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Search for Lost Legacy 3: By Shadow's Grasp
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/21/2015 04:16:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of the Search for Lost Legacy adventure arc clocks in at 54 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 50 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great!

So, at the end of the module, the PCs began traversing an underground river towards the third level of the dungeon and thus, this module kicks off with an encounter of a duergar expedition force, including full stats for a vessel, the Ironkeel. Alas, nothing is doen with the vessel. No vehicular combat - a missed chance. Once victorious, the PCs will find evidence that bespeaks of duergar trying to loot the complex ahead - they are not alone here. While I get why this choice was made from a dramaturgical perspective, it does somewhat dilute, at least to me, what made I and II so captivating - the sense of dilapidation and abandonment that suffused the complex, a feeling of isolation and shattered dreams.



At the same time, though, the complex manages to retain its believability to a laudable extent - that s, one can still see the themes that rendered the series compelling so far being represented within these pages. What am I trying to say by this? While the focus herein pertains more crucial rooms of Vargon's former complex, the respective rooms still feature an intriguing array of details of their former functionality. The defense-mechanisms and passwords that the PCs can unearth, as a whole, do provide a sense of realistic cohesion - the defense-mechanisms and checks provided makes surprising sense, even when referring to the unique fiendish minotaur herein.



The motifs of mephits and unobtrusive riddles still can be found within these pages, though one that refers to the initial letters of a rhyme imho requires more careful specification to be fair - as written, the players imho will have a very hard time guessing the intended solution. At the same time, this module does sport one "puzzle" that is downright awesome: There is a very strong xorn in here, who challenges PCs to a Tic-Tac-Toe variant, where the candidates put one hand on their head and then draw via the remaining hand(s) - i.e. one for PCs, two for the xorn, resulting in two xorn moves for any PC. And yes, this can allow the PCs to distract the guardian and plunder to their heart's content - just make sure, the creature is occupied by its "fair winning streak"...



Beyond the remnants of Vargon's forces, this level also constitutes a means for the PCs to meet their dangerous opposition - Tanrik and his henchmen have also infiltrated this level, providing additional opposition and, in Tanrik's case, the prime antagonist and boss of this level -his background story and the legend of the perished emerald band are recounted among the appendices and again, we have nice full-color maps including player-friendly versions provided.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay - both on a formal and rules-level, there are quite a few minor glitches that plague the writing and constitute a detrimental factor in the details. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard with neat artworks and cartography. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



I have noted in the second installment a strange fluctuation in writing quality and ultimately, this very much extends to this installment, but in a rather significantly exacerbated form - when e.g. alchemical potions can create expeditious phase I have NO IDEA what that is supposed to mean. As much as I love the use of diaries etc. to foreshadow the things to come and fill in the blanks of the story, sentences à la "He states that he has attained just enough spell power now to bring the magical barrier." [sic!] eject me straight from the level of immersion attained by the indirect story-telling. This does extend to magical item treasures, where a price modification could be in addition or as part of a piece of jewelry's price - small glitches like this, while certainly not hampering the GM to the extent as to make this problematic, ultimately constitute my main issue with this installment in the arc.



This is by no means bad, mind you, and it inherits the logic and feeling of realistic exploration as well as the series' proclivity for indirect storytelling. At the same time, John R. Davis' writing is less refined herein, with quite a few small issues, more so than in the previous installments. It should also be noted, that, while this does refer to 3.X in a couple of instances, no rules for this system are provided - this is very much a PFRPG-only module, not one of AAW Games' earlier dual-stat modules.



Over all, this installment proved to be less refined both as a reading experience and in actual gameplay - my experience did show that, while this can be the most challenging of modules in the series so far, it also runs slightly less smooth than part I and II. When I'm also taking aforementioned, partially content-influencing glitches into account, I can't unfortunately settle on a final verdict higher than 3.5 stars, though I will round up by a teeny tiny margin for the purpose of this platform due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Search for Lost Legacy 3: By Shadow's Grasp
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Search for Lost Legacy 2: By Water's Mirror
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/16/2015 04:12:16
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The long-delayed second part of the Search for Lost Legacy adventure arc clocks in at 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 44 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.

...

..

.

All right, still here? Having succeeded in the first module, the settlement Krisen, now complete with statblock, is still suffering from an imperceivable pall - the dread wizard Vargon, caught between the state of lichdom and mortality, is still in stasis and still, his descendant seeks to unearth the power of the fallen archmage. Having braved the mine and reopened it, it is time for the PCs to venture further below, into level 2 of the strange complex hidden beneath the soil of Krisen's mountains, with perhaps diplomatic contact established with gillmen further providing a means to gather information and learn about what dwells below, following the trail of the long-perished adventurer group that went by the name of "Emerald Band."



The complex of Vargon thus constitutes a collection of former quarters of his Crimson Guard, laboratory rooms, summoning chambers - essentially, what you have here is a complex that tells its own story in a rather interesting way - when e.g. salt mephits can be found and once were used in incubators to experiment with good dragon eggs, when a burning skeletal champion or a basilisk roam these places, they never feel random or strangely placed.



When e.g. extrapolations info for certain books and the like actually provides read-aloud material for the GM alongside information that contains hints for passwords, when riddles not refer to tired real world concepts, but actual in-game knowledge in a clever and obvious way (no, I'm not referring to roll d20 to succeed...), when skum gardeners, bereft of any true sense of changing years and studded with an inhuman psychology just want something different to eat, when a devil is so utterly bored, he is not frightening any more, but only wants to be dismissed from service - that's when you'll realize that this module does tell its story in a highly unconventional way - this complex, even more so than the first level, is all about indirect story-telling, in a mastery one only rarely sees from a given pdf.



The truly stunning thing, though, would be how this sense is evoked to create a sense of immersion - not every room has a deadly encounter or trap, though many do; what makes this work is the implied realism and the central leitmotif of decrepitude suffusing each and every read-aloud text and room - alongside the theme of abandonment. Much like some rare video games, this module actually managed to evoke a sense of melancholy, of abandonment of once high dreams squashed - when old fairy tale books provide hints, when loyal retainers still perform non-sense tasks and when conjured outsiders have been either driven mad by boredom or just have become hostile, adhering to commands long gone - then you'll realize what makes this module special, at least to me.



This module does come with a nice full-color map, which also comes as a player-friendly version, though annoyingly, the side-view of the overall layout of dungeon-levels on the player-map spoils dungeon-entries and location of levels 3 and 4 -I sincerely implore GMs to cut out these spoilers before handing out any part of the map to the players! That being said, I wholeheartedly endorse the pdf's player map omitting secret doors, allowing you to cut out the ma's components before handing them out, piece by piece, to your players as they explore - kudos! (Coincidentally, this, the intended use, also negates aforementioned problem with the dungeon's side-view...)



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches on a formal level. On a rules-language level, there are quite a lot of deviations from the default to be found herein, though that is less problematic for adventures than for crunch-books. Layout adheres to a beautiful, easy to read and organized 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports copious amounts of nice full-color artwork and a nice map.



John R. Davis' first part of the adventure arc, released way back, was promising - an interesting set-up, but it did leave me wondering whether he could maintain the fragile atmosphere - let's get that out of the way: He did. This is very much an old-school module in that it presents a dungeon crawl, yes. But one where the true draw lies beyond the immediate sum of the constituent parts: We do have nice encounters, chances to use social skills etc. - the diversity is here.



And much like its predecessor, this is an easy module and should not yield too many dead PCs when handled with care. The glorious component and the main draw of this module, though, remains its ability to actually retain a dense atmosphere of immersive, indirect storytelling wherein the PCs are not hit over the head with the story, but rather than that rewarded for speculation. This is one of the dungeons, where carefully planning PCs move from room to room and actually have this experience of unearthing a story by walking its corridors - a story of abandonment, failed ambitions and dreams that is represented by an omni-present decrepitude as a subtle leitmotif. Where part I subsumed the mechanics and challenges wholly under the focus on atmosphere, the second installment increases the challenge, providing at least 3 encounters that can go wrong for unlucky PCs, somewhat increasing the challenge posed by this module - while still not difficult, this does eliminate one of my major gripes with part I.



When I read this pdf, I was skeptical and not too blown away, but in actual gameplay, this worked out as a very immersive experience that surpassed part I by quite a bit, being simply more refined in all aspects, providing a welcome level of detail - when ancient beers can develop beneficial or detrimental magical side-effects, when read-aloud texts galore help you run a module, you even look past one or two turns of phrases that fall slightly behind in narrative quality, because the overall package just works. In parts, this felt almost like a slightly more playful Raging Swan Press adventure, and I mean that as a compliment towards the level of detail the dungeon offers. Especially less experienced GMs that are daunted by some of AAW Games' more complex modules should have a field day with the content provided herein.



I've been thinking for quite a while - my players very much mopped through this dungeon and felt it to be pretty easy and this module does not sport AAW Games' usual high-concept, unique takes and the like - but know what? It doesn't have to - it is an excellent example of what can be done to evoke a truly unique and compelling atmosphere and ultimately, my players really LIKED this module, in spite of it being too easy for their almost pro-gamer-like sensibilities - when an atmosphere manages to maintain immersion despite that, manages to evoke a theme so fragile, one cannot loudly complain, now, can one? In the end, this was a blast to run and constitutes an example of a truly well-crafted module, one only rarely marred by strange, sudden lapses of writing quality where evocative prose suddenly gives way to pretty bland, simple sentence-structures in an odd quirk. I really, really enjoyed the module as a whole, though- and hence, I will rate this 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Search for Lost Legacy 2: By Water's Mirror
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AaWBlog Presents: Mischievous Meadows
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/10/2015 03:28:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 55 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 50 pages of content, so let's take a look!



All right, after the last installment of AAWBlog presents suffered from finding its place with how the format works, this time around, we have a different take on the whole concept: This pdf can be divided into 5 quests, all of which can essentially be described as short sidetreks that can (and should be!) linked.



As always, the following discussion dives into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

If you're a player and still here: Brave yourself. You will lose items. The module kicks off with the most loathed of ways of antagonizing PCs and their players: Stealing their hard-earned loot. Worse: The thieves are ridiculously good at what they do and as diminutive fey, they are adept indeed at what they do - with interdimensional sacs and fey-themed haunts supplementing the thefts if the primary antagonists have issue, any DM should not have too many issues. Speaking of which, the issues WILL come - when the thieves return to take more as adventurers fuming with rage, they will have a massive tree with anti-magic zone supplementing them - speaking of which - said tree has an utterly unique ecology and synergy with the diminutive fey that also translates into the combat set-up. Among the bonus-content here, thieving grass and a nasty haunt further complement this nice set-up.



After this, the PCs will have the chance to run a mini-gauntlet, wherein puzzles and something odd will be noted by astute players - the whole scenario of a kind of "save-the-damsel" doesn't seem to line up...and yes, if they brave the puzzle and challenges, something...ODD happens... The 4th challenge pits the PCs against a group of mad critics - only to be assaulted by fiery avians, the prepfalcons - which, coincidentally, are the bred foes of the somewhat insectoid, thieving fey -a fact that the PCs will learn as they face down a whole army of the thieving creatures, whether with or without mass combat supplemented by arriving prepfalcons. Escaping the massive blaze evoked by the raptors, the PCs will have a chance to literally press a conspicuous red button laced with "Don't press!"-notes.



And yes, the PCs may at this point have come to the attention of the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.-secret society... The pdf also provides a short deity-write-up and ample DM-advice: And in this instance, that is warranted: The whole collection of encounters deals with eliminating magic items and changing equipment, thus advice on handling player frustration, on merging different play-styles and on ways to handle humor at the table.



The pdf also provides the Deck of Miraculous Luck as a reward system - a deck with 30 cards that provide lucky effects for the players to draw from, with each card sporting a unique bonus/effect to unleash. A fun reward system, though one I wished had more options...and particularly, negative ones as well. But that may be me. As a nice bonus, the pdf comes with back covers for the cards and individual representations for the respective cards - just print out back and front, glue it to card-board and go.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to AAW games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf comes with a solid blend of new and stock art and the cartography, where provided, is okay.



Mike Myler, Justin Andrew Mason, Brian Wiborg Mønster, Rory Toma - gentlemen, this is a better example for the format of AAWBlog presents - the encounters herein may be thematically-linked, but they can relatively easily be dropped into a given campaign on their own. While the overall, connecting storyline between the quests remains pretty opaque for the PCs, these encounters are more self-contained, less burdened by an overarching narrative. The theme here is obviously "get rid of problematic items" and each of the encounters manages to do that with a variety of interesting ways -from haunts to creatures.

With playful items and set-ups, the general sense if one of light-hearted fun. At the same time, though, this collection does feel like it could have used some more care: references in the text that obviously hearken back to the time when these were published as blog posts, hinting towards the next blog post, just hurt the internal consistency of this collection. I also think this pdf's organization of haunts etc. may be less easy to navigate than the last ones - whereas Cultus Sanguineus collected them in one space, here, they are spread between the individual quests - and taking into account how the encounters herein work better as single ones that build up over multiple modules, that makes things a bit less easy to navigate.

So yeah - the roughly-linked encounters doe work better, though, once again, the overarching plot remains a weakness of the collection - this is NOT a module; this is a collection of content linked by a rough theme - it works for what it is, but once again, transitions remain somewhat problematic here and I wished, both the blog-references had been purged and the transitions had been smoothed. More means for the players to actually find out what is happening would have also been appreciated - as written, this ended with plenty of question-marks above my player's heads and an ultimate feeling of having missed the point. Still, what is here, is damn fun and as such, I will settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
AaWBlog Presents: Mischievous Meadows
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B19: Tower of Screaming Sands
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2015 09:56:49
This adventure starts with a one background to introduce the main villain and the reason why he built this tower. The background contains enough detail to satisfy most players who wish to use their knowledge, but can be easily expanded if you want to make this adventure a part of your campaign.

Follows a few adventure hooks and then we get to the first part of the adventure covering the journey through the desert. Advice is given to make the journey interesting and three encounters complement this section. Two of these encounters are quite helpful to provide a bit more information about the tower if the characters are able to help the young nomad in distress. In the event that they fail, they can still get the information from the nomad tribe, but they are a bit less helpful. If you used random encounters before these two encounters, the nomad camp provides a good respite and chance to rest for the characters. The third encounter is more typical of desert encounters and does not provide any more details on the adventure background.

The rest of the adventure covers the exploration of the tower, the inhabitants, the traps protecting the tower and of course, the main antagonist. This part of the adventure is quite deadly in my opinion. Not many rooms are devoid of danger: they either contain traps or creatures. Options are provided to make the adventure even more deadly. Having the main entrance blocked after the characters enter is a nice one and prevents the group to stop and rest after each encounter. However, using the option to have the tower sink below the sands after a certain amount of time makes it one giant trap. Unless you are confident your players can navigate the tower easily and efficiently, I would not recommend this option.

Overall this is a nice desert adventure with very interesting traps and opponents. It is straightforward by desing and it is also what makes it easy to use in pretty much any campaign. I liked that although the traps are difficult, there is often a way to deactivate them after they are sprung. The characters need to find the hidden lever. Sadly, this is only for the first level of the tower, the traps on the other levels cannot be deactivated with a lever. That being, said a group without a character that deal traps will have a very hard time in this adventure. These traps can also be reset by the mephitis and the invisible stalker serving the master of the tower. It would have been nice to know how seriously they take this responsibility. The tower is supposed to come out of the sands every 60 years... So, some indication on how often they reset the traps, or if they patrol to check on the traps would be helpful. I assume it is left to the GM's discretion. If the characters fall back on the lower levels, you can always decide if the traps have been reset.

Besides this, the encounters are well detialed and the information is presented in a way that a GM can run this adventure without much preparation and without searching through books. Each encounter provides a fair amount of treasures, more than I usually give my players, but this can easily be adjusted.

A nice tough adventure!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
B19: Tower of Screaming Sands
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Mini-Dungeon #016: The Halls of Hellfire
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2015 00:58:47
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 Halls of Hellfire were once a sacred neutral ground, a place for peace talks - now, the halls are a beacon for creatures of pure evil, tainted by the darkness that saw the downfall of this once-sacred space. Now, the lamia of the desert have been drawn to this place and both regular specimen of the feared species as well as a matriarch await the PCs to toy with their minds and break both their bodies and souls.



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. The pdf comes with a nice piece of full-color artwork.



Jonathan Ely's Halls of Hellfire provide a storied locale with per se cool combat encounters and some solid traps. Alas, at the same time, I did feel like this locale fell short of its awesome background story - some tantalizing hints, a bit more fluff, perhaps a series of short haunts - something to make the PCs experience the tragedy of the place first-hand would have gone a long way to make this more than a cool ruin inhabited by some lethal lamia. That being said, this mini-dungeon is by no means bad and well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #016: The Halls of Hellfire
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Varakt's Halo: The Great Pubo Hunt (1 of 3)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/02/2015 04:25:21
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 28 pages, so let's take a look!



This pdf does sport a psionic psyllabus-page - essentially a handy cheat-sheet that sums up the basic peculiarities of the psionics-system on a handy page - nice for novices to psionics - who also happen to be the target demographic of this module. 11 pregens are provided for the perusal of the players, with all getting their own artworks - while these may not be beautiful, the pregens do sport roughly the same level of optimization, so that's nice to see.

Why eleven? Well, because there are two new psionic races native to the island of Varakt: The first would be the athmer, who get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis, wild talent as a bonus feat, darkvision 60 ft., Run as a bonus feat and +2 initiative, are amphibious and can 1/day unleash a breath weapon of either cold or electricity damage that deals 1d6 damage of the chosen type in a 50 ft.-line. They also get energy resistance 5 to the breath weapon's chosen element, are amphibious and can choose +1 power point as an FCO. Personally, I consider this race to be slightly too strong - either eliminating the Run-feat and initiative or the amphibious racial trait. There is a nice tribal distinction between electricity and cold-based athmer and the fluff of the race is nice.



The second race would be the Hrek, who get +2 Str and Wis, -2 Con, are naturally psionic and gain the FCO-option. They also receive darkvision and can reduce the penalty to Stealth while moving by 5 and can use it while running at -20 penalty. 1/day, hrek can cause iron or steel touched to grow into another object - alas, the ability fails to specify what action this takes. the ability also does not specify the effects on magical equipment, whether this can be used offensively in combat, etc. Hrek are treated as +1 level higher when casting spells with the fire descriptor, for the purposes of the fire domain or the fire elemental bloodline, the flame mystery's revelations and alchemist fire damage-causing bombs. Odd that this does not extend to psionic powers utilizing fire as the chosen energy. Hrek also get a breath weapon and resistances tied to it akin to the Athmer, only theirs is a cone and either fire or acid-based. Very odd here - why can't one choose acid and related class abilities for +1 CL? And why have psionics not been included in that + 1 level? The two races come with age., height and weight-tables. I'm honestly not a big fan of the Hrek either.



But this is a module and as such, that's what I'll talk about next - so, from here on out reign the SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here? All right! The PCs begin this module stranded on the odd tropical island (fully mapped, btw.) after an assault of goblin pirates wrecked their ship and awake on the lush beach - only to be attacked by sahuagin and promptly, saved by a group of hrek -while pretty friendly, they pantomime to the players the issues and creatures looming beyond the treaded paths. Overcoming the communication obstacle, hampered by the strange crystals on this island, does make for some awesome roleplaying potential that cannot be solved by just one roll of the dice or magic. It should also be noted that awakening to psionic powers also falls into this chapter, which should be interesting for the pregens, whose strange unfamiliarity is explained via this change. Nice way of tying mechanics with the story! Decoding grat, this language, is a task beyond the immediate scope of this module, though nearby pylons and a skeleton of a translator at least help with communication to a point where it becomes kind of functional.



It seems like the annual Suar rains will soon be upon the island - which requires a sacrifice of a so-called pubo - which would be a fatter, dumber and psionically active local variant of the dodo. Alas, beyond this, the issue of the coastal sahuagin complicating hunting remains. Entering the pubo hunting grounds results in hilarious pain - the birds not only have cognitive crystal kidney stones, they also drop explosive excrement. Finding and capturing one of the dumb birds isn't that hard - but why are there no other predators in the area? Well, once a huge, mutated mamma pubo comes running, the PCs will know why. And yes, this beast is very lethal! Following the trail of the unnatural mutation, the PCs can find some interesting hints that someone is engineering troubles - as a conch-shell resounds and denotes another attack. On the way back, the PCs can test their mettle further in combat with both blue aegis and soulknives.



Upon their return, the PCs are made to understand that they'll sacrifice the pubo the next day on the volcano - but at night the blue tribe attacks and steals the pubo they brought - in the case of mama pubo, should the PCs have opted for her, leaving a huge trail they can easily follow and making the hrek look rather incompetent. At the blue's camp, the showdown with the remaining blues constitutes the finale of this module.



As a nice hand-out, sheets for each player-character allow for a nice help regarding pantomime, representing different words they can decode, providing a great, optional way of simulating the communication in grat-pidgin.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful, colorful 2-column full-color standard. Artworks range from the nice cover to thematically-fitting stock-art and the less than gorgeous pregen-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography ranges from great to okay and provides a total of 3 maps, all with player-friendly iterations.



Mike Myler's great pubo hunt is something I don't get to see often - a genuinely funny module. While it may not be apparent when just reading it, actually playing the pantomime/communication-breakdown is just FUN and this is further emphasized by the hilarious pubo-hunting. This is pretty much a very FUN module that can work perfectly when used with kids - it's not grim or dark or nasty, it's just FUN and even young audiences can appreciate the tone when handled by a halfway decent GM. The supplemental help also is a nice bonus and as far as the adventure is concerned. The great pubo hunt is a module that is just fun - a change of pace and a solid introduction to psionics, though mama pubo can provide a very challenging opponent. So, all perfect? No. Quite honestly, I wished the hunt itself had more detail and the same holds true for the hrek-settlement and the settling-in-period. This module would definitely have benefited from stretching this component longer and not just boiling it down to a short period of relative inconvenience. The finale could also have used more details, perhaps some more terrain features, traps, a map or something like that - anything to make it slightly more distinct, especially after the cool battle against the deadly mutation...

In short, I found myself often wishing that there were less pregens and more adventure herein, probably also since I'm not a big fan of either new race - they conceptually left me unimpressed.

This divide becomes more apparent when taking the exceedingly cool module that is here into account - the module-part here breathes Mike's trademark playfulness and imaginative talent. I contemplated quite a while, but ultimately, I'm going to settle on a final verdict of 4 stars. Consider me excited about the sequels!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Varakt's Halo: The Great Pubo Hunt (1 of 3)
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AaWBlog Presents: Cultus Sanguineus
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/02/2015 04:22:31
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, what do we get here? Well, essentially, we get a small collection of thematically-linked encounters - think of them as pretty much a kind of sandbox to fill out: You get the key-scenes and fill in the rest. Got that? All right! As such, the following obviously contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here? All right! Countess Veresovich and Count Krev Ragata have been up to no good: Finding a set of dread scrolls during her travels, the countess plans to conjure forth a powerful entity - alas, and thankfully for the Klavekian metropolis of Mohkba, the players are involved. In the mean and gritty streets of a less savory neighborhood, the PCs witness an obviously incognito noble, said Count Ragata is stabbed and robbed right in front of the PCs - as they navigate the dark and rather gritty (and lavishly-mapped) alleyways of Mohkba, they hopefully manage to track down the assailants and avoid falling to the haunt -in the aftermath, they are invited to nothing less than Veresovich's masquerade ball - perhaps even keeping a mask as suggested by the count.



The masquerade ball itself can be considered a nice array of read-aloud texts and socializing. In any way, the masquerade will probably feature the items sanguineus, now assembled. A set of 3 magic items that collectively can transform the wielder into a vampire also feature herein...though oddly, the countess seems to vanish from the ball and when suddenly, walls of force supplemented by lethal blood vortex haunts lock down the house, things get ugly fast. The assembled nobles find out, the hard way, that the countess is not to be trifled with, as the floor of the ball room collapses and dumps them below the house...



Seeking of the house - there is a nice miniature map, but I don't get why we don't get a properly-sized map - as provided, the map is the one herein you can't properly use. And yes, the caverns below the house also sport a proper, big map - once again, just as useful as the one for the alleyways. So what is going on down in those nasty caverns - well, the countess' is currently engaging in the massive slaughter required for her ritual's success. In order to stop her, the PCs not only have to brave her cultists, they may also have to deal with allies foolish enough to wear the sangineus items and perhaps the vampiric Count Ragata, all while moving past massive blood pools filled with leech swarms - oh, and if you want to - this final encounter does sport mass combat between trapped nobles and cultists - oh, and yes, the daemon the Countess seeks to summon is part of the deal, as are even more, nasty haunts.



Thematically fitting traps further complement this supplement, as do valid pieces of advice regarding mass combat and when to use which rules and the same goes for social encounters.



I should also not fail to mention the presence of multiple magic items, all with significant descriptions, beautiful full-color renditions and lore-sections.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful full-color 2-column standard and the pdf comes with quite a few gorgeous full-color artworks. The cartography is very good and evocative, though I really wished the mansion-map had also been featured in one-page-size to actually be printed out.



Mike Myler, Jonathan Ely, Justin Andrew Mason, Rory Toma and Brian Wiborg Mønster deliver a damn cool vampire-themed set-up of encounters and set-pieces. The encounters themselves are great - every one of them, ultimately, can be considered fun and uncommon with at least one or more neat options/ideas per encounter. That being said, at the same time, this pdf does feel a bit like it has an identity-crisis.



I can get behind the format of roughly, thematically-linked encounters to flesh out - I actually like that. At the same point, this pdf left me feeling somewhat confused regarding the transitions and how the whole master-plan connects - essentially, what we have here is a GLORIOUS adventure, a superb investigation...that was not fleshed out. If you are familiar with The Skinsaw Murders: Think about the Sanitarium Encounter going to the Farmstead going to the Clocktower. You just feel constantly like the sinews that connect an awesome storyline are missing. Now this is partially due to the format, granted, but in this case, it frustrated me to no end.



Why? Because this is a supreme set-up of glorious encounters that get the gorier aspects of horror downright perfect in flavor - the encounters are FUN. The atmosphere is great. The adversaries are cool and the same goes for traps, haunts and items - but in the end, what we get here is a sketch - a sketch of something awesome, but a sketch nonetheless. The encounters do NOT need a fully fleshed out connecting thread - but they imho would benefit immensely from an actual structure being presented to the GM.

A capable GM can make this a full-blown 3-part adventure saga, perhaps even a full-blown AP, and it is inspired in what it delivers - but I wished its components had been connected better. Essentially, we get three set-pieces that are almost required to be run in conjunction, and still, we are left wondering about the transitions and left with a feeling of lack- when a short break-down of the plot, some structure to guide from encounter to encounter and expansions would have made this a legendary 5 star + seal of approval module.



As provided, this is a nice compilation, yes, but one with opaque villain motivations and structure that is held back from true greatness by being too story-driven and unique to work as disparate drop-and-forget-encounters, by being too adventure-like for being a disconnected encounter-collection, and by not providing enough connecting narrative thread for a collection of linked encounters.

Conversely, if judged as an adventure, even as a skeletal sandbox, it feels too unstructured to make the most of its great premises. I figured that running this as written would change my impression - alas, it didn't, it only made me wish more that this had been a full-blown gothic horror saga.

For scavenging purposes, this is an excellent buy, but as a sourcebook or as a DIY-module-toolbox, it falls behind the potential of its easy 5-star-premise. So, if you're looking for some bloody material to craft with, take a look, you won't be disappointed - if you want a full-blown module or drop-and-forget encounters, you may wish to look elsewhere. Still, this remains a solid pdf, one I hope will one day be made into its own, complex, investigation-heavy horror AP. For now, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars - and since I am a fanboy of all the themes evoked, as a person, I will round out. As a reviewer, though, I think I need to round down.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
AaWBlog Presents: Cultus Sanguineus
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Mini-Dungeon #001: Buried Council Chambers
by Andrew J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2015 18:29:40
Mini-Dungeons are 2-page PDFs that describe a small dungeon and its rooms. These modules provide a dungeon layout and fill in the details about each of the rooms. Though they are pretty basic (they are, after all, mini dungeons!), I found this one to be useful as a secret side-dungeon that can be added on to a larger dungeon or adventure. Its light on monsters but heavy on puzzles and riddles for the PCs to solve, so attaching it to a larger monster-filled dungeon can provide a nice break in the action (and, since it was hidden, a place for the PCs to rest after they have cleared it).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #001: Buried Council Chambers
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Mini-Dungeon #015: Torment at Torni Tower
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/16/2015 02:44:47
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!



Somervel has not been treated kindly by the seasons - its pale forts, somewhat akin to beaver lodges, earthen mounds on islands in the marshlands, have been isolated for quite a while - most of the complex is below ground, with one tower jutting forth from the mound. Torni's tower has fallen to the seasons and when he PCs are sent to investigate the place, they are greeted by a haggard female - but that's just the beginning of the trouble. Turns out the female is a disguised annis hag who not only single-handedly (or better clawedly) took the fortress and slaughtered its inhabitants, she also makes off to rouse her ogre minions, some of which in states of drunkenness (which is accounted for by the mini-dungeon!) and prepare her detailed and rather awesome tactics - she for example collects stirges in a bag to throw at the PCs. What about speaking tubes? Yeah, smart! So, the presentation provides the roster of inhabitants, the rooms and the tactics of the annis hag - all in all, providing a surprisingly awesome and best of all, organic mini-dungeon against foes with unique tactics and in a distinct backdrop.



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. The pdf provides a nice piece of full-color artwork.



Stephen Yeardley does it again - this mini-dungeon is inspired, cool and does everything right: From an awesome, unique locale to smart adversaries and a surprising amount of fluff crammed into the scant few pages, this mini-dungeon is concise, logical ad downright awesome - no complaints and one of the high points of the series - well worth 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #015: Torment at Torni Tower
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AaWBlog Presents: Armory of Adventures
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/11/2015 02:37:59
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page back cover, 1 3/4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 24 1/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

...

No, you haven't misread. This many pages for a buck. And yes, the content herein premiered on the AAWBlog before, but ultimately, I'm a dinosaur when it comes to devices - I ban them at my game since I have had the experience of them being constant sources of distraction.



So what exactly do we get? As an example analysis, take the ashenbone axe: A lavishly-illustrated (btw., like most items herein!) axe that emits a light - so far, so bland. Where things become mechanically interesting is with the caveats: When a character is raging (via barbarian rage, a racial ability or spell), the damage increases by +1d8; conversely, when not raging, the damage-output decreases by 1d4. I really like the sentiment of this weapon, though its execution remains somewhat flawed - as written, this will be the axe the barbarian draws while raging, otherwise leaving it sheathed and thus eliminating pretty much the unique drawback. The axe also should explicitly specify that it only conveys its bonus damage while the wielder is subject to a rage-effect, not just "In the hands of a raging character" - since this could be read as a minor ambiguity. A simple solution would be to make this a cursed axe. A further plus, again, one that extends to all items herein, would be the flavorful description of the axe itself provided, as well as the scaling amount of information one can glean from researching it.



A ranger's hunting axe, poison-spraying locked gauntlets, an evil arcanist's angel-hunting crossbow, a greatsword that lets rangers with swamp as favored terrain breather underwater (alas, sans proper CL for the underwater breathing) - some interesting options here. What about a vicious blade that only reflects damage back upon the wielder 50% the time if he is pure at heart, but also illuminates such beings in radiant, stealth-negating harmless fire? Whips that can be used to entangle (alas, at a very low DC to escape) and nunchaku that make flurries of blows more effective are also among the interesting options provided herein.



Those familiar with a certain Hrólfr Kraki may be rather pleasantly surprised to find the almost-artifact level Skofnung herein. And yes, I freely admit to having a little "Heck yeah!"-moment here. There would also be a shield that allows for the substitute of hypnotism as an alternative to shield bash damage. There also is a very powerful, nasty ring that makes a character potentially a quasi-vampire. An enchanted spyglass, a dance-compelling gel, enchanted golden dentures (!!!) that fly out to attack foes, puzzle-boxes of holding - there are quite a few downright fun items to be found herein - all for a single buck!



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, though not necessarily perfect. Layout adheres to a beautiful, yet printer-friendly 2-column full-color standard with a surprising amount of pieces of original artwork as well as some stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a bit of a comfort-detriment. The pdf does sport hyperlinks to d20pfsrd.com, though they are not provided for every spell in a list and thus sometimes are a bit inconsequent in what's linked and what isn't.



Mike Myler, Jonathan Ely, Brian Wiborg Mønster, Jacob Michaels, Joshua Taylor and Eric Madsen have delivered perhaps one of the most inexpensive pdfs I've seen in a while - the artworks and lore-sections alone render many of the items worthwhile. Now granted, there are some magical items to be found herein that are plot-items pure and simple, but that is not in itself a bad thing -I'd rather have an interesting plot item than a boring +1 flaming thundering keen rapier... Ultimately, this collection is an inexpensive, convenient collection with some downright nice ideas. Now yes, there are a few examples like the one in my picking apart of the ashenbone axe, where one can arguably complain about the wording not being 100% tight. Still, at such a fair price-point, I still consider this a worthwhile purchase. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
AaWBlog Presents: Armory of Adventures
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Mini-Dungeon #013: The Case of the Scrupulous Pawnbroker
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2015 03:43:18
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 begins with the PCs having either a business relationship or wanting to establish one with a hard, but fair pawnbroker - now his store's door is open and suspiciously empty, while an iron door in the basement leads towards a gruesome scene - the assistants have been slain and reanimated as zombies, though the PCs may save the owner's dog as further support. If the PCs do not tarry, they may save the pawn-broker from the hostile assault of a really nasty gang of thugs under the command of a sorceror - they're trying to break into his treasure vault, after all... Oddly, the thugs encountered in the final encounter have proper hyperlinks to their stats, whereas the first group of thugs lacks these, putting undue work on the DM. Beyond that, solid defenses for the treasure vault and a nice aftermath help make this module feel somewhat round.



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 and it does sport a nice full-color artwork, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players.



This mini-dungeon has me torn - on the one hand, the story Stefanos Patelis weaves is a nice one that can easily fit in any urban environment and it does sport the small details and level of believability I enjoy. on the other hand, it could have benefitted from a short tactics-section for the adversaries if the PCs e.g. call the watch- a couple of lines would be there to warrant it and this may very well turn into a kind of hostage situation - bartering is a quite possible notion for the PCs and since the foes use the pawnbroker's traps to their advantage, one can see the potential of the writing here. While the hyperlink glitch is a bit annoying and the social dimension a tad neglected, for its limiting format, this one still fares above average - my final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #013: The Case of the Scrupulous Pawnbroker
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Dire, Devilish Deeds (4 of 4): Devaneas Arcineum 2
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2015 03:27:41
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The final part of the Dire, Devilish Deeds-series and part II of the sorcerous gauntlet clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 42 pages, so let's take a look!



As with all the reviews of modules in this series, at this point I assume you're familiar with all my previous reviews of this series - I assume you're familiar with the basic premise of the series and the uncommon and slightly wonky way in which transmutation works herein and the potential rough edges you might encounter. I do assume that you're willing to tackle these books on their own level and appreciate a more adventure-style gameplay as opposed to what we usually get in a given module.



This module continues the brain-teasers of the sorcerous gauntlet's puzzles and polymorphed combat challenges. From now on, the SPOILERS thus reign - potential players should jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

All right, still here? Only DMs around? Great! The first challenge is pretty easy- use bone tiles to create a sentence...only with a twist. In the last installment, I complained about the forms into which the PCs were transformed - last installment, we got mainly bland celestial animals versus anaimals. Well, this time around, the first combat is PC Hound Archons versus Satyrs - raw damage vs. subtlety - interesting set-up!



The next challenge is imho too simple and amounts to a swift letter-changing puzzle. It's so simple, in fact, I don't really get how one could possibly fail it, but on the plus-side, the combat that pits the PCs in the skin of bralanis against salamanders makes somewhat up for this. The next puzzle is more interesting - we are presented with a visual representation of a pentagon that contains a pentagram and are challenged to determine the amount of triangles. I considered this one actually pretty interesting in its premise, so yeah - nice one and makes up for a once again bland combat -after the previous ones that sported tactics and various abilities, the reduction of celestial elephants versus dire tigers felt rather bland.



On the plus-side, the next puzzle does retain the high quality of the previous one - we are presented with a line of seemingly jumbled letters that can assume two configurations - by moving letters in the right way, one can craft a sentence from nonsense. And yes, in case you haven't noticed, the puzzles do mirror some concepts traditionally aligned with how one perceives arcane magic to work, so kudos for maintaining thematic consistency. The combat challenge awaiting would pit the PCs in celestial cachalot whale form versus dire sharks - at least the aquatic dimension should prove to be interesting, but still - would have preferred a more interesting set-up.



The final puzzle, once again, is pretty glorious, though - we receive 34 letters as tiles, which have to be arranged on a grid to spell out the numerical names of the different levels of magic - the problem being, that the combined letters of those amount to 45. Nice one! Thankfully, the final combat, which puts the PCs in leonal bodies and sees them challenge elder air elementals, once again also can be considered a fitting one.



Like the first gauntlet, the letters received as rewards for each bested challenge also double as the (simple) final puzzle, which, after a short respite, offers a way out of the gauntlet. The final aftermath, including the level-dependant treasure is provided in a way that mirrors the end of the first gauntlet...and that's it.



Don't get me wrong, much like in the first gauntlet's finale, I loved the final fluff of the section. I enjoyed the puzzles - but the ending of this, the last installment of the saga, feels horribly abrupt.



So the PCs have bested these two gauntlets, made point for the supremacy of either type of magic, proven their smarts...and now what? Nothing? Really? Where is the final epilogue, perhaps a comparable tally of success, something to wrap up the gauntlets? Don't get me wrong, I get the modular nature: "Start with whatever gauntlet you like and ignore the other, run both, etc. - all up to you." I GET that. But where's the climax? The conclusion? What if the PCs have aced both gauntlets? Where is the epilogue, the final puzzle, the final test? As written, the end of this saga feels terribly anti-climactic - it just peters out.



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 fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks in full-color are awesome. The map, which comes with a player-friendly-version, is functional, but not up to AAW Games' usual standard. The visual representations of the puzzles and their solutions are cool.



I absolutely adore Stephen Yeardley's Dire, Devilish Deeds-saga for its innovation, for its completely unique set-up for adventures, for being utterly distinct. If you've read my previous reviews, you'll realize that. However, at the same time, I do feel like the second gauntlet, while upping the ante regarding puzzle-quality, sports the less inspired combat challenges, with some amounting to none-too-interesting pairings - while less pronounced than in the last installment, this one also features some pairings that fall behind in terms of coolness, that feel less "arcane" than they ought to. Still, in this regard, this one surpasses its direct predecessor. At the same time, though, this is the final part in the series. Part 4 of 4. I *get* that one can play the first and second half of this series as stand-alone. I like this modular aspect - but neither installment 2, nor 4 provide a conclusion for anything beyond their own gauntlet - the overall narrative is left hanging, there is no true resolution, no catharsis to be had for the PCs and in a final installment of a series this unconventional, going all out for a final, big square off would have been not only rewarding, but awesome - where is the "Planetar PCs vs. Tarrasque"-climax, the "Elder Elementals vs. Pit Fiends" test? What about a combat of dragons? something like that, something that feels suitably epic. As written, the final challenges of each gauntlet are cool, yes, but then the modules, the whole saga, somewhat peters out. I really thought I'd see the big boom here, but instead, I got a whimper - or rather, a shrug.



This does not make this series any less awesome - even as scavenging material, this series is definitely worth its asking price. Still, with the somewhat abrupt ending and the couple of less inspired combats herein, I can't go as high as I'd want to - my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4, but I will add my seal of approval.



The overall series, mind you, would receive the same verdict as a whole - while I ADORE the uniqueness and premise, the puzzles and puzzle combat challenges, I do feel that the series has some rough edges, could have handled its polymorphing slightly better, could have had more exciting creature-pairings, especially in #3, and the lack of a true ending/epilogue may be jarring for some of you. While I still consider this series important as modules for PFRPG as a whole and worthwhile, even if only for scavenging purposes, I do consider them also to fall short of true excellence, of fully realizing the vast potential that is clearly here - this has the making of a total classic, but as written, its rough edges slightly mar the absolutely superb level of daring and innovation exhibited here.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dire, Devilish Deeds (4 of 4): Devaneas Arcineum 2
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Mini-Dungeon #012: Nekh-ta-Nebi's Tomb
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2015 03:16:51
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 tomb of Nekh-Ta-Nebi can be used as its own tomb of a minor noble or as part of a bigger complex, if you're for example running Gary Gygax Necropolis, Dunes/Desert of Desolation or Mummy's Mask. The complex itself is pretty much a straight-forward Egyptian-themed dungeon, complete with plague zombie retinue and undead hyenas, the latter of which have their stats handily modified), culminating in fights with a mummy and a shadow.



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. The pdf has one piece of neat full-color artwork. 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 Ely's Tomb of Nekh-Ta-Nebi is as straight-forward a mini-dungeon as you'll get for the theme - it is solid in its theme and execution and there is nothing wrong with it. Conversely, it also is kind of unremarkable. No room, hazard or encounter really blew me away and the overall complex left me unimpressed. Now this may well be the jaded bastard in me speaking, but I found this mini-dungeon lacking in anything remarkable that sets it apart. While this means that this pdf probably fits into every Egyptian-themed scenario, it also left me thinking that I can brew a scenario like this up on the fly. Time-starved DMs may still consider this worthwhile, even though I, as a person, didn't. As a reviewer, I can value the solid craftsmanship, though, and for the time-starved DM, this might work. hence, my final verdict clocks in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #012: Nekh-ta-Nebi's Tomb
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Mini-Dungeon #011: Buta No Shiro
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/02/2015 05:07:58
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!



When the PCs enter a certain town, they will end up on the hit-list of the reason of the local crackdown on any crime - a warthog-headed rakshasa has taken it upon himself to use his mind-reading powers to aid a local magistrate. To put a stop to the evil creature's machinations (before they end up on its hitlist...), the PCs have to infiltrate the hidden complex of the rakshasa, where advanced devils, shackled angels, a decadent harem and, of course, the dread mastermind behind the law-force's current efficiency loom.



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 Ely's Buta No Shiro is his first mini-dungeon I really like - not only is the premise awesome and cool, the complex's location is left deliberately opaque and the diversity of foes herein is also neat. Beyond that, smart tactics for the villain and nice prose render this a good mini-dungeon. While I would have enjoyed more terrain-hazards, this still is a fun mini-dungeon, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. If Jonathan continues to hone his craft, the next mini-dungeon could be pure awesomeness!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #011: Buta No Shiro
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Mini-Dungeon #010: Ghastardly Deeds
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/02/2015 05:05:34
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!



Torren and Jelax, two brothers, have recently rented a basement and people saw adventurers enter...but not leave. It's up to the PCs to find out what happened - and the basement is NOT a nice place anymore: The brothers have been chopping up the unwitting victims and established a vile shrine devoted to cannibalistic undead. Braving the nasty brothers and their butchery and ghouls and the like turns out to be rather interesting -including traps, terrain hazards and the like - nice!



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. The pdf has a nice piece of full-color artwork.



Michael Smith's mini-dungeon not only sports a straightforward, nasty imagery, it also manages to be rather diverse in the challenges it poses - from combat to traps and the like, the module delivers as much as one can expect from such a brief format. While I prefer more far-out set-ups, as far as basic ones go, this is pretty much all I could ask for - and well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #010: Ghastardly Deeds
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