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Dark Waters Rising
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/10/2012 10:26:14
Dark Waters, written by Ron Lundeen, weighs in at 36 pages (with roughly 8 of those tied up in covers, OGL, Ads, credits, intros and such). Following the dual column format approach, the PDF carries the typical clean and crisp look one has come to expect from the Raging Swan camp. Cartography is reminiscent of the retro camp, with a hand drawn feel, but in all the right ways. Artwork is stock, with most of it coming from the Elmore collection and being used to support the collection of pre-generated characters at the end of the adventure (six of them total). Set in the town of Swallowfield, the adventure is written with more then enough detail to take advantage of without the source material PDF for this town also released by Raging Swan, but I would recommend a GM pick it up regardless, as it is filled with some extremely useful material in regards to this town, and will greatly help flesh out the community better for one's PC's. It should also be noted that the community of Swallowfield is within the Lonely Coast setting, also available from Raging Swan, and a setting you should seriously think about adding to your collection as it is filled with excellently written material as well. This adventure offers up a quick cheat sheet (if you will) of the specifics of the Lonely Coast in the form of a one page write up accompanied via full page cartography. The same approach to giving specifics beyond the scope of this adventure are handled for Swallowfield itself as well, a one page write up covering town info, and a full page overland cartography.

OK, we all know what's coming, right? Spoilers...so, players, BEGONE!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, time for GM's to talk, go polish your dice, or plan your next GM appreciation party or something, we'll let you know when you can come back...OK, so now that it's just us GM's, let us discuss this adventure module, shall we?

Swallowfield has an issue, and that issue falls within the realm of the player's bread and butter. The local mill has just managed to break through to an ancient crypt, falling into the hole and beginning the flooding of these previously unknown lower chambers. Now, in and of itself, that is not the issue, it is the series of ghouls and undead living within the crypts that are the issue, as they spill out and begin kidnapping folks to present them to their leader to be turned into additional undead to serve him. The local guards do what they do best, try to save the day and turn themselves into more people who need to be rescued. See, told you it was a problem suited for the players. Mr. Lundeen has written a classic dungeon crawl with all of the feel of a rushed pace thanks to not only the idea that you must get to the kidnapped townsfolk before it is to late to save them from an undead conversion, but also that the river is flooding this series of dungeon, and therefore adding to not only the difficulty of traversing the terrain, but the sheer amount of time the playgroup can function as they delve further from the only way out and back to air. Add to the environmental dangers of the flooding and collapsed building, we've got the undead who have no fear of the rising water, and are at a serious advantage when it comes to attacks within flooded areas, the original guardians and traps of the dungeon complex, and a moral issue for the players. Two of the victims are not what one might call so virtuous, being members of an evil cult. GM's are giving the opportunity to allow their PC's to explore the moral complications of being tasked to save the less then desirable within a community, and possibly leading one of them back to a more virtuous path in so doing. Well done in including such a concept, as I love to see the levels of difficulty and challenge be about more than simply smash, kill, retrieve and run. Remembering that a PC's actions affect everything around them, in a world filled with more greys than black and whites, throwing in a moral issue of “do we or don't we save the bad folks?” is a great addition,in my book.

The crypt offered up for this rescue adventure is in fact a burial chamber for the head of an order of monks, known as Odwain. When interring their leader's body to his final rest, the monk came under attack, and found themselves sealed in. Over a span of weeks, several died out from starvation, others took to the route of cannibalism, and began the transformation into ghouls. Upon opening their former master's tomb seeking food these ghouls discovered that his will had not passed on, and he had in fact returned as a crypt thing. Reclaiming his position of mastery over what remained of his order, Odwain and his followers, now an eternal threat, waited in the dark for the day that release would come.

Cartography for the crypt itself gives us a birdseye view as well as a sidecut, helping drastically in understanding the depth levels for the differing sections of the tomb in relation to each other so as to be able to properly handle the flood effect of the river pouring through the mill wheel's breach point. The cartography again carries with it a very retro feel, staying in theme with the two overland maps.

Danger starts right off the bat in this adventure, with the PC's facing starving ghouls within minutes of the initial mill accident, as some ghouls attack whilst others kidnap and retreat. Following them into the wreckage the PC's will find a group of local town's guard have already attempted to give chase, and have gotten themselves pinned within the breach point, and will surely drown if not saved. From there the PC's are set to face a trio of carytid columns within the first room they enter of the tomb, and that's after figuring out how to get in safely in the first place (it is a height of roughly thirty feet, accessed through a hole that a river is rushing through, to a floor covered in rocks and debris...not the most ideal circumstances for entry). The PC's can utilize the waterwheel as a makeshift ladder as it comes within 5' of the ground, dealing of course with the water making the climb hazardous.

From the entrance chamber the group proceeds to a training chamber, complete with pressure point floor tiles that unleash javelin traps, and an automaton in the form of a four armed training construct, albeit with one broken arm and a state of constant breakage and repair. Very cool concept for a room in a setting of this nature, would have loved to have seen any form of artwork depicting the training construct to better visualize what exactly the author had in mind with this design.

A meditation chamber occupied by our first kidnap victim and a blind ghast are on the menu next, with that blind ghast being far from at a disadvantage. An interesting room that offers a glimpse into who these monks were in life as the depictions of carvings and illustrations adorning these walls where they meditated give a great deal of information upon the teachings of Odwein in life to his disciples. An excellent form of delivering this style of information to a playgroup, subtle enough that you aren't beating them over the head with it, and yet just enough hook and catch for a craftier playgroup to snag on and start analyzing. Well done, well done indeed. Our victim, if rescued, bravely offers to join the quest, although he is a woefully under-equipped wizard, having had his components and wand taken and destroyed...leaving the group with a living possible liability to decide how to handle.

The treasure chamber preceding the main burial chamber comes complete with an old timey combination lock of large stone buttons depicting different carvings, of which the PC's need to not only figure out which keys they actually need, but what order to press them in, to gain access to the hidden treasure room. A very cool puzzle, and one that while it may slow a group and force them to think, should be solvable by all but the most puzzle resistant groups out there as long as they are paying attention to the details of the dungeon. Each stone button is detailed in illustration which is insanely helpful in my opinion, as those images can easily be extracted and printed out for a playgroup to be able to work with making the puzzle a much more hands on encounter for them, which adds a great level of interactivity and fun.

The burial chamber finally brings us to the encounter between Odwain the crypt thing and the PCs. Odwain has taken his stone sarcophagus as a throne of sorts, standing it on end, giving him a height of ten feet, putting him at quite a stretch for most PCs with melee weaponry unless they also have reach. He opens attack with his Teleporting Burst ability, scattering the PCs around his dungeon, possibly to points underwater, and releases his ghouls to attack the stronger members of the group while he focuses on the weakest. Unable to leave his own burial chamber, Odwain none the less has a fairly proficient method of assault. It is within this chamber that the remaining four kidnap victims will all be found, chained to Odwain's sarcophagus, and suffering from ghoul fever due to multiple bites.

The adventure wraps up with the returning of the victims to the town, the potential interactions with the two cultists amongst the kidnap victims, and a couple of potential hooks to continue adventuring in this locale.

All in all a well written, fast paced adventure with an emphasis on a stress filled rescue operation against an entrenched enemy with the advantage of home field in their favor. Bringing to the table all of the great things about a classic dungeon trek without bogging down to deep into unnecessary side paths, this is a focused and well handled adventure, and one that could easily give a playgroup a great night of fun. Well worth the price of admission, and an easily given 5 star rating!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Waters Rising
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SGG Presents: A Brace of Pistols
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2012 10:15:46
A Brace of Pistols, weighing in at 15 pages, brings to the table some of that old black powder goodness. Now, the debate over whether firearms (at any point in their development) belong in your campaign is one for you and your to decide, as there are players on both sides of this particular camp. For the record, I'm willing to bet Louis Agresta is good with the flintlock being used at his table, as he is the author who put this material together. Following a dual column format, with embedded artwork of both B&W and color, the editing all appeared to be above the board, with nothing jumping out as being an issue.

The book opens with a piece of fiction, a small story opener detailing a slight marital dispute, lol. From there we go into an explanation of the series, and the fact that the SGG Presents line is more focused on the authors vision then the companies direction, a quick (and I do mean quick) bio paragraph on the author. A brief write up regarding flintlocks throughout fantasy, followed by a short history lesson on both the real world facts behind flintlocks and the machinations of said firearms. Top all that off with a full weapons table for the firearms introduced here, and we're ready to take a look at the new bang bangs...so, without further ado..

We open with the Boarding Gun, a 7 barrel monstrosity, typically used from a crow's nest upon an attacking ship. Firing all 7 barrels at once, this thing gets a separate attack roll for each barrel, but then must be completely reloaded before being able to be re-fired. Going from there to the multi-barrel Duckfoot with its 4, 6, and 8 barrel options. The Derringer, Jezail (long-barreled musket with a curved stock for ease of firing while mounted), and Muskatoon, a short barrel musket, balancing easier handling with less power.

Going straight from the new firearms into new options for modifications, Mr. Agresta introduces such intriguing crunch mechanics as the Gun Trap, or Melee Flintlock (sword/gun anyone?). Or, perhaps my favorite from this section, the Trick Coat Pistol, with the suggestion of utilizing these mechanics to craft a wooden cod piece gun.

And of course, no book of this nature is going to be complete without new equipment. The Cleaning Kit will help you keep a flintlock properly cleaned, while the Chest Holster allows you to carry two pistols across your chest, with a character being able to wear up to three holsters. Leg Holsters operate in much the same way as the chest variety, only with a single pistol limit. Mount Holsters take the concept to your mount's tack. Now, for those not aware, the entire reason to use a holster is so that one may draw their gun as a weapon as opposed to retrieving it as an item, kind of the same reason you keep your sword in a sheath. From there we go to the Shot Belt (for storing prepared powder and lead balls, a Silk Patch, for flintlock wadding, and Slow matches, alchemical matches that burn for a significant amount of time, mainly used as a great way to pull off the burning beard technique beloved by hollywood piratical types. Introduced within this section are also alternate rules for why one would want to keep their gun clean, the effects of not doing so, inclement weather, and the serious threat of fire to a character loaded down with black powder and flintlocks.

Four new feats make up the next section of this PDF, with such treasures as Get The Drop, giving you a bonus to Initiative as long as your action is to draw and fire. Pistols at Dawn gives crunch mechanics to those characters who have dueled a time or two. And last, but not least, Powder burns and the improved variety, allowing you to utilize the muzzle flash and debris as an attack all its own.
A mini game of sorts is introduced in the form of Mahga-Mahga, with full rules for playing, and the necessary crunch to manage it. The game (primarily played by pirates) consists of a lazy susan, a swinging chandelier, a prisoner, and a lot of drinking, gambling and shooting...its just the type of thing to liven up a naval game session with time to kill in between encounters.

PDF closes with a nod to the arcane, with 2 new spells, 3 new magical qualities, and 2 specific magical weapons. OK, that last is not exactly accurate, as one of the weapons is actually ammunition, Branding Bullets deliver an arcane mark upon a successful hit, whilst the Axe Musket of the Long Hunt is a nasty little toy when it comes to dealing with lycanthropes. Spell wise we're looking at imbue spell, and the greater version, which allows you to imbue an already loaded ammunition round with a spell of specific level or lower. Magical Qualities give us Auto Loading, never waste time again, Everdry negates any worries of your weapon ever getting wet, period.

And Nevermiss, looking through the game mechanics for this one, I can say out of the entire book, this one weapon quality is the only thing I find fault with. It seems, in every attempt I made to play out an encounter with it, to either go horribly wrong, or overpoweringly right.

Final thoughts, save for one weapon quality that I simply can not get behind, this is a pretty decent collection for information regarding flintlocks, their quirks, and how to incorporate then into your fantasy setting easily enough. So, if black powder is something that intrigues you, or the flash of muzzles are already a constant in your setting, this book would be a good fit for your library, and a purchase well made.

I want to give this a 4.5 star rating, as I would have liked to have seen more done with an actual fantasy firearm, as opposed to all historically accurate firearms with tack on spells and qualities. Still a solid piece of design, but if one is going to offer firearms for a fantasy setting, I want to see fantasy firearms. It does in fact give some truly cool options and rules, with plenty of room to create some neat toys though, i guess I just wanted my cake with extra icing, lol...OK, I'll give it the 5 star it deserves, but I'm still gonna be grumpy till this gets support in the form of a Bullet Point.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SGG Presents: A Brace of Pistols
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Tendril Tentacle Spell Feats (Full Clip!)
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2012 06:22:54
Continuing the Summer of Bullets this addition to the line gets all tangled up with some tendril spells, giving us 7 new feats designed to enhance and alter those spells that entangle and or grapple. Following the landscape orientation with the three column standard that has become the signature of this series, this particular issue is four, not three, pages, with 2 going to OGL and cover sheet. Art is stock (although I happily can state I have not seen the front piece before), and both pieces are good. Editing appears to be good, nothing jumped out and bit me.

So, we all know the drill right? Bullet Points are a quick and cheap method of delivering a few choice ideas, all centered around one concept per PDF. If you aren't familiar with this series yet, I suggest you take advantage of the current sale and catch up, seriously, I'll wait........

OK, now that that's out of the way, let's look this one over, shall we? Now, for me, this is one of those collections of feats that I feel should have been written a long time ago, as the multitude of tendril spells out there all lack some pretty basic ideas, which Owen tackled here very well. From using tendrils as additional sets of prehensile limbs to do basic tasks, to targeting specific people to choke, or defend rather than attack. The capacity to determine that certain people are to be ignored by the spell (although crossing the area the spell inhabits is still difficult terrain, as it should be). The last three together just scream schoolyard bully to me, and that's hilarious folks, truly. Disturbing Tendrils allows you to have a tendril threaten and antagonize a target, while Forceful Tendril is going to push the guy around, and Harassing Tendril is going to slide in for the dirty trick or trip...remind anyone else of a pack of bullies? The idea of filling an area with tendril spells, and then getting them to work in tandem with a collection fo feats like this is one of the reasons I have learned to love the Bullet Point series, there's always something here to inspire GM wickedness, lol.

Yet another collection of truly useful and well designed feats that bring a breath of new life into a collection of spells that far to many players have lost their fear of. Well done Owen, and another easy 5 star rating.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Tendril Tentacle Spell Feats (Full Clip!)
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SGG Presents: Races Revised: The Kobold Kings
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2012 04:01:18
With the addition of the SGG Presents line, we now have that line of various material, that may or may not fit into another imprint under the SGG banner, but is focused more upon one author's vision for the material. Interestingly enough, one would assume this particular imprint would be where we wouldn't see Owen's name, as he handles practically all of the design work for the remaining SGG lines, and yet, this is his baby none the less. And what a baby, an interesting to say the least re-imagining of the kobold race, their evolution and origin, and an entire new sub-race (in the same vein that a drow or duergar are sub-races).

Weighing in at 20 pages (front cover, OGL, and paper minis eat three of those pages), we are given an immense amount of new material to digest here, all pertaining to what are known as the koldemar, those kobold who still retain enough of their draconic connection to be a race worth playing or utilizing. Far from the sniveling craven kobolds that so many GM's have thrown en mass at their players, the koldemar are an interesting, advanced species, on par with any of the races available for play currently.

Editing and format follow the dual column approach, with embedded B&W line art (some really good, at least one piece odd in its perspective). There are a few typos, both in punctuation and spelling, but nothing so garbled that you can't make out the meaning.

PDF is fully bookmarked, with a full introduction to not only the series, but the concept of what this addition to the line hopes to accomplish, as well as how a GM can easily incorporate this new sub-race into their campaign, either as a stand alone option, or as the rare oddity born to normal kobolds. In short, before you have even started reading the crunch, this book will have sold you on the concept of bring the dragonfolk into your campaign, and finding the koldemar a home.

Included is a handy listing of common naming elements (numbered for those wishing to let their dice decide), with meanings behind the prefixes and suffixes. Very cool, and extremely useful in helping to distinguish these particular kobold kin from their simpler cousins. One thing that should be noted, in regards to the simpler kobold species, is that racially speaking, the koldemar are still kobold, and therefore the variant traits and rules presented here are equally available to kobold characters as well, opening up many new options for a crafty GM to take advantage of.

Offered up in the new variant traits are such options as dragon scaled – various color schemes all having their own energy type resistances, dragonfolk – greater strength and charisma in place of the normal racial adjustments, gliding wings – pretty self explanatory, beast bond – bonuses to handle and ride checks, and water adaptation – showing a lineage to an aquatic dragon within one's bloodline, gains several aquatic physical traits, a swim speed and the capacity to hold one's breath for minutes equal to one's Con score.

Now, with the idea of favored classes, and the variant bonuses one can get from taking said class, the next section of this book covers 41 possible variant bonuses...yes, I said 41 possible variant bonuses. Owen left nothing out, for convenience sake, the potential bonuses available to this race from the APG are reprinted here (totaling 11 of the options), as well as 16 SGG classes. There are multiple options for several classes, as well as options that are exclusive to this race. Basically, long story short, lots and lots of favored class options...all collected together to make life easier on you. Well done.

Introducing two new archetypes designed for the koldemar (but still available to kobold or half-dragons), the next section gives us the Apocalypse and the Harasser. The apocalypse being a fighter archetype with a focus on the physical power and might of the dragon, learning to harness and utilize an armored hide, better claw attacks, a portion of a true dragon's spell resistance vs. certain spell like abilities, as well as gaining the ability to consume precious metals and gems to fuel an effect similar to the Rune Scales feat (covered later within this work). The harrasser is the quintessential trap building nightmare for a playgroup, and an interesting archetype for a rogue styled koldemar. Thirteen trap concepts are presented here for usage by this archetype, and its quick traps ability.

Thirteen new feats are presented, varying from Draconic Aspect – colored scales with appropriate energy resistance, Draconic Breath – ties right back into aspect, as your scale colors determine what type of breath weapon you have, Tail Terror – utilize your tail in combat, Rune Scales – bind magical enchantments directly into your body, by turning your scales into living magical items. There are some pretty specific limitations on this, no doubt in the hopes of keeping this balanced, but it looks to be the type of thing that could be a lot of fun to explore as an option, and lends itself to a seriously memorable high level NPC.

What would a racial guide be without new equipment, both magical and mundane, combat and ordinary, right? How about a buckler for your tail, or clawed gauntlets, pouches designed to be worn upon the tail, or Woodstalker Armor ( a 1 shadow elfhide studded leather (yeah, you read that right, elfhide leather, lol). Last new item would be the propitious pouch, a variant on the handy haversack, just designed to be a little more friendly to those hanging pouches off of their tails.

Now, in regards to the elfhide leather, that's brilliant. Presented in full write up as a new material, with table for cost modifiers to armor types and all. After all, if elves can wear dragon scale armor, why can't the dragonfolk make a leather of their hides? Owen, this I love, and it will be introduced as of my very next game session, totally dark and twisted, and yet so obviously practical, yet another Genius moment.

The whole thing wraps up with full color paper mini options for a variety of koldemar characters (6 total). Whereas I don't personally use them, I thought it was a nice touch to include them, and wouldn't be opposed to seeing more publishers follow this example *cough* - pawns - *cough*...oh, sorry, allergies...

OK, so final thoughts...for far to long have I looked upon the kobolds as a race of cannon fodder, and I mean honestly, who hasn't? Owen has managed to give a viable option to this race of cravenly cowards, an option to explore a different side of this race that could easily prove to be an interesting and entertaining player race, as well as make for some encounters that would keep a playgroup guessing, as the koldemar are so not our father's kobolds, lol. So, design wise, solid, formatting, excellent, only one piece of art not up to par with the rest (and to be honest it still looks alright), which leaves me with the 4 typos, all clustered together, like there for a moment there was a distraction at the keyboard while the book was being written. I can not, in good faith, subtract a half star for four typos of this small of a nature, nor can I overlook them, so I am going with 4.75 star, and yeah, that rounds up to a 5, so good job Owen, way to make me rethink the kobold menace.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SGG Presents: Races Revised: The Kobold Kings
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Villainous Pirates
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2012 08:38:54
At 49 pages, with 7 pages going to the front/back covers, OGL, credits..etc. etc. We have here a collection of 30 pirates, ready to be dropped into an adventure for an evening, or added to a long running campaign as a crucial persona. Presented as either Pirates of Note (moderately famous scallywags), or of Renown (true legends of the waves who captain their own vessels, leading crews through the storm wracked waves), the assortment of personalities here will leave any GM with plenty to sate their appetite. Designed as support material for So What's The Pirate Ship Like, Anyway?, this addition to the line easily pulls double duty for those GM's running the current Skull & Shackles AP from Paizo, as you can never have enough piratical goodness in an adventure.

The PDF comes with a full contingent of bookmarks, and a linked Table of Contents as well (always a plus), in addition to the TOC, the pirates are listed by CR (which oddly the chart shows a full column for page number as well, but has no such information). Sadly the CR list is not linked, but that is a minor detail given the bookmarks. Immediately following each section (of Note or Renown) is a listing of each pirate by alignment as well. Format follows a dual column approach, with the occasional piece of B&W artwork, ranging from good to average.

Now, with 38 personalities I am not going to get into a listing exercise, but I do want to touch on a concern I could see people having, and that is that the race card has very much been played, in the best way possible folks. We have (in alphabetical order) at least one of each of the following races: angel (cassian), barghest, brownie, cloaker (evil laugh), dwarf, elf, ettercap, girallon, goblin, grindylow, half-celestial, half-elf, half-orc, halfling, hobgoblin, human, kapoacinth, lizardfolk, mercane, minotaur, poltergeist, quasit, sahuagin, sandman, serpentfolk, siren, tiefling, treant, undine, xill. As I said, there are plenty of races to work with here, so this will not be a collection of plain old human pirates with a few pointy ears thrown in for good measure...there's a healthy selection here folks.

After a quick bio page for the three designers behind this work (congratulations guys!) and a “How to use this book in your game” page, it is time to get down to meeting the pirates. The NPC's are presented with a few lines of backstory and physical description, as well as a hook or two apiece to integrate them easier. The statblocks themselves are not entirely Paizo Standard, but they are easily enough read that it is not an issue. The layout is slightly disconcerting, in that several times throughout the NPC statblocks a section of descriptive text will be broken by the next statblock, or not even be near its appropriate statblock. All of this, while not a huge issue, did make for a slightly odder than usual read.

Now, I know I said I wasn't going to get into particulars, but I must share a few that really stood out to demonstrate the uniqueness of some of these characters. Hacamabavan, a brownie witch, had his home used for a mast (pine tree), so he followed, becoming a secret member of the crew essentially. While they sleep he tends to the crews wounds, taking care of the “big folk” and traveling the world. How about a shaved headed female dwarven antipaladin? Hmmm? Even better, she still thinks she's doing good work, balancing the scales, punishing the wicked and such.

Qulerac, hands down, one of the coolest usages of a common run of the mill creature I have ever seen. A cloaker, a giant cloaker to be specific, who impersonates a sail on whatever vessel he hires on to. Talk about hiding in plain sight, that's genius! Following along the same vein, how about a kapoacinth impersonating a figurehead upon the front bow of a ship? Either of these creatures would seriously shift the tide of a battle quickly, and make any playgroup rethink their entire approach to a vessel, which is exactly what I, as a GM, am looking for in my NPC designs. Well done!

-edit
No one likes to see errors in a PDF, but I love to see a publisher step up and fix them when they are there. With the recent update (that took all of about a day, nice turn around), I am raising my final rating on this book to where it should have been in the first place, a 5. Well done!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villainous Pirates
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Antimagic Field Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2012 14:47:52
The latest addition to the Summer of Bullets takes on that old iconic, the Antimagic Field. Going with four pages for this one, with color pieces of art (and pretty decent art at that), this Bullet Point follows all of the standard formats we've come to associate with this series (cover/intro page, 3 column format for new material, OGL).

Right of the bat, anything that turns the antimagic field into more than the one trick pony that it is makes me smile, but of course Owen does not stop there, making it very clear throughout this Bullet Point that these feats will work with many other spells that center on a caster, and have durations greater than instantaneous, or that work against magic effects. And yes, with every feat he gives a list of several of these additional spells beyond the antimagic field.

So, 6 new tricks for an old spell, what do we get out of this, well...how about the ability to cast antimagic field, and walk away, leaving it anchored in space. Nice thing here is if you use Anchored Feat on an information gathering spell (such as detect scrying), the info is still relayed back to you. The ability to set up your field to target one specific school, which could seriously screw with a specialist if you take down his magics, but leave your functioning, no? How about setting a field to automatically turn off, or suspend, when a certain set of conditions are met; i.e. Hero X crosses the field, Mage Z falls asleep, etc. Or, better yet, the capacity to simply suspend the field as a swift action?

Best of the bunch, as my personal pick, is going to have to be Wall Emanation. The capacity to reshape field spells into the classic 10' wall inspires so many evil additions to traps its not even funny.

Continuing with the theme of teaching old dogs new tricks by giving us new feats to help re-imagine iconic spells into new and interesting things to use once again, this addition to the Bullet Point line succeeds in its goal perfectly. Am very much liking the idea of enhancing spells through feats to gain differing effects, rather than changing the spell itself, as this allows the players a greater deal of customization, and personalization. Found only one editing hiccup (the word "one" instead of "on"), and am looking the other way on this one. Yet another loaded chamber guys, 5 out of 5!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Antimagic Field Feats
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Spell-Less Ranger Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/26/2012 17:01:48
Continuing the Summer of Bullets with 6 Feats for the Spell-Less Ranger, this addition to the Bullet Point series follows the standard 3 page, 3 column (for new material) approach. Two pieces of artwork, both color, and both really nice pieces. Editing/Grammar wise I found only one typo (halkf instead of the word half).

So, the Spell-Less Ranger (from Open Design) is our target this time, although as is pointed out these feats work well with Skirmishers from the Advanced Player's Guide as well. First off, lets just get this out of the way, I love the fact that Owen is not afraid to write to add to and enhance/support another 3PP's material. That is flat out awesome, and helps make sure that a great idea will continue to grow. Well done Owen!

As Owen has taken to listing the contents of each of these Bullet Points himself these days, it seems a little silly to take up space within this review rehashing that, so let's discuss instead my favorite of the bunch, shall we? Woodland Juggernaut. For far to long has the ranger been at the mercy of his armor, with the idea of ever wearing heavier armors denied him by the threat of lost abilities...when in fact the animals around him show without a doubt that nature comprehends armor. Emulating animals such as the Armadillo and Rhino, with this feat your ranger can utilize heavier armors without losing access to class features typically dependent upon lighter armors alone. A fantastic feat that opens the door fully for the ranger to step up into a front-line combatant.

With four of the remaining feats all focusing on the Favored class abilities and expanding or enhancing them, they are all solid feats well worth having, it is the first feat offered that I had to reread a few times to decide what I thought of. Bestial Surge, allows for a bonus to a skill, pretty simple right? Well, it does this via letting you tap into your spiritual connection to the animal kingdom....now, the first time I read this it felt kind of against the vein of a non arcane/mystical ranger to me, I won't lie. But as I let it mull over in my thoughts, I realize, we hear the term ranger and always think along the lines of Aragorn, what of Tarzan folks? Is he not the quintessential Spell-Less Ranger? And does he not perform amazing tests of physical skill that seems to be superhuman as if the very animals had infused their aura into him? No, the more I thought on this feat, the more I realize it is a perfect feat for this type of class, as one without spells of any nature, living amongst nature, is going to pay far more attention to the lessons that are there to learn, and would find themselves able to do things the rest of us could only marvel at.

In the end, another set of solid additions to the ever growing Bullets from the chambers of the SGG crew, yes, there was a typo, but I am not going to penalize even half a star for that, even if this is technically only a one page write up. Going with the full 5 star rating for another excellent addition, and looking forward to the next!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Spell-Less Ranger Feats
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The Genius Guide to the Death Knight
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 23:31:50
With a weight of 17 pages (two going to the cover and OGL/Credits pages), this PDF introduces us to the SGG answer for the Death Knight, an alternate class option, as opposed to an entirely new class. Essentially what we have here is a new skin for the anti-paladin, and an interesting skin to say the least.

Death Knights fall to two camps, those who respect the natural order of things, and those who want to watch it all crumble to ash, no matter how we get there. Alignments range from the neutral range through evil, with no good aligned death knights walking the planet anywhere (and seriously, who would want to cripple such a great idea with a good alignment anyway?). Presented with a small assortment of new feats, this was one of the areas I would have loved to see expanded upon, and expect to eventually see addressed in a future Bullet Point (hint hint). We are also given an assortment of new spells (the death knight casts from the anti-paladin spell list), with the majority of the spells focusing on Grave Summoning (in all nine of its levels) which allows for one to summon an undead to aid you. Grave Summoning easily dominates the entire spell section, both with the individual entries, and the chart detailing all of the available undead at the varying levels, as well as rules for customizing the lists by adding more undead for a more personal flair.

Amusingly one of the most interesting things covered within this PDF is not in regards to the death knight themselves, but to what is known as The Low Road, an extra-planar region wherein the souls of the dead travel to their final rest, a "highway" of the dead if you will, completely cut off from the living and organic, accessible only in the concept of summoning from, and even then only by those who would know it exists, as no mortals have ever truly witnessed it to be able to tell of it, as it can only be witnessed by the dead themselves. An interesting concept, and a great addition to the fluff of a campaign world in explaining why the other ethereal realms aren't choked full of the souls of the departed. Presented in such a way that a GM can easily leave it out if it isn't right for their campaign world though, as it is all fluff, with no crunch to have to work around, which was an excellent move on the part of Owen.

The class, if you can call it that as it blatantly states it is an alternative to the anti-paladin, using a great many of the anti-paladin class frameworks, has great flavor to it, and brings to the table an interesting build...but it also feels very much like there is more to be done here. Perhaps later down the road a revisit to the Death Knight will see it developed more through either new feats, spells, or class abilities...perhaps even all three. What is presented here is solid and good material, and it very much leaves you wanting more for this concept though, and that is exactly what a good design should do, leave you wanting more.

Found only one editing/grammar hiccup, a reference to death knights when it should have been death knight (I know, tiny mistakes right? lol), but was sad to see no bookmarks. Artwork is fairly decent, and spread throughout the PDF, far more than I expected to see actually.

Finalizing with a 4.5 star, that I shall round down to 4, as the no bookmarks, and potential to do so much more with this one kept it from a 5 for me. Now, having said that, this is still an excellent product, and a great base work for a character of this nature, and well worth the price of admission.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to the Death Knight
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Magic Missile Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 16:10:58
Again stepping up to the four page format, and again marked as a part of the Summer of Bullets, this addition to the Bullet Point series gives us 7 Feats to re-spark some creative juice into that old magical mainstay, the Magic Missile. With two pieces of B&W artwork, one being an Elmore stock the other being a Claudio Pozas piece we get no color art this time, but hey, the Bullet Points really aren't all about the art, so that's all good.

Editing wise, I believe there was a missed usage of the word “to”, and the addition of a stray “w” to the end of the word feats. There is also the unfortunate relic of a copy paste job in that two feats share the same description when they are obviously not the same.

Arcane Missiles allows you to confer the abilities of a magic arrow/bolt to a magic missile (only one in the case of a full volley of missiles).
Blinding Missiles allows you to sacrifice from the total amount of missiles you can cast to enhance the remaining missiles with the abilities to dazzle, blind, or cause foes to act as if affected by an obscuring mist spell.
Halo of Stars is quite possibly the feat that everyone who buys this PDF is going to be begging their GM's to allow...magic missiles hover and encircle their caster as motes of light, waiting to be targeted and sent off, in whatever numerical configuration you choose. And yes, they operate as a light source while buzzing around you as well.
Imbued Force allows you to enhance a melee weapon buy “casting” magic missile into it, allowing the weapon to be used as a force effect, thereby giving it the ability to hit ethereal targets.
Legendary Missiles is very much in my opinion simply another version of a Greater version of magic missile, albeit through the usage of a feat instead of a spell.
Pressure Points has at the time of this review the description for Blinding Missiles (I can only assume this is a copy/paste type of thing). The feat itself allows for a similar effect as Blinding Missiles, in that sacrificing missiles will get you additional effects for the remaining missiles, this time in dealing with the movement of your target.
Targeted Missile allows you to choose to roll an attack for your magic missile volley, thereby giving you access to critical hit options if you succeed with a critical.

So, deciding on where I stand here. Halo of Stars is sheer brilliance, flat out. Arcane, Blinding and Pressure show series potential for irritating my players (lol)....but, this Bullet Point had far more editing issues than I can overlook. So, design wise, easily worth the price of admission folks, and very much recommend, but am going to have to settle on a four when taking it all in to regard, as SGG has for quite some time set the bar when it comes to editing. Now, a quick change and an update, I'll be happy to re-evaluate that last star.

*edit - always like when a publisher listens and is willing to correct a mistake, and with the updated PDF now correcting the Pressure Points Feats, am more than happy to give that last star, making this a 5 star rating.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Magic Missile Feats
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Tobyart 012 - Dwarf Axeman
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 03:18:47
With a style that is instantly recognizable, one can not go wrong with stock art from Tobyart, period. His art is clean, it is clear, and it pops off of the page and demands attention.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 012 - Dwarf Axeman
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Magic Witch's Daggers
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 03:16:20
Another addition to the Bullet Point series following the 3 page standard, with a landscape orientation and a few pieces of B&W artwork (the pieces being of different dagger styled weapons). This time up we're looking at a few new Athames, the ceremonial dagger of the Witch, used mainly within their ritual hexing. Each Athame is presented as a magical item with a full statblock write up giving Aura, CL, Slot, Price, Weight and Construction Requirements as well as a full description. What I felt was missing though was the fact that all five of these items are in fact daggers, and therefore should have been presented with weapon statistics as well. Yes, anyone can assume they all do the standard dagger damage, but that may not be entirely true, as one may be larger, or perhaps designed oddly (the Hawksclaw) and therefore might do a damage that is different than the average dagger. Is an Athame typically wielded as a weapon? Probably not, but at the end of the day, that is what it is.

Each of the Athames presented here add an interesting flavor to this basic tool within a Witch's possession, and for that alone this PDF is worth the price, but the fact that each Athame also brings with it enhancements for the Witch to utilize makes it all the better.

An overall decent product, I would love to say great product, but the fact that the very idea of this PDF is to present Athames that are not the standard boring dagger, only to completely overlook damage ratings for them, that keeps this from being what it could have been for me. Settling for a 4 star rating, as I do like the hex enhancements, and the Athames are interesting in their variations.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Magic Witch's Daggers
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 3 New Supernatural Monster Abilities
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 03:01:58
Following the standard Bullet Point format with three pages, landscape orientation with new material presented with a three column format and a few pieces of stock art (one of which is truly creepy and cool), this addition to the Bullet Points series gives us three new abilities for monsters.

Beguiling Voice grants a monster that silver tongued ability to befriend and ingratiate themselves to any target, making it difficult for foes to follow through with hostile actions towards them.
Camouflage allows for a color changing ability within the outer hide/skin of the creature, allowing for a stealth check that can leave the monster with total concealment against those who do not make a high enough perception check.
Doubling Regeneration might be better known as the Hydra complex, as it allows for two limbs to grow back to replace any one that is severed, as long as there is no acid or fire damage done to the severed limb's stump before the growth can occur.

Perhaps shorter than many of the Bullet Points, the three abilities presented here are still all solid options, and are all presented with CR rules for their addition to a monster. Design wise the collection falls well within the range of still being a good value for the price, and more than worthy of the rating of 5 stars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 3 New Supernatural Monster Abilities
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Feats For The Undead
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 02:30:23
Following the standard Bullet Point layout of three pages in landscape mode, with the material being presented in a three column format, with a few pieces of B&W artwork (that cover piece being an excellent choice of stock art by the way), this addition to the Bullet Point series focuses on those not quite dead critters we GM's love to throw in wave after wave at our players.

Disturbing Movements is the feat for all of you fans of the Oriental ghost story movies, and will give you translated game mechanics to add the bizarre stop motion jerkiness to your undead.
Fulminate takes us further into Hollywood hilarity....when reduced low enough in hit points, the undead simply goes Ka-Boom! Dealing fire damage to a radius around their location. Best part, if the pieces aren't all found and dealt with, the undead reforms, lol
Mist Walk answers that question of how does that slow moving shuffling body always manage to get ahead of the people its chasing? Well, we'll suffice to say it's taking a shortcut, lol.
Putrid Spray will have your players rethinking their tactics in attacking your undead, as any hp damage can be answered with a spraying of putrid disease ridden puss.
Shadow Minion allows for the ultimate dark Peter Pan moment, as it allows you to detach your shadow, using it as a loyal agent....ohhh, the wrongness that creeps through my brain in pondering the many many usages for this.
Staggering Consequences is an interesting concept in that it allows an undead to “hold on” to the energy of an energy attack used against them a few rounds, creating an “aura” of this energy around them that can damage those within surrounding areas. i.e. acid attacks would hang on their outer skin and drip off as caustic fluids, ice forms a frozen mist, burst into flames, etc.
Weapon Bind I can see a crafty GM using as a great way to remind a group that there is more to surviving then simply owning the biggest weapon. With this feat an undead has a higher percentage of catching an attacker's weapon within their body, forcing an opponent to free their weapon before being able to use it again.

Editing as usual falls within the top notch category, and the feats are all well thought out in that they all bring an interesting new twist to the table for a GM to make an encounter with undead something the players won't soon forget. Well worth the price, and an easy 5 stars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Feats For The Undead
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Spiritual Weapon Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 02:02:32
Following the three page, landscape with three pieces of B&W artwork (all weaponry this time), with material presented in a three column approach, this Bullet Point stays within the format we've all come to know as the Bullet Point look.

Six new flavorful feats to turn spiritual weapon into a spell with more creativity behind it, we are presented such options as:

Large Spiritual Weapon OK, this was almost the prerequisite, knew it was going to be on the list, type of thing, as no list of this nature is complete until we get this one out of the way.
Spiritual Arcana trades on the attack bonus points from your Wisdom bonus for a list of different weapon special abilities. Massive potential in this one for the player willing to experiment with it, could easily see this being one of those feats that becomes a go to for always having the right means of attack at hand.
Spiritual Arsenal gives the player a greater flexibility in what manner of weapon forms from the spell, allowing them to choose weapon forms from any melee weapon they are proficient with.
Spiritual Sheath allows you to push “pause” on the duration of a summoned weapon, allowing the weapon to dissipate, recalling the weapon when ready without losing any time remaining within its duration.
Spiritual Specializationlets you combine the weapon focus feat to add additional damage based upon your ability scores.
Two-Spirit Fighting allows you summon two weapons instead of one, with a specific set of damage and attack penalties coming along with the two weapon attack concept.

Overall, an excellent set of feats, fantastic editing, and pretty much everything I expect from a Bullet Point addition. Well worth the price of admission folks, another 5 star to the SGG crew.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Spiritual Weapon Feats
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 12 Alternatives For The Fighter's Bravery Class Feature
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2012 01:45:53
Weighing in with the standard three page landscape format, with material presented in a three column format with three pieces of B&W stock artwork, some being better than others.

Ah, fighters....at the end of the day the fighter class is just to vanilla for some folks, with far to many builds ending up the same old same old...luckily Owen likes to throw spice in the bowl from time to time to add the options of variety, so let us see what he has given us this time, shall we?

Each of the options included are intended to replace the Bravery ability given fighters, and I think I'm going to limit my comments to a handful that stood out, as I know Owen has already given a shortlist, and End has as well in his review, so I see no reason to rehash.

Defensive and Offensive Stance are both great options, in that you choose one CMD and gain a bonus to either defend against it, or do it, depending on whether you go defensive or offensive, the bonus increases as you gain levels.
Physical Prowess gains the fighter a bonus against strength checks and all strength based skill checks
Quick Healer would have to be my favorite off of this list, as it vastly alters the rate at which a character heals damage through non-magical means.
Weapon Familiarity lowers those pesky penalties for using weaponry that one might not be entirely familiar with, which is always annoying in those chaotic combats when one finds themselves holding their enemies weapon in their left hand, and a chicken in their right.

An overall excellent batch of alternatives to the Bravery ability, and an interesting concept for another series to be introduced to the Bullet Points, as there are several other class abilities that could benefit from a list of alternates. Hopefully this sells well enough to warrant more of this nature being done.
A solid 5 star rating.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 12 Alternatives For The Fighter's Bravery Class Feature
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