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Death Slaves of Eternity (DCC)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2017 07:14:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive adventure clocks in at 80 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a MASSIVE 76 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, first of all, this is a funnel (0 level adventure) and as such, the review will contain SPOILERS later...but it also is a bit more than that: The adventure actually has quite a bit of interesting supplemental material, so let's start by discussing that: One of the appendices contains various curses for plundering the dead; there is a nice 100-entry-strong loot-table for judges and we can find a d30-table of magic items, which include enchanted gladiatorial paint, magic veils, vine made from golden pomegranates, the iconic hand of glory, the horror in clay that can be sent after foes, starsteel items and purple lotus dust. I encountered no issues in this section - the items are evocative and cool.

The pdf also contains the ancient god-king Mog'malu as a new patron, complete with 3 new spells, spellburn table, etc. - and yep, they are well-crafted. Similarly, clerics of the patron can be found, with unique sacred mysteries, titles by level and disapproval-table. The pdf also features something fans of Sword & Sorcery will appreciate: Reskins of halflings, elves and dwarves, who become pirates, cultists and soldiers, respectively. So yes, this is a surprisingly crunchy offering for a module...

...but you want to know about the module, right? Okay, so let's start with the SPOILERS! Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion!

...

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great!

So, this module is made for 12 to 16 player characters - true to the concept of the funnel, not all will survive this: The module is challenging, so pack your spare character. ;P

The Mad-Sultan fancies himself the heir of the god-king Xothula, deeming his right to rule divine; as such, this decadent tyrant has reinstated the practice of Servus Mortem . the use of the eponymous death slaves, destined to accompany beings of high standing to the afterlife. The sultan drugged his wife with the help of his physician, entombing her "dead", but really just sleeping body and her children in the sacred crypts of eternity...and you don't become tyrant while leaving loose ends...and so the physician joined, much to his horror, the ranks of the death slaves.

Meanwhile, the queen on her funeral bier, with only the wailing of her children to break the silence of the tomb, attracted the attention of a thing from the Outer Dark - and thus, arise she did, awash in cosmic filth, reborn as the Crypt Mother, kept in the equilibrium between devil and mortal, life and death. It has been decades since and the Mad-Sultan is growing old - his son, blood prince Sabal-Ya, visited the PC's humble abode...but the prince was slain and the investigator, the Holy Vizier, declared that all must suffer for the prince's death - and as such, the PCs are condemned as Servus Mortem to the crypts as death slaves...but unbeknown to the PCs, the blood prince has faked his death in a mad gambit: Convinced that he was bound for an eternity of torment, he is obsessed with reaching the gates of paradise contained in the crypts - it is the prince's gambit that flooding the dungeon with death-slaves will allow him to reach his goal.

The PCs get their starting occupations, circumstances of their arrest and starting luck influences the additional information they may have. The starting occupation, btw. is represented by a massive table that also determines the equipment the poor death-slaves will bring along, 12 rumors and superstitions and a massive 1-page read-aloud text help setting the scene.

Within the crypts awaits btw. Mog'mula -ram-headed giant and true godking, to whom Xothula was bad an ill-fated apprentice, who nonetheless managed to seal the giant. The dungeon complex features lavishly-detailed and well-crafted read-aloud text galore, and the clues the PCs can find offer degrees of success, allowing for fine differentiation. Similarly worthwhile mentioning would be the fact that sidebars help the judge to depict the respective NPCs properly. It should also be noted that "floating" encounters not tied to a specific locale come with the same, lavish attention to detail that is afforded to the exploration of the complex itself. Lightning is generated by strange witch-light that gleam in unholy, green radiance...and rumor tables among the servus mortem and advice on replacing PCs that have fallen to the complex.

The crypt of the faithful comes with a handy table if the PCs get lost (and don't want to try to find their way...) and truly, within these halls challenges galore can be found mind maggot prowlers, undead, cackling fools with their infected blood...have I noted the crypts of the mother and the maddening visions? The glorious direct and indirect storytelling? The fact that this module combines the best traits of a dungeon-exploration and investigation?

The module is also studded with copious pieces of full-page full-color artworks, many of which depict the iconic creatures and strange rooms the PCs can - like the chamber of gleaming, black stone, the walls arranged as though they were stars of a mad geometry, with a black block in the middle, from which a rune-carved, gigantic tusk rises. Oh yes, this dungeon is EVOCATIVE. Unique. It is wondrous...and even regular rooms often feature prose that is as captivating as the sword & sorcery greats that have inspired this module - when dead kings, forever crowned in sorrow, corrupted concubines and the wings torn from an erstwhile god await...then you're not just playing an amazing dungeon that epitomizes the aesthetics that set DCC apart - then you're playing a module that is amazing, regardless of the system you're using. (Though, seriously - play it in DCC!) Oh, and yes, there obviously is a guardian down here, a cosmic horror, whose artwork is fantastic in its weirdness...and the conclusion is perhaps the most furious becoming an adventurer-narrative I have read in ages....and no, I am not going to SPOIL the finale...I want you to get this.

The handy appendices keep monsters, NPCs, etc. all in line.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious accumulation of glitches. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf comes with A LOT of original full-color artworks that help render this an aesthetically-pleasing experience. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. The cartography is in full-color and really nice - my only complaint here remaining that there is no key-less, player-friendly version.

Marzio Muscedere's Death-Slaves of Eternity is a massive...ah, eff it, I can't do that neutral shtick here: THIS IS AWESOME. Seriously, this funnel OOZES amazing Sword & Sorcery flair, pure weirdness, is creative, has precise crunch, copious amounts of well-written prose and oozes style, flair and panache galore. This is one downright glorious, massive module - and if you even remotely like the subject matter, you should definitely get this. I mean it. Even if you don't play DCC, this module is frankly a glorious, rewarding and creative funnel that leaves nothing to be desired and may be worth converting, even if you do not play DCC (but then again...why? DCC is a damn fine system...).

Anyways, this module has a TON of material, great prose, cool critters that actually have a reason to be there and make sense - in short, it has it all. 5 stars + seal of approval. Given without hesitation!! Get this gem!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Slaves of Eternity (DCC)
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Stock Art: Electric Eels
by Angel F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2017 16:18:31

I love the idea of these creatures taking down what I'd consider an Apex Predator. This will display the perfect fear needed to drive the danger forward in any adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Electric Eels
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Stock Art: Scorpionman
by Angel F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2017 16:14:51

This product immediately provided me with the perfect piece I needed for my upcoming deep sea adventure. Alongside most of Purple Duck Games products. I am extremely pleased.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Scorpionman
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Spiritualists of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2017 07:46:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' "...of Porphyra"-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 24 pages of content. It should be noted that these are formatted for an A5-paper-size (roughly 6'' by 9''), so you can fit up to 4 pages on a sheet of paper, if you're conscious of ink/toner costs and want this printed.

We begin this pdf with new archetypes, the first of which would be the ectofletcher, who adds Stealth to his list of class skills and gains proficiency with all bows and crossbow, as well as with light armor. Starting at 1st level, the archetype may, as a full-round action, manifest 20 arrows. Alternatively, 5 may be created as a standard or move action or 1 arrow as a swift action. Starting at 2nd level, these are treated as +1 arrows, while 4th level increases the range increment of any bow used by 20 ft. At 6th level, the arrows are upgraded to +2 and are treated as the alignment of the ectofletcher for the purpose of overcoming DR, which may be a bit soon when compared to other classes. 8th level yield ghost touch arrows (here, the text has a remnant (i) before the weapon property - i.e. the italicization-closing is missing - but hey, at least you can see that it's supposed to be italicized) and at this level, arrows can be fired in melee sans provoking AoOs. 10th level increases the arrows to +3, 12th level nets Critical Focus for all bows used. As a minor nitpick here: RAW, it is pretty obvious that these should also work for crossbows, with the ammunition-creation being applicable for bolts as well - but as written, this only works for bows and arrows...but that just as an aside. 14th level provides an upgrade to +4 and 18th level to +5. At 16th level, we get a bonus combat feat. This eliminates etheric tether, phantom, shared consciousness, spiritual bond, fused consciousness and empowered consciousness.

At 3rd level can make all ranged attacks at a penalty of -2 to the attack roll, while simultaneously casting a spiritualist spell (nice catch to prevent multiclass abuse!) with a casting time of a standard action. During this combined assault, when casting defensively, the spiritualist may incur a penalty to attacks of up to Wisdom modifier to gain an equal bonus to the concentration check. So far, so nice, right? Well, the ectofletcher may also deliver touch spells through the arrows as ranged touch attacks. This is per se very powerful - particularly since it does not specify how critical multipliers interact with these - since bows start off at x3...well, you get the idea. That...is a problem. This part of the ability can use a whack with the nerf-bat, even though bonded manifestation, phantom recall and dual bond are lost for it. At 4th level, the archetype gains +4 to Stealth when manifesting ectofletching, which is upgraded to +8 at 12th level. All in all an intriguing archetype, though the touch tricks may be a bit too much - gaining more flexibility for the ammunition would have probably constitutes a more rewarding experience here.

The false spiritualist is interesting and loses proficiency with light armor. The archetype also gain arcane spellcasting governed by Intelligence and they completely change their phantoms, instead creating so-called contrived phantoms, constructs of ectoplasm. These are constructs, don't grant skills or skill bonuses, have no emotional focus and lack both Con and Int scores - as such, it is under the command of the character. It replaces the Dex/Cha-bonus with a Str/Dex-bonus, has no good saves, is mindless and gets low-light vision and darkvision 60 ft., immunity to mind-affecting effects, diseases, death effects, paralysis, poison, sleep effects and stunning as well as an evolution pool equal to the phantom's HD, with its customization options equal to an eidolon of the same level. The fly speed gained at 9th level is reduced to 30 ft. (clumsy), it cannot heal damage on its own (OUCH!) and gains the usual other defensive construct immunities. Upon destruction, the phantom reforms at 1/2 maximum hit points the next time the spiritualist prepares spells. Instead of detect undead, calm spirit, see invisibility, fused consciousness and call spirit, the archetype gains bonus illusion spells. I really like the idea here and the execution isn't too bad either - however, one note to bear in mind would be that this, via bonded manifestation etc., can make for a very summoner-ish playing experience and we know how potent these eidolon tricks can be. That being said, the lack of healing imposes an interesting resource-drain here and the bad saves help offset the massive immunity array. In short - not for every group, but I can see it finding fans.

The occult bowler is where things get WEIRD. And I mean "WTF, did not expect that!" levels of weird. The class gains a magic ball, which can be envisioned as somewhere between a familiar and a bonded object. This Tiny construct can be used as a divination magic 8-ball...or as a weapon. This weird feature replaces shared consciousness and phantom,,, and here things become interesting: When wielding the magic ball, the character treats his class level as BAB, with the attacks counting as magic from the get-go. At 2nd level, as a standard action, the character can gain blindsight of its ball for up to class level rounds, which is upgraded to always on at 10th level (though here, we erroneously refer to it as teleblindsight. This ability also yields the option to shunt a mind-affecting effect into the magic ball. 3rd level adds the throwing and returning properties to the weapon function - and no, these do NOT feature in the calculation for enhancements for the magic ball. At 8th level and every 5 levels thereafter, range increments of the ball increase by 5 ft., replacing bonded manifestation thus. At 4th level, the archetype alters spiritual interference to grant a +2 shield bonus to AC when wielding the ball and a +2 circumstance bonus to all saves. 6th level alters phantom recall to instead apply to the magic ball, with 1 daily use, +1/day per 4 levels beyond the 6th. At 12th level, these bonuses increase to +4 for the bowler, and allies in the ball's reach gain the non-upgraded bonuses.

14th level yields spiritual bond, which prevents death by siphoning excess damage taken by the bowler beyond 1 hp to the ball. Instead of dual bond, we get 1/week legend lore as a SP and as a capstone, the bowler becomes immune to mind-affecting effects and possession/imprisonment-style spells. This archetype looks goofy at first...but once you take a close look, it actually is really creative and pretty darn amazing. Big kudos here!

The phantom whisperer alters proficiencies, gaining simple weapons, light armors and up to 3 firearms of the player's choice. The archetype has no choice over the type of phantom gained - each level, they must roll a d12 and look at a random table - this determines the emotional focus of the phantom. Instead of bonded sense, they add Wisdom modifier to initiative...and thankfully, this does not stack with Improved Initiative, preventing abuse there. 10th level alters fused consciousness to just gain the skill ranks and bonuses even when the phantom's manifested and allows for the shunting of mind-affecting effects even when the phantom is manifested, though that dismisses the phantom. So yeah, no bonded senses. At 10th level, when succumbing to a fear-effect, the character may make an attack at the highest BAB (no AoO!) as an immediate action BEFORE the effects of fear kick in. Interesting one.

Next up is the Ruined Preacher - at the GM's discretion, ex-cleric levels can be exchanged for these, which is a flavorful and interesting character development idea here. The archetype gains no spiritualist caster level or spells and instead gains Improved Unarmed Strike, using his class level as BAB for the purpose of determining its efficiency, basing the damage on a brawler of an equal level. Maneuver training is included. 5th level yields command at-will with a 24-hour hex-caveat to avoid abuse. 7th level yields 1/day calm emotions, with +1 use per 4 levels beyond that. 9th level yields 1/day suggestion as an SP, replacing detect spirit, calm undead and see invisibility. Guess someone loves the Preacher comics and TV-series as much as I do. ;) Honestly, really love this one!

There are also new phantom options included herein, the first of which would be dream phantoms, who gain d6 HD and only 1/2 BAB, but they do have dual emotional focus and have a healing while the spiritualist sleeps. Pretty nice. Genius phantoms change the base stats to Int 13 and Cha 7 and their attribute bonuses instead apply to Dex and Int. Instead of an emotional focus, they gain thought foci, of which 4 are provided: Application nets Acrobatics and Fly, good Ref and Fort-saves, Improved Initiative, and as a move action, they can apply Int-bonus to a standard action (not the biggest fan here), with 7th level and every 5 levels thereafter yielding combat feats. The Knowledge focus nets two Knowledge skills, good Fort- and Will-saves and acts as a living book or spellbook, containing 50 pages per HD; +1/2 class level to all Knowledge skill checks and may make these untrained. 7th level yields the option to take 10 and 1/day take 20 there as a standard action, +1/day at 12th and 17th level.

The synthesis focus nets Craft and Disable Device, good Fort- and Ref-saves and they reduce the cost of crafted items by 10%. As a standard action, a touch can offset the broken condition for HD rounds. 5th and 10th level reduce that to a move and swift action, respectively. These can also create a limited amount of regular items - alas, the option does not include a no-specific item caveat...though its limits prevent abuse to an extent. 7th level and every 5 levels thereafter yield a no-cost magic item, but it is limited by the spiritualist CL and spells. The understanding focus yields Appraise and Sense Motive, Reflex and Will as good saves and the genius can make Int-checks as though the score was 2 points higher. They also gain sneak attack at class level, but use d4 as damage dice. 7th level and every 5 levels beyond yield a rogue talent.

Realm phantoms come in 8 iterations that reflect a planar focus - basically, you add a template determined by the associated plane. These generally grant a couple of defensive abilities and a bit of elemental damage - however, one has e.g. holy damage, anarchic damage, etc. - and these damage types do not exist in PFRPG. I get what they're supposed to do, but see alignment-based spells and effects for the proper way to codify damage types thus.

Beyond this, we also are introduced to new feats, 5 to be more precise: Ancestral Revelation yields an Ancestor mystery revelation. Grateful Dead (kudos for the nod) nets your phantom +2 to its weakest save, courtesy of you honoring its past life. Reaper Style is used with scythes - when you trip a target, the phantom gets an AoO as an immediate action against it if in reach. Cool! Reaper's Evisceration adds +Wisdom bonus to damage rolls when attacking helpless, flat-footed or prone creatures with the scythe and finally, Reaper's Evisceration requires saves from targets reduced to negative hp to avoid death. Cool, flavorful combat style here!

We close with the Staff of Iricthan, a minor artifact, of which there ostensibly are 4 in existence - a wielder can, every day, choose the spells known afresh and metamagic employed is one spell level increase less costly. Very interesting artifact!

The pdf btw. comes with a bonus-file, penned by Mark Gedak and Perry Fehr, which contains Zithemerr, a catfolk arcane trickster 15 - nice!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good on both a formal and rules-level - while there are a couple of glitches, these generally fall into the "kinda aesthetic" category. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' one-column-standard in b/w with purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf sports a really nice full-color artwork of the occult bowler and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Aaron Hollingsworth's take on uncommon spiritualist options began rather weak and then proceeded to build up steam: While the first two archetypes left me somewhat underwhelmed and concerned, this changed pretty fast with some serious gems: The occult bowler is awesome, the chaotic phantom focus is a cool idea (though I wished it had been more deeply ingrained, theme-wise, in the archetype) and the preacher-option should put a smile on many a fan's face - I know it did that for me. The foci of the phantoms are universally interesting, with the magic item creation's limit being almost genius in its simplicity. The planar phantoms left me a bit underwhelmed, though. Surprisingly, I liked all feats and the artifact is an interesting, very potent tool to level the playing field versus prepared casters, help PCs that have made bad choices, etc.

In short: No, this is NOT perfect. However, the amount of material herein that I consider really creative and cool exceeds the potential snags you're likely to encounter. The ratio of glitches to pretty complex concepts that work is also right, showing a generally very good understanding of complex rules-language. In short - unless you're a nitpicky bastard like me, you'll probably be exceedingly happy with this, for the pdf also offers some seriously creative and cool options...and all that for a more than fair price point. As a whole, I hence feel justified in rating this 4.5 stars...and I'll round up for the purpose of this platform, since the highlights exceed the minor blemishes.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spiritualists of Porphyra
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Kineticists of Porphyra IV
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/30/2017 04:37:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth installment of the Kineticists of Porphyra-books clocks in at 68 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 64 pages of content, though it should be noted that they're formatted for a%-size (6'' by 9''); this means you can fit up to 4 pages on a sheet of A4 paper if your eye-sight's good enough. It should also be noted that we have a bit of overlap for convenience's sake in the respective chapters, though personally, I enjoy having not to skip books as much - even with that taken away, the pdf still presents a bunch of material.

The pdf begins with a short list of handy considerations for GMs regarding the prominent inclusion of kineticists in a given world, before moving on to the new archetypes herein, the first of which would be the aberrant kineticist, who gains Knowledge (Dungeoneering) as a class skill and a good Will-save, but a bad Fort-save. Instead of a basic utility talent, these guys change kinetic blast and make it instead manifest as a "Wysp" a physical representation (5 types provided) of the kineticist's patrons power, also known as a malign manifestation, which is also the origin of the respective kinetic blast and the malign manifestation may not employ infusions in conjunction with blasts, if they require use in conjunction with other actions; these may also use living battery 1/day sans dying, but at the cost of temporary loss of the resonance ability. If killed, these malign manifestations may be recalled for accepting 3 kin. As a balancing mechanic, this manifestation may not move far away from the master and is generally not pleasant, trying to tempt the respective character. As you may have already surmised, as a Wisdom-based build emphasizing the mind, we have an archetype here that uses Wisdom as a basis for Burn instead of Constitution. The mechanic is rather interestingly tied to the influence-mechanics employed in Occult Archetypes...and you do NOT want to fall under the control of your malignant manifestation...You can reduce this influence by accepting lethal damage as a kind of burn, though.

In lieu of losing control to the influence of this thing, the aberrant kineticist replaces gather energy and supercharge with a voluntary union: This union is maintained for 1 minute and may be extended via burn...which is a bit different than the way in which the actual burn-replacing ability tends to word things, which renders that aspect a bit harder to grasp than it should be. While thus fused, the burn cost is generally reduced, with 11th level increasing that reduction to 2 points of burn. Additionally, the regular elemental overflow bonus is instead applied as a bonus to Intimidate checks.

The energy roper replaces the basic utility wild talent and infusion gained at 1st level with the option of gaining a form infusion of an energy whip that increases its range up to 25 ft. - while this weapon reduced its damage die, but on the plus side, you get to use properly codified grappling with these and the wild talents are enhanced with a massive list of grappling-related feats. These guys do not gain bonuses to ignore the effects of crits/etc., and instead gain bonuses to grappling and penalties to even out their grappling chances. 5th level yields Kinetic Clutches and also provides the option to use gather energy and kinetic blast while grappling, replacing 5th level's infusion and infusion specialization 1. Instead of the metakinesis, the archetype may select one of a massive array of associated talents that sport grappling hook like utility-uses, yanking foes around...and threatening all squares within reach, which is really powerful and theoretically can yield a bit of cheesing. Gaining the benefits of grappling weaponry with threats, as opposed to confirmed crits in conjunction with the tendril also make for interesting tricks. The higher level upgrades and abilities further increase the respective grappling tricks. All in all, an interesting one, though I'd personally require a gentleman's agreement here - the tendril can make some cheesy lockdown tricks work really well.

The entropist cannot be lawful and gets a modified class skill list (depends on the element) ad chooses a so-called planar array, which consists of 4 elements, with 3 such arrays provided. The archetype does gain a heirloom that contains up to Con-mod 1st level wild talents. Now, if I were to replicate the base engine of this archetype, It'd probably take up the better part of 2 or 3 pages. Basically, the heirloom acts as a kind of wild talent spellbook, but it also doubles as a chaos magic-style basic, as the entropist does not actually gain control over which array of wild talents s/he receives - in short: The focus shuffles and generates a rather versatile, if not particularly reliable array; still, this is perfect for players who tend to get bored doing the same thing over and over. Some constancy is gained over the levels and the talents not learned via the heirloom make for a degree of control and favored focus of an element as well as upgrades are available. At higher levels, the character does gain a degree of control there and the capstone finally yields full control. There also would be a 4-element array blast that replaces omnikinesis, which I'm, surprise, not the biggest fan of. The entropist is clearly one of the "stars" of this pdf, in case you were wondering - the sheer complexity and unique nature of the engine of the archetype make this an intriguing player-experience.

Speaking of which: Fans of old-school Final fantasy will most certainly celebrate the kinetic lancer, reducing the burn cost of kinetic blades and gaining Kinetic Leap from the get-go. I do like how the vital blade synergy, the exceeding of mortal caps for leaping etc. combine to represent the classic trope...but at the same time, I am weary of this guy. For one, he has an option that stacks crits with keen and Improved Critical, which is ALWAYS A BAD IDEA. Secondly, my games tend to place a rather high value on fluid combat and dynamic frontlines, which makes vital blade etc. even more potent...and 8th level yields the equivalent of pounce with these, which is...well. Ouch. Full attacks after dragoon dives may replicate the devastating nature of FF's dragoon jumps...but in combination, I will not allow this archetype anywhere near my games, particularly considering splash-like AoE-damage and foe impaling. The archetype, at higher levels, further escalates damage and allows for bonus attacks with such assault, further exacerbating that issue. Conceptually, I like this, but it may, depending on your game's power-level, require some serious nerfing.

After these, we get two new elemental saturations, one for void and one for wood, both of which are truly intriguing, evocative and fun, though the wood's enhanced natural healing should have some GM-scrutiny - it fits most games, but makes the recharging of kineticists and drain easier. We also are introduced to a rather significant array of composite blasts, which are actually really creative: Afterburn blasts, at burn 3, ignore Dex-mod to AC (being part time, part fire) and leave a trail of burning terrain, which is pretty nasty, I am not a fan of chlorophyll blast, as it allows for the ignoring of immunities - only that of plant creatures, granted, but still - ignoring immunities is a slippery slope and, in the long run, generates confusion in the interaction with other options. More interesting would be blasts that include blacklight and dark-light-style effects. A blast that uses the target's 1/3 normal HD for a color spray like assault is similarly intriguing. A tri-elemental blast of earth, viscera and wood - quite a few cool options to be found here.

Fans of viscera will particularly enjoy the new infusion chapter, with a follow-up of bloody infusion. And there are options...that need to die in a fiery hell. Colorburst infusion. Minimum level 8, burn 4. Adds prismatic spray to all creatures hit with the infusion. I so would love to say that I'm kidding. Similarly, the improved and greater flurry of blasts fall into the category that we certainly did not need, at least as far as I'm concerned. The kineticist, particularly if you allow the whole KOP-series sans banning anything, can godmode pretty hardcore and most certainly did not require the option to execute even more attacks. That being said, adding acidic spores to fungal infestations for mushrooms? Interesting! Ripping bone shards as caltrops out of a foe's body is rather visceral and pretty cool.

On the side of utility wild talents, we have a nice defensive armor, poaching domain abilities related to the respective element's utility wild talents, applying air's reach to projectile and thrown weapons etc. - cool. I also really like the concept of stacking up sonic damage in a limited manner, building up destructive reverberations, though it does seriously stack up the damage potential and allows you to invalidate defenses even easier than you already can with the right build. Complete Circuit would be one of the damage-centric tricks that I consider to be interesting: It builds on chain infusion and, if you manage to generate a final hit after subsequent targets, closing the circuit, you inflict damage within the frame defined by your targets - which makes for an interesting strategy. Using corpomancy for Prognostication as a skill unlock is smart - it adds a bit of versatility to the class. Using one's own entrails for divination (italicization missing), the witch's gruesome gobbler feature or the like...pretty cool. Now, personally, I do think that a contingency-duplicating wild talent, namely failsafe, would have warranted at burn cost.

At the same time, implanting blasts as though via Implant Bombs? AMAZING. I also appreciate the secure shelter etc. duplicating options here. Fans of RE will appreciate a licker-style tongue-tentacle. Making acid behave as bludgeoning slime instead is also a rather cool one that deserves a two thumbs up. The damage-loops via time are pretty potent - once again, that's one tree I'd have to talk with my players about prior to allowing it. The combo wild talents are versatile indeed: Making a companion, eidolon etc. devolve into a more atavistic version is cool. Prismatic Wall for 1 burn is nasty...though it's somewhat balanced by anti-spam caveats...still, I'd take a very close look at that one...Using roiling flesh and shroud of water to disperse damage between the affected...is amazing. Powerful, yes, but of so cool. If you wanted access to illusion [shadow] spells, there's a tree for that and while not necessarily broken, I'd wholeheartedly recommend checking this one in detail -depending on the amount of books you use with that subject, this can become very potent very fast.

There are also new elemental mutations: While an arrow mutation does not deal full damage to swarms and reduces damage, it increases threat range by 1. And...yep, once again, it stacks, which is a bad, bad idea. The avatar mutation is amazing, however, as it is basically an elemental avatar archetype option that uses the entropist arrays. Furyshapers are an interesting sub-type of blood kineticists. Utilitarian kineticsts are better suited regarding utility wild talent use, but less capable regarding raw damage output...at least pertaining the use of both via gather power.

The new feats contained herein include, obviously, new options for the archetypes within this book and tweaks for narrower or wider entropist arrays; there also are options for the limited cross-pollination of options. I am not a big fan of the option to freely split damage, as long as both types of damage inflict at least 1 damage per die. At the same time, Time Bomb is amazing - yes, it does what you expect. The pressuring quality is intriguing, increasing the resources required for the use of limited use resources à la grit, etc. The disc of rainbow tears is a rebounding buckler that can hold teardrop ioun stones and thus enhance the respective blasts. Rings of condensing explosions exist in both alchemy and kinetic versions and allow for the addition of Concentrated Splash to bombs. Interesting!

The pdf closes with Rebekkha the Swift, a CR 12 entropist 12 sample character, and a surprisingly complex and fun sample character - kudos for going with the most complex base engine here! The NPC does btw. come with a boon - big kudos!

The pdf also contains a rather cool bonus file: The Contemplative Angel, a monster penned by Mark Gedak - At CR 12 these guys treat their HD as monk levels.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I did not notice an undue amount of issues and, considering the complexity of the rules material employed, this is really impressive. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' one-column standard with purple highlights and full-color artworks. The pdf comes with extensive, nested bookmarks -kudos!!

Main authors N. Jolly and Onyx Tanuki, with additional material by Blue Maculagh, Jacob McCoy and Blake Morton, deliver one massive supplement here. I have to digress for a second here: The Kineticists of Porphyra-supplements are near and dear to my heart. I adore them and I'd never want to play a kineticist without them. They unlocked the whole concept for me, freed it from its narrow thematic focus. I adore this series. At the same time, it is a series of books, as mentioned before, that can be used by powergamers in a rather nasty manner, generating a metric ton of damage. This supplement partially does something right there: There is a ton of material that focuses more on utility, on terrain control, on doing intriguing things with the engine. That being said, there also are some cheesable tricks herein that are imho not really required at this point. If the kineticist didn't need one thing, it was more damage and there are some options that are tailor-made to inflict brutal attacks, to the point where my conservative preferences would not allow them. That being said, at the same time, this pdf offers truly amazing options for the discerning kineticist connoisseur, some of which are purely amazing - all depending on the type of game you want to play. The best example for what I'm trying to enunciate here would be the dragoon - for most tables, this will result in cheers and triumphant high-fives...while others will shake their heads and pull out the ban-hammer.

Not all content herein is suitable for all tables, and much like the amazing ripper in Vol. III, I'd strongly suggest GMs and players enter into gentlemen's agreements regarding some combos in the book. At the same time, I do strongly advise getting this book: The entropist is worth the price on its own and is absolutely amazing and there are A LOT of options that feature master Jolly's trademark style and panache.

Personally, I must confess that I expected more design into the breadth of available options, less in depth, but no matter how you look at this supplement, it ultimately is worth getting for the low and fair price point. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra IV
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The Red King
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/24/2017 07:53:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The red king is the dictator of the North in the amazing patchwork planet of Porphyra, an ogre-mage half-dragon with a single, purple eye that seems to be too large for his head - and yes, there is an amazing hand-out-style 1-page version of the glorious artwork depicting him within this pdf.

Ahem. Sorry. I can't do that neutral routine. LOOK AT THOSE STATS! I am drooling here!!

CR 22. AC 48 almost 450 hit points. Yes, please! His class-line reads "Male unique half-dragon ogre mage cavalier (longshanks/warlord) 6/inquisitor 5. And his average damage output is a beauty to behold! While his cohort and followers (an army in its own right) don't get stats, he is a beauty!! He actually killed his father and implanted his eye in his own face, wearing his sire's scales!

His armor employs the grace ability, which increases the maximum Dex-bonus and aforementioned eye can pierce illusions...oh, but that's not all!! You see, unlike many comparable supplements, we do receive a gloriously detailed background for this villain - beyond the detailed and lavish story, which has ventured into the realm of legend, the red king also sports a rather intriguing array of tactics - and yes, he has actually strategies to escape death.

Beyond these lavishly detailed aspects of the pdf, we also get specific adventure hooks and a new legendary weapon, namely the Red King's Judgment. In case you're new to the concept of legendary weapons: These were introduced by Purple Duck Games as an alternative to the concept of Legacy Weapons - but unlike those, they don't impose unnecessary penalties. The respective items have prerequisites and increase in power over the course of the wielder's levels, with the weapon featured herein increasing in potency in 10 steps. I love these items, as they help combat the Christmas-Tree-syndrome and makes magic matter more.

Anyways, beyond gaining multiple straight upgrades, we gain increasing, scaling invulnerability to fire, minions via Vile Leadership, nets Proficiencies/Focus and provides e.g. flame strike with 1/2 unholy damage...which does not exist. I get what it tries to do, but still -an obvious and unnecessary glitch. It also can bypass fire resistances and allow the wielder to discorporate and weather the storm, emerging once again from the flames...

It should also be noted that material uses and special weapon properties featured in the build - kudos!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed no serious hiccups and rules-language is similarly concise, with the minor exclusion of the aforementioned unholy damage glitch. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column standard, which is printer-friendly with purple highlights. The artwork of the king is GLORIOUS. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily require them at this length.

Derek Blakely has made a little dream of mine come true. I don't know about you, my readers, but I know that my players crave challenges and many a published module doesn't really live up to that aspect: If I threw a vanilla AP final boss at my group, then chances are in many (not all!) cases that they'd utterly annihilate the foe. I am a huge fan of really challenging, deadly villain-builds and when both the amazing Faces of the Tarnished Souk-series and Enemies of NeoExodus ran their course, I sighed and got back to making builds.

I expected not that much from this humble pdf and I got so much more: The red king is a glorious foe - lavishly illustrated, detailed and deadly, he makes for an amazing BBEG in the tradition of these two superb series. I adore this NPC and his tricks and the addition of the legendary weapon is a nice plus as well. For the low and fair price-point, this provides a great, deadly villain that should really challenge even powerful groups. What more can you ask for? Exactly! The one aesthetic glitch I found wasn't enough to rate this down - this is a great, amazing little pdf, well worth the asking price and deserving of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Red King
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Adventure Avenue: Fallen Dawn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/22/2017 15:36:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

This module clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 3/4 of a page blank, leaving us with 42 1/4th pages of content, though it should be noted that the pdf is formatted for A5 (6'' by 9'') size, which means, that if your sight's good enough, you can fit up to 4 pages of text on one sheet of paper.

Fallen Dawn is a location-based exploration adventure for 5th level characters, taking place in the Lotus Blossom Steppes of Porphyra, to be more precise, on the Lung Plateau. These steppes (fully mapped in full color, just fyi!) are the home of many struggling clan of powerful nomads, awaiting a Khan to unite them into a coherent force, but that won't happen, at least for now, for the dread half-rakshasa Khan Tiikeri is keeping things pretty deliberately as they are. However, sealed away after the NewGod wars, there are tools to be found within the steppes - tools that may change all of that...

...and this is about as far as I can go without diving deep into SPOILER-territory. Potentialy players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs left? Great! So, the adventure features several different hooks that can be used to point the PCs towards the adventure locale, as the default origin would be the sleepy village called "The Nest", which has recently seen some business...impeded...by a traveling scholar of Paletius, deity of knowledge, looking for a lost and sacred site on the plateau. Well, turns out that this scholar is actually an agent of the eventual Katek, seeking to dissuade potentially dangerous individuals by tales of boring details...though, PCs being PCs, that will obviously backfire quite spectacularly.

Further observation via clockwork spies and said being may tip off the PCs regarding strange machinations afoot - and on the halfway point between the nest and the tower of the setting sun, a bhorloth, a gigantic, green-furred bison-like thing and its mounted archer master may try to dissuade the PCs further. Personally, I would have liked the journey to be slightly more detailed, but oh well.

What the pdf lacks in details regarding the journey, it makes up for in the approaches to the tower, for no less than three angles (East, West and North) are covered in the pdf, all with their own read-aloud text - kudos! The forlorn tower's broken top, leaning against the plateau's stone for a support lost ages ago, certainly makes for an evocative visual impression.

The exploration of this tower, once a sanctuary and repository of forbidden knowledge, can make for a compelling narrative and provides the brunt of the module's content - you see, the tower has by no means been thoroughly explored and Paletius being a benevolent deity, it can actually yield some interesting pieces of loot for the PCs. It also features two distinct, well-blended themes: On one hand, we have the sense of antiquity of the place, evoked rather well with prose etc. - on the other hand, we have the current, organized inhabitants of the tower, the expedition of the eventual Katek, who seeks to unearth the knowledge herein to challenge Khan Tiikeri. His intentions were once pure and arguably still are - but in his quest for truth, the eventual has begun a slide down the alignment scale - should he prevail with his less than scrupulous allies, he could become a truly fearsome iron-handed tyrant. This knowledge is not necessarily dumped on the PCs per se, but e.g. reactivated constructs and the choice of creatures (which include shiko-me, unique variant clockwork creatures, advanced shadow drakes and komori-ninjas in a cool selection of less common critters) and their notes can actually have the PCs unearth this knowledge - in short, a nice example of how indirect, less obtrusive storytelling can be used.

Now beyond those aspects, the exploration also manages to depict the leitmotifs of Paletius' iconography well - and PCs may well find out that the knowledge locked in the so far undisturbed sanctum was deemed forbidden. In fact, they may actually succeed where Katek failed and open the sanctum - but only if the GM desires, for the puzzle/riddle-based mechanism to open the gates to this vault hinge, even if you know how to use them, on an aspect that is completely under the GM's control - which is pretty nice. The artifact Katek is looking for is btw. depicted (and "just" a 35K ring), but it's still nice to a) have such a well-wrought puzzle in the pdf and b) retain full GM-control over the treasure and how this aspect pans out.

Speaking of panning out: The pdf provides full stats for all foes faced (though e.g. the Students of Order lack their cleric level noted in an aesthetic glitch) and also includes notes on further adventuring possibilities - from redeeming Katek to uncovering the secrets of Paletius. It should also be mentioned that the book contains a nice break-down of XP and treasure by locale, which is really helpful, allows for easy XP and WBL-tweaking and should be industry standard, as far as I'm concerned.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column b/w-standard with purple highlights and the pdf features some nice pieces of full-color artwork of foes faced within. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography is in color for the region, b/w for the adventure locale, and pretty nice indeed. The tower itself has sideviews for Western/Eastern approach, respectively, which is a nice touch. BIG PLUS: Purple Duck Games added a player-friendly map to the deal!!

Matt Roth's "Fallen Dawn" is a well-crafted location-based module; it breathes a sense of the exotic and antiquity, making ample use of its unique backdrop - surprisingly while still maintaining the means to be dropped in most environments with relative ease - you just need a chaotic tyrant somewhere and that's it. The most impressive aspects of the module, to me, did lie in the smart choices regarding adversaries faced and the sense of authenticity this managed to evoke. It's a tenuous, hard task to evoke such a sense of cohesion, especially in a dungeon that features two different leitmotifs (abandoned/inhabited). Furthermore, the challenges and foes faced throughout the module allow a capable GM to tell the story of the antagonist in an unobtrusive manner, which is another plus. Finally, I'm a BIG fan of the puzzle to open the sealed chambers - it makes sense, perfectly mirrors the iconography of the deity, retains GM-control AND it feels MAGICAL in a sense of the word that's usually only found in old-school modules. It also doesn't make the antagonist look like an idiot for not having breached it, which is just the final nice thing to comment upon here.

Now, the module is not perfect - the lead-in feels a bit rudimentary and so does the journey - it is pretty evident that both only act as an extended preamble for the main meat of the module, when they could have used a bit more meat on their bones. The espionage angle in the beginning also could have yielded a bit more consequences regarding payoff, but I'm nitpicking here. That being said, once you reach tower, the adventure locale, the module becomes an excellent example of a nice, unpretentious, but thematically very concise dungeon: With fitting traps and foes, nice NPCs and well-executed indirect storytelling. Now, Purple Duck Games actually added a player-friendly map - which catapults this to the echelon of a true steal: You get a great module for a fair price! Well worth 5 stars!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Avenue: Fallen Dawn
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Zif of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2017 05:18:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' "...of Porphyra"-series clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,2 pages of SRD, leaving us with a massive 37 pages of content, though it should be noted that these are formatted for A5 (about 6'' by 9'') paper and as such, you can fit about 4 of them on one sheet of A4 or letterpack paper, so let's take a look!

The Zif-race was originally introduced by Alluria Publishing in their Remarkable Races-series, but in this book, we do get a significant expansion of the material as well as modifications that make the material herein work differently...so what are the Zif?

In short, they're playable slug-people that gain +2 Int and Wis, -2 Str (making them a bit lopsided). Zif are Small aberrations with a speed of 20 ft. Zif have no feet and as such, don't have a slot there, but they receive a second belt slot to make up for that. As a standard action, a zif may retreat in its shell, gaining DR 5/-, but while in it, the Zif may explicitly not make any other action. Upon maturing, Zif are assigned a caste in Porphyra, which translates to a constant SP: One may choose detect magic, detect poison, detect secret doors or detect undead. The sucker foot of the Zif nets them a +4 racial bonus to Climb, -4 to Acrobatics made to jump and +4 to CMD to resist trip and bull rush. Finally, a zif is born with Knowledge - they gain one such skill and an additional skill rank each level, which must be applied to said skill. As a whole, a potent race and I'm not the biggest fan of the constant SPs, but craftsmanship-wise, I have nothing to complain.

Now, let's look at the alternate racial traits included in this pdf: Here, we have racial proficiency with all bows and zif weapons, replacing the inborn knowledge. The zif know the flail-snails as the Flavalum and some of them replace their protective shell with elements of their brethren - such zif have a 30% chance that a targeted spell aimed at them fails and a 10% chance that a spell is sent back to the sender. However, they also suffer a 30% spell failure chance for both arcane and divine magic, which stacks with armor penalties, if any. Instead of the shell-caste's inherent magic, some zif gain +2 to AC versus humans and to grapple checks made against humans. Zif not born to their society gain +1 to Bluff, Sense Motive and Knowledge (local) instead of their inborn knowledge. Some zif get +2 to concentration to cast arcane spells defensively and a bonus language - however, the racial trait this replaces is not included in the write-up. Instead of the caste-SP, some zif have a 1/day psychic leech and caste-less zif with better skills (+2 to Appraise and Perception) can also be played. Also interesting: Some zif may move through natural difficult terrain at their normal speed while within 30 ft. of water, though magic difficult terrain affects them normally - this also replaces the inborn knowledge.

The pdf also provides a selection of race traits, which include gaining a kazif armor made from your parents, gaining Perception as a class skill due to modified antennae, better ranged attacks versus foes far away (as a nitpick - should be a trait bonus) and some weird ones as well: Like 1/day regaining a use of a school or domain power upon making a save versus a spell or SP. Control over a class skill (losing an old one for a new one) and we have a nice idea, a trait that reduces one flanker's attack bonus to +1. As has become the expected norm for Purple Duck Games' racial supplements, we receive a surprising array of favored class options - we not only get core classes + gunslinger and magus, we also cover the occult classes and a whole bunch of classes from Purple Duck Games' oeuvre - from the illuminati to the infinyte and the brujo. Kudos for going the extra mile!

Now, while the zif's writing clearly depicts them as somewhat quirky and yes, funny even, they also have the potential to be really, really creepy, as their racial deity...well. Is Yig. And yes, the great old one is depicted as a deity in the appendix, including two religion traits - though one does not specify the bonus type. Yig, as understood by the zif, is the epitome of bravery and cunning in battle and the zif believe that the ghosts of Great Old Ones he consumed will return one day in an apocalypse called Void-War - the warpriests that call themselves Disciples of Yig thus study from the get-go to be ready - this archetype is locked into the War and Void domains, but instead of the War blessings, a disciple if Yig may use the Tactics domain ability instead, drawing from the pool of uses of blessings. Very potent: When you and your allies roll initiative, an ally within 30 feet may roll twice and take the better result. Instead of focus weapon, these folks get a pre-emption pool that contains class level + Wisdom modifier points - these may be spent as a free action to increase initiative modifier before rolling, which can all but guarantee being first in at least one combat - it would have been more elegant and less prone to nova-ing and 5-minute adventure days if that ability had a scaling cap per roll that improved with the levels.

Instead of the 3rd level bonus feats, these guys learn the battle-shell burble-narble: they may chant a hymn to grant all allies within 30 ft. +1 to atk and saves against fear, which may be increased by 1 by foregoing the bonus feats gained at 6th level and every 3rd level thereafter. This bonus is maintained until the warpriest fails a save or takes any action other than move. Oddly, this is a SP and the bonus granted is untyped.

The shellrune wizard, member of the darble-caste, has a caveat to prevent summoner multiclass abuse - they gain Handle Animal and Fly as class skills. Instead of Scribe Scroll, they use their shell as a spell book and learn 3 spells upon a level-up, which eliminates the biggest Achilles Heel of the class. They also are locked into a vermin familiar, but at +1 level. Instead of 5th level's bonus feat, they may 1/day cast a spell on their book-shell sans expending a spell-slot, though it must be from the divination, enchantment or conjuration schools. I assume that learning spells and inscribing them on the shell still takes gold etc. - or is the archetype limited to the spells gained by level-ups? That would explain the power of some options here, but it should be spelled out more clearly.

The shellsinger bard is only proficient with simple weapons: Competent trademaster replaces inspire courage and nets an ally within 30 feet +2 to a skill check while the performance persists, increasing that bonus every 4 levels beyond 1st by +1, modifying inspire competence. As a nitpick, the ability-text reference's "zif's performance" instead of "competent tradesmaster." These guys also gain class level as a bonus to Appraise and Sense Motive and replace countersong with an array of analysis-themed spells. 7th level yields Leadership. At 8th level, breaking free of fascination takes a -4 penalty to the save and requires a save even in the presence of obvious threats, replacing dirge of doom. 20th level and 20th level yields a magnificent mansion instead of deadly performance.

Stoneshell fighters gain proficiency with zif guu-slings and zifbats and, cool, classify these properly in weapon groups. They may also take Goo-Crafter and Master of Guu as though they were combat feats. Goo-Crafter lets you secrete guu, zif construction-mucus, and assemble it into the shape of mundane weapons and a limited array of weapons. Issues here: The feat lacks a note to prevent the creation of specific keys. Additionally, you cannot secrete "more than 1/2 your Constitution in guu per day" - so, how much guu does a given creation take? Is that based on weight? No idea. Master of Guu thankfully specifies that further- yes, it's pounds and this feat nets you quicker guu-secretion and the option to make masterwork items via guu...and unlocks more. Still, the original feat should have specified that...it's bad when you have to look at a follow-up feat to get how the base feat is supposed to work.

Anyway, back to the archetype: At 3rd level, these guys replace armor training and bravery with shell-fu and, while flavorful, the ability is a mess from a rules-language perspective. It mentions identifying via a crimson headband - so does the archetype lose the headband slot? Also, I kid you not, that's directly taken from rules-language: "Shell-fu has five circles of skill, achieved like so: 3rd level DR 1/- vs. ranged attacks, one attack per turn; 7th level DR 1/adamantine vs. 1 melee attack per turn;..." So, do we get to choose? Is this passive or predicated upon activation? Does it stack with the zif's shell? Beyond inconsistency even in the wording of the ability, it is basically non-operational.

The pdf also features racial feats: Clone Army modifies the Leadership's cohort: Instead of gaining one, 2 levels below your own, you get 2 (!!), but at 3 levels below your own. OUCH. Both must have the same class and ability scores, sure...but ouch. Dreams of the Old Ones is a really, really strong feat for divine casters - you get free scavenging from the wizard spell list. Sure, it has to be 1 level below your highest spell level and failure to make a DC 20 Will-save nets you Wis-damage upon casting and fails casting the spell, but considering the potency of the wizard spell list, that still is strong. Bonuses to atk and skills when dealing with concisely defined eldritch creatures can be found, but Mobile Shell would be more interesting, allowing you to enter the shell as a move action and allowing you to make 5-fot-steps while in the shell. Another feat increases the potency of spells dealing hit point and ability damage and moving the drained points to another target - while the rules-language makes me twitch, it's functional. Partial Withdrawal into the shell can be found and an antennae-based teamwork feat allows for telepathic communication - how to determine the maximum range of the communication, though, is a total mess: 10 feet per character level sounds easy enough, but e.g. 4 2nd level zif could communicate within 80 feet - so, what's the limit? At what range are zif included in the calculation? No idea.

The equipment section contains stats for guu-bolts, aforementioned shell-armors made from deceased zif, poolaboodts (the main sea-vessels of the zif) and aforementioned weapons. Beyond these, we get new magic items - e.g. a cursed rod of wonder that may cause insanity. Goolabalum can be used to alter probability of d% and d20 rolls, but not attacks, saves or skill/ability checks, as an immediate action. Cool! Rod of guu helps with Guu Crafting and may fire guu at short range - the damage it inflicts is not properly codified and a hit imposes a -2 penalty to Dex. At +2, parasitic weapons (only available for melee weapons, thankfully) steal 2 points from a random ability score of the target and confer them to the wielder, lasting 1d8 minutes. While kittenable, it's not a good strategy, so this gets a pass. Prismatic shell-polish is a potent defensive item and generally works, but the rules-language, while understandable, makes me twitch: "Thus, if a being under the effect of prismatic shell polish is hit with a sword, the attacker must make a DC 20 Reflex save to take 1/2 damage (1-4) or have no effect (5-7)." This is further exacerbated by the item having a d6-column with 8 entries that affects the attacker. If the user is affected by a magical attack, he instead gains a similarly random buff for a short duration. I can use this item as presented, but its rules are depicted in the most convoluted way I could imagine. Which is jarring, when one compares that to the precision that e.g. new spells like create goo - which even prevents burying foes under them. Similarly, while parasitic ray is potent and steals ability scores, it...kinda works rather well. I can see myself using this. Moving rapidly along porphyrite borders. At 3rd level, a limited, but potent maze-like variant is a bit under-leveled for my tastes and there even is a spell to summon deep ones.

Now, I already mentioned the zif caste system - and the pdf goes on to classify the extensive array of classes covered in the FCOs in the caste-system - which is an amazing "one step beyond" piece of flavor, as far as I'm concerned. The sample character we get would Gungablug, hermaphroditic zif warpriest (disciple of yig) 6 and the pdf also sports a full stat-block and brief primer on Barbledrum, the Curved City of the Shell.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are very good - I noticed no serious accumulation of typos. The rules-language, on the other hand, is ODD - you see, it oscillates between being meticulous and precise and being...well, bad. You've seen some quoted material in the review. It's often functional, but it does make my brain hurt a bit. Layout adheres to Purple Duck games' 1-column b/w-standard with purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. It should be noted that the pdf offers neat full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with extensive bookmarks.

Perry Fehr is an amazing author - he has the elusive artistry-component of design, the aspect you can't learn, down to a T. At the same time, his craftsmanship is not always up to the level of his vision. The zif, as presented here, are evocative, playful and fun and could be played for laughs just as well as you could make them really, really creepy.

I really, really like the zif as depicted herein, in spite of the hiccups that are present. At the same time, I think that both shell and guu, both utterly amazing concepts, could have been emphasized further in the design-choices made. It is also baffling to me, how one book can range from utmost precision to wonky, convoluted and imprecise wordings in some cases. Conceptually, this is at least a 4 or 5 star-file; if, however, you expect precision in the rules-components, you'll be infuriated by some, though by far not all, components herein.

I am honestly torn here - I do believe that a good rules-developer and a bit of additional polish could have made this full-blown amazing, but if I go by what is here, I can't rate this as highly as I'd very much want to. While it hurts my soul, as I like the pdf very much, I can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down, on this one. If you're looking for flavor and can shrug off the rules-hiccups, then get this - I am positive that you'll enjoy what you find herein!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Zif of Porphyra
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Veiled Illusionist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/12/2017 05:47:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The final installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

The standard base class this prestige archetype is built upon would be the wizard; thus, the class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, Int-based prepared spellcasting of up to 9th level and the wizard's armor and weapon proficiencies as well as 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves. The class gets Eschew Materials as a bonus feat at first level.

At first level, the prestige archetype gains a veil pool of 1/2 class level + the highest mental attribute modifier. As a standard action, the veiled illusionist may expend 1 point to duplicate disguise self, with an interesting disbelieve mechanic - DC 15 + points remaining in the pool. I really like this and am glad it was retained from the PrC, since it emulates fatigue and rewards resource management. Changing disguises while already under the effect of the ability, btw., does not necessitate further point expenditure. Starting at 3rd level, the veiled illusionist can also modify the audible (sound) properties of his chosen disguise, with 10th level extending this to olfactory and tactile senses. At 18th level, this extends to extraordinary senses. Action economy-wise, 6th level allows alternatively to use this ability as a swift action, with 14th level unlocking the option to use it as an immediate action. REALLLY, really cool! A definite step up, as far as I'm concerned - the finer distinction (scent is not blindsight) and the expanded action economy help render this feature more rewarding than in the base PrC.

At the same time, I really wished that the goddess's veils class feature had been expanded upon - the same races as in the base PrC (human, halfling, elf, gnome, cyclops, naga) are covered. ON the plus-side, the respective veils, while linear, have been assigned to sensible levels and, big plus, the naga veil's stacking illusion trick has received a bit of a clarification regarding shadow-spells, which is rather appreciated by yours truly. True veil remains the capstone of the prestige archetype.

The pdf also comes with alternate build rules for the arcanist, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror and witch classes. The pdf also provides a rather extensive amount of class-specific favored class options for the core races as well as aasimar, avodim (wasn't that "Avoodim"?), catfolk, dhampir, drow, kitsune, kobold, samsaran, sylph, tengu, undine and xesa. As a nitpick: The undine's option has an issue: It increases the range of illusion spells by 5 ft., which is very potent. It tries to eliminate "personal" spells by "with a range", but RAW, range "personal" can still be defined as a range; as is "touch." Nitpicking here, since it's pretty easy to figure out what's meant, but still.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's final caster prestige archetype ends the series on a suitable note: The veiled illusionist has all the makings of a superb prestige archetype, retaining the strengths of the PrC, while making neat modifications to the engine. Now personally, I wished it had more veils or some choice there - the linear progression makes sense, sure, but to me, this aspect could have easily carried more. Similarly, the veil pool mechanic could have carried more class features. It should be noted that I'm complaining on a high level here - the pdf delivers what it promises and going one step beyond certainly is not required. Still, more so than with many of these, I wished it went the extra mile.

Oh well, this should not dissuade you from getting this one, though - it certainly is one of the best examples in the series and thus receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, though it misses rounding up by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Veiled Illusionist
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Tattooed Mystic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/09/2017 04:03:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1.75 pages of SRD, leaving us with about 5.25 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

The prestige archetype this time around uses the wizard as a basis and thus, the prestige archetype receives d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, full spellcasting progression of prepared spellcasting governed by Int and a 1/2 BAB-progression alongside good Will-save progression. However, unlike a regular wizard, the tattooed mystic puts his spells not in a spellbook, but within the drawings on his skin, necessitating a Spellcraft check to identify the like - and yes, rules for removing them are provided. The familiar can similarly become a tattoo to be carried by the mystic. 4th level yields Inscribe Mystic Tattoo (erroneously, but harmlessly incorrectly formatted as (Feat) and 8th level lets the mystic use his own ability score modifier etc. to set the DC of spell tattoos. 12th level halves the time for Craft (tattoos). 16th level increases the CL for spell tattoos by +1 and as a capstone, he may expend a spell slot or prepared spell of the same level or lower to prevent a used spell tattoo from being expended.

Now, the angle where player agenda comes into the fray would be the mystic tattoos, the first of which is gained at 2nd level, with additional ones gained every 4 levels thereafter - these pretty much represent what we know from the prestige class. I kinda wished that the prestige archetype provided more choice to represent the variety that a full class should offer.

The prestige archetype comes with notes for the use of the arcanist, druid, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror, witch classes. Beyond specific favored class bonuses for the core races, catfolk, dhampir, dragonblooded, erkunae, polkan and tieflings are covered regarding class-specific FCOs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's tattooed mystic is a solid prestige archetype - it translates the prestige class well to the context of a full class, is precise and delivers exactly what it says on the tin. I wished it expanded the tattoo choices with new option, but you can't have everything, I guess. In the end, we get a well-made prestige archetype here - well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Tattooed Mystic
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Domain Phylacteries
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2017 03:21:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' little series of oddball pdfs clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, though these have been formatted for A5 (6'' by 9'')-size, allowing you to fit up to 4 of these pages on a sheet of paper when printing out the pdf.

So, domain phylacteries, what are they? In short, they're an item-class, usually depicting a religious item contained in a tiny box, affixed to a leather cord and worn on the brow, occupying the headband slot. They have a CL of 5th and share a faint universalist aura. You craft them via Craft Wondrous Item and need access to the respective domain to do so - subdomains qualify, fyi - nice catch!

Domain phylacteries are activated via the use of channel energy and activation is thus a standard action that does not provoke AoOs, even if the phylactery duplicates a spell effect. Paladins and antipaladins may use phylacteries of good/law and chaos/evil, respectively, powering them via lay on hands/corrupting touch. Druids with domains use wild shape uses to power them instead, while inquisitors use judgment uses. A character needs to worship a deity granting access to the domain associated with the respective phylactery to use it, preventing cherry-picking. Kudos for these concise definitions!

The respective phylacteries usually have a price of 6K, 3K to create, though2K/4K or 4K/8K ones, for example, can also be found. Generally, these often include spells - the phylactery of air, for example, can duplicate fly up to 3/day. The phylactery of art can duplicate either major image or enthrall and does not sport the daily limit. The phylactery of artifice occupies a ring slot and can provide disable construct. beyond that, 5 uses can be used to duplicate soothe construct - and yep, level 7 CL, increased cost...makes sense. The phylactery of chaos can be used to gain a bonus (or a penalty, if you're unlucky and roll a nat 1...) to your next d20-roll...and it does have an anti-stacking caveat!

The phylactery of death grants the wearer a passive +1d6 boost to channeling negative/positive energy to harm the living/undead, respectively. The phylactery of madness allows the wielder to substitute a confusion effect as an immediate action, negating another mind-affecting effect - nice last-second save. For fans of Porphyra - yes, there is a phylactery that allows the wearer to pass through porphyrite borders! I did not even remotely touch upon every item herein, just fyi! There also is a powerful phylactery that may actually make the character meet his god...for weal or woe...

Finally, we get two nice, cursed phylacteries - the domain/lay on hands/touch of corruption-sabotaging phylactery of denial and the even worse phylactery of refusal...cackles with glee

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to a no-frills 1-column b/w-.standard with purple highlights. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks - kudos for going the extra mile there!

More than 40 items for less than a buck, many with some cool tricks, that also help differentiate clerics and servants of different deities - what more can you ask for from a little pdf that only costs a buck? Better yet, Perry Fehr has taken the time this time around to make sure that his crunch is actually really solid, crafting a great, inexpensive little offering. If you're looking for more to do with your channeling/judgment/lay on hands/touch of corruption/etc., more versatility - then this delivers. I like the item class, I like the execution and I like this pdf. This is well worth checking out and gets a final verdict of 5 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Domain Phylacteries
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Mystic Savant
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2017 03:19:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank, 1.75 pages of SRD, leaving us with about 4.25 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

The arcane savant prestige archetype uses the wizard as a base class for its build and thus gains d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, proficiency with club, dagger and quarterstaff and 1/2 BAB-progression plus good Will-saves. Spellcasting is, befitting of the base class used, prepared spellcasting of up to 9th level, governed by Int. At 1st level, the savant thus gets Scribe Scroll and the class may take 10 when using the UMD-skill.

Starting at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the mystic savant chooses one spell from any class' spell list and treats it as though it was on the mystic savant's spell-list, allowing the class to cherry-pick the most potent of spells. One issue here: Can a spell be learned for more than one spell-level? If a spell can be found on more than one class' spell list, could it e.g. be learned at 3rd and 2nd level? A further issue: RAW, the spell, as a prepared spell, is added to spellbook, familiar, etc. - which would codify it as a spell of the type the build class would usually cast. This theoretically would allow other characters to learn the spell via these means, even though it's not on their spell-list. An exclusivity caveat would be appropriate here.

2nd level also provides +1/2 class level to Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft and UMD as well as the option to take 10 on the two skills that don't yet have this option. At 3rd level, the savant can find writing-based magical runes as though via trapfinding while using the Spellcraft skill. This has inherited an issue from the base PrC: Trapfinding in PFRPG allows for the disabling of magical traps via Disable Device and +1/2 class level to Perception - RAW, anyone can FIND them. So, does that mean the savant gets +1/2 class level to Spellcraft to look for them? Can he use Spellcraft to disable them as well? Or not?

Starting at 5th level, the mystic savant may use his own CL instead of a scroll's when using it. At 7th level, the savant may duplicate the effects of 3 rounds of concentration via detect magic to determine an item's properties as a swift action. Starting at 9th level, the character gains a +5 bonus to saves versus writing-based traps etc. and on a success, the trap is not triggered. Starting at 11th level, the savant may activate spell completion, spell trigger and command word items silently 3/day as if using a silent metamagic rod, 6/day at 15th level, 9/day at 19th level. Big kudos: The ability specifies a max level per the item class of metamagic rods, with 19th level unlocking the greater rod's array. 12th level provides free action analyze dweomer as an SP; with a total duration of 1 round per class level.

13th level provides the option to spontaneously convert spells to dispel magic, with 17th level unlocking greater dispel magic. When using either spell to make a targeted dispel or counterspell, the class heals hit points equal to the dispelled effect's CL.

The prestige archetype comes with notes for the use of the arcanist, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror and witch classes. Beyond specific favored class bonuses for the core races, erkunae, eventuals, ifrit, kitsune, oread, slylph, undine and zendiqi are covered regarding class-specific FCOs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's Mystic Savant has a bit of a handicap, being not exactly based on the best or most interesting of PrC; that being said, the pdf tries to do some interesting things with the theme, which is certainly appreciated. However, the cherry-picking of spells, always somewhat problematic, could have been a bit clearer and personally, I think that the class ends up being a tad bit too strong due to it: The item-use etc. tricks can be situationally really, really strong. So far, my least favorite of the caster prestige archetypes. While not bad by any definition, it does fall a bit short of the generally impressive series. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Mystic Savant
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Riftwarden
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2017 09:18:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2.25 pages of SRD, leaving us with about 4.75 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

The base class employed for the default build of this prestige archetype would be the wizard, and as such, the class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, 1/2 BAB-progression, good Will-saves and proficiency with simple weapons Spellcasting-wise, they get the wizard's 9-level spell-progression, including prepared spellcasting.

The signature ability gained at first level would be planar channeling, which is an untyped energy in a 30 ft.-burst that only can harm creatures, to be more specific, those with the extraplanar subtype, regardless of alignment. It also inflicts its damage on any creature that has emplyoed teleportation effects within the area of effect and within1 round. It increases its damage output by +1d6 every 2 levels thereafter, with daily uses amounting to 3 + cha-mod and standard action as an activation action. Starting at 10th level, extraplanar creatures that fail their saves versus the effect are affected by the riftwarden's choice of either panicked, sickened or staggered for 1d4 rounds.

At 2nd level, summon monster may be used to counter conjuration (summoning) spells or SPs via readying such a spell. 4th level allows for a similar option to ready a counter to teleportation effects. At 8th level, counter-summons may be used as an immediate action, even when surprised. 12th level unlocks this option for teleportation as well. Starting at 14th level, these counter-abilities can be used to reassign summon/teleportation destinations within 100 feet, which also inflicts scaling damage.

Starting at 6th level, the prestige archetype gains a +1 sacred bonus to saves versus SPs, spells and SU as well as Ex abilities of outsiders, which further increases by +1 for every 6 levels thereafter.

At 16th level, extrapalanr creatures that fail the save versus the channel are sent back to their home plane and as a capstone, the riftwarden may, as a standard action, expend two sues of his planar channel ability to forcibly return escaped creatures to his presence - cool!

The prestige archetype comes with notes for the use of the arcanist, cleric, oracle, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror, summoner and witch classes. Riftwardens based on clerics share one channel pool for positive/negative energy and planar channeling, but increase its size to 5 + cha-mod. Personally, I think the cleric may come out of this deal a bit too well compared to the other classes. Beyond specific favored class bonuses for the core races as well as anpur, avoodim, catfolk, kitsune, qit'ar, samsarans, xesa and zendiqi are covered regarding class-specific FCOs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's riftwarden is a cool guardian-style counter-mage class. I like the prestige archetype and its ability dispersal, with my primary complaint remaining that the cleric-alternate may be a bit too well off. This is a minor complaint, however - my final verdict will still clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Riftwarden
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Ren Monolith
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/03/2017 09:00:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2.25 pages of SRD, leaving us with about 4.75 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

The ren monolith presented here is based on the living monolith PrC and the wizard's chassis. As such, the prestige archetype receives d6 HD, 2+ Int skills per level, proficiency with club, dagger, dart, light mace, sling and quarterstaff. The class gets 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves as well as the obvious full spellcasting progression, governed as per the base class by Int.

Speaking of build class: In a pretty unique and cool little pieces of flavor, these guys can meld their spellbooks with their forms! The ren monolith is implanted a stone scarab that provides a +2 bonus to saves versus mind-affecting effects, death effects and versus negative levels or those effects generating these. Additionally, 1/day, the ren monolith may cast any spell that can be found on their spell list, provided they'd be capable of casting the spell level-wise. They don't have to know this spell, which is pretty potent from the get-go and may be problematic for some groups. Also at first level, these guys gain Scribe Scroll.

2nd level provides a + 4 AC bonus - and no, it's NOT natural armor. Nice catch there! 3rd level yields "DR 1" (should be DR 1/-.) and "10 % immunity to critical hits and sneak attacks (as if wearing fortification armor)." While functional, this is uncharacteristically clumsy regarding rules-language and sans the example, could be misread. Anyhow, 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase DR by +1 and the fortification effect by +10%. To nitpick a theory-craft that's unlikely to happen in actual play: Does the latter stack with fortification armor etc.? (No, this does not affect my verdict...)

Really cool: At 4th level, the ren monolith may 3/day as a standard action reduce person his size, masquerading as a figurine. 5th level yields at-will deathwatch and detect undead while the monolith concentrates (VERY cool: The player gets infinite use, but only when actually using it - nice for the GM!) 6th level yields auto-stabilization when in negative hit points and immunity to continuous bleed damage (wounding not properly italicized). 8th level provides stability and 9th level meld into stone at will. 10th level provides immunity to disease, including magical ones. 12th level provides +4 to Diplomacy when influencing sphinxes and 1/day planar ally to call a sphinx, which is upgraded to its greater brethren at 16th level.

14th level provides tremorsense 30 ft and 1/day stone tell. AT 16th level, the class gets immunity to petrification, as well as statue as a range personal-only spell-like ability - once again, the formatting here is a bit clumsy. While in statue form, any durations of spells or abilities do not elapse, which can be used by smart players to devastating effect. 17th level provides the option to 1/day either speak with dead or mark of justice that activates when listening to the ren monolith for 10 minutes. I am not 100% sure how that works with speak with dead, though 18th level yields contact other plane and 20th level provides immunity to energy drain and death effects and functional immortality.

The prestige archetype comes with notes for the use of the arcanist, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror and witch classes. Beyond specific favored class bonuses for the core races as well as anpur, dhampir eventuals, oread, xesa and zendiqi are covered regarding class-specific FCOs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Rules-language is less refined than in other installments of the series - while functional and thankfully not plagued by bad ambiguities, it feels a bit rushed. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's Ren Monolith is cool: Flavorful, strong, with a distinct leitmotif, I love e.g. the figurine trick etc. It is a surprisingly flavorful option. That being said, its rules-language feels a bit more rushed than what I've come to expect from the author - the prestige archetype remains functional, but from a rules-aesthetic perspective, it is slightly weaker than other installments of the series. Still, the strong concept does carry it pretty well. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Ren Monolith
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Caster Prestige Archetype: Diabolist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/27/2017 07:40:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with about 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X's flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept...something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the "prestige"-aspect - the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue - while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize "prestige", we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.

Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you'd expect and it has to be - after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.

Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring - they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.

The diabolist prestige archetype herein is built with the wizard as a base class, but alternate rules for arcanist, cleric, oracle, psychic, sacerdote, soceror and witch are included. Diabloists need to be Lawful Evil and get d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and the favored weapon of the patron and 1/2 BAB-progression as well as good Will-save progression. They get full prepared spellcasting, governed by Int, of up to 9th level and receive a cleric's evil aura. Being damned to hell, diabolists are harder to resurrect, requiring a CL check to bring back. At 10th level, the diabolist is potent enough to be exempt from this rule.

The prestige archetype begins play with an infernal, lawful evil familiar and is locked into having that - so not bonded object. The diabloist gains bonus spells, courtesy of his infernal patrons - these, unsurprisingly, would be rather charm/fire-themed.

2nd level yields the ability to channel hellfire when casting fire spells, a number of times per day equal to the highest mental attribute modifier, minimum 1. This is done as a fee action and modifies the standard spell's fire damage to inflict hellfire, which is here defined as 1/2 fire damage and 1/2 damage from an unholy source, which does not affect evil creatures, but doubly affects good targets. Kudos for not falling into the "invent damage type" trap here. Also: creatures affected by protection from evil or law are not affected, which is a cool failsafe, though the pdf forgot to italicize these spell references. Starting at 14th level, this ability may be used in conjunction with all damaging spells. Kudos: Descriptor-changes, if applicable, are covered. Nice catch here!

4th level yields a +2 bonus to Charisma and Charisma-based checks when interacting with devils and fiendish creatures. This bonus is further increased by +2 at 10th and 18th level. 6th level yields free Improved Familiar, but locks the diabolist in the imp choice. 8th level provides a hell-themed 1/day dimension door or plane shift - this is considered to be a lawful and evil act and cannot penetrate areas warded from teleportation. Speaking of which: the diabolist gains an additional daily use at 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter, with each such increase also unlocking a new SP like teleport or, at 20th level, gate, though these uses consume progressively more daily uses of the ability. Diabolists with obediences may trade in daily uses of the ability for obedience boons for an alternate ability progression - which makes surprising sense, as far as I'm concerned.

As a capstone, the diabolist may use the calling spell of planar binding when calling a named devil as a standard action and bargaina s a move action. Damn (haha!) cool!

As mentioned above, we do get alternate build notes for e.g. psychic etc.-based diabolists. The Prestige archetype also has custom favored class options for anpur, avoodim, dhosari, erkunae, kobolds, tengu and tieflings as well as the core races - these generally are pretty interesting and thematically fitting - humans can e.g. be sooner exempt from the no-resurrection drawback.

The pdf also has a brief appendix depicting the Infernal Obedience feat (guess thrice what that one does) - the boons are btw. unlocked at 12, 16 and 20 HD and two sample, generic archdevil obediences are included: Contracts, Pride, Slavery and Tyranny nets darkness, deeper darkness or burning hands as SPs as the first boon, then perfect sight via ember eyes and a thirdly, a 1/day delayed fireball hellfire blast as an SP. The second generic obedience would be Contracts, Devils, Secrets - boon uno provides unseen servant, detect thoughts or glibness as SPs. Boon deux provides the means to infiltrate clergy and pass as one of theirs. Number 3 is cool: Cha-mod times per day, it lets you revoke the healing a creature received from you at your whim. I totally can see that work as a cool narrative device!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG's signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!

Carl Cramér's diabolist is a surprisingly cool prestige archetype - it does not try to reinvent the wheel, but it doesn't have to. The obedience interactions are cool, the rules-language, for the most part, exceedingly precise. In the few cases where it deviates from standard wording, it is only a cosmetic one "level 12" instead of 12th level, for example. So yeah, as a whole, I really liked this one. Granted, I think that e.g. cleric should have its own dedicated diabolist to make better use of the hellfire theme, but for the arcane folks, this constitutes a nice and well-wrought prestige archetype. Well worth 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caster Prestige Archetype: Diabolist
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