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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow: Gossamer Heroes (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/26/2014 03:09:14
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This LoGaS-supplement is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This pdf kicks off with a short introduction to the matter at hand - namely, the depiction of new player characters, readily generated at the suggestions of Kickstarter-patrons to serve as player characters. hence, by intention and to allow for a user-base as wide as possible, the characters herein have a limited breadth of powers, which should not be considered a detriment, though.



So, who do we get? First of them would be Cordelia - a kind of pirate-queen/gossamer lady studded with quite an array of different unique magical items - sword, armor, crown, etc., she is a lightning swashbuckling lady.



Grendel is a master of the umbra and believes to have potentially reincarnated into his current form, offering quite a few nice built-in roleplaying opportunities. Harrison is a totally different breed - a veteran of a war-torn world, his warwalker (a mech more than 10 ft. high) sports its very own personality to complement the monocle-wearing gentleman-pilot.



1st rank Psyche Jessamyn may be pictured as a progressive lady of a neo-victorian bent and true mistress of sorcery, bent on further improving her impressive powers -as a nice nod, she is directly tied in to the legendary Lucien.



Lowen would be something for fans of Shadowrun et al - born on a world of high techno-magical progress and teeming, never-ending sprawls, this powerful man sports a suit which renders him a superb assassin and combatant...and a crystal arm that acts as a prosthetic. Have I mentioned his mastery of eidolon?



Moreltheus is a master of umbra wholly unlike Jessamyn - devoted to eradicate all traces of his (or her? or its? It's supposed to be a guy, but then again...all that is written may be misinformation...) former existence, this entity is god-king to his (or her...or its...) personal Hollow World of dinosaurs, reigning there as a god-king.



Natasha would be a true warrior queen and mistress of wrighting, born and raised to rule and a background of privilege, she is indulging her curiosity. Reevard would, on the other hand, be 1st rank warfare and should be considered a light-hearted trickster - including shapechanging garments and a demonic servitor side-kick.



Taltos, 1st rank endurance, would be more grim - a veteran of wars against the ghoul-king of his home realm, he saw courage and ideals fail and, after destroying the legendary foe, has taken as a mercenary to the Grand Stair. Oh, and he is allied with the Dwimmerlaik empress.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, but not as good as in most LoGaS supplements - I noticed e.g. an instance of a verb missing and similar minor glitches. Nothing game-breaking, though. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the supplement sports one stunning full-color artwork for each and every character herein, many of which I haven't seen before - rather impressive. And, ladies - the female characters herein actually have PROPER armor. Kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and also with a second more printer-friendly version.



Jason Durall provides a cool array of compelling heroes herein -interesting characters that have the basic stats ready and offer enough of a blank slate to develop in multiple directions. In fact, all of the heroes herein could be developed into villains or act simply as the emergency pregen if a PC does die and the player has no time (or inclination) to build a new one. That's perhaps the thing here - while character-death is uncommon in LoGaS (as opposed to more dice-happy RPGs), it can happen. And while LoGaS is very new-player friendly, requiring no mastery of x rule-books to get, this pdf does provide quite a benefit for new players - just hand them one character and teach them as they go - all is done, all convenient - neat pregens indeed! Add to that the built-in hooks and we get quite an interesting, diverse array. One can also see that the characters themselves are essentially commissioned, though - some just feel a tad more common and slightly less compelling to me than others - Grendel, Jessamyn and Lowen resonate with me just a tad bit more since their personalities shine a bit more through.



If you don't want your pregens to come with too much background, this pdf will be straight 5 stars for you. If you do prefer some more hooks and pieces of information regarding the character you'll be playing, if only to ignore (or inspire you), then you may stand before these stats wishing you'd have a tad bit more to develop. What is there can be ignored, but what isn't can't be rated. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow: Gossamer Heroes (Diceless)
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Addendum: Empathy (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2014 07:42:17
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This supplement details a new Lesser Power for LoGaS, namely empathy. the power costs 30 points and is based on Psyche, though long-term use also makes endurance important. As you probably have gleaned by now, Empathy allows you to open a gate to other minds, for better and for worse - causing or diminishing pain, even controlling lesser minds becomes possible, but at a risk - the channel opened goes two ways and makes one susceptible to psychic attacks, Icons and magic in general - empaths better tread carefully, especially when faced by the Dwimmerlaik's channeling. On the upside, they have an easier time with invocations since they can *relatively* easily glean True Names.



It should be noted that Empathy is neither aligned with Umbra, nor Eidolon and available to all. So how does it work? Well, first, one requires an empathic link - more of a passive ability that requires line of sight or similar long-range means of establishing contact. Sensing psyches, auras and reading items becomes possible. Mind reading and sensing thoughts and probing minds have already been hinted at in my above explanation. Where there's detection, there better ought to be hiding and camouflaging one's psyche becomes a distinct opportunity, just as well as the sending of messages or the manipulation of emotions.



Now if that is not enough for you, for 50 points you can instead gain advanced empathy to enter an empathic, problem-solving trance, increase healing, transfer energy from minds and environment, control lesser minds and even gain a measure of prescience.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not as good as in most Rite Publishing books - I noticed sentences with verbs missing and minor formatting glitches, though nothing that would break the book. Layout adheres to the gorgeous full-color two-column standard of LoGaS-releases and the copious original pieces of artwork are impressive and stunning. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.



Jason Durall's Empathy is a cool ability to have in LoGaS and comes with quite a lot of interactions with established abilities - and it covers most bases. Now where it somewhat falls flat is with regards to the Typhonians - being essentially fragments of a larger entity, some advice on handling empathy with regards to these extremely compelling adversaries, especially since these fragments potentially can be played, would have been helpful . That being said, this is me being nitpicky and chances are, you won't have an issue here. The ability per se is well-constructed and hence, my final verdict will clock in at a solid 4 stars - a good, if not perfect addition to LoGaS.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Addendum: Empathy (Diceless)
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10 Paladin Magic Items (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2014 21:30:08
This is a short review for a compact product. If you are playing a warrior of justice, kicking in doors and smiting the lowly and malevolent, this is the book for you. If you are dming for a paladin player or a group of paladins then this will make the game more fun—although they may argue over who gets the cool new items.

To the magic items themselves, they are pretty potent. We have weapons and wondrous items, boots, a bracer and even a tabard. I liked that the bracers, gauntlets and ring had varying levels of power and abilities, so they can come into a high or low level game. That type of consideration for the players is great to see. My favourite would probably be the Ring of Honour’s Justice. It really punishes those that use “cowardly” attacks upon the wearer. This includes ranged attacks! A lot of thought went into this, and for those that fight fair and honourably against those that do not, it can really even the playing field. It can curse and debuff, and its greater version truly handicaps a coward. Which, could actually leading to the enemy being more cowardly to try and win and escape. So using the ring will really add something to games. There is also an artifact, and yes, it is potent.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
10 Paladin Magic Items (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
Trev, Thanks for taking the time to do a review Steve Russell Rite Publishing
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Dread Captain Miraxa, Queen Corsair of the Slumbering Sea (PFRPG)
by Mike F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2014 20:49:50
For the sake of full disclosure: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for promising to write a review.

Dread Captian Miraxa: Queen of the Slumbering Sea

This is an 18-page black-and-white supplement. It presents the title NPC at three different challenge ratings: CR 21, CR 14, and CR 7. It also includes several additional items in support of the character: A new race (the Draken), complete with full alternate favored class options; 5 character archetypes; 9 feats (most of which are "horrifically overpowered" feats, which are essentially monster templates); and 4 magic items (one of which is presented in standard, lesser, and greater versions).

I chose this character as a potential additional NPC for my Skull and Shackles game. I did not realize that the character was going to be built around the "horrifically overpowered feats," which kind of rub me the wrong way. As monster templates, I can see their value, but I usually prefer my NPCs to be built around normal class options. I was also not that big a fan of the new Draken race.

Those complaints aside, the character's background and personality are very interesting. I can very much envision how to run this character if I chose to introduce her in my campaign. However, there's enough about the design philosophy of this character that doesn't sit well with me that I'd end up redesigning her significantly-- and if I'm going to do that, I might as well design my own character.

Overall-- interesting character that relies on some new rules I'm not fully on board with. This character would not easily plug into my game, but would do well in a game whose GM has more of an "anything goes" attitude that I do.

Overall: If you're looking for a very unusual pirate captain for your game, this is a decent choice.

Good overall, but doesn't knock my socks off.

3 stars.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Dread Captain Miraxa, Queen Corsair of the Slumbering Sea (PFRPG)
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Pathways #43 (PFRPG)
by Ben S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2014 04:12:32
Pathways is always a good source for game ideas. I pick up each and every one that comes out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #43 (PFRPG)
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#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/04/2014 04:25:03
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisements, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!



I *love* Ultimate Campaign. It's one of my most favorite PFRPG-books and I just don't get why, in spite of Legendary Games' expansions being rather popular, there hasn't been that much support for e.g. kingdom-building, mass combat and downtime rules. And here we go to partially remedy that conundrum - Liz Smith delivers a total of 30 different mercenary companies as armies to drop and insert into your campaign - which btw. includes mixed population-rules for companies.



The respective company statblocks feature information on the respective resources, banners and even come with lore-DC and proper descriptions of the armies in addition to the basic army statblocks for the companies. Now what makes these entries actually nice to read beyond the crunch would be the fact that the descriptions are provided in well-written in-character prose a DM can easily paraphrase to introduce the companies into his/her game.



From cadres of vile killers to buccaneers, chivalrous knights, dwarven cavalry and even a cadre of guardian lycanthropes that demand their tithe in the old and sick, the pdf's respective companies run the gamut from uncommon and at times, even suffused with a very subtle rumor here and there - sorcerors, eagle + griffon riders...we receive a cool, diverse array of creatures herein.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, but not perfect - I noticed some minor glitches, but none that made the content harder to understand. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the pdf comes with thematically-fitting stock art that fits perfectly with the theme of the pdf.



Liz Smith delivers herein -with glorious sample units that not only provide statblocks, but also fluff and story-hooks galore - the armies herein are fun and unique and deliver hooks and ideas beyond the obvious utility of the statblocks. In the absence of complaints or the like and thanks to the great writing and more than fair price-point, I'll gladly settle on a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval for this pdf. Any campaign using mass combat should get these.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Elspeth Black, Executive Officer of Blackblade (PFRPG)
by John O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2014 02:37:34
This short PDF is about 13 pages long, 1 for the cover, 1 for the credits, 1 for the SRD, 2 pages for ads, leaving 8 pages to actually talk about Elspeth Black.

There are 3 different stat blocks for Elspeth at various stages of her career, as an Agent, an Operative, and an Executive Officer, which take up 4 pages altogether. I don't know Psionics, so I can't comment on how well built she is mechanically, but I do like that her tactics across all 3 versions remain consistent. Also, her high-level versions have tactics that say she likes to hang back and bark orders to her minions, which normally means nothing to a non-bard, but there are feats included in this book to make that tactic do something.

There are three feats in this book, which vary from okay to pretty good. There are two magic item properties included, Reshaping and Weightless. The former is essentially a glamer that can look like anything, not just normal clothes. The latter does exactly what it says, makes the armor weightless as well as some extra effects that come with that (less Armor Check Penalty, more Max Dex, less Arcane Spell Failure). Both interesting, but I'm not sure the Weightless is worth the +2 enhancement bonus that it costs.

There are a few magic items included. Three are a series of keys that let the user travel between planes, and one are a set of gloves that provide a bonus to Use Magic Device.

Elspeth has a sentient psicrystal, which also comes with three statblocks to match Elspeth's progression. An interesting sidebar is provided on the psicrystal's personality and how it tries to influence Elspeth.

Finally, there's one page provided that provides some details about Elspeth's personality and goals, as well as ways to use her in adventures. Some information is also provided about the organization of Blackblade itself. There's not nearly as much information as I was hoping for, though. Blackblade is fairly simple (an extraplanar mercenary group), but Elspeth is a fairly interesting character and I would've rather had an extra page or so to learn about her than one of the statblocks, or the gigantic picture of a fist on page 8.

Overall, my feelings are a little mixed about this PDF. I wish there was more information about Elspeth and less mechanics in here, and due to that lack of information I don't see myself getting much use out of this, but what *is* here is done fairly well. My final rating is basically a compromise between "this is done pretty well" and "this isn't what I was hoping for."

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Elspeth Black, Executive Officer of Blackblade (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Primus Gearheart, the Clockwork King (PFRPG)
by Chris J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2014 15:57:46
I have purchased quite a number of things from Rite Publishing – however this is my first glimpse into the Tarnished Souk. I should preface this by stating that the author offered me a copy of this product in exchange for this review.

I really enjoyed reading about the Clockwork King, Primus Gearheart. The description made him seem like a very vivid and engaging NPC with unique goals and insight. After reading the first page I wanted to read more about Black Glass Spade and the Jack of Diamonds. The Clockwork King seemed like he would be a very interesting NPC for PCs to encounter and interact with. The description page also offered a number of ways to have Primus interact with a party – which seems particularly helpful.

The endless stat blocks that followed were something of a disappointment. An immortal golem sorcerer with a superb armor class and some really neat and terrifying attacks is not what I was expecting. The stat blocks present three very formidable combat opponents – which is fine. In fact if I need some really devastating opponents for a party the stat blocks for Primus Gearheart (at three different CR’s) would be excellent. Though I would probably replace all the non-combat feats and skills with things more relevant to inflicting maximum damage and destruction on the PCs. And I think that is the problem here. After reading the first page I wasn’t looking for a devastating martial and arcane opponent for the party. I was looking for an engaging NPC, building intelligent constructs in his workshop and pinning for his unrequited love. And while the NPC stat blocks presented could probably do that – that didn’t seem to be their focus. I get that sorcerers need to have a high Charisma – the description provided doesn’t sound like someone with a Charisma of 27. Granted that this is when he is CR21, but even at CR7 a CHA18 seems wildly out of character. Frankly the stat blocks didn’t match the description.

I know that Pathfinder is all about beating on monsters and I probably shouldn’t expect anything different, but the first page of this NPC set me up to expect something unique and flavorful which the following pages failed to deliver. And while I am tempted by what else the Tarnished Souk might contain in terms of roleplaying potential – I’m cynical enough to think that it will perhaps only offer the usual “beat on the next monster” fare.

If you are looking for three kick-ass opponents for your PCs – Primus Gearheart is an okay choice. The stat blocks would need to be tweaked for optimization. Primus Gearheart’s description provides a potentially interesting role-playing opportunity but fails to survive “let’s turn everything into a combat encounter”.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Primus Gearheart, the Clockwork King (PFRPG)
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101 Not So Simple Monster Templates (13th Age)
by Sylvain B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2014 12:06:41
This product provides a wide variety of templates which can be easily applied to13th Age creatures to add flavour to the game and keep players on their toes. Some of the templates, such as Stealthy, are more mundane in nature while others, such as Winterwight, veer toward the fantastic. Some of them add or subtract to the creature's effective level. For example, the Cowardly template reduces the creature's level by 1.

The pdf is well laid out with a piece of quality color artwork on most every page. I appreciate the fact that the creature illustrations showcase some of the templates described within. For those concerned with the artwork's offensiveness, the cover's picture of a pixie might be considered the "worst" of the product, although I personally don't find it out of place to illustrate the subject. I did not bother to count but, cover aside, the gender representation also appears to be fair at first glance.

All in all, although a bit pricey for the page count, it offers useful content to help GMs balance-out encounters and get more mileage out of their creature roster. I would award it 3.5 stars if I could but will round my score up to 4 stars because I can't get enough 13th Age goodness.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Not So Simple Monster Templates (13th Age)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to do a review of our product. Steven D. Russell Rite Publishing
101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/09/2014 07:15:39
If ever your party takes it into its head to visit a swamp, you can make life very... ah, interesting for them if your swamp denizens have access to the spells herein. A spellcasting character who lives in a swampy area or came from/studied there might also wish to incorporate at least some of them into his spellbook, although many are not of much use if you are not in a swamp at the time.

Others however - like a huge array of fog effects - will come in handy wherever you are. Fancy a boiling or freezing fog, or one which has soporific effects on characters trapped in it? Or maybe you'd like to be able to relocate yourself from point to point within a fog bank... all these and more are here.

One of the most useful is a 0th-level Druid spell, Stepping Stone. This brings a solid foothold into existence just where and when you need it by causing a stone to emerge under your feet to give you somewhere to stand. There have been times when poking around in swamps when I would have found that useful!

Most of the spells will be splendid if you are running a swamp-based adventure, all manner of effects to throw at the party that both fit their surroundings and which will be totally new to them. It's almost worth writing a swamp adventure to try them out!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Swamp Spells (PFRPG)
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101 Not So Random Encounters: Forest Kingdom (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2014 08:40:26
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a more than massive array of 45 pages, so let's take a look!



The 101 Not So Random Encounters-series has been a delight to read - beyond just adding certain creatures, it provides iconic creatures and NPCs, ranging throughout the CRs (in this case from CR 23 to CR 1/3). The basic, central benefit of these encounters, though, would be that they essentially tell a story that is linked, should you choose to use them in conjunction.



While the statblock of the CR 23 Vine creature hamadryad druid 8, Vessa Broadleaf, may be a glorious build, what makes this book awesome goes beyond that - she essentially is the mastermind behind the conspiracy of which the respective encounters are components and each of the individual encounters tie in with others, making this essentially a massive, huge collection of diverse encounters that, by design can be woven into a tapestry of a campaign...or a subplot thereof.



Which brings me to the second component of this pdf one should know about - the campaign-spanning meta-plot implied by these encounters ties in perfectly with Kingmaker - this is an AP-plug-in if ever there was one. Especially in Kingmaker, this makes sense - with a metaplot that takes a backseat in favor of Kingdom-building rules, the interwoven encounters, when applied to the AP, net a sense of cohesion of the metaplot that is not particularly pronounced in the otherwise great AP.



Now don't get me wrong - the massive conspiracy (which I try to avoid spoiling in this review), can stand on its own - this supplement essentially delivers enough plot to act as a whole, full-blown campaign. Now another thing I can tell you without spoiling the awesome writing, would be the fact that not all encounters belong to the same monolithic entity of an organization - rather than that, some of the creatures herein are generally opposed to one another, with an array of them serving as foils and red herrings for the true end-game of the hamadryad.



Beyond a neat assortment of cool encounters and fluff-only write-ups, we also, quite often, in fact, receive cool and relatively complex statblocks...and unique creatures. What about Mandragora swarms? Or the dread irlgaunt? What about an accelerated giant swamp eel or the Blodeunwedd with their allergen auras? Fiendish plants that collapse into brown mold? It should also be noted that a two-page appendix reprints e.g. Black Rots and Living Lakes for those not owning ToHC, making the pdf rather user-friendly.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's 2-column full-color standard, with nice borders of a thematically-fitting extract of stock art. The pdf comes with a plethora of different full color artworks that fit the theme. I have not seen any of the artworks before in other publications, so kudos for that.



Mike Welham's massive collection of encounters is perhaps the single most inexpensive, easy way to make the Kingmaker AP more awesome - and its essentially a rough draft for a whole AP in one neat book. It's functionality does not end there, though, for thankfully the ideas for these glorious encounters can easily be scavenged for just about any woodland/forest/swampy environment, taken apart - even on their own, the encounters rock. I did my very best to prevent spoiling the meat of these awesome encounters, but rest assured this collection is simply glorious - and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval . This vastly improves Kingmaker et al. and should be considered one of the best bang-for-buck-ratios to improve an AP.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Not So Random Encounters: Forest Kingdom (PFRPG)
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In The Company of Dragons (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2014 21:38:28
Wendall Roy’s In the Company of Dragons is an impressive book, partly let down by its art.

What we have is a book for those playing dragons or fighting against them. There are a tremendous number of rules crammed into a not very large text. This is good, you are getting a lot and there has been evidently so much work that has gone into the rules for different types of dragons, abilities, with racial traits and archetypes. There are rules to modify classes, so that you can play the dragon with class levels, and the book helps you to do that. You will find a lot to read through here, and while a dm could use it all, a dm of the Lost Isles would probably want to pick and choose what is most common for their dragons.

There is setting information, on the Lost Isles and the dragon society of the Taninim that rule over them in a sort of competitive feudal landscape (although flying rights and air space would probably be more important than land for dragons). The relations sections is quite good, and it easily allows the Lost Isles to be placed into or next to other regions or attached on to a setting. That the Lost Isle Taninim view other dragons as their cousins can easily create a situation where the Lost Isles is the land of the dragons, or possibly the origin of other continent based dragons. If the Taninim roam too far, this could involve wars with other countries, invaders, pest-controllers and of course treasure hunters to visit the Isles for hoards of renown.

This brings us to the art and the central problem. The setting is good, the rules are abundant, but some of the art is not very high in quality. I find it disturbing, because some pictures are excellent, are exciting, carry a lot of information, or convey dragon character ideas; but some pictures simply aren't brilliant. This may put off someone browsing through, even if they like dragons and would love to run a dragon heavy setting. The dragons are also certainly not uniform in the pictures, and vary heavily. This seems to be a design choice, creating a book and setting where any dragon can find a place. I was shocked by one picture though, the dragon on page 16 is eating a woman’s breast. She seems to have tried to rob the dragon’s hoard. That was most unexpected, but does convey that the dragons are certainly not nice, and prey upon adventurers and the humans that are their thralls.

This is a very fine book for dms, world-builders and players and game masters that really like their dragons. It is quite compact as well, and very good at condensing a lot of information down into an easily readable length.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Dragons (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Ossuary Empire (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2014 04:30:11
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Now the eidolon is often considered to be the safer side of forces in LoGaS - this is an example why that is a gross and inaccurate reduction. Thematically based roughly around ancient quasi-Persian myths in style, once this place was ruled by the dîv - manifestations of eidolon that subsumed all in perfect order, only to wage war upon one another in the end. Oh, and the final two standing were nuked with a neutron bomb.



In this world wracked by deicides, the bones of the dîv as powerful artifacts (who get their own rules!) now act as a type of much-clamored for relic to access the vast power lost - essentially, we have a post-apocalyptic sword & sorcery world here with conan-level technology interspersed with potential super science from other worlds. Worse, much like the behiliths from the legendary Berserk-manga, the div-bones tend to change the creatures they come into contact with, adding the mythic nephilim to the roster - self-styled children of the gods and heirs apparent to the thrones of the erstwhile masters...who cares if the nephilim is a vast serpentine monstrosity? It has power! Add to that the Diamond Padisha and yes, the legendary league of assassins and we have a great blend of arabian nights, sword & sorcery and post-apocalyptic survival on a tomb planet. Yeah. AWESOME.



That being said, a general idea for the power-level of individual Nephilim (two of which are btw. rendered in gorgeous full-color artworks...) would have been much appreciated by yours truly.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's full-color two-column standard for LoGaS-supplements and the pdf comes with glorious, thematically fitting original pieces of artwork, with the awesome cover also coming as a glorious full-page artwork herein. The pdf comes excessively bookmarked, which is nice to see, even at such a short length!



Matt Banach's Ossuary Empire is one AWESOME world...and honestly one I'd love to play a whole campaign in - the grit, super technology, uncommon focus, sword & sorcery stale - all appeal to me excessively and make for one awesome world. However, the general lack of information on what the nephilim can be expected to do feels like a somewhat unnecessary oversight to me. While only a nitpick, this omission is the one thing that keeps me from slapping my seal of approval on this. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.



(Now can I please have this one redone as a full-blown 200+pages campaign setting for either LoGaS, DCC or PFRPG? Please?)

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Ossuary Empire (Diceless)
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Book of Monster Templates (PFRPG)
by Jeff L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2014 21:16:50
Note to Rite Publishing: The cover has Steven's name misspelled on the cover.

One of my favorite 3.5 products is Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary. The templates there have been instrumental in creating memorable monsters for my Wounded Earth campaign. Being able to breathe new life into old monsters, turning them into something different, is a great tool for GMs.

That said, I'm embarrassed to say that this book went under the radar for me until recently. I'm glad it was pointed out to me, because it will take its place as an invaluable tool at my gaming table.

There are 32 templates presented in this book, each with one or more sample creatures created with it. Even better, there is plenty of flavor provided to make each creature its own unique being, not just a monster with mechanical adjustments. Each also comes with ideas on how to insert such a creature into an ongoing campaign. There are also new feats, both monstrous and general, presented with the entries here.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

Aware arcana: constructs created by spellcasters that are essentially living spells used as guardians. Living spells were some of my favorite creatures from the latter days of 3.5. Turning them into purposely made constructs rather than accidentally created oozes is genius.

Body Jumper: A creature that has transcended the flesh, and become a possessing spirit. The sample creature here (a dragon) is beyond creepy. Can't wait to use him.

Hatemonger: A template caused by a parasitic infection that makes the host creature succumb easily to darker emotions. This thing isn't just a template, it's the seed for an entire adventure.

Phalanx Creatures: Ever wanted to create twins with that special soul-bond? How about the ultimate army that fight as if they were simply parts of a greater whole? This template will do that for you.

While there are templates in here that didn't thrill me as much as others, nothing seems out of place or sub-par in comparison to the rest of the material. Formatting and layout are good. The artwork ranged from okay to outstanding.

The negatives here are few and outweighed by the overall goodness of the book. I noticed some minor proofing errors here and there. The creature stat block for the distorting creature template does not mention that the base creature is a krenshar; I had to figure that out from the illustration and the monster's abilities. The worst offender was the sample creature for the Betrayer template, which is alternately called "Iudas," "Iodus," and "Iuduas" within its stat block and description.

The Book of Templates uses some base creatures that may not be readily recognizable to some Pathfinder players, as they are from 3.5 books from Mongoose Publishing and Necromancer Games. I'm always pleased to have new (well, new to me anyway) monsters available, but I would have appreciated a notation in the stat block of what book they were originally in.

All told, this book is a great find and I highly recommend it. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for this format.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Monster Templates (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to do a review. I would have appreciated a notation in the stat block of what book they were originally in. This would be violation of the OGL, without there permission. Which I did want to do, but at the time i wrote this I could not get (as of this writing I could only get permission from Frog God Games who published the complete tomb off horrors much later). You also might like 101 Not So Simple Monster Templates and the Free Monster Template we do every month in our free Pathways Ezine. Steven D. Russell
Gossamer Worlds: Verse Arcanum (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/22/2014 04:05:29
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So what is the Verse Arcanum? In one sentence, I'd describe it as "ye old fantasy setting" - elves, dwarves, magic galore, curses, prophecies and adventurers - fey and miles-long wyrms (true dragons in the most lethal, city-leveling sense...) and just about all other things and creatures you know from these settings can be found in this UNIVERSE (not just world!). Rainbow bridges? Check. Nasty Umbra-worshipping subterranean dwarves that specialize in unmaking magic? Check. Dual-natured elves that are at once light and dark elves? Yup.



Now of course, in the context of Lords of Gossamer and Shadows, the Verse Arcanum works differently - each Lord (or Lady) may erect one tower and said tower acts as his/her domain - no total control to be gained here. The influence of the tower and the respective ruler is felt via the demesne, or domain of said tower, in which the respective ruler controls the land. Now logically, this is not something most locals are keen on - and adventurers questing to take down the wizard's tower, annoyingly self-righteous paladins...here's the chance to hurl all those characters back at the players...



Beyond world trees containing whole worlds and civilizations, wizard academies and the like, the Verse Arcanum offers potential galore for a more meta approach to fantasy gaming.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's full-color two-column standard for LoGaS-supplements and the pdf comes with glorious, thematically fitting original pieces of artwork. The pdf comes excessively bookmarked, which is nice to see, even at such a short length!



Matt Banach's Verse Arcanum is at once very conservative and one might argue, not as unique as some of his other creations. On the other hand, it could be seen as creative by its trope-inversion, by its essentially post-fantasy-gaming perspective on traditional fantasy tropes and as such, has quite some merit. Now one thing that personally didn't wholyl gel with me would be the focus of this Gossamer World - it's a universe, I get it. But why not devote a larger source book to it? The wyrms, for example, being the awesome beasts that they are, could have used some stats in the context of LoGaS and the dualistic nature of elves, dwarves etc. almost begs for an array of unique cantrips, spells etc. to learn. The tower defense angle is also rather awesome, but more concise effects on the demesne et al would have been awesome.



Don't get me wrong, this is a great book, but it also is essentially a teaser-level pdf that can only go into so much detail for an idea that is slightly too much for the constraints of the pdf. Unlike other Gossamer Worlds, this is more about the twists on fantasy in the context of LoGaS, not about playing grounds, and it just doesn't follow up on the ideas with proper effects.



Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to the low price point and awesome production values.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Verse Arcanum (Diceless)
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