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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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The Animist: Nature Incarnate
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2016 16:55:17

I have two sides to how I think of this class.


On one hand it practically has one class feature. Its a full BAB chassis with a good will save. it has it's animism, a class feature that interacts with his animism and a capstone. That's it.


On the other hand the class feature it does have is all kinds of interesting. It gets two kinds of aspect slots. For major aspects of seasons or creatures that have a scaling suite of effects based on how many aspect slots are invested in that particular aspect. The minor slots don't have the investment slots and each are an ability that can happen once per day plus an extra time every five levels. At 5th level and every other four levels after that it can swap minor aspects that have static effects or haven't been used so you can get a bit diverse without getting gimped.


The aspect system, particularly the major aspects and the investment mechanic is inspired and interesting, and almost every ability feels relevant, like they each add some power. A number of them are quite overwhelming, probably to make up for the lack of other class features, and you can make some devastating combinations so the class can stand on it's own legs.


But I have a hard time even accepting the amount of class features that the cleric has without being bored so the Animist feels like it really could have been knocked down to a d8 hit die and 3/4 BAB and gotten some more class features to spice it up. In fact I feel like I'd take aspects over the Hunter's spells and creature boosts, as the actual class feature feels like what I wanted Animal focus to do during the playtest and then some. The lack of class features or even bonus feats make the class not be able to interact with other parts of the game and feel lackluster.


I'd give this product 4 out of 5 stars. I know I have some harsh gripes with it but it really it's not bad, just feels a bit flat and its really a matter of taste. As I mentioned above, the cleric feels the same way and many people will still enjoy the cleric. If it could give up some BAB for some other abilities or something I'd be way happier but this is nice too.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Animist: Nature Incarnate
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Remedial Tinkering - Arcanotech
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/24/2016 18:43:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition


The latest Tinker-expansion 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!


This expansion of the tinker base-class ties in with the superb Happy Little Automata and the Pimp my Alpha-expansion, though neither are required for the use of this one. Thematically, we have an interesting deviation from the feeling of the tinker - whereas, so far, the class has been pretty much designed as a science-y class regarding its abilities, we have the magical now suffuse the class - this is represented by the new arcanotech invention subtype. Since magic tends to make mechanics malfunction, only one such invention can be applied to a blueprint at a given time.


We begin this supplement after a recap of the invention subtypes with 4 innovations: Starting at 6th level, you may take the shielding innovation which adds Int-mod temporary hit points sans fixed duration whenever you deploy an automaton. Based on this, you can learn Alpha Shielding, which lets you realign these when deploying an automaton while the alpha is within the master's presence ability. The Buffered Construction innovation breaks the "only one arcanotech invention"-cap and extends it to 2 per blueprint and Cybertech Arcanotech lets you choose two sorc/wiz cantrips, which you then can cast at will at full character level, with Int as governing attribute.


The latter can be further upgraded to grant access to two 1st level SPs from the sorc/wiz spell-list, which you then can cast 2/day each. A third innovation (also a greater one) grants 3 2nd level SPs that can be cast 1/day. Finally, a high-level greater innovation sets Alpha Int to 12 and makes you choose one school other than transmutation. The alpha learns to cast spells from this school and transmutation as though it were a 3rd level wizard, but CL can never be enhanced by any means.


All right, so what kind of inventions await us? Well, for example, Alphas may learn to activate 1st level and lower wands as directed standard actions. Regular automata can only learn 0-level wand use. Personally, I'm not a fan of flat-out ignoring 2 DR of any type and would have preferred scaling according to DR value, but considering damage output of physical automata attacks, I can live with it. It should be noted that the follow-up tricks allow for 5 and 10 DR to be ignored - the latter of which can be nasty versus creatures with DR/epic, since that DR usually isn't that high.


VERY interesting: Autoexecution Script: This lets an automaton execute an offensive invention that requires a directed action as part of an attack directive...and yes, it can be installed multiple times, at increasing BPs.


The arcanotech delivery system is...EDIT: now properly balanced: Master Crouch has eliminated this exploit, which nets + 0.5 stars, as it eliminated the one balance-concern of this pdf.


On the plus-side, adding weapon enhancement bonuses and special abilities of +1 value is interesting. (Yes, upgrade to +2 available for both; upgrade to +3 available for the enhancement bonus.) There would also be basically a cantrip catapult for evocations that can sling up to one of two evocation cantrips when used in proper conjunction. A failsafe to mitigate kamikazes is sure useful at 0 BP - but it also takes a bit of the whacky planning aspect away. Personally, not a fan, but if you're all for maximum control, well, then, I guess you'll like it.


Now what really intrigued me would be lead paint - a paint invention that eats the first 5 points of spell damage. Here's the deal, though: Regardless of damage type! Considering the combo-potential of paint, that's pretty awesome! Also rather nice: A means for an automaton to 1/day grab a harmless, potion-base-spell out of the air and create a potion - and no, it can't be sold, but yes, it can be upgraded for more daily uses.


Skill programming gets an upgrade as well, allowing for the use of the skill as though the automaton was a real boy. (i.e. as though it were a regular character) Sniff Okay, so notice an absence of the whacky so far? Well, there is a collection of these: The Toaster-Invention-tree! No, not gonna use the acronym here... The base invention allows the automaton, which now has a built-in toaster, to do the cooking if it has the skill and arms. With a follow-up invention, the toaster can go thermonuclear, inflicting bonus fire damage...and it has a synergy...with toaster of TERROR! 3/day, these automata can blast forth short-range cones of incendiary material that may light foes on fire. The aforementioned invention increases the damage output of the cone by +1d6. If that were not enough, the toaster of terror's blasts can, at high levels, ignore resistance, increase the reach of the cone and render targets shaken as an added insult to the injury of being killed by a walking toaster.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on either a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' no-frills printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf is art-light. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


So, I did honestly fear Bradley Crouch extending the complexity Moloch that is the tinker to the arcane sphere - but surprisingly, for the most part, the content herein is more than solid - the toaster builds are hilarious and tricky and the weapon-upgrades for automata have been long expected - so, on one side, I do love this pdf. While I'm not a fan of flat DR-ignoring, that's not bad. EDIT: The one balance-concern has been reined in. No more complaints.


That being said, the pdf does offer a plethora of imaginative and cool options otherwise - I can't wait to see what combos my players come up with regarding lead paint, for example. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, EDIT: rounded now up due to the one balance-concern missing.


ENdzietgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering - Arcanotech
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Strange Magic Unchained - Variant Multiclassing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2016 04:13:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf 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!


This little pdf does pretty much what it says on the tin - it takes the Strange Magic-classes and translates them to the variant multiclassing system used introduced in Pathfinder Unchained.


The Breakdancer gets score and rhythm at 3rd level and qualifies for a breakdancer talent at 7th level, though only one to which a 3rd level breakdancer can qualify. 11th, 15th and 19th level go a similar way, expanding the options of the score -and yes, here we also have maximum level-requirements.


The Cantor needs to select a deity at 1st level and begins play with restrictions that are appropriate, with 3rd level unlocking score and 7th providing domains, which then alternate with score progression at 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th level.


The ethermagus gets void blade at 1/2 level at 3rd level and access to the voidmeld etherheart at 7th level as well as 2 1st level manifestation. 11th level unlocks void shield, 15th level provides 2 voidmeld manifestations and 19th level makes his level count as ethermagus level for purposes of void blade. EP regenerationr ate is 1, scaling up to 2 at 11th level, 3 at 19th.


The ethermancer begins at 3rd level with 1/2 level's ethermancer and lesser blasts that can only be modified by 1 manifestation and a pool equal to 1/2 level + Cha-mod as well as 2 1st-level manifestations known. 7th and 15th level provide a multiuniversal philosophy. 19th level brings more manifestations and allows for the addition of more than 1 manifestation to a blast, though one needs to be 1st level.


The etherslinger begins with 3rd level firearm proficiency, with 7th level unlcoking ether clear and ethersmith and a limited ether pool. 11th level unlocks Amateur Gunslinger and etherbullets, 15th level an etherslinging talent and 19th level another one.


Harmonicists gets limited score at 3rd level, expanding capability at 7th level. The capacity of the score is increased at 11th level. Counterpoint is unlocked at 15th level and the 19th level further offers more intros, melodies, etc. while also unlocking front and center.


The Maestro's take begins with score at 3rd level, obviously and unlocks refrain at a 2nd level maestro's potency at 7th level. 11th level and 19th level increase score capacity and 15th level provides a single opus with prereqs for which a 7th level maestro can qualify.


The Scion of Discordia gets truenaming at 3rd level with two 1st level recitations and 7th level unlocks the discordant zone at 1/2 class level's potency. 11th level unlocks more recitations (as wella s unlocking the Codex of Artifice) and 15th level provides a talent of discordia for 7th level whose prereqs can be met by a 7th level scion. At 19th level, recitations are expanded and the Codex of Far-Flung Spheres is unlocked.


The truenamer follows the same unlocking progression regarding the codices, but at 7th level, they gain an inflection and a second inflection at 15th level.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a clear and crisp two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports great artworks re-used from Strange Magic. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Bradley Crouch's variant multiclassing for Strange Magic is an inexpensive, humble and solid little book that does exactly what it says on the tin. While it does not cover the "archetypes" that basically constitute alternate classes, it does cover the well-crafted original classes. All in all, a solid, inexpensive little pdf one can't really complain about.


My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic Unchained - Variant Multiclassing
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The Master of Forms Base Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/29/2016 07:42:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This new base class clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Chassis-wise, the master of forms receives full BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves, unarmed damage scaling of the monk, unarmored AC-progression of up to Cha-mod+5, d10 HD, 4+Int skills per level and proficiency with brass knuckles, cesti, club, crossbows (light and heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama. nunchaku, quarterstaff, siangham, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, sling, spear and temple sword, but not any armor or shields. It should be noted that we do get the unarmed damage tables for small and large PCs - kudos there!


The class is defined by the forms. Forms can be considered to be martial arts that either are extraordinary or supernatural abilities. They sport three defining components: Focus required denotes the minimum number of focus required to perform the form. Focus Change specifies how the performing of the form changes the focus points. Costs are paid up front, gained focus is awarded after performing the form. The Element, finally, denotes the subtype of the form. Masters of forms begin play with 3 forms and gain +1 form every level thereafter. DCs usually are 10 + 1/2 class level + Charisma modifier and unless otherwise noted, the master of forms can only perform one form per round.


I mentioned the focus pool in the above explanation: The maximum number of focus points in the pool is equal to 4. The pool begins empty and does not refresh simply by resting. Instead, executing certain forms increases or decreases the focus pool. Focus points can only be regained in combat and last only for Charisma modifier minutes outside of combat. While this can be inefficiently be kitten'd, the short duration means that it's not a good strategy. The master of forms automatically learns certain basic, universal forms: These are gained at 1st level, +1 every 3 levels thereafter. Basically, you can picture these as the "minimum-functionality"-framework that prevents inexperienced players from locking themselves into a situation, where they can't gain focus - the most basic of these forms, for example, allows you to substitute a regular attack in a full-attack-sequence or use a standard action for an attack that deals regular damage + 1/2 Cha-mod (full Cha-mod starting 6th level) and nets you +1 focus.


At 4th level, for -1 focus, as a swift action, the master of forms can self-buff with minor luck bonuses, while 7th level provides a means for ending an elemental stance and immediately starting a new one as a move action. (As a swift action at 19th level, they can also end it, but gain focus and still be allowed to enter a second stance.). Level 10 provides temporary flight (YES - non-combat utility!) and higher levels sport save-bonuses. I already mentioned elemental stances, so let me elaborate a bit there: Universal forms have no element and thus do not disrupt active stances, though they do break the sequence required to activate an elemental stance.


All right, so what's the deal with stances? Well, whenever a master of forms performs three consecutive forms belonging to the same element, they enter the element's stance...and they are UNIQUE. Earth, for example, allows you to expend one focus when attacked by a weapon - if he does, he may roll dice equal to the weapon's base damage die, gaining the result as DR X/- against the attack. Oh, and guess what? No focus-cost if the master of forms is below 1/2 maximum HP.


Fire allows for roaring attacks, since here, the focus is gained prior o executing the attack. Ice allows for forms with focus change of +1 instead of an AoO, though that does change the focus change value of the form used to -1. Lightning increases movement rate by +5 ft. per focus point currently held, while wind provides +1 temporary focus when his focus is 0. This does not count towards required focus and are expended first, but otherwise, the temporary focus behaves as though it were a regular focus point.


At 2nd level, masters of forms may 1/day grant himself the ability to perform a second form per round 1/day, +1/day every 5 levels thereafter. Additionally, this level nets evasion, while 3rd provides slow fall, 8th purity of body, 14th diamond soul. As a capstone, the master of forms tallies up the forms known - the one for which he knows most forms (choose in case of a tie) is then known of predominant. The master is ALWAYS in the stance of this element while conscious and is considered even to be in the stance, while being in another active stance.


The class also gains access to so-called secret arts, the finishers/fatalities of the class, if you will - secret arts cannot be performed on the same round another form has been activated and if a duration is non-instantaneous, no other form may be performed while it persists. They do not require a focus, but require the master of forms to be in the corresponding elemental stance. Secret arts can be performed 1/day each, but choosing the same secret art multiple times adds +1 daily use of the secret art. Masters of forms choose a secret art at 5th level, +1 every 4 levels thereafter.


So what do they do? Well, let's take a look at Ice's Aquatic Triad: As a standard action, the master of forms expends all focus, choosing a 10 ft. burst area within 60 ft. range. This mist can be changed into steam, left as aerosolized water or deposit the burst as snow. Steam deals cold damage (drawing heat), maximizing damage versus foes in metal armor. Water makes all armor behave as having a Max Dex bonus of +0 for 1 minute and further enhance bonuses granted by flanking such targets; finally, snow deals scaling fire damage and maximizes damage versus targets wearing combustible armor. While the damage-types seem counter-intuitive, they are based on mighty science and energy transfer. Finally, it should be noted that the master of forms may choose two effects when performing this with 2+ focus, all when using it with 4 focus.


Bones of the Mountain allows you to draw forth a massive earthen, devastating club, while master of air can move as swift action and fire blasts of ranged touch attack trips that also deal damage. Another secret art allows the master of forms to treat himself as staggered, emulating the stasis of a frozen world - while in this ice-cold fugue, the master of forms may retaliate against any attack that hits him with attacks of opportunity, ignoring the usual limitations of AoOs per round. Blasting foes with cannon-like winds and auto-haste plus partial armor ignoring. Unleashing potentially blinding blasts of fiery pyroclasms or hurling lightning, Zeus-style also rock. The respective secret arts increase in potency and have scaling mechanisms both based on level and focus for the particular executions - love that component.


As always, you get a significant array of favored class options and they deserve special mention: Gnomes may, once choosing the FCO 5 times, add +1 form; when performing said form, they may spend 3 focus to execute a second form! Unique! Beyond the base-races, aasimar, drow, hobgoblins, kobolds, puddlings, orcs and tieflings are covered. The class gets +4 supplemental feats - one for +1/day deep focus use, +1 DC for the forms of an element, one for +2 forms and one that provides bonus elemental damage while in a stance.


All right, so, I've danced around this long enough - let's take a look at those forms. They are listed by element and requirements - most forms have no requirement, while level 4, 6 and 8 each can be considered to be thresholds that unlock new forms. It should be noted, though, that most forms are available from the get-go, meaning there's a lot of options to choose from the very beginning. The truly interesting component of the respective elements, though, would be that each and every one of the elemental types generally have at least one component that sets them apart and makes them feel distinct: While you'd expect e.g. earths forms to be movement-reducing (via grappling vines), they actually also sport temporary hit points...and the unique component of gaining additional benefits while below half maximum hit points. Their visuals are also pretty awesome: Gaining claws from crystallized hemoglobin? Heck yeah! Lassos from vines? Growing poisonous berries? Toppling shockwaves? Jup!


Fire allows you to suspend fast healing/regeneration and turn it upon foes, perform blazes of deadly fire...and quite a few of the forms here allow the respective master of forms to perform additional forms this round, emulating the sudden blaze of ignited flames. Oh, and 0 focus change bleed damage ending or causing weeping, seared wounds...quite interesting! Ice, however, is imho more awesome/unique: Beyond movement impediment, ice-chunks launched at foes, devastating waves of cold that may stagger foes, gradual freezing of adversaries or performing special strikes that make it very hard to concentrate...the forms of ice are wonderfully, delightfully dickish. There would be a strike that provides a warning to the creature attacked: If it subsequently performs a full-round action or move and standard action in the same round, with a failure staggering the creature. Particularly exciting would also be frozen surge, which is predicated on a former form missing, a save being made by a victim or you failing to hit a CMD, allowing you to unleash a burst of cold/bludgeoning damage. Ice, basically, is about building up focus...and then unleashing it suddenly, powerfully...and painfully. It's also about slowing/debuffing - absolutely fun.


Lightning, on the other hand, is about speed and volatile bursts - including, as a sidebox acknowledges, a means of performing potentially more than 2 forms per round. The forms also allow for changing directions in charges, penalize foes with blinding sparks...and at level 8, there is a form that allows you to take +1 standard action, but at the cost of being staggered in the round thereafter. Fast strikes that bypass certain amounts of hardness and DR or unleashing a storm cloud that can fire bolts of lightning at adversaries - once again, lightning has its own distinct playstyle.


Finally, wind may sound, concept-wise, as though it were similar to lightning - but it's not really. Where lightning is pretty much about agility in the way that pertains the covering of an area in straight lines, wind represents a more ephemeral component: Granting yourself concealment, defensive stances that make attackers provoke AoOs against which they are flatfooted - the wind element is interesting - also thanks to two interesting components: The build-up: There is e.g. a form that allows for a swift action trip as well as the execution of a second form, representing the rising of the storm. This theme is further enhanced by some forms having additional effects when the master of forms has at least a certain amount of focus, representing on a mechanic base the change from clear skies to storms. What about a touch attack-based whirlwind against all adjacent enemies, allowing you to perform AoO-less combat maneuvers against all of them? (And yes, this gets the moving-caveat right.) Wind is about fluidity, about maneuvers and foe control and it plays just as ephemeral as you'd expect it to.


Now here's the thing, though: While entering a stance is pretty much desirable...it's not necessarily the only strength of the class: Note that, unlike many such classes, this has no prohibited element - these diverse fighting styles are MEANT to be combined - perhaps to set-up a secret art and enter the respective stance, perhaps just to switch between them as you unleash new combos upon your adversaries.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some minor instances of flawed punctuation, I noticed nothing to complain about. The rules-language, as we've come to expect from Bradley Crouch, is precise to the point. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and the pdf has some nice stock art. The pdf comes sans bookmarks, which is a comfort-detriment.


My first thought when I heard about this class was: "Oh no, not ANOTHER elemental martial arts/bender-style class. Urgh. We had enough elemental burst-blasting borefests..." My second thought was "What a waste of Bradley's talent." Oh boy have I been seldom wrong to this extent. This class was commissioned by Alex Ross via Interjection Games' patreon and I am truly grateful for it.


First of all, a solid skill array and high Cha-score mean that this class makes for a solid option in non-combat environments - not the best, but you'll have things you can do. But more importantly, this class, to me, is genius. Know why I don't like elemental classes? They're BORING most of the time. You'll probably have seen this before: Earth specialists that throw globs of rock that are variants of fireball, with parameters like added conditions, other saves and damage types changes. We've seen that again and again...and it never played right to me. What made Avatar so popular beyond the story and the writing, what made elementalists in good anime stand out, what made Scorpion and Sub Zero different was that their powers may have looked similar, that there were overlaps...but they played completely differently nonetheless. Now granted, some classes and options out there managed that, but still stuck to their niche; air specialists got air walk and were opposed to earth...you get the idea.


This is the furious rebuttal to the claim that elementalists can't play radically differently depending on the element used and it also emphasizes fluidity between the elements, a constant change and flux, with stability having its reward as well via secret arts and stances. This is basically the class-design equivalent of Bruce Lee saying "Be like water, my friend." - instead of limiting yourself to one particular element, which remains a valid strategy, the most awesome way of playing these guys is by mixing and matching the different elements and their forms, generating set-ups to then either directly escalate or to generate a stabile stance to then conclude with a secret art - so, not only do the respective forms feel unique in the respective elements, the option to mix them makes the system even more awesome.


The master of forms play flexible, fun and has truly unique effects: Beyond being a solid front-line fighter, the class can also double as terrain control, targeted debuffer, skirmisher - there are a lot of ways to play this class, and all work. The one thing this pdf left me with, ultimately, is a huge desire to see even more: More forms, more types of forms/schools...more. This is a thinking man's martial class, a fun, balanced elementalist that actually makes the respective elements feel distinctly unique while maintaining flexibility. Oh, and yes, the unique components of the elemental forms do retain a distinct mechanical identity that fits together with the fluff. I so want more material for this class - my players love it, I enjoy it and it, overall, is a glorious martial arts-class, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and nomination as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Master of Forms Base Class
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Ultimate Antipodism - Drawn from Light and Darkness
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/01/2015 02:54:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review


Ultimate Antipodism is a massive book of 93 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a whopping 90 pages, so let's take a look!


First: What is this book? Well, one could assume this to be the unofficial fourth part of Strange Magic, seeing how this basically represents a massive, non-vancian casting system and classes based on it. Antipodism is all about light and darkness and the things in-between - instead of the linear progression that characterized shadow magic in 3.X, antipodism is more about combos and the oscillation between light and dark. The concept was pioneered in the edgewalker rogue/assassin/shadowdancer-y class, then expanded to a full caster via the antipodist...and then, Interjection Games patreon happened and made Bradley write a huge expansion plus a third base class...and here we are, Ultimate Antipodism, courtesy of patrons Sasha Hall and Sean Paetti. I will structure this review by base-class and chapter.


Chapter I: The Antipodist


All right, so let's get this party started! We begin with the antipodist: The antipodist base class receives d6 HD,1/2 BAB-progression, no good saves and a locus-progression of level 1 to level 4 and 2+Int skills per level. Antipodists are proficient with simple weapons, but not any armor or shields - no here's an interesting cincher - they double the point costs of their loci when wearing armor they're not proficient in, but are otherwise not hindered by them - meaning that you're only a feat away from armored casting with these guys - sans penalties.


The Antipodist receives two pools - a radiance pool equal to class level + Wis-mod and a shadow pool equal to class level + Int mod. These replenish after 8 hours of consecutive rest. Now an antipodist's career is called "Journey through Light and Shadow" for a good reason - the antipodist learns so-called loci, which range from passive extraordinary abilities to supernatural and spell-like tricks. Loci are broken into three subtypes - light, twilight and dark.


Within these subtypes, there are different philosophies further providing variation/sub-subtypes if you will. Now antipodists surprisingly have no caster level per se, but for interaction purposes, they treat their philosopher level as caster level. Additionally, though some of the antipodist's loci are treated as spell-like abilities, they do NOT count as spells for e.g. PrC, feat-qualification and similar purposes. Catching this one and covering it properly is rather impressive. For the purpose of concentration, a locus is treated as locus level + 1/4 antipodist class level, rounded down. It should be noted that supernatural and extraordinary loci cannot be identified via Spellcraft. In order to activate a locus, the antipodist requires a key attribute (Wis or Int) of 10 + 2x level of the locus and save DCs, if required, are 10 + 1/2 philosopher level + key attribute modifier. It should be noted that antipodism utilizes the aforementioned term "philosopher level" to denote caster levels in antipodism-related classes in a streamlined, concise terminology.


An antipodist begins the game with 3 loci and she receives +1 locus every class level. However, within each philosophy, an antipodist can never know more loci of a higher level than of a lower one - in order to e.g. learn a second locus of the 3rd level of a philosophy, the antipodist needs to know at least 2 loci of the second level of the philosophy - essentially a pyramid rule. The antipodist may replace a locus with a new one at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter, but must maintain the level of the retrained locus - but NOT the philosophy, allowing you to "cheat" the pyramid rule to some extent. Some loci require the use of the antipodist's shadow and thus, only one of them can be in effect for a certain time.


At 2nd, 7th and every 6 levels thereafter, the antipodist may also choose one 1st level locus to become "well-travelled", reducing the cost of said locus to 0, but at the cost of treating a level-dependent effect as half the actual philosopher level, with the exception of DCs and saving throws. At 11th level, the antipodist may 1/day cause a 3rd level or lower locus to be spontaneously treated as well-travelled, +1/day for every 3 levels. Finally, at 20th level, three different capstones loom, depending on the philosophy chosen - these include turning one 4th level dark locus into a light-locus (and vice versa) or a third pool, the twilight pool, which can exclusively be used to pay for loci of the twilight philosophy.


Got that? Well, that's not all - the antipodist can have different philosophical leanings - radiance, shadow or twilight. Twilight maintains the duality between light and darkness, whereas light and shadow, whereas the specialists in either light or darkness may not be able to utilize the other's tricks, but instead receive a slightly (+2) increased pool and, more importantly, may choose to ignore aforementioned pyramid rule to compensate their decreased versatility - anyways, all choices further modify what an antipodist receives bonus-wise - which is nice. At 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the philosophical leaning also provides further bonuses - increased pool size and minor bonus to one of the three saves. It should also be noted, that extensive advice for the DM and player to handle the transition of philosophies are provided - and that both light and dark are not tied to an alignment - playing CE radiance specialists or LG shadow specialists is very much possible. Now interesting in this seeming dichotomy would be the "drawn from experience" ability gained at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, choosing a philosophy and increasing its potency - the trick here being that the very progression of the class can be used to mirror the moral development of the character and the preferences chosen.


Now a total of 4 philosophies for radiance and shadow are provided and additionally, there is the twilight philosophy, which counts as either. Got that? All right, so I'll give you a brief run-down of the philosophies (If I mention every locus, the review would bloat...): Anima allows you to animate your shadow to execute close range reposition maneuvers, have your shadow record a locus (and execute it at your command) or stretch and peek around corners or even invade a target, potentially slaying it via fear. Other tricks of anima allow you to animate other's shadows, commanding them to help or hinder target creatures and passive bonuses to AC when not utilizing your shadow actively can also be found herein. Bull rushing targets via swats of your shadow is also neat.


The Beacon philosophy can help you cancel out ongoing fear-effects. on yourself and allies and perfect, short-burst flight alongside buff/debuff-effects, fast healing and healing (the latter with a 2 round delay-mechanism - interesting!) as well as beneficial mood lighting. Reflexive damage + dazzle when targets of a locus are hit by attacks and eliminating diseases and poisons also make for interesting choices. There also is e.g. an option to use your shadow to grant DR that scales with your level and e.g. mass, light-based flight.


Now the coruscation locus is more combat-centric - duplicating color spray, unleashing deadly blasts of atomizing light and blinding light make for interesting choices. On a design paradigm level interesting, one locus allows you to regain limited radiance points of spent loci when reducing foes below 0 hp, meaning that the ability can't be cheesed or kitten'd via well-travelled loci - nice way of preventing abuse there. Dazzling and blinding of foes are often accompanying effects of this, and the negation of concealment as well as causing "catching fire" (akin to alchemist's fire) with coruscation loci can mean a nasty drain on an enemy's action economy. We can also find a locus that enhances the damage rolled via coruscation, treating all 1s as 2s - Interesting.


The illumination locus allows you to e.g. charge and increase the damage-output of the next damage-dealing locus you cast, net yourself darkvision, infuse texts with appropriate bonuses to skills or even "store" a d20 roll and later substitute it. Among the more interesting options, crits granting temporary radiance points are interesting...and since they only pertain the loci, no way to kitten this one.


The Manipulator philosophy has some truly unique options as well - take for example the possibility of subverting and hijacking summoning spells - damn cool! Subverting enemy morale also makes for a cool idea - as does intensifying conditions - making the relatively useless dazzle-condition blinded instead, upping entangled to staggered - really cool, especially since the save varies on the condition intensified! Also rather unique - clouding the minds of foes, causing them to treat all targets as if subject to concealment. Ignoring the immunity of mind-affecting effects at the cost of shadow points also makes for a cool idea, somewhat analogue to DSP's dread class. Also rather nasty - one high-level locus that is the equivalent of mass-haste for allies and mass-slow for adversaries. Causing the shaken-condition via images of "spiders, mothers-in-law" and similar horrific images made me chuckle and manipulating weapon-hands is interesting - a word of warning, though - if a target's HD exceed those of the antipodist, they may instead receive a buff! Now while this may look like an strange design decision, it also opens an uncommon way of using the class - cohorts and similar followers may actually end up as buff-specialists for their masters, with minor manipulation thrown in the mix. Oh, and yes, you can make foes attack themselves en masse.


Now the Obscurity philosophy, of course, is the go-to toolbox of stealth-focused tricks - from turning into smoke and instantly moving 5 ft. per class level (to e.g. escape from the guts of a huge creature that has swallowed you whole), entangling globs of greasy darkness, dual short-term reflexive shaken/blindness - so far, so good. What about beginning an insurrection of shadows, resulting in a target receiving additional weapon damage when hit by a target for the first time in a given round? This philosophy has also perhaps one of the most powerful passive abilities of the whole class - once per day, your shadow dies instead of you when first reduced by something that required an attack roll reduces you below 0 hp. (Of course, the shadow regenerates, rendering this a neat type of life-insurance, though your shadow's absence may severely limit some of your options...) Shadow evasion and granting a weak sneak attack can be considered rather cool options as well, rendering this philosophy probably one of the go-to choices for thieves and those versed in the lore of the underworld - tag-teaming with your shadow to ignore the movement-penalty of difficult terrain does make for cool imagery. Evasion when unarmored is surely appreciated.


The Refraction philosophy allows for 1st level invisibility via bend light, with the added caveat that taken items (up to 10 ft. sticking away from your body) also become invisible. Now while the mechanics of parabolic dishes may not be particularly elegant (not a fan of opposed rolls in PFRPG), it works mathematically here - d20+BAB+Wis-mod+deflection bonus to AC (e.g. granted from the hovering parabolic dish) against incoming rays - if you win, you can catch and return the ray to its sender, destroying the dish. Generally, this one can be thought as the most defense-focused of the philosophies, with quite an array of e.g. AC-bonus netting and even mirror image-like loci. An abuse-safe retribution-spear can also be found among the loci here. What about a locus granting charges that grant resistance bonuses to saves and can be spent in place of your shadow?


The Umbral Embrace philosophy is probably the most sinister of the respective philosophies - a lot of the loci impose negative levels and e.g. darkness rising even further penalizes saves against the ability depending on the amount of negative levels accumulated. One of the more iconic loci would e.g. allow you to conjure forth the literal sandman to put your foes to sleep and another generates an anti-duplicate of the target that crashes into it for massive damage. What about a nice combo-set-up that adds negative levels to foes when you continue to pile on umbral embrace loci?


The Twilight philosophy is rather peculiar in its general versatility, allowing you to increase the potency of loci when alternating between light and dark loci. Increasing the point cost of loci in order to have them apply to additional targets also makes for versatile options and adding swift action dimension doors to the casting of 4th level loci also offers some unique tactical tricks. A sneaking, auto-flanking weapon of shadow, a bolt that can be modified as belonging to any type of philosophy - the twilight philosophy is probably the most versatile and diverse of the philosophies. All in all, a total of more than 170 loci (that's a SIGNIFICANT upgrade over the first iteration!) make sure that antipodists will have A LOT of combo-potential and tricks at their beck and call.


The class also comes with favored class options for the core-races plus drow, aasimar, tiefling, kobold, orc, hobgoblin and puddling. Furthermore, we get antipodist archetypes, the first of which would be the extremist. In the extremist, light and darkness wage war and thus, the archetype gets a duality pool. This pool's size cannot exceed 5 and begins play empty. Whenever the extremist activates a non-well-traveled locus and the pool is empty, she gains 1 duality point and the pool is "charged" or flagged in opposition to the locus activated: Activation via light flags it as dark and vice-versa. Each time, the extremist activates a locus whose descriptor does not match that of the pool, she gains 1 point. As soon as she activates one that matches the pool's descriptor, it empties and provides benefits according to a handy table - from one-round-rendering a locus well-traveled to reduced costs, careful planning can provide some neat combo-potential with this pool added. Philosophical leaning-wise, extremists get +1 locus (+1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter), but may never learn any loci from twilight. The Drawn from Experience ability of the base antipodist is also heavily modified, precluding e.g. the taking of a given benefit more than oonce, but at the same time having a scaling upgrade at 11th level. As a capstone, the extremist gets ANOTHER pool, the EXTREME (cue in 90s music) pool - 10 points that can be used to escalate the benefits granted by her duality pool when activating its benefits. Some people may complain about the pools to manage. I'm not some people. I like the extremist and how it plays. It's a unique, nice archetype.


The second archetype, the Specialist Philosopher, is just what you'd expect in such a context - a specialist of one of the philosophies: They choose a favored philosophy and begin play with +1 locus from this philosophy, gaining an additional one at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. When learning loci from this philosophy, the specialists can ignore the pyramid rule. The specialization has full compatibility with the philosophical leaning class feature, though changing it from the prescribed specialization means that the character loses the access of the 11th level class feature. 11th level nets a well-traveled 2nd level locus from the favored philosophy, +1 at 17th level, instead of wayfinder. Drawn from experience is also modified. The capstone nets the specialist a specialist pool equal to 4+ number of 4th level loci known in the favored philosophy - these points emulate the points required by the respective favored philosophy. In a minor nitpick - the text calls the specialist philosopher "extremist" here.


Chapter II: The Edgeblade


The edgeblade would be the new class herein - it gets full BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d10, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, shields. The penalty for non-proficient armor is to increase the cost of waypoints by +1. The edgeblade gets class level +Wis-mod shadow pool and class level + Int-mod radiance pool, minimum 1. This does not look like much, right? Well, the edgeblade also gets residuum pools - a light residuum pool and a dark residuum pool. Whenever the edgeblade uses a non-finisher light waypoint that costs at least 1 radiance point, he gains 1 light residuum; the same holds true for dark residuum and dark waypoints. These pools can hold a maximum of 2+1 per 6 edgeblade levels each. Residuum is used to fuel residuum powers and waypoint finishers. They also have a stability score, which begins at 1: Any minute the edgeblade does not gain or spend residuum decreases the residuum score in the pool until the pools reach the stability score. residuum does not replenish - it empties upon resting and needs to be filled again each day. The stability-score is interesting in that it represents a crucial balancing mechanism and some really intriguing untapped potential to play with in further designs - tying it to waypoints, abilities and the like does sound like something I'd sooner or later try to craft myself.


At 1st level, edgeblades get 3 residuum abilities: One light, one dark, one twilight. 2nd level, 3rd level, 4th level, 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the edgeblade gains +1 residuum ability. These abilities need to be prepared - each day upon resting, the edgeblade chooses one light, one dark and one twilight ability, which then are considered to be prepared. Residuum abilities can be considered the unique passive buffs - resistance against all elemental energy types + sonic equal to residuum or twice residuum, decreased armor check penalty, adding mighty cleaving at higher level to the weapon, better initiative, saves, hurling minor fire-damage causing balls of flame, reflexive dazzle or generating the other type of residuum when one pool is full, these abilities provide a baseline of unique options to supplement the fighting styles of the edgeblades.


1st level nets the edgeblade gets two waypoints, +1 at 2nd level and every two levels thereafter. If applicable, the DC for such abilities is 10 +1/2 philosopher level (=class level)+key attribute modifier (Int or Wis, respectively). As always, waypoints marked by an asterisk utilize the shadow of the respective edgeblade - only one such effect can be in place at a given time. You'll notice something: Edgeblades are crazy MAD - as such, at 3rd level and every 5 levels thereafter, they get +1 to Int and Wis for the purpose of waypoint DC, stacking with itself, up to a maximum of the highest physical ability score. At 4th level and every 5 levels thereafter, an edgeblade gets +2 to his pool-sizes, to be freely distributed among radiance and shadow. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter provide a antipode or combat bonus feat.


5th level and every 5 levels thereafter provide a greater waypoint for the edgeblade. 6th level edgeblade may perform a finisher that requires a standard action in place of the first attack of a full-attack action or in place of the first attack while charging or instead of a charge. The wording here is slightly wonky, but still precise enough - still, I'd be interested to know whether the benefits of the charge still apply to the finisher combined with it. As a capstone, the edgeblade may prepare a 4th residuum ability. We get favored class options for the usual array of races in IG-supplements: Core, orc, hobgoblin, tiefling, drow aasimar, kobold, puddling.


Archetype-wise, the first would be the Dawnblade, who only gets a radiance pool equal to 2xdamblade level +Wis mod. Unlike the regular edgeblade, the dawnblade has no stability-score to contend with - his residuum does not decay/dissipate - which also precludes the archetype from qualifying for feats and abilities that modify residuum stability. The dawnblade begins with 2 residuum abilities, +1 at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. Residuum abilities have to be prepared and the dawnblade may prepare two - both of which obviously must be light residuum abilities, since the archetype cannot choose dark or twilight. However, the dawnblade receives some unique residuum tricks - like a blade of light (cue in all the Star Wars jokes and quotes you know...I'll be waiting...all right, all done?) that scales its potency at higher levels, no-save dazzle, reduced finisher costs and temporary radiance points when spending 3+ light residuum. The archetype gets 2 waypoints at 1st level, +1 at 2nd level +1 every two dawnblade level. The entry here is a bit redundant, since it mentions dark waypoint DCs, even though the archetype can't use these. 4th level increases radiance pool by +1, a further +1 every 5 levels thereafter. The 6th level ability is modified by reducing the cost of the first finisher in the first round of combat by -1 t a minimum of 1. This does not allow for the execution of finishers beyond the maximum residuum capacity of the edgeblade.


Where there is Dawn, there is Dusk - and hence, there also is a dark-specialist. Analogue to the dawnblade, the duskblade receives only a shadow pool of 2 x class level + Int mod. Conversely, the duskblade does not get light residuum. Now this would not be Interjection Games, if we just got a mirror image, right? Instead, we get a pretty cool mechanic based on the symbolic phases of the moon: When the duskblade prepares residuum abilities, he assigns one ability to the new moon phase and one to the full moon phase. The beginning phase each day is "new" - during combat, there is a cumulative 20% chance to change to the next phase. Phase-change eliminates 1 point of dark residuum and resets the chance to 0%, but also gets +2 atk, saving throws and skill checks for one round.


The interesting thing here is that the archetype thus gets an unreliable, slightly chaotic flow, but one that allows for the simultaneous activity of two residuum abilities at once when the phase is waning/waxing...oh, and new/full also have additional benefits that play with the residuum mechanic - and they're beautiful. Seriously, love this mechanic! Akin to the dawnblade, the duskblade does get some exclusive residuum abilities, including nonlethal cold damage and immediate action-residuum-powered reflexive invisibility at higher levels. Like the dawnblade, the waypoint section, somewhat confusingly, notes the information for light waypoints, when the duskblade can't take them. The other components of the chassis are similar to that of the dawnblade, so to avoid redundancy, I'll skip ahead.


The waypoints provided are grouped by type and by minimum level - 8th philosopher level is the maximum such abilities require, with greater waypoints at most requiring 15th level - from globe of invulnerability-type immunities to other tricks - now the intriguing idea here is, obviously, that the terminology of finishers allows for the combination of waypoint-mechanics between edgewalker and edgeblade, while still maintaining the unique identity of the edgeblade. Between Loci, finishers and the like, this means there is still a lot of untapped potential within the systems presented here that could be expanded in future supplements.


Chapter III: The Edgewalker


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


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


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


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


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


The capstone of the class allows you to use radiance and darkness pool interchangeably - a slight increase in power when compared to the original iteration of the class, but one I welcome.


Archetype-wise, we receive the motebringer (previously released on its own). The motebringer has the same basic class-chassis regarding saves and BAB as the edgewalker - unlike the edgewalker, who oscillates between light and darkness, the motebringer is a specialist of utilizing light - as such, the archetype only receives a radiance pool equal to class levels x2 + Wis-mod - but no shadow pool. Seeing how this means that several of the combo-set-ups that render the edgewalker captivating to play fall away, we thus receive a significant array of infusions, the first of which is gained at second level, +1 at 3rd level and every 2 levels of motebringer thereafter.


This list of unique tricks, ultimately, is here for one reason - to add a level of flexibility the class would have otherwise lost - and I applaud the motebringer for it. Reflexive temporary hit points, high-level poison immunity, energy resistance and the like can all be found herein -as can blinding motes of light that act as replenishing blinding flash bombs. The significant array of choices is interesting due to two further design decisions - at 2nd level, the motebringer receives a mote pool that scales with the level totaling 1/2 of class levels, rounded down -these are spent when infusing aforementioned infusions into the second interacting component - the radiant shawls. From extending ropes of light from the shawls to granting himself a temporary radiance point, and minor (but untyped) damage as rays that can be fired as swift actions or whirlwind touch attacks render this archetype interesting-


Also gained at 2nd level, radiant shawls constitute pieces of roughly-shawl-like solid light that can be modified with infusions by spending 1 hour. The shawl occupies the shoulder slot and also provides a bonus to AC and a penalty to Stealth-checks - it can be activated and deactivated as a standard action, and yes, the infusions that can be woven into the shawl can, for example, grant temporary radiance pool points to power the waypoints learned. Both radiance and mote pools increase over the levels and obviously, hide in plain sight is not part of the deal for motebringers. The capstone allows for instant modification of infusion loadouts as well as replenishment of daily uses of infusions.


The second archetype provided herein is no less complex than the motebringer - the shadowfriend. The shadowfriend loses sneak attack and instead begins play with a shadowy remnant of what he once was in an alternate reality - unlike companions and the like, the motivations of these guys sync automatically up with yours. If the shadowself is destroyed, it can be regained in a rite costing 200 gp x level. The shadowself has 1/2 HD (min 1), 1/2 BAB-progression, halved bad-saves, gets up to 20 skills (2 at first level, +2 at third and every odd level thereafter) and begins play with one feat, +1 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. The shadow also gets sneak attack that scales up to +6d6. Healing via waypoints may spontaneously be redirected towards the shadowself and waypoints with a range of personal may also affect either. The shadow can always spider climb and occupy the same square as the master. Taking away its surface lets it snap back to the master's feet and even teleportation is properly handled for the shadow. The shadow self is immune versus precision damage and crits and all its attacks are touch attacks. When removed from the master by more than 30 ft or out of line of sight, the shadowself curls up in an inactive ball and is helpless, dissipating after 1 hour of inactivity. Masters and shadow can freely communicate verbally, but other creatures do not understand this communication - which is a bit odd: Why not make this a telepathic link? I don't really get how that works.


The master uses a language, right? Anyways, at 2nd level, the shadowself gets DR 1/- (+1 every 4 levels) and uses Int-mod to calculate hp, Fort-saves and Con-based special abilities. At 5th level, shadowself duplicates the master's weapon or shields as masterwork versions, with 8th level allowing for a +1 enhancement bonus that scales up by +1 every 4 master levels thereafter. 5th level provides improved evasion. Shadowselves have Str, Dex, Wis, Cha and Int 10 and no Con on account of being a construct, which also means d10 HD. The shadowfriend does pay for this powerful pet with pools - they only get a shadow pool equal to 2xclass level+Int-mod, minimum 1. No radiance tricks and neither may they learn radiance waypoints. 3rd level nets the shadowfriend and his shadowself a shadow of their own for the purpose of waypoint/locus-activation and 5th level and every 6 thereafter increase the shadow pool point size by +2. The shadowfriend is an extremely cool archetype and imho mops the floor with the motebringer - touch attack sneaks are nasty, in spite of the bad BAB and while the shadowself is fragile, it can be used in pretty awesome ways. That and the ability' codification is a thing of crunchy beauty.


All right, I've stalled long enough - let's talk about the waypoints that constitute the primary resource of unique, active tricks of the edgeblade and edgewalker. Now you're of course interested in the aforementioned waypoints and the waypoints themselves have diverse prerequisites - from none, to level-caps and other waypoints have certain skills and feats as prerequisites, which thankfully are listed in the handy lists provided for the respective classes. Now what can you for example make with these waypoints? Well, since there are more than 100 in here (approximately double of what we had before!), I'm just going to note that the following is not a comprehensive list, but rather an array of options that should be considered kind of representational for the classes. While many waypoints are available for both classes, of course there are some that are exclusive for either. As a special mention: Yes, the theme of character-development and specialists seem contradictory, but the pdf does provide guidance for archetype-switching, so that should also be noted...just in case you notice on of the numerous combos herein too late and/or have a change in your character's development. There is another component I should mention: Finishers tend to allow for escalation - i.e. the payment of additional residuum to increase the potency of waypoints. Waypoints also thankfully generally provide scaling benefits, but I guess, at this point, that's a given.


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


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


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


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


Now I did mention those greater waypoints and as you may have imagined, they are the big ones - Summoning forth several shadows from you one - cool. But more interesting would, at least for me, be the game-changer that is Cumulative Exposure - it deals automatic damage to all adjacent creatures whenever you subsequently use two waypoints. Using multiple dark waypoints may also yield bonuses and igniting mundane light sources to emit blinding flashes makes for a cool idea and better light/darkness poison/ichors are lethal and cool - what about e.g. an ichor that makes the target suffer from miss chances galore, but also receive an applicable miss chance as it becomes insubstantial -nice reflection of the duality-theme in the crunch here.


Now also rather awesome would be the option to steal other creature's shadows via ranged CMB to power darkness-waypoints. Cool here - the ability manages to properly prevent kitten-bag abuse. Lifelinks also are possible - ouch! Now it should be noted that, although the page-count of the pdf remains unchanged, quite a few stock artworks have been taken out of the file to make room for more waypoints, which is rather cool and adds to the arsenal of an already fun and inspired class. It should be specifically noted that the greater waypoints receiving some awesome tricks - what about establishing a link that damages a target when you are healed? Yeah, evil and oh so cool!


If all of these options still are not enough - yes, there are feats to enhance the classes here, but this review is already 12 pages long as is - so let's jump to the conclusion.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good - there are almost no issues in here, most being typo-level and in the exceedingly rare case some piece of mechanic is influenced, it is to a small degree that still allows you to deduce what's intended. The pdf sports thematically-fitting stock art and layout adheres to Interjection Games' elegant 2-column b/w-standard. This book has one massive issue on the formal side - no bookmarks. Beyond making this review relatively painful with a lot of scrolling, this means that printing out this massive book is something you should do - a book of this size, sans bookmarks, is very user unfriendly. I asked what happened and it turns out, there are supposed to be bookmarks - but the technical side of things has screwed the pdf, thus breaking them. It would basically be required to build the whole book anew to make them work.


And ultimately, that's my one issue with this book. You already know I loved the respective three classes, with particularly the edgeblade being just fun to play. All archetypes herein are unique, sporting a significantly-changed playing experience from their unmodified classes - to the extent where the archetypes can be considered more unique than some variant classes out there. Bradley Crouch delivers a highly complex and rewarding casting system here, one that codifies antipodism and makes it feel more concise.


Unlike previous systems, antipodism is all about the combos: Much like the themes it represents, you'll have better DPR-options with other systems. What makes this book's classes awesome is their deliberate emphasis on cool combos and synergy effects - if you enjoy classes that play intelligently, then this book provides content galore, with the vast majority being quite frankly unique and not something you'd see in the arsenal of other classes. Juggling highly complex concepts and getting the wording right also constitutes one of the unique benefits here. Content-wise, this is awesome and if you're willing to print this out, it's definitely worth the investment of the fair asking price. That being said, the lack of bookmarks really, really hurts this massive, otherwise great book.


Let's make this abundantly clear - this would be 5 stars + seal, in spite of the few minor glitches here and there and to me as a private person, it is just that....But, as a reviewer, no bookmarks constitute a big fat issue for a book of this size. If you don't have a problem with printing this out, then get it - for you, the above verdict very much holds true. However, as a reviewer, I can't just assume that and have to rate the pdf as is; as much as it galls me, I have to detract 1 star, ending with a final verdict of 4 stars - if you print this out, I'm pretty sure you will love it, though!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Antipodism - Drawn from Light and Darkness
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The Animist: Nature Incarnate
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2015 08:52:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review


So, took me long enough, right? This is the first of the classes commissioned via Interjection Games' patreon and clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving su with 17 pages chock-full with CRUNCH.


One more note - the book sports a handy difficulty to build/play-index - the class scores just 2 of 5, so, as far as Interjection games-classes are concerned, that ought to be pretty simple - so let's take a look at the mechanics: The animist gets d10, full BAB-progression, good will-saves, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, greatclub, longow, shortbow and whip as well as with light armor and shields. Wearing medium or heavy armor reduced the maximum prominence (more on that later) by 1, unless the armor sports the wield special ability.


The key ability of the class would be animism, the ability to become one with various aspects of nature on a temporary basis - the animist uses temporary tattoos made of natural ingredients in a 1-hour ceremony after resting. This ceremony is only required if the animist wants to change aspects, however. The abilities thus gained are called "aspects." Aspects are grouped in two categories: Minor and major aspects. Animists begin play knowing 3 major and 3 minor aspects. Each level grants the animist one aspect known for which he meets all prerequisites.


If the grouping was not enough of a clue: Aspects occupy slots. An animist begins play with 2 major and 1 minor slots. At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the animist gets an additional major slot, while at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, he gains a minor slot. If you're taking heed, you'll not that this caps out the class at 7 major slots and 6 minor ones at 19th level. All aspect slots must be filled upon taking the ceremony - you can't keep a slot open like e.g. with spells. t should be noted that animists can suppress the benefits of their aspects as a full-round action, so yes, the class actually can still attend social functions without all people running away screaming from the strange thing. While suppressing an aspect, the animist gains no benefits from it, though. Ceasing suppression is a full-round action that provokes AoOs, making this work pretty seamlessly along the lines established by Pact Magic's physical signs. Nice.


Beyond the basics of aspects, there is prominence - and this makes the class feel a bit akashic mystery-ish/incarnum-ish. For every four class levels the animist possesses, the character increases the prominence value by 1. What does this? Well, an animist may have a major aspect take up more than one major aspect slot, up to the maximum determined by the prominence-level. At 4th level, an animist has just reached prominence 2 and has 3 major slots available. He could e.g. use two major slots for one major aspect and gain the prominence 2 bonus of said aspect and bind a second major aspect for that aspect's prominence 1 bonus...or he could bind 3 major aspects and get the prominence 1 bonuses of all three. If that still sounds confusing, don't fret - the pdf does a great job explaining the mechanic.


Aspects, if applicable, have a saving throw DC of 10 + 1/2 class level + Wis-mod. Untyped abilities of aspects modify others, natural attacks or passive ones tend to be extraordinary, explicitly-stated SPs are spell-like abilities (d'uh) and all other abilities are supernatural. Simple, right? At 5th level, the animist may, as a full-round action that provokes AoOs, 1/day change a minor aspect via the Embody Anew ability, but only if e.g. daily use abilities have not been tapped - nice! This can be done an additional time per day every 4 levels thereafter. As a capstone, the animist gains an additional major slot that acts as a wildcard major slot with a maximum prominence of 1 - the major aspect of this slot can be changed as a full-round action that provokes AoOs. Limited use major aspect prominence 1 abilities are not eligible for this slot.


The class sports FCOs for the core-races, aasimar, drow, tiefling, hobgoblin, kobold, orc and puddling, providing a nice diversity of options. A total of 4 feats complement the class: 1 allows other classes to gain one minor aspect, one grants +2 aspects to the animist, one that allows you to reduce the prominence each ability by -1 (more on that later) and one for +1/day minor aspect use.


The pdf also sports 2 archetypes, the first of which would be the tattooist. This guy gets a pigment pool of 1 at 1st level, +1 every four levels thereafter. When preparing aspects for the day, these guys can expend pigment points to an aspect - this locks the aspect for one whole week - the animist cannot change said aspect. Pigment points only refresh once this time has elapsed. The pigments provide benefits like +1 use of an aspect, increased save DCs, increased damage, +3 initiative (but requiring the activation of the aspect) and 9th level allows for e.g. the swift action activation of an ability- but at the cost of all daily uses and only if none of them have been expended so far, increased prominence and similar, appropriate benefits - all at the cost of the flexibility of the Embody Anew ability: Slight power-increase for less flexibility is the trade-off here.


The second archetype would be the verdant herald, whose prominence caps at 2. Instead of embody anew, the herald gets an equality pool at 5th level, containing 2 points, +2 for every 4 verdant herald levels beyond 5th. The verdant herald may use these points to activate minor aspect abilities sans depleting their daily allotment, but they may not spend more than 2 such points per day on a single aspect. Very interesting - for double the cost, they can actually activate aspect abilities thus, even if they were not prepared. The pool refreshes after meditation and replaces embody anew. At20th level, the herald gets temporary equality points equal to 7-highest prominence among her major aspects, further increasing this flexibility in ability use as the capstone. Oh, and it should be noted that the verdant herald gets three unique feats to utilize the equality pool - minor healing when drawing on aspects not prepared, for example. I wished that one had some sort of scaling, though. On the cool side, you can increase your equality pool...Or, at 15th level, further reduce your maximum prominence to 1...but learn two new major aspects and gain temporary equality points equal to your equality pool size, effectively doubling this component. This feat would have been an archetype in a lesser book and while it looks odd and wonky, it's math, once you dissect it and the DPS-options between characters with and without it, is as concise as I'd expect from Bradley Crouch - essentially, the verdant herald's focus on minor aspects means you can nova better, but don't have that many staying power/non-resource-based combat options.


All right, so that would be the basics, but in order to properly judge the class, we obviously have to take a very close look at the aspects themselves, so let's start with the major aspects. 21 such aspects are provided herein, but each of them has not one, not 2, but 7+ abilities! No, I am not kidding. Basically, we have a default ability labeled "each," the prominence 1 ability and then escalating tricks at higher prominences. So let's take a look at what can be found here:


Autumn is all about stock-piling food, at least if the super-market-going populace or the squirrels around here are any indicator - hence, this aspect allows you to grow berries from your head. You (or allies) may pluck them for minor healing - which, while weak, is nice imagery. At higher prominence, the aspect becomes more interesting - you add buff-effects to the characters that consume your berries and turn them into acid-damage dealing, entangling (no save) crowd-control micro-bombs...and at highest prominence, you can actually regrow them when defeating foes...and yes, kitten-proof.


Perhaps you want to activate magic items based on dumb luck? If so, the more prominence, the less chance you have that your chimpanzee aspect's ability fails...oh, and you have a decent chance of not using those precious charges of your spell-trigger/spell-completion items and even increase CL or grant you save-bonuses versus such items. At the highest prominence, you may choose wild-card druid spells to use instead of the spell-trigger/completion item's effect. And yes, this still takes spell levels into account - no easy cheese to be found here. Perhaps you want to go all swamp-thing and shamble around in creepers that can autonomously perform AoOs? Go for the creeper aspect. Want some moderate inflict wounds SPs? Decay-aspect.


Want to go full-blown DC-villain, fly around and shoot gobs of phosphorescent, burning material akin to the villain Firefly? Just take the aspect of this name. And yes, the latter allows you to even ignore fire resistance at prominence 5. Want reflexive pustules that entangle foes attacking you in melee, a bite with grab (or even a tongue?) - Frog aspect, baby. Bite at reach with specialization-feats? Giraffe. Secondary tentacles, electricity and fortification? Jellyfish. Energy resistance + bonus damage, extending resistance to nearby allies? Obsidian sentinel. I'm not a big fan of the scorpion's option to negate melee attacks, but at least the math is sound and play-style wise, this works pretty well and the option to hamper offensive appendages via the claws is pretty damn cool... as is the fire-damage-dealing capstone poison. Want to be fortified versus some flanking/have movement superiority? Then the spider aspect, with spider climb and net globules as well as immunity to flanking unless dazzled, blinded, etc. would be what you're looking for. Spring increases maximum hit points and provides bonuses when at full strength and, with evasion and the like, is the low-armored, agile aspect. Want fast healing (that thankfully caps once it has taken care of enough damage)? Well, then, obviously, the troll is what you're looking for. The unicorn is about limited healing (particularly awesome if no one wants to play the healer...) and Winter's icy aura is slapstick gold...particularly nasty in combination with trip-builds. At high prominence, the aura not only can deal cold damage, it also penalizes Dex...by -4...OUCH. And if that does not look evil, then you haven't see these guys double-team foes into a trip-loop.


As you can see, the major aspects are mostly devoted to general ability set-up and fighting styles - basically, they are the passive ability-suites that supplement fighting styles with active and unique options. The minor aspects, on the other hand (30 provided, btw.) are more about the flashy, limited tricks: Anteaters may e.g. attack foes or stationary objects with their sticky tongue. If they hit with a "melee touch" (which should be "ranged touch attack"), they move to a square adjacent to the target (provided the way is not blocked), while benefiting from +4 to AC versus AoOs. Apart from the minor wording hiccup, a great ability with cool visuals...though I wished it specified whether the tongue can lift the weight of the animist like a grappling hook - I assume it can, mainly because the image of an animist in my playtest jumping from a tower's window, only to use his tongue to get to an adjacent roof three stories above ground (sans going splat) was too awesome. Cheetah-like sprints, minor reflexive rage, temporary DR by curling up armadillo-style, temporary bat-blindsight (hello, medusa!), create water at will (scaling up to 3/day touch of the sea and 1/day water breathing), con damage-healing via mosquito-drains...or what about decomposing bodies of vanquished non-undead/construct foes to power healing? Or a high-level phoenix-burst that deals AoE-damage and heals the animist?


If all of these do not seem too impressive to you: Remember, this is a full BAB-class that can stand pretty well on its own in melee! The minor aspects essentially add the cool highlights to the gameplay of the animist. EDIT: So, I've been asked to highlight a particular component of this class that I seem to have glossed over or at least not emphasized enough: the way in which the copious natural attacks of this class interact. You see, I mentioned the handy table that lists damage-types, attack types (primary/secondary) etc. for a reason. In case the partial shapechanger-style note below wasn't enough clue for you: What makes the animist interesting beyond the basic chassis and the effects of the respective aspects, is that you can go full-blown bonkers regarding your natural attacks: Let's take an 11th level animist as an example. The animist has 5 major slots, 4 minor ones and a maximum prominence of 3. For a bite attack, we can take either Frog, Viper or Giraffe as a major aspect, both granting the bite from the get-go, with the difference that Frog increases your HP and is more versatile at higher prominences, while giraffe provides a bite with reach and better upgrades -in case you don't have them, prominence 2, which grants Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization for bite, may be a smart move. The viper aspect provides a poisonous bite - at 2 prominence, the animist gets a retaliatory anti-AoO-bite whenever he's attacked by someone in melee, but only if he has not yet bitten that round. Scorpion provides 2 pincers from the get-go and the 2-prominence parry may be worth the investment - particularly in combination with viper, this allows for a pretty interesting defensive harrier that can start an array of natural attacks on the fly. Jellyfish nets you a tentacle and, if you have the slot to spare, at prominence 2 light fortification...and a second tentacle. While these do not add ability-modifiers not special weapon abilities, but they can still be nasty. Alternatively, prominence 2 nets you claws with the lion major aspect as well as a defensive mane, so that would also be an option to take, though, alas, you have to choose between claws or pincers when attacking, so no combo there. Mind you, that's before minor aspects. At 11th level, we can add "The Cornered" as a minor aspect - when criting with a chosen natural weapon, all weapons wielded, both natural and manufactured, become wounding weapons for one round - you see what I'm going for here? Yeah, pretty neat. Another build my PCs really liked was based on charging and flexibility - basically, the minor aspect The Ravening allows you to increase the damage of your natural attacks by one size as a swift action and fatigues you on the following round for higher damage dice; minor aspect cheetah allows you to increase movement by +30 ft. as a swift action when running or charging and the boar allows for a second attack at the end of a charge, though that one does not stack with e.g. pounce. While not combo-ing with other minor aspects, these can make for a very versatile charger, particularly when combined with the right major aspects. Essentially, the class offers quite a few customization options and different variations you can use to make the type of natural attack-combo/combat option you want.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I noticed some very minor nitpick-points, though none that truly impeded the pdf's functionality. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' classic, printer-friendly b/w-two-column standard and the pdf sports several pieces of thematically-fitting stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for maximum convenience.


Bradley Crouch's designs are among the most popular at my table - my players like tinkering with classes; we like flexible options and unique tricks. That being said, his previous full-BAB-classes like the brewmaster have been a bit heavy on the pre-planning. The animist is several things: For one, it's a pretty simple class to grasp. The base mechanics are elegant and smooth. The interesting thing is, though, that you have both the planning component and the flexibility directly in battle - major aspects provide plenty of pre-planning rewards and cool fighting style options that come 100% into their own when properly combined with feats: Then, the animist becomes fearsome indeed. Oh, and then there would be the "non-boring martial"-factor: The minor aspects provide ample unique, cool "see what I did there"-tricks that render playing this front-line fighter/controller rewarding.


Another potential problem did lie in the odd looks and visuals of the class, but thankfully, animists can still attend social gatherings...though getting back all aspects may take a while...which works pretty well, actually: Think of it as superman going into the phone booth - only that you mutate into a kind of grotesque man/animal/plant-thingy with many lethal natural attacks. Hey, and we all wanted to do that...right? Right?? Kidding aside, the animist, and that's the crucial component, plays well - yes, you can make a pretty nasty clawing, biting monstrosity here, but the class's true appeal lies in its flexibility. While there are some very minor hiccups here and there, over all, this beast provided a fun, unique playing experience and is an excellent addition to the roster of classes provided by master Crouch - essentially, this is a full BAB-spellcaster-like experience and fun as hell. At this point: Shout out to Sasha Hall, who commissioned this class - thanks for having this one made!


My final verdict will clock in, in spite of minor imperfections, at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5...and I'll add my seal of approval - get this cool class, it's the coolest take on the nature avatar/partial shapechanger-class I've seen so far!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Animist: Nature Incarnate
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Pirate Aspects for the Animist Base Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2015 08:50:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This free expansion for the animist base class clocks in at 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look!


Okay, we begin with the parrot major aspect - and it's hilarious. No, really. I mean it. The base ability makes you fluent in a language you have heard during the last week - but only in a squawking, parrot-like voice laced with pirate slang. Better yet, you can throw a barrage of squawking expletives and insults at foes to demoralize them. The more prominence in the ability, the more languages you get and the better you are at being a sailor. Higher prominence increases the duration of the demoralize effect and allows for self-healing when consuming a herbivorous meal (thankfully with a daily cap), adds damage to the demoralize effect (even bleed damage!) and allows for the better coordination of others when pertaining sailing. Oh, and you can grow parrot wings. Obviously. Captain Black Parrot, scourge of the seas! ... Yes, I am making this character for my next pirate-themed module...


The pdf also sports 3 minor aspects: The barnacle penalizes grapple-checks attempting to break free of the animist, the carrageen lets you ignore mucky or swampy difficult terrain and the seagull allows for swift action steal combat maneuvers...with a bonus for the shinies, a penalty for other targets.


Conclusion:


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


This free expansion by Bradley Crouch is awesome - it's hilarious for the parrot aspect's write-up alone and while the minor aspects left me pretty unimpressed when compared to those of the base book, the fact remains that this is FREE. It costs zilch, nullinger and as such is a cool, free expansion for the animist - one you particularly can't afford to lose when playing e.g. a Tulita animist captain or a similar seafaring scoundrel. 5 stars + seal of approval for a great, free product.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pirate Aspects for the Animist Base Class
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One Bling to Rule Them All: Glyphed Weapon Wrappings
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/15/2015 04:49:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf 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 all know the Christmas-tree syndrome - high-level characters come decked out in magical gear, but at higher levels, this syndrome becomes problematic - essentially, most groups utilizing vanilla rules tend to sooner or later carry around an arsenal of different weapons for different foes: Immune versus fire? Just change the weapon. I'm not a fan of this and never was - my insistence on magic quirks (see 13th Age) and scaling magic items in my non-playtest main campaign represent this predilections.


But what can this pdf contribute to the matter at hand? Well, the basic concept is simple - instead of applying a magic enchantment to a given weapon, you instead create wraps of clothing with glyphs, which contain the respective weapon special abilities - need electricity? Wrap the shock ability around your weapon. Using a glyph-wrap is a full-round action that provokes AoOs. After 1 hour, the glyph wrap, if the sum of the base price modifiers of all the weapon's native enchantments and abilities is greater than or equal that of the total encoded in the glyph wrappings, the wrap then suppresses the item's special qualities and substitutes its own encoded enchantment.


This means that glyph wrappings still require the respective item to actually be magic, thus not undermining the carefully crafted hierarchy of items and WBL. However, glyph wrappings are still valid options - at only 1/5 the base price, they mean that you do not have to create the same weapon over and over with various enchantments. A handy table lists sample costs for you. Construction requirements are based on the respective special qualities, meaning that this contains the option to use it with just about every type of enchantment. The pdf goes on to provide a sample glyph wrapping and 2 feats - one to remove glyph wrappings as only a move action and one for more rapid expression of glyph wrapping special abilities.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Bradley Crouch's "One Bling to Rule Them All" is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated series currently out there for PFRPG - the first two installments were pretty much genius and this pdf also is...kind of. The glyph wrapping's flexibility is well-priced and the introduction of the wrappings means that it makes new narratives possible - smuggle wrappings into the magical prison - now you just need to get the blade of the guard captain... I enjoy this. I also absolutely love the fact that this does decrease the requirement to carry x weapons around with you, which always struck me as ridiculous. So far for the positive - but there are some minor nitpicks I can field: It is clear from the sample that the wrappings have negligible weight, but explicitly stating this would have been nice. Beyond that, I see a certain issue - can the steal combat maneuver be used to steal a glyph wrapping? Can a glyph wrapping be sundered, while the weapon remains intact? Sure, you can apply common sense and handwave/house-rule these cases and they do not impede the per se cool idea in a particularly explicit way - but they remain issues that cost this otherwise cool pdf the full five stars. Instead, I will settle of a verdict of 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
One Bling to Rule Them All: Glyphed Weapon Wrappings
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Remedial Tinkering: Rocket's Red Glare
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/20/2015 03:18:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This expansion for the tinker clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


As the pdf observes, this pdf offers options for lower levels tinkers - though this time around, a minimum of 3rd level to get properly started. It should also be mentioned that this pdf links up with rules in the SUPERB tinker-expansion Happy Little Automatons, which every fan of the class should have.


We have three new invention types herein - compartments and fireworks. Compartment inventions are introduced to streamline the compartment-questions provided in previous installments that featured some sort of fuel/etc. Fireworks-inventions are special inventions that occupy space in a given compartment as though they were goods - they thus need compartment space and may, important, NOT be launched by hand, only by the respective invention. Fireworks have a range of 30 ft., max 150 ft. and they are executed against grid intersections (AC 5) and may target occupied and unoccupied intersections, thus deviating from splash weapons, though occupied intersections are treated as ranged fire into melee, including potential for penalty negation via Precise Shot. Intersections sans walls etc. also have their AC increased. On a miss, we determine how it missed, also providing concise rules for determining z-axis issues when shot into the air (or into a pit).


Finally, there would be propellant inventions, which modify all fireworks in a given compartment at the time of deployment; only one propellant can be added per compartment.


All right, got that? We thus gain 3 new innovations: One that negates the chance of fireworks exploding when going unlaunched, one that increases capacity of all compartments by +1 as though they were improved compartments for the purpose of holding different substances and one that lets you break the "only one propellant"-rule and allows you to add 2 in a single compartment.


And then, we have inventions - and at this point, anyone who has ever made a tinker starts cackling with glee, mainly because the by now beautifully customizable system benefits from the expansions made so far: Take e.g. Alphas that contains vast amounts of fireworks that furthermore has an increased propellant capacity, increasing the value of the fireworks stored by the alpha.


The base for fireworks would be firework tubes or hot pockets, reloading from a chosen compartment as a move action, launching them as a directed attack, with potential options to fire multiple fireworks and synergy with Rapid Reload and Rapid Shot. Hot Pockets may be used to prime fireworks and fire them all at once as a directed attack, though primed fireworks continuously decrease their maximum range and may even explode in the automaton if the tinker fails to direct the attack, making the base system work essentially like a pretty interesting game of action-economy conversion and set-ups. And yes, e.g. The Late Bloomer can be used to increase the radius of launched fireworks, while a propellant may be added to increase the range of fireworks - a potential synergy with another range-increasing tube-modification.


Even general fireworks end up having something interesting going for them, with AC-penalizing caustic fireworks, propellants that may dazzle those adjacent to the flight or fireworks that contains hundreds of angry spiders (!!!)?


Want something cooler? What about a propellant that makes it hard for undead to cross the exhaust-line left by a rocket for smart terrain control? Or ones that contain entangling good? What about a glitterdust-y emission of tracer particles? Have I mention condition stacking, damage to adjacent creatures in the flight path? Oh yeah!


Oh, and btw. - yes, the pdf has a list of which inventions get the compartment-subtype. Kudos!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' two-column b/w-standard and sports thematically fitting b/w-artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks and does not necessarily require them at this length.


The last Remedial tinkering-expansion by Bradley Crouch was absolutely AWESOME in that it not only provided great low-level tricks, its combo-set-up potential was thoroughly inspired. Now, one can say pretty much the same for the content herein, with one minor gripe on my end: It quite frankly took me longer than I would have liked to piece together how exactly fireworks are launched - a slightly more concise explanation in the beginning would have certainly helped here.


That being said, not only do the fireworks here work how they should and in a mechanically distinct way, they also sport a damn cool array of combo potentials. Now I might grumble a bit here, but then there's one more thing to consider: This is FREE. It costs zilch, zero, nada, nothing - and who am I to nitpick on a quality, fun and simply interesting expansion that is free to boot? All in all, I'm glad I can now add this cool array of options to my tinkers, though I certainly wished that a) this was longer and b), it explained the process of launching fireworks in a slightly more concise manner. That being said, this is still a great expansion and one that requires literally zero investment from you - well worth a final verdict of 5 stars +seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering: Rocket's Red Glare
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The Motebringer - An Edgewalker Archetype
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/30/2015 04:13:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This archetype for the edgewalker-class 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 motebringer has the same basic class-chassis regarding saves and BAB as the edgewalker - unlike the edgewalker, who oscillates between light and darkness, the motebringer is a specialist of utilizing light - as such, the archetype only receives a radiance pool equal to class levels x2 + Wis-mod - but no shadow pool. Seeing how this means that several of the combo-set-ups that render the edgewalker captivating to play fall away, we thus receive a significant array of infusions, the first of which is gained at second level, +1 at 3rd level and every 2 levels of motebringer thereafter.


This list of unique tricks, ultimately, is here for one reason - to add a level of flexibility the class would have otherwise lost - and I applaud the motebringer for it. Reflexive temporary hit points, high-level poison immunity, energy resistance and the like can all be found herein -as can blinding motes of light that act as replenishing blinding flash bombs. The significant array of choices is interesting due to two further design decisions - at 2nd level, the motebringer receives a mote pool that scales with the level totaling 1/2 of class levels, rounded down -these are spent when infusing aforementioned infusions into the second interacting component - the radiant shawls.


Also gained at 2nd level, radiant shawls constitute pieces of roughly-shawl-like solid light that can be modified with infusions by spending 1 hour. The shawl occupies the shoulder slot and also provides a bonus to AC and a penalty to Stealth-checks - it can be activated and deactivated as a standard action, and yes, the infusions that can be woven into the shawl can, for example, grant temporary radiance pool points to power the waypoints learned. Both radiance and mote pools increase over the levels and obviously, hide in plain sight is not part of the deal for motebringers. The capstone allows for instant modification of infusion loadouts as well as replenishment of daily uses of infusions.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily require them at this length.


Bradley Crouch's motebringer is a good archetype - it replaces the MAD and combo-playstyle of the edgewalker with a more deliberate planning that makes the motebringer easier to run for less experienced players. While I was weary of a loss in flexibility, the new mechanics and their interplay render the playing experience per se fun. While personally, I draw more satisfaction from setting up combos and the duality of the base edgewalker, the motebringer provides for a fun experience with a different emphasis. I really applaud the fact that this is not a bland +/-2 archetype, but one with a completely different style and for the extremely fair price, this pdf definitely delivers. I know I'll send some light-shawl wearing badasses at my PCs sooner rather than later. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Motebringer - An Edgewalker Archetype
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Remedial Tinkering: Happy Little Automatons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2015 03:24:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This expansion for the Tinker base-class 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, shall we?


What do most of the really cool Tinker-expansions have in common? Jup, quite a few of them come into play in mid and high levels. So this pdf is geared for 1st-level usefulness, though admittedly, it will retain its usefulness far beyond the low level range. The pdf also handily points out that this and the excellent grafter PrC as well as the Tinkering 301-pdf provide some pretty interesting synergies.


Better than this, this may well be the most concise tinker-supplement to read so far: We get an explanation of the alpha and design-descriptors as well as some of the BP-tricks one could execute with the copious supplements for the class. A short explanation on interaction with the grafter also helps here. Among the basic explanation, one can also find the rationale for the unobtrusive Bob Ross-jokes herein, the new paint-descriptor. Essentially, inventions with this subtype provide a coat of paint for a target automaton and, per default, only one paint-job can be applied to one automaton - still, this is Bradley Crouch we're talking about here, so yes, there are means to break this rule.


A total of 6 innovations are provided to modify and play with this pretty interesting concept: When, for example, an alpha would lose an invention with both design and paint subtypes, the alpha retains the bonuses for class level rounds. Further innovations allow you to apply paint to yourself and relatively spontaneous reassignment of paint jobs to grafted creatures and adjacent automatons can also be executed. This quick, spray-based paint job may also be utilized as a makeshift flamethrower and yes, you can potentially change the coats of more than one target at once via spray nozzles. A greater innovation allows for "happy little accidents" for quicker paint jobs and expand the inventions used in conjunction with soem of your innovations. Where things become VERY tactical is with the means of doubling kamikaze-directives with paint-dispersal. And yes, if you think about this one, you can set up absolutely awesome "See what I did here"-combos! A thing of beauty indeed!


Okay, let's take a look at those inventions, all right? The base one would be the primer coat, which renders an automaton eligible for becoming a target for the painter's station. This invention, usually only applicable to Alphas, allows the automaton to change the paint-coats of deployed automatons 1/day; additionally, automatons deployed with the primer coat invention can have their coats changed after being deployed, thus bringing aforementioned BP-limit-shenanigans into play. Oh, and yes, whirlwind splashing of colors is possible. Need to get rid of primer coats in another way? An automaton with the Homogenization Enforcement Protocols can be deployed to eliminate primer coats and replace them with any paint invention part of its BP. Oh, have I mentioned the invention that allows for two paint coats at once? The combo-potential of this system is VAST! It is utterly beautiful!


Automatons with paint-jobs targeted by fire may elect to burn the paint to burst into flames or lose their paint to get DR 5/- versus an attack...or lose their paint to net additional uses of low level inventions with a limited number of uses. The combo-potential keep stacking up - but you're probably wondering whether the basic paint coats are worth anything. Short answer: YEAH! Long answer: What about a paint coat that nets temporary hit points (with anti-abuse caveat), dazzling added to kamikaze, increased base speed, DR 1/-, save-bonuses, better feinting or a reroll, though at -2? Yes, you may note that some of these benefits look slightly stronger than the others - well, they come balanced via a once per 24 hour-caveat. I also like the paint that nets your automaton + 1 fire damage by day, +1 cold damage by night - cool!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games' printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none for this length.


Beyond the awesome imagery evoked, Bradley Crouch delivers perhaps the most awesome base-system-expansion I've seen for one of his classes so far. The paint-jobs with their massive combo-potential and versatility exponentially expand the options at your disposal in so cool, diverse ways, I can't wait to see even more of these great tricks. More so than even the previous installments, this expansion does not simply roll with one high-concept image - it gives you a stellar toolkit to play with, one that has changed how tinkers, all tinkers, work in my game.


This is perhaps THE must-have expansion for the class, provided with a superb quality that makes the fair price-point an utter steal. It is also the single best example for the fact that the tinker's concepts are not yet depleted - the combo-system provided herein renders the class more fun and can easily be further expanded. No other tinker-expansion made me this excited, made me want more this much - this humble pdf enhances the class in absolutely stunning ways. Everyone using this great class NEEDS this pdf. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and nomination as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2015.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering: Happy Little Automatons
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The Ironclad - A Tinker Archetype
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/15/2015 04:21:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf 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 Ironclad archetype gets 3/4 BAB-progression, invention levels that scale up to 6th and a dual blueprint budget, with primary and secondary blueprints being tracked separately, the former beginning with 1 point and scaling up to 20 budget, the latter beginning with 1 point that scales up to 5, 2 known scaling up to 8.


Primary? Yes, this would be a blueprint with a schematic that contains class level (if you haven't gleaned that from the above) BP. Secondary blueprints are limited in that the number of inventions it can contain is equal to or less than 2, with said limit increasing by +1 at 3rd levels and every 3 levels thereafter. Not that hard, right?


1st level also sees the Suit up ability - essentially, this is the Ironman-archetype for the tinker - suiting up and exiting the suit are full-round actions that provoke AoOs, though only the ironclad can suit up and reentering a suit is not possible. Suiting up nets you 2 x class level temporary hit points. The suit can have any combination of primary and secondary blueprints, which means that the primary blueprints provide the basic array for the suit, with the secondary ones providing modification-suites.


An ironclad may suit up once at 1st level +1/day at 2nd level +1/day every 3 levels thereafter. Since the suit is physical only, skill rank-granting or class skill-granting inventions have no effect. Non-design-inventions that grant untyped bonuses instead grant enhancement bonuses, making synergy with magic items work properly and prevent abuse. Inventions that repair damage instead grant half the benefit as temporary hit points to the ironclad's hit points.


Cockpits and its follow-ups don't work, but saddle can be applied to an Ironclad's suit, allowing other creatures to hitch a ride. Inventions that net proficiencies do not provide weapons - unlike automata, though, the suit allows for the wearing of magical items, though not ones that require line of sight to the target of the magic item to work: Obviously, a ring can't emit a blast of fire, when a sheet of metal is in the way. Conversely, no delicate manipulations can be made to activate the like.


If an ironclad has a feat an invention grants, then the ironclad may prepare suit blueprints as though that invention were already present, thus allowing you to save on BP-cost, with similarly a suit granting such a feat can be considered sufficient for the purposes of feats and similar prereqs, though sans the suit, the ironclad obviously can't utilize a feat based on one the suit grants. Conversely, such a ruling applies to equipment and physiology. Obviously, an ironlcad does not need to give directives to his suit, instead counting as though the invention use were an alpha, with the exception of counting as a tinker for purposes of reloading inventions with compartments. Additional deploy automata-grants instead apply to additional suit-uses. The ironclade pay for this with his regular automata, but not with his alpha.


Innovations and their greater ilk do not modify standard automata or blueprints and instead modify the ironclad while within the suit or the suit blueprints, respectively - but since he needs no directives, an ironclad obviously cannot learn more of them and he obviously cannot learn to deploy new kinds of automata or directives. HD of the suit are not modified by choosing innovations that modify the HD of regular automata, instead gaining twice that many temporary hit points.


takes a deep breath So that would be the primary set-up of this archetype; now if you end up slightly confused by the set-up provided here and its interaction with primary/secondary blueprints, you should take a look at the array of new innovations provided - here, we have interactions with the secondary blueprints influencing the capabilities of the ironclad - for example in the guise of extra ammunition. beyond those, boosted reflexes, more HP etc. make sense. On a nitpicky side, the innovation that nets DR 3/- should specify that the DR is only granted when receiving temporary hit points from the suit, not "Whenever you have temporary hit points." The innovations allow for a painful overheating (akin to kamikaze with no save for the ironclad, but no instant-death) and also alternate acid blasts - and you may activate an ejector seat at higher levels. Alas, I'm not sure how much damage a hurled ironclad deals to targets subjected to such an ejected ironclad.


At higher levels, ironclad can include inventions with the Alpha-descriptor in this suit and the greater innovations allow for a means to burn suit uses to refresh suit HP to prevent having to execute suit-changes mid-battle. Retrieval of items when inside the suit, weapon mount attacks as off-hand additions to full attacks with ranged weapons can also be executed - interesting, though quite situational, would be the option o send ray that exactly hit your armor back at the original source of the ray.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, though not as tight as in most Interjection Games-releases - beyond the above, I noticed a bolding glitch, for example. Layout adheres to IG's crisp two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but does not require them at this length. The pdf does not sport artworks.


Bradley Crouch's Tinker Expansions are a ridiculous amount of work for such short pdfs. No, seriously - it takes me longer to review these cool, complex expansions than to analyze pdfs with 10 times the pages. The concepts are complex, the options unique and awesome - and this is no different. Now, I do think the ironclad can benefit from some streamlining - while the exceedingly complex suit works well in practice and actually manages to completely rewire the tinker's rules-corset (in an exceedingly impressive feat, design-wise!) to work in a completely different way, the presentation could be slightly more concise: beyond the aforementioned hiccups, I think the primary/secondary blueprints and the cap for the suit could have benefited from a more explicit explanation.


Playtest also did show that the HP-increase of the suit could have used some extended defensive capacity to make up for the action economy loss due to no regular automatons and, more importantly, the more focused heat the tinker thus necessarily receives. The HP-increasing should be available for multiple, increasing iterations, be stacking or have some upgrades - remember, the suit is essentially like an automaton and as such, pretty fragile. That being said, this has, at least as far as my tests went, provided a huge bunch of interesting options and the customization of suits is glorious, especially with the massive expansions out there. This is probably as close to being a full-blown, playable ironman you'll get with PFRPG. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at a solid 4 stars - a good, interesting and versatile archetype with some minor rough edges that do not significantly detract from the awesomeness of the concept.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Ironclad - A Tinker Archetype
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Ooh, Shiny! - 20 Unique Armors, Shields, and Helmets
by Ben B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2015 16:03:30

This supplement clocks in at seven pages, including five pages of content. After the cover, we jump right into the crunch (no table of contents). In this installment, we get 20 magic items, four helmets, seven shields, and nine armors. As in the previous installment, every item includes xp in its crafting cost, per 3.5 rules. If you are using Pathfinder crafting rules, you can simply ignore the xp cost.
One piece of mundane equipment that I always wanted to like but never received enough love in the system is the tower shield. In this supplement, we get The Door, a 23500 gp magic tower shield. It opens a five-foot-long hallway which can go through solids it is attached to, and crush anyone inside when it is moved.
On the cheap end, there is a 1000 gp helmet ironically called Old Reliable, which provides DR 2/-, but only against attacks which exactly match your AC. It’s a nice alteration to the usual all-or-nothing nature of the d20 system.
On the high end, there is the Tortoise Plate, a 42500 full plate. It allows the wearer to retract their limbs inside the “shell” like a tortoise, granting a variety of immunities and resistances, and a slam attack.
There is almost no visual artwork in this product.
Short Term Use: Every item in this supplement can be dropped into a campaign without trouble. The effects are sufficiently interesting and varied to make the game immediately more enjoyable. At such a low price, this is an easy 5/5.
Long Term Use: This supplement is hands down better than the rest of the [i]Ooh, Shiny![/i] series. Finally getting a well-designed tower shield is great all on its own. Some items in this supplement are more amenable to modifying with further enhancements than others, so the relative quality of each item are different in the long run than the short run. Nevertheless, there are enough interesting effects in here to merit a long term rating of 4.5/5, rounded up to 5 due to the low price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ooh, Shiny! - 20 Unique Armors, Shields, and Helmets
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