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Path of War: The Stalker
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/21/2014 03:36:38
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 56 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a total of 53 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So...what is this? Remember 3.X's Book of the 9 Swords? Yeah, it's the spiritual successor. In order to properly review this series, let me tell you where I'm coming from: I own the Bo9S and when I first read it, I loved it: Essentially, much like in fantasy martial arts movies and anime, the approach is to grant martial classes maneuvers and stances to allow them some of the versatility of the casting classes and that concept rocks. Unfortunately, the Bo9S's classes proved in game that they were not exactly well-balanced - from weird, cumbersome mechanics to determine available maneuvers to flawed balance within the disciplines (e.g. utterly op Diamond Mind, ridiculously weak Setting Sun), playtesting soon showed that I was swept away by the coolness of the concept and should have checked the system more thoroughly. Also from this experience arose my utter disdain for per-encounter abilities - while on paper, they may not seem that jarring, in game they proved to be exceedingly frustrating for both my players and me: Encounters are arbitrarily defined interruptions of the game - they can range from 1 round to multiple days in theory and basing the availability of abilities on such a random interval is just bad in my book. Take this example: PCs storm into a room, kill two goblins in the surprise round, combat over. 1 round later goblins from the adjacent room enter and combat breaks out again. In this example, per-encounetr abilities could be used twice for double the oomph. Had one goblin survived the initial assault, the new goblins would have entered combat, meaning all per-encounter abilities could be used only once. Basing any availability on anything but hard rounds, minutes, i.e. non-random time-frames is bad design in my book and one of the reasons I opted against 4th edition as my system of choice. And yes, I'm aware of the judgment-ability's duration as the ONE example of an encounter-spanning ability that has its duration thus defined, but judgment also has a daily limit. That being said, I'll be professional and mention design-philosophy like this when I see it and probably complain about it, but I won't condemn the pdf for it - I'll try my utmost to remain neutral. I do love the idea of maneuvers and giving fighters "nice things", as the pdf puts it - so whatever way this review goes, I actually do want this to succeed.



So, does Path of War succeed where its trailblazing predecessor failed? Let's take a look! The class introduced herein would be the Stalker, who gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good will-saves, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and light armors, starting at 2nd level +1 dodge bonus to AC (+1 every four levels), starts with 6 maneuvers known, up to 4 readied and 1 stance and develops that to a total of 21 maneuvers known, 12 readied and 6 stances over the course of 20 levels. The Stalker has access to a total of 5 disciplines (which are maneuver-groups somewhat akin to schools of magic): Broken Blade, Solar Wind, Steel Serpent, Thrashing Dragon and Veiled Moon. Unless otherwise noted, maneuvers are extraordinary abilities that do not provoke AoOs and at 4th level and every even level after that, Stalkers may retrain one maneuver and choose another. The lack of restriction apart from not being able to surpass the level-restriction means that, while you can't freely retrain maneuvers as you could other class abilities, you may later exchange lower level maneuvers for higher level ones. The key attribute for the stalker's maneuvers would be wisdom - here designated as primary initiator attribute modifier. Now, each character may ready maneuvers - reading these requires meditating and focusing ki for 10 minutes. This means that readied maneuvers can, time permitting, be changed - which is nice. No single maneuver can be readied more than once. Now where I start cringing is with the sentence: "He begins an encounter with all readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times he may have used them..." - not because of the unlimited usability, but because it's EXACTLY the immersion-breaking problem I described earlier: Many short combats: You excel. One long, epic battle with various phases? Tough luck. Now to be fair, Path of War is MUCH smarter than Bo9S in its basic approach - as a standard action, stalkers may recover 1 expended maneuver and as a full-round action, wis-mod, min 2 expended maneuvers. When using the latter option, the Stalker gets a +4 insight bonus to AC - which makes no sense to me. The replenishing of resources should not offer a significant, non-scaling defensive boost that especially at low levels, is simply too much. Also: Why do these not provoke AoOs? The latter has the Stalker "centering his spirit completely to re-align his perceptions of the battle and his place in it." - that screams AoO to me.



Essentially, resource-management should require and reward smart tactics, not simply impose a action-tax. If a Stalker had to think whether to use his last maneuver and temporarily retreat from battle to replenish them, there'd be more strategy here. And the AC-bonus needs to DIE or at least be somewhat nerfed at low levels - why not go with a scaling bonus, perhaps +1, +1 for every 4 levels?. Seriously, +4, think about it: It's the maneuver-refreshment-tank! Constantly refresh and tank. Nah. Stances are the second resource of the stalker and changing stance is now a swift action. Stances cannot be retrained and are not expended. Also: The encounter-refreshment is simply an unnecessary design-relic from Bo9S at this point - with the option to refresh maneuvers via actions, we have clearly defined guidelines to refresh them in a set time-frame concisely defined by the rules - why overly complicate the mechanic and add a reason to metagame to the mechanic? Just get rid of the at this time thoroughly unnecessary per-encounter refreshment. And yes, sans the per-encounter humbug, I actually consider this mechanic utterly AWESOME. So the baseline WORKS! At this point, I was smiling from ear to ear.



At first level, the Stalker also gets a ki-pool of 1/2 level +wis-mod. As a swift action, stalkers may add a +4 insight bonus to perception of sense motive. At 5th level, he may use ki to enhance his deadly strikes, adding his deadly strikes to all martial strikes initiated for wis-mod rounds. What are Deadly Strikes? Whenever a stalker scores a critical hit, this ability activates for wis-mod rounds, increasing damage by 1d6 at 1st level +1d6 for every four levels after that. Weapons with higher crit-modifiers deal d8 and d10 bonus damage instead when within 30 foot of the target. I'm not 100% sold on the overall usefulness of this ability - when crit-fishing via keen-builds etc., it gets a bit powerful, but in combination with the ki-powered component, it does work - only, it does not specify whether the benefits/durations stack - what if one scores a crit with a maneuver via the ki-activation of Deadly Strike, do the durations overlap? Stack? Also "The stalker must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot." - what does that mean? Does concealment make it impossible to hit the target with deadly strikes? What about those with fortification?



At 7th level, stalkers may expend 1 point of ki as an immediate action for a +4 insight bonus to saving throws. At 9th level, stalkers may also expend ki to get a readied maneuver available as a swift action. At least that's what the pdf specifies: "The character spends one ki point and may trade a readied maneuver for a maneuver known of the same level or lower and have it immediately readied and accessible for his use as a swift action a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier." So does that mean that the temporarily available maneuver can be executed as a swift action? Or does it require a swift action IN ADDITION to the action it would usually take to activate? I'm honestly not sure, though I assume the latter.



At 2nd level, the Stalker also gets combat insight, which adds wis-mod to ref-saves and initiative - not a fan of adding any two attributes to the same skill/save etc. - especially since wis already covers will-saves -it's like adding con-mod to ref or will-saves: It makes no sense in game and can easily turn unpleasant. Later, he gets uncanny dodge, may regain ki or expended maneuvers when successfully criting. This latter ability fails the "bath of kittens"-test: While I don't object to maneuvers being thus regained, ki is a non-replenishing resource. Taking a burlap sack of kittens and criting the hell out of them (if you don't hit, you can sedate them first) would allow a stalker to regain all expended ki as long as his/her kittens don't run out. And yes, the example is ridiculous and the ki-abilities of the class not that impressive. But Ki stacks usually and more than one class uses it, as do various feats. When combined with other classes and options, this infinite replenishment of ki quickly gets out of hand - and needs to die a fiery death. At 18th level, stalkers get blindsight 30 foot. Okay, I guess.



At 3rd level and every 4 levels after that, a stalker gets a stalker art, essentially the talents of this class. a total of 18 such talents are provided and cover e.g. the advanced study-feat, +10 ft. movement and +wis-mod to acrobatics-check (again: two attribute modifiers to one skill - broken in my book) and expend ki to further increase speed, but at the cost of temporary fatigue. What's problematic would be combat precognition - choose one foe as an immediate action and spend 1 point of ki to make said for roll all attacks against you twice and take the worse result for 1+wis-mod rounds. NO SAVE. Supernatural ability? Seriously? This needs a mind-influencing-caveat, a save, something to bring it in line with e.g. the misfortune hex, which lasts only up to 3 rounds but extends its effects to more rolls and can only affect one target once per 24 hours and which comes witha SAVE. The defensive bonus when regaining maneuvers can be further enhanced by a 20% miss chance and even total concealment with a 50% chance. Now does the latter also mean that line of sight is broken as usual per total concealment? Relevant for spells and potentially broken as all hell, as it would allow the stalker to slowly creep forward sans being targeted. Also: I consider an AoO in line for the base ability and both would make this impossible, so in case there's a revision/ you houserule this, keep that in mind.



We also get easier qualification for critical feats and increased crit ranges. On the worse side of things, one Stalker Art allows the Stalker to expend one point of ki as a swift action to use deadly strikes in all attacks (not just maneuvers) against the target for wis-mod rounds. When successfully criting, the duration is instead extended by one round. Now where this becomes a huge clusterf*** is with the application of deadly strikes via ki to maneuvers - do they stack? At what duration? This whole complex of abilities and their interaction needs a thorough cleaning up. Another art allows the stalker to "While recovery[sic! - should probably read "recovering"] maneuvers as a full round action, the stalker gains the use of the Combat Reflexes feat (using his Wisdom modifier in place of his Dexterity modifier) and on attacks of opportunity triggered while he is recovering maneuvers, the stalker may add his deadly strikes damage to these attacks." - so what happens if the Stalker already has combat reflexes? At 11th level, the stalker may learn to regain 1 point of ki whenever s/he reduces an opponent to 0 hit points or below with a maneuver. This once again fails the basic kitten test. Stalkers may also conceal their presence as per the cloud mind psionic power (though that should probably be Sp, not Su) - the same extends to the art that allows you to duplicate charm monster, which imho needs a reduced duration since the DC is as regular (13+wis-mod) and ki isn't a particularly scarce resource for stalkers.



Where balance takes a nosedive would be with Phantom Reach: As a swift action, the character may "[...]spend one ki point and the character may initiate a melee martial strike with a range of melee attack with a range of close (25ft + 5ft / 2 levels)." Yeah. Full attack melee at range. While strikes with a range greater than melee don't work with this, it's still VERY powerful - as is the option to spend one point of ki to move for wis-mod rounds sans provoking AoOs. Yes. 1 ki= no movement AoOs. Do I really have to explain why that is insanely broken? These two abilities need a massive whack with the nerfbat.



At higher levels, stalkers may initiate 2 strikes as a full round action 1/day, later up to 3/day. As a capstone, the stalker can spend two points of ki as an immediate reaction to being hit by an attack, spell or ability to attack the target with a readied maneuver. I'm not sure whether the readied maneuver can be expended or not for the purpose of this ability, though. Other than that - appropriately cool capstone, though one essentially crippled in its impact due to the presence of the ranged stalker art - its only point remaining would be that it's reflexive and has a potentially longer range - that's it. When a talent-like ability available at 3rd level can steal the majority of the thunder of a capstone, something's severely wrong here - and it's not the capstone alone...



So that's the base class. We also get the new Knowledge (Martial)-skill, which essentially is spellcraft for maneuvers. Would have been nice to see DCs for style-feats and similar non-maneuver tricks. Also: A list of classes that should get this as a class skill when playing with Path of War would have been more than appreciated - fighters should e.g. have it added to their list of class skills when using the Path of War-rules. We also get 17 "new" feats, though extra ki isn't new and the usual suspects à la +1 stalker art, increased DC for one discipline etc. can be found here. We also get feats to add more maneuvers, have more readied maneuvers, 1/day recover a maneuver as a free action. There also is a feat which allows you to quick draw multiple weapons (and has a minor +2 bonus to CMD vs. disarm)...wait. Quick Draw. Allows you to draw weapons as a free action. So what are the benefits of this feat? Sheathing weapons! Since they are RAW exempt from the benefits of Quick draw and since disciplines require certain weapons, the feat may be useful for all groups not handling sheathing weapons as drawing them as per the RAW. Using weapon finesse with double weapons is a nice one, as are the 6 feats that allow other classes to access the martial discipline of choice and learn maneuvers. A feat that allows you to enter a fighting style and execute a maneuver at the same time also rather rocks. However, there are issues in here as well: First of which would be a feat that allows you to add dex-mod to damage in place of str. Which would be no issue for me, since it only applies to finesse-compatible weapons. However, with the option to go weapon finesse with double weapons, the thing gets ugly. I once had a character in my home game that had exactly that ability - and believe me, the result was ugly. Not sold here. Speaking of "not sold": Greater Unarmed Strike allows you to essentially go for a poor man's monk unarmed damage increase from 1d4 to 1d10. Not complaining about the nerfed damage, mind you - but sans the option to make the attacks count I don't see the long-term benefit here. Oh well, that are minor complaints compared to some of the issues with the base-class.



Now I've already covered the basics of maneuvers: Here some additional information on how they work: They require no concentration, but disarm, grapples etc. may prevent you from executing maneuvers. When mentioning movement etc. as part of a maneuver, these components (but not the initiation of the maneuver) may incur AoOs. Now what the pdf fails to specify would be whether a successful AoO against the initiator due to e.g. a movement would suffice to interrupt/cancel the maneuver. I assume so, but I'm not sure. Variables are determined essentially by a maneuver's caster level-equivalent, dubbed initiator level - these also determine the maximum maneuver level the martial artist may choose. As a minor gripe, the explanation of how maneuvers are (ex) or (su) could use a rephrasing - "The abilities of a martial discipline work fine in an antimagic field" would be simply wrong for supernatural abilities - add in an "extraordinary" and we're game and the wording is less confusing!



Now regarding the maneuvers - veterans of Bo9S will recognize a lot of the terminology - boost, strike, stance, counter etc. - we get all the explanations of actions etc. concisely presented - including, unfortunately, at least for me, a "definition" of the encounter as a timeframe. Why not simply go x rounds/initiator level analogue to spells? Why use this convoluted, metagamey, unnecessary...I'll cut the ramble short. Why not use rules analogue to PFRPG-design standards and instead insert this worse, metagamey duration? I don't get it. What I do get and dig are the ties of respective disciplines to weapon types -broken blade maneuvers require, for example, the initiator to be unarmed - and focuses on brawny assaults, snatching weapons etc. - essentially the spiritual successor of setting sun. Steel Serpent is about using piericng/slashing damage and poison-style effects. Solar Wind would be the ranged fire-themed discipline. Thrashing dragon requires two weapons/double weapons. Veiled Moon is somewhat akin to a certain shadowy discipline from the Bo9S, but focuses more on supernatural effects, featuring some mind-affecting maneuvers and a certain reliance on the ethereal plane. It should be noted that the pdf doesn't prohibit the combination of regular combat maneuvers (or vital strikes) and strikes -some clarification on these would be appreciated, as would be whether counters count as attack actions for the purpose of the vital strike feats and similar options.



Now to keep this review from bloating even further, I'll just mention a couple of great (or not so great) maneuvers from the disciplines, which btw. come with comprehensive lists in the beginning. Let's take the first one, shall we? At 8th level, adamantine fang is close to the apex of power, dealing +12d6 damage and bypassing all DR (even DR/epic? Don't think it should...) as well as requiring a will-save against DC 18+initiator attribute modifier (why not say 10+maneuver level+ initiator modifier, as per the established standard? This formatting peculiarity extends to all maneuvers and honestly, feels like it's only making the mechanic slightly opaque...) or be PARALYZED for 3 rounds. Ouch. Thing is - is it will or fort? The text says will, the saving-throw column of the maneuver fort. Adamantine Knuckle mentions a duration of 1 turn, which is rather odd duration-wise. The thrashing dragon maneuver Alacrity on Wing is broken as written - it allows you to use an acrobatics-skill-check to negate an attack (and yes, I'm aware of Paizo's precedents - they're broken as well - skills should never be able to negate attacks - they can be boosted to easily...) - if successful, the initiator may make an unarmed or melee attack for two wielded weapons at +2d6 damage. Sooo....does that mean both at full BAB? At the TWF-penalty? Can both attacks be freely chosen? (Becomes relevant if one weapon has a superior enchantment...) - as written unusable. 10ft-teleportation via stealth-checks versus perception may sound like a good idea - but what if multiple adversaries watch the initiator? Does it still work? Also: Skills are ridiculously easy to buff through the roof - why not tie this to other abilities? A minor image is left in the wake and it DOES count as a teleportation/figment effect - so generally: Awesome maneuver, especially since AoE-effects are also covered in the description, but it needs clarification.



Turning incorporeal and acting as a foil for teleportation is damn cool, as is a stance that negates the TWF-penalty. The Steel Serpent-effects suffer from one particular issue: They are poison-themed, but don't really follow Pathfinder's take on poisons - they essentially deal attribute damage, but have no frequency, no required array of consecutive saves required to shake them off. Reducing the amount of attribute damage and instead spreading the respective damage would have been nice, as would have been a caveat that immunity versus poisons offers at least a bonus against the poisoned ki they use. Blend with the Night should probably have the appropriate (glamer)-descriptor. Steel Serpent's level 1 stance Body of the Night allows you to add skill ranks in heal (but not other bonuses) to stealth as a competence bonus - cool. Breath of the Moon allows you to cause confusion, which is neat. Ignoring all armor bonus unless coming from force effects on the other hand feels kind a weird and can create potentially disputable borderline cases. Using touch attacks etc. instead here would have made this perhaps work better, but that's a nitpick. Generally one point I have observed with counters would be that they often allow for full attacks as a reaction to being hit - which feels excessive to me. At the cost of an immediate action, that would enable a character to essentially execute two full attacks per round - especially nasty when combined with flurries, TWFs and similar attacks. Generally, I'd nerf those down to single attacks - that's still powerful enough and transports the concept without becoming ridiculously exploitable at higher levels.



The Broken Blade Stance fails to mention at what BAB the additional attack it grants as part of a full attack is. The Thrashing Dragon capstone strike can insta-kill up to two foes with one strike - while not include the massive damage or HD-based mechanic usually used by death effects in PFRPG? Also weird: Desert Serpent Mirage uses competing attacks to determine whether it works (and it's by far not the only maneuver herein) - that's not how PFRPG handles such situations. It's roll versus fixed value, analogue to CMB/CMD - less variance than via 2d20s that way. As written, that one is too heavily based on luck. Using acrobatics versus AC to render an opponent flat-footed also feels plainly WRONG to me - that ought to be CMD, am I wrong? Then again, said maneuver uses a skill instead of CMB. Which brings me to a crucial balance concern - skills are easy to buff, CMB is not. In 3.X, there was no CMB/CMD, hence we needed the broken skill vs. X rolls and all the possible exploits they entail. Now in Pathfinder, A vast majority of the moves herein should either be against CMD or utilize CMB. Instead, these inorganic relics and all the inherited problems remain, making the respective balance of the individual maneuvers herein all too often simply a very fragile thing, wholly dependent on the player in question being not interested in exploiting the obvious gaps in the system.



Conclusion:



Editing and formatting are okay - I noticed a couple of minor glitches, flawed italicizations, open brackets and the like. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with a second, more printer-friendly version.



Oh boy. This is one of those depressing reviews for me. But due to completely different reasons than I expected. I expected to have to continuously bite my tongue due to per-encounter-mechanics and just take them for what they are. Turns out, the per-encounter refreshing is just an afterthought that could simply be eliminated from the equation without any significant impact on the usability of the class - so why is it still there? Oh well, I don't care, I was happy - this looked like the Bo9S I always wanted - after all, the basic mechanisms finally work! Yeah!



And then I started reading the class - thoroughly. Beyond the focus on fishing for critical hits and the ability to make some really nasty combos due to the availability of ki, the class feels overpowered to me - the maneuvers already are a significant power-gain over other melee classes, but that was to an extent the design-decision and thus not something I'll hold against it. What I do hold against it is the at low levels OP tanking maneuver recharge AC-bonus and failing the kitten-test. Twice. That alone is enough to disqualify the class as a 1-star failure. This class needs a thorough revision.



Then, the feats and maneuvers came. And I really loved the majority - the concepts are iconic, tactical, cool. They mop the floor with Bo9S. They are superior. And then I started analyzing and, once again, my grin slowly dropped - author Chris Bennett is a very capable designer and it shows in the maneuvers. The rules-language is mostly very precise even in complex situations, to the point and well-crafted. The thing is - all too often, one can see a relative inexperience with Pathfinder's rules. Once you apply a fine-toothed comb, you stumble across a vast array of rules solutions that deviate from how things are done and established in Pathfinder. The reliance on MANY skill-checks versus AC (which, while not without precedent, is widely considered VERY BAD design), multiple instances of roll versus roll, insta-death effects - you name the relic, it's here. Were I to rate this as a D&D 3.5-supplement, I'd rate it probably around3.5 to 3 stars, perhaps even 4 due to the issues with the class, but an overall working system, but as written it is suffused with design-relics that just have no place in the PFRPG-system, especially since there often already are precedents on how the respective crunch is handled. It's essentially introducing two competing rules for the same thing - it dilutes the system's rules-syntax and causes confusion and is traditionally something I have always penalized HARD.



Is this a bad supplement? It depends on whether you care about rules-syntax and consistency within a system - If you don't mind that these rules follow their own precedents, then this still, with its flaws, is a solid 3 stars. If you do, if you don't want competing atk-rolls, skills versus ACs and all those balance-nightmares/exploits back in your game, then STEER clear. For you, this is a 1-star throwback to some of the worst rules-decisions of 3.X. Since I really, really, really want this system to work, since I can see the obvious talent and since I love A LOT of the IDEAS behind the maneuvers, I'll settle on a final verdict of 2 stars, though mechanically, this supplement failed for me. I'm hoping for a thorough redesign/update/clearing up of this supplement - it's only easily fixable details that don't work, the basic framework is awesome and this can still be cleaned up, brought in line with existing rules and made into a legendary 5 stars + seal of approval supplement.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Path of War: The Stalker
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Ultimate Psionics
by John O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2014 05:18:41
I've been a fan of psionics in FRPGs ever since the crude psionics rules were presented in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide waaay back when. I'm playing a psion right now in a D&D 3.5 campaign, and I'm always looking for new insights into the psionic classes to help me play better.

Ultimate Psionics is an excellent compilation of old and new material seamlessly joined and upgraded to the Pathfinder system. It is evident that the authors are deeply engaged in their subject material, and the material is presented clearly. I was also impressed with the free updates that followed, correcting a host of minor issues, mostly typographical. It is pleasant to have true corrective material, rather than a simple errata page tossed out into the wild with no further follow-up.

For all of these reasons, I'm giving this product five stars. Well played, Andreas Rönnqvist, Jeremy Smith and Dreamscarred Press!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Psionics
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Ultimate Psionics
by Jan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2014 00:27:33
Really Good job, this book is filling the mising gab when you play psionic or have psionic in your party as a gm
I have already used it a lot, and just waiting on the hard cover to come
Keep up the good work

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Psionics
by Matt B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2014 21:08:08
Dreamscarred Press is fantastic, they did a great job with the psionics for Pathfinder. The classes are interesting, feats are useful and the campaign info for how to integrate psionics are really helpful. And then the book itself is gorgeous, really good value!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Psionics
by Brett B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2014 19:58:58
This book is fantastic! Full of great new classes and updated classics, Ultimate Psionics is a must have for anyone who wants to play Pathfinder! Not only does it have great game material for those wanting to play with mind powers, it has feats and skills that ANY class will treasure!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Psionics
by William O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2014 19:35:51
I thoroughly enjoyed this product. I am thinking of introducing psionics into my current campaign and the different views on how to do this will help tremendously. In addition to the classes, prestige classes and options for psionic characters, the options to add powers to the core classes will make it a well rounded addition.

Overall it has something for anyone looking to use psionics in their game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Psionics
by Rob H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2014 17:00:42
Well all i can say here is they have done an excellent job of putting so many good ideas into one book , i personally do not play pathfinder but there are enough ideas in the book for me to start my next campaign using an alternative systems

Rob

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Psionics
by Nick K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2014 16:27:47
Dreamscarred has done an excellent job condensing all their material into one easy to access form. I enjoyed the 3.5 psionics system and would like to see it given new life in pathfinder or you would like to introduce some fantastic new content to your game, this book is an excellent buy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Augmented, Volume I
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/02/2014 12:49:40
An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

In a display of superb customer-service, Dreamscarred Press offers the bonus-content scored from the Ultimate Psionics-hardcover-compilation-book as its own pdf, so let's take a look, shall we? This pdf is 78 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a whopping 75 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this supplement with new races, first of which would be the Forgeborn - Half-constructs (the type is reprinted from the ARG) that have been engineered from people blended with what seem to be mineralized growths - thankfully setting them distinctly apart from the huge array of different construct races already available for PFRPG. They get their own (Forgeborn)-subtype and attribute-wise +2 to Str and Int, -4 to Cha, get +2 to saves against fear, +1 natural AC, may be resurrected (unlike other half-constructs), may get a power point as a favored class option and get wild talent (or psionic talent when starting as a psionic base class) at first level. They also get the "Slow but steady" 20 ft. base speed, but are not impeded by armor or encumbrance. Solid race with a unique fluff that is rather reminiscent of the Elan (regarding their mysterious creation) - Nothing to complain.



The second race herein would be the Noral - who as a race have forged a symbiotic relationship with beings called Erliss (or dreamscar - namedrop!) and are rather enlightened, neutral diplomats and savants of other cultures - an interesting take indeed that also aesthetically should have some scifi-buffs out there smile. Plus 2 nerd-credibility points from me if you can deduce the imo obvious inspirations for the race. But back to their qualities - the Noral are Humanoid (Noral) subtype-wise, get +2 Con and Wis, -2 Dex, +2 to saves versus diseases and mind-influencing effects, may 1/day exhaust their symbiote to add 1d6 to one d20-roll prior to rolling, can manifest 1/day mind thrust at 1/2 character level at a DC of 10 + power level + cha-mod. They also get +1 to Bluff and Diplomacy and learn +1 language per rank in linguistics, may opt for power points as favored class options, get low light vision and gets either wild talent or psionic talent for free. The race comes with information for those who reject the symbiote and thankfully, both forgeborn and noral feature the all-too-often forgotten age, height & weight-table. The Noral overall feel a tad bit strong to me, but not to the point where I'd start complaining. It should be noted that thankfully, now both new races come with favored class options.



After this, it's archetypes - archetypes, archetypes and even more, you guessed it, archetypes. I'll try to be brief with them to keep this review from blowing the 10-page mark, okay? Right, so first we have the Blues: These psionic goblinoids may opt to become Annihilator Aegis that allows the blue to count as medium when in suit, may burn power points for boosts to str and con and later even absorb critical hits - however, no augmenting or cannibalizing the suit for these aegis! Telepath blues may opt to become Dominators, who have an easier time controlling and manifesting versus those that have failed against their mind-influencing effects. They also have an easier time keeping tabs on their thralls. Alchemist Blue may opt to become Mutators, who have more volatile (i.e. random - you roll dice) mutagens and also mutagens that penalize melee attacks with 1d6 fire damage. Finally, mutators may enlarge or reduce person via his mutagen.



Next up would be the Dromites, who get the Empty Caste Ninja - bred as executors of the Queen, these dromites may select their elemental affinity and they can circle it/switch it. They may expend this racial ability to charge weapons with elemental damage and use ki in turn to replenish their racial ray and also learn cloud mind later as a ninja trick. A rather powerful archetype. Dromite Tacticians may become Swarmers: Not only do these make flanking even deadlier, they also learn a strategy that allows them to sync two creatures so they may occupy the same space - awesome idea there! Dromite Cavaliers may become Vermin riders - riding giant wasps, scorpions or mantis into battle and may share minds, enhance their mounts by expending their psionic focus and at high levels, even share hit points, potentially preventing death.



Duergar Vitalists may become Lifemongers, who may deal non-lethal damage as a touch to members of their collective, healing themselves and gaining additional temporary hit points. Furthermore, they may influence the sleeping and even instill temporary madness at higher levels. Duergar Cryptics can become Ravagers, who are particularly efficient versus intelligent foes, but pitifully weak versus non-intelligent adversaries. They also have a wis-damage causing reflexive array of abilities protecting them versus mind-influencing effects. Perhaps the weirdest of the Duergar-archetypes herein would be the Sleeper's Guardian, a paladin-archetype (!!!) that learns to manifest powers, instead of detect evil, acts as a foil versus chaos and gets an aura that automatically penalizes foes within 10 ft of the paladin by WIS-MOD to attacks and damage. Yes. Ouch. While this replaces divine grace, the distinct lack of saves or SR makes this ability easily exploitable and one in need of proper revision.



Elans may opt to become ascended psions, replacing their discipline's power-list with a custom list and making them, alongside their other abilities, rather predisposed for the role of secret agent - hiding from spells/powers and improved disguise help a lot here. They also are masters of telekinetic force. The Menteur-rogue is a con-man and as such, gets superb bonuses to bluff (and is also adept at disguising) - rather excessively powerful is the 6th level ability, which allows you to determine a location and 1/day as a standard action teleport there with up to one additional creature touching him/her - sans provoking an AoO. Rather powerful. They may also learn a type of minor metamorphosis as a rogue talent, but sans enhancements the power usually conveys.



Cryptic Elans may now become Pattern Wielders: These beings may transfer tattoos to their weapon, henceforth getting int-mod to damage. Not a fan since stacking two attributes to atk or damage always ends up offering a tad bit too much of an edge for the character in question. They may also temporarily lock powers to empower their powers or fling tattoos as ranged short-range touch attacks.



Forgeborn get a new cavalier-archetype, the Forgesteed Rider. Their mounts are like their riders, requiring neither sleep nor sustenance and the riders may share their challenge-bonuses with their steed and their steed can also be temporarily enhanced. At 8th level, the archetype gets rather powerful: As long as either rider or steed have more than 1 hp, the other being takes the excessive damage. Forgeborn Fighters may become Ironborn (unfortunate nomenclature - that's Rite Publishing's construct-PC-race) - the archetype gets less armor check penalty as his form bonds with armor and also a slam-attack as well as even limited DR while wearing armor. Forgeborn Tacticians may become Unifiers - and these guys are intriguing: The Unifier can replace a part of their own and their ally's flesh in a modified version of their collective-ability - allies thus joined in may benefit temporarily from basic Aegis-enhancements. Neat blending of abilities! The Unifier may also telekinetically create an aura on him/herself that makes terrain difficult - per se cool - the field can be used 3+Int-mod times per day and lasts for int-mod rounds.



Half Giants may opt to become Kinslayers - as the name suggests, that means they're specialists in slaying giants and they replace spellcasting with a fixed array of powers. They also may share their favored enemy bonuses with their companions. Okay, I guess, but overall rather bland. The second archetype would be the Thunderjarl for the Psychic Warrior class - and this one is actually rather cool - taking a cue from the boisterous viking that charges with bellowing laughter into battle and can shake the very earth, this archetype works exceedingly well on a fluff level, combining good uses of stomp and a specialization on the psionic weapon-feat. More defensively-minded Half-Giants may opt to become the War Hulk Aegis-archetype that is limited to the juggernaut-form and gets devastating smash attacks and deadly ranged ectoplasmic throws.



Maenad Wilders may elect for the Banshee-archetype - they may select additional elemental powers, but use them with the sonic-damage-type exclusively and also emit screams as their surge blasts, which may daze opponents. Relatively cool energy-type specialist archetype here! Disciples of the raging Sea are a type of Monk - one cool one: While benefitting from their racial outbreak, they actually may use rage powers, which they can gain in lieu of monk bonus feats. Rather damn cool archetype here! Maenads of the Reaving Raiders, a career for rogues, learns to channel the racial outburst into bull rushes and even making foes temporarily flat-footed. Two thumbs up for this uncommon take on the seafaring archetype!



The Norals may choose to pursue the path of being a pacifist, a sub-type of Vitalist who can deal non-lethal damage via a touch and even make hostile foes pause for parlay; Cool to see in an often rather bloodthirsty array of classes one that could quite conceivably be held to the highest ideals of goodness. Peacekeeper Telepaths may use their psionic focus to deal non-lethal damage as well and they learn special augmentations to daze and stun adversaries. They also require will-saves to be successfully attacked at 8th level - the save being rather high. Not sure whether I like that particular ability, since it heavily penalizes some foes. Still, I do enjoy the fact that via the expenditure of the psionic focus that maintains the ability, the Peacekeeper may extend said protection to allies for 1 round. The last of the archetypes for the Noral would be the Shadow Hunter, an Inquisitor archetype that is particularly perceptive and may mindlink quite often. Furthermore, they can recharge their mind thrust via the burning of spells -which means that they can SPAM mind thrust like crazy. I'm not sold on this final ability - doing instead of almost unlimited mind thrusts something with the lost solo tactics or teamwork feats would have been a more prudent (and fun) playing experience, I think. This way, it feels much like a one-trick-pony.



Ophiduan Egotists may opt for the path of Fleshbinder - they get a familiar that gets psicrystal-like abilities, heal the familiar by merging it into his/her body and DOUBLE the duration of psychometabolism powers s/he casts on allies by expending his/her focus. Wait, what? Come again? Nah, not gonna happen in my game. They may also have a power lie dormant in a target and then trigger it by expending their focus - now thankfully with properly worded range. Also rather sick - the Fleshbinder may enter bonds at high levels with allies to offer them select benefits like his/her familiar, but at the cost of permanent con-damage while the bond is maintained. Especially share spells (powers) is VERY strong even at 14th level and I'm rather positive that my players WILL find a way to break this ability hard-core. Psychic Warriors may become Scaled Riders - they get one of the reptilian Karaan as mount. She/He also gets a permanent bond with the mount and the mount gets its own focus at higher levels, one usable by the rider - while this may seem boring on paper, from experience I can tell you that additional psionic foci can be an insanely useful asset. So yeah, a good trade for the weakened access to warrior's paths. The final archetype for the Ophiduans would be the Serpent Lord druid - even though it uses psionics, it's YET ANOTHER serpent-themed druid. LAME.



The Xeph-race has Clan Warden inquisitors - one boring archetype to defend communities sans any intriguing options - mostly what you'd expect: better class features when defending community etc. Also, one of the abilities has not a properly bold-printed name. The second archetype would be the mobile knife for the marksman - an archetype that makes throwing knives and daggers more valid, offering bonus damage as momentum is used for additional damage. The archetype also learns to have knives return etc. - as lame as the first one was, this archetype is rather cool, also thanks to properly upgrading/expanding the xeph's mobility. The final racial archetype would be the Xephyr, a specialist soulknife that may form a xephyr knife soulknife and also expands movement, but requires kinetic powers (i.e. to have moved) to utilize psychic strike to its maximum usefulness. Nice tactician's (not the class) archetype. Also kudos: Information on combining the archetype with the Gifted Blade archetype is given.



No, we're not done with archetypes yet - we've only covered the RACIAL archetypes - next up are the class-based ones, so let's get pumping: The first archetype, the Arcane Mind is interesting concept-wise - they require verbal and somatic components, suffer from arcane spell failure...and for that, their abilities are harder to identify and they can surpass resistances easier. Ähem...why would anyone take this? The benefits gained are rather paltry and the penalties significant. Perhaps it’s majorly intended for DMs who want psionics to work more like arcane magic. The Cannoneer marksman can essentially be described as a gunslinger/marksman-crossover - don't expect any grit, though. The Contemplative Wilder loses surge bond etc., but may rotate powers they may use in a limited way. This is one of my favorite archetypes herein so far, since it modifies the base class to an extent that results in a completely different playing experience.



The Aegis may learn to fuse his/her psicrystal with his/her armor, and the crystal actually may use its actions to dish out ranged attacks and we also get 5 new customizations! Cool archetype! Fearmonger Dreads use wis instead of cha for intimidate, powers etc. - okay minor variation on the dread. The Feral Heart soulknife archetype is rather intriguing -allowing for less customization and claws instead that upgrade over the levels, they also get a scaling barbarian rage-like ability and to offset the lost flexibility, the Feral Heart may choose unique blade-skills: Rend, Pounce and similar killer abilities among them -awesome, especially when opting for a psionic wild child-style character/savage warrior. Two thumbs up! The Vitalist of the Intercessor Method is a savant of social skills and may get telempathic projection as a bonus power and may superbly influence those healed by him/her. Additionally, these vitalists get some bardic abilities à la inspire competence etc. Again, a solid archetype. Lost Minds are Cryptics that have been driven insane by the power they have glimpsed at beyond the patterns of reality - with mad defense (haha) against mind-influencing effects, the option to duplicate symbols and 6 unique insights that are focused on dazing and hindering foes (even including a gaze attack), this archetype can be considered rather flavorful and well-made.



The Metanexus Tactician learns at 5th level to treat allies of his collective as origins for powers other than touch-range and even pool racial traits! And high-jack the senses (And line of sight!) of collective members - this DESERVES being called a Tactician's archetype - smart and extremely cool! The Psychic Warrior gets the new Pathmaster archetype, essentially a psychic warrior that focuses excessively on one path to the exclusion of others. Okay, I guess.



But no, we're STILL not done with archetypes - we also get archetypes for the non-psionic classes: Druids can now choose the path of Gaean. These druids can communicate telepathically with nature’s ally and they also double the duration of their spells, ignore e.g. verbal components etc. 1/day when in contact with nature – nice one! At 13th level, they may also merge with nature, upon being reduced to 0 hp to be healed – nice last second save ability, though it requires a caveat that it doesn’t work if an attack actually kills the Gaean and/or how it interacts with instakill attacks. Rangers may choose to become Pack Leaders: These beings may treat up to wis-mod creatures as a pack, i.e. a collective of ½ tactician level, making them work better in tandem. Furthermore, at higher levels, telepathy among pack members and sharing spells is possible.



Clerics may now choose the new Psionic Domain, allowing them to emit a psionics enhancing aura and dispel psionic effects via a touch The Discipline subdomain allows for various benefits, from bonuses to saves and movement to a kind of flurry of blows, while the Dreams subdomain quotes and translates one of my favorite 3.X-abilities to PFRPG with lucid dreaming, allowing you to make alterations to reality as via the stone shape-spell – a pity, though, that finer alterations and creations ex nihilo are no longer possible. The Noetics subdomain is all about concentrating to move target objects and creatures, with the max weight depending on your class level. Sorcerors also get new tools in the form of the Psychic bloodline. These sorcerers get the option to hurl unattended objects around, fly and increase the potency of their [force]-spells. The Psychic Mage gets two opposing schools, but also Wild Talent – and, rather interesting, the Wizard archetype may learn psionic powers as spells, allowing him/her to cast them (and even augment them sort of) via the expenditure of spell slots. Weird, but ultimately very cool blending of psionics and vancian magic – two thumbs up, also since at later levels, they can use psionic foci to forego inexpensive material components or add verbal and somatic components to increase the oomph of their powers!



Paladins may now choose to become Purifiers, who learn to detect psionics instead of evil, smite aberrations and may clad their weapons in fire (which ignores immunity and resistance when combined with smite) and they also get access to the gifted blade’s list of powers – nice take on the psionic paladin! Barbarians may choose the Raging Beast archetype, which may manifest claws and bite while raging and get limited manifesting as a psychic warrior of ½ their level – okay, but somewhat bland fusion of barbarian and psion. Personally, I preferred the Feral Heart. Thoughtsingers are bards that can connect willing minds to form a collective, which then benefits from their thoughtsongs – telepathic bardic performance plus some unique effects, essentially. Extremely cool, complex archetype with a capstone that allows them to plant mind seeds– a superb FINAL archetype.



Of course, there is more content in here, for example…feats! And they do open up some neat combo-potential – for example take assassin’s shot for the marksman – when making a ranged attack that deals sneak-attack damage, you may 1/round activate one style ability that requires the expenditure of your psionic focus with actually expending it. Prior ambiguities have been cleared up.



Rather cool: Wilder/Barbarians may use 1 round of rage to forego the expenditure of their psionic focus when only using wild surge – only here being the key, otherwise you’d have me complaining right now. Also interesting: Deep Focus allows you to get a second psionic focus, but one that cannot be combined with Psicrystal Containment – great to see this potentially very strong combo excluded for an overall balanced alternative: 3 foci would have been a bit much… (And yes, I had a level 24 psion with 3 of them in the 3.X days of yonder – and it was glorious and insane at the same time…) There are also feats for combining fighter and tactician class-features, very overdue extensions of collective range (a must-have feat, imho), options to enhance class features of elocators, better disengaging, improved cover fire, a dread/cavalier combo-feat and one feat that allows a cryptic to apply full damage via disrupt pattern to targets, even if they’re not your currently chosen creature type. However, in order to take this powerful feat, you need no less than 6 skills à 5 ranks – thus a significant investment to offset the drawback of the class.



Also rather neat would be a feat to combine alchemist bombs and the pyrokineticist’s talents (the latter can now also split the heads of his/her lash) or offer barbarian/aegis synergy. Psicrystal Imprinters of 5th level may use their resonance class feature to use metapsionic feats in lieu of their regular resonance effects – rather cool and thanks to the concisely-worded limitations, also not as easily breakable as you’d think. All in all, some very cool feats that help realize nice combo-class concepts and also provide some nice fodder for PrCs.



Thus concludes the player-section of this pdf. The DM-section starts with an immensely useful discussion on how psionics work that ANY novice DM not familiar with them should read. All the misconceptions, from augmenting to handling the nova-issue are detailed. Having followed x “Psionics are overpowered”-threads that stemmed from lack of proper rules-knowledge or just plain ignorance, this chapter should be considered a mandatory read for anyone planning to integrate psionics. Furthermore, it actually provides guidelines that allow DMs to use psionics and master for psionic PCs sans reading all the rules. We also get advice on introducing psionics to a given campaign and house-rules for limited transparency between magic and psionics and also a reskin for everyone that does not like the flavor of regular psionics – turning them into Rune Magic. I’m a bit ambivalent about that one, but I also like the base-fluff of psionics. We also get 2 new psionic powers (which should probably be in the player-section) and a new PrC, the Dark Tempest.



The Dark Tempests are secretive warriors, get d10, 2+Int skills, full manifesting/mind blade progression, 3/4 BAB-progression, medium fort-saves, 4 psychic strike enhancements over their levels and combine their levels with soulknife-levels for purposes of blade skills, feat prerequisites etc. They also get an expanded power list. As an interesting fusion ability, these warriors may forego dealing psychic strike damage to instead power their manifesting – interesting indeed!



After this PrC, we get 2 new special armor qualities, 4 new magical armors/items (including one made from flayed human skin- ewww), 7 weapon qualities, 1 new special weapon, 3 new psicrowns and over 30 wondrous items await as loot to be dispensed among greedy players! And then, the Legendary Items-section begins – all items released in the “Psionic Items of Legend”-series so far have been included, which in turn means you’ll get a lot of powerful tools that improve with your characters. Since I’ve reviewed already all of them, I’ll point you just to the respective reviews and instead close this one.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting have been cleaned up from the first iteration, with a lot of ambiguities gone and a lot italicization-errors purged. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous two-column full color standard and the numerous original artworks herein are honestly mind-blowing and beautiful – on the very highest of quality levels, this pdf is beautiful indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, and now the Psionic Items of Legend actually get individual bookmarks.



Andreas Rönnqvist, Jeremy Smith and Eric Hindley have definitely created a worthy addition to the excellent first 2 psionics books, thankfully providing quite a bunch of new tools for the cool core classes and even cooler new ones introduced in Psionics Expanded. The new and vastly improved Psionics Augmented Vol. I takes just about all gripes I had with the initial release and gets rid of them - now that, ladies and gentlemen, is great support. While not all of the individual archetypes are winners, there is a plethora of cool options herein that expands the ways in which psionics work. Hence, the revised version gets an updated rating of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Augmented, Volume I
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Psionic Items of Legend: Tempest's Blade
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2013 02:56:38
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Psionic Items of Legend is 5 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The former wielder of this enhancement for a mind blade is shrouded in mystery - known only by his moniker "Tempest", this individual was the last man standing from the weeding-out procedures of the secret society of dark tempests (after the new PrC) - what has befallen him/her/it - no one knows. The weapon, which looks like a crystal rod, comes with 10 levels of power increase and starts off as a standard crystal hilt +1 (scaling up to +3) and also allows you to forma mindblade as a double weapon without incurring the usual penalties for forming 2 mind blades and both ends may be individually enhanced, though they need to deal the same basic damage type. Dazzling Swordplay and Wither become available 3/day and the item also nets the user the option to call it to hand at-will within 30 ft. of the wielder. It also offers the bladewind blade skill for free and a third configuration. The capstone nets a selection of solid numerical bonuses.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred's two-column b/w-standard and the artwork is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Authors David Pike and Jeremy Smith deliver a solid psionic item, with the third configuration being a neat idea, as would be the dual weapon. Mechanically, we're looking at an interesting item indeed, but its story falls somewhat behind in its rather generic, uninspired nature. The capstone could have also been a tad bit more exciting, but that's complaining at a high level. All in all, a good installment of the series and well worth 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Tempest's Blade
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Psionic Items of Legend: Groundscorn Boots
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/08/2013 04:09:54
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the series of pdfs featuring items that scale with your character's prowess is 5 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The Groundscorn Boots have actually a rather touching story - when an adventurer-couple was defeated by a dragon, one of them survived and proceeded to drown his sorrow. Thankfully, the Elans intervened and recreated his lost love as one of their own - however, sans memories. Overcoming this as well, both found love again and these boots were created by the reborn elan elocator as a means for her companion to keep up with her. Mechanics-wise, these boots start off as boots of skating and then, over their 5 power-level progression, net the Up the Walls-bonus feat, the option to defy gravity and even highjack teleportation effects to ride along. As a capstone, the boots allow the wielder to get all movement rates of nearby creatures for a limited time - whether by burrowing or flight, there's no escape!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to DSP's printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard with a neat piece of full color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Designer Eric Hindley has not created a particularly compelling narrative here - the story could have been embellished a bit more, but I'm nitpicking here - more importantly, he has created an extremely cool item that comes with signature abilities that progress logically as well as extended teamwork potential - a superb item and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Groundscorn Boots
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Psionic Items of Legend: Crown of Chaos
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/30/2013 03:45:34
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let's take a look at DSP's latest Legendary Item, i.e. item that grows in power over the levels.



The tale of the Crown of Chaos is one of the downfall of a talented wilder come queen named Magdylyne, self-proclaimed and bitter queen of chaos, and thus her crown requires the wilder-ability to overchannel. The item has 5 power-progressions (5thth, 10th, 15th and 20th level unlock new powers) and contrary to what the item's table says (it mentions a lesser psicrown), the crown instead act as a greater psicrown of force and fire. Unlike the basic item, all powers the crown grants count as being a part of the powerlist of the class - great for the power-starved wilders. The crown may also provide power points for augmenting purposes, but the wielder pays for this with non-lethal damage - I assume this damage does not require a concentration check to properly manifest, but the item does not specify either way. At higher levels, the crown nets the wearer a reroll and even starts regenerating power points. As a capstone, the crown delivers a miss chance as well as forcing two rolls for saves and skill checks, taking the worse result.



The final page contains the item-stats for regular Psicrowns of Lesser Fire and Force and their True versions.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are ok, though glitches at this length weigh heavily on my scale. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard with a nice full-color artwork for the crown. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



The crown per se is a great item that greatly enhances the experience of running a wilder, but at the same time, it suffers from issues: Not being able to decide which type of psicrown (lesser, greater?) it is would be one, another flaw is more thematic - the chaos-aspect is mostly missing from the crown - apart from the capstone and a relatively boring reroll, the link between theme and crunch is more tenuous than I would have enjoyed - a tighter focus would have helped here. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Crown of Chaos
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Psionic Bestiary: Deranged Trepanner
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2013 02:25:44
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the psionic bestiary-series is 5 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages, so let's take a look!



Jim Hunnicutt's CR 6 Deranged Trepanner is a construct can cloak itself as a column and absorb a third of the overchannel feat's damage to the construct and may deal int-damage and power point-loss versus foes it manages to grab - ouch!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. The pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The full color layout adheres to the 2-column standard and is drop-dead gorgeous - as is the cool artwork, which drives well home the concept that these beings were once supposed to be healers, somehow driven mad by a virus or some other havoc. Two thumbs up for both artwork and layout - and creature design, for these beings are disturbing and cool and have neat signature abilities - BUT: Where is the craft construct information? It's a construct and even if by fluff the means of making them are lost, as a DM I would have enjoyed this information be included. Its lack is the only true gripe I can muster, resulting hence in a verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Bestiary: Deranged Trepanner
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Psionic Items of Legend: Dissonance, Wind of the Mind
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2013 02:41:56
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Psionic Items of Legend-series is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction,1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages , so let's take a look!



What is this item? Well, as you probably know by now, legendary items come with a set of prerequisites and improve over the levels. So what is Dissonance - first of all, the weapon is a meteorite hammer - a cool weapon type that hasn't been covered. Story-wise, this weapon crafted from an amethyst meteorite, was created to make concentration for foes almost impossible, thus allowing the first wielders to throw off the shackles of the dreaded intellect devourers.



Over the levels, Dissonance starts emitting Psychic Static and with each hit, the static's penalty increases and later is expanded to regular spellcasters and disarm creatures failing concentration checks - the concept is great. Additionally, we get the new whistling quality that staggers and dazes foes - but is tied to a static DC of 15, limiting its usefulness. A dynamic, scaling DC would have been the more prudent way to go.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard with a gorgeous full color artwork for the weapon. I love this weapon, its iconic imagery and the weapon type - but the static DC of the quality is a major detriment in my book - hence my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Dissonance, Wind of the Mind
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Psionic Items of Legend: The Heartstaff
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2013 03:08:01
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Psionic Items of Legend-series is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/explanation of what Legendary Items are, 1 page SRD, leaving us with about 2 1/2 pages of content - since the last page contains some blank space.



So what is the Heartstaff all about? In a word, it's about loneliness - the psioncist who created the staff made it a tool for his psicrystal to develop sentience and keep him company - unfortunately, not even fragments of his own personality could stand his personality, abandoning him. Ever since, the psicrystals are hunting the staff as a means to reproduce. Rules-wise, the heartstaff is a psicrystal staff that increases in prowess and adds multiple awareness and mobility-increasing properties to the psicrystals used in conjunction with the staff - but at the cost of the chance of the psicrystals abandoning their master over their 10 levels of item progression. The pdf also includes the stats of the greater psicrystal staff.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. The artwork of the staff is nice, albeit a bit pink for my tastes. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



The Heartstaff is a nice item and one unconventional type combined with a neat story - but honestly, the chance to lose your psicrystal is imho not offset by the item's powers - a slightly more unique array of powers or more powerful abilities would have increased the staff's appeal. Hence, I'll settle for a final verdict of a solid 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: The Heartstaff
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