RPGNow.com
Close
Close
Browse











Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Samurai of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2016 09:01:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Porphyran class-option series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, though it should be noted that the content is formatted for A5 (6'' by 9''). So what do we get?

The samurai has always been a class defined by culture as much as by mechanics and as such, it is only suitable that this pdf begins with a contextualization of the samurai class within the framework of Porphyra....but after this brief piece of fluff, we begin with the first archetype almost immediately. This one would be the Blade of Two Minds, torn between the ideals of two orders...which also tells you from the get-go what the shtick of this archetype is: You choose two orders. You gain both class skills, but only receive the skill bonus of one; challenge bonuses may be switched via a swift action. The archetype must also select one order ability at 2nd, 8th and 15th level - though she may take one from a lower level. Beyond the obvious issue of juggling the strict requirements of two edicts (seriously, try playing that cool imba combo you came up with sans screwing up...), the archetype also loses weapon expertise. Solid, no balance-complaints here.

The second archetype would be the daimyo, who gains a banner at first level that grants its bonus to all attacks, but pays for this ability with the powerful resolve. 5th level does net resolve...but at -4 levels. 4th level nets something unique as well: If an ally within banner reach takes a penalty to atk due to using a feat (as Power Attack et al.), he decreases the penalty by 1 and by a further 1 at 10th and 16th level. This replaces mounted archery. At 8th level, allies receive +1 to damage on all attacks, increasing that by 1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Honorable Stand's benefits are extended to all allies in reach of the banner and 17th level allows for the expenditure of two resolve to save an ally in range of the banner, instead letting him survive at -1 hit points. These banner tricks, though, eliminate the whole resolve-improving progression. Basically a samurai with a powerful buff-aura...fits thematically.

Kajiya are master blacksmiths and add their class level to Craft (weapons) and Craft (armor), forged himself, treated as though he had Master Craftsman and gains Craft Magic Weapons and Armor at 4th level. His weapon expertise extends to all weapons he has crafted himself (nice!) and 5th level provides weapon training with weapons he forged, with each additional 5 levels either increasing it or providing an advanced weapons training. He does pay for this with the mounted tricks as well as banner, though.

The Kamen Blade receives basically the vigilante's dual identity, with his identities being designated as either "social" or "masked." Kamen Blade transformation is facilitated by a special, magical mask and takes but 5 rounds...but is accompanied by loud noises, lights...if you have ever seen a kamen rider, power rangers, sailor moon, etc. episode, you'll get the drift. 7th level nets the quick change talent, 11th the immediate change talent...but these do eliminate the samurai's order. 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, the archetype receives an avenger vigilante talent instead of bonus feats, though combat skill is prohibited. 8th level has a glitch - it notes that you may use bladed dash 1/day as a SP...got ya. However, +1/day at level 5 and every 5 levels thereafter makes no sense in that context...I think something went awry in ccp here...also since it replaces the order ability "gained at '8nd' [sic!] level." 15th level upgrades this to greater bladed dash.

The Kyudojin's challenge affects ranged, rather than melee attacks and is treated as having point Blank Shot for the purpose of feat prerequisites. He also gains Precise Shot at 1st level and may ignore the cover granted to a target by an ally for one round, usable 1/day, +1/day for every two class levels thereafter. The ability fails to mention an activation action, but I assume free...still, can it be used in conjunction with AoOs? Do you have to decide to ignore cover prior to shooting or can you decide retroactively? A bit of clarification would be in order here. This sniping prowess replaces, just fyi, resolve, but is counted as such for the purposes of feat prereqs etc. 4th level eliminates the penalty to atk when a mount's moving and reduces that of running mounts to -2. 9th level provides a trick shot bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites, chosen from Ace Disarm, Ace Trip or Ricochet Shot. The aforementioned careful shot ability that replaces resolve is used as a substitute grit for these, in case you were wondering. During a honorable stand, he may use careful shot to fire sans provoking AoOs. As a damn amazing level 17th ability, he can fire an arrow as basically a line - for each careful shot spent, he may hit another foe in line with the respective piece of ammunition.

The Lotus Exile begins play sans order and may never become a member of the order of the lotus...but he may attain membership in another order. He gains a more intelligent mount and Horse Master as a bonus feat at 1st level as well as Mounted Combat. Speaking of which: At 9th level, he may use Mounted Combat up to Dexterity modifier times per round (minimum 2).

Additionally, at 4th and every 3 levels thereafter, he does receive another bonus feat building on Mounted Combat as a prereq, additionally adding half his level to Ride's ranks for the purpose of qualification, unlocking mounted feats earlier than usual. 5th level and every 5 levels after that net the archetype a teamwork feat that is automatically shared with the mount. 14th level is brutal: At the cost of losing one attack, the lotus exile may still make a full attack when his mount moves or charges, though all attacks are executed at -2 to atk. 17th level nets +2 Str, Dex and Con for the mount. It should come as no surprise that this archetype pays for the mounted mastery with pretty much the whole resolve and banner sequences of abilities. One note: In absence of an order, I assume challenge to be locked at the start of the game for the archetype - some explicit confirmation/information pertaining this would have been appreciated.

The Seishin replaces challenge at first level with an oracle revelation from the Ancestor mystery, with additional revelations being unlocked every 3 levels thereafter. The revelations are governed by Cha, just fyi. The ability comes with full oracle-multiclassing synergy notes...which is neat. As befitting of the theme, the seishin replaces the order abilities gained at 2md, 8th and 15th level with the oracle's haunted curse. Brief, but flavorful.

The yamabushi must be lawful and loses armor and shield proficiency, but gains a monk's Wisdom-based, scaling AC-bonus. Similarly, mount is replaced with the monk's fast movement. 3rd level provides access to a ki pool equal to 1/2 class level + Wis-mod and ki may be expended as a swift action to grant the archetype +1 attack at the highest attack bonus when used in conjunction with a full attack, stacking with haste (not properly italicized) etc. The access to ki eliminates weapon expertise, though it does have more uses, for at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the yamabushi may select a ki power from the unchained monk's arsenal, applying them to weapons the yamabushi is proficient with instead of unarmed or natural attacks. Te archetype does pay for this with mount and weapon expertise...making this a fragile, if interesting glass cannon-y take on the samurai.

I mentioned the order of the lotus before, so what does it do? Well, members of the order may inflict only +1/4 class level (min 1) bonus damage on challenges, but their allies also gain this bonus! Now I'd like to know whether multiple samurai can grant the benefits of this ability to their allies. Usually, the reply'd be obviously no, but due to the unytped nature of the bonus damage, I am not entirely sure.Skill-wise, they add Knowledge (local) and Knowledge (nature) and receive 1/2 class level to social skills, depending on the attitude of the person interacted with: Diplomacy for friendly and helpful, Bluff and Intimidate for the other attitudes. 2nd level allows for the sharing of teamwork feats with allies for 30 minutes per class level and yes, the ability does feature synergy with tactician et al. 8th level is wonky: When a samurai and an ally hit the same target in a given round, they deal additional damage...but since rounds happen in sequence, is the first character's damage increased retroactively? Or is only the second hit increased thus? That one could be a bit clearer in its wording. 15th level allows the samurai to take the damage of an ally as an immediate action if that damage would bring the ally below 0 hp.

Members of the order of the pack MUST have a mount and when flanking a challenge target, both he and his mount gain Outflank. If they already have it, they instead gain a +5 bonus. Skill-wise, they gain Knowledge (nature) and Knowledge (geography) and add 1/2 class level to Handle Animal checks pertaining their mount. Instead of a 2nd level ability, they begin play at 1st level with a wolf or dog as the mount. 8th level grants a teamwork feat to the mount. 15th level lets them emit a howl as a full round action 1/day, granting allies within 30 feet all teamwork feats and haste (not properly italicized) for 1 minute. The ability's ex and should be Su. Additionally, how does it work? No, seriously. Animal companions have their own initiative, so how do they spend the action with the samurai? This becomes very important to determine when the ability goes off and looks like the pretty common houserule of collated initiatives creeping into mechanics. I like the idea, but it doesn't work as written.

Members of the order of the peacock may switch challenge targets as a swift action, but at the cost of losing the damage bonus upon switching. Skill-wise, they gain Knowledge (local) and Knowledge (nobility) and add the usual skill bonus to Intimidate uses in conjunction with the Antagonize feat, which is gained as a 2nd level bonus feat and may be used up to class level times per day versus challenge targets...which is a bit weirdly worded, as it implies that Antagonize can only be used so often, when in fact, the limit pertains a single given creature. Considering how often the feat can be used against a single target, getting rid of the limit for you would have been the more elegant idea here. 8th level lets the samurai expend resolve as an immediate action to gain temporary hit points equal to twice his class level, but only for one round - neat idea! 15th level allows the samurai to Antagonize targets of his challenge as an immediate action when they attempt to harm others.

The order of the shadow doubles his challenge damage bonus on the first attack if the target is unaware of him. Skill-wise, he gets Knowledge (local) and Stealth and subtracts 1/2 class level from his armor check penalty for Stealth purposes. NICE! 2nd level nets either darkvision or increase of darkvision range and 8th level hide in plain sight. 15th level allows for full attacks or movement + attack in a surprise round, provided a challenge is made against the target of the attack. Okay one.

The pdf goes on to present a new mount the qi dragon, which is based on a new CR 3 critter that is actually an animal, so balance type-wise is maintained. However, it sports 1d2 bleed on bites...that stacks with itself. Now I am a big fan of stacking bleed....but RAW, it shouldn't do that. The qi dragon also receives +2 to saves versus spells. Mount stat-wise, the qi dragon's balanced, though, considering the acidic breath weapon which may not do much damage, but can be used indefinitely with only a cooldown, I would have moved advancement not to 4th, but 7th level. Still, this guy should not break any games....and it is kinda cool.

Now I mentioned Horse Lord - that feat would let you use character level instead of class level to determine your effective druid level for animal companion purposes. Katana Mastery increases your effective weapon size when drawing a katana, which you draw as part of an attack action. Improved Katana Mastery extends the benefits of the former to a full attack...and adds Vital Strike's benefits to the first of the attacks...which imho is pretty overkill in conjunction with the sword saint archetype or similar iaijutsu masters - the feats do offer synergy here. Vital Strike does not need to be part of a Katana Mastery full attack. Improved Mounted Archery negates any penalties to atk for using a ranged weapon while mounted. Inspiring Resolve is neat: When you use resolve to end a condition, you may extend the benefit to all allies within 30 ft. - powerful and very unique and samurai-y in feeling. Interior Resolve lets you expend 3 resolve to become immune to precision damage for one attack, but you must do so after the attack has hit, but before effects are made known. Peacock Fan is basically a variant of Dazzling Display, antagonizing every foe within 30 ft. as a full-round action. Resolute Body nets you twice class level temporary hit points via the expenditure of 2 resolve, with the points lasting for one hour...however, you may only use this 1/day. I think I may have added a scaling daily-use on level increments of 5 here. Resolute Strike can be activated only when you have at least 2 resolve and lets you expend all of your remaining resolve as a free action upon causing damage - if you do, you inflict maximum damage, but also end your turn.

The pdf also covers new magic item abilities: Iaijutsu adds precision damage on a round a blade is drawn; resolute lets you reroll misses due to natural 1s via resolve (but fails to specify whether this is an action - I assume it's part of the attack.) and thirdly, retracting weapons may, as a move action, shift between reach and non-reach...which is pretty damn cool. Resolute armor nets the resolve class feature 1/day or +1 daily use.

A fire-light-themed katana named Amaterasu, a shocking naginata named Susano'o, a faerie fire inflicting animal bone longbow named Tsukoyomi - those even halfway cognizant of Japanese mythology will enjoy the respective twists of the tropes and adaptations to the Porphyran context, even if the names imply power far beyond what the items offer. Armor-wise, Sosen, the armor of the ancestors, allows for access of the spirit of the warrior revelation in addition to its protective properties. Nice: The duration of said power may be extended by the expenditure of resolve. The Banner of the Unyielding Legion may be driven into the ground by a cavalier or samurai, acting as their banner...but samurai may also use it to grant allies within the banner's range access to their resolve. Shogun Kabuto is pretty much a must-have item for quite a few builds - beyond a bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate, it also decreases the activation action of Dazzling Display and Peacock fan from a full-round action to a standard action.

The pdf concludes with several nice favored class options for porphyran races and a CR 10 sample character, Ec'sa Thisasaa, a saurian daimyo, complete with background story.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-level - while some abilities can use a bit of clarification, as a whole, the pdf is precise - the orders sport some minor hiccups, but with one exception, nothing too grievous. On a formal level, there are a couple of wordings and italicizations and similar minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Purple Duck games' 1-column standard, is pretty printer-friendly and employs an appropriately Asian-font, which is a nice touch. The pdf sports 2 nice pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

This is the first book by Nathan Reinecke as a lead designer I have tackled (though Perry Fehr, N. Jolly and Shinigami02, the contributing authors have, for the most part, had the dubious pleasure) - and frankly, I am more impressed than I expected to be. The designs herein are not earth-shattering or wild, sure - but they do their job damn well. The archetypes universally find a very sweet balance in their new features and what they lose; the respective specialists actually excel at their fields of expertise sans becoming complete one-trick ponies...and they are flavorful. While the orders contain a couple more hiccups than I like to see, the feats have some seriously neat ideas and the magic items or mount left me sans complaints.

Here's the thing that made me really like this: It makes the samurai feel more like a samurai. It has a couple of rough edges, yes. But it adds some staying power to the guys, emphasizes commands, social banter, iaijutsu, etc. - particularly the temporary hit points buffer-shield options feel very appropriate for the class with its emphasis on honorable combat, standing one's ground, etc. While I really disliked the order of the pack and the order of the shadow, both peacock and lotus have some serious potential and did not bore me...which is saying something after the number of orders I've read. Traditionally, first time authors get a bit of leeway from yours truly and hence, I will round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars for the purpose of this platform, in spite of the glitches. If you want to play a samurai, this very much is a book you should get.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Samurai of Porphyra
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Maiden Voyage of the Colossus (OGL/DCC)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2016 09:16:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look!

First things first: This module was written for the Iron GM-contest (which is frickin' amazing!) that basically makes GMing a competitive sport and it's cool to see a module published based on this amazing event. Seriously, huge fan of it!

That being said, the module as presented here is dual format, for PFRPG and DCC, with PFRPG-material being denoted by purple headers, DCC material by black ones - the color-coding is a nice touch here.

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players will wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs/Judges around? Good!

We begin with optional hidden agendas to assign to PCs, though these obviously hearken from the convention circuit: Sabotage is interesting, for example, but e.g. the need to gather proof of a traitor in the PC's midst with the threat of assassins nearby feels weird: How can assassins be there all the time? The rationalization doesn't make much sense here, but I digress. The city's abuzz as the notorious Gearswave Inc. is about to launch the eponymous, gigantic airship, but their competition, Clock-Works, is supposedly determined to see the maiden voyage end in disaster. Via various offers, the PCs may choose different rewards for trying to save the maiden voyage. Smuggled into the colossus as covert operatives, the PCs leave the crate to find that they have 4 hours. The colossus is pretty interesting, featuring e.g. levitate-based parachutes. There is a bit of discrepancy to be found - e.g. forcing a lever has only DCC-rules, none for PFRPG.

The PCs will have to explore the airship, with the crew mostly drunk, handle tiefling saboteurs, oozes, undeed and e.g. sober up the pilot, who has a chance to " fix any mechanical problem on the airship with 75% efficiency" - whatever that is supposed to mean. From decadent upper classes to weird gnomes, to the unique means of internal communication, handling the ship etc., the exploration of the ship is interesting, and the BBEG's combat is also relatively neat. The pdf comes with stats for both PFRPG and DCC, a deity-write-up of Gearswave Inc. that has a nice spell to enhance/penalize Disable Device and a DCC-patron-iteration of Gearswave Inc. The pdf comes with full-color maps of the vessel, but no key-less player-friendly iteration is provided.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are decent - I noticed a couple f formatting and editing hiccups, but nothing too grievous. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, is printer-friendly and the pdf sports several full-color artworks. The cartography is nice, but hampered by the lack of player-friendly maps.

Perry Fehr's Maiden Voyage has a couple of issues; DCC's DCs are pretty high; the chance for success is smaller in DCC than in PFRPG. And this is where we have to discuss dual format modules. You see, it is my firm conviction that they unanimously are a bad, bad idea. From a customer point of view, you pay for one system you will not use.

There is a more galling problem here, though: Different systems have different math, different expectations of player and PC capability, etc. No matter how good your crunch design is, you ultimately will always stumble over something, unless you do a proper conversion, including modifications to plot etc. The example of flight would be pretty famous: Easily achieved in PFRPG at certain levels, much less common in other systems. More currently, 5e's cool exhaustion mechanics translate less fluidly to other systems.

There are examples, when design has managed to cover wildly different systems, most famously perhaps EN Publishing's legendary Zeitgeist AP. However, even that one basically cheats by modifying the ground rules of the world to nerf Pathfinder's options and bring player capability in line with the options available for 4th edition characters. The only reason it got a pass from me is that it concisely presents these changes as a fundamental aspect of the rules governing the whole world. Similarly, Pelgrane Press' Esoterrorists/Trail of Cthulhu/Fear Itself/Night's Black Agents share a common rules-frame-work with different expansions/modifications and thus allow for a sequential progression/switching of systems, though one that takes serious work; still the general rules-frame-work is the same, the tones are similar, so in those cases, yes, it works. PFRPG and DCC do not have either capability- or tone-consistency.

Where am I going with this? Well, this may sound harsh, but the book is utterly delusional regarding its compatibility with DCC. I'm sorry to say it, but apart from DCC-rules being here, this pdf has NOTHING that even remotely pertains DCC's aesthetics. DCC's general assumption is that magic's weird, uncontrollable and volatile; its whole premise is grittier, darker and the whole depiction is radically different, with the emphasis on patrons etc. On the other hand, Pathfinder features reliable magic and is geared significantly more towards high fantasy gameplay. At one point in the introduction, there is "A Note for DCC Players", which reads as follows: "The Porphyra Campaign Setting is great for locating your DCC adventures, with its epic conflict of Gods and Elementals! Check out Lands of Porphyra and our other Porphyra game setting materials soon for lots of neutral-system game ideas today!" This is patently false. Porphyra is an amazing setting; I really, really like it. But it's as high fantasy as they get. Several cultures and races that are present violate pretty much all relevant design aesthetics of DCC. The flavor is all wrong for gritty DCC gameplay and frankly, while some elements of the setting certainly can easily be used in DCC, the vast majority CAN'T. Or rather, shouldn't be to avoid tonal whiplash. Porphyra is excellent high fantasy, but about as compatible to DCC's tone as 4th edition's modules were. I called this "delusional" for exactly this reason - there is nothing in tone, scope or...well...anything, really, that would gel, resound with DCC's implied world(s), the manner in which the system's rules govern the world, etc.

Which brings me to another aspect that hurt me in this module: As we've come to expect from Perry Fehr, this is a great, high-concept environment - there are a ton of cool, small ideas herein...but as a whole, the module felt static. The airship always remains just an evocative backdrop; there isn't much happening in the environment category and the utter incompetence of all NPCs is galling. It may be a personal gripe, but I hate it when NPCs behave like the biggest idiots around and the story of this module, high-concept and evocative though its environments may be, made no sense to me. The ship is also very static - there isn't much dynamics to be found, either regarding the ship, or its inhabitants, making the module, even if taken at face value, frankly lifeless and the weakest module I've read by Perry Fehr...and with some minor work, it could have been truly amazing, which renders this doubly painful.

So let me reiterate: This is NOT a DCC-module in anything but numbers provided; it does nothing to reconcile DCC's aesthetics with the changed assumptions of this module and should be considered to be a disaster for the system, a 1-star offering. Alas, Pathfinder does not fare that much better - the internal flaws of the story and static behavior are baffling to me, particularly considering that Perry Fehr has created more dynamic environments in the past. I'd strongly suggest getting the cool Purple Mountain Dungeon modules for an example of what kind of awesomeness he can generate. This module, though, at the very best, can be considered to be a 2.5 stars offering, from which I'd round down. My final verdict will take both into account and thus clock in at 1.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo and me enjoying the set-up/idea, if not much else.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Maiden Voyage of the Colossus (OGL/DCC)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The War Mind
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/28/2016 05:24:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We have a psionic prestige archetype here, one that combines the war mind PrC and the fighter class. Chassis-wise, the class must be non-chaotic, receives d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, proficiency with all simple and martial weapons,, all armors and shields, but not tower shields. The class has full BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Ref-saves and begins play with a Combat feat as well as Wild Talent. 1st level nets one psychic warrior power and every 3rd level after that, he gains another one and Wisdom is his governing attribute for his psionics. The maximum power level he can manifest is 5th.

2nd level unlocks the ability to consult the codex for 1 round, gaining a +1 bonus to AC, CMB, CMD, initiative, melee attacks, melee damage, ranged attacks or ranged damage. The bonus increase to +2 at 6th level and further increases by + every 5 levels thereafter. 3rd level allows for the free action +2 Str and Con-self-buff, lasting one minute. This can be used 3/day and is increased to +4 at 13th level. 5th level, he may, as a free action, buff his AC by +2 3/day, increasing the bonus to +4 at 15th level. At 9th level, the war mind may pay 4 power points to gain an additional use of either ability.

3rd level nets bravery (relevant for use in conjunction with Rogue Genius Games' amazing Bravery Feats, for example) and 6th level and every 6 beyond that lets the war mind replace a combat feat with a psionic feat and the pdf has a caveat that prevents the swapping of prereq-feats.

7th level nets DR 1/-, which is upgraded to 2/-. at 17th level. 11th level lets the warmind choose a square adjacent to the one he attacks, applying his attack to both squares. Cleave-synergy is provided for and, as a limit, these attacks may not be performed after having moved 10 ft. or more. 19th level lets the war mind 1/day add +10d6 damage as part of an attack and as a capstone, they may reassign the floating bonuses granted at 2nd level as a swift action.

The pdf comes with excessive favored class options for core races as well as uncommon ones, porphyran races, etc. As a minor complaint, the skulk's FCO's absent. The pdf also features a sample character, garish Falnor, an half-ogre war mind, who is presented at 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no grievous hiccups apart from the missing FCO. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column standard with purple highlights and the pdf has no art apart from the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. Nice!

Mark Gedak's take on the war mind is a solid blending of the concepts; the class plays as intended, is a valid choice and ability dispersal is neat as well. That being said, I found myself wishing that this did a bit more with the floating bonuses and the power points to enhance the self-buffs...but that may just be me. In the end, this is a decent, inexpensive little prestige archetype, well worth the asking price. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The War Mind
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Legendary Races: Sphinx
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2016 16:15:52

A thoroughly practical take on Sphinx's as PCs, in keeping with their abilities as a race, but not overpowering.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Races: Sphinx
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

FT 2.5 - Three Nights in Portsmouth
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/25/2016 10:12:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module/expansion clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, what is this pdf? In short, it could be considered to be the anthology/director's cut-version additional content for the second part of Daniel J. Bishop's AMAZING "Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores"-series, The Portsmouth Mermaid. As such, there will be minor SPOILERS for that one in here as well, but mostly of a structural nature.

Anyways, this being an adventure-review, the following obviously contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great, so "The Portsmouth Mermaid"'s middle section is pretty much a free-form sandboxy investigation with weirdness happening in the middle section. My one piece of minor criticism was that the section could have used a bit more for the players to do - if you have good investigators, it may be a bit too simple. These modules, then are perfect to splice in or to use as a bridge to the next installment of the series. As simpler scenarios, they can also be transplanted as brief modules beyond the context of the series pretty easily. Since "The Portsmouth Mermaid" is set against the backdrop of Yuletide celebrations, the default season herein in supposed to be winter.

Scenario number one would be "Blood for Cthulhu!", wherein cultists of the tentacled one capture an ally of the PCs (or a PC of a player conveniently not present) - this adds a sharper focus on this cult, which fell behind the depiction of the Dagon-worshippers integral to the plot of the Mermaid. As an alternative, there may not even be a kidnapping villain, with all being a set up of the Dagonite cultists to interrupt the lesser of two evils. (Yes, in case you haven't read FT 2 - it's perhaps the one scenario I know that features frickin' Cthulhu-cultists as the LESSER evil...go figure why I like it...) The trail leads into the salt marsh, where a roll with Intelligence and Luck determines the route taken, the opposition encountered...as well as the time passed, for a timer's ticking...something to bear in mind while the PCs deal with salt hounds, weird cultist chanting and a chance to break into a massive array of naked cultists conjuring forth a horrid being - if the PCs are too late, a polypus white thing may await the PCs...and they may find an idol, which is powerful, but yearns for sacrifice. The deadly consequences...well, can be cataclysmic for your psyche, though.

Scenario number two, Trail of the Rat, has seemingly less repercussions, as giant talking rats abduct a child and drag it into a deserted building. The whole set-up here, fully mapped for your convenience, is tailor-made to introduce PCs stuck in the investigation to the tunnels below Portsmouth, while dealing with the Pied Piper of Portsmouth and introducing the PCs to the ghouls of Portsmouth in a not necessarily hostile manner. A nice little expansion!

Scenario number 3 deals with the hiding place of a stack of pirate gold, supposedly hidden in the earth: The Open Tomb contains actual names for those interred in the crypts and the level of detail presented here is neat indeed. Sooner or later, the PCs will stumble over a strange, house-sized beast of lethal proportions - the mythical sea dragon, a strange amalgam of scale-less fish and salamander and a horribly powerful adversary. Thankfully, PCs itching for combat will have a chance to deal with a deadly soul hunter and an elemental grue here, both of which feature significant and flavorful components. On a success, the PCs may go out of this sidetrek with some serious treasure, which is exceedingly detailed...but the PCs will have paid for it dearly.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good; while I noticed a minor formatting hiccup or two, but no serious glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard. The pdf's b/w-artwork is fantastic, original and high-quality. The full-color cartography is nice, though I would have liked player-friendly versions sans keys. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a minor comfort detriment.

Daniel J. Bishop's 3 little scenarios here greatly enhance the experience of running part II of his amazing series, but also as standalone scenarios, they are very flavorful and fun. That being said, sans "The Portsmouth Mermaid", the scenarios do lose a bit of their potency and flavor. As a whole, this module offers some cool sidetreks and expansions that render the main module a fantastic experience. I have to rate this on its own, though - which is while I will settle on a final verdict of 4 stars for this; however, if you do get "The Portsmouth Mermaid", consider this to be a superb and must-buy expansion.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
FT 2.5 - Three Nights in Portsmouth
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Purple Duck Storeroom: Monster Treasure Hoard
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/22/2016 08:03:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck games' Purple Storeroom-series clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 22 pages of content, though these are 6'' by 9''-sized (A5) - so what do we get here?

Well, it's pretty evident, right? Basically, this pdf provides a massive array of different tables of treasure - and yes, they do include a ton of gems and pieces of art...but at the same time, a ton of mechanically relevant magical items - whether it's potions of reduce person, spellbooks with a couple of spells, feather tokens, robes of needles -you get the idea. This is not just dressing, it is also mechanically relevant.

How much do we get? Well, a gigantic amount. From CR 1/4 to CR 20, we get a table at each CR - this means that this pdf contains no less than 230 entries for monster treasure. The respective header suggests a sample creature to have the treasure...but I honestly haven't properly depicted the detail this offers - there even are entries of e.g. boxes with TRAPS. Aye, full rules. In a dressing table. That's some pretty impressive detail and shows a willingness to go above the requirements. There also is the level of imagination that you can find in this to be considered: What e.g. about the high-CR entry that may cause you to find a bottled soul of a king's son? Yeah, that is pretty amazing indeed!

The pdf ends with a new item, the abacus of inventory, which streamlines the looting process and should be of particular use for groups starved on time.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' one-column standard and is pretty printer-friendly - due to the size, I could fit 4 pages on one A4-page when printing this out. The pdf has no artworks apart from the cover, but comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Perry Fehr's monster hoards are an amazing assortment - creative, diverse, mechanically-relevant and we also get quite a lot of them for the more than fair asking price. What more can you ask of such a book? Not much! That's why I'll settle on a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. Neat indeed!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Monster Treasure Hoard
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Purple Duck Storeroom: Tiny Elementals
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2016 11:06:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck games' Purple Storeroom-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD (though one of these has a bit of flavor text), leaving us with approximately 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Porphyra is suffused by elemental lore and the conflict of the NewGods and their servants with the Elemental Lords - hence it should come as no surprise that tiny elementals should exist in such a context. So, what do the elementals do? Torch tykes, at CR 1, are adept at imitating torches and, in Porphyra, are often kept as a kind of slave/utility kept by erkunae commoners to ignite hearth fires, for heat, light, etc.

Rock Runts, at CR 1, gain earth glide and earth mastery and may trip Medium creatures - cranky and not too nice, they are still employed due to their earth gliding in mining operations and beyond. Also at CR 1, water wimps may dazzle foes by squirting water in their eyes, drench up to Medium fires and get water mastery - carefree and often seen in the care of fishers, they are pretty much what you get when you think "water sprite."

Also at CR 1, wind wisps get air mastery and the ability to impose minor penalties to concentration and Perception via their ability to ruffle. Whimsical and light-hearted, they exhibit a curious obsession with erkusaan dragons and their uses.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column standard in 6'' by 9'' and as such, is relatively printer-friendly if you're printing more pages on one sheet of paper. The pdf sports no artworks, but does feature bookmarks, n spite of its brevity - nice.

Perry Fehr's tine elementals are nice - they have whimsical little abilities befitting their stature and the inclusion of unique tricks here is to be lauded. While they did not blow me utterly away, at the more than fair price point, this is well worth getting. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars for this good little file.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Tiny Elementals
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Gunslingers of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:15:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the class-centric Porphyra-series clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, though it should be mentioned that the file adheres to an A5/booklet-style size at approximately 6'' by 9''. So, let's take a look!

But before we do, I'll have to ramble a bit about the Gunslinger. You see, when the class was released back in the day, I loved some of the design-decision. Grit-regains rewarded players for doing cool things and the class looked pretty neat. In play, though, several issues soon became apparent. The first of these would pertain lack of player choice: There simply is not much to choose and while 3pp-deeds helped here, the matter of fact remained that one gunslinger would pretty much feel like the next. That would be issue number 1. Number two pertains the price of ammunition - these guys' weapons are expensive and when tested in low-level gameplay with strict gold-restrictions, the class proved to be a drain on the scant resources allotted to the group. Another issue pertained action economy - with reloading taking actions AND the potential to misfire/explode, we had one session where an unlucky gunslinger failed to shoot a single bullet...he was always occupied with fixing his gun or reloading. Finally, the class, to be honest, does not need full BAB. The touch AC means that even moderately competent gunslingers will pretty much hit anything in that range - 3/4 would have easily sufficed there and more utility would have made the class more rewarding.

So that would be where I'm coming from regarding the gunslinger and it is these observations that informed my design of the etherslinger class for Strange Magic. It's been a while since I saw a dedicated gunslinger supplement and I heard that this would address some of the issues of the class...so let's see if it does. One note regarding the verdict - I am NOT expecting the pdf to address my own observations and will judge this in relation to the class, not what I think it should be. I just wanted to contextualize my own position.

Got that? Great! We begin with alternative deeds (addressing player agenda concerns) - these may not be used to replace deeds granted from archetypes, but other than that, they very much are freely available for your perusal. Number one of these deeds already eliminates the feat tax and crappy action economy of the class - as long as you have 1 grit, you may reload as a free action - while this obviously represents a power-upgrade for the class, at the same time, it makes the class play so much better...so yeah, good with it! Similarly, there is one that duplicates Rapid Reload, so no, that's not just rationalized away either. Dedicated specialist unlocks the vigilante's signature weapon talent for firearms and gaining Endurance and Diehard for prereq-purposes (with limited usefulness tied to grit), unlocking quite a few options from the get-go that would otherwise be locked beyond the feat-tax. Getting ranged feint shots from the get-go also helps establish some basic gunslinging tropes from the get-go.

There would also the option to TWF, with one weapon being a firearm, allowing for decreased accuracy for better damage. What about Point-Blank Shot or Precise Shot from the get-go. At 3rd level, deeds provide means to go ranged disarm, Deft Shootist...well, or expend grit to reduce a target's armor's efficiency...which, while powerful, is an intriguing option. The deed specifies the need for repair for the armor damage, but I'd frankly love to know whether mending suffices. 3rd level Deathless Initiate or Shot on the Run are early...but once again, I am pretty okay with the availability, since the selection of feats thus unlocked allow the gunslinger to do what he's supposed to do...and that imho never was standing around, reloading, but running and gunning and being a badass.

Speaking of the mobility angle: At 7th level, with a bit of grit, you can use Gunrunner with a full attack. Ranged dirty tricks within range increment number one, finesse shot and a reduced misfire rate can also be found here. Starting at 11th level, you may enhance your pistol-whip or combine gunslinger's initiative with an immediate action attack for some serious Lucky Luke slinging! Adding some minor damage to combat maneuvers, following up on targeting...the deeds here make amply use of vigilante tricks and expanded that fit the gunslinger, while also making use of the feat-chain tricks that I expected from the book...nice.

At 15th level, Dirty Trick master, Parting Shot, +1 shot (for 2 grit that may not be reduced)...pretty neat. And yes, before you ask - there are some deeds that obviously build upon one another. 19th level provides 3 deeds, one of which deserves special mention: On a failure, the target loses any SU, SP or spells for 10 minutes. As a minor nitpick, I think this severance should probably be SU...but I get why it's Ex...being so mundane you disrupt magic...get it. Kinda like it as well!

After that, we're up to the next section, which would provide firearm modifications. Only non-broken firearms may benefit from a modification; the first one costs 250 gp, and every one past that clocks in at +1000 gp. Now I have seen some excellent rules for various firing mechanisms and the like in Fat Goblin Games' Call to Arms-series/Vathak...however, the material herein allows you to basically add them relatively easily into the context of any other sub-gun-rule-system you may be employing: Basically, the modifications doe a lot of imho necessary things and some that are tweaks to the base weapon: You can, for example, increase the threat range by 1...but for balance's sake, that decreases the crit multiplier by 1. Anyone who's played a gun-using character in an infiltration-heavy campaign (or who has a GM like yours truly who keeps throwing scenarios at the PCs where charging in, guns blazing will get everyone killed) has gnashed his teeth at their sheer loudness - it's why I build a Stealth-option into the etherslinger. Well, guess what? Silencer-rules. Sure, they're still not as silent as shooting bullets of ether, but I'll take them! Rifled barrels that decrease damage, scopes...you can make some seriously specialized guns with these tweaks. Nice! Similarly, further decreasing of misfire very much is possible with these mods.

I do also enjoy the alternate materials for guns of mithril, adamantine, etc. - though I frankly don't get why cold iron guns have a longer range. That one left me a bit puzzled.

Now obviously, this pdf also features archetypes and the first of these would be the black powder duelist - these guys would be specialists of sword cane pistols and focus on lightning fast draws...think of them as basically iaijutsu specialists that may treat their weapon as a double weapon...or, if you want to refluff a bit, think of them as gunblade-dudes. Basically, these guys are about range-increase, Lunge and bonus damage to the attack. Pretty cool!

Another déjà-vu in concepts from my own design-catalogue - the bombslinger. Where I went etherbomber, this guy basically latches bombs to the base gunslinger-chassis and receives a gun that can fire the bombs. Just goes to show that great minds think alike...right? ;P Kidding aside, though. For as long as they have 1 grit, they can continue making bombs after their daily uses are expended...only at 1d6, sure, but effects and discoveries can still be applied...and the ability has a hiccup: It mentions an inability to reduce grit costs...but has none, only a minimum amount of grit, which makes me believe that either a cost is missing (which would go a long way to balance this). Similarly, bomb shot is missing something - "The ability replaces the and lightning reload deed."

The bonded slinger receives an intelligent gun, a so-called soul gun, which can store 1 + Wis-mod grit, gains progressively better enhancements, but also Wis, Int/Cha and Ego. At 3rd level, it begins with the ability to grant Alertness to the wielder, has telepathy and is considered to be unbreakable while it has grit. The gun's grit pool can grant +1 damage for 1 minute, +1 for every 4 levels. 5th level and every 5 thereafter reduce misfire values and 8th level soulguns may spend grit to teleport their gun to them. 13th level lets them pit their will against their gun, draining grit and gaining it...but only if they pass the ego...oh, and failure fatigues. And yes, teh trasferrence cannot be exploited/cheesed. 17th level lets them fortify themselves with the gun's ego via grit and 19th level lets the slinger regain grit whenever the guns regains grit.

The dread sniper gains Stealth as a class skill and must choose a musket. They halve range increment penalties with it...which is pretty powerful from the get-go. Better sniping via Stealth and damage is unlocked at 5th level and scales. The archetype, however, also has unique deeds centered on remaining unseen and delivering devastating shots when sniping from hiding. The archetype also nets favored terrain and while not every deed's wording is perfect, the rules language encapsultes well the concept in question. Oh...and guess what: Unlike pretty much every sniper build I have seen, this is neither horribly OP, nor unplayable weaksauce...instead providing a great representation of the concept. Kudos!

That being an N. Jolly book, I am not surprised to see the elemental gun, (aka bunduqar) herein: First level nets these guys an elemental focus and simple blast as well as an energy simple blast. (Only elements with energy simple blasts qualify!) They channel elemental energy into their guns, which dissipates after one round and increases misfire by 1. Instead of accepting burn, these guys could potentially pay for burn in grit, which theoretically can be cheesed. I am not a fan here, since grit is a replenishing resource, whereas burn represents an absolute value; grit is unreliable, yes, but still. Starting at 3rd level and every 4 thereafter, the elemental gun may select substance infusions that may be applied to their simple blasts in lieu of deeds, but the DC is 10 + 1/2 class level + Wis-mod and only one infusion may be applied to an attack per round. Surprisingly, the follow-up ability contradicts this hard-cap, suddenly talking about one or more infusions in the context of reducing the total burn cost. This makes me believe that the infusion-cap was supposed to pertain not the total number of infusions per round, but the number of attacks to which infusions can be applied...if so, the wording could be clearer. So...this is basically a laser gun archetype. I like its concept. It's what my own class is all about...which also makes this hard for me. I kinda expected combo gunplay, you know, fire bullet, have blast shoot forth from impact - mainly because that's what mine does best. It's a solid laser gun using the kineticist engine, though it is wording-wise slightly less precise than what I'm accustomed to be the author and it could certainly use some creative tricks.

The gunsmoke phantom is about flexibility: They may teleport as a move action via grit and the ability smoke step. As a nitpick, this should specify being a conjuration [teleportation] effect for purposes of suppression. 7th level nets gaseous form (not italicized) and the archetype also gains the option to not provoke AoOs after smoke stepping. Adding a sickening haze emphasizes further the skirmishing focus and is upgraded at higher levels to also feature bludgeoning damage and increased condition severity. Dimensional Dervish similarly is unlocked, though, again, the reference to the dimensional door spell is not italicized. Apart from these formal hiccups, this looks like a powerful skirmishing option, but in play, it may turn out to be quite a bit more powerful than all tables can handle. You see, the main weakness, from an engine point of view of the class is that it needs to get close to targets to unleash its full devastating capabilities, but not too close since it's not that amazing in melee. This archetype lets you do just that, which, in game exacerbates the issue of the gunslinger's base engine vs. touch AC simply not scaling that well. There's a reason pretty much all other vs. AC-classes only have 3/4 BAB...and it's already bad with them. In short: You'll get a lot of quasi-guaranteed hits with this guy.

High rollers are another concept I enjoy and have tackled myself: It's a gambler's archetype, allowing you to increase the damage output to ever higher levels, but at the cost of higher misfire chances. The math underlying the system employed here is solid, which is pretty important for classes that tackle this type of design. Things get a bit more complex at 3rd level, when the archetype may increase the misfire rate by 1 for the first attack in a full-attack or the standard action: Instead of rolling damage, you roll a d6: 1= misfire, 2,3,4 = minimum damage, 5, 6 = maximum damage. This is bad, chance-wise...so you can rig the game by paying 1 grit, only dealing minimum damage on 1 and 2, maximum on 3, 4, 5 and 6. No, you can't reduce the grit-costs. Interesting one! 7th level unlocks a variant of said gambling shot based on a d8 and, more importantly, at this level, when you deal maximum damage, you may designate your next attack to ALSO be a gambling shot, with grit expended in the triggering first shot also applying to the follow-up attacks...and this is where the math underlying the class falls apart, since the d6 has a 2/3 chance of maxing and the AoO d8 5/8 with spent grit - oh, and an 8 on the d8 regains one point of grit, your average damage output will exceed that of the non archetype'd slinger.

Consider the fact that you may, at 11th, spend 2 grit to choose the result...well. You can bleed yourself dry of grit pretty easily, granted, but in the hands of a moderately lucky player (we all have one, right?), this is nasty. 15th level lets the guy roll 1d2: 1 detonates the firearm, 2 means max damage, +1 grit regain and 1/2 class level temporary hit points. The final ability references a "true gambling shot" - why not reference the deed and instead point towards the shot inside? Anyways, I will not allow this one since it does not fit my playstyle, but if you like very swingy experiences, this may well be the archetype for you. In spite of my complaints, I do appreciate what this one does and the lack of options to cheese the grit regains of the abilities via kittens is a big plus. In short: It is a polarizing archetype. You either love it or hate it.

A total of 5 feats can also be found herein: +2 DC for a deed, gain an alternative deed, two improvements for named bullet and a means to use wrist launcher's in conjunction with the bolt ace tricks. The pdf also contains an enchanted lucky duster and showcases its modifications among the magic items, with elemental scattershot pistols formed after dragons, self-loading sword cane pistols, a large musket usable for smaller folks...pretty nice. The adaptable holster would be a star here, allowing for the flexible application of firearm modifications. Problem: It grants the modification for 24 hours and while a firearm may only benefit from one of these, any number of firearms can be modified with them. I.e. if you put one of them in a garrison, all guards can take turns modifying their guns, thus never requiring the modifications to be applied in a mundane manner. I think the holster should have a cap of how many guns it can affect at any given time. A repairkit that permanently becomes the modification, in comparison, has no such issue and costs a 3rd of the more abuse-worthy holster. Slinger's Bibles, finally would be basically manuals that grant deeds upon reading them. And yes, there is a hard cap in place here regarding the number of such items you can benefit from.

The pdf also features several favored class options for Porphyran races, none of which represent an issue in my book. The pdf concludes with Gun Jaw, a hobgoblin dread sniper at CR 12, who also happens to come with a nice background story and even an NPC-boon, ending this on a high note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay to good - while the rules-language, for the most part, is precise and properly juggles the complex concepts it attempts, there are a couple of instances where the wording could be clearer. On a formal level, there also are a couple of hiccups spread through the pdf. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column standard in 6'' by 9'' and the pdf sports quite a few nice full-color pieces of art - some I have seen before, but definitely not all. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jolly and Team KOP (Jacob McCoy, Mort & Onyx Tanuki) deliver a book on gunslingers that is more than just an expansion - it is basically a huge attempt to fix several of the grating issues the class faces. For the most part, the pdf succeeds admirably in its endeavors - the pdf addresses the silence/player agenda issues, adds some serious customization to guns and provides several archetypes that allow you to properly play tropes of gunslinging without waiting for x levels to have the cool stuff kick in. At the same time, the pdf takes the gunslinger's engine and adds onto it - which means it inherits several of the weaknesses and, in some cases, exacerbates them.

That being said, for each gunsmoke phantom herein, there is an amazing black powder duelist and the customization options are well-crafted indeed. I had a lot of déjà-vus regarding my own designs while reading this book and this does show that the authors have taken the class an analyzed its components very well. At the same time, I think some of the engine-modifications could have gone a step further...or use some consideration regarding the gunslinger's already pretty phenomenal accuracy, instead of adding to it. At the same time, this book does go into breadth and significantly expands the array of options available for the gunslinger, which is an excellent thing in my book, even if I disagree with some of them or would have wished for more precision in a couple of instances.

It is, frankly, very hard for me to separate this book from the issues inherited by the base class, since, to me, they warranted a creation of a whole new class. That being said, this is probably as far as you can get as a rules band-aid to make the gunslinger work as it should. Ultimately, and this is more important than the for the most part cosmetic hiccups, the gunslinger immensely benefits from the addition of this book and becomes more rewarding to play. It still is a flawed class, but it is less flawed with this book. I'd still strongly advise GMs to take a careful look at some of the archetypes before allowing them in the game and this, combined with the hiccups, ultimately makes me settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform. It may not make me return to the gunslinger, but it sure as hell makes for a better experience than playing without this book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gunslingers of Porphyra
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Soulknives of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:10:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, though it should be noted that these pages are in A5/booklet-size (6'' by 9'') regarding their layout.

The pdf begins with a new archetype, the brutal soul, who receives the ability to scar himself, reducing hit maximum hit points permanently to gain natural AC, with the exact limit being governed by the class levels achieved so far, with 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter increasing the maximum bonus he can thus grant himself. The first level bonus feat choice is modified and the archetype replaces form mind blade with form brutal mind blade, which represents a variation of it and thus still counts as it for the purpose of prerequisites and similar interactions. The brutal mind blade shaped can either by two one-handed weapons at 1d8 base damage or a two-handed one that clocks in at 2d6, with 19-20 as threat range. Base damage type is changed upon shaping it, but this particular iteration may now be used in conjunction with feats that decrease offense capabilities like Combat Expertise. At 2nd level, instead of gaining a blade skill, the archetype may add 1/2 Str-mod instead of Dex-mod to Ref-saves and AC, and starting at 6th level, full Str-mod is used instead, though e.g. max Dex-bonus still limits AC - nice catch! At 34rd level, whenever he confirms a crit, he gains a +4 bonus to Str for Con-mod rounds, increasing that to +6 at 9th and +8 at 15th level. 3rd level also allows for the use of a mind blade that is at +1 size category and lets him be treated at a size larger if it is benevolent to the character. These replace psychic strike.

The mind blade skills for the archetype are limited., but he does receive 3 new blade skills: One lets him gain the Str-bonus when attacking a flat-footed foe (which can be kitten'd, though it remains an inefficient tactic), activate the ability via psionic focus expenditure (nice) or increase the Str-bonus granted thus. Basically, the class is all about maxing your Strength. I'm not the biggest fan from a concept point of view, but the execution is pretty solid and the rules-language holds up.

This file also has something to offer for fans of Path of War:

Soulfangs of the Protean Lords must be chaotic and receive a modified class skill list and gain proficiency in the protean lord's favored weapon. This favored weapon also fixes the form of the mind blade the archetype shapes. Instead of shape mind blade, these guys select a domain power chosen from those of the protean lord, using Charisma instead of Wisdom as governing attribute. Instead of psychic strike, the archetype receives access to maneuvers - they begin play with 3 known maneuvers, of which one may be readied, as well as 1 stance. Each level is treated as a full initiator level and they employ Charisma as governing attribute. They may learn up to 15 maneuvers, have up to 5 stances and the maximum level they may have would be 6. Maneuvers readied are slightly random: One maneuver readied is chosen to be immediately granted and one other maneuver become available once the soulfang enters combat in every round. If that sounds familiar, well it is kind of akin to the mystic's randomizes maneuver-gains. At 4th level, 10th and every 5 levels thereafter, another reliably available maneuver may be chosen each time.

Nice: The respective alternate recovery methods are mentioned. A total of12 protean lords are introduced here, with the granted disciplines, weapon, etc. -I nice array indeed...though it does leave me somewhat puzzled: The soulfang's weapon is locked into one shape and said shapes obviously do not cover all respective disciplines, which makes me believe that the associated weapon mechanic of Path of War has been somewhat overlooked...or does the shape of the weapon count as associated, depending on the shape chosen? Each of the protean lords mentioned here features its own ability pertaining the mind blade: From throwing it to whirlwinding maneuvers (which can be BRUTAL), the combos here are pretty powerful, as befitting an option for the increased power-level employed by Path of War. One of them who focuses on shields even receives a unique, custom mind shield bonus enhancement selection. Pretty intriguing: We get quite an array of blade skills, each of which is associated with the use of a discipline. While they vary somewhat in potency, they generally are interesting - though e.g. gaining 5-ft-movement after "all attacks" warrants some clarification: Does this count as 5-foot-steps? AoO or no? Lets this ability enter one such step after an attack/in the middle of a full attack...or is it supposed to result in multiple such steps? There are some issues in precision here, though they crop up at a significantly higher complexity than in previous offerings by the author. The archetype may btw. also gain stalker arts via blade skills.

The pdf also sports another archetype called the soullasher, who replaces proficiency with medium armors with those for whips and scorpion whips. The damage-type of the mindblade in whip form may be modified and 1st level nets Whip Mastery, while second level nets Improved Trip and the toppling strike blade skill, replacing throw mind blade. 6th level allows for the at-range use of the whip (15 ft.) as though it was a hand, with sample DCs (use atk) being given - this allows you to grappling hook, try to break your fall (instead of Ref-saves), swing over chasms...pretty cool! RAW, the object manipulation should probably specify that the Dc pertains unattended objects, but that's a minor hiccup. Extended reach and mindwhip disarming would be the new blade skills here.

The pdf also sports favored class options for the Porphyran races -as an aesthetic complaint, RAW there is neither holy nor chaotic damage in PFRPG, part of these enhancements to these "damage-types" are based on design-concepts employed in Path of War, but last time I checked, Path of War did NOT have chaotic damage...so...make believe damage type. Yay. The pdf concludes with a sample CR 12 erkunae soulfang of Zaelendris, one of the protean lords.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal as well as on a rules level - the pdf represents a HUGE step up when compared directly to the previous two pdfs by the author. Either the author has improved vastly or this was developed by someone with a lot of care. The pdf sports no artworks apart from the cover, but comes with full, nested bookmarks for your convenience (though the protean lords of the soulfang don't get individual bookmarks).

Scott Dillon's soulknives of prophyra are SIGNIFICANTLY better than anything else I've read by the author. the rules-language is more precise and actually takes complex concepts and, for the most part, gets them across pretty well. The options may not be perfect in each iteration, but as a whole, there is something to enjoy here. The Path of War option takes the increased power-level of the system into account and while its engine sports a minor hiccup and while not all discipline-associated blade skills can be considered to be internally consistent in power, it is still a relatively solid option - not perfect, mind you, but yeah.

The other two archetypes, while never reaching the level of genius of e.g. Dreamscarred Press' Living Legend, still provide concise takes on the respective tropes. As a whole, this pdf has surprised me in a really positive way after the less than stellar installment on psychic warriors and cryptics.

This one is well-worth getting if the concepts interest you and you're willing to sand off some very minor rough edges. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Soulknives of Porphyra
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Psychic Warriors of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/15/2016 10:53:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 28.5 pages of content, though these pages are formatted for a booklet-like A5 (6'' by 9'')-format. So what do we get here?

Well, we begin with 7 new warrior paths for the Psychic Warrior, the first of which would be the altruist, who receives Diplomacy as a class skill. The path coming with an alignment restriction should make clear here that yes, we get alignment-based warrior paths here. Associated powers-wise, we receive control light (increase only) and vigor here. The 3rd level trance option nets a scaling bonus to atk and damage versus "law" creatures - whatever that's supposed to mean. Outsiders with the subtype? Lawful characters? No idea. The maneuver provided allows for the granting of +2 to AC and saves for allies...and yep, the bonus scales. The chaos-themed anarchic path provides Bluff as bonus class skill and nets one of 6 random competence bonuses via the trance...which is kinda nice, even though the wording is slightly non-standard, it's not to the extent where it becomes problematic. The maneuver is similarly interesting in that it increases in duration and adds more potent effects at higher levels, expanding the selection from 1d6 to 1d12 possible conditions. The idea is pretty cool, but the execution is flawed - the maneuver can be activated, as per default, via a standard action + psionic focus expenditure. Okay...but unlike the maneuvers provided in Ultimate Psionics that are bound to affect a target, this one fails to address whether it requires melee combat or not. Additionally, the lack of a save versus this ability renders it pretty strong - imho too strong, particularly if it can be used in conjunction with ranged attacks.

The magistrate path provides Knowledge (local) as well as a bonus versus chaotic creatures (which is terminology-wise okay) - the bonus scales. As a maneuver, the character can inflict doubt and remorse upon his foes, causing them be either staggered, dazed or stunned on a failed Will-save. Considering the scaling DC, this is pretty powerful and a save-or-suck, so design-wise I'm not the biggest fan here...but the brief duration renders it still palatable. Next up would be the Mariner nets Profession (sailor) and provides a bonus to initiative and CMD while in trance. The maneuver lets you use an opposing AoO to parry an attack as an immediate action. You receive penalties if the foes are larger than you and the expenditure of both an AoO and psionic focus put a hard cap of the swingy opposed attack roll concept. Every 5 levels thereafter, you may attempt to parry an additional attack in a round where you expended your psionic focus. I am not a big fan of the mechanics, but the expenditure and AoOs at least put a cap that prevents spamming on the ability, so yeah.

The nefarious path nets Intimidate and nets a bonus to attack. The touch may also heal the undead, which becomes highly problematic when playing with undead PCs like the darakhul- infinite healing. The debuff the maneuver offers properly notes range and has a save - no problems here. The soul keeper receives Intimidate and, in trance, nets you the ability to see the aura of the undead and incorporeal creatures. The instant recognition of undead sans any required concentration duration can wreck plenty a plot, so not too excited here. As a maneuver, you may AoE-Intimidate foes within 20 ft.

After these paths, we receive new archetypes, the first of which would be the altruist, who gets a good aura, detect evil at will. Instead of level 1's path or bonus feat, the altruist treats personal powers as though they had a range of 5 ft. at +1 power point, which is pretty strong. Moreover, for +2 power points, you can affect an additional creature with such a power. As a complaint here, the augment section also notes that you gain the altruist warrior path...so is that one gained at 3rd level when the augment becomes available? Or earlier? No idea. Empathic transfer totally falls apart; it nets the power of the same name (sans italicization)- either it's very weak (if it's supposed to require power point expenditure) or it can be cheesed to provide infinite healing. 9th level nets a power point-based shield for allies and a daily cap as well as tight consideration and rules prevent abuse here...which is a jarring difference to the previous ability and shows that the author can do it.

The anarchist would be the chaotic equivalent to the good altruist - the same complaint regarding instant detection applies here. (And applies to the other alignment-based archetypes herein). I have literally no idea how the chaotic empowerment ability works: "At the beginning of each day when he meditates to regain his power points for the day, he rolls a die equal to the highest level he knows from his psychic warrior class. He then rolls a die equal to the number of powers he knows of that level (path powers excluded). This will determine what power he gives up for the day. He gains a morale bonus equal to the level of the power forfeited to atk, AC, PP and path skills." A) What type of die? How is the forfeited power determined? How is the significant bonus granted in any way in line? I think I know how this supposedly works, but it's de facto non-functional...and remains wonky in balance as well. 3rd level nets chaos blade (not italicized), but when manifested as a path power, it inflicts 3 points of ability damage. 9th level allows for the random redirection of damage to potentially allies...or enemies.

Dread pirates are pretty cool: They can make small rafts from astral energy or infuse their ships in a ritual with power points, increasing their hit points greatly. Said infused power points may be retrieved as a full-round action, though I'm not sure if they count as expended or not. Neither am I sure whether he can only partially un-infuse the power points used to fortify the ship. Love the concept here, but the execution remains flawed. The higher level abilities include a short-range fear-immunity canceling aura as well as the option to generate a phantom crew via power points...which is amazing. This is by far the coolest archetype I've seen by Scott Dillon so far: One-man ghost ship? Heck yes! Then again, it also could use some minor streamlining here and there...but oh well. The Privateer would be a variant of the dread pirate - instead of emphasizing the creepy aspects, he instead receives control air, the ability to peer through water and not treat ship-based obstacles as difficult terrain, etc. The archetype similarly receives the option to buff his ship (though to a lesser extent) and may, at high-levels, generate a collective - which, again, renders this a sufficiently interesting option, though not one that also features some minor rough edges.

The magistrate would be the lawful iteration of the alignment spectrum here and receives a kind of quasi-smite, usable 1/day, +1/day at 4th and every 3 levels thereafter. At 7th level, the path provides dispatch, which can be used against the smite target by expending the psionic focus - sans augment, but yeah. Odd: RAW, it still has a power point cost, which the ability's wording leads me to believe it shouldn't have when used thus. The level 9 ability would be a buff/debuff aura. The Nefarious would be the evil archetype and is pretty much...sorry to say it, none too smart: You get bonuses when you either inflict 50 hit points of damage or 50% of an opponent's HP in damage for buffs -can someone hand me a bag of kittens, preferably one with the celestial subtype since the bonuses increase versus good critters? Hostile Empathic Transfer once again suffers from basically similar wording issues as the options before, though idea-wise, it is pretty interesting. 9th level provides, bingo, an alignment-based aura. Soul Keepers are significantly more interesting: They may entrap a dying foe's soul within his skull, crystallizing the skull, which ties in with the crystal skull rules.

These would basically be intelligent items with a 1/2 natural AC-progression, 1/4 mental attribute progression and Will-saves that scale up to +11. Every other level, the skull receives 2 + Int skills chosen from a brief list and a weirdo sight that penetrates darkness and silence...why not use one of the gazillion sights already established in PFRPG? The skull can speak and starting at 5th level as well as at 11th and 17th, it receives limited access to a power or spell. Horrible botch: The item receives spectral shielding, allowing it to turn the owner incorporeal 3/day...but lacks a range...and since the table mashes 2 levels into one, I have no idea whether this is unlocked at 5th or 6th level, since the ability's silent about that -a similar complaint I can field against the ability pertaining class features unlocked at either 9th or 10th level, mind you. Being intelligent, crystal skulls begin with ego +0 and increase that to +24.

At 9th level, soul keepers may generate death shades from the fallen 1/day for ability burn, though frankly the unreliable control of the shade makes it not the most amazing ability to have. The ability of the template allows for the leeching of hit points via damage, siphoning them to the soul keeper...can someone please hand a bag o' kittens to the shade? We need some infinite healing...

The spirit warrior would be the shamanistic-flavored non-evil equivalent of the crystal skull user, gaining a similar skull and elders that may materialize as astral constructs...the construct's level is equal to the spirit warrior's level -2. It should be noted that this and the soul keeper archetype sport alternate FCOs for some races, which is a nice touch.

Now if some of the aforementioned powers like chaos blade seemed unfamiliar to you, well, there's a reason for this: The pdf sports 7 new powers, 3 of which are chaos-themed: Chaos Aura deserves special mention here: It sports some nasty conditions, including the "deluded" condition, which makes them see allies as foes and actually also mentions the antagonized effect, explaining it...and whether intentional or not, this maintains compatibility with Ultimate Charisma, which is nice to see. And yup, I enjoy this one. Chaos Blade generates an aura that attacks all within with 1 - 4 blades that each deal one die of damage, with augments to increase damage die size. The lack of an attack roll, damage type , power resistance of save to negate this makes it pretty OP in my book. I also don't get why one augment specifically notes die-step increases, whereas the other omits the information. Chaotic Displacement is an utter mess. The idea is to forcefully switch beings. The rules-language flat-out collapses here: "Those that fail their Will-save will be randomly switched with another creature who failed its Will save, at the beginning of each of those creatures' turn, when they begin their action. This will cause them to complete their action, full-attack action, spell cast or even healing at the new target next them, regardless of if they are friend of foe." - To give you an inkling of the mess here. Literally everything's opaque. Range, target, sequence of action - there is literally NOTHING here that would not make this a horrible, horrible mess. Cone-shaped cold-damage is okay, I guess...if uninspired apart from the addition of fear-based effects to via augments. Basically, a slightly more powerful reskin of stomp. There would also be a negative energy dealing aura that heals undead as well and a means to attack at range via melee attacks. So far, so solid - oh, and with mythic augments, mind you. Expect no 7th path support here, though. Anyways, rather embarrassing: A dev's questions are still in the text of the exceedingly wonky spirit armor: You take 10% less damage (unnecessary calculation, messed up interaction with saves, DR, etc. - the dev didn't go as far and asked "Per strike? Per round?" -two questions that remain here and show on a basic level how non-functional this is, even before going into DR, saves, resistance and similar nit and grit.

The pdf concludes with some favored class options for Porphyran races.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting vary in quality on a formal level - there are some sections that are decent, while others lack some punctuation, italicization, etc. On a rules-level, this is worse. The rules-language oscillates between getting cool ideas almost right and falling apart like a vampire under an UV-light. Layout adheres to the one-column standard and the pdf employs some color artwork I've seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, which, alas, is one of the few positive things I can say about this book.

The ship-enhancer archetypes are a cool idea; so are the crystal skulls. In practice, the rules governing them could have used some serious fine-tuning. The rules-language, unfortunately, is nowhere near up to the level of precision or care I'd have expected; as a consequence, balance becomes hard to judge and may or may not be OP in several cases - it all depends on your reading of the opaque components...at least in most cases. Not in all, but there you go. Scott Dillon's psychic warriors suffer from more than that, though: The majority of the file is devoted to alignment-based options in both warrior paths and archetypes and frankly, they are not interesting and basically cookie-cutter variations of one another. Granted, they get something slightly unique to do, but since these options often feature serious rules-precision issues, I'm left with precious few positive things to say. There is, frankly, apart from some minor idea-mining, not much nice stuff I can say about this book. It's not all bad, but it comes pretty close to it, sporting several options that just are a mess. Usually when I see such a book, I think about whether I can salvage the material within and do so when I see something I like as a design-exercise. This book, alas, left me with a distinct "why bother?" - and that's not a good sign. I intensely dislike dishing out ratings like this, but ultimately, I can't recommend this one to anybody; I don't even see potential for idea-scavenging here due to the flawed nature of the precious few concepts that would warrant it - while you can kinda salvage some concepts and while I like one power, the issues, glitches etc. are just too flawed. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Psychic Warriors of Porphyra
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Fantasy Stock Art Subscription by Brett Neufeld
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2016 21:44:45

Brett's sea creatures are quite nice, and I could see an aquatic adventure or even Bestiary springing from his creations. Clean lines and fresh ideas.

The producer-friendly stock art license is a very attractive feature. Since these art pieces are being produced throughout the year, you get fresh art that has not necessarily been used in a product bfore you get the chance to draw from this fresh, clean supply of art. You usually get a minimum of line art and color, with frequent greyscale included as well. This helps fit the art to your product.

While some pieces may not fit your setting, at a current sale price of $75.00, you are paying $1.44 per piece, which is a bargain basement price for pretty terrific art. As "imagineers" surely some kind of inspiration will come from most of these pieces, making the 3-4 for the price of 1 a real bargain.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Stock Art Subscription by Brett Neufeld
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Fantasy Stock Art Subscription by Jacob Blackmon
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2016 21:42:50

Jacob's creatures are always interesting. His depiction of non-caucasian heroic figures attracted me to his work, and I look forward to every one that comes out as he continues to improve his craft.

The producer-friendly stock art license is a very attractive feature. Since these art pieces are being produced throughout the year, you get fresh art that has not necessarily been used in a product bfore you get the chance to draw from this fresh, clean supply of art. You usually get a minimum of line art and color, with frequent greyscale included as well. This helps fit the art to your product.

While some pieces may not fit your setting, at a current sale price of $75.00, you are paying $1.44 per piece, which is a bargain basement price for pretty terrific art. As "imagineers" surely some kind of inspiration will come from most of these pieces, making the 3-4 for the price of 1 a real bargain.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Stock Art Subscription by Jacob Blackmon
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Scholar of Paletius
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/14/2016 08:12:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is the Scholar of Paletius? Well, in spite of the name, these folks do not need to worship Paletius, god of knowledge, though obviously, many do; from a mechanical point of view, the pdf offers a prestige archetype built from the chassis of the wizard and the collegiate arcanist. As such, we receive a full caster with 2 + Int skills per level, d6 HD, proficiency with quarterstaff, club, dagger, morningstar and sling. They suffer from arcane spell failure when wearing armor etc. The class receives 1/2 BAB-progression, good Will-saves.

At 1st level, scholars receive an arcane bond with either an object or creature - creature would net you a familiar, objects must be chosen from amulet, ring, staff, wand or weapon. Items must either be worn or held to have an effect. Bonded objects allow for 1/day casting of a spell not prepared. The class receives Spell Mastery at first level and at 4th level, when spending a total of 24 hours studying, the spells mastered may be changed - and she may apply the benefits to up to Intelligence modifier of these. Additionally, as a restriction, the spells thus chosen may not exceed the total of Spellcraft ranks. At 8th level, scholars may lose a prepared spell to cast a spell selected with spell mastery, allowing for basically a quasi-spontaneous conversion of flexibly chosen spells...but thankfully only 1/day, +1/day every 4 levels thereafter. At 10th level, any spell mastered via Spell Mastery can be cast 1/day, even if it has not been properly prepared...but no metamagic-modifications.

The scholar begins play with a spellbook and casts arcane spells as a prepared caster, with Intelligence as a governing attribute. Second level nets the class an aura of good akin to that of a cleric or paladin and 3rd level unlocks Halcyon Magic: At this level and every 3 levels thereafter, the class chooses a druid spell at least 2 spell levels lower than he could cast and treat it as though it was a wizard spell. However, the unlocking has another prerequisite: In order to choose a spell, the scholar must have a number of ranks in Knowledge (nature) equal to twice the level of the chosen spell.

At 5th level, spells with the good-descriptor are cast at +1 caster level, but preparing evil spells requires twice the number of spell slots to prepare. 6th level allows for the option to prepare a spell into an arcane spell slot with 1 minute of preparation, with 13th level allowing for this as a full-round action (which should imho provoke AoOs) - basically, you leave open slots to add flexibility to the class. 7th level add a number of rounds to the duration of good spells equal to 1/2 his class level - nice: Instantaneous, permanent or concentration spells are not affected by this ability. Nice catch. 9th level nets a constant protection from evil. At 11th level, the scholar adds +2 to overcome the SR of evil creatures/objects and checks to dispel evil spells or effects. 14th level unlocks holy arcana, adding the domain bonus spells of one domain of his deity to his spell list and spell book, treating them as arcane spells. At 18th level, 1/day when a spell or supernatural ability allows for SR and targets a scholar's ally, he may, as an immediate action, redirect the effects to himself. Up to Intelligence modifier allies may thus be protected. All applicable saves, possibly more than one, must be succeeded and the ability has a range of 30 feet. 20th level, finally, brings timeless body.

The pdf's favored class options cover some unconventional races: Anumus, Elf, Gnome, Half-Orc, half-Rakshasa, Human, Kitsune, Nagaji, Oakling, Orc, Polkaan, Ratfolk, Samsaran, Tengu, Tiefling, Xax and Xeph are covered. The FCOs are well-balanced - no issues.

The pdf concludes with a sample character who is presented at level 1, 5, 10 and 15 - Ulik Tomebound, the polkaan. The builds include spellbooks and halcyon spells are provided in green italics for our convenience - nice layout decision there! FCOs in the build have been added to HP, just fyi.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly no-frills two-column standard. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Carl Cramér's Scholar of Paletius is a pretty strong class: As a prepared caster with some druidic magic added in, more flexibility via Spell Mastery's improvements and at higher levels even domain spells, it certainly ranks at the highest echelon of the power scale. That being said, it should not be considered to be overpowered; the take on the sacred wizard makes sense and while personally, I would have nerfed the option a bit, I can't in good conscience really complain about the prestige archetype presented here. The class will probably not wow you with never-before-seen uniqueness, but its framework is more than solid and deserves being acknowledged. All in all, this is a good offering for the low and more than fair price point. Hence, I will settle on a final score of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scholar of Paletius
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Samurai of Porphyra
by Timothy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2016 22:29:15

Alright, so I am going to do this review out of order because I need to talk about what really pushed this book from four straight into five stars for me.

The Order of the Pack.

So, the bottom line is that you get a Dog or Wolf... Even if you could not normally take one as a legal mount. While this means, yes, you won't be doing mounted charges until around 4th level, having the ability to take non-standard mounts immediately raises the bar, and the rest of the book does not disappoint.

All eight archetypes are succint, flavorful, and also competently made-

Blade of Two Minds gets two orders, in the vein of a Crossblooded Bloodrager or Sorcerer. However, they pay a much lighter price for this, which I applaud because it is so easy (and lazy) to just slap the same will save penalty and move on to the next one.

Then you have the Daimyo, who exchanges competency with Resolve for a much more powerful banner. They do still get resolve, but with weakened progression. They can be downright nasty though, with the human Favored Class Bonus.

The Kajiya is a master blacksmith, gaining greatly increased potency when wielding weapons they have made themself and the ability to use magic item crafting feats without caster levels! Kudos here, because it opens up several exotic weapons that might be otherwise neglected due to the price of enchanting them, such as Double weapons.

Next up we have the Kamen Blade, a sort of Vigilante-Lite Samurai who functions similarly to the Magical Girl's transformation. They eventually gain the ability to cast Bladed Dash as a Spell-Like, which is just plain cool in my opinion.

Next we have one of my favorite archetypes in the book, the Kyudojin - a Ranged Samurai! And again, the author really blows me away here because it would be simple to port over the Luring Cavalier... But instead, they make an archetype that truly feels like a master archer, possibly my favorite archery archetype in Pathfinder. And for those wondering, their challenge straight up works on ranged attacks. Interestingly, the author has chosen not to lock this to bows, so those interested in Guns, Crossbows, or other Ranged Weapons will find their choices equally valid!

The Lotus Exile is a true Horsemaster, gaining a slew of early-access mounted feats, and a horse with +2 inherent intelligence. While I am not personally a fan of using Horses as mounts, for those who have a love for all things equestrian this archetype alone is worth the cost of admission.

And then, the Seishin, an Oracle-Lite archetype! They gain several revelations from the Ancestors Mystery, and also the Haunted curse. While the cost of admission is fairly high, including challenge, the fact you can't access this mystery with VMC means that I can't fairly knock any points. It isn't an archetype for everyone, but I am sure that it will help someone with their character concept.

Finally, we end of this great slew of amazing archetypes with the Yamabushi, a Monk-Like Samruai who gains a Ki Pool, and more importantly... Unchained Monk Ki Powers! How cool is that?

With so many different archetypes, I have to say that there is something for everyone in this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Samurai of Porphyra
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

[PFRPG] Player's Aid II: Monster Summoning Cards
by Landon B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2016 14:24:03

I got this to go with a wand of Summon Monster IV in the hopes that having the stat blocks ready to go would help speed up game play. At first I balked at the thought of spending $7 for a resource that I could put together myself from the SRD...if I wanted to take the time to apply templates. But, as I started thinking about how long it would take to prepare all the stat blocks ahead of time, or to look up stat blocks online or in the bestiary (and considering that I had some store credit waiting to be spent), I decided to give this a try and see how it worked. I am glad I did, as just the SM II-IV lists would have taken at least a couple hours to put together myself in a comparable format, and probably would not have looked as good in the end.

Some things that I like about this product:

The stat blocks are clean and efficient, with no distracting fonts or wasted space.

Any left-over space is left as a "notes" area at the bottom, useful for tracking hit points of your summons.

The pdf is sized for standard paper. I was worried I would need to try to get index cards or some other size card to work in my printer, as I didn't see a page size listed on the file information. This does mean that you have to cut out the cards to separate them, but that is a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to use a regular printer. (Or you can just use them 4 monsters to a page, making for more of a condensed bestiary than a set of "cards," which isn't necessarily a bad thing.)

On that note , the cards are laid out so that a paper cutter set to 4.25 x 5.5 will cut them out perfectly.

The only "negative" I experienced, which can be easily fixed, is that there are very small margins. If your printer does not like to go right to the edge of the paper, you will want to tell it to "shrink oversized pages" to fit on the paper. This does not mess up the ability to use a 4.25 x 5.5 paper cutter, or hurt the end product.

Over all, I highly recommend this for speeding up the monster summoning process.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Player's Aid II: Monster Summoning Cards
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 567 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG