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[PFRPG] 15 Specific Weapons, Vol 4
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/29/2012 07:37:31
Headless Hydra's latest offering in the Specific Weapons series is V.4, and weighs in at 12 pages. Between cover, credits and OGL we'll lose three pages, with another three pages going to an Intro and an essay from Jonathan Palmer discussing a few thoughts to consider in regards to magical weaponry, their design, the lack of variety within pre-established rulesets, and what can be done about it without losing sight of why we play these games in the first place, to have fun. Amusingly, the intro article ends with a reminder to review your PDFs, for some reason I found myself reading that in Bob Barker's voice in my head.

Of the weapons offered up in this volume, we're introduced to a kama that, in the hands of those who know how to use them, aids in delivering the killing blow with mercy, giving a swift death. A spear that will literally, watch your back. A halfling sling that will have you nostalgic for David and Goliath tales. Hammers for gnomes, giants, one that thinks it's a lightning rod, and another waiting to call the storm.

You know that one old guy in the bar who's always talking about the good old days like they were yesterday? His sword's in here. The Blade of Glories Past reminded me so much of those folks who are living so far in their own past, they're in denial as to what they have become. Fun thing about the sword though is that it's going to try and latch on and relive some of those glory days, only to drag you down with it.

A quarterstaff with a grudge against manufactured goods, a set of bola that will leave you in the pits, a rainbow painted boomerang (yes, you read that right), a repeating crossbow with a trick up it's sleeve, and an elven blade that will help its wielder find their way. A set of nunchuka designed around defense, a whip fashioned from giant spider tendons, and a flying talon able to ground the untouchable undead round out this collection.

Now, if you were counting, that's sixteen, so not only were you getting 15 new magical weapons for a dollar, but the folks at HHG threw in a bonus, not to shabby, to say the least.

Format follows the dual column standard, with a muted colored frame to the pages, and B&W artwork depicting six of the weapons. I found one grammatical error, and it was the usage of form instead of from....minor enough, it's a non issue. PDF contains two tables, one a random dice chart, the other a standard gear style page for the new weaponry listing costs, weights, dmg, range, type...you know the standards. Last thing of note is the cherry on this sundae, a brand new Magic Weapon Special Ability, not only used in this PDF to show off what it can do, but presented on its own, so that you may apply as you wish to your own creations.

I have long felt that there is a need for product lines of this nature, small, to the point, and cheap. The impulse PDF as I call them. Several companies do them, and do them right. HHG is one of those companies that's doing the idea right. Spend a dollar, get an idea what they can do, then go look over the rest of their products, trust me on this one.

16 weapons, easily earned that 5 star ratio.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] 15 Specific Weapons, Vol 4
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[PFRPG] Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2012 18:35:00
Creature Compendium for the Mor Aldenn campaign setting from Headless Hydra Games is a 35 page PDF, introducing us to 21 creatures of varying CR's. PDF follows the dual column format and standardized statblock layout for the Pathfinder compatible products. Interior artwork is B&W, and we do get a piece of art for almost every creature entry.

Opening with the Arachnus (a Tauric creature formed of a Giant upper torso and head and the body of a Spider) this creature tome comes out the doors swinging. Following this nightmare up with the Black Glass Undead (variant Wight) and Blacktalon Lizardfolk (variant Lizardfolk) however, kind of a letdown after the initial creature. We are given a template for the Black Glass Undead as well as the creature write up though. The Marsh Dragon, who gets a standard statblock as well as 3 for various age progressions, is an excellent addition to the draconic family. Being more akin to the plants of the marshes and swamps it lives among, it can raise and control Shamblers, and attacks with spores for a breath weapon (nasty side effect from this one, brilliant). The Gaiant (a fey giant race resembling humanoid trees, and presented here with stats for a druid) and the Bog Giants give us two new entries into the family of Giants.

The odd looking Gold Caps ( a mushroom cap and stalk with four leglike appendages) deal in the market of information as humanoids deal in precious stones and metals. The Hag Spider (our cover monster) is an amalgamation of phase spider and hag that preys upon the sleeping by trapping its foes in ethereal webs and plaguing them with nightmares. Leyspinners are another addition to the fey, these being closely bound to the ley lines that crisscross their homes. Leyspinners have the ability to manipulate these ley lines to affect the world around them in a few varied ways. Mahr could quite easily stand in for those dark and scary things we all used to tell our younger siblings were under the bed. A bestial sharp clawed fey with the capacity to teleport through shadows with a grappled foe, the mahr feed off of fear,and spread panic and paranoia throughout communities.

The Manifest Children of the Ether I'm going to have to say are amongst the oddest entry for the book. A race of outsiders who's very presence offends reality causing damage to all within a radius of their presence, these creatures are presented as having no desire to communicate with any beings other than themselves, and any attempts to sway them from their desired goal is to invite combat with a rather hefty foe. Up next we have the Marshlings, a twisted nightmare version of vegetation gone bad. These things are wicked, in every sense of the word and a design win in my opinion, their rot ability makes them insanely dangerous to attack, their method of mobility (they retract a leg into their body, and expel a new one out of the front) is just visually cool, they're just a really cool creature. The Mirejack (a fey appearing as a small humanoid built of sludge and vegetation) offers up yet another fey addition, this one of a CE nature and being bound to the foul marshes of the world.

The Mythraven appears to be a huge raven at first glance, until you catch site of the embedded magical gemstones in its beak, oh, and it opens it mouth and says hi, that's usually a dead give away that's there's more going on than just really big bird. Sought after for their crystal eggs by mages these large avians can either be a valued friend, or fierce enemy. Plaguecrawlers are a giant centipede creature that attacks from ambush spraying whatever it can bite into with a disease ridden liquid, than retreats to tail its target, waiting for it to weaken. Appearing as a tiny winged humanoid with a portly build, the Portune is another addition to the fey numbers, although this handy little fey is a tad more friendly than most towards others, and can in fact be taken as a familiar by those with the improved familiar feat. Puppet Imps are literally bipedal constructs of debris given animation by the projections of will from malign forces. The cool thing about Puppet Imps, if given the chance in combat, they will scrounge the ground for material to rebuild damage, effectively healing themselves (for a penalty).

The Spell Pike is an altered fish, given spell like abilities depending upon which of the eight schools the fish is associated with. The scales of the Spell Pike bear runes that react much as a scroll, in that one can copy down the runes to learn the spell like ability. Unfortunately, this entry is the one that I have the most problems with out of the entire book. There's no artwork for this creature (the rune work would have been cool to see), and either the CR or the XP is way off. The Spell Pike is listed as having a CR of 4, with 400XP. Now, according to Table 12-2: Experience Point Awards (pg 398 CRB) a CR of 4 should have an XP of 1,200. To get an XP of 400, we would need a CR of 1. I know it's a small thing, but between the lack of art, and the botch job on the CR, this creature doesn't live up to the others.

The Stiltskin appears as a wizened of man, but in fact is very much fey. They collect and cherish secrets, and will trade and barter for them with secrets they know, or the gold they spin. The Tuskbeast looks very much like a large boar with a ridge of bony spines running down its back. A blind animal, they are still a widely feared hunter. The book closes with the Veraxer, a great brown tiger with stripes of green, and an intelligence far beyond animal. 10 feet in length and weighing in at 750 lbs., these large cats act as mounts and allies within the elite cavalry for the elven nations.

OK, a few things about this book that drove me nuts, first and foremost, the previously touched upon issues with the Spell Pike. Sorry, can't let that go, making sure things like the XP to CR ratios are accurate are important. Secondly, how many times one entry ran into another. There are numerous entries “sharing” a page, and that makes the book look very busy and cluttered in my opinion. Third, design wise, quite a few of these creature's feel like they are all bite, having massive attack, but not much in the way of defense. There is also no ToC or bookmarks, which is a huge negative for me, If a PDF is going to be more than a few pages long, I fee at the very least a ToC is required, bookmarks always preferred.

Final tally, pros far outweigh the cons on this collection of creatures, but it does have a handful of flaws. Giving it a 3.5, rounded to a 4 star rating.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium
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[PFRPG] Gaiants Discovered
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2012 00:52:30
Weighing in at 16 pages with a full color cover, and B&W interior artwork, I noticed no horrible grammatical errors. The page breakdown is as follows, cover/OGL/credits & Intro – 3 pages total, leaving 13 pages to the presentation of this race and it's magics. So let's see what we've got, shall we?

Following the dual column format, Gaiants Discovered is a racial book for the Mor Aldenn setting, and introduces us to a race of Fey Giants. Looking very much like a hill giant and a treant got lonely one long cold Saturday night years ago, The Gaiants take on the look of the dominate trees of the woods they reside within, and look very much like a more humanoid treant would be imagined to appear. Amusingly, as you will find within this PDF, they go out of their way to look this way, taking advantage of the belief that they are in fact lesser treants.

Dedicating themselves to the Estoic Circle, and the concept of welcome and unwelcome, the gaiants act as defenders of balance in life, helping to defend against those who would abuse the woods like sport hunters or lumber companies. Having no issues with those who hunt for food and clothes, or fell trees for fire and homes, gaiants can be found living outside of humanoid communities, looking over them, befriending them.

Looking through the racial traits and perks we have such things as Large size (9 ft. 900 lbs), Slow & Steady (20ft., but never adjusted by encumbrance or armor), Giant subtype as well as Fey Blood. It is the last that I stopped on, as it grants the gaiant the ability to use their Charisma instead of Intelligence or Wisdom for any spellcasting class they take. Am not really sure I'm feeling that. Having the Giant subtype gave them no racial HD, only the subtype, so to let them uber max a character by taking a wizard/cleric who only has to worry about one ability score instead of two feels more than just a little unbalanced to me. Of course, this might be due to years of dealing with power mongering players who look for every loophole they can find also.

We are given a a mass variety for Tree Shape as well as a small collection of new Druid spells;
Bladeleaf Gyre: Form a whirlwind of leaves to use for both protection and attack (also usable by a Ranger)
Camp of Trees: Literally hide camp by becoming a stand of trees
Hibernation: Take on the form of a tree for a span of years to heal.
Wooden Edge: Turn a lethal weapon into a nonlethal for x amount of rounds per level.
We are also given Patron spell lists for Seasonal Witch classes, as Gaiants are prone towards either Druid or Witch.
Spells are followed with new magical items that are themed towards the woods.
Bag of Roots: Quite literally what it claims to be, once thrown the roots cause vegetation to entangle anything caught within a radius of where the root lands.
Mantle of Leaves: A garment crafted entirely of leaves that allows its wearer to take on the form of a tree a certain amount of times per day.
Staff of the Greensong: An oaken staff bearing the faces of ancient gaiants, holds charges for three different spells.
Staff of Winter: Holding charges for four spells, more cold themed this time.
Treeman's Mantle: When worn, it allows the wearer to be treated as a larger creature for purposes pertaining to CMB and CMD.

New feats presented here are geared towards the gaiant character. The interesting recommendation is made to make a new feat available to a gaiant character when they rest. For clarification, gaiants only sleep one day a month. New Feats include:
Greensong Adept: Gain a bonus 2nd level bardic spell, as well as a skill bonus
Hedge Sage Magic: When casting nature-related spells, your effective caster level is regarded as higher than it actually is, as well as the DC increasing. There is also an Improved version of this feat.
Improved Bark hide: Think Improved Natural Armor...for trees.
Improved Gaiant Magic: Improves upon one of the spell like abilities granted by the race as well as adding your choice of another spell like abilities.
Initiate of the Greensong: Serenading the plants with your bardic tongue can either call or dispell an entangle effect.
Master of the Greensong: Another bonus bardic spell, this time to your 5th level spells.
Nature's Fury: Extend your barbarian rage while in contact with the ground.
Shed Bark: Sacrifice bark/skin to absorb damage, much like a tree's bark tends to chip and fall away as a tree is hit long before there are signs of true damage to the actual trunk.

The book closes out with five NPC's showing off what can be built with a gaiant, including an undead variety with an interesting back story.

All in all, the race is an interesting, and well developed concept. There were a few areas where I would of liked to have seen more, perhaps in the nature of their weaponry, or their art, but as an introduction to the gaiant as a race, this PDF does a fairly good job. One thing I did not like, and found very confusing until I realized what was being done with the formatting was the feel that the “crunch page”, the page containing the racial modifiers and traits, had been inserted into the middle of the spells sections. It also, and I'm not sure why, is a black page with white text. There are several sections like this throughout the book, so if you are planning on printing this, be forewarned. All in all I'm going to have to give this book a 4 star rating, I liked the race, but they felt very middle of the road, I wanted to see more of what they bring to the table I guess.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Gaiants Discovered
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[PFRPG] 15 Specific Weapons, Vol 3
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2012 02:48:49
This pdf is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2/3 of a page SRD, leaving 8 1/3 pages of content for 15 new specific magic items, so let's check out what Headless Hydra Games has to offer for less than a buck!

After a cool discussion on the nature of magic weapons, we delve into the items and in this installment, we get weapons that are a bit more off the beaten track - we e.g. get the Bang Cutter, a magic dogslicer that ignites those nasty horses and dogs. The Bolt of minor inconvenience is a neat piece of ammunition as well: It teleports hit enemies 1d100 ft. in a random direction when the target fails a will save. The other 2 bolts of inconvenience are more powerful versions - cool ideas! The Detonating pilum is also a cool throwing weapon, dealing some neat explosion damage and we get firestorm shurikens and even a magic ogre hook. Another cool item is the librarian's rejoinder, a bloodletting keen kukri (bloodletting being a new special weapon quality introduced in this pdf) that can transcribe the last text the victim read one hour before being killed by the weapon in infernal - very cool idea. Add to that an enchanted stake and an enchanted bladed scarf that doubles as a hat of disguise and can cover the wielder's face in flames.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column standard and 6 of the weapons get their own artworks. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. The new magic items are cool and using some more exotic base types (and reprinting their stats) is a good idea and some of their abilities rock. While not every item herein is a full-blown winner, I enjoyed them enough to consider this installment a worthwhile investment - at less than a buck, you get a neat selection of magic items that goes a bit beyond what you'd expect. Seeing that I don't have anything to complain and taking the low price into account, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] 15 Specific Weapons, Vol 3
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[PFRPG] Gallery of Dreams
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2012 08:32:25
This free web-enhancement for Mor Aldenn, the city of Mages, is 7 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1/2 a page editorial, leaving 3.5 pages for the location.

So what is the gallery of dreams? Essentially, the gallery is a pocket dimension, entrances to which seem to pop up randomly in back alleys, scarcely-travelled roads etc. Inside, travelers can take a look at silver-lined mirrors, in which the dreams of themselves and others, even significant ones are repeated. A ghost-curator (complete stats) is included as well as a nice adventure hook centering on a stolen mirror from the gallery of dreams.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and the pdf even includes a piece of original b/w-artwork of the curator. The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length needs none. I absolutely loved this little location and seeing that the pdf is free, you can't do anything wrong with downloading this neat piece. My final verdict will thus be 5 stars - check this out!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Gallery of Dreams
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[PFRPG] Mor Aldenn Setting Guide
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/12/2012 06:38:14
This pdf is 167 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving a whopping 164 pages of content for the setting, so let's check out HHG's City of Mages!

As has been the tradition with Mor Aldenn books, this one also includes a short story that is supposed to draw us into the city's flair - in contrast to all 3 of the player's guide, though, Jason Kimble's 12-page short story Demon Dreams actually paints an understandable, logic and exciting city rife with adventure, social structures and most of all, doesn't fall into the "Alert the Mages"-scheme, but rather provides valid reasons why the mages don't immediately act and why one of the most powerful figures of the city remains behind the scenes. Clever and a nice read.

After that, we get a guide to the city, including a b/w-2-page map, information on the archmages and governing bodies, guilds, religions (including some sample religious tales) and, most of all: The 3 laws of magic that serve as the judicial foundation of how Wizardry is practiced in Mor Aldenn. Local holidays, festivals, organizations etc are covered as well and after reading this mere paragraph, the city makes more sense to me than after the lecture of the whole player's guide. More importantly, the grand logic bugs have been wiped and while I'd love to see a more detailed section on festivals, laws etc., the amount of information provided is enough to create plenty of adventures. Any awkward wordings that have plagued the predecessor have completely vanished and been replaced with text that is fluent to read and is actually enjoyable. The section can be considered a success.

After this very fluffy introduction to the city of mages, we are introduced to crunch galore in the player's options. The first new bit of crunch would be the Spellwarden, a 20-level base-class alternative for the Magus focused on defense, especially against magic users. This class was somewhat of a surprise for me, as I sincerely didn't think it would work. Surprisingly, though, it does: The class gets d8, 2+ Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB, good fort and will-saves, profiency with light weapons and armor and martial weapons, Int-based spellcasting like a wizard and an arcane pool that can be used to apply defensive qualities to armor and shield as well as defensive bonuses. He gets medium armor proficiency relatively fast and can cast with shields. Quite cool, he also can use his arcane pool to grant defensive auras when casting spells, the effect of the aura depending on the school of the spell cast, effectively adding another usage to prepared spells that would otherwise be useless in combat. They also are rather adept at counterspelling and get spell progression of up to 6th level. His arcana selection is limited, though, as is his spell-list and he gets 4 additional arcanas. I really like the class, as it makes for a great "anti-magic-cop"-character/SWAT-team-like style. Think about Spellwardens attacking a cabal of wizards conducting a ritual with the PCs...or the PCs trying to pull one of while beset by them. Two thumbs up for this one!

This section also contains 3 new races - the Centaur, the Gaiant and the Sprite. I have already commented on the hgaiant and centaur in their respective original products (Player's Guide & Gaiants Discovered), so just to quickly sum it up: Centaurs - I prefer SGG's Lapith-race, as they can turn bipedal and thus explore normal dungeons etc without the mount/large creature problems of the centaur. Gaiants: I like the race per se, their fluff and idea, but some parts of them are overpowered: There is a racial trait that gives them a natural attack (with reach, they are large!) that does 1d12 damage. Go forth and weep, ye monks! This section was a wasted chance to repair/improve some balance-concerns. The Sprite is an interesting race: They get +2Dex and Cha, -2 Str, an additional form of movement, low-light vision, a bonus feat, +2 to a kill selected from a limited list, a daily reroll and...well. They are tiny. PFRPG's first tiny PC-race. There are also new feats (29 to be precise) that support the sprites, centaurs and the ley-lines. Ley lines? Yep, these feats grant supernatural abilities and work better on ley lines and not at all in anti-magic fields, but more on ley-lines later.
Next up are 4 archetypes: An arcane paladin, a hunter of magical creatures (ranger, including a new combat style) and 2 new rogue archetypes, the Prestidigator who can use his talents at range (think a better arcane trickster of the 3.0 days of yore) and the street magician who gets minor magic access. Then there is also a new wizardry subdomain for the cleric and we get new spells as well - the spells mostly centered on nature and the land, fitting with the fey/old world theme. It should be noted that some of the spells are reprints from e.g. the Gaiant-book etc. Finally on the new-rules side, we get the Aldennic Spellshield 5-level PrC. Where the Spellwarden is the magic anti-mage specialist, the Spellshield is his mundane equivalent: Gaining full BAB, d10, medium fort and will saves and 6+Int skills per level, they get minor spell resistance and several tricks for using dirty fighting to neutralize arcane threats. Nice PrC and one of the examples where a PrC is truly prestigious and justified - nice!

This concludes the player chapter and we'll now go into detail - the third chapter details specific sites of the City of Mages: The chapter contains information on the wizard's towers and the fallen tower (the latter complete with a detailed map and read-aloud text), the tower of all-magic (the center of the mage's administration, also with a map) and include some fully stated NPCs and hooks galore. The setion also contains detailed information on inns and taverns, including maps for the Wizard's Staff and Ugly Harpy. We also get 16 shops with read-aloud texts, including a place to care for animals and an arena to battle strange creatures. The section also includes a map of the dungeon of barrowdelve, the citiy's necropolis that contains benign ancestral spirits as well as recently a disturbing influx of undead that roam the street at night. The mechanics of ancestral spirits make them essentially benign haunts - neat idea! The final location that comes with a onepage map is teh house of blades, a kind of fighter's guild. (And if you want more, I'd recommend Soldragonn Academy...)

Chapter 4 details one of the truly unique aspects of Mor Aldenn, the ley lines - set on a nexus of several of them, the chapter includes rules to tap into their respective powers, a map of Mor Aldenn with the known ley lines drawn into it. We also get write-ups for teh respective ley lines including lore-sections to detail the strange aspects of the overabundance of magic and several other bits and pieces of knowledge on them. The lines also come with DCs to know/recognize them and generally, the section makes creating more rather easy. The chapter also includes places of power, another cool staple of fantasy literature that is rather underused and contain fey circles, monolithic mounds and stone-circles as well as specific information for e.g. the Nexus of Mor Aldenn. I did VERY much enjoy this section in particular, due to it being unique and helping set the city of mages apart from other fantasy settings.

Now, what is adventure without foes? Mor Aldenn, the city of mages definitely has enough of them and chapter 5. Unique villainous foes like the Demon of the Fallen Tower, a unique demon (CR 18, btw.) with rather deadly powers that is confined to the fallen tower that once housed the city's summoners, seething and seeking to escape. The giants of the grand Ossindrilon also get their fully stated king and the skin-less, flayed-looking harpies of the Spindlewood flow get an erinyes-queen. And then, there are two more major foes - Taraathalorm Wyrmmother: A green dragon ghost that still stalks the woods, lusting for revenge. And then, there is the final primary antagonist of the city, the dreaded mistress of covens, the Night Hag - she is a CR 18 witch 14 and sheis quite an iconic, almost Baba Yaga-like figure. Have i mentioned the malign, intelligent cauldron?

After these movers and shakers, we get a brief timeline of Mor Aldenn' history and then new monsters. That is, they might be new for you. They include the Marsh Dragon, the Bog Giant, the Gold Cap, the Hag Spider, the Leyspinner, the Mahr, the Mirejack, Mythravens, Portunes, Spell Pikes and Veraxar. It should be noted that all of these creatures are included in the Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium (for detailed information, check out my review of it) and that the Spell Pike got a new piece of artwork - nice.

In chapter 8, we are introduced to the lands surrounding the city, including stats for the clockwork-possessed Miller, Moon Folly (I'd recommend checking out the pdf, though!), Ossindrilon and the Spindleflow as well as some pieces of information on hazards and a random encounter table.

The last chapter is devoted to an introductory adventure called Ringside seats. This contains SPOILERS, so potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.
...Still here? SPOILERS ahead.

All right! The PCs are contacted by Arvin Pheltapor, owner of Pheltapor's Phantabularium, the place where due to a loop-hole in the law, people may bet on (non-lethal) bouts against strange creatures. If the PCs have only knocked out his escaped wild animals, they will have a thankful customer at their hands who wants them to escort his latest acquisition home. On their way to get the goods, the PCs are beset by Lizardfolk and finally receive the boars - boars? Well... the particularly ugly, scaled boars are in fact three imps in disguise and thus can manage to easily escape from their confinement. One leads the PCs on a merry chase, one confronts them in the Phantabulrium and the final wants to be taken as a familiar once his brothers have been vanquished. (Though until Improved Familiar is taken, the creature is more than unreliable=. I did enjoy this rather light-hearted introduction to the City of Mages and while the scenario per se is nothing to gasp in astonishment at, I do have read far, far worse scenarios, especially at the back of a campaign setting book. The pdf concludes with an NPC-name appendix that would be even more useful, would it include the page numbers where the information on the NPCs can be found - after all, many of them are scattered throughout the book.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are actually top-notch - I did notice less than 5 glitches on over 160 pages - neat! In contrast to some of the other offerings of Headless Hydra Games, I noticed only one page that contains some rather awkward wordings, making this a very good read and pleasantly surprising me with the quality of the rather concise writing. The pdf comes with quite extensive bookmarks that make navigation of the pdf very easy. The pdf is slightly bigger than 100 mbs, at this length, with the wide variety of high-res maps and fully bookmarked, this is ok. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w- standard and the b/w-artworks rock. I already commented on the quality of writing and the new crunch is mostly nice. While I'm still not sold on centaurs and a certain racial trait of the Gaiant, I do absolutely love the fluff of the city. The city of mages makes sense and is a concisely-presented magocracy that makes for a neat little setting and contains some rather interesting characters, hooks galore and dreadful villains. I particularly enjoyed the "anti-mage"-classes like the magus-variant and the PrC.

Since I already commented on the high quality artworks and neat maps, I'll move on to some bits that didn't quite strike my fancy as much: If you already own all the other Mor Aldenn-pdfs like e.g. Moon's Folly and the Player's Guide, you'll find some of the information/content repeated. This holds especially true for the monster-section. I would have loved to see new critters there or alternatively get all the monsters from the compendium reprinted, not just a selection. I also would have loved some sample statblocks for Spellwarden-guardsmen and similar characters that utilize the unique crunch of the city - as written, you'll have to build the statblocks for e.g. watchmen yourself. On the other hand, the campaign setting is actually cheap for the amount of content provided and the quality you'll encounter in these pages.

While personally, I think some of the options to be on the upper scale of power, generally these glitches are by far outweighed by the cool ideas and content and the rather distinguished, unique fluff of the setting. The Ley lines especially offer potential galore. I am really hard-pressed to judge how to rate this particular pdf - On the one hand, I absolutely loved a lot of the content and Mor Aldenn actually came to a logical life in my mind - this by one who abhorred the player's guide and thought that it made no sense, by the way! On the other hand, there are some crunchy bits that are unbalanced, some wordings that could be slightly more precise and there is some reprinted material. Due to these minor issues, I can't bring myself to rating this campaign setting the full 5 stars, but I'll settle gladly for a final verdict of 4.5 stars. Your mileage may vary whether you'd round up or down. Due to the low price of only 10 bucks, though, and due to liking the fairy-tale like, truly magical atmosphere, villains with unique abilities etc.pp. of the setting, I'll round up. Just please be aware of the rough edges I mentioned in this review.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Mor Aldenn Setting Guide
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Headless Hydra Clip Art 13
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/11/2012 14:17:37
Yet another great piece from HH Games. This single pencil and ink? greyscale image is crisp and has just the right amount of personality to either be used as an inn, guildhall, or perhaps the manor of some wealthy merchant. Too bad we don't get a color piece as well. Nicely done!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Headless Hydra Clip Art 13
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[PFRPG] 15 Specific Weapons, Vol 1
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2012 11:40:54
This pdf is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial and 1 page SRD, leaving 8 pages of content, so let's check out these items, shall we?

The pdf begins with 3 pages explaining the nature of the items herein and discusses a problem rather dear to me: Making magic items feel magical and not something you could buy mass-produced at your convenience store.

After that, we are introduced to a neat array of magic items that have some magical properties beyond e.g. thundering etc. A nice example would be the spiked shield called face destroyer: The shield features a screaming face that has its eyes poked out by the shield's spikes and every time a victim gets hit by the shield, they take charisma damage and the shield changes to reflect the face of said victim. Awesome idea and makes for a nice complication to a given story/investigation. The items feel unique and I considered them neat.

We also get a new magical weapon property (venomous) and the boil skin spell.

Conclusion:
Formatting is top-notch, editing unfortunately is not: There are quite some punctuation errors that make reading this less enjoyable than it otherwise would have been. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column standard and the pdf actually features excellent b/w-artworks of several items - awesome and not something I would have expected at this price point. The pdf has no bookmarks. Content-wise, I don't have anything to complain about, although I would have like the abilities go even a step beyond. In the end, the items fulfill their design goals and feel unique. The extremely fair price is another thing going for this pdf and in the end, I did enjoy this pdf. While the editing glitches keep it from being a full 5 stars, I still consider this pdf an awesome buy and give it a final verdict of 4 stars - for less than a buck you should definitely check this out!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] 15 Specific Weapons, Vol 1
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[PFRPG] The Haunting of Soldragon Academy
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/28/2011 11:10:52
If the plot of The Haunting of Soldragon Academy sounds familiar. It is because you are summoning up memories of many a morning in front of the television watching Scooby Doo Marathons. Though the plot follows a familiar formula, the adventure has a lively enough cask to almost reach a Supernatural episode.

Soldragon is a 26 page adventure that involves the PCs making a trip to a haunted academy. A ghost may be causing mayhem to the students and it is up to the PCs to solve the mystery before all the students leave. Mysteries are fairly hard to craft in Pathfinder, and the writer does a somewhat decent job in setting some initial stages, particularly finding out who the ghost is. Helpful sidebars and additional information in the Appendix go a long way to making the adventure easy to run. Despite using a haunting, the writer oddly did not attempt to use Pathfinder’s Haunts.

Soldragon feels like it needs a tad more punch, which is nothing that an experienced dungeon master can’t fix with a couple of well placed haunts. Where Souldragon shines is it’s character development. The kids are written well and contain the kind of dialogue to make your party members question child murder laws in a dungeons and dragons setting.

For the Dungeon Master
Despite some action short comings, the structure of Soldragon is crafted well. The encounters are thought out and well statted for the party level.

The Iron Word
The Haunting of Soldragon Academy is a good adventure for a party looking for a slight break after an intense story arc. The mystery would have worked better if played out more, but the role playing for the characters makes up for its brevity.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] The Haunting of Soldragon Academy
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[PFRPG] Wreck of the Keening Crone
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2011 06:36:25
This adventure is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 30.5 pages of content, so let's check out the latest adventure set in Headless Hydra Games' Mor Aldenn setting!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS, thus I encourage potential players to skip to the conclusion.

Still here? Righty right, so this is what happens: The Spindleflow River that flows past Mor Aldenn is not only magically contaminated, sporting enchanted trout (see the creature compendium), but also is mildly acidic thanks to the corruption seething upstream. Thus, riverboats are usually very closely guarded. The sabotage and subsequent capsizing of the vessel is thus quite a piece of news, especially due to the valuable cargo - mithril! The PCs hear of this from an old fisher who happens to have witnessed it and immediately should head out - time is of the essence and the chase is on. To drive this point home, the fisher and the PCs are immediately attacked by thugs who fight to kill in order to thin the competition. And the competition isn't dumb, having made sure that no swan boat feather tokens are available in the city.

After that, the job-offers start fluttering in: The raven familiar of the archmage Ardamiron makes an offer, as does the clockwork bird of the mysterious Miller (both notes are included as handouts) and finally Keandra Summersong, the divorced wife of the captain has a third offer for the PCs. Depending on their patron affiliations, their standing in Mor Aldenn and the loot available might change. The choice also influences their equipment, for the Miller for example offers them his clockwork boat and they, of course might also set out on their own. In any case, the things the mithril can be made to by the archmages should provide enticing incentives. Time is of the essence in this adventure, and not only in theory: Every encounter from here on influences the number of haste points the PCs can get and depending on the amount they accumulate, the final encounters will change. The race to the keening crone is on and the hazards ahead sometimes pose hard questions to the PCs of using haste or doing the charitable thing.

The PCs have to brave Spindleflow distillations and the dread harpies there, maneuver their boats through the treacherous waters of the Spindleflow by night (done via an equipment-enhanced skill challenge), brave manticores, haunts and will-o'-wisps, giant leeches, and shipwrecked salvagers beset by a young black dragon to finally arrive at the wreck of the keening crone. The keening crone and its surrounding are depicted in little maps and what exactly is going on depends on the amount of haste points the PCs managed to accumulate: Both criminal mastermind Yem Targus' looters and boggards are interested in the wreck and there may or may not be an ongoing battle or even air inside the capsized vessel. Boggards? Yep, for the true mastermind of the crone's misfortune has already made of, taking its captain hostage. The PCs will have to track the boggard minions to an abandoned complex in the wilderness, where they'll have to brave the forces of Sivix, a dark Naga to claim their reward, as per their allegiance.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches or awkward wordings - neat! Layout adheres to the new, elegant and beautifully-designed 2-column b/w-standard by Headless Hydra Games and the b/w-artworks are top-notch. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. I also enjoyed that we get handouts for two of the offers, though I would have loved to get them on a separate page - they are included right in the middle of the adventure, necessitating you printing out the pages 2 times - once for you as a DM and once for your players. Some time ago I reviewed an overland chase and was rather annoyed that dillydallying had no real consequences in it. This is different. Not only is the mechanic rather easy to implement and use in your own adventures, is also nets quite real consequences.
In fact, I would have loved for the consequences to be even more pronounced, with a greater breadth of difficulty added for dawdlers. And yeah, this adventure is by no means easy, but I would have done so never the less. I do have essentially one gripe with this adventure and that is that the climax is not centered around looting the submerged wreck, but instead a rather bland mini-dungeon.

Just think about it: Make the ship a bit larger, add varying levels of air/water inside depending on the haste points and have the PCs arrive while both factions are battling through the vessel, diving in and out of the water while hunting for the price - it would have been a much more memorable climax and the environmental peculiarities of underwater combat would have made a major or at least moderate exploration much more enticing. This wasted potential is all that mars an otherwise excellent little module and thus my final verdict will be 4 stars. Well done!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Wreck of the Keening Crone
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[PFRPG] The Clockworker
by Louis P. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2011 08:27:27
I have read many of the reviews for this product and I have to agree it is a good solid idea that has a few issues with the implantation of it. But still a solid idea that can be add-on to and expanded. I think I got my monies worth, but I would love an update dealing with the stated issues.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] The Clockworker
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[PFRPG] The Clockworker
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2011 09:48:09
This pdf is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page editorial, 3/4 of a page SRD, leaving 17 3/4 pages of content, so let's check this Clockworker out, shall we?

This base-class is interesting in that it not only makes for an interesting addition to the Mor Aldenn setting ( I wasn't aware of steam-punkish elements until now), but also in that it provides an alternative to the Summoner that features a different approaches to the base mechanic utilized by the Summoner.

The Clockworker gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB progression, good ref-saves, arcane spell progression up to the 6th level from his schematics portfolio (like a wizard's spellbook), the ability to cast with spell failure in light armor, spontaneously convert his spells into mending spells and trapfinding, making the Clockworker a valid replacement for the rogue with regards to traps and the disposal of them The Clockworker has two true signature abilities, though - the ability to create drones and a servitor.

Drones are disposable, small constructs that can execute a limited amount of commands depending on the level of the Clockworker before becoming inert after 0.5 times Clockworker level charges are spent. The Clockworker can deploy these drones 3+ Int modifier times per day as an AoO-provoking full round action. Starting with utility drones, the Clockwroker gets subsequent access to drones that may fly, use evasion, shield allies, carry spells and fight via crossbows. There are some problems with the drones as written, though: Combat Drones don't get proficiency for their crossbow attacks and only get a +4 boost to Str, meaning that their rather low Str-score evens out a now bonus to hit at 10. They come with a basic Dex of 14 that, as written, cannot be upgraded easily, granting the drones a +2 to hit with their crossbows, resulting in a penalty of -2 due to non-proficiency. The melee attack in contrast to the ranged attacks, is a claw-attack dealing 1d2 damage. In melee, the Drone uses either the Clockworker's Dex or Str-modifier and BAB to calculate their attacks. Due to no Str-score-bonus on part of the drones, this is the netto-bonus, officially making the drone-attacks in melee about as efficient as a ray of frost and economy-of-actions-wise, a very bad idea.

Add to that the fact that the drones don't get rapid reload, and, while their damage-dealing capacity in ranged combat are better than in melee, they hit terribly at -2 the Clockworker's BAB for negligible damage and take a lot of actions and we're in for a waste of actions in ranged combat as well. As written, it is not clear whether they carry their own ammunition or whether the Clockworker has to hand them their ammunition, eating up even more actions and making them even less useful. I'm sad to say it, but as written, the drones are utterly, completely USELESS apart from their first level utility functions, minor AC-bonuses (+ 2 per drone, similar bonuses don't require a full round action from other sources like clerics and hold up longer and the drones only get accessible at 9th level) and the high-level spell-channeling powers.

Servitors are the Clockworker's equivalent of a Summoner's eidolon and in stark contrast to the drone-rules, the servitor rules provide the possibility to create small, medium, large and even huge servitors. They also come with 4 different basic forms, quadruped, biped, wheeled and serpentine. The wide variety of different innovations (ranging from 1-point to 4-point innovations, analogue to the evolutions of the eidolon), the innovations enable you to truly customize the servitor, enabling you to create serpentine, breath-weapon using horrors or even you very own siege tanks. To add even further options to the Clockworker's arsenal, he can construct a mechanical harness to benefit from such innovations himself at the cost of his servitor's available innovation pool. The servitor has one MAJOR downside, though: When dismissed by the Clockworker, they collapse into themselves - one well-places charm spell and that's it - the Clockworker has to spend 8 hours reassembling the servitor. 8 hours! While I'm always for classes with some kind of Achilles heel, this particular one is far too easily exploitable and should be errataed/house-ruled, especially with the upkeep cost of the drones and servitors being already a minor drawback.

The pdf closes with mending spells to repair the servitors and other constructs and the Clockworker's spell-list. Unfortunately, the list is VERY blast-mageish/ evocation-heavy. While I do get the idea of the Clockworker creating electric bolts, acidic blasts etc., I think that a class like the Clockworker probably should do such things via his servitor/drones, not his spells, as I do have to admit some balance-concerns here - there's a reason for the Summoner's rather defense-focused, limited spell-list after all and adding Sorceror-style blast capacity to the servitor class-feature might prove unbalancing, depending on your game/players.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful b/w-two-column standard that is more printer-friendly than HHG's old standard and even surpasses it in beauty. The interior artworks of clockworks are stunning and of the highest quality, again, Kudos where Kudos are due! The pdf comes with full bookmarks, making navigation of the pdf easy.

First of all: I love the idea of the Clockworker - it's a complex, versatile class with interesting mechanics and great ideas - in fact, I prefer it over the Summoner. Or rather, I would prefer it over the Summoner, were it not for 2 essential problems that drag down what would otherwise be a 4, 4.5 or even 5-star-pdf: The signature abilities just don't work as they should. The drones remain mostly useless things that consume horrendous amounts of actions until they gain access to spells and even then their usability is rather limited. The servitor can be easily dismantled by one botched will-save and seeing that the Clockworker gets bad will-saves, that's a likely thing to happen. Add to that the spell-list that might lead to balance-concerns when the two signature abilities are hand-waved to work and we unfortunately get a class in severe need of a revision.
Don't get me wrong, the Clockworker is far from unsalvageable, in fact, the contrary holds true - with a revision of at least the drone rules and the collapsing servitor-problem, we'd be looking at a high score of 4 or 4.5, perhaps even 5 stars instead. As written, though, my final verdict for the Clockworker, as much as I hate giving it, has to be 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2. I really hope the class gets a revision soon so that I can scale up my review to reflect the ingenious ideas herein.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] The Clockworker
by thomas c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2011 12:26:53
Excellent and highly reccomended. I like the charecter concept. Kinda like an alternative summoner. Perfect for steampunk oriented campaigns and would also work well in
eberron or the new Zeitgeist settings.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Foes Clip Art 8
by William P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2011 07:17:29
This is the second FF art pack I have purchased and both have been terrific. Great art at a great price. I had trouble with the .rar format and the folks at Headless Hydra emailed me back almost immediately with a solution. Thanks, kudos, and I will be buying more from this collection!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Foes Clip Art 8
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HHG Free Clip Art 4
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/05/2011 07:02:11
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/08/05/the-night-gallery-volum-
e-i-issue-i/


Now for our final drawing. Drake Disk Ornament is free from Headless Hydra Games. And what do you get for free? A surprisingly well drawn and detailed ornamental piece. With drakes on it. (the lizard kind, not the bird kind) The piece has a nice pseudo-celtic/nordic theme with two large drakes prowling around the border. In fact, they look suspiciously life-like, as if this was a piece of treasure you’re not certain you want to keep.

As I mentioned above, I think good art should mean good storytelling. In this simple piece, you have several possibilities, from a simple bit of clip-art for theme, an intricate ward or lock, or even a missing piece of a larger whole, the beginning of an epic quest.

And all this for the stately price of nothing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HHG Free Clip Art 4
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