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Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2011 13:22:11
Originally Posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/08/02/the-gazetteer-volume-i--
issue-ii/

Man, this is our second Mor Aldenn map review in as many days. We kind of like Headless Hydra games here, don’t we? Although I gave a “thumbs in the middle” to The Wizard’s Staff map, here we are getting four maps for five bucks, which is a nice deal. Where The Wizard’s Staff was a map for a single location within the city of Mor Aldenn (although it could be apply to many fantasy campaigns), the Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack covers the actual city or Mor Aldenn itself.

Like other Mor Aldenn maps, this is NOT for use with a miniatures based campaign. These maps are either for DM reference or to hand out as a prop to your players. All four maps show the city of Mor Aldenn, but in different ways. The first map is a beautifully illustrated .tiff image showing the ley lines around the city. There are eight different sections, but I have no idea what they mean or how they can be used, so to find out you’ll either to have a Mor Aldenn sourcebook or a strong imagination. The second map is a full color map of the side from an overhead perspective. This, too, is beautifully done, but you’re getting an overview of the area rather than a street side view of the city, so if you are looking for something that gives you an exact layout of Mor Aldenn, you’ll want to look elsewhere. This map does have a handy legend pointing out all the important parts in the island city and its surroundings, so if you are thinking of running a campaign in this setting, it would be very handy to have. The third map is the same as the second, but it is in grayscale instead of colour. The fourth and final map is the same as the second one, but without the legend or location numbering.

Basically you’re paying five bucks for a ley line map and three versions of a second map. That’s not too bad, but compared to several of the other maps we’ve looked at over the past two days, it is a bit pricey for a single map.

The Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack is a must have if you are planning to use this campaign setting, but it’s only useful for that specific niche of gamers. Everyone else has no real need to pick this up.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack
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Wizard's Staff Cartography
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/01/2011 07:21:03
Originally Posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/08/01/the-gazetteer-volume-i--
issue-i/

This is an odd duck. On RPGNow.com’s website it says you’ll be getting a pdf, but what you download is actually a jpeg. As well, unlike the two previous maps we’ve covered in this column, this can’t actually be used with miniatures. It’s just too small. As such it’s a map that works best as a DM reference for campaigns that don’t use mini and instead visualize their entire adventures. I do both, so I’m fine with that, but due to the size it does limit who can actually use this.

Although this map is designed by Headless Hydra Games, it isn’t specifically designed for their Mor Aldenn campaign setting. It’s is a location in the city of Mor Aldenn, but it is designed to work in any fantasy campaign for any rules system. You might also think from the name that The Wizard’s Staff is going to be a magic oriented dungeon or a keep for a high level mage, but in fact the map is meant to be an inn. That’s kind of a neat twist name-wise.

The inn is three stories and there is a little guide to the various rooms, but there is no actual detail to the map. It’s a bare bones grid based diagram and it feels as hollow as it looks. For example, the kitchen is completely empty. There’s no pots, shelves or tables. It’s just an empty room. Same with the bedrooms. There aren’t any beds! Again, due to the lack of detail, this map really should only be used by a DM who wants a specifically visual guide and who is creative enough to fill in the little touches on their own. It’s by no means something that should be handed to the players. It’s a nice layout (even if the structure wouldn’t support itself in real life), but it needed to be fleshed out a bit more.

For a dollar fifty, this is still a pretty decent by in theory, but it really pales in comparison to Warlord’s Watchtower that we covered above, as it has more detail and it is a lot cheaper. It’s also hard to think of when you’ll need a highly detailed map of an inn, but it’s nice to have one on hand it case it comes up in a campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wizard's Staff Cartography
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[PFRPG] Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/22/2011 07:03:09
Originally Published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/07/22/tabletop-review-mor-ald-
enn-creature-compendium/

There are a pretty wide variety of RPG books out there. There are core books and modules, setting guides and splatbooks. My favorite, though, has always been the monster catalog. The Monster Manual, the Fiend Folio, these are the books that I covet. I will even horde monster catalogs for games I have no intention of ever playing.

A well constructed monster catalog has a variety of creature types, descriptions with plenty of adventure hooks, and challenging encounters for a spectrum of player levels. There are only so many mindless animals and filth covered goblinoids a party can face before a party gets bored. The creatures included are: Arachnus, Black Glass Undead, Blacktalon Lizardfolk, Marsh Dragon, Gaiant, Bog Giant, Gold Cap, Hag Spider, Leyspinner, Mahr, Manifest Child of the Ether, Marshling, Mirejack, Mythraven, Plaguecrawler, Portune, Puppet Imp, Spell Pike, Stiltskin, Tuskbeast, and Veraxar.

The Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium is intended for use with the Mor Aldenn: City of Mages Pathfinder setting, but all 21 of the included monsters are suitable for Golarian campaigns. The implied setting is a swamp, so the monsters tend to be more swamp appropriate than anything else. Certain creatures, like the Portune, could have an impact on an entire campaign and not just an encounter.

For example, the Bog Giant could be a central figure in multiple adventures as a party advances in level. The Bog Giant is described as looking like a ‘walking boulder’ but is Neutral Good and prone to assisting lost travellers in the marsh. A low-level party encountering the kindly Bog Giant could be startled and inclined to violence, but ultimately helped by the large stranger. Perhaps they could stumble upon a wounded or trapped Bog Giant and earn a favor by helping him. A higher levelled party could be called upon by a Bog Giant to help fight an even larger monster, even a dragon. A sample scenario could go something like this:

A merchant hires the party to enter the marshes to recover items from a caravan that has been lost. The party hears the sounds of battle, but they arrive to find the caravan smashed to bits, most of the guards dead, and a giant, filthy man charging into the brush. The lone survivor of the caravan ambush is delirious and only recalls the attack coming out of nowhere, being knocked unconscious, and awaking to see a giant standing over him. The party could track the Bog Giant and find him battling any number of foes, even a party of humans. Maybe one of his opponents is using a weapon or equipment from the caravan. There could be a superhero team-up comic misunderstanding, with the party taking the wrong side and chasing off the kind Giant and helping the bandits or the party might be able to deduce that the Giant is a good guy. If you are using the Mor Aldenn setting, the enemy in question could even be a disciple of the Hag Witch. This could lead to an alliance with the lone Bog Giant or even with a small tribe or to an enduring friendship with the few good creatures of the marshes. Since the Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium has such a large number of swamp creatures, the whole campaign could lean towards cleaning the swamp of the evil presence within.

The cover art is a good indicator of what to expect inside – first party quality from a third party publisher. Each creature, except the pretty self-explanatory Spell Pike, gets a black and white piece of artwork. These pieces are universally high quality, with the style varying from 1st Edition D&D to the more modern Paizo style.

One thread that is woven throughout the book, and I suspect the entire Mor Aldenn setting, is the relationship between the supernatural and the common man. There are references to fairy tales and folklore, which help people remember the rules of conduct when it comes to dealing with the fae and supernatural. The use of rumors and hearsay in the descriptions makes it much easier to think of reasons for your players to use their Knowledge skills and get to know their creature biology.

At 35 pages for $4.99, the Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium packs a high usefulness to cost ratio. Even for Pathfinder GMs not intending to use the Mor Aldenn setting, there is much to love in this bestiary. The breadth and depth of certain monsters in this compendium justify the purchase on their own. Even the more esoteric creatures have a purpose. Yes, that does mean I am planning an adventure centered around the Spell Pike. Anyone have a Fishing Rod +2?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium
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[PFRPG] Eldritch Secrets, Vol 1
by Paco G. J. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2011 11:11:49
This review was written by Thilo Graf and first published in G*M*S Magazine

This pdf from Headless Hydra Games is 106 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside front cover, 1 page header, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, 2 blank pages inside back cover, 2 pages of advertisements, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving 95.5 pages of content, so let’s check out this spell selection.

First of all let me say that I LOVE the beautiful full-color artwork – the full color artworks spread throughout the book rank among the most creepy, evocative and cool I’ve seen in any 3pp’s book out there. Unfortunately, the file does not come with a printer-friendly version, though, so prepare your printer to be challenged. The result is worth it, though! Secondly, you’ll realize that this book offers full-blown support of the APG, including spells that have been specifically designed for the new classes and even features some new alchemist’s discoveries in a side-bar. Which brings me to my hallmark for great spells, Rite Publishing’s awesome 101 spells series, which as of the writing of this review, does not feature this support. (Though it is in the process of being added in the upcoming compilation!) Thus, Eldritch Compendium gets 2 plus points. What about the spells, then?

They are interesting, that’s sure. Ever wanted your death to trigger the arrival of a terrible bird that carries your corpse away to have it resurrected? Create mirrors to show other places? Conjure up terrible silent, disturbing entities of pure magic (that come with awesome artworks – the Ether Child ROCKS!)? What about a spell for each school of magic that can be considered the epitome of the respective school, making you temporarily a tremendously powerful incarnation of the respective force of magic? A spell to make a ship fly for a limited amount of time? A spell that synesthetically exchanges two of your opponents’ senses, thus confusing him/her? A spell to summon tiny, disturbing stick effigies to obey your command? A spell to add magical blades to the sides of horses, making for an even more deadly charge. “Ladder of Tresses” lets the hair of the target grow long and makes it climbable. There’s also a cantrip that makes regular surfaces temporarily a mirror.

There are also “Quintessential” spells for each of the schools of magic – these spells are 9th level and are the epitome of the arcane power of the respective school, making e.g. the necromancer an avatar of death. While powerful, I can see them being a great high-level-reward or even the aim of a caster’s whole career. While some side-boxes acknowledge their power, personally I don’t consider them OP. Among the rather story-centric spells, we also get a ritual to restore a ruin to its former state. A spell I considered interesting, but potentially unbalancing, is “Spellbreaker” – it works on another spell and makes it automatically bypass spell resistance.

We also get 6 new feats, 7 new magic items and appendices of spell-lists by schools, use, descriptor and author, helping to find the spells you’re looking for.

Conclusion:

Editing is ok – I noticed less than 10 glitches on 106 pages and none truly impeded my enjoyment of the spells. Layout and full-color artworks absolutely rock – this is one of the most beautiful 3pp-books I’ve seen out there. On the downside, though, there’s no printer-friendly version and this book extols a heavy price from your printer. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and in contrast to other spell-books, features a lot of spells with a story/non-combat usage, which is awesome, at least in my opinion – it means that the book serves rather as a complimentary book to e.g. the 101-series by Rite rather than being a direct competitor. The book is so different in focus and tone from RiP’s stellar series that I’ll be using both. Where the RiP-series is rather focused on mechanics and encounters, this book does not offer as many brilliant rules as RiP, but it has some story-heavy fluff that immediately makes you come up with cool ideas to use them. On the downside, though, some of these spells suffer from their rules being not as clear as they could be. While the book is stunningly beautiful, not having a printer-friendly version hurts the usability of the book. In the end, my final verdict will be 4 stars – if you’re looking for an old-world-style spell-book, this is a great, albeit not perfect buy. If you’re looking for some spells that feel different or some APG-support, this might even be 4.5 stars for you.

Source: G*M*S Magazine (http://s.tt/12PRU)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Eldritch Secrets, Vol 1
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[PFRPG] Moon's Folly
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2011 03:43:45
Moon's Folly by Headless Hydra

This product is 28 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, and overview. (2 pages)

Moon's Folly (4 ½ pages)
Moon's Folly is a town that grew out of a lumber village and has since become a way stop for caravans. This first section talks about the history of the town, map of the area, map of the town and the locations around town.

Notable NPC's (3 ½ pages)
Here it has a section on the NPC's in and around the town of note. Three of them have full stat blocks and twelve more just have paragraph writes up about them.

New Rules (3 pages)
There is 4 new traits, 5 new feats, and 4 new equipment items. Two of the feats I thought where to strong. One is only for were creatures but it ups there DR to 10 and the other grants a DR 2/cold iron. The others where ok, some of the traits are for were creature PC's as well, but where I thought ok. Assuming you are ok with such PC's in the first place.

New Monsters (1 page)
Stiltskin – A type of fey, CR8, a subterranean creature that collects secrets. I thought it was very interesting new creature with what they do.

On the Road from Mor Aldenn (2 pages)
This section talks about traveling from the nearest city, travel times etc. It also has 9 suggested random encounters. There is no random table just nine suggestions. Some are combat and some are not. I do have one critic about the combat ones, I would they would have added a page number to the monster in question as there is not stat blocks. There is also 11 rumors one might hear about Moon's Folly.

Secrets of Moon's Folly (4 pages)
In this section is five adventure idea's. Each is about half a page long or longer. They are fairly interesting and well thought out. Though a DM would need to flesh the idea's out themselves.

It ends with a OGL, campaign notes pages and a blank page. (7 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art is black and white, ranges from meh to fair. Layout and editing is pretty good. I didn't notice a few mistakes here and there but not to bad. This is a basic location book with some adventure idea's. With the OGL, notes(and I am not sure why there is 5 pages of campaign notes pages to be printed it, it is a PDF the page could be printed as much as wanted) The book is only 21 pages long with only 19 of that actual content. The book is pretty decent but feels incomplete. It could have really used a few more pages honestly. It's a nice start all and all though, so maybe they will do a follow up product on it. So what's my rating? Well for the 3.99 price I am going to have to give it a 3 star. If you are looking for a basic setting and adventure idea's it's not bad.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Moon's Folly
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Forgotten Foes Clip Art 4
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2011 09:52:18
12 excellent pieces of art to use as monster or character art or use in your own products with included license. All are black and white, but have a feel about them like you are reading a high-end bestiary. These are more inline with the classic monster books of the 1980s. The quality is great and the monsters/characters are good fantasy fare.
Includes a PDF for easy viewing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Foes Clip Art 4
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Forgotten Foes Clip Art 3
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2011 09:50:59
14 excellent pieces of art to use as monster or character art or use in your own products with included license. All are black and white, but have a feel about them like you are reading a high-end bestiary of some really alien looking creatures. Includes a PDF for easy viewing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Foes Clip Art 3
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Forgotten Foes Clip Art 1
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2011 09:49:15
12 excellent pieces of art to use as monster or character art or use in your own products with included license. All are black and white, but have a feel about them like you are reading a high-end bestiary. What would be nice if someone came up with stats for these for their own games.
Includes a PDF for easy viewing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Foes Clip Art 1
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to review one of our Clip Art packages! Actually, these illustrations were used and is featured as Pathfinder monsters in Tricky Owlbear's Forgotten Foes! - Axel
[PFRPG] Moon's Folly
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2011 00:13:56
I love little towns with a lot of mystery. I love weird, freaky cults and weird, freaky goings on. And I love material that I can use in any setting, especially my own.
So I snatched up Moon's Folly in a hurry.
So take a town, plant it near a pre-historic megalithic structure. Fill it full of humans, elves, fey and lycanthropes and all peacefully worshiping the Moon Goddess, add your PCs and I am sure something is going to happen. But in case you are at a loss for ideas, there are plenty in this book. Did I mention that there some lumberers wanting to cut down the forest for profit? Yeah they are there too.

Reminds me a bit of the Village of Hommlet, if Hommlet was in the Scottish Highlands surrounded by dryads.
There are plenty of other secrets and plenty of NPCs to keep a Game Master occupied.

The one thing it is missing though is some sort of threat the Characters can solve the old-fashioned way, with sense violence. Not a requirement mind you, but players do enjoy a good combat session. The Keep had the Caves of Chaos, Hommlet had the Temple of Elemental Evil and Moon's Folly could do with something similar.

All in all, an enjoyable work and a great starting place for a group of new adventurers.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Moon's Folly
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[PFRPG] At the Heart of Evil
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2011 15:20:26
At the Heart of Evil by Headless Hydra Games

This product is 16 pages long. It starts with a cover and Credits. (2 pages)

Introduction (2 pages)
This is a background to the adventure, overview and some plot hooks.

The Old Keep (11 pages)
There is a map of all levels of the keep, there is a total of 12 encounters in the keep and room for some RPing even. It is mostly a fairly straight forward “dungeon crawl” where the PC's go and explore a old keep to defeat the evil that is rumored to be their.

It ends with a OGL. (1 pages)

Closing thoughts. The artwork is simple black and white, the maps are simple but well done. The encounters could be very dangerous in a couple of spots, which makes this adventure possible very hard. Or things might be very easy depending a bit on the makeup of the party. The adventure is undead heavy. Really there is two parts to this adventure and this is only the first part. I am assuming their will be a followup adventure to this free adventure for the next part. All and all this is fairly well done, there is not bookmarks or statblocks. I did have one critic, there is a woman the PC's can save and if they do they can earn a reward. Only it doesn't say what or even offer suggestions what the reward should be. I think it should have offered suggestions. The adventure could be used stand alone with out the second part fairly easy with only a few minor tweaks.

So what's my rating? Well it is free, but it is a fairly simple straight forward adventure. I recommend picking it up, but I am going to rate it with a 4 star review. A nice but pretty simple straight forward adventure that could have used a little more polish.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] At the Heart of Evil
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Headless Hydra Clip Art 10
by Creighton B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2011 10:42:11
This is a great image by Marc Radle. I love the artist's style and the image itself is very evocative of Old School type gaming. When I first saw it, I immediately thought of the Moathouse from Temple of Elemental Evil. Well worth picking up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Headless Hydra Clip Art 10
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Forgotten Foes Clip Art 2
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/02/2011 12:47:15
4 images of b/w clip art. Not bad stuff really. Great for in game use or for your publishing needs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Foes Clip Art 2
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[PFRPG] A Trail of Poison
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2010 12:02:59
A Trail of Poison by Headless Hydra

This product is 29 pages long. It starts with a cover, dedication and credits. (3 pages)

Chapter 0 – Intro to the adventure. (3 pages)
This is a adventure for 2nd level characters investigating animals being poisoned. This adventure is suppose to take place in Mor Alden: City of Mages campaign setting but could with little trouble be used in any setting with a small city near a large dark forest.

Chapter 1 – Entering the Spindlewood (6 pages)
Spindlewood is the name of the forest in the adventure. This part is where the PC's get contacted to help try and find out what is poisoning the local animals. There is 3 encounters in this section, with a neat reward that the PC's may or may not find at this time.

Chapter 2 – The Tower by the Shadow Lake (14 pages)
This is the bulk of the adventure. In this section is when the PC's learn what is really going on, why and who is behind it. Which of course like any good PC's will go off to put a end to their evil ways. There is 8 total encounters in a mini dungeon crawl of sorts. Two of them could prove very dangerous to a low level party.

It finished with a OGL, ad and back cover. (3 pages)

Closing thoughts. This is a simple pretty straight forward low level adventure. It has a solid pretty easy to use plot hook. The adventure has a little investigation in the wilderness followed by a pretty standard dungeon crawl. The artwork is all black and white and I have never seen it before, so I believe it is all original. The artwork all and all is pretty good.

Now the book does have a few flaws. Two fairly minor and one kinda annoying one. The two minor ones are. No bookmarks and no ToC. For a book this size not a big deal but they would have been nice. The bigger flaw is no stats for the monsters anywhere in the book. It list hp and what each one is but that’s about it. So to run the adventure you need the bestiary or Monster Manual. The reason it was done I believe is so the adventure could be use with either 3.5 OGL or Pathfinder as is. Still would have been nice to have two stat block sections or even as free DL's one for each.

While the flaw is annoying it doesn't kill by any means the value of the adventure. So if you are looking for a simple easy to run low level adventure this is worth the money. With a little work you could fairly easily adjust the level up a couple if need be. So whats my rating? For the price* and taking the flaws into account I am giving it a 4 star review.

*Note: I am not sure why but the adventure is listed as 3.50 on Drivethru but only 2.00 on Paizo. My review is based on the Paizo price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] A Trail of Poison
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[PFRPG] Eldritch Secrets, Vol 1
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2010 17:23:43
Eldrith Secrets by Headless Hydra Games

This product is 106 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, and Forward. (5 pages)

Chapter 1 – Spells and more spells (14 ½ pages)
This is the section of all the spell lists added to each class. The numbers may or may not be exact it was easy to miscount.
Alchemist - 24
Alchemist Discoveries – 4
Bard – 82
Cleric – 101
Druid – 75
Inquisitor – 45
Paladin – 27
Ranger – 52
Sorc/Wiz – 209
Summoner – 30
Witch – 43

Next is the spells themselves (69 ½ pages)
Here was some of my favorite spells. There is way way to many to list all so I will only list a few examples.
Abrupt Summoning – like normal summoning spells but with a shorter casting time, except you don't always know what you will summon, summoned creature is random.
Actaeon's Breath – creates a short term large area of fog. All that come into contact with the fog save or suffer from Baleful Polymorph effect for 1 week.
Alluring Voice – A sirens call to cause the target to come to the voice.
Bolt of Animation – causes negative energy dmg, those slain by it rise as a zombie under the control of the caster.
Eerie Forest – Makes a forest seem eerie cause those traveling in the area effected to make a save or become shaken. I do have one problem with this spell, area effected. I think this would have been a lot cooler of a spell with a much larger area covered, even if that meant raising the level.
Hornet Breath – vomit forth several swarms of hornets/wasp, while not under control they ignored the caster and their allies.
Lightning Web – works like web but made of electricity. Those caught it in take damage each round, those trying to break free take more. Save for half damage.
Manipulate appearance – Can change hair, skin and eye color at will for duration of spell.
Obscuring Flock – summons a flock of crows in a cone. Obscuring vision and causing damage to those inside. I think it should have been a area instead of a cone.
Plague of Fear – Cause sever fear in those that fail the save, in addition they can spread the fear like a plague to others for a long period of time. The only part that is not clear is once the plague starts can the targets be reinfected, my guess is no. But it doesn't say one way or the other.
Relocate and Relocate Other – Requires use of arcane mark on a target. The first spell allows the caster to teleport to the target at the casting of this spell. The other summons the target to the caster.
Transfer Soul – Move your soul into the body of a nearby animal and control it for the duration of the spell. Your body stays where it was in suspended Animation.

There was a couple of spells I had problems with.
Death Bird – When you are killed or dropped to negative points a Death bird shows up, claims your soul and carries your body off to a predetermined spot, moving at it's best speed. My problem with this spell what does it mean when it claims your soul? It doesn't explain what the means. My guess is that it is just fluff. The other problem is, what happens if before it reaches the location the spell duration runs out. Does it drop the body there? Or is the duration only for how long till the death bird can be activated and has no effect on the travel time for the bird. This spell while neat needed to be more clear.

Chapter 2 – More Eldrith Options (4 pages)
This section has 6 new feats and 7 new magic items.

Appendix 1 – Spells by school (1 1/2page)
Spells listed by school.

Appendix 2 – Spells by use (1 page)
Spells listed in either offensive, defensive or utility.

Appendix 3 – Spells by Descriptor (3 pages)
Acid, Air, Chaotic, Cold, Darkness, Death, Earth, etc.

Appendix 4 – Spells by Author (1 ½ pages)
You can see who designed each spell.

It finishes with a OGL, 2 ads and back cover. (6 pages)

Closing thoughts, this is a big book just choked full of spells. Some are variations of existing spells, others are improved or lesser versions of existing spells but many likely most are wholly new spells. The art work is fair to good, with a side bar listing each piece of art and what spell it is of. There is several side bars talking about making spell permanent, 2 new gods, to stats for a new monsters the Death Bird, Manifest Children of Ether and puppet Imp.

There is a lot to love about this book. Including a nice print friendly copy. There was very few bad spells if any. There was some spells I didn't like but that was more of not that they was bad, so much as they just didn't appeal to me. There is a few problems with the book. One of the problems which is hard to critic since few do it anyways. Is the appendix's, I love them but with them broken up in paragraph form instead of list form and in level makes them a lot less useful. I wish they have been broken up in spell list form or maybe a web enhancement can be added. This is especially true for spell schools.

The other problem and by far the biggest is some spells where not as clear as they could have or should have been. Most was very clear or clear enough but some was not, which is a pity. For the most part you can make a educated guess but in some cases the GM will just have to make a decision such as with the Death Bird Spell is listed.

The final thing is there was some spells I really felt should have been added to some classes spell lists. This is especially true for the new APG classes, who I felt got a bit short changed.

So whats my rating? I am torn I keep flip flopping between a 3.5 and a 4 star. What is good is very good but it needs work some places that really hurt. For the sheer number of spells and price it is a good by. I am coming down at a 4 star but just barely, truthfully it is likely more of a 3.75 star.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Eldritch Secrets, Vol 1
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[PFRPG] Gods of Mor Aldenn: Ehlora
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/26/2010 12:47:36
It’s very hard, in my opinion, to design deities and religions that really grab a player. Most of the time, a particular deity is just source of spells and domains, and their church is where you go to buy healing potions and the odd resurrection. Making the institution feel more fleshed-out than that requires a fairly substantial effort in highlighting the myriad nuances of church dogma, practices, beliefs, and other functions, which is a lot to do.

Gods of Mor Aldenn, Ehlora, from Headless Hydra Games, takes this idea and takes a sharp right turn, giving depth and focus not to the religion as a whole, but to a single specific church belonging to it. It’s an interesting idea, allowing them to narrow their focus considerably. So how well then does it work?

The PDF is eleven pages long, with a page for the OGL and a page advertising the setting’s blog. The remaining nine pages (including a sidebar for the credits) are dedicated to the church in the city of Mor Aldenn dedicated to the goddess Ehlora. In what I consider to be a plus, the PDF has full, nested bookmarks despite its brevity; a tip of the hat to Headless Hydra Games there.

The PDF is surprisingly graphic, despite its dearth of illustrations. Beyond the company logo and the picture in the ad at the end, there’s only a single illustration here, of Ehlora’s holy symbol. However, the product is never dull to look at thanks to some ingenious graphic design. All pages have a red border at the bottom and a dark border showing a small piece of a map at the top. Headers are in red text, and there are frequent sidebars that are white text in a red box, or red text against a white background. Additionally, stat blocks frequently appear in gray boxes.

The overall effect is that while none of these effects is particularly noticeable, they create a very vibrant look without impinging on readability. The product gains the illusion of being thoroughly illustrated without actually being so. It’s a very skillful move on the part of Headless Hydra Games, as it keeps the book visually distinctive without going overboard on what must have been a small art budget. Other small publishers should take note, here.

The book’s contents strive to pull off the same sense of giving you more while not actually having that much, but here the success is more limited. Ehlora herself gets about a page of text before the focus shifts to the Mor Aldenn church. Unfortunately, there’s almost nothing given about the actual building itself - no map, no history, no details of what services are available or what resources it has. Instead, the book focuses heavily on the scant handful of clerics who dwell there.

The head of the church is detailed fairly well, receiving a full stat block as well as some background on how she came to be where she is, as well as outlining her current sketch – e.g. what her goals are now, what she will and won’t do, etc. It’s a pretty good write-up for an NPC, and it’s clear that she’s meant to be the product’s most practical focus in terms of interacting with your PCs. The previous head of the church, now a mad old woman, is also detailed somewhat, but the reasons she went mad and what it really means now are downplayed in favor of letting the GM decide how to use her in a game.

The two generic acolytes receive stat blocks but no real character development before the book moves onto some adventure hooks. Three are given, one having a stat block for an antagonist, before the book gets serious about new crunch. There’s a sidebar with a new feat for the faithful of Ehlora, and then we receive eight new spells, mostly minor in nature.

There are a few other things here, such as a brief overview of Ehlora’s holidays, typical spells a cleric of Ehlora would likely know, etc. but this pretty well covers the product. My overall impression was that it wanted to put its most practical face forward, leading with things that would most directly impact the PCs in your game. It does a pretty good job of that, but focuses on that so much that it sacrifices a lot of wider applicability – the new spells help to broaden its focus, of course, and there’s some sense of what these clerics actually do for their city, but it’d have been nicer if we got a sense of history about their church (if not their religion), a map of the building itself, maybe some detail about the two acolytes (despite being only two of them in a church that has a total of three priestesses, they don’t have individual names), etc.

The bottom line is that, while the two major NPCs feel fairly real (and I’m being generous in regards to the mad old woman character), everything else is so sparsely covered as to be barely there. We have only a minor sense of the goddess herself, not much of this specific church, but a fair amount about the woman who administrates it. That’s not bad, but it’s not enough either. Gods of Mor Aldenn, Ehlora isn’t a bad product – I rated it as highly as I did because I like what’s here – but it feels like an incomplete one.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Gods of Mor Aldenn: Ehlora
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