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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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Psionic Items of Legend: Moldev, the Secret Strike
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2013 04:20:46
The latest installment in DSP's Psionic Items of Legend-series is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page editorial, 1 page introduction to the legendary item-rules and 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This ring was born from a betrayal that saw one soulknife highway-man killing his kind-hearted brother and thus, this ring allows the wearer to create a potentially non-lethal mind blade, enhance it and knock out foes 3/day if they fail a scaling save. The other abilities include dispel psionics, hamper movement (and especially alternate modes of movement) and finally, render a foe helpless 1/day on a successful touch attack.

As many non-weapon items of legend, the ring only gets 5 levels of power-progression and the final page, which contains the knockout weapon quality, is almost empty. Also, the knockout weapon quality introduced by the pdf has not been properly revised to the updated pdf, featuring still a fixed save DC that should have been replaced with a scaling one.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the full-color artwork of the ring is awesome. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

The revised take on the ring is vastly superior to its first iteration, with 3 issues that rendered the item problematic at best resolved – unfortunately, though, without revising the new weapon quality. Furthermore, what somehow irks me is the fact that no support for soulknives using the ring is given – the abilities duplicate a serious amount of soulknife-powers, but the item does not sport unique benefits for soulknives – a wasted chance, at least in my opinion. Hence, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Moldev, the Secret Strike
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Psionic Bestiary: Dredge and Mind-Numb Swarm
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2013 03:01:11
This installment of the Psionic Bestiary-series is 5 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages of content, 1 per creature. So what are these creatures exactly?

The CR 5 Dredge is a cool idea - a psychokinetic ooze that may launch itself over quite some distances at prey and leach power points from those it tries to consume.

The CR 10 Mind-numb Swarm, spawned from idle thoughts and lost concentration, is simply brilliant, though: Not only does it feature an illusory burn-quality, it also emits a cacophonous, deafening aura that hampers concentration and may actually regain hp if adversaries lose concentration. Awesome concept and cool critter!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column b/w-standard and the original b/w-artworks are nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
This installment of the Psionic Bestiary-series provides us with two nice, cool and unique creatures for a low price - seeing that I like both creatures in both concept and execution, I have nothing to complain and will thus gladly settle for a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval - these critters are worth their asking price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Bestiary: Dredge and Mind-Numb Swarm
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Full Control
by A. A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2013 22:02:57
This supplement for True20 is exactly what True20 needed to make the rule set complete... A build option. Build points are easily explained in the content of this short but sweet rule supplement. For anyone familiar with either of White Wolf's World of Darkness, the system will seem familiar. To attain a higher ability/skill/whatever, you must earn a number of points proportional to your new score. This allows for ultimate character customization. It even includes an example of a build point constructed character.

My gripes about this were that the introductory paragraph came off a little too nerdy, and the artwork, although good, mostly consisted of voluptuous anime style women that may not be appropriate for younger gamers. Those gripes are minor, and aren't weighted enough to lower my rating of this product. I give it 5/5 for giving theTrue20 system more flexibility and ultimate customization of characters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Full Control
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Psionic Bestiary: Phrenic Hegemony
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2013 11:24:42
This pdf is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9.5 pages, so let's check this out!

The Phrenic Scourge was originally intended as a replacement for the closed-IP horrors that are Illithids, but has since developed, grown, mutated into the form that you cans see here: Expanding upon the idea of the phrenic Scourge, this pdf provides different forms of phrenic beings, exposing the scourges for just one facet of the planet and planes-spanning dread empire of the phrenic abominations that enslave not only your spirit.

Chiondaru are the first new type of phrenic creature included, and at CR9 they can usurp your summoning and create deadly constructs - a metacreativity specialist that does not stand alone: Each of the disciplines comes with its own specialist, resulting in a total of 6 variants that ALL have their own unique signature abilities that set them apart. VERY cool!

Now the Phrenic Dreadnoughts are the deadly shocktroops of the empire and believe me, these CR 10 brutes deserve their moniker as Phrenic Dreadnoughts - deadly as all hell, with melee enhanced by psychokinetic knockbacks, this brute is gloriously deadly.

On the more subtle side, CR 6 phrenic infiltrators are masters of metamorphosis and can drain you with their deadly tongues, sucking out your mental attributes with their deadly tongues - great nod towards the illithid-larvae-infected infiltrators while bringing something new to the table as well.

Phrenic's deadly larvae now also come as a CR 4-swarm for a disgusting, deadly swarm.

Finally, the massive, disturbing CR 16 matriarchs may actually disgorge multiple of these swarms, are surrounded by an insanity aura and makes for a very disturbing, cool boss-critter for the dread phrenic hegemony.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to DSP's 2-column, no-frills-standard and the pdf even comes with bookmarks -commendable at this length! What is more commendable even, would be the artworks: Very disturbing and original, these b/w-artworks are all original and can stand with the best, with especially the one-page covering illustration of the matriarch being AWESOME.
For 3 bucks, we thus actually get the best installment of the Psionic Bestiary-series so far: Oozing iconicity, the phrenic hegemony is primed to become mayor, deadly antagonists of any species and challenge with both their dread powers and machinations players of all levels. Add to that the multitude of signature abilities and cool artworks and we have a result of 5 stars + seal of approval - so far the best installment of the series by quite a stretch!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Bestiary: Phrenic Hegemony
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Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionics Guide
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2013 05:20:40
This massive book is 220 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 216 (!!!!) pages of content, so let's check this out!

Well, how to review this? This book is essentially the "Advanced Player's Guide" for psionics, kicking off with an introduction that covers all the psionic aces and core races and their respective takes on the new classes introduced in this book.

I already did in-depth analysis of the respective component pdfs that worked as a kind of playtest for the compilation of this book, so in order to avoid redundancy, I will NOT go through each and every piece of crunch again and instead point you towards my reviews of the component pdfs. I will thus focus on glitches I noticed when first reviewing these and whether/how they've been addressed.

Let's start with "Find the Mark". The marksman's styles are still iconic and cool and...YEAH! We now also get the Kaigun, a marksman/gunslinger-hybrid! Even though "Find the Mark" was released before UC, Dreamscarred press did not rest on their laurels and now provide full Gunslinger-support for their ranged class in the form of an archetype that also includes new deeds. Mechanically sound and cool, this eliminates my one major gripe with the original pdf. Two thumbs up! Better yet, feats like greater intuitive shot and deadly throw (adding wis- and dex-modifier, respectively) to the damage cannot be combined. Wicked abuse successfully thwarted!

"Mind over Body" was my least favorite of the component pdfs, featuring a base-class called Vitalist that is essentially a psionic healer. In its original inception, its orisons had a confusing name that has been cleared up. Better yet, the broken psychic warrior path has been redesigned to avoid using the thrice-damned 3.5 ability "mettle" (evasion for 2 saves, btw.!), now working much more smoothly within the PFRPG-framework. The bad artwork for the metamorph PrC I originally criticized has been addressed, eliminating just about ALL gripes I had with the original pdf - with one exception: The collective ability of the vitalist and the tactician still does not specify whether e.g. a summoner and his eidolon count as one being towards the limit of participants or two. The same holds true for animal companions, familiars etc.

"Pawns & Power" - much like the vitalists's collective, the Tacticians has been revised as well and now works more organic than in the original pdf's first incarnation. "Unlimited Possibilities" was a glorious offering even before the refinement-process of the final book, so no surprises there regarding the quality. The same holds true for "Master the Battle" and "Hidden Intentions", which adds 3 archetypes for the cryptic and 3 archetypes for the Dead. Have I mentioned the Sadist-archetype for the Vitalist before (thankfully, for once not restricted to evil characters) and the 4 different archetypes for the Tactician, one of which provides for a cool fusion of the Vitalist and Tactician classes? Well, I have now.

It should also be noted that e.g. displays of psionic powers and their combinations are detailed in stellar fluff - combinations etc. make for a distinct feeling that goes beyond "I concentrate". The base psionic classes also get a vast array of additional options, as do some of the core-classes. The array of new powers and items that complements the pdf is also nothing to scowl at - there's a LOT of content herein.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed not a single distracting glitch that would have hampered my understanding of this massive book. Layout adheres to a beautiful, rather printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard, with artworks being beautiful and in full color. The pdf comes with truly extended, nested bookmarks, which make navigation easy indeed.
Let me first state something and end a myth: Psionics are not unbalanced. Period. They haven't been since Dreamscarred Press took the reins and applied a rigor and attention to detail and willingness to listen to feedback that is commendable indeed. I often find myself revisiting component pdfs when taking a look at any compilation and find that glitches have not been taken care of. With only one minor exception, the guys at DSP have managed to actually address ALL of my concerns with the component pdfs. Another trap for compilations of any kind is that they just reproduce content. Not so here: We not only have the blank spaces filled, we have the content lavishly and lovingly reorganized, expanded and polished to the point of gleaming like a diamond.

In the beginning of this review, I compared this book to the Advanced Player's Guide. Well, to me, Pathfinder's identity as something different from 3.5 first started to truly crystallize upon the release of said guide. Before, it was 3.6. Afterwards, it was its own, awesome system. Much the same can be said about Psionics Unleashed. While the CORE-book was the 3.6, streamlined version of 3.5 psionics, THIS is NEW. This is exciting. This is original. This is what identity should feel like in a product. Reviewing as many pdfs as I do, I often feel myself get bored by releases, yet more feats, spells, archetypes etc. Crunch can quickly become redundant and bland, forever rehashing tried and true design decisions, upping slowly, but firmly the power creep.

Psionics Expanded opts for something different. The book opts for classes with DISTINCT mechanics. These classes are hence harder to balance, harder to judge and this is also why it took me forever and a day to write this review. I wanted it backed by solid playing experience with each and every class herein. What can I say? They ALL WORK. In fact, they work so well it's almost frightening, since doing the math and design must have been more than a massive challenge. The extended, lengthy playtest and actually using the playtest for something different than proofreading and incorporating the feedback gathered shows in every crunchy nook and cranny of this pdf. Now the pdf is not perfect: I still would have preferred e.g. a more talent-based approach for the marksman. But in the end...these are nitpicks. Very, very minor nitpicks.

I often complain about the lack of ambition among 3pps and 2012 has seen a major rise in such projects - FGG's conclusion of "Slumbering Tsar" and the "Rappan Athuk" kickstarter, Open Design/Kobold Press' "Midgard Campaign Setting" or Rite Publishing's "Heroes of the Jade Oath", to just name 2. But, at least for me, Psionics Expanded is the most ambitious project I've seen in ages, delivering classes with complex, new and exciting mechanics, massive enhancements to existing ones and balancing all of this as a Triple-A-release of the highest caliber. Designers of ANY class should take note, for here are examples on how it's truly done. This is the APG of psionics. Let me spell it out, if it's not abundantly clear by now:
I hate reviewing massive crunch-books like this due to the amount of work they require me to do, but oh boy.
This is one of the best crunch-books out there by ANY publisher for any version of d20. I unanimously allow this book in my home-game and I have limited access to the majority of content from "Ultimate Magic" and "Ultimate Combat". This is grand in every sense of the word and I only seldom pronounce such on a book of crunch. If I could, I'd give this 6 stars. I can't, though, and thus, in spite of (very) minor blemishes will rate this 5 stars + seal of approval. A required purchase for ANY adherent of psionics AND for aspiring designers of crunch. This, ladies and gentleman, is how it's done.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionics Guide
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Psionic Items of Legend: Severis, the Scourge Slayer
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2012 09:57:17
The latest addition to the psionic items of legend-series is 5 pages long, 1/2 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content for Severis, so what is this one about?

After the obligatory introduction that explain what legendary items are (and if you don't know by now and deem yourself a good PFRPG-DM, go and buy the Purple Duck Games-series. All of them.), we delve right into the background of Severis.

Phrenic Scourges are the new Illithids and as such, the tale of the axe called Severis is one of woe - the axe, while superbly suited to cull the ranks of the tentacled beings (gaining the new scourgebane property) is also a burden - the Scourges seek the axe. Whether it is true that the key to unlocking vast power for the scourges lies in the axe or not, it is a potent weapon against their devious machinations, being able to locate the presence of them, but also being a mental beacon for the scourges..

Wielders of Severis gain new fortitude saves every round to kill off phrenic scourge larvae to keep them from reaching the wielder's brain, psi-like abilities etc., culminating in a capstone ability that allows a wielder of Severis to hit a thrall of the scourge without damaging the person, redirecting all inflicted damage on the controlling scourge, even if far away.

The term "Phenc Scourge Ilk" is also defined in the pdf for purposes of clarifying the new phrenic scourge property, which also is fully detailed.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to DSP's no-frills b/w-2-column standard and the artwork of Severis is nice, though not too exciting when e.g. compared to LPJr Design's Treasures of NeoExodus line. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Severis is a cool weapon with a nice and exciting background, some heretofore unseen qualities and a cool new property - what more to ask for in a legendary weapon? Final verdict: 5 stars + seal of approval. Now does this axe show up in the Third Dawn AP? It would fit...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Severis, the Scourge Slayer
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Psionic Bestiary: Pyn-Gok and Tartys
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2012 10:21:38
The latest installment of the Psionic Bestiary-subscription is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover/editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving two pages for the creatures, so let's check them out!

The first new creature would be the Pyn-Gok (CR 3), a race of regal avian humanoids with the power to bat foes around with id insinuation and masters of polearm-combat. Rather disturbing, actually, that the beautiful b/w-artwork makes the Pyn-gok actually look cool and badass! I think these will see some use in my game!

The second new creature is the T'artys (CR 5), a type of psionic fey that delights in causing mischief and dissent among humanoids via its psionic and spell-like abilities, while looking like a pearly version of grey men. Their artwork unfortunately does not hold up to the Pyn-Gok's, but their signature ability, which disrupts manifesting and spellcasting is nice.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are not perfect: I noticed a couple of minor glitches ranging from a missing preposition to capital "b"s after feats that should be superscript etc. - all in all quite a bunch of glitches that need to be addressed, especially in such a short pdf. Layout adheres to DSP's 2-column standard, is b/w and rather printer-friendly. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Artworks range from good to ok. The creatures are nice, but the artwork drags down the T'artys as much as it elevates the Pyn-Gok. Also, the latter feels oddly generic in its fluff: Yet another mischievous fey, only this time with psionics? Not very exciting.
The T'artys should get some unique identity beyond sowing mischief, especially since it's a fey and thus should have some kind, any really, association with nature/elements/people- something that makes it feel mystical rather than mundane. I also don't get why the Pyn-Gok don't get some peacock-like abilities that blind/dazzle/fascinate foes - the connection is so obvious and the race could use a second signature ability.
All in all, I feel that this is the weakest offering of the subscription so far. My final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Bestiary: Pyn-Gok and Tartys
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Psionic Items of Legend: Dancing Robes of Sharatwan
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2012 02:45:49
The third installment in the psionic items of legend-series is 5 pages long, 1 page editorial/introduction and 1 page SRD, leaving 3 pages for the dancing robes.

We start with a short introduction on the rules of legendary weapons, which means that these items scale in power with your PC's levels and thus remain useful throughout their career. If you're looking for more of these very cool items, check out Purple Duck Games' excellent Legendary-series.

Now that's out of the way, what are the dancing robes? Sharatwan was a dervish of unparalleled prowess who wore these robes not only in battle, but also when on her numerous diplomatic peace-missions, the robes working not only as a gorgeous gown that might be worn in higher social echelons, but also as a powerful enchanted padded armor that gains the new determination-quality (which casts breath of life 1/day when the wielder is dropped to 0 or fewer life) as well as multiple abilities that make the wielder faster, better suited for diplomatic missions and enhances their prowess in combat, especially with dual-wielding mind blades - which can btw. also be turned into pure lightning if neither the glowing hands or the aura of peace of the wielder suffices...

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, though the last page of the write-up is rather empty - a tad bit more detailed fluff or a lore-table would have been nice to fill the blank space. Layout adheres to DSP's 2-column standard, the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length and the artwork of the robes is nice indeed. Of all the psionic items released so far in the series, this one is my favorite, its abilities unique, its background history generic, yet intrigue-laden enough and best of all: It's innovative. I can't recall ever seeing a well-made write-up of a mere padded armor that would make for a tool a PC wants to use and the dancing robes actually fill that niche, setting the standard for future releases in the series higher. Due to the lack of a lore-table/wasted space, I'll omit my seal of approval, but still remain with a definite recommendation and a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Dancing Robes of Sharatwan
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Psionic Bestiary: Four More!
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2012 05:02:26
This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover/editorial/artworks (which are repeated in the respective entries), 1 page SRD, leaving 4 pages for 4 monsters, so let's check them out!

The first creatures are the so-called Ir'Llanthaal, CR 3 merfolk-like beings with sound-creating abilities as well as an affinity to dolphins and whales. Especially for e.g. Alluria Publishing's Cerulean Seas campaign setting very cool - I'm looking forward to reading their book on underwater psionics.

After that, we get the CR 6 Khurduzal, the so-called ID shambler is much more interesting: The strange plant cannot only engulf and constrict foes, it is also resistant to psionics and draws strength from powers of the mind hitting it. Furthermore, via its mushrooms, it emits constantly a strange kind of psychotropic aura. This being is so awesome - details like the mushrooms growing on this mass being able to be made into a drug add further to the critter's awesomeness. I just wished that stats for the drug had been provided as well...

The third creature then would be the CR 8 Saurood, a triceratops-headed humanoid can be considered an homage to Forgotten Realm's Saurian leaders, who were known to be contemplative, yet physically imposing. This being can use psi-like abilities that duplicate hammer and stomp as well as being able to emit a devastating sonic bellow. Neat take on the "good" reptilian race. Fans of the Third Dawn-setting should also enjoy the link of the race's fluff with the ophidians.

The final new critter, the Thercias Hound clocks in at CR 6 and should be considered a six-legged canine being with a powerful bite, predatory psionic powers like chameleon and a hide that makes it naturally invisible and a nice deadly hunter in the tradition of the good old displacer beasts.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks provided for the monsters are original and nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor bummer at this length.
Following the tradition of the psionic bestiaries, the creatures herein can be considered high-quality critters, with this installment feeling distinctly like a grand homage to monsters of old that have been absent to one reason or another. The monsters herein all have some kind of signature ability and seem to fill their respective niches. On the other hand, while this closeness to classics makes them feel nostalgic, they could, with the exception of the stellar ID shambler a tad bit more originality. Usually, this wouldn't bug me that much, but due to e.g. the fact that the drug-information is missing as well as the fact that the Ir'Llanthaal could be a tad bit more original, I'll settle for a final verdict of a solid 4 stars - a good mini-bestiary at the low price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Bestiary: Four More!
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Psionic Items of Legend: Helm of the Hydra
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/08/2012 06:26:46
The second installment in the series is 5 pages long, 1 page front cover/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let's check this out!

After an introduction to the concept of legendary items, we get the Helm(s) of the Hydra - created once by the dreaded cabal known as metabolic masters, these helms enhance the collective powers and get additional powers when linked to bigger collectives as well as the ability to meld with others into an effect duplicating the form of doom-power. The item has 5 power levels and the pdf also includes the rules for having a collective.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with no frills and the pdf has no bookmarks, but a cool piece of original b/w-artwork. This item is mechanically much more interesting and cooler than the first item and the narrative is also more complex and has the superior hooks implemented in the background. However, the Hydra Helmet only has 5 levels of power progression compared to the disruptor's 10 levels, making the item slightly less versatile. This remains my only gripe, though, and thus I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars for this rather good installment of the series.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Helm of the Hydra
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Psionic Items of Legend: Disruptor
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2012 06:52:54
This pdf is 5 pages long, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving 3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Taking the awesome concept pioneered by Purple Duck Games, his supplement provides us with a legendary weapon, i.e. a weapon that improves with the level of the wielder and requires the wielder to have certain requisites. The shield is a crystalline shield that makes the wielder a deadly force to be reckoned with and a bane to other manifesters - blocking rays, evasion, even absorbing powers that hit the wielder and even spontaneous dispel psionic assaults on the wielder every 3 rounds.

The pdf also features the crystalline grip armor quality.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column, no-frills b/w-standard and the one piece of b/w-artwork depicting the shield is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length doesn't necessarily need them. This micro-pdf provides us with a nice legendary weapon that transforms one of my favorite concepts to the realm of psionics, so what could go wrong? Not much, but honestly, I'm somewhat disappointed. The theme of the anti-psi-item is rather old and the disruptor does not necessarily bring something truly ingenious or new to the table. The item and its clichéd backstory are rock-solid, even mechanically sound, but it just failed to touch me when compared to some of the narratives Purple Duck Games' recent installments offered. Since there is nothing wrong with the pdf per se, I'll thus settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform and hope for more courageous and unique items in the series.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items of Legend: Disruptor
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From the Deep #2: Ruling Three
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/31/2012 06:19:41
The second installment in Dreamscarred Press's all-psionic AP is 48 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages plot-synopsis of the whole AP, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving a total of 42 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This being an adventure-review, the following text contains SPOILERS. Potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion. Still here? All right!

After putting down a puppeteer-hive-mind in "Uncertain Futures", the new-found peace in the twon of Arbil turns out to be short-lived - contacted by Sudas, Ophidian captain of the guard, the PCs are tasked to find out the reason for a sudden exodus of Orcs from their city of Gyroth. Better yet, for Sudas, jealous of the favoritism the PCs receive from Mospehi due to the first adventure, this is a win-win situation - if the PCs succeed, great. If they fail, no harm done - at least in Sudas' mind. It should also be noted, that, as in the first installment of the AP, a rather significant amount of boxes adds little side-quests to the adventure, adding depth and potential immersion for the PCs as well as the opportunity to earn additional treasure and XP.
And indeed, the overland trek turns out to be rather lethal: While the initial orcish scouting party, hunters and trappers the PCs will encounter should not prove to be a significant challenge for the party, they aren't intended to be, but more on that later. In a nice encounter that hearkens back to "Uncertain Futures", the PCs can also encounter puppeteer-dominated duergar, if only to remind them of the fact that this particular horror is not yet over. Among the other encounter, there is a coven of psionic hags (including a mini-dungeon)and even a cyclops loosening up the continued skirmishes with orcs. Once the PCs had enough, they'll find and hopefully parley with the leader of the scouts, Frag'Goth and learn the reason for the orc's exodus - it turns out that the green-skins have been besieged by lizardfolk and whether the PCs try to infiltrate the orc-camp, all-out attack it or even recruit the orcs as allies (which may be the smartest move in the overall campaign arc), the advance of the green-skins is stopped. Also rather nice: Though the adventure doesn't tell you so, the lizardfolk spy might make for a nice assassin to be thwarted by the PCs if they royally screw up or if you want to give them a second chance at parlaying.

The problem seems to only have been moved, though, and thus the PCs are back on the trek, hopefully preventing a lizardfolk wilder from instigating a forest fire and fighting against scaled raiding parties. Again, there's a mapped mini-dungeon, this time containing multiple trolls as well as a phase spider and after the Pcs have tested their mettle against the superior, psionically-active lizardfolk a couple of times, they'll find the temple of Gyroth still standing amidst a charred wasteland and here, the exploration of the dungeon starts to become interesting: Here, the PCs will face off against "Form", a blob of dissected arms and hands and similar strange and unique beings - in order o reach this, again, mapped dungeon's boss, the mad lizardfolk shaman Urchag, the PCs will have to fool a wall that they are him and in order to do so, they will have to encounter 3 unique aberrations, which have been born from the discarded remnants of Urchag. While 2 are hostile, the third, Urchag's reason, might make for a disturbing, but honest ally and might fill in some details for the PCs. Once the players have vanquished the grisly mutation that once was Urchag (a phrenic aberrant shaper 6 - CR 8), they will not only find a chiseled map, but also find a hint to the source of the incursions and the lizardfolk's sudden appearance.

Back in Arbil, the PCs can hire a captain (who will return for a favor in a future AP-installment) to take them to the island of Less-World, where the PCs will be greeted as gods by the lizardfolk - who only speak draconic. Shasara, if spared, may serve as a recurring character and interpreter. Contacted by the Infellium Feather, a nature spirit and beseeched by the lizardfolk, the PCs will have to trave to the temple of the priesthood for two purposes: First, to complete the rite that makes them priests and eligible to lead the lizardfolk and secondly to execute the "Deep Masters" that have enslaved the scaled lizardmen, fed tales of the world beyond the island to them and made them the deadly aberrant mockeries the PCs had encountered earlier. Thus, the PCs face the trials of the temple and interesting they are - from a tile-based, simple puzzle (including a graphic representation of the tiles) to a rather cool corridor of whirling blades that can only be disabled once the trap has been crossed to withstanding the psionic onslaught of an unbodied for 5 rounds, the challenges are neat indeed and serve as a nice progression towards the showdown with the first of the "Ruling Three" aboleths, who guards the spiraling descent into their true dominion.

In these caverns, the PCs will have to square off against the aboleth's lackeys and in a climactic final battle vanquish the two remaining ancient aberrations. The map is once again in full color and depicts 3 different shades of blue for water-depths and honestly, this is also one of my gripes with this final section of the dungeon: While the different water levels are covered, I would have preferred the environmental information to be covered in the respective room-descriptions, as it makes the DM'S job slightly easier. Another wasted chance is that the tides (since these caves are supposed to be connected to the sea) don't fracture in at all - think about it: Aboleth caves some, of which are slowly flooding... That would have been so awesome.

On the bright side, the PCs can potentially recruit two groups of humanoids in this module for the sequels - let's hope that there'll be consequences for the PC's actions, as has been hinted so far.

The module also includes a 2-page article on Lizardfolk in the World of Ksaren by Jeremy Smith and a two-page mini-gazetteer of the shorelines of the protectorate by Michael McCarthy before we get to the new creatures in the bestiary section:

We get the Infellium (CR 5), psionic spirits of nature (fey) that are created from an animal or plant, a bestiary-entry for the race of Maenads (be sure to check out the alternate KQ-history for the race, btw.), the phrenic aberrant template (CR 1 to 3, depending on HD) and a sample creature and the Phthisic, Puppeteers, Temporal Filchers, Thought Eaters and the Udoroot (most of which will be familiar to you from other sources) as well as a two-page campaign-overview.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting in the revised version are good. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, full-color 2-column standard and the full-color artworks by Rick Hershey and Tsailanza Rayne are awesome. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, but without a printer-friendly version.

Oh, From The Deep-AP, how nice are your ideas: The option to acquire multiple allies for the future AP rocks and hints at the epic things to come - the variety of approaches is awesome, from extinction to helping, the choice is all yours. The side-quests prevalent in the module make for a cool way to add an organic feeling to the world and immerse the players further in the world and generally, I love the mini-dungeons in the overland sections, but they do offer a problematic vista: The general adventure feels cut-down, as if the random, unrelated sidequests chomped away some vital fractions of the main adventure.
Compared to the other dungeons, the final cave level (which had a massive glitch the nice guys of DSP have thankfully quickly taken care of) feels bland - After the stellar two first locations of the module, the finale feels somewhat loveless and generic. The first two dungeons are absolutely awesome - the confrontations in Gyroth and the priesthood's temple in Less-World are stellar examples of supreme design and honestly, while I like the additional material, I think that this module would have massively profited from cutting the content in favor of a properly developed climax and final dungeon. As written, the abruptness and bland finale (fighting that particular creature type in half-submerged caves? Never done that before... -why not make the final level easier, but add interesting environmental factors instead?) somewhat detract from what would otherwise be a very good module.

I really enjoyed Ruling Three due to one leitmotifs that shimmers through both installments of the AP so far: Consequences and Freedom of Choice. The PCs can strike alliances, they can recruit tribes, they can help all the people with their side-quests. They don't have to do so, but they CAN. Much of the coolness of this module derives from its far-out ideas and the options and consequences hinted at in future installments of the AP. That being said, I still maintain that the finale of "Ruling Three" feels a bit jarring and abrupt and that the final dungeon-level represents quite a significant drop in quality when compared to the first two major areas. It is due to the lack of truly interesting environmental complications and a slightly clichéd final dungeon level that I will settle "only" on a review of 4 stars, though the rest of the module could easily be considered great and worthy of 5. I am looking forward to the third installment of the all-psionic From the Deep-AP!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
From the Deep #2: Ruling Three
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Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionics Guide
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2012 21:03:58
Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionics Guide is a great continuation of Dreamscarred Press' psionics line. This book is both imaginative and consistent. It's consistent in that the Advanced Psionics Guide mimics the format of Paizo's Advanced Player's Guide, which is a great design choice, considering both books have a similar niche. The book is wildly imaginiative in that it adds dozens of new Psionic powers and classes, some of which seem familiar to fans of 2nd and 3rd Edition D&D Psionics, many of which are completely new. The classes are amazing, and easily the strongest part of the book. The Aegis (who manifests ectoplasmic armor) and Aegis-related content is almost worth the book's purchase price by itself. The Aegis is just one of the classes I can't wait to play- this from a gamer who never really liked the standard OGL psionics system. Good job, Dreamscarred Press.
CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionics Guide
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Psionics Expanded: Hidden Intentions
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2012 14:53:54
The final installment of the Psionic Expanded-pdfs is 52 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 49 pages of content, so let's check out this final installment of DSP's series!

Following the format of the series, we get a short introduction to the serialized release that is Psionics Expanded and then delve right into the new Core-class, the Cryptic. Crunch-wise, the class gets d8, 4+Int skills, 3/4 BAB-progression, up to 128 Power Points and access to up to 20 powers of to 6th level. But what are they about? Cryptics harness the hidden patterns of reality and manipulate them by having them show up as tattoos - their manifesting is harder to identify by other classes, but they can't suppress the additional manifestation of the pattern that accompanies their casting. They can use the mastery of the pattern to improve their defenses a limited amount of times per day and also gain e.g. trapfinding, trapmaking and similar roguish abilities. When the cryptic focuses, she can also disrupt the pattern of foes of a type she chooses at the time of focusing via a black ray. Cryptics, due to their insights in the patterns of reality, also get special talents called "insights", one at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, of said talents a total of 26 different ones are provided, lending to quite a variety of choices. While the obvious enhancements of the ray they can shoot are there, the cryptic also gets some rather intriguing abilities that distinctly set the class apart from its brethren - one of the insights, e.g., lets the cryptic and his allies temporarily bypass traps without setting them off - now if you don't get some rather cool tactical ideas for that one, I don't know what will - imagine the dastardly trap-cluttered bases an NPC (or the players!) can easily create or a chase of a cryptic through a trap-riddled dungeon. One of the very intriguing options also halves the healing foes hit by your ray receive. Oh, have I mentioned that cryptics may fold traps into small patterns an throw them into unoccupied spaces of up to 30 ft. away or even redirect a trap's effect at foes and repair teh damage done to the pattern of allies, granting them minor healing capabilities adn at 16th level even the ability to bring back the dead. Of course, they can also opt to learn ranger traps and a whole page is devoted to them. It should also be noted that the class has not one or two, but a selection 8 different capstone abilities to choose from - now if that's not nice, what is?

After this new class, we are introduced to new options for the core psionic classes: Psions get the mindbender advanced discipline bent (haha) on enthralling and subjugating foes via Telepathy. Wilders get the new chaotic surge, which may provide power, but also weaken the wilder and prove a quite high chance of enervation, while the Efficient surging option reduces the amount of power points a power costs instead of increasing the level or augmented output. The warping surge can increase allies' caster level and decrease the one of the foes close to it.

Psionic archetypes are also part of the deal and the very first one is already a winner: If you've read my other PE-reviews, you'll know how much I loved the reimagination of the Aegis and the first archetype makes me happy indeed: The Aberrant does not use an ectopic suit, rather modifying and mutating the body into new forms - eyestalks, stingers, poison and even a protective shell are part of the 12 new customizations for this creepy archetype. The ectopic artisan on the other hand blends the powers of the shaper and artisan, manipulating ectoplasma and creating astral swarms to do his bidding at the cost of less power for the astral suit. The Trailblazer, in comparison, is rather boring - it provides 2 new customizations to reflect ranger abilities. The Cryptic gets the pattern breaker archetype which focuses on improving her ray and intimidation. The stellar Dread-class also gets a supplement, the Fear in Flesh archetype, which lets the Dread use the claw/bite powers on a more or less permanent basis and enhance these attacks to carry the powers of fear. The Marksman gets the Kaigun archetype, a kind of psionic gunslinger that has some rather interesting options, like spending power points and expending the focus to gain grit. The Shroud in contrast is a hunter focused on staying hidden while sniping. Two new psionic deeds are also included. Psions can use the new archetypes herein to throw exploding stones, access two disciplines and become better creators. Psychic Warriors get a complex archetype that uses kineticist powers and marries it with martial prowess. The Meditant can be considered a monk/psychic warrior crossover, including increased unarmed damage, while the Protector can be considered a psionic bodyguard. The Soulknife-cutthroat is gets sneak attacks and the nimble blade is rather finesse-focused. 5 talents for the soulknife let the class wilder in the rogue's territory via evasion, trapfinding etc. and a 1-page comprehensive list of weapon abilities is included for your convenience. Quite cool, the Tactician gets the battle medic archetype, which gains limited access to some of the Vitalist's tricks and the Vitalist gets the Life Leech, which can share and shift debilitating conditions, while the Miasmic delight in causing sickness rather than curing it. The combat and blasting wilders can enhance their physis via surges and chain their surge blasts respectively.

Core-classes also get psionic options: From the Enlightened Monk to the cerebral infiltrator rogue (who gets 3 new talents and 2 advanced talents to take psionic feats, powers etc.) and then there are the 15 new feats: While some of which, like "Unwilling Participant" overlap with other PE-releases, especially the "Cushion the Blow"-feats rock: As long as an individual is part of your collective, you can hamper the respective attacks on your allies to make them count as if the foe has rolled 1s on the damage dice via an immediate action and even reduce them further by expanding your focus.

After that, we get the cryptic's power-list as well as a revised vitalist-info - good to see the terminology with knacks etc. streamlined. The powers per say are top-notch and include with everyman one of my player's favorite powers ever. Special mentioning also deserve the ectoplasmatic grapnel that lest you do batman/spiderman-style moves to move enemies and objects to you and can be used in a myriad of ways - the power is longer than a page! From special hiding powers and the ability to launch across the battle-field, the new powers herein are generally well-conceived and none of them felt unbalancing.

Racial favored class options for blues, dromites, elans, half-gaints, meanads and xephs as well as human are covered for the cryptic class and we also get PrCs:

The Body Snatcher (d6, 2+Int skills per level, 6 levels, 1/2 BAB progression, 4 levels of power progression, medium will-saves) ffocuses on mind switches and may retain some sort of muscle memory and retain some of the host's capabilities - a godsend class for recurring villains or great infiltrators and they may even switch minds with their killers, thus granting them one last chance to escape death's clutches. The Soul Archer (10 levels, d10, 4+Int skills, full BAB, medium ref-save, 9 levels mind blade progression) is essentially a ranged version of the soulknife, complete with arrows that may phase through nonmagical terrain like trees, walls etc.

The 16 new psionic items are solid, and especially steampunk-fans and aficionados of victorian aestehtics will be delighted by the new enchanted monocles. Cryptics get some neat tools of the trade to enhance their own pattern-related abilities.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to DSP's printer-friendly 2-column standard and the interior artwork is full-color and both nice and coherent in style. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. After having delivered two of the best and in my opinion coolest classes for PFRPG in the last two installments, I was somewhat dreading the release of this installment. The Cryptic could have easily fallen into the bland concept of "He's a rogue psionics". I'm happy to report that that's not the case. Instead, DSP managed to create a class that is distinct and has a whole unique identity and fluff - ever wanted to create a character that can calculate terrain and use freak "accidents" and traps to his/her advantage? The Cryptic might do exactly that for you. And yes, they can fill the rogue's role, but much like the Vitalist for example, the class feels wholly distinct not only in its mechanics, but also in its fluff and strategies. I'm also delighted to report that the majority of new archetypes ROCK. If you're following my reviews, you probably know that I'm all for complex archetypes and e.g. the Aberrant and the Kaigun rock! The powers and PrCs are also nice and offer a vast array of new storytelling devices and options. In the end, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars and omit the seal of approval only because I would have loved to see more options for the Cryptic and Dread-classes. (Hopefully in the compiled book?)

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Expanded: Hidden Intentions
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