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Ultimate Options: Story Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/19/2014 08:35:43
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look!



After one page of aptly-written prose, we dive into the basic recaps of what constitutes a story feat, how to read them and common rules terms like "challenging foe", "Decisively Defeat" etc. this is important, for within this context the wordings carry meaning and if you happen to not own perhaps one of the best books Paizo has ever made (Ultimate Campaign), in which these feats were introduced, well then here you have it explained.



The pdf also provides a massive table of story feats with appropriate backgrounds in case you also use these. Now why are story feats awesome in my book? Know all those stories where a hero vows to accomplish something, then succeeds and transcends his former capabilities? That#s what sory feats are - they are essentially rewards for making a compelling, interesting character the DM has an easier time to work with. As such, and I feel obliged to mention this, players should work together and with the DM to ensure that a good yarn can be woven that potentially offers fulfillment for all those story feats - for yes, they increase in power when their built-in goal has been reached.



Got that? Awesome, so let's take a look at what we get herein! Take Armchair General as the first story feat - representing a formal, theoretical military training, it requires you to select a teamwork feat you have. 1/day, as a standard action, you may grant said feat for cha-mod rounds to all allies within 30 ft, whether they fulfill the prereqs or not. To unleash the feat's true potential, though, you have to be in charge of a large military unit of at least 500 and lead them to a decisive victory, getting some practical experience in the field of war. if you manage to do this, you can designate a limited amount of so-called field-leaders, who then may disperse the teamwork feat as if they had the base armchair general feat sans its completion bonus, allowing for an epic spread of temporary teamwork.



On a more mundane and easier to fulfill level, Blow the Joint nets you 2 Knowledge class skills and skill bonuses that increase once you've been to a bunch of truly big towns. Additionally, people like "one of their own making it in the big city", making the townies more favorable toward you. Likewise, obsession with an obscure artist and collecting said artist's works may allow you upon completion to use appraise in lieu of spellcraft for item identification purposes. Characters that are Cryptohunters r Conspiracy Nuts, even those brainwashed by cult indoctrination or devoted to one of the deadly sins - all get their proper and cool options here. It should also be noted that the cardinal virtues also are an option, not just the runelord centric deadly sins...



Or perhaps a certain creature has traumatized your character and slaying it by facing down his/her fear is what you're going for? What about preventing the death of the last of a creature's kind? Paying a karmic debt? Devoting yourself to a familial quest handed down over the generations? Go where no one has gone before? Or perhaps you want to run the big con, reconnect with your heritage after being estranged from it, act as a mentor for another (player) character? Be a warrior that eschews brutality? Perhaps you have survived a dread plague or are possessed, blacking out? Perhaps your character is the only one believing in one person's innocence or perhaps, you seek to stem the uprisings in your home country, believing in your nation's ideals and values.



Even characters seeking true independence or those that, in their hubris, seek to summon an avatar or follows an unknown deity no one else knows or believes in - the options are often pure narrative gold - specific, yet not too specific and the benefits generally are interesting, especially when tying in with the story in less crunchy benefits, weaving the story of their respective feat further.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no obvious glitches that would have impeded my ability to understand the content herein. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.



Rick Howard and Mike Welham deliver an array of feats that manage to not bore me, which, at this point, is quite a feat. get it. Ouch. Yeah, I know, I'll put a buck in the bad joke jar. Kidding aside - I like the basic premise of story feats and the story feats provided herein greatly expand the cool concept by filling the gaps left by the original introduction in Ultimate Campaign. Generally, I would have enjoyed it if some of the story feats herein had been a bit braver - there are quite a few that do some combination skill-bonus stuff, which, while nice to have, has been done before. Some more synergy with perhaps Downtime, other feats, perhaps even, dare I say it, Story Feat-trees, would have made this pdf even better. As written, it is an enjoyable read that has crunch for once properly support the story and not vice versa, which is a good thing in my book. At least if DM and player have agreed upon story feats, which they should. Communication here is necessary and valuable, but this basic good provided as a prerequisite, I think these feats will have something to add to the campaigns. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Options: Story Feats
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Village Backdrop: Hjalward
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/19/2014 08:32:47
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Village Backdrop clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Now Hjalward is a change pace for the series, for Hjalward is not only the moniker of a village, but also of a vast defensive fortification, with vast watchtowers and flying buttresses, erected in times long past by giants...or some other strange civilization.



Nowadays, not even a tenth of this engineering marvel remains and the village of Hjalward is located around one of these last remaining defensive fortifications. The attentive reader will immediately realize here that Raging Swan Press has significantly streamlined the layout of settlement statblocks, making the formal write-up of the village actually less cluttered than in a default layout - awesome!

As always with the series, we receive magic items for sale in the market place, an array of rumors and events, information on local dressing customs and nomenclature - but this one goes a tad bit beyond that, also providing a kind of local geography and mythology, thus entrenching the village further in an evocative past.

A kind of frontier's town of the coolest kind, the place is fortified and breathes a mix of frontier's spirit/trading post atmosphere, coupled with an underlying sense of decay that is hard to achieve indeed. The augan, the wondrous watchtower at the heart of the village sure has captured my imagination -what do they guard against? How were they destroyed? If it falls, will it be the end for the settlement? Can the PCs keep it intact, perhaps reclaim a part of the splendor of the wall?



Hints towards Wolfsbane Hollow and the surrounding mountainsides and areas )hopefully!) hint at the cool things to come, and a sample bard finishes what can be considered an evocative installment of the series.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's superb, streamlined and printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf's b/w-cartography (of which you can download player-friendly versions on Raging Swan's homepage for free!) is just as awesome as I've come to expect from the series - it should be noted that the map's quality is back to the superb standard we've come to expect and not on the slightly lower level of the previous installment of Village Backdrops. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.



Rife with roleplaying potential galore, suffused by an imagery that is truly iconic, Robert Brookes' Hjalward breathes a spirit of epicness, of opportunity and adventure - sure, you can make this a minor place in your campaign, but just as well, you might blow this up to being an anchor of it or a central component of the things to come - in any way, Hjalward is awesome and deserves a final rating of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Hjalward
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Mythic Minis 21: Feats of Dirty Fighting
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/19/2014 08:28:46
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the drill - 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look!



This Mythic Mini about dirty fighting provides 7 new mythic feats, so what do we get?



-Adder Strike: Penalize saves versus Adder Strike-delivered poisons, use mythic power to make the poison last for multiple rounds.



-Broken Wing Gambit: You need only hit touch AC, but only deal damage when hitting regular AC. Use one mythic power to allow one ally per 2 mythic tiers to allow allies to make AoOs by expending your immediate action as if they had Broken Wing Gambit.



-Drag Down: Deal unarmed damage in addition when tripping foes. Also, keep foes prone while prone yourself. Neat!



-Felling Smash: Felling Smash as a free action, or sans Power Attack penalty as a swift action. If you already may mitigate said penalty in favor of better tripping. This one's wording is slightly ambiguous and could have potentially been phrased slightly more concise.



-Pinpoint Poisoner: Add unarmed damage to blowgun dart damage(+poison) and resolve close range shuriken-style throwing of darts as touch attacks; Can be enhanced via mythic power. AWESOME.



-Punishing Kick: Increase DC by 1/2 tier, target may end up in unsafe squares and you may bull rush multiple foes. Mythic power can be used as a resource for daily punishing kicks. Neat!



-Vicious Stomp: Use mythic power as swift action to make unarmed attacks against prone targets. Also makes standing up harder from being stomped.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the cover-art is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.





Alistair Rigg's mythic takes of dirty fighting rock - they are deadly, cool and do not follow formulaic mythic structures, instead coming with cool, unique effects that, more often than not, are inspired. Thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 21: Feats of Dirty Fighting
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Unrighteous Villains
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2014 05:27:31
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page how-to-use, 1 page ToC (including CR/MR), 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of raw content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Now while this book is intended to provide additional adversaries to the Wrath of the Righteous AP, it should be noted that more so than many other Adventure-path-plug-ins, this book and the villains herein do in no way need this connection and can easily be introduced into non-AP contexts - especially due to not making that heavy use of the Mythic Adventures-rules, meaning that even non-mythic campaigns get their due with this pdf.



So what kind of adversaries do we get herein? Well, the first would be the Unique Quasit-bound demon sorceror Terracg p nmvczy. No. Not a Typo. I didn't fall asleep at the keyboard. In a cool twist, this creature's name is also written in a strange , glyph-like font that makes identifying its proper name hard. Now the catch is - this creature is the fragment of a greater demon and is usually encountered as something saved from demons - becoming a kind of foul-mouthed sidekick for its mortal masters, one with a keen intellect...and one that is nigh impossible to get rid of. BRILLIANT. The additional hooks provided further cement this creature as something I will gift my PCs with...



Koyo-Shojaxus is a more straightforward adversary - at CR 13, the babau martial artist 7 makes for a deadly adversary and a vile variant of the wandering martial artist-trope. Neat! The CR 13 succubus gunslinger (mysterious stranger) Lilevyrrin gives new meaning to the moniker of femme fatale by pairing both deadly prowess and her succubus heritage's "needful things"-style manipulation-capabilities into a glorious package of mayhem. And that's before her Glabrezu lover/mortal enemy enters the fray...



Malcaedix, the shadow demon rogue, takes one of the most powerful creatures for its CR and amps it up to CR 10, adds a new feat for better possession and makes for a strange creature - unlike many demons, she is subtle. She actually cares for her hosts and does her best to eliminate threats to her host...which may include any and all people said person cared about or even those that mildly offended the creature. As a kind of dark guardian angel, she also doesn't deal well with rejection, meaning you'll better be able to fend her off if you question all the good things that happen to you... Awesome and the potential for actual deep, psychological conflict and moral questions as well as roleplaying is vast here.



Ser Meridrand Palisard, the disgustingly fat human antipaladin/low templar with an implanted demonic graft for a stomach makes for a truly vile and disgusting cannibalistic foe, who further adds to this imagery with his equipment -a disgusting, bloated individual, a fallen champion and deadly to boot at CR 15, this erstwhile paragon is a great adversary for a "Through a mirror, darkly"-type situation, when the PCs realize how fragile the sanctity of their alignment truly is and how easily they, too, can fall into the clutches of the Abyss and its servants.



Mons' Verix, the CR 16 Glabrezu-summoner also has a very cool twist - his eidolon looks like an angel. With this tool of deceit, the creature may fool even the most stalwart of heroes and lead them on the first steps of the downward spiral of temptation if played properly - a cool idea indeed and with all the magic capabilities of the creature, one supplemented by the proper magical oomph! As a minor complaint, the final page of his entry is half empty - more story could have easily fitted in there.



Now so far, we've had next to no possession - so what about a demon-possessed inquisitor/assassin build with the erstwhile witch hunter Count Ulus VonKaval? It should be noted that the count is the one character herein who does not get an awesome, original piece of full color artwork, but that does not detract from this example how pride vo make even the mightiest fall.



Finally, at CR 15/MR 6, Dasnikynlin, the mythic coluxus demon with the awesome artwork, its mesmerizing drone, charisma damage AND bleed-damage causing bite, death attack and vicious mythic spell-like abilities makes for a powerful final entry, though one that could have used a unique story-expansion herein. EDIT: I've been made aware that this is the demon that is supposed to be the possessor of Ulus VonKaval and yeah, that works. However, I still would have loved a full-blown ecology-level detailed write-up like the ones in the Mythis Monster-series. Oh well!



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches herein. Layout adheres to Legendary Games fiery, slightly orange-tinted standard for Wrath of the Righteous-plug-ins and the pdf comes with bookmarks for your convenience. The artworks deserve special mentioning here, for almost all adversaries receive their own, glorious full-color pieces, sometimes even on a full-page spread.



Alistair Rigg, Todd Stewart, Clinton J. Boomer and Nicholas Logue - notice something - yeah, these guys have in common that they know how to WRITE. I don't mean "write a supplement", but really WRITE. Evoke moods, atmospheres and multi-layered characters. It's easy to delve into the "wants to destroy everything due to being EVUUUL"-trope with demons and the adversaries herein almost universally manage to avoid this, instead being round, nasty individuals that make sense in a twisted way, providing roleplaying opportunities aplenty, not just within the context of Wrath of the Righteous.



In fact, the writing is so good that you really, really want to use these villains - almost immediately. This miniature rogue's gallery definitely provides some of the most depraved adversaries I've seen in a while - and that is meant as a compliment. But that wouldn't be enough if their statblocks were bland or boring. They aren't. While not all statblocks reach the level of complexity I tend to enjoy in NPC-builds, a couple of them do and that, coupled with the awesome writing, is enough for me. Add to that the slight touches - like aforementioned glyphs, like demonic trysts gone wrong, the evocative adventure hooks - and we have a grand collection of villains, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval - legendary indeed!


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Unrighteous Villains
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The Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/12/2014 03:59:30
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, what is the masquerade reveler? In the time-honored tradition of Rite Publishing, we are not introduced to a bland exposition, but rather are immediately drawn into the material, as a reveler explains the very essence of what makes the archetype tick, relationships with others and the fluff in expertly written in character prose that is actually a joy to behold and read.



Now I didn't answer, so, again, what *is* the Masquerade Reveler? Well, on the one hand, the answer is relatively simple - "A Barbarian Archetype." On the other hand, nothing could be more deceptive, reductive and WRONG than this statement. Let me elaborate - in the realm of the fey (or Limbo, or the Plane of Dreams, or the Dark Tapestry, or, or...it's just a cosmetic reskin, really), things may seem fluid and everchanging, but there are those strange behaviors you can analyze, those strange unwritten laws which govern how things *work* - you know, the anti-logic of "Alice in Wonderland", the power of superstitions and traditions, of one's word. In realms of transformations, of changes, one has to adapt to survive and sooner or later, the very land will change you. Masquerade Revelers have adapted and learned to wear masks -not the literal kind that occupies a none-too-often used slot, but rather the metaphysical ones - the masks we show everyday to co-workers, family and friends, the constructions of one's identity taken to 11 by exposure to a strange realm and codified into something more extreme, something exaggerated that reflects the realm from which the hail and its strange geometries and power structures. Much like we use masks to survive in our daily lives, so does the masquerade reveler employ them - but, as is the wont with those aligned with faerie, the result is extreme.



"Stop rambling, explain!" Your wish is my command, dear reader. The masquerade reveler chooses a mask at 1st level and every class level after that Like the barbarian, the reveler can enter a second mode, but unlike the barbarian, the reveler her retains senses, may use all the int, dex and cha-based skills she wants, while still taking the penalty to AC. So what do those masks constitute? They consider different battle-forms - upon entering a masquerade, all effects of a mask kick in - and these would constitute of up to 4 evolution points for biped eidolons. Now you can imagine that I'm seeing a lot of crunch I have to take apart and this one's wording - well, it's rife with things to overlook, to not get right. The ability works. It's beautiful, really. Analogue to the base barbarian, at higher levels, the evolution point contingent for each mask is increased instead of getting the rage-upgrades and as a nice touch, higher level masquerade revelers may choose to maintain a limited selection of evolutions from the last mask she wore, adding some tactics and actual strategy to the mix. The capstone, which is aforementioned update as well as a fey apotheosis is nice, but falls behind the variety offered by masks.

Now, of course, the sheer amount of options feels staggering - and hence the pdf does something truly laudable - it provides masks, predefined. Approximately a gazillion of them. The respective masks come with 4, 6 and 8-point versions and are categorized in different types - take fey-inspired masks - Biloko masks, Baobhan Sidhe masks etc. Beyond these pieces of information, some of the masks require the masquerade reveler to be quadruped and for convenience's sake, the masks also come with a level that shows you when a given mask can be taken in its configuration. Masks inspired by Gremlins, by strange animals like Dweomercats,, just Theme-inspired ones, those of the forbidden traditions, yes, even those of a mythic bent - beyond the long, exceedingly awesome pieces of glorious fluff that introduce them, these classifications do so much in establishing a complex, cool tradition for these configurations... The masquerade reveler does not, like most archetypes, feel like it exists in a vacuum, but rather that it represents a vibrant, glorious tradition that is a crucial part of a given setting. Have I mentioned the powerful Tane-masks that have evolutions exclusive to them? And no, these cannot be taken by any masquerade reveler...



Beyond that, one could assume that the evolutions as a base line mean that the class does not get its own unique tools - one would be wrong, for beyond masks upon masks, the pdf offers a huge array (as in: over 50!) of special evolutions for the masquerade reveler, providing more fodder than you can imagine - from becoming tiny to STEALING THE SKIN of creatures, these evolutions wilder in so many of the most iconic concepts of deadly and cool tropes, it is simply bewildering. Additionally, these are balanced for the masquerade reveler, making the pdf not only state explicit caution when using these for evolutions of eidolons and at the same time being an instance where the DM is not alone with this beast - indeed, integration with fey, for example, would be among the covered topics. Want to blend in with light or get a red cap? Yes, such a red cap. It's in here. What about making shadow clones (and actually succeeding at making the ability work) or hair-based secondary attacks?



In such an environment, laden with glorious potential, the ability to make allies burn bright, but die young and the ties of that ability to the deadly gifts and mythic abilities for a thoroughly iconic take on the trope or even stealing the souls of mortals via fey skulls? A total of 9 different feats allow you to take masks associated with non-bipedal forms, get extra masks etc. Additionally, we also receive 3 new magic items - rather complex ones, like the double-sided Mask of Lost Identity that helps you disguise, but subverts your own identity. Or a shawl, that allows the dancer to store power in it via dancing a fey minuet. Or what about the stilettos that make the entering and exiting of a rage a gradual, rather than an instantaneous process and accompanies it with imagery most iconic?



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with various pieces of gorgeous full-color artwork - original pieces I haven't seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Mark Seifter, as a relative newcomer, now works for Paizo. If someone asks me why, I can answer the question in just one double-click - by opening this pdf. The original masquerade reveler archetype in RiP's "Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes" was excellent and this book makes it SO MUCH MORE. In my opinion, the Masquerade Reveler is the BEST BARBARIAN ARCHETYPE out there. Heck, there are next to no archetypes for ANY class that can stand up to it in its glorious fluff, its cool mechanics and the simply stunning imaginative potential. With a precision like clockwork, Rite Publishing and Mark Seifter blend mastery of crunch most complex with top-notch production values and concepts so high in style, so ridiculously awesome, were all pdfs like this, I'd hang up my hat right now and just be content. This archetype has more flair and feels more alive than most base classes I get to see. This pdf belongs into the library of all people who want to see what to expect from Mark in the future and what it takes to claim Paizo-status. I am of the staunch belief that our favorite game were better off, had we more archetypes brimming with potential like this, featuring such a grand unity of the mastery of fluff and crunch. This beast requires and demands to be recognized - it receives 5 stars + seal of approval and is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2014. There's a reason Rite Publishing is one of the big 3pps and this is an excellent reminder of why. This is a must-have, must-own beast of a book. Get it.


Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler (PFRPG)
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Storm Bunny Presents: The Reaper
Publisher: Storm Bunny Studios
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/12/2014 03:56:49
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This mini-pdf clocks in at 3 pages, ~1 page of editorial, logo, SRD, leaving ~ 2 pages of content, so what do we get here?



The Reaper is a man in interlocking metal plates who has been around for years - at least according to the history of this strange vigilante, though the rumors allow a DM to easily add one's own spin on the mysterious killer that annihilates those that oppose him. The truth is rather strange and as such, 6 sample research ideas allow a DM easy ad verbatim investigation structuring around the characters.



Of course, I could spill the true history of the character...but I won't. Just be assured that some tropes from super-hero comics find a cool resonance in this guy. 3 plot hooks supplement him, as does a new weapon, the slayer's gauntlet and a CR +1 template utilized in his build. This template also contradicts (somewhat) a certain alignment line in the character's statblocks, hinting at the dark future that is to come. The Reaper clocks btw. in at CR 10 and is a rather deadly build.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that is still relatively printer-friendly. The character has an AWESOME artwork, an original piece that is worth the price alone. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length and comes with a second version that provides copious hyperlinks of the good type.



Jaye Sonia delivers with this awesome character - with a glorious artwork, a cool build and a very low price, this guy is a sketch of an adventure (or even a series of them) in one pdf, for the low price of a buck - and as such, is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Storm Bunny Presents: The Reaper
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CLASSifieds: Battlefield Defiler (Magus Archetype)
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/12/2014 03:51:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page about Fat Goblin Games, leaving us with 3 pages of content for the battlefield defiler, so let's take a look what this magus archetype does, shall we?



Battlefield Defilers must be of evil alignment and get an assortment of necromancy spells added to their spell-list - which includes quite a few powerful spells; Something to bear in mind when thinking about taking this archetype - magi can easily get access to them, so that's one power-upgrade there - or it would be if this archetype wouldn't lose Spell Recall and Knowledge Pool. No complaints. Now the archetype also modifies the arcane pool -whenever a battlefield defiler successfully performs a coup-de-grâce on a living target, he may expend a point to cast a prepared spell that creates (explicitly NOT summons!) undead as has a casting time of a standard action or less as a swift action. The spell only targets this one corpse, even if it otherwise would affect multiple target corpses. The weapon of the battlefield defiler can be enhanced with the arcane pool like that of the magus, but receives a different list of properties and may only do so at 5th level onwards. A nice balance with the enhanced casting list.



The battlefield defiler also gets to choose from 3 new arcana that allows them to expend points from their pool to add templates to the undead they create. As a nitpick - one arcana specifies that when using any iteration of undead anatomy, the battlefield defiler is treated as if his spells benefited from silent spell and is treated as having a higher cha-score. This is slightly problematic since the ability fails to specify whether the level-increase of silent spell does apply or not. High level magi may exert energy drains on targets.



In lieu of a knowledge pool, the battlefield defiler gets the option to channel negative energy, but before you scream OP, hear e out - he may only heal himself and undead, not deal damage. 11th level battlefield defilers may keep animate undead-spells in their weapon, not expending them until a killing blow is struck, following the rules for holding a charge. Nice take on a complex mechanic that replaces Spell Recall.



At high levels, a spell-like Undead Anatomy IV and a devastating capstone that creates beheaded make for nice end-game abilities for the archetype.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, if not perfect -I noticed a minor glitch here and there, but nothing that would have impeded my enjoyment of this pdf. The pdf's layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' beautiful 2-column full-color layout and the pdf comes with the good type of hyperlink, even though e.g. the magus undead template has been forgotten among the otherwise great hyperlinks. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Tyler Beck's creations usually take a look at a complex concept and to this date, had mixed success at making them work perfectly. This pdf seems to represent him getting the stuff right - utilizing various complex abilities, the Battlefield Defiler offers a distinct, different playstyle for evil magi that allows them to be the creators of undead in the field of battle, something they quite frankly sucked at before. The nerfing of some of the base magus' most powerful abilities ensures that the archetype works and the lack of options to kitten-cheese this archetype is a further plus. While not (yet!) perfect, this proves Tyler Beck's potential and is well worth a final verdict of 4 stars. Good job!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CLASSifieds: Battlefield Defiler (Magus Archetype)
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Necropunk Ewgee Source Book
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/11/2014 03:09:59
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This sourcebook for Little Red Goblin Games' glorious, innovative Scifi-setting clocks in at 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this pdf in style, with a fully-depicted Battle-march for the Sentinels - "O, Death". And yes, I tried singing it and it does work, cadence-wise. We hence kick off this pdf's coverage of the Ewgee with a survey of the sentinel organization - from ranks in the military, to training and even including their oath, this one oozes flair and style.



The Psychic rules of Necropunk also get suppelmental information here, with the Psyoff. While nomenclature may sound none too impressive here, these guys essentially generate a tactical grid, in which allies can share senses, memories and even have PPI assigned to them - the storytelling potential, beyond the combat potential, for this one is vast. And yes, entering the mind of hostiles and talking to them, soothing golems - possible. A power is also tied to the new crown of god weapon, which can be made to fire lines and yes, bursts.



The Living Saints of the (in my opinion) somewhat creepy Prime Bloodline get a wildcard archetype that gets a free perfection at 1st level and may spend potential points on a number of unique Perfections -essentially, their potential is more geared towards becoming an Übermensch - enhanced immune systems, perfect immune systems, eidetic memory, truly superb vision, including the option to see e.g. x-rays and similar usually invisible forms of radiation and spectrums. Nice, even though an explicit mention of "this modifies Genius" etc. would have made the archetype somewhat easier to use. Sentinels of the Prime Bloodline may opt for the new Father archetype, which represents veterans of countless battles fought, with arrays of tricks that allow them to provide combat support to allies - think teamwork-enhancing commander. Solid one.



Sisters are the immaculate seductresses of the Prime Bloodline - while sterile, these wildcards can adopt personas - adopting these allows her to e.g. borrow the diplomat's social competence, sneak attack and trap sense, bombs, monks etc. - cool idea for a jack-of-all-trades-class that actually has a distinct fluff, if not perfect balance between personas.



Engineer-members of the Necromancer's Guild may become Devs -addicted to change exists here as well as gaining a retractable tendril that can grapple foes, may biohack others and also get to choose from an array of controlled bio-mutations that allow you to hyperstimulate allies with your tendril, deliver poison etc. Phagen of the assassin's guild provide a cool dichotomy - they've got the license to kill and extract the problematic elements from the Necromancer's Guild.They also recieve a kind of pet ghoul slave made from a convicted serial killer that they can unleash on their foes and upgrade over the levels via body mods - powerful and something for everyone who wanted a summoner-style class for Necropunk - with the conundrums we've come to expect from the setting. No less than 13 new body mods, from doll skin to grappling rocket fists, frog skins, skin that can see, detachable eyeballs - the amount of strange options is cool and awesome and the potential complications reflect that.



What about a disc that can heighten bad moods and interrupt sleep? (I guess I have one of those implanted into my neocortex...). Beyond these, we are introduced to 10 exile shards, three of which come with their own racial stat modifications, one with an alternate racial trait and teh Gravs, born and bred for space, being particularly adept in Zero-G-environments - including two new armors/suits and a new weapon/tool.



While primitive in comparison, the gunslinger archetype space cowboy will find its fans among Cowboy Bebop fans, with a vehicle to represent the nomadic ways of the class being sponsored in the beginning - though, as fans of Firefly or said Anime may attest, these things may break down...



We also are introduced to the assassin's guild's tomb foot style and its 4 follow-up feats, one of which ought to point out whether the bonus it grants also extends to potential AoOs, but apart from that, an interesting, defensive style. If a sister chooses, she can learn the psychotic Bathory persona, which not only may sever limbs and is a deadly combatant, but also simply...dangerous. Familiarity with bioskins, improved awareness and control of one's body - solid feats here. We also get three cool new campaign traits - one that represents being in service to the planetary defense force and one *I'd* choose - unchecked ambition in the Byronian sense. And there would also be an antiquated sense of honor, from which I probably irl also suffer - so much roleplaying potential in these and solid benefits as well.



Engineers may learn a nigh perfect sense of time or a kind of echolocation that helps in total darkness, Magpies may learn to change minimum damage to maximum damage, Stalkers may use skills instead of teh steal maneuver in combat to deprive foes of their tools.



Finally, the linguist in em rejoices as we're introduced to the language of money as well as see Esperanto enter the fray and a total of 5 new dialects.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are this book's weaknesses - the sourcebook sports quite a few bolding-glitches and minor formatting issues and minor rules-editing issues, though never grievous ones, can also be found herein. Layout adheres to Necropunk's simple, relatively printer-friendly b/w-2-column standard and the interior artwork deserves special mention: Don't be fooled by the cover, seriously, the b/w-line-drawings herein are plenty, gorgeous and downright awesome. This is a beautiful book on the inside! The book also comes fully bookmarked with extensive, nested bookmarks.



Okay, let me get one thing straight from the get-go - the crunch herein is good, but not always perfect - designers Scott Gladstein, Caleb Alysworth, Jeremiah Zerby and Dayton Johnson have overall done a good job, but at least for me, Necropunk was never about playing the "I got better crunch than you"-game. Necropunk is about the setting, the ideas - much like an alien-less, thinking man's Warhammer 40K, it is a dark vision of the future, but not a grim one. Nor is it a rip-off, it has its own, distinct identity that appeals greatly to me, because it's for once a scifi setting that is not illogical or been there, done that. It's innovative.

The questions posed by each class, the conundrus, they are alive and the base campaign setting provided more ideas to me for any campaign than just about all campaign settings I've read in a while. This sourcebook proudly follows in that tradition by creating more content, more information, more philosophical questions to explore via classes and playstyles, should you choose to. Necropunk is about ROLEplaying with a heavy emphasis on the ROLEplaying - more so than just about all Pathfinder settings. The ideas herein - they are simply brilliant. The sisters with their personas, the serial killer-enslaving assassin that may end up on the other end of the leash - these are concepts so glorious, so exciting to explore, that I was grinning from ear to ear. Yes, this book may not be perfect, but it incites the imagination in glorious ways. Usually, I'd rate this down further for its avoidable glitches here and there, but after much deliberation, I can't ever justify this - the Ewgee sourcebook is too rich in ideas you can scavenge even if you don't use the necropunk setting. There are too many cool concepts herein. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform. Here's to hoping we'll see much, much more Necropunk in the years to come - this has all the makings of a cult setting in the making.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Necropunk Ewgee Source Book
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/11/2014 03:05:54
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' short micro-pdfs clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD/editorial, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So what is this - animated skulls, yeah, but instead of just a set of statblocks, this actually is a mini-generator! A kind of Monster-Dressing, if you will.



We get a d12-table to determine locations of the skull, an excessive list of 10 potential origin-legends for the skull (like being a fragment of an outsider lord's consciousness, a lich gone wrong etc.) and then, things become interesting indeed:



3 sample partial statblocks await you to roll basic stats - one of these would result in you rolling on a d12 list of PC-class levels, while a d20-table allows you to randomly fill in the skull's skills and a further d12 table covers feats. Finally, movement, from levitating to hopping (!!) and flight can be determined and voilà - that would be the basics.



The pdf does not stop there - a 5-entry appearance table can result in further spell-like abilities via implanted gems and you may optionally determine alignment via a d8 table. If the skull has an implanted magic item, a 2-entry micro table covers that.



The pdf also provides 12 sample temperaments/personalities and 10 potential special purposes for the skull. We end the pdf with one sample skull and its background. I also should mention that the pdf also covers taking an animated skull as a familiar.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a digest-style one-page no-frills standard and the pdf comes bookmarked in spite of its small size - kudos!.Apart from the cover, there's no art, but that's to be expected from a micro-pdf like this.



Perry Fehr's Skull-generator is GLORIOUS. I really, really love this easy-to-use skull generator, the skill/feat-selectors etc. - this makes crafting animated skulls exceedingly fast. Now this would immediately hit my best of ratings, were it not for one issue: The statblocks this generates are non-standard. Looking much more like DCC or 2nd edition statblocks, they have all you need to run the skulls, but e.g. lack CMB/CMD etc. and just feel unnecessarily obscure when adhering to standard statblock conventions would have been easy - why no simply state the senses, ini, etc. according to statblock conventions? This is baffling to me and unnecessarily opaque, especially since the generator could easily support standard statblocks. As much as I love this pdf, due o this strange, strange decision, I can't rate this higher than 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. This is still a glorious buy for the low price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls
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Mythic Minis 24: Mythic Martial Arts III
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/11/2014 03:03:34
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the drill - 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page content, so let's take a look!



This Mythic Mini about martial arts provides 9 new mythic martial arts, so what do we get?



-Dragon Style: Immunity to sleep, +1/2 tier bonus versus stun/paralyze etc., +5 foot reach for one attack per round, Gain/Improve darkvision and blindsense for mythic power. Solid!



-Dragon Roar: Use Mythic Power instead of stunning fist to deal damage with your roar and impose negative conditions. So friggin' awesome!!!



-Dragon Ferocity: Frighten hit foes, panic them with mythic power. Solid.



-Mantis Style:Target must roll twice, take the lower result and you may add effects via mythic power- lethal!



-Mantis Torment: Use mythic power instead of Stunning Fist for increased DC, duration and fatigue/exhaustion on failed saves. OUCH!



-Mantis Wisdom: Add +1/2 mythic tier to monk level to determine effects of stunning fist. Reroll stunning fists in mantis Style for mythic power.



-Snake Style: I hate the base style witha fiery passion. It's an example of bad design. That being said, +1/2 mythic tier and quicker activation is okay and my loathing of the base feat is nothing to hold against the mythic version.



-Snake Fang: 1/round Sense Motive versus attackers Bluff if the target misses you. On a success, use Sense Motive for an attack roll. If it misses, expend mythic power for an additional attack roll. Urgh. I *loathe* skill-attacks. It's not the fault of this pdf, but....urgh.



-Snake Sidewind:+ 4 CMD versus many maneuvers while in snake style. Use Mythic Power to use sense motive in lieu of a save. Also: When criting, you may 5-foot-step as a free action for a mythic power, even if you already have moved this round.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice glitches. Layout adheres to legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the cover-art is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.



Alistair Rigg delivers some glorious takes on 3 traditional styles here and gaining more content than in part 2 is awesome...but not for me. I consider Snake Style and its whole mechanics a broken, broken mess and think that Paizo botched big time there. I don't even have to try to break this. Now Alistair Rigg worked with what he got - so I can't fault him for what he did with the feats, but still, every time I read these, something in me cringes. Hard. That being said, the other styles are awesome enough to still make this a good purchase, even if you loathe Snake Style. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 24: Mythic Martial Arts III
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Advanced Races 8: Lamia (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/10/2014 08:23:49
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Advanced Races-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, so let's take a look at the remaining 13 pages, shall we?



We kick this off with an interesting insight into the highly matriarchal culture of the evil lamia and an accompanying piece of in-character prose - turns out that male lamia, marginalized though they may be, do exist - as do those rare lamia that leave the cruel, hedonistic ways of their kind behind. Better yet, we also learn about so-called false lamias with non-serpentine lower bodies...and unlike many Advanced Races installments, age, height and weight tables are provided!



So what do these creatures get racial trait-wise? Lamia receive +2 Str and Cha, -2 Int, base speed of 30 feet, climb and swim speeds of 20 feet , +2 to intimidate, +2 to saves against mind-influencing effects, may not be tripped (but also receive no feet-slot), darkvision 60 ft. and low-light vision, +2 to bluff and use magic item [sic!] - should be Use Magic DEVICE checks, SR 5+ class level (I assume that should be character level), get proficiency with scimitars and may 1/day use ventriloquism and charm person as a spell-like ability.



They also come with nice favored class options for fighter, oracle, ranger, rogue, sorceror and witch and a total of 8 alternate racial traits. Personally, I think the ability to use constrict is too powerful for the paltry intimidate skill-bonus trade-off. On the plus side, a properly phrased primary bite attack with minor bleed damage is nice. Even dealing 3/day wisdom-damage via a touch feels justified - so apart from my pet-peeve with constrict, nothing downright broken here.



The racial feats, of which we get 6 allow a lamia to speak with snakes, upgrade the 1/day spell-like abilities, their intimidate prowess or summon snakes via spells - generally, solid options mostly interesting for the fluff rather than the mechanics. Speaking of which - did you know about the revelry?



It's essentially a debauched festivity of their culture held at full moon to honor the moon and its influence on lamia culture - and as such, it is no surprise that we get a moon mystery for lamia oracles. A moon mystery? I was ready to start yawning at yet another one of these, but this one actually has interesting mechanics - blasts of non-lethal damage, exposing lycanthropes, creating moonlight bridges, intentionally untyped blasts of pure moonlight, flight - quite a lot going on in the interesting revelations here. The new spell, river of moonlight, also features some iconic imagery that fits the theme.



The 10-level Moon-Touched PrC comes with d6, 4+Int skills per level, full spellcasting-progression, 1/2 will-save progression and 1/2 BAB-progression. Rather nasty - the first level ability allows them to add metamagic feats and their effects to spells they cast without increasing spell-level (with a nice no-beyond maximum-caveat) cha-mod times per day - especially for quicken spell and spell-level intense metamagic feats, this is rather powerful, but on the other hand, it somewhat validates the choice of the respective feats, which otherwise would be considered subpar as a choice. Still, especially for campaigns that allow a lot of material, a DM may wish to have a close eye on this one - it *can* be broken. It should be noted that the PrC's other abilities are rather cool as well and less powerful, though - the 7th level auto-daze on crits via spells is interesting, as is the fast healing capstone while the moon is visible.



That's not the only 10-level PrC, though - Serpent Blades are 4+Int skills per level, d10, full BAB-progression, all bad saves, are masters of two-handed combat that receive scaling bonuses to AC while making full attacks, receive dual-weapon bonus feats from a list galore, further reduce the penalties of the fighting style, may increase the DC of her charm person via a special dance, add damage to AoOs and the highest levels, make free maneuvers when hitting foes with both weapons or impose dread penalties of foes hit with critical strikes.



The final page offers us insight on Lamia within the context of the Midgard Campaign Setting.



Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Kobold Press' beautiful full-color two-column standard and the artists deserve special mentioning - with the notable exception of one artwork, Guido Kuip, Claudio Pozas, Marc Radle and Brian Syme not only provide a unified style, but artworks stunning and on par with the best in the industry - this is a beautiful book indeed.



Marc Radle is a talented designer and in the Advanced Races-series it shows once again - the series has so far been a very good gage of the capabilities of the respective designers and I'm happy to announce that this book ranks among the best - both in fluff and crunch. The imaginative potential and fresh takes here are simply awesome, with Marc Radle delivering enough oomph for me to really want a bigger book on these guys. And that's saying something. Now I feel obliged to mention that *personally* I think the Lamia are a tad bit too strong due to what I call "Ability-inflation" - do they really need those +2 skill-bonuses? Really? Why not make them alternate racial traits? Why instead bloat the race with those small things? Their movement and perception superiority already is rather pronounced... That being said, while I consider them slightly stronger than e.g. aasimar or tieflings, the social stigma should take some getting used to and the bloat is rather contained. I won't allow these in-game for my players unless in a high-powered game, but calling the race OP would also be a disservice. The race is strong, but not necessarily broken.



Now the supplemental content also deserves special mentioning, mainly because it's one of the best in the whole series - the new rules-mechanics are cool, the writing is crisp and while the options are powerful, they are not broken.



How to rate this then? Well, the fluff is a glorious 5 stars + seal of approval, the crunch may be a tad bit too strong for more conservative groups, who should consider this a good file instead, at 4 stars. My final verdict will clock in between these at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Races 8: Lamia (Pathfinder RPG)
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Amazing Races: Nagaji!
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/10/2014 08:21:58
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, you know the drill by now - 4 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

We receive two new character traits for Nagaji herein, one netting +1 to diplomacy and sense motive and unlocking both as class skills, the other granting a +1 effective level for spell with the verbal component and the [poison]-descriptor.

3 alternate racial traits are provided: One grants Hypnotic Stare as a bonus feat in exchange for armored scales, one increases damage of readied strikes by +1d6 in exchange for "resistant" (nice!) and one nets the Nagaji scent 10 ft. via their tongues, but if their mouths are forced shut, they lose this and receive a -2 penalty to Perception-checks.

We also are introduced to 5 new racial feats: One that combines Adder Strike with Spit venom (awesome!), one that makes grappling slightly better, one that eliminates the HD-cap of hypnotic gaze, one feat that nest you more uses of the gaze (and the option to activate it slower at higher DC) and a feat that nets you charm and later dominate against serpentine targets 1/day.

The archetype for this installment would be the Naga Servitor Cleric, who receives a modified sell-list and limited domain selection - and only one domain, as he worships the Naga. While they receive no bonuses from e.g. resistant against their chosen masters, they double these bonuses against non-naga. As an iconic imagery, these guys grow their own divine foci with naga scales growing from their flesh. When in grapple, these clerics may bite foes for 1d3 points and deliver a poison that decreases the will of those affected. As a nitpick - why no secondary damage/further saves to stave off? At 8th level, 1/day, +1/day for every 4 levels thereafter, the servitor may use a fascination-inducing hypnotic gaze.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no obvious glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Art's 2-column no-frills standard in color and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Daron Woodson's supplemental crunch for the Nagaji runs the gamut from awesome and perhaps a bit strong to weak - the grapple-feat, for example, is not that impressive, whereas 2 of the alternate racial traits are just brilliant. the same goes for adding blinding venom to unarmed strikes. Nasty! Then, there would be the archetype, which utterly baffles me - the options the Naga Servitors gain aren't that unique or awesome - don't get me wrong, I like the master/servant-dichotomy and the options they receive may be thematically awesome, with great fluff, etc., but rules-wise, I found them kind of bland and slightly unfocused. What I'm trying to say is - this archetype is by no means bad, if perhaps a bit weak, but it didn't blow me away. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up - for the low price, still a good purchase, though the Vishkanya-pdf is imho superior.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Races: Nagaji!
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Plight of the Tuatha, Vol.2: Vasily's Woe
Publisher: Mór Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/06/2014 04:48:04
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment in Mór Games' epic saga clocks in at a massive 101 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 94 (!!!) pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



This being and adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.



All right, still here?



After triumphing in the former module, Philiandrius the mage contacts the PCs again to travel to the town Innskittering to reclaim the so-called "Antecedent of Easement" as a first step towards foiling the invasions of the Fomoire and their dread deity. Providing them with a means of contacting him and some scrolls, the PCs are sent on their way toward the town of Safeharbor - provided they can prevent their ship from being sunk by magma elementals. In Safeharbor, the PCs may unwittingly gain the attention of the Sect "The Culling" - people that hunt good clerics and wizards because they want the peace bought from the evil gods to remain intact. Morally interesting, this fascinating nod towards the structure of deities and belief in the Imperiums Campaign Setting makes for a compelling set-up that adds a unique dimension to the setting, but one you can easily ignore or reappropriate. Which also brings me to a point - in case you have not played Plight of the Tuath's first module, you are not left alone - the module offers ample advice on running this as a stand-alone, though it mho loses some of its glorious fluff if you do so. Advice on additional tricks to challenge exceptionally capable parties also can be found throughout the module, which renders running it for pros (like my players) easier.



Now back to the plot - I mentioned the Culling already, and know what - the first killer of them the PCs may encounter actually gets a massive, concisely-written background story and actually is a well rounded character. Now Innskittering, guarded by magical mists, hits a soft spot with me - the sinister village, with its old hagish barkeeper, the module's eponymous creepy rhyme-song "Vasily's Woe" and the subtle sense of decreptitude and death, the town and its non-too-friendly inhabitants may well end up as troop-style mobs out for the PC's blood - after all, the temple the PCs will have to enter is taboo ground for strangers. In the exceeding, cool flavor of the module, the very guardian statues of the temple receive their own legends. Unbeknownst to the PCs, the recent outbreaks of plagues (which, as a backdrop of looming despair, is also reflected in tinctures and long-nosed plague masks as available items to purchase - including a stunning artwork for the mask) has had the despairing villagers transform people into soul-bound marionettes -and the path of breadcrumbs leads to Petrov Manor.



In the dark manor, the PCs may save a gnome as they explore the place - now if you're like me, here's one final example why this module is such a great read: A small box fills us in on a gnomish custom - the small folk have been hunted by doppelgangers for generations and thus tend to show their "colors" by picking their skin and bleeding, believing doppelganger blood to be of a different color than red. This also influences jewelry, which often comes with a means to picking one's skin. Now mind you, small cultural tidbits that make sense on a very fundamental logic level within the context of a setting might seem paltry to you, but you *notice* these things on a subconscious level and they all come together.



Now, beyond the investigation of the manor, which in its dressing and challenges, remains distinctly medieval (and unlike most haunted manor scenarios ), the PCs can also explore the manor grounds, where a dread cult taken root -or go directly to the witch Yaga Petrov, who makes for essentially the boos of this module - if they manage to survive her unique spells, the demonic infestation and oh so much more.

The module also comes with a full-page hand-out of stats for a certain gnome, information on the 4 exceedingly cool emergences the PCs may receive during this module (think of trait-like/spell-like rewards for actions that may be lost...or further explored...), fully detailed and statted villages with legends, properly narrated and phrased galore, 10 magic items with EXCESSIVE background information, 6 original monsters, optional rules for minor and major divine rituals, write-ups for the religions of 4 deities (including rituals, SAMPLE BLESSINGS and subdomains...) and finally, 4 pregens, all with their own full-color artworks.



Easy to print-out b/w-cheat cards for DMs to show or have ready for key-NPCs and player-friendly versions of 6 of the maps (all they could conceivably research in the module) are provided.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch - while e.g. one of the statblocks has a "1" missing before the 6 in the AC-entry, the modifiers remain and that was the most grievous glitch I noticed - for a module of this length, quite impressive. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that is easy to read...and makes me weep that I don't have this in print...yet. Seriously, the first "Plight of the Tuath"-module was beautiful, this perhaps is even more so. The artworks are, no hyperbole, on Paizo-level, depending on your tastes, perhaps even beyond it. It should also be noted that the module is internally hyperlinked and excessively bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography is line-drawn and nice - and plentiful.



"Vasily's Woe" is an exercise is great story-telling that even has some sand-boxy, non-linear qualities to it. While, in its heart, a relatively simple investigation/explore spooky places-module, this adventure actually made it hard for me to put it aside. I'm not kidding. I do not often come across a module I want to read to the end, taking my laptop to bed with me after staring all day long at text. William Moomaw's "Vasily's Woe" did just that. Where the first module by Mór Games had some slight issues with a potentially overshadowing NPC, some non-standard rules in the climax etc., this one also provides unique rules - but ones that actually make sense within the context of the module, and sans contradicting existing ones. But you don't necessarily will want to buy this for the crunch.



You want to buy this for the atmosphere, the ingenuity of the writing, the mastery of the little cultural tidbits that make a world come alive. The atmosphere can be perhaps described as a captivating blend of Russian and Gaelic myth, dosed with a nice sprinkle of danse macabre, an a coherent world-building that may be based on systems and creatures we know, but gives them a whole new dimension. This is more "The Witcher" than Golarion - grittier, but not necessarily darker. The amount of detail provided for...well, EVERYTHING, steeps everything in a sense of antiquity that utilizes subtle techniques of myth-weaving to create a beautiful tapestry of interconnecting dots PCs and players alike may explore at the same time, generating an (Almost always optional) level of detail scarcely seen in modules. Better yet, the overall panorama drawn here is one I really, really love - while managing to generate a sense of antiquity, of an old and ancient world, at the same time, this module succeeds in being FRESH.



This module and its setting, from what I could glean of that, manages to be at once defiantly old-school and suffused with a sense of the ancient and mythological (in the proper academic term's various notions), while at the same time carving its own identity and making a defiant stand against settings that have bloated themselves with races, thinking that by adding a race with x modifiers, they can create a richer backdrop of cultures, when they can't even get proper human cultures right. This module has more awareness of what makes a world believable than the vast majority of settings I've read (and enjoyed). It boils down to the attention of detail and the proper THINKING THROUGH of its components, which come together as something greater than the sum of its parts.



You may have noticed that I have remained relatively opaque throughout the review - this is not due to an inability to describe the plot, but rather from my desire to not spoil this one and the reading experience, this offers.



William Moomaw and Mór Games deliver a module, which, while not flawless, makes for a superb reading, a compelling adventure and top-notch production values. Add to that the fact that this is only the second product of Mór Games and I'm really stoked to see where the company and its Imperiums-campaign setting will go in the future. I remain with a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and a nomination as a Candidate for my Top Ten of 2014.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Plight of the Tuatha, Vol.2: Vasily's Woe
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Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/06/2014 04:46:32
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This FREE pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look at what this offers, shall we?

As you can see, this pdf is FREE and about PUZZLES. Yes, puzzles. Remember those? You know the type that, back in the days of 1st and 2nd edition, provided the awesome brain-teasers, the food for your grey matter beyond crunching combat-numbers? Yeah. There aren't many around anymore, which I consider rather a pity - so what are these about?

Essentially, the idea is relatively simple - you have crystals and rods to poke the crystals with. There are three types of rods - one red, one green, one blue.

Crystals can have up to 4 different colors - red, green, blue and clear. Each of the rods has a specific result when poking a crystal. Taking for example a blue rod to poke a crystal will have the following results:

-It makes a red or green crystal blue.

-It makes a blue crystal clear.

-It also affects all adjacent crystals (not those diagonally adjacent) to the crystal touched.

Each rod has a different array of such rules that make figuring the puzzles out rather fun - and easily expandable.

Each Puzzle herein has a base configuration of colored crystals and a goal configuration to reach and the difficulty ranges from child's play to challenging - the penultimate puzzle took my group about 30 minutes to get right and my guys are good at solving logical puzzles. If you as the DM can't be bothered to solve this, sample steps to solve the puzzles are provided, though it should be noted that these not always are the most efficient way to solve these.

Now if this looks rather underwhelming on paper, rest assured that it's actually fun if your players enjoy actually thinking and flexing their mental muscles. I know my players enjoyed it enough to to make me make puzzles like these the basic technology of hotwiring the creations of one particular ancient civilization in my game.

While primarily intended as a mini-game while waiting for the one guy who's late, the 5 sample puzzles provided can easily be expanded by an enterprising DM to include many, many more. A total of 4 pages of dot-cut-outs to represent crystals is provided as well, if your players need a visual cue - for advanced groups, I'd suggest not providing these, since it makes the task slightly more complicated and is a nice memory-training exercise.

Now the pdf also offers some advanced tricks - If your players have too hard a time, provide a multi-colored rod that can change colors - especially nice if your PCs failed to find one of the rods. If you're sadistic (or to reflect botched UMD-checks, there is a variant which changes a random crystal's color every 5 moves. This should NOT be used for the more complex puzzles, though - your players won't be happy about it. Finally, there is a kind of template for a golem who can be tuned to a color, with different special attacks based on the crystal color they're attuned to.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some minor non-standard rules-language in the end, that is not something problematic or grievous in a free product. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has rudimentary bookmarks.

Okay, I'll come right out and say it - I love this pdf. A) It's FREE. B) It inspired me - the possibilities of this deceptively simple system are endless - more complex patterns of crystals? Possible. A Ziggurat that needs to be solved, with crystals strewn throughout the dungeon, requiring exploration to get the pattern and then solve it? Possible. Creatures that have superb defensive powers (Vastly increased DR etc.) and need to be solved first, requiring attacks with the rods while they try to bash you to smithereens? Possible. The potential of this humble little book is staggering and it simply is FUN. Now granted, if your players don't enjoy logic puzzles, then this might not be for you - but come on, give it a try. Remember those days when gaming was a teaser for the intellect as well as the imagination, from the time to which we point when we tell ourselves that gamers are above average in intelligence. Unleash your nerd and dare to use some fun puzzles - you literally have nothing to lose with these - they're for FREE and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval - an awesome free product by Bradley Crouch.

Interjection Games currently runs an awesome Kickstarter - search for "Strange Magic".

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Perplexing Puzzles #1: A Crystal Puzzle is Forever
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Call You a Fool - Short Adventures Inspired by Classic Rock
Publisher: Murder of Crows Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/06/2014 04:36:49
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf kicks into gear with a note on CRs - and the reason for their absence in this book. And the micro-rant rings true to me - the CR-system is problematic. The system tied to it, of the fairly codified challenges so that no precious PCs die just is wrong to me - I'm the school of DM that has a coherent world and thus, 1st level PCs in my world can meet fire giants - if they're dumb enough to not run, they die. And sometimes they die if they're in the wrong place at the wrong time and don't have a good escape plan. That's just how I roll - the entitlement of the 4.5 encounter adventuring day always sucked in my opinion and I just don't like it. That being said, we're talking about a commercial product here. And in such a product, CRs are expected. See Frog God Games or 4 Dollar Dungeons - you can run with an old-school philosophy and still have CRs. Furthermore, the CR-rating has one massive thing going for it - at a glimpse, a DM may determine the relative lethality of an encounter. Too easy? Add nasty terrain. Too powerful? Maybe include a variable for the PCs to facilitate an escape. To cut a long ramble short - while I subscribe to many points made here, the absence of CRs in this product has to be judged as an unnecessary flaw that will negatively impact the final rating.



Now the first module herein would be the titular "Call you a Fool" and is intended as a solo-adventure based on Jethro Tull's "A Witch's Promise." The basic premise is rather simple, but from here on; Ill have to delve into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.



So there's a treasure in the forest, and, seeking it, the PC sees a glimpse of a woman, follows her into the darkness, defeats a random encounter and then is beset by a beast slightly beyond his/her capabilities. Enter the witch's daughter Agatha, who helps. unbeknown to the PC, there's a silver key that is the key to both the treasure and freeing the maiden from her imprisonment in the woods. The lady is unfortunately prevented from talking about her own imprisonment and, once the guardian of the key, a deadly leaf golem, has been defeated, it's morality that decides over the fate of the maid and whether the PC will have earned a cohort (or even lover) and the treasure. It should be noted that, unfortunately, the statblocks provided here, while containing the necessary information, still adhere to a non-standard formatting that makes them seem quite cluttered, something unfortunately extending to all statblocks herein. It should also be noted that no explicit treasure is provided, but that would be a nitpick.



Adventure #2 is inspired by Led Zeppelin's "The Battle of Evermore" - in which the PCs have to defend Queen Alena, the queen of Light, from the forces of Lord Night in a massive battle of endurance - at specific rounds, archons and the rising sun make it possible to withstand the nigh-endless onslaught and potentially, finally defeat the warrior - essentially, this is one big king-of-the-hill-encounter and would imho work better as full-blown war via army-rules in Ultimate Campaign for a sense of epicness, but oh well.



Adventure #3 is influenced by Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" - in a turn on the title, this module is about two knight, buried and unable to voice their true feelings, thus bound to an unlife. In order to triumph here, the PCs have to explore the tomb erected in honor of the two champions and lay their surprisingly cooperative and reasonable spirits to rest.



Adventure #4, inspired by Metallica's "The Thing That Should Not Be", begins in medias res, with the PCs captured by Skum alongside a bunch of orcs, ready to be sacrificed to Dagon's messenger in a ceremony soon to come - the whole module revolves around rping and finally escaping, which makes for a nice change of pace, even though the set-up per se is a bit blunt force and none too creative.



It should also be noted that no less than a massive 24 pages are devoted to battlemaps of all encounter areas, ranging from almost photograph-detailed to okay, but with the majority being nice.





Conclusion:



Editing is generally very good, I noticed no significant amount of glitches. Formatting does have issues - the statblocks do not adhere to PFRPG-presentation-standards and the lack of CRs make this harder to use than it ought to be. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read 2-column standard with a full-color parchment-style background. The pdf has no art. The pdf also has no bookmarks, which is an unfortunate comfort detriment. The maps, as mentioned, are plenty and awesome for this low price-point.



Jeremy Cusker has demonstrated that he can write excellent, atmospheric adventures and indeed, here and there, some of that shines through here. Alas, the strict adherence to the themes of the songs makes these mini-modules feel rather one-dimensional, at least for me. Now I love all but the Metallica-track and I enjoy the homages to these classics for what they are, but as modules, the adventures herein feel very bare-bones, with minimum fluff, minimum choice, minimum...everything, really.

There's simply not that much going in favor for any of the adventures herein - they are not bad, but I have seen the tropes they fulfill done better. Now if you're looking for short modules as filler between two larger ones, this might do, and the same goes if you enjoy the music-themed angle, but other than that, I can primarily recommend this for its maps and low price-point, not necessarily the content it delivers. If I didn't know better, I'd think that the great "End of Autumn" had been written by a completely different person. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up due to the low price and maps to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call You a Fool - Short Adventures Inspired by Classic Rock
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