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B04: The Cave Beast's Hoard
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/23/2015 09:35:42
An Endzeitgeist.com review of the Revised Edition

This revised edition of the B04 module clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



There is something you'll note from the get-go - you wouldn't know this module for what it once was. From a cleared layout to copious new artwork and maps, the production values have increased by a huge step, bringing this up to par with AAW Games' new standard. The font-size is also pretty small, making the module longer than one would think from the page-count. That out of the way, let's get to the meat of this revision.



The following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right! First of all, the town of Woodwall is fully depicted, with settlement stats et al. - which may be nice...it becomes even cooler once you realize the town's unique fey-themed defenses and its unique magical fountain - indeed, there is quite a bit of research to be done in town (what about a sample legend?) and the overland map also helps vividly picture the environment. A quick investigation should point the PCs quickly towards an ominous "cave beast", which may or may not be a beast or a couple of people, who has been picking off people - one by one. Curious and sharp-witted players may realize here, that there is a theme connecting the disappearances...



The PCs are on a scavenger hunt here, checking mines, old forests and seas for clues of what has happened - and indeed, each place yields new hints and red herrings - and unique challenges with e.g. a nasty Gathlain sorceror - each of the places contains a piece of the puzzle, each place has become the doom of one fleeing apprentice of a particular, long-gone wizard - once these have been cleared out, only a fully mapped keep remains, wherein the PCs will have to brave a kobold infestation to fin the true nature of the cave beast - and no, they may believe the kobolds alone to be responsible, but a close examination of the treasure hoard will quickly disprove this thesis. And then, there is the final confrontation, with the animated golem, all made from the treasure of the long-dead wizard - and here is, where the module becomes awesome. The massive creature is exceedingly deadly - but throughout the module, the PCs could find ways to even the field - each apprentice has left them one way of making the fight easier and careful investigation in the beginning of the module can also provide means of making this challenging, cool puzzle-boss-fight more manageable.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to AAW Games' two-column full-color standard, including gorgeous maps (with player-friendly versions!), copious amount of original artwork and full bookmarks for your convenience.



This happens when a company of dedicated individuals CARES. This old module, a blemish, has been changed to an extent, where you wouldn't believe that this and its predecessor are even related - the writing has vastly improved and Mike Myler has brought his A-game to the table not only the town, but the whole flow of the module much, much more impressive - and especially the way in which the furious finale has been upgraded to actually reward the actions of the PCs! This module rewards sharp players, provides diverse challenges and took Jacob Kellogg's least refined module and turned it into something beautiful. Add to that the massively increased production values and we have a classic example of "From Zero to Hero" - as provided, this revision is fun, diverse and offers multiple challenges for the PCs to face. I *really* love what has been done here, I applaud this level of commitment and I gladly award this revision 5 stars + seal of approval, rendering it a worthy addition to the canon of AAW Games-modules.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B04: The Cave Beast's Hoard
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Underworld Races: Dødelig
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/21/2015 09:38:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Underworld Races-series clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We begin, as always for the series, with the epic stories of the cataclysms that have shaped Aventyr's underworld, before delving into the race-specific history of the dødelig. So, what are they? Well, the short answer would be that they are the vessels and creation, the last-ditch gambit, of Aventyr's first lich - cornered by the crystalline, undead-loathing colloid, the lich tore himself asunder and spread his essence into the petrified skeletons of halflings his familiar had unearthed. Thus, the dødelig were born, and yes - they managed to escape the certain annihilation under the crystalline gleam of the colloid.



They scoured the underworld, finding more skeletons and awakening them, guided by the sundered remains of what remains of the dracoprime. Now interesting would be the very fact that these guys are not evil, maintaining mostly the behaviorisms and hearty nature of their parent race. The cover provides a good impression here - I try to picture them as what would happen if the glorious día de los muertos (seriously, if you can, at least once go to Oaxaca to celebrate that!) met with halflings and were extended for all the time - after all, these guys do not have to plow or sow anymore...



The dødelig receive + 2 Dex and Wis, -2 Str, are small and undead (cha instead of con-mod, immunities to bleed, mind-affecting effects, death effects, disease, paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning, nonlethal damage, ability drain, exhaustion, fatigue, energy drain, damage to physical attribute scores or effects that require fort-saves, unless they also affect objects) - yes, the full list. As undead, they are immediately destroyed upon reaching 0 hp or below, get darkvision 60 ft. and a movement rate of 30 ft. They also receive DR 5/bludgeoning, stonecunning and their petrified body can be affected by spells dealing with stone, potentially causing nasty damage and slow. They may also, 1/day as an immediate action, benefit from positive energy as a though they were alive - only for 1 minute, but still. They also suffer from light blindness and exposure to sunlight deals 1 point of Cha-damage per hour - no save. Ouch. So, what do I think about the dødelig's crunch? I honestly consider them to be a bit too front-ended regarding the array of full undead immunities. While this is counterbalanced somewhat by the fragility (0 hp = dead) of the race and the light-based detriments, the race is also limited by the former - but more on that later. So are they strong? Yes. Are they broken? No, not really, but they may be too strong for the grittier of groups - when all is said and done, though, they should not cause grief in most groups and thus are one of the few undead races that kind of get it right.



The racial favored class options provided are neat and relatively unique in that they provide negative energy bonus damage, for example. The alchemical items, including performance-enhancing bone xylophones and obsidian bullets that render slings more valid also are pretty neat.



The dødelig feats provide for means that you will want for your adventuring undead halfling -from options to freeze-style conceal yourself exceedingly well in rocky environments to help when disguising as a living halfling, these are very useful. Dødelig who opt for the racial bonus to skills granting feat that represents memories of an old life may also learn to alter self to assume temporarily the semblance of the living form of their former life. Two secondary claw attacks at 1d4 also exist here and one feat increases the amount of gold you start with and how much you tend to find.



By using ground dødelig remains, you can suppress magical auras (but not the magic) and there also are items to hide your undead nature from detect spells, increase your necromancy or cause those listening to dance akin to a certain irresistible dance. Dødelig also come with 4 spells - one to detect dødelig at greater range (and stone - you have to free your brethren!) and one to fuse with other undead to turn into a larger-sized bone-conglomerate - nasty! A spell to create dødelig from living halflings and one that makes you count temporarily as a halfling can also be found here - they are solid, but did not blow me away - as a note, though: The dødelig-transformation spell could make them quite an eerie threat: When famine or disease rage through the lands, transformation into a skeletal undead may seem like a good idea...



Now if the feats and racial weaknesses have not been ample clue - this race has a pretty hefty investment tax to work well in some contexts - the 3-level racial paragon-class Day Rambler can be considered such an example. The class receives +1 BAB over the levels, +3 fort-and will-saves, +1 ref-saves and +3 natural armor. The class nets d10, 2+Int skills and caps the amount of damage the dødelig can take per day at 3 minus the number of day rambler levels. The ability that makes them temporarily benefit from positive energy also is enhanced and lasts longer, they lose light blindness and get sharp hands as a bonus feat - or increase the damage die by one -for a base damage of 2d4, which is slightly odd, since usually, there would be a dice-step-progression à la d4 -> d6 -> d8 etc.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful 2-column standard established for the series and Jacob Blackmon's gorgeous, original artwork is neat. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience



So, by all means, I should not like these dødelig-guys - I've been pretty vocal about my dislike for massive hidden character-resource taxes, like the one that warrants the existence of the 3-level paragon-class. I'm also not known for much leniency regarding races that get access to the massive array of undead immunities - but here, much like for Kobold Press' darakhul, the detrimental effects are required to render the huge slew of immunities worthwhile without upsetting the balance. The dødelig that wants to work flawlessly in a regular society will have to think fast and out of the box - but that works with this race rather well.

Know what I love about these guys? In spite of the grim background story, in spite of being undead - these guys are surprisingly fun and playful, exhibiting one of the strengths of Mike Myler as an author - what my group tends to call fundead. Are they perfect or as culturally distinctive as some of the other races in the series? No, but they rock - pun intended. These stone skeletons are cool, if limited. I really wished they had less immunities and less of a general ability-tax/character investment required to render them operable in the surfaceworld, though - in regular campaigns, players will need to carefully plan to make these guys work and for some low-end campaigns, they may be a bit much. And I don't get why the undead traits aren't spread over the 3 levels of the paragon-class - it imho would make sense to strengthen the ties towards undeath and the stone-nature of the dødelig would make for a nice rationale for such a decision, while also putting player agenda higher on the list: Want to play a halfling skeleton? Here you go. Want to play a halfling skeleton with full undead immunities? Here are a couple of levels of racial paragon... What I'm trying to say is - this is not perfect, it's not for every group and it could have been a tad bit more streamlined - but it remains a surprisingly well-crafted book that presents the first non-grim/dark undead PC race. Hence, this is a good book for me - well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars - and since I have a policy of in dubio pro reo, I will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Dødelig
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Mini-Dungeon #003: Shrine of the Earth Barons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/17/2015 03:31:41
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com's shop and thus, absent from the pdf.



Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!



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



Still here?

All right!



The PCs find a capstone that opens to a dome that once housed a cabal of gnomish earth elementalists, now obliterated by a staff of power's breaking by a fanatical adversary. Rather awesome, the dungeon does sport moving teleportation vortexes as well as deadly, cool golems and earth-themed adversaries, often with interesting reskins to add a further sense of unique identity.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players.



Stephen Yeardley delivers a concise, golem/earth-themed mini-dungeon with some pretty unique minor hazards - the keys, destruction etc. - all concisely-presented and surprisingly detailed for such a small pdf. Well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #003: Shrine of the Earth Barons
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Mini-Dungeon #002: Hobgoblin Lair
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/17/2015 03:29:28
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com's shop and thus, absent from the pdf.



Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!



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



Still here?

All right!



Herein, we receive the seasonal home of a bunch of goblinoid raiders led by a bugbear - as such, the place is rigged with an array of basic, conservative traps - and yes, their home does hide an old, Dwarven shrine. The details provided for the rooms per se are captivating, but on the downside, we do not receive stats for the boss Gorg (a bugbear warrior 2), so you'll need to do some quick stats.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players.



Beyond the lack of stats ( which are inherent in the format - I get that; But we could use a hyperlink to such a source) for the BBeG, this pdf represents, alas, what I feared to see from the series - while the pdf does provide more details than I would have expected from a two-page mini-dungeon, it also falls short of evoking a unique atmosphere. Jonathan Ely creates a solid goblinoid camp, with the traps you'd expect, but does not manage to create a truly evocative environment. This remains yet another low-level mini-goblin-themed dungeon - great if you need a small complex on the fly, otherwise pretty unremarkable. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars - whether you round up or down depends heavily on whether you want such a pretty vanilla goblinoid camp or not - in the former case, round up, in the latter, round down. While personally, I got nothing from this pdf, I'll round up here due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #002: Hobgoblin Lair
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B22: Serpents of Fickle Fortune
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2015 04:45:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clock in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's check this out!



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

...

..

.

Still here? All right! There once was a time when most mega-modules sported some sort of artifact on which the story hinged - a practice that has since then become less common. Well, here we have a module that draws upon these venerable tropes - and an interesting artifact, with the Knucklebones of Fickle Fortune. The city of Arefast is about to become much more interesting - for unbeknown to most mortals (and immortals, for that matter), the knucklebones of fickle fortune receive a background story of rather interesting repercussions herein - the gravitas of which the PCs are bound to find out when they are about to confront the composer-turned-crimelord Sir Joffrey Curwen - who has recently "acquired" just such a knucklebone. Whether because he's also stolen something the PCs require or due to some other hook (plenty of which are provided), the module begins pretty fluently with a confrontation of the crimelord in his abandoned, dilapidated theatre-hideout - which btw. sports a surprising tactical depth and interesting hazards - as well as a gorgeous full-color map, presented both for DMs and players.



During the combat, someone, potentially even the PCs, may be the ones to roll the d20 - and score a 21. Not all is well with the forces of universal law, as the sabotaged artifact allows an array of voidworms (including the powerful protean mastermind) to enter the city - and fittingly, chaos breaks loose. In an explosion of chaotic light, the serpentine masters of chaos disperse and take with them the artifact - and that is only the beginning. With a valid rip in reality, warpwaves with significant and creative influences blast through the city with partially even funny consequences:



Whether it is chaotic weasels that refuse to attack female characters, a fullblown caturday of all cats taking to the streets in vast swarms - so what to do? Best get in contact with the knucklebone's former owner, who is just as stumped, but asks the PCs...well...to roll the thing again. Alas, for that, they must have the die and first avoid being slain in the instigated collapse/assassination attempt on the cross-shaped bridge of their meeting. The former owner Huronir thereafter contacts the PCs via sending-spells (including hilarious complaints about the spell's word-limit...) and sooner or later, Curwen, should he survive, will make his move....and if he doesn't, a nod to Mike Myler's cult kobold-whistleblower Weaky Leeks might help... Rather interesting - the opposition is not sleeping and acting upon the capacities one expects from smart foes - like tracking the buyer's market for axiomatic weapons available in the city and systematically eradicating the magic items designed to stop them. On the plus-side, this allows a DM exceedingly easy control over what weapons to provide for the PCs as they hopefully prevent the destruction of the magical items.



While all of this may sound incredibly urgent, the tempo is defined by the PCs and aforementioned warpwaves and odd occurences should drive home a sense of urgency - even before the PCs realize that their triumphes are short-lived when the knucklebone isn't destroyed - the vanquished proteans may simply re-enter the city after a brief reformation period of a couple of days, allowing for yet another hidden means for the DM to increase or decrease the difficulty on the fly. Have I mentioned the option to enjoy a playful duel to the death for the protean's amusement with the reprogrammed clockwork soldiers of the town's square, featuring the confidently-named "Slaughterlord"? While all of this is going on, the PCs are collecting fragments - which they can use via e.g. locate object to seek out the climax and true location of the knucklebone. Nice to see some awareness for the capabilities of higher level PCs.



In order to end the chaotic fluxes, the PCs will have to enter the city's progressive civic timepiece, a massive clock-tower (provided in a stunning full-color map!), and make their way past corrupted inveitables and the last of the protean incursion - the former while being mocked for their oh-so-efficient axiomatic weaponry. Hilarious! Oh, and btw., much like many encounters, tactically smart PCs are required - the final boss, much like most encounters herein, can be considered a kind of puzzle - the smarter your players act, the better - and in the end, they may refute the protean's "freedom" by making an offering to the die. Oh, and proteans are chaotic, not evil - even if slain, the proteans may actually raise the PCs from the dead since they were so amusing. (Which btw. also reflects in the read-aloud text, which is delightfully belittling to those stubborn hominids...)



The module also provides a small, two-page mini-gazetteer of Arefast, a new type of protean, rules for the fragments/less knucklebones of fickle fortune and, as mentioned, player-friendly maps.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - I noticed nothing more serious than missing blank spaces. Layout adheres to a gorgeous,e asy-to-read standard and comes with ample original full-color art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Jared Jeanquart delivers one glorious module here - suffused with a subtle sense of humor (which you can ignore, should you choose to), ample suggestions for modification by the DM. The opposition is, befitting of their nature, playful and oscillating between the ridiculous and the amoral. The module's internal "logic", scoff at the adversaries may at that term, is much more concise than in most modules you can get, the means for expansion vast. Arefast as a city is an inspired backdrop as well - and had me, quite frankly, stoked for more. My one complaint for this great module is that I want to know more about this interesting city and its unique locations and personalities! This is the first module by Mr. Jeanquart I've read and it has me asking for more - this is fun, exciting, has interesting and smart encounters and features foes that have too long waited for their chance to shine - final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B22: Serpents of Fickle Fortune
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B21: Shadows of the Deep
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2015 08:41:04
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 31 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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

...

..

.

Still here? All right! The town of Pindleton, a farming community that houses no legendary heroes, but which drips in local color, has been suffering -the picturesque area has been hounded by inexplicable raids, to the point where the desperate villagers had to even enforce a curfew. The town with its families and the level of detail that is provided, including a budding sorceror just asking for the cohort-spot and copious red herrings, is surprisingly detailed, but not mapped - still, I have to congratulate the author for managing to evoke a sense of idyllic tranquility disturbed that is hard to conjure forth.



Depending on the steps and investigations taken, one or more of 3 sample raids may kick the module into high gear - the pretty easy tracking pointing the PCs towards the obvious dungeon awaiting them -a cramped warren that seriously will impede the progress and capacity of the adventurers, rendering the dread shadow scale tribe of kobolds a powerful force indeed - the copious traps and environmental restrictions alongside the numerous secret doors will make for a supreme challenge - remember the by now cult example of how kobolds can take down high-level adversaries with smarts? Well, in the hands of a capable DM, this module is just that. From dire weasels to numerous named kobolds with class levels to a shadow dragon hatchling, the shadow scales are deadly adversaries and once the exploration of their warren is done, PCs WILL have newfound respect and/or hatred for the kobolds. Worse, they may realize that these exceedingly-well-organized kobolds only have been an expedition force, with the true power of the shadow scales still remaining at large...somewhere.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some minor punctuation glitches et., I encountered no game-breaker level glitches. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and hyperlinked. The pdf's neat cartography of the warrens comes with a player-friendly version that thankfully presents the secret doors as regular walls, so if you cut it out, you will have no issues.



Daniel Marshall's talent creating believable, cohesive social structures can be seen in full force in the sample town and indeed, extends itself to the adversaries encountered herein. While the builds are not exceedingly complex or mind-shattering, this is still a neat example of a conservative module with copious read-aloud texts, one that takes the "Small, but fierce" slogan of kobolds popularized by Kobold Press and provides the module to drive exactly that truism home - a challenging dungeon crawl with smart adversaries, this is well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
B21: Shadows of the Deep
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Mini-Dungeon #001: Buried Council Chambers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/08/2015 04:18:22
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com's shop and thus, absent from the pdf.



Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!



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



Still here?

All right!



This mini-dungeon depicts, surprise, the ruined council chambers, sunk by an odd cataclysm, and as such, does sport a massive dome, wherein magical riddles can be found (quite a few, actually!) as well as the suffocated, now undead remains of the tragedy. Rooms that provided for the heating and cooling add a nice sense of the magical society that inhabited these halls, while surprisingly interesting items (a ring that melts in warm climates, for example!) complement a nice mini-crawl.



The one downside of this module would be the lack of an explanation for ingress beyond finding the opening in the dome's ceiling - while it makes sense, the people herein died from lack of oxygen. Breaking through would have been the icing on the cake - and making the long isolation and thus gathered gases additional hazards that could have further improved a pretty impressive mini-module.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players.



Jonathan G. Nelson knows how to craft truly unique, alive cultures and this knack for indirect storytelling even translates to this exceedingly limited format - pretty impressive! With the exception of the nitpicks mentioned above, this module should be considered a great example for a short, sweet sidetrek and is well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up due to me loving the surprising saturation with nice riddles. A promising start for the product line!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #001: Buried Council Chambers
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Underworld Classes: Masters of the Web
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/10/2015 11:21:08
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We kick off this pdf with a short flavor text before we are introduced to the mistress of the web rogue archetype. Upon meeting a creature, these rogues may modulate their speech patterns on a successful Linguistics-check to grant them bonuses to social skills when dealing with said target. if she exceeds the DC by a significant amount, these scaling bonuses double. Following the theme, the mistress also receives detect thoughts as an SP. The archetype receives slightly nerfed sneak attack progression and instead of trap sense and two rogue talents, she receives progressively better charm/dominates as SPs that ignore SR - oddly, with the caveat that she needs a shared language, but without specifying that this is a language-based effect. And yes, this extends to suggestions. All in all, a solid femme fatale archetype, I guess, but one that did not blow me away.



The second archetype herein would be the Master of the Web, a Monk archetype. These guys, if they are drow, do not suffer from racial penalties to Intimidate (as per Aventyr's default rules) and receive a new style via bonus feat (more on that later) - they are also just as adept at insulting adversaries as a certain skull from Planescape Torment. The vitriolic tongue ability represents an intimidate-check opposed by sense motive, granting other creatures a bonus to attacks versus the master, while also penalizing the creature as a move action - the bonuses and action economy scale. Better yet - the pdf acknowledges that the base rule assumptions utilize not a competing thrown, but a fixed DC, allowing you to choose which you prefer. Personally, I think the competing throw-solution just bogs down gameplay and is a 3.X relic that should have been cut, destroyed and burned in the first place.

The space could have been used for something better, namely proper synergy with antagonize - for guess what - they don't mix. Which is just plain annoying - why? Because the aggro-drawing of the ability is rules-wise pretty concise and synergy with antagonize would have conversely also allow for synergy with Everyman Gaming's Psychological Combat-pdf.... Oh well. Masters of the Web may also spider climb, gain temporary climb speeds (including massive acrobatics-bonuses. Masters do not receive a ki-pool, but still receive the "treat unarmed strike as x"-ability-suite.



Now want to know what's pretty awesome? Growing more arms. Up to a total of 6. Off-hand and doesn't combine with flurry...but yeah - cool! At 7th level, masters also receive the web universal monster ability, increasing the range at higher levels. Oh, and 12th level, they can expend web-uses to execute unarmed attacks at range, including flurry synergy. Things become even cooler - whirlwind attack versus all foes in reach + 5/10/15/20/25/30 ft.? (These scale and take lunge into account!) Yeah, the ability is complex, but oh so cool. Speaking with spiders and an apotheosis at high level fall behind this one in sheer terms of coolness.



The pdf also sports 4 feats, all of which lack their descriptors (Style, Combat, etc.) - the style allows you to retain dex while flat-footed, but does not prevent sneak attacks. The Webbed Warrior allows you to execute ranged combat maneuvers via your web ability, glue weapons to your arms to have them return to you, etc. The other two feats net you more webs or tremorsense -at a level, where it is not unbalancing. The complex archetype does sport a handy 1-page table of ability-changes for your convenience.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though some of the abilities could have been a bit more concise in their explanation/presentation, but that is a minor issue. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art. The pdf also comes with rudimentary bookmarks - enough to work okay, I guess.



Mike Myler and Julian Neale deliver two archetypes herein - the first of which may be okay, but it takes one of the weakest classes in the game and makes it not necessarily better. The Mistress is simply not that great. That out of the way: Have you read Spiderman comics for any slightly significant period of time? Well, do you remember bizarro-spiderman-doppelgänger, the flesh-eating, 6-armed monstrosity that accompanied demo-goblin and joined the rampage of maximum carnage? Well, the Master of the Web is *THAT* guy, the Class. Well, mixed with the original Spidey's quips. And yes, the spidersense, ranged netclumps, net-inferno - all there, and much more concise in their presentation that one would expect.



And yes, this pdf has some minor editing hiccups, some things that could have been streamlined and yes, the first archetype is pretty much boring. Know what? I don't care. This spidey-archetype has me cackle with glee at the nice implementation of one of the concepts I always wanted to see. If you EVER wanted a spiderman class, this is essentially the must-have file to get, especially at level 7+, the archetype blooms into full-blown coolness. My final verdict, in spite of the minor hiccups, just has to take this absolute awesomeness into account - my final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars and must-buy recommendation for fans of Spidey.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Masters of the Web
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Underworld Classes: Stonespeaker
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/06/2015 04:05:45
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Stonespeakers are a new 20-level base-class that receives d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, flails, hammers and picks as well as light and medium armors and shields. They also receive 3/4 BAB-progression and good Fort- and Will-save progressions. They also receive so-called secrets of the stone, beginning with 2 level 1 secrets at first level, increasing the maximum level available by 1 at 4th level and every three level thereafter to a maximum of level 6 at 16th level. The amount of secrets also increases by +1 in such intervals, up to a maximum of 8 known at 19th level. What are these? Well, I'll get back to that in a bit.



First, let's take a look at the defining SU of the class, the exploding earth ability - which does pretty much what you'd expect: It causes the ground to explode, dealing damage to a creature on it (or up to 5 feet away). This is a standard action that affects a 5-foot square and a range of close. Damage is equal to 1d6 + wis-mod, with Ref save for 1/2 damage. The ability can be used class level + wis-mod times per day. The base damage increases by +1d6 every stonespeaker level and a stonespeaker may add their level (should be class level) to the damage and increase the DC by +1 per 4 class levels by expending two uses of the ability. 5th level stonespeakers can additionally expend a swift action to add a ranged trip to the effect and at 12th level, expend double the normal uses to extend the area to a 10 ft x 10 ft. square. Notice something? Yeah, this pretty much outperforms alchemist bombs in direct damage, but not inflexibility.



At 2nd level, the class receives tremorsense that scales from 10 ft. at 2nd level up to 60 ft. and is locked into favored terrain (underground), gaining half the bonus in hills/mountains/plane of earth. At 3rd level, the class receives 25% ignore crits and precision damage, not stacking with fortification, but scaling up to 50% (9th) and 75% (15th level), also receiving immunity to petrification and bleed/blood drain.



Dimensional Steps, but underground only, earth elemental shape, high-level DR and moving through impeding terrain also become available. The capstone nets DR-upgrade with elemental form synergy and full-blown crit-immunity.



Now as for the stone lore - at 1st level, 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the class receives one of its talents, 12 of which are provided - oddly, not in alphabetical sequence. The talents themselves tend to have minor scaling effects, with e.g. stone armor netting a bonus to AC and also, at higher levels DR. Channel energy, but only affecting earth elemental creatures, earth glide...you get the idea. Throwing save-less exploding earth-charged pebbles that require a ranged touch instead is where the damage-comparison falls pretty much apart - the class, with one talent, can vastly outperform an alchemist's damage output and even choose whether to go by save or by touch attack. Emanation-like bursts of shards also can be executed and yes, adamantine-like attacks at 1st level can be gained here as well. That should DEFINITELY have a minimum level cap - the 1/day restriction (scaling) is not enough in my book. Better craft using stone feels pretty much underwhelming when compared to these tricks, showing a discrepancy in the internal balancing of the class. Also odd: A lore that nets stability as well as imp/greater trip at 5th/10th level, both of which look pretty late in comparison. Conversely, 1/day, covering a weapon in massive bleed-causing obsidian flakes may be damn cool, imagery-wise, but also much weaker than some of the other options.



Now I've already mentioned secrets of the stone - these are not spells, but rather spell-like abilities chosen from a limited list. The abilities can each be used 3+wis-mod times per day, with class level = caster level. As spell-like abilities, they cannot be enhanced by metamagic, but by metamagic-duplicating spell-like ability-modifying feats and abilities. Each level when the class receives a secret, it may also retrain one secret with a secret of an equivalent or lower level.



The pdf also sports an alternate earth creature-summoning list as well as two feats - one for +1 stone lore, one for +1 stone secret. The pdf also sports two new spells themed around earthen grips/crushing - mechanically interesting, their potency is based on your grappling capacity, enhanced by spellcasting attribute/full-level substitution. Still, their wording could be slightly more concise. The class has no FCOs.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though some components of the wording could have been a bit more concise in their explanation/presentation, but that is a minor issue. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art, though you may know some from the UR-series. The pdf also comes with rudimentary bookmarks - enough to work okay, I guess, but not many. (3, if you have to know...)



Mike Myler and Julian Neale's Stonespeaker has a pretty awesome imagery going for it, with cool, earth-based tricks and a damage-output that is nothing to sneeze at. And on paper, it looks pretty nasty. Let's be honest, it is pretty nasty. That being said, the class is also significantly weaker in actual play than one would assume from the arguably impressive damage-numbers. What do I mean by this? Well, yes, these guys can pretty much outperform alchemists regarding bomb-damage etc. - but the cost is steep - significantly less flexibility, no mutagens or extracts... same goes for a comparison with druids and similar classes - the stonespeaker may temporarily outperform them damage-wise, but he can never achieve the level of versatility or crowd control of the aforementioned classes. So yeah, one of the instances that did require some actual playing experience. That being said, the class is not perfect - the spells could use some streamlining and the talents themselves do not feel particularly well balanced regarding the internal consistency of the class - there are quite a few options that simply can't live up to comparative choices. This does not render the class bad by any means, but it does further streamline the class into a very specific playstyle, when a bit more diversity/different foci for stonespeakers would have helped. As written, the class and its options are very, very linear. Now if you always wanted to play an earth-specialist who really drives home how nasty these guys can be by blowing foes up...well, there you go. My final verdict, mainly due to the lack of flexibility of the class and the rather linear playing experience, will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 by a tiny margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Stonespeaker
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Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2015 07:28:56
An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So what is the psilocybist? Well, the first and easiest answer would be: A Prestige Class. To be more precise, one has to be aware of perhaps the coolest domain I've read all year, AAW Games' mushroom domain, as also shown in the Underworld Races: Funglet-pdf. Since I went into detail there, here's the brief run-down - the domain sports explosive shuriken-style shroom caps, the option to partially transform into a jumping shroom/man hybrid and the means to conjure forth man-eating mushrooms. It is terribly fun and fully represented herein as well, meaning that people who have both pdfs will see some overlap there.

Now Psilocybists expand the exploding shrooms and go balls to the wall crazy with them. The 10-level PrC receives d8, 2+Int skills per level, no new proficiencies, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 Will-progression, 7/10 spellcasting progression and full progression for the purposes of determining the effects of the mushroom domain. Now with a flick of the wrist, these fellows can cause mushrooms of increasing rarity to grow (later even including large ones!), which is a nice synergy with the mushroom domain's spells (and e.g. Rise of the Drow's extensive primer on shrooms) - but this component of the class is pretty much cosmetic. At first level, the psilocybist also receives the Trickery (deception) domain and the class also receives the fungal flurry, allowing you to bombard adversaries with the deadly fungal caps. Additionally, psilocybists may consume such caps to enter a psychoactive trance, wherein CL, DCs and checks to overcome SR are enhanced, but at the same time, the psilocybist takes penalties to initiative and select skill checks.

A rather significant glitch between table and abilities has been cleared up.

Now I mentioned imbued caps - these allow the psilocybist to imbue area spells within their caps and throw them as part of the casting. The added flexibility thus gained is further enhanced by one significant bonus - targets hit count as if they had failed their save, though SR still applies. Yes, this is powerful and nasty, but also cool! (Oh, and yes, counterspelling et al is part of the deal.) Over the progression of the PrC, more caps per day, poison resistance, added illusion spells - all possible. At 5th level, these guys may imbue one cap with up to two spells, but only a limited amount of times per day. Here, an ambiguity has been cleaned up as well. 6th level psilocybists may also delay the onset of the effects of their imbued caps. As a capstone, 1/day, the psilocybist may conjure forth dread mushroom golems, the rather nasty CR 10 creature also sported in these pages.

Now if you are not excited about the caps not dealing extra damage on critical hits - well, the solution for that is exactly one feat away.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are significantly improved in this revised take on the pdf. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art. Some, you may know from Rise of the Drow/UR: Funglets, but the majority is fresh - kudos for one gorgeous pdf. The pdf also comes with extended bookmarks - kudos for adding full and proper bookmarks!

Mike Myler and Julian Neale's Psilocybist is downright awesome in concept and makes perhaps the coolest domain I've read all year even more awesome by providing a striking, unique specialist pathway for divine casters. Where before, the Psilocybist has been hounded by some unfortunate, glitches and less than comfortable navigation, the revised edition can be considered utterly and completely superior. Not only have several issues been cleaned up, the addition of bookmarks makes for another nice bonus. Now, yes, you may already have the mushroom domain, rendering this a pretty short pdf. Know what? I don't care. This is a class about guys killing foes by throwing magical mushrooms at them. A shroom-head mystic/ninja. There are not many pdfs that make me cackle with glee to this extent. Read that again. Yeah. I consider this very concept so damn cool, so iconic, I can't help but love it. These guys are cool and the revised edition with its streamlined content deserves a final verdict of 4.5 stars - whetehr you round up or not depends on how much bang for your buck you require and whether you value the concept high enough - personally, I will round up. And I'll be egoistic for once and reflect that in my final verdict.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
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Underworld Classes: Underterror
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2015 02:30:11
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What is the underterror? Well, it is a tradition mostly practiced by the dread Gitwerc, the tyrannical dwarves of AAW Games' underworld and crunch-wise, a 20-level base class. The underterror receives d10, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, axes, hammers and picks as well as light and medium armor and shields (excluding tower shields). They also receive 3/4 BAB-progression and good Ref- and Will-saves. At first level, they receive darkvision 60 ft, which increases by +10 ft every odd level for a non-standard maximum of 160 ft. at 19th level.



At 1st level, underterrors may alter self at will without gaining any abilities as a supernatural ability. But that's not what this class is about - the underterror receives an evolution pool equal to 3 points at first level, scaling up to 22 at 20th level. These evolutions (taken from the eidolon's array) become the main fodder of the class. While an underterror must be biped, he does not receive the bonuses an eidolon usually receives from said base form, though they may select them. Evolution points may be redistributed each level. Some evolutions are completely prohibited for the underterror, whereas others are delayed and receive a new minimum level to take them. Starting at 3rd level, underterrors may switch 1 evolution point 1/week via a 1-hour ceremony, with 8th, 13th and 18th level increasing the evolution point cap for the switch by a further +1, but also extending the required time by that amount in hours.



At 2nd level, the underterror also receives a so-called HEL pool equal to 1/2 underterror class level. The HEL powers gained constitute spell-like abilities that are powered by this pool, with caster level = underterror level and Cha as the governing attribute. A HEL Power's cost here is equal to the level of the spell-like ability, adding essentially a minor casting dimension to the underterror's martial prowess.



Now here is the thing - underterrors may not hit as reliable as other classes, but the evolutions allow for a significant array of extra attacks - one thankfully capped by level-progression. Now if you're like me and shuddered at the required penalty/etc.-list, be assured that the pdf thankfully devotes a whole page listing tables and explaining the interaction of natural attacks - which would be even more useful, if the second column more clearly stated what sets it apart from the first column. Still, pretty helpful. At 5th level, they may evolution surge 1/day, +1/day every five levels thereafter.



At 6th level, underterrors may grant their evolutions to willing and unwilling recipients 1/day for 1 minute per class level, expanding the potency and duration later at 16th level. As swift actions, they may become dreadful creatures indeed, causing a debuff + shaken effect and further increase the potency of said ability at the expense of rounds available per day. Extra Evolution as a bonus feat is also gained.



At the highest levels, underterrors become immune to an array of polymorph effects and, as a capstone, they become an outsider that has attacks not only count as adamantine, it also allows for a 1/day swift activation of HEL Powers.



Now speaking of which - if you like HEL powers as a concept, the Savant of HEL-archetype receives a significantly increased array of HEL Powers alongside expanded lists to choose them from, but at the cost of never becoming huge and losing all extra attacks the base class may milk out of evolutions. Their HEL Power use is also expanded and rendered more efficient and they may even apply select, chosen metamagic feats to HEL powers. High level savants may also reroll saves and force rerolls upon adversaries.



The pdf also sports two new feats, one for extra HEL powers and one for an increased HEL pool.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay -the glitch in the explanatory table is a bit unpleasant and here and there, the abilities could have been a bit more concise in their explanation/presentation, but that is a minor issue. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art. The pdf also comes with pretty rudimentary bookmarks - not enough to make the pdf truly comfortable to use.



Mike Myler and Julian Neale deliver a class that is not for the faint of heart - both in-game and regarding the work it takes to get these guys off the ground. The class utilizes evolutions and ll the nasty eidolon tricks and focuses on massive attack accumulation, with the general focus being completely different from Rite Publishing's superb Masquerade Reveler: Unlike RiP's class, this one focuses on a less fluid take on the concept, instead opting for a more continuous output. Make no mistake, this is an advanced class that requires some serious thought, with flexibility being mostly based around the scarce few HEL points and the option to switch out evolutions in lengthy processes. So from that point of view, the underterror is less flexible. On another note, though, it excels - once you've made your build, you're pretty much done and can easily play a terrible, horrible monster in ANY module.

The constant, unlimited option to alter self makes underterrors functional in just about any context - even urban adventuring. And yes, the look on the face of some NPCs will be priceless, as the underterror unleashes his might. Alas, it also makes dipping into the class ridiculously strong. Darkvision, infinite alter self, evolutions - all for one level? Where do I sign? Especially any stealth-based/agent-class would reap immense benefits from this class - a level-based lock on the amount of alternate forms known would help mitigate this ultimate chameleon-dip. Apart from that, slightly more (and less ambiguous) guidance for players may have made this very complex class more user-friendly.



Is the underterror a bad class? No, not by any means! But it is one that needs to be handled carefully and maturely by both players and the DM and it needs experienced hands to prosper. In the end, it is a unique class to play, with minor rough edges. All in all, I will settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Underterror
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B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/23/2015 10:01:29
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 47 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, so let's take a look!



This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. Really. The outrageous premise is a part of the fun.

...

..

.

Still here? All right! First of all - if your PCs have completed the superb "Death and Taxes"-module, they're likely to be familiar with the subtle, off-kilter humor this module sports - if not, well, then all the better. The PCs are contacted by one gorgeous lady called Sylvia Towntree, the very top-brass of Hordenheim's real estate brokers and agents. The lady contacts them to clear out a haunted manor constructed by an eccentric gnome/architect, edgewaith manor. The encounters, though, quickly show that this is not yet another grim-dark delve into a family's tragedy - oozes in the closet just are part one of the challenges that hilariously echo the tasks real life people may face when restoring an old manor: Of course, the place has a vermin problem.



Only we're talking fantasy world here, and thus, alas, the vermin are sentient - a Formian queen has set up shop in the place and while the unseen servants may have been intended as a rare form of luxury, the well-meaning magical constructs can result in pretty much hilarious accidents on the side of the PCs. Heck, even the bound fire elemental providing central heating can be reasoned with and be played up for a glorious blending of the horrific and genuinely funny. It should also be noted that the house's depiction regarding rooms is anything but rudimentary, coming with rather exquisite details even before the superb maps in full color (including player-friendly versions) come into play.



Yes, the place has a rather nasty fuse-box. Oh, and yes, PCs may actually do battle with animated chicken coops trying to eat them. No, I'm not making that up. More impressively, they receive artworks that make them genuinely creepy! Now sooner or later, the queen will seek diplomacy, rather piqued by the bad form of the home-invading PCs...and either by combat or diplomacy, hand over the deed to the manor - which coincidentally allows for the free re-arrangement of rooms - all rules for that are perfectly described in a nice, concise handout. And here, the module becomes totally awesome and bonkers - in a twist, the real-estate agent arrives with a full-blown mop-up crew to kill friggin' everybody! She didn't get to the top by playing nice, after all! So yes, the PCs, with full command of the house (and hopefully a couple of Formians) may defend the house and use its powers to essentially turn all those tricks they witnessed upon their wannabe assassins for one of the most glorious, iconic showdowns I've read in ages. Home alone, anyone?



The pdf provides full stats of for all creatures for both PFRPG and D&D 3.X.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to AAW Games' 2-column full-color standard with copious amounts of awesome full-color art and superb full-color cartography. The module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Do you know how many modules I read per year? How many I've read in total? Hint: Probably too many. I have seen just about everything and only very, very rarely do I encounter a module that instills a total sense of jamais-vu in me. This module managed that. But it did so much more - it is logical, concise and downright glorious. It is also the funniest module I've read in years. Now don't get me wrong - unlike many comparable modules, this one is NOT a "joke module" - it is superbly crafted, sports great writing and thoroughly iconic ideas and is professional in every way. In order to note how this module brilliantly skirts the boundaries between the creepy and funny, between high-fantasy and tongue-in-cheek nods towards our own culture, all without breaking the 4th wall, one practically has to run this exceedingly fun beast.



I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that playing this module saw one player fall from his chair, laughing. This is one of the most unique, inspired modules I've read in AGES. Colin Stricklin's first module was great - this is ridiculously good. And yes, pun intended. Even the premise would be enough to qualify this as awesome, but add the optional, subdued and INTELLIGENT humor, the unique adversaries and superb production values and we quite frankly have a module that belongs into the collection of every Pathfinder DM. Yes, that good. Unless you have even less humor than the stereotype accredits to Germans like me, this is a must-have blast of a module. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and nominating this as one of my candidates for the Top Ten of 2014.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
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B19: Tower of Screaming Sands
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2015 08:19:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



All right, still there?

As often, the powerful have fallen in this module: Neevoth-Ka, formerly a man of power and reputation, has succumbed to his paranoia. Served by only the spirits of his dead, consumed by his madness - he perished, but unlike Ozymandias, his creation remained - the tower of the screaming sands resurfaces, blown clear from the sands once every 60 years. The time has come. Enter the PCs.



The module begins with the overland journey towards the eponymous tower, with opportunities to save the innocent from dread silt traps, research opportunities and exploring a desert oasis to arrive at the tower, where the DM has to decide whether to opt for a lock-in option upon the PCs entering the place or not: While a time limit is implicit and can certainly be enforced by the DM, it is not required or an integral part of the module.



The exploration of the tower per se may seem run-of-the-mill at first glance - yet another tower? *yawn* This, however, would be a tragic miscalculation: In fact, the challenges presented herein are pretty interesting, innovative, even. Level One, for example, is haunted by whirlwinds screeching through the floors. Even before chambers of flooding sand, the perpetual screech of these dread, scouring winds prove to be a particularly interesting feature which may not look like much on paper, but in actual playtesting proved to be rather ingenious. Better yet - unlike quite a few dungeon-explorations, there is also ample chance for research and even social skills to be used - by e.g. cajoling information from spirits, helpful information on the tower and its dangers can be gleaned.



The second level, with its "chamber of a thousand teeth" and combination fo adversaries also makes for an interesting, though more combat-centric level, whereas the main attraction (and boss) await on the final, third level. Now unlike many a comparable module, the adversary herein comes with advice on foreshadowing his presence as well as completely unique tricks - defeating what once was Neevoth-Ka does require capable PCs!



It should be noted that the tower comes with full-color maps, including player-friendly versions, as well as stats for the adversaries for both PFRPG and D&D 3.X.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a slightly Egyptian-style, beautiful custom 2-column full-color standard and the module comes with copious, beautiful full color artwork. The module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



This is the first module by Matthew Eyles I've read and I can definitely say that he knows how to craft an iconic locale - the tower's location and special hazards are downright brilliant, extremely iconic and hint at a potential to reach a level of craftsmanship in the footsteps of Greg A. Vaughan. That being said, the module does have some minor imperfections in its details.



For one, the journey towards the tower feel like it should either have been its own module or cut - it feels less detailed and ultimately, not necessary to the plot. Secondly, the tower's first floor with its GLORIOUS hazards overshadows the follow-up floors by quite a margin, seeing how they become more conservative as we go. Why not instead utilize the damn cool theme more? Vault doors, wind puzzles, flying sections...the module practically begs for more weird, far-out challenges and instead opts for a by no means bad, but definitely more conservative take on the topic. Now yes, this fits seamlessly in with Legacy of Fire, Khemit, Osirion, etc. - but it also feels like it falls slightly short of the vast imaginative promise its cool beginning and furious finale show. I definitely hope the author will expand his strength for cool terrains/locations - the talent is there and the module remains easy to run and a fun, good dungeon crawl on the brink of greatness...but not completely there yet. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
B19: Tower of Screaming Sands
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Underworld Races: Drow
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2015 06:02:51
An alternate take on the Pathfinder drow, but one that is close enough the standard concept for parts of it to be easily used in campaigns not set in the world of Aventyr.

The book begins with the mythology of the Underdark and its creation. Although this does not deal heavily with the drow themselves, it is well written, and provides an interesting context to the race. This is likely useful stuff if you're using Aventyr (as is the idea), but it's the latter parts of the book that are likely to be most useful to those who are not.

Drow society is not described in depth, although there are the standard guidelines about alignment, adventurer origins, and so on for those playing drow as PCs. There are also traits modifying skills for male and female drow, to keep the two genders distinct, as well as bonuses for characters with particular favoured classes.

Almost half the book, however, is taken up with new rules for equipment, feats, magic items, and domain spells for use by drow. Although referred to, naturally enough, as a drow domain, the theme of the spells is, more generally, that of shadow and the shadow planes, and could therefore potentially be used by other races if they worship the right kind of deity.

On the whole, a good book, with some nice ideas for using the drow, and well-written with good artwork and layout.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Drow
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A23: Twin Crossings
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/21/2015 03:25:11
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 42 pages of content, so let's take a look!



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



All right, still here? This module kicks off in a small town in the Klavekian kingdom and for once, the PCs attend festivities that are NOT crashed by some threat or another - instead, the PCs actually get to party! Whether they party conservatively or like there's no tomorrow - first, minor consequences of the things to come already announce themselves during the information gathering and, on the next day, hangover may have settled in both literally and metaphorically: A shipment of goods to an isolated enclave of the Klavek kingdom was lost to sea monsters and thus, the two most prominent merchants try to hire the PCs to deliver a shipment of necessary goods on the land way. Thankfully, the module does tackle this concept in a rather unique manner: The other merchant hires a rival adventuring group and from here on out, decisions, consequences and speed are key: Via a handy flow-chart for the DM and a speed point mechanic as well as decisions galore, the players may opt to choose their own pace and face the consequences of their decisions - beginning with the very starting contracts legalese potentially cheating them of their hard-earned rewards if they are not on their toes!



Instead of utilizing the somewhat flawed caravan-rules, the module instead opts for a different route - the decisions made award and penalize their consequences with speed points, which can be used to determine how they fare. Unlike 4 Dollar Dungeon's superb "Journey to Cathreay", the focus here is thus less on a journey and more on an overland race against rivals. And the decisions, like in all good chases, have consequences - sabotaging a ferry, for example, may incur the ferryman's wrath upon the trip home, to save or not to save a halfling druid in distress may also change the course slightly...and did your players pack detailed maps? Otherwise navigating the passes might be more challenging than just facing down the lethal cyclops in wait. It should be noted here that the combat encounters sport AaW Games traditionally superb maps!



Beyond rivals (and potential for using free web-enhancements), the journey also requires that the PCs navigate a landslide by crossing through a salt mine, where the very air might dehydrate the PCs and beyond dangerous boars and the like, the PCs have to salvage goods from teh grounded vessel ina rather nice mini-game.



Upon finally arriving in Cherr's Landing, things become interesting - the speed point tally is revealed to the PCs and they may spend them to accomplish specific tasks; unspent speed points total into the final success conditions and yes, a second flow-chart makes running this section of the module just as easy as the one before. In the city, once again, decisions abound - which caravan to employ, for return goods, for example - mules? Light horses? Quite a few choices to be made, all with consequences. Better yet, the partying in the beginning? Well, PCs have to sell goods and acquire new goods and return to their home - preferably before their competition does! Beyond dangerous individuals trying to sabotage them and the dangers of the road...well, have I mentioned that the PCs may trail-blaze through a very mountain with magical tunnel bores, provided they found them?



The module also provides e.g. the salt worms as fully depicted monsters, 5 player-friendly maps of combat-relevant encounters (in AAW Games' superb quality), a couple of cool magic items and 2 pages of chase cards to facilitate the running of the chase in the beginning of the module.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The original color artwork is neat and the cartography stellar.



Michael Allen delivers one of the best modules I've read all year here. Among so many modules focusing on killing y, exploring ruin x, etc., this module is a HUGE breath of fresh air; It's focus on time and consequences as opposed to "Kill 'em all" is more than refreshing - it is inspired. I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that this module is INNOVATIVE. It utilizes chases, combat and commerce in a way that elicits more excitement than one would assume from such a module; Indeed, while the rivals make for a neat opposition, it is neither them, nor the journey that are the focus of attention here: Instead, this module breathes the spirit of Jules Vernes in its fast pace, its consequences and the emphasis on creating a believable world. This module is beyond just a fresh breeze - it is a storm. Yes, it is a humble module; yes, it does not center on a BBEG trying to destroy the world - and it is infinitely better off for it. If you were rather bored by the bureaucracy of Jade Regent's caravan rules, I implore you to get this. I had the utmost joy running this module, so did my players, and its distinct focus, its concise mechanics, the ease with which one can run it due to the immensely helpful flowcharts - all of these conspire to make this one a true gem in my book. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and nominating this as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2014. Even among the best AAW modules, this one stands out and shines and represents all the virtues of the company.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A23: Twin Crossings
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