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Psionics Embodied
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/26/2015 05:26:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This book clocks in at 69 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 64 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, we've all been there - suddenly, mid-adventure, a PC bites the dust and the player has no time to make a new character for now, requiring the temporary use of an NPC. Or, more often, one sits on the DM's side of the screen and makes *yet another* NPC-build. I know I do that and it is an annoying bottleneck. There are certain tricks and combos one stumbles across and then re-uses them time and again. The issue becomes more pronounced if your campaign is like mine and sports a vast array of different 3pp materials. Paizo only has the CORE-classes covered with the codex and beyond that, I may point towards Rite Publishing's superb Faces of the Tarnished Souk-series, Frog god Games' Unusual Suspects and LPJr Design's Usual Suspects...and beyond these, good NPC-books become scarce, with only a couple of Legendary Games-books coming to mind. This was particularly annoying, at least for me, when it came to psionics (and some other subsystems I regularly use) - I had to make too many of these guys from scratch and at some point, tunnel-vision starts to set in.



Introducing this book, psionics now receive an array of NPCs for your perusal to insert into your campaign. The numerous characters herein are crafted with the heroic attribute-array and appropriate WBL and each character comes with 3 builds - one for level 5, one for level 10 and one for level 15. Now I am not going to go into the details for every NPC herein - for every creature herein comes with a full-blown background story as well as advice on how to use the NPC as both an ally or villain - and yes, this means that these guys and gals are full-blown, developed personalities, not just statblocks. From radiant heroes to plague-doctor elans gone full-blown insane evil, the characters herein take the base classes in different directions, with tacticians, dreads, marksmen, etc. all receiving their due. Some of the specialists of the psion-class receive no representation, though. Blues, forgeborn and similar psionic races are well-integrated into the builds within these pages.



In fact, the characters herein work exceedingly well as both allies and adversaries and, more often than not, offer some deviations from tired and true character tropes, thus coming to life in a surprising captivating manner. From the honorable, yet brash Desh to the ruthless, but well-situated Count Malbor, the diverse NPCs in this book do a nice job of running the gamut from cool allies to despicable adversaries, with the builds themselves doing a neat job of representing the particulars of the NPC and their ideology in the crunch they provide.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from some rare glitches like an incorrect CR and similar minor glitches, the pdf can be considered well off in that regard. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press' beautiful 2-column full-color standard and each and every NPC in this book receives a gorgeous full-color artwork - kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked as well as with a more printer-friendly version with a white background.



Jeremy Smith, Andreas Rönnqvist and Matt Medeiros have crafted a damn useful NPC-collection - finally, an array of psionic NPCs, all ready for use, with just the flick of a finger. I *love* books like this, simply because they allow a DM to focus on cool storylines, preparing a module etc. - or simply add a spark of psionics into another-wise non-psionics module. The NPCs are diverse, their writing is neat, the builds solid - so there is not much to complain in that regard.

That being said, there are some minor nitpicks I can field against this book, the first of which would simply be scope - I would have loved this to be a NPC-Codex-sized, massive book of diverse builds, covering all psion-specialists etc. Now I can't hold the scope of the book against it, but still - a bigger book would have been awesome. Similarly, some people may have wanted scaling suggestions to bring these NPCs down to less powerful builds, but once again, I consider that not the book's fault. My only true gripe with this book would be the following - unlike the NPC Codex, this book presents rounded characters and the builds, for that, feel very much linear. While some archetype'd combos can be found, you won't find any nasty multiclass combos in this book and for named NPCs, I would have expected one or two or these. Note that this does not make the book bad in any way - it's just that making linear characters is much easier and less time-consuming than making complex, archetype'd multiclass characters.



But in the end, ladies and gentlemen, this is just me being a complaining nitpicker at a high level. The characters herein deserve to be called "characters" - they range from nice to inspired and some rather beg to be used, which is a neat accomplishment in my book - this collection is still a permanent addition to my DM-toolkit and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics Embodied
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GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops II
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/26/2015 05:24:19
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This compilation of Raging Swan Press' critically acclaimed Village Backdrops-series clocks in at 95 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 87 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We begin this supplement with an acknowledgment I wished more pdfs sported - author bios. I mean, come on, these are the people who make the supplements we love and generating some name recognition is definitely something I consider a positive thing. Beyond that, a handy table lists statblocks by CR, village and page, complete with short details for easy navigation. It should also be noted that the glorious pen-cartography receives its due place to shine, with each village sporting the name of the cartographer alongside the author- which is also nice, seeing what a great job they do in capturing the uniqueness of the settlements.



Now if you've been following my reviews, you won't be surprised to hear that I have covered most of the villages herein - Agraviane's Rest, Chasm, Hjalward, Hulw'ma, Prayer's Point, Refuge, Riverburg, Star Run Falls, Sumemrford, Trickletrek, Vulgruph's Hollow and Vulcanbridge all have their own review, so if you are looking for detailed information on any of these, please take a look at the respective reviews.



Now if you are not familiar with the series, to sum it up - the village backdrop-installments come in excessive detail: From settlement statblocks to rumors and whispers, signs, local nomenclature etc., the amount of detail and local color provided for the respective villages make it extremely easy for the DM to bring these places to live. Now unlike the first compilation, we receive no development options for Ultimate Campaign's rules - but surely, we do receive new bonus content? Yes, we do.



First would be Kingsfell - penned by Raging Swan Press' master Creighton Broadhurst and cartographed by one of the best and most versatile cartographers around, Tommi Salama, Kingsfell is situated at a strategic, historic location and is governed by the paladin-lady Mira Lankinen. Situated atop a collection of ancient burial mounds, more easily defended thanks to the rivers and with docks, it makes for a versatile, interesting settlement. In a nice change of pace, the place does not necessarily sport a BBEG who wants to destroy everyone - instead, the narrative potential is very much found within the hidden history of the burial mounds and the potential issue springing from the PCs (or someone...) potentially disturbing the rest of the dead buried below the village...and they don't rest easy. Tables for local food-prices etc. further complement a great village, especially since it hints at one rather impressive array of villages and surrounding areas that I hope will see further detail in the future.



The second new settlement herein would be Robert Brookes' Rifthammer - he btw. also provided the cartography for the settlement! - situated within the 2-mile deep Arnafiq Rift. In a cool way, the village's map not only sports a top-down, but also a sideways representation of the settlement. Rifthammer is inhabited by noble, yet insular and prideful dwarves and somewhat subverts expectations - haunted by a recurring disease (or is it a curse?) called stoneshame, the settlement sports quite a few secrets,a s the dwarves endeavor to hide the afflicted from outsiders. Now, the temple stands empty, the priest having succumbed to the dread affliction and the only healer is an actually GOOD witch with the death patron. And yes, the disease and its origins are fully depicted - as is the reason why dwarves become infected. A glorious, iconic settlement with quite a lot of adventure potential - nice!



Conclusion:



Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to RaginG Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard with thematically fitting b/w-artwork and most importantly, drop-dead-gorgeous b/w-cartography. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks, though at least in my version, they point towards 1 page before the start of the chapter of the village instead of the first pace of the village. The pdf does come in two different versions, one optimized to be printer out and one optimized for screen-use. I can't comment on the print version since I don't have it.



Authors Christian Alipounarian, Alexander Augunas, John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Robert Brookes, Alex Connell, Greg Marks, Brian Wiborg Mønster, Colleen Simpson, Mike Welham should be proud - as should be the cartographers Tom Fayen, Robert Brookes, Michael Tumey, Ryan Boles and Erick Frankhouse - why? Because the maps are gorgeous, awesome and simply beautiful and really help these cool settlements come to life.



The first village backdrops-compilation was very good - this one is better. Why? Because the villages are infinitely cooler, more versatile and there is not ONE in here that is not narrative gold in some way. These villages practically beg to be used and their attention to detail and diversity should allow just about every DM to find a glorious village to insert into their games herein. Quality and production-value-wise, this pdf is definitely one glorious supplement.

Now if you already have the component pdfs, the new material makes for a good reason beyond simple convenience to get this collection, but whether or not that and the convenience gained is enough for you, only you, dear reader, can decide. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops II
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Mythic Monsters: Aberrations (variant cover)
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2015 02:35:09
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monster-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how-to-use, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page inside back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We begin this mythic monster-installment with a glorious handout/moodsetting piece, wherein the dread effects of the new aberration herein are made apparent to the reader - provided in classic greenish/white paper, folks old enough to remember a world sans internet *WILL* definitely have an added piece of recognition drive home the horror here for a pulpy nod - nice indeed and a cool feat by the layout artists/graphic designers of this pdf.



On the supplemental side of things, we receive more mythified spells taken from the Gothic AP- plugin-series, providing, among others, some spells of the Mutant Manifesto with mythic versions - nice! But you're not here for the supplemental content, but for the creatures, right? Okay, so let's dive in!



At CR 3/MR 1, the mythic choker can smother targets and makes spellcasting (or calling for help) nigh impossible for its victims - yes, there is a reason the guards are soundlessly vanishing one by one... At one CR higher, mythic ettercaps receive razor-edged webs with a 1-minute cool-down - pretty cool. Also at CR 4/MR 1, mythic rust monsters can use mythic power to enforce two rolls, the target creature/item taking the lesser. Per se solid, but still wished it received some cool tool - rust auras or the like, for example. Also at this CR/MR, vampirirc mists can envelop and paralyze creatures and quickly drain targets of their blood - imho more interesting than the base creatures, so yeah - cool!



In the solid middle-field, at CR 6/MR 2, mythic cloakers receive no less than 5 different ways with which to augment their moan, mythic power-style. Their engulfing is also pretty lethal, but still - perhaps because I'm a fan of the race, I would have loved to see something more unique being done here. At one CR less, mythic mimics can envelop targets and receive acidic adhesive - solid, but not too great. Mythic otyughs at the same CR/MR can disgust those constricted and use mythic power to exhale stinking clouds - which is in line with the creature's concept, yes, but perhaps due to Purple Duck Games' Otyughnomicon-series, I expected something slightly more interesting.



One of my favorite, odd creatures, the Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing at CR 10/MR 4 can using LIVING creatures as lure. Yes, if you know how these guys works, that's as messed up as it sounds. They also receive a more pronounced body horror component with better implantation options for their eggs and the option to easily maintain multiple grapples, rendering this creature particularly impressive.



Among the high-level threat, we have the froghemoth (yeah!), who doubles as a mythic alien for the subtype, see MM: Aliens) with 2 supplemental feats from MM: Sea Monsters, thankfully reprinted for your convenience - kudos! Oh, and the creature's build is a true beauty - tossing tentacles, drowning gullet, powerful dragging tongue - worthy of CR 16/MR 6 indeed! At only one CR less, the iconic mythic ropers can shatter weapons that strike them, are masters of pulling creatures around, can paralyze foes with their strands courtesy of mythic power and their glare can rip magic asunder akin to an antimagic field. Glorious! Speaking of which - at CR 17/MR 7, veiled masters definitely earn their title here - beyond doubling as mythos-creatures, they may consume memories, wield delayed enchantment effects, exude mists of their dread mucus, create tangible illusions and even send forth deadly electricity-damage-dealing thoughtlances that can stun and stagger targets. Heck yes!

At the same CR/MR-rating, mythic Vemerak receive a breath weapon upgrade that lasts longer, an aura of madness...and a nasty trick. If the creature begins its round grappling a non-mythic creature of size large or lower, it can immediately bite off the head of the target. Yep. Insta-kill. Don't send your cohorts against these guys!



Okay, ready for the new creature? Well, this time, the being clocks in at CR 12/MR 5 and is called Zyoselak - so get this: These things are alien, aberrant swarms of gelatinous, acidic matter, able to create telekinetic shields at the cost of decreased movements - however, said shields can be animated when separated from the creature via mythic power. Worse, it can control its transparency and invade creatures, slowly melting their brain, paralyzing targets and quickly consume any targets that die within it. A fearsome, cool and deadly predator and well worth of Legendary Games' tradition of providing glorious new beasts in this series!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf's 2 original artworks are gorgeous. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Alistair Rigg, Jason Nelson and Tom Philips deliver a cool assortment of mythic adversaries herein - though this time around, the selection feels more divided to me than in the last installment: On the one hand, we have quite a few aberrations brimming with glorious combo-potential, with enhanced, iconic capabilities and some of the most interesting builds in the series. On the other hand, a few of the creatures herein also felt downright disappointing to me - perhaps it's due to my well-documented love for the horrific and weird, but when e.g. taking a look at cloakers etc., they did feel like missed opportunities, especially seeing how 3.X did provided some cool variants and upgrades that could have used some acknowledgment or upgrade, if only to make the poor PFRPG-cloakers more unique.



Now rest assured that I'm complaining at a high level here - the cool prose and unique, new monster definitely make for glorious, inspiring additions to any game. That being said, they are not enough, at least not for me, to elevate this Mythic Monster-installment to absolute apex-levels - hence my final verdict will "only" clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Aberrations (variant cover)
Click to show product description

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Mythic Monsters: Aberrations
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2015 02:34:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monster-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how-to-use, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page inside back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We begin this mythic monster-installment with a glorious handout/moodsetting piece, wherein the dread effects of the new aberration herein are made apparent to the reader - provided in classic greenish/white paper, folks old enough to remember a world sans internet *WILL* definitely have an added piece of recognition drive home the horror here for a pulpy nod - nice indeed and a cool feat by the layout artists/graphic designers of this pdf.



On the supplemental side of things, we receive more mythified spells taken from the Gothic AP- plugin-series, providing, among others, some spells of the Mutant Manifesto with mythic versions - nice! But you're not here for the supplemental content, but for the creatures, right? Okay, so let's dive in!



At CR 3/MR 1, the mythic choker can smother targets and makes spellcasting (or calling for help) nigh impossible for its victims - yes, there is a reason the guards are soundlessly vanishing one by one... At one CR higher, mythic ettercaps receive razor-edged webs with a 1-minute cool-down - pretty cool. Also at CR 4/MR 1, mythic rust monsters can use mythic power to enforce two rolls, the target creature/item taking the lesser. Per se solid, but still wished it received some cool tool - rust auras or the like, for example. Also at this CR/MR, vampirirc mists can envelop and paralyze creatures and quickly drain targets of their blood - imho more interesting than the base creatures, so yeah - cool!



In the solid middle-field, at CR 6/MR 2, mythic cloakers receive no less than 5 different ways with which to augment their moan, mythic power-style. Their engulfing is also pretty lethal, but still - perhaps because I'm a fan of the race, I would have loved to see something more unique being done here. At one CR less, mythic mimics can envelop targets and receive acidic adhesive - solid, but not too great. Mythic otyughs at the same CR/MR can disgust those constricted and use mythic power to exhale stinking clouds - which is in line with the creature's concept, yes, but perhaps due to Purple Duck Games' Otyughnomicon-series, I expected something slightly more interesting.



One of my favorite, odd creatures, the Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing at CR 10/MR 4 can using LIVING creatures as lure. Yes, if you know how these guys works, that's as messed up as it sounds. They also receive a more pronounced body horror component with better implantation options for their eggs and the option to easily maintain multiple grapples, rendering this creature particularly impressive.



Among the high-level threat, we have the froghemoth (yeah!), who doubles as a mythic alien for the subtype, see MM: Aliens) with 2 supplemental feats from MM: Sea Monsters, thankfully reprinted for your convenience - kudos! Oh, and the creature's build is a true beauty - tossing tentacles, drowning gullet, powerful dragging tongue - worthy of CR 16/MR 6 indeed! At only one CR less, the iconic mythic ropers can shatter weapons that strike them, are masters of pulling creatures around, can paralyze foes with their strands courtesy of mythic power and their glare can rip magic asunder akin to an antimagic field. Glorious! Speaking of which - at CR 17/MR 7, veiled masters definitely earn their title here - beyond doubling as mythos-creatures, they may consume memories, wield delayed enchantment effects, exude mists of their dread mucus, create tangible illusions and even send forth deadly electricity-damage-dealing thoughtlances that can stun and stagger targets. Heck yes!

At the same CR/MR-rating, mythic Vemerak receive a breath weapon upgrade that lasts longer, an aura of madness...and a nasty trick. If the creature begins its round grappling a non-mythic creature of size large or lower, it can immediately bite off the head of the target. Yep. Insta-kill. Don't send your cohorts against these guys!



Okay, ready for the new creature? Well, this time, the being clocks in at CR 12/MR 5 and is called Zyoselak - so get this: These things are alien, aberrant swarms of gelatinous, acidic matter, able to create telekinetic shields at the cost of decreased movements - however, said shields can be animated when separated from the creature via mythic power. Worse, it can control its transparency and invade creatures, slowly melting their brain, paralyzing targets and quickly consume any targets that die within it. A fearsome, cool and deadly predator and well worth of Legendary Games' tradition of providing glorious new beasts in this series!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf's 2 original artworks are gorgeous. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Alistair Rigg, Jason Nelson and Tom Philips deliver a cool assortment of mythic adversaries herein - though this time around, the selection feels more divided to me than in the last installment: On the one hand, we have quite a few aberrations brimming with glorious combo-potential, with enhanced, iconic capabilities and some of the most interesting builds in the series. On the other hand, a few of the creatures herein also felt downright disappointing to me - perhaps it's due to my well-documented love for the horrific and weird, but when e.g. taking a look at cloakers etc., they did feel like missed opportunities, especially seeing how 3.X did provided some cool variants and upgrades that could have used some acknowledgment or upgrade, if only to make the poor PFRPG-cloakers more unique.



Now rest assured that I'm complaining at a high level here - the cool prose and unique, new monster definitely make for glorious, inspiring additions to any game. That being said, they are not enough, at least not for me, to elevate this Mythic Monster-installment to absolute apex-levels - hence my final verdict will "only" clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Aberrations
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Underworld Classes: Underterror
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2015 02:30:11
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What is the underterror? Well, it is a tradition mostly practiced by the dread Gitwerc, the tyrannical dwarves of AAW Games' underworld and crunch-wise, a 20-level base class. The underterror receives d10, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, axes, hammers and picks as well as light and medium armor and shields (excluding tower shields). They also receive 3/4 BAB-progression and good Ref- and Will-saves. At first level, they receive darkvision 60 ft, which increases by +10 ft every odd level for a non-standard maximum of 160 ft. at 19th level.



At 1st level, underterrors may alter self at will without gaining any abilities as a supernatural ability. But that's not what this class is about - the underterror receives an evolution pool equal to 3 points at first level, scaling up to 22 at 20th level. These evolutions (taken from the eidolon's array) become the main fodder of the class. While an underterror must be biped, he does not receive the bonuses an eidolon usually receives from said base form, though they may select them. Evolution points may be redistributed each level. Some evolutions are completely prohibited for the underterror, whereas others are delayed and receive a new minimum level to take them. Starting at 3rd level, underterrors may switch 1 evolution point 1/week via a 1-hour ceremony, with 8th, 13th and 18th level increasing the evolution point cap for the switch by a further +1, but also extending the required time by that amount in hours.



At 2nd level, the underterror also receives a so-called HEL pool equal to 1/2 underterror class level. The HEL powers gained constitute spell-like abilities that are powered by this pool, with caster level = underterror level and Cha as the governing attribute. A HEL Power's cost here is equal to the level of the spell-like ability, adding essentially a minor casting dimension to the underterror's martial prowess.



Now here is the thing - underterrors may not hit as reliable as other classes, but the evolutions allow for a significant array of extra attacks - one thankfully capped by level-progression. Now if you're like me and shuddered at the required penalty/etc.-list, be assured that the pdf thankfully devotes a whole page listing tables and explaining the interaction of natural attacks - which would be even more useful, if the second column more clearly stated what sets it apart from the first column. Still, pretty helpful. At 5th level, they may evolution surge 1/day, +1/day every five levels thereafter.



At 6th level, underterrors may grant their evolutions to willing and unwilling recipients 1/day for 1 minute per class level, expanding the potency and duration later at 16th level. As swift actions, they may become dreadful creatures indeed, causing a debuff + shaken effect and further increase the potency of said ability at the expense of rounds available per day. Extra Evolution as a bonus feat is also gained.



At the highest levels, underterrors become immune to an array of polymorph effects and, as a capstone, they become an outsider that has attacks not only count as adamantine, it also allows for a 1/day swift activation of HEL Powers.



Now speaking of which - if you like HEL powers as a concept, the Savant of HEL-archetype receives a significantly increased array of HEL Powers alongside expanded lists to choose them from, but at the cost of never becoming huge and losing all extra attacks the base class may milk out of evolutions. Their HEL Power use is also expanded and rendered more efficient and they may even apply select, chosen metamagic feats to HEL powers. High level savants may also reroll saves and force rerolls upon adversaries.



The pdf also sports two new feats, one for extra HEL powers and one for an increased HEL pool.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay -the glitch in the explanatory table is a bit unpleasant and here and there, the abilities could have been a bit more concise in their explanation/presentation, but that is a minor issue. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art. The pdf also comes with pretty rudimentary bookmarks - not enough to make the pdf truly comfortable to use.



Mike Myler and Julian Neale deliver a class that is not for the faint of heart - both in-game and regarding the work it takes to get these guys off the ground. The class utilizes evolutions and ll the nasty eidolon tricks and focuses on massive attack accumulation, with the general focus being completely different from Rite Publishing's superb Masquerade Reveler: Unlike RiP's class, this one focuses on a less fluid take on the concept, instead opting for a more continuous output. Make no mistake, this is an advanced class that requires some serious thought, with flexibility being mostly based around the scarce few HEL points and the option to switch out evolutions in lengthy processes. So from that point of view, the underterror is less flexible. On another note, though, it excels - once you've made your build, you're pretty much done and can easily play a terrible, horrible monster in ANY module.

The constant, unlimited option to alter self makes underterrors functional in just about any context - even urban adventuring. And yes, the look on the face of some NPCs will be priceless, as the underterror unleashes his might. Alas, it also makes dipping into the class ridiculously strong. Darkvision, infinite alter self, evolutions - all for one level? Where do I sign? Especially any stealth-based/agent-class would reap immense benefits from this class - a level-based lock on the amount of alternate forms known would help mitigate this ultimate chameleon-dip. Apart from that, slightly more (and less ambiguous) guidance for players may have made this very complex class more user-friendly.



Is the underterror a bad class? No, not by any means! But it is one that needs to be handled carefully and maturely by both players and the DM and it needs experienced hands to prosper. In the end, it is a unique class to play, with minor rough edges. All in all, I will settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Underterror
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Compendium Arcanum Vol. 3: 2nd-Level Spells (PFRPG)
Publisher: d20pfsrd.com
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2015 02:28:03
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Compendium Arcanum-series clocks in at 121 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 117 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So what is this series about? In a nutshell, the compendium arcanum-series takes the concept of 3.X's Arcana Evolved for the option of heightening/diminishing spells and translates that to PFRPG. This means a spell can be cast as one level higher or as one level lower. The series covers all spells from the core-book, APG, UM and Ultimate Combat. If a class has no level lower (i.e. no cantrip slots), you can't cast the diminished spell and the heightened effects require you to be able to cast the heightened spell level - obviously preventing classes from casting a heightened spell that would e.g. be 10th level for a full caster or 5th level, for a paladin, to give you two examples.



After the unfortunate cantrip-debacle of the second installment of the series, we here do not have the issue with potential infinite casts, remaining with only a significant increase in flexibility. At first glance, one can see a nice little improvement in layout -diminished and heightened effects are now denoted by small, neat arrow-icons, making the actual use of this pdf more comfortable - nice! On the downside, at this point I feel obliged to mention two significant gaps in the system that were simply not relevant in the first installment and paled behind the vast issues the 1st level-installment had. Number 1 would be that the pdf does not specify how e.g. light/darkness-counterspells work - can e.g. a diminished light counterspell a heightened darkness? The pdfs remain silent on this. Secondly - what about spell-like abilities? How do they work within in the frame of this system? No idea.



Now what kind of balancing mechanisms do we get? Well, among others, the obvious ones would include modified durations as well as changed range/target-lines - limiting a spell from touch to personal, for example, makes sense, as does the upgrade from e.g. +2 to +4 bonuses. However, not all spell-scaling effects can be considered well-crafted - the by themselves powerful "massive bonus spells" like acute senses - the diminished version nets only a +5 bonus, scaling up to +10. The heightened effect, however, increases duration by factor ten for 10 min/level. Alas, there are glitches herein- take the diminished effects of alchemical allocation: "If the spell contained in the potion or elixir has variable, numeric effects, they are decreased by half, including bonuses to those dice rolls. If the spell contained in the potion or elixir has variable, numeric effects, then instead its duration is decreased by half. " Sooo...what is it? I don't get how this is supposed to work. Something obviously went pretty wrong here.



Now on the plus-side, adding cure light wounds to allfood's heightened effects would be a pretty cool idea, going into breadth, rather than depth (though the former spell is not italicized) and animal aspect's diverse heightened effects (one for each animal chosen) make for a cool idea. Arcane Lock's heightened effect allows you to specify a password to temporarily bypass the lock - which makes more than just a bit sense and can be used for plenty a cool narrative - it is in instances like this where Timothy Wallace's talent definitely shines. On the downside, there simply are quite a few guffaws herein - blur's heightened effects e.g., among others, changes target to "creature touched" - which the spell already has - instead, it should clarify the number of creatures to be touched. Why? In another issue, the spell's heightened effects allow you to freely assign the duration in 1-minute intervals among creatures touched - which renders the spell effectively a kind-of-(communal) spell, so why not simply utilize that terminology?



Chameleon Stride would be an example of a diminished effect gone horribly wrong, with the diminished version providing " You gain a +10 bonus on Stealth checks, but are not granted any concealment. The bonus increases to +20 at caster level 5th, and to +30 (the maximum) at caster level 9th." -no concealment, yes, but a bonus that may be on par (and as untyped, stacking) with invisibility. Remember, that would be for a level one spell. The heightened version provides concealment for all attacks further than 5 feet away. This renders reach weapons rather useless and also eliminates any possibility to target creatures with spells and effects that require line of sight. For a level 3 spell, that's pretty sick.



On the plus-side - using a heightened command undead without needing to speak the commands, instead going for the telepathic route once again can be considered a stroke of genius - undead ninjas with a necromancer-commander? Why not? Nice! Lesser Confusion/Confusion have been merged into a nice combined version and a similar merger has been made for continual flame and light: Makes sense, as does the combination of pit trap/spiked pit. Instant revelation of all information via detect thought's heightened effect once again feel a bit problematic in my book.



On the plus-side, integration of all relevant and required information for e.g. catching on fire is a pretty neat added convenience. Moving flaming spheres to execute ranged combat maneuvers with a concentration-check may be a bit too much, though - ranged maneuvers at what amounts to a full BAB-class bonus, plus trait/feat-trickery is very strong, especially considering the additional damage/AoE-upgrade. Stinking Cloud has been delegated to being the heightened version of fog cloud, which may be a bit too weak for 3rd level.



Extending the effects of grace to creatures touched would constitute another gripe I have here - the base spell is OP enough, allowing it to be extended to other characters makes it ridiculously powerful, even for 3rd level. Share Memory's diminished effects allow you to share memories only for a limited time, allowing for significantly more complex narrative frames - so yeah - this one is pretty brilliant. Silk to Steel's heightened effect is pretty awesome, allowing you to use it either for defense or as a scorpion whip. Here one might nitpick that the spell does not confer proficiency, but it doesn't need to - the wording specified "as if" - and in dubio pro reo, so this one's safe from my nagging. Heightened Touch injection sans chance to poison yourself, even without poison use, also makes sense - at least for non-alchemists. Spitting poisons transmuted from potions makes for another interesting option and the option to make undetectable alignment kind of communal via the heightened version also is pretty cool. Adding minor energy resistance of your choice to a web shelter also is a rather awesome decision.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is pretty solid on a formal level - on the rules-level, the book could have used a close look by a solid developer. Layout adheres to the easy-to-read, well-presented 2-column standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The added icons make reading the pdf easier - kudos. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience - one for each spell! Kudos! The pdf also comes in two versions, with one sporting extensive hyperlinks to d20pfsrd.com's shop and the other being free of them, should you prefer it that way.



Timothy Wallace, generally, knows what he is doing. However, this is longer than 120 pages and thus, I wasn't surprised to see some hiccups here - some of the new options presented here are quite frankly not appropriate for the spell-level to which they adhere - at least in my book. Now usually, I'd be slightly more lenient in that regard, but as anyone who has ever run a game with compendium arcanum-rules can attest, these modifications significantly enhance the flexibility of all casters, thus making the required balancing all the more peculiar. The series is notoriously quiet on its rather significant effects on balancing - personally, I'd suggest taking a very close look at whether your game is up for the increased caster-power provided here. Especially prepared casters imho simply do not require the additional flexibility. But that won't influence my verdict - what will, though, are the glitches that can be found and the at times very problematic, even broken effects. HOWEVER, at the same time, the (communal)-tricks, the spell-mergers...there is a lot of cool material to be found herein, some of it downright inspired. So while the balance-concerns within the system would usually have me round down, I'll instead settle for a verdict that reflects this as a quintessential mixed bag, for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 stars for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Compendium Arcanum Vol. 3: 2nd-Level Spells (PFRPG)
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Feats Reforged: Vol. III, The Combat Feats
Publisher: Total Party Kill Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/24/2015 09:13:01
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment of TPK Games' reimagination of feats as scaling with the levels clock in at 68 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 65 (!!!) pages of content..but what do these pages cover?



Well, essentially this book covers the feats from Ultimate Combat and introduces scaling mechanisms into them. Now the pdf does mention the topic of balance - and whether this changes the balance of the game. The basic stance taken by the pdf is "no", as long as you apply the scaling mechanisms to adversaries as well. personally, I am not sold on that, seeing how classes with many feats necessarily receive more benefits from the scaling of feats. That being said, I do consider the impact/power-increase to be relatively conservative, so no rating penalty for that. Another thing - this review is NOT, I repeat, it is NOT about whether the feats from Ultimate Combat are well-designed...or balanced for that matter. This review is about TPK Games' take on the feats, on their scaling mechanism and on whether or not they live up in creative/concise ways to the premise of the pdf. So no, my admitted loathing for some Ultimate Combat feats and their at times problematic rules-language will not reflect negatively on this pdf. If it manages to fix an issue from the source material, though, I'll happily point that out.



The scaling paradigm for the feats usually assumes a scaling on 7th and 14th level, 12th and 19th level, or 13th and 20th level, with powerful, high-prereq-feats sometimes coming with less scaling. Now the first feat herein already is an interesting example for why this pdf *does* have something significant to offer - the upgrades of Adder Strike allow for the application of two doses poison to three body parts and later, even to apply two doses to any number of eligible body parts. This scaling goes beyond boring numerical escalation, adding a surprising tactical diversity to the scaling, one rarely seen in the Feats Reforged series so far - so consider me intrigued. And yes, this extends to quite a few other feats - Arc Slinger's second augmentation, for example, allows the benefit of Point Blank Shot to be applied at 150% of its usual range when used in conjunction with slings/sling-staves.



What about e.g. Betrayer, adding a penalty to attacks on the round following your betrayal? Impressively, the feats themselves often provide whole new tactical options I quite frankly did not expect to be present - take blinding throw's second upgrade, which lets you count as +1 size category when using the feat. If you're like me and just love TPK Games' Laying Waste-book on critical hits, you'll also enjoy e.g. Boar Style's option to cause bleed damage and the advice on handling the use of Laying Waste in conjunction with this superb critical hit system. It should be noted that e.g. the massive damage rule and similar optional rules are taken into account as well whenever they are relevant - impressive to see this pdf go above and beyond.



High-level siege commanders may, for example, assemble siege engines much, much faster, whereas efreeti style's cone-blast can be expanded to full 30 ft., whereas sap masters of higher levels may treat rolled 1s as 2s and later even 1s and 2s as 3s when dealing nonlethal sneak attack damage to adversaries. Increased base damage dice for blowgun darts can also help retaining the usefulness of certain builds.



Indeed, while some components of the rules language has very minor hiccups, the significant majority of the feats herein go quite an impressive step beyond what I consider the numerical escalation school of game design, either providing much-required additional options for less than optimal feats or simply, brand new options, which in diversity, if not in power (thankfully!) reach the added level of tactical depth of mythic feats in their more shining iterations.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, while not perfect, is a significant step up from the blunders that have haunted the classes-reforged series - these components can be considered more than satisfactory in their execution. Layout adheres to a parchment-like two-column standard that is easy to read and the pdf comes with bookmarks by alphabet and the good type of unobtrusive hyperlinks. While I would have liked each feat as a bookmark for more convenience when using the electronic version, I won't penalize this pdf for it. The artworks in full color are sparse, but we don't get these books for the artwork now, do we? Content over bling any day for me!



I'll be honest with you -I wasn't looking forward to reviewing this pdf, mainly because Feats Reforged-pdfs tend to be an insane amount of work that is also not particularly rewarding from a reviewer's perspective. Or so I thought. The first two installments of the series did what they said on the lid - they took the core-feats and APG-feats and made them scale. Mostly sans issues, so yeah, great files, case closed. I expected this book to be pretty much the same deal. It's not. In the capable hands of lead designer Chris Bayes and Brian Berg, this pdf went beyond what I would have expected from it, delivering quite frankly more interesting options than a book with this scope almost has a right to. Certain crunch-projects look downright like WORK to me. Not the "inspiring" type of design, but, capital letters "work" - Legendary Games' mythic feats and spells fall into this category and so did the feats reforged-books. These are assignments I personally would not be too keen on. They are immensely useful, but for my part, the designers of books like that have earned their compensation - design like this can be rewarding, but it also takes a lot of dedication.



It is of utmost importance, then, to acknowledge books that are just like this and still manage to retain a sense of wonder, of versatility. Books that don't fall into the trap of just devising one set of numerical escalation design-rules and then stick to it, but instead go the long, high road. Not the road of least resistance or the fastest, but the one with the best results. I consider this installment of feats reforged to be just that. It is astonishing, baffling even, that such an assignment has produced such an interesting book. When I reviewed Vol. 2 of the series, I wrote that I'd be skeptical regarding how TPK Games would deal with the problem feats herein, how the line would go on. If this is the new face of Feats Reforged, then consider me excited. Even though Ultimate Combat contains some of my most loathed feats for PFRPG, even though I consider the base material far from perfect, the sheer passion and versatility of the design, especially within such a tight frame, is impressive.



While I still won't like quite a few of the feats in UC, the matter of the fact is that I am much more inclined towards just about ALL of their scaling versions. In quite a few instances, coal has been turned not to rough diamonds, but at least into something that sparkles, that has a shine. If this accumulation of praise was not enough indication - I am perfectly willing to consider the scant few issues herein, all of which fall into the "minor" category or are based on issues with the base feats, simply less than relevant when compared to the surprising wellspring of ideas found herein, of all places. Add to that the relatively concise balance and we have an obvious final verdict: 5 stars + seal of approval. If waiting this long for a new reforged-book results in this level of awesomeness, I'll gladly wait for the next book!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Feats Reforged: Vol. III, The Combat Feats
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Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/24/2015 09:07:25
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!



So what is the psilocybist? Well, the first and easiest answer would be: A Prestige Class. To be more precise, one has to be aware of perhaps the coolest domain I've read all year, AAW Games' mushroom domain, as also shown in the Underworld Races: Funglet-pdf. Since I went into detail there, here's the brief run-down - the domain sports explosive shuriken-style shroom caps, the option to partially transform into a jumping shroom/man hybrid and the means to conjure forth man-eating maushrooms. It is terribly fun and fully represented herein as well, meaning that people who have both pdfs will see some overlap there.



Now Psilocybists expand the exploding shrooms and go balls to the wall crazy with them. The 10-level PrC receives d8, 2+Int skills per level, no new proficiencies, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 Will-progression, 7/10 spellcasting progression and full progression for the purposes of determining the effects of the mushroom domain. Now with a flick of the wrist, these fellows can cause mushrooms of increasing rarity to grow (later even including large ones!), which is a nice synergy with the mushroom domain's spells (and e.g. Rise of the Drow's extensive primer on shrooms) - but this component of the class is pretty much cosmetic. At first level, the psilocybist also receives the Trickery (deception) domain and at 2nd level, the class receives the fungal flurry, allowing you to bombard adversaries with the deadly fungal caps. Additionally, psilocybists may consume such caps to enter a psychoactive trance, wherein CL, DCs and checks to overcome SR are enhanced, but at the same time, the psilocybist takes penalties to initiative and select skill checks.



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



Now I mentioned imbued caps - these allow the psilocybist to imbue area spells within their caps and throw them as part of the casting. The added flexibility thus gained is further enhanced by one significant bonus - targets hit count as if they had failed their save, though SR still applies. Yes, this is powerful and nasty, but also cool! (Oh, and yes, counterspelling et al is part of the deal.) Over the progression of the PrC, more caps per day, poison resistance, added illusion spells - all possible. At 5th level, these guys may imbue one cap with up to two spells, but only a limited amount of times per day. Clarification on whether the PrC still needs to expend the casting time of both spells to be imbued would be required here, though. As a capstone, 1/day, the psilocybist may conjure forth dread mushroom golems, the rather nasty CR 10 creature also sported in these pages.



Now if you are not excited about the caps not dealing extra damage on critical hits - well, the solution for that is exactly one feat away.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are unfortunately not perfect - especially the glitches in table vs. text are pretty nasty and must be considered a significant detriment. Layout adheres to AAW Games' beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art. Some, you may know from Rise of the Drow/UR: Funglets, but the majority is fresh - kudos for one gorgeous pdf. The pdf also comes with pretty rudimentary bookmarks - not enough to make the pdf truly comfortable to use.



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

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Underworld Classes: Psilocybist
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B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/23/2015 10:01:29
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 47 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, so let's take a look!



This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. Really. The outrageous premise is a part of the fun.

...

..

.

Still here? All right! First of all - if your PCs have completed the superb "Death and Taxes"-module, they're likely to be familiar with the subtle, off-kilter humor this module sports - if not, well, then all the better. The PCs are contacted by one gorgeous lady called Sylvia Towntree, the very top-brass of Hordenheim's real estate brokers and agents. The lady contacts them to clear out a haunted manor constructed by an eccentric gnome/architect, edgewaith manor. The encounters, though, quickly show that this is not yet another grim-dark delve into a family's tragedy - oozes in the closet just are part one of the challenges that hilariously echo the tasks real life people may face when restoring an old manor: Of course, the place has a vermin problem.



Only we're talking fantasy world here, and thus, alas, the vermin are sentient - a Formian queen has set up shop in the place and while the unseen servants may have been intended as a rare form of luxury, the well-meaning magical constructs can result in pretty much hilarious accidents on the side of the PCs. Heck, even the bound fire elemental providing central heating can be reasoned with and be played up for a glorious blending of the horrific and genuinely funny. It should also be noted that the house's depiction regarding rooms is anything but rudimentary, coming with rather exquisite details even before the superb maps in full color (including player-friendly versions) come into play.



Yes, the place has a rather nasty fuse-box. Oh, and yes, PCs may actually do battle with animated chicken coops trying to eat them. No, I'm not making that up. More impressively, they receive artworks that make them genuinely creepy! Now sooner or later, the queen will seek diplomacy, rather piqued by the bad form of the home-invading PCs...and either by combat or diplomacy, hand over the deed to the manor - which coincidentally allows for the free re-arrangement of rooms - all rules for that are perfectly described in a nice, concise handout. And here, the module becomes totally awesome and bonkers - in a twist, the real-estate agent arrives with a full-blown mop-up crew to kill friggin' everybody! She didn't get to the top by playing nice, after all! So yes, the PCs, with full command of the house (and hopefully a couple of Formians) may defend the house and use its powers to essentially turn all those tricks they witnessed upon their wannabe assassins for one of the most glorious, iconic showdowns I've read in ages. Home alone, anyone?



The pdf provides full stats of for all creatures for both PFRPG and D&D 3.X.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to AAW Games' 2-column full-color standard with copious amounts of awesome full-color art and superb full-color cartography. The module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Do you know how many modules I read per year? How many I've read in total? Hint: Probably too many. I have seen just about everything and only very, very rarely do I encounter a module that instills a total sense of jamais-vu in me. This module managed that. But it did so much more - it is logical, concise and downright glorious. It is also the funniest module I've read in years. Now don't get me wrong - unlike many comparable modules, this one is NOT a "joke module" - it is superbly crafted, sports great writing and thoroughly iconic ideas and is professional in every way. In order to note how this module brilliantly skirts the boundaries between the creepy and funny, between high-fantasy and tongue-in-cheek nods towards our own culture, all without breaking the 4th wall, one practically has to run this exceedingly fun beast.



I am not engaging in hyperbole when I'm saying that playing this module saw one player fall from his chair, laughing. This is one of the most unique, inspired modules I've read in AGES. Colin Stricklin's first module was great - this is ridiculously good. And yes, pun intended. Even the premise would be enough to qualify this as awesome, but add the optional, subdued and INTELLIGENT humor, the unique adversaries and superb production values and we quite frankly have a module that belongs into the collection of every Pathfinder DM. Yes, that good. Unless you have even less humor than the stereotype accredits to Germans like me, this is a must-have blast of a module. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and nominating this as one of my candidates for the Top Ten of 2014.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B20: For Rent, Lease, or Conquest
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Mythic Monsters: Aliens
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/23/2015 09:58:27
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monster-series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how-to-use, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page inside back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We begin this installment of Mythic Monsters, once again with supplemental material, this time around discussing the finer distinctions between aliens and creatures of the Mythos (for those not as versed with the details), while also providing the new alien subtype, which renders telepathic contact a bad idea and helping the creatures remain inscrutable. Additionally, alien items as a concept are introduced alongside a new level 1 spell variant of identify to identify technological items with the help of Disable Device, Knowledge (engineering) or Spellcraft. Additionally, the pdf provides no less than 9 mythic spells, mostly providing mythic variants of cool spells introduced in Legendary Games' Carrion Crown plug-in-series.



But you're here for the monsters, right?



The first creature clocks in at CR 8/MR3, the mythic adaptoid, whose sparks stun targets. The truly interesting thing, though, would be a pretty unique way of increasing the creature's potency - by utilizing the animated objects-construction rule, a DM can add further abilities to the adaptoid's repertoire. Oh, and it is solar powered. Damn cool build! At the same CR/MR, mythic Lunarma receive barb-based gore-attacks and use mythic power to enhance the growth of its implanted eggs and even blast forth larvae in a deadly cone. Also at this CR/MR, mythic witchwyrds do not need to be aware of incoming magic missiles to be able to absorb them and retaliate with mythic magic missiles and gaining appropriate mythic spell-like abilities. Solid, but not too exciting.



CR 6/MR 2 Brethedan can change their forms by adaption like their base brethren, but now may use this adaption to get rid of unpleasant conditions and even use adaption reflexively. Additionally, they may force damaging mergers with unfortunate adversaries . nice! At one CR less, the Mythic Shobhad receives a sniper-like, mythic power-based longrifle kill shot with a particular high chance to hit/crit.



Akata (one of the few good things to come out of Second Darkness), at CR 1/MR 1 can generate cocoons and cocoon other creatures and otherwise remain a pretty cool threat. The addition of the void zombie mini-template also is a nice touch, since it prevents book swapping. On the downside, I would have expected a mythic power-upgradeable void death disease. Oh well. Slightly above that, at CR 3/MR 1, contemplatives are masters of telekinesis and can buff themselves with the insight their telepathic capacities net them. Speaking of highly anticipated low-CR creatures - CR 1/MR 1 flumphs can shoot their needles as a ranged attack, receives aberration-detection as an at-will ability and may further delve into the knowledge cosmic via mythic power. Love how the redeemed race has been made even cooler by these added abilities.



Mythic dragonkin (no, not Midgard's playable race) render their rider immune to fire or other respective appropriate energy types. They clock in at CR 11/MR 4 and generally...aren't interesting. I like the rider-idea, but the creature still feels bland to me. At one CR lower, but 10 points of nastiness higher, the CR 10/MR 4 intellect devourers, who can directly teleport into your head, 100 ft. stun-shockwaves and similar nasty tricks. Slight nitpick - the ability-names are not properly bolded.



At the same CR/MR as the intellect devourer, moonflowers receive automatic, non roll-based fortification and their pod prisons can be made more stable, feature tentacles and similar, nasty tricks - pretty awesome, even before the upgraded pod creatures they can make. Exceedingly cool - two thumbs up for these things!



This installment's new creature would be the CR 14/MR 5 Qomok, an aberration that is surprisingly not an alien and instead a shapeshifting, highly modular creature that can modify its fluid body on the fly, duplicating a massive array of abilities (including pounce, rend etc.) and assimilate target creatures. Worse, it retains the knowledge of creatures slain, can spontaneously generate feeding tendrils and can infect target creatures. While its fluff is nice, this time around, the crunch is definitely the star here, for this deadly creature actually manages to properly portray the invasive paranoia and body horror evoked by the classic Carpenter movie "The Thing" - no, don't watch the remake. And yes, this representation is simply legendary. In a nice piece of synergy, I may recommend this creature as an upgrade for LPJ Design's great "Cold Visitor" module (Pay what you want, btw.!) - upgrading the module in power and adding in this creature definitely amps up the lethality factor by quite a bit! Crunch-wise, this one stands apart even within this series as something glorious!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf's 2 original artworks are gorgeous. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Tom Philips and Jason Nelson as Mythic Monster-regulars got some support by Benjamin Bruck and Mike Welham in this Mythic Monster installment and it does show - while there are some slightly conservative builds herein, the majority of this pdf's creatures are downright inspired. From cool material and builds to truly alien, weird abilities, the majority of the beings herein is simply awesome.



Now yes, the witchwyrd isn't that inspired, but you can't win them all - that being said, this installment is still one of the best, most inspired ones in the whole series and the proper implementation of bookmarks and versatile abilities as well as the glorious new creature conspire to render this a full blown 5 star + seal of approval recommendation.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Aliens
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Mythic Monsters: Aliens (variant cover)
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/23/2015 09:57:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Mythic Monster-series clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages introduction/how-to-use, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page inside back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We begin this installment of Mythic Monsters, once again with supplemental material, this time around discussing the finer distinctions between aliens and creatures of the Mythos (for those not as versed with the details), while also providing the new alien subtype, which renders telepathic contact a bad idea and helping the creatures remain inscrutable. Additionally, alien items as a concept are introduced alongside a new level 1 spell variant of identify to identify technological items with the help of Disable Device, Knowledge (engineering) or Spellcraft. Additionally, the pdf provides no less than 9 mythic spells, mostly providing mythic variants of cool spells introduced in Legendary Games' Carrion Crown plug-in-series.



But you're here for the monsters, right?



The first creature clocks in at CR 8/MR3, the mythic adaptoid, whose sparks stun targets. The truly interesting thing, though, would be a pretty unique way of increasing the creature's potency - by utilizing the animated objects-construction rule, a DM can add further abilities to the adaptoid's repertoire. Oh, and it is solar powered. Damn cool build! At the same CR/MR, mythic Lunarma receive barb-based gore-attacks and use mythic power to enhance the growth of its implanted eggs and even blast forth larvae in a deadly cone. Also at this CR/MR, mythic witchwyrds do not need to be aware of incoming magic missiles to be able to absorb them and retaliate with mythic magic missiles and gaining appropriate mythic spell-like abilities. Solid, but not too exciting.



CR 6/MR 2 Brethedan can change their forms by adaption like their base brethren, but now may use this adaption to get rid of unpleasant conditions and even use adaption reflexively. Additionally, they may force damaging mergers with unfortunate adversaries . nice! At one CR less, the Mythic Shobhad receives a sniper-like, mythic power-based longrifle kill shot with a particular high chance to hit/crit.



Akata (one of the few good things to come out of Second Darkness), at CR 1/MR 1 can generate cocoons and cocoon other creatures and otherwise remain a pretty cool threat. The addition of the void zombie mini-template also is a nice touch, since it prevents book swapping. On the downside, I would have expected a mythic power-upgradeable void death disease. Oh well. Slightly above that, at CR 3/MR 1, contemplatives are masters of telekinesis and can buff themselves with the insight their telepathic capacities net them. Speaking of highly anticipated low-CR creatures - CR 1/MR 1 flumphs can shoot their needles as a ranged attack, receives aberration-detection as an at-will ability and may further delve into the knowledge cosmic via mythic power. Love how the redeemed race has been made even cooler by these added abilities.



Mythic dragonkin (no, not Midgard's playable race) render their rider immune to fire or other respective appropriate energy types. They clock in at CR 11/MR 4 and generally...aren't interesting. I like the rider-idea, but the creature still feels bland to me. At one CR lower, but 10 points of nastiness higher, the CR 10/MR 4 intellect devourers, who can directly teleport into your head, 100 ft. stun-shockwaves and similar nasty tricks. Slight nitpick - the ability-names are not properly bolded.



At the same CR/MR as the intellect devourer, moonflowers receive automatic, non roll-based fortification and their pod prisons can be made more stable, feature tentacles and similar, nasty tricks - pretty awesome, even before the upgraded pod creatures they can make. Exceedingly cool - two thumbs up for these things!



This installment's new creature would be the CR 14/MR 5 Qomok, an aberration that is surprisingly not an alien and instead a shapeshifting, highly modular creature that can modify its fluid body on the fly, duplicating a massive array of abilities (including pounce, rend etc.) and assimilate target creatures. Worse, it retains the knowledge of creatures slain, can spontaneously generate feeding tendrils and can infect target creatures. While its fluff is nice, this time around, the crunch is definitely the star here, for this deadly creature actually manages to properly portray the invasive paranoia and body horror evoked by the classic Carpenter movie "The Thing" - no, don't watch the remake. And yes, this representation is simply legendary. In a nice piece of synergy, I may recommend this creature as an upgrade for LPJ Design's great "Cold Visitor" module (Pay what you want, btw.!) - upgrading the module in power and adding in this creature definitely amps up the lethality factor by quite a bit! Crunch-wise, this one stands apart even within this series as something glorious!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games' 2-column full-color standard and the pdf's 2 original artworks are gorgeous. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Tom Philips and Jason Nelson as Mythic Monster-regulars got some support by Benjamin Bruck and Mike Welham in this Mythic Monster installment and it does show - while there are some slightly conservative builds herein, the majority of this pdf's creatures are downright inspired. From cool material and builds to truly alien, weird abilities, the majority of the beings herein is simply awesome.



Now yes, the witchwyrd isn't that inspired, but you can't win them all - that being said, this installment is still one of the best, most inspired ones in the whole series and the proper implementation of bookmarks and versatile abilities as well as the glorious new creature conspire to render this a full blown 5 star + seal of approval recommendation.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Monsters: Aliens (variant cover)
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Animal Races: Clan of the Raccoon
Publisher: Eric Morton Presents
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/23/2015 09:56:14
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Animal Races-series clock in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Much like prior installments to this series, we herein receive rules for PCs belonging to one of the tightly and concisely-presented animal clans, with raccoons, badgers, skunks and wolverines, unique though they may be, being grouped into this installment.



Racial trait-wise, members of this clan can opt for medium size (and +2 Wis, -2 Cha) or small size (+2 Wis, -2 Str) and 30/20 ft. movement rate, conversely. They also receive low-light vision, scent, +1 natural armor that scales up to +2 at 10th level. The race also receives a primary natural weapon for 1d4/1d3, respectively. On a slightly nitpicky side, usually, bit attacks for medium creatures are 1d6, those of small creatures 1d4, which would denote a minor glitch, were it not for the option to upgrade the attack to the proper damage dice. On the plus-side, the pdf does properly denote bites as primary natural weapons. Now depending on the precise clan you choose, you also receive additional benefits: +2 Con for badgers and wolverines, +2 Dex for raccoons and skunks. badgers may choose the badger clan heritage bonus feat as a fighter combat feat, while raccoons may select their clan heritage as a ranger combat style feat and wolverines may choose the badger clan heritage in lieu of a rage power. Skunks may select their clan heritage feat as an alchemist discovery or the new skunk bomb feat - on the nitpicky side, there is an "or" missing between the two feats.



If you're not yet familiar with the clan heritage feats - each feat can be taken multiple times and upon choosing the feat, you may select special racial traits from a list specific to each feat. If you have received all available choices or fulfilled a condition specific to the feat, the selection diversifies, allowing for more powerful options, but also slightly less versatility. Still, seeing how burrow speeds, climb speeds, claw attacks (these with the right damage dice), ferocity are part of this deal, the design decision definitely makes sense. Both the badger and raccoon clan heritages allow the characters to gain rage, by the way - or increase the rage rounds by a massive +6. If this looks powerful, well, taking the feat 3 times before somewhat offsets that. That being said, I do consider making rage as the defining ability of the barbarian class freely available *potentially* problematic - while not broken on its own, rage does double as a prerequisite for some combos, so in that regard, one should be careful.



The skunk bomb-feat is cool in concept, but not particularly impressive - bombs modified by the feat deal no damage, instead causing nausea/sickened with a scaling DC...but only 2/day. No scaling. I really think this feat should be usable more often, especially since the nausea on a failed save does not last that long. Why not adhere to how alchemist bombs are handled?



Much like the previous installments in the series, we receive extensive and well-written introductions to the raccoon clan's folklore, including the interaction with several mythical beings and adversaries from the bestiaries as well as the feud with the dread kytons. Azeban, the great fool and patron deity of the clan is featured alongside neat notes on genealogy and heraldry, which is tied in a genius way with the trait-system - and this time around, instead of one trait, choosing a heraldic symbol nets you a bonus feat - but also a permanent penalty to one save. A total of 6 such heraldic crests are provided.



The pdf also provides a mini-gunslinger archetype that nets a modified class skill list as well as the option to choose select rogue talents instead of certain deeds. Solid, but nothing to write home about.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, there is not much to complain about here. Layout adheres to a very crisp and concise two-column b/w-standard with cool heraldic crests and stock art mixed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



I've made no secret about my love for the first couple of installments of this series and this has not changed - I still consider these pdfs to be smart, well-written and concise. That being said, this time around, I'm slightly less swept away than before. This has various reasons: First, gaining rage without multiclassing can be potentially games - it's hard and thus will not influence my final verdict, but it still remains something that leaves me with a slight ache in my stomach. The Skunk Bomb-feat, while high in concept, is weaker than it imho should be - the bombs have a powerful debuff, but they use the alchemist's bomb-resource and deal no damage. Scaling uses or a tie-in to the alchemist's bomb class feature would have been appropriate. Finally, the archetype...is solid, but just that. Not rest assured, this is me complaining at a pretty high level - this still is a good pdf...but one that feels slightly rough around the edges. I also wished wolverines had received a crest...or their own clan heritage feat, but that may just be me.



I will hence settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down by a tiny margin to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Animal Races: Clan of the Raccoon
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The Genius Guide to Domain Channeling II: Domains of Light and Lore
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2015 04:40:33
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion to RGG's system of domain channeling clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



After one page of aptly-written fluff, we are introduced to the matter at hand - or rather, the basic premise of this pdf: Expanding on the rules presented by the Genius Guide to Domain Channeling, which covered the core domains. Since the additional domains released so far would have gone far beyond what one pdf alone could cover - hence, this time around, the pdf also covers the functionality and interaction with subdomains, loosely based on the concepts of light and lore, akin to the exalted domains back in the day.



One short glance at the massive table which spans no less than 2 pages also immediately makes clear that I probably shouldn't just list the benefits of each domain's channel effects - at least not if I don't want to bloat this review. So let's check out some examples, shall we?



Now the alternate channel effects, the pdf provides a significantly diverse array of options - the effects include the option to expend a use of channel energy to treat an activated item's CL as the CL of the activator. Characters with access to the attunement can expend any number of channel energy effects to provide significant bonuses to atk/damage for cha-mod rounds. On the nitpicky side, this references a "Willpower save", which should be just a Will save" - but that's not a glitch that will influence the verdict. Speaking of typos " When you channel energy for any single effect you have access to effect" has an " effect" too much - here, the ccp-glitch makes the ability slightly harder than necessary to understand - but the dazzling light emitted by channel effects is pretty cool.



Channeling a distracting lust-based debuff may be cool, but gaining incorporeal chains that not only allow for a bonus to AC, but also helps grappling incorporeal creatures - and if that seems powerful - well, you become fatigued after using this channeling options. The Defense subdomain nets you SR 11, +2 per channel die for cha-mod rounds. Rerolls for saves against detrimental mental effects accompany the healing powers of the love subdomain, while hijacking constructs (with HD-limit and potentially, Cha-checks to wrestle for control) works pretty well. Using channel energy as counterspelling fuel versus arcane spells.



The ideas generally are pretty awesome, though there is some internal inconsistency to be found here and there - the aforementioned construct control channeling, for example, specifies the DC specifically - which isn't bad. Other channel effects don't - which isn't bad either - after all, channel energy has a default save attached. On a very nitpicky, formal side, though, providing the save once and then not in another instance can cause some minor confusion - once again, not something truly to the detriment of the pdf, but also a minor cosmetic hiccup.



Now what constitutes a more significant issue with the selection of domain channeling tricks herein, can be summed up with two words: Internal consistency. Minor buffs/debuffs on the one hand...SR and even more powerful effects on the other hand. Take the gibberish domain: 1 round per channel die no written or verbal communication, no spellcasting with verbal components. Yes, this is a pretty powerful save-or-suck and it has a 3rd level prereq, but still...not sold in direct comparison. The Resurrection subdomain on the other hand, is a thing of beauty - it nets the channeler the ability to expend two uses to restore life to a fallen comrade, with significant starting hit points...but only for a time. The massive issue with this one, though, would be that the ability specifies it works like raise dead - which means two permanent negative levels that stack with the ones used to bring the creature back for good... and that would be pretty nasty and render the ability nigh useless.



Temporarily ignoring difficult terrain, channeling the spirits of adventurous ancestors, temporarily alleviating the effects of ability damage - -the effects are diverse. Singing damage-causing hymns with songs of agony can even be considered downright awesome, as is the awesome option to significantly upgrade any overland movement travel. Need some iconic imagery? What about dealing damage to weapon, potentially transforming broken weapons into ploughshares or similar tools...yeah, damn cool!



The pdf closes with a handy table of domain/subdomains, associated domain channeling feats, feat source and domain sources - very useful!



Conclusion:



Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no glaring glitches - those that are here, mostly can be chalked up to nitpickery and very minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' 2-column standard, is printer-friendly and the stock-art is solid. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Andrew Marlowe's domain channeling is downright inspired in more than one instance - often, the scaling benefits are elegant and cool, utilizing unconventional mechanics. That being said, the overall power of the options varies by quite a bit, from non-scaling bonuses to scaling ones, the relative strengths of the respective channeling effects does not feel particularly consistent to me and should definitely be inspected by a DM using this pdf - some low-powered campaigns may consider some of these feats to be a bit liberal regarding when they become available. In the end, I will thus settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, in spite of the minor issues rounded up due to the presence of a number of truly inspired ideas herein.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to Domain Channeling II: Domains of Light and Lore
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Purple Duck Storeroom: The Legend of the Melusine Wife
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2015 04:38:03
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of PDG's low-cost oddball series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 3/4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 6 1/4 pages of content...so, what is this about?



Well, first of all, this is a legend - and a race. the melusine take the traditional take on the aquatic lady and her jealous suitors and translates it to a race, divided along the gender line by an extreme sexual and ethical dimorphism. Whereas female melusines are good fey (CR 5) - they can change from mermaid-like mode of propulsion to legs and back and they are nigh impossible to scry. At the same time, they are susceptible to being watched while they change - being caught in the act can stun them for MINUTES. Yeah, ouch. at the same time, though, they can grant various modes of propulsion and monster abilities to others via a touch, a transformation that can theoretically also be used offensively.



On the flip-side, the males of the species, the CR 6 nicors, have a foul temper indeed and may plant suggestions with a mere glance, but only when meeting the gaze through water. Unlike their brides, these guys also have a unique weakness to mirrors - and no ability to change into a less conspicuous form. Now here's the cincher - female melusines mating with males of their species always produce males, while liaisons with humans, elves etc. result in female offspring. This renders inter-species relationships a necessity for the continuation of the species, but seeing the nasty temperament of the males, one that is risky indeed for the father-to-be.



The pdf also provides two (3, really) magical items. The first would be rings of the melusine, which help when stretching the truth/lying, while also providing a reroll versus enchantment for female rings, 1/week nondetection for the male ring. The second item nets a bonus to Perception and AC while underwater or flying and 1/day alarm.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the one-column digest-style standard of the series and the pdf does sport a beautiful full-page full-color artwork - nice! Speaking of which - the pdf also features full bookmarks, in spite of its brevity. Kudos for going the extra mile!



Perry Fehr's Melusine take the iconic dimorphism and cultural trope of the mermaids and translated it more than well into PFRPG-rules - the unique weaknesses and signature abilities breathe the spirit of fairy-tales of odd fey-rules, of unearthly accords. In one sentence - this is a truly inspired little mini-bestiary. The basic racial constellation is narrative gold and is suffused with potential galore. All in all, a great little file for a more than fair price - well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: The Legend of the Melusine Wife
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Mundane No More: Texts and Tomes 3, Psionic Repositories
Publisher: Christina Stiles Presents
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2015 04:34:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third installment in Rich Howard's Mundane No More-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1.5 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



After getting massive information on research, recipes and making dungeon guides in the superb first book, adding concise rules for special material in book 2 , now we tackle the psionic component - or don't. For yes, this pdf has information on how to *not* use the repositories herein with psionics, so even those disliking psionics have something to enjoy.



First of all - my hat's off regarding the creativity of the sample psionic repositories - far from being bland tomes, they come in the shapes of e.g. bound Shedu, crystalline boats etc. - now if that isn't cool, I don't know what is! Now since, unlike books, they can come in nearly all shapes and sizes, they also can become a pretty complex motivator - but you will have already found that out.



Unlike the previous books, 3 of the 5 sample repositories comes with a neat full color artwork, which is an additional plus. For everyone who doesn't like Dreamscarred Press' superb psionics, references towards Green Ronin's excellent 3.X Psychic Handbook and advice for using these with horror/modern or scifi settings provide a round experience.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column no-frills standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its short size. Nice! Hyperlinks also help, mind you.



I *adore* Rich Howard's Mundane No More-series...the big issue here being that the psionic repositories remain "simple" books. Yes, they're cosmetically tied to psionics and allow multiple people to study them at once, they still remain a pretty minor modification of the base system, one that would have been better served by closer synergy with the psionics-rules - where is the special rule for psionic focus? For studying with linked minds? Psionics offer a lot that magic isn't as adept at providing and this pdf would have been *the* chance to further cement that. It's not hard, but a pretty significant lost opportunity, especially when the pdf wastes space with quoting various suggestions for sanity in a short paragraph. And yes, I've used *A LOT* sanity-rules in my campaigns; rest assured that you *should* use ones that are more concise if you tackle the topic. And yes, I know the official PFRPG-sanity rules. Forget them.



Don't get me wrong - I *like* that this pdf has done its homework, so to speak; I just feel that properly tackling research/sanity would have been better off as its own tome, as opposed to a footnote, especially when the topic of psionic books is anything but exhausted in this pdf. Over all, in spite of the very fair price-point, I felt pretty underwhelmed by this installment and closed it with the feeling that it had wasted potential galore for tackling psionics within the cool Mundane No More-framework. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down by a margin to 3: The easily expandable content may be great, but it simply feels less pronounced than it ought to be.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mundane No More: Texts and Tomes 3, Psionic Repositories
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