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Aventyr Bestiary
by Debra L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2016 01:11:08

Disclaimer: I was a backer on the Kickstarter for this project so I had rather high hopes for this product.

The Aventyr Bestiary states it is a 3.5 OGL and Pathfinder Compatible Product. It is a Pathfinder Product and OGL Compliant but it does not contain dual statistics.

One of the things I really like is that the Table of Contents is linked so you can click and go right to the creature. A+ for that.

The artwork is eyecatching though a tad cartoonish. That's just subjective opinion so if you love the artwork, I'm not going to burst your bubble.

Editing is less than stellar. That said, I'm still rather impressed with the variety of creatures.

I really wanted to like the Icons but Extraplanar is used far too often: It is listed as Climate/Environment AND Twice as Type/Subtype. For Climate/Environment, I would call it Planar so that there is less confusion. .For Type/Subtype, I think the second one was meant to be Outsider. It has the lighter blue circle. Air is also listed as an Environment and as Subtype. I much would have preferred Sky to Air for Environment. Sadly Marsh/Swamp has no icon. (Note the Half-Fiend Dryad may have that icon but it isn't listed). You have a few monsters that could use that. No icon is listed for Ruins/Dungeons for that matter.

What is the Fungus Type or is it a Subtype? There is an icon but no explanation and it is not in the PRD.

I noticed the Augmented Subtype was missing (this is important because I think it was needed for the Fleshdoll Rogue and is lacking though I will comment on that later). While there is an Evil Icon, there is no corresponding Good one. I don't know if this was done on purpose or just an oversight. You have Psionic as a Subtype in a few places but no corresponding Icon. Last of all, there is no Shapechanger icon.

Most of the creatures seem to comply with the standard rules, but I have neither the tiime nor inclination to crunch all the numbers. Suffice to say, unless something jumps out at me, I'm going to presume the stat blocks are correct.

Unique creatures aren't just Solitary. If there is only one of its kind, that should be noted (Exsangunator for example)

Now for the Nit Picks:

Creatures should not have Two Types unless one is an Augmented Type see Elemental Drake and Fleshdoll Rogue. Note: you need to list whch traits they keep and which they lose somewhere, because of conflicts. Immunities should still be listed individually not just as Construct and Undead traits as per Fleshdoll. DMs want the information at their fingertips and don't want to have to look that stuff up.

Creatures do "points of" damage not just a type of damage.

What gives with all the creatures that you couldn't be bothered to add an "s" to make plural. I find this to be just sheer laziness (not to mention it enables illiteracy).

The avatar of Alkumuoto doesn't have a plane of existance listed in Environment. Should an Evil aligned plane at least.

Why does the Biddlytree speak Druidic instead of Sylvan? Druidic is a secret language.

Chicken Coop is a Construct (and no mention of Baba Yaga even) but the Construction section is missing.

The Dark Angel is a wholly wasted Subtype in my not so humble opinion. You could have said this was an evil angel and or at least noted which special abilities are granted by the Subtype. "Subtypes add additional abilities and qualities to a creature." This new subtype is rather lackluster and lackng.

Elemental Drake has two Types. It looks like it should be the Dragon Type with Extraplanar and Native subtypes.

The Draaki has the Graldin Breath Weapon special ability that could have just been noted as Breath Weapon. The phrashing is confusing since it just seems to do fire damage.

Exsanguinator's Ecology section is missing.

Fleshdoll Rogue is all sorts of Confusing: Male Human Fleshdoll Rogue 5. Okay. But then how is it a Construct AND Undead as both are Types? Also, it doesn't need any of the Undead immunities since they are all covered under the Construct immunities. I'd like to see Construction section on this too.

On the other hand, the Forstdeath Dragon is a proper Undead. Sadly, these undead dragons lose their breath weapons entirely.

Fungiant is another favorite of mine. The trunk of a mushroom is properly called a "stipe." Yes, that is particularly nit picky.

Funglet is another Two Type creature. It looks like this is just an Intelligent Plant that happens to have a humanoid appearance. I'd just leave it as a Plant Type and lose the Humanoid Type. Plants are immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms). Immunity to paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep effects, and stunning. What are those Subtypes (audire, funglet)? They should be noted somewhere or at least note some source where they can be found. You completely wasted an advertizing goldmine by not putting the book where this is in the OGL section. How do you think people find these books?

Gitwerc are a nice addition though it would have been nice to have dweorg too since the two are so closely related. And why isn't your book that has those listed in the copyright notice? This is exactly how people find your products because they are listed in your other books.

Goemul's deadspeech ability notes speak with dead, which as a spell should be in italics (really nit pickiing here).

Libreum is also spelled as Liberum. Which one is correct?

The grizzly bear rug is terrific and another one of my favorites as it can be used in many settings. I want this to be a magical beast however. A druid made it after all. Why is this as strong as normal grizzly bear since it is so much thinner? About 1/4 the weight of a male grizzly. Also, grizzly bears have a racial modifier to Swim, which is lacking but not noted so it appears to be a mistake. See here: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/bestiary/bear.html#bear-grizzly

Are gyeongsa warpstorms affected by natural or summoned weather?

I also am quite fond of the Ireful Hellion. A devil that is chaotic. It should retain its Lawful Subtype however even if its alignment is Chaotic. See Lawful Subtype.

I'm also fond of the Hordenheim riot. Thank you for acknowledging where you bend the rules.

Hoyrall warrior is another with two Types. Just because it is humanoid in shape doesn't make it Humanoid. This should just be an aberration.

Jinn Wizards are a bit of a misnomer since they aren't actual wizards at all and don't cast spells. They probably should have the Psionic Subtype since you have the icon for it.

Karz slug and Karz slug queen should also have Psionic subtype since you have an Icon for it. They may also have a Swamp Icon that isn't in the Icon list.

Should kra’tah have Underground icon since it isn't listed in their environments?

Mortdravva is not only Solitary but also seems to be Unique (see Organization).

If mutah can breathe air, then they should not have the Aquatic subtype. Just because a creature lives in an aquatic environment doesn't mean it has to have the Aquatic Subtype.

Naghith also seems to be Unique (See Organization)

Necro-pede's Psychic Vampire ability contains no game mechanics. How long does it take to feed and what happens to the victim it feeds off? Should there be a saving throw for example?

Nitnam also seems to be a Unique creature.

Nogth Ma’klurl’uth also appears to be a Unique creature. Madness Within ability has singular/plural issue. In the stat block the creature is an it (no gender is given) but in the flavor text the creature is noted as HE. Also, the drow witch is female. You should probably clarify this mystery.

Ollphéist should be Magical Beast not Animal as it has an Intelligence of 5.

I'm not sure why Petrous has the elemental subtype: Elementals do not need to breathe, eat or sleep. No elemental immunities are listed. The text contradicts the subtype.

Phoso are kinda slow for their size at 40 ft., even with that many legs.

Pubo should be magical beasts not animals as they are naturally psionic.

Rellum the correct subtype is extraplanar not outsider. Outsider is a Type. Environment should list its home plane.

Snow Roc's Icy Gust probably shouldn't be a free action as it is a supernatural attack. That means that a target can take damage from its Icy gust and from its normal attacks in the same round. It should be a standard action otherwise it seems overpowered.

Rufidier should probably have an "s" as a plural. Also, free actions should not be attacks. Flame gout should be a standard action.

Rust mite swarm is bound to piss off a lot of players. I see this as a Deus Ex Machina to get inappropriate items away from PCs.

I'm not sure I understand the purpose of the salt worm's regenerating maw. Why would it ever lose its maw in the first place? Methinks it needs to be rewritten for clarity. What wound is regenerating? See your other gaping maw ability in Szaboans,

Screaming Severed Skulls melee attack should read 1d2 plus 1 cold. Don't take shortcuts with + signs. I'm not sure why it has a slam attack instead of a bite since it has no limbs. Does it ram its skull into you?

Why should an incorporeal shadow rat be able to bite a corporeal foe, even if it's just to allow a bite that does only Strength damage? That's pretty harsh for a CR 1 encounter. It can immobilize a level one party in an hour. I see a TPK here.

Shield Wardens should have their home plane listed in Environment or at least any lawful plane. What a boon if the party can get this kind of help!

Sigbin have the potential to be a TPK as well. I assume Negative is negative energy damage in the damage. That doesn't see intuitive but I'm willing to let it pass. The party isn't likely to have any items that bypass negative energy damage so this is a bit tougher than would be expected.

Skildpadder(s) should probably be magical beasts rather than animals considering they're the offspring of bulettes.

Cold Mutated Ogre Spiders are a mouthful to say the least. Not a fan of the name.Does this imply that there are other ogre spiders that aren't cold or mutated?

Giant legwater spiders aren't all that swift as they only move 30 ft., which is standard for a medium sized creature. The walking on water thing is just gonna get it called Jesus Spiders. You know that right?

A sloth spider with a hasted burst. Oh, the irony.

That's some black pudding, just saying. I guess there is no real Stone Salve-Shaped Template; pity.

Riding slug? Ewww. Also death from above when it drops on you. How much do these weigh? See falling damage.

Tri-Tongue Horror source material isn't listed in Copyright section. At least you cite to it.

Do ethereal and incorporeal creatures have a diminished sense of smell? See Veinar.

Vestraadi subtype text is missing.

Waspite should do electricity damage not electric damage.

Zvucni (really isn't that pronounced zucchini?). It is NOT an ooze. It's an aberration.

Zwerc.Again with the double Types. It looks like it should be Fey (augmented humanoid, dwarf, zwerc). Again reference to dweorg.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Aventyr Bestiary
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Cloak & Ballot Trilogy 3: Divided Stand
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/04/2016 12:53:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the Cloak & Ballot trilogy clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Election is in full swing in Rogail - and things heat up significantly in this module. This being a review of an adventure, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs left? Great! After the conclusion of Part II, we begin this module with an orc mob torching the HQ of the town militia...which coincidentally also allows notorious Lem Grogh to escape from prison...and things don't get nicer from here: A caravan fills the PCs in that orc raiders have returned and since the city was almost razed by such folk before, dispersing them may be in the interest of the campaigning PCs - this would be an optional sidequest depicted in the appendix, but it also is the end of the Lem Grogh storyline and thus should probably be played - the man has been captured and tortured by the orcs and handing him over to the authorities will get him killed...but does he deserve being set free? Nice little moral conundrum here...and yes, the PCs can prevent Grogh from being executed AND do the right thing!

That being said, the PCs will probably only have the time for that if they managed to take out the gremlins before...if not Willard Maypoll will have handled the threat, which is a minor PR-fiasco for the PCs. Speaking of which: The newspaper accosts Trina Hearth, the PC's patron, of being behind the escape of Grogh...so defusing that one's fallout may well be rather intriguing, but boils down to relatively simple checks On the subsequent day, Trina hosts the Rogail merchant's ball, where PCs act as security and have the chances to mix and mingle...with some presswork, they may eliminate the anti-Trina bias from the newspaper in a bit of backroom politics...oh, and they should handle those protesters, preferably before Maypoll arrives and commits a rather huge blunder, promising to get rid of the United Voice if he wins the election - you know, the very institution that is responsible for the democratic structure here. Yeah, not a smart move and one that may cost him dearly.

Day 9 of the election campaign offers something I wanted to see before - a proper "Tv-duel"-style discussion, moderated and all, between Trina and Willard - with the PC's actions and consequences mattering and some structural guidelines on how to run it. As the discussion is in full swing, it is crashed by assassins, who declare the lord-in-exile Ilin the only "proper" ruler of Rogail - the PCs will have to stop these agitators. Day 10 is election day...and here, the PCs will have to prevent fraud as well, as Willard seeks to replace the proper box with one rigged for him. No matte how the election goes, Willard will NOT go down easy and still has his militia...oh, and if he loses, he'll do the next best thing and throw his support behind the errant lord who seeks to return.

And here, the module becomes pretty epic: You see, now that Trina's (hopefully) in office, the PCs and Rogail's defense force will have to defend the liberties of the town from the approaching lord who wants to reclaim it: And guess what? Yep, it's time for mass-friggin'-combat, baby! NICE! (Though I would have liked to see a tactical map of the battlefield...oh well, can't have everything and the combat does work.)

Provided the armies of Ilin are routed, he'll retreat into the forest, where guerrilla tactics and druidic support provide a nasty advantage and slow down Rogail's forces horribly on their way to his base camp...so the druids must be dealt with...but why are they helping Ilin in the first place? Well, turns out the lord has kidnapped the albino bear cub sacred to the order, so rescuing it from the lord will go a long way to secure their support...and when the PCs finally fall upon Ilin, it'll be hell to pay...particularly, since he's got a Cyclops...and Willard Maypoll will finally get his due as well. Oh, and guess what? Yep, Ilin's camp if fully detailed in appendix #2. A total of no less than 4 pages of gorgeous full-color maps (yes, player-friendly) also help depicting the scenario's respective combats.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while e.g. a certain magical axe sports minor rules-aesthetic glitches, that's about the extent of complaints I can muster in that regard. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks contained within are a mix of original and thematically-fitting full-color stock images - no complaints. Cartography by the esteemed Tommi Salama is as excellent as always.

Haakon Sullivan's and Michael Smith's finale of the Cloak and Ballot trilogy does a lot to redeem the series in my book. After the somewhat disappointing 2nd installment, this one ends the saga with a fun and evocative bang that actually managed to captivate me beyond the level the previous installments could; to the point, where I think playing this one may justify the previous two modules.

Let me elaborate: Part I and II aren't bad modules, but their angle is so unique, I would have expected more. The idea of running an election is extremely fresh and creative and there's a TON of stuff to do with it: I'm very interested in politics and the House of Cards-level of backstabbing and narrative potential involved with it is tremendous; there is a whole AP worth of backstabbing, unique tricks and evocative things for adventurers to do just waiting to be unleashed. The central issue of this series, then, would be that is tackles this subject - but only in a rather tangential manner. All the strategies of the PCs and their opposition, all the things you could do on any given day, are reduced to only a few things per day, when they could provide basically tables upon tables of tasks with repercussions, force the PCs to split the party to get everything done, etc.

While this would have probably made the series harder to run, it also would have reflected better the chaos of elections...and allowed for a finer distinction regarding policies and the like. Providing more conflict regarding factions and their interests, actively creating the election promises and program - there is a ton of pure awesomeness you can do with the fresh and untapped subject matter. It is thus, I was left a bit disappointed by the relatively simple way that the whole election is handled - a good GM can make this a phenomenal experience, but if judged on its own, it feels rather railroady in what's happening...and there honestly isn't much happening at any given day. PCs will not be stretched to their limits. Ultimately, the series is the "lite" version of the whole election-drama....and much like a soda, while lite's better than no soda at all, it also leaves this unpleasant aftertaste that leaves you craving a bit more. So that's what I think of the whole series - and I certainly hope there'll be a more detailed election-themed series at one point.

That being said, after the railroady, uninspired 2nd part, I wasn't looking forward to this one...and I should have. The final of the trilogy, while still too railroady for my tastes, manages to eke closer to what I wanted out of this series, with the mass combat insertion, some infiltration and the like and the TV-duel-style discussion managing to hit the right notes and provide a neat sense of diversity regarding the challenges posed. In short: It's still railroady, but it's significantly more fun to play. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that, if you're a capable GM, this finale may well make running the trilogy something rather memorable for your group. It'll take a bit of work, but in the right hands that elevate this the one step further beyond what it provides, this module and thus, the trilogy, can come to a remarkably awesome conclusion. If you're not willing to invest time or effort in the series, then this will probably be a 4-star module and the whole saga a 3.5 star-experience for you; but if you whip out that Ultimate Intrigue and work with the series, it can transcend easily the confines of what it offers; for you, this may well be a 4.5 star or even 5 star-saga...but it can only reach this level of coolness if you do expand it.

Unfortunately, as a reviewer, I can't really rate the expansion-capacity. Instead, I have to rate what's here...but I may, at least, take the unique premise and theme into account...which is why I arrive at a final verdict of 4 stars for this conclusion to the trilogy.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cloak & Ballot Trilogy 3: Divided Stand
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Cloak & Ballot Trilogy 2: False Honest, Corrupt Virtue
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/26/2016 06:57:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second part of the Cloak and Ballot trilogy clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It's been a while, since we've been to the fair town of Rogail in the first installment "Tyranny of Greed", so let's recap, shall we? Obviously, this recap with contain SPOILERS. From here on out, potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs left? Great! The order of the unified voice, a quasi-democratic institution erected in the aftermath of a tyrant's regime, allows the people of Rogail to elect their leadership. However, charismatic crimelord Willard Maypoll, has managed to secure the office and, ever since, began expanding his operations. The death of one Raul Teak resulted in Trina Heath hiring the PC to bring an end to his reign.

The issue for the PCs did lie in a) surviving the killers sent for them and b) uncovering issues and trying to outmaneuver Willard and his official apparatus. Alas, the mayor knows his game and tails the PCs, trying to deal with Trina and her help...but alas, next week is election, and now, Trina has nothing left to lose...she'll run for mayor! This is where this module begins, and, as a brief timeline explains, it covers 5 days. After a brief background exposition, if required, the pdf begins with basically a verbal duel of Trina and Willard, one interrupted, however, by a terror golem entering the scene. After the panic, only an elven reporter called Lania Leafdancer, allowing smart PCs to make a potential ally out of the local media - an enemy they can use, for Trina is facing an uphill battle in the election!

Now, the elections themselves begin, with the second day providing an important lynchpin in the campaign - the trial of Blood Blade Grogh, with two sample articles being provided for your convenience...though it, at this point, does not look good for Trina. The 3rd day may potentially change that, for it is the annual Victory Day celebration, where the PCs can participate in a variety of check-based mini-games as well as defeat fireworks-wielding gremlins attempting to sabotage the ceremony. The local racial tensions that haunt the city flare up, incited via magic at the commencing trial, where the militia and half-orc populace is going to come to a bloody fight - one that, alongside its casualties can't seem to be prevented. Some reward for particularly astute and capable player characters would have been in order...but Trina vanishes during the riot and her agenda becomes more apparent in part III.

Now, the aforementioned election rules are collated in an appendix and PCs who want to, can clear out the gremlins from Rogail's sewers, with traps and the like looming in basically an optional mini-level that comes fully mapped for your convenience, including a player-friendly version of the map. Afore-mentioned articles are similarly collected for your convenience and to cut up and present to your players on one page.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to AAW Games' elegant, beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Haakon Sullivan's second part of the Cloak and Ballot trilogy is not a bad module - it is scripted to a high degree, with ample of read-aloud text and cut-scenes available for GMs less adept at improvising fluff text, so that's a plus. On the downside, the module, ultimately, is much more simplistic than its awesome subject matter deserves. The idea of general elections, politics and the like in a fantasy module is damn exciting, but I really wished this actually capitalized on the premise. Instead, we get a couple of cut-scenes, combat challenges (admittedly, sufficiently interesting ones!) and a bunch of relatively simple mini-games...but is that all? I mean, come on - from sabotage to espionage to long-term strategies, with PCs handling negotiations etc., the subject matter has SO MUCH potential...and realizes none of it. Instead of allowing the PCs to walk the tightrope between conflicting groups of interest, unearthing issues etc., the module feels more like a quick sequence of relatively conservative challenges that falls, alas, short of the exceedingly awesome premise it is based on.

This is not bad, mind you - but the frame-work is so innovative, so cool, I really wished it had properly taken account on what it could easily be. This has the potential to be truly a one-of-a-kind experience and didn't realize it. While certainly not bad, this module thus ended up being much less memorable than it imho could and should have been. It's still a solid adventure and I hope the finale of the trilogy makes up for this one, but verdict-wise, I can't go higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cloak & Ballot Trilogy 2: False Honest, Corrupt Virtue
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(5E) B02: Happiness in Slavery (Fantasy Grounds)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2016 16:55:38

this is a .mod file for a particular bit of software, but it isn't at all clear of that. I assumed that it would be something useful as a reference, but it's simply unusable.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
(5E) B02: Happiness in Slavery (Fantasy Grounds)
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Publisher Reply:
Hello there, .mod is the file extension for the Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop and I assure you this is the correct file for this title. Were you looking for the PDF version perhaps? I\'ve already notified DTRPG staff who will hopefully be contacting you to get you the file you seek. Please delete this review as time permits! Thank you, -Jonathan G. Nelson AAW Games
Aventyr Campaign Setting Map
by Nathan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2016 23:03:24

Great looking map. Both the High-Res and Low-Res are clear and easy to read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aventyr Campaign Setting Map
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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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Publisher Reply:
Hello Ralph, Thank you for taking your time to review one of our Mini-Dungeons. We've since uploaded both a GM and Player map of this dungeon so you may utilize them. Would you consider revising your review accordingly? Thanks, -Jonathan G. Nelson AAW Games
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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