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Treasure Chests: 5th Edition Fantasy
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2018 18:36:01

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

This is an 18-page black-and-white product, about 14 pages of which are content. Within these pages are 26 different types of chests, many of which have unique designs and effects. For example, the Attunement Case stops items from losing attunement due to distance, while the Decoy Chest is rather explosive while opened. Naturally, this product is intended entirely for GMs - and it's a good way to spice up the distribution of loot. After all, chests that get descriptions tend to be more fun.

Other than that... I'm really not sure what else to say about this. XD If you've gotten this far, you probably know whether or not you want to add this to your game - and for the price, I do think it offers a lot of potential fun. Like all GM-focused tools, though, it's all in what you make of it. For the best results, I'd look for a way to make the chest more plot-relevant, maybe with some art to help it be even more memorable for the players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasure Chests: 5th Edition Fantasy
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The Abjurer's Handbook
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/27/2018 12:50:25

Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon campaign to create this product and paid full price for it.

This is a 37-page, full-color product. The Protection sphere is an interesting one, covering many different ways of shielding characters from the challenges of their world. This book opens with a selection of new archetypes, including:

The Faithful Shepherd (a Cleric who specializes in healing and protecting

The Impossible Warrior (a Fighter who's especially good at countering magic)

The Living Weapon (an Armorist who summons pure magic for defense)

The Marshal Controller (a Mageknight who gains Practitioner talents and can set down rules)

The Shield of the Gods (an Inqusitor who can quickly create protections)

There are also a number of new class abilities, including Armorists' Arsenal Tricks, an Eliciter Emotion, a Hedgewitch Secret and Tradition, an Incanter Mastery, some Mageknight Mystic Combats, some Magus Arcana, and a few Rogue Talents. It's a nice spread of abilities, and helpful even for people who aren't playing Spherecaster classes.

After this, we get into the new Basic Talents. The Abjurer's Handbook introduces Succor talents, which can be used by sacrificing an existing aegis. Healing Aegis and Luck are errata'd to be Succor talents, and Healing Aegis has had its spell point cost removed. This part of the book also gives some clarifications on stacking aegises and setting up barriers.

New basic talents include things like giving allies a miss chance, creating a series of barriers that fill specific squares (and must be destroyed individually or with AoE attacks!), and designating a warded creature as a friend who can be immune to sphere and supernatural effects that target the area they're in (even if those effects aren't from the caster).

New Advanced Talents include things like creating permanent wards and tying defenses so they're extremely effective against a specific foe (but not anything else). We also get two new Incantations (Demonseal and Impenetrable Dome) and a Ritual (Arcane Rune, which is cousin to a certain famous explosive spell).

The Feats section offers a variety of new abilities, though no new feat types this time around. We do, however, get a lot of Dual Sphere powers, as well as a multitude of Protection-focused options that let you do things like use your Base Attack Bonus for your Caster Level (handy for full and 3/4ths BAB characters!) or ignore difficult terrain (more helpful if someone in the group is good at making that).

After three Traits, we get a series of new Drawbacks and a collection of items, including new weapon and armor properties, things for a Protection staff, a scaling item, and more.

The book closes out with a one-page Player's Guide, which looks at several ways of playing a Protection-focused character and how to get the most from them.

Overall, this is a solid addition to the Handbook lineup and well worth a 5/5 rating.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Abjurer's Handbook
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Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Talents, Spirit
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2018 18:46:20

Disclaimer: I purchased this product at full price.

As the name suggests, this is an expansion to the Spirit talents of the Nature sphere. The core of this is three new basic talents - one that lets you speak with vermin, one that gives you concealment (20% or Spell Point for 50%), and one that causes vermin to treat you in a friendlier way.

After that, we get several new feats. These include options for granting Spirit powers to additional allies, some dual sphere feats to blend it with the Enhancement or Alteration spheres, and a pair of drawback feats that let you poison the land to decrease the cost of metamagic feats and improve your caster level. Plus the general drawback that lets you do it in the first place. This handbook definitely leans a little towards darker character concepts.

Overall, it's a tidy little expansion, and not a bad value for the price you're paying. I'd have liked to see one or two more options here (that'd bring it closer in line to some of the other Apocrypha books - 11 or 12 options for players is about right), but if you really like Spirit talents, you'll find some good options in here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Talents, Spirit
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Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Talents, Earth
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/02/2018 12:30:29

Disclaimer: I bought a copy of this product at full price.

This is a 5-page PDF, three pages of which are actually content. This product opens with five new geomancing talents, including ones that expand the radius of talents based on how many you know, provide bonuses to your AC and CMD while concentrating on earth spells or standing on the ground, breaks apart the earth to create dirt or sand, turn dirt or sand into rock (both could be handy), and try to push burrowing targets towards the surface (<- very situational, probably not worth taking in most games).

Next, we have a rare expansion - a few spellcrafted options, including options to Bless/Curse the ground, improve the user's land speed, create a mudslide, generate a sand barrier, and create a sandstorm that spawns stalagmites. An appendix at the back provides reminders about cave-ins.

All in all, this is a tidy and affordable product. Obviously, it's most useful to anyone dedicated to the Earth group of talents (and I wouldn't really recommend it outside of that), but it's nice to see a few more talents being made available.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Talents, Earth
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Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos - Pathfinder
Publisher: Petersen Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2018 16:20:47

Disclaimer: I backed the Kickstarter that created this product and paid the full price there for both the physical and digital copies of this product. As a crowdfunding backer, I received a physical copy well in advance of its wider public release (and, in fact, had it at the time of this review). I was given a free copy of the digitial version of this product here on DriveThruRPG for the purpose of this review.

Now, there's a lot to get into with this product, and I'm not sure I actually have the space here. That's why my full review of this product can be found over in the Discussion tab, where I go into great detail about what you can expect to find throughout this particular book. If you're not sure whether or not you want this product, I strongly recommend hopping to the other tab and reading that in full - by the end, you should have all the information you need.

As a briefer summary, however, this is primarily a GM product. While it includes some player-focused options, including archetypes, feats, and the like, many of these are most appropriate for things the players will face (unless your game is all about being servants of Mythos things, in which case this is the best Pathfinder supplement on the topic, period).

Aside from common things like archetypes and spells, this book features grimoires, unique artifacts, a new Dread mechanic, and best of all, Elder Influences. These are a new type of challenge within the game, about halfway between a monster and an environmental effect, and they represent the way that Mythos creatures can impact the world by their mere presence. Reality itself gets weird when these things show up, and many of them are a serious challenge for even high-level parties. For example, Hastur the Unspeakable has an effect where each of his manifestations can only be observed - and affected - by one person. Sure, the raging super barbarian may be able to smash his way through, but will the squishy sorcerer find it quite so easy? Perhaps not. And he's far from the worst threat the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones offer.

This book is worth full price for the Elder Influences alone, but they only comprise a part of this hefty tome. There are also a variety of new creatures, new races (including a cat race, which works better than you might expct), and references to mythos stuff published in other books so you don't have to go digging through all of them.

Put simply, this book is the best Mythos-themed product for Pathfinder. Period. If you want Cthulhu, or anything related to Cthulhu, this is the book to get. There are, however, two drawbacks to be aware of. First, some of the art in this product is somewhat low-quality pictures of painted miniatures from other Petersen Games products. There are full color, high-quality illustrations as well, but it's true that the miniature pictures are a little 'eh' most of the time (unless you really like that sort of thing). Also, for manufacturing reasons, physical copies of this weren't widely available at the time of this review. I have mine, and they should be more widely available to the public once the second printing arrives, but when I wrote this you may be limited to the PDF version. (That said, the hard copy is pretty nice - good quality paper, a cloth bookmark, and crisp printing for the illustrations.)

Overall, I'm extremely happy with this product, and I think it was absolutely worth my initial investment. It's not perfect - those mini pictures really are kind of love-or-hate - but the rules content (i.e. the huge majority of the book) is fabulous. I rate this product 5/5 and strongly recommend it to everyone who wants more Mythos in their Pathfinder.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos - Pathfinder
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Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Talents, Fire
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2018 12:28:04

Disclaimer: I purchased my copy of this product at full price.

This is the third entry in the Spheres Apocrypha series, and as the name suggests, it focuses on fire talents for the Nature Sphere. The PDF itself is four pages, two of which are actual content. On first read, some of the talents felt a little like they were leaning into other Spheres. The Dragonlung talent, for example, gives you a breath weapon - and to an extent, that also fits with the Alteration and Destruction spheres. It also makes sense with Nature, though, and I'm not overly bothered by its presence there.

Other new talents include things like a big boost to the size category of flames you can create (going up to CL 35, should that be relevant), flying on flames (rather like a Kineticist), and create a path through difficult terrain that allies can use. That's not very good on its own, but the Nature sphere has a lot of battlefield alteration abilities, and it might combo pretty well with other talents.

New advanced talents include exploding in fire and reforming with temporary HP and creating a truly massive fire (that might hit allies if they're not prepared!).

Supplementing the talents, we have three new feats. One lets you heal while using Feed on Fire, a Dual Sphere talent lets you apply effects from the Light sphere when creating fire (<- this is a great choice for a Dual Sphere power, thematically speaking, given the fire-makes-light thing), and an improvement for the fire flight.

Overall, this is a tidy, solid supplement for anyone focused on the Fire package of the Nature sphere. It's not something everyone will want, but anyone who wants to be a pyromancer will find a lot to love here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spheres Apocrypha: Nature Talents, Fire
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Call to Arms: Decks of Cards
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2018 08:44:16

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

This is a 54-page, full-color PDF themed around playing cards and variations on the Deck of Many Things. That alone is probably enough to tell you whether or not you're interested in this product. If you haven't decided to run away screaming (like a sane person), read on!

The book opens with a brief history of playing cards, a brief history of the deck of many things, and some details on different types of mundane cards.

On Page 8, we really start kicking things into gear with new character options. If you don't want to actually get out a deck and play, there are a few rules for resolving things with dice and bluffing, intimidating, or just outright cheating. I don't think players will use these with each other very often, but these rules are a good way to simulate a casino event.

Next up, we have a few feats based around cards, at least some of which I'm pretty sure are reprints but helpfully collected here because they're thematically appropriate. This includes directly attacking enemies with cards, throwing more cards, and making a skill roll to mulligan a bad roll from a magical deck (but only once per deck). Of course, as with all rerolls, the second result might be worse...

Following that, we have the Deck Touched Sorcerer bloodline, the Card Reader focused arcane school, and the Gambling subdomain as class options.

From there, this product moves on to discussing decks of magical cards, including using them as weapons, using cards as ammunition, and mixing magical decks together. There's also using DoMT cards as a weapon, which is about as dangerous as you'd expect.

After that, we get into a set of specific magical decks, ranging from the Deck of Curses (bad news) to the Deck of Deals (magically binding contract), the Deck of Illusions (Major Images), and the Deck of Polymorphing (random baleful polymorph). There's quite a variety of decks here, and they'd fit well with a card-themed character or game.

After those, we finally get to the variant Decks of Many Things. Aside from the main deck, this product includes a cursed version, a larger "full" version of the deck, the Harrow version, and finally an Intelligent deck that tries to get people to play with it (up to, and including, mind-control magic).

All things considered, this product is a lot of fun. It's not going to be used in every game, but if you want some variations on the Deck of Many Things - or you're playing a card-themed character - it's a great choice. I saw no major problems, so this product gets a full 5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Decks of Cards
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The Auspician's Handbook
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2018 18:41:19

Disclaimer: I support the Patreon creating these handbooks and paid for this product.

All right! Here we go with another Spheres handbook - and I'm not gonna lie, the Fate sphere was one of those most in need of the help. We open with four new archetypes for players.

These include the Grim Disciple (a Mageknight who draws power from fey hounds that signal doom), the Lucky Bastard (an Unchained Rogue who takes great risks for great reward... or great failure), the Ordained Hunter (an Inquisitor who uses kismet to track foes), and finally, the Parzivalian Knight (a Paladin empowered by their belief in stories).

We also get a scattering of additional class options, mostly allowing the archetypes to get a bit more access to fate-based powers.

The truly important part, as per standard format by now, is the Basic Magic that follows. This book introduces a new talent type - Motifs, which are talents that allow you to nudge fate in a direction of your choosing. In general, these are touch-range and cost a spell point, last an hour per level, and can be discharged for a short-term benefit.

New common talents allow for things like aligning weapons (which feels a little Enhancement-y, but Fate is the sphere that deals with alignment stuff), borrowing luck, forcing creatures to identify themselves, and a whole Tarot set of Motifs. For example, the Empress gives a pool of points (equal to 1+CL) that the target can spend to improve many types of rolls. They can also discharge it for a bigger boost that's affected by the number of points remaining. The Fool, on the other hand, imposes a -3 penalty to all saving throws (that goes down as your CL goes up), but allows each throw to be made twice. It can be discharged to roll three times, or simply ended with no other effect. If your games prefer the Harrow, alternative names are provided.

Following this, we have new advanced talents, including powers that let you compel things you've exorcised, avoid a specific threat, and create permanent curses. All told, pretty nasty stuff - not always the most immediately powerful in battle, but vicious long-term. GM's may want to make use of these for major villains.

New Incantations allow you to petition the fates or summon up a bunch of powerful fiends to lay waste to an area (stopping this is a quest in its own right!).

Following that, we get to our new feats. The Auspician's Handbook introduces a new type of feat: Chance feats, which provides kismet that can be spent to activate the effects of the feats. We've also got a variety of older feat types returning here, including new Metamagic (Align Spell), an Admixture feat (Auspicious Admixture, allowing you to hit foes with a word effect instead of a second blast type - this is GOOD for Destruction/Fate builds), and a Dual Sphere feat (Sanctified Vigilance, which is Fate/War).

Chance feats include things like automatically succeeding on Con throws to stabilize when you have kismet remaining, healing when you heal others, making an extra attack when you crit, and getting a large luck bonus when you roll a Natural 15 or higher on skill/ability checks.

Rounding it out, we get a few new traits, a new sample casting tradition (Cartomancy), and four Sphere-specific drawbacks.

Towards the end of the book, we get a few creatures (mostly tying in to the Grim Disciple) and a GM advice section that adds clarifications and suggestions. This includes notes on what actually counts as a curse, more thoughts on alignment, and what to do in games that use alternate rule systems (like not having alignment or using hero points).

All in all, this is a solid addition that makes the Fate sphere significantly more attractive for a variety of players. Whether it's Elementalists looking to slap on some debuffs with the Admixture talent or specialists who want to take control of the world around them, there's a lot to love here. I'm happy to give it a full 5/5 stars, and I'm already eager for the author's next release.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Auspician's Handbook
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Wild Magic
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2018 16:00:46

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as part of the Patreon campaign that funded it.

So! This is a little different from most of the Spheres of Power expansions, and as the name implies, it's all about magic going bonkers. Sometimes this is unintended, like when the GM has a 'wild magic zone' the characters get into. Other times it may be on purpose, as powers like the Cantrips feat can be used to deliberately trigger a minor magical effect.

Much like the ultimate in wild magic - the Deck of Many Things - the actual effects can swing between amusing, beneficial, or harmful. This isn't just one or two tables, though - this PDF is 94 pages long for a reason.

We start off with an introduction to Wild Magic, including details on chance, how effects stack (short answer, "yes"), and what to do with chances over 100%. There's also the chance of a major magical event if your risk goes too high and you're using that rule, and while it's not quite as bad as the Deck, there are events like getting disintegrated, permanently changing the normal temperature of an area, or negating every summoning for awhile. (Awkward if you focus on Conjuration!) Helpfully, the first section also includes a reprint of the Spell Schools to Spheres table for quick reference, as well as a couple of variant rules.

After the short introduction, we get into archetypes and class features that use wild magic. The Elementalist and Thaumaturge do well here, while Armorists, Mageknights, Prodigies, and Scholars get a few options.

We also get two pages of player options, starting with Wild Magic Feats, a new category of feat impacting your use of - surprising nobody - wild magic. Some of the feats get better if you have more feats from the category, giving incentive to go all-in on wild magic. There are also two new casting traditions, a boon, a general drawback, and two traits. We also get two equipment properties and a magical item.

But after all of that, we're barely into the book - the real reason we're here follows, with the massive wild magic tables. Not satisfied with a single event of options, this book offers a truly ridiculous number of options (many of which can easily be converted to work with the normal spellcasting system, by the way).

We start off with the basic Universal Wild Magic Table, which can kick in whenever nothing else is appropriate. Following that, we have the Cantrips table (mostly minor effects) and the Major Events table (risky as heck). You might think that would be enough, but no, Drop Dead Studios went all-in on this.

After the 'general' tables, we have tables for all of the spheres (although, as of the release I'm reviewing, not all of these were bookmarked for quick access - a minor oversight). These are heavily themed tables (yes, 100 options each), allowing for results that are related to the kind of magic that spawned them.

So... this isn't necessarily a book that should be a permanent part of every game, although it's great if your group enjoys being unpredictable. Put simply, this expansion is wild magic at its finest - sometimes helpful, sometimes harmful, and sometimes weird, but always unpredictable. I love it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wild Magic
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The Conjurer's Handbook
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/23/2018 08:37:41

Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon campaign to create this product and paid for my copy of it.

After a bit of a delay, here we are at expansion number thirteen - and returning author Andrew Stoeckle brings us plenty of new content. Of note: This is the first release since Spheres of Might, and it shows.

The book opens with a set of archetypes, beginning with archetype choices for companions summoned by the Conjuration sphere. There's actually quite a broad selection here, from the animal-like Bestial archetype to the weaker but cheaper-to-summon Familiar. The Martial Companion option grants progression in the combat options from Spheres of Might. Spheres of Power has always been a strong supporter of ideas, and these archetypes are a nice touch. (Yes, you can stack these archetypes as normal.)

From there, we move on to character archetypes. There's an interesting spread here, and the choices include:

Alter-Ego (Vigilante): Literally swap places with your summon, so only one of you exists at a time

Awakener (Armiger): Summon the spirit of a weapon to wield it for you (requires Spheres of Might)

Knight-Summoner (Mageknight): Call up a mount that's a little more exotic than a mere horse

Pact Master (Thaumaturge): Swap casting ability for the ability to create pacts, summon various entities, and gain magical powers while close to them.

Twinsoul Elementalist (Elementalist): Summon an elemental spirit that you can channel power into, allowing it to unleash more powerful bursts of energy.

Void Wielder (Armorist): Retain the energy of dead foes inside a void blade, then summon it to fight for you later.

After these archetypes and a sprinkling of new class options, we get into the most important part of the book - new [b]Basic Magic[/b]. The Conjurer's Handbook starts this area off with a selection of new base forms for the Conjuration sphere, including:

Avian: They fly.

Ooze: They slime.

Orb: Hey, listen!

Vermin: They crawl.

The new talents follow, and we're introduced to a new category: Type Talents. The Undead Creature is errata'd (when using this book) to be a Type talent instead of a Form talent, and the major difference is that companions can only have one of them. Otherwise, they're like Form talents. Options in the book include things like Constructed (the companion is partially or wholly mechanical), Ooze Companion (properties of oozes, yay), and Planar Creature (pick two of four alignment-themed options, and the other two if you take it twice).

New Form talents include options like Camouflaged Companion for drastically better stealth, Capable Companion to get a bonus feat, Explosive Companion (somebody's going to have worrying amounts of fun mixing this with the Orb base form), and Mount (so yes, you can ride what you call up).

A few untagged talents round out the options, including Call the Departed (resummon a slain companion), Spell Conduit (companions can deliver spells), and Spell-Linked Companions (spend spell points to let Companions benefit from your buffs).

At the end of this bit, we get an extended table of growth for levels 21-40, should anyone care to play a conjurer at that level.

As usual, the next section has Advanced Talents, with new options ranging from particularly large/small companions to improved fast healing, mass summoning, and even turning your companion into a Swarm or Troop (the rules for which are helpfully reprinted at the end of the book). Other advanced options include new Incantations for calling up otherworldly beings and guidelines for adapting the system and creating new options to support a player's idea. (Remember, Spheres is about saying "yes" to concepts - it's okay to be creative!)

The Player Options section opens with new feats, including a new type (Companion feats) that can be taken by either a conjurer or their companion. Feats of this type allow things like having a companion concentrate on spells to maintain them for you and suppressing a size-altering talent. More general feats include things like improving the Explosive Companion talent a la Destructive Blasts, applying the benefits of your equipment to your companion, and using your Casting Ability Modifier (instead of always Charisma) when using the Summoning Advanced Talent.

We also get new Sphere-Specific Drawbacks (from no normal companion but the Summoning Advanced Talent to having all summoned companions share a pool of hit dice) as well as new Traits and Alternate Racial Traits. One new item (a foldable summoning circle) is added as well.

The main content finishes with a section on Gamemastering, with advice on issues ranging from too many companions to the details of summoning, roleplaying, and a bit of love for the Ghost Sovereign archetype (expanding its options to support the new talents). The Appendix, as mentioned above, reprints the Swarm and Troop rules for convenience.

Overall, this is a solid expansion to the Conjuration sphere, and any character focusing on that sphere is probably going to want this expansion to go with it. There are plenty of fun and flavorful options sprinkled throughout, and despite a few small formatting hiccups, I didn't notice any real problems. This product earns a 5/5 from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Conjurer's Handbook
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The Creator's Handbook
Publisher: Drop Dead Studios
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/21/2018 11:48:58

Disclaimer: I backed the creation of this product on Patreon and paid for both this and the Hero Lab files.

We're more than halfway through the Handbook line now, and it continues to go strong. Creation is a somewhat strange sphere - its real power lies in how creative you are with it, so it's not as straightforward as most.

This product opens with some archetypes and class options, heavily emphasizing the common sphere classes. They range from the Word Witch (a Fey Adept with particular command of certain words of creation) to the Knight of Willpower (a very determined Thaumaturge indeed). We also get a new Incanter Specialization (Master of Creation) and a Hedgewitch tradition (Transmuter). All in all, it's a fairly solid set of options for players who want to specialize in this sphere.

The real meat of the book is, of course, the new basic talents. While we don't get any new types of talents, the new options significantly expand what Creators are able to do. Most notably, the Expanded Materials talent is drastically expanded to encompass several sets of options, from classic substances to gas, plasma, and even acids.

Other new talents include changing the size of objects, making things out of force, and an option to increase the casting time in order to reduce the spell point cost (which matters, given the normal cost of this sphere!).

The Advanced Talents are quite diverse, ranging from making things from precious materials to completely disintegrating objects. As with most Advanced Talents, be careful of adding these to your game - they CAN significantly change your game.

The Feats section adds multiple new options as well - including the return of Dual Sphere feats (mainly emphasizing mixing Creation with Enhancement and Telekinesis). The rest of the book provides the rest of what we've come to expect - drawbacks, traits, alternate racial traits, and so on. A few new items (including, curiously, an energy sword) are included, and things round out with some rule clarifications to make it easier to run the Creation Sphere. That alone makes this helpful for any table making heavy use of this sphere.

This book didn't wow me quite as much as some of the other handbooks did, but it's still a solid addition to the handbook lineup and an excellent supplement for any character focused on the Creation sphere.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Creator's Handbook
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DNH1 - The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil Complete Set
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2018 15:28:09

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

This is a collection of four products - 5E and PF versions of the main adventure, an extra 5E sidequest, and an extra book of maps and illustrations. The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil is a fairly flexible adventure, although it's important to note that this is NOT an introductory first-level adventure. Rather, it's largely meant to be played after characters have a few adventures under their belts (such as a few modules or starting adventure series).

The adventure itself consists of a series of encounters, most notably one involving an outrageously complicated door. This is one of the better door-based challenges I've seen, since a simple Disable Device check isn't even remotely good enough to overcome it.

While I like the adventure itself, there are a few hiccups I noticed. These are mostly design elements. For example, Page 19 of the 5E version gives us a couple of dense statblocks for foes. These are crushed a little too close together - a bit of spacing between the stats would make the whole section much easier to refer to with a quick glance. Similarly, on Page 37 of the PF version, we have a weapon described as a "Mace +2". That's not the correct formatting for Pathfinder, which uses an Enhancement Bonus -> Special Ability -> Special Metal -> Weapon Type format. (So you would have a +2 Unholy Mace, rather than an Unholy Mace +2. This helps to prevent confusion in statblocks.)

Overall, this is a solid adventure, probably good for at least 2-3 sessions depending on how long your group plays. As the first part in a longer series, it's likely best when purchased with the others , and I do like that you get a reasonable amount of content for the price. Given the occasional formatting hiccups, I feel like this product is, overall, about a 4.5/5. For the purpose of this platform - and given that they're relatively minor problems - I'm rounding up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DNH1 - The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil Complete Set
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vs. Dragons Adventures: Magic’s Demand
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2018 13:51:42

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

This is a 13-page, black-and-white product. It is NOT a standalone release - as an adventure, you'll need the (quite affordable) vs. Dragons ruleset to go with it. Each section of the adventure is about two pages long (hey, it's vs. M - fast and easy is the goal here), featuring the weird things happening in the village of Hazelmoure. Each section consists of a few scenes (specific conversations/events for the players to interact with), culminating in the hopefully-epic last battle. Three different endings are given, based on how successful the heroes were.

This is a solid adventure for game night in its own right, as well as a good sample if you prefer to make your own adventures but aren't sure how to build them in this system. Either way, it's a worthy companion for vs. Dragons.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Dragons Adventures: Magic’s Demand
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vs. Dragons
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2018 13:43:39

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

By this point, Fat Goblin Games is getting pretty darn good with the vs. M Engine. As with the other 'vs. X' releases, you don't need anything else to actually play the game. Character creation is simple and only involves a few choices from a limited number of options, though this version has a bit more stuff in the way of equipment and valuables than some of the other choices.

After character creation, we get into the specifics of the system, including the core mechanic of drawing cards to overcome challenges, taking damage, and so on. This release also comes with quite a few monsters to throw at players - it's not a full-on bestiary, but there are enough foes for at least two or three games, mostly featuring iconic fantasy creatures like goblins, dragons, and an assortment of demons.

There are also a number of magical items, which are less about giving "bonuses" to numbers and more about providing options that weren't previously available.

All of this, of course, is just in service to the main point: putting on your shiny armor and going to give some mighty lizards what-for. vs. Dragons gives an example of good gaming structure on Page 49, which supports the quick-and-easy style of the system. Keep in mind that this is NOT a game intended for two years of solid adventure with the same system - it's a short, fun game to help pass the time at parties, when a group has time to spare, or as an intermission between other things.

Past this, quite a few sample locations are given, with enough detail to spark some creativity. It doesn't include a pre-made adventure (though you can get one of those from Fat Goblin Games, too) - but it doesn't really need it, either. This product is easy for Gamemasters of all skill levels to use.

I did notice a few places with awkward grammar and word choice, but nothing too significant for a product of this length. Overall, it's a solid release. It's not something every game group will like, but if you're in the mood for a fast and easy fantasy system, vs. Dragons is definitely worth considering.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Dragons
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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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