Quick Find
 Categories
     Sister sites
     Information
    See our Quickstart Guide for information on how to get started.

    Having Problems?
    • FAQ - our Frequently Asked Questions page.
    • Device Help - assistance for viewing your purchases on a tablet device.
    • Contact us if none of these answer your questions.

    Affiliate System - Click here for information about how you can get money by referring people to !

    Our Latest Newsletter
    Product Reviews
    Privacy Policy
    How to Sell on
    Convention Support Program


    RSS Feed New Product RSS Feed
    Back
    Other comments left for this publisher:
    You must be logged in to rate this
    Legendary Worlds: Calcarata
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2019 13:24:14

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the Legendary Worlds-series, which highlights unique worlds found in the setting of the Legendary Planet AP, usable as complements or as a stand-alone supplement, clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, which are, as always, chock-full with content.

    I was a backer of the Legendary Planet AP, but I have not been involved in the creation of this supplement. My review is based on the Pathfinder-version of the supplement, since that was the original system for which the Legendary Planet AP was designed. Aethera or similar settings are also natural fits for this supplement.

    All right, so, we begin with a well-written account of the final recording of Ouven the Mad Grinner, as he came upon Calcarata, the World That Dreams….and at first, one would not expect Calcarata to be a place anyone would want to visit: The surface of this planet is characterized best as a blighted wasteland, with an atmosphere that, while, breathable, is full of…things you don’t want to breathe. And yet, Calcarata is the home of a thriving and lush ecosystem – it’s just not in the material plane, for Calcarata’s nigh-human inhabitants, the Penthe (nice nomenclature there!) have a civilization focused in the plane of dreams!

    That right there is a unique twist on the old Lotus-eater trope – Calcarata is a vibrant, shared, massive dreamscape, with the Penthe there characterized by an impressive vibrancy of their tones; in the dreamscape, the collective is surrounded by personal dreamspaces (frays, rules included), and then, the sheer raw untapped potential of possibility – unique in many ways: The massive wonder available, must, by necessity of collective civilization, be subject to some rules one usually does not have to conform to. Exploring this unique perspective most assuredly is a worthwhile and utterly amazing roleplaying angle!

    Even before the horn-like progenitor-technology, before the dream-fauna, and the Penthe themselves, who can btw. exchange the skilled racial trait in favor of a +4 racial bonus to CL-checks to prevent magic and SPs from going haywire due to wild magic. Alternatively, they can opt for +1 to the DC of divinations and sleep effects, with sorcerers with sufficient Charisma gaining dream (not italicized properly) 1/day as a SP. Alternatively, they could also choose a +2 racial bonus to saving throws versus mind-affecting effects, or the ability to manifest dream-crafted weaponry ex nihilo…including weapons “conjured by impossible” – this is correct rules-verbiage, even though it might not look like it; it refers to the morphic plane characteristic, and not a feat. Figured I’d mention that and spare some less experienced people a bit of confusion. (And yes, the penthe get a bonus to atk here, and the weapons become magic at higher levels.)

    4 feats are provided: Lucid Crafter lets you craft things in dream and take it to the material plane; Endless Arsenal adds to the weapons you can conjure ex nihilo per day; Fantastic Bullet lets you conjure ranged weapons, including ammunition, and Penthe Thoughtwalker nets you dream travel 1/day as a SP, with a personal range. In aforementioned frays, crystallized potential may be mined and refined into a drug called pink bliss, which allows you to perceive creatures both ethereal and in adjacent dreamspaces, which can be a super-interesting angle and validate the need to risk the threat of addiction – particularly in bleak Calcarata’s landscape. And yes, this obviously is nigh perfect for Dune-style plots revolving around spice…

    Speaking of which: The supplement comes with not only a couple of exiting points of interest, but also a fully-depicted adventure location, one of the Wakepoint Stations – the primary (and very small) landing site. The map provided is full-color, really nice…but no player-friendly version is provided. Boo. On the plus-side, we do get adventure hooks, suggested encounters – and a new creature.

    That massive beast on the cover? That’s a Havriveen – a draconic CR 12 apex predator that not only effortlessly manipulates dreamscapes, its plasma breath dissolves dream-equipment, it can tranverse dream and reality, and being killed by it in dream? Rather strenuous… Did I mention the aura that hampers your abilities in dreamscapes? NICE! And the nature of dreamscapes, their emphasis on creativity, the potentially thus decreased lethality of encounters with this CR 12 beast and the like – perfect reason to use it versus, say, level 3 characters and see how they can handle these beasts as looming threats.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, with only a very minor cosmetic glitch. Layout adheres to the series’ nice two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is great. The map is similarly awesome, I just wished a full-color version had been provided. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks, but doesn’t need more at this length.

    Wren Roy delivers a cool twist on the Dune-style planet, save that she goes one step further, adding genuinely thought-provoking angles regarding the nature of dream and reality to the game. You don’t have to explore these, mind you, but the very set-up of Calcarata inspired me big time to contemplate how e.g. people forced to dream in unison with a shared reality will behave…and what they might do if they wake up. Sounds like a great villain-angle…or culture-clash to me! In short: This humble supplement delivers some genuinely inspiring angles, which is why my final verdict will be 5 stars, omitting my seal of approval only because I’d have loved to see more on the interaction of dream, culture and reality, and due to the lack of a player-friendly map. Still, highly recommended!

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Worlds: Calcarata
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Stargates
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2019 13:17:51

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This supplement clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of the front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 4 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    I was a backer of the Legendary Planet AP, but had no hand in the creation of this additional supplement, nor any other stake in it. I’m reviewing the Pathfinder-version, since that was the original system that Legendary Planet was designed for.

    All right, so, Stargates, a crucial component of the Legendary Planet sword-and-planet setting, but similarly relevant for regular fantasy, for science-fiction, etc. – this pdf is about them. The introduction notes how the Ancients created them, but then does something helpful I personally enjoyed rather much – it talks about the theory behind Stargates, which is here represented by a base axiom – namely that energy can flow in a linear and non-linear manner. Energy traveling in straight lines, connecting points, would be considered to be part of the Weave, and while it is reliable, it only allows for relatively short-range transport. The Warp, on the other hand, is tapped into by non-linear energies: Stargates bend, ripple and fold energy, allowing for the crossing of the vast universe. The points in the warp, where an energy disparity is created, where surplus or deficit is created, can generate stargates. Transport is usually unidirectional, and manipulation of these gates requires more than just power and a set of coordinates, and as per the writing of the pdf, switching destinations is within the providence of the divine.

    These basics out of the way, we take a look at gates in Legendary Planet: While they may differ greatly in aesthetics, they have a couple of common elements: They at least have to accommodate Large creatures, are almost exclusively found where humanoids once dwelled or still dwell (traderoute logic, obviously), and they may have singular or multiple connection points. Gates are circular, though they may be half-buried, round or oval, etc., and they operate in sync with the orbit of the world they’re on. They are treated as minor artifacts, making them nigh-indestructible, and while there is a way to sabotage them, it is a closely guarded secret privy only to the Bellianic Accord. Some gates are always on, some only activate at certain times, some are two-way, some one-way, some may be ignited by energy to stabilize them, etc.

    After a couple of further angles for their flair, we begin with the creating a stargate-section: A stargate’s CR is equal to 1 + the sum of its modifiers. Weave stargates add +1, warp stargates +4; the longer the range, the higher the modifier: Solar gates get +0, planar ones +1, galactic gates +2, intergalactic ones +2, same as temporal ones, and intergalactic ones +3. Directions modify this, as does size, activation and the condition of the stargate: Extensive degradation makes activation harder, obviously. And yes, you read right – you can gate through time as well as space. All of these noted components not only are noted in a handy table, the respective entries also concisely codify them and explain the respective entries. Passing through a stargate may have complications – loss of memory regarding the world just left, limited number of passengers (awesome for PCs or BBEGs to escape!), etc. – a whole array of such special effects are available for customization of the gates. Of course, the individual manifestation also comes with a variety of cool effects – cacophonies, pure silence, modified gravitation, smells, etc. – cool!

    Stargates may suffer malfunctions 1% base chance, though tables include further modifications for failure depending on degeneration, distance traveled, etc. – and yep, there is a table with 17 different sample malfunction effects included in the deal. From arcane backlash to mutations (10-entry subtable) to more, there, are some cool ones here. As a purely aesthetic nitpick, a couple of them do not have their header properly bolded. Odd: Something has SERIOUSLY gone wrong in the sample malfunction rules. The arcane backlash, for example, notes that arcane spellcasters are drained a certain amount of spells, but never specifies how many, and references “energy drain points”, which never are classified or properly explained. This does not work as written. The rules here also suddenly reference power score points for stargates, which are simply not there – not explained, don’t seem to exist. This, alas, compromises quite a few of the malfunctions.

    Now, I already touched upon keyed stargates – the supplement differentiates between conditional keys, power keys and patron keys that can activate partially disabled stargates. Key subtypes are codified, including arcane, cosmic, psychic or technologic keys, to note a few, and the pdf provides rules for gate crashing keyed gates. The pdf also includes a total of 6 sample stargates that range in CR from 4 – 17, noting a kind of stargate statblock that lists all their components, a description and some flavorful text: From the twin pillars of Qa to the huge Pendulums, these are interesting.

    The pdf includes two feats: Stargate Lore lets you use Knowledge (planes) to determine the details of a stargate, though e.g. divine gates may require Knowledge (religion) with this – the relevant skill for a stargate is the stargate lore skill. Gatecrasher, the second feat here, lets you use that skill to attempt to activate a locked stargate sans patron key. Beyond these, the pdf includes 4 spells that take the occult adventure classes into account: The 4th level massive-range detect stargate 4th level spell does what it says on the tin; divine destination, a 3rd level spell, grants limited information about the stargates’ destination. There also are the power stargates and greater power stargates spells that clock in at 4th and 6th level, respectively, with their effects evident from the title. The latter can be used to power dormant stargates. And no, neither mention afore noted nebulous power-mechanics. The pdf closes with 4 special abilities that may be used as replacement special abilities – while it is noted that they have mostly story purposes, all but one of them, which aligns a stargate with a patron or philosophy, the respective effects have actually been codified in a proper manner. As an aside: Personally, I think these would make for good roleplaying rewards.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a rules-language level – generally, it’s very good, but the malfunction-section totally falls apart, and there are components that are less precise; on a formal level I noticed a few minor glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful two-column full-column standard of the Legendary Planet books. The pdf sports beautiful full-color artworks, some of which will be familiar to Legendary Games fans. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    Tim Hitchcock, with additional design by Jason Nelson and Neil Spicer, delivers a handy little booklet that helps thinking about stargates as more than a wobbly blue energy through which SG 1 stumbles to the planet of the week; the theory behind the gates does not devolve into technobabble and does its job – explain a plausible basic functionality, without forcing GMs to subscribe to some underlying principle of physics or arcane theory. In fact, I really wanted to like this pdf, and for the most part, I do love it. However, the matter of fact remains that the whole malfunction section falls flat on its face; to me, it looks like it has been taken from another version of the system, from another iteration/take on the concept, and simply doesn’t work as intended. As such, my final verdict can’t exceed 3 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Stargates
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Legendary Planet: To Worlds Unknown (Pathfinder)
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/11/2019 07:33:09

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    The first „proper“ installment (if you do not count the optional introduction adventure „The Assimilation Strain“ clocks in at 98 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC,2 pages of introduction, 4 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 85 pages of content. HOWEVER, this is not all – the module also comes with a pretty darn massive art and map booklet that offers 27 (!!) pages of handout-ready artworks AND full-color maps. Oh, and suffice to say, the full-color maps do come with player-friendly, keyless iterations – kudos!

    This adventure is intended for 2nd level characters, Medium advancement track, and they’ll be 5th level by the end of the adventure – if they haven’t been squashed, that is. Legendary Planet is a sword and planet AP intended for the discerning PFRPG-connoisseur, and as such, the difficulty is nothing to sneeze at. The module is not unfair, mind you, but it is an adventure that the PCs will not cakewalk through.

    I actually was a backer of this massive AP back in the day, and while since then, SFRPG and 5e conversions have been made available, my reviews of the AP will be based on the PFRPG-iteration, since that was the original system this was intended for. Structurally, this will be very familiar to anyone who has ever seen an AP: The module takes up the main meat of the pdf, and after that, we have supplemental material, save that there is more. Yep, much like the amazing art & map folio (which should be industry standard), we get quite a bit more – Sean K. Reynolds, for example, has penned a whole planar pantheon write-up (with each deity getting their own symbol), Chris A. Jackson providing a bit of prose, and a pretty massive gazetteer that deals with Argosa, a hub-world of sorts, including Zel-Argose the gateway city. The module also includes 5 new exotic weapons and 5 magic items – 3 of which do get their own full-color artwork. These include projection periapts, essentially two-way mago-holographic communicators, a harness that reduces gravity for the wearer and a vine that enhances natural healing. Sword and planet vibes are hard to nail down, but this delivers.

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

    … .. .

    The bestiary section includes the playable bhagra dogfolk, who receive +2 Charisma and Strength, are Medium, get a 1d6 primary natural weapon bite, low-light vision, and a bonus teamwork feat. Beyond these, we have the peaceful CR 4 Elali, psychic shepherds of the Accord, and the jagladine – which are a serious threat. Think of these fellows as particularly nasty, smarter thri-kreen that can absorb diseases and poisons and excrete a liquefied version of the poison or disease. They also have created the Klaven-species, deadly shocktroops with an inherent, nanite-based status. They are essentially a conversion tool that bestows powers, but also quasi-undead characteristics on the target, and as such are represented by 2 statblocks (one for a foot-soldier, and one for a wolf-based war-beast) and a template.

    Okay, so far so good, so what about the adventure? Well, we start off in medias res (as a linguistic aside – English “in the middle of things”, commonly expressed by “in media(s) res” as an idiom, unless my Latin deserts me, would actually be closer to “in medium rerum”), with the PCa awakening from a fugue state as abductees housed in an alien prison on the planet of Garsilt – not that they’d know that now. The vicious Jagladine have abducted the PCs to extracting special information encoded in the PCs’ genes. Good news here –a rogue meteorite contaminated with akata has smashed into the facility. The PCs thus awaken into chaos, as the prison riot-like release of them and others throw them right into an ongoing fray – the PCs will have to contend with the dog-like bhagra before recovering their gear. Of course, there will be an issue regarding communication – but this is circumvented in a smart manner without handwaving, with a friendly aasimar called Andretta offering her translation services.

    Speaking of trouble-shooting – monster identification and means to handle it are also talked about, as the PCs try to best the deadly Klavek. The custom monsters and NPC guidelines certainly go above what we usually see in Paizo APs, with plenty of custom creatures – like a melancholic ooze swarm, mindslave mimics, and the like. The module also allows for more social problem-solving, in spite of its action focus – there is e.g. a comozant wyrd the PCs can ally with, and ultimately, the PC’s goal will become clear – reach the stargate, and escape the facility. A task that is btw. made easier if the PCs befriend the little robot BR-N3R. The whole action is intended to be pretty relentless, and the section offers several timed events – with a touch of horror, we have a tauslek matriarch as a first “boss”-like encounter; facility power will be compromised, with aforementioned wyrd as a unique ally that fills the PCs in on the chance of their imminent demise by being struck by meteorites – and in the end, the true boss? A frickin Klaven inquisitor! This boss fight is brutal at this point, and the PCs should be able to finally escape by the skin of their teeth.

    The transition through the semi-malfunctioning artifact-level Stargate here will double as the justification for mythic ascension, granting the first tier – and it is assumed that the PCs gain the Morphic Nature feat that automatically adapts the players to the local environment of a planet – this does not allow them to exist in vacuum, but it gets rid of one crucial issue that the genre would otherwise face. The PCs will exit the gate in a fully-mapped lost temple, and also hear, for the first time in a while, the Common tongue. The PCs thus encounter friendly faces – individuals press-ganged into helping the Jagladine , who are seeking a way out of their deal with the Jagladine and their Klaven. The module thus changes gears from a pretty tech-themed dungeon to one that feels more relaxed, more classic fantasy – and after this one, the PCs are off to aforementioned city of Zel-Argose, faced with the vast amount of wonder the setting offers.

    The city features guilds, water treatment plants, battle pits – and here, the so far linear story allows the PCs to bask in the wonder that is so central to the sword and planet genre: The PCs can fight in the arena, attempt to find the jagladine prison commander Lomrick, get involved in the city’s politics…and ultimately, Lomrick’s trail will lead them to a seedy (and dangerous) cantina…which can be rather challenging. Their target’s mansion, though, will be an even greater challenge – including a cerebric fungus sorcerer ally of their former jailer, and the means to save one of the elali Relstanna and defeat Lomrick – Relstanna also tells the PCs that Lomrick was a member of the Scions of the Celestial Helix, a sect of fanatics seeking to return an elder evil to the multiverse…it seems like the heroes have their work cut out for them!

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are excellent on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ elegant 2-column full-color standard, with a LOT of text per page. The module is also decadent in its massive amount of original, top-notch artwork and full-color cartography. The map-support is excellent – full-blown, detailed full-color maps, with player-friendly versions included? Heck yeah! The module is fully bookmarked for your convenience, with nested bookmarks making navigation simple and painless. The art and map folio is superb and should be industry standard.

    Jim Groves penned this adventure, with Thurston Hillman, Jeff Lee, Jonathan H. Keith and Andrew Christian, Sean K. Reynolds and Chris A. Jackson providing additional design and content – and this is genuinely one of my favorite modules from the author’s pen. Jim has managed to deliver a consistently-challenging, exciting action romp that does not let up; the first section of the module is challenging, brutal and simply amazing in how its timed encounters can help you add up the tension and maintain high pressure. After that, the change of pace to a more free-form and relaxed adventuring is very much perfect, as it allows the weirdness of the PC’s situation, the “fish out of water”-angle, to fully develop. Now, it is pretty important that the GM reads the gazetteer to make this section work, but f properly executed, it will elicit a sense of wonder reminiscent of the Outcast videogame, John Carter, etc. – in short, pitch-perfect sword and planet. Add to that the neat set-ups for the remainder of the campaign, the rather detailed notes for the NPCs, the creative builds and the well-tuned difficulty-curve, and we have a pitch-perfect starting point for the main part of the Legendary Planet AP. This is a thoroughly superb adventure, and I’m glad I waited for the AP to conclude, because I seriously would hate to wait for a continuation of this unique yarn. If you even remotely like Stargate, Flash Gordon and the good ole’ classics, check this out! 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation!

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Planet: To Worlds Unknown (Pathfinder)
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Ancient Tombs (SWADE)
    by Kristian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2019 14:40:03

    One of my favorite archetypes to play is the dungeon-delving adventurer, be it in a fantasy setting, a pulp-style adventure, or both (e.g., Eberron). This is a fairly resourceful product. My favorite section within it is "Tomb Hazards" with "Idols" as a close second. I thought the Mechanical Genius Edge was a nice touch, too. My next dungeon delver will definitely take that.

    My only complaints are with the page backgrounds and the PDF bookmarks. The page backgrounds are a bit busy and make the text somewhat difficult to read. There are no layers that can be toggled off either. The PDF bookmarks aren't complete, and those that are there don't link to the appropriate sections of the PDF.

    I also have one quibble (not a complaint, honestly) with the About Legendary Games text in the credits page. It refers to the reader as a Paizo fan, but given the context of this being a Savage Worlds product, that might or might not be the case. It just seemed a little presumptuous given the target audience. Not a big deal, but something for the authors to think about.

    One final note: please be conscientious of "racist" fonts. There's a great Twitter thread that discusses this concept.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Ancient Tombs (SWADE)
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Star Battles
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/28/2019 06:14:40

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This expansion for Star Empires clocks in at 58 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 48 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    In many ways, this supplement is the all but mandatory expansion to the Star Empires-system, as we this time around take a close look at space combat, so yeah, Star Empires is very much required.

    We begin the supplement with 3 new themes – the commander (Charisma +1), the Dog-Fighter (Dexterity +1) and the Jury-Rigger (Intelligence +1); minor nitpick: Resolve Points and Skills are capitalized in SFRPG, and not all of the theme abilities do that consistently correctly; in fact, there are a whole lot of instances throughout the book where skills etc. are not properly formatted. I’ll be calling out a few of those to give you an idea, but not all of them. That being said, there are quite a few remarkable tricks here – 12th level commanders being able to change command boons? That’s quite a potent (and cool) thing; that being said, Master Dog-Fighter’s level 18 ability, for example, is overpowered and exploitable: After you serve as pilot or gunner, you recover 1 Resolve Point. No cap. This is in so far puzzling, as Starfinder has the significant foe-mechanic, and imposes a hard cap on a similar theme ability, namely the master pilot’s level 18 theme ability; and the other theme abilities do not suffer from this – master jury-rigger, the level 18 theme ability, actually has such a proper cap in place, for example.

    The pdf then proceeds to present 7 new feats: Arcing Shot is ridiculously strong, as it lets you be treated as standing in an adjacent square or hex for the purpose of determining line of effect for ranged attacks or gunnery checks. The feat ahs no prerequisites, when it clearly should at least have Mobility and an alternate feat as prerequisites – you add 9 squares/hexes to where you can fire from, and can do so as soon as first level. Thankfully, this broken feat remains the exception – the others include options to attempt to teleport into starships, enhancers for the combat engine, the means to substitute BAB for skills in ship combat, better bypassing of hardness, and the option to spend a Resolve Point (not capitalized properly) in starship combat to take 10. So yeah, apart from Arcing Shot, which needs to be seriously nerfed or burned to the ground, the feats are cool and meaningful.

    Next up are 7 new spells, two of which are mass versions of spells; these do take the (imho problematic) Starfarer’s Companion’s classes by Rogue Genius Games into account, should you be using that book; the spells are technomancer and Starfarer classes only, so no new material for mystics. (Odd, considering that a couple of the spells are on e.g. the cleric spell list.) Anyhow, we have a couple of rather interesting ones – conjure starship pulls together a tier ¼ starship sans weapons, and requires a Resolve Point; minor nitpick: Starfinder formats the means to cast spells at higher levels different than what it displayed here: The spell can be cast at +3 spell levels for a better starship. Disrupt function and its mass version allow you to glitch and malfunction starship systems with a caster level check opposed by the ship’s TL; pretty potent, but held in check by the necessity to expend a Resolve Point. Enhance ship is pretty awesome, as it nets temporary build points for 1 minute/level; for 5 Resolve Points, high-level technomancers can even completely reshape ships in an 8-hour ceremony – cool! Finally, there would be restrain vessel and its mass version, with a proper Piloting check to break free. These spells add some serious fantasy into the science-fantasy, and as a whole, I found myself enjoying them very much, in spite of the minor formatting hiccups.

    The book then presents 8 new starship stunts, which include rules for planetary re-entry. There also are proper ramming rules, as well as clinging, escaping and propelling the vessels – essentially a means to grapple with ships, and e.g. Stern Drifts and thruster backwash? Cool! Bouncing off of shields of other ships is also iconic, but to nitpick, the DC notes “DC 20 + 1.5 the ship’s tier” – the piloted ship, or the once you bounce off of? I assume the former, but this is still ambiguous semantics. Cool: The book also introduces the invoker starship role, a role I very much enjoyed seeing – it adds some tactical depth and makes sense. Kudos for this one.

    Okay, this out of the way, let us take a look at squad ship combat. This assumes, generally, one ship per character. The book suggests removing the -2 penalty for Snap Shots in the context of squad combat, and the engine introduced the hack job minor crew action. (Minor nitpick once more – it’s minor crew action, not minor action.)

    The book then introduces 5 mks of ablative armor – which is essentially a form of DR that applies versus kinetic and energy attacks, but which degrades with every hit, and armor hardened versus radiation? Makes sense. I very much liked these! The book then introduces damage control systems, which includes damage repair bots (DRBs) and automated damage control system (ADCS), both once more in 5 mk-ratings, with essentially virtual Engineering ranks. These made sense to me, and speaking of which: Decoy and Ghost drones, the latter of which mimic essentially a phantom signal of a ship? Yeah, I smiled a big smile here! 7 expansion bays are provided, and include cryosleep chamber, dimensional lockdowns, teleportation bays, etc. Weapon expansion bears close watching: It lets you install a weapon of one size category larger than normal, and costs just 2 BP: This means that the expansion allows smaller ships to feature bigger guns, which outclass all comparable other weaponry of the other categories. An upgrade from a light particle beam (10 PCU, 10 BP) to a heavy laser cannon (10 PCU, 8 BP, +2 BP for weapon mount) would increase your damage output from 3d6 to 4d8 – for NO INCREASED COST in BP or PCU. You don’t have to be a numbers wizard to notice that this is problematic. Yes, it costs an expansion bay, but it provides massive combat-related benefits for that. This needed playtesting and nerfing, this needed to have higher costs. Compare that to the other options, like boarding passages, planar travel lockdowns etc. – those are primarily acting to narrative tools. Though it should be noted that the dimensional lockdown should imho have a caveat that allows for caster level checks or the like to bypass them, but one can argue that the 2-hex range of the lockdown makes for a sufficient limitation there.

    On the other side, e.g. having essentially a transformer ship? Heck YES!! Speaking of “heck yeah” – external aides with localized gravity outside and the like? Yes, I love those! We also get three new hulls, and the (multibody) hull descriptor, which denotes a group of ships of Small or Tiny size, somewhat akin to a starship swarm. There also are rules for regenerative hulls, with the BP cost ranging from 1 x size category (1 Hull Point, not properly capitalized in the book) to 7 x size category for 5 Hull Points per round. This occurs at the start of the engineering phase. I do not think that these should have no PCU costs. They should. Particularly since Hull Points generally tend to be harder to replenish. And yes, it does note that it best works for organic starships, but yeah – I’d seriously restrict that to GM ships only.

    On the security side, we have cloaking fields, dimensional and divinatory shielding, exterior antipersonnel weapons, and the like – the cloaking field’s high BP costs here are chosen well – you won’t be doing stealthy reconnaissance with heavily arm(or)ed ships. Star Trek-ish means to use dimensional analytics to enable crew to teleport on board of target or locked on ships is nice, and its increased costs mean that they do not invalidate e.g. boarding passages. Still, chances are that you probably will favor one of these two options, and disallow the other – it’s different aesthetics. Cool: We also get terrain adaptations.

    The weapon section includes Star Crash (I need to watch that classic again!) like boarding pods, jammer rockets and observer missiles? Interesting: Marker cannons and frickin’ ORBITAL WEAPONS and an array of super deadly ramming weapons! Yeah, there are some gems here. And yes, there are plenty of starship weapon-rules, such as contagious weaponry. Unfortunately, there are instances here where the author makes some errors in rules terminology that can be rather confusing: For example, the celestial quality mentions “radiant energy damage”, which does not exist in Starfinder. Granted, the pdf makes this behave as irradiate versus evil outsiders and undead, but it also notes that it’s penetrating shielding and hulls, which makes rules-interaction weird. More confusing, there is a radiant special property (see SF #7), so this is not only the wrong terminology and non-existent damage type, it also confuses what “radiant” means in established SFRPG rules parlance. Draining weapons are also exceedingly potent, and interesting, if the hit and deal at least 1 Hull Point damage, they cost a ship hit 10% of its PCU output until the next engineering phase, stacking up to 50% - but here, I can see the interesting angle the weapons’ power adds to the game: It provides a reason to NOT try to get most out of your PCU. As per SFRPG’s core book, components not powered renders systems inactive, so yeah, like this. The starship weapon upgrades are interesting for the most part, though the long-range weapon modification (2 PCU, 1 BP) is a bit underpriced.

    Okay, so next up, we have rules for dealing with characters battling starships – and vice versa. And yes, you won’t be soloing starships a lot. They are super deadly for tiny little characters, and the rules represent that – including appreciated notes that such scenarios need to handled with care. Two thumbs up here! Same goes for the starship-scale monsters (with e.g. world-eaters and miasma kraken included); we also get an adaptation of the troop, depicted as a graft. Artillery bracer rules are also provided alongside ones for planetary shielding. Did I mention rocket fists for powered armor?

    Alrighty, and now it’s time to take a look at the mass combat rules! We not only get a brief errata for Star Empires, we also have army equipment and starship rules for mass combat! Starships are organized in fleets, with a CR of 10 + tier, rounded down, minimum 10, and a properly defined array on inherent abilities that all starships have, including weaknesses. The integration of ships in the system is surprisingly simple, smooth and elegant. The book also presents some ideas for multi-layer mass combat and more than 10 new tactics to teach to fleet and armies, and as briefly mentioned previously, we do have command boons herein as well, with a couple of them being very strong: Using RV instead of MV, for example? That’s a very potent boon when compared to a +2 MV or RV versus armies that suffer a penalty to DV. A couple of immunity special abilities are provided as well.

    Much to my joy, siege weapon rules have also been included here, and while we’re at it: The simulationalist in me cheered big time for acceleration movement rules, as they make simply more sense to me – plus, they’re easy to implement, and add tactical depth! The book also provides alternatives to Profession for the purpose of mass combat, with two pages helpful starship DC-action tables in two difficulty levels makes for nice options here. Easier and more lethal modifications to the engine are provided as well, and from scaled ship combat to simplified mass combat, there are more options here that I really enjoyed seeing.

    Speaking of which: Don’t have the time and/or inclination to stat a ton of armies and fleets? Fret not, for the book closes on a high note, with 19 sample builds, ranging from ACR 8 to 30.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting on a rules-language-level is as precise as we’d expect; on a formal level, the pdf is more rushed than what we expect from legendary Games, with quite a few formatting deviations. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, with a blend of old and new full-color artworks. The pdf version includes plenty of nested bookmarks, making navigation simple and convenient.

    This book by Matt Daley, Mark Hart and Jason Nelson was an odd duck for me: It’s on the one hand the work of obviously very talented designers, and features not one, but several rules and option that had me smiling from ear to ear; and when it operates within its closed system of mass combat, it operates very well; the use of starships in regular scale etc. is another big plus, and as a whole, there are plenty of things herein that I’ll be using time and again. This book features components with top ten candidate level of coolness, and more than once. This has lots of truly inspired, top-tier material inside.

    However, on the other hand, the book also feels rushed in a few ways – from formatting not being as precise to more serious strikes against it: There are several rules-components that are easy to cheese, overpowered, and/or obviously should have seen some thorough playtesting to iron off the rough patches – and I mean seriously “rough” – the book doesn’t falter a lot, but when it does, it does so in a way that is noticeable on a rules and balance level. In a way, this could have easily been an EZG Essentials-must-have-level book, but in its current iteration, I can’t recommend it as universally as I’d very much like to.

    To make this abundantly clear: This is a book, chock-full with things to love; but it’s also a book that needs some very careful scrutiny by the GM, for there are options herein that will unbalance the game if introduced as written. It is the accumulation of these flaws that deprives this book of the accolades I would have heaped upon it otherwise. My final verdict can’t exceed 4 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Star Battles
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Star Intrigue
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/14/2019 12:18:51

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This supplement for Starfinder clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    This review was moved up in ym reviewing queue at the request of my patreons.

    So, this book builds on the “kingdom”-building style engine presented in Star Empires – it is, in a way, the Ultimate Intrigue to Star Empires’ Ultimate Campaign, to draw some PFRPG-analogues. As such, I assume familiarity with Star Empires in this review.

    In more details: We begin with rules for factions: Factions have an alignment, with Lawful factions gaining +2 to resources, Chaotic factions gaining +2 to power; Good factions get +2 to reputations, Evil ones get +2 to power; Neutral factions get +1 to both resources and reputation. Now, as you all know by now, I am NOT a fan of alignment – and this pdf does oblige, which is a big plus: Instead of using the simplistic alignment angle, Ethos can be used: A table with traits, bonuses and opposing traits is provided, allowing for more nuanced gameplay – love this!

    A given nation may have any number of factions, but if the combined size of all factions exceeds 10 times the nation size, it does get Unrest +1 during the Upkeep phase, representing a splintering of identity – and providing, obviously, a justification to eliminate factions… Not every type of faction will be represented in a nation, but all nations should have a Civil faction representing the citizens, a judicial one to represent the rulers. Factions have a goal, obviously.

    The term “operation” is used to denote a task a faction can choose during the faction turn. Factions have 3 types of “ability modifier” analogues – power, reputation, and resources. Size denotes, well, size – one point represents approximately 25 individuals; this is an arbitrary number, though – you could easily use e.g. 1000 as a number instead to track massive factions, but you need to make sure that factions all use the same scale. Factions receive a modifier to faction checks equal to 1/10th of the faction’s size, rounded down. Tension is somewhat akin to a faction’s Unrest – it denotes a penalty that is applied to all faction checks – 1 for every 10 tension points the faction has. If tension reduces a faction modifier below zero, the faction splinters. Certain types of operations and things happening can increase or decrease tension.

    A faction’s wealth is measured in Wealth Points (WP), with 10 WP roughly approximating 1 BP. Here are a couple of observations – the supplement, oddly, refers to credits by the opaque “cp”-term, which is confusing; the book should refer to credits, or at least properly explain that. Secondly, I’m pretty positive that something is very wrong in the conversion rates from WP to BP to credits. A WP here is noted to only be worth 400 credits, which is RIDICULOUS. It becomes even worse when using this and extrapolating the conversion to Star Empires sizes, as that leaves you with an empire’s starting budget clocking in at less costs than many high-level weapons. Something went horribly wrong here, and since the latter sub-chapters reference, multiple times, how characters can purchase WP, this glitch remains persistent and compromises a core component of the engine. There was a reason for there NOT being such a conversion rate in Star Empires. After some cursory math, I’d recommend making a WP cost AT LEAST 4,000 credits; if you’re like me and like round numbers, 5,000. Just my two cents.

    A faction begins with 10 WP and a size of 0; infrastructure will increase the size, and factions of size 1+ can launch operations, earn income and increase its size. If a faction is reduced to size 0, it can only undergo the recruitment operation.

    Faction checks are rolled by using a d20 and adding the relevant faction’s attribute, with default DC being 15; 1s are automatic failures, 20s automatic successes, and factions may not take 10 or 20 on faction checks. The pdf presents a total of 10 faction types, ranging from trade to military, and also presents brief guidelines for the GM to build new types of factions. The type determined, we have to think about secrecy states – factions can be open, covert, or disguised.

    As noted before, factions can have one or more goals – these may be public or secret, and consist of an Aim, a Scale, and a Subject. The Aim is classified in 4 rough categories: Control, Boost, Reduce and Eliminate. There are 6 different scales to consider, from individual to international, and all of them as well as public/secret goals influence the DC of the faction check, as a handy table summarizes.

    Faction turns happen during the nation turn sequence, after the Edict phase, and the results of the faction turn come into place before the Income phase. The sequence in which the factions act in a turn is determined by a Power-check as a kind of initiative, acting in reverse order. In the instance of a tie, the smaller faction goes first.

    The faction turn begins with the Upkeep Phase: If tension reduced an attribute below zero, the faction has to check for splintering; after that, the faction pays its size in WP as upkeep costs; after that, wealth is added first by characters (here, the credit-conversion-issue once again rears its ugly head), then by Resources checks. After this, Operations phase begins: The faction size determines the maximum number of contiguous faction operations a faction can undertake at once. Launching an operation costs the operation’s cost. Operations are classified in two types – only one type of active operation may be performed in a given turn, but maintenance operations may be performed more often. A total of 16 such operations are presented.

    Just like they can influence the course of nations, so can they interact with individuals – their relation to individuals can be easily tracked with 5 positive and negative ranks, all of which have their own name and explanation provided. – having a positive rank of 5 means you’re in control of the faction, having a negative rank of 5 means that you’re anathema. Gaining and loss of influence points are presented in a concise and easy to grasp manner, and, as you could probably glean, there is a more fine-grained way to describe interactions with factions – namely influence points. Thresholds for ranks are provided, and in a rather cool way, faction size once again comes into play, with larger factions making rising to the top progressively harder.

    Factions can grant favors, which the PCs may cash in – borrowed resources, gathering information, etc. 30 such favors are presented, and some of them get their own table that differentiates between influence ranks and the extent of the favor. To illustrate this issue, and how the credit-formula imho yields persistently odd results: Borrow Resources, for example nets you resource times 20 credits on rank 1, while rank 5 nets you resources times 5000 credits. For comparison – the largest sample faction herein is a megacorp with a size of 467, which would yield the equivalent of 9340 credits borrowed at rank 1, while someone with a rank of 5 (which means “in control” of the faction), could borrow “only” 2,335,000 credits – a vast sum, sure, but for the CEOs of a megacorp? That’s only slightly more than two level 20 armors. Sure, impressive, and maybe I’m too strongly influenced by Shadowrun, but that’s still not a sum that impresses me, particularly considering that the resources are borrowed. In PFRPG, this would have been a very impressive sum indeed; in SFRPG? Less so. You can’t even outfit a whole high-level party with state of the art armor. The command team a rank 5 fellow can send out? It’s CR 10. All in all, these don’t feel right to me; further delineation and a finer differentiation between ranks, with higher ranks/benefits for larger factions would have been prudent here.

    The same, partially, hold true for the hazards, i.e. the negative things a faction can do to the PCs and instigate to hamper them, but, courtesy to the more narrative focus here, it struck me as a slightly lesser issue. The pdf then proceeds to go through the process of creating factions for existing nations, and features a couple of sample factions for your convenience. I usually do not comment on artwork and the like, since I’m more interested in the actual content, but here, I feel obliged to do so: The pdf sports two artworks prominently displaying a red flag, with a white circle inside; in the white circle, printed in black, the black sun rune can be seen. One is a propaganda poster reading “Pure of thought, pure of purpose, pure of race.” In case you didn’t know: The black sun (Schwarze Sonne) is a design based on the sun wheel (Sonnenrad), and first occurred during Nazi Germany; SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler (one particularly loathsome bastard, even for a Nazi) gave the order to have the symbol laid inside the Wewelsburg; it literally consists of twelve radially-aligned and mirrored victory runes (Siegrunen – the notorious “S”s), or 3 superimposed swastikas. These symbols are LITERALLY used as a replacement sign of recognition for Nazis in places, like Germany, where the use of a swastika is prohibited by law, as well as by the right-wing, racist esoteric underground. So yeah, if you see someone walking around with a schwarze Sonne, then there is a very high chance they’re frickin’ Nazi pricks. And they are the artworks chosen for sample factions, without any context. sigh Now, I know that Legendary Games takes a decidedly anti-fascist stance; heck, they even have a module for that purpose, and I assume that the artworks were taken from that module. However, I still consider the artwork’s inclusion sans context here tasteless or at least, tone-deaf– as a person, I do think that the depiction of Nazis as one-dimensional villains detracts from the true horror they wrought (and I’ve explained as much in a very detailed and long essay on my homepage), and these pictures would have made me without the context of knowing Legendary Games, put down the book to never touch it again. These symbols and slogans are depicted without any context whatsoever. So yeah, I know that no ill intent was at the root of the use of these artworks here, and Legendary Games is beyond reproach when it comes to their politics, but for me as a person, this was still puzzling. Note that this will NOT influence my final verdict, but it’s important enough to me as a person to explicitly point it out.

    The second part of the book provides the SFRPG version of verbal duels: Getting to know an audience bias is a DC 15 Sense Motive check, which seems low to me; considering how skills balloon, this fixed DC, while subject to optional GM modification, seems low. Anyhow, seeding the audience is handled better, with a DC scaling by CR and a more pronounced manner – 1.5 times CR +15-20 is suggested as the top, which seems more feasible to me. This also allows for the seeding of edges, which may be used to reroll checks. A duelist has a Determination that consists of the highest mental ability score + total level or CR. Cool: Roleplaying has a serious influence here, with multipliers or divisors added to Determination depending on social advantage or disadvantage. Like it! Using the last tactic or repetitive tactics imposes a penalty on the associated skill check. A verbal duel consists of verbal exchanges.

    At the start of an exchange, a duelist chooses a tactic for an opening, makes the associated skill check, and increases the ante for the exchange by 1. The current DC for the exchange is set to the result of the skill check. The opponent can choose to end the exchange, or increase the ante by 1, choose a tactic and roll the skill check. If it exceeds the previously set DC, then the argument continues and goes back to the instigator; if not, the exchange is lost, and the ante is deducted from the Determination score. Choosing to end the exchange nets the opponent one edge instead. 10 different tactics are provided with individual rules – it is here that tactical depth enters the fray. Personally, I think it’d have made sense to have an option to up the ante to speed up verbal duels. More circumstantial modifiers would have been nice as well, as Starfinder has greatly streamlined skills by CR in comparison with Pathfinder. Multidirectional and team duels are also touched upon, but as a whole, I think the engine could have used a bit more meat on its bones.

    The pdf then proceeds to present rules for personal brands: A public personal brand has 6 facets ranked from 0 to 10; these are Charm, Genius, Heroism, Altruism, Acumen, Guile. These ranks may be used in place of the key ability modifier for the position’s associated ability score in related checks. Considering that the default NPC rules assume that +10 in an ability score is assigned to ~CR 16, this generally checks out regarding in-game logic. As you could glean from the conspicuous amount of facets, you determine starting ranks by checking your ability score – a value of 14 or higher nets you a rank in a facet, and appropriate behavior may net you more, depending on the GM’s decision. Each of the facets also has three skills assigned to them. The system for brands assumes a Trending Phase as an abstract turn, in which the characters leverage and build their reputation; in the context of Star Empires, this should happen once per nation turn; otherwise, there should be about 4 such phases per level. At the start of each such phase, PCs can determine one of two actions – developing the brand, or launching an engagement. Developing a brand is done as follows: Select a facet to improve, roll an associated skill check; on a success, increase the rank in the facet by 1. The DC is pretty low – 15 + twice the rank the PC is trying to achieve. This makes the maximum DC 35 – high, sure, but also an assured victory starting at the higher middle level-range. I kinda wished the system scaled better.

    Anyhow, a personal brand nets the PCs twice the starting number of facet ranks as agents; these can be directed to undertake engagements. At higher facet ranks, admirers, skill bonuses and the like enter the fray, and more complex engagements may be undertaken. Rank 5 nets an accomplice – basically a cohort-style henchman at CR-2. Engagements are classified in three groups: Basic engagements are unlocked at rank 2, intermediate engagements at rank 6, and advanced engagements at rank 9. Engagements have fixed DCs and success is determined by rolling a d20 and adding the number of agents tasked with it, up to a maximum of the respective facet’s rank. Natural 1s are always failures, natural 20s always a success. A PC may have one persistent engagement in effect (DC 17), and some are risky – the latter can result in agent loss. All engagements are associated with one or more facets. All in all, I liked this system.

    The final page of the pdf presents 4 new feats: Adept Leader treats your ability score to affect an empire’s attribute as two higher and nets a bonus to Stability. Center of Power is cool, in that it lets you use your personal brand accomplice to survey an infrastructure, which provides serious benefits. Effective Operator grants your faction once per faction turn a bonus equal to one of your mental ability score modifiers. Fortunate Leader lets you reroll during the event phase on the empire or colony table and choose the result. The decision to roll twice must be made beforehand, though.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. On a rules language level, the book is not bad in any way, but there are a couple of instances where I couldn’t help but feel that the math could have used a few adjustments. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf features, for the most part rather nice full-color artworks that fans of Legendary Games will be partially familiar with – and, as noted above, some unfortunately placed pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    Hmmm. Matt Daley and Ben Walklate’s Star Intrigue was a book I all but had pegged for a top ten candidate; I liked the direction Star Empires was taking, and when I realized that this book would have faction rules, I was ecstatic.

    Plus, I really enjoy social combat engines in my games. By all accounts, this book should have won me over without even trying. However, quite the opposite happened. Star intrigue is a good book, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not even close to the homerun I hoped it’d be. The credit to WP/BP conversion issue throws a wrench in the entire system’s integrity. The verbal duels and personal brand components are damn cool in concept, but remain pretty small aspects, like afterthoughts, when they deserved more room to shine. The factions completely disregard interaction with star ships (star ships feature in Star Battles), which makes the faction rules feel incomplete. The benefits for high influence ranks also feel a bit low for the internal logic of Starfinder’s economy. The verbal duels are per se solid, but also slow, and feel like they, with 10 or so pages more, could have been truly awesome; same goes for the personal brand sub-engine. As an aside: The way in which information is presented is also somewhat less than ideal – this requires close-reading, when a few sidebars summarizing the process, some bolded key-sections and the like would have made this more player-friendly. Personally, I don’t mind that, but since this is a book that players will want to peruse as well, it bears mentioning.

    All in all, this is a solid book; it’s not perfect, but it does what it says on the tin rather well. And yet, it left me with the nagging feeling that splitting it “Star Factions” and “Star-dom” or something like that would have benefited the individual systems. This is one of the books that tries to do A LOT, and does it well, but which could have done everything in an excellent manner, had it featured the room required for it. All in all, I consider this to be a good book that left me as a person dissatisfied in several of its finer components, though it should do its job well for most tables, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Star Intrigue
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Legendary Rogues
    by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2019 13:30:00

    This is my first attempt at a formal review of a roleplaying product. As with any review, my personal biases and preferences of game style will color the review, so it’s probably a good idea to identify these. As a GM, I tend to prefer products that evoke a strong flavor and mechanics which support that flavor. This goes beyond mere mechanics; I like products that offer a leitmotif that extends beyond rules, one which can also suffuse the campaign world in a narrative way. I also get jazzed by products that provide elegant solutions to otherwise complicated or ineffective rules in the Pathfinder RPG. Rules systems which unify disparate concepts into a cohesive whole, which streamline the playing experience for both GMs and players are greatly appreciated by me.

    As a player, I greatly prefer customization options and decision points that are built into the product. If it is a new character class, I like having the ability to choose from a selection of options, rather than being shoehorned into a class ability that may or may not fit my character concept. If it is a new rules subsystem, it should expand my ability to create interesting character concepts that effectively execute the concept during play, while not adding a large amount of complexity to the character management process.

    Okay, with those caveats out of the way, let’s get on to my reviewed product: Legendary Rogues by Legendary Games.

    This product offers us a complete rebuild of the rogue class; it was published in 2015, after Paizo had offered us their rebuild of the rogue in Pathfinder Unchained. Why all this rebuilding of one of the classic tropes of fantasy gaming? Well, the prevailing opinion of the rogue class as originally published in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook is that it is underpowered with respect to the other 10 base classes in the Core Rulebook. Initial complaints seemed to focus on the rogue’s opportunities to use her iconic sneak attack ability, her sub-par potential to be an effective DPR class, rogue talents being underpowered and subsequent class offerings from Paizo which rendered her skill mastery (another iconic rogue ability) second-rate. Paizo Publishing answered these criticisms with the Unchained Rogue.

    The unchained rogue attempted to bring the rogue back into the general power-level of the other base classes. They executed this design goal by introducing skill unlocks (abilities only a rogue could attempt given a specified number of skill ranks), and by granting the Weapon Finesse feat as 1st level bonus feat. This allows rogues to use DEX as their primary combat stat, reducing MAD and making them more effective combatants at early levels. Rogue talents get a few additions, but generally remain about the same.

    This is where Legendary Rogues steps in. The book launches with an unfortunate gaffe: It welcomes us to "Legendary Paladins" in the introductory page, which may cause some initial confusion for the reader. This is the only instance of this error, however, and the balance of the book does reference the correct legendary rogue class and product.

    The introduction gives us a brief summary of the product, and identifies the key concepts that will be introduced in the book, such as Skill Specialties, Avoidances, and Instincts. It goes on to discuss how many Rogue Talents are redefined to align them better with similar abilities of other core classes. The rogue in combat is mentioned, and then the Legendary Rogue ties all of these concepts into a rebuild of the rogue class.

    Skill specialties are addressed first. These are packages of skills (usually 1 skill plus a situational use of a second skill) that grant a scaling untyped bonus equal to ½ the rogue’s class level. Each skill specialty may only be selected once, and bonuses from multiple skill specialties don’t stack (nitpick: untyped bonuses in PF1 stack, so it may have been better to give these bonuses a type such as competence or insight). Athletic agility grants a bonus on Climb checks and Acrobatic checks made to traverse narrow or uneven surfaces. Imperceptible provides a bonus to stealth checks, and increases the miss chance for concealment. I like this one a lot! Information broker gives bonuses to Knowledge (local) checks and Diplomacy checks to Gather Information. There is a total of 14 skill specialties provided, giving the legendary rogue a means of diversifying or specializing while still remaining the best skills-based character class. Well done!

    The supplement goes the extra mile by discussing skill unlocks from Pathfinder Unchained next. It discusses ways that skill unlocks can be substituted for skill specialties, or how you can use both systems simultaneously, giving the player a wide variety of ways to achieve skill mastery.

    Avoidances are next, which are ways that the legendary rogue can avoid harm. Instead of the core rogue being forced to accept Trap Sense as a linear ability, the legendary rogue can choose an avoidance at 3rd level and every three levels thereafter. Avoidances include such abilities as Defensive Agility which grants a +1 Dodge bonus to AC when the rogue fights defensively or takes the Total Defense action, Elusive Moves which grants a +1 Dodge bonus to AC against attacks of opportunity and a +1 Dodge bonus to CMD to resist a Grapple combat maneuver, Missile Avoidance (+1 Dodge bonus against ranged attacks) and Poison Resistance (bonus to saves against poison, can be taken multiple times). Trap Sense is included in the Avoidances category, but is but one option among eight possible choices.

    Instincts are abilities that highlight a legendary rogue’s superb senses and instinctive awareness, modeled upon the Evasion and Uncanny Dodge abilities of the core rogue. The legendary rogue may select an instinct at 2nd and 4th level, and at every four levels thereafter. Options include the familiar Uncanny Dodge and Evasion abilities along with their improved versions, plus Instinctive Awareness (always act in a surprise round, even if unaware of attackers), Leap Aside (rogue can take a 5 foot step as an immediate reaction to an attack or AoE spell; resolution of attack is possibly affected as a result), and Celerity (roll twice for initiative, take preferred result). 10 such instincts are provided.

    The next section tackles Rogue Talents as a class ability, and attempts to bring them up to a roughly equivalent power level of other similar class abilities such as a witch’s hexes or a magus’s arcana. Several new rogue talents are listed and existing talents (such as Assault Leader) are upgraded from once per day to once per opponent. This approach makes a lot of sense narratively; after all, why would a rogue only be able to execute a talent (most are extraordinary abilities) once, and then forget how to use them?!? It makes far more sense for a rogue to use the ability on an opponent, who sees the ability and can defend against it once used, but a new opponent has no knowledge of this ability, and is vulnerable to it once as well. Rogue talents are gained at 2nd level and every two levels thereafter, for a total of 10 talents at 20th level. A massive 93 total rogue talents are offered, roughly balanced between re-worked and new talents, providing a wide array of effective options for the legendary rogue to shine.

    ‘Rogues in combat’ is the next major section of Legendary Rogues. It discusses how the core rogue tends to fall behind other martial classes in combat ability, and behind other ‘skillful’ classes such as the bard and the inquisitor in Saving Throws. It goes on to propose ways to compensate for this deficiency, making the rogue a more effective combatant. These solutions are codified into the Legendary Rogue class, which follows later in the book.

    Legendary Rogues posits that without the Sneak Attack class ability, the rogue’s attacks are essentially the same as the NPC expert class, and then enumerates the various ways that Sneak Attack can be nullified in Pathfinder. This section of the book discusses ways to make Sneak Attack more effective and applicable. Most of these solutions are included with the Legendary Rogue class, which immediately follows.

    The Legendary Rogue class gets d8 hp, 3/4 BAB progression, good Reflex saves and 8 + Int skill ranks per level. Sneak attack +1d6 is gained at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every odd level. She gains a broad and deep group of class skills, and is proficient in all simple weapons plus the hand crossbow, longsword, rapier, sap, shortbow, short sword, and sword cane, as well as one of the following weapons: garrote, longbow, whip, or a single light or one-handed martial weapon. They are proficient with light armor and bucklers but not with other shields. Rather than enumerate each class ability (which other reviewers have done with painstaking analysis), I’ll skip this and move on to observations, thoughts and conclusions.

    This class offering does something really cool, something that I wish other publishers would pick up on: In addition to the class rebuild, the document offers numerous commentaries and sidebars about design goals and implementation. The reader gets insight not just into how the class is reworked, but also why. We get justification for the design decisions that were made for the class, giving us better insight into why this class is balanced with more current Pathfinder classes, and how it goes about doing so. This is great; I wish more publishers would include such commentary.

    I must mention one regret that I have about this product. Files for Hero Labs are not offered (as a rule, Legendary Games does not create Hero Lab content to support its products), which for me creates an additional investment of time. You see, I use Hero Labs character management software exclusively for my Pathfinder games, both as a GM and player. I find it indispensable, given the vast number of variables that can affect a character’s statistics and abilities during play. When I allow a third-party class into one of my campaigns, I insist that it is enabled for use with Hero Labs. Consequently, the Hero Lab files must either be offered by the publisher (as with Kobold Press and Drop Dead Studios), or I must create the file myself. Now, I am not a professional programmer. My job isn’t even programming-adjacent. Learning how to code in Hero Lab was purely a skill that I wanted to learn, and it has taken over two years for me to gain a basic proficiency in creating custom content through the Hero Lab Editor. I have coded all of the class abilities for the Legendary Rogue into Hero Lab and am now working my way through the rogue talents. If you are proficient in the Hero Lab editor and want to add the Legendary Rogue to your content, be aware that coding will take several dozen hours to complete, due to the sheer number of options and abilities included with the class. On a difficulty scale, I would rate this a six out of 10. The coding isn’t terribly hard, but the number of scripts is pretty large.

    Legendary Rogues delivers the rogue class that I have always been hoping for, but never got. This is the rogue that delivers on the class fantasy, giving me a robust toolkit with which I can build the kind of rogue that I envisioned, not some cobbled-together patchwork of archetypes that doesn’t quite realize my vision. Matt Goodall and Jason Nelson have created the rogue that will hereinafter be the default rogue class in all of my future campaigns. The sheer amount of customization offered by inherent skills, skill specialties, instincts and avoidances allow me to create virtually any rogue concept that I can conceive without the need to add archetypes. Their design is impressive, their goals realized, and the final product is a glory to behold. I love this book! If Hero Lab files existed for it, Legendary Rogues would get a perfect ten out of ten from me. Lacking the Hero Lab support, I still rate this at 9 out of 10, and highly recommend it as a wonderful replacement for the lackluster core rogue, and its slightly less lackluster cousin, the unchained rogue.

    Do your game a huge favor, and get this book! The rogue will no longer be the red-headed step-child of the Pathfinder RPG!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Rogues
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Legendary Barbarians
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/26/2019 13:34:19

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the class-centric supplements by Legendary Games clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover,1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    We begin this supplement with a summary of design decisions made when crafting the Legendary Barbarian presented herein, which is handy to have indeed. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at this class redesign. The legendary barbarian has d12 HD, 4 + Intelligence modifier skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, all armor and all shields – yes, this includes heavy armor and explicitly also tower shields. However, fast movement only applies when wearing armor less than heavy and not carrying a heavy load. The class, obviously, has full BAB-progression and good Fort-saves. A small thing. But one I enjoyed, was to see Endurance gained as a first level bonus feat. It makes sense in the context of pretty much every barbarian in fantasy/sword & sorcery-literature ever, and doesn’t break the game – good call. Second level yields uncanny dodge, 5th level improved uncanny dodge, and 7th level yields DR 1/- which improves by 1 every 3 levels thereafter. Third level nets danger sense, which scales in the classic manner, i.e. +1 for every 3 levels thereafter. 14th level yields indomitable will, which is slightly more precise than the default verbiage of the ability, explicitly pointing out that it stacks – it’s a small touch and technically not required due to the ability’s untyped bonus, but it’s still a very much appreciated component.

    So, what’s new? How do you play a barbarian? Your first action in combat will be “I enter rage” – without fault, in 99.99% of instances. This class completely rewires rage and changes this, and indeed, the whole angle of how rage operates. A legendary barbarian has 4 + Constitution modifier rounds of rage per day, with each additional class level attained increasing this by +1.Rage is still renewed after 8 hours of rest, takes a free action to enter, and temporary ability score boosts do not influence the rage-allotment available. While in rage, the legendary barbarian gains an untyped +4 bonus to Will-saves against fear, -2 to AC and receives 2 temporary hit points per Hit Die, with 11th and 20th level increasing this to 3 and 4 per Hit Die, respectively. While in a rage, the legendary barbarian may not use Charisma-, Dexterity- or Intelligence-based skills (except Fly, Intimidate, Ride and Acrobatics) or any ability requiring patience or concentration. A rage is ended as a free action, and fatigues the legendary barbarian for 1 minute afterwards, and while fatigued or exhausted, the class may not enter a new rage. Spells, feats and effects that would grant rounds of rage only provide half as much, minimum 1. – I assume that to mean rounding down, as per the default. Odd: The paragraph stating this has been presented twice – once as part of the ability, and right after that, in a kind of boxed text.

    Here’s the thing: Rage is now tied to so-called rage forms – once is chosen at 1st level, and another one is unlocked at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. When entering rage, the legendary barbarian enters one of these rage forms, and rage forms may not be changed while in rage. Rage forms improve in power at 11th and 20th level, and a total of 13 are provided. Here,w e can find the option to grow claws (properly codified both regarding type and damage caused – kudos!), and the claws account for if the barbarian already has them. Later, we get a bite attack and a gore attack. Battle meditation nets a bonus to atk and AC, bestial rage allows for shapechanging. Not a fan: This form unlocks unassisted flight at 30 ft. and average maneuverability sans the usual landing clause common for low-level flight/jump options. At first, only Small and Medium animals are available, with later levels unlocking more size categories.

    Close quarters rage is interesting, in that it nets +3 to atk and damage, but only with ranged attacks executed against targets within the first range increment. It also increases critical multiplier of such attacks, which is something I generally am weary of, but the caveat that explicitly prevents stacking of such effects reigns that in. Closing Wounds nets fast healing, destructive rage boosts melee and thrown weapon damage and sunder attempts. Dueling rage lets the barbarian choose a target to challenge: Against this target, the penalty to AC does not apply, and the barbarian gets a bonus to atk and damage. Elemental rage laces elemental energy into attacks and net a short-range damaging aura. Enlarging rage does what it says on the tin, and another rage form nets omni energy resistance and boosts to Fort- and Ref-saves. Straight bonuses, bonuses to melee and Intimidate also exist.

    A bit of an issue – aforementioned challenging rage? It’s worse in every conceivable way than reckless rage – reckless rage nets you +3 to melee atk, damage, thrown weapon damage and Will-saves. Dueling rage just nets you +3 to atk and damage (including ranged weapons) and mitigates the -2 penalty versus one target, and you are dumped out of rage if the target is killed. (“Oh no, cleric – keep my challenge foe currently bleeding out alive, otherwise I’ll drop out of rage!!” – yeah, makes no sense.) Unless you’re playing a VERY atypical barbarian, reckless rage will be the more boring, but also superior option. Internal balancing could have been tighter here. Vicious rage is also somewhat problematic, in that it is a concept I generally like – a +3 to atk, +2d6 damage, but at the cost of taking 1d6 yourself – think of Guts from Berserk in the black armor. I can generally get behind that, but the damage output at level 1 is brutal; the damage type inflicted should also probably not be untyped here, and instead mirror the damage type inflicted by the weapon wielded. As written, this is problematic.

    I generally like rage forms, even though their internal balancing isn’t perfect – but they do present a bit of an issue. With the reduced rage-gain and the front-loaded budget of rounds of rage, dipping into the legendary barbarian is a VERY enticing option. By spreading the rounds of rage a bit thinner over the lower levels, and by taking care regarding several of the rage forms, this could have been much smoother. As written, I’d strongly suggest limiting the options to dip into this class.

    At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the barbarian gains a new rage power. Totem rage powers may now be freely selected, which, while potentially making sense, also can be a bit problematic – it depends on your game’s aesthetics and the skill employed by your players. Lists of existing and unchained rage powers for use with the class are provided here, and the pdf does include its own list of rage powers exclusive for the legendary barbarian. Unless I have miscounted, a total of 21 such regular rage powers have been included. These include moving over water as per water walk (italics missing), dealing scaling ability score damage to a mental ability score (proper minimum level cap). There also is a rage power that extends your rage’s duration after spending rounds of rage on it when you score a critical hit, with the durations stacking with themselves and being contingent on critical multipliers. Cool: This may not be cheesed! Huge kudos for making this work properly! Counter bull rush, being immune to lycanthropy in animal/bestial rage form, rerolling miss chances, etc.

    One of the most interesting and visceral chains here builds on a rebuild of unchained rage’s crippling blow, allowing for the severing of limbs, codifying them by type – and yes, the rules are actually fair. And yes, at the end of the chain, you can rip off heads. Ending grapples/swallow wholes, ghost hunting – several cool options here, and as noted before, rebuilds for both chained and unchained rage powers have been provided.

    6 new totem trees are provided – arcane, bestial, blood, shadow, sky and void, and 7 single mighty totems are included as well; these latter ones become available at 14th level and include 50% chances to negate critical hits and precision damage, negative energy damage for those nearby, etc. The new totems, for example, allow for light level control, quicker run/charge, blood-related effects, buffs accompanying entering a rage – you get the idea.

    Okay, this component of the rage mechanics out of the way, it should be noted that greater rage also nets immunity to fear, tireless rage prevents temporary hit points cycling and mighty rage, as noted, yields the benefits of the rage form’s capstone benefit. Level 20 also lets the barbarian spend 1 round of rage when scoring a critical hit to make the target save or die.

    Now, here is something I very much liked seeing – the class comes with a lot of alternate class features: 3 alternate proficiency arrays (including one that nets unarmed tricks like Catch Off Guard and Throw Anything), Endurance replacements, fast movement replacements, options to get rid of uncanny dodge and danger sense and indomitable will and DR-replacements. These generally do make sense regarding their internal powerlevels. I like these customization options very much.

    The pdf also features 9 different archetypes for the class. Gunpowder savages are basically the gunslinger-crossover, locked into close-quarters rage form, with Gunsmith replacing Endurance, better gun-butt bashing, etc. Incredible bulk is about enlarging and using Wield Halfling, a part of a mini-feat-chain herein that lets you clobber targets with their friends. Love it. Mutagenic rager instead is sickened/nauseated by rage and gets AC and physical ability score boosts. Pint-sized ragers get a custom rage form versus larger targets, while righteous ragers get a rage variant that works versus evil targets, ignoring all DR of such targets as soon as 1st level. WTF. Savages are the ranger-tweak with 6 + Int skills and an animal companion instead of rage forms. Slavering nightmares are about using fear/demoralize (including the chance to cause damaging nightmares via crits); steppe warriors get a mount and builds on ferocious rage. Vengeful bruisers are a kind of monk-crossover. The latter two only have d10 HD, just fyi.

    The pdf also introduces barbarian brands – basically, a barbarian’s version of monk vows or paladin oaths. The barbarian may have multiple ones, and 6 are provided – these generally are cool. Several, have a pretty easy clause to break – which is why they sport a Redemption-line that allows you to regain it by fulfilling the stipulated conditions – and no, atonement is not required. I like these very much, and wish there’d have been more. As written, they provide more rage rounds, and that’s it; not even close to what you could do with them mechanically. Beyond the already mentioned feats to beat targets to death with their flailing friends, we have a couple of feats for an Extra Rage Form, an Extra Rage variant, and one that lets you transfer effects of feats that require a specific weapon to improvised weapons.

    4 magic items and two weapon properties are included: lesser returning, at +1000 GP makes a weapon return if you reduce the target to 0 HP or below. At +2, greater smashing weapons have bonus damage versus objects and emits sonic bursts when destroying them. The totemic club nets an aligned totem’s lesser rage power while raging. Sadistic pauldrons are armor spikes that cause bleed damage, and that enhance damage output in rage. The helm of echoing screams boosts Intimidate at the cost of Diplomacy. Gloves of reckless throwing enhance thrown attacks, but render the items broken after being thrown. This can be abused potentially if you can get your hands on hard to destroy enemy items. The pdf closes with 5 sample builds and a CR 5 sample NPC, Gorund Windwalker.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level – I noticed a couple of formatting hiccups, and internal balance wasn’t always as tight as I’ve come to expect from legendary Games, but as a whole, this is a well-crafted supplement. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf features several full-color artworks that will be familiar to fans of Legendary Games. The pdf comes with only the most basic of bookmarks – the table, one class feature replacement and a few archetypes and main chapter headers are covered, but comfortable navigation, this is not. Odd – almost like something went wrong here.

    Jeff Gomez and Jason Nelson have addressed several issues with the default barbarian class, but I’m not 100% sure that the new iteration is that much better, to be frank. I generally like the notion of rage forms, and from Endurance to getting rid of that god-forsaken anachronistic alignment restriction, there are plenty of things I like. I am not that keen on the free totem mixing and matching and probably would have made that an alternate class feature. The main catch of this version of the barbarian is, that it doesn’t drown in rage rounds – which is a good idea in general. Resource management is a good thing. Here, the implementation is very front-loaded, though – the legendary barbarian is very dippable, more so than the regular barbarian.

    At the same time, the class offers no incentive whatsoever for NOT going into rage, which is pretty much the thing that could have fixed the class without reducing rage rounds available. A solarian-like engine, two modes – something like that. It makes sense when you think about it – Kull’s stoicism, Conan’s cunning, Solomon Kane’s ridiculous stubbornness…barbarians don’t just excel necessarily while in rage. Making a single pool of resources pay for rage and abilities available only while NOT in rage would have also added a whole new level to build strategies. Why am I harping on the decision to reduce rage rounds available? I agree with the sentiment behind the design fully – but not with the implementation, as there are plenty of genuinely exciting and rewarding options out there that consume rounds of rage, and thus render the implementation of said options in conjunction with the legendary barbarian kinda awkward or even impossible. Unlike the vanilla magus’ arcane pool, the barbarian’s rage actually has a lot going for it, and losing out there is…well, a pity, one that severely limits the rebuild’s appeal in a global context without offering enough to make up for it.

    In a way, this class design feels like it changes things; not necessarily for the better (unless you discount aspects that are often houseruled away), and not for the worse – it’s different, and for everything the class does better than the regular barbarian, it also has a small tidbit like unassisted flight too early, like some options not aligning in power level, that blemish it slightly.

    This is a good class rebuild, but it’s no revelation; it’s neither a Legendary Magus, nor a Legendary Cavalier or Gunslinger, nor one of the awesome and modular Rogue or Fighter rebuilds. The alternate class features presented herein were my favorite aspect within, as the archetypes tend to gravitate to the obvious engine-tweaks that we all expect by now. All in all, I felt that this was the weakest class-rebuild by Legendary Games that I’ve read so far. It’s not bad by any stretch of the word, but I fail to see sufficient improvement or enough cool stuff to incentivize me to implement it. Particularly when the barbarian classes that exist aren’t that sucky or one-dimensional AND have a vast array of options that this fellow misses out on. As such, my final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Barbarians
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Pirate Campaign Compendium (5E)
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2019 15:49:45

    This book definitely feels like the writer is more familiar and comfortable with the Pathfinder 1.0 rule set than DnD 5E, which isn't neccisarily a bad thing, it just doesn't intigrate as well as i'd like for a 5E campaign. It is also not well organized to the point of related things may be in the same chapter but kinda thrown in with other misc things too and so it feels scatterbrained. There is a lot of non-mechanics content that is pretty solid and most of the things can be pretty easily tweaked to better fit 5E, just know that if you are like me and want to stick to the design intent of 5E you will have to do some work to make the mechanics of the book fit right. Lost a star for organization and another for missing that design mark of 5E, but overall has good content.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Pirate Campaign Compendium (5E)
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Planetary Heroes (Starfinder)
    by Cyrano J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2019 12:45:32

    Potentially good product with some good ideas and writing on show, but its value is substantially reduced by the editing errors (still uncorrected months after the creator promised to do so) and by the fact that it's all-too-obviously Pathfinder content hastily re-skinned to take advantage of the "Starfinder-compatible" label (meaning many of the characters, for example, come with art that was plainly designed for Pathfinder and not Starfinder). Not Legendary Games' best effort by a long shot.



    Rating:
    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Planetary Heroes (Starfinder)
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Whisper House
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2019 08:18:27

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This module clocks in at 54 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page of editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of how to use, 1 page advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 45 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    All right, so this is a plug-in for the Strange Aeons adventure path, and it is intended for a group of 8th level characters. The module works perfectly fine on its own, just fyi. Difficulty-wise, this is one of the tougher adventures, and the module features plenty of read-aloud text as well as hyperlinks.

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

    … .. .

    All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the PCs are traveling upstream on a boat on the Sellinar river, when the captain approaches the adventurers with a plea – a hunting party hasn’t returned. As the PCs track the missing hunting party, they are ambushed by degenerate villagers of the blood of Yog-Sothoth – interrogation yields further information, as the locals seem to have abducted the hunting party with the express desire of consuming them. Thus, the PCs make their way to the backwater village, where the PCs will have a chance to fight a deadly degenerate witch and her brain ooze allies – if she manages to escape, there’ll be mi-go hunters on the PC’s trails – in the village, two of the missing folks may be saved from a grisly fate, though the process might pit the PCs against an entire village! (Personally, I think the degenerate 27 villagers would have made for a better troop than individuals, but your mileage may vary here.)

    Leaving the deadly village behind, the PCs will have to venture towards the seemingly abandoned Labauve manor - the manor is caked in dangerous mold, and is actually the site of a family’s rather grisly corruption (and for the most part, demise) at the hands of contact with Yog-Sothoth. The exploration of the mansion makes up the main meat of the module, and features quite an impressive array of unique builds, including a unique urannag living trap, an ettin with heads of two genders, swarms of eel-things and a grotesque conglomeration of undigested bits granted sentience. The PCs may find an unlikely ally in a unique pipefox variant. Ultimately, the PCs will have to best ratlings, the mad patriarch of the family, and his Yog-Sothoth begat spawn. Interesting here would be the fact that not all mythos-creatures are aligned – the PCs can e.g. make allies of mi-go if they play their cards right – and they’ll need all the help they can get, for a giant spawn of Yog-Sothoth lurks below the manor, where the final member of the hunting party (the others can be found before that) may be saved from a rather grisly fate.

    The module includes the blood of Yog-Sothoth CR +1 template, a potent gown for witches, and two new spells, one of which is a summons warm variant.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the awesome full-color two-column standard of the series, and the module comes with a ton of pretty amazing artworks – all original pieces I haven’t seen before – kudos for that! The cartography in full-color is really nice, but somewhat to my chagrin, no player-friendly versions were included. The book comes with basic chapter-header bookmarks.

    Tom Phillips really knows how to write good dark fantasy – the adventure is twisted, flavorful, and the atmosphere the mansion manages to evoke is rather grisly indeed. The amount of unique adversaries is another big plus for this mansion-crawl. Now, personally, I think the module would have benefitted from a bit more echoes of days gone, providing hints and visions of the horrid things that befell the manor and the surrounding landscape, for with such an inclusion, this could have served as a rather efficient horror adventure. As provided, this is certainly one of the more compelling and well-crafted mansion-crawls out there. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, and while the absence of player-friendly maps is a bit of a bummer, I still feel justified in rounding up for this book.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Whisper House
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Corrupted Classes
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/11/2019 13:05:22

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This plug-in for Wrath of the Righteous clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial/introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    The first part of the pdf deals with so-called “Corrupted classes”, representing once pure targets that have been, in some ways, tainted by the harsh reality of the environment they work in – such as the Worldwound. The first of these would be the anarchist inquisitor, who receives access to mesmerist spells, but requires an (un-) holy symbol to cast them – this replaces monster lore and track. Domain is relegated to 3rd level, and all domain powers behave as though two levels lower, but to make up for that, the anarchist may freely choose domains and subdomains, disregarding deity portfolios, and change a domain or subdomain every 3 levels after 3rd. Minor nitpick: The ability’s header isn’t properly bolded here. Instead of detect alignment, we have a +2 to saving throws vs. divinations, and alignment may only be discerned if the CL exceeds inquisitor levels by 4 or more. At 3rd level, we replace solo tactics and 3rd 6th and 9th level’s teamwork feats with the graffiti ability, which is powered by judgment expenditure, but otherwise does not follow its rules. A graffiti is essentially an at-will arcane mark. Optionally, as a full-round action, a judgment use may be used to create enhanced graffiti, which defames a target, imposing a Charisma penalty on the target when interacting with creatures that can see the graffiti. The penalty scales, and duration may be enhanced by expending more judgment uses. Additionally, later, graffiti may duplicate glyphs of warding, that instead of holding a spell, either demoralize or alter a creature’s attitude. At 9th level, we then get the fully functional magic graffiti that can convey mind-affecting effects. Discern lies is replaced with class level rounds of detect charm per day, with said spell (hyperlink here not italicized) and suppress charms and compulsions added to spells known. The teamwork feats usually attained at 12th, 15th and 18th level are replaced by the ability to expend judgments to generate a potent and longer lasting variant of song of discord –proper riot instigation, essentially. 17th level nets immunity to mind-affecting divinations and compulsions instead of slayer. Really cool archetype here!

    The Black Mage kineticist archetype is pretty out there – you first need to have the dark elementalist AND elemental annihilator archetypes to even contemplate taking this one – yep, it’s a third archetype stacked atop of the two! The black mage may freely choose on whether to use Intelligence or Constitution to determine the damage caused by wild-talents, the DCs and durations of Constitution-based wild talents, bonus on concentration checks and other class-related effects – this may be done freely and is NOT an action. The archetype nets two feats at first level, the first of which would be Burning Thunder of Omnikinesis. This one lets you choose to take a -40 penalty to Stealth, as you emit light like a sunrod. This feats also locks you into using it whenever you gather power, and it may not be used in social identity, if available through e.g. Incredible Hidden Power. When this feat is active and you use a feat, trait, wild talent, kinetic blast or kineticist class ability that deals one of the 4 core elemental damage types, you may freely opt to choose one of the other 3 damage types instead as a swift action, changing the descriptor, if anything, of the effect. Non-damaging effects remain unchanged, unless the changed energy type invalidates them, subject to GM’s discretion – and this is the key sentence here that prevents this feat from being ridiculously overpowered. That and the daily use cap of 3 + wild talent-governing key ability modifier. Don’t get me wrong – this is still a VERY strong option, but this caveat does indeed eliminate a lot of the tricks you can usually execute with blasts.

    The second feat gained at 1st level would be Heir to Power Unstable, the single longest feat I’ve read so far…wait…do you also have a déjà-vu? Yep, this was originally featured in Occult Archetypes II. HOWEVER, close reading of the two actually yields an interesting observation – the feat as presented in this book, while still providing various unique effects depending on elemental focus, etc., has actually been changed in comparison – what previously caused bleed damage, for example, now causes animals and non-sentient animals to attempt to leave the area. The feat has been retooled, to the point where I consider it to be a flavorful and action economy-wise powerful option, and one that I’d allow in my campaign. Pleasant surprise! On the downside, this feat mentions rage or bloodrage in the prerequisite lines – both of which do not belong there.

    I already mentioned Incredible Hidden power, another feat that makes a return here – this one also mentions rage/bloodrage, but here, it makes sense – the feat has been expanded, and in case you don’t remember it, it basically nets you a seamless guise/dual identity akin to the vigilante, with themagical child’s transformation sequence. It makes you social identity meeker, and the feat does scale at higher levels, with this book’s iteration also adding in a rage/bloodrage-interaction: These class features are not available per se in social identity, but may be used to tap into e.g. rage powers at increased costs, allowing for an interesting additional multiclass support-angle. The feat also provides a means to Bluff targets regarding your spellcasting in social identity, which, while something I appreciate concept-wise, would have been better off in another feat – this one already does A LOT, and this aspect imho is a bit overkill.

    But I digress – let’s return to the black mage archetype. At 1st level, the character gets a masterwork staff that automatically rejuvenates if destroyed or lost upon resting, and that staff is required to use any supernatural kineticist abilities. The staff does not count as an occupied hand fo the purposes of kineticist class features, and all black mage’s wild talents are considered to be arcane, divine and psychic – all effects that resist one of the three are applied to all spells and supernatural effects a black mage uses as a kind of balancing drawback. Black mages only inflict half damage on undead or living creatures with negative energy affinity, and they may never gain kinetic healer. The black mage does not gain internal buffer, but is treated as having it for the purpose of the Force-Focusing Oath feat. This feat, alas, is still missing its prerequisite line. Kudos for the layout of Absorb Violent Energies, another feat from Occult Archetypes II – its presentation in this iteration is cleaner.

    Black mages also are treated as having the Craft Wondrous item feat and a CL equal to character level, but only for the purpose of making a lich’s phylactery. While we’re on the subject matter of kineticist options, let us discuss some of the other feats within, shall we? By Blackest Ink lets you read scrolls and cast arcane spells from them at class level -4, and lets you use UMD to decipher them instead of Spellcraft – without read magic. (Spell-reference not italicized); the feat also nets you a scaling Intelligence bonus boost for the purpose of determining the spell levels you can cast from scrolls, which is pretty clever. Initiate of Thanatokinesis builds on By Blackest Ink, and nets you limited access to necromancy SPs, with burn costs – the feat may be taken multiple times, may not be used in sunlight, and is pretty damn cool.

    Fierce Fiendish Brilliance allows you to BOTH be an Elemental Ascetic and gain the Dark Elementalist archetype, with free choice between Intelligence and Wisdom regarding the determination of what acts as key ability score modifier. This may be taken as a faith trait for adherents of evil deities, which makes sense, considering that it’s basically a multiarchetyping enabler – and before you scream that this is still too potent, if taken this way, it does come with a pretty extensive set of limitations and modifications. I liked this.

    The pdf also contains 2 vigilante archetypes – the gore fiend is a vigilante with an evil vigilante identity; the archetype loses vigilante specialization and instead gets a bite attack, and damaging targets nets viscera points – these may be used to enter unchained barbarian-style rages and select rage powers, with higher levels providing the means to auto-cannibalize. Viscera may be used at higher levels for limited healing etc. Kudos: No kittens were harmed during the making of this archetype, i.e. you can’t cheese it by eaten harmless, cute animals. Rot Fiend is a feat for the gore fiend, which lets you gain viscera from undead. I like this one. Hellion vigilantes are the damned that have somehow escaped – they have one last chance at redemption (or existence) and may use hellfire. Annoyingly, this one of the archetypes that still hasn’t learned that there is no such thing as profane damage in PFRPG, which pretty much immediately disqualifies it for me. They use this make-believe energy type to enhance weapons, curse targets, etc. – nothing remarkable, and frankly, not worth the hassle of being riled up about the damage type.

    The order of the blood knight cavalier order, on the other hand, is pretty cool: Unable to grant mercy, these fellows are bleeding specialists and can hijack the healing of challenge targets and cause bleeding to those nearby. Nasty and neat. The riven medium essentially gets a variation of dual identity that focuses on personality traits and alignment instead, representing compartmentalized component of nasty psychological traits. The archetype can tap into this power and manifest it to enhance spells to e.g. deal bleed damage, and being in mortal danger may see this personality surface. This does render the character more susceptible to evil effects, but we have DR and DC-increases to make up for this. Really enjoyed this engine-tweak with its unique roleplaying angle.

    There are two class options presented for characters holding strong to their ideals, the first of which would be the grail knight paladin, who gets to choose an outsider subtype to detect, as though with detect demons, and may detect the chosen subtype via detect evil. This replaces third level’s mercy. Divine health is replaced with the Worldwound counting as favored terrain and immunity to the tainted plague. Channeling is tweaked to heal good and harm evil outsiders, and smite evil’s 4th, 10th and 16trh level uses are replaced with a favored enemy style passive boost versus the chosen evil outsider. Divine bond is replaced with the ability to designate a forged, holy cup as a grail-simulacrum,, which can enhance healing. Its duration may also be expended in a rather wide variety of ways that include SPs, anointing weaponry, etc. Mercy-synergy is also provided with it, and divine bond is relegated to 9th level, with the same level also enhancing attacks versus the chosen outsiders. All in all, one of the better nemesis-style archetypes.

    Moon howlers are summoners with diminished spellcasting and a quadruped eidolon resembling a moon dog, with an obviously modified summon monster list. The archetype loses (greater) shield ally and merge forms with the ability to lick the wounds of targets, healing them with scaling effects, and the (greater) aspect as well as maker’s call and transposition abilities are replaced with a scaling array of howl-based supernatural effects that are balanced via a hex-caveat and and the use of summon monster SPs as a limited resource.

    A massive section of the pdf is devoted to so-called cursed archetypes that begin play impoverished and with a minor penalty to saves, but also skill boosts and some spells added to spell list. Druid, shaman, bloodrager, kineticist, investigator, medium, mesmerist, occultist, psychic, sorcerer, spiritualist, sumnmoner and witch are provided, and oracle curse would be a leitmotif that may be found here, with the druid becoming a spontaneous spellcaster and gaining a witch patron being the most pronounced modification here – this is essentially an engine-tweak chapter, and one that I generally enjoyed.

    Now, I’ve already touched upon quite a few of the feats from said chapter, but I should also mention the one that makes you a survivor of aforementioned tainted plague (which is btw. statted for your edification as a hazard); it is, alongside Thrallborn, Warped Mind and Twisted Flesh, one of the feats that basically help contextualize a character’s starting angle,as they are 1st-level only feats.

    Blazing Bolts Against the Darkness requires being a Gray Paladin, but allows for the taking of divine hunter as an archetype as well; and with Oathbound, you can have further multiclass synergy with classes like slayer, inquisitor or gunslinger (if you have Mysterious Stranger). Dark Forces Adept would be another multiclass enabler, allowing you to use arcane pool, grit, ki, panache or touch of corruption interchangeably, and also nets some SPs with these resources. It should be pretty evident that this allows you to escalate resources fast – I’m not a fan, and would relegate this to NPCs only. (Granted, it’s only for non-good characters, but still…) Comprehend the Corrupted is narrative gold and allows you to determine whether someone would be swayed to your side, the motivations of the target, etc. Cruel Kiss of Thunder is a massive feat for antipaladins, druids or cityskin warlocks with the proper domains and feats, netting you cantrips, the modification of touch of corruption to deal half electricity damage and inflict bonus conditions, and also synergy of domains and bloodlines. Thrashing Heart of the Shockwave builds on that and nets you the Dark Force Adept feat as well as a further synergy there.Sorcerous Damnation provides a similarly complex operation, providing a crossover between Eldritch Heritage and antipaladin abilities. Fiendfoe is a bland anti-evil-outsider feat to identify them better and deal more damage to them. Not a fan. Flesh of Many Skins is a really cool wild shape tweak that lets you quickly change shapes and nets you partial swarm traits due to your rapidly-shifting proto-bestial form – however, this does also make you susceptible to AoE attacks. Redeemed Scoundrel nets you a couple of skill bonuses and two rogue class skills or a rogue talent.

    There are also two complex feats for Pazuzu-adherents – Senses of the Shrike and Awareness of Dark Winds, which make you aware of your title/name being uttered, with such fools also suffering from you getting bonuses, treating them as studied target or favored enemy, and you may denote them as quarry; oh, and you may eat such fools to know when they first heard or read your name. This can make for a truly frightening, awesome villain. Love them! Warp Sense makes you potentially aware of teleportation and allows you to prevent teleportation-based ambushes. Useful one!

    The pdf features two magic items – razor claw guards and razor mouthguard, which basically net you pseudo-natural attacks that may enhanced as a whole. Decent, but not mind-blowing.

    The final section deals with feats based on a new one – Bright-Burning Super-Sanity, which requires that you can accept Burn. It allows you to mitigate Burn by one or more points, but when you do, you roll on a d20 table – these may entail becoming super-honest, a random phobia, language-loss, etc. – a phobia and obsession table is provided as well. One issue: I think defining “Mind Burn” would make sense - I don’t think I know what that’s supposed to be. I assume Burn applying to a mental ability score. The feats building on this allow for rolling twice (or choosing a 16), and the second lets you also roll a d8, gaining one of 7 (is there one missing?) effects. The 7th effect also lacks italics in the header, and a spell-reference is not italicized here.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting on a rules language and formal level are good, though not as good as usual for Legendary Games – there are quite a few missing formatting components (such as spell-references) and quite a few class feature-references that are nonstandard; considering the density of the rules presented here, those can make thing slightly more challenging for the user than they need to be. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the Wrath of the Righteous plugins (personally, my least favorite of LG’s layout templates so far), and the pdf sports a variety of full-color artworks that will be familiar to fans of LG. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    Clinton Boomer, Jason Nelson, Carl Cramér, N. Jolly and Julian Neale are all veterans that regularly feature among my higher rated design supplements, and it shows here – the supplement juggles exceedingly complex concepts, and Clinton Boomer’s feats, which while always awesome, sometimes blow past the realms of the sensible, have remained more grounded this time around. The multiclass enhancing for character class combos is generally appreciated, and the archetypes (with the exception of the sucky hellion) tend to be pretty amazing and conceptually interesting. All in all, I consider this to be an interesting and fun expansion, one with a few filler feats that particularly stand out next to Clinton’s complexity-monsters, but nonetheless a book with a strong focus, well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Corrupted Classes
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Legendary Races - Wyrmtouched
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2019 10:30:19

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This supplement clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 28 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    So, what are wyrmtouched? As you could glean from the structure of the denoting compound, wyrmtouched are essentially a novel take on the draconic-heritage race; instead of assuming a singular cultural heritage, the race adheres to a similar origin paradigm as planetouched races, resulting in wyrmtouched being born to parents of different races, provided they have the requisite traces of draconic blood in their ancestry. The write-up thus assumes parental races for the physical vital characteristics, and then presents to provide the notes on alignment, adventuring, etc.

    Racial stat-wise, the wyrmtouched have +2 Strength and Wisdom, -2 Dexterity, are Medium and are humanoids with the dragonkin subtype (properly codified, just fyi). They get a +2 racial bonus to Perception, and a properly codified primary bite attack for 1d6 damage. They have both darkvision and low-light vision, and a +2 racial bonus on saves vs. magical sleep effects and paralysis, and regarding creature type, they are treated as dragons. They also receive resistance 5 against the damage type of their supernatural breath weapon. This is chosen from among the 4 core energy types, and is either a 15-foot cone or a 30-foot line that may be used Constitution modifier times per day, minimum 1, inflicting 1d6 + Constitution modifier damage of the chosen energy type. 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase the damage output of the breath weapon by +1d6. All in all, a potent race, but one that I#d allow in all my games. Kudos!

    A total of 17 different alternate racial traits are provided, and include natural armor instead of resistance, a powerful tail (properly codified) instead of resistance and low-light vision, and instead of breath and resistance, you can be Large. You could have vast lifespans, or get +1 HP per level at the cost of reduced speed and the loss of draconic resistance. You could also be Small, and application of these traits to generate sub-races is provided. This section deserves applause, in that it shows a very keen awareness of the power of all racial abilities and their respective payoffs. There is one alternate trait that may require a bit of oversight for some games – wyrm wings nets you flight from level 1 onwards, but only at a clumsy maneuverability and 30 ft., with higher levels later increasing that. While this does cost breath weapon, I personally prefer the “needs to end movement on solid earth or fall”-angle for the levels up to 5th, but then again, I tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to unassisted PC flight at low levels. The race does come with its own vital statistics, just fyi. Want a wyrmtouched that is sourced from a specific dragon-class? Well, fret not – the supplement provides 8 (!!) different variant wyrmtouched, each with their own ability score modifiers, and they replace the racial Perception skill boost with another skill. Huge kudos: None of the options here are lopsided or jeopardize the intricate balance of the base race.

    The supplement also provides a total of 12 different traits, all of which are properly grouped in trait categories. They allow for e.g. the sue of Wisdom instead of Constitution as governing ability score for wyrmtouched racial abilities, enhanced maneuverability with wings, increased DCs, etc. – the traits per se are in line with the proper power-level for them, and remain viable options that alter the experience of playing a wyrmtouched in a meaningful way – in short, they are really nice examples of what you can do with them. The race also features a massive list of well-crafted favored class options for all Paizo classes (excluding ninja + samurai) – yes, this includes the ones from ACG and OA, as well as the vigilante and shifter. As a nice piece of service for folks like yours truly, the latter one’s write-up does provide an option to tweak it for the imho superior Legendary Shifter.

    So, that would be the racial base-line, but we’re not even close to covering the amount of material featured within this book: The authors have obviously understood that, particularly for a race with an eclectic background like the wyrmtouched, there is a necessity to not just present them and let them stand as is; instead, the book realizes that a race ought to be more than just a write-up of a rules, that there is more to them. As such, the book explains the psychology and physiology of the wyrmtouched in commendable detail, as well as their culture. Note that this is not simply a section of background material – oh no! We do get notes on breath artistry duels (including the rules to supplement them!), a great narrative tool that makes sense on so many levels. I love it! From fashion to the relationship with magic to funerary customs, the book manages to present a truly encompassing and plausible, captivating portrayal of the race, with a sample community and even advice on adapting the race to your campaign provided! I was positively surprised in many ways by how well this whole section was presented.

    The pdf includes a single race-exclusive archetype, the breath savant brawler, who needs to both have a breath weapon and a bite attack to select the archetype. In place of unarmed strike, these fellows increase the damage output of the breath weapon, as per its own table. EDIT: So, I read as a glitch what was intended design paradigm - the breath savant increases the base damage die of the breath weapon, and said increase may include multiple dice that function as a singular base damage die. This changes the tone of the archetype drastically and makes it solely suitable for higher-powered games - for my games, this'd be labeled over-powered and banned. HOWEVER, my initial reading that mistook base damage die increases of the breath weapon increase as the total actually makes for a super-easy way to retain the archetype even in lower-powered games without requiring design work by the GM. The breath savant may decide to change damage type inflicted by the breath weapon via martial flexibility, and treats [breath] feats as combat feats for the purpose of the ability. Instead of brawler’s flurry, we have Unbound Breath Weapon (which allows you to use your breath weapon every other round and should have, imho, a minimum level such as 3rd or so – the archetype ignores prerequisites, so it’s weird that it gets the feat later, and unlimited breath with just one round of cooldown can be pretty potent) and Combat Breath Weapon (which lets you use the breath weapon as either part of an attack action, or as part of casting a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action, with the latter requiring the expenditure of a swift action; this feat has a 5th-level prerequisite, so here, the prerequisite ignoring makes sense) as bonus feats at 2nd level, with 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter allowing for the addition of an additional melee attack at cumulative -3 penalties when taking the attack action. 4th level replaces maneuver training with Flowing Breath – this feat eliminates Unbound Breath Weapon’s one-round cooldown and is situated at 3rd level prerequisites; note that, since the base breath weapon has the one-minute cooldown as well, this applies to both Unbound and non-unbound weaponry, in the former case unlocking unlimited breath weapons as soon as 3rd level. The AC bonus is replaced with +1 natural armor that increases further at 9th, 13th and 18th level. Knockout is replaced with torrent breath, 1/day maximizing breath weapon and increasing DCs by +2, with an additional daily use gained at 9th level and every 5 levels thereafter. 5th, 9th, 12th and 17th level make the natural attacks count as specific materials (scaling makes sense) for the purpose of overcoming DRs, replacing brawler’s strike. Instead of close weapon mastery, we have a bite attack damage increase based on breath weapon. While I’m not happy with unlimited AoE-attacks here, the archetype is pretty neat and probably won’t break the game of groups that do not adhere to a low and very conservative power-level.

    The pdf also contains 4 other archetypes that may be taken by any race, but are particularly suited for wyrmtouched. One of these is the dragon touched, originally intended for the Legendary Shifter – the pdf notes that it may be rather strong for the regular shifter, and I concur with the assessment, adding just my 2 cents: You should be using the superior and more fun Legendary Shifter anyways. ;P Kidding aside, this guy is pretty much what it says on the tin – a shifter archetype that focuses on assuming draconic forms, using complex variations of form of the dragon as a baseline.

    The dragon champion vigilante modifies dual identity (retaining archetype compatibility) to instead have a draconic identity, with the archetype sporting a significant amount of different, exclusive vigilante talents that include a bite attack enhancer (which stacks with keen et al. – not a fan), an anti-dragon attack that works in conjunction with options from Asian Archetypes: Martial and Legendary Villains: Vigilantes, a Dazzling Display variant, a breath weapon (and another one for an upgrade), and wings (locked behind an appropriate minimum level). All in all, a nice one.

    The scaled scion is a magus archetype, who gains an arcanist’s spellcasting, governed by Charisma (making it work in conjunction with the Legendary Magus), and the armor proficiency abilities are replaced with natural armor bonus and resistance, as governed by energy resistance. The final archetype would be the wyrm researcher alchemist, who alters mutagen to instead provide natural armor and energy resistance corresponding to the character’s associated dragon bloodline; the character has a reduced bomb damage, and instead of 2nd level’s discovery, we get claws, with 6th level gaining wings sans duration while under the mutagen. Minor nitpick: Here is an erroneous reference to feral mutagen instead of wyrm heart. 8th level provides the means to choose two unique discoveries (for bomb/breath admixture), and poison immunity is replaced with wing attacks and 18th level nets immunity to the chosen element instead of poison.

    The pdf provides a rather massive feat chapter, with aforementioned [Breath] feats allowing for various modifications of the base engine, often at the cost of base damage die of breath weapons – we can find e.g. the addition of negative conditions of breath weapons. Cool: One of the alternate racial traits nets you blindsense 5 ft. – with a feat, you can close your eyes and extend that range. It’s so simple, but I love the visuals. Breath Weapon Admixture is obvious in what it does; Breath Weapon Artisan allows the character to modify the breath weapon to change the area of effect of the breath weapon. Lacing weapons with breath weapon energy, excluding spaces from it, gaining minor DR, a climb speed, no longer requiring a free hand for spell combat – quite a lot of options here. Particularly notable: Drake Style not only has 2 feats based on it, but 5! The base Drake Style allows for wall-running (awesome) with a variant of attacking during the movement. The follow-up feats allow for the use of Drake Style in conjunction with living creatures, and you can catapult off of objects to further increase heights; higher levels allow for the addition of penalized attacks, etc. - Cool style!!

    The chapter also includes a Vital Strike/bite synergy, for example – but there is more: The book has a whole sub-chapter devoted to legendary drakes – basically a companion engine for drakes. These guys only have head, headband, eyes, shoulder, neck, body, chest and 2 ring slots and do NOT count as animal companions. If they die, you do NOT gain a replacement. It takes years to gain a drake’s trust, thus making this a companion you do not want to throw into the meatgrinder.

    The legendary drake companion requires a two-feat investment, with the first being a lame skill-enhancer that nets you a language and a better starting attitude for draconic beings. Their power is further capped by requiring additional feats to progress towards certain HD-caps. Legendary drakes have ¾ HD-progression (capped by the feat-based limits), ¾ BAB-progression, all saves progress to +9 over the 20 levels, and the companion has d12 HD. Skill ranks start as 3, and increase to 60 at 20th level. The companion begins with a feat and gains up to 8 feats over the course of the companion progression.

    The drake companion begins play with darkvision and low-light vision, as well as immunity to sleep and paralysis effects. The drake increases natural AC by +2 at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter, and ability score increases happen at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. 6th, 13th and 20th level net a size increase. At 1st level and every 4 levels thereafter, the legendary drake gets to choose a drake power from a massive list. Here, we can find aligned damage, breathing in water, breath weaponry and further power-upgrades thereof, swim speed, climb speed, etc. The selection also features a variety of asterisk’d powers that modify the bite attack of the drake. Only one of these may be applied per bite, and yes, there is a feat that lets the drake choose an extra drake power. There are variant rules provided for agile drakes, better armored ones, and construct and undead drakes, with the latter two thankfully taking some serious hits regarding their base stats to account for the immunities and powers bestowed by their states. Serving as a mount does btw. require a drake power, and the pdf does include, aptly, a magic saddle for drake riders. The reduction harness is an all but required item, as it allows you to take your drake, you know, actually with you into that dungeon? Considering the steep penalty for losing a drake, a kind of drake extra life, the drake heart is certainly an item you should purchase/craft, and finally, there would be two iterations of drake’s crests which grant access to drake powers.

    The pdf closes with Ti’ri Karn, a wyrmtouched brawler (breath savant) 5, who is unique – a wyrmtouched in her prime, living with humans has taught her the fragility of life and made her almost feels like a benevolent grandparent, a funny and pretty cool contrast to artwork and racial stereotypes. Her boon also highlights this, as she provides long-term care for friends and their animals alike.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are as a whole, very good on a formal and rules-language level. While there are a few minor components that can be construed to be hiccups, none really hampered the integrity of the rules provided. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard, with a blend of new and classic artworks provided for your edification. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

    Okay, to be honest, I didn’t really want to review this book. I’ve covered so many pseudo-draconic PC-races over the years, the concept quite frankly exhausts me and has lost pretty much all of its intrinsic appeal. I am happy to report that Loren Sieg, N. Jolly, Amber Underwood and Siobhan Bjorknas managed to actually put a new and creative spin on the concept. The notion of spontaneous exhibiting of draconic traits may be simple, but it’s actually one that provides a fresh take that colors the race in different shades. While the archetypes this time around did not exactly blow me away, and while some feats may require a bit of oversight for more conservative games, in its entirety, this is a surprising little triumph of a racial supplement. The flawless execution of the base race and its variants in particular in conjunction with the fact that the book devotes the time and space to make them actually feel like a race, like more than a combination of stats, must be applauded. In spite of my preconceptions and fatigue with the notion, I found myself actually charmed by the material within. The legendary drake companion, obviously intended for high fantasy, is a powerful, but not overbearing option for regular games, though one that, with its feat tax and steep danger making for a compelling angle.

    Now, would I allow everything herein in all my campaigns? No. Particularly the stacking threat-range expanding is something that generally just needs to die a fiery death – and, obviously, this is not necessarily a supplement that I’d be using in a down-low and gritty dark fantasy game. But here’s the thing: The notion of draconic PCs and drake companions, to me, is inexorably linked with high fantasy; that’s clearly what the cadre of authors was going for, and that’s how I’ll rate this. And in this context? Heck yes, this is a resounding success. 5 stars + seal of approval.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Races - Wyrmtouched
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Star Empires
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2019 12:02:57

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This massive supplement clocks in at 100 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 91 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

    Okay, so the tl;dr-version of this book would be that it’s Kingdom-building for Starfinder; as such, the supplement includes army, colony and empire record sheets in the back – nice to see them included!

    Okay, so, regarding terminology: A Sector is a significant area, which should be at least a 12-mile diameter hexagon; a District is a region, neighborhood, etc. – a Sector can contain up to 100 Districts. A Colony is pretty much that – it can be a village, a metropolis, etc. – it must contain at least one District; for every District beyond the first, the Consumption increases by 1 BP. A District can also hold up to 36 Modules – this is the smallest size that something that has a serious impact oin society can have; it could be a home, a specialized planetoid, etc.

    Time is measured in Turns – each of these roughly equates to one month. A Moment usually represents one day; both of these are not cast in stone, though – it is perfectly possible to engage in empire-building over centuries. A Turn contains 30 of these Moments.

    Every empire has four stats – Economy, Loyalty, Stability and Unrest; these are also the basis for the respective checks – roll a d20, add the respective stat, done. As before, BP is the measure of abstract resources; BP are paid on a Turn-basis, as denoted by consumption, and the Control DC of an Empire action or situation has a basis of 20 + Size in Sectors + total number of Districts in all Colonies + special modifiers. Population is abstract, and Size represents the number of Sectors an empire has – a new one has a Size of 1. Treasury denoted the amount of BP the empire may access, and dipping into the negatives there increases unrest.

    We begin with choosing an ethos (which is opposed by another) – these increase either Loyalty or Economy by +2. This ethos may be changed by leaders during the Edict Phase, and slots left open net a bonus to Stability instead. Minor nitpick: This erroneously refers to Ethos as trait once, which confused me for a second.

    A leader has a Rulership Bonus (RB) that starts at 0 and increases by +1 for every 6 levels, for every 5 ranks in a relevant skill, for having an appropriate feat, or for having an exceptional (+3 or greater) ability score bonus in the relevant ability score. The leader positions are ruler, ambassador, chief justice, chief technologist, general, head of security, high priest, magister, space warden, speaker, spymaster and treasurer. Optional roles included are consort, successor and viceroy. As before, vacancy penalties are included.

    An empire’s Turn sequence is as follows: Pase 1 is the Upkeep Phase – you make a Stability check, and on a success, you decrease Unrest by 1 – if your Unrest would be decreased below 0, you gain 1 BP.; on a failure of less than 5, you increase Unrest by 1; if you fail by 5 or more, you instead increase Unrest by 1d4. Then, you subtract Consumption from the treasury; if treasury becomes negative, you increase Unrest by 2. Unrest also increases by 1 for every Empire attribute that is negative. The Enforcer, if present, may attempt to reduce Unrest during this step. Having an Unrest of 11 or more makes the empire lose one Sector.ö Unrest of 20 means you fall into Collapse, which prevents taking actions and makes all Empire attributes behave as though they were 0.

    Phase 2 is the Edict Phase . vacant leadership positions are assigned, and Sectors are claimed. A Sector must be adjacent to at least one other Sector. The Sector to be claimed must be explored, cleared of monsters or hazards; thereafter, you spend 1 BP to claim the Sector. You may also abandon Sectors to reduce Empire Size, but this does increase Unrest by 1 for every Sector abandoned, by 4 if the Sector contained a Colony. In a claimed Sector, you can prepare the construction of a Colony, which requires paying the Preparation Cost. You can construct Infrastructure in your Colonies, which apply benefits to the empire. Then, you issue edicts.

    During Phase 3, the Income Phase, you can spend credits to increase BP, collect taxes (determined by taxation edicts) – this Phase deals with filling your treasury. Phase 4, the Event Phase, has a 25% chance of an event occurring; if no event occurred during the previous Turn, this chance rises to 75%. So, that’s the basic Turn-sequence.

    Edicts fall into several categories: Expansion edicts, armament edicts, holiday edicts, improvement edicts, recruitment edicts and taxation edicts. These are generally self-explanatory and feature their own tables, though recruitment deserves special mention – It is based on a Loyalty check, with the CR (Army Challenge Rating) capping at a Colony’s Capability score.

    This brings me to Colonies – these have an alignment, and 5 attributes: Capability, Culture, Defense, Law and Supply. These are generally equal to the colony’s level, but are modified by forms of government (8 provided) and infrastructure. Colony-levels are determined by the amount of BP invested in them, with a handy table provided. Speaking of whioch: I already touched upon founding a colony, and indeed, proper time-frames for exploration, preparation, etc. are provided by region – establishing a Colony in the void of space requires less exploration, but is BP-wise more costly to prepare for than, say, doing the same in wetlands. Farm, Road and Mine costs are provided, and beyond the topography, the richness of the respective biome and the atmosphere also impact costs and behavior of the Colony. This sounds complex, but once you’ve grasped it, is a pretty smooth process.

    Special terrain features like ruins, free colonies and the like are included in the engine as well. The pdf then proceeds to go through the vast amount of types of infrastructure you can generate, with higher levels in each category costing more BP and more modules. Each such type of infrastructure also presents a category boon for the Colony. The system is simple and easy to grasp. The events follow a similar paradigm, differentiating between empire and colony events that could affect a Sector, a Colony, and some of them, like Plagues, may remain continuous until dealt with.

    The basic system is cleanly and tightly presented, but if you’re like me, you may want more out of this book – and it gladly obliges, providing a serious set of advanced rules. Colony size modifier based on Empire Size, Commission edicts, diplomatic relationships (which become harder, the more different the ethos of the parties is from one another) include treaties, alliances, embassies and the like – all covered. Endowment edicts allows for a focus on art and learning, sponsoring certain infrastructures; espionage and exploration – you get the idea.

    An empire also starts with fame or infamy 1 (ruler’s choice) and every level 3 or 4 infrastructure increases fame or infamy by 1; a level 5 infrastructure instead increases your choice of either by 2. At certain Size thresholds, these values also increase. For every 10 points accrued, your citizens gain a Diplomacy or Intimidate bonus. Festival edicts take place in a specific Colony, and are concisely defined – as is a suggested array of XP-gains for leadership. Declaring Independence and Unification are also found.

    Trade deserves special mention: Establishing a trade route increases your BP every Turn. In order to deal with these, you add together the Moments of exploration you require for a trade route – the total is the Trade Route length (TRL); divided by 10, this is the RM (Route Modifier); TRL minus empire’s Size to get the Length Modifier (LM). Establishing a route takes 1 Turn, and establishing one costs at least 5 BP. The first time a colony is reached thus, you must make an Economy, Loyalty and Stability check, with the DC equal to Control DC + RM +LM – BP spent provisioning the expedition. 2 success are required to establish the route; 3 fails = total failure, 3 successes a grand success. A Trade Route provides its benefits for 10 Turns, and deals with Food, Goods, or Raw Materials.

    Rules for vassal states are also provided, just fyi. Handling empire expansion and encounters is covered, and topography generators and random means to quickly establish empires and colonies may also be found. Several sample empires are provided.

    The book also deals with warfare. ;V, RV, DV, Morale – the system operates smoothly and analogue to PFRPG’s rules. Army sizes range from 1 – 10, are abstract, and have a number of divisions based on size, Hit Points based on size, and the ACR is determined by the CR of constituent creatures. The mass combat rules follow a similar, classic paradigm, with abstract battle zones featured – we have a camp zone, a command zone, a ranged zone and a melee zone. We have overall strategies and 5 battle phases – Recon, Tactical, Gunnery, Melee and Rout phase. Bloodied (below half HP), Defeated (0 HP), Destroyed and Disbanded (0 Morale, failed Loyalty check) are provided. Costs for army equipment are grouped by tier, with costs provided and a serious array of different tactics provided. The supplement also accounts for the talents of special commanders, and a massive array of boons included. Some of these are permanent – they are designated with a (P), but t5ehre also are ones designated with a (A) – this is not properly explained, but I’m pretty sure that this only applies to a single army. I may be wrong, though. Cool: The engine has accounted for SFRPG’s critical effects in the serious list of special abilities available, and from envoy improvisations to technomancer hacks, there are quite a few cool options here.

    Extended time in the field, covering travel, living off the land, battlefield terrains and the like – a metric ton of awesome material here! The book also contains a massive amount of sample armies for your convenience.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level (minor note, for example: The colony record sheet erroneously refers to modules as “lots”) and on a rules language level. Layout adheres to a really nice two-column full-color standard, and the book offers quite an array of nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the sheets are also included as separate pdfs.

    Matt Daley and Jason Nelson deliver big time here – this is the inspired means to weave truly grand narratives among the stars. While the starship/mass combat synergy has been relegated to another supplement, this is still one amazing, glorious supplement. There are a few instances where e.g. stating explicitly that, if not noted, an infrastructure takes up one module would have been nice, and the (A) hiccup noted similarly could have used explicit mentioning. That out of the way, these are ultimately nitpicks in a truly inspired, amazing supplement – if you liked kingdom-building. If you didn’t like the system, then this will obviously not convert you, but as far as I’m concerned, it is amazing to see this book so soon in SFRPG’s life-cycle! For me as a person, this is a truly grand and fun offering – my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, and this does receive my EZG Essentials-tag for SFRPG-campaigns that seek to tell sweeping stories of empires and civilizations rising and falling in the vastness of space; as such, it also is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2018.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Star Empires
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Legendary Magus
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2019 06:17:31

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the Legendary Classes-series clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreon supporters.

    All right, we begin pretty much immediately with the class-redesign, the legendary magus. The legendary magus gets d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as with light AND medium armors, with no spellcasting failure from the get-go. The legendary magus remains a prepared spellcaster with spellcasting governed by Intelligence and the magus-spell-list. A legendary magus may spontaneously apply metamagic feats to spells cast, with the casting time increase you’d associate with the sorcerer. HOWEVER, the legendary magus may ALSO prepare spells with metamagic feats in advance, as usual for prepared spellcasters. This is a genuinely interesting tweak from the get-go, one that makes metamagic feats much more compelling for the class. It should also be noted that the casting process of the legendary magus is akin to the arcanist – prepared spells, spontaneous casting. Spells prepared day, as before, at 5, but the tweaked spellcasting engine necessitates a spells prepared addition to the table, which caps out at 6 on each level save 5th and 6th, where 5 spells prepared represent the cap.

    The class gets a codified “eldritch tome” as a kind of special spellbook, and the book has half the magus’ hit points. If destroyed, it reappears among the magus’ possessions on the next dawn. It doubles as the spellbook, but also grants a linear ability progression – more on that later. The class begins play with Arcane Strike as a bonus feat, and may activate it as a free action, but only at the beginning of her turn. At 3rd level, Riving Strike is granted as a bonus feat and Arcane Strike used in conjunction with the Vital Strike feat-chain multiplies the Arcane Strike damage by the number of times the Vital Strike chain makes her roll damage dice. This thankfully does not stack with other Arcane Strike multiplying abilities.

    The class gets ¾ BAB-progression and good Will-saves. It should be noted that something has gone horribly wrong in the Fort-save column of the class, with several entries being obviously incorrect – unless the save is supposed to actually decrease and increase time and again, I suggest instead looking at the Reflex-save column.

    At 1st level, the legendary magus gets arcane potential – the ability to harness residual energy of spells she has cast. The magus starts the day with no potential, but gains potential when she casts a magus spell, whenever she begins the round under the effects of a magus spell of 1st level or higher (the spell needs to affect her, not her gear), and whenever the legendary magus takes damage from a spell or spell-like ability or has to make a saving throw against a harmful spell or spell-like ability. The latter spell/SP-related components yields 2 potential instead of one. Potential caps at Intelligence modifier, minimum 1, and maximum potential increases at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter by +1. Potential may only be gained in combat, which made me sigh, only to be happy soon thereafter. Two reasons for that: 1) It is lost if you spend more than one minute outside of combat and 2), the pdf explicitly provides a sidebar that disallows the exploits this would otherwise allow for. As a minor nitpick: I do believe that cantrips should be disqualified for providing arcane potential, which they RAW are only for the buffing caveat (nice!) – when a cantrip prompts a save, though, the legendary magus can still earn a hefty two points. Minor nitpick, though, as the obvious exploit’s been taken care of.

    Said potential can be employed in a variety of ways, and, unless otherwise noted, can be used as a free action, but no more than once per round per potential technique. At 1st level, we have the means to, as an immediate action, grant a +1 circumstance bonus to AC to the magus or an adjacent ally. Somewhat weird: While this is listed as costing 1 potential, it seems to imply the option to pay with more potential for greater bonuses to AC. I assume this to be no glitch, design-wise, but explicitly stating such would have been preferable. The second option takes a swift action and bestows a +4 bonus to concentration checks against being injured by a specific target creature and for casting in said creature’s threatened area. Thirdly, there is the means to pay 1 potential to gain +1 to atk and damage until the start of the next turn. For 2 potential, the magus may, as part of a move, withdraw or charge, step through space for up to 10 feet per 2 potential spent to a location within line of sight – this is a teleportation and as such, ignores obstacles and similar things, and charge targets may be determined after the teleport. This is a favorite of mine, as it makes the legendary magus a capable, though not overbearing skirmisher from the get-go. The second 2-potential option allows the legendary magus to enhance Arcane Strike with a +1d4 bonus damage of its usual damage type until the start of the magus’ next turn, which increases by a further +1d4 per 5 class levels attained. These bonus dice are multiplied in conjunction with Vital Strike’s feat-chain according to the same guidelines that apply to Arcane Strike as mentioned before.

    8th level unlocks a second array of arcane potential-based techniques. For 1 potential, we have the option to fluidly change the core energy type damage inflicted, and the means to enhance touch AC and saving throws versus spells. For 2 potential, we have the means to spontaneously apply metamagic sans casting time increase (the ability header isn’t properly bolded here). The second 2-potential ability allows for the modulation of a magus spells’ range, and there is the means to execute spell combat as a standard action. For 3 potential, we have the means to create an arcane 5 ft. by 5 ft. barrier, granting cover. This reminded me of one particular archetype by Jason Linker I rather liked. Secondly, as a swift action, we have the means to flicker to any adjacent square for the purpose of originating attacks and effects. Interesting.

    Spell combat’s verbiage now lacks the TWFing reference, and the ability is now employed for one-handed weapons exclusively, removing the potential clusterf*** that two-handed light weapons could create with the whole engine set-up. 4th level nets Combat Casting, and 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter a bonus feat, to be chosen from combat, item creation and metamagic feats. At 7th level, magi no longer provoke AoOs when casting 1st level magus spells, and ability that extends one spell level farther at 10th level and every 3 levels thereafter – this is smart, as it generates a motivation to keep casting lower-level spells. Additionally, the magus is treated as a fighter – 4 levels for the purpose of prerequisites. 7th level nets spell recall, which is now powered by arcane potential, costing 3 potential per spell level, and the ability notes that recalls can’t be chained, and that such recalled spells do not generate potential – a crucial balancing component here. 16th level decreases the cost this ability has to twice the spell’s level in potential. The capstone allows for the use of spell combat as a standard action (which makes the rapid spell combat ability somewhat obsolete), and combine that with full attacks that are accompanied by one of 4 different short-term buffs.

    Now, I previously noted the eldritch tome as a source of a linear ability progression, and indeed, each type of eldritch tome provides a total of 4 abilities over the class’s progression: At 1st, 3rd, 9th and 15th level, new abilities are unlocked. 8 such tomes are provided. In all brevity: The tome of the bulwark nets shield proficiency, the ability to store spells in shields and deliver them with e.g. a shield bash, applies shield bonus to touch AC and grants it to adjacent allies and at the highest level, extends the effects in a small radius beyond her immediate range. This one also has the ability to intercept attacks. The tome of the deadeye would be the ranged option – the interesting component here would be that the like would be ridiculously OP for a regular magus. This one allows for the substitution of ranged weapon range for spell range, after all. However, in the context of the legendary magus, while clocking it at one of the more potent options, it does remain within the parameters. Why? Well, in case you haven’t noticed it: The legendary magus got rid of frickin’ spellstrike in favor of actually useful and flexible combat options. That is a huge plus for me, as it liberates the class from its niche of fishing for potent critical hits. The book also does something right, in that it rewards the use of e.g. crossbows and the like with faster reload speeds, meaning that there, for once, is not a penalty for choosing them as your preferred weapon. On the downside, I am not a big fan of the means to expend spells for bonus damage that just flat-out ignores DR – this should imho scale through the DR-types by level.

    The tome of the duelist allows for the use of Dexterity to calculate atk, and Intelligence to calculate damage, and it receives a defensive option for spell combat that grants concealment, including the means to execute counter-attacks sourced from AoOs. Cool! The tome of the Gemini is all about TWFing, while the tome of the juggernaut would be the two-handed weapon option that also enhances charges and concentration. The tome of the magister may be, as a physical object, be used as a kind of shield and also bestows limited access to sorcerer/wizard spells. The idea here is the weaponized book, including means to use it for shield bashes and the like – interesting. The tome of the pugilist is, unsurprisingly given the name, the unarmed combat option, including a spell combat/flurry combo and immediate action counters and bonus damage at higher levels. The speardancer’s tome is another two-handed weapon specialist ability array, but one that focuses on Lunge, Whirlwind Attack and similar soft crowd control options. Like this one particularly, considering that arcane potential enhances skirmishing capabilities pretty much from the get-go.

    Now, 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter net a magus arcana, of which there are more than 50 presented. I assume that these adhere to the usual arcana rules, for, in a somewhat glaring oversight, the summary of class abilities fails to list the base engine of arcana…but then again, that text doesn’t offer too much anyway. Still, it made me confused for a second, and considering the fact that third level of the class table double-lists the magus arcana class feature and the table’s error in the Fort-save column, this kinda made me a bit anxious. For the purpose of this review, I am going to assume that 3rd level nets only one magus arcana.

    So, first thing you’ll notice: There is a metric ton of them: From additional potential to ignoring load and gaining new potential techniques, the arcana SUDDENLY MATTER. Picture me raising my fists to the sky in glorious triumph there. I’m serious – of all the Paizo classes, I’d be hard-pressed to mention one that has talent-like abilities as boring and utterly bland as magus arcana, and the options herein thankfully seem to be cognizant of that fact and hell-bent on doing a better job. The load-based one lets you treat your Strength as higher; we have the means to gain heavy armor proficiency sans spell failure, a 3-potential bane, the option to blink weapons back when using Arcane Strike to throw them, multiclass synergy for the purpose of potential (locked behind an appropriate level cap), AoOs versus defensive casters (further enhancing the skirmishing angle) and more – and I’Ve only touched upon all there is herein. From vigilante social talents to limited spell-conversion, we have quite a few really cool and flavorful tricks. Some arcana also have the (blade)-tag, of which only one may be applied per round, and these include, among other things, lacing the weapon with elemental force. Personally, I do think that the ability that nets access to a 1st level tome ability should be locked behind at least 9th level, considering how the tomes, while not necessarily super-potent, allow for some serious et-up potential for combo-builds, but that may be me.

    From a familiar to Gunsmithing and firearm proficiency to casting while transformed/polymorphed to using class level for CMB/CMD, there are a ton of options. Also nice: The class comes with 7 favored class options available for ALL races. These all are valid options and are in line regarding power.

    Okay, let me say that clearly: I LOVE THIS CLASS. Its formal flaws notwithstanding the legendary magus is a vast improvement in flexibility over the base class. While I can probably out-DPR the legendary magus with its regular fellow, this class instead rewards you for doing something else each round, and it is useful in more contexts than singular, devastating attacks. This is a much more rewarding and modular playing experience, both regarding spellcasting, martial angle and the synergies thereof.

    As a special treat for fans of Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might, we do receive a sidebar for use with these two sub-systems. Considering how the legendary magus radically changed the assumptions of the base class, how do the archetypes fare? Well, the Blade of Legend doesn’t get the lingering means of generating arcane potential and is locked out of a familiar, but the black blade receives its own potential pool that may be used to power its own scaling array of abilities. It’s obviously still sentient and has its own class table. The coiled viper is a Spheres of Might crossover archetype that features its own martial tradition as well as status as a Proficient practitioner using Intelligence as practitioner modifier, though this does strip them of the arcana at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, as well as the bonus feats at 8th and 14th level. They employ Toxin talents and may add alchemy-sphere poisons alongside spells, replacing the Arcana Strike ability suite. As poisonous whip specialists, they replace the tomes with a unique ability array, that combines soft crowd control with quick attacks; the capstone is also modified. The dragon fang gains enhanced skills and uses Charisma as the governing spellcasting ability score, with tomes being partially replaced with dragon apotheosis abilities that include a scaling, potential-based breath weapon and wings locked behin an appropriate level cap – basically the dragon-sorcerer archetype.

    The drakeguard has a diminished spellcasting and replace spell combat with a drake companion; the tome is replaced with a custom ability suite that allows for potential technique sharing, including the means to split spell duration between herself and her steed, for example. Minor nitpick: In this and the previous archetype, there was an ability each that had its name not properly bolded. The First Magus has a bit of a druid-y vibe, including the option to call down lightning bolts on nearby targets. Something in layout or formatting has gone seriously wrong with the ability – while legible, it has a weird blank block in its middle, and lacks a whole bunch of blank spaces. Beast shape, Wisdom for casting and divine spellcasting sourced from ranger and druid (noting spell level discrepancies and clarifying that – kudos!) – you get the idea here. Similarly, the hexwielder would be, bingo, the witchy magus, with limited hex access and the means to debuff via a custom array of potential-based strikes, this one is interesting.

    The legendary kensai is proficient in simple weapons and a single exotic melee weapon, but not armor or shields. We have Int to AC, diminished spellcasting and full BAB and iaijutsu style strikes, enhanced damage and the like. Perhaps it’s because I’m so fond of the concept, but personally, I do think this one would have warranted a bit more unique abilities – it’s not a bad archetype, but when compared to a few other versions of the kensai-idea, it felt a bit lackluster with its none-too-novel Vital Strike focus.

    Ruinous blades are Spheres of Power-magi, Mid-Casters, and have the Destruction sphere with the Shape Focus drawback. They are locked into Energy Blade as the talent gained for the drawback and use class level to determine its effects. The potential engine is conversely modified to apply to the realities of the spheres-system and exchange, in a VERY limited and controlled manner that can’t be cheesed, potential for temporary spell points that are lost at the end of the turn.

    Did you absolutely think that spellstrike was a good idea? There’s an archetype for you. There is a relatively simple Spheres of Might crossover archetype that doesn’t change much of the chassis. Easily the coolest archetype herein. Warp tempest, a short-burst teleportation specialist that allows you to go full-blown Dishonored on your enemies – personally, I’ll impose a generous, but hard cap or a cooldown on the daily uses of the teleport, but as a whole, I adore this one.

    The pdf, as befitting of a book that features such significant tweaks to the base class engine, also presents 3 new feats: +1 arcana, increased Arcane Strike bonus damage, and reduction of a 2-or more-potential costing technique by 1. The pdf includes 4 different magic items that enhance e.g. Arcane Strike further than the gloves of arcane striking, and there are vambraces of pain that allow you to take continuous damage – which is great for magi (or anyone exploring the positive energy plane). The pdf also includes a special weapon ability that nets potential on crits, and an armor property that nets potential that needs to be spent or lost – the latter lacks all blank spacesmakingitkindahardtoreadeventhoughitsrulestextiscorrect. I am not the biggest friend of these magic items, as they trivialize the whole potential engine’s planning component, but that’s pretty much what they are supposed to do. They don’t break the game and this is just my personal opnion, though, and as such won’t influence the final verdict. We also get 4 nice spells (no complaints) and we do get a cool sample character – Iris Pageknife, a charming CR 5 gemini specialist.

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting, on a rules-language level are very good – but the same can’t be said on a formal level. From missed bolding of ability names to weird blocks of blank space to missing blank spaces between words, this pdf feels oddly rushed in its formal presentation for a Legendary Games-supplement. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports a bunch a cool full-color artworks, some of which you may have seen before, while others are entirely new. Weird and grating oversight that adds to the impression of this pdf’s formal properties being rushed: The book is missing bookmarks, which is highly uncommon for Legendary Games.

    Dave Nelson and Hal Kennette have delivered a thoroughly impressive redesign of the magus here – it took some serious chutzpah to get rid (for the most part) of spellstrike and its baggage, and how the arcana have been killed with fire, only to rise as something much cooler from the ashes? Yeah, the legendary magus, as a whole, must be called a resounding success. The legendary magus play better than the original, is more versatile, and an all-out joy that gets rid of the linear focus that hamstrung the class previously. As a consequence of the massive engine-change, the most popular concepts needed to be translated, and this slightly hampered the pdf in the archetype chapter for me as a person: I prefer new stuff, particularly since the new material tended to be inspiring, but that’s just me and nothing I’ll hold against the pdf. I would have loved to see an occult magus as well, but once more, that’s just me.

    What breaks my heart is that I can’t bestow the accolades upon this pdf that its genius class redesign would definitely deserve. After much rumination, I just can’t ignore the lack of bookmarks in conjunction with the formal glitches, which deprives the book of the lofty praise that would otherwise be its rightful due; I am, however, still very much in love with the class itself, and even though the formal glitches would warrant me doing so, I just can’t bring myself to rating this as anything below 4 stars – it’s just too good for that. For making the magus become truly distinct, this also receives, as one of the rare pdfs to do, my seal of approval for the class redesign, in spite of its formal shortcomings– design-wise, this remains a resounding success! Congratulations!

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Legendary Magus
    Click to show product description

    Add to  Order

    Displaying 46 to 60 (of 515 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
    0 items
    There are currently no reviews for this product