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Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 04:05:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we all have presumably played an adventure in a Sanatorium, right? At least those of us who enjoy dark fantasy and roleplaying games will know the tropes at this point. There's a reason for that, and it is mainly due to reality and how we see sanatoriums and the treatment methods employed there - while, from our modern perspective, e.g. lobotomies may look barbaric, not so long ago, they were considered to be a fantastic, extremely humane form of treatment. The advances in medicine have colored our view of these facilities and that bleeds, of course, into the games we play.

This modern notion of medicine has influenced and shaped the respective representations of sanatoriums in the fantasy games we play - which btw. is closer to a Early Modern period in mindset and technology than the Medieval Age, but that as an aside. Sanatoriums are a pretty recent innovation, as far as our species is concerned, so we do have, by definition, a sort of anachronism here. At the same time, however, it is surprising that the original spirit of sanatoriums has not really been represented in gaming -the idea of healing the body and mind in an environment conductive for such treatments is something I have only very rarely seen in gaming -perchance due to the prevalence of divine magic. Now, if one takes into account, however, the different afflictions that beings can have in a fantastic context, the institution suddenly makes sense once more - from curses to possessions and worse, there are plenty of afflictions that aren't easily healed by means of magic. This is where this sanatorium comes in.

The institution is headed by a rather brilliant scholar, with further staff being a doctor prone to quick diagnosis, a none-too-nice chief of staff...and the fortified grounds include a garden and some fluffy write-ups for patients - from beings halfway transformed to a skum, kept here to prevent the poor being from going to the ocean, to the possessed, with malignant spirits seeking freedom, the patients here are dangerous...and include benevolent werewolves. Still, with the marketplace section of neat items to purchase and 6 sample rumors (some being nasty and playing to the bad reputation of sanatoriums) as well as 6 events, we have an overall great locale...and if you do want to use this in a more traditional manner, you're covered - one NPC can be used as a malignant infiltrator and BBEG, if you wish to use the place in a more traditional manner...or if you want to have this place of healing transform...or come under threat.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artwork of the sanitarium is an amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

David N. Ross' sanatorium is a great place - it inverts the traditional expectations of such locales in roleplaying games, while still allowing for the use in a traditional context. the characters presented, from the staff to the patients, are similarly colorful, with most being capable of carrying at least a session or sidequest, making this a rewarding place to include in your game. In short, the pdf is great and rewarding for the low and very fair price point. The optional trope inversion adds a nice level to this pdf as well - nothing to complain regarding this gem. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Fantastic! Thank you for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Raveneye so much!
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (SNE)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 04:04:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we all have presumably played an adventure in a Sanatorium, right? At least those of us who enjoy dark fantasy and roleplaying games will know the tropes at this point. There's a reason for that, and it is mainly due to reality and how we see sanatoriums and the treatment methods employed there - while, from our modern perspective, e.g. lobotomies may look barbaric, not so long ago, they were considered to be a fantastic, extremely humane form of treatment. The advances in medicine have colored our view of these facilities and that bleeds, of course, into the games we play.

This modern notion of medicine has influenced and shaped the respective representations of sanatoriums in the fantasy games we play - which btw. is closer to a Early Modern period in mindset and technology than the Medieval Age, but that as an aside. Sanatoriums are a pretty recent innovation, as far as our species is concerned, so we do have, by definition, a sort of anachronism here. At the same time, however, it is surprising that the original spirit of sanatoriums has not really been represented in gaming -the idea of healing the body and mind in an environment conductive for such treatments is something I have only very rarely seen in gaming -perchance due to the prevalence of divine magic. Now, if one takes into account, however, the different afflictions that beings can have in a fantastic context, the institution suddenly makes sense once more - from curses to possessions and worse, there are plenty of afflictions that aren't easily healed by means of magic. This is where this sanatorium comes in.

The institution is headed by a rather brilliant scholar, with further staff being a doctor prone to quick diagnosis, a none-too-nice chief of staff...and the fortified grounds include a garden and some fluffy write-ups for patients - from beings halfway transformed to a skum, kept here to prevent the poor being from going to the ocean, to the possessed, with malignant spirits seeking freedom, the patients here are dangerous...and include benevolent werewolves. Still, with 6 sample rumors (some being nasty and playing to the bad reputation of sanatoriums) as well as 6 events, we have an overall great locale...and if you do want to use this in a more traditional manner, you're covered - one NPC can be used as a malignant infiltrator and BBEG, if you wish to use the place in a more traditional manner...or if you want to have this place of healing transform...or come under threat. Really nice, btw.: The system neutral version, big plus, actually does come with a marketplace section of goods and services to acquire, which is really nice to see. As a VERY minor nitpick, some NPCs are called "wizards", not "magic-users."

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artwork of the sanitarium is an amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

David N. Ross' sanatorium is a great place - it inverts the traditional expectations of such locales in roleplaying games, while still allowing for the use in a traditional context. the characters presented, from the staff to the patients, are similarly colorful, with most being capable of carrying at least a session or sidequest, making this a rewarding place to include in your game. In short, the pdf is great and rewarding for the low and very fair price point. The optional trope inversion adds a nice level to this pdf as well - nothing to complain regarding this gem. This pdf doesn't lose anything in the system neutral iteration, with only aforementioned, very minor terminology hiccup. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (SNE)
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Fantastic! Thank you for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Raveneye so much!
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (5e)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 04:02:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we all have presumably played an adventure in a Sanatorium, right? At least those of us who enjoy dark fantasy and roleplaying games will know the tropes at this point. There's a reason for that, and it is mainly due to reality and how we see sanatoriums and the treatment methods employed there - while, from our modern perspective, e.g. lobotomies may look barbaric, not so long ago, they were considered to be a fantastic, extremely humane form of treatment. The advances in medicine have colored our view of these facilities and that bleeds, of course, into the games we play.

This modern notion of medicine has influenced and shaped the respective representations of sanatoriums in the fantasy games we play - which btw. is closer to a Early Modern period in mindset and technology than the Medieval Age, but that as an aside. Sanatoriums are a pretty recent innovation, as far as our species is concerned, so we do have, by definition, a sort of anachronism here. At the same time, however, it is surprising that the original spirit of sanatoriums has not really been represented in gaming -the idea of healing the body and mind in an environment conductive for such treatments is something I have only very rarely seen in gaming -perchance due to the prevalence of divine magic. Now, if one takes into account, however, the different afflictions that beings can have in a fantastic context, the institution suddenly makes sense once more - from curses to possessions and worse, there are plenty of afflictions that aren't easily healed by means of magic. This is where this sanatorium comes in.

The institution is headed by a rather brilliant scholar, with further staff being a doctor prone to quick diagnosis, a none-too-nice chief of staff...and the fortified grounds include a garden and some fluffy write-ups for patients - from beings halfway transformed to a skum, kept here to prevent the poor being from going to the ocean, to the possessed, with malignant spirits seeking freedom, the patients here are dangerous...and include benevolent werewolves. Still, with 6 sample rumors (some being nasty and playing to the bad reputation of sanatoriums) as well as 6 events, we have an overall great locale...and if you do want to use this in a more traditional manner, you're covered - one NPC can be used as a malignant infiltrator and BBEG, if you wish to use the place in a more traditional manner...or if you want to have this place of healing transform...or come under threat. The NPC stats have been properly correlated to the default NPC-cadre and the pdf does contains a properly modified marketplace section for 5e - big plus and kudos for going the extra mile here!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artwork of the sanitarium is an amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

David N. Ross' sanatorium is a great place - it inverts the traditional expectations of such locales in roleplaying games, while still allowing for the use in a traditional context. the characters presented, from the staff to the patients, are similarly colorful, with most being capable of carrying at least a session or sidequest, making this a rewarding place to include in your game. In short, the pdf is great and rewarding for the low and very fair price point. The optional trope inversion adds a nice level to this pdf as well - nothing to complain regarding this gem. The 5e-version of the fie is just as cool as the other iterations, making this a compelling and cool supplement, worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (5e)
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Fantastic! Thank you for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Raveneye so much!
CLASSifieds: The Wind-Warrior
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 03:57:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the CLASSifieds-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The wind-warrior class presented herein gains d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, full BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves as well as proficiency with simple weapons, one-handed martial weapons, light armor as well as katana, naginata and wakizashi. Starting at 1st level, the wind-warrior may use Dexterity instead of Strength modifier with one-handed weapons capable of dealing slashing damage (oddly locking out the naginata -making me think it may have been a leftover from a previous iteration) with the Way of the leaf ability. Starting at 3rd level, the ability is upgraded to provide Dex to damage instead of Str-mod as well. Starting at 5th level, using way of the leaf provides a visible wind-effect that nets +1 to atk and damage while using Way of the Leaf, which increases by +1 every 4 levels thereafter. At 18th level, the critical multiplier of weapons used in conjunction with way of the leaf increases by 1.

2nd level provides an interesting ability that is pretty important for the class – a flurry of sorts, which comes with the standard -2 penalty and stacks with haste – all in all, solid in wording etc. However, 2nd level provides a more important ability, namely boundless step: When making a full attack and successfully striking the enemy, the wind-warrior may take a 5-foot-step. Kudos: it gets the interaction with the regular 5-foot-step right and even the action economy. The movement has to remain in the threatened area of the target and movement provides a stacking dodge bonus for such movement, which plays more interesting than it looks on paper. Starting at 7th level, this ability allows for the ignoring of difficult terrain and at 10th level, things become interesting, making these steps 10-foot steps that count as two steps each. The ability also has a cap per round – while the wording is missing a “times” in the ½ class level times per round cap, that is a cosmetic oversight.

On the defensive side of things, the class gains uncanny dodge at 4th level, improved uncanny dodge at 8th, evasion at 12th and improved evasion at 16th level. 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter yields a bonus feat. 6th level provides gust of wind as a SP, usable 3 + Wisdom modifier times per day and 8th level provides an immediate action wind wall SP, also governed by Wisdom. 15th level provides the option to assault foes with 8d8 slashing cones Wisdom modifier times per day and 19th level provides constant freedom of movement. The capstone lets the class execute a full-attack as a standard action…and even after a charge. OUCH!

The pdf comes with favored class options for the core races and a couple of others, though oddly, the skills and saves here are not properly formatted, being lower case and lacking brackets in e.g. references to Knowledge (nature). The FCOs themselves are solid.

The pdf also contains a couple of archetypes: The windwalker would be a monk-like version of the class, who modifies the proficiencies and instead increases the benefits from boundless steps. Instead of the way of the leaf upgrade, we have the option to, as a full-round action, move twice movement rate, including movement over water, lava and on surfaces that wouldn’t carry the character’s weight. 5th level provides a scaling shield bonus that increases every 4 levels thereafter. 6th level and every 5 levels thereafter upgrades as what the unarmed strikes as treated for the purpose of overcoming DR as part of an attack, usable a limited amount of times per day. 15th level yields a properly codified control winds. Really cool: At 18th level, after moving twice via the boundless step variant of the archetype, you may execute an attack that can send the target flying. Nice one.

The Bladewalker is basically the TWF-version of the class, losing some of the more supernatural tricks of the base class, with a decreased boundless step potency due to the increased attack array. Finally, the windbender would be the 2-handed weapon specialist, who may take penalties to attack CMB in favor of damage-increase, thankfully not stacking with Power Attack etc. (the feat-reference is not capitalized properly, as a nitpick). Other than that, basically a two-hand weapon iteration of the class.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level and the few glitches I noticed on a formal level do not impede the ability to understand the material. Layout adheres the neat 2-column full-color standard of the series and the pdf provides some nice pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Nice!

I wasn’t excited for Andrew Campbell’s class at first – however, the wind-warrior has some serious raison d’être: The class is flexible and allows you to play a skirmisher martial and rewards smart use of the stepping-tricks. The rules-language of the abilities, which is more difficult than you’d think at first, it really solid, so nice job. Balance-wise, the wind-warrior should not pose a problem for any table: The class is well-balanced and I can see it working in an otherwise magic-lless WuXia-setting even – so yeah, very easy to integrate into an ongoing campaign.

While there are a precious few formatting glitches, that is not really enough to compromise the pdf. From a design-aesthetic point of view, I would have liked to see more unique class abilities, but the number of bonus feats provides sufficient customization options. First level is a bit bland, though. Anyways, that is me complaining at a high level – this class is very much worth checking out and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down – this is a good, worthwhile addition to the roster of classes.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: The Wind-Warrior
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5E Mini-Dungeon #033: The Legacy of Theft
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 03:56:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

When recent construction of an inn revealed the presence of a presumably abandoned complex, the owners of the inn to be constructed, Edwyn and Jackson Cairn decided to explore the complex. Dumb idea. It's been 3 days and now it's up to the PCs to find out what happened. The PCs get into a long corridor with decayed doors; 8 to be more precise. While footpaths can be seen in the dust, there seems to be no discernible pattern. Beyond nasty traps and doors slamming shut, the complex presented may look dull on the map, but it isn't - it manages to evoke a concise, creepy atmosphere supplemented well by the traps – kudos for Kyle Crider providing damage type variants here for some traps.

In the original version, a crypt thing and its teleportation tricks provided some challenge; in 5e, a shield guardian trying to get its amulet is what It’s all about as far as danger is concerned.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Michael Smith's "Legacy of Theft" is well-presented, manages to evoke a nice atmosphere and is, as a whole, a truly useful mini-dungeon. Its set-up lets you put it frankly just about everywhere, making is very easy to use without any hassle; whether as a dungeon-sub-level, a rescue mission or below any structure, it requires no set-up. As a whole, the module is mostly about exploration and can be run as a nice rogue-solo-adventure or as a means to let these guys shine. The conversion by Kyle Crider is nice, though it loses the disorientation angle. Still, as a whole, a nice offering – well worth 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #033: The Legacy of Theft
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Hybrid Class: Vessel
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2017 06:42:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Hybrid Class clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the vessel? In short, it is a hybrid class of the medium and the oracle, but that is not really enough to adequately describe it. Chassis-wise, the class gets ¾ BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d8 HD, proficiency with simple weapons, light and medium armor and 4 + Int skills per level. Vessels start drawing spells from both medium and cleric spell-lists, starting at 4th level, casting them as psychic spells which are governed by Charisma as spellcasting attribute. As you will have noted, they are cast spontaneously and the class does not treat cleric spells of higher than 4th level as belonging to the list and is beholden to alignment restrictions regarding cleric spells. This also btw. Takes into account how orisons are treated as knacks. It should be noted, btw., that the class comes with a massive, custom spell-list you can use instead of blowing it wide open. An interesting pecualirity would be that the class does not cast at -3 levels, in spite of gaining spellcasting late – this does look like it may be an intentional decision, however.

Now, it is impossible to talk about this class without first explaining the centerpiece of the class, the cursed spirits: 6 are presented and he may choose one upon preparing spells, being granted divine bonuses and revelations that may be prepared. Similarly, each spirit is also defined by a curse the vessel must bear while thus possessed. A vessel can prepare one revelation from a spirit, +1 at 3rd level and every levels tehreafter. Unless otherwise noted, these are standard actions and the vessel can dismiss spirits as a full-round action, losing the respective abilities. Saving throw DCs are governed by Charisma and follow the 10 + ½ class level + Cha-mod formula. A vessel gains a spirit bonus while channeling a spirit, starting at +1 at 1st level and increasing that by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter.

Starting at 2nd level, the vessel may avoid failure: After rolling a d20, the vessel can allow his cursed spirit to add +1d4 without requiring an action. This may be used 2 + Charisma modifier times per day and 10th and 20th level increase die-size by one step. At 4th level and again at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the vessel may once completely reassign his skills over night. 5th level yields location channel, duplicating call spirit and requiring that other characters pose the questions. 7th level eliminates the requirement for a special connection to the spirit called via location channel. 13th level yields a reliable, non-draining contact other plane. 14th level provides astral projection, but 18th level becomes really interesting: If an ally that has participated in the special location channel seance (which, like other abilities, refer to it as seance – which it is, granted, but using the name would have been better) dies, the vessel can take his spirit, forming basically a two-player gestalt – really cool, as it allows for the dead PC’s player to still act! The complex rules also work. The capstone may be freely chosen from the spirits and remains active, regardless of spirit inhabiting the vessel. These are potent and flavorful.

Okay, so, what do these spirits do? Well, the Babling Priest is cursed by tongues, with 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter yielding an increase of the powers granted by the curse. Each spirit has unique, custom revelations that include, in this one as an example, better spellcasting under the starry sky, calling down the cold of interstellar cold, immunity to lycanthropy or the like; big kudos for going the extra mile and providing custom packages for the spirits! The other spirits share, btw., a similarly strong array of leitmotifs: The blinded warlord gets battlecries, healing and defensive capabilities, and special, supernatural martial tricks. The disturbed captain is haunted and can call forth the spirits of the dead as shields, as buffs, become incorporeal, etc. The hobbled lictor may be lame (regarding his legs), but is anything but lame, design-wise: With his rusting grasp, item conjuration, scrying through iron and his martial tricks, he makes for a damn cool spirit. The unhearing criminal is one with his city, a nameless killer hiding in urban environments and from urban survival to intelligence gathering, he is the spirit you want. The withered sage, struck by wasting, provides limited arcane spell access and may use his Charisma instead of Dex for AC and Ref-saves with the right revelation. Symbol spells and Knowledge tricks complement this one.

All of these spirits have several things in common: They feel complex and interesting, archetypical without being too specific; they offer a surprisingly unique variety of tricks each and they make for damn cool options. Oh, and their rules-language is point on. They also breathe that sense of the occult, of slight hints of the darker, that really made the class stand out for me. Now, if you prefer a less occult-feeling version, fret not: I’d like to direct your attention to the archetype presented herein, namely the primalist, who replaces the spirits gained by the regular vessel with elemental spirits (no surprise there, given Porphyra’s element-theme) –beyond the 4 classic elements, creation and destruction make up for the missing two spirits to bring the archetype to 6: And yes, these are depicted in just the same, highly-detailed manner.

And yes, they have curses assigned to them, which is a bit weaker from a fluff point of view in my mind, but retains the spirit (haha!) of the class. The custom revelation lists for these fellows include being able to assume a form of pure life eenergy that allows you to walk through allies to heal them (with a limit, thankfully!) or damage the undead; stagger foes with attack spell crits; establishing life links…we have some healing options here that are relatively unique and uncheesable. Now, not all aspects are perfect – uttering a doom-prophecy debuff, for example, imho should be language-dependant and is “only” mind-affecting – but as a whole, the mechanics are surprisingly concise and really well-crafted. Seeing through stone and earth, gaining steelbreaking skin…it’s really uncanny. Whenever I think I have seen everything cool that can be done with the very well-covered elemental theme, some author from PDG’s cadre surprises me in a positive manner!

4 feats are included: One can double the spirit surge bonus for a 1 hour cool-down; 1 nets +1 revelation. Mixed spirits allows you to be inhabited by 2 spirits, with stacking benefits and penalties, which is pretty much a must-have feat for the class, locked behind 2nd level, which may be a bit early. Wakeful Spirit lets the spirit guard you while sleeping and allows you to wake up as a move action, sans this hassle with the sleeping rules. The pdf provides a massive list of favored class options, which cover not only the core races and some of the more exotic ones, but also a significant assortment of Porphyran races. These are all solid and we conclude with Madame Xemu, a sample CR ½ level 1 human vessel currently inhabited by the disgruntled captain.

The pdf also comes with a bonus file: The Shadowcat monster, penned by Mark Gedak. Clocking in at CR 8, we have basically a psionic chameleon cat with a serious damage output Really deadly and perfect for when your PCs stopped fearing dire lions etc. At Str 25, these fellows bring the pain!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch. On both a formal and rules-language level – I noticed no crucial hiccups and the only valid complaint I could come up with would be the nomenclature of referring to seances. That’s it. Layout adheres to a full-sized 2-column standard in b/w with purple highlights – printer-friendly, no complaints. The pdf has no art apart from the covers. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with nested bookmarks and all. The bonus pdf has no bookmarks, but since it contains one creature, they wouldn’t have made sense anyways.

First of all: Kudos to editors, Perry Fehr and N. Jolly for making this as crisp as it is –bonus types are concise, complex rules precise and healing is cheese-proof. And, of course, the congratulations should extend to the author Aaron Hollingsworth, who has come a long way indeed. You see, hybrid classes have a tough position: In order to be truly valid, they have to be more than the sum of their parent classes. Similarly, they need something that sets them apart as a distinct entity, something unique that changes the playing experience beyond what a simple archetype could provide. And preferably, they should also have their own in-game identity. The vessel succeeds at all those tasks. The low-level spellcasting capping at 4th level makes the class not one for novice players, but the spirits are amazing. The flexibility is here and the vessel plays in a truly distinct and interesting manner.

The spirits are cooler than those of the standard medium, at least as far as I’m concerned, and they offer a serious array of unique options that make the class feel unique. The bang for buck ratio is also strong in this one: You get basically an alternate class as an archetype (MASSIVE!) that’s just as strong, if in a different tone, as the base class and the length of the options is neat, particularly considering the more than fair price point. Now yes, I had a couple of comments here and there, but I honestly consider the vessel to be one of the best hybrid classes I’ve covered so far – precise, unique, fun – this is well worth getting and I really hope we’ll get alternate spirits at one point, to exchange with the existing ones – the archetypical, storied tropes employed here really struck a chord with me. If you even remotely like how occult classes feel, then this is a must.

In short: This is an excellent, affordable offering, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hybrid Class: Vessel
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Pusher Gnomes
Publisher: Knight Owl Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2017 06:40:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little pdf clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, (no SRD), leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, first things first: Pusher Gnomes, as depicted here, are situated in Knight Owl Games’ Meatlandia-setting (review forthcoming), and the vast majority of the gnomes encountered in the setting belong to this trade, which stirred up no small amount of resentment. As written, they, flavor-wise, sport a significant distaste for meat-magic and the information contains quite a few references to Meatlandian specialties, though it should be noted that the meat (haha!) of the pdf can be used sans access to the big book.

The Pusher Gnome class gets – 1 Str and Wis, +2 Dex, infravision 60 ft., magic resistance (all saves versus made are made at +2), 2 in 6 digging skill and a 5 in 6 chance to detect grades/slopes. They gain 1d4 HD and the class progression caps at 12th level and 450 K XP, with 11th and 12th level no longer providing new HD. Pusher gnomes save as thieves/rogues/specialists and have no armor restrictions. As they are Small, weapon use is restricted, though. They gain +1 to hit versus kobolds and goblins due to racial hate and +4 to AC versus large or bigger creatures. Their fighting ability remains at 1 for the first 3 levels, then proceeds to increase every even level – personally, I would have preferred that aspect to be codified more precisely.

That being said, the eponymous gnomish drugs that they create is interesting – you consult a table, then add the bonus (based on the class level, up to +21 at 12th level) to the DC…as well as Intelligence modifier. The drug creation system is pretty simple: Ability score modifiers net an increase/decrease of +2 to the DC for every point change. While the intent is clear here: (Decreasing one stat for a lower DC, increasing abilities = higher DCs), the rules-language still could be more crisp here. This same complaint can be fielded versus to hit, damage, AC or save modification, which is based on a point-for-point ratio. Additional attacks cost +3 DC. Skills can be enhanced, taking LotFP-style as well as percentile systems into account. Spell-duplication costs spell-level times 3 in DC-increase. Alchemy kits yields +5 to the check, labs a whopping +10. Help when crafting imposes cumulative -1 penalties per helper.

Durations range from instantaneous to 24 hours (DC 1 – 13 as basis) and the smaller the hit size, the smaller the DC. Different types also have different DCs and delays of the effects can also influence the final DC. Big plus: The system knows pretty diverse degrees of failure, differentiating 4 types of fumbles when making these special drugs, depending on by how far you miss the DC. 6 fumbles are also included…as are 20 side effects, which help you decrease the DC by -5 per side effect you’re willing to take. Each drug should have ingredients equal to the DC, btw. – these have a base value of 1 GP…which basically constitute the only limiting factor of the system. There is no cap regarding number of attacks, attribute bonuses or the like, making this class a min-maxy nightmare of potent effects. Similarly highly problematic would be that the pdf fails to specify how long it takes to make a drug and when it’s done – only after resting? Any time? Do more complicated drugs take longer to manufacture? No idea.

The pdf concludes with 4 sample drugs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-language level, the system is RAW non-operational and requires a) nerfing by the referee and b) some serious decision-making regarding its base way of operating. Layout adheres to a nice-two-column standard that is pretty printer-friendly, with a few colored highlights and solid full-color pieces of artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks.

Wind Lothamer’s pusher gnomes are evocative and often sport some precise, surprisingly precise, tidbits – but at the same time, the gnomes, alas, are pretty opaque in the way they’re presented. The rules-language lacks some necessary pieces of information and is a long stretch from what I’d consider to be sufficient, even in OSR-terms. That being said, this should not be taken to mean that this is all bad: The basic premise of the system works as written and while the class desperately needs a scaling potency cap for drug-effects to maintain balance with other classes, it can still make for a pretty interesting supplement to build upon. Well, that, and the pdf is PWYW, which allows the customer to check this out and pay a price that’s considered to be appropriate. While, in my opinion, this is worth checking out, at least (particularly when contemplating Narcosa!), I still can’t rate this higher than 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Pusher Gnomes
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Dimensionist Hybrid Class
Publisher: Wayward Rogues Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2017 06:37:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the dimensionist? Well, it is a hybrid class of kinteicist and witch; chassis-wise, it receives d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor and may cast dimensionist spells while in light armor without suffering arcane spell failure. The dimensionist gets spellcasting of up to 6th level and employs Intelligence as governing spellcasting attribute. As an Int-based caster, the dimensionist must prepare her spells in advance and spells are taken from custom spell list the class gets. The class gets ¾ BAB-progression as well as both good Fort- and Will-saves. The class gains a familiar and it is an important aspect of the class, acting similarly to the witch’s familiar, though with an even further increased potency.

You see, theme-wise, the dimensionist is about non-euclidean math, strange dimensional distortions The familiar gains a ½ natural armor progression and increases its Int by a whopping +15 over the course of the 20 levels of progression. The dimensionist gains the benefits of Skill Focus (Knowledge (Endgineering)) while the familiar is within arm’s reach and the familiar is creepy – as such, it takes no penalty to Intimidate checks due to its size and while within one mile of one another, both dimensionist and familiar receives a +4 morale bonus to Intimidate checks. Spells or wild talents with a target of “you” may be shared and provided as a touch spell to the familiar. Starting at 3rd level, the familiar may deliver touch spells and at 5th level, it is under constant blur (no CL given to suppress, though one can default to Su-standards…), which upgrades to displacement at 15th level. (Again, not italicized properly, again, CL would be appreciated.) 5th level yields speak with master, 13th level scry on familiar.

The familiar is btw. an aberration: Character level of the master is used for HD, it has ½ the dimensionist’s hit points (disregarding temporary hp) and uses the master’s BAB as well as either Str- or Dex-mod for BAB-purposes. The familiar uses its base saves (Will +2, others +0) or those of the master, whichever is better, but does not share the master’s ability score modifiers for saves. This section looks a bit weird to me – it references “new familiars presented here”, which are not included in the pdf. At first level, the dimensionist also chooses a patron from the witch patrons, adding a patron spells at 2nd level and every two levels thereafter to the spells known.

Now, the class has pretty much two defining signature abilities, the first of which would be Non-euclidean intrusion, which is gained at 3rd level and may be used 3 + ½ class level times per day, teleporting the familiar into enemies! Yes, this is cool! On an annoying side-note: It is not properly formatted, lacking the proper bolding for its header. This teleportation effect inflicts scaling bonus damage, inflicting the familiar’s primary natural attack plus +2d6 precision damage to the target, which increases every other level by +1d6. Touch spells the familiar holds are also delivered thus. In the aftermath, the dimensionist must succeed a CL-check versus DC 10 + the target’s CR – on a success, the familiar teleports to his side; on a failure, it remains adjacent to the target creature, placing it at risk – which is btw. the reason it gains these miss chance granting traits. Alas, there are a couple of issues with this ability. One, it should be defined as a conjuration [teleportation] effect. Two, the emergence of the familiar from the target creature – does this movement provoke AoOs? Three: What is the frickin’ range of the ranged touch attack? Four: How does this interact with the familiar’s action economy? Five: What action is this? RAW, it has no range and requires neither line of sight, nor line of effect. As a capstone, the dimensionist is always under the effects of blur (again, sans CL for suppression purposes), but it can be suppressed or activated as a standard action and automatically succeeds the callback CL-check and may instead port herself via non-euclidean intrusion, attacking with melee instead of being restricted to natural attacks. Combined with all the other tricks of the class, the ability, while damn cool in theory, may be a bit much.

Now, the second ability would be also what provides some differentiation between dimensionists: These abilities are called “Distortions” – any regular (I assume that means “non-patron-exclusive, non major/grand”) hex qualifies and so does any utility wild talent. However, the dimensionist does not gain Burn – instead, a spellslot may be expended for the use of a wild talent that requires Burn, with the spell-level being equal to or greater that the Burn required. In order to qualify for a utility wild talent, the dimensionist’s level must at least by twice that of the utility wild talent in question. Thirdly, the character may add a spell from the witch-list to her arsenal of spells known. A distortion is gained at 1st level, 2nd level and every even level thereafter. And at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, the dimensionist may replace a known distortion with a new one. A distortion’s save DC is 10 + ½ class level + Intelligence modifier, activation action is a standard action and several distortions modify non-euclidean intrusion – only one such modification may be added to a given use of the ability.

While we’re speaking of these: Included are the options to choose one of the 4 base energy types and changing the precision damage inflicted by non-euclidean intrusion to that energy type. This damage is btw. still not multiplied on a critical hit – kudos for catching that one! Not all distortions are interesting, though: Gaining Skill Focus (Profession) (I assume in a chosen profession) and being able to use Int instead of Wisdom as governing attribute for the skill doesn’t exactly make me holler with excitement. Unfortunately, this section is also where, obviously, some actual formatting would have helped the class. Spells are not italicized throughout the section, attribute-references are lower-caps…you get the idea. The rules-language here also does not reach the same level of precision as during the rest of the presentation of the class and sports some questionable decisions. There is, for example, a distortion that changes “cone” spells into a 10 ft.-line, increasing the save DC by +2, while also increasing the casting time by “one grade” – while the latter is at least explained, the issues should be evident nonetheless. Don’t get me wrong – I do actually like this – but I wished its rules-language had been tighter.

On a more positive side, making non-euclidean intrusions cause bleed damage is cool (though the Heal DC should imo scale). Adding the deadly special weapon quality as a standard action is cool, particularly with (thankfully non-stacking) threat range increase, but the pdf fails to specify how long the ability lasts – unless it’s permanent, as it RAW is, which is BROKEN. One dimensionist, infinite deadly weapons at no cost that also have better threat ranges…we need some serious restrictions here. This becomes particularly sad if we take a look at a high-level distortion that nets a variant of mage’s magnificent mansion in creepy, with an open door…a place that can be entered by anyone…and that nets the dimensionist phantasmal killer at-will as an SP while inside. Potent, yes, but at 18th level, I can live with this. Targeting foes with confusing mathematical conundrums (that can be solved via Knowledge (engineering)) makes for an interesting option, though not having to look up the action such a check take would have been nice. I am not really sure how a cone doubling in width, but not length, translates to the grid – an example would have been nice there. Adding blink to withdraws is also rather cool!

The pdf also includes a new feat, which nets +1 distortion and two archetypes. The first would be the Black Book Devotee, who transforms her “witch spells into divine spells” at certain levels. Problem here: The dimensionist does not have witch spells. It has dimensionist spells. Unless this is supposed to only apply to witch spells gained via distortions. Instead of taking a distortion, the black book devotee can choose 2 divination spells known she can cast and gain immunity to them. Yay? With the restricted spell-list, that’s tough. The devotee’s familiar also gains the chaotic and “entropic subtype” and features rebuild rules for that as well as scaling DR and acid/fire resistance, but loses the 1st, 6th and the 12th level distortion for this. In case you were wondering – there is no such thing as an entropic subtype, though there IS an entropic creature simple template.

The second archetype would be the hidden edge, who gains proficiency with martial weapons, but loses light armor proficiency. Instead of non-euclidean intrusion, weirdly at 1st level, the archetypes receives an ability to ignore one point of worn armor bonus or natural armor bonus when attacking a target within 30 ft. This increases by +1 bonus ignored at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, with 20th level adding free brilliant to all attacks thus performed – all in all, very clunky and yes, the quality is not italicized properly. Instead of 1st level’s distortion, the archetype gains the rogue’s fast stealth, with 4th level providing trackless step that instead works in urban and similar non-natural environments. This replaces 4th level’s distortion and 18th level’s distortion is replaced with Hide in Plain Sight. Not that impressive.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are the big issues of this pdf. On a plus-side, for the most part, the rules-language is precise in the basics; however, once you take a closer look, the lack of range for the distortion and similar rules-language issues start cropping up big time, requiring serious GM-fiat. Similarly, the formatting of the pdf is not good. Artworks are solid full-color stock pieces and the pdf sports a 2-column full-color standard. The pdf sports basic bookmarks and comes with a word document for copy purposes– which should be applauded, for the pdf has copy and pasting disabled.

Aaron Hollingworth’s dimensionist is a pretty cool class, idea-wise – the very “Dreams in the Witch House”-y vibe is fun and porting a familiar to rend foes asunder is one neat angle I really enjoy. At the same time, this pdf’s crunch would have needed a capable rules editor to polish it to the point where its more ambitious abilities work smoothly. For the most part, the material works, but closer examination yields some seriously nasty hiccups in core abilities, glitches that compromise how it works, which most definitely should have been caught. The formatting issues are also too many for such a brief pdf.

At the same time, the dimensionist, provided you’re willing to do the fixing, does feel rather unique and has some solid ideas and themes; it has its own identity. How to rate this, though, is a pretty big problem – you see, from the rules-integrity side of things, this is closer to 2 stars than 3…but concept-wise, if the abilities all worked as written, this would be at least a 4 stars-file. It depends on your tolerance for material that needs cleaning up. Ultimately, though, I can’t rate this higher than 2.5 stars with the issues it has – it simply doesn’t work as written and with the issues, I can’t round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Dimensionist Hybrid Class
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Pulpfinder: Fantasy Adventure in the Roaring 20s
Publisher: Charles Smith Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:48:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book clocks in at 65 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 60 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was sponsored by my patreons and moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review.

So, first of all: What is this? In short, it is intended as a toolkit to create Pathfinder campaigns that take place in the roaring 20s, blending fantasy and pulp – a strange combo, but one that very well may work rather well. There are some considerations for such a game – unlike more far-out settings, Pulpfinder per default assumes a human-only version of the game; so no, unlike e.g. Hydra Cooperative’s almost system-neutral (and really impressive) Weird Adventures, you won’t have a full-blown blending of classic fantasy tropes with pulp. The other deviation from the base system would be classes. Unnecessarily complicated metrics for equipment: 1 gp = $2. This will sooner or later really be annoying when converting. It’s not hard, but just another step to consider, which is, from a game-design-perspective, simply not required...and provides no benefit.

A significant change, with everyone playing humans, would be that the book presents origins, serving the same purpose – they determine your attribute-modifications etc. The book does not clearly state whether this means that the standard human traits are not applied or not – while the answer is no, I think the book should have noted that in the start of the chapter. A total of 6 such origins are included...and they frankly don’t really constitute origins all the time – a bon vivant, to take the first example, doesn’t really say anything about that aspect...but that may be me. Anyways, the origins presented aren’t necessarily perfect: Take the bon vivant: +2 Cha and Int, -2 Wis, +4 to Diplomacy to influence NPC attitudes, +2 to Diplomacy and Sense Motive ( yep, that’s a total of +7 (+1 for the Cha-increase, +4 untyped bonus, +2 racial bonus) to influence NPC attitudes and +2 to saves to resist poisons, alcohol or drugs. In case you haven’t noticed, this is heavily lopsided and geared towards certain classes.

This extends to most of the others: Hermetic Study guys and gals get +2 Int and Wis, -2 Str, +2 (unytped) to all knowledge skills, 2 languages per rank of Linguistics and +2 to Will saves. Wildman get +2 Con and Wis, -2 Cha, +2 to AC when in a chosen terrain, +2 to Knowledge (nature) and Survival and +2 to initiative. Working Class folks get +2 Str and Con, -2 Int, +2 to all Profession and Craft skills (obviously, working class folks make the best lawyers, doctors, etc.) and +2 to Fort-saves as well as the option to continue fighting for 1 more round after being reduced below 0 hp, but not killed. Career criminals get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Con, +1 to all saving throws, +2 to Escape Artist and Stealth and +2 to Perception. Finally, cosmopolitans (annoyingly referred to as „world travellers“ by the book, which may mean almost the same, but still irks me...) get the bonus feat, +2 to an attribute of choice and +1 skill per level.

As a whole, it is pretty clear that the origins all are geared towards specific classes and options. They, to me, are not really origins in the sense of the word, but more problematic would be that they, ultimate don’t really provide a nuanced array of options, instead very clearly gearing them to specific pursuits. This is a pity – for, as mentioned in my reviews of Xoth material, I do enjoy the notion of not using races to determine these types of rules. As presented, I am definitely not impressed.

Anyways, the next section depicts the cadre of classes and oddly switches layout style from a two-column-presentation to a 1-column-presentation.The classes generally fill a similar niche as those in the base class roster, though a scaling AC-bonus is baked into every one of the classes. This bonus varies by class, scales…and is only defined for the first class, as working only while unarmored and unencumbered, none of the other classes have a concise definition for this in the respective entry. The fact that the bonus only applies while unarmored and unencumbered is weird, considering the armor-proficiencies gained by characters. It also means that the math isn’t coming together too well at mid and high levels and enhances the importance of Strength – without it, your AC is not going to cut it as soon as you need to carry basically…anything substantial.

The classes, in all brevity, would be: The soldier, who gets full ABB-progression, 2 + Int skills per level, d10 HD, good Fort-saves and basically gains the gunslinger’s deeds plus weapon training a bunch of bonus feats. This would be, btw., as well a place as any to note that firearms act as martial weapons (oddly, armor proficiencies tend to be capitalized in a violation of formatting conventions). Firearms are reloaded as a move action, which botches interaction with the rapid reload feat, which explicitly states how it affects firearms. Oddly, firearms still suffer from misfire. While we’re at the subject – yes, there are rules for scattershots and automatic fire, both of which are very potent, ignoring e.g. concealment in the latter case. Also, strangely, line of effect does not feature in the rules-language, which may be a reason why these are so potent…and which can explain for some of the issues that can crop up here.

But let’s get back to the classes: Aristocrats get d8 HD, 8 + Int skills, ¾ BAB-progression and good Will-saves, being defined by their fortune (which can be gained with a 1 level dip), being defined further by bonus feats and aristocrat talents alternating. The talents btw. pretty exclusively pertain rerolls and social skill tricks as well as abilities that represent the power of status – but sans a status score or interesting mechanic there. Explorers gain d10 HD, 6 + Int skills (!!!), full BAB-progression and good Ref-saves – ability-wise, he basically gains Ranger abilities, that’s it. Scoundrels are rogue reskins, who gain d8 HD, ¾ BAB-progression, good Reflex-saves, 8 + Int skills as well as a ton of talents taken 1:1 from them rogue alongside some of its signature abilities…no sneak attack, though. Priests are basically clerics, with Cha-based channel and Wis-based spellcasting. Mystics are basically wizards. All of the classes have things in common: They are only recombinations of the classic classes; they diverge in power, wildly (aristocrat vs. mystic, explorer vs. soldier); their rules-language and bonus types are pretty concise in their presentation (since they are taken 1:1 from existing material), and they, as a whole, bring pretty much nothing new to the table clogging a ton of pages with information that does not really contribute anything interesting to the game. (At this point, we’re at page 32, fyi.)

A barebones feat for Mad Science (duplicating spell-lists for item creation) and 3 minimalist new skills (forget skill unlocks etc.) can be found. The weapon table of available items only covers one page, and most of the content has been presented before. Fun fact: Flame throwers inflict RAW untyped damage, unless they explode – then they suddenly inflict fire damage. The 4 armor types are pretty inadequate and their presentation ignores several formatting convention. The section contains notes on lifestyle costs, mad science services (i.e. duplicating spell effects) and the like – and it contains detailed vehicle rules, with various different cars – the fact that this presents these cars and vehicles in a concise and easy to grasp manner helps big time here and makes this constitute the first aspect of the pdf that actually has something to offer for me.

In fact, oddly, once the pdf stops duplicating basically copies and recombinations of previously published material, it begins being pretty much…interesting! The spell section has some really creative ideas: Using a spell to make an undead car? Broadcasting your thoughts via radio waves? There are some seriously cool and creative ideas here. I wish this brief chapter and the notes on existing spells were longer.

The pdf also features two alas, uninspired PrCs – the mad scientist at 10 levels and the 5-level private detective, both of which are utterly unremarkable. The pdf also offers a very brief and sketchy “The City” sample setting, which is nowhere near enough the level of detail where it’d make sense and the advice for pulp gaming is decent. I did enjoy the brief list of slang and the further research notes, though.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are weird: Due to the amount of content that was just copied and pasted and recombined, it is better than what you’d expect, but nowhere near as precise as it should be, with hiccups cropping up here and there. Layout adheres to a 1-column or 2-column standard – not sure why the pdf alternates there. The best aspect here would be the really cool b/w-artworks throughout the book, which are really, really nice. The pdf does not have any bookmarks, which represents an inexcusable comfort detriment for a rules-book of this size.

Charles Smith’s passion for pulp is evident. However, at the same time, this book doesn’t really succeed at what it sets out to do. From a crunch perspective, this is too brief and all of its classes are boring variants that are pretty much the epitome of bland filler. They would have been bad back in 2010, but nowadays? No dice.

I don’t get why we needed these, considering that, frankly, they are not internally consistently balanced and don’t bring anything new to the table. They are wasted space. The origins are problematic as well. The scarce setting information doesn’t really help that much to endear this book to the reader either.

Unfortunately, this means that there is no reason to get this book. There is literally nothing positive I can say about the book at hand as a whole; a few creative ideas buried in a ton of redundant filler does not make for a compelling book. While the craftsmanship formally isn’t bad, even the by now not too gracefully aged Xcrawl classes make for better options. More than half the pages of this book are useless, boring, bad variants (or straight reskins) and the lack of pages due to them clogging the pdf is evident everywhere. They btw. Lack FCOs. There are no traits or alternate origin traits.

And yes, playtest did show that the material plays just like I figured they would.

In short: I can’t really picture any scenario when this would be worth getting. Anachronistic Adventurers is infinitely better and the base system has a ton more to offer. While the craftsmanship is not bad per se, it’s also not excellent, showing a lack of experience with the more intricate components of design-work. In the end, I can’t really go higher than 2 stars for this pdf – it does not deserve a 1.5 rating for its craftsmanship, but it is pretty much obsolete and doesn’t have much to offer.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Pulpfinder: Fantasy Adventure in the Roaring 20s
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Mythic Minis 104: Horror Feats S-Z
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:44:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Spawnlink: Passively observe what the spawn sees while maintaining your senses. You also don’t need to expend actions to retain the link while it’s established and aren’t blinded while looking through the spawn’s eyes, but take a penalty instead. Use mythic power to gaze through all spawns simultaneously. HECK YES. Undead overwatch. AMAZING.

-Spirit Speaker: Gain mythic tier to Diplomacy to get spirits absorbed to reveal intel. Spirits can be used to glean more information and mythic power to compel several answers, save to resist. Also, no longer take Wis-damage/sanity damage for using it. Really cool!

-Stubborn Curse: Increases Dc to remove curses; by expending 3 mythic power, you make it persistent and only removable by someone whose tier is equal to or greater than yours. Simple and neat!

-Touch of Evil: Gain a mythic tier based bonus to Sleight of Hand to prevent the touch being noticed. Nonmythic creatures only get a save upon being touched, while mythic creatures get both saves, but at a penalty to the second save. Also, the creature gains a bonus to mythic tier rolls in order to carry out the suggestion. Now this is one cool expansion of the feat!

-Twisted Love: Increase bonuses to +4 and, upon completion, learn automatically the nature of the effect resisted and, also after completion, use mythic power (amount depends on ½ spell level) to return the effect back to sender. Cool!

-Unyielding Ferocity: +4 Str and Con, -2 AC while under the effects of the feat. You also gain a single rage power you meet the prereqs for, + an additional one at 3rd, 6th and 9th tier. When reduced to 0 hp or below you can expend mythic power to gain access to one of these chosen rage powers. Really cool!

-Zealous Mind: When resisting a charm or compulsion from a chaotic source or one opposite your alignment of the good-evil-axis or when you get a secondary save, you gain a bonus to atk & damage versus the foe. When succeeding a save versus such an effect, you may use mythic power to render the target “staggered for dazed for 1 round”[sic!] – the “staggered for” here is redundant, for it should be 1 round dazed, 1d4+1 rounds staggered.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant hiccups apart from the slightly confusing guffaw in the last feat. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs‘ final array of mythic horror feats is the inspired one I’ve been waiting for – pretty much every single feat has one brilliant, cool tactical option and blew me away. The only issue was in the final feat and it is what costs this my seal of approval. That being said, this is still inspired and excellent, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 104: Horror Feats S-Z
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Mythic Minis 103: Horror Feats P-S
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2017 04:43:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Protector of the People: Add the mythic simple template to the golem protector and ties it closely to the mission of protecting the people. Upon completion, the cost reduction benefit applies to any construct crafted and you gain a tier-based bonus. Nice boost!

-Purging Emesis: Purge of poisons as a standard actions and affect all types of poisons. Also reduces the negative condition incurred by saving down to sickened. Also nets the feat a cooldown, including the requirement for food, via mythic power. Finally, the full-round action use can let you create a cone of slippery area. While the base feat does not note the effects of standard slippery terrain, it would have been nice to see them, but that is just me being ultra-picky and will not influence the verdict.

-Putrid Summons: Increases stench-DC of the called creatures and the power of the effect. For mythic power, you ay use the spell’s normal list of creatures.

-Sacrificial Adept: Also add +1 DC, +2 Cl or a metamagic feat with a level-increase of 1 or less to the spell. Via mythic power expenditure, you can add all 3 options at once. Also increases daily uses to the highest of mental attribute modifiers. Really cool! Two thumbs up!

-Sacrificial Ritual: Bonus increases by ½ tier and for every 3 tiers, chose a trained skill of the creature, granting yourself and all secondary casters an additional +3 to complete it. When sacrificing a lot of creatures and using mythic power, you and all ritual casters can ignore backlash, explaining why evil cults go overboard. Two thumbs up!

-Shatter Control: Eliminates range caveat for shattering control over undead and increases save DC…and the control loss is permanent. Use mythic power to make the ability work with any attack, not just full-round attacks. Also manages to get the complex behavior repercussions for undead right. Kudos!

-Skin Suit: Only slashing, piercing, fire or acid damage potentially wreck the suit and destruction of the suit makes you only take ½ damage. Also: Skin Suit doesn’t dissolve on sundown. Using mythic power nets a new skin suit and, as a swift action when expending mythic power, you can deliver energy drain or ability damage with undead special attacks without destroying the skin. Neat!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs is back up to his game here – I noticed no hiccups, have no balance-concerns and the execution is precise, often rather creative. My final verdict will be 5 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 103: Horror Feats P-S
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Narcosa
Publisher: Neoplastic Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:31:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 108 pages, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page weird glyphs, leaving us with 104 pages of content. The full-color cover artwork is included as a jpg and the scale-less map is also included thus. I own the softcover print version of this book, which sports the map as a back cover, just fyi. I will base my review mostly on the print version. While there is also a hardcover version, I do not own it.

This review was sponsored by one of my generous patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

"Someone has read Carcosa!" Ouch, ouch, ouch...hey, I promised I'll use that quote! Anyways, this book is an obvious and in a not really subtle way, a homage to aforementioned classic book, but it could be also called a community labor of love or a collective riff and expansion. The premise of this book was to have a lot of different authors pool their creative impulses.

The basic thesis of Narcosa can be summed up as "DUUUDE...You know what would be totally radical? You know, if that...that weird Carcosa-place...you know...had...you know...a total drug-theme!" "What, you mean...like...more...than lotus and stuff?" "DUUUDE, yeah, man! With totally weird stuff...hand me that acid..."

...

Yeah, so, where was I? Much like Carcosa, Narcosa uses mature themes - while horror is more subdued in favor of weirdness, this still is a book for mature audiences, as it features themes of sex (here and there) and drugs (everywhere). If you can't handle that or have a past with substance abuse, then I'd suggest getting another book.

Okay, obligatory disclaimer out of the way, the structure is completely different - being basically a patchwork collective of loosely thematically linked options. Let me state this very clearly: Narcosa has no pretensions of being a cohesive or coherent campaign setting, though one can ostensibly try to run it as such; instead, this book very much embraces the OSR spirit of hacking and tweaking material, of scavenging ideas and runs completely with it. This is NOT a campaign setting, not even in the very top-down, cursory manner that hexcrawls like Carcosa etc. present their information - instead, this can be considered to be an array of very roughly related articles, a massive scavenging ground.

These should not dissuade you from checking out this book, though -for the entries are often examples of the rampant ID running delightfully wild. We begin with a chapter on Locales and cities - and here, we learn about Somaglean, a subterranean crystalline enclave where luminous ichors is mined from a forgotten god; and Rafael Chandler's Mecha-Zel (If you own the Teratic Tome, you'll be familiar with allusions to it) is also mentioned alongside the secret cities, like that one hidden within a song, which may only be accessed while in a state that allows you to perceive the sounds of it as physicality...or so it may seem to some. From the goblin market (classic) to Hashishastan, there are quite a bunch of evocative places to visit here, though they remain, unfortunately, brief sketches.

From there, we move on to factions and entities, with the blind beggars peddling powder that separates body and soul, allowing the soul to commit burglaries. The children of temperance fight a losing battle in the weird lands of Narcosa and esoteric orders devoted to ecstatic pleasures deserve special mention, for they make use of the potent pleasure-plagues in one of my favorite entries in the book. Sobering filtration paraistes can also be found here...and obviously, there are quite a few substances and items.

Which brings me to the main downside of this book: It is not even close to consistent in the rules it employs, when it does provide rules material. From LotFP-y-stuff to material based on Mutants & Mazes-rules to a 5e background and the like, the book is inconsistent in the rules it uses and the quality thereof - while some entries provide definitely remarkable precision, much like some aspects of the prose, this consistency is not maintained throughout. This also makes consistent use of the material more problematic than it should be, which is a pity, for the items, hazards and things range from the surreal to the wicked - beyond magical drugs (less than I honestly hoped to see in the book...), we are introduced to nasty catheter vine-bulbs to strange wasps, magical ritual knives and the like. The wild mish-mash of systems and conventions employed make it impossible for me to comment on the proper formatting the material should have, so be aware of that. A favorite of mine herein would btw. be an intelligent, addictive tree that is jealous and forces its addict-cultists to mutilate them ever further, until no sense is left and they die - an apt visual metaphor for addiction that gets two thumbs up from me.

The above should not mean, btw., that the rules generally are not precise - there are quite a few of the respective pieces of crunch that do provide very relevant and well-crafted options...but at the same time, the system-ambiguity and lack of a unifying base-line do drag this down a bit.

Beyond these, we also receive random encounter, grouped by environment - which are per se cool, but the encounters themselves have no headers and as such spontaneous and more informed use is slightly harder than it should be - all in all, an odd decision to have the author's name act as a kind of header for each of them, when in previous chapters, we had the description here as well. This inconsistency can nowhere seen as clearly as in the monster chapter, where different notation conventions clash and some of the critters sport fluff-only entries. That being said, from shroombies to in particular the saccadic solipsism that spawns creatures from words are cool. I also enjoyed the balls to the wall weirdness that symbiotic pleasure slimes are: Kinda benevolent things that promise orgiastic pleasure and power, but which also are really creepy...and all-caps ALIEN.

Particularly among the character classes and options, the discrepancy between author capabilities, styles and systems becomes very apparent, but you can see that for yourself.

OSR and map-icon Dyson logos btw. presents us with one of the definite highlights of the book, the fully-mapped adventure "The Molds and Slimes of Vilnid", which, while lacking key-less versions of the maps, imho justifies downloading this book on its own - it is a creative, fun module with ageless children, fungal ogres and various weird slime pits that reward experimentation.

The pdf then concludes with a smattering of random tables and a drug-themed, irreverent twist of the classic Carcosa poem, Ryan Northcott's "The King in Mellow".

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are a weak spot of the book: Neither formally, nor on a rules-language level is there any sort of unified voice - the voices of the authors range from glorious, intelligent and inspiring to that was a dud of an entry, riddled with glitches." Layout is glorious - the book has colored-indicators for the chapters, sports evocative, psychedelic artworks and some stock pieces. The pdf-version is fully bookmarked. I also have the softcover version of the book, and it is well worth getting for the price-point, provided you enjoy a scavenging-type of book. The pdf is coverless and sports the cover and map as .pngs, while the print version has the map on the back cover - unfortunately with a jarring bar-code in one corner.

A ton of people wrote this: Aaron Gordon, Alex Schroeder, Anders Nordberg, Andrew Shields, Ara Kooser, Barry Blat, Benjamin Baugh, Bennet Akkerman, Blue Tyson, Brett Slocum, Casey Garske, Cédric Plante, Christopher Mennell, Christopher Paul, Christopher Weeks, Clint Krause, David Black, David Brawley, Dyson Logos, Ed Hackett, Edward Lockhart, Eric Duncan, Erik Jensen, Gary Bowerbank, Gavin Norman, Gennifer Bone, Greg Gorgonmilk, Harald Wagener, James Young, Jarrod Shaw, Jason Vines, Jez Gordon, Joey Lindsey, John Carrm, John Wilson, Justin S. Davis, Kreg Mosier, M. Nicksic, Massimiliano Caracristi, Michael Lee, Mike F., Noah Stevens, Olav Nygård, Oli Palmer, Pearce Shea, Rafael Chandler, Reece Carter, Richard Grenville, Roger Giner-Sorolla, Ryan Northcott, Terje Nordin, Thom Hall, Tim Shorts, Tim Snider, Trey Causey, Victor Garrison,Wayne Rossi, Wayne Snyder, Wil McKinnee, Zack Wolf.

I wish I could say that all of these folks did an amazing job, but the matter of fact remains that most of them did provide something fun and interesting within these pages. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining because I don't like this book; quite the contrary! I love what it does and what it stands for, but I honestly wished it had a clearer creative vision, some sort of rules-development to make it unified in some way. As written, this is fully of amazing, transcendent ideas...but also contains some bad trips, if you will. It does not come together as a setting either, but as a scavenging ground, it is a great way to add some serious weirdness to your game. I'd be significantly less lenient regarding this book, were it not for the fact that it is FREE.

As a FREE offering, this most certainly should be considered to be an inspired little array of options, worthy of at least checking out. Now, personally, I am not sure if I would have bought the softcover, had it not been provided for me. I am, after all, a stickler for rules and consistency. If you're looking for those, you may be better off elsewhere...or at least should have some serious knowledge of what you're doing. At the same time, this book is the collective ID of a ton of amazing, creative people running wild, with several "stars" of the OSR contributing - for these entries alone, this is definitely worth checking out. If this was a commercial book, I'd probably consider it a mixed bag, but as a FREE offering, it definitely should provide some form of joy for you and yours. My final verdict will hence round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Narcosa
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Deadly Gardens: Ghost Spore Swarm
Publisher: Rusted Iron Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:27:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

As always, we begin with two magic items - the first of which would be angry hornet, an enchanted blowgun dart: The dart, when fired at a target within 2 range-increments and misses, suddenly animates, trying to hit the target on the subsequent round, ignoring cover relative to the shooter - the dart buzzes around the victim, basically. The victim can try to outrun it or swat it out of the sky, though. The item takes winds and AoE-effects into account as well - flavorful and actually works, in spite of the complexity of the required rules-language - kudos!

The festering angry hornet adds Con-damage and makes saving versus poisons harder, but otherwise works pretty much like the base hornet. As in all of these, we also receive an assortment of natural items: Glacier Toad Hide can keep consumables fresh and may protect from hot environments. (the spell reference here has not been properly italicized, though.) Leng Spider Eyes are a bit too strong for my taste: Adding one to a staff adds a second save to an existing one, Will, which causes temporary confusion...that should probably have a cap on how many times it can be thus used. Salamander tonic nets vulnerability to cold and fire resistance 10. Slurk grease can enhance grease spells as a power component and a brush made from tenebrous work's bristles can really help increase the market price and beauty of paintings.

Oh, and there would be ghost ale. This draught is brewed from the spores of the eponymous creature and may make you incorporeal...but not necessarily lets you retain non ghost touch equipment. (Not italicized, btw.) Interesting if the wording on how not properly affected equipment works is a bit confusing at first reading: Weapons deal half damage to corporeal targets and armor only protects versus incorporeal foes - basically an inverse incorporeal. Interesting and warrants the complexity!

Now, on to the creature, shall we? The Ghost Spore Swarm clocks in at an impressive CR 11 and is an incorporeal swarm: The swarm fades its victims out into incorporeal states (on a failed save, sans equipment if that's not ghost touch)...oh, and guess what: The swarm inflicts serious bonus damage versus incorporeal creatures...which, when slain, have a REALLY high chance to become another swarm. Well, on the plus-side, the swarm's still vulnerable to plant-targeting spells...but seriously, like this beast. It's very lethal and just enough of a sadistic move to challenge experienced players. (Novices should be handled with care, though - ill-equipped PCs may face a TPK here...)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good: While a noticed a couple of formatting hiccups, nothing too grievous. Rules-language-wise, the magic items impressed me this time around, so kudos there! Layout adheres to the series' two-column full-color standard. The artwork is okay, but a bit cartoon-y for my tastes.

The team of Mike Welham, Joe Kondrak and Andrew Umphrey provide another intriguing and well-crafted critter with some nice supplemental material. While I had a couple of minor complaints, none are grievous and for the more than fair price point, this is worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Gardens: Ghost Spore Swarm
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Mythic Minis 101: Horror Feats E-I
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:26:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go! It should be noted that the SRD page contains a feat, so don't miss that!

-Engulf Horror: Non-mythic creatures are nauseated; for mythic power expenditure, the effect applies for 1 minute.

-Engulf Revulsion: Creatures failing their save are sickened in addition to being shaken and the effect lasts for 1 minute. Creatures that witness you engulfing/smothering targets must save or be frightened.

-Exorcising Mutilation: Con damage is reduced to 2 and rerolled save nets +1/2 mythic tier to the roll. Also allows you to expend mythic power to instead suffer regular damage when using the feat.

-Exsanguinate: Gain mythic power instead, up to mythic tier in a 24-hour period. Also lets you use mythic power to blood drain while not pinning the target. This is insanely powerful, borderline broken. Mythic power should not be regained so easily. Also can be kitten'd. Just uncharacteristically bad for the author.

-Fear Eater: Gain temp hp equal to tier when transferring a fear effect to you. For mythic power expenditure, you get a save with a tier-based bonus.

-Fleshcrafter: Expend mythic power after resting to accomplish 8 hours of fleshcrafts. Also automatically lets you succeed Heal checks to apply or remove fleshcrafts and they aren't destroyed from removing it. Minor note: The feat has a type "elicir".

-Ghost Guide: Numerical escalation and when you gain the completion benefit, you gain the mythic versions of call haunt, speak with dead and speak with haunt. Cool!

-Gruesome Shapechanger: Increases the Acrobatics DC. Creatures that view your transformation and fail their save are sickened for 1 minute as well as shaken. If you expend mythic power, you upgrade shaken to frightened if the target fails the save by 5 or more.

-Horrific Gorging: Consume any type of creature type, thankfully with a GM-caveat that prevents the abuse via kittens....at least in that way. You can get infinite temporary hit points, though - or at least,a minor shield of them, as you get temporary hit points equal to twice the tier. It's not bad to eat a ton of kittens that way, but yeah, HD-caveat would have been nice. When swallowing mythic creatures, you can use mythic power to render targets frightened.

-Incorporeal intuition: Eliminates the adjacency caveat and increases the range to 10 ft. per tier and you suffer no penalty when identifying targets thus via Knowledge. When you sense a target, you can use mythic power to determine starting attitude of the critter, as well as the strength (based on aura-like categories). Cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs' third collection of mythic horror feats has some nice ones, but also a couple I am less enthused about; As a whole, I consider this to be a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I feel it's closer to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 101: Horror Feats E-I
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Mythic Minis 102: Horror Feats J-P
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:24:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the deal by now, right? 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, 1 page content, so let's go!

-Kyton Style: Increases DC for Stunning Fist attempts when using spiked chains. Expend 1 mythic power to execute stunning attacks with the spiked chain for 1 minute, sans expending ki. Big kudos – getting the ki/Stunning Fist-use interaction right. Well done!

-Kyton Shield: Increases AC bonus, adds vicious to the spiked chain and provides a retributive damage via mythic power expenditure. This is untyped damage, which imho it shouldn’t be, but that’s a matter of opinion.

-Kyton Cut: Increases bonus damage output, more so when mythic power’s expended. All in all, a solid feat chain.

-Latching Horror: Upgrades condition severity to frightened, expend mythic power to increase the save DC to resist Latching Horror.

-Lifeless Gaze: Increases bonuses by ½ mythic tier and non-humanoids attempting to read your mind may end up shaken. Solid.

-Maddening Style: DC increase of +2, extending to fear effects. Expend mythic power in the style to inflict 1d4 Wis damage (or alternatively, san damage – nice!) with Stunning Fist.

-Maddening Obliteration: Penalty duration increases to 1 minute; For 3 mythic power uses and 2 points of ki, you may perform a save or suck attack. Neat upgrade.

-Maddening Strike: You gain no Wis damage when missing. Expend mythic power for ½ tier rounds (I expect, minimum 1) without needing “two expend”[sic!] any types from the ki pool.

-Mutilating Ritualist: Save DC increases to +2. Less damage when performing the mutilation as an occult ritual, with ritual level determining the extent of the limit.

-Profane Studies: Expend mythic power when identifying evil outsiders for take 20. You also get to choose new summon options, increasing with tiers. A handy table of max CRs is btw. Included on the SRD-page, so don’t miss that one.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good – apart from the typo, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games' two column full-color standard and it features the artwork on the cover; that's it - the one page content is solely devoted to crunch. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alex Riggs delivers in this one – he deals with highly complex set-ups here and does so in a rather cool manner. While I’m missing the OMG-brilliant-level of feat, the expansions are well made and as such, this receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 102: Horror Feats J-P
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