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Toys for the Sandbox 114: Iron Wall
Toys for the Sandbox 114: Iron Wall
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Monsters of NeoExodus: Harvester of Sorrow (PFRPG)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/08/2012 15:00:57
The Harvester of Sorrow fills an interesting niche in the ranks of the undead and can be used in many styles of campaigns. However, it is a very power-oriented creature, if its abilities (especially the wail) can be negated, it is likely to find itself easy prey for its hunters.

Monsters of NeoExodus: Harvester of Sorrow is part of the support for the NeoExodus Pathfinder setting by Louis J Porter Jr Design providing monsters and enemies linked to that setting, this volume was written by Greg Oppedisano and Tom Baumbach with Louis Porter Jr. It is a seven-page product (4.5 after cover, ad and OGL) with an easy to read layout and the only art being the very nice full color cover piece (of which part is used for the character tokens included at the end of the product) with the last two pages being a sheet of tokens and a record sheet.

Harvesters of Sorrow are undead created when the soul of a suicide victim is refused entry to the afterlife. The Harvesters of Sorrow seek others to kill and convert into lost souls like themselves. It is a solid background for an undead creature with appropriate hooks into mythology.

The Harvesters of Sorrow uses a plaintive wail to overwhelm the listeners with its terrible soul-felt grief (inflicting the new aggrieved condition). While its bite carrying a magical disease whose victims in turn become Harvesters of Sorrow as well, allowing the numbers of these foul creatures to grow.

In addition to the standard Harvester of Sorrow (CR 4), a Dread Harvester (CR 6) is also presented, the Dread Harvester’s suffering aura is manifest around it, making it a much more dangerous foe than the lesser version.

The product is solid but would be strengthened by a few scenario seeds.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of NeoExodus: Harvester of Sorrow (PFRPG)
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Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
by David J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2012 16:13:57
Like the class idea, and the art is very well done.
Needs more proofreading though. I saw a lot of redundant text, in one case most of a paragraph was repeated.
On the whole, quite happy with the purchase.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
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Races of Pirates of the Bronze Sky: Kaylethon (PFRPG)
by tyrel c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2012 12:25:57
looks like an awesome race but would be nice if i could find the book its in.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Races of Pirates of the Bronze Sky: Kaylethon (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 17: Storn Cook
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/22/2012 14:48:54
Another great package of Storn Cook art from LPJ. Really, Storn's name alone should sell this package, but a few good words never hurts. This package contains seven pieces of color fantasy art from long time industry art luminary Storn Cook. Two of them are ready made for use as cover art, and the others have a variety of characters in poses that have some action to them, rather than the usual unmoving and static look that some posed art can have. I think these pieces have an "old school" quality to them that isn't dated but instead is timeless.

This package is definitely worth the price of admission. The art is made up of Storn's usual bold line work, and the color is understated but still strong. Any of the pieces of art from this collection would make an excellent addition to any project.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 17: Storn Cook
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A Place Beyond Hell (PFRPG)
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/12/2012 11:09:10
This is an excellent supplement for any GM looking to add some otherworldly horror to a Pathfinder campaign. The H'Laqu are horrors from another dimension that are detailed here with ritual feats, spells, and lore, plus a list of adventure seeds for each of their different incarnations.

The production values are top-notch - the layout and art are beautiful, and the writing is clear, well written, and well organized. NOTE: The PDF appears to be bookmarked, but the bookmarks did not work on my copy. This is an issue that may have been updated.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Place Beyond Hell (PFRPG)
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Enemies of NeoExodus: Crimson Hand (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2012 03:51:21
This pdf is 34 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 2 pages monster-sheets, leaving 30 pages of content for the latest faction of deadly foes for the NeoExodus campaign setting.

Since the Crimson Hand is an extremely secretive conspiracy, I urge players to jump to the conclusion of this review in order to avoid the inevitable SPOILERS.

Still here? Okay! Essentially, the Crimson Hand is a conspiracy headed by a particular crafty individual Khaynite, who seeks to use his blood sorcery to once again make the resurgence of the First One empire a reality, but who may very well end up working WITH the PCs. How? Well, the mastermind Valos (CR 10 and 20 versions provided) has created a special spell that enables him to dominate/charm all individuals of a specific bloodline and now seeks to merge all kinds of different families in order to achieve supreme dominance - peace and coexistence may actually prove to be the undoing for the nations of Exodus, at least if Valos' complex plans come to fruition. Even worse, his political machinations have already shown promising results and, a s of yet, his elite cadre of deadly coconspirators have went under the radar of everyone. Supremely stealthy, hidden beyond layers upon layers of misdirection, the Crimson Hand makes for terrifying foes for smart players, especially if you're into intrigue. Not that the individuals don't stand their ground in battle:

Apart from Valos, the two other members of the inner circle are Lucia (CR 9 and 17), an Exodite killer of the highest caliber and Geist (CR 7 and 14) - and Geist rocks. The entity is an incorporeal, brilliant possessing, teleporting amoral construct that makes for a supreme spy and assassin indeed - most individuals will never know what hit them or that they even encountered the thing!

There also are 5 enforcers, i.e. assassins and executioners sent when special services are required - all are carefully created and stored and once one has been killed, the inner circle tends to reincarnate them. They all come with two incarnations as well and consist of two deadly crocodile-folk Kroca, an Exodite saboteur and an Aneishi-assassin/ranger. Of course, a trusty messenger is also one of the specialists included in the cadre of elite-enforcers of the crimson hand.

Two 3-level PrCs are provided for the elite Crimson Hand operatives - the casting Crimson Hand Acolytes (d6, good will and fort-saves, bad BAB, 2+Int skills per level, 2 levels spellcasting progression) can cast special sigils, which essentially are better symbol spells and an exsanguination ability, which not only kills grievously injured foes, but also heals the acolyte. The more martially-incline folks working for the Crimson Hand may take the Crimson Enforcer PrC (d10, 4+Int skills per level, good BAB, good Fort and Ref-saves), the ability to cast special spells as a spell-like ability and the option to gain AoOs against damaged foes and the power to vampirically heals themselves. They can also "Twist the Blade", which deals additional negative effects to his victims if he/she deals better than average damage on an attack. Along these two PrCs, we get 4 new feats and 7 new spells used by this elite cadre of dread conspirators. It is here that I should note something:
While the section with the PrCs and the feats and spells are tentatively headed as "player's options" the pdf mentions explicitly that the balance of these crunchy bits is intentionally on the upper hand. The Crimson hand is a small, elite cadre of individuals who take highest profile risks and don't have a lot of allies as well as the problem of having to stay secretive. If you do allow your PCs access to these classes, the additional risks have to offset the power of the content. Even though the pdf acknowledges this, the options are powerful with a capital "P":

Jugular Strike enables you to sacrifice sneak attack dice to potentially coup-de-grace foes - DC equals 10+ total number of dice of sneak attack + 1 per dice of sneak damage not used. OUCH! And there is a spell that is essentially an extremely powerful plot-device that makes an individual almost invulnerable. I'd usually harp on how overpowered these options are, but seeing that these individuals have managed to plague Exodus for as long as they have and their collective genius-level intellect, I can see them using these deadly abilities without feeling op or like cheating and best of all - the pdf acknowledges that some of these abilities should not end in player's hands. There are essentially plot-device spells and abilities herein which could severely unhinge a game when falling into player hands. The book does acknowledge the vast power these options provide, though, and seeing that the cabal has eluded the authorities for as long as it has, I can see the reasoning behind offering their operatives power beyond what would usually be considered appropriate.
While the PrCs are powerful, I'd deny my players access to the new (but very cool) spells and feats, though - they are clearly intended for these villains. Were I to compare the Crimson Hand to another sourcebook, it would probably be one of my favorite Scarred Lands-books featuring a certain shadowy secret society...

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are not perfect, but can still be considered good - while I did notice some minor hickups due to auto-formatting like bold "Will"s in the text or superfluous tabs and the spells fail to specify what class they're available for (reading e.g. only "Level 3" instead of "Sorc/Wiz 3, Witch 4 etc...", the overall reading enjoyment was left intact for me. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks and adheres to the beautiful 2-column layout of the NE-books.
As has been the tradition with LPJr-publications and specifically the NeoExodus-line, the artworks are simply stunning and each of the characters of the Crimson Hand actually gets his/her/its own mug-shot in gorgeous full-color.

The additional pieces of crunch herein that go beyond this highly political conspiracy have to be considered carefully and definitely are very powerful, but also utilize some rather innovative mechanics to do their work. As a result, the Crimson Hand feels like a shadowy cabal of supreme power, but one I'd discourage the DMs out there to let their players ally themselves with - at best, they should be pawns. Very expendable pawns who don't even know who they're working for...until it is too late. Writing-wise, only the Folding Circle surpasses this particular installment in the line in its cool ideas, which will also serve as my benchmark here - There are not as many statblocks provided for the operatives of the Crimson Hand as for the Folding Circle and a more extensive mythology of their exploits would have helped in creating scenarios involving this team of super-genius operatives. The crunchy bits beyond the statblocks are very strong and if you want to use the bits for your players, you might be disappointed.


If you're a DM looking for a truly deadly elite cadre of operatives/secret agents, you definitely should check them out, though. Thus, I'll settle for 2 verdicts - as a player-associated organization, this does not work well and should be considered 2.5 -3 stars, depending on the power-level of your campaign. The pdf knows this, though and if you're looking for a group to use against your players/smart antagonists with a deadly edge, you will probably really enjoy this one. For you, this is 4 stars or even 4.5. Seeing that I really enjoyed the Crimson Hand, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. Sometimes style and ideas are more important than rock-solid crunch, especially for NPCs.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of NeoExodus: Crimson Hand (PFRPG)
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Debatable Actions (PFRPG)
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/29/2012 09:40:36
Debateable Actions changes very little from its 3.5 counterpart, but it did not need to. If you are looking for courtroom drama in your Dungeons and Dragons, this is a fun mini-game to build a campaign around. This game works like combat maneuvers, except for social interactions between two parties. The biggest downfall in the system is the sheer magnitude of it, which can be daunting. Future versions could use a cheat sheet.

Iron Uses: This is a great supplement for any DM to have in their back pocket. Instead of "breaking out" being the only solution for PCs who get arrested, you can make this a regular part of a game. The game also includes a quicker social interaction game that functions similar to 4th edition skill challenges.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Debatable Actions (PFRPG)
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Trade Routes: Expanded Caravan Rules Sourcebook (PFRPG)
by Rodney H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2012 09:45:30
I bought this knowing that the material was repeated from the Jade Regent's Player's Guide but with additional goodies. The additional goodies are fair and give some catalysts for creativity but nothing was a "wow, I would have never thought of that" piece. What really fails with this product is the lack of editing of the repeated information from the Player's Guide. Page numbers reference the original document, not the new page numbers of the current document for example. If this is to be a generalized expansion on the Caravan Rules, then references to the Jade Regent should be omitted entirely. Someone reading this blindly is going to wonder who the heck "Sandru" is and why some PCs start with three wagons. The most irritating aspect of the product is the omission of the caravan month salary table! I went to look up the cost of an additional cook and ended up having to dig out the Player's Guide which seems to be contradictory of what the LPJ product should be doing. For $3 spent, I would have gotten more bang for my buck out of a cup of java at the local coffee shop.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Trade Routes: Expanded Caravan Rules Sourcebook (PFRPG)
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Initiative Cards (PFRPG)
by D'Anne N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2012 15:11:04
Love these initiative cards. Used them for a recent convention and they worked just great for what I needed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Initiative Cards (PFRPG)
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Ultimate NPC Deck
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/24/2012 11:49:39
A great collection of fantasy character profile art to use for PCs or NPCs. Pictures vary a little bit in detail level, but all are very good, and run the spectrum from typical fantasy characters to monstrous, bestial, alien, undead, and demonic characters.

One thing I like to do with resources like this one is use them for creative inspiration, such as drawing a card at random and then brainstorming details about the character, why they would be involved in the campaign, what their motivations might be, why they look the way they do, and so on. Try it sometime!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck
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Initiative Cards (PFRPG)
by Cheryl L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2012 07:44:34
These will be great for gaming. I can keep the quick information needed in front of me instead of keeping books out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Initiative Cards (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2012 20:20:58
You should pick up NeoExodus. It should matter to me that it's written for Pathfinder -- a game system I don't follow. But in the modern RPG era of D&D retroclones, neoclones, alterclones and the multiplicity of game systems that evolved from the D20 explosion, it shouldn't really matter. It's a setting that is both packed with history and detail in almost every corner of its universe, but has been constructed to allow minor additions and major game changers to its setting.

Quite possibly the first thing that should be read is not the history, but Page 24: Unique Elements of NeoExodus. It gives the broadstrokes approach that was taken for the creation of the setting, and it feels like they kept referring to it as they lovingly created every bit of it. Here they are in condensed form:

NeoExodus is...

... a world full of magic.
... a world built on epic adventures, heroic quests, and valiant expeditions into the unknown.
... is a setting of unique empires and nations with their own sovereign rights, powers, and issues.
... is a world that is rarely a peace for long.
... mixes traditional fantasy, horror, magic, modern politics, and science fiction.
... is full of all new unique races.
... is a world built on conspiracies, deception, and intrigue.

Everything has a place in NeoExodus.

In terms of production values, I compare it favorably to the Forgotten Realms 3E setting book and the Forgotten Realms supplement Lord of Darkness combined, but infused with the subversive fantasy settings like Talislanta, the over-the-top high magic terror of Arduin, the epic feel of the early Exalted line, and the anything-can-show-up vibe of Rifts.

The art is fantastic and yet labors to give a real sense of an alternative fantasy world without straying too much from what you look for in the genre. The stat blocks and data tables for character classes, races, nations, and other information necessary for making this setting your own are nicely laid out and are very readable.

This isn't something you skim over. This is a book you read from cover to cover -- though I obviously have opinions as to the best sequence to read the chapters -- to identify the things you want to emphasize, and craft your campaign around those elements, leaving the rest of extraneous campaign flavor.

I want to go on longer about specific races that I find cool, about the nations that really speak to me in terms of campaign potential, about historical elements that would have a wealth of plot devices to kick off any number of adventures -- but I think I'd go on too long.

This is one of my favorite type of kitchen sink settings (a term I tend to in my blog -- armchairgamer.blogspot.com -- to refer to settings that have been crafted to allow almost any type of element into it from its genre, or even from other genres). It is a kitchen sink setting that can manage to retain its own identity when other non-native elements are shoved in; any number of rationales -- from the Gates to the high magic running through the setting -- can be brought to bear.

And even if the setting isn't for you, you can mine it for monsters, races, and campaign ideas for years.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
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Prototype: Radiation Hougan
by william w. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2012 13:31:40
As a concept I thought the idea of a Radiation wielding Voodoo Priest/Priestess would be perfect for my P.A. Campaigns. But sadly this product just didn't really deliver. It just didn't seem to tie into the P.A. angle at all. To me the "radiation" piece seemed tacked on and illfitting to what was detailed in the product. Overall I was quite disappointed in this product. It would require a good bit of work and retweaking on my part in order to properly use this in my P.A. Campaigns.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Prototype: Radiation Hougan
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 12: Storn Cook
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/03/2012 15:47:59
More great art from Storn Cook, one of the hardest working illustrators in the business. With this package, your small press have art like the big boys of game publishing. The art in this package features well-done anatomy, good line work and an excellent color palette. Having one of these on your cover will definitely make it look much more professional.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 12: Storn Cook
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 13: Juan Diego DIanderas
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/03/2012 14:03:02
This is some truly horrifying art....and I mean that in a good way. Are you looking for some full-color art of some horrifying creatures at a good price? This is the art resource for you. The pieces included in this collection are quality selections, that could be used in conjunction with dark fantasy, horror, or even post-apocalyptic works. The quality of LPJ Design's Platinum series gets better with each new release in the line. All five of these pieces of art leap off of the virtual page at you, wanting to have something designed for them and used in your games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 13: Juan Diego DIanderas
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