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The Valkyrie Hybrid Class
by Edward S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2018 17:48:24

An exceptional enjoyable read - definitely helped me get my viking on in my pathfinder game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Valkyrie Hybrid Class
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Races of the Outer Rim: the Omenoi
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/08/2018 10:44:48

Races of the Outer Rim: The Omenoi presents a playable race for the Starfinder role-playing game. This is part of a series from Total Party Kill games, that gives short, inexpensive player options in a single book. This is the sort of nice, simple supplemental sourcebook that DMs can easily pick up for a few dollars to add something new to their game that players haven't seen before, and we tend to like that. The book gives us the rules and background for the Omenoi--a race decended from frost worms that inhabited a comet flying through space. They are a 4-armed race that evolved in a harsh, cold environment with few resources. They have an affinity for cold, a burrowing ability, and can enthrall their enemies by making a trilling sound. However, they have little in the way of technology--though they make up for it with an aptitude for magic. The technology that they do have is famous for making use of small, localized wormholes that can be used to extend a user's reach, or protect vital parts by hiding them in extradimentional spaces. These are some really unique and cool ideas that make the Omenoi interesting. As well, they have an interesting background as a war-like species who openly challenge others to duels as a friendly greeting, and are seen by others as tied to astrology due to their coming from a comet that inhabitants of other planets believed was a tied to prophecies. There are also some original concepts that make this book interesting, such as the Omenoi's past practice of exploring other planets in magical ships made of ice from the comet on which they live. Overall, the rules are good and don't do anything to break the game, but bring a lot of flavor and something new for players with a moderate amount of background. I would like to see a bit more backstory, and a few more mechanics and options, though. This is a race with an affinity and respect for magic, but the book presents no new spells or any real options for magic users. There are some nice feats available to characters of this race, such as a breath weapon and cold immunity that are nice, but not too powerful. Overall, though, Races of the Outer Rim: The Omenoi brings some really nice ideas that can spice up your game with original sci-fi concepts. This is a good book for DMs or players who want something new and don't mind filling in some story details with their own ideas.

Read the whole review at GeeksAGogo.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Races of the Outer Rim: the Omenoi
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Fifth Edition Options
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2018 19:53:50

A neat selection of optional rules for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. There's something here to suit pretty much any sort of D&D campaign, from gritty to cinematic and everything between. A lot of the options are derivative of rules from older editions, especially 3.5, and other d20-based games, but it's still useful to have such rules ready for 5E use. That said, I don't think I'd be as forgiving if I'd picked this up in print; I'm rather glad I bought it as a PDF instead. (Originally posted on Goodreads)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Options
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Races of the Outer Rim: the Anarchane
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/30/2018 22:14:40

This is a nice little supplement for the Starfinder role-playing game that offers about 10 pages of content on the Anarchane, a humanoid alien race with an affinity for magic that are tainted with a condition known as 'the Affliction', which leaves them frail and shortens their lifespan to about 30-40 years. The Anarcane have an interesting history--hailing from an planet outside of the Pact-Worlds run by a society that valued magical ability, they discovered that magic was fading from their world. The Anarcane sought to recharge their magical energies decades ago, and ended up saturating their world with magical energies that made it inhospitable and likely doomed their planet (not entirely unlike the planet Eox). Though the focus of this book is on rules for the Anarchane race, it does contain a backstory with some fertile ground for adventure hooks that can drive an entire campaign. As for the Anarchane themselves, this book provides rules for a very interesting and playable race that is a good fit players who want to play a magic user. The Anarchane have some nice spell-like abilities and the power to draw energy from magical items to cure themselves of conditions and stamina damage--which has potential for abuse by players if the GM is not careful. They are exceptionally well-suited to be technomancers, though their abilities are a good match for other classes as well, and the book offers some suggestions on playing Anarchane of all classes. The book provides some nice feats unique to the Anarchane that really compliment their magic affinity, such as abilities that allow them to recall used spell slots, or to super-charge their spells (which comes at a cost for over-use). As well, the book includes a short list of spells that emphasize the Anarchanes' facination with the confluence of magic and technology. Some of these spells can be easily used by other races at the GM's discretion. In fact, this book contains a handful of technomancer spells that do things like prevent system access or cause a creature to suffer from a computer virus the next time they log into a system. These are great spells that really should be incorporated into your game whether the Anarchane are a playable race in your game or not. Overall, this book adds nicely to the Starfinder rules, giving players and game masters more options. The only problem that I have with it is that I would like to see more of it. The planet Anarchane has the potential to be an interesting setting for a game, and it would be nice to see TPK Games publish a book on the setting at some point. Check out our weekly RPG review column and see the full review at Geeks a Gogo



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Races of the Outer Rim: the Anarchane
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The Malefactor Class: Revised & Expanded (5E/PF)
by Dylan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2018 04:35:50

This is now my favorite class for 5e.            



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Malefactor Class: Revised & Expanded (5E/PF)
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Feats of Legend: Limit Break - 21 Feats of Fantastic Martial Finality (PF)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2018 05:16:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Feats of Legend-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

A little side tangent: The first thing that I ever did that would constitute design-work of sorts were limit breaks. Back when I was a kid, neck deep in puberty, when I had an innocent crush on Rinoa from FF XIII, my AD&D campaign back then was winding down; we had reached the highest power echelons, left level 20 far behind, and I had, at best, a cursory knowledge of 3.X, but had been jamming rules-components without rhyme or reason into my game. The result was, in hindsight, equal parts embarrassing and amazing, with limit breaks stolen in equal measure from my favorite games and from my most beloved, oh-so-deep goth/metal lyrics. Ah, the celebration of a sort of innocence…anyways, once you think about it, it’s actually weird that we did not get a limit break system for PFRPG sooner!

But how does it work? Well, feats with the [Limit Break] descriptor may NOT be taken during character creation or during character advancement. They may only be temporarily selected via the martial flexibility class feature or the new Desperate Combat Overdrive feat.

This feat requires Int and Cha or 3+ and requires that you do not have martial flexibility. It lets you choose one [Limit Break] feat, which, 1/day, as a full-round action, you may unlock for your character for a number of rounds equal to ½ character level, rounded up. You must meet the prerequisites and the current hit-point total of the character must be at or below 1/4th of maximum hit points AND you must have dealt damage with a successful melee attack last round. The feat may be taken multiple times, each time granting you another [Limit Break] feat access.

This limitation of 1/4th of maximum hit points or below, and the requirement to have hit the opponent btw. also applies for the purpose of temporarily gaining access to [Limit Break]-feats via martial flexibility. Additionally, a character cannot gain a [Limit Break] feat while under the effects of a supernatural fear-effect. Mundane fear-effects are okay, though.

The exception from the rule here would be the Swallow Your Terror [Combat] feat – if you otherwise meet all the requirements for a [Limit Break], but are suffering from a supernatural fear effect, you get a new save each round while the [Limit Break]-conditions are met – on the first save, you are treated as though you succeeded the initial save, and if an effect has even an effect on a successful save, a second save in the round after that allows you to shake off the fear-effect.

The astute reader may have noticed that the [Limit Breaks], per default, can only be unlocked by melee attacks. The Limit-Charging Bolts, available exclusively for characters with martial flexibility, changes that and allows one proficient ranged weapon to be treated as a melee weapon for the purpose of qualifying for [Limit Break] feats unlocking.

Occult Limit-Charging is yet another tweak to the base system engine: This feat kicks in whenever a creature with HD equal to or greater than your own fails a save versus a spell or SP and suffers hit point damage as a consequence, this qualifies as causing melee damage for the purpose of unlocking [Limit Break]-feats, allowing spellcasters to be part of the fun.

[Limit Break] feats are considered to be combat feats and while a character possesses a [Limit Break] feat, she sheds light, imposing a minus 40 penalty on all Stealth checks, shedding light as a sunrod. Once a character has used a [limit Break] feat even once, she thereafter emits a glow whenever below 1/4th maximum hit points, imposing a -20 penalty to Stealth checks and emitting light as a candle – a warning of sorts, somewhat akin to the glow of e.g. FF XIII’s aura-spell. The saving throw DC of [Limit Break] feats, if any is 10 + ½ character level + Constitution modifier, and Con-mod is also used for concentration purposes of SPs duplicated thus.

In a great quote of the anime and videogame trope, the Soul-Sharpening Battlecry feat allows you to tweak [Limit Break]-triggering: You choose an item of great personal significance for you – a rod, a card, a weapon – and loudly pronounce a doom, declare your name etc. – basically, Tales of X-style. This is a move action that provokes AoOs and is treated as an attack for the purpose of charm, invisibility, etc. – however, until the end of your next round, you halve your current hit points for the purpose of determining when [Limit Break] feats can be triggered. Come on, that is really, really cool! Furious Limit-Charging is available to characters with rage or bloodrage, and, during such a rage or bloodrage, allows for the treating of current hit point total as halved for the purpose of [Limit Break] unlocking – we all know that being pissed amps up the chance of getting a [Limit Break]! Brutal limit-Charging is yet another way for characters with martial flexibility to get more [Limit Break]-use: On a crit (not just on a threat!), you treat your current hit point total as half as much for one round for the purpose of qualifying for a [limit Break] unlock.

If a character fails to meet the prerequisites for using [Limit Break] feats, for example due to healing, the access to the feat, but not the feat per se, is temporarily lost. However, if the feat is lost, it may not be used again for 24 hours.

Sounds confusing? How do you lose a [Limit Break]-feat? Well, here’s the catch: In contrast to how most feats behave, [Limit break]-feats’ prerequisite line often specifies a condition that you must have met in the preceding round. While this blending of situational and general prerequisites may feel confusing at first, it makes sense within the design-paradigm and the ephemeral nature of the [Limit Break]-feats themselves.

Okay, so this would be the base system presented here, including the non-[Limit Break]-feats that modify it. Now, let us take a look at the[Limit Break]-feats, shall we? All of the following are [limit break]-feats:

-Aegis of the Avalanche: You gain self-only stoneskin, but may spend it for a round to duplicate forceful strikes. Maintenance requires dealing bludgeoning damage.

-Unflinching Iron Juggernaut: Requires Aegis of the Avalanche and that you have been flat-footed versus at least one attack against you; you may choose to become flat-footed to all attacks in one round to gain this feat’s activation criteria. It nets you iron body. OOOHHH!

-Flame of the Dragon: You gain fire trail and fire shield (warm) and choose to suspend them for a round in favor of fire breath. Requires that you take or inflict fire damage.

-Blazing Astral Steps: Requires that you have Flame of the Dragon and must have spent last round with a double move, charge or run action. Nets you damnation stride as a move action, but you may not take others with you. Qualifies as abundant step for the purpose of Dimensional Agility and all feats in that chain, which are treated as combat feats for the purpose of martial flexibility. Yes, they’re listed. Yes, catching that one is impressive.

-Harmonious Spirit Charge: Regain 1 ki, requires that you spent 1 ki in the previous round. Cool!

-Blinding Flare of Truest Fighting-Spirit: As a move action, all creatures within 30 ft. who don’t have concealment are dazzled for 1d4 rounds, with a Fort-save to negate. This is sight-dependent, obviously. When you inflict melee damage on an opponent thus dazzled, the target must save or be blinded for 1 round per level. Creatures adjacent to a target thus blinded must save as well to avoid being blinded. During any round you use a full-attack action and make at least one melee attack, you get one additional melee attack at your highest BAB, but it must be made against a target blinded by the feat. The feat requires that you have another [Limit Break]-feat as a prerequisite. This one is a bit tricky, because it has, RAW, not its own maintenance condition. Careful reading shows, though, that it behaves essentially as an overlay that adds its effects to another [Limit Break] feat’s effects.

-Pale Cloak of the True Dragon: Requires Flame of the Dragon and Blinding Flare of Truest Fighting Spirit; upgrades Flame of the Dragon’s fire shield to mythic fire shield.

-Nova of Burning Hate: Requires both Flame of the Dragon and Blinding Flare of Truest Fighting Spirit; 1/round after succeeding a melee attack, you may cast quickened fireball with a range of 0 ft. You are immune to the damage AND get a trip attempt sans AoO or retribution against any target that failed the save against your nova of burning hate. Ouch!

-Wrath from the Edge of Death: Nets you your choice of cure serious wounds or greater infernal healing. No maintenance, though – this is a singular effect. However, it is the prerequisite for…

-Rage Beyond Death: Beyond the previous feat, you must have witnessed a creature fall below 0 hp, and immediately gain heal (self only). You may gain it an additional time as a standard action. If prevented from this, you instead gain breath of life.

-Severing Strike: Lets you execute a single melee attack with a slashing weapon as a full-round action. If the attack hits, you roll a d20 and the target may suffer massive bleed, lose a hand and drop items, lose an eye and be confused, lose proper leg-use, etc. Immunity to sneak attack fortifies against this, fortification etc. is taken into account, and you may take the feat multiple times, allowing you to roll more often on the table.

-Trickster’s Laughing Jaunt: Requires that you have used Acrobatics and nets you an AoO-less gust of wind, followed by an error-less teleport within the gust’s area of effect, which is treated as movement for Lightning and Wind Stance. When ending the teleport in mid-air, you feather fall.

-Trickster’s Leaping Jest: Builds on the previous feat and requires it: Choose a construct of your size category with a CR no greater than your own. As a full-round action, you use both dimension door and invisibility at once and a construct of the chosen type is summoned to the square you departed from. This creature is veiled as you and observers don’t witness you vanishing, as though affected by mislead. Your [Limit Break]-glow is transferred to the construct and you may use a move action to see through the creature’s eyes and direct it.

-Fracture the Blistering Flow: This one should have the [limit Break] descriptor, but doesn’t have it. It requires that you have suffered damage in the last round. Once per round, when using Gather Power as a move or standard action, you may gain its benefits as a swift action instead. When you use a feat. Trait, wild talent, kinetic blast or kineticist class ability dealing acid, cold, electricity or fire damage, you may change the damage to one of the other three energy types as a free action, changing descriptors, if any. Other effects remain unchanged, unless the new energy type invalidates them, which is a quite important caveat considering the flexibility of the kineticist engine.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-language level, the missing descriptor for one feat can make it seem pretty OP, so that’s a minor strike against the pdf. Layout adheres to a nice and pretty printer-friendly two-column standard with blue headers. The artwork is solid. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity.

Wow. This is the single most impressive feat-based engine I’ve seen in ages. The material herein requires a certain degree of system mastery to properly process, but against all odds, the pdf manages, in a paltry 6 pages, to present a concise and well-crafted limit break system with amazing effects. The engine duplicates tropes from beloved game-classics and the way they feel in impressive ways and can carry much, much more – in fact, I could easily see this engine carry a full-length book! While the missing descriptor in the kineticist-feat is a bit galling (the feat would be OP otherwise), the engine as it stands is a remarkable achievement that is pure, distilled awesomeness.

Who wrote this? Clinton Boomer? Well, that explains it! Seriously, folks – if you’re running a high-fantasy campaign and don’t shirk away from high-complexity material, then get these, smile…and start building on the pdf. Have I mentioned that this really could carry a whole book? You know, this pdf’s engine could carry a whole book…Okay, okay, I think I made my point. This is, by far, the best installment in the whole series and perhaps the most inspired feat book I’ve read in quite a while. 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the one descriptor snafu.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Feats of Legend: Limit Break - 21 Feats of Fantastic Martial Finality (PF)
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Feats of Legend: 20 Alcohol Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2018 05:19:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Feats of Legend-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Without further ado, we dive into the feats, a couple of which may be considered to be base feats:

-Falling Down Drunk: Reduce falling damage by 10 ft. per alcoholic drink you consumed in the past hour.

-Drink Like A Demon: Requires Con 13+; lets you drink a potion, drink, etc. as a move action that does not provoke AoOs.

-Down the Hatch: Requires Drink Like A Demon. Lets you draw a potion or bottle from a holster, bandolier, etc. as a free action.

-Firebreather: Requires the previous two feats; as a standard action that provokes AoOs, you can take a drink and spit it through a torch, generating a 15-foot-cone of fire for 1d6 fire damage, with a Ref-save of 10 + ½ character level + Con-mod as a DC to halve. Breathing through a flaming weapon increases the DC by enhancement bonus, base damage to 2d6. Flaming burst weapons upgrade that to 4d6 and increase the save DC by enhancement bonus +2. Really creative take on the old trope. Kudos.

-One More Round: Requires Diehard and Con 13+ (misspelled as Die Hard); when dropped below 0 hp and you had a drink in the last hour, you can choose to be sickened instead of staggered.

-Hollow Leg: Requires Con 13+; lets you drink 1 + thrice your Con-modifier drinks. When you drink more, you’re sickened for 10 minutes per drink, rather than 1 hour.

Quite a few feats build on Hollow Leg as a prerequisite; these are as follows:

-Drunken Brawler: Nets you DR 5/- against nonlethal damage if you had a drink in the last hour.

-Fortune Favors the Drunk: Beyond Hollow Leg, also requires that you worship an appropriate deity. Nets you +2 to a save of your choice if you had a drink in the past hour. Taking a new drink allows you to switch the save.

-In Wine, Truth: Nets you +2 insight bonus to saves versus illusions. 1/day when failing a save against an illusion, you may disregard it as though you succeeded as long as you had a drink in the past hour. Afterwards, you’re sickened for 1d4 rounds, though.

-Mean Drunk: +2 melee and natural attack damage while sickened.

-Good For What Ails You: +2 (untyped) bonus to Fort-saves if you had a drink within 1 hour. 1/day, when failing a Fort-save, you may reroll it as an immediate action. On a success, you’re sickened for 1d4 rounds. Weirdly, not on a failure.

-Cast Iron Stomach: Requires Good For What Ails You; if you have drunk a drink in the past hour, you’re immune to the nauseated condition and instead become sickened.

-Can’t Feel A Thing: Requires One More Round and Drunken Brawler: Upgrades DR versus nonlethal damage to DR 10/- and also nets DR 5/- versus slashing or piercing damage, both contingent on having a drink within the past hour.

-Liquid Courage: Requires Hollow Leg and Good For What Ails You: +2 to saves versus fear effects after imbibing a drink; 1/day when failing a save versus a fear effect, ignore it while the bonus is in effect.

-Poison Chaser: Requires Hollow Leg and Drink Like A Demon; when failing a save versus a poison, you may imbibe alcohol as an immediate action to reroll the save. On a success, you’re sickened for 1d4 rounds, but negate the poison. You don’t have to have the drink in your hand.

Unrelated to the other feats herein:

-Glass Hammer: Requires Catch Off-Guard; increases damage with bottles or glass mugs to 1d8; when hitting a foe with a broken container, you may choose to blind the target for 1d4 rounds. You can break containers as a swift action. This one imho should not be limited to glass – glass was rare and costly in earlier ages and must tankards were not made of glass.

-Intoxicated Evoker: Lets you consume a drink as part of casting an evocation spell for + 1 CL.

-Staggering Drunk: +1 dodge bonus to AC and +1 dodge bonus to Ref-saves if you have consumed a drink during the last hour.

-Wind of the Divine: As Intoxicated evoker, but applies to divine healing spells instead.

-Words of Wine: +2 to Diplomacy if you had a drink in the past hour. Srsly?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no grievous glitches on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with a used-parchment-style background. The pdf sports two nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity – kudos!

Neal Litherland’s alcohol feats make one thing clear: It doesn’t pay to be a drunk, not even in a fantasy world. Froma design-perspective, there is a lot to like here: The floating bonuses, emphasis on player agenda and choices etc. makes for some fun decisions.

Here’s the problem: The cool ones are locked behind a feat tax and their benefits are not enough to warrant taking them, not even in the most gritty, low fantasy game I’d run. (And you all know how I gravitate to grittier playstyles!) Some of them are almost insulting. +2 to Diplomacy when you’ve had a drink within 1 round. That’s even weak for a trait, much less a feat! And then it struck me: The cool-down mechanic that’s a feat with its cap; the follow-up abilities…this looks like an archetype that has been disassembled and jammed into the guise of feats. The small bonuses, the limiting sequence – a large part of the feats herein needs one another to properly work, but doesn’t yield enough benefit to warrant wasting the feat tax on them, which would at least make that thesis seem plausible. This is not a bad supplement from an engine-perspective, mind you – if you’re looking for ultra-gritty, low-powered options, this may do something for you. But not even for flavor-purposes would any of my players even contemplate taking the feats herein. Alas, this means I can’t go higher than 2 stars on this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Feats of Legend: 20 Alcohol Feats
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Adepts of the Inward Eye
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/28/2018 04:15:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, the theme of this pdf, in a nutshell, would be gestalting and theurgy – i.e. the combination of different casting traditions. In the case of this pdf, these would be predominantly Dreamscarred Press’ much beloved Ultimate Psionics as well as Paizo’s psychic magic. Furthermore, we have class options for Path of War as well, making use of Path of War Expanded.

The options provided follow the format of PrCs, the first of which would be the phrenic channeler. This would be a 10-level PrC, requiring the ability to manifest 2nd level powers and cast 2nd level psychic spells, with skill prereqs being only a moderate 3 ranks in two skills. The PrC gets d6 HD, ½ BAB-progression, 2 + Int skills, as well as ½ Will-save progression. The class gets full progression of psychic spells as well as power points and new psionic powers as though the character advances one level in the respective class, but not any other class features that would be attained. The first level option would be call power: 1/day as a free action, the phrenic channeler may expend a psychic spell slot gaining a number of power points equal to twice the expended spell slot -1, but these power points only last for a single round. At 4th level, manifester level is increased by +1 on a round the ability is used, with 7th and 10th level providing further +1 ML-increases, respectively.

At 2nd level, we get Ex Interna, which allows the character to spend power points to augment psychic spells, with 1 + CL – twice the level of the spell as a cap of the number of points that may be spent to augment the spell. For every 2 power points spent, the DC increases by 1. By expending twice the spell’s spell slot in power points, the spell is not expended upon being cast. Finally, by expending 2 power points, the phrenic channeler may augment a psychic spell with higher level versions to a higher version. At 5th level, the ability is expanded to include 3 additional options: By expending psionic focus, psychic spells may be cast sans requiring thought or emotional components. By expending psionic focus and power points equal to those required by a metapsionic feat, the character can add the metapsionic feat to a spell. Finally, for every 2 power points spent as part of another augmentation, the spell’s effective level (excluding DC!) is boosted by 1. At 8th level, we get 3 further options: For every power point spent, CL increases by 1 to a maximum of 5 until the end of the next turn (BRUTAL!); for every power point spent, the spell deals +1d6 points of damage. Okay, this is problematic. Damage is untyped, which it shouldn’t be. Also: How does this interact with non-damaging spells? AoE? This needs precision. Finally, for every 3 additional power points spent, the phrenic channeler gets to add an additional target with a spell. Okay, so this needs clarification. It should only apply to spells with a limited number of targets greater than one, should exclude personal spells, etc. The 10th level ability allows the phrenic channeler to ignore spell or power resistance and may use psychic spells and psionic powers in antimagic or null psionics fields with successful concentration checks. Yes, always on. No, not getting anywhere near my games. I liked this PrC for the most part, but the high-level options suddenly become a bit sloppy and thus, alas, also OP.

The second PrC would be the empathic armsmaster, who needs to qualify for 5 ranks in one, 3 ranks in two other skills and needs to have the Empath feat as well as the ability to cast 2nd level psychic spells and initiate 2nd level maneuvers, including at least 1 stance. The PrC gets 4+ Int skills per level, d8 HD, full BAB-progression, ½ Will-save progression and 8/10ths spellcasting progression. Obviously, it covers 10 levels as well. 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the class gets a new shattered mirror or veiled moon maneuver (or one from any discipline he had previously access to). 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter yields an additional maneuver readied and 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter allows for the exchange of a known maneuver for another one. Stances are gained at 3rd and 8th level. Starting at 1st level, when using the Empath feat to study emotion auras in combat as a full-round action, the character gains no penalty to saves and regains a maneuver known, which is a cool blending of tropes. Cool: The character also gets a +2 insight bonus to atk and skill checks versus creatures whose emotions have been read thus, as well as a +2 insight bonus to AC, with duration of 1 minute.

Psychic discipline, mental focus, hypnotic stare, spirits, spirit powers, animus, armiger’s mark, dark claim, ki pool, mission and warleader treat PrC levels as class levels for the purpose of their progression. Beginning at 2nd level, the armsmaster may ignore the emotions component of psychic spells. Furthermore, when using a full-round action to read emotions, the character may read initiation modifier creatures within 30 ft. Alternatively, he may only read a single creature as a swift action, but does not regain a maneuver when doing so. Starting at 4th level, we get blindsight 30 ft., but only versus creatures whose emotions the armsmaster has read within the last minute. 5th level provides a potent combo: When initiating a strike (not a boost etc.!), he may, as a swift action, cast a psychic spell of on equal or lower level. 6th level expends the emotion-reading duration benefits to 1 hour and also knows the location of a creature thus read within 1 mile per class level. He may also read that creature’s aura as a free action…and may target the creature with a psychic spell while it’s in that range. That is ridiculously OP. It abolishes line of sight/effect in favor of a multiple-mile range. WTF. 7th level provides empathic affliction, which is pretty neat: When you strike a foe whose emotions you’ve read with a martial strike, you inflict an additional effect depending on the creature’s prominent emotional state, with a save vs. 10 + maneuver level + initiating modifier to negate. 12 effects are provided and honestly, I’d have loved them to scale benefits and instead be unlocked sooner. At 8th level, we get the option to abandon a stance as a swift action to enter the stance of perfect focus, which allows for the automatic success of all concentration checks (!!) as well as for the maintenance of concentration as a swift action. The capstone makes emotional reading automatic within 30 ft. and doubles the bonus for studying versus all targets within 30 ft. I really want to like this one. The line of sight/effect breaking needs to die in a fiery death, though – even in Path of War-power-level games, that one is ridiculously exploitable. Automatic concentration success is also somewhat ludicrous, though it at least prevents combos with other stances.

The third PrC would be the ocular enlightener, who needs BAB +4, 5 ranks Perception and Third Eye. The class gets d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ Will-save progression, full BAB-progression and 8/10th spellcasting progression. The class may keep the 3rd eye open at all times, is no longer fatigued upon closing it, and it may read auras as a swift action. 2nd level provides uncanny dodge (improved uncanny dodge, if the character already has it), a bonus to Sense Motive equal to class level, as well as all-around vision. 3rd level nets blindsense 10 ft., which upgrades to blindsight 30 ft. at 6th level, to 60 ft. at 9th level. Furthermore, at 9th level, this range can be increased by +30 ft. for every round of full-round concentration, with range reverting to normal once concentration ceases. And we have another WTF-moment here. There is no maximum for the range-increase. Theoretically, you could encompass a vast prairie or desert thus. This is bitter, for I actually like the idea here. Still, needs a cap. Beginning at 4th level, the PrC suffers no miss chance from concealment or from incorporeal targets. The latter is a 3.5ism. In PFRPG, incorporeal creatures do not have a miss chance.

5th level provides immunity to being surprised and opponents do not gain benefits versus the enlightener for not being seen. Additionally, we get improved uncanny dodge and 7th level yields autosuccess on Will-saves and Perception-checks to see an illusion for what it is, rendering any shadow caster utterly obsolete. 8th level nets constant true seeing while the third eye is open. 10th level sports another “nowhere near my game” ability: While the third eye is open, the character ignores ALL DR and ignores ANY MAGICAL effect that would increase the AC. Remember: The eye will be ALWAYS OPEN. Magical effects include items. WTF.

Next up is the Godmind, who must have 3 ranks in two skills and be capable of casting 2nd level divine spells and as well capable of manifesting 2nd level powers. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and ½ Will-save progression. The table has a minor, aesthetic glitch in the final row. The PRC also gets full spell-progression, but does not sport the usual spells per day/manifesting line, which can make spontaneous use a bit tougher. The first class feature of the godmind would be Deus Ex Cerebra, gained at 1st level, which allows the godmind to spend power points to cast prepared divine spells sans expending them; metapsionic feats may be added to the spells thus cast and even already expended spells qualify. At 3rd level and every odd level thereafter, the ability extends to a higher spell level, with costs increasing by +2 power points per spell level beyond 1st. Cap here is level 5, obviously. I like this one. It’s potent, but elegant and unique. At 2nd level, we get channel divinity: When casting divine spell, the godmind chooses one benefit to apply to all psionic powers manifested before the end of the next turn: Doubled duration or no AoO-provoking are potent from the get-go. 4th level also unlocks the option to ignore range for a power while a target is affected by a divine spell cast by the godmind. Which is not bad per se…but this includes explicitly powers with a range of personal. Nope. Nopenopenope.

Speaking of which, the second option is: “All of the godmind’s powers deal untyped holy damage rather than their normal type of damage until the end of his next turn.” There is no holy damage in vanilla PFRPG; Path of War introduced that damage type in a dubious design decision, yes, but even with the benefit of the doubt, I have no idea what “untyped holy damage” is supposed to be. Is it Path of War’s holy damage? Yes or no? 6th level provides x1.5 damage of a chosen alignment, half versus creatures of the opposite alignment. And no, we’re not talking about LG or the like, but about chaotic, lawful, good or evil. The second enhancement available increases numerical bonuses by powers manifested by +1. I assume that to be total and not per die/static bonus. 8th level is ridiculous: Until the end of the godmind’s next turn, ML increases by spell level. Yes, SPELL LEVEL. The second option reduces power point cost of powers manifested by spell level…which is similarly ouch-inducing. This whole ability complex needs to be bashed around the block with the nerfbat. At least twice. Remember, these benefits kick in with EVERY DAMN DIVINE SPELL CAST. The capstone, comparatively, is meek: We may spend +2 power points when using Deus Ex Cerebra to cast a non-prepared spell, which needs to be on the spells known list.

Okay, the reverend dreamer is another PrC that needs to be able to cast 2nd level divine spells, but also needs to be able to cast psychic spells. 2 skills with 3 ranks. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int-mod skills per level, ½ BAB-progression, ½ Will-save progression, full caster-progression. The signature ability of this fellow would by mystic invocation, which yields limited spell-slot transparency: The character may e.g. cast divine spells via psychic spell slots, but at +1 spell level. First, only 1st level spells, with every odd level thereafter increasing the maximum spell level that benefits from this by +1. Kudos: Spontaneous spellcasting interaction is noted. Apart from this, we get a capstone, enlightened faith, which lets the character substitute a divine focus for somatic, emotion, thought or verbal components. Potentially problematic: Up to 10K (!!) of material components can also be substituted thus. The consequences are pretty obvious. While this one needs a limitation, the PrC otherwise is interesting.

The esoteric scholar needs access to 2nd level psychic and arcane spells and, bingo, 3 ranks in 2 skills. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and 1/2 Will-save-progression as well as well as full spellcasting progression in both parent classes. Harmonic arcana acts as an arcane substitute of the reverend dreamer’s mystic invocation – replace divine with arcane, there you go. The capstone provides +4 CL for all spellcasting classes and lets the character increase “spell’s effective level” of a spell cast by 1 or 2; uncommon, but the intention is explained.

The combat wonderworker needs 15 ranks Spellcraft, BAB +10 and the ability to cast 3rd level spells or manifest 3rd level powers. The PrC gets d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ Fort- and Will-save progression and full BAB as well as spellcasting/manifesting progression. It also only spans 5 levels. Additionally, the PrC gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons as well as all armors and shields. At 1st level, combat wonderworkers may manifest one power or cast one spell with a casting/manifesting duration of no more than a full-round action as part of a full-attack action. Okay, AoO? Hands required for spells? The ability may be used in conjunction with spellstrike or martial power, but seriously needs additional notes on how it exactly is supposed to work. RAW, it is guesswork. At 2nd level, the character can expend a prepared spell slot of at least 3rd level or 5 power points to gain a single combat feat for CL/ML rounds as a standard action. Additional power points/higher spell levels increase the duration. 4th level allows the character to use the ability as a swift action. 3rd level provides a “+20 divine bonus” to concentration checks made to cast spells or manifest powers. Yes, at least it’s not a flat-out auto-success. However. Including BAB, inherent, etc., PFRPG has 20 bonus types. “Divine” is NOT one of them. Come on. 5th level makes the character’s abilities not be suppressed by the antimagic/null psionics fields and they cannot be dispelled. Äh. What? The abilities of the fellow are supernatural, and as such usually not dispelled. “A supernatural ability’s effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells.” It is suppressed by such fields yes, but that does not mean dispelling. Or is that supposed to apply to spells? If so, then thank the pantheon for the wording not catching that, for that would have been utterly broken, even at the high levels the PrC requires.

The twofold sage has the prerequisites of, bingo, two skills with 3 ranks and the ability to cast spells or manifest powers from two classes in the same category – for example wilder/psion, cleric/oracle, etc. – you get the idea. The PrC gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and Will-save progression and full spellcasting progression in both classes the character qualifies for. The PrC once more gets a scaling spell slot transparency ability that increases every odd level, with the usual +1 spell level, scaling of up to 5th spell level. Additionally, 2nd level and every even level thereafter nets a sage’s gift, which basically constitute the talents of the PrC. These include a variety of options, with a total of 16 such gifts provided. Aggressive conversion is weird: You can cast/manifest an additional power/spell as part of the same action. The second spell does not take effect, but converts the spell or power’s damage type to that of the second spell. However, this is no energy substitution, as base damage is not modified. I assume the base damage here to be the non-scaling component. While functional, the verbiage could be slightly cleaner. Treating a spell known on both spell lists as one level lower (to a minimum of 1st) is interesting; similarly, better metapsionics/magic, more spell slots or power points and the like can be found. Complaint here: The spell slot gain lacks a caveat that it should not be capable of granting a spell slot of a level the character has no access to. Also highly problematic: Two psionic focuses. The capstone lets you add CLs/MLs together, but thankfully caps at character level.

The final PrC would be the Grand Unifier, which needs 3 skills with 13 ranks and Compatible Arcana or Mind of Magic as well as the ability to cast spells/manifest powers with at least 2 different classes, one of which must provide access to at least 5th level spellcasting/manifesting. The PrC nets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills,1/2 BAB- and Will-save progression and full spellcasting progression in two of the classes chosen. One Form builds on the spell transparency abilities featured within several of the PrCs within, increasing the maximum level of spell/power that benefits from them by +1, for a further +1 every odd level thereafter – so yeah, with these fellows, you get spell slot transparency of up to 9th level. 2nd level yields form blending, which allows the character to apply class features or special abilities that pertain to only spells or powers to all of the resources, making the interaction field wide open there. Suffice to say, this needs careful oversight. 4th level yields form fluidity, which allows for the interchanging of components and displays – which is a really brutal boost. 6th level eliminates all components and displays save for expensive material components and foci (define expensive) from the requirements, as well as allowing the character to ignore inhibiting effects targeted at a specific form of magic/powers.

The pdf also contains Gestalt feats, like Abnormal origin (whose table erroneously refers to psychic magic as psionics), allowing you to switch magic. The components are converted…but, you know, there’s an issue here: Why ever take anything that’s not divine magic? You can freely cast it in armor…Yeah, that’s a glaring oversight. On the cool side, Arcane Chemyst lets you modify extracts with metamagic, use them to qualify for arcane spellcasting, etc. Armored Matrix is Another one of the feats where you have to shake your head: Equip up to AC-bonus unslotted magic items into your armor. Wandslinger, anyone? They are treated as being held in hands, btw. Urgh. On the plus-side, there are a couple of feasible multiclassing options here that are pretty intriguing.

The pdf closes with a brief one-page guideline to make gestalt characters.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are good; I noticed a couple of typo-level glitches, but nothing too serious. On a rules-language level, the pdf is inconsistent; for the most parts, it is surprisingly precise and to the point, only to basically shrug and wave hands in some cases where further definition would have been required. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and interior artwork is solid color stock images. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Matthew Daley’s Adepts are a pdf I really wanted to like; I actually enjoy theurge-style tricks and gestalt gaming – not all the time, but it makes for a nice change of pace. And indeed, the author’s PrCs show, as a whole, a firm grasp of how a theurgy-style class chassis can be constructed. The fact that, while there are similarities between the classes, there still are distinct differences, is another plus. That being said, at the same time, this pdf misses the mark, big time.

Even if you prefer the increased power-level championed by Path of War, you’ll have a couple of abilities that simply lack the required precision. And, even in these high power-levels, there are a few tricks that simply should not be done. Taking, for example, all limiting factors away from spellcasting. Like line of sight/effect, range, delimiting Personal effects, making spells more potent, adding ridiculous CL-boosts to the fray…The list goes on. You won’t even have to try to be ridiculously strong with these. Several options that usually would be 1/day at best, are common always-on tricks herein. From ignoring SR/PR and all magical boosts to AC, always, mind you, to worse – this pdf’s options are the most OP components I’ve seen in a long, long time.

And honestly, it’s somewhat puzzling to me – for, for the most part, the basics in the design are solid, and indeed, there are components in every class that are interesting and more down to earth…only to have one or more overkill abilities that will make even the strongest psionics or Path of War characters blush with shame, thrown into the mix.

If you’re looking for theurge options for anything but the most high-powered, “screw balance”-sort of gameplay, then give this a pass. And it’s a shame, really, because the pdf does not NEED these overkill “I’m moar imba than you”-abilities; the dual spellcasting is potent and the supplemental abilities, where more subdued, are interesting. With one strict and capable rules-dev to whack the OP aspects into shape (or at least, adjust them to the high power-level of Path of War), this could have been a truly stellar reference book for gestalting options.

As written, though, I can’t even wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of Path of War, as it relentlessly slaughters the few checks and balances it retained, as well as further enhancing spellcasting supremacy.

Ultimately, I wanted to love this book, I really did, and I wished that it had received some tighter controls regarding the mechanical integrity and basic balancing. As written, in spite of the gems and ideas and the solid framework, I can’t go higher than 2.5 stars. And I can’t round up for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Adepts of the Inward Eye
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The Malefactor Class: Revised & Expanded (5E/PF)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2018 11:07:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This revision of the malefactor class clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a non-prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

After a brief introduction by the designers, a guest author and a well-written excerpt from the journals of the iconic malefactor, we begin with the description of the class – the malefactor is a being blessed (or cursed) by the attention of an Yla, a spirit of chaos and misfortune.

Let us begin with the PFRPG-version:

The class, with its focus on misfortune, clocks in at ¾ BAB-progression, good Will-saves and Ref-saves, d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level and proficiency with simple weapons, light crossbows, rapier, longsword, shortbow and short sword as well as light and medium armor and shields, excluding tower shields. The iterative attacks in the table lack plusses and the third iterative attack is completely missing from the class table.

The malefactor begins play with a strife pool equal to ½ class level (I ASSUME minimum 1, but the pdf does not specify this) + Wisdom modifier strife. Strife replenishes after resting and while the malefactor has at least 1 point of strife remaining, they are immune to their own aura of misfortune. This aura imposes a -2 penalty to saving throws within 10 feet of the malefactor, which improves by -1 at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter.

The malefactor deals a lot in curses, and as such, spells & SPS with the [curse] or[hex] descriptor are treated as such. RAW, this does not include hexes, oddly. Maledictions, however, as considered to be curses for the purpose of this definition and magic items requiring remove curse to put down similarly are treated as such.

Maledictions would represent SPs, the first of which is gained at 1st level, with every 2 levels thereafter yielding additional maledictions. Maledictions use character level as caster level – I’m pretty sure that should be class level. Anyways, the governing attribute for these would be Wisdom, with a save of 10 + ½ class level + Wisdom modifier. Maledictions have a range of only 20 ft, which increases to 40 ft. at 9th and 60 ft. at 15th level, with a duration equal to Wisdom modifier, minimum 1 round, unless otherwise noted.

Maledictions include physical ability score penalties via aged bones, rendering a target flat-footed…or even imposing a 50% chance that a creature will be incapable of acting! The more potent of these often have a hex-caveat to prevent abuse. Cumulative penalties, Charisma-based AC bonus, making a foe temporarily a bleeder, blinding targets, swift action maledictions when passing through a target’s square – the maledictions, let that be stated loud and clearly, are pretty amazing! They are creative, and, as a whole, let you play a mobile debuffer/sabotage role really well. There are a couple of minor hiccups, like an SP that should be, action-wise, probably SU That being said, this is honestly offset by some of the evocative tricks – like e.g. suppressing the special weapon abilities of weapons, reducing damage – there are some honestly unique and fun tricks here!

Starting at 2nd level, the class gains harrowing strike – a melee attack as a standard action that may target any being currently suffering from a curse. This attack gains Wisdom bonus to atk. Starting at 5th level, Wisdom modifier is also added to damage rolls. 8th level lets the malefactor automatically bypass concealment. 11th level adds 1d6 bleed damage and 14th level provides a second harrowing strike, but at the cost of -2 to both attack -a kind of micro-flurry. 17th level makes the harrowing strike be treated as a touch attack and 20th level upgrades the bleed damage to 2d6 and makes the DC to still the bleeding rather high. Also at second level, the class gains strife surge: Whenever a creature within the aura of misfortune rolls a natural 1 on a save or attack roll, the malefactor reduces strife cost of abilities and maledictions by 1, minimum 0.

Starting at 3rd level, the malefactor gains Wisdom modifier to Reflex and Fortitude saves. At 4th level (not noted in the ability text – an oversight that extends to a few of the abilities), the malefactor gains cursebreaker: The malefactor can target a being with an at-will remove curse (not properly italicized, like quite a few spell references herein), suffering the curse on a failure. 7th level nets cursebound, which is amazing: It lets the malefactor ignore the penalties associated with the respective cursed item – the malefactor may even get easily get rid of the items…though they revert to their cursed state when outside of the malefactor’s possession. Additionally, the malefactor gains +4 to saves versus curses and hexes. Starting at 9th level, attempts to flank the malefactor yield a penalty instead of a bonus and aiding another against the class becomes harder. This improves further at 15th level, imposing a -5 penalty instead to atk while flanking and increasing the Aid Another AC required to hit to a whopping 25.

10th level yields a bonus feat as well as a dread escalation: Each malediction sports such an escalation, an additional, unlocked effect.

At 13th level, the malefactor gains dire displacement, a swift action SP that costs 1 point of strife to enter displacement – cool: If a foe fails to hit the malefactor due to this, the malefactor may redirect the attack to another creature within the attack’s reach. 15th level yields Reject Defeat – spend 1 point of strife upon rolling a natural 1 on a save to immediately reroll it, but this prevents using the strife surge ability – kudos! 16th level lets the malefactor perceive cursed items and creatures as via blindsense 30 ft. and they may determine on sight if something is cursed. The capstone provides immunity to all curses that allow for SR and creatures treat natural 2s as natural 1s while within her aura.

There even is a lore table with appropriate skill DCs provided for the class and the pdf sports 12 feats for PFRPG – these allow the malefactor to take the usual “Extra X.” Choosing a signature malediction to be usable as a move action (sans breaking the hard limit per round), selective aura, increased durations, higher DCs – some nice customization tools here. The class also sports a rather impressive array of favored class options for a wide variety of races beyond the core.

A total of 5 archetypes are provided: The curse-eater loses harrowing strike at 2nd level, but gains a boost whenever she uses cursebreaker. Problem: That ability is gained at 4th level, which is a bit late for the archetype, rendering the signature boost useless at 2nd and 3rd level. Higher levels yield the option to transfer curses, an SR versus them and at 17th level, they carry around a cursebreaking aura, making them formidable foes against enemies employing them. The Doom herald loses medium armor proficiency in favor of at-will tongues. Furthermore, they gain the ability to force two rolls, taking the worse result, on saves versus curses or hexes of those affected by their terrible proclamations. And yes, this is balanced via a hex-caveat. This replaces aura of misfortune. At 7th level, they gain +1/2 class level to Intimidate. And 10th level yields a +2 bonus to saves versus mind-affecting effects. 30th level yields the ability to cause the frightened condition and 19th level provides a bonus to atk versus frightened foes. The archetype uses Charsima as governing attribute for its abilities.

Kismets replace harrowing strike and aura of misfortune with the ability to bestow luck on allies, with 5th level providing a save reroll, 10th level a skill check reroll with a bonus and 15th level the option to grant atk rerolls. 19th level lets the kismet cause attacks to be followed up by AoOs. Charisma, once again, is governing attribute here. Moirae can roll a d20 and store it fr later use in the round, thankfully with a hard daily cap, and they may use a full-round action a limited number of times per day to make a roll be treated as a 20 (not a crit); 10th level allows for a similar ability, but one that locks the roll as a natural 1, with a Will-save to negate – I assume, the DC being as per a malediction. 15th level replaces reject defeat with a reliable weal/woe-question to the GM and 19th level lets the moirae roll twice on random charts (crit/fumble/rod of wonders, etc.). Finally, the reaver increases damage output versus cursed targets (bonus damage should be codified) and they gain heavy armor proficiency. They can add maledictions after crits and at 9th level, add maledictions after successful attacks a limited number of times. 15th level yields a critical threat range increase versus cursed foes (need clarification on whether it stacks – I assume it does) and 19th level increases the bonus damage die size.

Next up would be 5e, though this is well a place as any to note one peculiarity: While I like that the two systems are color-coded for your convenience, I consider the presentation-sequence horribly annoying: Instead of getting PFRPg first, then 5e, we get one ability, then the effects for 5e and PFRPFG, then the next ability – no matter which system you employ, your class is thus constantly interrupted by rules that do not concern you. This is baffling and pretty annoying, particularly in conjunction with the fact that many abilities/features don’t note at which level they’re gained in the respective ability text, requiring a lot back and forth skipping.

The 5e-version of the malefactor gets d8 HD, proficiency in light and medium armor, simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers and shortswords and has proficiency in Wisdom and Charisma saves. Skill-wise, you choose 3 from Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth and Survival. On the equipment-side of things, whenever there are choice, the “(a)s” have gone missing – probably due to a redundancy autocorrect. Disappointing: The class lacks a quick-build-section, one of the more convenient aspects of 5e. The class gains ability score improvements at 4th level, every 4 levels thereafter and 19th level. The class begins play with 2 strife points and increases that up to a total of 8 at 19th level.

Aura of misfortune, in 5e, causes a -1d4 penalty to all saving throws of creatures within 10 ft. of you. As in PFRPG, you don’t take the penalty as long as you have at least 1 strife. Strife replenishes after a short rest in 5e. Strife Surge in 5e lets you furthermore regain a strife point whenever a creature within your aura rolls a natural 1 on a save, skill check or attack roll.

Harrowing strike in 5e behaves as follows: The attack requires an Attack action and 2nd level lets you add your Wisdom bonus on attack rolls; 5th level also applies this to damage rolls. 8th lets you ignore cover. 11th level adds +1d8 necrotic damage; 14th level nets a second harrowing strike as a bonus action. 17th level provides advantage on harrowing strikes and 20th level upgrades the bonus necrotic damage to +2d8. Luck of the damned nets you proficiency in Dexterity saves, +1/2 proficiency bonus extra if you already are proficient. Cursebreaker nets you at-will remove curse - but, like all abilities here, fails to specify the spellcasting attribute here. Also annoying: The pdf keeps mentioning a caster level – which does not exist in 5e. Cursebound is just as cool in 5e as in PFRPG – full use of cursed items.

At 10th level, when more than one opponent attacks you, they all suffer from disadvantage on attack rolls against you. This is later upgraded to automatic disadvanateg on attack rolls and saves while within your aura. Dire displacement can be triggered as a bonus action and lets you use Stealth while observed. Reject defeat lets you reroll natural 1s for strife. Curse sense does pretty much the same as in PFRPG. At 20th level, creatures attempting to curse you must save or have the curse affect them as well. The level also yields immunity versus all spells with the curse descriptor…which does not exist in 5e.

The archetypes work as usual for 5e – you choose one at 3rd level and then receive a linear sequence of abilities: Curse eaters sport this as the first ability: “At 3rd level, as part of a full-round action when you successfully use the Cursebreaker ability, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and temporary hit points equal to the caster level of the broken curse. These abilities last for one hour or until the temporary hit points are depleted.“ Okay, let’s begin, shall we? Full-round action? Not in 5e. Minor bonus tracking? Not exactly 5e-aesthetics. Caster level? Does not exist in 5e.This whole ability does not work RAW. I’d WISH this was the only one of the abilities this flawed, but it’s not. PFRPG actions has crept into this a couple of times, compromising the rules-integrity. Curse eater doesn’t work as it should. The herald of doom is, thankfully, functional, but the save against the demoralizing utterances is weird – 8 + ½ class level + Charisma modifier, when 5e usually employs proficiency bonus for the like: RAW, the DC is VERY high. Weird: The fear-sowing instead uses ½ proficiency bonus in the formula. Other than that, decent enough. The Kismet archetype botches the reaction-wording, failing to specify to what the reaction can be taken. This applies to all class features, rendering the archetype basically nonfunctional as presented. Also mentions luck bonus once. The moirae’s mechanics are pretty close to 5e…but alas, they sport daily uses and don’t properly codify their recharges regarding rest intervals. The reaver’s rules-language is a bit wobbly, but at least functional. Oh boy, that archetype section was a downer.

So, how did the maledictions fare? Maledictions have make-belief caster levels, are governed by Wisdom (correct formula) and have the same range (20ft./49 ft. at 9th/60 ft. at 15th level) and duration (Wisdom modifier rounds, minimum 1)as in PFRPG. They require an action unless otherwise noted and do not provoke opportunity attacks. Well, malediction number one requires a Constitution save, bestowing a level of eshaustion on the target if he fails. Oh, and guess what? Since 5e lacks the dread escalation unlock, the options to pay more strife for the better benefits are unlocked from the get-go! For 1 point of strife, that one is upgraded by “an additional point of exhaustion.” Exhaustion sports levels, not points. Not starting with how multiple malefactors can slay anything that can become exhausted willy-nilly with this. The malediction seriously should have a maximum exhaustion level caveat. Wisdom save or 50% to lose all actions for 1 round can be increases to 1 minute (!!) for 2 strife. Compare that to one requiring a Constitution save, or all attacks against the target cause 1d4 extra damage. There is also one that lets you pull off a malediction when moving through a creature’s “threatened area” – yep, that does not exist in 5e. Reach? Space? Yep, those do exist. Balance-wise, the replenishing pool in combination with the lost scaling means that these maledictions end up being potent; I don’t get why the dread escalation aspect has been purged from the 5e-iteration.

Supplemental material wise, the 5e-version gets two feats: Power of Malediction nets +1 malediction, +2 strife and when anyone rolls a natural 1 in your aura, you gain advantage on ALL actions until your next turn. WTF. Misfortune Aura Mastery increases the aura of misfortune’s range to 40 ft. Which does nothing if the levels are high enough…or should that be +20 ft.? It also lets you exempt Wisdom bonus targets from its effects and increases the duration of all maledictions by +1 round when within your aura. Okay, what if the target leaves and re-enters?

The pdf closes with stats for Talitha Shadowtongue, the iconic malefactor, in both systems. Both statblocks sport hiccups.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting…are what brings down this pdf. While the formal criteria are still okay, the fact that the rules-language is compromised in several key instances is highly problematic. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard, and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf sports two really gorgeous one-page full-color artworks (one being a pole-dancing succubus or tiefling) and a couple of less impressive, but decent color-pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I love Brian Berg’s malefactor class. (Additional writing by James Olchak and Rick Cox). It is one of the most unique, interesting classes I know for the PFRPG game and the combo-skirmisher/debuffer is a cool role. The class oozes flavor galore and provides utterly unique tricks to pull off.

In short: It deserves better.

The annoying presentation that alternates between the systems can be grating and is utterly baffling to me. But while I was reading the PFRPG-version, the old fire returned – I caught myself smiling. In spite of the formal hiccups and nonstandard wording instances, I couldn’t help myself. It is a cool class, albeit one that could have really used a picky developer to file off the rough edges here and there. Then I started looking at 5e. Oh boy. The base chassis is, apart from referencing several rules-concepts that don’t exist in the system, pretty solid. But the class falls apart in the archetypes, where crucial abilities simply don’t work. The amount of remnant Pathfinderisms is baffling and something even a cursory editing pass should have caught. I’m sorry to say this: While in Pathfinder, bonus types and several aspects of the finer rules-language could be a bit smoother, the 5e-version is simply sloppy and not up to the standards.

This review breaks my heart. The base chassis, in both versions, is cool and utterly unique. It is, however, also a prime example for why I consider editors and developers to be the unsung heroes of the industry. One careful pass could have rendered this class, in both iterations, a 5-star + seal masterpiece, annoying presentation notwithstanding. Instead, we’re left with class that is flawed, that has serious issues in one system and minor hiccups in the other. I’d love to rate this separately, but alas, I can’t. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, barely rounded up for the purpose of this platform, courtesy of me really loving what’s here, what can be salvaged.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Malefactor Class: Revised & Expanded (5E/PF)
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Races of the Outer Rim: the Ruanoch
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2018 00:02:04

This was originally reviewed on the Open Gaming Network.

We take products and review them, intending to give the reader the best chance of evaluating whether this particular release is for them.

There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:

1 * – Bad

2 * – Mediocre

3 * – Decent

4 * – Good

5 * – Excellent

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based in personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Races of the Outer Rim: The Ruanoch

Publisher: Total Party Kill Games

Author: Mark Hart

Cover Artist: Vincent-Michael Coviello

System: Starfinder

Page count: 13 ( 1 page cover, 1 page credits, 9 pages of content, 2 page OGL)

Right, so let’s look at the cover first. This shows us a humanoid badger, with a cigar and goggles. Ok, I’m digging this, it feels like a mixture of Wolverine, Riddick and Rocket Raccoon. YES PLEASE! Though I am wondering what that angle thing he has on is actually for. It’s a cool image though, and I like the feel of how a badger would look like as a humanoid. (But what IS going on with his left foot? That looks painful).

Right, to the content!

The Ruanoch are strong, and hardy folk, as evidenced by their story and reflected well in their actual stats. (High HP, bonuses to strength and con), and headstrong (minus to wisdom). I’m a little surprised that they do not have any natural attack though. For a badger-like race, it seems to almost come with the territory, that they should have a nasty bite.

Their racial feats encourage the player to create chaos and mayhem, as does the special weapons that the book contains, and the “play this race if”/”other races probably” feel like they belong on this type of character as well.

The run-through of the classes is a nice little read, especially for the Ruanoch “Diplomat” – I can’t help but think of Korben Dallas from The 5th Element and the quote of “Where did he learn to negotiate?” when I read that. Nice little touch and flavor, though I don’t think that the particular comparison that I drew was the intent.

The weapons are OK, though the bug grenades are a bit weird, but I think my problem for that comes from the fact that it mentioned “Plants and Insects”, because while there is a Plant type ,there is no Insect type, just a Vermin one (if we’re talking monsters), so I’d have chosen that instead. That said, I particularly like the Hellstorm Scattergun – awesome name, and a lot of damage potential in the right circumstances), the new weapon properties are fitting as well.

Finally, we have the deities of Aru and The Maelstrom. While I feel like the “giving the gods the finger”-trope is a bit tired, the way it is presented with Aru and the Ruanoch is new and refreshing, and Maelstrom, being an “unknown force of destruction until the first time it was summoned”, works well, especially for describing how someone who lives on a violent plant like the Ruanoch do, would perceive such a deity.

And so we come to the conclusion:

This one is a bit difficult, because on the one hand there are a few very small missteps (In total, I think there were 2 words missing and the Insect/Vermin mentioned above), it is overall a really solid product and for 2.99, I’m happy with the reading I got out of it. I can certainly see myself creating a character.

So, while I’m not OVER THE MOON on this one, I’m more than happy with it. That would be enough for it to get a 4 star normally, but with the content of 9 pages for 2.99, that rounds it up to 5-stars! (As the reader might have noticed in my previous reviews, I do not like having a high percentage of cover/intro/OGL to content. It has to be mostly content).

Nicely done folks, this one is a keeper.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Races of the Outer Rim: the Ruanoch
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Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (PF/5E)
by Chris L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2018 06:36:26

I needed an adventure to throw at my level 5 players, who had just left human cities and gone towards elf lands. I found this title orignally on adventurelookup.com, and it sounded like it would be perfect.

It is advertised as compatible with both Pathfinder and 5e. I am running in 5e. I noticed the stat blocks for 5e encounters never included monster or group tactics, nor did they mention held items such as potions, treasure, or consummables. Some blocks even had errors or missing information. Luckily, tactics and held items are included in the Pathfinder stat blocks, so I could improvise from that information.

The naming conventions in the module are uninspired. The elf village, the elf in the village, and the main antagonist cleric are all named very similarly. The antagonist bugbear's brethren names do not sound similar at all, and are just jumbles of consonants. It's not a major complaint, but my players DID remark on how the elf and the bugbear cleric were named very closely.

Despite these two points, I found the module easy to read and fun to play through. Everything is ordered in a sensical manner, and was relatively easy to find. Particularly the camp was a blast to do. It is also generic enough that it fit in to my overarching plot. My party hasn't actually defeated the final boss of the module, either, and there are helpful suggestions for how to deal with that situation.

Finally, a neutral point, the timeline that the adventure is designed for is strict, and I ended up not using it. This did not take away from the challenge or the fun, so feel free to tinker with it.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (PF/5E)
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Races of the Outer Rim: the Ruanoch
by Abraham Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2018 11:20:00

Get this one if you are looking for a stubborn, bad tempered, hard-drinking race; they are great to have around in a fight, but difficult to deal with in any other type of encounter. Great to use as NPCs or PCs, lots of good roleplay opportunities.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Races of the Outer Rim: the Ruanoch
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The Bleak Harvest (PF/5E)
by Abraham Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2018 12:14:40

An adventure of lovecraftian horror, as the characters unravel the mystery, their sanity will be threatened, their skills will be tested against the terrors, both real and surreal, within this dreadful place of decadence. For mature audiences, it is a tale with an elevated chance of long-term dire consequences, and questionable choices.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Bleak Harvest (PF/5E)
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Races of the Outer Rim: the Omenoi
by Abraham Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/14/2017 19:18:03

You get to play as a possible evolution of a space frost worm; very nice! With appropriate background information, new tech, feats and stat related info, everything wrapped up in a good graphical layout, you can't go wrong with this one. It's specially good if you want PCs or NPCs that are mysterious and born travellers, and that are also quite a lot into duels.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Races of the Outer Rim: the Omenoi
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Races of the Outer Rim: the Omenoi
by Patrick J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2017 09:05:39

I really like the concept of a lifeform evolving on a comet and the long cycles that of that comet on a multiple star systems. This race is not for the technically inclinded but makes up for it is style and mystisim. Well written and illistrated. I can't wait to add these guys as NPCs and possible PCs in the near future in my games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 15 (of 179 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
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