

Chapter 4 details class synergy, which is one big love-letter to multiclassing: Essentially, the synergy-effects once again are based on having access to different prerequisites, but instead of feats, we now are talking about class abilities like sneak attack, mutagens etc. Need an example? If you're an alchemist/barbarian, you can benefit from the Liquid Rage-effect and brew a special mutagen that restores a limited amount of rage rounds or even extend your current rage! Even more so than the stellar feat-synergy-section, this chapter opens whole new possibilities and incentives for multiclassing and customizing your characters and, once again, could also be used as story-rewards, organization-benefits etc. - in fact, you could probably craft a whole setting of cool organizations from these synergies.

Chapter 5 goes further by providing magic synergy effects, something that I bet has come up in your game: Ever had your players e.g. try to brittle structures, weapons etc. via fire and cold damage? With the rules provided in this chapter, you have now the option to make elemental physics matter in your game without being unbalancing - concise rules for all the synergy effects are provided and ensure that using magical tactics in the fights of your group finally matter. Add to that the options these synergy effects provide when interacting with terrain and you're in for a couple of pages of sheer awesomeness. It should be noted that weird combinations like a paladin/barbarian-cross-over are included, but the author has explained that this strange combination, prohibited by alignments, will make more sense with an upcoming release.

Less obviously awesome, but nevertheless brilliant is the final chapter, which is wholly devoted to craft synergies. If you're playing in a low magic campaign, this chapter is essentially a must-have and reason enough to justify the asking price in and of itself. Essentially, the chapter provides additional crafting rules to add mini-templates to your equipment. As with the skills, failing the second craft-skill has potentially negative consequences on the item's usability, making adding these special qualities a gamble. The added modified properties range beyond armor-ruining weapons (which can be found here, though!) and include special vials that deal their splash damage in a larger area and even weapons that have been specifically tailored and weighted to your individual character. In order to use these synergies, though, the crafting character has to once again, fulfill certain criteria, ensuring that not everyone can craft these modifications.

The pdf ends with several pages of reference sheets to facilitate usage of the new rules herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed several misplaced blank spaces and other minor glitches. While not impeding my understanding of the rules or generally being a hindrance, another pass at editing would have been nice. Layout adheres to a full-color 2-column standard and the artworks are a bit cartoony for my tastes. if you own "The Spellweaver", you know what to expect. The pdf comes with a printer-friendly version as well as a separate reference sheet pdf. What can I say? Whether you like the new skill synergy rules will depend mostly on whether you consider the additional dice-rolling a pro or a con, but enough rules and variants are covered to tailor the content to your game by restricting the usage of the synergy skills. While I'm still a bit undecided on the section on skill synergy, the other synergies covered are gold and no-brainers - whether you include feat-synergy as story-rewards, feats or flat-out synergies, the chapter is a definite winner. the same holds true for class synergies and finally, magic and craft synergies, which provide options galore as well. Even better, while all of these synergies could be added to your campaign, the rules are open and versatile and enable you to introduce them in just about any way you like to your campaign, cherry-picking and customizing the content. Supremely ambitious in scope, Misfit Studios' second pdf is a challenging design that retains top-notch customizability while providing easy to insert, fun and smart rules to your game, making this humble pdf a true winner and very hard, if not impossible, to dislike. In fact, my only gripes with the massive and extremely versatile content lie in the minor editing glitches and a personal dislike of the art-style. Usually, I'd go 4.5 stars and round down to 4 due to aforementioned glitches, but that would, quite frankly do injustice to the stellar design and content herein, where in fact one chapter alone would make for an excellent supplement, let alone that many brilliant ideas. I really enjoy this book and would love to see a POD, as I consider this pdf worthy of being printed and while I'm not 100% sold on the skill-section, I do still consider this pdf an excellent example of stellar crunch-design. Thus my final verdict will be 5 stars, with the seal of approval missed by only a margin and remain with a definite recommendation. Congratulations to Steven B. Trustrum!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy Fantasy PFRPG Edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Superior Synergy Fantasy PFRPG Edition
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2012 19:59:35

One of the ways in which Pathfinder (nee Third Edition) is different from previous editions of the world’s most popular fantasy role-playing game is in the proliferation of mechanical character abilities. Whereas before your PC had comparatively little stats, nowadays they have many different mechanics that serve to define what they can and cannot do, from skills to feats to class abilities and more. However, most of these exist largely in a vacuum – while some may be prerequisites to others, few actually build off of each other, and they can form a collection that’s quite disparate in what they offer (particularly for multiclass characters).

It’s in that spirit of tying a character’s abilities more closely together that Misfit Studios has released Superior Synergy: Fantasy for the Pathfinder RPG. Let’s examine it and see how well it ties things together.

Superior Synergy comes as three PDFs, those being the main file, a printer-friendly version thereof, and a short checklist file for the various synergies. Ostensibly, this checklist (which uses a very handy alternating grey-and-white set of rows for each item, making them easily distinguishable) is used to chart which synergies your character qualifies for. However, it should be noted that GMs can make good use of this as a tool for denoting which synergies he allows in his campaign to begin with.

The main file is just over seventy pages in length, and has the technical aspects that a good PDF product should – it comes with full, nested bookmarks, a hyperlinked table of contents, and has the copy-and-paste enabled. These go for the printer-friendly version also, which eliminates the cover, the page backgrounds and borders (those being an off-white and a muddy brownish, respectively), and turns the few interior illustrations from being full color to black and white. I’m personally of the opinion that printer-friendly file should eliminate the illustrations altogether, though that’d usually require a new layout.

So what exactly does Superior Synergy present for your Pathfinder game? Simply put, this book posits that if you have certain prerequisites – be they of skills, feats, class abilities or whatnot – then you can gain an extra benefit. This is usually automatic, but some times will require a check.

The book’s first chapter deals with skill synergies. I need to take a moment to state, in the plainest terms possible, that these are NOT the same as the skill synergies from 3.5. For that matter, these are not even the same as the material from the 3.5 version of Superior Synergy. Rather, these skill synergies function off of making a check with a certain skill, and the check result modifying another skill check.

There’s no ambiguity here regarding what skills affect what, or how long the synergy check takes, etc. as the book goes into very specific detail on the mechanics (as well as the flavor of exactly how) these synergies use. For example, you can make an Acrobatics check which modifies (depending on the check result) a subsequent Climb check made to catch yourself or someone else on a fall, as you’re good at twisting and teetering enough to give yourself a bit of an edge…if you’re lucky. If you’re not, you’ve actually made things worse.

Feat synergy is, perhaps ironically, very similar to a section of new feats (and indeed, the book notes that if you think giving these synergy effects out automatically once the prerequisites are met, you can turn these into new feats). As a Pathfinder aficionado, I was quite happy to note that these prerequisites took into account the materials from the Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Magic, and Ultimate Combat. So for example, if you have Bludgeoner (UC), Dazing Assault (APG), and Weapon Focus, you qualify for the Staggering Blow synergy, which lets you attempt to attempt to stagger a foe for a round. There’s a lot of great material here that lets you put forward a lot of feats that might otherwise be totally ignored (such as some skill-boosters).

For all of that, though, it was the next chapter that was my favorite: class synergies. Simply put, this section is (as I read it) one big love-letter to multiclassing, as it grants synergy abilities from having different class features. If you have the track class ability from being a ranger or inquisitor, and the detect evil power of a paladin, you gain the Track Evil synergy, which grants a bonus to tracking evil creatures. I really enjoyed this section, as it did a lot to make multiclassing sexy again.

The spell synergy section is the only part of the book that doesn’t offer several dozen synergies. Having only a half-dozen synergies, these are the result of using certain types of spells within one round of each other. Perhaps surprisingly, these are written with a more generic stroke, mostly combining types of spells that mostly lend themselves to fairly obvious combinations – here you’ll find rules for using fire and ice to weaken items, electricity conducted by metal or water, and similar things, though at least one (several mental effects at once can confuse a creature) takes a more innovative leap.

The last section of the book is crafting synergy, and basically allows for characters with a nuanced background to craft weapons with built-in non-magical abilities. If you can rage and have Skill Focus for Craft (armor) for example, you can build armor that’s painful to wear but as a result increases how long you can rage (slightly)...but only on a successful Craft check, otherwise you’ve essentially created an item with a slight (non-magical) curse.

The book ends with several pages of the checklist I mentioned at the beginning, something that seems redundant, as the file is already included separately.

Overall, I found Superior Synergy: Fantasy PFRPG Edition to be an expansive book of great options for your characters. Having said that, there are some concerns that I’d want to thoroughly weigh before I used it in my game. For one thing, the synergies that require an extra roll can slow down game-play, though I do appreciate that these are the synergies that aren’t guaranteed to be an extra boost for characters. By contrast, the always-active synergies are faster, but mean that PCs will automatically receive a power bump…though even that’s controllable if you decide to make some of these into feats, or just disallow certain synergies altogether.

It’s that modularity that, I think, really puts this book over the top. There are so many options here, which can be easily added, tweaked, or disallowed, that there’s really no way you can’t find a happy medium in terms of figuring out what parts of this book to allow and what not to. Taking that into account, there are still a few minor problems (a synergy for a paladin’s smite evil and a barbarian’s rage…alignment compatibility issues there), and the occasional spelling and grammar error, but nothing that’s a deal-breaker. I say, start using Superior Synergy, and make your characters more than just the sum of their parts.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
To address the rage/smite contradiction, note that this is a matter of forward compatibility with future Misfit Studios products. Without going into greater detail, some character options in future products will make the Synergy Effect possible. I threw it in here to keep it in context, as putting a single Synergy Effect in a later book that has no other synergy info in it would seem too out of place.
5 Magic Items: Horrific Books
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/13/2012 09:02:45

Each terrible tome in this collection features a short description, value, mechanics for using it in your Savage Worlds game, and a Knowledge table, which is used to determine how well the character reading it understands the contents. As with the other supplements in this series, the art is great, and every page is packed with usable info.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5 Magic Items: Horrific Books
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Monster Brief: Halloween Horrors
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/13/2012 08:54:46

Great Halloweenish monsters for Savage Worlds, all statted up and ready to drop into your game to put a little terror into your players. Includes five monsters: Death Dragon, Doll Effigas, Scarecrow Effigas, Plague Wraith, and Reaper. Each has excellent artwork, and as with all of Misfit Studio's supplements, the writing is excellent and there is virtually no wasted space.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Halloween Horrors
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

5 Magic Items: Axes
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2012 14:38:20

A collection of magic axes for fantasy games using the Savage Worlds system. This collection is unique in that it includes Knowledge tables for each weapon that the player or GM can roll on to see of the character knows (or can figure out) the magical properties of the weapon. Done in secret by the GM, this can be a great way to make the items more mysterious.

As with all of these supplements by Misfit Studios, this one includes excellent fantasy art.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5 Magic Items: Axes
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 61 to 75 (of 226 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG