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Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
by Zachary S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2018 01:20:27

Really well written puzzle that i'm for sure using in my next campaign!!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
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Remedial Tinkering: Artificial Intelligence
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2018 08:57:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for the Tinker 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!

First things first – the expansion does not necessarily require any other tinker expansion to work, and for a reason: It is, in a way, the expansion that focuses most on providing lower level tools, though the content does remain very much relevant at higher levels. As such, the only expansion that has a bit of overlap here would be Happy Little Automatons, which is fyi a really nice one.

This notwithstanding, the pdf does properly explain the different invention subtypes introduced so far in a concise manner. It also presents a couple of rulings that are very much relevant to the content within: BP values assigned represent the blueprints, and as such, once deployed, BP limits are no longer relevant. This is relevant due to one of the new innovations within, Brain Surgeon, which allows you to add a variety of inventions to the automaton INSTEAD of giving a directive upon deploying it.

While we’re on the subject of new innovations: Limited Autonomy lets 3/day an automaton activate an invention of up to half invention level the tinker can learn without being given the directive to do so. The automaton may only target itself or the target of a directive it is given. This allows for some interesting low-level combo-play. Logic Study lets you choose a 1st level invention that requires a directed action to activate. Said invention no longer requires a directive to activate, but when thus activated sans directive, it may, as before, only target the automaton or the target of the directive. These do help make the very tight action economy allow for easier comboing, particularly at lower levels.

Secondly, the pdf does state explicitly that multiple directives can be executed in a given round. One of the new inventions within, big red button, does tie into this ruling. The invention costs 2 BP and the automaton gets 3 fat, red buttons, which it may be directed to push as an immediate action. Each button may be pressed once per day, and they all have an interesting angle: +4 shield bonus to AC, minor self-healing (plus temporary hit points) and a weak shield that inflicts fire and electricity damage on those attacking it can be found. As you’ve seen, the immediate action activation is pretty novel and an explicit deviation from the standard. I like it.

As far as first level inventions are concerned, we can also find the amplification array, which is pretty cool: It fires a burst of motes that per se do not harm the target, but which enhance the next source of acid, fire or electricity damage taken before the start of the next turn. You can, undoubtedly, see the first combo forming already by now. Amplified amplification builds on that and is the 3rd level upgraded version. Minor complaint: There seems to be an error here, as the invention states that it improves the previous invention’s damage output by +2d4. The base damage increase bestowed was +2d4, though, which would result in +4d4, not +5d4, as stated. The second upgrade for the abase invention (doesn’t require the amplified amplification invention) here is flexible amplification and adds force and sonic. And yes, omission of cold is intentional. Thirdly, there would be another upgrade for the base invention that allows for a swift action activation.

Bandwagon simulator is super useful 2nd level invention, and lets an automaton use a move action to make friendly, idle automatons attack the same target. Buddy system scripting is another helpful one: If commanded to defend/support an idle automaton, doing so will cause the idle automaton to reciprocate. Why I oughta…subroutine is useful AND potentially hilarious, as the automaton taking damage is given an attack directive versus the source. “What is it doing?” “Evaporating those iron thistles…” Vending machine is another gem, as it bestows the arms invention to all automatons within 30 ft. (See, and that is why I explained the rulings above…)

There also is a massive invention tree that is founded on Heat vent, which allows the automatons to act as soft terrain control dealing minor fire damage to creatures adjacent to them, contingent on the movement of the automaton. Heat vent turbines adds minor electricity damage here; lingering heat vent lights targets on fire, and empower heat vent increases the maximum damage dealt by the base invention.

Slow and steady substructure is a 4th level (Design) invention that makes the automaton only take orders from the master of the alpha, and it may not execute directed actions granted by effects other than being issued directly by said targets. However, in exchange, all limited per day activation inventions slotted on such an automaton can be used +1/day. Also at 4th level, there would be the Hello World subroutine, which may be activated as a directed swift action, and it may only b activated as part of deploying the automaton. The invention grants basically advantage on all d20 rolls made by the automaton – until either one fails or until 1 minute passes. (The ability does state explicitly that it’s not smart to use this with long-term automatons, which is helpful for less experienced players.) The highest level and most costly invention within would be the invention logic tree, which clocks in at 3 BP and as a 5th level invention. This one lets you choose a directed action activated invention, which then no longer requires…you get it. It’s basically the built-in version of the innovation.

Now, in the beginning, I noted an invention that ties in with the combo-tastic Happy Little Automatons-pdf. That would be paint prism, a 2 BP level 1 invention that may be activated as a directed swift action. At the beginning of the automatons next turn, it selects an applied paint invention and starts shedding light of that color. All friendly automatons and the tinker, provided, he has the chromatic study innovation, within 3o ft. gain the benefits of the paint invention until the start of their next turn. This effect persists even if the automaton loses the paint invention (as you can combo with paints…and indeed, it does reward paint cycling! You see, the effect persists and changes the color if the automaton has paint changed next round. The effect only ends when the automaton would repeat a color! Really cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language, as expected. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w-standard of the small Interjection Games-pdfs, and the pdf uses stock art and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Of all the tinker expansions Bradley Crouch has written, this may well be one of the most crucial and rewarding ones. The inventions and innovations within allow for cool combos galore and add very much super helpful options here…to the point where I’d honestly contemplate potentially granting a few of these as hard-baked abilities in games where the power-level tends to gravitate to the higher end of the spectrum. Apart from the one die-pool size inconsistency, there are no complaints for me to field against this humble and exceedingly cool expansion. Considering the sheer utility and low price point, my final verdict will still clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Must-own purchase for fans of the tinker!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Remedial Tinkering: Artificial Intelligence
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Strange Magic 2 (PFRPG)
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2018 15:56:36

Disclaimer: I backed the Kickstarter that created this product and paid for the component parts. I received my copy of this compilation as part of that.

All right, if you looked over the description, you probably know whether or you want this product. If you jumped right down here to see what buyers think, well, I suggest going back up and looking things over. Otherwise, here's what you should know.

Like its predecessor Strange Magic 1 (itself a great product, worth checking out), Strange Magic 2 offers a collection of flavorful and unique classes for Pathfinder. This volume includes Herbalism, Cartomancy, and Onmyodo.

Herbalism is a kind of chaos system where you gather ingredients and mix/use them for a variety of effects. It's an impressively robust system with powers that change based on the kind of area you're in. It's not for people who like to meticulously plan their abilities each day (lookin' at you, Wizard fans), but it's great if you enjoy improvisation and adapting.

Cartomancy uses an actual deck of cards that allow them to cast spell-like abilities, complete with drawing, discarding, and even making a special side deck for bonus powers. If you enjoy collectible or trading card games, you'll see a lot of familiar things here. It's a very different feel from simply poring over your current list of spells to see what you can do, and the fact that you're a lot more active about managing your abilities is an interesting way of getting more involved with what's going on.

Onmyodo is mainly about placing and using Talismans, as well as commanding a Shikigami (paper) familiar. They can also petition their deity(s) for aid in various ways. This class is the most familiar to systems you're probably already familiar with, and it emphasizes a highly thematic way of playing an exorcist/priest sort of character.

Now, author Bradley Crouch is one of my favorite third-party content creators, and with good reason - the math and systems of the things he creates are solid and fair while still trending towards unique and fun to play. Strange Magic isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for an interesting new way to fulfill a character concept, it's worth taking a look at this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic 2 (PFRPG)
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Ultimate Onmyodo (PFRPG)
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2018 06:53:26

Ultimate Onmyodo is Interjection Game´s last part in its Strange Magic 2 project, tackling the Onmyoji base class. The Onmyoji for Pathfinder was Interjection Games take on a real-world concept, an old type of nature priest from Japan’s past. As with many other classes/systems by IG, THIS Onmyoji was made from scratch, combining point-based casting, pet and temporary item creation to present something completely new, all stepped in Japanese flavor and tradition. Ultimate onmyodo amps this with 2 more base classes, and 2 more subsystems.

What’s inside? Since I already reviewed the Onmyoji base class and two of its archetypes, I will review the new material only. If you want to know what’s the base class about or the Grinning Fox and Herald of the Lucky God archetypes, I invite you to read the reviews for the original books (found in this website). So Ultimate Omyodo has 66 pages of content for just 10 bucks, which include:

-3 new Onmyoji Archetypes: The Mokusei, who binds a shikigami not to paper, but to a wooden staff, which has its own spirit pool, progressively becomes more magical (with enhancement bonus and all), can repair/heal itself and the Mokusei through fast healing a couple of times per day, generate wand-like shoots that other Onmyoji or divine casters can use (and can be hacked through Use Magical Device) with one charge each, and quicken the cantrips they get through the Aid of the Minor Kami. The Oathbearer doesn’t bind a shikigami; instead, the Oathbearer binds to a ward, and are very good at protecting them, gaining the ability to bestow petitions with a small part of their spirit pool, get increased age span and later cannot die of old age, and even treat the DESCENDANTS of their ward as their wards; many protector classes fail to function without their wards, but the Oathbearer can temporarily treat another person as their ward for one day; they even get to detect and absorb two form curses, diseases and poisons, and get a special, unique talisman with a powerful ability, and as a cap get the ability to save their ward from certain death by absorbing a killing blow. This section finishes with the Shubo-sha, a very small archetype that gets TWO shikigami, but pays dearly for this by losing the ability to make petitions to spirits; they still learn petitions, but only their shikigami can perform them.

-the NEW Shikigami Ascendant base class: This one is weird but oh-so-awesome! Basically, you start your character as an Onmyoji that has a pet, and from 5th level onward your Onmyoji character’s pet can become your PC, and the poor Onmyoji becomes your new Shikigami Ascendant character’s the pet… So, things get weird. You become a small or medium piece of paper character (you could make origami with your old character sheet for the LULZ), gain some benefits of the construct type, get the Onmyoji’s ability scores (which you can rearrange, so put the lowest on Constitution since you lose it). Your class is and will only be the Shikigami Ascendant. Interesingly, you get all simple weapon proficiency and becomes proficient in any martial weapon proficiency that has the ghost touch weapon propierty (with a wizard BAB, I don’t know why exotic ghost touch weapons are off limits). You can plea spirits like an Onmyoji, gaining a Spirit Pool and Petitions Known. The NEW thing available is the Origami is Origami Fold, where the Shikigami folds itself to gain new abilities. To do this, you learn new folds over your character progression, starting with 4 and ending with 11 (from a list of 24), and an Origami Pool to fuel it (starting at 2 at 6th level and ending with 6). At higher levels the Shikigami can refold itself a couple of times per day. Some folds are passive and are always on, but others are active and can be used a couple of times per day. Some folds build over previous ones, so the Shikigami has to have them on to choose them. Finally, the original Onmyoji becomes the Shikigami’s cohort, but has reduced power: half spirit pool, half talismans per day, no shikigami, and the Shikigami Ascendant can completely annihilate the Onmyoji with but a thought (unlimited range, no save, no escape), and if the Shikigami wants to raise the Onmyoji, the Onmyoji CAN’T REFUSE!

-the NEW Warrior Poet base class, a bard/magus-like variant of the Onmyoji who has a bard-like chassis (medium BAB, d8 HD, good Ref/Will saves, 6 skillpoints per level and a varied class skill list), proficiency in light armor, shields, and simple and martial weapon proficiency. The main ability of the Warrior Poet is the Haiku. Similarly to a bard, the Haiku ability builds upon ranks in a Perform skill (Oratory in the Warrior Poet’s case), so they don’t suffer as much as a full caster when multiclassing. Also, they have a Poetry book, which is exactly the same as a spellbook, and like a wizard can increase their repertoire when given access to other poetry books. Every Haiku has three parts: one subject (with an increasing number of topics, each giving a modest passive ability), one “Kireji” cutting word (an active ability), and another subject (another set of topics). A Warrior Poet begins with the ability to prepare two Haiku (with bonus only for very high starting Wisdom, no mentioning of later increases of it) and each Haiku can be performed for a number of rounds equal to their Perform (Oratory) ranks + Wis modifier, but only one Haiku can be performed at a time. Starting a Haiku is a move action but maintaining it is a free action. When starting, the WP selects one set of topics to be active, and can change to the other set by performing a Kireji as an attack from the full attack or attack actions. Later, the WP gets an inflection, which works like a wildcard Kireji: it has to be prepared like a Haiku, but is only one specific Kireji, and a couple of times per day, can use it instead of a prepared Haiku’s Kireji. The WP can also use talismans (but don’t get abilities to improve them like the Onmyoji does) and even get a variant of the magus spellstrike called Omamori Edge, which is the ability to place a talisman in a weapon and place it on a creature they hit (and this ability CAN be used ranged), and get better at attacking when a talisman is placed in a weapon. Finally, they get the unique ability to get extra damage dice with their base weapon damage, which are multiplied in a crit etc. As a cap, they get the Ofudamori ability of their Onmyoji brethren. We finish the WP section with a list of favored class bonuses for the IG favorite races, which are core, tiefling/aasimar, drow, and some humanoids like orcs, goblins etc.

-1 WP archetype: The Kigoist, who focuses more on the magical side of the Haiku, gaining seasonal-themed magical abilities fueled by dedicating a Haiku to one of the 4 seasons, which fill a kind of season pool. Examples for spring would be light, cure light wounds, summon monster and mass aid. Later, they can use replace a kireji with one of the magical abilities. All of this comes at the cost of the more martial oriented abilities, starting with the martial weapon proficiencies and the Omamori Edge class feature. As a capstone, they get to cast 4 magical abilities at the same time!

-25 Onmyodo Feats: This one includes, beyond the ones in the original, feats for the new classes AND archetypes, which is cool if a bit too exclusive. Of note are the Warrior Poet feats, which increase the power of the Haiku class feature, and one for the Kigoist archetype lets you recite a fireball poem! (sorry, I had to write that), and the ones that let you dabble in the Mokusei’s archetype class features (your paper friend grows a shoot… hilarity and crass jokes incoming).

-8 Shikigami feats: These come from the original, but I don’t know if you can select them with a Shikigami Ascendant character.

-7 Friendship Feats: again, coming from the original.

-51 Onmyoji Petitions: 18 more than in the original! Again, there is no boring deals x dmage or get x bonus or heals x damage. These “spells” FEEL Japanese and are way cooler than the bland (by now) core spells (IMHO).

-42 Talisman Prayers: 13 new, again wonderfully Japanese-flavored.

-14 Kireji: These are from the ACTUAL Kireji used in Japanese Haiku. As mentioned, Kireji include a variety of effects. Darou, for example, makes you record the result of the damage rolled on the Kireji attack, and if you roll that number again, you instead do maximum damage (and with the extra damage dice from class features, this will be a playground for mathmongers). Ramu lets you guess if the result of the damage dice will be odd or even, and if you guess correctly you get bonus damage dice (up to 4d6) on that Kireji attack! But not all are damage-oriented, there are others that let you reduce the bonus or penalty of emotion/fear effects, prevent attacks of opportunity, cause opponents to provoke attacks of opportunity by ANY movement and even inflict movement penalties.

-45 Haiku Topics: These are the LEGO parts of the Haiku system. From a low bonus to reflex saves, to fast healing, to elemental damage, to more esoteric effects like an opponent falling dawn after critically failing a save or ignoring concealment and energy resistances. The fact that each topic can be combined at higher levels in the same subject, it is wonderful for players that like to experiment and have different abilities every day.

Of Note: The original was made of awesome and this one gives it an epic enhancement bonus! Of the new material the two new base classes left me awed. The Warrior Poet is an iconic role in Japanese media (maybe not its magical effects but we are playing fantasy RPG so who cares), while the Shikigami Ascendant could be a character with his own Manga easily! It is a roleplaying gold mine!

Anything wrong?: All the classes and archetypes use at least two different magic systems, so it might be scary for new, unexperienced or lazy players. Apart from that, the power creep in Paizo classes sometimes make 3PP material LOOK weak, but most of Interjection Games classes make up for the relatively low power level with a wider range of abilities and builds, so this is not necessarily a problem.

What I want: If I could kidnap the author and make him design a full book with monsters and archetypes for other classes, I would, but I live too far LOL. Here is where I would love new tech like class monster template (onmyoji dragon? warrior poet daitengu?), variant multiclassing (samurai warrior poet, diviner onmyoji). Finally, some guidelines for designing your own material (talismans, petitions, topics, kireji, folds), which would save a lot of guesswork for enterprising players and game masters.

What cool things did this inspire?: If I could draw I would make a shikigami ascendant Manga, since it has comedic value through the roof. On the other hand, the shikigami ascendant can be such a creepy foe that one could (and will in my campaign) be a darklord in the Ravenloft setting. I want to build at least 3 warrior poets LOL, one a gestalt iaijutsu master samurai if I ever play a gestalt campaign again.

Do I recommend it?: What a book! Few books have such a cool premise and such an outstanding execution that I can’t recommend it enough. If you are reading this review it is because you are interested, so please buy it! You won’t regret it. 5 stars-themed Haiku from this humble reviewer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Onmyodo (PFRPG)
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Tinkering 303 - Matroishka Automatons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2018 03:51:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Tinker-expansions clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This supplement links into the Happy Little Automatons, Rocket’s Red Glare and Pimp My Alpha Tinker-expansions, as the pdf helpfully notes. We also get a nice little list of invention subtypes noted in a cheat-sheet.

The pdf includes 4 different innovations – all of which are based on the Matroishkabot greater innovation and require it: This greater innovation that nets two special, additional blueprints: The child blueprint can have a maximum BP of ½ tinker level and may not be deployed directly. The second is the matroishka blueprint, which is a standard automaton blueprint that requires two uses of deploy automaton to be deployed. These are also always associated with a child blueprint: When the matroishka is destroyed, it cracks open, immediately deploying the child bluebrint’s automaton associated with the matroishka. This child automaton, upon being deployed, may be directed upon being deployed as an immediate action, executing the directive on your next turn. It cannot execute kamikaze, but it can use contingent kamikaze.

The 4 innovations build on this: Efficient Matroishka lets the first two matroishkabots deployed only cost one deploy automaton use. Instant Matroishka lets you, twice per day as a standard action, associate an already deployed automaton with a child blueprint, retroactively making it’s a matroishka. Matroishka Study nets an additional child and matroishkabot blueprint. Matroishkas All The Way Down lets you, whenever a child blueprint automaton is destroyed, extend your reach by +30 ft. to determine deploying automatons to where the child automaton was, but only until the end of your turn on the round of the child automaton’s destruction.

There are 8 new inventions: Morale Module, at 1 BP, nets a +1 morale bonus to the next d20 roll when the master of the automaton with this invention deploys an automaton; this is explicitly in spite of automata being mindless. Inheritance Procedure, at 3 BP, lets a child of a destroyed automaton with this invention inherit a parent’s invention that does not require other inventions at BP-cost 1. Waste Oil Harvest Unit clocks in at 1 BP, and when an automaton is destroyed within 30 ft., it harvests waste oil that inflicts 1d4 acid damage +1 electricity damage + 1 fire damage, working otherwise as a flask of acid. This is contingent on the unit having a spare container, obviously. There also is a Design invention at 1 BP, Prototypical Paint Punnett Process, which lets a child inherit a paint invention of a destroyed matroishkabot automaton.

There are three different alpha inventions: Matroishka Matrix, at 5 BP, can only be installed on alphas, megadroids or gigadroids. This makes the respective alpha/droid behave as a matroishka, including the immediate action directive for the child of Matroishka All the Way Down. If you do have the Matroishkabot greater innovation, the costs are reduced by -2. Now, I assume a child of an alpha n longer counts as an alpha, but I am not 100% sure there. The intent here is to allow for dabbling, I get that, but the alpha interaction could use a bit of clarification. Premature Deployment Apparatus costs 2 BP and lets an automaton with the invention, as a directed standard action, cause another automaton within 30 ft. prematurely deploy a child automaton, without being destroyed. Cool one that also gets squares etc. right. Secondary Command Module, at 3 BP, is another combo facilitator: If the automaton has an Int of 3 or higher, it can deploy child automata as a directed standard action, consuming the master’s resources and maximum number of automata deployed. This is an exception to the caveat that prevents direct deployment of child automata. Alphas get to use this once for free per day, sans consuming the master’s resources. Secondary Command Booster requires secondary command module adds another free child deployment.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks or artwork, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s matroishka automata are another massive combo engine for the tinker that allows you to expand the unique options available for the complex class. The idea is cool, and while it could probably have carried even more tricks, for the low price, this is most assuredly worth getting for fans of the tinker-class. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tinkering 303 - Matroishka Automatons
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Ultimate Herbalism - The Pollution Microcosm
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/12/2018 05:59:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This FREE expansion for the massive Ultimate Herbalism book clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 1 page of content, so let’s take a look!

So, this contains a total of 4 different plants. The first of these would be a fungus, namely Caustic Coals, which clocks in at a point value of 2 and has a duration of 7 rounds. These puffballs can be squeezed as a standard action to fire a jet of acid with a range of 30 ft., duplicating heat metal, with the exception of inflicting acid damage.

There are two herbs with a point value of 1, the first of which would be the Greasy Ragweed, which may be thrown as a standard action and a 10 ft.-range increment, generating a small grease pattern. The Siphonweed would be the second 1-point plant, and it is interesting: It is applied to the skin of a creature. The first ability score damage that is taken by the creature within the next minute inflicts the weed, which forms a toxic bubble that can inflict ability damage as per the type taken, translating it basically to poison. The ability score damage inflicted by the poison btw. increases with herbalist levels.

The final plant would be It Which Clings, which clocks in at a point value of 4 and it has a 1 round duration. The plant is a supreme survivor, but otherwise not as efficient. Conversely, when a character chews it, he becomes immune to dazed, dazzled, fatigued, shakened or sickened, but must suffer from the condition upon imbibing the weed. 7th level adds confused and nauseated, 15th blinded, staggered and stunned.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard with green-vines on the side. The pdf needs no bookmarks at its length.

So, FREE expansion for Ultimate Herbalism? What’s not to like! Bradley Crouch’s new plants are creative, interesting and fun. 5 stars + seal of approval. If you like the excellent Ultimate Herbalism, then this is a no-brainer download!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Herbalism - The Pollution Microcosm
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Ethermagic Expanded - The Ethershaper Base Class (PFRPG; Standalone)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/01/2018 04:21:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The ethershaper base class clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, in case you were wondering, this is not just a new class, it is, in a nutshell, a stand-alone expansion to ethermagic as presented in the excellent Strange Magic tome. As such, I am not going to explain the basics ethermagic once more and assume that you’re familiar with the system. In case you don’t want to dig up my review: Think pre-5e warlock-style all-day blaster with a self-replenishing mana-bar and modular spells that consist of a core-component, namely the etherheart, and manifestations, which are used to modify the etherheart.

Chassis-wise, the ethershaper is a full caster and receives d6 HD, 2+ Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor. Ethershapers are subject to spell failure chance in armor etc. They unlock manifestations of the maximum level (level 6) over the course of the class progression and their ether point regeneration rate increases by +1 at 3rd level and at every odd level thereafter. They get good Will-saves and a bonus feat at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter. Ethershapers gain EP equal to twice class level + Charisma modifier and use Charisma as the governing spellcasting attribute.

Ethershapers get access to the Alteration, Bestow and Genesis etherhearts that we already know, but NOT to the Lesser and Greater Blast etherhearts, which is interesting from the get-go, seeing how the blasting capability is pretty much a central focus of ethermagic. Instead of that, we get a new etherheart, namely Voidshape, but before we dive into that one, let us take a look at manifestations known: The ethershaper begins play with 5 Voidshape manifestations and 2 Alteration manifestations. The first Bestow manifestation is unlocked at 4th level, the first genesis manifestation at 8th level. The ethershaper gains another Voidhsape manifestation at 3rd level and every odd level thereafter. (For a total of 14 known at 20th level.) He gets another Alteration at 2nd level and every even level thereafter, for a total of 14. Bestow manifestations are gained in 3-level-steps (total of 7 at 20th level) and the maximum number of genesis manifestations will clock in at 5 at the time the class reaches its capstone.

But wait! Didn’t I call this “stand-alone”? Yep. Clearly designated as such, 17 pages of the file are devoted to all the legacy ethermagic content that is of interest for the pdf and its contents. Big kudos for this! (Though, seriously, Strange Magic is damn well worth getting!)

Voidshape has a range of close and lacks a delivery mechanism in the traditional sense. Any sum of manifestations may be added to a Voidshape etherspell, provided they do not exceed in sum the highest manifestation level known. Shape manifestations are treated as having a manifestation level of 1 for the purpose of this, but only one shape may be added per etherspell. All manifestations that are NOT shapes have a voidshape divisor, which represents the crucial component here: For each such non-shape manifestation, you compare the subject’s initiative roll with the voidshape divisor. If the initiative can be divided by the voidshape divisor and returns a whole number, the target is affected by the manifestation. Creatures not yet added to the initiative order are treated as though they had an initiative equal to their initiative modifier. There is another limitation imposed on voidshapes: Upon casting another voidshape etherspell immediately ends ongoing voidshape manifestations with a duration greater than instantaneous. EP cost is 1 + ¼ class level, rounded down and SR applies.

Okay, this should make one thing clear: The class requires that initiative is known openly. While this may seem as a drawback (I prefer to track initiative as a GM), there is a doubtless plus here: This class rewards a player for doing the bookkeeping work of tracking initiative, taking pressure off the already strenuous amount of bookkeeping the GM has to maintain. I tried pretty hard to think of scenarios where GM tracking initiative scores would be crucial for plot, scenario, etc. and couldn’t come up with one, so yeah, worth giving a try! It’s also nice to have one less chore, particularly if you’re like me and like springing large groups of foes on PCs...

Of course, this mechanic does require at least a degree of control: Thus, the class begins play with distort reality, which lets the ethershaper treat a target as though its initiative was 1 higher or lower for the purpose of voidshape divisors. At 8th level and 16th level, the ethershaper may do this an additional time per voidshape etherspell and how he treats initiative may be chosen individually for affected target.

Starting at 2nd level, we get persistent shaping, which is represented by a persistence pool equal to the ethershaper’s class level + his Charisma modifier. The persistence points in this pool do not constantly regenerate and instead replenish after 8 hours of rest. When an ethershaper casts a voidshape etherspell with a manifestation that has a duration greater than instantaneous, he may expend persistence points equal to that manifestation’s manifestation level. If he does, the manifestation’s effects do not end upon casting another voidshape etherspell, instead remaining in effect for the full duration. Only one manifestation per etherspell may be affected by this ability, as a means to offset the nova-issue. As a standard action that provokes AoOs, an ethershaper may reduce his maximum EP by 1 to gain 1 persistence point and the reduction remains in effect until the persistence pool is replenished the next time.

Beginning at 3rd level, the ethershaper gains the pseudoshape etherheart: A single 1st level manifestation with a duration greater than instantaneous must be added to it, and its main difference beyond that from the voidshape etherheart can be found in EP Cost (which is 0) and action economy: If the ethershaper currently has no pseudoshapes in play, he may cast a pseudoshape etherspell as a swift action; otherwise, it’s a standard action. Pseudoshape manifestations with a duration greater than instantaneous do not immediately end upon the casting of a voidshape etherspell and they do not end ongoing voidshape manifestations. (Since they are another etherheart – that’s thankfully pointed out, so no ambiguity there.) At 10th level, a single shape manifestation may also be added to pseudoshape…and if the name wasn’t ample indicator for you, only voidshape manifestations may be added to a pseudoshape etherspell.

At 14th level, the ethershaper gains aberrant physiology: Choose fear, disease or poison: The ethershaper becomes immune to the chosen threat, but takes a -2 penalty to saves against the other two. As a capstone, the ethershaper’s pseudoshape etherspells may be modified with either 2 1st-level manifestations or one 2nd-level manifestation with a duration of greater than instantaneous, and, as per the base pseudoshape etherheart, a shape may be added as well.

We get pretty extensive favored class options for Interjection games’ traditional, featured array: Beyond the core races, we cover aasimar and tiefling, hobgoblin, kitsune, kobold, orc, puddling and drow. These deserve special mention, for they are actually interesting: Sure, we have e.g. aasimars gaining 1/6th of a 2nd level bestow manifestation, but the there are also effects that are really creative: Drow may, for example, 1/day for every 4 times this bonus was taken, expend 1 EP when casting voidshape etherspell to inflict 1 Con damage to all creatures affected. Dwarves gain a scaling temporary hit points buffer; elves may declare 1/day for every 3 times selected, a chosen 1st-level’s voidshape manifestation’s divisor to be 1…You get the idea. These are meaningful tweaks that actually change the playing experience. Big plus.

We get a total of three new feats: Active Distortion lets the ethershaper expend up to 2 EP when using distort reality; for each point spent, the initiative may be increased or decreased by a further 1. Dual Fakery lets you cast a second pseudoshape as a swift action, even though you already have one in play – note: Only if you have exactly one in play. Extra Persistence nets +4 persistence points and may be taken multiple times.

The class also features a new archetype, the Herald of the Self: Instead of the bonus feat gained at 12th level, these fellows begin play with forced shaping, allowing the herald of the self to add a single 1st-level voidshape manifestation to a voidshape etherspell as though it had a manifestation level of 0th. The manifestation requires a voidshape divisor that may not be “see text”; After the changes to initiative via distort reality, you roll 1d4. For this one casting, the voidshape manifestation added with this ability has the rolled number as voidshape divisor. The ability may be used ½ Cha-mod times per day (rounded down, min 1), +1/day for every 4 class levels. Instead of 6th level’s bonus feat, the herald gains remote shaping: This allows the herald to extend the range of a voidshape etherspell to Medium (100 ft., +10 ft./level), but the herald also targets himself in addition to the etherspell’s normal targets. After changing initiative with distort reality, the herald adds +1d4 to his initiative for the purpose of determining the etherspell’s voidshape divisor requirements. Only manifestations that deal hit point damage may thus affect the caster. At 12th level, the herald gets the option to expend 3 EP to increase the range of a voidshape etherspell to Long rather than Medium.

All right, postponed long enough, didn’t I? Well, next up would be the list of manifestations, grouped first by level, then alphabetically within the level. Handy: List notes shape, if any, as well as voidshape divisors! Sooo…what do we get? Well, there are some that you’d kinda expect: Alien Fortitude, for example, nets DR 3/- (voidshape divisor 2); we have a scaling grapple enhancer (or anti-grapple move) that deals acid damage…but things become more interesting when e.g. caltrops suddenly manifest around targets; we have temporary hit points that transform into damage if not maintained until it has elapsed…at this point, you realize something, at least if you test this class: It plays completely and utterly different than anything you have played in a d20-based system so far…and some of you may well be concerned when thinking about the fact that this is a situation of absolutes: Either you are affected by a voidshape or not. Well, there are “near miss” voidshapes – basically, they grant an effect when the target’s initiative is not divisible by the divisor, it instead gains the Near Miss-effect when noted…and these allow for some interesting tactics: There is, for example, one manifestation that nets the equivalent of being hit by alchemical acid. On a near miss, the target instead gains a globule of fleeting, unstable ether that may be thrown as such! This means, ultimately, that this particular manifestation can act as either an offense or defense tool. Making a subject take more damage of a chosen type is nice…but know what I really liked?

Buffer against (all) cataclysm. There are two of these. This fellow is the bane of all overkill damage bursts, ridiculously OP one-attack novas, etc. At level 5, EP 8, it has a serious EP-cost, but oh boy: At a voidshape divisor of 3, it lets you choose one energy, including exotics like sonic or force for the better version. That one lets you also choose 10, 20, 30 or 50. The next time the target takes MORE damage of the chosen damage type than the chosen threshold, it is instead considered to be immune against the attack. This manifestation is not only really interesting, it is balanced by the unique casting engine and its limitations and provides a really fresh and evocative way to consider regarding design. This is inspiring.

As an aside: The class notes in e.g. the shape manifestation cage full of stars that it only becomes relevant with 2nd-level manifestations, which, while evident when you experiment with the class, is really helpful for players with less system mastery – kudos for including such notes! Also pretty amazing: Make targets (divisor 3) trail fire that can collapse to cause damage to those crossing the trail! The damage wouldn’t be too impressive, were it not for the system employed here, which lets you potentially generate some rather cool scenarios. Straight damage (save for half) with added conditions (negated by save) are expected…but what about at-range bestow etherspells? Here, we’re getting into serious combo-territory and the scenes where you get to cackle with glee. Sharing base saving throws (sans modifiers) is neat…but what about evenly-divided untyped damage, near miss temporary hit points? It should also be noted that some manifestations have different effect when they are not the only manifestation applied to a voidshape etherspell. And yes, there are self-buffs…and there is ether madness. Which has no less than 5 (!!!) different effects with different energy damages and different voidshape divisors…and yes, it will burn the ethershaper and his allies…but the unleashed cacophony, if set-up correctly, will hurt foes even more… (And n, this is NOT the only suck multi-divisor manifestation herein! There also is a chaotic condition-disperser on this basis…)

While we’re at the subject of manifestations with multiple divisors: There are also manifestations, where additional effects (and divisors) are unlocked at higher levels! Not all are offense-oriented, mind you: Reverse causality, for example flips negative conditions on its head, suppressing them. (As an aside, here, a spell-reference is not italicized.) Among the shapes, we have two targets (one with a 5-ft-radius), cubes, including caster as well as more targets…you get the idea.

And yes, there is a death knell-alike coup de grace to finish off foes below 0 hp; there is a means of short-range alteration-sharing. Oh, and what about involuntary hyperspace, which allows for divisor 2-shuffling of targets? And yes, sizes etc. are taken into account. There are more really creative tricks here: For example, there are manifestations that make the target behave as though staggered…but if the target doesn’t, he actually becomes staggered next round! Expend an action or suffer damage next round…there are, even in otherwise vanilla “deal damage”-tricks, some truly imaginative tweaks that make them behave differently. Another manifestation makes the targets treat all spaces as through they were caltrop’d. If there actually is a caltrop there, it detonates! Movement debuffs…and there are set-ups: By lacing a target with ether, the next physical attack against the target can be enhanced.

Oh, and want this epic final-boss throwdown, where you unleash your full might, survival be damned? Unleash the cosmos. Level 6, divisor 1. Subject takes your EP damage, no save, no type. The caster expends all remaining EP. For the next minute, all manifestations targeting the subject treat their voidshape divisor as 1. (Excluding “see text” voidshape manifestations.) If you can recover from the EP-expenditure, or to begin phase two of the fight (“I…AM…NOT..:YET…DONE!!!”), this makes for a really cool effect. Oh, and what about visions of infinity? It lets you treat impassable terrain as difficult terrain, but at the cost of damage per square.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; the rules-language is crisp and easy to grasp, in spite of the complexity of the subject matter. Layout adheres to the elegant 2-column b/w-standard of IG, with interior art being stock art and swirlies, cover art being an original by Vera Crouch. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with detailed, nested bookmarks, for full convenience.

Bradley Crouch’s ethershaper, commissioned by Richard Perez via the Interjection games patreon, is a class that first had me scratch my head. Usually, I have a pretty good idea if something works or not right after I’ve read it. Here, I honestly had no clue. Only when I started tearing into the math, building ethershapers and devising strategies did the whole, mad genius of the class really click into place. And I was still somewhat concerned…though, with every in-depth look, that concern evaporated more and more.

Yes, the system is unusual and complex and may not be suitable for inexperienced players. Yes, the fact that the GM has to leave initiative tracking to the ethershaper may rub some the wrong way.

Give this a shot.

I’m serious.

A lesser designer probably would have devised the divisor system and called it quits then and there, devised some appropriate effects and moved on. Here, we get something radically and creatively different that is mind-bogglingly creative, even for Bradley Crouch’s oeuvre of classes. You see, the class is not just unique because of its divisor-system.

The actual effects of the voidshape manifestations make incredibly clever use of both the ethermagic base-engine and the voidshapes. Instead of just providing standard effects, we get a whole array of unique twists and turns for damage-delivery, buffing and debuffing, terrain-control, etc. In short: The book’s manifestations ooze with tricks that literally NO OTHER CLASS OUT THERE can do. There is not one of these fellows in the book, there are a TON of ideas and tricks that do radically different and creative things. Don’t get me wrong: This is not about being different for the sake of being different. Quite the contrary.

Instead, the class uses the limitations and unique delivery of voidshapes to full effect, creating effects that would not work with another engine, or at least would be exceedingly hard to balance. The innovation in the details blends with the unique system and creates something that manages to exceed the sum of its impressive parts.

Oh, and guess what? In the hands of the right player, the ethershaper is pure gold. What do I mean by this?

Well, are you a mastermind, a strategist?

Do you enjoy picturing yourself as a chessmaster, as you and your buddies vanquish hordes of monsters?

This is the class for you.

The ethershaper thrives and prospers in the hands of smart tacticians that know how to coordinate not only their own contributions, but that also help their friends. Similarly, if your group enjoys these moments when the tactics of the PCs click together like a well-oiled machine, the “gotcha!-moments”…well, this guy is your class. If you’re looking for a simple blaster, in case you haven’t noticed, well this guy is not that. It’s also not a class that you learn once and then rinse and repeat your same old tricks, forcing, by its very system, that you remain engaged and engrossed…and at the same time, it makes that fun. It rewards you for actually thinking, round after round after round. But if you like strategy, combos, tactics and unique playing experiences? Get it!

Or, well, perhaps you’re a bit like me and have read a metric ton of classes. While I am primarily a GM and thus play a ton of different things, I know that some players crave difference; crave the experience of playing something thoroughly fresh, something that not only differentiates itself from the vancian spellcasting, but also features effects that make their allies go: “That is possible???” Preferably while not going stale after 3 combats. I have read a HUGE amount of classes for various d20-based systems. A ton of PrCs and archetypes. More feats and spells than I care to ever try to count. Guess what: I have never seen anything like this.

The ethershaper’s engine is unique and innovative. Its options are unique and innovative. It plays in a unique and innovative manner. No matter how blasé you may usually be about a new class, I guarantee that you have never read anything like it. This class is suffused, drips, with pure imagination, with creative energy and, dare I say, brilliance. It is strange, different and fresh…and living proof that, even after so many years with d20-based mechanics, the system’s options are not nearly exhausted. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, + seal of approval. Oh, and unsurprisingly, this is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ethermagic Expanded - The Ethershaper Base Class (PFRPG; Standalone)
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Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/21/2017 04:14:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The expansion for the glorious Assassin-class clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This pdf features a new cold technique category for the momentum-based assassin, namely the integration category, which can be summed up as deep cover, social engineering, etc. The techniques within this category include having civilian contacts: Basically, you have friends that can provide a variety of benefits and for every four integration techniques you know, you’ll get an additional contact. The contacts themselves, beyond offering obvious roleplaying potential, are codified in 11 basic roles: Alchemist nets you a discount with less expensive alchemical items and firearms and allows for low-cost renting of the lab; aristocrats net you access to proper social events, beggars can discreetly keep tabs on your targets, fences can get rid of problematic items, guards keep you in touch with the watch’s notes…you get the idea. The technique is certainly fun and makes for great RPing – and if you’re inclined to run solo-campaigns/adventures, it helps there as well. One further technique allows you to relocate contacts once every 3 months, which is pretty cool as well!

Having a good cover story is represented by skill bonuses and limited SPs to cast (scaling at 9th level included). Swift action -1 presence change intimidation is nice. 8th level assassins may become immune to fear. Investigate mark deserves mention: Upon researching a target, you gain temporary techniques, but only versus the target. You may only have one target at any given time and the effects last 1 week or until the target’s vanquished. At 5th level, you get to choose an additional target, against whom you gain 1 technique. As a -2 presence change technique, killer’s ritual lets you choose an alignment and nets you protection against the chosen alignment for a pretty long time. Memento lets you take a memento of the target slain, hampering magics that seek to return the target to life, with 12th and 18th level yielding further mementos. Paladin proofing rocks – it permanently conceals you with undetectable alignment and 6th level lets you simulate a selected alignment and at 12th level, you may even be treated as the alignment you mimic for spell and ability interaction purposes.

Silver-tongued rogue nets you a scaling social skill bonus when not in combat and Sweep the Room, at -1 presence change, lets you, as a full-round action, be treated as though you had taken 20 on a Perception check – amazing when hunting trap-master style characters that can litter traps behind themselves. Unfazed by Death mitigates being nauseated by gore etc. to being sickened instead and unfazed by foulness provides immunity to inhaled poisons and SR 10 + class level versus spells with the death descriptor. Finally, there would be the 10th level technique The Watson, which nets you an assassin contact, whose technique loadout is exactly opposite to yours. The Wtason has 2 character levels less than you do and is treated as a kind of cool complementary cohort. Watson may be a cross-specialization technique and is not replaced upon dying – the guy must be resurrected. And no, does not stack with pre-existing cohorts. Minor complaint: “Special:” is not bolded.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Interjection games’ two-column b/w-standard and is as elegant and nice as we’ve come to expect. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s assassin expansion is pretty damn cool – it provides some of the social components that we really wanted to see for the class. The base class was phenomenal, but more than that, this very much made me want to play a solo-campaign with an assassin-PC…though I should mention that the contacts work just as well with a group, mind you, particularly in an intrigue-heavy game. And we get all of that for a single buck. This is a great expansion, very well worth the fair asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
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Class Expansions: Fighter Archetypes for Bad Weapons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/04/2017 11:41:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This inexpensive pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The first archetype herein would be the battle hipster (fighter), who is a specialist of the bladed scarf and thus begins play with proficiency in it. Additionally, we get a +1 natural armor bonus when wearing an undrawn bladed scarf in the neck slot. Instead of 1st level’s bonus feat, observers need to succeed a Perception check to notice the nature of a bladed scarf – the DC is based on class levels, fyi, and the DC is lower if the character attempting the skill check is proficient in the weapon. 2nd level allows the battle hipster to use the bladed scarf as a bed roll, a 20-ft.-rope or as a 10-ft. ladder. Also at 2nd level, the archetype learns to inflict the weapon’s base damage die + enhancement bonus in slashing damage when tripping/disarming foes with it, which also increases by +1 at every 4 levels thereafter. This replaces bravery. 10th level adds the option to use this in conjunction with grapples.

5th level provides the ability to meditate for one hour on a bladed scarf, attuning it – each attuned weapon is treated as though it was a +1 weapon (increasing by +1 every 4 levels thereafter): Interesting: These stack with existing bonuses and allow the battle hipster to even add special weapon qualities to the bladed scarf. And yes, the +5 cap remains intact and the verbiage gets the requirement of at least a +1 right. Attunement may be ended as a standard action that provokes AoOs or by being separated. Really cool: Attuned special weapon abilities on such a scarf suppress the special weapon quality of other weapons within 30 ft. – really like that one! 9th level locks the battle hipster into flail training and these two abilities replace weapon training 1 – 3. 6th level provides meteor stance – as a swift action, he may choose the properties of the bladed scarf, making it gain reach, but losing the disarm and tripping capabilities of the weapon while holding it thus. At 20th level, the archetype is locked into bladed scarf as weapon mastery choice.

Next up would be the javelineer fighter, who increases the range-increment of weapons that can be thrown by +10 ft. and may draw javelins as though they were ammunition. Starting at 2nd level, the javelineer generates 5 javelins each morning, +5 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd. These may not be sold or stockpiled – neat catch! Additionally, at this level, javelins no longer net the character a non-proficiency penalty when used in melee. At 5th level, javelins thus fabricated gaina +ü1 enhancement bonus, increasing by +1 every 3 levels thereafter, capping at +5.

At 4th level, the archetype, when hitting a shield with a javelin or other thrown spear, halves shield bonuses to AC, as the spear is stuck in it – the penalty thus incurred is not cumulative and stuck spears may be removed as one standard action per spear. This replaces 4th level’s bonus feat. 5th level locks the archetype into weapon training with the spear-group; no others may be chosen, but every 4 levels thereafter, the bonus increases by +1. Similarly, 20th level locks the archetype into the spear group for weapon mastery.

At 8th level, the javelineer may sunder at range with thrown weapons from the spear group, ignoring the javelin’s enhancement bonus in hardness. At 9th level, when performing a full attack and starting it off with a ranged spear, all subsequent attacks may be performed with ghostly duplicates of this first thrown spear, which is potent and somewhat solves the cost issue. 13th level nets Shot on the Run, usable for spears exclusively.

Purifiers are mace/Morningstar/light hammer specialist fighters – instead of weapon training, the weapons burst into flame, dealing an additional 1 fire damage, which increases to 1d4 at 5th level, +1d4 at 9th level and every 4 levels thereafter. On crits, this added damage is maximized. Fire damage thus caused ignores fire resistances of undead, evil outsiders and evil dragons, with 13th level allowing the purifier to ignore even fire immunity of these creature types. At 2nd level, the purifier may, as a standard action or in place of a main-hand attack of a full attack, while wielding the archetype’s preferred weapons, hurl flames at a creature within 60 ft., inflicting the weapon’s base damage die fire damage on successful hits. Special weapon abilities apply to this and similarly, the aforementioned bonus fire damage is added to the assault, though RAW, the resistance/immunity ignoring component is not gained by the ability, which makes going into melee still potentially the preferred strategy – nice. This replaces the bonus feat at 2nd level.

At 6th level, instead of a bonus feat, the purifier may, instead of a melee attack, touch himself with the flames, gaining ½ class level temporary hit points that last for a round. 10th level nets consuming purity, which replaces the bonus feat and makes creatures that take fire damage from the weapon also catch fire – fire damage thus dealt ignores resistance and immunity of the aforementioned creature types. Starting at 14th level, upon reducing an enemy creature of the undead, evil outsider/dragon types to 0 hp, he may fling flames as a free action, swift action if the target was weak, preventing undead kitten-abuse. The capstone adds 20 fire damage on crits, which, once again, ignores immunities and resistances of the noted creature types. The archetype comes with two feats – one that replaces fire damage with cold damage for all class features and one that lets you add a type chosen from favored enemy’s lists to the creatures that are affected by the flames/cold of the archetype.

Quartersawn sluggers are a more complex operation, gaining their own class table, with full BAB-progression, good Fort-saves and spontaneous spellcasting governed by Cha of up to 3rd spell level, with spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard list. The archetype may only learn single-target spells with a casting time of 1 standard action or less and they may never cast spells directly into creatures, instead being limited to cast them into spell storing weapons – as a minor formatting complaint, the special weapon ability’s not italicized in the text. Quartersawn sluggers do not suffer from arcane spell failure when wearing light or medium armor and using a shield (excluding tower shields). Spells with somatic components still have spell failure when cast in heavy armor or while using a tower shield. This replaces armor training. The archetype begins play with the ability to meditate on a wooden club or greatclub, attuning it in a process that takes 1 hour. The attuned weapon gains the spell storing weapon special ability. Starting at 7th level and 15th level, the quartersawn slugger can maintain an extra attuned club, respectively. Starting at 5th level, the archetype’s locked into hammers for weapon training, and does not gain other weapon trainings, instead increasing the bonus granted by +1 every 4 levels after 5th. Similarly, 20th level locks weapon mastery into club or greatclub.

The final archetype herein would be the trick slinger, who is, surprise, the sling specialist in this pdf. Instead of the bonus feat gained at 1st level, the archetype may choose a variety of sling tricks whenever he gains bonus feats: These sling tricks modify shots fired with slings and sling gloves; 1/round, you may declare an attack to be a sling trick and only one sling trick may be applied to a given attack. Rapid Shot’s additional attack can, just fyi., not be a trick shot. The trick shots presented include increased range increments, causing bleed damage (ouch!), ignoring Dex-mod DR (excluding DR/epic), ricochet…some nice ones here! When dealing 0 damage or missing, you can add a second attack at a different target at -2 to atk…and there is the option to cause somewhat splash-like damage with shattering sling bullets. There is also an option to attack touch AC, but also losing ability modifier to damage with such a shot. 5th level once again provides the specialty weapon training with scaling bonuses. Slightly confusing at first glance: This ability and all subsequent abilities are formatted as though they were sling tricks, not regular archetype class features.

9th level increases the number of trick shots per round to 2. 13th level allows for a full attack with a thrown weapon using sling bullets as a standard action, but at -5 to all attacks. 17th level nets basically a flurry with the sling at -2, stacking with Rapid Shot. 20th level auto-confirms sling crits and increases damage multiplier by 1. The archetype comes with a feat that unlocks trick shots for weapons using sling bullets that are not slings or sling gloves.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are as tight as we’ve come to expect from interjection Games; while the pdf does sport a few formatting hiccups, none impede the rules-language provided for the archetypes. Layout adheres to the classic, nice 2-column b/w-standard and art is fitting public domain stock. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them at this length.

Bradley Crouch is an excellent designer; his take on some of the more maligned weapon choices makes that evident at a glance. The material presented is nice, has some cool visuals and offers interesting playing experiences, all for a very low and more than fair price point. While the cosmetic formatting hiccups are slightly annoying, the more than fair price does make up for them. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Expansions: Fighter Archetypes for Bad Weapons
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Strange Magic Expanded - Ethermagic for Core Classes (PFRPG, Standalone)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2017 04:02:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little expansion for the amazing Strange Magic-tome 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!

First things first: This is a stand-alone expansion for Strange Magic – it does not require the main book: 24 alteration and voidmeld manifestations are reproduced for your convenience within this pdf. (As a purely cosmetic grip – voidmeld manifestations don’t have a header, which could be slightly confusing for novices of ethermagic) – these reproduced pieces take btw. up 3 pages of the pdf.

The first archetype here would be the cosmic minstrel, who replaces bardic knowledge and versatile performance with knowing 2 1st-level alteration manifestations, + another one at 5th level and every 6 class levels thereafter, treating his caster level as equal to his class level. When he begins a bardic performance, he chooses a 1st level alteration manifestation known, gaining its benefits for the duration of the performance. Since he does not have an ether point pool, he cannot learn some of the more potent alteration manifestations. At 10th level, the archetype replaces jack of all trades by extending the benefits of the alteration triggered by the bardic performance to allies within 30 ft. Nice way to dabble into the basics of ethermagic.

The etherblade fighter replaces weapon training with imperfect voidmeld: At 5th level, he gets two 1st-level voidmeld manifestations, with 9th level and every 4 class levels thereafter yielding another. For the purpose of these, the caster level is treated as the class level. After resting, one voidmeld manifestation may be added to a given weapon for 24 hours, treating the weapon as a void blade. Starting at 9th level and again at 17th level, the etherblade can meditate on an additional weapon, respectively, which may have a different voidmeld applied. At 9th and 13th level, the etherblade may place an additional voidmeld in a given weapon, and each weapon may have a different combination. Instead of weapon mastery, the etherblade learns two 2nd level voidmeld manifestations, and when meditating, an additional 2nd level voidmeld manifestation may be added to the 1st level voidmeld manifestations of a given weapon. Oh, and yeah, if required, save DCs for the voidmelds of the archetype are governed by Charisma.

Wizards get no less than three arcane schools: The Ether arcane school is associated with evocation and replaces force missile and elemental wall. Instead, it nets a power point pool equal to 1 + 1/5 class level, rounded down. As a standard action, you can expend power points equal to the spell level of a prepared evocation spell you have already cast; the spell is prepared again, as though it hadn’t been cast. The pool replenishes after rest. 8th level lets you, whenever you roll a natural 1 on an evocation damage die, you gain 1 temporary hit point. These last for 1 minute and stack with themselves, up to a maximum of twice Intelligence modifier and their duration refreshes when the ability is triggered again.

The second arcane school would be Gravity, associated with transmutation, replaces telekinetic fist and shape change. Instead, you gain borrowed time: As a swift action, you can grant yourself a move action, but you are staggered for 1 round at the beginning of your next turn. Big kudos: You can’t cheese the ability by being immune to the condition. The ability may be used 1/day + 1/day for every 6 wizard levels you have. 8th level yields gravity well, usable 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day. As a standard action, you can hurl gravity as a kind of splash weapon that deals untyped damage and staggers the target of a direct hit on a failed Fort-save. Slightly confusing at first glance: While the glob is hurled as though it is a thrown splash weapon, it is not – thus, no splash damage

The Madness arcane school, finally, is associated with Enchantment and replaces dazing touch and aura of despair. As a standard action, the wizard can confuse a creature within 30 ft. as a ranged touch attack for 1 round, usable 3 + Int times per day. At 8th level, we get a really potent, if unreliable ability – targets of your enchantments are confused for 1 round – no save. While both are mind-affecting abilities, these are pretty potent. Still, being unreliable, this does make sense…though personally, I’d cap the number of targets confused by one spell.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Interjection Games’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with fitting swirly b/w-art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Bradley Crouch’s latest expansion for ethermagic allows for an easy way to dabble in the flavor and basics of ethermagic, without requiring knowledge of the system – basically, this can be considered to be a kind of teaser of sorts and it does that job well. The new class options for the core classes herein are interesting and perform interesting rules-operations, highlighting the value of ethermagic concepts beyond their use within the system. For the low and fair asking price, this is definitely worth checking out, particularly if what you’re reading here sounds interesting to you.

From a design-perspective, it’s certainly nice to have some reference archetypes to gage power-levels for further modifications. All in all, this should be considered to be a solid, unpretentious pdf for those curious about the system and hesitant to take the plunge; it is not mind-blowing per se, but well-crafted and fun. This is, in my book, a good pdf I’d round down for, but its very low $1 asking price upgrades my final verdict of 4.5 stars – I will round up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Magic Expanded - Ethermagic for Core Classes (PFRPG, Standalone)
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The Reaper; OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Play Everything
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2017 05:54:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base class clocks in at a massive 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It should be noted that this class was commissioned via the Interjection Games' patreon by Joshua Ikenberry - which is an amazing thing, if you ask me.

Anyway, this class is a bit different than a normal Interjection Games class - you see, usually, Interjection Games classes tend to be meticulously designed to work in both the grittiest and most high-fantasy of campaigns - this one comes with a disclaimer that the weaker classes tend to fall behind its potency...but let's look how this works in detail!

Chassis-wise, the reaper gets d6 HD, 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves as well as 2 + Int skills per level. They also get light armor and shield proficiency, excluding tower shields. The reaper can suffer from arcane spell failure when wearing metal armor. At 1st level, the reaper gains an essence pool equal to 3 times the reaper's class level. At 9th level, one mental attribute is chosen and adds the chosen ability score modifier to the number, with 13th level adding two. The pool replenishes after 8 hours of rest. At 1st level, the character learns the signature ability called reaping.

The idea here is that all soulsown are created around a core, a so-called seed. These cores are known as seeds and the reaper begins play with two of them. The reaper gains an additional one at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter. There are different seed subtypes, which sport a pool system and a wide reach, granting abilities. The seeds available are arcane, divine, martial and primal - primal and martial have two different pool systems. Arcane, divine and primal soulsown begin play knowing a single spell from the associated spell-list, learning an additional spell on a level up. The maximum spell level available increases at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter, capping at 6th spell level, though the spell-save DC is instead 10 + 1/2 class level +spellcasting ability modifier of the soulsown. Casting is done by expending essence points equal to the spell's level. Spells learned have to adhere to a pyramid rule.

Binding a soulsown is referred to as threshing and requires 1 hour after an 8 hour-rest. At 3rd level, the process called germination allows a reaper to form a temporary secondary bond with a soulsown as a swift action that grants the benefits for 1 minute and while it lasts, it grants the seed's core ability and talents that work while germinating. Only one germination may be in effect at a given time. and it may be used 1/day, plus an additional time per day at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter. Starting at 5th level, germination also yields 1d4 temporary essence points, which increases to 2d4 and 3d4 at 11th and 17th level, respectively. Threshing and germination are collectively known as "binding". 5th level provides speak with dead to all reapers of the arcane, divine and primal seeds, but it does not count towards the pyramid rule.

Seeds start with a granted talent and gain an additional talent at 2nd level, +another talent at 4th level and every even level thereafter. Martial seeds yield a bonus feat OR summon weapon at 1st level, plus an additional benefit at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. The more often summon weapon is taken, the more powerful is the called weaponry, which may be btw. summoned at a 2 essence cost, lasting for 1 minute. Martial soulsown also yields proficiency with martial weapons, +4 Con for the purpose of calculating hit points. Though this is modified, depending on the soulsown bound - you see, the class can actually have a 1/2, 3/4 or full BAB-progression, depending on the types of soulsown bound.

Soulsown talents govern their save DC as mentioned before; if the reaper has no spellcasting seed, the governing save-DC attribute defaults to Charisma. Basically, the soulsown learns the talents, which the reaper then proceeds to basically channel while bound to the soulsown. This also extends to the wide variety of soulsown pets the reaper can gain access to -they manifest as a conglomerate with the soulsown bound and thus, they only manifest when the respective soulsown is bound - the pet has an effective level of reaper level -3, minimum 1 for the purpose of determining power. Favored class option-wise, we cover the core races, aasimar, drow, hobgoblin, kitsune, kobold, orc, puddling, tiefling, vanara and vishkanya and they are pretty cool

The respective soulsown talents are grouped by seed and level where they may be chosen no prerequisite and after that, every 2 levels unlock new ones and some require other prerequisites. All of these are only unlocked when the reaper has the respective soulsown bound. The talents are extremely diverse and half of the pdf is devoted to listing these. In short, these can be envisioned as a massive array of "choose your own class features" array - and the extent of material available is MASSIVE. I mean it. Cantrips? Check. Bonded objects? Check. Domains. Beyond these gloriana (composition magic), lay on hands or touch of corruption, bloodline powers, rod of wonder effects, potion creation, counterspelling, scent, bag of tricks, phantom alchemy (cannot be sold), a lacing option with its own pool to add effects to the reaper's spellcasting, skills, bonuses - from the active to the passive, there is a true cornucopia of options available here - the more powerful of which, obviously, use the previously mentioned pools granted by the soulsown as resources...and yes, proper combat maneuver use and capstones can be found here - from vastly increased essence pools to a variety of different options, there is A LOT here.

I should also mention totems, which can be pictured as deployable things that can be used to channel effects, allowing for the setting up of AoE-buff stations, an artillery totem, sentries, etc. - and there are means to specialize in this really cool subset of talents with a unique pool. Really cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches and the rules-language is as impressively precise as we've come to expect from Bradley Crouch. Layout adheres to Interjection games' 2-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting stock art. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks to the big sections, but not to the respective sub-abilities.

Sooo...the reaper is an impressively strong class, designed to make altaholic players (you know, players who constantly want to play new characters) stick with one character for once...and guess what? It actually works! More importantly, it clocks imho in at tier 3 (as intended by the design) and actually is better balanced than a TON of options I get to see on a regular basis. Considering the wide open nature and huge foot-print of the class, this is doubly impressive. The class is pretty complex and something for advanced players, obviously - and due to its complexity, the respective pools and the like may take a bit of close reading to properly understand, but the sidebars help there...but the class actually has a use beyond the obvious: Know how an issue with 1-on-1-modules tend to be that you need the right class/character to make the module fun? Well, the reaper is pretty much PERFECT for whole 1-on-1-campaigns. Seriously, the flexibility of choices allow for the creation of extremely diverse challenges, making the class a godsend for such games. Personally, I'll gladly allow this class in my games - while potent, it should not break the game and its massive flexibility is paid for with a relative fragility.

It should also be noted that the class, beyond being a master-scavenger with a ton of modes, also features quite a lot of utterly unique options that manage to codify what would otherwise be options that are too strong in a concise and compelling manner. In short: The reaper is an AMAZING class; it's fun, versatile and something for every player who easily gets bored with a given class. This is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Reaper; OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Play Everything
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Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 15:56:39

I just wrote a review for The Assassin by IG. This cheap, short expansion is just 3 pages long, but it contains a 4th cold technique tree that, while not undispensable from the original, expand the character concepts you can build.

A couple of techniques come form the "contacts" mini-tree, starting with a choice from alchemist, blacksmith, beggar (that sort of things). The more Integration techniques you learn, the more contacts you get. (maximum of 4). With a follow-up you can make your contacts move to another part of the city, and with the highes ability you mke it a kind of cohort that is also an assassin with exactly the opposite technique trees you have (the 2 cold and the 2 hot you didn't choose at 1st level).

Another mini tree is the Mark. The first technique give you extra Technique points against the target of your mark, and the follow-up lets you keep a memento of the victim that prevents them to be raisen as undead or from the dead.

Other abilities get you accostumed to gore, fear and even poison.

All in all an interesting technique tree (weren't this categories? I prefer tree by the way) for just a meager dollar. If you already bought the assassin and read it, you will know how cool is it and you will want this book, so shell out that dollar already!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Assassin Techniques - The Integration Cold Tech Tree
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The Onmyoji - A Japanese Occult Diviner [PFRPG]
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 15:55:44

The Onmyoji for Pathfinder is Interjection Games take on a real-world concept, an old type of nature priest from Japan’s past. There have been much more Onmyoji in D&D that I can recall, but all of them were just either a cleric or a wizard with a funny hat. As with many other version by IG, THIS Onmyoji is made from scratch, combining point-based casting, pet and temporary item creation to present something completely new, all stepped in Japanese flavor and tradition.

What’s inside? 20 pages of content for 4 bucks, which include:

-The Onmyoji base class: With a chassis similar to a wizard (bad BAB, good Will save), but more skilled (4 skill points to spend on 14 class skills, of note being linguistics, 4 areas of knowledge, and even use magic device), and only a little over simple weapon proficiencies and only shields, we don’t have a front-liner. The Onmyoji has an interesting armor restriction where abilities are costlier if you don armor that you aren’t proficient in, so 1 level of fighter or something will let you cast in full armor sans penalties. Like clerics, Onmyoji derive class abilities from both wisdom and charisma, so this makes them neither SAD nor MAD.

Onmyoji have three defining class features: Prayers, Petitions and Shikigami. Among their other assorted class features they get access to a couple of cycle-able wizard and cleric cantrips, and a Charisma-based Spirit pool to empower some basic abilities of their talismans, and their Petitions.

Talismans can be thought as temporary magical items. The Onmyoji starts knowing two Prayers to place on the Talismans, and 1 more at 3rd and every two more levels (11 prayers at 19th level). Talismans can be made in two ways. O-fuda are placed and emanate power in a 10-foot radius, while Omamori are placed on 1 creature and only affect that creature. Onmyoji can place a number of Talismans equal to their class level plus their wisdom modifier.

Petitions are the Onmyoji “spells”. They learn their first at 2nd level and learn another every two levels. Since they are granted abilities, the Onmyoji uses charisma as the casting stat. Each Petition has a Spirit point cost, but only a few have a level required and most scale with level.

Shikigami are the “pets” of Onmyoji. They are kami bound to tiny origami paper constructs, so while they are treated as a construct, they are intelligent. As tiny creatures, they are not really combat able, but damn they are though. They work more like wizard familiars and even give the Onmyoji the ability a familiar of their form would grant. They can activate talismans (albeit a bit weaker) that count towards their master’s maximum, and they have their own spirit pool they can use to affect talismans it placed.

-Favored Class Bonus: As always, these cover the core races plus a few others, and they give abilities beyond the old “extra something”. A lot of these enhance the Shikigami beyond a hit point or a skill point. You can get extra feats for it, give it hardness or even heal it a little for free after using a petition. Other bonuses interact in interesting ways with talismans and petitions, from making them tougher, deadlier or just plain meaner.

-Feats: This section include 26 feats, in three categories: Onmyoji, Shikigami and Friendship. Onmyoji feats start with 4 “Aid” feats that improve their minor magical abilities, getting more cantrips and from more lists and a specific 1st level spell once per day from said list, improving to twice per day with another feat, which rewards specialization; this mini-feat chain culminates in one that interacts with a couple of “Gift” petitions tied to said “Aid” feats, reducing the Spirit point cost to 0 the first time you perform the petition. Then there are two feats that interact with one another, one giving you an extra petition and the other extra Spirit pool points, but you can’t get the later feat more than the former, demanding commitment (which is nice). Extra talisman prayers, reduced petition and a feat that basically gives your shikigami a bonus feat cost round up the Onmyoji feats. Now, Shikigami feats ARE NOT for the Onmyoji, but for the Shikigami itself to buy with its own feats: from getting magic item slots, to learning petition from its master, to being tougher physically and spiritually. It is nice to see the new pet getting this much love. Finally, Friendship feats are a collection of 7 feats that lets you be favored in the eyes of one of the 7 Lucky Gods of Japanese mythology. You can only take one, and all have a specific petition as a prerequisite. The powers are flavorful and varied, but some are more powerful than others.

-33 Onmyoji Petitions: All of these are steeped in Japanese mythology and are so flavorful that after running an Onmyoji expect all wizards and clerics in such a campaign start retraining. Kami of the Morning Dew summons a creature composed of dew (seems to have been pulled straightly from a Ghibli movie!), that explodes and heals the recipient of the petition after it receives an attack or a minute passes, whichever comes first. Not only this ability is more tactical than say, Cure Wounds spells, it feels more immersive and magical. On the Spring Breeze could just be a Fly spell, but the Onmyoji surrounds the recipient in ethereal cherry blossoms that lift the target. It could be argued that a Fly spell could be flavored like that, but not all players and game masters are gifted at descriptions, and this could make new players feel the magic of fantasy roleplaying.

-29 Talisman Prayers: Now these can come in two versions, Omamori and O-fuda, but not all of them have both. You can use Censured Warding to protect a place with continuous force damage, or maybe use the Foresight talisman to either give a substantial insight attack bonus to allies in range of the O-fuda, or the recipient of the Omamori a similar bonus, but huge.

Of Note: Everything. That’s right, every single part of the class is just plain awesome, evocative and really captures the feeling of the Onmyoji. My favorite part are the talismans, since these temporary magical items are something no other class does! They can be attacked and destroyed, which create unique encounter possibilities (we have to destroy that thing!).

Anything wrong?: The Onmyoji’s greatest strength might arguably be its only weakness. If you are in a campaign that is far away from fantasy Japan, or that doesn’t even have one, it could be a bit difficult to justify the existence of this class... But only a bit, since you can re-flavor the class as a fetish maker, witch doctor, or other practitioner of older folk magic. It wouldn’t be an easy task, but you HAVE that option in case you need it.

What I want: Since this is a Japanese-flavored class, I would like more interaction with parts of that region that are already in the game… Mainly Kami and other Japanese monsters, but also Monks and divine casters. How can Spirit pool interact with Ki? Granted powers? Finally, I can’t complain with support for the class itself, since it is going to be part of Strange Magic 2 and there is already a short follow-up with two archetypes.

What cool things did this inspire?: If you have ever seen the movie Onmyoji and its sequel, Onmyoji 2, you WILL want to play an Onmyoji, maybe of the Kitsune race, that’s part of the court. I was also going to run a Japanese-themes campaign with dark tones using the Kaidan campaign setting, which is almost out by another awesome company, Rite Publishing, who by the way have their own Onmyoji archetype for wizards, but this one mops the floor with that one.

Do I recommend it?: If you are tired of Vancian magic and it’s squalid presentation with 0 flavor text or descriptions, and if you want a tactically compelling caster that requires more from you than just reading an on-line guide on how to “win” at Pathfinder, I fully recommend this little great book. I offer 5 elemental star-shaped magatamas!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Onmyoji - A Japanese Occult Diviner [PFRPG]
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Ultimate Antipodism - Drawn from Light and Darkness
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 06:29:08

Ultimate Antipodism for Pathfinder is a reimagining of the shadow magic system, from the old 3.5 book Tome of Magic (and maybe a prestige class in the old Tome of Battle, called the Shadow Sun Ninja), by Interjection Games. The original had amazing art and flavor plus enough support to stand on its own, but it was flawed mechanically. It includes all the content from two other class books (The Edgewalker and the Antipodist, plus the Mote Bringer), plus a 3rd class, the Edgeblade, and expanded content for the original two. Interjection games’ products are perfect for people who are bored of the same Vancian magic and spell lists, the same 3.5 sub-systems.

What’s inside? 93 pages of content (for 11 bucks!), which include:

-The Antipodist base class, who are the “wizards” of the antipodism world. They are kinda like commoners (worse BAB, saves and skill points possible and only simple weapons proficiency, but nice skill list though and they can increase all saves later) with strange powers. They get access to two pools of energy, radiant and shadow, to empower their abilities, both equal to their class level but one adding wisdom modifier and the other intelligence. Their “spells” are called loci, but they can be extraordinary, supernatural or spell-like. They come in 3 broad types (light, dark and both), and are further divided into 9 philosophies (4 dark, 4 light and one both). There is an important distinction mentioning antipodists as philosophers, not spellcasters; while basically the same, they can’t take spellcaster-only feats or access prestige classes. Some loci don’t cost anything to activate, are passive, and always active. Powers that do have costs are active, require a specific type of action to activate, and use specific DC formulas that scale better than spells, since there are only four levels of power.

The antipodist has a kind of in-class specialization called a philosophical leaning, where you can devote to radiance and almost double your light pool, loosing access to the 4 shadow philosophies. You can do the same for shadow, or you can devote to twilight, the most versatile of the three specs; this choice also dictates your capstone ability. Later on their careers, they get some other abilities. They get a kind of cantrip (more at higher levels), an active 1st level locus that costs 0 points but works at reduced power, and later can treat higher level loci in this way a few times per day. They can also increase one or both of their pools and get a save bonus, depending of the philosophical leaning. Finally they get an ability dictated by their most-studied philosophy, ranging from miss chance, to bonus hp, to extra pool points. The class finishes with favored class bonus for the core races plus some others.

One thing of note is that, while the philosophies themselves are not tied to alignment, there is a lot of roleplaying potential in the Antipodist progression, like getting away from the light and embracing the darkness, and it is supported by the author! You could further this with the re-train rules but are not needed, and you could always surprise your friends when your pacifist healer suddenly throws a vile darkness attack!

The Antipodist gets access to two archetypes. The Extremist is like a 4th philosophical leaning, one that embraces the difference between light and darkness and rejects twilight, and is barred from choosing twilight loci! They get a third pool, albeit empty, that has its own rules to fill and spend.

The second archetypes is the Specialist Philosopher, whose choice of preferred philosophy dictates many of the normally versatile class features. In exchange for this narrower focus, they get extra loci from their specialty and a different capstone ability.

Now on the loci themselves, they are tied to either light or darkness (some both), in theme and metaphorically, since they cover things like dreams, illusions, illumination of thought etc. The effects are so varied that you won’t miss arcane magic schools. As mentioned before, loci are divided in 9 philosophies with 4 levels of power. There are 6 1st level loci per philosophie, 5 2nd, and 4 3rd and 4th each, for a grand total of 171 loci! (19 per philosophy)

-The Edgeblade base class, people of action and warrior philosophers. They are the “warriors” among the antipodism classes, and as such are the most combat able. Like the other two, Edgeblades get two pools to empower their abilities. Unlike the others, they get two empty residuum pools that are filled by using non-finisher waypoints (the powers of the class), but start emptying if no waypoints are used, to a minimum of a so-called stability score that starts at 1 but doesn’t go up by simple level up. This residuum points are used to power residuum abilities, which come in the by now familiar light/dark/twilight flavors and are either extraordinary or supernatural in nature. The Edgeblade starts with 1 of each, and while they learn more as they level up, they have to prepare exactly 3, one of each type, from among the ones they know (they can prepare 4 as a capstone). Some of this are passive abilities that give an incremental bonus based on the size of the residuum pool, while others are active and spend points from it. Since many of their abilities depend on wisdom and intelligence, Edgeblades receive an incremental insight bonus to both, for the purposes of calculating DCs only. They also get a bonus to their pools like the antipodist, and also bonus feats (they’re warriors after all).

Now, waypoints are the powers of the class. Like loci, there are dark, light and twilight (meaning both light and dark) waypoints, but they are not divided by philosophies or levels, though some have level or other prerequisites. A total of 12 waypoints are learnt by Edgeblades during their careers (2 at 1st level, plus one every even level). At 5th, 10th and 15th levels they unlock greater waypoints, which are more powerful but otherwise are and function as waypoints. From 6th level on, when a single-classed Edgeblade would gain their first iterative attack, they can use a non-finisher waypoint in place of their first attack each round, or a finisher in lieu of all attacks of the round (important if the Edgeblade somehow got the pounce ability). We finish the base class section with favored class bonus for the core and some other races.

Like antipodists, they receive two archetypes. Dawnblades focus on the light, losing access to darkness pool (though they almost double their radiant pool), darkness residuum pool and abilities, and the ability to learn dark waypoints. In exchange they get access to exclusive residuum abilities, their residuum pool doesn’t empty by itself, and they reduce the residuum cost payment of finishers by 1. Duskblades are the dark counterparts of Dawnblades, but focus on darkness instead. They aren’t just mirror copies, though; on top of all the mirroring, instead of cost-reduction they tie their residuum abilities with 4 phases of the moon (each with different abilities), which have a 1 in 5 chance to cycle to the next phase each round, giving the Duskblade a kind of chaos magic feel.

-The Edgewalker base class, the shadow dancing, thieving monks of the antipodists. They have medium combat abilities, two good saves (supposedly) and 4 skill points per level (which would normally irk me, but they are infiltrators, not facemen). Like other roguish types, they get sneak attack (up to 7d6), evasion and uncanny dodge and later the improved versions of both, and hide in plain sight. They get the same radiant and shadow pools and access to waypoints and greater waypoints of the Edgeblade, sans residuum. As a capstone they can expend radiant points to empower dark waypoints and vice versa. We finish the base class section with favored class bonuses for the core races and some others.

Like the Edgeblade, we have two specialist classes for Edgewalkers. Mote Bringers would be the light specialists, almost doubling their radiant pools and losing access to darkness-only waypoints. Their unique feature is the ability to craft a shawl made of light itself. As it is made of light, it gives penalties to Stealth checks but gives a small dodge bonus to AC, but the creator can deactivate it losing all bonus and the sole penalty. The shawl is infused with mote points, which power “Infusions”, magical abilities learned by the Mote Bringer. At the beginning of the day, the creator infuses the shawl with as many abilities as he can pay for. The Shadowfriend would be the darkness specialist. Instead of a versatile magical item, Shadowfriends are friends of their shadows! Lameness aside, this in game terms translates to having the shadowy remnants of yourself from an alternate dimension as your “pet”. They become dynamic allies, making for completely different playing and tactical experiences.

-Feats: This section include 15 “antipode” feats, which is a way to denote them as antipode classes only. Edgeblades and Edgewalkers can get a first-level locus from the Antipodist, treating it as a waypoint with the Compatible Philosophies feat, and this becomes a mini-chain of feats. Other feats increase pools, residuum stability scores, give a bonus when alternating loci, among other things. No toys for other classes though.

-Waypoint List: The original “antipode” magic before loci were introduced. These come in a format similar to spells, starting with the name, their types (Ex, Sp or Su, as well as Dark and/or Light and if it is a Finisher), followed by range, area, duration, cost, requirements and compatible classes noted before the effect. There are many different abilities available, from a simple dodge AC bonus to blasts of light, from a perception bonus to a shadow illusion that fools attackers into wasting their abilities, from a little sneak attack bonus to the ability to coat your weapons in liquid light. Most of the abilities are accompanied by awesome visuals, ripe to give descriptions that give the feeling you are in a fantasy world.

Of Note: Having looked at tons of base class designs, it is easy to play it “safe” and just use what is there with maybe one or two “new” things, which is not a bad thing, as seen in the Occult Adventures book or other 3pp books like Path of Shadows (all classes but the kineticists are spellcasters). Not so with most if not all the material from Interjection Games. There is just this feeling that you are not in Kansas anymore, that you are playing with something really new, a feeling I got when playing 2nd edition psionicists, or 3rd edition warlocks and totemists. The best thing this book has is its novel design with compelling and intriguing design choices. Beyond that, the Edgeblade is my favorite of the base classes, even if you have to juggle with many concepts at once.

Anything wrong?: The author must be a swimmer, because he surely like pools (…). Awful jokes aside, the Edgeblade alone has 4 pools to juggle. Also, leveling up can be a bit painful since there are so many options to choose from. Finally, while it is understandable, there is not a single character art, not even on the cover. I should be grateful I have this book, since after reading the individual parts’ reviews I was left salivating and I FINALLY could get a compilation at a good price, but at least one illustration on the cover would have been nice. There are many repetitions in the book, and I think this is a side effect of the book being a compilation with months between the designing of each individual part. I know Wizards and Paizo do it, but I don’t particularly like it. The worst offenders are in the archetype section, since normally you don’t see repetitions there, especially grating was the Mote Bringer, since it is the only archetype sporting a full class table progression, while all the others don’t. Why is it special? What does it have that the others not? Why do you love my brother more, mom? Er… The PDF lacks an index, which makes navigating it a pain in the donkey (I used two readers for easier navigation) and, as I mentioned, the editing suffers a bit from repetition.

What I want: I would have liked some kind of nomenclature for the waypoints, something that made the creation of characters a bit easier (the players in my group are lazy). Maybe something as simple as passive, active, reactive, like the original Tome of Battle did, or maybe divide them into schools, akin to the antipodists’ philosophies. I would have liked the author to run with the all-bad-saves-but-with-bonuses-later feature of the Antipodist for at least the Edgeblade, it makes for further diversifying of “builds”. Also some way for other classes to dabble in antipodism; I mean, psionics do that, incarnum does that, why not antipodism? Maybe some archetypes for other classes like bards, sorcerers or oracles. Maybe some hybrid prestige classes that mingle antipodism and traditional magic. Also a couple of items, or monsters (light, dark and twilight monster template?). More support in general.

What cool things did this inspire?: From the players’ side, I’m gonna make a twilight specialist Antipodist with a homebrew race called a “Rilmanar” (basically the neutral version of aasimar/tiefling, borrowing the name from the original true neutral outsider race of DnD), which doesn’t necessarily descend from Aeons; in my character’s case, he is the son of a reformed tiefling witch and a disheartened aasimar paladin. Also, a witchwolf (skinwalker variant) duskblade is thematically fitting. A dhampir shadowfriend is also intriguing, giving that vampires normally don’t have shadows and suddenly a vampire-descendant is friend with one LOL. From the game master side, I have been wanting to hack one of Paizo’s adventures, with different encounters, and the “end boss” of the Ruby Phoenix Tournament presents a pair of Wizards, one master of air and the other of earth but with some Monk levels. I’m gonna change them to a pair of Antipodists, one focused on light and the other on darkness but with Edgeblade levels (or hungry ghost Monk? Or GURU sin-eater from Akashic Mysteries). Finally, a type of Efreet sun soldiers with locus-like abilities instead of spell-like will be a perfect addition to my Return to Al-Qadim adventure (with Pathfinder rules).

Do I recommend it?: Hell yeah! I bought the book after reading End’s review, and I don’t regret it. Even with the conservative, Paizo-like editing and the lack of art, this is a book that oozes awesome. As always from the publisher, don’t come expecting Paizo or Legendary Games level of art, and don’t come expecting yet another tasteless class which basically is a variant of another but with Vancian casting. With those two caveats in mind, I would grade the book with 4.5 morning stars, but since this website doesn’t support half, I will round up. The quality of the material and design deserves it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Antipodism - Drawn from Light and Darkness
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Master of Forms Expanded - Shadow and Darkness
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 06:27:16

Silent as a Shadow

This book is the awesome follow-up for The Master of Forms for Pathfinder by Interjection Games. It includes a fully supported 6th element (and kind of a 7th), pluse four archetypes. (even my review's title is the follow-up of the previus book's review's title)

What’s inside? 15 pages of content for 4 1/2 bucks, which include:

-The Shadow Element: This 6th element for the master of forms is special. While the other five elements are described as the building blocks of the cosmos, the shadow would be what binds the others together. It includes a shadow stance that makes it easier to shift to other elemental stances. Like the other elements, shadow has 2 secret arts, one that wild cards 3 other elemental forms, and another that impedes supernatural powers (think pressure points). Finally, shadow has 16 forms to choose from (one more than the other 5 elements, who does he think he is?). Like in my past review, I will choose two at random. Imitation is an advanced form that requires the full four Focus points to use and it uses all 4; in exchange, you can activate any form that you meet the requirements for, even if you don’t know it. This form has a duration of one round, but you can perform an extra form (meaning you use the extra form to use the temporary one). Reckless Retaliation can be performed in response to an attack of opportunity, giving you damage reduction equal to half your level against it. If you are damaged anyway, the attacker provokes an attack of opportunity from you.

-4 Archetypes: While not really missed from the original, more options are always good.

Drifting Ones are masters that avoid focusing on one element. They in fact don’t gain stances, since repeated use of same element forms makes them lose focus. Instead, they get a Drifting Stance that comes into play after activating 3 forms but of different elements. They also can’t learn Secret Arts, since they can only be activated during an elemental stance. Instead of them, they get unique abilities that let them imitate or manipulate other elements, even able to enter a stance momentarily and at high level even perform any Secret Art once per day! They are not thematically compatible with the other archetypes, but you CAN be a drifting one and a Partisan and/or Unbalanced Master.

Elemental Partisans focus on one of the 5 elements (not shadow) and eschew another specific element. Unlike Greek, they are not diametrically opposed to another element, instead following a kind of circle. They can’t learn forms or Secret Arts from their opposed element, which bars them from entering that element’s stance and activating its Secret Arts. To make up for the lost element, Partisans get access to three elemental forms unique to their specialization, upping the available forms to 18 per element (take that shadow!).

Unbalanced Masters similarly specialize in one of the 6 elements (shadow gets some love). However, instead of locking out one element, they can’t access the most powerful forms of all the other elements (those that require -4 Focus change), and the +1 Focus change forms of other elements don’t work after having 2 Focus. In exchange, they get a pool of points equal to their level, which functions differently according to the elemental specialization. Earth, Fire and Cold (should have been Earth, Wind and Fire but oh well) can use these points to pay for the costs of their forms under certain circumstances, allowing them to get out the big guns without too much preparation. The other three elements can use their points for especial, thematically fitting abilities.

The last archetype, Vessel of Darkness, can be considered a variant class since it changes the base class so much. They can be thought as specialist on Darkness, which would be the anti-element and they are kind of possessed by a dark being called an “Observer” from “Elsewhere” (both TM). They can’t learn standard forms, which bars them from entering Stances and thus activating Secret Arts. Instead of Secret Arts, they get a Gift from Elsewhere at 2nd, 7th and every 5 levels thereafter, which are strange darkness based abilities (17 in total). Choosing at random, Baleful Observation gives them a damaging gaze attack, while Fortified Vessel, a high level ability with another gift as prerequisite, gives the Vessel medium fortification. They get a Darkness/Escalation pool (it is called both ways in the text; I would use another name since I THINK they share a name with pools from another class by the same author) that is used by some of the forms that can be escalated. They also loose Purity of Body and Diamond Body in exchange for having their Observer exert some influence and giving more power to the Vessel, similar to an intelligent item.

Walker in Darkness forms (shouldn’t it be vessel? The author sure juggles with his own creations) are similar to other elemental forms, but some have an escalation cost that is paid with the previously mention escalation pool. There are 25 darkness forms, which makes even shadow jealous. Again peering at random, Dust to Dust starts to disintegrate its target (!), dealing ongoing damage for 3 rounds, and 6 more when escalated under certain circumstances. Groin Shot (ROFL) staggers the target if he has external genital, but even if not, it can be staggered via escalation (kick that ooze's… no, not nuts, jellybeans?).

Of Note: The addition of the shadow element may make some players crazy at character creation but is a welcome addition to the Master of Forms repertory. The archetypes make for very interesting player experiences, even when we have 2 specialist archetypes. The Vessel of Darkness is basically the antipaladin of the Master of Forms, a distorted, bizarre mirror image of sorts. Also, there are two character images that look from Al-Qadim books' artist Karl Waller, who is amazing, but I'm not really sure.

Anything wrong?: The few erroneous names irk me because the rest of the book is so amazing, and the again, I don’t like the Vessel of Darkness name, especially since I use the Vessel class from Everyman Games. I ALSO don't like the names of the new elements, since they overlap with the Antipodism magic system (taking inspiration from Eastern elements, I will call them Ether and Void). Also, the feat Overflowing Elements from the last book, what type of damage does it do when in a shadow stand?. Apart from that, all is well.

What I want: This is the kind of support I like. While magical items and monsters would be cool, there is enough material already to play. I would like some crossover action between Interjection Games classes, like an archetype for the Edgeblade that gives access to some forms, or the other way around.

What cool things did this inspire?: Vessels can be the perfect boogieman in a wuxia campaign. You could also rule that Elsewhere Observers are actual outsiders, maybe Aeons, Psychopomps or even Sakhils! What about kami or genies with access to forms? Or better yet, reimagine genies to have 7 races based on the Master of Forms’ elements? Finally, in a full bender/wuxia campaign, using both specialist archetypes could work to make 5 npc’s that are each a master of one element, plus a drifting one secret master that abused the extra form feat to know many, many forms and with a high level ability to mimic any secret art, which could be roleplaying gold (oh noes! The fire master died and I’m his successors, but I went remedial on secret arts! Fret not, search for the legendary master of shadow who can teach you any secret art LOL)

Do I recommend it?: If the base rules of the Master of Forms were reprinted, I would recommend it as a standalone jus for the Vessel of Darkness. However, if you are already shelling those 5.50 for the original, shell the 10 bucks for the whole package of martial arts goodness. I assure you you won’t regret it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Master of Forms Expanded - Shadow and Darkness
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