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Treasures of NeoExodus: Dancing Dragons (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2014 07:31:18
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Treasures of NeoExodus-series clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page of SRD/editorial, 1/2 a page advertisement, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The dancing dragons were the nunchaku of the Monkey Prince, NeoExodus' take on Son Goku and as such, are powerful, legendary tools - they are +2 mithral countering nunchaku that allow the wielder to choose damage type (bludgeoning, piercing, slashing) and upon disarms, the nunchaku animate the weapons of foes and have them attack the target. Finally, the nunchaku can blast foes in short-range, deadly cold bursts a limited amount of times per day.

As always, the installment comes with item cards for the weapon.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the pdf features a glorious original artwork of the weapon. The pdf comes in a more printer-friendly full-color version as well and while both pdfs have no bookmarks, at this length they need none.

Jeff Lee's Dancing Dragons are...AWESOME! Unique! Powerful! Iconic! With not one, but 3 relatively unique abilities, I thoroughly liked this one! One of the best installments of the series, my final verdict will clock in at full 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Dancing Dragons (PFRPG)
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D20 Victorian Era Bundle [BUNDLE]
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2014 12:28:24
Victorian Age Feats
14 pages of new feats (12 of content and 2 of OGL). While there is a Victorian sensibility to these, most, if not all could be used in Pathfinder or d20 Modern. In particular I liked the Astrology, Bookworm, Charmed, Empathy, Expert Healer and Look Harmless feats. Others like Puritan Witchfinder might be more suited for 200 years before the Victorian times. A bit of a different feel to feats which I like. With a price of under 2 bucks this is a pretty good deal really.

Victorian Age Feats 2
Like Victorian Age Feats, this product is 14 pages (11.5 for content, 2.5 for OGL). It offers a wide variety of interesting feats to use with your d20/Pathfinder based game. Again what strikes me the most about these is how well they work with Pathfinder out of the box. A minor quibble though. Some of the feats are related to guns, this is fine, but the Victorian era saw a wide variety in technology related to firearms. The "Rip a Clip" feat is fine, but only useful for firearms created after 1890 (near the end of the era). Also not appropriate for Pathfinder even with the Gunslinger (but that is not a strike against this product).
For under 2 bucks it is a good deal, but I didn't like it as much as the first.

Victorian Horrors: Jack the Ripper
It is very difficult to talk about the late Victorian period and NOT mention Jack the Ripper. This 6 page PDF covers how to use Jack in your games and assumes that he will be an adversary of the Characters. Two possible means of link Jack to the PCs as a nemesis are discussed. Some detail is given on the public and police reaction to the Ripper case. Some basic d20 crunch is given to help move the players along.
Stats are given for Jack the Ripper (d20 Modern) and some ideas are given based on the level of magic in your games.
The text of the "Jack the Ripper letters" are reproduced.
While I think this is a good starting effort a lot more could have been done. For example a time-line of the Ripper case should have been included and the names of his victims. Also a map of the killings would have been extremely helpful. While all of this is readily available, that is also the exact reason why it should have been included. As it stands this is just a PDF of a potential threat to the PCs with not much in it that says it is Jack the Ripper.

Victorian Horrors: Martian Invaders
A much better effort here than the Jack the Ripper product. This details the Martian invasion ala H.G. Wells. This product details the Martians, their crafts and their technology. Though curiously missing are stats for the Martian alien themselves. Also while the inspiration is obviously Wells, he is not mentioned in this product. Quotes from the War of the Worlds text would have also been nice. Plus there is not much here that says "Victorian" to me. This could have been about the Wells book or the classic 1953 movie. Actually it seemed more similar to "Day of the Triffids" to me.
7 pages, 6 of content, 1 of OGL.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
D20 Victorian Era Bundle [BUNDLE]
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Victorian Horrors: Martian Invaders
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2014 12:27:15
A much better effort here than the Jack the Ripper product. This details the Martian invasion ala H.G. Wells. This product details the Martians, their crafts and their technology. Though curiously missing are stats for the Martian alien themselves. Also while the inspiration is obviously Wells, he is not mentioned in this product. Quotes from the War of the Worlds text would have also been nice. Plus there is not much here that says "Victorian" to me. This could have been about the Wells book or the classic 1953 movie. Actually it seemed more similar to "Day of the Triffids" to me.
7 pages, 6 of content, 1 of OGL.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Horrors: Martian Invaders
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Victorian Horrors: Jack the Ripper
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2014 12:15:57
It is very difficult to talk about the late Victorian period and NOT mention Jack the Ripper. This 6 page PDF covers how to use Jack in your games and assumes that he will be an adversary of the Characters. Two possible means of link Jack to the PCs as a nemesis are discussed. Some detail is given on the public and police reaction to the Ripper case. Some basic d20 crunch is given to help move the players along.
Stats are given for Jack the Ripper (d20 Modern) and some ideas are given based on the level of magic in your games.
The text of the "Jack the Ripper letters" are reproduced.

While I think this is a good starting effort a lot more could have been done. A lot more. For example a time-line of the Ripper case should have been included and the names of his victims. Also a map of the killings would have been extremely helpful. While all of this is readily available, that is also the exact reason why it should have been included.
As it stands this is just a PDF of a potential threat to the PCs with not much in it that says it is Jack the Ripper.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Horrors: Jack the Ripper
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Victorian Age Feats 2
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2014 12:02:21
Like Victorian Age Feats, this product is 14 pages (11.5 for content, 2.5 for OGL). It offers a wide variety of interesting feats to use with your d20/Pathfinder based game. Again what strikes me the most about these is how well they work with Pathfinder out of the box. A minor quibble though. Some of the feats are related to guns, this is fine, but the Victorian era saw a wide variety in technology related to firearms. The "Rip a Clip" feat is fine, but only useful for firearms created after 1890 (near the end of the era). Also not appropriate for Pathfinder even with the Gunslinger (but that is not a strike against this product).
For under 2 bucks it is a good deal, but I didn't like it as much as the first.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Age Feats 2
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Victorian Age Feats
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2014 11:45:59
14 pages of new feats (12 of content and 2 of OGL). While there is a Victorian sensibility to these, most, if not all could be used in Pathfinder or d20 Modern. In particular I liked the Astrology, Bookworm, Charmed, Empathy, Expert Healer and Look Harmless feats. Others like Puritan Witchfinder might be more suited for 200 years before the Victorian times.
A bit of a different feel to feats, which I like. With a price of under 2 bucks this is a pretty good deal really.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorian Age Feats
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Twin Furies (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2014 07:21:17
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Treasures of NeoExodus-series clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page of SRD/editorial, 1/2 a page advertisement, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The Twin Furies are two kamas crafted for the vile religion of Khayne and as such have interesting abilities - one is a +1furyborn kama, one is a +2 vicious kama that only deals nonlethal damage to followers of Khayne. The dread weapons make the wielder harder to intimidate and when used in conjunction in a full attack (or flurry), and both weapons hit, the wielder may also execute a rend attack.



The pdf comes with item-cards for the Twin Furies.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the pdf features a glorious original artwork of the weapon. The pdf comes in a more printer-friendly full-color version as well and while both pdfs have no bookmarks, at this length they need none.



Jeff Lee's Twin Furies are nice weapons with unique options, but they fall a bit behind the last, glorious installment of the series - it's a nice pair of weapons, but not one that blew my socks off. A good installment of the series, well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Twin Furies (PFRPG)
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Treasures of NeoExodus: Gentle Hand of Law (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2014 05:56:49
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Treasures of NeoExodus-series clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page of SRD/editorial, 1/2 a page advertisement, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



The gentle hand of the law is a powerful weapon - steeped in a history that could have stemmed from the tales of real life religious warriors, these beloved weapons, named in honor of the lady commander of the Caneus Empire's high guard - the mace would be a +1 merciful spell-storing heavy mace that also deals dexterity damage on crits and causes targets hit by the critical to drop anything they hold - neat, elegant idea.



The pdf also provides one page of weapon-cards to print/cut out.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the pdf features a glorious original artwork of the weapon. The pdf comes in a more printer-friendly full-color version as well and while both pdfs have no bookmarks, at this length they need none.



Author Jeff Lee weaves a compelling yarn and provides a nice weapon with a unique bonus ability - well done, nothing to complain, my final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of NeoExodus: Gentle Hand of Law  (PFRPG)
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Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2014 02:13:23
I'm torn on this one, basically four out of five is a compromised review no matter how you look at it.

Okay, let me explain. I have some signifigant gripes about this book BUT a lot of that feels more like a matter of taste and nitpicking. Even taking them as seriously as possible I'd still say the book earns a three out of five. On the other hand there are some things this book does really well and I'm feeling a bit guilty for not giving them more weight and giving it the five.

The current other review does a really good job on the details so I'll not go into the full breakdown here. I think the problem is the book claims it's a setting and tries to pass itself off as one (even saying so on the cover) but I just can't feel it. It's basically a toolbox and rules expansion with a few seeds you could use for a setting. A REALLY excellent toolbox, don't get me wrong, but just a toolbox. I guess that's the real problem for me, there's the potential for four or five really excellent settings here but I feel the book does a half hearted job in portraying them and their presence drags the other stuff down. Especially when the book isn't always clear about what they'd intend to be in what setting and what isn't.

I think the purest example of this is the 'map' included in the book. It's really a combined map that includes locations from different settings, what's really important in one setting doesn't even exist in another which might be something unimportant in a third. There's no indication of scale or distance on the map, what the terrain is supposed to indicate, or whether this is supposed to be a continent or the whole planet. This is sort of indicative of the whole problems the 'settings' had for me.

Be careful this warning doesn't sour you on the book though. Yes, the settings seem a little half hearted. As a toolbox this is an excellent book and without overdone details there's a lot of adaptability in the settings they have provided, probably even more important in a post apocalyptic setting then usual! There's some very interesting seeds here and some rule mechanics to back them up (I especially like the sanity rules here, a nice CoC DnD mix). I'm a little skeptical about the spells and how they're balanced but I think I can give them the benefit of the doubt for some of the post apocalyptic settings they're supposed to be used in.

I guess the best way to put it is that as a setting book this one's three stars. Not actually bad but I'd have trouble calling it good. As a toolbox it's got a lot of good ideas and some new rules and monsters (and races) to work with and should probably get the five. If you know what you're getting into it's a worthwhile buy, for all my hemming and hawing I'm strongly considering using this combined with a homebrew take on the Dragonstar setting.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
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Races of Obsidian Apocalypse: Flesh and Iron (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/05/2014 05:38:39
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This racial supplement clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We kick of this book with the Prometheans. These guys and gals thankfully have nothing to do with the ridiculously bad sci-fi movie and its clumsily disguised anti-science propaganda, but rather hearkens to the standard set by White Wolf to describe Prometheans as an euphemism for the created/artificial species - -or rather, for golem-like races.



Here, we make a distinction between cobbled-together Flesh Prometheans in the vein Frankenstein's Monster, who receive +2 Con adn Int, -2 Wis, can sniff out carrion (and those severely wounded), have darkvision 60 ft, ferocity, may 1/day tap into old memories of one of their parts to get an insight bonus equal to their character level to a skill, get +2 to saves versus diseases and poisons and are healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy as a drawback (or bonus in the apocalyptic world of Obsidian Apocalypse). All in all, a solid race, with the energy affinity making for a nice tip .in the high-powered OA-default environment, this is a bonus, in a regular setting probably a hindrance. Nice take on the Half-undead race.



The second type of Prometheans would be the Clockwork Prometheans - or, to give you a better understanding - brains-in-a-jar in power-armors. Yeah. Awesome concept. These fellows receive +2 Str and Int, -2 Dex are slow, receive resistance 5 against negative energy, lose no hp when they gain a negative level and also receive a +2 bonus to saves versus death-effects, energy drain, negative energy and necromancy spells and SPs. They also receive a +2 natural armor and +2 to saves versus disease, mind-affecting effects, poisons and exhaustion/fatigue-inducing effects. They need non eat, sleep or breathe. They are considered half-constructs and cannot be raised or resurrected. Both receive the Promethean subtype and the clockwork Prometheans are also rather strong (and not suitable for low powered gaming), but fit in well within the context of Obsidian Apocalypse's high-stakes gaming. That being said, if you don't bat an eye at the ARG-races, these probably won't prove too much either.



Gaining weaponiszed weapon-grafts (or if you're a machinesmith, even mobius weapons), shutting temporarily down all emotion, stopping bleed effects, natural attacks - okay feat options. Now personally, I don't like the automatic detection of magical auras and undead one of the feats grants - auto-detects tend to result in broken in-game logic. The race comes with favored class options, which suffer in parts from minor glitches - like "Gain a +1/2 bonus to rolls to critical hits while raging." Yeah, not all crits are meant - there's a "confirm" missing here. +1 to CMD versus two maneuvers of your choice is cool, though I would have appreciated information on whether these can be taken again with different maneuvers or whether the bonus always applies to the same two maneuvers. Nice to see - FCOs for both Machinesmith and psionic classes.



Now the spirit-of-vengeance-possessed Raijin, absent from the basic OA-book also make a return. They receive -2 Cha, a Die Hard-like effect (with synergy with the feat), +2 to will-saves and fort-saves, treat any part of their body/weapons/armor as +1 for the purpose of bypassing DR and their possessing spirit receives an ego and follows the rules for magic items - smart. Instead of being a base-race, the Raijin is essentially a story-reward, perhaps the result of a story-feat etc.A total of 7 feats accompany the race and allows the Raijin to affect the minds of otherwise immune mindless undead. Slightly annoying - the cool and iconic, if a bit powerful option to control creatures via possession sports quite a number of easily avoidable editing glitches that make the ability slightly harder to understand than it ought to be. Personally, I think this feat requires a kind of daily limit - control of foes via touch as a supernatural ability sans limit is rather powerful even before further augmenting the ability with supplemental feats. A final feat allows you to make necromancy-spells sickening.



The final race would be the Uzamati- and they are weird - they have darkvision 60 ft., are immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue and exhaustion and the sickened condition. Uzamati are healed by negative energy as if they were undead, but unlike undead or constructs, they have con-scores and need to make fort-saves. They also heal damage normally, are not immune to mind-influencing effects, are subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, stun, ability damage and drain and death/necromancy-effects. As beings of pure negative energy, the Uzamati cannot be raised or resurrected and do not need to sleep, eat or drink. They also get +2 to Int, Wis or Cha and Necromantic Phasing as a bonus feat. ...which should simply be part of the race write-up, since every Uzamati gets it.



This feat nets you the ability to phase away for cha-level + chosen mental attribute modifier rounds per day. While phased out, they receive half damage from corporeal damage sources., may phase through and enter solid objects, deal +1 negative energy damage with unarmed attacks that cannot heal the Uzamati or other negative energy-healing creatures. Foes trying to perceive you receive a penalty of -2 to perception and using the ability on a plane "That has a strong negative energy makes you vulnerable to all damage." So...does this mean double damage from everything? +50% damage? What constitutes strong negative energy? The planar trait for strong negative energy affinity? Don't know. There are also 4 traits - one of which makes it possible to be healed by positive/negative energy normally...which is weird, for the racial traits specify that these do work normally on you. Something went wrong here. For just a feat, channel energy can have all dice upgraded to d8, which is too strong and phased out damage-increase to d6 is okay, as is affecting incorporeal creatures. Phasing through walls is also awesome.



The Uzamati as a people of artificially created body-simulacra for negative energy-bound souls are a downright awesome concept. I also like quite a few of their rules and the phasing is cool - but since it's essentially an outsourced racial power, it does far too much at once - had this feat been split up into multiple feats and the race studded with some vulnerability, it would be utterly awesome - as written, it is an overpowered beast that imho even transcends the power-level of the strong Obsidian Apocalypse races with the vast array of unnecessary immunities. Fixable? Sure.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not glorious. There are quite a few glitches in here that could have been easily caught, but formal ones and in the rules-language. The pdf adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column standard and the ridiculously awesome artworks, all of them originals (though two have been used before in Obsidian Apocalypse) make this one of the most beautiful pdfs out there, especially for the low asking price. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor comfort detriment.



Authors Rich Redman and Wendall Roy have created an array of truly inspired races that all breathe high-concept awesomeness. The balance in respect to the Obsidian Twilight-versions, where available, has been significantly mproved, though imho, there are still some hick-ups and feature-bloat, especially with the Uzamati, to be found here. These races are not for low-powered games, be aware of that. While the Uzamati could use a nerfing, the other races are high-concept and damn cool. On the downside, we get no FCOs for the Uzamati and no age, height and weight tables for ANY of the new races, which is a major detriment in my book - especially knowing how much the massive Prometheans weigh would have been more than crucial; Raijin and Uzamati can be explained by just adhering to base creature/human defaults.



This pdf has all the makings of greatness and awesomeness and falls short by a small margin - with the Uzamati's balance-issues, glitches and missing age, height and weight tables conspiring to make this slightly less than its awesome concepts deserve. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to the high-concept, cool ideas and with an explicit recommendation if you're looking for strong races, are willing to do a bit of crunch-balancing or just in love with the cool concepts.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Races of Obsidian Apocalypse: Flesh and Iron (PFRPG)
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Leader of the Pack: Humanoids (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/22/2014 02:51:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of LPJr Design's "Leader of the Pack"-series is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Know the feeling? You've had your game derailed/a adventure idea, but no ready to go statblock for the boss of a tribe/group? Don't want to slap on the advanced creature template on that sucker again? Well, Leader of the Pack is here to remedy that by providing boss-adversaries for roaming tribes, lieutenants etc. - this time, the focus being on humanoids:



Bugbears are the first humanoids covered herein, and the two characters provided herein would be a torture-master (fighter 2/ rogue 5 at CR 8) and the Lord of Fear, a CR 10 antipaladin 8. Problem - the Lord of Fear should be CR 9 - 8 levels -1 +2 for the racial HD. Yes, a minor hick-up, but in supplements like this, all designed for drop-and-go, such glitches way heavily. Each of the leaders in this supplement comes with one short plot hook as well as an array of different sample encounters (i.e. with mooks, ELs and XP-values assigned etc.).



Gnolls get the Gnoll Huntsmaster, a ranger 5 at CR 6 that has a formatting glitch that does not have Defense properly highlighted and a Shaman at CR 7 that is a cleric 7. If you haven't figured out - the CR of the cleric is wrong.



Goblins may now be led by a fighter 6 chieftain (for a CR of 5) or a pyromancer (sorc 5) at CR 4, withe specially the latter being more potent than one would expect for a creature of this power when played properly by a DM.



Hobgoblins may be led by a CR 4 Lieutenant (tactician fighter 5) or a CR 7 Battle Priest (cleric 8), with both builds fitting well the martially-inclined, relatively strategic mindset of these beings.



Finally, we get a CR 6 Scarred Witch doctor 7 for orcs as well as an orcish barbarian king at CR 9 - both builds being okay, if not that mind-boggling.



The pdf ends with a glorious sample 1-page lair map with a grid - this map is awesome and will see some use in my games!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though I did notice some glitches. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with fitting full-color stock art. The map deserves special mention, since I did not expect to get such a high-quality full color map at this price-point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with a second, more printer-friendly version.



The pdf offers interesting builds and some that are a bit more straight-forward than I would have liked - a bit more archetype use or slightly more lethal builds would have gone a long way here. Perhaps it's just me, but I consider archetyped/ multiclass-monsters much more useful than just ones that have straight vanilla class-levels applied - I can add 10 levels of fighter in my head on the fly, but add multiclassing/archetype and it gets a tad bit more complex. So yeah, I'd like to see more of the slightly more complex builds found herein and less of the straight, relatively bland one-class-no-archetype progressions.



Still, Mike Kimmel has delivered a nice kick-off for the series, though one that has still room for improvement: More complexity, no glitches and we have a cult-series in the making here. At the fair price of $3.50, I feel justified in rating this offering a solid 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform due to the glitches preventing me from rounding up by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Leader of the Pack: Humanoids (PFRPG)
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Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/03/2014 03:59:19
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Obsidian Apocalypse is a massive 200-page book, 1 page front cover, 1 page donor-list, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of ToC,, leaving a massive 194 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What is Obsidian Apocalypse? Well, first of all, it's the heir of Obsidian Twilight - a campaign-setting that gloriously failed just about all my expectations. Still, LPJr Design improved so vastly that I joined, with a somewhat hopeful anticipation, the Kickstarter to make Obsidian Apocalypse, the sequel. Kind of. For, while there is a default setting kind of assumed, Obsidian Apocalypse now is less of a campaign setting, but rather an extremely versatile toolbox for to scavenge from. So after the first introduction to the cataclysmic world of Abaddon, we're introduced to the base-races - minus half-elves/half-orcs, for the world was not kind on these beings. Each of the core-races gets their own apocalyptic vista of what has happened to them - from the forlorn/mushroom-infected elves to the cannibalistic halflings, the takes on the races are disturbing and evocative at the same time. Beyond that, each of the races gets 3 alternate racial qualities - want to for example play shaven, mad dwarves, akin to Warhammer's Slayers? Yep. Damn cool.



Of course, we also get an array of new races. While I could go into the details regarding each race, I'll instead try to give you a short run-down. Another note before I start - the races herein you may remember from the previous installments, yes. They are nothing like their previous iterations - they actually by now are mostly rather well-balanced, on par with the stronger PC-races...without using their fluff. How is that accomplished? Well, where before, these races had a slew of special abilities, they retain these, but have to choose them as alternate racial traits. Take the Exalted, essentially the aasimar of the setting, the descendant of legendary half-burned angel Zebadiah, the last angel of Abaddon. Want a blade of deadly light? Angelic Wings? Well, you can now exchange these for the divine spell-like abilities of the race. Where before, they were stronger than even the aasimar, they now are a powerful, but balanced option. Another general improvement that hold true for all races, would be that they're less geared towards a specific class than before, often allowing for a more free assignment of ability score-modifiers. Where there are spawn of the upper planes, there also ought to be those of the lower, and yes, the Infernals are essentially the take on the Tieflings herein. Where in the previous iteration, they were a bit too strong for my tastes and while that kind of still is true by a margin (and this one's crunch sports a couple of minor typo-level/bolding glitches - more than in others), the new take on the infernal is vastly improved.



One of the more iconic races herein would be the Genesai - offspring of angels and demons, these unnatural beings once were somewhat of a Mary Sue-race; Now in this iteration, their powers have been more streamlined, their relative strength cut down to a level where they make for a more valid option. More importantly, their shattersoul blade, a blade made from the dichotomies of their very being, got a more varied mechanic that makes more sense - the scaling is also different from the one of the celestial. Now the Lykians, werewolf-like humanoids still are a tad bit too strong for my tastes: Claws, a diseased bite, +4 to Dex, increased miss chances in dim illumination etc. - even with a weakness to silver, this is a tad bit too much for my tastes. Another gripe - personally, I'm never a friend of +4 attribute modifiers like this one and the one of the harrowed, the spawn of the living and undead. Why am I not complaining about these semi-undead? Simple - they aren't healed by positive energy, but by negative energy, making them much more fragile in your avergae adventuring group. For a race geared towards melee with str+4, that's enough balancing for me - also due to not getting full-blown undead immunities.



It is here I'd like to mention that each of the races can expand their racial abilities via feats, in the case of harrowed allowing you to play any harrowed from the offspring of zombies to descendants of shadows and even liches. These feats often help drive home the uniqueness of these new races, by e.g. allowing you to expand the tricks of your genesai's shattersoul blades or truly be exalted: One feat allows you to sacrifice silver to temporarily stem the tide of the taint across the world and make an area fertile...for a time, as mentioned. Another interesting race would be the Osirions (not related to the Golarion-nation) - a black-skinned high-culture of beings with innate affinity towards necromantic arts - both beneficent and deadly. Not all feats are superb - there is for example one that hasn't been updated and might generate some confusion regarding the final race, the Khymer.



What are the Khymer? Essentially, they are people reduced to puddles of psionic, sentient, toxic blood that can take over corpses and remodel them to look like their lost forms. More importantly, they may burn out these husks (and their bodies) to fuel their psionic powers metapsionics-style. The rules for this race have been massively streamlined and the fact that the race now works better is great - especially since changing bodies can potentially be lethal and a lengthy procedure. The feat I mentioned before still assumes a more short-term duration for host-change than the new one, which takes several hours. Still, they are one of the most unique, iconic races out there and while the enhancements to their psionic abilities are imho too strong at low levels, the race per se is too cool for me to condemn - sometimes, even for me, coolness trumps all.



The feats I mentioned before deserve further mention -there for example are necromantic feats, which allow you to enact special necromantic treats - like forming the bones of a corpse or similar source into a superb armor for fragile spellcasters. Where in the predecessor, balancing was rather all over the place in these, the new takes on the feats even could have used a minor power boost here and there - none of the vast array of feats made me yell or get upset, many though made me grin and ponder why/how I'd use them - so all in all, a surprisingly well-crafted chapter - especially since I didn't really consider it necessary before. The same can be said in a much higher degree about the chapter on spells - with one exception (and that one's level 6 and requires foes to actually have blood circulation: Death by de-veining!), you'll no longer find any save-or-die spells. Indeed, instead, the magic chapter has been thoroughly cleaned up, the spells now often doing actually rather interesting things - what about e.g. a wall of spiders that becomes less efficient the more armor its victims wear? Spells that are hampered by wearing the right equipment? The option to create a duplicate, which if you or it dies, may well actually become you? Teleport-blocks? Anti-true-strikes? Yeah - if you're familiar with some - that's because the book updates quite a few spells from Monte Cook's by now legendary Book of Eldritch Might to PFRPG - and, just like the feats taken from the book, these are no lazy cut-copy-paste jobs, but rather true conversions and often, significant improvements.



But all of that crunch is not what this book is about - this book is about the end of the world. Or rather - the ends of the world - for each of the following chapters deals with one of the possible ends of the world.



And they mince no words. They don't turn tails. They are capital B bad news for all good. The first calamity to end the world depicted is engineered by no one other than the Morning Star, the Prince of Lies. No. Not Asmodeus, this knock-off. Lucifer. Yes. Lucifer. The Prince of Lies has destroyed his opposition, merged his former prison with the prime material and obtain the contract of creation - hence "Hell on Earth" really encapsulates well what has happened here. It should be noted that hence infernal taint comes with feat chains that net significant synergy benefits, allowing the characters to represent the taint and changed dichotomies. It should also be noted that each of the end-of-the-world-scenarios comes with multiple organizations (though no Prestige-mechanics) and fully depicted settlements as well as suggested campaign-outlines/DM-advice. Have I mentioned rules for apocalyptic, hellish weather like rains of frogs, tornados of flame and the like? What about the one ritual that keep the hellish hordes from crushing all resistance?



The next apocalypse would be the result of a meteorite, from which weird life spawned - an illness consuming organic and inorganic material, subjugating everything under its dread swarm-intelligence and potentially non-euclidian-seeming aesthetics. The shaper virus has changed the world by separating it into ever decreasing healthy lands with draconian anti-infection protocols, which proved to be the only way to stem the tide of infection, and the virus-controlled second half of the world, by now a nightmare of infected creatures. PC will have to struggle with the infection, draw strength from it and avoid succumbing to it - this apocalypse is by far the worst in my opinion: In a good way. I love the moral implications, the deadly abilities, the feats that let you draw upon the virus's strength at a price - this one is glorious indeed. Of course, we also get the contaminated-template here as well as an array of sample contaminated victims of the dread virus...



Want to go more conservative with your weird apocalypse - well, there's also a chapter detailing the apocalypse due to the return of the cthulhoid elder gods - and as such, the chapter of course requires sanity rules. What can I say - they're elegant, versatile without being CoC-level punishing, leave enough control for the DM and over all, are the best sanity rules for any d20-based game I've seen in quite a while - essentially characters get starting SAN, a can lose SAN, regain it via Heal and encountering the strange may result in gaining new insights into forbidden lore - yes, essentially, that's the d20-version of COC's SAN-system and it actually works rather well in play! And yes, it includes the Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)-skill (somewhat akin to cthulhu mythos in CoC), but also takes the options of restorative magic etc. into account. Beyond that, sheer proximity to these beasts changes planar properties in interesting ways - this chapter should also prove to be extremely interesting for Midgard-DMs looking to add some oomph to the wasted west. We also get two nice simple templates to modify creatures. Once again a great apocalypse with awesome supplemental material.



Of course, there also ought to be...yes! The zombie-apocalypse - with a new breed of zombie that decreases your movement automatically and by sheer proximity, easily pinning those immobilized and spreading undead destruction around the world - in this world, the war against the never-ending hordes of mindless dead, necromancer lords etc. all rule, making for a nice, traditional undead apocalypse supplemented by some neat ideas and crunch. On the supplemental side, traits, feats, spells and a table for vast hordes of undead and their CR are provided as well as a rather significant array of shambling sample zombies of various CRs



Now it should be noted that theoretically, you could combine all of these into a truly devastating super-apocalypse... but who would do that? *evil grin*



Now a setting like this can't work with petty CR 10+ villains - hence we also get the super-movers and shakers in all their glory -if you recall Calix Sabinus, the Vampire-Lich-God-king and his brethren, you'll know that this chapter provides some truly nasty adversaries - with legendary Mummy-king Asi Magnor getting a resplendent new artwork, just as the newcomer, Reikenjo, the first agent of the shaper virus. CR-wise, these legends range from CR 30 to CR 35 - and thankfully don't include Lucifer or Elder Gods, i.e. beings that should not be slain by mortal hands. One kind-of-gripe here - the equipment of these legends is rather puny compared to their level. DMs probably should add some items and yes, in my opinion also artifacts to make these unique threats a tad more challenging.



Of course, there also are less epic monsters herein, with each and every one of them coming with a downright glorious artwork - whether its old favorites like the boneshard golems or the necromantically-infused creature template or new critters like the slumber-inducing intelligent eye-consuming insects, the undead-hunting bird-like humanoids called Hargila, face-stealing fey, shadow-consuming undead or ooze-like outsiders that spread and sustain themselves on hatred - the creatures in this chapter are gloriously wicked and powerful -beasts to truly FRIGHTEN players, not just their characters, often with an array of interesting signature abilities. This chapter also includes a damn cool array of environmental hazards and weird diseases to spring upon your players.



The book concludes with campaign ideas and options to help a DM plan/organize such a campaign.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are generally very good - while some glitches have crept in (which happens in almost all big books), editor Joshua Yearsley generally has done a great job. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the artworks deserve special mentioning - this ranks among the most beautiful books I've seen in that department, with iconic piece upon iconic piece. While some you may know from older Obsidian Twilight-publications, the majority is actually new and drives home the superb art direction. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in full color, but is *relatively* printer-friendly when printed out in b/w. If you somehow can get your hands on the color exclusive version from the KS, DO SO. Seriously, I got both the full color and b/w print version and the former is just...beautiful. Even for LPJr Design standards - and that means something.



So...this was another review that took forever, mainly due to having to check back to the old material, comparing it etc. First of all - the balance-concerns I had with the races previously have *mostly* been alleviated, in favor of a much more streamlined experience. And while I'm not 100% sold on the balance of some of them, there always is the "rule of cool"-factor - take the Khymer: While the meta-psionic tricks of the race are VERY powerful and something to take into account as a DM, they are a race of sentient, body-invading BLOOD. The main gripe I have here is that the DC to determine con-damage doesn't scale and that the enhancements, per se, would imho work better as a feat-chain. Now declaring them as such wouldn't be hard on a DM, so there you go. generally, the races can be now categorized as a medium till strong race-option, but not as overpowered as they once were - the core-races no longer feel like declassified second choices compared to them, with fungoid infections, slayer-dwarves etc. offering a neat array of racial fodder.



On the other hand of the spectrum, there are some feats (like aforementioned bone armor) that can only be used 1/day - some scaling for additional uses based on level etc. would have made some of these more viable - which they deserve to be, for they are exceedingly cool.



More than all of that weighs another point - whereas Obsidian Twilight felt a bit like "What's cool? All right, let's mush it together into a setting!", Obsidian Apocalypse does not pretend to be a setting - it's a toolbox, a kit of a plethora of options, ready for the picking. Want to combine the sanity-mechanics from the chapter on cthulhoid threats with the shaper virus or Lucifer's incursion? There you go! You could even reappropriate the mechanics for "humanity" and go for a walking dead-style zombie apocalypse, where the survivors slowly turn into sociopaths. Obsidian Apocalypse KNOWS what it is - it's not the subtle kind of horror (though especially the shaper virus lends itself to this approach), but rather the in-your-face blare of horror, of Midnight-level despair and valiant last stands.



The crunch in the beginning was good, much nicer and more streamlined than I expected - but in the apocalypses, in the scenarios, their settlements and organizations, in the monsters and threats - this is where the book started to grow its rather evil potential. let me give you a comparison: One of my favorite 3.X books EVER is Elder Evils. I loved the book's threats to death - but the signs, the repercussions of the impending apocalypse there just...FAILED. One paltry little change and that's it? All the page-count devoted to lame maps and lamer minion-stats, when all could have been devoted to actually helping a DM make the catastrophes his/her own? Yeah, Elder Evils failed there. Obsidian Apocalypse triumphs in that regard - I guarantee you, that upon reading this book, you WILL be inspired - whether it's a spell, a feat, a monster, a hazard, a legend (though, as mentioned, give those guys more equipment!), an organization - this book will get your creative juices flowing. Whether it's the drawback-laden infection-feats, the ideas, the compelling prose that depicts the respective cataclysms - there is so much to take, combine, change and use that the book simply screams to be used.



This campaign toolkit ranks as one of my favorite toolkits for any iteration of d20 - it may not be perfect in EVERY little component, but it manages to be INSPIRING, even for jaded "seen it all"-DMs like yours truly. There aren't many of these books around. Now don't expect a full-blown setting , but rather consider this an inspiration to follow, a means of making your very own end-of-the world scenario with all its repercussions and you'll find ample, copious inspiration herein. All in all, this is, in my opinion, the BEST BOOK LPJr Design has so far made. It oozes heart's blood, passion and makes for a fantastic book to own. I was honestly skeptical when I backed the Kickstarter back in the day - and am thoroughly glad I did. I'm not kidding when I say that this is a whole new beast that rectifies just about all of the issues of its predecessor and adds vast amounts of awesomeness on top. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - and, since I didn't manage to get the review done in time in 2013, this one now is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2014. If you'll excuse me, I have an endtimes-scenario to plan...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 7: Storn Cook
by Joshua D. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2014 10:16:41
Disappointed. The art has't been cleaned up at all and artifacts can be seen all over the "white space". What's more the portfolio is nothing more than a pdf file, making it annoying (not difficult, just annoying) to use any of the provided images in anything. Not pleased, and regret the loss of the the $9.99.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 7: Storn Cook
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2014 09:23:00
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Adventure Path Iconics is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with a total of23 pages of content, so let's take a look!



From the get-go, I feel the need to mention something - these Iconics are not for a traditional AP in the sense of Paizo's published paths. They're rather intended for the recently released Obsidian Apocalypse setting/campaign toolbox by LPJr Design. While the characters herein might work with Carrion Crown, they are ALL very uncommon races, i.e. those from Obsidian Apocalypse, meaning that they're slightly stronger than the core races and that they, fluff-wise, tend to be rather monstrous. Personally, I draw a line between gothic horror and apocalyptic survival horror like Obsidian Apocalypse, so that's something I *THINK* you should be aware of. The characters have been created with 150 GP starting gear and 20 point-buy. The characters also come with information to modify the characters to 15 and 25 point-buy as well as suggestions to improve them over the first couple of levels. Each character comes with a sample quote that gets you in the mood for playing him/her.



The first character herein would be Mik'Quol An-Str-Natk, an Osirian cleric of Zebadiah. Osirians are essentially dark-skinned humans that can tap into necromantic hellfire - which is much less impressive than you'd think - it's essentially temporary fatigue-causing rays at will that act as disrupt undead against the undead. Per se, I have no gripe against the ability, though the very "cool" name and the rather puny effect would get a chuckle out of my group. Osirians also get some bonuses to skills, improved initiative etc. - but for racial info, please check my soon-to-come review of Obsidian Apocalypse. Saved from the deadly vampiric predators that roam the world of Abaddon by the legendary last, half-burned angel Zebadiah, Mik'Quol may not be the sharpest tool in the guerilla shed of Osirians, but he is an interesting character.



The second character in the array would be an infernal sorceror called Xasturian. As an Infernal, he is essentially one of the red-skinned tieflings of Abaddon and thus has natural claw attacks and makes use of the alternate racial trait that nets him +1 to all saves. The son of a succubus, he was raised by his now disappeared big brother - and as befitting of his bloodline, he is both adept at blast foes and charming the ladies. He also has a habit of speaking of himself in the third person. Generally, a rather cool build, though personally, I probably would have gone with one of the more interesting infernal racial traits. His statblock also suffers from a formatting glitch - the Offense-header is not properly highlighted against the rest of his statblock.



The third character is one I have a certain positive bias towards - why? Because Ilita Faara is a Khymer. What are these? Essentially, they are discorporated, corpse-possessing sentient puddles of psionically-charged, toxic blood that require fresh bodies to sustain their existence. They may also burn their body to enhance their psionics, increasing ranges, empowering powers or even regain power points. The latter has me a bit concerned, I might add. Personally, I'm also not a big fan of the fixed DC for the fort-save they have to make to determine whether this body-burning deals one or two points of con-damage - a more flexible DC would have made more sense to me. It should be noted, though, that at least regarding the psychic warrior (yes, Ultimate Psionics-compatible ) Ilita, this is not too relevant. She is an interesting character, striving to meet the demands of a forgotten code of conduct, buried in her memory by the cataclysmic event that transformed her species into sentient blood. Her choice of weaponry with slings and rapiers is not too interesting - but her power selection is solid with biofeedback and call weaponry, if not too creative. Over all, a nice character that comes with all required pieces of information to run the strange race and that also comes with nice angles for roleplaiyng in her propensity for wind instruments.



After that, the next character would be Treeshearer Snarltooth Swifttongue, a Lykian ranger. Lykians are essentially werewolf-like humanoids. Snarltooth uses an alternate racial trait that allows her to emit a howl 1/hour that can cause her enemies to become shaken. Lykians also get a primary bite attack at 1d3 that also comes with a dex-damaging disease rapid onset disease, usable con-mod times/day. Lykians also get 50% miss chance in concealment (but this increase does not make total concealment!) and generally are adept at stealth, but also suffer from double damage by silver weapons. Born to a Lykian pet of a powerful wizard who had to escape to the wild, her standing in the tribe was precarious and once when her animalistic rage burst forth, she once ripped a bigoted human apart - thus requiring her to leave the tribe behind - a tribe that never liked her in the first place. A gruff and hardened survivor, she makes for an interesting choice, though you should be aware that the Lykian race imho is more powerful than e.g. Osiriani.



When there are a special kind of tieflings, there better be also descendants of heavenly forces and indeed - in Obsidian Apocalypse, these beings are the offspring of the last angel Zebadiah and thus, these beings, known as Exalted, bear their father's name - like Yeremil Al Zebadiah, the Exalted monk. Among the racial abilities chosen, Yeremil chose for cure light wounds and remove fear 1/day. As a character, Yeremil was born to a farmer's daughter, who was first ostracized, then revered for her child. Yeremil believes in his preordained destiny -he is fanatic, an ascetic monk...and believes, he has a claim to godhood. He is per se a cool character, though his statblock once again has one header not properly highlighted - this time, it would be "defense."



Setiphet Sir Lykash, the harrowed fighter, would also be interesting - first, by her race. The most reviled of the races of Obsidian Apocalypse, Harrowed are the results of the union of the living and the living death and thus, these beings are exceedingly hardy and come with some undead-like traits. Setiphet was born from a terrible tragedy involving the death of a true love and violations - but still, her mother managed to love her and provide what few harrowed get - a loving environment where they can develop a sense of right and wrong. Thus Setiphet has developed into an egalitarian champion of the downtrodden - a champion the ignorant fear and loathe.



Finally, there would be a Genesai rogue, Mouse. No, that's not "Genasi", it's "Genesai". Yeah. Not a fan of the name, but the race's idea is actually quite awesome - born from the mix of angelic and demonic heritages, these beings contain the blood of both upper and lower planes, marking them with an unnatural aura, but also allowing them to create a blade of conflicting energy, the shattersoul blade, and damage foes with force damage bonuses. A streetchild born into poverty, her fate would have been grim in any other world - in Abaddon, this is doubly true. Thankfully, she was recruited early into a thieves' guild - unfortunately for her, though, the Boss of the guild tended to lock her up, even though she proved a superb cat burglar. Breaking free, tipping off the guards and no, truly liberated for the first time in her life, she wanders the world. A cool, nice character, though her selections of daggers as weapons of choice isn't that impressive.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed a couple of minor formatting and editing glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a more printer-friendly version as well. All characters get DROP-DEAD-GORGEOUS mugshots by Juan Diego Dianderas and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Kalyna Conrad and Eric Hindley have created a nice array of characters here, with several diverse backgrounds and interesting histories. That being said, the per se vivid prose tends to feature some minor hick-ups here and there. Another slight issue would be that, if you're looking for core-race characters, you won't find any humans here and the Obsidian Apocalypse races aren't perfectly balanced among themselves - e.g. the Lykians could be considered rather strong and among themselves, the characters have different degrees of efficiency in their choices of equipment, skills, etc.

That being said, the characters per se are well-written, if not as brilliant as some I've seen in the line - probably also due to the lack of an explicit campaign starting point, they don't have much in the way of tying them together - one of the smarter things both this series and similar pregen-collections did. So yeah, get ready for coming up with a way why these guys and gals hang out together. This, of course, is partially the result of Obsidian Apocalypse being highly modular in its primal catastrophe.



I maintain, though, that by writing connections into their background, the value of these folks could have been further increased. Now don't get me wrong, I'm complaining on a high level here, but another thing I won't get used to is the amount of blank space - each character comes with 3-4 pages, 1-2 pages for the statblock, 1 full page of background, description etc. and on the final page, the rest of said personality/background information - which amounts sometimes to 2/3 of a page covered, which is nice...but also has instances, where one or two paragraphs are all that is on the page. Yes, this is graphically offset by a grayed image of the mugshot in the background and not TOO aesthetically jarring, but I caught myself thinking that all this blank space could have been used for something - more story, more distinguishing features/mannerisms, more level progression advice, variants...something. This phenomenon did show in other Adventure Path Iconics-pdfs, but in this one, it is especially jarring, with two characters (who have some tantalizing tidbits in their background that could use further development!) sporting using about 1/6 of their final page.



Now don't get me wrong - this is by no means bad. In fact, It's rather nice...but still, I found myself just not as moved by the characters as in other installments of the series. As pregens, though, they do a serviceable job that allows you to jump right into Obsidian Apocalypse and thus, I'll settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus Chronicles: Quartermaster’s Handbook (PFRPG)
by Nick S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2014 13:17:53
This product was a little disappointing. While some of the items were good only a few were really inspired. Most were rehashes of items we've seen many other places. Further there are a lot of fluff entries which server no purpose and don't seem much like something a Quartermaster would concern themselves with such as the NeoExodus version of Penny Dreadfuls. The Quartermaster's Handbook lacks both focus and inspiration and can easily be passed over.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Chronicles: Quartermaster’s Handbook (PFRPG)
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