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Castle Falkenstein: The Ability Variations
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2017 06:05:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplemental rules-pdf for Castle Falkenstein clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ ½ page of SRD, leaving us with 8.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, after a brief framing narration by Tom Olam (which resurfaces in the respective sub-chapters), we begin with the first of several tweaks to the base engine of Castle Falkenstein – in this instance, we’re introduced to the Specialization variant: Instead of general Ability capabilities, the system allows you to take a Good or Great ability and trade it in for Specializations, a number equal to ½ the value of the traded ability, with Good being worth 3, Great being worth 4 specializations. Specializations can be applied to any Ability in which the character is Poor or Average – the specialization increases the Ability by one step for the purpose of performing Feats that relate to the Specialization in question. Thankfully, a massive table (greater than 1 page!) provides sample specializations and also provides synergy with the great Tarot Variation suits – so no, you’re not left guessing regarding how narrow you should design Specializations. It should also be noted that compatibility with Comme Il Faut is maintained.

The second variation featured within the pdf would be the divorce variation, which once again features compatibility with the Tarot Variation. Each Ability is governed by a playing card suit, but with this variation, the Abilities allow for players making an argument of why a given suit may apply its bonus to a given task – in two variations: Half and full value. There is some value in this – you will probably be able to perform at an increased efficiency. However, while the Host remains the final arbitrator of what you can do, I really don’t like this one – it smells of FATE and competitive BSing to me, but, obviously, your mileage may vary and thankfully, we are the final instance that decides which of the rules herein to use and which not to – this will find its fans and it makes the game easier and while, as a person, I don’t care for it, as a reviewer, I can appreciate its appeal.

The final variation would be the improvement variation: In this variation, dramatic characters improve by spending Improvement Points. Hosts are guided in detail: You determine Deeds during the adventure, a kind of important waypoint and determine an Improvement Point value for such Deeds. Beyond the confines of adventures, dramatic characters may try to earn Improvement Points via Resolutions, which can be completed, but take time to complete, with each character getting one of these – the Resolutions can be similarly broken down into Deeds, with samples provided. The resolution allows, in a way, for downtime activity: Players really invested in their Dramatic Characters can thus be rewarded for e.g. writing copious amounts of prose – or you can simply control character power thus or provide an illusion of cohesion beyond the confines of the gaming sessions.

Once earned, Improvement Points can be spent to improve Abilities (cost being equal to the Ability’s new value). When also using Specializations, they can be used to purchase Specializations, which cost 6 points. An alternate for faster growth of dramatic characters can also be found, with decreased costs – and since the metrics are pretty simple, tweaking the variation remains very simple. If you’re concerned about justifying Improvement in-game, the pdf does provide guidance in that arena.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to fat Goblin Games’ elegant, really neat 2-column full-color artwork. The pdf features fitting stock-art and sports no bookmarks – due to its brevity, it does get a pass there.

Mister J Gray LOVES Castle Falkenstein – as much becomes evident in every single of his supplements. The means by which this establishes a continuity with the venerable original Castle Falkenstein books is amazing, and so is the quality. The variant rules presented herein for a measly buck allow you to tweak the playing experience very well and net an interesting array of customization options for the game. I hope the Talsorian-crew reads these reviews and lets the Fat Goblin Games-crew update the Castle Falkenstein-core books in a new edition – if anything, all these variations really make me crave a big, new and shiny book. This is a fun offering, it is VERY inexpensive and thus gains a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Ability Variations
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Cosmic Odyssey: Service Bots and Synthetic Companions
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2017 23:19:54

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 62-page, full-color product - and as the name implies, it's all about Service Bots and their place in a science fantasy games. Service Bots are notably distinct from androids, another rather artificial race, in that they're less independent and generally more available to those with the ability to buy them. In other words, if your character wants a robot butler or sparring companion (or even love interest), you're probably in the right place.

The book opens with a discussion on the role and history of Service Bots, Artificial Intelligence vs Autonomous Intelligence, and so on. There are also some guidelines on how they should generally behave, including that they are not autonomous and generally need direction from others to function properly. Among other things, this helps stop SBs from infringing on character classes who specialize in creating artificial companions, and these are limits that should probably be respected.

Each SB is built from a variety of parts, starting with the frames. Frames determine how many appendages and add-on slots it has, from the affordable "Nil" series with 0 appendages to the expensive "Oct" series with 8 appendages. The table here is in alphabetical order, although personally, I would have sorted them by 'series' with the smallest and least capable at the top and the most capable at the bottom. Other parts include propulsion, computers (which are found in the CRB), power sources, and so on. All together, this allows for a wide variety of potential designs and strengths, although the SB may end up being more expensive than people realized at first (since each part is generally purchased separately, and it adds up).

That said, the most fun part of making the SBs is probably the Add-ons section. These are various 'things' a robot might have that don't really fit into any other category, from alcohol dispensers to charging devices, holoprojectors, and liquid purifiers. Honestly, if I were to be making an SB, I'd probably start by looking at these and trying to get a sense of what I wanted the SB to do, then picking other parts to fit that concept.

Following the build rules, we get a set of potential SB creators, which come with bonuses (like a free entertainment add-on, or a free slot for someone else to add) and drawbacks (chances of add-ons failing or overheating the unit). This is entirely optional, of course, but can add a little bit of randomness to what are otherwise fairly predictable inventions.

Starting on page 23, we get to the biggest part of the book - example Service Bots of varying prices, from small cleaning devices and pet-like bots to chefs' assistants, emergency rescue assistants, and holographic superhero-mimics. There are quite a lot of samples in this book, enough to easily add SB's to your game without having to touch the building rules. Also, be sure to look past the OGL - a printable sheet for SB's is included.

Overall, this is a very solid product, and it looks like it does exactly what it set out to do - add a variety of relatively low-powered, but amusing or useful, robots to your science fantasy game. Whether you're looking for an advanced protocol droid in a diplomatic compound, an assassination unit that pretends to be something innocuous, or some flashy robotic entertainment, this book can probably help you make it. If you're looking for some more mundane robots for your game, I recommend taking a look at this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Odyssey: Service Bots and Synthetic Companions
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Cosmic Odyssey: Pirates of the Starstream
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2017 22:50:33

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 52-page, full-color product - and as the cover notes, it's one of the first Starfinder-compatible releases! Let's get right into the meat of this, shall we? Pirates of the Starstream is broken into five major sections.

The first section is largely historical, with some history on pirates and a sample pirate code that characters may wish to follow. This is only two pages, and serves mainly as an introduction to the rest of the book.

The next section is focused on player options, starting with two new themes. The Brute (+Str) is good at treating deadly wounds, using improvised or nonproficient weapons, and staying conscious after they've taken damage, while the Rogue (+Cha) is good at changing attitudes, using skills they haven't trained in, and finding friends.

Following this are three new archetypes - which, remember, can be taken by pretty much any character. (Of course, some character idea work MUCH better for a given archetype than others.) These include the Boarder (who's good at taking advantage of cover even when they're not behind it), the Gunner (who excels at hitting fast and hard with ranged attacks), and the Senior Officer (who support allies).

That's not the extent of the added options here, though. We also get new options for the Mechanic (like an Assassination Drone chassis), the Mystic (mainly the Destroyer Mystic Connection, which is as violent as you'd expect), and a spell for the Technomancer that turns vehicles invisible.

The third major section (yeah, that was all part two) is about Pirate Loot, and covers new general equipment, melee weapons, small arms, and even starship equipment that pirates might like to have. Some of these are pretty nasty tricks to use against players - or to have players use against others! - so GM's should be careful about what special technologies players are given access to. There are also two new starships: boarding shuttles and gunships, which aren't very impressive solo but could be rather nasty in larger numbers.

The fourth main section focuses on NPCs. Now, as the publisher was quick to point out, the full rules for making NPCs hadn't been released at the time this was published, so the various characters appearing here might not be quite 'by the book' as allies or opponents. Still, they should be perfectly usable, and players probably aren't going to notice a difference.

The last section is a 'neutral' zone friendly to pirates. Known as 8-Pieces Port, this is pretty easy to drag-and-drop into any campaign as a site players can visit. Each of the sections of the port is given a one-page writeup, describing the demographics, notable locations, and general personality of that area. Several rumors (i.e. potential plots) round out the section.

Overall, I feel this is a pretty solid supplement. Now, I'm not going to attest to any mechanical excellence in the rules, because Starfinder literally came out on the day I wrote this, and I haven't had time to digest its math and systems yet. Nevertheless, I feel like this is a pretty solid product, and an excellent option for any GM who wants to add a little (or a lot) of space pirate flavor to a Starfinder game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Odyssey: Pirates of the Starstream
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CLASSifieds: The Wind-Warrior
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2017 03:57:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the CLASSifieds-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The wind-warrior class presented herein gains d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, full BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves as well as proficiency with simple weapons, one-handed martial weapons, light armor as well as katana, naginata and wakizashi. Starting at 1st level, the wind-warrior may use Dexterity instead of Strength modifier with one-handed weapons capable of dealing slashing damage (oddly locking out the naginata -making me think it may have been a leftover from a previous iteration) with the Way of the leaf ability. Starting at 3rd level, the ability is upgraded to provide Dex to damage instead of Str-mod as well. Starting at 5th level, using way of the leaf provides a visible wind-effect that nets +1 to atk and damage while using Way of the Leaf, which increases by +1 every 4 levels thereafter. At 18th level, the critical multiplier of weapons used in conjunction with way of the leaf increases by 1.

2nd level provides an interesting ability that is pretty important for the class – a flurry of sorts, which comes with the standard -2 penalty and stacks with haste – all in all, solid in wording etc. However, 2nd level provides a more important ability, namely boundless step: When making a full attack and successfully striking the enemy, the wind-warrior may take a 5-foot-step. Kudos: it gets the interaction with the regular 5-foot-step right and even the action economy. The movement has to remain in the threatened area of the target and movement provides a stacking dodge bonus for such movement, which plays more interesting than it looks on paper. Starting at 7th level, this ability allows for the ignoring of difficult terrain and at 10th level, things become interesting, making these steps 10-foot steps that count as two steps each. The ability also has a cap per round – while the wording is missing a “times” in the ½ class level times per round cap, that is a cosmetic oversight.

On the defensive side of things, the class gains uncanny dodge at 4th level, improved uncanny dodge at 8th, evasion at 12th and improved evasion at 16th level. 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter yields a bonus feat. 6th level provides gust of wind as a SP, usable 3 + Wisdom modifier times per day and 8th level provides an immediate action wind wall SP, also governed by Wisdom. 15th level provides the option to assault foes with 8d8 slashing cones Wisdom modifier times per day and 19th level provides constant freedom of movement. The capstone lets the class execute a full-attack as a standard action…and even after a charge. OUCH!

The pdf comes with favored class options for the core races and a couple of others, though oddly, the skills and saves here are not properly formatted, being lower case and lacking brackets in e.g. references to Knowledge (nature). The FCOs themselves are solid.

The pdf also contains a couple of archetypes: The windwalker would be a monk-like version of the class, who modifies the proficiencies and instead increases the benefits from boundless steps. Instead of the way of the leaf upgrade, we have the option to, as a full-round action, move twice movement rate, including movement over water, lava and on surfaces that wouldn’t carry the character’s weight. 5th level provides a scaling shield bonus that increases every 4 levels thereafter. 6th level and every 5 levels thereafter upgrades as what the unarmed strikes as treated for the purpose of overcoming DR as part of an attack, usable a limited amount of times per day. 15th level yields a properly codified control winds. Really cool: At 18th level, after moving twice via the boundless step variant of the archetype, you may execute an attack that can send the target flying. Nice one.

The Bladewalker is basically the TWF-version of the class, losing some of the more supernatural tricks of the base class, with a decreased boundless step potency due to the increased attack array. Finally, the windbender would be the 2-handed weapon specialist, who may take penalties to attack CMB in favor of damage-increase, thankfully not stacking with Power Attack etc. (the feat-reference is not capitalized properly, as a nitpick). Other than that, basically a two-hand weapon iteration of the class.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level and the few glitches I noticed on a formal level do not impede the ability to understand the material. Layout adheres the neat 2-column full-color standard of the series and the pdf provides some nice pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Nice!

I wasn’t excited for Andrew Campbell’s class at first – however, the wind-warrior has some serious raison d’être: The class is flexible and allows you to play a skirmisher martial and rewards smart use of the stepping-tricks. The rules-language of the abilities, which is more difficult than you’d think at first, it really solid, so nice job. Balance-wise, the wind-warrior should not pose a problem for any table: The class is well-balanced and I can see it working in an otherwise magic-lless WuXia-setting even – so yeah, very easy to integrate into an ongoing campaign.

While there are a precious few formatting glitches, that is not really enough to compromise the pdf. From a design-aesthetic point of view, I would have liked to see more unique class abilities, but the number of bonus feats provides sufficient customization options. First level is a bit bland, though. Anyways, that is me complaining at a high level – this class is very much worth checking out and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down – this is a good, worthwhile addition to the roster of classes.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: The Wind-Warrior
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Trusty Tavern Menus
by Ben D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2017 14:09:05

The Trusty Tavern Menus cards are FANTASTIC! I wish I’d known about these years ago! Each card is broken down into 4 tidbits of information: name, descriptive paragraph about the tavern (including info about the owner and renting beds), a menu (with different meals, drinks, and prices), and rumors related to the tavern. It would have made running my games move a little faster if I’d been able to just draw a card and read the info instead of trying to make up stuff on the spot. You know how players are, if they see their GM squirm, they keep putting the pressure on. ;D



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trusty Tavern Menus
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vs. Stranger Stuff Official Playing Card Deck
by Ben D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2017 14:02:45

I just got my deck of vs. Stranger Stuff playing cards in today. The cards are high quality, and printed well. The art is intentionally distressed to give them a more ominous feel. You can easily use these cards for any card game and obviously the vs. M Engine games. They certainly aren't "necessary," as any deck of cards work for vs., but, they add a fun bit of immersion. This is a 52 card deck, no jokers included. My one critique of the art is this: the King and Queen cards have skulls wearing crowns. The art is the same, but says “KING” or “QUEEN” in the crown. I think the Jack and Ace are much more interesting as they are a bloody knife, and occult iconography respectively.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Stranger Stuff Official Playing Card Deck
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Shadows over Vathak: Player's Guide to Vathak
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2017 16:18:35

This setting is a reimagining of Lovecraftian pulp fantasy with a bit of Poe and Gothic fantasy added for good measure. There is great attention world-building in the book, with in-universe logic added to help visualize the setting. Of particular interest is the take of the setting on Mythos cults, one of their tricks is that they use the theme of Elementalism well to disguise their true nature (and the authors make a point to note that "Join us and go utterly insane" is very far from how a cult recruiter operates). My favorite aspect of this setting is that it doesn't try to "be everything." Yes, it borrows from Victorian fantasy and Lovecraftian lore, but it doesn't borrow every aspect of that earlier period of fantasy. Of particular note is a lack of outsiders in the setting. It is stated that they are rare, because the main enemies are supposed to be the abominations, cults, and Great Old Ones of the Mythos fantasy. I suppose I should add the caveat that the setting has its own Great Old Ones, too. There are plenty of player options for races and classes, and their use of imaginary mythology has both simplistic and complex approaches. The most common belief system in the setting is a monotheistic one, but it includes saints with a broad scope of morality. The familiar polytheistic approach of D&D is present too, but in a unique way. I think a Ravenloft fan might even be inspired from the approach used with them. This is, after all, a sort of engine for a game about storytelling. The only thing I think that could have made it better is if it had adapted the Sanity rules available in the SRD. But for that matter, any GM running this setting can just look it up as it is freely available, and more details can be found in Unearthed Arcana or the Call of Cthulhu d20 RPG. I enjoyed reading this book, and plan to look for ways to implement ideas from it in future campaigns.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak: Player's Guide to Vathak
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8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
by Matthew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2017 10:08:36

Love the humor and adaptation. I have every intention of using this in my future games!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
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8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
by Jerry L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/31/2017 22:12:48

Fat Goblin Games’ 8-Bit Adventures Series for Pathfinder has helped peel back some years by allowing us to re-live some classic video games via tabletop RPG format. So far we’ve been treated to evil turtles tyrannizing mushroom land, hunting the bloodthirsty in an unholy castle, and now this one (if you can’t guess from the cover and "The Legend of..." title, you’re not trying).

Creatures are up first, with advice given on which to cannibalize from existing Pathfinder Bestiaries, suggestions on tweaking others to retro-fit the Kingdom of Highland, and a few "originals" slightly altered from our old-school gaming console cartridges.

Feats (like Bomb Jump and Shield Rider), Spells (such as Freezing Ray), Spring Spears, Lava Armor, etc. all follow, and provide that same, wonderful (8-) bit of nostalgic flair. They seem pretty spot-on for this setting, so you should get acquainted with them a bit before squaring off in the Campaign Kit at this supplement’s end against the cursed CR 16 Boss, Droch-lann and his monstrous minions...

After all, Princess Zena and the Kingdom of Highland are counting on you!

Liked: Layout, writing, setting familiarity, creative arrangement of adventures to allow for a larger campaign, and an option to play The Legend of Heroes as a one-on-one adventure. Disliked: Not having a "Lirk" write-up? (J/K)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2017 10:11:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 42-page, full-color product... and if the cover doesn't serve as a pretty big hint, I'm not sure what else to tell you. Well, aside from some details on the actual content, anyway.

At the basic level, this product aims to convert a certain franchise (that rhymes with "Legend of Shellda") to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, including a variety of creatures and character options. After an introduction to the product itself, we begin with monsters like the Gripper, Robed Wiz, and Roctopus. These aren't full stat blocks all by themselves, but rather, suggestions for modifying existing bestiary creatures to work as the new versions. I'm kind of iffy on this as a design choice - generally, when offering a creature, you want to provide a playable statblock. (The exception is actual templates - which these technically aren't.)

Thankfully, we do get a few actual stat blocks shortly after, including the Bladed Trap (a CR 4 Construct), the Burning Skull (a CR 8 Undead), and the Cactus Plant (a CR 11... you guessed it, plant). There's also a CR 16 boss, an Orc Magus with the Cursed Warrior archetype.

The next bit provides a few new thematic feats, from Bomb Jump (add the explosion's damage to acrobatics checks when jumping) to Reflect Shot and Reflect Ray, which let you use an Attack of Opportunity to bounce an attack towards a foe. These do have some fairly hefty requirements, including decent Dexterity scores and the Shield Ally (new) and Shield Focus feats, so they seem like they're definitely meant for fairly specific builds.

There are also a few new spells (Retriever, Freezing Ray, and Magnetism), and various iconic pieces of equipment like a Leaf Mask (a Plant Shape I effect), the Miniscule Cap (Reduce Person 3/day), and the Saga Stone (which Reincartates the possessor when they die). The price for that one is 600 GP... or 1200 GP if you're crafting it yourself, which I can only assume was an editing mistake. (Bought at 1200 GP, however, it is pretty close in price to the cost of buying a Reincarnate spell from a Druid at the lowest Caster Level available. (That said, the Saga Stone is a "CL 6th" item, which it probably shouldn't be, as Caster Levels for items generally shouldn't be below the minimum necessary to cast it.)

This book also includes a few sample adventures - including advice for running it as a one-on-one, rather than as a party, which is a nice touch given the source material. These are essentially brief descriptions of scenes and encounters for a GM to fill out, and range from APL 4 to APL 16 as a climactic battle. It's fairly amusing, but given the wide disparity in levels, you'd definitely want to have a lot of adventuring between these main points... or perhaps just summon the PCs to "Highland" every now and then as they level up in their main campaign world.

Overall, I feel this product is a fairly solid 4/5. There were some definite hiccups in the editing, and the adventures are best thought of as an outline rather than a full game to sit down and play. Despite that, I do think this sets out to do what it's trying to do, which is broadly replicating the feel of a certain popular video game franchise. If that feel is what you're looking for, then this is the right product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
by Ehn J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2017 16:33:31

An Ehn’s Gaming Foundry review:

This week we’re looking at 8-bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear; and as you can tell from the art and such, it’s trying to recreate the feel of the old and beloved retro game Donkey Kong.

We start with a small introduction to help ease us into things, giving the reader an idea of what they’re in for with this book, and what that happens to be is gear to help us kill vampires, letting us know that it isn’t just magical gear (which is often the case), but also mundane gear, which I very much appreciate. We also get an explanation of why it’s just gear and not a full setting, which feels extra, but doesn’t really hurt. We also get proper bookmarking in the PDF to help us find our way around.

Next we get some ‘game terms’ mixed in with some pathfinder game terms to help us get more of a feel for things, although not sure ‘mundane’ is an actual game term here. Still, it’s keeping in tone with everything else, and as a whole, I appreciate that. The art inside is very reminiscent of that you’d find in an old instruction manual, which does wonders for keeping you in the proper mindset of this product.

The cleansing fire section isn’t my favorite though. While I get what the writer is going for, mechanics like this don’t really translate as well outside of what they’re hoping to do here. I don’t believe that we’re getting a good point for when to include treasure of this magnitude into games. Different charts for different levels would have been much appreciated here, rather than a one size fits all listing.

The language in the star whip leaves a lot to be desired, and while the author did clear this up in a post, it’s still in the book as a rather confusing item. Also I’m not sure how you’d be able to have an action readied to catch a returning cross boomerang, as attacking with it would generally be a part of a standard/full attack action, thus not giving you a chance to ready an action in response. Even an immediate feels like a bit too much, as you can only catch it once per round, making it not great for full attack actions. Sure, it’s a mundane item and early game it could do well, but it feels less than ideal for mid to late game.

Slayer’s shield of defense feels a bit too ‘spell in a can’ for me, and whip crystal also has imprecise wording (I’m assuming it’s a size increase) making the intent clear for veterans but cloudy for most others. I want to like the Slayer’s Mystic Whip more, but it’s the same issue of spell in a can here, making it a touch too mundane for me to really appreciate.

The rest of the magic items also feel plain, with bracers of the multi-blow most likely meaning “two weapon fighting penalties” rather than the two weapon fighting feat. Hourglass watch is also crazy powerful, it’s effectively an auto kill against any evil creature without spell resistance, and it’s multi target for 9 rounds; that’s just brutal. And at 8k, a mid level adventurer could pick up a few of these to just auto kill a large amount of creatures. Sure, it being mind affecting limits it a bit, but that’s still an I Win button against a lot of foes. The large and small heart crystals are kind of interesting even if the large one feels like it could end up being pretty cheap in the case of staff charges, and the small heart crystal feels undercosted for its effect.

I do kinda like Rosary of Destruction too (though I think it should have a save), and the ability to amp it with turn undead is pretty nice. Sapphire ring is another item that has pretty clumsy rules language that could really have used a more discerning eye. I also believe that wall meat might be the best curative item I’ve ever seen by a wide margin; it doesn’t even give an amount of ability damage it heals, it just heals all of it as well as a very sizeable chunk of hit points. White cross is okay though, it’s thematic and fair for what it does.

We finish with a list of creatures that you can substitute in for others, which is a nice finishing touch.

Mechanics: 1.5/5

Mechanics range from okay to uninspired to just non-functional, and there’s a lot in here that I just don’t care for as a GM. The power is all over the board, and most of it isn’t really that interesting. I’m not really the primary market for this, but it feels like a lot of this was written with the idea of pushing the mechanics of this game into pathfinder without a huge amount of consideration for the rules.

Thematics: 3/5

This is a book for thematics, plain and simple. Personally, I think it does it well enough, but there was never enough here to keep me completely drawn into the setting and ideas held within. It did a good job, I got the jist of what they were going for, but the way that mechanics were smashed into this didn’t make it feel like a seamless transition between two different media, it just felt like I was shoving one into another.

Final Thoughts 2/5

While I respect the effort that went into this project, as a whole it fell flat for me. With imprecise rules text, quite a few items I wouldn’t let into a game if given the chance, and a less than smooth transition between the two properties. Derek Blakely came off as a video game fan who wanted to push a game’s framework into an RPG, and while if you’re more of a rules light group who’s fine with that way of doing things it’ll work okay; for a more rules savvy group, this isn’t for you.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Hell
by Peter O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2017 21:08:58

This is an absolutely fantastic resource for someone who is looking to flesh out a Hell setting to be something more than just "There's fire everywhere!" the Travel guide to Hell has detailed information on 7 different environments, and the rulers of those environments, not to mention archetypes, prestige classes and items. The only thing I feel is missing is a list of suggested storylines taking place in the reigon, the book hints at some underlying tensions and you can easily join the dots and create build the story accordingly, but direct suggestions are always nice. Fantastic resource though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Hell
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The Crystal Planet: Player's Guide
by Yannick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2017 15:04:44

I will admit that I didn't quite expect the great quality of this product. It's well done and the mechanics make sense without being overwhelming or trying too hard to make new materials.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Crystal Planet: Player's Guide
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Astonishing Races:The Aasimar
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2017 09:00:22

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 34-page full-color product, with 30 pages of actual content. Astonishing Races: The Aasimar is essentially a complete playable race, up to and including things like physical descriptions, society, age, and religious tendencies. This is all written to be fairly setting-neutral, and that's a plus.

Aside from the basic racial traits (functionally identical to the 'official' aasimar), we get a wide variety of alternate racial traits and I'm pretty sure most of them are new. Many of these focus on what type of celestial being the aasimar in question was descended from, helping to provide a little more distinction in their backstory. For example, Born to Battle gives you a bonus to damage and crit confirmations when using a two-handed melee weapon, while Brightest Star gives you a bonus to your level for casting spells with the Light or Fire descriptors. There's a real set of choices here, and I'm glad to see them present.

After this, we get to new aasimar heritages - entities quite distinct from the base class. While normal aasimar are considered something of a "celestial/humanoid blend", the variant heritages are more specific. The Soarynne is an Elf/Outsider mix, for example, while Planelings have no celestial ancestor, but did have a mother exposed to the energies of a celestial plane. These classes aren't given the same variety of alternate racial options as normal aasimar, but a generous GM might allow swapping out equivalent abilities.

To help further customize the character, aasimar in this product are given a full set of Favored Class Options, from core options all the way to occult classes and the Vigilante. Class options follow this, with choices like the Angelic Chorister (an archetype for the Bard that focuses on heavenly instruments), the Blessed bloodline for the Sorcerer (which adds healing to a normally arcane class), and the Peacebonded Monk (an archetype for the - wait for it - Monk, which focuses on nonlethal damage). Note that being an aasimar is not a prerequisite for these class options.

The book finishes up with a variety of other character options, from gear (like Celestial Elixir, which offers additional use of racial spellcasting, albeit at a cost if abused, and also as a supercharged Holy Water when used against undead) to feats (mostly reprints, but copied here because this is clearly meant to be a one-source guide for playing a given race) and spells (ditto).

Overall, this is a nice, comprehensive product for playing an aasimar character, and I probably wouldn't hesitate to pass it over to anyone at one of my tables who was interested in doing so. I'm also quite fond of the race in general - some of my favorite characters have been members of this race - and I would've enjoyed using this product when making them. Either way, this is a solid release. It doesn't have quite as much new material as the size implies, but again, it's not meant to. It's not just a collection of reprints, though - there ARE quite a few new options as well. I didn't notice any major mistakes (although there was the occasional typo), so I'm comfortable giving this product a full score.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Races:The Aasimar
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2017 08:16:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 14-page, full-color product - although only 10 of the pages have relevant content on them. As the name implies, this is all about vampire slaying... but with more of a video game twist than most products released for Pathfinder. This is actually quite important to understand - this product is very much intended to work with games inspired by a certain famous vampire-hunting franchise, so you'll want to review the options carefully before making them available in other games. Now, let's get into things, shall we?

The first page of actual rules stuff discusses iconic items from the games, and which items from Pathfinder are best used to represent them. This is fairly straightforward stuff, all things considered. The next page gives us a candle treasure table (to be found by breaking sources of light, generally), holding things like holy water bombs, whip crystals, and masterwork weapons. A second table is given for items found in secret areas. Many of the items on these tables are new items presented later in this product.

Following this, we get descriptions for two new weapons. The Cross Boomerang is a an exotic ranged weapon that deals Bludgeoning or Piercing damage, with a range of 30 feet, an x2 crit multiplier, and a returning property that allows the thrower to catch the boomerang (with it falling some ways away if they don't). The other new weapon (the Star Whip) is an exotic melee weapon - implied to be one-handed, but this probably should have been specified - that has the disarm, finesse, reach, and trip properties. Characters proficient in whips are also proficient in Star Whips, and it does lethal damage even to creatures with armor bonuses.

The next section focuses on magic weapons and armor. The Slayer's Shield of defense is a +2 mithral heavy shield, which counts as a divine focus, allows for a spell that helps protect against ranged attacks, and provides an added bonus when you use the total defense action (written here as "full defense"). The Whip Crystal is essentially a buff for whips, either giving them the Deadly property or - if they already have it or do lethal damage - increasing the damage progression by one step. The Slayer's Mystic Whip is a +3 ghost touch holy undead bane star whip that's also an intelligent item, and it's pretty focused on finding and eliminating undead. It also offers several additional powers, including a protective spell-like ability, detecting magic at-will, and a bonus to intimidate against evil. It's also worth over 150,000 GP, so it's not likely to be seen outside of high-level games.

Most of the rest of this product is taken up by other new items, which include things like boots that give both Jump and Feather Fall effects, bracers that give you an additional attack (at an accuracy penalty), and a holy water bomb that deals holy damage and is extra nasty against undead and evil outsiders.

The last part of this product is another equivalency table, much like the earlier one on classic weapons - although this bit is more for game masters, since it suggests specific monsters to recreate the feel of the games (and provides their source).

Overall, I find this product fairly entertaining, and it definitely accomplishes its job of providing thematic vampire-slaying tools. That said, I do think this product - and especially the items - could have used another editing pass. For example, the Sapphire Ring says it can be 'activated', but doesn't specify the type of action used. (Standard action to set up defenses? Immediate action to respond to a threat? Free action you can take when it isn't your turn?) It also says "any creature that attacks with melee attack takes 2d6 points of electricity damage". Since it doesn't quite specify that it's limited to you, it's arguably saying that anyone in the area (or, heck, the world) takes damage when they make melee attacks, and that probably wasn't the intention.

The errors don't ruin this product, but they do make it a little less solid than it could have been, and it's something to keep an eye on in the future. As-is, however, I'm going to rate this a 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
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