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Malevolent Medium Monsters
by Chemlak G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2017 16:07:56

Magnificent Marvelous Monsters Make Me Masterfully Merry

If I have one single gripe about the Pathfinder rules, it's that high-CR almost always equals big. I have always enjoyed coming across monsters that are medium or smaller and tougher than your average bear (or level 8 Barbarian, at least).

Enter Malevolent Medium Monsters from Legendary Games. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when I saw this, not least because I know that LG can pull it out of the bag.

And then I bought it.

Hooo boy!

Please ignore the fact that this is part of the "Righteous Crusade" AP Plug-ins. This book is great for anyone playing a level 10+ game.

The Good I could go through everything in here (and I expect Endzeitgeist will when he reaches this product in his schedule), and drool over how utterly awesome everything is, but that's not me, so here we go with some high points:

The Alabaster Beetle. This thing is terrifying. Whatever genius came up with the idea of an underground beetle that can burrow, fly, spray paralytic poison, reproduce asexually, and is invisible to dark vision, is simply... a genius. A sick, twisted, my-kind-of-evil genius. CR 12 and comes in groups of up to 20. Because players need to learn fear, sometimes.

Homonculous Dragon. Oh, hell, yes. It's... well, it's sort of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) of all dragons. This round it might be breathing a cone of electricity, next round a line of ice. And its aura might be acid this round. Fire the next. Or something else. Because being predictable gets you killed. And being unpredictable tends to kill PCs.

Fiendfused. Okay, I want more of these. A lot more. A whole book more. Preferably with Mythic versions. Because... oh, there is nothing not to love about these: they're people who died while they were possessed by a fiend, and the fiend merged with the mortal body and... awesome fiendish stuff happened. Like the one based on the balor that has an explosion every time it takes a critical hit. Or the marilith-based one that has four arms and infuses its weapons with magic. Or the pit fiend one... you get the idea.

The Bad Nitpick time! I like all of the monsters in this book, so that leaves me looking for things that are missing, don't make sense, or just seem out of place... and there's so little.

Save vs what? I can calculate a DC as well as the next guy (27, since you're asking), but the Bedlam Breath ability of the homonculous dragon is missing it from the entry.

Free metamagic? Maybe? Weirdly, this is another "issue" with the homonculous dragon (which is one of my favourite creatures in this book!). It has an ability to spend points from a pool to add metamagic feats to its sorcerer spells. It's a free action to spend the points, and it adds the feats on the fly, but... I can't tell if the casting time increases like it would normally for a sorcerer casting a metamagic spell. Part of me wants to say "yes, it does, be consistent", and the rest of me wants to say "CR 16, this thing should be nasty, let it be completely free!" I'd have liked it spelling out in the text.

The Conclusion If it's not clear, I'm Legendary Games fanboying again. This is wonderful. Thurston Hillman and Jesse Benner have absolutely knocked it out of the park. Other than my minor issues with what I spotted in the homonculous dragon, this is just thoroughly amazing. Clearly it's not perfect, but it's focused on a gap in the market that has been bugging me for years, and that cuts it a huge amount of slack. I'm going to use this book just as soon as I can. This is not something I can leave on my drive and forget about, because if nothing else it gave me fiendfused and I just want more of them (even if I have to make them myself). I can't help it, one day Legendary Games will produce something that I can't just enthuse about from start to finish. 5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Malevolent Medium Monsters
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Ancient Idols
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/19/2017 03:42:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, 2 pages of introduction leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, both fiction and real-world mythology are chock-full with the concept of idols – statues or physical representations of quasi-deities worshiped as false gods; whether it’s the golden calf or jade serpents found by hale Cimmerians in the depths of forbidding ruins. Considering their eminence in fiction etc., it is pretty surprising that PFRPG so far had no rules-representation of the concept of idols in game. This pdf seeks to change that.

So, how does it go about this task? Well, idols behave as something akin to quasi-deific crossover creatures that blend aspects of sentient magic items and creatures – they, for example, sport an ego-score that increases depending on the amount of people worshiping the idol in question. Similarly, other qualities are gained – senses, for example, improve, and so do the defensive capabilities of these items. Interesting: The ability to draw on power from worshipers is contingent on the idol in question actually managing to impose its ideology/alignment on the folks worshiping the idol – this provides a sensible means for the concept of the idol trying to maintain a hardliner approach to its doctrine.

Now, an interesting thing about idols would be that they can’t just be destroyed by bashing them to pieces – they are very much story-adversaries and have roleplaying thus hard-coded into their very fibers. Beyond the basic powers, idols can benefit from sacrifices, gaining additional benefits when magic items are willingly sacrificed to them – and of course, evil idols also draw sustenance from blood sacrifice, which is more abundant than magic items, obviously. This does explain the potentially bad reputation of idols in the context of the game, mirroring real-life stigmatization of idolatry via the dominant book-religions. All of these powers do come with limits – however, holy days may allow the idol to surpass the sacrificial limits. Holy days are typically 3 days a year, determined by the GM and are concisely defined. Now, the idol relying on the power of worshipers does have a downside – Idol entropy, which means that they may fall into dormancy.

Now, the idol engine presented herein provides a significant array of abilities, ranging from channel energy to animating stuff, to gaining the option to enthrall others. One ability is gained at an ego-score of 5, and for every 5 ego afterwards. At an ego-score of 10 and every 10 ego thereafter, the idol also gains an ability that is only available on holy days.

If all of that is not yet enough customization for you, there also would be the Idol Champion template – these beings would be the idol-powered champions of the idol in question, benefiting from the idol’s powers, but at the cost of servitude. Really cool: The pdf goes on to provide a really cool tool that I adored: Since idols are often created on/near ley lines, the pdf addresses one of the most annoying aspects of ley lines v- the need to plan them in advance. With an easy to grasp and quick to roll check, you can simply determine, based on terrain type, nearby sights etc., the presence of a ley line. This may just be a small tool, but I really, really liked it. Speaking of which: Idols are tied to the spirit world and as such, some of the idol abilities pertain to spirits – a category concisely and professionally defined by the pdf. Big plus there!

Okay, so we’ve seen the basic set-up…and now, we take a look at the process of idol creation, which is detailed in an impressive manner: Idol stats by ego-score, bonus hardness/hit points, save bonuses, ability-numbers, suggested CR – all collated in one handy table. One glimpse and you know the modifications. Similarly, idol sizes are assigned sizes – and the didactically-sound process of creation is admirably clear as well. The pdf goes so far as to comment on the use of mythic ranks to bypass the construct-size/CR-restrictions in a sensible manner that actually conforms to the rules – other publishers/authors would have shrugged and just assumed that the idols bypass this restriction. Going one step beyond to retain rules-integrity, even when they may not necessarily make sense…that’s a huge, huge plus, particularly as the system unlocks more freedom for the GM to customize the idol.

Don’t want to simply handcraft anything? We get the basic stats (sans the customizable components) of idols, organized by CR – a TON of them. Over 5 pages of these basic stats. Yeah, that is pretty damn amazing and, as a whole, this makes idols my favorite monster class in a long, long while.

The pdf does contain more than the rules for this evocative monster – namely class options, the first of which would be the Qahin shaman archetype. This is not a cookie-cutter archetype – it’s pretty much the antithesis of that: The Qahin modifies pretty much everything: Class skills, proficiencies (including a restriction against wearing metal armor) -pretty cool. However, where things become interesting is with idol worship. Instead of spirit animal, the qahin taps into the worship of his idol (replacement rules included) and 4th level provides wandering spirit as well as the requirement to create an idol associated to the spirit. The qahin also gains Mental Focus (1 + shaman level) and an implement school, and at first level, mental focus can be invested in the idol and used to activate focus powers. 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter yield an additional implement school. Unlike an occultist, shamans can use a single idol to act as the collective of implements. 3rd level and whenever he gains another implement, the qahin gains the base focus power of the implement. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter yield an additional focus power. The save-DC, if present, is governed by Wisdom and class level etc. interaction is concisely defined. The archetype also gains +1 CL when using shaman spells of the implement school when wielding the idol. Even feat-access is covered. Slight, mostly cosmetic complaint: The ability is a bit harder to grasp regarding when it’s gained than it should be.

At 10th level, the archetype can create a ley line nexus attuned to an object (or an idol/animated object), which will allow beings to tap into the nexus – a pretty cool ability. Haven’t seen the like done before! The main meat of the archetype, however, would be the vast array of exclusive hexes, with 10th level unlocking nexus hexes, basically the major hexes of the archetype. The hexes are surprisingly diverse and intriguing and make the respective focus of the archetype change significantly: We have exorcisms, covens, the option to create an arcane bond amulet, save-bonuses versus hexes, possessions, etc., focus-based rerolls, added spells and Craft Construct, less reliance on being close to the idol, ley line surges, haunt-disruptions – all in all, a meaningful, fun selection. Among the 10th level plus hexes, we have the ability to store spells in the idol nexus, merge objects and willing creatures with the idol, travel along the ley lines, spontaneous metamagic-use…basically, these hexes unlock synergy benefits with the ley line nexus in a thoroughly intriguing manner.

Okay, so while the idol focus ability could be worded slightly better, the meaningful options and cool ideas render this my favorite shaman archetype so far. Why? Because it could conceivably carry whole campaigns: If you e.g. replace all clerics and druids with these fellows, you’ll have a glorious set-up for a grim world where qahin battle for supremacy, perhaps full-blown deific ascendance. Yeah, I do want to play that.

The pdf also sports a new PrC, the idolater, who must have discovered a site of power, be capable of casting divine or psychic spells and sport a couple of skill ranks in the Knowledge skills, with 5 ranks acting as the prerequisite threshold. The PrC gain 4 + Int skills per level, ¾ BAB-progression, ½ Fort- and Will-saves, 9/10th spellcasting progression (either divine of psychic spells). The PrC nets the qahin’s idol focus, access to idol hexes…and there is a bit of an issue here: Idol worship and Idol worship’s text is identical, when it shouldn’t be. The PrC also nets spirit magic, which provides a limited number of spells to spontaneously cast. The class also gets basically the qahin’s taboos. 2nd level nets a CL and Spellcraft bonus is a chosen terrain. At 4th level, we treat weapons etc. as ghost touch (not properly italicized) and at 8th level, incorporeal creatures are fully affected by the idolater’s abilities. 5th level unlocks the improved level 10 nexus hexes and the ability to establish an idol nexus. The capstone provides a fey-apotheosis, including the assumption of incorporeal state for up to 10 rounds as a standard action.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, bordering on excellence. Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard of Legendary Games’ Mummy’s Mask-plug-ins. The pdf sports several really nice pieces of full-color artworks, though fans of Legendary Games will be familiar with most of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Legendary Games has a ridiculously high level of quality-control regarding their books. There are few publishers that manage to achieve such a level of quality time and again. However, once in a while, Legendary Games makes something else, something that comes completely out of left field and takes me by surprise – this book is one such case.

Until I started reading this book by Julian Neale and Jason nelson, I frankly didn’t realize how much I wanted to have it: The concept of idols is glorious, their execution excellent. Their creation is explained in a concise and easy to grasp manner. The book provides, in short, a monster class that can arguably carry whole campaign settings. Looking for a way to create a world sans deities? This pdf has you covered! The qahin is by far my favorite shaman archetype ever – it unlocks whole types of campaigns, particularly in games that prefer a grittier, more Sword & Sorcery-esque type of gameplay.

This pdf is also a great example of two designers blending their strengths: Julian Neale traditionally generates math-intense, hard to design supplements, but sometimes misses attaching a concept that immediately draws you in – he isn’t about flashy concepts, more about substance in depth. The influence of Jason Nelson here is similarly palpable, providing some boosts in that regard – and the result is GLORIOUS. In spite of the minor hiccups in the class options, this pdf blew me away: The idols are amazing and the class options, in spite of the (few) minor rough patches are similarly inspired.

Now here’s the thing: This humble pdf inspired me more than a ton of comparable books; to the point where it made me come up with a vast amount of ideas. For example, I will use it extensively in conversion: Idols are, for example, found in the great DCC-module “The Falcate Idol” – with this one, I have pretty much my work cut out for me. And yes, this campaign idea of competing qahin vying for supremacy…I actually want to run it. In short: This is one fantastic book. The minor blemishes are the only reason this doesn’t make my list for the Top Ten of 2017…but seriously, if the concept interests you even slightly, get this now! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Idols
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Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/10/2017 15:13:03

Full disclosure, I was a backer for the Kickstarter for the Forest Kingdom Compendium and even had two fey queen sisters added as rulers to one of the kingdoms. More, as a GM and Player I look more towards substance of lore, world building, and rules which allow me to make interesting characters. Measuring game mechanics and crunch is not my strength.

Still, I will try to be as objective as possible. Which means starting out, I have to say I love what has been offered and may even making a campaign with this using Wardens of the Wild as well as the other main resource.

This proved just about everything one might need in creating a more wilderness campaign anywhere from Arthurian Legend, to exploration and the pioneer frontier, building your own kingdom despite the dangers of the unforgiving land. Where the forest is felt to hold the greatest mystery and challenge.

From Explorer who maps out his travels, to the Fey Mesmerist that focuses on different branches of magic such as enchantment, illusion, nature, to light and shadow. There is the Greenweaver Kineticist, to the Hidden Guardian a mix of paladin ideals with the ranger focus. The Huntsman who calls on older spirits then many mediums, and the more satire or humor loving Jester Bard, to the healing focused Knight-Surgeon. or the Cavalier who choses to be the protector of the forest by joining the Order of the Woodlands.

Finally, one of my favorites, the Unseelie Ovate who is a more casting focused Druid who forgoes a domain or animal companion for magic of the admittedly darker fey as well to transform into a fey themselves. Throw in the Fey Spell Lore from Ultimate Intrigue and you can add even more spells.

You have different kingdoms to use, each with flavorful characters and interesting settings, no magic and magic items, rules and ideas for adding the fey into your campaigns, to rules and resources needed involving Royal Tournaments & Fairs.

The new spells may need to be taken with consideration, as magic is often the most concerning or divisive aspect of many games when it comes to balance, yet I haven't so far seen anything which stands out as being an issue personally.

I'd like to make special mention of feats section, especially the Shade of the Woodland line for evils Druids and villains for a more nature focused campaign. A line of feats which in Pathfinder lore make a character a servant of the dark and twisted god Zon-Kuthon. These feats, the way they interact with each other and help form a character is fascinating in and of itself. I have spent hours trying different ideas or considering how they could come together in created a character or encounter.

Great job on these and the other feats, perhaps leaving a player or GM wondering how they can get together the feats they want and what they have to take out. Just remember, Fairy Blessing or Shade of the Woodlandare feets which stand as a prequequisite to most of the rest and in some cases both.

All in all, I feel the Forest Kingdom Compendium is a great resource and in my opinion well worth the cost. It may not be for everyone, but for others it could be a well loved resource.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium
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Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium
by Chemlak G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2017 17:57:35

The Forest Kingdom Compendium is a compilation and expansion of the various supplements Legendary Games have released which support (in typical Third Party fashion) the Kingmaker Adventure Path. At this point I will immediately say - if you don't have, don't want, and aren't going to play that AP, that should NOT prevent you getting this book. It's generic enough (within the areas it focuses) to be useful.

The Good There's Everything. Okay, that might be a tiny exageration, but not much of one. It's called The Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium. And the only one of those words that's even a little bit extraneous is "The". Archetypes, feats, prestige classes, spells, magic items, fey, royal tournaments, countries, characters, heroes, monsters and two adventures to supplement the AP. All of them with a foresty or kingdomy slant.

Subsystems FTW. I'm a fan of subsytems. I've been writing my own since the 2nd Edition D&D days (most of them not very good!), and I love reading new ones, and this book has a few (mostly involving fey and since I've got a possible nymph/paladin relationship of some kind in my kingdom campaign, those are awesome). The single biggest is Royal Tournaments (available as its own book), which is just crammed with amazing rules for running a festival, taking part in events at a festival, or just plain hanging out at a festival.

Beautiful art. I have a distinct fondness for fantasy art. Generally speaking, the more realistic the better. The art in this book is stunning. Yes, lots of it is repeated from other books (no real surprise), but just going to another page and seeing yet another pretty picture that perfectly fits with nearby text.

The Bad When is a feat not a feat? Okay, this is really nitpicky, but there are two feats in the section that describes faerie bargains with mortals, and they fit there thematically, but 90-something pages earlier are a whole slew of new feats for characters, and it's a bit weird for the feats to be separated.

Prestige classes. I love the idea behind prestige classes. I think the implementation of them in the 3.x/Pathfinder rules sucks. They were overused in 3.x D&D, and Pathfinder has done a lot to make them less of a feature of the system, and I think that overall the game is better for not having many. So the addition of three prestige classes rubs me the wrong way. That's not to say that there's anything actually wrong with the classes themselves (though I do have to question a 6-level class), just that I think I'd have preferred archetypes to fit the niches.

The Conclusion I love this book. Putting aside my personal dislike of prestige classes and questions of where feats should be in the book, it's an excellent resource for players and GMs, whether you're playing Kingmaker or not, if you're going to spend any amount of time in forests, meeting fey, or at kingdom fairs, then this book has something to offer you.

The things that I think are wrong with this book do not even put a dent in the amazingness that is everything else. I'd be particularly mean to deduct a star for those things, and this book is being integrated into my home campaign (which has nothing to do with Kingmaker except Kingdom building). Got to give it 5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Tombs
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2017 04:22:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Describe adventurers! “Grave-robbing murder-hobos.” The joke’s old, sure, but there is some truth to that, right? Now, taking that into account, it’s surprising once you think about it, that there aren’t many supplements that address that tombs are something wholly different from other dungeons – they are NOT just dungeons where a surprising amount of undead roam the halls – they are solemn places of remembrance, testimony that the interred existed; they are places of worship of sorts, displays of power and so much more. If your inclinations are similar to mine regarding literature, you’ll undoubtedly have stumbled over heart-rending poems and prose about these places. As such, it is fitting and laudable that we begin with a succinct and concise introduction to the subject matter, providing a well-written recap of the various types of tombs and their peculiarities – including, much to my pleasant surprise, several hyperlinks to famous real world tombs for further inspiration and research. It may be a small thing, but it shows an extra level of care by the authors – and a respect for their audience, a belief that the readers actually want to learn about the subject matter, without forcing dry facts down their throat. Commendable!

Now, from here on out, the book becomes more game-related, but in a rather impressive manner: You see, we get a total of 7 d20-tables for tomb dressing next, focused in flavor, as this pdf is part of the Mummy’s Mask plug-ins, on quasi-Egyptian tombs. This presents a huge variety, as the items to be found not only come in two versions (ruined and pristine), they also feature a weight entry AND a detailed, well-crafted explanation of the item. Did you, for example, know what a Naos is? After reading this pdf, you will – and it may well inspire you to write a module around one; the item begs to be the center of an adventure! The ascendance boat, still one of the most iconic things about the epic old-school dungeon in part #1 of the classic Desert of Desolation-saga, as an item can be found next to shabtis, statues – you name it. The tables are, just fyi, governed by the type of person interred, so you’ll have different valuables in religious tombs that in slave quarters. The sometimes impressive weight and dimensions of the treasure can make for interesting logistic problems as well. As a whole, this section manages to evoke a sense of detail and thought that had me reminisce about several classic modules and their tone – in a good way. These tables and details serve perfectly to enhance new-school modules that don’t have the word-count to dive into all those cultural tidbits.

From here on, we move to, how could it be any different, the hazard section, which contains a wide array of different traps, haunts, etc. inspired by popular media, ranging from CR 3 to CR 14. Pedestals inscribed with symbols over an abyss, warded against teleportation and flight? Check! Sarcophagus that tries to mummy you? Check. These are really cool. A big plus: Many have proper bypass notes and go beyond: Spot or take damage, providing actually interesting experiences that can engage more than one PC. The renditions of classics among traps, like the Indy-boulder/Idol-trap, where present, actually feature tight and well-crafted rules-language.

Now, if you’re like me and a big fan of a certain Cimmerian and his exploits in the Sword & Sorcery genre, then you’ll most assuredly appreciate the Cr +2 Grave Warden template, which may be acquired via a major curse – it bind the target to the tomb and makes the being a merciless tracker of that which has vanished from it -even a single coin. This power, alas, does come with a price that most PCs will be unwilling to pay…but if you, as a GM wanted a driven hunter…there you go. Reprinting the mythic version of Craft Construct for your convenience, we take a look at a whole guardian class of monsters next, namely the mythic graven guardians (CR 6/MR 3). No less than 5 (!!!) versions of these guys are provided with full statblocks – and guardian domains. The two domains bestow unique properties on the respective guardian and their list spans more than 3 pages. I kid you not. Remember that legendary Games products do not sport huge margins and achieve a remarkable text-density per page – that is A LOT of content.

In fact, with the vast number of combos possible, it should be possible to make a whole dungeon-level themed around these guys sans things becoming boring. There also, just fyi, would be the CR +1 mummified zombie template in this chapter, which ties in with one of the 5 new feats, namely Bind the Ancient Dead, which allows you to summon them – pretty cool! Sleeper in Dust allows you to conceal/bury yourself in dust/sand/etc. and is a great representation of the ambushing-trope, with additional benefits regarding your ability to hold your breath. Sand Sense nets you low range tremorsense, which becomes better in sand etc. Tombcaster increases the potency of spells in tombs etc. (and makes them harder to dispel and they last longer): Kudos: Can’t be cheesed by casting in a tomb and then moving outside. Trap Spell, finally, would be a metamagic feat, that lets you place, at +2 level increase, spells as traps. Another big two thumbs up for the team here: Most books would have allowed for insane trap-gauntlets (or simply forgotten the potential issues)– this feat, however, thankfully has an abuse-preventing caveat.

The final section of this pdf presents 7 spells/spell variants…and OH BOY. They are AMAZING. I mean it. They FEEL magical. It’s been a while since a spell-section had me this stoked. There are two monolith spells, that conjure forth physical, eldritch monoliths with harrowing knowledge – and yes, they can be climbed etc. and have a utility/terrain-control aspect. There is a variant of dimensional anchor that strands you in deserts or wastelands. There is a binding variant that covers canopic jars, being trapped in an eternal hourglass or howling haboob…and beyond the tomb curse, we have a maze variant that sends you to an unnerving tomb. Definitely ends the pdf on the high note I expected.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the interior artwork is neat full-color – fans of LG may be familiar with some pieces, but not all. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alex Riggs, Anthony Adam, Jason Nelson and Loren Sieg deliver in this pdf BIG TIME. This is a book I frankly didn’t exactly know what to expect of at first; then, it suddenly dawned on me – this is one the glorious book that I like to call “GM-enhancers.” It begins with context and inspiration and then proceeds to deliver details, useful tidbits etc. – this is, in short, a book specifically designed to enhance lackluster modules, to fill in blanks. If you needed a great representation of an evocative concept, if you need a good trap or critter to splice into a module – well, there you go. This book is a veritable treasure trove of fantastic ideas, concisely codified details. And better yet, these aspects are not just fluff; quite the contrary. Delicious crunch, expertly-crafted, married to a wide assortment of cool tricks and tools of the trade, renders this book a must-own recommendation for pretty much any GM who is looking for a means to enliven and enrich tomb exploration, even beyond the confines of Mummy’s Mask. In short: This is amazing. 5 stars + seal of approval for this all killer, no filler tome.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Tombs
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Tome of Madness
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/27/2017 04:07:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 32 pages,1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let us take a look, shall we?

Okay, so mental illness is a serious topic – and as such, the book prefaces the discussion of the subject matter with an appropriate and mature disclaimer, before we take a look at the material herein. The pdf proceeds to acknowledge the changed paradigm of a world with readily available (as opposed to obscure) magic and codifies madness as maladies.

Now, as we all know, there are a wide variety of effects in vanilla Pathfinder, effects which ostensibly would qualify for causing madness in e.g. the context of CoC or similar, darker RPGs. Hence, the pdf proceeds to quantify and qualify them – from mental attribute damage to divinations, special spells, types of forbidden knowledge etc., the pdf explains and codifies these in a concise and sensible manner. Different types of trauma and their effects. Creatures immune to mind-affecting effects “gain a boost” (should be a bonus) to saves to prevent them – this bonus is calculated as 1 + Charisma modifier and can thus be undertaken on the fly. Speaking of which: Exposure to trauma can similarly easily be calculated – as a Will-save versus 10 + the CR. Failing such a save results in rolling on a d%-table; onset of maladies (the term employed for madnesses herein to set them apart from other systems) is delayed by 1d20 -1 hours. Mental ability score damage or drain to 0 adds 15 to the result and pre-existing conditions can mean that the condition has worsened by one step.

The system knows three types of severity: Mild, moderate and severe. Maladies are codified in a variety of general concepts: Amnesia, Delusions, Dementia, Hallucinations, Phobias and Tics – these are properly discussed. Minor formal complaint: The pdf introduces the terrified fear-condition – which is also a greater feat step (level 6) in the expanded fear-system championed by Horror Adventures – since both versions of terrified have different effects, I wasn’t too enamored by the nomenclature here. That being said, the condition is per se interesting, though the fixed DC to act or utter a single word feels a bit odd – a scaling DC would have made more sense in my book.

But the main meat of the book would be the maladies themselves: They are roughly grouped in two types: Neurosis and psychosis. Generally, a neurosis tends to be more easily manageable. The stats for the respective maladies include save DCs for all severity levels and triggers – the circumstances where their effects become relevant. The triggers provided are proximity, random and stressor. Maladies have durations for their effects. Now, the maladies included run a wide array of options: Characters can e.g. suffer from akinetopsia, a form of motion blindness, problems deciphering letters or pictographic writing (read too many mad glyphs, did ya?), anterograde and retrograde amnesia, compulsions, aphasia, catatonic stupors, deliriums, various delusions (which are chronic), fits of despair, dysparaxia – and I’m just getting started here.

From tactile hallucinations to various, sense-based hallucinations to hypochondriasis, hysterical blindness/deafness, classic insomnia, intentional tremors, intermittent bouts of rage, kleptomania, manic episodes, panic attacks, paranoid ideations and various tics complement the rules provided for them.

As a whole, the rules-language is very precise and well-crafted here, though, aesthetically, the wording of “assuming the XYZ condition” that the pdf employs is something that galls me on an aesthetic level – as a dev, I’d have streamlined that. It should also be noted that, while fitting in a section on madness, a militaristic man with a read flag, a white circle in it and the black sun inside that white circle (i.e. a Nazi) can be found here – it looks like a propaganda poster and while I would have expected something like megalomania here, instead the page features tics etc. – perhaps not the best choice.

The second array of maladies is primarily focused on NPC-use – global amnesia could, however, be easily used as a basis for a specific campaign/one-shot and disassociated identities and psychogenic fugues pose some rather significant consequences for characters that really hamper the playability – the restriction of these to NPCs makes sense and certain campaigns can still make use of them. The question of the treatment of madness, both via skill unlocks and regarding auras – interesting here: The higher your Charisma score, the harder treatment for soothing purposes becomes. Alchemists can learn psychopharmacology and hallucinogenic bombs. Really cool: The pdf does contain various items, which may feature side-effects and craft DCs – intriguing here: The rules crossover with ioun stones in an intriguing manner.

The book also provides simple and quick rules for decompensation, the gradual worsening of untreated maladies, and additions. The pdf concludes with some advice for the GM.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the material is similarly neat, but does sport a couple aesthetic deviations from the standards, though these do not hamper the usefulness of the pdf. Layout adheres to the great 2-column full-color standard for LG’s horror-books. The artwork featured herein mostly should be familiar to fans of LG and fits the theme in a broad sense, with the one picture exception. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Shel’s malady-system is exceedingly modular and easy to integrate into just about any system. The lack of requirements of an extra score is a big plus, as is the easy way in which it can be implemented in an ongoing campaign that suddenly takes a turn for the horrific or that just dabbles in themes of horror. As a whole, I consider it to be more elegant than the system championed in Horror Adventures. The system presented is different from the one featured in LG’s previous Gothic Horror plug-ins, so if you expected a direct sequel/more fodder for the system, you won’t find that herein. On a formal level, I found myself rereading the basics a couple of times – didactically, the system could be explained a bit ore succinctly, which represents the most significant structural weakness of the pdf – novice GMs may be a bit confused in the beginning, also due to the subcategories/subtypes having less mechanical impact than they could have exhibited.

That being said, I am complaining at a high level here. The comprehensive nature and easily implemented structure of this system makes it more than worth checking out – you see, due to the relative simplicity and flexibility/severity-levels of the system, it is rather simple to graft this system on other sanity-engines or implement it on the fly. As such, this represents a welcome addition to the library of GMs intrigued in the horrific. This is, hence, worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Madness
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Legendary Hybrids: Skinchanger
by Ehn J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2017 16:48:34

An Ehn’s Gaming Foundry review

This week we’re looking over Legendary Hybrids: Skinchanger by David N. Ross and Patrick N. R. Julius, a hybrid class between the vigilante and druid. Gotta admit, these are two totally separate ideas, and the fact that they’re so different is why I wanted to check it out. We start off with a small little preview of the concept before giving us the introduction to the class, which is nice and informative.

To begin, we have a d8 class with a healthy skill list and 6 skill points per level along with a good reflex and will save and 4th level casting. We get proficiency in simple weapons, light armor, and weapons made through the abilities of the class. The first class feature we end up with is adopted persona, which after a week of study lets us take on a persona from someone else; you get half your level to bluff checks to maintain the persona, but not to disguise checks, which I thought was odd. We also pick up a slower sudden strike progression at every 4 levels, starting at 1st (I don’t love sudden strike, but I see the value in it).

Next we get improved unarmed strike, which is a nice addition. Now we get to the big part of the class, skin change. You get it often enough, once at 1st, and then an additional time per 2 levels you possess. I do wish it could be spent in increments rather than a single use at a time, but it’d basically be all day then. The save is reasonable, although I am amused that it stacks with druid levels for its advancement, nice little touch there. There’s a lot of thought put in here as to how it interacts with wildshape and polymorph abilities, which I appreciate.

For skin changes, we start with disguise, which is basically a physical disguise person. Next humanoid form gives us a more limited alter person which evolves into monstrous physique. Now we snag social talents at 1st and every 4 levels afterwards, also stacking with vigilante levels for which social talents they can take. We get a few unique social talents, like faster studying, having ‘no’ persona, and a lot of other fun ones which I think add a lot to the class. They are limited on which normal social talents they can take, but that’s fine to me.

Shapeshifter’s empathy is a neat ability that lets them nonverbally communicate with other creatures which forms they can take, and a neat little flavor ability. At 3rd and every 4 levels thereafter we get stalker talents which are nice, as well as a few unique ones for the class. Honed strikes is one of note, making your natural weapons and unarmed strike equal to a medium monk, and measured strike is useful for dealing damage more accurately at the cost of damage. Transposing strike is another one I like, as it’s a nice battlefield control ability (although not great against things that negate nonlethal damage). At 3rd we also get trackless step, and at 4th we get divine spellcasting, which shocked me. It does have its own unique and robust spell list with a few spells reduced in level to keep them reasonable.

At 4th level we get advance skinchange, which is an interesting set of abilities which provides unique powers as well as some class features from other classes. Extra form is almost certainly going to be a strong pick here, as it lets you really embrace the theme more, to the point where I would have liked to see this be a base ability rather than an option. Inert shape is a huge winner here, and the ability to go full gazebo is very much appreciate. The best thing I can say here is that I could see taking almost every option here, which is a great sign of a well balanced talent roster.

The same can be said for the latter options, greater skinchange and legendary skinchange, although I don’t really think they needed to be broken up into different class features, considering that they also have level restrictions. Trap form might be one of the most inventive abilities from the entire class though, allowing you to become a hazard yourself with considerably clear rules as to how it is adjudicated.

The list of skinchanger forms is given at the end of the class with quite a lot of care given to making sure that it works well, followed by the spell list. We also get a very customized FCB section with quite a few nonstandard races. The feats are short but useful, helping you to better utilize your abilities, with the standard ‘extra X’ feat for more skinchanging and other things like this.

For archetypes, we start with the chimerist, which specializes in fusing personas. The big boon of it is letting you make better use out of the disguise skin change, helping to make you far more of a beast while in it at the expense of some damage. Next is lycanthrope aspirant, which has a pretty obvious focus. As a whole, it’s more of a direct build path into being a better lycanthrope, but does its job well, even if it’s a bit constrained. Finally, we have the shape thief. It basically lets you take someone’s entire persona, and it does it quite well with some very interesting mechanics.

Mechanics: 4.5/5

I like a lot of what I see in this class, it’s very originative while still using a lot of the old framework that we’ve seen before. The only issues I have are that it feels a touch too complex, and there was some parts while reading this that kind of got me a little ‘rules dizzy’ as I was going through it. But when it works, it works beautifully.

Thematics: 5/5

For me, the thematics were spot on. The way the class combined mechanics with concept was really amazing, and for the slight issues that it may have had on my end, everything came together to make a really fluid shape shifting experience that I think a lot of people are going to enjoy. There was a lot of creativity that went into this that I deeply appreciate.

Final Thoughts: 4.5/5

David N. Ross and Patrick N. R. Julius’s skinchanger is one hell of a hybrid, and a hybrid done right. While it incorporated a bit more vigilante than druid, the end result was awesome, and I really enjoyed it. While the slight mechanical issues I had were enough to keep me from giving this a 5/5, it does easily get rounded up for probably one of the best shapeshifting concepts I’ve ever seen.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Hybrids: Skinchanger
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Asian Archetypes: Martial
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/04/2017 11:43:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of archetypes clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content – it should be noted that these are tightly packed, though!

All righty, we’re starting with the bloodrider cavalier, but in order to understand it, I think it may be prudent to mention the mounted combat-follow-up feats that complement it: Mounted Skirmish lets your mount make a double movement and lets you perform a ranged or melee attack at one point during the movement, with the mount not provoking AoOs. As limitations, adjacent creatures at the start of the turn may not be attacked and you have to move at least 10 ft. before and after the attack. Basically, this is a variation of Ride-by Attack, one that emphasizes skirmishing – and personally, I like it better. The second feat, Mounted Sweep, builds on this and lets you perform a single standard action during the Mounted Skirmish. This unlocks a HUGE array of tactical options – and is something I wholeheartedly applaud.

Proficiency-wise, the bloodrider loses medium and heavy armor-proficiency and gains access to proficiency with the whip. They add Perception and Survival to their class skills and gain a morale bonus on saves vs. compulsions and fear and also gains +1 to AC for every 4 levels against the bloodrider’s challenge target. Personally, I’d have tied the AC-increase to class levels instead of levels, but oh well. The archetype learns, at 2nd level, to employ the whip to use drag and reposition combat maneuvers, with the option of using the better Strength modifier (mount/rider); At 8th level, this is upgraded action economy-wise and the character can make the mount make either AoO or immediate action attacks against targets dragged through its square. That is pretty damn amazing – why hasn’t this been done before? 5th level nets the option to charge with a single 90° or two 45° diagonal turns during a charge and boosted Ref-saves when doing so. This crooked charge is further upgraded at 14th level, allowing for free movement through allies’s spaces during the charge. 15th level nets a free charge attack during a charge, made against a target the blood rider is at some point of movement adjacent. Additionally, if the bloodrider’s charge provokes an AoO and it is taken, the bloodrider may retaliate with an AoO after the first AoO has been resolved. This is a really cool martial controller with some seriously unique and fun trick – though these are paid for with the order and banner abilities. Still, one of my favorite cavalier tricks and a really strong start!

Hyakusho fighters take the play of the beggar fighter and halve starting money, gaining broken weapons and no proficiency with heavy armor and tower shields. However, they gain ½ class level to Craft check made to repair and quicker repairs as well as an extended class skill list. They also get an array of monk-style feats that can be chosen as bonus feats and Catch Off-Guard at 3rd level. They are locked into light armor training, with maximum Dexterity bonus in them increasing by 1 for every 8 levels after 3rd. 5th level provides a scaling dodge bonus to AC, increasing at every 5 levels after 5th. 7th level yields black market connections and 11th provides either resolve or martial flexibility, with 19th level gaining flesh wounds. A thematically concise, nice archetype.

The iajutsu adept swashbuckler gains Quick Draw, but only with katanas, as well as +2 to critical hit confirmation rolls, instead of derring-do. They apply swashbuckler finesse to katanas. But not to other weapons and applied deeds that are usually limited to one-handed and finessable weapons to katans…and only katanas. Similarly, panache is regained upon criting/striking killing blows with the katana. So that’s the modification of the chassis: 2nd level provides iajutsu focus, adding Cha-mod to initiative as well as when trying to gage a foe’s martial training as if using Measure Foe. Upon drawing her blade and attacking as her next action, she may make a Charisma check, adding her class level as a bonus. The bonus damage the attack inflicts then scales with the result of this check -pretty elegant solution to the conundrum of the trope, and the bonus damage is properly codified. At 7th level, Charisma modifier is added to such attacks as a bonus to atk and damage. 3rd level doubles Nimble’s bonus when unarmed and sans shield and the bonus feat selection is modified. 5th level provides swashbuckler training benefits when 2-handing katans.11th level provides the option to execute two attacks as a standard action with her katana. 12th level always yields the option to act in a surprise round, but for a iajutsu attack only and 20th level makes initiative checks all natural 20s for the archetype. Swashbuckler weapon mastery only applies to 2-handed wielded katanas. Thematically concise, potent archetype – like the iteration of the concept!

The imperial unifier samurai loses Climb and Swim as class skills…and may use challenges in verbal duels! At 6th level, he gets a Leadership-proxy (or upgrade for the feat) and gains more fame/honor. Short, but sweet thematic option. Kaiju Hunter rangers gain proficiency in heavy armor and may use their combat style while in heavy armor. Favored enemy applies to all creatures of size Large and larger (ouch!) and he gets monster lore instead wild empathy, gaining bonuses the larger the creature is – and yes, the bonus is increased for kaiju. The “3rdd”[sic!] level allows the character to use Enrage Opponent as a move action, but only versus targets that are Large or larger , but he may affect dumb targets. He is locked into allies as hunter’s bond. He may use evasion and improved evasion versus the Ex and Su abilities of larger creatures at an increased efficiency and may do so while wearing medium or heavy armor or loads, but doesn’t gain them versus smaller targets. 7th level provides dodge bonuses versus AoOs provoked by movement or combat maneuvers, a bonus that increase with the size of the foe and the effortless movement through the monster’s space. 8th level provides Timely Coordination for herself and her bond’s allies. 12th level provides camouflage and 13th level find the weak spot. 17th level nets HiPS and 18th level defensive roll – with all abilities geared specifically towards tackling big adversaries.

The kuma barbarian is interesting, losing medium and heavy armor proficiency in favor of Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple, using the monk’s unarmed strike progression to determine damage caused via grappling. They are locked into animal fury as 2nd level’s rage power and 5th level provides Diehard. Additionally, they can remain conscious by expending rounds of rage as swift or immediate action. 7th level provides, surprise, the option to use beast shape to turn into a bear when entering a rage, improving the effectiveness at 10th and 13th level, respectively. Alternatively, 10 rounds of rage may be expended for a longer duration of the bear form. The smaller bear forms remain valid choices due to to scaling AC bonuses when choosing them. 10th level nets scent. Cool!

The kwa no ninja loses proficiency in light armor and gets graceful defense, adding Cha-mod, maximum level to AC and CMD as well as a scaling bonus to these that even applies versus touch attacks and while flat-footed. Instead of poison use, the archetype gains detect psychic significance at will. They can spend 1 ki as a move action to create a +1 punch dagger, sai or wakizashi that lasts for Charisma modifier, minimum 1, rounds – this blade deals half damage to mindless creatures, non to creatures immune to mind-affecting abilities, but at 9th level and every 3 levels thereafter, she gets additional customization options for this blade, not unlike a soulknife. 4th level provides access to a couple of unique ninja tricks usable in conjunction with this psi-blade for continuous damage for the purpose of concentration, detecting surface thoughts of those hit, better chances to hit those with concealment…pretty cool array!

6th level provides additional weapon choices for the blade and 8th level nets a bonus to initiative equal to Charisma modifier while she has at least 1 point of ki, as well as the option to spend ki to roll twice and take the better result…or spend more ki and treat the result as a natural 20. (This would be as well a place as any to note that these 20-initiative options can be VERY strong in mythic gameplay – not the archetype’s fault, mind you, just something for less experienced GMs to bear in mind!) 10th level provides basically the advanced talents for the archetype, including ki-theft, aligned attacks, temporary negative levels and the like – pretty damn cool. Cool here: At this level and 16th level, the character can learn more of these or regular archetype specific talents. 10th level allows for the taking of 2 of the standard talents of the archetype instead of one of the advanced ones, for example, while 16th level, 2 of the advanced talents may be chosen instead of a ninja trick – or 3 of the regular ones. (there is an errant “o” here in a sentence, but that as an aside. Additionally, the archetype gets a better ratio when using ki to power her assaults. The capstone yields automatic confirmations of crits and an increased crit multiplier for the blade. Interesting soulknife-y option.

The mandarin investigator gains diminished extracts, but does gain the paper rail ability of the major domo and can use inspiration to affects Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate and Sense Motive sans expending it (ouch!) and starting at 3rd level, the archetype gains official favors, gaining favors when engaging in kingdom building and downtime activities, with a maximum of 1 + ½ class level favors. These may be expended to call in favors with groups, with a concise, mathematically-consistent formula. Even cooler: The ability takes verbal duels etc. into account and the ability increases in its effectiveness at 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th and 18th level. Whiel the archetype loses trap sense, I absolutely adore this one…but then again, I’m a huge Judge Dee fanboy… ;)

The vigilante class is a definite winner here: The pdf sports a feat for the use of natural weapons as ancestral weapons, one that may be taken as a social talent, and an iaijutsu slash-enhancing scabbard as an item. The first archetype for the class would be the mercurial duelist, whose weapon proficiencies are modified to include all one-handed slashing weapons, estocs, rapiers and swordcanes. The archetype replaces vigilante specialization with iaijutsu slash (Yes: The two different ways to write this are intentional in the pdf to help differentiate between them!) – this allows for the use of full class level as BAB after Quick Draw-ing the blade and makes the attack count as 2-handed and he may freely sheathe the weapon after a slash. 6th level allows for the application of the Vital Strike feat-chain and increases of the Strength bonus applied, with 10th an 14th level providing the benefits of Improved and Greater Vital Strike, respectively. 1st level’s social talent is replaced with an ancestral weapon and gets to choose from a wide variety of exclusive vigilante talents – some feature the iaijutsu tag and only one of them may be applied to a given slash.

Those who have the Legendary Vigilantes/Legendary Villains: Vigilantes-pdfs will btw. be able to gain some synergy here, with one talent providing crossover tricks with the arsenal summoner’s anima union, for example. But even sans these pdfs, you’ll have enough fodder, with the special slashes, from scaling attribute-damage to AC-penalties and even concealed slashes that victims and onlookers may not understand/perceive as such (!!!), the tricks are locked behind sensible minimum level requirements and the talent selection spans more than 2 full pages Dispelling strikes, Dirty Tricks, fatiguing aattacks, bypassing some amount of DR/hardness, AoO-based parades (once per round, thankfully). What about generating a vacuum with a strike, pulling foes closer? Yeah, this one sports a lot of the iconic tzricks we know and love – though personally, I consider adding Cha-mod to damage inflicted, scaling, nonetheless, to be overkill, considering how the archetype’s base chassis already sports a rather solid damage output and enough benefits for numerical escalation.

At 3rd level, we have the choice between finesse or spiritual duelist. The former nets Dex to attack and damage and ignoring the Strength-prerequisites of Power Attack and for the purpose of the shield of blades talent. The latter option includes using Charisma instead of Dexterity for AC, initiative and Reflex saving throws, as well as for determining max bonus in armor. They even use Charisma for Combat Reflex-AoOs. And honestly…that is very, very strong. It completely replaces the base benefits of the whole Dexterity attribute; not circumstantially, but completely. I wouldn’t allow that in my game. 5th weapon lets the archetype use the ancestral weapon as though it was a sacred weapon; 11th level provides the option to apply two iaijutsu talents to one attack and 17th level upgrades that 3 – but only one that calls for a save may be applied per attack. 20th level auto-maximizes the damage of the iaijutsu slash. There also are three general vigilante talents for poaching the iaijutsu basics and gaining a panache pool/panache talents. It should be noted that RAW, no deeds are gained alongside panache.

The second archetype herein for the vigilante would be the sentai soldier, a reprint from Legendary Vigilantes. The sentai soldier archetype replaces vigilante specialization with burn, elemental focus and kinetic blast, but they can only accept up to Con-mod burn and don't take non-lethal damage from accepting burn. The archetype gets a transformation device that mirrors a magical child transformation in 5 rounds, potentially reduced to a standard action with quick change, immediate action via immediate change. Beyond this modification, we get the option to take an utility or infusion wild talent instead of a vigilante talent and the archetype also contains a variety of different talents: Battle Charge allows the character to spend a swift action to reduce the burn cost of the kinetic blade or fist infusion by 1, but not below 0. This can be further improved and the archetype can use these talents to gain composite blasts, elemental defense or metakinesis. 3rd level nets a fascination-inducing quick transformation and 4th level sentai soldiers that have accepted 1 burn or more gains an equal bonus to atk and damage with kinetic blasts, with the very necessary cap based on the class level. The archetype does lose 3 vigilante talents for that and at 5th level, the vigilante gains gather power - and yes, the archetype loses the appearance tree. 20th level yields access to metakinesis (twice).

The silversword samurai pledges loyalty to a family above all else and gains Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (nobility) and may use them untrained. If he has ranks, he adds +1/2 class level to them. Really cool: The archetype interacts with organization rules and gains influence equal to Charisma modifier + level, but also suffers from negative influence with the enemies of his family. The archetype provides a scaling bonus to Intimidate versus targets of his challenge and gains the same bonus versus compulsions and fear effects. He may use challenge to determine the honorable behavior of himself and an ally, which makes for a really cool idea, and may use challenge in conjunction with social events, adding ½ (minum +1) class levels to the DC of influence checks made against him by the target, and adds the same bonus on influence checks made with other NPCs towards the goal of decreasing the influence of the challenged target. He does not gain a mount, but 2nmd level yields an ancestral blade, with a higher CMD with the blade (it’s also harder to steal) and gains a bonus versus rusting grasp et al. Higher levels yield the tools to enchant it and 4th level also provides an ancestral armor as well as a ki pool of a monk of equivalent level, which can be used to add additional attacks to full attack with the blade (yep, capped!) and the blade is treated as progressively better for the purpose of bypassing DR. 6th level replaces the bonus feat with Unimpeachable Honor and 8th level nets the option to deflect ranged attacks via resolve. 15th level, finally, makes the blade ghost touch and allows him to part space, duplicating dimension door and even plane shift. I ADORE this archetype. It is concise, thematically strong and extremely cool.

Finally, there would be the sky dancer swashbuckler – basically the wire-fu archetype for the class. The sky dancer gains proficiency with simple and monk weapons as well as light armor and a modified class skill list. The chassis of the swashbuckler’s panache etc. is triggered by the modified weapon proficiency’s list instead. He is treated as though he had Weapon Finesse with these and substitutes his Charisma score for his Intelligence score regarding combat feat prerequisites. The archetype loses menacing swordplay, superior feint, bleeding wound, swashbuckler’s edge and deadly stab with the option to deflect missiles sans requiring a free hand, getting the interaction with the classic feats right, and allow for the returning to sender of thrown weapons. Light steps, taking 10 in Acrobatics and Fly (and + Cha-mod to CMD versus bull rush, drag, reposition and trip), confusing strikes…pretty cool. Winds incarnate, alas, doesn’t really work. “At 19th level, as long as he has 1 panache point a sky dancer treats any CMD check to avoid being bull rushed, dragged, repositioned or tripped as if he had rolled a natural 20 on the die.” Did I miss a memo somewhere? Since when is there a CMD-check to avoid these maneuvers?? I have literally no idea how this is supposed to work. As an aside: Spell-reference not italicized. The archetype also provides a scaling atk and damage bonus with one of the archetype’s weapon roster as well as Improved Critical and numerical escalation and auto-confirms with it at 20th level. I like the idea of this one, representing the WuXia swordsman, but the capstone could be cooler. Also: The archetype, weirdly, sports a couple of formatting hiccups like non-capitalized feats and the like.

The pdf concludes with Kozue Kaburagi, aka Silver Blossom, a cool mercurial duelist aasimar with a neat background and a neat boon – kudos!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, for the most part of the pdf, are top-notch and manage to juggle, both formally and on a rules-language level, really complex concepts. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ elegant two-column full-color standard for the Jade Regent plug-ins, with artwork being a blend of new and previously used pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, N. Jolly. Jesse Brenner and David N. Ross show how an archetype book ought to be: There is not a single boring or simple filler archetype in the whole book; even the engine tweaks do things that are novel and haven’t been done before. The pdf offers something for everybody: Do you like WuXia options? You’ll find them herein. Do you prefer grittier options or something like Kaidan? You’ll find those herein. Want Judge Dee-style intrigue? You’ll find that herein. Want balls to the wall, far-out sentai action? The pdf has you covered and the two different concepts of ia(i)jutsu offer cool options for all types of campaigns.

I wouldn’t use all archetypes herein in the same campaign, but I’d use a lot of them in ANY type of asian campaign I’d run – they all, in their individual ways, are brilliant and amazing. While there are a couple of minor hiccups, they don’t really tarnish this superb example of what an archetype book should provide in terms of design-difficulty, quality and concepts. In fact, this range as one of my favorite examples in that whole category of rules-supplements. That good. It only misses nomination as a top ten candidate due to the few minor glitches, but even taking them and the high standards among 3pps books into account, this can only have a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. No matter the campaign style you’re looking for, this should be considered to be a must-own addition to your options.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Asian Archetypes: Martial
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Mythic Minis 104: Horror Feats S-Z
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:44:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Spawnlink: Passively observe what the spawn sees while maintaining your senses. You also don’t need to expend actions to retain the link while it’s established and aren’t blinded while looking through the spawn’s eyes, but take a penalty instead. Use mythic power to gaze through all spawns simultaneously. HECK YES. Undead overwatch. AMAZING.

-Spirit Speaker: Gain mythic tier to Diplomacy to get spirits absorbed to reveal intel. Spirits can be used to glean more information and mythic power to compel several answers, save to resist. Also, no longer take Wis-damage/sanity damage for using it. Really cool!

-Stubborn Curse: Increases Dc to remove curses; by expending 3 mythic power, you make it persistent and only removable by someone whose tier is equal to or greater than yours. Simple and neat!

-Touch of Evil: Gain a mythic tier based bonus to Sleight of Hand to prevent the touch being noticed. Nonmythic creatures only get a save upon being touched, while mythic creatures get both saves, but at a penalty to the second save. Also, the creature gains a bonus to mythic tier rolls in order to carry out the suggestion. Now this is one cool expansion of the feat!

-Twisted Love: Increase bonuses to +4 and, upon completion, learn automatically the nature of the effect resisted and, also after completion, use mythic power (amount depends on ½ spell level) to return the effect back to sender. Cool!

-Unyielding Ferocity: +4 Str and Con, -2 AC while under the effects of the feat. You also gain a single rage power you meet the prereqs for, + an additional one at 3rd, 6th and 9th tier. When reduced to 0 hp or below you can expend mythic power to gain access to one of these chosen rage powers. Really cool!

-Zealous Mind: When resisting a charm or compulsion from a chaotic source or one opposite your alignment of the good-evil-axis or when you get a secondary save, you gain a bonus to atk & damage versus the foe. When succeeding a save versus such an effect, you may use mythic power to render the target “staggered for dazed for 1 round”[sic!] – the “staggered for” here is redundant, for it should be 1 round dazed, 1d4+1 rounds staggered.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant hiccups apart from the slightly confusing guffaw in the last feat. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs‘ final array of mythic horror feats is the inspired one I’ve been waiting for – pretty much every single feat has one brilliant, cool tactical option and blew me away. The only issue was in the final feat and it is what costs this my seal of approval. That being said, this is still inspired and excellent, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 104: Horror Feats S-Z
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Mythic Minis 103: Horror Feats P-S
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:43:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Protector of the People: Add the mythic simple template to the golem protector and ties it closely to the mission of protecting the people. Upon completion, the cost reduction benefit applies to any construct crafted and you gain a tier-based bonus. Nice boost!

-Purging Emesis: Purge of poisons as a standard actions and affect all types of poisons. Also reduces the negative condition incurred by saving down to sickened. Also nets the feat a cooldown, including the requirement for food, via mythic power. Finally, the full-round action use can let you create a cone of slippery area. While the base feat does not note the effects of standard slippery terrain, it would have been nice to see them, but that is just me being ultra-picky and will not influence the verdict.

-Putrid Summons: Increases stench-DC of the called creatures and the power of the effect. For mythic power, you ay use the spell’s normal list of creatures.

-Sacrificial Adept: Also add +1 DC, +2 Cl or a metamagic feat with a level-increase of 1 or less to the spell. Via mythic power expenditure, you can add all 3 options at once. Also increases daily uses to the highest of mental attribute modifiers. Really cool! Two thumbs up!

-Sacrificial Ritual: Bonus increases by ½ tier and for every 3 tiers, chose a trained skill of the creature, granting yourself and all secondary casters an additional +3 to complete it. When sacrificing a lot of creatures and using mythic power, you and all ritual casters can ignore backlash, explaining why evil cults go overboard. Two thumbs up!

-Shatter Control: Eliminates range caveat for shattering control over undead and increases save DC…and the control loss is permanent. Use mythic power to make the ability work with any attack, not just full-round attacks. Also manages to get the complex behavior repercussions for undead right. Kudos!

-Skin Suit: Only slashing, piercing, fire or acid damage potentially wreck the suit and destruction of the suit makes you only take ½ damage. Also: Skin Suit doesn’t dissolve on sundown. Using mythic power nets a new skin suit and, as a swift action when expending mythic power, you can deliver energy drain or ability damage with undead special attacks without destroying the skin. Neat!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs is back up to his game here – I noticed no hiccups, have no balance-concerns and the execution is precise, often rather creative. My final verdict will be 5 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 103: Horror Feats P-S
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Mythic Minis 101: Horror Feats E-I
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:26:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Engulf Horror: Non-mythic creatures are nauseated; for mythic power expenditure, the effect applies for 1 minute.

-Engulf Revulsion: Creatures failing their save are sickened in addition to being shaken and the effect lasts for 1 minute. Creatures that witness you engulfing/smothering targets must save or be frightened.

-Exorcising Mutilation: Con damage is reduced to 2 and rerolled save nets +1/2 mythic tier to the roll. Also allows you to expend mythic power to instead suffer regular damage when using the feat.

-Exsanguinate: Gain mythic power instead, up to mythic tier in a 24-hour period. Also lets you use mythic power to blood drain while not pinning the target. This is insanely powerful, borderline broken. Mythic power should not be regained so easily. Also can be kitten'd. Just uncharacteristically bad for the author.

-Fear Eater: Gain temp hp equal to tier when transferring a fear effect to you. For mythic power expenditure, you get a save with a tier-based bonus.

-Fleshcrafter: Expend mythic power after resting to accomplish 8 hours of fleshcrafts. Also automatically lets you succeed Heal checks to apply or remove fleshcrafts and they aren't destroyed from removing it. Minor note: The feat has a type "elicir".

-Ghost Guide: Numerical escalation and when you gain the completion benefit, you gain the mythic versions of call haunt, speak with dead and speak with haunt. Cool!

-Gruesome Shapechanger: Increases the Acrobatics DC. Creatures that view your transformation and fail their save are sickened for 1 minute as well as shaken. If you expend mythic power, you upgrade shaken to frightened if the target fails the save by 5 or more.

-Horrific Gorging: Consume any type of creature type, thankfully with a GM-caveat that prevents the abuse via kittens....at least in that way. You can get infinite temporary hit points, though - or at least,a minor shield of them, as you get temporary hit points equal to twice the tier. It's not bad to eat a ton of kittens that way, but yeah, HD-caveat would have been nice. When swallowing mythic creatures, you can use mythic power to render targets frightened.

-Incorporeal intuition: Eliminates the adjacency caveat and increases the range to 10 ft. per tier and you suffer no penalty when identifying targets thus via Knowledge. When you sense a target, you can use mythic power to determine starting attitude of the critter, as well as the strength (based on aura-like categories). Cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs' third collection of mythic horror feats has some nice ones, but also a couple I am less enthused about; As a whole, I consider this to be a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I feel it's closer to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 101: Horror Feats E-I
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Mythic Minis 102: Horror Feats J-P
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:24:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Kyton Style: Increases DC for Stunning Fist attempts when using spiked chains. Expend 1 mythic power to execute stunning attacks with the spiked chain for 1 minute, sans expending ki. Big kudos – getting the ki/Stunning Fist-use interaction right. Well done!

-Kyton Shield: Increases AC bonus, adds vicious to the spiked chain and provides a retributive damage via mythic power expenditure. This is untyped damage, which imho it shouldn’t be, but that’s a matter of opinion.

-Kyton Cut: Increases bonus damage output, more so when mythic power’s expended. All in all, a solid feat chain.

-Latching Horror: Upgrades condition severity to frightened, expend mythic power to increase the save DC to resist Latching Horror.

-Lifeless Gaze: Increases bonuses by ½ mythic tier and non-humanoids attempting to read your mind may end up shaken. Solid.

-Maddening Style: DC increase of +2, extending to fear effects. Expend mythic power in the style to inflict 1d4 Wis damage (or alternatively, san damage – nice!) with Stunning Fist.

-Maddening Obliteration: Penalty duration increases to 1 minute; For 3 mythic power uses and 2 points of ki, you may perform a save or suck attack. Neat upgrade.

-Maddening Strike: You gain no Wis damage when missing. Expend mythic power for ½ tier rounds (I expect, minimum 1) without needing “two expend”[sic!] any types from the ki pool.

-Mutilating Ritualist: Save DC increases to +2. Less damage when performing the mutilation as an occult ritual, with ritual level determining the extent of the limit.

-Profane Studies: Expend mythic power when identifying evil outsiders for take 20. You also get to choose new summon options, increasing with tiers. A handy table of max CRs is btw. Included on the SRD-page, so don’t miss that one.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good – apart from the typo, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs delivers in this one – he deals with highly complex set-ups here and does so in a rather cool manner. While I’m missing the OMG-brilliant-level of feat, the expansions are well made and as such, this receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 102: Horror Feats J-P
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Mythic Minis 100: Horror Feats C-E
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/11/2017 10:37:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Clarity of Pain: Adds a bonus on your second roll equal to the amount of damage inflicted. Via mythic power, the damage can be increased to 3d6.

-Consume Essence: Add temp HP to the threshold the swallowed creature when you inflict a negative level. There is no limit on how many you can accrue this way, which is a bit problematic. Also, as a standard action, you can expend mythic power to impose 1d4 temporary negative levels in addition to the other save for being swallowed.

-Contagious Spell: Spell spreads on any failure to remove it, not just significant failures. You may also expend mythic power, based on 1/2 spell level, including adjustment, to make it spontaneously spread. Alternatively, you can expend mythic power to spontaneously make a spell contagious. Cool!

-Deadhand Style: When using ki to empower unarmed strikes, you may also expend mythic power; if you do, increase condition severity to frightened.

-Deadhand Initiate: Allows you to reflect fear-effects back on targets when you succeed the save.

-Deadhand Master: Lets you expend mythic power to make the negative levels inflicted potentially permanent. Partially affects targets that save and nets temporary hit points when inflicting 1 or more negative levels.

-Disconcerting Knowledge: Affect any base CR. Also add Knowledge to identify a creature as a second roll when using Intimidate to demoralize, use the higher value and if both succeed, you treat that result used for both checks as 5 higher. Decent, I guess.

-Disrupting Fist: You need only 1 channel energy to destroy undead via the feat. As a swift action, you can expend mythic power to wreathe your body in energy for 1 minute, adding +1d6 untyped damage (should be positive energy, right?) versus undead.

-Enemy Cult: Additional uses of the detect spell granted. Upon gaining the completion benefit, you also gain the corresponding protection from as an SP 3/day and may use mythic power to use the appropriate magic circle as a SP as a standard action. That's a cool one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs second array of mythic versions of horror feats is a nice collection; it sports some cool and creative ideas and while it doesn't reach the apex of the series (woohoo - #100, btw.!), it ranks as a good installment, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, though I do feel I have to round down for it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 100: Horror Feats C-E
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Mythic Minis 99: Horror Feats A-B
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/11/2017 10:35:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Absorb Spirit: Bonus on Will-saves and Constitution checks made for the feat. Additionally, harboring spirits/haunts is less stressful, allowing for the longer-term harboring of spirits...and you may absorb undead sans rejuvenation.

-Aura Flare: Lets you use it more often; first additional use costs one mythic power and every additional use increases the mythic power cost. Additionally, depending on the alignment, you affect the appropriate alignments. If your aura is strong, you exhaust targets instead of fatiguing them. Nice.

-Blood Feast: Pure numerical escalation: On a basic level and even more via mythic power expenditure, including threat range and multiplier expansion, which I consider problematic.

-Blood Spurt: Spray in a 15-ft.-cone, 30-ft. for mythic power expenditure. Also, ranged attacks can trigger it. You may also inflict 1d6 points of damage instead of 1 bleed when triggering it yourself. Cool!

-Brutal Coup de Grace: Frighten foes, rather than just make them shaken. Killing mythic targets via the feat nets you mythic power, up to tier extra power per day. So no, you can't abuse it with mythic kittens. ;)

-Brutal Style: +1d6 damage when attacking prone foes while in the style.

-Brutal Stomp: Increase crit range for additional attacks made with the feat.

-Brute Assault: Increase the Str-damage to 1d8+1, 1d3 on a successful save. Also lets you cripple foes temporarily via mythic power expenditure while in Brutal Style, requiring Str or Acrobatics to stand up properly.

-Bully Breed: First time you and your companion damage a creature in a full attack, you can expend your mythic power to have the animal make a demoralize check as a swift action. On all other checks, the companion gains a bonus. The companion can also grant you a better aid another.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs' horror feats are an interesting blend. There is a bit more of escalating numbers here than I personally like, but this is certainly not bad. The craftsmanship is solid and the pdf thus can be considered to be good - my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 99: Horror Feats A-B
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The Lost Library of Thoth (5E)
by Valerie W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2017 15:22:57

We decided to run a quick one-shot at the house on a slow Saturday night, so I picked up this adventure. I've only DMed a few times, but from my inexperienced viewpoint, this was a fun little adventure. I only had 2 in my party, so it was a little tough in parts for them, but overall good.

The author is not kidding when he says this adventure is more about knowledge than loot - you will need to add some treasure for most groups. But I really liked the flavor of the Library, and the puzzles were interesting and unique. Would be a great addition to an existing campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Lost Library of Thoth (5E)
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