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Tinkering 302: Modules - Tinker Magic Items
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/01/2016 11:37:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the Tinker class 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!

All right, the tinker class by Interjection games, by now, has a ton of amazing expansions and we begin this pdf with a recap of the invention subtype introduced so far in a handy cheat sheet. The pdf also offers a crucial component missing from the tinker class so far, namely magic items for the Tinker-class. These are called modules and can be fashioned via the Craft Module feat, which btw. requires CL 1st and deploy automaton, and yep, even though the tinker has no CL per se, only a quasi-CL, the feat explicitly notes that he qualifies.

The pdf offers 4 innovations to work in conjunction with modules: Juryrigged modules lets you improvise one module of less than 100 gp cost for the day; and no, it can't be stacked upon itself. Mastermaker increases your CL by +4 for crafting purposes as well as quicker module crafting. Module Maximizer lets you employ a module with a CL less than or equal o 1/2 your class level 2/day instead of 1/day and Rapid Infiltration lets you apply modules to yourself as a swift action via the organic infiltrator greater innovation.

Wait, what? Yep, there are 4 greater innovations here as well: Organic Infiltration lets you apply up to 3 modules to yourself, as though you were a better automaton cap. (More on that below!) Master Modifier allows you to change deploy automaton's activation action to a full-round, but also lets you add two modules to the automaton deployed. Energy Capture is an amazing high-level option with combo-potential galore: When using a module, you gain the benefits of the module until the end of your next turn. Finally, Alpha Modifier lets you add modules to your alpha and change it when you regain your daily deploy automaton class feature.

I mentioned the automaton cap - this is basically the item that makes it possible to apply modules to non-automatons - 1/day. The Directive Beacon is absolutely amazing: It lets you program a directive into an automaton, which is then stored - this directive can then be activated as an immediate action. The next item herein would be a whole class - inventor's helpers exist in 6 different categories. These contain a non-alpha, non-design, non-arcanotech invention or a series of inventions wherein one both requires and replaces another invention contained - basically, they can contain inventions with prereqs that build/expand a basic concept. Maximum BP-value for these is determined by the category of helper employed. The contained invention may 1/day spontaneously add its contained invention to a given automaton, allowing you to transcend the BP-cost maximum for the automaton thus, which is an interesting option.

Obsidian-Lead Spray Coating grants your automata scaling SR. Omega Modules allow for a more reliable hitting/damage. Overcharger allows for more uses of limited use inventions. Peepers are cool - they allow other characters to peer through automaton eyes in a certain range. Plasticizers also come in various versions, allowing you to add temporary hit points to automata. Propellant Pumps allow for the addition of propellants to a single firework, whereas Protectors can increase the AC of deployed automata. Refraction Modules provide invisible automata, while Spray Paint allows for the replacing of paint inventions - amazing! Now many of these modules need to be held like a one-handed weapon to be applied...and this is where the utility belt comes in - it lets you use a module sans holding it thus.

And finally, there would be weaponized backup, which is a gigadroid-only: 1/day, when wielded as a two-handed weapon, this one lets you substitute your gigadoid's blueprint with that of your alpha. Yep. This allows you to have an autonomous mecha with rudimentary intelligence. OH YES!!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' printer-friendly, elegant 2-column b/w-standard with fitting b/w-stock art and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

Whenever I think I'm done with the tinker, that I have seen everything Bradley Crouch can coax out of this amazing class, he one-ups himself. The modules presented herein are absolutely phenomenal and allow not only for a wide array of new combos, they also retain compatibility with the more complex components the tinker-engine by now offers. The enrichment the options herein provide and the added flexibility make this an absolutely must-have iteration for the tinker-class, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval. Can we get more modules...like...now? I haven't been this excited about the class since the combo-fest of paints was introduced...

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tinkering 302: Modules - Tinker Magic Items
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Class Expansions: Natural Disaster Animist Aspects
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/09/2016 10:11:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the animist class clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All 4 aspects provided herein are major aspects and the first would be the avalanche; it provides protection versus cold climates and gets a ice-sheet-based array of class level + Wis-mod temporary hit points.

For each major slot the aspect provides beyond the first, the animist class level is treated at +4 levels for the purpose of determining temporary hit points. Prominence 2: nets a 60-ft. line at 1d4 + class level, Ref to negate. Foes damaged can heal the animist's array of temporary hit points (can't be kitten'd, just fyi); at prominence 3, the damage is increased 1/day via a supercharge and grants more temp HP and prominence 4 nets the frost ability. 5 provides a final supercharge upgrade. Cool!

Pyrcoclasm would be next and adds explosions to objects damaged by the animist/creatures killed, provided they are taken apart/die at the latest the round after the animist damaged it. Prominence adds fire damage to weapon attacks. Prominence 2 extends the explosion counter to a minute; 3 decreases poison duration to 1 round for the animist, 4 adds +5 feet to the explosion-range and 5 adds the fire bonus damage to all attacks, not just the first.

The third aspect would be the tornado and increases movement rate and cause slashing damage to adjacent creatures of up to 1 per 10 feet moved, maximum Wis-mod. The latter cap can be enhanced for each prominence and 2 eliminates AoOs provoked beyond 20 feet of movement when charging, running, etc., emphasizing the skirmishing aspect. At 3 slots, you add a free trip to the first target beyond 20 feet movement. 4 lets you add an AoE attack as a substitute for the regular charge attack, based on slashing winds (cool!) and 5 adds increases to prominence 2 and 3 and also the speed quality.

The fourth aspect is the upheaval, whch lets the animist generate difficult terrain in bursts that does not hinder him; for each slot occupied, the radius increases. At prominence 2, chunks of stones can be generated from this upheaval and at prominence 3, chunks may move and bull rush foes (including damage). At prominence 4, more chunks can be generated and 5 increases the benefits further.

The pdf also sports a cool new feat: Select a major aspect occupying 2, 3 or 4 major slots; this aspect loses the prominence each benefits, but is instead treated as +1 prominence...cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection games' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch's expansions for the animist provide some cool crowd control options to the class and feature complex tweaks of the relatively simple engine. The combo-potential is neat indeed and...well. I love this pdf. It's cool, evocative and fun. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Natural Disaster Animist Aspects
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Class Expansions: Gadgeteer Accessories
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2016 07:33:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the gadgeteer class clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of options, so let's take a look!

We begin with the Craft (alchemy) 1 rank-requiring aerosol sprayer - it can't be juryrigged and may project chemicals into 5-foot squares in reach, activated as a standard action. Aerosol chemicals spoil over night and cannot be stockpiled. The default chemicals can duplicate obscuring mist or a Fort-negates sickening pepper spray. We also get add-ons - solid fog upgrade for 1 structure point, class level times 1d6 acid damage to be distributed among the affected for 1 structure point +1 daily use (1 structure point), upgrade to 15-ft-cone for 2 structure points that begins in a 5-ft-square chosen and spray to suppress fatigue/exhaustion is cool and non-cheesable. Healing 1d6 per class level via refreshing spritz at 2 structure points is also neat.

Tnaglefoot sprays are self-explanatory and there is a spider climb admixture for use with it, which is a neat combo - even though the reference to the spell isn't properly italicized. For 3 structure points, universal solvent may be sprayed. The James Bond-ish hat-a-rang gets enhancement bonuses and automatically returns to the thrower and is pretty hard to identify. It requires Craft (any) 1 rank and may be further made more stealthy with an addon. The non-juryriggable projectile parasol would make Batman's penguin proud and may be reloaded as a standard action, with notes on interaction with Rapid Reload...kudos! It can fire alchemical weaponry and is pretty neat. Addon-wise, antimicrobial/toxin bonuses for the wielder, making it double as a club, +1 maximum capacity, resistance 5 versus fire and acid and internal, regrowing alchemist's fire (may not be sold/taken out) and +5 feet splash can all be added for 1 structure point. For 2, you can increase direct hit damage output by +1d6, splash by 1 or get DR 2/- and the option to use the parasol as a tower shield.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no rules-relevant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch's gadgeteer accessories are cool, evocative and provide some nice versatility to the diverse tricks the class can pull off. The options are creative and fun. No complaints...and for just a single buck, most definitely a worthwhile expansion. Barring significant complaints, I will hence settle on a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Gadgeteer Accessories
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The Assassin: A Modular, Momentum Maneuvers Base Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/18/2016 09:55:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base class, commissioned via Interjection Games' patreon by Brandon Funderburgh, clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 33 pages, so let's take a look!

An assassin-class? Another one? Why would anyone care? Well, there IS a reason and this one was crafted by Bradley Crouch, so I'll expect something rather unique here...so please continue reading. What does the assassin class get?

Chassis-wise, the class gains d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-save progression and proficiency with simple weapons, blade boot, hand crossbow, katana, kukri, rapier, sap, scimitar, short sword, shortbow (including composite), shuriken and wakizashi as well as light armor. The class begins play with sneak attack +1d6 and increases sneak attack damage by +1d6 every 3 levels thereafter. As a minor nitpick, the table lacks the "+" before sneak attack, but is at least consistent in that regard. 2nd level nets evasion, just fyi.

The first defining aspect of the assassin class would be assassin techniques - the class begins play with 4 of them and learns a new one each level, up to 23 at 20th level. Techniques have two categories, "hot" and "cold" techniques and a save Dc of 10 + 1/2 class level + Int-mod, if applicable. Unless stated otherwise, only one technique per round may be executed. Hot techniques interact with Presence: An assassin begins play with the ability to exploit emotions and instinctive reflexes of targets - and uses them to accomplish deeds otherwise impossible. When a non-allied creature approaches within 60 feet of the assassin, the creature gains a presence pool, which can hold a maximum of 4 presence points and the pools are lost when a creature leaves the 60 ft. range for the assassin's Cha-mod minutes. Techniques modify the presence pool and can increase or decrease the presence pool of the creature in question. Thus, hot techniques have a presence source, which is usually single target (affecting the presence pool of a single foe); the more fantastic techniques have a certain presence required and they sport a presence change that modifies the presence points of the affected foe.

In contrast to hot techniques, cold techniques do NOT modify the presence pool and instead modify the assassin's technique pool. The assassin gains technique pool points equal to class level + Int-mod. These points replenish after 8 hours. These cold techniques ignore the presence required and presence change entries. They are paid from the technique pool and cost a number of points equal to the presence change. Finally, there are "lukewarm" techniques that may be executed as either hot or cold techniques. If that sounds complicated, rest assured that it really isn't once you've read the pdf.

Each of the two technique types also has 4 categories, which could be likened to schools - for hot techniques, we get acupressure, execution, initiation and magehunting, while cold techniques encompass infiltration (not properly italicized), intuition and poison. A system of this versatility does look like it could suffer from not having the necessary ease of building, but the class has a total of 5 universal techniques hard-wired in the class: At 1st level, studying a target can net you a presence change (and this one can be used in conjunction with other techniques). Later, creatures with HD equal to 1/2 assassin HD or less, you may reduce the presence pool of such a foe down to 0 and net you a temporary technique pool against the target, allowing for relatively quick dispatching of mooks. At 8th level, at the end of your turn, a nearby creature with 0 presence gets +1 presence (at 20th level all creatures are affected). 12th level lets you reduce a target's presence to 0, but also execute + 1 technique this round and 14th level nets you a luck bonus versus creatures with a presence pool that increases at 18th level.

As always, we get favored class options for aasimar, drow, hobgoblins, kitsune, kobold, orc, puddling, tiefling, vanara, vishkanya and core races and the class comes with almost 20 new feats for the class - beyond the obligatory increase of the technique pool, the feats allow for absolutely impressive, creative operations: Adding presence to adjacent foes after using an execution technique, retaining more stolen spells spells, spells as SPs... but there is more to be found: For example teaching an ally technique pools and the basics of assassination for 24 hours! Absolutely awesome and may be expanded! Gaining the option to add presence in surprise rounds is neat indeed. Have I mentioned gaining an infiltration technique. These feats allow for unique gambits, daily limit tricks, passive and active tricks - all in all an inspired set-up!

So, let's take a look at the technique lists! Structure-wise, we have the majority of techniques sans prerequisites, level 4, 6 and 8 as further prerequisite-levels and the techniques are listed by specialization and prereq-level in handy tables for your convenience. Let's start with the hot techniques: Acupressure techniques allow you to cause foes to drop objects, deafen or blind them or force them to move - basically, it takes all those cool chakra control and acupressure tropes we know from Easterns, WuXia movies and anime and codifies them as cool tricks.

Execution is awesome as well - Take the eponymous execute technique: It requires 4 presence, but deals damage to the target equal to the damage taken so far, max 1d6 per level, allowing you to finish off critters with awesome precision. I have never seen an ability that takes this concept actually work - here it does. Impressive. Nasty debuffs, bleeding wounds and adding feints combine brutal end-game attacks and set-ups. Awesome and absolutely glorious. Initiation allows for sniping: Instant throwing knives, disarming shots...oh, and what about hitting a target and then causing its actions to damage the target? That is mechanically intriguing and the sniping tricks work perfectly for Hitman-style assassins - get your inner 47 on!

Magehunting is similarly awesome and something I mentioned before: Spell-pilfering, penalized CLs, better saves, making homunculi from mages slain (!!!), dispel magic or copy spells you saved against - this one technique officially makes the assassin my favorite take on the anti-mage killer/ (slightly) arcane trickster trope ever.

Cold techniques are nothing to sneeze at either: Quicker movement, instant Kip Up, leaping through difficult terrain, walking up walls, blending with crowds: Infiltration makes you the badass secret agent/killer the assassin should be.

Once again taking the tropes of the Eastern/WuXia/tropes associated with mystic assassins, Intuition is all about preternatural awareness with lie detector tricks by touch, store d20s to later use (and even share with allies) - the tricks here go far beyond what we usually see and are creative, different and simply impressive. Finally, poison specialization autogrants poison mixology, which nets you daily, highly customable poisons as a basic framework that is used by all techniques, featuring additional doses, the option to drink poisons to heal (!!!) and squirt it from your eyeballs (!!!!) at foes. Making lethargic liquids to impose increasingly powerful conditions on foes...absolutely amazing.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some formal hiccups, these never impede the rules-language, which is impeccably precise, as we've come to expect from Bradley Crouch. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports solid stock art. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks, but does not feature bookmarks for the individual techniques.

OH MY GAWD. Sorry, I can't contain myself here. I read this and liked it. I tested it and loved it. I picked it apart and truly adored it. I saw it and thought "Great, yet ANOTHER assassin class." Don't be fooled. I am NOT kidding when I'm saying that:

A) This plays incredibly well, allowing for all the things that assassins were always supposed to do. B) From all the classes and takes on the concept I know of, none even comes remotely close to this class in versatility and, more importantly, in the category of fun. C) I have literally not seen about 90% of the tricks this class has before, and when I have seen one before, it was usually the one truly impressive trick of a class, not one among the vast numbers of unique options.

The momentum and point engines interact absolutely beautifully and the math framework is a beauty to behold if you pen it down: You have the passives, the set-ups, the daily tricks, a vast assortment of customization feats and, on a whole, truly different focuses in the specializations - each of them alone can make for glorious playing experiences, but mixing and matching is even cooler. With a ton of options in combat and beyond, this class is simply one of the best, most rewarding and unique playing experiences I know of for Pathfinder. It perfectly takes the much-maligned and often sucky trope of the assassin and makes it work perfectly, flawlessly and awesome for the first time in PFRPG.

Whether you want to play Assassin's Creed, Ninja's Scroll, Raj' Al-Ghul's killers, Codename 47 or any combination of these guys - this delivers and oh boy, do I want MORE!

This class may quite literally be my very favorite class from the pen of Bradley Crouch; it's that good. Let me reiterate: Even among his unique roster of classes, this stands out far above and beyond in concept and execution. It finally gives the superb concept of the assassin the proper due it deserves and actually has replaced the swordmaster as my favorite non-spellcaster class. Easy to grasp, with a glorious playing experience, this is a must-own class, one of the best classes out there and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars, my seal of approval and is a candidate for my Top ten of 2016. Oh, and it is from now on my go-to class for assassins and thus gets my EZG Essential tag.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Assassin: A Modular, Momentum Maneuvers Base Class
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Strange Magic Expanded - The Ethercoustic Theurge
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/14/2016 05:58:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little expansion for Strange Magic clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The ethercoustic theurge is a new 5-level PrC who gains up to +2 BAB-, Fort- and Ref-progression and +3 Will-save progression. The class gains 4+Int skills per level, no new proficiencies and has d6 HD. To qualify, you must have 7 ranks in Knowledge(Arcana) and Perform (Conducting) to show for as well as the ability to cast etherspells with 2nd level manifestations and prepare scores with at least two melodies.

This being a theurge-PrC for combining composition and ethermagic,, the levels of the class stack with composition class levels for the purposes of compositions gained, effective composer level, total number of scores and number of melodies per score; in the case of the harmonicist, this also influences the number of scores that can be conducted simultaneously. Additionally, the ethercoustic theurge's class levels stack with ethermagic-using class levels for purposes of CL, manifestations known, acquisition of new etherhearts, ether pool size and EP regeneration rate. In the case of belonging to multiple classes of either half of the equation (breakdancer/maestro or etherslinger/ethermancer, for example), the class for which the benefits apply is chosen upon taking the PrC.

At 1st level, the class gains etheric drone, which is a score that contains a sinmgle melody, uses the harmonicist effect language and may only target the theurge; as such, only melodies that can be learned by the harmonicist may be added to an etheric drone score. This drone cannot be used via composition; instead, whenever the theurge casts an alteration etherspell, the theurge may lower her maximum EP by 2 for the etherspell's duration, looping the etherspell. While the etherspell is thus looped, the theurge may begin conducting an etheric drone as a swift action that provokes AoOs, persisting for 10 + Perform (conducting) ranks rounds. This drone requires no conducting to maintain and cannot be willingly ended. This can be done 1/day, +1/day at 5th level.

Starting at 2nd level, the PrC can reduce her EP maximum by 2 to generate a summon instrument (which should be italicized in the pdf) voidhorn with a CL equal to composer level and Charisma as key ability modifier. The voidhorn is masterwork and permanent until dismissed. 2nd level also nets the musical paradox ability: Such a paradox is a 1.minute ritual using a non-conducting perform-check (though conducting can be substituted at a penalty) - upon completion, she chooses a paradox that is inactive until triggered as a free action or when replenishing the daily allotment of conduct composition. The higher the skill-check result, the higher the bonus; while skill checks can potentially be boosted pretty high, the effects of the paradoxes are really interesting and consist in reflexive DR or bypassing, SP or spell modification, tactical movement benefits, initiative boosts and resistances. The ability is kept in check by requiring different Perform checks for different effects and daily uses...and has a ton of cool tactical options.

At 3rd level, we get singing goop. Yes, this is glorious: When modifying a lesser etherblast with them, you lob them at allies (or foes) and instead of causing damage, they either allow you to name a score and be treated as though they were within 30 ft. of the caster for the score's purpose or render targets valid for the purpose of harmonicist scores, regardless of distance. LOVE IT!

As a 5th level capstone, the PrC gains temporary Ep equal to a score's base number of melodies when conducting a score. (And no, melody-increasing abilities do not increase this amount.) The PrC also comes with 4 feats: +1 drone per day, affect two creatures with paradoxes, increase the paradox's benefits and a 5th-level-prereq feat that unlocks the multiverse-famous song apotheosis as a bonus when reaching 20th level, providing the cool capstone you'd otherwise miss out due to multi/prestige-classing...though at a slightly decreased potency.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from a missing italicization, noticed no real issues. Layout adheres to Interjection games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf features fitting stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

From my own experience: There certainly are easier systems to work with than the intricate created and cool magic systems Bradley Crouch has designed. It takes a serious level of precision, commitment and math-skills to get right. Author Bennett Selchow has jumped in the deep end of the design-pool here; the one with endzeitgeist-shaped sharks waiting to take a bite out of the poor designer... Kidding aside - this is the first pdf by the author I've read and, spoilers, I certainly hope it won't be the last. Making theurge classes it hard. making theurge classes for spellcasting systems that are this complex and unique is even harder. Making sure that the result isn't boring? See, that is REALLY hard.

The author has succeeded at every one of these tasks: The ethercosuic theurge is flavorful, cool, has unique tricks and mechanics, feels different, maintains wide compatibility with the constituent systems. More than just two systems slapped together, the class has its distinct identity and as a fan of drone doom and similar music styles, I'll certainly reappropriate the damn cool drone mechanic beyond the confines of this PrC. You see, both drone and paradoxes could carry, concept-wise, their own archetypes or classes and my one regret herein is that this is not even longer. What we have here, in a nut-shell, is one damn inspired prestige class that fans of Strange Magic should consider a must-own pdf. My congratulations to the author alongside a verdict of well-deserved 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic Expanded - The Ethercoustic Theurge
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Ultimate Runesmithing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2016 04:06:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive supplement clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 40 pages of content, provided as a birthday present/commission via Interjection games' patreon for Preston Mitchell...so let's take a look!

The runesmith class, chassis-wise, receives d8 HD, 4+Int mod skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, all good saves and proficiency with simple weapons as well as light and medium armor. Runesmiths wearing shields increase their inscription costs of all rune activations by +1 inscription point. Furthermore, the methodology employed by the runesmith, chosen at 1st level, influences proficiencies. Calligraphy-users get whip and switchblade knife, runesmiths opting for chiseling gain hammer, warhammer, lucerne hammer and maul; Fingerpainters get Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat; gougers get light and heavy picks and the pickaxe and painters get the starknife and the syringe spear.

In case you haven't got that - yes, we get a new spellcasting system here - runes. These are magical glyphs that need to be charged before each use. A runesmith begins play knowing 3 runes and learns an additional rune at each new runesmith level. Runes fall in one of two categories - equipment or projection. Furthermore, there are generally 4 categories (or levels) of runes: Least, Lesser, Greater, Grandmaster. The first lesser rune known is unlocked at 5th level, the first greater at 11th level and the first grandmaster rune at 17th level.

Equipment runes are inscribed upon gear, indicating the type of gear it applies to. A given piece of gear may carry one such equipment rune and they usually grant a passive bonus. However, when within close range (25 ft + 5 ft./2 levels) of the rune, the runesmith that made it may activate it, granting a short-lived burst of power. Only least equipment runes may be inscribed upon magical items, with more powerful runes interfering with magical objects; equipment inscribed with the like does not gain benefits from spells or SPs or weapon special abilities.

Projection runes work regardless of the object on which they're inscribed and usually are carried around on stones, sketchbooks and the like; they are unusable by anyone other than the runesmith. They have no passive bonus, but may be activated when presented in one hand. The radii of two projections with the same name cannot overlap. Additionally, their activation cost when used the first time each day is 0.

Inscribing runes is somewhat akin to preparing spells - once the allotment of runes available is inscribed, previously potent runes exceeding the limit cease to function. Characters need to be proficient with equipment to gain the benefit of runes inscribed upon it. Runes have an activation time and an activation cost; activation cost is paid with inscription points Activation times vary and runes that can be activated as free, swift or immediate actions do not provoke AoOs. The save DC to resist rune-effects is 10 + 1/2 runesmith levels + Int-mod.

Equipment runes count as magic items for the purpose of interacting with effects that hinder magic, potentially suppressing it and ongoing effects continue to have the duration elapse. Effective caster level is equal to runesmith level and runesmith levels double as CL for the purpose of feat and PrC-qualification. Projection runes are treated as arcane spells, but do not incur arcane spell failure. They may be used defensively and have a school associated counting as spells of 1st, 3rd, 6th and 8th level spells for the purpose of counterspelling/interaction.

The runesmith begins play with an inscription pool equal to class level + Int-mod, which replenishes after 8 hours of consecutive rest. 2nd level provides a bonus equal to half class level to Linguistics and Profession (scribe)-checks. Starting at 3rd level, the runesmith may apply lesser, greater and grandmaster runes to magic items and armors with a +1 enhancement modifier, but all effects on the weapon are suppressed while the rune is applied to it. At 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter, these runes can be attached to progressively better magic items; at 11th level, for example, the runesmith may add these runes to +3 weapons and armor.

Interesting: At 4th level, the runesmith may transform one of his inscribed runes within 30 feet into another rune of the same power level and type he knows as a full-round action that provokes AoOs - this may not sound like much, but it provides some interesting tactical flexibility. At 6th level, the runesmith learns to generate and inscribe a compound rune - two least runes can be inscribed as a lesser rune, with a single activation triggering both. One such rune per day can be made, +1 at 10th and 18th level. Starting at 14th level, the runesmith may combine two lesser runes into a greater rune, but may only have one such rune per day. Finally, as a capstone, the runesmith may combine a least, lesser and greater rune into the equivalent of a grandmaster rune. For these combined rune-tricks, activation cost and time is always equal to the highest of the activation costs and time of the runes involved in generating the compound structure.

9th level provides a luck bonus to saves versus writing-related spells or effects that further increases at 13th level and the class comes with favored class bonuses for the core races, aasimar, drow, hobgoblin, kitsune, kobold, orc, puddling, tiefling, vanara and vishkanya - and these should nt be discounted: Some allow for the stacking of identical runes on equipment or temporary hit points when activating runes as a kind of buffer shield. So yeah, mechanically relevant and creative.

Beyond these, the pdf also features 3 archetypes, the first of which would be the campaigner. The campaigner must take the sigil of the campaigning soldier at first level and always inscribe it in its highest level possible iteration; if objects are drawn from the cloak it is inscribed upon, the campaigner may roll twice. This sigil generates pockets, from which useful things may be drawn - including armor, weapons, medicine, weapons...and no, they can't be sold. At 2nd level, the campaign replaces the skill-bonuses usually gained with The Adventuring Soldier feat. This feat expands aforementioned rune to include a dungeoneering pocket and features 2 temporary inscription points for activation of this rune only. At 4th level and every 2 levels thereafter, the temporary inscriptions thus gained are increased by +1. 6th level provides the follow-up feats The Devout Soldier and The Inquisitive Soldier, which provide access to divine and arcane 1st level spells respectively and increase activation cost of the sigil of the campaigning soldier thus modified by +1. Starting at 10th level, the archetype treats the scrolls thus drawn as though they had the campaigner's full CL and the increased activation cost is eliminated. At 14th level, class ability only upgrades for the pockets containing arcane and divine spells are providing, allowing access to 2nd level spells at 1/2 class level CL and at +1 activation cost. At 18th level, metamagic with a spell-level increase of +1 may be spontaneously applied to scrolls drawn from these pockets for spell level inscription points and an action extended to a full-round action. As a capstone, an oblivion pocket is gained, which may contain multiple powerful random spells.

The Forgemaster archetype gets Knowledge (local) as a class skill and at 2nd level, for every rune class (least, lesser, etc.) he knows, he may inscribe one rune on two items, declaring one a rental, which works just like a regular rune, but may not be activated...until 4th level, when a forgemaster may activate a least rune inscribed and at the same time trigger a single rented rune within 30 ft. of the same type at double activation cost and as a full round action. This ability is unlocked for lesser runes at 8th level, greater runes at 12th level and grandmaster runes at 18th level.

The third archetype would be the projectionist, who only gains projection runes, but gains the Metaprojection Study feat at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. This feat unlocks metamagic feats for which you meet the prerequisites and grants you its benefits to apply them to projection runes, increasing activation action to full-round, but without increasing the rune's level; instead, activation cost increases by a number of points equal to the level increase of the metamagic feat that particular iteration of Metaprojection Study mimics. At 16th level, activation time is no longer extended. Starting at 4th level, the projectionist may forego learning a rune and instead choose a known projection rune with a least variant; when inscribed as a least rune, said rune may thereafter be activated two times for free, not just once. 12th level, lesser runes qualify as well. At 8th level, the projectionist may inscribe a rune and activate it as a lesser type of the same rune, allowing for some flexibility; only the actually inscribed rune qualifies for purposes of the daily free activation(s).

The pdf also features an extensive selection of feats and includes notes on the interaction with arcane spell-modifying feats and the respective runes. A total of 11 feats are covered and I already mentioned a couple of them in the archetype section, since they directly pertain the functionality of the archetypes in question. The feats allow for the DC-increase of runes used in a certain slot, double-inscribe a single item, get more modify runes, learn a least rune or gain two temporary inscription pool points to use in conjunction with a chosen rune. Finally, you may inscribe trickster's calling card as a grandmaster rune - the rune, as a passive benefit, usually allows for the use of a cantrip, an orison and a 1st level spell, with activation replenishing the uses. The feat increases the scope of this sigil.

Equipment runes are compatible with the armor, feet, hands, head, shoulder and weapon item slots. When a rune mentions "all" slots, it refers to these. The runes, in organization, are formatted by rune level and type - we get alphabetic lists for the equipment and projection runes. Beyond that, we also gain a very handy list of runes alphabetically by function; since runes may be inscribed as multiple levels, the respecive write ups denote these with Lt, Lr, Gr and Gm for Least, Lesser, Greater and Grandmaster, respectively. P denotes the passive ability summary, A the activation summary and S for Special any special ability summary. The list also collates the respective slots and the runic lists, once again, distinguish between equipment and projection runes - these only have an E-entry for effect in the list. Now this may sound a bit confusing when I break it down like this, but rest assured, it's not.

Now if the runic system, so far has not evoked this impression from you, rest assured that you will not mistake them for spells; there are, for example, runes that increase your inscription pool. To provide an analogue - this is a bit like a spell increasing your spell slots...and yes, this is actually balanced. The gamut of the effects and their internal scaling is similarly intriguing - higher levels of runes not only escalate numerical benefits, they provide whole new, thematically linked options. When you e.g. activate an inscribed duelist's insignia, a +4 dagger and rapier manifest in your hands. And yes, if you have not gleaned that by now - while passive benefits have a basically infinite duration, active benefits do have an activation duration. And yes, the runes take a lot of cool concepts and don't operate in a vacuum: With the right rune, you can make people capable of operating siege engines as though they had the Siege Engineer feat, for example and via activation, a single character can count as a full crew for reloading purposes. Evader's Deletion provides means to counteract scrying for progressively more powerful items.

Hangman's Assistant also deserves special mention - it makes your cloak capable of being used as a primary natural attack that adds progressively better monster quality abilities pertaining combat maneuvers like trip and constrict as activation benefits. Of course, the usual suspects like skill-enhancers can be found, but, as a huge plus, the pdf takes a cue from the Master of Forms in terms of elemental creativity; you will not find boring cut-copy-paste element-themed options herein; instead, elemental themes, when featured, come with unique benefits, with Hoarfrost Emblem inscribed weapons reducing the movement speed of creatures struck by the weapon it is inscribed upon. This should not be taken as an indicator that resistances or elemental bonus damage cannot be found, mind you; but it does mean that, upon activation, an electricity-enhanced weapon generates arcs of lightning upon striking a foe for the first time each round. Using the Exodus Rune to teleport unattended objects as a lesser effect from an entry to an exit area may be nice; at higher rune levels, you can do the portal trick instead, though! If you've been thinking that the quasi-Norse theme often associated with runes seems to be missing, let me counter that with the assertion that AoE-designation of areas as halls wherein speaking lies is prohibited or that structures may be erected from the very ground - yes, potentially with permanency option.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports copious amounts of thematically fitting stock art. The pdf features bookmarks for the chapters and tables (for e.g. the robe of many-things-like runes), but not to the individual runes.

It is pretty hard to convey the fascination this system has provided for me; you see, the runesmith, make no mistake, is a caster; yes; but at the same time, the class obviously has a completely different feeling than just about all casters I know. Similarly, it is easy to see the appeal regarding an utility/tools character, but that would not take the magical capabilities into account. The appeal it has also does not lie within the engine, for while it like the mechanical framework underlying these guys, it is not my favorite of Brad's engines.

The best picture to exemplify what these guys do I can come up with is that of the rune-savvy skald (not the PFRPG class) in literature; the rune-casting Pict banishing the giant golden slug-thing in Conan (kudos if you know that one!), the soldier who knows some magical runes in a magical quartermaster-style way; the wise and mystical philosopher-calligrapher in a WuXia-setting or the primitive runecaster in a savage culture - runesmithing represents all of these and does a better job at that task. Better yet, the framework and how it works is really simple. The system itself is complex and allows for great tricks, but as for difficulty to play and build, the runesmithing options here are easy to grasp and implement, easier to grasp than e.g. the kineticist, if you need a direct comparison. Runesmithing makes sense in a traditional fantasy context as well as in a more savage or sword and sorcery-esque scenario.

That still does not properly enunciate what I love about this class: Runesmiths are a trickster's option; an utility (or blasting) option...and they have a very unique feeling. After digesting and testing the options herein, this pdf did not only leave me with the wish to implement the content in my notoriously hard to get in main campaign; it actually made me come up with campaign ideas that focused on it as the primarily available means of performing magic for the PCs. Whether it's one set in a medieval/stone-age period of our own world, a savage trip through hyperborean realms of ice or early Malazan-like struggles of elite units in a war in a fantastic world - runesmithing, as a system, feels like it could carry a setting. The expansion potential for new runes and tweaks of the system is huge and I do believe that crossovers with e.g. truenamers or similar more caster-y spellcasters would actually work...but for now, I'm content. This book seems to be pretty successful and Bradley Crouch has been consistent in his class support for the classes that have an extended audience. In this case, this is excellent news, for the whole concept of runesmithing as present here has nigh infinite expansion options on its own. Similarly, no or rare magic (items) campaigns could easily use the framework posited here and modify/scavenge it to replace magic items in a world that simply doesn't have as much and somewhat mitigate the issue of PFRPG's math falling apart without them.

So yes, runesmithing works impressively smooth, is pretty easy to grasp and has a ton of potential... and I'll put a campaign using these instead of more traditional types up magic up for a vote when we decide on the next main campaign to run. That's a pretty huge deal. This is a truly inspiring little book and well worth 5 stars + my seal of approval as well as being nominated as a candidate for my top ten of 2016.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Runesmithing
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Remedial Tinkering - Obligatory Lovecraft Expansion
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/29/2016 11:30:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion of the tinker-class clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

"It had to be done." This simple sentence and the very title made me smile. It takes cojones to choose such a title...and make its very introductory title actaully kinda funny. So yes, this would be the "obligatory Lovecraftian expansion" of the tinker's options...but is it on par with the more evocative tinker-expansions?

As we have so far established a ton of new descriptors in the expansions and the pdf thankfully collates all of them for your convenience; the content herein ties into the absolutely GLORIOUS Happy Little Automata-expansion (aka provide unique paint-jobs that allow for combo-tricks!) - and if you don't have that one yet, you should certainly get it. If you absolutely don't want to, you don't have to, though - only one of the inventions herein has the paint descriptor. The pdf introduces a new subtype invention, the tentacle invention. Only a single tentacle invention may be added to a given blueprint and since it directly influences the grafted tentacle, benefits only come into play when the tentacle is actively used.

We begin this supplement with two innovations: Tentacle Savant nets you the grafted tentacle invention as a bonus invention, treat it as a 2nd level invention with a BP cost of 2. In addition, all tentacle subtype as though their invention level was 1 lower for the purpose of learning them and adding them to blueprint. The second innovation, Wiggly Decorator, builds on it: Tentacle subtype inventions are treated as though they had the design descriptor and grafted tentacle (here not italicized properly) is treated as though it had a BP cost of 1.

The pdf also sporst a greater innovation, namely non-euclidean pathfinding...and it is a truly unique one: Automatons using diagonal movement get +10 ft. to their movement rate and don't provoke AoOs when moving diagonally. This is so simple and cool, I honestly found myself wondering why utilizing diagonal movement this way has not been done before. Two thumbs up!

The pdf also features no less than 15 inventions: All-seeing eye nets automata darkvision 60 ft.; conduit of revelation grants automata a kind of aura that allows other characters an insight-bonus to Knowledge checks. Automata with speakers can gain a retributive tune-in to the dimensions of madness, rendering foes that attack the automaton shaken on a failed save. There also are inventions for the discerning kamikaze directive (but not contingent kamikaze directive): Lingering vestige Adaptors let the automaton remain standing after executing the kamikaze directive at 1 hit points, with limited use inventions reduced to 0 uses. The improved variant, the lingering bestige autonomy module lets the automaton use a limited-use self-targeting invention as a free action before setting the uses to 0, allowing for combo-set-ups via kamikaze directives. Particularly considering the squirming tentacles invention: Unlike what one would expect, this one does not build on grafted tentacle and thus does not have the tentacle subtype; instead, the kamikaze directive is modified to display squirming, flaming tentacles that impose the entangled condition on those hit by the kamikaze directive.

Aforementioned paint invention, bile green paint, imposes a penalty on Will-saves on those hit by the automaton. Automata with a maintenance mode are not destroyed at 0 HP, but rather at -10 HP; between 0 and -10 HP, the automaton is in maintenance mode, which behaves basically like the unconscious bleeding out so many mortal creatures of flesh are prone to. There also would be two strange aeons inventions: The strange aeons parser has you roll a d20 and record the result upon deploying the automaton; this roll may later be substituted for a d20 roll executed by the automaton, but only once and before results are made known. The follow-up invention, the strange aeons precognition device lets you use that result even after results are made known.

Now, this has been pretty much a tradition, so I expected that: The one tentacle restriction imposed on the tentacle subtype? With the dual tentacle invention, you can ignore it and use up to two tentacles at once. Additionally, the benefits of the grafted tentacle invention are maintained when making use of a single invention with the tentacle subtype - the other tentacle can cover for it, after all! Tentacles! Finally! So, what modifications for tentacles are available? Itchy trigger tentacles works with grafted tentacle...and it must, for it allows the tinker to issue a kamikaze directive as a free action after an automaton successfully hits with the tentacle, but only at halved tinker level for the purpose of the kamikaze directive.

Prehensile tentacles allow the automata to wield one-handed melee weapons in the tentacle, adding reach to it. Sticky tentacles is cool: The tentacle emits a sticky good that duplicates the effects of spider climb constantly...and finally, sludge launchers, usable as a directed standard action, allow the tinker to have the automaton fire a blast of adhesive goo at a target within 60 feet. This is a ranged touch attack and entangles the target for 2 rounds on a successful hit. The grafted tentacles remains inoperational until the master's next turn after being used.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good: The rules-language is as precise and to the point as I've come to expect from Bradley Crouch. On a formal level, italicization and the like isn't as concise as in most Interjection games-books; I noticed a couple of "requires" erroneously italicized. Only cosmetic glitches, though. The pdf sports nice b/w-stock art and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch's "Obligatory Lovecraft Expansion" is a cool addition to the tinker's arsenal. Using diagonal movement type as a game-relevant basis for unique tricks is actually something I have never seen before - and in an engine as versatile and long-used as Pathfinder, that's indeed something! Similarly, the respective inventions are fun an evocative, though I honestly wished the pdf had a means to kamikaze a tentacled automaton and "spread the taint" of the tentacle to another, non-tentacled automaton...it would have worked well within the context of the theme. Oh well, that kind of combo-potential may perhaps be found in a future expansion...if I may suggest a title there: "Lovecraft Expansion II: Non-euclidean bugaloo." I'm kidding, of course - I'd actually want to see that!!

All in all, this is a fun, cool expansion to the tinker and, in spite of very minor formal hiccups, this is well worth 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering - Obligatory Lovecraft Expansion
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Master of Forms Expanded - Shadow and Darkness
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2016 04:22:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the absolutely AWESOME Master of Forms base class clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The master of forms class is a genius elemental martial arts system that provides diverging tricks, with each element playing differently...so, how does the new element shadow fare? Well, for one, the master of forms in the shadow stance immediately enters an element's stance when performing a non-shadow form, allowing for the flexible transition from shadow to another element. The pdf contains two secret arts associated with shadow: All-encompassing shadows lets him choose three wild card forms for which he meets prerequisites and perform them as though he knew them. Withdrawing shadows lets the master steal the shadow of a creature within 60 feet, requiring Will-saves to perform supernatural abilities or cast spells - on a failure, the target loses its action! Damn cool!

Beyond that, obviously, the pdf does feature a selection of shadow forms: Blinding dust to be used in lieu of attacks, tentacles of cold-damage dealing shadows that entangle creatures attacking you in melee... pretty interesting. Cobra Strike, as 0 focus required, +1 focus change, is interesting, allowing you to perform an attack that only deals base weapon damage as a swift action, but prevents you from otherwise attacking the target. Form of the Spider enables you to work more efficiently when flanking a foe, but penalizes your attacks against foes you do not flank...and, you may expend focus to perform an attack against a flanked creature as a free action. There also are forms that allow you to copy other forms (at -4 focus change for the bigger one, at +1 for the smaller form, but with a more limited scope, obviously). A form that grants benefits when studying a foe before striking is nice...and there would be a cool gambit form, which makes the next AoO against you automatically hit, but grants you DR equal to half your class level against it...and allows you to retaliate with an AoO if you do take damage...and it does this while increasing focus by +1.

Balanced, short-range teleportation (but only into flanking position!) and freeing your shadow to set up flanking position with you would be another interesting combo move and there is a -1/0 focus change form that allows you to flank a target even if you aren't - it costs 0 focus, obviously, when you're already flanking, but does allow for focus maintenance in such cases. Kudos for getting this one! There also would be a -4 focus change ability that lets you set-up a short-range teleport that automatically causes an attack to miss. this one is pretty complex, but cool and works well indeed. Also interesting in that I have not seen it done before: Repeating an attack that previously missed with all previous modifiers and buffs...which is gold for the instances where you have to hit...and then rolled that stupid natural 1.

The pdf also does provide archetypes, the first of which would be the drifting one: When he performs two consecutive forms of the same element within 1 minute, he loses 1 point of focus, but when he does perform 3 of them within the time frame, his maximum focus increases by +1, with universal forms being treated as their own element. He does pay for this flexibility with stances, though. At 5th level, he may expend 2 focus to gain the benefits of an elemental stance for 1 round, though...and no, he can't be in more than one at a given time. 9th level is truly interesting, allowing the drifting one to change a form's element for 1 focus, replacing the secret art gained there. 13th level nets improved evasion, while 17th level unlocks an element's secret arts while the maximum focus is increased and 20th level provides 1 focus regeneration at the beginning of his turn whenever the archetype's focus is 0. This archetype plays surprisingly different when compared to the base class. Cool!

Elemental Partisans can also be, via a special caveat, be unbalanced masters and chooses an element at first level - though shadow is excluded from the list due to being the unopposed, connecting factor. Elemental partisans may not learn forms or secret arts of the element opposing his own element chosen...but for the exclusion of this one element, they do gain access to a selection of 3 special forms per element: Earth lets you instantly grow a tree (!!), get barkskin or leave entangling brambles in your wake.Fire lets you damage adjacent creatures to your target with fire damage (including a means to bypass resistance for focus expenditure), leave a comet-like trail of blazing fire that damages those nearby or add free 5-foot movements to all your focus expenditure, mimicking the chaotic dance of the wildfire.

Ice lets you name a spell or supernatural ability and hamper a target trying to employ it, end all ice forms in a burst of cold...and the final one is pretty cool: Ice needs a bit of set-up, but when it does hit, it gets brutal: Cause bonus damage on successful saves and render those that critically save shaken? Yeah, that feels like ice, all right. Lightning lets you enhance your defense and generate static electricity...and it gets the awesome grounded ability: Designate a square within 120 ft. as the "ground" - when you move towards it, your base land speed doubles, but upon reaching it, you can't move from it until the beginning of your next turn. Volatile, fast and risky - cool! And yes, you can fire a blast of electricity. Wind, finally, lets you fire unarmed attacks at range, AoE-trip foes via cyclonic air...and there is a form that lets you expand the reach of non-AoO-unarmed attacks by +20 feet.

Now, I already mentioned the unbalanced master: These guys can only learn forms with a focus change of -4 of their primary element, which is chosen at 1st level and all forms with a focus change of +1 of an element other than the designated primary element are treated as though they only had a focus change of 0. However, depending on the primary element chosen, these guys do get a pool dependant on the chosen element and they contain a number of points equal to the class level of the unbalanced master. These points have vastly diverging uses that fit with the themes of the element - earth can, for example, substitute these points for focus points when dealing with -2, -3 or -4 focus change earth forms, but only when below 1/2 maximum health. Fire can utilize the points to pay for secondary effects of forms, etc. - basically, these are modifications of the resource management of the class that depend on the respective element. Very cool!

Walkers in darkness would be up next and while there is a slight formatting glitch with one ability not properly bolded, the archetype is very intriguing. Walkers in darkness are vessels for so-called observers from Elsewhere and these entities tend to change the character - at 2nd level and every 5 levels thereafter, the walker gains a gift from elsewhere, basically one type of new talent the archetype receives - these can range from extraordinary to supernatural and cover both active and passive abilities. Among the passive ones, increase base land speed, rerolls when confused and the like can be found, while the active ones are somewhat different. The walker in darkness begins play with an escalation pool equal to his class level and whenever the walker performs a darkness form that can escalate, the form's escalation score may be paid from this pool. In a unique twist, the pool may be increased: A walker can choose, upon replenishing the pool via resting, to accept a -1 penalty to one saving throw; for each penalty thus accepted (maximum equal to 1/4 class level, minimum 1) he gains a temporary darkness point that stacks and is added to the pool. This replaces stances and stance savant. These points, just fyi, also represent the fuel for some of the active abilities the archetype has, including a damaging gaze...and yes the gifts can also be used to increase pool-size and 17 of them are included in the deal.

Here's the thing, though - this is no mere simple standard archetype - instead, this one comes with a whole array of specific forms exclusive to the walker. For example, the guys can vomit forth acidic darkness with a save to negate...or to halve, when the escalation cost is paid. Basically, the escalation cost is somewhat akin to psionic augments or at higher levels-options in 5e in that they provide further flexibility to the respective forms, which pretty much...well, awesome. What about a form that makes any attack that is successful against you provoke an AoO? Entering a foe's square for +10 bonus to atk in a desperate offense, adding scaling bleed damage to combat maneuvers, staggering foes (with minor, untyped damage) and a save to negate the stagger, temporary hit points, bursts of energy that strike secondary targets...nasty. Have I mentioned gouging a creature's eyes out? Complete with a "takes more uses versus creatures with more eyes"-caveat? Yeah, pretty visceral. Okay, and then there is Mutually Assured Destruction. Not a death effect...but if a creature kills you...well, it is shunted to the nastiest part of elsewhere, obliterated from existence. Oh, and guess what? If you pay escalation and the creature doesn't have enough hp...it doesn't even get a save, but if you do pay this cost, you're erased as well. That's pretty awesome for both villains and anti-heroes. Claws of darkness that slowly degrade are also possible...with escalation, they may even detonate! Corrupting items...what about attacking versus touch AC or getting SR? Yeah, pretty damn cool and flavorful!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on both a rules and formal level, with one bolding oversight as a cosmetic glitch being my only true complaint. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' clean and easy to read, printer-friendly b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment...then again, I'd suggest printing this out anyways. The book, beyond abstract swirly-like graphics, also features several flavorful b/w-artworks I haven't seen before - nice!

Bradley Crouch's Master of Forms is one of my favorite classes. It's appropriate for any type of game, from high to low fantasy; its elements play differently, with each having a unique feeling, a unique experience and their combinations and customizations make the class extremely rewarding to play. Well, this book not only introduces a very skirmish-y ninja-ish style of gameplay that is very unique, even in the well-trodden arena of shadow-themed classes, it also enhances the customization options of the base class via unique and intriguing archetypes that radically change the manner in which the master of forms plays; better yet, the damn cool walker's escalation system addition may have covered a LOT of ground with the significant amount of cool forms provided, but it's nowhere near tapped out yet and once again, plays differently from a regular master of forms. What you do and don't do, what your forms allow you to pull off, here as much as in the base class, define very much the playing experience; with cool combos, unique stunts and a general feeling of...well, being awesome, suffusing this pdf as much as its parent book.

I am very happy for this book to have seen the light of day, for the system is rewarding and the cool system of the class with its focus-changes, planning and combo-tricks very much feels like playing a balanced version of friggin' Mortal Kombat: Supernatural martial arts that still feel believable in the context of a fantasy world, that have, in spite of being fantastic, a certain grounding. (Meta-pun re grounding form! I'll punch myself later...) Suffice to say, if anything, this book is a shining example of how great such an expansion can be. I absolutely adore it. My final verdict will, unsurprisingly, clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and this one gets a nomination for my Top Ten of 2016...excuse me, I have to plan a walker villain for my next game...

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Master of Forms Expanded - Shadow and Darkness
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Class Expansions: Apothecary Plaguewright Archetype (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2016 09:42:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This PWYW-expansion for the plaguewright class clocks in at 3 pages -1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so what does the apothecary do?

Apothecaries must utilize benign strains in each of their vials (but still may also use malignant strains!) and gain a dosage pool at first level equal to their apothecary level. Whenever the apothecary draws a culture from his vials, he may spend a dosage point to add a terminal mutation known to the syringe as though it were present in the culture. He must add benign mutations to benign strains and malignant mutations to malignant strains.

Also at 1st level, all benign strains gain the terminal euphoria terminal mutation without occupying a mutation slot; this mutation heals 1 point of damage upon the mutation ending and may be taken multiple times (class levels determining the maximum), thus replacing discerning eye. As a capstone, terminal mutations added are treated as though they had been taken an additional time.

The pdf also provides three benign terminal mutations - as a nitpick, these do not have the terminal descriptor and only note being terminal in their name, but oh well. Terminal Bravado allows for fear-save rerolls, terminal clarity for limited DR-ignoring and Terminal Rehabilitation for the healing of attribute damage.

The pdf also contains two new feats: Chaser Coating makes you choose a vial and mutation known that is both benign and malignant. Cultures made in the vial get chosen mutation added sans occupied mutation slot, but mutations that take up two or more slots can't be chosen this way. The feat can be taken multiple times. Another feat lets you ignore the DR of willing creatures.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from the descriptor-hiccup, which is pretty much cosmetic, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to IG's two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch's plaguewright is one of the weirder classes that have come out of Interjection Games' oeuvre and it is COMPLEX. In fact, it is perhaps one of the hardest to grasp classes and this pdf offers a cool, free expansion for the class. While terminal euphoria is nice, I found myself wishing that its scaling was slightly more pronounced - the largest untapped potential for the plaguewright, ultimately, is that of a science-y healer for campaigns where the gods don't heal...or the PCs aren't on their good side. The archetype helps here, but the restriction pertaining the enforced presence of benign strains limits the offense capabilities of the archetype a bit. You can enhance these, both offense and healing, mind you - the class has a ton of moving parts with which you can work and, combined with Terminal Vigor and the temporary hit points from terminal health, the archetype works in interesting buff-combos.

So yeah, while personally, I'll upgrade that one's potency a bit, the pdf is also, ultimately, available for any price you're willing to pay and for a PWYW-book, this is certainly worth a tip and a download. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Apothecary Plaguewright Archetype (PFRPG)
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Strange Magic Expanded - The Elegist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/12/2016 09:01:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion to the absolutely superb Strange Magic-book clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

An elegy is defined as a poem of serious reflection, usually written in elegiac couplets, often pertaining themes of death, existential dread etc. - with a traditional 3-part structure that features descriptio, lamentatio and consolatio - native speakers of English add a simple "n" and their function becomes pretty self-apparent. Now lyric comes from "lyra" and thus it should be no surprise to see the connotation and three-part structure making for a natural fit for the system of composition magic introduced in Strange Magic.

The elegist is a new base class that gets 1/2 BAB-progression, good Will-saves and begins play with 2 scores (scaling up to 5) and 1 melody per score (also scaling up to 5), with 3rd level unlocking 1st level spells, scaling up to 6th. Spells the elegist learns are drawn from the mesmerist spell list and obviously are psychic spells - after all, flavor-wise, the elegist takes his powers from the communion with the dead. Charisma is the governing attribute for the elegist's spellcasting. Elegists can cast each spell he knows exactly 1/day, with high Charisma instead adding new spells known. At 7th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the elegist may change a known spell to another of the same level or lower, though only spells of one level below his maximum spell level may be replaced thus. Spells are treated as spontaneous spells for all other purposes.

The elegist gets d6 HD and 4+Int skills per level. Intelligence governs his scores, with bonus scores at 1st level equal to Int-mod/3, rounded down. Each score must contain an intro, a melody and an outro, with third level and every 5 levels thereafter allowing for the addition of another melody to a given score, with 5th level and every 6 levels thereafter providing a bonus score.

The elegist gets a bit more MAD; though - to prepare or use a score, the elegist needs to have a Wisdom-score equal to 12 + number of melodies in the score, with save DC- being equal to 10 + 1/2 class level + Wis-mod. As established, compositions do not need to be refreshed via composition books, though changing them requires the support of said notes. The composition book begins with 3 intros/outros as well as 1+Wis-mod melodies, min 1. Each level grants one intro or outro as well as one melody and learning compositions follows pretty much a means akin to learning spells, with a cost of 100 gp times the composition's minimum level.

So far, so basic - at 1st level, the elegist gains the communion class feature, which allows the elegist to select a composer spirit, following taboos and rules somewhat akin to how the spirit influence on the medium class works. Not heeding a personality quirk results in dissonance, with 3 or higher locking the elegist out of the spirit's benevolent abilities , while also penalizing the elegist with -1 to composer level per dissonance point accrued. If the elegist reaches 3 dissonance, he must wait 24 hours to obtain a new composer spirit. At 10th level, the legist chooses a secondary spirit that only grants the 1st level ability, though they share the dissonance pool.

Conducting compositions works as always; should you require a break-down of how that works, please consult my reviews of Ultimate Composition etc. At 2nd level, the elegist gains a +1 deflection bonus to AC that increases by a further +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Since this protection is granted by the ghostly presences surrounding him, a 10th level elegist can, as an immediate action, project this bonus to another willing creature within 60 ft. as an immediate action. However, thereafter, the bonus is lost for 1 minute before reinstating itself...at least until 19th level, where the elegist continues to benefit from the bonus while outsourcing his deflection and where the cool-down no longer is required.

Also at 2nd level, the elegist may scribe folios from which composers may prepare compositions (basically scrolls for the system) and, as a capstone, the class no longer gains dissonance, instead gaining +2 to atk, skills and saves when taking a new spirit, until he first would take dissonance, whereupon the bonuses vanish. That's it - no more penalties.

The pdf provides a total of 10 composer spirits, who generally grant bonuses at 1st,m 4th and 7th level, though the 4th level-ability is upgraded at 14th. The first of these, Brother Francis, provides healing (not the biggest fan here, but oh well) and the option to play a score for a single ally, who, however, may benefit from all melodies contained as though they had been taken an additional time. Finally, the spirit grants a musica sacra at 7th level, usable 1/day as a full-level cantor.

Chordius Marigold can shout his music, with a conical effect instead, choosing whether to apply the benefits to the elegist every time, with higher levels providing lingering effects after the end of a composition, provided you do not immediately restart another composition - at least until 14th level. Immunity to the deafened composition is also included. The dervish lets you increase the range of your compositions as a move action and 4th level allows you to introduce a counterpoint, a single-melody, intro- and outro-less composition that may be woven into a given already active composition, with 14th level unlocking a second counterpoint. 7th level nets a refrain, which contains melodies equal to the score in effect, replacing temporarily the effects of the melodies f the ongoing composition at the cost of deducting 1 round from the duration of the score currently being conducted.

Lady Moon allows you to affect either only undead or everything but the undead and at 4th level, creatures affected gain Cha-mod resistance to negative or positive energy, respectively. 7th level allows the elegist to affect mindless undead as though they were not mindless and 14th level provides temporary hit points to all affected. Memed Labingi increases the DC by +1 versus adjacent creatures and allows you to emit a 5-feet pushing boost when letting a composition peter out, with 14th level increasing range and adding damage. 7th level nets DR equal to the number of non-ally creatures adjacent.

Sherman Smith gets a wizard cantrip and cleric orison at-will, with 4th level providing both a 1st level spell for both lists, but with each cast decreasing rounds remaining from your composition. 7th level upgrades composition conduction duration by 2 rounds and 14th level nets 3rd level spells. Sir Alphonse Worthington III, Esq. is a bit special - this spirit requires you to ALWAYS use his full name and begin with the masterpiece as first score...and after just one slight, he's gone...not 3 shots and out. One slight. However, he grants bonuses to saves versus compositions, performances, etc. 4th level nets the aforementioned masterpiece, which has an added melody slot, +2 slots at 14th level. Finally, if all creatures save versus the intro or outro of the masterpiece, you gain 1 temporary conducting round for the masterpiece. Btw.: These taboo-like restrictions are always pretty creative: Sherman Smith, the spellcasting spirit, needs you to alternate the SPs from cleric and wizard-lists, for example.

Theodore Beauregard...nets you fast healing 1 when conducting, 2 at 13th level. This quite a lot healing...not the biggest fan here. 4th level provides 15 ft. perfect maneuverability fly speed while conducting (30 ft. at 14th level) and 7th level nets immunity to mind-affecting effects while conducting. Thurg add dodge bonuses to allies affected by your scores and allows you to trigger intros or outros as a swift action, with 14th level adding movement to the action. Additionally, outros of scores lasting at least 4 rounds become harder to resist, requiring the reroll of the save and taking the worse result. The final spirit, Varas the Ruthless, requires you to stand your ground after being charged and adds sonic damage to your weapons (upgrades at 13th level), with 4th level making a specific melody in a score that requires a save hard to resist, requiring two saves and taking the worse result if the score has been performed for 3+ rounds. This restriction is eliminated at 14th level and 7th level provides sonic resistance. All in all, I liked these creative spirits and when I noticed issues, they pertained personal taste rather than true issues...and the flavor and quirks of the spirits are truly delightful. I certainly hope we'll see more of these spirits one day!

The class comes with extensive favored class options for the core races, aasimar, drow, fetchlings, hobgoblins, kitsune, kobolds, orcs, puddlings, tieflings, vanara and vishkanya. From combining outros with alchemical flask throwing to DR/slashing while composing, these FCOs are creative and fun.

The class also gets a unique archetype - the Amplifier, which may also be applied to the breakdancer class. Communion is granted at 1st level for breakdancers and stacks with elegist levels. The amplifier gets the rhythm mechanic: +1 rhythm when conducting a score; +0 when within the AoE of bardic performance/composition, -1 rhythm when in neither bardic or composition AoE, with max rhythm equal to the amplifier's Dex-mod. At 1st level, each spirit bound to the amplifier gains a single score with no intro or outro, but 1/2 the number of melodies allows for the base amplifier's scores, min 1. When the amplifier is not conducting a score or opus, musica sacra, etc., the spirit may instead conduct this score for a total of amplifier's composer level + Wis-mod, with dissonance being problematic, obviously. For breakdancers, this consumes the dance moves at 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th level and elegists lose spectral presence. At 12th level, the amplifier gets two composer spirits, basically postponing (I think) the ability usually gained at 10th level - the wording here could be a bit clearer: "This does not stack with the secondary spirit gained by an elegist at 10th level."

The Elegist also features information for Pathfinder Unchained's Variant Multiclassing-rules and a handy compatibility-list of other composition archetypes with the elegist class, providing some nice notes on how to change the archetypes in question where required. The pdf also features a number of 10 new compositions: Danse Macabre lets you affect undead creatures with mind-affecting effects. Downtrod generates an undead-bolstering zone, while the graveyard dirge lets you go Michael Jackson's Thriller, animating the recently deceased as zombies for the duration of the composition. Inspire Grief provides the chances to add the shaken condition to all that take damage, while lament of the unclaimed lets you and your allies deal full damage to the incorporeal. Make Amends lets long-lasting compositions decrease dissonance and Sepulchral Tone concludes your score with a blast of negative energy. The Crossing leeches minor hit points from the adjacent for temporary hit points. (As a nitpick - the composition is called performance here once.) The Dutiful Paladin enhances weapons versus the undead and, finally, Upswell would be the positive-energy-based, good mirror of the evil Downtrod.

"But I don't have/want to buy Ultimate Composition/Strange Magic!" Well, you're in luck, for the whole list of compositions - you know, the massive array, is reprinted herein as well - tantalizingly hinting at classes like the harmonicist, to give you one example. The addition of this massive array of options means that this book works perfectly as a stand-alone offering - though obviously, it does gain something by use in conjunction with Strange Magic.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, as I've come to expect from Interjection Games. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w-standard established for composition magic, with a neat blend of thematic public domain art that fits the theme. The pdf comes with minimalist bookmarks - table, spells known, that's it - while a few are better than none, this does make the class slightly less user-friendly than it could be.

Bradley Crouch and Jason Linker, at the request of Sasha Hall, have created a unique class utilizing the Strange Magic system. Why unique? Because, honestly, once you've understood how the composition system works, it pretty much is an easy class to understand. This is, design-wise, basically the medium, as adapted to the composition spellcasting system, with spirits that are more interesting and, in theme, closer to the evocative pact magic than to the bland mythic-based ones the medium usually gets. This is a good thing in my book and the spirits easily were my favorite part. Similarly, the synergy with the breakdancer, with the melee-centric spirits and archetype was something I really enjoyed. The elegist playing experience is interesting, though vanilla elegists are pretty MAD - you need all 3 mental attributes to excel in all systems, requiring you to prioritize components. This, perhaps, does account the relative high "to build"-complexity rating, though veterans of composition magic should probably consider this to e closer to 2 instead; at least after realizing that the spirits act basically as flexible micro-archetypes. Now personally, I am not the biggest fan of the healing options and there were some minor wording-instances where the pdf was precise, but could have used a tad bit more precision - but ultimately, that is just me being a very spoiled bastard of a reviewer.

Anyways, to sum it up, thematically, I loved the elegist and the tying into psychic spells adds a unique dimension to the class I ended up enjoying. I wished it did a bit more with the spirits, but what's here is certainly damn cool.

This, in short, is a welcome addition to the composition system and a fun class and I certainly hope there'll be more spirits in the future, for their unique tricks and the dissonance mechanic's potential are anything but tapped. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, in spite of the few minor hiccups - this is a great class and personal tastes and emphasis shouldn't influence the verdict too much.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic Expanded - The Elegist
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Subterranean Races - Puddling Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/21/2016 11:32:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This long overdue expansion for the awesome puddling-race clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this little collection with the Crystalbroken - puddling bloodragers that had a mishap when interacting with memory-crystals...resulting in unforeseen split personalities. These translate, mechanics-wise, to them being capable of replacing the bloodrager's 1st level bloodline power with cleric domain- or sorceror bloodline- powered SPs. Interesting - this can only be cast when bloodraging, but the usual bloodrager spells can't be cast. The archetype continues this theme, replacing powers with more SPs and later even domain powers/sorceror bloodline powers. It should be noted that this archetype is particularly rewarding when used in conjunction with The Big Book of Bloodlines.

The moderator wizard can speak telepathically to all creatures touching it (later: range 30 ft.) and may even restrict the communication of one touching character. This costs arcane school and the bonus feat at 10th level. Additionally, the archetype nets at 8th level status of all creatures in this telepathic network. Very flavorful archetype.

The protoplasmic fist monk replaces the bonus feat gained at first level with gaining DR 1/- due to wobbling until the next turn whenever he uses ki or stunning fist. 2nd level nets a 25% chance to ignore precision damage (50% at 10th level), while 3rd level allows the puddling to move on walls, sticking to surfaces spider climb-style Wis-mod times per day sans cost; subsequent uses cost 1 point of ki. Falling on creatures counts as charging and at higher levels, these guys can engulf creatures, which allows them to gain ki on a temporary basis - and no, this cannot be kitten'd. Unique: At 12th level, even when helpless or paralyzed, they can turn into an exceedingly fast moving, shapeless goo...and yes, this means auto-escape from grapples, though the ability costs 2 ki and a move action to activate. Pretty awesome!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, even ki has been properly italicized. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard with stock art and the pdf's artwork is stock, excluding the cute cover. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

The puddling archetypes Bradley Crouch has crafted herein are flavorful, balanced and fun. They all have a cool, unique shtick that makes them stand out, with particularly the monk archetype being pretty damn cool. That being said, they live very much from the cool flavor of the race and should not be considered separate entities - they add to the canon of puddlings and probably won't blow power-gamers away; they are not weak, but their fascination lies in their interaction with the puddling race and the emphasis on unique playing experiences that feel unique, on the roleplaying aspect, which trumps the rollplaying aspect here. Instead, one should consider these to be truly fun, unique and flavorful options for a more than fair price point. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Subterranean Races - Puddling Archetypes
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Subterranean Races: The Puddlings [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/13/2016 10:55:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It is by now a tested trope that even gods may die in fantasy gaming - and where death is a possibility, one should not be surprised to see the concept of the divine assassin - whether in the guise of a Red Mantis of a psychotic killer. The assumption of this book is that there at least once was a divine assassin (perhaps a predecessor?) that has failed. When the divine assassin was sent to destroy Aggranius, lord of facets, the deity was prepared and rendered his own body into an eternal, resplendent prison for the slayer of gods, creating a race of oozes as stewards in the process.

At first, these beings, dissolving most materials, were basically stuck in a type of stone age - but ingenuity and an abundance of divinely infused crystals from their dead, but pretty present god, has allowed them to create their very own, unique technology, advancing in leaps and bounds in spite of their handicap. Now, ages later, the divine energy of Aggranius is faltering, the divine assassin stirs - and it's time for the puddlings to break their self-imposed isolation.

Now here is the deal - unlike about 99% of underworld races, puddlings...actually are not only cute, they are actually pretty nice guys! Relentlessly curious, they love interacting with outsiders, have a society based on consensus and always have a hat or two available for outsiders. Racial stat wise, puddlings get +2 Int and Con, -2 Dex, are medium, have a speed of 20 ft and speak puddle, their own language. They have acid resistance 5, get +2 to saves versus transmutation spells and effects, +1 to a skill of their own choosing, +1 DC of any transmutation cast. Puddlings with Int 11+ get 3/day mending as a SP. They have darkvision 60 ft. Contact to a puddling body causes 1 point of acid damage to metal, leather and paper equipment, with adamantine and acid resistant equipment being immune to this. They can't wear armor, but can wear shields, but their body's membrane can be enchanted as though it were a masterwork armor.

Instead of acid resistance, they can have the option to 1/hour spit acid (1d6 +1 per two character levels) as a ranged touch attack, increased acid damage (faster degrading for items, but retributive acid damage) or no item degrading. Extending the skill bonus to another skill. Now pretty cool: When you wear a magical het, you increase your Charisma, with the bonus scaling the more magical the hat is. Why? Because puddlings use hats to determine leaders for a certain duration. Hilarious and cool. Further enhancing skill bonuses is also possible. Overall, the race is balanced, cool and unique, with the alternate racial traits feeling right regarding their balancing - oh, and yes, age, height and weight tables are included and the race gets neat FCOs for the bard, fighter, monk, rogue, tinker and wizard classes.

The race also sports an array of 8 racial feats that grant light fortification, rerolls for the skills you obsess about (i.e. the ones you've chosen via racial traits), critical hits that let you penalize foes via latent telepathy, emit a blinding pulse 3/day, gain increasing armor bonuses, squeeze into cracks and crevices...and there even is an achievement feat that lets outsiders benefit from puddling arcanocrystals.

Which brings me to the puddling's unique resources - the arcane crystals, which can be used to decrease the costs of item creation. And yes, mining DCs and the like are provided. Arcane gel is interesting - also made from these crystals, it can be used as splash weapon and acts as an amplifier for magic, increasing the damage caused by subsequent exposure of magical energies. Memory crystals are used to keep...well, memories and consensus crystals are used to homogenize opinions - they thus are an integral component of puddling society. Mindtonic is a powerful tonic that can cure insanity and mental attribute drain to mental scores, making that tonic a good reason to travel to the puddling lands. The mugshot crystal can be used to...well duplicate mugshots...or show stretches of places, allowing for easier familiarization for purposes of scrying or teleport: Think of it as a kind of crystalline photo. Obsession enhancers and a costly, droning enhancer for casters complement a cool array of unique items.

A total of 5 different alchemical items can be found in these pages: Bouncers would be crystalline mines that ignore puddlings, while etch gel allows the puddlings to make exceedingly intricate stone work. Peptidoglycan boosters allows puddlings to gain the benefits of potions...and they can be thrown at puddlings, though that does deal a bit of damage to the recipient. The idea of throwing potions at creatures pretty much is awesome. Similarly, geodes that create crystalline caltrops are pretty cool.

The pdf's magic items are unique as well - Cryslinders, aka "wizard-in-a-can" or "Sunder that first!" are basically gel-based flame/acid/etc.-throwers. And yeah, the visuals are AWESOME and tunable variants are included. Decay-rate decreasing conservation-boxes and then there would be the humongous hat. This hat detects any other hats within one mile and then one-ups then. It sticks to the head of the wearer and also allows the wearer to record a d20 and use the recorded number instead of another roll. Talking poles help communication skills and can enhance the aforementioned blinding pulses of Puddling Fast-Talk. Universal Dictator translate puddle into other languages and the vessel of endless gel does basically what you'd expect.

The pdf also provides a bestiary: At CR 8, Arcanoplasm can absorb magic, also damage items with its attacks and unleash powerful force-damage storms. Damn cool! The CR 1 Blindfish is hard to keep track of and is farmed mainly for the use of its eyes as spell components. Finally, the CR 6 Crystallite is very dangerous to unarmed fighters and these using natural weapons, deals Con-damage (ouch!) and can use crystalline shockwaves - appropriately dangerous for remnants of Aggranius' consciousness.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf uses stock-art apart from the exceedingly cute cover. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Bradley Crouch is famous for his mastery of crunch and class-design, not for races. Turns out that he excels at the latter as well: The puddlings are awesome. For one, the very concept is novel, fun and unique. More importantly, the race actually PLAYS completely differently from other races: The collective of items and feats makes sure that the race as a whole actually feels completely different from any other race I have reviewed - the crunch actually emphasizes the unique history, society and structure of the society of these lovable blobs of goo. More importantly, they are a breath of levity, of fun and hope in the often pretty grimdark underworld.

How good is this pdf? Well, it's good enough to actually have introduced them to my main campaign. They are unique, distinct in mechanics and flavor, with each component of content herein emphasizing their unique culture. This is awesomeness and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the missing bookmarks. Get this unique race and bring some serious fun and wonder to your games!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Subterranean Races: The Puddlings [PFRPG]
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The Big Book of Bloodlines
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/24/2016 10:12:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive, huge book clocks in at 153 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC/editorial, 1 page KS-thanks, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with a colossal 146 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with an introduction regarding the goals of this book - in one sentence: Making bloodlines more versatile and interesting. This is achieved in a rather ingenious way - the pdf designates a number of bloodlines as parent bloodlines, others as children of said bloodlines. When multiclassing soceror and bloodrager, all you need to ensure is that the two bloodlines share a parent, are parent and child or match - i.e. one is the sorceror, one is the bloodrager version. Obviously, this approach generates a whole array of previously impossible builds. Oh, and if you're like me and ultimately are looking for a bit more for some builds...then there would be complex bloodlines. These do one or more of the following: Instead of bonus feats, they can grant bloodline-specific abilities, swap out bonus spells for something else or introduce basically a subsystem unique for the bloodline, which results in these complex bloodlines feeling more like archetypes or PrCs - and yes, they do not interfere with archetypes, further allowing for a significant expansion of options in that regard.

Thus, a list of parent bloodlines and child bloodlines for first party material is provided in the beginning...before we dive into a huge assortment of diverse bloodlines. It should also be noted that some bonus feats among the bloodlines of this pdf actually are stripped of their prerequisites - a bloodrager character with the alchemical bloodline can e.g. take Fire God's Blessing sans prerequisite. Oh, there is one more unique feature I should probably mention - quite an assortment of bloodlines in this book features supplemental feats. All right, so what can bloodragers look forward to? Well, for once, they get acidic saliva they can spit at foes, gain caustic blood and, via a nice feat, they can even heal themselves by dealing acid damage - and yes, as could be expected from Bradley Crouch, this feat cannot be kitten'd. Oh...and high-level bloodragers with this one can light foes on fire. What about a banshee bloodline that can enhance her sonic damage-dealing capacity with ever increasing feats - oh, and guess what - these enhancer-feats can only be taken as bloodline bonus feats, which is an interesting notion I have not seen done before in bloodline design.

Even bloodlines that do not necessarily evoke immediate reactions from me have interesting components - brineborn gaining a combination of nautical abilities and acid-themed tricks based on salt - and yes, including a whipping tongue with which you can lick your weapons. As far as I'm concerned, this certainly is fun and sports a unique array of visuals properly supplemented by nice crunch. Cacodaemon bloodragers get a capstone that deserves mention as well - a jaw filled with gems that can hold the souls of those you consume. All right, so what about these complex bloodlines I mentioned? Well, for example the cannibal bloodline allows you to devour the flesh of defeated foes - you gain a feat of your choice, with a limited, but expanding list of eligible feats. These feats, however, also occupy a cannibalism slot - said slots increase in number over the levels. Replenishing spells empties these slots. Oh, know what I forgot to mention? Guess what - it's not just feats. Abilities otherwise not available can also be gained via cannibalism slots. The Cloudborn automatically increase their ranks in the Fly skill and later may fly while also gaining miss chances when they move. The constellation bloodline can be pictured as a take on the psionic collective for teamwork purposes...and even cast spells on allies designated as part of your constellation...even if they would not usually qualify as targets...which is exceedingly versatile and powerful, making more than up for the comparatively moderate teamwork tricks. Also cool - granting temporary hit points and the like.

Okay, so what about e.g. the Cosmic Dreamer? This complex bloodline basically records an ever-increasing amount of rolled dice-results in the morning due to their fragmentary prescience - then, during the day, they may substitute these rolls for those they rolled in a cool take on prescience. The interesting thing is, though, that multiple such rolls can be combined in pretty concise rules that are rendered unambiguous by the rules-language provided. It should come as no surprise, then, that the bloodline actually takes this take on its unique subsystem and utilizes it properly, expanding the options thus gained in unique ways over the levels. It's not just the complex bloodlines that get evocative tricks - crystalborn may, for example, ready actions, to catch ray-spells in their mouths and spit them back at foes. I certainly know I really want to do this at least once in game. Cooler yet - you may, when making full attacks, forego the bite attack this one nets you to ready such a catch. OM NOM NOM.

The dryad complex bloodline is all about aspect-enhancement, allowing the character to modify the plants grown via fey and verdant bloodlines to include flame-thrower flowers, acidic lichen or berries that you can pick to gain limited prescience. What about screaming lilac? And yes, your bloodrage lets you grow squares upon squares of these plants...and the ability works even underwater. Want to dip your feet into the awesomeness that is ethermagic, but sans learning the system? Ethertouched bloodline. Want composition sans having to learn that system (and with an evil tint)? Soulstrummer. And yes, it works completely sans knowing anything about ethermagic.

Somewhat similar and just as awesome as the dryad - the fungus complex bloodline: Instead of growing plants, though, your body can produce spores based on a point-system - said spores sport a variety of unique and fun tricks. Speaking of fun - you know how Interjection Games-books tend to be pretty fun to read? Well, there is a bloodline called leper and it's basically every leper-joke ever told as a bloodline. You can e.g. detach and re-attach limbs, pluck out your eye and send it forth to spy for you...you get the idea. And yeah, it's cool. Want to play a bookworm bloodrager? The complex Librarian bloodline offers a lot of unique tricks for you, based on some crucial pieces of literature. The lycanthrope bloodline, just fyi, allows you to choose the werebeaver option. And yep, these guys can basically become a looney-toon-ball of kicking, gnawing and working 1/day and, sufficient material provided, generate instant cabins. Yeah, damn cool.

From the medusa to the mi-go and even the mime (!!!) - and yes, there is a onmyōdo-bloodline and even a pufferfish bloodline - Magic: it doesn't have to make sense, as the flavor-text aptly observes. Zombie bloodlines? Yup. Elemental-themed weirds? Aye. And no, at this point I honestly haven't even begun to list every one of the bloodlines, only provided a smattering of samples.

Now the second chapter would be the one dealing with the sorceror bloodlines - and they are nothing if not just as unique as the bloodrager options - hurling blobs of algae? Check. Know, though, which bloodline actually made me laugh...loudly? The Angst bloodline. It's simply hilarious. Think of it basically as every anime main character, the bloodline. From gaining an ancestral weapon, failing incredibly endearingly to later gaining memories of a lost mentor -absolutely glorious. You are the chosen one and hate every minute of it. More serious - sorcerors that can make complex baubles of spellglass, bloodlines defined by their blasphemy or the butler bloodline. And yes, aforementioned brineborn, cannibal etc. bloodlines also sport sorceror-customized versions herein - though e.g. the cannibal bloodline has a complex child -the cuisine bloodline.

And yes, ethertouched's scavenging/reduction of ethermagic can also be found for sorcerors...and extremophiles, basically the sorceror-equivalent of the magical survivalist - who only take two hours of sleep (but still may not regain spells more often than 1/day) with a feat. The Florist would be akin to the dryad in quite a few ways, but obviously attuned for the requirements of the sorceror class. Gravity-themed sorcerors that gain a reflexive field of gravity can also carry a huge amount of load - and gremlin blooded sorcerors are masters of slapstick that can turn potions into toads, while the haberdashery bloodline grants you the best hat EVER. The magmaborn can conjure forth painful spikes of magma and the complex mimicry bloodline basically can be likened to the old final fantasy secret characters/jobs, allowing you to mimic spells and later your own ones - pretty cool! What about the brewer-specialists, the percolution-savants that can make powerful stimulant cocktails? Yep, it's basically a barrista/coffee-addict bloodline...and it's pretty neat. The complex radiation bloodline lets you choose unique mutations instead of bonus spells and the complex rust bloodline just begs to be used in any setting that features a leitmotif of decay and or renewal. Becoming the heir to the snow queen also is rather cool (haha...yeah, I'll hit myself later for that one...). As a nitpick, the Solar bloodline's supplemental feat lacks the Metamagic-descriptor in the header, though that ultimately does not impede its functionality...btw. one of the rare formal glitches that can be found in this book.

Always liked worms-that-walk/ want to run Age of Worms? Swarm bloodline, baby. Similarly, the complex wanderlust bloodline is cool, providing an assortment of abilities generally associated with romantic notions of wandering, from danger sense to pulling all-nighters and making items from natural ingedients.

This is, however, not where the pdf ends - beyond supplemental material for two classes, this whole book can be seen as a colossal playing field for the new bloodlord base class. Bloodlords get d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort-and Ref-saves, proficiency with simple weapons and one 1-handed martial, a 2-handed martial weapona nd a thrown weapon as well as with shields, light armor and medium armor, all sans arcane spell failure, though this failure does apply when using tower shields. Bloodlords pick two bloodrager and two sorceror bloodlines at first level, which are then divided into pairs, with a bloodrager and sorcero bloodline each. These bloodlines must share a single parent and this choice is not limited by alignment. At 1st level, bloodlords do not receive the sorceror bloodline arcanas and they gain +2 to skill-checks performed with the class skills associated with the sorceror bloodlines.

The bloodlord has bloodrager bloodline power slots at 1st level, gaining an additional one at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter - these slots are distinguished between bloodrager and sorceror - basically allowing for the flexible assignment of powers gained from the bloodlines of the character. They get bonus feats at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter and bonus spells at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Bonus spells are gained from both bloodline bearing classes according to strict guidelines, with the granting of multiple spells being accounted for -said spells, however, are cast as SPs. It should also be noted that multiclassing into bloodline-featuring bloodlines is possible, with guidelines, once again, being included in the rules.

At 1st level, these guys can enter bloodboils for a number of rounds equal to 4+ Constitution modifier, +2 rounds per additional level - this state enables the use of bloodrage powers. At 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the bloodlord gains a sanguokinesis talent, which is powered by the transfusion pool - said pool is equal to 1+Charisma modifier at 2nd level and increases every even level thereafter by +1. These talents remain active for as long as the bloodlord remains in the bloodboil-state and one such talent can be added to the state. It should be noted, that unlike a bloodrage or the like, this state does not provide bonuses to attributes, but neither does it have a fatigue cool down, which means you can cycle the effects of sanguinokentic talents. At 11th level, bloodlords may activate up to two such talents per bloodboil, though they have to pay for both. Getting a reflexive disarm, better saves, SR, using bloodboil rounds as a resource to cast bloodline spell-like abilities quicker - there are some pretty tricky combos you can pull off with this class.

However, the transfusion pool also has a use on its own - it can be used to quickswap slotted bloodline powers, temporarily gain bloodline arcanas and at 6th level grant willing touched creatures filled bloodline slots - which allows for some very interesting tricks. Higehr levels make btw. this infusion of power into allies faster. The class comes btw. with nice favored class options for the core-races, aasimar, tiefling, hobgoblin, orc, kobold, kitsune, vanar, vishkanya and puddling races. Expanding the SPs ad various numerical tricks of the class can be done via the new feats, which btw. also provides an option for energy resistance while bloodboiling. The base-class also sports jno less than 4 archetypes - the bloodbottler loses the quickswapping of slots and flexibility, but may bottle his unused powers and hand them to eligible drinkers - basically, a less spontaneous variant. The Claimant picks only a single sorceror and bloodrager bloodline - but here's the catch - they gain an "empty" Eldritch Heritage that he may fill by touching a particular blood, claiming the power. This is retained until the claimant decides to forget it after resting and opt for a new one. And yes, the feature improves over the levels. You essentially trade in bloodlines for more flexibility in choosing and also gain transfusion pool points at odd levels instead, starting at third.

The Enigmatist is a pretty complex one - basically, think of these guys as bloodlords sans bloodlines, who instead focus on mysteries and revelations. The final archetype, the mongrel lord, may choose all bloodline abilities (up to from a maximum of 6 bloodlines), but gains neither bloodline arcanas and class skills. Basically, the archetype grants you the option to cherry-pick abilities, yes; but at the cost of gaining the proper powers of the respective, diluted options. Additionally, these guys gain limited access to evolutions and a pretty impressive transfusion pool - but the archetype loses all sangiokinesis talents for this flexibility as well as the arcane awakening, quickswap and transfusion class features.

As a nice service to the reader, we close this book with a glossary of 3pp-bloodlines by product.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch for a book of this size - while there are some minor formatting hiccups in this book, it still can be considered to be well-edited. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard beyond the full color cover artwork. The pdf's interior artwork is b/w and sports an array of novel, nice pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. As per the writing of this review, I can't yet comment on the print-version.

Bradley Crouch's Big Book of Bloodlines takes one concept I've seen done to death, namely bloodlines, and OWNS it. There are more mechanical, unique tweaks to bloodlines herein that I have ever seen before in my career. We have a stunning assortment of cool subsystems, evocative ideas and concepts in this book, an array that manages in several cases to bring player-agenda to the table: Big time. Choose the right bloodline and you'll have quite a bunch of cool customization options. It should also be noted that you won't find bland "been there, done that"-bloodlines in this book - each bloodline in this tome has at least one ability and/or visual I certainly haven't seen before. No matter which type of game you're playing, be it high fantasy, dark fantasy, horror or just plain gonzo weirdness - this book has you covered. The bloodlord per se is a great addition as well, though, by nature of its openness, a class that does require a bit of GM-oversight: Considering the amount of bloodlines out there, though, this is no wonder and not something that could have been avoided. While personally, I consider the mongrel lord a bit too much for some groups, I can just as well picture plenty of campaigns in which it will flawlessly work.

So...how to rate this. Well, that question is pretty easily answered - this book, at least for me, ups the ante of what to expect from bloodlines. It may be the book that ended bloodlines, the go-to-tome. And bloodragers in particular need this book - think about quite a few of the bloodlines in this tome as archetype-level complexity without locking you out of your favorite one. You get CHOICES! Player-agenda! Same goes for sorcerors, obviously...and bloodlords are also cool...hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Don't be content with boring filler bloodlines - get yourself some truly unique tricks!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Big Book of Bloodlines
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Class Expansions - Onmyoji Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/29/2016 05:49:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This inexpensive expansion for the superb Onmyōji-class clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with two pages for the archetypes, so let's take a look!

The first of the archetypes (both of which sport a brief paragraph of well-written fluff, just fyi) would be the Grinning Fox. Instead of aid of the minor kami ability, these fellows may choose an at-will cantrip and an at-will orison each day. Additionally, at 1st level, these guys get the Cha-based SP to cast lesser confusion twice a day...and grow their first fox tail, from now on counting as kitsune for purposes of e.g. the Magical Tail feat. The grinning fox receives spirit points equal to his class level plus Charisma modifier and replenishes these after 8 hours rest/meditation. At 2nd level, instead of gaining a shikigami, these folks gain Magical Tail as a bonus feat for the first time, gaining the feat an additional time every 2 levels thereafter. If the grinning fox already has the feat 8 times, he may instead choose one SP granted by it and increase daily uses for said SP by +1. I really like this archetype - in less "magical" worlds, this allows a player to undergo basically a kitsune-like apotheosis without introducing the race, while in high fantasy campaigns, it adds an interesting dimension to the interaction with kitsune: Do they frown upon Grinning Foxes? Encourage them? Perhaps even create them? Nice one!

The second archetype would be more complex - the Herald of the Lucky God. These guys exclusively specialize on one of the lucky gods - the lucky gods are listed including their dominions, but here's the catch - you get the petition of the lucky god you have chosen as a bonus petition as soon as you meet the prerequisites...however, you may never learn the petitions of the other lucky gods. Similarly, whenever the herald gains a class level and meets the prerequisites for the friendship feat associated with the chosen lucky god, he automatically receives it - once again, gods and associated friendship feats are listed for your convenience. This ability replaces aid of the minor kami. The archetype also learns an unique trick: At 3rd level, the herald learns the so-called Lucky God's Cantrip of the associated deity - and no, this is no 0-level spell. Instead, the abilities are either extraordinary or supernatural abilities, The abilities generally fit rather well with the respective theme of the lucky god chosen: Benzaiten, for example, grants all Knowledge skills as class skills and allows for untrained use of them. Daikokuten gets a pocket dimension that can hold one object of up to 5 lbs. (Hammerspace!), while e.g. Bishamonten grants an insight bonus to atk and AC when readying an action that is then wasted. While I'd champion a scaling bonus for the latter, you see that the abilities are pretty creative! Have I mentioned "Frequent Dier" that pays for a part of the costs of the spells that returned the character to life? If you're a DM like me, this will be used OFTEN. And yes, this got a chuckle out of me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch - I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf provides stock photography of a rendition of the lucky gods, fitting exceedingly well. The pdf has no bookmarks, but frankly, needs none at this length.

So Alexander Augunas obviously had to sneak a kitsune-themed...wait. Wrong company and author, so sorry! ;P

Kidding aside, Bradley Crouch's expansion of the absolutely SUPERB, brilliant, genius, awesome, buy it now-level of greatness onmyōji-class is short, sweet and to the point. For a single buck, you get two well-made archetypes that certainly enrich the game and add new dimensions to the glorious base class. While I'm not completely blown out of the water by this expansion, it is still an excellent addition, which, at the ridiculously low $1-pricetag, is a no-brainer. MY final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

P.s.: Get that base class!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions - Onmyoji Archetypes
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The Sanguine Disciple - A Maneuvers Base Class
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2016 20:30:42

My concept of this classes utility is somewhat narrowly defined, but if you're an Eberron fan who's looking for a flavorful alternative to the Paladin for the Blood of Vol, this is exactly what you're looking for.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Sanguine Disciple - A Maneuvers Base Class
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