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Necropunk Advanced Player's Guide
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/18/2015 07:16:17
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive expansion book for LRGG's glorious, innovative Necropunk setting clocks in at 122 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page list of kickstarter-backers, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with a massive 117 pages of content - now this is *a lot* of material, so let's dive in, shall we?



This massive supplement's central theme would be war - and it does show - from the introduction onwards, we obviously dive right into the matter at hand - an explanation of how the diverse ethnicities of the Necropunk setting handle the concept of warfare. Now, where's war, there are vehicles and if you're like me, you love the concept of vehicles and have changed the overly demanding requirements of driving skill-checks in lieu of more friendly DCs - it should come as a relief, then, that Little Red Goblin Games also have identified this issue and make driving work easily - unless you want to execute some complex maneuvers. Something I never got in certain sci-fi setting is also addressed - a focus on faster, smaller spacecrafts: Swarms of small vehicles simply are more lethal than unwieldy huge crafts. The revised driving rules provided for the vehicles are quick, concise and fun - and should be considered great indeed. Moving on the Z Axis and the component of height is also addressed, though I'd suggest you check out "Companions of the Firmament" for more detailed and diverse aerial combat solutions - the combination will work in Necropunk's space just as well as in a fantasy context.



Vehicle combat and highjacking other vehicles are also covered in the detail one would want - attacking engines, bridges, etc. - all part of the deal, with sizes making an impact. The section also covers vehicle materials and diverse vehicles maneuvers and vehicle conditions before introducing the unique and very odd vehicle designs - the Ewgee Bladderwort, for example, captures the technology/organic cross-section that defines necropunk aesthetic: These also provide artworks for quite a few of them, including lotus-shaped ships or ones that look like d12s with odd, three-fingered fleshy-arms extending from them - an aesthetic somewhere between Lexx: The Dark Zone and never seen before - cool!



We also get a new base-class with the Pilot. Pilots receive 5 PPI, d8, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort-and ref-saves and a 3/4 social bonus progression. Pilots may tap into the T'jek to make their own fortunae and enhance attacks, craft-checks, saves, etc. and receive bonded vessels. At 2nd level and every even level thereafter, a pilot may select a maneuver, which include options to wilder in fighter's toolkits, granting ships temporary evasion via barrel rolls or even temporarily double the acceleration. At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the pilot may tune up his vessel, optimizing ramming capabilities, armor, maneuverability, etc. and this theme is also reflected in the options that are available as a capstone, allowing you to truly make your bonded vessel the stuff of legends.



Okay, so the next chapter is about the Partisan and teh Zeitgeist - no, not related to me or the Zeitgeist movement, but rather the intangible conglomerate of a people's consciousness. Partisans can be considered the leaders and champions of an age, someone that taps into the flow of possibility. They receive d8,PPI 7, 2+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, full Social-progression, good will-saves. As idealists and champions of people and ideology, they choose a cause and/or faction and treats these somewhat akin to deities in other settings - with titles, social tricks to quickly get bearings of rooms and the like as well as smites, you'll note something - the partisan, unabashedly, is a more charismatic paladin, a champion of a cause without the component of magic - and I really like this class!



In the wonderful tradition of Necropunk, we also are introduced to new languages, variations thereof, and yes, dead languages - I did enjoy the inclusion of Norse as a dialect of Old English (being fluent in both, yes, they are this similar - though, as the book asserts, there are significant differences...) and after this glorious little chapter, we get a significant array of new items: From biolocks to anti-radiation medication to organic computers to fast-growing, acidic vines, the items herein are INSPIRED and even if you do not use Necropunk, with some reskinning, you can use quite a few of these in different settings as well. Ball turrets with upgradeable blindsense up to dragonflys, infrasonic soundwave detonations - there is a lot of nastiness to be found herein.



Particularly interesting for story purposes would also be the rules for assassination-costs and yes, deadly melee weapons are part of the deal as well and includes the new shovel weapon group as well as quite a few nice full-color illustrations of the weaponry. Where there are offensive options, there also are defensive ones - hazmat suits, skirmisher pattern bone skins...or what about a gravity sink that accompanies the Ramses Casing? Do you have a ghoul? well, you're in luck, for now, you can have your very own Igor as a faithful assistant! Now, as before, I am only touching on the very basics here - why - because there are A LOT of modifications, grouped by technology tier, to add to armors etc. - many, many micro-templates that exponentially diversify the options available for the discerning customer - and yes, this does include penalties and flaws of certain designs. Now while I do adore this system, I noticed some minor formatting issues regarding bolding here and the penalties, for example, don't always line up - blindness/deafness is less grievous than being paralyzed, for example, though both flaws have the same value. Some minor tweaking would have helped here.



Now since the topic is war, one would be remiss to forget to mention the feared atomic priesthood - much like the necromancer's guild, this organization has a dread monopoly, the monopoly on A-packs, atomic bombs. And yes, concise rules for these weapons of mass destruction, including degrees of sickness for radiation poisoning and the creation of e.g. power plants etc. have been covered - we for example receive the information on how much a given world spends on energy a year - so yes, if you want to go for a resource-scarcity effects. The atomic brotherhood's priests, btw., also are featured as an archetype of medics, which come with its own code of conduct - said priests can also generate anti-radiation supplies as well as regenerate ability drain or damage faster. Pilots may elect to become an admiral, particularly adept at teamwork. Chevra fighters are those that bury the dead - masters of fighting with shovels, they are deadly cyber-gravediggers, the stewards of the dead, including high-level options to entomb foes or even burrow through the earth in rather quick ways. H'shen welshen pilots can be considered the welshen equivalent of the admiral, while the R'zo pilots can be considered the more combat-inclined pilots.



We also receive an array of prestige classes - and were I to analyze them step by step, this review would be bloated even further. And yes, some indeed are PRESTIGE classes. Advisors, for example, require an Int of 22+. Yeah. Ouch. As masters of deduction and reading people, they have a mechanism of anxiety points that can be used to duplicate spell-like effects or achieve unique things, with each trick being assigned to a skill. Anxiety points can be countered by indulgences that range from sleep to vices and self-mutilation. The PrC can be considered a truly interesting social scion, a nice representation of the smart character that has an incredible, unfiltered perception and thus suffers the strain from it, with ample roleplaiyng potential hardcoded into the very way the crunch works. Black Cards are similarly interesting - belonging to a secret cabal of immensely powerful and rich brokers, these people are ridiculously rich - their black cards allow them to purchase just about anything their hearts desire. So yeah, if you wnat to play the CEO with the exclsuive space station/terraformed asteroid, the guy who rubs elbows with the cadre of secret movers and shakers, then this is the PrC for you -if you can afford the 1-million-buy-in...



Darrig are specialized assassins that utilize fear as the tool of their power - with PPI-powered fear-pheromones and options to instill unrest or tamper with the minds and memories of others, the darrig are interesting. with their subtle hypnotic suggestions, though annoyingly, spells, when referenced, are not italicized. Living Lions are immune against fear, may exert their will to heal themselves - and that's about it. Some armor training, some bonus feats - pretty boring when compared to most necropunk options. The Necronaut, once again, is a return to form - a character that hears the whispers of death, these guys can feign death and see the future when nearing death. Beyond that séances and ethereal out of body experiences provide for a cool PrC - as a cool bonus, the class also provides help for vanilla PFRPG-conversion, with a capstone "reduce-to-0-hp"-touch making for a fitting endgame. Snipers...well, are snipers. Apart from a bolding glitch, exactly what you'd expect from such a class - I'd btw. recommend this class as a means to make crossbow snipers relevant in vanilla PFRPG. The Swordslinger PrC chooses slashing weapon and greatly increases BAB and damage-output, while also gaining talents etc. - these include one-handing two-handed weapons, more AoOs, etc. - solid. Thoughtguards would be diplomat/psychic-combo-classes with enchantment SPs and the like - okay, but nothing to write home about.



Now where there are vehicles and war, there better be mass combat - and indeed, that's what we get - with technology-factors, crafts etc. as well as squad rules, this system allows for some quick calculations that help you determine the winner of a combat. In contrast to such off-screen combat resolutions, direct squad combat provides a slightly more hands-on option to resolve this. Still, I would have loved mass combat rules from Ultimate Campaign fully converted to Necropunk - with phase combat and all.



We also, of course, get a significant array of new feats and also new uses for skills to repair vehicles etc., also as service, making codes, etc.



The pdf ends with an awesome short primer of handling Graveworlds, including some pregenerated ones and an iconic image of one of the threats found thereon...



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed a couple of minor glitches, from formatting to wording, which could have been slightly tighter. Still, for a book of this length, the formal criteria are pretty impressive. Layout adheres to Little Red Goblin Games' two-column full-color standard with awesome original artwork and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Scott Gladstein, Dayton Johnson, Caleb Alysworth - gentlemen, you have done a good job! The Necropunk Advanced Player's Guide is a massive crunch-book that adds a vast array of options to the Necropunk world - the atomic priesthood, the vehicles - there are a lot of awesome options herein and more often than not, the options indeed are FUN.

They add a massive dimension to the game and expand the setting in meaningful ways. Indeed, this is a huge grab-bag and some options herein would work rather well in mainstream PFRPG - indeed, I'll be converting quite a few bits and pieces herein. Now while I love the pilot-class, the fluff of the partisan and the vehicles, there are also some components I wasn't that impressed by - some of the archetypes and PrCs obviously are less inspired than others and quite frankly, overall, I expected perhaps too much. I would have e.g. very much loved further options for phase combat trickery with vehicles and similar far-out options.

Now don't get me wrong - there are great pieces of crunch herein, but at the same time, when compared to the Ewgee and Welshen-books, while the crunch herein may be better on average, there just isn't that much fluff, and that was what blew me away in those faction-books. It took me forever to nail down this component, but while the crunch is more refined, I did also feel like it was less ambitious and does not do too much with the unique mechanics provided by necropunk - where are the unique tricks with Zero-G-combat and phase combat? Vehicles that enhance social combat (propaganda cruisers)? More unique tricks regarding radiation and the iconic organization in charge of atomic blasts? Yes, the advisor PrC etc. does sport some awesome ideas, and yes, some of the content herein had me cackle with glee...but still.



Perhaps I love Necropunk too much. You probably know by now how much I adore this setting, its worldbuilding and utterly unique premises. I want fiction and many, many more books - but to me, Necropunk never was about even more archetypes, PrCs and options, it is about the world, the unique concepts - and yes, they are expanded, but the feeling remains that I would have loved to see more of this superb universe. After careful deliberation, I determined that this is my own problem - I can't penalize a crunch-book for not sporting enough fluff. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars (the half star due to the aforementioned glitches and some a bit filler-ish components), rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform. Personally, I'd still prefer the two faction-sourcebooks, more flawed though they may be, over this one. Still - a must-buy for fans of necropunk.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Necropunk Advanced Player's Guide
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Gonzo
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/12/2015 03:44:41
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at a massive 65 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages blank, leaving us with 60 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Wait, one note before that - this pdf comes with a second version that provides a 2-page layout, but for the purpose of page-count, I opted for the one-page version. Got that? All right!



So this book kicks off with a definition of what "gonzo" is - in short, it is an experiment in testing out the malleability of pathfinder, of providing weird ideas, in being somewhat bonkers. It also aims to retain the functionality of the system and maintaining enjoyment for everyone - hence also the first chapter, which defines a core aesthetic for the campaign and provides some rather sound advice for DMs - not only when using this book. Fun fact - the very first example of what this book is about is actually something I ran - a massive 80s-metal-inspired dungeon crawl with Blue Öyster Cult's "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" in the background - theme and music conspire to make the game more immersive. Other sound advice herein pertains the "anything 20/1"-concept, which translates to awesome successes...and failures at tasks - and why not? I've been using exactly this in quite a few of my games for great effect. Gestalting is also touched upon (no WuXia sans monk-gestalt, righto?), as is the importance of terrain. The one thing I'd disagree on would be the "few and easy names" - then again, I have a private board for my group, including an ever-growing compendium of names, places and factoids.



The first new base-class herein would be the Craven - these guys get full BAB-progression, d10, 2+Int-modifier, good fort-saves and all proficiencies - a martial class in the traditional sense. The class, however, also is an expert-appraiser and suffers from its greed - the craven has a hard time turning down bribes and consuming valuable objects. Optional physical change, which include money-signs in the eyes and the like can also be added for an extra-level of weird. Mechanically, the craven can sacrifice up to his class level in gold to add a similar amount to the weapon damage roll of a single attack. At later levels, each such attack also spawns a wooden coin (a so-called discount token), which can be used as a substitute gold piece to power craven abilities.

Beyond that, he may consume gold by flinging it as deadly weapons at adversaries (scaling in level, btw.), eat it to heal himself (thankfully with a scaling, daily cap) and of course, receives quite a bunch of fitting enhancements regarding the acquisition of money - from the illegal to the legal venues. Higher level cravens can prevents death by paying hefty fees. The capstone nets him the midas touch and an array of talents allow for solid customization options that include using discount tokens gained. The class also sports platinum as a material for weapons etc. and certain class features interact with this precious material. Whether or not you like the craven very much depends on whether you as a DM wish to have very tight control over WBL - the craven can literally eat a party's funds and requires a cooperative group; conversely, in campaigns with an abundance of funds, the craven's commerce-enhancing abilities can prove to be too powerful; the balancing via gold just begs to be abused like crazy, with both healing and damage bonuses being ultimately less expensive than via similar one-use items. I get that, it's kind of the premise of this class, but it does render this class very experimental Other than that, his mechanics are rather solid and, when handled with care, this guy can work as a pretty interesting, cool addition to a given group.



Next up would be the 10-level PrC Living Bomb: d8, 2+Int, 3rd level arcane spells prereq, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 fort and will-save progression, 7/10th spellcasting progression, d8 HD. The Living Bomb gets a class feature that is indeed odd - they can combust spontaneously character-level times, dealing damage die in fire damage -equal to the HD used to power the explosion. A barbarian 1/wizard 5/living bomb 2 may for example use the class feature 8 times per day. Now each explosion is tracked separately and also adds the Int-modifier to damage- 1d12 barb 1/day, 1d6 wiz 5/day, 1d8 Living Bomb 2/day. Got that? Well, the more PrC-levels you have the more dice you add - at 3rd level and every odd level thereafter, the amount of damage dice available for each of the explosions is increased by +1. I like this ability and generally, its wording is very concise - though I still had to read the ability 3 times to properly get it - a terminology for the explosion die etc. would have helped here, but that's not my gripe with this one. The ability takes a standard action and isn't that powerful. However, it is a readied omni-evasion: "The living bomb is also reduced to dust as if by disintegrate. At the start of the living bomb’s next turn if he is alive he reforms and is staggered for 1 round." This allows you to avoid just about anything with it - dragon's breath, etc. And this would be too strong, wouldn't it also eat the readied action. Also, technically, the reference to disintegrate is wrong here - the living bomb only takes a few hit points (minimum, btw.) damage and does not take the massive damage assocaited with disintegrate. Technically, when you are disintegrated, you also are dead, which clearly does not apply to the Living Bomb, so while the ability is clear in its intent and mostly concise, it could have been slightly clearer still.



Now what's rather interesting is that the combustion leaves the living bomb staggered - and the energy build up is not strictly voluntarily. Indeed, these guys receive eruption points by using Empower Spell or by being subject to crits. Upon surpassing a threshold, they explode (painfully, I might add), unless they release the pressure before. Other than this, the living bomb is a specialist of making the most of Empower Spell - not only do the class specializations potentially get rid of the level-increase, they can also significantly increase the potency of the metamagic feat. Additionally, higher level living bombs may elect to deal cold damage with explosions, draw others closer with spontaneous implosions and add spontaneous combustion effects to creatures reduced to 0 HP (sans the whole disintegrate-thingy). Shaping the blast is also possible at the cost of power and mundane enhancements for disabling devices and creating alchemical explosives are also covered by the PrC.



The Living Bomb is very complex in its mechanics and if you haven't noticed by now - the AoE-potential of these guys is SICK. A properly made character with this PrC is DEADLY - not per se due to the explosion/implosion tricks (though the chain reaction can be the ultimate mook-sweeper), but rather due to the Empower Spell-increase in potency. Now granted, 3 levels of spellcasting is a hefty fee, but I still maintain that you should be very careful about allowing this guy - the PrC is not per se broken, but it CAN be broken and provide some very nasty war-mage AoE-sweepers. On the other hand, it allows for an actually unique character concept/build far beyond what most PrCs can accomplish. So yeah - impressive, but, like the titular explosives, living bombs need to be handled with care.



D8, 3/4 BAB-progression, 2+Int skills, good will-saves and simple weapon/light armor proficiency - the mime base class does not, at first, look too impressive. Mimes also loose progressively the ability to create sound - later, they do not produce any and can even extend their silence to objects touched. Perhaps that's my own thing, but I suddenly see creepy mime-serial-killers making an appearance in my campaign... This communication breakdown allows mimes to communicate surprisingly fast and well with their charades...a benefit that does not extend to other PCs. At 2nd level, the mime receives character level + cha-mod masquerade points, which constitute the resource of the class.



They also choose a masquerade, with an additional one being unlocked at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Each masquerade unlocks e.g. new class skills or proficiencies to be added, bonus feats and often, enabling tricks that help other characters - the rogue-inspired masquerade, for example, can increase the damage of other characters in a sneak attack-y manner. The interesting thing here is that the effects all deviate rather significantly from just copying the base class - which is the awesome part. Now where things get really odd is with neutral energy - mimes can channel the utterly absurd neutral energy - it provides temporary hit points and using it requires an odd gesture or the like as a swift action. If this gesture is repeated by an affected creature, the creature is healed for this amount. If not, the creature instead takes damage equal to the amount of temporary hit points left. This AoE-swift-action-control trickery can be significantly more interesting in play than on paper - especially if you're using a lot of 3pp classes that utilize swift actions. Now where I have an issue would be the peculiarities of the wording and scaling of the ability - regarding wording, temporary hit points usually are not "destroyed" and a couple of strange rules-semantics choices made the ability more opaque than it ought to be. Secondly, the amount of temporary hit points is equal to the Performance bonus of the mime - and we all know how easily skills can be blown through the roof. Why not adhere to a more linear scaling of e.g. twice the ranks +3 for the class skill bonus? Would prevent undue escalation...then again, seeing this book, undue escalation may exactly be the intent here, seeing how the capstone also uses the total perform bonus...

For added complexity, mimes may at later levels combine multiple of these masquerades at once.



Mimes also receive a significant array of talents to choose from for further customization options. Walls of force can also be created, alas without specifying the action required. Temporarily duplicating combat feats in action is also pretty awesome, especially seeing how later levels do not require the mime to meet the prereq...



The Mime was a surprise -IRL, I do not like them. Other people consider clowns creepy, I always considered mimes worse. They give me the heebie-jeebies. This class, though, can be one of the most hilarious enabler-classes you can imagine - from the charade to the mocking, enabling tricks, a mime is a fun addition to a given table, alas also one that could have used slightly better streamlining in some abilities and rules semantics.



At d10, 4+Int, full BAB-progression and good ref-saves as well as uncommon weapon proficiencies, the next base class, the Punk, is in one word, awesome. Indeed, mechanically, the class may be one of the best choices for gestalting and certain high-flair concepts - why? Because these guys are melee-centric, yes - but their focus is very much on the vertical: They are masters at moving out of range after attacking, can expertly launch themselves into the air and deliver devastating attacks from above. They also learn significant parcours-tricks and can combine them with their fighting style and increasing base speed into a surprisingly fun class - oh yes, tagging, bonuses versus lawful outsiders etc. are all part of the deal, but even if you loathe the fluff, you actually get one awesome, mobile melee class here that can pull off unique stunts - like air-juggling foes, leaving impact craters when crashing down, etc. Even if you strip away the delightful fluff, this class pretty much makes for an awesome mobile fighter addition, including remaining in the air for short bursts - in game, this made Devil May Cry-style antics rather easy and played exceedingly well. This class is awesome and my only gripes would be some minor rules language hiccups - when an ability that only allows for attacks from above, for example, specifies " The punk may only make an attack delivered after

falling or jumping from a higher surface.", that may easily be misconstrued as a terrible restriction, when it pertains only "such an" attack, a "gravity gain" attack. Conversely, while it is clear that the ability means to say that the punk can execute an attack after falling on a foe, provided he has the action to do so, the pdf does not explicitly state this, rendering action economy slightly more opaque than it out to be. Conversely, the ability to launch 5 foot into the air on a successful attack should provide the caveat that this is not a 5-foot-step and that it does not provoke AoOs - the interaction here did cause some initial confusion at my table. Still, seriously, try this one - it can be exceedingly fun to play and provide "See what I did there"-moments. Two thumbs up, my favorite class from LRGG so far!



The penultimate base-class herein has the most badass illustration I've seen in ages (full color, more than one page viking/black-metal dude with a guitar that deserves being called a weapon...) and receives d10, 2+int, full BAB-progression, good will-saves and may utilize instruments, a bunch of which are provided, as weapons. A rockstar's message increases in potency from cosmetic to significant and they may use perform in lieu of a skill, depending on their genre, with possibilities being pretty much endless. Someone has clearly been playing Brutal legend, for, as a standard action, rock stars may deal sonic damage to everything around them - via two abilities, rock-out and solo. Both look pretty much identical at first, but the combination possibilities with other class abilities differ - planning the two becomes important later in the class when the sequence of abilities used in a combat changes the benefits granted.



They may also substitute their perform check for AC as an immediate action while wielding an instrument - generally not a fan of this since it leads to minmaxing the skill and competing throws - personally, after some quick math, I'll houserule that as a fixed value of 15 +Perform ranks + 3 + cha-mod for faster combat and less enticement to min-max the skill. The class also receives talents that allow the rockstar to essentially become larger than life and yes, the class also features a kind of second form with the stage persona and the capstone (how could it be any other song? "The Show Must Go On")allows the rockstar to pretty much ignore all impediments but total annihilation to continue playing - just because he's lost both arms does not mean he can't play the guitar anymore. Kudos to anyone who got that Metalocalypse-reference and groaned. What can I say - I've played brütal legend thrice, am a goth and metalhead...how can I not like this class? The rockstar is solid, versatile and cool - I just wished he had a bit more exclusive talents, but I guess we can't have it all.



The final class herein would be the Toon, aka "Who framed Roger Rabbit?" - the class. Toons get d10, 2+int skills, full BAB-progression, good will-saves and AC/CMB-bonuses that scale up to +5. Proificency-wise, they are proficient with all simple and improvised weapons, but with no armors. The toon may prestidigitate at will...and should. Why? Because the resource that powers his antics is laughter - by spending this resource, he can do all the Warner Brothers tricks you can fathom and do the impossible - however, pointing this out actually requires the toon to spend more laughter. The toon also becomes more and more like a caricature and can take ridiculous high falls. Also cool would be the gutterspace - whether its deep pockets or something similar, a toon can bring forth the oddest of items - with a chance of instead getting something rather odd. Other than that, an array of combat feats etc. make sure he can dish out nasty damage. Solid one, though the resilience factor of toons could have used more representation - as written, the class is pretty squishy.



The supplemental feats for the classes contain the obligatory +x limited resource class ability-array as well as e.g. more control for rock outs, options to stun devils in musical contests or reduce the speed of foes instead of dealing damage via rock out or solo. Pretty solid.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are very good. Considering the imaginative, unconventional mechanics herein, the rules-language is also much more concise than what I've seen in "easier" mechanics. Layout adheres to, as mentioned, a 1 or 2-page standard and the pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks are mostly in full color, original and awesome.



Scott Gladstein, Thomas Lee Hornyak Jr, Christos Gurd, Dayton Johnson, Caleb Alysworth, Jeremiah Zerby - gentlemen, the acclaim Gonzo has received is pretty much well deserved. This is, indeed, at least in my book, the most refined Little Red Goblin Game-pdf I've reviewed. The rules-language with its eclectic concepts and innovative twists on the rules does not lazily recombine existing pieces, instead opting for something new with each and every class - and I love it for that.



At the same time, though, some of the classes herein can turn pretty problematic - the Craven in the context of WBL-deviations and the Living Bomb in particular can work superbly for some games, while being utterly broken in others, so careful consideration is in order here. Now at least partially, that's a system-inherent issue, granted, but it does remain one.



Now the surprise of this book would be the Punk-class - I expected to hate it and instead love it to death, with a fitting reskin, this becomes in a fixture in my games and in the context of WuXia et. al, this will work just as well and might constitute a great alternative to monk-gestalting. Indeed, I'd seriously consider this class one of the best gestalt-options I've seen in a while. So yeah, people, I love this!



Now granted, I am biased towards the Rockstar and adore the concept, but kept on wishing its interaction and sequential gameplay reached the level of complexity supported by Interjection Games-composition magic - I will probably make a crossover class at one point. Nothing wrong here, mind you, just me preferring things a bit less straightforward...and the class essentially already has the sequential nature built in, so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.



So all's fine and dandy? No, there are, as mentioned above, several minor issues in the rules-semantics that weigh heavily when used with the more complex of options herein - but then again, I honestly prefer innovation over perfection.



And there is the layout. The font used, a typewriter-style old-school font, makes reading this book harder than it ought to be...and it cheats. The font has no italicization/bolding and while class abilities are red and blocky and easy to distinguish, the lack of italicization for spells etc. has been excruciatingly annoying for me. It makes reading so much slower and required more concentration to read the class abilities - there is a reason for the formatting convention and this flaunts them. Especially when providing complex concepts like this book does, the nonstandard layout and formatting can make understanding some abilities harder than it ought to be.



So yeah, there you have it - the thing is disliked most was the font. The rules-issues, where present, still leave the RAI pretty much obvious. Now that being said, if you want an easy, quick conventional book, then this is not for you - this book is one of the most experimental books I've seen for PFRPG and I applaud its guts!



Do I recommend this? Heck yeah! Even if you just are looking for abilities and ideas to scavenge, this provides both in ample spades. While not every class is for every game, just about all of them could be reskinned to some extent and introduced to most settings and a distinct joy is evident on the pages - plus, I really enjoy the fact that none of the classes took the easy way out. Not one class herein could be mistaken for another class or archetype - they are resoundingly distinct.



No, this is not perfect or for everyone, but it is an exceedingly fun, innovative book - and while its font, glitches and slight balance-concerns here and there prevent me from rating this the full five stars. In fact, were I to rate pdfs only on their formal properties and not also for the benefits of their imagination, this would probably fare less well - Gonzo is pretty much a a diamond that still needs to be polished. I'll still settle for a final verdict of 4 stars - while I firmly believe that the concepts herein deserve my seal of approval, the execution of the complex mechanics sports a tad bit too many hiccups for that and, depending on your personal preferences, you may consider the blemishes that are there to be more serious than I did. When adapting these classes for your game, you will probably need to do some minor tweaking here and there - at least I'd suggest doing so.

Still, in the end, I'll take courage and innovation over retreading anytime and I encourage you to reward the designers for the unmitigated joy that oozes from these pages, for the high-concept ideas, by checking this out...

Now excuse me, I have a certain Devil May Cry-style class to reskin for the upcoming Hell's Rebels AP...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gonzo
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Good Samaritans #1
by Lucus P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2015 20:45:35
Solid artwork, interesting storyline. Was going to give 4 stars, but the pricepoint pushed me to 5 stars. I'll be curious to see how it all develops!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Good Samaritans #1
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Tome of Twisted Things
by Ilija H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2015 13:41:31
Disclaimer: moments of 3.x D&D reminiscence in this one.

I got this one for the avenger.
I liked the concept of non-casting, non-aligned paladin. Also it reminded me of FR vengeance knight (a prestige class I never got to play). It delivered very much although I would have liked more if it had kept some of the self curing of conditions through his reparations. Allowing for bane property in his Instrument of Vendetta could be considered a bit on the OP side (the similar abilities never allow for bane because it the best +1 property if you can choose for what it is a couple times per day).
The weapon proficiencies are still bungled as far as I know (paragraph wasn't properly copy-pasted) and he is still missing class skills. Although author(s) have claimed that since it's a paladin variant it should have his class skills, but I believe that Intimidate should replace Diplomacy, Spellcraft should be nixed (no spells, after all), and maybe re-arrange Knowledge skills.
All that said, I very much love this class, and even if you don't need something vengence-themed, it is far easier to rework into a holy warrior than a paladin ('cause of no aligment focus).

The rest of the book is a very nice crunch toolbox for evil characters (much better than say 3.5 Exemplars of Evil, IMO), and even for relative short page count has descriptive moments and ideas that remind of Book of Vile Darkness (a great praise from me).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Twisted Things
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ODYSSEY A Greek Source Book
by Yannick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/09/2015 11:50:06
Great book overall, with good ideas to get started on a Greek Campaign, just did wish the deity session was a bit bigger but beside that, enjoyed the book greatly.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ODYSSEY A Greek Source Book
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Necropunk Welshen Source Book
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/06/2015 05:03:13
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This sourcebook detailing the second of the two mayor factions/societies in Necropunk clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 37.5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off with a more than aptly-written introductory fluff that makes me once again crave a necropunk AP and a novel before diving straight into the new crunch, namely, Welshen-specific archetypes, first of which would be the H'devvel - a kind of living philosopher/artist who receives points with which to inspire allies - for 24 hours. Other than that, the ability utilizes interesting bonus-type juggling and can be considered an interesting variant on the bardic concept (supplemented by the social combat system), thus replacing the base wild-card class's genius ability. Unlike most welshen, h'devvel are not geared towards efficiency sans compromise, instead receiving BAB and social atk-progression of the diplomat base class. Additionally, charisma and intelligence govern their wild card abilities. Interesting archetype!



Welshen Masques are a subset of diplomats that receive a wild-card's social bonus and BAB-progression -pretty interesting: They are trained towards hyper-rationality, allowing them to overcome their own bias (using int instead of cha for social maneuvers) and may utilize this auto-conditioning to make them hard to target with psi or fear. Rek'el engineers (not diplomats, as the pdf states) are masters of scavenging and may constantly modify their magnum opus - not only daily, but even multiple times per day at higher levels.



The School of the Crying Birds (also known as Le'Sara Qu'em) use Dex instead of Str to calculate damage and can execute flurries with bone knives - and if you recall how well these can be enhanced, you'll realize how lethal this makes them. Additionally, they utilize Perform (dance) in lieu of Acrobatics to govern path abilities. Executing attacks with both hands at the end of a charge, increased PPI-allocation capacities and receiving scaling AC bonuses versus targets they hit render this Qu'em school distinct and interesting. The Qu'em school of the Golden Lion may utilize Qu'em while wearing light or medium armor (later even in heavy armor!) and have to select to which type of weapon they devoted their powers. Increased offense capacity otherwise cancels out most defensive tricks a regular Qu'em has - and yes, the charges of these guys HURT...a LOT. The School of the Sil'Van receives a diplomat's social bonus progression and is ODD - why? Because the archetype receives increased defense-capacity, but is actually conditioned to be a pacific and only fight in self-defense. A sidebar explains the linguistic meaning of the name and another tackles the concept of non-violence - a conceptually glorious archetype, though I wished it ahd some increased capacity to deal non-lethal damage.



The H'teach diplomats are more skilled than regular diplomats, receiving +2 skill points per level and gaining slightly increased tech levels or a craft bonus feat for more advanced welshen. Beyond tehse, we receive an alternate class, the H'vuul.



H'vuul have full BAB-progression, good fort and ref-saves, 1/2 social bonus progressions, 5 PPI. EDIT: This archetype/alternate class does not mention HD or skills gained per level - which I assumed was a glitch. The author insisted and made the valid point that this was intentional since this is an archetype and thus uses the base class's HD - a valid point for sure. If, however, an archetype has a whole class table, a new skill-list etc., I think one can understand the potential for confusion. I humbly suggest to include these two pieces of information in similar presentations, if only to avoid confusion and book-flipping.



Now on the cool side, these guys can act in phase 2 while unobserved and later even extend this to phase 3 or phase 2 while being observed - this renders them pretty awesome in my book and yes, I can picture them doing their iconic, fast stealth takedowns. The class also is a specialist of guerrilla warfare, receives a cool bound weapon and the equivalent of hide in plain sight. They are also int- rather than wis-based. Apart from the skill/HD-guffaw, a flavorful alternate class.



Next up would be the new PrCs, first of which is the 10-level Hn'Ist Nomad - these guys get 1/2 BAB-progression, d8, 1/2 will-save progression and 6+Int skills per level. These guys may utilize special breathing techniques and throat chanting to render himself immune to the magpie's rube goldberg machine ability and all effects that require the expenditure of t'jek points - but thankfully, this defense, while quickly activated, also can only be maintained a limited time per day. This chanting can further penalize other classes, wrecking concentration, qu'em styles and even reducing the phase order of adversaries. The philosophy of Hn'ist also provides benefits towards aid another, as befitting a philosophy that treats the whole universe as one organism. No, I have not covered all tricks this unique PrC has. In a rather nice idea, weapons classified as eleven may btw. be used by welshen.



H'Te'shen, aka Master Qu'em are a 5-level PrC that represents essnetially the wise martial arts masters of the Qu'em and, once again, the nomenclature of this cool reace is neatly explained.



Of course, we also receive new welshen ethnicities, i.e. races - a total of 5 clans are depicted: Clan X'el receives +2 Wis and Con, -2 Int, counts as prime bloodline and gets +2 to saves versus poison. Clan Mac'bel receives +2 Con adn Wis, -2 Cha, Knowledge (history) & /faction: welshen) as class skills and +2 racial bonuses to these checks. They also 1/day may reroll one roll. Clan fe'shex receive +2 Str and Con, -2 Cha (this focus on melee being explained via being slightly degenerate and less important in Necropunk than other settings, so, for once, no complaints about a focus on physicality), a further -2 position category penalty, ignores welshen weapon taboos and receives Knowledge (warfare) as a class skill. Clan Dem'rel is shunned due to a strange fever (fully presented) that has haunted the clan - they receive +2 Dex and int, -2 Con. They may be immune against the fever, but their bodies constantly wage war against the dormant affliction, imposing a penalty of -4 on saves versus diseases and poisons. They receive +2 to Heal and begin play with a containment suit - for everyone within 30 feet of a Dem'rel runs risk of infection and even a save can only temporarily render immune to the highly volatile disease. I love this idea - the duality of healing and contagion, the thematic of (incurable) diseases and the accompanying stagmatization- you don't have to be a philosopher to realize the vast potential for great storytelling. And yes, while there +are* cures, they are expensive and rare... Clan Sil'Van is slightly too focused on mental attributes, with +2 Wis and Cha, -2 Str, but seeing they are the pacifist clan hinted at before among the qu'em schools, receive Survival and Knowledge (religion) as class skills and improved social maneuver teaching (plus optionally using wis instead of int for such teaching purposes) - so once, again - due to Necropunk's more diverse take and different class make-up, no complaints regarding this dual fixation on mental attributes.



So what comes next? the personal highlight of this book, at least for me - a concise and captivating insight into welshen culture and philosophy - from the take on cultural topics like gender construction to captivating, flavorful explanations of common wordings to songs, the unique concepts of honor, the paradox of moral correctness vs. the extreme emphasis on efficiency, honor duels, taboos - this whole section is so captivating, so full of imaginative potential, it's downright brilliant. I honestly and sincerely wished more racial write-ups or ecologies would attain this level and depth of inspiring concepts. While I was reading this section, I was, for a couple of pages, more immersed in Necropunk than I've been in many comparable settings ever.



Unless I've miss-counted, a total of 19 feats are provided (though formatting botched on the first page, changing the presentation of the feats slightly from bolded to non-bolded - but that's cosmetic) - on the plus-side, the feats come with cool flavor text - on the downside, "home is where the kife is" renders an otherwise cool sentence somewhat less immersive. Exclusive feats to supplement qu'em style, a degree of control over the Dem'rel's dread disease and yes, new tricks for the core book's qu'em tricks - all in here.



We also receive a new style, the Fau Quan - this style focuses on hampering foes with crits, breaking bones or intimidate foes upon defeating adversaries. Personally, I think the bone-breaking should have a scaling save-DC instead of a fixed one. Also pretty interesting -Knife-bending - a kind of style for weapons, it makes light weapons a better option that utilizes the off-hand for defense and retaliation.



A total of 3 campaign traits, from clan lord to youngblood, these are interesting. Further adding to the unique components of the culture, there are several sojourns - pilgrimages, if you will, with fixed durations and requirements that not only provide vast narrative potential - they could also easily be used as story-feats, with completion requirements and bonuses - a total of 6 such sojourns are provided and they left me excited for more. A total of 5 new welshen weapons, 4 new necrotechs and two welshen war tokens as well as rules for the creation of said tokens and new uses for the Appraise skill round out this pdf.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay - I noticed a number of glitches - from omissions of rules-relevant information to typos here and there, alas, this would constitute the pdf's weak point. Layout adheres to Little Red Goblin Games' 2-column standard in color that is pretty printer-friendly. the original b/w-artworks are glorious and capture well the flair of Necropunk. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.



Scott Gladstein, Jeremiah Zerby and Dayton Johnson deliver one glorious supplement here - I *adore* Necropunk and the options herein have so much SOUL. The feel like lovingly crafted vistas of a true labor of love - the writing is diverse and intelligent, the new tricks added can be considered smart, the modifications interesting. The welshen culture is utterly fascinating and mops the floor with about 98% of racial supplements I've read - they feel concise, alive, believable. This pdf's writing, in the best instances, is absolutely superb. On the other hand, it does also feels like it was rushed at one point - the glitches in editing and formatting, minor, slight hiccups here and there ripped me out of the experience once in a while. Let's not mince words: I wished this book had received a bit more polishing. Non-scaling DCs, glitches etc. - there is a lot that simply isn't that awesome regarding the sheer mechanical execution. That being said, anyone owning the Necropunk setting or even remotely interested in how to craft a unique culture (which could be reappropriated for other races and settings) should definitely get this sourcebook - there are not that many books that make me wish I had a massive 200+ pages book on a culture, not that many that make me crave novels and more material to this extent.



This book left me torn - on the one hand, I usually tend to be pretty strict regarding nasty glitches that influence rules...on the other hand, every fiber of my being demands that I praise this book in the highest of tones for its superb culture and intelligent fluff. I *want* rate this 5 stars + seal of approval...and for me, as a private person, that is what this book is to me. However, as a reviewer, I can't do that - I have to acknowledge the issues this pdf has. If you require another analogy - writing rpg-supplements is both a craft and an art. The craftsmanship can be learned, but true artistry...not so much. Craftsmanship, in its apex, can be art of its own and the same holds true for masterful art. This pdf represents superb artistry in worldcrafting, but is somewhat hampered by the flawed craftsmanship.

Hence, my final verdict will be one of the rare cases where I rate a product at 4 stars, but still award my seal of approval. We need more books with this level of detail, more books that actually manage to bring a culture to life.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Necropunk Welshen Source Book
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Necropunk Bestiary
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/11/2015 03:36:39
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This bestiary for Little Red Goblin Games' SUPERB, intelligent dark-scifi-setting necropunk clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 40.5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This pdf kicks off with the new alien type and all required information to create more aliens - and these creatures are more colorful than you'd imagine - weird, yes, but also pretty organic. Resonating the themes of Necropunk, the aliens provided herein often hearken back towards strange insectoid beings or creatures that look like they may have spawned in an alternate evolution, so kudos. Attack Bug Swarms, gigantic clusters of nanomachines that can scourge and disintegrate foes, dissipating seamlessly upon facing too pronounced a danger -the adversaries herein are distinct and awesome and fit well not only within the context of Necropunk, but also within the frame of another setting.



Strange, squishy gas drifters with three tentacles, off aliens that look like a cross between a tapir and a kangaroo that can drain confidence with a mere gaze (including an improved, higher CR variant), deadly orbital crustaceans (that can leap hundreds of feet, generating deadly shockwaves upon impact), behemoth-like all consuming scoop mouths...or what about crosses between multi-eyed felines and hammerhead sharks? Yes, these creatures are alien and odd, but they are believable and have unique abilities and fitting full-color artworks. They also make good use of bulletproof defenses, evasive maneuvers and similar unique tricks, though, admittedly, I would have loved for them to make more use of Necropunk's unique rules-assets like social combat, phase combat and the psychic system. A further downside for those of you who want rock-solid stats - I did notice some (minor) glitches in the statblocks themselves.



Now I feel obliged to mention that the statblocks herein adhere to an unnecessary diversion from presentation standards - special abilities are presented not below the ecology section of the statblock, instead showing up right below the offense-section, before the statistics - this pulls the whole statblock unnecessarily apart and, while not impeding functionality, it does require some getting used to.



Beyond creatures, though, this pdf also provides us with Necropunk iconics, all with their own artworks and sample builds for level 1, 5, 10 and 15. A Total of 5 such iconics are provided and mooks, from mass-produced ghouls to security agents also help the DM.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - the non-standard formatting of statblocks, while consistent, is unnecessary and makes them slightly harder to read and the minor glitches beyond that remain a blemish on the file. The pdf adheres to Necropunk's printer-friendly two-column standard in full color, with most monsters receiving their own, unique artworks with a thoroughly distinct style. Kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.



Scott Gladstein, Jeremiah Zerby, Caleb Aylesworth, Maverick Bishop and Dayton Johnson have created a bestiary perhaps my favorite scifi-setting right now - I find myself craving a TV series, novels, more supplements for Necropunk on a rather regular basis and the innovative rules inherent to the system have found their way in one form or another in many facets of my home game. The aliens provided herein could have easily wrecked the distinct style, the hard to grasp cohesion of the setting's superb atmosphere. They didn't, so that's a massive plus for me. Instead, like many good scifi creatures, whether those encountered in George R.R. Martin's lesser known scifi stories (Necropunk meets Meathouse Man would be pretty interesting...) or those provided by classic scifi/pulp authors, they feel alive and believable. They also sport a diverse selection of unique abilities and tricks and the sample NPC-builds spare both players and DMs a lot of time. That being said, as much as I'd like to, I can't remain mute on the glitches in the statblocks, the unnecessary formatting decision that makes them harder to read. These constitute detrimental factors.



On the plus-side, though, this bestiary is cheap and makes sense in non-Necropunk-settings as well. Still, try as I might, I can't rate this bestiary higher than an enthusiastic 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 since the pdf is too good for a mediocre rating.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Necropunk Bestiary
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Little Red Goblin Games Racial Guide 4: Nontraditional Races
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2015 19:54:25
Racial Guide 4 (hereafter RG4) is a very impressive collection of new races for Pathfinder, most of whom are like nothing I've ever seen before. Taken as a whole, RG4's new races present a surrealistic fantasy world, and if I were to run a campaign with RG4, I'd set it on a world where these 32 critters are the only intelligent species available. It reminds me of off-kilter fantasy like the classic Bashi Wizards, 9, or even the Dark Crystal or even unusual kids fantasy like Fraggle Rock. In short, maybe its the artwork, but I imagine these new races as imaginative Muppets, having semi-psychadelic adventures, and that's a very good thing.

With more than 30 races in the sourcebook, RG4 is mixed bag. There are some stinker races mixed in with some truly imaginative concepts. My favorite races in the book have a really strong theme, and I'll talk about them below, while some of the others seem merely like random mutations stapled together.

Of the races described my favorites include:
Arma- who are hyper-competitive humanoids who can transform into magical weapons, basically a fantasy version of the Targetmasters from Transformers.

Behemoths- four armed, headless braichators.

Cuills- basically an Elf-like species whose race wide fertility problems (think Children of Men) have made them fierce protectors of children, distinguished by a thick bone crest on their neck that looks almost like a body-horror parody of Edwardian collars.

Kapre- spindly and physically frail stoner giants.


Talli- extremely fast breeding humanoids with a massive problem with death in childbirth, due to their incredible metabolic needs, ancestral memories, an adventurous disposition and iron-clad code of honor.

The book is a fine value. I'm giving it 4/5 stars, because as I mentioned it's a mixed bag.While I loved the races above, there are several others I can barely remember, or which had serious mechanical problems. For instance, while you can tell the authors really liked the Ouphre, and dedicated both page-count and several illustrations to this race of Labyrinth type critters, I wasn't too crazy about the mechanics behind the race. I felt their somewhat mutable mutations could of been handled more smoothly; for example, in Neo-Exodus, Louis Porter has a race that can potentially shift its survival adaptations regularly and he covers the same ground in fewer (and clearer) words.

Still, if you're a fan of non-traditional fantasy, get this book. You'll find at least a handful of new races to love., a few more races to like, and a handful to ignore.

CHRIS

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Little Red Goblin Games Racial Guide 4: Nontraditional Races
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Really Simple Prestige Classes
by Curtis G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/25/2014 09:05:41
Disclaimer – this review is based on read through and not actual playtesting.

Prestige classes have always had problems. In the olden days before Pathfinder, they were easy to abuse, dipping a level here and a level there to get something really super optimized. Then there was the fact that a lot of classes got boring at later levels, and prestige classes generally were a better choice than staying in your base class. Pathfinder changed that; the rule gave reward to those staying in a base class – lots of abilities based on class level, and new abilities gained, as well as capstone abilities. You take even 1 level outside your base class you lose your capstone ability. Not many campaigns get that far, but it does weigh on the mind.

Most prestige classes in Pathfinder are just not worth the effort. And some combinations of multiclassing don't work. The Exalted in Inner Sea Gods is an example of a different approach to prestige classes that weren't quite so problematic.

Really Simple Prestige Classes does this well.

Each class in the book is a 3 level prestige class, and aside from Runner, you cannot get into before 6th or 7th level. Runner, if you are human you could get into at 2nd level.

A lot of these classes seem unbalanced at first look – they seem too powerful – but that is a design point of the book; the classes presented make it a tough choice to take the class or take a level in your base class. Something most prestige classes don't do. Normally you are making a character to get a specific prestige class to get a character built around it. These classes are only 3 levels and give you character something really special to call their own, without requiring building from the ground up for that class. It lets you “dip” into the class for 3 levels and maintain balance with characters who stayed in base class.

I'm not going to go into the details of the classes, but this is a quick description of each posted in a thread by the publisher.

Acrobat: A three level class based around increases to acrobatics, evasion, and uncanny dodge.
Arcane Dabbler: Pick up a few useful spells and metamagic feats without impacting your BAB or HD too much.
Beastlord: Need an animal companion? Gain one that will be useful for the remainder of your levels as well as some nice abilities that focus on defeating/detecting beasts and magical beasts.
Enchanter: Is magical crafting your thing? Enchanter cuts down on crafting time and grants you some of the much-needed feats, allowing you to bypass a lot of red tape.
Magic User: Expand your spell list, boost your casting stats, and overall make your spellcasting more versatile.
Metamagister: Metamagic feats getting you down? Offset them with this class without sacrificing your caster level.
Runner: Need to get somewhere quicker? Runner boost your movement speed, deal with terrain challenges with ease, all while still offering attracting options for skirmishing characters.
Weapon Master: Why be good at one weapon when you can be good at all of them? (As a designer put it, “This one is a golf-bag fighter”.)
Weapon Specialist: Why be good at all the weapons when you can be an undisputed master of one? Gives early access to some weapon specific feats

Things I'd love to see in an update:
Bookmarks – while it is only an 18 page PDF, 16 pages of content, bookmarks to take the reader to each class would be nice. They are presented in alphabetical order and it's small so scrolling to the class is easy.

There were a few editing mistakes.

These little drawbacks don't impact the worth of this book, nor it's amazing content. This is one of the best player centric books of the year – both in content, and taking the idea of prestige classes in new directions and making them very useful. Hope more books follow, and it inspires other publishers to do similar things.
5/5

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Really Simple Prestige Classes
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Dragon Tiger Ox (Wuxia/Wushu Source Book)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2014 07:35:11
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book by Little Red Goblin Games clocks in at 172 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 7 pages of SRD (with some pages duplicating text from the adventure at the end of the book), leaving us with 163 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Now if you've been following my reviews, you'll know that I usually take apart crunch for races and classes in a pretty detailed manner. The problem with a book of this size and my approach is evident -were I to do that here, the review would bloat beyond compare. Hence, I'll be somewhat less detailed than usual in this review, picking out the cherries and the less than awesome components and highlighting them. Got that? Great!



So after a short introduction to the topics and tropes of WuXia/Wushu and the implied setting of Dragon Tiger Ox, we delve into the basic supplemental pieces of information. A basic introduction to a third alignment axis in the guise of honor can be found here, as can be new uses for knowledge skills to identify styles. Unlike in a standard assumption of a setting, each character receives a favored style through which they progress, counting their class level as BAB-prerequisites for the purpose of taking these feats. A similar terminology is established for ki-level - that means it class levels in a ki pool gaining class.

Additionally, a new combat maneuver may be used to disrupt styles, canceling their benefits and allowing the maneuver's executor to increase the amount of time entering a style takes. While not particularly effective in itself, the maneuver lends itself to a versatile array of possibilities to follow up on. What rather impressed me with its simplicity and yet, genius, would be the diversified martial arts - headbutts, kicks etc. all get their own damage-columns and bonuses - kicks tend to do more damage, but inflict the new off-balance condition on a character executing them. This system not only immediately makes flurry of blows actually interesting, it turned out to work in a rather balanced and cool manner when I tried it out. These alternate rules indeed are glorious and should be deemed a nigh must to make monks and martial artists in general a more interesting playing experience.



Now if you want to go for full-blown WireFu WuXia à la "Hero" and similar movies, an array of solid rules to achieve just that would be provided as well. On the downside, the suggestion to default gestalt as monks with other classes makes sense and fits the tone, but the lack of advice regarding power-levels of characters and adversaries when implementing these rules make them feel more like an afterthought. And yes, gestalting is explained in x guides online, but I maintain that introducing a suggestion like this should also be accompanied by a thorough examination of its ramifications.



Now for the more light-hearted among us, the bad dubbing rules that have you pantomime what your character means and another player say the words might not suit my tastes for a prolonged and serious campaign, mostly due to me trying to explore questions of ethics and psychology as well in my games, but for a fun evening with sake or beer, I can guarantee that the results can be utterly hilarious.



Now race-wise, aasimars and vanaras may choose new alternate racial traits (including a draconic breath weapon). The Guaiwu, one of the new races herein, would imho be just a tiny bit too strong with both darkvision and low light vision, though not by much - still a good example why the RP-rules from the ARG don't work as smoothly as they ought to and by no means broken. That being said, one could nitpick a bit here and there. The second race, the Samebito can be rather overpowered in any aquatic campaign - gaining fast healing in saltwater, these guys are per se a cool race, but one DMs should be a bit wary of in the context of nautically-inclined campaigns. Shishi are awakened from statues of foo lions/dogs and are celestial guardians - and here, I have not even the slightest gripe. On another note - the Guaiwu remain the only race that specifies its RP-cost, in case you were wondering.



A total of 11 racial feats allow half-breeds to have two favored styles, Gaiwu to shoot elemental blasts (with a VERY high range), gain blindsense under water, wield larger weapons etc. -especially the Gaiwu gain the brunt of cool tricks here, with one-handing two-handed weapons and gaining regeneration temporarily for eating oni-flesh being two examples that skirt what is balanced and what is cool. Generally, I do like the feats on their own, but the concentration of awesome tricks for the Gaiwu and relative lack of coolness for other races bespeaks a kind of favoritism here. Seeing how the race already is powerful when compared to the base races, the damn cool and iconic toys might push them over the edge for *some* DMs, so please read this one carefully. The good news would be that the options provided by themselves are not broken.



A short primer on languages had the linguist in me excited, though the level of detail of e.g. Necropunk's supplements is not reached herein. Beyond a new wildblooded draconic bloodline for sorcerors to represent the eastern dragon's flavor and a new one for ki-centric sorcerors that helps them not suck at ki-tricks/unarmed tricks - at least not as much. The ki/metamagic synergy gained at higher levels also makes for an interesting design choice here. We also receive the ki domain, whose ki-powered channel and the potentially extreme increase of radius for it can easily break the balance when taken in combination with variant channeling or simply a powerful channeling specialist, so take that one with a grain of caution.



Next up would be the 3 new prestige classes – in all brevity, 2 are full BAB-progression classes, the third a ¾ BAB-progression. The Shifu would be a master of one style on the verge of developing his own style – hence, the PrC receives a secondary pool, so-called prowess points, to modify his strikes with. In an interesting take, some of the class abilities depend on the base-class used to class into this PrC. If you happen to know the movie tropes – these guys learn the hardcore martial arts – dealing the same damage as last round via mirror palm (explicitly working with vital strike!) and elemental blasts make for iconic techniques that are powerful, but limited by daily uses. Beyond these, the PrC also receives a disintegration-style killer strike and an insta-death attack – especially the latter is not something I’m generally a fan of in classes that are not the assassin. Yeah, it exists in the literature and movies, but still.



The second PrC herein would be the Jade Warrior, which can be summed up best as a kind of holy warrior that strives to become a balanced paragon of stoic virtues, a kind of anti-dishonor-paladin, if you will – though one powered by ki with quite a few more unique abilities than I would have expected – I particularly liked that their wounds inflicted on dishonorable targets resist magical healing and may leave jade green scars unless treated by restoration.



The third PrC herein would be the Wolong – a hardcore strategist martial artist that learns tactician and similar tricks. While I am not a fan of the general option of a mechanic that allows for counter-strikes and ties the mechanic to initiative (d20 vs. d20 minus 5 – too much variance), I do like the ability – for while I don’t enjoy this component of it, the option to pick their turn apart and e.g. take move actions at a different initiative than standard actions etc. makes for some very interesting changes in tactics. The ability to command allies pales in comparison and has been done in more interesting ways in other classes. However, with the very strong and iconic round-break-up, more would have been unbalancing. That being said – NOT a fan of adding int to damage, even with a max class level caveat – stacking up multiple attributes to base damage is too easy to game.



A couple of rage powers and rogue talents allow for the parrying of unarmed attacks via blades and even monk-style tricks for barbarians, just before we delve into the meat of the setting information with a general overview of the celestial bureaucracy under the emperor. An assortment of suggested deities and heroes is presented, alongside a massive chapter on the diverse sample of clans, orders and schools. If you have access to LRGG’s Heroes of the East-series, you’ll also notice some synergy with the styles established therein, allowing you to easier weave a tangled web of diverse martial traditions and ideologies competing for supremacy.



Of course, no such book would be complete without a new chapter on feats and Dragon Tiger Ox surely delivers in that regard with a massive chapter and MANY, many feats. Rather weirdly, the necessary index-table shows up after the first couple of feats, but that is admittedly a nitpick. The feats themselves, as befitting of the theme, make ample use of ki and allow non-ki-classes to wilder in this territory; It should also be mentioned that these feats have been built with regards to a kind of compatibility regarding the “Heroes of the East”-series, which generally is rather neat. The fact that the exceedingly cool upgrade to Ki Cannon does not feature the prereq-feat from the HotE-series may gall some people, though. Beyond a significant array of regular feats, we are also introduced to so-called Forbidden Feats – these feats come with significant benefits, usually in the guise of significant damage to the character, even attribute damage, but allow the respective character to regain ki-points. Surprisingly, I have found no easy way to cheese these feats – while it *is* possible, it would require some deep digging and uncommon race/ability combinations not usually available t PCs, so…well done. On another note – it is a bit weird that follow-up feats to Forbidden feats not necessarily are forbidden feats themselves – there seems o be some minor thematic inconsistency going on here, but once again, that’s a nitpick.



As a nice nod towards the glorious Ultimate Campaign supplement, we also receive some thematically appropriate story feats that let you prove that YOUR style is the best…or that your school should be considered supreme to your rivals. Another array of new feats would be introduced herein – qinggong-feats, which essentially represent spell-like abilities that are unlocked via taking the feats. These abilities, while powerful, are tied to ki and burn quite a lot of this resource. The dispelling strikes that allow you to counter magic via ki deserve special mentioning, though I consider the forbidden technique that allows you to convert incoming spells into ki a perpetuum mobile of a finite resource that does require careful oversight. And yes, THAT one can be cheesed, but only at high levels. So yeah, no significant issue.



A total of 5 new styles can also be found within these pages – from the elven Drambor that rewards tumbling through and over foes to the leg irons using Rattling Chain, the styles are one thing – unique. They breathe a kind of inspiration absent from quite a few published styles out there. Now personally, I consider the Sacred Lotus Style’s option to substitute caster level for BAB for the purpose of delivering touch spells to be rather nasty – while it allows for certain builds to actually work rather well, it also has the potential to go rather awry and become OP depending on the resources you allow as a DM – essentially, as soon as you have a touch attack based class like the warlock-variants (e.g. Interjection Games’ superb Ethermancer), you may wish to think VERY hard before allowing this style. It should be noted that this remains the exception in an array that is otherwise rather interesting – rope-darts, ki-draining – generally, this chapter deserves accolades!



Now the styles have been ample clue here – yes, there also is quite an array of new equipment herein, namely cool stuff like Bond-style throwing hats, flying guillotines etc. – the latter would constitute the one totally broken weapon herein – not only does it have an x5 multiplier (as if x4 wasn’t bad enough…), it also has a damage dice upgrade when used in conjunction with Throw Anything. And yes, it does require a swift action to retract, but still…I don’t see the fun in luck being rewarded this much. Other than that, Umbrella Spears etc. make for interesting options that even allow for some unique tactics.



Where there are mundane items, there are magical ones and this book does deliver in this regard as well – beyond jade and peach wood as materials, an array of ki-powered jade masks, fans with the powers of the wind, wooden oxen figurines, leadening weights, enchanted gourds – quite a diverse array, often with primary passive benefits and additional, active ones that require the expenditure of ki. New magical armor and weapon properties as well as advice on the pricing of these items can be found within this chapter as well.



Now remember those forbidden feats I mentioned? Well, there also are the immortal clans and styles – taught directly by the immortals, theses styles are very powerful, but have significant, story-based drawbacks that really have a massive oomph – from slowly turning into a tree to becoming utterly reckless, these styles work exceedingly well -why? Because they use the ROLEPLAYING aspect to codify drawbacks in rather unique ways that can enhance the game rather than only relying on sheer numbers. These are feats for mature groups, yes, but damn fine ones – powerful, narrative gold here!



Becoming immortals would also be a distinct possibility and perhaps, most appropriate when going Mythic anyways – yes, this also provides advice on mythic adventures in the cosmos of DTO – From Universal to path-specific abilities, a vast array of mythic versions of feats etc. mean that there indeed is *A LOT* of mythic content herein to use. That being said, the balance, even within the context of mythic rules, has been stretched very thin by some of these options – being treated as always having 1 ki point and adding yet another way of regaining ki can be combined with these abilities to make some truly fearsome combos – now don’t get me wrong; I don’t necessarily consider this inappropriate in the context of Mythic Adventures – but the options herein are powerful indeed and may be considered too much for some DMs not going balls to the wall-crazy with mythic adventures.



A total of 4 different mythic-exclusive styles further increase the fantasy-factor here – clad, for example, in righteous flames, delivering negative levels by the attack – the mythic styles are extremely lethal, but also risky – more so even than the regular immortal styles. Once again, the caveat that they’re intended for the higher power-levels of gaming applies, though these provide less potential for abuse than the vast assortment of path abilities due to story-based limitations of their accessibility.



The final pages of this book are devoted to different ready-made encounters, which, among others, feature the challenge of a 36-chamber pagoda – and generally, I do enjoy these encounters. Alas, the statblocks provided here are rather opaque and the one time the layout failed – no bolding, no clearly distinguished attack/defense-sections – mind you, the words are there, but presentation-wise, the statblocks feel jumbled when they’re not – a good example that layout *is* important.



Conclusion:

Editing can be considered very good; I noticed no significant glitches that would have impeded my ability to understand the content; formatting is less impressive, though – I did notice a bunch of glitches especially in the formatting department: From feat names at the bottom of the page, with the rest of the text on the next page to flawed paragraphs and the aforementioned statblock-presentation, this component is simply not that impressive. Which is especially surprising considering the layout – DTO features a beautiful, elegant full-color 2-column standard that manages to still be printer-friendly. However, the book also sports rather broad borders, which means there’s less text per page. Additionally, many a page sports quite a bit of blank space – some optimization there would have probably spared me quite a few pages when I printed this out. The artworks deserve special mentioning – especially the character art throughout the book is drop-dead gorgeous and on par with the awesome cover. The pdf comes with massive, nested bookmarks that allow for easy navigation.





Designers Dayton Johnson, Scott Gladstein, Caleb Alysworth, Jeremiah Zerby, Ian Sisson and Mike Myler have provided a massive, interesting book here – the love for the genre breathes from the pages and the fluff inherent in quite a few of these options remains compelling and cool. Now don’t expect a campaign setting here – this is a crunch-book with some setting-hints; If you’re looking for a setting, then this might not be for you. Continue reading, though.



Why? Because this massive book is essentially, for better and for worse, a huge grab-bag. Here and there, LRGG devises an alternate rule for something already codified by mainstream Pathfinder in another way, so an awareness and weariness of overlaps and stacking is required of prospective DMs. If you’re willing to approach Dragon Tiger Ox under this premise, though, you’ll be rewarded – unlike many books that feature complaints like the ones I fielded in the above paragraphs, Dragon Tiger Ox breathes the spirit of a true labor of love. In fact, rereading this review, it may even seem less positive than I intended it to be. Yes, there are potentially problematic options in here – but there is also a veritable treasure trove of options to scavenge, allow and use in your campaigns. From the iconic styles to the uncommon items, to the nice codification of ki that opens these tricks for a plethora of builds, Dragon Tiger Ox can be considered a great achievement and most importantly, a fun book.



Is it perfect? No. Do I consider all in this book good or balanced? No. Can I see myself using the vast majority of content herein? Heck yes! While not perfect, I do encourage any fan of WuXia or those wishing to run eastern campaigns to check this book out – it makes for a nice resource to have and its price is rather fair as well. Hence, in spite of some rough edges and the formatting glitches, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars with the caveat that a system-savvy DM should carefully contemplate the content herein prior to using it – some pieces might be inappropriate for some campaigns/rule-book combinations.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Tiger Ox (Wuxia/Wushu Source Book)
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Tome of Twisted Things
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/15/2014 16:26:36
While not for every campaign, the Tome of Twisted Things is full of interesting and useful ideas and resources that could be easily incorporated into a campaign. Mostly they will fit into a campaign world where the fight between good and evil is brutal and where good is losing ground that is the sort of situation where the Darkborn and Avengers would thrive. My only real complaint is the pinkish background of the PDF which is a little disturbing to stare at.

The Tome of Twisted Things is a selection of darkness-tinged resources for Pathfinder, new prestige and variant classes, a new race and supporting feats. It begins with the Darkborn prestige class who draw upon the power of evil to defeat evil, a classic conceit. They must balance their dedication to good with their increasing urge to do evil. The class has powers called ‘darkweaves’ that are activated by bidding their ‘wickedness’ against the purity of their target, which is an interesting mechanic. They gain some interesting power but must always be fighting against the temptation to embrace the evil that fuels their abilities. Good stuff. But it seems that they should have knowledge (planes) as a class skill as they have several abilities that interact with outsiders.

Next up is the Avenger, a paladin variant that serves the god of retribution and is focused on settling scores, injure them and get stronger against the thing that injured them. The Ruiner is an anti-paladin archetype who just wants to tear down the world and gains bonuses when doing so. The Tyrant prestige class wraps up the class section with someone who wants to rule and will crush any who oppose that vision, an interesting option for lawful villains.

The new race is the Warped, children of a summoner and an eidolon, these are the definition of unusual but interesting. They gain access to a very limited amount of eidolon evolution but have no place where they fit in, being so rare and strange, making them a perfect sort for becoming adventurers. The warped also have access to two class archetypes: the Bloodborn (summoner) who summon creatures from their own blood, and the Monk of the Flowing Form, who master the adaptability of their own body.

Twenty new feats, and one new trait, round out this work, all but one dealing with class or race abilities from this product, but they provide a variety of interesting -if niche- options.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Twisted Things
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Necropunk Ewgee Source Book
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/11/2014 03:09:59
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This sourcebook for Little Red Goblin Games' glorious, innovative Scifi-setting clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this pdf in style, with a fully-depicted Battle-march for the Sentinels - "O, Death". And yes, I tried singing it and it does work, cadence-wise. We hence kick off this pdf's coverage of the Ewgee with a survey of the sentinel organization - from ranks in the military, to training and even including their oath, this one oozes flair and style.



The Psychic rules of Necropunk also get suppelmental information here, with the Psyoff. While nomenclature may sound none too impressive here, these guys essentially generate a tactical grid, in which allies can share senses, memories and even have PPI assigned to them - the storytelling potential, beyond the combat potential, for this one is vast. And yes, entering the mind of hostiles and talking to them, soothing golems - possible. A power is also tied to the new crown of god weapon, which can be made to fire lines and yes, bursts.



The Living Saints of the (in my opinion) somewhat creepy Prime Bloodline get a wildcard archetype that gets a free perfection at 1st level and may spend potential points on a number of unique Perfections -essentially, their potential is more geared towards becoming an Übermensch - enhanced immune systems, perfect immune systems, eidetic memory, truly superb vision, including the option to see e.g. x-rays and similar usually invisible forms of radiation and spectrums. Nice, even though an explicit mention of "this modifies Genius" etc. would have made the archetype somewhat easier to use. Sentinels of the Prime Bloodline may opt for the new Father archetype, which represents veterans of countless battles fought, with arrays of tricks that allow them to provide combat support to allies - think teamwork-enhancing commander. Solid one.



Sisters are the immaculate seductresses of the Prime Bloodline - while sterile, these wildcards can adopt personas - adopting these allows her to e.g. borrow the diplomat's social competence, sneak attack and trap sense, bombs, monks etc. - cool idea for a jack-of-all-trades-class that actually has a distinct fluff, if not perfect balance between personas.



Engineer-members of the Necromancer's Guild may become Devs -addicted to change exists here as well as gaining a retractable tendril that can grapple foes, may biohack others and also get to choose from an array of controlled bio-mutations that allow you to hyperstimulate allies with your tendril, deliver poison etc. Phagen of the assassin's guild provide a cool dichotomy - they've got the license to kill and extract the problematic elements from the Necromancer's Guild.They also recieve a kind of pet ghoul slave made from a convicted serial killer that they can unleash on their foes and upgrade over the levels via body mods - powerful and something for everyone who wanted a summoner-style class for Necropunk - with the conundrums we've come to expect from the setting. No less than 13 new body mods, from doll skin to grappling rocket fists, frog skins, skin that can see, detachable eyeballs - the amount of strange options is cool and awesome and the potential complications reflect that.



What about a disc that can heighten bad moods and interrupt sleep? (I guess I have one of those implanted into my neocortex...). Beyond these, we are introduced to 10 exile shards, three of which come with their own racial stat modifications, one with an alternate racial trait and teh Gravs, born and bred for space, being particularly adept in Zero-G-environments - including two new armors/suits and a new weapon/tool.



While primitive in comparison, the gunslinger archetype space cowboy will find its fans among Cowboy Bebop fans, with a vehicle to represent the nomadic ways of the class being sponsored in the beginning - though, as fans of Firefly or said Anime may attest, these things may break down...



We also are introduced to the assassin's guild's tomb foot style and its 4 follow-up feats, one of which ought to point out whether the bonus it grants also extends to potential AoOs, but apart from that, an interesting, defensive style. If a sister chooses, she can learn the psychotic Bathory persona, which not only may sever limbs and is a deadly combatant, but also simply...dangerous. Familiarity with bioskins, improved awareness and control of one's body - solid feats here. We also get three cool new campaign traits - one that represents being in service to the planetary defense force and one *I'd* choose - unchecked ambition in the Byronian sense. And there would also be an antiquated sense of honor, from which I probably irl also suffer - so much roleplaying potential in these and solid benefits as well.



Engineers may learn a nigh perfect sense of time or a kind of echolocation that helps in total darkness, Magpies may learn to change minimum damage to maximum damage, Stalkers may use skills instead of teh steal maneuver in combat to deprive foes of their tools.



Finally, the linguist in em rejoices as we're introduced to the language of money as well as see Esperanto enter the fray and a total of 5 new dialects.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are this book's weaknesses - the sourcebook sports quite a few bolding-glitches and minor formatting issues and minor rules-editing issues, though never grievous ones, can also be found herein. Layout adheres to Necropunk's simple, relatively printer-friendly b/w-2-column standard and the interior artwork deserves special mention: Don't be fooled by the cover, seriously, the b/w-line-drawings herein are plenty, gorgeous and downright awesome. This is a beautiful book on the inside! The book also comes fully bookmarked with extensive, nested bookmarks.



Okay, let me get one thing straight from the get-go - the crunch herein is good, but not always perfect - designers Scott Gladstein, Caleb Alysworth, Jeremiah Zerby and Dayton Johnson have overall done a good job, but at least for me, Necropunk was never about playing the "I got better crunch than you"-game. Necropunk is about the setting, the ideas - much like an alien-less, thinking man's Warhammer 40K, it is a dark vision of the future, but not a grim one. Nor is it a rip-off, it has its own, distinct identity that appeals greatly to me, because it's for once a scifi setting that is not illogical or been there, done that. It's innovative.

The questions posed by each class, the conundrus, they are alive and the base campaign setting provided more ideas to me for any campaign than just about all campaign settings I've read in a while. This sourcebook proudly follows in that tradition by creating more content, more information, more philosophical questions to explore via classes and playstyles, should you choose to. Necropunk is about ROLEplaying with a heavy emphasis on the ROLEplaying - more so than just about all Pathfinder settings. The ideas herein - they are simply brilliant. The sisters with their personas, the serial killer-enslaving assassin that may end up on the other end of the leash - these are concepts so glorious, so exciting to explore, that I was grinning from ear to ear. Yes, this book may not be perfect, but it incites the imagination in glorious ways. Usually, I'd rate this down further for its avoidable glitches here and there, but after much deliberation, I can't ever justify this - the Ewgee sourcebook is too rich in ideas you can scavenge even if you don't use the necropunk setting. There are too many cool concepts herein. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform. Here's to hoping we'll see much, much more Necropunk in the years to come - this has all the makings of a cult setting in the making.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Necropunk Ewgee Source Book
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A Dream of Mars
by David J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2014 22:01:11
A quick PDF (just a few pages), but if this is what we can expect from Little Red Goblin's vision of Barsoom, this is in good hands.

You get stats to make a Green Martian as a playable race, a few pages on "Pathfinder-izing" E R Burroughs' Mars (changes that need to be made--including races and classes, money, psionics, and a quick word about firearms), stats for a thoat, and a few Martian-specific feats.

It's quick'n'dirty, but in 8 pages this product made me happy.

I hope to see more, as I'd fork over money for additional products in this line.

And the cover? Look at that kick-arse cover!!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Dream of Mars
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Goblin Rations: The Lard Golem
by Christian B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2014 06:58:40
A beautiful beast.

A nice take on the classical golem. Well written, nice picture. Ready to include in your campaign.

However no imediate scenario pops up, where a lard golem would be the first choice enemy. In my view it would be better if the lard golem was (instead of a fully grown CR 11 golem) a cheap and unstable version of a golem for the less experienced magic wielding fiend - and thus a challenge for a party in the starting range.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Goblin Rations: The Lard Golem
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Dragon Tiger Ox (Wuxia/Wushu Source Book)
by Nick S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2014 14:33:04
Dragon Tiger Ox is equal parts brilliant and underwhelming. When LRGG just goes off the rails and starts making stuff up, I really started to enjoy DTO.....however there are several parts in the book where I feel LRGG dropped the ball. Stuff like simply recommending every player a be gestalt X/Monk. That seems like such weak design, I don't understand why Little Red Goblin didn't just offer us some alternate base classes which include some martial arts elements, particularly when they put a whole lot of effort into some of the prestige classes and feats which are really good. Even when retreading some ground we've seen before LRGG managed to find a way to do many feats a little bit different and little bit better...but then there are so many odd design choices like encouraging people to do bad lip syncing at the table. I just wish DTO had been able to keep up consistent quality through out the book and I wish they had included guides for players to introduce their own fighting styles and the like as the hero developing a new style is such a big theme in the genre.

The author info lists four different people as having authored this book and that is certainly the way it feels. Not quiet a campaign guide to the world of DTO but not quiet just a cut and dry book of character options either it falls somewhere in-between. GM's looking for hand holding better look to other books, but groups looking for a good starting point to start crafting their own adventure will find a pretty good jumping off point here.

If you are a fan, looking for a some options, feats etc. etc. to spice things up for eastern MA style characters, you will find some good stuff here, some really good stuff in fact particularly when combined with some of the excellent adaptations we've seen for the monk from other publisher; and GMs can certainly use some of the setting elements in a game. But that said I can't see myself playing DTO on its own with a party full of gestalt monks as its authors intended and certain parts of this PDF will likely never see play at most people's game table.

In the end I give Dragon Tiger Ox 3 stars as a general Pathfinder product but 4 if you are a hard core Wuxia/Wushu fan.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Tiger Ox (Wuxia/Wushu Source Book)
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