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Monster Movie Matinee
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/09/2014 21:28:56
Monster Movie Matinee provides ten new monsters plucked from horror and other movies and able to be dropped into a Pathfinder campaign. While some are probably best suited to one-shot adventures, others could be woven into an ongoing campaign. Pretty much, this product does what it says on the tin, if you want some movie monsters to bedevil your players, this is for you.

Monster Movie Matinee by Fat Goblin Games is a monster sourcebook for Pathfinder featuring versions of famous movie monster for use in your campaign. The monsters range from CR 3 to 11, a good spread, and while most are lone threats several can operate in groups providing a wide range of encounter options.

Each monster gets a two-page spread complete with full color illustration and it is an interesting collection of famous movie creatures and part of the fun is matching the creature to the source (though there is a watching list in the back that spoils all that). The adaption of movie abilities to Pathfinder is quite well done and there is some very nice design work here.

While I would have liked some magic items and adventure seeds tied to the creatures, most GMs probably already have their own ideas how to use them so it is not as much of an issue. A well done and most amusing product.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Movie Matinee
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The Manor, Issue #7
Publisher: GM Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2014 09:31:47
The Manor, Issue 7 is a short publication dedicated to the OSR (Old School) branch of fantasy roleplaying. This issue contains the following articles:

Boltswitch's Mobile Potion Emporium, a traveling seller of potions, all done through prose which is an interesting choice.
Skinwalker, a trickster/minor shapeshifter class based on the Native American view of Coyote. Short and direct, my have a place in some campaigns.
Mirror, Mirror, a selection of rather potent magical mirrors. While I would not use them as written, good inspiration.
Trouble in the Well, a short adventure for when you need something to fill time between largest adventures which is always useful.
Horrid Caves, a longer adventure exploring a cave network containing things from the distant past and ancient magics. I had great fun running this adventure for my Pathfinder group.
Lastly, a Mindflayer Haiku and picture wraps this issue up, disturbing but amusing.

All in all, quite fun and full of tools for OSR (or other fantasy) games.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #7
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Halloween Horrors (Supers!)
Publisher: Soultaker Studios
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/22/2014 13:42:17
Halloween Horrors provides six supernatural foes suitable for modern superhero games, though they could easily be adjusted to find modern horror games as well. A good source of inspiration for horror-based adventures, nothing too deep here but the horrors are easy to use and should spark an adventure when you need one.

Halloween Horrors is a selection of six horror enemies for the Supers! RPG. Each monster entry is framed by an entry from the journal of Xavier Stone, Occultist, and his planned confrontation with each creature which is a good conceit (and Xavier gets statted out in the back).

Each horror gets a brief description, an illustration (and an a-frame standee to print in the back) and a plot seed (in a “Terror-tastic Tidbit” sidebar), the actual character sheet for each creature is in a separate section at the back.

It is a good spread with the traditional horror represented by the barghest, nightmares get the Dream Reaver, otherworldly horrors (called “Those who wait Beyond the Veil” here) have the Eye of Phugg and the Ghost of Hollis Whatley, while modern urban horror is represented by the Gingerdead Man (a possessed cookie creature) and the Postman. Though the horrors are all designed for the Supers! System, it is a light system and they should be easy enough to convert over to any other superheroic or modern horror system.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Halloween Horrors (Supers!)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to review Halloween Horrors Sean. I appreciate it very much
Tome of Twisted Things
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/15/2014 16:26:36
While not for every campaign, the Tome of Twisted Things is full of interesting and useful ideas and resources that could be easily incorporated into a campaign. Mostly they will fit into a campaign world where the fight between good and evil is brutal and where good is losing ground that is the sort of situation where the Darkborn and Avengers would thrive. My only real complaint is the pinkish background of the PDF which is a little disturbing to stare at.

The Tome of Twisted Things is a selection of darkness-tinged resources for Pathfinder, new prestige and variant classes, a new race and supporting feats. It begins with the Darkborn prestige class who draw upon the power of evil to defeat evil, a classic conceit. They must balance their dedication to good with their increasing urge to do evil. The class has powers called ‘darkweaves’ that are activated by bidding their ‘wickedness’ against the purity of their target, which is an interesting mechanic. They gain some interesting power but must always be fighting against the temptation to embrace the evil that fuels their abilities. Good stuff. But it seems that they should have knowledge (planes) as a class skill as they have several abilities that interact with outsiders.

Next up is the Avenger, a paladin variant that serves the god of retribution and is focused on settling scores, injure them and get stronger against the thing that injured them. The Ruiner is an anti-paladin archetype who just wants to tear down the world and gains bonuses when doing so. The Tyrant prestige class wraps up the class section with someone who wants to rule and will crush any who oppose that vision, an interesting option for lawful villains.

The new race is the Warped, children of a summoner and an eidolon, these are the definition of unusual but interesting. They gain access to a very limited amount of eidolon evolution but have no place where they fit in, being so rare and strange, making them a perfect sort for becoming adventurers. The warped also have access to two class archetypes: the Bloodborn (summoner) who summon creatures from their own blood, and the Monk of the Flowing Form, who master the adaptability of their own body.

Twenty new feats, and one new trait, round out this work, all but one dealing with class or race abilities from this product, but they provide a variety of interesting -if niche- options.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Twisted Things
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Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/10/2014 21:23:25
Shadowrun: Stolen Souls advances elements of the Sixth World’s metaplot while providing some useful resources and advice. Do you need this book? Well, if you want to understand the mystery of the Head Cases, yes. If you want to run a game set in 2070s New York, yes. But for me, it is the discussion of extraction tricks and tactics that makes this book immensely useful as it is one of my favorite types of mission to use as a GM. But your campaign is your campaign, so see if this will help and purchase it if the answer is yes.

Shadowrun: Stolen Souls is a heavy metaplot sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun providing information on the CFD (Cognitive Fragmentation Disorder) ‘virus’ that is turning people into, well, different people referred to as “head cases” as well as a few other subjects, such as what is going on in New York and advice for extractions.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then a (in game world) discussion of CFD, its possible origin or origins, how it spreads, how it manifests and what means have been tried to cure victims of it. This is the largest part of the book, tasking up about half of the page count between in game information and new rules for CFD. CFD and head cases are an important development in the Shadowrun metaplot, an existential threat to all but especially users of nanotech. But, as it “rewrites” the personality of the effected, it should be used on player characters only with extreme caution, and certainly with permission before hand, as it is a huge assault on player autonomy. My recommendation would be to primarily use CFD as a background element and threat but rarely have the player characters directly encounter it (unless they want to make the campaign about it).

Next we move to New York, a battleground for a variety of major players but especially between NeoNET and Saeder-Krupp both seeking to claim the “largest megacorp” spot and the Big Apple seems to be the focal point for that showdown. There is lots of good information on the city but some supporting contacts and adventure seeds could have really made this sing as far as usefulness for a GM goes. And an image of the new New York skyline would have gone a long way toward helping to sell the image of the city they are trying to describe here.

Lastly, there is a section entitled Stealing Living Goods which focuses on that most Shadowrun of mission, the extraction (kidnaping by another name). This section is useful for both GM and player to understand the tricks and perils of the extraction game and what can go wrong, which is a lot. There is also new magic, both spells and adept powers, useful for non-combat tricks, handy drugs, new vehicles (and rules to modify them to look official) and other handy items to aid in the performance of extractions. Something for just about everyone in the new toys department.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2014 16:45:41
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire is all about magic in the Sixth World, from both from a roleplaying and mechanic side. It is a useful book, almost required if you intend to highlight the magical side of a Shadowrun campaign, but it could be more tightly organized and better edited, a few parts being confusing to read. That being said, it does have a lot of useful material allowing for magic to be used in much more interesting ways and it should spark a host of ideas for any Shadowrun GM even though it lacks any explicit GM direction in the book.

Shadowrun: Street Grimoire, is the second major sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun providing more information for GMs and the players on the role and dangers of magic in the Shadowrun world.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then an (in game world) discussion on what it is like being one of the rare group of people who can manipulate magic in the Shadowrun future. It is a very general overview and touches on how magic colors education, tradition and (of course) dealing with the corporations and in the shadows. While just an overview, still a useful introduction to how magic fits into society in the 2070s.

Next it moves into magic in the world, which discusses a bit of how magic works on a theoretical level but mostly in about the strange magical phenomenon that are out there, ley lines, mana storms and other such strange things that can just ruin a magically active character’s day. Then magical traditions are expanded upon giving more cultural options from all around the world, and the appropriate rules for playing them, but sadly the psionic tradition (one of my favorites from earlier editions) was not included.

Magical societies are explored from with sample societies from corporate to religious, local to secret societies, this gives a good look at the wide range of such groups in the Sixth World and most include a paragraph about how they interact with the shadows. Dark Magic follows with the best of the worst: blood magic, toxic magic, alien and insect spirits. The dark paths get their own magical themes and powers, which are suitably disturbing, but there is not much of a framework for how to use them beyond some very basic discussion of the sorts that are attracted to such magic. But what do insect shaman look for in a lair? How would they recruit? Is toxic magic infectious? Some more advice on how to use these dark tradition to build interesting scenarios and antagonists would have been very helpful.

Players and GMs alike will enough the options presented by the Expanded Grimoire with more than one hundred new spells, including the fifth edition version of such favorites as Fashion and Turn to Goo, new elemental effect of water and (for toxic magic) pollution and radiation are presented as well. But, no rules or even guidelines are presented for creating new spells, which is a bit of a shame. Shadow Rituals gives new ways to use ritual magic including lots of new wards, ways to interact with ley lines and more including some neat tricks allowing links to animals and forensic magic. Secrets of the Initiates expands the skills that can be learned and used by initiates and provides and expands the roles and profession that magic can be used for including forensic magic, exorcism, advanced alchemy while adepts get focused ways to apply their paths.

Physical Magic is all about the adepts, including mystical adepts, and includes a wide variety of new adept powers as well as the ability to focus in particular types of adept powers by use of the Ways (way of the artist, the invisible way and so on). The Immaterial Touch delves into the spirit world in more detail, covering ally and free spirits, new spirit types and even new mentor spirits (though only four of those). Lastly, rules for one’s reputation in the spirit world are provided, providing penalties to those who routinely abuse spirits.

The last two sections of the book are for the alchemists and talismongers: Turning Lead into Nuyen provides new ways to use alchemy and advanced alchemical preparations. While The Life of a Talismonger provides a primer for the business aspects of being a talismonger including enhanced rules on harvesting reagents and focus design.

Then the book ends, no index, no collection of tables. Which is a drag, though it does have a decent table of contents in the front, a gathered list of where to find the new qualities scattered through the book (at a minimum) would have been helpful.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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In The Company of Fey: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2014 22:21:07
In the Company of Fey by Rite Publishing provides more options for the Fae, allowing them to be played as characters or created as more fulled formed NPCs. Following a lengthy discussion of the way the fae view and interact with the mortal world, the First Folk, a playable fae race, are detailed complete with alternate racial traits, two class archetypes and a twenty level racial paragon class. The paragon class gains various fae powers center on their choice of an aspect, the paragon has a variety of abilities that interact with the core abilities of other classes making it useful for multiclassing options, though it is very much a class based on its own special ability chains. Because of its ability to build very specialized character from the paragon class, it is well suited to building characters to challenge player characters in narrowly focused ways. Eight new feats for the First Folk round out the resources presented. This is another useful resource for the fae and while the racial paragon class is not for everyone it is full of useful ideas and inspiration for the fae in a campaign.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Fey:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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Dark Fey (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2014 22:18:32
Dark Fey by Kobold Press is a collection of fae creatures and beings for use as antagonists and (possibly though unlikely) allies. After a short introduction to the Fae Courts of Midgard, this product introduces eighteen fae, ranging from CR 1 to 12, and a template for Fey Animals, most of the fae comes with a paragraph of designer’s notes which often discuses the origin of the fae in question. There is a good mix of challenges here, sneaky, magical and cunning foes all make their appearance and from a variety of environments, it should be possible to weave a variety of encounters from them. A feat and a new magic item, both linked to the fae included, are presented. As one expects from Kobold Press, a solid and useful resource for a campaign that has use of the fae as potential threats.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Fey (Pathfinder RPG)
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Faerie Passions
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/13/2014 10:31:56
Faerie Passions by Legendary Games is "[a] supplement devoted to the iconic romance between mortal and immortal" and show what happens from such romances and passions, it is also designed to compliment a certain King-making Pathfinder adventure path. After an introduction to how this product can be used with an adventure path, it has an excellent introduction to the ways that the fae interact with the mortal world and how their passions and mortal one's intersect and the end results of such. Five new sorcerer bloodlines playing off of the idea of fae heritage are introduced: dryad, neriad, nymph, norn and satyr. Along with two new archetypes, the Fey Friend druid, who walks the intersection between faerie and nature, and the Fey Hunter ranger, who, well, hunts dangerous fae. While the new mechanics are solid, this work really shines in its advice on how to use the fae in a campaign, mechanically some feats or traits to allow characters outside of sorcerers to show their fae heritage would have been a nice addition, but in the end, a good bit of work here.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Faerie Passions
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Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/12/2014 16:28:09
Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes by Rite Publishing provides three new archetypes, seven new feats and a new monster for the Pathfinder RPG. The three archetypes are: Faerie Knight, a Cavalier variant, that serves one of the fae courts gaining a fae mount -with whom the knight can perform various magical abilities- and access to allies from the realm. Laughing Man, built off of the monk, who uses words to manipulate his foes as much as weapons, the class uses skill rolls quite heavily but looks like it could be fun for the right player. And the Masquerade Reveler, a Barbarian variants, who uses masks built off of Eidion powers (from the Summoner class) as their "rage" effect. a vary interesting archetype that looks quite intriguing. The new feats are mostly linked to the new archetypes but three of them could be used by others. Lastly there is the new fae being, the Gancanagh, a trickster and seducer adapted from Irish and Scottish lore which could be used for a variety of tricky scenarios. Overall, a good selection of options on a relatively narrow theme, so if you are looking to expand the role of the fae in your campaign you should find some inspiration here.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
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Improbable Tales Volume 1 Compilation
Publisher: Fainting Goat Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/06/2014 12:02:38
If your Icons game is light-hearted, mostly four-color adventurism then Improbable Tales Volume 1 should provide an excellent set of short adventures for your campaign. These adventures are fun and have a great spirit of comic adventure, only a few taking dark turns, if such fits you campaign style (and if you are playing Icons, it probably does) give this collection a look.

Improbable Tales Volume 1 Compilation, from Fainting Goat Games contains eleven adventures for Icons, each designed to be done in a session or two. Each short adventure includes several scenes, full statistics (and art of) the major characters and printout paper standees for the adventures. The first few also have their own mock advertisements in the style of the Hostess ads in superhero comics from the 70s which I found charming.

Primarily, the tone of these adventures is light, fighting giant ants, super-intelligent gorillas or Nazi zombies, and follows a basic comic book progression of scenes ending with the requisite final confrontation with the major supervillain. Most are designed to be dropped into an existing campaign, with an NPC (or two) provided to act as an aid to do such though one adventure (Tokyo Kaiju Chaos) works better -as it is a pastiche of Japanese sentai shows- to have character built specifically for it. There are considerable call outs to pop culture scattered through the adventure, everything from 1950s atomic horror to the Lovecraftian mythos, 1980s cartoons and classic superheroic characters and more all have their cameos. There are the occasion sidebar suggesting possible changes and problems, and solutions, that came up in the adventures while playtesting.

The Improbable Tales adventures are excellent to fill in the space between campaign arcs or when you just need something quick for a night’s superheroic action.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Improbable Tales Volume 1 Compilation
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[PFRPG] Player's Options: Half-Orcs
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/29/2014 11:16:02
Player’s Options: Half-Orcs begins with Orc-kith, those who have more distant orc blood, and the unhappy Sharukh, half dwarf and half orc, both look good mechanically but the Sharukh seems like a vanishingly rare creature. The eighteen new feats are primarily combat oriented, brutish charm being a notable and amusing exception, several of them are “storm” feats which can only be used in the first round of combat (and not in conjunction with each others) that are quite effective, despite the combat focus there is an interesting selection of way to customize a character here. The six flaws focus of the physical or psychological damage that being among the orcs can cause, most are unpleasant but not unreasonable. The equipment section is the weakest part of this product: an iron jaw to improve bite attacks, a better whip, a “human seeming” kit and scarification kit, what stands out is the idea of the arena mask (a customized helmet that identifying the fighter) is good but should it not provide a minor bonus to intimidation? While the equipment section is weak and the Sharukh seems unusably niche, the product as a whole is solid and worthwhile for those who make use of half-orcs in a campaign.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Player's Options: Half-Orcs
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[PFRPG] Player's Options: Half-Elves
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/29/2014 11:14:28
Player’s Options: Half-Elves provides Strandlings, half aquatic elves, and Wellens, children of a half-elven union, as their racial variants, both have good roleplaying potential and interesting mechanics though the Wellens’ enthusiastic ability, which can negate surprise, may be a little too powerful. Fifteen new feats emphasize the half-elven ability to adapt, though unpredictable behavior (which gives a combat bonus) and versatile hands (which help craft, preform and profession) may be a bit on the strong side. The eight flaws play off of either the physical or social effects of being of mixed heritage and can be useful to inspire roleplaying even if not used in full. The new equipment comprises a weaponized buckler, a bow that can be used as a melee weapon and a specialized type of rope, nothing ground breaking here. Overall, a useful set of ideas and options for half-elves and if they play a major part in your campaign world or you are a fan of playing them, this may be a worthwhile investment.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Player's Options: Half-Elves
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Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/25/2014 16:18:00
Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls is a fun source book, while they do not necessarily have a place in all campaign, there are enough options here that a GM should be able to find a way to use one if they want. Equally a short “all toys” campaign would be rather fun using these rules. While there are a few odd bits and one important oversight in the rules proved, overall it is a strong, if niche, addition to the races available for Pathfinder.

Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls is a new “race” for Pathfinder and an unusual one, not a race of flesh and blood but a constructed race animated by magic of various sorts, toys by a child’s love, dolls by dark magic, or other combinations.

Wooden toys, marionettes, stuffed animals, porcelain dolls and cloth dolls are all variants built off of the same basic rules. They are “constructed” which means that they suffer the limitation of a construct (no healing, cannot be raised), along with vulnerability to fire, with only some of the advantages, gaining bonuses against disease, poison and similar effects which leads to some potentially odd situations (how does a blood disease manifest on a bloodless being or a nerve toxin punish a creature without nerves?). Each Living Doll is further customized with four Construction Points which can be used to buy an animation type (Child’s Love, Dark Arts, Lost Soul or Magic Surge are the choices, all of which imply intriguing back stories) or other minor abilities based on construction or origin.

To further support the new race there are: nine new feats, all building nicely off of the established themes. Seven racial traits, including the amusing Shift the Blame, which gives bonuses for doing exactly that. Five new items, all toys used as weapons, knucklebones and marbles to impede your foes, rubber balls as thrown weapons (which probably should do non-lethal damage), wooden swords and the probably too effective yo-yo (and certainly too heavy, a five-pound yo-yo?) and three new magic items. Four archetypes, mother bear (barbarian), toy soldier (fighter), possessed doll (oracle) and voodoo doll (witch) are presented along with rocking horse, an archetype/template for the animal companion of a living doll, complete the product.

The one thing that needed to be addressed for the living dolls to really work in a campaign is, how do they “heal”? By their description they “cannot be healed through normal, divine healing or channeled energy.” The repair object rules do not apply very well so it would have been nice to have had this addressed in the rules rather than forcing a GM to solve it on their own. Apart from that, Living Dolls is an excellent addition to the options available for Pathfinder races.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
Publisher: Kyoudai Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/20/2014 19:56:52
Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting is an interesting book, obviously if you want to run a campaign set in the world of Aden this is a must buy item, but what if you are just a Pathfinder GM? Well, in that case, it depends on how much use you think you will get out of the new races, classes and rules. If you want to move your campaign in a more magical steampunk sort of direction, there are considerable tools to support that especially of you want to make vehicles more important to your game. Want to have a corrupting evil that spawns twisted agents? There are tools for that. For me, the insect druid Entropomancer is almost enough reason alone to have the book, but not every campaign has a place for such a class. But each GM will have to make the call for themself.

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting by Kyoudai Games for use with the Pathfinder RPG is based on the World of Aden used in the SSI computer game created by Shane Hensley and developed in both novels and source books. This current version is written by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf and was made possible by a Kickstarter.

The World of Aden mixes magic with technology, steam-powered vehicles, gunpowder weaponry and mechanical golems. Opposing this are the sinister powers of the Darkfall and the nightmare creatures it has awoken.

Found in Aden are seven new races and nine new classes:

As well as traditional dwarves and elves (and half elves) such as: Faerkin, a small fey-touched race. The Ferran, race of magically evolved animals that come in various subraces, predator, brute and sneak, to allow them to be customized to various animal types. Goreaux and Jurak are variants of goblin and orc respectively. Rapacians are lizard folk. The most unusual are the Echoes, a spirit race that must take on the form of someone dead, and the Ilithix Exiles, a race of intelligent insects with interesting abilities from that heritage.

The new classes draw upon the nature of Aden: The Arbiter mixes high, but focused, combat potential with an investigative skill set, though it remains primarily a combat-oriented class. A Druid variant, the Entromancer, which focuses on the control of insects and other such creatures and is by far my favorite class in the book. Several of the classes mix magic and technology, the Golomoid (who enhance themselves with golem-tech), the Mechamage (who make golems), Steamwright (steamtech tinkers) and Thunderscouts (master of vehicles). The Fallen are an interesting class, representing those who have been touched by the Darkfall but not subverted by it (though it can also be used to model those as well) who use the tools of evil to fight. Seers, who look beyond, and Thamaturges, who tap into the abilities of ancient heroes, also provide interesting options for characters. As a nice touch, three example characters (only a paragraph though) for each class are presented just to give a feel for the class in Aden.

Existing classes are given a handful of new archetypes and how they fit into the setting of Aden as well as two example characters for each class. Next are traits and feats, the Folk Magic Trait is especially clever and has a potential wide application, while most of the feats apply to the new races and classes. A brief section covers new uses for skill in Aden, nothing groundbreaking but useful.

Then it moves into history and the nations of Aden, each getting a multi-page description that lays it out as a place to go and adventure in with the current political and military situation and a lovely flag. It would have been nice to see some adventure hooks for each of the areas and points of interest, but what is here being serviceable.

Next it is back to rules with new spells, after a discussion of the place of magic in Aden, mostly to fill out the spell selection for Entromancers and Mechamages. Followed by new equipment, including firearms, mechamagic weapons (magmaxe!), vehicles and rules for customizing vehicles, and a handful of new magic items. A selection of Aden specific monsters and templates finishes off the book along with an index (always useful).

There is a considerable amount of useful material here for any Pathfinder game but it is very focused on the steam-magic world of Aden and will require adaptation, possibly considerable adaption, to fit into other campaign worlds.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
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