RPGNow.com
Close
Close
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Basilisk Goggles & Wishing Wells
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2016 03:08:46

It's valuable as a collection of many varied and specific concepts of magic as it's expressed in physical items, almost as if they were pieces from dozens of different worlds or times. It could help a gamemaster to run a setting in which magic is little-known and perilous, or has deep history.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Basilisk Goggles & Wishing Wells
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher's Choice -Equipment: Firearms
by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2016 12:23:22

Evocative and high quality spot art, well formatted for immediate use. Great stuff!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice -Equipment: Firearms
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Call to Arms: Torch and Flame
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2016 03:54:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a whopping 39 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, I never thought I'd be one time in my career be reviewing a 40-page pdf that focuses on flames and torches. So what do we get? Well, following the at this time slowly arising standard of the series, we begin with a well-researched recapitulation of the history of fire as tool and weapon - as much as that is feasibly possible, mind you. For such a basic process, and one obviously popularized and charged with symbolic significance by the Dark Souls-series, it is pretty much surprising to research lighting fires and what the rules say on it - which is not much. In one of the trademark "why hasn't this been done before"-moments, we are introduced to simple, concise rules for lighting fires, with a simple nomenclature: Sparks, tinder, kindling, fuel, embers. The rules are simple, easy to grasp, accounts for burning objects and provides easily inserted rules that don't unnecessarily complicate matters - instead, we get concise precision, which extends to A LOT of examples for sparks, tinder, etc. - and similarly, the pdf collates the rules for extinguishing fires. And yes, solid math supports this.


But beyond these components, the pdf sports two new materials - one would be fire-forged steel, which would be a subtype of steel that can channel heat away from the wielder, charging itself with fire when exposed to such...and no, it does not allow for flaming-abuse and actually has a kind of set-benefit when combined with armor made from the material. The second material would be the intrinsically magical pure fire, flames that have been solidified to the durability of metal - and yes, sans resistance or better, immunity, wielding such weapons or more stupid, wearing an armor made from the material, is just as hazardous as you'd expect. And yes, it can repair itself, is uniquely subject to antimagical effects and the like...and is simply interesting.


Now, as per the series' later issues, we also receive an excessive coverage of mundane materials that should have any low-fantasy gamer grin from ear to ear: From alcohol to fighting pitch or the flame fountain firework, there are a lot of interesting tools - including tabgleburn bags, keros oil, fuse grenades, flash powder...and even a catch-all entry for superheated substances. Similarly, tools of flames, from the classic bellows to amadou (highly flammable fungal material) to burning glasses, driptorchs and fire-resistant gloves - the tools of trade offered herein are diverse, detailed and offer a distinct, detailed dimension to firestarting you probably didn't know you needed...but reading this...well, you do.


Now this pdf also sports a rather diverse array of magical items associated with flames - these include powerful armors that can absorb a limited amount of magical fire as well as a broad array of items utilizing the unique pure fire material, often interacting with class abilities like rage. Always thought that the limitation of flaming and flaming burst regarding magic enhancements of your burning tools of death were kinda lame? Well, improved and greater versions and an enchantment that ignites foes complement the material herein...and similarly, there is a quenching ability. There is also a hammer that enhances the channel heat ability of azers, a balor lord's flaming whip and the like - even classics like the flametongue can be found reprinted here for your convenience. Braziers of conjuring fire elementals are similarly classics, but instant-campfire beads, everburning slow matches and the like can be considered to be interesting indeed. Need a fuse for underwater use? The fireless fuse with do the trick for appropriate underwater sabotage. Beyond goblin skull bombs and fire drums, variations of the necklace of (delayed blast) fireballs and the shirts of immolation provide an overall solid chapter. Cursed cloaks that immolate you, alternative spell-lists for staves of fire, Asha, the intelligent flame of truth - there are some intriguing components here. Speaking of cloaks and immolation - 3 mythic items, including the potentially explosion-causing cloak are also depicted in these pages.


The proverbial divine fire is also codified in this book as a minor artifact, which is pretty cool and iconic...however, as a whole, the item-section left me with a craving I needed time to identify - after careful consideration, I found what irked me. Torches and weaponized torch-like items - there is a distinct lack of them in a book that features them in the header. Okay, azer-hammers may be nice, but know what would have been cooler? Hollow meteor-hammers filled with burning chemicals. Magical battle-pois. A quarterstaff whose ends can ignite in different flames, with different properties. Now I'm not going to hold it against the pdf that its focus is on the more mundane torches and specifically, on flame - but some odd magical and mundane weapons in that category would have been the icing on the cake.


Oh, and then, there would be the handy rules-appendix, which codifies heat dangers, boiling water and steam, smoke effects, catching on fire and expands heated metal by providing 5 stages of heat, with modifications to hardness, damage while wearing it, damage to item caused and conditions incurred when used. Similarly nice: Molten material. Once again pure genius, though, would be the concise rules that allow for a fire hazard to be treated as pretty much a creature in combat, providing concise and captivating rules for encounters that are based on fire-control/escaping the flames, etc.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches that would truly hamper the content herein, though I did notice some minor formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has solid, nice full-color artwork. EDIT: The pdf now comes with bookmarks!


Lucus Palosaari has written a massive book on perhaps one of the most one-dimensional topics I could imagine - and he has wrested brilliance from its kindling-dry set-up. I expected to see heat-conductive material herein; even flame made into material. I expected the comprehensive, handy collection of material. What I did not expect, in any way, was how much I'd enjoy this supplement. From the firestarting-rules to the heating-stages of metal and finally, the rules for fire as a creature-like hazard to be fought - all supplemented by solid math, well-crafted components...wow.


You see, the subject matter isn't that versatile - what Lucus Palosaari has wrought from it is truly impressive to me: The alchemical items, magical items and the like are solid, sure, but alone they are, at least to me, as smart as they sometimes are, no book-sellers. Not even the smarter ones, though some "solid, but kind of unremarkable" ones can be found herein. But the three aforementioned innovations account for A LOT. Basically, this is the comprehensive fire-manual for Pathfinder and its brilliant components and ideas, sporting no less than 3 "why hasn't this been done before"-moments and to me, they even offset the annoying lack of bookmarks.


Let me state this clearly: This is a glorious resource on the theme of fire. I don't want to miss this book at my table anymore and it is really handy to have as a reference tome for GMs - I'll be consulting this time and again in the future. In particular survival-focused ´borderlands/wilderness-campaigns will have a field day with this book. That being said, I really do think the "torch"-component could have used some additional coverage and would have considered that more interesting than the fireball necklaces - but that's, in the end, my personal opinion and will thus not feature in the final verdict.


After some careful deliberation, my final verdict will clock in at EDIT: full 5 stars, +0.5 stars for the addition of bookmarks...missing my seal only by a tiny margin. This is an excellent resource I can recommend getting and a book that makes handling fires so much more compelling.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Torch and Flame
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Knowledge Check: 9 Funerary Rites
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/03/2016 05:28:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Knowledge Check-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


There are theories out there that argue that mankind is defined by two conflicting notions and forces dragging us onwards to life - a striving for love and a striving for death, to oversimplify the terms of Eros and Thanatos unduly with all their ramifications - apologies for that, but we're here for a review and I am perfectly willing to engage in discussion with you, should you choose to. Back to the review - it is fascinating in such a context, that ultimately most human culture develop a stigmatization of the representation of one of these forces, a tabooization, if you will. No offense is meant by this, but e.g. traditional, extremely conservative takes on Sexuality in America would be one such example - on the other side, Thanatos, a fascination with violence and lack of censure thereof can be seen in that culture, with Europe and Japan, as two prominent examples, exhibiting the inverse - much to my chagrin, I have to import quite a few games intended for adults, in spite of me being a mature person - why? Because violent scenes get cut and I LOATHE any type of censure. On the plus-side, I do not suffer any problems getting erotic material.


Where am I going with this overblown introduction? Well, it is quite frankly baffling that, in a game so much representative of our values and experiences of our conditio humana (ironically so, considering how many non-humans we play), that central themes of our very existence, namely sex and death continuously fall by the wayside, both, I assume, in the name of making books child-friendly, when knowledge of neither is, per se, detrimental to a child's development, much less so in the case of adults. And yes, I mean DEATH. Not the blinking enemy evaporating, the capital letter exhibition of the grim reaper's prowess. And you will have seen him perform his grisly work: Ina world, where we are sheltered in increasing amounts from "negative" influences, being confronted with tem can hurt: I've seen grown men cry for their fallen character, heroically vanquished to defeat the forces of the dark and some of my most intense roleplaying sessions were funerals for characters that had fallen.


Isn't it peculiar, then, considering all of that, that unlike 2nd edition's sourcebooks, which mentioned elven songs so beautiful and heart-rending they could kill a man or other sources, which noted the elaboration of a valiant dwarf's deeds, with ritualized swearing of vengeance versus his foes by his clan, in current iterations of the game, we know nigh nothing about funerary customs and rites for just about anyone? Isn't this particularly odd, considering that non-adherence may result in the undead rising, as many a monster's fluff write-up makes us believe? Well, you see where this is going - I very much consider this book VERY overdue.


Within the pages of this humble little pdf, sample funerary rites are presented, rites that tell us something about the cultures that spawned them: Dwarves, for example, have a rite herein, where the remains of the honored dead are cleaned of flesh in the flames of a furnace - thereafter, tongs are used to provide bones to friends and family for the creation of tools; the skull is taken to the family's shrines and finally, the remaining bones are ground to dust, used to enhance the crafting of future items. This tells us something about dwarven values, family and also their relationship to their very own bodies.


On a less somber or majestic side, the ogre-funeral depicted herein amounts to culturally enforced cannibalization of the target - old or failed ogres are called forth and then ritualistically attacked by members of their family and blood - when they finally succumb, they are consumed, henceforth lending their strength to those that lived to break them. Quite the opposite to this, the elven funerary rite features applications of nature-related magic, symbolic union with trees - the elf in question's tree will be tended, with poultices and gentle repose being used to keep predators away, with continuous plant growths and a final move earth magically accompanying the grieving process and the final, proverbial, burial.


Gnomes and Hobgoblins are also featured among the more interesting racial ceremonies, though races are not all that are covered here - a burial at sea, a secular burial, that of a druid and a thief's funeral are covered herein as well - some of which feature formulaic read-aloud texts to accompany the key steps in the ceremony.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a nice full-color two-column standard. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Richard D. Bennett provides an interesting, captivating little system-neutral pdf here - no matter the system you use, as long as your game is even remotely indebted to the traditional fantasy genre, you'll find some inspiration herein, for this pdf's rites add to the respective cultures, makes them feasible, allows for the breathers and enhances the overall believability of the cultures you depict - try it: Let your PCs participate in a funeral after an attack by your adversaries. Let them see grief, pain and hope - I guarantee they will be more motivated to defeat whoever has wrought this pain. Similarly, the witnessing of their foes, even the brutes, exhibiting grief and pain may very well serve as a better means of making them feel alive and relatable.


So, all awesome? Well, yes...and no. You see, this supplement does a surprisingly concise job at its task and is surprisingly compelling at what it delivers - but it does suffer from the necessity of having to cater to general cultures, not specific ones: Instead of campaign setting specific races or cultures that exist as a coherent identity, this pdf needed to, by virtue of its design, adhere to the broad strokes pictures we know from the tropes of fantasy. What it did in this context is impressive, but ultimately, the small components, the tidbits are impossible to feature in such a broad stroke picture, but they are ultimately what transforms the great into the awesome, emotional finale. So yes, this is an important pdf; a worthwhile offering and one that I hope will spawn sequels...but it falls a bit short of truly pulling my heart's strings, of blowing me away. Still, I encourage you to take a look - my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Knowledge Check: 9 Funerary Rites
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Call to Arms: Pistols & Muskets
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2016 08:54:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 35 pages, 1 page editorial/front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a significant 33 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Once again, we begin the installment with aptly-written prose before being introduced to a brief history of the weapon in question, here firearms, and their impact upon warfare - with a caveat on how history obviously should not dictate the limits of your fantasy world. Still, I feel that this is as good a point as any to voice my complete and utter approval for these introductions: It is my firm belief that history and knowledge of such facts can prove to be exceedingly helpful when designing concise worlds and that knowledge gained is positive. Each and every player and GM sooner or later will have the experience, where an obscure tidbit of information learned from gaming as proven useful - I know I can list A LOT of such instances. A firm believer in the school of thought that we learn best while playing and doing what we enjoy, I welcome this school of design, harkening back to the details often featured in books of classic editions. So yes, kudos for these!


But back to the present: In PFRPG, firearms suffer (yes, suffer!) from expensive pricing imposed by the mechanical benefits they convey. Now in an interesting way of codifying the prevalence of specific firearm types in a given world, we begin with a 5-tier, exceedingly easy to use pricing system that allows the GM to diversify the cost control of firearms. Rules such as these, which allow for precise GM-control, are welcome at my table and manage to account for campaign variation: In worlds with rare firearms, for example, a modifier of x 10 for the costs is applied, meaning that only the rich and powerful can afford these explosive toys. Conversely, if firearms are the prevalent weapons, a measly 10% price means that even bullets don't hurt the purse as much at low levels.


Speaking of variance and control - the pdf then goes on to provide optional rules, the first of which would be a lump array of "realistic" rules for firearms - but let me elaborate. First of all, crafting firearms via the broken mundane crafting rules is simply not feasible and takes FOREVER. Hence, the Craft (firearms) skill for player use herein: While not revising the time frame, at least the option is now there and the sample DCs as well as the advice which characters should get it as class skill can be considered to be neat. But back to firearms: If you've ever even fired a crossbow (or, if you're American and/or have access to guns, a regular gun), you'll note the distinct recoil and will never again take rule-of-cool action movies that serious. The recoil of early firearms was nothing to sneeze at, either, requiring bracing to deal with the more significant recoil. Indeed, there are quite a few guns herein that are balanced via this interesting mechanic - depending on the firearm and its caliber and type, subsequent shots may suffer from recoil penalties that make subsequent hits less likely. And no, you won't have to retool weapons to use these recoil rules - only some of the big ones sport recoil rules - a more explicit mentioning of this fact may have been prudent, though it is not ambiguous. Bracing, a standard action, lessens these penalties, imposing an optional action tax upon the firearm's wielder as a balancing mechanism for quite a few of the new firearms introduced herein.


Now I mentioned historical facts - well, one undeniable fact is the simplicity of a firearm - compared to bows and other ranged weapons, firearms were easy to get a grip of: Thus, a trait and downtime retraining rules for firearm proficiency are provided, should you elect to simulate this behavior. Nice! Similarly, the phenomenon of main charges not igniting, flashes in the pan, is represented via an optional rule that diversifies the reloading - if you misfire by anything that's not a natural 1, you just have a flash in the pan, which requires a move action to rectify (swift if you have Rapid Reload), taking a bit off the explosive heat of early firearms not belonging to the caplock firing mechanism. On the other side, if you wish to simulate rules for soot and the like clogging the firearm, the fouling optional rule can be found, penalizing shots and requiring the cleaning of e.g. muskets - failing to do this results in penalties, adding a form of agenda and tactics to the fray. And yes, magical maintenance is mentioned. Very interesting would be the Quick Loading option: It allows you to reload a 1-handed firearm as a move action, a 2-handed one as a standard action - faster with Rapid Reload. However, at the same time, the misfire rate of such quickly and sloppily reloaded guns is increased by +3. Conversely, having well-prepared material and carefully reloading may reduce the misfire rate by 1....which is interesting and adds an easy, tactical dimension to the firearm.


Unlike modern firearms, early firearms did not adhere to the spray and pray/point and shoot-principles, but rather required quite a few steps - which, realistically, results in issues regarding the precise use of readied firearms - again, represented via a sensible houserule that takes different firing mechanisms into account. Similarly, there would be the one historic component that made firearms so effective in its infancy - not the capability to kill, but rather the effect they had: Spooking mounts and superstitious or craven foes as well as the clouding effects of blackpowder smoke receive a proper mechanical representation you can take or leave, as you wish.


Now I already mentioned differences in triggering mechanisms tangentially, but not the extent in which this book codifies them: In a long overdue manner, we receive a loading time progression table as well as a significant array of different triggering mechanisms - including rules for slow matches, matchlocks, wheellocks etc. - basically, you have the tools for truly diverse firearms at your beck and call here and if you're like me and a bit neurotic regarding the different components, then this will make you grin from ear to ear.


Now while the above, highly modular firearm rules in conjunction with the triggers makes for a truly diverse array of customization options that make the balancing of the new material interesting...innovative even. The respective weapons introduced similarly are rather creative - providing e.g. rules for muskets used as clubs, knife bayonets and stackable weapon modifications like bayonets etc. - and e.g. the double flintlock punching dagger. From dueling pistols to wall-gun muskets and repeating pistols and muskets, this pdf features a diverse array of new weaponry, some of which even gets art from Rick Hershey. Beyond the weaponry, rules for alchemical silver bullets or those crafted from cold iron or coin gold, minie balls and riffled bullets further enhance a given game's details and believability as well as the options available. Similarly, from powder flask to lighters and casting tools as well as percussion caps, the tools of the trade are provided in detail. Kudos indeed!


The book also sports 4 new magic special weapon abilities, spanning the range from +1 to the armor-piercing +4 enchantment, allowing for multi-barreled weapons to duplicate ammunition loaded into the primary barrel for the weapon - alas, the enchantment only specifies that it automatically loads, not whether the secondary barrels require the ammo or whether this ammo pops up - in the latter case, we have a problem, for it would allow for the infinite reproduction of bullets. Clarification is required here and the ricocheting enchantment uses range increments to determine the number of ricochets...which is interesting, but stronger than I'd have priced at +2. -something I'd also extend to the bouncing bullet. Other than that - well, interesting. Speaking of which, elemental themed gemshots allow you to literally blow up huge amounts of gold in smoke, but also provide a huge table of lethal damage dice - for 18K, you can make a 30d6 bullet...which is a bit problematic - the last 4 steps of damage dice progression each sport +5 dice, which is a lot and imho, too much. Then again, you spend a vast array of your wealth on these killer-shots...but still. I'd suggest any GM introducing the most expensive of these to take the utmost care.


We also receive 7 specific magic firearms, which range from a magical, ten-barrel volley gun, a high-powered windbüchse, a legendary elysian hunter's musket or the legendary Lawbringer, crafted by the axiomites to never misfire as well as allowing for the geas of agreements - the spell here being btw. not properly italicized, though the formatting of weapon qualities and spells has improved significantly over the installment on axes and picks - kudos! We even get a merciful firearm for the truly good and three variants of firearm-proof armor. There is a level of sense prevalent throughout the chapter on magic - in a world where magic and guns both exist, an everburning slow match makes sense; similarly, rods to make firearms weaker are part of the deal here and gunpowder that does not become useless when exposed to water or dampness. Like the previous installment, we are introduced to a new mythic item as well, a musket mace based on Henry VIII's notorious, presumed safeguard while going incognito - nice to see this real world legend being represented and acknowledged by the pdf! An artifact bandolier provides further narrative potential with the various weapons you can draw forth from it.


If you're like me and expect the gunslinger to receive information regarding the use of the optional rules...then you'd be in luck, for the pdf does provide this as well. Furthermore, we get the Cuirassier cavalier archetype, who replaces the charge abilities with caracole tactics that center on firearm use while in the saddle as well as a truly devastating capstone. On a cosmetic side, I think I would have preferred the archetype to split the ability caracole by the levels, parallel to the charge abilities, but ultimately, this is a more or less cosmetic complaint.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting, while not yet perfect, show already signs of the new and increased quality standard of Fat Goblin Games at that time - the book is pretty well-edited and the hiccups I found are few and far in between. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games full-color two-column standard for the series and the pdf sports nice full color artworks by master Hershey. On the downside, this book does suffer from a lack of bookmarks, which is a significant comfort detriment.


Beyond the formal properties, the massive level of growth exhibited by author Lucus Palosaari herein deserves mention - if I didn't know better, I'd assume another author behind this tome, particularly when compared to the previous installment. While there are some problematic aspects herein I do not consider superb (high level gemshots...), this book still more or less revolutionizes how you can use firearms. For one, this is simulationalist's dream when working within the PFRPG system with firearms; more importantly, this book takes a thoroughly modular approach towards the subject matter, allowing for precise control and introducing exceedingly scavenge-worthy balance-mechanisms that can make firearms work in just about every context. So yes, there is a lot to love within this book.


At the same time, there are quite a few components in the book that are simply less interesting - one cursed weapon is the definition of bland filler; the cavalier archetype isn't that great (where's the better withdraw/powder-smoke trickery?) and could have used some more signature tricks beyond "Good at riding and shooting foes." Still, this would not be enough to drag the pdf down by a whole star. In conjunction with the missing bookmarks, though, I cannot go higher than 4 stars on this one - but it still should be considered a more than worthwhile little book that can even be considered to be a must-have addition for firearm-heavy campaigns.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Pistols & Muskets
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher's Choice - Fantasy InDesign Template
by Kevin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2016 10:28:33

Adobe InDesign is a beast. Knowing where to start can be daunting for a new user. This template managed my fear of the empty page, and got me started. It provided the starting place that let me get in and leverage the training classes I took in InDesign in ways that starting with a blank document couldn't.


While it is technically a Pathfinder template, making it generic OGL is very easy (as intended). I think I read somewhere it was built that way because deletions are easy, adding things correctly is more challenging.
To be honest, get this while you can. A good designer will charge $50 to $200 to setup master pages and paragraph styles for you, and this template has all of that for a fraction of the cost.
While the template will not write your book for you, or lay it out for you, it will help you clear a huge freshman hurdle.


This product and a couple of hours effort had my project roughed out and ready for the remaining art to be delivered.


If you are a budding gaming author, and want to use InDesign, this is a great start. I wish this was available while I was taking my training classes so I could experiment with it while watching the classes.


Fat Goblin Games is easy to work with, and puts out a plethora of products for gamers and for game designers. Their stock art, etc. is worth a look.


I suspect an investment in this will save the average author many hours of frustation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy InDesign Template
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Call to Arms: Axes & Picks
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/01/2016 03:39:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The second installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!


After a brief paragraph of introductory prose, we are treated to a solid little introduction of the history of both axes and picks and their roles in warfare before we are introduced to the subject matter at hand - here, beginning with properly codified flint weapons, which, while fragile, may ignite flammable material when struck against metal - which is one of the trademark "Why hasn't this been done before?"-moments I love in the series. Similarly, I am pretty sure that more than one GM out there will appreciate the rules for weapons with double heads, allowing for the free action switching of them. If you're like me and contemplate converting Age of Worms, you'll certainly appreciate these rules for the signature weapon of servants of dread Kyuss.


Alas, there is a sensible modification that is rather problematic: Alternate Axe-bits make sense: They allow for the inexpensive addition of material-based weapon properties. For campaigns à la Ravenloft that sport the requirement for obscure materials to bypass some sorts of DR, this makes sense. At the same time, incorporating e.g. adamantine does feel problematic to me, since adamantine's price is carefully balanced versus the significant powers it grants. Material bypassing DR =/= material bypassing DR and while the scaling price does still reflect this, it imho does not do so in a sufficient manner for the more powerful materials.


A total of 12 different simple weapon axes and picks are provided, from the awl to the Alpenstock (originally created to serve as a climber's tool, literally meaning "staff of the Alps"), which helps with climbing - though the bonus type it conveys should probably be an equipment bonus. But that's just me being a nitpicky prick. A total of 16 martial weapons (including aforementioned climber's tool) are included within, as well as 9 exotic weapons, with the ricocheting gnomish throwing picks being among the more interesting ones, while e.g. the dhampir maul, is slightly problematic: The weapon is a big hammer with a slot for e.g. a stake to be inserted. So far, so good, right? Alas, the stake-part is fragile and the notation of damage is 1d6/2d6, which is slightly uncommon.


Now this is a cosmetic glitch, sure, but I do have another issue here: The finer balancing of some of these weapons seems to be slightly off. Take the executioner's axe: At 40 gp, it offers a base damage of 1d12, Crit 19-20/x3 and both the deadly and fragile quality - compare that to the dwarven longaxe, which costs 50 gp and offers a base damage of 1d12, Crit x3. Personally, I believe that the extended crit-range is more powerful than just the addition of the fragile quality offsets. While the weapons generally are on par with established ones, they sometimes slightly overshoot their targets - not by much or to a game-breaking extent, mind you, but still.


Regarding internal consistency, there are two entries among the weapons that are unlike the others, two entries that do not belong - the stiletto and misericorde. The latter being the "Mercykiller"-blade used to grant mercy to the mortally wounded - a long, narrow knife, thin enough to fit between the plates of armor. With the ample variants of axes, I don't really get the inclusion of these weapons here, but oh well - once again, I'm complaining on a cosmetic level. That being said, I do believe that the latter represents an obvious missed chance to grant the blade more of a mechanically unique identity by e.g. facilitating coup-de-grâce-attempts. (Granted a magical misericorde later provides that when used versus undead, but still... Oh, and the magic weapon is imprecise in that it does not state whether rejuvenation or similar abilities fall under the healing-prevention of undead finished with the blade.)


Reinforced sheaths make sense to me - these sheathes can turn picks and axes into a bludgeoning weapon, which makes sense - the item also codifies better nonlethal damage dealing and the new, sheathed properties of the axe/pick - kudos! On the magical side, the pdf introduces two new special weapon abilities: At +1 bonus, hewing weapons add +4 to CMB to sunder attempts and the +3-equivalent felling property increases the damage output of the weapon to be equivalent to the size of the creature targeted - but only for one attack and the damage-die never decreases for fine/diminutive. This is problematic in three ways: 1) It increases the "one hit kill"-factor that is anathema to epic battles. 2) Weapon damage die increases are pretty opaque, much more so for weapons of larger sizes - damage progression-tables would have been greatly appreciated. 3) For +3, 1 hit damage-increase, thereafter the weapon does not convey this bonus against the creature for 24 hours, feels very punitive. All in all, not a fan in the slightest of this one.


The pdf also contains 9 specific weapons spanning the price-range from 8K gp to 103,018 gp. The specific weapons are solid, though not always brilliant: Take the axe of fire and ice: One head +1 flaming burst, one head +1 icy burst (both not italicized) - and that's it. No additional trick, no unique feature...boring. Speaking of minor formatting hiccups - the forester's axe's one superscript property lacks the superscripting formatting for an unsightly "UE" in addition to lack of property italicization - though its doubled function as a renewable rod of flame extinguishing is at least not that bland. The Jack-of-all-trades, a poleaxe, is more interesting: Each head of it is separately enchanted and crafted from a different material to make the weapon feasible against all kinds of threats and the weapon even has the information for its non-magical price...but, alas, it lacks the precise damage-stats for each head: There are a lot of axes, spears and the like and while I love the idea of the weapon, its execution, alas, renders it an inoperable guessing game as provided.


On the plus-side, a weapon made to break objects, doors and locks is neat. Somewhat oddly misplaced herein: The thunderstone arrowhead is always "formed in the shape of handaxes or arrowheads" - does that mean there are handaxes with this property? This does contradict the +1 shock arrow base item, though...which brings me to the second entry, which covers the handaxe version...and its language is, alas, just as confused, referring to arrows and the like. Worse, its effects are that "powerful magical lightning strikes the ground" - does that mean lightning bolt at the item's CL? Would make sense, but the bolt strikes from above, so is it call lightning? I have literally no idea how this is supposed to work. On the plus-side, I REALLY love the magical sheathes provided here, conferring e.g. cold iron's benefits to the weapon. Surprisingly, the wording here is more precise. A cursed sheath that corrodes weapons is also interesting.


The intelligent axe Old King Harold, bane to orcs and goblins, is a rather neat one and we also get the stats for the mythic axe of Perun that can control weather via mythic power and call down lightning (here with the proper spell) in these called stormfronts - odd, really: How a more complex item works, where a simple one stumbles. On the downside, the lack of italicization and superscript-errors make complex items like this one harder to grasp than necessary. The indestructible spike artifact is a brutal spiked maul and conveys iron body on the wearer - BRUTAL!


There also is a new rogue talent that allows for the exchange of sneak attack damage die to reduce armor bonuses - basically, trade damage for precision. An okay talent. The feats are interesting: Using disarm to negate shield bonuses...though the alternate use, which lets you make "opposed Strength-checks" to make foes drop the shield feels wrong - opposed Strength-checks usually do not happen directly in battle; PFRPG tends to use CMB/CMD instead and the d20 vs. d20-base means that the roll is very swingy. Not a fan of this component of the feat. The second feat allows you to perform AoOs versus attacking foes when fighting defensively or in total defense, potentially disarming them. Oh boy, this one - I like the intent, but the feat "gives you an automatic attack of opportunity" - which is not default wording and could mean that you can exceed AoOs per round. I'm not sure how this works.


The pdf concludes with a solid write-up of Craft (Knapping) for the manufacture of flint or obsidian weapons and items.


Conclusion:


Editing and particularly formatting need some work: The lack of italicizations of certain components and amount of superscripts not superscripted is pretty jarring. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full color artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.


After the disappointing first installment in the series, I kept my distance to the series, mainly since I didn't want to bash Fat Goblin Games, then a totally different company, quality-wise, than today. Imagine my surprise when current Call to Arms-books actually were rather imaginative, inspired and cool....which made me wonder: When exactly did the series and company become better in such a short time? Well, I returned to Call to Arms to take a look at what Lucus Palosaari has crafted, to witness the growth of the author, if you will. So yeah, this is why you're seeing a review for this old pdf now. To get that out of the way: This was obviously before editing and formatting reached the current level, so in that regard, the pdf isn't that great.


Similarly, rules-editing is not yet as tight as in later installments of the series and there are quite a few slightly problematic components herein, some that simply don't work. At the same time, this already displays the strengths later installments exhibit - there are some true "Why hasn't this been done before?"-moments to be found herein, which provide equilibrium for the flaws. Ultimately, this is a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side of things, and hence my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I will round down for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Axes & Picks
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Basilisk Goggles & Wishing Wells
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/31/2016 19:52:13

I’ve always found compendiums of new magic items (or spells) to be among the hardest products to review. That’s because such collections often lack an overarching theme, without which the book is little more than the sum of its parts. When there’s no overall unifying element, it’s difficult to put together exactly what (beyond the technical aspects of the book itself) to comment on.


This was not a problem I had with Fat Goblin Games’ Basilisk Goggles & Wishing Wells.


This (mega-)collection of magic has all of its magic items occupy a particular theme. Or rather, by having a collection of themes, each of which has several magic items. For example, the book has almost a dozen “alien items” that extraterrestrial items which are fueled by spell energy…but also leak radiation while they work. There are over twenty “focusing items,” which convert spells of a particular level (or above) into a set spell(s), etc. Over three dozen such themes are to be found here, not to mention a section of miscellany that doesn’t fit into any other category.


Where the book really shows off its Old School credentials is in just how gonzo some of these themes are. While the expected categories such as “rods” and “weapons” are here, we also get head-scratchingly odd collections of magic items such as “paper lanterns,” “eggs,” and my personal favorite, “spirals.” It’s these unexpected groupings that give the book its charm, and create a sense of organized chaos that typifies Old School games; the rules are just guidelines, and it’s to be expected that you’ll find things that defy your expectations.


It certainly helps that the book comes with a set of random tables at the end, for which you can roll to determine what items you come across. It should be noted that all of these magic items, which are technically for Labyrinth Lord, are presented in such a way as to lean heavily towards system-agnosticism. Not only do they not have XP or GP values, but the book notes up-front that things such as Armor Class adjustments are presented in a one-size-fits-all manner (e.g. whether AC in your game goes up or down, saying that something gives a “4-point bonus” to AC will work either way). For the most part, I appreciated this, since nods towards inter-system compatibility (at least in the OSR) tend to make an easy process even easier.


In terms of the book’s technical aspects, there’s little for me to complain about. There’s an alphabetical appendix of all its magical items that’s hyperlinked to where they appear in the main body of the book. Each section is also bookmarked, as is every item, though I do wish that the bookmarks for the items had been nested under their section bookmarks. With the alphabetical appendix being hyperlinked already, having the bookmarks arranged in the same manner feels somewhat redundant. There also wasn’t a printer-friendly version, but given that the book only has a light border on alternating pages, and one illustration every two or three pages, that’s not really a big strike against it.


Overall, the magic items here are very much in the vein of a “kitchen-sink” kind of game. While not going so far as to become jokes, this book demonstrates what happens when you design magic items for a system where standardization is a dirty word. What’s here is an exercise in creativity, and it reintroduces a lot of the marvel and mystery that every magic item should have.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Basilisk Goggles & Wishing Wells
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Astonishing Races: Dog-Faced Kobold
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2016 19:19:32

Fat Goblin has always delivered great products in the past, but this was kinda misleading. Other than the artwork a Dog-Faced Kobold is no different than any other kobold... perhaps only in the hint that Goblin or other blood may have mixed. There is nothing really distinguishing them from the "Revised Draconic" kobold.
It would have been great if the author actially went in to the "Classic" vs "New" and as why Dog-face kobold and Draconic Kobold exisit..... otherwise its just a generic kobold...


Other than that you have 5 Racial Variants, Dog-face Kobold and four other types...
2 Archetypes and some pretty useful feats.... artwork is nice.... not woth $5.95.... so if you can get it for 1/2 or less it is worth it.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Races: Dog-Faced Kobold
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher's Choice - Fantasy InDesign Template
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2016 15:37:21

I recently purchased this product and in my opinion, it is the perfect tool
to analyze AND use (potentially as-is) for the purposes of self-publishing gaming materials.
I have been a pro graphic designer and artist for over 20 years, and Rick’s
page layout design is as good as you can get. I really have not seen anyone that surpasses
his work in this area.


This product has everything you need for Print AND Digital publications.
There is a two-page spread Tiff file that you can open in Photoshop and recolor,
or, simply study it (dimensions, etc.) to see how you can make your own.
It also has the official Pathfinder Compatible Adobe Illustrator file placed and properly
linked and all of the Licenses that you need.


You also have all of the fonts you need, OR, you can use your own.


You (obviously) need Adobe InDesign to use this lovely file, but this is an Excellent investment and worth
A LOT MORE than what it is listed at, so I recommend that you grab this quick, especially if you have had any problems with your own files. This takes all of the guesswork out of self-publishing if you are a first time
design/creator! This is a tried and true product. Thank you very much for this! I truly appreciate it greatly! Matt



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy InDesign Template
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Assorted Portraits)
by Joe W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2016 07:36:50

This is good quality art at a great price. I usually hold my 5 star ratings for only the stock art here that I consider in the top 10-15%, and this is very close to that. It probably is in that 85-90% area. Maybe one or two are in the 80% spot. But I was able to use most of the art in this pack and at such a low price, I can push this to a 5-star rating.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Assorted Portraits)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack
by Richard W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/22/2016 16:35:06

This is an excellent collection of diverse goblin artwork. There are 2 portrait illustrations (framed goblin heads), 1 larger illustration of a wolf rider charging through a forest, and 20 illustrations of various different types of goblin (abyssal, aquatic, arctic, crypt, scout, standard bearer, urban, gobtaur, infiltrator, jungle, magma, pyromancer, rock, sewer, stone, trash, warrior, wasteland and two different wolf riders).


If you just want generic goblin filler art, many of these illustrations might be a bit too specific. However if you're looking for a wide variety of different goblin types, this collection is absolutely superb.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Call to Arms: Powders and Dusts
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2016 03:44:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?


We begin, as has become the tradition with the Call to Arms-series, this supplement with a brief piece of in-character prose as well as a well-researched piece on the history of warfare regarding the particular instrument of destruction at hand - this time prefacing the whole book with the best-known quote of one of the most influential and, in my opinion, best epic poems of all time, T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" - for which I btw. encourage the scholars among you to get the Norton Critical Edition...but that just as an aside.


The interesting component here is that the pdf talks about uses of mundane, non-lethal powders in battle, namely the practice of blinding opponents via e.g. the Dirty Trick maneuver, recapping the whole process in a concise and well-presented manner before diving into new alchemical means of dispersing powdery death, beginning with something that may well become a trademark trait for books crafted or developed, at least partially, by Lucus Palosaari - the moment where you say "Why hasn't this been done before?" This time, said moment came to me via the concise rules for dust explosions (historically btw. a reason for the strict policies and location-guidelines assigned to the craft of Baker in the middle ages). Seriously, I've used and hand-waved the like for ages and seeing actually, proper and well-crafted rules for this component made me grin from ear to ear. Flash Powders as employed by ninjas, stink bombs (here called ghast retch flasks), itching and sneezing powders and bamboo-tubes to disperse poison-laced sands in short-range cones complement an interesting introductory field to the matter at hand, thankfully including the respective alchemy-DCs.


There also are 6 powdered poisons herein, from the known Ungol Dust and Dark Reaver Powder to new ones like the calcifying powder or the confusion AND feather fall-inducing faerie dust (which is, uncommonly, resisted via Will, not Fort) that can be sued offensively and defensively, the powder-based toxins are interesting and I appreciate the reprints for the sake of completion of the already established powder-based toxins. This practice also extends to non-offensive powders like Foaming Powder or Casting Plaster, just fyi since I will no longer explicitly note their presence herein.


So these would be the straight and offensive powders - but things, at least for me, become truly interesting once you take a look at the utility-based alchemical and mundane powders like alchemical cement, an anti-hangover draught or the lock/traps-corroding rusting powder that provides a significant bonus, but at the expense of potentially triggering traps/ruining locks. Climb and Escape Artist-enhancing talcum powder also can be counted among the more interesting goods to be found herein...and yes, there are rules for thermite and weapon blanching powders, of which the adamantine one, at 100 GP, imho is severely underpriced and requires a higher cost.


Also rather interesting: The notion of creating so-called dustbound weapons - weapons crafted from powders, sands and the like at 1/10th of their price...but which also fall apart on the first critical miss. And yes, ammunition and similar one-use weaponry cannot be fashioned from dust, preventing the obvious abuse I'd have expected such an item type to produce. Dust-themed magic weapon abilities are also introduced, with the handy table at the beginning falsely calling Sand Spray weapons blinding in a minor typo that is nevertheless annoying. These weapons btw. add bonus slashing damage on critical hits and also have a chance to blind adversaries - though the chance to blind foes is bought with a reduction of bonus damage die-size from flaming/corrosive/etc. burst's d10 to d8 - which seems okay to me, considering the low DC for the blinding effect. Similarly, the dust-cloud ability that can "on command" make a piercing or slashing weapon deal bludgeoning damage instead is cool - but the activation action would still be appreciated here.


The natural armor destroying abrasive quality that reduces natural armor on critical hits may not look like much at first glance, but in the hands of the right character, it can be truly devastating - not sure whether I like that one and its implications for dealing with dragons et al., but that may just be me. Pretty interesting: A scimitar that sprays sand with each swipe, but which can use this sand to 3/day extend reach to 20 ft - pretty awesome imagery...though the item fails to specify an activation action. Similarly problematic - the Dustform Dagger, which dissolves into dust and can be conjured forth from dust as a move action. "All enemies are flat-footed to the next attack made with the dagger that turn." - so...does that mean the wielder needs a free hand? Does the wielder have to draw the dust to generate the dagger? Usually, if a foe has fallen prey to this trick once, similar items grant a span of immunity to prevent spamming of such a trick...I like the idea of the item, but, alas, the execution is pretty flawed.


It should be noted that the issues pertaining these specific magic weapons do not extend to the well-crafted specific dust armors also presented within these pages. Obviously, though, the best-known dust-type would be the wondrous dust, of which some new ones - including e.g. dust that subjects plants affected to rapid growth. In this section a Bedouin's veil that helps promote the saves versus the respective dusts, sands, poisons can also be found, including an invisibility-AoE-escape dust and pouches that can be used to conjure forth blasts of sand and the like are also part of the deal - thankfully with precise rules-language.


The book also sports multiple interesting cursed items and some rather interesting ones: To give you an example: Yes, there is actually intelligent dust (formerly a powerful vampire) and there are two mythic dusts to be found within these pages as well. At the highest power-level, there are two different artifacts, both of which are pretty neat. The pdf contains a ki-based blinding bomb ninja-trick alongside 3 different new feats pertaining, including a means of creating dust-based versions of spells (where the rules-language, frankly, needs to be much more precise to actually work) as well as the option to enhance dirty tricks and imbuing sands with touch spells.


The pdf then closes with three rather cool dust-based diseases, though one has some minor formatting glitches, that, however, do not impede the ability to understand the respective file.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, though there are quite a few minor glitches contained herein. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' beautiful two-column standard with some neat artworks interspersed with nice artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Author Jeff Gomez has crafted a more than solid installment of the Call to Arms-series in Fat Goblin Games' oeuvre and while it falls short of the more refined recent installments penned by some other authors, Jeff, with editorial help from Lucus Palosaari, has ultimately crafted a fun equipment book, of which I will take quite a bunch and introduce it to my campaigns - the new material is neat indeed and, while I honestly wished this was longer, I found quite a few pieces of great material herein and actually appreciate the intention of providing the definite dust/powder-weapon-tome. At the same time, the rules-language in some cases is less precise than what I'm accustomed to, with some items not sporting the correct activation actions. While there are relatively few such issues, they are here nonetheless - and, quite frankly, would weigh heavier on the final verdict of the book, were it not for some truly brilliant gems herein that made me smile from ear to ear, inspiring stories and encounters even while I was reading this book. Particularly alchemy-heavy low-magic/rare-magic campaigns will undoubtedly consider this book a treasure-trove of pretty awesome material! Hence, in spite of its flaws, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Powders and Dusts
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

(5E) Sidebar #2 - Monster Lore Skill for 5th Edition Fantasy
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2016 19:07:08

This is something our group has struggled with now and then because this isn't really handled in any of the core books. I like the match ups between monster type and skill and I really like the table that describes how having a better success on the skill check gives more information. On the other hand, I think the class affinity seem a little forced. Almost as if they were trying to find something for every class to be good at. Our group is more likely to grant the affinity bonus more on whether the individual character can justify it... for example, a fey patron warlock has good reason to know more about fey.


All in all though, it's a far better approach to the issue than what is currently in the core books.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
(5E) Sidebar #2 - Monster Lore Skill for 5th Edition Fantasy
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher Reply:
Hello there and thank you for the review! One of the great things about Sidebars is that they are just discussions between you and I trying to hash out a rule and make it work for your group. It seems like this one did the trick! If you have any questions just ask!
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds)
by Rachael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2015 13:37:31

I just picked up all your cover/page backgrounds.
I like them and give them 4/5 stars. The only reason I did not give 5/5 was that each pack is missing one page type. There are lefts, rights, and dual pages but there are none that are 4 border pages or a top/bottom border pages. Basically If you want to use these with MS Word you have issues. MS word (that I know of) will not allow me to alternate backgrounds so I want one background that I can use for the whole production.


art quality-wise these are all 5/5 items well worth the money.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher Reply:
Hey there friend! You are right regarding Microsoft Word not having a \"master page\" option so that you can use the alternating background. You may want to consider investing in Microsoft Publisher (if you need to use the Microsoft Suite) which allows master pages. Or if you have access to InDesign then you should be good to go. We are glad that you like the art! Rick works his butt off to make these things that WE want to use and make them usable to just about everyone. Hope they work out for you! Best of luck in all that you do! Troy Daniels Fat Goblin Games Project Manager
Displaying 31 to 45 (of 438 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG