RPGNow.com
Browse Categories













Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/24/2012 01:54:08

OK...let's begin with the statement that I am not a fan of humor in my game material. I know, I know, how very grinch like of me, but there it is. That being said, a product that is in fact a humorous product is not quite the same, now is it? I knew the second I saw the cover that what I had in my hands was a tongue in cheek collection of creatures...something for those looking to inject some holiday humor into their gametop...what I was not expecting was the solid design behind the creatures.

Yeah, I said it, solidly designed critters. Now, granted, their are a few here that will probably only ever exist in a game meant for laughs, such as the Gingerbread Golem, Eggnog Pudding, or even the Aberrant Fruitcake...but their designs are still logical and solid enough to field them, with effectiveness. That spoke through, loud and clear.

Taking a step towards the undead side of things I have got to say the Dirge Caroler is hands down my favorite creature in this collection, and oddly invokes some nostalgia for classic Doctor Who in me...not sure if it was just the feel of the creature or if there was something similar in an episode, regardless they are a cool concept. Leading a "caroling choir" of well dressed zombies, the dirge carolers enchant and devour to their heart's content within communities, adding a serious level of creepy to those annoying folks wandering around singing.

And the Dreidel Swarm, now that is an interesting concept, and a well executed one at that. That is easily something I can see getting some mileage at a gametable, showing up perhaps in the lair of a demented toy-maker....hmmm, excuse me, need to make a few notes....

Point being, if you are looking for a cool little collection of holiday inspired creatures, you've found them, period. There's something in here for any play style, and then some.

Now, did I have issues with a few things? Yeah...the art is all over the place, some pieces being extremely cartoony, perhaps even childish...but for what this collection is, that oddly added to the charm of the product. Which brings me to my only true complaint in regards to design, and that is the Clockwork Nutcracker having no form of bite attack. It seems an almost given that there would be some special linked with that gaping maw of his.

All in all though, as I stated, the creatures here are a good collection of holiday inspired weirdness, ready to bring a few smiles to the table as you roll some dice with friends under the tree.

A 5 star rating for a rather unique collection of oddities.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2012 05:45:38

This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,2/3 of a page SRD, leaving us with 10 1/3 pages of content, so let's check out these holiday-themed creatures!

The first would be the Aberrant Fruitcake (CR 5),a feline-looking, sticky conglomerate of fruitcakes, taken from the world and lost in the shadow plane, infused by dread entropic energies.

Bloodhoves are CR 8 flying reindeers that could have been part of the woodland critetr christmas of South Park - deadly, and while a herbivore, prone to putting hooves and muzzle in the blood of vanquished foes.

Now the CR 4 Clockwork Nutcracker with its oversized hat (providing cover for allies) and blunderbuss makes for a great creature that could be considered an excellent addition to e.g. the Zobeck-setting - combine the Mouse King and the nutcracker and you get a cool idea for a module...

The CR 11 Gingerbread Golem comes with a neat spicy breath ability and a cool weakness - they are penalized if you steal their gumdrop buttons - and yes, they are fast!

The CR 3 Dirge Caroler is an undead, impoverished halfling, featuring wis-penalizing deadly dirges and the option to command the undead servants of his.

The CR 2 Dreidel Swarm is an uncommon swarm of miniature constructs that come with cool signature abilities galore, even beyond sneak attack and tripping capability - draining e.g. constitution, flat-footing foes, fascinating them or dealing more damage.

On the more weird and funny side, the Eggnog Pudding (ooze), which is not only highly flammable, but also comes with a nauseating slam and the power to split and cling to walls and ceilings.

The most powerful critter herein is the Psychopomp Wild Hunter (CR 13), who would also make for a great cadre of servants of Oberon/Auberyon with their ghostly servants, spiritsense and final death waiting at their hands...

More on the trickster-side of the fey-spectrum, we get the Scandinavian Totemnisse, tiny boot portal teleporting and jinx-using mischievous and benevolent fey.

The pdf closes with universal monster rules and the clockwork and psychopomp-subtypes being detailed.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting, while not top-notch, are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read two-column standard with a parchment-like background and the (stock) artworks are ok at this price-point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, which is commendable. The pdf is also hyperlinked.

Author Richard Moore has actually created a neat little array of funny monsters that not only are amusing to run, but actually come with intriguing signature abilities that make me want to use some of these and even brought me inspiration to develop some adventure-ideas. At the low price, a solid offering of neat critters that deserves a final rating of 5 stars, just short of the seal of approval.

Merry Christmas/whatever you celebrate! Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
by Nick F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2012 08:58:13

Buying this collection of creepy holiday creatures is the best way to get over your disappointment that the world didn't end this morning.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
by Wendy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2012 15:32:48

These critters are fantastic! I alternated between laughing myself silly and quivering in terror as I read the descriptions. Some are pulled from folk tales, much like the ones my somewhat-twisted father told me, and others are like a Christmas buffet gone amok. What a delightful way to add some seasonal flavor to a game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2012 06:10:37

TV shows persist in doing it, so why not have a holiday-themed game... or at least the odd appropriate monster! Here's a collection of some nine beasties that in some way have a seasonally-aposite theme. Let them loose if you are lucky enough to have a game during the holidays. If, like me, all your role-players vanish as soon as the mince pies come out (after grabbing a handful, of course) most can be used anytime you need a wintry critter, although you might want to change the name.

Yup. They have seasonal - and quite silly - names, and you may find it hard to keep a straight face when an aberrant fruitcake or a dreidel swarm hoves into view! The monsters themselves are quite well-developed (and ought to prove a challenge), although sometimes the illustrations do not quite match the descriptions. An aberrand fruitcake, for example, is described as being a stack of fruitcakes arranged in a roughly quadruped form but the illustration is of a glorious leopard-like creature with spots the colours of candied fruit on tawny fur!

The clockwork nutcracker is a fine and quite terrifying construct, redolent of the one from the 'Nutcracker Suite' while drige carollers bring a whiff of decay and a threat you don't normally expect from a buch of carol-singers. The dreidel swarm also provides a level of threat rarely posed by regular toys and is really rather fun (if you are safe behind the GM's screen, anyway!). As for a gingerbread golem...

The nice thing is the level of detail and how appropriate everything is - with special abilities and attacks honed to suit the flavour of the monster in question. Even if you don't normally care for 'joke' monsters, these are worth a look.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons (PFRPG)
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/16/2012 14:51:58

There’s that one gamer at every table that seems to approach the game with the idea that irreverence is the soul of fun; that is, they draw joy from taking nothing seriously, regardless of the circumstances or consequences of doing so. The challenge for the GM, and often the other players, is usually to find a way to make that PC function within the boundaries of the game, where the player can be true to what they want, without being disruptive.

I mention this because Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons, seems to be aimed squarely at this middle route. Shockingly, it actually seems to manage to walk it. Let’s take a closer look.

The book comes with the requisite aspects of a PDF product, in that it has full nested bookmarks and copy-and-paste is enabled. More striking, however, is the book’s spartan visual presentation. Now, to be clear, there is artwork here, having several color and black-and-white pieces, usually set in the center of the page with the two columns of text flowing around them. The issue here is that that isn’t enough.

The nature of half-faerie dragons is that they’re Chaotic Outgoing, possessing a manic nature with a focus on pranks and illusions. It’s therefore something of an irony that, save for the aforementioned art, the book presents itself with stark austerity. There are no page borders here, nor are there any backgrounds; just black text on white pages. Normally I’m glad for printer-friendly materials in a PDF product, but here the contrast is sharp enough with the subject matter that I can’t help but find it somewhat ironic.

The heavy text itself has an off-putting effect, albeit a very slight one. While most of the pages have their visual design enhanced with bullet points, tables, sidebars, or the aforementioned art, you will run across the occasional page with densely-packed text and little else. It’s somewhat fitting that these sections tend to be the flavor text for half-faerie dragons, as it pretty well encapsulates the idea of them fluttering around you and chattering at you nonstop.

The book opens with roughly a page-and-a-quarter of framing fiction which very clearly encapsulates not only the mania but the magical nature that are archetypal among half-faerie dragons, after which we’re presented with their racial stats. I frowned just a little to see that they didn’t have the Advanced Race Guide-style racial point breakdown for their race’s abilities; this isn’t a big deal, but it references the ARG for one or two other things (such as alternate racial abilities, though it notes that are also found in the Advanced Player’s Guide), so their lack of inclusion is somewhat notable. Also, half-faerie dragons have the “draconic” subtype?

The book doesn’t dive into the crunch straight away, however, as we’re given several more pages of the flavor text, Core Rulebook-style, about things like half-faerie dragons appearance, alignment, why they advanture, etc. The surprising length of each section is characteristic of the book where non-mechanical aspects of the race are concerned, and is something I’m of two minds about. One the one hand, all too often we’re given a new race without any real idea of what makes them different – they’re given a few broad (and often predictable) strokes regarding the roles they fall into, and that’s that. Here, at least, the author is trying to give us more than just a few sweeping statements about half-faerie dragons; he’s clearly got a very specific idea in mind and wants to communicate that.

The drawback to this strong authorial voice is that, in addition to simply being daunting at times, it can also start to feel something like a straitjacket. The idea of half-faerie dragons as giddy magical pranksters is hammered home quite often throughout the book, to the point where you have a hard time seeing a half-faerie dragon character any other way. If a new race can be typecast right out of the gate, the half-faerie dragon surely has been.

I also can’t help but bring up the book’s stance that, yes while the occasional half-faerie dragon is the result of a faerie-dragon/humanoid pairing, most are born to existing half-faerie dragons. In other words, that there’s already a stable population of these half-breeds so that they now breed true. While not quite as disingenuous as Paizo’s “most half-dragons are the results of magical experiments, and not that dragons are kinky…honest,” it still smacks of a taking the easy way out regarding the thorny issue of half-faerie dragons being prevalent enough to get their own sourcebook to begin with. It’s not an issue of practicality, but it was still mildly irking regardless.

Beyond this, the book (quite wisely) switches back and forth between fluff and crunch as it progresses. We’re given a suite of half-faerie dragon-specific traits, alternate racial abilities, and favored class bonuses, after which is a large section on their psychology and lands, before dealing with their vital statistics tables (for which I give props for remembering an oft-forgotten part of including a new race). Following this are new archetypes and prestige classes, feats, and equipment.

The above new crunch is good, but nothing that sets a new standard, with one exception. Early in the book the flavor text tries to paint the picture that half-faerie dragons are drawn to arcane magic holistically, that they trend towards preparatory and spontaneous arcane spellcasting, rather than one or the other. If that seems odd, it struck me that way too, until I saw the new prestige class here: the dappled theurge. I was quite struck by this, because it’s essentially a mystic theurge prestige class for preparatory and spontaneous arcane spellcasters. On paper, this may sound like a silly idea, but it works…or at least, it works as well as the normal mystic theurge PrC does, which meanst hat, at the very least, it puts the idea of a multiclass preparatory/spontaneous character in the realm of something feasible – it’s something genuinely new, and given that it’s done by using such a small yet artful twist on an existing PrC, it’s truly notable for that.

Three new faerie dragon deities are presented, forming their own mini-pantheon for religiously-inclined half-faerie dragons. The deities themselves are presented in something of an abstract way, denoting their relationship to each other more than how they interact with mortals, though they do note how mortals tend to view them. I appreciate that these write-ups included subdomains and oracle mysteries, but it was slightly vexing that their holy symbols weren’t listed (nor, to be exceptionally picky, are inquisitions, a minor game mechanic introduced in Ultimate Magic for the inquisitor class).

Several new spells, magic items, and even artifacts follow, before the book takes a long look at several half-faerie dragon communities (no community stats given) and how to use the race in your game, finally closing out with three NPCs.

That’s the entire book in a nutshell. Overall, how much you take away from this is likely to depend strongly on to what degree the author’s intent for the race influences you. Without a doubt, there’s enough new mechanics here that you could do a great deal with half-faerie dragon PCs and NPCs for quite a while. It’s the flavor text, however, that will likely make or break your enthusiasm for what’s here – if you agree with and like the idea of this as a race of merry magic pranksters, but still want to really role-play them, then you’ll likely find this book to be made out of solid gold. On the other hand, if you find preconceived notions and attitudes for the race your playing to be obstacles more than springboards, then you’ll probably feel like you’re swimming upstream against the author’s writing.

Having said that, I do appreciate that having more to work with, even if you don’t agree with what’s here, is far better than lacking material to work with at all. When it comes to new races, less is not more. Given that, and that the other issues I had with the book were small omissions and stylistic disagreements, I can’t find any reason to give the Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons full marks. Five out of five fluttery butterfly wings.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Book of Friends and Foes: Ratfolk of the Ruins (PFRPG)
by Aaron T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2012 20:40:38

[b]What you get:[/b] This PDF only document is 12 pages long; front and back cover, title page and OGL take up 4 pages leaving 8 pages of content. On those 8 pages you get a new race: “Ratfolk” created using the rules from the Advanced Race Guide and 7 Ratfolk NPC’s of the following CR’s: 1/2, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8. You also get the Hero Lab files for the content.

[b]Artwork[/b]: There are 5 illustrations in the book ranging from “Meh” to “Excellent.” One illustration is in color (and would not look out of place in a Paizo AP or Module), and the rest are black and white.

[b]Layout and Editing:[/b] Layout is a standard two column layout. Editing was very good, I noticed only one error in the entire document.

[b]Overall Impression:[/b] If you came here looking for Wererats, you are in the wrong place. This book is filled with small humanoid rats. Two of the NPC’s listed are low level warriors for another of the NPC’s. The range of listed NPC’s is good. All of them could be helpful or harmful to a party to a greater or lesser extent. Each of the five NPC’s outlined has a reasonable backstory with potential plot hooks that could be used to drop them into an adventure.

[b]Final Rating[/b]: 4 out of 5 stars. Editing was great, price may be viewed as high for 7 NPC’s. The Excellent artwork balanced out the “Meh” artwork. If you are looking to run a sewer themed adventure, this would be a good investment.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Friends and Foes: Ratfolk of the Ruins (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion (PFRPG)
by Aaron T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2012 21:36:17

Disclaimer: I was given a reviewer’s copy of this book. However, I am not paid for this review. That said, prior to being asked to review the book, I had already preordered it.

What you get: This document is 34 pages long: one front cover, one table of contents, one page of OGL with an add, and one back cover leaving 30 pages of plane of shadows content. The physical book has a color cover with a black and white interior. The digital copy comes with two pdf’s: one is a printer-friendly black and white with color covers. It is basically almost exactly the dead-tree print version in pdf form. The second is a beautiful full-color pdf with parchment background. The digital copy also comes with Hero Lab files to allow you run Shadowsfall classes, races, deities, and all the options in Hero Lab. The digital copy also has hyperlinks to the PFSRD website to allow for easy access to all open Paizo content that is referenced. Now that we have the indisputable facts out of the way, let’s get down to my opinions!

Artwork: Jon Brazer Enterprises did not skimp on the art budget for this book. The artwork is mostly black and white and is good to excellent. The most of the art is better than what was in the [i]Book of Beasts Monsters of the Shadow Plane[/i]. There are two pieces of full color art that are very good. The picture of the wanderer is as good as the Player Class artwork that I have seen in the Pathfinder books or in the 3.5 Player’s Handbook. The black and white artwork is still black and white in the full-color-parchment-background pdf, so it sticks out a bit, but the quality of the majority of it is high enough that it doesn’t detract from the reading experience. Some of the highest quality art was of the Shadowfall iconics; I assume that this artwork was commissioned for the Shadowsfall products.

Layout and Editing: Layout adhered to a two-column standard. Editing was top notch. I tip my hat to the new editors at Jon Brazer Enterprises! There were very few errors that I noticed.

Overall Impression: This book is designed to give players and GM’s options for running an adventure or campaign in the plane of shadows. Everything that gets lost on the material plane ends up on the plane of shadows. Undead are much more common on the plane of shadows, and they are less limited there. This is [b]not[/b] a nice place to live. All light sources are cut in half, fire and light spells are harder to cast, shadow spells are easier to cast. Zombies are everywhere.

The plane of shadows slowly changes everyone who lives there, so many of the playable races (pulling lots of material from the Advanced Race Guide) are somewhat modified. Halflings are more like Gollum than Bilbo, Elves grow more Drow-like with each generation, and Dwarves slowly turn into Duergar as the generations go by. Some races are playable that would not normally be played: Dhampir, Drow, Duergar, Hobgoblins, Orcs, and Ratfolk are all common races. There are racial traits for all the races.

Two new races are included: The Umbral Kobold and the Wanderer. Umbral Kobolds are, well, Kobolds. They are small, quick, have darkvision and light sensitivity. The Wanderer is a celestial who has lost their immortality and looks human. I like the flavor of the wanderer race a lot.

Archetypes: Dusk Stalker is a magus archetype that allows a kobold magus to be a bit more roguish. Radiant Knight is a fighter archetype that allows a wanderer to use their Vestige of Holiness to provide themselves with some holy light themed abilities. The Radiant Knight archetype really makes me want to play a Wanderer when I play in Shadowsfall.

There is a new cavalier order, modified dragonblooded bloodlines for sorcerers, new evolution point options for the summoner, a Shadow elementalist school for wizards, and a new Witch hex. There are new animal companion options, including the Riding Dodo. It makes sense that an extinct species would end up on the plane of shadows. There are also new options for familiars; Pathfinder wizards can finally pull a rabbit (familiar) out of their hat!

Seven Strongholds (and the area outside the strongholds) are detailed, getting a half page each. Each also has associated traits for adventurers coming from that stronghold. Each stronghold is unique and well written. The traits do not seem to be overpowered and fit the flavor of each area. Room is left in Shadowsfall for an intrepid group of adventurers to establish their [i]own[/i] Stronghold.

Thirteen new feats are provided, one of which allows any character to gain 30ft. Darkvision (must be taken at first level). There is a set of feats that amount to a Shadow Style for the monk, allowing you to move faster, bypass a portion of enemy armor and deal strength damage. Combat, Teamwork, and Metamagic feats are all represented.

Some new equipment is available, including two new vehicles using the vehicle rules from ultimate combat. Deities across the alignment spectrum are well written and thematically appropriate. The Oracle’s Joy mystery is interesting; it requires a level of bard to access one of the revelations. The capstone ability is very powerful, but not unbalanced for 20th level play.

There is one page of new spells, which are mostly shadow related. I was a bit surprised at the first level spell Flicker, which functions like Invisibility but lasts only until the end of your next turn. The spells seems pretty powerful for a first level spell, but I would have to see how it played out. I can see Wizard/Rogues abusing it.

There is one page of new magic items, that are mostly shadow or undead related. I like the salve that gives you darkvision! I also liked the cloak that operates differently (and more powerfully) on the plane of shadows. Neat stuff here.

The two pages of “Altered Magical Items” is my favorite part of this book. In the same way that the plane of shadows corrupts all creatures that live there, it corrupts the operation of magical items. My favorite is the Ring of Troll Regeneration, which operates exactly like a Ring of Regeneration, except that it slowly changes your appearance so that you look like a troll.

I read all my gaming products on a netbook which has limited processor power; I found that the black and white version had less “lag” than the full color version. I found that I preferred reading the black and white over the color, though if I were to print it out, I would print the color version.

Final Rating: The purpose of this book is to provide options and background for players rolling up PC’s to run in Shadowsfall. It succeeds in that purpose. There are options for all of the PC classes, there are new races (designed according to the Advanced Race Guide rules) for players (and GM’s) to use. Layout and editing were great. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about this book. 5 out of 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion (PFRPG)
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2012 08:48:09

The Shadowsfall Shadow Plane Player's Guide from Jon Brazer Enterprises is one of those pdfs I have been looking forward to, and initial scans through the book do not disappoint, as this is one very professional looking project. Filled with a blend of color and B&W artwork, and one piece of B&W cartography that very much reminded me of long ago days of drawing up maps of fantastical lands for games with friends, the formatting adheres to the standard dual column approach. 34 pages total, with only four of those going to covers, OGL and TOC...leaving 30 pages to the material itself. Well, almost, there's an intro, and a cool coversheet of sorts (a “letter” with illustration) that starts us off.

So...Shadowsfall. Much anticipated as a setting, and here I have yet another piece of this puzzle, this time in the form of a player's guide. And what pray tell does Mr. McCoy choose to cover in this guide? Read on my friends, and I will do my best to cover the pertinent reasons you NEED this book.

Right off the bat it is important to understand that in the Plane of Shadow we are not the top of the food chain when it comes to playable races, nor even the densest population factor. To put it short humans are pretty much outnumbered. In terms of most per capita, the title belongs to the walking dead, as the Shadowsfall setting is about as close as one can get to playing a zombie apocalypse setting without abandoning the fantasy genre. There is a very real underlying threat of the undead permeating this setting, which brings with it the obvious darkness that makes this setting a real treat for those looking to add some Gothic horror to their standard campaign. Second, Shadowsfall, or the Plane of Shadow if you prefer, is an immense realm filled with the forgotten and lost material, places and people of countless worlds and realms. The possibilities for a campaign are insane in that there are so many different cultures worth of items, material and locations all tucked into one place, just waiting to be discovered.

Introduced in the player's guide we finally get stats for the beautiful Umbral Kobold that graces the cover, and that Dale has been teasing us with. An offshoot of the standard kobold race, they are the descendents of a clan of kobold who found themselves trapped upon the shadow plane, and with no heroes to cull their numbers grew and evolved to survive their new home. Also introduced here is the Wanderer, an intriguing player race for a fallen angel essentially...but think more in terms of City of Angels as opposed to Fire and Brimstone here...these celestials asked to leave service for whatever reason, and were granted their leave. Both new races are also accompanied with an archetype suited not only for them, but the shadow plane specifically.

New class options include a new order for cavaliers, new bloodlines, evolutions, hexes and schools continue to provide more options to truly fine tune your character to the shadow plane before delving to deep into these lands. Of these options, the new school of elemental magic was probably my personal favorite, Shadow. Quoting straight from the text, as I think this really speaks for itself...”Shadow represents the memory of what was, the loss of what is, and the broken dreams of the future. It is the lifelessness and despair that comes from a former glory wasting away...” Starting to get the idea that perhaps the term Shadow Plane is referring to more than just that thing you cast on the wall yet?

New plane of course gives us new familiar options, some being shade variants, others being new to the list entirely...giant nightcrawler anyone? Or perhaps a riding dodo?? Nothing says don't mess with me like riding into combat on a dodo...lol

As is the standard within a player's guide for a setting, we are given a brief description and write up for several communities and settlements, their people and basic traits. The immense difference here in looking at how these communities interact is that they essentially don't. Outside the walls of fortified structures lies the undead hordes. Wandering through what is known as the Outlands, or the lands between strongholds, the zombie population and random critters make sure that travel between strongholds is a dangerous enough proposition that one does not partake of it for no reason short of dire importance. Which is why it is easy to see how each of these stronghold settlements have become as vastly different as they have. Each coming to be as a means of defending a place to settle and live against raiders, monsters and the undead in general, they all have adapted a different outlook on what is the best path to take in doing so. Strongholds such as Blackbat – in business with vampire lords trading captured zombies to be used as labor in mines collecting material; Bloodchain – ruled by kytons, the humanoids within these walls pay for their safety by giving in to the sadistic desires of their masters; Kingsgrave – a once mighty stronghold complete with magical orchards providing plentiful food and a contingent of golems protecting them from the undead hordes. All was perfection until the golems turned on their masters, leaving this once mighty region into a ghostland still filled with plentiful foods and treasures for those willing to brave the still patrolling golem guardians. These are but a sampling of the settlements and strongholds detailed here, and truthfully, each has an interesting enough flavor that I would love to see them all expanded upon in future volumes.

Thirteen new feats flesh out the next section of the book, with such offerings as Shadow Style (Combat, Style) – increasing base land speed, and adding your Wis bonus to Fly and Stealth checks. Additionally we are given 2 feats that chain with this combat style to further add to the enhancements. Augment Undead does exactly what you might be thinking it does, adding to STR and HD for undead you create. Fighting Retreat stood out to me as one of those feats that I can see a great deal of intelligent players taking, as it allows for an attack action during a withdraw action...and let's face it, sometimes you just have to run rather than die. And it is always a good idea to be able to fight as you go until you are clear enough to run.

New equipment options include the wartrident, a variant pike style weapon, and several alchemical items like the deathburn and holy orb. Deathburn is a liquid that after application to an undead will change their physical damage to acidic, or cause acidic damage when applied to living tissue. The holy orb is essentially a glass grenade filled with holy water. Two vehicles are presented here as well, one strictly realistic in its design, the other following the eldritch/alchemical route.

Four pages are dedicated to laying out the pantheons of the Shadow Plane, explaining the portfolios of the gods, the viewpoints of their followers, and the subdomains associated to the former. Here within are the Kyton subdomain (Evil, Law) and the Shadow subdomain (Darkness). We're also given a new mystery for oracles, Joy.

Six new spells are introduced with a section opener explaining that within the shadow plane many spells more common on other planes are less effective...I would have liked to have seen perhaps more detail to this statement in game mechanics. It states that fireball would be one of those less effective spells, but does not give us any stats to show this. I am assuming this information will be within the setting guide itself for GM's, as opposed to the player's guide...so I shall be looking for it. If the statement is going to be made that common spells are less useful, and the subschool of shadow is in fact more powerful on this plane (which makes perfect sense) I would think some form of demonstrating this would be extremely useful.

As with the spells, we are given six new magical items as well, with a brief intro stating that very few magical items are actually created within this plane, as most people are concerned more with the task of day to day survival. Amongst these items we have a Cowl of Undead Command, a Kyton Slavery Whip and a Cloak of Darkness. Now in direct contrast we close the book with a chapter detailing several common magical items that have found their way to the plane of shadow, and been altered. And by altered, well, I mean altered...lol. Take the Necklace of Exploding Beads for instance, appearing as a standard type IV necklace of fireballs the beads on this necklace explode instantly upon removal from the strand, not giving you the chance to throw them at a foe....I so want to drop a few of these for my PCs to find...(insert evil laugh)...But, as cool as this section is, I think it further supports my problem with the new spell chapter. The plane changes things, and the time was taken to show that for a few magical items to help clarify this, but the same level of attention was not afforded spells. By stating that spells don't work as effectively, but not detailing any of what is meant by that, I feel a little shortchanged...especially after reading through the excellent magical items section.

OK...final tally of thoughts here. PDF is fully bookmarked, which always makes me happy. TOC was not linked, which makes me frown, but truly, that is a personal thing since bookmarks handle that anyway. I managed to find one editing error in 34 pages...one. That's pretty good, good enough I'm not even considering it as a negative. The art ranges in quality, with a few pieces being truly excellent, the writing was all of good caliber. The idea that has grown into Shadowsfall is interesting and original enough in its approach that it feels brand new without losing the touch of familiar that a setting needs to truly be inviting. That alone deserves it high praise, as that is not an easy task to pull off. So...my feeling that a more expanded explanation of why/how some spells are not as effective would be helpful being my only true negative...and seriously, if that's all I can find to dig at you should have realized by now that this is an excellent player's guide to a fantastically written setting.

I am going with a rating of 5 for this book, as my only complaints came down to personal preferences, not actual issues with the product itself.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2012 07:25:38

This pdf is 34 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's check this out!

After a nice parchment-like page of fluff, we are introduced to the plane of shadow, respectively its characteristics. After a short description of the planar qualities of the shadow plane, we delve right into the section on playable races. Not only the standard races, but also the drow and duergar, dhampirs, fetchlings, hobgoblins, orcs, ratfolk, tiefling and wayang are covered - all with a new racial trait to reflect the hardening effects of the plane of shadows. There also are two alternate racial traits, one granting halflings darkvision and one granting wayang negative energy affinity and after that, we get even more racial options with new races, first of which would be the umbral kobolds: Umbral Kobolds get -2 to Str, 2 to Dex and Int, darkvision, 1 natural AC, 2 to Perception, Profession (Miner) and Craft (Trapmaking) with the latter and stealth always being class-skills, are light sensitive and small. The second new race are wanderers, mortals spawned from angels who abandoned their duties to become mortals looking slightly like humans, but being shrouded by an intangible aura of loss and sadness. They get 2 to Con and Int, -2 to Cha, darkvision, are ageless, treat any weapon as good-aligned, get resistance 5 against acid, electricity and cold as well as a 2 bonus to saves against emotion effects they can also extend to allies within 10 ft. The two new races rock hard, can be considered iconic and balanced and are neat, but unfortuantely lack age, height and weight tables, which is a major bummer in my book.

The second chapter talks about the respective classes and their roles in the eternal twilight of the shadow plane. We also get new archetypes, starting with the Dusk Stalker. Presentation-wise, the Player's Guide does something awesome here: Each entry features a short list of associated class, races (i.e. these are exclusive to the respective races), modified abilities and skills before going into the rather major modifications of the base-abilities of the respective classes. The Dusk Stalker is a variant of the magus that gains stealth-based abilities like silent spells, the option to use arcane feints, can expend arcane pool points to potentially silence foes and also get sneak attack. Neat! The radiant knight, especially suitable for wanderers: These fighters may harness their lost angelic heritage, gaining a vestige of divinity. This vestige can be used in a neat variety of ways and a dazzling burst of holy glory, ignore miss chances and aid allies with a bonus to AC and against fear. Also, the radiant knight's light is not dimmed by the darkness of the plane. We also get new class abilities: Cavaliers now can join the order of the blackened heart, an order seeking to cut away any weakness and inflict pain to purge weakness from the cavalier. Interesting, especially since the order is not necessarily exclusive open to evil members, allowing you to play a flagellant-style fanatic just as well as a kyton-worshipper. Sorcerors of the draconic bloodline may now benefit from umbral and quake dragon breath weapons, while summoners get 2 new 4-point evolutions, allowing their eidolon to create deep shadows that block even darkvision or add a touch that deals str-damage that can be used a limited amount of times per day. Witches gain the new blinding light hey, inverting the usual dark connotations of the class, while wizards now can also take the shadow elemental wizard school.

Speaking of arcanists: There are 4 new familiars (rabbit, opossum, pale fox and shadow terrier) as well as 8 new improved familiar option (but sans stats) that actually include the flumph! Neat! Neater, though, are the new 4 animal companion stats included: From a giant nightcrawler to an umbral vulture, we also get 2 stellar ones: Riding Dodos and shade ferrets (which can stand on their hind legs). Awesome!

Now Shadowsfall is anything but a safe haven, yet the intelligent races still prosper in their enclaves - thus, like points of civilization in the dark lands, we get not only a nice, one-page spanning b/w-map, but also 8 regional entries on the grand city states and boy: From the bullwark against the ever-present undead, Bastion, to the arcanocracy of Gear's Gate to the Kyton-stronghold of Bloodchain, the golem-patrolled Kingsgrave that provides shelter for those who manage to evade the constructed guards to even the outlands between the city, we get a nice overview-primer of Shadowsfall. Between 2 and 3 regional traits are provided for each area to customize your characters with backgrounds tied to the setting. Better yet, the traits actually are interesting, providing a minor edge against negative energy or even a DR against non-lethal damage. Nice!

We also get a selection of 13 new feats that allow you t enhance the undead your create, granting you better servants, increase your caster level checks when casting darkness and shadow-spells, a teamwork feat to channel cooperatively, increased accuracy with shadow walk, improved guerilla-sniping, improved dirty tricks etc. The truly interesting feats herein, though, would, at least in my opinion, be the feat-tree for shadow style that increases the movement of the user as well as adding your wis-bonus to fly and stealth. The subsequent feats of the tree allow you to ignore up to your wis-bonus of armor and shield bonuses or use a standard action to deal str-damage to opponents, thankfully with a respective scaling save to prevent attribute damage. Nice, well-designed, no balance-concerns. The final feat I really consider interesting is the Blind Targeted Spell metamagic-feat. You can hit foes with your spells even if you don't have line of effect anymore, as long as the target is still in your spell's range and has been in your line of effect no longer than int-bonus before you cast the spell. At 1 spell-level and the restriction of not allowing the feat to work with touch attack-spells to give away enemy locations, I can only consider this feat to be an excellent piece of design I'll continue to playtest in my home-game - from my vantage point, it looks like a rather cool option and actually one of the rare metamagic feats that doesn't suck.

Of course, adventurers in the Shadow Plane also have their unique, distinct tools of the trade and thus the item section comes with a wartrident as wella s some interesting alchemical items: Cover your undead minions in deathburn to convey the damage of their natural attacks to acid or throw the vials at your foes or pepper your foes with glass orbs filled with holy water. Now, if you cover your body with a paste that contains Kyton-blood, you may convey 1 point of damage per attack to non-lethal damage (can we have more of those?) and another salve allows you to better resist the cold of the plane. Speaking of cold-resistance: Feyschroons (not sure whether that should read "-shrooms") also protect you against cold ina limited manner, but are an addictive, two-edged sword. I'd love to see more drugs in PFRPG and I'm glad the item was included in the section. And now, oh boy, did I grin from ear to ear when I read about the two new vehicles included herein: Reapers, vehicles designed to mow down legions of zombies, propelled by muscle-force would be the first, while the Scout Guardians of Gear Gate's arcanocracy would be the second: Propelled by an eldritch receiver within a certain area (and beyond, at lesser capacity with an alchemical battery), these vehicles are one-man arcane walkers with a ballista strapped to the side. These vehicles are PLAIN FRICKIN' AWESOME! Seriously, can you see Pcs escaping through the woods, running from the city's elite and their walkers, hoping to outrun the arcane warmachines? I can and boy - excellent! A total of 14 short, primer-entries of the gods of Shadowsfall introduce us to the umbral pantheon (including domains and subdomains) of Shadowsfall as well as new philosophy to adhere to. Speaking of subdomains: We get a new shadow subdomain (though we already have a couple of these, this one is rather neat) and the kyton subdomain as well. The old Ravenloft-truism that the darkest worlds are most in need of heroes holds true in Shadowsfall as well and the joy-mystery for the oracle makes you a beacon of hope and light in this dark lands, including the ability to inflict foes with crippling sorrow and gaining access to limited bardic performances as well as gaining enhanced euphoria-induced healing and the ability to make instant friends. Awesome mystery!

There also are 6 new spells included in the guide, which let you create black, clinging snow, get a miss chance via blinding shadows, grant darkvision to multiple allies, a greater version of disrupt undead, a lesser invisibility effect and a shadow-based enhancement to speed. Finally, we come to the topic of magic items: 6 new ones are included, including a rope that rings its funeral bell when crossed by an undead, a cloak that enhances stealth vs. undead foes, a cowl to better intimidate undead, a kyton's slaver whip and a salve that grants darkvision. Cloaks of darkness in shadowsfall work differently, merging you with the plane and making you invisible to darkvision, but not to regular sight - interesting indeed! Speaking of "working differently" - the final two pages of the pdf are devoted to a selection of 11 magic items that work differently on the plane of shadows, having been changed by the latent energies that suffuse the plane. Rapiers of blood drinking allow the wielder to make a touch attack to drain con from foes, but suffer half the drain themselves. Belts of mighty constitution 4 may now also impart a -2 penalty to Str and result in physical deformities, while necklaces of fireballs can end up as necklaces of exploding beads that immediately go off when removed from the string, necessitating the wielder taking the damage him/herself. I wish this section was longer, I really do - the idea of tainted items and inherent drawbacks as well as their design is excellent.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting can still be considered very good, though not perfect: While I did notice some minor glitches, they did not impede my understanding of the content herein and were few enough and far between. Layout adheres to a parchment-style look, 2-column standard and comes with a plethora of neat b/w-artworks as well as a neat piece of cartography. The wanderer-race and one of the AWESOME new vehicles even get their own neat full-color artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked with extensive nested bookmarks, comes with a plethora of hyperlinks to d20pfsrd (which are not highlighted in the text) and comes with an alternate printer-friendly version that omits the parchment-background. Neat! Hero Lab users should also know that the pdf comes with herolab-files as an additional comfort!

This player's guide is a comprehensive, smart and well-written introduction to the plane of shadows that will whet your taste for the darkness of Shadowsfall. From nice racial options (with full ARG-support, if you like that book) to expertly-written, evocative primers on locales, this book has more to offer than the usual player's guides - While not all feats or spells are drop-dead-brilliant, there is at least one piece of crunch, more often than not multiple ones in each chapter that I'd not only consider innovative, but rather cool or even downright genius. My personal highlights of the book, though, would be the items and cities: Where the cities and areas drip with flavor and coolness and make you want to explore them, the items not only display a grasp of balance, but provide ample rules-representations for the taint of the plane and the resulting double-edged nature of magic items, a trope near and dear to my heart. Add to that the new vehicles and I'm all gushy about this product! After reading the entry on the walkers (which remain deeply entrenched in fantasy and don't become scifi-ish) and reapers, I so hope we'll see more vehicles and perhaps even vehicular combat supplements (adventures, all-out warfare anybody?) for the setting in future supplements. This pdf would be a prime candidate for the full 5 stars endzeitgeist seal of approval, were it not for one crucial oversight: Neither the umbral kobolds, nor the wanderers get an age, height and weight table and while one could just orient one at the human or kobold entries, I still feel that by making umbral kobolds e.g. especially light or wanderers significantly heavier than humans (weight of sin, anyone?), the two races could have been further improved. This remains my only gripe in an otherwise excellent offering, though, and thus my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, still rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform. This is not only a great purchase if you're into the plane of shadows, but e.g. also to scavenge ideas for Carrion Crown APs or any rather dark setting really.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowsfall: Favored Class Options (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2012 04:35:16

This pdf is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 8 pages of content, so let's check this out!

It's been some time since Jon Brazer Enterprises released the excellent bestiary for the upcoming Shadowsfall-subsetting, which details the Shadow Plane. This now is the very first supplement to provide new information for Shadowsfall in the guise of favored class options. As a reviewer, I hate those. Seriously. A lot of tightly crammed information, a lot of potential for balance-concerns to slip by and not too exciting to read.

However, there actually are some points that made this pdf stand out for me: First would be that the Shadowsfall-setting assumes unusual PC-races to be rather common: The races covered in the pages of this pdf include the Dhampir, drow, duergar, fetchling, hobgoblin, orc, ratfolk, tiefling, umbral kobold, wayang and wanderers. That's at least some nice deriation from the standard. The second one I personally absolutely love is that this pdf shows some major love for other 3pps: Each of the races comes with favored class options for some of the best 3pp-classes out there: Super Genius Games' critically acclaimed and much lauded Time Thief and Time Warden are covered alongside TPK Games' no less celebrated Malefactor-class. If you haven't checked any of these out, do yourself a favor and do so now: They are plain awesome. Even better, fans of psionics are also covered by this pdf: Psions, Psychic Warriors, Wilders and Soulknives, i.e. all the base-classes from Dreamscarred Press' semi-official excellent Psionics Unleashed also get favored class options. Suffice to say that Gunslinger, Magus and all APG-classes also are part of the deal. The variant classes Samurai and Ninja are absent, though, but seeing that each of the races covers ALL of the classes with favored class options, I figure that's ok.

Among the favored class options, we get the usual range of e.g. 1/4 damage to unarmed strikes for monks, but also some creative deviations from what one would expect: Multiple races can for example add 10 minutes to the duration of alchemist's mutagens, a dodge-bonus for Malefactors when performing harrowing strikes etc., 1/6 of a d4 when using motes of time to boost a damage roll etc.. Drow soulknives may, by choosing 5 times the benefit, increase a soulknives' range by 5 foot (4 foot, 3 foot etc. is treated as no increase). Duergar bards also get a rather interesting one: Reduce arcane spell failure by 1% - seems boring, but as soon as you reach 10%, though, you also gain medium armor proficiency, awarding sticking to one favored class option over ten levels with a feat - nice idea. Duergar Oracles can gain Martial or Exotic Weapon Proficiency this way, each level reducing the penalty by one. I quite a fan of this approach to favored classes, since it simulates continuous training by the characters. Fetchlings cavaliers may impart a growing darkvision to their mounts.

I'm not sold on all options, though: Hobgoblin Inquisitors may e.g. gain a bonus of 1 to concentration checks to cast Inquisitor spells each time they select the ability and there's e.g. also an instance of a Time Warden getting such benefits - I think this ability needs to cap somewhere or be 1/2. Another problem I found was that races like orcs and duergar can now choose for their barbarian to gain an additional round of rage per level - that's 1/6 of a VERY useful feat that become immediately available without the usual waiting over class-levels. Tieflings adding 1 spell known to the Time Warden's list of known spells - and the class is a spontaneous caster. That means the restriction of the spell-selection is a basic principle of balancing the class and undermining that by dumping spells on him, even if they have to be one level lower than the maximum he can cast. Wayang oracles even can add wizard-spells to their spell-selection in similar ways, though only those of the Illusion-school and one level lower than their maximum spell level they can cast. Here, wording is problematic, stating "The spell is treated as being one level higher, unless it is also on the oracle spell-list." Does this increase of the spell's level effect its DC? Is the increase applied before or after checking whether the spell is legible to be granted via this class option? Depending on the answer, the spell chosen would then actually have to be two levels below what an oracle can actually cast...

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect: I noticed a minor glitch here and there as well as some wordings in need of clarification. Layout adheres to a full-color, used parchment look in 2-columns, is easy to read and comes with nice full-color artworks. The cover artwork is brilliant, but you see that yourself. The pdf also comes with a printer-friendly version that retains the full-color artworks, but omits the parchment-like background - nice. Both versions of the pdf come with extensive nested bookmarks. Favored class options, ironically, go hand in hand with traits in being my least favorite pieces of content to review. Their bonuses small, both additions to the Pathfinder ruleset have in common that they need something to make them more than a neglectable, often overlooked possibility to maximize characters. With recent innovative takes on traits like in Rite Publishing's "101 Pirate & Privateer Traits" and Dias Ex Machina's excellent take on traits in their acclaimed "Amethyst Renaissance"-setting, the bar has been raised regarding them. This humble little pdf is a step in the right direction for favored class options in two ways:

The first being that the favored class options feel more distinctly tied to the respective races - Drow barbarians e.g. improving the guarded stance rage power etc. The tying of these benefits to general fluff of the races is nice, though I would have liked the synergy to go further, perhaps tying in more with racial abilities.

The second would be the synergy with the great 3pp-classes herein: Not only is the psionics-love awesome, the inclusion of the Time-classes and the Malefactor is the latest in a cool trend of 3pp-synergy pioneered by Rite Publishing's ties with SGG, Raging Swan and Adventureaweek.com contributing to Pathways etc. Whether it's LPJr Design's Section Omega, Ron Lundeen of Run Amok Games penning Dark Waters rising for Raging Swan Press or TPK Games supporting SGG's Death Knight - this synergy helps not only fellow publishers gain additional exposure, it also leads to an increased longevity and viability of the classes put out - especially when the new content for the classes is mostly as well-crafted as herein.

All in all, I've mentioned that I'm probably not the best guy to review a pdf of favored class options. That being said, we get extensive hyperlinks to d20pfsrd (though I e.g. noticed an instance of "eidolon" not being hyperlinked, when in the subsequent sentence it was), which is awesome. However, on a personal preference, I would have loved the links to be indicated in some way, perhaps by underlining them - I've clicked on some of the hyperlinked words by accident and got the "connection to web"-prompt. This, combines with the minor balance-concerns I have as well as the nature of these favored class options mean that I can't go as high as I would have liked to with regards to my rating. If you're into the idea of favored class options, this book may very well be what you're looking for and it is actually a large step into the direction I'd love to see favored class options take in the future. For now, though, I'll remain with a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowsfall: Favored Class Options (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Book of Magic: Signature Spells 2 (PFRPG)
by Alfred B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2012 12:54:19

Dales brings us another solid addition to the Book of Spells series. Inside this volume you will find a solid mix of spells for a wide-range of classes. Not only that but these spells have a truly unique feel like they really did come from the private library of some caster or were perhaps one of their signature spells. Any way you look at it this is a solid deal of the number of spells you get.

For a more in-depth review feel free to check out my site: http://www.thealfredeffect.com/?p=957



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Magic: Signature Spells 2 (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Book of Magic: Signature Spells 2 (PFRPG)
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2012 03:31:49

Book of Magic Signature Spells 2 weighs in at 13 pages, with 2 covers, the OGL/credit page, an ad and an intro. We also have 2 ½ pages of the class lists breaking down available spells (and the listings pretty much cover the base classes). OK, so quick math says that leaves us with 5 ½ pages of new spells. Formatting follows the standard two column approach, with only one noticeable grammatical hiccup (and it was in the intro, so no harm no foul).

New spells with names...I can honestly say I miss spells with names. Yes, I know they are still there, and we can call them anything we want around our game tables...but when you have called a spell something your entire gaming life...well, it feels odd to not. Dale and his gaming crew obviously agree with my thinking, as these are a collection of spells straight from his table. The introduction gives us some pretty cool insight into the back stories, and leaves me hoping to perhaps see a few of these characters he discusses show their faces within his books. But all the fluff in the world doesn't matter if the spells aren't cool right? So let's get to them.

Presented here are 31 spells by my count, so if you have guessed that I am not going to detail them all here, you should probably buy a lottery ticket, because you are good at this game. What I will do is cover an assortment of what caught my eye, and what earned a spot in my personal character's spell book (more on that later). So, without further ado...

Tamis' Burst of Life is what I consider a great tactical spell when battling undead, as it essentially removes their undead immunities, making them a lot easier to screw up with tactics your GM is not prepared for...(lol, yes, I know, I just advised players on how to further drive their GM's nutz...I'll send in my union card). Shallan's Shadowy Cloud is fog cloud, done Plane of Shadows style. Darker, grittier and more dangerous...well done. Riyals's Counterspelling Preparedness allows you to counterspell as an immediate action, and packs a really cool visual effect to boot.

Shallan's Shadow Marionette is hands down my favorite spell out of the collection, you take control of a creature's shadow, thereby forcing the creature to act as you desire...oh the potential for this one...

Mikard's Burning Eyes target the eyes of your foe, flowing flame from their eyes, with per round damage, and the potential for permanent blindness...very very wicked! Iggaria's Demonic Form lets the caster assume the form of a chosen demon, enlarging in size and weight, with all the perks that come along with a size increase. Limited demonic perks come along with it as opposed to the full roster, but this one still feels slightly overpowered at a level 4. I say slightly because I am not entirely sold on the idea that it is overpowered. Gravada's Deadly Disease makes me want to meet these player's of Dale's, as this is just wrong to do to someone...lol. OK, the short and unsweet version, it resets the time duration on contracted diseases as if no time had passed. Essentially making the disease continue to run rampant within your body for far longer than it should...that's just wrong, lol. Clarissa's Confusing Speech is probably my second favorite of the bunch, and the first spell offered within the book. The targeted creature for the duration of the spell has trouble understanding and being understood...if you can't see the mass potential in this spell, I would recommend buying the Beginner Box and starting over...this is sheer brilliance in crippling an opposing spell chucker!

So, 31 spells, a few spacing issues due to the joys of justified text (have no fears, I have no intention of pinging points for that), and only one true grammatical misstep. Several spells worth noting, a couple that didn't really do much for me, but there will always be a few in a collection, it is the nature of the beast. Final ranking on this, 5 stars and well worth the price of admission.

Oh, and the reference to my personal character's spell book...which spell got in? Let me explain first why this matters at all. I GM, it's what I do. I rarely if ever get to play. When I do it is usually in a high level one off, or perhaps a game that will stretch across a few evenings. I have a favorite character, as most of us do, who has evolved throughout the years. His spellbook is a collection of precision, nothing wasted, no filler spells for the sake of having them. The agreement I have with the small group I do get to play with is that if I find something I love, I may add it at the cost of two others, with no review required by them in anyway at all. Yes, this gives me the opportunity for abuse, but they trust me. It is rare that I find a spell I feel is worth making me look over his spell book to decide which two to sacrifice, but this book contained one such spell. Shallan's Shadow Marionette is perfect for the play style of my demented spell twister, and there was barely a hesitation in deciding that this spell had to be his. I thought, Dale, that you might enjoy knowing you made me make changes to a character I treasure deeply this evening, and that doesn't happen often. Well done sir, well done indeed!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Magic: Signature Spells 2 (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2012 18:20:56

This pdf is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 9 pages of content, so let's check this out!

In the days of old, some spells were the creations of specific archwizards -"Disjunction" was the work of Mordenkainen, a certain "laughter"-spell the creation of Tasha - this book endeavors to recreate the iconicity of said wizards by providing spells that were created by specific spellcasters - thus, we first get an introduction to the story of the spellcasters before we get the lists for the respective spellcaster-classes, including APG-classes, Magus etc.

The first spells we are introduced to, are Clarissa's, which deal with divine and language-dependant spells and abilities: A dome that is deadly for the undead to sacred bonuses for you and your allies and also a spell that impedes language-dependant spells. On the other side of the holy/unholy equation, we get Gravada's 3 spells, which enable you to handle diseases better: From an improved form of contagion to a deadly tiring disease and a spell that makes getting rid of a disease harder, these sinister 3 spells make for a cool, nice niche of spellcasting. Also rather sinister are Iggaria's spells, which enable you to assume a demonic form or add claws, wings etc. to your form. Halabar's zone of frightening screams would be a way to panic multiple foes and we also get 3 new spells from Leighanna, which all could be considered to be rather interesting: From a compulsion to end movement to one that forces the foe to deal non-lethal damage (nice also against Belkar-style players...) to one that enables you to suppress breath weapons, the spells are neat and offer interesting tactical options.

Next up would be Mikard's spells, which are especially useful for Magi - from using an improved dirty trick with dust tosses to a spell that creates a minor tornado or a tripping gust, these mostly air-themed spells practically scream to be utilized by a gish-class. The 3 new Riyal's spells (yeah, the mage from Riyal's Research) provide us with an interesting spell: One enables the caster to once counter a spell as an immediate action - rather powerful, but works only once per cast, cost 10 GP material components and is a level 4-spell, so yeah - while powerful, it is still a spell you won't have active all the time: Nice! Also rather interesting in mechanics is a disrupting beam, which can be cast as an immediate action at a casting being to disrupt its casting, with the concentration DC being 10+ 1d8 per caster-level. Powerful, yet limited in appliance and the luck-factor of the dice means that players will be chewing on their nails. Rostov's trained snake enables you to add tricks to the repertoire of your snake, while Shallan's shadow-based spells will make for interesting additions not only to the Shadowsfall-setting, but also to the arsenal of any darkness-themed caster, including the iconic option to control a creature via its shadow. 2 of the 4 Tami's spells are rather expensive, but use a nice mechanic: One of them temporarily robs undead of their immunities - at the price of a 100 GP moon pearl! Cool, high-level enough to make it rarely used. The final new spell would be Trask's Wall of Blood, which nauseates those crossing the wall and grants partial concealment to one side.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a b/w 2-column standard that is very printer-friendly and the pdf comes with herolab files. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks, which is nice to see - even smaller pdfs nowadays should have them. The second installment of the signature spell-series is vastly better than its predecessors, utilizing some creative mechanics like interactions with combat maneuvers, smart counterspelling etc. without providing options that are unbalanced. When directly compared to its predecessor, this pdf definitely provides the better options, cooler spells and less filler. Thus and due to the low price, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Legendary Monsters 1 (Legend/RuneQuest)
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2012 06:28:48

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/08/06/ttbookofbeastslegendarymonsters1/

http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/08/06/ttbookofbeastslegendarymonsters1/



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Legendary Monsters 1 (Legend/RuneQuest)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 61 to 75 (of 146 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG