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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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By Flame, Storm, and Thorn (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/09/2017 08:37:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little expansion-pdf for the ranger class 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!

After a brief page of introduction to the matter at hand, we get a total of 3 different ranger archetypes, the first of which would be the Lantern-bearer. At 3rd level, these guys get a weaponized brass lantern, which inflicts 1d4 bludgeoning damage and acts as a finesse weapon. As a purely cosmetic gripe, while by now finesse weapons are unanimously 1-handed, for future-proofing purposes I would have specified that. The lantern-bearer may expend ranger spell slots to inflict bonus fire damage when attacking, starting at 2d6 for a 1st level spell, +1d6 for every spell slot beyond that, to a maximum of 5d6. The fire inflicts +1d6 damage versus beasts, monstrosities or undead. Additionally, the character can place the lantern on the ground or put it on a hook and expend spell slots to enhance the healing capabilities of those resting within its glow, grant resistance to necrotic and cold damage and advantage on saves versus the frightened and charmed condition. And no, the two abilities do not allow for cheesing.

At 7th level, the archetype gains Shadowed Paths, which can be used only once per rest-interval - two benefits can be chosen: Dispelling obscuring effects of targets hit or bonus action teleport to the lantern's bright light radius' edge while in an obscured area both make for cool effects. 11th level increases base damage of the lantern to 1d8 for both fire and mundane damage. Additionally, creatures of aforementioned types now take damage while within the glow of a placed lantern. 15th level lets allies with channel divinity or healing spells ignore the range limitations of the healing effects while within the placed lantern's light and yes, it does take care of AoE-healing as well. Okay, I'll admit it - as a Ravenloft/Dark Souls/Darkest Dungeon/etc.-fanboy, this had me pretty soon. I love this archetype.

Archetype number 2 would be the stormcloak and at 3rd level, this one has a similar ability like the lantern-bearer - spell-slot expenditure for bonus damage, this time around your choice of either lightning or thunder damage. 7th level provides resistance to both lightning and thunder and when you suffer either damage type, you may use your reaction to absorb part of the damage for 1 round, adding +2d6 damage of the type absorbed to damage; +1d6 if used in conjunction with aforementioned spell-slot expenditure ability. 11th level is a bit weird - when you inflict damage with two weapons in a single round, you add +3d6 thunder damage to one target damaged. 15th level increases the potency of the weapon-imbuing trick, adding 10 temporary hit points (or those suffered, whichever is less) that last for 1 minute. While these persist, you may spend the bonus action to fly up to your speed, but you do fall if you don't end the movement on solid ground.

The third archetype herein would be the Thornguard, who begins third level with snare mastery, which allows you to create a deployable trap during a long rest (only one may be in effect at a given time) - these can inflict the blinded, poisoned, pushed, restrained, stunned conditions and may be deployed as a bonus action. The Wisdom (Perception)-DC to notice it is equal to your save DC, and conversely, said DC is what's required to disable it via thieves' tools. Traps can be sprung as a reaction to an enemy standing in them and deal a basic 2d6 piercing damage, with spell-slot expenditure being possible to increase the damage inflicted. Interesting: Thus magically laced traps can inflict other damage types (lightning, poison, thunder) and disarming not triggered traps is covered as well.

7th level increases the area of effect your snares affect, though the magic enhancements aren't as potent here and, oddly, RAW, does not allow for a similar damage type choosing; the bonus damage is not perfectly codified this time around. The ability also nets your resistance versus damage incurred by traps or glyphs of warding. 11th level rewards dealing damage to one foe per round twice in a single turn, moving hostile creatures and imposing disadvantage on saves versus traps on the target. The base damage of the traps is also increased. 15th level lets you store a second snare when completing a long rest and allows you to reassemble them after 1 minute after combat. This may be a bit late - snares being the unique selling point here, I do think that at least the +1 snare being moved down to 7th level may be sensible.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though the italicized sections of sub-feature lists are, formatting-wise, not smart. While we have no spell-formatting confusion this time around, as a whole, that could happen. Still, no issue. Layout adheres to Tribality's nice 2-column full-color standard, with fitting full-color photography as artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this low length, I can live with that.

Brandes Stoddard's ranger archetypes are generally solid - with one very minor hiccup, the rules-language remains precise and we get one damn amazing archetype with the lantern-bearer. The other archetypes fall slightly short of that one's awesomeness, but as a whole, they're not bad either and make for nice options. The stormcloak would have benefited from an ability that is more than a more flexible tweak of a part of the lantern-mechanic, but that's just me being a spoiled SOB. As a whole, this is worth the fair asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up by a margin due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
By Flame, Storm, and Thorn (5E)
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Pirate Adventurers (5E)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2016 09:27:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

One issue you'll immediately bump into when playing a pirate campaign in 5e would be that the official backgrounds don't have that much variety to offer; you basically choose sailor. Yeah, that gets a bit old pretty quick when the whole group takes it, right? Well, this little pdf actually features 4 variants of the background: Privateers retain the basic framework, but since they're sailing for a nation, their feature provides friendly shores, where nobles and commoners alike are more likely to accommodate your requests. The ship's surgeon background is slightly more complex, providing a variation of skill proficiencies received, gaining both Investigation and Medicine as well as tool proficiency with Herbalism kits and water vehicles. Similarly, such a kit is part of the starting equipment provided. As a feature, they may use a healer's kit to heal creatures for 1 hit point, but only once per long-rest interval.

Navigators similarly get modified proficiencies: Skill-wise, Nature and Perception, tool-wise Cartographer's tools, navigator's tools and water vehicles. One of the tool kits is part of the starting equipment. As a feature, you cannot become lost while you can see either sun or moon - which is pretty cool! The final background, the explorer, has a story feature that is pretty cool: You are the only one to have returned from a far-off, mythical place - which provides all kinds of cool story-telling options.

The pdf also features 3 new feats: Deck Brawler is only available for those with the sailor background or its variants and lets you increase Str or Dex by 1, to a maximum of 20, provides +2 initiative when standing on something floating on water, climbing doesn't halve your speed anymore and you add your proficiency bonus to any check that involves boarding another vessel. The latter is a bit ambiguous: If the respective action already receives the proficiency bonus, do you add it a second time? I guess that might be the case, but I'm not 100% sure.

The second feat would be Flintlock Expert, which nets proficiency with pistols, doesn't impose disadvantage when using a ranged weapon within a foe that's 5 ft. of you. Additionally, you may use a bonus action to attack with a loaded pistol after attacking with a melee attack. The third feat, Nimble, nets a Dexterity increase, up to a maximum of 20 as well as +1 AC when wearing light or no armor.

The pdf also offers a whole array of new weaponry: Bayonets and belaying pins, boarding axes, dirks, hooks, cutlasses, rapiers and scimitars can be found. The pdf also features a total of 4 martial ranged weapons: Flintlocks, Dragon Pistols, Blunderbusses and Flintlock Muskets. The pdf offers alternate damage outputs for games where guns are rare, which is a nice touch. Both blunderbusses and dragon pistols can alternatively fire cone-spread shots and e.g. attaching or taking off hooks is covered here. On a slightly nitpicky side, the pdf does not mention that the ammunition can't be scavenged after being fired, though that should be pretty obvious. Still, RAW, it can be.

We also get an array of nice items - from astrolabe to eye patches and nautical charts, up to reed breathing tubes, the items provided are cool.

The final section of the pdf introduces a total of 6 shipboard roles: These are relevant only on board of a ship and provide additional options while engaged in naval combat. Some of them have specific prerequisites regarding background or proficiency. Captains may use their bonus action to grant an ally that can see or hear him advantage on their next attack roll, skill check or saving throw, but only once per short rest interval. Additional, via an Int-check as their action, they may find weak spots in enemy vessels, granting advantage to attacks versus the vessel until your next turn.

The quartermaster may use his action to choose a crew member within 60 feet, granting said member advantage on the next attack, skill check or saving throw - this guy does not have the captain's 1/rest interval-limit, though. Pilots can make Dex-checks to impose disadvantage on attacks versus their vessel until their next turn, but only once per rest interval. The Boatswain may use his action to supervise ship repairs, recovering 1d4 + level hit points for the vessel. Master Gunners may use their action to fire all guns on one side of the ship at the same time, foregoing the usual turns. One attack roll is made for all cannons, with advantage. On a miss, the broadside still inflicts half damage. The Ship's Surgeon, finally, may revive crew members via DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) checks, with two options provided for different degrees of abstraction - nice!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues in either rules-language or formal criteria. Layout adheres to Tribality Publishing's elegant 2-column full-color standard and the pdf sports thematically fitting photography as art...which frankly works surprisingly well! The pdf has no bookmarks, but at the short length, needs none.

Shawn Ellsworth's little toolkit is well-crafted; the options presented are a significant step up and render depicting naval combat in 5e significantly more rewarding. My complaints pertaining this pdf should thus be taken as slightly nitpicky, not true detractors: As a brief file, it doesn't offer full background goal, personality trait, ideal, etc. options for the variant backgrounds - these may be dressing only, but I rather like them. The ammunition-scavenging component is another minor hiccup in my book. My third complaint would pertain the ship roles: I LOVE them. I really do. That being said, I think they would be even more rewarding if each featured at least two options...or options to further upgrade them via feats or the like.

That being said, all of these complaints boil ultimately down to the scope of this humble pdf: What it manages to portray in its scant few pages is impressive and deserves being acknowledged. It also was one of Tribality Publishing's first offerings, which makes it even more remarkable and means that it gets a bit of leeway.

How to rate this, then? Well, I don't consider this perfect, but for the very fair price-point, this is well worth getting...and I hope to see the theme expanded at some point in the future! My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pirate Adventurers (5E)
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