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KOBOLD Guide to Magic
by John W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 13:27:05

Entertaining essays on the use of magic in TPRPG. I will definitely steal I mean use the information in my own games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
KOBOLD Guide to Magic
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Deep Magic: Elven High Magic for 5th Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/14/2017 07:20:05

This work opens by defining elven high magic as an ancient and rare art capable of approaching the powers of the deities themselves, shaping cities, even worlds to their will. It's said that a practitioner can accomplish literally anything, given long enough. Of course it's very hard to master, taking literally centuries of dedicated work, so it is not just the innate arrogance of elven-king that means only elves ever get to study it, it's sheer practicality: short-lived races cannot manage to learn enough to be worthwhile.

Presented as a new school of magic, there are level-based abilities that include being able to bind ritual magic to a location and make it permanent, copy ritual magic into your spellbook irrespective of source and more. Rituals feature large in this style of spellcasting.

There are some seventeen new spells, most of which can be boosted in potency if a ritual focus is used. Perhaps you have wondered why elven bread is so nourishing. There's a spell that lifts the lid on its secrets. Or if someone has really annoyed you, perhaps you'd like to curse not just him but his descendents as well. There's a neat spell called Celebration, an area effect in which everyone who enters the area joins in the party. There's a lot to play with here.

This provides an interesting insight into elf magic, and perhaps even the elven approach to life. Maybe there is a small enclave of elves, deep in a forest somewhere in your campaign world, that is the last bastion of elven high magic. What might cause your party to visit? Or perhaps some calamity has caused them to venture forth into the world... It's a neat way to encapsulate different attitudes and approaches to magic, to make being an elf about more than the pointy ears.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Elven High Magic for 5th Edition
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Prepared! One Shot Adventures for 5th Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/14/2017 04:31:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This compilation of side-trek modules for 5th edition clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Wait, before we go any further, one important note: You need the Tome of Beasts, Kobold Press' massive and gorgeous hardcover of 5e-monsters to properly use this supplement, as statblocks have not been reproduced herein.

Structure-wise, these encounters/sidetreks are pretty easy to grasp: We get a background and then the different Adventure Elements that make up each sidetrek - usually, but not always, 2 - 4. These can all be combined or modified - here, we can find fight choreography, mini-events to keep modules dynamic and complications. Basically the moving parts, which come, where applicable, with read-aloud text. The areas themselves are also covered this way and each of the respective sidetreks gets its own full-color map, with one of them being isometric. The maps sometimes have fitting annotations and graphical elements like scribbled symbols, blood-spatters and the like.

All right, this out of the way, let us take a look at the modules within! This, unsurprisingly, entails SPOILERS. Potential players should most certainly jump ahead to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still around? Only GMs here? Great!

The first mini-module herein would be "The Impregnable Fortress of Dib", intended for characters level 1 - 2. The eponymous "Dib" would btw. be a goblin who, with his buddies, has a penchant for wrestling. Goblins being goblins, this entailed copious destruction and thus, these guys were exiled from their clan, building a fortress (with pitiful, half-finished moat) from a tipped over, abandoned wagon. It is this "fortress" that makes the short adventure interesting, for the fortress behaves somewhat like a creature of its own, with initiative and attack/defense options - and from burning it down to tipping it over, the means to deal with it are nice. Oh, and below is a brief cavern-complex. All in all, a creative and fun sidetrek!

The second quest is for level 1 - 3 characters and is called "The Marrow Mines" - in it, the PCs explore, starting from a cavern, the skeletal wing of a titanic dragon, wherein the addictive marrow is mined by kobolds...and holds visions that may tie in to a greater plot.

For 2nd level PCs, the "Vault of Pallon the Pious", a pirate who turned lawful in his twilight years; ostensibly, this caused him to go mad and now his famous scales are still hidden there...but are they really magical? The module also sports the subtle humor we could see in the first module with the word "Wrongteousness" making for a key leitmotif. You'll see...

The "Claret Wellspring", for level 4 - 5 characters has the PCs follow strange lights to an oasis, where blood-red waters and arcane secrets of old await...and the mini-module is surprisingly atmospheric, focusing on the strange and wondrous...and the adventure sports a rather cool reskin for a monster. So far my favorite!

"The Room with 5 Corners" for characters level 6 - 7, deals with a streegang that has recently been taken over by a dread aberration, who is extracting the solidity from victims, rendering those that survive partially ethereal and unable to cast a shadow, with eldritch symbols awaiting...as well as a disquieting portal...but where does it lead? Can it be easily closed?

"Upon the Icebound Terrace", for characters level 6 - 7, pits the PCs against the machinations of an exceptional ice mephit, who plans to open a planar gateway to the plane of ice...and with the relatively complex terrain and the arrival of an unintentionally summoned dragon, things get even more complicated. Tactics-wise, this is one of the stars in the compilation, with the blizzard not helping in the assault, and it is certainly one of the more complex set-ups, though, much like before, it rewards smart players.

"In Its Horrid Wake" put 7th level characters in the aftermath of an attack on temple: The dread demon that compromised it may have moved on, but the gnolls that travel in the aftermath haven't - and they plan on finishing a ritual to receive the favor of a fang of Nikshi: The scavengers have to be defeated, lest more woe follow the stride of the grand demon.

"A Bad Night for Betting" puts level 8 - 9 characters in the remote village of Bleak Rock, where dog mole wrestling is pretty much the only form of viable entertainment...but unfortunately, the alchemical concoction sold to the owners of the beasts is about to result in some seriously lethal mutation...enter the players.

"The Burning Crater", for level 9 - 10 characters, has the PCs find a crater containing a strange metal object - and closer inspection reveals that it is hellshot - basically a cannonball that contains hellhounds...while the fire giants developing this artillery have obviously not perfected it, the arrival of the scout and mere existence of it should prove plenty of motivation for stalwart PCs, beyond the confines of the sidetrek.

"Atop the Mountain", intended for 11th level characters, centers on a fountain, once a planetar rewarded and transformed thus, which lies atop a mountain - the previously pure waters are spoiling, so it's up to the PCs to save the angel...but easier said than done, for careless spilling of the devilish blood of the corrupting fiends may well spell doom for the erstwhile champion of good's immortal soul...

"Under Reveler's Feet", for characters level 12th to 13th, has the PCs explore the basement under a very busy feast hall, and indeed, in the dark below, undeath looms while above, the party continues...

The final sidetrek, "The Obsidian Pass", is intended for characters level 14th to 15th and has the PCs help defend a fey village and resting place of a powerful artifact from the greedy hands of a sorceror, who is in the process of constructing an arcane siege weapon...and whose clockwork soldiers and golems are all too ready to attack....

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports amazing full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography is amazing as well...though I am quite a bit sad that we don't get key-less player/VTT-friendly iterations of the amazing maps.

Jon Sawatsky's collection of 5e-sidetrek and encounters is creative, diverse and fun - pretty much every region and gaming group should find a worthwhile, instantly-prepared scenario herein that can be run on the fly. The options are diverse, the creature selection is fitting and the modifications of creatures with new abilities, the terrain hazards and the like all conspire to make this a worthwhile collection. That being said, the absence of player-maps, particularly considering the no-prep angle of these scenarios, hurts the pdf even more so than it would a regular module. Personally, redacting maps and/or drawing them myself is pretty much the worst timesink in my whole preparation routine (and I suck at it). Considering the gorgeous maps, it really hurt me to note that, quite realistically, my players would never get to see them. If you don't mind that, then consider this a 5 stars-offering. If you're like me and consider that an issue, detract a star. Ultimately, my official final verdict will clock in at a rating in-between: 4.5 stars. I'd usually round up, but considering the go-play mission-statement of the compilation and that, at least for me, it does not fulfill it perfectly, I'll round down instead.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prepared! One Shot Adventures for 5th Edition
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Deep Magic: Shadow Magic for 5th Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/13/2017 07:56:37

People have always been afraid of the dark, of shadows. Shadow magic, at least in your game world, may be one of the reasons why. Perhaps it's a sinister NPC, or even a player-character with dark edges to his spells...

Various ways of tapping into this darkness are provided. The first (and fairly obvious one) is a sorcerous bloodline. Maybe you prefer the idea of a warlock whose pact is with a being from the Plane of Shadows, or maybe it's a rogue who has taken his kind's natural affinity with shadows just a little too far. Each is provided with appropriate class abilities to embue them with a touch of shadow.

Next, there's a spell list. Some little gems here, like Dark Dementing - "A dark shadow creeps across the target's mind and leaves a small bit of shadow essence behind, triggering a profound fear of the dark" - how's that for something really nasty to do to your enemies? You can also summon creatures or effects from shadowy realms, hurl shadows around and extinguish lights.

A neat selection of shadow-based abilities to add a little shiver of darkness. Probably better for NPCs unless you are running an evil campaign, though. If your party isn't scared of the dark now, they will be soon enough...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Shadow Magic for 5th Edition
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Deep Magic: Ring Magic for 5th Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/10/2017 07:25:05

Most of us know "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them" even if we cannot recite the entire verse... but have you ever stopped to contemplate magic rings within your game? In this work, it's suggested that magic ring manufacture is a dwarf thing. Now dwarves as a whole don't tend to be into magic much, their creative outlet is in making and shaping physical items but in forging rings and embuing them with power they reach a fusion of physical and magic creativity like none other.

Geometrically, the ring is an unusual shape for a dwarf: they tend to prefer angles and straight lines over curves, never mind a smooth circle with no beginning or end. Yet they make fine ones, often inscribed with runes and encrusted with jewels, perfect for the storing and wielding of magical power. Opening with quite a bit of fascinating background linking dwarves with this specific magic item, we then move on to a couple of feats related to ring magic as a whole before meeting the new arcane tradition of the Ring Warden. Rare outside of dwarven strongholds, they are recognisable by their staves bound with multiple rings.

The Ring Warden's magic is based on transmutation, blending dwarven craftsmanship with the magic that they use to empower the rings that they make. There's a sidebar linking Ring Wardens to the Midgard campaign setting, but if you're not using that, it's quite straightforward to find suitable locations and background for them in your own campaign world.

There are a selection of spells mostly aimed at enchanting rings and other ring-related effects (some of the links being fairly tenuous, like Reverberate where the only connection is that the material component is a metal ring with which you strike the ground to cause it to shake and your opponents to lose their balance!), and a slew of magic items most of which are, of course, rings. There is a rather wonderful molten fire forge, which anyone who wants to make magic armour, weapons or indeed rings would really want to get their hands on, a full-blown artefact - a sentient ring left by one of the founding Ring Wardens - and a new monster, the ring servant. This is a construct of metal plates around a core of glowing energy.

If you've ever wondered where those magic rings come from, here's your answer. The Ring Warden is probably best as an NPC, it seems a bit limited to play, but the entire concept provides background and depth to the whole idea of magic rings in your game... and maybe more. What if a rival group started making rings? A different race, even? Would the rings be identifiable as to source? Might trade wars break out? It would be quite easy to build a whole campaign around this...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Ring Magic for 5th Edition
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Deep Magic: Dragon Magic for 5th Edition
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2017 09:17:26

There are many diverse theories, we are told, as to where 'magic' actually comes from. No doubt scholars will argue furiously for their preferred source, but the truth is, it has multiple sources, those listed here (ley lines, other dimensions, bloodlines...) and probably quite a few more. One fairly undisputed source of magic, however, is the dragon. An ancient and wise race, innately magical and capable of studying to develop their knowledge, dragons themselves are excellent at magic, and also pass it on, through bloodlines, to those descended from dragons as well. Because of their lineage, dragons were amongst the first to master magic, so they have been practising and refining their skills longer than most.

This leads on to a discussion of the particular forms of magic practised by so-called Dragon Magi. They walk a line of balance between wizards who pull power out of the air to mould as they wish and sorcerers who draw on internal chaotic power to drive their magics, a mix of order and chaoes. This new arcane tradition, mechanically speaking, uses spell slots not just for actual spells but for powering magical abilities, an interesting approach which has great potential for developing your own personal style in magic-use.

Dragon magi can call upon various aspects of the dragon - head, heart, tail, and so on - which have a visible manifestation and in-game effects. Calling them costs a spell slot, but once you get to grips with the potency of the abilities granted, it is worth it. Several feats are also presented, many of which are available to anyone not just dragon magi. Perhaps you might care to be a Dragonrider, a feat that grants the ability to climb onto an opponent much larger than yourself and 'ride' it in combat - despite the beautiful illustration of a sword-wielding elf seated comfortably on a barded dragon (who looks quite happy about his mount), the text suggests that this feat is for use against a hostile beastie that has no intention of permitting itself to be ridden!

A range of Dragon Magic spells are also presented, which any spell-user may acquire and cast in the usual manner... provided they can get access to the necessary information. There are many intriguing dweomers here, all linked in some manner with dragons - maybe you want to make a lot of noise with Dragon Roar (it's basically a sonic attack) or seek out precious metals and gems with Enhance Greed. Or maybe you'd like to make like a dragon yourself and use Dragon Breath to give you a one-off breath weapon.

Taking the theme of dragon magic and stretching it in several directions, this provides some interesting ideas to expand the scope of the magic available in your game. Magical theorists will enjoy the way these new powers are embedded into the alternate reality of the game, whilst more muscular magic-users will enjoy trying them out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Dragon Magic for 5th Edition
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Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
by Lachlan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2017 03:43:41

I purchased a Copy, but when I view it in a reader, the images are solid black :/ is this a download error? I really would like to have the artwork of this PDF actually be viewable. Aside from this picture issue it's everything I could have hoped for



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
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Deep Magic: Ley Lines
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/05/2017 13:23:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deep Magic-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 10 pages, so let's take a look!

There are few magical concepts as established in popular culture and fiction as ley lines - these lines of power surging through the world, chaotic, changing and tied to the concept of an anima mundi, have always been a staple in fantastic literature, as it hearkens back to shamanistic traditions from which our more organized religions and conceptions arose.

In a fact, the concept rings true to us due to the anthropomorphization of the world - the ley lines and their parallels to our own blood circuitry lends a sense of the understandable to the proceedings that ring true to us - perhaps it is this synergy of the shamanistic and the quasi-scientific exemplified by arcane spellcasting (learned from book, mastered only by geniuses and prodigies...) that makes this concept so captivating.

The issue ley lines pose from a design perspective is more pronounced than this concept would lend one to believe; it is a common adage that arcane casters are the strongest class-choices in the game, directly followed by the divine ones...but the harsh limits on their magics ultimately serve as a means of keeping them fragile, at least in the hands of a capable GM. Now, if you add a gigantic external power-source to the fray, you risk the chance of utterly blowing the balance of the character...and the fun/believability of the world. If you need a good visualization of this process - think about Dresden Files, I series a worshiped until "Changes", which, to me, jumped an atomic shark riding a fridge atop the blast-wave of a nuclear explosion...I continued reading it, but it never felt right after that...but I digress.

In the context of 5E, ley line magic, as depicted within this pdf, is not a magic available to just anyone - per default, a feat or an arcane tradition are required to gain proper access to its power, with groups prohibiting feats getting support as well - tutoring by a prospective character acts as a prerequisite for such groups, keeping the GM firmly in control regarding the availability of this magic, which is the first exceedingly smart choice in this pdf.

Speaking of feats - two are provided: Ley Initiate is the unlocking feat, increasing Int or Wis by 1 to a maximum of 20, allowing the character to sense ley lines within one mile...and when finishing a short rest, you can regain an expended spell slot of a level equal to or less than you Int or Wis-modifier...and before you howl: You can only do so once before requiring a long rest. Cool! The Ley-Bound feat increases your Wisdom by 1 to a maximum of 20, yields advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to forage food and water, nets you inspiration when resting within 1 mile of a ley line and allows the character to infuse ley energy in a token. While in the possession fo said taken, you may use your reaction to add +d4 to your saving throw, which needs to be done before success or failure are announced, but may be done after the d20 is rolled. This may only be used once per long-rest-interval. In short - one unlocks ley line magic, the other one represents a tapping into its power that is more rewarding for non-spellcasters.

So, how do ley lines work? Well, for one, they are categorized in locked and unlocked ley lines - this distinction is subjective, however, and depends on the ley line in question - a GM has total control of these qualities: Locked ley lines always generate the same effect, whereas unlocked ley lines are less predictable. In order to tap into a ley line's power, you need to be within 30 feet of the ley line and make a spellcasting attribute check sans proficiency bonus, with a DC equal to 10 + the spell being cast. If you botch the check within 4 of the DC, you just cast the regular spell; if you botch it by more than that, however, you suffer from ley line backlash. Ley lines may change over time, and fans of Midgard can see a map highlighting prominent ley lines, which is a nice flavor bonus, though a full-page version would have been appreciated.

Anyway, ley lines come in three strengths: Weak, strong and titanic, with progressively better effects - each of the ley line strengths comes with a d10-table of effects that range from casting a spell sans verbal components in the weak one to truly potent effects: Those tapping into titanic ley lines can cause half damage to targets immune versus their damage...or the ability that concentration cannot be broken. Of course, negative conditions as a bonus effect are also included. And yes, these benefits are potent, but considering their cost and the fact that they will be unreliable in most cases, GMs still retain the control they should have over this powerful form of magic. Oh, and the d10 ley line backlash table of effects will make pretty sure that players won't want to constantly spam ley line casts either - they very much are highlight spells, where the risk justifies the reward. Big fan there, though I wished we had separate backlash tables for different ley line strength and different DCs for different ley line strengths - to me, tapping into a titanic ley line feels like it should be harder than tapping into a weak one. Then again, that component is easily modified.

Okay, let's talk about the geomancy arcane tradition mentioned before: At 2nd level, they halve time and gold required to copy ley line spells into their spellbook and one of the two spells gained thereafter upon gaining a level may be a ley line spell. They also can sense the presence of ley lines within a mile and, as an action, may discern their intensity. At 2nd level, they also learn to tap into ley lines for the unique effects granted by the magic and may bind themselves during a short or long rest to a ley line - the character may only be bound to one weak ley line and may, Int-mod times, use its power even when not nearby; these uses recharge on a long rest and subsequent new bonding cancels out older bonds.

6th level yields the ability to reroll ley line or backlash,. but if you do, you may not use a reaction until the end of your next turn. 10th level unlocks strong ley lines as bonding candidates and also yields proficiency bonus to the ability check to tap into them. AT 14th level, titanic ley lines may be bonded with and also provides the option to, as an action lock or unlock a ley line within 30 feet - but if you do, you may actually require several long rests before being able to use the feature again, depending on ley line intensity. All in all a well-crafted and really rewarding tradition that, by virtue of its strong, yet relatively unpredictable base system, makes for a rewarding playing experience.

All right, as always in the series, we do receive new spells that are aligned with the spellcasting tradition - this time around, that would be 15 spells. Amplify Ley Field allows you to increase ley line intensity in a select field (cool and at 5th level, appropriate...though, as a purely cosmetic nitpick, evocation doesn't make too much sense as a school for me); Disruptive Aura is awesome, potentially suppressing spells and magic items in a limited area. Energy Absorption is interesting - it can yield resistance to the classic elemental damage types or force, but the target affected is also hampered: When casting a spell using the listed damage, the character must save with his spellcasting attribute or lose the spell, as it's harmlessly siphoned away. Cool buff/debuff and well-placed regarding its level. Land Bond is very potent for a 1st-level buff: 1 hour duration, willing touched creature gains advantage on saves and checks to avoid being moved or rendered prone while standing on the earth and the creature may also ignore nonmagical difficult terrain and extreme environment effects from heat, cold and altitude. While this does not prevent damage, it is a pretty potent all-rounder spell...and I'd complain about it, but considering its locked nature and requirement for investment, I consider it to be within the bounds.

Ley Disruption is an interesting 2nd-level terrain control spell that may knock creatures prone and generate difficult terrain...and it particularly effects geomancers bound to ley lines, as its effects are increase in such areas - this is interesting and makes the concept feel less like a one-sided road, but rather like a dynamic system - I really like that and hope to see more! Ley Sense nets you short-range tremorsense. Ley Energy Bolt is an interesting alternative to the classic 3rd-level damage spells: It's a 5-ft.-wide and 100 feet long line of potent force damage that is balanced by its damage (5d8, less than comparable spells) - but beyond its shape, it also passes through the first cover, which adds a really cool tactical dimension to its use. Sniping through walls...just sayin' - I can see a dungeon using that as hazards, an investigation using a ley bolt killer...cool! Ley Leech, at 5th level, is a potent touch-based necromancy that inflict damage and debuff - okay, but not too exciting. In fact, I consider the 4th-level ray of life suppression MUCH more scary: 60 ft. ranged spell attack, 6d8 necrotic damage...and you reduce your maximum hit points by that amount until your next rest or until getting a greater restoration. OUCH! This is...really potent and, depending on your group, may be a spell that GMs may want to keep out of player hands..or at least halve the reduction.

Lesser (5th-level) and Greater Ley Pulse interact with 5E's rock-paper-scissors aesthetics: These spells allow you to negate a named resistance (or immunity, in the greater version) on a failed save (two if cast as a 7th-level spell)/9th-level spell, respectively). Ley Whip is particularly potent for the geomancer with a bound ley line and generates a whip that inflicts force damage and may move targets closer or further away as a bonus action. Again, this begs to be used as a highlight in a combat/environment: "The ley line is getting out of control, it seeks to purge us!" Come on, that's cool!

Volley Shield is a powerful 7th-level buff that nets a massive AC bonus, resistance to the physical damage types an grants a chance to rebound spells at their originator. Cool!...and there also are two apex-level spells: Ley Surge is a potent force-damage-based AoE-explosion that can stun targets and is freely available to geomancers with bound ley lines, regardless of ley line proximity. The same cannot be said of Ley Storm. Sounds badass? It is. Think Storm of Vengeance on ley-infused speed, with different effects depending on the rounds and a massive range...oh, and geomancers casting it regain hit points. Cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' absolutely stunning two-column full-color standard and the pdf features amazing full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Dan Dillon has yet to disappoint me, even in the slightest. I mean it. The 5E-specialist of the Four Horsemen takes an incredibly complex concept prone to being utterly broken and handles it with panache and grace. I can literally rattle off several iterations of ley line magic, from 3.X to 5E, and they all had in common that they either were too location-locked to make much sense or too powerful...all but this one. This is a truly impressive, potent system that does not take away the GM's control; there are even damage spells herein that actually made me come up with new ideas. Damage spells. The most profane and standardized category that magic has to offer.

This is absolutely glorious. I mean it. The one reason this does not get status as a candidate for my Top Ten would be that I'd have enjoyed separate backlash tables for ley line intensities and separate tapping DCs for different ley line strength...but that is an issue that a capable GM can easily remedy.

In short: This is a truly phenomenal supplement; it is, in fact, my favorite Deep Magic installment so far; it is inspired, glorious and leaves me craving MORE. It's an absolute steal and should be considered to be a must-own supplement for 5E-groups. 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation, "buts" and "howevers."

Endzeitgeist out.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Ley Lines
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Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
by Tobias P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2017 15:03:22

Pretty good I found a lot of good monsters in this but it does feel like a lot of them are filler as other reviewers have said. But that doesn't detract any from the quality and care that went into the composition for this tome. Glad I didn't buy it physically or I might have broken my back. My friend said this thing is a TOME.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
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Deep Magic: Illumination
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:52:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Deep Magic 5e-books clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This school of magic, associated with light and school, if fittingly represented by just that, the school of illumination. At 2nd level, costs and time to copy illumination spells to the spell-book is halved and additionally, you can forecast danger in the next 24 hours by studying the stars for 1 hour. This nest advantage on up to 2 initiative checks, lasting for 24 hours or until the end of the next long rest. Alternatively, you may grant an ally said advantage, but then you may not benefit from it in that combat. The decision must be made before rolling dice. At 6th level, you gain a bonus of +1 to spell attack modifier and spell save DC in dim light or darkness - not the biggest fan of that one. At 10th level, illusions for which you lose concentration exist for another round, provided the spell's duration has not elapsed. here' I'd have referenced duration instead of maximum duration in the rules-lingo, mainly since maximum duration could be taken to mean a spell's theoretical maximum duration, including increased spell-levels...but that is a nitpick and will not be considered for my final verdict. At 14th level, during a long rest, you can watch the stars, gathering ambient energy in a small item like a star chart or astrolabe. While holding said item, you can use a bonus action to expend the stored energy to duplicate one of the following: Alter self until the next long rest, net a creature in sight disadvantage on the next save versus an illusion or enchantment, reroll up to Intelligence modifier damage dice of a necrotic damage causing spell of 5th level or lower or, finally, treat a divination spell as though you had cast it using a spell slot one level higher.

The pdf also contains a new feat, namely Star and Shadow Reader: Upon taking the feat, choose necrotic or radiant damage: Your spells casting that damage ignore resistance, but not immunity, to the chosen type. Additionally, you can cast augury sans expending a spell slot once between long rests (which is very feeble, considering the spell's ritual tag) and gain darkvision 15 ft. - or increase an existing darkvision's range by +15 ft. The prerequisite is btw. the ability to cast at least one spell. I'm not a big fan here - ignoring resistance takes away from D&D 5e's rock-paper-scissors type of gameplay.

Unless I have miscounted, we get a total of 21 spells: Black hand lets you fire a ranged spell attack, imposing disadvantage an attacks, ability checks and saving throws made with physical attributes. The effect can be ended via a Con-save at disadvantage. Not the biggest fan -the spell would be less open to weird uses if it was tied to the target. Black well has a massive range of 300 ft. and drags those within 90 ft. of it towards it on a failed Strength save. A target within the well is stunned on a failed Con-save and suffers necrotic damage, with a successful save reducing that to incapacitation. Creatures take no damage from remaining in the well, just from exiting it - and creatures within the well at its end land prone. This spell is a bit too strong - it's AoO instant suck for all foes: The multiple saves don't really help, considering how far the well drags targets. Even successful saves of those on which the well is cast lock them down. Cloak of shadow nets you advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks relying on sight.

Compelling fate is pretty cool: If the target fails a Cha-save, you get advantage on attack rolls, may mirror its movements on the creature's turn (deducting that from your next movement) or use a reaction to grant yourself and all allies within earshot of the subject's intentions, providing a +2 bonus to AC or saves versus the prompting attack. At 7th level spell level, starry wisdom lets you cast a reaction-based variant of the spell. Flickering fate, at 4th level, is interesting: You or a target touched can see fate: All creatures within range make Wisdom saves - on a failure, they need to declare their intended actions and then follow through on their turns -additionally, the recipient has advantage on attacks ability checks and saves and creatures affected suffer from disadvantage. Once again, I think this would have made more sense of the spell conveyed advantage only with regards to actions prompted by or against creatures actually affected by the spell.

Guiding star prevents you from being lost due to stars and sun - as a nitpick, I think the spell should specifically state that it can only work on open ground: While the spell's flavor states that it works by tracking sun/stars, RAW, it can be cast underground and works - one could argue the tracking to be "magic" and thus feasible in such environments as well. Icy grasp of the ether, at 7th level, inflicts nasty cold damage and restrains the target and accumulates exhaustion of the target is not immune to cold and breathes. Orb of light blinds the target 1 round and deals 3d8 radiant damage, with a Dex-save to halve damage and negate blindness - compared to similar 2nd level spells, a well-balanced option. Shadow bite is a necrotic variant of acid splash that instead of targeting two creatures, halves the speed of a being affected by it until your next turn, with Con to resist. personally, I'd have reduced the damage dice since necrotic damage is slightly more valuable than acid, but oh well. Shadow blindness is one cool cantrip: It temporarily negates natural darkvision! Elegant and cool!

Shadow hands is another tweak: 1st-level spell, 15-ft.-cone, 2d4 necrotic damage + frightened on a failed Wis-save, which also potentially halves damage. Shadow trove lets you temporarily store items inside. Downside: "Items that are still inside the shadow trove when the duration ends are lost forever." WTF? That's 3rd level. Unwelcome artifact? Put it in the magic garbage disposal! Need to make documents disappear? there you go. Since only the caster and certain designated individuals can access it, that further exacerbates the issues. This spell needs a serious overhaul. Shield of star and shadow nets resistance to either necrotic or radiant damage and makes you shed dim light. Silhouette lets you do a magic shadow puppet show - decent cantrip. Slither temporarily makes you a shadow is cool in theory. However: "You are immune to all damage, except force, psychic and radiant damage." WHAT THE EFFFF??? This is ridiculously potent for a 2nd level spell. Dragon breath? No biggie, I'll go shadow. This needs to die in a fiery blaze. Or at least be seriously nerfed.

Starburst is a radiant-based cantrip for 1d6 radiant damage, range 60 feet. Starfall has a range of 60 feet and lets you cause 8d6 radiant damage to 5 targets within range, with hit targets blinded on a failed Dex-save, which also can halve damage. In spite of a slightly decreased damage output, this has: a) a better damage type than cone of cold; b) better control (no cone, choose targets) and c) no duration for blindness effect - as a whole, this makes the spell too strong for the level. The blindness effect should go, at the very least. Last rays of the dying sun first blasts for 6d6 fire damage, then for the same amount of cold damage in a 40-feet burst - at 7th level, a solid option. Summon star calls forth a deva that charms those that look upon it. Star's heart, the 9th level spell, increases gravity within 50 feet - all creatures within drop objects held, become incapacitated and can't move. Solid objects encountered triple fall/collision damage. Creatures within the area or entering it must save or suffer the same fate. Anyone starting the round prone takes bludgeoning damage and those than make their saves while prone take only half damage and may move at 1/2 speed. Big plus: Manages to get spell interaction, ranged weapons, etc. right.

We end the pdf with Talithe Val'Shiar, a sample challenge 6 NPC.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on a formal level. On a rules-level, the language is precise as well, though balance-wise, I disagree with several choices. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The full-color artworks herein are absolutely gorgeous.

Greg Marks delivers a per se solid pdf here. There are quite a few aspects to like and enjoy within this supplement. At the same time, when compared to previous installments in Kobold Press' Deep magic-series, this feels like it falls a bit flat. It does not sport the evocative visuals of Clockworks, the cool rune engine of rune magic or the impeccable balance of the void magic book. Ignoring resistances is a slippery slope and there are a few spells herein, where comparable PHB-spells are obviously worse. I also think that the celestial alignment-theme could have been more pronounced/better integrated in the material presented. As a whole, this is not bad - but it does have a couple of rough edges and a bit more "variant of spell x"-material than I expected. This is not bad, but compared to previous installments, it feels less compelling - my final verdict, as written, can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Illumination
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Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
by Adam D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 16:55:29

Chock full of creatures created with creative flair and love for the game, the Tome of Beasts presents monsters that aren't the usual fare. A lot of them have an "elemental" flavor. They're all nicely fleshed out and described. There is art for almost every entry and it's very high quality. The monsters range from super easy challenges (CR 1/8) to the toughest. Pick this one up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
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Deep Magic: Void Magic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/03/2017 09:02:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deep Magic-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The heart of void magic is Void Speech - the spoken word, the glyphs of this strange language, exist in a paradoxical state, in that they degrade physical reality around them - though never to the point of dissolution: Inscribed Void Speech corrupts and degrades, but does not annihilate its own matter.

Void magic is the tradition of tapping into the horrid magics of the Great Old Ones and the role of the tradition in Midgard is elaborated upon. It should be noted that these spells cannot be learned via spells gained via level-progression - these magics need to be learned from a practitioner or a proper spell-book, retaining GM-control in that regard. Void magic fundamentally behaves like arcane magic, just fyi.

There are two feats introduced that make use of the unsettling nature of Void Speech - the first would be Void Channeler, which lets you, as an action, utter a phrase in its horrid cadence. A creature within 10 ft. of your choice must succeed a Wisdom saving throw (Save DC scales properly) or suffer from the frightened condition, while other beings nearby suffer from somewhat unsettling, cosmetic effects. Additional uses before completing a short or long rest inflict increasing amounts of necrotic damage to the character. The second feat, Void Scribe, lets you use writing utensils as an action to inscribe a glyph on an object - this object then continues to take 1d6 necrotic damage per turn and in order to retain the glyph's structure, you have to maintain concentration AND succeed a DC 10 Constitution save each round. This is a pretty cool idea, though it also is one that could have carried a bit more than item destruction - two spells presented herein require papers with the glyphs as material component and that's it. Oh well, perhaps in a sequel book?

The pdf also provides an arcane tradition, namely the void speaker. Starting at 2nd level, time and gold required to write void spells in the spellbook is halved and when gaining a level, 1 of the spells learned may be a void spell, allowing for relatively reliable access to the strange magic. Also at second level, as a bonus action before casting a spell of 1st level or higher, which disorients a creature chosen from those affected by your spell, imposing disadvantage on the next attack roll or ability check the creature makes before your next turn.

Starting at 6th level, when damaged by a creature within 60 feet, you can use your reaction to cause 1/2 wizard level + Int mod necrotic damage to the creature, usable Intelligence modifier times before requiring a long rest to regain uses. Starting at 10th level, void magic spells with one target may target two creatures instead and you gain advantage on Con-saves made to maintain concentration on void spells. Finally, at 14th level, you can use your action to utter a phrase in void speech - this lets you choose a point within 60 feet, dimming the light in a 20-foot radius around that point for 1 minute. Creatures hostile to you suffer from disadvantage on Wisdom checks and vulnerability to necrotic damage. Additionally, such creatures (Allies are fine!) starting their turn or entering the area for the first time take 3d6 necrotic damage, half as much on a successful Con save. The ability recharges on a completed short or long rest. It should be noted that these abilities, being reliant on vocalizations, can't be used when unable to speak, which is a nice thematic catch.

The pdf also features a total of 13 void magic spells: conjure minor voidborn (at 5th level) and its 7th level brother, conjure voidborn let you call forth fiends or aberrations in a nice summoning variant. Why nice? The nasty creatures can't attack you and yours, but they can, oopsie-daisy, affect allies via secondary effects - you have to tread lightly there, which fits perfectly with the flavor of the magic. There are two void magic cantrips: Crushing Curse nets you a reliable means of dealing 1d6 psychic damage to a creature within 60 feet, also deafening that creature. The damage increases over the levels...and here, I'd usually complain about psychic damage being one of the strongest damage types in 5e, but the balancing of the cantrip is actually really clever and immaculate: You see, it can only affect creatures that can hear you, so as soon as you fail the save, you won't be affected! And yes, creatures can try again each round to end the deafness. Kudos indeed! The second cantrip would be ward of misfortune, which targets a creature nearby and imposes a d4 as penalty to the creature's next save. Protection from the Void nets a willing creature resistance to necrotic and psychic damage as well as advantage on the saves versus void magic...draw that elder sign...

At 2nd level, we can find destructive resonance, a 15-foot cone which inflicts 4d6 psychic damage (more with higher spell slots) and prevents creatures damaged from taking reactions. Usually, I'd say that the "no reactions" aspect should be negated on a successful save, but the low range and inherent danger of the spell serve as balancing mechanics there. Maddening Whispers can render a target incapacitated with 0 speed on a failed Cha-save, but only has a range of 30 feet and demands your action to maintain its effects, which renders it a tactical option, but not one that will break the game.

At 3rd level, we find Void Strike, the option to fire 5d8 necrotic ranged spell attacks that also frighten the target until your next turn. The no-save frightened-effect is something I'd not particularly keen on, but I do like that the spell ties in with the terrain - you gain advantage on attack rolls versus those within dim light or darkness. There's a cool Darkest Dungeon reference in discussing this mechanic, but I can't enunciate it right now. At 4th level, nether weapon is cool: Touched weapon is treated as magic, inflicts a bonus 2d6 necrotic damage...and the creature hit by it can't be healed until the start of your next turn. NICE. Living Shadows at 5th level lets you conjure forth a 15-ft-radius spread of restraining shadows (resisted by Strength save). Creatures that start their turn restrained gain one level of exhaustion. Restrained creatures can use their choice of Str or Dex check to free themselves. I am not perfectly happy with this one -considering that even one level of exhaustion imposes disadvantage on ability checks, escape becomes less likely. Sure, the spell is one spell-level higher than evard's black tentacles, and has 5 foot affected area less than it, but it also does not require concentration, unlike EBS. Personally, I'd have kept concentration as a limiting factor here, mainly since my 5e games tend to place a high value on exhaustion/resource management...and it remains a 6-step killer. I do get the rationale behind the design, though, given how void magic is a locked discipline for most casters.

At 6th level, we can find Life Drain, which lets you determine one point within 90 ft. - those within a 15 feet of the point take 10d6 necrotic damage, half as much on a successful Constitution save. For each target damaged, you can choose one creature in range and have it heal half the amount of necrotic damage you rolled. I have a minor, aesthetic quibble here: I think it should be damage actually inflicted, not rolled. While using a bag of kittens and this spell to heal is a colossally dumb idea, something within me still twitches here a bit. That being said, I get the rationale for the verbiage as provided - basing the heal on damage inflicted versus damage rolled would have complicated the wording of the spell. (Plus, this is something that's pretty easy for the GM to house-rule .)

The 8th and 9th level spells, btw., would be the void magic spells I mentioned that actually require an inscribed void glyph as part of their material components: 8th level's glimpse of the void has a range of 120 feet and all targets within a 30-foot cube must succeed an Int-save, rendering the targets insane on a failed save and placing movement under GM control. The 9th level spell, void rift, generates a 10-foot radius tear in reality, which is then surrounded by 40 feet of difficult terrain. Creatures within the area must succeed Strength saves or be pulled towards the rift and those in contact with it take necrotic damage and are blinded and deafened. Very cool - though the spell takes its toll on the caster, inflicting necrotic damage each round it is maintained.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several fantastic full-color artworks I haven't seen before. Big kudos in the aesthetics-department. The pdf comes with bookmarks, but not for the individual spells. Considering the length of the pdf, that's okay.

Dan Dillon of the four horsemen delivers once again here. Void magic feels potent, alien, risky and still easy to grasp. The astute reader may have noticed that all my complaints (the few that I managed to dig up) boil down to nitpicks in details and aesthetics that can be reduced to "slightly different opinions" - the design here is pretty much immaculate and often rather inspiring. I am particularly enamored with the balancing mechanic employed for the psychic damage-causing cantrip and similar subtle, elegant design decisions. Now personally, I understand why both feats and their effects are not more intricately tied to the spells - a decision made in order to retain the broader appeal of the type of magic. Still, I couldn't help but feel like both feats almost demand being tied to spellcasting. To cut a long ramble short: I'd love to see the engine of void magic expanded. It can carry more than it does. What more can you ask of such a humble little pdf? It actually left me wanting more! So here's to hoping we get Void Magic II at one point. I forgot my verdict? 5 stars...given sans hesitation, since all my quibbles boil down to aesthetic and very minor differences in design opinions! The only reason this does not get my seal would be the brevity - the concept can carry so much more and could have used a couple more pages to develop its mind-shattering impact beyond the presented options.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Void Magic
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Weresheep
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/16/2017 06:39:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, before we do - this pdf is one of the cool things that just...happen. What started off as a running joke during the Advanced Races Compendium KS became its own file.

We have to specify what exactly we get here first, though: This does not provide a variant lycanthrope template or the like; instead, this pdf represents an NPC collection of 3 weresheep of the apocalypse. While the concept of weresheep may sound stupid, rest assured that they can be CREEPY and that the NPCs herein are anything but jokes. They, in fact, are extremely deadly adversaries. Each of the three NPCs comes with two statblocks, one for the regular form and one for the hybrid shape, meaning that you won't have to do any work - kudos there!

On the downside of these builds, it should be noted that the weresheep aspect itself does not yield any specific signature abilities, following PFRPG's unfortunate decision to streamline all types of lycanthropy, but the respective builds do make up for that in their imaginative potential. They all are CR 15 villains and cover quite a wide array.

All right, enough tiptoeing around the subject matter, the first of these guys would be chosen by Death, none other than Gromek Palebones, a natural weresheep shaman 7. And yes, these do come with flavor-text: "This towering humanoid's gray skin is ashen and gaunt, and his eyes are sunken into their sockets. He is bedecked in sheepskins and bleached bones, and the great black scythe in his hands slices the air with a moan." Yeah, your PCs will NOT be laughing at these guys. Gromek's life-drinker scythe will certainly make sure that they rue the day they cross him...

Goref Tamerk would be a less---in your face deadly adversary: He'd be a gnoll afflicted weresheep oracle devoted to Famine - in his hybrid form, he has a "bleeding sheep skull for a face and a coat of thick, black wool." Yeah, CREEPY. Have I mentioned cannibal curse, erosion's touch and the appropriate abilities to make foes really rue the day they went out of bed to don those adventuring clothes?

Thirdly, there would be Lord Silas Nareshorn, the weresheep of pestilence...who would be a human natural weresheep vivisectionist with a seeking hand crossbow that makes for a truly deadly adversary and killer...and the ticking timer of his family's dread secret drove him towards the horrid plague he seeks to unleash to secure his own fortune and well-being...and his ambitious plan is coming closer to fruition, making good use of his abilities and resources. In fact, that is a component that deserves special mention: The weresheep builds make sense within their abilities and sport some really cool angles.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has bookmarks in spite of its brevity - kudos! Unfortunately, we don't get artworks for the NPCs, though the fair price-point makes up for that shortcoming.

The four horsemen deliver three amazing adversaries for high-level PCs in this pdf and the 3 weresheep, universally, are amazing. I noticed no glitches and the builds themselves are appropriate, deadly and brim with cool ideas. While I would have loved to see unique signature abilities, weapons or the like, for the limited focus of this pdf, it most certainly delivers. The absence of a weresheep of war (due to, to my knowledge, the horsemen having had a vacancy back then before Tim Hitchcock joined their ranks) is a pity, though. That being said, for the more than fair price point, this is worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, though I feel it misses rounding up by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weresheep
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Deep Magic: Rune Magic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/24/2017 11:11:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

The second installment of Kobold Press' Deep Magic-series clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Rune magic works differently from other magic types in its PFRPG-version - and so it makes sense to use a different system in 5e as well: There is a feat called Rune Knowledge, which nets knowledge of 2 runes of the player's choice, granting the respective rune bonuses. Additionally, once per day, you can invoke a rune's rune power, provided you meet the prerequisite, for several runes have several rune powers, with progressively better ones being unlocked later. The feat may be taken additional times, with each additional time granting access to more runes and their powers. As a nitpick, I think rune powers should not be tied to days, but long rest intervals, but that is a mostly cosmetic gripe.

There is a follow-up feat, analogue to PFRPG: Rune Mastery. This feat requires the previous feat and grants you access to one rune mastery effect. As a minor complaint: While rune mastery abilities have prerequisite levels, the feat, unlike its brother, does not mention the requirement of meeting that prerequisite, which is relevant since some rune mastery powers don't unlock at 8th level, but rather at 13th or as late as 15th level, for example. Again, I think tying them to rest intervals instead of enforcing a hard daily cap would have made sense for rune mastery powers as well.

A rune's save throw DC is dependent on the rune employed - if it forces a Cha-save, for example, it employs Cha as governing attribute for the save, which follows the default 8 + rune maker's ability bonus + rune maker's proficiency bonus. In another cosmetic hiccup that will not influence the final verdict, usually you list the proficiency bonus first. Anyways, the runes are based on the FuÞark and basic meanings are noted.

Yes, meanings. Plural. The runes were not necessarily used as classic letters, but also have a very significant symbolic meaning...which is btw. the reason I almost get an aneurysm whenever someone wears some piece of gaudy jewelry that uses runes as a letter-substitution. Ahem. Anyways, their benefits run a pretty wide array of different benefits - the goal, from a design perspective, is obviously based on establishing breadth, rather than depth: While many runes provide minor bonuses to a certain skill (rune bonuses), the runes are more remarkable for the breadth they provide: Take the very first one, Algiz: It allows you to create elk horn wands, which represent a new magic item that allows the wielder to generate saving throw bonuses for a brief time and enhances dispelling. As a rune power, the user may scratch it on a wall or structure, granting bonuses to saves and effects versus sleep or unconsciousness that last for 8 hours.

Many of these runes are not only balanced by the steep cost of two feats, but also by their cultural context, hard-wired into the very design of the respective runes, with several explicitly stating that they unleash their power only versus foes of the Aesir, who have wrung their control from the well of Mimir. (Insert long-winded and at this time redundant digression about Norse mythology you have by now hear x times from me here...)

This contextualizes them well and makes them feel infused with the culture...and also provides a rationale for their design-philosophy deviating slightly from what you usually receive in 5e. In short: They behave like their own engine, which is something I applaud, considering that, at least as far as my experiences are concerned, it is said sub-engines that make certain class choices more popular than others in 5e. It is also why I am not complaining about colons instead of full stops in the formatting of the rune abilities.

I digress. I should also mention that several runes have multiple rune mastery powers, though only one can be invoked for each rune, with the benefits ranging from local plant growth to communing with the dead, making an item teleport out of a creature's hand once it dies...there is some serious narrative potential here, as several runes practically beg both players and GMs to embark on a collective narrative experience. Only one rune got a bit lost: Poor Raido does not have a rune mastery power, though its brief water walking and forced march enhancing capabilities make for a nice basic rune. One more thing that will make this pdf instantly more compelling to quite a few of my readers out there, a fact that very much makes this a viable purchase even if you're not interested in the concept of runes:

This installment of deep magic introduces the snowblindness condition and the 4-stage frostbite/hypothermia-engine, which ties into the amazing exhaustion mechanics of 5e (seriously, I love them!). These alone may be enough to justify getting this book, I kid you not. I am a big fan of environmental/wilderness gaming and 5e's base engine does a nice job at portraying a rigorous adventuring life in regular climates, but in the more extreme zones, it needed this expansion. Seriously: Massive kudos!

These conditions, btw., do not exist in their own little universe - instead, the runes and new spells make nice use of them and their effects. Speaking of spells: perhaps my favorite blending of runes and spells is that there are rune rituals that follow pretty much the format of rituals, but which can only be learned by the rune associated with them: Whether you wish to call forth the vaettir (whose stats are reprinted from the ToB) to transforming creatures into lycanthropes...the applications are fun. Now personally, I do believe that Tyr's Peace should rather be Forseti's Peace, considering that Tyr's area or expertise was primarily judgment/justice in regards to warfare, while the ritual penalizes bloodshed in general, not just among previous combatants...but one could argue for Tyr just as well...so yeah, I'm good with these.

I am NOT good with all of the new and updated spells herein.While not all spells have been streamlined (fire under the tongue is still pitiful for a 1st level spell...which hurts, considering the cool visuals!), the revised version has been improved in that regard. Still, not as cool as the rune section, which is a pity, for concept-wise, quite a few of these are amazing.

Beyond aforementioned wand, we get the nithing pole wondrous item, which promises a curse to the named person that dares approach it. Two thumbs up! Now, I already mentioned the Vaettir, but one of my favorites from Northlands, the tupilak golem at challenge 4 can also be found within this supplement...and its 5e-iteration is surprisingly brutal for its challenge. I mean it. Love this guy...but if you encounter it...run and do your legwork, otherwise you'll be in for pain!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I did not notice too grievous hiccups. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several truly gorgeous full-color artworks, some of which are original, while the vaettir, for example, will be familiar to owners of the ToB. The pdf comes with bookmarks, but not to individual runes or spells.

Chris Harris delivers regarding rune magic: I really, really like how he has converted the engine; the magic is suffused by a sense of the primal and fantastic, it breathes mythology and its generally conservative, but narrative-wise relevant bonuses and tricks are a boon and just make for great story-telling. I really like them. I ADORE the hypothermia-engine and snowblindness as well and the critters would similarly receive two thumbs up from me. While I have nitpicked quite a bit in the beginning, if that was all, I'd frankly slap, gladly, my seal on this. I like how this behaves as an engine, I like the wealth of options it provides and how it can be used to run gritty campaigns - I could see myself running a game sans regular magic, with only the runes in a really gritty setting.

The spells, while improved, are still not perfect examples of their craft, though they are theme-wise strong. Hence, my final verdict can "only" clock in at EDIT: 4.5 stars, and I feel I can't round up for this one, though I still HIGHLY recommend getting this if you plan on playing any adventure in the frigid landscapes of the North.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Rune Magic
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Deep Magic: Clockwork
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/24/2017 10:58:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of the Deep Magic-series of 5e-pdfs clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, almost one page of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 14 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

There are few aspects I associate as much with Kobold Press' phenomenal Midgard-setting as clockwork magic. (In fact, only one: Fey...but I digress..) The magic which spread from the by now legendary city of Zobeck across the disk (Midgard's flat) is evocative and interesting...so how has it been translated to 5e? Well, beyond two clockwork-associated gods (surprisingly missing Rava!) after a brief introduction to the history of clockwork magic, we dive right into a new cleric domain, the, surprise, clockwork domain.

The domain nets proficiency in clockmaker's tools and heavy armor as well as advantage on attacks versus clockworks and constructs, with the spell-dispersal making sense and good use of the new material herein. Channel divinity lets the cleric hijack constructs if they fail a Wisdom saving throw - if they badly fail their save, the control extends in duration. Starting at 6th level, spells used to repair damage to clockwork creatures etc. always restore maximum possible hit points, which I consider problematic, considering the presence of a clockwork PC-race among the roster for Midgard - a purely gearforged group, for example. 8th level, you can designate a controlled construct within 60 ft. as a viable target for spells that usually only target the cleric. 17th level nets the ability to merge with a construct controlled, restoring all hit points. For the duration, you gain all immunities and qualities of the construct and may cast spells, use class features, etc. This can only be used once per long-rest-interval. I assume that this includes access to the special traits and features of the creature merged with, but I am not 100% sure - the ability could be slightly more precise here.

The warlock also receives support here, to be precise, the great machine patron. At 1st level, the warlock may decide to spring ahead in the initiative order to right before a given creature, and yes, this ability is concise and covers the changes in the order properly. This one, much like 6th level's ability, recovers on a short or long rest. 6th level's ability lets you reroll a missed attack witha dvantage. 10th level provides immunity to psychic damage and mind reading, unless you allow it and 14th level allows you to designate a creature within 60 ft. The creature must succeed a Charisma save versus spell save DC or take 10d10 psychic damage and must make another Cha-save to avoid being stunned for 1 minute. Once again, short or long rest to recharge.

Pact boon-wise, the warlock may choose a clockwork familiar, a changing blade or a pocket-sized device that replaces a book. Three eldritch invocations allow for gear barrage, +1d6 fire damage in melee and reflexive 1d6 fire damage as well as the option to overcome construct immunity to being frightened and charmed.

Wizards may opt for the path of the clockwork mage, who gain an aforementioned clockwork familiar. Their school lets them halve time and gold it costs to add a clockwork spell to the spellbook. The duration of animate constructs increases by proficiency bonus minutes, with 20th level providing permanence instead. 6th level nets metal shape, which lets you reshape metal of size Small or smaller under your control. Here's the amazing: For once, the ability requires familiarity with an object - no easy cheating via key-generation. Cool! 10th level nets golem form, which lets you retain mental faculties, but lets you assume the physical characteristics of a golem/clockwork creature with a CR less than the current level, lasting up to 1 minute per level. 14th level allows for an Int-based hijacking of constructs, analogue to the cleric tricks.

The pdf, after several class lists of spells, then begins to introduce new and updated spells: These include absolute command that lets you issue commands to constructs, animating constructs with size by spell slot and base stats for each. Armored heart nets an interesting option to, as a bonus action, gain resistance to the 3 physical damage types for 1 round, enhancing potential defense/withdraw-sections. Taking on a zelekhut's powers (stats included) - there are some cool tricks here. EDIT: catapult now specifies the damage type it inflicts

Rust is added to the list of afflictions available via contagion...all in all, a well-made selection of options. You don't know what rust does? Well, thankfully, the pdf does cover this! A ritual for hellforged gearforged allows for an interesting variant of the gearforged race. Sacrificing a construct to temporarily imbue a target with construct-tricks...very cool. Speaking of which - have I mentioned the spell that uses a music box to rip open the planes, allowing them to partially overlap? Pendulum is interesting as well, locking d20-throws at 20, 1, 19, 18...which is generally cool, but considering that it's concentration, up to 1 minute, it kind of loses a bit of its sting and is a better buff than debuff, which is pretty surely not how it was intended, unless it's supposed to be just one half swing of a pendulum. Interaction with memory gears and winding keys is intriguing.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level and now also on a formal level. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports high-quality artworks. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks for the class features, but not the individual spells.

Scott Carter's translation of clockwork magic to 5e constitutes a well-crafted first installment for the series, though one that misses a couple of minor beats. There are some serious gems here and much of the interaction with e.g. gearforged etc. and the magic aspects that are integral to Midgard have been properly presented. While not perfect, this is a nice, inexpensive pdf and as such receives a final verdict of EDIT: Some glitches have been ironed out, which adds + 0.5 stars to the final verdict. Due to my in dubio pro reo policy, the final verdict will be rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic: Clockwork
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