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Gossamer Options: Characters (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/14/2015 04:05:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This MASSIVE book for Lords of Gossamer and Shadows clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with a colossal 69 pages of content, so let's take a look!


What began as a reverse design based on the art that was available via the deck funded via LoGaS' KS soon became this massive book - and oh boy. But let me begin differently: What's the one thing you need to crunch in LoGaS, the one thing that takes time out of your GM's day that does not pertain weaving the most awesome stories you can conceive? Yes, that would be statblocks for NPCs. While significantly simpler than in PFRPG (or 13th Age if you want to run NPCs with PC-rules against them as opposed to monster statblocks...), LoGaS still requires some work - well, this book takes that work from your shoulders and provided a 100-point, 200-point and 300-point iteration for each and every character featured within - of whom there are, just fyi,30.


Yes, 30. And know what? They deserve being called characters regarding their general concepts. The very first one is a self-aware harvest robot (KKND 2, anyone?) and, from strange nomads of the stairs to characters born to inhuman trysts or characters made into the ultimate weapon of destruction, with an all-consuming rage within. What about nigh perfect hunters, strange dragon riders or strange creatures sprung from worlds of pure magic, where constant forms constantly disintegrate and re-assemble? Perhaps an intelligence agent, fiercely loyal to her world-spanning empire, would be more to your liking?


Perhaps your PCs need help - then introduce them to Seleca Crane, righteous slayer of gods or the mysterious Swan Queen or perhaps a former black ops operative from earth? Or another one, a circus artist stranded on the Grand Stairs? What I'm trying to get at with this enumeration is that the concepts covered are pretty broad. At the same time, though, they do sport imho two relatively unpleasant tendencies: For one, their fluff-angles, usually something I absolutely adore in LoGaS-supplements, are simply not that awesome - the prose is nice, sure, but it falls way flat of e.g. Matt Banach's penmanship. Secondly, the builds themselves feel less imaginative and even a bit restricted - to me, the beauty of LoGaS lies within the fluidity of the concepts, particularly Umbra and Eidolon - there is a lot they can be, not much that they have to be. The characters herein feature, implicitly and explicitly, a more monolithic vision of both concepts, which, while certainly not reduced to a basic good/evil-dichotomy, falls short of the true draw of the very fundamentals existing in LoGaS.


Thirdly, the builds themselves and the way their points are used may be relatively diverse...but more often than not, they boil down to "I have awesome weapons, armor, etc." - which would not be as big an issue, had the Gossamer Worlds series not demonstrated with superb panache what kind of awesome things you can actually do here.


There are a lot of NPCs in here, spanning a wide diversity of occupations and ideologies. Better yet, the pdf provides ample advice on how to make compelling NPCs for LoGaS yourself - step by step, point by point, from concept to execution - which is a section new GMs in particular will certainly appreciate.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good - though I noticed some grammatical/punctuation issues here- more than what I've come to expect from Rite Publishing. Layout adheres to LoGaS two-column full-color standard with one neat full color artwork per character provided. These are awesome, though some of them are slightly pixelated. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Author Mark Knights, with development from Christopher Kindred and Steven D. Russell, provides an interesting collection of NPCs in this massive book, one which, while falling short of LoGaS massive potential, still can be considered to be a worthwhile look. After all, this is "Pay what you want" - you can literally get this, digest it and then pay what you think it's worth.


And personally, the statblocks of the ample characters alone and the time they spare me do warrant downloading this alone, even though I probably won't use them as written - the respective concepts do not resonate with me as strongly as those depicted time and again in e.g. the Gossamer Worlds or Threats-series.


This is still me complaining at a high level, though: The concepts of the respective NPCs herein are imaginative enough to jumpstart the imagination. The very hard to beat price point is what ultimately makes me look past the rough edges and minor flaws this exhibits. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to its PWYW-status.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Options: Characters (Diceless)
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Martial Arts Guidebook (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2015 19:22:16

There have been many products, both for D&D and Pathfinder, that have attempted to develop more rules, classes and feats for playing martial artists in roleplaying. Often they have been focused on one class, and with martial arts one thinks of the monk, but one could go further beyond options for the monk. With new technique rules fighting options could be given to all melee and warrior classes. Rite Publishing have made the attempt of adding a lot more martial art options to Pathfinder, and I will be discussing how well they did below.


The key option is the technique. These aren’t purely feats, but they can be taken as feats. The designers have been very intelligent, and techniques can be bought and spent a variety of ways. Yes, they can be taken as feats, but you also gain and use them as ki abilities or utilise them through grit. There are many options to use them and this means you don’t have to pay the feat tax, you can get them other ways. This means all these new techniques are open to not only monks and fighters, but paladins, ninjas, gunslingers and even magus as well.


On the techniques they are highly varied but bound around certain themes. Options to regain ki are very useful, as is trip attacks with ANY melee weapon flowing on from normal attacks. The Flying Axe Beak attack, whereupon you charge and throw your weapon and can stagger the opponent has great usability. There are also new debuff options like ‘Humble the Mountain’, allowing you to force a fort save and the potential to weaken your opponent in melee with a whole new type of debuff.


There is a school of Zweihander techniques, giving many new options to the old greatsword fighter. In giving options to cover some of their weaknesses (like being surrounded and their low AC being punctured profusely), the powerful attack technique to allow a free sunder attempt as you make a normal attack upon an opponent with a reach weapon is an exciting change of pace. The book consistently does this, shaking up combat by giving you new combo capabilities.


Nestled in all of these rules and techniques is plenty of context, information on monasteries and fighting associations, and fluff to add these schools and their taught techniques straight into your game. Surprisingly what is also presented are ready-made NPCs that use these techniques and represent their style, along with magic items tailored to groups and information to help these new resources and options to merge into any fantasy setting. There is a lot that is crammed into this product, but it is given space to develop and to make sense.


With so much to offer a DM would need to consider what they will use from this product. You could add a few schools and styles, limit the techniques to just a few suitable to your game, or you could go all out and add everything and all of these new styles and the highly varied new techniques. If you do so combat will never be the same again, it will not be a boring slog as there will be so many new options in combat and different ways a warrior can approach defeating their opponents. It will enrich your game, you simply have to choose how much.


5/5



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Martial Arts Guidebook (PFRPG)
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10 Kingdom Seeds: Hills (PFRPG)
by Trev W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2015 18:08:02

These "seeds" are settlements on the go. Need a name of a settlement, the government info and demographics, along with a few sites within detailed and some rumours and adventure ideas? All of that is provided and they are useful to have as I have seen dms stumped on names & without much time to add character to the hamlets and villages because they are focusing so strongly on the dungeon or plot. This makes it very useful for a DM.


I personally like Borley, the Chaotic Evil little salt-cutter village, but I think it is clear that Eastdeer with its industry of raising familiars and hunting companions has more character.


I give it 4/5 because I really do like it, but I was greedy for more rumours and more information and sites for each settlement. This is easily worth the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
10 Kingdom Seeds: Hills (PFRPG)
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10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/11/2015 04:13:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This small pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So what are these kingdom seeds? Basically, you can consider them to be mini village-backdrops - each of the villages comes with a full village statblock as well as information on unique places associated with the village as well as three rumors that can be considered to be micro adventure seeds. The villages are intended to be inserted into a given kingdom (or any other campaign) - thus the name of the pdf.


What makes the villages unique? Well, they exhibit Rite Publishing's interesting, trademark high-concept ideas: The village of Butteroak, for example, is protected by a double palisade between which assassin vines are planted to keep out the dread predators outside - oh, and if you're caught breaking the law, you get a dagger, are stripped down and have to run around the village...if you're not eaten by the vines, you get to leave...chilling combination of might makes right and pragmatism here.


More common, Calddell is defined by its bowyers, while Eristan is known for their syrupy birch beer and Fayebridge, set in a caldera, utilizes its ample bees to defend the town and keep the massive copses of fruit trees fertilized. Garrant is a nasty place, but one defined by unique copper jewelry made with the help of odd leaves, while Maplelea is defined by the less sinister eponymous maple produce. Mournesse may be snowed in half the year, but is a village of survivors that live via lumber and skins. Nulukkhir, a primarily dwarven and gnomish hamlet, is defined by its half-over-grown houses and pig-farms. Soulmerrow, an elven hamlet defined by the massive cinnamon trees, is similarly an interesting place and finally, Whitespell, is a place where charcoral is made by a kind and welcoming populace.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity - nice! The pdf also sports nice full-color art.


Liz Smith delivers a per se cool array of brief village-write-ups, with the respective industries and raisons d'être providing enough variation to make this a compelling buy for the low price-point. At the same time, I found myself wishing that there was a little bit more detail and more material that reaches the level of uniqueness of Butteroak's assassin vine palisade - compared to that one, the other hamlets featured fall a bit short. 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!]
10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests (PFRPG)
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101 Shadow and Darkness Spells (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2015 04:30:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The fourth installment of Dave Paul's thematic spell-collections clocks in at 47 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 42 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This pdf was moved forward in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.


We begin this supplement with a piece of information that makes you appreciate the things to come - namely, a list of diverse lighting conditions - 8, to be precise. Does this terminology seem overly complicated to you? It's actually not - it simply codifies what's already out there in proper terms. The darkness you can only see through with magical aid? Jep, that one has no its own concise terminology. Spells affecting the shadows of targets also offer an issue - where is the shadow? How long is it? An easy default-ruling plus GM-empowerment-statement result in a basic framework that is more solid than what I expected going into this book.


After the massive array of spell-lists (including, obviously, the ACG-classes), we dive into the respective spells - and fret not, there are quite a few spells and effects herein that deal with light as well: E.g. better sight in good light conditions that can be expended for a bonus to saves vs. blindness etc. Taking a cue from the Dark Souls-game-series, Cloud of Fire and Shadow (erroneously called Cloud of Shadow and Flame below the gorgeous artwork depicting it) provides a nasty, powerful terrain control that not only sets up shadowy terrain, it also can deal negative levels and fire damage and even move the cloud around - OUCH. Absolutely awesome - contrast orbs that allow you to modify lightning condition, move it around and utilize the orb to generate contrasts to the lightning conditions caused. It also provides a significant array of catch-terminology for all kind of movement and cases that would have generated gaping rules-holes in the hands of a less capable designer.


It should be noted that this attention to detail, which ultimately renders the spells very precise and versatile, also extends to the spells utilized to creating light and shadows. Want your own shadow plane pocket dimension? The spell is in this book. Want to go nova and blast foes with dazzling rays emitting from your body? There's a spell for that - one that may be chosen as a sun domain spell. Want to condemn a target to emit supernatural darkness, which not even darkvision can penetrate? Yes, the spell is in this pdf. Speaking of curses: Cursed to Walk in Shadow is narrative platinum, nay, mithril. You curse a target- whenever the creature walks in bright light for too long, there is a chance the creature slips into an eerie duplicate of the surroundings, shifting to the shadow plane. If you need any guidance why that's creepy, may I point towards the Silent Hill games...only the duration is shorter for each trip. Still, this spell is incredibly awesome and could carry a whole campaign. Absolutely glorious and perhaps one of the most intriguing spells from a narrative point of view.


Of course, more combat-relevant spells for quicker movement in shadows (can I get a "Nice!" from the Dishonored-fans out there?) to magic-impeding darkness, these spells offer a vast array of tactical and narrative options.


What about the long overdue darkness-based mirror of daylight powerlessness? Indeed, the spell is in this book and the quality it bestows should be scavenged for monster-creation rules...and it should have been part of the base rules from the get-go. Granted, though - not all spells reach this abject level of awesomeness - there are some variants like shadow-centric dispels I consider to be slightly less compelling and more like variants. Immediate action steps into the shadow plane for 1 round can also be considered rather intriguing, opening a new array of tactical options for the characters employing these spells. Want to glamer your shadow or assume the form of a darkmantle? There are spells for this around here...


Among the most powerful spells herein - what about making a target carry, literally a piece of the night sky with him alongside the darkness - which makes this both a curse and a blessing, the latter primarily for the undead... Supernaturally clear sight is powerful - but at higher level, it gets awesome: What about a spell that conceivably allows you to grant such a power to vast amounts of allies, allowing e.g. armies to combat invisible foes? Communal spells and a shadow-based blinking effects (with unique rules), shadow or light-based force-explosions or stripping a target of its shadow provide unique benefits that resonate well with the tropes we all know and love. What about gazing to the stars to detect creatures, as the lines between stars, silvery and shining, guide your intuition? Fantastic visuals.


Speaking of which: If your shadow touches a creature, you can switch places with it via shadow transposition...and if you can't see the vast tactical potential here, I can't help you. Speaking of which - there is a high-level spell to pit a vast area into perpetual darkness...which is an apt and awesome final spell for this book.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches of significance. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's classic full-color 2-column standard with a purple-ish tint and the book comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. the book sports numerous gorgeous full-color artworks.


This book is more than a return to form for author Dave Paul...though that may be the wrong way to put it. Basically, the first two books are pretty much my reference-level of what an awesome spell-book should be. The third fell slightly short of this echelon-level of awesomeness. This one, quite frankly, surpasses them. Yes, there are some minor hiccups here. Yes, some of the variants are not that awesome.


But I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that no other spell-book has inspired me to the extent this pdf managed. There are spells herein that not only will be a vast boon to each light/darkness-themed character, the book also sports concise terminology and several spells that conspire to allow you to create effects for campaigns: Whether you want a vampiric domain of eternal dark, a narrative of Silent hill-style cursed characters, Plane of Shadows-related awesomeness - this pdf delivers.


To an extent, where I actually think it transcends the limitations of its own focus, of its genre. This book can conceivably be read not only as a cool expansion to e.g. the arsenal of Ascension Games' "Path of Shadows" or as a mechanical scavenging ground to get inspiration for more material for Interjection Games' Antipodism-designs; this book actually could conceivably be considered a selection of spells that allow you to depict creatures of shadow, whether they be shadow fey, dark creepers or shadar-kain, as thoroughly unique. Beyond even that, I maintain that the spells herein can carry whole modules, perhaps even whole campaigns. This is one of the few spell-books out there that can be considered to be so inspired it may be worth the effort to change modules and perhaps even plotlines to utilize it - it's that good. This is the most inspiring spell-book I've laid my eyes on in quite a while - and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. It is also a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015. If you like the theme in any shape, way or form, then this is a must-have, inspired book.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Shadow and Darkness Spells (PFRPG)
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Pathways #52 (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/16/2015 02:51:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The 52nd installment of Rite Publishing's free monthly e-zine Pathways clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let's take a look!


As per the tradition of Pathways, we begin with David Paul's editorial and then, a new template crafted by Steven D. Russell and an accompanying sample creature. This time around, we get the walking wasteland CR+2 template, which renders creatures truly toxic/putrid - healing-impediment and spoiled foods and drinks, courtesy of these beast's auras, accompany them like the noxious, poisonous clouds that never stray far from them - oh, and the very attacks of these beings corrode magical items and their mere presence also shatters objects. Yes...these guys are AWESOME! A sample creature is provided with a CR 4 blink dog (featured on the cover) - which is more deadly thanks to its auras and blinking than you'd expect from the CR. Devilish and nasty! Two thumbs up!


Mike Welham also has an article for us - one that depicts a multitude of alchemical cures - both for poisons and other ailments. These items, while all solid and awesome, can be quite a godsend. On the one hand, they deemphasize the requirement for divine magic defeat particular ailments. At the same time, this does take a bit away from e.g. the threat of some sicknesses/poisons. Still, particularly for a low (or high!) magic game, this chapter is more than welcome. The alchemical item that allows low level characters to participate in under-water exploration also is quite frankly amazing. Why am I not complaining about the potions having these low prices? Well, the miracle cures can have a plenitude of nasty side-effects - which are represented by 2 neat and awesome tables - ignore for high fantasy, capitalize on them for low fantasy. Great way to take table variation into account!


Ceighton Broadhurst, mastermind of Raging Swan Press, is next up with dressing - 20 chests and 20 things you'll find in vermin-infested dungeons can be used to supplement perhaps the most useful book in my library (GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing, my Number 1 Top Ten product of last year!). So yes, these dressings are neat indeed!


Since poisons are something of a theme here, Jonathan McAnulty presents us with several quirks that allow you to be poisonous and touched by the darkness...or perhaps, you have a developed immunity? Anyways, I thoroughly enjoy these quirky traits and the penalty associated with each maintains balance versus the more significant benefits they provide. Like it! This section saw me wanting more!


This is also the time, when we return to the Leviathan Archipelago (in the Questhaven setting), courtesy of the penmanship of Elton Robb, covering the island of Saanata (And pointing you towards some neat game-books to further flesh out the culture...) No, before you ask, this is not explicitly required, since the idea here is intriguing: Polynesian culture is reappropriated to fit with the gillmen in an interesting kind of ecology/cultural overview, while showing awareness of e.g. the excellent Cerulean Seas-supplements by Alluria Publishing, including providing racial buoyancy and depth tolerance rules for the race - awesome! It should also be noted, that Elton's writing shows significant improvement here - while the sentence structure still is a bit on the short side here and there, the well-researched text proved to be more captivating than anything I had read from him prior to this - so be sure to give this a look - content-wise, it is an inspiring glimpse at a unique setting!


The interview this time around is with none other than the man behind the monthly comic and a lot of the artwork you're looking at - Jacob Blackmon! I encourage you to read it - it's inspiring and also a great way to see how my friend Joshua's influence is felt to this day.


We close this issue, as always, with reviews by yours truly.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-colum full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience. The cover-art is neat.


The patreon-model that now supports this monthly e-zine has been good for Pathways - this installment sports not only more content, what#s here also ranks among the finer installments in the magazine's long and colorful run. More importantly, it's FREE. As in, it costs NOTHING. Go ahead and download it - even if you dislike the quirks or the alchemical items, the template alone is worth the time to download this...and hey, you never know when you'll need some Polynesian flavor and ideas, right? All in all, this is one of the best Pathways and, being FREE to boot, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #52 (PFRPG)
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101 Feats and Talents (13th Age Compatible)
by Candice R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2015 19:59:02

A good book with plenty of options and ideas, but expect grammatical errors, typos, and some non-13th Age terms (possibly from its conversion from Pathfinder)? I was able to look last this (begrudgingly) as I feel 13th Age needs more talents and feats. A little disappointed there weren't talents design specifically for the core classes in addition to the more class flexable ones, but still enjoy what's there.


My biggest peeve, however, is how everything is organized. No index, no table of content. Talents and feats are listed alphabetically and together- why not a separate chapter for each? Maybe, in addition, organizing the feats and talents based on a theme and THEN alphabetically? It's frustrating to find what you're looking for.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
101 Feats and Talents (13th Age Compatible)
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101 Shadow and Darkness Spells (PFRPG)
by Bennett S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2015 11:10:09

Why did I buy this? What did I actually get?
At this point, I own a couple PDFs from Rite Publishing's new 101 Spells series, and have dug the terrain focus. Though this is not aimed at terrain, I still felt confident it would be a cool product, despite numerous takes on shadow magic already existing.


Have I used this, or will I use this?
These have not yet seen use in my game, but for every one of this, I'm sure I will have occasion for it - very cool & thematic curses are my jam, and there are plenty within.


How is the fluff?
Fluff is tied to the mechanics in a PDF like this, and this does it well. As I mentioned about, cool curses exists, and others: 'Heavy Shadows' uses your enemies shadows to entangle them - provided you succeed at the ranged touch attack to throw a lead pebble into their shadow. Rules are included to calculate the touch AC of someone's shadow. Another one is 'Twilight Ghosts' - an illusionary ghosts appearing in rays of light fascinate creatures, convincing them they are seeing visions of their own death. There are also spells that work on the dark-cold interaction, polymorph spells, shadow manipulation spells, and divinations about reading the stars. To make it even tastier, many spells become more powerful if cast under the right conditions, as seen with the others in the 101 Terrain Spells.


How are the mechanics?
Extremely thorough. The PDF opens up with a discussion of light and darkness, including new categories of light to mirror the dark - utter brightness and supernatural brightness, which are blinding in their own way. This becomes important, as I'd say 50% of the spells are complicated enough in their interactions where the above summary becomes quite helpful. There are also neat places where spells interact: the obvious places is spells that attack or grant movement through shadows, and others that manipulate shadows. Another is 'Shadow Conduit', which makes shadow conjuration/evocations whose effects begin within a bubble around the caster slightly more real! I'd find a lot of these spells overpowered, except that the author Dave Paul did a good job of including effective protection spells that can reduce or negate the otherwise more-problematic spells. I don't necessarily have a great eye for what's appropriate on different spell lists at this point, so I won't comment much on that, but it seemed to be on the level.


Hows the artwork?
It's fairly sparse but professional quality. My complaint with the artwork in this PDF is that of the twelve distinct pieces I found, about three of them depict shadowy, dark figures - considering how cool some of the other pieces in the PDF are, it would have been nice to see a little more variety. It perhaps grinds me more than it otherwise would because those pieces show up consecutively as the last 3 pieces in the book.


How’s readability?
Good - there's a couple points where I see spotted editing errors - the spell 'Cloud of Fire and Shadow' is called 'Cloud of Shadow and Flame' underneath the artwork that appears on the same page. A little worse than this, 'Sunrise Aura' specifies that if it is cast during twilight hours around sunrise, living creatures gain 1 hp/caster level when first exposed to the aura - not 'heal', not 'gain temp hp.' Now this isn't troublesome because the next spell, the counterpart 'Sunset Aura', does specify the similar effect for undead grants temp HP; if it hadn't been there though, we might have been a little worse off.


Was the price fair?
At $5.99, we're at a more-than-fair price. I feel Rite Publishing always asks the right amount for their general above-average quality products.


Favorite part?
I love curses, and 'Seeing is Believing' is a great one. The victim loses the ability to believe anything but what he sees - gaining amnesia about anything they're not currently looking at - and they cannot be convinced otherwise. They also gain a phobia of the darkness - if exposed to complete darkness or blinded, they must save again or they gain schizophrenia as their mind cracks.


Least favorite part?
Even at 1st level, 'Alert to the Unnatural' seems to be a mostly-useless spell: you gain the ability to detect Frightful Presence, Fear Aura, or Unnatural Aura within 30 ft. - but don't most of these have a range of at least 30 ft. anyway? I understand that this would detect it when you can't see it, such as a mummy hiding in a sarcophagus, but Detect Undead is 1st level and has double the range, even if limited to a cone and one creature type. Also, it seems that the spell omits a "Target: You" line.


As an aside, shadow magic has been done in 3PP Pathfinder a few times, and pretty well in most of those cases. There is some overlap between this PDF and things you find in Deep Magic, Ultimate Antipodism, and Path of Shadows - however, this is a very complete resource of shadow magic for DESIGNED for existing Paizo casters. Shadow magic is but a small part of Deep Magic, and Ultimate Antipodism brings new classes and systems to the table. Path of Shadows is a bit better than this, but it still definitely encourages you to play the accompanying class. So if you're looking to add shadow magic to your campaign starting TODAY, this would be the PDF for it.

5/5 Not a new concept, but well done. Great to plug & play with existing casters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Shadow and Darkness Spells (PFRPG)
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Pathways #51 (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2015 02:52:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The 51st issue of Rite Publishing's monthly FREE e-zine Pathways clocks in at 45 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 11 pages of advertisements, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 31 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin, as always, with an editorial - and a note: Beyond some issues being PWYW, you can now support Pathways via its own patreon and this issue is the first that is thus enhanced - we actually get more content! As has become the tradition with the series, we start this issue with Steven D. Russell providing a new template, this time the CR+2 False Idol. The template (and sample creature, a Leukodaemon) is pretty awesome: Basically, these creatures may be susceptible to divine magic, but they also get limited access to domains and the more people worship it, the more power can they bestow on their conned followers. A certain masked god in Golarion will love this template...


The first new article is already worth downloading this pdf on its own: Epidemics. Wendall Roy delivers concise mechanics for highly virulent plagues, including means to mechanically represent surviving the plague and thus resist subsequent infection. The sample epidemics have in common that they are versatile in their effects, provide unique penalties...and make for awesome narrative tools. What do I mean by this? What about a bonewarping plague that disfigures even its survivors? The highly-magical manarot, which may have brought down your pseudo-atlantean empire? Purity Rust, which was made as a bioweapon by the elves to annihilate humankind? Yes, these epidemics are AWESOME and left me wanting a whole event-book on vast epidemics and/or a mega-adventure centering on a pandemic.


None other than Mike Welham is next, with an article that contains an array of truly imaginative magical whistles: From one that allows navigation through fog to glassbreakers and one that can call a phantom dog to your side, the whistles are neat and a welcome addition to the table.


Creighton Broadhurst mastermind of Raging Swan Press, provides GMs with a handy list of secrets kept within statues and also a second list that depicts disturbing things found on evil altars.


Since plagues are a bit of a theme here, Steven D. Russell provides some guidance for GMs to incorporate plague/epidemic scenarios in your game with a welcome advice article...one that makes me with for an epidemic/pandemic-style book even more. Yeah, I'll shut up now.


This issue's interview is with none other than the charming, talented and delightful RPG Superstar Monica Marlowe - read it and if you're like me, you'll look forward to her "Down the Blighted Path"!


We end this installment, as always, with "The Path Less Travelled" by Jacob Blackmon and reviews by yours truly.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good (apart from my reviews, which turned into text-blocks, but that's nothing new) and the pdf comes not only with great full-color (and a disturbing piece of b/w-) art, it also is fully bookmarked for your convenience. Layout, as always, adheres to a 2-column full-color standard.


Okay, let me reiterate: There is NO reason not to download this book - it's PWYW and you can get it for FREE and show your support via PWYW or joining the patreon. Fact is, the epidemics-articles and advice are AWESOME. Quite frankly, they make me excited about some ideas I've shelved for a while and are simply well-written, concise and fun - they are worth the HD-space alone. Add to that an evocative template, neat whistles and cool dressing and you have one of the stronger issues of the e-zine's run. It's also FREE and that's very hard to beat: 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pathways #51 (PFRPG)
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The Demolished Ones (Fate)
by Hubert M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/07/2015 00:38:33

Gra ciekawa , wprowadza klimat zagadki . Jednak ma słaby punkt , zazwyczaj można jej użyć tylko raz bo później traci swój zagadkowy klimat . Najlepszy jest ten pierwszy raz kiedy gracze odkrywają pokłady kłamstwa i prawdy które w tej grze przeplatają się ze sobą nieustannie .



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Demolished Ones (Fate)
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101 Forest Spells (PFRPG)
by Bennett S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2015 13:49:45

Why did I buy this? What did I actually get?
I have been growing a bit tired of Vancian magic for a while, even at the point when I bought this, but it seemed like it would have something interesting to offer. And it did... I had no idea.


Have I used this, or will I use this?
I have not yet implemented this in game, but come tomorrow, I imagine at least one of my players will be getting a Friend of the Forest tattoo from an allied tribe of werewolves...and there's nowhere to go but up from there.


How is the fluff?
Not a lot of 'independent' fluff to speak of in this book, but there's definitely cool imagery invoked in the spells, and in the way they tie to the mechanics. As a simple example, Winter Hag Form says that you have an urge to worshipped, and eat warm raw flesh (especially that of children); if you're actively pursuing these goals, you get a hefty bonus to a number of skills. Many of the spells work on this 'mechanics-meets-narrative' platform, and it's utterly refreshing.


How are the mechanics?
Nothing in this PDF jumped out to me as OP or out-of-control; especially when you factor in an introductory paragraph, explaining that a lot of these spells will be very powerful within to forest, but may be useless outside of it, and therefore may be better suited towards NPCs. But there are many cool categories of spells featured here in - many 'Aspect of the <blank>' or '<specific creature> Form' polymorph spells, altered core spells in the form of 'Mass Barkskin', 'Leaf on the Wind' (a Feather Fall variant) or 'Bones & Branches,' a lower level version of animate dead that creates weaker undead through the substitution of natural materials - dirt, sticks, leaves, etc. The aforementioned Friends of the Forest spell is a cantrip that leaves a simple magical tattoo on an ally - where this gets cool is the OTHER spells that work off of it: Friends Defend the Forest gives marked creatures combat bonuses, whereas Gather Friends teleports those creatures to your side from anywhere on the same plane. And I always appreciate useful cantrips, like Gather Kindling - everything in this PDF just looks like FUN, rather than work, which is how I've started to view more traditional Vancian spells (though Occult Adventures did something right with Explode Head).


How's the art?
It adds a lot. Rite Publishing products often include cool, evocative art, but it doesn't always seem like it fits. That is not true in this case; I don't worry too much about art outside of monster books, but this would absolutely be a lesser PDF if any piece were absent.


How’s readability?
As per usual, Rite Publishing has some great editing, a simple, easy to read layout, and a practical font. No problems here.


Was the price fair?
I was hesitant to drop $5.99 at the time, not sure I wanted to pore through more spells under the Vancian system. But I'm glad I did - it was more than worth the cost. If you're not sure you'd ever see use of this in your game, go look at others in the series that might match up with your game better. Or maybe you're like me, and even if it never sees the table, you have fun reading cool mechanics and ideas; if so, I also cannot recommend this enough.


Favorite part?
Like DaVinci, the Wright Brothers, and other inventors of old, the sky captures my imagination, but I'll never know it like a bird does. Wait, 'Host of Sparrows' lets me do exactly that, AND take my friends with? Sold.


Least favorite part?
Unicorn's Prowess is a cool idea for a spell... but I don't know if I need to spend 10 minutes casting a combat-focused spell that last for 1 round/level, even if I'm at least 13th level before I gain.


5/5 - Worth every penny for games spending any time in the forest...maybe even those that don't.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Forest Spells (PFRPG)
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10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests (PFRPG)
by Bennett S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2015 10:33:43

Why did I buy this? What did I actually get?
I really enjoy the Village Backdrop series by Raging Swan Press, and I trust Rite Publishing's product quality. So purchasing this, despite knowing the focus and level of detail would be different, was still a no-brainer for me.


Have I used this, or will I use this?
I'm hoping that one of the next campaigns I run can incorporate Ultimate Campaign's kingdom building rules. This would be, as of this writing, the first place I turn for a starting settlement.


How is the fluff?
This is the lynchpin of a product like this right? Well, it delivers, each settlement sporting a paragraph or two summary, two or three buildings, and three rumors. Every settlement here has something cool to offer, whether it's Butteroak's double palisade with assassin vine's planted between to keep out the wildlife, or Garrant's copper jewelry trade, based on leaf molds taken from red-leaved trees. Moreover, this fluff is dense. The longest of these barely spills into the next page. Very good.


How are the mechanics?
I didn't take the time to match qualities to the corruption and etc scores, but the stat blocks are all present, including stuff like Notable NPCs, Marketplace, and even Terrain Type.


How’s readability?
Layout, font, and page backgrounds are all good.


How's the look?
Art is sparse, but well done and appropriate. The covers certainly my favorite.


Was the price fair?
At $1.49, this PDF is a steal.


Favorite part?
Butteroak deals with troublemakers by making them run circuits of the aforementioned assassin vine palisade. A deliciously evil punishment.


Least favorite part?
The rumors are kind of weak. They may have been better presented as a d% table at the end, as they all come off a bit generic as is, and I don't see that any but one or two of them couldn't be used for other settlements with a slight wording tweak.


5/5 - not perfect, but amazing bang for your buck



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests (PFRPG)
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#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
by Bennett S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2015 11:28:08

Why did I buy this? What did I actually get?
I've always found a disconnect in the default High Fantasy Pathfinder playstyle where magic is commonplace, but magic items that are a practical price for low-level characters is non-existant. Having enjoyed the Loot-4-Less series by (then) Super Genius Games, I was imagining this product to be along a similar line. Surprisingly, there is number of high price point items in here as well.


Have I used this, or will I use this?
I bought this around the time of it's release, and have yet to incorporate these items into a game. However, I would like to believe that they will see some use in a future game; neither of the characters I play, nor the campaign I presently run, have an obvious place for anything.


How is the fluff?
The fluff is a blast to read, following the tale of Mellan the bard, creator of the items herein. Learning the history of the items have DCs as well, making sure the fluff not only keeps from interfering with game mechanics, but actively complements them. This is something Rite Publishing always does well.


How are the mechanics?
In a word, fun! These items cover a lot of bases, from commonsense items in a magical world (a spoon that can detect and then purify poison) to iconic (Lightfoot Shoon allow you to double jump, while the Mantle of Unremarked Passage is a perception filter a la Doctor Who).


How’s readability?
Probably the only item I take issue with is the Arcane Anthology, as it seems to refer both to a specific book and a general type of enchanted book at the same time. It works in either sense, but I found it a little obtuse. Otherwise, editing is good, and font and layout render the PDF readable.


Was the price fair?
Absolutely.


Favorite part?
Gauntlets that protect you from the heat of forging weapons - they fall not only it the "duh" category, but they're perfect for baking, too!


Least favorite part?
Since I'm making myself pick, we'll say the bridle that prevents the rider from falling out of the saddle. Nothing wrong if it's your jam, but it tastes a touch too cheesy/exploitable for me.


5/5 - not quite what I expected, but it's probably a better product for it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Magic Tools (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Poseidon's Rapture (Diceless)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/30/2015 10:07:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the evocative Gossamer Worlds-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


Poseidon's Rapture was a bountiful world like many others - with ages good and bad...and then, Poseidon left...or died...or was abducted. The world's god was gone, and soon after he had abandoned the place, the deluge began - or rather, the lack thereof. Mysteriously, the water did start to rise, swallowing most of the land of this world, forcing civilization beneath the waves - into remnants of former places, ships...


Poseidon's Rapture is literally land-under. Above and below the seas, robbers, pirates and the like roam the waves and a sense of decrepitude suffuses the world - somewhere between high civilization, age of sail and water world in a world of technology adrift and houses feuding over the remnants of erstwhile civilizations.


Beneath the waves, the Cerulean Choir (with full abilities), the abandoned angels of Poseidon, still roam the waters and leviathans glide through the depths - and in the light-less darkness, creatures from the deep roam, once again, with full qualities listed.


From the cities of New Atlantis to the tropic Razor Falls, lavishly rendered and fascinating places to visit, await -and perhaps, you can even take control of the legendary boat Pequod (again, with stats)... As always, this installment ends with a summary of the world's properties and advice on how to use it.


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 Poseidon's Rapture does fall a bit short of the previous installment on Poetica Mundi - but then again, I expected that. The concept of a water-world is interesting, with the details and depicted houses and their politics providing an intriguing blend. At the same time, i couldn't help but feel as though this could have gone one step further - unlike many other Gossamer Worlds, this one didn't jumpstart my imagination to the usual extent - perhaps due to resources or the like not being that pronounced. Perhaps it's that I would have loved this to go more full-blown bonkers. Then again, this reflects only my personal preferences - perhaps, for you, this does the job. My final verdict, then, will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Poseidon's Rapture (Diceless)
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101 Subterranean Spells (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/29/2015 04:46:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The third book of Dave Paul's terrain-centric spell-supplements clocks in at a massive 49 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 45 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, so subterranean spells, hmm? The theme itself is something near and dear to my heart - I still consider the lack of support for spells interacting with/requiring faerzress in the Forgotten Realms a criminally-negligent oversight, so let's take a look at what type of spells we can find within these pages!


After the obligatory spell-list by class, we dive right into the new array of spells Dave Paul has crafted -and begin with a theme of aberrant magicks - and they do sport some rather nasty tricks: What about a 2nd level spell that grants you all-around vision via red-eyed tentacles growing from your neck and shoulders, ones that also show you the current emotional state of creatures of your subtype, albeit only within 5 ft.? Yes, this is pretty cool...and powerful. Indeed, it may be too powerful. Granted, the spell's visuals render it less than subtle - but in the confines of the underdark and its weird creatures, it is powerful. The issue here would be that the spell allows for the detection of shapechangers and the like - you can't detect the emotions of targets of other types, nor can you share thoughts with creatures you touch via this spell. This would be less of an issue, were the spell not transmutation, the emotion-detector a supernatural ability. There is next to no option to bypass/fool this one. No exchange, reliable detect. Worse, the spell can be expended via a touch attack that save-or-suck renders the recipient unconscious for 1d4+1 rounds. UNCONSCIOUS. Remember, this is a 2nd level spell. For me, this is one step too far.


On the plus-side, though, the spells also allow for some unique effects: Take the lvl 9 aberrant mind: Beyond the increase of Int/Cha-based skills and checks, this one allows you to act out that power-fantasy from editions long gone, using kind-of-psionic-y, devastating mental assaults. On the even more awesome side would be a kind of ritual: Know that undead thing you just defeated? Well, if you know a certain spell from this book, you can pulverize the skull of the undead and expend A LOT of gold to acquire a spell of up to 6th level usually unavailable to you. While this sounds pretty much like a textbook broken spell, the narrative ramifications are intriguing and the spell, at lvl 7, costly and limited enough to imho work pretty well.


We all know it - the trope of the ageless, ancient man who has sustained his life beyond the limitations of a usual life-span. Well, for only 3 skum tears, casters capable of 8th level sorcery may now prolong their life via ageless...to an extent, for the fragility such magic entails in the tropes is represented by negative levels, which you can't cheat out of - you may delay the reaper, but you can't cheat him. Variant summoning of ascomoids, an ability that lets you detect the blood of the living. Speaking of the living - there are rather intriguing spells herein that vary in their effects depending on the target: Casting burning bones on a living creature, for example, nets the target significant pain. Undead or constructs made of bones instead take damage and the spell can also be used to damage unattended bones. I particularly enjoyed options to cripple burrow speed (or breathing while burrowing), providing fixes to petty glaring logic holes that burrow speed to me always represented.


Adaptation to the hostile underground terrain is also a theme of this book - including thematically fitting components that prevent the undue spamming of such magics. Perhaps you'd rather assume the form of a cave troll or call a svartalfar assassin to take down your foes in a variant of planar ally? Jup, thematically, pretty cool, though the latter feels a bit like filler to me.


The same can thankfully not be said about the curse of claustrophobia or the collapsing tunnel trap... I am very weary of Crypt Sight, a cantrip-version of detect undead, which may not showcase auras, but it does render undead ambushes pretty hard - that spell is not gonna see use in my campaign. That being said, the spells also feature some mechanically innovative aspects - like doubled range when cast in the correct surroundings or the requirement of targeting commanded undead when cast as an arcane spell -it's small nods and tricks like this that add significantly to the flair of the respective spells provided. The highly complex and well-crafted walls of crystal should be considered a star herein.


Balancing options via components are some of my favorites and an upgraded form of mnemonic enhancer could be considered an excellent example why this is great: The power the spell offers is significant, but it does so at the cost of a scroll and a rare component, allowing for sufficient GM-control, even in the case the spell falls into the hands of the players. There also are some intriguing double-edged swords herein - take Derro's Madness. The spell is a curse that cripples your Wis and enhances your Cha - significantly. To the point, actually, where it may seem more like a buff than a curse. However, it also afflicts the target with a con-damage-causing weakness to sunlight and makes the target incessantly obsess over other creatures not being affected by sunlight thusly. From a mechanics point of view, the significant cha-boost demands to be cheesed by cha-based characters. However, the obsession and weakness are roleplaying potential galore...and should make PCs think thrice before casting this curse on an ally - especially considering the derro's predilection for rather...unpleasant experimentation...


What about a variant of invisibility right between it and its improved brethren, which allows for tactical readied actions versus the adversary before he vanishes again? Indeed - this one is one of those "why has no one done this before???"-moments. Want to really piss off that vain dark elf? What about an otyugh-transformation-curse? Or a truly astounding spell: Ignore Metal. What you get is a highly complex, codified spell that gets a VAST array of corner-cases right. Granted, I would have liked it to explicitly spell out more distinctly the fact that e.g. spears still deal full bludgeoning damage, but the fact that e.g. molten lead, dragons with metal claw-supplements and the like are covered, still render this a spell that feels MAGICAL. Complex, versatile and awesome. And it can lead to hilarious PC-deaths. You'll see when you read the spell... cough fall through the metal fortress.../cough Also downright brilliant: Fooling foes with tremorsense by imprinting tremors...absolutely glorious! Less versatile, but also pretty cool - selective silence that allows the dead to speak! Or what about FINALLY a spell-representation of the near-death-experience that is featured in so many initiation-rites of death-cults? Need some guarding spells versus those upper-worlders? Well, there is a means to supplement e.g. shriekers or the like via sonic damage. I also really like the low-level spell that allows you to conjure forth moisture from the walls... And yes, there are a lot of undead-related spells.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a neat two-column full-color standard with beautiful full-color artworks and a dark, stone-like border. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


I feel like a colossal hypocrite as I'm writing this - why? Because, quite frankly, the above text does not properly sum up how inspiring and awesome the vast majority of the spells herein are. Dave Paul has a huge talent for the creation of thoroughly unique, glorious spells that feature a level of detail and complexity that hearkens back to a sense of realism often lost in current min-maxy circumstances. Via numerous design-choices, balance and versatility offer a diverse selection of unique tricks that dwarf almost every supplement of spells you can name in quality and ambition. You should be aware that my criticism voiced above must be understood in context with Dave Paul's almost perfect forest and swamp spells, which single-handedly made me look forward to new spells again, which brought the sense of the magical and awesome back to my reception of spells. The two predecessor books are pretty much the pinnacle of what you can expect from any collection of spells.


Against these predecessors, this installment feels like it stumbles a bit - stumble, mind you - it doesn't fall. This book still contains more excellent and mechanically sound, innovative high-caliber spells than 99.9% of spell books you can get for any iteration of d20-based gaming - but, at the same time, it does have a couple of spells that overshoot their power-level by a margin. Unlike the previous two books, there are some spells herein I'd advise against, some that will not find their way to my table.


This fact alone made me think for a while, I'd settle on a final verdict in the higher echelons, but not at the top of my rating scale...but then again, the issues are few and far in-between...and (mostly) are based on my own tastes and my admittedly insane expectations of the Dave Paul's offerings by now. Quite frankly, it would be unfair to this book to only hold it to its direct predecessors, not to the standard of the collective of spell-books out there. And in the general, broad comparison, this still mops the floor with the vast majority of its competitors. Ultimately, any rating below 5 stars would be a disservice to the book - get this. It's an awesome book and well worth the asking price. It may not be as flawlessly perfect in its balance as the predecessors, but it still transcends the basics of what one can expect and provides utterly unique, complex, options.


Endzeitgeist out.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Subterranean Spells (PFRPG)
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