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Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
by Jerry L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2016 20:50:42

This is a beautifully done and most welcome supplement for the Castle Falkenstein RPG line.
I have often wondered why no bestiary ever existed for such a GREAT GAME (see what I did there?).


This volume doesn't just contain common animals and mythical critters as opponents, familiars, and pets.
No, that would be too simple. You also get an adventure hook for all of the fantastical ones,
rules to play as beast folk and unicorns (move over dragons?),
new abilities (such as animal handling, animal speech, and outdoorsmanship),
new character types (like big game hunters, falconers, and lion tamers),
several notables from the time period (ex: Dr. Doolittle, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Grizzly Adams, Mowgli, etc.),
and even a few dinosaurs.
And, as if that wasn't enough, this work also provides you with guidelines to create your own creatures as well!


I've been waiting for an add-on like this ever since first stumbling upon Castle Falkenstein long ago.
The writing is evocative of the era, the layout is beyond gorgeous, and it delivers in spades (or swords, if you prefer).
I have but only two minor complaints...
Firstly, the Basilisk/Cockatrice entry states "Amphisbaena" in the main stat block header.
Secondly, the dinosaurs are a bit disappointing. If only so few were to be included, it would've helped to present ones like Deinonychus, Pteranodon, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus Rex for the Hosts (Gamemasters for the unenlightened) that don't have time for the creature creation process, or can't comprehend how to stat them even with the notes. I know, T-Rex had not yet been discovered and similar arguments for the others as well, but there are ways around this. I just can't imagine prehistoric beasts the likes of Dicynodon, Chthyosaurus, Dicynodon, Hylaeosaurus, and Iguanodon doing much for most folks.
I mentioned Pteranodon, and I do find Pterodactylus a somewhat reasonable replacement in its stead with some tweaking.
My compliments on this otherwise outstanding product & thank you for filling a huge CF void!!!


LIKED: Text, Fonts, Art, Layout, Lots of Extras (not being just another "Monster Book")
DISLIKED: Uninspiring Dinosaurs



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
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The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
by Aaron T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 20:45:48

This product comes with four separate files: a 57-page World-building Journal, an 840 page world-building journal, a zip file containing extra copies of all the pages in the journals and a form fillable version of the individual pages. The purpose of this product is to provide a framework for the homebrew GM to create all the various little pieces of their game world. If you are a GM playing in an established setting such as Paizo’s Golarion, Frog God Games’ Lost Lands or Adventure-a-Week’s Aventyr, this product will be of little use to you. However, if you have a hankering to build a world whether for running a game or writing a story, this product gives you a framework to work in.


Since this is not an adventure, there’s no need for a spoiler warning, however, I will offer the disclaimer that I was given a copy of the product for the purpose of writing an honest review, however I receive no compensation for my review.


I’ll start with the 57 page world-building guide. This product is 57 pages long with four pages dedicated to front cover, credits page, an advertisement and a back cover, leaving 53 pages for world building goodness. These pages are printer-friendly and include things like a place to draw your world map and name your continents, a page for seasons and festivals, climate overview, languages, major events of history, major regions/ countries, deities, religions, kingdom maps and information, life and society, history, major geographical features, plants, animals, family life, agriculture/industry, in short all the bits and bobs that you might want to include in a comprehensive world. There are places to draw maps of countries, cities, towns and dungeons. You have places to write up major NPC’s, minor NPC’s, guilds or organizations, and places to outline major events you want to cover in your campaign. There is even a page to jot down what books you used in your world building. The book ends with a couple pages of printable graph paper and hex paper.


The 850 page document contains all the same pages as the shorter 57 page one. However, it is not printer friendly, it has a pretty parchment background. I am fairly certain that THIS is the book you get if you order a print copy of the book. Each chapter of the book is essentially the 57 page document duplicated (but prettier). It’s not EXACTLY that, though. The first chapter is the major world overview stuff (world map, continents, etc), chapters two through nine have everything you need to make a country or nation (cities, towns, society, fauna, flora, NPC’s, adventures and plots, etc) and chapter 10 has pages for books used, a campaign outline, site based encounters, Taverns and Inns, Shops and Markets, build your own random encounter tables, Caves/Dungeon Maps, Geographic Features, Strongholds/Castles and Tribes/Clans. The nice thing about this full color version is if you have the printed book, each chapter has a different color marked near the top-right edge of the page. This means that if you are flipping through the book to quickly find the country of Red, you can flip until you see the red edges and quickly narrow down your search. It seems like it would be pretty handy!


The form-fillable document is the 57 page document, but all the spaces are form-fillable in the pdf for those of us who are handwriting-challenged.


The Zip file contains each of the form-fillable pages, but individually, so you could have a digitally created world-building guide using folders to hold your chapters or renaming pages to suit your needs.


Overall, I think this is a GREAT product for GM’s or authors who want to try their hand at building a world. For GM’s who are running a published setting, this is not a product they would get a lot of use out of. I would love to see a copy of the printed book, even though it is not something that I would personally get a lot of use out of. Overall, I’m giving this product 5 of 5 stars because it is a comprehensive document to do what it sets out to do: give a framework for designing a fictional world. For $5.00, you are getting an exceptionally useful set of files.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
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Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 17:57:15

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.


This is a six-page, full color supplement for Castle Falkenstein - although only three of the pages have actual content. On the other hand, it's a $1.95 product to begin with, so the price seems fair enough.


Functionally, this product is an alternate set of rules for Sorcerers, replacing the traditional four-suit playing card deck with a set of tarot cards (specifically, the Rider-Waite deck). The four suits of the tarot replace the normal playing cards, but the 22 major arcana are added to the deck and provide additional effects if drawn. Two rule options are provided here (keep drawing, or stop drawing), based on what you feel would be best for your game.


Each major arcana card has a specific effect. For example, the High Priestess can convert a random card into Swords (the equivalent of the Spades playing card suit, and associated with the Spiritual Magicks harmonic), while the Justice judges the intent of the spell and turns it on the caster if it's selfish or cruel. It's unpredictable, but it looks pretty fun, too - a little chaos is good for games. I'm not as familiar with the base system as I'd need to be in order to rate the power of this... but not every major arcana is a powerup, and the overall product seems solid. If you're playing a sorcerer and want some whimsy, consider picking this up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Tarot Variation
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Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 17:49:37

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.


Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures is a 146-page, full-color supplement focused on various natural (and supernatural) animals. Now, as the name suggests, this is not a standalone product - it absolutely requires the base game in order to make much use of this, although a GM could hammer out something equivalent for their own games if they really wanted to.


Functionally, this book is a bestiary, offering suggestions for using (or playing as) the creatures contained within. As this is an animal-focused book, many of the creatures within tend to work well as either minions for a foe or significant encounters in their own right - unsurprisingly, the Jabberwocky is one of the latter. All together, there's about 70 creatures within, as well 24 characters and 10 Dramatic Characters. There are also some rules for creating new creatures, should you be interested in that.


Honestly, I'm not sure what else there is to say about this product. XD It looks solid to me. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the base rules of the system, so I can't give this a serious read-through to see if things are too strong or too weak as a whole. My advice is to consider what you know of the publisher. For what it's worth, they've made a lot of solid products in the past - so if you're looking to add some creatures to a Castle Falkenstein game, this is probably the product you're looking for.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Curious Creatures
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Sinister Serpents: New Forms of Dragonkind
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2016 03:03:30

[Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary copy of this ebook by the author in exchange for this review.]


Sinister Serpents: New Forms of Dragonkind is 29 pages long - 24 pages of content plus five of front and back matter - and it contains Labyrinth Lord-compatible write-ups of 38 new types of dragons. As you'd expect, the statblocks are very minimal (and, frankly, you could usually have worked out most of the stats yourself based on the accompanying descriptions), so essentially you're paying $6 for thirty-eight two-to-four-paragraph dragon ideas. This makes me slightly wary of saying too much about the dragons themselves, as basically every time I mention one I'm giving away just under 3% of the book's content for nothing...


...so. Dragons. They live at the bottom of your dungeon, sleeping on a big pile of treasure and waiting for greedy and/or high-level PCs to sneak in and get eaten. As niches go, it's a pretty small one, and yet D&D and its derivatives has hundreds of different types of the damn things. Fire dragons. Ice dragons. Good dragons. Bad dragons. Shiny dragons. Psychic dragons. Zombie dragons. Toad dragons. That stupid lust dragon whose breath weapon makes everyone's clothes fall off. (I wish I was joking about that one.) You can easily use a dozen or more humanoid races over the course of a campaign; hell, you can easily use a dozen or more humanoid races over the course of a single dungeon. But how many dragons is any one game likely to need? In all my years of running fantasy RPGs I think I've only run five dragon encounters, and one of those was with an abstract metaphysical force which just happened to currently be dragon-shaped.


The traditional way in which writers have diversified D&D's stable of dragons is via combat role: stronger dragons, weaker dragons, dragons with weird special abilities, dragons which use obscure energy types as breath weapons, and so on. Sinister Serpents takes a different approach: it diversifies dragons via ecological role. Stat-wise, they're mostly pretty similar: they have good AC, a high number of hit dice, claw and bite attacks, and a breath weapon that fucks you up. But the roles they play in the world are diversified: there are dragons as natural disasters, dragons as ambush predators, dragons as symbiotic parasites, dragons as natural resources, dragons as industrial powerhouses, dragons as community protectors, dragons as factors in geological and ecological development, and so on. It's an original approach, and one that I think has more to recommend it than the traditional 'dragon that breathes [X] instead of fire' method. How useful it will be, on the other hand, is ultimately going to depend on how much of a role you want dragons to play in your campaign.


The dragons in this book are still mostly basic D&D-style creatures with 8 HD or thereabouts, tough but still eminently killable, rather than the mega-monsters which dragons would go on to become in later editions of D&D. But they're still dragons: and they are, with a few exceptions, big and powerful enough to make a pretty big impact on the world around them. Their special abilities are mostly similarly flashy, powerful enough to exert a significant influence upon the local landscape or economy or ecology. They're a big deal. How many big deal dragons do you want in your game? How many do you need? How often do you want the answer to major questions about the way your campaign world works to be 'a dragon did it'?


If the answer is 'loads', or even 'quite a lot', then you'll probably enjoy this book, which is full of weird dragons who can affect their environments in all kinds of interesting ways. If it's 'not very often', then... well... you'll probably still enjoy it, because there are some nice ideas here. But you might struggle to make use of many of them in actual play!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sinister Serpents: New Forms of Dragonkind
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You Name It: Orcish Names & Tribe Names
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2016 23:10:17

Very good orc names, I'm a happy camper. It has 100 male names, 100 female names, and 100 tribe names. My PCs will soon meet Lumrock Rotbreath.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
You Name It: Orcish Names & Tribe Names
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Call to Arms: Tomes of Power (revised)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/18/2016 04:52:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 44 pages,1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial/introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Knowledge is power. This sentence has become a bit of a cliché. Okay, it IS a huge cliché. It is true nonetheless. From Latin to runes, language as a means of transporting knowledge in a written form is exceedingly powerful and ideas, ultimately, are the most powerful weapons of all.


As has become the tradition with the Call to Arms-series, we thus begin the pdf with a complex array of ruminations on the nature of text, its functions and components, not shirking e.g. the issues of copying and translation. (And anyone who has ever compare e.g. Shakespeare, Baudelaire or Goethe translations with the original will certainly attest a cringe-worthy quality that can result here...) In a fantastic context, the concept is similarly important, if not even more so: The pdf does mention Chambers' classic The King in Yellow, which may well have provided an initial spark for Lovecraft and others...as often, the idea cuts deep.


One of my central gripes with Pathfinder as a system has always been the fact that tomes basically suffer from a rather niche existence; when compared to e.g. the Witcher games, where knowledge is the most valuable good you can have in combat with the weird creatures of the earth, it is significantly less important in our games and has less mechanical repercussions...and this one tries to fix that. The pdf collates, collects and expands the mundane tomes released so far, introducing arcane school reference books, chronicles etc. - rules-wise, these generally grant bonuses to associated checks when referencing the book or studying it. 3 new types of spellbooks (and two classics) can be found within these pages as well. The pdf also features two spellbooks with preparation rituals. (one for magus and one for the investigator.)


Beyond that, the pdf also collects all types of intriguing books herein - from the golem manuals to the summoning extenders and manuals that increase your attributes, grant combat feats. Very cool for sorcerors: Pages of Spell Knowledge. These pages contain a single spell; prepared casters may expend a spell slot of the appropriate spell slot to cast the spell on the page. A writ allows for instant atonement benefits, but requires longer hours of studying to maintain the benefits. As always in the series, we get a cursed tome and an intelligent item: The latter being A Young Person's Phantasmagorical Primer, which contains fairy tales and allows persons featuring only NPC classes to gain the training required for PC classes and the book's illusory realms are interesting, to say the least. Beyond that, we also get a total of 3 mythic books, one of which enhances a character's capabilities when dealing with extraplanar creatures and another nets cruel jokes. Finally, another book allows for reincarnate. The book also contains 3 artifacts - the classic book of infinite spells, the codex of the lower planes and a take on the mother of all evil books, the intelligent necronomicon, including an advanced soul eater that may come for you. (CR 15, just fyi.) And yes, the book is cursed.


The pdf does contain two different spells, one that translates a book perfectly into ancient dwarven and one that animates a quill to copy writing. As always, though, we do receive a couple of variant rules, the first of which would be modifications for Linguistics to account for time-related changes in dialects, handwriting, translation qualities, if applicable, etc.


More importantly, the pdf does feature rules for forbidden knowledge - studiyng texts like this may result in corruption and the more thorough you study the texts, the harder it will be to resist the nasty effects of the respective tomes. Certain actions will trigger corruption saves and on a failure, the character gains a corruption point - all pretty simple. Here's the cool thing, though: Tehse points can be used as either mythic power, hero points, as sanity...or a combination of them all, depending simply on your own tae on the subject matter, with proper synergy with the much-anticipated new Shadows over Vathak campaign setting book. A total of 3 such tainted tomes end this installment of Call to Arms on a high note.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good; while I noticed a couple of typo level glitches and would have loved slightly modified wording here and there, as a whole, the rules-language remains sufficiently precise to not result in any issues. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has some neat full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.


Richard D. Bennett's revised take on Tomes of Power is a fun offering, with in particular the variant rules herein being an inspired array of modifications. The book, as a whole, is a fun offering and delivers what it promises. In contrast to some of the other Call to Arms-books, though, it does feel a tad bit less evocative: A lot of the options here in the book are pretty conservative in the items represented - the more powerful items, for example, are either classic in concepts or, in the case of the mythic books, pretty weak. Apart from the evocative intelligent book and the awesome forbidden tomes, I simply wasn't as blown away here, since I already knew a lot of the concepts here. This does not make the pdf bad, mind you, but it does deprive it of a place amid the best of these books. In the end, this is a good book - and well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Tomes of Power (revised)
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Call to Arms: Javelins and Throwing Spears
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/07/2016 04:53:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!


After a fluffy introduction, we dive right into a brief history of the javelin and similar throwing spears and their use throughout history, acting as complimentary means of softening up the foe or for skirmish tactics; following these observations, we distinguish between light and heavy javelins, with light javelins being designated as the standard as depicted in PFRPG; and just because javelins were auxiliary weapons in real life does not mean they have to be that in PFRPG - thus, we begin with new special weapon qualities to apply to the weapons and make them more desirable; durable weapons are, for example, not destroyed when an effect of their use would annihilate them (like a successful attack with a pilum) and have more hit points. The weapons thus don't break and make, in spite of doubled costs, more sense from an adventuring point of view and brings the weapon type closer to the ammunition-based weapons in terms of upkeep costs.


On the other side and mutually exclusive to that, pliant weapons are destroyed and thus can't be thrown back at the user...and they cost less. Lightweight weapons increase their range increments by a factor of 1.5, but at the cost of -1 damage, while weighted weapons can be pictured as the javelin-answer to composite bows, with specific Strength-ratings in mind; the higher these are set, the more damage the spear causes...but the shorter its range becomes. Strength rating also doubles as a Strength modifier prerequisite, in case that was a bit opaque. These two, obviously, are also mutually exclusive. EDIT: As one of my readers had this question: weighted javelins and their Strength-rating add up to the rating beyond the usual bonus added; think of it as a composite bow-like effect added atop thrown weapons, simulating their greater penetrative power. Finally, weapons can be modified to be standardized, which means that qualities like pliant or durable are negated and weapons that usually break on impact no longer do so.


Now one crucial problem for the javelin lies in its enchantment - either go returning or the one-use option - both have issues and the pdf seeks to handle these via weapon special abilities - a total of 5 such abilities are provided and they include a ricochet enchantment at +3 and the pretty crucial recursive ability that teleports the weapon in question back into the user's hand, allowing for iterative attacks...but at a cost of +2, as opposed to returning's +1. Routing weapons can cause the targets to become shaken and, fret not, staggering weapons do not cause the condition of the same name; instead, they are effective versus charges and can force targets hit to move. Still, why call it like a condition that is an established rules-term? Odd. Unbalancing weapons, finally, penalize AC and CMD temporarily - and all in all, I like this section. It emphasizes the skirmishing aspects and while it does not perfectly solve the issues with javelins, it at least makes them more viable and in tune with their themes.


The pdf also features specific weapons that range from 166 gp for +1 dragon bane pliant javelins to 128K in price range. The weapons featured include falarica and yes, weapon table wise, the book collates and expands types of weapons to include soliferrums, foe-piercing angons, shatterlances you can use to deliver poisons or incendiary material - and concept-wise, these are cool: There would be, for example, the immovable angon, adamantine-barbed, that keeps bleeding the target unless it removed; however, the rules-language becomes a bit odd, mentioning "anchored" and "transfixed" but sans specifying how that is supposed to work; the base angon mentions "brutally pierced", but neither of the two key-words...so no idea how exactly that one's supposed to work. Is this supposed to require the new feat to transfix foes? Pretty unique: There are javelins that sap movement speed and convey it to the wielder. Also really cool: Phalanx End Pilums can negate shields and ricochet to deny more creatures the bonus conveyed by their shields. A hellish falarica is nice...but the weapon players will HATE is rustfang: Upon impact, it generates a cloud of rusty dust that quickly corrodes metal. VERY cool. Crystalline spears that can burst asunder to hit nearby targets also are pretty cool.


As has become the tradition with the series, we also get cursed items (which I won't spoil here) as well as a powerful intelligent item that may drain its victims of situational awareness, confusing the target and it also can call forth a powerful ally when the wielder commands an army/force. Otherwise, the weapon is a decent commander...though I wished it actually also had notes for use with Ultimate Campaign's mass combat rules...but I'm nitpicking here. The mythic godlance quiver can be compelled to create powerful javelins by feeding it with mythic power and the artifact starpierce...has no range increment. Trailing a comet's fire, it can LITERALLY be thrown from planet to plant, across continents...awesome. Oh, and the wielder may join the spear on its flight. Now this may well be my favorite artifact in the whole line so far: I can definitely see someone consulting an astronomer to find the exact angle to throw the spear to get to the moon/other planet. Or what about a powerful invader, coming down with the weapon? So damn cool!


The pdf also provides 8 new feats for use in conjunction with javelins: Better defenses when foes try to sunder your shield, better throwing of weighed javelins, use in melee sans penalty...pretty nice. I'm weary of Priming Volley: Rendering a foe hit by a ranged weapon flat-footed for your follow-up melee attack is pretty strong...but not to the point where the feat on its own is problematic. Ranged weapon sunder attempts at twice the range penalty make sense to me and a great way to make these thrown weapons more feasible. Transfixing shots that entangle foes hit with a quasi-maneuver can be found here as well alongside two-handed throwing. The pdf also features the throwing spears weapon group and a new ranger and skirmisher style for the javelins - both interesting and with their own leitmotifs and themes...kudos for not just duplicating the styles for the classes.


The pdf also features 3 archetypes: The Peltast fighter would be first and...surprisingly, I have nothing to complain here - with low level Shot on the Run access, an emphasis on skirmishing and movement and some soft target control, it's a viable, nice archetype. The Jinete cavalier replaces cavalier's charge melee focus with an emphasis on throwing and the means to hamper enemy movement as well as high-level circle charges sans approaching the enemy for the quintessential old-school version of run and gun. Overall, a solid javelin specialist. Finally, the almogavar ranger gets no animals, but he becomes the ranged/melee-combo guerrilla fighter. That is the least complex of the archetypes and perhaps the one that could have used some additional unique tricks.


Now some of the best things that came of the Call to Arms-series are optional rules, so how does that chapter fare here? Well, for one, the pdf introduces bracing for javelins, which makes sense to me- Sold, will use.In campaigns with plenty of flying creatures, the optional rule to use javelins to severely restrict their flight capacity is welcome and provides some cinematic moments...oh, and the look on a player's face is priceless, when their cool pegasus mount's shot out of the air...while they're still on it. Sure, I will user a finer-grained mechanic that assumes that creatures of a certain size require siege weapons to have a chance to be shot down...but yeah. The pdf acknowledges and encourages tweaking like this. The final rule is based on a tactic of my Frankish ancestors - throwing a weapon at a shield and then crashing into it to displace it (or cripple foes). Kudos for actually knowing that one.


The pdf goes one step further, though: Two new army resources and 4 new tactics are presented for use with mass combat (YAY!!) and we also get 6 premade armies for our perusal - NICE!!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are pretty good and representative of Fat Goblin Games "new" era - i.e. both formal and rules-criteria are sufficiently detailed. While here and there I would have liked a bonus to by typed instead of untyped and the aforementioned glitch in an item persists, there is not much to complain. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard established for the series and the pdf features some solid, mostly stock artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with detailed, nested bookmarks.


Unless I am sorely mistaken, this is the first pdf penned by Matt Roth I have had the pleasure to review; and it indeed was a pleasure. I am not sure how much of this is due to the capable dev hands of Lucus Palosaari, but I do know that the result is impressive. While the book is not perfect, it is an excellent addition to the game and elevates from being a thoroughly poor choice to working as a flavorful option, particularly when used in conjunction with the optional rules mentioned.


How to rate this, then? You see, here it becomes a bit more difficult. The pdf, as well made as it is, imho could have done a bit more to make the use of disposable throwing weapons more viable - a couple of enhancing quivers or the like could have gone a long way. That being said, this is still a very good file and deserves a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Javelins and Throwing Spears
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5th Edition Racial Options - Aasimar!
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/06/2016 09:12:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This is not the aasimar race from the DMG, just fyi - it's its own take on the concept.


We begin this pdf with a pretty close reproduction of how races are depicted in the 5e Phb, i.e. with flavorful notes on playing the race and flavorful leitmotifs - from wanderlust to being trusting, but also verifying the statements and nomenclature. In a nice twist, elves, halflings and tieflings get their say and impressions of the aasimar race in a sidebar. Race trait-wise, aasimar increase Wisdom and Charisma by 1, 30 feet movement, darkvision 60 feet, resistance to radiance damage and a rather powerful trick: When being capable of healing via spells, you add your proficiency modifier to the amount healed; when you do not have access to those, you instead add it to the hit points you receive when you are healed. I like the intention of this, but the rules-language could be clearer: What constitutes, for example, an "healing attempt" - use of the skill? Personally, I think this should simply be a choice left up to the players. This is a nitpick, though.


The pdf provides three subraces of aasimar: Children of the deva increase Dexterity by 1 and get alter self at 3rd level as well as partial resistance to bludgeoning. Wait...what's that? Well, partial resistance is a concept introduced here and I REALLY dislike it. In short: It works like damage reduction. You reduce that damage type by an amount equal to the level of the character. This renders partial resistance more powerful than regular resistance in certain contexts. E.g. at 10th level, a character is hit by 6 attacks, all of which deal 7 points of damage. Characters with resistance take a bunch of damage; less than other creatures, but still damage. Partial resistance eliminates the damage completely. The 5e-system is not made for this ability with an at least optional assumption of average damage and the somewhat more down to earth approach of 5e does not mix well with being invincible to certain attacks.


Children of Planetars increase Constitution by 1 and gain invisibility (self only) at 3rd level and partial piercing resistance. Children of Solars increase their Strength score by 1 and gain spiritual weapon at 3rd level. One note pertaining the innate spellcasting gained - the pdf fails to specify which spellcasting ability is used for these spells.


While I really hate partial resistance in 5e, the pdf does feature a second rule-idea I like - celestial lineages that allow you to modify the aasimar. A total of 3 such lineages are provided. These provide usually bonus abilities at certain levels (1st, 5th and 9th), but you do lose one of the usual abilities in exchange, namely powerful ones like radiant flux. Eternal Radiance nets you light-themed innate spells; bane of liars makes you a living lie detector and wings of angels provides slowly access to flight. I have no complaints regarding them.


The pdf does provide a new potion, celestial elixir, which allows the aasimar to use their powers an additional time before taking a rest; when used more than once, it causes Constitution damage, though...and it can be used as a quasi-super holy water that deals "6d6 damage" - for a price of only 100 gp. Underpriced in my book. Also...what kind of damage?? The pdf also features a new spell, radiant shield, which provides light, resistance to necrotic damage and reflexive radiant damage when attacked in melee. The spell is powerful at 3rd level mainly due to not requiring concentration and having a 10 minute duration. Angel's Bows require paladins or aasimar to be used and grants advantage on attack rolls and deal +1d6 radiant damage....which is imho a bit strong. Universal advantage? OUCH. Also: +1 is usually, when compare with items like berserker's axes, not noted in the header of the item. Oh, and the bow requires no attunement. (Fyi: My direct frame of reference here is the oath bow, which nets more power versus a single creature, but no bonus, requires attunement and works only against one foe per day. - in comparison, the angel's bow is a bit too good.)


The ring of heavenly light, the second item, doubles darkvision range and nets daylight once per long rest.


Conclusion:
Editing and formatting generally are pretty good - the pdf does not feature significant glitches. Purists may be slightly annoyed that the racial subheaders aren't italicized, only bolded, but the pdf gets the full-stop versus colon-formatting convention right. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Troy E. Daniels delivers generally a cool race here; while I am not sold on the balancing of bow and elixir and annoyed that the latter has no proper damage type, the aasimar race generally is cool...with one issue. Partial Resistance. This ability, while understandable in its intent, opens up a significant can of worms regarding rules-aesthetics and how the system works. To me, 5e is more rock-paper-scissors, than PFRPG and still allows you to do something if you don't have the right tools. High-level aasimar with these rules can stand in a mob of lesser creatures armed in a specific way and take no damage...which opens up all manner of awkward questions - for example why non-aasimar angels can't do the same. Basically, this introduces a rules component that is not tangential to a system - it's an integral part. To maintain internal consistency, the introduction of the ability requires the GM to modify other creatures similarly, which changes the game pretty hard. On the plus-side, that makes direct PFRPG-conversion easier...but on the minus-side, it feels awkward and alien to 5e to me. Personally, I really dislike it and would discourage its use.


And that is a damn pity, for, overall, when disregarding this unfortunately pretty central component of the racial design, the aasimar as depicted herein is pretty solid; not perfect, yes, but also not inherently flawed or problematic. Still, partial resistance's issues, in conjunction with the minor other hiccups do drag this down a bit. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, though I have to round down.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Aasimar!
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vs. Stranger Stuff
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2016 10:59:05

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.


vs. Stranger Stuff is a new product in Fat Goblin Games' line of vsM games. This product draws inspiration from 80's kids-and-monsters films, like Beetlejuice and The Goonies. The central concept is that the players are 'kids' getting wrapped up in some kind of adventure. All kids are either strong or smart, and have one good and one bad trait. For example, a kid might be clumsy, but also take vitamins that boost their toughness. Character creation only takes a few minutes at most, and gameplay revolves around drawing cards from a deck to see if you're successful at something you're trying to do.


The gameplay here is fast and easy, and the book includes a couple of monsters as sample foes. However, this product is much shorter than vs. Ghosts - 14 pages to the other product's 64 - and it will require some prep time to actually have a game set up. The book includes a couple of prompts, but I wouldn't mind having a ready-to-play adventure in products like this, since most people probably won't play it more than a few times unless they really like it. Overall, I'd rate this about 4/5 - it's solid overall, but a playable adventure to help people who aren't good at creating adventures really would have helped.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Stranger Stuff
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5th Edition Racial Options - Aasimar!
by Ken C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2016 06:31:54

I bought this when the price was higher but dont begrudge paying that much for a well written and thought out publication. Usable by any player wishing to play another version of this older popular race that that which is found in the Dungeon Masters Guide.


Well Done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Aasimar!
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5th Edition Racial Options - Kobolds!
by Ken C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2016 06:18:39

What is there not to like about this publication ... well written ... usable within any game on many levels ... it's Kobolds!!! KOBOLDS!!!


Worth every penny spent (and more if I was able).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Racial Options - Kobolds!
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The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil - Sidequests - River Crossing (5th Edition Fantasy- OSR)
by Christopher B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2016 14:24:38

A interesting opening adventure for any group. I do not have The Lost Temple so no idea how this fits in with that adventure. I do not play D&D 5th but convert adventures for Classic Fantasy. This will fit in nicely for adventures in many ways. It is also easy to convert due to its good discriptions.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil - Sidequests - River Crossing (5th Edition Fantasy- OSR)
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The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
by Dark N. K. W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2016 17:41:04

This is a very impressive product. The PDF options, which is what I bought for now, are great for documenting your world in the appropriate level of detail. I prefer the loose pages the most. They allow me to complete them, collect them into a single pdf (player and DM editions) and potentially upload the master PDF to Lulu to print a copy for each of my players.


The physical book is very impressive. If you are on the fence, invest $5 and get the PDF set, then decide if the print book is for you.


Fat Goblin consistently publishes material that make your games more fun, enriched, and with products like this, more ogranized.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
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The Gamemaster's Worldbuilding Journal
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/22/2016 09:49:26

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this product for the purpose of this review. I did not receive any of the physical versions.


All right, let's dive right into this, shall we? This product is Fat Goblin Games' worldbuilding set, most valuable for Game Masters and anyone else who wants to create their own place for adventures. As a secondary function, it's also good for novelists, scriptwriters, and other people who need to create a fictional land for any reason.


Now, this product contains several files. The first file I opened was the "Form Fill" version, which is basically a shorter version of the main content that can be edited on your computer. (You'll probably want to create a duplicate of the file first, of course.) This is essentially a 57-page notebook that you can fill out and reference as-needed, even going as far as to print it out and reference it at a table or give to your players so they can know more about the world. A do-it-yourself campaign setting book, as it were. The content covers everything from how many hours in a day to seasonal festivals, world history, deities, major geographical features, and more. Basically, it's all of the nitty-gritty details that help bring a world to life.


There's also a blank, non-fillable version if you want to print it out and then write details in.


The other main file is... big. It's an 840-page(!) tome, and so massive as a journal that it actually has its own table of contents. It's broken down into ten chapters. The first is an overview of the world, and is followed by eight blank copies of regions and kingdoms (comprising the huge bulk of the content) before wrapping up with a make-your-own-appendix section, allowing for things like custom maps and random encounter tables. I repeat - this is basically a blank campaign setting book, and you are totally expected to write things into it. The sheer bulk of this is why the non-PDF versions are so expensive - I have other RPG books of comparable size to the physical version of this, and seriously, it's probably going to shake any table you drop it on.


Did you think we were done? Nope! There's one more part to all of this file. In addition to all of the above, the digital version includes single sheets (which are fillable on the computer) for when you only want to discuss certain things. For example, maybe you want to print and bind a journal for your players but take out things like legendary items, adventures and plots, and random encounter tables. These help with that, and they're a very nice touch.


Now, clearly, this product isn't for everyone. Worldbuilding is one of the most challenging parts of creativity, and people have different preferences for how they do it. This is a version for people who like writing things down - or at least typing things into forms and printing it off. Now, I'm going to be frank with you - you probably shouldn't get any of the versions that don't include the PDFs. At the moment, it's a $2 difference (this may or may not change - I don't control the pricing!), and having extra copies of things you can print out is well worth the cost. Even if you don't think you'll need it, it's good as a backup.


For those who are looking to dip their toes into worldbuilding, the digital version of this is an outstanding value. You're getting literally over a thousand pages in PDF form, although in practice, you're probably going to focus on the form-fillable versions so you can write out your ideas, delete them, write them out again, edit them, and come back to totally change them again at a later point when you have a flash of inspiration. It's also a good way to make sure your ideas will actually fit if you ever decide to get the full tome and write them in.


Ultimately, I feel this product is very solid at what it sets out to do, and it's particularly good for GMs who want to pass out information to players or have a hefty sheaf of notes for themselves. It's not the method I personally use - I prefer Realm Works - but I recognize a useful product when I see it. If you want to have stuff printed at your table, this is a good way of doing it. I'm giving it 5 stars because I feel like it does exactly what it sets out to do, but this is fundamentally a creative aid - it does some of the work for you by separating things into sections and encouraging you to think about them, but ultimately, you'll have to invest the time in filling things out if you want to get the full value from this product. Of course, if you're like me and you enjoy worldbuilding, a lot of that time is going to be fun. Basically, it's what you make of it, and you should know that going in.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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