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Deep Magic (Pathfinder RPG)
par Chris F. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 04/17/2014 16:03:48
Deep Magic is an amazingly innovative beast of a sourcebook. Deep Magic boasts almost 400 pages of extremely thorough content, including hundreds of new spells, dozens of new ways of wielding magic, several innovative new schools and subschools of magic, as well as pre-generated spellbooks you can toss into your campaign as treasure. Kobold Press has always had really high production values, but the art in this PDF is among the best I've ever seen, from them or any other company.

I hope there's a POD edition of Deep Magic coming soon- I want a copy of this on my bookshelf.
CHRIS

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Deep Magic (Pathfinder RPG)
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Midgard Tales (Pathfinder RPG)
par Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 04/16/2014 07:45:02
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive adventure anthology is 198 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page backer-list/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 192 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Midgard Tales...an anthology with the goal of creating adventures to talk about. Not only are these supposed to be exciting, they are supposed to resound with the stuff of mythology, of being iconic in the truest sense of the world. This anthology is one massive book and thus, I will not go into as many details regarding the modules as usual, instead giving you a short heads-up regarding the respective modules. Also: I was a backer of this on kickstarter, but did not contribute in any shape or form to it. Got that?



Awesome! The following thus contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion, mostly because, believe me, you don't want this spoiled.



Tim Connors kicks off with the weirdest, most glorious 1st level module I've read in quite a while: Set upon the infinitely delayed Great Old Ones in eternal struggle, the PCs awake in "Atop the Warring Blasphemies" in essentially a nest...of one weird, semi-cthulhoid dragon-like being. Escaping from their predicament, the PCs have to navigate the gigantic bodies of the old ones and the politics of the weird goblin-tribes that worship and live among them. Worse, there actually are pulpy pieces of technology that keep the aura of bloodlust emitted by the huge creatures in check. Navigating the strange vertical settlements, shooting ballistae at adversaries, climbing, betrayal - this is one damn furious first module for any campaign and should be considered a true gem - it's only downside being that it will be hard to trump this tour-de-force.



Next up would be Morgan Boehringer's "Curse of the Witchkeep". Intended for 2nd level, the PCs are introduced to the village of Loshtadt in the Krakovan hinterlands. Intended as a horror adventure, a sense of desolation suffuses the area. And indeed, a dread curse has fallen upon the xenophobic settlement - biological time is passing exceedingly fast and this amplified ageing process may actually hit the PCs as well. Beyond this curse, not all is well - the village suffers from a powerplay between the lady of the area and the deadly cult of the harbinger, and at night, fear of the "night beast", which is in fact an eidolon, reigns. Undead witchwolves roam the countryside and in order to break the curse, the PCs will have to infiltrate the local keep's dungeon and put an end to the powerplay and deal in a great puzzle-combat with a semi-sentient orrery. Have I mentioned the antipaladin that may actually not be the worst possible ally or the other factions involved in the power-play? This is relatively complex and one of those deceptive modules that don't look that awesome on paper, but running it actually works exceedingly well and remarkable. Again, two thumbs up!



The next module, Ted Reed's "On the Fourth Day, We Kill Them All", for level 3 characters...is downright glorious. You may know that I have a soft spot for stories in the northlands, but all too often, the issue is that the authors don't get the mindset. Well, Ted Reed does. Set against the backdrop of a feud at a Þing, i.e. the kind-of-somewhat-democratic meetings, the PCs not only get to embark in simply superbly fun mini-games that breathe social flair and fluff, in order to persevere, they have to explore a fortress once swallowed by a living glacier and return, triumphantly, with an army of lost ancestors to prevail in a gambit for power. Have I mentioned the diverse political intriguing? Even if you don't like the Northlands, this module remains among the apex-modules in iconic imagery and things to do and should be considered a must-run masterpiece. I bow to the author! If all modules were this good, I'd be out of reviewing.



Chris Lozaga's "Bloodmarked of White Mountain" deals with a village under a strange curse - it seems like the dread ghost folk have bloodmarked a whole village to fall victim to their depredations, sending the whole village into a deep, unnatural slumber. What are the ghost folk? Essentially inbred, white face-painted orcs that ignite in white fire thanks to their strange customs and alchemy upon being slain. In order to lift the curse, the PCs will have to unearth the traumatic history of a hermit, climb a dread idol of the white goddess and finally enter an abandoned mine and defeat the ghost folk in their own environment. Sooo...this is the first module herein I consider good, but simply not that awesome. Yeah, orcs in Midgard are rare and the ignition-upon-death angle is nice...but I can't help but feel I've seen this exact plot before. Feeling more like a post-apocalyptic module, I was reminded of some classics of the genre (brownie-points if you can recall them). Now don't get me wrong - this still is a very good module, but in direct comparison, it somewhat pales.



Module number 5, Michael Lane's "Dawnsong Tragedy" (also for level 3) see the reappearance of a fabled yurt in the Rothenian plane...and the potential for sinister influence. Entering the yurt, the PCs find themselves trapped in a demiplane-style environment, requiring them to defeat a coalition of 3 agents of gods most foul, who, as it turns out, were responsible for the disappearance of the yurt. Each comes with its own, deadly environment and minions, making for a fun romp through uncommon areas. While there is not much going on beyond combat in the respective areas, their iconic layout helps make this module remarkable. Somewhat similar to Legendary Games' "Baleful Coven", this module is great, but not as 100% iconic as I would have liked. Primarily, I think the respective areas of the adversaries could have been a bit more far-out and feature some more unique terrain features. What I do really enjoy is that the respective areas are presented as hexes, though going full-blown hexploration, including random encounter tables, weird weather etc. could have made this very good module into a true legend.



Matt Hewson's "The Tattered Unicorn" (again, for level 3), kicks off with an unicorn ghost herding the PCs toward the village of Astig, where further issues ensue. Delving into the social dynamics of the small place and trysts long gone, the PCs have to find out, what has happened to the unicorn... and during the investigation, also manage the dynamics between a nymph and her forlarren sister as well as prevent a bound demon from being released by the mastermind of the unicorn's demise. All in all...an okay investigation. It's background isn't too special, the means of research not that pronounced, the plot ultimately somewhat simple. It's one of the modules where your PCs are most likely to stumble across the solution without getting all the details. Also: The final ritual, while called incantation in the text, does not get a full incantation treatment, which is somewhat of a pity. Now don't get me wrong, this module isn't bad in any way, but it also could have used more research consequences/pieces to put together. The threat promised by the set-up isn't really followed up on and while timeline etc. help, overall, it is a rather simplistic scenario for an investigation.



Ben McFarland's "To Resurrect the Steigenadler" (intended for level 4) is a whole different beast: When a bone-storm downs the airship the PCs boarded to traverse the wasted west, not only do their actions determine whether NPCs survive the crash, they also find themselves beseiged by mad cultists, terrible beasts born from insanity and in an area that simply is one of the most iconic, deadly ones in Midgard. In order to make the ship once again rise to the skies, brains, brawn and stealth are all required in a tale of survival, madness and consequences. Breathing the flair of the wasted west, this module is superb and ranks among the finest crash-landing scenarios I've seen in quite a while - once again, one of the legends and befitting Ben McFarland's superb resumé.



Erik Freund's level 5 module, "Masquerade", takes a different approach: Two-star-crossed lovers on different sides of a war, a forced marriage looming...realize something? Yes, this module is essentially "Romeo & Juliet"...much like some other modules I've read. But don't skip! Why? Because it is distinctly NOT "Romeo & Juliet" - the player characters first have to brave the seedy underbelly of Capleon for legwork and to acquire an elixir that is supposed to put Seletta, the Baron's daughter into a coma. In order to deliver the elixir, the PCs have to infiltrate a masque ball (complete with a SUPERB mini-game between Exposure and gaining enough clout to approach Seletta) - upon delivering the assassination attempt, a wild chase resumes, the after math of which is depending on the PCs managing exposure versus subtlety. Trying to retrieve her comatose body by breaking into the cemetery, the PCs finally have to flee the city and intrude into a realm in-between of Hellraiser-like madness between pain and insanity to finally face an ending that may be resoundingly triumphant or just as heart-rending bitter-sweet as its literary inspiration. The premise made me groan, the execution is so utterly ultra-glorious, though, that I can simply only slow clap to the ambition of the author. One legendary, smart epic indeed and one of the best modules I've read in ages.



Mike Franke's level 6 module "Whispers in the Dark" is more conservative in the ground it treads by having the PCs explore creepy mines and finally brave the derro-incursion beneath Breccia. Overall, a weird little crawl that, much like the second module, doesn't read as exciting on paper. However, Mike Franke seems to have a gift for fusing encounters and traps into a cohesive whole that works surprisingly well when run, creating an atmosphere beyond the sum of its parts.



Next up would be a module by the master of the macabre, Richard Pett: "Sorrow", for level 7 characters. The module kicks off with the PCs being invited to a "royal" wedding in the backwater town of Twine. As tradition will have it, the King in Rags, a debased Dark fey-lord is out to take the lord's daughter to claim his prize for services rendered in the past and thus, the PCs get to participate in a forced marriage-ceremony, where dancing with baccae, succeeding at fey-tasks and generally breathing the palpable sense of dark fantasy grit is tantamount - even before the lord tries to kill the King in Rags, thus sending his whole county into the fey's domain, where in a race against time, the PCs have to do some hasty hexploration to track down the King in Rags before the entity can consummate his marriage...potentially dealing with former brides and similar fey creatures and only, if they can stop the king's mantle of living crows from stopping their best attacks. The master of horror and dark fantasy at his finest, on par with the legendary "Courts of the Shadow Fey" in delightfully evil dark fey-flair. Another legend!



"Among the red monoliths" by Brian W. Suskind (level 7-9) caters to my preference of shades of grey morality - the city of Bourgund is a radiant place and when the PCs arrive there and have items confiscated, they probably will be rather grumpy, with those white knights mumbling something about primal giant slaying...and they'd better. The order of white knights has fallen victim to the very human sin of hubris and an ally of the most uncommon kind, the dread church of Marena, may all that stands between the city and utter destruction. In order to prevent the immortal primal guardians from escaping the monoliths that litter the city, the PCs have to help the dark cult get their hands on various items and finally, conduct the rite...which adds another issue...it requires human sacrifice. Shades of grey are not for every group, but this module makes a great stance for a module that does require adventuring on the darker sides of morality. As soon as the constantly regenerating giants get free, that ought to be rather clear. Uncommon and a type of module I haven't seen before in commercial publishing and surprisingly in line with how my campaigns tend to run, this one is rather fun, though players who see everything as black and white might disagree.



Thankfully, Brian W. Suskind also gets another module to show off his versatility as an author with the "Five Trials of Pharos", intended for level 10 characters. The premise is as uncommon as they come - Mharot dragon Yiraz invites the adventurers alongside some competing teams to embark on a race to 5 trials, each of which requires the solving of mundane, riddle-like instructions and ultimately is designed to realign ley-lines towards one nexus. The race comes with a vast array of different challenges and the symbolic power of the respective challenges also resounds properly. After a glorious, breathless race, the PCs will even have to save their draconic patron, who has been duped and thus had her body taken over by a grisly, legendary dragon/aboleth hybrid thought long-since perished. Yes. EPIC FINAL BATTLE indeed!



The final module, "The Stacks Between" is penned by no other than Crystal Frasier and takes place in our favorite clockwork-city of Zobeck, to be precise in the legendary, teleporting library Bibliolethe, last repository of so much lore of the reviled Stross family. Entering the precipice on the trail of a vanished mage, the PCs have a scant few 10 hours to navigate bound azata and their contractual obligations to a bound contract devil, avoid the groundkeeper and golems, navigate a cool puzzle-floor and finally defeat the spirit and madness of the library's former master, split in twain by the dread artifact that is responsible for the Bibliolethe's planehopping - if the shadow fey or former victims turned dread undead don't get the PCs first! Success may actually return the legendary library to Zobeck! Gloriously wicked, dark dungeon, somewhat reminiscent of Frog God Games' super "Black Monastery", but unique enough to exist alongside it.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are one of the unfortunate weaknesses of this book and one reason it did not score even higher on my Top Ten list of the best of 2013 - from bolding errors, wrong page-headers and typos to even map-glitches, one more thorough editing pass wouldn't have hurt this one. Layout adheres to Midgard's two-column full-color standard and is gorgeous. The same holds true for the extremely evocative, cool b/w-artworks throughout the book that convey so much better the darkness and grit of these modules than the deceptively light cover implies. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Speaking of artwork and maps - there is a second pdf that contains look-see-handout versions of the superb artworks and maps and while I'm not a big fan of non-KS-backers paying extra for them, I wouldn't complain, after all the maps are awesome. Or rather, I wouldn't complain, for the second gripe I have is that, once again, we get no player-friendly maps of the places, not even in the extra, for-sale handout-pdf! That's NOT cool - had I paid extra for handouts, I would have at least expected to have the maps sans letters, creature-markers etc. So yeah, that was the second factor that brought this down a notch. On the plus-side, the hardcover I got from the KS is a solid beauty with good paper and solid craftmanship -it certainly looks awesome and production values are top-notch here!



Now don't get me wrong - I've been at my top-notch complaining level throughout the whole review - there is not a single bad module herein. Not one. There isn't even a mediocre one in here. the worst I could say about any given module in this anthology would be that a module is just "good". But how is the ratio? 7 of these modules, on their own, would have me gush, grin and heap superlatives on them. 7.

That's more than 50% A++-modules, of which, I guarantee that much, you won't be disappointed. Add to that that the other modules all occupy slots at the higher echelons, never dipping to mediocrity, and we have an anthology that succeeds at its lofty goal of proving modules that players WILL talk about. That, ladies and gentlemen, is superb density regarding quality and sheer narrative potential. Have I mentioned that most modules herein coincidentally also make simply good reading material? To cut a long ramble short:

This anthology is well worth its place on my Top Ten of last year and 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Midgard Tales (Pathfinder RPG)
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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
par Corey D. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 04/04/2014 04:45:08
One thing I love most is that occasional 3rd party piece of material for my favorite role playing game to come out and sweep me off of my feet. Kobold Press has definitely made that happen with their latest book, New Paths Compendium. I myself have been following their New Path character releases for some time when I stumbled onto their Spell-less Ranger class they released a couple of years ago. While I myself may never play some of the written characters, that does not mean they are not well written or mechanically stable, it just different strokes for different folks people. However I must say that all of their classes to this date have impressed me nonetheless and offer a wide range of options. Since we are discussing the classes, I will go ahead and start breaking down my review chapter by chapter.

Chapter One of the book opens up with a full-page art depiction of each character along with their class descriptions and some flavor to boot. There are seven new classes in the book and they are as followed: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Savant, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger, Theurge, and White Necromancer.

1) The Battle Scion or the “arcane paladin” as per Kobolds description is a neat mesh of Paizo’s Magus and Paladin classes. The Scion carries a full BAB with the ability to launch a Force Blast that grows in power with level, can enhance their weapon like the Magus, along with a few other nice abilities.

2) The Elven Archer is a class based on the iconic image of elves being read about in fantasy novels, which meant a forest dwelling, bow wielding elf. The class plays much like an archery Ranger with a long-range sneak attack ability that scales with level along with an arrow enhancement ability. Kobold has done a fine stand up job by not limiting us with having to actually be an elf if you do not want and can instead opt out by trying out their variant archer designs. These are the Halfling Slingmaster, Dwarven Crossbowyer, and Mystic Archer and they all play similar to the Elven Archer but they have their own unique ability and flavor.

3) The Savant easily has the greatest versatility to ever be laid out in a character. There has never been a truer form of a jack-of-all-trades character than the Savant. The Savant is a character who adopts various persona by using knacks written in their notebook. Knacks can range from weapon proficiencies, to spellcasting, to skill knowledge and come together in unique custom combinations to create the personae the Savant feels is necessary to meet any situation that encounter. This is a class that requires A LOT of prep time and recommends that you have multiple persona written out ahead of time so you will not slow the game down, making it harder on the GM. There really is so much to this class that I find it to really explain without giving away most of its details.

4) The Shaman in a nutshell is a Druid with healing powers. The Shaman bonds with the spirit of an animal that takes a physical form when summoned and acts as an animal companion. The Shaman is also a spontaneous caster using the druid spell list which gives a great option for those who enjoy spontaneous casting, because I know I do.

5) The Spell-less Ranger is easily my favorite class written by Kobold and it was the class that got me interested in the New Paths characters. This class takes all of those iconic Ranger characters such as Aragorn and Robin Hood and makes them playable because magic was not something those guys used…ever. The Ranger gains a few new toys in exchange for losing his spells but the important ones are Stealth Attack, which is essentially a Sneak Attack against favored foes or while in favored terrain, and Ranger Talents. Ranger Talents play much like Paizo’s Skirmisher archetype’s Talents, but these are actually worth losing spells for and are balanced well with a few particularly good choices. There is also a variant for this class that was released with this book called the Skin Changer and it is one that I have been wanting to try out so badly. This variant trades out the favored enemy, combat style, and animal companion of a Ranger with the ability to essentially wild shape into that animal instead that scales like a druid so it actually feels pretty balanced and a ton of fun if you are into playing a shifter without contracting a terrible were- disease.

6) The Theurge is an amazing spellcaster that allows you to cast divine and arcane spells right from the get go, without having to make that climb into Paizo’s Mystic Theurge prestige class which typically took at least 10 levels to get to and the character feels gimped the entire way there. Well fear no longer, because the Theurge can do that from level 1 and can even cast two spells at the same time given that one is arcane and one is divine. Their only downfall is how many spells per day they can actually pull off but then again, if they could cast all day like other classes, then it would be broken and probably banned from tables so I find it very balanced in that fact.

7) Finally to wrap up this chapter we have the White Necromancer, which is not bad per se, but it is probably my least favorite of the six. Essentially this class is a “good” necromancer that studies life and death instead of exploiting it for their own nefarious purposes. If necromancy is your cup of tea, then this class has a lot to offer. At first they cannot cast “evil” necromancy spells as well as a necromancer and this costs them two spell slots to do so which can make tough goings, but later down the road this is negated. They have a pretty decent spell list that consists of a mix of cleric and wizard/sorcerer which rounds out their arsenal.

Chapter Two contains the Archetypes section of the book. In it, eight classes are given new archetype options. Some of them are the New Path classes: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger and White Necromancer, while the other three, the Gunslinger, Monk, and Ninja, are some of Paizo’s own.

1) The Battle Scion features two new archetypes. The first is the Bonded Scion, which lets him take an Arcane Bond, though it must be a weapon, and improve it further. There are also a few sweet abilities that go along with it. The other one is called the Force Blaster and it does just that, removing the focus from mainly melee, and instead opting for a blaster type role that boosts the Scion’s force blast capabilities.

2) The Elven Archer got two new archetypes as well. First is the Royal Guardian, which removes the wilderness feel, the Elven Archer brought with him and instead incorporates him into a more societal class by taking on things such as social skills and useful urban environment abilities. Second is the Plains Rider, which is essentially an Elven Archer with a mount and some abilities to go along with it. Not a lot of crazy cool things going for it but it is more options, and that is never a bad thing.

3) The Gunslinger got quite a few new options in this book and scored seven new archetypes, and honestly they are some of my favorites in this book. First is the Black Hat, which carries a really fun “gun witch” feel. The archetype gets abilities that debuff opponents, cause mechanical malfunctions, and still pack the full wallop of toting a gun in PFRPG. Next is the Black Reaver, which is in fact a Barbarian archetype, but it being the only one, would have been a waste of space and ink for unnecessary text. This archetype gives a Barbarian the Amateur Gunslinger feat and various deeds that work with firearms. Really there is not much to say on this one. The next one though steps up it’s A game for sure. The Coilgunner is an archetype that drops the traditional firearm, and instead expands into the science and ancient artifacts side of guns. This archetype uses a coil gun rather than a standard firearm, which essentially can fire two types of ammunition. The first is the standard projectile like other guns can fire, but the classes deeds can change that up and allow a Coilgunner to overcharge their guns and hurl bolts of electricity instead. The only real problem with the class is it is dependent on a cooperative GM to gradually help you keep it upgraded by implementing other lost technologies into his/her campaign, otherwise I can see this archetype falling behind. The Futurist is a Witch archetype but totes firearms which are a really cool option. The Futurist can enchant their bullets with hexes thus causing the creature to take the effect of the hex along with the damage, which is awesome. They also give up their patron/familiar for some really cool effects. The Gunfighter is next on the list and is a Fighter archetype. This one like most Fighter archetypes, allow the Fighter to focus more on guns and thus gain additional abilities for them. If you like feats and guns then this option is for you. The Hellfire Preacher is a Cleric archetype and is full of broken faith flavor. This Cleric archetype is one who is on the edge of renouncement of their faith so in exchange for a weakened connection with their deity, they are granted firearm usage and a really nifty smite ability that looks to be pretty strong but is only applied to one attack. Finally in the Gunslinger department, we have the Noble Shootist and this one is a Gunslinger archetype. This is the personable Gunslinger with social skills to boot. This one seems pretty fun if you are into the whole bravado feel that a Gunslinger can have.

4) The Monk, like the Gunslinger got quite a few options to play with. First is the Beast-Soul Monk, and the first thing I thought when reading this was “Altered Beast” from the 90’s arcade games. This archetype scores the Monk and animal companion and allows them to later transform into their animal companion so it’s like a wild shaping monk with no spells. Next is the Clockwork Monk, which is a racial archetype for the Gearforged race. This is one of the only classes I cannot truly review just due to the face I have never really read up on the Gearforged class itself. But the archetype itself seems very strong. The Monk of the Compliant Style Rod is the bo staff monk that people enjoy playing. If you are a fan of the bo or quarterstaff then this option is for you. Next is one of my favorite Monk archetypes, and that is the Monk of the Glorious Endeavor. This archetype is all about focusing on one weapon of the users choosing and is given appropriate monk abilities that make that one weapon better. Personally I have always loved the flavor of the wandering swordsman in nothing but robes and a katana on his side and a ki pool attached to such a character just gives it so much flavor. It’s just a great archetype and even gets to use feats the affect unarmed attacks with their chosen weapon…Stunning Weapon!!! The Monk of the Peerless Mountain is the kicking monk. Finally an archetype that focuses solely on using their feet, and I must say, they can be quite effective. Focusing on the Cleave feats to deliver their main source of damage opens up new possibilities for Kobold to expand on other feats like this and expand them through a class. The Paper Drake Monk is next on the Monk’s archetype list. This is a monk whose martial arts style revolved around origami and the form the paper itself takes. All in all it is a pretty cool archetype. I feel like I saved the best for last, or I guess I should say Kobold Press did, but we have the really cool Six Talismans Monk. I feel like this is a monk archetype straight out of an anime. The Six Talismans Monk is an archetype that takes pieces of paper known as talismans, and attaches various effects such as exploding fire damage, hold person, and flesh to stone, and slaps them onto an opponent who then takes the damage or effect. If anyone is familiar with the anime Outlaw Star or even Naruto, it is easy to see there are semblances in place that are quite noticeable.

5) The Ninja got two new archetypes in this book and both are as follow. First is the Elemental Ninja, who essentially takes on an element like fire or water and they gain abilities like a wizard of their elemental school would. It’s a fun option that is there for sure. Secondly is the Mist Stalker who gets certain bonuses while standing in fogs, gases, or mists. This is almost a must if anyone wanted to focus on striking from forms of concealment. I hope in the future we get some more Ninja archetypes, because even though these are pretty cool, I have a strong appetite for more.

6) The Shaman is next on the list of classes with archetypes. First is the Elemental Shaman which allows the shaman to form a bond and wild shape with an elemental rather than an animal which is great since I typically prefer elementals to animals personally. The Primal Shifter is next on the list, and this archetype focuses more on the wild shaping factor. The Primal Shifter takes diminished spellcasting in exchange for extra wild shaping goodies. Later they perform a ritual dance that takes their wild shaping even further with really strong buffs that cannot be missed. Finally we have the Witch Doctor who takes diminished wild shaping in exchange for spells and abilities that focus on healing and the undead.

7) The Spell-less Ranger only has two options this time as well but both of those options are absolutely fantastic. First is the Dual Style Ranger who can only take a single Favored Enemy but in exchange can take up two combat styles and the Ranger gets free feats for both styles at the appropriate level. The other archetype is the Companion-Bound Ranger, and they only take a single Favored Terrain in exchange for a very strong animal companion. The companion comes from the Druid companion list and even levels with the Ranger like a Druid’s companion does. This leads to a very strong animal companion for a Ranger. I personally run a Spell-less Ranger in a campaign that has sadly halted due to life getting in the way but I must contest that this is easily my favorite 3rd party class I have ever toyed with and actually play using BOTH archetypes due to them stacking and I must say it was a blast while I was playing it.

8) The White Necromancer is the last of the classes to get archetypes. The first of two new archetype options is the Necrotic Healer. This archetype focuses more on the healing aspect rather than the summoning and controlling of the undead. The Necrotic Healer is seen as a “self-sacrificing” character that strives to ease the pain of others and divert it into them. The other archetype is the Grave-bound, and this one is pretty cool. The Grave-bound take on an undead companion that varies from ghosts and zombies to mummies and vampires and they gain new abilities as the Necromancer gets stronger. It’s a really cool aspect on companions that has not really been toyed with much and has earned my seal of approval.

Chapter Three is the Feats and Traits section of the book. Kobold has released a good 20 pages worth of feats and traits that should not be passed up on. There are plenty of options in the book that relate to a bunch of the new classes that have been introduced in this book. Feats and traits are not something one person can really review on since like any good food, game, or gadget, they are built for taste and not everyone will like every little thing detailed. One thing I can hit on however is at the end of the chapter, Kobold introduced scaling combat feats which essentially allow the user to take one feat such as Cleave at a higher prerequisite than normal and when the users BAB reaches a certain number, they then gain the effects of the next feat in the chain. This is great for those who do not want to take every feat in a chain to be effective and allows a character to expand and try other new feats. I know personally this is great because typically when I plan out my builds, the first 12-15 levels are planned out to a tee for maximum survivability and I never get to toy with other flavorful feats.

Chapter Four is the spells section. Like feats and traits, there is actually not a lot I can talk about without giving away information involving specifics, plus there is that whole certain spells are not for everybody thing. I can say this however, you will not be disappointed.

Chapter Five is the Magic Items and Gear section. Kobold added seven new monk weapons to the list and gave us some new arrow and bolt options which are pretty cool. We got five new magic items and for the most part they are pretty cool as well including a collar for your animal companion that acts as armor. Finally the last section talks about three legendary magic items and base rules for making your own legendary magic items. There is a write-up on those three particular items and the requirements to attune said items to a character of your very own. That section alone had me wanting Kobold Press to do another companion piece that focused on legendary items such as these and maybe included stories of how those owners reached legendary status. It was only two pages of the book, but I felt it was the most open ended section of the book that had me craving more.

Chapter Six is the final chapter of the book and it is the tracking sheet section. From animal companions to prepared spells tracking sheets, there are plenty of sheets for any character. Some of the positioning feels a bit weird on a few of the sheets, but they really are streamlined to minimize the number of sheets needed to run your character effectively.

So all in all my experience with Kobold Press’s New Paths Compendium is nothing but positive. This is easily the best 3rd party book to come out in the last little bit and I strongly recommend anyone interested in anything mentioned in this review to give this book a shot. You will not be disappointed at all. I cannot wait to read and hopefully review the next book produced by them. My hat is off to Marc Radle for leading this book to perfection and with the help of an amazing staff.

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Wondrous Items 2: Helmets & Shields from Monster Hides
par Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 03/26/2014 13:29:05
Whether you are after a unique item for your combat wardrobe, want to know just what to do with the remains of the last creature you slew or have designs on a profitable sideline selling helmets and shields, this might prove of interest.

First up we get straight to the bottom line: how much do monster hide helmets and shields cost? Important for both buyer and seller, or even if you are finding the raw materials and want to know how much to charge the craftsman who wants them. Or of course, if you are dividing the spoils of an adventure and include stuff you can make helmets and shields out of.

Next are three feats: Monstrous Aspect, Taxidermic Crafter and Terrifying Trophy. Interestingly, only Taxidermic Crafter is for the would-be craftsman, the other two are for people who choose to wear items made from monster bits, enabling them to draw on them to gain special powers. This might at least get some people think about getting such items...

The next section looks at different kinds of helmets and what you need to make them. A few completely developed examples are given, but the main strength is giving you the tools (game mechanical tools I mean, not craft ones!) to design and make a helmet out of whatever monster parts you can obtain, and deduce appropriate special properties or characteristics. Finally, shields get the same treatment.

Perhaps this is a rather specialist niche area. Many characters won't be particularly interested. But even if they don't want to start crafting or commissioning monster hide helmets and shields, they could make interesting items to fill out a treasure horde.

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Midgard Tales Map & Art Folio (Pathfinder RPG)
par Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 03/14/2014 10:57:17
If you are running Midgard Tales and like showing your players what their characters see, grab a copy of this...

It's packed with maps, floorplans and illustrations apposite to each of the Midgard Tales adventures - each one occupying a full page (so no trying to hide other things when showing the players something) and unlabelled so that nothing is given away.

The plans are particularly useful as many of the complexes visited in the course of these adventures are of unusual shapes and prove quite tricky to describe in words. What is it that they say: a picture's worth a thousand words?

The illustrations, in a range of different styles, will also help you bring various scenes and characters to life as the game proceeds.

OK, you don't need this to run Midgard Tales, but using it to effect has the potential to enhance your adventures with some quality visuals.

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Party of 1: Elgar Fletch and the Dark Army (solo adventure)
par James H. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 03/11/2014 02:44:43
This is my favorite of the Party of 1 adventures, probably because the hero is a ranger, and ranger has been my favorite class for years. The game plays like a Choose Your Own Adventure book and is quite entertaining. Elgar is a likable character and with stats for him at both 1st level and 3rd level, he can be added to a tabletop game with only minor tweaking.

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Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age Compatible Edition
par Sylvain B. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 03/02/2014 00:10:27
I have received this pdf by purchasing the print + pdf bundle for an extra $10 from Kobold Press' website. Here are my first impressions of the pdf as I await my printed copy.

This 110 pages file (104 of which are actual content) is packed full of flavorful creatures statted for the 13th Age RPG. Most entries contain a handful of variants, at least one of which is well-illustrated. Lists of carried items and adventure hooks are also provided along with the usual background and description. The association of some new magic items with many of the creatures is an interesting approach. Additional PC races are also offered although the treatment given to some of them is somewhat brief. The book then closes with Icons linked to the Midgard campaign setting and proposed as substitutes to those in the core book.

All in all, the new creatures, magic items, PC races, and Icons contained within can be ported to any game and make for a worthwhile supplement to the 13th Age line even if Midgard is not used as a campaign setting.

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Advanced Races 5: Ravenfolk (Pathfinder RPG)
par Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 02/06/2014 04:34:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Kobold Press' Advanced Races-series is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC,1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



All right, let's get one thing out of the way - I LOVE Tengu and I adore the Midgard Huginn - blending one of my favorite races with a distinct Germanic/Scandinavian tone, the fluff of this race is simply glorious. Idea-wise...but can the content stand up to the concept? Racial trait-wise, Huginn (or Heru/Heruti, as they are known in the South...) get +2 Dex and Wis, - 2 Con, 30 ft movement, low-light vision, +2 stealth and perception, +4 linguistics (and two languages per rank invested) and are sword-trained (read proficient) with ALL sword-like weapons.. A list of examples are given and honestly, I don't get why punching daggers have been included in it. Seeing that weapons like elven curve blades and kukris are included, I think a slightly tighter set would have been still enough. They also get a 1d3 bite attack, which I assume works as a primary natural weapon, though the pdf does not explicitly specify that. Fluff-wise, the insights into Ravenfolk culture, psychology, nesting as well as the unique concepts as conveyed per their intricate Feather Speech, which contains otherwise untranslatable concepts - this chapter is just awesome. Did you for example know about the Huginn rookeries and ghettos, about the tsar of Vidim using the Huginn as elite-soldiers and spies? We also get to know about the Huginn of Zobeck as well as those of Nuria-Natal before being introduced to the Ravenfolk's take on various adventuring classes.



A total of 13 alternate racial traits are provided, allowing you to flavor your Huginn as servants of Horus, Wotan etc. Huginn blessed by Wotan may for example learn to speak with the dead, southern mystics arcane sight (though the spells are not properly italicized). Another trait allows the huginn to get a 1d8 claw attack in lieu of being swordtrained - I assume as a primary natural weapon, but I'm not sure since the pdf fails to specify. Also: Does this claw attack qualify as improved unarmed strike? While from the standard-rules it of course doesn't, it would be kind of cool as an idea. (And no, I won't hold that against the pdf.) Another trait allows for the investment into the fly-skill (and said skill as a class skill) sans having access to a fly speed as well as for the diminishment of falling damage via the fly skill.



A total of 6 racial feats allow for further customization, with those born from the bloodlines of Huginn and Muninn, the ravens of Wotan, being able to reroll saves versus enchantment or transmutation-spells 1/day - neat! The other 4 feats unfortunately offer cool fluff, but also rather lame +2 bonuses to skills as well as bonuses to e.g. damage versus aberrations, saves versus necromancy etc. Oh well, the fluff of the feats at least is rather cool.



We also get new archetypes: Wotan's Doomcroaker-oracle get clairaudience/clairvoyance as a spell-like ability (AGAIN not italicized) or contact other planes. The capstone allows for legend lore AT WILL as well as automatic stabilization and immunity to fear effects, though at least the stabilization will be all but inconsequential at this level. An ability for more negative HP until the oracle perishes would be neat... Marc Radle's excellent spontaneous caster, the Shaman-class, gets new fodder with the Black feather, which nets the shaman not only relatively fast flight and the ability to assume avian shape, but also feather fall at will and the new corvid spirit guide. Sea Ravens are essentially huginn vikings that can forego basic weapon dice (i.e. dealing only str-mod damage plus similar modifiers) for free intimidates as well as bonuses while at sea and later the rapid attack quality of the mobile fighter archetype. Tomb Raven Wizards double numeric effects of spells targeting undead, which makes them superb slayers of undead and deadly necromancers - to the point where I'm not sold on the effects - doubling? Seriously?. They also get an additional attack on the turn after an ally's been reduced to 0 hp or fewer - though this ability needs specification: Is this attack an action? Is it executed at the highest BAB? What if there is no eligible target? This one needs cleaning up. The final archetype would be the Thief of Secrets is an acolyte of the teaching of Thoth-Hermes and gets detect magic at will as well as 1/day obscuring mist and passwall. They also are specialists of fighting with quarterstaffs. Okay, I guess.



We also get 6 new spells - an improved level 3 version of fox's cunning (and its mass version), a cantrip for strange obscure pieces of knowledge from Mimir's Well. Mine! makes an object of your desire (at close range, but the spell lacks the precise range usually included in spells) insubstantial. This spell is a can of worms - when cast on magic gear, for example, does the wearer becoming incorporeal prevent the item from falling? What about cursed items? Those that require attunement periods? The idea of the spell is cool, but the execution would require a significantly more detailed text. Ravenfolk's Revocation allows the caster to prevent creatures from flying, but thankfully only works on creatures already on the ground. Cool one! Finally, Shrieking Flock acts as Mislead + a frightening effect for targets with not that many HD. Nice variant.



We also get new pieces of mundane/alchemical equipment herein - from putty that allows Huginn to disguise themselves as other featherless, beakless humanoids, feather dyes and bleaches (with their meanings!), lozenges to alter voices, a guide of feather speech, a quill that may contain elaborate messages and a particularly effective cloak make for culturally distinct, cool pieces of equipment. On the weapon-side, we get beak razors, fighting spurs and wing razors - making bleeding more painful, working better with called shots (and having an alternate bonus if you don't use called shots) - all in all, cool secondary benefits to these weapons.



Finally, we get 4 new magic items - Wotan's Whisperers are stone ravens that unerringly find their targets via the ways of the world tree (no tracking these!) and deliver their messages exclusively to them - which oozes the stuff of myths. The Sword of the Sea Raven allows Huginn to determine whether a vessel carries valuable cargo, whereas the Spear of the Sun Hawk is particularly effective versus evil, undead, can be whirled to generate true sunlight. Good huginn may does something that requires careful thought - they may throw the spear at a target and ignore any range penalties - the spear has essentially unlimited range, with only visibility limiting its range. Upon being used this way, the spear turns into a regular masterwork spear for 3 days, though. This is awesome! Finally, a minor artifact, the Thief of Many Things, a carved wooden raven. Whisper to the raven and it will steal something for you - something which will potentially endanger you, be not applicable to your situation or be just the thing you needed. Great storytelling potential here!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but far from perfect - while there are not that many issues in the rules-language as in the Dragonkin-installment, the amount of avoidable italicization-glitches is a bit annoying. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard for Midgard and the artworks in full-color and b/w are universally awesome. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Author Wade Rockett has delivered a compelling supplement here, but one that sees me torn - the crunch herein, while not flawed, just isn't that inspiring - rules-wise, you will not be wowed by this supplement. Where he instead excels is with the fluff - the insights into Huginn society and psychology, the fluff behind many of the pieces of crunch - they are awesome and make the at times downright bland bonuses e.g. a couple of feats deliver seem almost jarring. Where the blending works best, superbly so, in fact, is with the items, both mundane and magical - they are universally awesome, cool and fun and deliver an eclectic blend of storytelling potential/narrative-driven options, unique weapon-enchantments and culturally significant items - were this just about the items, this would be 5 stars + seal of approval.



Alas, it isn't and I have to take the relatively uninspired feats and archetypes, the problematic spell, the formatting glitches etc. into account - and, unfortunately, they do drag the pdf down from the heights that the information on Huginn culture, the items and superb coolness of the fluff would deserve. In the end, I will settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform because though personally, I value ideas above everything else, the minor issues add up. However, one can still design/assign other rules to the ideas herein, whereas ideas are what inspires one to do so, and idea-rich this indeed is - the author has taken more than a tiny sip from Mimir's Well. One final caveat: When not using this in Midgard, i.e. ignoring the fluff, detract 1 star from the rating.

Endzeitgeist out.

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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
par Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 02/05/2014 11:55:08
Whether or not you have been collecting the 'New Paths' series, if the idea of being something just that little bit different appeals this is well worth a look... and there is new content as well as an efficient reorganisation of the material to make this a very useful reference, be you a player looking for a novel character or the GM who has to handle him in play.

The first chapter looks at the new base classes introduced in this series: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Savant, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger, Theurge and White Necromancer. Each comes with a dramatic full-page illustration of a member of that class and extensive game mechanical and flavour details about what it is like to follow this profession and all the rules you need to do so. As well as the Class Features and necessary tables, there are also notes on how best to play one, role-playing ideas to help you bring the character to life, and a sample character - use it straight off if you are in a hurry, or as a template to build your own.

The next section provides a whole bunch of archetypes for each of the new classes as well as for the existing ones. Excellent for those of you who like to plot each and every element of your advancement - and if some of my players are anything to go by, this is something that is growing in popularity. So even if you are not looking to play one of the new base classes, there are still plenty of ideas for new and fascinating directions in which to take your Gunslinger or Monk or... and of course, if you are willing to take levels in more than one class it can get even more interesting.

This is followed by a mammoth collection of new Feats and Traits - put it this way, the one-line summary chart runs to 3 pages before you even get to the detailed write-ups. Again, this is well worth looking over whatever class you play, there's bound to be something that will give that tailor-made twist to your character.

The next chapter has a selection of new spells. Many are referenced in the spell lists available to the new classes, but most can be used by anyone with the necessary casting abilities. Finally, there is a catalogue of new magic items and magic gear for anyone who has the shopping (or crafting) urge. The highest level group of my players has just started to get into magical item crafting big style - they even asked that I held off the next adventure for a couple of weeks game-time so that they could finish making what they wanted! - and this can be an exciting angle to develop as characters get to sufficiently high levels. Even if you are not so much into the magic, there are some new weapons and other items of equipment to consider.

OK, you now have all these exciting abilities at your disposal, so you may find the bunch of Tracking Sheets provided of use to, well, keep track of them - everything from tracking your arrow use to keeping a tab on what your summoned creatures are up to.

If you like pushing the limits and trying out new character concepts and ideas, this is recommended.

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Bosun's Booty: Extras for Journeys to the West (Pathfinder RPG)
par Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 01/31/2014 10:32:43
If you cannot get enough adventure on the high seas (you are not alone), this work contains four complete new islands in Midgard's Western Ocean (already featured in Journeys to the West and Pirates of the Western Ocean) along with a glorious 2-page map, more monsters, a selection of NPCs and more.

The islands are described as 'lesser' but come provided with a wealth of information on history, geography, interesting locations and notable inhabitants. There's a nice colour map too... everything you need to facilitate a visit by the party to the island in question. Even better, there are interesting features to investigate and full-blown adventure hooks to kick matters off to a flying start. Snippets of poems and songs, and exerpts from the journals of one Bellalucca Caravicci adorn the pages too, building up a rich and living background that you can present to your players.

If you enjoy Bellalucca Caravicci's contributions, she is also written up as a full NPC, perhaps the party will meet her - maybe even feature in future journals!

The monsters are fascinating and unusual... the Diving Bell Spider (which traps air in its webs so as to live underwater although it's air-breathing!) and the Carnivorous Ship stand out, but there are other intriguing creatures there to meet/fight with.

Finally, there's a full plan of a galleon: views of each deck from above and a side elevation which helps you make sense of the layout.

A good addition to the Western Ocean, and even if you don't play in Midgard the islands could be located in any suitable sea with little modification - and of course the NPCs, monsters and the galleon are useful wherever you play.

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Advanced Races 5: Ravenfolk (Pathfinder RPG)
par Timothy B. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 01/17/2014 15:13:27
I picked this book up because I'm currently running a Midgard campaign using the 13th Age system, rather than Pathfinder. Therefore, my review is based primarily on the "fluff" in the book, as opposed to the "crunch."

Starting at the beginning, the cover art immediately captured my attention. The huginn's (as "European" ravenfolk are referred to) clothing is a bit reminiscent of Central or Eastern Europe, as opposed to Western Europe. Right away, this sets the tone for the ravenfolk, and fits well with the Midgard setting.

The book goes on to describe how ravenfolk have integrated into several different parts of Midgard, from the frozen north to the Egypt-themed lands in the south. It is clear that ravenfolk are a diverse race, and that the superstitions and gossip surrounding them only applies to a subset of their kind.

Next, the ravenfolk life-cycle, culture, and language are explained in enough detail that a player or GM are provided with a framework to flesh out, but not so detailed that there's no room to make a version of the ravenfolk that is all their own. Justification is offered for ravenfolk becoming adventurers of each of Pathfinder's core classes -- again, the player isn't required to adhere to these suggestions, but it can be helpful in fleshing out a ravenfolk character.

After this, there are sections for alternate racial traits, feats, and archetypes. My preference, as a player, is to focus a bit more on race than is common in 13th Age, and I love how these options really helped get the creative juices flowing in terms of how ravenfolk could be unique in ways beyond class, background, personality, etc. While I'd have to adapt the "crunch" to fit 13th Age, it wouldn't be hard to do (13th Age is super flexible like that), and this book's author, Wade Rockett, was kind enough to already provide some of this conversion for us on the Kobold Press forums: http://www.koboldpress.com/k/front-page17060.php.

In a similar way, the next sections, which cover ravenfolk spells, weapons, equipment, and magic items, provide me with fodder for 13th Age equivalents or attributes that I could incorporate into my game. It's impossible for me to comment on balance or playability of the Pathfinder-specific elements of the book, but they've provided a wealth of flavor -- how can I not incorporate ravenfolk with beak razors and fighting spurs into my game, after reading this?

I have a couple of minor items that I feel could use improvement. First, there are two ink drawings of ravenfolk in the book, which portray them as muscular humans with raven heads, wearing a loincloth. If you were to replace Conan the Barbarian's head with that of a raven, you'd be visualizing it pretty well. No talons, no feathers on their bodies, no vestigial tails -- I found this artwork jarring, and kept expecting some explanation for these ravenfolk variants in the text, but none was ever provided. As a book that is trying to detail a race that players or GM's may be encountering for the first time, it's important that their portrayal is consistent.

Second, there was almost no mention of the tengu in the book, which is too bad, as the tengu is probably the most common reference point that readers have, if they're not already familiar with Midgard. I realize this is a book about the Occidental ravenfolk, not the Oriental tengu, but as the tengu will most likely be familiar due to their inclusion in the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide and other game systems, a paragraph or two about how they're alike and how they're different would have been a valuable addition to the book. Also, a brief discussion of how a GM might handle requests for tengu feats, racial traits, and other options from (perhaps min-max-minded) ravenfolk players could be a help in some groups. Or even better, a gudie to how ravenfolk options included in the book might be applied to tengu players, would thereby expand the usefulness of this book. Even if the tengu were simply mentioned explicitly in the introduction as the Eastern cousins to the ravenfolk, with no additional information provided, it would have been helpful.

In conclusion, Advanced Races 5: Ravenfolk is an entertaining read, which broadened my understanding of the engimatic ravenfolk, their place in the Midgard setting, and how very different they are, both in terms of one another, and to other races. If you're curious about how anthropomorphic corvids might populate your fantasy setting, then you won't be disappointed by this book.

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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
par David A. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 01/17/2014 12:19:49
Well Worth the Price.

I've purchased various supplemental books for Pathfinder, and have always been impressed by the quality of Kobold Press's releases. This book, I believe, sets a new level of excellence for other third-party publishers to strive for.

Pros:

Intelligent and well thought out new classes. While I wouldn't necessarily be inclined to play some of them due to personal preference, there is no denying that they all seem remarkably well-balanced and well-designed. In particular, battle scion is (for me) a long awaited solution for the eternal Gish problem: creating a sword-and-spell base class that isn't over-powered, under-powered, or dull as mud. Theurge was a pleasant surprise as well. Savant looks to appeal to the DM who finds himself playing a PC again, and will likely keep people staying up all night creating persona and avatars (in the best of ways!). I think the greatest accomplishment of the book may be the spell-less ranger. I've never wanted to play a ranger with spells, and I've never been impressed by spell-less variants. This 1-20 class really nailed it on the head for me: options, flexibility, and more options.

The feats are a great mix of necessary tie-in feats for the new classes, and a range of other flavourful options. Having feats that makes using a sling a viable option in combat was definitely unexpected.

The archetypes were again very interesting and seemingly balanced.

The scaling combat feats are a great idea, something to slightly ease the feat-burden of melee and ranged fighting characters. The only issue I and my group had was with Two-Weapon Fighting, that seems to be perhaps too powerful a feat chain to be made a scaling single feat.

The book is very professionally done, excellent layout, and has attractive artwork.


Cons:

The Spells section was a little underwhelming. The spells themselves were not in anyway lacking, I was just hoping for more material.

There were very minor layout problems, in particular in the feats section. While it was mostly in alphabetical order, there were a few misplaced feats. This is a superficial nitpick more than anything else.


Conclusion: 100% this book is worth its price. The new classes are its main draw, and they alone are worth the price of the book in my opinion. You know you have a great product when you struggle to think of any negative elements to write about. I highly recommend this product, and hope to see more material of similar quality soon both from Kobold Press and other Third-Party publishers.

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Advanced Races 4: Dragonkin (Pathfinder RPG)
par Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Ajoutée: 01/17/2014 08:20:34
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement and 3/4 of a page SRD, leaving us with 10 1/4 pages content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The Dragonkin are a relatively young race and their mindset as well as the rigid caste structure of the militaristic Mharoti empire are explained in detail, with the roles of dragonkin both within and beyond the borders of the empire being highlighted as means for players to get some inspiration for their PC's origin. Crunch-wise, dragonkin get +2 Str and Cha, -2 Dex, are slow and have their speed not modified by encumbrance or armor, choose one energy type and gain "DR 2 against that energy type". The thing is - it's not DR. It's supposed to be "resistance 2" - DR always requires a / - and yes, this error is repeated throughout the pdf. Yes, a nitpicky gripe, but one that irks me. Dragonkin get +1 natural armor, +2 intimidate and diplomacy and treat fly as a class skill. There also are 8 alternate racial traits to choose from - 4 of which represent the dragonkin's draconic bloodline, in this case a concept that aligns them with flame, stone, storms or waves for dancing lights, virtue, spark and create water as at-will spell-like abilities that replace armor. Alternatively, upgrading RESISTANCE to 4 at the cost of armor is possible, as is being able to speak with animals with reptilians. The attribute modifiers can also be changed to +3 Str and -2 Dex; Not a fan of odd attribute-bonuses - they are not standard for Pathfinder design and there's a reason for this - it promotes min-maxing. Energy resistance (here properly called...) can also be replaced with a +3 bonus to mind-influencing effects...which is rather strong for my tastes. However, we now get the age, height and weight-table, which had been absent from a prior incarnation of the book.



There also are 7 new feats...and they are WEIRD. +1 to "natural armor rating", which is the wrong wording, is just one example. What about a feat that nets you either Darakhul, Kobold or Minotaur as a language? Yeah. Wait, what? You know how language acquisition is done in Pathfinder, do you? Hint: NOT via a feat. One feat for a language? Come again? High-level dragonkin and kobolds can add +2 "natural armor rating" and "DR 3 to one energy type". Beyond the faulty rules-language...why take the feat that nets +1 natural AC (pardon, "armor rating" as the pdf calls it) again? +2 to Fly and improved maneuverability may be nice...but there's no such thing as "maneuverability rank" - its either "maneuverability" or "maneuverability rating". The word "Rank" is reserved for e.g. skills. +10 to intimidate versus the lower castes of the empire on the other hand is a neat idea. A spiked tail for a d4+3 damage may seem like a good idea...the thing is...why +3? Natural attacks usually are only the basic damage. Also, the feat does not specify whether it's a primary or secondary natural attack. Alternatively, you may take the Sturdy Tail-feat, which nets you +3 to CMD-checks vs. bull rush, overrun and trip. You may take this feat 3 times, but the feat's text omits that the effects stack - perhaps due to not specifying the bonus-type, though racial is probably the correct one. The interesting thing here is that some of the feats are from the "Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire" - though e.g. the feat that nets you a fly-speed is missing - oh, and the feats chosen are not necessarily the well-designed ones, but rather ones with aforementioned DR-glitch..



Next up are 5 archetypes - the Edjet Warrior is duplicated from the "Midgard Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire" and is still a good archetype. Wizards may opt for the Dragonkin Elementalist, who may later change incoming elemental attacks on the fly, which is cool. The problem is - the affected targets are the elementalist and his companions - sans range. A range or at least line of sight/effect-caveat would be in order. Oh, and a massive hit with the nerf-bat: The basic ability of the archetype allows for the casting of elemental spells of the chosen element even when neither having the spell prepared, nor in the spellbook. Looking at the amount of spells out there, this ability begs to be abused - at least a caveat à la "must have identified the spell via spellcraft before" would be in order. The capstone wreathes the elementalist in an elemental aura whenever casting a spell of his/her chosen element, but the ability suffers from a minor case of ambiguity - "primal bond energy descriptor" could be misread, though closer scrutiny reveals the intended purpose.

The Rubeshi Slaver barbarian archetype "cannot be aligned with good or law" alignment-wise, which is not only partially redundant, but also, again, a case of flawed wording. "Bloodied Rage" reeks of badly converted 4th edition mechanics - "+1 to fortitude saves made to negate or reduce damage" makes not that much sense - do poisons and diseases count? When dropping below half hp, the slaver gets 5 non-scaling hp - non-scaling and not very strong and utilizes a clunky concept. The capstone is ridiculous - wielding a spiked chain as a +1 wounding longsword - including downgraded damage? Oh yeah. Impressive at level 20, where can I subscribe? I'm not going into how the wording doesn't work, but the ability presumes that spiked chains can be wielded with one hand - which is not (automatically) possible. They're two-handed exotic weapons.



Clerics may opt for the Worldserpent's Chosen-archetype - which sounds awesome. These chosen must make DC 5+ spell level concentration checks to cast any spell with a verbal component - nice idea, but won't be fun at the table - spellcasting will take even more time and rolling.

As a bonus, the archetype nets this ability:



"With her mere presence, a World- Serpent’s chosen reminds good, evil, chaotic, or lawful creatures that life is short and that the afterlife is uncertain. Against all foes with a true-neutral alignment, a World-Serpent’s chosen has a fearful aura (10 foot radius). This aura functions as a fear spell, except any affected creatures become shaken if they fail the Will save (DC 14 + the World-Serpent’s chosen’s Wisdom modifier). This ability has no effect on creatures that are true neutral. This ability replaces aura." Emphasis added by me. Notice a glitch? Also: Fixed DCs? LAME. Their channel energy is replaced with either the ability to penalize foes within 30 ft. scaling penalties and getting spontaneous inflict spells or generating a boon of the same amount and spontaneously cast healing spells. The ability fails to specify whether its (Ex) or (Su) and allows no save for the bane, which is not standard design.



Sorcerors may opt for the Cloudtop-bloodline...and the bloodline gets a damn cool ability - the elemental shield they can conjure actually is rather complex and works well in absorbing incoming elemental damage. The second focus beyond this barrier is a resistance to mind-influencing effects and scrying - even if the scrying-spell offers no save, they can save against it at DC 15+spell-level - why not simply as per the usual formula of 10 + spell level + caster's attribute modifier? Apart from that, I did like this archetype.



We also get 3 new spells - one to conjure a geyser of fire that targets reptilians and deals fire damage to them. As a secondary effect, it temporarily blinds those affected, though the spell fails to specify whether the blindness is only for reptilians or for all creatures in range. Anyways, rather strong for 2nd level. We also get a level 9 counter-scrying spell and a spell that nets a creature immunity to an element - not a fan of that, since energy immunity and similar spells have established another tradition, i.e. not simply netting flat-out immunities. On the SRD-page, we get the dragonkin-exclusive lunging-weapon quality and the four-element-resisting enchantment for armors - the latter at a whopping + 42K base price.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on the formal level are not bad - the same can't be said about the rules-language. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' two-column full color standard and the full color artworks are awesome. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Oh boy. I like nitpicking improper rules language because they result in confusion at the table, but I also let minor issues stand if they don't pose a major trend. My first nitpicks in this pdf were just that - nitpicks. And nonstandard attribute modifiers are a red flag for me, but oh well - still not too serious. And then the feats and archetypes come and all comes apart. If above was not ample clue - this pdf needs another THOROUGH rules-language editing. In fact, it needs a complete rewrite.

Beyond minor and major uses of flawed rules-grammar and syntax, balance is all over the place and ranges from ok to ridiculous. The one archetype I have nothing to complain about is a reprint from the "Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire". Which brings me to another issue - some of the most iconic options from latter book are simply missing here, in a book that is supposed to collate the Dragonkin's options. Either collect all the material or a best-of/essentials-type book (like the gearforged) or provide exclusively new material. Then again, looking at the new material...not sure whether that would have helped. And yes, I'm aware that I'm probably coming off as a harsh bastard here, but between 4th edition-relics, wrong rules-language and the amount of issues herein, I can only sincerely hope that designer Amanda Hamon consults the rules and properly revisits the rules-language of PFRPG and then fixes this mess.

This pdf is not in any way up to Kobold Press' usually high quality standard. In fact, the ridiculously low amount of content without one problem or another would have made me settle for a final verdict of 1 star, were it not for the final archetype and the well-written, if partially duplicated fluff and content from the Player's Guide/Campaign Setting. Still, I can't recommend this pdf in any way as it stands - fans of the Dragonkin should get the vastly superior Player's Guide instead. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars and try as I might, I can't bring myself to round up since throughout the lecture of this pdf, I felt as if I was doing the job of an unpaid rules developer - hence, rounded down to 1 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Advanced Races 4: Dragonkin (Pathfinder RPG)
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Advanced Races 5: Ravenfolk (Pathfinder RPG)
par Scott E. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 01/17/2014 02:19:43
I'm not very good at reviews.. and I am useless when it comes to crunch. But flavor-wise I very much enjoy this book. The flavor of the Ravenfolk in this resonates with me more than the typical Tengu feel.

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Midgard Legends
par Alison R. [Acheteur vérifié] Date Ajoutée: 01/15/2014 12:03:41
Midgard Legends is a book full of flavour. It's really intended for DMs/GMs/Storytellers who want to set a story or campaign within the world of Midgard and really want to connect their game with the setting, by sprinkling in pieces of lore and history and using the hooks provided within this supplement.

That being said, it's fairly easy to take any one of the 23 legendary characters from the book and add it to a non-Midgard campaign. Some of the legends are inherently intertwined with the setting (such as the Black Sorceress, Mharot, and others), but some (like Calm-Tongue the philosopher gnoll, the Daughters of Jannik, Glatisant the questing beast, and others) could be placed in any campaign.

I was slightly disappointed about the content of the legends. While all 23 entries are very interesting and give me lots of ideas, the title and premise are a little misleading. I was hoping that for each entry, there might have been an actual legend told from the words of a bard, or scripture, with a sort of flavourful account of things that may or may not have actually happened. It would be great if this was provided as a printable player handout, as a companion to the DM information about what actually happened, what the stats might be, the magic items, and how to use in your own campaign. I'm running a campaign right now incorporating the legends of Titus Padrascu, Blood Mother Margase, and Hune the Doorlord, and for all of them I need to create my own version of the legend, because the text as written is not suitable for players, as it reveals too much information.

In addition, most of the entries include some mechanics for the DM to play with. Want to ride a mythical horse? There's rules for that. Want to get involved with the Children of Green Shadows? The organization is laid out for you. Want to make a character descended from the Azure Kings? Here are some traits and feats. Want to tease your players with forgotten incantations and relics? There's plenty of those. Want to exchange blows with Blood Mother Margase? If you're feeling suicidal, here's the CR 26 stat-block.

All in all, the book is an excellent supplement to the world of Midgard, which I am a big fan of. Creatively, the legends are engaging and get you excited about the possibilities. The layout and presentation are good. I can't comment about any statblocks or mechanics, since I haven't had a chance to try any of them, but they seem balanced. Overall, a very good sourcebook, though it could be improved by including some player-focused content such as handouts.

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Midgard Legends
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