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Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2021 12:25:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book of races clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review by my patreon supporters.

So, structurally, this book contains 4 new races, with each race receiving between 2 and 3 pages of information, which include physical descriptions, notes on the society of the respective race. Each race gets one stunning artwork, with the androids getting 2 additional ones that are slightly more comic-like in style, but also neat.

Two of the new races herein are constructed beings: The first would be the androids, who increase their Intelligence by 2, and get a kind of combination of low-light vision and darkvision: Within 60 ft., they treat dim light as bright light and darkness as dim light, but when in darkness, they only see in shades of gray. Imho, this should just be called Darkvision, the Perception proficiency outsourced elsewhere, but that’s cosmetic. Androids have advantage on saving throws against poison and enchantment spells; this is slightly ambiguous, for the reference to “poison” here could refer to the poisoned condition, and/or to poison damage. In comparison, the rules-syntax of Dwarven Resilience made that clear by contrasting it with resistance to poison damage, but this is admittedly nitpicking; I assume that the poisoned condition is meant. They also get proficiency in a weapon of their choice, and in Perception, but otherwise are Medium, 30 ft. speed. Two android subraces are provided to choose from.

Alchemical androids increase Dexterity by 1, their speed to 35 ft., and gain proficiency with their choice of alchemist’s supplies, cartographer’s tool, glassblower’s tools or tinker’s tools. Technological androids increase their Constitution by 1, and get advantage on saves against lightning damage and also have resistance to lightning damage. They also get an additional language.

The second construct race would have a less pronounced science-fantasy angle: The Geppettoans. The race’s name makes it obvious: We have the wooden Pinocchio-style race. Originally created by a fair and kind-hearted man, the design to create these intelligent servitors was quickly abused…until the race broke free. They increase the Intelligence and Constitution by 1, are Small with a 25 ft. speed, and are proficient with club, greatclub, quarterstaff and spear. They are immune to disease, but can ingest potions etc. like living creatures. They do not need to sleep, but must spend 4 hours a day maintaining their animating runes. This race has no subraces.

Beyond these constructed races, we have the Gillfolk free of their erstwhile aboleth masters. A warlike people, the Gillfok here reminded me less of the traditional Lovecraftian angle, and more of the subjects of e.g. Aquaman (or Prince Nemo, if you prefer Marvel); they increase Strength by 2, are Medium and have a land and swimming speed of 30 ft. They are proficient with net, spear and trident and the Athletics skill. Gillfolk who spend more than a day sans being fully immersed in water for at least one hour suffer disadvantage on all actions for that day. They can, obviously, breathe both air and water.

Two subraces are presented: Deep sea gillfolk increase Constitution by 1 and gain nominally the same Enhanced Sight feature as the androids, save that it actually has different effects: It has a range of 120 ft., but does not offer proficiency with Perception, and yet has the same name as the android feature. I think different names would have been preferable here, They also are have resistance against cold damage and advantage on saving throws vs. cold damage. Shore line gillfolk increase Charisma by 1, and know the shocking grasp cantrip. At 3rd level, they can cast speak with animals 1/day, and at 5th level, misty escape 1/day, all using Charisma as their spellcasting ability.

The final race would be lizardfolk, who increase their Constitution by 2 and gain proficiency with blowgun, handaxe, javelin and maul. They come with 2 subraces: Dragonsired lizardfolk increase Charisma by 1 and gain resistance against your choice of acid, cold, fire, lightning or poison, and also advantage on saving throws against these effects. Here, it’d be interesting to know how this works regarding poisoned condition/poison damage, and they also get a cantrip of their choice from the sorcerer spell list, using Charisma as spellcasting ability. Swampkin lizardfolk increase Wisdom by 1 and gain Hold Breath as well as +1 natural armor bonus…which isn’t how 5e handles natural armor. 5e uses natural armor as an alternate AC-calculating formula that does not stack with e.g. Unarmored Defense etc. Then again, this doesn’t break the game. As an aside, I’d have preferred to see a non-draconic lizardfolk subrace, after all, we already have dragonborn as a core player-race.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level there isn’t much to complain about either, with all my niggles being nitpicks. Layout adheres to the series’ standard, with green stripes on top and bottom, and the artworks deserve special mention: The prestige artwork that accompanies each race is really nice. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Dale C. McCoy Jr., Richard Moore, and Kevin Morris deliver a really nice supplement here. All of the races herein are power-wise within the same rough area and shouldn’t unbalance most games. Now, personally, I’d have liked to see some supplemental material for the races, or at least one instance of slightly more daring design; the content herein is pretty conservative in what it offers. But considering the low asking price, I do think that this is worth taking a look at. My final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2 (5e)
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Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 (13th Age Compatible)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/07/2020 10:29:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book of races clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page advertisement,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review by my patreon supporters.

So, structurally, this book contains 5 new races, with each race receiving between 2 and 3 pages of information, which include physical descriptions, notes on the society of the respective race (including how they handle age and death, love and mating, communities and settlements, languages and nomenclature), and these races also note the interactions with the Icons. Each race gets one stunning artwork, and 1 to 2 additional ones that are slightly more comic-like in style, but also neat.

Two of the new races herein are constructed beings: The first would be the androids: Androids rarely congregate in communities, and, well, being androids, their perspectives on love and magic are interesting. Both Shadow Prince and Archmage are intrigued by them, while the Dwarf King remains conflicted; the Great Druid, no surprise, is not a big fan of the species. Mechanically, they receive their choice of +2 to Dexterity or Intelligence, and the Nanomachines racial power, which can be activated as a move action once per battle. Doing so lets the android roll the next d20 roll twice and take the better result. With a champion feat, the nanomachines are now used as a quick action. Due to the global substitute downward rule of 13th Age, this works.

The second construct race would have a less pronounced science-fantasy angle: The Geppettoans. The race’s name makes it obvious: We have the wooden Pinocchio-style race. Originally created by a fair and kind-hearted man, the design to create these intelligent servitors was quickly abused…until the race broke free. As a result, the Archmage is not a fan of these rebellious constructed beings – a fact that makes hem potential allies to the Lich Queen. The Great Druid isn’t as opposed to the geppettoans as to e.g. Androids, and the Orc Warlord would love to have the secret to create them. Mechanically, geppettoans get to choose +2 to Dexterity or Intelligence and gain the alchemical resilience racial power: On your first rally per combat, you heal 1.5 times the average amount of your recovery dice rolled, before applying Constitution modifier. A handy example illustrates how to calculate this. With a champion feat, you triple Con modifier when adding it to your recovery hit points attained from the first rally in a combat, which is upgraded to quadrupled at Epic tier.

Both construct race may, subject to the GM’s discretion, benefit from alternate rules regarding constructed races: These optional modifications are designed to enhance how different they feel: Constructs under these rules don’t eat, drink, sleep or breathe, but still require rest. They are thus immune to the sleep spell (italics missing; same goes for other spell-references in this section), but e.g. cure wounds and similar cleric spells is halved. Potions can heal constructs to the full extent. Additionally, all constructed races have resistance 12+ to holy, negative and poison damage, but pay for these with a vulnerability. We get suggestions for these: Androids don’t deal well with lightning damage, forgeborn are vulnerable to psychic damage, and geppettoans are, well, flammable and thus vulnerable to fire damage. I enjoy rules like these that serve to further differentiate races in 13th Age, and having this presented as both optional, and with drawbacks for both new features also lets you pick and choose: If you only want the vulnerability angle, you can ditch the ability regarding no eating, drinking, etc. without altering the balance of the package. Nice.

Beyond these constructed races, we have the Gillfolk free of their erstwhile masters (Aboleths are contextualized as Abyssal, fyi), and as such, opposed to Diabolist; the relationships with the other Icons are rather nuanced and interesting here. A warlike people, the Gillfok here reminded me less of the traditional Lovecraftian angle, and more of the subjects of e.g. Aquaman (or Prince Nemo, if you prefer Marvel); they can choose +2 to either Constitution or Charisma, and can fight as well in water as in open air. They can breathe water well, but must fully submerge themselves in salt water every 3 days or die. Their racial power is aberrant resistance, which lets you once per battle roll a save against an ability or spell twice and take the better result. However, the first save against an ability or spell against a monster of the aberration type automatically fails. OUCH! This looks brutal, and it is – but it also is interesting from a narrative perspective and contextualizes the struggle of the race: When you auto-fail against the save-or-perish-level magics of your masters, rising up in revolution has serious stakes. It’s a small thing, but I really like it. The champion feat upgrade alternatively lets you choose to get a +5 bonus, which lets you automatically succeed on Easy saves. Additionally, you no longer autofail the first save as noted above, but instead need to roll twice, taking the worse result.

The moonblooded are essentially a playable lycanthrope race (minus the whole curse angle), though their flavor contextualizes them as subject to demonic possession due to their bestial abilities. Moonblooded gain +2 Wisdom and the change shape racial power, which can be sued as a standard action once per battle. In this form, you increase one of your physical ability scores of your choice by +2, and increase unarmed melee attack damage to that or a two-handed, light, or simple weapon for your class – unless your unarmed damage would be better (such as if you’re a monk), in which case you use that. The champion feat lets you change as a move action and the unared attack benefit from two-weapon fighting. I have a tiny nitpick here: RAW, the moonblooded can’t choose to revert to non-bestial form, which might be intentional, or an oversight, but I can picture some instances where the player might wish to prematurely revert before the combat ends (such as when witnesses/guards/etc. approach…). Then again, this is easy enough to upgrade with a feat.

The final race contained herein would be an old favorite of mine, the tengu, who are most commonly found in service to the Shadow Prince; they a rather detailed look at their culture, which belnds a reputation for being greedy opportunists with a surprising aptitude for arts and crafts…and, obviously, swordsmanship. Tengus get to choose either +2 to Dexterity or Wisdom, and their racial power is opportunist: Once per battle as a free action when a nearby enemy rolls a natural 1—5 on an attack or save, you get either a basic melee attack at half damage, or steal an item they are not holding…but the target ALWAYS knows if you steal this way. I LOVE this ability. It screams cinematic combat to me, as seen in many a comic: You know, the immortal, super-powerful villain pummels his enemies, invulnerable…and then, suddenly, the trickster character pops up, has the item…and the tide of battle turns. This is very much awesome. The champion feat upgrade makes this ability work on enemies’ natural 1s without expending it, and attacks executed as a result with sword-like weapons (yes, that’s defined) deal full damage. If you steal, the target no longer automatically knows it; they now need to make a normal save.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level; apart from a few cosmetic and minor hiccups, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to the series’ standard, with green stripes on top and bottom, and the artworks deserve special mention: The prestige artwork that accompanies each race is really nice. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Joel Flank, Dale C. McCoy Jr., Richard Moore, Kevin Morris and David N. Ross deliver a really nice supplement here. In spite of the limited design space afforded by 13th Age’s races, the individual write-ups manage to achieve meaningful differentiation between each of the races. Personally, I was most fond of the rather courageous take on the gillfolk, as well as by the tengus’ very cinematic racial power. When a power could easily act as a catalyst for an epic battle, I’m all for it. When all’s said and done, I consider this to be a worthwhile addition to the arsenal of 13th Age gaming groups. My verdict is 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 (13th Age Compatible)
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Book of Beasts: Witch Codex (PF 1e)
by Ryan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2020 23:21:01

Like the last two offerings this excelent codex of NPCs gives a nice selection of potental allies, and foes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Witch Codex (PF 1e)
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13 Barbarian Talents and Feat (13th Age Compatible)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2020 07:59:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the little class expansions released by Jon Brazer Enterprises clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, including quite a few big full-color artworks, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

Okay, we begin with expanded talents, which present new and alternate feat-options for existing talents. Barbaric Cleave gets a new adventurer feat, which lets you add escalation die to the AC after making an extra attack with barbaric Cleave, providing a defense alternative to the default offense. As a champion feat, we have escalation die damage to all mooks currently engaged with you when Barbaric Cleave is triggered, emphasizing the mook-sweeper capabilities of the talent.

Building frenzy gets a new alternate epic feat that adds escalation die to melee damage while frenzying. More damage instead of an additional use. Slayer gets a new adventurer and epic feat. The former nets a free action basic melee attack against the target when critically hitting a staggered enemy. The epic feat has a potent debuff: When your slayer attack drops a non-mook enemy, you lower your choice of AC or even PD or MD of all nearby enemies by escalation die. That is pretty potent compared to the default epic feat.

Strongheart’s adventurer feat lets you gain maximum recovery die in hp (12 since the talent upgrades that) when you rally while engaged with one or more non-mooks. Epic makes rallying more than once per battle only an easy save. The new epic feat for Unstoppable increases the recovery roll by triple escalation die. More powerful recovery vs. multiple sues – makes sense. Whirlwind gets a new adventurer feat: When you sue Whirlwind on a turn that escalation die is equal or less than your level, your crit range is expanded by 1. This ends when the escalation die reaches 6. Compared with normal miss damage, this is powerful, but fits the whole mook-sweeping theme going on here.

We have three new adventurer tier talents, all with feats for all 3 tiers. Brutal Blow nets a nearby ally your Charisma modifier to attack rolls when you stagger a non-mook; the adventurer feat lets you get an aura of fear, with the threshold equal to a monster of your level plus Charisma modifier; the champion feat increases this threshold further by escalation die and doubles the buff for the ally; the epic feat delimits the aura, making it apply every time, and also doubles Charisma modifier added to the threshold.

Naked Brutality nets you a bonus to AC equal to escalation die when unarmored (shields are okay), and the adventurer feat lets you add Constitution modifier to PD once per battle per day. This is upgraded to two battles per day at champion tier, and to always at epic tier. Swap Quarry lets you once per day as a quick action pop free, move, and engage with another nearby enemy. The Adventurer feat expands your crit range when using this by the number of allies currently engaged with the enemy. Champion tier renders the enemy you pop free from vulnerable to all allies’ attacks until the start of your next turn, and the epic feat lets you use it twice per battle. I have this evil idea of twin barbarians with this feat…

We get two new champion tier talents: Bellowing Charge lets you on one battle per day move to engage a far away foe and make a melee attack. You still may be intercepted. The champion feat adds escalation die to AC and PD until the start of your next turn when using the talent. The epic feat increases uses to once per battle, with enemies needing to succeed a normal save to intercept you.

Revel in Pain nets you once per day in a battle while raging +1 to AC, up to a maximum of escalation die, capping at 6) when an enemy damages you. The champion feat increases daily uses to 2, and the epic feat increases the maximum bonus to your level.

We also have two epic talents: Fearsome Demeanor lets you once per day in a battle make all nearby normal monsters and mooks suffer a penalty to their attack rolls and MD equal to the escalation die. If the enemy would instead gain an escalation die based bonus, they lose that instead. The epic feat increases this to two uses and expands the critters affected to Large and double-strength monsters.

Legendary Rage lets you once per battle expend a banked icon relationship roll of 6 as part of a quick action to start raging. If you do, you roll 3d20 on barbarian melee and thrown weapon attacks, and if two of these rolls are natural 11+s, you score a critical hit. Once you score a critical hit, the benefits end. With the epic feat, the benefits last until you have scored two crits.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level – the verbiage is very precise, can’t be misconstrued, etc. Layout adheres toa  nice two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity. The artworks herein range from great to okay, but for such an inexpensive pdf, impressed me.

Richard Moore’s options for the barbarian make sense in a lot of ways: They emphasize the brutal, fearsome mook-sweeper, the savagery of the class, and all pieces of design herein capture the theme coded into the barbarian class. The respective mechanics check out balance-wise, with only Slayer’s epic feat feeling, on paper, a bit strong; however, due to the circumstantial triggering conditions of Slayer, the benefits actually do check out. As an aside: Build a team of twin barbarians with the feats and talents in this book. It’s a genuinely cool character concept I’ll propose to my players. Anyhow, rating: This delivers some quality crunch with NASTY combo-potential, with all assaults feeling genuinely barbarian-y. What more could you ask for, particularly considering the super-fair price-point of a measly two bucks. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
13 Barbarian Talents and Feat (13th Age Compatible)
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Book of Beasts: Magus Codex (PF 1e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2020 11:18:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second pdf in the series of NPC Codex books released under the Book of Beasts-line clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

Okay, in case you didn’t know, the presence of the word “Codex” in the title implies that this book focuses on crunch and statblocks, though, unlike most such supplements, the statblocks provided here, more often than not, actually do come with a bit of flavor, offering notes for a sample NPC, and where sensible, some brief notes on the NPC in a combat encounter or even some roleplaying tips regarding the NPC in question. Nice.

The book contains one magus-build for every single level, ranging from level 1 to level 20. The builds for level 2, 3, 4, 11, 13, and 16 are the statblocks that do not come with the flavor information for a specific NPC, in case you were wondering. The builds do offer tactical notes for running them before and during combat, and where applicable, base statistics are provided. Spellbooks are also noted in the gear where applicable for non-spontaneous magi – if you’re like me and loathe fleshing these out, that’s a big plus.

Now, as for the builds, we might begin with al elven magus at level 1, but after that, the builds quickly go more unconventional routes regarding the combination of classes and races, and the individual builds. The level 2 magus, for example, would be an oread shock trooper for the shaitan armies. There are no “statted up” builds herein, by the way – each level gets its very own build, no easy progressions of one build provided for several levels, as one often gets to see in codices.

The versatility of the builds is pretty interesting: At level 3, we for example get a hobgoblin that is supremely maneuverable and good at getting into melee, but not as good at getting out of it, as the build has no Acrobatics – an intended choice to make these raiders feel like a hard-hitter and not a guerilla fighter. The gnomish wild skirmisher is a different take on the concept, an eldritch scion’d magus with clever bloodline powers working in tandem to offset the less impressive base damage this one offers. It’s more trick-based, as befitting of the theme – though I probably wouldn’t have called the build skirmisher.

The elf-raised half-elf moon knight does the whole elvish knight angle well, with the sample NPC never managing to meet his elven sire’s approval. What about a goblin with a really fiery build? Blargg Firespitter as the sample flavor works as an adventurer-exterminator for a dragon, by the way. Love that concept!

The level 7 back alley avenger Lauren Nightfire made me flash back to Arrow; short of a vigilante-dip, this is pretty close to what you’d expect, with slow, alter self, web etc. giving off a low-key magic vigilante style, supported by excellent Ride and Stealth skills. For a more classic blade dancer-ish build, the Aerobatic spellsword (spell dancer level 8) is a classic agile, skirmishing high-threat-range build. The tiefling helltouched archer instead presents a ranged combat-centric magus build.

The wyvaran build at level 10 focuses on aerial assaults supported by spells, while the level 11 weaponbreaker combines high-crit with, well, you guessed it, sunder. The hailstorm harrier staff magus is pretty disruptive and also based on aerial superiority (and has a minor typo in the tactics section – “spellcasting” instead of “spellcaster”). The dagger-throwing ratfolk magus with its skirmishing tricks is pretty interesting, the NPC information hinting at the local Ratfolk Collective, which is an angle that makes sense for them. Nice!

Beyond that, we have a powerful level 14 hexcrafter as the final archetype’d build; levels 15-20 are all straight magus builds, though the focuses range from samsaran scholar and a halfling magus by class, burglar by trade to the classic retired adventurer, an ifrit general, a wyrwood elder, and finally a dwarven dealmaker with the forces infernal at level 20 – in case you’re using AAW Games’ gitwerc, this one is a great addition as a mighty ally to the agents of HEL. Just sayin’…

Conclusion: Editing and formatting on a formal and rules-language level are both rather impressive; while a few formal hiccups may be found, none of them compromise the builds in a significant manner. Formatting is generally just as tight: Italics are where they should be, and the same goes for bold components. Nice. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with a black border on one side; it looks elegant and distinct. Artworks are full-color pieces and well-chosen, though they will be familiar to most 3pp-fans out there. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Dale C. McCoy, Jr. delivers a series of unique, well-wrought builds with some cool character nuggets thrown in. The builds are distinct enough to feel as though they have organically grown. Want 20 distinct magi? For a super-fair price point? Then get this pdf. The bang-for-buck ratio is very strong here, and the fact that we get distinct builds for every level, instead of just progressions, is the icing on the cake. Inexpensive, convenient, cool – 5 stars + seal of approval. If you need some neat magi, grab this.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Magus Codex (PF 1e)
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13 Rogue Talents and Powers (13th Age Compatible)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/04/2020 08:57:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This pdf was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreon supporters.

Okay, so after a brief introduction, we begin with 3 new talents, the first of which would be Artifact Fence, which lets you carry and use magic items equal to your level +1 sans suffering quriks; on Adventurer feat level, we get to roll twice when enhancing an item via rune activation, applying your choice of the two; the Champion feat upgrade is interesting: When using less magic items than your level +1, and you choose to act upon an item’s quirks to the detriment of your compatriots or yourself, you can improve the benefit granted by 1 tier. Kudos: Has a GM-control caveat. The Epic feat upgrade is super interesting, in that it lets you ignore quirks from item pairs that have fundamentally opposing penalties, and it also offers a cool mechanic that makes magic item overload beneficial, depending on Escalation Die. Cool talent, particularly since, when used with Thievery from the start, it lets you start with a magic item at the cost of a negative Icon relationship!

Knife Thrower increases damage for thrown daggers to d8, with Adventurer allowing you to spend your momentum to add Escalation die to damage; the Champion feat adds the Escalation Die to crit range when you have momentum, and the Epic feat also adds it to damage when you have momentum, and 1/combat reroll a missed attack. Now, this combo is very good for certain builds, and the pdf actually acknowledges this! Better yet, the pdf actually specifies a ruling that can be sued to keep the talent in line. The pdf lets the GM actually make an informed decision here AND provides a means to reign the option in. This sort of care is absolutely awesome to see; it’s the difference between a situationally broken option, and one that can be tweaked to operate properly in any game. Huge kudos!

Magical Savant lets you choose wizard cantrips equal to the highest of your mental ability score modifiers, casting them as a wizard sans Cantrip Mastery. With the Adventurer feat, you get a wizard spell of your level or lower as a daily power, with a level equal to the current Escalation Die, maximum your level. The Champion feat lets you use Sneak Attack with this spell, provided you have momentum. Yes. At range. The Epic feat eliminates the momentum requirement, and makes it recharge 11+ after battle.

3 first level rogue powers are next, with 2 being momentum powers: Clothesline lets you intercept targets and potentially daze them, with the feats increasing the chances of doing so, and Champion/Epic improving the negative condition. Grace Under Pressure is another interrupt action that requires being engaged by 2 enemies or more, and lets you add Escalation Die to AC at the cost of losing it as a bonus to attack; Adventurer adds it to PD as well; Champion makes you no longer lose the bonus to atk, and Epic makes the bonus last. The non-momentum based power would be Vicious Strike, which can only be used while staggered; this one basically nets you ongoing damage, but at the cost of suffering damage yourself; the feat upgrades increase the save to get rid of the damage and let you use it when not staggered, but when you are, you instead increase the effectiveness; the Epic feat can also render nearby enemies afraid.

There are 2 new 3rd level powers: Dirty Trick can only be used once per combat on an enemy, and pretty much lets you cause damage based on your Charisma, with PD as target, and the attack causes a variety of negative conditions, with the feats adding more conditions. The new momentum power presented here would be No Cage Can Hold Me; an interrupt action that is triggered by being hampered, stuck or stunned; a hard save lets you negate them, and you also get to use it instead of Background checks to escape from bindings, cages, etc.; the feats decrease the save’s difficulty and let you spend momentum to lose the inflicted condition.

The 2 5th level powers are Guileful Twist (momentum, lets you add Charisma (or Intelligence if you have Cunning) to damage rolls when hitting foes with attacks or rogue powers; this one has no upgrade feats; Knife Drop requires fighting with two weapons, with a one-handed weapon wielded in off-hand; it’s a daily quick action, triggered by missing in melee, and the missed attack deals half damage instead and you gain momentum; the feats upgrade use to 1/combat (Champion) and ongoing damage (Epic).

There are 2 new 7th level rogue powers, both daily: Be Prepared does not turn you into a lion; instead, as a move action, you get ½ level as a bonus to all defenses vs. the next attack by the targeted enemy. The feats let you retain this vs. one defense and add a counterattack. Painful Smash is a Dex-based attack that makes a nearby ally get triple escalation die to all attacks until the end of your next turn. The feats let you add Strength to damage, even on misses, and the other lets allies that crit the target retain the bonus for another round.

The final new power is the Distracting Dash 9th level power, which is an at-will momentum power that lets you, as a move action engage an enemy engaged with an ally, allowing said to pop free, even if grabbed or stuck. The Epic feat upgrade lets the ally move as an interrupt action without provoking opportunity attacks.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports nice full-column two-color layout, and the pdf sports neat full-color artworks, including a one-page piece. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of the pdf’s brevity.

Richard Moore has delivered a rather impressive expansion here; the rogue options herein allow for cool combat options, roleplaying opportunities, and, moreover, takes a lot of these little combos into account; it is a carefully-wrought, inexpensive, and thoroughly rewarding class expansion. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
13 Rogue Talents and Powers (13th Age Compatible)
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Book of Beasts: Magus Codex (PF 1e)
by Mark T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2020 10:25:06

Need a well built, dynamic opponent to throw at your players? Looking for that next great memorable NPC? Well you've definitely found it.

Book of Beasts: Magus Codex is chock full of well designed, thought out and thematic magi, ranging from solid spell slingers, to nightmarish hexers, to heavy hitting melee powerhouses. With each entry providing a well-rounded stat block, you'll find exactly what you need as a GM, to make that early 1st Edition adventure a little more of a challenge, add a twist to an otherwise routine NPC, or introduce that recurring villain your players will love to hate! And as a player you'll find a wealth of inspiration, ideas of what your own character might become, and see the wealth of options for one of the most versatile classes.

While presenting a different take on the magus through the 1-20 progression, with a little tweaking, you'll find that any of these entries can easily be leveled up or down to meet your needs, making it a truly invaluable resource.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Magus Codex (PF 1e)
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Thank you for taking the time to review. I am glad you enjoyed it so much.
Book of Beasts: Warpriest Codex (PF 1e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2020 08:15:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Book of Beasts-series clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This pdf was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

So, what is this? Well, if the name “Codex” implies, this supplement is all about NPC builds, and provides statblocks in roughly the same manner as you’d expect from e.g. the NPC Codex. The book provides one statblock for every level ranging from level 1 to level 20, and presents between 1 and 2 statblocks per page; in the lower level-ranges, we sometimes have two statblocks per page. It should be noted that these statblocks per se are designed to be provided for generic NPCs, but often also come with brief flavor descriptions that allow for immediate, well-rounded NPC use – again, much like the NPC Codex, though the amount of sample prose in this book is higher than in comparable supplements. The majority (around 23rds) of the NPC statblocks are supplemented by this prose. These also offer some roleplaying suggestions for the respective character, which I considered to be a nice touch. Base statistics are also provided for the characters, which is a big plus, imho. Many of the statblocks also come with advice for use in combat encounters, and I mean beyond the notes in the statblock itself

Okay, so, another nice touch is that the statblocks list the respective movement rates without armor, and it should be noted that the statblocks that I have reverse-engineered checked out both regarding math and formatting – which is admirably concise and precise. Speaking of precision – it may be a small thing, but I enjoyed seeing that favored class options were not always defaulted to the same choice for every build, and it should also be noted that there are no simple build progressions. By this, I mean that e.g. the level 8 statblock is not simply an upgrade of a level 4 statblock previously used; the NPCs are genuinely different builds. There also is an above-average unity between build and story, when applicable.

For example, it makes sense that the CR ½ Azathoth cultist warpriest, hurt and abused by all, has a good AC for her level and a spell/blessing selection that lets her retaliate against the world. The level 2 gnomish warpriest, in contrast, is a smart one that can use the combination of terrain control and SPs + spells to make up for a lack of mobility as a surprisingly effective low-level guerilla. Interesting here: The gnome actually is pretty charismatic, something that e.g. the grizzled mercenary priest (Charisma 6) most assuredly is not; before you consider that to be illogical, do note that the fellow has some Diplomacy skills in spite of Charisma being the dump stat. This decision makes in-game sense and does not compromise the build. Need a skirmisher? Okay, what about a wyvaran airborne reanimator who uses mobility and minion animation as valid strategies. The more charming corsair chaplain is interesting, in that he represents a distinctly swashbuckling angle that uses Dexterity as a dumpstat, making up for this with magic and smart blessing choice. A half-elven forgepriestess, or what about a gnoll-embalmer of Anubis? It’s really nice to see that the concepts behind the builds and their respective executions form a unity, and if you e.g. wanted to see an efficient ranged warpriest for a change of pace, you’ll find the like herein as well. From glamered armor worn by champions of greed to ritual bloodletters sporting manacles of cooperation and e.g. a blood reservoir of physical prowess, to an infernal dragoon shocktroop of Asmodeus focused ruthlessly on efficiency, we have this unity of flavor and rules mirrored everywhere, and also receive e.g. builds for hobgoblin saviors trying to establish a proper homeland for goblinoids, and if you need a good mentor/high-level ally, the pdf obliges as well, with e.g. a neat CR 16 aasimar demon slayer whose build is not exclusively fearsome to the spawn of the Abyss.

While we’re speaking of high-level NPCs, there are creative concepts here as well – the eternal artisan, for example, would be a samsaran warpriest of Hecate, at once excellent creators of potent magic items and fearsome foes. Of course, mighty dwarven high priests and lethal Cthulhu cult leaders of gillman stock can also be found. While the variety of builds per se is neat, from divine commander to champion of the faith to forgepriest, we also have a couple of nifty archetypes used in the builds.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. To the point where it was a genuine boon for me. I’ve been working on quite a few books with serious formatting issues, and this one persistently managed to get all the little components right. Layout adheres to a nice two-column standard with a black border on the side – this border may not be too printer-friendly, but it most assuredly is aesthetically-pleasing. The book comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with individual bookmarks for every warpriest, presented in a clean manner. Artworks are of the same quality as the cover, which is another nice plus.

Dale C. McCoy, Jr. and Richard Moore have provided a pleasant surprise for me: You know, I usually am not that keen on reviewing NPC Codices, because they’re a ton of work for me, and hard to keep saying meaningful things about, if done right. You know the kind. They’re stats. Done. In a way, this book does a lot right here: It manages to provide a union between concepts and individual characters; the builds are diverse and fun, and go the extra mile in a variety of ways; from the absence of builds that are simple progressions to the small details prevalent everywhere, this pdf shows that the authors genuinely CARED.

That care translates to the reader. I’m not a big fan of the warpriest class per se, but after consulting this book, I found myself wanting to use these builds in my game, a response that only precious few NPC codices manage to instill. In short, this is a genuinely well-wrought NPC Codex that manages to endear me to statblocks for a class I am not particularly fond of…and that’s seriously worth something. My final verdict will be 5 stars, and for the care, the small touches, the going the extra mile, this also receives my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Warpriest Codex (PF 1e)
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Deadly Delves: The Dragon's Dream (PFRPG)
by Richard A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2020 23:54:10

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy for review.

As a GM, I’m always poking around the vendor sites for something new. It’s partly vicarious gaming and partly looking for ideas. It seems a lot of material is for lower level encounters. There are full campaigns, but you have to start from scratch. So for an existing group, there’s not much.

Scaling up an encounter isn’t hard, use bigger monsters. But you don’t want all hack & slash. You can spend the time designing clever traps, odd terrain, and sticky situations but have to contend with better magic, and you don’t want a lot of oops-you’re-dead stuff. It’s a hard line to tread. Here we have some original ideas.

Dragon’s Dream is for 16th level characters with some interesting puzzles & high level opponents, some of the usual suspects and some new oddities not in the regular bag of tricks, with some off-beat touches. So there’s enough of a good brouhaha for that crowd. But this is also a thinking man’s dungeon. How do you deal with a dream? Not a spoiler, it’s there in the name. This part is a challenge for both the GM to run and the players to distress over. Good opportunities for the narrator to weave an entertaining yarn and the PCs to role-play their way around.

The author has given you a complex tale with subplots that will bring satisfaction to both sides of the table. And the publisher, JBE has done a fine job of producing a readable product with great illustrations, but the maps are really gorgeous full color in both player and GM versions. As I have found out in our current enforced solitude, these maps can be easily converted for your favorite online gaming table and you can dazzle your friends. Take it for a spin and leave your players reeling. RICHIE



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Delves: The Dragon's Dream (PFRPG)
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Book of Heroes: Fearless Barbarian Paths (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/30/2020 07:16:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

All right, so the second Book of Heroes-installment provides 8 new barbarian primal paths, with the Path of the Frozen Fury being the first….and it’s a rather interesting one: When you’re raging, you emit cold, and creatures that are within 5 feet of you at the end of your turn take 1d6 cold damage, which improves to 1d10, 2d6 and 2d10 at 6th, 10th and 14th level. This damage has no save, but is dealt automatically and rewards a harrier style gameplay, which is interesting and changes the roles of the character. It also means that allies must take care when nearby, adding a tactical angle. Like it! And yes, the barbarian is obviously immune to this damage. 6th level increases your AC by 2 versus ranged weapon attacks, and 10th level makes you immune to being frightened or poisoned while raging, and if already under such an effect, they are suspended for the rage’s duration. 14th level lets you score a critical hit with your weapons on a 19-20.

The Path of the Conqueror lets you use a bonus action when you hit in melee– the target must make a save (based on your Strength as key ability), becoming incapacitated until the start of your next turn on a failed Constitution save; one use per short rest interval, +1 use at 6th and 10th level. 6th level provides proficiency with Charisma (Intimidation), doubling the proficiency bonus if you already were proficient. 10th level provides immunity to being frightened, and 14th level extends this to being charmed. Also at 14th level, there is a mighty ability that lets you add +10d6 damage (Akin to Sneak Attack, this damage type is not codified) to a melee weapon attack – a successful Constitution save of the target halves this damage. You can’t make additional attacks the round you use it. This damage cannot reduce a target below 1 hit point, and may only be used once per long rest interval.

The Path of the Demon makes you grow horns (1d6 piercing) that you can use for an additional attack executed as a bonus action after using the Attack action with a weapon. This horn attack does not gain your ability score modifier to damage. At 10th level, the horns are treated as magical. Weird: The barbarian is RAW not proficient with horns. 6th level nets the ability to read, write and speak Abyssal and advantage on Charisma checks dealing with fiends and those with fiendish patrons/connection. 10th level nets you resistance to fire and poison while raging, and at 14th level, you grow demonic wings while raging, with a flying speed (incorrectly called Fly speed, but that’s a nitpick) equal to your speed. Wings can’t be manifested while wearing armor, unless the armor can accommodate them. Also at 14th level, when you enter rage, you deal 3d6 fire damage to all within 10 feet, with a Dexterity saving throw for half damage. The governing ability score for the DC here is btw. Charisma, in line with the 6th-level feature.

The Path of the Giant nets you +5 feet reach with melee weapons while raging and proficiency with Strength (Athletics), double proficiency if you already were proficient in it. 6th level makes you choose one heritage corresponding to one of the giant types: Choosing Fire and frost giant nets you resistance to their corresponding energy types, Hill giant to poison damage, and storm giant to lightning damage. Stone giant get rock catching, and cloud giant lets you cast fog cloud and misty step once per day. The latter should specify spellcasting ability and probably be based on rest interval instead of per day, but those are cosmetic complaints. At 10th level, we get rock throwing (30/120), 2d10 bludgeoning, using Strength; 14th level doubles ranges and increases the damage output by +1d10. Also at 14th level, you can expend a bonus action after making an Attack to force a creature you attacked (regardless of whether you hit) to make a Constitution saving throw or be pushed 5 feet away, more if it fails the save by 5 or more. Your save DC is governed, as suitable, by Strength.

The Path of the Pyrorager is not simply a damage-type-flip of the Path of the Frozen Fury; While raging, your melee attacks add +1d6 fire damage, which improves by +1d6 at 6th, 10th and 14th level. Odd: This specifically mentions that this damage is treated as magical. Plus, though: The ability does not stack with spells or weapons that deal additional fire damage. (Minor nitpick: A reference to a flame tongue isn’t properly in italics.) Rather powerful? Yep, but here’s the catch – you REALLY need to be careful with this one, for when your rage ends, you suffer one level of exhaustion! 3rd level nets you Ignan, but is a bit weirdly-phrased – it mentions proficiency, when 5e codifies languages usually regarding the ability to speak, read and write. 6th level provides resistance to fire damage, which upgrades to immunity at 14th level. 10th level nets advantage on Charisma checks when conversing with elementals speaking Ignan. 14th level provides a 30-foot line of fire for 3d6 fire damage, with a Dexterity saving throw for half damage, usable once per long rest interval. Unfortunate: The line does not specify its width, which they need to do in 5e.

The Path of the Skald nets you 2 cantrips from the bard spell list, and begin with 2 spells known, increasing that up to 11. You get up to 4 spell slots for 1st and 2nd level, 3 for 3rd, and 2 for 4th spell level, and use Charisma as spellcasting ability score. You need a musical instrument to cast (somewhat weird, considering IRL skaldic tradition does not require them…) and you can cast damage-dealing spells while in rage, and you can add Rage Damage to the damage of your spells. Formatting nitpick: “rage damage” should be capitalized. The path also nets an inspiration mechanic (d4s), and targets can only use it to enhance damage. Kudos: This does clearly state interaction with bardic inspiration. At 6th level, you can use two uses of this feature to grant all allies within 30 ft., including yourself, a Skaldic Inspiration die. 10th and 14th level provide a bonus spell known, and 14th level replenishes your skaldic inspiration after a short rest as well, not just after a long one.

The Path of the Superstitious Warrior can perform a 5-minute ritual; after that, they can spend a bonus action to detect the location of any aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend or undead within 30 feet, plus one use per short rest interval at 6th, 10th and 14th level. You can choose a creature thus detected and deal an extra 1d6 damage to it with melee attacks while raging. 6th level nets you an item that you believe will protect you from one type of creature you can detect via Superstitious Ritual. The item per se does nothing, but you get advantage on saving throws against spells and abilities of the chosen type. You can also use your reaction (to what?) to give an ally within 5 feet advantage on a saving throw against such a creature’s spells or abilities until the start of your next turn. 14th level nets you a second such item. These items don’t preclude you from wearing magic items, and replacement of lost items is covered. 10th level nets advantage on Wisdom (Survival) to track creatures chosen with the item, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. (I assume this pertains to both types once the second item is gained, but the pdf doesn’t specify this.) 14th level lets you temporarily emulate a type of movement that one creature detected via the ritual, allowing you to hunt down such creatures better – and no, this cannot be cheesed..

The final path would be the Path of the War Avatar. At 3rd level, when using the Attack action, you can make another weapon attack as a bonus action, with full ability modifier to damage. You can use this feature Wisdom modifier times before requiring a long rest to recharge it. 6th level provides a, well, not so cool – the first attack you make after entering rage nets a +10 bonus to the roll. Not a fan – even true strike just nets advantage! 10th level nets advantage on Charisma checks made to converse with celestials and fiends, and 14th level lets you choose one of the three physical damage types, granting you resistance towards all nonmagical sources of the chosen type.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, with only a few niggles. On a rules-language level, the pdf is precise for the most part, with only a few exceptions. It should be noted, however, that rules syntax deviates sometimes from how 5e usually phrases certain things. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, and we get 4 artworks – two full-page and two half-page artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience – kudos!

Dale C. McCoy Jr.’s barbarian options are a step forward in comparison with the fighter options in the last installment. The designs for the primal paths are bolder and genuinely change the playstyle of the class, which is a good thing in my book. While there are a few hiccups here and there, the options generally are interesting, with the possible exception of the final path, which I considered to be pretty underwhelming. That being said, the book does otherwise deliver a cool array of options, and while the minor hiccups prevent this from reaching higher rating echelons, this is still a barbarian option book I can recommend. Hence, my final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroes: Fearless Barbarian Paths (5e)
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Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 (13th Age Compatible)
by Carlo A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2020 14:32:53

Really enjoyed the Mer and Cat folk classes! Exactly what my PCs needed! Thanks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 (13th Age Compatible)
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Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium (PFRPG)
by Viktyr G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2020 20:52:18

Great book that really expands on the lore and the mechanical support for a dozen interesting races-- if you're a player who wants to try something different, or a worldbuilder sick of the Tolkien Trio, at least one of the races in this book is going to appeal to you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium (PFRPG)
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Book of Heroes: Heroic Fighter Archetypes (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/03/2020 11:23:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Book of Heroes-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

As you could deduce from the cover, this book contains a new slew of martial archetypes for the fighter, so what do we get? Well, the first would be the knowledge guardian, who gets to choose two skills chosen from Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature and Religion, gaining proficiency in both. Additionally, you may use Intelligence instead of Dexterity to determine initiative, and a similar substitution is possible for when you’d usually add Strength or Dexterity to damage rolls.  At 7th level, you can use a bonus action to make a Charisma (Deception) check contested by a creature’s Wisdom (Insight) – on a success, you get advantage on your next attack against it; oh, and the creature needs to be within 5 ft., so no using this with weapons that have reach. At 7th level, you may also substitute Intelligence for Charisma in a skill check, but may only do so once until you require a short or long rest to do so again; you get an additional use per rest interval at 15th level. 10th level lets you spend 10 minutes in an area to know the location of traps in a 30-foot radius. One use, then requires  along rest to recharge. 15th level nets proficiency in Intelligence saving throws, 18th level lets you ignore class, alignment, race and level restrictions of magic items.

The pact-bound blade requires taking an otherworldly patron and treats any weapon wielded for at least an hour as magical and adds 1d6 force damage to its damage. This improves to 2d6 at 10th level. The archetype also gets Charisma-based spellcasting, starting off with 1 spell slot of 1st spell level, and improving that to 3 spell slots and maximum spell level 4th; you probably have realized by now that this is essentially a warlock-style archetype; The 2nd level spell is gained at 8th, the 3rd at 13th, and the 4th at 18th level. 7th level nets an eldritch invocation, with warlock level equal to ½ fighter levels regarding prerequisites. 15th level nets an otherworldly patron feature of 10th level or lower.

The shadowed blade starts with an feature to increase your melee reach by 5 ft. twice before requiring a short or long rest, with 8th level adding a use, and 15th level increasing that to 10 ft. 7th level allows you to teleport 15 feet while in dim light or darkness, 30 ft. at 13th level. One use before you need a long rest to use it again. 7th level also nets darkvision 30 ft. 10th level nets AC +1, 15th the feature to use your reaction to teleport up to 30 feet away – this might seem a violation of how reactions are usually phrased in 5e, but actually isn’t, as there are two distinct instances that are covered regarding incoming attacks and this feature, namely before and after damage is rolled. Personally, I think that more uses, but before/after attack roll results are made known would have made more sense, but that are just my 2 cents. 18th level makes you invisible when in dim light or darkness, even against opponents usually able to see in them. Somewhat surprising that the archetype got no Stealth proficiency.

The shieldbearer extends you shield’s AC bonus to allies within 5 ft. of you; allies wearing a shield do not get this bonus. 7th level lets you sacrifice your shield, making it broken, to negate a single weapon attack that targets you. This is btw. surprisingly not codified as a reaction, which I assume to be intentional, since the 10th level feature allows you to intercept attacks on nearby allies by throwing your shield in the way, imposing disadvantage on the incoming attack. This is a reaction, and has an interesting caveat: It can only be used again once you’ve obtained a shield. Decoupling this one from the rest mechanic is a good call. 15th level allows you to add your shield bonus to saving throws versus area of effect attacks, and if you’re standing between the source and allies, they also get that bonus. This is the iconic scene of the knight guarding his friends – love this one. The 18th level lets you use your reaction to make a melee attack against enemies trying to move, knocking them prone on a successful hit.

The tainted soul is immune to the frightened condition (they know the abyss or hell awaits them, and try to redeem themselves…) and other conditions caused by fear; you also increase your speed by 10 feet when taking the Dash action, provided you move towards an enemy. When you do, you can make a melee attack as a bonus action, at the cost of losing 2 AC until the start of your next turn. 7th level lets you interpose yourself between an attack and an ally within 5 ft. as a reaction; this hits you automatically, but doesn’t bypass resistances or immunities. Starting at 10th level, you only need to sleep once per week; you can still take long rests, etc. 15th level increases all of your weapon attacks’ damage by an additional 1d6 necrotic damage. 18th level makes any creature you attack suffer from disadvantage on attacks against you.

Tacticians can use their bonus action to grant allies your Charisma modifier either as a bonus to attack rolls or damage rolls against a creature for 1 minute, with 8th and 14th level providing another use before needing a short or long rest to recharge. Odd: The feature has no range, and does not specify that the allies must be able to hear/understand you – pretty sure that’s an oversight, comparing the phrasing with e.g. bardic inspiration. 7th level is neat, as it lets you use your bonus action to suppress a couple of negative conditions. At 10th level, you may Help an ally attack a creature within 5 feet of you, granting all of the allies’ attacks advantage. At 15th level, you can grant allies temporary hit points via a 1-minute pep-talk. 8th level nets a 30-ft. battle cry that renders enemies reliably frightened, with success reducing the duration to only the start of your next turn.

The thrown weapons master gets 3 throwing tricks at 3rd level, and 2 additional ones at 7th, 10th and 15th level. You have 4 uses of them, and at 7th and 15th level, you gain an additional use. There are 13 throwing tricks provided, which include critical hit on 19 and 20 (risky, since tricks have limited uses, in contrast to e.g. the champion’s Improved Critical feature. There’s also one for ignoring half or three-quarters cover via banked shots, double throws, choosing physical damage type freely, etc. Weird: Flesh Wound makes your thrown weapon deal half damage. Why would you ever do that in 5e, where you literally get to choose if an enemy lives or dies? Unfortunate name: “Foot Attack”, since RAW, it should also work on things sans feet. I was also puzzled why we didn’t get more tricks – there aren’t that many, considering that the archetype will get the majority of them (9 of 13) during its progression.

Also at third level, we have the feature to throw weapons sans disadvantage while in melee. 7th level nets proficiency in Acrobatics, Insight and Perception; if you already are in one, you double proficiency bonus for that skill. 10th level makes your aim as a bonus action versus targets within the normal range (consistently called “shorter range” here) for a doubled proficiency bonus on a single thrown weapon attack. 15th level lets you use your reaction to hit missiles passing within 10 ft. of you out of the air, and at 18th level, you notice invisible or hidden creatures within 10 ft. The former imho should get a contested check, but since it’s the 18th level feature, I get why there’s none here.

The unbroken hero can use their reaction to make an attack targeting an ally within 5 feet hit them instead; oddly, this is missing the caveat that you must be able to see the attack, which another feature in this very pdf did have; it obviously doesn’t work with AoE attacks or spells, as explicitly stated here. At 7th level, we have proficiency with Intimidation and Persuasion, doubled proficiency bonus if you already are. At 10th level, you get +1 use of Second Wind before requiring a rest; 15th level provides immunity to the frightened condition, as well as the option to remove it from an ally within 10 feet as a bonus action. The 18th level feature is better than that of the tactician – it’s also a Charisma-based scream, but it’s one that paralyzes for a minute, or renders frightened on a successful save until the start of your next turn.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay on a formal and rules-language level; while the syntax of abilities sometimes deviates slightly from 5e’s conventions, that doesn’t hamper rules integrity here. Apart from very minor snafus, such as one instance of proficiency “modifier” instead of bonus, I have nothing relevant to complain about. On a formatting side of things, some features list average damage values, which is not the standard for class features, but doesn’t hurt either. The pdf comes with a two-column full-color layout, as well as full-color artworks, with 3 one-page pieces and a half-page version of the cover-image. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Dale C. McCoy Jr.’s martial archetypes for fighter cover some roles that are bound to see some demand out there; that being said, I also couldn’t help but finding myself wishing that there had been a few more bold designs here; the Tactician’s coordinated strike, for example, is rather potent, but only starts off with one use. Having it more limited, but more uses, would have made it more versatile and less of a feature you leave for the boss encounter. I was also somewhat surprised by the thematic overlap between a few of them: We have two capstone battle cries, for example. There’s more thematic overlaps here than I expected from a pdf of this size. The designs here aren’t bad in any way, but I wished the pdf was a bit bolder with its concepts. That being said, if you do enjoy the less complex martial archetypes and similar class options, you’ll find some compelling material here. As a whole, I consider this to be somewhat of a mixed bag, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroes: Heroic Fighter Archetypes (5e)
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Book of Beasts: Warpriest Codex (PF 1e)
by Ryan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2020 02:36:04

This codex creates a nice range of potental allies, and foes drawn from the Warpriest Hybrid class.

The odd levels NPCs stick to more standard builds, with the even leveled NPCs being more unusual. The occasinal use of Acrtypes is nice, and the sensable use of races from the Advanced Race Guide makes for some of the more interesting builds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: Warpriest Codex (PF 1e)
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Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/03/2020 05:38:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This supplement clocks in at 45 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

So, if the title wasn’t enough of an indicator, this book provides material for the occult classes, the Ultimate Intrigue & Wilderness books – namely, for the Heroic Races introduced in Jon Brazer Enterprise’s Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. The races covered herein are androids, changelings, catfolk, dhampir, elan, lizardfolk, merfolk, samsarans, sashahar, skinwalkers, tengus, umbral kobolds, wyrwoods and wyvarans. Each of the entries for the races comes with favored class options for the new classes in the aforementioned Paizo-hardcovers, and we get class options, racial feats and otherwise unique options for each of the races herein.

Androids get two new racial archetypes, the first of which would be the living archive medium, who loses shared séance, haunt channeler and astral journey. This would be a good place to note that I like the formatting here: Each of the archetypes and more complex options note the associated class and race as well as the replaced and modified abilities in the beginning – this makes it easier to determine whether the archetype is for the build you have in mind. So yeah, I like this decision.

Living archives use Charisma as governing spellcasting ability and 2nd level nets the spirit esoteric ability: One spirit is chosen as the specialty spirit, which means that the medium gains the chosen spirit’s spirit bonus even when not channeling it. When channeling another spirit, this bonus may supersede that usually granted by the spirit. 3rd level allows the living archive to perform a séance to channel this chosen spirit in places other than the favored location. 14th level provides SP legend lore, but requires touching the person, place or thing. The verbiage has improved here considerably.

The second archetype would be the splintered mind psychic, who loses detect thoughts, telepathic bond and telepathy. The archetype modifies discipline, and gains both the lore and self-perfection disciplines simultaneously. Whenever the psychic gets a discipline spell or power, she chooses one from these two or a lower-level discipline power or spell chosen from the two. Wisdom remains the phrenic pool-governing ability score. 2nd level allows the splintered mind to use 1 phrenic pool point to use the nanite surge racial ability, even if she has already expended it for the day. 9th level allows the character to use nanite surge after failing a save versus an enchantment spell or effect to attempt a second save on the next round, with a bonus as if she had nanite surge’d it. In the revised iteration, this properly states the activation action. 17th level nets a failsafe spell: Spend 10 minutes of meditation and expend twice the spell’s level in phrenic pool point cost to get a contingency-style spell that is triggered as long as she has at least one nanite surge left. The revised edition now allows for phrenic pool expenditure to power this as well, making it fully operational. Kudos!

The race gets 3 new feats: Nanite Firewall lets you expend a daily use of nanite surge to mitigate influence; Nanite Maintenance lets you expend a daily use of nanite surge to reduce influence by 1d3 (minimum 1). Nanite Stabilization upgrades Logical Spell to not require higher spell slots while you have at least 1 nanite surge remaining. Psychic repair dispels ongoing effects that reduce the mental ability scores (does NOT cure damage, drain or burn!) and with a nanite surge to boost it, it can eliminate a charm or compulsion effect targeting the caster – the spell is personal, fyi. Solid.

The catfolk get the new feline interloper vigilante archetype, which replaces unshakeable. The archetype gets proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as shuriken, bola and whip and adds Handle Animal and Knowledge (dungeoneering) and (engineering) to the class skills. The archetype is locked into the stalker specialization, but may use the combat skill talent to get catfolkr racial combat feats, and at 3rd level, gets + class level to the DC to be feinted. The archetype gets two social talents, one that acts as wild empathy with 1 + Cha-mod charm animal as a SP on top, which upgrades to charm monster at 7th level. Sounds OP? Well, it can only affect feline/felid creatures, so I’m good with it. The second talent nets better gathering of renown when stealing particularly valuable objects from a target. A new vigilante talent nets Improved Unarmed Strike and flurry of blows at unchained monk -3 levels. The second new vigilante talent allows for limited style strike poaching from the unchained monk. There are new mesmerist tricks here, including one that makes the subject emanate a dazzle-variant based on sound that can hamper spellcasting on the subject. The second trick can deny a target that moves adjacent to the subject their Dex-bonus versus the next attack executed by the subject, which is per se cool. However, the enemy gets an immediate action Sense Motive to negate this, which is interesting. There is a masterful trick upgrade of this one, which now properly states its prerequisite.

Changelings get the malformed eye mesmerist archetype, which loses consummate liar, hypnotic stare and painful stare. Instead, the archetype gets a witch’s patron and the evil eye hex, which allows for the addition of bold stare improvements as if it were hypnotic gaze. The revised iteration has made the rules clearer. The archetype may also use forbid action as a free action, 1/round at-will SP, but the target may still sue the action. When doing so, the target takes scaling, untyped damage. This can only be triggered once per round, though.

The race also gets a new medium spirit, the crone, who applies spirit bonus to concentration, Int-based checks and Will-saves. The séance boon increases the CL of all non-instantaneous spells by 3 for the purpose of determining duration. Influence penalty applies to AC, atk, non-spell damage rolls and Ref-saves. The taboos are interesting. The lesser ability nets you use the mesmerists’s spells per day and expands your spell-list with witch spells. The intermediate power nets a non-stacking CL-increase for a school. The greater ability lets you accept influence to further boost per-round—duration spell durations. The supreme ability lets you 1/day use this in a better manner, and sans influence. The shifter gets the black cat aspect. Minor form nets you a minor luck bonus to AC as well as a penalty to nearby foes at 8th level, with higher levels increasing range of the penalty and the bonus. The major form lets you assume a Tiny black cat shape, including a luck bonus to atk. Higher levels also grant Black Cat and extend the bonus to saves and makes the feat usable 3/day at 15th level. Once more, rules improved here. The favored class options here deserve special mention, as they are pretty complex and interesting.

Dhampirs get two new racial archetypes, the first of which would be the blood scion mesmerist, who loses touch treatment, mental potency and glib lie. Instead, 3rd level allows the dhampir to use a standard action to lock gazes with the subject of a hypnotic stare as a standard action, acting as charm person while under the dhampir’s stare. Interesting – the target loses the memory of being affected thus. Limited and rather potent, but also iconic for the vampire-theme – I can get behind this one particularly since it is balanced by a hex-like caveat, so yeah -I actually really like it! 5th level allows for the summon nature’s ally-based SP of calling children of the night, with 10th, 15th and 20th level improving that. The revised iteration imposes the proper limitation here. 14th level adds the advanced creature template to the creatures called. 11th level allows for a better version of the archetype’s base ability, duplicating dominate person. This is a prime example of a good, flavorful engine-tweak in the revised iteration – big kudos!

The second archetype is the grim warder occultist, who loses magic circles and outside contact. They are locked into adjuration and conjuration as first two implement schools, but casts spells from them at CL+2; however, necromancy implement school spells are cast at -2 CL and similarly, the level to qualify for focus powers of the school is reduced by 2. The archetype is also locked into these favored schools for implement mastery. 8th level nets warding circles, which are undead-only magic circles against evil that may be enhanced with death ward via mental focus expenditure, even suppressing, though not removing, penalties from negative levels incurred by creatures prior to entering it. 12th level provides an undead-only binding circle powered by mental focus and fast circle applies to these specialized circles. As much as I liked the first archetype, this one left me less enthused – a pretty vanilla anti-undead option. The race also gets the Hypnotic Charmer feat, which lets you take 20 or 10 when using Cha-based skills on targets of your hypnotic stare.

Elans are up next, and we get a new medium archetype, the generation channeler, who replaces shared séance. These fellows may spend 2 power points to increase the die-size of the spirit surge die for one surge. (Rules cleaned up – kudos!) Instead of a shared séance’s usual benefits, we get +2 to saves versus enchantment and mind-affecting effects. The archetype may also expend power points to ask additional questions to haunts channeled, with the maximum number of additional questions contingent on Intelligence modifier. The pdf also includes a new aether composite blast, at Burn 2 – the elan force thrust, which adds a bull rush to the blast and causes force damage. There is a new mesmerist trick that nets catapsi when targeted with a psionic power or psi-like ability, though it only affects the subject. There are new phrenic amplifications, the first of which is somewhat problematic: Use 2 power points for one phrenic pool point? OUCH. This really delimits phrenic pool points for primarily psions. Not gonna happen in my game. The second amplification lets you expend power points to cast standard action divinations as swift actions or increase the DC of scrying or mind-affecting divinations. Elan vigilantes can get Cha-mod/day demoralize as a psi-like power plus class level power points; alternatively, another talent makes all vigilante melee attacks ghost touch and, later also adds a bonus of +2 to atk versus incorporeal targets, undead, mediums channeling spirits and spiritualist phantoms. Neat ones!

We also get a new medium spirit, the elan elder, whose spirit bonus applies to concentration checks and Intelligence checks and Int-based skill checks. The séance boon nets +2 to Will saves versus mind-affecting spells and powers. The influence penalty applies to Dex checks and Dex-based skill checks as well as Perception checks, but not on any saves. The taboos make sense. The lesser ability lets you spend power points for capped bonuses when using psychic skill unlocks; the intermediate power lets the medium accept 1 point of influence for +2 DC for a medium spell’s or psionic power’s DC – a very welcome reorientation for the previously problematic ability. The greater ability requires letting the spirit gain 1 point of influence. If you do, you may manifest ANY psion/wilder power as if you were a psion/wilder of the same level. You expend a spell slot of a level to manifest ANY psion/wilder power of the level of the slot you expended. Metapsionics may not be added, but you can augment the power via power points. This is pretty brutal, but kept in check by the medium’s spell levels. The supreme ability lets you 1/day use the greater power sans spell slot requirements or influence gained and takes away the level-limitation. The revised version here is much better than the original.

The lizardfolk race gets a new shifter archetype that loses sharp claws, defensive instinct and trackless step as well as the shifter claw increases. 1st level nets scaling studied target and 2nd level a scaling, Wisdom-governed AC/CMD bonus, which is halved when wearing nonmetal shields/armor instead, otherwise akin to the way in which monk-AC bonuses work. 3rd level nets fast movement and 5th level extra precision damage when moving, which scales. The main meat of class options here would be shifter aspects, 5 of which are provided: Alligator/crocodile, gecko, chameleon, pteranodon and snapping turtle. The first nets better aquatic Stealth and a 1/minute boost to base speed at 8th level while in minor form; Kudos: The major form correctly codifies the natural bite attack granted and the abilities gained make sense. Chameleon also enhances Stealth in minor form, but less so and regardless of environment. It provides standard and move action in surprise rounds at 8th level, and the major form is cool, with high levels netting your sticky tongue bludgeoning damage based on racial claws or shifter’s claws. Gecko enhances climbing and initiative and the major form provides some true climbing superiority and bite enhancers. Pteranodon nets a bonus to AC and initiative in minor form, while major form nets you clumsy fly speed, which improves in speed and maneuverability later and also nets you Flyby Attack et al at 15th level. Snapping turtle is interesting, in that it nets an AC bonus that increases when the character doesn’t move or attack. All in all, I enjoyed these shifter aspects.

Merfolk get two new water blasts: Siren’s song is a burn 0 sonic simple blast at reduced die size of d4 to account for the rare damage type; the composite blast Shrieking Song clocks in at 2 burn and provides composite sonic with the same reduction. There also are two utility wild talents, the first of which is siren’s kiss. For 1 burn, the DC increases by 2 and the talent nets you unnatural lust, save it requires concentration to maintain. Siren’s call duplicates nixie’s lure, requires concentration and has a 100-ft.-range. Not a fan: If you accept 1 burn, you don’t need to maintain concentration and the effect is prolonged until you next recover burn. Merfolk mediums may gain two new legendary spirits – Charybdis and Scylla, based on marshal and trickster, respectively. Charybdis’ séance boon nets you +2 to grapple checks and the influence penalty applies to Int- and Int-based checks as well as CL for the purpose of determining duration and range, which is BRUTAL. You also can’t benefit from CL-enhancing effects, which now explicitly does not include feats. The spirit gets an interesting intermediate ability: When an enemy targets the directly affects the medium or counters or negates a medium’s spell, the medium may, as an immediate action, allow the spirit to gain 1 influence to have the opponent suffer from crushing despair for a number of rounds equal to the medium’s highest spell-level known. Durations stack. This ability has been seriously cleaned up. Like it!

Scylla, based on the trickster, applies the spirit boon to Dexterity checks, Dexterity-based skill checks and Ref-saves. The séance boon nets a +1 bonus on one skill, which is also treated as a class skill. The influence penalty makes you not count as an ally for effects and also makes you not count as a willing recipient of spells. You must even be hit by touch spells, but you’re not forced to save versus beneficial spells. The unique ability here is classified as greater and has been renamed “terror of Numbers.” The ability allows the medium to allow Scylla to gain 1 influence to either reroll a die-roll or force an enemy to reroll; an enemy forced to reroll takes a penalty to the reroll equal to number of opponents within 10 feet, maximum the medium’s Charisma modifier. This formerly broken ability has been properly cleaned up and now is pretty neat!

We also get two mesmerist tricks: The first can be triggered on entering light, granting the target temporary hit points. The second grants darkvision upon entering darkness. Shifters gain a new shark aspect, which focuses on sensory improvements. The major form nets later a better bite. Minor and purely aesthetic wording quibble in the FCOs: “When gaining a taboo, the medium can use spirit surge without incurring influence one additional +1/4 time per day.” The final part of that sentence could be a bit cleaner.

Samsarans get a new occultist implement school, the eternal implements. The resonant power nets +1 competence bonus to Intelligence-based skill and ability-checks for every 2 points of mental focus invested, capping at 1 + 1 for every 4 class levels. The base focus power is touch of antiquity, which allows you to expend 1 point of mental focus to cause an object to age, inflicting 1d4 +1d4 for every 2 occultist levels untyped damage to an object and also cause it to be broken. Constructs may alternatively be targeted with a melee touch attack and a base damage die of 1d6, scaling the same way as the damage to objects. We get a total of 6 focus powers: One grants a combat feat, which must not have feat prerequisites, but otherwise, the target needs not fulfill the prerequisites. The power lasts for 1 minute and another feat is granted every 6 class levels thereafter and the feats may build upon each other, offsetting the no-feat-prerequisite caveat. Now this one is INTERESTING and well-executed, particularly since the revised version got rid of the one hiccup. Collective calm lets you choose multiple skills and take 10 in them, even under duress. Mantle of antiquity nets you a 20% miss chance and the option to gain a massive +10 insight bonus to a save, ending the mantle’s effects. Vast improvement over the original. Reincarnation’s guise is a combo’d disguise self and +4 ability score boost. Restore grandeur is the inverse of the base focus power, restoring items and constructs. Living targets may also be healed thus, but only 1/day. Wisdom of the ages, finally, nets legend lore, and has been properly cleared up as well. The implement school comes with its own spell-list – no complaints there.

Samsarans also get two new racial feats, Empathic Healer, which lets you heal ability score damage via mental focus or phrenic pool points when using Life’s Blood, taking the damage yourself. Reincarnated Hero nets you a bonus on Cha-based checks in vigilante identity and helps renown when you gain it. This is one of my favorite chapters within! (And I don’t even particularly like the samsarans…)

The sashahar get a new legendary spirit with Sessinakka (based on Guardian), complete with taboos and gaining favor covered. The ability gained is intermediate and provides an extended spell-list and the option to use spirit surge to boost concentration and CL-checks when casting these spells. We also get a new implement school here, the sentinel implements. The resonant power here is applied to saves against the extraplanar subtype. The base focus power is a swift action 20 ft.-burst that deals 2 points of untyped damage per class level, no save. Not a fan. We get 6 focus powers and a custom spell-list. Negating flanking benefits for one round per class level, a boost to CMD and saves versus attempts to move you and fighting on when almost killed by an extraplanar subtype creature are three of the benefits. At 11th level, you can get a rather cool summoning-suppression-field, which I really liked; the new version no longer auto-wins against certain builds, so kudos. Planar ward debuffs foreigners to your plane and nets a boost versus their tricks. I also really liked the high-level teleportation scrambler.

We also get a new psychic discipline, the gate guardian, who uses Wisdom as governing attribute. The first discipline power nets you temporary access to defense-themed monster abilities like fast healing, ferocity or light fortification and these improve at higher levels, also adding DR and AC-boosts and resistances to the mix. 5th level nets a scaling save bonus to either Fort- or Ref-saves, your choice. 13th lets you negate 1 critical hit confirmation per day, 2/day at 18th level. Nice one. There is a vigilante talent that nets the planar weapon quality and upgrades to +2 to atk versus creatures with the extraplanar subtype.

Skinwalkers get a pretty nice medium archetype that tweaks all of the standard spirits. The lunar spirits include: Witchbeast (archmage): Reckless and dislikes casting on allies, uses witch spell list. Ruler of Fangs (champion) nets better natural weapon base damage and martial weapon proficiency. Furred Warden (guardian) nets spirit bonus to AC and heavy armor proficiency as a lesser ability. The greater ability has been thoroughly cleaned up and now operates properly, allowing you to step in and grapple foes targeting allies. Moonwatcher (hierophant) has the archmage arcana spirit power, using druid/shaman lists instead as a lesser power. The intermediate ability is pretty specific – it duplicates energy font, but instead causes all skinwalkers to change shape instantaneously. Overflowing moonlight builds on grace and the previous ability, modifying it accordingly. The Grinning Beast (marshal) gets only the basics modified, not the powers, and the same goes for the Sewer Grandmaster (trickster). All of the spirits have séance boons that grant bestial features according to the nature of the spirits. I really liked this one and wished it had more room to shine: The tying of bestial features with séances is smart, the taboos etc. are cool and I like the custom spirit array. This is worth returning to and expanding to full-blown class tweak, imho.

Skinwalkers also get a new vigilante archetype, the moonlight lurker, whose vigilante identity must incorporate the animalistic features of change shape. The archetype can shift identities as a full-round action, as a standard action in moonlight, using the change shape racial ability in conjunction with it. The lurker gets two bestial traits when using change shape, which improves by +1 at 5th and 9th level. 13th level also nets a potent ability like fly, pounce etc. 17th level nets a second one from this list and 20th level provides regeneration 5, suppressed by silver. This does come with a price, though: No social talent at first level and, more painfully, no vigilante specialization. There are two lycanthrope-themed vigilante-talents, one for scaling attribute bonuses and one for scaling DR/silver. The moonshifter loses chimeric aspect and its greater brother as well as final aspect. Shifter claw benefits are applied to two natural weapons gained via change shape and it may be activated as a swift action. 9th level provides a hybrid form when in minor aspect; this improved at 14th level and the capstone nets change shape/wild shape transparency as well as DR 10/silver.

Tengus are up next, beginning with the vinculum corruptor occultist, who loses magic item skill and aura sight. Additionally, he only gets ½ class level + Int-mod mental focus. However, he does get ½ level (I assume minimum 1) of vinculum focus. This behaves as a regular mental focus, but enhances the CL when targeting the owner’s type/subtype. Owner? Yep, for these points may only be invested in implements that rightfully belong to another, which is interesting. 2nd level yields +1/2 class level to Sleight of Hand and 5th level lets the archetype locate creature implement owners. The swaggering avenger vigilante loses the appearance-ability tree and the 2nd level vigilante talent. They are locked into the avenger specialization and gain Dazzling Display, usable sans weapon as a standard action, at 2nd level. +2 to atk versus foes demoralized thus. There is a talent that lets you make a creature hit itself – and in the revised edition, the ability not only works, it makes sense in-game – kudos! 5th level nets Performance Combatant and a performance feat. 11th level nets temporary hit points with successful performance combat checks and 17th level lets you now use a swift action when reducing a foe to negative HP to AoE-demoralize foes.

There is a complex phrenic amplification that allows you to steal mental energy, like focuses, mesmerist tricks etc. via spells, which is interesting and, more importantly, really smoothly designed: It can’t be cheesed with kittens, the save-interaction is tight and neat. The target is also temporarily staggered, and no, no stagger-locking the target. Impressive one! The shifter, finally, gets the crow aspect (doesn’t specify natural attack type, requires defaulting), but otherwise, solid. The favored class options here are interesting, though the occultist bonus requires a legacy weapon, making it only relevant for the transmutation implement school.

The umbral kobolds are up next, starting with the shadowpsychic, who gets more phrenic pool – but whenever he uses 2 or more points, the linked spell becomes a shadow spell. To make up for that, he gets telempathic shadow barrage and shadow targeting. The first lets you add debuffs to the telepathic bond via phrenic pool points. Shadow targeting has been reworked to instead affect range. Nice. The race also gets the aether-based shadow blast simple blast, which adds +2 damage per die and makes damage nonlethal for Burn 1. At 15th level, composite blasts may also be enhanced thus, at the cost of 1 additional Burn. I still think this would have made more sense as a utility wild talent, but it is better balanced now.

We also get a new medium spirit, Kurgog the Guardian. I assume this fellow replaces the regular guardian. The séance boon is applied to CMD and influence penalty nets you -2 to AC. The lesser spirit power nets Dodge, which also encompasses uncanny dodge at 10th level. So far, the pdf has done an excellent job of cleaning up hiccups, but here, a big one is still included: The intermediate ability lets you, as a swift action, “expend 1 point of mental focus…” WAIT. WUT? Yep, we have a glaring cut copy paste error here that also extends to the greater ability. It’s okay to make another class’s ability available for a spirit, but it has to be MODIFIED to reflect the realities of the new class.

The wyrwoods get two new archetypes, the first of which would be the equinox infiltrator vigilante, who loses vigilante specialization, a ton of vigilante talents, dual identity and two social talents. They also share the druid’s prohibition versus wearing metal armor. They have 3 identities and change requires 1 minute of meditation. The archetype has one social and two infiltrator identities. Each of the infiltrator identities is associated with one domain chosen from the 4 base elemental domains and they may only use the domain powers while in the corresponding identity. They gain an additional such identity at 7th and 15th level and they get the hunter’s spellcasting, using druid spell list and domains exclusively. There are two feats to upgrade this fellow: Solstice Identity nets+ 1 identity with an extended domain choice. Specialized Equinox nets subdomain access for the equinox identity and the domain chosen.

The second archetype would be the phantasmagorist spiritualist, who replaces the phantom with a memorandum construct that does not have an emotional focus or ethereal form. Instead of an emotional focus, we get a sorcerer bloodline at 3/4th class level (minimum 1 caveat missing). Each bonus spell granted by this bloodline may be cast 1/day as a SP. While the memorandum is in the spiritualist’s subconscious, the character gains teamwork feats of allies within 30 ft., now with a proper scaling mechanic. 3rd level’s bonded manifestation-tweak instead provides access to the bloodline-related powers and spells as SPs.

The final race would be the wyvarans. Here, we get 6 form infusions that represent cones and line-shaped blasts for any element, in three steps. The wyrmling’s breath now aligns in comparison with the fire form infusion; the mature version has the same burn cost and level requirements and its water specialized spray. The section also has a utility wild talent, the draconic mantle, which nets all creatures within 5 ft. energy damage equal to the number of burn you have. Energy types may be any energy blast you have. Dragonshifters lose the animal aspect gained at 1st level in favor of dragon aspect, and the breath weapon they have has a sensible cooldown now; major form also nets basically dragon boosts.

The second archetype is the treasure hoarder occultist, who loses 14th and 18th level’s implements and outside contact. He suffers from diminished spellcasting and uses Cha as governing attribute for class features and spellcasting. He begins play with 2 implements, +1 at 2nd level and every three level thereafter, capping at 9 at 20th level. Add to that that 7th level makes all implements acts as having +1 focus invested in them, +2 at 20th level. Still strong tweak, but no longer overwhelming. We also get a psychic discipline, the vishapakar, whose phrenic pool is governed by Intelligence. It nets at-will identify and the dowse occult skill unlock for ley lines and magic items even if untrained in Survival. We also get quicker ley line attunement and limited phrenic pool point recovery when doing so. Important here: Spellcasting is governed by Wisdom. The 5th level discipline power isn’t functioning as intended. It sports free, at-will short-range dimension door, with the caveat to break it into shorter ranges making me think that it’s supposed to have either a range-based cap or, you know, that it’s supposed to have a hard cap, like similar discipline powers. Only weak and passive 5th level discipline powers are always on. 13th level provides standard action attunement, provided you can touch a Large or larger carved stone touching a ley line. We also get two racial feats: Hoard Aura makes divinations fail to reveal worn and carried items unless the caster makes a CL-check. Also applies to a living area. Cool feat! Hoard Guard makes you keen eyed regarding items and provides AoOs when a foe attacks or seizes an object from you.

Conclusion: The revised edition seriously cleaned up the rules-language of the book, significantly improving it in the ruled editing and formatting departments. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color artworks that will be familiar to fans of JBE. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks, and now also features a printer-friendly iteration.

Quite a few authors worked on this: Joel Flank, Sasha Laranoa Harving, Richard Moore, Kevin Morris, David N. Ross, Rachel Ventura and George “Loki” Williams. The revised edition of this book vastly improves the precision of the material herein, significantly increasing the value of the supplement.

Some of the concepts herein could have used a bit more room to breathe – archetype-wise, we focus on engine-tweaks, but they are complex ones, and often, quite frankly more interesting than many comparable options. The supplemental material, as a whole, sports a couple of interesting components as well.

In short: The book and its material runs now as smoothly as it should, and the publisher deserves serious kudos for finetuning the materials herein! Now, this book may not be perfect, but it is a densely-packed, interesting supplement of options, and for what it offers, I am happy to increase my rating for the revised iteration to 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness (PFRPG)
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