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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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Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/24/2015 09:07:25
An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 maushrooms. 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 at 2nd level, the class 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.



Now here, one has to remark one rather serious glitch - there is quite a bit of discrepancy between the table of the class and its text - the table has an entry for flurry at first level, where the class simply has no access to it. Imbue Cap is supposed to be first level according to the table, whereas the text specifies that it is gained at 2nd level. Glitches like this detract from the functionality of the class and can be considered rather significant.



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. Clarification on whether the PrC still needs to expend the casting time of both spells to be imbued would be required here, though. 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 unfortunately not perfect - especially the glitches in table vs. text are pretty nasty and must be considered a significant detriment. 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 pretty rudimentary bookmarks - not enough to make the pdf truly comfortable to use.



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. That being said, it also unfortunately sports some glitches that detract from its awesome concept. On the one hand, I want to recommend this in glowing praise...on the other, I can't. If you already have the mushroom domain, the glitches with the PrC weigh even more heavily. Now I am not going to say that this is too expensive, mainly because I don't think it is - the concepts herein are gorgeous and the presentation beautiful. But it does not reach the level of concise crunch that would allow for a full-blown recommendation. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars - whether you round up or down depends mainly on whether you emphasize concise crunch or the imaginative concept and whether you already have the mushroom domain. For the purposes of this platform, as much as it pains me to, I'll have to round down - there are simply too many small issues with the abilities.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
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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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Underworld Races: Draaki
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/12/2014 06:26:49
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As with the other installments of the Underworld races-series, this one kicks off with a massive mythology of the subterranean races, a collective origin history that can be potentially transplanted from Aventyr into other settings, should one choose to do so. So what are the Draaki, wait don't tell me - "descendant from dragons-blabla", right? Wrong! Yeah, I was surprised as well.



Indeed, the now nameless race that was to turn into the Draaki once enslaved the primal dragons, now looking deceptively like their erstwhile slaves. If you want the whole story, though - then check out this pdf.



Onwards to the mechanical side of things - Draaki receive +2 to all physical attributes and -4 to wisdom, making them too geared towards martial endeavors for my tastes. They have the reptilian subtype (they are NOT dragons!), receive low-light vision and darkvision 90 ft, SR of 5+ character-level, light blindness and may change shape into a drow-likeness. They also receive +1 to atk and a +2 dodge bonus to AC and saves versus draconic spells and abilities. They also sport 5 subtypes. One has a slapping tail that deals 1d8+str-mod damage, but fails to specify whether it's a primary or secondary natural attack. One has gliding wings (which allows them to glide - d'uh - and never take falling damage) and 3 sport breath weapons - one cone of acid, one line of electricity and one a line of fire, all usable 1/day as a standard action for 1d6 points of damage, no scaling.



Over all, the Draaki's base racial characteristics feel a bit too much - two superb senses, SR AND the subtype-ability together feel a bit bloated. We also receive favored class options, which generally are solid, though the addition of force damage to alchemist bombs feels odd - so direct hit versus incorporeal targets is marginally effective? Yeah?



On the other side, rules for weaponry made from dragonbone and special sinew bowstrings for composite bows make for damn cool, if powerful materials. A total of 6 new racial feats are provided - gaining a fly-speed with your wings at 5th level would be damn nice, and energy resistance versus your breath weapon's energy is also an okay, flavorful way of enhancing racial fluff, while two feats that just net skill-bonuses fall firmly in the filler category. The feat that enhances the tail attack is just confusing - "You may use your tail to make one secondary natural attack per round in addition to attacks of opportunity." Come again?. So...can I use the tail to deliver AoOs now? Is it a secondary natural weapon or a primary weapon or both? Total confusion. Is the secondary attack at (I assume...) the usual penalty IN ADDITION to the secondary (or primary?) attack? No idea - those tails need clarification. As a kind of mini-capstone to the feat-tree, with 3 feats prerequs, we can get +4 to UMD AND +2 to ALL saves versus spells and spell-like abilities...ähem...this is cool, yes, but too strong for my tastes.



We also receive 3 new magic items - greaves that allow you to slow falls by bounding from wall to wall (damn cool!), a focus to improve their breath weapon and a periapt that permanently bestows a new spell on the draaki. Said spell is one of the 3 new ones and nets a secondary bite attack that deals bleed damage on a crit. Okay, I guess. Very interesting would be the spell that increases the effectiveness of the breath weapon used in conjunction with it - think of it as a teamwork breath weapon disguised as a spell. Finally, one spell bestows a draaki breath weapon or +1 use of it.



The final piece of crunch would be a 5-level racial paragon class, which renders these breath weapon-focused tricks viable in the first place: At full BAB, d10, 4+Int skills and up to +2 ref and fort, +3 will and +3 natural armor, the paragon class is solid - it allows the draaki to get more than one breath weapon, increase their damage dice, and even combine them in one action. Their increased spell resistance has not been properly bolded and they receive detect magic at will and 1/day dispel magic and as a capstone, they increase flight speed, breath weapon range and also receive DR 2/-.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though a couple of bolding glitches, typos and similar minor glitches can be found herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous two-column full-color standard with rocky borders and awesome graphic elements, making this a beautiful, if not very printer-friendly pdf. The plentiful original pieces of full color artwork throughout the pdf are nice. The pdf also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



The Draaki have me torn - on the one hand, I consider the base race a tad bit too strong, a tad bit too geared towards the nomad/martial trope. On the other hand, the base breath weapon of non-racial paragon-draaki are pitifully weak, while the PrC makes them more powerful, without making them too strong. Indeed, when taking the feat-cost etc. into account, the racial paragon-class may even be a tad bit weak. The new items are cool, though the spells are a bit weak. The feats leave me torn as well.



So, are the Draaki boring? No, they're not - they are an interesting race and rank among the better of draconic-looking humanoids I've read. Their supplemental material ranges from great to slightly problematic. All in all, they are a nice race, but one that could have used a tad bit more streamlining. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Draaki
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Underworld Races: Hoyrall
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2014 03:48:24
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As with the other installments of the Underworld races-series, this one kicks off with a massive mythology of the subterranean races, a collective origin history that can be potentially transplanted from Aventyr into other settings, should one choose to do so. So what are the Hoyrall? Apart from an interesting name (if you're Scandinavian or familiar with the languages, you'll get what I mean), they are a race of parasitic creatures from the stars, brought here and held in check by otherworldly entities whose struggle goes far beyond what has been gleaned from other Underworld Races-pdfs - the extended origin myth of them is AWESOME, full of grand ideas and the stuff of myths - fluff-wise, a glorious beginning.



The insectoid creatures had their hive-mind kind-of sundered and today, individualism exists - and hence, the potential for PCs. Rules-wise, these guys receive +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Str and -4 Cha, count as humanoids and aberrations, are small, have a land speed of 30 ft and a climb speed of 20 ft, 60 ft darkvision, get scent to sense creatures below 25% HP or carrion, are light-blind, get +1 natural armor, stonecunning, +2 to saves versus mind-influencing effects and two rather iconic tricks - number one would be the option to use their own blood con-mod times per day to deal 1d2 dex-damage for 6 rounds, 1 save to cure, scaling DC- cool. More important, if you've seen the cover - these guys have 4 arms. How do the authors balance that to prevent them being utterly broken chainsaws of shredders? All hands but one are off-hands and for every hand beyond the first used, they incur -3 to AC, CMB, CMD and ref-saves until the beginning of their next round. Yes, this adds a whole slew of power attack/expertise-like math to playing these guys. And no, they may only can one spell at a time - no dual-casting, thankfully. This makes the Hoyrall overall very effective fighters, but it also is balanced via light blindness, str-penalty etc. and in my game, they did not unbalance things - for this was one of the races that required a playtest to properly judge.



The array of FCOs is universally solid and we also receive the Siktauryi Specialist archetype for Gunslingers - but what are those Siktauryi? They are essentially stingray-like guns that fire globs of acid, which is made from POISONS. You feed these things POISONS to make acid. Awesome. Especially since more potent toxins increase the damage of the globs of acid. As living creatures, they can be healed (!!!). Another cool piece would be mated carapaced organic growths that allow for long-range communication - think living walkie-talkies. Yeah, awesome! But back to the specialist: Bred to work with siktauryi, these Hoyrall cannot benefit from poisonous blood, but they can directly feed the siktauryi via their modified hands and later, increase their "reloading" speed. I'm sorry. This reviewer Is just grinning from ear to ear right now - little, 4-armed insectoid psychos with living guns? THIS is what I review for. Weird, awesome and oh so cool!



A total of 6 racial feats allow for less penalties when using multiple arms, better feinting or carrion sense, increased blood toxicity, bonus damage when feeding one's siktauryi with one's own toxic blood and covert communication via antennae - iconic, interesting feats - nothing too strong, nothing too weak. And yes, if you want to burn 6 feats, you can get rid of all the penalties for multiple arms...you'll be a mean little shredding chainsaw of a hoyrall...but you'll be 6 feats poorer.



3 unique items allow people to utilize hoyrall antennae communication, draw forth infinite daggers (which dissipate again) or receive a hoyrall phantom limb that is, indeed, a ghost of a limb - it acts as a +1 ghost touch longsword! Cool idea!



Finally, we receive 6 new spells, three of which are devoted to emulating degrees of a hive-mind, while one nets you a fascinating carapace, one allows you to spit poison and one nest you a prismatic gaze attack - the last spell may be a bit strong for the levels associated with it, depending on your campaign's power-level.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches, though a couple of minor glitches can be found herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous two-column full-color standard with rocky borders and awesome graphic elements, making this a beautiful, if not very printer-friendly pdf. The plentiful original pieces of full color artwork throughout the pdf are nice. The pdf also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



YES! *THIS* would be Mike Myler at his very best - the rules are solid and make multi-arm characters work. The fluff is GLORIOUS and inspired. The items are winners. The archetype is brilliant. The spells are cool. This is the Underworld Races-series at peak performance, with new, cool fluff, awesome crunch and, in spite of the very powerful benefits, a balanced race. This pdf had me grin from ear to ear and while it is not long, I guarantee that this is one of the coolest races you'll have seen in a while. The Hoyrall are so unique, so distinct, I *had* to introduce them into my campaign. Forget the Thri-Kreen, these guys are so much cooler! (Also: They are not broken.) While not all rules herein are perfectly streamlined with established PFRPG-canon, the reasons for deviating are unanimously due to maintaining balance, while allowing you to play and do things no other race can do.



This is AAW Games at its best, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Hoyrall
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Underworld Races: Gitwerc
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/21/2014 02:39:58
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As with the other installments of the Underworld races-series, this one kicks off with a massive mythology of the subterranean races, a collective origin history that can be potentially transplanted from Aventyr into other settings, should one choose to do so. From there on, the gitwerc are described - amidst the numerous dwarven races forged from the ancestry of the dvergr, the gitwerc could be called those most out of line with conventional dwarvenkind in other campaign settings - not even the mad derro feel like fitting analogues, mainly due to a completely different focus. What d I mean by that?



Well, they went into the earth's molten depths and erected an empire, but Aventyr isn't like other worlds - in the bowels of the earth, the devils are bound and the gitwerc have entered infernal pacts with the forces of HEL, rising to become emperors among emperors, realizing the coming of the Dracoprime before its impact was felt - the gitwerc are feared and notorious indeed - and their history is far more expansive and interesting than that of their other dwarven brethren, adding more to the overall race's mythology. With distinct, disturbing eye and flesh-colors, a penchant for body modifications and unique racial traits, they also stand out in that department:



Gitwerc receive +2 Con, Cha and Int, -4 Dex and Wis, are slow and steady, receive 60 ft darkvision, are native outsiders that still need to eat, breathe etc., receive cold, electricity and fire resistance 5, +1 natural armor, always treat diplomacy and sense motive as class skills and sorcerors of the abyssal/infernal bloodlines treat their caster level as +1 for the purpose of bonus spells or bloodline powers. Additionally, they can see perfectly even in magical darkness and suffer from light blindness...oh, and they receive an alter self-like effect to pass as a dweorg as a supernatural ability. Yeah. And know what - while stronger than the core races, they are in line with aasimar and tieflings, so exactly 0 complaints on my end!



Speaking of 0 complaints - this extends to the copious favored class options the Gitwerc receive. A total of 6 racial feats allow Gitwerc to add oomph to their infernal flair - whether it's being a devilishly sly negotiator, receiving a kind of natural armor spikes that damage those foolish enough to grapple you (upgradeable to a nasty carapace), making consumed alcohol flame-breathe or assuming the look of creatures whose skin you've worn...wait. What? Yes, Gitwerc enjoy wearing flayed skins, which are one of the new items. The other being the dread HEL bottles (think deadlier alchemist's fie that is essentially a micro-lava-splash-weapon...and blood candles, which can be made via a new spell (and easier made via a feat) - these allow the victim's souls to be ripped from their bodies and subsequently being siphoned to HEL. Even before the HEL contracts, this makes the Gitwerc capital "N"-level nasty. The other two new spells beyond the fashioning of blood candles allow you to counter grapplers as a swift action with impaling horns or conjuring forth spectral, flaying blades- ouch!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches, though a couple of bolding and similar minor glitches can be found herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous two-column full-color standard with rocky borders and awesome graphic elements, making this a beautiful, if not very printer-friendly pdf. The plentiful original pieces of full color artwork throughout the pdf are nice. The pdf also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.





Julian Neale and Mike Myler's Gitwerc are awesome - hardcore lawful kings of the Underworld, they resound with myths of the more nasty of dwarvenkind like Alberich, combining this with cool infernal tyrant and tieflingdom tropes, crafting a small window into a race's culture that is greater than the sum of its parts and which still has its own identity - more fluff, concisely presented, unique items and a thoroughly disturbing array of items and we have a race that is distinct, appealing, and won't be confused for anything else - unless the Gitwerc want to. This is by far the best of AAW Games' dwarven races, with no issues to speak of and storytelling potential galore. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Gitwerc
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Underworld Races: Dweorg
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/18/2014 07:26:39
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As with the other installments of the Underworld races-series, this one kicks off with a massive mythology of the subterranean races, a collective origin history that can be potentially transplanted from Aventyr into other settings, should one choose to do so. From there on, the dweorg are described - amidst the numerous dwarven races forged from the ancestry of the dvergr, the dweorg could be called those most in line with conventional dwarvenkind in other campaign settings - apart from better craftmanship and gruff demeanor (penalizing social skills when interacting with upperdwellers), they adhere to the regular dwarven virtues and attributes. Not only are the dweorg the dwarves closest to surface dwellers, unlike many races of the underdark, they are not utterly evil and rather an unappreciated vanguard against the threats from below.



Now as has become the tradition with underworld races-pdfs, we do receive quite an array of new favored class options, which include faster extract preparation (which may be a bit situational), better fighting with bludgeoning weapons etc. and "dwarven" weapon specializations. On the very nitpicky side, reductions of arcane spell failure by 1.5% per point may be a bit wonky -while the default is to round down, I'd complain here, but the fact that sufficiently consequent investment in it nets a heavy armor proficiency might be considered a cool idea, so I'll let that one slip.



Now we do get a racial archetype, the dwarven Smithkin fighter - endured against the elements (and non magically to boot), these guys are better craftsmen of things both mundane and magical, are limited to bludgeoning weapon groups regarding weapon training and may imbue weapons first with the flaiming, later with the flaming burst quality. An okay archetype, I guess, and one that receives a glorious full-page full-color artwork, but also an archetype that simply isn't that interesting.



A total of 7 racial feats are provided and one in particular is BRUTAL - clanmind lets you share in all teamwork feats of any dwarf from your hometown for 1 round wis-mod+1/2 level times per day as a swift action and also improves aid another - this makes the dwarven phalanx of home defenders VERY dangerous. Conversely, gaining fire resistance 5, 10 and 20 and the same for cold just elicited yawns from me - not bad, per se, but also a far shot from being interesting.



Now item-wise, we are introduced to a new spice, fungal rope and the new material called liavous crystals, which mimics adamantine, but is cheaper - at the cost of losing all potency when exposed to sunlight. On the magic item side, we have this installment's winners - the Pocket Anvil and the Instant Forge - with the anvil coming with full rules for being used as a missile (I sneak attack with an anvil!) and the forge making adventuring + crafting feasible. Two thumbs up for these! Finally, we are introduced to 3 (6 if you count the variants) new spells: One that grants the subject knowledge of dweorg history and variants of the cure x wounds spells that have greater effect on dweorg and a stew that greatly increases hit point recovery rate when resting.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches, though a couple of bolding and similar minor glitches can be found herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous two-column full-color standard with rocky borders and awesome graphic elements, making this a beautiful, if not very printer-friendly pdf. The plentiful original pieces of full color artwork throughout the pdf are nice. The pdf also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



All right, Mike Myler & Julian Neale's Dweorg...I'll come out and say it, when compared to other Underworld races-pdfs, this one feels a bit...bland. The FCOs, feats and the relatively lame archetype didn't wow me (with one feat exception) and the spells didn't either. The pdf is relatively brief beyond the general origin myth provided in all Underworld Races-pdfs and while the production values are great and awesome, the two magic items alone can't really pull this one back up - it simply does not deliver that much inspired content for a brief pdf and falls slightly below even the book on drow - had we received more culture, more information on what makes dweorg unique, whether crunch or fluff, I would have felt otherwise, but as written, this one simply felt a bit flat. And yes, this may be rather harsh, but I actually considered it somewhat boring, especially when directly compared to the no way perfect, but inspired book on the dvergr and their great archetype. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 because the items and great production values do not deserve a 2-star-rating.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Dweorg
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Underworld Races: Funglet
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/04/2014 04:27:48
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!



As with the other installments of the Underworld races-series, this one kicks off with a massive mythology of the subterranean races, a collective origin history that can be potentially transplanted from Aventyr into other settings, should one choose to do so. From there on, the funglets and their variants are described in evocative details that goes beyond the thankfully present age, height & weight tables before we delve into the racial traits of the funglets.



Funglets receive+2 Con and Int, Wis or Cha depending on the subtype and also -2 to Str and Dex. They are large plants with a base speed of 20 ft., have a reach of 10 ft, low-light vision, darkvision 90 ft and are dazzled in bright light, automatically also incurring a -2 penalty to all saves versus spells and effects with the light descriptor. They also receive a +1 natural armor bonus and a vulnerability to fire. Now I've mentioned subtypes - Audirefunglets receive +2 to Wis, Fantafunglets have a base speed of 30 feet, +2 natural armor bonus and +2 to Int and Maculasfunglets increase natural armor bonus to +2, +2 to Cha and are poisonous, weakening foes and damaging str.



Funglets also receive an extensive array of favored class options for just about all classes and we also receive information on fungal jungles. The material Boletann also deserves special mention - crafted from specially treated fungi, this material nets its wearers DR and acid resistance and makes for a cool, weird option to add to one's arsenal. A total of 6 specific feats are also provided for funglets to expand their racial options: Vomiting forth poison or generating blooms of poisonous spores, burying one's roots into the soil or duplicating tree shape and receiving improved capabilities regarding grappling and similar combat maneuvers via lianas or even handling small objects via these tendrils - a cool all killer, no filler array of stylish feats.



Now if that wasn't cool enough, what about a great array of new fungoid symbiotic suits that you can wear? And then, there's the mushroom domain - beyond fungal strides, this domain has one thoroughly iconic ability: Making caps of exploding shrooms that you can throw at your adversaries. No, I'm not kidding. Now if this is not enough - the respective exclusive spells the supplement offers is all killer...+1. Medicinal Mushrooms? Yep. What about melding your legs with a massive mushroom trunk and jump across the battlefield, ignoring (and not provoking) AoOs in one of the coolest modus-style-spells I've seen in any iteration of a d20-based system. It should also be noted that the offensive fungal spells, including carnivorous shrooms provide iconic imagery and that a massive mushroom apotheosis even comes with a cool little table of shroom-types generated. My one gripe here would be that the pdf does not provide the fungal alchemy and actual effects of these shrooms.



The pdf does conclude with the glorious CR 10 Fungal Golem as a brutal, deadly, cool adversary that includes all the information on construction et al.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches, though a couple of bolding and similar minor glitches can be found herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous two-column full-color standard with rocky borders and awesome graphic elements, making this a beautiful, if not very printer-friendly pdf. The plentiful original pieces of full color artwork throughout the pdf are nice. The pdf also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Mike Myler and Julian Neale's Funglets are AWESOME. That's it. Get this. Now. Need it more detailed? All right. This may be a short pdf, but there is not ONE piece of lame or boring content herein. The feats do iconic things. The Funglets may be powerful, but still remain balanced choices that won't break default racial power levels. Add to that the cool critter, the simply superb mushroom domain, and we have a great supplement that literally is all killer, no filler. Well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Funglet
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B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
by Jacob T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2014 12:13:01
For Rent, Lease, or Conquest is an excellent module. I was very impressed with the amount of detail provided. There are no less than 4 story hooks to get players interested in the manor as well as the full stat block for every creature found in the mansion. It was designed in such a way to be entertaining for both seasoned and new players alike. I ran it with a larger group of players than suggested so it was fairly easy for them to accomplish but they loved the variable nature of the adventure. They had a lot of fun with some of the artifacts found in the house which added to the humorous nature of story. It also opened a lot of options to the party for the rest of the campaign I am running. Overall a very well written module which I plan to use many time over.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
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Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
by Martin T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2014 11:29:03
The idea of a Mushroom based Prestige class was an interesting one and this class certainly adds to the abilities of someone who has the Mushroom Domain (which the character must have to take the class). The new Mushroom Domain spells are interesting, if slightly weird, and would certainly surprise PCs who came across an NPC who can cast them.

However buyers of this book should be aware that half of the book is an exact copy of the Mushroom Domain/Mushroom Golem sections of the ... Underworld Races - Funglet ... book and so purchasers of that book are effectively getting just 8 new pages of material (all about the new Prestige Class). Because of this I give the book only a 2 rating, even though if purchased by itself it would have a 4 rating.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
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TEXT_PUBLISHER_REPLY
We would be remiss not reprinting the mushroom domain, given that it is so integral to both the psilocybist prestige class and funglet race! We\'re sorry you didn\'t think the artwork in the book was worth a few more stars, but are a bit confused; if this book is being bought by itself (we don\'t have a package deal for this and the funglet PDF, but we may soon!), why are you reviewing it in combination with a book from another series? Also, we are excited to hear what you think of the funglet book—please add a review for that as well! :D Thanks!
B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/08/2014 06:26:38
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/10/08/tabletop-review-for-ren-
t-lease-or-conquest-pathfinder/

With third party releases for Pathfinder, the bad tends to outweigh the good. Because so many companies just throw out things for Pathfinder without any sense of balance or quality control, the really good third party releases can get lost in the shuffle. This is doubly true for release with a sense of humour. They’re rare enough as it is, but to find a comedic adventure for Pathfinder that is also exceptionally well done, well, the old “needle in a haystack” cliché is more than apropos. That what makes me so glad I found and picked up “For Rent, Lease or Conquest.” The adventure is a lot of fun, it is as funny to play as it is to read through and it really shows that there is still originality and cleverness left in the Pathfinder market instead of a bunch of adventures that are little more than derivative dungeon crawls. For Rent, Lease or Conquest isn’t just one of the best Pathfinder adventures I’ve experienced this year, but it is one of the best adventures, regardless of system.

For Rent, Lease or Conquest is for four to five Level 7 characters. It is also compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 and a few other OGL systems and as such it contains stats for both primary variants. The adventure is a direct sequel to a previous release from AAW Games entitled, Death & Taxes. I have neither read nor played that one so I can’t comment on its quality but I can say that For Rent, Lease, or Conquest is perfectly standalone and you do not need the previous adventure to make it work. The adventure contains multiple maps and all the antagonist/monster stats you will need to run the adventure, making it a rare Pathfinder product where you are not prompted to look through or purchase three or more other books besides the core rulebook(s). I love this. It’s a nod to how expensive and overwhelming Pathfinder can be and also keeping costs low for the potential purchaser of this adventure. Because this piece doesn’t require more than the core rulebook and the adventure itself, it’s a wonderful way for newcomers to experience Pathfinder. They get to play a mid-level character and see that not every adventure is “enter a dungeon, kill things for loot and repeat until dead or the mission is over.” This is exactly the type of piece I would use to introduce someone to Pathfinder, especially if their previous RPG experience was with a more thinking/less hack and slashy system.

For Rent, Lease or Conquest is a lot of things rolled up into one fantastic adventure. First it covers the issue of a guildhall or place for the adventurers to rest their feet. I remember when I was a kid, the biggest challenge in AD&D 2e was not playing the game, but what to do when you character leveled up enough to have followers and/or a keep to maintain. Sure it’s cool your Ranger attracted a Basilisk ally, but where will you guys stay when you’re not murdering dungeon inhabitants. You can’t live in hotels forever! In the case of this adventure players are given a simple hook. There is a large and impressive looking house in town that may be haunted. The local real estate agent wants it off her books for tax purposes. She can’t sell the thing, so she offers the PCs a deal – clear it out and it is theirs for free! Everyone wins. Of course the adventure won’t be that simple…

The second aspect of the adventure is that much of the piece mirrors the typical “haunted house” style dungeon crawl. These tend to work better in games like Ravenloft, Chill or Call of Cthulhu but that’s because those houses tend to actually be haunted with something. In the case of For Rent, Lease or Conquest, the house isn’t actually haunted. It’s filled with some unusual squatters and it was built by an eccentric sorcerer so it’s understandable by the local peasants assume something spooky dwells within the manor. Half the fun of the adventure is the house and its different denizens. What I really liked it that the focus isn’t on the usual hack and slash rigmarole that turns too many OGL adventures into generic trash. Sure combat is potentially plentiful, but the adventure is more about exploring and encounters. Most of the encounters can be solved by talking or using one’s wits instead of a blade. This is absolutely fantastic and a wonderful alternative that more adventures should offer. After all, the Bard’s gift of gab and the Paladin who put on their skill points into Diplomacy and other talking based skills are just going to waste otherwise! The inhabitants of the house are amusing, charming and memorable and are a wonderful example that not all sentient races look or think alike. The end result should be one that has players wistfully remembering this piece for months or years to come.

The third part of the adventure that I absolute love is the climax. After the PCs have solved the problem, some thugs have come to claim the house for themselves. After all, it’s worth a lot of money and property always goes up in value, especially when it is built by a famous architect. After all, you never know what inflation is going to do to those electrum pieces you’ve been storing under your bed AND there isn’t much of a concept of interest banking in fantasy RPGs. Now the roles reverse as the players can use the magic nature of the house (and its inhabitants) that once stymied them against the GM. Indeed, the roles of the PCs and GM switch at this point with the PCs configuring the layout of the house and its abilities to stop the invaders while the GM acts as the adventuring party, guiding the ne’er do wells through the house until they meet a gruesome or comedic end. This is such a wonderful breath of fresh air with this piece and it will surely be a highlight for everyone who plays it.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I can’t say enough good things about For Rent, Lease or Conquest. It’s original, innovative, imaginative and most of all – a lot of fun. This adventure shows you can have a good dose of comedy in a piece and yet still have it be something the players and their characters can take seriously. It’s smart, self-aware and is a perfect response to all the usual reasons people say they don’t enjoy Pathfinder. I can’t recommend this highly enough and it really is the best Pathfinder adventure of the year. Every third party company (and even Paizo to a degree) should consider this required reading on how to write an adventure that captivates rather than relying on standard tropes and generic dungeon crawls. Definitely a must have for any fan of the system.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
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Underworld Races: Drow
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/08/2014 03:52:40
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We kick off this installment of the Underworld Races with a general subterranean origin-myth for the races that inhabit the lightless depth of Aventyr - which can, coincidentally, be introduced with relative ease into other settings. Now part of this myth is the origin of the most famous of subterranean, evil races - the drow. The dichotomy and splitting of the elven races takes a more classic turn in the example of Aventyr than in Golarion's take on being drow. The association with spiders and poison in the prominence of the Goddess Naraneus, a matriarchal society -all classic elements one may or may not like are in here.



In a nice twist, female and male drow receive different minor modifications to their skill sets and the favored class options provided are nice as well, though personally, I would have loved to see a gender-divide there as well. In a slightly problematic formatting decision, there are no new racial rules immediately following the header that announces them and we instead follow up with information on new equipment - either something got cut out here or the formatting is problematic.



Now drow receive some rather awesome alchemical items that massively influence the fighting styles of drow - from web shackles to webbing that may attach weapons via webbing to arms (great versus disarming or after throwing weapons) to the special ink and paper drow use make for cool options. Shadowy water that increases the potency of the stealthy drow, soldier's rations and mage hand-utilizing gloves.



A total of 6 racial feats provide drow with further tricks -requiring less sustenance, receiving bonuses versus a specific target who managed to elude your wrath, a grudge-feat versus surface elves and one to master feinting with drow weapons make for nice ideas - especially arachnid acrobatics is cool - for an acrobatics-check, the drow temporarily receives a climb speed - yes, spiderman would be jealous.



The pdf also provides a new domain, the drow domain - the domain abilities allow the cleric to sheathe weapons in negative energy and take damage to improve the senses of the cleric - which per se is a cool ability. Taking damage for improved sight is cool...alas, as soon as a drow is undead, this ability has the unintended consequence of being a free, unlimited, if slow, healing option. Granted, since the duration of the improved sight is tied to the damage taken, the sight component becomes nigh useless, but who'd care?



This domain also provides a grand total of 9 new exclusive spells that allow you to render targets flat-footed for one round, clothe yourself in shadow or step through the shadows and even provide some protection against light-based attacks. What about making high-level undead that retain some of the capabilities of the deceased's capabilities while they still had their mortal coil. The level nine spell is particularly nasty in the negative energy, ability damage and regular damage the spell deals - still (with leeching), the amount feels somewhat less than what I would have expected at ninth level - especially since the ribbons require touch attacks.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches, though a couple of bolding and similar minor glitches can be found herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous two-column full-color standard with rocky borders and awesome graphic elements, making this a beautiful, if not very printer-friendly pdf. The plentiful original pieces of full color artwork throughout the pdf are nice. The pdf also comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Mike Myler & Julian Neale's drow-sourcebook provides some nice options and especially the items herein can be considered truly awesome. The information on the society, items and some of the tricks the drow offer here are universally compelling and cool...but that being said, the domain just isn't inspiring. It's not bad, but neither is it glorious. While greatness can be found here, e.g. in the weapon webbing, the arachnid acrobatics etc., the pdf is a bit on the short end and for that; I do think that e.g. a glorious beast like the dvergr's underminer or similar truly mind-boggling content would have helped this pdf. As written, it is a good, if not particularly remarkable book on drow and well worth a final verdict of 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Races: Drow
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