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vs. Stranger Stuff: Season 2
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2017 22:09:23

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This full-color, 112-page product is a definite tie into Stran- Ahem, I mean, this is a totally independent product that is definitely not taking advantage of a certain spooky but popular franchise! ...But nobody would believe me if I said that.

More seriously, this is not just a simple tie-in. Rather, this is a new and improved version of the game, complete with all of the rules necessary to play under the vs. M Engine. In keeping with the theme of kids-vs-supernatural stuff movies, this product includes three sets of rules (Easy, Normal, and Hard) to help customize the flavor of the game. This makes it suitable for anything from a light-hearted romp to some serious terror... though a lot of that is going to come from atmosphere, since the card-drawing and character-creation system is simple and straightforward.

My overall feeling about the entire vs. M system remains. This isn't something you're going to be playing for ten, twenty, thirty sessions over a bunch of months with your friends. It is, however, fun and fast enough to play at a party, after marathoning a show, while some movies are playing, or when some people from your normal group are missing and you don't want to play a longer game without them.

There aren't very many adventures included here - you'll want to buy those separately - but it does come up with a random adventure generation system that can provide a creative Game Master with all the inspiration they need to run a variety of unique games with this system. It's a nice touch - maybe not for people who haven't run these sorts of games before, but it definitely adds some value to this product.

At the time of this writing, this product was listed with a standard price of $19.95. I think that's a fair price for the amount of content you get, and the system itself has been well-tested by now. I have no problem with recommending this to anyone looking for a fast, fun game to play with friends.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Stranger Stuff: Season 2
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Shadows over Vathak: Hauntlings - Enhanced Racial Guide
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2017 09:21:11

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, 40 page PDF - but in all honesty, you probably already know if you're interested or not. It's worth noting that this product is a complete resource for the hauntling race and includes their stats - you don't need any other products to actually use this supplement, though most of the flavor is specific to the Shadows over Vathak setting.

The first quarter of the book is almost entirely flavor, and covers physical descriptions, personalities, society, lands, religion, alignment, adventurers, and names - basically all the flavor you'd expect from a complete racial writeup.

From there, however, we actually start to get quite a lot of rules material - including some that I don't believe were published in the past. The section opens with several racial variants, then moves into favored class options, four racial archetypes, feats, traits, equipment, special materials, magic items, and spells. These sections typically cover 2-3 pages each - it's not a lot of material in any one section, but together, there's options for almost everything.

The most notable option here is the inclusion of Lineage Feats, which are a lot like Corruptions from Horror Adventures. These feats are fairly unusual in that taking them provides both benefits and drawbacks, starting at the chance to be forced to take a Natural 1 on a skill check once a day, and progressing all the way to getting possessed by ghosts. (Will saves can negate the effects, so it's not going to be troublesome all the time.)

Each of the feats also comes with a specific drawback. For example, the Spirit Form feat gives you a bonus to stealth checks and provides you with an armor bonus that's also a force effect equal to your Charisma modifier - handy as heck for some classes, but people also have a harder time using the Heal skill on you, and it requires you to have several other lineage feats (and their drawbacks) to get it.

The entire lineage feat line essentially revolves around the idea of ghosts being hard to hurt - and the cumulative benefits are quite potent, but there's also the opportunity cost of not investing your feats elsewhere (which limits of a lot of builds). On the other hand, characters being moderately tough has basically never broken the game, and any GM allowing these in the first place is probably planning for that. I don't know that I'd say these feats are perfectly balanced, but I think it's well within the range a good GM can work with.

Overall, this is a pretty solid product for anyone who wants to play a Hauntling - including GMs, if they'd like to have some NPCs. (A Halloween town full of ghost-like people, say?) Editing and formatting is generally good, and I didn't notice anything that really stuck out. Overall, I rate this 4.5/5, rounding up for the purpose of this system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak: Hauntlings - Enhanced Racial Guide
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The Vivomancer's Handbook
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2017 20:36:51

Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon campaign creating these supplements, and paid the full price for this product.

All right! We're more than halfway through the Sphere expansions, and here we get to an interesting one - Life. Healing is tricky, since you don't want it to be so good that enemies aren't a threat, but you also don't want it to be so weak that it's not worth taking at all.

The book opens with new class options, including a healing-based Alchemist, a healing-based Ranger, a hea- look, you get the idea. There are also options for the Barbarian/UC Barbarian, Druid, and Soul Weaver as archetypes, plus class options for the Armorist, Incanter, Mageknight, Monk, Rogue, UC Rogue, Slayer, and Witch.

From there, we get to the new talents for the book. Aside from the usual selection of new generic talents (for example, you can add a Life Sphere ability to attacks - hi, undead slayers), the Vivomancer's Handbook adds Vitality talents, which can be used to add effects when Life talents are used. For an example, the first Vitality option presented gives a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls. Vitality benefits have a hard limit - either one minute or until they fail a saving throw or get hit by an attack, whichever comes first. Still, the ability to buff someone while healing them is pretty nice, and any Full Caster healers are likely to take at least one talent.

True to form for the Handbooks, we also get a few new Advanced Talents. These include a massive boost to life force, a guarantee of bringing creatures above 0 HP, and the ability to temporarily have a creature ascend to a better version of itself.

Heading through, we have a few more minor options, and then we get to the Feats. A new type of feat is introduced here - Anathema feats, which are based around a feat of the same name and require Channel Energy, Fervor, or Lay on Hands. Anathema is an aggressive ability that essentially turns the healing power into a damaging ray - and while this isn't so different from the Destruction Sphere, it doesn't actually run off of Spherecasting at all. This makes it easy to integrate into a non-Spheres game - or, for classes with weaker casting (hi, Paladins), to essentially give them 'full' damage progression.

The book finishes off with new traits, new drawbacks, new equipment, and various other minor options. The actual close is a guide for playing a Life-oriented character, much like we've seen in a few previous Handbooks.

All-in-all, this is a solid release. Healing may not be quite as flashy or fun as things like Destruction, but author Andrew Gibson (and contributors Amber Underwood, Derfael Oliveira, and Trevor Stevens) did an excellent job making Healers more fun and flexible. I wouldn't go as far as saying this book is needed for a Spheres game, but if someone wants to play a healer, it's definitely worth getting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Vivomancer's Handbook
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Spheres of Might
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2017 13:08:12

Disclaimer: I backed the Kickstarter campaign for this product and paid for a digital copy, a hard copy, and Hero Lab files. At the time of this review, only the digital copy was released, so that is the only thing this review will consider.

After less time than I expected, it's here - the martial companion to the much-loved Spheres of Power book, whose main tome and later expansions I've been reviewing.

Much like its predecessor, the main goal of Spheres of Might is to replace a system in the game (in this case, martial combat) with something more flexible and fun than trading full attacks with foes. Despite that, it's not necessary for everyone at the table to be using it - there are few truly new mechanics introduced, so it's easy to incorporate both into any given game.

The martial talents presented in this book fall into two categories. Basic talents have no prerequisites and are pretty much all extraordinary abilities, making them suitable for just about any game. Legendary abilities are more supernatural and fantastic in nature, and are only available with GM permission. (This is NOT the same setup as Spheres of Power's Advanced Talents system. Advanced Talents can be game-changing. Legendary Talents, on the martial side, are still broadly within the range of what a character could normally do in Pathfinder. Admittedly, some effects were largely caster-only before, but that's really not a problem here.)

After an introduction that provides some flavor and discusses the goal of the book, the tome moves on to introducing the combat spheres. Like the magical spheres, characters are divided into three progressions: Expert (Full), Adept (Medium), and Proficient (Low). Immediately following this is a conversion table for non-SoM classes, allowing them to exchange certain feats for combat talent progression. In addition, 4th-level/Low Casters can trade their casting for Proficient progression, while 6th-level/Mid Casters can exchange their spells for Adept progression. Full casters cannot exchange their spells (and honestly, that's probably for the best, because they usually have low BAB and wouldn't get much value from this system anyway.)

What this book doesn't have is gish/hybrid classes or options. Those are set to appear in a different book, and aren't part of the core rules here.

Following this, we get to the new terminology. Among the new things introduced is Martial Focus, which will be familiar to people who've used Psionics. Essentially, martial focus is something you can expend to activate certain abilities, or to Take 13 (not 10) on a Fortitude or Reflex saving throw. Some abilities also require you to have it 'on', so it serves as something of a limiter to stop characters from doing too many things at once.

The last bit of the introduction covers some clarifications on rules (including double-barreled weapons, improvised weapons, unarmed attacks, and so forth).

After all of that, we finally get to character creation. The most important part of this is the Martial Tradition, an explanation of how and where a character learned to fight. The book encourages limiting traditions to particular groups as a way of emphasizing their flavor and differences, but that's not actually required.

Martial traditions aren't nearly as optional as casting traditions in Spheres of Power - the new classes expect you to take them, and guidelines for converting non-SoM classes are included. Broadly speaking, though, each tradition offers four talents worth of benefits: Two from the Equipment sphere, a base sphere (or choice between two base spheres), and one additional thematic talent. Simple rules for creating new traditions are included, but mostly come down to "don't focus too much in anything besides Equipment, and don't do solely offense or defense".

Following this is a long list of new traditions, from Animal Trainers to Courtesans to Gladiators. It's a thorough list, and looks like it covers most base concepts.

Next up, we have the classes. These include the Armiger (Full BAB/Low Progression, but gets bonus talents on customized weapons they can rapidly swap between), the Blacksmith (Full BAB/High Progression, improves the party's gear while hitting foes pretty hard), the Commander (Mid BAB/Mid Progression, best for directing and buffing allies), the Conscript (Full BAB/High Progression, effectively Spheres of Might's Incanter in that it's less a class and more a build-your-own-warrior thanks to tons of extra feats and talents), the Scholar (Low BAB/Low Progression, focused around making and using a variety of substances and traps), the Sentinel (Full BAB/High Progression, very much a walking tank who can endure things), the Striker (Full BAB/High Progression, a mobile, risk-taking combatant), and the Technician (Mid BAB/Mid Progression, creates gadgets and inventions, including independent minions).

After this, we get a nice set of archetypes, both for the new classes and many of Paizo's releases. Note that the Archetypes for Paizo's classes are all quite distinct, rather than being pre-made versions of the conversions listed above.

Finally, we get to the Spheres themselves. Much like Spheres of Power, each of the spheres here is focused around a particular concept, such as Alchemy, rapid-fire Barrages, Boxing, or the use of Traps. There are 23 spheres provided - although the Equipment sphere is a little different in that it's mainly a collection of proficiencies. That's not to suggest there's no other value in it, though, because its non-Discipline options can be beneficial for many different character concepts.

One key point to note here: Some Spheres are extremely similar to feats. These are specifically called out, and compatibility is built into the system. You can always take an associated talent instead of the feat (if, say, you got the feat as a bonus from your class), and having the talent counts as having the feat. That's a nice - and important! - touch.

The Legendary (supernatural/magical) talents follow the normal ones, split into their own section to make it easy for a GM to add or remove them from a game. Since many of these have prerequisites - some as high as 20th level - they're not likely to see much use early on.

The rest of the book focuses on the standard extra options for a new system - feats, traits, favored class bonuses, drawbacks, and new pieces of equipment are all included. There's also a GM toolbox (with suggestions for cinematic combat, monster-exclusive talents, example monsters from CR 1 to CR 21, and sample characters if you want to dive right into playing with them.

Starfinder fans get a special treat at the end of the book, with a conversion section meant to work in tandem with the SFCRB's Legacy Conversion chapter.

All in all, I'm extremely happy with this book, and I'm looking forward to a full playtest run. Martial characters just got significantly more interesting - so if your old Fighter is starting to feel a little stale, it might just be time to dive in and try something new. This gets a full 5 stars from me, and I'm eagerly awaiting my physical copy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres of Might
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Alien Evolution: Cosmic Race Guidebook
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2017 15:58:36

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

As the name suggests, this 112-page, full-color book is a compilation of new races for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. Just looking at the description above is enough to provide a good sense for the races contained within - and honestly, that's probably the best guide you're going to get. Unlike character options, which are suitable for a wide variety of games, people generally either want to play a race or they don't. The start of the book provides a brief explanation of its contents, a copy of the brief racial descriptions, and a vital statistics table should details like height and weight be relevant.

Past that, each of the races follows the same basic format - name, ability score, and HP information on the first page, then a few pages that include the actual stats, unique racial abilities, and some flavor text to describe their homeworld, society, and relations with others. For example, Abrials are described as probably disliking using their legs to travel (because they have natural flight), while other races likely "crack jokes about grounding you". This flavor content is a nice touch, and helps give the GM some ideas for NPC behavior.

The races do seem reasonably well-balanced, though GM's will definitely want to review each one prior to release. There are a few options here that are at least moderately questionable - for example, Belrops can choose to gain a bonus to KAC or EAC for one minute per character level, but there's no limitation on the number of uses. Given that, it might as well not have a duration at all.

Some races also have very distinct attributes. Cilderon, for example, have +6 to Con and -4 to Wis - still only a +2 bonus in total, it provides the potential for a much higher ability score at character creation than usual. (They also have a somewhat worryingly flexible set of racial skills - being able to transform into different objects, and be used as those, could be a bit too strong with a creative group). Note that the races aren't entirely balanced against each other - Nogard can step out in front of an attack and get a bonus against it once a day, which is distinctly less powerful than the earlier "+2 to one of your AC's pretty much infinitely".

This doesn't mean I think every race should be totally equal - that would be a bit less fun, really. It's just something you should know, and some GM's may want to increase or decrease the power of a given race for their game.

The art for this book is done in a comic book style - some may like it, some may not, though it's relatively easy to ignore if you don't. Layout adheres to the standard two-column format except for the racial traits, which are single-column (and typically half a page each).

Overall, this is a solid product. I do think the racial abilities could have used one more pass through to check for potential issues (too few/many uses, mostly), but otherwise, this is a compendium of races that get well away from simple humanoid clones. Whether you're a player looking for something distinct or a GM looking to get some rather more memorable choices, this book has options. My gut says this book is currently at a 4/5. The issues are relatively minor, but it's definitely a product that you either want or you don't.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Evolution: Cosmic Race Guidebook
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Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/02/2017 13:24:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 30-page, full-color product. The book focuses on a region of hyperspace called the 'Fiendish Wastes', created by accidentally mixing the planes of Hell and the Abyss through hyperspace engines. As such, it's home to both Devils and Demons (who explicitly do not like each other, but are willing to at least pretend to work together in order to work home).

Aside from offering a flavorful realm to explore, though, this is mostly just a setup for the bulk of the bulk: Starfinder conversions of the Babau, Balor, Dretch, Glabrezu, Hezrou, Marilith, Nalfeshneee, Succubus, and Vrock demons, and the Barbed, Bearded, Bone, and Horned devils. In addition, there are two new ships - the Tier 10 Abyssal Dreadrazor and the Tier 6 Hellish Soulreaver.

Following this rules content, the book includes some advice on setting adventures in the Fiendish Wastes at various levels (2-4, 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14-16, and 17-20, each with a unique adventure hook), and closes out with a copy of the OGL.

This book is pretty handy as both a flavorful setting and a quick conversion of some common infernal foes (if you'd like to add them to your Starfinder game without doing the conversion yourself). It's a solid product overall - and while it's clearly not for every game, Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends
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Cosmic Odyssey: Service Bots and Synthetic Companions
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 23:19:54

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 62-page, full-color product - and as the name implies, it's all about Service Bots and their place in a science fantasy games. Service Bots are notably distinct from androids, another rather artificial race, in that they're less independent and generally more available to those with the ability to buy them. In other words, if your character wants a robot butler or sparring companion (or even love interest), you're probably in the right place.

The book opens with a discussion on the role and history of Service Bots, Artificial Intelligence vs Autonomous Intelligence, and so on. There are also some guidelines on how they should generally behave, including that they are not autonomous and generally need direction from others to function properly. Among other things, this helps stop SBs from infringing on character classes who specialize in creating artificial companions, and these are limits that should probably be respected.

Each SB is built from a variety of parts, starting with the frames. Frames determine how many appendages and add-on slots it has, from the affordable "Nil" series with 0 appendages to the expensive "Oct" series with 8 appendages. The table here is in alphabetical order, although personally, I would have sorted them by 'series' with the smallest and least capable at the top and the most capable at the bottom. Other parts include propulsion, computers (which are found in the CRB), power sources, and so on. All together, this allows for a wide variety of potential designs and strengths, although the SB may end up being more expensive than people realized at first (since each part is generally purchased separately, and it adds up).

That said, the most fun part of making the SBs is probably the Add-ons section. These are various 'things' a robot might have that don't really fit into any other category, from alcohol dispensers to charging devices, holoprojectors, and liquid purifiers. Honestly, if I were to be making an SB, I'd probably start by looking at these and trying to get a sense of what I wanted the SB to do, then picking other parts to fit that concept.

Following the build rules, we get a set of potential SB creators, which come with bonuses (like a free entertainment add-on, or a free slot for someone else to add) and drawbacks (chances of add-ons failing or overheating the unit). This is entirely optional, of course, but can add a little bit of randomness to what are otherwise fairly predictable inventions.

Starting on page 23, we get to the biggest part of the book - example Service Bots of varying prices, from small cleaning devices and pet-like bots to chefs' assistants, emergency rescue assistants, and holographic superhero-mimics. There are quite a lot of samples in this book, enough to easily add SB's to your game without having to touch the building rules. Also, be sure to look past the OGL - a printable sheet for SB's is included.

Overall, this is a very solid product, and it looks like it does exactly what it set out to do - add a variety of relatively low-powered, but amusing or useful, robots to your science fantasy game. Whether you're looking for an advanced protocol droid in a diplomatic compound, an assassination unit that pretends to be something innocuous, or some flashy robotic entertainment, this book can probably help you make it. If you're looking for some more mundane robots for your game, I recommend taking a look at this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Odyssey: Service Bots and Synthetic Companions
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Cosmic Odyssey: Pirates of the Starstream
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 22:50:33

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 52-page, full-color product - and as the cover notes, it's one of the first Starfinder-compatible releases! Let's get right into the meat of this, shall we? Pirates of the Starstream is broken into five major sections.

The first section is largely historical, with some history on pirates and a sample pirate code that characters may wish to follow. This is only two pages, and serves mainly as an introduction to the rest of the book.

The next section is focused on player options, starting with two new themes. The Brute (+Str) is good at treating deadly wounds, using improvised or nonproficient weapons, and staying conscious after they've taken damage, while the Rogue (+Cha) is good at changing attitudes, using skills they haven't trained in, and finding friends.

Following this are three new archetypes - which, remember, can be taken by pretty much any character. (Of course, some character idea work MUCH better for a given archetype than others.) These include the Boarder (who's good at taking advantage of cover even when they're not behind it), the Gunner (who excels at hitting fast and hard with ranged attacks), and the Senior Officer (who support allies).

That's not the extent of the added options here, though. We also get new options for the Mechanic (like an Assassination Drone chassis), the Mystic (mainly the Destroyer Mystic Connection, which is as violent as you'd expect), and a spell for the Technomancer that turns vehicles invisible.

The third major section (yeah, that was all part two) is about Pirate Loot, and covers new general equipment, melee weapons, small arms, and even starship equipment that pirates might like to have. Some of these are pretty nasty tricks to use against players - or to have players use against others! - so GM's should be careful about what special technologies players are given access to. There are also two new starships: boarding shuttles and gunships, which aren't very impressive solo but could be rather nasty in larger numbers.

The fourth main section focuses on NPCs. Now, as the publisher was quick to point out, the full rules for making NPCs hadn't been released at the time this was published, so the various characters appearing here might not be quite 'by the book' as allies or opponents. Still, they should be perfectly usable, and players probably aren't going to notice a difference.

The last section is a 'neutral' zone friendly to pirates. Known as 8-Pieces Port, this is pretty easy to drag-and-drop into any campaign as a site players can visit. Each of the sections of the port is given a one-page writeup, describing the demographics, notable locations, and general personality of that area. Several rumors (i.e. potential plots) round out the section.

Overall, I feel this is a pretty solid supplement. Now, I'm not going to attest to any mechanical excellence in the rules, because Starfinder literally came out on the day I wrote this, and I haven't had time to digest its math and systems yet. Nevertheless, I feel like this is a pretty solid product, and an excellent option for any GM who wants to add a little (or a lot) of space pirate flavor to a Starfinder game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Odyssey: Pirates of the Starstream
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8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2017 10:11:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 42-page, full-color product... and if the cover doesn't serve as a pretty big hint, I'm not sure what else to tell you. Well, aside from some details on the actual content, anyway.

At the basic level, this product aims to convert a certain franchise (that rhymes with "Legend of Shellda") to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, including a variety of creatures and character options. After an introduction to the product itself, we begin with monsters like the Gripper, Robed Wiz, and Roctopus. These aren't full stat blocks all by themselves, but rather, suggestions for modifying existing bestiary creatures to work as the new versions. I'm kind of iffy on this as a design choice - generally, when offering a creature, you want to provide a playable statblock. (The exception is actual templates - which these technically aren't.)

Thankfully, we do get a few actual stat blocks shortly after, including the Bladed Trap (a CR 4 Construct), the Burning Skull (a CR 8 Undead), and the Cactus Plant (a CR 11... you guessed it, plant). There's also a CR 16 boss, an Orc Magus with the Cursed Warrior archetype.

The next bit provides a few new thematic feats, from Bomb Jump (add the explosion's damage to acrobatics checks when jumping) to Reflect Shot and Reflect Ray, which let you use an Attack of Opportunity to bounce an attack towards a foe. These do have some fairly hefty requirements, including decent Dexterity scores and the Shield Ally (new) and Shield Focus feats, so they seem like they're definitely meant for fairly specific builds.

There are also a few new spells (Retriever, Freezing Ray, and Magnetism), and various iconic pieces of equipment like a Leaf Mask (a Plant Shape I effect), the Miniscule Cap (Reduce Person 3/day), and the Saga Stone (which Reincartates the possessor when they die). The price for that one is 600 GP... or 1200 GP if you're crafting it yourself, which I can only assume was an editing mistake. (Bought at 1200 GP, however, it is pretty close in price to the cost of buying a Reincarnate spell from a Druid at the lowest Caster Level available. (That said, the Saga Stone is a "CL 6th" item, which it probably shouldn't be, as Caster Levels for items generally shouldn't be below the minimum necessary to cast it.)

This book also includes a few sample adventures - including advice for running it as a one-on-one, rather than as a party, which is a nice touch given the source material. These are essentially brief descriptions of scenes and encounters for a GM to fill out, and range from APL 4 to APL 16 as a climactic battle. It's fairly amusing, but given the wide disparity in levels, you'd definitely want to have a lot of adventuring between these main points... or perhaps just summon the PCs to "Highland" every now and then as they level up in their main campaign world.

Overall, I feel this product is a fairly solid 4/5. There were some definite hiccups in the editing, and the adventures are best thought of as an outline rather than a full game to sit down and play. Despite that, I do think this sets out to do what it's trying to do, which is broadly replicating the feel of a certain popular video game franchise. If that feel is what you're looking for, then this is the right product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
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Astonishing Races:The Aasimar
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2017 09:00:22

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 34-page full-color product, with 30 pages of actual content. Astonishing Races: The Aasimar is essentially a complete playable race, up to and including things like physical descriptions, society, age, and religious tendencies. This is all written to be fairly setting-neutral, and that's a plus.

Aside from the basic racial traits (functionally identical to the 'official' aasimar), we get a wide variety of alternate racial traits and I'm pretty sure most of them are new. Many of these focus on what type of celestial being the aasimar in question was descended from, helping to provide a little more distinction in their backstory. For example, Born to Battle gives you a bonus to damage and crit confirmations when using a two-handed melee weapon, while Brightest Star gives you a bonus to your level for casting spells with the Light or Fire descriptors. There's a real set of choices here, and I'm glad to see them present.

After this, we get to new aasimar heritages - entities quite distinct from the base class. While normal aasimar are considered something of a "celestial/humanoid blend", the variant heritages are more specific. The Soarynne is an Elf/Outsider mix, for example, while Planelings have no celestial ancestor, but did have a mother exposed to the energies of a celestial plane. These classes aren't given the same variety of alternate racial options as normal aasimar, but a generous GM might allow swapping out equivalent abilities.

To help further customize the character, aasimar in this product are given a full set of Favored Class Options, from core options all the way to occult classes and the Vigilante. Class options follow this, with choices like the Angelic Chorister (an archetype for the Bard that focuses on heavenly instruments), the Blessed bloodline for the Sorcerer (which adds healing to a normally arcane class), and the Peacebonded Monk (an archetype for the - wait for it - Monk, which focuses on nonlethal damage). Note that being an aasimar is not a prerequisite for these class options.

The book finishes up with a variety of other character options, from gear (like Celestial Elixir, which offers additional use of racial spellcasting, albeit at a cost if abused, and also as a supercharged Holy Water when used against undead) to feats (mostly reprints, but copied here because this is clearly meant to be a one-source guide for playing a given race) and spells (ditto).

Overall, this is a nice, comprehensive product for playing an aasimar character, and I probably wouldn't hesitate to pass it over to anyone at one of my tables who was interested in doing so. I'm also quite fond of the race in general - some of my favorite characters have been members of this race - and I would've enjoyed using this product when making them. Either way, this is a solid release. It doesn't have quite as much new material as the size implies, but again, it's not meant to. It's not just a collection of reprints, though - there ARE quite a few new options as well. I didn't notice any major mistakes (although there was the occasional typo), so I'm comfortable giving this product a full score.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Races:The Aasimar
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2017 08:16:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 14-page, full-color product - although only 10 of the pages have relevant content on them. As the name implies, this is all about vampire slaying... but with more of a video game twist than most products released for Pathfinder. This is actually quite important to understand - this product is very much intended to work with games inspired by a certain famous vampire-hunting franchise, so you'll want to review the options carefully before making them available in other games. Now, let's get into things, shall we?

The first page of actual rules stuff discusses iconic items from the games, and which items from Pathfinder are best used to represent them. This is fairly straightforward stuff, all things considered. The next page gives us a candle treasure table (to be found by breaking sources of light, generally), holding things like holy water bombs, whip crystals, and masterwork weapons. A second table is given for items found in secret areas. Many of the items on these tables are new items presented later in this product.

Following this, we get descriptions for two new weapons. The Cross Boomerang is a an exotic ranged weapon that deals Bludgeoning or Piercing damage, with a range of 30 feet, an x2 crit multiplier, and a returning property that allows the thrower to catch the boomerang (with it falling some ways away if they don't). The other new weapon (the Star Whip) is an exotic melee weapon - implied to be one-handed, but this probably should have been specified - that has the disarm, finesse, reach, and trip properties. Characters proficient in whips are also proficient in Star Whips, and it does lethal damage even to creatures with armor bonuses.

The next section focuses on magic weapons and armor. The Slayer's Shield of defense is a +2 mithral heavy shield, which counts as a divine focus, allows for a spell that helps protect against ranged attacks, and provides an added bonus when you use the total defense action (written here as "full defense"). The Whip Crystal is essentially a buff for whips, either giving them the Deadly property or - if they already have it or do lethal damage - increasing the damage progression by one step. The Slayer's Mystic Whip is a +3 ghost touch holy undead bane star whip that's also an intelligent item, and it's pretty focused on finding and eliminating undead. It also offers several additional powers, including a protective spell-like ability, detecting magic at-will, and a bonus to intimidate against evil. It's also worth over 150,000 GP, so it's not likely to be seen outside of high-level games.

Most of the rest of this product is taken up by other new items, which include things like boots that give both Jump and Feather Fall effects, bracers that give you an additional attack (at an accuracy penalty), and a holy water bomb that deals holy damage and is extra nasty against undead and evil outsiders.

The last part of this product is another equivalency table, much like the earlier one on classic weapons - although this bit is more for game masters, since it suggests specific monsters to recreate the feel of the games (and provides their source).

Overall, I find this product fairly entertaining, and it definitely accomplishes its job of providing thematic vampire-slaying tools. That said, I do think this product - and especially the items - could have used another editing pass. For example, the Sapphire Ring says it can be 'activated', but doesn't specify the type of action used. (Standard action to set up defenses? Immediate action to respond to a threat? Free action you can take when it isn't your turn?) It also says "any creature that attacks with melee attack takes 2d6 points of electricity damage". Since it doesn't quite specify that it's limited to you, it's arguably saying that anyone in the area (or, heck, the world) takes damage when they make melee attacks, and that probably wasn't the intention.

The errors don't ruin this product, but they do make it a little less solid than it could have been, and it's something to keep an eye on in the future. As-is, however, I'm going to rate this a 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
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vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Witch of New Hope
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2017 22:01:20

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, eleven-page PDF with eight pages of adventure content. Two pages of this cover the introduction and background of the game, and another page discusses ways of involving characters in the plot. The adventure itself covers four acts (scenes, really), although as per usual for vsM adventures, these are mainly outlines and the person running the game is given the task of actually creating dialogue and such. There's some flexibility in the scenes depending on what the players end up doing, and it's best to keep that in mind when writing stuff out yourself. Either way, though, this is a pretty solid adventure for any group that enjoys vs Ghosts, and the price is pretty good for the amount of content provided.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Witch of New Hope
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vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Lights of Sand Island
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:42:31

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, eleven-page product, with eight pages of actual game content. The Lights of Sand Island is a bit more mystery-like than some of the adventures that get published for this system, with the players urged to figure out what kind of force is causing ships to constantly run aground in the same place. The adventure itself takes place over four short acts (each 1-2 pages long), and no maps are provided. You may want to draw your own for this if your group prefers those to mapless play.

Overall, this is a fairly solid release for the system, and it's long enough to be good for at least part of a gaming session.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Lights of  Sand Island
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vs. Ghosts Adventure: A Christmas Carol
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:41:52

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, two-page product, with one page of OGL and general legal stuff, and the other comprising a one-page adventure. Honestly, this is more of an outline than a true adventure, briefly describing scenes and what's going on but leaving it for the game master to come up with specific dialogue, any maps that the group may be necessary, and so on. I wouldn't run this adventure straight from the page, but rather, use it as the framework and write the rest of it out myself.

My overall feelings on this product are a bit complex. For pre-published adventures, even in generally rules-light games like this one, I prefer things that are as complete as possible. This product is honestly more of an adventure idea than a full adventure in its own right - although it's also priced low, so it's not like you're forking over a ton of money for something less bulky than you expected. Overall, I'd peg this at 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Ghosts Adventure: A Christmas Carol
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Creature Card Catalogue: Canny Constructs
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:13:20

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review. This review does not cover any physical cards.

This is a full-color, eight-page product - although, like Brutal Beasts, four of the pages appear to be identical copies of the OGL as front/back sides for the cards.

The monsters included here are the Arc Hound (Challenge 3), Gallows Golem (Challenge 8), Pelt Amalgam (Challenge 5), and Steel Stallion (Challenge 2). Each creature comes with its full statistics, an image, and a general description of what the creature is and how it behaves, essentially making this product a mini-bestiary of themed creatures.

My feelings here are essentially the same as for Brutal Beasts - four extra creatures on a given theme isn't bad, especially at a price and format that makes them easy to organize if you get physical copies (either as cards or by printing them), but the redundant copies of the OGL make this product slower to navigate than it really needs to be.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creature Card Catalogue: Canny Constructs
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