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Everyman Minis: Mesmerist Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/22/2018 04:49:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, we get two new spells: Mindshock (2nd level) laces your attacks with psychic energy that adds +1d4 nonlethal damage due to pain; critical hits cause the target to be confused for 1 round, which is pretty strong, considering the absence of a save to negate. That being said, immunity to mind-affecting or pain effects or critical hits prevents the confusion. The spell has another caveat that makes it balanced for the spell level: A target can only be confused by a single casting of the spell once per day. This limitation is crucial and very much appreciated. Well done. The second new spell would be phantasmal flagellant, which, depending on the class, clocks in at 3rd or 4th level. I love this spell, as it fills a rues-hole I always disliked intensely: It is basically a pain-based version of phantasmal killer that inflicts scaling nonlethal damage instead. Descriptors and scaling are perfect and neat…however, there is one rules-relevant inconsistency that, alas, influences rules-integrity: On a failed save, the target takes nonlethal damage, becomes exhausted and drops unconscious. On a success, damage is halved and the conditions are negated…but the condition mentioned here is fatigued, not exhausted. Sooo…which one is it? Sequence would make me think exhausted is correct, but fatigues imho would make more sense.

Okay, those two out of the way, let’s discuss the feats. It should be noted that, in spite of the respective names, only one feat herein has the Stare-descriptor, which is important, considering that only one stare-feat may be applied at any given time, at least if you do not have Compounded Pain.

So, what do the feats do?

-Agonizing Glare: Adds 12 pain-based spells to spell-list, some with metamagic hard-baked into them. They are also considered to be spells known. If you don’t have the metamagic feat in question or know the spell, you may only affect creatures currently targeted by your hypnotic stare, and sans gaining the benefits of hypnotic stare for them. Learning them properly later allows you to cast the as usual and hypnotic stare applies.

-All-Seeing Sight: Adds 8 divination spells to your spell-list and spells known, but with the same hypnotic stare restriction as before. Locate object can only find objects in range in the possession creatures that you have targeted with hypnotic stare; the same limitation applies for clairaudience/voyance. As you may have gleaned, this does not require that you currently target them, making establishing a network of such beings rather interesting…great tool for investigations!

-Burning Stare: Choose electricity or fire; half damage of painful stare thereafter can be turned into that energy type. May be taken twice to gain both energy types.

-Bright-Blazing Stare: Requires burning stare, which means that the 3rd level prerequisite, same as the Burning Stare-feat, makes no sense. That should be higher. Anyways, if a target takes 1 fire or electricity damage, they take -40 to Stealth versus your Perception (important!) for 1 + your Cha-mod rounds. Multiple instances reset this duration. Furthermore, the target of a Burning Stare, regardless of whether it takes damage, must succeed a Will-save or be outlined as per faerie fire until the start of your next turn, meaning that the penalties apply globally, not just to avoid you. And no, they don’t stack with one another.

-Kindling Glare (Combat, Stare): This is another upgrade for Burning Stare, and it unfortunately suffers from the same weird prerequisite-glitch as Bright-Blazing Stare. When using Burning Stare to inflict fire or electricity damage on a target, you inflict +50% damage, as though the target was vulnerable to the energy type. It does not stack with actual vulnerabilities. Additionally, inflicting fire or electricity damage via the Burning Stare feat requires the target to make a Fort-save or contract vulnerability to the energy type for one round.

-Imperious Stare: Cause targets to avoid their gaze from you for 1 round on a failed Will-save, granting you total concealment versus the target. The type of this effect is properly codified. Kudos!

-Majestic Stare: Follow-up feat for Imperious Stare; when a target fails its save against Imperious Stare, it also can’t approach you further for 1 round, duplicating the effects of antipathy. Cool: If a creature fails its save by 5 or more, they also have to prostrate before you, dropping prone, unable to rise. Amazing!

-Wrecking Stare: Whenever the target of your hypnotic stare attempts to save versus pain effects and fails, you can activate painful stare’s effects as though the pain-effect caused damage. If the source is a mesmerist spell you can cast, you inflict damage as though you had made a successful attack and were using painful stare to augment it instead. Big kudos for getting the tightrope-walk of a rules-language construct regarding the second effect! If the triggering effect causes nonlethal damage, you may elect to make the damage caused by this feat nonlethal as well.

-X-ray Stare: See creatures targeted by hypnotic stare up to 20 feet away, through solid matter- Different material densities are provided and interaction with obfuscating elements, are noted. Handy!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are generally very good on a formal and rules-language level; apart from the two issues I noted, which unfortunately influence rules-integrity (though the prerequisite glitch is de facto just aesthetic). Layout adheres to the printer-friendly two-column standard of the Everyman Mini-series and the one artwork presented is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Clinton Boomer is one of my favorite feat-designers. I have seen him write feats that literally make, by sheer virtue of existing, thoroughly amazing character concepts possible. If anything, there are two complaints I could field against them: They tend to be very specific, and they usually end up on the higher side of the power-level. The feats in this book are more broadly usable, but that doesn’t mean that they lose the high-concept impact I expected from them; They juggle complex concepts within a pretty complex engine, all while making me think of cool ways to use them. I am absolutely certain that pretty much all feats herein will see use in my games at one point, making this, at least to me, an all-killer, no filler supplement.

That being said, no matter how much I like this supplement, the fact remains that we have glitches that influence, in minor ways, the rules-integrity of two components. It is only this minor imperfection that ultimately costs this my seal of approval, though both can be rectified by any GM out there. If you don’t mind these, consider this to be a 5 star + seal pdf. If you do mind, then consider it to still be an excellent file, at 5 stars, which also represents my official final verdict.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Mesmerist Feats
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Everyman Minis: Patriotic Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/18/2018 04:28:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 9 pages,1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, after a brief introduction, we begin with 5 new traits, which include being a supporter of a rebellion against an occupying force (and a +1 save bonus to one save chosen), having the ear of a powerful individual (tie-in with Fame-rules), knowing particularly much about your home (translating into skill-bonuses to two Knowledge skills), +1 skill rank and a bonus to Profession (soldier) for being a true shield of your people…and there is one trait that makes you a regional symbol and hence allows you to request small sums in goods and services. All of these traits are well-crafted, meaningful and have proper roleplaying tricks. No complaints.

Beyond these traits, we also get two different story-feats (YES!): Ambassador nets you Knowledge (local) & (nobility) as class skills and with a bonus, with a further bonus if you already have them as class skills; the goal is to broker a major treaty or accord and, yes, this is very much a feat for the faces and similar characters who strive to lead not only by force of weaponry. Cool: We have Skill Challenge Handbook synergy for verbal duels and influence skill challenges!

The second story-feat would be Patriot, which nets you a 3/day +2 morale bonus on ability checks, atk rolls, initiative, saves, skill checks or weapon damage rolls while in the chosen region. The goal is to save the region chosen or supporting it with a hefty donation – upon completion, the bonus increases and becomes more potent versus overt enemies of your nation. Oh, and additional uses. I assume that this self-granted bonus is not an action and that it must be announced before the roll is made, but clarification here would be appreciated.

We also receive two new vigilante social talents. The first would be Patriotism, which requires that you choose a nation you lived in for 5 years; in that nation, the vigilante’s social identity can mix and mingle with government and military, improving their starting attitude to friendly if at least indifferent. The vigilante identity may be loyal to the nation chosen or oppose it, which determines the bonus gained by the vigilante. The second talent would be the Improved Patriotism, which nets social skill bonuses and Knowledge bonuses. On the vigilante identity side, we have diplomatic immunity for loyalists or an escalation of skill-boosts for those opposing their nation – interesting material that reminded me of plenty a masked diplomat/symbol in various forms of media.

The final piece of crunch herein would be the turncoat vigilante archetype, who is locked into loyalist as the 1st level social talent, choosing home country and feigned country – the latter is the opposed country. Instead of unshakeable, 3rd level yields the option to change the feigned country 1/month. Instead of the appearance ability tree, the archetype provides startling betrayal at 5th level: When attacking a creature that considers the turncoat an ally, the creature gets a Sense Motive check: On a failure, the target is so baffled, he becomes flat-footed against the vigilante for a minute, with all attacks against the turncoat penalized. At 11th level, helpful NPCs, instead of having a higher DC, automatically fail this check and the effect gains a 30 ft.-radius range of outrage…indeed, even a whole crowd could thus fall to the betrayal of a turncoat. At 17th level, creatures with an attitude of unfriendly or better may be affected, making it really hard to not be suckered in by these guys.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a formal level and the rules-language is tight. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s nice two-column standard with a white background and the full-color artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza’s patriotic options are cool: While the social tricks are not necessarily world-shaking, they are interesting and made me recall a long-time plan of a campaign focusing on fantasy warfare and diplomacy that I’ve been wanting to run for ages…but I digress. This is a well-made, interesting supplement, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars – well done!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Patriotic Options
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Everyman Minis: Esoteric Implements
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/15/2018 04:38:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, after a brief introduction, we are introduced to the concept of esoteric implements; In case you’re not familiar with the idea, here goes: Basically, they capitalize on the amazing roleplaying potential ingrained in the occultist class (easily one of my favorite classes, btw.) – implements, per default, can be exchanged, but ostensibly are supposed to have some deeper narrative meaning/connection. This is not only a great adventuring catalyst, it also allows groups and GMs to generate meaning and mythology and ultimately represents one of my favorite concepts in Occult Adventure’s class design, one that has been overlooked by quite a few folks since the occultist, as presented, is less flashy than his brethren.

But I digress: Esoteric implements, as depicted herein, would hence be special implements that grant specific powers when invested with mental focus. As such, the items herein do come with brief background stories as well as prices, construction requirements, etc. Basically, these are items that represent specialist replacement resonant powers and as such. Blur the line between item and class option. We get a total of 4 such esoteric implements herein, the first of which would be Gorduin’s Obscuring Cap, which is particularly useful to those with the illusion implement school; mirroring the former wearer, an assassin overexposed to illusions, the cap grants occultists with that school of at least 7th level the ability to form a blanket guise that may conceal a whole array of magic items from detection´, though this is a resonant power that replaces distortion. Furthermore, at 9th level, with at least 6 focus invested, the wearer can gain the benefits of misdirection.

The Hypnotizing Pendant was once worn by a failed bard, who used her powers to convince the audience she was any good; as such, it is an implement for occultists with the enchantment implement school. The power is also unlocked at 7th level, though this time around, it is a focus power and lets the occultist duplicate either hypnotism or lock gaze via mental focus expenditure, with higher levels yielding more targets affected. Slightly weird, but only on an aesthetic level: While unlocked at 7th level, the determining level for more targets s based on 6th, which may be an anomaly or a minor hiccup. Power-wise, I don’t mind the presentation as such and the rules are intact.

Revenge of the Unknown Mercenary would be a robe for occultists with the necromancy implement school; it is the robe of a mercenary’s soul, fused with his fabrics during a horrid expedition into the negative energy plane; as such, it should surprise no one that it is a necromancy implement. The required level for the power would be 9th. The robe grants the focus power to expend 1 point of mental focus as a standard action to grant yourself a shroud of negative energy, which bestows a temporary negative level on those unlucky enough to hit you with melee or natural attacks. The negative level lasts 24 hours, the activation of the power 1 minute or until it is discharged thus, at which point it requires another activation to replenish. 13th level provides the option to activate it as a move or standard action.

Finally, there would be the Dangersight Goggles, which sport a bit of a weird inconsistency: They are obviously intended for divination specialists (7th level requirement), representing the semi-sentient goggles of an ascended samsaran, but they note enchantment implement school as a prerequisite. (The correct school is noted in construction requirements.)(Also: The focus power they grant is formatted in italics, when it should have its name bolded.) The focus power granted is pretty brutal: Expend 1 point of mental focus for +1/2 occultist level to initiative when rolling it…or act in a surprise round in which you usually wouldn’t be able to act as though you rolled a 1, excluding all bonuses and penalties. After the surprise round, you get to properly roll initiative. The powers are mutually exclusive, since the implement has a 1-minute cooldown. This implement can be very potent in PF’s gameplay and should get close GM-scrutiny; initiative boosts can be very, very potent…particularly in mythic gameplay. Personally, I’d increase the cost of the item’s use…particularly since its flavor mentions wearers over-relying on it…sounds like me like a cool angle to nerf this, which is just what I’ll do.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, for the most part, are very good. As noted, the final item has a few minor hiccups, one of which can cause a bit of confusion. Layout adheres to the printer-friendly two-column standard of the series and the pdf sports a nice full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jen McTeague’s esoteric implements are fun,. Interesting and left me wanting more; while the minor hiccups in the final one detract a bit from the pdf, I ultimately still consider it to be a great and inspiring resource for occultists and GMs alike; in fact, I’d love to see a bigger book (or more minis!) that provide such unique implements; sky and creativity are basically the limits here! All in all, a mini worth getting, which is why my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Esoteric Implements
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RGG's ALL Pathfinder Bundle [BUNDLE]
by Bryan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2018 22:08:20

There is no way I could have looked through 2.9GB of information and over 400 PDFs. This means I have scanned through the material looking for useful content. Out of the hundreds of PDF's I found 8 that seemed like they had some promise. DO NOT get this for any type of map or art resources.

My purpose for getting this is not because I play Pathfinder. I am using the material for ideas and resource material for citie enrichment, shops, interesting cenarios. I was hoping to find some map or art material too but came up empty there.

If you do play Pathfinder this might be for you!!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
RGG's ALL Pathfinder Bundle [BUNDLE]
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Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class - Mountebank
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2018 04:34:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class of mesmerist and unchained rogue clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The mountebank gets d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, hand crossbow, kerambit, rapier, sap and sword cane as well as light armor. The class gets ¾ BAB-progression and good Ref- and Will-saves and begins play with consummate liar and hypnotic stare. 2nd level nets Weapon Finesse and finesse training with one weapon group for using Dex-mod to determine bonus damage. 2nd level also nets patter: The mountebank begins prattling away as a move action (maintaining it is a free action) and may maintain patter for class level + Charisma modifier rounds – all spellcasting and SPs within 30 ft. of a mountebank using this ability requires concentration checks to cast. 5th level penalizes this check by -2 and 8th level allows the mountebank to focus on a single target, potentially confusing it.

3rd level nets sneak attack, which increases by +1d6 every 3 levels thereafter. At 3rd level, the mountebank also gets a variant gaze that causes the target to lose Dex-mod to AC being flat-footed versus the mountebank, and the mountebank only, though this stare needs to be maintained as a move action. 8th level nets a suggestion stare – with a caveat that prevents abuse. At 10th level, the class becomes superb at lying and requires CL-checks from those using magic to coax the truth out of them. 14th level provides slippery mind and 16th level allows the mountebank to not be remembered by those he interacts with. The capstone nets permanent concealment and the ability to target two creatures with a mountebank trick.

The class begins play with one trick and gains another trick every 3 levels thereafter and may implant ½ class level (min 1) + Charisma bonus such tricks per day. The mountebank can implant them at a range of 30 ft. as a standard action, which a Charisma-governed Will-save DC. Trigger range is medium spell range, just fyi. These allows the mountebank to make targets suffer half damage inflicted, for example – big kudos for getting the rules-language right here! Heavily penalizing Sense Motive, causing instant paranoia, fear of the dark, telepathic interrogation, causing the target to be addicted to the mountebank’s presence (!!), implanting hatreds or trust, disguising the target or adding additional damage to the damage the target takes – these are complex rules-operations that handle evocative, really cool tricks and feature e.g. variant mirror images that don’t disperse when hit, etc. – really, really amazing array of options here!

At 7th level, those tricks may be implanted when sneak attacking foes, imposing a penalty to the saves versus the tricks…and even cooler, at 14th level a trick thus implanted does not count against the mountebank’s daily maximum of tricks implanted OR towards the maximum number of tricks that may be maintained at once.

At 5th level, the mountebank may use more concurrent tricks, upgrading the limit to 2, which increases further at 9th level, 13th level and 18th level, though each creature may only be affected by one trick at a given time.

Beyond the tricks, the class has more player agenda to offer, namely the chicaneries – at 1st level, the mountebank chooses one of the 4 chicaneries provided. These represent linear ability gains and provide a combination of bonus feats (with retrain caveat!), 1/day spell-like abilities that are governed by Charisma and act as psychic spells and unique abilities. 6th level provides the option to advance in the chicanery path, unlocking the next ability…or to choose a new chicanery, gaining the level 1 ability there. The paths provide 4 steps in advancement (minor, moderate, major, supreme) and the mountebank gets further advancement options at 11th, 17th and 20th level, which means that full-blown specialization in one chicanery is not expected. Liar’s gambit provides alignment masking and further inscrutable tricks; the grifter’s hustle nets negotiation and intimidation options; cat’s paw specialists are all about Sleight of Hands and Stealing in combat, while those that choose dodger’s strike are Stealth specialists.

Among the feats, there is one option to advance a chincanery, but only if it is one level lower than your maximum advancement – no abuse possible. Exluding allies from patter, gaining an additional trick or selecting from unchained rogue talents complement the meaningful feat options.

The pdf also sports two archetypes: The cardsharp is locked into one chicanery path, but changes its benefits to instead provide Profession (gambler) boosts, fast fingers and the option to form a deck of cards into a +1 keen magical weapon, which may later be enhanced. Instead of finesse training, we get 1/day forcing a target to roll twice and accept a result (+1/day use at 12th and 20th level). Instead of the 7th level trick, the archetype may 1/day as an immediate action roll 1-3 additional dice when making an attack, save or skill check, using the highest die roll, but at the cost of being forced to use the lower ones for a number of consecutive rolls equal to the number of dice chosen – cool!

The second archetype would be the mentalist, who is locked into cat’s paw or liar’s gambit, casting the SPs granted by the chicanery at +1 CL. Instead of consummate liar, they get a boost to Perform and on Bluff/Sleight of Hand checks used as part of a performance. The archetype may use patter to instead sow thoughts, with 8th level allowing for the focus on a target to daze it. Instead of sneak attack, trick attack and improved trick attack, the mountebank gains the option to cast spells as a mesmerist of his level, but only divination, enchantment, illusion and transmutation spells. 4th level nets Psychic Maestro and 10th Psychic Virtuoso, replacing the tricks gained at these levels. 16th level replaces incognito for an illusory double that may perform a physical ability-or skill check – basically a Schrödinger’s situation, where you determine which was real afterwards.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues in either formal or rules-language criterias. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a couple of nice full-color images. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested, detailed bookmarks.

Kendra Leigh Speedling delivers with panache aplomb! The mountebank is a fantastic class – it manages to be recognizable as a hybrid class, while still sporting its very own and distinct identity AND playstyle. The class tackles complex concepts and remains easy to grasp and play while doing so. It sports innovative and fun rules and tricks that no other class can pull off. It plays really well, in spite of the notoriously difficult to fill skirmisher/debuffer role. In short, this represents one of the best, perhaps the best hybrid class I have reviewed so far. The only class I’d consider to be on par regarding this amazing offering would be Purple Duck Games’ Vessel. Yes, that good!

The mountebank is a glorious class; it is inspired, interesting and, most importantly, fun – 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class - Mountebank
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Everyman Minis: Gloom Discoveries
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2018 04:30:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 4.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All righty, after a brief introduction, we receive the gloom chymist archetype: These fellows replace bombs with glooms, which inflict 1d6 cold damage + Int-mod, +1d6 for every 2 alchemist levels beyond first – this otherwise is treated as bombs, but does NOT qualify as bombs for the purpose of prerequisites. Instead of poison resistance, poison use and swift poisoning, the archetype gains umbral gloom at 2nd level, which allows the gloom chymist to increase or decrease the light level by one step within the gloom’s splash radius, lasting Int-mod rounds. This decision must be made upon preparing glooms. At 8th level, the gloom chymist may expend two uses of daily glooms to increase/decrease light levels as per daylight/deeper darkness instead, using alchemist level as caster level- which is one cool idea!

The majority of the pdf then is devoted to gloom discoveries – these include doubling the splash radius for glooms,a dding a nauseating/sickening fume to the gloom…and pretty amazing: The alchemist can learn to create a crawling gloom: Place it, and it’ll move towards the target, crawling over objects etc. – the discovery is pretty amazing, and yes, the gloom has an AC and Ref-saves that scale. Blinding and deafening via a gloom and direct hits, confusing targets – the debuff options have sensible minimum level requirements. There is a fast bomb variant and the discoveries include a cool gravity option, which allows for some soft crowd control to the creatures in the splash radius, entangling them. Temporary fatigue can also be found.

Really cool would be options like masochistic gloom, which animates the shadow of a target that was directly hit – this requires an 4th level or higher extract slot expenditure, but animates the shadow to deal damage to its owner. Oh yes! High-level temporary petrification of targets is also neat.

Now, a significant part of the options would be devoted to living glooms: By using one gloom class feature use and a 1st-level extract slot, the alchemist can conjure a creature as per summon nature’s ally/monster I, adding the shadow creature template to the creature called. Higher spell-slots can be used for better summons. These gloom summons can be further augmented (analogue to the feat) with a discovery and another ones provides unique, expanded creatures to choose from, enhancing the unique flair of the discovery-tree. Finally, there is a complex one that lets the alchemist add extract levels to duplicate more potent summon spells, using ½ class level as limit. Cool! Speaking of which: Paired patches of shadow for dimensional bounce make sense and rock. The grand discovery lets the PC choose a discovery, which is then not counted as discovery to modify the gloom, applying it for free.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column standard, is printer-friendly and the full-color artwork is solid. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza delivers some cool alchemist options here: While less openly available than I’d like them to be, they offer a distinct and fun shadow-themes variant for the alchemist, one that made me really wish there’d be more space for it – the living and crawling glooms deserve expansion and frankly, I think that the gloom-concept could have carried more. That is just me complaining at a high level, though – well worth checking out! My final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Gloom Discoveries
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Star Log.EM-007: Duelist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/04/2018 02:16:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 1/3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 2/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, we access the archives of the Xa-Osoro system (I like how these little files strive to include such flavorful little bits) and the pdf provides a brief, fluff-only run-down of famous duelists, to be more precise, a by now famous cadre of legends.

After this brief intro, we move on to the archetype; envoys and operatives make probably the best duelists, courtesy of the focus on light and melee weapons- The duelist grants alternate class features at 2nd, 6th, 9th and 12th level. At 2nd level, we have uncanny defense, which halves the penalty to atk when fighting defensively (-2 instead of -4). At 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, you also increase the AC bonus gained from fighting defensively by 1. Important: This bonus does not stack with others and does not apply while wearing heavy armor or powered armor.

At 6th level, you gain parry: When you use a full action to execute a full attack with a melee weapon, you may forego one of your attacks. If you do, you may, at any time before your next turn attempt to parry an attack against you or an adjacent ally as a reaction. You may then roll an attack with the same bonuses (and penalties, I assume) of the foregone attack. If your attack roll exceeds that of the incoming attack, you parry it and it automatically misses. You may use this ability to parry melee and ranged attacks, as well as spells and other abilities that require attack rolls, but not effects that don’t require an attack roll. It is, at this point, no secret that I am not a big fan of the use of competing attack rolls in the more complex of d20-based games, but in this case, the lock-down that the action economy requires to activate this ability makes me somewhat okay with it….though personally, I would have employed SFRPGs different AC values to determine what can and cannot be parried, that remains a personal preference.

9th level builds on that with riposte: When you successfully parry, you may immediately make an attack against the foe that you parried. Note that, while you can parry ranged attacks, you cannot riposte them, since the ability works analogue to AoOs. 12th level yields crippling critical: When you critically hit a target with a melee weapon, you can substitute your choice of reduced speed, bleed damage and penalties to atk, AC or saves for the weapon’s regular critical hit effects.

The pdf also sports 2 new feats: Perfect Defense requires Bodyguard or parry and 7th level. As a minor nitpick: The benefit-line is not bolded. The feat lets you use either parry or the Bodyguard feat 3times per round, +1/round for every 4 levels beyond 7th. It should be noted that this does require a full action. In Harm’s Way is similarly enhanced, should you have it. A minor complaint here: It is a bit weird to me that, RAW, uncanny defense’s benefits do not apply when using this feat’s defensive stance. The second feat would be Combat Reflexes, which allows you to execute more AoOs per round – however, each beyond the first requires that you spend resolve, which makes sense to me in the context of SFRPG. It should be noted that Combat Reflexes may not be combined with Perfect Defense.

Now, remember the legendary duelists I mentioned? We learn more about the tradition they created and even get a code of conduct of sorts, adding some nice, flavorful bits to the end of the pdf.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not as impeccable as usual for Everyman Gaming. Layout adheres to the nice two-column full-color standard of the series and we get a nice full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ take on the legacy duelist is solid: It translates the core ideas to SFRPG, gets the interaction with the system done rather well…and left me, in spite of all that, with the slight feeling that the concept could have carried a bit more. If what you read above tickles your fancy, then the duelists will enrich your game; if not, then you will probably not be swayed by the pdf. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-007: Duelist
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Everyman Minis: Motherly Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2018 04:46:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, while this pdf is called “motherly” options, it should be noted that this is very much a parental book – one that takes the potential of adventurers with families and the resulting dynamics into account – so yeah, non-female characters can similarly benefit from the options presented herein.

The first of these would be the caretaker bard archetype, who is defined by 3 alternate bardic performances. The first replaces inspire courage and nets a single d10 reroll with a +1 competence bonus. An affected ally may only do so once per round of performance, but I am pretty sure that there is something amiss in the rules here: The power of a d20 reroll, with a bonus that increases by a further +1 at 5th level and every 6 levels thereafter, vastly eclipses inspire courage’s usefulness. While each ally can only benefit once per round (+1/round whenever the bonus increases!) from it, that is still really strong and should cost more – I think only one ally per round was supposed to be able to benefit from a reroll, something that got lost here – otherwise we have 4 rerolls per character! That would be insane!

8th level replaces dirge of doom and frightening tune with fly – this requires 4 rounds of continuous performance, but then behaves as though the spell was cast as a 3rd level bard spell. This is upgraded to mass fly at 14th level. Instead of deadly performance, the caretaker gains change of heart, allowing them to influence fascinated targets with a suggestion-like performance that acts as a geas/quest (italicization missing once) to fix dysfunctional relationships, as defined in Ultimate Charisma, and gains a bonus to do so – this is a really nice ability, though I wished a less potent version was gained sooner.

We also get a new paladin oath, the oath of guardianship, which replaces detect evil with double Cha-mod on Diplomacy (not a fan) and automatic successes of requests made to friendly targets. Smite evil is altered to smite creatures that harmed beings of lower age categories, granting bonus damage on the smite versus such targets instead of the usual undead/outsider/dragon-paradigm (nice). Instead of 6th level’s mercy, we get blindsense 60 ft. to detect creatures below the adult age category and the code and oath spells make sense.

The pdf also sports new spells, which btw. take ACG and Occult Adventures into account: Locate kin works like locate creature at a lower level, but only for kin; locate youngster follows a similar design paradigm. Mother May I is an interesting compulsion that begs to be used in a dark and rather twisted way – The subject is forced to ask for permission, requiring that they clearly state their intended actions, which you may deny via social skills! Cool! Soothing Kiss eliminates negative conditions and provides fast healing for the remainder of the spell’s duration. Finally, soulbound nanny creates a soulbound doll with your alignment and personality – it can use locate youngsters at will instead of its general alignment SP and you may designate it to nurture spellcasting ability modifier young ones. If it is destroyed, its memories are imparted on the caster. Can make for rather cool narratives!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious accumulations of hiccups. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf sports 2 nice full-color artworks. The pdf sports no bookmarks, but the pdf does not need them at this length.

Margherita Tramontano’s motherly options are per se nice: While the bard has some balance-issues, the cool and interesting spells do make up for that. As a whole, I consider this a worthwhile pdf, which, while not perfect, deserves a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Motherly Options
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Writing With Style: An Editor's Advice for RPG Writers
by John R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2018 12:00:14

Full disclosure: Ray edited my work when I wrote for WotC.

That said, I got spoiled by his input (and learned a great from it). This guide provides a great deal of his insight directly to writers. As he points out, Ray didn't write THE definitive style guide, but focused on the areas that he frequently sees when editing gaming material. Many authors setting out to make a name in the RPG/tabletop publishing realm bemoan the fact that they cannot afford an editor. In the earliest days of your career that can be true. But you CAN afford to pick up Ray's advise and I highly recommend you do.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Writing With Style: An Editor's Advice for RPG Writers
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Everyman Minis: Microsized Templates
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/29/2017 04:39:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, I absolutely ADORE Microsized Adventures. It made my Top Ten for a reason. It opens a whole new cosmos of cool rules, of adventuring possibilities and fun.

Well, this pdf, beyond explaining how the special size modifier works in context of PCs and foes that are radically shrunk/enlarged, sports an extremely high crunch-density: We basically get 8 microsized templates: These list not only the modifications applied to the microsized being (and the special size modifier), but also the modifications for the respective ordinary-sized foe. The differences in size range from one size category to eight size categories! In the latter case, PCs will suffer: They will inflict paltry damage and the CR of even harmless critters skyrockets. Fluffy the Cat suddenly is looking like a really sadistic Kaiju…

And that’s about it – this pdf is all about application and convenience. You can hand it out to your players and have them gulp. Or you can use it as an easy cheat sheet. Either way, it makes changes in size run smoothly and fluidly and thus qualifies as one of the rare, small pdfs that really enhance the game, far beyond what the page-count would make you believe.

Minor complaint: The seven size categories template has an incorrect damage value for the microsized creature: The value should be -28, not -15. Similarly, the saves noted for the by the six sizes step and the damage increase for ordinary creatures are both off, and so are save DCs, CMB and CMD for that step. While it took me a grand total of 30 seconds to calculate the correct values here, it’s still an annoying issue.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; however, the glitches in the templates do drag down what I’d otherwise consider to be a phenomenal resource. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s printer-friendly two-column standard and the full-color artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ templates here are convenient, easy to apply, well-presented and explained – in short, this pdf is a pure joy to work with, a really fun tool in the arsenal of the GM. Were it not for the glitches in two of the templates, I’d have praised this even more. While I personally consider them easy to fix, I am a pretty math-savvy fellow and as a reviewer, I can’t be lenient here. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars. If the minor hiccups don’t upset you, consider this 5 stars + seal instead; either way, I’d definitely recommend this handy file.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Microsized Templates
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Yuletide Terror
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/18/2017 04:30:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive Christmas mega-adventure clocks in at 119 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 6 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 107 pages of content, making this the single largest Christmas module I have ever read and played.

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

Before we dive into the main meat, let us talk about a couple of peculiarities: One: The layout in full-color is gorgeous and sports a ribbon on the right side of the page, which denotes the act/part of the adventure you’re currently in. This makes navigation more convenient, so that would be one plus. Another plus would be that we get a total of 4 pages of player-friendly maps for the battle/exploration-relevant sections, all in full-color – big kudos for their inclusion. It should also be noted that the adventure makes use of the PHENOMENAL skill challenge rules provided in the Skill Challenge Handbook.

You don’t have perhaps the single most important crunch-book I know, the thing that should be CORE? Well…you should get it. But even if you don’t, you won’t need it to run this adventure. Skill Challenges are easy enough to grasp so you won’t be puzzled by their inclusion. The appendix also explains the system, so you can run it easily. It should btw. also be noted that two new, nice occult rituals can be found herein, though I’ll comment on these when they become relevant.

It should also be noted that the adventure is set in the picturesque town of Hollyglen, which not only comes fully mapped and with proper settlement stats, but which features its own little summary in the appendix.

All right, and this is as far as I can go without going DEEP into SPOILER Territory. Only naughty folks would peek now, right? From here on out, only folks intending to GM the module should read on.

..

.

All righty, only GMs around? Great! So, the adventure very much is cognizant of various tropes associated with Krampus and Kringle – within the context of this adventure, Krampus is nothing short of a demi-god, one nasty fellow who was eventually vanquished by none other than Nicholas Krindl, fabled mortal herald of Odin. The Yuletide celebration is hence the commemoration of this epic victory. The PCs have arrived in the sleepy and picturesque town of Hollyglen, where they meet Melilion Parinda, local wizard, who, in the tradition of clueless folks in any dimension, is currently doing some hasty last-minute shopping. She invites the PCs to stay at her place, as a blizzard is approaching and all rooms at inns etc. are occupied. There is just one condition: The PCs should chaperone her son and his friends, while the adults attend a fancy gala. Thing is, her son Wesley is 13. (As an aside: The mansion is provided with detailed, nice full-color maps – as noted before, including a player-friendly version.) Beyond room descriptions, the respective events also come with proper read-aloud text, making the adventure, as a whole, really friendly towards GMs that are less confident in improvising captivating prose.

Yeah, he reacts as positive to babysitters as you’d expect. The young man and his friends do as I would have done in that age: He seeks to prank the PCs and make their life miserable. As an apprentice to the sorcerous arts, and with fellow kids that are similarly not ordinary, the PCs will have their hands full in a massive multi-phase skill-challenge. Now here’s the thing: The kids rank among the most well-rounded kid characters I have seen in pretty much any roleplaying game supplement: There are multiple reasons for that: For one, the kids come with full intrigue-style write-ups for social influences – and succeeding in gaining the trust of the kids will provide tangible benefits for the PCs during the adventure. This whole section only works because, well, the kids are proper characters, not annoying cardboard cutouts; the PCs may very well want to befriend them. (As an aside: If the full, social write-ups don’t suffice: The kids come with full-blown NPC-write-ups and detailed stories in the appendix. The adventure really goes above and beyond here.)

Now, know how I mentioned an occult ritual? Wesley tries to cast whisk away on the evening winds, one ritual, to send the PCs to the gala, embarrassing them and gaining a bit of independence. Alas, he makes a crucial mistake: The ritual’s second page is missing, and so he ends up casting a bastardized version of the ritual, using summon the bonded soul as the second half. The results are unexpected. You see, a certain demi-god like entity was just in the process of rekindling his divine power. The ritual interrupted that and ended up calling KRAMPUS. Yeah, the CR 21 Krampus. He is NOT amused.

Krampus walks all over the kids and PCs. He doesn’t kill anyone, but he will defeat them. Soundly. Wesley does have a wish that Krampus owes him…and so the entity tricks Wesley – he spares the kids and PCs, but banishes them to the Krampus Night demiplane, ripped from Krindl when he stole his legendary Crook! Oh, and guess what? Not only did Krampus effortlessly best the PCs. He also has the power of regression – he transforms the PCs into kids! (Here, you can make great use of Childhood Adventures – though, once again, the module has all relevant stats and rules for kid-PCs!)

Turned into children, the PCs and their wards find themselves in the nightmare manor, a horrid reflection of the Parinda manor (separate maps provided). In case you’re wondering: Yes, we get full-blown planar traits! Oh, and the challenges within the manor? They are really, REALLY amazing: Toy slags. A woodgolem made from toys…speaking of which: If the PCs have been good to the kids, they will help the kiddyfied PCs. Cool: The “request aid from kids”-component of the manor’s explanation actually sports proper rules! There are haunts that seek to enforce a polymorph via ribbons, clothes, etc. What about pied piping presents that may lead towards the hungry gullets of mimics? There are trompe l’oeils and redcap carolers (including a delightfully twisted variant of Deck the Halls…)…and the PCs may manage to find one of Krindl’s gnomes, who can fill them in on some particulars: The PCs will need to get the crook from Krampus – without it, the entity makes all the rules here…

At one point during the exploration, the PCs will have caused enough ruckus to attract Rethspalton, the mighty rodent king – and he is preparing a siege! The PCs won’t have long, but they will have some time…and this is perhaps one of the definite highlights in the module. Preparing for the siege is amazing: Fortifying doors, making traps – it’s AMAZING and one of the coolest mini-games I’ve seen in a long while: The PCs can, room by room, convert objects into raw materials! The module even comes with icons that you can place on the map, sample traps, etc. The rules here are amazing and the siege actually requires these tricks – the PCs will have to withstand no less than 5 waves of assailants and yes, e.g. the rodent king is a lavishly-crafted and potent foe.

Once the PCs have managed to withstand the hordes (or just before they fall to them), the friendly gnome will manage to activate the yuletide express figurine – all aboard the magical railway! The demiplane is Krampus’ domain, who has completely corrupted the Krindlworks…but there is hope: While the PCs have no real chance against the entity, Saint Nick may! Thus, the train is en route towards what remains of the Krindlworks…but once more, the foes are not sleeping: The (fully mapped) train will be attacked by deadly elementals…and if these fail to derail it (yes, badass fights on a winter train!!), Krampus will intervene and crash the train…which would be a good time to note that, even if PCs die here, they respawn, as they accumulate negative levels and Wisdom damage – there is no true death here, only the looming transformation into an allip at Wisdom 0. This also means that enemies slain by the PCs are not really dead – if they are smart and use nonlethal means of conflict resolution, they will possibly have an advantage. The module notes checkpoints, which are particularly helpful to avoid frustration when running this for a younger audience – but more on my discussion of that in the conclusion below.

You see, in Act III, the PCs make their way from the crashed train through the Krampus wilds, and there are quite a few neat optional encounters to increase the challenge; personally, I’d also advocate sending all foes really slain by the PCs after them once more: If they were just tied up, they probably are far away, but the respawning dynamics for NPCs are open enough to allow for that… (Adds an unobtrusive reward for behaving heroically…)

Making their way through the snow-blasted wilds, the PCs will have to contend with horrid Yuletide treants and a winter hag guarding the remains of the proud Krindlworks. It is also here that the PCs can encounter Chillsy. Chillsy is amazing. He is an awakened ice golem kineticist. He’s singing his own theme-song while fighting! To give you an excerpt: “Chillsy, the ice golem, is an overwhelming soul, with a kinetic blade and infusions bold and my cryokinetic cold..:” Come on, that is amazing! Exploring the Krindlworks, the PCs will have to contend with all manner of potent, animated gingerbread foes (led by a gingerbread witch!), a creepy poppet witch (still one of my favorites from Paranormal Adventures; as always, all relevant rules provided)…and remember Nightmare Before Christmas BBEG? Well, there is a representation of the Oogie Bogeyman! (worm that walks bogeyman – really cool!) This thing, as well as a potent orang-pedak, constitute a couple of the dangerous unique creatures that the PCs MUST defeat – for they hold parts of Krindl’s power, who, similarly turned into a child, is imprisoned here.

Once the PCs have managed to defeat the horrible lieutenants of Krampus and reassembled the crook, it’ll be time to face off against the entity once more – with a weakened, but still potent Krindl in their corner, they may actually have a chance against the shadowy vestige of the powerful Krampus – the boss fight is amazing: It sports a total of 3 phases, changes terrain and even has a phase, where the PCs fight on their own, caught within their minds – it is glorious and cinematic! Defeating the vestige returns ownership of the demiplane to Krindl and allows the PCs to spend, concealed by the mighty magic of Krindl, one day as kids…or, you know, the change could be permanent, requiring further quests…or, well, if they were defeated and you’re going for a horror-ending, the module even sports a “bad ending” of sorts, which could yield further adventures as well. (Fyi: The fully-powered stats of Krindl are epic: CR22/MR 6; Rudolph has an effective druid level of 20…)

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no undue accumulation of hiccups. Layout deserves special mention: It is GLORIOUS, full-color and really beautiful; the ribbon for chapters on the side is a nice comfort-plus. The module comes with a ton of original full-color artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Yuletide Terror is absolutely amazing. It makes use of all the diverse tools that PFRPG offers: Combat, skills, mini-games, social interaction – this is one of the most versatile modules I have read in a long while. This mega-adventures provides a level of quality you usually only get to see in Kickstarters. Alexander Augunas is a great author of crunch, but if this is any indication, he is similarly gifted when it comes to penning adventures; I frankly can’t believe that this is Alex’ first adventure, at least it’s the first one I got to read. Yuletide Terror is thoroughly impressive, from front to back – even if you do not have all the books used here, the module provides what you need, requiring none of them.

Now, there is bound to be the question regarding compatibility for kids: You see, here things depend WHOLLY on the GM and what the GM chooses to emphasize. I’d compare this to one of the darker 80’s kid’s movies. There are definitely some creepy elements here, so in general, I’d recommend that kids should be at least 8, with 10 being probably a kind of sweet spot. Then again, it’s impossible to make proper blanket statements here; heck, some adults can’t stand anything remotely spooky. A good benchmark would imho be labyrinth, nightmare before Christmas and last unicorn – if these work for your kids, then this adventure should as well.

Now, don’t get me wrong: While this can be run as a kid-friendly module, it is one that will challenge and entertain adults just as well; in fact, one could consider this a horror adventure, at least to a point; if you properly emphasize the macabre aspects here and there, then this can become pretty dark pretty fast…but ultimately, how you choose to run this mega-adventure is left up to your own tastes. Both playstyles perfectly work.

Anyway, that’s not the primary achievement of the module: The sheer diversity of challenges encountered, the great pacing and high-concept environments, the lovingly-made NPCS – when the structure, the crunch underlying this module, is analyzed, you’ll realize quickly how good this actually is. We have believable, sympathetic characters, we have an epic threat that requires heroes and a satisfying conclusion-array. The module is interesting from both a narrative, and a structural perspective. Furthermore, and that is a huge plus, at least for me, it is bereft of cynicism. Even if you emphasize the darker aspects when running this, the module very much breathes a sense of wonder and whimsy that is impossible to dislike.

This is not a cynic’s hatred for the holidays made module; instead, this is a lovingly crafted love-letter to all things Christmas-related, as seen through the lens of roleplaying storytelling. Yuletide terror is not only the most massive Christmas adventure I know, it also is, by far, the best. This is a masterpiece that breathes passion, care and is, frankly, fun. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that, even if you hate all things Christmas-related, you may still want to get this. Why? Well, you could still strip off the dressing and have an amazing adventure.

Yeah, at this point you probably won’t be surprised by my final rating: 5 stars + seal of approval. Oh, and yes, this is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017. Even beyond the holiday angle, this is a module that will be hard to beat.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Yuletide Terror
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The Genius Guide to Mythic Subpaths
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/15/2017 06:23:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Genius Guide clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page introduction, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what are mythic subpaths? In short, they are a kind of deviation/modification of an existing mythic path, somewhat akin to e.g. subdomains, one that comes in roughly 3 distinctions: Archetypical subpaths are only available to characters that chose the listed mythic path or paths. Racial subpaths are tied to the race noted and universal subpaths are available for, bingo, everyone. Mythic subpaths thus do sport some sort of prerequisite to qualify for them.

Okay, got that? Humans can choose the dilettante subpath, but need to meet no less than 3 (!!) categories for mythic boons in the adventure that led to ascension. The mythic surge is lowere by one die step for them, but they may gain Dual Path, Extra Path and the extra mythic feast 1st tier universal path ability multiple times; at 5th and 10th level an additional time, which is pretty potent. Instead of gaining a mythic feat, you may choose one of 4 different abilities, which include a champion’s mythic weapon training, path dabbling (synergy with Dual Path included), ultimate versatility (with more uses at 4th tier) and being treated as a fighter for feat prerequisites of human feats. Not the biggest fan of having ultimate versatility’s 3rd tier prerequisite potentially circumvented by the combination of this flexibility ability.

Halflings may select to become fortune’s favored – provided they rolled three natural 20s in the adventure that led to their ascension. They also must have adaptive luck to choose the subpath…and they are problematic: You seem they may use adaptive luck as mythic power interchangeably. That is an instant, massive increase of the most potent resource in the game. Not getting near my table. While this replaces the 1st tier ability and while the non-mythic feat selection restriction is nasty, this still is not a subpath I’d allow.

Herald of the Gods is universal and requires the selection of a patron deity, 1st tier nets you a domain – the spells you get there are cast via mythic power expenditure. Additionally, you can, at 6th tier, cast commune and may even use mythic power to do so as a free action. This one replaces all mythic feats gained as base mythic abilities. At 1st tier, the mythic subpath nets the 6th tier (!!) archmage’s sanctum path ability sans servants and you don’t have a door: You may acess it via mythic power and take 3 creatures per tier with you. Now, what’s amazing is this: The area expands and ties in with the kingdom building rules – you get to properly develop your sanctum as a form of paradise for your faithful, with higher levels providing a permanent gate to it! The subpath is locked into divine scourge at 3rd tier and every 3 tiers thereafter.

The legendary ruler universal path ability is another one I really enjoy – the path is all about being the ruler of a kingdom, enhances leadership, etc. – no complaints regarding this one. The lord of rebirth would be a samsaran-exclusive and requires that you die during your moment of ascension. If you do, you basically become a Dr. Who variant – you immediately reincarnate upon being slain…but only for a total of 13 times. This replaces hard to kill. You also get the sanctum at 1st tier and may expend mythic power while inside it to scry…and akin to the Tardis, you may place the door, though teleport restrictions apply. The Dr. Who reference is btw. earned – much like the Doctor, you temporarily lose mythic abilities when reincarnating, though this restriction becomes less imposing at 9th tier. Very flavorful!

The peacekeeper is exclusive to champion, hierophant, guardian and marshal, and requires that you ended a blood feud, war, etc. prior to ascension. The subpath restricts the choices for Dual Path and allows you to use surges to render all damage caused with attacks benefiting from it to non-lethal damage. The subpath also comes with a potent sanctuary aura and the option to replace mythic feats or path abilities with boons that enhance the aura, the elimination of a save against it for targets that worship the same deity, numerical escalation to Charisma-based checks to resolve conflict etc. – I like this one, particularly since you can help your allies being peaceful and efficient as well. Kudos

The nine-tailed heir kitsune subpath is per se interesting, but suffers a bit from the age of this book; you see, this Genius Guide was penned some time ago and was only recently released; Alexander Augunas has since then grown tremendously as a designer and while this is not bad, the kitsune subpath in particular pales before the amazing kyubi paragon he has penned since.

Now, the final 4 pages of this pdf are not devoted to more subpaths, but instead provide mythic feats. There is a reason for that, at least to an extent – the human-centric luck feats, for example. When compared to Legendary Games’ solutions for these feats (e.g. when looking at Bestow Luck, released in mythic mini #70), you’ll notice that the options presented herein gravitate to a higher power-level than LG’s – this does not make them bad, mind you, but it should be noted that the feats presented herein, e.g. the mythic version of Dauntless Destiny, focus on some serious escalation of numbers – you’ll see + tier daily uses of limited use feats, tier added to rolls etc. here. This does not hold universally true, mind you – LG’s mythic rules support has the massive advantage of being able to draw on a vast resource of mythic feats, spells and path abilities, though for mythic core-centric gameplay, e.g. this pdf’s take on Critical Versatility may be the more down to earth one. LG’s solutions, in direct comparison, tend to favor mythic surges a bit more often than the ones featured herein.

Now, just to make that clear – I don’t begrudge this pdf the inclusion of these feats, not in the slightest; however, considering the redundancy aspect and LG’s MASSIVE array of books that support mythic gameplay, I’d remain with LG’s solutions here, if only to maintain overall consistency. Not a fault of the pdf, mind you…but ultimately, I wished the book provided more subpaths instead.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal and rules-language level are very good. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with solid color stock art and is fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Now, I’ve said as much above – you can very much see the increase in design skills Alexander Augunas has acquired since penning this book. On the plus side, several of the subpaths herein are absolutely amazing and flavorful and should be considered to be fun. On the downside, we have, at times, needless escalation of numbers (which is already an issue in mythic gameplay) and a couple of high-tier options that are unlocked earlier; while this doesn’t HAVE to yield issues, it should receive some contemplation on part of the GM. Not all options herein are for every game and escalations in mythic power availability are a big no-go as far as I’m concerned, being one of the very few things mythic characters need to carefully manage.

That being said, there are some definite gems herein, which may warrant getting this book – as such, I consider this to be pretty much a mixed bag and thus rate it 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to Mythic Subpaths
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Everyman Minis: Spells of Childhood
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2017 04:16:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Everyman Minis-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD,1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, in case you’re wondering – while, as a whole, perfectly capable of being used on its own, this pdf ultimately should be seen as an expansion to Everyman gaming’s Childhood Adventures-book, which focuses on all the aspects of playing kid/adolescent PCs.

As the introduction noted, magic for kids and children may actually have a different focus than that of adults – the priorities and, indeed, way in which the world is perceived, is different. This does NOT, however, make them change their priorities – kids want adult magic and have smart concepts of what would be useful and what wouldn’t. Instead of thus thinking of children as different in their sensibilities, the focus of the spells herein is on the experience of childhood and its aspects – and what would have been fun to have in a world where we could grow up with magic powers.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that the first spell herein is the alter meal cantrip, which can change taste of food or drink, diminish or enhance flavors (since I’ve been a chilli-head since early childhood, I’d know what I’d prefer!) or fix flaws in food presentation; the spell does not repair poisoned or diseased food etc. (and wouldn’t help my IRL allergies), but still -reading it, I could see the magical prodigy casting it on all foods to make the pesky greens taste better.

For children, not yet equipped with a fully functional moral compass in many cases, authority is important, a fact that also translates to the pecking orders in social groups and when interacting with the adult world; as such, assume authority could come directly from a funny hijinxs movie – it allows the caster to impersonate a position of authority when interacting with targets. Radical appearance taps into the same vein of thinking, but instead focuses on making the character look particularly cool – which translates to a morale boost AND to potentially being accepted easier by a clique or organization, as you totally get them. (The starting attitude improves.)

Fingerpaint is a particularly rare cantrip, occluded in history…sorry, just kidding. The cantrip lets you secrete paint from the fingers, though the pdf, amusingly, uses the word “Secret” instead…hence my lame attempt at a joke. Gross globule is amazing – it’s basically a nauseating water-bomb! Come on, ladies and gents, I know that a couple of you also enjoyed gross-out battles with algae, dried worms, etc. To me, that spell felt most definitely like something a magical prodigy would research! Humiliating trick is a 2nd level spell that allows you to perform at-range combat maneuvers – cool here, from a mechanical perspective: Each use decreases the duration of the spell and no, grapple isn’t in the cards.

Finally, there would be…the magical tea party! This 3rd level spell conjures forth and animates all the things you’d require for a proper tea party (no, the animated objects can’t fight for you) and the spell fortifies you against diseases, sickened conditions, etc. and allows even for rerolls. The spell is tightly codified, flavorful…and frankly, I can see devoted servant characters, battle butlers/maids etc. cast this one as well. My first associations here were Alice and then a variety of anime inspired by Victorian aesthetics…so yeah, definitely not a kid-only spell!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are, as a whole, very good on formal and rules-language levels. Layout adheres to the relatively printer-friendly 2-column standard of the series and the artwork features is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ spells related to childhood and childhood whimsy are a well-crafted little collection; they make sense, cover all the classes (ACG + Occult support), are flavorful and make sense, not just within the context of kid-PCs. Heck, jester-type characters can have a field day with these as well and there are plenty of other, flavorful uses for this collection!

As a whole, I enjoyed this mini and thus will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Spells of Childhood
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Star Log.EM-004: Assassin
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/27/2017 04:16:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log. EM-series of minis clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages, including the usual introduction, so let’s take a look!

See, this archetype is a great example why I like Starfinder’s pretty open archetype-system – Assassins should be varied! There’s a reason I adore the more modular solutions presented for Assassin concepts in Pathfinder (most notably, the great Modular Assassin by Interjection Games and the exciting Assassins of Porphyra by Purple Duck Games). But I digress.

The assassin-archetype presented herein grants alternate class features at 6th, 9th, 12 and 18th level.

6th level nets Death Attack. In order to use the ability, you must succeed a Bluff, Disguise or Stealth check against 20 + 1.5 times the target’s CFR; the respective checks are properly codified. On a failure, the target notices you as a threat, preventing you from performing death attacks against it for 1 day unless you spend 1 Resolve Point. Okay, is that an action? I assume not, analogue to many envoy improvisations, but I still think it would have been nice to see it explicitly stated. You must study the target for 3 consecutive round, and after that, you may move up to your base speed and then perform the death attack as a full-round action.

The death attack must be executed with a melee or ranged weapon that you’re proficient with or a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action that deals Hit Point Damage and requires an attack roll against the target’s respective appropriate AC. Minor complaint – personally, I probably would have specified that the means of delivery determine the AC used, but that is pure aesthetics and won’t influence the verdict. If you hit with these paradigms, you deal normal damage to the target, the victim must succeed a Fort-save (governed by your key ability score modifier) and either be temporarily paralyzed or take bonus damage governed by item levels of the weapon in question. Nice for fans of the Starfarer’s Companion: 9th level-spellcasting classes get their spell-levels translated alongside Starfinder’s regular 6-level spellcasting progression. If the damage exceeds the remaining hit points, the target must succeed a second Fortitude save…or he’s dead – no bartering, no resolve – dead. You can’t make death attacks with unwieldy or explosion weapons or those that require a full action to attack. Spring Attack and Shot on the Run synergy are provided. It should btw. be noted that death attacks are NOT death effects!

9th level yields Hide in Plain Sight, already hinted at in Starfinder’s Hide skill use of Stealth, makes an appearance here – it pretty much does what you expect: Hide while observed, provided you have some sort of cover etc. The ability concisely defines interaction with darkvision etc. and other senses. At 9th level, there would be quiet death, which lets you make successful death attacks that kill (but oddly, RAW, not those that paralyze – why?) silent via Stealth. Pretty much the lack of the paralysis-option’s an oversight here. The 19th level ability enhances death attack: You can spend Resolve Points to reduce the number of rounds required for death attacks to a minimum of 1 round (2 Resolve) –spending Resolve this way doesn’t take an action, fyi. Additionally, foes slain via death attacks crumble to dust, preventing the more common ways of returning the dead to life.

The last 0.5 page is devoted to the contextualization of the assassin archetype within the Xa-Osoro system shared by Everyman Gaming and Rogue Genius Games – we hear about the Dragonheir Concordance corporation, a ruthless kobold mining corporation; we learn about the roles of freelancers, the deoxyian gene-trading goliath helix and Sanguinary stewards, sworn to protect the coffins of the vampire lords – some cool angles here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series. The pdf comes with a solid full-color artwork and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’ assassin had me start rather skeptically – the Skill-check based mechanic may yet be unhinged, as Starfinder, so far, is a very young system. That being said, the strict limitations in place and the relatively conservative formula mean that, basic math-wise, this will, at least for not, not come apart – and after that, the archetype still has some knobs to turn, so kudos there – smart design. I generally liked this archetype, though e.g. the oversight regarding silent paralyzing struck me as odd – particularly, since, as the pdf discusses at first, this THANKFULLY does not sport the evil-only alignment-caveat. It discusses that component, but yeah. Sooo, how to rate this. I did enjoy this supplement, though, frankly, I would have liked to see some benefits for less optimal assassin-weapon-choices; RAW, range is pretty much king here, since the studying doesn’t have a range. That makes sense in Starfinder’s universe, obviously, but yeah, consider that to be a bit of a lost chance in my book. Ultimately, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars – a solid take on the concept, on the positive side; as impressive as the death attack engine is, I wished the archetype sported a bit of internal differentiation. Considering the limited page-count of the mini, I will definitely round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-004: Assassin
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Everyman Minis: Black Blade Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/22/2017 05:28:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what do the options herein do? Basically, we get archetypes that modify the black blade (a deservedly popular choice) gained by e.g. the bladebound magus archetype. Since they are archetypes, they must be taken as whole packages – analogue to regular archetypes, there’ll be no cherry-picking here.

Okay, so, before we take a look at the archetypes in question, it should be noted that the pdf also sports two new magus arcana: Black Blade Endowment lets the magus spend points from his black blade’s arcane pool to add a selection of special weapon properties to the black blade. This consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. The bonuses persist for as long as you don’t reuse the ability. Okay, I am pretty sure that a line went missing at one point: As written, it looks like the ability consumes the black blade’s enhancement bonus temporarily, acting as a cap to e.g. prevent low-level vorpal, which is good – however, the arcana fails to note how much arcane points the enhancement costs. I assume that the cost in arcana points is equal to the base price modifier of the properties. But then again, is it intentional that you could recover the arcane pool points while retaining your current, favored combination? The arcana should really spell out not only that you need to spend points (it does that), but also how many. Oookay, number 2 would be Learned Blade, which nets you Breadth of Knowledge while wielding the blade.

The pdf contains a total of 3 different black blade archetypes – the first would be the ancestral blade, who gets mental attributes equal to 10 +1/2 the magus’s level, with an ego of 10 at 3rd level that increases by 3 every 3 levels thereafter. These blades gain 2 skill points per HD of the magus and treat skills based on the mental attributes as class skills. It may only use them within its given sense-reach. However, the magus determines the enhancement bonus at -3 levels. Below 2nd level or less, the magus may not apply the enhancement bonus on weapon damage rolls. At 5th level, the blade’s senses reach to 30 ft. with both low-light and darkvision. 9th level extends that to 60 ft. and grants the ability to speak and understand all the magus’s languages. 13th level increases this by a further +30 ft. and adds read magic; 17th by a further 30 ft. – and also unlocks blindsense 30 ft. This replaces energy attunement.

The second archetype would be the dragonsoul blade – you choose one dragon from a massive table that includes esoteric, primal, imperial and outer dragons alongside the classics. This determines the damage type that the altered energy attunement works with: At 5th level, the magus can spend 1 point from his blade’s arcane pool to alter the damage of the blade to the type associated with the dragon. No, umbral dragon based blades, who gain negative energy, cannot heal undead by whacking them – nice catch! The dragon chosen also determines the 13th level ability – the magus can point the blade at a foe to generate a breath weapon of sorts for 1 arcane point from the blade’s pool, with a 1d4 cooldown. This replaces transfer arcana. 19th level yields a 1/day form of the (exotic/alien) dragon III with additional uses costing 3 points – minor complaint: While it’s easy to default to a standard action for the Su, it would have been cleaner if the ability stated its activation action. This replaces life drinker.

The final one would be the levialogian blade (after the amazing monsters introduced in Paranormal Adventures), who must be evil. The blade is hungry, and to gain any powers from it, the master must feed it the equivalent of 1 point of Constitution damage of his body’s flesh per day. The blade has 3 + its Int-mod arcane pool points and at 3rd level, is symbiotically linked to the magus. As a swift action, the magus may sheathe his blade in his own body. He may similarly draw it quickly and somewhat grotesquely. Losing the blade lets the magus regrow it in a special ritual. This replaces unbreakable and Alertness. At 5th level, as a free action, the magus can spend a point from his blade’s pool to cause it to erupt in screaming, gnashing maws – think “Soul Edge.” This Makes the weapon cause bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage and ignore DR and hardness for the attack. If used to sunder, this adds +1 to the sunder check for every 3 magus levels of the wielder. This effect only applies to the next attack made or until the end of the magus’ turn. Love the visuals here, but don’t like the DR/hardness-ignoring – a scaling decrease of the two would have imho been more elegant. Instead of teleport blade, 9th level allows the magus to spend 1 point of the levialogian blade’s pool to change its weapon type as though it was a transformative weapon – any light or one-handed weapon is game, even bludgeoning weapons.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, a couple of minor hiccups have crept into the designs here. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column full-color standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The artwork featured is nice and, as always, the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I really adore the visuals and concepts of 2 of the three archetypes herein – and the third one is nice as well. I really like the customization options they offer. At the same time, I did stumble over one minor oversight and one bigger, rules-relevant hiccup and I’m not perfectly sold on the blade of maws’ DR/hardness-ignoring properties. Still, in spite of these complaints, I consider Alexander Augunas’ black blade options well worth checking out – they are unique and pretty cool – dragonsoul and levialogian blade in particular just beg to be used as high-concept options. In the end, my final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Black Blade Options
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