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Star Log.Deluxe: Cantrips Reforged
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2020 10:34:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page blank space, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

So, what is this? In short, it applies the design paradigm of PF2’s cantrips engine to SFRPG, making them automatically scale with your level. For the purpose of scaling, only the class level in the class that actually grants the cantrip is taken into account for heightening. SP are heightened to 1/3 of the creature’s CR or level, maximum 6th.

Okay, one thing could be spelled out clearer: What about cantrips like daze that are on the spell lists of more than one spellcasting class, how do these operate with multiclass characters, say a technomancer/mystic who has access to daze via both classes? Do they take all levels into account, or do you have to choose the spellcasting class/take the one with the higher CL? The answer is in the text, even though the phrasing is a bit more opaque than I’d have liked: The class you learn the cantrip in is what counts. If you learn daze as a technomancer cantrip, it is heightened as a technomancer spell. (This means that you have to note in which class you learned which spell, which seems a bit unnecessarily cumbersome for me.) That being said, handy glyphs denote whether the cantrips are present on mystic, technomancer or withwarper spell lists.

The pdf goes through the scaling cantrips in alphabetical order, beginning with charming veneer, which provides a minor buff to Charisma related skill checks and lets you once per 24 hours gather information more quickly, with the heightening effect allowing for Resolve expenditure for rerolls. Churn fluid is a GREAT spell for thinkers, allowing you to alter the chemical composition of fluid; in the hands of a good roleplayer, this is a really neat tool. It also brings me to a nice thing to note: We have heightening via +1s, in increments, and thresholds – i.e. if heightened to 3rd level or above. Quite a few of these cantrips sport both of these options: For churn fluid, the regular heightening extends the duration; at 3rd spell level, there is the option to send Resolve to make the duration permanent instead. Cost/benefit ratio represented in an interesting manner here. Another such creative spell would be ghost sound, which later lets you generate scripts to lay out. Now this demands being used for a complex scenario!

There are also simpler cantrips here: Dancing lights increases the number of lights and area affected; daze causes minor untyped damage – and before you ask: Yes, the spell has the proper descriptors to balance the untyped damage. Kudos. Dazzling flare gets increased durations and the means to use Resolve to render targets off-target for a round.

Detect affliction deserves special mention: You see, the cantrip’s diagnostic ability gets new capabilities at each spell level. Detect magic does something similarly amazing: The higher the spell level, the longer in the past may the aura be that you can see – oh, and the area affected also improves. These detect spells are gold, and seriously warrant getting this booklet. Energy ray, not exactly a spell I was looking forward to covering, was also a pleasant surprise, in that it presents an assortment of critical effects as part of its scaling, instead of just attempting to make the damage scale. Damage in comparison to common regular spells btw. checks out. Same goes for the save-based alternative hazard, or the KAC-based telekinetic projectile.

Fabricate scrap is a great one that lets you generate increasing amounts of junk for spells and abilities based on junked electronics. Fatigue sports scaling nonlethal damage alongside higher-level chances of exhausting targets hit – and the mechanics here are clever, as the metric checked is Constitution: If damage exceeds the value, the target is exhausted. Interesting. Mending is nice, preventing abuse with a proper heightening cap and Resolve expenditure required to heal the same construct. Psychokinetic hand gets increased distance, range, etc.

I also love the grave words cantrip: Roll 1d20, flat, against DC 19 when the character touches a corpse: If you succeed, the corpse utters a useful tidbit of information. The higher the heightening, the lower the DC. Neat. Stabilize at higher levels include options to add shield other-ish effects, and at the highest level, even use the spell as a reaction – though at a steep Resolve cost. Yes, this means that frickin’ stabilize may cause applause at the table. The length of telepathic messages and their range can increase seriously. Token spell can be made to last longer and generate more benefits. Transfer charge now lets you transfer charges between multiple objects at once and improvise shock grenades, but the latter is kept in check by requiring short rests to make these overcharge tricks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level, on a formal level, there are a few minor blemishes like a missing instance of italics; nothing serious, though. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

So, Alexander Augunas’ cantrips reforged ultimately represent a power-upgrade, and as such, send my reviewer’s senses tingling. However, when seen in the context of the damage averages expected at the respective character levels, you’ll quickly realize that cantrips are very much in line with what they should be. This is NOT an unbalanced supplement, and for that, it really deserves serious kudos. More so than that, however, it deserves applause for the instances where the cantrips not simply provide numerical escalations but how they open up new roleplaying opportunities. That’s what really makes the pdf shine for me.

It should be noted that, if your aesthetics include high-level spellcasters being very fragile sans spells, this will somewhat mitigate that Achilles heel. If that is part of how you envision Starfinder, then this may not be for you. If you, however, wanted to see cantrips matter more and actually be conductive to roleplaying in meaningful ways? Then you should consider this pdf to be one I can recommend from the bottom of my heart. Considering that this is the very goal of the pdf, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up in spite of the slightly cumbersome core implementation for multiclass characters (which is easy enough to tweak), and for the evocative roleplaying enhancers, this does get my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.Deluxe: Cantrips Reforged
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Star Log.EM-077: Chimeraborn Characters
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/30/2020 12:01:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.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!

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

As an aside: The concept of the playable chimera had originally been introduced for PFRPG as a class-neutral general archetype, but personally, I do think that the SFRPG-implementation is actually smoother in its structural interaction with the system, since SFRPG is better suited for the global archetype concept. This is not a simple linear conversion.

After a brief introduction on the chimeraborn, we begin with a new theme: Instead of the usual theme knowledge, the theme makes the character a Large magical beast with the shapechanger subtype and the race’s original reach, and you count as both the original race and as a magical beast. However, the pdf does not future-proof this aspect: If e.g. an effect affects shapechangers in a benevolent way and penalizes the original race, we’ll need a GM-call. The body has three heads and the front paws are as prehensile as the hands of a human. You get shape change to a version of your original race. While in your chimeramorph form, you lose all racial traits except Hit Points and ability score adjustments. You also get +1 to Strength. At 6th level, each head has its own name alignment within one step of you, and the same languages and mental ability scores. This nets you a +2 insight bonus to saving throws versus mind-affecting effects, but the other heads also tend to voice your desires, which is a glorious roleplaying angle if handled well. 12th level nets you +1 Stamina per level, +1 for every further one you attain; 18th level lets you, up to twice per day, as a move action while in chimera form, roar and recover 1 Resolve Point.

The chimeraborn scion archetype requires the theme, and at 2nd level nets you Skill Focus with two skills, one skill from each of your other heads’ list of associated skills. At 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th and 16th level, you can replace the usual class feature with a so-called chimeraborn instinct. Minor nitpick: The ability is called “Temporal Scion” in an obvious cut-copy-paste glitch from Timelost Characters. Also: The ability should note that 2nd level does net an instinct – that has to be deduced from context.

As for the heads, these all have different skills associated with them, and grant you abilities: Animal heads net a vesk’s natural weapons, blindsense (scent) 30 ft. and low-light vision, with the associated skills being focused on the physical. Dragon heads net you blindsense (vibrations) 30 ft., a dragonkin’s breath weapon, natural weapon and darkvision, while the magical beast head nets darkvision, low-light vision and natural weapons. Slightly problematic here: The dragon head is much better than the alternate choice regarding magical beast heads...at least unless you make smart use of chimeric evolution, an instinct which nets you a polymorph (1st level) based access to an ability of a creature whose head you have. 6th and 12th level instincts feature btw. upgrades of this one.

2nd level instincts also include the ability to have gear incorporate into your form, and quicker shapechanging. The 6th level instincts include an ability to upgrade the chimeric creature’s natural weapons – oddly, it does reference the requirement of natural weapons, when it is impossible for the chimeraborn to not have them. Chimeric shapechanger is a Resolve-powered, limited ability to assume the shapes of the creatures of your alternate heads, with limitations properly included, and scaling handled precisely. There is also the means to spend Resolve to shunt mind-influencing effects into your other head. The 12th level instincts include an upgrade versus mind-influencing effects to +4, and an evasion like defensive boost for them. There is also a means to get a 4th-level polymorph (not italicized) available universal creature rule, and the means to assume a hybrid form, which erroneously refers to itself as an evolution once.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are okay on a formal level, and on a rules-language level, odd: On one hand, the design is super-precise regarding high-difficulty concepts; on the other hand, there are some remnants and slightly rough patches that make this ultimately feel like a condensed version of a complex option that needs more room to shine. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes without bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas at once did a great job converting this, while also stumbling a bit in some details. These minor niggles don’t impede the usability of the material herein per se, but they do make this feel rougher than it should be. As a consequence, I can’t rate this per se conceptually amazing file higher than 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo and the low price. If the concept even remotely intrigues you, get this – it’s worth the fair asking price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-077: Chimeraborn Characters
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Star Log.Deluxe: Blood Space Species Reforged
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/01/2020 10:27:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third pdf providing reforged versions of Starfinder spcies with plenty of customization options clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 18 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, so, at this point, I think you’ll all be familiar with the base concept of the reforged species series – if not, please consult my reviews of the first two Star Log.Deluxe-installments dealing with them. (If you’re reading this on my home page, just click on the star log-tag, and you’ll have the list.)

Anyhow, this book covers no less than 7 species rewired in the tradition of this series, starting with catfolk, who apply their ability boost to Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma, with a second boost available at the cost of a flaw to Wisdom. Catfolk get 4 HP, have low-light version, and ignore the first 10 feet they fell, take 1d6 nonlethal damage for the next 10 ft., and then 1d6 lethal damage after that. As long as they have 1 HP remaining, they are not prone after the fall, and they can attempt to make a fall a deliberate fall with an Acrobatics check, whose DC increases by distance falling. 2 heritages are provided. Junglewalkers get climb speed equal to base speed, and pridemane catfolk get an extraordinary frightful presence that is governed by Charisma and scales with level, used as a move action, and saving successfully renders you immune for 24 hours; the effect is emotion, fear and sense-dependent mind-affecting. This descriptor array is why I’m not complaining about it not being tied to Resolve, though personally, that’s how I’d have handled this. 8 species traits are provided, and include the ability to assume cat form, rolling a Reflex save twice and taking the better result (at the cost of Resolve after the first use), skill enhancers, climb speed (odd that the junglewalker heritage ability can be gained as a species trait, but not the frightening roar…), charging sans penalties and ferocious charge, blindsense (hearing), properly codified natural weapons (YES!!) and an ability that lets you fall farther sans damage, based on Acrobatics ranks. Solid array! The reference to the page featuring the catfolk species traits is wrong – it should be 7, not 17.

Kitsune apply their ability boost to Dexterity, intelligence or Charisma, and can get a second one for a flaw to Strength or Wisdom, are humanoid shapechangers, and also get 4 HP. They have low-light vision, get change shape into an alternate human form, and there are three heritages to choose from. Feral kitsune get natural weapons, kyubi scions get magical tail and may take it as replacement class feature at certain levels, and yokai kitsune get either realistic likeness or fox shape. 5 species traits are noted, and while fox shape and realistic likeness are pretty much self-explanatory (same goes for natural weapons, which btw. lets you choose slashing or piercing – NICE!), lithe grace lets you choose skill bonuses from a list (including the option to get a single skill as a class skill with bonus as an alternative use). Magical tail is the most interesting one: It nets you witchwarper spellcasting based on CE (Chakra energy) points, with CE costs equal to level and cantrips at-will, with additional taking of the trait providing higher-level spells and CE-increases.

Kobolds get their boost to Dexterity, and can get a second one to Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence or Wisdom in exchange for a Strength flaw, are Small,, get darkvision 60 ft. and low-light vision, as well as 2 HP. They also get natural weapons, and while they get natural weapons, they get a variation that works differently, making their unarmed strikes count as non-archaic, and specifying no damage type; for type, I assume bludgeoning. I also think it’s slightly odd to have this blending of unarmed and natural weapons, but this may be just me being traumatized from some builds my players came up with back in PFRPG. Still, rules-aesthetics-wise, I’d have preferred this to have its own name and not be called Natural Weapons. For the purpose of most games, this should not be an issue. There are two heritages provided: Deepwarren kobolds can extend their darkvision to 120 ft. when resting in dim light or darkness to regain Stamina Points, but at the cost of also getting light blindness. This short rest based mode change is a really cool angle! Kudos! The second heritage is the wyvaran, which makes you a dragon with the kobold subtype and nets +2 racial bonus to saves vs. paralysis and sleep, extraordinary fly speed of 30 ft. with average maneuverability. The latter has btw. a catch that makes you land or fall at the end of your turn until 5th level; in zero-g, maneuverability increases to perfect. In direct comparison, this one seems stronger than the deepwarren angle. 8 species traits are provided, including a bonus to attack rolls versus flat-footed, off-kilter and prone targets, Companion Creature Adept as a bonus feat, a Resolve powered, scaling breath weapon, climb speed, skill boosts (or gained as class skills with bonus) chosen from a list, immunity to one effect or a save bonus based on a dragon graft chosen, or Extra Resolve. My favorite one, though, would be hurried retreat, which nets Mobility, and lets you decrease Mobility’s bonus to increase your speed temporarily. Cool!

Mechanoi determine their boost by heritage chosen, and can get a second one in exchange for a flaw to Charisma. They get 6 HP, are technological constructs and count as living creatures for healing effects, but halve Hit Points regained thus (should specify rounded down), and they require Engineering instead of Medicine when it comes to healing them. They are immune to bleed, disease, death effect, poison, nonlethal damage and sleep effects, but may be targeted by humanoid-only effects, gaining a +4 racial bonus to such saves instead. They don’t eat or drink, but need to go into an offline-mode akin to sleep to recharge their batteries. They also don’t breathe and don’t suffer in vacuum. Three heritages are provided: Compact models get their boost to Dexterity and get a bonus mechanoi trait and reach 5 ft.; Giant model mechanoi are Large and get a bonus mechanoi trait and a reach of 5 ft.; the standard model is Small (boost to Dexterity) or Medium (boost to Strength), and a bonus mechanoi trait. 5 species traits are included. These include the option to get low-light vision and upgrade it to also include darkvision 60 ft., having a technological item or cybernetic augmentation integrated into you (with item level as guideline), drone mods, skill routines…and one trait that is pure awesome, namely the transformation matrix, which nets you an alternate shape as a weapon, technological item or vehicle! Yes, you can play transformers! Epic! And yep, the respective item categories are properly explained. I generally like the mechanoi, but considering how important Stamina is, I think that the construct immunity array is a bit overkill; I’d have made this a selection with a species trait to buy into more of them, particularly considering how e.g. poisons etc. are better in SFRPG than they were in PFRPG.

Nagaji get both the reptilian and nagaji subtypes, have low-light vision, 4 HP, and get both a +1 racial bonus to natural armor, and + racial bonus to saving throws vs. poisons. They apply their ability boost to Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom or Charisma, and may choose a second one in exchange for a flaw applied to Intelligence. Three heritages are includes: Hooded nagaji get mighty presence (Intimidate), a new species trait that nets you +2 to one of the social skills and lets you ignore the prerequisites to a feat based on the skill chosen. Nalaasei have no legs, and instead have a speed of 20 ft, but may move at full speed while using Acrobatics and Stealth as well as Lunge as a prerequisite-less bonus feat; the third heritage, the servitor nagaji nets focused training, which translates to your choice of Skill Focus, Spell Focus, Versatile Weapon Focus or Weapon Focus. The species comes with 8 species traits; these include the ability to spit acidic venom that has the blind critical effect and scale with damage. It is properly codified regarding proficiencies, dirty tricks etc. – cool. We also get natural weapons (the good, precise kind), scent, and a trait that nets you swim speed at land speed + 10 ft. Tolling twice on Will saves, with Resolve for uses beyond the first, and the species can also choose a hypnotic gaze, which lets you use Bluff or Diplomacy to fascinate targets, with additional uses costing Resolve. Really cool one!

The nuar (Medium minotaurs, essentially) get their boost to Strength or Intelligence, with the option for a second boost at the cost of a flaw to Dexterity; they gain 6 Hit Points, and have a base speed of 40 ft., have darkvision, and have a special level-based check instead of Piloting or Survival to orienteer themselves, and they increase this with ranks in Piloting and Survival. The reference to the page featuring the nuar species traits is wrong – it should be 17, not 15. The three nuar heritages include the option to become Large and get natural weapons (reach still 5 ft.); the second nets tech savant (skill bonus/class skill gain), and the third ones nets you Mystic Inkling, or Spell Focus/Spell Penetration if you’re a mystic. 8 species traits are provided, including ferocious charge, weapon familiarity, natural weapons (the good, precise kind), a scent-based blindsense, Improved Combat Maneuver (with synergy, if you have ferocious charge), adding wound critical effect to unarmed strikes (which improves at 13th level to severe wound), and there is a means to use Profession as a substitute to Piloting/Survival and use the combo skill as well as with the regular one.

The final species would be the uramae, who get to choose where to apply their boost, and they can get a second one for accepting a flaw based on heritage: deoxyians can’t apply the flaw to Intelligence, wsjr can’t apply it to Constitution. Minor nitpick: The page reference to species traits is incorrect and should be 19, not 17. They get 40 ft. speed and 4 Hit Points per level; they get a bonus when taking 10 or 20, with further uses costing Resolve; the heritages here matter a lot: deoxyians choose a living species and get the deoxymorphic subtype (would have been nice to get that one here for reference) and that of the chosen species, counting as both creatures, and whatever is worse, if in doubt. This unlocks the species’ senses traits, inherent traits or species traits and movement types, and expand the number of traits by using replacement class feature, representing this part of the species’ relentless genetic engineering. The mumiyah heritage changes your type to undead and the deathly trait (gets dual type right), as well as a +1 racial bonus to saves vs. diseases, exhaustion, fatigue, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, sleep and stunning, unless these also apply to undead. Wsjr uramae get +2 Hit Points at 1st level, and toughness-representing bonus feat (the save boosters or Toughness). The species gets 6 species traits to choose from: These include skilled, gaining one of the save-boosting feats the skill/class skill booster, further enhancing the take-10/20 ability, ferocious charge, and additional augmentation slot.

Beyond these, we also get a couple new universal heritages, which includes being blood-scarred by the blood space phenomenon, which nets you bonus traits at the cost of one bane chosen from a list; being a genetically-engineered giant version of your species is included, and samsarans and vishkanya are represented as heritages as well, which makes so much sense to me. The pdf closes with 9 different universal heritages, which include Skull Focus, being multilingual, +2 Hit Point total, Hauler as a bonus feat, and 5 different shapechanging focused traits, which include options to demoralize and feint with shape changing, using in conjunction with standing up, etc. – these are pretty darn cool!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, if not as perfect as in the first two species reforged pdfs. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, with neat full-color artworks for all species provided. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alexander Augunas’ third species reforged pdf is a great continuation of the series, if one that falls slightly short of the lofty excellence established in the first two installments. On the plus side, we have what I really love, namely species traits that really change the playstyle of the respective species in a compelling and unique manner; it should really be noted that the species are universally better and more compelling than their first iterations. So yeah, I consider this to a success, one that mainly suffers from having to live up to the nigh-perfect balancing of the first two installments; in this pdf here, there are a few different instances where I’d personally tweak the balancing slightly, but it should be noted than most SFRPG tables will experience no issues here whatsoever – this is Alexander Augunas at the helm, after all!. Minor niggles notwithstanding, as a whole, I consider this to a success, which is why my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.Deluxe: Blood Space Species Reforged
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Star Log.Deluxe: Vesk Empire Species Reforged
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2020 10:42:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of the Star Logs that reforge species clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 10 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.

Okay, since I have already explained in detail how the core engine underlying the reforged species works in my first review of this series of pdfs and hate repeating myself, I’ll skip that aspect – the tl;dr-version is that the species behave more akin to how PF2-species work. The universal traits can be taken by the species herein as well – I suggest getting Star Log.Deluxe: Core Species Reforged alongside this pdf.

This pdf covers a total of 3 species in the modular and revised manner, first of which would be the squid-like ijtikris, who can add their ability boost to Strength, Constitution or Wisdom, with the option for a second boost in exchange for a flaw to Intelligence. They get 6 HP, and a swim speed of 30 ft. They are Medium aberrations and get darkvision 60 ft., as well as the ability to move half their land speed while crawling and Kip Up as a bonus feat, which makes sense, considering their physiology. The species has 3 heritages to choose from: You can elect to be amphibious, with the aquatic subtype (explicitly noting that you can still survive on dry land), and when off-kilter, you don’t take the usual penalties or become flat-footed. Alternatively, we can choose a +4 racial bonus to saving throws versus critical effects, and reduce the damage taken from critical hit by an amount of your Constitution bonus + your character level or CR, minimum 1. The third option nets multiarmed (4), but wielding items in more than 2 hands will reduce your speeds.

8 traits are provided for the squid-people: These include natural armor, an extra combat feat, +2racial bonus t a skill and a 1/day SP based on coloring (6 provided), blindsense (scent), the classic jet ability or Minor Psychic Power. Two traits deserve special mention: The first  would be the ability to squirt ink as a move action, potentially blinding, sickening or rendering targets off-kilter. The second very remarkable one lets you grapple with locomotive tentacles instead of your prehensile ones. If you didn’t notice – these do significantly change playstyles, and yes, they are balanced. Awesome!

The second species would be the cat-like Pahtra, who add their ability boost to Dexterity or Charisma, with the option for a second boost in exchange for a flaw to Strength or Constitution. They get 4 HP and low-light vision and can choose either darkvision or blindsense (vibrations). 3 heritages are provided: The first lets you spend 1 Resolve Point to reroll a saving throw; the second lets you install up to two biotech augmentations into a system that already has an augmentation, but doing so costs you 1 Resolve Point (min 0) and imposes a -2 penalty to Fortitude saves. The third heritage nets you both pahtra senses – darkvision and blindsense (vibrations). Speaking of which: While blindsense defaults to a 60 ft.-range (so this is no glitch!), having that spelled out here in the species write-up would have been convenient.

Once more, we get 8 traits to choose from. This time around, we have +2 racial Hit Points as well as Toughness; +2 racial bonus (+5 instead when balancing) to Acrobatics, Acrobatics as a class skill, natural weapons that properly specify damage type (THANK YOU!), the ability to smell diseases (and better Medicine when treating them),skill specialization in skills associated with your ability boosts, a bonus to saves vs. charms and compulsions, including the option to spend Resolve for a reroll 1 round later. Interesting: Standing up as a swift action and no off-kilter penalties/flat-footed plus ignoring 5 ft. worth of difficult terrain that stacks with Nimble Moves – and yes, this lets you guarded step in difficult terrain. Another one lets you spend 1 Resolve Point to grant allies 1 Inspiration Point, capping at 1 + Charisma modifier Inspiration Points granted. These can be used for rerolls, and a creature can only have 1 Inspiration Point at a point, and after spending one, they must take a 10-minute rest to regain Stamina to benefit from it again.

Oh, and know what the third race is? SKITTERMANDERS! :D

Skittermanders get their ability boost to Strength, Dexterity or Charisma, and can choose a second boost in exchange for a flaw to Intelligence. They get 2 HP and are Small, and receive low-light vision, are six-armed, and have 3 heritages to choose from:  The first represents cultural assimilation, and nets you a +2 racial bonus to two skills chosen from Athletics, Culture, Intimidate and Perception. These become class skills. The second one represents traditional skittermanders and has a similar paradigm, but applies the benefits to Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Medicine, Survival. The third heritage offers the same for Bluff, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand and Stealth, but only grants one as class skills. To make up for that, the bonus increases to +5 against loyalists of the Vesk Empire. Cool!

The skittermanders get 9 traits: One nets you bonuses to Perception and Profession and may be taken multiple times, increasing benefits; we can also find Improved Combat maneuver (grapple), proficiency with all infinity rifles that upgrades to weapon specialization at 3rd level, (or, alternatively, Weapon Focus) climb speed, or what about gaining +2 racial bonus to one skill chosen from the traditional skittermander list. Obsessive Focus lets you gain Skill Focus and build on it over the levels, and better aid another, covering fire, harrying fire can be found, including a Resolve-powered ability. Of course, the signature hyper ability, including  proper cooldown and cost, is also provided.

Pleasant surprise: The universal heritages included herein are actually all new ones: Planar scion Aphorites can generate crystal dust that nets you 20% miss chance via Resolve expenditure, among other things. Chillborn and Heatborn do pretty much what you’d expect, representing adaptation to extreme environments. You can elect to go for a deep one hybrid heritage, which provides low-light vision, hold your breath and decreases your speed, but grants you swim speed. Nice: This does account for already slow characters, reducing the impact for them. Oh, and of course, you turn into a deep one NPC upon becoming a mature adult…want to play a doomed hero? There you go!  Designer children modify the ability boosts and flaws system to apply to a class, representing being geared towards that pursuit. If you want to play someone from a high-gravity environment, that’s very much possible…oh, and did I mention the option of becoming a skittergoblin, with the exact benefits different, depending on which parent race you build this? SKITTERGOBLINS!! :D

The pdf closes with 5 additional universal traits, which include additional uses for SPs (0-level spells get more uses); a bonus feat that requires a specific anatomic requirement you must meet ; there is one trait that makes you better while crawling (further upgraded if you’re an ijtikri), guarding smaller creatures (and being able to occupy their space sans penalties), and being a polyglot.

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 pdf comes with neat full-color artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Huh, so here I was, happy I had found a glitch in one of Alexander Augunas’ carefully-crafted reforged species pdfs…and then, I downloaded the most recent version and realized it had already been addressed. That’s customer service!

Anyway, in case you were wondering: I love this little pdf. All three reforged species have a distinct playstyle, one or more angles that makes playing them different from other species. It is these tactical angles beyond the sheer customization that I truly adore. Bereft of things to complain about, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all fans of Starfinder who want more out of their species.

5 stars + seal of approval, given with a smile! Also: This shares the first file's EZG-Essentials-tag for SFRPG.

Need another reason? One word: Skittermanders!! :D

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.Deluxe: Vesk Empire Species Reforged
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Advanced Occult Guide Calendar
by Joshua K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2020 21:19:02

It's your basic 2021 calendar, but it features some cool art from the upcoming Advanced Occult Guide book. If you're not looking forward to that book, this may not interest you.

Additionally, there are no marked holidays, which some may see as a bug, but I think of as a feature, as I don't need reminders for holidays I don't observe, and definitely don't need them for ones I do.

Also, while my first thought was that a physical calendar would have been nice, digital does have the advantage only paying once and being able to print as many copies as I want. For someone with a young child and pets, that's very nice.

If you're looking for calendar for next year, with cool art, I definitely recommend this one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Occult Guide Calendar
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Godling Feats
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2020 17:30:20

This pdf gives us 6 new godling feats. They all provide excellent material to give characters some unexpected abilities, and can be used immediately as they are written. But they are also very versatile. I often run a zero magic campaign which has a secret group of yogi-like characters in it - and U found that with very minor adjustments I found that four of the six feats -Ageless, Divine Immunity Planar Speech Spontaneous Resurrection - were absolutely perfect for them. The other two feats - Cursed Blow, and Plague of Spells will see service in my regular campaign. These feats are somewhat unique in that it feels like they’re stretching the rules, but they’re actually not. Great value! Thank you for making my game more interesting without making my brain hurt!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Godling Feats
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Starfarer's Codex: Soldier Gear Boosts
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/13/2020 05:21:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages devoted to new gear boosts, so what do we get?

Well, more than 30 new gear boosts, and these tend to offer some interesting options. We have, for example, Corpsman, which allows you to either heal the lower of half your ranks in medicine (not properly capitalized) or the item used’s item level in HP when patching up another creature. And before you ask, this does have a caveat that prevents spamming it. Devil dog helps you deal with fear-based condition when using a holographic sashimono. EPIC: DUCT TAPE! Tape two ranged weapons with Bulk 2 or less together, allowing you to quickly switch between them. And yep others can use it, but lacking your mastery of duct tape, they suffer some serious drawbacks. What about using fire extinguishers to end burn as a move action? And yes, does take larger creatures into account. Enhanced DCs for entangling weapons slightly better Dexterity bonus when lightly armored is also cool, as is the one that lets you use a camouflage membrane in the attuned biome sans cover or concealment – provided you’re far enough away from the creatures you try to hide from.

On the downside, there are two once per combat abilities – combat is an arbitrarily-defined segment of time; while using a shield generator once per combat as a move action, or granting allies a bonus when using an aurora or bright weapon for the first time in combat are both balance-wise totally okay, this still irked me on a rules-aesthetic level. As far as I know, only one of the captain actions in SFRPG’s starship combat has this per combat angle, and it irked me there as well. Tying this to 10-minute rests would have been a bit more elegant, imho.

That being said: A boost enhancer and awesome grappler moves (bionic commando, anyone?) can also be found; better restraining of targets, over- and undersized weapon use is covered (mainly for utility – oversized weapons don’t increase their damage RAW in SFRPG, so it’s about using your enemy’s weaponry), and we get an increase of the power of blocks. Increased penetration, no action extending, stabilizing or collapsing of bipods on solid surfaces…some cool stuff here. Extending blasts to twice the weapon’s range increment is potentially very strong and one I’d advise caution with. Shoot and scoot is also pretty potent, allowing you to shoot with a sniper rifle at the extended range and move as a full action afterwards. These latter two ones are probably the only ones herein where I’d be careful. They are not problematic per se, mind you – they just let you do really nasty things with the right build. Aiming through sights as a swift action is also covered.

Quicker use of motion detectors, treating all small arms as quick reload weapons, disarming weapons and tossing them aside – some neat ones here. Controlled advances while in defense and heavily armored…and what about the option to make opportunity attacks with unwieldy weapons, even though you already attacked? I also really liked the means to fire automatic weapons with less ammo expenditure, but at the cost of only hitting a maximum of 5 targets.

Cool: The 7th-level boost for consuming twice the ammunition when firing a line weapon to enhance its breadth to 10 ft. At this level, we btw. also have a gearboost for a bonus to attack with starship weapons.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level – I noticed a few typos and some minor niggles, but nothing serious. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard with a nice artwork. The pdf has a bookmark for the editorial, in spite of its brevity.

Owen K.C. Stephens really knows what he’s doing, and it shows: The gear boosts presented here are potent, yes, but the impressive thing is that they make sense in some way – they are tied to the gear in question. There is never this disjoint, and all feel like they really represent expertise with the respective items. Now, some of the boosts are pretty situational, and I do have a few niggles here and there. However, the supplement is inexpensive, and offers some seriously cool options that brought a smile to my face – and these offset my niggles regarding this pdf. As such, my final verdict will round up from 4.5 stars – soldier fans should definitely take a look.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Codex: Soldier Gear Boosts
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Star Log.Deluxe: Core Species Reforged
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2020 11:41:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 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 patreon supporters.

After a brief introduction, we begin with the reforged base engine, for buying ability scores works slightly differently:

Write down all 6 ability scores, and put 10 next to them. You get an ability boost, which you assign and can’t reassign sand a mnemonic editor or the like, and add 2 points to the ability score. You can also choose a flaw, which means you need to subtract 2 ability points from a chosen ability – if you do that, you get another boost, and you may not apply a boost and a flaw to the same ability score. A species’ vital traits entry lists the ability scores you can boost, but flaws remain yours to freely choose, at least usually. Then, you apply the theme’s ability score increase, and after that, you get 10 point to customize your character on a 1-for-1 basis. You can spend these however you want, but at the game’s start, ability scores cap at 18. Points must be spent and can’t be saved for later.

Simple, right? So, how does the engine proceed to work? Well, each species gets its vital statistics, which note the eligible scores for ability score boosts (and flaws, if relevant), the Hit Points, sizes, speed, sense traits (designated with the word “sense”, inherent abilities (designated as “inherent”), heritages (which may be specific or universal), and the character chooses two species traits, chosen from the character’s species or the “universal” list. The character gets an additional species trait at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

Okay, to give you an idea: Androids, for example, have the HP and size/type of the modeled species, with the android subtype, low-light vision, use their modeled species as ability boost guideline – this modeled species is chosen at 1st level. However, you only get to choose from the android and universal heritage, not that of your chosen species. The android-specific  heritage provided renders you immune to vacuum and eliminates the need to breathe, as well as providing a +2 racial bonus to saving throws vs. diseases, mind-affecting effects, poison and sleep due to having a higher amount of artificial components than biological ones. To contextualize this one, we should first take a look at the universal options available, right? Right!

The pdf first specifies two general subtype-y categories here – planar scion (self-explanatory) and kabeni; the latter represents individuals associated with undead, death magic, etc. These often include +2 racial bonuses to two skills for the planar scions, as well as resistance that scales: Aasimars, for example, get ½ their level or CR as a resistance to acid, cold and electricity. Planar scions generally change the type to outsider and gain the native subtype. Aasimars can, as a standard action, shed light, with dismissal noted, and this light can beat magical darkness, provided the origin’s CR or item level exceeds the aasimar’s – oh, and daily uses increase with level or CR. Duskwalkers are infused with the powers of purgatory, and are treated as having the ghost killer weapon fusion versus incorporeal undead, and these people get bonuses to saves vs. death effects and negative energy as well as re undead abilities. Yep, the classic ones like ifrit and undine are covered alongside the ganzi, and half-elf and half-orc can also be found here…and yes, you can be a kitsune with a half-elf or half-orc form! Cool, btw.: The ifrit get azimuth laser pistol integrated weapon blasting, including recovering charges – and yep, the ability upgrades properly at higher levels. Ganzi can get the Resolve-powered ability to force rerolls with their quibble ability. Being a skinwalker is btw. also one of the choices you can make, and being nograv-raised (Hello, The Expanse!) – also covered!

Now, it should be noted that the list of the universal traits actually makes you pay for the like – want to get the +2 skill bonuses or the resistance/save-bonuses for being a planar scion? You have to pay for them with one of the species traits you have. And these could also be used for being adopted: That’d let you choose a species and their culture, and reduce the DC of it by 5; you also can learn traits associated with the ancestry, provided it doesn’t require physiological traits you lack. If you’re a planar scion, you could also be ageless; if you’re a changeling, you could have a swimspeed and expanded lung capacity…or, you could be capable of surviving in space…or, perhaps you inherited dark eyes that can pierce through illusions, or you could control ambient atmosphere. Want to be able to speak with animals? That’s now universal as well, and same goes for a prehensile tail – makes sense in a world when augmentation is common, right? I certainly think it’s cool to have these all be options.

Let’s return to the android traits, shall we? These include augmentable (+ cybernetic augmentation for a system of your choice), infosphere integration lets you once per day when taking a proper rest choose a mental ability score-based class skill, or enhance that. Another trait lets you have a rebooting nanite upgrade in your brain, allowing you to reboot your brain (rerolled save!) via Resolve if suffer from a variety of conditions. Using Resolve to temporarily gain scaling fast healing…or what about your modeled species’ senses? Very much possible.

But there’s MORE to this than just modular universal traits and species traits. Know the realization that prehistoric humans are pursuit predators? That we are super-hardy and scary in comparison with other species? Well, humans in this system actually have that represented via the Pursuer ability! It’s great to see that type of information represented in the game. And there are coolnes here: Adrenaline Junkie, for example, nets you 2 temporary Hit Points per level or CR for 1 Resolve that don’t stack with themselves at the start of your turn, provided you are sufficiently stressed, so the GM has final say. Better harrying/covering fire and aid another, the option to shrug off fatigue and exhaustion, and more….what about, for example, delaying the onset of a saving throw-related effect for one round, at the cost of treating your result when you are affected as a natural 1, and the effect bypassing any immunities gained since activating the ability – so yeah, powerful, you won’t be cheesing this. Love it. This is also a good place to note the attention to detail in some of those: It bespeaks of extra care when two abilities that focus on representing teamwork (like those of humans and lashunta) actually feel and play differently.

Kasatha might be natives or starfarers, and includes drawing strength from your personal traditions, and what about using solarian weapon crystals as fusion seals? Lashunta are dimorphic, which partially affects the ability boost, with heritages being academic or psychic. The traits include being particularly adept at tackling insect races, and yes, you can have a Companion Creature Adept dinosaur!

Shirren get no less than 4 heritage castes to choose from, which include short-term flight (upgrades to unlimited at a proper level), better social skills and feinting, quicker Stealth, etc. – really cool. Oh, and you can be a combo caste with the right trait! What about an acidic, conical breath weapon that can’t be spammed? Obsession, communal spirit, natural weaponry? All covered. The latter are optional here – for the vesk, they are obviously inherent, and these also get a serious overhaul, with versions with flexible tails, better adaptation to water or venom as heritage options. And yes, the vesk venom is properly depicted. Know what I really loved seeing? You know, Starfinder is pretty meticulous regarding damage types – with the weird and nonsensical exclusion of natural weapons. Well, this pdf is actually more precise than the core rulebook and properly codifies damage types of natural weapons. I LOVE IT.

The ysoki’s rebuild is particularly interesting, with heritages to represent more anthropomorphic or therian ysoki; we have increased speed, quick scurrying on the floor, better flanking – in short, ysoki can become pretty darn agile and dangerous. And if you never liked them being frail – what about the trait that nets you an upgrade to 4 HP and Toughness? Yep, nice!

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 features quite a few really nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alexander Augunas’ core species reforged are AWESOME. While they system-immanently allow you to create more specialized characters, the changes made to the species don’t hurt the balance of the game overall or jeopardize the implicit balancing assumptions of SFRPG. The species allow for a degree of customization that makes me really happy, and they become, well, more distinct. Indeed, as a whole, I think this supplement will actually prove beneficial regarding the balancing of races, and the planar scion options? Awesome. Come on, you know you always wanted to play a hardy duskwalker ysoki operative, or an aasimar vesk solarian!

The modularity proposed by this system is really cool, and the way in which it differentiates between the purely biological baselines and cultural aspects also helps you emphasize different stories. It is also full of those little flourishes in the details that show that the author really CARED. When a lesser author would have used one ability and copy-pasted it to several species, here, we have fine differentiation and tweaks that FIT the species and enhance their flavor.

The traits provided say a lot about the respective cultures...what’s not to like? I ADORE this booklet, and am really happy to see it, and know that I’ll get more out of this than just utility for my SFRPG-games!

Why? Because the system proposed herein, while finetuned for SFRPG, is also compatible with the one employed in Everybody Games’ upcoming Eversaga RPG, and having this level of flexibility for two systems? NICE. It works smoothly, is rewarding, and, most importantly, fun.

In short: This is a must-own book for fans of SFRPG. 5 stars + seal of approval, and this is now an EZG-Essential. Every SFRPG-campaign I run will use this. Also: Candidate for my Top Ten of 2020. Simple, elegant, rewarding. An inspired gamechanger that makes all species more versatile and rewarding.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.Deluxe: Core Species Reforged
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 10 Mage Armor Feats (Full Clip!)
by Carl H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2020 10:33:19

This product adds in common sense feats that allow spellcasters to gain AC bonus generally limited to bracers of armor, etc. - which >< only ever required mage armor with the associated crafting feat. Unfortunately, some may be a bit too conservative, but are easily buffed if deemed necessary - a better course than forcing the present officiator/GM to find a way to water a 3pp feat down.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 10 Mage Armor Feats (Full Clip!)
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Magic Firearm Properties
by Carl H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2020 10:22:49

Excellent and well-balanced firearm enhancements. Definitely worth the cost, especially when within the bundled option.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Magic Firearm Properties
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Defining A Galaxy
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2020 10:54:06

Bill Slavicsek was one of the driving forces behind the Star Wars Roleplaying Game by West End Games, a key figure in the development of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and the source of much Star Wars lore we still consider canon to this day. "Defining a Galaxy" is a fascinating account of how Bill found his way into the gaming industry, became involved with Star Wars when it was big but nowhere near as big as it is now, and helped to contribute to everything we love about the franchise to this day. I consider this book a 100% essential read for any fan of Star Wars and especially those who are also fans of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game by West End Games.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Defining A Galaxy
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Files for Everybody: Acrobatics Feats
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2020 15:11:49

A bite-sized, accessible expansion of Pathfinder 2E's skill feat selection that runs the gambit of simple and intuitive (e.g. using Tumble Through to make enemies flat-footed similar to a Feint action) to bold and cinematic expansions of the new rules (e.g. maximizing damage from falling on top of foes). A few things may get confusing at the table (e.g. directionality of surfing forces) and some of the prerequisites don't seem to line up (e.g. a level 4 feat with Master in Acrobatics as a prerequisite, even though Master-level proficiency can't be achieved until 7th level in all but the most extraordinary circumstances), but overall this was an excellent investment given the price point and the caliber of the writing.

I bought this on a whim, and I'm glad I did; it has definitely piqued my interest in the Files for Everybody product line.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Files for Everybody: Acrobatics Feats
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The Grimoire Arcane: Book of Eight Schools
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2020 12:19:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 25 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

Okay, so what is this? In short, it’s a selection of 8 specialist wizard classes, one for each of the big schools. As such, we assume d6 HD, 2 + Intelligence modifier skills per level, good Will-saves and full 9-level spellcasting progression governed by Intelligence as casting ability modifier, and the progression is based on the wizard’s spells per day, as well as proficiency with select simple weapons as a default here – but there are plenty of deviations from this paradigm, which I’ll call out in the coverage of the individual respective class. The classes gain a special spellslot that may only be used for their specialty school. All of the classes come with favored class bonuses for the core-races minus the half-elf and half-orc, but plus orc.

Got that? All right, so, the abjurer is proficient with all 1-handed and ranged simple weapons, as well as boar spears and light armor, and they may cast arcane spells in light armor sans incurring the risk of arcane spell failure. This paradigm holds true for the other casters herein as well, just fyi – if they get armor proficiency from a class feature, they can cast in it. Same goes for wearing a buckler, just fyi! Spells must be taken from the abjuration, divination, transmutation or universal schools, and other schools’ spells are NOT on the spell-list. At 1st level, the character gains a bonded buckler, which may 1/day be used to cast an abjuration spell in the abjurer’s spellbook that they know and are able to cast sans preparing it beforehand. It may be enchanted and replaced, and provides the usual self-regeneration rules if only damaged. Abjurers use Intelligence, and not Constitution, to determine their bonus hit points when gaining levels in this class (important caveat to prevent dip-abuse!), and at 2nd level, they gain abjurer’s aegis, allowing them to choose one benefit when preparing spells: One nets resistance equal to the highest spell level they can cast to one of the core 4 energy damage types; number 2 nets DR of an equal amount, and number three nets a competence bonus to melee attack rolls equal to the highest level spell they can cast. At 11th level, two aegii may be chosen at once. Starting at 4th level, when wearing the bonded buckler, the abjurer may spend a swift action to grant the shield bonus to AC to all allies within 30 ft, or increase their shield bonus by this amount, with the effect lasting for Intelligence modifier rounds, up to 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day. 6th level nets Mettle, which is essentially evasion for both Fort- and Will-saves…and yes, abjurers have a good Fort-save.  

Starting at 8th level, they may absorb 3 times their class level, they first check for immunity, resistance or vulnerability, then apply the rest to this absorption. And yes, this RAW does apply to force, negative energy, sonic, etc. damage – but it is a limited ability. 10th level nets proficiency with medium armor and light shields (bonded item can now be such a shield as well), including casting in it, and 14th level upgrades that to heavy armor and heavy shields. At 12th level, whenever the abjurer dispels or counterspells an enemy’s spell, they get to scavenge the magic, prolonging the duration of an already cast abjuration spell by the negated spells’ spell level. Rules-wise, this is clever, as instantaneous spells or super-short duration ones obviously prevent use with counterspelling, but personally, I do think that it should specify that the spell to be prolonged must have a duration of rounds per level or more, but this is mostly aesthetics. At 16th level, the abjurer may expend a 3rd-level or 5th-level spellslot whenever they confirm a crit against an opponent as a free action, affecting the target with targeted dispel magic, or greater dispel magic, respectively. At 18th level, we have the ability to ward a creature by touch as a standard action, at will, and enemies have to succeed on an attack roll to attack the warded creature, including with targeted spells. Only one creature may be warded at a given time. The ability doesn’t list the saving throw formula, but, being SP; I think that 10 +1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier is an easy and intended default. The capstone lets the abjurer expend a spellslot of the same level or lower as an immediate action whenever the duration of an abjuration spell would expire, to prolong it as though it had just been cast. I really like the abjurer’s shield themes, and how it makes a defense mage really feel distinct. This is a winner.

Conjurers get proficiency with club, dagger, quarterstaff, simple ranged weapons and shortbow as well as longbow, and their spell-list covers conjuration, enchantment, necromancy and universal, with the exception of those referring to class features such as eidolons, and they also get the summon nature’s ally spell sequence. This is in as far interesting, as the special slot that conjurers get for conjurations only also require that you choose summon monster or summon nature’s ally, and said spell becomes the only one you can cast with this. Such spells also remain in effect for 1 minute per level, rather than the usual 1 round per level, and may be cast as a standard action. The latter is a significant power-gain, as summoned creatures act immediately on your turn, something usually offset by the 1 round casting duration. At 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the class gets one (summoning) spell added to the spell list and spells known, or the conjurer chooses a combat or teamwork feat, which ALL creatures summoned gaining that. This can be rather strong: The monsters do not RAW need to meet the prerequisites, just the conjurer. HOWEVER, you can only choose a feat you’d meet the prerequisites for to be granted by this ability, so in order to grant e.g. a feat tree to summoned monsters, you’d have to “waste” the prerequisite feats by taking them for your conjurer, so the requisite clause is fulfilled. 4th level nets Augment Summoning, and every 4 levels thereafter, we get to choose from a list of feats. The capstone makes all summon monster spells (but oddly, not summon nature’s ally) count as one spell level lower, including making summon monster I essentially a cantrip, and metamagic adjustments to such spells are treated as two lower. I won’t lie, this one sends my alarm bells ringing to a degree; the modified spell list does help keep it in check, but in order to make a final judgment on it, I’d need longterm data, which I don’t yet have. Short term, the option is certainly strong, and I’d be careful with allowing multiclassing here.

The diviner gets d8 HD, proficiency with one-handed simple weapons, lantern staves and light crossbow as well 3/4 BAB-progression and good Reflex- and Will-saves. We once more have a bonus spell slot for divinations, and spells are drawn from abjuration, divination, transmutation and universal schools. The class begins play with Scribe Scroll, and always gets to act in the surprise round, but is flat-footed until they acted. Detect Expertise is gained at 2nd level, and a whole plethora of detect spells is added to the spell list and list of spells known at 2nd level as well. Their CL is also treated as 2 higher when casting such spells. 4th level nets uncanny dodge, 8th level improved uncanny dodge; 14th level provides evasion, 18th level improved evasion. 6th level provides the detect weakness ability to use a move action to choose a creature within 30 feet, which takes a penalty to AC and saves versus the diviner’s spells and attacks equal to ½ the diviner’s class level for one round, usable 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day as a move action. This is pretty brutal and can be overkill: There is no save, and a 14th level diviner could impose a -7 penalty to e.g. saves versus transmutation’s save or suck spells like flesh to stone and the like, which is an almost guaranteed success, unless the target has REALLY high related ability scores and good save, and then it’s still a stretch if the diviner is halfway decent in their optimization. This ability is imho overkill and could have used a whack with the nerfbat. The ability’s range extends to 60 feet and may be activated as a swift action at 11th level. 10th level nets +1/2 class level to Perception. At 16th level, they autodisbelieve phantasms and get a +5 insight bonus and an automatic disbelieve save when coming within 60 ft. of illusions. The capstone lets their scrying sensors pierce lead and makes their sensors 5 harder to detect, as well as always treating them as having firsthand knowledge. In case you were wondering: I’d make detect weakness’s penalty based on ½ the highest spell level they can cast instead – that’d be e.g. -3 if they can cast a 6th level spell, which seems more in line than the escalating  class level based scaling.

The enchanter gets proficiency with brass knuckles, cestus, blade boot, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, quarterstaff, sap, spring blade and war razor, and draws spells from enchantment, illusion, necromancy, universal. Their governing spellcasting ability score is Charisma, and they gain each level a bonus skill rank for Bluff and Diplomacy (normal cap applies), as well as half their class level  as a bonus to those skills. At 2nd level, when attacked and damaged by a non-reach melee weapon, they can use an immediate action to generate a blast that may daze the attacker briefly, usable 3 + Charisma modifier times per day. No daze-locking, btw., and creatures with more HD are immune to it. Nice! 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter net a teamwork feat, which the enchanter may then share with a creature affected by their charms or compulsions as a swift action for 3 + Charisma modifier rounds. The creature DOES NOT have to meet the feat’s prerequisites. This, of course, provides a justification for why you’d want to allow the enchanter to control you…which is a surprisingly interesting angle. 6th level allows enchanters to throw off enchantment effects, with one reroll per round, up to a maximum of their Charisma modifier attempts, minimum 1.10th level affects those charmed or affected by a compulsion as by Disruptive Spell, if the enchanter chooses so. 14th level lets the enchanter sacrifice a spellslot of equal level to remove the mind-affecting descriptor from a compulsion, which is made more potent by the capstone, which btw. also autogrants the teamwork feats mentioned before sans action expenditure required. 18th level extends single-target charm and compulsion spells to another target within 30 ft. of the first. A potent take on the enchanter that fared well in my tests – as a hint: At high-levels, these fellows may very efficient guildmasters etc. and puppeteer-style villains…just sayin’…

The evoker gets a ¾ BAB-progression, d8 HD and proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, as well as alchemical thrown weapons and one martial or exotic weapon of their choice. Spells are drawn from conjuration, evocation, transmutation and universal, and we get the bonus spell slot for, bingo, evocations each spell level. The class adds their Intelligence modifier to evocation spells that deal hit point damage, but may only add it once per target in the case of multi-target spells or thse spells that can split their target. This adds damage potential, but rewards the class for spreading damage. At 2nd level, evokers choose an elemental attunement to one of the 4 core energy types; the evoker may substitute the chosen energy type for the normal one of any energy-damage causing spell of the other 4 core elements not chosen. So, if you choose cold, you could e.g. cause cold damage with spells dealing fire, acid or electricity damage, which also can change the descriptor. The ability also determines the energy used in the second ability gained at 2nd level: The evoker can use a swift action to charge wielded weapons, adding +1d6 of the chosen energy per 2 class levels on the next attack, and said attack also benefits from a competence bonus equal to the highest spell level they can cast. The charge dissipates if not used, and the evoker gets 3 + Intelligence modifier uses. 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter net a combat or teamwork feat as a bonus feat. 8th level nets Vital Strike, and 6 levels thereafter, this upgrades to Improved Vital Strike, finally culminating at Greater Vital Strike at 18th level. The capstone nets fee and spontaneous Maximize Spell for evocations cast for Intelligence modifier times per day. Solid take on a battle mage.

Illusionists get proficiency with dagger, hand crossbow, iron brush, kerambit, sword cane, whip and tube arrow shooter as well as light armor, and also have good Reflex-saves in addition to the Will-standard. Their spell list draws from abjuration, divination, enchantment and illusion, and the added spellslots are freely available for illusions. They begin play with ½ class level as a bonus to Perception to detect traps and see through Disguise. Second level provides a bonus to their spell DCs if the target would be denied their Dexterity modifier to AC, and at 4th level, targets attempting to pierce an illusionist’s illusion must make a CL check to do so, believing that their effect worked as intended on a failure. 8th level nets an increased DC to disbelieve the illusionist’s illusions as well as an increased Spellcraft DC to identify their handiwork. 12th level nets a miss chance whenever the illusionist moved at least 10 feet, and 16th level nets the illusionist’s Intelligence modifier as a bonus to all saving throws as well as Bluff, Disguise and Stealth. The capstone negates true strike and similar effects used against the illusionist based on knowing the future, and also shields versus the usual detections. This effect may be suppressed.

The necromancer gets d8 HD, ¾ BAB-progression, and adds a good Fortitude-save to the Will-save default. Proficiency includes club, dagger, heavy and light crossbow, scimitar, scythe sickle, quarterstaff and light armor, as well as medium armor made from cloth, leather or hide. Their sell lists consist of the illusion, necromancy, transmutation and universal schools, and their specialization slots may be freely used with necromancy spells. The defining feature of this one would be the corpse companion; if said companion is lost or destroyed, it can be replaced relatively painlessly in 24 hours. At 2nd level, 5th level, and every 2 levels thereafter, the necromancer gets 2 corpse points used for augmenting the corpse, which act as eidolon evolutions. The corpse companion gets full Will-save progression, ¾ BAB-progression, as well as 2 skill ranks per level, excluding 3rd level. Over the course of the 20-level progression, the companion accumulates 10 feats, but to make up for that in comparison, the Ac bonus is less than that of the eidolon’s cap. The base forms available are a canid corpse, and Small and Medium humanoid corpses, which does suffice as a baseline to create additional forms if required. It should be noted that, since the corpse isn’t as mutable and absed on fixed forms, it does not need a maximum number of attacks listed. 3rd level, in case you were wondering, nets the necromancer channel energy, but negative energy only – and yes, at full level, not at the -2 You’d expect, so these fellows actually don’t suck in comparison to clerics in that regard. Minor nitpick: I’d have liked to see the pdf state that the companion does not count for the purpose of maximum undead HD controlled, but since I’s a class feature, that is no oversight – just something that requires a bit more in-depth rules knowledge than some GMs have.

Finally, we have the transmuter, whose proficiency lists includes battle poi, bladed scarf, cat-o’-nine-tails, chain spear, dire flail, double chained kama, dwarven dorn-dergar, flail, flying talon, gnome pincher, halfling rope-shot, heavy flail, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, meteor hammer, morning star, nine-section whip, nunchaku, sanetsukon, scorpion whip, spiked chain, urumi, whip, light crossbow and quarterstaff.  If you seriously end up using the quarterstaff with this awesome proficiency list, I really don’t know. The spell list includes conjuration, evocation, transmutation and universal, and the transmutation specialization slot isn’t limited to specific transmutation spells. The class adds good Fort-saves to the standard chassis. 1st level nets phase step, which is a 10 ft. per class level move action teleportation, usable 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day.  At 2nd level, all transmutations with a duration of 1 round per class level get +1 round, plus another round at 4th level and every 2 levels thereafter. 4th level nets the ability to sacrifice a spell of one spell level lower as a swift action when casting a transmutation to apply one metamagic feat known sans increase n level or preparing it ahead of time. Cantrips can’t be used thus – important balancing caveat. 6th level nets a -2 penalty versus the transmuter’s transmutations if the target is already under the effects of a transmutation. 8th level provides the option to sacrifice spell slots to maintain existing transmutation spells running out, but metamagic feats applied are not thus maintained, preventing cheesing with the previous ability. At 10th level, self-targeting with transmutations makes the character’s spells be treated as +3 CL. 12th level lets the transmuter, as a swift action, exchange a prepared spell with another in the spellbook, usable 1/day, +1/day every 2 levels thereafter. The capstone lets the transmuter change between different creature forms when affected by a given spell as a swift action, allowing for fluid shapechanges within a spell’s parameters.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good as a whole – bonus types are applied consistently, and apart from a “one/once” hiccup, both formal and rules-language are precise and well-wrought. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, and the artworks used are stock arts, some of which I hadn’t seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Michael Sayre’s 8 variant wizard classes are a difficult design proposition – we all know that a properly played wizard (or druid) is a fearsome monster at higher levels, and incisions into their flexibility must be justified, at least to a degree. The book does this in a rather smart manner, by making the specialists real, well specialists. The loss in spell flexibility is made up for by them simply being more fun to play, at least as far as I’m concerned, and I wish we had gotten these classes when thassilonian magic was introduced – they all fell surprisingly different from core wizards in how they play. Now, I get it – divination has to do with fate, and is unpopular in many groups anyways, so I totally understand why detect weakness is as strong as it is, but if your players are fond of diviner concepts, that’s the one part of the pdf where I’d advise in favor of using the nerfed solution suggested above instead.  On a very personal note, I absolutely adored both the enchanter and the abjurer. Both can be really potent if played right, and both feel VERY different from their standard specializations – these two imho warrant the asking price on their own, if you want my opinion. The necromancer is a kind of hotfix that makes arcane necromancers more on par with their cleric compatriots without stepping on the spiritualist’s toes. The evoker has a distinct soldier-mage feel to it…you get the idea. The book can’t well make up for the loss in versatility by eliminating parts of the most powerful spell list in PFRPG. Instead, it makes playing the specialists more rewarding, and, well, special as an experience. So if you started to get bored by all wizards feeling the same, this is what you should get. Considering that this was the design goal, I consider it a resounding success. It is not perfect, but its very few flaws are not nearly enough to cost this my seal of approval, or make me round down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Grimoire Arcane: Book of Eight Schools
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Pop Culture Catalog: Infosphere Shows
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2020 12:17:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Pop Culture Catalog-series clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

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

Okay, so the Pop Culture Catalog series so far is one of my favorite things available for SFRPG, no hyperbole. Since it’s been a while since I’ve covered one of these, let us recap briefly: The core idea of the engine used, is that experiences and interests shape who we are. As such, the series introduces a fandom-engine, which lets you benefit in specific way from frequenting a certain restaurant, enjoying a certain drink, following a certain show, etc. Now, the benefits are nice and all, but beyond mechanical benefits, the system ahs a pronounced further plus side: You start thinking about what shows your character would watch, what food they’d consume – in short, you add depth to the character. Actually roleplaying through the process of becoming a fan of something also is intriguing, as it grounds the game, and provides an interesting change of pace for the party. Beyond that, there is also the fact that the lore in these pdfs tends to be fantastic – some lampoon e.g. companies with various degrees of subtlety, and provide plentiful adventure hook ideas based on unique settings. There is for example that wonderful, high-class beauty spa on the moon where the unfiltered air can cause lycanthropy. In another installment, we have a redesign for drugs and similar vices, which makes them scale throughout the levels! (And yes, I do have plans to use these rules for a stoner comedy in space type of scenario…)

Anyway, you can belong to 1 + Charisma modifier, minimum 1 fandoms at a given time, and leaving one or becoming a fan are rather easy processes as well, which retains a flexibility in play – it’s not a singular character build choice, but one that you can switch and adapt in a flexible manner as the game progresses.

We begin this supplement with the respective infosphere shows – each states its type, its price-modifier, the streaming service where they’re available, and a very quotable tagline. Beyond that, we actually get proper logos for each of them; in case you didn’t get some of the allusions here, the logos will often help. I should mention that, as a German, there are bound to be some references I didn’t catch, no matter how immersed in US-culture I may be. The shows run a VERY wide range of themes and topics: Take #MutantSchool, a procedural set in the MSU (Mayhem Superhero Universe) obviously inspired by the X-men. It doesn’t simply copy the standard heroes of its terrestrial version – it provides its own cadre of familiar, yet distinct heroes. Did I mention an assembly ooze with a puppy’s disposition? Now I want an assembly ooze with a puppy’s disposition of my own! Interesting here on a mechanical level: The fandom perk nets a +1 enhancement bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate against adolescents, since you understand their mindset better. See what I mean regarding the blending of flavor and crunch? Fans of Alluria and the Primordial Princesses’ perk helps dealing with relationships, as codified in the Advanced Skill Guide, to a greater deal than usual for a perk, but balances this against the fact that it only works if the relationship isn’t dysfunctional.

“As the Asteroid Spins” is a soap opera that started off with a high budget, and received a horrendous reception; however, when it was cut down and all but done and over in season 3, said season was so trashy and enjoyable that it attracted a huge fanbase. This one nets you Bluff as a class skill, or a bonus to it f you already have it as a class skill. Prefer reality series? “Cabinet of Curiosities” is a format where curios are presented to a team who then estimates their value – I can see PCs starring there, and, fun fact, the format also exists in Germany, where it’s called “Bares für Rares”, so “Cash for rare stuff.” The fandom perk makes selling items, regardless if they can normally be sold for 10% or 100% of their price, 5% more efficient, which is particularly at higher levels very useful.

The space equivalent of Topgear would be “Catch my Drift”, and it lets you add bonuses to skill checks used for crew actions of skill checks made to pilot vehicles, but has a 10-minute rest (including, obviously, Resolve expenditure) to regain caveat to keep it in line. Ole’ nerdy me also was beaming from ear to ear when learning about “Crimson Goblin”, the tale of Oswald Verr, a dwarven food synthesizer repairman alone on board the eponymous vessel, with only a living hologram, a senile AI and a catfolk as company. Fans of the series can benefit from the Engineering knowhow conveyed, and may use Engineering untrained regarding ships and crew actions, even getting ½ class level as a bonus when doing so; if you are trained, you instead get a +1 bonus to the checks, which, while potentially meaning that you be better untrained than trained, kinda fits the premise of the series perfectly. And in case you haven’t realized the obvious real-world version: Go watch Red Dwarf now if you even remotely enjoy darkly humorous scifi. It’s a cult series for a very good reason.

Dead station features protagonists like a vegan vampire (XD) and is a black satire about a station overrun with undead, who are primarily cast from a nearby planet…but yet, rumors of there being living actors in deadface continue to circulate… Deisauryu (still love the linguistic compound, invoking god of dinosaurs), Xa-Osoro’s Godzilla (fully statted in their own Star Log.EM) also gets their own cartoon-series, and its strong themes of cooperation are represented by the fandom perk allowing you to enhance covering or harrying fire, as well as aid another, with the usual rest + Resolve regain caveat to prevent abuse. Televangelism/a primer to the philosophy of solarians is particularly useful for solarians, who can spend 1/day Resolve to gain one attunement at the start of their turn; and yes, non-solarians also get a benefit. Habitat, Xa-Osoro’s version of Cribs, was recently wrecked by a scandal that unearthed that several shows were actually fakes made with the vidgame Simulacraft Zeta! Shirren police procedurals, medical dramas…but there are also some less cute ones. Pain Game, a kinda illegal show of brutally gory fights, is particularly notorious, as it has so far evaded the authorities. While officially, it’s supposed to be primarily show and effects, there are plenty of people suspecting foul play and actual deaths happening…now doesn’t that sound like a great adventure for your party?

My favorite show herein, though? Well, much to my pleasant surprise, I’ve seen “Rimestone Squox” – which is obviously a take on the phenomenal indie cult-series dealing with Slenderman; since the Tall One (i.e. ole’ Slendy) is canon in Everybody Games’ supplements, this would allow you to do as the Unfiction community (if you’re interested: Check out NightMind’s summaries on Youtube after watching the series, or to get some recommendations) has done, and build your own adventures surrounding the myth. (Also: Yes, I’m one of the guys who bingewatched Marble Hornets obsessively; if you enjoy that show, I’d also recommend Everyman Hybrid; that one starts slow, but becomes REALLY cool.) so yeah, the diversity of shows, genres and benefits provided is pretty wide, with Disney-like shows (Whacky World of Whimsy) and a proper news-show all included as well. The former lets you btw. spend 1 Resolve for a 1d6 surge to a Culture check to recall a culture’s history, the latter lets you reduce the DC to recall knowledge pertaining current Xa-Osoro events by 5, explicitly stacking with theme-based benefits. Balancing-wise, I had no problems here.

After this section, we get a similar treatment for no less than 6 fully-realized streaming services: These include the magic-focused Dweomervision owned by kitsune billionaire Tashinado Tymira, or the horror-streaming service howler (bonus types smartly chosen and balanced with regards to Rimestone Squpx, for example. I know I’d have the latter at the very least, in spite of the rumors that it’s actually a study of 1010 Robotics regarding the effects of fear on intelligent beings. I’d certainly also be interested in the educational streaming platform Icewire, and if you’re into sports, there’s no way past Kapow! The new Disney streaming service’s analogue, UltraWhimsy, btw. also owns the MCU-representation – and in the entry, we learn a bit more about some of the legendary heroes of that universe.

Now, one of the things I always appreciate about this series, is its commitment to actually defining its content – as such, streaming platform types then proceed to be concisely-defined. Beyond that, we get proper prices for pay per views of different quality-levels, subscirptions, vidjacks 6 mks of streamcast modules, prices for autographs, print media, collectibles, trading cards, production drones, and rates for professional actors based on their skill bonus. The items among those, like the streamcast modules, are properly defined, and include holovid editing modules; if “toy” seems too generic too you, by the way, fret not, for different subcategories are presented…oh, and did I mention the level 1-6 technomancer spell mystic streaming? With the rules presented here, you could run a whistleblower/investigative journalism module…just saying…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports quite a few neat full-color artworks. The company/series-logos are an awesome touch, and I really love them: One look at e.g. the Marble Hornets-version, and fans of the series will immediately recognize it. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

George “Loki” Williams is an excellent writer for this series; considering the exceedingly high standards Alexander Augunas has set, it is impressive to observe that the installment retains the combination of whimsy, imagination and gameable content that made me fall in love with the series. How much do I enjoy it? Well, as some of you might know, I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews – I’m ultimately a fan of RPGs, and I want to see creators rewarded for their efforts, help them improve. So sometimes, being a reviewer can be strenuous. I know how much time and effort flows into many books. Anyways, when I’m starting to feel a bit down, when I want to read something that has a high chance to put a smile on my face, that lacks any issues and makes me recall why it’s also fun doing this? Well, then Pop Culture Catalog is a series that has so far ALWAYS delivered. Reviewing this series makes me feel good, and it puts a smile on my face. It makes the space opera that is SFRPG feel alive, fills in details usually ignored in world-building, and has these satirical touches woven into genuinely interesting adventure hooks that make you smile and jumpstart your imagination. I love this series, and this pdf, in case you haven’t guessed it, continues this impressive streak. My verdict: 5 stars + seal of approval. If you haven’t checked out the series, now’d be a great time – after all, we can all use some good news by now.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pop Culture Catalog: Infosphere Shows
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The Duskwalker's Due
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2020 18:15:26

For the past few days I have soloed my way through The Duskwalker's Due made for Pathfinder 2.0. It is available for pay what you want/free $ at DriveThruRPG. I used the Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest to play it and the Solo Adventurer's Toolbox to solo it. It is a solo adventure and a character is included that you use (higher than first level). The document is 19 pages long and it took me several hours to play it. It is well designed but brutal. The Boss took me out in no time at all. I wanted revenge. So, I used Rabbits & Rangers (2$ for 86 pages) and I combined it with Castles & Crusades. I turned it into a level one adventure and used six toon characters to play through it. My armadillo wizard used an ACME Catalogue to order a ghostbuster trap. When it was turned on, it did spark and smoke (some old cheap model), but it was able to capture the Boss. Bustin' makes me feel good . . .



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Duskwalker's Due
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