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Class Expansions: Mysteries of Madness [PFRPG]
by Rachel C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/11/2014 02:41:29
Very nice. I bought it for the Perfect Bacon, which is awesome, but actually love the Cacophony a bit more.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Mysteries of Madness [PFRPG]
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The Edgewalker: Wielder of Light and Darkness
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2014 04:32:07
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This revised and expanded version of the base-class by Interjection Games clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC (and a story of the genesis of this class - it has been commissioned by Preston Mitchell!), 1 page SRD, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The edgewalker gets 4+Int skills per level, d8, proficiency with simple weapons, short sword, rapier, sap, kukri, shortbow and whip as well as light armors and shields. Over the 20 levels of the class it receives a sneak attack progression from +1d6 to a maximum of +7d6 at 19th level and the class gets a 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. As you can imagine, Uncanny Dodge also can be found among the class features, at 3rd level.



So, what is the edgewalker's deal? The class can be described as a martial artist with a thematic connection to light and darkness - a kind of monk/rogue blend, if you will, and more importantly, one that does not fall by the wayside. Edgewalkers at first level receive thus two pools - the radiance and the shadow pool, both at least containing one point and both using an attribute modifier (wis for radiance, int for shadow) to determine additional points for the respective pools. At 5th level and every six levels thereafter, the edgewalker receives a +2 to maximum pool size that can be freely distributed among the pools (for a net gain of +1/+1 or +0/+2)



Now as a Batman/stealth type of class, receiving evasion relatively soon should not be considered uncommon (2nd level, improved evasion at 11th level, nerfing these two and taking away any lingering sense of these components being problematic) and 6th level edgewalkers receive hide in plain sight as long as they are within 10 feet of a sufficiently large shadow. Moving hide in plain sight further down the class progression was a smart choice, rendering the balance of the class better for it. Now this still makes targeting the edgewalker with spells et al rather difficult - the class is geared rather well towards taking softer targets out.



Now beyond FCOs for core races, drow, aasimar, tieflings, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs and puddlings (all solid), we also receive 4 feats for the class, but these require explanation of the core talent system of the class: Essentially, edgewalkers start the game with two so-called waypoints known, one light, one darkness and at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the class receives an additional waypoint. Now there is a cool restriction in place here - the edgewalker needs to keep a balance between light and darkness, which translates to waypoint selection: If your light-based waypoints exceed those that are darkness-based, you need to learn a darkness-based one next and vice versa, creating a kind of equilibrium. It should also be noted that a couple of these waypoints count as either light, or darkness, depending on your needs.



The new feats can be used to gain a waypoint and do some interesting things - "Harmony of Essence" increases your effective edgewalker level for the purpose of the other type of waypoint whenever you use one, rewarding mechanically the switching between light and darkness. Luminous truth nets you the benefits of true seeing for 1 round as a supernatural effect (an effective caster level or SP as a base type would have been better, probably) and another feat allows you to alleviate one restriction of certain waypoints - some of these have asterisks, which denote that they manipulate the shadow of the edgewalker for the effect. That means only one of these can be in effect at a given time, though aforementioned feat allows you to have two of these in effect at a given time.



Now before I get towards waypoints, you should also be aware that at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, the edgewalker also receives a greater waypoint, which can be considered a kind of more powerful talent - one that requires some planning, for the greater waypoints also have to adhere to the light/darkness-dichotomy, offering opportunities for proper planning of character progression.



Now you're of course interested in the aforementioned waypoints and the waypoints themselves have diverse prerequisites - from none, to level-caps and other waypoints have certain skills and feats as prerequisites.. Now what can you for example make with these waypoints? Well, since there are more than 50 in here, I'm just going to note that the following is not a comprehensive list, but rather an array of options that should be considered kind of presentational for the class.



Very interesting for blocking charges and the like, "A Thousand Grasping Tendrils" allows you to, as a swift action, reshape your shadow into an array of tendrils that create a micro-aura of 10 feet of difficult terrain around you - which, of course, does not hinder you in any way. Ignoring difficult terrain and effortlessly scaling any incline less than 90° can also be done by these fellows. Another waypoint offers a dazzle against a creature you threaten - sans save, as an immediate action, useable whenever you switch between light and darkness consecutively. Armors of light (that do not necessarily enhance your stealth...), a shaken-causing breath weapon of black wind, 1 round slow at a higher save DC, better stealth, cushioning falls (the longer the fall, the higher the cost), very minor reflexive damage (plus dazzle), creating areas of demoralizing gloom and putting creatures subjected to fatigue-related negative conditions or con-damage/drain to sleep is rather interesting. Why? because for the edgewalker, rolling bad on sneak attack is not necessarily a bad thing: For each natural 1,2 or 3 rolled on such a roll, you also deal one point of con damage if you take the 8th level dark waypoint.



Now where things get interesting would e.g. be with the exceedingly cool ability that lets you set up your shadow as a flanking supplement and, quite possibly for the first time since I've been doing this reviewing thing, gets such an ability actually right. Now, with Ichor of the Firefly, the edgewalker may coat his/her weapons with virulent light that invades the bodies of target, negating invisibility etc., while also providing significant bonus damage, especially against creatures sensitive to light. Making conversely, a poison from darkness itself that scales damage-wise over the levels also becomes a distinct possibility. Speaking of said poison - if you use the dark-aligned poison, you may add a neat combo (though the following is not restricted to the darkness-based poison) that allows you to ignite the poison coursing through your foe's veins, dealing significant fire damage. Damn cool!



The equivalent of solo tactics sans requiring an ally (but only while your shadow isn't otherwise occupied) also makes for a cool array of tactical options. Want to know what's lurking round the corner, in the adjacent room etc.? What about stretching your shadow up to 60 feet and looking through its eyes? This ability, which can be taken at first level, is narrative gold and iconic in imagery!



Of course, various spell-like abilities, poison use, pillars of light that heal minor damage, motes of searing light or making your shadow the equivalent of a kind of bear trap are possible, but for me, the anti-ray/attack-roll spell Tenebrous Tango, which allows you to have spells utterly miss you - think mirror image variant with an edge. At a permanent cost of 1 point from a pool of your choosing, you may also master poisons to the extent they become more potent, making your poisons at +1 DC more lethal - and with quite a few requiring consecutive saves in PFRPG, this makes sense.



Now I did mention those greater waypoints and as you may have imagined, they are the big ones - Summoning forth several shadows from you one - cool. But more interesting would, at least for me, be the game-changer that is Cumulative Exposure - it deals automatic damage to all adjacent creatures whenever you subsequently use two waypoints. Using multiple dark waypoints may also yield bonuses and igniting mundane light sources to emit blinding flashes makes for a cool idea and better light/darkness poison/ichors are lethal and cool - what about e.g. an ichor that makes the target suffer from miss chances galore, but also receive an applicable miss chance as it becomes insubstantial -nice reflection of the duality-theme in the crunch here. Now also rather awesome would be the option to steal other creature's shadows via ranged CMB to power darkness-waypoints. Cool here - the ability manages to properly prevent kitten-bag abuse. Lifelinks also are possible - ouch! Now it should be noted that, although the page-count of the pdf remains unchanged, quite a few stock artworks have been taken out of the file to make room for more waypoints, which is rather cool and adds to the arsenal of an already fun and inspired class. It should be specifically noted that the greater waypoints receiving some awesome tricks - what about establishing a link that damages a target when you are healed? Yeah, evil and oh so cool!



The capstone of the class allows you to use radiance and darkness pool interchangeably, with the on-intended pool only increasing the cost of waypoints by 1 when paid from the other pool - which seems a bit boring at first, but the capstone greater waypoints more than make up for this - raise dead sans material components, ignoring just about all immunities, DRs etc. for a time or having your shadow utterly erase a creature from existence - quite awesome imagery and tricks await at the peak of power as well!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to interjection Games' 2-column b/w-standard and is printer-friendly. The artwork is thematically fitting stock and the pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor comfort detriment.



This class by Bradley Crouch is rather simple when compared to other Interjection Games-classes and should not overexert anyone's capability to understand it getting the class at first read-through is all but guaranteed. That being said, the edgewalker is more complex than one would assume at first glance - one can set up quite a bunch of rather interesting combos and the synergy with some abilities present in the edgewalker makes for a surprisingly unique playing experience. When I went into this class, I honestly expected either a rip-off of a certain PrC from the 3.X Book of 9 Swords or a slightly more mystical ninja.

What I got turned out to be more rewarding than either. Whereas the ninja-class is essentially a type of rogue on steroids, playing an edgewalker in game, while similar on paper, feels actually much more tactical, more rewarding. The edgewalker is a great skirmisher/trick fighter and surprisingly fun to play. My final verdict is hence based on how the class performed in actual game, on its rather cool playstyle and neat variety - add the option for easy expansion of the system and the easy to grasp mechanics and we have a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval - now that we actually get more content and the rough edges have been polished off, there is literally no reason not to get this cool class and give it a try!



(Especially since I happen to have read the Antipodist, Interjection Games upcoming take on shadow magic, and the classes WILL have some interesting synergy...)

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Edgewalker: Wielder of Light and Darkness
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The Plaguewright: Lord of the Microscopic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/26/2014 05:36:24
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So what is the Plaguewright all about? Well, basically, we get a 3/4 BAB-progression-class with good fort and will-saves, d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and syringe spears, light and medium armors and shields and when wearing shields with which the character is not proficient, it will decrease action economy efficiency of loading syringes. Now the name Plaguewright may sound awfully negative, though one should be aware that this class, as a pioneer in biology and its application in warfare, can just as well be used for good -so no, not an evil-only class.



Plaguewrights compartmentalize these weapons in containers of different sizes that hold the microbe-containers. Plaguewrights begin play with one vessel and receive another vessel at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. They also receive 1 vial at 1st level and the class receives +1 vial every level. Their difference is in container-size. A vial can contain enough culture to fuel one syringue, whereas a vessel can contain 1/2 class level +Int-mod uses.

The cultures made require a minimum intelligence score of 11+number of filled mutation slots of the given culture. The save-DC for the respective culture varies on the basic strain used. While plaguewright cultures refresh daily, they do not require sleep.



Now I mentioned strains - the Plaguewright begins play with 3 strains known and at 2nd level and every even level thereafter, the plaguewright receives an additional strain. Plaguewrights also begin play with 2+ Int-mod mutations and learn an additional mutation every level.



Got that? All right! So what type of methodology do these cultures adhere to? Essentially, cultures have 1 mutation slot and increase the amount of mutation slots by +1 at 4th level and every 4th level thereafter. Now here's the catch - microbes don't grow on trees. Well, all right, they actually do, but generating cultures actually takes a bit of time.



Now since attacking (and delivering) with strains of microbes via syringes requires precision, the class also receives the scaling ignoring of DRs and as a capstones, removal and changing of mutations becomes twice as effective.



The class comes with full FCOs that also cover exotic races like puddlings, hobgoblins, kobolds, and the plane-touched aasimar and tieflings. The pdf also includes 10 different feats to further enhance the options available of the plaguewright. Faster mutation-application, increased DCs and additional mutations and strains, improved vial capacities, making hybrid strains and reloading as a substitute for an AoO etc. - quite a nice array of nice options.



Strains generally can be grouped in benignant or malignant strains (though one can be categorized as either) and the same holds true for mutations. All of the respective strains and mutations count as supernatural effects and supernatural diseases that bypass immunity to mundane diseases - otherwise, e.g. adding a mutation with the mind-affecting descriptor renders the whole culture mind affecting. The system is relatively easy to grasp. Some strains have cumulative save modifiers that actually increase, durations and symptoms - and some of the mutations are terminal; Essentially, they are the end-game effects and a separate supernatural ability to the respective culture.



So what about those strains? Take the Barbaris-strain - a benign bacteria, it provides temporary DR to the target - and duration is an interesting component here - benign strains tend to have their duration measured in an interesting way: The recipient saves every round and upon a failed save, the effect ends, but a maximum duration prevents infinite buffing exploits. Increased temporary hit points, being enabled to temporarily "fly" by making jump-like saunters, getting roid-like str-enhancements.



Among the malignant strains, we have those that cause nausea, shortness of breath, confusion -dex-damage-causing, crashing all strains and mutations for painful damage...bleed-inducing elephantitis, a virus that makes the recipient treat all creatures as if they had been subjected to a mirror image-like effect. Higher level malignant strains can induce heart-failure (with a cool mechanic - exhaustion for x rounds, once rounds elapsed > HD, the creature dies), cripple casters, mind-control parasites that make the recipients suicidal and classic flesh-eating bacteria - there are quite a few rather nasty and versatile options. Of course, as you could probably glean from these, Interjection Games' unique effects can be found herein as well - what about e.g. a damage-dealing strain that grows a nodule of skinsack, which can then be harvested as a rather effect healing potion? Yucky, yes, but also rather cool! On another level, it should be noted that the respective strains sometimes modify the amount of mutations that can be applied to them for further concerns in the customization department.



Now you should remember - these examples only covered a selection of the base strains - so what can mutations accomplish? Well - for example, they can affect creatures adjacent to those infected by the syringe at the cost of mutations applied, there are mutations that can decrease the amount of AoOs the target can perform, those that bypass even immunities to supernatural diseases and negative conditions, susceptibilities, an euphoria-inducing bliss (which translates to temporary hit points) - all of these modifications are fun to play with, but where things get REALLY nasty would be with ones that end in a terminal cloud that may infect adjacent targets - crafting a micro-epidemic of effects may actually work out for Plaguewrights that handle their craft well. Of course, similar synergy effects might also be achieved for buffing strains, though it should be noted that these imho benefit more from symptoms - when e.g. your infected ally not only benefits from the primary effects of the strain, but also kicks off with healed attribute damage? Or a fast healing added to the effect? Chances to ignore precision damage? The smart combination of a basic strain, symptoms, regular mutations and terminal boosts to e.g. atk can make for rather interesting effects and the same holds true for the possible combinations of offensive strains. Now I can see the central question - all fort-save based? Well, it's my pleasure to tell you that there are mutations to make the saves will instead.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf's artworks are thematically-fitting stock art. The pdf comes sans bookmarks, which is a slight comfort detriment.



Bradley Crouch's Plaguewright is a very interesting concept - a debuff-warrior kind of akin to the glorious Maestro; I.e., a highly-customizable class that allows the player to tailor-make the buffs and debuffs of the given culture to make truly unique effects. Unlike more common options of buffing/debuffing, the sheer amount of customization and daily uses and the option to combine, realign etc. so many components makes optimizing the class interesting and allows for quite some versatility to make the right tools, for the right job. The respective strains and mutations offer for a neat array of fun options that should allow the player hours of fun in making new and unique tools to vanquish foes. Both strains and mutations are easy groups of abilities to expand for the enterprising DM (and potential future supplements, should there be any) and Interjection Games' trademark unique abilities, none of which just lamely duplicate established spells, just add a piece of icing on the cake.



Now not all is perfect here, though - the pdf could have been more precise regarding the mechanics of growing cultures with applied mutations and costs for applying syringes to other weapons (with hardness for sundering etc.) would have made this pdf even better, as would have bookmarks. These nagging points out of the way, this should not be deemed a significant detriment - the Plaguewright is still a glorious, unique class with a significant array of innovative options that, most of all, is a unique playing experience - hence, in spite of the minor flaws, this is well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Plaguewright: Lord of the Microscopic
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One Bling to Rule Them All - Scaling Magic Items
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/25/2014 10:05:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So what is this pdf all about? well, first of all, it's about being against the magic item Christmas tree-syndrome - and about making magic items feel more magical. These items actually increase in power over the levels of the wielder. Scalars detect as all schools of magic at once and, if required, treat their CL as = HD of the wielder. Each scalar uses a body slot -close proximity is required for the peculiar attunement these items require. Scalars attune themselves to a master and maintain a stubborn loyalty to function only for this respective individual - until a lot of time has elapsed. Now to maintain the allegiance of a scalar, only casual contact is required. As you can imagine, actually using these items if you're not the master turns out to be rather difficult. - properly "hacking" a scalar requires quite some mastery in using magic items - and the process is actually explained in a rather smart way, providing a great explanation that actually makes sense. Auras et al also are provided - generally, scalars receive 2 Level 1 abilities, 2 from the level 5 list, 2 from the level 10 list, 1 from the level 15 list and 1 from the level 20 list. Oh yeah, scalars are jealous, so no multiple items.



Now the grand thing here is that this toolkit thus allows for relatively easy modification. However, that is not where scalars end - upon attunement, a master receives ranks to use with the scalars, equal to the amount of HDs of the respective master. The ability lines tend to have a required array of ranks - to e.g. unlock an ability that requires 4 ranks means that other abilities require a total of 4 ranks invested in other abilities. The abilities of scalars, unless otherwise noted, do not provoke attacks of opportunity.



Now scalars change the dichotomies of a given campaign's magic item-density and hence, they do come with an improved WBL-table that takes their impact on a group's power-level into account...and checking this one took ages, but the table actually is sound and should result in no change of power-level - which is exceedingly awesome for especially balance-conscious groups. Now introductions of new items/systems would be solid on the value of crunch alone, but thankfully, some cool, fluffy suggested origins for the genesis of scalars help provide DMs with inspiration in that department as well.



Now the base system out of the way, let's take a look at the abilities, shall we? There are offensive and defensive abilities, those that are constant and some that have a limited amount of uses per day - but it'll be easier to grasp if I just mention examples - Arcane Bulwark, for example: this level 1 ability nets you SR 5 +number of ranks invested. Or what about an ability that increases the amount of HD of undead a necromancer can control at a given time depending on the amount of ranks invested?Cones and lines as draconic breath weapons, increased skill prowess or movement rates, being hard to swallow, increased carrying capacities - the effects are diverse and interesting and yes, winds that impede ranged attacks - the respective abilities do provide interesting, nice options that thankfully do not just rethread old effects.



The level 5 abilities become even more interesting - take alchemical ammunition: This one actually nets you a pool of points you can use to supplement the power of the respective base items. Essentially, the points of this ability allow the wielder of the scalar to imbue ammunition spontaneously with the effects of alchemical items. Or what about being able to cook creatures slain for bonuses? Even relatively boring abilities tend to come with an interesting twist - swim bonus? May be nice. But how cool is actually getting a proper swim speed once you've invested enough ranks in the ability? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.



What about wildering among revelations? Hexes? In a neat twist, these scalars allow not only the proper codifying of core abilities, they also provide support regarding the more uncommon class options. Of course, 1/day rerolls with luck bonuses equal to invested ranks, regenerating poison, ooze alliance...the abilities are cool. And some actually made me grin - take DR against traps, aptly named "Barbarian Trapfinding" - or what about 1/day per rank halving environmental damage. Spellcasters can have elemental energy-spells and effects enhanced. And yes, better escape velocity can also be achieved.



At higher levels, scalars can make your pores excrete acid as a response reaction to being hit, generating short-range swathes of acidic mist. Alternative options would be to overcome spell resistance, increase the inertia (and base damage-dice) of a given weapons. Rather unique - rolling an asserted, increasing amount of dice at the beginning of the day and recording the result; Once you roll the type of die during the day, you can replace the roll with the recorded die-roll. Now the capstone-abilities...are brilliant. Take "Abnormal Paranoia" - this one laces ALL scrolls you generate automatically with explosive runes. What about making your scalar a remote antimagic field that does not impede the functionality of the scalar? Or perhaps you'd prefer a material component-less raise dead or ranged attacks that may ricochet. Vampiric bonus damage that heals you also is one of the possible capstones...



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games 2-column b/w-standard and the art is thematically fitting stock. The pdf comes sans bookmarks at this length, which is a slight comfort detriment.



Bradley Crouch offers us a great system here - one that provides some cool, unique benefits, customization options for the respective players to enjoy - so what's not to like? Indeed, the help for DMs regarding WBL, the way the benefits scale - all of these conspire to make scalars a unique, easy to grasp system of nice choices that should not unhinge any game, while at the same time fighting the magical supermarket syndrome - and it involves the players to an extent absent in more mainstream magical items! Over all, a great, modular system that can be expanded easily by just about any DM and which most certainly would benefit from future expansions, whether made for a given home-group or in the guise of additional pdfs. Over all, a great pdf well worth of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
One Bling to Rule Them All - Scaling Magic Items
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Tinkering 301: Pimp My Alpha
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/23/2014 07:10:06
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The pdf takes a cool approach to Alphas - it introduces unique customization options for Alphas via advanced inventions - these can only be applied to alphas and only one can be applied at a given time, unless it's based on another one, in which case it may replace that.



It is this new class of options that can be enhanced via two new innovations, with the first option allowing tinkers to temporarily impede the use of advanced inventions and the second allowing the tinker to remove the advanced descriptor at the cost of increasing BP cost by multiplying it with two. As a new greater innovation, you can add up to two advanced inventions to a given alpha.



Further enhancements to str or dex, more hit points are among the options here - the 18 inventions provided do not simply adhere to solid, but none-too-exciting further enhancements to existing inventions, though - what about a defense mechanism that reflexively activates to provide DR versus a type of physical damage, surprisingly not the type that dealt the damage? Yeah, mechanically interesting! Now on the side of pretty awesomeness would be an integrated beehive that, while somewhat dangerous to harvest, continuously produces honey, beeswax etc.? (and yes, that can be VERY useful!)



A dream for maximizers would be the blast-resistant plating, which allows your automatons to take damage from kamikaze, not be automatically destroyed. Allowing automatons to cannibalize limited use inventions to refresh their own daily uses also offers A LOT of options to make some tricks.



Chest-mounted, spring-loaded punching gloves, sawblades etc also allow automatons to execute combat maneuvers after hitting targets, though one of them mentions the wrong maneuver - the disarm invention instead mentions "sunder." Getting an umbrella-style static shield and rapid blasting of flasks as well as improved kamikaze avoidance. One particular protocol is also very interesting - it allows an automaton to deploy a copy of a just deployed automaton, but expends all remaining deploying capacities of the master. More importantly, the automaton may actually direct said progeny and needs no master and no explicit directive.



Now truly cool would be the inventions that overheat an automaton to continuously generate a smoke-screen or the one that always makes it possible to pin-point the master of the automaton -great narrative or fail-safe-devices!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not as perfect as most Interjection Games' offerings. Layout adheres to the elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with thematically fitting stock-art.



Bradley Crouch's latest addition to the Tinker's excessive, awesome arsenal offers fun, complex options that make the Alpha stand out more - the advanced inventions offer a vast array of cool options, some of which are simply glorious - and of which we require more. Seriously, beyond further customization for the alpha, making it stand out so much more, not-so-far-advanced inventions would make for a cool tertiary class of inventions...but perhaps I'm at this points just too enamored with the tinker's options.



The content herein is damn cool, though not flawless - and I would have loved for one or two more of the unique ones, but this remains a great expansion for the tinker indeed -My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tinkering 301: Pimp My Alpha
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Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/06/2014 04:46:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This FREE pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look at what this offers, shall we?

As you can see, this pdf is FREE and about PUZZLES. Yes, puzzles. Remember those? You know the type that, back in the days of 1st and 2nd edition, provided the awesome brain-teasers, the food for your grey matter beyond crunching combat-numbers? Yeah. There aren't many around anymore, which I consider rather a pity - so what are these about?

Essentially, the idea is relatively simple - you have crystals and rods to poke the crystals with. There are three types of rods - one red, one green, one blue.

Crystals can have up to 4 different colors - red, green, blue and clear. Each of the rods has a specific result when poking a crystal. Taking for example a blue rod to poke a crystal will have the following results:

-It makes a red or green crystal blue.

-It makes a blue crystal clear.

-It also affects all adjacent crystals (not those diagonally adjacent) to the crystal touched.

Each rod has a different array of such rules that make figuring the puzzles out rather fun - and easily expandable.

Each Puzzle herein has a base configuration of colored crystals and a goal configuration to reach and the difficulty ranges from child's play to challenging - the penultimate puzzle took my group about 30 minutes to get right and my guys are good at solving logical puzzles. If you as the DM can't be bothered to solve this, sample steps to solve the puzzles are provided, though it should be noted that these not always are the most efficient way to solve these.

Now if this looks rather underwhelming on paper, rest assured that it's actually fun if your players enjoy actually thinking and flexing their mental muscles. I know my players enjoyed it enough to to make me make puzzles like these the basic technology of hotwiring the creations of one particular ancient civilization in my game.

While primarily intended as a mini-game while waiting for the one guy who's late, the 5 sample puzzles provided can easily be expanded by an enterprising DM to include many, many more. A total of 4 pages of dot-cut-outs to represent crystals is provided as well, if your players need a visual cue - for advanced groups, I'd suggest not providing these, since it makes the task slightly more complicated and is a nice memory-training exercise.

Now the pdf also offers some advanced tricks - If your players have too hard a time, provide a multi-colored rod that can change colors - especially nice if your PCs failed to find one of the rods. If you're sadistic (or to reflect botched UMD-checks, there is a variant which changes a random crystal's color every 5 moves. This should NOT be used for the more complex puzzles, though - your players won't be happy about it. Finally, there is a kind of template for a golem who can be tuned to a color, with different special attacks based on the crystal color they're attuned to.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some minor non-standard rules-language in the end, that is not something problematic or grievous in a free product. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has rudimentary bookmarks.

Okay, I'll come right out and say it - I love this pdf. A) It's FREE. B) It inspired me - the possibilities of this deceptively simple system are endless - more complex patterns of crystals? Possible. A Ziggurat that needs to be solved, with crystals strewn throughout the dungeon, requiring exploration to get the pattern and then solve it? Possible. Creatures that have superb defensive powers (Vastly increased DR etc.) and need to be solved first, requiring attacks with the rods while they try to bash you to smithereens? Possible. The potential of this humble little book is staggering and it simply is FUN. Now granted, if your players don't enjoy logic puzzles, then this might not be for you - but come on, give it a try. Remember those days when gaming was a teaser for the intellect as well as the imagination, from the time to which we point when we tell ourselves that gamers are above average in intelligence. Unleash your nerd and dare to use some fun puzzles - you literally have nothing to lose with these - they're for FREE and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval - an awesome free product by Bradley Crouch.

Interjection Games currently runs an awesome Kickstarter - search for "Strange Magic".

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
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Prestigeous Organizations: The Order of the Nullblades
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/01/2014 06:46:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So what are the Nullblades? Essentially, they can be considered an organization fiercely opposed to the MACS-suffering casters - megalomanical arcane caster syndrome that tends too infect just about every high-level spellcaster. You know the drill - the point where the friendly arch-wizard experiments a bit too much and makes the fabric of reality unravel, transforming the town of Bimberton into undead oreo-cookies. And this makes sense in-game to me - there would probably be an organization like this, annoying, harassing and potentially, eliminating spellcasters they deem an issue. The organization and its stance on members, relationships with other classes, buying potions (only from bards and alchemists!), the chance of there being a chapterhouse in a given settlement - 6 possible amenities to be found in a chapterhouse - all of these (and the at times hilarious humor) render the organization a joy to read and highly entertaining. That being said, I'm a bit sad that chapterhouses don't have an influence on a settlement's statblock/kingdom building rules-information or prestige-mechanics based benefits - there's a hierarchy and benefits, why not codify them in the given system?



Oh well, the pdf also features a new 10-level PrC, the Nullblade, which provides full BAB-progression, 1/2 fort-save progression, d10, 2+Int skills per level. The class gets a 15 feet-lead-based aura that hampers concentration (and extends to 30 feet at later levels, increasing its potency throughout the PrC-progression) and become immune to lead-poisoning and more resilient versus diseases and toxins. furthermore, they may detect and identify magic a will and may choose up to 5 techniques (the talents of the class) over the course of their ten levels. A total of 20 techniques are provided for the PrC. These include preventing the teleport of foes, dealing damage to foes that fumble concentration, granting himself temporary SR and even forcing foes to stutter-cast, i.e. only be able to cast the last spell they cast for a round - a bunch of powerful, yet never overpowered abilities here. And, as a capstone, how could it be any other way - antimagic field-generation.



We round off this pdf with two pregenerated NPCs complete with story-hooks, background, appearance and tactics, reaching a neat level of detail one usually only sees in releases by Raging Swan Press. First would be Drimble Underhill, a fighter 6/Nullblade 3 halfling, second would be Cerabiel, an elven bard (arcane duelist)7/bard 2/nullblade 4 - a surprisingly varied and cool build, if I may say so.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice glaring glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, which is a slight bummer. The pdf's artworks are thematically-fitting stock art.



Bradley Crouch has humor - I've rarely enjoyed the subtle (and not so subtle) jibes herein, but rest assured - this is no joke. Indeed, this PrC ranks among the better takes on the innumerable anti-magic archetypes and PrCs I've read over the years and the Nullblade, honestly works rather well. The organization makes sense, the NPCs are neat and the PrC does what it sets out to do - make a magic-bane fighter. Now not all is perfect, as mentioned above - kingdom building/prestige/settlement-rules would have been the icing on the cake. Then again, this pdf is FREE. FREE is very hard to beat at this level of quality and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prestigeous Organizations: The Order of the Nullblades
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Under the Knife: The Grafter, a Tinker Prestige Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2014 04:13:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Tinker-expansion clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's check out the Grafter!



Mechanically, we have a 5-level PrC with 10 ranks heal, 7 ranks knowledge (engineering), skill focus (heal) and 3rd level invention/blueprints as prereqs. The class gets d8, 3/4 BAB-progression, good will-and fort-saves and 4+Int skills per level, but ONLY heal and intimidate as class skills. They also get full invention-progression, with the important caveat that BP per blueprint DO NOT increase via grafter level.



Got that? All right. At first level, a grafter gains a grafting pool equal to class level X 3. These points can be used as BP to apply inventions to the grafter's own body when preparing inventions and do not replenish, unless the grafter removes a given graft to free points. Inventions with limited uses per day refresh upon blueprint-preparation and at 3rd level of the class, the grafter may apply grafts to others as well. Inventions that require activation also require at least int 3 (no grafted oozes, sorry) or int 11 on behalf of the controller in the case of controlled unintelligent foes (like undead). This also provides an interesting precedent for similar master/minion relationships with other creatures such as constructs. A given creature can maintain a total of grafter's int-mod in BP as grafts at a given time.



Now there are restrictions - skill bonuses, class skills and proficiencies cannot be granted via these grafts and any untyped bonus for an automaton becomes an enhancement bonus for an intelligent grafted creature. If a graft requires a given feat via an invention and the base creature also has that feat, it can take the follow-up invention as a graft, but graft-granted abilities cannot be used as prerequisites to qualify for feats etc. Got that? Good!



At first level, the grafter also learns to add int-mod to wis-mod regarding heal-skills (NOT a fan of two attribute-mods to one skill). As you may have noted, grafters can be somewhat neutered in their grafting capabilities by their graftees simply walking away - this is remedied at 3rd level, when they get full control over their grafts, allowing them to declare them obsolete when resting and thus making them break/reclaim their grafting BP...which allows for nice roleplaying potential: "Yes, Mr. Ogre...I can graft you so you can eat those knights in the castle." *ogre flies off with rotor* "I declare it obsolete." Ogre falls...far. (Though this does, unfortunately, not work - design-inventions can't be grafted...)



At 4th level, the class nets those grafted with 5 BP or more one of 5 bonuses (HP, CMD, fort, COn or natural armor) as long as they remain enhanced by you. At 5th level, the grafter may artificially increase his graft-pool temporarily by expending his infuse automaton ability, allowing for even more flexibility in that regard.



It should also be noted that the grafter at 2nd level learns a so-called implant, essentially an invention that can only be applied to organic beings and not automata. He also learn another one every class level after that (though it should be noted, that, like regular inventions, only one of a kind can be applied to a given being, i.e. no doubling of a given implant on a creature). Some of these have level restrictions as well.



I was talking about implants. What about an adrenaline injection unit, that nets a bonus of +4 to Dex (or Str...) for one round as a swift action class levels x 2 per day times? Vastly improved carrying capacity? A nose-installed flame-thrower? (If you're like me and grew up with Sonic, remember the final boss of Sonic & Knuckles and chuckle...) A limited use +5 insight bonus to attack? Limited times per day auto-succeed saves versus toxins and diseases, even if you have failed the save? Immunity to fear at the cost of gaining no morale bonuses? Fortification-like metal plates that help versus sneak attacks? Simply more Hp? Auto-heal via stimpack when reaching 0 hp (but not when dying immediately)?



The most powerful of grafts allow you to grant yourself (and others) dragon-like energy lines (and even cones!) as breath weapons and implant artificial brainstems that temporarily revive your minions as double HD fast zombies that retain their weapon and armor proficiencies - great if your villain just has to run...or if your fighter has no scruples about that sort of last ditch-effort to take down a villain...



Now, I know what you're asking - how does the PrC play with all those inventions? Well, there are (as can be imagined in such a wide field) some cases, where the interaction between inventions and implants, for example, take a VERY experienced player to handle. Take Augmented (or Definite) Structure: +1 Hp per HD of the base-creature at 2 BP cost. Does that one stack with the structural augmentation implant for +5 maximum Hp at 1 BP? (Answer: Yes it does - bonus-types stacking...) What I'm trying to say here is -know the rules, tinker and this book - this is complex as hell.



It should be noted that by now, prior ambiguities as to e.g. arms/legs etc. and inventions have been cleared up and via the now established transparency between implant and invention-usage, another source of potential confusion has been streamlined away.



The revised rules also properly cover action economy for graftees of varying intelligences by being treated like an alpha using the invention, thus eliminating some of the ridiculously action-economy breaking potential builds I could construct. Great to see this smoothed and made work!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Artworks are thematically-fitting stock.



Okay, Bradley Crouch's Grafter's V.1.0 struck me as awesome, but unrefined. I wrote a review and then, life happened. For a time, I was actively out of the reviewing game as you may know and then, I get back and I find this beast. I check back...and by now it actually works. At least I couldn't, from the top of my head, break it and reading this revised edition provided no angle for me to break this beast -and this deserves accolades. No, seriously. Fixing glitches to provide a better experience for one's customers is great, especially when always trying to stretch the boundaries by trying insanely complex rules-stunts and classes and actually getting the job more than done deserves applause. The grafter as such took a mind-bogglingly complex base class and made it more complex while also opening its benefits up to other classes, adding some significant value to your tinker-class in game. Well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Under the Knife: The Grafter, a Tinker Prestige Class
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The Brewmaster: Life of the Party
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/24/2014 10:13:52
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base-class by Interjection Games clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The brewmaster base-class gets proficiency with simple weapons, martial reach weapons, martial bludgeoning weapons and light/medium armors and shields, but not tower shields, d10 HD, 4+Int skills per level, a good will-save and, surprisingly, full BAB-progression.



A Brewmaster starts game with 2 casks and increases that number by +1 for every 3 class levels up to 8 at 20th level - but what store in the casks? Well, beverages, of course! Homebrew, to be precise! That this stuff is potent (and can vary in effect) can anyone attest who had the joy of tasting some different types of hembränd sprit - but the brewmaster's draught is...different.



So, how does homebrewing work within the context of this pdf? Well, there are essentially a couple of things to bear in mind: Each cask must contain a sugar and a fermenter and may contain additionally a single clarifier and up to a number of additives as prescribed by the fermenter. So far, so simple!



Sugars dictate how often a cask can be used - essentially, sugars determine the charges and also determines the primary benefit. Brewmasters start game with 2 sugars known and add +1 at 2nd level and every 2 levels after that. Fermenters determine how long the brewing takes and how long the buzz, being "roaring drunk" as determined by the alcohol level, lasts. Brewmasters start game knowing all of them.



Additives modify being roaring drunk and often scale with the drink's alcohol level. They also "Each additive has a "minimum quality level", that is, they have no effect in a homebrew"...and this is where the sentence ends - which should have probably gone on to describe that a brewmaster requires a minimum class level to use them. Unless otherwise stated, only one additive per homebrew. A brewmaster starts with 2 additives known, +1 per level.



One clarifier can be added to a drink after it has matured and generally have significant influence on the homebrew. A brewmaster learns the first clarifier at 4th level, +1 every 5 levels after that. Thus, over 20 levels, the brewmaster learns up to 12 sugars, 21 additives and 4 clarifiers.



In order to prepare a given homebrew, the brewmaster must have a minimum wisdom score of 10+the total number of ingredients in the cask, with saving throws, if applicable, being against 10+1/2 class level + wis-mod. Non brewmasters can benefit from casks as well, but gain no benefit from effects modifying the brewmaster's class features if they don't have them themselves. Tricks to consume potions faster do work, but if that results in a required action only being a move action, swift action or less, the faster consumption spills 1 additional dose, essentially consuming 2 uses instead of one, with the second being just spilled. This is a very cool balancing mechanism in my book!



Okay, so what about the brewing process? This one includes essentially 3 phases - The first phase would be the fermentation phase - a fermenter determines, when a dink is good and when not - a drink has either a poor, a good, or a perfect quality, depending on the speed of the fermentation and the number of days the drink had to age. After waiting until either poor, good or perfect result can be yielded, boiling is initiated - here, additives are added. Then, conditioning begins - here, we calculate the brewing DC. This one consists of the base sugar's base DC, modified by fermenter, clarifiers and additives. Then, you make a d20+level+wis-mod check - if you fail, quality can degrade by one or two steps (or even totally ruin the homebrew), potentially modifying which additives work out in the end. The table with degrees of failure and overall system make for a nice, planning-rewarding risk-reward-system here. The handy table listing the qualities by fermentation speed along the days is extremely handy here as well.



Now, I've mentioned before being "roaring drunk" - this is the result of drinking from a cask, lasts for alcohol level rounds and is somewhat akin to a rage (+2 Str, Con, will-saves, -2 to int/wis-based skill checks), increasing by +1/-1 at 4th level and every 4 levels after that to a maximum of +/-6 at 16th level. When already this drunk, drinking further from a cask nets the character an extended duration for the effect, while drinking from a cask when the remaining rounds of being roaring drunk exceed class level, the brewmaster gets sick instead, potentially barfing on the baron's carpet...or the dragon's favorite coin-pile.



Brewmasters add 1/2 class level to max HP and also get this bonus to saves versus spoiled/poisoned food and similar ingested threats. Starting at 5th level, the brewmaster can accelerate a cask to immediately ferment 1d4 days 1/day, +1/day every 5 levels up to 3 accelerated fermentations per day - though one cask can only be accelerated 1/day. At 7th and 13th level, brewmasters learn to mitigate aforementioned spillage from fast drinking.



At 11th level, the class gets Brew Potion as a bonus feat and counts his class levels as caster levels for the purpose of this feat - he can bypass the spell-requirements usually required, naturally (since the class is no caster), but that requires more money. He also counts as having class level ranks in spellcraft for the purpose of identifying potions and produce potions much, much faster at higher levels. As a capstone, the class can create instant-perfect, improved homebrew.



The class comes with favored class options for the base races, drow, hobgoblins, orcs, hobgoblins, kobolds, tieflings, puddlings and aasimar. Brewmasters may also select from 10 feats, which include extra sugars, additives, clarifiers, offsetting the penalty to wis-based skills while drunk (instead applying it to dex-or cha-based skills), better potion-spell-requirement-bypassing, get full 4 hours of work done while adventuring, +2 to brewing checks, +2 to damage while drunk, +4 to fort-save vs. saves to become sickened or spike potions with alcohol (triggering roaring drunk).



So what about those fermenters - this is perhaps best explained with one example, so I'll provide one: Dwarven Breakfast Blend is a fast fermenter, which means alcohol level 3 on day one (perfect), 2 at day 2 (good) and one at day 3 (bad) - after that, the cask spoils. Other fermenters have Poor 3, Good 4 or Perfect 6 as alcohol levels. Brewing DC-modifiers are either +0 or +3 and the number of additives the fermenters allow ranges from 1 to 3. It should be noted that each fermenter comes with a nice bit of awesome, often hilarious flavor-text.



Now on to the sugars, shall we? It should be noted that several sugars herein feature a base level prerequisite and some of them also require a set amount of ranks in a given skill in order to utilize - a handy table sums these up for your convenience. Base brewing-DCs range from 3+1/2 level to 11+1/2 level and the sugars have varying effects depending on the quality of the homebrew ingested.



But what exactly do these sugars do? Well, let's take at the level 8 Barrel Cactus Fruit Sugar - upon imbibing a homebrew made with this sugar, a timer starts - 2, 5 or class level rounds. The first charge attack you make within this time frame allows you to end your charge with one additional attack at your highest BAB -essentially allowing for two attacks at the end of a charge. While thankfully including a caveat against stacking with pounce etc., the additional attack could still use some clarification - do the modifications to atk of a charge still apply to the second attack? What about the bonus to bull rush? And more importantly, what about mounted brewmasters and lances? Would both attacks count as mounted charges or would the second attack granted count as a regular melee attack?



Belchweed allows you to belch at foes in melee, temporarily sickening them on a failed save, at level 11+ even potentially sickening multiple foes in a small area - cool! Also rather interesting would be sugars that allow you to deal attribute damage - sans save. While usually, I'd go bananas over this, the mechanics are interesting here - the roaring drunk class feature's morale bonuses are temporarily mitigated, instead allowing you to deal half this bonus as damage to attribute(s) depending on the sugar, but only with the first attack, making stacking of such damage harder. Powerful, yes, but at required level 9 not broken.



Blue Agave is a nice risk/reward gambit - when drinking from this cask and executing a full-round action, you may elect to provoke an AoO from all eligible targets to get an additional attack at your highest BAB. However, if you're hit, all your attacks receive a penalty to atk -from -3 to -1, depending on the quality. And no, no stacking with haste et al. Not all sugars are offensive - there's also essentially medicinal alcohol that can burn diseases from your system by allowing for a new save. If you fail, though, you'll take damage. Another sugar nets you a fiery (or ice-cold! Or acid!) breath weapon that you can use in lieu of a charge or full attack action's attack. It's a bit strange that the fire-sugar requires 5 ranks along as level 6, while neither the cold, nor the acid-damage dealing one has a skill prerequisite. Another sugar makes a drink essentially a thrown weapon of tarry goo - neat! Healing homebrews are also possible (including caveats that undead shouldn't drink these...)...



Short-grain and its bigger brother, long-grain Rice laced with Koji also deserves mention due to a strange mechanic: All physical damage beneath a low threshold is ignored. Starting at 2 at the lowest quality and increasing by +1 for every 4 class levels (or starting at 2 and increasing every 2 class levels at perfect quality), all attacks that deal below these damage are ignored. So, like DR? No. All attacks that surpass the threshold deal full damage. Now per se, I like this mechanic, but it does have its issues - if a character has resistance to a given physical damage due to DR, does it apply first or after the drink's effects? Also, this one lacks a duration.



Minor buffing, increased speed, creating a fast-healing granting cloud of vapors, a lesser bonus (scaling up to lesser true strike)-style bonus to one attack (class level of the brewmaster) and a sugar that temporarily nets you spring attack and shot on the run make all for interesting options. On the interesting side, creating difficult terrain and the schadenfruit that heals you whenever an ally within range takes more than 10 points of damage make for fun concepts. It does say something about my players when they really, really got into the latter in playtest. And no, I didn't find a way to break the latter. Another sugar allows you to wreck foe's armors with cumulative permanent penalties (until magical repair/Craft/Profession is received!), while the highest level sugar can allow you to ignore the effects of being below 0 hp for 1 round - and yes, even death! But only in the perfect quality - no effect whatsoever in the other two. VERY interesting!



Onwards to additives - these again have usually a class level prerequisite, with some also having skill prerequisites. They also have a minimum quality of the brew - every drink that fails to meet this standard gets no benefits from the additive, as mentioned above. They also increase the brewing DC of the respective homebrew from +1 to +5. Oh, and the list of them is LONG. From spell-like effects like enlarge person, stacking acid resistance, bonus to knowledge check while drunk, swim speed and similar buffs are in here, as are several tricks that mitigate the roaring drunk penalties to specific skills. Spit e.g. on your weapon to make it flaming? Yep - possible! Increased speed due to my beloved habanero peppers? Yup. And no, not going to break down all of them. If you're storming a mage academy, you might wish to choose the additive that allows you to become utterly immune to a first level spell for some time.



Finally, there would be 9 clarifiers - which modify the brewing DC by a range from -1 to +8 and include prerequisites from levels to clarifiers known. These allow you to double the effects of one additive, improve roaring drunk, lower the minim quality required for a specific additive or increase a cask's quality. Distillation (the +8 one) is also interesting - alcohol level is multiplied by the number of doses, hereafter the dose is reduced to 1 - essentially allowing you for a rather long-lasting roaring drunk rampage - but drinking cannot be faster than a standard action.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column standard and the pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience, though not excessively so. Artwork is thematically fitting stock-art.



The brewmaster is a class that sounds like a joke - so let's get that misconception out of the way from the get-go: It's not. This is a fully functional, rewarding class to play. Fun, yes, but pity the fool who taunts a brewmaster! This is the class for those fans of Drunken Masters, for those players who always wanted to play the hedonistic dandy, the drunken dwarf that smashes all opposition. Now it should be noted that, at least for Interjection Games-levels, this class is VERY easy to get into. Complex and customizable, yes, but it should NOT be considered hard to get into.



Also, contrary to expectations you might have, the brewmaster is a thinking man's melee class - less in direct combat, more so in the planning of adventuring. Due to the homebrews taking some time, we have a similar experience like prepared casters - planning ahead is rewarded with this class, with more flexibility being possible, but also requiring some thought. This has two direct results - number one, the class is actually rather versatile, especially for a full BAB-class. Number two - while combat might be fun, humorous even here and there, this class still is serious - seriously fun! Now extremely simulationalist DMs should beware that the components don't need to be purchased - but for most campaigns (who glance over component pouches etc.) that should not prove a hindrance.



I seriously enjoyed the brewmaster, its unique mechanics, the nice descriptions and its unobtrusive humor - and consider it a great addition to the game...but one that has some minor glitches, as mentioned above. While no deal-breaker, they keep the class from the highest honors, making me settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.



Excuse me, it's my heritage coming through - as a Franconian (we do have the highest micro-brewery density in the world!), I think I'll have to get a beer now!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Brewmaster: Life of the Party
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Libram of the First Language: Truename Magic Reborn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/09/2014 04:15:40
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive pdf is 68 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 65 pages of content.



Yes, 65 pages of Interjection Games-level complexity content for me to analyze. Ouch. But I won't complain - instead, let's take a look at the base-class, the Truenamer: At d6, 2+Int skills per level, d6, good will-saves, 1/2 BAB-progression, we have no doubt a full caster on our hands. The first interesting component can be found in the proficiency section - truenamers do not take the classic arcane spell failure chance, instead increasing the DC of their recitations by at least +1 (for armor/shields etc. sans armor check penalty) or otherwise by their armor check penalty. It should be noted, that, while they do get proficiency with simple weapons, no shield or armor proficiencies are part of the deal, thus imposing a feat tax. Still, an interesting design decision here.



Okay, much like the malaligned original 3.X Truenamer, Bradley Crouch's class gets access to a diverse set of codices: First would be the codex of mind body, which is essentially a starter's codex. Truenamers start game with 3 recitations from this codex and get +1 at every level. At 4th level, the truenamer gets access to the codex of artifice, with another recitation gained at 5th level and every two class levels beyond that. The third codex, the codex of far-flung spheres, is gained at 7th level, with an additional recitation every 3 class levels after that. Finally, the codex of the realized vision nets the truenamer the first recitation at 10th level, with 14th, 18th and 20th netting additional recitations. All recitations gained are subject to their respective limitations/prerequisites.



Got that? Okay, so how do recitations work? First of all: Thank all philosophies you may or may not believe in - it's not a skill-check. How that system didn't work, anyone who tried truenaming in 3.X already knows. But it does maintain the spirit - there is a so-called truenaming check: DC 7 + 3xrecitation's level. The check is essentially a d20+class level+int-mod, saves against them 10+recitation level+int-mod analogous to spells. Relearning recitations, interaction with established spell schools (via similar schools), Spell Resistance - all the interactions with regular magic/spellcasting are taken into account. And yes, defensively reciting at the usual 5-DC-penalty is also included. Now it should be noted that truenaming magic always is verbal (d'uh), but rather interesting, penalties which would apply to a similar concentration-DC are halved.

Now failure has its price - 4 laws govern truenaming magic: Upon failing a truenaming check, the truenamer incurs a penalty to subsequent truenaming checks equal to the failed recitation's level for 5 rounds. Whenever a truenamer recites a recitation one level lower than the maximum of what s/he can recite, s/he may take 10 on the check, resulting in less chaos and some degree of reliability. VERY interesting would also be the law of flowing rhetoric - a truenamer cannot have the same effect twice in play, i.e. no two same recitations. Even if counterspelled or otherwise failed, a truenamer needs to wait for the recitation's duration to have elapsed to again try to utter it - this makes durations of buffs etc. a double-edged sword...interesting. Finally, the multiverse gets annoyed by truenamers asking the same thing over and over again -each subsequent use of a given recitation per day increases the truenaming DC by +2 until the truenamer has sufficiently apologized to the multiverse (i.e. rested).

If you're like me and think: "But what about the poor linguistics-skill!" - well, at first level, if you share a language with a creature (and truly share it, i.e. not via magic shenanigans), your recitations targeting that creature get a bonus of +2 to their truenaming check. At 2nd level and every two levels after that, you also learn an additional language - which may be nice, though personally, I would have preferred a tie with the linguistics-skill, but oh well.



Now if that wasn't enough complexity for you so far, at 3rd level the truenamer gets an inflection, and another one every 3 levels after that. A total of 15 different inflections are provided. These increase casting time of an recitation to a full-round action and also increase both the DC of the truenaming check to properly cast them and the law of malleability-DC by a fixed amount. The latter would be the law that makes casting consecutive iterations of the same recitation that day harder. Essentially, these are kind-of metamagic modifications that allow you additional effects, but at the cost of not being able to pull off the same trick that often. And yes, inflected recitations count as the base recitation for purposes of the law of limited malleability. These inflections allow you to e.g. substitute a chosen energy form with another, empower recitations, increase their range, maximize them or even penalize target creature's saves by -2 as well as forcing them to reroll the save and take the worse result. As you can glean, the respective inflection vary in strength, but thankfully are concisely balanced via level-requirements.

The class also gets a bonus to saves against language-dependant spells and at 12th level, may add two inflections to a given recitation (but at a further +2 to limited malleability) and finally, as a capstone, a truenamer may 1/day per codex take 20 on a truenaming-check.



We also get truenamer archetypes - The Orator gets a modified spell-list and increases the bonus gained for speaking a creature's language at higher levels at the cost of one inflection. Instead of the 12th level inflection, he becomes harder to demoralize (and more adept in this game of chicken!) He also becomes rather adept at prepared speeches, adding int-mod to them if he had time to prepare (does not extend to truenaming!). Instead of the double-inflection-trick, an orator gets a special inflection that extends a recitation to all creatures close to the primary target of the recitation.



The Truescribe can create one scroll per available codex, containing one recitation that does not influence the law of finite malleability, essentially netting the archetype a small pool of reserve recitations (which can't be used by others btw. - no UMDing these...) These special scrolls adhere to their own set of unique limitations and, while expanded via another ability, they remain thus limited. They also become particularly adept at resisting writing-leitmotif spells and effects and later even gain a save against the dreaded explosive rune-spell. At 12th level, they even have a shorthand, which allows for a difficult UMD-check to properly use their scrolls - rather cool.



The final archetype would be the verminspeaker, who gets the shared-language-bonus versus mindless creatures (thus making him/her also an ooze-talker or golemwhisperer) as well as a vermin-animal-companion sans share spells and very limited tricks. At 6th level, they learn an inflection that allows you to use mind-influencing effects on mindless beings...which can be VERY strong in my experience. DMs should take care when throwing golems and the like at a vermin speaker... Now each of these archetypes comes with a full table, and we also get an animal companion table, which is nice. On the very minor nitpick-side, the archetypes and base-class do have varying degrees of somewhat dead levels, but at full casters and in this case, that's okay in my book.



One final thing - recitations are grouped from levels 1 - 6. We also get FCOs for all base races, drow, orcs, puddlings, tieflings, aasimar, kobolds and hobgoblins and 12 special truenamer feats. These allow you to gain additional inflections, counterspelling recitations (two feats), recitation specialization (where a follow-up feat allows you recite that one defensively, sans the +5 DC penalty) and of course there also are feats for additional recitations. It should be noted that a feat makes secret languages accessible - which depending on your campaign, might be rather cool. Check with your DM regarding that one, though!



All right, got that? Great, let's take a look at some select recitations (though I'm NOT going through all in detail - you want this review to be shorter than 10+ pages, don't you?).



The first thing you'll note in the codex of the heart and mind would be that we not only get a list of all the recitations - beyond sharing a range of 60 ft and targeting one creature and applying SR, they actually have two effects! Take the attraction-recitation: You can pull creatures 10 feet in a straight line towards you, the movement netting a +4 dodge bonus to AC vs. AoOs. The reverse instead sends the target away. So far, so obvious, right? What about slightly increasing/decreasing DR? Things become more interesting with e.g. ice-themed attack recitations that can deal damage to targets or provide a defensive, cold-damage dealing sheen? Here, we have different durations for the regular and reverse effects and both have their own conditions to reduce the damaged target's movement speeds temporarily halved. And yes, temporarily raising zombies (or destroying mindless undead) is possible.



Rather awesome would be a recitation, which makes a target a living bomb - but also makes the target realize this, allowing it to being able to minimize collateral damage. The reverse is rather special as well - this one makes it possible to negate self-destruct abilities. Beyond the tinker's kamikaze directives, think certain staves and their planes-shattering final strikes. Yes, useful and unique. Many of these recitations actually work with rather cool durations/effects that only happen on the end of a recitation's duration, necessitating actual planning on behalf of the truenamer.



Now the codex of artifice is more about item-modification, allowing you to net temporary charges to wands (or make them consume twice that amount when used), buff weapons/armor etc. A minor nitpick here - the recitations dealing with charges should probably in their reverse function double the amount of charges consumed. As written, the recitations only consume "2 charges" when activated, which becomes problematic as soon as some item has abilities that cost multiple charges - is it double the charges or +1 charge consumed?



What about instilling alchemical items with paranoia, inciting them to go off? What about making items orbiting bodyguards or imbuing items as deadly splash weapons? Ranged stealing (via proper use of CMB etc.) or protecting belongings is possible! Very cool for those ambushes in the night - make temporarily hastily donned armor properly donned and vice versa.



The codex of the far-flung spheres has a range of 100 ft and an AoE of 20 ft. and, unless the first two codices, this one has only one effect per recitation. Barring creatures from teleporting, making creatures more adept at grappling etc. - all nice. But what about yodeling and making the target area difficult terrain? Yes, funny and oh so cool! What about insta-growing plants/fungi etc. for rations? Also VERY interesting - an area that deals damage to the target in it that has the MOST hp. This one has a LOT of tactical potential!



The final codex, the codex of the realized vision, is the one closest to regular spells, with just about every recitation featuring its own formal properties like individual ranges (e.g. 60 ft., personal, touch...) etc. Animating up to gargantuan animated objects, afflict targets with crushing ennui (save or do nothing -for 5 rounds! Ouch!), creating non-weaponized spheres that can dig tunnels for you. Also interesting: Cover the floor with material that deals +3d6 damage upon falling, including being tripped! Cool for its tactical options! Asking questions to the multiverse, fabricating objects ex nihilo - quite a few options here. Oh, and there is also a recitation that erases creatures from the multiverse - but instead of save-or-suck, it requires consecutive saves over the duration. Once the target has failed 3, s/he/it's gone - cool take on the mechanic - Think about players scrambling to take down the truenamer to prevent their comrade being erased! When mechanics in themselves make for more fun/excitement, then that's a good indicator for good design! (Preventing falls with huge spongy discs can also be achieved, should you be so inclined!)



Got all that? Well, there also are three (yes, 3) new prestige classes for the truenamer. Since this review already is rather long, I'll just give you the cliffnotes-version of them, all right? First would be the 5-level Speaker of the Word, essentially a combo-divine caster/truenamer, gaining cool synergy of truenaming/channel energy and limitedadditional recitations that work similar to divine spells. Iconic! The 10-level Willshackler is very interesting - the PrC studies a certain creature type and gains so-called command words, a total of 10 are available for selection. These have a diverging DC from the standard truenaming formula and allow you to narrow possible futures to force targets to do your bidding - non-mind-influencing! These words are rather powerful, iconic and well-worth the choice! (Oh and expelling targets from the universe, utterly destroying them via the utterance of a single name makes for a neat capstone!)



The final PrC, the wordsworn defender may need to be able to recite from the codex of far-flung spheres and have significant proficiencies (martial weapons + tower shields), but essentially, it takes the concept of truename magic working better bith armor and allows you to create a truenaming knight - bonus feats, d10 and especially...tower shield specialization. Yes. the poor, often neglected tower shield actually gets some unique tricks in this PrC - I so want to make these guys a guild/order in my campaign.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not as superb as usual in Interjection Games' releases - I noticed a couple of punctuation glitches that make sentences that are finished look unfinished and similar minor glitches, nothing that impedes usability, though. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' 2-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, though don't expect bookmarks for individual recitations. You should print this beats for your game.



When author Bradley Crouch made this one, I cackled like a mad man for a second. Why? Because Interjection Games-classes tend to be HARD to review. They're complex, there's a lot of math and complex concepts in them. I once spent a total of 4 hours on a small Prestige Class-pdf. Yeah, they're work. Experience in my campaign has shown that they're also fun. I've tried all of them so far in my game (re all I've reviewed) and they tend to bring some rather unique tricks to the table. At this length, though...ouch. A lot of work. Then, there's truename magic. From the 3 cool, but universally failed concepts from 3.X's Tome of Magic, this one was probably the worst. (though Shadow Magic wasn't much better...) Pact Magic has since, to much acclaim and praise, been taken up by Radiance House with their superb Pact Magic Unbound-series.



So here's master Crouch taking on the terribly broken truenaming...and by divorcing it from skill-mechanics while maintaining (and honestly, greatly expanding) the customizability, this type of magic suddenly doesn't suck anymore - highly variable, the duration-based necessitating of planning of recitations makes playing this class a) effective and b) terribly rewarding. Not only are the effects unique, the book suffused by a neat trademark humor, they actually allow you to do things thoroughly different from what other casters can do, while maintaining compatibility and making playing these guys actually reward proper planning.



One can see the hand that wrote the superb ethermancer (btw. - the best warlock class I've seen in any d20-iteration...) here - which, with the in-game experience I have for that class by now, works much better (and more balanced!) than even the playtest I did for it predicted. Let me say this loud and clear - this system for truenaming is great. It's modular, versatile, comes with various class-options and unique PrCs and the overall casting and recitations are so compelling, so distinct from standard options, that I can all but recommend this one - while the price-tag may seem high, I can assure you this monster is worth each cent, offering a vast array of cool options and salvaging the truenaming concept, making it actually work while maintaining its distinct identity.

Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval and a spot on my list of candidates for my top ten of 2014.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Libram of the First Language: Truename Magic Reborn
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The Cartomancer: A Deckbuilding Diviner
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/24/2014 09:52:08
The Cartomancer is an entertaining concept: he seeks to tweak Fate itself into doing what he wants. The mechanism by which this is accomplished is a deck of cards - you can use anything from Tarot cards or a regular deck to the print & play cards provided in this product. These are used to used to determine potential futures or 'portents' which act in a manner akin to a divine spell. However, the cartomancer is able to sway the outcome - for example, if he is telling someone's fortune he can decide if that individual will have good or bad luck, although what is actually going to happen is randomised rather than determined.

Naturally, whilst many of the cartomancer's abilities are wrapped up in the language of fortune-telling and divination many of them have game mechanical effects based on the alteration of die-rolls - which may be the cartomancer's own or those of someone upon whom he wishes to have an effect.

Complete with a table covering 1st to 20th level, an array of class abilities and everything else you need for a base class, loads of feats and other materials - including a custom card deck to print out if desired - everything you need to design and play a cartomancer is here. It's a good class for the mathematically-inclined, as a good understanding of probabilities will be helpful in determining just which portent will be most effective in a given situation. It also has a delight - given the way the mechanics are laid out - of being quite GM-friendly. The GM isn't required to come up with forecasts of what might happen for the character to interpret, as so often is the case with divination magic: the cartomancer is busy affecting, little by little, the outcomes of the ongoing situation.

Perhaps a little strange, but it could well be fun to play, especially if you enjoy messing with people's heads!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Cartomancer: A Deckbuilding Diviner
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Greater Manifestations for the Ethermancer Base Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/19/2014 12:09:06
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the ethermancer is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this supplement with a short introduction that explains the matter at hand - essentially, the idea is to create greater manifestations as a way to nova for the ethermancer, granting x/day abilities (in contrast to the perpetual casting of the base class). These abilities impose a tax on the class, though - but more on that later.



First, we get a new multiuniversal philosophy, the multiuniversal perfectionist. This philosophy allows the ethermancer to replace a 2nd level or higher manifestation with a greater manifestation of the same etherheart and level and learns this instead. The 20th level capstone allows for all greater manifestations chosen via this philosophy to be used 2/day - a cool idea for an impressive 20th level.



We also are in for 6 new feats - one being particularly interesting - the bombardier feat allows you to deal +2d6 bonus damage with greater blast-based manifestations if you also managed to hit regular AC, not just touch AC. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one handles in-game (since one of my players currently plays an ethermancer). The feat Greater Manifestation Study allows you to replace a manifestation known of 2nd level or greater with a greater manifestation of the same level and heart, much like the new philosophy. Another feat allows you to choose an etherheart and use a greater manifestation of said etherheart a second time after you've expended it. Now Shed Alteration is a feat I know my player will take, for it allows you to dismiss the otherwise un-dismissible alteration manifestation for a point cost, while shed gifts allows you to do the same for bestow effects. Finally, weaponized shedding allows you to deal damage to your immediate surrounding when dismissing alterations and to the target, when dismissing bestow manifestations. Note though that this feat, while powerful, also is a double-edged sword - it works AUTOMATICALLY. No choice there - once taken, you ALWAYS inflict that damage. Interesting!



So what can those greater manifestations do? Well, what about one that reduces the next regular etherspell's cost to 0? Sound relatively...regular, but once you start thinking about the way you have to budget your etherspells, this becomes rather interesting. At ethermancer 5, there is also the option...to create a FRIGGIN BLACK HOLE. Yes, an insta-death orb that draws targets inside, obliterating one target totally. On the slightly nitpicky side, the manifestation does not specify whether the ethermancer can choose which target to annihilate - this is relevant since the black hole does not discriminate between targets - allies and even the ethermancer himself can potentially be destroyed by the forces unleashed. Personally, I'll settle for a random-determination...just to drive home that some forces ought to be respected (and since I consider it cooler that way) - not a deal-breaker, mind you, just a minor imperfection in an otherwise cool ability.



rather cool - clockwork universe. As a level 6 greater manifestation, it's the apex of power and damn, does it feel like it! First, you choose a star (from 5) - each star has a an EP-cost (which may be 0, though) and modifies the maximum amount of satellites available in a given system or provides a different passive benefit. You may also throw these stars as splash weapons to deal rather unpleasant amounts of damage on the target square. A given solar system can also contain up to 1/2 caster level, rounded down, satellites, chosen from an array of 8 different types. The respective satellites have their own restrictions. Just to give you an impression here - if your model contains an inhabited planet, the planet replies to a thrown satellite by launching a miniature mothership (!!!!) you can direct to attack your foes. Yes. If you're in any way like me, that not only made you chuckle, but rather grin from ear to ear. ^^ Have I mentioned that you can actually grant this manifestation to another character if you have the right feat? Yes. Passive and active, very modular, iconic in imagery - in one word: Glorious.



A maximized etherspell, an insta-kill death effect, a bestow that stuns foes with unearthly screams...cool. What's truly glorious would be Erase Physics - choose an element, erase it from the creature. Spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, resistance, damage - all gone. And yes, the wording is concise enough to make that work and yes, additional conditions etc. remain. There is also a powerful auto-buff herein and a greater manifestation to blast multiple blasts at once...Awesome.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily need them at this length.



So if you've been following my reviews, you'll be asking...why doesn't Endzeitgeist complain about the insta-death effects? Because they're more limited than regular spells, extremely high level and are based on sphere of annihilation as a model. So no matter which way I look at it, I can't complain. Speaking of which - the galaxy model is glorious. This pdf made my ethermancer player grin from ear to ear and I'm the same - this pdf offers some rather cool, new options for the ethermancer that improve the base-class with thoroughly iconic, cool tricks that just OOZE awesomeness and should be considered a must-buy for ethermancer-players and those interested in the class. And if you haven't taken a look at Bradley Crouch's ethermancer, this expansion is an excellent additional reason to do so. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Greater Manifestations for the Ethermancer Base Class
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The Fat Lady Sings: 14 Compositions for the Maestro Base Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/11/2014 06:10:56
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Interjection Games' maestro is one of the more colorful, unique and awesome base classes out there and this pdf is all about additional fodder for these guys - clocking in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, we get 3 pages of new compositions - but can they hold up to the base classes' tremendous potential?



I'm assuming you're familiar with how the class works; If not, check my review for a break-down of it. Got it? Okay!



So what do we get? Well, there would be for example 4 new intros. The first one would be the Anthem of the dutiful knight, which conjures forth an intangible spectral knight that readies an action to hit people trying to attack while remaining adjacent to you to attack the intrepid interloper. Balance-wise, here is an interesting innovation - using this intro reduces the amount of melody slots by one. Conjuring forth illusory doubles of allies within 30 feet also works rather neat. When invoking a song of friendship, maestros can highjack dominations and similar mind-influencing effects - awesome! Finally, maestros can use an into to annoy enemies with miss-chance inducing (get this!) sugarplums. Yes. Sugarplums. Cool! (I know, bad pun...)



A total of 9 melodies would be next - one lets your allies emit AoE-demoralizing shouts that deal minor sonic damage, while another allows for rerolls for allies, for balance's sake at -2. Yet another defensive melody can prevent flanking (ouch!) and another penalizes any attack on you or your allies within 30 feet with 1 point electricity and 1 point sonic damage. Might look like it's not much, but believe me...these can accumulate. Another melody makes it possible for a maestro to help e.g. other elemental blasters by adding penalties to foes damaged by more than 5 points of elemental damage. A haunting tune to penalize fear-based saves would be more common...but Interjection Games' trademark imaginative ideas are back with a miss-chance granting interposing musical notations (!!). Yes. Awesome. Though don't expect these to catch giant's boulders. Also cool - maestros may offer their will-save to allies, but if said ally fails, both are hit by the effect. Finally, what about a melody that allows you to once per round force opponents in range reroll their roll, but at +2? Rather cool!



Finally, there is one new eponymous outro - the Fat Lady cometh. It is awesome. You conjure forth a slow-moving, ponderous spectral opera singer that you can move around throughout the composition. She arrives with the intro and remains for the whole composition. In the end, she emits a shriek that AoE stuns opponents, but compositions that include her cannot be aborted prior to reaching the outro. Design-wise, this hints at vast untapped potential via other intros/melodies/outros and the imagery...is damn cool.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games elegant 2-column standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



This additional fodder for the great Maestro-class is simply glorious and hints at a lot of design-potential that could be explored here. The ideas are fresh, the wording is concise (in spite of rather complex concepts realized) and the added oomph makes the maestro even cooler - what's not to like? Well, personally, I'm not too big a fan of the spell focus feat that acts as a prereq to many of the compositions. Yeah. That's all the nitpick I've got here. A personal preference. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Fat Lady Sings: 14 Compositions for the Maestro Base Class
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The Maestro Base Class [PFRPG & D&D 3.5]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2014 06:46:15
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This new base class is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The Maestro-class gets 1/2 BAB-progression, good will-saves, d6, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and shields (but not tower shields), but not any kind of armor. They also ignore the arcane spell failure chance of said shields. From this, one would presume a full caster class - the notion of which a quick glance at the table dispels: The class starts with maximum spell level 0 and only gets 1st level spells on 3rd level. Yes. Weird. But we've come to expect that from Interjection Games by now, haven't we? So let's see what this class has to offset that.



The Maestro starts game with 2 scores and gets an additional score at 5th level and then another one at 11th level and 17th level for a total of 5 scores. However, each score can be modified by a melody - at st level, only one melody can be applied per score, which increases to 2 at 3rd level and then by +1 at 8th level and every 5 levels after that for a total of 5 melodies. Furthermore, there are so-called refrains, the first of which is gained at 2nd level. At 8th level and every 6th level, the number of refrains available increases by +1 for a total of 4 refrains at 20th level. Finally, at 4th level and every 3 levels after that, the Maestro gains an opus. *takes a breath*



Let's start with the spells, shall we? Maestro-spells ALWAYS have a somatic component and are cast spontaneously via cha. Spellcasting is completely different from any other class - a maestro can cast every spell s/he knows once per day - no more often, no less. They also don't get bonus spells per day, but rather use this value to determine bonus spells KNOWN. They also are limited by not ever being capable of using any type of metamagic, whether by feats, class features or items.



So what about those compositions? Let's start with scores. A Maestro starts the game with 2 scores plus 1/3 int-mod, rounded down, min one score. These consist of an intro, a melody and an outro - at least from the beginning. As mentioned, later levels allow for more melodies to be added to the respective compositions. To prepare a score, the Maestro requires an int-score of 12+amount of melodies used and the DC clocks in at 10+1/2 class level + int-mod. If a maestro's int-mod is higher than his cha-mod, he may use that modifier to supplement his/her perform skill instead of cha.



A Maestro also has a composition book, which is somewhat akin to a spellbook, hut is only required when changing prepared compositions - lacking that, the previous compositions are regained upon rest, meaning a maestro is not left crippled upon losing his/her book, just stuck with their currently prepared compositions. They may also prepare compositions from recorded compositions on folios and get 1/2 class level to all knowledge-checks pertaining music. A maestro starts with 3 of any combination of intro/outro and 1+int-mod melodies, min 1. Each new level, a maestro gains one intro/outro and 1 melody. Beyond these, much like prepared casters, maestros may write compositions via a costly process into their books.

How does the Maestro cast, then? An individual score can be maintained for Perform (conducting) skill ranks + Int-mod rounds per day. Starting a composition is a standard action that provokes AoOs and it then can be maintained as a free action. The intro-effect of said composition begins immediately upon starting conducting, as do all melody effects associated with the performance. Now a maestro can either opt to end a performance as a free action - however, there is another option. By spending a standard action that provokes AoOs, the maestro can instead end the performance with the outro-effect chosen for the composition, which is immediately triggered upon completing the finishing flourish. While conducting cannot be interrupted in the most common ways, killing the maestro or incapacitating the character via paralysis etc. also ends the composition. Only one composition can be in effect per Maestro. Now refrains can be used to further spontaneously modify the compositions - by spending a move action, the maestro can use a refrain for one round, suspending the regular melody benefits of the composition (though the times still counts against the total time limit), while intro/outro remain unchanged.



12 intros, 13 outros and 2 that can act as either provide the basic framework for the melodies, of which we get no less than 40 (unless I've miscounted). Each has certain prerequisites, which can range from none to requiring e.g. spell focus (enchantment) to certain skill ranks and minimum levels. It should be noted that, though one composition requires leadership as a prerequisite, there is an alternate prerequisite for campaigns where that feat is banned. Compositions are considered supernatural abilities unless they contain one component that is a spell-like ability, in which case they count as the latter. Finally, it should be noted that, provided the requirements are met level-wise, most melodies stack with themselves - this way, e.g. the buff to wreathe the Maestro's weaponry in +1d3 fire damage-dealing flames could be stacked with itself, as could the save-enhancing blare within 30 ft. against sonic descriptor-spells and verbal-component dependant bardic performances.



Now if that doesn't look that impressive so far, remember that that's just one of the components - take for example the accelerando-intro, which nets you and all allies within 30 feet +5 ft. movement to their base land speed, + an additional 5 ft. is added every round after that capping at +5 ft. for every two maestro levels. Nice way to create a rules-representation of the rising speed - and it should be noted that the bonus is untyped, thus allowing synergy with your spellcasters...one thing to keep in mind when running from the errupting/volcaano/collapsing dungeon/avalanche next time your PCs are in a shuffle...



Now if you instead want to use perform to gain money, you can also do so with an outro that allows you to instead add the remaining rounds as a bonus to increase the check to earn a living via perform in downtime activities - nice synergy with the underused downtime rules there! Another intro generates a continuous aura of indiscriminate sonic damage around the maestro. What also makes this interesting is the interactivity between the components of compositions - via the melody Deceptive Cadence, the outro-DC is increased by +1 per times the melody is chosen. Or take the outro encore: Requiring 13th level, its effects only work after conducting a composition for 5 rounds or more, but after that, the outro allows you to restart the composition with a bonus of +1d4 rounds that do not count against the composition's daily limit.



The End with a Whimper outro also deserves special mention - a target creature within 30 feet of the maestro must save or die, provided it had less HD than the Maestro and listened to the composition for at least 3 uninterrupted rounds. EDIT: Interjection Games has fixed a minor issue here in record speed. One thing to bear in mind: The outro requires 15 ranks in heal and a maestro level of 13, which means that a maestro can only take this outro at 15th level, try as he might. It should be noted that I assumed a Skill-prereq-relic here, but Bradley Crouch has explained on my site that this is actually intentional, to reward multiclassing. This also extends Elegy for the Living with its prereqs of level 3 and 6 ranks.



Another melody allows maestros to cancel out morale bonuses from just about any source - which should make evil parties with e.g. antipaladins cackle with glee. Synergies that bolster bardic performances as well as maestro compositions also are within the range of possibilities here. There are also options to use an outro to maintain a refrain for 1 round after the respective composition has ended or until a new composition has started.



Via Klangfarbenmelodie, the Maestro can also influence foes that have already successfully saved against a melody, thus being rendered immune against it to require a new, second save. Creating a variant air elemental that can deafen targets also is within the distinct realm of possibilities here. There is also an option via an intro that halves the area of effect, but also makes melodies that can be taken multiple times count as if they've been taken an additional time without counting these against the melody-limit. Conversely, doubling the effect of melodies via an intro for one round also is possible, as would be the AoO-provoking option to create walls of solid, damaging sound - the latter per se works well, with its prior single nitpick taken care of.



Healing via an outro can also be a nice benefit, as can the melody that allows a down on his luck maestro and his allies to make just about any food more palatable.



Now I've mentioned the Opus - where the regular compositions of a maestro are very much customizable, the opus is not (with one exception: Via an intro, aborting a regular composition to start an opus still triggers the outro of the composition) customizable - they are essentially 1/day complete packages of effects. Each Opus can be selected multiple times, adding +1 use per day to said opus. And these offer quite significant benefits - 10th level maestros can resurrect allies at 10th level. Other examples include granting massive physical benefits to one target creature, deal ability damage to ALL scores, a lesser version of irresistible dance... and then there is the option to darken the skies and rain down fiery death or even, yes cannonballs! Yes, bombard adversaries with cannonballs while conducting other melodies (here is an exception to the no-synergy/parallel compositions-rule). Fly speed for multiple allies, sanctuary + SR and calling forth walls of stone - quite a few neat options here. Really cool: Real life masterpieces of classical music, the inspirations for the respective opus-compositions, are provided for each and every one of them, allowing you to get in the mood (or even play the piece at the table!) - awesome!



Now at 20th level, a maestro can choose 1 of 3 capstones - one makes you famous throughout the multiverse (resulting in e.g. demons wanting your autograph) and also making the chosen composition available as a bardic performance to EVERY BARD. A second capstone nets the maestro an infinite amount of royalties for creating a new genre equal to 1d6X 100 GP, while the third option lets the maestro create a new instrument, gain 20 ranks in it and allows the maestro to inspire competence as a bardic performance AND maintain that while also conducting. Very unique, epic and damn cool capstones.



We also get favored class options for the standard races, aasimar, drow, hobgoblin, kobolds, puddlings and tieflings. We also get a spell-list (unfortunately sans denotions where the respective spells can be found - slightly uncomfortable when not allowing laptops at ones table and relying on books, but then again not that bad due to the limited amount of spells available) and also 6 feats to increase the DC of favored scores, +3 compositions, longer durations for favored scores, and +1 round duration for all scores. One feat also allows you to conduct refrain AND melodies at once, but consumes 2 rounds of the composition IN ADDITION to the rounds it already consumes.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any true flaws. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, though not excessively so. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with thematically fitting stock art.



The Maestro is an exceedingly awesome class - the base concept of making essentially bardic performances a three-component, highly complex and customizable array of cool unique options is simply great. The amount of tinkering here is mindboggling and the overall playing experience is complex and more intuitive and easier to grasp than any other Interjection Games class I've reviewed so far - so either I'm getting just better at analyzing them or author Bradley Crouch has improved his writing further. The options galore reward careful planning while not stifling creativity, making this class a) unique, b) damn cool to play and c) an all-out success.

Now here I had minor complaints, which have all been addressed perfectly. While I'm still not sold 100% on the skill rank/class level prereq-divide, this alone is essentially preference and since there are no other complaints for me to file, my final verdict now clocks in at a triumphant 5 stars + seal of approval! Get this awesome class! Oh...and first candidate for my Top Ten list of 2014.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Maestro Base Class [PFRPG & D&D 3.5]
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Words of Power Unleashed
by Nickolas F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2014 08:36:30
I suppose that the price for the word count is pretty good, and there are some innovative ideas here, but overall, for my purposes, I found it near completely useless. Some of the ideas here were a stretch and because of my own additions to the Word of Power rules, I know there are simpler things that can be added to the Words of Power rules. I will look it over again, but in my first reading there is not one thing in here that I will utilize in my Words of Power game. Of course, that is my opinion and I'm pretty picky.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Words of Power Unleashed
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Publisher Reply:
I totally agree, sir. Words of Power is not a friendly system. One man\'s additions can totally invalidate another\'s. That\'s why this product is small - I saw oncoming issues and walked away from it without making it large. In the end, I cooked up the ethermancer as a way to make words of power work by not needing it to be compatible with every spellcaster ever while affixing it to a chassis that made odd spell concatenation fun and balanced instead of a way to make a character weak and piddly. Give it a shot - it\'s my #1 product of 2014 by sales :)
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