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Death Slaves of Eternity (DCC)
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/27/2017 07:14:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive adventure clocks in at 80 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a MASSIVE 76 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, first of all, this is a funnel (0 level adventure) and as such, the review will contain SPOILERS later...but it also is a bit more than that: The adventure actually has quite a bit of interesting supplemental material, so let's start by discussing that: One of the appendices contains various curses for plundering the dead; there is a nice 100-entry-strong loot-table for judges and we can find a d30-table of magic items, which include enchanted gladiatorial paint, magic veils, vine made from golden pomegranates, the iconic hand of glory, the horror in clay that can be sent after foes, starsteel items and purple lotus dust. I encountered no issues in this section - the items are evocative and cool.

The pdf also contains the ancient god-king Mog'malu as a new patron, complete with 3 new spells, spellburn table, etc. - and yep, they are well-crafted. Similarly, clerics of the patron can be found, with unique sacred mysteries, titles by level and disapproval-table. The pdf also features something fans of Sword & Sorcery will appreciate: Reskins of halflings, elves and dwarves, who become pirates, cultists and soldiers, respectively. So yes, this is a surprisingly crunchy offering for a module...

...but you want to know about the module, right? Okay, so let's start with the SPOILERS! Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion!

...

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great!

So, this module is made for 12 to 16 player characters - true to the concept of the funnel, not all will survive this: The module is challenging, so pack your spare character. ;P

The Mad-Sultan fancies himself the heir of the god-king Xothula, deeming his right to rule divine; as such, this decadent tyrant has reinstated the practice of Servus Mortem . the use of the eponymous death slaves, destined to accompany beings of high standing to the afterlife. The sultan drugged his wife with the help of his physician, entombing her "dead", but really just sleeping body and her children in the sacred crypts of eternity...and you don't become tyrant while leaving loose ends...and so the physician joined, much to his horror, the ranks of the death slaves.

Meanwhile, the queen on her funeral bier, with only the wailing of her children to break the silence of the tomb, attracted the attention of a thing from the Outer Dark - and thus, arise she did, awash in cosmic filth, reborn as the Crypt Mother, kept in the equilibrium between devil and mortal, life and death. It has been decades since and the Mad-Sultan is growing old - his son, blood prince Sabal-Ya, visited the PC's humble abode...but the prince was slain and the investigator, the Holy Vizier, declared that all must suffer for the prince's death - and as such, the PCs are condemned as Servus Mortem to the crypts as death slaves...but unbeknown to the PCs, the blood prince has faked his death in a mad gambit: Convinced that he was bound for an eternity of torment, he is obsessed with reaching the gates of paradise contained in the crypts - it is the prince's gambit that flooding the dungeon with death-slaves will allow him to reach his goal.

The PCs get their starting occupations, circumstances of their arrest and starting luck influences the additional information they may have. The starting occupation, btw. is represented by a massive table that also determines the equipment the poor death-slaves will bring along, 12 rumors and superstitions and a massive 1-page read-aloud text help setting the scene.

Within the crypts awaits btw. Mog'mula -ram-headed giant and true godking, to whom Xothula was bad an ill-fated apprentice, who nonetheless managed to seal the giant. The dungeon complex features lavishly-detailed and well-crafted read-aloud text galore, and the clues the PCs can find offer degrees of success, allowing for fine differentiation. Similarly worthwhile mentioning would be the fact that sidebars help the judge to depict the respective NPCs properly. It should also be noted that "floating" encounters not tied to a specific locale come with the same, lavish attention to detail that is afforded to the exploration of the complex itself. Lightning is generated by strange witch-light that gleam in unholy, green radiance...and rumor tables among the servus mortem and advice on replacing PCs that have fallen to the complex.

The crypt of the faithful comes with a handy table if the PCs get lost (and don't want to try to find their way...) and truly, within these halls challenges galore can be found mind maggot prowlers, undead, cackling fools with their infected blood...have I noted the crypts of the mother and the maddening visions? The glorious direct and indirect storytelling? The fact that this module combines the best traits of a dungeon-exploration and investigation?

The module is also studded with copious pieces of full-page full-color artworks, many of which depict the iconic creatures and strange rooms the PCs can - like the chamber of gleaming, black stone, the walls arranged as though they were stars of a mad geometry, with a black block in the middle, from which a rune-carved, gigantic tusk rises. Oh yes, this dungeon is EVOCATIVE. Unique. It is wondrous...and even regular rooms often feature prose that is as captivating as the sword & sorcery greats that have inspired this module - when dead kings, forever crowned in sorrow, corrupted concubines and the wings torn from an erstwhile god await...then you're not just playing an amazing dungeon that epitomizes the aesthetics that set DCC apart - then you're playing a module that is amazing, regardless of the system you're using. (Though, seriously - play it in DCC!) Oh, and yes, there obviously is a guardian down here, a cosmic horror, whose artwork is fantastic in its weirdness...and the conclusion is perhaps the most furious becoming an adventurer-narrative I have read in ages....and no, I am not going to SPOIL the finale...I want you to get this.

The handy appendices keep monsters, NPCs, etc. all in line.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious accumulation of glitches. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf comes with A LOT of original full-color artworks that help render this an aesthetically-pleasing experience. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. The cartography is in full-color and really nice - my only complaint here remaining that there is no key-less, player-friendly version.

Marzio Muscedere's Death-Slaves of Eternity is a massive...ah, eff it, I can't do that neutral shtick here: THIS IS AWESOME. Seriously, this funnel OOZES amazing Sword & Sorcery flair, pure weirdness, is creative, has precise crunch, copious amounts of well-written prose and oozes style, flair and panache galore. This is one downright glorious, massive module - and if you even remotely like the subject matter, you should definitely get this. I mean it. Even if you don't play DCC, this module is frankly a glorious, rewarding and creative funnel that leaves nothing to be desired and may be worth converting, even if you do not play DCC (but then again...why? DCC is a damn fine system...).

Anyways, this module has a TON of material, great prose, cool critters that actually have a reason to be there and make sense - in short, it has it all. 5 stars + seal of approval. Given without hesitation!! Get this gem!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Slaves of Eternity (DCC)
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Derelict Generator
Publisher: Ideagonk
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/27/2017 07:11:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This creator is pretty simple and so are the instructions: You take 1d4, 4d6, 1 d8, 2d10, 1d12 and 1d20. That's the baseline for big ships, though you can use the system to create smaller or more massive derelicts by adding or subtracting dice.

Okay, now that you have the dice ready, you drop them on a standard sheet of paper - US letterpack or Din A4 both work. Notate where each die lands. Remove the die from the paper and note, in its place, the die size and what it did show -a d8 showing a 7 would be noted as d8-7, for example. This is called a "node".

Now draw a line from the node to another node - this is called a "connection." Each node must be connected to at least another node. This establishes the basic shape of the derelict and can really kick off your imagination - then, you look up the results of the nodes on the dice tables, changing results that do not fit your vision accordingly.

The respective tables are as follows: d4 denotes the ship's reactor, with a 1 meaning imminent meltdown, 4 denoting full power. d6s represent common modules like cargo bays, habitation, contraband, etc. d8s cover weaponry and defense, d10s unique places (like cryochambers, illegal labs, etc.), d12s depict the command area (with entries like corporate interest or AI)...and d20 represents plot-twist-y components: Like rooms filled with desperate survivors, occult chambers, scrappers, etc.

And that's about it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring issues. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read and printer-friendly one-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artwork apart from the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity - kudos!!

Karl Scheer's derelict generator is a nice, unpretentious little pdf. It does what it says on the tin and dice-dropping does a pretty good job at creating derelicts...at least for the most part. On the downside, the respective dressing entries from the tables, while not bad by any stretch, left me underwhelmed when compared to e.g. Rafael Chandler's "Starship from Hell". Let me reiterate this: This is by no means bad and it may be worth the very fair asking price, but I'm not sure I'd get it again. With the dressing being decent, but not inspired, I probably won't be using this again - either I design my material by hand, or I am time-starved and need a more comprehensive tool, and the pdf does not deliver the latter. As such, I consider this a bit of a mixed bag. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Derelict Generator
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Dynastic Races Compendium
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/26/2017 11:00:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This MASSIVE sourcebook clocks in at 165 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial/ToC, 4 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1.5 pages of KS-backer-thanks, leaving us with 152.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

So, what is this? Well, first of all, this would be a massive sourcebook that takes 4 races of the PFRPG-game and provides the details we always craved; two of these have been covered before - namely the Kitsune and Samsarans, in their respective compendiums - if I am not mistaken, roughly 90% of the content from these books should be available herein as well. However, this is more than a partial rehash of previous material: Instead, we gain massively expanded content. Beyond the previously noted two races, this pdf also takes a look at the nagaji and wayang, two races, which, much like the samsarans, have received basically no love whatsoever.

Now, as some of you may have noticed, I have a very firmly-held conviction that races are more than the sum of a couple of racial traits. At least, for me, they better should be. A race that is not human should have a distinct culture, a distinct outlook and, hopefully, some unique mechanics...but these alone do not make a race. Hence, I was less than enthused by the way PFRPG introduced a wide variety of races without really contextualizing them in a cultural context. This was changed for the two aforementioned races when Everyman Gaming released the respective compendiums - the attention to detail and lore provided for the races suddenly made me actually enjoy both kitsune and samsarans, two races I previously did not even consider introducing to me game.

How did those pdfs, and by extension, this book, achieve such a goal? Simple: By writing an actually believable ecology and psychology for the races into them, by elevating them from the status of just collections of stats. Now, the respective racial write-ups do replicate the stats for these races, obviously, but beyond them, we are taught about psychology (loyalty, shapechanging and a kitsune's trickster-reputation can make for intriguing combos), their life cycle, internal and external physiology and more: Coming of age, childhood, falling in love, death, clothing habits, what one can expect from the respective race's communities...heck, we even get to know about clothing, cuisine, familial structures, languages and the stances towards other races - the attention to detail exhibited here is a beauty to behold, the prose crisp and 5 truths and falsehoods commonly associated with the race represent fun stereotypes to play with.

Beyond that, the races also sport ethnicities, which is a big plus as far as I'm concerned: polar fox kitsune? Yep Black- or White-furred ones? Included. This whole section also features the respective alternate racial traits commonly associated with the ethnicity, adding crunchy components to the massive flavor. Speaking of flavor: What about diversified and unique origin myths and, indeed, even deities? Heck, the pdf does talk about chakras, mythic ascension and the like within the context of the respective races, generating an overall sense of holistic coverage basically never seen in gaming supplements...and yes, I am aware that I have so far not talked about the crunch supporting these extended ethnologies - there is a reason for that, namely that it has been collected in its own chapter - which, to me, is a good idea, organization-wise, but more on that later.

Now, I previously touched upon the kitsune and while this book does provide significantly more material than previously released, I'd like to spend a few lines talking about the nagaji: Their culture is noted as xenophobic and based on might makes right, but also values experience as a crucial factor - we learn that the nagaji do not worship nagas...and no, they do not hatch from eggs and they actually have a sense of humor. It is interesting to note that the revulsion often sparked by their snake-like appearance can be one of the reasons they have a reputation for being no-nonsense and xenophobic - when interacting with species likely to potentially want to kill you, you do become a bit...let's say...cautious.

The life cycle is interesting to observe as well, as moulting and birthdays are touched upon and the reserved traditions for love and death similarly fit seamlessly into a vision of a highly structured and traditional society, basing them on fictionalized Asian cultures, but with enough twists to make them more than simply a reptilian version of real life cultures - instead, we basically have a race on our hands that can be summed up as a logical consequence of the respective cultural components interacting in a concise manner. Less verbosely: I can picture them existing, which is a feat in and of itself. Eel-like or cobra-headed nagaji and those seemingly descendant from nagas in their coloration and heritage add an interesting caste-like structure to their society that adds further adventuring potential and local color.

Beyond all of this, the tradition of scale bindi, adorning one's chakras, makes for a flavorful and potentially very rich collection of culturally distinct signifiers.

The samsarans, if you recall my review of that race's original compendium, aren't a race I was particularlyl fond of: The lopsided racial traits and powers made them not interesting to me, a fact Alexander Augunas changed back then - the race, with its unique psychology and outlook on life and its focus on constant reincarnation, renders the race's expanded lore one of the most successful examples of excellent storytelling in crunch-design I have seen in quite a while - the way in which their unique mythology and psychology shapes their cultures and the attention to detail provided therein render the samsarans as presented herein significantly more compelling than what the sum of their crunchy bits would suggest. The logic employed throughout the pdf is also extended towards the concept of ethnicities, codifying them for samsarans by whether they're awakened, slumbering, reborn - you get the idea. And yes, reborn samsarans get their own set of racial traits, deeply aligned with Occult Adventures, as befitting of a race with these esoteric themes.

Beyond the philosophy of samsarism, the wheel of rebirth is fully elaborated upon as well in this section, making for an overall extremely compelling reading experience...but many of you may have guessed that. If you're like me, the race that will probably have you guessing the most would be the wayang - only recently introduced and bereft of predecessors in the traditional sense, the race very much felt like tabula rasa to me - so how has its void been filled?

Well, the wayang as depicted herein are shy and reclusive and, somewhat akin to e.g. the Aztecs, they expect life to e painful and full of toil; they also place a high value on survival and their discomfort in daylight obviously has significant repercussions regarding their culture and racial psychology. Indeed, from the wayang's perspective, they have been exiled and damned to an existence in a world that is unerringly hostile to them, instilling a significant amount of Weltschmerz, quite literally, into their culture. A general distrust of curiosity is also a trait only rarely touched upon in cultural write-ups, but one that can provide a lot of interesting food for roleplaying interaction.

The alien nature of wayang also is represented in their physiology and life cycle, as we learn that they are born blind...and while they are pretty glum, at least for me as a goth, I consider their pessimism at least partially amusing - with love vows like "I will love you to the day my soul dissolves into the eternal shadow of night...and beyond.", which frankly could have been spouted by particularly kitschy, lovestruck fellows of my sub-culture...so yeah, while you can play them as angsty guys, there is an inherent melancholy and romanticism here, one that the right player can showcase with a wink. Dining etiquette and familial structures similarly are taken into consideration, as the book enumerates the consequences of the deeply-ingrained cultural belief of being stranded in a thoroughly hostile environment. Have you btw. known that their boogeymen, unsurprisingly, would be the lurkers in light?

Unique scarification techniques set e.g. the beber wayang ethnicity apart, while gedong wayangs limit this practice to their faces, giving them a unique, mask-like appearance. Indeed, body modifications, from split tongues to implants and brandings set the respective ethnicities apart in rather intriguing procedures. The tragic history of the race and their philosophy, the "Dissolution, road to the eternal night", can also be found herein: Big kudos, btw. - the racial philosophy, while tied to nihilism, is for once not evil. Oh...and then there would be the dayseekers...but most wayang will be loathe to talk about those folks...for good reason, if you have read the origin myth...but a great way to play a wayang distinct from the traditional racial ideology.

Okay, so I mentioned that I consider the structure of this book smart: Well, at this point, we have pretty much covered the first 100 pages of this tome and everything that follows is rock-hard CRUNCH, which makes this a rather dense book in that regard The structure employed in this chapter is as follows: We begin with alternate racial traits for the respective races, as well as the favored class options, in sequence. The astute reader will recognize, however, that the latter does cover newer classes like vigilante and occult classes, which constitutes a big plus. Alternate attribute arrays can also be found herein, with e.g. the kitsune getting an option for a mental, lopsided +2 Wisdom and Charisma - not the biggest fan there, but oh well. on the plus side, favored class options and alternate racial traits actually make use of the respective unique options and themes represented by the race. It should also be noted that, in spite of the sheer massive density in this section. bonus types generally are very concisely defined - while there are a precious few instances where the bonus remains untyped, for the most part, this is impressively concise, as we've come to expect from Everyman Gaming. Other nitpicks here, purely cosmetic, would pertain e.g. the italicization of ki, which is inconsistent in single abilities...but then again, it is inconsistent throughout the whole gaming oeuvre, so consider this me just being a nitpicky prick. Nagaji can become masters of exotic arms via traits, gaining a thankfully limited charming gaze or increased potency when handling poisonous magic. Samsarans "slumbering" still can benefit from a variety of base racial traits, aligning them with more common races and further diversifying the concept for the player (and allowing for awakening storylines...), while the propensity of the wayang for scarifications and body-mods can yield a surprising diversity of pretty cool options as well.

Once we have taken all of that in (and believe me, it's a LOT!), we move on to the significant cadre of racial archetypes. Now, as much as I'd like to go into details regarding each and everyone one of them, that would bloat the review even further and wouldn't be too helpful, so, in all brevity, let's take a look at the options: The (nagaji - the archetype works for everyone) paragonchemist basically gains a variety of mutagen, the paragogen, which heightens one aspect of the racial attributes at the cost of others, emphasizing the notion of becoming a heightened, more pronounced version of one's race's virtues. There are arcanist exploits that allow for the temporary switching of how subjects react to positive and negative energy (really cool!), distort magical illumination or hijack polymorph effects - unique and make sense, as far as I'm concerned. Rage power-wise, we get poisonous bites and raging/shapechanging combos. A total of 6 bardic masterpieces can be found herein, tying into the respective racial components - from the eternal cycle, represented in two of them, to Sun's Requiem, these are neat.

The bloddrager kitsune bloodline features the kumiho form and spellcraft and the high-level option to snatch the beating heart from the chest of your opponents. Badass! The guru cleric represents an investigator/cleric-crossover with diminished spellcasting, while the scripture-scribed priest takes the wayang obsession with body mods and applies it religiously: Less domains, but they etch their spells into their own bodies...they may later even scribe scrolls into their body - to resume my asinine nitpicking: In one of the book's rare glitches, a spell-reference here in not italicized, but that remains a purely aesthetic glitch. The book also features 3 subdomains: Agriculture, Kami and Manasaputra - all of these are balanced and bereft of complaints from yours truly.

The dancing blade would be a fighter with panache and deeds. Okay, I guess. The reincarnated hunter is really interesting - slightly diminished in spellcasting, they can tap into past lives, gaining abilities based on previous lives when tapping into them. Interesting, if strong option. The skulker hunter gains the slayer's studied target and a modified spell list. Inquisitors may elect to gain the communal guardian archetype, gaining a kind of collective-like bond with tactician-like tricks. The shapeshifter hunter inquisitor should be pretty self-explanatory. Two brief investigator talents are part of the deal and the enthraller mesmerist gets a fascination-style gaze instead of 1st level's mesmerist trick, which higher levels enforcing further the charming/fascination focus, replacing the touch treatment tree of abilities. The kyubi visionary monk, unsurprisingly, blends SPs with martial arts and the higher level option to use ki to refresh the SPs. The monk of a million lives is pretty cool and focuses on reincarnation and also features Childhood Adventures-tie-in. The serpent-fire discipline represents a kineticist/monk crossover...and frankly, I'm not the biggest fan of this one, as flurry + blast =...ouch. So yeah, I wouldn't consider this one a good idea for grittier games.

The formless ninja kitsune archetype focuses on shapechanging and ninja tricks allow for wildcard combat feats as well as trapping the souls of the slain. The nine-tailed mystic oracle focuses on the Magical tail engine for the kitsune. Oracles can also choose the reincarnation oracle mystery. The seinaru paladin replaces the aura tree of abilities with potent banners and a wide array of rogue talents are geared towards letting them choose boons, panache, etc., with advanced talents providing limited hex access. The wandering swordsman would be a finesse, defensive samurai. The Jiuweihu shaman uses the kitsune star jewel concept and, once again, the tail-engine. The spirit seer shaman is a minor modification. 2 slayer talents are included and sorcerors can choose to become reincarnated sorcerors, with the kitsune bloodline being provided as an additional option...and if that's not far-out enough, what about the kyubi mutated kitsune bloodline or the nogitsune bloodline based on the oni bloodline?

The caller of ancient fangs spiritualist gains a modified naga phantom and a modified spell-list, but these may only be cast (at least until 10th level) while the phantom is within the character's consciousness and the phantom does not grant the Skill Focus of its emotional focus. The concept of the ronin is represented via a swashbuckler archetype. Vigilantes with the wildsoul archetype may choose the vulpine natural course, which combines evil eye and feinting for cool combo game-play. The new witch-hexes include the jewel-bound familiar (the basis for aforementioned star jewel) or the option to assume the form of a past life.

Beyond this massive chapter of archetypes, we also gain a ton of racial feats: For example, the Body Modification feat, which alone spans almost a page, providing subdermal implants, neck elongation and more - here I can once again nitpick something - while it is easy to default to the standard, I would have appreciated the codification of a bite attack as primary here. Speaking of nitpicks: Technically, only the base feat of a chain of Style-feats gets the style-descriptor, since these generally requires actions to initiate, so while I love the styles herein, the descriptors they use are a bit misleading. This is a bit puzzling, considering that there are Styles that get this right herein. Equipment tricks for kitsune star gems can be found and the helpful sidebar regarding the optional remedial shapechanging rules makes a return - nice!

Forced and voluntary theriocephic transformations, detecting shapechangers, magical representations of ghostlights and ancestral spirits, rebirth (a better reincarnate with more control) and the like make for some solid spells and a ton of race traits (ALL with proper bonus types!!!), some nice religion traits and drawbacks complement this section and before you ask: The appendices help as well: Age, height and weight tables for all races; background rules for the races (see Ultimate Campaign), rp-breakdowns for the races and a detailed two-page index complement the book, making navigation easy.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, considering the length of this book: While a few hiccups can be found, they generally are aesthetic and do not wreck the integrity of the crunch - as expected from master Alexander Augunas, the rules-language is very crisp and precise. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and features a metric ton of original Jacob Blackmon artwork - the aesthetic vision is pretty holistic and seamless and in particularly the representations of the racial ethnicities deserve applause. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. I cannot comment on the qualities or lack thereof of the print version, since I do not own it.

Alexander Augunas' Dynastic Races Compendium ranks as one of the best racial books I have read for any iteration of a d20-based game. While not every little component herein is pitch-perfect, the holistic vision exhibited herein has managed to take 4 races I did not like in their original iteration and made me really cherish them - never before have Kitsune, Samsarans, Wayang or Nagaji felt so alive, so organic, so worthwhile. Fans of these races will consider this a no-brainer anyway, but frankly, this is worth getting if you're like me and hated crunch-only races, if you always wanted races to make sense. The depth of the cultures herein make them all practically demand being included in your game - their unique outlooks and worldviews, their cultures and traditions practically jump from the page. The prose is captivating and, even better, the crunch supports the complex and rich cultures presented within this book. In case you haven't noticed: This should be considered to be a "This is how it's done" for racial books; this attention to detail and realism, in lack of a better word, is what makes races work, what captures the imagination.

In short: Even if you consider the races herein lame, give this book a shot - as mentioned before, I very much went into these books disliking them all and ended up a convert, if you will: I can't wait to have my PCs encounter these unique cultures. My final verdict, unsurprisingly, will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dynastic Races Compendium
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Castle Falkenstein: The Second Tarot Variation
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/26/2017 10:54:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Tarot-based alternate rules-pdfs for Castle Falkenstein clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Wait, first, before we do: If you have not yet picked up the first Tarot Variation, please do so NOW. It has made my Top Ten RPG-product list for a reason - it is brilliant. The genius idea here is to use the Rider-Waite-Smythe tarot deck instead of the regular playing cards deck - the result has not only been an increase in atmosphere, but also a more interesting gameplay. I literally never want to play vanilla CF again.

...

Okay, that out of the way, to a degree, this pdf represents more of an amazing thing, we begin with establishing the connection between suites of playing card decks and tarot decks corresponding to another. The values for cards of the minor arcana are properly assigned their values. Since the deck contains one more face card per suit, but no jokers, the fortune deck includes 4 cads worth 15 points instead of 2.

The major arcana deck requires some choices to be made by the game's respective host: First, are major arcana cards held in a player's hand or apart. If they are held as regular cards, that decreases the number of minor arcana cards potentially held and as such, there is a balancing component there. If the major arcana is held on a separate hand, the plot-twisting elements of these cards become more potent, obviously.

The second decision would pertain how many cards the players can hold from the major arcana suite. If players hold these cards in their regular hand, the cards should be limited to a maximum of 1 or 2 held to maintain the option to keep succeeding at tasks via minor arcana. If a separate hand is chosen as the option to go for, the host can elect to cap the total at 3 or even 4 - the more of these a player can hold in a separate hand, though, the more volatile the game becomes, at least potentially - but that does fit well with Castle Falkenstein's high-adventure aspect.

Thirdly, an easy means to balance the impact of the major arcana is the third choice -here, the host determines how many major arcana cards can influence one given Feat. As you may have noticed, this does assume a host at least familiar with the game and confident regarding the ability to interpret on the fly the respective results.

These basics out of the way, the rest of the pdf is devoted to listing the major arcana and their effects - these range from spectacular successes, to conversions into other cards, the option to exchange cards for one minute (nut not those drawn to power sorcery). Returning cards just played to the hand, increasing success levels...and drawing e.g. Justice can result in either fumbling or high successes of the Feat in question. Increased success-levels at the cost of injury and there is also an option to draw a card and increase an ability ranked Poor to Good for the action in question - in short, the proceedings become more volatile.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that is beautiful and the pdf doesn't sport artworks, but requires none at this length. Same goes for bookmarks - the pdf has none, but doesn't require any at this length.

J Gray's second tarot variation is amazing - while the novelty of the concept and enriched coolness obviously does not extend to the second of these, the matter of fact remains that this represents a glorious option that enhances the gameplay of Castle Falkenstein in much the same iconic manner as the original. All for a single buck. So yes, this is very much worth checking out - and a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Second Tarot Variation
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20 Things #14: Hill Giant Steading (System Neutral Edition)
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/26/2017 10:50:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with 10 dynamic events for a given hill giant steading, created to evoke the illusion of a dungeon that's alive - from orc slaves carrying bloody wolf pelts to the smoke of burning meat and strange impromptu games (tied to another table herein), the selection is nice.

But how do you know these deadly foes are near? Well 10 things you can discover nearby ought to give you a clue, provided you know that triangular accumulations of stones, topped by wyvern skulls, may be territory markers...and the classic, deep footprint may also be a tell-tale sign. And yep, that crucified, moldering corpse yonder? That once was an orc before the giants got their grimy hands on him...

Of course, giants, in the right circles, are known for their bags, which may contain a variety of miscellanea, both wondrous and vile in nature - hence, when you open such a bag, the proper page of this pdf may yield freshly killed sheep, half-emptied vinegary wine...or the heads of those slain. Special stones that break asunder for shrapnel-like attacks (unbeknown to the giant!) or giant-sized, spliced together ropes make for an interesting selection here.

But what about the steading? Well, we once again do receive specialized dungeon dressing, customized for hill giant abodes: And yes, the degenerate, stupid giants indeed highlight their characteristics in their abodes: Wood that rots, macabre trophies, soiled clothes and gigantic bronze gongs speak of the dilapidated and haphazard nature that characterizes their behavior towards others and the regions they inhabit.

In the context of this pdf, hill giants have an affinity for wolves as pets, (dire wolves in particular) and thus, 10 entries for wolf appearance dressing and 10 battle tactics/peculiarities can be found - after all, the hill giants won't properly combat train them, so fear of fire, opportunistic pets and the like add a nice touch of strategy and character here. It should also be noted that standard read-aloud text for unmodified creatures is included here - nice!

The hill giants themselves receive pretty much the same treatment: 10 entries for appearance, including being a berserker ("A berserk" sounds a bit weird to my ears...) or grossly overweight, 10 battle tactics and 10 treasures and trinkets complement this mini-hill-giant generator.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there! The pdf sports several pieces of nice b/w-artworks.

Creighton Broadhurst's take on Hill Giant Steadings is a nice installment of the series and I welcome the dressing for the giants and wolves; however, at the same time, I do feel that the steading component could be slightly more pronounced: Only 3 of the entries actually pertain the environment, with the rest of the pages being devoted to creature and loot dressing. This is no bad, mind you, but it did leave me wanting a bit more regarding the steading itself. Considering the more than fair price-point, however, this still makes for a nice dressing-file to add to your giants - my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #14: Hill Giant Steading (System Neutral Edition)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review, End. I'm glad you liked this instalment!
Empath Hybrid Class
Publisher: Wayward Rogues Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/26/2017 10:48:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The empath is a hybrid class of cleric and psychic, who receives d6 HD, 4 + Int-mod skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons as well as light and medium armor. At 1st level, they may, as a standard action, cast analyze aura (not properly italicized) at-will to see emotional auras - this is supernatural, which is weird to me, but okay. The empath gains knacks and casts psychic spells of up to 9th level, governed by Wisdom (attribute not properly capitalized -a problem throughout the file) and draws spells from its own custom spell-list. at 2nd level and every even level after that, the class may replace an empath spell known with a cleric or psychic spell.

At 2nd level, the class gets deep bond - as a standard action, the empath may touch a living being to form a bond that lasts one minute. While this is in effect, the target may use the higher of the empath's saves or his own. Slightly rules-wise redundant: "At the start of the empath's turn, as a full-round action, the empath may heal the bonded target 1d6 hit points. This increases by a "d6" (should be +1d6) at 4th level and every even level after that, capping at 18th level. This can be used 3 + Cha-mod times per day and only one bond may be in effect.

Every empath chooses an emotional sensitivity, which nets abilities at 1st, 5th 10th and 15th level and also determines the capstone - basically the discipline analogue. a total of 7 such sensitivities are provided, the first of which would be anger, which yields a short-term buff, an improperly codified, wonky bite attack that instills rage, +2 Str and Con for the bonded target at at-will full-round calm emotions. The capstone is cool: Anyone affected by rage or with a rage power or spell with it in the name can be dominated as a standard action. Makes sense to me! However, it should be noted that the capstone name is different in table and actual abilities - that should have been caught in editing.

Awe has a pretty cool basic ability: Dazzle foes briefly (sucky, I know!), but the enemies lose readied or delayed actions. Interesting! 5th level presents the option to negate a selection of negative conditions suffered by the bonded creature. Gaze-based condition sharing, rerolls for saves of allies and a capstone that may render foes flat-footed collectively make this one really nice. Courage provides a scaling Will-save bonus, AoE, versus fear, reflexive second saves versus fear and at 15th level, 60 ft. perfect flight for allies while charging (only for the charge). This IS pretty cool - but RAW doesn't work. It is activated as a swift action and targets a charging ally - it should be activated as an immediate action. Swift actions can't be used outside of a character's turn. 15th level yields the temporary doubling of morale bonuses, once per deep bond and the capstone provides a series of passive upgrades that conspire for an all-around more potent nexus.

The desire sensitivity has a gaze that penalizes Sense Motive (not properly capitalized) and lacks a durationThe 5th level allows for the expenditure of unused spell slots to buff social skills greatly, but fails to specify the spell slot required - 9th level spell slots are RAW worth as much as 1st level spell slots. 10th level yields at-will suggestion (which, being Su, should note activation action) and 15th level yields a short-term dominate. 20th level allows for the learning of a creature's desires via prolonged concentration. Despair allows for the decreasing of fear-based conditions, 5th level allows per the absorption of morale penalties, and 10th level provides a nice debuff with a hex-anti-abuse-caveat, a means that also balances the slow 15th level ability. The latter lacks an activation action The capstone provides serious benefits when nearby creatures are affected by fear-conditions.

The euphoria sensitivity nets an at-will AoE polypurpose panacea, which is overkill for 1st level; 10th level yields limited daily uses of haste (erroneously capitalized) and 15th level provides a buff that last 1 round as a full-round action - which is comparatively weak at that level. As a capstone, the empath gets euphoria-inducing skin with a no-save daze that kicks in when hit by natural attacks or unarmed strikes and it can also be used as a touch attack. Interesting! Finally, the horror sensitivity provides an Intimidate-enhancer, immunity to fear to the deep bonded target at 5th level,, a 30-ft. fear aura at 10th level that can be projected on allies and, at 20th level, an empath may, as an immediate action, consume a creature's fear, gaining a powerful buff. Okay, what's the range?

The pdf also sports archetypes: The central mind replaces emotional sensitivity and emotive master with a kind of mental communication, which, at 10th level, may transfer touch spells...okay, does the character still have to hit with touch attacks? Instead of deep bond, they may place nodes as a full-round action of a creature. Creatures with nodes can't be surprised unless all creatures with nodes are surprised. Hit points may be transferred via such nodes by the character as a standard action. The character can place nodes equal to 1 + Wisdom modifier for every two levels - which allows for ridiculously huge networks that are basically undefeatable. Not a fan, as this basically demands being cheesed.

Instead of emotional sensitivity, the instinctual driver can treat creatures as humanoid for the purpose of spells and effects, with higher levels yielding charms versus such creatures at decreasing actions required. Spells are not italicized here and the 15th level ability refers to dominate and charm interchangeably, which THEY ARE NOT. This one's a mess.

The sensorial replaces deep bond may enhance senses of creatures, increasing the potency of the granted abilities at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Pretty interesting, though one of the sub-abilities lacks the italicization of its sub-ability header. The final archetype would be the sycophant of pain - these guys can grant temporary hit points to allies, but nauseate them. This generates pain points, of which a maximum of class level + Cha mod may be held. These may be expended to deal no-save damage to nearby enemies - the damage is untyped and imho shouldn't be. The affected number of allies and temporary hit points scale, obviously. Weird: This replaces the capstone without giving anything back. Instead of deep bonds, these fellows gain the wounding well ability, a debuff bond that imposes massive penalties...but the creature affected may end this effect by taking damage. Interesting alternative to deep bond.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, the latter in particular, are the bane of this pdf. There are a ton of formatting glitches. The rules-language is better than usual for these hybrid classes, but still could have seriously used a rules-dev - there are quite a bunch of finer points in the rules-language not working properly and missing activation actions and a couple (but not many) balance-concerns here and there. The layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has nice full-color artworks. The lack of bookmarks is annoying; just as annoying would be the fact that the book has copying and highlighting of text disabled, which is supremely asinine when trying to e.g. copy abilities to a char-sheet.

Jarrett Sigler's Empath ranks as one of my favorite Wayward Rogues Publishing classes so far: While it has issues in editing and formatting, the issues are significantly less pronounced than with other classes. Unfortunately, the rules-hiccups that should have been caught in editing extend to components that affect functionality. At the same time, the class does feature actually unique options and has some really nice ideas. If you're willing to work a bit with this, then it can be considered a worthwhile offering. If this gets fixed, it certainly has the potential for 4 or even 5 stars...but with the accumulated flaws and comfort-detriments, I can't rate this higher than 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Empath Hybrid Class
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Letters from the Flaming Crab: World Tree
Publisher: Flaming Crab Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2017 06:06:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the impressive "Letters from the Flaming Crab"-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, before you're asking - this is not a straight rehash of the classic idea of the world tree as known from Norse myths and the like; instead, we have a contextualization of the idea within the reality of the game. Touched by the dryad Endainne, the oak that was to grow into the colossal tree featured herein would grow, however, to proportions only dwarfed by the cosmic tree of said myths - at over 6000 feet height, this titanic environment contains wonder galore - and it obviously influences the environment, which is why we discuss the effects on forest, roots and the area around the branches. Climate and traveling are covered in similar ways and the bounty of the tree also allows for better use of local produce when used in conjunction with culinary magic. (Here is the Letter on that topic...and if you like it, there currently is a KS running to create more! The link is here!)

The religion of Endainne, the dryad goddess, is properly depicted with 5 domains, 6 sub-domains, boons (Yep, Inner Sea Gods-compatible!) and we even cover tenets of the faith and sample servants of the deity - big kudos for going beyond the basics here! And yes, the boons and rules-language featured here are precise and leave nothing to be desired.

And this is where the pdf starts becoming REALLY interesting: An extremely detailed, one-page-spanning table of effects of the proximity of nearby offspring of the World Tree can be found: Excessive oxygen production, magic sustenance, clean air, strange lights...or all of them. The effects are cool and flavorful...and we go the extra mile, big time: Want the effects of such a tree on a settlement? The rules are included. Want to know the effects on the kingdom-building rules? Once again: Included for your convenience...and if you do not like the default flavor of the world tree (or want more diversity), a sidebar full of different, creative options has you covered!

Nestled in the boughs of the titanic world tree, there lies Portokali, a small, welcoming town which may require peace-bonds, but actually makes for a compelling place to visit, one supplemented with a rather impressive in-depth history and a nice side-view sketch of the way towards the settlement. Life in the settlement and a map of the uncommon locale can also be found here - while the settlement does come with a sketch-like map, that would be the one aspect where this aspect of the pdf falls a bit short of e.g. Raging Swan Press' Village Backdrops-series - in short, we get an amazing, detailed and thoroughly unique settlement with adventuring potential galore and even interesting classes that make up part of the unique social structure.

The pdf offers more, namely a new player character race, the daphanie, daughters of the world tree, who gain +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Int, are humanoids with the fey subtype, have low-light vision, gain +2 to Survival in forested/jungle terrain (and -2 to track them in such an environment), +2 to saves versus poison, always know where North is and have +2 to Climb. They can also grow a vine out of their dominant hand as a move action and use it to retrieve and manipulate small objects and may be used as a primary natural attack that uses the stats of a whip. Cool race and not one that should result in any issues. Instead of the tracking-tricks, they can get 1/day entangle or at-will speak with plants. The climbing trick can be replaced with darkvision. Instead of poison resistance, they can get +1 natural armor. There are Small daphanie and the signature vine can be replaced with claws (proper damage and natural attack type - kudos!), wild empathy or gliding membranes. All in all, a cool race.

We btw. do get a nice age, height and weight table as well as favored class options for alchemist, bard, druid, cleric, hunter, kineticist, monk, ranger and rogue. No complaints here!

The pdf also features racial archetypes, the first of which would be the tree glider monk, who must have the gliding membrane (obviously) and adds Fly to the list of class skills. Big kudos: The descending flight rules-language at 1st level has this Batman-y flair sans options to cheese it, retaining the lock on unassisted personal flight at low levels. 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter increase the gliding flying speed and 5th level unlocks, properly, the flying options, allowing for the gaining of altitude. While this archetype is very much a small and humble one, it does its job well. Kudos!

The Toxibloom alchemist grows a symbiotic, toxic plant (thankfully, the toxin cannot be sold) that can produce 1/2 class level doses...but the ability does not specify what action the poison-generation is, which is a bit unfortunate. It also does not replace another class feature - which may or may not be an oversight. Instead of the 12th level discovery, the archetype receives toxic blood - and yes, this has different stats and specifies how often it can be sued and the activation action. Instead of persistent mutagen, the archetype gains poisonous pollen (again, with new stats and proper activation action). The archetype also gains two unique discoveries - one for acorn bombs and one that grows a vine whip on the torso.

Mundane equipment-wise, we do get plant pigments and the pdf features 4 racial feats. Alas, one nets a boring skill-bonus and is pretty much the epitome of filler. Another allows for sustenance through sunlight (and slightly enhanced natural healing), the third one allows for full-speed Acrobatics while balancing and enhances your ability to climb and catch falling allies. The final feat grants you thorns that deal "lethal" damage - which does not exist. That probably should be piercing.

The pdf also features 3 magic items: The petal cloak helps moving through underbrush and Handling Animals. The Staff of the World Tree is a nice druid-y staff and endainne's shield 1/day breath of life's you, which is pretty potent....not a fan here.

The pdf also contains a bestiary, with Endainne's aspect at a massive CR 24 being first - she is brutal and the build is nice, but I wished that she had a couple of unique tricks. Gnasher, the CR 21 version of Níðhöggr, does that right, just fyi - the mighty dragon comes with a miasmic breath weapon and some nasty, unique tricks. The CR 2 Rattatoskir should also feel familiar for fans of Norse myths, though I have seen that concept done more interestingly. The CR 7 Hyeorai, stick-dolls that are immune to magic and can emit deadly sprays of splinters make for a cool critter. The aforementioned servants of Endainne are also included: At CR 15, Mjarl the Strong represents the apex-version of the hyeorai, in gargantuan. The CR 9 Unkindness would be the legendary flock of ravens of the deity, including unluck-aura and eye-raking. A cliffnotes version of the respective critters and names is included and we conclude this pdf with 4 different random encounter tables for the regions of the world tree.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, the pdf is still very good, but has a few hiccups. Layout adheres to Flaming Crab Games' nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked. Artwork-wise, we get a mix of nice b/w-sketches and full-color versions of public domain art. The frame narrative of the Flaming Crab once again make this pdf pretty nice to read.

Kim Frandsen, Ken Pawlik and Tina Porter have done a nice job in this installment of the Letters-series: The environments presented are truly evocative and the pdf does go the extra mile in several crucial instances. The attention to detail is really cool and the settlements and twists on the familiar tropes render this pdf a fun, cool offering that has something for everyone. While not all aspects of the pdf are perfect, we do have a rather cool and evocative file on our hands here. In the end, my final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Flaming Crab: World Tree
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Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 3
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2017 06:00:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the series of little pdfs providing mythic versions for the monsters originally featured in the bestiary sections of Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages, so let's take a look!

This one has a bit of overlap with Mythic Monsters: India: The Upasunda Asura at CR 11/MR 4 and the amazing due of undead elephant (Rajput Ambari, CR 8/MR 3) and Rakshasa Maharaja (CR 25/MR 10) can all be found herein as well. The builds are all three amazing, but I have commented on all of them in my review of the big book.

The so far not covered creatures would be the house drake at CR 3/MR 1 gains Flyby Attack and treats his natural attacks as silver and also has the second save ability versus mind-affecting effects.

The second new creature herein would be the scarlet macaque swarm at CR 6/MR 2, who may filch items as a swift action, fling scarlet rage-inducing filth and flies into rages when faced with a bleeding target..oh, and being damaged can incite a combo of confusion and rage. Nasty! That being said, in a minor formatting glitch, a spell reference here has not been italicized.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to a really elegant and nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson's creatures herein are pretty damn amazing...but whether you should get them depends frankly on whether you have Mythic Monsters: India. If you do, this does not have that much new content, though what you do get, is amazing. If you're willing to get this for the new critters, then you'll probably enjoy this...otherwise, I'd suggest getting Mythic Monsters: India instead. Ultimately, my final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 3
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Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 2
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2017 05:59:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment of the series of little pdfs providing mythic versions for the monsters originally featured in the bestiary sections of Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages, so let's take a look!

The first creature herein would be the Leukodaemon at CR 11/MR 4, whose diseases become airborne (YES!) and his contagion is upgraded. Beyond mythic path abilities and their detachable skills and mere presence can make the area more infectious - amazing! If you already have the Mythic Monsters: Daemons-file, you'll already be familiar with this guy, though.

At one CR less, the daughter of the dead gains Allied Spellcaster and may share teamwork feats with nearby divine spellcasters. Her ectoplasmic innards fortify her versus crits and precision damage and her shroud may conceal her from the living, granting a miss chance and the option to use mythic power-based haunting mists. Oh, and her claw may use a Cleave-variant! Cool upgrade!

At CR 1/MR 1, the giant fly's upgrade immediately can infect foes that touch it and gains Dodge. At the same CR/MR, the giant maggot gains regeneration and may, upon being slain by anything other than fire, produce non-mythic maggots...and they may share spaces with other maggots. EW! Amazing!

This pdf also contains the herald Lawgiver, whose stats clock in at a mighty CR 18/MR 7. This guy gets the ability to form binding contracts and can share in bonuses...or suppress them via mythic power expenditure! Its golden body gains an upgrade as well, potentially blinding foes and reflecting attacks - defensive tricks that may be further upgraded via mythic power. Oh, and permanent truth-themes effects and 18th level inquisitor judgments. OUCH! Nice!

Finally, the pdf contains the mythic iteration of the nosferatu template, who gains grabbing claws that also inflict bleeding damage. They may overcome their weaknesses and squeeze through tight spots and, beyond higher rank channel resistance, they gain mistsight and obscuring mist and may later speak through those dominated. Flight and mistshapes as well as AoE-blood drain and the ability to use deeper darkness with a 1-mile radius, the higher level options are amazing. Glorious upgrade here!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to a really elegant and nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson and Steven T. Helt of the four horsemen make for an amazing team - their design-paradigms are similar and they both really know their craft. This is an all-killer, no-filler pdf of amazing critters, well worth the fair asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 2
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Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 1
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2017 05:58:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of the series of little pdfs providing mythic versions for the monsters originally featured in the bestiary sections of Curse of the Crimson Throne clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages, so let's take a look!

We begin with the Mythic Devilfish at CR 5/MR 2, who infuses tainted blood that can render nonevil creatures sickened and it also gains reactive camouflage and can increase the miss-chances it gets from it via mythic power expenditure. Really cool, though this guy will be familiar if you already have Mythic Monsters: Sea Monsters.

At the same CR/MR, the carrion golem (including the Self-Repairing Construct feat, reprinted for your convenience) receives a more virulent plague and the limb ripper ability, which lets the monster...surprise, rip off limbs of targets it has hit, provided it has mythic power left. Nice, though a bit of a pity that we don't cover the variants or construction notes here. If you btw. have Mythic Monsters: Halloween, it can be found inside that tome as well.

At CR 3/MR 1, the raktavarna rakshasa is constantly under nondetection as well as the option to enchant itself as a vicious weapon, but fool the wielder into not realizing that...which is damn cool. However, if you already have the Mythic Monsters: India-file, you will already be familiar with this guy.

At the same CR/MR, the soulbound doll's mythic version can use ventriloquism and ghost sound to mimic voices and may use some bardic performances and may use Stealth while observed, potentially porting right next to its unwitting victims. Cool! That being said, no construction notes here either.

The CR 1/MR 1 reefclaw is upgraded to be capable of potentially wrecking armor and also features the spines it should have had in the first place. Yes, they're poisonous. Love this guy - one of my favorites herein! At the same CR/MR, the dream spider's web penalizes Perception and weakens the Will of those caught in it and extends the webs to bursts - another winner!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to a really elegant and nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf has no artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson shows that he really knows his mythic material here - the builds are all interesting, the upgrades creative and cool. While the lack of construction notes for the constructs is a bit of a pity, at the more than fair price-point, that does not sink the pdf. However, if you do have a lot of the big books, this has less to offer for you. The builds are great, but whether or not this is worth getting for you depends. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform - unless you already have most of the big files, in that case, you may want to round down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Module Monsters: Red Throne 1
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Veranthea Codex: Lost Legends of Urethiel 2.0
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2017 10:11:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review of V. 2.0

This supplement for Veranthea Codex clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Note: This pdf has only received a cosmetic face-lift, so the review's pretty much unchanged. If you've read the old review, you'll know what follows.)

So, what do we get here? Well, we get a massive, high-concept NPC Codex/bestiary with a WuXia-theme. From the mountains of Nestraka, the CR 8 Amigara hail, deadly constructs that encase mortals to use them to tap into the life energy of mortals entombed in their bodies - they can be found in the canyon of the spiral, which features a total of 3 short descriptive sketches to use in concert with the critter.

The pdf continues to provide the Fukujin subtype - native outsiders that embody the virtues of good fortune, with two such entities provided, both of which should put a smile on the faces of genre-aficionados: Benzaiten and Hotei, both at a nasty CR 15, make for powerful, benevolent entities. The Fire Naga at CR 12 comes with a new spell that is basically dominate on speed and the naga can generate enthralling, hypnotic orbs or fire...pretty cool and best take on the concept I've seen so far: In spite of the name, this is no one-trick-pony. Orang-Bati are CR 3 winged apes with a fear-inducing howl. Okay, I guess, but I've seen the concept often enough to not be impressed here.

Now the next critter made me smile from ear to ear: Horror-fans may know of the Orang-Minyak, the oily men - well, guess what? Now we get the guy as a neat CR 6 adversary with cool, connected abilities - two thumbs up! The Seong-Saman, the fan-lady with her aura of breathlessness, night terrors and ability to become corporeal is another critter at CR 5 I very much enjoyed to see here - and gaining one named iteration with mesmerist levels is a neat icing on the cake here. At CR 4, the long-tailed hornless goat sigbin may drink blood from the shadow of creatures (!!!) and is yet another cool critter that very much made me grin. The 3 magic items associated with the creatures just add more dimension to it and the notes for catching it make it feel as something deeply rooted in the mythology of Urethiel.

Tek-tek, undead upper torsos with an axe-blade where the lower body should be, with their vertebrae axe and deranged chittering is also amazing...oh, and they can be taken as familiars or companions via feats. Their previously slightly too high power-level has been adjusted to proper levels - KUDOS!! The three magic items (two axes, one set of bracers) are neat and evocative, though. I was positive surprised to see the tsuchigumo translated as a CR 10 aberration, with powerful webs and the horrid ability to create tsuchigo thralls via the CR +3 template provided.

Next up would be sample characters: a human druidess 2, a dwarven samurai 5, an elven pyrokineticist, a half-orc vigilante, a half-elven hunter, a forsaken human two-handed fighter, a blessed alchemist/ninja/monk-multiclass, a forsaken slayer, a halfling oracle and a shòuquán invulnerable rager/conduit are provided, spanning the CRs from 1 to 18. It should be noted that, where applicable, companions are included in the stats. Amazing for guys like yours truly: This pdf features an artifact...that is the Death Note. Not kidding. Could your PCs have bested Light? It's time to find out...

The pdf also sports information on a unique city - Tian-Ti Ang, the city of vampires! The place not only comes with a settlement statblock, it also features notes on the houses, the local laws and rivalries and conclude the pdf on a high note with a deadly vampire ninja at CR 12.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres, for the most part, to a two-column full-color standard, though the pdf switches this up with one-column passages where appropriate. The artworks, for the most part, are public domain, but fit the theme, with some stock thrown in - the new cover is certainly nice. Like all Veranthea codex books, this book is chock-full with information, but doesn't feel as jammed and busy as previous books, which is a good thing in my book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Luis Loza's Lost Legends of Urethiel deliver in spades: The critters, for the most part, are creative and drink deeply from the wellspring of lesser known pieces of mythology. The NPCs are similarly diverse in their builds and feature some characters that make good use of Urethiel's unique birthrights. More importantly, this pdf left me with the DESIRE to actually use quite a few of the creatures herein. While the lack of artworks for the critters is always a bit of an issue for bestiaries, if you are not solely focused on that component, you will love A LOT of the critters herein: Instead of doing the standard Yuki-no-onna, penanggalan-routine, this instead opts for creatures you haven't yet see hundreds of times. In short - this is a great, fun supplement. While not all NPCs are genius or that creative, the critters are creative and fun and so are many of the NPCs - as a whole, a supplement well worth getting, making me settle on a final verdict of 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval. Oh, and the feats being cut down to size with the new artwork just represents the icing on the cake! Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veranthea Codex: Lost Legends of Urethiel 2.0
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Veranthea Codex: Lost Legends of Urethiel
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2017 10:10:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised version

This supplement for Veranthea Codex clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Note: This pdf has only received a cosmetic face-lift, so the review's pretty much unchanged. If you've read the old review, you'll know what follows.)

So, what do we get here? Well, we get a massive, high-concept NPC Codex/bestiary with a WuXia-theme. From the mountains of Nestraka, the CR 8 Amigara hail, deadly constructs that encase mortals to use them to tap into the life energy of mortals entombed in their bodies - they can be found in the canyon of the spiral, which features a total of 3 short descriptive sketches to use in concert with the critter.

The pdf continues to provide the Fukujin subtype - native outsiders that embody the virtues of good fortune, with two such entities provided, both of which should put a smile on the faces of genre-aficionados: Benzaiten and Hotei, both at a nasty CR 15, make for powerful, benevolent entities. The Fire Naga at CR 12 comes with a new spell that is basically dominate on speed and the naga can generate enthralling, hypnotic orbs or fire...pretty cool and best take on the concept I've seen so far: In spite of the name, this is no one-trick-pony. Orang-Bati are CR 3 winged apes with a fear-inducing howl. Okay, I guess, but I've seen the concept often enough to not be impressed here.

Now the next critter made me smile from ear to ear: Horror-fans may know of the Orang-Minyak, the oily men - well, guess what? Now we get the guy as a neat CR 6 adversary with cool, connected abilities - two thumbs up! The Seong-Saman, the fan-lady with her aura of breathlessness, night terrors and ability to become corporeal is another critter at CR 5 I very much enjoyed to see here - and gaining one named iteration with mesmerist levels is a neat icing on the cake here. At CR 4, the long-tailed hornless goat sigbin may drink blood from the shadow of creatures (!!!) and is yet another cool critter that very much made me grin. The 3 magic items associated with the creatures just add more dimension to it and the notes for catching it make it feel as something deeply rooted in the mythology of Urethiel.

Tek-tek, undead upper torsos with an axe-blade where the lower body should be, with their vertebrae axe and deranged chittering is also amazing...oh, and they can be taken as familiars or companions via feats. Their previously slightly too high power-level has been adjusted to proper levels - KUDOS!! The three magic items (two axes, one set of bracers) are neat and evocative, though. I was positive surprised to see the tsuchigumo translated as a CR 10 aberration, with powerful webs and the horrid ability to create tsuchigo thralls via the CR +3 template provided.

Next up would be sample characters: a human druidess 2, a dwarven samurai 5, an elven pyrokineticist, a half-orc vigilante, a half-elven hunter, a forsaken human two-handed fighter, a blessed alchemist/ninja/monk-multiclass, a forsaken slayer, a halfling oracle and a shòuquán invulnerable rager/conduit are provided, spanning the CRs from 1 to 18. It should be noted that, where applicable, companions are included in the stats. Amazing for guys like yours truly: This pdf features an artifact...that is the Death Note. Not kidding. Could your PCs have bested Light? It's time to find out...

The pdf also sports information on a unique city - Tian-Ti Ang, the city of vampires! The place not only comes with a settlement statblock, it also features notes on the houses, the local laws and rivalries and conclude the pdf on a high note with a deadly vampire ninja at CR 12.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches. Layout adheres, for the most part, to a two-column full-color standard, though the pdf switches this up with one-column passages where appropriate. The artworks, for the most part, are public domain, but fit the theme, with some stock thrown in - the new cover is certainly nice. Like all Veranthea codex books, this book is chock-full with information, but doesn't feel as jammed and busy as previous books, which is a good thing in my book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Luis Loza's Lost Legends of Urethiel deliver in spades: The critters, for the most part, are creative and drink deeply from the wellspring of lesser known pieces of mythology. The NPCs are similarly diverse in their builds and feature some characters that make good use of Urethiel's unique birthrights. More importantly, this pdf left me with the DESIRE to actually use quite a few of the creatures herein. While the lack of artworks for the critters is always a bit of an issue for bestiaries, if you are not solely focused on that component, you will love A LOT of the critters herein: Instead of doing the standard Yuki-no-onna, penanggalan-routine, this instead opts for creatures you haven't yet see hundreds of times. In short - this is a great, fun supplement. While not all NPCs are genius or that creative, the critters are creative and fun and so are many of the NPCs - as a whole, a supplement well worth getting, making me settle on a final verdict of 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval. Oh, and the feats being cut down to size with the new artwork just represents the icing on the cake! Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veranthea Codex: Lost Legends of Urethiel
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Echelon Expansions: Draconic Bloodlines
Publisher: Echelon Game Design
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2017 07:57:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, 6 pages of SRD, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

So, I'm not starting with the subject matter, but with the houserule mentioned on the first page: It's kinda weird that bloodline spells are learned later, so the pdf provides an interesting and concise way to fix that without increasing the power of the class. Beyond that, we also get alternate rationalizations why a given character may have the draconic bloodline, from constellations to soul-wrenching rites of passage, this makes for a basic and pretty nice introduction.

But what is this truly about? Well, to put it bluntly, the author at one point realized that it is kind of dumb that one draconic bloodline represents the influence of all of dragonkind, with its distinct and widely diverging branches. So, while we reiterate the basic draconic bloodline as a starting point, we from here on out extrapolate the respective, more customized ones. This usually not only changes a couple of bloodline spells and powers, but makes them work as basically their own, unique and distinct entities. The respective abilities are formatted in a slightly unconventional manner, with the respective ability names in power-point like bubbles and tabs on top, denoting the precise ability type and the level it's gained - while not immediately aesthetically pleasing, from an organizational point of view, this solution proved to be surprisingly efficient in conveying the necessary information.

Speaking of sensible and smart ways of conveying information: The sub-chapters of the pdf begin with tables that denote the spells, breath weapons and powers of the respective draconic bloodlines in tables that render the use of the pdf extremely comfortable. Now, as mentioned, the draconic bloodlines featured herein do not completely change the draconic base bloodline, instead opting for what could be considered to be an approach similar to mutated or wildblooded bloodlines, though the changes made. A sorceror who traces his ancestry to a black dragon, for example, gains the sire's ability to breathe underwater and freely use spells, breath weapon etc. while submerged - which makes all kinds of sense to me.

Where applicable, scaling mechanisms have been included - for example regarding the electricity aura of sorcerors hailing from a blue bloodline. That being said, in some of the scaling information bits, very minor and purely aesthetic hiccups have crept in: While it is evident that the damage increase should cause electricity damage, the pdf omits the damage type for these increases. That is me at my nitpickiest, though - from context, it is perfectly evident. Amazing: The blue bloodline sorcerors get WINGS OF LIGHTNING. That actually interact with breath weapon etc. at higher levels. Come on, those visuals are cool! Sorcerors with a red sire can, as a capstone, learn to incinerate foes utterly with their breath, as another cool example of such custom abilities.

While the first section of the pdf covers the chromatics, as you no doubt have gleaned by now, the second section proceeds to cover the metallic dragons, where brass dragons get the sandstorm capstone of their parentage, while scions of bronze receive water mastery and the ability to generate vortices at higher levels. It should be noted that many of these abilities in themselves do feature a scaling mechanism, improving over the course of the respective bloodline's ability-steps.

Thirdly, beyond these two classic families of dragon, we take a look at the primal dragons as well, with the cloud scion's lightning fog at 9th level constituting a neat example for the ability. As a purely aesthetic gripe regarding rules-language - you do not verify critical hits, you confirm them. Yes, the claw progressions of the respective bloodlines also tend to differ in some ways, which was a welcome surprise to me. That being said, while it is easy to resort to the default, I still would have appreciated the natural attack abilities specifying whether they're primary or secondary - still, that is purely aesthetic and won't influence the final verdict. On the plus-side, umbral-blooded sorcerors gaining the ghost touch property for their claws makes sense to me.

The pdf doesn't even stop there, though - the imperial dragons are yet another massive group of dragons covered with proper bloodlines, which should elicit cheers from the WuXia crowd...and, once again, the ability-modifications make sense as a whole: Forest dragon-bloodline sorcerors gaining huntsman claws and a capstone that lets them petrify foes, for example, makes sense to me. The capstone for sky dragon bloodline sorcerors to ignore electricity immunity and resistance with their breaths makes for nasty surprises and the sovereign dragon's heritage, which increases the DC of spell saves and allows for the conjuring of golden armor (and a master counterspelling capstone) also fits the themes of the draconic sire.

"But wait, endy," you're saying "that's not all dragons!" You'd be right. Even the frickin' outer dragons are covered! Solar dragon sorcerors get even lay on hands - and yes, the pdf does provide information for what happens if you multiclass with paladin, just fyi. That being said, the bullet-point notes that explain ability-interaction here could have been a bit clearer in their wording; they make sense, mind you, but I could construct a misreading here. Speaking of which, the pdf is not always perfect regarding its abilities: The time dragon's "second chance"-ability, for example, reads: "At 3rd level, you get a bonus to initiative checks equal to 1/2 your sorceror level." (VERY potent - keep it away from mythic gaming!) It then goes on to state that 9th level unlocks a 1/day reroll of a d20 as an immediate action, and then, at 15th level, the ability can now be used twice per day. This can be somewhat confusing since all of these abilities are collected under the same header - splitting the ability would have been more elegant here....unless the initiative bonus was supposed to have a daily cap as well. That being said, we're talking about the finer details of rules-language and design here - from a usability point of view, this should not provide any issues.

The pdf ends with designer's notes that explain why esoteric dragons have not been included, the design-goals and an exceedingly helpful and detailed two-page index for the pdf.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level - I noticed no significant hiccups in either, only a few cosmetic glitches most people probably won't even notice. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column standard. The colored ability-headers can be a bit of a drain on the printer, but other than that, no complaints. The pdf has no artworks apart from the cover, but comes with very detailed, nested bookmarks. These, in conjunction with the index and the clean and crisp presentation generate an overall extremely easy to use pdf.

Keith Davies' "Draconic Bloodlines" fix a whole in the rules that is so evident, it's a wonder it hasn't been taken care of earlier. I have myself often wondered why the draconic bloodline has been neglected thus and this massive differentiation of the material is more than appreciated. Better yet, for the most part the modified abilities make for some rather amazing visuals or enhance the respective draconic sire's theme. This book is a godsend for campaigns wishing to play with multiple draconic characters, feuds, etc. and I'm certainly going to use it in Legendary Games' upcoming dragon-AP. Balance-wise, the abilities sometimes exceed that of the base draconic bloodline by a slight bit, but considering that it is not the strongest of options in the first place, I am good with that. In short: Even the most hardcore gritty and restrictive of games should encounter no issues while using this pdf.

As a whole, this is worth getting - the few, extremely minor hiccups cost this my seal of approval and no, bloodrager fans, nothing in this book for you, but considering the design-goals and paradigms for it, the file achieves its goal. Get this and diversify your game's draconic sorcerors! My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 since this is closer to excellence than to being just "good".

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Echelon Expansions: Draconic Bloodlines
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Places of Power: Dragonmarch Keep
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2017 07:56:03

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!

At the borders of three formerly warring nations, atop a craggy precipice at the edge of known civilization, there is a sturdy keep overlooking the surrounding landscape, a bulwark against raiders and the forces of darkness, steadfast clinging to civilization and providing solace for those nearby, a veritable keep in the borderlands, if you will, awaiting adventurers of stout hearts and valorous mien. This structure is dragonmarch keep, represented in a massive b/w-map that spans a whole page and covers nearby fields and countryside as well.

This rough land lives and stands by the virtue of noble scions that come to these far-away stretches of land to defend the borders, currently under the auspice of Countess Liana Van de Vore (comically misnamed "Can de Vore" once) - whose ancestor, as knowledgeable PCs with the required skills may know, has slain the red dragon Glitterfang at this very place.

The pdf does provide notes on notable folk and how the general populace here does dress, the local nomenclature, etc. The attention to detail we've come to expect from the series extends to the marketplace-section that presents minor magic for sale here and the local bar - which even comes with sample food and drink prices. As always, we do receive a table of 6 sample events and 6 sample whispers and rumours to add some local color and further adventuring options to the material presented herein.

A political dimension is also part of the location - as a cornerstone of a non-aggression treaty and potential point of interest for 3 kingdoms and the monstrous forces of the wastes, the locale features sufficient flavor...and a curse on a nearby farm is implied as well....all in all, plenty of adventuring potential 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 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.

Mike Welham's dragonmarch keep is a cool environment, though it is somewhat more conservative than most locations penned by him; this is not meant as criticism, mind you - it just means that this location is very easy to implement in one's games...and this, considering its borderlands-theme, is very much what the pdf sets out to do. I ultimately do like this location as a whole, but if you're looking for something novel, then this will perhaps not 100% deliver. This is an excellent, detailed and flavorful representation of the classic theme, but it lacks the one-step-beyond, the je-ne-sais-quoi, the twist, if you will, to catapult it to the realms of excellence. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Dragonmarch Keep
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Places of Power: Dragonmarch Keep System Neutral Edition
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/22/2017 07:55:04

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!

At the borders of three formerly warring nations, atop a craggy precipice at the edge of known civilization, there is a sturdy keep overlooking the surrounding landscape, a bulwark against raiders and the forces of darkness, steadfast clinging to civilization and providing solace for those nearby, a veritable keep in the borderlands, if you will, awaiting adventurers of stout hearts and valorous mien. This structure is dragonmarch keep, represented in a massive b/w-map that spans a whole page and covers nearby fields and countryside as well.

This rough land lives and stands by the virtue of noble scions that come to these far-away stretches of land to defend the borders, currently under the auspice of Countess Liana Van de Vore (comically misnamed "Can de Vore" once) - whose ancestor, as knowledgeable PCs may know, has slain the red dragon Glitterfang at this very place.

The pdf does provide notes on notable folk and how the general populace here does dress, the local nomenclature, etc. The attention to detail we've come to expect from the series extends to the marketplace-section that presents minor magic for sale here and the local bar - which even comes with sample food and drink prices. As always, we do receive a table of 6 sample events and 6 sample whispers and rumours to add some local color and further adventuring options to the material presented herein. The system neutral version has been thoroughly purged of new-school system-references and only features the classic classes etc. in brief notes.

A political dimension is also part of the location - as a cornerstone of a non-aggression treaty and potential point of interest for 3 kingdoms and the monstrous forces of the wastes, the locale features sufficient flavor...and a curse on a nearby farm is implied as well....all in all, plenty of adventuring potential 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 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.

Mike Welham's dragonmarch keep is a cool environment, though it is somewhat more conservative than most locations penned by him; this is not meant as criticism, mind you - it just means that this location is very easy to implement in one's games...and this, considering its borderlands-theme, is very much what the pdf sets out to do. I ultimately do like this location as a whole, but if you're looking for something novel, then this will perhaps not 100% deliver. This is an excellent, detailed and flavorful representation of the classic theme, but it lacks the one-step-beyond, the je-ne-sais-quoi, the twist, if you will, to catapult it to the realms of excellence. That being said, I firmly believe that the system-neutral iteration of this Place of Power will find quite a lot of fans - after all, it breathes the classic borderlands vibes galore! My final verdict for this pdf will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Dragonmarch Keep System Neutral Edition
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