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The Secrets of the Metadventurer (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/22/2016 07:30:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


Wow, wow, wow...are you serious? This is the reviewer who is supposed to judge my magnificence? This odd, long-haired German goth/metalhead-sod? Really? Oh well. I'm in a good mood, so I'll "help" you, okay endy? Great! So, my splendorous debut is 11 pages long, though 1 page is the front cover, 1 the editorial, 2 are advertisement and 1 page is the SRD, which means I get a full 6 pages...not that I'd need more to show how awesome I am, mind you...but still, gotta talk to my agent about that... walks off


Ehem, yeah, so this is a prioritized review and was moved up in my queue at the request of my patreons, before this strange guy rudely interrupted...oh damn, he's coming back!


Hey, Chris...yeah, about those... WAIT. You there, endy! I said I'd do that for you, right? Right! So, what do I do - urgh...I hate repeating myself and I explained it in the book already...but, in a nut-shell:


I WIN PATHFINDER.


There, 'nuff said.


Urgh, you're still reading. I can see you. So yeah, wanna know more? Gotcha. I am better and more awesome than all other classes, because I friggin' know. I'm not some pseudo-smart wizard-sheeple...I know I'm a character in your game. Yeah, you heard me. I know I have 2+Int skills (really? come on!) and d8 HD and proficiency with simple weapons, light and medium armors. I have 3/4 BAB-progression. I also am good at Min/Maxing - bonus points for kicking off a discussion on the Stormwind Fallacy. When resting, I choose one good save (two good saves at 12th level) and the others are bad save.


Starting at 4th level, I can select two skills that are not knowledge (No, GM, I don't care about the intricacies of your world!) and get max ranks for the day. At 8th level, I can also swap attributes and at 16th level I can swap 1/day saving throws, ability scores and bogus feats. I also am a master of optimizing flexibility: I can choose each day to gain arcane casting, divine casting, martial tricks or a crapton of skill. Oh yes, I'm that awesome.


Starting at 2nd level, I get a metagaming pool equal to 1/2 class level + 3. I can spend these as free actions to get skill bonuses, additional non-AoO-5-foot movements and even negate partial effects on successful saves. At 3rd level, I know what you know. No seriously, I can simply metagame what you know - d20+class level + Int-modifier and bam...you're GM is pissed. Priceless, believe me.


At 5th level and every 6 thereafter, I get Bogus feats. I can change these whenever I rest. Why? Cause that is how I roll! Oh, and 6th level, I can spend metagaming points to alter the damage of my weapons. At 7th level, I am adept at making allies count as abettors for Betrayal feats...who needs these suckers, after all? Oh, and yeah, at 9th level I can Rules Lawyer game-mechanics 1/day and alter them by +2/-2 or +10%/-10%, twice that much at 19th level, +1 daily use every 5 levels above 9th.


At 10th level, I can change energy types or better pass through SR via metagaming. At 13th level, I can divert effects when I failed my save to allies - we all know we only have to do better than the other suckers, right? And guess what? I have read all those supplements - at 13th level, I can take a treasure and identify it...and determine which treasure it is, within GP-boundaries. I always get what I want, man. At 15th level, as long as you, the player, bring a third party book to the table, it'll be game for me. I know. Awesome, right? Oh, guess what, at 18th level, I can metagame those stupid action economy limitations. But the most fun is 20th level - the ability's called "Make the GM Cry" - extraordinary wish. Oh, and when I die, I immediately resurrect. Oh yeah. You know you want to see that in action, right? Thought so.


Conclusion:


All right, so this reviewer-git doesn't pay me enough for this, so blabla, nice artworks full color 2-column layout etc. Bookmarks are there as well.


So, I dictated the book to Wendall Roy and he seems to be able to write it - congrats, dude. No seriously, I couldn't wait anymore. This game needs my awesomeness in it. It's time that those prissy wizards and stuck-up paladins learn their place. This is where I come in, by the way. So do yourself a favor and get this book - we'll have a lot of fun making your fellow players cry. And best of all - you can always just point to the fact that I'm not "overpowered." Not our problem if the others just can't play the game, right? Hate the game, not the player!


Ehem...how do you end these things? Oh yeah, I'm obviously 5 stars + seal of approval (Seriously? "Seal of approval"? Pretentious much? Man, reviewer-dude, you got some issues...) and totally inexpensive, so buy my awesome book!


Metadventurer out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Metadventurer (PFRPG)
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Lost Lore: Ecology of the Troll
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/22/2016 07:27:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Frog God Games' Lost Lore-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 3/4 of a page blank, leaving us with 4 1/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this pdf with a brief piece of in-character prose, setting the mood...and then dive into the genesis of the troll, here depicted in the telling of a legend, where mighty Eirik, lord of the North, instructed the dark sorceror Inghard to find a way to gain soldiers that would not de - and hence, in truly compelling prose, we accompany these two on the way to the doom that befalls the fools of stories such as this: The undying soon were to practice/become fleischtrollen (an interesting composite of German Fleisch = flesh and trollen = walk somewhere at a deliberate pace) - basically flesh-seeking shamblers. So yes, we have a rather unique background story here, on I actually enjoyed reading, though I couldn't help but feel that the "trollen" was probably intended to mean "the troll", but "troll" is a neuter and would thus get the -et ending. But I digress.


The discrepancy between depictions of fat and emaciated trolls is explains and rationalized well in the section on physiology and the explorations of stages of life and sociology further expounds upon interesting details regarding this mythical species. For players intent on hunting trolls, glass sphere tips that can contains liquids and the regeneration halting trollkin-toxin should help - unless the poor sap is mushed to bits before by the large weapon introduced, the devastating troll maul. The pdf also sports 3 new feats for trolls - two to further increase regeneration and one for double rend damage dice - this one has to be carefully monitored and probably shouldn't be in PC hands - rend in PC hands is already brutal enough.


Interesting: The pdf also expounds upon the precise strategies a GM can use when employng trolls and elaborates on their tactics, which is pretty interesting. The pdf also sports G'Mash, the troll king - massive CR 19 barbarian 7/ranger 7 with a unique, huge-sized magical armor, which, while solid, is not that...wait...Huge? Oh, I forgot to mention that right? If you're like me, you always wanted trolls to continue growing, to potentially one day reach truly intimidating sizes. Well, this take on the troll assumes just that. Anyways, the deadly troll king ends the pdf on a high note, even though the final page being mostly empty somewhat galls me.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to Frog God Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf has an awesome piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks and while it needs none at this length, they still would have been nice to see.


James Thomas' prose is excellent -the legend of the trolls depicted herein resonates on a mythological level and makes sense; the pdf rationalizes the vastly diverging pictures and concepts of trolls, which is awesome from an internal consistency's point of view. The flavor of this pdf is awesome, though it admittedly left me wanting more and somewhat bemoaning the lack of discussion on subtypes etc.. On the crunch-side, as mentioned before the rend-enhancer feat can be problematic and sports very lenient prerequs (Namely, you need a rend attack...that's it.) and it being a combat feat means it's be a no-brainer for characters with ample access to them. I can't help but feel that just doubling the dice rolled feels a bit off. Similarly, the troll maul, as a weapon, is not that interesting. Where this pdf shines, though, is with its great prose, its concise ideas for troll tactics and uses etc. How to rate this, then? Well, what we have here is a rather brief, but sweet ecology that could have used a bit more to reach true greatness. Still, this is a worthwhile addition to your arsenal and well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lost Lore: Ecology of the Troll
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Suzerain (Pathfinder)
Publisher: Savage Mojo
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/21/2016 07:57:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive book clocks in at 186 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement and 1 page of back cover, leaving us with a massive 177 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Well, this book has two sections - one for players and one for GMs - it should be noted that the player's version, the Suzerain Continuum Guide, can be considered a massive teaser for this book - and it's FREE! So yeah, you can take a look at what this book offers by downloading that one.


But back to what this book offers, shall we? Suzerain, in a nut-shell, can be described as a kind of meta-campaign setting template; it denotes a massive collective of worlds and plains. Campaign settings are described as realms - so both Golarion and Athas could, potentially, exist within the confines of this meta-setting. Suzerain assumes that you use the hero point mechanics introduced in the APG...but goes one step further: For one, the maximum of 3 hero points is not in effect. Secondly, escaping death only takes one hero point and returns to play with starting hero points if their rank is high enough.


A given Suzerain character has a Telesma, a special kind of gem set in jewelry, weapons or the like - but more on Telesma later. Suzerain Sports 10 ranks in 6 categories that denote how much you're touched by "greatness" - even rank 2 classifies you as god-touched, while 10+ means you qualify as a demigod. Each rank provides its own benefits: Hero Points, bonus feats, ability score increases, save bonuses...and later even a pulse pool (equal to 1/4 character level + highest ability score modifier)...but again, more on that later. Rules for cohorts, new followers in a given realm and similar interactions are covered.


Upon reaching demigod rank, characters can "flex a nexus" - a nexus denotes an important historic anchor. You flex a nexus by paying 1 pulse and 1 hero point, 2 for a major flex - these allow for the modification of the setting; consider them narrative wild-cards: Whether you manage to find a fully functional hovertank in a post-apocalyptic desert or make a bridge disappear - the effects are basically massive narrative components that are deliberately loose in their wording...with one exception: They last about 5 minutes and generally can affect an area of about 150 ft. Creatures with a pulse pool can resist...that's it. Gods (and ONLY true gods) can use 3-point godlike flexes...which brings me to an important motif: The characters may become demigods here...but they sure are no deities...to quote to old Shadowrun/WoD-wisdom: There are always bigger fish in the tank...Character creation wise, 6+2d6 or 25-point-buy are recommended for this high fantasy romp.


Okay, so what do these Pulse-feat-tricks do? Well, once your PCs have reached demigod-hood...they'll have some impressive tricks at their disposal: Via the right pulse feat, you can e.g. mitigate critical hits down to regular hits or even force them to reroll the original attack (NOT the confirmation roll) or rearrange initiative order as you see fit immediately after initiative is rolled. 3/day SPs, reduced falling damage (plus means to stop nearly any fall), temporarily ignoring fear conditions (upgradeable to immunity while you have at least 1 pulse) or partially breaking through resistances. Choosing an attribute and using pulse as constantly consecutive means to retroactively add bonuses to the related check on a 1 pulse:+2-basis, extended number of targets for spells, using pulse as a +5 bonus to any d20 check (not even an action), causing a sickening pain-aura to form around you - the pulse-feats themselves are powerful, but well within the confines of what can be deemed as something a GM can handle - it should be noted that their general feeling is less that of hyper-specialization or escalation that mythic rules sport, instead focusing on a broader, more general means of usefulness. If you need a comparison: Mythic rules are more about playing guys like Hercules, where these seem to champion a playstyle that is more reminiscent of Dr.Who - you're basically better, stronger, more resilient and have reality-bending powers, but still retain a certain fragility...though it's hard to kill you. Really hard.


Interesting: Once the group has achieved an average of folk hero on the ranking system, their telesmae resonate and they receive their very own pocket dimension. Telesmae are basically semi-sentient, very powerful artifacts with a divine spirit - while it's impossible to lose them per se, they do have a catch - in the spirit world (the ethereal plane), they are easily distinguished; they act as beacons to gods and outsiders alike and mean that you'll have a lot potential issues on your hand...and finally, while not too smart, they do have a will of their own...which can also lead to troubles. Telesmae are considered to be CL 20 items with an aura of moderate abjuration, divination, illusion and have 30 ft senses. Starting at 11th level, they increase their Int by +1 per level, with Wis/Cha adhering to a 1/2-progression and 11th level + every 3 levels thereafter, they gain a telesma growth, basically an ability you choose from a set of different ones. Basic telesma personalities also grant a skill bonus - yeah, they are kind of like psycrystals. On a nitpicky side, the table of these personalities and the header have been integrated in a less than superb manner on the page - the text from the previous page continues under the table, while the table's header-section adheres to the same formatting as said previous page, which makes this page, at first glance, slightly confusing.


So that's the basics.


After that, a sample world is mentioned - Relic, in the year 298, where Egyptian-style sea elves rule the waves and huge Greco-Roman empires loom - think of it as a blending of classical antiquity with your basic fantasy tropes. Unique-crunch-wise, there are a couple of Planar feats - the base feat of these must be taken at first level, with further feats allowing the character to enhance his/her/its tricks; The feats closely reflect the politics of the setting, with prerequisites featuring "may not be an elf" or "may not be bestial" - Fury, as a feat-tree, is for example a means to play a quasi-lycanthropic shapechanger that starts the game with full claw and bite-attack array, while Living Rock reduces your speed by 5 ft., but grants DR 2/bludgeoning...and yes, these feats often have additional, Pulse-based effects that obviously come into play later. Considering that this is a sample and teaser, it's hard to judge whether these kind-of-racial feats end up as balanced in the context of the overall world -for a default high-fantasy world they sure as hell are potent.


The second part of this massive book would be the GM-section - so what do we get here? Well, we begin with a discussion of the spirit world, Suzerain's iteration of the ethereal plane and what is has to offer; how religion can shape the place and the pulse-touched CR+2 template that allows the GM to make creatures that can employ some of the PC-tricks. Native creatures of the ethereal plane, the spirits of feral glee and their variants, the spirits of feral empathy are featured alongside the Mael-born - at the end of the spirit world, the veil lies...and beyond it, terra incognita: Very little solid ground, all held aloft by pure pulse - here space and time become fluid and some gods have their realms in this weird place - and there are a lot: Whether Yggdrasil's realm, that of the archangels or Mount Olympus or the more strange realm of pure mages, where raw mathematics and genius reign supreme are concerned - the places depicted sound fantastical and sufficiently familiar and weird to be considered interesting.


The section discussing travels in time and space via portals and other means deserves special mention: Unlike many a bad movie or series-episode, it establishes a concise background that subscribes to the elastic history approach and explains its tenets and consequences in detail - while this section may be fluff-centric, ultimately, it is useful - more so than quite a few more rules-heavy takes on the concept I've seen.


Now one of the most pronounced goals of Suzerain is to make gameplay beyond 10th level more interesting, more fulfilling - thus, the discussion and advice regarding games at folk-hero rank (rank 6 - 7) cover a significant array of themes to ponder - whether to restrict yourself to one world, how to make multiple themes and campaign settings fluidly interact. Similarly, extensive pieces of advice for player/character types...and demigod games are provided: With themes like massive glory, end-times, alternate realities and similar high-concept ideas, the contemplations and themes change here once again. There also is the idea of the plot-point campaign - which is then exemplified via a massively detailed sample campaign in Relic - while each chapter sports just a couple of scenes, there is a lot of crunchy material herein: Nanobot pseudo-swarms, various NPCs (often with complex class arrangements), a new vehicle...and a suitably cataclysmic final fight.


Sure, it's basically a skeleton set-up...but if you're time-starved or if the creative juices have run dry, this is great. Similarly, for scavenging purposes, there is quite a bit to find here. Similarly, multiple encounter/adventure-sketches follow suit, providing a pretty wide and diverse accumulation of ideas to scavenge and peruse -and yes, several of them take place in different epochs of our very own world, while others assume diverse realms within the maelstrom - whether they want to pit themselves against the desolation engine or stave off an invasion of bipedal, evolved saurians and their titanosaur from an alternate earth. What if priests tried to manipulate the Olympian gods to bring about the end of the multi-verse? Or a quasi-sentient protocol infects and converts people? ...well, and of course, the obligatory throw-down between aforementioned arch-angels and dread forces of darkness - including multiple, fully statted high-level foes. Basically, the majority of this section of the book can be considered a sketch-book of stories, encounters and adversaries that make for a rather superb scavenging-ground, even when not playing Suzerain directly.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed no significant accumulations of glitches. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard. People with extensive collections of obscure 3.X-supplements may recognize some of the gorgeous full-color artworks herein, though I have seen the vast majority never before. The book is art-heavy and beautiful. The pdf is fully bookmarked with detailed, nested bookmarks. I can't comment on the virtues or lack thereof of the print edition.


Miles M. Kantir, Zach Wellhouse, Alan Bundock, Clyde Clark, Richard Mendenhall, Aaron Rosenberg, George "Loki" Williams, Pastor Allan Hoffmann, Richard Moore and Matt Medeiros have done an impressive job in this huge book. Suzerain endeavors to be basically a campaign-template for high-level gaming and themes - and it succeeds in several interesting regards: The decision to emphasize the narrative component without drifting off into the, pardon my French, competitive bullshitting of FATE, works surprisingly well in the Pathfinder-context. The demigod-rules are sufficiently different from mythic rules to fit a different playstyle and themes, which is a BIG plus in my book - I love mythic rules (provided I can use all those Legendary Games-supplements; I hate vanilla mythic with a fiery passion...)...and I can see myself growing to love these rules as well, perhaps even combining them for some particularly brutal foes.


Theme-wise, Suzerain is basically the planewalker's toolkit as opposed to mythic's superhero-flair. Toolkit...that's what describes this book best. There are crunchier books out there, sure - but the ideas and observations regarding often problematic themes, setting-switching etc. make this a handy tome to have. The crunchy statblocks and adventure/campaign-sketches also illustrate rather well how to utilize these rules....or rather, concepts. The true treasure herein lies in the concepts and yes, this book makes it significantly easier to come up with a justification for the jumping between worlds.


Suzerain is an intriguing book, that has two minor flaws, which I still feel obliged to mention: In the player-section in particular, a cleaner division between fluff and crunch would be appreciated - the size of the Pulse Pool, for example, is neither its own paragraph, nor bolded or the like - it's hidden in the flow of text, something you can observe regarding other components as well. The second component would pertain the fact that the numerous, rather awesome-sounding realms that Savage Mojo has hinted at in Palace of the Lich Queen (and/or already released for their Savage Worlds-rules-set) have not yet been converted to PFRPG; while I e.g. am truly intrigued in this fantasy take on Norse or Greek mythology, the antique/scifi-blend of Set Rising and similar settings, this book, by necessity, is a bit opaque regarding the respective places. Personally, I would have loved to see more on the Spirit World and the Maelstrom, the meta-world, if you will - perhaps with mechanical repercussions, unique hazards or planar traits.


As it stands on its own, Suzerain is a captivating, massive book somewhere between campaign template, DM-advice book and meta-setting - and it fulfills these roles rather well for the most part. Still, in the end, I found myself wishing for more material regarding the meta-realm, if you will - something you can chalk up to a) the excellent prose that made reading this book a rather pleasant experience and b) the amount of space devoted to the high-concept campaign/adventure/encounter-seeds. In the end, I consider Suzerain a worthwhile, high-quality book that will continue to grow in usefulness with the release of subsequent settings and books in the continuum; as a stand-alone book, for now I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Suzerain (Pathfinder)
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Ultimate Relationships #3: The Cassisian Detective
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/20/2016 05:10:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Ultimate Relationship-series clocks in at 8 pages - 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page how to use, 1 page SRD leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!


All right, so this series provides romantic interests for the PCs as per the Ultimate Relationship-rules, so I'm assuming you're familiar with them. If not, check out that pdf first (and/or my review for it).


All right, so this time around...we romance a helmet with wings. No, I'm not kidding. Look up the artwork. The statblock is the most complex we've seen so far in the series, though, unlike another review I noticed, I saw no glitches pertaining class abilities - the archetype has been correctly added in the iteration of this pdf I read.


Affinity-wise, the cassian detective prefers introverted, silent characters, particularly investigators and the like and obviously has a fondness for riddles and puzzles and, obviously, as a good outsider, he loathes evildoers. A sense of requiring completion makes keeping him around rather easy and he is available for being a cohort as soon as 4th rank.


The detective, interestingly, is devoted to the empyreal lord of departed lovers and as such, entering a proper romantic relationship, abstract though it may be, ultimately would result in conflicting notions, particularly since the entity is currently in a chaste crush on Verity it/her/himself. (This gender-thing is getting confusing regarding helmet-shaped outsiders...apologies. And no, I'm not using "they" - it sounds wrong to me, like finger nails on chalkboard. Sorry.)


That being said, the ranking up procedure of the romance with the cassisian detective easily is the most intriguing so far: For one, the outsider loves riddles, so Int-checks (or out-game riddle-savvy players) are preferred. Secondly, the entity has a perfect memory, so if you're like me and have a better memory than your players, this can really be hilarious...otherwise, I'd suggest taking notes to properly roleplay him. Which is also, by far, the most awesome thing about this installment of Ultimate Relationships - you see, the cassisian does not know about a chaste crush on his mistress and is interested in the gaps and holes of actions and behavior - having a perfect, gapless memory, he feels intrigued by lack - the objectivity of nothing, the concept of presence heightened through absence, making this character truly well-rounded and unique.


Boon-wise, the relationship unlocks either Linguistics or Perform (Oratory) as class skills and +1 to saves versus visual and sonic effects, stacking with celestial obedience, if present. At 10th rank, the boon, you can 1/day expend 3 full-round actions to duplicate the detective's careful teamwork performance lasting 10 minutes and affecting only you and double campaign bonuses associated with the detective.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The pdf has a nice artwork of the outsider.


Mark Seifter's Cassisian Detective is by far the weirdest of the relationships so far - but it's also the most unique, intriguing and well-rounded - the character has depth, means for philosophical engagement and character beyond being a relationship-stereotype - in a nutshell, this feels organic and well-crafted. Personally, I consider this by far the most intriguing of the relationships provided so far and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Relationships #3: The Cassisian Detective
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Village Backdrop: Coldwater System Neutral Edition
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/20/2016 05:09:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement


Coldwater is perched upon an inhospitable, mud-drenched coast, with one access by land, its harbor is in the delta of a miserably stream that empties its contents into the sea - and if that does not reflect a place you'd like to visit, then that's pretty much a representation of how most folks see this place. Nearby caverns sport strange stair-like features that only rarely become visible and the inhabitants of the village are just as sullen and unfriendly as the weather suggests. The village lore reflects the relative hostility and rugged nature of the village rather well, while a Finnish-inspired nomenclature emphasizes an association with the colder climes.


Indeed, the rustic and eccentric locals e.g. sport a man named Holg, who has a well-stacked ware-house, but lets no one in - you have to tell the old man what you're looking for and mysteriously, more often than not, he procures the object from within the depths of his dubious "locker." Indeed, one cannot really fault the locals for their sullen outlook on life: As the events and the subtle wrongness in the tides underline, there is something wrong here - there are the deformed, both in mind and body- how and why the poor folks of this village are struck by this curse ultimately is up to the GM, but the presence of the template and its varied effects alongside the stigmatization such folk may experience should drive home pretty well that something is wrong here...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.


Creighton Broadhurst has skill - and this one shows it pretty well. The mastermind of Raging Swan Press delivers what I'd like to call a wide open sandbox: We are faced with problems and the respective NPCs mentioned can be used to exacerbate it, change it...all depending on your whims. Basically, this is one of the village backdrops that is so compelling, it can make PCs pretty much write their own tale: Throw them in and watch what happens. In this aspect, though, this one is slightly inferior to Kennutcat. However, at the same time, it sports local color that made me think of the slight surreal elements that made Twin Peaks so compelling, at least for me -from the dwindling fortunes of one family to female, hard-working and drinking half-orc, there is a lot of quirkiness, a lot of unique bits and pieces here; enough, to make this thoroughly compelling. The system-neutral version loses nothing of the luster of the original and is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Coldwater System Neutral Edition
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Relic Files: Manticore Power Armor
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/19/2016 08:04:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this installment of Relic Files with a deviation from the standard, as a significant section provides a well-crafted piece of introductory prose. Beyond that, the supplement is btw. one of the books that is a pretty good read - the pdf uses a "review" of the power armor presented as a nice narrative framing device - including "Protips" - rather cool!


All right, so what does the Power Armor do? Well, for one, it increases the size of the wearer effectively to Large and grants DR 12/adamantine, +1 AC versus unguided missiles, +8 Str-score (count as Str 30 for purposes of carrying/lifting, etc.) and -2 Dex while armored. The armor is equipped with a flechette rifle and the armor and rifle's stats are fully depicted, including construction information. The HUD of the armor provides +1 to atk and damage, grants low-light vision and darkvision 60 ft and decreases miss chances incurred due to mist etc. by 25%. Wounds incurred by the flechette rifle continue to bleed for 1 point per round. Speaking of those: Flechette-ammo for shotguns are provided and yes, they may be poisoned. A new feat, Exotic Armor Proficiency, allows for proper piloting.


Providing full synergy with Rogue Genius Games' excellent Anachronistic Adventures, we also get a sample character, one Lily Compton, who is depicted with a highly detailed amount of fluff as well as full stats as a level 8 daredevil (CR 7). Interesting here - a total of 4 manticore power armor tricks are provided - locking joints to increase CMD, leaping free and self-destruction as well as radar displacement are covered. Similarly, rules for radar displacement are covered and the pdf sports Lily's unique prototype of the armor, noting modifications like plasma throwers etc.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full-color artworks and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


This is an intriguing deviation from Rogue Genius Games' relic files - instead of a scaling magic item, we instead get concise rules for a well-made power-armor. Andrew Marlowe delivers in this pdf - it offers a lavishly rendered, cool power armor - and frankly, my one gripe with this pdf remains that I really would have wanted even more power armors. Not only due to the solid mechanics, but also due to this pdf being a surprisingly fun read. All in all, this is a great little pdf and I hope we'll see more sample power armors in the future...I still have that mecha-campaign I really want to play... My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Relic Files: Manticore Power Armor
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The Thingomancer Prestige Class
Publisher: ARMR Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/19/2016 08:01:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Thingomancers possess and use many...things. As such, they need to be chaotic, have Craft Wondrous Item and be able to cast 3rd level spells and have at least 5 ranks in Appraise...and Craft (backpack making). The PrC nets d8 HD, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 Will-save-progression and full spellcasting progression. Thingomancers also gain proficiency with all martial weapons.


At first level, they get the Thingamajig-ability, crafting a special backpack that has the characteristics of a bag of holding type I, with the caveat that he can only have one of these and may retrieve items from it as a move action. This upgrades to type II at 5th level, type IV at 9th level.


Also at first level, the PrC learns Thingomancy, adding class level as a bonus to Perception to detect objects (i.e. not creatures) and UMD. Starting at 2nd level, the PrC gains Eschew Materials as a bonus feat (formatting flawed: Feats are depicted in capital letters, not italicized) and the thingomancer is always treated as though he has 2K Gp worth of costly material components, though the value is taken from the total gold he has - no cheesing possible...kudos!! This GP-amount increases per level beyond 2nd by +1000 GP. The capacity to pull costly components from thin air refreshes upon resting. At 3rd level, Thingomancers get their class level as a bonus to Disable Device (not properly capitalized in the text) and may disable magical traps.


Starting at 3rd level, the thingomancer may draw mundane objects from his thingamajig, though they evaporate after 24 hours. The ability can be used class level + Int mod times per day. Here, I have an issue: Can the thingomancer produce specific items like e.g. the key for the lock there? At 4th level, the thingomancer may call forth weapons and even ammunition, with enhancement bonuses equal to 1/2 class level, lasting for 1 hour before exploding in confetti. At 7th level, the thingomancer can draw forth masterwork mundane items and gets +3 daily uses.


At 6th level, the PrC gets a pool of class level x 1000 GP gold, usable for crafting purposes only. the pool refreshes every week...and wrecks the WBL assumptions completely. While this may not be much of an issue, in crafting intense games or long-term games à la Kingmaker with plenty of downtime, this is deadly.


Starting at 8th level, the thingomancer can expend a spell slot or prepared spell of 5th level or higher to duplicate the effects of a rod of wonder. Additionally, when activating such an item, he may roll twice and choose the results. On a nitpicky side, this ability lacks the activation action, though I assume rod of wonder activation as a baseline for the action to activate the ability. As a 10th level capstone, he may call forth a deck of many things and draw a single card. If he does have the item, he may discard up to Intelligence modifier cards sans activating them, but must draw an equal amount of new cards. The duplication of conjuring forth the deck also lacks the activation action.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though I've read books by the author with more precise rules-language and less minor formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to ARMR Studios' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none. The b/w-artworks provided are surprisingly nice for a PWYW-product - kudos!


Angel Miranda's thingomancer is a solid take on the crazy prepared-type of character and the theme. That being said, it is a tad bit less precise in activation actions than I would like it to be - while drawing items can be assumed as a baseline, actually spelling it out would have been nice. The lack of a specific-items caveat is a bit annoying, but the one thing one really needs to be careful with is the crafting pool: While perfectly feasible in fast-paced campaigns, any campaign without stringent time frames can make the tons of free crafting gold at 6th level very strong.


And yes, due to my propensity for cursed items (or those that belonged to powerful entities), I have ample experience with crafting-heavy PCs...and yes, such a free gold-pool kills basically the main means of reigning such characters in. This does make what would otherwise be a surprisingly cool PrC problematic. That being said, this is still a PrC available as "Pay What You Want" and as such, its minor glitches do pale somewhat. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to it being PWYW and in dubio pro reo.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Thingomancer Prestige Class
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Cerulean Seas: Celadon Shores
Publisher: Alluria Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2016 07:35:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive supplement for aquatic adventuring clocks in at 138 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page kickstarter-thanks, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 132 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, after a brief introductory text that introduces us to the subject matter with well-crafted fluff, we enter the meat of this book: Much like previous Cerulean Seas-expansions (which btw. is the must-have underwater-adventuring resource for PFRPG), this one depicts in lavish detail a part of the submerged world and the plethora of options that accompany it - after venturing to the lightless depths and the frigid regions of the world, this book basically can be considered to be the Far Eastern supplement for Cerulean Seas. If you're new to these books, rest assured that we begin with the level of precise detail one can expect from the whole series: From types of lakes to environmental peculiarities, rules-relevant and concise basic information sets the stage for the things that are to follow, namely, the more detailed components.


But unlike Cerulean Seas supplements so far, there is a crucial secondary twist to the subject matter at hand - a distinction between salt- and fresh water, between the themes of assimilation versus tradition...but more on that later. In an admirable level of involvement with the setting, anthromorph and merfolk subspecies are revisited and explained as how far they work within the context of Celadon Shores, before we're introduced to the respective new player character races. Part of this is a new humanoid subtype, the kamigei, which are aligned with a particular eastern element, which can then, as a supernatural ability, add minor elemental damage. The subtype also is in tune with nature and receives resistance based on the associated element.


The new races mentioned before are interesting - for one, taking breathing and the ability to exist in salt/fresh-water into account - in a world where depth tolerance and swim speed are most important, e.g. the avian Benitsuru may be interesting, but their lack of gills means that they are severely limited - and the focus on underwater adventuring means I actually for once will not complain about a race that begins with a fly speed instead of upgrading gliding wings. And yes, each of the races herein has at least one flavorful, interesting and unique trick, like knowing the weather. The heikegani crab-people adhere to a code of honor reminiscent of the samurai and sport an artwork that is downright awesome. The lobster-like creatures begin play with deadly crab-claws as well as Improved Grapple and may utilize their power over metal to form it into objects - an intriguing one, though a rather powerful race.


The hitogoi carp-people, denizens of freshwater, are accomplished craftsmen, while sea kappas have a cool twist: These kappa sport a bubble on their head - as lunged creature, they need to resurface to refill their bubble, otherwise following the mythology regarding the Strength-draining effects of a kappa's bowl being emptied. The four-armed mizugumo, bell spider-like centaur-y individuals with 4 arms may be powerful, but needing both lungs and requiring fresh water means that they ultimately are fragile as far as their ecological niche is considered. Like the heikegani, though, they can be considered one of the more powerful races that can cause issues in less high-powered games that handwave the complex interactions of depth etc. and have a different focus. And yes, they can weave spider silk. The Mizugumo also have a lopsided attribute-distribution in favor of the physical, while the river ningyo is lopsided in favor of the mental attributes.


The shark-like Sembito with their blindsense, blood fury and emphasis on physical attributes similarly are a bit lopsided in their focus on physical prowess. The bioluminescent Suibo, gorgeous jelly-fish people with their tendrils and boneless bodies similarly adheres to this, slightly more advanced power-curve, while the fearless Uobei, based on betta-fish, once again adhere to a slightly more conservative racial balancing. The races all feature age, height and weight tables and generally can be considered to adhere to roughly two different power-levels -there are some races here obviously intended for lower-powered games, while the others exceed them, but remain on a level playing field amongst themselves. Now noted, depth tolerance and racial buoyancy as well as lungs/gills and salt/fresh-water all constitute balancing mechanisms that can be used to reign them in, but it's still a component I wished had been handled slightly more streamlined, perhaps with scaling options for the races.


The next chapter would be devoted to class options, with a short discussion on class roles in the context of Celadon Shores being the first component...and thereafter, we have samurai orders. Not one, not two - 7 full-blown orders with their own edicts and abilities can be found on these pages, constituting the single largest concentration of orders designed for the class I know of. The order of the crab is an order of dedicated bodyguards that can mitigate attacks on allies, while the order of the crane is a specialist of non-lethal combat and taking foes in alive. The sebek-ka-exclusive order of the crocodile is thoroughly devoted to the emperor and may enhance their defenses with a variable mystical armor that allows for some flexibility regarding special qualities added. The order of the imperial dragon may negate crits/sneak attacks a limited amount of times per day and is basically the most "default" feeling of the orders, while the order of the shark can cause retributive bleed damage and, at high levels, maintain functionality while near death - and even transcend death, provided he can keep on dishing out ever increasing amounts of damage. The order of the snake gets poison use and vindictive, retributive attacks, while the order of the wheel is all about the elements and a serene understanding of the forces of the world, allowing him to ignore certain amounts of damage a limited number of times per day. All in all, a flavorful, well-crafted array of diverse orders here!


The book also contains multiple relatively complex archetypes for your perusal, the first of which would be the hoiyomi wizard - these guys don't have spellbooks; instead, they have spell tattoos, which they can quickly and temporarily apply to their skin. Beyond regular magical tattoos, they also receive at higher levels the option to spontaneously convert spells into blasts of energy and their familiars similarly are tattoos they can call forth from their skin. Nice one! And yes, the capstone ability allows them to make the tattoos of targets rip them practically asunder.


The kawakage is an archetype of the mariner class, modifying the movement superiority of the base class to particularly affect the interaction with rapids, waves on water and even offer land speeds that don't suck quite as hard as those of many a race herein - particularly in a world where the land/fresh/salt-water differences become important, this one makes for a well-crafted, intriguing choice. The Yamabushi presented here would be a variant of the paladin class who is particularly focused on upholding the natural order and as such, opposed to the undead, though at the cost of lay on hands and mercies.


The book also sports two base classes, the first of which would be the Godaikishi, who gets simple and martial weapon as well as shield proficiency, d10, 2+Int skills per level, full BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Will-saves. The class is determined by the attunement with a mystic element, with an additional element being gained at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. The element chosen determines other class abilities and changing attunement is a full-round action. While unarmored, the class adds Wis-mod to AC and CMD and sports a scaling bonus as well, though the attuned element determined the additional effects conveyed by this mystic armor, ranging from being treated as spiked to offering protection versus the cold climate. At 5th level, a similar enhancement based on the attuned element is available for the weaponry of the class. The class can also generate an elemental lash to add to his regular attack, a kind of elemental-themed smite, if you will, with daily uses scaling over the levels.


2nd level provides a 1/2 level-based scaling elemental touch as well as growing resistance versus elements that can later be extended to allies. Said resistance also becomes full-blown immunity at higher levels, which is interesting. At 4th level, these guys can unleash the elemental touch within sight as a ray...though one that could have used a proper range - as written, it's line of sight - granted, not as far underwater, but still...fixed values tend to be less prone to abuse than sight. 4th level provides arcane spells of up to 4th level, curiously governed by the Wisdom modifier, which need to be prepared and are drawn from the spell-list of the class. Higher levels provide SR and full-blown immunity to spells and effects of certain descriptor and, rather intriguing, the capstone is similarly variable and dependant on the attuned element. All in all, a well-crafted elemental-themed class that did not bore me - the relative simplicity of the class and its great magical defenses make this a relevant addition to the game., though I really wished it got 4 skills instead of just 2.


The second class is the Wokou, who gets d10, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light armor and buckler and gets full BAB-progression as well as good Reflex-saves. They also begin play with an animal companion - and this is pretty much one factor of the class: Basically, the wokou is a teamwork-based pet-class with a front-line fighter who can ignore difficult terrain, with higher levels providing size-increases, abilities like evasion and (improved) uncanny dodge and the like, while also sporting a secondary focus on intimidating foes. There's nothing wrong with this class, but it is very linear - not much choice or strategy beyond the base framework. Not bad by any means, but not mind-boggling either.


The book also sports two PrCs, both spanning 10 levels. The Mambabarang gets d6, 4+Int skills, 1/2 BAB, Fort- and Ref-progression and 1/2 spells per day progression...and the PrC is kinda awesome, if disturbing: You see, the idea here is to imbue spells with a range of touch in Vermin, which then receive improved defensive capabilities. The spells are then delivered to the target touched by the vermin. Yes, this is tactical and narrative gold. Furthermore, unnatural lust regarding vermin to recruit creepy-crawlies, gain a vermin companion and yes, they can make their creatures explode and clothe themselves in a halo of bugs - awesome, unique, fun and perfectly functional beyond the confines of the waves, this is one of the best vermin master/caster type of takes I've seen in a long, long time. Kudos!


The Tsuwamono is a lawful PrC that gets d10, 4+Int skills, full BAB-progression and 1/2 Fort-progression as well as DR increasing from 1/- at 6th level to 5/- at 10th. They offer 1/2 challenge-progression and gain attribute bonuses as well as physical-attribute dependant bonus feats. At 4th level, they can manifest an ephemeral imperial sea dragon and maintain his presence for 4+Cha-mod rounds. 9th level allows them to 1/day declare an attack a natural 20 or maximum damage - both requiring the use before rolling the respective dice. A solidly-crafted PrC with a nice blend of unique abilities and a more common ones. Nothing to complain, though not as awesome as the Mambabarang.


Oh, but the lands of Nikaikoku have so much more to offer: The next chapter not only has detailed information on currency etc. - it also sports a colossal amount of weapons and armor - the weapon table alone spans two-pages! And yes, mounts can be found here as well and suffice to say, many of the weapons have rather lavish full-color illustrations, something that btw. extends to armors. And yes, the balance here is tight - kudos! Very important for the dynamics of this book would also be the Hitogoi inventions, which contain e.g. an apparatus that allows the wearer to breathe saltwater as though it were freshwater or bioluminescence suppressors. A significant array of racial feats can also be found here, though going through all of them would bloat this review even further. The array of new spells also features the respective dichotomy between salt water and fresh water and provides a pretty intriguing array of well-crafted spells - racial trail spells that provide continuous damage, loud gong strikes - the spells range from numerical effects to those that make sense from a utility perspective - nice. 5 magical items and 5 mystic shards can be found here as well - the latter of which represent the elements and probably, the fractured balanced of the very world: There is, for example, ghost water, which does not dissolve anything and refuses to freeze. Similarly, true steel or livewood allow for nice, mystical tricks - basically, these can be considered to be interesting magical materials that you can use for puzzles, explaining how things work and so much more. It's an uncommon item-class, but one I really adore.


The fifth chapter of this book covers the setting-information and as such. sports a glorious map of the area covered as well as information on sample cities, factions, languages, histories and deities as well as the racial histories of the people there, including remarkable NPC-write ups, though these remain fluff-only, we receive an inspired chapter that should suffice as a gazetteer to the region.


The next chapter once again displays one of the most impressive aspects of the Cerulean Seas - the bestiaries: The creatures sport awesome artworks, are concisely created and usually sport a whole array of unique abilities: What about a cross of a long-hair witch and a coral? Yes, this is just as disturbing as you think it would be. Or Foo Otters and Seals? Sea Worm/Cephalopod crossovers? Newts equipped with howdahs? Snail-Oni? Killer clams with tentacles? Oh YEAH! And trueform river otters made me flash back to South Park, but in an awesome way. As always, we get appendices: Monsters by CR and source book (and by freshwater/saltwater), a brief pronunciation guide (!!!), an index of tables, an index of art by artist, cardstock minis for PC-races and a colossal, detailed index that makes handling the book easy. Finally, we close with a brief haiku - as befitting this tome.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches - kudos to Margaret Hawkswood, Patricia Hisakawa and Steven O'Neal. Layout adheres to Alluria Publishing's gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf is fully bookmarked. Both cartography and artwork are STUNNING - the artwork in particular is absolutely gorgeous and reaches Paizo/WotC-levels in most cases - this is a truly gorgeous, beautiful book.


Emily Kubisz, with help from Sam G. Hing and Cameron Mount, has crafted yet another fantastic addition to the Cerulean Seas canon - this series of books continuously maintains an exceedingly high quality standard and produces a vision of a world both alien and familiar - one that suffused by the believable. Even biologists among my friends comment on how the books feel "right" to them, concise and ultimately, "realistic" - as far as a completely flooded world of fish people can be. But beyond the obvious usefulness in a Cerulean Sea context, quite a lot of the pieces herein, from classes to archetypes etc., can easily be scavenged for landlubbing Pathfinder campaigns - while the design-aesthetic tends to focus less on player agenda and variance than I'd like and while the balancing of the races is not always perfect, these components ultimately do not unduly mar the package as a whole: Celadon Seas sports a huge array of truly inspiring components and ideas, has a great bestiary and the overall quality is certainly impressive. The unique ideas like the mystic shards are inspiring -and I really wished the book had done a bit more with them, introduced perhaps devices or vehicles based on their fluctuation of the like - but I can't put that omission forth as a valid means of criticizing this book.


While I am not sold on the balance of all the races and while I really liked only one of the two classes, 1 of the PrCs, and at least the class/PrC components can be chalked up to personal taste....and there's a lot of other cool crunch to adore. In the overall context of this book, the flaws literally remain a drop of tainted water in the gorgeous, endless sea. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cerulean Seas: Celadon Shores
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Occult Character Codex: Mediums
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2016 07:32:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Occult Character Codex-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page how-to-use, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Occult Adventures is a great book, but the rather complex classes in the book do provide a challenge regarding time-investment to create sample NPCs. This is where this series comes in for the time-starved GM - basically, we have a collection of characters herein, spanning the CRs from 1 - 20, all ready and set for your perusal.


So how were they made? Well, for one, the builds use Pathfinder Unchained's automatic bonus progression, which means that the characters have a better chance to stand against the PCs sans flooding the campaign with magic items. The builds are not made to be sheer exercises in powergaming superiority that exist in a vacuum, instead championing the approach of making viable characters that work concisely as though they were proper characters, complete with a brief personality sketch, but expect no lengthy elaboration of motivations etc.. Options and buffs are included in the statblocks, though handy pre-buff sections provide the information sans them, should your PCs be able to catch the character unaware. There are also some minor pieces of advice for GMs using the character


As far as diversity of the statblocks is concerned, there is, particularly concerning the racial variety, enough going on: Beyond the core-races, we actually get e.g. centaurs and berbalangs. Now, as in previous installments, e.g. the berbalang and centaur-builds look similar in archetypes used, but that similarity comes apart almost immediately once you take a look at feat-choice, spells etc. - so no, no boring straight progressions.


Archetype-wise, we slightly deviate from the formula established by the series - that is, this time around, three archetypes are used in builds: Here, that would be the relic channeler and the storyteller and we also get a reanimated medium - unfortunately, the others aren't covered. On the plus-side, the tactics-section for the respective builds is relatively detailed and the statblocks include buff-suites, where applicable as well as stats for the unbuffed iterations of the respective character. Now, class-specific things to consider would be the following: The mediums presented here are presented with the spirit they usually channel - different spirits obviously have different ramifications. The general selection of spirits featured in the builds is pretty diverse. Taboos have not been preselected - an array of suggested taboos would have been nice. The pdf also noted that archmage's spells do not suffer from arcane spell failure and tactics are based on mediums not gaining additional influence.


The builds themselves, as organic characters, sport barkeepers, con artists and master merchants as well as adventurers; quite a few flavors are covered and provide different foci for the respective characters. Skills and magic item selection is similarly diverse, offering a broad selection of foci for the respective builds.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful, two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several beautiful pieces of full-color artwork, some old, some new. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience


Julian Neale's collection of mediums is diverse, concise and covers a significant array of different roles and builds. While I would have loved to see all archetypes covered, I get why not all of them are part of this pdf's cadre of NPCs. All in all, this is a solid collection of NPCs that does what it says on the tin. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Occult Character Codex: Mediums
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Four Horsemen Present: Character Options - Gods in the Void
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2016 07:30:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment in the Four Horsemen present-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This pdf kicks off by codifying classic Lovecraftian deities via minimalistic deity-write-ups: I.e. alignment, domains, portfolio and favored weapons, but no additional inquisition/sub-domain-information, with Azathoth, Nyarlythotep, Azdan and Shamash getting their due.


A total of 6 new traits are provided, allowing you to be the lost prince of an alien planet, the option to incur Wisdom damage to increase CL by +1 when casting compulsions or phantasms - the traits provided actually manage to do unique and interesting things and sport rather nifty ideas and flavor -as a minor complaint, I could complain that the traits themselves are not codified as trait subtypes, but honestly...they are functional and interesting, which is the most important component here.


Beyond these traits, the pdf also sports archetypes. Cult defector rogues get a modified skill-list and replace trap finding with scaling Knowledge-bonuses. At 8th level and thereafter, they can gain bonuses by seeing omens: +4 to initiative, +4 skill and ability checks or +2 to AC, 1/day, activated as a move action, lasting until the end of the encounter (not a fan of per encounter abilities since they pertain to a non-codified timeframe---but by now you know my old rant on that subject).


The Envoy spiritualist replaces a regular emotional focus, binding alien spirits that are a bit strange - they are called menaces: They gain HD ranks in Diplomacy and Intimidate and gain Skill Focus in these skills while confined to the envoy's consciousness. They have good Fort- and Will-saves and Improved Initiative as a bonus feat, conferring the bonus to the spiritualist while within the character's consciousness. The slam attack of the spirit receives the benefits of Improved Critical feat and at 7th level, they can activate a 10-ft.-aura as a swift action that provides a no-save -2 AC and atk-aura. At 12th level, these spirits can fire a 60-ft-range-increment ray that basically extends the melee slam to range. 17th level autoconfirms critical hits. Overall, a solid, nice spirit.


The reckless hero gunslinger receives UMD as a class skills and is locked into a blunderbuss at 1st level, modifying gunsmith. Gunslinger's dodge is replaced with the fake it deed - they may cast spells from spellbooks via UMD as though the books were scrolls, at the cost of 1 point of grit. Now the interesting thing is: If you botch, you roll on a d8-table, with all but one effect being rather unpleasant - alignment shifts, suddenly conjuring forth monsters, curses...ouch! At 2nd level, the archetype receives a scaling DR versus weapons and natural attacks, but only while wearing light or no armor. Nihilist oracles replace their cure/inflict spells with a rather powerful and interesting bonus spells. At 7th level, nihilists must take the Viability revelation, which grants 10 fire and cold resistance as well as 4 x Con score rounds of holding breath as an immediate action, while also granting immunity to low pressure and vacuum. At 11th level, that increases to 20 and takes away the requirement to breathe and yes, you may continue to speak/cast spells. This may be used for class level minutes per day, used in 1 minute increments.


The Visitor druid gains all racial traits of the usual race, but loses those granted by monstrous or non-humanoid races; at 1st level, they choose 2 RP worth of racial points, allowing them to gain or lose them at will as a standard action either all or just a couple of them, even while in wild shape. Advanced or monstrous traits may not be selected, with 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter gain +2 RP. The traits may be re-allocated every level and replaces nature's bond. At 13th level, the class affects a 40 ft-radius, making it difficult terrain, increasing or decreasing wind force or modify temperature - permanently and dismissible. Awesome, cool ability!


Next up would be 5 new feats - whether a feat that helps versus environmental hazards, better UMD /at the cost of Wis-damage), summons with frightful presence and immunity to mind-affecting effects and a secondary tentacle attacks, a spellbook with bonus spells and unlimited pages and +50% range rays, the feats per se are interesting, though the ray range-increase is VERY nasty in the right hands: I'd suggest very carefully contemplating whether or not to allow this one in conjunction with warlock-y blasting classes - granted, the effect pertains only spell-based rays and thus should work in most contexts - I don't complain here, but felt obliged to mention this.


The pdf also sports 6 new spells: Whether high-level black holes, essentially a lesser version of a wall of force, interstellar travel, temporarily adding brilliant energy to weapons or ammunition, instilling hostility in foes or a sunburn debuff - they are interesting.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches in the formal or rules language. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports some nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Steven T. Helt's collection of options generally can be considered a thoroughly well-crafted supplement - the material herein is balanced, fun and solid and all gripes I can muster against it pertain aesthetics and minor hiccups that in no way impede the functionality of this pdf. That being said, at the same time, I wasn't completely blown away by this pdf. In the end, my final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars - a good offering.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Character Options - Gods in the Void
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Places of Power: Valley of the Rocks
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/15/2016 06:26:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This review was moved forward in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the behest of my patreons.


Sheltered away within the wooden ranges of hills untouched by current civilization, a steep-sided, deep valley's ancient, sculpted rocks bear witness to the ages, remnants of a civilization long gone, flanked by majestic cliffs and clad in perpetual shadows. A living, breathing temple to nature itself, the wondrous valley contains huge falls where the Malinrae river tumbles down the steep cliffs.


Within the shadows of this gorgeous place, moss-covered lupine statues, untainted pools and mystic rocks carved in the likeness of deer and bear await the intrepid explorer, while willow-fringed Lake Vontyr awaits explorers. PCs versed in ancient lore may unearth some intriguing facts about this place - like that it actually is the site of an ancient elven realm or that it in fact is built on a place of power. The few explorers who dared venture into this place can provide one of 6 rumors - but is it true that this place was created when two gods met in fierce battle? Or that the strange sculptures come alive at night? You'll have to travel there to find out!


And while you're there, you may encounter 6 sample events that exemplify the beauty and marvel of this place...speaking of which: This pdf actually contains a mini-dressing table of 12 entries that helps you bring alive this wondrous place...and not all is mist-clad branches and crystal waters: You see, the custodians of this place roam its breadth still: Using both age-categories and even multiclassing, two of the 4 characters are fully statted herein (the others get RSP's neat fluffy treatment covering mannerisms etc.), as the powerful guardians stand in their eternal, ghostly vigil. While, for the most part relatively benevolent (unless you despoil the place...then run for the hills!), one of them has more of a hardliner stance regarding trespassers. As in: "Stalk and kill them all"-hardliner-stance.


As always - beauty and danger are close compatriots...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed not a single glitch. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf has no artworks, but needs none and comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer. The cartography of the valley by Tommi Salama is absolutely GORGOEUS and may be worth the asking price all on its own.


With Creighton Broadhurst, chief of Raging Swan Press, most embroiled in the nit and grit of publishing, it can be easy to forget how exceedingly talented he is in the fields of writing. Back in the day, when there was only ONE Raging Swan Press product out, Retribution, I bought it on a hunch and was blown away. If anything, Creighton has honed his craft. This pdf is quite frankly better than it has any right to be at this page-count: In a superb example of concise writing, with each word carefully chosen, Creighton takes us on a tour into a truly wondrous, lavish place of natural beauty. The "valley of rocks" sounds none to impressive on paper and is a prime example of British understatement - what we receive here is a truly gorgeous, fantastic place that could be used in pretty much any campaign - heck, replace elves with humans and this would work in our world.


This is not what sets this apart, though: While reading these pages, I could perfectly envision the majestic cliffs, I could almost hear the proud Kanae Falls. This is an exercise in stellar prose and a truly superb location that deserves being added to your campaign. Get this now! Oh, and yes, final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval, obviously. Now excuse me, I need to dream of visiting a gorgeous place, where lichens cover sculptures that tell tales of ages long past...


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Valley of the Rocks
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Zauberer Hybrid Class
Publisher: ARMR Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/15/2016 06:24:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This PWYW-class-pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Zauberer (German for Wizard, btw. - and the same word in singular and plural) would be a combination between sorceror and magus. Class-chassis-wise, the Zauberer received d8 HD, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and light armor. Zauberer do not incur spell failure while in light armor and yes, the rules-language is precise enough and allows for no means to cheese this via multiclassing - kudos. Zauberer cast spells from the Sorceror spell-list and begin with 3 cantrips known and receives spontaneous spellcasting of up to 6th level, governed by Charisma and drawn from the Sorceror's spell-list.


At 1st level, he gains a so-called Mag pool equal to 1/2 class level + Charisma modifier. He may expend said points as a swift action to grant a +1 enhancement bonus to the weapon wielded for 1 minute, increasing by +1 every 4 levels beyond 1st. These bonuses stack with inherent bonuses of the weapon and themselves and 5th level unlocks the usual weapon properties, which consume their equivalent of bonuses. The minimum +1 to hold the properties is maintained, preventing cheesing. Spell combat is adapted to Charisma and 2nd level provides Spellstrike and a sorceror bloodline. The Zauberer gains the bloodline arcana of the chosen bloodline and the ability takes multiple bloodline-granting classes into account. Bloodline Powers are gained two levels after the sorceror, at 3rd, 5th, 11th and 17th level, but treats his Zauberer level as his sorceror level for the purpose of their numerical and non-numerical parameters and effects. So far, so expected.


At 4th level, the class becomes more interesting: Here, the class gains the ability to deliver rays as melee touch attacks and the ability takes multiple-target ranged touch attacks and the like into account. 6th level provides the spell pool-based option to cast spells by expending mag points equal to spell level. Metamagic feats may not be added to spells powered by the mag pool. As a nitpick: The ability, while clear in its intentions, does not specify that the spell thus powered does not expend the spell slot of the associated level. At 12th level, only 1/2 mag points (minimum 1) are required to power the spells and the Zauberer may modify these spells via metamagic feats by expending additional mag points equal to the spell-level increase and sans casting time increase.


6th level provides medium armor (and casting in it), 11th level unlocks heavy armor. At 7th level, Zauberer count as though they were 1/2 class level fighters for prerequisite purposes and 10th level + every 3 levels thereafter provide a bonus combat, item creation or metamagic feat.


At 8th level, the class may spend + 1 mag pool point to increase the balde-enhancement duration to 1 hour and 9th level provides +2 to concentration checks when using spell combat or spellstrike, with 14th level eliminating AoOs when using either. 15th level provides spell critical: When he confirms a critical hit, he may cast a spell as an immediate action that contains the target of the crit among the AoE. This is slightly problematic - since the class gets sorc-spells and these include spells with LONG casting times, the lack of specifications regarding limitations of eligible spell casting duration mean that the class could theoretically cheese casting times. At 18th level, 7 cleric spells, one for each level, are unlocked and as a capstone, the class gets +2 to atk, damage, penetrating SR and increases spell DC by this amount when using spell combat and spellstrike.


The class sports a supplemental feat that increases mag pool-size by +2.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are rather tight regarding rules-language and formal criteria - neat ob! Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The sketches of the character are solid, considering the PWYW-nature of the book. The pdf has no bookmarks.


Angel Miranda's Zauberer is a surprisingly well-crafted hybrid that plays different from what I expected - the ray-in-melee-trick is interesting (and can result in pretty nasty sudden death-boom-touch-combos) and the class plays surprisingly different from the already rather flexible magus: Instead of flexibility, the theme here is potency and the Zauberer does the job well. The spell-list-difference also results in different playing experiences, allowing the Zauberer to be more "blasty." While there are some very minor hiccups and while this won't win an innovation prize, it is a surprisingly solid take on the spontaneous magus concept that has more unique identity than I expected. Taking the fair Pay-what-you-want-model into account, this definitely is worth a tip. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zauberer Hybrid Class
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Call to Arms: Bracers of Armor
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/15/2016 06:22:27

An ENdzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 3/4 page blank, leaving us with 12 1/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this smaller installment of the Call to Arms-series with a brief summary of bracers versus vambraces in the context of both reality and the game system, including a brief history of bracers in game. The pdf then goes on to provide a new mundane item, the archery bracers, which make sense from a simulationalist position - seeing how the bowstring may hit the unprotected string, lack of bracers can be translated to a penalty to subsequent attack. This btw. also makes for a nice balance-tweak regarding the power of ranged bow characters. The second item would be armored vambraces, which defines them and acknowledges that they're already part of most armor.


As far as magical bracers are considered, the bracers come in steps from +1 to +8, allowing for significant protection, while also sporting concise rules to prevent abuse via low-cost additions. While I get the intention of why the bonus scales to +8, at the same point, I do believe the usual +5 cap for the pure bonus, with exceeding power requiring the addition of special qualities, should apply to the bracers to retain system-consistency, in spite of the restricted list of special qualities. On the other hand, I get the intent of scaling up to +8...it's a difficult decision there, one that ultimately boils down to personal taste and design-aesthetics - whether you value system-consistency or balanced defense options for agile characters more. EDIT: Since one of my readers commented on this, let me apologize for not being clearer here: Yes, I am aware that the default rules sport exactly the bonuses from +1 to +8 and that this is basically a reprint. I consider this component one of the slightly more awkward choices of the base system. My intention here was to highlight this inconsistency of the rules, but not bash this book for it, which is why I wrote that this ultimately boils down to personal taste and design aesthetics - both of which do mean that they do not factor into the final verdict. Thanks to Sayt for pointing out that this needed some further elaboration!


The pdf hereafter goes on to present 15 specific magic bracers of armor, though most of these come in a variety of different power - between +1 and +8 equivalent. There are bracers with visible force-fields that help intimidation...and then, the bracers become more interesting: Bracers of the Deep Sea help against Deep Sea pressure in addition to their magic protection, while chainmail bracers duplicate...well, the effects of chainmail. There are a couple of these type of bracers herein. Comfortable bracers add endure elements and demi-gauntlets work in conjunction with gloves and there also is a samurai-themed variety of the bracers of the armored knight.


Wrist-slot bracers scale up to +5 and are more interesting, providing DR versus ranged attacks as well as providing a swift action 1/day true strike. Another vambrace allows for the 1/round reduction of off-hand penalties and there also is one that upgrades the protection judgment as well as two linked pairs of vambraces that allows for the transfer of damage from one pair to the other, at the expense of temporarily decreasing bonuses. There is also a pair of vambraces that 1/day allows the wearer to deflect missiles. Two nasty cursed bracers can also be found herein and "The Shield and The Sword" are eternally quibbling bracers, sporting an inverted defending benefit, while the sword's ego thirsts for attacks, for retribution, tied to the armor-bonus conversion. Intriguing!


The pdf also provides two mythic bracers, the first of which are paired and allow for short-range teleportation, which thereafter sends the wearer back to his or her square. The second pair increases armor bonus by tier for the expenditure of mythic power and you may extend this bonus to other creatures as a standard action instead of as the item's usual swift action activation. The pdf concludes with a powerful defensive artifact.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Lucus Palosaari's bracers are a briefer CtA-installment and they manage to begin with interesting ideas, the optional rules for archer-bracers, e.g., making for a cool rules-addition for low fantasy. That being said...and as much as I'm loathe to say it...this installment, is comparatively uninspired. Sure, the bracers duplicating different armors make sense...and yes, I like the fluff-change of bracers - but when compared to e.g. the fireworks book, the options provided herein simply...aren't as evocative, as unique. In fact, the magic armor-bracers may have great fluff, but rules-wise, they are not that intriguing. Now granted, this is an inexpensive book compared to the last huge CtA-installments...but ultimately, it also feels like it doesn't reach even half as far. In the intelligent item, one can see a bit of the playful precision with which he usually puts out those unique concepts and stitches holes in the rules...but apart from them, this pdf felt like a solid one...but one, which, in direct comparison to e.g. the firework book, fell flat of its own premise.


Particularly in such a short book, armor-duplicates could have used unique additional benefits each; reskins could have used modification and diverging rules. This is not a bad pdf, far from it...but it falls short of the usual brilliance the series has continued to build on. You won't be disappointed by this book, but neither will you be blown away - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for a solid, if not perfect installment of the series. If you're new to Call to Arms, I'd rather recommend the book on fireworks or torches and flames (or the glorious one on ropes!) to properly depict what the series can offer.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Bracers of Armor
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Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms Player's Guide
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2016 05:12:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The Player's Guide for Frog God Games' massive Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms-book clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover,1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This player's guide is very much interesting in its format - we begin each section with a paragraph of italics, excerpts from the memoires of fabled rogue Titus the Grey, while the main meat of each respective section elaborating on the fluffy bit of text before. Beyond a hex-sporting overview map of the lands, the pdf further elaborates on the diverse ethnicities of the region, with gorgeous b/w-artworks - from the Erskaeloi barbarians to the Ramithi. Travel, both on roads and beyond, is covered as well, with wilderness inns and roadhouses - 7 of them are detailed herein in impressive prose, with quite a few hooks and intriguing tidbits included. Similarly, which patrols to consider benevolent and which...not much better than bandits is explained.


Speaking of bandits and associated villains and scoundrels: Gnolls, orcs and ogres and their roles in the local environments alongside basic information on tribes etc. can be found here. For more civilized regions within these wild lands, a mini-gazetteer of 3 cities and 5 towns/villages are provided - the larger of which sport multiple sites of interest.


The final section of this little book is devoted to the lore, legends and places of mystery in the sundered kingdoms - beyond a brief primer on the cults (alongside a truly astounding piece of b/w-art), the haunted moonfog hills, where the Hyperboreans have been repelled by the wild folk, the ruins of Trevi (again, with a super artwork) and a brief recount of the witches of Southfell conclude this little tour through the Sundered Kingdoms.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Frog God Games' elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked. As always with Frog God Games print-products, we get a glossy cover and thick, high-quality paper. The true star here, though, would be the fantastic art: Artem Shukayev, Felipe Gaona, Brian LeBlanc and Marcin Rudnicki make this very art-heavy book a joy to hand to one's players.


This system-agnostic book pretty much epitomizes a good Player's Guide for me - no SPOILERS, yet a metric ton of intriguing flavor, awesome artwork and basic knowledge that makes these lands come alive from the get-go: Anthony Pryor did a superb job here. My final verdict will clock in at unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms Player's Guide
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Veranthea Codex: The Black Knight - An Adventure for 1st Level Characters
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2016 05:02:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This little module clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This pdf is intended as an introduction to the continent of Grethadnis in Veranthea and can be used as the first module, which, in combination with Spring of Disorder and Grualroth's Rot, to form a sequence of modules. Assuming character creation, the pdf sports 7 sample campaign traits to invest the characters more within the world of Grethadnis and provides two hooks that can act as shadows of the things to come.


The module begins in Yawvil's Realm and sports two fully-statted, depicted villages for your convenience - generally, the region is considered to be rather peaceful, but the pdf does provide information on random encounters. Three minor, sample quests can be found here - from e.g. defeating a shadow to putting their weight behind one side of a power-struggle, these sketches are okay as supplemental material.


But you want to know about the module, right? All right, but from here on, the SPOILERS reign. Potential players may want to jump to the conclusion.


...


..


.


Only GMs left? All right! We begin this module on the Great Road throughout the realm of Veranthea's powerful arch-wizard, with an encounter of PCs meeting the Vyrystavyas gypsies - invited for a friendly gaming bout, things turn strange fast: The gypsies unwittingly carried a new artifact the Polysabie, a magical d20 - upon being completed, the roll sports some rather odd effects: Whether it's that a given area believes you're a warlock/witch, growing annoying, bickering (and disturbing) heads in combat or being stunned when hearing "knee" or that you may cause misfortune to grant yourself a bonus...the effects are diverse, but on the nasty side. Worse: Upon having rolled the artifact, it becomes HEAVY...and, as panicked gypsies are sure to tell the PCs: An unstoppable Black Knight manifests. (And yes, in order to destroy the artifact, they will need to trek it through all continents, as this one tends to disappear when the black knight is defeated...)


If you haven't noticed that by now: Yes, the Black Knight pretty much is a unique monster and sports rather Monty Python-ish, obvious abilities - with limbs falling off and insults as well as a glare that may stop you dead in your tracks, the inhuman knight is lethal at CR 3. (And yes, the headbutt is BRUTAL - don't underestimate a limbless black knight!)


Defeating the Black Knight, space warps and rips the PCs to the continent of Urethiel, the domain of His Golden Personage of Fortitude, to be precise. Welcomed by pig farmers has been suffering from bandits (which turn out to be cunning ratfolk). Having defeated these scoundrels, the PCs return...to find another Polysabie-roll in process...and an even stronger Black Knight waiting for them, one with completely different abilities (and CR 4...)...and, once again, the fabric of space and time tear asunder...and bring the PCs to Trectoyri - or rather, the Free Isle, where a knight's tournament is in process - thankfully, Lord Agresta (a nod to Lou Agresta, perhaps?) notes that the games must go on, the polysabie found and the Black Knight defeated. unbeknown to the PCs, a doppelganger has acquired the lethal artifact and may well try to infiltrate the PC's group...and, once again, a new iteration of the Black Knight, more powerful than before and with a unique build (and a chainsaw sword) needs to be bested - this time at CR 5. Beating this lethal foe (with actually rather challenging damage-output that may well instakill a PC...), the polysabie's pwoer is broken, space rips asunder one final time and the PCs are ready to tackle the aforementioned, excellent Spring of Disorder module...after all, the PCs have coincidentally been dropped right in the vicinity.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good - rather odd, though, to see the font-size deviating on the polysabie's first page depicting it. Layout adheres to Veranthea Codex's beautiful two-column standards, with each continent having its own unique, visual style. Artworks are pretty nice and in color. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Mike Myler's Black Knight is a pretty awesome idea as such and works well for convention games or as a means to introduce new players to Veranthea. The idea of the Black Knight and Polysabie per se are gold - they could have been lame, but ended up being rather cool. However, not everything about this module is great - basically, the story is a very thinly-veiled pretense for granting an impression of the continents, so expect no narrative feats here. Similarly, there is basically nothing interesting going on beyond the iterations of the Black Knight - the other encounters and things to do herein basically can be considered to be...filler or minimalist window dressing...which is ultimately also due to the lack of cartography herein. Basically, this book has one cool item/pretense for the journey, 3 great adversaries...and is, bar that, a non-entity of a module.


With no maps for the encounters, there also is no interesting terrain or the like to be found here...which the module tries to justify by claiming it's intended for new players...something I'd doubt, honestly. The Black Knight builds are cool and well-made and will wreck havoc with novice players. Let me state this clearly: The Black Knight's iterations steal the show - they don't need fancy terrain or the like to properly captivate the players due to the cool builds...but the other encounters would have very much needed something to make them more interesting.


Whether or not this module is for you, depends pretty much on if you consider three cool Black Knight builds and the neat polysabie enough to carry the brief module - Veranthea as a setting is great, but the "tour the continents"-facet didn't really work out too well for me.


Due to the brevity of this module, none of the continents have much time and space to grow on the PCs, to provide anything beyond the most rudimentary of glimpses of what this is about - basically, this is a set-up for a big module, cut down to the bare bones. it's great encounters in a non-entity of a module.


The black knight and artifact are very cool...but on their own, they don't manage to make this a truly great module. This can be a ton of fun...or end up being a huge dud of a module. Running this with kids that do not know Monty Python, for example, did not work as well, while nostalgia made this a fun romp for my adult group. In the end, though, I have to rate this as a module, and here it has issues.


My final verdict will clock in at 3 stars - overall, a module that can be a nice start...but also can be a horrid dud. It all depends on the group and what you expect. With a bit of work, this can be remarkable...but run it as written and it may severely underwhelm you.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Veranthea Codex: The Black Knight - An Adventure for 1st Level Characters
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