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    Asian Monsters (5E)
    by patrick m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2021 13:43:36

    I thought it would have been nice toget wherethey from. Ifeltthereshouldhave been more. Iguess that's my own fault for havingexpectatio



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Asian Monsters (5E)
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    Arcforge Campaign Setting: Spheres of Influence
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2021 11:07:22

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the Arcforge-series clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC, 6 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    This supplement was moved up in my reviewing queue, since the remainder of Arcforge was requested as well, but while I’m in the process of analyzing and purchasing the series, I figured that it would make sense to take a look at this, as this supplement doubles as a gazetteer of sorts for the setting.

    It should be noted that the issues I have found within the first two Arcforge supplements do not influence this review; instead, I’ll tackle this in as thorough a manner as I can as its own entity. This is relevant in as far as the first Arcforge supplements codified psionics as Advanced Technology and Akasha as Cybertech. Personally, I’d suggest making these components operate primarily on a flavor level—something that, fyi, works rather well. So no, you do not need all the implications of no longer denoting these components as magic.

    Similarly, Arcforge partially has the notion that it can use PFRPG and SFRPG in the same game. While my analysis of the pertinent file, Star*Path, is not yet complete, there is a definite tendency that lets me state even now said pdf does not manage to achieve this goal. Consequently, I will review the PFRPG and SFRPG content included herein as components divorced from each other.

    Okay, that being said, the book does contain the genesis of the setting of Vandara, a world rich in magic and resources, primed to become a center of culture and sophisticated magitech… which would then change as the people of Vandara made contact with extravandarians…the Qlippoth. Chthonic, alien and mighty, the alien scourge cut swaths of devastation into the land, to only be vanquished by the creation of the eponymous Arcforge. And yet, as the external threat eased, humanoid nature prevailed and the nations of the mighty planet once more fell apart into factions, now armed with exceedingly potent high-tech magical weaponry.

    From this baseline, one can already pinpoint several defining factors: Arcforge is a high science-fantasy setting, with the “science”-part having a higher focus than usual, but the fantastic is also deeply ingrained in the planet, which is, just fyi, a creation of the progenitor dragon species. With Outer Lords having ships that blot the very sun, Vandara brims with high-tech, and the Arcforge-mech-angle also means that there is a distinct Anime-angle infused in the setting; not in a Lodoss War way, but in one that reminded me more of ole’ Appleseed, Gundam, etc. One of the most interesting and helpful pieces of flavor provided here would be the 12 injunctions: Essentially a grand societal contract that the people of Vandara agreed upon; these injunctions prevent for example war crimes, atomic exchanges, etc., with the Qlippoth threat emphasized by being listed here. If you need an analogue, I’d consider them to be closer to Warhammer’s CHAOS than to regular demonic cultists.

    Now, one thing that the author Matt Daley and I have in common would be a rather extensive tendency for permissiveness regarding various exotic and less-exotic 3pp-options, and indeed, the Arcforge setting does a couple of things I very much enjoy: It explains the place and context of a type of magic within the frame of the respective setting; So what actually, logic-wise, akasha is in Vandara? That’s explained. Same goes for psionics, for psychic magic, etc. Here are a couple of differences, though: Vandara overlaps with the ethereal plane, but otherwise is pretty isolated from standard planar cosmology due to the Silicon Barrier, which renders e.g. banishment etc. a painful (untyped damage) random teleport instead, and which means that summon spells? They actually draw from creatures in Vandara. The latter is a VERY important change of the core assumptions here, and one that can have very interesting and far-reaching consequences. The aforementioned barrier also prevents communication with any soul that perished prior to the creation of it, and raising the dead? It actually weakens outsiders of the respective creature’s alignment nearby.

    The planet also features a magical alternative to the internet, loosely based on mindscapes, and the supplement then proceeds to give us an overview of the nations of Vandara, some supported by stunning artworks. All of this lore and the basic premise of the setting has me rather excited indeed; the setting is compelling and interesting, and manages to evoke a sense of a plausible world that touches upon familiar tropes without being just a reiteration of the old, also courtesy due to the rules informing to a significant degree the underlying premises of the setting.

    On a rules-level, we have the arcforged champion class template for paladins and antipaladins, which can best be summed up as an option to make a mech-pilot paladin or antipaladin. It is a well-wrought and welcome option for Arcforge and does what it says on the tin.

    Now, one basic premise you need to know regarding Arcforge, is that the setting uses a LOT of different subsystems, and not all of them necessarily operate within the same frame of reference, but it should also be noted that this supplement at least does show examples of crossover options that are interesting: Let us take the 4 new armorist tricks (for the Spheres of Power class); the minor layout hiccups (a superscript missing, the “S” of “SoP” has been added to the “armorist”-word) aside, we have e.g. the option to reduce enhancement bonus from the armorist to gain the soulknife’s emulate technological weapon blade skills; this does represent a power-upgrade, but Spheres of Power is a system that is geared towards an (often) more down-to-earth power-level, whereas Arcforge, courtesy of its other systems, tends to gravitate to the higher power-levels. In a way, this can be seen as a power-increase, yes, but one in line with the higher-powered paradigms implied by the setting. The “magical” “call me”-type of mech also gets a representation here, which is, obviously, a powerful option, but one that perfectly fits within the context of the world; conversely, if that sort of thing does not gel with your aesthetics, its limitations make it easy to discard from your iteration of Vandara. There also are a few rules-relevant components that might be construed to be problematic, such as a +2 enhancement bonus increase that does not specify the usual cap these have. Using spell points to rapidly change mech enhancements will be welcomed by people who want their mechs more magical/flexible.

    While we’re on the subject of Spheres of Power: We also have a symbiat archetype, the technopath; regarding the core engine, the technopath is interesting, foregoing telekinetic manipulation for the option to transfer sprites as immediate actions, a kind of mental super-defense field and linkage, etc. —per se cool; I’m not a fan of the untyped bonus employed by the optimize ability, though. Wait. Sprite. Need to talk about that, right? Well, the pdf includes a new sphere, the Technomancy sphere.

    This sphere lets you, as a standard action, generate sprites, technomagical entities within constructs or technological items, which persist as long as you concentrate, or 1 minute per level sans concentration if you spend a spell point. While such a program exists in such an object, you may run one of 4 different programs: Drain does what it says on the tin and drains a charge on a failed save, and constructs instead get a scaling debuff. Interfere can negate the action of another sprite, even when it’s not your turn. Power generates a charge, or acts as a buff. The former is problematic, as it generates infinite charges and lends itself to infinite healing exploits and similar tricks, particularly since the charges gained also increase. This would get a hard limit per item per day in my game, or the ban hammer. This one needs a caveat or a proper non-exploit agreement between players and GMs. Transfer makes the sprite move to another host in close range. While close range is a technical term, it’d have been more convenient to have the distance spelled out. Also: The core ability does not specify a range, and both touch and close would make sense, though this usage of the sphere makes close the more likely culprit. Note that each sprite can only execute ONE of these per round, which means there’s theoretically some cool strategizing going on here. I can see users of these spheres pit their sprites against each other in a compelling manner. 16 talents are also included for the sphere, including new programs to unlock for the sprites, which are set apart by the (program) tag; these include skill boosts due to analyzing targets (annoyingly untyped and the verbiage includes a few skill references not in title case), and e.g. making the target deal additional damage; ideally, the damage type would specify that this uses the host’s damage type, but yeah. Other talents let sprites assimilate charges they Drain and use them to Power other objects; see above. Concealed sprites etc. can also be found, and having sprites from a destroyed host evacuate to other targets? Yeah, can see that. If you also have the divination sphere, you can divine for sprites, which was a nice touch. For completion’s sake: Yes, the sphere’s abilities sometimes prompt Fortitude saves, and objects/constructs are usually exempt, but considering the exclusive focus of the sphere, I don’t consider the omission of an exception-clause for this particular rule to be a problematic. Mathematically, it should be noted, though, that courtesy of these immunities, constructs do not have adequate saves to reliably resist these effects. As a consequence, implementing the sphere on the player’s side does require some contemplation on the GM’s side, and a likewise implementation…or a modification of the construct type’s chassis. It also should be noted that the sphere effects tend to cap at 20th level, which most Spheres of Power-based options do not. HOWEVER, personally, I do think that this makes sense (and that Spheres of Power would have benefited from hard caps. Just my 2 cents.

    The advanced talents include transforming targets into Ais, controlling mechs, or making sprites permanent – super-powerful, high-concept…and honestly? All well-situated in the advanced talents sphere. Unlike many a sphere, here the differentiation is VERY clear in conceptual power, and while the core sphere isn’t perfect, the differentiation between those parts? Smooth indeed.

    The pdf also offers an incanter sphere specialization for the sphere, which makes your sprites more resilient to interference and also nets you buffs versus sprite hosts. I think the level 1 ability is too dippable here, and I’m not too fond of the unified energy ability; I can construct an exploit out of it, but it’s an obscure enough one to not repeat it here. I was rather fond of the sprite-based prodigy-imbue sequence and its system overload finisher. The one boon provided is brutal: Techno-Miraculous makes attempts to counterspell or dispel you fail automatically, unless the target has the Technomancy sphere or Harmonic Counter (one of 7 new feats; lets you use Counterspell feats vs. technological equipment). As noted before, this “separate”-angle imho doesn’t work too well in PFRPG, but YMMV; personally, I’d rather roll the Harmonic Counter into the regular engine, but that may be me. Two drawbacks are included, and for Spheres of Might we have a talent that nets proficiency with all heavy weapons.

    The other feats include two (Dual-Sphere) feats, one for use of Life Sphere with tech, and one that lets you use sprites and Mind sphere to make constructs valid targets; the latter makes sense on many levels to me. There is another feat that nets transparency between spells and psionics, and one that lets you one-hand two-handed weapons at a -2 penalty. Not a fan, also because of the massive array of consequences this has for weapons, but I guess this is a bit of genre-pandering. You might consider it awesome instead. Magical Lorekeeper lets you poach spells from other members of your spellcasting tradition, but fails to account for how the situation of a spell with different spell-levels for different classes is handled. Soul Keeper is an outsider feat that lets you hold souls and be buffed by killing. 12 casting and mixed traditions are also provided.

    There is one more pathfinder archetype to note: The zoomer for the powerful (and very interesting) voyager class; now, I’ve gone on record stating that I adore a lot about that fellow, even if the voyager is pretty damn potent and beyond what I’m comfortable allowing in most of my games. Most of them. The zoomer, essentially, is the mech-version of the class, and may e.g. use the vehicle they get as a the location of her parallel action range; the archetype is an excellent rendition of the zipping, space-bending ace-pilot we know from various anime series, often as the nigh unstoppable enemy who ends up being pretty fragile. Considering the voyager chassis, this makes sense. On the down-side, the formatting glitches here and there, like e.g. an ability-header that’s not bold…well, that did make my face twitch. There also is a “call mech to you” vigilante archetype, just fyi.

    The Starfinder content presented herein is in a way unconventional, as they are class-specific archetypes; in short, they operate like PFRPG-archetypes, not like the blanket archetypes SFRPG usually employs. I’m okay with that per se. The Industrial priest technomancer is a divine spellcaster, and they get a variant cache capacitator. Annoying: Spell-list formatting of the available spells is borked completely, and yes, it includes PFRPG spells, I assume due to StarPath. One of the abilities lets the technomancer spend Resolve to convert half damage dealt to untyped holy or unholy; not a fan. In a way, this is a good point to state one of the issues that StarPath encountered, and that would be the cardinal issue I have with Arcforge: The assumption of global parities between sub-systems and powers, and here, systems. PFRPG and SFRPG look a lot alike, and play in a similar manner, but with some experience under the belt, the differences become evident, even if one doesn’t engage in a deep math analysis. So yeah, I’m not a fan of this one; the machine voice envoy who can affect constructs and gets a custom rig? Okay, here I wasn’t really sure why it exists, to be honest, and the scholastic technomancer is essentially a book-caster version…which, again, struck me as a weird choice.

    In PFRPG, some options may be a bit rough, but I see why they’re here; the SFRPG options, on the other hand, don’t feel like they were really made for the system, and oddly look like filler to me; none of the excitement of the design decisions in the remainder of the book can be found with them.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal level; when it comes to a rules-language level, the pdf, alas, attains an at-best “okay” rating; there were several instances of formatting hiccups, some even in ability names, and the rules-language also has some wide-open exploits and minor omissions that tarnish what is a per se inspired basic set-up. The pdf is certainly not up to the usual level of polish Legendary Games supplements tend to have. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, with a blend of old and new full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    Matt Daley’s Arcforge-setting, on a conceptual level, has truly captured my interest; I really like it, and it appeals to the scifi-fan in me as well as the mecha-fanboy; the SETTING is one I’d genuinely enjoy playing in, and it is obvious that some serious passion for PFRPG went into this. This feels like a passion-project from top to bottom, and I can really appreciate this. I did not expect to say this after the hit and miss and frustration of the first two books, but I like the setting and want to know more. It has this sense of genuine passion and excitement that are hard to come by.

    As a reviewer, this book, though, leaves me in a weird state. Now, reviewing Arcforge is a TON of work due to all the things you have to bear in mind, and I might be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a dev, any dev, would have thrown their hands in the air at one point. It’s also hard to review, because Arcforge’s core books got so much almost right, only to then add in options for parity that upended the very systems the books provided.

    In many ways, I can see why this was hard to work on. Which is a shame, for this supplement feels, as a whole, a bit smoother than the first 2; there is a higher consistence regarding the (high) power-level of the setting, if post Ultimate Psionics-psionics (i.e. the REALLY powerful stuff that doesn’t work smoothly with most of Paizo-PF anymore)/C7S-permissible stuff is your jam, then this is well worth checking out.

    If you play PFRPG. The SFRPG-options are afterthoughts, at best, and it is clear where the focus of this book did lie. For SFRPG-fans, I’d recommend steering very far away from this supplement, unless you consider the flavor to be sufficient to warrant the purchase. Design-wise, there is nothing interesting in here for SFRPG. Personally, I’d have been ROYALLY pissed if I had bought this as a SFRPG supplement.

    How to rate this? Oh boy. So, the pdf is a bit rough in the formal criteria, and there are several instances where bonuses that shouldn’t be untyped are untyped, etc.; there are several instances of those necessary little caveats missing…damn, this is SO CLOSE to being an easy recommendation.

    But I can’t rate hypotheticals. I like what’s here as a person. But the amount of stuff I’d use from this book without a very careful re-evaluation/re-design is rather low indeed. So, let’s look at focus: We have 8 pages of rules stuff, with one of them lost to the almost useless pseudo-SFRPG-stuff; the remainder of the supplement is the setting…and that setting? Well, I really enjoyed it. So: For SFRPG? Dud, 1.5 stars, steer clear. For PFRPG: If you like high-powered, enjoy a very permissive game, and don’t mind a bit of fixing? Worthwhile investing the work. But there is more to take into account: The setting is intriguing, and the pdf only clocks in at a VERY fair $2.00. Two bucks? HECK YES, this is worth two frickin’ bucks. The VERY low price point does help offset the flaws of the supplement…plus the setting? It genuinely entertained and intrigued me. It has a quality of distinctiveness that sets it apart and makes it resonate. These two components are ultimately responsible for why my final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up. For PFRPG.

    As noted above: caveat emptor if you tend to gravitate to lower power-levels and are not willing to invest some time to streamline the rougher parts. In that instance, you should consider this to be closer to the 3-star-vicinity.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Arcforge Campaign Setting: Spheres of Influence
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    Akashic Classes: Kheshig
    by VITOR A. D. O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2021 10:13:53

    Keshig is a class that builds upon the "Akashic Mysteries" sub-system made by Dream Scarred Press "Akashic Mysteries" which is based itself in the "Magic of Incarnum" from the good ol' 3.5 days.

    The class was made to fill the "Fighter" role, so its a basic class which is great for new players and people how want to try the sub-system but don't know how or where to start. That said, it's also a very customizable class, that you can safely adapt to any playstyle you like to play a "fighter". Ex: One-handed fighter, Two-handed fighter, Bow user, Unarmed Combat, etc.

    But for me, the "meat" of this suplement are the new veils. Those my friend, are amazing. The [Enhanced] veils are my favorites and a great way to balance the "weapon-like veils" published previously in other suplements. Almost every veil here can be the focus and inspiration for a new character, so if its variety you looking for, you just found it! This suplement has a total of 57 veils!

    There are some veils here and there that could use some polish, the veil that gives you what is basicaly "Monk's Bonus AC" should make it clear it does not stack with Monk's Bonus AC (and other abilities like it). It's not a perfect PDF, but is anything perfect?

    For everything it brings to the table: the flavourful options, the fun mechanics and the new, easy to pick up class this is more than enough for me to recommend this suplement. I have being using it non-stop since I got it and I don't see myself stoping any soon.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Akashic Classes: Kheshig
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    Battlemasters & Berserkers
    by Chris B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2021 19:31:31

    So I have to say that I am a little disappointed with this KS backed book. Before I continue though, I will point out that there are quite a few good things in here. And what I'm disappointed with is not bad so much as weird or I don't see the point of.

    I'll try to show the mostly positive stuff first. The layout and presentation are excellent. Clear, concise, and easy to read. That's always a plus. Now, onto the meat of the book.

    Most of the Fighter Subclasses are neat ideas, usable except for tthree. Although I'm not entirely sure of the constant need to add Wisdom or Charisma stats for certain things. The Chainmaster bothers me because the 5e play-testers fought hard to get rid of single weapon specialists. Even the Monk's Kensai doesn't do this, which this would be better for anyway. And the Guardian is pointless when I can do everything better with two feats and a Fighting Style by level 2. And the Gladiator shows that really, there needs to an alternate rules option for fantasy sword and sorcery play. But again, most of the rest of the class are interesting ideas.

    Most of the Barbarian subclasses, the same. Some I want to like, but... Path of the Destroyer is built around breaking the enemy's items. But the best way to break a weapon, is to break the warrior wielding it. Still, most of them are functional, if somewhat limited in application. And Primal Fury is cute, but not entirely too sure about. Still, willing to let players try them out for themselves.

    I love the alternate class features and rage powers though, which again is a mixed bag, but the fact of the matter is that you can mix and match adds flavour and that's always appreciated in my book. The brands and severing limbs are also fun additions, although I think that the severing could have used some expansion. But then I'm always up for finding ways for the Fighting Men of D&D to end fights harder and faster, then forcing the Wizard and Magic to do it for them.

    The Backgrounds are nice, I like them, even if most of them are just extensions of the basic Player Handbook alternate background features. But that's part of their appeal, more flavour is always nice. The Magic Items section is also pretty nice, with lot's of cool, if a little too setting focused.

    The Fighter/Barbarian in 'other genres' is unnecessary, as most already know this, not to mention this weird apologetic tone for the Barbarian tribes section. We know it's fantasy, we understand, don't worry.

    But here's my biggest issues: The Feats and Weapons sections. Most of the feats are cute, but I'm not sure the authors understand what they're meant to be. Small packets of at least two to three slightly special abilities to enhance the character, some of them are better off as either in game manoeuvres or part an actual Feat.

    My biggest bug bear are the weapons, though. The reason the 5e core books don't have the Katana or Bastard Swords listed is because the Long Sword is meant to cover them. A Long Sword is any blade between 3-4.5ft in length, able to be used in one or two hands. Anything bigger is now a Great Sword, smaller, Show Sword. And the extra weapon 'tags' are unnecessary. Finally, I'm not sure the authors understand that Reach means the weapon can go out to 10ft, often making them that long too.

    All in all, however, it's a good book, despite my gripes, I still say it's worth what I paid for.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Battlemasters & Berserkers
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    Akashic Classes: Kheshig
    by Vladimir R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2021 15:10:09

    So what in Abaddon is a Kheshig?

    Introduction The Keshig is the second in a new series of Akashic Classes by Legendary Games, which is an amazing company that maintains a high production value and quality. The Volus was a really good first entry for the series. But can they maintain the quality in this realm of Akashic Magic? Read on!

    What’s inside? 36 pages of content (not counting covers, ads etc.) for 10 bucks, which include:

    -The Kheshig Akashic class: Before I get into the class, I again got intrigued by the name and found that the Kheshig, favored/blessed in Mongolian, were the imperial guard and bodyguards of the Mongolian royalty, like Ghengis Khan himself! A great name for a protector/tank class!

    Anyway, Kheshig is a veilweaving class, with a warrior chassis (full BAB/d10 HD, good Fortitude AND Will save, simple and martial weapons and all armor and shield proficiencies, including tower shields), but more skilled (4 skill points for 15 skills, including physical, social and some scholarly options) that has many core abilities.

    Fighting Style: at 1st and 4th levels, the Kheshig learns a fighting style, from a list of 7 (basically 2 weapons, weapon and shield, one handed weapon and a free hand, two-handed weapon, unarmed, ranged volley and ranged snipe). At 7th and 10th, the Kheshig gets to improve one of their two chosen fighting style. While most of this fighting styles are just a specific bonus feat (or two in the case of the ranged ones), there are some nice unique abilities. I am not sure about how the Titan Weapon style works, since it can damage even dodge-based defenses. I would have worded it that if it doesn’t connect to normal AC but would connect against touch AC, it deals the damage. Cool array of options that will sadly typecast characters (not an uncommon thing among martials).

    Veilweaving: Kheshig have wisdom-based veilweaving abilities (nice, not enough wisdom-based veilshapers), going from 1 to 6 veils shaped during their progression and have the possibility to get up to 6 binds from among all 10; interestingly, they get to CHOOSE some of these binds from among a small lists (two low, to middle, one high, and one “whole”). All in all, VERY powerful options, AND a Kheshig can beat even Viziers in the level race to get access to binds. This is problematic since each chakra has a level requirement, with very few exceptions.

    Their maximum essence capacity also increases thrice, another common aspect of Akashic classes but I’m not sure this is ok for a class with this chassis. It can be argued that of the two other Akashic melee-ers, Daevics and Solars, the later DO get the 3 increases too, so ok. The Kheshig also gets the ability to shape up to two veils with their Akashic Armory ability, as long as these veils have the so-called Enhanced descriptor; a nice aspect of this ability is that these veil don’t take a Chakra slot, so you could have a hands veil plus an enhanced hands veil. There is another “small” problem here, since at least the “weapon” veils can be bound to ANY Chakra at level 2! Body bind? The ones that are like veilweavers’ capstones and mostly gotten at level 20? Yeah, at level 2! Even if the veils contained here don’t have binds to the body slot (and at least one do), this is not the only veil source out there, so in my opinion this ability need to be polished. The “armor” veil doesn’t suffer from this ability since the extra Chakra-bind doesn’t happen until 18th level.

    To empower these 6+2 veils, plus their “bodyguard” ability, the Kheshig kind of follows the medium-BAB progression for essence but 1 level faster, starting with 1 and finishing with 15. They get extra essence that can’t be used for veils, though. At every 3 levels, they get the “reinforced” ability, which gives them 5 extra hit points AND an extra point of essence that can empower veils. Nice, but it would have been better if put in the class table, under the essence column, after a +.

    The class-defining ability would be Essence-Bound Duty, which links you to a “charge”, and is a great ability concept-wise. The execution? Not so much. When D^D transitioned from 2nd to 3rd edition, one of the things they got the F away from was miss chances. Magic Resistance was a percentile-based defense mainly found in monsters and some OP non-core PC races. It was great when you resisted a meteor swarm, but it was a B when your opponents did the same. It-s main problem is that it didn’t take into account the power of the caster, and there were incredibly few ways to lower it. In 3rd edition they changed it to work in a way similar to AC, a much more elegant solution. So, why do I mention it? Because with a one-hour ritual, your Charge gets a 10% miss chance against PHYSICAL attacks AND spells that don’t also target the Kheshig. This is way too strong, because it negates smites, criticals, and any special attack the opponent uses, PLUS spells and powers, BUT does nothing about attacks that are not spells… like veils. Your charge has to be in your line of sight, but if you are within 15 feet, the percentage doubles. With essence, you increase the miss chance by 5% each! If we take into account that essence capacity normally gets up to 4, but Kheshigs get 3 improvements, and with a feat you get one more… you can invest 8 essence for a whopping +40%, for a total of 50% that DOUBLES WITHIN 15 FEET! We are talking about the highest levels of play here, but come on! There are a lot of ridiculous situations this can lead to. The Keshig protecting a warrior at distance in a contest to cheat, or my favorite… 2 high level Kheshig protecting each other! Immune to physical combat!

    As you can see, the basic ability is broken as all hell. I would give the charge a deflection bonus to AC, or DR, and resistance to saves, both improved if the Kheshig is near but not doubling the bonus. Maybe give the charge a higher bonus if they were really weak, maybe even evasion, and lowering its power if the charge was higher level than the Kheshig. THEN I could stomach the ability. But as it is? Well. Apart from this, the ability advances in a couple of ways. When someone attacks your charge, it becomes marked until you damage them OR a minute has passed. You get free movement (15 feet plus 5 per essence invested) as long as you get closer to the marked, and you get you veilweaving modifier (Wisdom) as a bonus to attack the marked, plus 1d6 damage that increases by 1 die every 3 levels (7d6), that is Akashic damage that can be reduced/resisted. I think this bonus to attack should be limited to your level to prevent dipping, and the damage is too much for my taste but not OP. At 5th you get immediate movement (too much if you count the free movement you get as a base, plus your normal movement) if your charge is attacked, but only if you end adjacent to your charge, AND you can automatically redirect the original attack to yourself with no roll needed, and your charge becomes immune to fear. At 9th your charge gets the hardness of a veil (cool), and they get temporary hp similar to a veil’s. At 13th, marks now last for 1 minute or at the end of any turn where you damage the marked foe, and out of the blue you become immune to mind-affecting effects. Such a powerful ability would at least deserve its own entry in the class table and class feature section, and flat-out immunity is too much. At 17th level, your charge becomes immune to death effects (cool, and ok at the level gained), and if your charge would be reduced below 1 hp, you can receive that excess damage.

    Finally, the Kheshig becomes immune to aging, removes all existing aging effects and cannot be magically aged at 19th, and at 20th they get a Karmic Justice capstone ability that makes all damage inflicted by marked foes that doesn’t include you is also inflicted halved on the marked.

    If you don’t want to be a protector, you can choose to be a hunter, you can change Essence-bound Duty and Karmic Justice, and let’s just say that, while powerful, it is way less busted than the original. Finally, the Kheshig includes 2 general Favored Class Bonuses for any character, and that’s it.

    -8 feats: 1 makes you a good bodyguard and 3 of them are Combat feats (one for shields and two for one-handed combat, although these ones are kind of busted, getting up to +7 dodge bonus to AC). The other 4 deal with the weaponry veils, one lets you enchant your own veils, increasing the creation DC if you don’t have a prerequisite. However, this can be completely ignored by another feat that lets you change the configuration of abilities each time you shape your veil, and one even gives you the ability to auto-enhance all veils you shape, by having a kind of “track” of enhancements that apply to each veil. Some of these might have been class features of the Kheshig, since as they stand they are too good to pass on by most veilshapers. The only one I’m going to use without modification is one that lets you store a weapon veil in the feat, and you can change it with the one you shaped for the day. Cool!

    -1 new weapon: Armored Fist, a new weapon that has the new “unarmed” special ability, which lets you use any unarmed special ability, and if enhanced passes the enhancements to all your unarmed attacks AND even some natural attacks. RIP Amulet of Mighty Fists (sigh). A really nice idea, but the execution? Not so much.

    -Veilweaving section: As in the Volur book, here we have a pimped-up section that AGAIN doesn’t include the ability to suppress your own veils. Apart from this, the book includes 4 new veil descriptors. Enhanced is the most important, since it affects all combat equipment veils and many class features and feats in this book. As I mentioned in my review of the Stormbound, I think this ability is interesting but care must be taken since, at it is, it eliminates the need for magical weapon and armor. Why? Because one of the beauties of Akashic Magic is that everyone can access any non-special veil by taking a feat, and any warrior would want an immortal, enhanced weapon, shield and/or armor. This lets any character steps in the toes of classes like the Aegis, Soulknife or Zodiac. Of course it costs money, but the cost is not increased like when using an Amulet of Mighty Fists, and even there the Amulet itself can be sundered. This ability BEGS to be costlier and more developed, including the possibility of damaging the enhancement of the veil. And wait, it also makes you proficient in the weapon/armor shaped, so forget about taking any Armor or Weapon Proficiency feats AND just take Shape Veil. Armor even appears on you when shaped!

    The Steady descriptors change the way DC to save from veils work, using the normal formula for special attacks. Paired is a descriptor that can accompany Enhanced veils, and basically shares the enhancement from the veil to the “paired” weapon, shield or unarmed. The final descriptor is Undetectable, which makes veils REALLY difficult to detect. Like in the Volur book, here you can find the Kheshig’s veil list. It is very small, but Kheshig also include ALL veils in this book (57!).

    -14 weapon veils: These… are really cool! After a kind of sour taste from the previous sections, we find really cool options, and some of these have mini-engines that make them more dynamic in combat. There are some that need polish or a hit with the Nerf bat, but all in all are a cool addition to the weapon veils already there. Some of my faves include: Blade of Stone and Air is a cool bastard sword that has two modes, depending if you use it one or two handed, and generate a charge for the opposite element that can be spent in unique maneuvers. Dancing Glaive (and the also the Staff of Ten-Thousand Truths) is the kind of thing I have been waiting for since I started playing D&D 3rd, converting you into a martial artist that can fight with a 2-handed weapon AND still attack unarmed. Hardlight Axe can give you twin axes AND let you attack at range as if you were in melee, with strong Castlevania vibes. Speaking of cool vibes, Juggernaut Blade gives you a sword so massive that you can use it AND even enchant it as a shield, Dragon Slayer from Berserk much? Eff yeah! AND you get the option to perform some cool maneuvers. Mark of the Gate Guardian gives you twin shields… however, as written, it doesn’t specify that these shield bonus stack, so I guess it needs to include that this is a special exception. Still Waters, Clear Skies is the “weapon” I mentioned had more than simple hand Chakra-bind, including hand, feet, shoulder AND body! Why? Because this veil emulates an ancient martial artist’s style! So, Kheshig can at 2nd level get the benefits of the body bind… which to my surprise is not really THAT OP, but still… An awesome veil notwithstanding!

    -5 ranged weapon veils: These ones are also cool, even if they ALSO need some polish and Nerf-batting. Black Iron Cannon is a massive ship’s cannon that can be used as a great club! It deals WAY too much damage, attacks touch AC, and binding it reduces its “balance” caveat. Cerulean Bow mentions its ties to its “past” (the Incarnum system), and while it has an interesting engine, it is WAY TOO BROKEN! Dance of Daggers is another cool idea, bad execution, since in the feet of a monk, it can destroy whole units! Der Freischütz creates a rifle that never misfires… a no-brainer feat for Gunslingers, without counting its abilities. Wolfhound’s Crossbow is the last one, and is my favorite one and the least broken. The major problem of this section is the firearms, since it eliminates their balancing caveat… their rarity of not only the weapon itself, but also its blackpowder AND munitions.

    -8 armor veils: These veils include 2 full-plates, 2 breastplates, 2 leathers (both with no max Dex bonus) and two unarmored armors. These last two add any enhancement they have as armor bonuses that don’t stack with normal armor. Weird, since they normally are counted as enhancement bonuses to your AC that stack with base armor, so if you had a +5 leather armor and +8 bracers of armor, you would have a total of +13 armor bonus (the higher of your armor bonuses plus the enhancement bonus). My guess is that this was used as a balancing factor, but that is not the way it should work. Anyway, I will cover one of each. Armor of Steel and Silk is a breastplate that has two modes, one that enhances your protection against melee and another against ranged. Juggernaut Plating is a full-plate that transform you into The Juggernaut from Marvel, giving you great demolishing abilities. Superior Reflexes is an unarmored armor that gives you your veilweaving-modifier to AC, with no mention of not stacking with the monk’s AC bonus. And Tattered Clothes give you a miss chance that increases each time your opponents miss… sigh. Another cool batch of veils that again need to be polished.

    -30 general veils: The final section of the book. I liked most of the veils. Just to mention a few: Charred Angel Wings give you a ranged attack that impedes flying! However, as written, the attack can only be used against flying targets, and completely destroys flying encounters; this is a steady veil, so its DC will always be high, and it can be increased by essence! OP even if it is situational, but the imagery is awesome! The humble Delver’s Gloves, when boun to the headband, let’s you see in magical darkness! Grace of the Goddess is an amazing healer’s veil that, while it doesn’t heal hp, it helps you both in magical and non-magical healing. The really cool Honeycomb Necklace gives you the great thematic ability of becoming “honey-tongued” that, if you fail at persuading, let’s you VOMIT A BEE SWARM! Lion’s Heart makes you immune to fear and resistant to mind-affecting effects. Mask of the Hunter is a Ranger’s wetdream, Visage of Hunger is an awesome veil that gives you a bite attack while frightening people around you, and Wildfang Necklace let you roar to buff allies around you, and can even dispel fear effects on your allies when bound! There are many winners here that can be used just as they are, some need polishing/nerfing, and then there’s Dark Heart. I wouldn’t allow this veil since it lets you nova very easily and can frustrate players when they botch their nova, since it leaves them in a really bad shape.

    Of Note: The imagery conjured by the options found in this book are really cool!

    Anything wrong?: As noted during my review, this book need another round or two of balancing AND polishing. ALL of it.

    What I want: Sigh… The last book in this line excited me way less at the beginning, but I ended liking it. This one? The exact opposite. I was very excited and was left blue, because of the unrealized potential. I BEG Legendary Games to give this book the polish is deserved.

    What cool things did this inspire?: A lot! Some of the veils are really character-defining, and if I have the time I will make some archetypes for non-Akashic classes, I at least have a Ranger and a Paladin one already lurking in my mind!

    Do I recommend it?: As it is, sadly no. I would recommend this book only to those people that have the time, patience and system knowledge to “fix” it. I would rate the crunch as 2, the fluff as 5, for an average of 3.5, rounded down because I don’t think this book deserves the same score as the Volus. So, 3 stars it is. HOWEVER, I’m willing to change my rating if this book gets the improvement it deserves.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Akashic Classes: Kheshig
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    Legendary Adventures: Epic 5E
    by Sir R. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2021 21:54:54

    Just received my books. Although I have not had time to play, I have thumbed through. I very much look forward to diving into this and squeezing every ounce of adventure out of it. Fantastic art work!!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Adventures: Epic 5E
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    Akashic Classes: Volur
    by Vladimir R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2021 14:30:12

    So what in the abyss is a Volur?

    Introduction The Volur is the first in a new series of Akashic Classes by Legendary Games, which is an amazing company that maintains a high production value and quality. Can they maintain the quality in this realm of Akashic Magic? Read on!

    What’s inside? 23 pages of content (not counting covers, ads etc.) for 7 bucks, which include:

    -The Volur class: Before I get into the class, I got intrigued by the name and found some interesting things. Apparently, Volür are ancient Norse female seers, an Indian lake where two rivers confluence, and a Canadian metal band. I liked the connections with seers, and the confluence of the rivers has some ties with the abilities of the class… and I like metal LOL

    Anyway, Volur is a veilweaving class, with a wizard-like chassis (low BAB/d6 HD, good Will save, simple weapons and light armor proficiencies, plus bucklers), but more skilled (4 skill points for 21 skills, including physical, social and scholarly options) that has 3 main abilities.

    Veilweaving: Volur have modest charisma-based veilweaving abilities, going from 1 to 6 veils shaped during their progression and having 7 binds (feet, head, shoulders, headband, neck, belt and body), but their veil list includes veils for all 10 slots; their maximum essence capacity also increases thrice, another common aspect of akashic classes. To empower these 6 veils, the Volur gets 1 point of essence per level, like most Akashic classes out there. It is worth noting that their veilweaving is their only class feature that depends on essence, since most akashic classes have other ways to invest it, so feel free to invest it in your favorite veils.

    Brandweaving: This book includes 16 new veils with the Brand descriptor, which mark them as special debuffing veils (more info below). HOWEVER, the Volur gets to shape them in a different, unique way. By brandweaving a veil, it doesn’t occupy a slot, is treated as if invested with max essence, and determines its DC using the formula of special attacks (10 + ½ Volur level + Cha mod). Volur go from 1 brand at 1st level to 5 at 18th. Starting at 3rd level, they can treat some of their brandweaved veils as bound without requiring a chakra slot, regardless of the chakra, ending with all brands bound at 20th. This could be problematic since the level at which you get chakra binds is an important balance caveat. As masters of brand veils, Volur can later place more than one at a time AND can place and maintain them at longer ranges. A funny design glitch is that they get to mass brand faster that they get extra brands, even finishing with the ability to apply 6 brands at 20th level when they only get access to 5 brands. There is the possibility that, if you shape a brand using your normal veil slots, you COULD benefit from this ability, but I would’t do that since you wouldn’t get all the special benefits of brandweaving, but the possibility is there if you want.

    Akashic Spirit: Each Volur start with the company of an AS, which regenerates fully when shaping veils if damaged. The spirit can manifest physically or can merge with the Volur’s essence and basically ceases to exist. While I wouldn’t call the Volur a pet class, the AS works more like a familiar, a tiny outsider companion born from the knowledge stored in the Akashic Records that has a slime-like appearance, can’t hold things or wear armor, but CAN wear other magical items. Like other familiars/animal companions, this AS has its own progression table, which includes common things like evasion, shared senses, telepathic link, spell resistance and ability score increases, and can deliver akashic touch or touch attack effects. The AS starts with 10 in all ability scores but Dexterity, which gets a 16 (10 in strength for tiny? wow).

    Each AS can take many forms, 16 in fact, depending on the aspectual circle they are tied to. Each of the 4 Aspectual Circles include 4 aspect options, and the Volur starts with access to 1 circle and get access to another at 7th and 16th levels, never getting access to all 4 circles. Each aspect dictates the appearance of the AS, gives it a new form of movement, and gives the Volur a passive supernatural ability. At 6th level, the Volur can embody the AS’ aspect, changing his appearance and getting a new ability. The 4 circles are:

    -The Circle of the Cycle includes the aspects of Decay, Growth, Life and Death. Their themed abilities include temporary hit points, the decay of detrimental effects that decreases its duration, changing the positive/negative energy “polarity”, and all of their embodied abilities manifest as powerful auras. The most powerful aspect in my opinion and one I would allow only at a higher level.

    -The Circle of the Elements is weirdly not tied to the 4 basic elements, but their energies (acid, electricity, fire and ice). All of them change your AS’s slam damage to the appropriate energy, give you a stacking resistance to said energy, and the embodiment of acid and ice give you a defensive ability, while the ones for electricity and fire give you an offensive one.

    -The Circle of the Wilds’ 4 aspects are Avians, Mammalians, Piscines and Verminia. Each gives you a modest situational skill bonus and if embodied lets you transform into a small, medium or large-sized animal or magical beast.

    -The Circle of the World does includes the aspects of the 3 remaining classical elements, Air, Earth and Water, plus Plants. Their abilities are a bit more powerful/useful than the last Circle’s, and if embodied the World’s aspects change you into an elemental-like creature.

    Finally, the Volur includes 2 general Favored Class Bonuses for any character, 4 Circle-improving FCB for the 4 non-human blooded core races, and one for humans that can increase the DC of a specific brand veil. Remember that both half-elves and half-orcs can access their parents’ racial FCB.

    -5 feats: 4 of these let you dabble in Volur-ness, letting you maintain brands at longer ranges or branding two opponents at the same time, and letting familiar summoners call an Akashic Spirit (bound to a specific aspect), an even embody it at higher levels with another feat. The only feat useful for a Volur is Painful Severance, which damages a branded creature that gets its brand destroyed with a special “akashic pulse of power” that ignores damage reduction and energy resistance. This “akashic pulse” should be elaborated on, especially since it appears in the newer Akashic Classes book.

    -3 magic items: The Veilbreaking +1-equivalent weapon ability works like Bane, but only for veils, and also ignore veil’s hardness. I would have loved a more powerful version that worked also on akashic classes and creatures, or that suppressed the veil for longer, but nice nonetheless. The Amulet of the Unbranded gives you resistance to saves, but doubles the bonus against brands. Finally, Totem of Brand Prevention is a slotless magical item that is destroyed if you fail a save against a brand, and even then it suppresses the brand for a couple of rounds.

    -Veilweaving Section: This includes a more polished presentation of the section we have read in other Akashic magic books, and even mentions to “break the rules” like shaping two veils in the same chakra under the Chakra Slots section, or the ability to bind veils without having levels in an Akashic class. All in all an improved section that has only one fault: it doesn’t include the ability to suppress your own veils, which doesn’t appear in Akashic Mysteries but does appear in each of the author’s books after that. For some reason, it was decided that this was the place for the Volur’s veil list. This section also has the new Brand descriptor for veils and everything you need to know to use them.

    -16 Brand veils: These veils include which classes have access to them, including all 3 “core” plus the ones in Akashic Trinity, AND the Stormbound. No Brand includes the Helmsman, another class published in a Legendary Games book, nor the Lunar Zodiac, and I don’t know if it is an omission or a design decision. Also, the “highest chakra” these veils can be bound to is the Belt chakra, which normally should be accessed at 16th level. I mention this because of the special Brandweaving abilities of the Volur. I-m not going to cover all of them, but I will describe some of them:

    Blight of the Elements reduces resistance to one of the 4 basic types of energy damage, treating immune creatures as having a base of 50 before reduction. Essence further reduces this and when bound, if the resistance is reduced to 0, the target becomes vulnerable, receiving 50% more damage! Bloodvine Embrace has some cool imagery, damages the target as a poison effect (so creatures immune to poison receive no damage), and heals the “brander” if it has at least half of its HDs. If bound, the veil sprouts “bloodberries” that can heal others. Cloak of the Leper creates a kind of contagious mark that deals nonlethal damage to the branded and those “foes” near him, and if successfully saves against this veil the brander can pass it on a creature that failed, and if bound ACTUALLY makes copies of itself on surrounding creatures AND can deal lethal damage! Really cool! Dancer’s Curse penalizes the branded if they don’t move a certain distance, and even damages them if bound. Nice enough, but a Volus can combo it with Grasping Chains, damaging the creature if it moves AND making it more difficult to do it! Mageblight causes supernatural abilities that take actions to use, spells cast, and even spell-like abilities to fail a small percentage of the time, increasable with essence, and if bound the effect CAN happen but affects the branded! There are other cool ones, like putting a mask of stone on foes, making them suspicious of their allies, charm them, and other nifty effects. There is even one called Sword of Damocles for Damocles’ sake!

    Of Note: The brand veils look suspiciously familiar to an idea I gave the author of Akashic Mysteries for its unrealized sequel book LOL. But I’m happy someone got the same idea and ran with it. The Volus might seem a bit all over the place (modest veilweaver, powerful debuffer, druid wannabe), but has an interesting variant of veilweaving. I think it is an interesting idea AND everyone is invited to the party, since all of the 16 veils can be used by other Akashic classes (but the Lunar, sorry mah guy).

    Anything wrong?: The favored class bonus could include at least orcs, if not many other thematically-fitting races. Finally, while I’m still not sure about the difference in power of Circles, and auto chakra-bound brand veils of the Volus, I enjoyed the book, even if it needs a bit of polish here and there (like in the mass branding ability or the veilshaping section).

    What I want: A Daevic that merges with an Akashic spirit instead of a daeva would be interesting, as would be a hippie Guru philosophy or a Vizier mystic attunement that deals with the Circles. The spirit itself would make for an interesting variant of elementals, or even work as aspectual templates! Also, at least one class feature that benefited from investing essence, since right now they are the only class, apart from Viziers, that don’t have any class features that benefits from essence-investment.

    What cool things did this inspire?: A Suli with a spirit attuned to the Circle of the Cycle would be cool as a non-focused elementalist. Also, with some of the veils out there that deal with disease and decay, I will device a nasty opponent for my players.

    Do I recommend it?: Yes! Even if the class itself didn’t excite me as much as, say, the Zodiac, it still is a cool Akashic debuffer. AND the Brands themselves are really cool additions to other Akashic classes’ arsenals. Taking into account the small details, I will give it 4.5 stars, rounded down. Nice work!



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Akashic Classes: Volur
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    Second Edition Classes: Cabalist
    by Chris D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2021 21:32:40

    An intriguing new class for PF2, which happens to explore a fair amount of the territory that the canonical Witch class does -- the cabalist has a familiar and serves 'mysterious entities that are well beyond anyone’s understanding'. It's a bit more focused than the Witch, exclusively an Occult caster where the Witch can partake of all four of the traditions, and whether either of those choices is a strength or a weakness is entirely subjective. On the whole, I think it offers enough of a different take that it could replace the Witch in campaigns with an Occult focus, like many horror-tinged settings, but I'm uncertain of the notion of allowing them both to exist in the same setting.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Second Edition Classes: Cabalist
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    Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium
    by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2021 13:31:54

    Full disclosure, I was a backer for the Kickstarter for the Forest Kingdom Compendium and even had two fey queen sisters added as rulers to one of the kingdoms. More, as a GM and Player I look more towards substance of lore, world building, and rules which allow me to make interesting characters. Measuring game mechanics and crunch is not my strength.

    Still, I will try to be as objective as possible. Which means starting out, I have to say I love what has been offered and may even making a campaign with this using Wardens of the Wild as well as the other main resource.

    This proved just about everything one might need in creating a more wilderness campaign anywhere from Arthurian Legend, to exploration and the pioneer frontier, building your own kingdom despite the dangers of the unforgiving land. Where the forest is felt to hold the greatest mystery and challenge.

    From Explorer who maps out his travels, to the Fey Mesmerist that focuses on different branches of magic such as enchantment, illusion, nature, to light and shadow. There is the Greenweaver Kineticist, to the Hidden Guardian a mix of paladin ideals with the ranger focus. The Huntsman who calls on older spirits then many mediums, and the more satire or humor loving Jester Bard, to the healing focused Knight-Surgeon. or the Cavalier who choses to be the protector of the forest by joining the Order of the Woodlands.

    Finally, one of my favorites, the Unseelie Ovate who is a more casting focused Druid who forgoes a domain or animal companion for magic of the admittedly darker fey as well to transform into a fey themselves. Throw in the Fey Spell Lore from Ultimate Intrigue and you can add even more spells.

    You have different kingdoms to use, each with flavorful characters and interesting settings, no magic and magic items, rules and ideas for adding the fey into your campaigns, to rules and resources needed involving Royal Tournaments & Fairs.

    The new spells may need to be taken with consideration, as magic is often the most concerning or divisive aspect of many games when it comes to balance, yet I haven't so far seen anything which stands out as being an issue personally.

    I'd like to make special mention of feats section, especially the Shade of the Woodland line for evils Druids and villains for a more nature focused campaign. A line of feats which in Pathfinder lore make a character a servant of the dark and twisted god Zon-Kuthon. These feats, the way they interact with each other and help form a character is fascinating in and of itself. I have spent hours trying different ideas or considering how they could come together in created a character or encounter.

    Great job on these and the other feats, perhaps leaving a player or GM wondering how they can get together the feats they want and what they have to take out. Just remember, Fairy Blessing or Shade of the Woodlandare feats which are a prequequisite to most of the rest and in some cases both.

    All in all, I feel the Forest Kingdom Compendium is a great resource and in my opinion well worth the cost. It may not be for everyone, but for others it could be a well loved resource.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium
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    Ultimate Strongholds
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2021 13:36:27

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This (final) installment of the Ultimate Campaign plug-ins clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page lead-in + Table-Index (nice), 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review via direct donation.

    Okay, so we start with something rather nice, namely a cost differentiation via furnishing quality levels: The supplement introduces 4 new quality levels – 2 below (destitute and poor) and two above (wealthy and extravagant) for rooms, with corresponding effects. Good catch: All rooms take at least a day to make and the cost of a room may not be reduced below zero when skimping on its actual properties. This is just the start, though: The book does something I really wanted to get, and that is materials: The book establishes wood as the baseline for room construction and then proceeds to provide a massive table that lists thickness, hardness, HP/inch, costs (in GP and LB), cost of gold and goods per wall segment, and labor/time factors – and the materials are vast: Want that lead-coated lab? Possible. Want elysian bronze or frost-forged steel? Force fields? Well, guess what? Now you can! Did I mention the option to make even stuff from frickin’ viridium? And yes, magical treatment is included. This table is massive, makes sense, and is awesome. Want paper walls? Or ones of frickin’ angelskin or griffon mane? Well, guess what: This has you covered.

    The pdf also provides the means for room augmentations: Concealed doors, secret doors, fortifications – really cool! This is a strong start for the supplement indeed!

    The pdf then proceeds to do something useful: While I know that my players prefer to exactly plan out dimensions of a building etc., I know that not all groups are interested in that sort of thing, so if your group prefers handwaving such details, you’ll still get two different methods that let you quickly calculate the size of a building, one if you haven’t decided on squares for each room, and one that works if you have. This is smooth, and many a table will welcome the increase in speed this offers. Minor nitpick: There is a pg. XX remnant here, but it only would have pointed back 3 or so page, so there’s no comfort detriment here. At a later point, there’s a Table x-5 reference that should instead point to 2-5, but once more, not a deal breaker.

    We proceed to cover exterior walls and roofs, including their augmentation possibilities, which include parapets and embrasures, buttresses and more. Windows and the like are covered before the next section that made me smile from ear to ear: MOBILE BUILDINGS. Including walking, rolling, flying, teleporting, etc.! :D Yes, now you can make your own Baba Yaga hut! You can make your own anime-style rolling fantasy-tank fortress! And we get more: Dumbwaiters, dimensional locking, extra-dimensional rooms, stable and sealed environments…and yes, of course, fortifications are also covered.

    …know what? It’s really funny. The engine presented so far has actually inspired me as a GM to tinker with the material. It has inspired adventure ideas I need to try out. And we’re just 11 pages in at this point.

    The book adds another level of strategy and tactics to stronghold creation, in that it actually takes the terrain into account, with material costs by location! I love this. Chapter 1 is already a resounding success, as far as I’m concerned.

    Chapter 2 then proceeds to deal with siege warfare, classifying materials by Structure Points (SP), with conditions damaged, breached and destroyed offering some sensible differentiation, and yes, HP per inch are also provided, allowing you to seamlessly run the respective environments in either “level”; the table has the rather nice additional property of actually allowing the GM to judge, at a glance, whether that spell actually managed to make a dent in the wall. That instance of the party using a wand of lightning bolt to blast through a wall? One glance at the table, and an experienced GM is set to go. Siege-weapon assembly with workers required, costs, weight, etc. is also handled: a heavy trebuchet clocks in at 10 tons, for example, and dismantling it requires some serious damage output! From double to repeating scorpions to springals, this chapter once more delivers and put a big smile on my face. Of course, where there are ranged siege weapons, there’s bound to be ammo, so from caustic shots to fetid (manura, corpses) shots to grappling bolts, there’s a lot going on here…and yes, we obviously also have escalade ladders, bridges, etc. Once more, this is a gem of a chapter.

    The book then proceeds to talk about how these downtime-rules-level building rules influence the game on the kingdom-rules-level, which includes accounting for the Ultimate Rulership options and the bombardment rules in Ultimate War. Kudos!

    Want more fantastic elements in the game? Well, chapter 4 has you covered, presenting exotic materials like bone or ooze as well as elemental stronghold rules such as sky castles or water fortresses, including unique hazards that can help drive home how unique these places are: Staring through a floor of solid cloud/air can be disquieting, slamming into a torrent of water acting as a wall rather painful – you get the idea. Really neat. If you are less inclined towards the elements, and more towards the fey, you’ll be happy to hear about the crystal palaces, hedge forts…or places with hive walls. Or flesh walls. Or web walls. And what about a castle that literally is a ghost/spirit? Well, guess what? Rules included. Awesome.

    The pdf then proceeds to introduce the notion of stronghold spells: Spells that (optionally – and I recommend adhering to that) work only within a stronghold to which the caster is attuned over a multi-day process. This pretty lengthy process also allows for the writing of some cool modules: Hold the fortress until the archmage has attuned to the stronghold! Nice. The spells include means to animate artillery, a battering ram like force bolt, and e.g. a very powerful spell that makes e.g. bardic performance apply to the entire stronghold (cool and sensible in fortress combat under the limitation noted before); extended consecration/desecration that applies to the entire stronghold, animating defenders as undead, making the fortress absorb (or emit) light, an extended variant of expeditious excavation, magical seals, creation of cauldrons, warning against aerial assaults (a magical air raid siren)…and there is a mighty spell that makes it really hard to outcast the lord of a fortress, wo gets some serious counterspelling mojo. This last spell is pure gold and makes sense in so many ways. I have read so many PFRPG spells at this point, it’s not even funny. As such, it should be noted that some of these managing to get me as excited as they did? That’s a big thing.

    Next up is the castellan 5-level prestige class, which gains up to +3 BAB-progression, +2 Fort- and Ref-saves, +3 Will-saves over its progression, 4 + Int skills per level, and requires both Intelligence and Charisma 13+ as well as multiple skills at 5 ranks…and a serious inventory of the stronghold. (As an aside: I like story-requirements like this.) Castellans get an investigator’s inspiration, treating their castellan levels as investigator levels and stacking levels for the ability, if applicable. While in their stronghold, castellans can move unimpeded in darkness, through crowds, etc.- - they literally know their stronghold like the back of their hands. Oh, and this includes bypassing difficult terrain (if it’s relatively static), traps, and free action opening of doors, including secret ones. Oh, and they can use a swift action to trigger traps they bypass with a 1 round delay. Chasing these guys in their home turf will not be fun for the poor sods that attempt it! They also have a very keen eye for disturbances in their chosen demesne.

    2nd level lets the castellan expend inspiration while making a save in their stronghold, adding +1d6 to the save. The castell and all allies at least 2 levels lower gain a +1 morale bonus to atk and damage and a +1 dodge bonus to AC while in the stronghold. These bonuses also apply to skill checks when operating siege engines. 4th level upgrades that to +2 and lets allies who gain this bonus within 30 ft. of you ignore difficult terrain and gain the door trick. You also get to use inspiration as a standard action to inspire competence or courage as a bard (again, stacking if applicable). 3rd level allows the castellan to use their inspiration to duplicate a variety of magical effects pertaining to the stronghold, including some of the new stronghold spells.

    At 3rd level, we have a +2 circumstance bonus on all opposed checks in the stronghold, immunity to feat and a +2 morale bonus on all saving throws (+4 vs. mind-affecting), and, if a spellcaster, immediate action inspiration use for counterspelling. This level also allows for object related magics via inspiration-expenditure. 5th level nets Leadership (or an upgrade for it) and the option to teleport around within the stronghold via inspiration use. I’ve seen a lot of PrCs. This is a great one. It’s focused without losing its theme, it has some seriously cool narrative tricks, and manages to capture the feel of the concept very well. Kudos.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very strong on both a formal and rules-language level; with the exception of the XX-remnants noted above I noticed no issues worth complaining about. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artworks provided will be familiar to fans of Legendary Games. Now, there is one thing that made me grit my teeth: This book has no bookmarks. NONE. For a reference pdf that you’ll use time and again, with tables and all; that’s a SERIOUS comfort-detriment as far as I’m concerned. If you only want to go for the pdf, detract a star from my final verdict. Personally, I’d recommend getting print + pdf anyways for this.

    Ben Walklate and Jason Nelson deliver pure frickin’ excellence. … Want to know more? Okay, so, if you’re using the kingdom building rules, this s a must-own purchase, but you already know as much by now, right? Well, even if you are NOT interested in kingdom building AT ALL, if you couldn’t care less, this is STILL worth its asking price. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to play a badass siege scenario? The castellan PrC can make for a truly frightening boss for a party to face down…or intercept! The stronghold spells will require some serious thinking and tactics even from the notoriously powerful PFRPG adventurer group trying to best a stronghold, and the plethora of siege weapons and their stats alongside the wealth of cool global features for fortresses is useful in regular dungeon design as well. In short: This is a fantastic purchase even if you really don’t like the regular kingdom building/mass combat rules! So yeah, this is an apex-level product, Legendary Games at their very best. It’s good enough that I can’t bring myself to strip a star of my final rating for it, in spite of the annoying lack of bookmarks. However, there is one thing the book has to lose, and that’d be my “best of”-tag, which it REALLY deserved; for a module, I might have shrugged off the lack of bookmarks, but for a rules-book, that really hampers the utility of the pdf. Hence, my final verdict will “only” be a resounding recommendation to pretty much all fans of PFRPG’s first edition, with 5 stars + seal of approval. For use at the table, get print; other than that, there is no caveat that diminished the unadulterated joy I felt when tackling this book and its content.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Ultimate Strongholds
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    Star Classes: Envoys
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2021 07:15:54

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the Star Classes-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue by my patreon supporters.

    So, this pdf starts off with a somewhat troubling observation that was pretty widely-spread at the start of the system’s genesis, namely that the envoy is too weak. This notion is one that is understandable, as it is born from the approach of looking at the envoy as though it was a PFRPG-class; it is still an assertion that doesn’t hold up to actual playing experience. The envoy is an excellent support character in SFRPG, with unrivalled Stamina replenishing options, among other things. The envoy isn’t strong in the sense that their direct damage output is concerned, but in the way in which they act as a support character and damage multiplier for other classes. They are, in a way, both the party face and commander, and unlike the bard, they have a lot of different routes to go by.

    In order to put the “weak” envoy class into context, let us take a look at it before going into the nit and grit of this book.

    The envoy’s clever feint lets you select an enemy you can sense and make a Bluff check. If you FAIL, the enemy is flat-footed against you through your next turn. If you SUCCEED, this extends to the entire party. This is a LOT for a standard action, one of the best reliable debuffs there are. Dispiriting taunt is also a potent reliable option. At 4th level, with clever attack, you get that for free. Mathematically, alternating between Clever Attacks and full attacks will net you a higher DPR than sticking to full attacks – even if you’re on your own, without the impact this has for your allies! Combo’d with convincing liar, this is even more brutal.

    Get ‘Em lets you retain your damage output due to the activation action, and doesn’t require a skill-check, so it’s consistent. Improved get ‘em makes a strong option even better. Sudden shift is a great commander repositioning gambit that is super useful and phenomenal for realigning the battlefield. Same goes for hurry – while it doesn’t seem to be as potent on paper, cover and positioning are more important in SFRPG (they make up the equivalent of 3 – 4 item levels in AC!) than they were in PFRPG, so yeah – potent even in its base version. This is btw. also the reason watch out is pretty darn awesome in all but melee. This one is particularly hardcore when combo’d with an operative. And the improved version? Grant an ally an extra standard action SANS RESTRICTIONS. Don’t quit allows you to help ignore save or sucks.

    Inspiring oration is a gamechanger that can and will make the difference between success and TPK more than once. Inspiring boost is better than the mystic’s spells for instances where you need to keep the party going through multiple encounters…etc. And that’s just the basics.

    Add to that the solid chassis, and you may not be out-DPRing the operative, but frankly, I’d rather have an envoy in my SFRPG party than a mystic in most circumstances. Also, know that the envoy has grenade proficiency, and that they can cause choking and are super cheap?

    The envoy doesn’t have to be a fighter if they don’t want to be one—you can actually play a pacifist envoy and still contribute to the game without sucking. They are an excellent support/buffing/debuffing class that has a ton of no-limit abilities and transcends all comparable SFRPG-classes, and if you want to play any type of leader-style starship captain? Envoy. The class is incredibly cinematic in its playing experience, and frankly, I’ve never seen an envoy not rock in play.

    So yeah, I think that the central premise underlying this supplement is WRONG.

    That being said, let us take a look at the suggested modifications to the envoy class: The pdf suggests providing an additional expertise talent at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, rather than every 4 levels. Additionally, the pdf suggests Extra Resolve as a free bonus feat at first level, as well as Combat Familiarity for free. Additionally, this pdf suggests getting rid of the prerequisites for any envoy improvisations, and if you do meet these prerequisites, you get the rapid action improvisation for the improvisation as well. Rapid action is a new 4th level improvisation that lets you choose on envoy improvisation that doesn’t require an attack roll from you or your ally, reducing the action to activate by one step. The improvisation may be applied up to twice to another improvisation, and it may be chosen more often. This is very strong – and ultimately not that rewarding, as it gears the envoy towards doing the same thing over and over instead of diversifying the tactical options.

    The pdf also suggests one envoy improvisation per level, and at 10th level, the rapid action improvisation for all envoy improvisations. The pdf does note that these should NOT all be used at once, and that they should be added if the class doesn’t perform in the way you want to.

    The pdf then provides two archetypes: The engram channeler has alternate class features at 2nd, 4th, 6th and 12th level, and the 2nd level ability nets an untyped +2 bonus to Engineering, Mysticism and Physical Science, and this bonus is also added to allies benefiting from Aid Another. 12th level provides a tale 10 option, take 20 with Resolve expenditure. The 4th level ability lets you meditate to manifest an incorporeal engram with KAC and EAC 15 as well as 1 Hit Point per level and SU flight using your skill bonuses. Problems here: ACs don’t scale, and if it’s destroyed, you lose “all engram-based abilities” for the day – okay, what’s that? All archetype-granted ones? This should have been clarified. At 6th level, we have the means to use a standard action to “trace a path up to 60 feet long” and make one attack targeting EAC. All enemies in that area take “1d6 electric[sic!] damage” – allies are exempt, and you are proficient and gain weapon specialization with it. Okay, this is not how the like is phrased in SFRPG. Also: 1d6?? At 6th level?? WTF. This should scale.

    The second archetype is the polymath, whose alternate class features are at 2nd, 6th, 9th and 18th level. 2nd level nets Second Identity, one of the new feats herein, as a bonus feat, and you may choose it multiple times, selecting a new theme each time. Second Identity lets you choose another theme, and switch between your themes in a process that takes one hour, but thankfully not the ability score bonus. 6th level lets you make Disguise checks (not capitalized properly – quite a few formatting snafus in the book; skills and Resolve often erroneously in lower caps, for example) when changing identities to escape notice. 9th level lets you spend a Resolve Point to change identities “As a full-round action.” SIGH This action does not exist in SFRPG. 18th level lets you have the benefits of two active themes at once.

    So, what about the improvisations? 2nd level has an option to ignore immunity to mind-affecting effects with your envoy improvisations, which is something I can get behind, but probably would situate at a higher level – or, even better, make the immunity selective and scale with class level/CR where it applies. Beyond the aforementioned rapid action, we have the option to spend a Resolve Point to make up to Charisma modifier allies not surprised when you aren’t. Anatomical exploit is a bit weird: When you or an ally deal damage, you get to spend a Resolve Point to add your expertise die to the attack’s damage roll. Hint: This is usually NOT worth spending a Resolve on. Oh boy, +1d8+3 damage at 17th level. If you spend Resolve on this ability, you’re frankly doing it wrong. Adding a penalty to saving throws to the effects of get ‘em can be found here; get out there lets you spend a swift action and a Resolve Point to select an ally – this ally acts on your initiative count -1, rather than on their own. At 12th level, this applies to Charisma modifier allies. Okay, so what if the ally has already acted before the envoy? No idea. The weird thing here is that this improvisation RAW exclusively works if the envoy is faster than the ally. On the plus-side: Spending a reaction and a Resolve Point to make an ally reroll their save, with a per-rest caveat? Yeah, I can see that one!

    The 6th level improvisations include an option that requires you spend 1 Resole Point and a move action and it provokes enemies into attacking you, but also grants allies AoOs versus them if they do. 10th level upgrades this to also include you. Considering that making an AoO requires a reaction, this one is a risky gambit. Compare that to continued inspiration, which lets you, as a standard action, extend the effects of an active envoy inspiration that usually lasts until the end of your next turn. This applies to allies within 60 ft. Okay…by how long? By a round? No clue. The ability doesn’t say. Using Resolve to change the flat-footed, off-kilter or off-target penalty to a crippling equivalent of your expertise die? Oh, and what about replacing the benefits of your covering fire, harrying fire or flanking to expertise die for one round? Brutal. This should definitely specify that the effects only apply to a single target per use. Compare that with push onwards: That one lets you, as a move action, grant an ally within 60 ft. an untyped +1 bonus to saving throws, and a save to prematurely end an effect on them, with 10th level upgrading that to AoE. The upgrade is very strong – the base version? Not so much. I also don’t think that a flat end should be here; since Don’t Quit already is perfectly serviceable.

    The 8th level improvisations include expert attack sans Resolve expenditure, Intimidate when an ally affects or damages a target, and reaction inspiring boost? Can see that one.

    The pdf also provides an array of new expertise talents that include broader proficiencies, the option to add expertise die to an ally’s check via aid another. I also liked the option to forego adding the expertise die when intimidating targets already shaken to increase condition severity. Indeed, the expertise talents with their options to forego adding the die for various effects. 1/day planar binding as a SP is interesting, and avoiding zone of truth etc.? Yeah, I like that. (As an aside – in this section, the persistent lack of italics for spells, which are sometimes presented in lower caps, sometimes as though they were feats, really irked me.) Depending on your build, always getting to roll expertise die twice and taking the better result can be a bit over the top.

    After this, we have an extension of skill uses: For example, using Bluff to appear as though an attack was lethal, or fool targets to think that another person made an attack. The latter can be very strong, just fyi. Calling for a truce and striking bargains, feigning death and manipulating your vocals, intuit assumptions and relationships – this section is pretty nifty and interesting. The new feat section includes rendering allies adjacent to you immune to being flat-footed, which can be pretty potent. Substituting a guarded step for an AoO, executing a combat maneuver or making an attack against a creature missed by an ally can be found. Another feat lets you substitute a critical effect that hit a target within the last round for your own – not sure if this is worth the feat. Reduced penalties for Deadly Aim exists, and Escape Route makes you not provoke AoOs when moving though spaces adjacent to your allies – this one is pretty epic with its tactical implications. I also liked Squad Maneuvering, which lets you take a guarded step as a reaction when an ally moves through one of your spaces. Squad Flanking is over the top: When you and an ally are adjacent to a creature, the creature is automatically flat-footed against your attacks—note that this is not an envoy-exclusive feat, and it has no prerequisites. Unbalanced Attack is pretty much…well, unbalanced. When making a combat maneuver versus a flat-footed target, you execute against KAC, not KAC +8. Remember: Another feat makes flat-footed versus you pretty much a given. Still, as a whole, there are more feats here I enjoyed than ones I’d consider problematic.

    The pdf closes with envoy creatures – a CR 16 vesk, a CR 18 copper dragon, a CR 9 human, a CR 10 devil, a CR 5 android, and a CR 6 oulbaene. The latter has the boldings missing in the offense section. The dragon lacks them in the first section. Statblocks featuring fly speeds don’t specify whether they are Ex or Su, and the devil lists a maneuverability of “good”, which doesn’t exist in SFRPG – that should be “average.” So yeah, couple of snafus here – the creatures are usable, though.

    Conclusion: Editing is weird and oscillates between being very precise and well-done, and being problematic. The same can’t be said about formatting – it’s just bad. If something has a formatting convention in rules, there’s a good chance the book misses it. I expect better from Legendary Games. Layout adheres to the series two-column full-color standard, with full-color artworks, some of which will be familiar to fans of Legendary Games. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.

    Matt Daley, with additional material by Jeff Lee, Lyz Liddell, Jason Nelson and Mike Shel, delivers a somewhat uneven supplement here, probably due to the different authors at work here.

    For a context that explains a lot: This book was released right in the time of the early days of the system, when the backlash to the envoy was in full swing—it took time to get used to the class, and as such, I think that the suggested power upgrades can and should be ignored. Thankfully, the book isn’t all about ramping up the power-level of the envoy, though it does require close GM-scrutiny—some aspects are imho OP. The incisions into the action economy of the class can end up being very strong, and I also think that quite a few of the options provide pretty excessive numerical boosts. That being said, at the same time, I can see several genuinely cool options in this book, and I’ll definitely pick a couple of them and add them to my game’s roster. Still, as a whole, the book is not a particularly unified experience regarding quality and power-level of its content. Now, usually, I’d consider going slightly higher for the gems herein, but considering the consistently and annoyingly flawed formatting here, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 3 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Star Classes: Envoys
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    Alien Bestiary (5E)
    by William M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2021 20:06:53

    The bestiary has proved an invaluable time saver, not just for the aliens in it but for all the old school monsters that were converted to 5e!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Alien Bestiary (5E)
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    Faerie Mysteries (5E)
    by C M W B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2020 13:47:40

    This is such a fun resource! I had a blast terrifying and befuddling my players as they explored the haunted woods that led them to the door of Baba Kawa, the hag that had been tormenting their village.

    Reminding me a little of the haunting rules from Pathfinder, the various mysterious (and other things) explored here are a fun way to explore a fey wonderland, akin to the new environmental effects in Tasha's, but with a bit more depth.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Faerie Mysteries (5E)
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    Sentence of the Sinlord
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/24/2020 08:39:32

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This massive module clocks in at 95 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages editorial, 2 pages introduction/ToC, 4 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 84 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

    So, this module is intended for level 20 characters, and mythic ones at that…mostly, that is. You see, the introduction of the adventure actually lists difficulties by mythic tiers, and these assessments are VALID. And yes, the module can be tackled without mythic powers, but that makes it one of the hardest modules ever, and means that pretty much every single battle risks TPKs. Still, if you’re like me and want a combat-puzzle par excellence, this might be worth contemplating. I generally recommend it for mythic tiers 1-5 for the best results; sans mythic tiers, it is ULTRA-brutal. The module also makes use of a TON of books and assumes serious PF1-familiarity. Then again, it’s a capstone – and not just for an AP. In a way, it’s a loveletter to the system and to what only PFRPG delivers with its intricate, strategic combats.

    And to Golarion.

    Much more than any other Legendary Games supplement, this makes a TON of use of the setting; from Castle Korvosa’s cellars to obscure metaplot references, the module features A LOT of little tidbits that the savvy fan will notice and appreciate. But how? Well, here’s the thing: While Legendary Games can’t well use Paizo’s IP, the renamed components are VERY CLEAR, and in the beginning, a handy list of terms/names is provided. With these, the module is one name-exchange away from being pretty much a module steeped in obscure Golarion lore. I love that, particularly considering that it’s an alternate post-finale-ish module for Return of the Runelords.

    At this point in time, PF2 and the AP are old enough that the existence of New Thassilon is not a SPOILER anymore – but this module poses a question: What if? What if the final runelord Sorshen (here genderswapped as Kazsethil, the fellow on the cover) had a bid for global dominance like the others and stuck to evil guns? That one phenomenal bid for all or nothing, that bookend to the age of rising runelords? This module follows this train of thought, and I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying that the module’s structure and challenges, to a degree, remind my of ole’ Karzoug and Xin-Shalast, and similar high-fantasy scenes from various APs. In fact, it almost feels a tad bit more audacious, more willing to embrace ultra-high fantasy – and that’s a good thing, for structurally, this is a kind of dungeon with a planar theme. In a relatively clever bid, it does not try to limit the capabilities of the characters, which is a good thing. Indeed, the module walks a good tightrope when it comes to making the party actually explore the dungeon instead of bypassing it – so kudos for that. While I personally prefer event-driven/grand scale operations in high-level gameplay, this does an admirable job when it comes to making an ultra-high-level group actually crawl through a dungeon, so kudos there.

    While we’re on the topic of structures and formal criteria: The module has hyperlinks for less commonly used spells, etc., we have read-aloud text, etc., and while I haven’t reverse-engineered all statblocks herein, I did the math for a couple, and was actually duly impressed. While there are glitches here and there, these tend to be in sections that matter less, like a ranged weapon for a melee-focused combatant, etc. Unless you’re diving into the nit and grit of the numbers, you won’t run into issues on the rules-front GMing this.

    I own both the pdf and the PoD-softcover; the latter has no name on the spine, which is a bit of a bummer. And which brings me to something I usually don’t mention in my reviews. Ever wondered why there aren’t more high-level modules? I mean, okay, they are hard to run, and harder to design…but that’s not all, right? Right. You see, high level adventures tend to sell not particularly well. They’re a small subsection of a subsection of the market, and this module, in many ways, feels like fan fiction that managed to get published. WAIT.

    I do NOT mean that in a disparaging way! Not in the slightest! Some of the best Ravenloft material ever written was penned by fans! And in many ways, this module reminded me of the good ole’ Kargatane and Fraternity of Shadows, save that its content, well, is for Golarion. What do I mean by that? Well, for a Legendary Games book in particular, the shoestring budget is somewhat evident. The maps are not impressive, at best okay and certainly are not as strong as many Michael Tumey has made in the past, and no properly-sized keyless player-facing versions are included, and the maps have 10-ft.-grids, which is a HUGE pain in a game where pretty much all abilities are based on 5-ft. grids. So yeah, you’ll have to redraw all maps. That SUCKS. I hate it.

    The majority the full-color art will be familiar for many GMs; particularly the layout irked me a bit: The lower border is reminiscent of the Horror-plug-ins in style (which is nice), but out of some strange glitch, the lower page border and the red seven-pointed star are very pixilated, which makes the lower border look messy. As a consequence of the pixilated lower border and the less than appealing maps, this is not an aesthetically-pleasing module. These rough edges also extend to the editing part; while the module can be run in a clean manner, there are quite a few hiccups, including rules-relevant (but minor) ones that do accumulate throughout the module.

    And yet, it does have something that many, many published adventures lack. An audacious love of the subject matter that oozes from every damn page of the module. The tactics and builds themselves help running the complex encounters, and from creature choice to scenes, the module pulls no punches.

    Heck, if you want to hear this module’s whole appeal made awesome-cheesy metal track, listen to “Beast in Black – Unlimited Sin” – the back cover’s tagline is by no accident an indirect variation of that song’s chorus. Picture the bombastic melodies and synth blasts of that track made module. That’s this adventure. And I mean this as someone who adores this track. This pumped up, hyper sense of epic conflict? Yeah, that’s the tone of this module down to a “T”.

    Okay, this is pretty much as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

    … .. .

    All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the first combat pitches the party, as they try to stop Kazsethil, against two elite guardian troops (CR 18), a draconal agathion (CR 20) and a CR 20 paladin. Yep, you heard right – Kazsethil, as the runelord of lust, has a surprising variety of devoted minions in the highest echelons of power, including characters that can be made to see the error of their ways; the module also spends quite some time explaining the individual character’s reasonings and how they may or may not remain loyal – for example the CR 21 nosferatu sorcerer, who may well be aghast when he realizes that he’s nothing more than a disposable guard dog…

    From here, the trail leads to the Crimson Ziggurat (including notes on how teleportation’s a bad idea through a pillar – and we then turn to the paradisiacal gardens of the runelor…äh, pardon, “sinlord” – essentially the “high-level plant/beast”-level, where the party has a chance to face off with a giant swarm-blooded 18-headed mythic hydra. CR 23/MR 8. This build…made me cackle with GLEE. Glee, I tell you!! It’s such an EVIL build. Love it. Of course, the PCs may also run afoul of an ancient paradise dragon and 4 planetars. You know. As you do. Just one further encounter. Oh, and yes, mythic dimensional lock and mythic guards and wards in place.

    To make that abundantly clear: I am smiling a very wicked smile as I’m typing these words. And that’s the start. From here on, we venture into Kazsethil’s proper dungeon, where highly volatile damaged portal tables: What about a massive miniature city that acts as a kind of imprisonment focus? Or a stone colossus that is the prison of a frickin’ INFERNAL DUKE? Heck, his concubines are CR 18 succubus mesmerists (yes, PLURAL), izfiitar proteans. Oh, and super high-level vampires, infernal champions and more await en route to the catacombs, where familiarity with Thassilonian magic and its themes is truly rewarded. Here, the eldest lamia, hemodynamic clockwork fiends and psychic lich arcanists await alongside soulbound warmongers. No, that’s not the level’s boss encounter.

    See what I meant with “this module does what only PFRPG delivers” – in many ways, each combat herein, to some degree, is a brutal test of strategy, power, and genuine system mastery skill. The trompe l’oeil magus kensai that wields the sword of lust being one particularly noteworthy monster of a battle. The sepulchers of the other runelords, represented by runeplated akaruzugs, even have a whole page-table of infused attacks/custom SPs. And then, below, there is the Shining Elder, the creator of rune magic (CR 26/MR 10; and if that looks too puny for you, guidelines to ramp the fellow up to CR 30 are included…) – defeating this ally of Kazsethil may well restructure the order of magic (a perfect explanation for changed rules if you’re planning on transitioning to PF2, introduce Spheres of Power, akasha or Grimoire of Lost Souls or something along those lines in your next campaign!).

    Oh, and all of that? That’s but a prelude in comparison to the true finale. You see, Kazsethil seeks to merge with the very fabric of nature, becoming essentially a cosmic law – and he’s not dumb enough to face the PCs alone. Colossus. Advanced elohim. Runeslave Runegiants. Sinspawn champions. A full-blown, fully statted ultra-high level adventuring group. Oh, and Kazsethil. Good luck. Your players will need it. All those tricks, all that experience? The party will need it. Desperately. (As an aside: If you wanted to use Spheres of Power in your next campaign, the book has you covered, and the whole “creator of magic/paradigm change" has help for adjusting the boss there…)

    The module concludes with an alternate 8th sin (doubt) and items/artifacts as well as a feat and aforementioned hemodynamic construct template – and the rune of transgression spell.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are okay on a formal and rules language level; on one hand, the highly complex high-level builds are better and more inspired than I expected to see, but there also are quite a few minor hiccups, though none that truly impede the module. Layout, as noted before, is weird – the pixilated lower border really irked me. In combination with the lack of player-friendly maps sucks; the maps aren’t particularly impressive, and use a 10-ft.-grid, which makes running tactical combat in PFRPG a huge PAIN. You’ll need to redraw all of them for 5-foot-squares, as the module really requires that level of tactical precision in combat. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the softcover, as noted, doesn’t have the name on the spine, which is a bit of a bummer.

    Oh boy. Matt Daley’s “Sentence of the Sinlord” is a really tough cookie for me to review. Because it is, in many ways, a pretty flawed adventure; the requirement to redraw maps alone, and the lack of player-friendly maps, is a pretty big downside, particularly considering how tactical this module is. How finely-calibrated the combat encounters are to push the PCs to the limits and beyond. This, all on its lonesome, would usually sink the module on a personal level for me.

    The shoestring budget is very much apparent, and in some ways that are not only not as aesthetically-pleasing, but frankly inconsiderate. The map-redraw situation alone is a big no-go. I should punish this module for it and rate it down to the vicinity of the 3-star region. And yet…

    …to say it with aforementioned song: “Unlimited Sin, Unlimited Power – that’s the price you must pay” – that was my credo when I prep’d this. But why would you bother dealing with that, when there are so many other modules out there?

    Well. There are almost no adventures out there that deliver what this one does – this level of challenge, this level of audacity and full-blown embracing of apex-level combat action. In many ways, Sentence of the Sinlord is a resounding success that OOZES passion from every page, testament to the love that the author professes for the game and setting in the introduction.

    If you are like me and value substance over style, value ambition and creativity over perfection, then this may well rank among your favorite modules for the system. Heck, with the sheer number of ultra-deadly high-level builds herein, this module could be scavenged for super-enemies and campaign endbosses for years.

    In a way, this reminded me in some ways of Coliseum Morpheuon, save that it was built with PF’s by now increased power-level in mind. And that is a high, very high compliment. Since Rite Publishing has gone semi-dormant right now, feeling this vibe once more made me smile from ear to ear. I know that Steven D. Russell (R.I.P., my friend) would have approved of this module.

    As a reviewer, this leaves me in a precarious position: As a person, I’m saying “screw the flaws, I’ll fix the downsides, this is too cool”, but as a reviewer, I genuinely should trash this module. I don’t want to.

    So, once more: This is a flawed module. This might be a 3-star module, perhaps even a 2-star module, for you; if you just want pretty original art and maps, this is not the module for that. If you want an audacious, deadly, tactical love-letter to Golarian and the age of runelords, then this will make you smile from ear to ear. As such, I feel justified in rounding up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars. And since I, as a person, really loved this, it does get my seal of approval. I want to see the author write more modules. I’d love to see if he can maintain this level of energy throughout a whole campaign. There is a joy here that is impossible to fake, and if you want to see more, more high-level modules, more adventures that dare to be this deadly, this difficult, this joyously high fantasy in the best of ways, then please get this adventure. This deserves a spot in your collection, in spite of its flaws.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Sentence of the Sinlord
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    Star Classes: Solarian
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/23/2020 13:17:39

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the Star Classes-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

    So, this supplement begins with a discussion of components that the supplement defines as problematic at the table – these are, for one, MAD (Multiple Ability Score Dependency) of Charisma, Constitution (though to a lesser degree due to how SFRPG operates), and Dexterity/Strength, depending on the build; this is a factor that could ostensibly be deemed to be intentional, though I do agree that the solarian suffers from needing to split their focus thus. The second factor is a BIG one, and one that is impossible to dispute – the solarian has dead levels: On level 5, we have a resistance increase for solar armor, on level 15, we have the same + 1d6 for solar weapon. That kinda sucks and is really not fun. One of the things that PFRPG improved over 3.X was to make most levels fun and unique. So yeah, filling these? Great! All for it!

    This supplement operates under the central premise of making the solarian more powerful, so that’s something to bear in mind here.

    As such, the supplement begins with abilities suggested to even the playing field a bit for the solarian – these include number-tweaks like expanded proficiencies (heavy armor, longarms, grenades – oddly all capitalized, as though they were feats; indeed, quite a few abilities are presented thus, deviating from formatting conventions), making Strength or Dexterity key ability modifier, use Charisma instead of Dexterity to determine AC, use Charisma instead of Constitution to determine Stamina gained, or using Charisma instead of Strength or Dexterity to calculate attack rolls with solar weapons or blasts.

    Regarding flexibility, upgrades suggested are making them learn a harmonic revelation or both of a photon and graviton revelation. The suggestion to provide an additional manifestation or strengthened manifestation at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter (highly recommended – it kills the dead levels), or an ability that lets them retrain a stellar revelation when using sidereal influence. (Also an ability I’d recommend – makes the playing experience more versatile, and sidereal influence’s level and time-requirements prevent abuse) Good call here: The supplement doesn’t simply leave the GM alone with the new material, and advises caution regarding use of too many “substitute Charisma for X” type of abilities. The suggested tweaks, as presented, provide some customization options, but leaves the control firmly where it belongs - in the GM’s hands. While slightly more guidance would have been appreciated, but what we do get here is already something I very much appreciate.

    Speaking of things I appreciate: Easily one of my least favorite things about SFRPG in the beginning was, that it simply didn’t offer that much regarding compelling lore pertaining to the respective classes; I still think that the Pact Worlds book could have done more there. Anyhow, the supplement provides quite a few cool lore justifications for the existence of solarians, which include cosmic radiation (cool for a somewhat comic-book-like feel), being an agent of fate…and one I’m particularly fond of, where notions of absolute moralities are dissolved. As someone who has always been vocal about hating alignment systems, particularly within the complex realities of more advanced civilizations, that one struck a chord with me. 6 of these complex explanations are provided, and I genuinely liked all of them.

    The pdf then proceeds to provide the stellar beacon archetype, which grants alternate class features at 2nd, 6th, 9th, 12th and 18th level: At 2nd level, we have a means to gain stellar mode – and if you already are a solarian, you gain 2 points of attunement per round, rather than 1. This is a potentially very strong change, as it decreases the speed to become fully attuned by 1 round, unlocking zenith revelations sooner. Considering that the payoff is a single stellar revelation, this is a very powerful option, particularly when combined with the basic notion of getting more flexible revelations, as suggested before. 6th, 12th and 18th level provide a stellar revelation – so no change for solarians? Well, not quite: If you are a solarian, you can choose zenith revelations at 12th and 18th level instead. At 9th level, we have the Inverted Being ability, which lets you choose one revelation of equal level and opposite attunement for each one you possess. By meditating 10 minutes and spending 1 Resolve Point (not capitalized properly), you can exchange any of these revelations for their opposite.

    This archetype is interesting in a couple of ways: For one, it allows for valid dabbling in the solarian engine for non-solarians. For solarians, it provides pretty much a straight power upgrade, in that it allows for quicker zenith manifestation access and an increased emphasis of the duality-concept at 9th level. It also puts me as a reviewer in a very weird position: On one hand, it is, pretty much by design, a VERY strong option, and one you’d be a fool to pass over, if it is allowed in your game. As such, it would be easy to complain about it being overpowered in the context of the solarian class as presented….and indeed, the quicker access to the solarian’s “finishers” is something that requires careful observation, as ALL future zenith revelations or those from other sources are balanced against requiring the set-up time being required. Getting rid of it can become problematic rather fast.

    On the other hand, this archetype’s intention is to let you get sooner to that “cool” stuff. The question on whether you’d consider this archetype broken or amazing is ultimately wholly contingent on whether you think that the solarian’s modes play as they should. Do you want the set-up period and play a grittier game? If so, then you should not allow this archetype – for your game, it might tip the balance in an unpleasant manner. You should also be very much careful with zenith revelations and how they operate when using it. If, however, your group is gunning for a higher-powered playing style, and if the set-up of zenith revelations struck you as bothersome, then this archetype will be a godsend, and operate consistently at its intended powerlevel. While zenith revelations still require some oversight, the archetype may well drastically increase your enjoyment of the solarian class in your game. So yeah, for certain games, this is awesome. I just wished that the book clearly spelled the intended design goals to allow GMs to make an informed choice there. An explanation there would have certainly made this more newbie-friendly.

    The supplement then proceeds to present two new solar manifestations: Solar amplification increases the DC of both stellar and zenith revelations by 1, +1 at 9th and 18th level, and the ability also nets you ½ solarian level as a bonus to maneuvers executed with stellar revelations. RAW, zenith revelations are excluded from this bonus; not sure that this was intentional, but I assume it was. Solar form nets +1 to all saving throws, which increases to +2 at 10th level (providing a bit of alleviation for the common save-complaint), and nets you twice solarian temporary hit points, with fast healing equal to your solarian level. The latter aspect is highly ambiguous regarding its verbiage – does the fast healing apply universally, or just to the temporary hit points? This needs clarification. Much to my chagrin, the pdf also fails to specify whether and how these interact with the solarian class graft.

    Unless I miscounted, we have 24 new stellar revelations. This book introduces a new category of those, so-called harmonic revelations, which count as neither photon, nor graviton, and are active in both attunements. While I get the design goal behind that, I also do think that these somewhat dilute the duality leitmotif of the solarian class on a rules level. I am not a fan of this.

    The vast majority of new revelations are harmonic ones, so I’ll just explicitly call out those that aren’t. Among the 2nd level stellar revelations, we have the means to get an additional solar manifestation, which, well, is kinda understandable, but once more, is future-proofing-wise perhaps not the smartest choice, considering that the class ability provides a scaling, constant benefit for the class. Amplified attunement nets you an insight bonus to EAC and KAC while graviton-attuned, while photon-mode nets you a scaling bonus to movement speed while photon-attuned. Both grow in potency at 9th and 18th level. Attunement Pool changes the attunement engine in an interesting manner: It lets your attunement grow to 4 + Charisma (should be capitalized) modifier attunement; when you use a solarian ability that would render you unattuned, you instead reduce this pool by 3. I really love this one. It’s a great investment for epic battles and unlocks some neat combos. Minor nitpick, though: Ideally, the ability should specify that you still can only use abilities that’d cause you to become unattuned if you have at least the 3 attunement required. It is very obvious from context, though. There is also a revelation that makes your solar weapon optionally a 60-ft.-range blast, which can’t be modified by crystals.

    There are 8 6th level revelations, the first of which nets you 1 attunement whenever you damage an enemy with an attack. … WTF??? Okay, so this completely delimits attunement. With AoE attacks of any kind, this’ll allow you to scale up to the maximum of even the expanded attunement scale very easily, very swiftly. Compare that broken piece of WTF-ery with +1d6 damage output increase for solar weapon or blast. Or the pretty nifty option to get a solar weapon for each hand, which also gets weapon crystal interaction right. A revelation that nets you plus Charisma modifier uses of limited use revelations, or additional means to target specific targets, excluding targets from AoE revelations – the majority of these options tends to fill a plausible and per se well-wrought idea. Not having sidereal influence end in combat is also an interesting take, and there are means to upgrade the solar manifestations. Higher level revelations include “spending 2 resolve points, you may cast Plane Shift” ([sic!] as an example of formatting hiccups), with the added benefit of working for space ships as well, increasing drift. The latter part here? That’s REALLY cool. Not so cool: SFRPG does not have “full-round actions”; one of 16th level harmonic revelations includes the option to spend 1 Resolve Point to maximize all damage a target takes (NO SAVE); for another point, you also apply critical effects automatically, and any hit is a critical hit. While this ability may only affect a single target once before you need a 10-minute Stamina-replenishing rest, remember that there’s a revelation that lets you affect a target + Charisma modifier times with this! Oh, and guess what? There is also one ability that renders the target utterly invulnerable until the end of your next round. It has the same caveat, but…again…can be prolonged with a revelation herein. No DR, no resistance – flat-out immortality! Fall into a black hole (a proper one), be subject to a god’s smite or a planet destroyer supergun. You can take it. Unscathed. Yes, it requires a full action (erroneously referred to as full-round action) and is high level, but seriously? When compared to the regular 16th-level revelations, these latter two provide ridiculous damage boosts or defensive boosts. And know what? Solarian is DPR-wise already pretty damn good. That wasn’t the main issue of the class.

    The book also provides 3 capstone revelations (one for each mode) – 1/week rebirth, a devastating proper mini black hole, and a mini supernova (that actually deals proper damage). I liked all of these, its glitches regarding action names and formatting notwithstanding.

    On the photon side, we have means to replenish charges, which can be problematic – if you’re playing a resource-heavy game, this eliminates any energy-shortage you can construct, provided the solarian has enough time on their hands. (It also would allow for evil empires to construct solarian batteries, etc.); for 10th level revelations, we have a nice Glow of Life for allies (with a limit) that I really loved, and a means to increase a ship’s speed – I LOVE this one and wished there had been more options here that focus on ship combat and general utility; as many solarian players will be able to attest, ship combat as a solarian can use a couple of unique tricks and meaningful things to do.

    The graviton revelations include a massive 10-hex extension of an aura that tanks ship speed (awesome), and a boost for defy gravity or gravity boost. See, these provide breadth, and that’s something the solarian can really use!

    The pdf also features 10 new zenith revelations, which includes moving struck targets around while graviton-attuned, Stamina replenishing while fully attuned (not a fan), or what about a light doppelgänger who can act as an alternate origin for your revelations and who can switch places with you? That is AWESOME and incredibly cool. Rapid manifestation is hard to stomach: While fully attuned to one thing, you decrease the action your revelation activation might take from “full-round action to a standard action”, standard action to move action, move action to swift action.” This doesn’t work with ones that let you execute attacks. Now, combine this passive ability with the ones for max damage or invulnerability. Or the others. Or what about the zenith revelation that all but eliminates the duality notion, which makes you no longer lose attunement in photon/graviton if you attune to the other, adding +1 attunement in both modes automatically at 17th level? These are presented right next to a zenith revelation that makes a creature striking you in melee take 1d6 fire damage per 2 solarian levels, Reflex save halves.

    The supplement also provides a full page-table of new weapon crystals – I genuinely liked these. No problems there. Beyond that, the pdf provides weapon mods – essentially modifications for weapon crystals that make the weapon count as cold iron, adamantine, change damage types, etc. At item level 8, targeting EAC seems pretty brutal, particularly for just 2,100 credits…and the level 18 true strike infusion bypasses all hardness, damage reduction and energy resistances – that should be scaling, numerical values, not a flat-out “I ignore everything.”

    The pdf concludes with 5 solarian creatures, which aren’t always perfect: The CR 13 hemeros aeon, the CR 2 reptoid, a CR 8 dwarf, the CR 18 void prophet, and the CR 11 corona dragon. The aeon has darkvision listed twice, and its resistances are both off by 3, though the latter is probably intended – resistance 13 as per aeon is less elegant than the value of 10 it has. Apart from minor hiccups like these, the statblocks tend to be usable, though.

    Conclusion: Editing is per se good on a formal and rules language level, though the same can’t be claimed for formatting, which is consistently off, and inconsistent in how it’s off. It kinda irritated me. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard, with neat full-color artworks that fans of LG will be familiar with. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    Matt Daley’s Star Class book on solarians is frustrating for me, because the majority of its issues can be boiled down to presentation, fine-tuning, and context.

    On the one hand, we have a smattering of content designed to expand the options available for the solarian, within the context assumed by the class.

    On the other hand, we have a significant number of pieces of content designed to delimit the class and increase its power-level.

    These two categories of content are neither clearly divided, nor does the book really explain the vast impact the collective of the options herein can have on the solarian.

    Where a single revelation might make for an engine tweak that, in conjunction with the modifications to the core chassis, can fix the disadvantage regarding sheer numbers the class suffers from, the combination of all these tweaks escalates the power-level of the class significantly beyond its brethren.

    In many ways, this book feels like it was once two documents: “Solarian Expansion.docx” and “Solarian Power Increases.docx” – and both were just thrown together.

    Moreover, the hypothetical second document, “Solarian Power Increases.docx” suffers from losing its individual contextual frameworks: So, we have the core engine tweaks, got it. We have a power-boost archetype, got it. Then we have revelations designed to provide a power-boost beyond the power-boosts already established, and not all of these have been designed with the care they needed.

    All address these, to some extent, similar issues.

    Once you start combining all these options to enhance the power of the class, you’ll get a pretty darn brutal beast. And I get it. I can see the intent behind the individual tweaks.

    Functionally, the solarian is not a hybrid class in PF1’s style – instead, it is a frontline fighter with a bit of utility thrown in, perhaps 1/5th of its role in the party. But that utility is what people gravitate (haha) to – it’s what makes the solarian special. And it is the thing that this book obviously tries to bring to the prominence and put front and center. And I LIKE that per se, but wouldn’t that have suited an alternate class better? This feels like a desperate attempt to hammer a core chassis into a shape it’s not made for.

    I can also get behind the notion of broader applicability of solarian abilities that seems to have been the design goal with quite a few of the materials herein. Heck, I ADORE, and I mean ADORE the fact that this book sports quite a few tricks that allow solarians to be more useful in star ship combat. Same goes for the sidereal expansion (which helps re skills and breadth of options), or the notion (if not the implementation) of getting both solar weapon and armor – there is a lot herein I absolutely LOVE, particularly in the instances where the pdf expands the breadth of options, rather than the solarian’s already pretty impressive DPR.

    But on the other hand, this book’s fix-type options to increase perceived flaws in the solarian are not existing in a vacuum; rather than that, they offer for the means to combo them, and when you combo serious power upgrades, the effect quickly can become exponential. There are things that are a matter of taste (dual attunement) that should have some balancing caveat, sure. I wouldn’t call an individual revelation herein broken (with the notable exception of the max damage and flat-out immunity ones), but their combinations are frickin’ savage and OP in the context of any SFRPG game I’ve seen or run. Even if you use them without the further power-upgrade by class fixes and archetype. Combine all of them, and the result will be PAINFUL, not only equalizing with e.g. soldier math-wise, but transcending it.

    And it doesn’t have to be that way. In many ways, this feels like this, at one point, wanted to operate a bit like Legendary Rogues or Legendary Fighters: Explain a problem, present different ways to address the problem, and provide the means for the GM to reach an informed decision.

    This book has all the potential of such a stand-out supplement, one that provides means to customize the solarian in an informed manner, according to the requirements of your individual game. Think about it as such: Let’s say, you see a power-level issue. In your opinion, the solarian is -2 power levels behind a comparable class. Okay, so Fix A provides a +1, Fix B another +1. A series of stellar revelations provide anything form a power level increase of +0 to +2. Even with a simplified numerical sequence, the issue becomes apparent, when in fact, some of these would rather behave as escalating multipliers. The problem is that none of the individual increases are bad per se; you can see their intent, their tweaks, etc. – but when you combine them? Ouch. This needed context.

    Only, instead of providing context, warning the GM from the implications and power-level increases that individual pieces or combinations of the content herein can offer, everything’s lumped together, implying a parity of power and attempted synergy with brutal results that I refuse to believe is intentional.

    And that is a huge, damn shame. You see, even though the formatting here is a long shot from Legendary Games’ usual precision, this book contains GEMS. Components that had me smile from ear to ear. And yes, I’ll be using content from this book in my games.

    But as a reviewer? As a reviewer, I can’t recommend this book as presented. Even with the significant amount of formal glitches present, this could have been a 4.5-star offering, and certainly something that could have warranted a seal of approval. But the book requires that the GM not only carefully reads the entire book, they also have to carefully, meticulously vet the content and decide which of the perceived issues of the solarian class in game may or may not have sprung up in their game. And then understand the implications of allowing the content herein. And most importantly, the combos this content allows for.

    In short: You need a deep understanding of the game’s balance to prevent this book from catapulting the power-levels of the solarian off the deep end. If you do, then this book might well be one of your favorite solarian supplements out there. If not, then, well…you have been warned.

    Ultimately, I can only recommend this book in a very limited capacity; for most tables, this will not be worth the hassle of balancing its entire content versus the core solarian – and while I love many of its components in a vacuum, in conjunction with each other, they quickly become broken. Hence, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Star Classes: Solarian
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