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Everyman Unchained: Teamwork Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/19/2019 06:00:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Unchained-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, I’ve always felt that teamwork feats are a good idea, but not one that has been implemented well – I wholly concur with the assessment of the introduction, that they cost two feat slots for the benefit of one, which is, to boot, situational. This book thus aims to upgrade teamwork feats to make them useful for characters that don’t have a class feature that makes them more viable. Let’s dive in!

Teamwork feats require that you establish a team: 1/day, you can form one by spending a 10-minute drill. A team can consist of a maximum of half your character level + Charisma modifier or ranks in Profession (soldier) + Charisma modifier, whichever is higher. Once founded, all characters in the team count as teammates, and you can only be in one team at a given time.

-Allied Spellcaster: Adjacent teammates get +2 to CL to overcome SR, +1 to determine spell variables, provided the ally knows how to cast the spell or has it prepared.

-Back to Back: No more flanking bonuses versus two or more teammates adjacent. Sneak still works.

-Improved Back to Back: Teammates can’t be flanked when adjacent.

-Broken Wing Gambit: Feign weakness, incur +2 atk from enemy, to grant all other teammates threatening the target. Can also be used as an immediate action.

-Close Formation: Push past teammates while charging (heck yeah) and the feat properly codifies this movement; also, teammates can end their movement in another mates’ space (max 2 creatures per square); gets mount right. This one is really evocative.

-Combat Medic: No AoO for Heal, take 10 even in dire situations.

-Coordinated Charge: When a teammate charges, charge as an immediate action the same target. Ouch! BAB +10 keeps this in check, fyi.

-Coordinated Defense: +2 to CMD when adjacent, +4 versus targets that are larger. And suddenly, gnomes and halflings look less yummy…

-Coordinated Maneuvers: +2 to CMB; +4 when attempting to grapple or escape a grapple.

-Coordinated Shot: +1 to ranged atk vs. targets threatened by teammate; bonus can increase to +2 when mates are flanking. Accounts for cover.

-Distracting Charge: +2 to atk versus the target of a charge until the start of the charging teammate’s next turn.

-Duck and Cover: Has a confusing glitch; should read that they gain a +2 circumstance bonus to AC and Reflex saves, not “AC against Reflex saves;” additionally, all teammates roll Reflex saves normally and take the highest d20 result rolled for their save. (Cool!) If the difference between the roll used and the own roll is 5+, the character is knocked prone (or staggered, if already prone or being incapable of being knocked prone).

-Improved Duck and Cover: Allows characters with evasion to take part of the damage for their allies. Nice! (Also has an anti-cheese caveat – kudos!)

-Escape Route: When a teammate provokes an AoO for moving out of another teammate’s square, the attacker takes -10 to atk on the AoO. OUCH! Potent, but I like it, as it rewards tactical positioning.

-Ensemble: Bolster performances within 30 ft. as an immediate action, increasing range.

-Feint Partner: Makes the target lose Dex-mod versus the next attack of the teammate as well, provided they’re executed soon enough.

-Improved Feint Partner: Foe feinted provokes AoO from all mates.

-Harder They Fall: Makes teammate count as larger for relevant combat maneuvers; increases aid another bonuses based on teammates threatening the target. Oh, and the opponent takes falling damage when successfully affected by the maneuvers. NICE! Attack on Titan, anyone?

-Improved Spell Sharing: Divide duration of spells targeting familiar, eidolon, etc. evenly.

-Intercept Charge: Immediate action move up to speed, blocking the charge – at the cost of movement next round. Cool!

-Lookout: When 2 or more teammates are adjacent, they get to act in the surprise round, as long as at least one would be able to act. Teammates that’d be unable to act treat their initiative in the surprise round as 1. If all would be able to act, they may take more actions! Brutal! Like it.

-Outflank: Increases flanking bonus to +4.

-Pack Attack: Immediate action 5 –foot step when teammate attacks.

-Pack Flanking: Considered flanking, regardless of position while adjacent.

-Paired Opportunists: Typo: Doubled “Whenever” at the start. +2 to AoOs when teammates are adjacent; also allows a teammate to get an AoO when an ally gets one, regardless of own situation. Thankfully has an anti-chain caveat.

-Seize the Moment: Foe provokes an AoO after being critically hit by teammate.

-Shake It Off: +2 on all saves while adjacent.

-Share Healing: You can divide healing between teammates.

-Shield Wall: 2 or more teammates adjacent increase the shield bonus, depending on shield type. Shield bash does not end this bonus for team members. Also nets cover to adjacent teammates when using a tower shield, making that more viable.

-Shielded Caster: +4 concentration checks while adjacent; also, penalties imposed on concentration are halved.

-Stealth Synergy: When 2 or more mates attempt Stealth with line of sight to each other, use the highest d20 roll.

-Swap Places: Lets you move into a teammate’s space, provoking AoOs; the teammate may move out as an immediate action – no AoOs. Size restrictions apply, though. Cool one!

-Improved Swap Places: No longer provoke AoO, slightly delimits size limitations. Also has a bull rush-y option. Nice.

-Tandem Trip: Roll twice, take better result.

-Target of Opportunity: When a teammate hits a target within 30 ft. of another teammate, that teammate can use an immediate action to shoot the target.

-Team Pickpocket: Bluff to enhance an immediate action Sleight of Hand.

-Wounded Paw Gambit: Ranged weapon follow-up version of Broken Wing Gambit.

The pdf then takes a look at class features: The holy tactician’s battlefield presence is rewired to allow for the exceeding of maximum team size; the drill instructor ability of the strategist cavalier can add up to 4 allies to the team via resource expenditure and a drill; the field instruction of the exemplar brawler can use his action to make allies count as members of the team for a short while. Hunter Tactics make the animal companion not count as a team-member for the purpose of determining maximum. The inquisitor’s solo tactics make all allies count as teammates, but don’t bestow these benefits on the allies…making solo tactics work for the first time really as I envisioned it. The cavalier’s tactician class feature is also rewired to interact with the teammate mechanic.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are still very good on a formal level, with just a few typo-level minor hiccups; on a rules-language level, the pdf is extremely precise and top-notch, with only one autocorrect glitch that could cause minor confusion. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has plenty of really nice artworks, with the expected kitsune focus. The pdf has no bookmarks, and is at the length where I consider that still okay without warranting the penalizing of the final verdict.

What happens when Alexander Augunas, David N. Ross and none other than Owen K.C. Stephens join forces? Awesomeness. The refined versions of the teamwork feats and the engine, which is elegant and only minimally intrusive, are pretty impressive indeed. You could easily slot this into pretty much all ongoing campaigns without much hassle, and the team-building component makes more sense for me as well. All in all, I consider this to be a success indeed, though I did wish we’d have gotten a couple of far out new ones and feats that supplement further the base component of the team-building aspect of the engine. Still, highly recommended - 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Unchained: Teamwork Feats
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Everyman Minis: Mutative Mucks
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2019 06:45:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 6 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, on the introductory page, we have something I really like – notes on harvesting mutating much, i.e. creature remnants. I don’t know why, but the notion of using parts of magical creatures to supplement your magical effects has always appealed to me immensely. (As an aside: Playground Adventures’ Creatures Components Vol. I is THE resource for that sort of thing…) Each muck yields 3 doses, plus one dose per size category above Small. Heal or Survival may be used as a substitute for Craft (alchemy). The item is properly codified – Monster Blood Tonic. When you consume it, you’re affected by the mutative muck’s subtype’s consume ability for 1 minute. If you drink a second tonic within 24 hours, the effects become permanent, and 1d20 hours later, something goes horribly wrong, subject to GM’s approval. Yep, whip out your mutation tables, ladies and gentlemen!  Some ideas are btw. provided. Nice one!

Mutative Muck, as a baseline, is depicted as a CR 5 ooze, and whenever it takes damage, it regenerates 5 hit points and gains a growth point. When the ooze consumes a creature that’s been dead no more than an hour, it gains a growth point, if it’s of the same size as the muck or smaller, 2 points if the target creature consumed is larger. Eating a creature takes a full-round action, and every time, these guys get 5 growth points, they get the giant creature simple template, up to a maximum of Gargantuan. When a muck doesn’t get growth points, its size reverts at the rate of one template per day. Capable of massive suction, striking these with a weapon can disarm you, and whenever th muck hits a target with a slam attack, the target must save or be affected by one of 6 effects from the mutative muck’s weirdification table. As hinted at before, consuming these mucks has mutative properties.

So that is the base-chassis of the creature. There are no less than 5 different mutative muck subtypes included, all with their own consume-effects and weirdification tables. Two of these tie in with Everyman Gaming’s phenomenal Microsized Adventures – gigantifying grimes and microsizing mires can modify the creature’s size – and the weirdification effects? They’re awesome! The Gigantifying Grime’s table, for example, include having the head swell to an impossible size, making the target count as one size category larger for purposes when you need to squeeze. What about thickening and elongating, which imposes a penalty to AC and the sickened condition. What about having arms shrink to the size of stubs? Yeah, these are fun. When you encounter a polymorphic pollution, you risk having your head transform into that of an animal or vermin – with the corresponding Intelligence! And yep, you can end up being mindless! You could also potentially lose a pair of locomotive limbs!

Regression Wretch makes you younger, and can feeblemind you, turn you into an infant, etc. – while withering wretch is the other side of the coin, potentially aging you! And yeah, this, obviously, can be used in conjunction with the age-modifying rules from Childhood Adventures, but, it works perfectly fine without access to that book.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has two nice artworks in full color. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris delivers something genuinely fun here: These mucks go one step beyond what you usually see in creatures, not by power, but by narrative potential. In fact, they reminded me of why I really enjoy some of the far-out OSR-books, and why I go through the hassle of converting as much material as I do. You see, there are a couple of supplements out there, which, in tone, and rules, just jumpstart your imagination – and the mutative mucks are just that. The growth engine alone can allow you to make the classic “Blob from outer space/Wizard’s lab”-storylines; add to that their properties, and you have reasons for PCs to seek them out. Heck, add the unique effects of the subtypes of muck, and you have a plethora of cool adventure hooks just waiting to happen. This is a cool premium-critter pdf, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Mutative Mucks
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Everyman Minis: Allakhadae
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2019 11:04:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Wait! Right at the bottom of the SRD? There’s a coded message there. See if you can crack it sans decoder!

So yeah, Allakhadae. Another nice touch is that this pdf’s introductory text? It warns the GM; makes slightly fun of them Alen Igma. Loved this introduction.

But what is Allakhadae? A CR 30 Great Old One. BOOM. And I mean “BOOM” – this fellow uses both psychic magic and kineticist tricks, being classified as an essokineticist who draws upon the powers of the planes themselves and uses psychic energy instead of regular Burn to pay for its powers. The Great Old One is impossibly skilled, can change sizes – and thankfully, is imprisoned…for now. The entity also can spend PE to warp reality, making REAL mirage arcana, simulacra,etc. – in short, we have a truly FRIGHTENING campaign-ender elder evil that WILL challenge your high-level PCs!

Of course, such an impossibly smart entity does have a cult, and as such, the pdf also includes the dream subdomain, which allows for the shaping of pleasant dreams (or nightmares), and 8th level yields basically a variant of the witch’s slumber hex.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules language level, apart from a missing blank space in flavor text. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has a neat artwork, as seen on the cover. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I love Alexander Augunas’ monster-design. His critters have a tendency to have staying power, to be difficult and imaginative in their abilities, and this beauty is no different. 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Allakhadae
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Pop Culture Catalog: Cruises and Resorts
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2019 06:59:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the so-far absolutely amazing Pop Culture Catalog-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All righty, we begin this supplement with a brief introduction, as well as the rules for the fandom engine that powered the first two Pop Culture Catalog-installments (Vidgames & Clothing); I explained the engine twice by now, and I don’t like repeating myself, so please consult my reviews of these supplements if you need a refresher of what it does.

Stressed out by your interstellar adventures? Nova Age and Blood Space rigors got you down? Fret not, for in the Xa-Osoro system, there are plenty of resorts to choose from! A total of 8, to be more precise. All of the resorts and cruises herein note their price, location and system, type and the area the resorts cover. As before, we get a great visual treat, one that uses modified tweaks of the logos of famous real world destinations in a way that makes the respective allusion clear.

Kickass (and perhaps inspired by one of my all-time favorite Black Mirror episodes), Cyber City Resorts sports a 80s-style logo and represents a fully virtual resort maintained via the mental upload and temporal stasis technologies of the dwarves of Ravnopolis. Allowing for the exploration of digital vistas. As an aside – this obviously does allow for nigh infinite means to insert all kinds of other adventures into an ongoing campaign, which is pretty awesome. Fans of this one get +1 to Perception and Disguise DCs regarding spells and items based on holograms. Dillington is more conventional: Vacation homes overlooking bucolic countrysides, technology is downplayed and behind the scenes, catering to a nostalgia of ages long past. More importantly, the place thankfully has a filtration unit that keeps the Blood Space-augmented strain of therianthropy out…which, of course, makes for a ready-made hook that any GM half worth their title can use for a rather frenetic module…and being a no flight zone, exploring these notions in the context of the quasi-luddite environment is pretty cool. The pdf also provides brief settlement stats for the resort’s primary city, and fandom taps into the multicultural nature of the race, allowing you to recall information over specific races.

ReVuYu has been built on the glynwarians’ planet, and houses the most advanced R&D facilities in an all-inclusive anti-aging destination…and that is meant literally. The unique properties allow for the transformation into children, allowing you to experience your childhood anew in a no-adults-allowed environment, which once more makes for a pretty awesome adventure baseline. Minor nitpick: It’d have been nice to get item stats for the age-regressing tech employed here. Being a fan of this place enhances your ability to interact with kids and adolescents. Sarvatora Springs is a popular beach resort operated almost exclusively by the Bantosian’s native catfolk, Named for its famous hot springs, which have miraculous healing powers, this place has all the amenities that you’d expect from an awesome beach trip. The extremely reliable geyser that acts a s a kind of clock allows fans to better glean information from natural terrain as well as resist e.g. avalanches and similar environmental dangers. The Toran Strip is basically space Las Vegas, allowing fans to purchase items of a higher character level, provided you can pay the bribes, that is! Extra kudos to all GMs for introducing Fallout New Vegas-style content here. Personally, I’ll be sure to include Mr. House here. clicks again on the replay button of the “The House Always Wins”-song by the Stupendium

Xtravix is operated by 1010 Robotics and is situated in several thousand expansion bays to the SuperRing, with places fashioned after biomes both real and imagined, including those from the legendary Okami company’s (The Nintendo stand-in) videogames, with fandom helping you to bypass environmental hazards or negate their effects.

More nightmarish than fun, at least for me, would be the Dalton Whimsy World. Picture a Disney World that is, actually, a whole world, that is the sole inhabitable planet in the star system. “The Happiest Place Ever After” – and it does have its own fleet and is outside government regulations. Fans may spend Resolve to resist emotion effects. Nitpick here: There are no immediate actions in SFRPG; that should be a reaction. On a plus side – the place houses a rather twisted, secret underground metropolis that houses the employees incorporating the characters of Whimsy World. (I’d love to see this concept developed into a proper, full setting book…so much potential here for characters etc….)

Worvenia would be the second resort world here, and it comes with no less than 3 sample settlements. It’s the oldest resort in the system and focuses on wintersports, with a city on the Northpole, Southpole, and the ring…oh, and holiday spirit and good cheer? Totally mandatory…As a fandom perk, this one allows you to spend Resolve to reroll Acrobatics checks to keep your balance on ice, snow, etc.

The pdf also features a total of 2 different cruise lines noted, with Iron Cruise Company being the first; this company focuses on cruises towards the Lovers, the collective of Eozatta, Ozari and their rings. They come with several luxury outfits available per night, and the ships feature anything from official tavern crawls to lounging areas, libraries and casinos. Offering anything from a full month to a one-year-cruise, the cruise helps fans to recall knowledge about and Pilot through natural wonders. Jionshi-Wu, the safest possible cruise, uses an ultranought ship and is one of the most heavily armed ships ever, an honorary member of Azanward’s Armada fleet, with the crew consisting of soldiers honorably discharged. The vessel had no less than 1,400 attempts made to breach it, each resulting in catastrophe. But surely your PCs will be successful, right? ;) The fandom allows for better information recall about Azan, kami, etc.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are still very good on a formal and rules language level. Apart from a missing blank space and an l instead of an r, as well as the one action hiccup, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to the series’ neat two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports great artworks for the icons, as noted. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t require any at this length.

Alexander Augunas delivers a cool supplement herein; each of the locations has some sort of complex adventure hook baked right into its core, with many of them making me really excited to see and read more about them! All in all, this represents a flavorful, inspiring and fun offering, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pop Culture Catalog: Cruises and Resorts
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Everyman Minis: Arcanist Exploits
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2019 06:54:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 8 pages blank, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this pdf with 6 new arcanist exploits: Altered Protection is clever and a great start for the pdf – the exploit allows an arcanist to spend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to change the damage type to which the protection of an abjuration spell applies to another choice taken from that spell’s array. NICE! Cerebral implantation lets you choose 4 spells of 1st level or higher that you’ve added to your spellbook. You may then prepare these sans your spellbook, and you may reassign these upon taking a new arcanist level. You may taken this exploit once, plus an additional time for every 6 class levels in arcanist you attain. Interesting one! Convincing Change lets the arcanist bolster a transmutation spell that nets a bonus to Disguise as part of the casting: The 1 point spent makes divinations detect the arcanist as the creatures the character turned inti/disguises as. Gold for infiltration and really, really cool!

Dramatic illusions enhances figments and glamers that allow a Will-save to disbelieve. When casting such a spell, the arcanist may expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir and make a Bluff or Disguise check. The first time a creature succeeds a Will save, they must attempt a Sense Motive check versus the Bluff or Disguise check to disbelieve the spell successfully. On a failure, disbelieving fails as well. While a creature can only be subjected to this exploit once per day, this can be incredibly potent in the hands of a creative player, provided the skills in question are properly maxed out. Personally, I’d have avoided the skill issue by tying the check to skill ranks, but that is arguably kinda odd. It’s one of the more problematic aspects of PF1, and by less of a fault of the ability, and more by that of the system, is something I’d be weary of. Ricochet Spell allows the arcanist to spend 1 point from the arcane reservoir as part of casting a spell requiring a ranged or ranged touch attack roll to choose a single square within 10 ft. per class level to be treated as the square or origin to determine targets in range, line of sight and cover/concealment. The distance of the square chosen from the arcanist is subtracted from the spell’s range, which makes sense. This is pretty damn awesome, elegant and cool. Two thumbs up! Weakening Resonance allows an arcanist to expend 1 point from the arcane reservoir to reduce a target creature or object’s hardness by 5, minimum 0, for Charisma modifier rounds. This is missing an activation action.

The pdf also includes a total of 7 greater exploits. Cerebral Spellcasting builds on the aforementioned exploit that has you implant spells to prepare them sans book, allowing for the casting of such spells sans spell-slot expenditure by expending arcane reservoir points equal to the spell’s level. Such spells may also be thus cast via arcane reservoir points without having them prepared in advance. Contingent Protection allows the arcanist to spend 1 point from her arcane reservoir when casting an abjuration spell with a list of options and have its onset delayed to an immediate action. Deadly Spells lets the arcanist expend 1 point from the reservoir to reroll any 1s on damage dice of hit point damage dealing evocation spells cast. Rerolls that come up as 1s can’t be rerolled. Dimensional Gate lets the arcanist expend 1 or more points (maximum Charisma modifier, minimum 1) from the arcane reservoir as a standard action to create a gate within 10 feet per class level; said portal may be used a number of times equal to the points spent in making it. The portal does not block line of sight/effect and movement through it doesn’t provoke AoOs. This requires dimensional slide. Exploitative Ruse adds the ruse descriptor for arcane reservoir points expended, with the number contingent on the spell’s level. As a standard action, the effect may be revised, but you must be in medium range, and the exploit requires the expenditure of spell slots for both spells. Creatures that fell for the ruse have saves penalized, and the ruse may have an initial spell and multiple lower effects tied together, and AOE-effects are also accounted for. Cool, high-difficulty design here!

Subconscious Demand can be used to modify a language-dependent spell being cast by expending 1 point from the arcane reservoir to make them affect targets that don’t share a language with the caster; 2 points can be spent to affect critters with Int of 3 or less, and 3 points can be used to combine these benefits. 4 points, finally, may be spent to get rid of the descriptor altogether. Towering beast, finally, can be used to cast polymorph spells with “beast shape” in the name by spending arcane reservoir points equal to spell level, increasing Strength and Constitution by +2, natural armor by +1, but also the Dexterity penalty by 1. Weapon damage dice of natural attacks increase by a size category as well, but this modification as a whole decreases the duration of the spell as a balancing tool.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are, for the most part, very good on a rules language and formal level. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and the artwork is nice. The pdf has a rudimentary bookmark towards the SRD, but doesn’t need them at this length.

Matt Morris’ arcanist exploits are really creative and execute several truly impressive rules-language operations, making this pretty much a must-own supplement for arcanist fans. As a whole, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down due to its few flaws.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Arcanist Exploits
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Everyman Minis: Gculcilite
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/01/2019 15:10:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, 2 pages blank, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the Gculcilite, apart from one of the hardest to fluidly and correctly type monsters I’ve ever reviewed?

We, the creature is the critter seen on the cover, a chaotic neutral diminutive fey with the shapechanger subtype that clocks in at CR 7. The swift creatures are capable of perfect flight, and have an array of both spell-like abilities and sorcerer spell-casting prowess. They can assume the shape of objects and get ½ HD to discern the abilities of natural creatures capable of reproducing, and the fey may engage in a 1-minute ceremony that establishes a parental bond that is both mentally and physically younger than adult, being capable of maintaining up to Charisma modifier such bonds.

This does not end until the target becomes an adult or dies or the gculcilite ends the bond. Children thus bonded to the creature get share spells, empathic link and deliver touch spell familiar abilities, and target: “You” spells may be cast on bonded kids; items may be shrunk, and the fey may assume a parental shape via their polymorphing ability to assume parental shape. The gculcilite can, as a standard action, conjure and sprinkle a dust on a creature as a melee or ranged touch attack with a range of 10 feet. On a failed save, the creature’s physical age is regressed, depending (and this is damn cool!) on the vital statistics of the respective race! The target returns to normal age slowly, aging 1 year per day – but here’s the thing – the fey is a genius cook. They can create gourmet fare…but if targets consume this food, they delay shaking off the regressive dust effect…and eating it enough times, well…that may require growing up the old-fashioned way once more…

The pdf also includes a new unchained bard bardic masterpiece, the Nostalgic Lullaby, which is basically a twist on the gculcilite’s age regression trick, though one that thankfully caps at 2 age categories, though that does increase at higher levels if you have accompaniment, and maintenance of performances etc. is codified tightly.

The monster also comes with advice on how to use it, as well as some cool notes on how they behave etc.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and Jacob Blackmon’s artwork rocks. The pdf has a single bookmark that points to the end of the SRD, but it needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ Gculcilite is AWESOME. This creature oozes adventuring potential and may be a kickass benefactor, a puzzling foe, a fey that represents a ticking clock to save kids from, a non-evil and downright odd being, a means to change the gears of a campaign, an option to unlock Childhood Adventures in an ongoing campaign – and more. this is an excellent, cool critter, and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Gculcilite
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Everyman Minis: Centaur Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/01/2019 15:06:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

On the introductory page, we have a list of racial traits for centaurs. To recap: +2 Strength and Wisdom, -2 Charisma; centaurs are Large monstrous humanoids, have a base speed of 40 ft., darkvision 60 ft., a +2 racial bonus to Survival checks, undersized weapons and proficiency with longbows and composite longbows, bolas and nets.

The pdf includes 4 alternate racial traits: The Survival bonus may be exchanged for a banded, zebra-like coat, which doubles penalties to Perception due to distance in checks where the centaur attempts to hide. Cool. The weapon familiarity may be traded in for Endurance or Fleet. Both the skill boost and the weapon proficiencies may be traded in for being a stargazer, touched by the heavens, which translates to a +2 racial bonus to Knowledge (geography), and if the centaur is an oracle with Heavens or Nature as a mystery, the class level is treated as +1 for the purpose of bonus spells and the use of revelations. Similarly, destined or starsouled sorcerers applies an analogue increase to bloodline powers.

The pdf includes a new cavalier archetype, the tauric knight, who replaces mount with the ability to one-hand lances of the size of the centaur, as well as inflicting double damage when charging with a lance. This counts as Mounted Combat for prerequisite purposes. Expert trainer is replaced with +1/2 class level as a bonus to Acrobatics made to jump, and you always have a running start. Solid engine tweak.

The pdf also sports 5 new feats: Drunken Confidence lets you consume alcohol as a standard action that doesn’t provoke AoOs, granting you a +2 morale bonus to Will saves vs. charm, compulsion, and fear effects, and +2 to the DC to demoralize you. The verbiage here is slightly rough, but fully functional. This boost lasts for 3 + Con mod minutes, and Con mod also serves as the cap how often you can use it sans drawbacks; after that, it’s Fort-saves that become higher, nauseating you on a failed save. This resets after 8 hours. Improved Shot On The Run requires BAB +9 as well as Nimble Moves, Dodge, Mobility, etc., and allows you to use Shot On The Run at BAB-5 and target two targets to attack, though these need to be different targets. The Greater Shot On The Run feat allows for a third attack, with the second at -5, the third at -10. Same restrictions as for the Improved feat apply.

Grappling Abduction requires Improved Unarmed Strike and Grapple as well as Mobility, and allows you to drag targets grappled along, managing the difficult rules language right. Trampling Trot nets you trample at unarmed strike +1.5 times Strength modifier. Furthermore, the Dc increases for overrun related feats. Neato.

The pdf concludes with 4 spells, all of which are variants of the same concept: quadrupedal transformation I-IV start at spell level 3, with the classes that gain it being alchemist, bloodrager, magus, sorc/wiz. This spell nets you the lower part of a quadrupedal animal or vermin, increasing size to Large, which higher level versions allowing for progressively better options regarding supplemental abilities like grab, pounce, swim speed, etc. and spell number III unlocking magical beasts. Minor nitpick: I’m pretty positive that the bloodrager has been left off the list for the quadrupedal transformation III spell, since all other spells list the class.

And since this is tradition for tauric reviews by now: No, this does not address the ladder-conundrum, though I didn’t expect it to and won’t penalize the pdf for that.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t require any at this length.

Matt Morris provides a solid array of centaur options, with the feats being the most compelling component. All in all, this is a solid offering, though one that is somewhat bereft of particularly amazing aspects. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Centaur Options
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Star Log.EM-040: Ydreft
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2019 02:26:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Star Log.EM-installment clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The introduction for the ydreft establishes something hardcore: Hailing from a small planet called Yggdroth, the ydreft have a highly collectivist society; their planet is studded with fungi, and those visiting should better beware, for a nasty fungus dubbed Xhalzykan, or “mind-slaver”, and a vast myriad or other lifeforms exist on the home-world of the only vaguely humanoid fungus-folk.

Ydreft begin their life as spores expelled from ydreft spires, growing slowly after being attached to a spawning surface, starting as white mold. Development into an adult ydreft is rapid and takes but a decade. They possess a total of six sturdy stalks, two of which are used analogue to hands, while the remaining four (the pdf erroneously states 6) act as options for terrestrial locomotion. These can be furred, frond-like or have the guise of feather-like extensions. After a century of life in this mobile form, ydreft go dormant and expand to incredible size, becoming completely sessile, ginormous spires that are nigh immortal…and so the cycle continues…though it should be noted that ydreft mystics have managed to communicate with these spires, adding a unique twist to the whole ancestor-worship/communion-angle.

The society of the fungus folk is collectivist and utilitarian, their spirituality centered on the strange spires, and as the race has no dominant death concept, is bereft of the classic influence of deities. While we do not have “As an ydreft you…/others think about you…”-sections, we do cover their take on adventuring, nomenclature, etc. The race gets its own proper subtype graft.

Racial stat-wise, ydreft get +2 Con and Int, -2 Dex, 4 Hit Points, are Medium and have a speed of 20 ft. Ydreft have a fly speed of 30 ft. with average maneuverability, courtesy of hyphal wings. A nitpick: The racial feature should specify whether the fly speed is considered to be extraordinary or supernatural; I assume the former, but considering how strange they are, one could make a case for the latter as well. Being plant-like, ydreft count as both humanoids or plants, whichever is more detrimental, but they do get a +2 racial bonus to saves vs. mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep and stunning unless such an effect would also affect plants. Ydreft can root themselves as a swift action to root (or unroot) themselves; they can’t move when rooted, but get +2 to KAC versus bull rush and trip. The unique aspect here? The ydreft’s stalk-limbs may be rewoven! Ydreft have 2 “wings”, 2 “legs” and 2 “hands”, and they may reweave up to two limbs to serve a different purpose. This allows for the wielding of more items, increased speed or flight – and, obviously, taking limbs away will make them slower. An ydreft with only one leg-stalk, for example, has only a 10 foot base speed; an ydreft with no “legs” has but a 5 ft. speed.

The pdf contains two new feats: Enhanced wings upgrades fly speed to 50 ft. (good maneuverability) and takes the reweaving engine into account. Expanded Reweaving is AWESOME: You can grow climber limbs, fins and even natural weapons! Awesome! I love this race!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good – apart from aforementioned minor nitpicks, I have nothing to complain about. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, and the artwork by Jacob Blackmon really drives home how weird these fellows are. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

David N. Ross’ ydreft are frickin’ AWESOME. The fungus folk actually play differently and in an interesting manner; the reweaving engine allows for meaningful decisions AND drives home how odd these guys are. The flavor is great as well, and the expansion of the ydreft’s reweaving? Amazing. I should probably penalize these fellows for the fly speed snafu, but frankly, I don’t want to. This is the type of amazing racial design I wanted to see from SFRPG; this is not just another fungus-dude; these guys are unique and bring something fresh, creative, dare I say…ALIEN to the table! And that’s what SFRPG races, in the best of cases, should be capable of doing. Final verdict? 4.5 stars, rounded up, and this gets my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-040: Ydreft
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Star Log.EM-039: Nashi
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2019 02:24:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After the by now expected introduction, alongside the access-granted contextualization of the nashi within the frame of the Xa-Osoro system,w e learn about this new race of raccoon folk. Never call them that to their face, though. If you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll know that’s not a smart move. ;)

Anyways, nashi come in a wide variety of patterns, and hail from the home world of Terros, which is actually one star system away from Xa-Osoro; the race had been coexisting with humans, yroometji and kitsune and had already taken to the stars when they were “discovered” by the nagaji. Motivated by progress and technological advancement, nashi are progress-oriented to a fault, lacking on a cultural level the dissent and caution urged by conservatism, which has made some of their progress a circle and their politics…chaotic. 47 nashi governmental regimes have collapsed in a single century. Now this is next level volatility! Relations with other races and their take on adventuring is covered as well, though we do not get notes on “If you play a nashi…/other people think of you as..”

We do, however, get a proper subtype graft, which is a nice plus. Nashi are Small humanoids with +2 Int, 4 HP, a 30-ft. speed, low-light vision and Ingenuity as a 1st level bonus feat. Nashi choose two skills from a brief list, gaining a +2 racial bonus in the skills chosen, and their most unique feature would be the incredibly finetuned tactile precision of their hands, which acts as blindsense (touch) with a range equal to the nashi’s reach. Kudos: This tie between reach and blindsense may not be cheesed with weaponry, but natural increases to the reach could theoretically improve range. Kudos for covering all bases there.

The pdf also includes 4 racial feats: Expanded nashi skill nets you two more skills from aforementioned list and +2 in them. snore; more interesting would be (though it requires the previous feat), the follow-up, Versatile Nashi Skill…which isn’t really versatile. It just nets you the +2 racial bonus to all skills in the list; that’d be 9 total, mind you. So for 2 feats, we get a total of 7 +2 bonuses that will stack with pretty much everything…not bad, though you probably won’t want all of them. Personally, not the biggest fan. Enhanced Tactile Precision is more interesting in its idea – it nets you a +2 bonus on skill checks to e.g. identify creatures, magic items, tech, see through disguises etc., provided you can touch them. See, this is interesting, but honestly, here I’d think about increasing the bonus or providing an additional benefit – tactile contact can, after all, be risky. And finally, there would be the core racial feat, which may btw. be taken by all characters with Int 13+: Ingenuity. This lets you choose two skills from a list, and makes you count as always having the proper basic or tool kit. Additionally, circumstance bonuses in these skills are increased by +1, and custom rig is enhanced to apply to three skills, if present, though one of them must be Computers or Engineering.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork by Jacob Blackmon is cool. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I really like the concept of Alexander Augunas’ nashi – the base race is cool, and I really like the tactile angle. The feats, though, focus them towards the skill monkey angle, and I can’t help but think that the race could really use some more far-out tricks. The tactile angle lends itself perfectly to psychometry-like tricks, and similarly, expert jury-rigging would be another synergy I would have loved to see. So yeah, the race has a ton of untapped potential as written. While I wasn’t perfectly happy with the focus of the feats, I did enjoy the flavor and base race, and as such, I will round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-039: Nashi
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Star Log.EM-042: Stalwart Defender
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2019 03:38:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As always, we begin this pdf with an introductory page that contextualizes the material within the narrative frame of the Xa-Osoro system before diving into the nit and grit of the material, which, this time around, would be the stalwart defender archetype.

The first ability, defender’s objective, may be chosen at 2nd, 4th or 6th level, and once you do, you may gain stalwart powers at the next interval – in the instance of taking it at 6th level, you gain stalwart powers at 9th level as a choice. But what does this base ability do? Choose one character, object or location as a standard action, establishing it as the objective. Whenever you’re within 30 ft. of the objective and fight defensively or total defense, you may choose to accept a penalty to your movement to increase the AC bonuses granted by +1 or +2, respectively. This does not stack with similar abilities. When resting to regain Stamina, you may refresh this ability and further guidelines and restrictions are codified with pinpoint precision.

As hinted at, stalwart powers may be chosen after the objective, and 12th as well as 18th level also allow them to be taken as alternate class features. As soon as 4th level, you can choose a bonus feat from a list or an envoy improvisation, though the latter is limited in selection and tied to proximity to the objective. Halting strike is an upgrade for Stand Still and allows for really good hits to also inflict damage. Immovable enhances your Acrobatics to prevent being moved; unshakeable similarly fortifies you versus demoralize and feint attempts, while shrug off the pain nets you either DR or energy resistance (you have to chosoe the type). At 9th level, rapid defense is unlocked as an option, which allows you to use Resolve to establish a new objective sans requiring rest. It should be noted that this is still a standard action, as per the base ability. The implementation of a fortification ability similar to force field armor groups, with percentile chances to make critical hits regular ones, is impressive as well.

The pdf includes 3 feats: Brace Yourself lets you use total defense as a reaction, but staggers you until the end of your next turn. To use it again, you have to spend 1 Resolve while resting, and it has an anti-abuse caveat. Final Stand lets you, when reduced to 0 HP and less than ¼ Resolve, expend all Resolve for a final stand lasting 2 + Will save bonus rounds. You heal 1 Hit Point and regain level times Resolve spent Stamina; you also get +1 to all d20 checks and rolls and undead immunities, but may not use patience or concentration requiring checks. At the end of the stand, all stamina is lost and you die. EPIC. Stalwart Bodyguard enhances Bodguard and makes the bonus last until the start of the next turn.

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

Alexander Augunas delivers. I usually hate the implementation of the tank concept in d20-based games, particularly because they are boring to play and the stalwart defender in particular has a history of being lame. Much to my pleasant surprise, the author has actually managed to make this one thoroughly cool. We have agenda, meaningful choice, various choices and potent benefits that serve to make the stalwart defender herein more than any iteration of the concept has managed to be before: Something I’d genuinely like to play, something I will use in my builds. My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval, easily the best of Alexander Augunas’ treatments of legacy concepts so far.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-042: Stalwart Defender
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Pop Culture Catalog: Wellness Services
by Myra H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2019 00:07:35

I anticipated this product since the survey Alex put out asking what we'd like to see next, and I was not let down! This book is 15 pages long, with a total of 11 pages of game content. The book is wonderfully formatted (with the exception of one typo I discovered and am sure will get fixed soon), uses a 2-column layout. It is beautifully polished and is well illustrated with Jacob Blackmon's signature art style and notable characters. The book covers a number of recreational and therapeutic services. From hot springs to spas to massage therapies, the pdf goes over several examples of services. The book even covers brief definitions of services and therapies intended for alien species and even shape-shifters! There's lore included for their known setting the Xa-Osoro system, but they're easily folded into your own Starfinder setting if you so wish it! Overall a very satisfying book and a welcome addition to my Starfinder game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pop Culture Catalog: Wellness Services
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Star Log.EM-038: Horizon Walker
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/14/2019 05:11:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After the by now traditional contextualization of the material within in the Xa-Osoro system, we are introduced to the rendition of the horizon walker classic, for SFRPG, which comes in this iteration as an archetype. The archetype grants the favored horizons ability at 2nd level, which ties into the favored biome ranger methodology from the Starfarer’s Companion. It should be noted that this ability is NOT reprinted herein, which means you NEED to have the Starfarer’s Companion.

Indeed, the archetype is tied pretty strongly to the ranger class from that book, and rangers may take the biome mastery ranger methodology 4 levels earlier and don’t take the indicated -4 penalty to class level for prerequisite purposes.

At 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th and 18th level, the aforementioned class feature allows you to gain the favored biome ranger methodology or biome mastery ability as though granted by the archetype, though you still have to meet prerequisites, if any.

Biome mastery, as noted, is learned at 4th level and whenever a replacement class feature is gained, with save DCs, if any, equal to 10 + ½ class level + key ability score modifier. At 4th level,a atotal of 10 such biome masteries are available, and they include gaining a supernatural fly speedequal to land speed, with the option of improving maneuverability or speed of a pre-existing fly speed. Much to my chagrin, the ability does not note the maneuverability of the base fly speed granted by this mastery. Aquatic biome offers for a swim speed and longer holding your breath, with similar speed improvement caveats. Desert biome mastery fortifies you versus temperatures and exhausting/fatiguing effects. Forest mastery lets you slip, Stealth and Acrobatics through undergrowth and helps your KAC versus grapple in these places. Hills and mountains acclimate you to high altitudes and net you climb speed; marsh helps navigate bogs and swamps, even the really nasty ones, and yields a bonus to disease and poison. There also would be masteries for subterranean and urban environments, and yes, even vacuum. All of these build mechanically on the respective favored terrain ranger methodology to take them, as they often apply the bonus bestowed by that ability to other values. Biome training is an exception here, allowing allies to temporarily benefit from biome ranger methodologies as long as they remain close.

At 8th level, biome jaunt is added to the list of masteries that may be chosen – it’s basically a Resolve-powered dimension door in the biome. At 14th level, an additional two masteries are provided, with one being a straight upgrade of aforementioned jaunt that allows you to bring allies along. Reactive biome jaunt is different. While in the favored terrain and when targeted by a spell or attack, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as an immediate action…wait. Wut? There are no immediate actions in SFRPG. Oh, and the ability is based on competing Reflex saves to see if you short-range teleport out of the way. So…yeah. Not a fan.

The pdf also contains two new ranger methodologies, both of which are unlocked at 8th level for the taking – Biome Combatant lets you apply studied target to all creatures native in a whole biome instead, rather than specific targets. This is a bit weird, since studied target lasts until the target is dead, you study a new target, etc., which basically takes away the move action required in combat to study as well. Not a fan. Biome Mastery allows a ranger to get one of the aforementioned horizon walker biome masteries, but at -4 class level…unless, as noted before, the ranger also is a horizon walker.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules language level. While I noticed missed spell-italicizations and the aforementioned glitch trashes an ability, the pdf as a whole is precise and solid. The artwork provided is solid, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this level.

I am not a big fan of Alexander Augunas’ horizon walker, to say the least. I am not overtly fond of the base concept in the first place. From the design perspective, I enjoyed the general structuring of the biome mastery angle, but the masteries themselves oscillate somewhat in their potency. I like the idea of the superb survivor, but not reprinting ranger abilities you need is a bit of a let-down, particularly since, personally, I don’t allow the Starfarer’s Companion’s legacy classes unanimously in my game. All in all, I consider this to be a decent offering – nowhere near as cool as what the author cranks out with an astonishing regularity, but also not exactly bad. If you absolutely want the concept of the horizon walker in your games, this’ll do the trick, but personally, I prefer almost every Star Log.EM installment over this one. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-038: Horizon Walker
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Occult Skill Guide: Rituals of Transformation
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2019 06:21:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of the Occult Skill Guide series clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

All right, we begin this pdf with a brief and concise sense of what we nowadays, in a nonacademic context, associate with the term “occult”, in particular in conjunction with roleplaying games, wherein the paranormal, the magical may even be mundane. This brief paragraph already establishes a goal regarding the tone of the designs within, is easy to grasp. An important note: While this supplement does contain sample rituals, its focus lies on presenting the ritual engine and allowing you to make your own rituals. If you just want plug and play, this will have a few rituals for you, sure – but the main draw is that this provides you the ability to make your own rituals.

After this, we take a look at the rituals known in the Nova Age, beginning, as is prudent, with the establishing of terminology. A “Ceremony” denotes the physical acts that must be performed in order to make use of a ritual. The “Lore” section details the history and key information of a given ritual. Thirdly, there would be the “Seal” – this would be a complex physical marking, a pattern, a circle – you get the idea. These three are collectively known as “ritual components” and must be known to learn a ritual.

A “Failure Consequence” denotes pretty much what it says on the tin. Of course, where there’s failure, there also is success, and “Success Consequences” are similarly codified. Rituals also have a “Focus Component” – specific items used to cast a ritual. These are NOT destroyed by performing the ritual. In contrast to that “Material Components” are required as well, but these ARE consumed by performing the ritual. Rituals have a Primary Ritualist, who determines the ritual’s caster level, attempts all skill checks and makes decisions for the ritual’s effects. Secondary ritualists can attempt a skill check to assist the primary ritualist (here, there’s a little typo – should be ritualist, not ritual) with an enhancement bonus to ONE skill check attempted during the ritual. A ritual may have a number of secondary ritualists equal to the primary ritualist’s highest mental ability score modifier.

So that’s the terminology – simple, precise, and pretty much analogue to spellcasting.

I already mentioned that rituals need to be learned – in order to do so, you have to have 3 times the ritual’s level skill ranks in the ritual’s key skill. Researching one of the three ritual components takes a number of days equal to the ritual’s level, so researching all 3 components of a level 7 ritual would take a total of at least 21 days ( 3 components times 7, 7 days per component). However, in order to make a day count towards reducing research, you need to make a Mysticism skill check against DC 15 + 1.5 times the ritual’s level. Beating a DC by 10 or more earns you two successes towards the research. Once you have thus mastered all components of the ritual, you add it to your rituals known. There is no maximum number of rituals you can learn.

If this sounds elegant, you’d be right – we have basically a pretty smooth research framework here. The pdf goes further and walks the reader, step by step, through the research process as well as the respective limitations – for example, a ritual that affects an area must have a seal large enough to encompass said area. The respective aspects are concisely presented – secondary ritualists can, for example aid or act in place of a primary ritualist. Interesting here – while the entirety of secondary assistance is treated as an enhancement bonus, these may explicitly stack up to twice the level of the ritual, which renders the wording (the bonus here is untyped in the verbiage) makes sense upon close reading. The ritual’s save DC would be 10 + ½ the primary ritualist’s caster level + highest mental ability score, +1 for each successful skill check attempted by a secondary ritualist, up to a bonus equal to the half the ritual’s level. (Nitpick: Should state round down, but that’s a convention by now, so chalk this up to being an aesthetic gripe.) Rituals may be paused, but doing so makes things harder – and can disrupt the ritual. There is a hard cap to how long you can suspend it. Still, this codifies one of the most iconic scenes in proper rules – you know, the “disrupt the ritual” angle featured in a gazillion of books?

The pdf, however, goes beyond simply describing rituals and how they’re formatted; the book also spends a sidebar explaining the archaic ritual practices and why they work in a meta-reality context. I was surprised to see this, and while not necessarily required to subscribe to the explanation offered, it does provide GMs that don’t want to dream up their own explanations a way to properly explain their function when in a pinch. I really appreciate this.

Rituals are presented in a format that obviously makes use of the former, and as such, is pretty close to how spells work, though casting times can be significantly longer. Similarly, the rituals may have characteristics as prerequisites, like being of a certain age, race, etc. An alternate way to call components would be reagents, and this is indeed how the terminology is used in the rituals themselves. The ardent reader will notice a difference between material component and reagent – I assume this to be due to didactic reasons: The beginning introduces the notion that rituals have material components, the detailed side of things clarifies that they are called reagents. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that a sentence à la “Material components for rituals are commonly known as Reagents.” Would have further enhanced clarity here. A living creature is required sometimes to power a ritual – while known as “Sacrifice”, said creatures need not necessarily be slain, but they’re always negatively impacted by the ritual. Some rituals also require specific sites to perform them. It should be noted that, obviously, the sacrifice and site components do not universally apply. In cases where SR applies, the primary ritualist is used to determine a ritual’s means to bypass SR.

And that’s the theoretical framework, the rules-chassis, if you will. You may have noticed that this does work completely in line with the best ritual engines as well as the Advanced Skill Guide, though the latter book obviously is not required to make use of this pdf.

Before we get to the meat of the rituals, it should be noted that quite a bunch of supplemental material is provided. Assume appearance, a level 3-6 spell, is based on Alien Archive 2#s polymorph, save that it allows you to assume the appearance of a target of whom you have a piece of their body (blood, hair, etc.) or a photo. The pdf also features a new race, SROs – short for “sentient robotic organism.” These may be Small (+2 Dexterity) or Medium (+2 Strength),a re constructs with the technological subtype (but do have a Constitution score), and get 2 Hit Points. SROs count as living creatures for the purpose of healing, but spells that are not targeted at repairing constructs are halved in their potency – but RAW for Hit Points. Engineering is used instead of Medicine. SROs have an integrated standard datajack and comm unit, that may be removed from a helpless SRO. They also have a built-in cybernetic component with an item level no greater than ½ character level, minimum 1. These systems do not count towards the cybernetics systems limitations. SROs are immune to bleed, disease, death effects, poison, nonlethal damage and sleep effects, unless these also affect constructs. They are affected by spells or effects that usually only target humanoids, but get a +4 racial bonus to saves versus the like. They need to recharge (sleep equivalent) and are unimpeded by vacuum. While I do like this race in concept and, for the most part, in execution, it is a very potent one – the immunity to poisons and diseases in Starfinder is a potentially very potent draw. Depending on the power-level of the campaign, I probably would ban them.

The pdf tightly codifies the new aging descriptor, which manipulates the target’s age and is something I enjoyed to see. We also get a doppelgänger graft template, and an organic variant of steel that heals itself – cool! One of the main draws, however,, would be the concise and easy to grasp step-by-step procedure that provides the tools for the GM to design her own rituals: You basically tally up component points, and can use backlash and similar things to make the ritual less costly. Skills associated with ritual types, sample DCs, skill checks per step, tables that list prices by component points…this section is pretty much inspired and ensures that you’ll get a ton more out of this pdf than the sample rituals presented. Other designers probably would have sat on these, but here, we get the raw ingredients for unbridled creativity.

The pdf also contains 5 sample rituals that are interesting indeed; beyond aforementioned supplemental components, the rituals also feature encounter-suggestions for their use and legends that contextualize the rituals. Incantation of Homogenization allows a homogeneous group of ritualists to change race, class, age, feats, features …and can be utterly inspiring (a ceremony of magical adoption) or frightening (Resistance is futile!). Roboticizing Rites allow you to change augmentations, transform into droids or make a target into a SRO. Seal of Stolen Time can be sued to get rid of diseases, regrow limbs, adjust ability scores, restore ability scores or, you guessed it, modify age! Skinsuit Transmogrification would be the Starfinder iteration of the skinsuit ritual in general theme; however, the execution is completely different, making e.g. use of the Pop Culture Catalogue: Clothing pdf. Aforementioned encounter hooks/adventure seeds? Pretty damn exciting, mind you! One for this ritual is “The Ultimate Cosplay.” Twisted. Speaking of which: Twisting of Flesh and Soul is basically the ultimate ritual of transfiguration: Race change, body repair, turning into mindless objects, and so on, this is level 6 for a reason. Notice something? The rituals all have the leitmotif noted in the title, but become progressively better and thus, higher level, teaching by showing here.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting on a formal level isn’t as tight as usual for Everyman Gaming – I noticed 2 “See page $”-references and “reagents” is misspelled “regents”, for example. On a rules language level, this may require a bit of close-reading from the reader, but generally is a precise example of the technical and efficient writing we’re accustomed to see from the other, though the “rounded down” note did go missing a few times. These generally don’t impact the integrity of the file in a negative manner, though. Layout deserves special mention: The sci-fi-occult border with its blending of tech- and esoteric aesthetics is AWESOME. It’s a small thing, but I love it. The pdf comes with plenty of cool, original full-color artworks by Jacob Blackmon, and it comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I’ll come out and say: Formally, when it comes to typos and the like, this is not exactly Alexander Augunas’ most refined book. While fully functional, it does sport some minor snafus. THAT BEING SAID, I rate books on more aspects than my ability to nitpick details in the rules-language: Components like complexity of attempted design, originality, usefulness for the GM/player, impact on the game, potential etc. all feature in the equation…and more. And while I try, very hard, to be neutral in my ratings, I can’t always help myself. This is one such case.

You see, if there is something about Starfinder that I thought it was lacking regarding magic, it’s rituals. I’m a huge fan of the concept, and seeing an engine this robust this early in the life-cycle of the system, particularly from an author and publisher with a history of providing further support to released books made me smile from ear to ear. Furthermore, this book does go the extra mile in plenty of instances: From the legends to the encounters, this oozes the feeling that the author really cares, that he’s passionate about the subject matter. This is particularly evident in e.g. the skinsuit ritual’s Starfinder version. It may be the same concept as in PFRPG, but the execution is rather different. It’s small touches like this that elevate the pdf for me. This genuinely made me more excited about the game. It’s a pdf I will use again and again. And it makes Starfinder’s magic feel more magical, more distinct from technology – which is a huge boon as far as I’m concerned. I can’t wait to see more of them. I genuinely loved this little supplement.

As noted in the beginning: While this supplement does contain sample rituals, its focus lies on presenting the ritual engine and allowing you to make your own rituals. If you just want plug and play, this will have a few rituals for you, sure – but you may end up slightly disappointed. The main draw is that this provides you the ability to make your own rituals. It empowers you to let your creative juices flow, and add some genuinely cool cyber-esoterica to your game – and I know that I’ll certainly be using these rules in conjunction with the GrimmerSpace setting that’ll hit kickstarter soon.

How to rate this? Difficult. I could see this being a 3-star-file for folks that want plug and play rituals and that are nitpicky about typo-level glitches. For me, as a person, this is probably one of my favorite SFRPG-supplements to date; as a person, this is easily 5 stars +seal of approval to me, and if you’re like me and enjoy making magic feel mysterious and potentially dark, then consider this to be an all but required EZG Essential as well. I know I do. As far as my official verdict is concerned, I will designate this in between the two, at 4.5 stars, rounded up. This does get my seal of approval, seeing how much I loved it, but whether you like this one or not, is more contingent on your personal tastes and what you want of SFRPG than most files.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Occult Skill Guide: Rituals of Transformation
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Star Log.EM-043: Zodiac Solarian Revelations
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2019 06:15:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Logs.EM-series clocks in at 8 pages,1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, know how the solarian’s powers are drawn from the stars? Yeah, you indubitably are familiar with the flavor of the class…so it’s…kinda weird how the abilities don’t actually tie in with, you know, the stars, right?

Enter this pdf! To explain this: let’s take a look at “Akyrea, the Noble” – a photon revelation, this one lets you target 1 + photon attunement points targets within 30 ft. to dazzle them for one round AND make the target take a -2 penalty to the next attack roll against an ally of your choice, or a -2 AC penalty versus the next attack against it. Basically, a variant of covering/harrying fire that doesn’t stack with it, but feels right. A Fort-save negates them, but here’s what sets this apart. This is not just an ability. Ähem. *

“Akyrea was a vain kitsune who boasted of her nine, resplendent tails. According to legend, the god Azan grew tired of her bluster, and placed her among the heavens where she could no longer garner for the attention of his subjects. To his dismay, Akyrea transformed into a constellation so she might dazzle mortals for all time.”

And suddenly, a per se nice ability has what was sorely missing from many a Starfinder ability: A mythological underpinning. A context. A solarian screaming “Akyrea shall blind you! Or “Akyrea guide my allies!” is intrinsically more awesome than just rattling off mechanical benefits. There is a graviton revelation based on the scholar that developed the Xa-Osoro-system’s first thrusters. “Bloodstar, the Fiend” lets you generate a gravity field that penalizes Strength for carrying capacity – and here would be a good note to state that, mechanically, attunement really matters here. The more attunement points you have, the more effective many of these are. This makes the whole attunement engine run more strategically and helps make the material within stronger.

What about inhaling and absorbing nearby poison effects that, if you succeed, can be converted into a line of plasma? Heck yeah, and guess what? The persistence of plasma points to unleash these scaling lines are dependent on your attunement for duration. This is mechanically complex, slots seamlessly into the solarian engine AND it has flavor, tying it to the legendary Celestion Star Dragon. Come on! (And yes, fyi – radiation, toxic atmosphere etc. are all covered. No cheesing here.)

Adding a conservative steal to attacks, making weapons behave as thrown weaponry…and what about a dazzling anti-laser shield that may actually be a nasty surprise for targets that would end e.g. an invisibility on you (Nitpick: spell reference not italicized)? Natural weapons that are made from stellar matter, in a nod towards Rovagu…wait, Rovathun, the Beast? Yep. What about a photon attunement tailored after a famous seeress, which allows you to reduce photon attunement as a reaction to get to roll twice and take the better result, or impose rolling twice and taking the worse result on an enemy? What about tapping into the powers of Valkrona, the angel, to imbue your vehicle with photon energy, increasing its speed – or, for starships, their mobility? Badass solarian pilot? Check. There also is a vacuum channel, and a temporary Hit Point grant, that taps into mighty Yggdrasil itself. And guess what? No, the latter can’t be cheesed.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with nice artworks by Jacob Blackmon. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

What happens when Alexander Augunas and David N. Ross join forces? Awesome, that’s what! This pdf remedied something that I didn’t notice I was missing in SFRPG – it adds some mythweaving to class abilities. As much as I like my precise and very tech-like aesthetics in how clinical and precise rules-language in SFRPG works, I never realized how much context like these little paragraphs within actually adds to the game, particularly for a class like the solarian. Beyond being mechanically interesting and tapping seamlessly into the core attunement engine, the revelations herein ooze style, context and flair. They are more than numbers, clinical debuffs or buffs or damage. They have character and identity, and that makes them intrinsically more compelling. When I do get to play as a player (I mostly GM), I tend to be quite the power-gamer, but much like many power-gamers I know, sometimes an ability just fits too well into a vision you have, and you take it for the fluff. I know I do that. Well, here, we have the best of both worlds: Mechanically relevant and distinct ability that also ooze flavor, that can inspire warcries, concepts and builds. I love this little pdf. It ups the game for what small class-rules expansions can bring to the table. 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-043: Zodiac Solarian Revelations
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Pop Culture Catalog: Clothing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2019 05:46:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment of the Pop Culture Catalog-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover,1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, 2 pages blank, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

Okay, as the size of this pdf should show you, we have a longer installment on our hands – but one that is based on the same rules-framework as the first installment, i.e. it uses the fandom rules: the base rules for joining a fandom are reproduced on the first page: In order o join a fandom, you must have immersed yourself in the fandom’s topic for at least 24 hours, which must not be consecutive (indeed, increments can’t be more than 8 hours). Once you’ve immersed yourself, you declare that you’re a member and that’s it. You can belong to a total maximum of 1 +Charisma modifier (minimum 1) fandoms at a given time, and you may leave a fandom at will, losing access to the perk it grants. Re-entering a fandom only takes 12 hours. Additionally, for every 5 ranks in a skill associated with a given fandom, you may join a fandom associated with that skill; For example, Infosphere series fandoms may be unlocked via Computers or Culture, Clothing Brands via Culture or Profession (fashion designer) – you get the idea. Now, I mentioned the fandom perk – this is basically a minor bonus, not unlike one of the benefits granted by a theme. Being in a fandom nets you the fandom perk, but you only can have one active fandom perk at a given time – each time you take a 10-minute rest to regain Stamina Points, you can choose a fandom perk to be active, which renders a previously chosen perk inactive. Additionally, you can spend 2 Resolve Points to spontaneously switch your active fandom perk as a full action.

So far, so simple – as before, the first section of this pdf allows Alexander Augunas to show off that he is not only an experienced technical rules-writer, but that he also knows how to create flavorful fluff. Basically, we’re introduced to an assortment of megacorps/brands associated with clothing etc., and once more, this made me smile: Basically, all of these do, in some way, lampoon real world companies – and while I am not a specialist regarding brand clothing (consider me to be more on the side of Macklemore’s sentiments and usually opt for a goth/metalhead version of smart/business casual, but I digress…), even I managed to identify quite a few of those companies. This is made easier by a continuation of an aspect of the first pdf I adored, namely the fact that we get company logos. Alucci, for example, does look a bit like a famous manufacturer that also ends in –cci IRL. Interesting here would be that the respective entries offer more meat – each of the companies comes with a manufacturer line that, for example, notes when the item’s Hit Points are increased in comparison to regular versions – and notes on price. While, for example, Alucci’s luxury goods all get the formal clothing property, they also cost no less than 10,000 times (!!!) the normal price. The perk does give you an edge in contested skill checks and instills you with confidence, which increases the DC to use social skills versus you.

Wait a second. Properties? Yep, but I’ll get into that below – just note for now that clothing properties do exist….but not all companies herein necessarily tie into that: Approu cosmetics, for example, help you keep your fur, scales or skin in tip-top shine, and actually net you a bonus to Fort-saves to withstand environmental effects – and they help you pass for a young adult of your species! As the perk, you can choose a culture and gain minor bonuses to social interactions here.

Are you really sick of your shpaeshifting wrecking your favorite suits and dresses? Fed up with statiching that blouse? Well, it’s time for Casuqolo clothing – designed from shifting-friendly nanofibers, it finally allows you to remain comfortable, regardless of your form of the day! Moreover, if you’re really immersed in the fandom, you may use them as a substitute disguise kit; in conjunction with a proper disguise kit, they further aid you. Cool! Hims and fems is professional wear, obviously based on H&M, and is an inexpensive means to get socially acceptable wear; if you’re a fan, the utilitarian nature will help you with emotion and fear-based effects – which makes sense in the everyday professional world. The North Star is outdoor wear for the distinguished spacer, with life-support systems and if you enjoy the pretty famous founder’s myth, you may benefit further from protection vs. environmental effects.

Want to make a statement regarding class ans style that can help you with Intimidate and Diplomacy? Ruidi. You know, like the famous movie, “Osyluths wear Riudi” – and yep, that jab got a serious chuckle out of me, particularly considering, you know, that there are actually devils in our game? XD Turri & Co is a jewelry manufacturer synonymous with quality silver and diamond jewelry, while under glamour wear can actually make you harder to detect by creatures with scent-based blindsense! Cool! Victoria athletic wear is based on Nike, and allows you to reroll a single d20 roll for 1 Resolve Point if you’re a diehard fan – after all, you “Go for it!” Finally, there is no way past the hilariously-named Wreekt watches; obviously based on Rolex, these are just funny and can be really useful communit standins.

Now, beyond these brands, the pdf goes much further, in that it covers racial clothing: Not only for the core races, mind you – but far beyond that: We do get notes on Alien Archive creature clothing, the races introduced in the Starfarer’s Companion are provided, and even beyond that – from arichs to gnolls, even a plethora of races from the Star Log.EM-series is covered! A kitsune’s racial wear, for example, obviously has to account for the race’s limited shapeshifting and is also silent in comparison! Bodywraps, digitigrades footwear or e.g. wing sleeves are also touched upon, adding some seriously nice components to this pdf’s components. Races without their own clothing traditions are, just fyi, covered as well, which just adds some icing on the cake.

So far, we have an amazing flavor-centric pdf here, but it’s time to talk about the details here – the properties, and, in a way, the beating heart of this supplement: You see, I learned this lesson relatively late, and it’s not one that many RPGs talk about – but here goes: Clothing matters. This pdf allows you to drive this home and provides a surprisingly mighty engine for making your own brands, your own clothing. First, we choose a general 10 types of clothing that includes anything from pajamas to uniforms – all come with a proper item level, price and bulk-note, handily collected in a table. Similarly, clothing manufacturers are noted with prices and item levels and types they generally put out – and page-references for your convenience! The pdf then proceeds to provide price multipliers by item level – and then, we get the massive list of clothing properties; with the exclusion of the Athletic property, all have a price noted and a description of the effect – as an aside, it is evident from context that a price of 10 credits makes sense for Athletic wear. From costumes to hodgepodge hipster wear to intimidating or durable pieces of clothing, these may have circumstantial benefits, but they matter. There is a reason to get them…and having a LED, for example, can be a true boon; same goes for nanofiber datasets. Filters that help cope with toxic environments, and porter clothes actually help you carry more! There is a reason that baggy palming clothes are popular with criminals – they make Sleight of Hands easier! And proper sleepwear helps you recover from the rigors of adventuring!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level – apart from the one price-section missing, or e.g. a missing blank space, I noticed no issues. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports quite a lot of nice original artworks in Jacob Blackmon’s signature style. The pdf now comes fully bookmarked for your convenience; if your version doesn’t yet have the bookmarks, redownload it.

I love Alexander Augunas’ Pop Culture Catalog-series. The series’ focus on rewarding actually ROLEplaying your characters is great – if you make your character more than just a guy or gal defined by combat prowess, this really helps doing so. Roleplaying fans of certain brands allows for differentiation between characters, and the fact that the choices actually matter provides further incentive for doing so. In short, this rewards you for engaging with the game on more than its combat level. The brands herein also add some serious color to the setting – when you think of e.g. Shadowrun and similar franchises, you’ll soon note how important and useful branding can be for in-game consistency, for roleplaying. And then, there’s the fact that this one’s clothing-design engine is seriously nice and allows you to get creative.

Beyond this, it should also be noted that this lays the foundation for magical clothing, and that this also could be considered to be extra useful in a game wherein the magical aspect of Starfinder is deemphasized. If your scifi/space opera tastes run parallel to mine, you’ll enjoy the intrigue and fine customization options that this one offers – all without unbalancing the game. All in all, this is a great continuation of the series, one that makes me truly happy that this series exists. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval. Check it out, and perhaps, use it to jumpstart your own interstellar clothing empire!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pop Culture Catalog: Clothing
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