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Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: Not of the Same Mind (PFRGP)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2015 03:58:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the chronicle of the gatekeepers campaign serial clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? One of the most unique races of NeoExodus would be the Cavians - rat-like humanoids that are all psychics...and that differ radically from any other race by one crucial fact: The race sports a hivemind, which renders them unique and alien in an uncanny way. Large-Biter has news - a group of cavian monks is nearby and may prove vital intelligence on the Vespan's work and the flare of activity of the Nexus gateways. It should soon dawn upon the PCs that there are some racial tensions here - indeed, even before they venture forth towards the Cavians, they'll be confronted by villagers warning them in no undue terms - tensions are flaring and, indeed, this module is about the two disparate groups.

The module tracks every little interaction between both groups, so here's the deal: Teryth's natives are pretty hostile towards the Cavians and thus, each interaction, each wrong word, may provide a mob point; the interaction with the Cavians may yield Diplomacy points alongside information and the PCs better take heed - upon their return to Teryth from the trip to the Cavians, the local populace seems awfully interested in the details of the Cavian's strength, numbers, etc. - and yes, here the PCs better ought to remain unspecific. Now the cool thing here is the following: The points ultimately determine how the final showdown between the two groups turns out - and there are a lot of different, fine-grained results here, with the non-bloodshed ideal case being pretty hard to achieve...but not impossible.

The module also sports one cavian magic item, just fyi.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. Layout adheres to LPJ Design's elegant 2-column full-color standard for the series and the module comes fully bookmarked and in a second, slightly more printer and mobile phone-friendly version.

Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. provide one extremely elegant sidetrek here: Focusing on Diplomacy, this humble little module offers a welcome change of pace from the usual adventuring fare, with interesting supplemental rules that render running this one pretty easy. Additionally, this module rewards Diplomacy and bring heroic (i.e. not kill-happy) - it's ideal solution is that no one gets hurt. More importantly, while there are ample skill-checks here, many of the actions and actual points the PCs get depend on roleplaying as opposed to simply rolling a die - a fact that further improves this already cool set-up. I am seriously impressed by this cool, little sidetrek - it is different in all the right ways, fun and a great chance for actual roleplaying to shine. Barring any proper complaints, I can wholeheartedly endorse this fun, uncommon sidetrek, since it exemplifies what you can accomplish with even limited space. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek:  Not of the Same Mind (PFRGP)
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Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: To Not Serve Man (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2015 03:11:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the chronicle of the gatekeepers campaign serial clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1/2 page advertisement, leaving us with 6.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

...

..

.

Among the races of NeoExodus, few have as bad a reputation as the ominously-named Calibans - the white-skinned creatures can consume their foes to take their strength into them and as such, do not have a particularly nice reputation. Civilization does what civilization does, though - ultimately, it is superior to less developed societies and as such, by now a significant array of these humanoids have become more enlightened, more civilized. These beings are known as the kalisan and the module begins with one of these people arriving in Teryth with dire news: Branded an outcast and expelled from the caliban tribe to which she once belonged, a caliban named Koorka, now turned kalisan, brings news of a vast amount of calibans preparing to raze Teryth to the ground. Unfortunately for her, she lands in prison for her troubles and it'll be up to the PCs to make the populace see - the caliban hunters and their hounds on the heels of Koorka lend further credence to the veracity of her claims.

In any way, time is of the essence: Getting the mayor on their side, the support of the church and springing free Koorka are all valid actions, all with their own consequences - and ultimately, the number of casualties the assault will have depends on the PCs - they will have to stand their ground against the assault of the calibans. After driving back the attack, Koorka is free to go and leaves with warnings of the Vespans... The pdf comes with full stats of calibans and their dogs, a magical, bite-attack-granting item and stats of the caliban bola.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. Layout adheres to LPJ Design's elegant 2-column full-color standard for the series and the module comes fully bookmarked and in a second, slightly more printer and mobile phone-friendly version.

Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr.'s "Not to Serve Man" has a somewhat interesting twist regarding its name. Over all, I enjoyed the simple basic set-up of this sidetrek and its climax is sure interesting. At the same time, this module is slightly more conventional than most siege scenarios I know: The PCs stand their ground against the waves of the foes and that's basically it - casualties depend on their actions, sure, but unlike other installments in the series, there is less distinction regarding the rewards gained than in other sidetreks and during the siege, there is not much variety in the tasks - just kill the foes, done. No infiltration, no sudden eruptions from underground, no disgusting, plagued meat flinging catapults... Ultimately, this is a good, fun sidetrek, but one that falls slightly short of the best installments of the series. My final verdict will thus clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: To Not Serve Man (PFRPG)
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Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: In His Bad Books (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2015 04:27:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the chronicle of the gatekeepers campaign serial clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1/2 page advertisement, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! Just because you're a creepy, poisonous scorpion-person doesn't mean you don't have feelings, right? Large-Biter, the sassori-contact of the PCs as they investigate the incursion of the Vesparans into NeoExodus, has a past - and this time around, it's a delicate matter. You see, the sassori's former adventuring companions split after he confessed his love to the Cynean (crystal-person, for NeoExodus-newbies) conjuror of his group. Yep, the cynean is a man, so we have a queer romance backdrop here - personally, that is something I enjoy to see. And no, this is not something particularly dominant or the central theme here, but still - nice to see some diversity here.

Anyways, the Cynean Raxe has his own issues, as will become readily apparent upon the PCs finding his cottage, built around a dormant Nexus Gateway: There is a stone pedestal outside, and in it, you can see A BARBED DEVIL. Yep, CR 11. No, the PCs should NOT try to kill him...or...well, they kind of should. You see, when the Nexus Gateway flared to life, Raxe summoned the creature, but had it locked in the circle. Unfortunately for him, he lost the book containing the means to dispel the devil to clumsiness and the machinations of a nasty imp and has been locked inside his safe room ever since. (Which btw. is the only component along the access tunnel to it not mapped.)

The PC's task is clear - Stop the annoying imp and get the formula book...or find the well-hidden dispel-roll buried in the garden (taking anti-detection spells into account - kudos!!) and get rid of the devil. Sure, they could also haggle with it OR destroy it from afar with the proper strategy (it's what my PCs did), but at this level, all such options are potentially dangerous. Raxe is thankful for being freed from this predicament and has a nice ritual to open Nexus Gateways to share alongside a warning (and yes, if they elect to kill him instead, there is an alternative to get the info), thus leaving this sidetrek with a crucial piece of information and some interesting insight into their employer's past. A new magic item is also included.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though at one time, the GM-only part of the text refers to the devil as a demon...yeah, I know, nitpickery...Layout adheres to LPJ Design's elegant 2-column full-color standard for the series and the module comes fully bookmarked and in a second, slightly more printer and mobile phone-friendly version. Tommi Salama's map of the cottage is glorious and the added inclusion of a player-friendly map is much appreciated.

Set-up-wise, this is probably the most boring of the CotGK-sidetreks I've read so far, but it played as the most interesting: First of all, we have CHOICE and player-agenda: This is a mini-sidebox that very much leaves how to handle it up to the players. There are ample choices to deal with the threat in various ways and variations of the two major approaches to handle the issue. It's also a good module in that it emphasizes a sense of caution and shows the PCs that not every threat can be defeated by brawns alone. Yes, the backdrop may not be particularly exciting, but the playing-quality of this one is high - it's basically a big puzzle-encounter that can be solved in various ways - and for that, I really like it! My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: In His Bad Books (PFRPG)
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Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: What Comes Before the First (PFRGP)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2015 05:54:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This sidetrek of the Chronicle of the Gatekeepers campaign serial clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

...

..

.

Everyone on exodus knows the tale of how the Kaga won freedom from oppression from the First Ones - though the exposition the PCs receive here is decidedly muddied. The strange question now crossing the minds of quite a few individuals is this: What if those nebulous Gatekeepers were there before the First Ones? Thus, the PCs are sent forth by Large-Biter, asking them to return to the corpselands the PCs passed in the Alpha-adventure to explore an ancient tomb, which may contain hints on the age predating the First Ones.

And indeed, there is something odd regarding this tomb, with all insignia and murals being done in dark ink, hinting towards a type of creature that can see in the dark...and yes, in spite of darkvision's usual limitations. The complex and its inscriptions continue to mention the strange name Oten - and treasures like magical mummified, female hands and several traps continue to evoke a sense of exploring a complex from a bygone age - mood-wise, this is indeed a well-crafted tomb that allows solid deductions on the somewhat Egyptian belief-system that was once featured here - which should also explain why Oten, amidst a scene of spectral revelers, constitutes the final mummy-boss of this dungeon - though, to access him, one must first solve a simple, yet interesting puzzle. The true treasure, though, would be knowledge - in Oten's burial chamber he lords over humans, while negotiating with a brown-skinned giant that looms over insectoid servitors - it seems like the gatekeepers indeed have had contact with this ancient civilization.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no glaring issues. Layout adheres to the gorgeous 2-column full-color standard of the series. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions - one being more printer-friendly. Cartography by Tommi Salama is, as always, nice,, though the somewhat bare-bones map of the dungeon isn't his most refined work. Great bonus: The map comes with a player-friendly version - kudos for including this!

Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. deliver a very atmospheric mini-dungeon-crawl here: The strange culture depicted here and its indirect storytelling is compelling, unique and managed to capture well the wonder of archeology and the inclusion of a puzzle related to the culture that is explored is a great addition, especially considering the limited space in which this pdf operates.

At the same time, though, I couldn't help but feel like this could have been so much more: Where is the confounding hallway, the shifting room, the truly nasty death trap? The dungeon, alas, is basically a corridor (winding and with traps and one either left or right-first-choice, granted, but still...) that offers no real choice or sequential variation. The puzzle does save this one from being too linear, but a slightly more interesting make-up (perhaps with slightly more unique traps/hazards/haunts) could have made this full-blown awesome. Now mind you, for such a short module, it still captures more mood and atmosphere than many books of a larger size - and as such, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: What Comes Before the First (PFRGP)
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Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: A Chill Wind (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2015 03:07:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This sidetrek of the Chronicle of the Gatekeepers campaign serial clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD, 1/2 page advertisement, leaving us with 6.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

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

...

..

.

All right, still here? Large-biter sends the PCs forth to survey an odd, magical weather phenomenon - the frost-line. north of it, the earth is frozen, while south of it, temperate temperatures reign. The odd thing here being that the line moves from day to day. Large-biter assumes that the abundance of nexus gateways may have something to do with this strange phenomenon - the frost line is closer than usual and the PCs are to survey its effects. En route, the PCs can meet a feline champion, one P'tan simply known as "Captain" (EDIT: Yes, facebook cleared that up - the guy is called Captain - that's his name...) - the P'tan is serving the Sanguine Covenant and is here to protect the populace from the Necryos, degenerate frosty vampire-like creatures that travel with the frost-line...and make sure the PCs are not working with the Vesparans. As a friendly ally, there'll be an option for a nonlethal sparring match with the captain (nonlethal and rewarding characters who elected to learn to deal nonlethal damage...) and we also get a new P'tan magic item here.

Over the next couple of days, the PCs will be continuously harried by the degenerate Necryos (full stats provided) - who even will attempt to lure the PCs directly into a yellow musk creeper and its vesparan slaves...and attack in ever-increasing waves until they're vanquished. After some friendly duels (and favors in the future), it's time to take a look at how the PCs fared regarding the suveillance of the frost-line - the more auccessfull checks they made, the more precise the gleaned information will be.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, though annoyingly, the pdf sports several "See page @@"-notes where the proper page-number for the necryos hasn't been filled in. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's two-column full-color standard for the series and the pdf comes with a second version that is more printer-friendly - nice! the pdf has a neat full-color artwork of the necryos. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity - kudos!

Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. deliver a cool premise here - the frost-line is an unique, imaginative phenomenon and surveying it is a GREAT premise - seriously, it's fresh, unique and fun. That being said, I really wished the module did more with this unique phenomenon - sudden movements of the line, unique hazards, some proper, nasty wilderness survival with quickly changing sweeps of the line...this module can be made absolutely awesome with some minor adjustments/additions of hazards...without them, we still have a solid, if a bit redundant array of combats versus the cool (pun intended) necryos. If this book focused a bit more on its unique premise over combats, this could have been excellent - as provided, it is a solid module with a great scenery - and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up by a margin to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Sidetrek: A Chill Wind (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 28: Jack Holliday
by Todd C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2015 12:28:16

It's as if Jack knew what I needed before I even started writing it. Very high quality, professional looking illustrations that fit my needs perfectly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 28: Jack Holliday
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 3: Storn Cook
by Joe W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2015 12:28:38

I've reviewed a few of these packages from Storn. I picked this up based on the strength of others, but this for me was a dud. As I've written in other reviews, Storn's work doesn't work for me when it has more of a prominent linework style (as opposed to a fully painted style). Unfortunately all of these are the prominent line-work style, so I likely won't use any. However, the preview gives you a view of each, so maybe they will work for you.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 3: Storn Cook
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 32: Storn Cook
by Joe W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2015 12:24:54

As I wrote in another review, Storn's work for me is hit-or-miss. I like his work when it has a fully painted look. Bur when the lines are prominent, it doesn't work for me. This package contains all of the former fortunately. There are two pieces here that don't work for me, but that means that 4 of them do. At this price, that's worth 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 32: Storn Cook
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 24: Storn Cook
by Joe W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2015 12:15:43

Storn's art is sort of hit or miss for me and I think that depends on how heavy/prominent his lines are vs. a more painted style. The painted style I like better. In this collection 2 pieces have that style: a werebear type creature and a sorcerer in a green cloak. Getting two worthwhile pieces out of this is about what I expected, so 4 stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 24: Storn Cook
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Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Alpha: To Save a Soul (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/12/2015 03:41:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first book of the Chronicles of the Gatekeepers-saga clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This pdf was moved up on my review-queue at the request of my players.

But before we do, let's just talk a bit about what this book represents - essentially, this series can be considered a kind of Third-Party Crisis of Infinite Earths, a campaign with a fixed beginning (this book) and a fixed end, with all other sidetreks in between representing excursions to various campaign settings, allowing you to present a setting-spanning threat, engage in world-hopping. I absolutely adore this concept, but can this module live up to the awesome premise?

The following being an adventure-review, potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion to avoid the SPOILERS to come.

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..

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All right, still here? Great! There are gates spanning NeoExodus - and there are gates spanning the planets. Created by mysterious beings, these Nexus Gateways are growing more powerful by the day, for their creators, the Atlanteans, have returned....but alas, not as benevolent people, but as a race most desperate, for their home world is in danger: One of their colonies, far removed, has encountered a world-ending threat - and so, the decadent empire slouches into activity, sending forth their insectoid vespan servitor-race to collect the most capable and least scrupulous of minds from all the worlds to stem the tide against a threat so dire, it cannot be fathomed. But none of that is known by the PCs from the get-go - instead, this begins as pretty much a local threat - in any world you like.

The default assumption is that the funeral of a wizard (one Merlet Chem, benefector to the PCs - or similar mentor-figure) was unduly interrupted by a psychopomp, providing dire news - the wizard's soul has not passed on to the afterlife. Responsible for this rather troubling state is a necromancer called Pushae, an expert on the subject of the manipulation of souls - and so the PCs have tracked this man down - his trail leads right into a small ruin within a secluded hillside. The fully mapped ruin (which also comes with a player-friendly version) is pretty much (apart from a minotaur skeleton), a pretty conservative, small dungeon that will lull the players into a sense of "been there, done that"- by design. For within these ruins lies a shimmering portal, guarded by the strange vespans - and it is obvious that Pushae has ventured through this gate!

Here, the true dungeon begins - as the PCs go through the gate to Exodus, they find themselves in similar ruins - they know the layout...but they also face resistance from the insectoid vespans! When a manticore (!!!) attacks, the PCs have a chance to make friendly contact with one of NeoExodus' strange races, a Sasori, who assists them in the battle and also can act as a guide. But where did Pushae go? Well, they can track him down, but the overland journey down the mountain on which they are (again, supplemented by a beautiful overland map) will prove to be pretty challenging - including a rather deadly grit-storm and traps left behind. Trekking through the corpselands, cursed coins that attract the walking dead prove that not all treasures should be looted. As they finally reach the Koryth steppe, more vespans stand between them and the village of Teryth (with full statblock) - here, more information on the movers and shakers of the settlement are provided, alongside some interesting...developments for those familiar with NeoExodus-lore. cough Church of Makash /cough Here, the sasori proposes an alliance to hunt down the wizard - but with which sidetrek you'll continue this saga, depends on your whims as a GM...

The main meat concluded, we are introduced to the Vespans as a new creature, including their unique weapons and the Nexus Key the PCs can attain - though that one will come into play at a later point... The racial implant Sasori Plate and Large-Biter's stats complement the pdf.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column, full color standard and the pdf sports numerous pieces of beautiful full-color cartography, which also comes as player-friendly versions. The pdf is excessive in its use of beautiful full-color artwork - this is one damn good-looking pdf! Oh, and it comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

I was somewhat dreading this one - LPJ Design can make absolutely gorgeous, awesome books - when the company isn't winging it. This is a great example for what the company is capable of: For once, this is an absolute BEAUTIFUL book - I mean it. You'll be hard-pressed to find modules with this much beautiful full color art. More importantly, its focus is right - it gets the PCs from a more conservative world and drops them right into awesomeness, resulting in hilarious "We're not in Kansas anymore"-moments. Most of all, it provides a good motivation for the quest, sets up the primary antagonists (at least for now) and provides a nice mix of challenges the different classes. Yes, it's kind of linear; yes, it leaves you craving more - that's what it's designed for.

It also is a solid challenge, so that's nice as well. In fact, the interesting thing is that this way well be one of Michael McCarthy's most well-rounded modules - as an author, he tends to put a bit too much in his modules, thus diluting the focus. Not so here. This module does what it sets out to do in a formidable manner, namely, make me excited about this saga. Yes, it may not be a grand epic, but it is a pretty furious opening that breathes the spirit of high fantasy. It should also be noted that it plays better than it reads - the change of tone you'll have in this book can be played up for some REAL fun. Another note - I assumed to see some thematic overlap with Legendary Games' Legendary Planet AP - and so far, I see none. Theme and focus are completely different and that in particular is just the cherry on the pie. This is a well-crafted, fine opening module that makes you crave more - and what more can you ask for? As a reviewer, I will rate this as what it is - as the first step of a potentially truly grand epic - and as such, this is a damn fine example of the strengths of both LPJ Design as a company and Michael McCarthy as an author. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Alpha: To Save a Soul (PFRPG)
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Lost Races: Elves (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/08/2015 08:04:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement for NeoExodus clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 3.5 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 16.5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

In the world of Exodus, the elves are a lost and splintered race -struck hard by a biological weapon, they have long since lost their position of supremacy...but in a world of intrigue and world-spanning conspiracies like NeoExodus, that does not necessarily have to be true now, right?

Hence, this supplement covers elven subraces (including nomenclature etc.), beginning with the high elves that pretty much represent the elitist elves that left the world behind - only to return? That's up to the DM, I guess. Racial stat-wise, they get +2 Dex and Int, -2 Wis,a re fey with the elf-subtype, get low-light vision, +1 to atk vs. First Ones, DR 5/cold iron, +2 to Perception, elven weapon familiarity and 1/day can cast dimension door as a spell-like ability, but with the interesting limitation that it can only drop them in liminal spaces - whether they be crossroads, doorways or the like - interesting and flavorful limitation. Personally, I would have made the DR a scaling option via FCOs or the like, with especially 1st level being otherwise pretty broken for the race - unless you already feature some races in an above average power-curve. As alternate racial traits, they may replace weapon familiarity with +2 concentration when casting defensively. Liminal magic can be replaced with immunity to dazzle effects and blindness based on light-effects, while 10+ Int high elves can cast light at will. Generally, no complaints regarding these exchanges. The race gets a massive array of solid FCOs, including the hybrid-classes from the ACG - no complaints there.

Desert Elves would be a bit lopsided in that they get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Cha, being geared towards physical classes more than I like in race-design. They also are fey with the elf-subtype, get low-light vision and DR 5/cold iron. They are more resilient against forced marches etc. incurred by hot (o cold - remember, nights in deserts = COLD) environments and get +4 to stealth while in desert environments and may, as a standard action grant themselves concealment in desert environs. They also get silent hunter AND can make objects from sand as a full-round action. The latter can be replaced by better spellcraft and racial bonuses versus arcane casters and silent hunter can be replaced with +2 AC while in the desert. Once again, the FCOs are nice - but we only get 3 ranger, rogue, slayer. I love the sandshaping, but the race suffers imho from being essentially a high-elf on speed in deserts - much like similar races in 3.X, the race is too strong in its chosen environment and falls into the trap of being very niche-centric -the situational nature of such bonuses don't really help and I think that the DR in particular should have been reserved to the high elves - here, it only exacerbates the strength of the race.

Mountain Elves get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int, making them also lopsided in my book. They once againa re fey with the elf-subtype, get low-light vision, +4 to resist the effects of extreme cold, are immune to altitude sickness, may ignore natural difficult terrain in mountains (and keep dex-AC when climbing or balancing) and gain DR 5/cold iron as well as a modified weapon familiarity. The alternate racial traits replace moving through natural difficult mountain terrain with cold terrain or gain +2 to AC in a specific terrain. the final trait is baffling: You can replace immunity to altitude sickness and not losing Dex while balancing or climbng with a +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics to cross narrow ledges and to saves versus altitude fatigue and sickness. Wait, what? Where do I sign? Why would anyone take this downgrade? This is pretty much the desert elves, minus the cool, unique tricks of the race. Not a fan. The FCOs cover druid and ranger.

Deep Elves would adhere to a similar formula, with their basic attributes not being lopsided (kudos!) at +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha and get stonnecunning etc. - I do massively object to constant nondetection (!!!) and meld into stone as SP at lower levels, though I do very much enjoy that this one has a proper scaling mechanism that increases the usefulness over the levels, even granting high-level earth gliding. The race has two solid FCOs - one for Cleric, one for Oracle.

Dark Elves are even more lopsided +2 Int, Wis and Cha, -2 Con. They are fey, get darkvision 120 ft. (!!!), DR 5/cold iron, light blindness, +4 to Bluff-checks to lie, +2 to any Craft skill in which they have a rank, can cast nightmare 1/day at character level = CL, +2 to saves versus diseases, ingested poisons and becoming nauseated/sickened. They also suffer from light blindness and get supernatural alter self as a standard action for character level minutes, providing a +10 racial bonus to disguise - and the ability allows you to go for small size. As a further downside, exposure to sunlight potentially petrifies these guys. The shifting can be replaced by planar ally to summon daemons at 1st level and +4 Diplomacy versus them and the Bluff-bonus can be replaced with Poison Use. This race is severely bloated - so many small skill-bonuses accumulating with superb senses and too many powerful spell-like abilities render this race broken in my book, even in high-power games. Additionally, the shifting ability should be SP in my book. The race has two solid FCOs for alchemist and sorceror.

Planewracked Elves are perhaps the most modular of the elves - beyond the basic traits à la DR, low light vision etc., they can select from a theme like chaos, umbral, etc., representing the plane upon which they have crashed - they receive scaling bonuses versus spells and effects associated with the plane, a defensive bonus and a 1/day SP, ranging from entropic shield to burning gaze. Know what's kind of odd? Though this is the most modular of elven races herein, this represents perhaps one of the best-balanced herein and one I'd potentially allow in my games - minus the DR, of course, but you probably have guessed that by now. No FCOs for the planewracked, alas.

The pdf also sports archetypes, the first of which would be the charioteer for the cavalier, who gets a chariot at first level and...wait...I have this odd sense of déjà-vu...but no, this one is different from Flying Pincushion Games' charioteer, granting you options to prevent damage to the creatures drawing your chariot and is all about ramming - effective size-increases makes the focus here pretty much linear. What's nice is that we get a chariot-themed order here - though the order's second ability, which allows you to add free combat maneuvers to full attacks, should probably specify whether they still provoke AoOs and improve upon the text to make it a tad bit more precise. The Desert Viper Slayer can study opponents as a move action...and at 7th level, they can study opponents as a move action...wait, what? Well the 7th level upgrade also makes it possible to study foes as a swift action, allowing for more control over action economy. Apart from that poison use and anti-caster feints are okay, but nothing to write home about.

Dream-Eater witches must have either nightmare or dream prepared as spell or hex to heal herself by feasting on dreams or providing a buff, with the ability scaling with the levels and replacing a total of 3 hexes. Other than that, this archetype is okay, if not revolutionary - were it not for one thing - it fails the bag o' kitten test -while the healing gained is less efficient, since hexes have no daily limit, one can heal infinitely until one runs out of kittens. Earth's Scion is a Brawler with solid anti bullrush/trip-etc.-tricks and double damage versus object and AoE-trips at higher levels - solid.

We also get a new material type with desert glass, which may be subject to nasty sonic damage, but it can be enchanted more easy for certain enchantments - nice! Elven Bronze is also introduced. 5 new racial feats allow for more uses of liminal magic's dimension door (allowing others to follow through with another feat), longer lasting shad-crafted items, desert glass crafting and a teamwork feat that allows for ritualistic casting - the feat is pretty powerful and could use a slight rephrase: One of my players misread it the first time around, as the cap the feat imposes is only mentioned in one of the uses of it - RAW, the other use is uncapped, which would translate in potentially very nasty abuse scenarios obviously not intended.

The pdf concludes with two cool, magical arrows as well as the elixir of stolen dreams, ending on a definite high note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though some obvious cut-copy-paste errors have crept in, some of which unfortunately influence the ability to properly understand the crunch. Rules-language, as a whole, shows Jeff lee's aptitude for providing concise crunch, so not much to complain in that regard. Layout adheres to LPJr Design's two-column full-color standard for NeoExodus with quite a bunch of absolutely glorious original full-color artworks. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version and is fully bookmarked for your convenience.

This pdf is in a tough spot with me. I loathe "terrain-races" - you have this cool, hostile terrain with all the requirements to survive - and instead of making it a matter of smarts and adaption, you get races that are strong in that terrain and ignore its key difficulties. In my book, that was never and will never be good design - I hated it in Frostburn and Sandstorm etc. and still loathe it. That being said, I did NOT expect to actually like some components of the desert elves, who actually get some unique tricks. DR 5 for all base races herein is too much for my conservative tastes, but that could be still appropriate for some high-powered groups, even though the races herein surpass what I've seen from comparable NeoExodus-races. Generally, I think the races could have used a bit of a nerf. The dark elves are broken, but that is somewhat offset by the planewracked eleves being pretty cool as well as with the genius liminal porting ideas of the high-elves and the neat sand-sculpting.

The archetypes beyond the racial write-ups are pretty much solid and fun, even though they're not always perfect. The item-section was my favorite herein, while the feats once again proved to be a mixed bag.

I usually tend to love Jeff Lee's work, but here, I just wasn't that blown away - but granted, that may very much, at least partially, be due to me considering DR 5/cold iron at first level pretty broken and loathing terrain-races - in my book, they are pretty much the epitome of bland race-writing - though the fluff, while not copious, at least partially manages to save them.

Still, all in all, I am just not 100% sold on this supplement. It has some cool concepts and ideas, but even when trying to abstract my personal tastes, some issues remain. So I did what any good reviewer should in the face of an obvious personal bias and ask for help - my gaming group read through my printed out copy and ultimately, the consensus came down as this not being a bad supplement by any stretch, but also as one that did not elicit awe from them. It was considered, generally, to be solid, if slightly flawed. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3, with the caveat that you should round up if you like terrain-specific subraces and/or don't mind the power-level and few balance-issues.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Lost Races: Elves (PFRPG)
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Terrors of Obsidian Apocalypse: Haunts (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/03/2015 03:28:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 2 pages form-fillable character-sheets, 1 page mini-monster-sheets, leaving us with 4 pages of haunts, so let's take a look!

This pdf provides a collection of haunts, obviously, one ranging from CR 1 to CR 10. The respective haunts follow a nice formatting, with CL, XP-values, CRs etc. being provided alongside a short flavor-text and, obviously, triggers, hp and all required pieces of information.

Now haunts constitute one of my favorite innovations that came out of Pathfinder, as a franchise, not as a system - I'll always fondly remember entering Foxglove manor for the first time, with downright brilliant spooks that still are fondly talked about - Richard Pett's inclusion of them and their subsequent way into PFRPG 4 APs later has been a continuous source of joy for the horror-aficionado, though I sure wished more rules actually properly interacted with them. That being said, this is not what makes them awesome - in my book, haunts are great because their visions, their effects, are an exciting way for indirect storytelling, a perfect way to slowly unearth more and more weird pieces of knowledge and flavor while also challenging your PCs.

When Rite Publishing started stacking them upon another, I was ecstatic and to this day, I have used them in various ways. The haunts herein do also sport some of these narrative peculiarities, though admittedly, since they're not tied to a concrete adventure, the ties themselves are obviously less pronounced. But are they still interesting? Well, let's take a look at the very first one, Bell Tower - when a bell ringer fell to his death, he wished he didn't. So once your PCs try scaling the tower, he'll fall past them...and then, fall back up, in reverse, accompanied by a potentially lethal reverse gravity effect. The latter is btw. not properly italicized.

Sickening roots of corrupted, dead trees wriggling from the ground, grease-duplicating ectoplasms goo, a cursed door, mists trying to dissolve you - the variability and imagery evoked skirts the line between being easily plugged in and being too generic, rendering them per se memorable, while still maintaining an interesting set-up. There also would be a library that blinds those seeking the knowledge contained within, Project Zero/Fatal Frame-style hangman's ropes falling from the ceiling (that don't actually kill the character, but don't tell that your players!), defeated elementals still seething with rage, graves wherein skeletal hands may pierce and destroy you...quite a few nice images here. What about a ghostly mother, emitting deadly, ear-piercing screams?

Obviously, haunts are also defined by their means of destruction and whether halfway creative and competent players can deduce on how to put them to rest once and for all -and here, this rather ephemeral quality has been fulfilled. The respective means can universally be deduced by competent players.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good - while not perfect, most of the entries get everything right - kudos! Layout adheres to LPJr Design's beautiful two-column full-color standard with GORGEOUS pieces of full color artwork provided. In spite of the pdf's brevity, it comes fully bookmarked with CRs included in the bookmarks - nice! The pdf comes with a smaller version in full-color intended for hand-held devices etc.

Wojciech Gruchala delivers an intriguing, nice array of haunts, with unique imagery, easy plug-in capacity and over all, a solid diversity of effects. Now, as always, I do have some nitpicks - for my own tastes, there are more spell-duplicating haunts when I prefer unique effects. At the same time, the imagery accompanying them is nice and unique. I was also a bit surprised to see this branded as Obsidian Apocalypse, when, bar a subtle theme, this does not tie in with unique subsystems featured in that book - essentially, this works perfectly in vanilla PFRPG. Note that I do not consider this a positive factor or a detriment, just something I observed.

In the end, this is a nice collection of haunts for a low price-point - it quotes some classic tropes in nice ways and can be considered a solid offering indeed, though one that falls slightly short of being truly brilliant. What we have here is an inexpensive, nice pdf - well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Terrors of Obsidian Apocalypse: Haunts (PFRPG)
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Ultimate NPC Deck
by Emmanuel R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2015 08:46:04

This pdf is a compilation of fantasy portraits covering the basic NPC we could use in a campaign. But the drawing techniques are all different, some portraits are not usable, some are but I am ashamed to bring that at my table. The only constant is the ugly purple border that is here to tell you, hey it's a card ! On my opinion : not worth the price, should be pay what you want. Better get the baldur's gate portraits.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck
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Races of Pirates of the Bronze Sky: Tocarra (PFRPG)
by Debra L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2015 05:17:16

Beautiful layout, great flavor, but doesn't include any racial traits making this hard to use.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Races of Pirates of the Bronze Sky: Tocarra (PFRPG)
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Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
by James M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/08/2015 11:50:09

This product introduced a class whose concept is that it combines magic and technology. In concept it reminds me a lot of the Eberron Alchemist, but the execution is very different. I have not played the class nor I have I seen it played, so I am not going to comment on who well or nor the mechanics work.

The write-up was done very well and the editing and layout were top notch. The pages flowed nicely and I did not notice any spelling or grammatical mistakes. The artwork was superb at conveying the concept of the class.

I fully intent to use this class in my home games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
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