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Legendary Gunslingers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2018 05:18:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the player-centric/class redesign books clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content – as always for Legendary Games, these pages are packed with materials, so rest assured that there’s a LOT of content within!

Now, I’ve been pretty vocal about the copious issues that the gunslinger class has, so let’s start with the big selling point of this pdf – the Legendary Gunslinger base class. Now, in an interesting aside, the pdf already shows a level of care absent from many comparable files: The class table does come with a short note that allows groups that do not operate under the assumption of firearms targeting touch AC to make full use of it. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of “going the extra mile”-mentality I really appreciate.

Now, let’s take a look at the chassis: Legendary Gunslingers are proficient with simple and martial weapons as well as with all firearms and light armor, get d8 HD, and thank the 7 heavens, they actually get SKILLS. 6 + Int mod per level. And yes, these include Swashbuckling staples like Acrobatics, Bluff, Swim, Stealth, etc. The chassis of the class is also interesting in that it implements a change I have always been pretty vocal about: The gunslinger does NOT need full BAB; targeting touch AC for the most part makes math wonky at high levels for full BAB characters. Thus, the legendary gunslinger gets ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Ref-saves.

The legendary gunslinger gets a blunderbuss, musket or pistol at first level and this weapon may only be sold for scrap; other creatures treat it as broken. We also get Gunsmithing, however, ammo etc. may be crafted for 1% of the base price. This means that legendary gunslingers no longer break the bank of really gritty low level groups. Also at first level, the legendary gunslinger gets to add Dex-mod to firearm damage, though this bonus damage caps at class level until 5th level. (this ability is called “gun training”, fyi.) Additionally, misfire values are reduced by 1 to a minimum of 0, and broken firearms only increase misfire values by 2, not by 4. Grit is still governed by Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). A really big plus here would be that the legendary gunslinger’s grit-recharge mechanics allow for the regaining of grit via successful saving throws. And before you ask: YES, this is utterly and remarkable cheesing-proof. No chance to abuse it whatsoever. Big kudos!

At 2nd level, we get +1/2 class level to Perception, and choose two Int or Cha-based skills and use Wisdom instead as governing attribute. With the skill-array, this makes gunslinger faces very much possible. Nice! Also at second level, we get a significant alteration as far as design paradigms are concerned: We get the first so-called gun mastery, with every 3 levels thereafter granting another one. Yes, this means what you think it means: The class, finally, actually has meaningful player-agenda and build-diversification built straight into its chassis. Some deeds have been transformed into gun mastery and now require a conscious decision to get – like Charging Shot, or Counter Shot. As an aside: The latter now actually is balanced by the alterations of the gunslinging chassis in a more meaningful and exciting manner. The placement of these masteries as far as minimum levels are concerned btw. makes sense. A particular joy, at least for me, would have been to see that improved and expanded targeting add to the targeting deed. And yes, you can get renown! The gun masteries presented are extensive, interesting and yielded no issues in my tests.

3rd level yields uncanny dodge, and 13th level improved uncanny dodge…while also providing the deed mechanic! So yes, legendary gunslingers still retain basic deed functionality; it’s still very hard to make a truly sucky character with the engine proposed, and the choices that are still automatically granted thus make sense. 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th level unlock new deeds in this linear progression. 4th level nets nimble (improving it by +1 every 4 levels thereafter) and combat grit: This nets you a temporary grit point whenever you roll initiative. This does have a cooldown and can’t be cheesed, while making sure that you always have at least something to do. 5th level lets you spend 1 grit as a swift action for +1 to atk and damage for 1 minute, with the bonus increasing by +1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter. 6th level nets the skill unlock of a Dex or Wisdom based skill (including ones where the gunslinger may have substituted Wisdom for Cha or Int), and 6th level allows for a grit-based reroll of Dex-or Wis-based skill checks. This improves at 17th level. 7th level nets evasion, 16th improved evasion. True grit is the capstone. We also get two alternate favored class options for all races: +1/6 gun mastery or +1/5 combat grit.

The pdf includes no less than 15 different archetypes for this class, so let’s take a look at what we get, shall we? The alchemical hotshot loses deeds, but does get alchemy at minus 1 extract per level and is Int-based; the massive key feature here would be that the archetype learns metallurgy, which has two benefits per entry: One is the special type of bullet, and one allows for a firearm made from the material. Lead, for example, can temporarily lower SR, while copper bullets can prevent targets from attacking the alchemical hotshot. And yes, you get to go Golden Gun at higher levels; heck, you even get a platinum gun!! The archetype pays for this flexibility by losing some of the spontaneous tricks – it is Int-based, so requiring a bit more deliberate planning is perfectly in line with the concept here. Damn cool. The anthem gunner is basically a bard lite/legendary gunslinger hybrid that is Charisma-based and as such, has a lot of its class features tweaked accordingly. The black flag bandit is locked into pistols and represents a pistol + blade/siege weapon specialist. They can make siege weapons require smaller crews, which, in some campaigns, can be super cool.

The bullet wizard once more would be an Intelligence-based archetype, using the starting weapon as a bonded object and gaining a magus’ spellbook. The archetype makes delivering spells via bullets work (this is pretty hard) and may, at higher levels, expend spellslots to fire energy blasts from the weapon. This made me smile, for it does resemble to a degree the concept I implemented in my own etherslinger class, though obviously with a different base spellcasting engine. Nice job!! Don’t like firearms in your game? Take a look at the crossbow killer archetype. Big kudos: This fellow does come with a bit of advice regarding multi-archetyping it. The Demolition soldier is locked into a pistol and gets scaling bombs. Nice. The faded stranger is the faceless guy that folks may forget about after meeting them, the subtle infiltrator – I liked this one, though I did wish it had a silencer-style ability baked into its rules. The firearm striker is an unarmed/gun-fu-ish specialist that blends unarmed strikes and firearms. This is traditionally either really bad or really broken – this is neither, though it probably would have made for a viable class hack. The option to follow firearm shots with unarmed strikes, including movement, is interesting.

The living turret gets a culverin and may enter a special stance as a move action, improving defenses and counting as supported. Interesting: This does offer some tanking capabilities. Cool engine tweak! The muzzle roarer is one of the big archetypes: Born under a really bad sign, these guys may neither be good, nor lawful, and they must serve an evil patron deity or entity akin to demon lords, horsemen of the apocalypse or Great Old Ones. They have slightly less skill points per level, but do get an oracle curse, with additional spells codified as limited use SPs instead. With a Rovagug-y theme, they can shatter inanimate objects. They also may choose ninja tricks and rogue talents instead of gun masteries – and yes, grit is employed instead of ki, where applicable. Their firearms become particularly loud, making noticing them easier, and they may use grit to duplicate magical sonic based effects. Finally, the archetype gets a couple of nice, or rather, unpleasant evil deeds.

The pale slinger replaces nimble with an aura of misfortune, from which she may exempt allies, and hexes and hex/shot synergy are neat. I also enjoyed the unique benefit that prevents rerolls in the auras of higher level pale slingers. Rather cool one! Rumslingers only recover grit by drinking alcohol, replaces nimble with a synergy trick for Fort-bonuses to resist poison by imbibing alchemical fire. 2 unique deeds and a really evocative capstone complement this interesting engine tweak. Sky riders replace the resolve ability sequence and slinger’s quirk with a bird animal companion. The archetype also gets wild empathy and upgrades for monstrous mounts later. Solemn travelers may not be true neutral and instead get an alignment-themed cavalier mount, with later detect-SPs added. Judgments and an aura that penalizes fear-saves and negates fear immunity complement this one. Finally, there would be the technological shootist as the final archetype – you guessed it: This fellow would be the Tech Guide engine tweak for the Legendary Gunslinger. Nice one!

The feats within the book number 6 – Deed Specialization nets +2 DC for a deed’s save DC. Extra Gun Mastery nets, bingo, a gun mastery. For Demon-Haunted Drifter, you need an eidolon and may instantly call forth the eidolon or lesser evolution surge it via grit, which is cool. Kudos: Notes for use are provided for gamers with less system mastery. Guns Out of the Grave takes up almost a whole page and is a feat that is only available for the undead. The feat nets you rejuvenation while you have at least 1 grit, and the feat nets special abilities depending on the HD of the user of the feat. Obviously intended for NPCs, this makes for a truly fearsome feat for the undead, allowing the undead to call their weapons back. I’d obviously strongly advise against making this one available for PCs in all but the most potent (or apocalyptic) of campaigns. Whiskey-Soaked Drifter is once more a HUGE feat, one that makes the character basically an alcoholic, but allows for temporary grit gains via drinking alcohol. Minor nitpick: There is a reference to “grit” that should refer to “drunken grit” instead, making the second paragraph here slightly confusing. This feat is one I really like in theme, though the execution will not be for all groups. Since this reliably delimits grit, it requires some mature handling by player and GM alike. The Winter-Hearted Drifter feat is one that makes you an arctic specialist/one associated with entities of cold/etc., providing synergy with the Winter Shade of the Umbral Wood feat. While high-concept, these long-form feats do need a bit more careful consideration than the rest of the pdf.

There also is a page of nice firearm modifications – 8 to be precise. And yes, thank all 7 heavens, a silencer’s included. Gunslingers can now, you know, not insta-break any infiltration scenario. Huge kudos. The pdf also includes two magic items, the farsight duster that enhances range-increments and the lore bullet, which, while kept on the person of someone with deeds for 24 hours, nets the gun mastery inscribed within. There is a hard limit on how many of these you may carry. The pdf ends with a cool NPC, Theresa Diaz. She and her lover were enslaved by Nigredo, a neurokineticist and brother of Theresa’s lover, who had a …weird way of showing affection. Theresa now is looking for Hannah, lost somewhere out there. Nice way of tying stories together. And yes, we get a proper boon for this CR 7 lady.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent on a rules-language level; on a formal level, the pdf is similarly precise, though I did notice a couple of installments of bolding missing. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, with artworks being a blend of old and new full-color pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

N. Jolly, Jason Nelson, Clinton J. Boomer, Robert Brookes and Alex Augunas know what they’re doing. Siobhan Bjorknas, Blake Morton, Hal Kennette and Jason Nelson in development did definitely polish this to a shine.

So…ähem…you know, the longform feats…I’d have preferred them in a Legendary Villains installment. Öhm. Yeah. Those firearm mods? More would have been cool. Öhm. Yeah.

Who am I kidding?? This is the masterclass gunslinger that I always wanted. Meaningful differentiation, sensible design decisions that are grounded on a deep understanding of rules and obvious playtesting, high-concept options and an all around better playing experience? HECK YES. This is what the gunslinger always was supposed to be. It’s a rewarding, evocative, fun class that does pretty much everything resoundingly right, with the minor manabar-y combat grit making for a bold and cool engine-change. Add to that the skills, the expert ways to prevent abuse, and we have a masterpiece of a class redesign. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Oh, and since I only got around to reviewing this right now, this is definitely a candidate for this year’s top ten. A must-own offering for any group including gunslinging – get it and never look back.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Gunslingers
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Mythic Monsters #49: South Pacific
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2018 13:43:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!

This installment of the Mythic Monsters series begins with supplemental content, here in the shape of a total of 7 different magic items, three of which are magical boomerangs: The ricochet boomerang is obviously returning (like the other two) and allows the wielder to make an attack as a standard action at -2 to atk; if the attack hits, the wielder can select a second target within 10 ft. and may even bounce this way past cover, managing to get the complex verbiage done right. Mythic wielders suffer from less penalties for this type of attack and mythic power can be used to make full attacks with bouncing, allowing you to potentially bypass hard terrain etc. – impressive. The clever boomerang can execute at-range trips and within 30 ft., can be used to feint. In the hands of mythic wielders, the weapon can execute more potent combat maneuvers and use mythic power to snatch disarmed or stolen objects. So cool! The third boomerang would be the bloody boomerang, gaining an extended threat range that causes Constitution damage and bleeding damage that stacks with itself and other sources of bleed damage. The mythic wielder can use mythic power to bestow the keen property for tier rounds, or the wounding property for 2 mythic power uses. Both can be activated at once. The boomerang may also be fired via mythic power as a line-based AoE-attack. LOVE IT!

The pdf also includes the outback woomera, a spear thrower that may be wielded as a magical club in melee, and it makes short spears fired treated as distance or keen, and maximum range is increased as well. Mythic wielders get both properties, and mythic power may be used as a swift action to gain a bonus to atk and ignore cover and concealment and bypass DR, or vastly increase range. Path ability synergy is properly taken into account, and the same holds true for feats. The woomera of a mythic wielder can also produce goodberries and water. The possum-skin cloak fortifies versus the weather and elements, gaining also a bonus to Knowledge (local) and (history) checks due to the ancestor’s influence. The cloak can make for a warm shelter on trees that is hard to notice. Mythic wearers can consult with the ancestors via mythic power and the cloak enhances the surge mechanic. Similarly, the shelter-ability improves. Cool! The final two items would be amulets: The Hei Tiki Amulet fortifies versus fear and emotion effects and helps avoiding being surprised. Mythic wielders can benefit from mage’s faithful hounds or interposing hands, the latter in the shape of tiki masks or idols. Cool! The Hei Matau Amulet nets a luck bonus on saves and helps navigating the waves, greatly enhancing Profession (sailor) and allowing for know direction on the waves as well as limited water walking. If dropped into sea water, it becomes a celestial giant seahorse, a manaia, which is tightly codified and sports unique abilities. Mythic wielders can exert limited control over the waves and gets better interaction with the spirits – really cool. These items are really amazing.

Now, let’s take a look at the monsters, shall we? At CR 1/MR 1, we have a platypus familiar, who gains electrolocation in water, with mythic power upgrading its range temporarily, as wella s the ability to generate a mud cloud. Cool. There also are two marsupials at these CR/MRs – mangaroos and thylacines. Mythic kangaroos get massive leaps as long as they have mythic power and pretty brutal kicks. Thylacines can render a target flat-footed via movement, courtesy of distracting stripes, and they get a serious threat range, with the option to enhance the critical modifier to x3 via mythic power. The final creature at this CR/MR-range would be the lavishly-illustrated orang-pendak, whose backwards feet get proper rules-representation and better object-bursting. Unique and nice one.

There are also two mythic megafaunas – at CR 3/MR 1, the moa, and the CR 8/MR 3 megalania – the former may use mythic power for speed bursts and trample/stampede targets, making them more potent in groups. The megalania is brutal: 1/round, as an immediate action, the critter can expend a mythic power to take a full round’s worth of actions! Resting in sunlight can allow it to regain mythic power and their acidic stomach is particularly nasty.

At CR 4/MR 2, the adaro can create swirling cyclones of water and ride these, and their rain frenzy ability is upgraded. Solid upgrade! The manananggal’s mythic version, at CR 8/MR 3, deserves special mention: It gets the ability to emit deceptive noises, drain mythic power and the incredible flexible, prehensile tongue is a much-desired upgrade the changes how this one runs for the better. Add a mythic power-fueled shroud of shadows, and we have a winner here. Speaking of undead: There is a CR 6/MR 2 mythic penanggalen based on a oracle 5, sure…but the write-up is inspired due to another reason: The book contains a massive mythic template: 10 tiers net progressively cooler abilities. I adore this. Two thumbs up! Speaking of amazing undead: The CR 10/MR 4 mythic polong leaves thin blood coatings that grease the area, get proper bloody possession 8including tell-tale signs), and the mythic polong may attempt to slip the bonds of its limitations..its terrible wounds have also been improved. Glorious upgrade of the base critter!!

The Cr 16/MR 6 papinijuwari comes with a reprint of the mythic Awesome Blow feat, and receives an aura of fecundity. It can also crawl inside of deceased creature’s mouths, leaving a horrid disease behind that renders the corpse into a disgusting biological mine, while also replenishing mythic power. The write-up also provides a nasty pestilence form…inspired. At CR 12/MR 5, the kapre’s smoke can be made to last longer via mythic use expenditure. The mythic version also gets a massive debuffing aura that enhances flanking, interacting with confounding aura. 1/day spewing embers and better invisibility, a boost when almost defeated and the ability to grant a limited wish make this version of the creature infinitely cooler than the original. Huge plus! At the same CR/MR, the tiberolith’s corrosive strikes kickin MUCH sooner (thankfully!) and gets Power Attack, in spite of being mindless. The rudimentary clockworks of the construct net bonus feats and +2 to AC, as well as allowing mythic characters to imbue power within. It can also trap spells and discharge them. Damn cool and potentially, super lethal!

At CR 11/MR 4, we also get a coral golem’s mythic iteration, which reconstructs itself in water. Its attacks can infest targets with coral, and the entity can expend mythic power to break off parts of its body to generate healing powder. Very cool!

Speaking of “very cool” – At CR 5/MR 2, the new creature within these pages would be the Tiddalik – a Medium, bipedal magical beast that somewhat resembles a frog: The creature can absorb the liquids of those grappled, and absorb vast amounts of water – enough, and it actually assumes a giant form of sorts! Yes, stat mods provided! Super cool and oozing flair: bringing these guys to laugh can result in devastating expulsions of tidal water! I love this critter!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard, with a mixture of new and old full-color artworks – the one-page version of the cover artwork in particular is amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alex Riggs, Mike Welham and Jason Nelson have done it – this installment of Mythic Monsters is genius. From the cool and unique items to the critters: Animals make sense and feel plausible; undead are icky and tap into taboos and anxieties; constructs feel effective and magical beings feel magical, improving vastly upon the base creatures in a wide variety of ways. This is a superior supplement in every way, even within the context of the high quality Mythic Monsters-series. This is a 5 star + seal of approval gem. You should definitely get this – it does vastly enhance the rich lore and concepts of the base creatures. One of the best installments in the series!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #49: South Pacific
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Mythic Monsters #48: Fey
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2018 13:41:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!

So, this time around, we get something rather radically different – we get an actual, full 10-level PrC as supplemental material, the fey-bound knight, who requires a BAB of +4, the ability to cast a 1st level arcane spell from the illusion and enchantment schools, suitable languages for the courts and 5 ranks in a skill. The knight gets d8 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, 3/4th BAB-progression and ½ Ref- and Will-save progressions and 7/10th spellcasting progression. The PrC nets proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light armor. At 1st, 5th and 9th level, the PrC nets “Skill Focus (enchantment or illusion” or “Greater Skill Focus (enchantment or illusion)” – that should be Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus, respectively. The PrC gains low-light vision at first level, or upgrades the ability further. Additionally, the PrC class levels are treated as fighter levels for the purpose of feat prerequisites, 2nd level nets a +4 bonus to Bluff and on saves versus mind-affecting spells or effects, which upgrades to slippery mind at 7th level. 3rd level nets +4 to Stealth checks. The knight may also become class levels rounds invisible, as per the spell, as a swift action, with 7th level increasing duration to 1 minute per class level. At 4th level, when confirming a critical hit, the knight can force a target to fall asleep 1/day, +1/day for every 2 levels thereafter. The ability notes that the save is Charisma-based, but since this is a PrC and not a monster, we’d expect to see the save DC spelled out here.

At 5th level, the knight gets DR 2/cold iron, which upgrades to DR 4/cold iron at 8th level. 6th level nets class level minutes of fly via gossamer wings, with activation being a swift action. 7th level nets an illusory armor (once more, disbelieving DC should be spelled out); 8th level lets the knight roll twice on Bluff or Disguise checks. 9th level nets a breath of life/dimension door combo that also greater invisibility-s the knight as an illusory duplicate dies in her place. Usable 1/day. The capstone nets fey apotheosis. The prestige class comes with mythic upgrades for all abilities – darkvision and greensight, mythic spell abilities, etc.. However, there is another pretty crucial flaw here: None of the abilities properly codify their type – Ex, Su, SP? No idea in many instances. This is really puzzling, and, like the save DC-guffaw, a puzzling oversight. Don’t get me wrong – neither breaks the PrC, but they constitute unnecessary flaws in the PrC.

Okay, there are a couple of CR 1/MR 1 fey herein: The brownie gets a series of cool SPs and makes these fey really helpful for Crafting and persuading folks, using the surge die in a cool manner. Their happy whistling while working also translates to some bardic tricks, making this an epic take on the concept. Big plus! The jinkin gremlin can solo the group tinker ability and leading a group, a mythic jinkin improves save DC and CL while also increasing the severity of the curse placed on magic items. The mythic jinkin can also use its hatred to penalize a target (I assume the default standard action for SU-activation, but an activation action would have been nice…) and become permanently greater invisible to the target – for mythic power, this may extend to a second target…damn cool! The mythic grig may 3/day upgrade its SPs to the mythic versions, and the grig may maintain its fiddling, once started, quicker and use mythic power to regain rounds of fiddling. The mythic sprite can use its luminosity to dispel darkness-based effects. The verbiage has a slight deviation from standard here. The sprite also gets the ability to emit a burst of potentially blinding light. The tooth fairy is wicked: Odontophobia makes it gain frightful presence versus a victim after extracting a tooth and imposes a penalty to saves versus its tricks. Brandishing a creature’s tooth lets them restart this ability. EW. They can also penalize natural bite and claw attacks. Really cool mythic upgrade.

The pdf also contains 2 CR 3/MR 1 creatures, the first of which would be the forlarren gets more versatile SPs and may exchange heat metal uses. The forlarren may also use an immediate action to relegate the remorse felt to other characters – when it uses this ability, a mythic power use nets an AoO nauseating aura. The nuglub gremlin would be the second creature at this CR/MR loadout and gets opportunistic grappling and bleed damage claws and teeth as well Improved Sunder as well as use mythic power to ignore hardness of an item.

At CR 6/MR 2, we get a mythic version of the sprite swarm, which can duplicate a hypnotic or rainbow pattern, though the latter requires a mythic power expenditure. The swarm also gets a bleeding damage causing needle cone that also affects targets with distraction. Nice one! The mythic iteration of the fastachee clocks in at CR 13/MR 5 and may use its abilities to 1/day duplicate heroes’ feast and the summon nature’s ally spells can be cast faster, with mythic power even as a swift action, and single creatures can get the agile or savage templates added. They can also instruct targets in farming and gardening, with a bonus for 1 year. Domain spells may be freely upgraded to their mythic iterations and the fastachee criting a target can alleviate starvation, but also make the target overly full – and yes, this may be used with regular attacks via mythic powers.

At a pretty massive CR 18/MR 7, the mythic hamadryad can’t be flanked or caught flat-footed, may extend her DR and energy resistance to allies, and is excellent at social skills – oh, and more targets for charm effects. Her arrows entangle (add constriction via mythic power…ouch!) and a mere touch can wreck metal - really cool. The hamadryad is also guarded from harm by terrestrial animals, plants and vermin, as befitting of her station. Cool mythic upgrade! The Cr 8/MR 3 mythic sangoi reprints the Mythic Aid feat for your convenience, and the curse of misery ability is significantly better. They can sneak attack bleeding targets, their horrific critical ability gets better…and they receive a paralyzing gaze, making an already cool critter even more badass. Speaking of which…at CR 20/MR 8, there would be the Vilderavn. This fellow is AMAZING. They can analyze fighting styles, use mythic power to reopen bleeding wounds just closed, add murderous command to their already nasty shatter loyalties ability. Oh, and they get better defenses, a death curse, better critical (including fortification-negation…), instant assumption of those whose souls they have eaten…the statblock takes up a total of 2 pages with a ton of unique and amazing abilities that further enhance an already impressive critter. Big kudos!

The new critter herein is a winner: The Horzitoth is described thus: “A thick mound of lumpy, tattered rags hangs suspended like a cloak over a blot of darkness in the doorway. Its two spindly arms end in long, downward-facing knives, and a horse skull, with a wild green eye behind it, rests where its face should be.” Yes, this one is CREEPY. At CR 8/MR 3, these fey are addicted to nightmares and pull the nightmares of the sleeping into the waking world. It also regains hit points or gains temporary hit points in the presence of sleeping targets, and it may Wisdom drain targets and regain mythic power. While this cannot be cheesed, these fey can use mythic powers to affect the waking world with them. They can also return home via mythic power, but only while near a civilized structure or observed. Not unobserved. Observed! Nice one. Oh, and it can dimension door with grappled targets through doors… Super cool critter!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very precise regarding most components, but there are a couple of details that are not as refined as we’ve come to expect from Legendary Games, particularly regarding the PrC. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and artworks are a mixture of old and new, with the quality being high. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham, Jason Nelson and Loren Sieg all are designers that stand for excellence, and as such, it should come as no surprise that I adored most of the builds within. While the sprite somewhat underwhelmed me, the horzitoth is amazing, and so are most of the upgrades herein. HOWEVER, the PrC is significantly less impressive. It offers nothing I haven’t seen before apart from the mythic upgrade-synergy, is conceptually okay, but its rules-presentation is more in line with monsters than with PrCs. It feels a bit cumbersome and unfocused, as far as I’m concerned, and not up to the coolness of the rest of the pdf. If you don’t mind that, then consider this an excellent installment; as a reviewer, however, I need to take this into account, which is why my final verdict, alas, has to be 4 stars. However, since a couple of the builds herein, particularly the horzitoth, hamadryad, vilderavn, brownie and sangoi really captured my imagination, I will bestow my seal of approval onto this in spite of its imperfections.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #48: Fey
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Mythic Monsters #47: Greek
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2018 13:39:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement,1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages, chock-full with content, so let’s take a look!

Now, as always, the installment begins with a kind of customized bonus content, which, this time around, would be a collection of 4 new magic items, one of which is an artifact. Two of the items are directly associated with the fabled Hydra of legend: Teeth of the hydra grow phalanx soldiers upon being sown. Mythic users can expend mythic power when sowing these teeth to enforce cooperation, and more potent mythic beings can also spend even more mythic power to add the invincible mythic template. Solid one! Dread fangs of the hydra are an upgraded version of the standard teeth, growing skeletal champions that will attack those incapable of channeling negative energy. Mythic power can be used to bring them to heel, though, and those with both access to mythic power and channel negative energy, can enhance them with the invisible simple template. Nice one. Kudos: Schools associated have been modified for the improved version.

The yoke of the brazen bull may be placed on an animal once in 7 days, causing it to burst into flames that do not harm the animal. After a round, the target animal transforms into a fire-variant gorgon, which may be upgraded with the savage template via mythic power expenditure. The gorgon is hostile, but may be brought to heel via Handle Animal, and the control of the bull is tightly and concisely codified with precise rules-language. Really interesting would be that movement between user and bull/gorgon-thing is tied as though mounted, sans the benefits. Still, this makes movement potentially really interesting. Additionally, the user may manifest a plow behind the bull. Throwing the teeth of a sufficiently potent beast in the plowed earth creates a small troop-like skirmish that attacks everything in the area. Once the skirmish ends, the soldiers will remain at the user’s command. Really cool, complex thing. The artifact I noted would be the golden fleece, which sheds light and may catch light, returning it as daylight. If the fleece is placed on a target, the creature gains the benefits of heal and greater restoration. Curses and the like are also broken, and when placed over a corpse, it may even use resurrection if the creature hasn’t been dead for too long. The character can also expend mythic power to enhance its effect to the mythic iterations, and the fleece can also glow. A creature can only benefit thrice from the fleece, and every use comes with a chance of it dissolving and reappearing somewhere else. Nice take on the classic item.

At the lowest challenge array, the mythic faun clocks in at CR 2/MR 1. The mythic upgrade receives basic bardic spellcasting, something that the base creature really should have had, and the ability to make short-lived sleep arrows – so no, you can’t stockpile these folks to break economies. Kudos! The arrows they create can force two rolls to save, taking the worse result. Nice. At CR 4/MR 2, the dryad’s mythic iteration can animate the bonded tree to move, leaving a path of churned earth. Minor complaint here: The ability requires defaulting to the Su’s standard activation action, as it does not note one. The mythic dryad is aware of all fire within a mile (cool angle!) and her entangle (not italicized) blocks sight for Large (not capitalized properly) creatures and smaller ones. The dryad may also expend mythic power to greatly increase the save DC to escape. (Once more, skills and attributes have not been capitalized properly…weird.) I like this one, but the formatting hiccups are odd. At one CR more, the mythic harpy can use Bluff (once more, oddly not capitalized) to explain away her captivating song. Oddly the ability notes that it’s an opposed Bluff check, which Bluff is pretty much already; the verbiage may be misunderstood here. Cool: The harpy also gets the means to emit a mythic-power-fueled scream that spoils drinks nearby – including potions! Cool!

At CR 6/MR 2, the mythic Cyclops may 1/day use a variant of moment of prescience or vision, the latter focusing on mythic ranks, ascensions and the like. These guys get Master Craftsman instead of a mythic feat and may use 2 mythic power to temporarily gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Their insight can also 1/day exactly set the outcome of a roll, which may also have a fixed surge die result added. Mythic power can be used to make use of this more often, though this is subject to immediate action limitations. The mythic Cyclops also gets uncanny dodge or its improved brother ability, and they are immune to precision damage. Really cool upgrade of the base critter. Clocking it at one CR and MR higher, the mythic cerberi get a cool, unique defensive stance, may smell souls (tracking undead, even incorporeal ones) and all-around vision. The critter can also spend mythic power to further upgrade his sight. The three heads can also allow for triple saves on some effects. Really cool: The critter gets a super-potent 3-headed flaying jaw attack that can really generate some nasty bleeding wounds. This is based on the barbazu’s infernal wounds, though, annoyingly, some references to the original abilities are still here. The build, per se, is cool, though. The mythic version of the Stand Still feat has been reprinted for your convenience here.

The mythic iteration of the chimera clocks in at CR 9/MR 4, and when managing to hit a target with two heads, it renders the target flat-footed versus the chimera – ouch! Speaking of which: In such a case, the critter can expend mythic power as a swift action for a really painful extra damage that may stagger the foe. The mythic chimera also gets a potent defensive hide I really enjoyed, and yes, the breath weapon is upgraded with Devastating Breath (mythic feat reprinted for your convenience) and also has a more potent breath with additional physical damage mixed in. Nice one! At one CR more, we also get a mythic version of the stymphalides, whose wings “grind and shriek” – I assume this to make Stealth impossible. The mythic version also is particularly adept at using wings to attack, and may use them as a shield of sorts, deflecting arrows, and via mythic power, even negate targeted ranged spells requiring an attack roll. Big plus: The iconic rain of razor-shark feathers has been reproduced in a cool manner, creating caltrop’d terrain and taking shields etc. into account. Big plus!

Also at CR 10/MR 4, the gorgon’s mythic iteration is immune versus charm and fear effects, ignores hardness with trample, and they may use mythic power when hit to attempt a sunder maneuver versus the weapons striking them. Solid upgrade. Now, the pdf also includes quite a few sea-themed monsters: At CR 6/MR 3, the siren’s mythic iteration gets the ability to charm any who lay eyes on them (spell reference not italicized), and the siren may spend mythic power to extend the effects of the obsession effect of her songs. The CR 8/MR 3 oceanid have their water telekinesis slightly upgraded and may use it particularly effectively versus ships, capsizing them and dealing a ton of damage; additionally, they can use their summon nature’s ally V quicker, even as a swift action via mythic power. Oceanids can also help or hamper aquatic vessels with mythic power. Neato! The CR 17/MR 6 mythic Charybdis comes as a giant version, with Inescapable Grasp reprinted. With a great 1-page artwork, the critter gets a deadly drowning stomach and may upgrade its SPs to the mythic iterations. Speaking of which: More SPs and the ability to destroy spells and magics helping survival in the seas is cool. The monstrosity also benefits from a very powerful, defensive tidal wave. That obscures vision etc. While we’re on the topic of these legends: The CR 20/MR 8 mythic Scylla gets the same 3/day spontaneous mythic spell upgrade…oh, and she can drain mythic power with critical hits and even recharge her limited use feats. Supreme grappling and devastating tossing of targets is cool. She can also wolf down targets on critical hits for a particularly devastating hit. Her loathing for spellcasters is brutal and hampers concentration greatly – oh, and she may use mythic power to make single attacks versus casters daring to cast, potentially in addition to AoOs. This lady is super-deadly and rather fun – big upgrade from the comparably bland default critter.

The new creature featured within this pdf would be the Stheno Medusa, who clocks in at CR 13/MR 5, a Large and deadly being, whose blood from bleed or blood drain or critical hits can spawn venomous snake swarms or giant scorpions. Her scales automatically damage weapons of a hardness below 20, and her claws similarly ignore any hardness below that value and have an increased threat range. The arrows fired are all poisonous and she is immune to death effects, energy drain, exhaustion, etc. Cool: The head of the stheno may be used when she’s slain, but this comes as a risk for the wielder…This medusa also gets the option to make her face seem pleasing…or nauseating. And, obvious, poison, petrifying gaze and coil-grappling allows for a couple of cool tricks. Neat monster.

Conclusion:

Editing is generally top-notch on both formal and rules-language levels, though formatting is, in a couple of critters, significantly weaker than usual for Legendary Games. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a couple of nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, Jonathan H. Keith, Mike Welham and Jim Groves are all veterans, and it shows: The mythic upgrades herein are evocative, cool and truly neat. The new critter is strong as well, and yeah, I like this. That being said, this is formally slightly less refined than usual for the series. While I still very much enjoy this pdf, as a reviewer, I do have to slightly penalize the pdf for its minor glitches. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, though this still remains better than most monster books out there, which is why I’ll round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters #47: Greek
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On the Siberian Line
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2018 13:22:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 66 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 58 pages of content, quite a lot, considering the amount of information per page Legendary Games’ provides.

Now, “On the Siberian Line”, as the name implies, is an adventure that takes place in our world – to be more precise, it is intended to be spliced into the “Rasputin Must Die!” adventure, between the first and second part. The module is intended for 13th level characters, and is roughly based on historical facts, with a bit of the fantastic spliced in, obviously. The pdf includes the bushi fighter archetype, who gains a modified proficiency list and exchanges a couple of fighter bonus feats with a samurai or cavalier’s order. Instead of bravery, we have bonuses to chosen Knowledge skills, and instead of weapon training, we get a scaling bonus to atk, damage and combat maneuvers with the weapon in question, as well as applying the bonus to e.g. sunder attempts versus the weapon. The pdf includes the stats for 4 different types of real world armor, with the heavier ones providing DR versus firearms. The pdf also provides stats for percussion grenades and the Lewis M1916 machine gun.

Now, the cartography deserves special mention – it is amazing: Both settlements and combat-map-style encounters receive maps, and the latter are provided in aesthetically-pleasing, isometric versions. Cooler yet: In style, they are deliberately crafted to be reminiscent of propaganda posters of that time There is one downside here: While quite a few of these encounter maps work perfectly well as player maps, not all of them do, and there are no explicitly redacted versions sans keys provided. The adventure does come with copious amounts of read-aloud text.

All right, this is as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

Okay, only GMs around? Great!

We begin with the arrival of the dancing hut on Earth – it materializes on a rozen river, and that river may well collapse. Similarly, there is a shadow projection nearby, allowing for seamless integration into Rasputin Must Die. However, the hut will be spooked and run – causing an avalanche. Worse yet for the PCs: The Strange occurrences will make the PCs targets for an air raid executed by Nieuport 12 biplanes! It does not end there: Drawn by the battle, soon, a troop of Bolshevik soldiers will approach, briefly discuss the weirdos…and then open fire! In the chaos, all but one of the prisoners of the Bolsheviks escape: The PCs will have a chance to save the remaining British soldier after dealing with the deadly troop: Sam Hooley. Pointers for the discussion with Hooley and his rationalization of non-human beings and magic are provided, and the pdf does a solid job keeping the scenario on track here.

Not soon after, the PCs will hear shots ringing – and Sam immediately recognizes his fallen comrades. Spread of the bodies indicates that they have been shot from a single position, and indeed, this area is the hunting ground of Snezhana Bovarina, a rather deadly sniper working for the Russians. The combat encounter here is rather interesting, courtesy of the complex terrain, which includes a whole array of bear traps to keep charging characters at bay. Unfortunately, this is one of the maps that does not come with a player-friendly version, which means that the traps and sniper’s position are actually notes on the map, requiring some work by the GM. On the plus-side, it is very much possible that the PCs take the sniper alive – Sam does note the Hague convention preventing the killing of combatants that have surrendered.

Completing their overland trek, the PCs arrive at Priiskovyy, where the joint allied forces currently have their camp under the command of General Henry Nicholls and Katashi Wada. The camp is fully detailed and mapped (once more sans player-friendly version, but here, it’s okay – Sam could theoretically explain what the Cs and numbers on the map mean…), and, after meeting the brass, the PCs quite probably are enlisted. When confronted with news of Rasputin being alive, the commanders note that a double-agent that goes by the name of “Scriba” has provided similar intel.

At this point, the book takes a much-welcomes departure from the combat focus that is so prevalent in the AP at this point, splicing an investigation into the structure of the AP. There are things amiss in the camp, as the PCs will soon find out while waiting for the train. The module provides a massive amount of different, scaling pieces of information regarding the occurrences here – and indeed, there is a traitor among the soldiers: Arsenic intended for syphilitic soldiers was stolen and mixed into food, providing a rather creative angle here: Perceptive and particularly curious PCs will also pick up the mention of the “Order of the Evening Star” and notes towards magic: There is an imperial foo lion that will not be acknowledged, and Sam will be framed for murder –it’ll be up to the PCs to prove his innocence, as the Japanese drag him away. Unearthing the master spy responsible will be a hard task indeed.

Once this section is completed, the PCs will take the train, and here, missed information may be imparted – oh, and a potent, high-level ninja sans tongue may well try to assassinate the PCs…but due to the man’s tongue missing, interrogation will be difficult. This is where the module shows some serious care, as the module does take PC abilities to read thoughts etc. into account, proving a connection to General Wada, and providing the association should be difficult, as the mean do not recognize the ninja. That being said, the PCs may actually start putting together pieces of information here, concluding that Baba Yaga has touched Japanese shores as well. If the PCs botched their interaction with the spy, they may face a deadly encounter, wherein the bridge crossed by the train is blown up by an elite cadre of saboteurs – stopping these fully statted folks will be a hard task indeed. Whether the reinforcements for Irkutsk, currently held by the Czech Legion, will either have to walk or arrive by train in Port Baykal to board a ship and prepare for the invasion of the city.

Sam, in the meanwhile, was taken aside by Wada, who, with his men, left the ship in reach of Irkutsk. Sam believes that Scriba is endangered by Wada and his men and thus shares the code phrase. Irkutsk is intriguing: The city features quite a few armies, and the PCs can use various ways to get through the fully mapped settlement: The module takes Stealth and high-level magic into account and provides guidance there – oh, and since we’re talking about high-level PCs, the adventure also features one-man army rules for the PCs, which make for a fascinating and fun mini-game using the mass combat rules! That being said, if you do dislike these, the module does offer not only for variant rules within this context, but also for means to play the adventure without resorting to them!

However, as the PCs arrive at Scriba’s location, they will have been outmaneuvered: Wada has already taken the agent and hijacked the SS Baikal, hell-bent on killing both Rasputin and Baba Yaga – mistrustful, the PCs will have to best the Japanese that have taken control of the ship and general Wada – as well as the mighty foo lion. Explaining why they wear the witch’s dark mantle can make for an interesting angle, and indeed, the general and his order turn out to not actually be that opposed to the goals of the PCs…but that doesn’t mean that the stubborn samurai will just lay down his weapons…

The adventure concludes with detailed notes on how to proceed with the AP.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch and adhere to the high quality we’ve come to expect from legendary Games in both rules-integrity and formal criteria. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color artworks as well as neat cartography; as noted below, the absence of player-friendly maps is a minor issue that primarily hampers one encounter, but represents otherwise less of a problem. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Pedro Coelho’s yarn during a Weird World War I is a compelling adventure that adds further context to what is often regarded as a highlight, perhaps the highlight, of the Reign of Winter AP – for those groups out there that enjoy its premise, that is. The additional time spent in our world can make for a compelling angle, and indeed, the challenges posed are diverse: From challenging tactical encounters to the investigation and the mini-game, the mixture of genres helps render the stay in Russia more diverse and interesting, at least as far as I’m concerned. If anything, the adventure excels in a variety of different ways, particularly in accounting for high-level capabilities. The incredulity of locals when confronted with magic and the like are explained in a sufficiently concise manner, and the adventure, as a whole, makes for a great addition to the AP. In short, I consider this to be a great addition to the series, and a yarn that is both mechanically compelling and diverse – if anything, I wished that this was an even heftier tome! Rating-wise, there is next to nothing to complain about. While the lack of player-friendly maps hurts the adventure, everything else is compelling, creative and fun. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – if you and your players loved the premise of “Rasputin Must Die!”, then get this – it’ll make that chapter of the AP shine so much more.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
On the Siberian Line
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Treasury of the City
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/16/2018 04:57:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of items clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content. Now, as always, there is a lot of content within these pages, courtesy of Legendary Games consumer-friendly layout, so let’s take a look!

On the first pages, we have a list of all the items featured within this pdf, listed by price for your convenience, but before we dive into the specifics, let’s start with the new special weapon properties featured within. There are two ones that have a +1 equivalent, the first of which would be deceptive. This one adds twice the weapons enhancement bonus to Stealth and Sleight of Hand checks to keep it hidden from prying eyes, and similarly, the bonus is added to the DC of Diplomacy or Heal checks made to gather information about it – big kudos for taking that investigative aspect into account. Additionally, when striking a flat-footed or unaware target, a glamour is implanted that scrambles divinations pertaining the attack, serving as a misdirection, save that the wielder gets to decide the false information. This is genius. I mean it. This weapon quality alone may be worth getting the pdf for. This provides so many truly evocative and complex investigation angles, I can’t even begin to list them all. Easily one of my favorite special abilities for a weapon ever.

Partisan weapons are attuned to a city, nation, etc., and if the wielder is a member of this group, she receives a +4 insight bonus to Bluff, Disguise and Sleight of Hand to conceal it from members of other nations, cities, etc. On a critical hit versus a flat-footed humanoid member of another nation, that target must succeed a Will save or be shaken for 1 minute. The wielder also receives a +2 bonus to confirm critical hits versus other such members of different nations. The attuned nation, city state, etc. must be determined upon creation. Another winner in my book! The third one would be a +2 special ability, namely treasonous, which is basically the upgraded version of partisan, increasing its enhancement bonus by +2 versus members of other nations and +1d6 damage, which is not multiplied on a critical hit. It also makes the Sense Motive DC to determine lying etc. harder. Okay these latter two are amazing once you think about it – what they mean for nations and how they work, how that can influence the game – impressive indeed.

Beyond these, we also 4 armors and one specific shield. The first armor would be the crypt warden’s plate, which prevents the wearer from being raised from the dead; it’s also deathless and shows the difference between good and bad item design: In another book, the armor would just detect undead by some means. Here, however, the armor actually describes how it reacts to nearby undead – cold, glow, etc. – this adds a tangible sense of the magical here. The lavishly-illustrated hauberk-in-motley is so light, it does not penalize Acrobatics with the armor check penalty. Additionally, as a standard action, the wearer may make a Perform (comedy) check to fascinate nearby targets if they fail their save. A hex-caveat prevents abuse, and the armor provides synergy with the fascinate bardic performance for hideous laughter 3/day, and characters skilled in Perform (comedy) can allow for the increase of the save DCs. Quickchange studded leather is amazing: It can be donned quickly and may be loosened as part of making an Escape Artist check. Love this one! The scale of endless bureaucracy has 25 scales that may be removed, transforming into sheets of paper. 10 of these may be used to create perfect copies of nonmagical text. There also are scales that can transcribe spoken words. The transcribed request can then be forced upon recipients, compelling them to fulfill the requests. The final scales allow for the creation of compelling forgeries and the wearer’s skills pertaining law etc. are greatly enhanced. An utterly inspired armor here, one that feels truly evocative. The shield I noted would be the roofrunner’s buckler, which may be placed on the ground. A creature that’s not too heavy may place it on the ground and have it levitate short distances. Really cool!

The pdf also includes three specific weapons: The captive blade can be used freely while entangled or grappled, and is particularly potent when wielded against restraints, manacles, etc. The forgetful sap can add memory lapse to attacks, with a save to negate. The DC is higher for unaware targets. Creatures not armored too well can also be touch attack memory lapse’d. Thirdly, the nightwatch crossbow has a darkvision glass scope and may 1/day fire a daylight bolt. Cool.

The pdf contains 4 different rings: The diplomat’s signet is a low cost skill boost stacking with the other two diplomat’s items. These are wondrous items that also enhance diplomacy and net different Knowledge boosts. While I like sets, this one is, compared to the other items herein, not particularly interesting and doesn’t net anything unique beyond stacking bonuses.

The ring of erudite alacrity consists of 3 rings, and spinning the gold band lets you perfectly memorize one area or up to 1000 words of text, for 24 hours. This is perfectly codified. The platinum band allows for quicker spell research, magical crafting and locating written information – and yes, the item does take losing and retaking the item into account regarding total duration calculation! The final band provides a short-term initiative, Ref-save and AC-boost. Ring of the treacherous advisor mirrors the alignment of casters attempting to discern the wearer’s alignment; the second ability allows the wearer to lie even in magical zones. The scabbard ring can hold a weapon in tattoo form on the forearm of the wearer.

The pdf also contains a new rod, the heartstone rod, which nets blindsense – by virtue of hearing creature heartbeats! It also can affect targets with the curse of the tell-tale heart, making targets that lie or attempt to stretch the truth suffer from racing heartbeats and become both fatigued and shaken. So cool! The wondrous items with include the bracelets of freedom and are super tough to notice, netting the wearer a massive +20 bonus to hide them from inspection. These enhance Escape Artist, and, as a swift action, all but guarantee escape from manacles and similar restraints, making is a great item when attempting an extraction of a target of an infiltration under the guide of having been caught. The bracers also allow you to make inspection seem like you’re still restrained. Cool one! Candles of the sacrament blesses those nearby and may affect evil targets nearby with bane. Okay one, I guess. Chain caltrops are magical, cause bleeding damage, entangle like tanglefoot bags and are reusable. For 600 gp, certainly worth getting! Cool one!

The pdf also includes two stylish pieces of headwear – the cheater’s hat makes the target super lucky in games of chance, with suitable rules-representations of the effects and some nice storytelling potential. As an item for the crooked, the pilferer’s gloves complement it and have a built-in set of masterwork thieves’ tools and, beyond enhancing Sleight of Hand and Stealth used to steal or the steal maneuver, it also alerts the wielder of magical alarms and the like and may be used to dispel such effects. During Disable Device checks, the gloves can also shroud the wearer in silence. With the threefold knocker glove, you may knock on a door and emerge from another unlocked door within the same building or 100 ft. With three knocks, you can even bring allies with you. Love it! And if someone catches you – well, there’s always the toxic scabbard for light weapons, which can bypass detection and becomes even more useful for those with the poison use ability.

The second hat would be the detective’s cap, which enhances Perception and Sense Motive and allows for tracking In cities via Knowledge (local) – fun twist there! If you’re wearing that cap, you may also be interested in the mark of the authority, a badge that enhances your own CMB and that of nearby allies with a couple of fitting 1/day spells. With the inspector’s bullhorn you WILL be hear – it basically acts as a megaphone. It helps to Intimidate those in the cone, and the horn enhances the DC of sonic-based effects channeled through it. It also can 3/day greater command/greater forbid action, as chosen. The horn also allows the user to demand that targets show themselves, negating invisibility, blink and similar effects. If already visible, the affected targets must move towards the user. Damn useful!!

The beautifully-illustrated clockwork spotter is an intricate clockwork birdy that, upon activation, becomes a clockwork raven that can locate creatures and objects and help find the path. Really neat!

The cloak of the drifter helps generalize the wearer and disguise as nonspecific targets and helps blend in crowds. Nice one! Glassee gloves tightly codify making items transparent. The senator’s stole helps with social skills and allows the wearer to instruct targets with know peerage and it enhances language-dependent effects and fortifies the wearer versus charm and dominate while enhancing the wearer’s harmless charms, making them harder to dispel. At, ironically, twice the price of the stole, the ratty robes enhance Sleight of Hand and fortifies the wearer against poisons and diseases. The robe also prevents rats and rat swarms from attacking the wearer, and allows the wearer to turn into a rat swarm once per day. Even cooler: this may be used as a reactive dispersal to mitigate the worst brunt of assaults. The third such equipment would be the gorgeously-illustrated sewer suit, which acts as either a +1 leather armor or in conjunction with it, as a garment. The hood filters filth and helps versus disease and nausea and swarms. It also helps you hold your breath and allows for quicker movement through bogs etc. Cool! Finally, there would be portable waterworks, buckets that can turn into wells or fountains!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that crams a lot of information on every page, and the pdf sports some really cool, new original artworks in full color. The pdf comes with detailed, nested bookmarks, making navigation comfortable and smooth.

Jason Nelson, Victoria Jaczko and Loren Sieg show how it’s done. As befitting the names of two of these designers (Victoria meaning triumphant, Sieg being German for victory), this collection of items represents a triumphant victory: While the diplomat’s set is somewhat lame, that’s the only item herein that is not amazing: Even when the items are very much spell-based, they offer unique flavor, cool tweaks, and make them feel distinct. The items here are a godsend for a wide variety of campaigns, making this transcend its intended use as a Curse of the Crimson Throne plug-in. The items within this pdf are a boon for GMs struggling with making investigations or heists; any low-magic campaign will adore these; if you even remotely are interesting in espionage or heist scenarios, then this is pretty much a must-have offering. This humble pdf strings inspired items back to back, and it does so in a truly inspired manner – quality over quantity, this delivers in spades and is worth every cent. Get it! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasury of the City
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Legendary Hybrids: Skinchanger
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/09/2018 03:27:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Legendary Hybrids-series clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3.5 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20.5 pages of content. Now, as always, Legendary Games’ consumer-friendly layout means that there is a lot of text on these pages, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the skinchanger? Well, the class is a hybrid of druid and vigilante, and gets d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and all natural weapons gained from skinchanging as well as light armors, but not shields. The class gets ¾ BAB-progression, has only good save-progressions for all 3 saving throws, and skinchangers at 4th level gain spellcasting, drawing their spells from a massive, customized list. Their governing spellcasting attribute for these spells is Charisma, but they do need to prepare spells, and the skinchanger gets a unique twist on spontaneous spell-conversion: They may lose a prepared spell of an equal level or higher to convert it into alter self, monstrous physique I, or giant form I.

The base ability that takes the place of dual identity would be adopted persona: With 1 minute of mental and physical preparation, the skinchanger can adopt an invented or copied persona. The latter must be the identity of a target the skinchanger has studied closely – this means 1 week of spending time with the target, which can make for a great deep cover infiltration angle. Better yet, the ability actually is super precise regarding the daily studying required, making this ability exceedingly precise. Up to half class level, minimum 1, such personas may be maintained at any given time – learning a new one requires that the skinchanger forgets an old one, and personae must be maintained in a way, requiring at least 1 hour per week spent with the target. The transformation duration may NOT be hastened by abilities or effects that quicken a vigilante’s identity change. While within a persona, the skinchanger gets half her class level, minimum +1, to Bluff to maintain the ruse, as well as up to three Knowledge/profession skills related to the topics that constitute the adopted persona’s personality and occupation. This only applies while in the guise of the proper persona, obviously. Acting grossly out of character does blow your cover, and starting at 5th level, these bonuses apply even if you are untrained in the respective skills.

The skinchanger begins play with hidden strike +1d8, inflicting this as bonus precision damage versus unaware targets with melee weapons (or ranged ones, standard 30 ft. max distance caveat applies), with the damage increasing by +1d8 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. The damage applies versus flanked targets, but is reduced to d4s. The ability stacks with the stalker specialization. The class also begins play with improved Unarmed Strike, and the ability specifies its interaction with natural attacks. The second core class feature would be the one that lends the class its name – I am, of course, talking about the supernatural skinchange ability.

Skinchange lets the skinchanger change form as a standard action and doesn’t provoke Attacks of Opportunity. The ability may be used 1/day, +1/day at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, with 20th level making the ability work at-will. Druid levels stack with skinchanger levels for the purpose of determining wild shape and skinchanging, and skinchanging counts as wild shape for the purpose of prerequisites. Feats and abilities that modify wild shape, such as Quick Wild Shape do not apply their benefits to the skinchange ability. The duration of a skinchange is 1 hour per skinchanger level, and if applicable, the save DC is 10 + ½ class level + Charisma modifier. Activating skinchanges while observed spoils any disguise granted by it – nice catch there!

Skinchanges fall into two different categories: Polymorph skinchanges and mutation skinchanges. The former follows the rules and restrictions that apply to the polymorph transmutation subschool, and when activating or dismissing a polymorph skinchange, the skinchanger may change one choice made for her mutation skinchanges as a swift action. Any number of mutation skinchanges may be in effect at any given time, but each must be activated separately as a standard action the activation costs must be paid, obviously. At 1st level, the skinchanger can alter her height, weight, skin, color, texture, hair and sex within her type, gaining a +5 untyped bonus to Disguise that does not stack with the polymorphing. This bonus increases to +10 at 4th level. This is btw. a mutation. Starting at second level, the skinchanger may assume Small or Medium humanoid or monstrous humanoid (at 4th level) form, functioning as alter self, with weapon/natural weapon interacting concisely defined. This does necessitate familiarity with the chosen form. This follows the rules for monstrous physique I, and 6th level allows for Tiny and Large creature forms, following, analogue, monstrous physique II.

At 4th level, the ability upgrades to advanced skinchange, which is no longer linear – instead, an option is chosen, and another one is unlocked every even level thereafter. In short, these would be class-exclusive talents that allow for further customization of the base ability. These include the mutation based ability to gain a hunter’s animal focus, camouflage, scaling boosts to physical attributes, extra forms and limbs, reach increase and easier squeezing, quicker movement, limited self-healing (has a cooldown)…and what about the immediate action +4 dodge bonus to AC and DR 10/bludgeoning for a skinchange use? Yeah, there is some interesting martial stuff going on here! Temporarily integrating tools into your form, reproducing sounds…really cool tricks here. The ability is further differentiated, though: At 10th level, the array of greater skinchanges is unlocked, where further size modifications are provided, and elemental based forms are also found here. These also allow for the further upgrade of the item creation angle that the advanced skinchange option offered: These abilities are particularly intriguing, considering the high difficulty or the rules operation here. Did I mention the ability to enter a death-like torpor? Also one of the really impressive ones from a design perspective would be the trap form: Become temporarily a trap! I have NEVER seen that operation pulled off properly before!!

Finally, 16th level unlocks the most potent of the skinchange tricks available to the class – the legendary skinchanges. Density control, Colossal forms, super-quick shapechange, further, numerical boosts…nice ones, suitable for these high levels.

The skinchanger also begins play with a social talent, gaining another one every 4 levels thereafter. These are, as a consequence of the unique engine, modified: Quicker studying of targets (that improves further at 13th level), assuming a special, anonymous persona (think faceless men), the aptly-named celebrity-lookalike that nets discounts and services (codified as tightly as you’d expect), defeating abilities that detect falsehoods, gaining the option to 50% avoiding divinations targeting her persona while she’s not in them, gaining a bonus to a selected skill (with a few exceptions), higher level options to quicker change, gaining languages with personae…or what about being adept at convincing others that she is the real deal when attempting to declare the original an impostor…really cool tricks here! I was positively surprised by how much these tricks deviate from the vigilante’s array, though vigilante social talents may also be selected from a list. Kudos!

At 2nd level, shapeshifter’s empathy allows for nonverbal universal communication via sound, pantomime and body language, and she may use class level + Charisma modifier instead to roll the check. This qualifies as wild empathy for prerequisite purposes. 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter yield a stalker talent, with once more Charisma acting as governing key ability score. The ability does include the information for use of these while observed, and quite a few of these talents apply to hidden strike – such talents are designated an asterisk, and only one such asterisk’d talent may be applied to a hidden strike. The ability does offer vigilante synergy and interact, once more, in unique ways with the adopted persona class feature: We can get perona-based combat wild-card feat, using Charisma as a replacement ability score prerequisite (so no feat tree cheesing/ easy monster feat unlocking) and the ability to Bluff items instead of UMDing them similarly is intriguing. Improving damage output of unarmed and natural strikes to monk-levels, drawing weapons melded with the skinchanger’s body as a swift action and synergy between Sleight of Hand palming and polymorphing make for cool tricks. Rogue talents, vigilante talents and the like can be found, and transformation abilities are tweaked and codified as talents instead, which makes all kinds of sense. Activating and dismissing polymorphs and combine them with grapples also rocks. 3rd level nets trackless step, and the capstone provides a shapechanger apotheosis and, as noted before, skinchange at will. Taking 20 sans increasing the action required for Disguise, while also adding the adopted persona bonus is also part of the deal.

A sample list of skinchanger forms is provided, and we get favored class options for the standard races plus android, auttaine, chlorvian, kitsune, reptoid, rougarou, skinwalker, tretharri and zvarr. I have no issues with these. There are a total of 4 different feats provided: Extra Skinchange nets + 1 skinchange and an additional daily use; Fast Skinchange lets you activate one as a move action…and in an interesting angle, this is contingent on exceeding the skinchange’s minimum level by 6 or more, making lower level skinchanges retain relevance at higher levels. Form Finesse lets you choose more special abilities when choosing from a list. Memorized Personae nets you Intelligence bonus (minimum 1) personae as permanent – this one may be taken multiple times.

The pdf sports 3 different archetypes: The Chimerist can adopt two personae simultaneously, but only gets the Bluff bonus from the base class feature, and social/stalker talents and similar personae-based tricks are assigned one of the personae. Since the chimeric forms are somewhat monstrous, the archetype gets ½ class level as a bonus to Intimidate. Instead of 4th level’s skinchange, we get minor augmentation, which basically codifies the rules required for the unique chimeric skinchanging the archetype offers, with 6th, 10th and 14th and 18th level provide the augmentations for this signature fusion ability, though the archetype does pay for this with stalker talents and hidden strike progressions. The second archetype would by the Lycanthrope Aspirant, choosing an animal form, with 9th level unlocking magical beasts – yes, this means that you could go quasi-displacer beast lycanthrope at higher levels! The archetype does come with a variety of unique skinchanges, including hybrid form. Form Finesse is baked into the archetype and it gets DR. The third archetype would be the shape thief, who modifies the base engine by requiring the touching of targets, replacing the disguise trick. This touch can also yield personae and follow the skinchange quicker after touching a target. Higher level shape thieves may steal memories as well and learn to, get this, swap shapes! Now this makes for some unique gambits! 16th level shape thieves even learn to mimic magic in a limited form! The archetypes all come with suggestions for fitting skinchanges, social and stalker talents, making them more user-friendly for newer players.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a variety of different full-color artworks. Some of these will be familiar to fans of Legendary Games. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

David N. Ross and Patrick N. R. Julius provide a beats of a hybrid class here: Distinct, with an identity that transcends the parent classes, the skinchanger plays in a unique way. The engine provided is top tier difficulty regarding the demands of the design, and manages to depict perhaps the best faceless-man-style shapechanger available for PFRPG. Yep. Now, I can tell you about a ton of evolution-based shapechanger-classes that do the icky-monster angle well…but the social chameleon? The brilliant infiltrator? Not so much. This class fills this niche with panache aplomb, showcasing the amazing potential that an excellent hybrid class can have. The skinchanger is an inspired class that ranks as one of the finest hybrid classes I have ever read. This is a masterpiece and even if you’re skeptical regarding hybrid classes, this is well worth getting. The skinchanger is a true joy, one of the best hybrid classes out there, and as such, it should come as no surprise that my final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Hybrids: Skinchanger
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Occult Archetypes II
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2018 04:50:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second collection of Occult Archetypes released by Legendary Games clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC,4 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 25 pages of content, though it should be noted that, as always for Legendary Games, there’s a lot of content crammed into these pages.

We begin with the Alterationist alchemist archetype, who must be an aberration to qualify for the archetype. The archetype replaces the formulae component of alchemy with the ability to cast psychic spells drawn from the alchemist list as a mesmerist, using Int-mod as governing key ability modifier. The archetype retains bombs and mutagen and begins play with Extra Bombs instead of Brew Potion. The archetype also begins play with a psychic blast which is a mind-affecting effect that employs the same rules as bombs, but deals untyped damage – this replaces bombs and is treated as a bomb substitute – the aforementioned feat does instead modify these blasts, and there is a discovery that lets you inflict fire damage instead. As a limiter for the VERY potent untyped damage, the ability is treated as a mind-affecting ability, though energy damage inflicted gets rid of this descriptor, which goes a way to validate the fire damage discovery. Mutagen is altered to instead be continent on a psychic charge that is stored internally and activated as a standard action, though but one of these may be kept at any time. The interaction of discoveries with formulae is addressed to instead apply to spells, with a sensible array of limitations imposed. Instead of swift alchemy and poison use, we get a darkvision range increase by 30 ft. Poison resistance and immunity are replaced with a +2 bonus to saves vs. confusion, insanity, madness and effects that cause Wisdom damage and drain, which improves by +2 at 5th and 8th level, while 10th level provides immunity to confusion and insanity effects, madness and Wisdom damage/drain. 6th level provides a +2 bonus to saves vs. divination and enchantment, which is doubled at 18th level, replacing swift alchemy and instant alchemy. The archetype also comes with a variant, the philosophic transmuter, which is available sans being an aberration; this modifies the sight-upgrade and the latter bonus versus enchantments and divinations is replaced with one that applies to extraordinary, supernatural and spell-like abilities of oozes and aberrations.

Next up would be the Astropsychic, who gets planteray adaptation and the mass version (both are btw. reproduced here!) added to the spell-list. At 1st and 7th level, the archetype chooses an oracle revelation chosen from the dark tapestry or heavens mystery, with a few choices prohibited. Instead of phrenic amplifications or major amplifications, a revelation may be chosen, using the class level as oracle level, and Intelligence as the governing key ability for DCs, if applicable. Cloak of darkness and cloak of many stars may be chosen, but not activated at the same time – cool. 2nd level nets ½ class level as a morale bonus to Knowledge checks to identify abilities and weaknesses of aliens, a term concisely defined, fyi. The bonus also applies to knowledge (local) checks made to identify the cultural peculiarities. This replaces detect thought. At 2oth level, the archetype gets to choose the whether to take the regular capstone or a final revelation, but in an interesting twist, the archetype may only choose the final revelation of the mystery for which he has more revelations than the other. This rewards specialization without penalizing diversity. Nice!

Next up would be the aura master investigator, who begins play with Psychic Sensitivity. The archetype replaces poison lore, resistance and immunity with a scaling saving throw bonus versus mind.influencing effects that becomes immunity at 10th level. 2nd level provides psychic aura: This begins as personal, but improves to also allowing for a ranged aura at 3rd level, with a 10-ft.-radius, with 5th level and every two thereafter increasing the range. Once activated, an aura lasts until changed or until the character is knocked out. The aura type can be changed as a swift action, and the establishing of an aura similarly is a swift action. 7th, 13th and 19th level provide the option to have an additional personal psychic aura in effect at a given time, with 9th and 16th level providing the means to maintain an additional ranged aura. Here’s the cool thing: These auras are basically buffs that enhance other healing tricks, bonuses to weapon damage, save buffs, resistance, DR – basically, we get super flexible self- and ally buffing without requiring resources! I really liked this, and yes, balance-wise, these are relevant and potent, but since they replace alchemy and swift alchemy, they better should be. Starting at 8th level, two auras may be activated with the same action, and similarly, they may be changed. This improves further to three auras at 16th level. I really like this one – it is flexible, and radically different from the base class.

The indomitable kineticist must be a geokineticist with earth as elemental focus at 1st level. The archetype may choose other elements later. The archetype does not gain basic geokinesis and does not gain utility wild talents at higher levels, nor may the archetype take Extra Wild Talent – ouch! So, what do we get instead? When attacking with an unarmed strike the indomitable gets full BAB, and inflicts 1d6 (1d4 if Small) damage, with 5th level, 9th and every 4 thereafter adding +1 to atk and damage with them. This replaces the infusion gained at 7th level – minor nitpick here: This should probably specify that it’s gained at 1st level, not at the usual substitution ability level. Unsurprisingly regarding this one, the Improved Unarmed Strike feat is gained at first level, and the archetype gets the kinetic form infusion, with burn cost reduced to 0. Kinetic blast may not be used sans form infusions, nor with the chain, extended range, extreme range, foe throw, flurry of blasts or many throw form infusions, nor with any that require a ranged attack or ranged touch attack roll, basically a kineticist martial artist. As long as the kineticist is only a geokineticist, the indomitable detects as non-magical, and even gather power or elemental overflow require magic and a CL to detect. LOVE this one!! 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter net a list from a smartly-chosen array of bonus feats contained on a pretty massive list, these replacing the utility wild talents. Instead of the 3rd level ability, we get immunity to all diseases, including magical ones. At 5th level, the archetype may accept 2 points of additional Burn to increase the kinetic fist base damage die one step, with 9th and 13th level providing further die-size increases at higher Burn costs. This replaces the infusions gained at these levels. This is actually a really cool hybrid-y archetype with quite a bit of its own flair. Like it!

The next archetype is the iron mind barbarian, who must be non-chaotic and gains a modified class skill list and uses Intelligence as governing attribute for the social skills, replacing fast movement. Instead of trap sense, the archetype gets Bravery (great if you’re using Rogue Genius Games’ bravery feats…). Instead of 4th and 16th level’s rage powers the iron mind gets limited telepathy, which increases in range from a basis of 30 ft., with +10 ft. at 5th level, to a maximum of 100 ft. 8th level replaces the rage power with a 1/week commune with the Akashic Record. 12th level dazed targets on a failed save if they try to initiate mental contact, replacing the rage powers gained at 12th and 20th level. This does not allow for telepathy cheesing. The archetype comes with a variant that represents a slightly more primitive version that does not get all of the more “civilized” abilities. Interesting tweak on the barbarian as the party’s face.

The kinetic wizard decides upon a kinetic focus chosen from the 4 base energy types at first level, which also nets the associated basic utility option and determines the blast energy type, with 7th and 15th level providing another energy type. As you could glean from that, the archetype receives kinetic blasts, as kineticist of an equal level, with 2nd level allowing for the sacrifice of 1st level or higher prepared spell slots to increase the blast’s damage output as a free action. Only one spell per blast may be sacrificed, and a massive, handy damage table shows off Julian Neale’s understanding of math. The extra damage granted is not multiplied on a critical hit, and the chassis is sound. A designer’s explanation makes the reasoning beyond the chosen outputs even obvious for mathematically less gifted GMs and players. While the blasts are less flexible than those of the kineticist, the wizard is already the flexibility king, and the requirement of resource-expenditure plus basic blast damage chosen mean that the archetype clocks in at a good option that will not break anyone’s game. Really impressive.

The martial occultist gets proficiency with all armors and full BAB-progression as well as the option to activate aegis, inspired assault, legacy weapon, philosopher’s touch or quickness as a swift action when targeting self only or the martial occultist’s equipment. Inspired assault, legacy weapon and philosopher’s stone also last until dismissed, until the item leaves the martial occultist’s possession, etc. The archetype may not use the servitor base focus power (conjuration) and may not gain conjuration or necromancy resonant powers and also is prohibited from choosing a few focus powers. The martial occultist loses spellcasting and must use UMD for spell-trigger and –completion items. Selecting conjuration as implement school, he gets Implement Focus (conjuration) as a bonus feat – analogue for necromancy. 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter nets bonus combat feats. This replaces magic skill, object reading, outside contact and the circle-abilities. I actually really enjoy this take on the martial occultist! It’s a technical engine-tweak, but it is one that is well-executed and distinct.

Martial seers are paladins or antipaladins that gain +1 to atk and damage versus creatures of their opposed alignment on the good-evil axis, with 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter increasing that bonus. The ability interacts with a change of how the smite engine works, with separate instances of the ability properly codified for both qualifying base classes. The archetype casts spells as a medium, but draws them from the paladin/antipaladin spell list, with 3 spells per spell-level added to represent the seer angle. Divine health or plague bringer, as well as mercies/cruelties are replaced with full-powered object reading, and channel energy makes way for at-will standard action (Not always on, thank the 7 heavens…) aura sight. Once more, sufficiently distinct in both flavor and tricks employed. Like it!

The psychic may also choose to become a psychic hunter, who is locked into the rapport psychic discipline and receives diminished spellcasting. Instead of phrenic amplifications, we get the tactician, greater/master tactician ability tress, with 3rd level instead replacing the phrenic amplification with an aura of mental static that impedes psychic spellcasting. The psychic oracle gets a custom selection of wisely chosen and flavorful spells replacing the standard mystery spells, and is locked into transcendental bound at 1st level, while 7th level locks you into the egregore cultist revelation, which makes you automatically succeed the save to avoid being sickened from cult mind members leaving. The link gets a longer range and may be established quicker. The archetype also notes that it works in conjunction with the rage prophet – it’s a small thing, but this level of system mastery-based advice for novices makes the complex options within more accessible…so yeah, neat. The rage lord barbarian picks an emotion focus every day, starting at 1st level, and basically is 7 archetypes in one. You see, each form of emotional focus significantly alters the benefits of rage and class features gains at 1st, 2nd 6th, 11th and 20th level. A lesser book would have made them separate archetypes – here, a handy table conserves space and makes the archetype more accessible. Additionally, the archetype can use touches to compel emotions in targets! Once more, designer’s commentary explains the design rationale to less system-savvy players to see their uses. I really applaud this. This archetype is a resounding success – plus, the Cha-boosting despair rage, the Wis-boosting dedication rage etc. can make the character feel much more versatile than just a hulking brute. One of my all-time favorite barbarian archetypes!

In contrast to the tumultuous bard, the soulful druid also chooses an emotional focus, but is locked into it, with 7th level providing bonus spells as if Emotional Focus of the chosen emotion had been taken. The druid is locked into a domain and does not gain domain slots, instead adding them to spells known. Spellcasting wise, the archetype uses Charisma as governing spellcasting attribute and casts spells as an oracle, gaining its own custom spellcasting table as well as summon nature’s ally spells. 7th level nets an emotion aura akin to a spiritualist’s phantom, governed by Charisma, applying all effects to the soulful druid instead. Wild shape may only be executed 1/day. Really like this one as well! (And yes, once more explanations are provided!)

The tranquil occultist gets a code of conduct that avoids the killing of sentient lifeforms, and may not be neutral or chaotic evil – I’m pretty happy this fellow may be lawful evil – a lawful evil pacifist is a cool character concept I’ve been looking at for a while…Anyway, the archetype gets only one implement school at 1st level, but this is made up for by a potent array of bonus spells. The archetype also starts with Merciful Spell sans increasing casting time, and may apply it to focus power effects. Using legacy weapon, if available, to grant the merciful special ability (italicization missing), the duration lasts until dismissed. The archetype replaces the circle abilities with aura of courage and aura of resolve, as well as aura of righteousness, though the later has the DR modified to /chaos. Fun tweak for a high-concept idea!

The trick master mesmerist gets diminished spellcasting and may implant class level + Charisma modifier tricks per day, with Extra Trick providing double the tricks per day instead. The archetype may, from 1st level onwards, have two tricks implanted in himself at any given time, but still may only trigger one per round. 5th level increases that to 3, with 9th level and every 4 thereafter further improving that number by +1. At 5th level, allies may have two tricks implanted, but only one per individual may be triggered per round. 9th level and 17th level improve these caps by +1. Starting at 5th level, the trick master may change an implanted trick sans losing the use of the ability spent implanting the trick on himself, with 11th level allowing that for allies as well. Starting at 12th level, this ability also works on master tricks. The archetype gets a capstone for devastating trick flexibility. Neat one!

The pdf closes with 18 feats, though these deserve special mention, as they are often pretty specific and extensive. Shield Against the Supernatural and Supernatural Slayer are reprinted from radiance House’s Pact Magic, with proper credits given – kudos! Several of these feats make use of Dampened Versatility and may be taken in lieu of utility wild talents by elemental annihilators. Hydrokineticists with cold blast may not choose Absorb Violent Energies, as the feats renders vulnerable to cold, but also nets DR or energy resistance – and when an effect would negate the damage, you’re treated as having gathered power as a move action. sigh Give me a henchman, tell him to activate that sparker or hold the torch right under my arm. That’s it. Not my fire resistance means I auto-gather any round. -.- Such an obvious cheese.

Accelerating Kinetics is interesting – it allows you to increase your movement rate temporarily based on Burn accepted or obviated. This is per se great, but unfortunately, the rules-language is slightly wonky: The bonus should be codified as enhancement bonuses to prevent stacking, and the bonus speed lacks the “ft.” a couple of times. This is particularly obvious since the feat otherwise does a great job at limiting it, as the benefits are halved by effects that hamper conjuration (teleportation). Enhanced Guarded Hearth provides synergy of the class feature and effects à la hallow etc. for longer duration. Nice! Force-focusing oath lets you take monk vows…which is nice, but the feat lacks its prerequisite line, which, since it builds on buffer, is pretty jarring. :/

Godhood from the Bottom of a Bottle makes you basically a drunken master-ish kineticist, allowing you to use alcohol for gather power or internal buffer tricks, though the feat also makes you sickened upon using it, though the penalties are negated while you have at least my one temporary burn point. You can also blast while nauseated, and the feat nets Drunken Brawler synergy, if any…Just one thing: Never be caught sans alcohol… This feat and the others within offer internal synergies, btw. Heir to the Power Unstable is the single longest feat I have read to this date: In the economically-sized font of the pdf, it still takes up more than a whole page! The feat makes your family members automatically succeed all saves versus your kineticist abilities and immune to energy damage you deal with them. They also get DR versus your kineticist physical ability scores. Gather power draws unattended, light objects, dust etc. to you. This codifies gasses and acids etc. and how they interact with this well. Here is the thing: Depending on your elemental focus, expanded element and simple blasts chosen, the ability has different effects! These include light nosebleeds and blood flowing towards you (Sympathetic magic, anyone?), winds that buffet flyers, extinguishing flames, stone attraction etc. Other elements gained add their benefits! Unique: When gathering power, creatures nearby may choose to move 5 ft. to you as a free action, and yes, this is codified properly regarding 5-foot-step and difficult terrain interaction. Here’s where things become OP: Gather power to negate burn, accepting burn or using internal buffer also nets you an AoE bull rush based on Con instead of Str, and targets thus pushed back ALSO are affected by a trip! If they are tripped, they also are affected by ¼ blast base damage. Okay, the angle that family members are immune is great – but all those additional things in combination? That should be at least two feats. Improved Menacing Stance applies the penalties to all foes in reach. Selective Psychic Disruption Aura allows you to exclude allies. Psycho Crusher lets an indomitable take Extra Wild Talent as a Limited Versatility bons feat.

Incredible Hidden Power nets you Dual identity and Seamless Guise and the Transformation Sequence of the Magical Child archetype, though the feat, to nitpick, does not note that kineticist levels are equal to vigilante levels for the purpose. 7th level nets Quick Change, 13th Immediate Change. While in social identity, you suffer -4 to Strength for Strength checks and combat maneuver checks, but +ü2 to Escape Artist and Stealth. Elemental overflow in social identity is considered to be suppressed, and you may not use burn in that identity. Tough one, plus pretty potent for just one feat. Tidalwave of Raw Power hastens your transformation for burn, and is echanged for the next feat at 13th level. Mask of Raw Divinity nets AoE-demoralize while you have a point of Burn, with Con-mod added to the skill-check. This is usually a class feature, and that sans the bonus. Additionally, damaging targets with blasts nets you a swift demoralize that ALSO makes the target flat-footed versus your attacks. At higher levels, you can also choose for daze or stuns, but why bother? These have a save to negate, when the flat-footed effect doesn’t. WTF. Not getting near my game. It also is missing the special prerequisite it mentions. Next.

There is a new Style herein – though the header of the Style has not been properly formatted. Serene Style nets you +1 Touch of Serenity and increases DC. Serene Grace allows for more control and multiclassing trickery and Serene Ascendance has an upgrade for the base ability. Love that this one builds on touch of serenity. Finally, the Terrifying Blow Combat/monster feat lets you sue the awesome blow combat maneuver with claws and slams. This is limited, thankfully, but does allow for some Awesome Blow-based tricks, with particularly intricate synergy tricks. Solid one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are meticulous and nigh-perfect during the archetype chapter; in the feat-chapter, the integrity dips noticeably in both formal and rules-language integrity – there, things become just okay/good. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports several full-color artworks, some of which are gorgeous indeed – and I have not seen all of them before! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

This pdf clearly shows that two authors, Julian Neale and Clinton boomer, have penned it – I am not sure who penned what, but I have my suspicions. Anyhow, this pdf is a bit of a hard case for me as a reviewer: You see, when I was done with the archetype chapter, I was smiling from ear to ear – the archetypes herein are all killer, no filler! One can really see Julian Neale’s improvement as a designer – he has always done mechanically interesting things, but here, he marries unique FLAVOR with even small engine tweaks. This is one of the coolest archetype selections I have ever read in a single book. I did not consider any of them boring, bland, or problematic – they all have something going for it and often are inspired indeed!

And then, the feat chapter came. Don’t get me wrong. I like the ambition and flavor of almost all of the feats. I really do. However, I have balance-concerns regarding more than one. There’s a super-avoidable cheesing trick here, and rules-integrity similarly is not as meticulously tight as before. While I love Heir to Unstable Power, for example, it is frankly broken in its current iteration. You’d be stupid to not take it. Where the archetype chapter is an example of design excellence, the feat chapter feels rushed in more than one way and could have really used a critical eye.

…and this is a real pity, for the book’s archetype section is phenomenal. In fact, were I to rate the feat-section on its own, I’d rate it as 3.5 stars; the archetypes, on the other hand, would be easy 5 stars + seal of approval. Heck, I’d frankly have to think about making them a candidate for my Top Ten. As noted, they really do manage to combine flavorful and mechanically-relevant design in an excellent manner.

But how to rate the book in its entirety? Here things become pretty tough for me. I can’t rate the archetypes on their own, but ultimately, they imho justify getting this pdf all on their own. While the feat-chapter’s flaws prevent me from rating this as highly as I’d like to, it’d be unfair to not not acknowledge the excellence in the archetype design. If you want to ignore the feats, or if you simply don’t care about the flaws I mentioned, instead consider this to be a 5 star + seal of approval file. As a reviewer, I have to rate the entirety, though. Hence, my official final verdict will clock in at 4 stars, but, the pdf still gets my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Occult Archetypes II
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Legendary Villains: Wicked Witches
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2018 04:56:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the NPC/villain-centric toolkits of options clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this supplement with 3 new witch archetypes, the first of which would be the consort of fiends: This archetype, obviously, is in league with entities from the lower planes, and as such, is locked into conspiracy, death, decadence, plague, nightmares or revenge as far as patrons go. The archetype gets a “devil’s mark” of sort, which may be identified by knowledgeable characters, and she radiates evil as a cleric of her level, regardless of actual alignment. Instead of the 6th level hex, the archetype gets a potent familiar chosen from a list, with, at the GM’s discretion, CR 3 or below fiends qualifying. 10th level adds +4 to Str and Con of creatures called via conjuration (calling) or (summoning) spells, and nets the consort an untyped +4 bonus to Charisma checks to procure the services of summoned creatures, with costs being halved. This ability also nets planar ally et al. as additions to the spell list, with 13th and 16th level unlocking new spells as spell known. The ability replaces the hex usually gained at that level. At 18th level, instead of the hex, the archetype learns to cast Wish 3/week…but at a cumulative 30% chance to have the wish twisted horribly. As an aside, I tend to do that for all non-codified uses of wish anyway, because I roll old-school when it comes to that kind of spell, and I know many folks that do the same, but that is not the archetype’s fault.

The second archetype is the curio collector, who may gain information on magic items by studying them for a minute, gaining the information that would usually be yielded by detect magic and a successful Spellcraft check. This ability’s information also includes one tidbit of potential historic significance, if any…and finally, the witch gets some idea about the last handler of the item – a brief vision, an emotional state and the like, somewhat akin to psychometry. Amazing one! Flavorful, useful in investigations, yet not broken or problematic. This replaces the 2nd level hex. Two thumbs up! Instead of 6th level’s hex, we get the curse expert ability, which improves her class level for the purpose of this object reading trick, and she may dispense of cursed items without a hitch. The witch also gets +2 to saves to resist curses. This replaces the 6th level hex. 10th level replaces the hex with the ability to craft cheap items with horrible drawbacks –curses. Needful things, anyone? 14th level allows the curio collector to forge a special bond with items touched as a move action. She knows the general position of the target, and the owner of the item suffers a bad debuff to saves against her “…resist scrying, nightmare, or similar spells cast by the curio collector...“ – this is NOT rules-language. What constitutes a “similar spell”? No idea.

Archetype number 3 is the shadow sister, who is locked into the shadow patron. The archetype gets darkvision (or increases it), and 8th level improves that to work in magical darkness and even allow for color distinction. Again, this replaces the 2nd level hex. 10th level nets a shadow minion, minus incorporeal touch and spawn creation, which can cast mage hand at will. This shadow minion is her own shadow, and while she does not have it, her spell and hex save DC is slightly reduced. 14th level improves the shadow’s stats to greater shadow. 18th level nets the ability to possess targets via the shadow. As before, the appropriate hexes are exchanged for these new abilities. All in all, not exactly the most impressive shadow-themed archetype.

The pdf also provides a complex 10-level PrC, the Hag Matron. The witch must be evil to qualify, have a +5 BAB, the coven hex and be capable of casting 3rd level spells. Additionally, a specific rite with a hag or hag-matron must be performed to qualify. Subheaders here are, in a weird layout glitch, cut in half. The PrC gets d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level and no new proficiencies, 7/10 spellcasting progression and good Ref- and Will-saves. 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter yield a new hex. Cool: The PrC nets dual identity at first level, yielding a comely form and a hag form – somewhat akin to the vigilante ability. Fits perfectly! The forms bestow a bonus/penalty to social skills depending on the form, which improves further at 8th level versus targets attracted to the matron. Such targets also take a minor penalty to saves. 10th level makes the transformation potentially cause targets to be shaken. Transition is, fyi, a standard action.

The first level also means she has to choose her hag blood (erroneously referred to as hag power, the subset ability of hag’s blood, in the table). There are 5 such hag blood types provided: They yield an ability at 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th level, and cover annis, green, night, winter and sea hag as types. Annis focuses on Strength and the enhancement of claws, which are btw. granted at second level by the PrC, regardless of blood type chosen, and which scale with existing claws etc. The annis blood type gets rend and size category growth.

The green blood type gets sound mimicry, whispering wind, strength sapping and pass without trace in swamps, as well as striding there. The capstone nets Str-damage, but in a big kudos, the damage per target caps, preventing ridiculous dragon-slaying without invalidating the ability. Kudos. Night blood type nets resistances, a lesser form of heartstone, dream haunting, and the ability to cause souls trapped in the heartstone to be consumed to enhance magical might. This ability, alas, is cheesable: While you can only trap 1 soul per day, the HD has no bearing on the benefit of soul consumption, which means you’ll be slowly storing cute kitten souls to burn…blergh.

The sea blood type makes the PrC amphibious, nets 3/day a staggering gaze that improves at 10th level, as well as horrific appearance, which can cause Strength damage on a failed save. Winter, finally, nets pass without a trace in ice and snow and striding, as well as spider climb on ice. The blood type also nets a 3/day cold breath weapon with blinding added, a DIY icy quarterstaff that nets you a 1/day SP cone of cold and a cold apotheosis at 10th level. The blood types also govern the coven the class gets.

4th level nets undetectable alignment, 5th level 10 + hag matron or 10 + ½ HD , whichever is higher, SR at 5th level. 6th level nets darkvision 60 ft., and 8th level nets two hags, governed by hag blood type, for the coven. This gets interaction with Leadership right and improves at 10th level.

Now, the next section is one I kinda expected for the base class – we get patron specific oaths. Such an oath may be entered at any time as a 10-minute ceremony, but violation has the usual oathbreaking consequences, with atonement etc. required to renounce an oath made. 20 such oaths are included, each associated with a prerequisite patron. I really like this further differentiation between patrons. These oaths are interesting: witches of the Transformation patron may, for example, swear the oath of change, which makes them agents of change, for good or ill, and prevents preparing more than one instance of a given spell (metamagic does count), but also grants more flexibility when using polymorph spells and increase their save DCs. Entropy witches are forced to destroy objects or kill, with the sole object of fulfilling the oath, which means that kitten will die, as the ability has no caveat to prevent the murder of fluffy animals to fulfill it. The oath nets you a bonus to saves versus death effects, and +1 to the DC of death spells and those that destroy objects. The oath of frost makes you emanate cold, but also makes you vulnerable to fire and heat, but enhances the associated spells and buffs Dex and Con by 2 in cold environments. You get the idea of these. The oaths, per se, are a cool idea, but their benefits and restrictions vary wildly, without a discerning pattern. The oath of grace requires a Dex-check at the end of the day, after a training exercise. Three consecutive failures break the oath. That is just sucky. If the check was at least a skill, sure…but this way? A straight ability check? And yes, mathematically, it’s not likely, but we all know that the player taking this oath WILL fail it sooner or later. Rules are also not always clear: The oath of madness nets you an insanity of your choice, +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Okay, got it. Curing the insanity violates the oath, but verbiage doesn’t make clear whether a violation consists of curing ALL insanities, or whether curing 1 already qualifies. The nightmare oath can potentially kill you with untyped damage while you sleep – the save to negate the scaling damage if 10 + 1/2 your witch level + your Int-modifier. You get the idea – the oaths are good concept, but benefits are not necessarily exciting enough for the at times very serious violation penalties.

The pdf also includes 7 new hexes: Animate objects is a limited form of object animation that reminded me of Disney’s famous musical Fantasia. Abuse is prevented by the limitations and Strength of the object. Buoyancy makes the witch hard to drown, nets better holding of breath and later, limited swim speed as well as limited water walk. Haruspex does what it says on the tin and improves over the levels. Skull Sentinel nets a macabre alarm that later upgrades to selective and scales regarding radius covered. Spectral deliverance is broken for low levels: The witch can target a creature of which she has a possession of with hexes, regardless of distance. Long range takes longer, and the target has a vision of the witch, but still – that should have a high minimum level, in spite of limited daily uses. Witch cake is cool: Cursed targets are involved in the creation, and once the cake is consumed, the cursing creatures take damage based on the respective spell level. Spell-less curses are taken into account. Since the creation takes 8 hours, you can’t abuse this to at-range kill off cursing targets, at least not effectively. Witch’s Milk boost the familiar and nets an SP from the spells known for the familiar.

The book also provides 7 magical items, with two weaponized brooms, a storage hat, a hat with special eyes that enhances perception and has 1/day abilities based on it, but also prevents from averting eyes, and 3 different, nice cauldrons. If you get the pdf, though, it will be for the last section of it: Lesser familiars. What’s that? Well, know how many folks prefer the magical creatures granted by Improved Familiar, but don’t want to wait and/or don’t have the feat to spare in the build? This section remedies that by providing less potent variants of the most popular familiar choices for evil (or at least, morally challenged) witches, cut down to CR 1/2 . Included are tripurasura, cacodemon, quasit, imp, doru, shadow drake, nuglub gremlins, isitoqs, augur kytons, spirit one, cythnigots, raktavarna, ratling and esipil shakling. This section somewhat remedies the book in my book, and is super helpful.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level, though not as tight as usual for Legendary Games. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the Reign of Winter plug-ins, and the pdf sports some nice full-color artworks, though fans of LG will be familiar with most of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

The legendary villains series is a bit of a tough cookie for me as a reviewer. I am never 100% sure whether the options are intended for NPCs only, as is the case sometimes, or for evil PCs as well. As far as power-levels are concerned, this book should, for the most part, not break the game and feels very much like a player-supplement. I will thus rate it as such.

Sooo…I was a bit disappointed by this pdf. The archetypes are okay, but don’t do anything new – I’ve seen all of them done, theme-wise, before…and, alas, better. The PrC has a cool angle with the two forms, but never truly embraces its two modes. Having dual abilities based on hag type would have been really cool and emphasized the unique nature of the PrC – it’s a nice chassis, but the PrC doesn’t do much with it. The patron oaths are a great concept, though their execution is less awe-inspiring than I hoped, mainly opting for an escalation of numbers. The hexes are a bit ofa mixed bag, and the items are solid. The lesser familiars are the one chapter within this book that made me smile, but as a whole, Alex Riggs’ take on witches felt like it had great ideas and lost interest at one point; the actual execution, compared to most crunch-books by legendary games, is simply less exciting. It’s not bad in any shape, way or form, mind you, but it also falls short of the coolness the concepts herein deserved. Ultimately, this one left me a bit disappointed. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, and I can’t bring myself to round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Wicked Witches
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Alien Bestiary (Starfinder)
by Chris V. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2018 21:58:18

Do not let the fact that many of the monsters in this book are revised versions of creatures from previous sources deter you from purchasing this product! This book has plenty of new material for GM's to use!

I know its a very short and brief review, but This is an essential book to own for your Starfinder game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Bestiary (Starfinder)
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Orphans of the Hanged Man
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2018 04:18:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 1.5 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30.5 pages of content, though it should be noted that, as always for Legendary Games, the layout manages to fit quite a lot of content on these pages.

Now, before we start: This is a level 1 adventure and assumes the medium advancement track. There is one more thing that sets this apart: This module is intended to be run for a single PC. Yes, this adventure is actually designed to be a viable one-on-one module for one GM and a player; as an aside, it is very much possible to tackle this adventure as a group. Particularly for groups new to PFRPG, this may well make sense, as the adventure is rather fair. It does decrease the challenge, obviously, but it can provide an appropriate segue into the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP without becoming as deadly as the APs first two modules are. So yeah, this does a good job as an AP plug-in.

At the same time, it should be noted that this adventure is not necessarily tied to Korvosa – it is very easy to convert the adventure to another metropolis. Provided there is crime, a bit of squalor and street urchins, as in most cities, this will require no further work to adapt.

It should be noted that the module contains a specialized light-source for thieves as a mundane piece of equipment; there also are a few low-cost magic items and a new poison included. The magic items, while helpful, will not break the AP, if you choose to run it. Now, one-on-one adventures tend to be punishing on spellcasters in particular, though this one is very much manageable for spellcasters. It is probably easier for skill monkeys and martial characters, but a smartly-played spellcaster can very much succeed here. Considering their fragility at first level, this is pretty impressive. The DCs of skill uses etc. are very conservative and low, providing decent chances for success, even if the PC does not have the skill.

All right, this is as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

The module begins with the PC living in a rather poor hovel – and to make matters worse, the coughing old crone next door complains about your “friends” visiting – well, it turns out that the PC’s place has been trashed, a makeshift trap balanced on top of the entry door. This trap will not kill the PC, but it will provide a first idea to remain careful. A small noose hangs from the ceiling…the calling card of the legendary thief known as “The Hanged Man.”

The old crone, when questioned, can help cleaning the place “Don’t tell people I have magic, dearie.” – and also assist in minor magic identification for doing her chores. From here on, we have a free-form investigation, with 4 results per general topic provided and thus, degrees of success and information applied. The DCs are low enough to allow for easy and painless use of this section. Even total failure in every regard will not prevent the PC from finishing the adventure.

The “Orphans of the Hanged Man” ride the coattails of the fame of the fabled thief, trying to establish his calling card as theirs – the aforementioned noose. The PC can happen upon three of their thugs trying to coerce the street urchin Collin into their gang. The thugs will recognize the PC if undisguised, and will not attempt to kill the character – though a sound beating may occur. Here, their tactics should be commended: They make sense, but allow the PC a fighting chance: They tumble and attempt to demoralize in the first round, and their use of grappling and nonlethal attacks prevents undue frustration due to bad rolls here.

The investigation that follows this encounter, with Collin as a new ally, is actually heart-warming and a tone I personally always fail to evoke when I try: It manages to depict kindness and hope in even the dire and poor straits that exist in the slums. From the melancholy watchman to a girl in love, these happenstances provide glimpses into a simple, yet endearing life: The slums may be a place of poverty, but it’s also a place of life, in all of its facets. The girl I mentioned? She is planning a rendez-vous with her fling and may provide an angle – as PC and Collin seek to get a steak for the PC’s bruised eye, they may hit jackpot thanks to the girl and an overheard conversation – and thus, the PC will find a wizened, venerable old man…the Hanged Man, who is not amused by the Oprhans slandering his name. Duly amused by the PC finding him, he grants the PC a magical ring that can help particularly roguish PCs. He also provides some cryptic clues and challenges the PCs that he, back in the day, has left a test of sorts – the rest of his goods will need to be earned. Once more, this contextualizes the man as a scoundrel, but as one with a good heart. If the PC asks, he’ll even tell the character how he avoided being hanged.

Anyways, the trail to the Hanged Man’s erstwhile base leads to the sewers below the “Crimson Shears”, a tailor’s shop. The sewer intersection is duly mapped in gorgeous full color, and yes, we do get player-friendly maps! Huge plus there! It is here that the PC can help a grindylow fight off some dire rats…and saving the grindylow’s buddy will net further benefits. Once more, a theme of nobility is conveyed and rewarded. This taps into a unique idea: In order to find the entrance, the PCs have to find a faux-aged boat, draw a pin, and have the boat flip over: With a bubble of air, the boat can be capsized in a controlled manner, providing access to the entrance! There are means to discern this, but helping the grindylow also provides a pantomime that cues in the PC.

Once more, this is a pretty simple set-up that does not require magic, but at the same time, it is clever enough to warrant not having been found yet. If the PC would drown, a parasitic fey can act as a last-ditch save, providing consequences for failure without resulting in a “game over.” The PC finds the first part of the Hanged Man’s magical snapleaf key here. The tunnels terminate in a run-down tannery, and from here, the next locale is an abandoned warheouse oozing atmosphere and sporting some minor hazards as well as a giant flea…and there is a thankfully slow, legless skeleton prowling these grounds…and here, the PC can find a lucky penny as well as a clue to the Hanged Man’s abandoned base of operations – the sewer refuge the PC may have already explored…so yeah, there is more than one sequence in which these may be tackled.

Beneath the warehouse, a three-level dungeon can be found. The dungeon, once more, is fully mapped, even including a side-view that highlights vertical connections, and yes, we once more actually get player-friendly maps here! Huge kudos! The complex has, in the mean time, been taken over by gremlins and an akaname, which serve as appropriately low-level threats. Did I mention the mold hazard that erases 30 minutes of time before being knocked unconscious by it? From training dummies to broken-down machinery, this also acts as a cool homebase/mini-defense scenario. Elganion, the adolescent and rather bitter elf that leads the Orphans, will sooner or later track down the PC with his crew – and smart PCs may use this cleared complex and allies like Collin to defeat the orphans! While this is intended to be the climax of the module, and as such, is pretty freeform, it’s just as possible to have the Orphans find the Hanged man’s complex after the PC has explored the majority of it…

Anyways, within this complex, the second half of the snapleaf key (artwork included, just fyi!) awaits, and with it, the PC can open the secret room in the “mausoleum” of the Hanged Man – if she does, she’ll only have to defeat the consequence of the one premeditated murder the Hanged Man committed: The Beheaded that once was the informant that led to the Hanged Man…hanging.

It should also be noted that the PC should not and need not kill any of the Orphans - not even Elganion! Aforementioned memory-loss inducing mold, combat challenge severity etc. does allow for the PC to solve the conflict with the orphans in nonlethal ways, and is preferable: This way, the PC may end up with a small network of informants, as the new and proper heir to the Hanged Man’s title!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the elegant two-column full-color standard of the Curse of the Crimson Throne-plug-ins. The pdf sports quite a few impressive full-color artworks and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The map-support deserves special mention: All relevant locales are mapped in GORGEOUS full-color, and come with player-friendly maps that have secret doors etc. redacted. Huge plus right there!

Michael Allen and Matt Goodall have penned a tale that is almost Dickensian in its themes and atmosphere: There is a wholesome joy in this adventure and the interactions with the NPCs that is hard to describe. The emphasis on roleplaying and problem-solution over just rolling the bones is a big plus, and the module rewards esoteric skills here and there, while at the same time allowing the PC to finish the module successfully without requiring them. From the neat NPCs to the locations, this represents an incredibly rewarding adventure that makes for an actually good one-on-one module, even if you’re going for a spellcaster. That is hard to pull off.

Furthermore, the adventure, in spite of being not explicitly designated as such, is in my opinion a family-friendly experience – kids at around 8 years should have no issues with this, while adults will similarly enjoy this. As always regarding age-recommendations: Parents know best how sensitive their kids are, and kids greatly diverge in what they consider to be cool/what they can handle.

The emphasis on non-lethal problem-solution, the small tidbits of creepiness that are very much manageable…this is an adventure I’d run for my offspring, should I ever have kids, to introduce them to PFRPG. It’s not explicitly designed to work as such, but it does work this way if you choose to run it as such.

It feels a bit like a story-arc in Oliver Twist or David Copperfield to me – it doesn’t coddle and treats the audience with respect, it does not paint the world in black and white, and is better off for it. The theme of a gang of bullies is something that most folks will be able to relate to. It is difficult, without being unfair or generating frustration. It’s not necessarily a good choice for the first module to GM (Trail of the Apprentice does that better), but to play? Yeah, this would get me more invested-

In short, this is an excellent adventure I can wholeheartedly recommend – and not only for the context of Curse of the Crimson Throne! Highly recommended! My final verdict is 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Orphans of the Hanged Man
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Legendary Hybrids: Doomguard
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2018 08:44:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 37 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 .5 pages of SRD, 1 page of back cover, leaving us with 27.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This hybrid class was created from cavalier and ranger, and gets d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor and shields, excluding tower shields. The doomguard gets full BAB-progression and good Fort-saves. The class gets solid favored class options for the core races.

The doomguard’s challenge-equivalent, usable 1/day at first level (plus an additional time per day for every 3 levels thereafter) is activated as a swift action, nets a scaling bonus to atk and damage as well as saves prompted by the target, and also nets immunity to fear prompted by that foe if that foe is a fated enemy. The bonuses scale every 4 levels. Here’s the unique thing: This is called defiance, and as such, the doomguard gains temporary hit points versus said foes, and defiance may delay the onset of a negative condition.

As for fated enemy – this is obviously the equivalent of favored enemy, though it does come with meaningful variations – you can, for example, choose character classes! Witch or sorcerer hunter? There you go. I adore this choice. It’s so simple, yet incredibly flavorful. Also unique: This ties in with the doom – falling to the fated enemy makes returning the doomguard to life hard – this enemy, after all, was fated to defeat the doomguard! I love how this ties in flavorful concepts and leitmotif of the class.

Beyond that, the class begins play at 1st level with a so-called doom. This doom represents the “doom” component and behaves somewhat akin to an oracle’s curse, sporting btw. advice for multiclassing – kudos! Unless I have miscounted, we get a staggering 45 (!!!) such dooms, and they are somewhat akin to curses in that they have a linear progression. Dooms provide benefits at 1st level, 5th, 10th and 15th level. The dooms are, in a way, one aspect that really carries the class.

Is your body slowly rotting away? Do you destroy objects held? Are you haunted by disembodied voices? Are you mutating? Are you slowly becoming undead? Do sacrilegious voices constantly try to tempt you to a new credo? Do you bear stigmata? Perhaps, you are truly star-crossed, and natural rolls of 11 under stress are treated as 1s. Perhaps, you suffer from somnambulism…or perhaps the solipsism that has affected you crippled you, yes…but it also grants you significant powers! The interesting thing here is that the dooms range in their power-levels – they oscillate rather strongly, in fact…but at the same time, so do their benefits. When struck by a potent doom, you’ll also have considerable advantage bred from this. Some are in line with curses, while others are truly unique – and here, we can see LG’s crunch-design experience. I found no single doom that I’d consider to be off regarding this ratio. You can choose a doom that doesn’t severely impact the core playing experience…or you can go for a doom that radically changes how you need to play, but which also grants you unique benefits. Dooms take up a significant amount of the page-count, and the pages are, I’m happy to report, well-spent indeed. Curse-spread, internal parasites…there is one minor hiccup, a reference in the introduction to a Cursed feat that has been cut, but this does not compromise the integrity of the section in any way.

2nd level nets a ranger combat style as well as +2 to saves versus curses, hexes, compulsions or bad luck/reroll enforcing abilities. 3rd level eliminates the penalties for charges and 4th level provides Heroic Defiance, but only for use with fated enemy-caused effects, but also for more uses and condition delays. 5th level nets +2 to Con-checks to avoid becoming fatigued/exhausted and quicker tracking. Some conditions may be offset by expending defiance (yay for more player-agenda!). At 7th level, we get a cohort, a familiar or an animal companion at -3 levels…and yes, this gets interactions right. At 8th level, attacking a foe other than the doomguard while threatened elicits an AoO – making the class work as a nice blocker. 9th level allows the doomguard to detect fated enemies, and may choose to further limit this detection ability, ensuring it’s actually useful. At 11th level, having line of sight to fated foes increases movement rate and the doomguard can also immediate action move 10 feet to pursue fated enemies trying to flee. 12th level allows the doomguard to forego critical bonus damage in other to impose the negative aspects of the doom on foes. Cool: Can’t be cheesed.

17th level provides the means to bypass DR/hardness and cause full damage versus incorporeal foes. The capstone makes the doomguard a super-deadly foe for fated enemies, including the chance to permanently destroy even creatures that can potentially rejuvenate.

The pdf also includes 4 different archetypes, the first of which would be the Challenger, who loses medium and shield proficiency, and uses Charisma instead of Wisdom as governing attribute for doomguard abilities. Instead of the companion, the class gets a scaling AC and CMD bonus while wearing light or no armor. Instead of combat style, the archetype gets a few bardic performances, and the 8th level ability is replaced with uncanny dodge. Okay engine tweaks. The second archetype is the Doomwarden, who does get heavy armor and tower shield proficiency. Instead of combat style, the doomwarden gets a massive array of armor-style feats sans prerequisites. 5th level provides improved maneuverability in armor ( less armor check penalty, better maximum Dexterity) as well as better movement, This does replace defiance. The class otherwise gets a modified 5th level ability to prevent save bonuses or pinpoint creatures etc. 12th level allows for reflexive use of defiance, including negating incoming damage. The archetype also comes with a potent 1/day last stand capstone that makes him a fearsome tank.

The third archetype would be the fey foundling, who is prohibited from wearing metal armor. They do get woodland stride and resist nature’s lure, but does gain a unique companion (including pipefoxes, faerie dragons, etc.). That being said, the archetype learns to entice fey I, can at higher levels traverse the secret crossroads and backroads of the fey (amazing) and convert damage to nonlethal damage, adding curses on hits…or even causing targets to suffer from an iron allergy! Heck yeah! Oh, and becoming ageless. Kudos!

Finally, there’d be the raven banner, who becomes fortified versus negative energy, death effects and energy levels. Instead of the 3rd level charge-enhancer, a simultaneous attack versus targets criting the raven banner can make for amazing mutual takedowns. 5th level nets banner (14th greater) and the banner retains its powers at higher levels for a couple of rounds when the raven banner’s slain. Badass: When slain by a non-fated enemy, the character can expend defiance to auto-breath of life! F*** YES! Good example for a fun engine tweak!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard and there is a lot of content per page. We get a couple of gorgeous full-color artworks, including full-page pieces. Neat! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

As you all know, I’m pretty much in favor of constant player-agenda and choice – and in a way, the doomguard doesn’t deliver that. It’s not a class sporting a lot of choices, and building one is super-simple. That being said, it’s one of the single best examples ever for a simple, easy to grasp, yet superbly creative class. The doom-angle and vastly diverging playstyles and playing experiences born from them, rocks. From the dooms to the archetypes, the class is incredibly METAL. The concept of the doomed, potent hunter suffuses the whole class, offering exciting tweaks, and manages to be totally distinct from the parent classes.

In short, this is not only a hybrid that stands out, and does so in a category of design that I usually loathe (linear classes), it does so with panache aplomb. Carl Cramér and Jason Nelson deliver a super cool hybrid here, one that absolutely deserves my highest accolades – 5 stars + seal of approval. Super recommended, one of the best hybrid classes out there! If you wanted to play a truly metal warrior-style character, look no further!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Hybrids: Doomguard
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Book of True Evil (5E)
by Peter M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2018 19:27:33

I don't think it'd be wise to use any of the material in here for player resources even if you were running an evil campaign due to balance issues. However, as a resource for making boss villains, this is fantastic - and for the same reason.

A significant amount of the material in here is at least slightly overpowered compared to the core classes and feats of 5e, which is probably keeping with the product's intent: do a bunch of horrible, nasty things and get rewarded with lots of power by the Powers of Darkness, but it's been jacked up a little further than it should be. As an example: A standard feat in 5e is supposed to be about as good as an ASI (raise one ability score by +2 or raise two ability scores by +1 each). There is one in particular that gives +2 to both Strength AND Constitution and also allows you to throw as many 4d6+Strength modifier fire attacks as you have melee attacks (range of 150 ft). There's a drawback of having disadvantage on non-intimidate charisma checks against non-evil creatures, but that's a comparatively small tradeoff for something that's essentially two ASIs AND a ranged attack that's comparable to Eldritch Blast.

That said, if you're building boss villains as a GM, stuff like that is appropriate - those foes SHOULD be scary and powerful. There's also a bunch of useful stuff about mundane medicine in a fantasy setting that potentially could be adapted into things like non-magical combat medics, some really interesting monsters (the demonic train is particularly cool) and some fun and different magical items (drinkable tentacles is my favorite because it can be ingested to grow some extra tentacles of thrown on the ground as an area denial attack). I also liked that it implied a more technological setting than standard D&D, but I will fully admit that that's my own bias - I'm running a more technological setting and so resources of that nature are extra-useful to me.

All in all not a bad resource to have, just maybe not to use as intended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of True Evil (5E)
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Hypercorps 2099
by Jeff R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/17/2018 08:47:00
Good but could be better
  • Received mt hardciver today. Was alsio readung through the PDF while waiting for the printed book. I have not completed a thorough read, but what I have read, I like. SHADOWRUN comes to mind pretty much right away.

I do have a probem with the book received vs the PDF...

The PDF has page numbers in the lower corners throughout the document. however the book is missing the page #'s entirely. There is no point to having a numbered index if there are no page # << screenshot >> I do not know if this was intentional or a mistake, however I am leaning towards error on the part of the printer. How would I go about getting this fixed?

As the publisher has so quickly responded to my review here and to my direct email, I am updating my rewiew to better eflect my opinion.

Though I have issues with the overall layout/presentation, :I think that material present is good, excellent even for the time period when it was written. Art is good as is the overall concept.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hypercorps 2099
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Creator Reply:
Hi Jeff, Sounds like a printer error but I'm having layout double-check the print interior files to make sure before we reprocess and send out a replacement. Email sent to you!
Hero's Blood
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2018 05:13:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 57 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 1/3 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 46 2/3 pages of content – all of which sport a surprising amount of material, as Legendary Games books have a pretty high word-per-page-density.

Okay, first things first: This adventure is intended for characters of 10th level and can thus fit pretty easily behind the 3rd adventure in the Curse of the Crimson Throne module, and before the 5th – the module provides a thematic continuation of the leitmotifs of colonial corruption that the first 3 modules sported, which are curiously absent from the otherwise intriguing and evocative 4th adventure. As such, theme-wise, this indeed enhances the AP. It should also be noted that this supplement includes a new corruption, making use of Horror Adventures’ rules. However, you do not necessarily need to have the Horror Adventure supplement to use this adventure.

Really cool: There are two new, properly codified occult rituals that feature in the plot of the adventure, both of which employ the themes and leitmotifs established in the adventure path. As always for supplements in the series, we have an adventure that seamlessly integrate with the AP, employing filed off serial numbers that still allow you to easily note what is going on. A huge plus would btw. be that the amazing full-color maps do come with player-friendly versions for your convenience. Big comfort-plus here! Inexperienced GMs will enjoy the fact that we have extensive read-aloud texts accompanying the module.

All right, as always, the following discussion contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the chaos in Korvosa has generated opportunity: The Shoanti (Sklar-Quah), have attacked a remote fort: Fort Hiraksos. When the PCs venture towards the fort, they find a massacre – the battlefield is littered with fallen Shoanti and members of the erstwhile garrison. All of the corpses show a specific pattern: Gaping chest-wounds. As the PCs explore the remnants of the fortress, they will have to contend with lethal undead, ranging from wights to callers in darkness and juvenile rukhs; there are deadly corpse flies and Hiraksos itself is a rather grim – the exploration of the grim keep is fantastic – even beyond the confines of the AP, the depiction of a haunted place of a true massacre is intriguing and flavorful, in both diverse enemy selection: We get unique haunts that add to the sense of decrepitude and metaphysical corruption – and the them of blood/flesh engendering fear is reinforced via, for example, ectoplasmic hungry flesh or a particularly nasty, unique wight.

Speaking of which: Said sub-boss ties in with the Onochtu, the ravenous ones, deadly and vile spirits of shoanti myth, adding some intriguing myth-weaving to the proceedings; said spirits and their dark powers are what fuels the corruption of the culprit and the potent powers of foes faced here. The sub-boss can inflict the corruption of these spirits on victims…

You see, Austan Mileswood, decorated Korvosan hero, driven insane, is working on a ritual to transcend his form, as an invisible timer is ticking away in the background, and dawdling may see him improve his darkened powers – and we btw. get a CR 10 and CR 11 statblock for this big boss as well as an extensive and well-written background story for this rather tragically flawed individual, who exemplifies so well that one people’s hero may be another people’s villain. Anyways, he has learned from the darksome shoanti spirits – that there lies strength in the hearts of the living, stealing the courage, metaphysically seated in the heart, from his victims. An addiction had formed, and what the PCs now witness, is the sad culmination of, what could be considered to be a fantastic take on a form of PTSD.

Thus, in order to truly “win” in this adventure, the PCs will have to venture down into the ancient Well of Bloody Hearts, sanctified to the wicked cannibal spirits of old, where mummified clerics and warriors loom…but beyond these, brimstone oozes and a unique creature dubbed “The Tongue” await – the latter btw. is a unique aberration with a twisted artwork, and a cool, superbly depicted athach is here as well – and stopping Austan’s ritual is NO trifle. With aether elementals and his own, significant combat prowess, the charismatic “hero” makes for a formidable foe – and yes, he is multiclass’d and has a cool mechanical angle. Here, I should definitely mention that the timeline noted before is not just cosmetic: throughout the adventure, the time elapsed always matters. Kudos for being consequent!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious guffaws on either a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the “Curse of the Crimson Throne”-plugins series’ elegant 2-column full-color standard. Huge plus: We get quite a lot fantastic full-color artworks that I haven’t seen before, and the cartography is similarly impressive and full-color. As noted before, getting player-friendly maps is a big plus. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Tom Phillips does horror and dark fantasy really well; if you’ve been following his works, this will be no surprise to you. He is one of the authors whose adventures tend to offer meaningful challenges for the PCs, while still retaining a dense and evocative atmosphere. “Hero’s Blood” exemplifies these virtues. The adventure manages a feat that is impressive indeed: On one hand, it actually manages to carry a leitmotif that isn’t present in the otherwise fun “A History of Ashes” and thus strengthen the overall plot of Curse of the Crimson Throne – the emphasis on Korvosa affecting these lands adds to the plot.

In addition to that, though, this adventure manages to transcend the status as an adventure path plug-in: Its plot and ideas are sufficiently distinct to carry the adventure as a stand-alone supplement – if you like horror or dark fantasy, particularly themes that feature blood/vampiric elements in a cultural context that is a breath of fresh air, then consider this to be a success and well worth getting beyond the confines of the AP.

So yeah, regardless of within or without the associated AP, this is a success, no matter how you look at it. 5 stars + seal of approval – excellent job!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hero's Blood
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