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In The Company of Gelatinous Cubes (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/01/2015 05:20:32
This installment of the "In the Company of..."-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!*


So, we begin this pdf, in the tradition of Rite Publishing, with an expertly-written piece of in-character prose: "Glub." The sheer brilliance of this reduction of the conditio pituitae in a manner of linguistic atomization should be considered the ultimate piece of flavor - nowhere else has the sheer courage to express the fundamental truth of an existence been so brilliantly crafted in such a concise way. When the further physical descriptions and society/religious stances of gelatinous cubes are elaborated upon in a repetition of said sequence of letters, duplicated and then, disintegrated beyond guttural sounds, one cannot help but notice the very limitations our own fragile language imposes on communication, rendering the feeble attempts to convey an existence's experiences moot. Within the absolute reduction executed here, truth of cosmic proportions can be found - up to the cutting off of humanoid screams, for, in those sounds, life lies and the death awaiting at the end, beyond the veil, ultimately comes for us all, while the ooze's eternal truth remains, transcending the bounds of mortality and subjectivity, a zen of slime, a slimy nirvana of the ooze is all that remains.


I hesitate to descend back into the nit and grit, the profane simplicity of language, but for the purpose of providing a guidance for all of us unenlightened accumulations of cells, I will...thus, the conventionalizing racial stats provided would be +4 Con, -2 Int, Wis and Cha - obviously a nod towards the mental capacities ultimately ending up as detriments to one's own enlightenment and the eternal perpetuation of one's genetic make-up. The same can obviously be said about fast movement - 15 ft and a slow, but steady movement towards one's foes is more than sufficient, since a undue hastening can be considered ultimately an acceleration BEYOND the ability to grasp the intricacies of the moment, of the fleeting "now" that is eternally transformed into the past. Since sight and similar senses are the purview of lesser creatures, blindsight is not a surprise here, either - the senses, ultimately, do convey an individual Rorschach-test of reality, after all. The perfection of a cube's essential form, as handed down by philosophers older and wiser than I can ever hope to be, obviously allows them to literally carry us feebly humanoids within their very frames, though obviously, mortals may be endangered by the stripping of primitive components of their physiology - like skin. Being beyond classes, these paragons of evolution and form obviously cannot advance in classes beneath their power and yes, they are transparent, for there is nothing in substance and substance in nothing.


The blasphemous notion of a limited existence and the weight of these creatures has been provided alongside obvious benefits to be gained from following the paragon path to transcendence. Being beyond the concern of paltry saves, gelatinous cubes thus do not progress much in this category. At 3/4 BAB-progression, d8 and 2+Int skills per level, there is not much to be done except reducing all those distracting choices to a minimum. At the same time, these glorious zen-masters of enlightenment may deem to adopt an adventuring ally among the less blessed races and at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the cube may select special ooze abilities, which include BAB-based attacks that negate incoming assaults (all is nothing, nothing is all, remember!), compress forms (size is an illusion) or corrode things (all is vain!) - ultimately, there is a lot of wisdom and different truths to be unearthed here. Now once your existential anxiety reaches its peak, around 5th level, you'll be happy to know that the cube's anesthetically potent properties may literally take your pain away and free you from the chores of all those annoying choices - potentially permanently. Of course, if you get past this stage, you'll experience growth alongside your cube's literal ascendancy to a more significant bodily representation - usually around 7th and 15th level.


Particularly adept cubes may elect to choose one of 3 unique feats to help the few mortals beyond their grasp see the truth they represent more clearly.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting bespeak the superiority of the cubical masters. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard -and each page is rendered as a square, the basis of a cube! If you take the content-bearing pages, you can make a full cube - + an extra page, representing your task, nay, calling, to complete what these pages set up right before you. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.


Wendall Roy's gelatinous Cubes are a milestone for humanity - beyond the game, this pdf contains literally all essential truths of mankind - all our history and striving and promise, condensed to a few pages - what a brilliant pdf! Have I mentioned the low donation required to partake in this glory cosmic of less than 2 bucks? My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.*


Endzeitgeist out.


*This is an April's Fool-product and it's hilarious. My review reflects this and I sincerely hope my little exegesis made you smile. Furthermore, while the tone of my review may be humorous, the verdict indeed describes what I think about this funny, nice book. While not a good option for a PC, it makes for compelling NPCs and remains an excellent offer at a low price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Gelatinous Cubes (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: The Otherlands (Diceless)
by H. M. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2015 03:53:46
PCs in Lords of Gossamer and Shadow are fragile gods; beings of great power with nearly-human weaknesses. This product is designed to remind the players that their Wardens and Lords *are* fragile--and not as close to the top of the cosmic food chain as they may believe themselves to be. :)

The Otherworld gives your LoGaS campaign a brand new and utterly terrifying threat to the multiverse, and a half-dozen ways to entangle your players with that threat. It's all too easy for LoGaS players to become confident in their understanding of the game's cosmology, and their character's place within it. One encounter with the Otherworld and Otherworldly entities detailed here will shake that complacency to the core--in a good way.

All the Gossamer Worlds products are good reads, but this one one is by far the best value for the price; It's not just a place to visit, it's an entire campaign arc.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: The Otherlands (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Poetica Mundi (Diceless)
by H. M. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2015 03:47:40
If anyone in your game asks "how strange can a gossamer world get?" Poetica Mundi is your answer: It's fantastic, surreal, & brilliant.

Writing the whole thing in verse was utterly mad, and I love it. GlimmerGloam was the previous high water mark for "out there" gossamer worlds. It has been surpassed. :) 

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Poetica Mundi (Diceless)
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In The Company of Angels (PFRPG)
by Elisa S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/21/2015 19:12:21
After Rite published "In the Company of Dragons," which was wonderful-oh-my-goodness, I had incredibly high hopes for this book as well. I've been looking for ways to play a celestial, and after the wonders they worked with dragons, was expecting this to be my go-to guide. In that respect, I was both pleased, and a little disappointed.

We'll start with what was great. If you are looking to play an angel in the most iconic sense, then you should grab this. No joke. Called the Grigori, this celestial race starts out no stronger than your typical humanoid, but if you play the racial class you can eventually stand almost toe to toe in abilities with higher angels, even getting some iconic Solar abilities (if this arrow doesn't just skewer you, goblin, trust me; you will die anyways). They did this in a way that even as you advance, you don't feel like you are outstripping humanoid PCs around you. The racial paragon class has all the elements of the classes, winged messenger of heaven that you could want. All they typical angel abilities are covered and can be attained; it's just about picking what abilities you want as you level up. Quite solid.

If you want to play a less common breed of angel, they also got you covered... unless you want to play an agathion. Archons, azata, even lillends get a mention, as well as a couple more obscure types, but they left agathions fresh out. Considering that those are my favorite types, and they make up an entire branch of the Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic family tree of celestials, it felt rather lacking having them not be included. I would pay more money for more options for celestial types, especially if it threw the animal celestials back into the mix.

In a similar note, after the genius that was character options in Dragons, this one fell short on player options. The racial paragon class is well-built, but for those of us who would like to also build a Grigori character that does not take any levels in the paragon class, this book offers no ways to "keep the celestial feel," so to speak, for characters in other classes. Dragons offered a unique class advancement option in the Draconic Hero, which was a multi-class archetype that substituted a small handful of a classes special abilities for improvements to the draconic form (larger size, flight, natural armor and energy resistance). It was amazing, and it meant that your dragon PC could gain unique powers from both her class and for being a dragon. I was hopping, dearly, for something similar for angels, but they Rite didn't include anything remotely similar this time around. Dragons also had feats you could take, if your dragon progressed through a core class, to add some draconic gifts or abilities. Even if your dragon advanced as a paladin, they still felt very much like a dragon. Who can now smite evil with the fieriest vengeance you ever saw. And they had these options for close to twenty base classes. It was a PC's dream. Angels could have done something something like this, so that people wanting to maintain the feel of their race weren't pigeonholed into the racial paragon class. Without those juicy options that we know Rite is more than capable of producing, this book feels noticeably more lackluster than the greatness they have done in the past.

I would give this book 3.5 stars, because I've purchased several books from Rite Publishing, and I like what I got, but terribly miss what I could have gotten.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Angels (PFRPG)
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101 Magus Feats (PFRPG)
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2015 15:54:53
This supplement comes it at 31 pages, including 27 pages of content.
With no introduction, we start with a table of short descriptions and prerequisites for 101 feats, all meant to work with the Magus base class from Ultimate Magic. Many of the feats are intended for magi with specific class archetypes, and the table is sorted by archetype, including feats for Bladebound, Hexcrafter, Kensai, Myrmidarch, Skirnir, Soul Forger, Spellblade, Spire Defender, and Staff Magus. Also included are feats for four magus archetypes from Owen Stephens’ Ultimate Options: New Magus Arcana. Finally, we get 48 feats intended for ‘standard’ magi.
For the most part, these feats avoid the trap of overly long chains of feat prerequisites. However, many of them still have non-feat prerequisites which make them unavailable until high levels. Lich Assault, for example, requires 11 ranks in spellcraft and a base attack bonus of +8. More affordable feats include Arcane Rejuvenation, which lets you use arcane pool points to recover spell-like abilities and limited-use class features.
Other feats give abilities like inflicting ability drain with a special-arcane-pool-powered attack, dispelling magic effects from the target of an attack, and regaining arcane pool points when you disrupt other spellcasters.
There was a significant feature that I expected but did not find in this supplement. Namely, I expected to see some feats which would be useful to gish characters, even those who didn’t necessarily have levels in the magus class. However, every feat in this supplement depends directly on specific magus class features, making them useless to non-magi gishes (unless you have an alternate class feature which gives one or more magus class features to another class). Obviously, the title specifically says [i]101 Magus Feats[/i], not [i]101 Battle-Mage Feats[/i], but I was still a bit disappointed that there was nothing for eldritch knights and duskblades.
There are numerous full-color illustrations spread throughout this supplement.

Short Term Use: The editing in this supplement is….not good. It’s the kind of editing quality I’d expect from Paizo, not Rite Publishing. Several of the feats have ambiguous effects, requiring you to decide what they do before you can really use them. However, other feats are more clearly described, and the organization of the feat table and PDF makes it easy to find feats appropriate to the next magus character you are making. Unfortunately, even the most interesting feats can’t be used unless you know what they do, and so the editing really hurts the potential for immediate use. Hence, this supplement gets a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: I admit I had low expectations for this supplement, largely due to my dislike for the magus class. Judged on its own merits, however, there is an excellent variety of feat effects in this supplement. There are almost no page-wasting “number-boost” feats. Once you get past the lack of clarity in some places, I am impressed by the range of special abilities the author managed to squeeze out based on just the a few class features. The inclusion of feats for a wide range of magus alternate class features is also a nice touch. Hence, this supplement earns a Long Term Rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5/5 due to the low price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Magus Feats (PFRPG)
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The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (5E)
by Jeremy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2015 01:52:17
The tent poles of older editions of Dungeons and Dragons were well-developed stand alone adventures which provided DMs and Players a fertile ground to grow great stories. Currently, 5e lacks a lot of adventure support, with the publisher focused on larger storylines and a slower paced release schedule. This creates ample space for independent publishers to provide stand alone adventures and RITE Publishing has answered the call in grand fashion!

The Breaking of Forstor Nagar is an adventure compatible with 5e designed for 8th level characters which features some of the best 3rd party design I have seen in a long time. This 46 page module presents a grand rescue scenario in 9 parts that guide the characters into the heart of Forstor Nagar, the City of Grinding Ice, during the height of a raid by the terrifying Hungering Legion. The module opens in epic fashion with siege weapons, explosions, and lots of combat and just gets better from there. Many 5e mechanics are on display here and I particularly enjoyed how the designers used environmental and terrain effects to bring the cold, icy, and harsh reality of the city to life. The narrative provides plenty of options and does a good job of anticipating player actions, helping the DM to expand beyond the boundary of the page and offer meaningful choices. Those who enjoy combat will love the encounters with the bloodthirsty Hungering Legion, but the module also presents ample opportunity for exploration and interaction.

One of the greatest strengths of this module is its setting neutrality. You can drop it in to a cold environment in any world. The ideas presented also provide ample fodder for the DMs imagination. I was instantly drawn to the Hungering template, my mind coming up with lots of ways to expand this idea and use it as a prominent campaign feature in my own game. Not only do you get that new template, but new spells, new items, and a plethora of new creatures to pilfer. There are so many great ideas here I could see enterprising DMs expanding this backstory and using the lore to build a campaign arc across many levels, culminating with this epic assault.

The PDF is beautifully produced. It is well organized, clean and crisp with top shelf artwork that reinforces the narrative. Speaking of artwork, the purchase features a bonus download of high-resolution, top quality electronic copies of all featured images. That's an amazing value that will be great for those of us who love printing maps, utilizing projectors, or playing in a variety of online tabletops. Having both tagged and untagged versions makes it even better for the DM, who can keep all of the nasty surprises hidden while still providing players with a beautiful visual.

The only real negatives I have are minor. First, I wish there were more motivations for entering the city. The rescue plot is great, and central to much of what happens. There are plenty of hooks to draw the characters into this particular plot, but it would have been nice if the concept was a bit more open with the "why" the adventure is happening. This is something that could be altered by a crafty DM who enjoyed tooling with publish works, so it does not detract from the module. Second, there is a passing reference to Prestige Classes, a concept that doesn't exist in 5e and is probably just an editorial mistake, but did have me scratching my head for a moment.

All in all, this is a FANTASTIC bargain at $9.99. You won't be disappointed and you'll get multiple sessions and ideas out of this one purchase. So come along with me and lets race the Hungering Legion to the Dragon Oracle!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (5E)
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Infernal Romance at Moon Temple (AE)
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2015 03:25:49
A 44-page adventure in an oriental (Chinese) setting, this uses the Arcana Evolved rules, but can be adapted to other systems with a little work, especially if they are a d20 variant like Pathfinder or D&D. Having said that, the unusual setting is the heart of the book, and, while it could be changed to somewhere else that isn't even oriental, you'd be losing a lot by doing so. In particular, it's worth noting that the races of the NPCs are unique to AE, and that the city it's set in is sufficiently odd that it may not fit in many campaign worlds at all.

Still, if you are using it as is, or are prepared to put in the work to adapt it, it's an excellent scenario and one that's far from run-of-the-mill. It is heavily based on role-playing, and, while there is some relatively straightforward action near the climax, it won't appeal to groups that just want fights and treasure. The plot is largely based around re-enacting a myth to keep the city safe, with various bits of skulduggery in the background, and a large chunk of it concerns wooing potential suitors with courtly skills.

I'll give it 5 stars, because it's excellent for what it's aiming at, giving a real feel of a pseudo-Chinese/Wuxia culture and a strong focus on roleplaying rather than regular combat. The art and layout are also top notch, and a great help to bringing out the atmosphere. I can easily see myself using it, but it might not be for everyone.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Infernal Romance at Moon Temple (AE)
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Adventure Quarterly #6 (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/27/2015 06:44:13
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The sixth installment of Rite Publishing's spiritual heir of the Dungeon magazine clocks in at 72 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than a massive 67 pages of content - quite a huge array, so let's take a look!



As always, we begin the issue with a nice editorial by Robert N. Emerson before jumping into the meat of the respective modules. This being a review of an adventure-based magazine, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great! The first module herein takes us back into the iconic training ground/artificial dungeon of Questhaven's Questor's Society, the Ruins Perilous, wherein 4th level PCs are challenged by Mike Welham to enter the Fungarium! What once was a gigantic banquet hall has since the various cataclysms befell the ruins turned into a kind of interesting fungal habitation, one that is by now separated in two factions of fungoid life-forms that exist in a brokered, uneasy truce - and yes, this means that the best option indeed boils down to actually negotiating with the strange fungoid creatures. If Diplomacy is not up to your PC's alley, fighting does remain an option, though they will miss out on a boon for the PCs. However, this is not where this dungeon-level shines alone - indeed, the creepy atmosphere is well-supplemented by a diverse array of cool hazards and yes, these strange mushrooms add a nice dimension to the encounters. Fungal forlarren queens that share a mind may be there for negotiation, but unaligned fungoid creatures and a dangerous spiny otyugh do make for quite a few nice, challenging foes for combat-centric PCs to defeat, rounding out one of the arguably coolest levels in the ruins yet - fun, diverse and consistent - I love it! This gets even more awesome by supplementing tidbits like stats for the trap-resetting ratfolk workers, an anti-fungus weapon and stats for groundkeepers et al.



The second module, Bret Boyd's Fire and Ice, not related to the neofolk band of the same name, begins with the death of adventurers, though thankfully not the PCs - instead, a company of competing adventurers has been all but wiped out while trying to thwart an evil organization's plan to harvest divine essences. Their sole survivor, as it happens, is on the same ship as the PCs - and draws the ire of the primary antagonist, the immortal assassin Malkin and an iceberg-vessel - upon temporarily defeating the threat, the poor survivor comes clean and asks the PCs for aid and so they're off to the island of pleasure, Mibre, a small paradise, where an order of enigmatic monks poses an interesting puzzle (including trouble-shooting advice and means t brute-force it) - for without the help of the monks, the PCs will have a hard time bringing the magical crystal to the plane of fire to sunder it and thwart the plans of the evil cabal. My one gripe here would constitute in the lack of vessel stats for the iceberg ship and the PC's ship, but on the plus-side, the settlement at least does sport a full settlement statblock.



The final module within these pages, penned by Alex Putnam (and Danielle Doss), would be "In Iron Clad," wherein 14th level PCs have their business trip to a mercane merchant (and a remote metropolis)rudely interrupted while aboard a massive, dwarven sand-steamer used to traverse the massive, lethal badlands - only to have it be attacked by a massive behemoth - and this is only the first of things to come - deadly divs herald the shape of things to come, as the PCs happen upon the massive artifact, the metal heart. Bringing this to the metropolis, the PCs are tasked to pilot the Iron Knight -and yes, we're talking about the Saber Rider/power Rangers-style mecha also featured in the glorious Kaiju Codex. Much like its rendition there, the rules provided could be a teeny tiny bit more precise, though they should not overexert the capabilities of most groups - and yes, the task thereafter is to pilot the gigantic mecha to vanquish the corrupted, elemental-themed kaiju-sized creatures. But that is not where the module ends - indeed, the PCs have to brave a legendary, vast tomb to find a magic weapon for the iron knight, the Sword of Ages' End, and use it to vanquish the legendary corruptor in one massive boss battle of gargantuan proportions - quite literally!



After these modules, Creighton Broadhurst provides an array of complex, multi-round hazards/encounters to drop into your game, some of his best work, btw., while Steven D. Russell continues his advice for wide open sandboxing campaigns, including some handy lists t use at one's convenience.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-level. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's 2-column full-color standard with a significant array of gorgeous, original full-color artworks AND there are A LOT of awesome maps in here - if you need any more proof that Tommi Salama is perhaps THE heir to Jonathan Roberts, this one delivers - in diverse styles and color, the maps are ridiculously beautiful. Better yet, the maps also come as high-res jpgs for use with virtual tabletops or the printer AND there are player-friendly high-res versions of the maps as well. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



This is a first in the run of Adventure Quarterly - for the first time, more than module blew me away - and honestly, I really like all 3. Each sports unique locations, nice, compact storylines and deliver, in spades, some absolutely imaginative vistas. Better yet, Alex Putnam's final module is perhaps the best high-level module in any Adventure Quarterly - high-stakes, unique and supplemented by lavish, copious maps, this module is a stroke of genius and will have your players talking about it for years to come - heck, it may be the perfect transition from regular gaming to making full use of the superb Kaiju Codex and truly high-fantasy gaming! This installment is creative in all the right ways and sports glorious ideas as well as Rite Publishing's trademark focus on high concepts - even the supplemental material went above and beyond - well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Quarterly #6 (PFRPG)
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101 Subterranean Spells (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2015 21:31:28
Ever wanted to turn your character’s head into a dracolisk and use their breath and gaze attack while growing tentacles with reach that can rot the flesh off your enemy's bones? Or, create and use crystalline weapons that go straight through armour and even mage armor to help you as you summon a plague of wights to crash a party? Indeed perhaps you could give your character the DR of a zombie and added resistances, and then decide to conjure two centipede swarms to bring a “death by centipedes”. If that isn’t nasty enough, you could curse a foe so that they think ants, spiders and any vermin are talking to them. They may go insane in 2d6 days. If your dungeons or tunnels need something extra, you could summon a gelatinous cube (that comes with the advanced template if summoned underground), or afflict an enemy with the delusion that they think they are a vampire . If you ever wanted to turn into a xorn and live off nothing but earth, stone or metal, well now you can and the spells to do all of the above are within.

This book has great potential and it is all about the spells (mostly conjuration) and the new options that they offer. It also comes with some great art, which is more than a little bit trippy and alien. I really liked this and a lot of thought went into the spells, some of which are delightfully cruel.

5/5

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Subterranean Spells (PFRPG)
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#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/23/2015 03:15:46
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, know what pretty much I don't get? In all those high magic magocracies and settings, why are there no actual tools, you know, everyday-useful magic items to make life more convenient? I mean, literature is full of wizards using convenient items to render life more comfortable for themselves and in a setting where the crafting of deadly, costly magical weapons, it is only sensible that some of the funds circulated would be used to actually improve the tools used to generate the respective tools, right?



Right - so here we are, new magic tools. All of them are masterwork per default, as the pdf notices and framed by an aptly-written, short piece of IC-prose, we dive right in: The Arcane Anthology, for example, opens itself on the correct page and politely positions itself in front of the reader, levitating and leaving his or her hands free. If that is not inspiring to you in and of itself, then the short piece of history provided for each item should exactly help in that regard. Now this is pretty much awesome, though, alas, not all items herein reach this level of coolness - take the Brass of Binding: It prevents the rider from being dismounted "no matter what happens." No matter how good the CMB, no matter the circumstance - unless the points of the maple-leaf brass are tapped. Alas, this does not specify what type of action tapping the maple leaf's points is. Oh, and cost: 1000 GP. For never being dismounted, ever. WUT? This sounds like it needs a hard whack with the nerf-bat or rather, a tighter wording: It is clear this should only prevent dismounting due to the rider's own failed checks - and yes, I am very much aware that this is supposed to be a tool for the Ride-skill only, but as written, it does look like it can be used otherwise AND it still fails to mention the action required for (de-)activation, alas a glitch I noticed a couple of times when the item's text (à la mental command) etc. provides no clear means of determining the activation action, though I do assume the standard action default for wondrous items. But I'm rambling about a nitpick, so onwards!



A spoon that can purify any poison from food 3/day and detect it 3/day as well is a cool item, though personally, I think I'd prefer the detecting and purification to be based on poison DCs, but I am aware that this is just a personal preference and won't hold it against the pdf. There also would be an enchanted chisel that can carve into wood on its own. A compass that can lead you to food, animals or locations pictured in your mind is nice, as are gloves that turn held items invisible. The Flawpicker item needs a scaling mechanism - picking out flaws from gems is fine with me - eliminating curses from cursed items, on the other hand, imho should have a scaling rate of success chances. I do like the sight-enhancing magical kohl. Mantles that help you avoid detection are nice, but what about shoons that 1/day create a platform mid-flight to push off, adding +10 ft. height and length to a jump? Yeah, awesome. Pins to improvise opening locks and helping with escaping manacles et al. also are a-ok with me. What about a patch that allows for quicker application of liquids?



There also would be slippers that allow caught thieves to generate an illusion of an animal darting away, providing an excuse for any noises created? Using a needle to animate cloths and the like to entangle foes? Cool! What about a babelfish-like translating butterfly? Nice!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect -I noticed a couple of typos, italicization glitches and the like. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artworks consist of thematically-fitting stock art.



Liz Smith's items are glorious on the one hand - they make sense and in many, many cases, they can be considered awesome in their flair - breathing the spirit of fairy-tales and feeling like actual MAGIC instead of an accumulation of numerical bonuses, the tools herein may not be 100% perfect, but they have more soul than many magic item books I've read. Yes, there are some minor ambiguities and yes, I pretty much prefer Scaling options over those that work as a default - but in the end, most of the gripes I could field apply mainly to my personal preference, which has never been a sufficient reason for me to rate a pdf down, leaving as valid gripes only the glitches and non-preference hiccups, which ultimately are offset by the sheer imaginative potential herein. It should be noted that the items herein fit perfectly as rare items in a low magic game, so yeah, versatility is accounted for.

Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4. 5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
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The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (5E)
by Matthew A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2015 21:37:26
A little about me: DM for over 20 years. Playtester for Montecook Games, and currently a DM for a Ptolus City by the Spire game using the D&D Next (5e) rule set, played over the Roll20 Virtual Tabletop.

The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (5E) by RITE Publishing is an adventure for 8th level characters. If you've been into 5E for a while you know there's not a lot of 3rd party content for it yet, so this is a welcome addition. The art direction and organization of the module is top notch. The PDF is fully bookmarked so a DM can get where they need to quickly. The module itself is about 50 pages long, broken up in 9 parts. I'd imagine you could easily get 5-10 sessions out of this, depending on the pace you and your players enjoy.

Suffice it to say the "City of Grinding Ice" takes place in a cold environment. You will get to explore some weather hazards from DMG in this module which helps to keep things interesting. Since it's a higher level adventure there's plenty of advice for if the players try to turn invisible or fly, or use their other "circumnavigation" abilities. The advice doesn't nerf the player's abilities, it just gives the DM tools to handle those situations, which is great. There's also a reasonable amount of "if the players do X, or Y, or Z, then..." that handles the most likely decisions throughout.

The maps and environments are high quality, and there's something unusual going on to spice up most of the encounters. There's also notes for scaling the encounters up a couple of levels if you'd like to run this for a 9th or 10th level group. As an added bonus, there's a 300+ megabyte folder full of ALL the art at high resolution, which could be printed for tabletop, or it would be awesome for Roll20. So you've got both the DM friendly maps in the module itself with all of the secrets revealed, and then full color printable versions of the maps without the secrets on them. The art pack includes high quality tokens for the NPCs too. I really like that RITE is catering to both traditional tabletop and virtual tabletop audiences.

Overall, this is about as good as it gets in 3rd party module. As a point of reference, comparable to the higher end of Paizo Publishing's PDF modules. Very professional, very fun, and totally worth 10 bucks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Breaking of Forstor Nagar (5E)
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101 1st Level Spells (PFRPG)
by JOHNNY J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2015 15:01:11
I was very disappointed with the spell selection, because I wanted spells that control the battlefield. The most promising spell in the spell descriptions was PUSH. Unfortunately, it was left out of the actual listing of spells. This product has been around for a while. I can't believe this oversight wasn't updated. The 0 level spells deserve 5 stars. 1st level spells only get two for layout and ease of use.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
101 1st Level Spells (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to a review of our product, the product was updated in the Compilation 1001 Spells. Steven D. Russell.
Gossamer Worlds: Incursion Earth 626 (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2015 04:05:45
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let’s take a look!



Incursion Earth 626 is one of the infinite allotopias (i.e. alternate earths) than can be reached via the Grand Stair - but is a unique one. In 1985, reality cracked - this time not due to earth's humans screwing it up, but due to an extremely expansionist empire called the "Incursion" piercing the veils of reality. These technocratic conquerors botched something, though, when they arrived in this reality and mankind suddenly was faced with a vast influx of psionic power - from pyrokinesis to uncontrollable telepathy, the sudden rise of powers left the world almost in an apocalyptic state, when Switzerland, for example, paid for its lockdown with utter annihilation, becoming a creepy ghost-country. Just as things began to settle, with the powers-that-be establishing elite-squads of psionics, the incursion attacked.



With brutal displays that annihilated Washington D.C. and Moscow, the Incursion established supremacy over earth, rendering it one of its colonies. Now, two decades later, life remains pretty much normal for the average citizen. Once you've gotten accustomed to the shadows and drones, no issues. Unless you are psionically active, in which you immediately become a target for the incursion's forces...especially if you are a psycher - one of the powerful, almost demigod-level psionicists. Speaking of which - multiple ways to handle psionics and distinguish (or not distinguish) it from sorcery are provided. The incursion's renegade commander, Tau-Psi-5 receives full stats and beyond the threat of the incursion, the hidden remnants of the erstwhile secret service are creating their own cadre of super-psychers to reclaim earth, while Irkutsk is now the place, where a lot of earth's psionics are brought - for what purpose, though - none knows so far.



Oh, and then there would be the rise of a new spiritualism, with ancient, strange psychic entities rising, possessing people and turning them into nightmarish creatures...Yes, there is a lot of lethal potential for storytelling.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s beautiful 2-column full-color standard for LoGaS and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork consists of glorious full-color pieces that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.



Matt Banach's Incursion Earth 626 is interesting, with a special shout out going to the interior artists Tarakanovich, Wataboku, Michael Richards, David Revoy, Justin Nichol, J.J. Tarujärvi - the artworks stand out even in this series and create an atmosphere that reminded me of Death Note's N as a psychic in some frames, creating a unique visual style. The potential of the world is vast - from teh Incursion's motives to the obvious potential for ALL kinds of X-men-style narratives, this place sports adventuring potential galore and is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Incursion Earth 626 (Diceless)
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In The Company of Angels (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2015 21:02:42
This adds Angelic options to your Pathfinder games (and other similar systems). The art is thematically strong; it starts how you would expect with holy angels, but then changes to less typical types. I found myself intrigued where they were going and that not all angels inside are actually the typical angels of art and Western myth.

The angels, or, Empyreal Lords are called Grigori within. There is a good introduction explaining their place, who they serve and additional information to place them in your games and get a sense of how to use them. What is also found is some on the heavens and how they could be considered and presented, as well as mention of hierarchies to navigate. On where your place is, goodness and actions matter, not appearances and those in the heavens will differ immeasurably in a setting because souls have been flocking there for thousands of years. A DM could truly present the realms of the Grigori as very alien, influenced by mortals many from centuries past and have a lot of fun roleplaying this context.

So we have our unusual setting, what is next? We have name suggestions and base Grigori stats. Options to modify these are given. The Grigori are quite strong and don’t have many weaknesses but they have a lot of options and plenty of abilities “come standard” as it were. Curiously the celestial fertility ability allows Grigori to quickly reproduce with mortals, even if infertility was in play and it applies to both sides. Grigori can reproduce with the barren. As will be welcome for those wishing to multiclass, there are also the rules for Grigori of specific normal classes (like monk and paladin).

There is a great deal crammed into this book. We have the paragon class allowing further abilities to be chosen as one levels, and a ki pool of sorts called the “Pool of Providence”. These grant a range of capabilities that would make monk players highly jealous. You just don’t see options like this in base Pathfinder. Two I particularly like are soulfire, hilariously causing a target to burst into flame, and angle of terror. The Grigori are meant to be scary and these abilities would allow them to really beat about and terrify weaker creatures.

Also within are celestial gifts, a summon celestial table and many archetypes. I quite liked the seraph. Snake Grigori they have grab and constrict options, a breath weapon and immunity to fire and some other things.

Originally, I did not care much for angels or celestials, but within I found a range of options to make some very powerful Grigori and all that is needed to run Grigori adventurers or the angels as foes. They would truly be a force to reckoned with were they the enemies of the party.

4.5/5. It is also very affordable for the HUGE range of options and rules inside.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Angels (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: An NPC Collection (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/29/2015 04:35:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at no less than 323 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 4 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 314 pages of content, so let's take a look!



This review was moved ahead in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.



Well, first of all, I will deviate from my usual take on detailed analysis of the individual pieces of content herein -why? Because that would take AGES and bloat this review beyond the page-count where this would have any semblance of help for anyone of my readers. Beyond that, there is another factor - I have written detailed reviews for each and every NPC (apart from the new one) sported in this massive compilation - combining them would result in more than 30 pages, so there you go. If you're interested in one particular NPC, you can have a detailed analysis of said build in my individual review of the respective pdfs. If you have read them, here's a general summation of what sets the NPCs apart.



Fluff-wise, the Tarnished Souk can be considered an interplanar nexus situated on the plane of dreams, right outside the legendary Coliseum Morpheuon, where the most powerful mortals and immortals duke it out under the auspice of the khan of nightmares, all hoping to gain the cusp of desires. Oh, and yes, the tarrasque is actually part of the competition's challenges, to give you an inkling of the level of expertise required in this competition. Dreams are a vaulable currency in Coliseum Morpheuon and thus, they actually carry relevance beyond the story's basic requirements for the characters in question. As such, they may actually be found by PCs and provide a level of background information one regularly does not expect. Dreams are more, though - they are power. While dreamburning rules from Coliseum Morpheuon are not required for this book, it does add a nice further dimension and honestly, Coliseum Morpheuon is the best high-level module available for Pathfinder, so you definitely should have that beast anyways.



So what is special about the NPCs herein? Well, regarding crunch they are special to me because they don't suck. There. I said it. Pathfinder's high-level gameplay and the general experience of many a DM that high-level gameplay comes apart, at least partially, is due to just about all published books simply having an impossible job at their hands: The directive is to create adversaries that a casual gaming group can vanquish and the more the levels pile up, the bigger the discrepancy becomes between people that exhibit a high degree of system mastery and those who don't. At high levels, this ultimately leads to whining I've seen on boards about ACs of 36 in high level-ranges where that is not an insurmountable defense. At the same time, posts complain about 1-round curb-stomping BBeGs, a problem exacerbated by the mythic rules, famously being quoted by Alexander Augunas as the Rocket-launcher-standoff.



In my main campaign, I run next to no unmodified published modules - why? Because, if I took Karzoug against half my group, they'd mop the floor with him. Yes, I'm talking about the enhanced Anniversary Edition. Playtesting published modules only VERY rarely results in any PC deaths at my table, even in Frog God Games killer beasts. And I'm not alone in this issue. While my group may be an extreme example, it is a trend that is exacerbated with each new release, with each slight power-creep. In 3.X that resulted in me wearing down my Advanced Bestiary and templating EVERYTHING. In PFRPG, I follow a similar modus operandi, though one supplemented with many, many base classes, archetypes etc. So that would be problem No.1.



Problem number 2 is a more pleasant one to have - ultimately, there are MANY awesome 3pp-products out there -glorious base-classes, exceedingly fun subsystems etc. - and yes, I'm using more 3pp material than Paizo material at this point. Alack and alas, there is no big 3pp NPC Codex and that means making A LOT of NPCs and monsters from scratch. Faces of the Tarnished Souk did something rather unique - it provides a vast array of templates,. both original and from the best of sources and combines them with unique classes - taskshapers and time thieves, malefactors - whatever your heart desires, there is a good chance you'll find some of the unmitigated stars within these pages. Add to that unique, custom-tailored magic items and you get an array of NPCs that is ACTUALLY CHALLENGING.



Now that would be awesome in and of itself, but it becomes even better when you take into account the vast imaginative potential that lies at the roots of the characters provided herein - you won't find "Human Paladin 20" herein - instead, you'll find, for example, Nameless Nil, the Beggar of Self. An imaginary friend turned killer turned beggar, whose wonderful class/template line reads "Bloody Maw Half-construct horrifically overpowered hungry nightmare unfettered eidolon savant 10." This is, as the back cover proudly proclaims, NOT your pappy's NPC book. Nameless Nil's prose and background story ranks among the best pieces of character writing I have seen in ANY roleplaying product, btw. - this guy is my favorite NPC for Pathfinder. Yes, I'm talking about all-out number 1 spot. Oh, and have I mentioned that, for example the legendary bulwark Ahnkar-Kosh has an AC of 64? This should put an end to the smirk on your level 20 min-maxers face...



But wait, before you put away this review - no, not all NPCs in this book exist only in the CR ~20-range - instead, each of the NPCs herein comes with a build for low levels, mid levels and high levels, allowing you to introduce the NPCs at any level you like and depict their progression to greatness- or utilize the statblocks of the lower iterations for servants, creatures or whatever you like. Another issue you may expect to face would lie in the aforementioned presence of a lot of 3pp-content utilized in the truly beautiful builds created herein. Well, approximately the last 100 pages of the book are used to provide all rules used in the builds of this massive cadre of glorious CHARACTERS. For, thanks to the interplay of glorious prose and superb crunch, the NPCs become more than the sum of their respective parts.



If you are not inspired by the glorious write-ups of the respective NPCs, many of which can spawn multiple adventures (or even campaigns!), boxes with pieces of advice further help using the NPCs and integrating them into the mythos of your campaign. Have I btw. mentioned Smiles-Under-teh-Bed, the legendary Cheshire cat that is pretty much a psychotic, playful killer that clocks in at CR 19 in its most powerful iteration? The eidolon that is the summoner that wants to be mortal? The goblin time thief convinced that things between the seconds are gearing up to tear time and reality asunder? If you have ANY joy contemplating high-stakes games, personal tragedies, captivating NPCs and a level of imagination I have not seen since the heyday of Planescape, and there only in its better products, then this compilation should be considered a ridiculously glorious must-buy.



How can this be further enhanced? well, the original pdfs sported some artwork which has since been used by other supplements as well - this has been expanded by new pieces that seamlessly fit with the respective character portrayals, with Juan Diego Dianderas and Kamil Jadczak delivering great pieces in the fitting b/w-standard this book offers and adding to the talents of illustrators that not only include master of the creepy Mark Hyzer, but also Tamás Baranya and Hugo Solis and many, many more. How can this be made better on a content-level, you ask? Well, what about adding a brand new NPC by none other than legendary, Ennie-award-winning design Ben McFarland? This would be Strai Tkossirk, the whispered word of dream. This would be, in his highest CR-iteration, a psychic (telekinetic) vrock oracle (aetherurgist) - and the level of imaginative potential of this NPC in no way falls back behind the ridiculously high standard of the series, utilizing for example a magical drug-addiction in the mid-level version. And yes, as per the tradition with this series, vivid prose, GM-advice and tactics combine to create a creature that is more than the sum of its myriad parts. On a nitpicky side - I think it would have made more sense to include him in the NPC-roster instead of in the appendix, but that is ultimately one design in a huge book....and remains the only true gripe I can muster against this tome.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, especially for a massive tome of this size. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard with elegant borders and the artworks provided, as mentioned above, are thematically fitting and, in many cases, awesome. The book comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



I have all individual pdfs printed out. I want this book in dead-tree. This is not "an" NPC collection - to me, this is THE NPC collection. Faces of the Tarnished Souk epitomizes what made me a fan of Rite Publishing in the first place: The combination of awesome prose and imaginative fluff that goes one step further. I guarantee that the vast majority of characters herein, once encountered, will remain the talk of your gaming groups for years to come. Beyond the cool mechanics, this series has pretty much defined what I consider apex-level NPC-crafting and remains my point of reference for any such book. It should be noted that exactly ONE pdf can claim to adhere to this level of awesomeness beyond the series - LPJr Design's Cyrix. That's pretty much it.

When anyone asks me for challenging or simply evocative NPC builds, this book immediately comes to mind. When someone asks me for the spirit of truly uncommon fantasy, this book is what I think about. Whether as antagonists, allies or both, the characters herein pretty much define my campaigns in subtle ways - by the legends they have crafted, by the guidance they provide, by the growth my PCs can witness. Matt Banach, Justin Sluder, Steven D. Russell and Ben McFarland have quite simply created THE NPC collection for the discerning game-master, the remedy for players bored with standard builds and, via the builds herein, a great toolkit for GMs to use themselves.



Even if you never plan to run any of the characters herein and are not interested in Coliseum Morpheuon, this book provides so many iconic characters that it remains my honest belief that this book can serve as an inspiration for other settings as well. If my gushing diatribe before was not ample clue, I consider this quite frankly the best NPC collection out there, one distinguished by excellence in the beautiful statblocks AND the prose that draws vivid pictures of truly unique characters that deserve the moniker while epitomizing the key strengths of Rite Publishing as a publisher. This book, unsurprisingly, receives a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval as well as being a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: An NPC Collection (PFRPG)
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