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CLASSifieds: Battlefield Defiler (Magus Archetype)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2014 03:51:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page about Fat Goblin Games, leaving us with 3 pages of content for the battlefield defiler, so let's take a look what this magus archetype does, shall we?



Battlefield Defilers must be of evil alignment and get an assortment of necromancy spells added to their spell-list - which includes quite a few powerful spells; Something to bear in mind when thinking about taking this archetype - magi can easily get access to them, so that's one power-upgrade there - or it would be if this archetype wouldn't lose Spell Recall and Knowledge Pool. No complaints. Now the archetype also modifies the arcane pool -whenever a battlefield defiler successfully performs a coup-de-grâce on a living target, he may expend a point to cast a prepared spell that creates (explicitly NOT summons!) undead as has a casting time of a standard action or less as a swift action. The spell only targets this one corpse, even if it otherwise would affect multiple target corpses. The weapon of the battlefield defiler can be enhanced with the arcane pool like that of the magus, but receives a different list of properties and may only do so at 5th level onwards. A nice balance with the enhanced casting list.



The battlefield defiler also gets to choose from 3 new arcana that allows them to expend points from their pool to add templates to the undead they create. As a nitpick - one arcana specifies that when using any iteration of undead anatomy, the battlefield defiler is treated as if his spells benefited from silent spell and is treated as having a higher cha-score. This is slightly problematic since the ability fails to specify whether the level-increase of silent spell does apply or not. High level magi may exert energy drains on targets.



In lieu of a knowledge pool, the battlefield defiler gets the option to channel negative energy, but before you scream OP, hear e out - he may only heal himself and undead, not deal damage. 11th level battlefield defilers may keep animate undead-spells in their weapon, not expending them until a killing blow is struck, following the rules for holding a charge. Nice take on a complex mechanic that replaces Spell Recall.



At high levels, a spell-like Undead Anatomy IV and a devastating capstone that creates beheaded make for nice end-game abilities for the archetype.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, if not perfect -I noticed a minor glitch here and there, but nothing that would have impeded my enjoyment of this pdf. The pdf's layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' beautiful 2-column full-color layout and the pdf comes with the good type of hyperlink, even though e.g. the magus undead template has been forgotten among the otherwise great hyperlinks. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Tyler Beck's creations usually take a look at a complex concept and to this date, had mixed success at making them work perfectly. This pdf seems to represent him getting the stuff right - utilizing various complex abilities, the Battlefield Defiler offers a distinct, different playstyle for evil magi that allows them to be the creators of undead in the field of battle, something they quite frankly sucked at before. The nerfing of some of the base magus' most powerful abilities ensures that the archetype works and the lack of options to kitten-cheese this archetype is a further plus. While not (yet!) perfect, this proves Tyler Beck's potential and is well worth a final verdict of 4 stars. Good job!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: Battlefield Defiler (Magus Archetype)
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Amazing Races: Nagaji!
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/10/2014 08:21:58
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the drill by now - 4 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

We receive two new character traits for Nagaji herein, one netting +1 to diplomacy and sense motive and unlocking both as class skills, the other granting a +1 effective level for spell with the verbal component and the [poison]-descriptor.

3 alternate racial traits are provided: One grants Hypnotic Stare as a bonus feat in exchange for armored scales, one increases damage of readied strikes by +1d6 in exchange for "resistant" (nice!) and one nets the Nagaji scent 10 ft. via their tongues, but if their mouths are forced shut, they lose this and receive a -2 penalty to Perception-checks.

We also are introduced to 5 new racial feats: One that combines Adder Strike with Spit venom (awesome!), one that makes grappling slightly better, one that eliminates the HD-cap of hypnotic gaze, one feat that nest you more uses of the gaze (and the option to activate it slower at higher DC) and a feat that nets you charm and later dominate against serpentine targets 1/day.

The archetype for this installment would be the Naga Servitor Cleric, who receives a modified sell-list and limited domain selection - and only one domain, as he worships the Naga. While they receive no bonuses from e.g. resistant against their chosen masters, they double these bonuses against non-naga. As an iconic imagery, these guys grow their own divine foci with naga scales growing from their flesh. When in grapple, these clerics may bite foes for 1d3 points and deliver a poison that decreases the will of those affected. As a nitpick - why no secondary damage/further saves to stave off? At 8th level, 1/day, +1/day for every 4 levels thereafter, the servitor may use a fascination-inducing hypnotic gaze.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no obvious glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Art's 2-column no-frills standard in color and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Daron Woodson's supplemental crunch for the Nagaji runs the gamut from awesome and perhaps a bit strong to weak - the grapple-feat, for example, is not that impressive, whereas 2 of the alternate racial traits are just brilliant. the same goes for adding blinding venom to unarmed strikes. Nasty! Then, there would be the archetype, which utterly baffles me - the options the Naga Servitors gain aren't that unique or awesome - don't get me wrong, I like the master/servant-dichotomy and the options they receive may be thematically awesome, with great fluff, etc., but rules-wise, I found them kind of bland and slightly unfocused. What I'm trying to say is - this archetype is by no means bad, if perhaps a bit weak, but it didn't blow me away. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up - for the low price, still a good purchase, though the Vishkanya-pdf is imho superior.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Races: Nagaji!
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CLASSifieds: Skinwalking Shaman (Druid Alternate Class))
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/02/2014 06:05:45
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This alternate class of the druid 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, shall we?



Instead of nature's bond, skinwalking shamen [sic!] can choose a domain from a limited list, but only receives the domain's powers, no bonus spells. Furthermore, the shaman is treated as a full BAB-class for a round in which he only attacks with natural weapons/unarmed strikes. This replaces nature sense. Instead of a common wildshape, skinwalking shamans learn to turn into one specific creature from a list of 8 different choices for 1 hour/level (which should probably be class level...) and at second level and every two levels thereafter, the archetype gets +1 use. Now I *assume* that both the daily number of changes and time limit fracture in as limiting factors - if the time limit resets after every change, it becomes quickly rather meaningless. A nitpick, yes, but still - clarification would be nice. On the plus-side, the lineages do come with suggested sample creatures to wild-shape into.



Now you also need to know that you can choose a lycanthropic heritage, which locks you down to one form, or go with a non-heritage skinwalker who can freely choose each time, but if you do choose a heritage, at 4th level, you are treated as +2 class levels higher for purposes of proper wildshaping. Now as much as I do like the base ability, it breaks one of the balance tenets inherent in Pathfinder that is easy to overlook - turning into small bats at 1st level allows you to bypass the prohibition against low level unassisted flight, which usually only becomes available a couple of levels later. Whether that is an issue for you (compare the flight-hex, which only allows for flight at 5th level, for example!) or not depends, but for me it does present a balance hick-up.



Instead of wild empathy, skinwalkers may influence lycanthropes. Instead of resisting nature's lure, skinwalkers learn to enhance their concentration on new moons and improved bestial prowess on full moons - nice idea, though moon phase tracking may become annoying. It's also a slight shift from the established design paradigms regarding lunar ties, which usually penalize characters at one point - though this time around, I actually don't mind this: Penalizing some days means that players will try to avoid doing anything then, which isn't fun for anyone. As far as I'm concerned: Okay, if perhaps a bit paper work intense. Now to pay for the increased physical prowess, skinwalkers only learn prepared spellcasting via wis at 4th level and only get up to 6th spell level.



High level skinwalkers get lycanthropic DR, immunity to diseases and finally, full-blown lycanthropic ascension as a capstone. As a minor downside, it should be noted that 17th level is almost a dead level, with only a level 4 spell gained - which, at this point, won't impress anyone.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are solid, if not perfect. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard ad the pdf comes hyperlinked with the good type of hyperlinks for your convenience. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Tyler Beck's Skinwalking Shaman is an interesting alternate class - one focused on melee and on paper, it doesn't look bad. Where balancing imho gets wonky is as soon as you play an heritage-less shaman - the choice and flexibility are very strong, especially seeing how many animal abilities like Trip (Ex) or Grab (Ex) usually outclass the respective feat options available for regular characters. Add to that the nerfed, but not neutered spellcasting and the full BAB when in beast form and we have a class that is too strong. Think pouncing barbarian with spellcasting. Yeah, you get why I consider this one too strong. I've seen what claw/claw/bite full BAB-characters do with opposition, even sans animal bonus abilities. Let me tell you: Not pretty. And yes, claw, claw, bite doesn't work easily here, but the animal abilities do somewhat offset that...AND you can get claws and bites via feats and races... So personally, I think this class is too strong for most groups. Then again, it is not utterly broken and while some abilities could use clarification, the overall writing is relatively solid.



My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform due to the low price and the fact that for some groups, this will work.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: Skinwalking Shaman (Druid Alternate Class))
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CLASSifieds: Shaman of Humanity (Druid Archetype)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/28/2014 02:51:07
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This druid archetype clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages, so let's take a look!



The shaman of humanity is a druid archetype that is available exclusively to those with human ancestry (including half-breeds). They alter their proficiencies and may actually wear metal armor, but also receive slightly diminished spellcasting. Their empathy only applies to domesticated animals or those under the effects of the anthropomorphic animal effect. Unlike the regular effect, though, the shaman learns to cast this as a spell-like ability that lasts for quite some time on his companion and said companion takes on the proficiencies of the shaman of humanity, which, for multi-class characters, may easily be exploited. While I get the design-intent, just taking on the proficiencies of the shaman of humanity class would have been enough, especially since the animal retains non-limb-based natural attacks such as gore when transformed by this ability - generally, a nice change from the spell. Also nice: Barding and armor and the effects upon transformation are covered (In short: Barding changes, armor donned while anthropomorphic does not), as are suggested lists for summoned weapons for anthropomorphic animals.

The shaman's animal companion gets quite a power-upgrade in the guise of a selection of rather nasty bonus feats - for which the animal needn't fulfill the prerequisites. This caveat makes quite a difference and not one I'm comfortable with in all cases, to be honest.



Summoning anthropomorphic animals via nature's ally is fine with me, though honestly, it could have been worded a bit tighter - as phrased, the ability implies that summoning nature's ally is only freely anthropomorphized when cast spontaneously. Why not provide some small benefit for actually preparing the spell? And yes, that's a nitpick and not something I'll hold against the pdf.



High level shamans of humanity may make anthropomorphic animals permanently anthropomorphic and protect one whole community (!!!) via mass sanctuary. Tying that to the settlement size, imposing a strict limit and requiring a very high level means that I actually really like this one. (And no, the truly vast sprawls can't be protected thus... Still, DMs should take care that not too many of these shamans populate one's world...) The alternate class, alas, lacks a proper capstone.



We do, however, get two feats, one that allows summoned anthromorphs to come with martial weapons and use them, the other rendering their attacks magical.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, I didn't notice significant issues. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' two-column, full color standard and the pdf comes hyperlinked with the good type of hyperlink and has no bookmarks.



Tyler Beck provides an interesting alternate class, all centered around making one spell work - and it succeeds at that. On the other hand, the class feels a bit thin, concept-wise, to me. Is that all there is to humanity, making animals walk upright and shoving weapons in their hands? Don't get me wrong, that's cool and all, but still, I do feel like this class had more potential: Take the community protector aspect, the low level domestic animal tricks and we have areas almost never covered. What about teaching more tricks, and faster to animals? Making domestic creatures stronger? lending some of human adaptability to non-human races? All of this falls somewhat by the wayside, when it needn't have. The companion with the extensive feat-selection proved, in-game, a tad bit too strong in playtesting, at least for my tastes. The ability to ignore all prerequisites for the bonus feats is nasty and their int of 3 means they no longer require tricks to handle. With a slight nerfing of the companion in favor of a more diverse skill-set (community focus sooner, not as powerful, for example...), this class would have rocked hard - as written, it feels a bit niche, one-dimensional and slightly too strong. In the end, this is not a bad choice, but neither did it blow my mind or could be considered sans its flaws. My final verdict will clock in at 3 stars - a solid, perhaps too tightly focused class.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: Shaman of Humanity (Druid Archetype)
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/23/2014 04:55:18
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This bestiary clocks in at a massive 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisements, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 47 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



I've scarcely been this conflicted about a review I've written, so I figured I'll break my usual format for reviews with this one and instead provide you with an insight into the two hearts that alas, beat in my breast regarding this one.



White EZG:

Just take a look at this beautiful pdf - Rick Hershey really knows his job. The artworks are glorious, even though you might know some of them from other 3pps using his work. His distinct style really makes those creatures come to life and the gorgeous full-color layout also helps. Add to that the excessive bookmarks and BAM - this rocks, especially from a bang-for-buck ratio! Great formal production values! And then there are the short pieces of prose to describe the critters - aptly written and nice for less eloquent DMs. Of course, the coolest components would be when the critters tell a story - take the clockwork children, invented to help grieving parents over the death of a child and then abandoned. Tragic, creepy, awesome. These critters almost universally are high-concept - take e.g. the articans that can turn into snowstorms - yeah! Or what about mechanical steeds? Or certain, deadly small flying spheres, paying homage to one of my all-time favorite b-movie horror series? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! People should get this.



Black EZG:

Urgh, yeah, the concepts are cool - want me to actually analyze them? You won't like what you find. There are a bunch of creatures where not even the BAB is calculated correctly. And don't get me started on subtypes. If you use a subtype and then systematically ignore ALL qualities of the subtype, why use it in the first place? The math is so flawed, I can point towards a whole array of creatures that are so wrong you only have to look at a given attribute score to realize that BAB, CMB, CMD, atk. etc. are not correct. Read up those cool, unique signature abilities and you'll immediately realize that they could have used a proper rules-editor - hard. You liked the artican? Well, he's got this Brand-ability that channels cold damage and provides fire resistance to those stuck with it - but the friggin' creature never specifies how to actually get the brand! I *assume* by being hit, but good monster design this is not. What about abilities that inflict conditions, but fail to specify how long they last? Obvious mind-influencing or poison-based abilities that are not classified as such? What about a vast number of DCs just being WRONG? There are glitches is just about EVERY creature! You can't, for the life of you recommend this! It's just sloppy! And as for the writing: The intro-texts may be solid. But the text of the monsters, where existent in the first place, is not exactly a joy to read with primitive subject-verb-object-full-stop sentences strung together quite a few times.



White EZG: I don't care, the potential is there! One can see that these guys want to make cool critters and they have grand ideas.



Black EZG: Yeah, but the execution is capital "F" flawed and while I sometimes shut up regarding small glitches in statblocks, there simply are TOO MANY here.



Conclusion:

So how do I unite these two positions? Honestly, whether this is anything, at all for you depends very much on what you expect from a monster book. The price-point is low and if you don't care that the math is terrible, go for this. Seriously, I am positive that you'll have a good time with it. On the other hand, if you insist on solid crunch to back up your critters, then this won't do for you. There are far too many glitches in here, obvious ones that could have easily been caught. We're not talking Rite Publishing-level complexity statblocks here, after all -and to make that clear: Rite usually manages to get these monster statblocks right. For you, this is a steer clear file. My final verdict will fall in-between at 2.5 stars, rounded up by a slight margin to 3 due to being an inexpensive file that can be glorious for a limited demographic, but which exhibits deep flaws.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters
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Amazing Races: Orcs!
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/22/2014 04:17:47
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this pdf with 6 new racial feats: Blood Scent lets you apply Smell Fear to bleeding creatures and allows you to smell creatures in the throes of fear at twice the range. Now "Knuckle-Dragger" is a cool feat, but a huge can of worms - by bounding on hand and feet, you get a +10 ft. bonus to land speed -seen that one before. Where things get ugly is with the caveat that you may serve as a mount. Don't get me wrong, I get why this is an awesome idea, but with the mounted combat rules as they are, this presents an enormous issue: Beyond obvious action economy questions (and the fun for the orc-player), questions arise regarding the qualification of being a mount for e.g. halfling cavaliers etc. Don't get me wrong, for some campaigns, this feat rocks - in others, it creates quite a panorama of problematic questions. Orcish Toughness has synergy with Ironguts and Ironhide, increasing its effectiveness, which is nice since it makes these two more valid. A feat for Orcish Weapon Mastery is okay, I guess, in that it closes a hole in the rules. Expending 4 rounds of rage to regain one use of improved iron will is neat, while Squalid Pestilent is just cool - it makes you immune to diseases, but only those whose DC is below your con-score and also increases the potency of diseases you carry or inflict. "Puny pink-skins die of flaky skin." Awesome!



We also get 6 new racial traits, with brute force allowing the orc to choose one of 3 dex-based skills, always treat it as a class skill and using str instead of dex with it. Perhaps a bit strong, but okay. Decreasing non-metal ACP by -2 is nice, while gaining proficiency with all simple weapons feels redundant for just about all characters, but oh well. +2 Hp, +1 to fort saves versus diseases and nauseated/sickened conditions and choosing one trick from Orcish Weapon Expertise to use 1/day is neat.





Alternate Racial trait-wise, we may replace ferocity with smash as a bonus feat and weapon familiarity with +5 HP in the negative - nasty!



The orcish war-drummer is a bard with less class skills and skill ranks per level, but instead of the regular inspire courage, they may incite orcs to receive the effects of boiling blood or make those with the rage ability rage for free for 1 round and enter the rage as an immediate action. Cool! Instead of versatile performance and well-versed, the war-drummer gets two-weapon fighting and may use bludgeoning weapons to smash the drums - neat!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I did not notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Arts' no-frills two-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Author Daron Woodson provides quite an array of cool options herein and, while not all of them work flawlessly and while I would have wished the war-drummer had more unique abilities and was more complex, the overall appeal of both archetype and some of the unconventional choices herein did win me over. As mentioned above, some of the options may be a tad bit strong for the most conservative of campaigns, but overall, I see no reason to penalize the pdf overtly for it. The mount-feat is a can of worms, but for the right campaign utterly awesome. Thus, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Races: Orcs!
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Feats of Dungeoneering
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/08/2014 03:21:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the drill - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let#s take a look!



9 feats for dungeoneering are provided, so what do they do?



-Corner Perch: When climbing corners and similar areas, perch without using your hands, allowing you to corner snipe, for example. Downright brilliant fix of a gap in the rules.



-Delver's Pick: Ignore a specific amount of hardness/DR when criting with picks. Doesn't work against DR tied to specific materials. Solid, though it does feel like it should e slightly more powerful and tied to critical focus, feat-chain-wise. That's subjective, though.



-Dungeon Crawler: Get seriously improved bonuses when taking cover while prone. Nice.



-Off the Wall: Change course by 90°when charging by bounding off of walls etc..



-Reflexive Evasion: Used Improved Lightning Reflexes without expending it versus traps, hazards etc.



-Sacrosanct Spell (metamagic): At +1 spell level, this one has massive abuse potential - it makes spells cast within a consecrated area impossible to counter while the consecrate is in effect. This one can be abused like crazy via portable altars etc..



-Trap Salvager: Salvage alchemical components/poisons when disarming traps. Damn cool!



-Vigilant Explorer: Take 20 on perception while taking 20 on another skill check. This one doesn't work as written - take for example looking for traps while climbing a cliff - in what squares can the target look? Cool idea, but needs finetuning.



-Wrecking Crew (Teamwork): Combine damage when attacking objects. Cool!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Arts 2-column, landscape style and the pdf has neither bookmarks, nor artwork and needs neither at this length.



Daron Woodson delivers a nice little array of feats here and while some aren't 100% awesome and while I consider not all of them great, for the low asking price and the cool ideas in here, I feel justified in rating this one 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Feats of Dungeoneering
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Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls
by mike k. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2014 10:55:48
Just got this last night... I am always on the look out for something to help get my kids into roleplaying... well if living toys don't do it .I don't know what will.. my girls are big fans of toy soldiers,toystory, plucker,coraline..etc... I think they will really like this... as stated before the only real problem is healing and bringing them back from the dead unless you have a hot line to the Blue Fairy... but we can work around that...
So when the lil princess gets kidnapped there is noone to save her but her best friends...her toys...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls
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Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1
by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2014 11:24:04
Great artwork in a convenient format, which we were very happy to use as spot art in publications.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1
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Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2014 16:18:00
Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls is a fun source book, while they do not necessarily have a place in all campaign, there are enough options here that a GM should be able to find a way to use one if they want. Equally a short “all toys” campaign would be rather fun using these rules. While there are a few odd bits and one important oversight in the rules proved, overall it is a strong, if niche, addition to the races available for Pathfinder.

Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls is a new “race” for Pathfinder and an unusual one, not a race of flesh and blood but a constructed race animated by magic of various sorts, toys by a child’s love, dolls by dark magic, or other combinations.

Wooden toys, marionettes, stuffed animals, porcelain dolls and cloth dolls are all variants built off of the same basic rules. They are “constructed” which means that they suffer the limitation of a construct (no healing, cannot be raised), along with vulnerability to fire, with only some of the advantages, gaining bonuses against disease, poison and similar effects which leads to some potentially odd situations (how does a blood disease manifest on a bloodless being or a nerve toxin punish a creature without nerves?). Each Living Doll is further customized with four Construction Points which can be used to buy an animation type (Child’s Love, Dark Arts, Lost Soul or Magic Surge are the choices, all of which imply intriguing back stories) or other minor abilities based on construction or origin.

To further support the new race there are: nine new feats, all building nicely off of the established themes. Seven racial traits, including the amusing Shift the Blame, which gives bonuses for doing exactly that. Five new items, all toys used as weapons, knucklebones and marbles to impede your foes, rubber balls as thrown weapons (which probably should do non-lethal damage), wooden swords and the probably too effective yo-yo (and certainly too heavy, a five-pound yo-yo?) and three new magic items. Four archetypes, mother bear (barbarian), toy soldier (fighter), possessed doll (oracle) and voodoo doll (witch) are presented along with rocking horse, an archetype/template for the animal companion of a living doll, complete the product.

The one thing that needed to be addressed for the living dolls to really work in a campaign is, how do they “heal”? By their description they “cannot be healed through normal, divine healing or channeled energy.” The repair object rules do not apply very well so it would have been nice to have had this addressed in the rules rather than forcing a GM to solve it on their own. Apart from that, Living Dolls is an excellent addition to the options available for Pathfinder races.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls
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CLASSifieds: Centaurian (Cavalier Archetype)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/14/2014 04:28:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the CLASSifieds-series is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover/SRD, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so what is this about?



The centaurian archetype replaces ride with knowledge (nature) and does not gain proficiency with heavy armor. Instead of challenge, the centaurian receives the so-called Tauric Shape - essentially a wild-shape variant, choosing a lower torso of a quadruped one size larger than the character. This increases size category by one step, but avoids the weapon-size debacle by simply also granting the undersized weapons creature ability of the centaur. The cavalier also gets a +2 bonus to Str and a +10 ft enhancement to base land speed. Equipment worn on lower torso and feet melds with the form or shows up in pouches, ready to be used. While in this form, cavaliers may wield lances one-handed and deal double damage with lances when charging as if mounted. This is a polymorph effect that lasts 1 minute per level (probably should be class level). At 3rd level and every 3 levels after that, the centaurian can assume this form an additional time per day. While personally, I just would have made it possible to shapechange in increments of 1 minute, but nothing wrong here.



In lieu of a mount, centaurians may 3+cha-mod times per day, as a swift action command allies to grant them a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls against ALL foes the centaurian can perceive. Yeah...this one's too strong. No range? This is arguably better than bardic performance and since the only limit is being able to perceive foes, makes the cavalier very strong in open warfare. Not strong enough to make me yell broken, but too far on the power-scale for my tastes. This increases to also providing +2 to damage and a +1 dodge bonus to AC at 4th level...so yeah.



At 3rd level, instead of cavalier's charge, the centaurian is treated as if having the mounted combat feat and gains the benefits of aforementioned ability while in tauric form. At 5th level, centaurians may, as a swift action con-mod times per day, gain the benefits of a haste-spell for 1 round per 2 levels (which, again, should be CLASS levels) - as an extraordinary ability. No suppression. After the burst of speed, a centaurian takes a -1 penalty to atk and AC and a -10 ft penalty to speed. However, I should note that this ability is NOT restricted to tauric shape as written...not sure whether that's intentional.



At 12th level, the centaurian's bonus to str in tauric shape increases a further +2 and they may initiate an overrun attempt sans AoO at +2 when hitting a target as part of a charge. Weird here - I *assume* this only works in tauric shape, but as written, a base-form centaurian could overrun smaller creatures with this just as well when not transformed. At 14th level, merely initiating a charge may make enemies that fail their save shaken. This extends to all enemies that can perceive you (again: very powerful in open warfare); More interesting - the ability fails to note that it is a fear-inducing effect, which becomes relevant for paladins et al.



We also are introduced to a new cavalier order, the order of the centaur (good, since the centaurian doesn't get the challenge of other orders)...ähhh...wait. This order also provides a challenge. Whenever using a move action when moving 10 feet or more, the cavalier gets a +1 dodge bonus to AC against the target of the challenge for one round. The bonus scales. Okay, though you have to bear in mind that the centaurian doesn't get this challenge! The order also reduces the AC-penalty when charging. At 8th level, 1/day when hit by an attack, the cavalier may make an acrobatics-check to negate the damage - NOT a fan of skill versus incoming attack. I've discussed in length before why I consider skill versus atk-roll problematic and I don't like repeating myself over and over, so yeah.



We also are introduced to 4 new feats:

-Tauric Mount: Carry allies into battle as if a mount, use tactician to grant them temporarily mounted combat or archery.



-Improved Tauric Mount: Allies may make full attacks after a charge while riding you. See, this becomes problematic - I assume the player character riding can only make one attack after charging sans this feat if s/he's delayed/readied an action, but I'm not sure. The feat's text could be read to imply that the rider gets the full attack in addition to the one they could potentially execute after your charge in their initiative order. Usually, the mount in mounted combat is subsumed under the rider and relegated to mostly moving/minor attacks. Here, with one player taking control of the mount and the other being the rider, things get more complex since a mount usually acts at a rider's initiative score. This problem also extends to the regular tauric mount feat, but becomes more pronounced here.



-Tauric Weapons: These gain you 2 primary natural weapons at 1d4 bludgeoning or slashing while in tauric form.



-Tauric Pounce: Make a full attack at the end of a charge, but only with your natural weapons. Urgh. Pounce is evil. The restriction keeps this somewhat in check, but I'm positive, that this can hurt in the hands of the right player.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good; while I've noticed some minor glitches in the rules-language, nothing too serious did crop up. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' elegant 2-column greyish/brown-standard and is a joy to behold. The color cover artwork is nice to see as well. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Tyler Beck's Centaurian is a cool archetype indeed, allowing you to play a centaur without the size-issues/ladder-climbing etc. - and its mechanical execution is mostly solid. Regarding the archetype, my mayor complaints boil down to the lack of range limitations regarding their buffing capability and another issue: Weight. Does the centaurian's size-increase also increase weight? If so, by how much? I *assume* standard guidelines here, but I'm not sure and when traversing brittle bridges or galloping over a recently frozen river, that becomes relevant. Another issue I have would be with carrying capacity -quadrupeds can carry A LOT more than bipeds, so doe carrying capacity increase while in tauric shape?



Now let's be honest, these points are essentially nitpicks, but with the supplemental information, things get a bit...ugly. The new order is fine, if nothing special...but why not create an order specifically for centaurs/centaurians? The archetype eats challenge and similar abilities all up, so some customization would have been nice here, especially for the poor cavalier who already the shortest possible end of that stick. Now where things turn ugly is with the feats to carry allies into battle. Sounds easy, right? Well... it's not. Mounted combat is already not too simple with the mount doing the move actions and the rider acting. When taking two players AND providing feats that mix up the action economy, the wording better be extremely precise. here, it's not -as written, they just don't work...at all.



So, how to rate this, then? All in all, we get a neat archetype with nice ideas and Tyler beck once again shows that he is a promising designer. But on the downside, this could have used an expert rules-editing to make the feat work, a clearer distinction re class/character levels for many abilities etc. This does not make this pdf bad, but it precludes it from reaching the higher echelons of my ratings. Hence, I'll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: Centaurian (Cavalier Archetype)
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The 11th Hour [PFRPG adventure]
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/29/2014 08:08:05
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/04/29/tabletop-review-the-11t-
h-hour-pathfinder/

Contrary to what you might think, The 11th Hour is not based off of the old Trilobyte sequel to The Seventh Guest. It’s actually got more in common with the old Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. I have to admit, from the name and cover, I WAS expecting a horror adventure, but what I ended up getting was a pleasant surprise.

The 11th Hour is an adventure for 1st Level characters. There is no mention of what size party the adventure is made for, but in truth, it doesn’t need one. The adventure can work just as well as a solo piece as it would for a party the size of a Dungeon Crawl Classics 0 Level game. How is that possible? Well, the adventure is pretty much combat free, and the players will be using their wits instead of flexing their muscles for the entirety of the affair. I say “pretty much,” because gamers being gamers, their characters could just go on a mad killing spree, murdering every NPC involved in the adventure as an attempt to “solve” things. Every so often you get a player or a full group with that thought process, so just a heads up that even though the adventure does its best to present a fun and challenging mystery for neophyte characters, someone may decide to go stab-happy.

Like many an adventure, The 11th Hour starts in a local inn/tavern. However, that’s as close to the usual tropes as the adventure gets. Once inside, the players will soon discover that they are stuck in a time loop, repeating the same hour over and over again. What’s more, the PCs are the only ones that seem to notice the loop is happening, while everyone else in the tavern are blissfully unaware, continuing to take the same actions they did before unless interrupted. It is up to the PCs to figure out why the loop is happening and how to stop it.

What’s more, The 11th Hour is designed to be played in real time, so that pace of the adventure flows with real world time. Adventures that are able to pull this off well are rare, but The 11th Hour does a great job. Perhaps not as well as Bride of the Black Manse, but that adventure is four hours long, while The 11th Hour has you repeating the same hour over and over until players figure it out. While the adventure is well written, the fact it is “only” an hour long means the DM needs to be very prepared to pull this off. The 11th Hour may be a great adventure to run for beginning and veteran players alike, but it really does need a highly experienced DM to keep track of everything, or the adventure will fall apart. All you need to do is miss one or two time cues and things can go bad.

The adventure is as hard or as easy as your players make it. They do have to pay attention to details, and this is a rare Pathfinder adventure, as role-playing takes precedence over roll-playing, but overthinking can make The 11th Hour harder than it should be. So far I’ve seen players go through it several times with the real world pacing throwing them off, and I’ve also seen a team get the adventure right on the first try thanks to having a Druid in the party. It all just depends on how used to non-combat adventures your gaming pals are and how quickly they adjust to playing an adventure in real time instead of a ten second battle taking an hour to play out.

All in all, The 11th Hour is a great adventure. It’s a nice change of pace from the hack and slash fare that most Pathfinder adventures (especially third party released) end up being. The PDF purchase price of five dollars might seem a bit much for only nineteen pages, but it is in full color, has some great art and also includes three maps for players and the DM to use. I really liked how outside the box The 11th Hour was. I wish more companies that produced content for Pathfinder would do adventures like this instead of the same old dungeon crawl hack and slash experience. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air to give new life to Pathfinder, you should seriously consider The 11th Hour. It’s not for everyone, but the uniqueness of the adventure makes it a great way to introduce people to the mechanics of Pathfinder before overwhelming them with how intense combat can be.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The 11th Hour [PFRPG adventure]
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The Favored of Skexxiz [PFRPG adventure location]
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/14/2014 08:35:59
This is rather neat: a complete location, fully populated and replete with details and backstory, all ready for you to drop into a campaign and use as an adventure location. Although a few adventure ideas are given in case you don't have a ready reason for your party to go there, it isn't an adventure per se, it's a place in which adventure could happen and that adventure is up to you.

Basically it's a troglodyte lair, described in loving detail. The denizens all have their own lives, their own reasons for being here and their own plans and hopes for the future. This gives the feel of a location that's existing in your alternate reality irrespective of what the characters get up to, you get the feeling that the troglodytes will continue on their merry way even if the party never stops by at all. Yet if they do, it isn't a place that has sprung into existence just to provide them with a good brawl and something to loot, it's there already and they have just chosen to visit - something that serves to enhance the 'reality' of your campaign setting.

The whole place is well laid out and explained clearly, with 'read aloud' descriptions and all the information you need to manage events when the party arrives at each location. There's a good map - spread over two pages - and a new deity as well - and a deity who teaches that 'Anything stolen is rightfully yours if you are not seen taking it' has a certain appeal, possibly beyond troglodytes!

This is a nice resource to have, a traditional 'crawl ready to use whenever it fits in with the rest of your plots.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Favored of Skexxiz [PFRPG adventure location]
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d20pfsrd.com presents Open Gaming Monthly #1
by Thomas C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2014 10:52:52
Very cool magazine. I’m not sure that it’s being published any longer as it looks like everything stopped as issue# 5. I had heard that they might move to a quarterly format which would be nice.

Anyway, some nice stuff here in Issue #1. Ordered print version. Nice glossy cover, full color interior. Articles are nice with excellent materials for GM’s (mini-adventures, drop in locations, new race ‘Briarborn’, fully statted monsters). Do like the BadWrongFun addition- haven’t seen home rules for d20 done before in-print, so this is a nice addition. Overall, a pleasant read.

Not cons, but what I’d like to see in future issues: a comic or two. Interviews with writers, developers and publishers. Reviews of other OGL pubs (splat books, modules, etc). Perhaps an online pub as well with audio podcasts and video interviews. Again, just ideas on what I think would be nice. Props to these guys for the awesome job they did in getting these 5 issues out! I know from personal experience how very difficult it is to pull this stuff together. Hopefully more to come.

Tom
-Dead Goblin Games

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
d20pfsrd.com presents Open Gaming Monthly #1
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Racial Ecologies: The Canids
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/31/2014 04:31:35
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Racial Ecology-series is 17 pages long, 1 page editorial/front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Canids are, surprise, canine humanoids that usually, much like man's best friend, accompany other races - their communities usually exist in a kind of symbiosis with specific other humanoid cultures. Hard racial-trait-wise, they get +2 to Str and Cha, -2 to Int, low-light vision, scent, a 1d4 bite attack as primary weapon (or secondary weapon when wielding arms), get +1 to Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive with their associated race (I assume a racial bonus, but the pdf doesn't say), +2 to perception and survival, can run on all 4s when carrying nothing in their hands. This would net a +10 foot bonus to movement for run, charge or withdraw actions. They can only do so while having medium load or less - and I assume they don't get a quadruped's usual bonus to encumbrance. To reflect their racial diversity, they can pick one alternate racial trait or a racial trait of 2RP or less and they do thankfully have some limitations applied to the selection. Still, I'm not 100% comfortable with this variety - why? Because the race is well-balanced on the upper echelon of the power-scale sans these and the ARG's system is notoriously broken.



On the alternate racial trait-front, we get to choose from 3 different ones - Bully build nest you the slow but steady racial trait and replaces the quadruped sprinting, whereas aforementioned diversity can be offset with a whopping +4 to CDM versus bull rush, trip, pull and drag. Finally, there are small canids that get, apart from their size-modifiers, +4 to stealth. We also get 5 race traits that allow you to run longer, drag something better (not the maneuver, the feat of strength), improved disguising, 1/day +2 to flanking and adaption to cold climates make for compelling race traits that manage to be useful without being overpowered and also offer a nice bit of fluff each - kudos for getting these right!



On the favored class option-front, all of the Paizo-classes (minus variants like ninja/samurai, but including the gunslinger) are covered with sensible options. Oh, and thankfully we get FULL AGE, HEIGHT & WEIGHT-tables, 6 entries for various physiques - neato! Also cool - a short lore-table is included!



We also get 6 new feats - improving bite attacks by one step and later, vicious bite allows you to chose to make your canid benefit from improved grapple when biting or gain the trip option. Finally, the third feat in the bite-chain allows you to inflict bleed damage or thrash bitten adversaries - the latter has a hick-up in the rules-vocabulary, when it allows you to either deal bonus damage or inflict the "shaken effect" - which should be "condition". Also, the pdf fails to specify for how long the shaken condition lasts. Improved overland hustling is also a neat idea, as does the idea fit that canids may follow tracks at normal speed. The feat does have a hick-up, when it specifies that it allows them to follow tracks at twice their normal speed at -20 - one can already do that sans the feat. I assume, the penalty was supposed to decrease, but whatever the correct new number, it's not in here. "Scent the Impossible" on the other hand is rather awesome - not only does it improve the option to track by scent, it allows the Canid to be particularly familiar with specific scents - these can then be picked up even in olfactory nightmares and overpopulated places - a great idea, also regarding storytelling.



We also get 5 new mundane pieces of equipment - from dog whistles to muzzles, extra teeth, a weight harness and even a neck barrel. Among the two new magical items, we get a silence-inducing, damaging dog-whistle and a breath weapon granting hell hound tooth that may enhance a canid's bite.



Now Canids are diversified and hence we get no less than 13 different variants, all with their own racial qualities:, ancestry, suggested starting languages and fluff

Ratters get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Int, +1 to CMD/CMB (+2 when surprised, flatfooted or prone) and while small, they still get a movement rate of 30 feet. Wardens get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, +2 to resist fear and demoralize effects and aforementioned grounded racial trait. Hunters get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Int, Hunt on the Run as a bonus feat and +2 to perception related to smell/scent. Dwarven Bullys get +2 Str and Wis, -2 to Dex, must take the bully-build racial trait and replace low-light vision with darkvision. I assume the default 60 ft. range for darkvision, but the pdf does not specify. Elven Hounds get -2 to STr, +2 to Dex and Int get a flat-out ovement-rate of 40 feet (and don't get faster when going on all 4s - which is weird) and +1 to reflex saves and initiative. Goblin Curs get +2 to Dex and Wis, -2 to Str, are small, cause allergic reactions in non-goblinoids and get +1 to atk and damage versus other canids and dogs. Gnomish ratters get +2 to Dex and Cha, - 2 to Int, are small and get hatred versus reptilian and goblinoid adversaries. Hafling Borzoi get +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Int, Hunt on the Run as a bonus feat, exchange scent for 40 foot movement rate and +4 to see through nonmagical disguises.

Drow Demon Dogs get +2 Str and Cha, -2 Int, darkvision and replace their quadruped ability with a base-speed of 40 feet - again, somewhat weird that the offshoot is not faster on all fours. They also get +1 to intimidate and +2 to saves versus disease, though they do pay the relative power with losing more basic canid racial traits. Kobold Warren Dogs get +2 Con and Cha, -2 Str, are small and still have a movement rate of 30 ft and replace low-light vision with darkvision (again not specifying the range). Orc War Mastiffs get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha, replace low-light vision with darkvision (this time the 60 foot range is included) and they also get ferocity, but pay for that with losing access to racial diversity and light sensitivity. Painted dogs get +2 Str and Cha, -2 Int, hatred versus Gnolls and hyena-like creatures and +4 AC versus Gnolls. Finally, the small Xolo get +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha and these hairless dogs are under a constant endure elements spell-like ability (that does not specify an effective level and is not properly italicized) and may woodland stride in familiar jungles.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay - there are a couple of formatting glitches, which partially make the respective crunch slightly less clear than they ought to be. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the original pieces of full color artwork are simply awesome. This is one beautiful pdf. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf lacks bookmarks, which is an unpleasant comfort-detriment.



Author Nick Esposito has created an interesting race, slightly on the upper end of the power-scale, but not by much. While the racial diversity utilizing the broken ARG can be potentially problematic, per se the variants feel well-balanced and diverse, if admittedly not all of them are brilliant - more weird breeds with unique abilities like the Xolo or the Goblin Cur's allergies would have elevated this pdf further. Per se we get a solid race that has a lot, but in practice is haunted by quite an array of typos and minor glitches. The rules-language, while for the most part non-ambiguous, features several flubs like lacking durations for conditions, calling conditions effects etc. - nothing big per se, but they do accumulate over time to a point where they stand out and show that a tighter editing would have helped this pdf. Beyond that and the missing bookmarks, there is not much to complain about - as presented, this pdf's Canids are definitely useable and per se a relatively nice, if not always inspired race. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Racial Ecologies: The Canids
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