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5E Mini-Dungeon #001: Buried Council Chambers
by Ralph T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2016 20:00:30

The format and layout of this 2 page "mini-dungeon" is very nice and of excellent quality. Obvisiouly there is a map of the dungeon, but it appears that the maps in each of the serious are set at the top and over layed by the title of the page, and while it gives it a nice artistic and professional look it makes it difficult to include a nice looking map in an online tabletop run. I would like to see, for each mini-dungeon in the series, include a third page that contains a blank map that I could easily load into a table top system, and not have to edit out the description numbers; so my players know some kind of event is going to happen. If a clean map of the area were to be provided I would easily give this a 4 star rating, and if the author would state where the entrance is to the mini-dungeon I would be glad to give this a 5 star rating.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #001: Buried Council Chambers
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B15: Rito della Successione
by Linda K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2016 13:57:53

I got B15: Rito della Successione for my son and he really enjoyed it. He wants me to find something like it in the near future. He said, "the author on this one one was pretty darn good and would like to have more from him."



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B15: Rito della Successione
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Tales from the Tabletop: Year One
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2016 10:55:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review


Okay, now for something completely different: This book clocks in at 60 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 7 pages advertisement (unless I've miscounted, 1 page back cover, leaving 50 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So how does this book work out? Well, basically, AAW Games publishes Jacob Blackmon's art and leaves speech bubbles open for the fans to fill - the funniest of the respective lines are collected in this book, with the respective authors of the lines credited, including the runner-ups, so even if you dislike one, you certainly will find a smile among the alternatives.


So this, ultimately, is a product of our community...and it is one that made me chuckle and laugh loud while reading this comic: When the party's hanging on a single rope and the characters caution against reminding the GM of maximum load capacity; when a paladin riding into a blackguard convention thinks of the worst blind date ever, when a dragon feeds the PCs a gelatinous cube and tells them to digest it before it digests them, then I got more than a few laughs out of the set-up and the on-point punchlines.


When a charismatic elf is bluffing a troll and a runner-up is "Hey, Billy Mage here with a new, fantastic offer!", I really laughed out loud!


How to rate this, then? Well, to me the artwork by Jacob Blackmon was great and similarly, the funny lines add a cool dimension to the comic itself. Humor, however, is subjective and not everyone will obviously consider every line funny; a couple of these, admittedly, didn't elicit the same sense of excitement than others, but over all, this book indeed provided what its goal was -fun! This collection of comics made me smile and that makes it very much worth it for me. So yes - this very much is worth getting if you're interested in some cool, gamer-humor. This pdf delivered what I wanted from it. Hence, my verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales from the Tabletop: Year One
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Tales from the Tabletop: Year One (PDF)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2016 10:52:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review


Okay, now for something completely different: This book clocks in at 60 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 7 pages advertisement (unless I've miscounted, 1 page back cover, leaving 50 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So how does this book work out? Well, basically, AAW Games publishes Jacob Blackmon's art and leaves speech bubbles open for the fans to fill - the funniest of the respective lines are collected in this book, with the respective authors of the lines credited, including the runner-ups, so even if you dislike one, you certainly will find a smile among the alternatives.


So this, ultimately, is a product of our community...and it is one that made me chuckle and laugh loud while reading this comic: When the party's hanging on a single rope and the characters caution against reminding the GM of maximum load capacity; when a paladin riding into a blackguard convention thinks off the worst blind date ever, when a dragon feeds the PCs a gelatinous cube and tells them to digest it before it digests them, then I got more than a few laughs out of the set-up and the on-point punchlines.


When a charismatic elf is bluffing a troll and a runner-up is "Hey, Billy Mage here with a new, fantastic offer!", I really laughed out loud!


How to rate this, then? Well, to me the artwork by Jacob Blackmon was great and similarly, the funny lines add a cool dimension to the comic itself. Humor, however, is subjective and not everyone will obviously consider every line funny; a couple of these, admittedly, didn't elicit the same sense of excitement than others, but over all, this book indeed provided what its goal was -fun! This collection of comics made me smile and that makes it very much worth it for me. So yes - this very much is worth getting if you're interested in some cool, gamer-humor. This pdf delivered what I wanted from it. Hence, my verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales from the Tabletop: Year One (PDF)
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Mini-Dungeon #032: Howling Halls
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/28/2016 11:12:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. It should be noted that this one's hyperlinks have a couple of omissions, i.e. not working, underlined hyperlinks. This does not really influence the usefulness of the file, though.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Still here?


All right! The Howling Halls can easily be inserted into the context of a grander dungeon and generally represents a hauntingly cold crypt-complex, which makes neat use of the environmental rules. Beyond a couple of nice traps, the theme, obviously, would be undead regarding the enemies contained herein and the exploration yields keys with script that can be used to open the central rooms of the crypts and battle the progressively harder guardians of this place - finally wresting a magical key labeled "peace" from the final crypt - but for what purpose remains up to the GM to decide.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!


Jonathan Ely's Howling Halls is a nice insert into a bigger dungeon complex. With two tower-like structures, the howling halls can easily be used by an enterprising GM as a kind of suture to connect two unrelated dungeon-levels and the challenges per se are nice, the content solid. The dungeon, in short, does what it's supposed to do and provides a fun, cool diversion and leaves an interesting hook for the GM in the player's hands. At the same time, it is just that - it does what it sets out to do well. For what it tries to be, this is a solid hub/sidetrek well worth 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #032: Howling Halls
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Aventyr Bestiary
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/21/2016 09:13:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive bestiary clocks in at 148 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 143 pages of content, one of which is devoted to the cover artist Raven Mimura's biography as well as the story behind the cover.


This book, just so you know it, is dedicated to Joshua Gullion, KTFish7, fellow reviewer, colleague and friend - he always did champion a bestiary for AAW Games' Aventyr setting and I does warm my heart to see this dream realized. In particularly since Aventyr's critters, from humble A03 onwards, have been a defining staple of the setting. The crab-like Kra'tah that haunted the Vikmordere burial ground is but one of the creatures found within this book alongside new variants of the evocative monstrosity.


So yes, beyond simply being a massive collection of monsters can also be seen as a kind of "best of" of what has come out of creature-design for the Aventyr-setting - the evocative underworld races introduced under their own product line have representations here, from the crystalline colliatur to the alien funglets and the related creatures, they find their representations within this book. We can find deep badgers with the respective animal companion stats and classics like the delightfully disturbing NITNAM from classic A09, a gigantic blob of flesh, a parasite-like infection of flesh on a wizard's tower, can be found herein as well.


Each of the monsters is codified via an easy to use monster icon key that depicts the climate in which the monster can be found as well as types and subtypes via pretty self-explanatory glyphs - though, as one nitpick pertaining the layout, the borders of these icons could be cleaner/sharper in the pdf-version.


So, this would cover the basics - but what beyond them? Well, there is a certain truth in the old saying that a campaign setting's monsters somewhat define a given world and system. One of the reasons that drew me to Pathfinder back when I bought #1 of RotRL was the take on goblins - the fact that they were evocative and different. The themes evoked in the book, from the Jersey devil-like Sandpoint Devil to some encounters all provided a mature theme I preferred to that of almost all official WotC-modules and inclusion of themes from the Dark Tapestry and ever more twists on the familiar tropes ultimately did their fair share in ensuring I'd stay with Pathfinder as my default system.


A world's monsters very much define its tone, a crucial component for any fantasy gaming setting: Introduce enough goofy creatures and the whole setting feels lighthearted; introduce enough grimdark elements and it similarly becomes rather dark. But beyond that, creature-design for setting bestiaries very much requires, at least in my book, a feeling of cohesion. Ultimately, my main measure for setting based bestiaries would be the fact that a bestiary like this needs to evoke a cohesive identity via its creatures between the lines - to succeed here, we require a sense of the down-to-earth baseline for a given world in the animals and plants. The aventyr bestiary does provide the like, with subterranean boars called vvors, svirfneblin riding slugs (!!!)...and then there would be skildpadders. Scandinavians may already glean at what these creatures precisely are, the name translating to tortoise - but the creature itself is massive. Skildpadders in the context of Aventyr are giant bulette-tortoises, used as elephant-on-speed-like beasts of burden by the dwarves, with howdahs and the like...and yes, they are damn dangerous and ravenous...but mere words do an insufficient job in describing the impact this creature had on my. Build-wise, it may not be the most evocative one, but the almost two-page-filling, massive artwork of this beast and the iconic nature of the concept adds a whole level of ideas to the game: I can see these titans making their way through the gigantic subterranean landscapes of the underworld, with their crews defending caravans of the gigantic beasts against the numerous threats below the surface. Images like this are truly fantastic in the best of ways and provide a unique sense of consistency to the world.


Another of my favorites would be the Szaboan: Think of a colossal crab with mantis-shrimp-like, scintillating coloring and two surprisingly cute rabbity-looking "ears" as feeler and red eyes...above a gigantic, all-consuming lamprey-like mouth, large enough to swallow whole houses, with rows upon rows of churning teeth? Yeah...at once cute and creepy...I love it.


Similarly, no (A)D&D/d20-based bestiary would truly be complete without an odd hybrid creature and this bestiary does offer such beings; as an example, I'd like to mention the Stegaloviper - at CR 7, this Huge foe is a disturbing cross of viper and centipede, with a massive, stegalodon-like club as its tail - think of a titanic rattle-snake that can bludgeon you to death with her rattle, while also have Alien-like mandibles in the gaping maw and insectoid legs on the underside of its belly. I almost expected this creature to feature in one of the classic, beloved Chronicles/Savage Sword of Conan-comics. Speaking of which - the builds of such fantastic creatures that breathe a certain sense of the unique can also be seen in the variants of fantastic spiders, with the CR 11 sloth spider and its lethargic aura and slime coating rendering it pretty powerful - but its stone carapace does render it staggered...until it erupts in devastating bursts of speed. Finally, the alien and tentacled Veinar, somewhere between Lovecraftian horror and plant-like aberration certainly should make fans of sword & sorcery tropes grin with glee.


Rust mites would also be pretty cool and certainly a creature PCs and players alike will come to hate: After all, how do you make rust monsters novel and nastier? Bingo. Make them a swarm. Speaking of magical vermin - chikfari would be grasshopper-like predators with devastating kicks. One of my own favorites, though, would be the dread karz - carnivorous slugs with bony protrusions , the ability to psionically lure in foes and a coating of poisonous, paranoia-inducing slime. And yes, before you ask: Salt does help. One component of this bestiary I personally very much enjoy is that the creatures herein often feature reward-mechanisms for smart groups to exploit, emphasizing creativity over just rolling the dice and comparing math.


There are also some truly weird monsters in this book that very much feel like they could have been picked from the pages of the mythology of our very own world: Take the Sigbin, for example: The winged predator with its black/red-striped fur, claws and goat's head, it has sleep-toxin coated spines, is infused with the essence of shadow and can grapple and pin shadows of those that run afoul of it. The three variants of the shield warden, spanning CRs from 7 to 18 would be the creatures featured on the cover - and they are similarly feeling like they belong, though here, the analogue one can find would be with the tropes and concepts of the magical guard, the superb security and guardian. What about constructs that resemble weird crosses between chickens and houses?


Speaking of constructs: What about sentient, psionic asteroids with gravity fields? And yes, the book also features golems galore - Two variants of book golems, the lavishly-rendered totem golem (one of the coolest creatures in the book with a ton of unique tricks), mosaic tile golems or spells/power points-leeching constructs...and more. On a less positive note, there is a rendition for a mob as aswarm herein - when that one was originally released, there was not yet a troop subtype, but conversion into it wouldn't have hurt the mob. Still, that issue extends to only one adversary herein.


However, as any good setting-specific bestiary acknowledges, there are also some threats that are, well, pretty much unique threats; bosses. This book also features those - a force of nature, the feral titan called Mortdravva (CR 22), for example. Noght Ma'klurl'uth the Madness Slug; or the insectoid, devilish titan called Naghith, the many-winged father, worshipped and feared by primitive tribes. The artworks for some of the adversaries herein are simply stunning, with the latter being a prime example for pure greatness. What about the Rellum, a gargantuan CR 24 ooze and incarnation of pure, destructive chaos?


The book also features no less than 6 templates, from the gorgeously rendered Colliatur monstrosity to the HEL-creature to making titanic versions of standard critters, the templates offer for neat customization options.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, particularly for a book of this size. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard, though, at least in the pdf, it could be a bit sharper. The book sports a huge array of artwork: Avid fans of 3pp-supplements may recognize a few of the artworks from previous releases, but the new ones truly shine, with several absolutely superb pieces that immediately grab your attention. The book also features several really big, one-page renditions...in short: This is a beautiful book. A very beautiful book. The pdf-version comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Now I don't (yet) own the print of this book, but I am sure as HEL going to get it - my print copies of Snow-White and Rise of the Drow are simply gorgeous and the smaller AAW Games-releases similarly are aesthetically pleasing....so yeah. If you can and prefer print, go for the premium paper-version. Worth it.


Mike Myler, Jonathan G. Nelson, Michael Allen, Curtis Baum, Wolfgang Baur, Brian Berg, Adam Daigle, Jeff Gomez, Joshua Gullion, Jacob Kellog, Jared Jeanquart, Juan Lucha, Justin Andrew Mason, Jonathan McAnulty, Michael McCarthy, Raven Mimura, Brian Wiborg Mønster, Will Myers, Jason Nelson, Owen K.C. Stephens, Colin Stricklin, Cory Wickruck, Stephen Yeardley - notice something in this list of authors? Yep, this is a veritable who is who of not only the gifted authors in the cadre of AAW Games, it also features some of the biggest names in third party publishing - and it shows.


The Aventyr Bestiary is a great book brimming with imagination and truly unique ideas - whether you want a fix of sword-and-sorcery-esque themes, strange horrors or simply cool animal-like creatures, the book breathes a sense of the fantastic. More surprising, though, is that it retains, in spite of the breadth it covers, in spite of the various voices of designers herein, a sense of cohesion and consistency. Reading this book, you can't help but slowly get a feeling for the world of Aventyr, one that extends beyond the confines of individual monster entries. It's subtle; it's, in fact, almost imperceptible...but it's here. A feeling of everything coming together, of a fantastic world that feels different from others; by virtue of its creatures and the themes they provide. The presence of what one could consider "puzzle foes" in the book similarly is something I cherish and quite a few creatures in this book made me go "Damn, this one could carry a whole adventure!" and then start brainstorming.


This, to me, is testament of the quality and imaginative potential this offers. At the same time, though, you should be aware of the fact that rabid fans of Aventyr will see some old acquaintances here: If you, like me, own a majority of AAW Games' output, you'll encounter quite a few of the best-of critters featured in the respective modules. These tend to be winners and evocative indeed, mind you, but it is still something to bear in mind. Format-wise, this book very much adheres to the bestiary-formula championed by Paizo, which means that this book is mainly crunch - so, if you want extensive background information beyond a few paragraphs, you may gnash your teeth a little. Then again, I'd truly love to see extensive and detailed ecologies and modules depicting a lot of these creatures, so consider me wanting to know more about them testament of how damn evocative they ultimately are.


How to rate this...see, this is where it becomes a bit difficult for me. As a person, I absolutely adore this book. It features some of my favorite non-mythic critters in ages. As a reviewer, I had to nitpick a bit, as you've read above...but honestly, it's been a while since I've read a bestiary of this size with this much soul, a book of monsters that made me envision a fantasy world that, by virtue of their very existence, behaves differently from other fantasy settings...and this is a huge deal for me. If you already own the majority of AAW Games' catalogue, you'll get a bit less mileage out of this book, but the vast majority of the new critters more than makes up for this...and hence, after long and careful deliberation, I will ward this book the full five stars + seal of approval. There is simply too much awesomeness in these pages. If you thought even once "Heck yes!" regarding the monster-concepts I mentioned above, you'll probably sit before this book with a broad grin on your face. I know I am.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aventyr Bestiary
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Mini-Dungeon #031: Dwarven Dread
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/20/2016 10:55:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Still here?


All right! It can always get worse. This simple premise is represented in many an experience, many a module - and here, it is represented by the duergar. Evil and loathsome though they may be, they generally at least are sane. Well, Argyle the Betrayer has gone off the deep end after encounter the derro magister Angree, who turned the cave wizard into a kind of mad savior of a duergar cult - it is up to the PCs to stamp out the cult and stop the madness from spreading. The dungeon presented here provides a sufficient diversity regarding its challenges, with a small, nice random encounter table adding dynamics, read-aloud rune-inscriptions adding fluff and environmental challenges adding an additional dimension to the encounters. While two of the hyperlinks are dead, they pertain to environmental heat dangers and pulverizers, both components you can relatively easily look up. Stone/Magma-themed foes as well as the evil dwarves provide a concise theme regarding identity of the mini-dungeon.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!


Michael Smith's "Dwarven Dread" is a solid addition to the Mini-dungeon line. While it is not as creative as the best of them, it provides an easy to insert dwarven-themed side-trek that features sufficient diversity in the challenges provided to make this a solid, fun romp. As a whole, this clocks in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo - a solid, easily inserted sidetrek if you require some padding for dwarven-centric scenarios.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #031: Dwarven Dread
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Mini-Dungeon #030: The Burning Tree of Coilltean Grove
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/19/2016 08:01:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Still here?


All right! While travelling inside a large forest, the PCs happen upon a sight most peculiar - Coilltean Grove. While this grove of the dryad Flùràlainn would be a most intriguing find in the dullest of times, right now, it is the place of a rarely seen phenomena: The tree is ablaze, the dryad in panic - and beyond that, two tribes of sprites are engaging in all-out warfare, fighting with uncharacteristic ferocity. In order to quell the bloodshed among the fey, the PCs will have to help the dryad, deduce the culprit and source beyond the apparent insanity of the fey and put an end to said threat, for an all out great encounter/module.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos! The map of this one deserves special mention - it is surprisingly high-quality and evocative for the format - though GMs should not show it to the players, since the map contains a SPOILER pertaining what's going on.


Justin Andrew Mason's mini-dungeon here is simply awesome - beyond the obvious roleplaying potential for roleplaying and the unique, cool backdrop of what happens here, the mini-dungeon can have intriguing repercussions indeed. The set-up is intriguing, the map great - there is simply not much beyond nitpickery to complain about. This is a great use of the format and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #030: The Burning Tree of Coilltean Grove
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Into the Wintery Gale: Raider's Haul
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/18/2016 09:24:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This collection of magic items clocks in at a massive 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD (though the SRD-page sports two short paragraphs of content), leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, these magic items are intended for the unique Vikmordere-culture in Aventyr, which can be likened to a unique blend of native Americans and Vikings. It should be noted that adaption of the items to other contexts and cultures is pretty simple, though, personally, I'd consider that to be a bit of a waste - you see, the Vikmordere culture slowly introduced over the course of multiple modules set in Aventyr, may easily be the most intriguing ethnicity/culture I have seen introduced for a given setting in a long, long while, so finally getting magic items to further accentuate its peculiarities is a big plus for me. And yes, I actually wrote them into my current main campaign; you know, the non-playtesting one where we play for fun and fun alone? The one I really guard against influences I don't absolutely love? Well...yeah. That should give you an inkling of how much I like this culture.


I'm rambling, right? Sorry. But this goes somewhere. Beyond simply depicting magic items as in other sourcebooks, the pdf has several peculiarities. Number one would be the correspondence of the items to magic item cards - while not necessary for the enjoyment of this book, the item cards do provide a welcome option for time-starved GMs to simply hand out and the fact that the items denote their cards makes this very easy to use. Beyond that, and here is where my rambling above comes into play, each item actually comes with cultural information pertaining the magic item and its function, use and status within the Vikmordere culture, featuring unique tidbits while hearkening to a school of design that is not about math, but about myth-weaving. Suffice to say, I adore this decision.


Anyways, the items also get their own descriptive flavor text (great for GMs who are bad at that kind of thing)...and, well...they have artworks. Not a couple of them. I mean gorgeous, high-quality full-color artworks for each and every item in this book, featuring Mates Laurentiu's unique and very fairy-tales-esque style...that actually manages to get the flair of the Vikmordere.


Okay, so this may be impressive, right? Well, it kind of is...but personally, it's the items that make this interesting. We begin, for example, with Amphorae of Wargmead which allow the imbibers to assume Powerful Shape-modified wild shape into Large dire wolf form. Yes, this basically is akin to a spell in a can - but it does modify the precise effects and the visuals it evokes and the cultural tidbits conspire to make this infinitely more compelling than it would be otherwise. The expensive and powerful armet of glory provides cumulative deflection bonuses to AC for each crit confirmed -and guess what? The item actually navigates, rather well, I might add, the issue of per-combat mechanics by also providing a fixed time frame. Kudos!


Basher's Shields are also interesting -two enchanted bashing shields that work in conjunction and allow the user to fuse them together into a tower shield-equivalent of their own, with bonus feats granted to the wielder while wearing the shields. Pretty unique. The berserker's boss actually contains three shields with unique properties, with in particular the trickster-shield being brutal: No save 1/day exchange of places with a creature attacking the wielder. On a nitpicky side, the shield should probably specify that the exchange is a conjuration [teleportation]-effect for purposes of ability/spells interaction...but the daily limit makes me still consider this cool...and functional...and unique.


Bows that facilitate firing multiple arrows at once (with Manyshot-interaction covered) may be cool...but what about boots that automatically create ice when the wearer treads upon water? And yes, the rules for this are more complex than one would think from the concept, but ultimately, it manages to handle them; it works. Brynja Mail, originally worn by a demi-goddess, changes hues depending on temperatures and is particularly potent for superhumanly dexterous characters, with potent defensive capabilities. This may be a bit inexpensive, but considering the origin and scarcity of this armor, I have no issue with it. An iron censer that doubles as a flaming flail for Large-sized creatures, capable of warming the cold, should also be mentioned, What about a fan made of hawk feathers, assisting in the conjurations of rituals? Hero's blood as a powerful potion (with an optional rule that makes it less palatable...) and hero's hope is similarly unique: A horribly amateurishly cobbled together buckler that is enchanted to 1/day, make the user basically immune to ranged attacks, negating hostile assaults...though the shield does collapse upon absorbing a critical hit as a unique balancing mechanicsm for its power. Beyond a cursed horn of thirst, an electricity-laced reindeer seax that doubles as a lesser elemental metamagic rod.


Now here's a glorious one: The hunter's haversack can create items beyond its obvious storing capacity. However, it manages to get EVERYTHING right! It can't be cheesed for money; It can't be cheesed to create custom, specific items...and retains full functionality! Oh YES! Thank you! You know, this may be the first crazy-prepared item I know of that does not have any issues!


A halberd fashioned from mammoth tooth can conjure forth a mammooth to ride and an instrument can conjure forth ratatosks (see Vikmordere Bestiary) and bodhran drums can carry messages for miles. Runestones of warding deserve special mention - a total of 16 such stones are provided. They each have a pool of charges and basically work like more versatile ioun stone array that provides bonuses versus specific schools/subschools of magic, with each bonus granted consuming one charge. On a nitpick, they use the nomenclature "rune bonus" sans defining rune bonus for stacking/interaction purposes.


Ähem: "This ornamented human skull has had a circular hole cut into its crown, trimmed with a rune-covered gold band. Its jaws have been positioned so that the mouth remains gaping wide open, and two large pristine rubies have been lodged into its gazing eye sockets." - That's the skriksong. In the presence of haunts or undead, it emits a conical, fiery glow that can render the incorporeal corporeal and acts as a glorious warning system for haunts. And, come on - the imagery evoked...it's...stunning.


What about a spiked, dancing buckler that can be thrown? Or what about a massive, magical snekkja (a type of longship) that is crewed by spirits and that can turn all abroad incorporeal...yes, this is, quite literally, the stuff of legends. The potentially petrification-causing gorgon ability is underpriced for a +2 bonus in my book. Vængr throwing axes can generate gusts of wind or wind walls - nice, but personally, I love the magical wenchline of hoisting, a variant of an immovable rod that, bingo, help hoisting! Makes so much sense to me! Neat! Oh, and have I mentioned the ice-genie in a bottle?


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good in both the formal and rules-language departments - I noticed no significant glitches. The full-color 2-column, unique layout standard created for this book by BJ Hensley and Daniel Marhsall is GORGEOUS and, as mentioned above, the artworks are copious and stunning. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Justin Andrew Mason's Raider's Haul may well be one of the best magic item books I've seen in a long while. It certainly is the most beautiful one - the artwork-density and quality of the artworks is stunning. While I'm not sold on the pricing of all items herein, that remains very much a personal thing, though some enchantments and bonuses herein very much feel like they shouldn't be crafted in series. Why? Because this, in its design and culture, in the glorious fluff suffusing this book, very much adheres to the mythical take on magic, where it is supposed to instill wonder, provide unique benefits and not like something that can be bought at adventurers-are-us. If taken under this, its intended purpose and premise, this may well rank among the finest item collections for PFRPG.


If you take the story-components out of the items and make them widely available, you also deprive them of some of their magic - of their uniqueness and flair. The two components I thus consider problematic are the relatively powerful magic weapon qualities contained herein, since they imply a wider availability. However, this book, as a collection of culturally distinct loot with its own stories and flair, is frankly intended for the GM, as a great selection of tools to reward heroic PC. Used as such, as intended, this works perfectly - powerful and unique, breathing the flair of its unique culture.


As you all may know, I am a rather big proponent of "magic should be magical and not something you buy in the market" - so for me, this absolutely and completely does its job in a truly superb manner; in the context of Aventyr, this steps up the game for magic items and the coolness of the unique Vikmordere-culture. Beyond its setting-confines, it remains a stellar collection of items for Norse-inspired cultures that breathe a sense of the uniquely magical into fantasy rendition of Viking-inspired cultures, going one step beyond the tropes evoked in classic Norse mythology, adding a unique and creative spin to everything. In short: I absolutely adore this book. It's an achievement of storytelling that provides items that feel more magical than most PFRPG-items, that feel like items that are more than the sum of their math and properties. For that, I love this book and while it may not be 100% perfect, it is very close to that...at least for me. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Wintery Gale: Raider's Haul
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Mini-Dungeon #029: Heart of the Sacred Dawn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/29/2016 08:59:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Still here?


All right!


In ages long gone, the lord of dragons Tenebrash was vanquished by the order of sacred dawn with the help of an ancient relic, the lucespel. Now, evil has returned to the lands of mortals and it is up to the heroes to find and secure the lucespel within the confines of the now ruined temple-keep of the order of sacred dawn. The deity once in command of the artifact remains purposefully obscure and can be considered to be a great placeholder for deities from Saranrae to Latander or Arden. Within these sacred halls, only the mightiest of heroes have a chance to prove their mettle - to do so, they must defeat exceedingly powerful knights turned to spirit of adoration. The ruins also sport a riddle that requires the PCs to collect certain words, which prove to be the answer to a simple riddle. When solved a templated great black wyrm dread ghost still stands between the PCs and triumph...oh, and that one downright sadistic trap...that, RAW, is even triggered when the correct key has been taken, which may be an oversight. 3 x Power Word: Kill at CL 20 is nasty and probably should not be triggered when the correct key is used. Similarly, that should be a trap or at least a haunt; the pdf has a tough option for legendary rogues to bypass the boss fight, but not to find and disarm the killer-magic...which could result in some complaining. Beyond these secured portals, the artifact beckons - though its exact powers are left for the GM to decide.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!


Justin Andrew Mason's Heart of the Sacred Dawn is a mini-dungeon we can really use. Why? Simple: We don't have a lot of quality high-level material. The added requirements of high-level gameplay are tough to master and conversely, this pdf doesn't have the space to provide elaborate notes on the certainty of teleportation et al. That being said, the challenges are flavorful and diverse, with the kill-trap's trigger in either case being my one true structural gripe beyond wishing that the exploration required some more uses of high-level tricks and abilities. Apart from the combat challenges and overkill-kinda-trap, the module could be handled by lower level PCs as well.


How to rate this? Well, while not perfect, this constitutes a fun diversion for high-level PCs and in the hand of a good GM, this can be a pretty cool insertion. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #029: Heart of the Sacred Dawn
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Fin Starling's Guide to Morsain
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2016 10:58:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive Player's Guide/sourcebook clocks in at 55 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 51 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Once upon a time, there was a massive, gorgeous hardcover that AAW Games made; so beautiful was the hardcover, it brought tears of joy to the eyes of many a GM out there as they marveled at the gorgeous artwork and the intricate details of the massive city of Morsain contained therein, as they read all the evocative ideas and plot-hooks that seemed to leap from the very page. But, alas, this massive mega-adventure had an issue - you see, it did draw upon one of the most recognizable fairy tales in all the lands of earth and its premise worked best if the PCs didn't yet know that.


This made quite a few GMs out in the land very, very sad: "Alas, woe betide me, grim is my lot - I can't just show off the book sans spoiling this reveal, but I do so want to let my players gaze upon the resplendence of this tome!" The cries did sound far and wide in the lands of Pathfinderia and its neighbor 3.Xia and the stricken GMs pulled their hair and tinkered with their tools, but so great was the work, they didn't do all too well in redacting the original.


It came thus to be, that, deep within the base of mighty AAW games, the hardworking wordmsiths and cartographers did hear the plight of their loyal supporters and, light a brownie properly appeased, went to work with fervor unmatched, the goal being a lofty one that was higher than the ole' beanstalk of Jack: To make a book for all the players to enjoy without spoiling the huge adventure they had made to such massive acclaim.


Thus, they did send out their ravens, far and wide, to all the lands and even across the ocean to their talented associates and had them draw like they had never drawn before - Justin Andrew Mason crafted a cover, Eric Quigley made visions astounding and as far as in remote Finland and Rumania, the eager quills of Mates Laurentia and Tommi Salama did move like the wind, making maps and art staggering, shining from the pages - with wrinkles and a parchment-look, all sans spoiling details for players far and wide. Jensen Toperzer took all of these gems, sent promptly back from the hands of talent most compelling, and promptly crafted a unified look, laid it all out for the people to marvel and rejoice.


And so it came to be, that, upon pages like wrinkled parchment, between prose penned by Will Myers, the conucopia of images and vistas came to life, depicting fair Morsain in all its glory - and all without mentioning or spoiling what this was about. And thus, the GMs rejoiced and cackled with glee, all according to their own temperament.


Alack and alas, this was not yet the end of the story, for the book was supposed to also have some new tricks for players to enjoy and that it did: There would be the alchemicalist, an alchemist most wondrous and different, one that sported a companion creature, a pet, if you will, which would then grow in both prowess and intellect. The concept of this complex build was most captivating, true - but in the details, some jealous creatures with intent most malign, did sneak in: You see, these masters of chemicals most uncommon get gels that replace the bombs of their brethren, but the gels, diverse and wondrous, do have some hiccups in the details, with mentions of heat damage instead of fire damage and similar minor glitches. The evil gremlins snickered and laughed, since now GMs would do need a bit of time to make this one work as smoothly as intended.


Undeterred by this, the wordsmiths made a royal guard archetype for the fighter -and here, the gremlins did not succeed in their malevolence: Designating wards, these stalwart champions made for compelling bodyguards that could truly protect their chosen wards and stagger those foolish enough to try to attack those under their protection and devoted to taking these fools alive.


Finally, they did weave the Gambler base class, which would get d8 HD, 6+Int skills per level, good Ref- and Will-saves, proficiency with a unique weapon list and spontaneous spellcasting via Cha of up to 4th level, with its own list. The gambler can cast spells in light armor sans penalty and gains bonuses to social skills against creatures of an ever increasing array of types/subtypes. 4+ Cha-mod rounds (+2 per level), the gambler can begin a gambler's commentary, which was not unlike bardic performance, though the precise effects differed. With an emphasis on banter, the gambler also proved to be more resilient to sonic or language-dependant effects and skill bonuses when playing favored games, while also being favored by lady luck in his defenses and capable of drawing forth items or even, at higher levels, quickly take 10, and, in limited capacity, take 20. Alas, the gremlins swallowed and gobbled up the italicizations in the spell list, which also had two new spells exclusive to the class, with one allowing for scaling rerolls at level 1 - a good thing, it is exclusive!


But wait, this is not where it end - a zip-file was added with much care; two other pdfs included for your edification: A second version of the guide, not bar its beauty, one should say; a GM's booklet was included alongside, and in its pages, the Gobhoblin at the CR 8 and the Phocce at CR 12 await the gleeful use of worldsmiths far and wide, with copious amounts of tricks and unique flavor accompanying them, resounding mythologies on their heels - alas, the gremlins did succeed in this little book as well, swallowing a verb here and scrambling a number there - a warning to all, to of their mischief beware!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are, on the one hand, very good - the formal components of this guide are well done; at the same time, the rules-language does sport a couple of hiccups that made me gnash my teeth. While the glitches aren't as pronounced as to render this pdf problematic, they do transcend what I'd consider negligible. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous 2-column full-color standard that is a sheer joy to behold, with a huge amount of stunning full color artwork and supreme full color cartography of player-friendly maps complementing a truly aesthetically compelling book that ranks among the most beautiful you can buy for in PFRPG 3pp-circuit - certainly in the Player's Guide subgenre. The pdfs all come fully bookmarked for your convenience.


So, how does the tale of the guide to Morsain end? Well, much like many of the best stories, with a happy end, though one tinted with a bit of tragedy. You see, this book's first half, frankly, can be considered to rank among the finest, most evocative player's guides I have ever read. The prose is captivating and engrossing, the book SPOILER-free and yet engaging - and I LOVE it for that. In fact, judged only in this regard, this would probably be one of my all-time favorite PGs and worthy of a candidate spot for this year's top ten.


Alas, the additional material, in quality, falls a bit short of what the rest of the guide offers: The alternate bard-style gambler and the alchemicalist archetype both have unique and captivating concepts, but both also have several instances where the rules-language feels like it could have used a streamlining: Damage-types, minor wording hiccups - the like. Both also, at least to me, feel like they should have been branded as alternate classes and expanded slightly - both aren't necessarily OP or anything and I don't think they'd wreck the game, but neither are they as concisely presented as they should have been. On the plus-side: The Royal Guard is pretty awesome - think of it as similar to Dreamscarred Press' Warder, but sans the Path of War power-level-increase or WuXia-style supernatural attacks, rendering it a feasible option for just about every campaign and one of my favorite takes on the bodyguard concept in PFRPG.


How to rate this, then? Well, this is where I am in a pickle - and where you can read this story two ways: For the crunch alone, I'd probably not recommend getting this; in that discipline, I'd probably rate this 3.5 to 4 stars. However, as a Player's Guide, this book excels in a triumphant and extremely immersive, unique manner. Will Myers and Stephen Yeardley have certainly upped the ante regarding the production values, quality and sense of immersion such a guide can get - this most certainly is a huge step up from the first Player's Guide AAW Games made; in fact, I'd consider the fluff and atmosphere evoked, the PG section, 5 stars + seal-level material. Ultimately, I tend to average the two scores in such an instance - which would result at a final verdict of 4.5 stars...but to round up or down? Well, if you want this for the crunch alone, I'd suggest you round down; personally, both due to in dubio pro reo and the fact that this lives by its flavor and does its job so well, I will round up.


...and thus, the reviewer stopped typing for a second and lived, almost, happily ever after. Or, to paraphrase how those tales end in German: "Und wenn er nicht gestorben ist, so lebt er wohl noch heute." (Roughly: "And if he hasn't died in the meanwhile, he is still living out there today.")


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fin Starling's Guide to Morsain
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Mini-Dungeon #002: Hobgoblin Lair
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/20/2016 12:09:04

This module is pretty straigthforward: Hobgoblins, lead by a Bugbear, have been ravaging the area and the characters have hunt them down. These small dungeons are built to be short adventures and therefore, not a lot of details about the lair or the hierarchy of the adversaries are provided. However, the module contains many good opportunities for a GM to drop elements of a campaign. Since the details are vague, the lair can be placed anywhere. Hints of dwarven origins can be found as the pc's explore the lair. Overall, a good dungeon crawl with a few traps, but nothing out of the ordinary.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #002: Hobgoblin Lair
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Mini-Dungeon IWG05: The White Wyrm Awakens
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/11/2016 08:33:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com's shop and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Additionally, it should be noted that this is intended for use in conjunction with the upcoming "Into the Wintery Gale"-saga.


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Still here?


All right!


The adventurers have met the Hvíturiddare, the riders of winter wyrms - and the Vikmordere, trusting the PCs, reveal that not all are worthy to ride these magnificent beasts into battle...nor are all wyrms capable of becoming mounts, even with the wyrmreins - hence, the PCs are guided to Ormurhellinum - in this sanctuary, the PCs have to collect magical ice shards while besieged by winter wyrmlings - only to finally enter the sanctum, where a full-blown winter wyrm will attack - taking the wyrmreins item, the PCs will have to mount the raging beast and stay on it, while it tries to squash them - only the bravest of heroes will triumph - but have a superbly powerful mount while the reins are in place...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!


Justin Andrew Mason's fifth mini-dungeon for ITWG is friggin' AWESOME. High-concepts, awesome benefit, evocative culture and dungeon - superb. 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans any hesitation.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon IWG05: The White Wyrm Awakens
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Adventure Chronicle #1
by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 15:12:35

Not bad for a first issue the reviews were nice and love the fact that the ads are all hyper linked to websites for the products. The biggest problem I had was that the whole issue seemed very heavily leaned towards pathfinder. The one 5E adventure seems like it would run great and will probably try it out in the upcoming weeks. But I would really liked to have seen a duality in the non adventure content (i.e. The Menagerie, The Arcanarium, The Gauntlet) and have both a Pathfinder and 5E version of that content. Otherwise great first issue and will deffinitely be looking to pick up the next one.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Chronicle #1
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Mini-Dungeon IWG04: Ways of the Old
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/10/2016 02:39:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com's shop and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM.


Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Additionally, it should be noted that this is intended for use in conjunction with the upcoming "Into the Wintery Gale"-saga.


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Still here?


All right!


Sorrow's Snekkja may be the key to quenching the evil slumbering within Serpent Lake - unfortunately, the most reliable source who may know about this elusive item would be the well-known skald Boddi Boddason, whose last known destination was the crypt of a forgotten jarl - hence, the pdf are off to examine exactly this complex - and the PCs indeed find it...and the hints of Boddi's presence, drawing them further and further into the complex, only to find a makeshift office...and the skald deceased...but thankfully, his journal does provide a hint...but the PCs will have to escape the powerful aptrgangrs that stand guard within these confines - and yes, the combat here can be avoided, the curse broken - if the PCs are well-versed and smart enough to realize the option...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!


Justin Andrew Mason's fourth mini-dungeon does it right: We have a great, flavorful build-up; evocative read-aloud text...and non-combat means to resolve the danger. Traps and even a bit of investigation set-up (optional) are provided - this is great and makes the formula work in spite of its brevity. My final verdict is 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon IWG04: Ways of the Old
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