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Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
by Jeremy E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2015 14:39:26
I realize after some other reviews here and on other sites that I'm in the minority with my opinion but I liked what was done. Now part of the value is based on the current price but to get four new races (plus the modified aasimar and minotaur), new backgrounds, and I think some interesting racial substitutions for less than 5 bucks is worth it. Now 14.99 is a completely different story...and would not be able to recommend it for that price simply due to the lack of enough content.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
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Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
by calvin h. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2015 13:11:41
Its nice to see some 5e player options, but this PDF just isn't a good example of what they should look like. The art is really nice and the truly new elements are cool but there are even more problems overall. A lot of the formatting follows pathfinder conventions rather than 5e conventions, the subraces are more in line with pathfinder ability replacement than 5e sub-race packages, and the Aasimar (and to some degree Minotaur) is taken word for word from the WotC books but with added variant abilities at the end, again ignoring the sub-race standard set out by 5e. Not all of the sub-classes they present are particularly new either, the Rogue-Ambush Predator is more like a compination of other already published archtypes not something new.

At the end of the day this entire document really reads like it was made by someone with only a working familiarity with 5e who just wanted to make another Pathfinder book.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Campaign Setting
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2015 01:51:12
Southlands is massive. It's "face" is made out of two well-known tropes, both in a unique "Midgard" version - Arabian Nights and Pharaonic Egypt. These are the places an explorer from the north are likely to encounter first, and they are reasonably familiar to most gamers - except that these takes are special, not just the standard rehashed. Further south are even more exotic places, likely less well known to most gamers - jungle and desert lands. Each country is detailed as a homeland, there are rules for Traits and sometimes whole races typical to the origin. The feel of these places is more sword-and-sorcery than medieval romance. Few places are good or bad, it is very much a patchwork of greys.

On one hand, this is the GM's secret world book detailing new and exotic places. On the other hand, it is the player's handbook for a new continent, with loads and loads of new character opportunities. And perhaps this is the problem with the book; it doesn't quite know who it is for.

This review is based on the PDF from the kickstarter; I've not seen the physical book yer, but it looks like it will be gorgeous. Layout is open with the right amount of space, art is gorgeous, and the maps look wonderful. It feels like the PDF format doesn't quite do them justice.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Campaign Setting
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Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
by David G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/31/2015 18:50:41
The product has some good content, but the design feels a lot more like Pathfinder than 5e, especially with the races. Only one of the new class options is really a new subclass (the sorcerer) and there is some awkward working in several of the racial features.

I wanted to like this but sadly cannot recommend this product.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition
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Southlands Campaign Setting Map
by Dustin H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2015 21:37:19
This map is absolutely beautiful! Anna Meyer continues to amaze me with her cartographic creations.

The map is huge and wonderfully detailed. It bears a passing resemblance to Africa, and is comforting in its familiarity, but isn't a blatant carbon copy of the continent.

I'm extremely happy I backed this project. Great job Kobolds!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Campaign Setting Map
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Dwarves of the Ironcrags
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2015 09:57:48
A somewhat different take on dwarven culture, here describing a society based on a combination of democracy and slave-ownership (with more of a nod to Ancient Greece than to, say, the Antebellum South). I doubt it would be useful as a description of a 'default' dwarven society in many games, but it could work as an isolated nation in some corner of a campaign world.

The society itself is mostly well-described, although there are a few holes here and there. The sections on history and culture are followed by a sort of dwarven version of freemasonry, complete with a prestige class based around mystical abilities, and a second prestige class for the NPC leadership of the group. This is generally well thought out and atmospheric, and one could see it being useful in other campaigns with the right sort of background.

Finally, there are some monsters suitable for an area dominated by dwarves, and, somewhat incongruously, a chapter on what are essentially human gypsies. In general, it's a good book, albeit with a few gaps and oddities, and not suitable for every campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dwarves of the Ironcrags
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Midgard Bestiary for 4th Edition D&D
by Darren P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2015 13:08:13
Pretty good if you are stuck for new monsters, ok presentation

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard Bestiary for 4th Edition D&D
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Shadows of the Dusk Queen (Pathfinder RPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2015 08:10:20
A mysterious forest, legends about an evil soceress who vanished completely but might now be coming back... is this enough to get your party to go and investigate? If not, perhaps they just happen to be travelling through the forest or have been hired to check the place out - a few hooks such as these are provided but in essence the adventure begins when the party enters the forest, no matter how they got there. Just where the forest might be located is left to you as well - it may even not be in Midgard if you are not using that setting.

A brief Adventure Background lets you know a little about what is going on, and then we're off, beginning with an encounter with a treant with obscure motives, but who could be quite helpful if handled the right way. If the party are there by chance, however, this encounter might prove rather baffling as the treant assumes they know what's going on! Fortunately, if the characters are too puzzled, other forest denizens have been provided who have a good understanding of the situation and are prepared to help out - indeed it's suggested that you use them to keep the plot flowing if it stalls due to the party being unsure about what they ought to be doing.

This is a location-based quest adventure. Each location is described and the events or encounteres associated with them given in detail, along with applicable monster stats. Interestingly, many enounters are with creatures subtly modified from 'book standard' to suit the shadow fey feel, stirges that can hide in shadow and the like. There are some nice illustrations embedded in the text and, in a neat move, they are provided in an 'Art and Maps' appendix if you like to show your players what their characters see.

The assumption is made that the characters will seek to prevent the Dusk Queen (as the evil sorceress terms herself) from making a return to her former power: in this case there's a fine cinematic end-battle to be had. The 'Art and Maps' section not only provides a one-page floor plan of the setting, there's also a full sectional battlemap for those who want to use miniatures or pawns for the climactic brawl. And there's a little hint about things to come in the promise of a sequel to this adventure...

This is a well-presented scenario, a little forced in the assumptions made about what the characters will do perhaps, but enjoyable nevertheless - and if the threat posed is presented well and the eerie menace of the setting played up, successful characters should have a feeling of real accomplishment, of having prevented a genuine menance developing in the area.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of the Dusk Queen (Pathfinder RPG)
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Deep Magic (Pathfinder RPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2015 01:00:42
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive, huge tome clocks in at 378 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages backer-list, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 367 pages of content, so let's...

...wait. I can't really convey the illusion of spontaneity here. Why? Because I have written and deleted this review 3 times as I'm writing these lines. This is quite literally one of the hardest reviews I have ever written, mainly because conveying my stance on Deep Magic is pretty ambiguous and prone to misinterpretation.



But let's start at the beginning. This book is beautiful. Thanks to one particularly helpful gentleman, I managed to pledge by proxy over him (didn't have the bucks when the KS ran...) and when this book's physical copy arrived in the mail, I was utterly blown away. Not only did I receive a massive, gorgeous stitch-bound hardcover, it was in gorgeous full color and sported some of the very best pieces of artwork I've EVER SEEN. The matte paper helps create an illusion of an "old" tome and the superb, copious artworks render this book so beautiful, it even mops the floor with quite a few Paizo-books. Yes, that gorgeous. The layout, with its parchment-look, its subdued, unobtrusive glyphs further enhances this. Deep Magic is one of the most mind-staggeringly gorgeous books I've ever had the pleasure to read and both artists and layout-artists have been up to their A+++-game. Kudos!



Then, I went on and started reading beyond the forewords and the introductory short story by Ed Greenwood and after them, yes, I was utterly blown away and totally in the mind-set for the things to come:



The first we see would be the respective magical traditions. Old time fans of Kobold Quarterly and Kobold Press will see quite an array of old favorites herein again - from blood magic to fool's summonings, quite a bunch of conceptual goldies can be found herein. At their very best, these new traditions are ridiculously inspired - new ioun stones and ley lines would be two such examples. The latter, for examples, can be tapped by casters with concise rules to tap into their powers - while very powerful, these ley-lines can not only make for interesting tools that can turn the tide of battle and e.g. prevent a TPK or provide unique, cool ways to execute narratives. The transient nature of ley lines and the option to burn them out/change their course places control firmly within the hands of the DM, preventing abuse. That being said, as a DM, I have to decidedly advise against making the numerous ley line feats available for PCs - their balancing is odd/non-existent, with no-save, no-SR 1-round blinding effects and the like not necessarily constituting good resources to place in player hands.



The fool's summoning tricks go a different way - beyond interesting, more risky, but also more powerful summoning tricks, a copious amount of spells receive flavorful modifications and reskins - which brings me to another point. These traditions sport unique effects, and the same holds true for chaos/wonder magic, with distinct, odd effects and abilities rendering the experience of playing the respective schools pretty interesting. Alas, not all of the traditions herein receive such interesting rules - in fact, quite a few of the traditions adhere to the following presentation: We receive a short fluff-text, spell-lists by caster/level and then, a sample spellbook, including preparation ritual. (And yes, rules for intelligent, living spellbooks can be found herein as well - they are pretty sinister and narrative gold.)Now don't get me wrong, I *love* the inclusion of these books, but all in all, the respective "schools"/traditions, at least partially, feel too rudimentary - there is not enough to set the spells themselves apart, no guidance to develop additional spells for such a school and some classes receive e.g. one exclusive spell for such a tradition - not much reason to pick a tradition. By providing a tighter focus, the traditions could have been infinitely more compelling, more specific...but...on the other hand, we for example receive a complete, new full-blown mythic path with the living saint.



What are living saints? Well, for one, they are chosen of god(s) - what I mean by this is that, like many a mythological leader of religious prowess, these guys experience a highly interesting phase of tribulations, wherein they are severed from their gods and besieged by the whole pantheon - essentially, all gods can tempt the saint towards their ideology and sphere of influence, proposing different spells etc. for obeisance and quests. This can also be used for interesting foreshadowing and over all, the mythic path, intended for divine casters, is pretty much a cool choice with plenty of narrative potential ingrained into the very fabric of the thing, especially due to the numerous spells sporting names of the saints, adding a cool narrative dimension and unobtrusive fluff to these miraculous powers. This mythic path is the first that actually feels like it could have originated in fiction, like it not only provides a rules-escalation, but an actually defining, narrative tool. I adore this path and the resonance of our own world's myths, with obvious references to Christian (sans the ideology, mind you - you can't be offended by this guy) narrative structures that are very ingrained into how we perceive certain myths, this path is a thing of beauty.



Vril, the unique pseudo-atlantean power-source introduced in Sunken Empires (inspired by Bulwer-Lytton's writing) also receives new specialists, both archetype, feat and spell-wise. Converting spells into vril-blasts, for example, is pretty interesting. That being said, careful looks into this system also shows us a couple of somewhat odd choices - the archetypes, for example, are separated and relegated to their own chapter - so instead of looking up e.g. vril magic, you have to know where what can be found. Yes, organization is neatly organized by crunch-type, but in a book this focused on awesome concepts, I think another solution would have been appropriate. Also odd - Ink Magic, in depiction pretty much a tradition, can be found in the chapter on rune-magic. Strange.



But this line of reasoning brings me to the first issue of this book, though it is admittedly one of preference. The traditions as such, as has always been the strong forte of Kobold Press, just BRIM with imagination. They provide iconic, well--crafted concepts that set the imagination ablaze. I know a couple of them from their original books and the fluff, usually, did in some way limit the respective traditions - whether it's the lost magic of vril, the blood magic of some limited tribes/traditions or the lost magic used to slow the progress of the Wasted West's Old Ones...there always was this implied scarcity, this alignment of crunch with philosophies, ethnicities and accomplishments. So the PCs have this powerful spell xyz, BECAUSE they have taken on caster zxy, because they have braved the ruins of Gru'tharkrr...



This book collects all of these traditions and breaks their spells into a massive, huge chapter, dissolving the lines between them and implying by its very organization a general availability not implied in singular presentations - essentially, we have a disjunction of fluff from crunch to a certain extent. Now this means that you have to search the spells in the lists if you want to make a specialist, but have an easier time when just browsing through the book, looking for spells generally available - hence, the implication is that these spells are available freely, akin to how spell presentation works in Paizo's big books. Now don't get me wrong, one could argue that THIS is exactly what this book tries to do, analogue to the big Paizo-books, where you essentially slap down the book and have a general extension of the arsenal. My contention, ultimately, is that this is balance-wise one of the decisions that shoot the book in its metaphorical foot.



In my first iteration of this review, I went through all of the crunch here in these traditions step-by-step - alas, this bloated the review to the point where it wasn't helpful anymore. (And if I'm saying that, with my tendency towards verbose reviews, you'll have an inkling of what a monstrosity this would have become - my guess was 20+ pages - and let's be honest, no one would read that...)



So, Deep Magic does sport, a HUGE chapter of spells, both new and old - all collated and organized by handy spell-levels. This chapter is where my first and second review-attempts broke apart. The first one due to my so far pretty jubilant review receiving a harsh dose of reality, the second because I realized that step-by-step analysis makes no sense, bloating the review. If that was not ample clue - not all is well here. It is only understandable that a vast array of authors will have diverging voices and different mastery of the system and yes, this does show herein. Now before you get the pitchforks, let me state one thing explicitly and clearly - the *concepts* of these spells are WONDROUS. Gorgeous. Superb. They are iconic. They *feel* like magic, not like some energy-colored damage-dealing vehicles. They manage to capture the elusive spirit of what magic ought to be and bring the "magic" back into a game often lost and sorely missed. I'd take the concepts of this book over those in Ultimate Magic and Combat combined any day.



The concepts.



For there is no way around the following statement, no way to sugar-coat it without outright lying. There are a lot of cool, functional spells herein. However, there also is a vast array of spells that would have desperately required the hands of an editor who truly knows rules-language and/or a capable developer. Name the issue and you have a very good chance of finding a representative of the issue herein, quite possibly in a spell that you absolutely love concept-wise.



This chapter almost broke my heart.



Any closer analysis shows ample problems, often to the point of rendering a spell highly ambiguous, unbalanced or downright inoperable - there are examples of authors obviously mixing up flat-footed and touch attack AC. Mechanics more closely related to 3.X-design. Spells that do not allow for saves which should. SR that is ignored when comparable spells allow for it. Contradictions between spell-block and its text. Faulty AoEs/ranges/targets. False spell-block formatting. Wrong save. Damage-escalation. You name it. Damage + no-save stagger at a level where it's ridiculous. Non-sense descriptor-placement. Balance is not even crying in the corner anymore, it is utterly GONE, evaporated into some nebulous dimension. Some author(s) seem to not get the distinction between material components, foci and divine foci. Unspecified bleed damage à la inflict " receives bleed 3" - bleed 3 WHAT? Hp? Attribute? What about a spell generating an AoE geyser-like effect that gets just about everything wrong you can possibly get wrong regarding AoEs? Racial spells that could have simply used focus as a limiting component instead of wonky wording-crutches that try (badly) to cut out other races? Sentences that peter off. Wording so convoluted I can't tell you how exactly a spell works. You name the glitch, it's here - and right next to it, you may see one of the coolest spells ever.



This massive chapter was one of the most heart-rending experiences of my reviewer-career. My first skip through it saw me exhilarated. Closer scrutiny brought disappointment, actual in-depth analysis...well, there's no way around it...pain. Now beyond the glitches, the balance-concerns herein may partially stem from bad design-choices and lack of rules-language development...but at least partially, they also have their origin in the simple fact that the book took the "soft" restrictions that served as a balancing factor before and took them away by smashing all spells into one big chapter. Where before, spells may have been "broken", but rare, the implication here is that they are freely available, exacerbating what might before have been a reward into power-escalation. Now yes, in face of the vast army of issues that plague this chapter, even a change in presentation in the proposed way would be a drop of water in a vast desert of issues and would do nothing to render the formal issues void...but yeah, that would be one exacerbating factor.



And one that extends, alas, to the next chapter. I am a huge fan of runic/glyph magic. Allowing non-casters to learn the powers of rues is one of the most-beloved tropes for me - whether clad in a pseudo-Scandinavian guise or via lovecraftian alignment with aboleths et al.; The very concepts of the runes are powerful, and intentionally so. But once again, stripping these of their fluff, of their direct place within the world, of the achievements required to learn them, renders them problematic. When you have to mimic the deeds of the gods to learn the rune Uruz and then, finally have it, it becomes okay if you can paint it on your shield for a 1/day +20 bonus to overrun/bull rush - chances are, your DM knew what was coming and planned accordingly. If the fluff context is taken away, a ridiculously powerful rune, accessible for 1 feat, remains - and suddenly, we see the system stumble under the weight of one of its foundations being eroded.



I'm not going to analyze the word of power-subchapter, mainly because I consider the base-system introduced in Ultimate Magic just not well-designed. On the plus-side, the awesome incantations pioneered by Zombie Sky Press back in the day receive a significant array of new ones and these tend to be pretty awesome narrative devices.



Alas, the sloppy rules-language of the spells also partially (but thankfully, only partially!) extends to the following chapter, detailing bloodlines and mysteries. What about tentacle-attacks that do not specify as what they are treated? Check. Flawed target/reach-nomenclature...check. Sp, Su and Ex, in some cases, seem to have been determined at random, rendering some abilities utterly opaque. You get the idea. Now yes, the problems are much less pronounced than among the spells, but they are still here. As an additional note - the options among these class options do not feel as though they were balanced among themselves, with power-levels ranging from weak to VERY strong. Still, overall, these options feel relatively operable and easily fixed and the concepts provided are often utterly unique and cool. On a footnote, wizards, oddly, have their arcane discoveries/focused schools etc. in the tradition-section in the beginning, ripping the class options associated with the traditions in half. The problems outlined here also extend, alas and much to my chagrin, to the chapter on archetypes. That being said, the archetype's main flaw remains the focus on the spells/traditions - you can't build a house on sand and these, as compelling as they often are, sometimes do just that - which is a pity, for here, much like with aforementioned class options, the imaginative potential is rather impressive..



The following chapters, thankfully, at least for me, redeemed the book, at least partially - a concise and utterly awesome chapter on the creation of homunculi/leastlings and simple rules for undead crafting as well as nice clockwork templates for familiars et al. make provide significant fun, engagement and narrative potential. Speaking of which - portrayed in glorious artworks, a significant array of iconic, cool NPCs - those that are here, are great and flavorful, but I can't help but feel that one per tradition would have been nice to see.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are good. On a rules-level, they are BAD and ironically, deeply flawed. Layout, as mentioned, adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the artworks range among the most stunning I've ever seen in an RPG-book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks and the dead-tree copy ranks among the most beautiful books in my shelves.



Read this list: Wolfgang Baur, Creighton Broadhurst, Jason Bulmahn, Tim Connors, Adam Daigle, Mike Franke, Ed Greenwood, Frank Gori, Jim Groves, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Brandon Hodge, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Neil Spicer, Mike Welham, Margaret Weis. With this amount of creative potential assembled, does it surprise you that I consider this book the most inspiring spellbook I've ever read? Alas, even these titans can stumble. And they did.



This book could have been the ultimate spellcasting-milestone, a legend, a book that defines the very game we play, a whole new dimension of spellcasting. And it is - on a concept-level.



Instead, at least on a crunch-level, it is pretty much, as much as I'm loathe to say it, a wreck -not one that has sunk, but one that leaks. The lack of a rules-savvy editor/developer is readily apparent - there are plenty of glitches herein that could have been caught by even a cursory inspection.



And no, that's not just me being overly picky. I put this book before one of my less rules-savvy players, opened it on a random page in the spell-section and had him read spells. Inadvertently, he stumbled over an ambiguity, an issue.



Were I to rate this one the crunch alone, I'd smash it to smithereens - the very skeleton of the book is flawed and that radiates outward to almost all chapters, poisoning them as well. Allowing this book flat and without scrutiny at a table is an invitation for rules-discussions and balance-issues - at least if the players are halfway capable at making efficient characters.



Why am I not bashing this further? Because, while deeply flawed, Deep Magic is also deeply inspired - the concepts herein are staggering, setting the mind ablaze with possibilities, conjuring forth ideas for adventures, campaigns even. Quite a bunch of the flaws can be ironed out by a capable DM...and flawed though it may be, Deep Magic has A LOT of passion, heart's blood and soul oozing from its pages. The concepts of this tome, in the end, made it worthwhile, at least for me.



I'm not going to lie. My players will never get their hands on this book. But I will take the concepts, take the spells, fix them and reap the benefits of the exceedingly awesome concepts provided herein. On the one hand, we thus have a terribly flawed book that fails quite spectacularly and depressingly at becoming what it ALMOST achieved - being the best spellbook for any iteration of a d20-based system ever. On the other, the often flawed crunch does provide more great spell-ideas and concepts (as opposed to their execution...) than the APG, ARG, Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat combined.



Whether this book is for you depends very much on what you expect - if you want solid crunch, a book to just slap on the table and allow...well, then stay the 11 Midgardian hells away from this book. If, on the other hand, you're willing to work with it, if you're looking for inspiration and are competent regarding the design/balancing of material, then this is a scavenger's mithril-mine and a great resource to have - you literally can't open a single page in this book without stumbling over at least one awesome, iconic concept. The hardcover is also great to show off to non-gamer friends and make them marvel at the glorious artworks, layout and presentation.



How to rate this, then? I hate and love this book. I want to slap my seal of approval on it, in spite of its flaws. But I can't. Deep Magic has too many issues and I can't rate potential, as much as I'd love to. I can only rate what is here and its effects - which oscillate between "utterly awesome and inspiring" and "wtf is this supposed to do?"



Without the superb concepts, the lore-steeped ideas, the downright inspired take on magic and its flavor, I would have gone further down on my scale. But, as a reviewer, I also have to take these into account, as well as the people out there who are like me and still can take a lot from this book. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic (Pathfinder RPG)
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Advanced Races 4: Dragonkin (Pathfinder RPG)
by David Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2015 15:26:15
For the sake of full disclosure, I just want to point out that I'm still relatively new to Pathfinder (And somewhat to 3.5.) and that this and the 'Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire' are my first experiences with Kobold Press. However, Rite Publishing's 'In the Company of Dragons' is my first experience with 3rd party material. After going through this and the 'Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire' (PGttDE for short.), I just want to say this...
Why the **** does Kobold Press have such a good reputation?
I'm going to echo a lot of sentiments from Thilo G. simply because they bear repeating. I'm ALSO going to drag the PGttDE into this because despite what Thilo G has said in his review, you'll still need this thing to actually play a Dragonkin because they omitted the tables for starting ages, and height/weight. Yet, you actually need the PGttDE because this book omits a lot of race-specific feats and traits. And I REALLY hate that because I feel that 3rd party material should be able to stand on it's own, while this feels more like a pay-for plug to the PGttDE. My criteria for anything is simple, be it a movie, video game, or book is simple. "Is it worth what I paid for it?" Well, this thing cost me a total of $8.98, and the answer is a pretty hearty "No". I also seriously doubt I will be buying any more Kobold Press material in the future. (This includes their recently kickstarted Advanced Races compendium.) Well, enough of that, let's get into it, shall we?

First off, I can confirm what Thilo said is accurate. Whoever wrote this couldn't even bother to look up the Paizo-established OGL game terms. (And it's not like there's a FREE WEBSITE that contains that information and such an issue could be resolved in about a minute.) For example, under the Dragonkin Racial Traits section, "Armor" properly uses "Natural armor bonus" while JUST UNDER IT, the "Dragon Skin" feat adds a stacking +1 "to your natural armor rating". (This mistake is also repeated in "Improved Dragon Skin".) I know it's a minor nitpick, but it really does set the tone for the amount of effort used on this book. What ISN'T as minor is the fact that, in both this and the PGttDE, there is NO MENTION of what racial type Dragonkin actually ARE. I'm assuming Humanoid (Reptillian), but this is still a major oversight and it shouldn't take long for experienced players to figure out why. In fact, let's go over the racial traits, shall we? Dragonkin clock in at 9 RP, but there's a few weaknesses I'd like to address. I've already mentioned the lack of racial type, and I have no issues with the Slow Speed. (Although I WOULD like a racial feat that increases their base speed to 30ft, but that's more of a personal preference.) What does annoy me is that this race is meant to be a martial type and takes a penalty to Dex. Seriously? Dex? You're shooting this martial race in the foot here, guys. Dex is vital for ranged attacks (Especially since martials lack spells that hit Touch AC.) as well as Initiative and dodge-based AC. In fact, in the PGttDE, KP mentions a fighter archetype that uses SPEARS, a versatile weapon that's well known for being THROWABLE. (So, just run away from any Dragonkin troops. They can't run all that fast, and they can't hit with ranged weapons.) If it were me, they'd take a hit to Wis because even if their reputation is deserved, they're still a bit arrogant. At languages, this is where not having anything for a non-Midgard campaign rears it's ugly head because they can have "Dwarvish, Darakhul (Ghoulish/Undercommon), Elemental, Elvish, Infernal, Kobold, Minotaur, or Nuri" as bonus languages. Well, "Elemental" is made up of four different languages in core, kobolds use Draconic, (The Dragonkin's natural language.) Minotaurs use Giant, and I have no idea what the heck "Nurian" is. As for the Energy Resistance, it's actually underpowered by Paizo's custom race rules. While it's a choice of what element you want, Paizo's elemental-based races have a minimum of Energy Resistance 5 to their corresponding element. I'd bump this up to 5 because it's still not all that powerful. The last problem I have is 'Presence'. It's a +2 bonus to Diplomacy AND Intimidate, which is 4 RP and matches up with Skill Bonus. I'm not as fond of this as most players are only going to use one or the other. (Although, the thought of having Intimidate as a backup in case Diplomacy doesn't work IS pretty funny...) It also makes Fly a class skill, which matches up with Skill Training, but that allows for TWO skills, not one. Again, feels underpowered. I'd just tack on Perception because that's just how useful it is, and you're descended from freaking DRAGONS. Unobservant, they aren't.

Now, Alternate Racial Traits. Look, I get the idea that you wanted these to be thematic. However, the choices are limited and the elemental ones just suck. They replace Armor (2 RP) for an at-will cantrip (Paizo allows a 1x a day 1st level as a 1 RP ability under 'Spell-Like Ability, Lesser', so I can see a 3x a day cantrip as being 1 RP, maybe unlimited as 2 RP.) But, not all cantrips are created equal. At-will Prestidigation is obviously much better than most other at-will cantrips, depending on how clever the player is. 'Child of Flame' gives at-will Dancing Lights (Cantrip), but the race ALREADY HAS darkvision, and you can just use a torch if you need to read something. 'Child of Stone' gives at-will Virtue, which is a standard action to give 1 temp HP, which is a crappy deal in terms of action economy. (Really, keep the +1 Nat. AC.) 'Child of Storms' gives at-will Spark which... Sets Fine-sized items on fire. Okay, kinda useful, but it's a fire spell (Which means it'd be better suited for Child of Flames) and NOT worth losing the Nat. Armor over. 'Child of Water' gives at-will Create Water, and while very useful if the DM insists on tracking supplies like food and water and nobody is putting ranks in Survival, still isn't worth losing a +1 Natural armor AC. 'Elemental Master' trades the underpowered Energy Resistance and the natural armor bonus for... An even more underpowered Energy Resistance 4 instead of 2. Really guys? Really? 'Reptillian Cunning' trades the natural armor bonus (Are you sensing a theme yet?) for a 3x a day Speak with Animals, but limited to reptiles. Okay, it's kinda thematic, but dragons are to reptiles what humans are to primates. Instead of begging the alligator to not eat you, you could instead be hacking it apart and grilling it over an open flame because you kept your natural armor bonus AND because you're clearly the superior reptile. 'Scaled Strength' trades that +2 Cha bonus to give you a total of +3 Str. First, nothing Paizo does works with odd bonuses. Second, this is closest to Paragon (+1 RP) and Greater Paragon (+2 RP). Paragon gives a +4 to one physical/mental ability score for -2 to all of the opposite ability scores. (IE +4 Str would mean -2 Int, Wis, AND Cha.) while Greater Paragon gives +4 to one score, and -2 to a physical AND mental ability score. (IE +4 Str for -2 Dex AND -2 Wis.) Congratulations Kobold Press! Here I thought everything in here was going to be underpowered, but you've certainly surprised me! Really, I and pretty much anybody that wanted to play Dragonkin would've been MUCH happier if you had just made alternate stat bonuses so we could make good use of that Wizard Elementalist archetype you made. Something that boosts Dex and Int, but maybe loses some Str or something. Plus, the race as a whole wouldn't be pidgeonholed into a martial class. 'Unblinking Glare' has another odd-numbered bonus. In addition to being a cheap rip-off of Elven Immunities, I'd rather see an Immunity to Sleep effects and a +2 bonus to saving throws to resist Paralysis, like the dragons Dragonkin are supposedly related to.

Okay, onto feats! First off LOT of the feats have a BAB requirement instead of a level requirement. This means that if you're not playing an full BAB class, you can only get these MUCH later than a martial class, if at all. I don't like this, especially when they include archetypes for magic-based classes that get a 1/2 BAB progression. Why they didn't use HD or level is beyond me, and either requirement would've worked better. 'Dragonskin' adds +1 to your "natural armor rating', which I'm sure I complained about before. Not too bad, it's on par with a core (monstrous) feat that increases natural armor bonus by +1. 'Gutteral Voice' give you one of three languages as a free language, and that makes me wonder if the person making this was even REMOTELY familiar with the Linguistics skill, which would do THE EXACT SAME THING for a mere skill point. (Yes, Thilo already pointed this out, but it bears repeating.) 'Improved Dragon Skin' requires Dragon Skin and a BAB of +9 and gives you... +2 "natural armor rating" AND "DR 3 to one Energy Type" of acid, cold, electricity, or fire. Again KP, go to D20pfsrd and LOOK UP THE PROPER TERM. And also, hire an actual freaking editor. If you do have one, they need a stern lecture. 'Improved Flight' is a good feat. Like, a REALLY good feat. You need the ability to fly (Obviously.) and a BAB of +9, and "add +2 to your Fly skill ranks" (Do you EVEN know how skill bonuses work, KP?!) and increase your maneuverability rating by one step, up to perfect. Increasing your maneuverability rating lessens your penalty to Fly or gives you a bigger bonus, but either way makes a +4 difference alone. So, with a whopping +6 difference after all is said and done, this feat is as good or better than Skill Focus, and it's effects stack. 'Militant Commander' gives a whopping +10 Intimidate bonus to members of a lesser class and is thematic as all get out, but a +10 boost is MASSIVE and there's feats that make use of Intimidate in Paizo's own stuff. Really, this should be toned down by quite a bit. 'Spiked Tail' gives you a piercing tail attack that does 1d4+3 damage. Why? Why not just allow Dragonkin to use Kobold Tail Attachments as long as they're sized properly without penalty? I'd like that a lot better, really. Plus, it opens the door for some impressive multiweapon fighting. (Or TWF with a 2-handed weapon and a secondary weapon.) 'Sturdy Tail' gives a +3 bonus to CMD vs. Bull Rush, Overrun, and Trip Attempts and can be taken up to 3 times. Okay, do the effects stack? Do I chose one type of combat maneuver per use of the feat? I feel like something is missing in this entry. Finally, the thing that PISSES ME OFF more than anything else in a book, a plug to buy NOT ONE, BUT TWO other KP books! Here, I'll copy it directly "For more feats straight from the Mharoti Empire, including ones that grant a breath weapon and climbing claws, see the 'Player’s Guide to the Dragon Empire' (page 10). At your GM’s discretion, some dragonkin may also have access to feats found in 'The Book of Drakes.'" WHAT. THE. ****. KOBOLD PRESS?! It wasn't enough that I actually paid good money for this book alone, and NOW you want me to pony up for TWO MORE of these flaw-ridden, incomplete, pieces of garbage because you couldn't bother to cut and paste?! No. Go **** yourself Kobold Press. I'd rate this thing a 0 if I could.

As for the archetypes, I'm going to skip over most of them save for the Dragonkin Elementalist. First, NO PLAYER is going to make a Dragonkin wizard because of the stat distribution. +2 Str? That's a dump stat. -2 Dex? That's needed for the pittance of AC they get and more importantly, used to aim ray spells. +2 Cha? That's a Sorcerer's casting stat. To be blunt, this whole Archetype SHOULD HAVE been made for a Sorcerer, which dragons are far more like anyway, and started with giving them something like Elemental Substitution for free at the first level. As for the capstone ability? A weak version of Fire Shield in their chosen element makes for a very crappy capstone, especially since a wizard should NEVER be in melee, even if they're trying to make touch attacks. Yes, they have a Dragonkin-specific Bloodline, but that would've made a better Wizard Archetype.

Finally, the thing that pisses me off ALMOST as much as the cheap plugs for other products. The absolute LACK of any kind of non-Midgard campaign setting materials. I can understand tying this into KP's Midgard campaign setting, but this book is SUPPOSED to be able to stand on it's own. Instead, it just falls over. How did Dragonkin come into being? No seriously, are they the result of crossbreeding between humans and dragons, making their own race? Or were they magically created from the lesser humanoid races and infused with draconic essence? (Feel free to make your own "essence" joke here.) Do they crave making their own hoard like dragons? Can they breed with other races? How do they interact with each other? What's their society like when they don't have their draconic masters ruling over them? What alignment are they most like? What gods do they worship, or are the dragons they serve their gods? And last but probably the most important, WHY DO THEY ADVENTURE? It's like they started copying the main points of the core race entries but got distracted halfway through and never went back to that. Some of this stuff may very well have been answered in the PGttDE, but again, this SHOULD be able to stand on it's own without making somebody feel like they NEED to buy another book in case they don't want all the other material that comes with it. And KP, if you're reading this, I'm not upset so much as disappointed. I've heard that you produce some top-notch things and that you have an awesome reputation. Really, I'd be happy if this was revised and rewritten so that the race didn't leave so much to be desired. All I want is to feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of this product, or maybe even made out like a bandit on it. As for anybody thinking about buying this? DON'T. SKip this, AND skip the Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire. You need BOTH books to have a semi-complete race. Instead, skip this entirely and go for "In the Company of Dragons" by Rite Publishing and play a real but surprisingly balanced dragon. Yeah, you have the problem of an adventuring party traveling with a dragon at high levels, but you also have the problems of a high level Cleric, Druid, Wizard, or any other class that things the laws of physics and the universe are only suggestions.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Races 4: Dragonkin (Pathfinder RPG)
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Demon Cults 5: Servants of the White Ape
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/12/2015 02:57:36
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Demon Cults-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The fifth Demon Cult introduced by Kobold Press' series details what could be considered the most pulpy tale in the series yet - when a disenfranchised aristocrat had to escape into the jungles and stumbled upon a hidden, ruined city, Josef Kortz would have not dreamed that the carnivorous white apes haunting the ruins would one day bow to him - and bow they do, for he is the summoner that commands the Great White Ape, his eidolon being akin to their tribal deity. Over years of study and careful planning, the mad master, now known as the New Father, has commanded the white apes in combat, subjugating all that dare oppose him and his simian slaves. Kortz and his powerful eidolon receive statblocks and so do his simian warriors, but that's not all - the awakened apes spread a dread condition, the spellscourge, which not only renders those infected into primal, degenerate and evil undead savages, but also allows them to devour magic. Yes, this pretty much could have been drawn from the pen of Rider Haggard or similar authors and yes, we get a sample couatl.



Now on the anal-retentive/nitpicky side, the template does sport a minor terminology hiccup, but none that would impede functionality. As always in the series, we do receive copious hooks to organize, potentially, a whole campaign with multiple choices for each general array of APL-groups and, as has become the tradition, the quality of these hooks is superb and diverse, providing narrative potential galore. Midgard-specific sideboxes help fans of the setting use the cult. The two new magic items, the unique staff of the father (okay, could have used some unique abilities...) as well as hides made from the white gorillas both are cool and diverse... the latter also allowing for the spreading of the dread disease.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a modification of Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard, with the borders evoking the theme of the gorgeous front cover..of installment #4, which feels like an odd oversight. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



All right, I'll come right out and say it - I'm biased regarding this pdf. My childhood heroes were Conan and Solomon Kane; where other kids liked He-man, I was a fan of the tales of sunken Lemuria and Red Sonja remains one of my favorite heroines. I adore the pulpy feeling this evokes, the sense of ancient gravitas this evokes, the theme of disease and degeneration spread by the isolated apes - all of that sends my facial muscles smiling in a major way. I can't help it, I'm sorry, but for me, this hits all the right notes - this feels savage, brutal and inspired to me and captures my interest infinitely more than yet another bunch of hooded sops worshiping abyssal prince 386-b. This resounds with the themes I adore in fantasy, with a threat that is not one of a simplified morality, but one that attacks civilization and what we consider the foundation of society itself - and then adds the threat of losing magic for yet another nasty spike, merging themes of classic literature and amplifying them via the collective mythmaking we engage in while partaking in a roleplaying game session.



Now if the above left you cold and sent you shrugging away, I can understand that - I've seen the set-up before as well; however, the execution is significantly better than in most variants of the theme I've seen and personally, I absolutely adore this installment of the series. Yes, the supplemental material is slightly less pronounced than in the previous ones, but I can't help myself - I love this pdf. It showcases well the strengths of Kobold Press as a publisher - the narrative potential, the evocative dressing. Jeff Lee, delivers here and my final verdict, in spite of e.g. the layout-hiccup, clocks in at 5 stars +seal of approval; however, be aware that this is predicated upon my own personal preferences - if the basic idea does not appeal to you, detract a star.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Cults 5: Servants of the White Ape
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Demon Cults 4: The Hand of Nakresh
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/29/2015 03:57:20
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Demon Cults-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 2/3 of a page SRD, leaving us with 11 1/3 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The fourth Demon Cult the series offers would be the Hand of Nakresh - who is Nakresh, you ask? He is the forty-fingered simian demon-god of thieves, with his lower left hand reserved for his most daring of thefts - it is this hand that gives this cult its name. The leadership of the cult is firmly in the hands of the Five Exalted, which receive full-blown statblocks herein - a kobold alchemist, a gnoll trapper, a derro sorceror, a tengu cleric and a roachling sanctified rogue make up this illustrious party, which could pretty much be run as an opposing adventurer party,a rival group, should you choose to. Beyond the basics, you should be aware that the members receive background stories and minor, loving tidbits - like the roachling's mutation, which nets him 4 hands. Small special features like this and the superb equipment (yes, influences CR) set a group apart. Well done!



As always, the pdf does sport a significant array of exceedingly detailed adventure hooks involving the cult, grouped by rough APLs and once again, the hooks go beyond the boring default, establishing some rather cool and inspired ideas and providing enough fodder for DMs to base multiple adventures around the cult. Midgard-aficionados will be glad to hear that we receive advice for using the cult in Midgard. There is a new spell herein, a variant of mirror image, wherein the duplicates run in random directions if you move - I do like the concept and the spell is functional, but I would have liked to see interaction with damaging terrain - do the images running over such terrain ignore it? I assume so, but this conversely makes finding the true culprit easier.

The magic items sport a demoralizing aklys and a magic monkey's paw for luck - and an artifact. This one is a beauty: The Ley-line absorber can tie in with the agendas of some members, aiming to steal magic and absorbing it for a vast power-gain of the operator - now that is a high-profile heist!



"But wait", you say - "I don't use the Midgard-setting or ley lines!" Perhaps you are wary of the ley line magic rules or perhaps it doesn't fit your concept. Well, the artifact comes with a second version, one for ley-line-less settings! Now *this* is care! Oh, and then there is the new vehicle provided herein. Nothing I could write would drive home the awesomeness of the concept better than the one line before the devices' stats: CLOCKWORK SIEGE CRAB!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a modification of Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard, with the borders evoking the theme of the gorgeous front cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Jeff Lee's cabal of master thieves is awesome - whether as a rival party, as high-class thieves or as elite criminals, I really, really like this installment. The writing of the fluffy hooks retains the significant quality established in the series and the artifact is a cool plot-device. While the new spell did not wow me and while I wasn't too excited about the solid new items (though I love the minimalistic style of the pulpy monkey's paws!), there is this level of detail of the characters I enjoy. We have nice little tidbits, resources worthy of such an elite force...and we have a CLOCKWORK SIEGE CRAB. Say it with me: "CLOCKWORK SIEGE CRAB." Hell yeah!



Before I ramble on - there is nothing truly wrong with this pdf and while not all components blew me away, there is a lot that did incite my imagination to run with it. My final verdict will hence still clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Now excuse me, I need to get my villains a new ride...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Cults 4: The Hand of Nakresh
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Demon Cults 5: Servants of the White Ape
by Luke M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2015 15:46:30
Fantastic starting point with some new ideas for anyone wanting some secret temple/jungle/great ape action. A few more lackeys or minion encounters would of be nice, but serves as a nice outline for an encounter somewhere around 5th level. I was not disappointed, but would love to see how the original creator fleshed this out a bit more.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Cults 5: Servants of the White Ape
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Demon Cults 3: The Cult of Selket
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/14/2015 03:38:08
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Demon Cults-series clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So, what is the Cult of Selket? Well, if the gorgeous cover was not enough of an indication, the cult is a kind-of Egyptian-themed cult, wherein the dread assassins of the desert scorpions execute those that dare to violate the divine mandate of Selket's clergy - preferably via poison and a semblance of "divine retribution." The cult's cadre of leaders receives full statblocks - from the deadly current (multiclassed, btw.) leader of the desert scorpions to the eternal guardian (a nasty divine guardian gynosphinx, complete with sample riddles!) to the Daughter of Selket herself, the builds are nice to see and feel a tad more diverse than in previous installments of the series - good!



Now if you've been following my reviews of the series, you may have noticed that I'm a huge fan of the exceedingly numerous and detailed hooks provided, which generally are enough to utilize the cult in question for more than one module and potentially craft a whole campaign from it. This pdf's hooks are no less diverse and intriguing, with the sidebox detailing the cult's workings in Midgard falling in no way behind the great writing of the hooks - but the pdf does go one step beyond: What if your PCs actually work for the cult? Yup, while not as detailed as the massive array of hooks, the pdf actually manages to cover some basic points for the DM and present some concise orientation points. And honestly, I haven't run a campaign like that and would love to. Nice to see this series going the extra mile here!



Speaking of which - we also receive a special kind of CR 5 mummy, which is not only poisonous, but should also offer a nasty surprise if cocky adventurers should try to set it ablaze: Toxic fumes. Yeah, I *like* that. We also get stats for a scorpion swarm and a greater swarm summoning spell. A bracer that can net limited tremorsense and quickly apply poisons and two cool new traits are also part of the deal, as is the vermin subdomain of the animal domain - while I have seen the concept of the vermin-friendly caster implemented via other means, the absence of such a (sub-)domain option is welcome here, though, when compared to even the traits, this constitutes the one piece of crunch I wasn't that intrigued by.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a modification of Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard, with the borders evoking the theme of the gorgeous front cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Jeff Lee's Cult of Selket brings the series home for me - for the first time, I read a Demon Cult-installment and thought "Yes, I want to run these as is." Whereas the first two installments were certainly good supplements, this one feels just a tad bit more lovingly crafted - from the sample riddles to the builds to the supplemental crunch, almost every component of this cult feels like is has been polished to a shine, with little tidbits added here and there to make the whole thing feel more complete. If you've been doing this whole reviewing shtick as long as I have, you get a sense when a designer goes above and beyond, when heart's blood oozes from the page. This is the case here. You find all those small, optional bits that inspire, that make a difference between a good file and a great one. This is the best Demon Cult-installment so far and well worth of a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Cults 3: The Cult of Selket
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Demon Cults 2: Doomspeakers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/07/2015 03:33:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Demon Cults-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 3/4 of a page SRD, leaving us with 10 1/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So what are the doomspeakers? Are they the homeless persons with the "The end is nigh"-shields? Nope, and neither are they doom metal enthusiasts - in this context, the doomspeakers are the antipaladin champions that have drank deeply from the well of profanity that is the Book of Nine Dooms, chaotic demon-worshipers, one and all.



Know how often alignment doesn't work so well in my preferred mode of shades of gray morality? Well, even there, sometimes, you have people that just *fit* the alignment system - their ideologies match up perfectly. This is one such example. If you're tired by moral conundrums, these guys fit the bill - it doesn't get more evil. These are guys that do not even try to seem morally ambiguous - we have capital E level, vile demon worshippers here and their methods and ideology reflect that. Now, unlike the first installment, we receive a bunch of statblocks, not one - from Narn, a straight 16-level antipaladin build (also known for crucifying captured enemies and minions) to a savage level 11 gnoll antipaladin, the first two builds are nasty pieces. A somewhat tragic tiefling oracle (level 12 of the pit-born subtype, btw.) is a more diverse character - severely mutilated by ignorant townsfolk, her descent into utter darkness was traumatic indeed. Oddly, her type is wrong - she is stated to be a humanoid (elf, human), when obviously, she should be a native outsider. Finally, a gnoll cleric and a half-elven arcane duelist (level 8 and 7, respectively) complete this array of champions of evil.



Now in direct comparison to the first installment, the doomspeaker's hooks have been greatly expanded: Each APL-array receives a plethora of exceedingly detailed hooks - essentially, this provides enough fodder for the DM to potentially run a whole campaign centered on the doomspeakers - and honestly, some of these hooks are significantly more compelling than quite a few full-blown modules I've read - without this section, the doomspeakers would feel like a cardboard cutout cult; with it, they come into their own as a distinct entity. Fans of Midgard should be aware of the sidebox that contains information on the cult in Midgard. Kudos for the inspired writing here!



The supplement also sports 2 new magic items - the bone whip, which is nice and the primal doom - these items can be thrown at foes, conjuring forth the very worst fears of the target, with the save influencing the particular CR of the doom called forth. Nasty and a cool storytelling device. The pdf also sport a new spell, the Doom of Ancient Decrepitude, which temporarily ages all targets, including the caster, while in the area - a nasty debuff indeed, and one that can have fatal consequences - be sure to take a look at the SRD-page, btw. - the spell's text carries over to this page.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to a modification of Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard, with the borders evoking the theme of the gorgeous front cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Jeff Lee's Doomspeakers were the Demon Cult I was least excited about - it is a personal preference, but I simply enjoy less obvious black and white morality more. That, and I'm quite frankly burned out on evil demon cults that are evil for evil's sake. I was positively surprised by the rather intriguing hooks for the sue of the doomspeakers, which help bringing the straight builds for the NPCs into a given campaign - they provide a depth I honestly did not expect to find. At the same time, however, I couldn't help but feel like the Demon Cult could have used a tad more elements to set it distinctively apart. What remains here would be a very straightforward cadre of vile opponents, foes worthy of radiant heroes. In the hands of a lesser author, the doomspeakers could have been a textbook example of evil blandness, but Jeff Lee's inspired and exceedingly detailed hooks set them apart and improve this book to a point where I'm considering this to be a worthwhile addition to a campaign.



The unique spell and items further help establishing a unique identity and manage to do an admirable job within the confines of this pdf. Now personally, I would have liked a tad bit more unique tricks for the cult - more distinct, exclusive crunch to set them apart more. The primal doom, for example, is a great narrative device and adding some special qualities to the creatures called, perhaps via a modular template, would have been the icing on the cake. As written, this pdf remains a surprisingly good installment and clocks in at a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Cults 2: Doomspeakers
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