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Forever Young (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/21/2017 07:52:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This brief pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, there is some merit to playing kids. For one, if your players ARE kids, it may make sense to start playing as kids and then transition to adult adventurers after e.g. a “formative” adventure in youth; similarly, adult adventurers turned into kids can be a nice change of pace. In PFRPG, the massive toolkit “Childhood Adventures” makes for a great way to depict all the eventualities, but at least to my knowledge, no such toolkit exists for 5e…apart from this one.

Now, before we start, it should be noted that the focus here is strictly on the “start playing as kids”/formative adventure-angle; everything beyond that is beyond the scope of this pdf. It costs $1.00. What did you expect?

So, how does this pdf go about codifying kids? We begin with a child creation outline: The book knows three age categories: Infant (which you won’t play), young child and adolescent. The pdf recommends point buy for stats and advises to not have a kid buy a stat higher than 12 before modifications: Young children get 7 points, adolescents 14. Alternatively, one ability score array for young children and adolescents can be found.

Children, as depicted here, do not have a class. Instead, they have 4 + Con/racial modifier hit points, AC 10+ Dex-mod, initiative 0 + Dex mad and saves equal to 0 + related ability/racial modifiers. Human and elven kids have a speed of 20 feet, dwarves 15 ft. Okay, I assume that, analogue, Halflings and Gnomes also should have a 15 ft. speed, while half-orcs, tieflings etc. also have a speed of 20 ft. – unfortunately, the pdf needs you to extrapolate these values – slightly inconvenient. Now, granted, the pdf does clarify that later, but not in the first summary of the basics.

We do get a big adjusted height and weight-table, which is nice. The pdf then proceeds to list universal child adjustments: This notes “Speed: 10 ft.” – considering the formula, I am pretty sure a minus is missing here. Darkvision is halved for young children, while adolescents get full darkvision. Language-wise, young kids get the racial tongue, adolescents a secondary language. Young children have no proficiency bonus, while adolescents have a +1 proficiency bonus. Dragonborn are a special case – they get their draconic ancestry and damage resistance as the adult. Their breath weapon comes in two versions. Weird: Young children have a 1d4-2 5 ft.-range breath weapon that recharges every 1d6 minutes. I get the flame-burp-joke, but since that’s less than at higher age…it felt weird to me.

A handy table lists the racial stat bonuses for young children (usually one +2 and one +1; exceptions: Half-elf gains +1 to any three, humans +2 to one stat – though these gain +1 proficiency bonus) and abilities based on race: Lightfoot Halflings get lucky and naturally stealthy, for example. The second table lists them for adolescents – all races get +1 to all stats and some further abilities. Now, here is something that’s a bit weird. Some young children gain proficiency bonus +1; adolescents gain proficiency bonus +1. It feels strange to me that their advantage in development is lost upon reaching adulthood. The pdf does provide some general notion of the idea of playing kids long-term, suggesting 2 to 3 ability score gains per level. We close with stats for rats and spiders – challenge 0 threats that net 10 XP.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good; while I noticed a few aesthetic hiccups like missing blank spaces and dots, nothing serious. Layout adheres to Tribality Publishing’s nice two-column full-color standard with photographs of toys etc. as artwork – works rather nicely! The pdf has no bookmarks, which, at this brief length, constitutes a minor comfort-detriment.

Alton Bailey and Ralph Clark have provided an unpretentious, handy little booklet. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t provide a massive, exhaustive campaign toolkit, but it works rather well for its intended purpose – if you e.g. want to go a route similar to “Tales of Graces F” and start with childhood hijinxs, then this should have you covered. For the low and fair price point, this is worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forever Young (5E)
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Genies (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/08/2017 05:14:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with an impressive 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Know what’s curiously underdeveloped in 5e so far? Well, d’uh, genies. As such, we begin with a summary of the psyche and social organization of genie-kind, speaking of the addictive qualities of genie-power (if you’re fluent in German, the underground-rockband Caputt made a whole album on the concept: “Djinndustrie”, which translates to genie-industry…); genies are potent, but as you can e.g. tell from the efreet as depicted in Catherynne M. Valente’s second book of the Orphan Tales saga, their interaction with mortals is more complex than you’d expect – the boundaries of master and slave are fluid and their elemental natures have, for a long time, made them significantly more interesting, at least to me, than most other denizens of the elemental planes.

After a brief general overview, we begin with short descriptions of the ruling bodies/organizations of the genies: From the blazing citadel (get City of Brass’ boxed set if you can!) to the Earthen Court, the House of the Tempest and finally, the Vigilant Council, these organizational contexts help elucidate the alien nature of genies – it may be a small thing for you, but I absolutely love that we get some proper lore to contextualize them. The write-ups on the respective ideologies are inspired indeed. From this context, we move on to not just some paltry, general stats (which would probably become invalid as soon as WotC publishes “official” genie material) – instead, we focus on unique NPCs, one for each of the elements.

One of the sultans serving the pasha of the Earthen Court gains the title “Armor of Mercy” – in this instance, that would be mighty Khem-Nefer, who clocks in at an impressive challenge 16. He is frickin’ EPIC. He comes with legendary actions and is nigh unstoppable. Why? Not only can he turn into sand to pursue his foes, he also gains massive healing when he does not expend all of his legendary actions. Oh, and resistance to physical damage when he acts that way. Really cool, though, apart from a very minor formatting hiccup, the clinging sand ability: I get that creatures can pass it on (which is cool!), but what does “become inundated with clinging sand” mean, rules-wise? As written, it seems to be just a set-up for his petrifying legendary action, but sense-wise, the ability feels like it could inflict a condition like restrained. Just sayin’. On the plus-side, we actually also doe get lair actions for his earthen keep! These are cool, though a spell-italicization is missing.

Nafurat Min Al-Atham would be the Fountain of Misdeeds, who also clocks in at a mighty challenge 16. Once again, we have cool interactions with legendary actions – this time around, the option to target creatures adjacent to the target of his attacks. Now, as I am a hardcore bastard, I will make this bonus damage drench targets – something that RAW only the geyser ability does (which, oddly, deals cold damage). Why? Because drenched targets may be drowned via a legendary action that costs 2 of them. And it makes more sense in game. I get the rationale for the design as written, but personally, I think water bursts and torrents strong enough to cause damage should qualify as drenching foes. We get lair actions as well – beyond missed spell-italicization, one duplicates a spell that has at-higher levels variants and thus may have warranted a note there – just as a cosmetic observation. This would be as well a place as any to note that, while as a whole the average damage-values can be found herein, they are not present everywhere – they are e.g. missing from one lair action of Khem-Nefer, Nafurat Min Al-Atam’s torrent bonus damage…you get the idea. This does not impede the functionality of the genies, but yeah. Something to be aware of.

The champion of fire depicted herein would be Nahas Al-Aizdira, the Lady of Clanging Bells (once again, you guessed it, challenge 16), follows a similar design: We get a reflexive fire shield for retaining legendary actions, and one of them costs 2 legendary actions for a particularly nasty effect – but requires the setting-up via another feature, namely immolate. Problematic here, from a rules-integrity perspective: “A creature that is immolated..:” is the requirement – and RAW, the immolate ability does not “immolate” targets – it just renders them frightened and deals continuous fire damage. Yes, it’s clear what’s meant, but still. As the other genies, she can turn into her element while moving, but unfortunately, this movement, oddly, does not cause fire damage to targets. Here, a bit less redressing and more customization would have made sense. This would be as well a place as any to note that “attacks of opportunity” do not exist in 5e – the correct terminology is “opportunity attacks.”

The final of the mighty genies, Murat Al-Huzn, the Mirror of Sorrow, follows the same design paradigm established for the other genies. One of his legendary actions, alas, is a mess: He creates copies of up to 3 different creatures he can see. Okay, where? Next to him? Next to the creatures? At any place? These copies mimic the actions of the copied targets. Okay, do they roll their own attacks or use the ones of the characters they copied? No idea. I get what this tries to do, but RAW, this doesn’t work. That being said, the 2-action cost legendary action of this fellow is properly codified (though missing average damage values).

The second chapter of the pdf is devoted to exclusive spells of the genies: 4 cantrips are provided, which include a conjured bow that fires arrows of lightning, an earthen shield that protects against mundane missiles, a lance of fire that you can hurl or wield in melee and a maul that deals cold damage and grants temporary hit points. These cantrips are interesting and suggested classes are noted – though it should be said that all are pretty potent. Big plus: Each spell comes with a flavor-paragraph that makes it feel more than just a collection of rules. We also get 1st and 4th level spells for each of the elements. Cool regarding the 1st-level spells: They interact with the cantrips! They have regular benefits and basically allow for the buffing of the cantrips for a combo choice that enforces player agenda – in the example of the lightning arrows, you create e.g. static fields of lightning. Pretty cool concepts! That being said, the spells note “The next [insert cantrip name] you cast before the end of your turn (the spells can be cast as bonus actions) creates xyz…” – does this mean that only one such cantrip spell is enhanced during the 1-hour duration? Or does this apply to ALL of them? The latter would be pretty overkill…A discharge/end-wording-caveat would have made sense here.

The self-buffs gained at 4th level are pretty cool, sporting 3 benefits (one has 4): One resistance, and one or more special action/bonus action/reaction options. The final spell, blessing of the wind princess, fails to specify to what the reaction-use applies, though. Power-wise, they are all pretty potent.

The final chapter deals with 11 genie-themed magic items. These are pretty cool: The armor of the martyred Khedive sports three defensive abilities, powered by its charges; beads of miracles generate major illusions (spell slot properly noted!), which is cool. The sentence: “typically, 1d4+1 beads of farce[sic!] are bound together.” Is, however, symptomatic of the editing glitches that haunt this pdf. Carpets that burst into flames, heavy dinnerware that can be used as weapons (inflicting what type of damage?), a gem that can add fire damage to bows…interesting. Pretty potent: There is a globe that nets advantage on initiative and lets you swap initiative with the target, over which the globe hovers. Okay, so how far can it hover? Is it restricted by boundaries? Do you get to choose your ally? What is the trigger-requirement for the reaction? Cool idea, problematic execution. Gloves that can grant necrotic damage claws or summon insect plagues, a cursed hat the nets stinking cloud, but penalizes your Charisma checks and saves, a weapon blessed by water, which helps versus ice…there are a lot of cool items here. On an aesthetic side, e.g. the spear of the earthen court lacks the bullet point type presentation of aforementioned armor, which was weird, but is not something I’d penalize this booklet for.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are the crux of this pdf – they feel rushed on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the artworks are the photography-stlye pictures I’ve come to expect from and like in Tribality’s offerings. The pdf lacks bookmarks, which constitutes an unnecessary comfort detriment.

Damn. You know, I love Colin McLaughlin’s genies for 5e. I really do. They OOZE passion, flavor and play well; the GM gets some nasty, cool tricks to pull off here. While all use the design design-paradigm, that may be intentional to create a sense of cohesion. It’s not what I’d consider problematic. However, I do believe that some modifications to account for elemental peculiarities would have made them shine even more. The spells and magic items, while not perfect, also breathe a deep love of the subject matter, and are, dare I say it, inspiring. This pdf has all the components of a 5 star + seal of approval gem. While there are no artworks for the genies, I have always preferred substance over shiny artworks; give me a cool critter sans art over a broken mess any day of the week.

Which brings me to the issue at hand: As inspired as this is, it seriously could have used a strict editor. I stopped counting formatting hiccups at one point. There are a lot of missed italicizations etc. More relevant and pretty grievous: There are issues in the rules-language that compromise the RAW functionality of the options herein, minor hiccups in the math…you get the idea. They accumulate to the point where I can’t unanimously recommend the pdf as much as I’d dearly love to. While the small glitches accumulate, it is the big ones that truly drag this down from the lofty rating-perches that it deserves.

Don’t get me wrong – I can totally see where all the raving reviews for this file come from: At $2.95, this offers a neat bang-for-buck ratio and oozes flair. I like to picture roleplaying game design as both an art and a craft: The artistry can’t be taught; you either have it, or you don’t. This pdf has this component, in spades. It does falter, however, in the department of craftsmanship – not in the general craft of the design itself, mind you. The overall impression a cursory analysis provided, was one of a file I’d celebrate for being amazing. But once you take a look at the details, the issues accumulate, the imperfections show. The good news is: This aspect can be learned rather easily.

This is, to my knowledge, the author’s freshman offering - it is thoroughly impressive for that. But at the same time, not even the freshman bonus that I grant new authors can make me round up here; for that, the obvious and often glaring minor hiccups are too numerous. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down. I hope this will be revised at one point. Dear author, if you read this: Please don’t be disheartened. Keep creating. You have potential.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Genies (5E)
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Through Their Own Eyes (5E)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2017 11:19:27

Through Their Own Eyes: New Personality Features for Fantasy Races for D&D 5e presents good roleplaying tools for constructing nonhuman characters. It is entirely support for character building and is quite helpful for those interested in playing nonhuman characters.

Through Their Own Eyes: New Personality Features for Fantasy Races for D&D 5e by Brandes Stoddard and published by Tribality Publishing is what you would expect, new traits for fantasy cultures tied to the traditional type of fantasy folk. The layout is clear with thematic color photographs for illustrations.

For each dwarves, elves (surface and drow), halflings, gnomes, half-orcs, dragonborn, tieflings, aasimar, goblins, and kobolds there is a short paragraph with thoughts on their culture. Then each of either six or eight options for personality traits (gnomes get ten options here, the only ones that do), ideals, bonds, and flaws to mix and match with those from backgrounds.

The only layout issue is that the notes on aasimar culture are repeated, it is not a lot of wasted space but some more thoughts on aasimar would be interesting. While primary player oriented, a DM can get some food for thought about the nonhuman cultures in their campaign world as well.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review. Also, Brandes is a friend of mine and one of the players in my original Sea of Stars campaign, but I like to think that did not influence this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Through Their Own Eyes (5E)
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Through Their Own Eyes (5E)
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2017 20:42:10

Great utility item. I would love to see more product like this. Its a great price and plays in the design space that the "big books" put out by the larger publishing houses aren't likely to flesh out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genies (5E)
by Jeremiah M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 19:44:45

This is not what you might expect. It is not a new set of monsters or new pc classes allowing them to become genies. There are options related to that, but it is not the point of the book. It is instead a mythology of Genies you can drop into your game with associated game elements (spells, magic items, creature stats) to tie into that mythology. That is a much harder thing to do and do right. I think Colin succeeds here. Definitely worth a read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genies (5E)
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Three Sorcerous Arts (5E)
by Jeremiah M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 19:38:41

So, this is a good book. It offers some useful alternate choices in Sorcerors. The alternate Sorcerous Origins are all thematically interesting and are not unballanced while offering interesting things to do. I have played with the Royal Sorcery option and had fun. It allows for a very different style of play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Three Sorcerous Arts (5E)
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Through Their Own Eyes (5E)
by Jeremiah M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2017 19:28:19

This is a pretty simple idea for a product, yet it is something I am surprised Wizards of the Coast had not done already on their own. Races in fantasy worlds are often distinct from human cultures. They have seperate identities and cultural touchstones, so it is not unreasonable to believe they might have a different set of personality traits in common. This is a simple book with personality traits for the other races, based on their races cultural identity.

Also, from aqvisual design sense, it is lovely. I want the cover as a poster.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Through Their Own Eyes (5E)
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Through Their Own Eyes (5E)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2017 15:27:33

So simple a product and yet so much flavorful.

Also, so easily adapted to all campaigns and tables.

An easy hit.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Steampunk Adventurers (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2017 05:24:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page inspirational reading list, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with a new background, the fortune teller, who gains proficiency in Insight and Deception as well as one type of fortune teller's tools. They also get one language of choice and the aforementioned tools, set of a traveler's clothes, a costume and a 15 gp-pouch. The fortune teller can decide or roll a specialty from a list of 10 - face reading, astrology - a charlatan's paradise. Fortune tellers can earn money almost everywhere and those that have their fortune read usually want to believe you, which nets you advantage on the Insight or Deception check made to BS them. The fortune teller employs, fittingly, the charlatan background's table. There also would be a variant guild artisan, the apothecary, whose skill proficiencies include Investigation and Medicine, with Herbalism kit and apothecary's tool as tool proficiency. Starting equipment-wise, we get a herbalism kit, merchant's scales, traveler's clothes, a diploma/certificate and 15 gp. They may either choose the standard guild artisan features or a new one, "The Right Medicine.", which decrease the recuperation periods of poisons and diseases and grant advantage on the Con-save for those that receive the proper treatment.

Next up would be an arsenal of different weapons and armor: interesting: An assassin's outfit conveys advantage on Stealth checks, while scrap plates and higher impose disadvantage. And yes, the assassin outfit, beyond cultural stigma, also is balanced by the non-existent AC-improvement. Regarding weaponry, we have batons/truncheons, brass knuckles, canes...and chainsaws, which may smash foes prone on a failed contested Dex-check. We also have chain whips which threaten a critical hit on a 19 and 20 (pretty potent), swords and pistols hidden in canes, boomerangs, gunblades and gun axes, blunderbusses (which can fire 15.-ft. cones at short range) and lightning damage causing alternate pieces of ammunition.

Beyond these deadly tools of the trade, we do get adventuring gear, from goggles and hats (and, as a goth, I can attest to the Steampunk-crowd's obsession with these...) to lighters and ink cartridges. Proper supplies for investigators and apothecaries as well as herbalists complement an overall potent and well-crafted item-section.

The pdf also contains 3 feats: Firearms Expert nets firearm proficiency and prevents disadvantage when firing firearms in close combat and bonus action attacks with firearms when attacking with a one-handed melee weapon. Nimble increases Dex by 1, to the cap of 20 as well as +1 AC when wearing light or no armor. Thirdly, Tinkerer increases Int by 1 to the cap of 20, proficiency with artisan's tools (tinker's tools) and allows you to create Tiny clockworks that temporarily work unless you maintain them -up to three may be active at a given time. The devices may be clockwork toys, fire starters or music boxes.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Tribality's unique, photo-style standard in full-color, with the picture of the clockwork bird on the last page being my favorite. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a minor comfort detriment. The pdf does come with a second version for mobile devices that is significantly smaller in size.

Shawn Ellsworth's steampunk adventures represent a nice basic toolkit to add a sprinkling of steampunkish goodness to your game. The new items are concisely presented and, while potent, should not unhinge a game. Now, there obviously is a LOT, LOT more that I'd consider mandatory regarding steampunk rules; gadgets, magic, class options, etc. - but this pdf costs 2 lousy bucks and provides some great, fun basics. While this left me wanting more, it provides a surprising amount of content and covers a lot of the standards. As such, this is well worth getting as a starting point, though GMs obviously should not expect to get a complete steampunk toolkit/setting. If you engage this pdf as intended, it delivers some fun options and is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Steampunk Adventurers (5E)
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Three Sorcerous Arts (5E)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2017 09:01:15

The man walked in the inn. He was plain, at least at a first glance. But as soon as people saw him better, there was something special about him. Noone could tell, but there was this...quality. Two hours later, the man stepped out of the inn. People followed, they followed their king.

"You'd better not upset her", said Draph to Kenrick. "You know how she is when she's upset and the moon is not full, yet". Kenrick snorted as a reply. "Yo Kessa, be a good girl and fetch me the bladder, will ya?" A spray of water right on the chest and a close meeting with the back wall was all the response he got.

It was said that the Ice Mages came from the wastes en masse. The legends say of these mages that shaped ice as they willed and they stopped their foes on their tracks just by looking at them. Up to this day the Ice Mages were but a myth. Up to this day though, no one had seen a cadre of Elite Guards frozen in place, or huge ice bridges melting under the summer sun.

The latest Tribality Publishing title is about additional Sorcerous Arts, i.e. three new subclasses for the Sorcerer Class of 5e D&D plus some nifty magical items.

The image of the LARPer (I guess) on the cover is a nice change. The rest of the layout is typical Tribality Doric. I like it a lot as a PDF, but to be honest, a printer-friendly version would be also good, as the big black header on each page makes printing painful.

On the most important stuff, the Royal Sorcerer is a bit weak thematically if you ask me. I guess you could base it in some old lineage of Mage Kings or even in a long-extinct lineage of a superior race that used to rule the land. Or, alternatively, make a thematic change and base the blood bond to a completely differnet source, something charismatic of course (Angels maybe?). In any case, it is Paladin meets Sorcerer and it plays out nicely with the high Charisma value any Sorcerer should have.

The Tidal Sorcerer has that wacky Tides of Fortune feature and I like that a lot. I guess I'll have many debates with my players as to what can pass as a "large body of water" but I believe common sense (aka DM's ruling) will prevail. Finally, it might be a bit of a burden to keep track of which of the Call the Tides feature the player has used, but it's not a game braker in any case. Rightfully, one can trace some resemblance in the theme with the Sea Sorcerer published by WotC, but this has taken a completely different angle, playing nicely with the theme of tides and the shifting of the sea.

Winter Kin Sorcerer is absolutely great. In some instances (Iike the Icy Path) it reminded me of Ice-Man from X-Men. The powers have a nice mix of offense and control, so generally this is nicely balanced.

I loved the Magic Items. Nice ideas through and through and most of them go way beyond the subclasses of the first part of the document.

So, all in all, it is a good adition to any table. I'd change the Royal Sorcerer a bit, but the rest can be a direct fit to my game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Three Sorcerous Arts (5E)
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Three Sorcerous Arts (5E)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/21/2017 08:45:25

Three Sorcerous Arts: Three Sorcerous Origins for Firth Edition provides some excellent options for sorcerers in 5E and expands the range of choices for that class. Everything seems well balanced and if you like playing sorcerer, or using them as rivals to the players, give this product a look.

Three Sorcerous Arts: Three Sorcerous Origins for Firth Edition by Brandes Stoddard and published by Tribality Publishing is just that, three new Sorcerers’ origins (or bloodlines as they would have been called in some other sources) and some supporting magic items. The layout is clear with thematic color photographs for illustrations.

After a very brief introduction to the product, it presents Royal Sorcery, the blood of queens and kings flows through you and imbues your magic. Royal Sorcery provides an interesting mix of increased combat abilities, ally support and Charisma tricks which some payers will delight in, especially though that like to take a leadership role in a game.

Tidal Sorcery is, naturally, tied to the sea and if you want to play an underwater campaign, convince some of your players to take this origin; while they are far from useless inland, they shine in, or under, the sea.

The third origin is Winter Sorcery, the fae touched magic of frost and cold, which does mostly what you would expect with some nice weaving in of the fae’s ability to charm when dealing with creatures who are otherwise not much damaged by cold. The18th level capstone ability, Master of the Frost, gives the ability to impose additional conditions but lacks a note of when those conditions end (I would say a save at the end of each of the target’s actions to shake them off, but clarification would be nice).

Lastly, there are seven new magic items several of which are only for spell casters of various type but just one is a sorcerer only item, though several get attritional benefit when used by particular type or sorcerer (and a few others). These items are all quite potent and worthy of being the end result of quests or major victories.

A solid addition to the options for sorcerers, and other spell-casters when the magic items are included, except for the one concern above (easily fixed) I would have no problem with allowing any of these in my campaign.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review. Also, Brandes is a friend of mine and one of the players in my original Sea of Stars campaign, but I like to think that did not influence this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mysteries of the Gods (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/17/2017 04:55:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion pdf for the cleric-class clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a brief introduction to the subject matter at hand, we start off with the Blood Domain...and at one glance, we can see that the spells in the domain's list are not italicized, in a pretty obvious formatting hiccup. However, wait for a second - the spells themselves make sense, so how do the features fare? Well, at 1st level, you gain proficiency in all simple and martial weapons that deal slashing or piercing damage and when you fall below 1/2 maximum hit points, you receive temporary hit points equal to twice your cleric level, but only once per short-rest-interval. If your current hit points are below half of the maximum, you gain temporary hit points of the same amount when rolling initiative...which could be interpreted in two ways: One, it is an additional effect or two, this counts towards the limit. Option one makes more sense to me, but presentation-wise, this could be slightly more elegant. One more note: Since most ranged weapons are piercing, I'd suggest caution in case you're using a lot of 3pp piercing weapons and firearms - in that case, I'd strongly suggest limiting the proficiency to slashing weapons, though that just as an aside that will not influence the final verdict.

Channel Divinity's version for the domain also makes use of the 1/2 maximum hit points threshold - allies within 60 ft. may use their reaction to attack with a slashing or piercing weapon and if these attacks hit, they add your Wisdom modifier to damage. At 11th level and 17th level, such attacks also inflict +1d8 damage or +2d8 damage, respectively. At 6th level, any 1 or 2 you roll on healing effects or damaging effects/attacks is treated as a 3 instead, which is powerful and rewards risky play. 8th level adds +1d8 damage to piercing and slashing weapons, +2d8 at 1th level. You also get to add Wisdom modifier to cleric cantrip damage. At 17th level, things become hardcore - when you reduce a creature to 0 hp, you regain channel divinity or an expanded spell slot, with the spell slot equal to half the CR of the creature damaged or 5. Thankfully, I can put away my bag of fluffy kittens - the feature can only be used twice in a long-rest-interval. All in all an interesting domain that rewards risky playstyle - you basically are at your best when at below half hit points and the same holds true for your allies. In such, this feels like an heir of 4e's bloodied mechanic, of which I never was a big fan. Still, from a neutral position, I can appreciate it.

The second domain herein would be the exorcism domain, which yields your choice of proficiency in Arcana, Insight or Intimidation at 1st level and also proficiency in Abyssal, infernal, Celestial, Sylvan or Primordial as well as heavy armor. Finally, you get the censure cantrip -bingo, not italicized. Channel Divinity allows you to turn fiends and fey and reveals their true form if they fail their Wisdom save. At 6th level, channel divinity can be used as a reaction to grant an ally within 30 ft. a reroll of a save resulting in possession or the charmed/frightened conditions - nice!! Even betetr - if said save is successful, you deal radiant damage to the creature that prompted the save - 2d8 + Cha-mod, which increases to 3d8 and 4d8 at 11th and 17th level, respectively. At 8th level, your weapon attack once per turn gains +1d8 radiant damage, +2d8 at 14th level, and you add Wisdom modifier to any cleric cantrip's damage. The 17th level feature adds a temporary banishment effect to unearthly creatures (precise list includes undead, fey, elementals, etc.) when they roll a 1 on saves versus you - including the option to potentially drop concentration in favor of the banishment. VERY cool! I love this domain. It's a specialist, sure, but it has some seriously cool mechanics!

The spirit domain nets proficiency with the herbalism kit and the spirit claw cantrip as well as proficiency in your choice of Animal Handling, Nature or Survival. You also get a totemic companion of either bear, eagle, snake or wolf - and the mechanics are amazing: You can direct this spirit as part of any other action to move and it is impervious to all but force damage and regenerates all damage after one round; however, 10 points of damage disperse it. Here's the cool thing: When you do not cast a spell (excluding curing spells) or attack, said companion gets to attack! This basically allows the player to contribute in otherwise dead/healing rounds or when concentrating. Big, big kudos!

At 2nd level, channel divinity allows for some seriously cool tricks - depending on totem spirit chosen, the activation can range from reaction to action...and they include damage resistance for yourself or an ally versus one effect, spirit companion short-range teleport (which takes an ally along, in the eagle's case or heals a target close to the destination of the snake totem!) or knock foes prone. Very, very cool - and at 6th level we get even more of these variable options. Absolutely amazing. 8th level allows the spirit companion to gain free attacks versus creatures you damage and 17th level nets resistance against cold, acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison and thunder damage, which may be a bit overkill, particularly since you may also, once per long-rest interval, grant yourself proficiency in a language, save, skill or tool. Know what this domain made me think: Ironically, it is a better, cooler representation of the shamanic concept than tribality's shaman class. It's amazing. It's the coolest domain I have read so far for 5e.

The pdf also includes, surprise, 8 new spells for the cleric, with a handy sidebar guiding the GM regarding their use/whether they're appropriate for other classes - kudos for going the extra mile there! Angelic Boon can be used as either a healing spell for allies or as a radiant damage inflicting melee spell attack. Clarion Call can rouse sleepers and end one condition like charmed, frightened or confused. Harrow deals minor psychic damage, but also adds a debuff to the creature's next roll before the end of its turn. Righteous Accusation can be upgraded with a proper and costly scroll containing a target's sins -and inflicts serious psychic damage and can cause the creature to be frightened. If the more costly version is used, the creature also receives two vulnerabilities...which is very powerful, yes...but also rewards proper legwork...and I'm pretty okay with it, in spite of the spell's damage type being pretty potent. Song of Battle is a cantrip that deals psychic damage and also adds radiant damage to a nearby ally's attack. Aforementioned Spirit Claw is basically a spell-command for the spirit companion to attack and thus does nothing without one. Spirit Wind, at 8th level inflicts selective radiant or necrotic damage to a type of creature or race and bolsters you or an ally with temporary hit points, healing or better damage, though only one benefit may be gained thus - so no, can't be kitten'd and explicitly states that deities do not look kindly upon the spell's misuse. Word of Censure, finally, would be another psychic damage-causing cantrip, but one with an interesting mechanic - if a creature affected moves closer to you, it'll take the damage a second time.

Conclusion:

Editing is top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. On the formatting side, the lack of italicization is a bit jarring. Layout adheres to Tribality Publishing's crisp and very unique 2-column full-color standard and the pdf includes the thematically-fitting, kind of photography-like artworks we've come to expect by now. The pdf has no bookmarks, which represents a minor comfort detriment at this length.

All right, while I am not sold 100% on the cantrips and the pretty potent utility they exhibit herein and while I really dislike the bloodied-style mechanics of the Blood domain, this pdf is still amazing. The exorcism domain is extremely flavorful...but it is the spirit domain that makes me smile from ear to ear. The spirit companion mechanics is a stroke of genius and allows you to actually act and do something active, even while healing allies and doing less exciting cleric stuff. Add the tactical options via the channel divinity tricks and we have a full-blown winner that is worth the low asking price all on its own. The spells similarly provide some absolutely evocative visuals. To sum up - one domain is very much a matter of taste, one is very good, one is pure amazing and the spells also should be considered to be among the better examples of their craft. In short: Brandes Stoddard's pdf is an amazing deal for any 5e-cleric (Seriously: Spirit domain. Never look back.) and deserves a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5. Excellent job!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mysteries of the Gods (5E)
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Alchemist (5E)
by Derek N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2017 16:01:41

I have at this point played the Artificer, Irezumi, and Poisoner archetypes, all at varying levels which all independently feel different from one another. I have to say this class feels so much like full official 5e content, it is hard to ignore. The class makes fantastic use of existing mechanics and applies it forward in a very fun way. The use of flavor in the creation of your spells as an alchemist gives so much volume to your own personal story, as well as the flavor of the world. In doing so, the use of this class helps negotiate the meaning of the alchemist in the story as well as adding pieces of lore and material the DM may have not thought about, without risking violating the overall setting. For instance, the poisoner archetype actually uses basic poisons, and makes them fun and interesting. Statistically, I have not, since I started playing and DMing for 5e, seen the use of basic posions by players or have begun to see them take interest in doing so. On top of that, the available options do not interfere with a strict inclusion of magitech/magitek. An alchemist could via most of these archetypes, if not all, appear in any setting, from grimdark Sword and Sorcery style fantasy to high fantasy settings like the Forgotten Realms. That in itself is a testament in Mr. Howard's ability to find design space that exists in the system, work on it, make it fun to play, and make it universal. When I saw the Unearthed Arcana: Artificer, I tried it for two sessions and said, "No, I think I'll take the better one." and went back to this class. This is a must have for any DM or player who wants a crafting oriented class, and is looking for something balanced and unique.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alchemist (5E)
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Shaman Class (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/03/2017 06:51:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This base class clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After one page of introductory prose, we dive into the nice, flavorful lead-ins that characterize 5e-classes - this time around, we hear of sacred animals, living spirits and a properly animistic duality of an existence between the world of spirituality and the natural world. In case you were wondering: Yes, this class very much is indebted to the various real world mythologies and the shamanistic traditions. Shamans have their own spell-list, included herein, with spellcasting governed by Wisdom. Shamans begin play with 2 cantrips known and increase that to 5. Their first spell is gained at 3rd level and they learn up to 15. Finally, they cast via slot: At 3rd level, they begin play with two slots and gain an additional slot at 11th and 17th level. They cast by expending these slots and the slot levels increase from 1st level up to 5th. This means that e.g. a 5th level shaman has 2 slots and spells cast are cast as second level spells, regardless of spell level. Spells learned at level up may be of any spell level available for the slots and shamans may cast spells as rituals. Totems as a spellcasting focus are required and may be replaced upon completing a long rest in the shaman's favored terrain.

Chassis-wise, the class gains d8 HD, proficiency in light armor, shields, simple weapons, herbalism kit, Strength and Wisdom and two skills of your choice, chosen from Arcana, Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Intimidation, Nature, Perception and Survival. At character creation, you choose a flavorful totem spirit from bear, buffalo, coyote, crow, eagle, elk, fox, hawk, owl, snake and wolf - unless you follow a certain path, these remain flavor-options, though. Unexpected: Shamans are actually pretty good tanks with the proper build: At 1st level, they gain an AC of 10 + Wisdom modifier + Constitution modifier while unarmored - and yes, you can add a shield to that. 1st level also yields the natural explorer feature, which allows you to choose one terrain type as favored terrain. When making and Intelligence or Wisdom check pertaining this terrain, you double your proficiency bonus in skills you are proficient. Additionally, overland travel for the group in the terrain is not hampered, you can't be lost except by magic, you remain alert to danger and may stealthily scout ahead. You also are better at foraging and may track creatures more precisely.

Starting at 2nd level, you gain spirit sight, which translates to advantage on Dexterity saves versus threats you can see, including traps and spells - but you do lose this if you're blinded, deafened or incapacitated. Curious that being restrained does not hamper this. Oh well. Ability score improvements are gained at 4th level and every level thereafter as well as at 19th level. 5th level yields primal protector, which lets you use your action to make all beasts within 30 feet indifferent to you and yours on a failed Wisdom save, potentially charming them. Problem here: The pdf does not specify the save DC. Analogue to e.g. the wizard's school of enchantment, this should probably be the spell save DC. The shaman may use this twice per short or long rest. 7th level yields an aura that grants you and your allies within 10 ft. advantage on Constitution and Wisdom saves. 9th level grants something pretty damn strong: When you hit a creature, you gain temporary hit points equal to the damage caused, but "only" once per round. This is problematic. If you take a look at the PHB, you'll notice that temporary hit points are usually granted by limited resources and are generally not something that is available in indefinite quantities.

Let me demonstrate why this is broken beyond the math and can seriously wreck immersion (readers familiar with my PFRPG-reviews know where this is going): Take a bag full of fluffy, cute kittens. Before combat, whenever you have a spare minute, you take one out of the bag and MASSACRE it, preferably with a really big, nasty weapon or similar means. You gain temporary hit points that have no duration. The feature does not even have the "hostile creature" caveat (granted, you can cheese that by starving kittens prior to slaughtering them...), much less a duration or a challenge-CR that posits a minimum creature power to gain the benefit, meaning that it'll last until depleted or a long rest. This ability needs a rewrite.

At 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th level, you gain spiritual whispers - these would be a 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th level druid spell respectively, that you can each cast once per long rest interval sans expending spell slots. 18th level decelerates your aging to make only 1 year of your lifespan pass for every 10 you live. As a capstone, you increase Wisdom by 4 and treat 24 as the new maximum score.

The class also features the shaman path class feature noted before, with 3rd level (surprise) providing the choice and 6th, 10th and 14th level featuring the respective path abilities. A total of 4 such shaman paths are provided, with the first being the corruptor, who gains several necromancy-themed spells added to the spell list. As a formal complaint, the spells are not properly italicized. 6th level attracts a foul spirit that imposes disadvantage on concentration checks, but also curses those that attack you, once per turn imposing disadvantage on the attackers next attack, saving throw or skill check. 10th level is nasty: As an action, you can touch others and, on a failed save versus the spell save DC, the target receives one level of exhaustion! Finally, 14th level nets a 30 ft. aura that may be amplified towards one creature, causing it to become frightened and forcing it to Dash away until it's out of sight or beyond 60 ft. away. Slight complaint here: The ability does not specify the action the focus of the dread-inducing aura requires. It could very well be a bonus action or reaction...

The second path would be the path of the elements, which nets resistance to fire damage at 3rd level. Additionally, it allows you to attack with an elemental blast of flame as a bonus action, inflicting 1d8 + Wisdom modifier fire damage. Okay, so is the shaman proficient in this? Is it a spell attack? Is it a melee attack? Elemental blasts of fire sound like ranged weaponry to me, but the feature does not clarify that. 6th level yields resistance to acid and the ability to breathe both air and water as well as immunity to poison damage (WUT? Poison immunity, ALONE, is the 10th level monk feature!) AND a swim speed at full movement rate. 10th level yields a flying speed at full movement rate and 14th level lets you cast conjure elemental (not properly italicized) 1/day without using spell slots or components. Somewhat weird to see 1/day here, since pretty much everything in the class is tied to rest intervals.

The path of the spirit nets the shaman an invisible spirit guide that provides advantage on initiative rolls, prevents being surprised while conscious and negates creatures gaining advantage on attack rolls when being hidden from you. At 6th level, any weapon wielded deals damage versus incorporeal targets, regardless of resistances to the weapon's damage type...which sabotages the rock-paper-scissors-component I so enjoy in 5e...so not a fan. The shaman also gains resistance versus the attacks of incorporeal creatures. Soooo, does this extend to creatures rendered incorporeal by magical means? Could I e.g. theoretically render a golem incorporeal and then pick it apart with a dagger? Starting at 10th level, the shaman can have the spirit guide take care of concentration for him, but may not cheese the spells-in-effect-limit thus - nice one! At 14th level, the shaman can turn incorporeal as an action and takes damage if he ends his turn in an object. He also "does not invoke attacks of opportunity" while incorporeal. I sure would hope so! Who'd want to invoke those? Kidding aside, "attacks of opportunity" is Pathfinder rules-language, not 5e. And becoming flat-out immune to opportunity attacks is OP; after all, being incorporeal has no cap, no limit and is extremely strong on its own.

The final path would be the path of the wild and comes with a massive table that lists totems alongside characteristics and the respective features gained. A total of 17 such are included here. These range from the flavorful (basically blindsight) to gaining pseudo monk tricks that culminate for one totem in the option to execute two unarmed attacks with an Attack action that cause your choice of 1d6 physical damage type and is considered magical, limited flight, etc. There are a couple of minor formatting hiccups here as well.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, if not as precise as usual for Tribality Publishing - I noticed both typo-level glitches and quite a few rules-language issues. Layout adheres to the characteristic, nice two-column full-color standard with photography-style artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment.

Michael Long's shaman is an odd one: I expected to see a lame druid rip-off...and the good news first: The shaman is very much its own entity and has a unique playstyle, with spells being more of an afterthought here.

The thing is, as much as I love the often very flavorful options, the class gave me serious thematic whiplash. I mean, what do you think when you hear "shaman", class- and competence-wise?

If it's anything but "best tank base class", you'll experience the same flavor disjoint here. The shaman receives a n impressive amount of resistances, immunities and tanking options that make it better as a melee tank than you'd expect from a d8 HD class. In fact, the tanking support fighter is pretty much the core competence of the class...which is really odd...and somewhat at odds with the flavor of the class. Indeed, the closest analogue to the core classes would, surprisingly, be the monk, with a bit of spellcasting added for good measure. So yeah, felt the definite need to note the weird focus of the abilities of the class.

Which brings me to the elephant in the room: The class has some downright broken features that require revision and generally is very strong. It makes for an expert outdoorsman/utility guy that gains more resistances and immunities than any other class I have encountered for 5e. And honestly, that's not "shaman" to me. That being said: The class is not bad per se, just flawed. If the hiccups are ironed out, I'll shrug and accept the shaman as a tanky monk-style class, but the flaws are here.

That being said, the class is not expensive - for 2 bucks, it is something you can check out, though most groups will require some design work to make this class operate at full functionality. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shaman Class (5E)
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Alchemist (5E)
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2017 23:02:39

Another great product from Rich Howard and Tribality. Interesting new caster class that feels familiar yet distinct from the other offerings in the PHB. Theres a lot of variety in the type of alchemist you can be, with 7 unique archetypes including Artificer (skilled tinker), Herbwarden (apothecary/healer with a bit of plant affinity) , Irezumi (using ink and tattoos for magic), Metamorph (changing and enhancing the body), Poisoner (pretty self explantory), Pyromancer ( specializing in fireworks, explosives, etc), and Re-Animator (because everyone wants to be Frankenstein). Each subclass brings its own flavor and feeling to the class, granting interesting abilities and leading to interesting story opportunities. Rich does an especially great job of littering the text with helpful tips and suggestions to customize the various aspects of being an Alchemist to create a richer character, story, and gaming experience. And as with all of Tribality's offerings, the layout and design of this pdf is clean and easy to use. I cannot recommend this enough, 6 out of 5 stars, get these excellent options in your game.

UPDATE: one of my players has been playing a Poisoner in my new campaign and it has been an EXCELLENT and FUN time. this is the best 5e supplement out there and you need it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alchemist (5E)
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