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Starfarer's Codex: Planetary Explorers' Essential Equipment
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/10/2018 04:02:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, we begin this pdf with 16 different technological items, which include pretty much what you’d expect to see, considering the title of this pdf: There is, for example, a toxicity sensor, a a water purifier…and e.g. a sonic topographer, which is a great excuse for the GM to share maps and allow PCs to plan expeditions properly. The aerial survey is a fist-sized sphere that follows a similar paradigm: In a cool way, it needs to return to provide the holographic image, which once more can provide an interesting way to use it, while still allowing the GM to limit it.

The distress beacon also represents a definite classic that will get some serious use. Don’t want to spend the night on the floor? An elevated blind does the trick, and (xeno-) archaeologists will appreciate the hand excavator for careful excavations. I also really enjoyed the convenience of the properly codified hyperspace delivery drone and seismic charges that can help level terrain. Off to an inhospitable planet? Well, you will want to pack perimeter fences…and depending on the amount of life there, a nutrition station and a mobile lab can mean the difference between death and survival. A personal bivouacs and portable spans can help you maneuver the rugged terrains you may find.

Rebreather masks and specimen containment units, ranging from S to L, complement a section that must be considered to be a rather impressive array. Beyond these, we are introduced to a total of 6 different magic items: Automated deforesters are basically one-use, low-cost magical herbicides that can be pretty lethal to plants. Beastblind amulets hide you from unintelligent fauna, but only from animals. The boots of winding ways record steps taken, which has pretty damn cool narrative potential! Greensight goggles grant sense through, but only through vegetable matter, of 60 ft. The immersive panorama visual, auditory, olfactory and thermal impressions and can then reproduce them as a 4th level holographic image. Like it. The sympathy stone can be held nearby an object, then flying to the closest concentration of that material in a 400 ft. radius. Vermin repellant does pretty much what it says on the tin.

We also get an array of 6 different hybrid items: Campsite veils are basically cloaking versions of the perimeter fence, and there is one more potent version included, with the invisibility veil. Perimeter walls go full scifi with basically the force-protection upgrade for such fences. The Nav beacon greatly helps navigation, allowing for reliable, if not perfect, approaching of the beacon while cryostorage…well, I think you know what that one does, right? The section also includes orbital gateways.

The pdf concludes with two new vehicles: At level 3, the hardy planetary rover (anyone said Mass Effect?) and the level 10 mobile command station.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on either a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and interior artwork is full-color and of a consistent style, showing new pieces by Jacob Blackmon. The pdf comes with detailed bookmarks, making navigation comfortable and fun.

Matt Morris delivers big time here – this humble item-collection provides a ton of items that include the staple ideas we have about planetary exploration, and it does so in an inspired manner, providing narrative angles for both players and GMs to explore. This is a fantastic little offering, and manages to cram more style into its humble objects than I dared to expect. Highly recommended for all Starfinder groups seeking to explore unique planets in a professional and systematic manner – the book made me think about xenobiological/archaeological explorations and how to run them – inspired! This is a fantastic little book, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Codex: Planetary Explorers' Essential Equipment
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Star Log.EM-019: 19 Alien Racial Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2018 04:48:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction (including a summary of alien species), 2 pages of SRD, leaving su with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The feats herein are intended for Alien Archive races, and Dragonkin, Formians, Grays, Nuars and Witchwyrds have their roles in the Xa-Osoro system, as noted, explained on the introductory page.

The feats are:

-Balloon Flight: Requires haan subtype, nets you 30 ft- flight with average maneuverability. You must end movement on solid ground or fall, at least until 5th level.

-Balloon Maneuver: You gain the haan’s balloon ability, but take -4 to atk unless you spend 1 Resolve. Save DC is governed by Dex.

-Dark Attunement: Requires Draelik subtype; lets you become graviton-attuned as per the solarian’s stellar alignment. You also get a graviton revelation. You can choose a graviton-based variant of supernova, at one fewer damage dice. It deals negative energy damage and reduces the light level by one step for 1 round. If you have stellar alignment, this also tilts the cap before costs to become fully attuned increase.

For dragonkin:

-Draconic Resistance: Gain class level fire resistance.

-Improved Draconic Immunities: 17th level +, immunity to fire and paralysis.

-Resolute Breath Weapon: When you’ve used your breath weapon and haven’t rested to regain stamina, you can pay 2 Resolve Points to recharge it.

For grays:

-Improved Gray Magic: Minimum level 5th; 1/day detect thoughts, mind link; at-will detect affliction. All SPs, counts as Minor Psychic Power, and you may use Int instead of Cha for the purpose of meeting the prerequisites of such feats. Also may be taken additional times as alternate class features, granting you a new array of SPs at 2nd and 3rd time you take it. Previous SPs are upgraded.

-Improved Phase: Also requires 5th level to take; lets you use phase as a standard action or reaction. As a standard action, the effects apply to all attacks and you only take half damage from AoE effects and may pass through walls and objects, but not creatures. Force effects still hinder you. Ouch! The walk through walls effect is really tough,,,and what happens if you can’t exit an object entered?

-Grey Probe: Requires 7th level; Gain grey prove 1/day, save Dc governed by key ability modifier; use Resolve to use it more often.

-Easy Phase: Requires 15th level; use Improved Phase as part of a move of full action; if activated as a standard action, it instead lasts for 1 minute. I assume, the walking through objects part in that case takes the full duration into account? Not sure…

-Four-Armed Onslaught: Requires that you can make 3+ attacks duringa full attack and BAB +16 or higher and 4+ arms: When you take a full attack and make 3+ attacks, the penalty to the first of these is reduced by 1.

-Nuar Knockdown: Nuar, Str 13+, BAB +2; gain the race’s knockdown.

-Three-Dimensional Tactics: Wis 13+, BAB +2, Kalo: Gain three-dimensional tactics.

Formians get two feats:

-Deadly Grasp: Nets you an unarmed strike at -4 as a move action on a success of a grapple maneuver check to maintain a grapple.

-Toxic Sting: You may inject formian toxin as a swift action when hitting an enemy with an unarmed strike. Save is governed by Constitution.

Urogs can choose from three new feats:

-Pure Silicon Physiology: Get a racial bonus to saves vs. poison equal to the character’s level. 8th level upgrades this to immunity.

-Urog Discharge: Requires third level; nets you Urog Discharge, with damage equal to 1d4 + character level.

-Semiconductive: Requires the previous feat and 9th level: Gain semiconductive ability.

-Witchwyrd Toughness: Requires 3rd leve; Gain DR/magic equal to ½ your level.

-Wicthwyrd Magic: Requries 5th level; You gain the following SPs: 3/day unseen servant, at-will detect magic/detect tech. SPs are not properly italicized. Feat follows the design paradigm of the gray feat and may be taken as an alternate class feature and multiple times for additional SPs/more uses.

-Witchwyrd Resistances: Gain the witchwyrd’s resist energy ability, but resistance is ½ your level.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a nice artwork. It has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

David N. Ross’ alien feats are solid, if pretty much what you’d expect. The phasing feats are a bit rough, and as a whole, I honestly wasn’t excited by anything in this mini. The material isn’t bad, but neither did it blow me away in any way. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, and while, for me as a person, this is closer to 3 stars, I have an in dubio pro reo policy and hence will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-019: 19 Alien Racial Feats
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Star Log Deluxe: Genetic Knacks
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2018 04:47:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, while the unique Blood Space of the Xa-Osoro system has many an effect, one is lesser known, and manifests as a kind of genetic mutation – the knacks introduced within this pdf!

We begin the rules-section with the new Genetically Gifted theme, which nets you a genetic knack and a limiter at 1st level, as well as the ability to accept Strain Points. For each such Strain Point you accept, you reduce your current and total number of hit points by 1/4 your character level, minimum 1. Being reduced to 0 hit points does not put you at risk of dying. Damage from Strain Points can’t be avoided or redirected and the only means to heal them, is to rest for a full 8 hours. You can accept a maximum of 1 Strain Point per round, up to a daily maximum of 3 Strain Points per day. The rules also clarify that external forces may force you to accept more Strain. Issues here: The theme’s ability adjustment applies to a physical ability score, but does not note the standard +1 value of said adjustment. Additionally, this base array has two obvious “see page #” layout botches that really should have been caught.

At 6th level, you add your highest physical ability score modifier to the cap of daily Strain points you can accept. You may also accept 2 Strain Points per round. At 12th level, you can spend one Resolve Point whenever you’d be required to accept 1 Strain Point instead. Here, the rules-language is also a bit wonky: The ability should read “spend one or more Resolve Points…” since it’s clear from context that using Resolve to pay for Strain needs to reduce the cost to 0. This can be used key ability modifier times per day. At 18th level, 2/day, you can accept 1 Strain point to regain 1 Resolve Point. This cost may not be mitigated, and the character can accept up to 3 Strain Points per round.

Characters with this theme can choose one genetic knack at 1st level. At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th and 18th level, you may then take genetic knacks as replacement class features – it should be noted that you need to choose ONE. Not all are unlocked. That is not explicitly spelled out here. Genetic knacks are extraordinary class features, and their save DC, if any, is DC 10 + ½ character level + highest physical ability score modifier. Only, the talents that have saves have other ones. Strange inconsistency. Genetic knacks provide a base theme benefit, and structurally, offer 4 2nd-level talents and 4 9th-level talents each. There are 3 genetic knacks provided: Explosion, laser and Strength.

Explosion makes your sweat combustible; the theme benefit nets you the benefits of token spell (not italicized) for the purpose of lighting your hands, and converts, if you choose to, half your unarmed damage to fire damage, as if it had the flaming weapon fusion (italicization missing). This also replaces the archaic with the bright weapon quality and makes unarmed strikes lethal. The talents let you accept strain to attack the lower of EAC or KAC with your unarmed strike or lob your sweat as a grenade of sorts. Odd: Save here is based on key ability modifier, not the usual save DC. There also is one that lets you make a guarded step in difficult terrain or briefly enhance your speed. Finally, one talent available to explosion, laser and strength lets you add +1/2 character level to Athletics checks made to swim, jump, etc. for 10 minutes. Also available for these three knacks would be the 9th level critical blow talent, which lets you accept 1 Strain when criting targets with the theme benefits to apply a series of benefits to the crit, with different additional costs. RAW, you can’t inflict the stunned condition, since base cost 1 +3 = 4, and the maximum number of Strain Points you can accept per round is 3. Howitzer lets you accept Strain as a standard action to make a 20.-ft.-line, which is treated as a line and unwieldy ranged attack. Strength modifier is added to atk and damage if the attack would usually be melee, i.e. for explosive and strength.

Explosion and strength can choose knack propulsion as a 9th-level talent build on knack leap, and allow you to fly brief bursts, requiring that you end your movement on solid surfaces, unlike you have at least 5 knacks. This fails to specify maneuverability for the flight, short though it may be. An exclusive of the explosion knack would be the stun grenade talent, which lets you upgrade the grenade talent to a stun talent. Here would be as well a place as any to note that the talents lack prerequisite-lines, which isn’t exactly new player friendly. That should definitely be included in the talents.

The second knack lets you FIRA YOUA LAAAZ000RZZZ, duplicating a laser pistol with an item level equal to character level as part of any action or ability that would otherwise work in conjunction with one. You can fire from mouth “IMA CHARGIN…”, nose, etc. and get 20 shots per day, upgrading by +20 at 9th and another +40 at 14th level. This resets after a 8-hour rest, or after a 10-minute rest to regain Stamina if you accept 1 point of Strain. The talents lets you optionally cause nonlethal damage, add the bright quality and save-less dazzle on a hit or charge the laser as a move action, upgrading it to laser rifle status. For Strain, the latter has a longer duration. The talent exclusives allow for burst addition or for automatic dazzling and blinding on a failed save if critically hit. Once more, oddly, save DC deviates from the default. Laser and strength knack users can accept Strain to gain the penetrating special quality for 1 hour.

The third knack would be might, which nets you a 1d3 lethal damage unarmed strike sans archaic property. The theme benefit also nets you a special weapon specialization with these, allowing you to add 1.5 character level to damage rolls. If you have natural weapons, this instead nets a scaling damage bonus that caps at +5 at 17th level. The exclusive talents include increased carrying capacity and immunity to the encumbered condition if you have Strength of 20 or more, with Strength 25+ allowing you to carry twice the Strength score’s bulk before becoming overburdenend. You can also decrease the penalty of full attacks to -3 for 1 Strain via a level 9 talent.

The system presents 8 limiters: Burnout makes the genetic knack require an activation action, and it only can be active for a time before penalizing you. Darkness or Light Attunement hinder the use of knacks depending on lighting conditions, increasing Strain costs. Exhausting, well, exhausts you. Limited adds a cooldown that can be paid off with Resolve. Increased HP reduction due to Strain, temporary feeblemind (italicization missing) and becoming sickened complement these.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not as tight as I’ve come to expect from the series: Both on a formal and rules-language level, there are quite a bunch of issues that have crept into this pdf. Layout adhere sto a two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Damn. I really like what Alexander Augunas’ genetic knacks attempt to do, and the chassis is really interesting and fun. But the execution is uncharacteristically rushed for a designer of Alex’ caliber. From formal hiccups to system-internal inconsistencies, this feels rushed. Not to the point where it’s not fun anymore, mind you, but still. Not nearly as refined as usual. My final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, though I will round up due to the concepts being too good to deserve otherwise.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log Deluxe: Genetic Knacks
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Everyman Minis: Yearbound Phoenix Ritual
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2018 04:12:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, on the introductory page, we get a summary of the effects of age categories as introduced and employed in the impressive Childhood Adventures-tome. This is relevant since the ritual depicted within makes use of them. Still, kudos for including the relevant material here.

Now, this pdf provides the detailed rules for the occult ritual called Flight of the Yearbound Phoenix, which is an 8th level necromantic ritual with the aging tag and a casting time of 8 hours. The components include both an afterbirth and dirt from the graves of people that died from old age, with the focuses requiring an alchemist’s lab, a blanket and a costly darkwood hourglass, with the glass wrought from sands hailing from the Plane of Time. As far as skills are concerned, we need Knowledge (arcana), UMD, Heal and Profession (midwife). The backlash is risky…or a boon. Those slain by the fire damage crumble to ash, to be reincarnated as an infant sans memories of the former life. As the pdf notes, this can have amazing story-telling potential: restoring the original incarnation of a target thus changed eliminates the new incarnation completely…It’s but a sentence, but it immediately made me come up with a complex plot. Love it.

Now, one thing I LOVE about Everyman gaming’s rituals, is that they FEEL like rituals: The effect actually DESCRIBES how the ritual is performed. This adds greatly to the sense of immersion and makes the rituals suitable beyond the gaming system. Now, what does the ritual do? Well, it regresses the target to a newborn infant – both physically and mentally. After one year, the baby rapidly ages to venerable, crumbles to dust, and from the ashes, the target reemerges as a newborn with all the old memories intact, can from now on use greater alter age to change their physical age category at will, and ignores all aging-based bonuses and penalties to ability scores. The ritual also acts as a kind of extra life while in effect. Oh boy, I have literally thought of 10 plotlines using this ritual in one way or another while writing this review!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the art-bordered new two-column full-color standard of the series and the artwork provided is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas just gets it. He knows how to craft fantastic rituals that resonate with magic, that inspire, that could carry whole campaigns. This is one amazing, flavorful pdf that left me grinning and excited to use the ritual. 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans “ifs” and “buts”.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Yearbound Phoenix Ritual
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Everyman Minis: Haunted Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2018 04:10:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first things first: This builds on the FANTASTIC, extremely flavorful Everyman Minis: Haunt Invocations-pdf. If you don’t already own it: The humble little file basically presents an engine for PCs to make DIY-haunts! Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds and oozes flavor and potential left and right!

This pdf, then, would be the expansion: on the introductory page, we get the new Enhanced apparition feat, which requires the Phantasmal Invitation feat and the summon apparition invited haunt chosen from that engine. When you summon such an apparition invited haunt, you may spend additional convocation points to call forth increasingly tougher spirits, with a complex scaling up to 17th level making sure that the spirits called actually remain relevant. Kudos!

The pdf contains two different archetypes, the first of which has one badass name: Lithographer of Disquieted Graves? Now that’s a name for a witch, archetype, right? Anyways, the archetype begins play with an oracle’s curse, haunted, to be precise, adding spells as patron spells to the familiar, and gets the ability to spontaneously cast these. The archetype can take Phantasmal Invitation and Shaping invocation instead of a hex as a bonus feat. Instead of 6th level’s hex, we get 3+ Int mod gravestriding per day – this works as a dimension door and counts as such for prerequisite purposes, though the target area must be within a recently-created haunt invocation. At 14th level, two uses may be expended to activate this ability as a swift action instead. Minor complaint: One reference to dimension door hasn’t been italicized properly.

The second archetype would have a similarly cool name: The sculptor of restless spirits is a fighter who must be evil and adds Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (religion) to the list of class skills. If he has ranks in either, he gets +1/2 class level to all checks involving necromancy, occult or psychic effects or undead – but for this, the archetype loses heavy armor and tower shield proficiency. Instead of bravery and 2nd level’s bonus feat, the archetype gets soul reaping. The sculptor receives a soul reservoir equal to his BAB, and the reservoir can hold up to BAB + highest physical ability score modifier points. When within 30 ft. of a creature that died no more than 1 minute ago, the sculptor may reap the soul as a full-round action to add 1 point to the reservoir. The sculptor can’t cheese this via kittens or similar harmless animals due to a HD caveat – kudos! If the creature has 2 or more HD than the sculptor, he gains 2 points instead. The sculptor may use soul reservoir points instead of stamina to power combat tricks and fighter class features, and these points may be mixed. This renders the archetype not just compatible with Pathfinder Unchained, but also the excellent Unchained Fighter released by Everyman Gaming.

Instead of armor training, advanced armor training and armor mastery, the archetype gets occult bargain at 3rd level: Phantasmal Invitation as a bonus feat, treating class levels as psychic spellcaster levels. He may choose it or feats based on it as fighter bonus feats and may spent soul reservoir points to power these haunts as though he spent half as much convocation points. Once more, points may be mixed. 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter net an additional invited haunt. Damn cool! As a capstone replacement for the final bonus feat, we get the option to rise from the grave automatically as a graveknight while the character has at least 1 soul reservoir point remaining. Upon returning as an undead thus, the character does not have the ability and instead gains the bonus feat as normal – same goes for already undead sculptors.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. Apart from the one cosmetic hiccup, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s colorful two-column full-color standard with the artwork-borders. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The artwork is nice.

Clinton Boomer is one of the authors whose prowess cannot be overstated. When he gets the balance right, he does purely amazing things, and even when he falters, he’s better than the vast majority. I have yet to read anything he penned that left me bored. He knows what he’s doing. His Haunt Invocation engine is amazing and frankly, could carry a base-class all on its own. The archetypes and feat-expansion provided here further add to an already impressive first mini, providing all killer, no filler, flavorful options that leave me with no recourse but to rate this 5 stars + seal of approval. Hauntingly captivating indeed!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Haunted Archetypes
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Everyman Minis: Arcane Discoveries
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2018 04:09:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, and on the introductory page, there is the usual text and a brief recap of how arcane discoveries work. The content itself fits on one page.

The arcane discoveries included are as follows:

-Arcane Implement: Sacrifice a prepared spell as a standard action, gaining a temporary masterwork version of a simple tool, as one you could get via traveler’s any-tool. Can’t be cheesed due to being short-lived, but long-lived enough for longer tasks. Solid.

-Bottled Skill: You can spend one hour to bottle skill, of which you can only have one in effect at any given time. As you can glean, this requires Brew Potion. You choose a Knowledge skill, and the imbiber gets your ranks in the skill and treats it as a class skill for 10 minutes. If the target#s skill ranks exceed your own, the target instead gets a +5 competence bonus.

-Draconic Influence: 1/day for every 5 wizard levels beyond 10th (minimum level to take this one), you may change an evocation with an instantaneous duration and an AoE-effect into a 60-ft.-line or 30-ft.-cone.

-Familiar Messenger: Also requires 10th level. The ability nets you 3/day familiar melding and share senses. While melded with the familiar this way, you may speak through it as normal, even if it wouldn’t be able to do so. Odd: “You can cast these spell like abilities for every 5 wizard levels you possess beyond 10th.” I thought it’s a fixed 3/day? Something went wrong here. This is confusing.

-Ghostly Advisor: You get a constant unseen servant SP that is treated as an outsider with the phantom subtype. RAW, the phantom subtype does nothing but designate a creature array, but I get why it’s here. Dissipated servants reform upon preparing spells. 1/day, the presence allows you to roll twice on a Knowledge check and take the better result. This requires necromancy as chosen school and 7th level as a wizard.

-Mysterious Patron: Needs bonded object and nets you a witch patron; you can cast the patron spells via the bonded object. Needs 9th level as a wizard.

-Opening Words: Use Knowledge(arcana) instead of Disable Device due to knowing tons of opening phrases, and using it is a full-round action and may be used sans thieves’ tools. You must speak loudly. I LOVE this one!

-Subtle Illusions: Detecting auras of your illusions needs a CL-check. Does not work for invisibility et al.

-Universal Language: Gain truespeech, needs 15th level.

-Weather Mage: Spend 1 minute to predict the weather in a 6-mile radius during the next 48 hours with perfect accuracy. I love this one. Smart players can use this very well!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups apart from the one slightly confused bit. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column standard for the series, including the artwork-border. The artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris provides some cool, flavorful arcane discoveries. There are a couple of discoveries here I very much enjoyed, though there also are a few that are less exciting. All in all, I consider this to be worthy of 4.5 stars, though I will round down for it, as it’s closer to good than excellence as far as I’m concerned.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Arcane Discoveries
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Everyman Minis: Unchained Favored Classes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/31/2018 04:10:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, we begin immediately with the expansion of the matter at hand. To explain: This pdf builds on the Unchained Favored Class Options premiered in Everyman Unchained: Skills and Options. The system knows 4 types of bonuses: Class, companion, race and universal, and this supplement focuses on two of them: Classes and Races. As an aside, the explanation text here features two uncommon and autocorrect-style typos à la strictly/sticky and the like. Nothing grievous, but yeah.

Now, as you probably know if you’ve read my articles on my hopes for PF Playtest/PF 2.0, then you’re familiar with my issues with favored class options. To claim that I am not a fan of them would be an understatement. They are small min-maxing thingies that don’t really contribute in 90% of cases to how a character develops, at least not in a meaningful way. They are also painfully linear.

Everyman Unchained: Skills and Options remedied the linearity angle, which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed that book. Each class gets a whole array of general favored class options, and this pdf provides basically the catch-up expansion for the system: The Occult Adventures classes plus Vigilante and Shifter get their own unchained skill options within.

To give you an example: Mesmerists can choose one spell known at a spell level of their highest spell level known -1, +1/5 to the HD limit of the total number of HD affected with illusions or enchantments; +1/3 mesmerist tricks; +1/2 painful stare for mesmerist, +1/4 for allies or add +1/2 to 2 class skills. Sure, these are favored class options. They do not rock the world of classes. But they offer something vanilla favored class options don’t: Meaningful choice. This alone makes this selection worth contemplating.

Now, beyond the class catch-up, we also have new racial favored class options; 2 are provided per race, and we cover: Astomoi, Caligni, ganzi, monkey goblins, munavri, naiad, orang-pendak, reptoid, rougarou, shabti, skinwalker, vine leshy and yaddithian. +1/6 to one of two ability scores; expanded racial telepathy by specific type of creature with a language; additional +1/3 racial ability uses – once more, we have actually meaningful choices here. I like that. And yes, there are some hard limits imposed on how often you can take some to prevent power-gaming.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are very good apart from aforementioned minor hiccups. On a rules-language level, this is top-notch. Layout adheres to the artwork-bordered, new 2-column full-color style of Everyman Minis and the pdf has a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Okay, this one is easy: Alexander Augunas’ expanded unchained favored class options are contingent on one thing only: Do you use Everyman Unchained: Skills and Options? Or do you want to use it, but haven’t so far due to the lack of occult/viligante/shifter support? Then this pdf is a must-own file that you definitely NEED. If you are not interested in the revised favored class option system presented in the parent book, then you won’t be interested in this either.

That being said, as an expansion to the excellent parent book, this does succeed at its task and is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Unchained Favored Classes
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Everyman Minis: Far-Flung Races
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/31/2018 04:07:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman mini is 7 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is this? Well, in essence, these are races from Starfinder and Alien Archive, reverse-engineered for use with Pathfinder, as playable races. After a brief racial summary, we dive into the races. Since most folks will be familiar with the racial concepts themselves, I will focus on the mechanics:

-Kalo: +2 Dexterity and Wisdom, -2 Charisma; monstrous humanoids with aquatic and amphibious subtype. They have low-light vision instead of darkvision 60 ft., 20 ft. base speed, 30 ft. swim speed, cold resistance 5, +4 to Stealth while in water and blindsight 60 ft. while completely submerged in water. (As an aside – since this is based on sonar and rather potent at low levels, I’d suggest using the Vestraadi’s sonar –engine from AAW Games’ Underworld Races & Classes tome for games with a lower power level.)

-Nuar: +2 Strength and Intelligence, -2 Dexterity; monstrous humanoids with a speed of 40 ft.m these guys always know where North is and get +2 to Profession (driver) and Survival as well as a 1d4 gore attack. (The natural weapon requires reference to the table for type and damage inflicted.)

-Shirren: +2 Constitution and Wisdom, -2 Charisma, low light vision, +2 to Diplomacy and Knowledge (local); 1/day while within 10 ft. of an ally, roll an attack or skill twice, take better result; limited telepathy 30 ft. and 10 ft. blindsense.

-Skittermander: +2 Dexterity and Charisma, -2 Intelligence; Skittermanders are Small, get low-light vision and may 1/day as a swift action take another move action to move (basically a built-in quickrunner’s shirt). They count as +1 size category larger for CMB and CMD for grapple-and grapple-related purposes. Skittermander’s are 6-armed, but may only dual-wield. Instead, their arms allow them to retrieve 1 stored item or draw a weapon as a swift action. Nice one!

-Verthani: +2 Constitution and Intelligence, -2 Strength; Verthani get Skill Focus as a bonus feat and as a standard action, they can 3 + Con-mod times per day, augment a part of their bodies: +1 to physical skills, +2 to initiative, +2 to Perception or + 2 to saves vs. disease and poison. This lasts until the ability is used again. They get low-light vision and may, as a standard action, match skin to terrain for +2 to Stealth. While the flexibility is potent, it’s not overbearingly so. Nice one!

-Vesk: +2 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence; reptilian humanoids with +2 to saves vs. fear effects, low-light vision, a 1d4 natural bite and +1 natural AC.

Since this is only a mini-pdf, there are no favored class options, race traits, archetypes etc. included.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on formal or rules-language level. Types etc. are concise and well-implemented. Layout adheres to a new and colorful two-column standard with a border of artworks. The pdf has a nice piece of artwork and no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

This is an unpretentious little pdf by Matt Morris that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. While Kalo and skittermanders are slightly more potent than the other races, I have no balance-concerns for them as written, and quite a few races herein actually have managed to do something interesting. Granted, e.g. the vhesk are kinda boring, but as a whole, I consider this to be a successful little pdf. You certainly can do MUCH worse regarding races! In fact, I could list a ton of races that waste a ton of space and that end up less interesting and precisely-executed than the content within this pdf. While I wished each race had received its own book to shine, you certainly get a nice array here. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, though I do feel that I have to round down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Far-Flung Races
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Everyman Minis: Fey Shaman Spirits
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/31/2018 04:03:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 5.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, which also expounds upon the realms of faerie in a sidebar, we begin with the new shaman spirit included within, the fey spirit: The spirit magic spells provide a nice mixture of fey-related tricks, with invisibility at 2nd and conditional curse at 4th level as remarkable low level tricks. The hexes include a fey-themed disguise self that later upgrades the scaling fey form spells. There is also a 1-minute duration curse that enhances damage taken on a failed Will-save and the old teleport from one plant to another striding, with distance traveled as the limit. Better illusion disbelieving (with see invisibility added at 8th level) and memory lapse-use complement the hex-section, making it, as a whole, feel distinctly fey. The spirit animal gets fast healing 1 at 1st level, which can be problematic in conjunction with HP-sharing abilities. Fast healing should have a scaling daily cap. The sprit ability nets a dual blinding/stagger-gaze with a 1-round duration, which is very strong, but kept from being OP by only affecting a target once per day. The greater ability nets DR and a 10-ft. glitterdust burst. The true spirit ability allows the shaman to 3/day increase the save DC of an enchantment, illusion or transmutation spell. The capstone is a fey apotheosis that nets immunity to death effects and fast healing 5, as well as respawning in the faerie realms after death, with a 1/month cap.

The pdf also includes an archetype, the fey conduit. This archetype is locked into the fey spirit and replaces the wandering spirit ability with 3 + Wisdom modifier times per day standard action summon nature’s ally II, which improves over the level. As a balancing caveat, no more than one such effect may be in effect at any given time. The ability may also be used for crafting purposes. Instead of 6th level’s wandering hex, the archetype may, whenever the conduit uses the aforementioned summoning ability, choose to call from a lower level spell list and add the fey creature template. Instead of 14th level’s wandering hex, the fey conduit may not call a creature from her highest level summoning list with said template applied, but only Wisdom modifier times per day. Basically a fey summoner archetype. Okay, I guess.

The pdf also includes a new spell, available at 6th level for druid, shaman, sorcerer/wizard: Pixie pollen. Oddly not included among the spirit magic spells of the fey spirit, in spite of being a perfect fit, this spell can target up to 6 creatures with a batch of specifically-created pixie dust. Unique: When targeting a creature, you choose the duration individually and modify the spell save DC accordingly: Permanent effects have a lower DC. I like this! These allow the caster to make targets behave age-appropriately (using the mental age rules from Childhood Adventures), modify the age of the affected, reincarnate targets (also into 0-HD-critters, for -4 to the DC), erase all memories of the current age category, shrink targets (Microsized Adventures-synergy…) – and that’s not all! The spell is amazing. Potent, yes, but also limited enough, and by far, the coolest thing in this pdf. Kudos!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the new two-column full-color standard of Everyman Gaming’s latest layout style, and the pdf has a nice full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

David N. Ross’ fey spirit is a solid expansion for the shaman. Personally, I was rather underwhelmed by the archetype, and I am not a fan of the easily cheesable first level fast healing. The spell is inspired, though, and elevates this beyond what I’d otherwise rate it as…but not enough to increase the final verdict beyond 3.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Fey Shaman Spirits
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Everyman Options: Shaman Spirits
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/31/2018 04:01:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman options book clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, on the 16 pages within this pdf, we will find a grand total of 16 new shaman spirits – one on each page, with every single page chock-full with crunch, so what exactly do we find?

Well, as the pdf acknowledges, shaman spirits are, design-paradigm-wise, modeled after mysteries, with hexes sprinkled in. As such, the pdf does contain a few shaman spirits that are based on previous design paradigms. To note one theme that really fits the concept: Everyman Gaming’s mysteries of the season, penned originally by Margherita Tramontano, feature among the spirits. So, if you’re looking for a way to make e.g. a spring-themed or autumn-themed shaman, you’ll find the like within. Spring, for example, lets you curse targets temporarily (permanently at 17th level) with youth – here, we have some nice synergy with Childhood Adventures, just fyi. The animal featured here would be a pup that can execute Childhood Adventures’ decry psychological maneuver as a move action, with the spirit ability providing limit use fast healing-granting and thawing weaponry. The greater and true spirit abilities allow for the creation of zones of temporary spring and the animation of plants

There also is a hex that nets you the spontaneous summon nature’s ally conversion of druids (spell reference is not italicized), poach some druid spells for your spell-list, gain a better goodberry (again, italicization missing), ward targets with sunlight – some neat ideas here. Surprising here would be how far the spirit is removed from the mystery. In spite of being based upon it, it is surprisingly distinct. This design paradigm also applies to the other seasonal spirits: For summer, we have, for example, a heatsstroke hex that adds fatigue to fire and light spells. Alas, not all hexes are perfect here: The solar halo, for example, has a cool idea: Shed light and negate negative energy damage/negative levels – nice, right? Thing is, negating these discharges the halo, and it then deals damage…but alas, it is not noted whether the damage applies to those buffed by the halo, or to the originator of the negative energy effect. Nourishment (and temporary disease/poison immunity) via sunbathing, short-range blinding at-range dirty trick…some cool ideas here. Spirit abilities include a fire damage touch and the option to generate lush midsummer night’s dreams.

Autumn lets shamans create nourishing meals, create an entangling overgrowth hedge maze (yes, it can be harvested!), a briefly staggering gaze attack with limited daily uses, warding targets versus the winter’s encroaching…and in a nice note here, the potent touch has a slightly stricter limitation to make up for its power. The greater spirit power lets you generate a cool slashing(piercing hurricane of leaves, and the true spirit ability nets a modified slumber/hibernate – neato. The capstone ability lets you, in addition to some defensive abilities, plant a seed on a deceased target, which may grow into a young version when tended properly – evocative indeed. As far as winter is concerned, we can find adaption to the frigid cold, snowsight, the option to generate scaling icicle armor, call forth ice elementals, etc. Spirit animals gain +10 to Stealth in cold environment as well as cold immunity and fire vulnerability, and we once more get an elemental touch, as well as the option alternatively use these to add a special ability to the weapon, though this one is unlocked at higher levels. A blizzard armor and the high-level option to use ice tomb and the like are nice, as the capstone nets some nice ice-apotheosis and resistance/immunity-ignoring tricks.

On the distinctly fantastic level, there would be the dragon spirit, which makes use of the Eldritch Heritage mini-feat tree and sensibly scaling draconic senses as well as a Dazzling Display variant that can be executed quicker, representing draconic presence. Nice: The spirit animal has a slightly draconic theme and reveals itself as a draconic being upon taking Improved Familiar – I like this mini narrative angle implied here. The spirit abilities are interesting in that they synergize with the choices made via Eldritch Heritage , while the higher-powered abilities make use of a variant of form of the dragon in the scaly and scaling glory of these spells. The breath weapon, if any, is delimited with a cooldown at the capstone as part of a draconic apotheosis. I would also count the shadow spirit among the distinctly fantastic ones.

This brings me to an aesthetic nitpick that haunts several spirits within: There are quite a few instances where editing has not caught errant references to the oracle class instead of the shaman class, which is both a bit puzzling and uncommon for Everyman Gaming. Shadow, unsurprisingly, focuses on shadow spells and allows for some poaching of sorc/wizard spells from the shadow subschool, increases of reality and the ability to steal light from an area to modify the illumination levels. The spirit animal is, unsurprisingly, stealthier than usual, and creatures summoned may replace the celestial or fiendish templates with the shadow creature template. I did enjoy the high-level option for a non-undead variant of shadow projection, and the capstone makes the shaman a truly fearsome foe in darkness.

While we’re on the subject matter of dark themes: The first spirit herein is actually one of apocalypse, which nets once more a better Dazzling Display. Beyond that, adding free bull rushes to atk roll based critical hits with spells, better overrunning and a defensive fire shield that also consumes the shaman make for flavorful tricks. Particularly the latter struck me as a sensible modification that fit the theme evoked. The spirit animal gets to choose energy resistance and build on that or exhibit multiple energy resistances over the levels, adding a bit of a survivor theme here. Speaking of which: The spirit animal can assume a really weird hybrid form here, which thankfully is held in check by a hard limit of natural attacks it can potentially execute each round. This is important, since, at higher levels, the shaman may merge with the spirit animal, forming a potent, yet sensible kind of gestalt entity. The capstone nets the option to add curses to critical hits and enhances your negative levels-causing tricks. Nice one.

The third obviously rather dark spirit within this pdf would be the Dark Tapestry: Here, we have a hex that can inflict charm person or hypnotism (not properly italicized) that later also includes suggestion et al. Limited per day random thought theft accompanied by untyped damage, short-range confusion, touch-based disfiguring touch (which improves at higher levels)…some solid ideas here. The spirit animal gets an evolution point, and the spirit powers include calling the cold of the void, growing blackened wings that allow for speedy travel and phantasmal killer. While certainly not necessarily associated with the outer gods, no less catastrophic would be volcanoes…and as such, it makes sense that we get a shaman spirit associated with them. This one can have fire spells make targets catch flames, nets a defensive cloud of ashes…and in an interesting angle, targets set ablaze may be targeted with touch spells sans touching them! This one is precisely codified, limited and amazing, adding a bit of tactics via hexes bestowed. A pyroclastic variant of hydraulic push may also be found. I am a bit weary of having the spirit animal deal +1d6 fire damage as soon as 1st level. Considering how potent these already are, I think this should have some sort of limit imposed upon them. The spirit abilities allow for the walking over magma or the assuming of magma elemental form via a variant of elemental body. We get the expected apotheosis capstone here.

While we are on the subject matter of practices that have been popularized into a dubious manner that is connotated with nasty things: There is a juju-spirit, whose hexes allow for Skeleton Summoner tricks, false life and a hex-based anatomy doll that can be used to inflict dirty tricks upon the target. As a minor nitpick: While I do get how making the spirit animal shadowy is nice, and while the base ability is indeed fashioned on the familiar, referencing by class feature name would have been more elegant. On the cool side: The spirit animal may merge with the shaman as though it was a tumor familiar, and animating bodies and undead control complement a rather nice undead-centric shaman that includes assuming the form of a shadowy, incorporeal snake and the capstone ability to trap souls.

On the more light-hearted side, there is an inebriation spirit that lets you change water spells into alcoholic beverages, potentially inebriating targets. Really cool from a mechanical angle: There is a hex that allows nearby allies to consume alcohol; if they do, the shaman may use spells and hexes to affect them as an immediate action. This has stringent limitations in place to avoid abuse, so yeah – kudos indeed! Scaling condition suppression and a variety of the slumber hex are part of the deal. Self-only vigor at will and ex nihilo alcohol creation will make these fellows much sought after at parties. (This will, probably, make these fellows enemies of most brewers, but that as an aside…). The spirit’s greater power allows for the distillation of spells into draughts, which is pretty potent. While we’re on the subject matter of potentially cosmopolitan spirits: There is an intrigue spirit included in the pdf, which grants Hidden Spell, provides for disguise self (which later may be maintained even while asleep), detect desires and add Bluff and Disguise as class skills. Poison use is also available. The spirit animal gets a higher Charisma score, and the spirit powers allow for limited halving damage, sharing the half with the attacker. Rumormongering and adding a magical tracer of sorts to targets make this one unconventional in a good way.

The pdf also includes the transmogrification spirit, which allows for the taking of hunter aspects, enhanced natural weapons, improving the shapeshift hex to duplicate polymorph effects (with appropriate limitations), get a hybrid shapechange…you get the idea. The spirit animal gets an evolution point, and the higher level powers allow for baleful polymorph and the shifting of allies, with the capstone providing a modified forced reincarnation. The quintessence spirit is amazing and mechanically the most complex of the options within, gaining an aetheric reservoir that interacts in unique ways with the hexes: Wisdom +1/2 class level points allow for limited kinetic blasting and telekinesis-themed maneuvering. An invisibility variety and the like complement easily one of my favorite spirits within.

There are more spirits within that tap into classic concepts we’d associate with shamanistic practices: There is a lunar and solar spirit, with the former. The lunar spirit includes supernatural perceptiveness, with higher levels including options to concentrate true seeing as long as lunar light shines on it. A limited use blinding and untyped damage causing moon beam is also part of the hex-array available. The spirit animal gets DR 5/silver, with the abilities enhancing cure/inflict spells, a shapeshift hex/monstrous physique synergy and animal companion form for the spirit animal. The solar spirit nets Dodge and later, Wind/Lightning Stance, assume temporary light-form (which may blind foes), fire a cone of flames, unleash searing short-range solar winds…you get the idea. The spirit animal gets see in darkness, and an ability to dimension door between lit areas – basically an inverse shadow jump, if you will.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are actually on a rules-language level better than on a formal level – something one rarely gets to see. The rules, as a whole, are tight and while I have slight trepidations against a few options herein, these are few and far in between. On a formal level, the pdf is less refined than I am accustomed to see by Everyman Gaming. There are quite a few instances of copy-paste remnants, missed italicizations, etc. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and is really neat, with a starry border and dreamcatchers on the sides. The pdf does manage to cram a ton of text into its pages. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and sports nice full-color artworks.

Alexander Augunas and Margherita Tramontano provide a massive expansion for the often neglected shaman class here. Considering how few books offer something for the shaman, that alone should suffice for fans of the class. Indeed, there are quite a few spirits herein that do really interesting things with the base chassis of the class, making the spirit choice matter more. I also applaud that even spirits clearly modeled after mysteries et al tend to have their pieces of content properly realigned/expanded and modified, though the number of class-reference remnants to the oracle class is galling, to say the least. As a whole, I consider this supplement to be a good book with a few rough edges here and there, though also one that is marred by the editing glitches. As such, I feel I can’t round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Options: Shaman Spirits
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Star Log.EM-004: Assassin
by Chris V. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2018 10:44:14

Another fine product which brings the time-honored game of assassination to the Starfinder Game.

This product offers the GM and player 4 new alternate class features. Starting at 6th level, the Assassin can attempt to straight-up kill a target, without having to deal with the intricacies of combat. Although this does seem a little overpowered, it does bring a little bit more danger to the game.

If the GM does not use the Pact Worlds setting, it offers a brief glimpse into the setting the writers are slowly shaping, which is an added bonus and leaves the reader wanting more.

As always, worth purchasing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-004: Assassin
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Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters
by Chris V. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2018 10:34:13

This is a great theme for players who want to play a soldier. Of course it can be used with any of the classes, but this is the one I'd be most likely to use when generating a soldier!

As with all themes, it adds its own unique bonuses, which reflect the harsh and often brutal life the character was subjected to growing up. I particularly like the ability to gain additional temporary hit points, which could turn the tide of battle.

It also includes three alternate class features (2nd, 6th and 9th). Again its got a lot to do with additional temporary hit poins, but the bonus damage inflicted with the 6th level feature is a fine addition.

More excellent options for your Starfinder game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters
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Star Log.EM-002: Shadowdancer
by Chris V. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2018 10:22:48

As if Operatives were not already dangerous enough.

This product introduces 3 new alternate class features (3, 6, and 9th levels), and 5 feats.

These class features and feats can be used with any of the classes in the core book, but in this readers personal opinion, would be more suited for the Operative class.

As is always the case with the publisher, this product was well thought out and designed. Worth purchasing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-002: Shadowdancer
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Star Log.EM-001: Exocortex Options
by Chris V. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2018 10:12:12

I'll forgo the usual page count that you see in so many reviews and just get to the meat of it.

This PDF adds several new Exocortex options to the Mechanic class, 3 for 2nd, 3 for 8th and 2 for 14th to expand upon the existing options provided in the core book. The ideas are solid, and add more flavor.

To summerize - if you like playing Mechanics, the additional 8 Exocortex options should be a welcome addition.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-001: Exocortex Options
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Starfarer's Codex: Witch Legacy Class
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/12/2018 10:19:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adaption of the witch class to Starfinder clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The witch class as presented herein comes with 5 HP, 5 + Con mod Stamina and uses Intelligence as key ability score. The chassis yields ¾ BAB-progression and good Fort- and Will-saves. The class gets spontaneous spellcasting of up to 6th level, and may decipher magic text as a full action. The class gets 4 + Int skills per level, as well as proficiency in light armor, basic melee weapons, small arms and sniper weapons. The witch class uses its own spell list, which also incorporates spells from the Starfarer’s Companion tome – the class is not crippled by a lack of access to it, though.

Unsurprisingly, we get an empathic link with the first level familiar granted. At 5th level, the familiar can deliver touch spells for you; at 10th level, it can communicate with approximately familiar animals and you may talk to it in “code” – communication between familiar and witch can RAW not be deciphered. 15th level allows you to look through the familiar’s eyes, which, considering the sniping angle, can be rather nasty. Death, loss, etc. does carry no penalties apart from a grieving period. In addition to the first level familiar, the class also begins play with a patron: While within 60 ft. of the familiar, you get access to the patron’s specialized hex and spells granted by the patron, adding a decision here – scout ahead with the familiar or not? I like this.

We get a total of 14 patrons, ranging from vengeance over hyperspace to ancestors. These hexes include active and passive abilities and feature, for example, expanded class skills and and quicker tech dismantling, scaling ability to see through the dark or a nonlethal retributive pulse. Offensive abilities tend to feature a hex-caveat, i.e. that a single target can only be affected once per 24-hour interval. While this is a slight deviation from SFRPG’s default rest mechanic, I am sure that this is an intended departure to emphasize the somewhat eldritch nature of the witch – as such, I like this. Speaking of which – the rules, even when they are known to veterans from Pathfinder, do make use of e.g. fusions. This is not simply a lazy cut-copy-paste conversion.

While we’re on the subject of the class-defining hex ability: Regular, non-patron hexes, are gained at second level and every 2 levels thereafter, with Intelligence and ½ class level + 10 governing the save DC and activation action, unless otherwise noted, being a standard action. Important here: Unlike the patron hex bestowed by the patron class feature, regular hexes are not contingent of familiar proximity to use them. The hexes incorporate flight (with scaling), sharp nails, speak with animals, slowly sap away vitality – you will recognize a couple of these from PFRPG. There also is an option that lets you drain charges from nearby technological items…but as this one can already hint at, the internal balance of these hexes fluctuates quite a bit. The very powerful fortune hex makes a return, and while its limitations regarding number of times it can affect a target still remain, rolling twice and taking the higher result, i.e. the equivalent of 5e’s advantage, is VERY potent in SFRPG, compared to analogue abilities: The fortune hex is available as soon as second level and can be used infinite times per day, its limit based solely on target affected; compare that to the 2/day, self-only reroll of the star shaman’s 6th level ability, and you’ll note where I start having issues with the class.The same holds true for the debuff equivalent, twist fate. Lethargy inflicts a 30-yard (!) 1-round stagger, which is wildly better than the 6th level staggering shot exploit. Compare that with +1 to AC and saves until the target is hit or fails a save. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to note that something, somewhere, went horribly wrong with balancing here.

And yes, we’re still among the regular hexes. 10th and 18th level unlock the more potent major and grand hexes, respectively, and these are similarly oscillating between power levels. This is before the hex amplifications granted at 5th, 9th, 11th, 17th and 19th level, which allow for the delivery of hexes via melee and metamagic-like extensions of reach. As a saving grace, these all do cost Resolve and Split hex thankfully has its own caveats to prevent splitting mightier hexes until a certain level is gained. 3rd level nets weapon specialization.

The class comes with notes for use with archetypes – for most levels, this means losing hexes, with the exception of 9th level, where a hex amplification is lost instead. Familiar skills are improved in two categories, have 1 good and two poor saves and 8 types are provided. While their base engine makes them more fragile and less hardy than e.g. drones, the ability to deliver touch spells can make them rather devastating.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal and rules-language level,a re top-notch. I noticed no serious hiccups in that regard. Layout adheres to Rogue genius Games’ two-column full-color standard. The full color artworks are okay. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

The craftsmanship of Matt Morris’ class is excellent – we can see the experience of both designer and developer here, and the presentation is crisp as well. That being said, once you start to go into the nit and grit of the class and compare it to mystic, technomancer, etc., you’ll notice that it may have overshot its target, which was rather odd to witness in such a refined book. While the technomancer’s Extend Spell is e.g. better than the comparable hex amplification, hexes have no daily limit. Considering that SFRPG, quite consciously in my book, nerfed full casters in comparison to PFRPG, I am pretty damn sure that hexes should have further costs – I’d strongly advocate in favor of Resolve Point costs as further limiting factors for at least a couple of these base hex effects. Furthermore, while quite a few of these hexes do sport a power-level that is in line with SFRPG, others vastly outclass their peers and comparable options from other classes in the amount they can be used and potency.

In a way, this supplement buckles under its PFRPG-heritage; it attempts, and rather successfully, I might add, to transport the witch to the nova age. At the same time, it stumbles in the details, with rules-similarities breeding a degree of power-oscillation that is not wholly suitable for Starfinder as the system is right now. The craftsmanship is superb, but I am very weary of the power-level the witch has; as easy way to make this class more unique and well-rounded would be to further emphasize the uncommon sniping angle and familiar, while nerfing the hexes. While the limited spell-list can, in the long run, prove to be a balancing factor, for now, I can’t rate the class on potential developments to come. I certainly hope the class will get a whack or two with the handy ole’ laser-nerf-bat to bring it more in line with the classes featured in SFRPG’s core book. My final verdict, in spite of loving a lot about this pdf, can thus not exceed 3.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Codex: Witch Legacy Class
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