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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Kieran E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/11/2017 16:08:21

A FANTASTIC GAME

This game has almost everything im looking for in a TTRPG!

Armour as damage reduction A Careers system of creating your character Awesome melee and ranged weapons Cybernetics Psionics

DEFINITELY WORTH CHECKING OUT THIS GAME! (and its counter part O.L.D)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
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O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
by Jeff C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2017 06:07:24

First off, I just have to say WOW!!! This book is amazing! I rarely give a Five Star review to anything, and this game earns it. In all fairness, no book is perfect, but I have very few things to point out that need to improve. As the author points out, fantasy rpg’s are a dime-a-dozen. This game attempts quite successfully to break the mold. Much like N.E.W., it leaves a lot of ground for specifications to the GM. In other words, it’s flexible, GM friendly, and easy to learn. Character creation can be done in minutes and the game is fairly new player friendly as well. I must confess, I originally bought the PDF along with another fantasy rpg on PDF just to save money. I will most definitely be coming back for the O.L.D. hardcover in the near future. The layout is quite impressive. The tables are easy to find. The artwork is outstanding- tasteful, fantasy inspired, and not trashy or tacky. Even the page borders and margins deserve many compliments for making the book a pleasure to look through. I especially liked the used of sidebars in the magic section. I would encourage any starting game designer to take a good look at how this book is laid out. I’m going to jump ahead to the game master’s area of the book for a minute. This is the part of the book that drew me into buying the book originally. The world building and GM advice are solid. The system allows for amazingly simple customization. I’m already scheming and coming up with new careers, origins and items. I’m glad the example of how to build a race was there, even if it didn’t seem necessary to me. I’ve struggled for years trying to find a good system that wasn’t too rigid or mechanical for me to really build the settings I want to run, but also wasn’t too character/plot focused that it was pretentious or artsy-fartsy. I have searched for a flexible, easily customizable system with a solid balance between crunchy stats and solid character personality traits. This system really encourages players to think their characters through. It also encourages players to think outside of the box and build a background. No longer are you stuck with being a cookie-cutter ranger, fighter, mage, rogue or cleric. The combinations of careers and origins for characters are vast and mind-boggling. Perhaps one of the absolutely best parts of this game is the amount of support it receives from the publisher. O.L.D. doesn’t just encourage you to play the game. It encourages you to use their system to publish your own work, probably more than any other game on the market, unlike other games that pretty much insist that you be a “professional” game designer in order to even think about contacting them. The website, EONS- the fanzine for all the woin games, and ENWorld’s forums are all outstanding resources. I think the gear section is one of the best in a fantasy game I’ve ever seen in my life. I haven’t drooled this much on a gear section since Unearthed Arcana came out for 1st Ed AD&D. Great art, descriptions and a very wide variety of both western, European and eastern gear. Additional kudos for the organization building concepts. Out of the gate, I’ve already seen a couple of new origins I’m going to add for my campaign. Same with careers. Not that the base careers in the game are lacking, I just need to add some specific to my world. I’ve definitely got some monsters to build. As I’ve stated, this game makes all the prep work before the first actual session a breeze. The only two things I didn’t love were the dice (d6’s) and the magic system. The d6 thing has been done. A LOT. Dice pool successes vs difficulty has been done a lot. I got my fill of all things d6 back when West End was still making the original SWRPG and the fine folks at FASA were making Shadowrun. That said, this game will allow me to bridge the gap from Hero Kids into a more serious fantasy game with my own kids. There are also dice conversions on the website which may prove useful. GURPS, back in the day, left a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to magic systems. O.L.D. originally reminded me of the long, drawn-out, convoluted spell casting systems, but it really comes down to A+B= spell Kerpoof! It’s a good spell. And players don’t have to sort for days through various colleges and sub-skills just to risk catastrophic spell failure. I thought implements (Staff, orb, wand, etc) were extremely well done in conjunction with the magic system. I'm thinking it still might be best to present my players with a spell list rather than letting them concoct their own on the fly. Overall, this game really knocked my socks off. I can’t wait to get going to my campaign. Thanks to all at E.N. Publishing. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see N.O.W.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
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O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
by IOANNIS D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2017 08:49:39

A Wonderful Fantasy RPG product, really packed with options, after years and years of switching systems trying to balance crunch(i really love you HERO but cant introduce you to a new party) ,lore/legacy rules orverload and stubborness against evolution to something better (D&D) and lack of options/depth of advancement in otherwise good systems(see Savage Worlds) i finally found my Holy Grail!Highly recommended to any level of players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Touch of Class
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2017 12:28:51

This is a great product. I have been looking for a solid alchemist class that I could convert and use for many years. There are no dead classes (well you know what I mean) in his product and many useful variations to help adapt to your narrative.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Touch of Class
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O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 06:05:53

I just had to get this. I am not much of a fan of fantasy, than I am of SciFi. But seeing as I like N.E.W so much, I had to get this. And like N.E.W it does no disappoint me. Oodles of stuff in there, some things I could easily port over to N.E.W, I wonder.

Being an artist I appreciate great art and layout and this has both. And lots of stuff, did I mention that already, yes, lots. Makes me want to run some sort of game as soon as I can.

Recommend it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
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O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
by DANI J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2017 00:13:34

When first of WOIN series, "NEW" came out, I read it through and played it. It openned up my eyes as I thought this is how spacefaring rpgs should've turned out. As I am reading "OLD", I couldn't hide my excitement at the prospect of making a living saga for my character. Many of the games I used to play didn't extensively support the character backgrounds mechanically as much as WOIN did. Such options only achieved to aid the player as a visual reference of how a character became the person they are now; other than that, the options were less influencial rule wise to show what the player characters are capable of -that is unless GM occasionally finds a space to use it as a cue for plot. WOIN gives us bevy of career options that allow not only to extend the character lifepath extensibly, but also let us utilize character's work experience into various phases of game play through comprehensive and well woven stats and bonuses listed on each career path.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
by Sam R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2017 14:31:27

I just got the PDF over a week ago and have been reading since. I am hoping to play the game soon. The system really feels like a mixture of the good parts different games. I am afraid that there may be too much customization and flexibility. This could lead to the GM having a heavy hand in how characters are created and advancement. I would also make spell caster have the spells they want to cast created a head of time, I can see how a spell casters trying to come up with a spell on the fly has the potential to slow the game way down.

Overall I feel this game has great potential and look forward to supporting books in the future.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game
by Curtis G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/28/2017 22:14:01

A very good game - in some ways it feels like "greatest hits of other systems" and in others it's very innovative.

Broad basics - system is dice pool system - you add dice and try to beat a target number. It uses nothing but D6. System is Lifepath - you gain a career, and it gives you attributes, choices of skill and choice of "exploits". You buy this with experience, you can also buy those individually, but cheaper in a career. Personally if/when I run this, I will require a % to be purchased individually. Been playing 3.5 and Pathfinder for years for that. This covers similar ground, but more flexible - and a little more "rulings not rules" - so a little looser. But still detailed enough that I enjoy.

Specifics (random thoughts on the game)

All skill checks are just attribute checks. If you have skills (or equipment) that are applicable you may add those dice as well. Max dice you can roll is based on Rank (# of careers). however that is only for stat, skill, equipment. If you have exploits or situational modifiers, that can exceed the rank limit. Skill are undefined - you can make them up, or pick from examples listed. Skills are not assigned an attribute - the GM will call for an attribute roll for something, and if you have an applicable skill, you mention it, and add it to skill roll. So Climbing could be used in a Dex check to climb, a Logic check to see how hard something would be to climb, or a STR check to hang on to something if you start to fall. That idea was the first idea for a skill system for 5th ed D&D playtesting (back at D&D Next). they got rid of it. I loved that idea. It's sort of the reverse of Savage worlds. System is very open to tinkering - I love that. This is a review for OLD, which is fantasy - NEW is the Science fiction game. NOW will be 80's action/adventure. All same system, all scaled similarly for characters - so you can mix and match to make what you want - makes it a universal system. The magic system is interesting - you have skills (that give you what you can do) and secrets (what you can effect). You make spells from those - so if you have Evoke as a skill, and fire as a secret you can do firebolts, fireballs etc, then if you get "Ice" as a secret, you can start doing the same with ice. The system really makes it difficult to be a "master of all magics" - which is fine with me. Overall fantasy feels more like Fantasy Hero or FAntasy Age than D&D - very few "I win" spells. Based on the Elements of Magic that was first written for 3.x. It has an OGL, and is open, so anyone can make supplements. New idea - Countdown pool - if you have a time limit, but don't want to have it exact (to raise tension) - you set up a number of dice - and at the end of the round, you roll it, and remove some of the dice. So you know you time is getting close, but not exactly when.

When I read it, it reminded me of pieces of Traveller (lifepath), Savage Worlds, D&D, D6 and others, but the parts work together wonderfully, and has lots of really nice new touches.

The writing is very conversational - makes it easy to read (as opposed to formal reference book).

Other thoughts

There are narritive elements to the system, but not in specific gameplay, more in background feel. The "heroes in war" system is not a wargame with armies, but the battle has "victory points" and start at specific value. Each day the PC's side loses X victory points. PC go on mini adventures (destroy those catapults, take out this special unit, etc), and those gain victory points. So you aren't running the actual battle as a simulationist would, it's all focused on the story of the PCs.

The two games I think feel the closest (not necessarily by mechanics, but in overall feel) to it are Fantasy Age and Savage World. The game is fast, flexible and detailed. This has become my go to fantasy game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2017 05:37:17

I love this rules system. It gives you everything you need to have to play a game straight out of the core book. Reading through it the artwork is good and I got the feeling that with a little imagination I could run any sci fi game I could think of and there would be rules to cover whatever i thought up. It is the next game I am bringing out to my group.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
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[WOIN] Universal Upgrades
by Timothy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/29/2017 23:23:21

This is the second time I've written a review of Universal Upgrades for W.O.I.N.'s N.E.W. Science-Fiction role-playing game. I decided to delete the original review because I said that the inclusion of a character race very similar to the Predator species from popular movies was "disappointing". That was a mistake. N.E.W. is specifically meant to be as un-specific as possible, i.e. you should be able to use N.E.W for just about any type of science-fiction-y genre you can think of, and if dealing with Predators (called the Drahzik in this), then this gives you that option. They included 11 new playable races, a huge new section devoted to androids, over 30 new exploits usable by anyone, and even more. The artwork, while sparse, is excellent, and the quality of writing and editing is first rate. It's all pure SciFi goodness. N.E.W., in my opinion has finally exceeded the high bar set by Traveller, and should be considered the new benchmark in SciFi excellence. The Universal Upgrades expansion only makes it better, and if the any new supplements come out with the same level of quality as UU, then N.E.W. will become the new classic, the one to beat. I can't say enough good about N.E.W. I cannot WAIT for N.O.W. to come out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Universal Upgrades
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ZEITGEIST #13: Avatar of Revolution (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2017 09:33:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This is it. The finale of the Zeitgeist AP clocks in at 89 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 84 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being the FINALE of the Zeitgeist AP, the following, unsurprisingly, will contain copious amounts of SERIOUS SPOILERS. Potential players should definitely jump to the conclusion.

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Only GMs around? Okay, when the PCs were in Av, the world of dreams and fey, a massive blast left reflections back in the gyre and sent the PCs back into reality - but due to mutable time in Av, months have gone by in the real world and Obscurati control has been more than solidified. Few beings still resist the all powerful New World order, one of them being none other than Benedict Pemberton. If his daughter did not survive #6, he'll be a shaky ally at best, but in the rich tradition of reaping what you have sown. When the PCs awake from the shock of Av's destruction, Pemberton will bring them up to speed - just in time before a powerful killer-commando of the obscurati, with Nicodemus hijacking one member, offer a final chance to come to his side (He has cookies! ... Sorry, old goth joke...)...and the PCs will find out the hard way that the Ob now have the metaphysical power of their strengthened godmind behind them....it is also here that the eye of rot and a chance for the PCs to find out means to subvert hivemind control happen...they'll need every bit of strategy and power they can muster.

Pemberton also has a subject, Pardo the gnoll - which is good, for in order to subvert the sacrament, the PCs will have to actually wrestle people from the hivemind control of the Obscurati...which is very much required. Why? Because Nicodemus sees the big picture. He sees the PCs for the demigod-power threats they are...and he is willing to torch every single city on the planet, kill millions, if the PCs continue to thwart his plans. After all, who will care once utopia's reached? Who will mind in a thousand years? This is where Pemberton comes into play: He is convinced that, if the PCs can deal with Harkover Lee, who lords over Risur, that he can jury-rig his duplicant-magics to allow the PCs to enact a ritual in several cities at once, simultaneously breaking the hold of the Ob and foiling Nicodemus' scorched earth protocol.

However, at this point, we return to adventure #12.

Speaking of which and the dragon formerly known as Harkover Lee: Scorched earth here is to be taken literally. The gas lines are ready to erupt with elemental fire directly sapped from the plane, as the heroes with their attempts of freeing folk from obscurati mind-control, witness firsthand the fruits of Nicodemus' age of reason. Foiling literally scorched earth is one thing...but the dragon still needs to be dealt with - and the dragon tyrant is not a foe to be trifled with - CR 23, all death. Oh, and you know all those other metropolises, all those other characters the PCs interacted with, from snipers to shamans? this is where pretty much everyone becomes important, for, within a scant few minutes, the scorched earth protocol must be stopped EVERYWHERE. While the pdf acknowledges that players tend to care less when their PC's not "on stage", it should still be noted that the duplicants and their control can make for an amazing "simultaneous" run, if your GM-mojo is really strong. Then again, you have run one of the most challenging APs ever written to the final chapters, so I think you should be able to handle that!

One final task. The Axis Seal ritual. Nicodemus and his colossus Borne. All forces of the Obscurati. The PCs now truly reap what they have sown. They need to gather their forces and allies, deal with the Obscurati armies and the aforementioned entities. The goals can diverge: Stop Nicodemus. Complete the ritual themselves. Redeem William Miller and thus allow them to redeem, to an extent, Nicodemus and put him to rest...or reject the divinity and new world by utterly destroying the half-completed ritual set-up. Nicodemus is basically the god of this world by now - empowered by all minds who want him to complete the ritual, hampering his ability to do so may make him vulnerable.

Know how #12 had these cool tracking sheets? Well, the axis ritual (full color map included) and the massive energy tendrils involved here make for a final combat that cannot conceivably be solved by brute force - it is, at once, a massive puzzle to reconfigure the pillars with icons to determine the new world's form...and better yet, we actually get sample taunts and even a proper grandstanding monologue for Nicodemus...and a GM checklist for the encounter. You know, usually, I'd follow that up with "but a good Gm can handle that"-blabla...but frankly, this encounter is so complex and cool at the same time that the inclusion is very much appreciated!

In fact, PCs can actually get a cool series of handouts that helps them grapple with the axis seal's ritual, for each manipulation actually changed the rules of the world! Nice: You can duplex print two pages and print them out as cards, if you want. And yes, if the players wish to engage in the sacrament of apotheosis, that is similarly covered in a handout.

Indeed, the ends are complex and reward attention: Destruction of Nicodemus...amounts to genocide. Completion of the ritual...just delays him and makes the world, changed, basically a partial success for him. Making Miller take control can subvert Nicodemus and allow for his destruction...and finally, rejection of any form of change, of a realignment of the world, can similarly sever his quasi-deific link...and allow the PCs to end him. Oh, and guess what? The campaign ends in style, with a proper denouement for each character theme.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed a couple of minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Zeitgeist's two-column full-color standard and the pdf has full-color artworks. The pdf is layered, allowing you to customize it for printing out. The pdf is also fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography is in full-color and nice.

Ryan Nock's finale to the Zeitgeist AP is one I see with a laughing and a crying eye: I am honestly glad that this book was made, that this glorious AP managed to reach its end. I am also exceedingly happy to report that the saga managed to maintain its exceedingly high standard, its high concepts, its courage to expect smart players. It is a fitting end for one of the best villains I have ever encountered in any roleplaying game, a conclusion of epic proportions that may not reach the far-out OMG-level of #12, but instead brings things full circle - where #12 was about averting destruction, this book is about creation and what we're willing to risk for it; it is a question of how we'd act when confronted with absolute power. It takes the various decisions and consequences of the AP into account and represents the most challenging, rewarding final encounter I have ever read in a published AP. Zeitgeist ends with a bang quality-wise, though failure on the PC's side may indeed make it an in-game whimper for them. In short: This is a masterful conclusion to the AP, though one that absolutely REQUIRES being run in conjunction with #12. The final verdict will, unsurprisingly, clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

I should talk a bit about the AP as a whole. PFRPG, D&D (whether 4th or 5th edition is irrelevant), 13th Age and similar rules-heavy systems have a bit of a bad reputation in some gaming circles. One complaint is that the rules get in the way of invested storytelling, often pointing towards rules-lite games and their investigation scenarios and then towards the fun, but mindless dungeon-crawling that is often the default modus operandi for these systems. The Zeitgeist AP is, in one sentence, the furious and definite rebuttal that the systems can't carry complex, amazing and intellectually engaging plots. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy mindless dungeon-crawling as much as the next guy. I don't need highly complex plots in every module. In fact, please spare me - more often than not, complex plotlines end up being a colossal mess. Particularly if you insert metaphysics, philosophy and the like - most modules fail hard at being smart and just end up being referential - which is NOT the same. (Brief tangent: That's why current comedy is often not funny to me. References to 80s, 90s etc. are not funny or clever in and of themselves.)

Well, guess what? Zeitgeist handles one of the most complex and rewarding plot-lines I have ever witnessed in any medium. It also accomplishes two additional milestones as far as I'm concerned: 1) The AP features one of the most compelling and relatable villains ever put to print. 2) For perhaps the very first time in a published sequence of modules or mega-adventures, I did not find myself rationalizing some dumb flaw in the plan of the opposition. You see, nothing irks me more than, as a GM, having to play a supposedly almost all-powerful conspiracy of hyper-smart folks and failing due to transparent fiat. The opposition in Zeitgeist is exceedingly clever, potent, acts in a concise and well-reasoned manner and feels internally consistent. There is no "a wizard did it/he's mad/he's arrogant/etc." lame justification here - the plans are clever, the responses are similarly smart and the AP expects not only GMs, but also players to be smart, involved and clever.

In short, if your group consists of intelligent people (as most of us are, knowing roleplayers!), if you ever had to insert x plot-fixes to account for players punching holes in plots, if you ever had to insert a ton of complications (or blend multiple modules into one) to challenge your players and provide a sufficiently engaging storyline, then it's time to take the plunge and give this a try. If you're burned out on the xth dungeon crawl against a villain with a lame, flimsy motivation or a dumb guild...then it's time to look at this. This AP is indeed an action-packed AP that very much stays true to its tenets of being smart and being an investigative/espionage-saga. This AP is a monument as far as I'm concerned, one that should be on pretty much every self-respecting GM's shelf.

The AP is not perfect, though. The main issue I see lies in the horrid naval combat rules, which I'd strongly suggest to ditch and replace with those of Fire as She Bears/Ships of Skybourne. While the latter book is hard to get at first, it is the perfect toolkit to making this AP's naval combat less reliant on the basics. The AP also has, here and there, some minor hiccups that stick out like sore thumbs in the rules-department of minor components like hazards etc. - these are never many, but they do show up, which means that you'll here and there need to make some minor modifications. That being said, the absolutely fantastic storyline, the sheer level of involvement, the visuals - pretty much everything about this saga makes this work more than justified. In the hands of a capable GM and an experienced group of smart players, this may well be one of the best complete campaigns ever penned, regardless of system.

Now the campaign can also be found in massive books. While I have reviewed and own Act I, as per the writing of this review, I have not yet had a chance to read the Act III-compilation. It'll grace my shelves, though - and frankly, you should give this series a shot. Act II and III's compilations, in time, will get their own briefer reviews in which I will comment on the compilation and less on the plot and respective single modules, mind you.

Smart, glorious and very cinematic, this saga is phenomenal and frankly leaves me puzzled how EN Publishing ever wants to top it. Again: Monument. Get it. If you've been disillusioned by published modules and their bugs or just the relative simplicity of many a plotline, this is the ultimate panacea for your roleplayer-weltschmerz.

Endzeitgeist out.

P.s.: Since someone asked: I'm not affiliated in any way with the AP or EN Publishing; I had my nick long before the first zeitgeist-installment hit shelves.

P.P.S.: If someone playing this module makes an endzeitgeist, drop me a line. ;)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #13: Avatar of Revolution (Pathfinder)
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ZEITGEIST #12: The Grinding Gears of Heaven (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2017 09:31:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The 12th installment of the massive Zeitgeist-AP clocks in at 92 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 87 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following will contain SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. It should also be noted that I may reference other installments of the AP, so you HAVE been warned. From here on out, the SPOILERS reign.

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Okay, only GMs left around? Great! So, in my best impression of one of my players' catch-phrase: "My friends, the stakes have never been higher!" The massive conspiracy, the Obscurati, have tinkered with the world. Their powerful ritual, intended to reshape reality, was foiled by the PCs. In the epic aftermath of the sundering of the world from other planes, the brave constables of the RHS have fought collective intelligences, saved nations and defeated Kaiju-sized monstrosities. They have established free will as a paradigm and foiled the masterplan of immortal Nicodemus. And now, the world is spinning towards the gyre in an evocation of the classic "Second Coming" - the center cannot hold; massive gears in space, where creation annihilates dying worlds, grind them into the raw stardust of creation. Nothing short of world-wide annihilation and the dread end-game of the Voice of Rot need to be foiled. The PCs are leaders of their world (hopefully - there is a pretty high chance that they botched at some time, with every failure putting more control into the Obscurati's hands), known across the globe...but what does that matter when planar flight's impossible and the world is spinning into the multiverse's gyre?

The PCs will begin their deliberations to be contacted by Rock Rackus, celebrity adventurer, who is possessing a medium to tell them that a weird golden airship is attacking Av, the plane of dreams - it is thus that considerations of dealing with the Obscurati-controlled Danor need to rest for a bit, as the PCs try to use the planar rift of cauldron hill to arrive at the Bleak gate. Here legions reminiscent of those of Egal the Shimmering have been attacking - oh, and the plane is also spinning towards the gyre; depending on the fey in charge (which was influenced by the PCs), they will have different ruler to save- though saving said ruler from the world mote Egalitrix will be tough.

And yes, worlds will be shattering, falling into the gyre, which brings me to a weird peculiarity - a cinematic explosion that may smash a PC into an endless vortex of flame has terrain mechanics like: "+33 vs. Fortitude"....which makes no sense. Fortitude denotes a bonus, not a value. Doubly weird: The text before that mentions a correct solution, a Ref-save and a DC. This may be a small hiccup in the presentation, yes, but things like this feel jarring in light of the quality the module otherwise presents. We have troops of ghosts, taking control of airships...and the overarcing metaplot of making planar icons from the planes that are plunging into the gyre, for without these icons, the Axis Seal ritual is impossible to complete.

When the world of dreams is collapsing, torn asunder by the gyre, a shockwave sends the PCs unconscious....and doubles as the reason why you see this and #13's review back to back.

Again, this is a MAJOR SPOILER.

You have been warned.

So, the world's collapse sends the PCs into unconsciousness - which is an interesting narrative device. You see, the true PCs are back at home and a dream echo is what'll be the protagonist for the remainder of the module...which makes sense, considering that nothing can leave the gyre. The knowledge gained by these echoes can, in the end, be projected back to the proper PCs, as they try to stop Nicodemus in #13. So basically, this and #13 happen at pretty much the same time, which makes for a more interesting climax than back in WotBS (War of the Burning Skies), which had 3 potential climaxes that could be run in any sequence...or just pick one. In the end, that was one structural weakness of the otherwise neat WotBS-AP and it's nice to see EN Publishing not repeating it.

I digress. So, the PCs are in the gyre, where worlds are churned asunder and they need to generate planar icons to tether their world in the ritual - but which to choose? Well, that would be the next chapter and it is here we dive into a time-tested favorite of mine, genre-wise: Hex-crawling. Yeah, you heard me. We're hex-crawling through world motes plunging into total annihilation. We're fighting mandala beasts and in the best of hexcrawling and planeshopping/spelljamming traditions, we find pirate strongholds, tombs of dwarven all-kings...and finally, on Ascetia, the hidden jungle (yeah, the symbolism sometimes hits you over the head), the PCs meet...Nicodemus? Yep, William Miller would be proper, though, for he is Nicodemus' reflection, much like the PCs are reflections...and it is here that #13 should be started. Sure, you can finish #12, but from a narrative point of view and a structure/pacing perspective, this switching is amazing.

So yeah. Please switch towards #13. I'll be waiting here for you to read up on #13's inflection point switch back here.

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..

.

All right, so, William Miller's as different from Nicodemus as possible - he shares the same soul, but centuries of detachment, a lack of massive magical power and a thoroughly different perspective mean that the PCs may actually pull William Miller to their side, providing a very powerful means to finally defeat Nicodemus in adventure #13 - provided they play their cards right and realize the guilt-impulse that is so crucial to character motivation. It should be taken as the highest accolades that the BBEG of this campaign is indeed interesting enough to warrant such closer examination. It is also here that the PCs can meditate upon the grave of Kavarina's daughter and learn about Srasama, the eldarin goddess who remains in the gyre, courtesy of teh aftermath of the great malice. The deity, if destroyed by the gyre, has one final act she can perform - whether it'll be vengeance or the resurrection of those fallen to the Malice will determine to an extent the ultimate outcome of the saga.

In the southern part of the gyre (hexcrawlin'!), the PCs will have a chance to visit a graveyard world in the throes of a deadly magical, seemingly incurable plague; as the Pcs collect planar traits and visit strange and metaphysically relevant places, the PCs will still have to deal with Egalitrix, a powerful flying fortress manned by infernal troops. Yeah, they act smart, are deadly...and as pretty much any time when the AP insists to employ its horrible ship-combat options, I'd strongly suggest a proper redesign with the Fire as She Bears/Ships of Skybourne-rules. (The latter book, while harder to grasp at first, EXACTLY has rules that can deliver flying fortresses like this!)

And then, the PCs arrive at Reida, the broken arc of history, which is within the very coils of the Voice of Rot - and indeed, the famous "rough beast" of the famous poem. And it is one for the ages. The Voice is LITERALLY destroying the metaphysical embodiment of the PC's home's history, as its gargantuan bulk (Suggestion: Serpent skull + 30 coins...this thing is BIG) slithers over the arc, constantly moving, constantly tearing away...oh and it has 2 thresholds, where is becomes ever more dangerous, calling forth all the dead of history and even wrecking the PC's maximum HP. This titan is also where you can let loose like crazy - it's incredibly lethal and the PCs being reflections, it can kill off them sans impunity...after all, in the end, the only thing left to do will be to fall into the gyre, rejoin with the proper body...provided they have someone left with an emotional connection to. Fun fact: I actually pulled exactly that emotional anchor transition in my very first campaign's climax. That just as an aside.

The reflections of the PCs are ground to stardust. They may or may not take a goddess and more with them. They have the tools to undo the damage Nicodemus has done and prevent him from permanently solidifying the new world order. One final task. The fight for the very soul of the new world, the chance to create one's utopia, to form design the zeitgeist. It's now.

...to be concluded in #13.

The pdf concludes with a full-color map of the hexcrawl (several full-color tactical maps are included as well), a massive bestiary of the high-CR beings encountered, a handy GM cheat sheet of planes with associated energies and traits, a similarly handy list of gyre planes and dying worlds, a handy list of color-coded planes by type, sample combinations that could result in e.g. technocracies, pastorals, etc., a sheet to track bonding with energies, as well as player's sheet for tracking gyre-exploration and, finally, a player's version of the gyre-map.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. I noticed a couple of minor typos and small hiccups as that mentioned before. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and sports a blend of full-color original and stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography of both hex-map and tactical maps is in full-color and nice, though the tactical maps don't come in the usual, blown-up-to-one-page standard, which is slightly annoying. The pdf is layered, which can render the file pretty printer-friendly to print out.

Ryan Nock's grinding gears of heaven is perhaps the most far-out module I have read since Coliseum Morpheuon. It's also the highest-level hex crawl I have ever seen...and makes full use of being high-level. The module throws pretty much a huge sandbox that will make fans of Planescape and Spelljammer cackle with glee at the PCs and represents one of the most poachable scenarios in the AP - you could conceivably ignore the whole saga and just run this as a climax for your weird planes-hopping campaign. It would lose some of its emotional impact, obviously, but yeah.

That being said, this is very much a part of the saga: A thoroughly unconventional one that has one of the most epic boss fights I have ever seen. Oh, and if that wasn't enough - if you're a well-read person or consider yourself to be a scholar, then this book's continuous barrage of subtle allusions to literature and tropes will make you smile from ear to ear. Indeed, while the intrigue aspect is less pronounced here than in the rest of the AP, the very real scope, the massive array of what's at stake render this one of the most epic-feeling modules I have ever read. How often do you get to adventure to puzzle together your world's ideology? That's basically a more player-agenda driven Shin Megami Tensei's Lucifer's Call...but you don't have one planet...you have a ton of them. Much like all installments of Zeitgeist, the ship-combat imho needs replacing...badly. And much like every installment of the AP, it needs a capable GM and involved, proactive players that can juggle the concepts...but for any group that wants to play something SMART, this is absolutely amazing. My final verdict will obviously be 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the minor hiccups...so let's see whether the finale can hold up this level of quality...see you in #13's review.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #12: The Grinding Gears of Heaven (Pathfinder)
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Party of One [5E]
by Todor P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2017 06:43:16

This is the biggest heap of useless, disconnected drivel that I have ever spent money on. The material offers no guidelines for scaling campaigns and adventures to a smaller party or a single PC, no mechanical advice, not even 5E-specific advice - why is this even tagged as 5E? It includes literally NOTHING specifically related to 5E, just general advice and largely useless generalities.

You get 3 pages beyond the preview page and it's all completely useless if you have even a tiny bit of sense as a DM. You can get the same or better advice by googling the topic and clicking on free, far more expansive articles.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Party of One [5E]
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Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns: D&D 3.5
by Rose T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2016 15:00:05

This product is well done and easy to add into the game it added a lot to my last game.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns: D&D 3.5
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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Nathan T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2016 19:53:39

Comprehensive. As a DM, this is the type of tool I need. There comes a time when, as a DM, you require more out of your game engine. This is where all the homebrew content for all our beloved RPG systems comes from, falling anywhere inbetween moderately balanced to completely out of place.

Using this system, it provides you not only a deep dice pool based resolution mechanic, but all the tools (and more) that you need to make your own content without the fear of it being totally out of place or imbalanced.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
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