Sep 182014
 

Ultimate Options: Story Feats

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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.

 

Invest in some story and get this pdf here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 182014
 

Village Backdrop: Hjalward

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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.

 

You can get this cool backdrop here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 182014
 

Mythic Minis: Feats of Dirty Fighting

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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.

 

You can fight really dirty with the pdf here on OBS!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 172014
 

Unrighteous Villains

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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!

 

You can get these awesome foes, not only for Wrath of the Righteous (or Mythic!) campaigns here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop.

 

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 122014
 

The Edgewalker: Wielder of Light and Darkness

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This base-class by Interjection Games clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC (and a story of the genesis of this class – it has been commissioned by Preston Mitchell!), 1 page SRD, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

 

The edgewalker gets 4+Int skills per level, d8, proficiency with simple weapons, short sword, rapier, sap, kukri, shortbow and whip as well as light armors and shields. Over the 20 levels of the class it receives a sneak attack progression from +1d6 to a maximum of +7d6 at 19th level and the class gets a 3/4 BAB-progression and good ref- and will-saves. As you can imagine, Uncanny Dodge also can be found among the class features.

 

So, what is the edgewalker’s deal? The class can be described as a martial artist with a thematic connection to light and darkness – a kind of monk/rogue blend, if you will, and more importantly, one that does not fall by the wayside. Edgewalkers at first level receive thus two pools – the radiance and the shadow pool, both at least containing one point and both using an attribute modifier (wis for radiance, int for shadow) to determine additional points for the respective pools. At 5th level and every six levels thereafter, the edgewalker receives a +2 to maximum pool size that can be freely distributed among the pools (for a net gain of +1/+1 or +0/+2)

 

Now as a Batman/stealth type of class, receiving evasion relatively soon should not be considered uncommon (2nd level, improved evasion at 9th level) and 3rd level edgewalkers receive hid in plain sight as long as they are within 10 feet of a sufficiently large shadow. Now this makes targeting the edgewalker with spells et al rather difficult – the class is geared rather well towards taking softer targets out.

 

Now beyond FCOs for core races, drow, aasimar, tieflings, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs and puddlings (all solid), we also receive 4 feats for the class, but these require explanation of the core talent system of the class: Essentially, edgewalkers start the game with two so-called waypoints known, one light, one darkness and at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the class receives an additional waypoint. Now there is a cool restriction in place here – the edgewalker needs to keep a balance between light and darkness, which translates to waypoint selection: If your light-based waypoints exceed those that are darkness-based, you need to learn a darkness-based one next and vice versa, creating a kind of equilibrium. It should also be noted that a couple of these waypoints count as either light, or darkness, depending on your needs.

 

The new feats can be used to gain a waypoint and do some interesting things – “Harmony of Essence” increases your effective edgewalker level for the purpose of the other type of waypoint whenever you use one, rewarding mechanically the switching between light and darkness. Luminous truth nets you the benefits of true seeing for 1 round as a supernatural effect (an effective caster level or SP as a base type would have been better, probably) and another feat allows you to alleviate one restriction of certain waypoints – some of these have asterisks, which denote that they manipulate the shadow of the edgewalker for the effect. That means only one of these can be in effect at a given time, though aforementioned feat allows you to have two of these in effect at a given time.

 

Now before I get towards waypoints, you should also be aware that at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, the edgewalker also receives a greater waypoint, which can be considered a kind of more powerful talent – one that requires some planning, for the greater waypoints also have to adhere to the light/darkness-dichotomy, offering opportunities for proper planning of character progression.

 

Now you’re of course interested in the aforementioned waypoints and the waypoints themselves have diverse prerequisites – from none, to level-caps and other waypoints have certain skills and feats as prerequisites.. Now what can you for example make with these waypoints? Well, since there are more than 50 in here, I’m just going to note that the following is not a comprehensive list, but rather an array of options that should be considered kind of presentational for the class.

 

Very interesting for blocking charges and the like, “A Thousand Grasping Tendrils” allows you to, as a swift action, reshape your shadow into an array of tendrils that create a micro-aura of 10 feet of difficult terrain around you – which, of course, does not hinder you in any way. Ignoring difficult terrain and effortlessly scaling any incline less than 90° can also be done by these fellows. Another waypoint offers a dazzle against a creature you threaten – sans save, as an immediate action, usable whenever you switch between light and darkness consecutively. Armors of light (that do not necessarily enhance your stealth…), a shaken-causing breath weapon of black wind, 1 round slow at a higher save DC, better stealth, cushioning falls (the longer the fall, the higher the cost), very minor reflexive damage (plus dazzle), creating areas of demoralizing gloom and putting creatures subjected to fatigue-related negative conditions or con-damage/drain to sleep is rather interesting. Why? because for the edgewalker, rolling bad on sneak attack is not necessarily a bad thing: For each natural 1,2 or 3 rolled on such a roll, you also deal one point of con damage if you take the 8th level dark waypoint.

 

Now where things get interesting would e.g. be with the exceedingly cool ability that lets you set up your shadow as a flanking supplement and, quite possibly for the first time since I’ve been doing this reviewing thing, gets such an ability actually right. Now, with Ichor of the Firefly, the edgewalker may coat his/her weapons with virulent light that invades the bodies of target, negating invisibility etc., while also providing significant bonus damage, especially against creatures sensitive to light. Making conversely, a poison from darkness itself that scales damage-wise over the levels also becomes a distinct possibility. Speaking of said poison – if you use the dark-aligned poison, you may add a neat combo (though the following is not restricted to the darkness-based poison) that allows you to ignite the poison coursing through your foe’s veins, dealing significant fire damage. Damn cool!

 

The equivalent of solo tactics sans requiring an ally (but only while your shadow isn’t otherwise occupied) also makes for a cool array of tactical options. Want to know what’s lurking round the corner, in the adjacent room etc.? What about stretching your shadow up to 60 feet and looking through its eyes? This ability, which can be taken at first level, is narrative gold and iconic in imagery!

 

Of course, various spell-like abilities, poison use, pillars of light that heal minor damage, motes of searing light or making your shadow the equivalent of a kind of bear trap are possible, but for me, the anti-ray/attack-roll spell Tenebrous Tango, which allows you to have spells utterly miss you – think mirror image variant with an edge. At a permanent cost of 1 point from a pool of your choosing, you may also master poisons to the extent they become more potent, making your poisons at +1 DC more lethal – and with quite a few requiring consecutive saves in PFRPG, this makes sense.

 

Now I did mention those greater waypoints and as you may have imagined, they are the big ones – Summoning forth several shadows from you one – cool. But more interesting would, at least for me, be the game-changer that is Cumulative Exposure – it deals automatic damage to all adjacent creatures whenever you subsequently use two waypoints. Using multiple dark waypoints may also yield bonuses and igniting mundane light sources to emit blinding flashes makes for a cool idea and better light/darkness poison/ichors are lethal and cool – what about e.g. an ichor that makes the target suffer from miss chances galore, but also receive an applicable miss chance as it becomes insubstantial -nice reflection of the duality-theme in the crunch here. Now also rather awesome would be the option to steal other creature’s shadows via ranged CMB to power darkness-waypoints. Cool here – the ability manages to properly prevent kitten-bag abuse. Lifelinks also are possible – ouch!

 

The capstone of the class allows you to use radiance and darkness pool interchangeably, with the on-intended pool only increasing the cost of waypoints by 1 when paid from the other pool – which seems a bit boring at first, but the capstone greater waypoints more than make up for this – raise dead sans material components, ignoring just about all immunities, DRs etc. for a time or having your shadow utterly erase a creature from existence – quite awesome imagery and tricks await at the peak of power as well!

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to interjection Games’ 2-column b/w-standard and is printer-friendly. The artwork is thematically fitting stock and the pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor comfort detriment.

 

This class by Bradley Crouch is rather simple when compared to other Interjection Games-classes and should not overexert anyone’s capability to understand it getting the class at first read-through is all but guaranteed. That being said, the edgewalker is more complex than one would assume at first glance – one can set up quite a bunch of rather interesting combos and the synergy with some abilities present in the edgewalker makes for a surprisingly unique playing experience. When I went into this class, I honestly expected either a rip-off of a certain PrC from the 3.X Book of 9 Swords or a slightly more mystical ninja.

What I got turned out to be more rewarding than either. Whereas the ninja-class is essentially a type of rogue on steroids, playing an edgewalker in game, while similar on paper, feels actually much more tactical, more rewarding. The edgewalker is a great skirmisher/trick fighter and surprisingly fun to play. My final verdict is hence based on how the class performed in actual game, on its rather cool playstyle and neat variety – add the option for easy expansion of the system and the easy to grasp mechanics and we have a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of a one or two minor rough edges here and there.

 

You can get this cool class here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

On another note: Interjection games currently has a Kickstarter of alternate magic systems running and an edgewalker-compatible shadow magic expansion, first planned as a stretch-goal, now will become available as an add-on, so check out the KS!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

Sep 122014
 

Into the Breach: The Witch

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This installment of Flying Pincushion’s “Into the Breach”-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

The first archetype herein would be the Bailiwick Hermit. These guys and gals select a favored terrain and increase their spell potency while in said terrain (gaining more at higher levels), while decreasing the potency when in other types of terrain. Generally, a cool class feature that has the obvious exploit for terrain-focused campaigns (like e.g. underdark/dungeon crawls) somewhat mitigated by the necessity to make concentration-checks when in any type of settlement. The obvious issue here being that urban environments are part of the favored terrain list…and bingo, said type cannot be taken – NICE! Kudos for noticing and taking care of this one. The key feature here, though, would be the ability of the hermit to replace a familiar with an animated object that increases in potency every two levels, may grant improved rest later and even move of its own accord. And yes, we’re talking boats, huts and the like, not paltry bonded objects. And yes, while I’m somewhat annoyed by the italicization glitches here and the fact that I would have enjoyed rules for adding equipment (like cannons…) to such objects/places, I enjoy the Baba Yaga-style hermit fluff enough to consider this archetype worthwhile and actually awesome – the designer can be considered patted on the back, though some rough edges can still be smoothed over.

 

Bog Builders replace their patron spell-list with a new one and creates a construct-race with 15 RP of the construct being available as per the ARG guidelines – the issue here being that the text contradicts itself. Construct-races already cost 20 RP, more than the 15 available as a suggestion. Furthermore, the text specifies the familiar to have a maximum of 20 RP and a constitution score of 10 – which is even more confusing. Also: Constructs have no con-score, so I assume the mentioned con 10 in the text is supposed to mean that this has to be bought…but its mentioning contradicts the “construct”-line… Total confusion is all I can come up with after reading this for the oomphteenth’s time. As written, this ability is nowhere near functional. At 3rd level, the witch gets the ability to craft constructs and repair the familiar. At 10th level, the witch may cast up to 2 hexes (+1 for every 2 levels thereafter) into the familiar:”Her construct familiar can hold the hex and deliver it at any time throughout the day. Casting a hex with limited daily allotment of targets into a construct familiar does not count against the number of active targets the bog builder may have at any given time.” What does “hold and deliver” entail? Is the hex stored? Akin to a touch spell/holding a charge? How does the familiar deliver hexes? Does it count towards a witch’s daily maximum, if applicable? If a target has already been hit by a hex/saved and is immune, does this extend to hexes delivered via the familiar? Is the stored hex expended upon use? If yes, as what action? Hex default? I assume so, but I’m not sure. The capstone is a construct-apotheosis. A conceptually interesting archetype with a flawed execution.

 

The Bulwark Theurgist is interesting – an arcane bodyguard, if you like – instead of a familiar, they designate a good-aligned creature as the source of their arcane prowess. Which is cool…but how do you explain the patron spells? What if the ward dies? If a creature, is it subject to the theurgist’s will? What rules does the ward follow, if an NPC? Bonded objects automatically regain all health upon a new day? Or does the ward get any familiar-style bonuses? Needs clarification, since creature =/= object and neither rules properly fit the bill here, both interpretations producing problems galore.

Which is a pity, for granting rerolls and AC-bonuses to allies is uncommon in this constellation for arcane casters and something I thematically enjoy.

 

The Disciple of the Bloody Hand makes his/her own hand grow an eye and act as the familiar. Instead of sharing spells, the detachable hand can be used as the origin of hexes projected forward and can share touch spells held at range, see through it and cause bleeding wounds. Additionally, they can make crawling hands from foes and yes, even crawling hand swarms (full stats provided). The Disciple of the Bloody Hand is awesome and showcases well the potential of FPG – it does something iconic and high-concept and manages to get the complex wording down to be functional. Kudos!

 

The Dweomer Weaver gets an animated piece of cloth as a familiar, with quite an array of special tricks – some hexes may be shared, basic information may be gleaned from speaking with fabric – which is cool and iconic. Spell Loom, granted at second level, is rather nasty – 3+Int-mod times per day, the witch can cast 2 spells in one as a full-round action. The target has to save against both and, failing one, is hit by full effects. As a downside, the witch is fatigued for 1d4 rounds, when casting again while fatigued, exhausted instead. The spells need to target the same creature or area, got that – but what if they have different AoEs? Different ranges? As written, the ability can shorten rituals/longer casting durations to 1 round and add another spell – the ability needs a caveat to address casting duration. Even without unresolved considerations like this, remember that this breaks ALL KINDS OF SPELLCASTING BALANCE RULES EVER. This means 3 spells per round with quicken spell. This means casting battle-magic that is saved against via will instead of ref, enchantments based on ref-saves etc. – this is INSANELY strong and needs to be nerfed down not by a notch, but by about 10. In addition to being broken as written. Which is a pity, for e.g. temporarily disabling items is a cool ability and potentially disrupting mythic, bloodline and hero point-based abilities also is rather neat. So close to being awesome, but the dual cast needs to die a fiery death -as written, it is almost hilariously broken.

 

The Feybound Crone gets a fey creature familiar and access to limited spell-like abilities of the familiar -per se neat. At 10th level, the crone may turn into a fey “Starting at 10th level, a feybound crone may choose to become a fey creature with a CR equal to her level or lower for a number of minutes per day equal to her level.” -as per the polymorph spell? Ability scores /Spellcasting etc. retained? As per what rules? Full access to fey creature’s abilities? Or does the crone just modify her base abilities by instead applying those of the fey type? The feybound template? If yes, why not reproduce it here? I don’t know and neither does the ability. Another conceptually neat one ruined by flawed execution. (And yes, the capstone is to turn into two fey creatures…don’t start me there…are abilities shared? Spells? Urgh.)

 

The Foul Temptress is a nice one, cha-based, simple, kiss of death at high levels – nothing to complain here. The Gluttonous Crone has an addiction to consuming intelligent creatures (what is considered intelligent? Usually, a caveat Int>3 is provided in abilities like this…) for bonuses. When deprived of her meal, the crone suffers penalties to saves and mental faculties (even turning insane) and deals +3d6 damage on ALL SUCCESSFUL ATTACKS. Remember, these include touch attack spells, all attacks etc. Dipping for one level into this archetype is a ridiculously broken way to add damage. Controlled starving will result for all those brb 19/witch 1 builds – hey, it’s +3d6 untyped damage to everything! Melee, arrows, spells. How the F*** could this go past playtesting/development? Consuming small body parts for temporary hit points may be nice…but do they stack? What do they weigh? Where’s the limit? Bag of kittens, anyone? Bite attacks and swallow whole complement the conceptually awesome archetype that fails hardcore in its execution.

 

Marjara Bound witches get black cat familiars with increased combat capacities for the potential issue of hit familiars resulting in concentration checks and also receive a quasi-lycanthrope hybrid form and the ability to conjure forth a surprisingly deadly swarm of black cats – which I *assume* counts as a hex. While at 14th level, summonming a CR 4 swarm isn’t too deadly, some kind of limit of swarms active at a given time would be in order – otherwise, you can just swarm all dungeons and lands with a tide of black cats. Which would be the cutest apocalypse ever. Kidding aside, generally, a nice archetype – not perfect, but functional and has some cool imagery to back it up.

 

Speaking of cool – the Scorned Heart rocks. These witches pay with diminished spellcasting for an eidolon-evolution pool with which they can enhance themselves while in their alternate form. Furthermore, they may, as immediate action, reflexively hex (and later even bestow curse) targets attacking her (provided they’re in range of her hex!) 3+Int-mod times per day. Proper eidolon-biped-form scaling, proper reflexive hexes – great archetype! Seriously flavorful and cool! Two thumbs up!

 

The final archetype would be the Voodoo Crafter, who replaces the familiar with the ability to create gris-gris – items that can carry spells and hexes, which can be activated as a swift action and do count as daily uses of the respective abilities – I assume this meaning that one target could not benefit from e.g. a gris-gris luck + the witch’s luck hex in a day, but I’m not 100% sure. Still, that’s relatively close to working well – increased flexibility, if played right. Faster preparation of these better sneaking these on foes and autonomously planting gris-gris make for a solid progression and an okay capstone. However – how does she prepare spells? Usually, a witch communes with her patron via the familiar and the archetype fails to address how spell preparation works for the voodoo crafter, rendering the archetype rather impossible to properly use as written.

 

Next would be the alternate Sèvitè-class, who upgrades to d8, prepares spells and casts them via wis. Alas, the class fails to specify how the Sèvitè learns spells – the base witch does specify that in the “Witch’s Familiar”-ability, whereas the Sèvitè’s communion with Papa Legba fails to mention this particular, crucial piece of information. Sèvitè also receive a vulnerability to attacks from incorporeal targets and possession, but instead learn at 1st level and 2nd level (and every 4 after that) to let themselves be ridden by a loa. This process eliminates spells, skills etc. while ridden, but offers spell-like abilities and similar weird abilities. Entering this state requires a standard action, ending it a move action. Each loa also offers regular spell-like abilities available for the Loa chosen, even when not being ridden. A total of 10 such Loa are provided and the Sèvitè also may use of their tendency for syncretism to blend in with specific other religions. All in all…I didn’t expect to like this class. While the spellcasting needs clarification, the spell-like ability take on Loa, somewhat akin to the glorious Pact Magic-series, works surprisingly well. Indeed, balancing, unlike the ill-fated warlock, proved this class works neatly in playtest. So overall – mostly great work (also thankfully respectful to real world practitioners) and kudos to Jason Linker!

 

The Heathen is a d8, 3/$ BAB-progression, medium will-save, 1/2 spellcasting progression for both magi and witch-classes combo-class between magus and witch. Heathens also get a pool of Dark points. Each day, they start with class level x 1/4 DP and may never have more than twice their class level. The lack of a “minimum 1″-clause makes me believe the class does not necessarily start the day with a reserve of DP. Heathen may also conduct Dark Rites – burn things of a certain value, engage in debauchery, riot or sacrifice items or animals. Additionally, even male heathen may be impregnated by fiends – for each half-fiend child alive, they increase DP by +4. At later levels, sacrificing innocents nets DP as well. Scarification can trade off two max hp for a fleeting 1 DP. Dumb choice. Dark points can be gained via inflicting 5 points of damage to themselves, but only 1 per day this way – nice catch regarding regeneration. Dark Points can be expended to retain spells (1 as a flat-out payment – too easy.) as they’re cast or some other benefits like to gain +1 on a single atk, save or skill as an immediate action for 3 DP – the strength of DPs and their benefits have not even a semblance of balance. Cast 3 high level spells sans expending them vs. +1 to atk/skills/saves? Seriously? The half-fiend child-ability is also easily broken and more a plot-device than a proper class ability. Wordings tend to be rather imprecise in here. I’ve danced around it long enough – the mechanics of this combo-class are wonky, the wordings imprecise. I am not squeamish. I guarantee that more than a couple of people will be offended by this class.

 

I love proper demonology/diabolism-themed crunch. I’m not offended by violence (I am a huge fan of Lamentations of the Flame Princess) and consider prudery something rather baffling. It is NOT the concepts. It is their implementation. To the author: I’m sorry for the following statement, but I know no other way to proper enunciate the effect this class had on me: The flawed balance, the needlessly explicit abilities – they feel like a 13-year old in his rebellious phase had drafted an “I am SOOOO EVUHHHL”-class that is a caricature of itself. Then add to that the grossly insensitive decision to name this class “heathen.” Not diabolist, not scion of darkness or some other epithet, no, “heathen.” You know that a lot of people IRL identify their beliefs as “heathen,” do you? Followers of traditional Gaelic religions, Ásatrú? And yes, “pagan” may be a more common moniker, but still. Seriously, I’m an atheist/agnostic and while I don’t subscribe to any religion, I *RESPECT* them and what they mean for people. This is like calling a lawful evil, invading, genocidal knight-PrC “Christian Crusader.” So yeah, beyond the bad crunch, that adds insult to injury – especially jarring after the Sèvitè, who is positively free of negative stereotyping.

 

Scarred Shamans get 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 fort+ will-saves progression, d10, 4+Int skills per level, 9 levels of spellcasting progression and stack levels with barbarian for determining effects of rage powers. As a barbarian/witch combo-PrC, they don’t require moment of clarity to cast while in rage and generally neatly expands the scarred shaman archetype’s scar-based options. This one’s also jarring -in the good way. The PrC makes for a solid combination of the two classes and worthwhile, if not perfectly optimized character builds.

 

We also get new hexes, with one being a pet-peeve for foes of save-or-suck -Babble. While only having a reach of 30 feet, 50% failure chance for verbally activated items and spells/etc. for 1 hour per level is hardcore; Plus: even 1 round on a made save feels excessive. The latter effect goes a bit too far. The same goes for the boils hex, but generally, the array here is solid, with e.g. a hex to for blindsight versus incorporeal undead at 60 feet that can also be used to determine means of laying haunts to rest (!!!AWESOME!!!) being my personal favorite. Also part of the offering for major hexes would be the ability to gain proper scent or sprit-walk and grand hexes include removing, phylactery-style, one’s heart or changing the very land and its seasons. While they aren’t all perfect, generally, this chapter is glorious.

 

The pdf also provides 4 well-balanced patron spell-lists and 7 new feats, one allowing you to further enhance cackling at the cost of your voice for a time. Another nets the targets of your hexes a non-lowerable spell resistance. Delivering hexes via weapons can be considered problematic, since the feat fails to specify whether the save, if applicable, still applies. Also…I’m remembering all those hexes balanced by requiring the witch to be subtle…delivering them this way can lead to abuse. The same goes for the option to deliver one chosen hex at range via ranged weapons at up to 120 feet. Comparably, +10 feet range for one hex does seem like a more balanced, valid choice, though personally, I’d increase range further or make the feat apply to multiple hexes. As written, kind of weak.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are inconsistent -from great to bad, especially the mechanical qualities of the writing skitter up and down wildly on the scale. Typos and the like are rare, though I’ve been exceedingly annoyed by the utter lack of spell-italicization, which makes reading the text often so much more confusing. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and artwork is thematically-fitting stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

 

The team of authors Frank Gori, Jeff Harris, Jason Linker, Taylor Hubler, Scott Bingham, Dylan Brooks, Kiel Howell, Matt Medeirous and Jacob W. Michaels have learned since the installment on the oracle. Into the Breach: The Witch is not perfect, but it’s a huge step up. While the amount of content that is severely flawed is still high, too high for a good rating, the amount of rules that work, the amount of abilities that are not broken or flawed in some way – these have increased in a rather impressive manner. That being said, there still is a lot of work to be done here – I did mention quite a bunch of the issues in the book and they are not exhaustive, but the book also has more than I mentioned that works – there are more gems in here than in every other Flying Pincushion Games-product I’ve reviewed so far and concept-wise, this book is interesting indeed, offering some truly awesome options. High concepts have to be backed by the respective crunch-though, and this one simply not up to the task in all instances, being the quintessential mixed bag with some gems and a lot of rough patches left to iron out. Hence my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 for the purpose of this platform.

 

You can get this pdf here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop.

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

Sep 112014
 

The Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler

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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.

 

You can get this superb archetype/alternate class here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop.

 

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 112014
 

Storm Bunny Presents: The Reaper

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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.

You can get this cool, extremely affordable NPC here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 112014
 

CLASSifieds: The Battlefield Defiler

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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!

 

You can get this magus archetype here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

Sep 102014
 

Necropunk: Ewgee Sourcebook

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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.

You can get this inspiring source book here on OBS!

Endzeitgeist out.