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Houses of Hermes
Houses of Hermes
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The Infinity Rings for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
by stefan s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/15/2013 09:41:34
When I first read this it struck me as fun, but little more than a novelty. There are some good ideas in here and the background story implied and hinted at throughout of a slowly unhinging wizard obsessed with immortality is very evocative. But, it lingered in my head a lot longer than I expected. I keep thinking about that wizard and his magic masterpiece and a whole mess of new ideas keep spinning off "my take" on the immortality obsessed wizard.

So, kudos for that. Anything that provides me with the amount of inspiration I've been squeezing out of a $3 product is worth the price of admission.

I stop short of five out of five because, the product is a laundry list of magic rings and that's really it. There isn't anything particularly new in this product (though the weapon traits applied to the hand that wears the ring is clever and new to me). I honestly think for most people this is a 2 or 3 out of 5 product because of its very narrow focus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Infinity Rings for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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Beginning Spellbooks for PFRPG
by Marshall L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2013 15:08:19
Beginning Spellbooks is a good product, if somewhat limited. Each book's spell list is thematically consistent with the background story provided, making it simultaneously a decent adventure seed and a reasonable piece of treasure for a low-level prepared arcane caster. The secondary effects, such as skill bonuses, make these books more than just a list of spells.

One of the more tedious parts of GMing, or creating experienced characters, is choosing spells for casters, so a resource like this is much appreciated. The problem is, choosing spells for 1st- and 2nd-level characters is easy, so the value of Beginning Spellbooks is much less than a collection of higher-level books. I wouldn't tell anybody to skip this part of the series, especially since it's a free download, but most people will get more use out of subsequent installments.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Beginning Spellbooks for PFRPG
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Beginning Spellbooks for PFRPG
by Naomi B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2012 15:07:21
From the description I expected to see a replica of an actual spell book. Instead it was just a single column description for each book mentioned and a spell list. You have to have the original books for the actual spells listed. There is a total of 8 pages, including title page, license page and partial descriptions of upcoming senior spell books (that are almost complete in themselves).

This was advertised as a product for bibliophiles and this bibliophile was disappointed.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Beginning Spellbooks for PFRPG
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/27/2012 07:08:37
To a wizard, his spellbook is probably his most treasured possession... if he awoke to find his house on fire, he'd probably grab it first and rush out naked if there wasn't time to find any clothing! Yet they can be strangely neglected by players and GMs alike, being interested merely in the list of spells within their pages.

So here is an attempt to reflect the importance of his spellbook to a wizard character, by reviewing - albeit in a rather jumbled collection of jottings rather than a coherent discourse - some of the core facts about this precious tome. This starts with some physical details that ought to be considered, such as aura (whilst not in themselves magical, all that association with it leaves some trace), weight, appearance and such like. One good point is that this is in effect the wizard's "laboratory notebook" and likely will contain a whole lot more than the actual spells listed. It adds considerably to the flavour if you have some idea about how neat the wizard's handwriting is, and what sort of things he finds worth recording. Perhaps there are doodles or patterns in the margins, maybe he keeps notes about what happened when he cast each spell... each wizard's spellbook should be as individual as he is, after all!

We then get four examples of spellbooks belonging to beginning, that is first-level, wizards. Even then they are not new at the game, although they are more like recent graduates than experienced practitioners of their art. So their own distinctive style will already be developing within their spellbook, perhaps influenced by whoever taught them or deliberately made different.

The first is quite delightful, a tome on Beginning Transmutation that was written by a wizard who spent a lot of time teaching and which indeed serves as a textbook for young wizards wishing to learn this particular aspect of their art. It's full of clear diagrams and explanations of the basics of transmutation as well as four actual cantrips from that school. (And I want a copy...)

Another one is Iskruak's Beginning Evocation, again written as a training manual but for some high-powered school or wealthy student, as it is a beautiful illuminated manuscript with silk bookmarks and wonderful illustrations... that look pretty rather than contribute to one's understanding of evocation! Then there's a dodgy necromantic tome, written rather sloppily in blood by someone with indifferent penmanship but including anatomical diagrams of various races. The final one is written in flowing prose by an aasimar spellcaster and is full of allegory and verbal imagery as he explains the basics of divination to his readers. This makes it quite hard to understand.

As a bonus, there are four more higher-level spellbooks, designed as a taster for future product from Asparagus Jumpsuit - and if this is an example, I shall be looking out for them eagerly! Spellbooks as actual tomes have been a bit neglected and it is good to see them taking on the significance and - if you are a bit of a bibliophile - sheer beauty and fascination that they ought to have in a magical world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Tome of Missing Magic for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/26/2012 12:35:06
One of the things that makes Pathfinder such a great game – at least, to me – is its sense of continuity. Yes, it has its own set of mechanical changes, and we needn’t mention its original campaign setting, but there’s still a strong feel of connection to earlier editions. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that, for various reasons, some aspects of the game fall by the wayside.

It’s therefore a great joy when somebody decides to pick up one of those lost aspects of the game, dust it off, and update it to the Pathfinder rules. That’s what Asparagus Jumpsuit has done here for magic items in their Tome of Missing Magic Items. Let’s take a look and see what’s to be found within.

The book’s technical presentation is perhaps its weakest aspect. At ninety-six pages long, there is no table of contents nor bookmarks, dealing a substantial blow to its usability. With no way to easily navigate through it, or even get an at-a-glance overview of what’s here, the book’s functionality is impaired. This is perhaps its single greatest weakness, and definitely worth knocking a star off its rating.

Luckily copy-and-paste is enabled, so there is that. I’m also of two minds about the complete lack of artwork. While I’m in favor of printer-friendly options for PDF products, that’s usually something I like to see in addition to a version with artwork, rather than instead of it. As it is, there are no illustrations of any kind to be found here. The best you’ll get it shaded headers and table rows.

I’m also slightly miffed at the incorrect use of the OGL. While the book does seem to comply with the Pathfinder Compatibility License, and does reproduce the OGL at the end, it doesn’t have a Section 15 citation for itself – worse, it has no declaration of Product Identity or listing of Open Game Content. Part of the strength of a work like this is that it allows for other companies to reuse what’s here and help proliferate the missing items back into the game. That’s hard to do if you’re not sure what’s OGC and what isn’t. Hopefully there’ll be an update to correct this soon.

Beyond the technical issues, what’s actually to be found here? Perhaps surprisingly, there’s a great deal more than just a collection of updated magic items; quite a bit more.

The book opens with a serious of random tables for determining treasure hoards and magic items – note that there are many more tables dedicated to randomly determining the latter. In fact, the sheer degree of tables is slightly awe-inspiring for how deep it goes. For example, you can roll “scrolls” on the random magic items table. You then go to table 4-1 to determine how many spells and of what level are on the scroll (or it could turn out to be a protection scroll or even a cursed scroll – can you feel the First/Second Edition vibe starting to ring through?). You then follow this up with a roll on table 4-2 to determine if the scroll’s spells are arcane or divine in nature. And then, you roll on the indicated set of tables for spells by level (e.g. a table for 1st-level arcane spells, one for 2nd-level arcane spells, etc. for all arcane and clerical spells). As a quick aside, this is only for spells in the Core Rulebook – and standard for all parts of this sourcebook.

As mentioned above, this trends very strongly towards the manner of magic item determination in First and Second Edition. I actually pulled out my copy of the 2E DMG and compared its magic item tables to this one – while not identical, the degree of parity was pleasantly great. There are even insightful footnotes for things like rolling randomly for how many charges rods, staves, or wands will have, and there’s even a(n extremely small) chance that you could find an artifact!

It should be noted, by the by, that these tables also extend to magic weapons, armor, and shields. I find this noteworthy because the tables allow for not just the random determination of what magic properties are present, but also what type of weapon/armor/shield is found, its size, etc.

After the sets of tables are the magic item descriptions. You’d think that, for a lot of these (such as potions and scrolls, certainly) the book simply doesn’t bother to give a full description – but notwithstanding the scrolls that just have random spells on them, you’d be wrong. Full magic item descriptions are given for things like potions (which, quite amusingly, have a paragraph of description regarding things like their smell and flavor) – though they refer you to the Core Rulebook for the effects of the spell effects – wands, and certain scrolls. Since the aforementioned tables are meant to be somewhat holistic in scope, they also listed standard magic items in the Core Rulebook as well; these are given an entry in the descriptions section that simply refers you back to that book, striking what I thought was a nice balance between needlessly reprinting existing materials word for word and omitting those existing materials entirely.

Of course, as mentioned before, there are a lot of magic items here that are from older versions of the game that have been updated to Pathfinder for the first time here. If you have fond memories of using things like an Alchemy Jug, a Chime of Hunger, a Girdle of Opposite Gender, or a Phylactery of Eternal Youth, you’ll be delighted to find these again here (perhaps with slightly different names). Even some existing items have tables given (e.g. what kind of ioun stone did you find, exactly?).

All of this takes us to just under halfway through the book, at which point we come to the section on artifacts. Here, the book takes a slightly different tact. The author denotes that a lot of what made artifacts such fun back in earlier editions was how they presented aspects of a greater campaign world without explanation, as though the reader were already familiar with the game world’s history. Correctly noting how this spurred the imagination, the author tries to take a similar tact here.

Each artifact is clearly an IP-free version of an artifact from the olden days of the game. One can’t look at the Cup of the Martyred Saint or the Iron Urn and not see the author quite clearly winking at the reader. What’s interesting is that the artifact’s description gives a few paragraphs of descriptive text, which clearly makes reference to the existing game world, but at the same time isn’t afraid to change minor details (or perhaps it’s more correct to say “necessarily changes minor details”).

The format of each artifact is that it opens with its typical game information (e.g. caster level, body slot, aura, etc.) before giving us its overview and history. We’re then given its powers, and the various DCs of Knowledge checks that can be made to learn more about the item (though I found these to be a bit too low for my liking). There’s also a section on the consequences of using each particular item – focused almost solely on the in-campaign ramifications of having an item of such fame and power – and the possible method of its destruction.

Interestingly, these artifacts don’t seem to have been “scaled up” to match with the generally increased power in Pathfinder. While I won’t say that these aren’t powerful, they don’t seem to subscribe to the theory that artifacts need to be uber-epic magic items in order to be awe-inspiring. Take that as you will.

After this, there’s still more to the book. In fact, the next sections are ones that most gamers will likely be split on, as they delve into the area of pre-listing things that GMs could make themselves – it’s a question of whether or not you find value in something doing calculations and writing listings for you (personally, I do find such things useful, so I’m inclined to look favorably on that).

To be more clear, it’s at this point that the book starts giving us full listings for various specific magic armor, shields, and weapons. I say “specific” here because you have things like a table for each kind of armor, which lists it with enchantments of +1 to +5, and the corresponding mechanics for that, such as the total armor bonus, price to create and cost to buy, speed reductions, arcane spell failure chance, etc. It’s basically a complete overview of that armor or shield with each enhancement bonus.

It doesn’t stop there, as it also has tables for each single kind of armor magic weapon property (presuming a +1 enhancement bonus) with tables to determine what specific kind of armor has that property, and the various statistics such armor would have (e.g. total bonus, arcane spell failure, etc.). There are even tables for those armors made out of special materials as well. All of the above also applies to shields as well.

In essence, these tables allow you to pick whether you want to start with a specific kind of armor/shield, or a specific enchantment, and cross-index from there.

The information for magic weapons is presented slightly differently. Each weapon is presented in the format of a specific magic weapon, a la how they appear in the Core Rulebook, but the actual weapon isn’t specified. So you’ll have a magic item entry for “melee weapon, dancing, +4” just waiting for you to plug in a particular type of weapon, such as a heavy mace or longsword, with all of the existing magic item information given (and even a few suggested weapons listed). Ranged weapons and even ammunition have their own sections.

What’s fairly clear in the above sections is that the book is again harkening back to earlier editions, when all magic weapons, armor, and shields were specific in what powers they had, rather than having powers layered on them from a master list. This is evidenced much more strongly in the weapons, but the undertone is there through this entire section.

The book closes out with four new feats presented which, collectively, allow for the creation of potions and wands containing spells of up to ninth level, along with the associated costs.

Overall, the Tome of Missing Magic Items is a book that splits the difference between nostalgia and utility, something for which I think the author deserves a great deal of credit. He could have simply dumped some updates of old magic items on us and run, and that probably would have been enough. However, he took the old-school mandate further and created a comprehensive set of randomized tables which, collectively, not only evoke the feeling of older editions, but help put forward a play-style in that manner as well, since you can now randomly determine most – if not all – of the treasure and magic items your party finds (be warned through, this means necessarily eschewing a great deal of the “game balance” as its presented in the Core Rulebook with regards to treasure).

How much you get out of the Tome of Missing Magic will depend not only on how much you want to see older-edition items updated to Pathfinder, but also how much you value the use of tables for random treasure content, and how much you prefer to have game books list mechanics in for you (rather than you doing it yourself). Personally, I adore all of these things, and so I think the Tome is an incredibly useful tool for an old-school Pathfinder GMs. The only major flaw I find with it is its lack of ease-of-navigation tools; an update on that score would find my upping my final score to five out of five – as it is, the content alone earns this book a healthy four out of five stars. Find what you enjoyed about magic items in previous editions with the Tome of Missing Magic.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Missing Magic for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X: The Official Series Bible
by Larry B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2012 14:55:23
If you know of the Adventures of Brisco County Jr, or just wanted to be a bad-ass Texas Ranger like Chuck Norris stuck in the X-Files, then this Series Bible might be for you.

You get to be a member of a special branch of the Texas Rangers; who answer only to the Governor (or President depending on which era of Texas you want to play in). You are charged with investigating suspicious goings on that are beyond the normal ken of other Rangers. Sometimes something supernatural lurks deep in the heart of Texas.

This is a fun supplement that you can use for many games. In full disclosure, I have been part of two sessions of Ranger Company X hosted by the creator (Hank Harwell). Both sessions were a ton of fun.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X: The Official Series Bible
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Official Series Bible: Bad Haircut
by David E S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/07/2012 17:04:20
Tyranny has been elected to power in the US! Try to survive the banning of other parties and slow crushing of the opposition, in a setting set in an unspecified near future (or alternate today)!

Structurally, this is 3.5 two-column pages of material and 1 page of general suggestions of what system to use it with, about 3,000 words all told. As the email sent out about mentions, it definitely arises from the US political season (2012 elections, but I suspect 2014 and 2016 will be more of the same) and despite not naming names, it's pretty clear it's a liberal take on things.

If you and your liberal friends are trying to unwind from the election, it might well be worth a one-shot, though that still is going to require a lot of work. (Series bible, not adventure, though there are adventure hooks.) As one of those pieces of "roleplaying material" that is really just fiction in a different format, it was amusing enough. If you want to play such a thing, it's worth it; otherwise it depends on how much you're willing to pay for 3.5 pages of setting.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Official Series Bible: Bad Haircut
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The Intervention: The Official Series Bible
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2012 07:33:46
One of the Official Series Bible series. You will need the main document for this. Greek-inspired superheros plus soap-opera roleplaying. Good for "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" television-style series or can be used to rough-out a campaign using Legends Walk (available on this site) as your own TV series.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Intervention: The Official Series Bible
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Kaiju Patrol: The Official Series Bible
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2012 07:31:06
One of the Official Series Bible series. You will need the main document for this. Atomic monsters are on the loose! For fans of large monsters stomping in the city.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kaiju Patrol: The Official Series Bible
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Knights of Torque & Recoil: The Official Series Bible
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2012 07:28:57
One of the Official Series Bible series. You will need the main document for this. In this TV series you are part of a group of pulp-era adventurers. Set your dials to 1920s to 1940s, from action hero to powers-of-the-mind masked crime fighters.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Knights of Torque & Recoil: The Official Series Bible
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The Official Series Bible
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2012 07:25:02
The Official Series Bible is really nice. If you are a fan of Now Playing (available on this site) or Primetime Adventures (elsewhere), this series is an excellent way to break out a pretend television series that allows you to set up roleplaying adventures. Even if you are not a fan of the idea of playing a character in a TV series, each Official Series Bible is good enough to inspire a campaign. The text is clear and concise. The few downsides is that the Official Series Bibles maybe a bit too short. Otherwise, these systemless write-ups are top-quality.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Official Series Bible
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Tome of Missing Magic for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
by Steve N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/09/2012 14:39:31
Asparagus Jumpsuit knocks one out of the park. All of their "Missing Magic" in one easy to use book.

Full disclosure, Berin Kinsman is a good friend of mine. Asparagus Jumpsuit is also the publisher of 3 of my books as well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Missing Magic for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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Kaiju Patrol: The Official Series Bible
by Larry B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2012 18:26:29
This is a fun little supplement (and I'm not just saying that because I have fond memories of Ultraman). You owe it to yourself to check this one out, join the Patrol, and help stop the atomic monsters controlled by the Futurons.

There is enough in this 5 page supplement to use for quite some time.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kaiju Patrol: The Official Series Bible
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The Compleat Shemp
by Dennis S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/31/2012 12:17:29
An excellent product with some great advice about handling NPCs based on their level of importance and the level of commitment you are looking to put into them. The product is simple and to-the-point, with numerous examples and a frank tone. All the advice is quite practical and nothing you can't do in any game, on any afternoon. If you find yourself struggling to juggle NPCs or create interesting characters for your players, it wouldn't hurt to take a look. If you already feel like a master of Dungeons and are at ease with your own style, then you may still find some useful tips and techniques or a good refresher course on current skills.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Compleat Shemp
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The Infinity Rings for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
by Steve N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/31/2012 15:58:44
Lifted from another of my books available from Asparagus Jumpsuit "30 d30" (Check it out). The Infinity Rings have been masterfully expanded on and explained.

Berin has taken a gaming group's in-joke and turned it into a masterpiece. I love the additions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Infinity Rings for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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